Dems Duped by the Caucus Room Conspiracy

Dear Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Schultz,

You've been played for a sucker by the Republicans, and it worked. Tuesday night’s blow to Democrats could have been prevented; in fact, you could have won big, nationally. But you lost, and here's why.

Back on the night of January 20th, 2009, when most Americans were out celebrating the end of the Bush years and Barack and Michelle were dancing at the inaugural balls, a group of powerful Republicans was planting the seeds of your loss this week.

At the Caucus Room restaurant here in Washington,DC, Republican leaders drew up a plan to sabotage President Obama at every point possible and deny him any sort of legacy.

Over juicy steaks and fancy cocktails in a private room in the back of the restaurant, the Republican bigwigs promised each other that they would filibuster and obstruct any and all legislation supported by President Obama.

Congressman Pete Sessions, who was at the 4-hour long dinner, even promised to use “Taliban-like” tactics to achieve those goals.

Kevin McCarthy, now the Majority Whip, said that they'd obstruct every single piece of legislation. That includes things the Republicans used to support.

The Caucus Room Conspiracy had three major objectives.

The first was to use obstruction - knowing the corporate media would call it "gridlock" as if the Democrats were responsible, too - to prevent President Obama from having any legislative success.

The second was to sabotage any legislative victories that the president did manage to win - like Obamacare - and convince the American people that they were actually failures.

And the third was to blame all the economic damage caused by Republicans on BOTH parties and then come out in a critical election like 2014 and say that Republicans are the party that will make things right in Washington as if the state of the economy was the Democrats' fault.

Based on Tuesday night’s shellacking, it looks like the Caucus Room Conspiracy was a success. But here’s the thing. Democrats could have pointed out the relentless obstruction by Republicans.

They could have highlighted the constant filibusters by Republicans in Congress with regular political theater by doing stunts in front of the Capitol building every time the Republicans filibustered or refused to consider a bill.

Democrats could have called out what was going on for what it was, sabotage, and they could have made the Caucus Room Conspiracy a household phrase.

Instead, Democrats played right into Republicans’ hands, so the Caucus Room Conspiracy was wildly successful.

Democrats didn’t point out the Republican obstruction. Democrats didn’t point out the real cause of all the so-called "gridlock." And Democrats didn’t point out what Republican voter suppression and obstruction efforts were really all about.

And, to make matters even worse, as the New York Times points out, Americans had absolutely no idea what either party stood for in this election.

Neither party really ran on the issues affecting Americans.

As the New York Times Editorial Board writes, “Even the voters who supported Republican candidates would have a hard time explaining what their choices are going to do.”

Instead, Republicans near universally ran on the President Obama's inability to overcome the Caucus Room Conspiracy, and it worked like a charm.

Meanwhile, Democrats failed to show Americans how they were different from Republicans. Democrats failed to run on their platform, and to publicize the issues that Americans really care about.

In 2012, the Democratic Party published their platform. Among other things, it outlined the party’s plans to put Americans back to work, grow the middle-class, reform Wall Street, reel in campaign spending, and enact sensible tax reform.

Where was all the talk about these issues in this last election? Why wasn’t this platform out there for the American people to see? Why weren’t candidates across the country highlighting these issues, and their plans to tackle them?

If Democrats had clearly shown the American people what they stood for, and called out the Republicans every time they tried to obstruct legislation that Americans want, then the Caucus Room Conspiracy would have backfired on the Republicans.

But while that's now all in the past, there’s still time for Democrats to turn things around for 2016.

That turn-around starts with Democrats clearly showing the American people what the party stands for. Democrats need to take a page out of the Truman playbook, and make the differences between Democrats and Republicans as clear as night and day.

If Democrats can get that right, it’ll put the terms of the 2016 election in the landscape of traditional Democratic positions and values, which Americans - even in the deep south - overwhelmingly support. Just look at the ballot measures - raising the minimum wage won hugely in Arkansas, for G-d's sake.

Meanwhile, Democrats also need to step up and embrace their progressive base, instead of marginalizing them.

Republicans are great at embracing their base, and Democrats need to start doing the same thing with the progressive movement.

For proof of the potential success of such a strategy, look at Al Franken and Jeff Merkley - it was progressives who came away with the biggest wins for Democrats on Tuesday.

So, Chairwoman Schultz, yes Tuesday was rough, and yes, Democrats took quite the beating. But there’s still time for the party to turn things around, and to learn some valuable lessons from 2014.

