Chicken Entrails

They’re everywhere… and man, do they stink! We have piles of chicken entrails all over the barnyard, from the windmill to the hayloft. Those gifted folks who can read the entrails tell us:
The generic vote is even… or +17 GOP
The Democrats will lose 9 seats… or 90
The GOP will take the Senate as well as the House… or be shut out in both
Even our beloved Nate solemnly tells us the Republican gain will be about 48 seats, but it could be much larger… or smaller.
But among all the steaming piles (phew!) there is one historically accurate indicator for which we have a plethora of totally reliable polling information. That is  the Presidential Approval Rating. We know there’s  a strong positive correlation between the president’s approval rating and the performance of his party at mid-term. And we also know that despite all the wildly varied predictions, the roller coaster ride of this pre-election, the sturm und drang, the relentless drumbeat of hysterical abuse against the president… those numbers have stayed rock-solid for months and months. Like the man himself, you might say his approval ratings are “preternaturally calm.” All through the summer they have oscillated within a point or two of where they are today… 47% at Gallup, 48% at Rasmussen.
What does this mean?
In the election cycle that most closely mirrors this one, Reagan‘s numbers were similarly stable at around 42% throughout the summer and right up until his first mid-term, where his party lost 27 seats.
So… chicken entrails… smelly mess or reliable indicator?
They butcher, you decide.

 


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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141 Responses to Chicken Entrails

  1. Monotreme says:

    I think the real number will be closer to a loss of 50 seats by Democrats.I hope it’s not 27. That would give the Democrats just an 11-seat majority, and no party can govern with those numbers.Since the Republicans don’t have any intention of governing regardless of their numbers, I’d rather see them take the blame for the ungovernable mess which will result from the 2010 midterm elections.I would like to see Democrats retain control of the Senate. Justice Ginsburg is ill and is likely to retire, and I’d rather see a Democratic than a Republican majority in the Senate because I’m sure that Democrats know what “advise and consent” means, but I’m not at all sure that Republicans do.

  2. Mainer says:

    Mono…I’m not convinced we will see any thing that looks like governance with any of the predicted results. The right has no interest in majority rule unless it involves them at the wheel and then they may have multiple players all wanting to drive the bus at the same time (mostly in reverse) it will make little difference if the Dems get a majority in either house. A slim one in the house will yield chaos for either party, in the Senate there is no chance for any thing being accomplished in the next 2+ years. I even predict Obama will finish his first term with orriginal appointments still waiting for Senate approval……which they will never get. So the question isn’t who gets to say they are leading what but which side gets to claim the other was the one to finally shut down the government. We need to start a pool on when the SS checks stop and the military starts to just go home for lack of pay.

  3. filistro says:

    It really is weird, though… with all this FURIOUS ANGER that is supposed to be churning across the ENTIRE COUNTRY… why are Obama’s numbers still remaining so totally stable, and also relatively good? Shouldn’t they really be in the toilet.. and still dropping?Something smells wrong… and it’s not the chicken entrails.Oh.. and BTW.. why do I get all those distracting yellow highlights in my blog posts? Nobody else does… and I’m not putting ’em there. (Yellow is not a good color for me 🙂

  4. Mr. Universe says:

    “Oh.. and BTW.. why do I get all those distracting yellow highlights in my blog posts? Nobody else does… and I’m not putting ’em there. (Yellow is not a good color for me”Well, they were words that showed up in your original posts as blue links. You couldn’t really see them so I had to change the colour. I don’t know if you meant to do that on purpose or not. I will happily choose another colour next time. Maybe your computer autolinks?

  5. filistro says:

    Mr U… can you unlink them? The highlighting must happen after I send the blogs to you… they just look like normal text to me. (I never link anything, I just post URL’s for fear of what the formatting software might do, so feel free to unlink.)Boy… we’re sure a bunch of rank amateurs at this, aren’t we? 🙂

  6. Mainer says:

    Fili the questions that you raise about presidential numbers and congressional numbers and election predictions may not be as disconected as they appear.I’m starting to believe that this election and the predictions are evidence that many in the electorate no longer see the presidency as relevent in terms of governance domestically. So the president is seen by many as an ok person and a cog in the apparatus that controls our place in the greater world but congress is seen as pivotal in regards the domestic scene. Now over all we are in a time period with things simmering internationally and not much of the electorate having much focus on any thing out side of our shores. So if the electorate is absorbed with the domestic scene and believes that the only real controling hands are in congress and believes that congress is grossly inept or worse then that could lead them to both dislike pretty much all of them and at the same time picking winners and losers in the next election based amost completly on emotion.If that was in some way true then it could mean that the president could have ok numbers that are completly unrelated to what is going on. And if that was so and as appears now this is not a referendum on the president but on the publics perceptions of congress and who has done what or could perhaps do. Pretty much a total discontect all around.

  7. filistro says:

    Mainer… I just don’t know. Maybe this election really is different, and will defy all the conventional wisdom and historical precedent. Maybe there WILL be a giant wave. Maybe not.1982 really was eerily similar to this year. You and I are too young to remember 😉 but I’ve been reading about Reagan’s first term. He started with a burst of popularity that declined when he had to deal with “the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Jobless numbers soared past 10%, and the fear and malaise in the country was terrible. GOP candidates didn’t want Reagan to campaign for them, or even appear in their state. The administration was snappish with the press and fighting internally. Several of them left before the election. His approval numbers stabilized about 5% below Obama’s. The polling outlook in October was dire.And he lost 27 seats.Maybe, as I said, this year is different. But I suspect we always tend to think that before elections (this time is really different)… and later with the benefit of hindsight we realize it wasn’t so out-of-the-ordinary after all.It reminds me of the writer Adela Rogers St. John as an old woman, musing on her life and her several marriages.”I find that all men are delightfully different,” she wrote, “and all husbands are pretty much the same.” 🙂

  8. Mr. Universe says:

    Boy… we’re sure a bunch of rank amateurs at this, aren’t we? Ain’t that the truth, sister.

  9. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:Any chance of setting up the prediction thread?We are past entrails now.

  10. Mr. Universe says:

    (Winking emoticon with sunglasses and maybe a mullet)

  11. Mr Universe says:

    Hey! Bartolio!

    Ciao Bella!

    Have you made it to Venezia yet?

  12. shrinkers says:

    Any chance of setting up the prediction thread?I predict that, regardless of the results of the elections, Republicans will enact not one bill that will be in the interests of the nation. And not one bill that will actually reduce the deficit. Lots of attempts to cut taxes for upper-income people, though.I give 5 – 3 odds.Any takers?

  13. Mr. Universe says:

    Mr U… can you unlink them?Well, that would require that I know what I’m doing. I do not.

