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A fascinating discussion of liberal reform in the US - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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September 30th, 2008


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11:43 pm - A fascinating discussion of liberal reform in the US
mindstalk linked to a truly excellent article on the history and methodology of liberal reforms in the US. I grew up in the DC area and remember the events described in the 1970s well - I saw what happened to Jimmy Carter, part of which was his own inexperience and part of which was a concerted and highly effective attack by reactionary Republicans.

At this point, I'm fairly certain that Obama will be our next president, and that he'll come into office with a Congress that will be (for the first time in far too long) overwhelmingly Democrat controlled, but I hope that he is sufficiently determined, and sufficiently ruthless to get both healthcare and financial reforms passed before the reactionaries can regroup. I was a very small child when he was in office, but (despite his unforgivable idiocy with regards to the Vietnam War) Lyndon Johnson did truly vast amounts of good for the US, with his desegregation, voting rights, education, and anti-poverty programs, and I very much hope that Obama learns to be just as effective, since he'll face opposition that will be at least as strong and as vicious.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

(20 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:alobar
Date:October 1st, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
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If Obama does win, and if he 7nthe dems in Congress then sells out ideals you cherish, will you stop supporting the dems?
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From:heron61
Date:October 1st, 2008 07:17 am (UTC)
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I doubt that will happen to the extent you imagine. Also, I'll be supporting the Dems as long as the alternative to electing them is electing monsters. As I'm going to post about in a week or so, much of my support for the Dems now is that I'm hoping to have the Republican Party loses sufficiently badly, for at least the next two elections, to cause them to either change or collapse.

In any case, it's not like the Democrats won't be signficantly better than the Republicans (as bad as Bill Clinton was, he was still light-years better than Shrub). I can guarantee Obama won't appoint a far-right Dominionist or Dominionist pawn the the Supreme Court, and I can equally well guarantee that McCain would.

Edited at 2008-10-01 07:20 am (UTC)
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From:mindstalk
Date:October 1st, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
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I'm a social democrat, and many Democrats are still conservative; I expect to be disappointed by progress. I do not see an alternative, short of massive electoral reform.
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From:alobar
Date:October 1st, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
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I much favor ending the duopoly of repubs and dems. There are no major parties for leftie working class people. The dems (at best) are running right of center. They are controlled by the rich, same as the repubs.

I predict things will get worse and worse until we, the people, change the playing field.
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From:winterbeast
Date:October 1st, 2008 09:31 am (UTC)
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one thing I have noted is that not all of Obama's comments are well received. link to a story here. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122273091416788171.html
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:October 1st, 2008 11:33 am (UTC)
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"At this point, I'm fairly certain that Obama will be our next president, and that he'll come into office with a Congress that will be (for the first time in far too long) overwhelmingly Democrat controlled, but I hope that he is sufficiently determined, and sufficiently ruthless to get both healthcare and financial reforms passed before the reactionaries can regroup. I was a very small child when he was in office, but (despite his unforgivable idiocy with regards to the Vietnam War) Lyndon Johnson did truly vast amounts of good for the US, with his desegregation, voting rights, education, and anti-poverty programs, and I very much hope that Obama learns to be just as effective, since he'll face opposition that will be at least as strong and as vicious."

That's why I want Obama to put Hillary Clinton in his Cabinet. She is strong, smart and ruthless. She and Bill could effectively deal with the reactionaries. In the Cabinet, the Clintons could function effectively without being in the spotlight constantly.

I actually don't expect anything from Obama except to not make things worse. He's going to inherit a mess from Bu$h (two wars, a recession and piles of debt). But then, I am a pessimist who has constantly been proven wrong in the past year.
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From:rjgrady
Date:October 1st, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
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Viva la revolucion? I have my fingers crossed.
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From:athenian_abroad
Date:October 1st, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Roosevelt and Johnson were elected with big popular and electoral vote majorities. Obama will win narrowly at best. (I think it's more likely than not that he will lose; it looks like he's still running well behind in the electoral college, around 250 - 298.) And while getting sixty Democratic votes in the Senate is possible I suppose, but I'd also say that it's unlikely. (At the moment, it's looking like 58-42.)

Sweeping change looks highly unlikely, because those pesky voters don't want any. In a minimally sane country, a ticket like McCain-Palin wouldn't have a chance. In this one, it has the lead.
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From:mindstalk
Date:October 1st, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
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From:athenian_abroad
Date:October 1st, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
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Yep. I'm assuming that McCain will carry every state in which Obama has a lead of five points or less in the polls. People keep forgetting to adjust for the Bradley Effect.
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From:heron61
Date:October 1st, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
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I think it's more likely than not that he will lose; it looks like he's still running well behind in the electoral college, around 250 - 298

*blinks* that's not what I've seen repeatedly, in several separate polls. Also, if the economy gets any worse (or at least obviously worse) it might well be a landslide. Also, 58/42 only requires 2 Republicans to go along to avoid a filibuster, and that's not all *that* difficult.
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From:athenian_abroad
Date:October 1st, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
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People are lying to the pollsters. I wish I were wrong. But I'm not.