The Caucus Room Conspiracy may have worked this time, but let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Yours truly,
Thom Hartmann

Comments

No Blinders's picture
No Blinders 1 year 37 weeks ago
#1

Obama is a republican in disguise; a Trojan horse placed by Wall St. bankers and the Intelligence agencies. He has stated his favorite U.S. President is Ronald Reagan and he has governed much farther to the right than Reagan and even further to the right than G.W. Bush.

He has one group of supporters: the pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and those whom naively believe they are fighting against racism. However, these supporters have closed their eyes to Obama and the Democratic Party support of corrupt Wall St. bankers, Obama’s war crimes, Obama’s drill-baby-drill environmental destruction and his lack of genuine effort to reduce economic inequality.

Change will not come from Democratic Party elitists concerned only with “identity” issues. Not addressing the major issues allows the Democratic Party to stay in favor with their millionaire and billionaire campaign funders. Placing primary emphasis on women’s issues or gun rights is analogous to worrying about a leaky faucet when the house is burning down. The Democratic Party will not be brought to the left; Hillary is pro-choice – but she is also pro war, pro Wall St., pro-plutocracy, pro Zionist.

We need a genuine third party that accepts no big money, rejects the Neo Con and Neo Liberal war agendas and who will break-up the monopolies and protect our environment.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 1 year 37 weeks ago
#2

What happened to the post about superPACs and dark money? It's not even in the archives after 34 comments. It just disappeared like it never existed, like some Stalinist purge.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 1 year 37 weeks ago
#3

I hardly think the Dems were duped. Those that aren't corrupt are being forced to choose between being ruined by mega corps. w/ huge bottom lines who will stop at nothing, even use the NSA to delete candidates' accomplishments, create dirt and ruin reputations and lives if need be to force their silence on issues that matter to the People. Here is an excellent analysis. An excerpt; "Obama has repeated the same pattern. He is more aggressive on foreign policy than Bush. In 2011, before the explosive revelations about NSA spying and Obama’s newest wars in Syria and Iraq, Glenn Greenwald noted, “Obama has continued Bush/Cheney terrorism policies—once viciously denounced by Democrats—of indefinite detention, renditions, secret prisons by proxy, and sweeping secrecy doctrines. He has gone further than his predecessor by waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers, seizing the power to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process far from any battlefield, massively escalating drone attacks in multiple nations, and asserting the authority to unilaterally prosecute a war (in Libya) even in defiance of a Congressional vote against authorizing the war.”

In this interview, Bill Binney, formerly w/ the NSA, lays it out. If engaging in economic espionage elsewhere, why not here?

SueN's picture
SueN 1 year 37 weeks ago
#4

Mark, I've noticed recently that yesterday's blog seems to disappear from the list for a few hours, only to reappear later. I'll escalate the problem.

The blog still exists at http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2014/11/fatal-flaw-democracy

SueN's picture
SueN 1 year 37 weeks ago
#5

It's been fixed now. :)

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 1 year 37 weeks ago
#6

Thom you are correct in your analysis. The Republicans understood that if they told the public lies and the Democrats told the pubic the truth it would seem as though both parties were at fault. However, what is a Democrat to do if Republicans run away from the truth? The Democrats made their case but from the outside it just appeared to be two bickering parties fighting for power. The next two years will be different. The Republicans worst enemy are members of their own Party. They will use so much time fighting with each other that president Obama will have nothing to veto because no bills will be passed. Democrats will not have to filibuster in the Senate because Repubicans do not know what they want. They have proved the last six years they do not know what they want. Nothing changed on Tuesday night.

dianhow's picture
dianhow 1 year 37 weeks ago
#7

Third party is NOT the cure Revamping US anti middle class pro wealth laws & policies must be overturned if anything positive is to occur. Billionaires- Powerful Corps --Lobbyists own USA That must change. Lack of regulation to reign in GREED is a must . Alan Greenspan's push for passage Free trade policies hurt US economy We must place tariffs on all goods from overseas. Repeal NAFTA - CAFTA - SHAFTA - WTO GATT CITIZENS UNITED BRING BACK GLASS STEAGAL & FAIR PRACTICES - Then watch US economy - middle class grow

Suze O's picture
Suze O 1 year 37 weeks ago
#8

Third parties have been blocked by both Republican and Democratic interests. They make sure the American people have no other choice. The illusion of two separate parties is just that, an illusion. They are used to keep Americans divided rather than united; to give us the idea that we have some control over our government. No, there are powerful interests in the background that remain there from one administration to the next. They want things their way and they manipulate from behind the scenes. Why did Obama sound like a populist and a change of direction, and wound up being GW. Bush redux? Because he is not his own man! Both Bush and Obama march to the same background music.