  14. Jeff says:

    Mainer said: “I’m starting to believe that this election and the predictions are evidence that many in the electorate no longer see the presidency as relevent in terms of governance domestically.”==========Roosevelt built his coalition by focusing on the economy and moving fast. Initiatives came fast and furious from the White House, and people got to believing that he was DOING SOMETHING. That helped restore confidence, and built confidence in the folks in congress who were trying to help him get things done.I wonder if Obama has lost a lot of relevance by outsourcing leadership to the Congress, and making Pelosi and Reid the face of the Democratic Party. The process of making laws is messy — watching sausage get made is pretty by comparison. I’ve never understood why he allowed the focus to shift from the White House to Congress. Also, the last two years people have been worrying about how to pay the mortgage. It’s hard for them to care about a HC bill that in 5 years time will start bending the cost curve, or about “cap and trade” that will help the CO2 ratio in 30 years. I think this made Congress look totally out of touch with people’s immediate concerns.=========You also say “So if the electorate is absorbed with the domestic scene and believes that the only real controling hands are in congress and believes that congress is grossly inept or worse then that could lead them to both dislike pretty much all of them and at the same time picking winners and losers in the next election based amost completly on emotion.If that was in some way true then it could mean that the president could have ok numbers that are completly unrelated to what is going on. And if that was so and as appears now this is not a referendum on the president but on the publics perceptions of congress and who has done what or could perhaps do. Pretty much a total discontect all around.============If you’re correct that the electorate views Congress as totally inept or worse, then Bart’s tsunami may well come come ashore. Their 18% approval rating doesn’t bode well for incumbents.

  15. Alki says:

    Filstro……Re. Reagan, I’ve been reading up on that period. Its true that Rs didn’t want him campaigning and many in the party were asking him not to run for a second term……he was THAT unpopular. Hard to believe now given that the Rs look at him as if he’s a deity.As the same time, I suspect the Rs didn’t lose too many seats because the Dems had become none to popular back then…..esp. among whites. Apparently Carter’s term marked the end of what was called the Liberal Consensus. It was the LC that introduced the civil rights legislation in the 1960s. In fact, Reagan gave a speech in MISS where he cued whites with certain words….maybe states’ rights….that let them know he would fight this relatively new civil rights legislation as much as possible. By that time, the Rs had become pretty entrenched in the South and that might have mitigaged their losses in that midterm election. Of course, later, Reagan went on to become the GOP’s Moses and Churchill all rolled into one.In any case, I came across this article today which confirms how I am feeling about these midterms and confirms what Pelosi said just before she left for her district……..that things are tough but that many Dems are holding the line and keeping the tsunami from cresting over their districts. Here is the link:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-dems-push-back-20101010,0,3065310.storyI found the same thing is true in the 12 districts that The Hill polled. These are supposed to be tough districts for Dem incumbents because most are either red or purple with some in red or purple states. And yet, many of them are competitive….several of which the Dem is within the margin of error. If we were having a R tsunami would not the local elections show a greater gap between candidates….esp. in tough districts?Having said that, I understand that Grayson is in trouble…….and Patty Murray here in WA state may be in trouble again. Hard to make predictions in such a turbulent time.

  16. shiloh says:

    @BartlesAny chance of setting up the prediction thread?~~~~~Bartles, we already have your ad nauseam, ever changin’ 😉 hyperventilating predictions.But it’s good to see you’re still enjoying your vacation lol.Indeed, as at both the old 538 and here liberals set the agenda and Bartles, a winger lemming troll to the sea er port side of the ship 🙂 likes to be led around on a leash by progressives.He likes us, he really likes us.He’s addicted to “our” liberal community as “we” are controlling winger transmission ~ we will control the horizontal ~ we will control the vertical …Bartles sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear!take care, blessings

  17. robert verdi says:

    I think generics are overestimating GOP turnout, with that said I believe their is enough evidence to point a GOP takeover of the house, something I have been very skeptical of this whole cycle(I still don’t believe a Tsunami is coming). By the way the Dems recent attack on the Chamber of Commerce is just tactical madness. The issue will gain zero traction with the public but still manage to generate resentment, that is a recipe to lose.

  18. filistro says:

    My main question… and it’s really just begun to nag it me… is this:If the electorate is furious enough at its current governance to produce a massive wave election, why is the president’s approval rating stable near 50%?Bart? Jeff? Anybody?Only Mainer has even attempted an answer. He feels public hatred of Congress has somehow gotten uncoupled from feelings about the president. That’s at least an acceptable theory… but isn’t the GOP trying hard to convince us the fury of the voters is because of the president’s ineptitude? After all, Prophet Limbaugh (peace be upon him) has just publicly called the president a “jackass.” And yet… 48%. The only rightie around here currently making any sense is robert verdi, who is now thinking the House is in reach but still doesn’t believe in the tsunami.If more on the right were as smart as robert, I would be less puzzled by all this. The bizarre, overweening hubris and sky-high expectations of wingers are what puzzle me most of all. Overplaying expectations is just such a foolish strategy. There’s no upside to it.It’s BAFFLING.

  19. shortchain says:

    I’ve had my hands in a lot of chicken entrails in my time, and all they successfully predicted was that there was going to be chicken for dinner.The absence of a “predictions” thread does not seem to have precluded people from making predictions. I predict, in fact, that Bart will continue to make predictions regardless of the subject of the thread.I’m dubious about the direction of causality in approval ratings. It seems to me that a simpler explanation for the observed phenomena is that Congress’ low ratings are dragging down Obama’s. Anger is an emotion that submerges all other emotions, that impedes rational thought and colors the world red. It doesn’t lend itself to focus.

  20. filistro says:

    @shortchain: I’ve had my hands in a lot of chicken entrails in my time, and all they successfully predicted was that there was going to be chicken for dinner. LOL… now THAT’S prescient! :-)Nate’s latest blog post, while supremely sensible, is just a bit defensive of the entrails… though perhaps also alarmed at their sheer volume this year.My personal, highly scientific and analytical conclusion:The higher you pile the entrails, the more they reek.

  21. Monotreme says:

    An article in today’s New York Times has a single passage that, I think, accurately sums up the national mood:

    Little of the anger [PA-8 Democratic Congressman] Mr. Murphy encountered was aimed directly at him or even at President Obama. Mr. Murphy never once mentioned the president’s name, and, oddly, over the course of three hours, neither did any of the Levittown residents. People just did not like their situation or the general drift of the country, and seemed to hold everyone in a position of power — locally and in Washington — responsible.

  22. robert verdi says:

    Hubris, what a great word. Personally I believe the true lessons of the 2004 election and the 2008 election is to not get carried away, (Even if you have a smashing win)ever.

  23. Alki says:

    FilstroIf the electorate is furious enough at its current governance to produce a massive wave election, why is the president’s approval rating stable near 50%?Actually, you exaggerate a bit……..his approval rating is more in the mid 40s. Nonetheless, I don’t find it surprising. Obama’s likeability factor is above 50%. Its not the president they don’t like, its his policies.But, frankly, I think something special is up this year. Cook has over 87 districts in the tossup or lean category. Nate has a preposterous MOE of 30 + or -. Huh? We forget that this country elected its first black president in 2008. And that changed everything……and things will never be the same again.Obama, Obama, Obama……….

