Talking Politics

Three years ago this week I traveled up north for Thanksgiving dinner at my conservative Uncle's house outside Sacramento. As I knew my brother and I would be the only non-Republicans in attendance, I'd resigned myself to a politics-free Thanksgiving. It was one thing to rile up my Dad by bashing Bush around my parents' dinner table, quite another to do the same where I am an infrequent guest and where I know just a few people. What I didn't anticipate was just how much passionate criticism of Bush and the Republican congress there would be even without my or my brother's input. The Republicans at dinner that night were in utter revolt, over spending mostly, and it was the first time I had a sense that things were shifting in the country.

This year was quite different as I spent Thanksgiving at a friend's house with mostly youngish creative types who were varying degrees of liberal, but that's not to say there wasn't some heated conversation. I spoke to one guy who, knowing that I'm a "liberal blogger," challenged me to name one Republican I've ever voted for (I named two) and insisted that his support of Bob Barr this year even though he knew he couldn't win was somehow more virtuous than my support of Barack Obama since I'm just a partisan hack, so his argument went. He also railed against single party rule and insisted that Obama work across the aisle as he has promised to do (this is why he liked John McCain until he imploded.) There was so much wrong with this logic I didn't know where to start. I replied that certainly bi-partisanship would be great but not for its own sake. I asked him to think about what's gotten done during two years of divided government versus 6 years of single party government -- far more got done in those first six years; the fact that it was mostly bad is beside the point. Single party Democratic rule is the only way we're going to actually advance a mainstream agenda, which the American people have voted for 2 cycles in a row: ending the war in Iraq, funding stem cell research, increasing access and affordability to health care, curbing carbon emissions to rollback the effects of global warming, closing Guantanamo Bay and restoring our reputation abroad (and certainly the list goes on...) As much as it pains many to admit, these things that the progressive movement has been fighting for for years are now mainstream values and if Republicans are going to continue to obstruct it, the last thing Americans want is bi-partisanship. When the American people so thoroughly reject one party as they have for two cycles in a row, that is a sign that Republicans should be marginalized, not coddled and they should certainly not be allowed to hold the American agenda hostage.

I didn't say all of this, although I sort of wish I had, but it's just an example of the sort of holiday dinner table conversation I had this year. What were the hot topics around your Thanksgiving dinner table this year? Did you talk politics? Were you surprised by what you heard and can you draw any conclusions from it?


Tags: talking politics, thanksgiving dinner (all tags)




Someone who voted for Mr. Impeachment used the phrase "Partisan hack".  Can I take a moment to appreciate the irony?

by AZphilosopher 2008-11-29 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Heh!

I love how all these Republicans found religion this year once there was no way McCain was getting in.

by Jess81 2008-11-29 01:51PM | 0 recs
I love... one of the leading indicators of a wingnut politician in AZ was the phrase "will restore civility to politics".  They were the ones who made that phrase a bestseller to begin with.

by AZphilosopher 2008-11-29 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics

I had my own private "center-right" watch regarding one of my father's college buddies who seems to conduct conventional wisdom pretty well, although he's no David Gregory.  I didn't have to wait long.  He started talking about Obama's appointments, and if I had acted fast I could have won a dollar or something by making a bet if I could have gotten any takers.

I don't know, my family is pretty lefty.  It's not so much the rightists arguing with the leftists as much as it is the smart people humoring the not-so-smart.

Someone pointed out something which I hadn't though of - and in fact may not be true - but I'll mention it: Obama's appointments have him set up to be enormously powerful coming out of the gate.  He can put any kind of bipartisan beard he wants on any policy that comes out of the Whitehouse now, and outside of the far right it's going to be very difficult to organize any opposition against him.  There aren't very many power bases in Washington that he hasn't coopted.

by Jess81 2008-11-29 01:50PM | 0 recs
Two dinners

We attended one dinner on Thursday evening with friends who had volunteered for various campaigns in our area. There were no republicans present.

On Friday night we attended a larger gathering at the invitation of the Democratic patriarch of a clan that included several republicans. No one went out of their way to talk politics - if anyone did it was a quiet side conversation with a like-minded individual. For the most part it was kids, food, family, health, and board games. Though, the sister-in-law of the patriarch had gone shopping earlier in the day with her teen-aged granddaughter. They returned to the dinner - both sporting peace sign earrings.

In our area I've noted the following:

The cult of the lost cause...

The cult of the lost cause, part 2

Their bumper stickers are still on their cars and their signs are still up.

by Michael Bersin 2008-11-29 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Two dinners

Oh, that reminds me of the whole battle of the yard signs during the general election.  The Obama campaign made a decision that yard signs and bumper stickers were largely a waste of time, so if you showed up at a field office asking for one just like you had for the past 10 elections, you probably wouldn't get one.

It got so bad that a lot of field offices just had people whose job it was to deal with people angry about yard signs.  But the bottom line was that yard signs were much harder to come by.

Now, if you weren't in on this, you were probably a Republican.  And you might just extrapolate the disparity of yard signs as being meaningful, since god knows you couldn't go by the polls.  So I got a kick out of reading Nobama blogs where the refrain was "this ain't over" and inevitably someone would point to how few Obama yard signs they were seeing.

by Jess81 2008-11-29 03:01PM | 0 recs

I was one of those people who dealt with the walk-in sign traffic. Our county committee bought the yard signs (and ten 4 x 8s) and sold them. Hundreds of them.

If I recall correctly the Kerry/Edwards campaign operated in the same fashion in 2004. They weren't particularly concerned about any "sign ga"p.

