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Sunday, January 23, 2011


Good lord. I have a tag on my blog of "everything you need to know," which refers to single comments, phrases, whatever, that sum up an attitude. I think Norman Solomon has just told us "everything you need to know in a single sentence" about the failure of faux "progressive" politics.

I learned via CounterPunch today about the Obama op-ed in Murdoch's Wall Street Journal.

Apparently all those years of Reagan and Bush and Clinton and Bush overregulation of business has caused our economic distress. So Obama is ordering pretty much the whole federal government to come up with new and better ways to ignore all of the remaining regulatory legislation that was carefully pieced together by liberals through the decades.

It's Ronnie Reagen's fondest wet dream.

And we need to keep the Republicans out of power, do we, Mr. Solomon, or something bad will happen..?

Here's the link to Obama's op-ed, for anyone who's interested.

Hey, Hey L-B-J
I'm going to vote for you

Has a nice ring to it at least.

I would like to point out that Solomon is likely well aware of the failings of the current regime in D.C. and has invested much effort in opposing the US wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan... indeed, opposing war in general.

JC, please suggest how not voting or voting for effectively-non-existent fringe parties advances the destruction of the duopoly. in 50 words or less...

I'm sure JC can provide his own answer, but very obviously a major problem we have is people voting for who they think will win and not for what they want. Any vote the duopoly doesn't get is a vote the duopoly doesn't get.

Never sure why people don't understand this when you're talking about 3 or more options but do seem to get it when you're talking about 2.

Example: Reagan crushed Mondale in '84. Mondale was not going to win in '84, not even close. Applying the liberals' defeatist logic from the past few elections with Nader and the Greens, apparently all of the Democrats in that year should have just voted for Reagan, since a vote for Mondale was a "wasted" vote.

Then, after the election, liberals could have "worked on" Reagan after he won 100% of the vote, and "pushed him" to do the right thing.

Right..? No..?

please suggest how not voting or voting for effectively-non-existent fringe parties advances the destruction of the duopoly

Not until you show how pledging unconditional support to the Democratic Party leverages any demand you might make upon it.

If the left committed itself uncompromisingly to spoilage, the party brass would at least stop calling us retards. They might even do more. And third parties might gain some traction. This, in turn, might cut away at the overpowering helplessness and disgust most lefts feel when contemplating the Democrats and their enablers like Solomon and his millionaire cohorts at the Nation. Who know?

One thing is certain, 'tactical' voting for Democrats by lefts has obviously not contained the extremist trends in the Republican Party -- its ostensible purpose -- though it has certainly aided and abetted war-mongering, rights-shredding and corporate whoring in the Democratic Party. In other words, it is so obviously a lose-lose strategy that only a truly insane, truly stupid or truly corrupt person would continue to embrace or defend it.

Solomon and co, should fuck off and die. No one would notice, cept we'd all be better off.

Chris Floyd's condensation of those Obamanibly "goonstruck" as "progressive-compulsive disorder(ed)": Great REFRAMES!

In response to disgusted former democrat:

The key condition of political success is almost always a genuine willingness to lose well. - Josh Marshall

As long as they know you will keep voting for them no matter what, they do not have to listen to you. Believe me. I know. I was there. - (attributed to) Lawrence O'Donnell

Conservatives were prepared to run and lose, over and over again, slowly building support bit by bit, until they pretty much ran the board. - me around 1981, discussing my notion of "successful losses"

Insanity is continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result. - a cliche but still true

I admit that's more than 50 words, actually around 100 words, but should be close enough. If you want to absolutely insist on 50 words, just take the first two.

I'll do it in two, DFD: Tea Party.

(See also this. And I'd second everything people have said here as well.)

Beyond that, though I'm sure it might seem otherwise, neither this posting nor the many others I've written on this subject are attempts to get people to vote one way or another. I spend time writing about the Democrats because they're collectively the Judas goat for the US left--and as long as the left here continues following them, no matter how much bleating it may do on the way to the blades, the result will be the same.

Likely I am not well informed about Tea P. matters. I thought, based on unreliable media sources, perhaps, that the Tea P. consisted of people of above median income and that it represented a 'traditionalist' branch of the Republican coalition. And that it was funded by super-rich and somewhat concealed individuals. In public assembly it looks like a bunch of unreconstructed Confederates. When has it ever been a challenge to arouse these folks to surge rightward and whiteward since the Goldwater era? And how does this example challenge the duopoly?

Someone please try to explain WHY voters continue to vote for Ds in gerrymandered R districts but don't think of it as wasting their votes. Sure it might be more useful to vote Green or Libertarian or Raving Looney but they.. we .. DON'T do it. Why?

I appreciate the responses above. Thanks.

Sure it might be more useful to vote Green or Libertarian or Raving Looney but they.. we .. DON'T do it. Why?