  24. mclever says:

    Actually, Alki, I think Monotreme has it pegged. It’s not the policies, per se, since his policies actually coincide mostly with his campaign platform, but rather it’s the situation the people don’t like.People are hurting, and they want things to be fixed yesterday. They don’t care whether you cut taxes or raise taxes or regulate or whatever. Just FIX IT! F.I.X. I.T.! Fix it, fix it, FIX IT! (Saturday Night Live skit)

  25. filistro says:

    Pres. AR… 49% today at Ras. 47% yesterday at Gallup.Both numbers trending up, along with other AR polls. How does a rising presidential approval rating square with a FURIOUSLY ANGRY electorate?Of course I agree entirely that at least 25% of the country is FURIOUSLY ANGRY. I just don’t know if that’s enough totally pissed-off folks to produce the 90 new GOP seats our Italian Stallion is currently predicting.(Robert… have I mentioned that I like you? 🙂 I also like your posts over at the NYT blog. Most of the righties over there just sound so MEAN. You, OTOH, sound like someone I would enjoy having a conversation with. )

  26. Alki says:

    What do people think? Should Obama be compaigning for candidates? Given that his approval rating is less than 50%, is he hurting or helping these candidates? And should Dem incumbents be talking about their accomplishments, or attacking Rs on how they can’t govern?

  27. mclever says:

    Alki, I think Obama should be campaigning for other Dems, because (approval ratings aside), he’s very good at it. He energizes people and creates buzz. Getting the Dem faithful (with whom Obama still has strong approval) fired up should help counter the so-called enthusiasm gap.I think Dems need to use both messages. They absolutely need to trumpet their own accomplishments. In the wake of alleged do-nothingness, they need to make the case for what they’ve done and what they’ve tried to do and how they’ll help Joe American. And they need to contrast that with the Republicans obstructionism and desire to undo what good has been accomplished.Just running negative isn’t enough. You’ve got to give voters a reason to vote FOR you, while drawing the contrast with your opponent to make it a clear choice.:-)

  28. Alki says:

    @ mclever……First of all, there are people who hate his policies and are adamantly against him for that reason. Obviously, they were not in his base back in 2008 and they are not in his base now. Secondly, there is no way things are going to get any more fixed between now and November than they are. The economy is healing albeit slowly.So then, should we just accept that 2010 is a lost cause and move on? It infuriates me that the Rs who can’t govern will gain from this situation but it is what it is. What do you think?

  29. Alki says:

    @ mclever……”Just running negative isn’t enough. You’ve got to give voters a reason to vote FOR you, while drawing the contrast with your opponent to make it a clear choice.”*************************************In this year where emotions are running so high…..maybe it should all be negative. I just read where Feingold has gone negative against his opponent. If that dude thinks negative is the way to go, then maybe that should be primary in all campaigns and accomplishments very secondary. There is so much confusion over the health care bill and its benefits, I think it will take people years to figure out its a good thing for them. Stuff you can’t you can’t explain in short sound bytes.Merde, I hate losing!

  30. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:My main question… and it’s really just begun to nag it me… is this:If the electorate is furious enough at its current governance to produce a massive wave election, why is the president’s approval rating stable near 50%?Bart? Jeff? Anybody?============You must truly be desperate if you’re calling on wingers for answers! :-)I agree with Mainer. Obama made himself seem above the battle, and let everything center around Reid and Pelosi. Obama called for HC reform. In the abstract, most people, including Republicans, would like to see that. But there was never a detailed White House proposal, and Pelosi and Reid were left to design the bill, which is not wildly popular, the strong-arm tactics used to pass it pissed off the Republican base, and, even more damaging, it did absolutely ZERO, ZILCH, NOTHING to communicate to people that the Dems cared about jobs and mortgages and collapsed retirement savings.The focus was on the liberal wet dream, but the country was in a nightmare. You might think it good policy, but it was dumb politics. And why would anybody be surprised that the states that are looking to have the largest swings are PA, KY, VA, and OH. Four coal states. Cap and Trade was not good politics here.As for your characterization of Obama as being “popular,” that was never the case. He won by 53/47 — a very respectable margin, but no landslide. The current Real Clear Politics average is 45/48, and the intensity is high on the negative side. So why a wave now? First, there may not be a tsunami. Nate points out that there are more seats in play, but lots of narrow margins. Second, above-average Republican gains in the House were to be expected following two wave elections against them in ’06 and ’08. Reversion to the mean, and all that. To the extent there is a wave, you’re seeing it in the Senate, where we’re likely to see an 18/18 split in this class move to a 25/11 split, or more. Some of that was baked into the pie — Dems would probably have retained Indiana and ND if incumbents hadn’t retired, but I think most of this is due to the Senate being more of a national election, vs. the House, which is more local.In other words, Mainer is right — Obama has made himself somewhat irrelevant, and Congress has gone haring off on issues which are of dubious popularity, at a time when most voters have other concerns. In the process they’ve managed to enrage the Republican base (which had been dispirited in the last two cycles). When you couple that with reversion to the mean, you set up the potential for a perfect storm. Whether the storm will be a Category 3, Category 5, or a “Category 6” like 1894 is anybody’s guess.

  31. filistro says:

    Alki… I think it’s a year to attack. When the public is as angry and scared as they’re assumed to be, they want blood to spill. They want to be diverted/entertained with some vicarious brutality. One part of the conventional wisdom I agree with is: this is totally an emotional election cycle. Any appeal to the rational will just fall on deaf ears.Rachel Maddow has shown some very effective ads where Dems are combining a fairly harsh attack with mentions of their own record, using a “compare and contrast” style. That’s the best approach, I think. If you try to be civil with this nasty crowd on the right, they’ll jeer and mock you for being a weenie… while they steal your lunch.

  32. filistro says:

    Gallup today up to 48. Ras 49.I’m just sayin’.

  33. Monotreme says:

    Jeff,I’m having difficulty reconciling your characterization of President Obama as “The One” with your characterization of President Obama as someone who let Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid run the country.

  34. filistro says:

    Hmmm… more entrails.New poll today showing Rand Paul at just 43… Conway within 3.Live telephone interviews. In KENTUCKY.Does this square with the “90 seat gain” narrative?

  35. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyYou must truly be desperate if you’re calling on wingers for answers!~~~~~No, liberals have empathy 🙂 for the misinformed and misbegotten. ;)Just trying to make the new kid in school feel welcome and not afraid to participate in class. lolOf course some progressives have more empathy than others …>Ah yes, recalling a thread from the old blog re: 538’s original Jeff:The Eight Beatitudes Of Jesus“Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are they who mourn,for they shall be comforted.Blessed are the meek,for they shall inherit the earth.Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they shall be satisfied.Blessed are the merciful,for they shall obtain mercy.Blessed are the pure of heart,for they shall see God.Blessed are the peacemakers,for they shall be called children of God.Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10~~~~~>btw, as we used to say at parochial school in the late ’60s ~ Jesus is comin’ again, and boy is he pissed!take care, blessings

  36. Alki says:

    Filstro, I agree with you…..I think they should attack. Its not working for everyone…..after all, Grayson is in trouble but then again, he may have been in trouble no matter what he did….but I think as a general rule, Dems need to be reminding voters that Rs can’t govern as evidenced by the 8 years under Bush.Maddow made another good point the other nite…..remind voters that some Rs want to cut the minimum wage……a very unpopular concept among voters.