What this leaves us is the imperitive to become agitators and "give 'em hell" from the streets. Seriously. The amount of pressure FDR got from the American people has been given short shrift by history books (possibly intentionally). People then thought that perhaps capitalism DOESN'T work. They experimented with other ideas. Communist, Socialist, Marxist, even Fascist groups began to agitate. Farmers dumped their crops in spite of the fact that thousands needed food. The powers-that-be were frightened into giving us the New Deal. Forget the political parties; it's up to us. The voting booth is important, but it's time for a hands-on solution.

Spartan300's picture
Spartan300 1 year 37 weeks ago
#9

If we believe, and I believe we do, that Koch money, dark money, probably foreign money was the enabler of the success of the Republican's Caucus Room plot, why would it be inconceivable that the same money was used to influence Democratic PARTY not to give this election it's best shot? From simple pay-offs to a conspiracy to send the Democratic Party off selling the wrong message to even darker schemes of intimidation. All these tactics are used in sports, spy craft, diplomacy. Why not in US elections? The simplest way to cheat at sports is point shaving. You can't really pay a team to win but you can pay or intimidate them to lose.

David in Vegas's picture
David in Vegas 1 year 37 weeks ago
#10

Or, more likely, the people delivered a crushing rebuke to the Neo-Democrats because they were treated to the true face of what the Democrat party has become, and they just don't want any part of your socialist platform.

You can 'spin' it any way you want, but the people have spoken. They'd rather have Republicans say, 'Hell No!' to Obama's radical change America agenda.

David in Vegas's picture
David in Vegas 1 year 37 weeks ago
#11

Before you go down that road, perhaps you will check to see just how much money Styer and Soros put in. They flooded these campaigns with far more than the Kochs could/would and you STILL got crushed. Crushed. Heck, the Republicans party did nothing in Virginia and you almost lost that seat too!

So much for your 'Koch/Citizens United' narrative.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 1 year 37 weeks ago
#12

I took the time to review The Green Party voting recommendations before voting--along with other perspectives--and was shocked to find out that they recommended--all throughout the ballot--to abstain in protest because their candidates were not placed on the ballot. Evidently, there wasn't even a choice to write in any other candidate for the positions offered. Some Democracy, if you ask me. Without any viable third party candidates being offered we are trapped with the option of voting for the lesser of two evils. Abstaining from voting is a vote for the worse of two evils. Unless we fight to get and keep viable third party choices on our ballots, the only thing we have to look forward to is evil.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 1 year 37 weeks ago
#13

David in Vegas ~ I think what is more likely at work here is apathy and election fraud. Sure an uneducated and uninformed electorate has a huge role to play too; however, the simple lack of choice that is being presented to the hard working masses is very discouraging to the average working voter. Together with the fact that the election was on a working day made it tough for people who actually work to turn out. I, for instance, had ordered an absentee ballot. I've always received it in plenty of time to vote well in advance; however, this year it never came. I tried to reorder it; and, still it never came. I'm still waiting for the thing to show up. I call that election fraud. Fortunately, keeping these right wing nit wits out of power was enough motivation for me to take the time off of work and vote. I can just imagine how many others just let it go.

I find it strange that you equate the Democratic Party with Socialists. Are you serious; or, do you simply have no idea what you are talking about? You know, there is such a thing as The Democratic Socialist Party of America. http://www.dsausa.org/ It has nothing to do with the Democratic party and the Democratic party want's nothing to do with it. I wish they did though. I'd be much more involved with the Democratic party if they had anything like a socialist platform. Unfortunately, there platform is hardcore Capitalism. Perhaps you should study up on what Socialism is, where it is, and what it stands for.

Studying up on something is also what I think the problem is. Too many thinking people were too damn discouraged and busy to vote in this election. Deep down they know better. Also, they have their own problems to worry about--like taking time off of work. No one was offered that was worth wasting the work time of a thinking voter. That left unemployed, unemployable, and largely, uneducated, uninformed people to fill the electorate. What we have here is a perfect example of what you get in that situation--garbage in, garbage out. It is truly sad that any precentage of our American society can be that stupid in the voting box. However, it is certain that this is exactly the way the powers that be want the election to run.