If 'moo' is the answer, then all this is a waste of time, including exposure of Solomon's blind spot.

nonny (aka DFD, disgusted former democrat, and the other sock puppets you've used here in the past): I decided to respond to your initial question even though I expected you'd basically ignore everyone's responses and repeat the initial question. I expected that in part because you responded to a similar posting in the past by implying that anyone criticizing the Democrats is really just trying to get people to vote for Republicans--a line I'm sure people here have heard more times than they can count.

In other words, on this topic you act like a concern troll. And while it's great that you say you appreciate our responses, until you show it by giving some indication that you've put any real thought into them, I'm not going to spend more time responding to you.

Someone please try to explain WHY voters continue to vote for Ds in gerrymandered R districts but don't think of it as wasting their votes. Sure it might be more useful to vote Green or Libertarian or Raving Looney but they.. we .. DON'T do it. Why?

Well, DFD, it's because here in America we have freedom to vote for anyone we want, and it's downright communistic for anyone to say that a vote cast is a vote wasted... as long as it's ONLY for a candidate from one of the two canonical parties. If one strays from the fold, one will be chastised severely for giving aid and comfort to the Republicans. Democrats, in my experience, tend to wield the rod of chastisement more enthusiastically. It appears that Democrats are even more irrational, and possibly more authoritarian, than Republicans, which takes some doing. Certainly the fury with which Democrats criticized me in 1996 and 2000 for voting for Nader was neither rational nor particularly democratic. For what it's worth, I consider most of the Democratic votes I've cast at the national level to have been wasted, even when (as in 2008) the Democrats won.

Usually they were thinking in terms of Partei -- oops, sorry, Party discipline, and couldn't understand that since I am not a Democrat I wasn't concerned about party unity or discipline. So all they could do was lie, smear, and sputter. I think that if they'd had more stringent, material means of imposing unity and discipline, they'd have used them. Recall that it was Democrats who illegally and antidemocratically worked to keep Nader out of the Presidential debates, and off of various ballots. If they could have beaten me up and gotten away with it, I believe they would have. And I'm not the first person to wonder: Is this the best way to persuade me to vote for them?

I haven't expressed myself clearly and probably can't make things better by trying again... nevertheless... if someone besides JC wants to explain how the Tea Party is a challenge to the duopoly, I'd be grateful for their effort.

I take "moo" to mean that the voters are cattle/herd animals. But if that is the case it seems to me that voters could be as easily herded into one as into two or three or any number of parties. Still only two herds exist in electorally meaningful terms. There is something other than herding going on. The notion that voting for the Democrat when the district is designed to go Republican suggests that those who do vote Democrat are deriving a benefit from their seemingly pointless gesture. When someone recommends that in such a situation the voter could as well vote Green (say), the recommendation is rejected because... why? Because the Democrats are a national party whose national vote total represents a sentiment that the voter wants to participate in? The voter perceives the wasted D vote as meaningful in a way that a vote for a never-successful progressive party can never be? (the south shall rise again, so to speak)

To JC: I may have used any number of handles in the past. I change them as often as I change my mind. But to post a comment as "nonny" after having used "DFD" in the same thread is sin for which I apologize and ask forgiveness.


I think you might be putting too much faith into the thought process behind voting for Democrats. Most congressional races are happening concurrently with a presidential and/or Senate race and a lot of representative and lower candidates simply ride the coattails of whoever is upticket. A lot of people don't even read the names of who they vote for.

In a city/county like mine the voting machines even have a button that allows the voter to vote for every member of the same party at once without bothering to read anyone's name.

Many people are simply INSTRUCTED to vote straight Democratic ticket by their (typically) union [despite the general Dem attacks on labor]. There's no thought to the process at all.

In my congressional district we have a Democrat who essentially named himself to the position as the head of the city party, and rarely runs against anyone in either the primary nor the general election. He won over 99% of the 2010 vote (my wife and I wrote me in) and never campaigns per se, never deabtes, never gives speeches on the floor of Congress, never writes meaningful legislation. He's just a party functionary. It's all very Soviet, minus the few advantages Soviet citizens did have over Americans.

Some of the blame resides with the shittiness of third-party organizing, which is no doubt related to the difficulty of staying energized when the best you can hope for is to lose an election in something other than complete obscurity.

Case in point -- all fired up to join a third party based on this thread and others on this here blog, I Googled up my local Green Party, the Brooklyn Greens and went to their web site. I was disappointed to find that their sign-up form didn't work. Undaunted, I wrote an email to them directly, stating my interest and providing all the information that the form would capture. That was a week ago. No one has contacted me. Oh and, way back when I was on their web site lamenting the broken form, I happily noted a hyperlink to a a page for a Green 'local' in my neighborhood. But alas, the hyperlink elicited an out-of-memory error. It's a shame no one has contacted me yet, not least because I am a web developer and could probably fix their problems within an hour of getting log-in credentials.

This experience is not at all unusual for me, so any theory of third-party failure that does not address the seeming correspondence between lefty political views and total organizing incompetence is incomplete in my view.

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