  37. Jeff says:

    Monotreme wrote:Jeff,I’m having difficulty reconciling your characterization of President Obama as “The One” with your characterization of President Obama as someone who let Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid run the country.==============Obama ran as a transformational candidate. There was a certain amount of hype to it — for example, “people will look back and say that ‘this was the moment that the oceans ceased to rise’ (it didn’t work for King Canute), but I can tell you that the Republicans and conservatives that I know, while skeptical, were nevertheless hopeful that he might try to be bipartisan and stifle some of the rancor. You could describe us as dubious, but hopeful. And EVERY Republican I know felt proud of our country for having elected a black man as President, even though we voted against him. That certainly was transformational. But the point is that he ran as “The One” who was going to make things better.I honestly don’t understand why he didn’t go down that path. I think he could have worked a deal with at least some Republicans to improve healthcare. Instead, I think he thought his transformational mandate was to transform healthcare, environment, etc, and a 53/47 victory isn’t that kind of mandate. I hope there will be little or no argument that Congress took the initiative on HC, not the White House, and that Congress was being led by two very partisan people. Whether you like Pelosi or not, I don’t think you would call her a moderate, consensus builder who reaches across party lines….Looking back, I think he grossly overestimated his ability to deal with (to not coin a phrase) “Others.” I’ve argued elsewhere that he really doesn’t have much experience outside of very liberal enclaves, and no experience (and no advisers) from business. That’s a weakness when you’re dealing with “Others.” In academia, it’s about brains and quality of arguments — among liberals. I honestly think Obama thought he was so smart that he could meet a few times with the Republicans, show them why they were wrong, and we’d all march together into the sunset singing kumbaya….. Instead, he found out that they had very different philosophies, which he had not really encountered before and didn’t understand. That’s not a formula for successfully dealing with them!It didn’t work with Iran, and it didn’t work with the Republicans. And now he’s lecturing Dems and liberals.I think he’s probably one of the smartest — in the academic sense — presidents in the past century. But that type of “smarts” hasn’t been successful. Hoover was brilliant, Carter was brilliant, and so was Wilson. None were particularly effective. On the other hand, the classic line about Roosevelt was “a second class mind and a first-rate temperament.” Reagan wasn’t academically brilliant, Johnson wasn’t well-educated, and Truman never went to college, but they were transformational presidents.

  38. Alki says:

    Are the Teapers America’s equivalent? Certainly, there are similarities with the right’s upswing in Hungary. For an example, there has been an underlying tone of racism in the Teaper movement….a tone I must say the Teaper leaders have done all they can to squelch. Nonetheless, do others of you agree that the Teaper movement is an extreme winger reaction to the bad economics we have experienced the past two years?Red sludge only latest Hungarian calamity“With the hard times comes the need to find scapegoats, allowing the far-right Jobbik party to emerge third-strongest in April national elections after a campaign tinged with anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy rhetoric and marches by a black-uniformed militia founded by its leader.Those militia have been banned. But a party ad referring to “Gypsy criminals” was aired on state radio and television before recent municipal elections.The ad also described corrupt politicians, banks and multinational companies as “parasites” sucking on the country’s blood — language used by the Nazis to describe Jews.Bohm, the sociologist, puts those facing poverty at around 30 to 40 percent of the population, adding: “This isn’t a situation they imagined they’d be in 20 years after the change of system.””http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jPZQ2aC58j2CEl8aidtBWi1XSjyQD9IOAG7G0?docId=D9IOAG7G0

  39. Alki says:

    An excellent article……why we need vision and not the party of No!The End of the Tunnelhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/opinion/08krugman.html?_r=1&ref=paulkrugman

  40. filistro says:

    Alki… Candy Crowley showed a couple of polls today on State of the Union.By 47 to 41, the public blames the GOP for the current economic mess.By exactly the same margin… 47 to 41.. the public feels the GOP is better able to get us out of this mess.It makes you want to pour yourself a quart of whiskey and/or bang your head against the wall.

  41. Alki says:

    @ Jeff……..”I honestly don’t understand why he didn’t go down that path. I think he could have worked a deal with at least some Republicans to improve healthcare. Instead, I think he thought his transformational mandate was to transform healthcare, environment, etc, and a 53/47 victory isn’t that kind of mandate.”***********************************I don’t know if you are being intentionally disingenuous with the above statement but there was no way Obama could have worked with Rs even as he tried for over a year. In fact, he tried so hard he annoyed his base significantly.And its a fact that the few Rs who did respond to his overtures…….the ones you call RINOs…….have suffered badly this election cycle. Unfortunately, what the more rational Rs refuse to admit is that your party has been hijacked by extreme ideologues who take no hostages. And it didn’t just happen in the last two years…..its been going on for some time now.The article by Krugman I posted up above says it all. Gov Christie made no attempt to find a way to build the badly needed tunnel. He killed it because it didn’t fit his ideology….an ideology that allows little flexibility.I don’t want my elected leaders compromising with people like Christie. The country only ends up losing.Instead, why are the moderates in your party not fighting back? Why are they allowing your party to be hijacked by extremists?

  42. Alki says:

    @ filistro……….”It makes you want to pour yourself a quart of whiskey and/or bang your head against the wall.”***********************************No kidding. Ultimately Americans are to blame for the whole mess we are in; to whit, lets take a walk down memory lane. Back in 2000, when Bush was hijacking FLA, Americans wanted a quick resolution to the matter instead of getting to the bottom of what happened in the FLA polls. They wanted a quick resolution because they did not understand that the Constitution had build in safeguards for just such a scenario. So we ended up with the guy who may not have been the winner; a guy who had questionable credentials to be president.Then in 2003 Americans did not want to go to war against Iraq but when Bush invaded the country, most rolled over and went to sleep.Then in 2004, they had the chance to end the reign of the great imposters but instead put them back into office.In the meantime, Americans were taking advantage of what had become a faux housing boom……taking out equity loan after equity loan without any kind of reason so they could buy their toys…boats, and planes and shiny new cars.It wasn’t until 2005 they saw what their lack of awareness at the polls had unleashed…..Katrina and NOLA. Only then did they realize what they had done but it was too late.Finally, in 2007, the economic house of cards began to fall…..precipitously and dramatically.Now its 2010 and Americans are annoyed that after 8 long, crazy years, things are not completely back to normal in two and they are blaming Obama and the Dems even as they say they blame the Rs. They have learned nothing.So whose at fault here? Bush, Cheney, the banks, Wall street, et al. No, its Americans. We have not been doing our jobs as constituents and watching to see that the foxes are not stealing from the hen house. Instead, we create the Teaper movement who unfortunately are not witches. Witches are good people; Teapers are not. And now we are getting ready to put the foxes back in charge of the hen house. UGH!I am with you……I want to bang my head against the wall a few hundred times.