I do happen to agree with the low status of yard signs, especially for a national campaign.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Signs, signs, everywhere signs, part 2

Signs, signs, everywhere signs, part 3

by Michael Bersin 2008-11-29 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics

You should just point out how many Blue Dogs there are in the House and people like Bob Casey in the Senate. The Democratic Party is far more open and has a bigger tent than the Republicans. We have way too many conservatives!

by bsavage 2008-11-29 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics

We had thanksgiving at my son's inlaws as their was a new baby 2 weeks old. I knew the father watched fox news so was not suprised to hear that polar bears being an endangered species was "in dispute", that having a 'northern sea route' from atlantic to pacific was a good thing and the antartic is freezing more to make up for it. my head was exploding by the end of the meal!

by treebark 2008-11-29 02:30PM | 0 recs

At my family dinner we mostly talked about my brother-in-law driving around the midwest putting his name on various electician union employment lists.  See, we live in Chicago and he just lost his job to this economy.  He's about 600th on the list at his local so he's driven to St. Louis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Indianapolis, etc.  (I could be wrong about some of the destinations, it was a long, depressing list.)  He's got 4 children getting near college age...

So, no, there weren't too many arguments about how great the Repugs are at our Thanksgiving.

We mostly counted our blessings on how close our family is, and how we could count on each other through thick and thin.

And then we ate until we passed out.  

by SpanishFly 2008-11-29 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Well

I don't mean to be disrespectful of your brother-in-law but did he vote for Bush in 2000 or 2004 or does he drive a foreign made car. Please don't take this personally but I know a bunch of union guys in my construction local who voted for Bush and who drive Jap cars. I sometimes go to the Union hall or meetings and I cannot help but put it on them about this--why are they bitching about being out of a job when they voted for Bush and his exporting of jobs? In a way I cannot be sorry for these guys.

by hddun2008 2008-11-30 07:01PM | 0 recs
a choice between a red and a blue Thanksgiving

I decided to go to my brother's Thanksgiving rather than go two hours further to see my mother
with her husband's family (very GOP).

Not only was the food better, the people were a lot more interesting.

And speaking of policy, a healthcare plan must be enacted in the next Congress.  Otherwise I'm afraid the GOP will make a comeback.

by esconded 2008-11-29 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics

When the American people so thoroughly reject one party as they have for two cycles in a row, that is a sign that Republicans should be marginalized, not coddled and they should certainly not be allowed to hold the American agenda hostage.


bipartisanship with today's anti-American, fringe whacked republican, is nuts, counter productive, and will only result in democrats not implementing the American people's agenda. Today's republican party has been completely taken over by its radical fringe elements. If a moderated republican party once served a useful purpose, that is no longer true because it no longer exists.

The republican party needs to die and be reborn without the radicals in control, with actual moderates at the helm. Obama and other Democrats pretending that the fabled "moderate republican" exists and can be reasoned with and worked with - that compromise in any arena is possible with today's republicans is pure fantasy. And it carries the deleterious effect of providing cover for the lunatic fringe that is in charge of the republican party and interferes with the natural demise of the republicans, which must come first before the republican party can rebuild under a saner model.

by gak 2008-11-30 03:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics


If Obama keeps up this Happy Days crap with the Repulsives he is going down the wrong road and will likely lose many seats in Congress in the midterm of 2010. That's because no one wants these guys around anymore but if Obama resurrects them he is walking on very thin ice. He should be in Georgia pushing for the election of Martin over Chambliss. Here in Texas we lost a Democrat House seat of a very good guy Nick Lampson. Obama should have realized that he would sweep McCain by mid-October and come into places like Lampson's district to help him. I think someone is giving him some flawed advice about being nice to Repulsives-they should be stomped out of business not included. Just like you said there are no nice Republicans anymore. Guys like Colin Powell should be put on the spot--either join up as a Democrat or sit down and shut up. We all know that the psychos who have run the Republicans since 1980 do not allow any debate--they demand that you be a right-wing, race baiting, openborder, union busting, immigrant importing, corrupt person or you don't get in their party. Obama should not do business with any Repub who has joined this culture of madness over the last 20 years.
I keep thinking that the next person Obama will nominate will be Tom Delay for Secretary of Defense-OMG!!!!! STOP NOW MR. OBAMA--these guys are POISON.

by hddun2008 2008-11-30 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics

We had friends (either from far away, or with wingnut parents) over for thanksgiving.

Largely, there was talk of how grateful we were that McCain got solidly trounced.

by lojasmo 2008-11-30 04:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics
I had a similar experience. My eldest son (CH) and his wife have T-Giving dinner every year at their house. My son is lefty-center but stays away from politics because his wife's family is very old-school Republican (i.e.--they are good people and don't think or say much about politics). But I am respectful of my son's in-laws so I don't ever talk about politics with them. It's bad form to get into politics as a guest anyway. But on T-Giving evening about 12 of us were eating at the main dining table. My youngest son (BH) and his girlfriend were being toasted since they just got engaged. All of sudden a new member of the group started up the Rush Limbaugh line of ultraconservative crap about Obama not being able to get a Secret clearance from the FBI--only a Rush Dittohead would believe that sh*t. BH's new fiance is from NYC and she isn't used to REDNECK logic. I knew I should put this guy on notice that he was out of line. I worked in Intel in the Army and I worked at NASA. Both jobs require an FBI check. I told the Redneck he was full of it--"Where did you come up with that one?" I asked him. He told me "I spoke with an FBI agent and he told me." said the Redneck. At that I blew a cork. "You are making this up. For one thing, Obama is fine as far as his clearances go--he had to FBI clearance when he entered Congress and the Senate",I told this guy. I told him that his guy lost and he should get over it. It's Obama for the next 4 years at least--but its Rush and Hannity that keeps these guys stirred up unfortunately with their lies and misinformation.
by hddun2008 2008-11-30 06:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Politics



by jadelung 2008-12-01 12:32AM | 0 recs


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