In hindsight, I don't really feel like anything was won or lost by anyone. The entire government process is wholly owned by corporate interests and there is little any of us can do to change that. I too am becoming wholly discouraged by our entire election process. It seems like a big show to make us feel like we run the country. We don't run anything. We only pretend to. I really don't see a lot changing in the months to come. It will continue to be a stalemate with a few new faces is all. Corporate interests will still continue to have their way with the working people. What needs to be done is overhauling the entire election process from who is eligible to run to how the entire thing is financed. Election day needs to be a national paid holiday where a voting stub is required to receive your pay. Until that is done, all this fuss is much ado about nothing. Nothing will change no matter who we elect.

JohnLemessurier's picture
JohnLemessurier 1 year 37 weeks ago
#14

You are right THom when you say that Democrats could have pointed out the relentless obstruction by Republicans, but they didn't!!!

WHY??? BECAUSE THEY ARE PART OF IT!!! And so are YOU THom so long as you keep supporting the myth that Democrats offer an alternative. They don't! They are there only to keep up the appearance of a two-party system. to keep up the appearance that we have a choice! We DON'T!!!

FESS UP THom!

stenmawson's picture
stenmawson 1 year 37 weeks ago
#15

I didn't read many of the comments, but I didn't see what I think is one of the critical root problems. In California, voter turnout ranged from 47% (that was the HIGH!) down to 27%. That makes me embarrassed and sick to my stomach. I have worked in other countries where oppressed people would LOVE a government that they could decide on, not one that was forced on them. And here we just throw that privilege/responsibility away, probably in some places more that 3 out of every 4 eligible voters doesn't bother to vote. Granted, in areas where racism and greed still run wild there have been efforts to refuse people their opportunity/right to vote, but in many of other areas people just didn't care. And, ... wait for it... This starts in our schools. From first grade until high school graduation, we need interesting classes that make every person want to vote, in every election. My generation has failed badly at this, but we must tweak our education system so that people who come here from other countries and want to be citizens of the USA know more about this country than just about any 12th grade graduate! ... So how to do this? Next local school board election, get involved, make the candidates promise that they will change the system just this little bit, and keep doing this at every school board election for the next 50 years, and along the way throw out the ones that don't want an informed electorate, and wal-la, voter turnout will range between 95 and 99%. And lying candidates won't be a problem any longer.

stenmawson's picture
stenmawson 1 year 37 weeks ago
#16

I don't know where you live, but where I live we do have a choice, and there is a significant difference between good Democrats and terrible Republicans.

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 1 year 37 weeks ago
#17

Great comment, I totally agree that it all starts with education. We are cranking out functional idiots like a water spout! Look at J-walking and the late night tv shows! You can't fix stupid! And we have a huge number of STUPID citizens. My parents generation fought and died to keep America exceptional. Where are the "Civics Classes" I had in school? We live with the legacy of "The Reality TV" citizen population! Our boarders are open to anyone who can hike or swim. We have a two party "OPPO-SAME" government that is BLOATED with Greedy Unions and Oligarcs. Take the money out of politics and we have a functional democracy. BUT if we don't repair American Values, (Not the social agenda we see today), but a HISTORICAL sense of We Are America and the is the most FREE society to ever exist, we are doomed like the Romans and alike.

Put Education back in the hands of loving caring two parent house holds - gay or straight- that have solid Judeo Christian Values - Not Religion - just values of intelligence, hard work and taking care of those who REALLY need a helping hand, and we have the Good Ole USA back. I agree with those who demand less Free Market Un-regulated capatilism however, the Government cannot and should not be the funding arm. It needs to be wholesale social and intelligent change, peace based and traditional values based. Lock down our boarders, massively reduce our foreign aid and make "Service to your Country" mandatory for every high school graduate. 12 months of "Service" choice based should straighten out the ignorant kids we are pumping out in droves. Get the government out of our lives with their Nanny State mentality. I voted for and will continue to vote with a great feeling of pride in having that ability and honoring those who have come before me and given their lives and efforts to protect that right.

And geez....the media is perhaps the worse. Left and Right. OMG what has happend to our wonderful country.....Idiots, Idealogues, greedy corrupt politicians. We do have the best Dem and Gop that money can buy. Education, family values, family focus, not religion, just good ole American Pride and Excellence.

ChicagoMatt 1 year 37 weeks ago
#18

Is it that hard to believe that the majority of people - the silent majority, if you want to call it that - are actually happy/content with their lives, so they don't want any change or "progress" as defined by the left? They know that things could be better, yes, but they aren't willing to risk what they do have for the chance of something better. Or, they choose non-governmental channels to help their fellow citizens.

For many people who feel like the Federal government overstepped its bounds a long time ago, "gridlock" is a good thing.