  43. Todd says:

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/frantic_36_hours_of_behind-the.htmlHere’s a link to a better analysis of what’s gone on Re: Christie vs. ARC. Contrary to Mr. Krugman’s column, the project isn’t completely dead. Christie may be bluffing in an effort to get the Feds to cover the overlay. Does anyone see a jurisdiction missing from this equation to build a tunnel from NJ to NY?: Total cost, over $10B; USA – $3B, PortAuth of NY/NJ – $3B, state of NJ – everything else. I suppose you could say that NY shouldn’t pay more since most of the jobs are moving people from NJ to NY, but if they want to hold those jobs in NYC, shouldn’t they kick in more than just the PA share?

  44. Jeff says:

    filistro,You ask why people are angry and what they will do. Peggy Noonan is a far more articulate writer than I am, and she nails it:”Americans weren’t born to be accountants. It’s not in our DNA! We’re supposed to be building the Empire State Building. We were meant, to be romantic about it, and why not, to be a pioneer people, to push on, invent electricity, shoot the bear, bootleg the beer, write the novel, create, reform and modernize great industries. We weren’t meant to be neat and tidy record keepers. We weren’t meant to wear green eyeshades. We looked better in a coonskin cap!There is, I think, a powerful rebellion against all this. It isn’t a new rebellion – it was part of Goldwaterism, and Reaganism – but it’s rising again.For those who wonder why so many people have come to hate, or let me change it to profoundly dislike, “the elites,” especially the political elite, here is one reason: It is because they have armies of accountants to do this work for them. Those in power institute the regulations and rules and then hire people to protect them from the burdens and demands of their legislation. There is no congressman passing tax law who doesn’t have staffers in his office taking care of his own financial life and who will not, when he moves down the street into the lobbying firm, have an army of accountants to protect him there.”================This is why people are angry at their government. It’s the bureaucracy, the paperwork, the constantly changing rules. It’s the fact that you really can’t do much of anything without a small army of lawyers and accountants at your side, and that when you begin to deal with the bureaucracy, nothing moves fast.This is why people may like government programs, but resent “government.” It’s why people are angry with both Republicans and Democrats, and switching back and forth between them, because both parties seem to be on the side of the elites, not the common folk.You can read the full article at:http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/government-270326-people-character.htmlYou may not like Noonan, or agree with her, but she states her case, as always, beautifully.

  45. Jeff says:

    Alki said:The article by Krugman I posted up above says it all. Gov Christie made no attempt to find a way to build the badly needed tunnel. He killed it because it didn’t fit his ideology….an ideology that allows little flexibility.========Ah, Krugman, the soul of impartiality. Krugman understands that the US government can always print money, but doesn’t seem to understand that New Jersey cannot.New Jersey is BROKE! Sure, the tunnel may be a good idea, and a “nice to have” but if you don’t have the money, you can’t spend it.Does Mr. Krugman explain where the money is to be found? Can you?

  46. Alki says:

    “Ah, Krugman, the soul of impartiality. Krugman understands that the US government can always print money, but doesn’t seem to understand that New Jersey cannot.New Jersey is BROKE! Sure, the tunnel may be a good idea, and a “nice to have” but if you don’t have the money, you can’t spend it.Does Mr. Krugman explain where the money is to be found? Can you?”************************************That’s just it. Its not a “nice to have”. Its a necessity. The current tunnel is at capacity. Its an important economic link between Jersey and NYC. And while its expensive, it will create jobs……jobs that are sorely needed in this economy. Its why FDR created the CCC. As for NJ not having the money, wasn’t Christie in business before he was governor? Private industry knows how to raise the money….they can raise tons of it at the drop of a hat. Why can’t Christie put together the necessary funding?Why? Because he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t believe gov’t should be building freeways, tunnels and hi speed rail. By Christie’s book, Eisenhower was an idiot who built freeways all over the country. The problem with Christie is that he’s an ideologue with no vision and no flexibility. A bad combo in these difficult times. He’s just another Hoover. And we know how that turned out.

  47. shiloh says:

    Jeffrey, voters have been angry w/their politicians since the mid ’60s for the same reasons Noonan spouts!Which is why ailes/atwater/turdblossom have been using scorched earth hate/fear/misinformation politics er fear monger deflections since the late ’60s to sway voters to vote against their better interests.And now w/an African/American as president, conservatives can stoke the racial flames to the nth degree, eh.But on the bright side 😉 all of America’s racial prejudices have come out of the closet and are on full display for all to see.>Nothing new under the sun as Noonan, like most political pundits, has a keen grasp of the obvious …take care, blessings

  48. Jeff says:

    Alki said, about the tunnel between NY and NJ: Its not a “nice to have”. Its a necessity. The current tunnel is at capacity. Its an important economic link between Jersey and NYC. And while its expensive, it will create jobs……jobs that are sorely needed in this economy. Its why FDR created the CCC.As for NJ not having the money, wasn’t Christie in business before he was governor? Private industry knows how to raise the money….they can raise tons of it at the drop of a hat. Why can’t Christie put together the necessary funding?===========No, Christie wasn’t in business, he is an attorney and previously served as a US Attorney. You should check your facts. And of what relevance is it that “private industry can raise tons of money at the drop of a hat.”Perhaps they can, but for a government project? Or are you saying this going to be a privatized project, where the private money gets to make all the decisions and charge whatever they want to use the tunnel? I don’t think you have that in mind….The current NJ budget is a shade under $30 billion, and last year’s budget around $33 billion, or about 10% less. No contribution was made either year to the pension fund, so there’s really a $3 billion deficit already. So, Christie should borrow $4 or $5 billion, for a project that is likely to go over budget? NJ can’t pay the bills it has right now, so it should go out and borrow billions more? If we assume 20-year bonds at 3.5% (what the Port Authority pays, NJ probably would have to pay more), servicing a $4 billion bond will cost about $280 million per year. So what does NJ give up? Where do you cut the budget, which is ALREADY at least $3 billion in deficit?And that assumes NJ can sell bonds. This year, New Jersey was formally charged with bond fraud by the SEC. http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-152.htm If it had been the private sector, Corzine and the (Democratic) legislature would have gone to jail under Sarbanes-Oxley. Fraud is criminal. Investors don’t like to lend to questionable outfits. So, I go back to my original question. What does NJ give up to give Mr. Krugman his tunnel, so he can commute more easily between Princeton and NYC?I think you have to answer that question before you call Christie “an ideologue with no vision and no flexibility.”

  49. Jeff says:

    Jeff said (about Obama and HC) I honestly don’t understand why he didn’t go down that path. I think he could have worked a deal with at least some Republicans to improve healthcare. Instead, I think he thought his transformational mandate was to transform healthcare, environment, etc, and a 53/47 victory isn’t that kind of mandate.”***********************************Alki said: I don’t know if you are being intentionally disingenuous with the above statement but there was no way Obama could have worked with Rs even as he tried for over a year. In fact, he tried so hard he annoyed his base significantly.=================So, who’s right? Alki claims Obama tried to work with Republicans for “more than a year.” That’s complete and total hogwash. Obama didn’t sit down with Republicans to work together to come up with improvements both sides could accept. Obama outsourced the drafting to Congress. Obama had no detailed plan, no legislative proposal, much less a plan that he tried to work out with Republicans. Get your history straight.And get your facts straight. Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. The House passed their version of HC reform November 7th, the Senate version passed on December 24, 2009. Please don’t claim that he “tried to work with Republicans for more than a year.”