58-to-42 requires two Republicans and fifty-eight Democrats to break a filibuster -- a somewhat harder thing to manage.
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From:heron61
Date:October 1st, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
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People are lying to the pollsters. I wish I were wrong. But I'm not.

As our economy sinks, I'm increasingly inclined to doubt how much difference the Bradley effect will make. Also, I'd be far more worried about the Bradley effect is McCain was young, healthy-looking, and taller than Obama, but he isn't any of these, and all of these things work against him. At this point, I'm not at all certain light-skinned black man trumps unhealthy looking old guy in the scale of nation prejudice. Also, (rather unsurprisingly, given that the original data is 26 years old the Bradley effect seems to be decreasing, and it doesn't need to decrease much to give Obama a very solid win.
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From:athenian_abroad
Date:October 1st, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
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I do hope you're right. Among other things, I really don't like the bitter, angry guy I seem to be becoming. Sigh....
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:October 2nd, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
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I have avoided becoming bitter by giggling at the idiotic stuff Palin says. Luckily, MSNBC serves me a steaming slice o'Sarah every night!
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From:hasufin
Date:October 1st, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
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I would point out that the effect mentioned int he article tends to be true of more than just liberal politcs, and in fact more than politics in general. I think it has more to do with human psychology. We forget and we adapt. Which means that the momentum behind any effort will fade quickly, as the impetus behind it is either forgotten or what was considered a dire situation becomes business as usual.
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From:kiarrith
Date:October 1st, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
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i am trying to have hope...but folks i have talked to and the track record for blindness in their country causes me to not even be certain [but to try to keep hope] that obama will be elected...and if he is, im still not 100% sure that it will be enough to make any true changes.
but i do hope so.
soft sigh.
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From:kalwein
Date:October 1st, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
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I fervently hope you are correct; but I worry.

The Democrats have consistently shown a talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Obama's lead is not as large as it should be. I'm fairly certain that is due to a failure in his political machine.

The process of getting elected is, in large part, a popularity contest. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It *IS* the backbone of a democracy.

What we would hope and wish for is that such popularity would be based on who the best person for the job is. Unfortunately, that presupposes that the average voter is as least as smart as a good low-level hiring manager. That seems unlikely, to me.

A generous assessment of the average American (US) places average reading levels between 8th and 9th grade. Average newspapers are written between 4th and 6th grade levels. Even the NY Times was down around 8th grade level recently.

(See Kirsch IS, Jungeblut A, Jenkins L, Kolstad A. Adult Literacy in America. National Center for Education Statistics, U. S. Department of Education, September, 1993, Washington,D.C.)

McCain is clearly not going for the educated voter with his VP choice. I think that's already been carved up enough that he's not going to make any more headway there. Remember, less than a third of the US population has a college degree... with the bulk of that in the north east.
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/004214.html

Obama seems to be going after the more educated, more rationally thinking, and more open minded voter. That’s not going to play at all well with conservatives. Even if he’s right. Actually, it’s possible that being right may very well create a massive conservative backlash against him, activating conservatives that may well have remained dormant. (As an aside, I suspect this is what happened to Al Gore). Read about the conservative backfire effect here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/14/AR2008091402375_pf.html

And

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2008/09/the_backfire_effect.html

Frankly, I suspect there are far more people in this country who can more closely relate to Palin's issues than those who can relate to Obama, Biden or McCain. While their records, upbringing and/or current lives are laudable/impressive... They all carry a distinct aura of not being entirely "real"... Palin might seem more real, perhaps... certainly to a generation of folks raised on "Jerry Springer" and reality TV....


I’m just not sure that Obama is focused sufficiently on picking up votes in the faith based camp. Not that I blame him… I wouldn’t want to either… but that does seem to leave McCain a possible advantage, in the Heartland.

I wanted to include a link here to an article I’d read a while back… I’ll need to find it. The gist of it is that there is a group of scientists that have organized an effort to bolster the basic underpinnings of logic and reason in society, because they are seriously concerned that science is in danger of losing to mass illogic. I’ll have to track that down..

No one in this world, so far as I know and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.

H.L. MENCKEN, in Chicago Tribune
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From:heronheart
Date:October 2nd, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
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I'm fairly certain that Obama will be our next presiden

How would you factor in the possibility of election fraud given that many people believe the last two elections were stolen?
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From:heron61
Date:October 2nd, 2008 06:36 am (UTC)
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Considerably less likely. There are currently a whole lot of Diebold voting machines languishing in warehouses because states have rejected them, and since the 2006 election, a number of states, including Ohio now have many more Democrats in their state legislature (I'm especially pleased that the Ohio election commissioner is now a Democrat, which was not true in 2000 or 2004). In short, fraud is both more difficult and less likely.

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