Progressive ideas are good, I admit. But you should admit that if it's this much of an uphill battle to get people to agree with you, and you need a majority of people to be willing participants for Progressivism to work, that maybe it's never going to happen.

And, as much as some of you like to put down Conservatives as ignorant and brainwashed, do you ever stop to think that maybe you don't want closer ties with them? The kind of ties that would come through single-payer healthcare, for instance. Do you really want to be in the same "pool" with these people you hate so much?

stopgap's picture
stopgap 1 year 37 weeks ago
#19

David in Vegas: What are the numbers and what are your sources. Soros has a fraction of the wealth of the Koch Brothers. Give us the specifics!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 1 year 37 weeks ago
#20
Quote ChicagoMatt:Is it that hard to believe that the majority of people - the silent majority, if you want to call it that - are actually happy/content with their lives, so they don't want any change or "progress" as defined by the left?

Yes.

Quote ChicagoMatt:And, as much as some of you like to put down Conservatives as ignorant and brainwashed, do you ever stop to think that maybe you don't want closer ties with them? The kind of ties that would come through single-payer healthcare, for instance.

No.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 1 year 37 weeks ago
#21

Old men like the Kochs have strong pimp hands and demand a high return from their so called, "powerful," LOL ... Republican man servants. Destructive souls like the Kochs have existed all through history, only the names change. The concept of good government was established to put an end to this evil. The enlightenment thinkers are rolling over in their graves. Any government that allows extreme concentration of wealth is bad government and needs to be terminated one way or another.

Money is and always has been the real power, arbitrary power often held by heinous and sick little old men whether it be in Ancient Rome or on modern day Wall Street. Much of the rest of the civilized world has learned this lesson and the citizens are happy and healthy living under Democratic Socialism, the purest form of representative government.

A few crazed billionaires have made a mockery out of our democracy. We need to overthrow them now.....and I don't give a damn how anymore. Let them seek asylum in Somalia with other free market capitalists...enjoy their post modern dark ages and leave the rest of us the ffkk alone.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 37 weeks ago
#22

Reply to Posts #10 & 11: David in Vegas, reading these posts, I have to wonder if we occupy the same planet. What is so “radical” about Obama’s agenda?! I think most of us here would agree that by a long shot, Obama’s agenda hasn’t been radical enough. And please explain to us how “socialism” fits the equasion. I’ve not seen any evidence of that. Perhaps you are one of those people who doesn’t even know what socialism is, yet the word “socialism” is enough to trigger a panic attack. Get a grip.

Yeah the American majority have “spoken” all right: with lassitude, apathy and ignorance. Most voters didn’t do their homework, unlike Thom and the majority on this forum. They get the government they deserve. Unfortunately it’s not the government we deserve. And I’d bet my house and piano that for the next two years, we’ll have nothing to show for it but endless war, “Drill baby drill” and the TPP.

Obama a “socialist”?! Hello… anybody home? - AIW

ChicagoMatt 1 year 37 weeks ago
#23

I hope all politicians take away at least this one thing from the election: delaying hard decisions until after the election isn't fooling anyone, and doesn't work. Besides Obama's delay on immigration, here in Illinois the governor decided to wait until after the election to decide on raising property taxes and pension reform. And he lost.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2 1 year 37 weeks ago
#24

Sorry the Democrats are just as dishonest as the Republicans.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2 1 year 37 weeks ago
#25

And sorry, it is a VERY good thing that Pat Quinn lost in Illinois. Now there is at least some hope that the state can pull itself out of the downward spiral it was on. With four more years of Quinn, there would be no hope. The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different outcome. By that definition, re electing Pat Quinn would have been insanity. And yes I do realize that Mike Madigan is the real problem in Illinois, but he is not going anywhere until the grim reaper calls him home.

ChicagoMatt 1 year 37 weeks ago
#26
And sorry, it is a VERY good thing that Pat Quinn lost in Illinois. Now there is at least some hope that the state can pull itself out of the downward spiral it was on.

I concur. I met Pat Quinn. He was a nice man, very sincere from what I could tell. But also blind to the truth. Illinois is no longer a destination state for young people trying to get their lives together. Without those young people paying into the pension system, it will all collapse. Why would anyone move to Illinois to start a business or a family? I'd move out if I could.

I was pleased to see that some of the blacks on the South side of Chicago actually supported Rauner, including that one high-profile preacher. You know, if I were Rauner, I'd open a factory on the South side. It doesn't matter what the factory makes. They don't even have to make a profit. Just employ a few hundred people from the neighborhood at a living wage, to show what can happen when you quit demonizing the people with the means to create jobs.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#27

Dave inV RE#10 -- The people have not spoken. The people stayed home or were prevented from voting.