  50. shortchain says:

    Absolutely, Jeff. Why, Obama could have simply cut a deal with the GOP and told the Democratic senators to pass it as is, and that would have been that, because we all know how they do whatever the leadership says.That’s the way our government is supposed to work, you know. The president simply tells the members of his party in Congress how they’ll vote, and it gets done. No need for endless committee hearings, amendment mark-ups, debate, or other blah-blah-blah.The Democratic caucuses, especially in the Senate, are such lock-step groups.And of course, all the Republicans are completely trustworthy. They would never, for example, agree to something, even sponsor a bill, and then vote against their own bill, with the amendments they, themselves, added.It’s all so simple, I wonder why Obama didn’t do that.

  51. shiloh says:

    JeffreyFor someone who doesn’t reply er ignores well over 50% of the replies to your posts here, you sure do have a lot of questions, eh.As mentioned in a previous thread, one of winger’s best forms of deflection is answering posts er questions w/another question(s).Which again begs the question: ;)Why are you here and what do you hope to accomplish?>That’s complete and total hogwash.Jeffrey why are you so bitter and upset?Again, we already know you hate/despise Barack Hussein Obama no need for further reinforcement.btw, please give a detailed explanation of how Obama didn’t try to work w/Reps other than your winger, bogus, talkin’ point deflections.Damn, that wasn’t in a form of a question …take care, blessings

  52. shiloh says:

    Republican Obstruction at Work: Record Number of FilibustersWhen the Democrats regained tenuous control of the 110th Congress in 2007, filibusters by the new Republican minority skyrocketed. Following the landslide victory of Barack Obama and progressive Democrats in 2008, there was a clear mandate for change in reform in America, yet the 111th should set a new record for filibusters as part of a clear pattern of obstruction from those who do not want change or reform.Ending Obstructionism: Number of Times Cloture Needed to be InvokedNumber of Filibusters Skyrocket111th Congress Cloture ProjectionCloture Voting, U.S. Senate, 1947 to 2008>Bottom line, Republicans are really, really sore losers …carry on

  53. Jeff says:

    shiloh wrote:JeffreyFor someone who doesn’t reply er ignores well over 50% of the replies to your posts here, you sure do have a lot of questions, eh.==============Not all replies are answered. I asked Alki where he thought Christie should find the money for Krugman’s tunnel, and gave some very detailed facts about where that might be. I’m still waiting for a reply. I think it was a pertinent question. =========Or perhaps you’re wondering why I don’t reply to you. Let’s take the three questions in your post:Jeffrey why are you so bitter and upset?Again, we already know you hate/despise Barack Hussein Obama no need for further reinforcement.btw, please give a detailed explanation of how Obama didn’t try to work w/Reps other than your winger, bogus, talkin’ point deflections.===========Um, let’s see… Your first question assumed that I’m bitter and upset. Your second question assumed that I hate and despise Obama. Your third question basically said that any answer I gave would be “winger, bogus, talking point deflections. So tell me, have you stopped beating your wife?You probably would enjoy a mindless exchange of insults. Actually, I do find this site to have a fair number of intelligent posters, (most of whom I admittedly disagree with), and I enjoy those interactions. I also think I contribute — to people who are intellectually curious, this site would lose some value if it was only an echo chamber for the true believers.On the other hand, I don’t find very many of your posts to be particularly intelligent. I generally choose to ignore them because I find them puerile at best, and generally both insulting and presumptuous. In other words, I see no point in wasting time on somebody who seems to get his jollies slinging insults and generally acting like an idiot. Perhaps one difference between you and me is that if I were to choose to masturbate, I wouldn’t have a need to do it with a keyboard.take care, blessings, and have a really NICE day.

  54. shiloh says:

    Jeffrey, I knew you cared, but never realized how much. 😉Perhaps one difference between you and me is that if I were to choose to masturbate, I wouldn’t have a need to do it with a keyboard.Hopefully you feel better now, eh.And please, don’t let your anger and bitterness consume you!btw, less is more.take care

  55. Jean says:

    Jeff,As astute Republican Ted Frier has noted, The GOP’s idea of bi-partisanship is for a liberal Democratic president to govern like a right wing Republican. Anything else will provoke a filibuster and total obstruction.”

  56. Alki says:

    Todd, thanks for the link and update. And yes, the tunnel is crucial for both on either side and NY state should pay its fair share as well NYC.

  57. Alki says:

    @ Jeff………”No, Christie wasn’t in business, he is an attorney and previously served as a US Attorney. You should check your facts.”*******************************You might want to check YOUR facts. In addition to being an attorney, he was a lobbyist. Lobbyists tend to be rainmakers……they are very good at raising money and getting deals done. He made a point of that aspect of his background when he was running for office.***********************************”So, I go back to my original question. What does NJ give up to give Mr. Krugman his tunnel, so he can commute more easily between Princeton and NYC?”**************************************LaHood, a Dem, has already got the ball rolling, looking for ways to make the project more feasible.Todd on this comment section suggested NYC should pay its fair share. I suggested bringing NYS into the financial loop. There are many ways to make a deal feasible. However, it requires brainstorming instead of grandstanding to your base. It requires working together……..a concept that seems to elude mondern day Rs.

  58. shiloh says:

    LaHood, a DemRay LaHood, Sec of Transportation, is a former Rep member of the House from IL.Just another indication of Obama’s bi-partisanship, along w/keeping Bush’s Sec of Defense, Robert Gates.carry on

  59. Alki says:

    @ Jeff………o, who’s right? Alki claims Obama tried to work with Republicans for “more than a year.” ***********************************I am right.*************************************”That’s complete and total hogwash. Obama didn’t sit down with Republicans to work together to come up with improvements both sides could accept.”*************************************Of course he did…..several times during the year. And yes, it took over a year to get health care reform passed. Durin that time, Obama fruitlessly met several times with Rs trying to get them into the loop. They refused. Do a search if you don’t believe me.**********************************”Obama outsourced the drafting to Congress. Obama had no detailed plan, no legislative proposal, much less a plan that he tried to work out with Republicans. Get your history straight.”***************************************Nonsense. You are making it up as you go along or simply regurgitating GOP talking points fed to you.*************************************”Yes, he did And get your facts straight. Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. The House passed their version of HC reform November 7th, the Senate version passed on December 24, 2009. Please don’t claim that he “tried to work with Republicans for more than a year.””*************************************Excuse me but the legislation did not pass until 22 March, 2010:http://www.rferl.org/content/US_Lawmakers_Pass_Health_Care_Reform/1989947.htmlwhich is a little over a year.And yes, throughout that year Obama met with Rs. It never got anywhere because Rs had no intention of working with the new president.I swear. Where have Rs been the past two years? You keep coming up with stuff that doesn’t comport with the events of those two years at all.

