Matthews believes an Obama nomination would make Bloomberg less likely to jump in since he appeals to the same hunger for a new style of politics that Bloomberg would tap into; and Schrum says it's all about change:
Just how many levels of illusion can one sentence hold???
It's like Dashiell Hammett's story "The Golden Horseshoe," where the narrator, an operative for the Continental Detective Agency, is in a Tijuana bar, sipping a drink, and:
I was reading a sign high on the wall behind the bar:
ONLY GENUINE PRE-WAR AMERICAN AND BRITISH WHISKEYS SERVED HERE
I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more...
Without getting into essayland, here's a few points:
(1) Get us out of Iraq. Now.
(2) Forever destroy the myth that Republicans "support the troops" by actually (duh!) supporting the troops:
(a) Fix the military medical system. Now.
(b) End stop losses, arbitrary tour extensions and all similar gimmicks that break faith with the troops and their families. Now.
(c) End deceptive recruiting practices. Now.
(d) End punitive treatment of legitimate consciencious objectors--including those, like Ehren Watada, who make informed moral distinctions between just and unjust wars. Now.
(e) Forbid the use of National Guard troops overseas except in response to a war of aggression. Now.
(f) Establish a military reform commission to thoroughly examine and make recommendations for actions beyond those listed above. Now.
(3) Universal single-payer health care. Now.
(4) Establish a Department of Peace, as advocated by Dennis Kucinich. Now.
(5) Reverse GOP-driven process of reducing and/or eliminating taxes on capital, while maintaining taxes on labor. Reinstate estate tax. Raise capital gains tax levels back to Reagan-era levels, at least.
(6) Get serious about global warming. Al Gore, relying heavily on analysis and practical experience of Amory Lovins, sets a pretty good standard on this.
(7) Reverse Bush-era restrictions on access to government information.
(8) Reverse media consolidation of past 20 years, and reinstate the fairness doctrine.
As for Obama's progressive credentials--he's the one who chose Lieberman as his Senate mentor. Not me.
I don't really have a lot of Republican friends. The ones I do have, it's hard for me to understand why they still are Republicans. Most would probably support the vast majority of the above, without even any discussion, much less argument.
The thing that Barone is trying desperately to argue against is the continuing huge gap between Dem and Rep identification, which portends the possibility of another wave election in 2008, giving the Dems another 5-10 Senate seats and another 20-40 House seats. The last time we had two wave elections back-to-back was 1930/1932. And that spells r-e-a-l-i-g-n-m-e-n-t, "big time," as War Criminal #2 would say.
The main thing that Dems have standing in their way is media and the rest of the Beltway establishment (I call them "Versailles," for obvious reaons), which Barone represents. The question is, will the Dems listen to the American people or the Versailles courtiers.
And the really potent model that no one in Versailles wants to think about is FDR.
(1) I think its quite likely that they're working so hard right now to lower expectations for September precisely because folks are starting to take it quite seriously. And the main causal modality for that, IMHO, is the GOP senators and presidential candidates who are going to have to face the voters in November, 2008.
(2) What they're trying to pull, however, the instant switcheroo, has been so fundamental to their way of governing (even before governing, they used it in Florida 2000, and to a milder extent in campaign 2000) that it's worth a reminder of why and how it's supposed to work. I discussed the cognitive foundations in a post I wrote here over 2 years ago, "Terri Schiavo: We're Too Smart!" in which I discussed three types of reasoning, only one of which is relevant here: sequential thinking, explained thus:
Sequential thinkers reason "by tracking the world," recognize regularities in sequences of events, but have no abstract understanding of cause and effect. The world they perceive is a world of appearances that has very little organization to it beyond the recurrence of sequences.
And expanded up thus:
The notion of causality, e.g. that events are caused by necessary and sufficient preconditions, does not play a salient role in the sequential mind. Events transpire, without much interpretation of how they come about. The attention is occupied by one item at a time, and there is little spontaneous effort to relate them to other items or to a general context.
The sequential thinker is not really aware that the world may appear differently to other people, and he or she has therefore a limited ability to take the perspective of others.
Sequential thinking involves conceptual relations that "are synthetic without being analytic. They join events together but the union forged is not subject to any conceptual dissection." Because such relations are non-rational, there is nothing rational one can say or do to change them.
But they can change, based on changing appearances. These relationships "are mutable," they can either be extended, based on "share[d] recognized overlapping events" (connections provided by Limbaugh, O'Lielly, etc.) or changed, when the sequence does not play out as expected. Because it is a pre-logical mode of thought, "the relations of sequential thought engender expectations, but do not create subjective standards of normal or necessary relations between events." People who think this way can be quite unbothered by a lack of consistency.
This helps explain how dogmatic assertions change from one thing ("we will find WMDs") to its complete denial ("this war was never about WMDs"). And if it were not for the looming threat of November 2008, this is precisely how it would play out again.
Now, however, there are complicating factors. And things could get very interesting.
And they were sold on personality, which precisely illustrates the point that lexluthor was making.
The past 35 years or so shows a remarkably consistent pattern. Positions on most policy issues cycle through a fairly narrow range, while positions on a handful of social issues have liberalized--most notably, in the last few years, attitudes towards gays. (But also on issues like end-of-life decisions. Terri Schiavo was a huge loser for them, because they didn't realize that life experiences had caused people to shift dramatically to a more tolerant, compassionate position.) People have also grown more secular and more religious diverse over the past decade or so.
Forget those people. Chasing after them is a fool's errand.
OTOH, America has the only significantly class-skewed electorate in the world. When people with with less-than-average incomes think that the Dems are actually sticking up for them, they will come out and vote, and Dems will win. It's really just that simple.
Though, being firmly undecided, I guess I'll be in the peanut gallery, spraying soda fizz in the months to come.
It would be really great if this sort of back-and-forth actually drew the candidates out to take more progressive positions. I say that not just because I'm a progressive myself, but because I think--as the recent decline in Congressional support indicates--that the people now want a progressive alternative more than they want a mushy "can't we all get along" centrism.
Versailles high-rollers like David Broder and Joe Klein may still believe in the tooth fairy magical moderation of the middle, but out in America, folks are might bit more skeptical, it seems to me.
If Edwards were to become less equivocal, or if Obama were to reinvent himself again as the true progressive he was before joining the Senate, I could certainly be won over. Or if Gore were to jump in.
So, so, many. One of them I'd long forgotten was resurrected for me today. I was covering an activists teach-in against onw of the California Democrats latest treacheries--the Gropenator's super-prison-building excapade.
It was pointed out that when Reagan faced a similar crunch, he shrugged, and let the prisoners go, in order to keep the budget semi-under control.
"Tough on crime" was a stern stance and a wagging finger. Not actually locking folks up and throwing away the key.