It is interesting that you call the Dem party socialist and almost every comment on this blog is they are not socialist enough.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#28

Dave in V RE#11 -- I can understand why you make stuff up because you have nothing else. Soros has not contributed to any candidate for several years.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#29

DAM RE#12 -- In CA where we are from, the green party was given a fairer chance then they have ever been given before. Of course, that fairer chance was still horrible. I am speaking of the primaries where the voters decided the top two choices for the Nov election. We need ranked voting and proportional representation.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#30

reply to JohnLe RE#14 -- With 390 filibusters by the repugs, what are you talking about?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#31

reply to stenmawson RE#1 -- There is even a significant difference between bad dems and good repugs. For example, every dem voted for card check not one repug; every dem voted for ACA, not one repug; every dem voted for penalties on China for currency manipulations, not one repug. I have about 20 more if you want to hear them.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#32

That reply was to #16 not #1.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 37 weeks ago
#33

Reply to flyguy8650 -- I do not think I want to ever get rid of one of favorite Nannies, the FDA. I want that government in my life.

We do not need to close down our borders. We need to require E-verify, and put employers who violate it in jail. You should read the article in the LA Times of May 1, 2013.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 1 year 37 weeks ago
#34

The Dems that lost this election behaved so politically suicidal during the campaign one must suspect that some may have thrown the election intentionally. Keep in mind what these public servants earn in a year and how much dark money was floating around just for ads alone. I wouldn't be at all surprised if many of these races had candidates that were 'paid to take a fall' by acting a fool during the process. Election officials simply know better than to distance themselves from their own party's President and their own voting history right before an election. That's politics 101. Too many incumbents caved in too easily for me to buy the story that it was simply a case of mass party incompetence. Follow the money.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 1 year 36 weeks ago
#35

The problem, in addition to everything else, is the two party duopoly. Even I was tempted to vote against Democrats and I would never vote for a Republican.

We have one rep, for example, John Quigley, who's a sponsor of the TPP fast track legislation. I sure didn't want to vote for him.

Fortunately there was a Green Party candidate on the ballot - whom I know personally and don't like much either - so I could vote against Quigley without "going from the frying pan to the fire" but many others might not have had that choice and even my vote ultimately helped the Republican..

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 1 year 36 weeks ago
#36

ChicagoMatt, Pat Quinn is a rare commodity in politics, an honest, devoted public servant and not lacking in capability. He was simply in a spot and had to juggle priorities. All the states are victims of Grover Norquist's plan to "bankrupt the states" as he explicitly expressed a wish to do.

The question in Illinois is who is going to pay for the fiscal crisis, the people or the billionaires. Cuts to social programs and public services are a tremendous undue tax upon the working people. They then pay for it with lower quality water, education, healthcare, etc..

It is not enough to bring "jobs" to a region. It matters what kind of jobs those are and we must insist they be decent jobs. Poverty wage jobs will not bring prosperity but will cause us to work our asses off for the privilege of living in poverty.

Laying off government employees is the perverse opposite of a jobs program. Government should not be contributing to and spiraling an unemployment crisis.

Bruce Rauner, we must all know by now, is not a "job creator" by any stretch but quite the opposite. Like Mitt Rommney and other Wall Street type investment bankers, he has made a life for himself of eliminating jobs, degrading jobs and exporting jobs. I wouldn't expect him to suddenly change his concerns and forsake his vested interests. Rather, I think he entered politics to further those interests for himself and his cronies.

People's lost dog loyalty to the Republicans, in the misguided belief that they represent job creators, is, therefore, ultimatly only a suck ass loyalty to their boss. It reminds me of Britain's Conservative Party's 1987 election campaign slogan, "Do as you are told, vote conservative".

Also, don't fall for all the big business media hype. A lot of Illinoisians want to leave Illinois after last winter because of the weather.

ChicagoMatt 1 year 36 weeks ago
#37
The question in Illinois is who is going to pay for the fiscal crisis, the people or the billionaires

The billionaires can leave. Then you'll have to stick it to the millionaires. Then they leave. Then you come for just the upper-middle class types. And so on until you're stuck with just the people who couldn't afford to get the hell out. Like Detroit, but on a state-wide scale.

Poverty wage jobs will not bring prosperity but will cause us to work our asses off for the privilege of living in poverty.