  60. shrinkers says:

    Wasn’t it Boehner, at the beginning of the Health Care debate, who said the Republicans would stop HCR, and it would be “Obama’s Waterloo”?The R’s announced, at the beginning of the debate, that they intended to prevent Health Care Reform from being enacted. They announced, to the world, that their intent was to obstruct and to engage in any possible means to kill it. Period. Before any concrete proposals have even been made.Then they engaged in lies and terror tactics for a year. And voted against even their own proposals. And now, wingers like Jeff have the immense gall to claim Obama was “partisan” and “didn’t cooperate.”The level of dishonesty and revisionist spin from the right is incredible.How can you sleep at night? Seriously?

  61. Monotreme says:

    The source of the “Waterloo” quote is Sen. Jim DeMint.

  62. parksie555 says:

    @Filly – Got any data to support your assertion that…”We know there’s a strong positive correlation between the president’s approval rating and the performance of his party at mid-term”Is there really such a correlation?BTW Doc looked really worn out last week in the opening game LDS start…

  63. Monotreme says:

    The “Waterloo” remark was Sen. Jim DeMint:http://bit.ly/cIouY

  64. Monotreme says:

    It was Sen. Jim DeMint:http://bit.ly/cIouY

  65. filistro says:

    @parksie.. Is there really such a correlation?Yes, there is. LOOK IT UP, you lazy Philly fan…. :-)Actually, the correlation seems most significant at the top end… presidents with an approval rating over 50 are historically much less likely to lose seats at midterm.I’m not interested in the raw stat so much as the paradox… if the country is really so furiously angry, why does the PAR hover near 50%?Something doesn’t compute. And yes… this could be your year (both in politics and baseball)… if Doc doesn’t break down in game 1 of the WS. The guy is awesome but he does have a long history of breaking down at crucial times… (Hey, why am I even talking to you when you only come in here to poke me with a stick? GO AWAY 😉

  66. Jeff says:

    Alki wrote:@ Jeff………”No, Christie wasn’t in business, he is an attorney and previously served as a US Attorney. You should check your facts.”*******************************You might want to check YOUR facts. In addition to being an attorney, he was a lobbyist.=============If you REALLY think being a lobbyist is “being in business” then either we’re not speaking the same language, or we have very different ideas of what “business” really is…..

  67. Jeff says:

    Here’s some interesting commentary from TIME, that well-know freeper outlet and lover of right-wing causes….Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise. From above, by elite opinion about his competence. From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment. And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November’s elections.With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration. Moreover, there is a growing perception that Obama’s decisions are causing harm — that businesses are being hurt by the Administration’s legislation and that economic recovery is stalling because of the uncertainty surrounding energy policy, health care, deficits, housing, immigration and spending.============When a Democrat loses the support of TIME magazine, he’s pretty much lost it all.

  68. Alki says:

    “When a Democrat loses the support of TIME magazine, he’s pretty much lost it all.”***************************************Who reads Time magazine? Exactly. The same fools and their family who belong to the Teaper movement. If you look at the polls, his approval rating is around 47%…..that’s only off 4-5 pts from the percentage he got during the election. Not bad for a president going through one of the worst recessions since WW II. His economic policies are working. However, the damage was severe and the psyche of the American people has been badly undercut. When job growth returns with vigor……and it will……his ratings will go back up and you all will return to the desert where you belong. Trust. Enjoy your brief reprieve! 😉

  69. Alki says:

    If you REALLY think being a lobbyist is “being in business” then either we’re not speaking the same language, or we have very different ideas of what “business” really is…..************************************Stop intentionally missing the point…….lobbyists are rainmakers. They make things happen. They raise money. They get legislation through Congress. They don’t sit there and I say I don’t like the client’s biz so I think I will do nothing. Christie blew out the tunnel project because it plays well to his base. He knows how to smooze and get things done. He just didn’t want to. That’s what happens when you elect an ideologue as governor. That’s what happens when you elect an R.Admitting you are wrong, Jeff, is halfway there to getting well. 😉

  70. shiloh says:

    @FilistroHey, why am I even talking to you when you only come in here to poke me with a stick? GO AWAY~~~~~Hey, Jeffrey still talks er is obsessed 😉 by me, even though he sees no point in wasting time on …Just sayin’hmm, another Charles lol>Also … btw, please give a detailed explanation of how Obama didn’t try to work w/Reps other than your winger, bogus, talkin’ point deflections.Jeffrey did not address my above polite request, but he did say: I generally choose to ignore them because I find them puerile at best while at the same time mentioning his knowledge of autoeroticism.Which was impressive! :)er Jeffrey is all hat and no cattle …carry on

  71. filistro says:

    Jeff.. read the article. TIME is not telling us its own opinion, but the view of the “politically engaged elite” (their words.)But… but… I thought the whole raison d’ etre of the Tea Party was to stand up AGAINST the “politically engaged elite”. You guys can’t seem to hold a consistent viewpoint for more than two minutes, which makes it difficult to have a meaningful conversation. You’re like Bart… spinning so hard that all I see is this guy.

  72. shiloh says:

    Jeff.. read the article. TIME is not telling us its own opinion, but the view of the “politically engaged elite” (their words.)~~~~~Again, like Bartles, Jeffrey has reading comprehension deficit.Which begs the question:Are reading comprehension problems systemic to conservatives at progressive blogs.Just wonderin’

  73. Monotreme says:

    @shrinkers:It was Sen. Jim DeMint who made the “Waterloo” comment.For some reason, it won’t let me post the link but one can Google it easily. There’s an audio file that’s pretty definitive.

  74. Jeff says:

    filistro said: Jeff.. read the article. TIME is not telling us its own opinion, but the view of the “politically engaged elite” (their words.)But… but… I thought the whole raison d’ etre of the Tea Party was to stand up AGAINST the “politically engaged elite”. You guys can’t seem to hold a consistent viewpoint for more than two minutes, which makes it difficult to have a meaningful conversation.=============Why on earth do you think it relevant what the Tea Party thinks? I don’t like them and you don’t like them. Why do you think *I* am being inconsistent if I quote an interesting analysis from a source that some elements of the Tea Party might not like? I refuse to be lumped in with freepers and fringers.I could be wrong, but my guess is that you believe that Obama is doing a good job politically, as well as in the policy sense. I’ve argued that since his election he’s been politically tone-deaf and inept, although I give him full credit for running a superb primary and general election race. This has nothing to do with the wisdom of his policies or the purity of his spirit — it has to do with politics. I think this is an important article, because I haven’t seen this type of criticism in “mainstream media” before. *IF* this is a factually correct portrayal of what the “inside-the-Beltway political elites” are coming to believe, it POTENTIALLY has huge implications. Alki said: “Who reads Time magazine? The same fools and their family who belong to the Teaper movement.” Filistro — in your studies of the Tea Party and the freepers, do you find that they look up to TIME? Is TIME a “winger” publication? I have no idea how to submit a commentary (as opposed to a comment). From my perspective, a lot of the “commentary” here is of the “Are Republicans stupid or evil?” variety. I would suggest that a very good, unbiased topic would be: *IF* the TIME piece is an accurate portrayal of how the “politically engaged elite” is thinking, what are the possible results?This isn’t saying that the article is correct, or, if it is, whether the negative opinions are objectively correct, it is just asking what would be the results IF it is accurate reporting.And one last comment on the Tea Party. If you assume they lump together as opponents, and have nothing but disdain for Obama, the “main stream media,” and the “inside-the-beltway political elites,” then it’s probably a reasonable conclusion that they would regard this as a sign of dissent in the enemy ranks. Would they be right?