One of my biggest critques of Progressives is their insistance that: 1. Most people are miserable, and 2. It's their job to help people, even if those people don't want it. I'll admit, I have a very good job now (private school teacher). I have a comfortable life. But it wasn't always this way. I used to have a low-wage job. I was never miserable though. My coworkers who were in the same boat, they we always happy. Not just when they had to be, with the customers, but all the time. My high school friends who are still living paycheck-to-paycheck, even in their mid 30s - they are happy. They have their family, friends, and for most of them, their religion. That's all the need to be happy.

Yes I know. Religion is the opiate of the masses. That doesn't have a negative connotation to me.

In order for a Progressive message to resonate with people, those people have to:

1. be unhappy,

2. blame "the system", not themselves,

3. not resort to escapism (TV, booze, etc...)

4. Care enough to vote.

That's a rare combination.

People's lost dog loyalty to the Republicans, in the misguided belief that they represent job creators, is, therefore, ultimatly only a suck ass loyalty to their boss

Again, only someone who was really miserable with their job would see their boss as their adversary. Have you ever had a boss you liked? Or did you always begin the job with a chip on your shoulder?

cjbak's picture
cjbak 1 year 36 weeks ago
#38

This is fantasy. How may I ask can a third party be successful in the face of big money challenges? Some dramatic changes in election law will have to happen first. I don't see it happening ESPECIALLY after seeing the results of this last election. Democrats don't like the current crop of Democrats running for office. They are spineless! Don't tout their accomplishments nor stand behind their President.

Granted President Obama is not operating the way most of us would like BUT, those are minor points when considering what we are dealing with as the whole of american politics is viewed. We have a rigged system that enables the wealthy and disregards the majority of the population. Current media is out of control (Ebola has vanished from the front page since the election as one example). We are inundated with irrelivant opinion based news with facts taking the sideline or ignored completely. There are no rules governing free speech over the air waves. The list goes on.

May I suggest this. The success of a third party in this country is wishfull thinking. What should be happening in the face of this disappointing election is to fix the Democratic party. The public will not vote, let alone vote FOR weak leadership. When 1/3 of eligible voters show up to vote something is very wrong.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 1 year 36 weeks ago
#39

ChicagoMatt, you're not making any sense, maybe you can be happy not being able to make ends meet with a 7.25 or 8.25 wage but I can assure you, the very vast majority of others in that predicament could not and are not. You can trust us on that.
These problems, Matt, are in fact systemic and your denial of that is a major fallacy in your logic. Have you gone into a big box store lately, for example? In addition to customer service, you can have your questions about science, history and philosophy answered as the floor staff is so educated and mature. Don't know how they're going to pay their student debt working there.
There's a good book I saw reviewed in In These Times yesterday. It's called Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America (the Brittish title is Hand to Mouth: The Truth About Being Poor in a Wealthy World.) It's by an educated woman who, as is increasingly common, had to live in poverty for an extended period and dispels the myths that better off people like to keep to help them dismiss concern for the poor. It's a little like the sociological "participant observation" Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Having lived in poverty for an extended period myself as a poor laborer, I can tell you both of those books are quite accurate in their description. If you were, for whatever reason, to ever find yourself in poverty I can assure you you would find yourself doing many of the things you so dislike that are common to the poor and be sorely tempted to engage in many of the other behaviours. Don't get what I call a "Tarzan Complex" imagining that you would necessarily be different from "those people".
Again, if you like your boss great but sociological Conflict Theory - sociological theory that asserts that, in a society like ours, people's purposes and vested interests are fundamentally in conflict with those of others - would insist that relationships like those between, say, a merchant and buyer, a landlord and tennant or an employer and employee usually result in a fair amount of emnity between the two parties. Each is trying to get the most in return for the least and it seems to each that the other is trying to take undue advantage while they themselves are merely behaving in the most logical, cost effective way (although it's not uncommon for one of the parties, usually the more powerful, i.e., the merchant, landlord or employer, to dispense with any ethical considerations and to knowingly and willfully, in fact, try to take undue advantage of the other simply because "they can", i.e., they see an opportunity to do so and seize upon it. .

ChicagoMatt 1 year 36 weeks ago
#40
In addition to customer service, you can have your questions about science, history and philosophy answered as the floor staff is so educated and mature. Don't know how they're going to pay their student debt working there.

When I was in high school, in the late 90s, not going to college was never presented as an option. It was understood that everyone had to go. That's the source of the problem. I think my generation - people now in their mid 30s - is the last generation for whom universal college makes sense. I also think that those people who come out of college with non-marketable degrees have no one to blame but themselves. And I was one of them. I got a totally useless degree in Journalism, and had to go back and get my Mater's in Teaching (with extra student loans, of course), just to land a fulfilling job. But my question is: who in the last 10 years didn't realize the degree they were getting might not lead to a job? This isn't news. Hell, I even heard it when I was doing my undergrad: "Why would you major in that? There's no money in it." I didn't listen, and I blame myself for that, not the system.

sociological Conflict Theory - sociological theory that asserts that, in a society like ours, people's purposes and vested interests are fundamentally in conflict with those of others - would insist that relationships like those between, say, a merchant and buyer, a landlord and tennant or an employer and employee usually result in a fair amount of emnity between the two parties.

Doesn't that also apply to the relationship between government and the governed? That actually sounds like a Conservative argument to me. Just as you want your boss out of your life as much as possible, so should you want the government out. I can't think of any politician above the local level, from either party, that I thought had my best interests in heart. They are all in it for themselves. That being the case, I vote for the ones who at least pay lip service to the idea that I'm better off on my own.

I have met my Alderman here in Chicago a few times. He visits the school where I work. He seems nice enough. But, since this is Chicago, I just assume he's taking bribes on the side.

It seems illogical to try and change a system that is so pervasive. Look what's happened to Obama when he just tried to make some minor changes. Your best bet for success is to avoid the system if it's not working for you. Find ways to reduce its influence over your life.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 1 year 36 weeks ago
#41

The problem is that banksters thought of ways to game the college financial aid system and the deindustrialization of the U.S..

The most prominent conflict theorist in sociology was Karl Marx. Yes, it applies to the government and the governed however it applies to business and the worker/consumer more as constitutional democracy is kind of a solution to the government and governed conflict and democratic government acts as a labor union or consumers' union to represent the people and protect them from the predations of business - which is why conservatives don't like it. They are not against government, they are against democratic (small d) government. They want to remove government and privatize everything so that they, themselves, can, in effect, become the government, without democratic challenge, in some kind of neofeudalism.

The Libertarian Party was started by billionaires and they don't want freedom but privilege - freedom for one group at the expense of that of another. You don't hear them talking about freedom for working people, quite the contrary. They tyry to take away working people's bargaining and negotiating power.

ChicagoMatt 1 year 36 weeks ago
#42

I appreciate your well-thought-out posts Mark. I always enjoy good political banter. Kudos.

The problem is that banksters thought of ways to game the college financial aid system and the deindustrialization of the U.S.

People thought of a way to make money off of something? Isn't that what most people are always doing? This is nothing new. The idea of college being expensive is not new. Who, in the last 25 years, didn't go to college knowing that it would be expensive? Yes, there was a time when it was much more affordable. I hear baby boomers talk about that all of the time. But it hasn't been like that for over a generation now. It's time to move on.

They want to remove government and privatize everything so that they, themselves, can, in effect, become the government, without democratic challenge, in some kind of neofeudalism.

I actually agree with most of this statement. (I've used this literary reference on this blog before:) I do look at government - at the federal level at least - like Lennie from "Of Mice and Men". It's good for the heavy lifting, and might have good intentions, but ultimately just fucks everything up and makes things worse for those it's trying to help.

If by "they can become the government", you mean "they pay less into it, and get less out of it," then yes, I'm all for it. Whenever you get anything from the government, just remember: they're not doing you a favor. They're giving you back a portion of what you gave to them in the first place.

One thing I wish the Republicans would do: take away the automatic payroll deductions for everything. Make people sit down, twice per week, and write income tax, medicare, and social security checks. See then how quickly people's politics shift to the Conservative side. When I used to work in my low-wage retail job, some of my coworkers got so excited when they got their tax returns back. It was like Christmas for them. And I just wanted to shake them and say, "They took that money from you in the first place! You're celebrating getting back what was already yours. Hello!"

You don't hear them talking about freedom for working people, quite the contrary. They tyry to take away working people's bargaining and negotiating power.

Only in the case of public-sector unions. Because the rich pay a disproportionate amount of taxes, and the people who decide pay levels for public employees aren't actually using their own money, but taxpayer money. Democrats get elected by promising things to people that they (the Democratic politicians) don't have to personally pay for. People would like me too if I could give them things at no expense to myself.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 36 weeks ago
#43

If I reincarnate after this lifetime, I hope I come back as a greenwing macaw parrot. Sometimes I get bloody sick of the human race.

What happens in a musician's brain when they play a song?

Let's get geeky on music. Ever wonder what's happening in a musician's brain when they're actually playing a song?

What about when a musician starts improvising - starts playing music directly "off the cuff"?

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