  75. filistro says:

    Jim DeMint is probably going to be setting the agenda in the new Congress. I wish him joy of it.No, seriously… it’s going to be fun to watch 🙂 Pat Buchanan… PAT BUCHANAN!…thinks DeMint is going to be the one who fatally splinters the Republican party. He (along with Sarah Palin) will lead the Tea Party rebellion against the “establishment” in Congress, and one of those entities will not survive in its present form. Forget predictions for this election… what do we think the GOP will look like by 2012? I think it will be purified, regional, 80-20 pure crazy… and in its death throes. All the sensible Republicans will have fled by then to a centrist wing that will give birth to a new right wing party… as shrinkers says, there will be a tiny crazed Elephant party and larger, more viable Rhino party.

  76. filistro says:

    Jeff, if we’re going to continue this conversation we need to define terms, because we’re not understanding each other and I think a lot of the confusion is semantic. How do you define these:a.) Tea Partyb.) Republican basec.) Freeper fringed.) Republican partyAfter I get your definition I’ll give you mine, and see see if we have any basis for agreement at all on these various labels.

  77. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyI think this is an important article, because I haven’t seen this type of criticism in “mainstream media” before. *IF* this is a factually correct portrayal of what the “inside-the-Beltway political elites” are coming to believe, it POTENTIALLY has huge implications.~~~~~hmm, seriously ~ define MSM as one can’t keep up w/your continual generalizations that have no source reference links providing certifiable/verifiable evidence as to your claims/opinions.>btw, again you sure do use “I” a lot in your posts and I 😉 only mention this ’cause you’re the only one at 538 w/the first person fetish as even Bartles doesn’t do it as much as you …take care

  78. Alki says:

    @ Jeff…..”I’ve argued that since his election he’s been politically tone-deaf and inept, although I give him full credit for running a superb primary and general election race. This has nothing to do with the wisdom of his policies or the purity of his spirit — it has to do with politics.”****************************************And if I understand you correctly, you think his politics are bad because he hasn’t embraced Rs and brought them into the process. If my assumption is correct, then my question to you is how do you bring people into the game when they don’t want to play?

  79. Monotreme says:

    Jeff, if you email me your proposed article at agileroxy [at] gmail [dot] com I will see that it gets posted.

  80. Jeff says:

    @filistro:Definitions:a. Tea Party: A diffuse movement sharing a focus on the size and cost of government and a great concern over deficits and debt. As might be expected by a grass roots movement that explicitly rejects the notion of centralized direction, the TP contains both reasonable and fringe elements. As the Huffington Post says “The Tea Party isn’t a monolithic entity,” so it is difficult to make broad generalizations about it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/11/b. Republican base: An often-uneasy coalition of libertarians, religious/social conservatives, limited government believers, rural and small town dwellers, fiscal conservatives, business people, especially small business people, and believers in a robust foreign policy. There is often considerable overlap between groups.c. Freeper fringe. Extremist members of the base who believe in conspiracies, “birthers,” dismantling the government, etc. Often racist. Often thinks there’s “not a dimes worth of difference” between the two parties, in that they’re both controlled by evil manipulators.d. Republican party: Much the same as the Republican base, but less fervent on the issues. Also includes remnants of the old Northeast Republican establishment, and business people who focus on stable, pragmatic government. Generally pro-market and pro free-trade. I’m fairly confident that I’ve left some things out, and even more confident that you’ll find additional pejoratives, especially concerning the freepers. In advance, I will agree with you that a segment of the base is influenced by the lunatic fringe, and that the base influences the party. I’ll also state that both parties (and all political parties, in any time or nation) have their lunatic fringes, unsavory politicians, demagogues, and fanatics, and that it is unfair to tar the broader middle with the excesses of the extremes.Finally, I’ll say that recognizing that it’s an “uneasy coalition” is important in understanding the Republicans, both base and party. Libertarians and religious conservatives are strange bedfellows indeed!So, Professor filistro, do I manage to earn at least a “D” on your exam? (Careful, to me a “D” is a passing grade….).

  81. filistro says:

    @Jeff… and even more confident that you’ll find additional pejoratives, especially concerning the freepers Jeff, Jeff… (shaking head sadly)do I manage to earn at least a “D” on your exam? It’s not a test, and there are no right or wrong answers. But it does explain why you and I keep talking past each other. We have quite different views of the makeup of the GOP.. or at least, the labeling.For instance, what you call “the base” is a perfect description of what *I’d* call “the bulk of the party.”Since I tend to think better in pictures than words, here’s how I see it:The Republican party is like a triple-decker bus. On the middle level are the vast majority of Republicans. They are a combination of what you describe above as “the base” and “the Republican party.” On the upper tier are the pure ideologues, the William Buckley thinkers, the Ramesh Ponnuru scholars and the pragmatic but evil neocons. These are the cerebral Republicans who still have a significant influence on policy but stay mostly above the rough-and-tumble of electoral politics.At the bottom of the bus we find the base, including both the Tea Party and the Freepers. These are people who have moved down from the middle tier because whether they are social cons, fiscal cons or simply firebrands, they are much more passionate and unyielding in their views. They are motivated in part by ideological zeal, but also by racism, jingoism and reactionary nostalgia for America’s greatest days, which they fear are slipping away in the rear-view mirror.But most of all, I think what primarily sends any individual down to the bottom tier is this… they are united in their implacable hatred of the Left. To them politics is (depending on their personal comfort level with violence) either a sporting event or a war. Either way, they want to WIN. And they LOATHE “liberals.”You, personally, seem too sensible and pragmatic to be one of the navel-gazers at the top of the bus… but you also don’t belong on the bottom. If you did, you wouldn’t be in here talking civilly with a bunch of lefties. You are definitely a middle-of-the-bus guy.And… I like you for it. 🙂

  82. shortchain says:

    filistro,You left out the driver, Rush Limbaugh, and Karl Rove, the mechanic. They had to send G.W. to the back — which was easy, they just told him that’s where the snacks were.I note also that Jeff didn’t mention the significant astroturf elements of the Tea Party, nor mention that, according to the latest polling and studies, it has a large element of social conservatives.

  83. filistro says:

    @shortchain: You left out the driver, Rush Limbaugh, and Karl Rove, the mechanic. They had to send G.W. to the back — which was easy, they just told him that’s where the snacks were.I also neglected to mention Palin, Bachmann, O’Donnell and Haley lounging on the roof of the bus in skimpy red-white-and-blue sequined outfits, waving seductively and throwing candy down to the crowds…

  84. shiloh says:

    @So, Professor filistro, do I manage to earn at least a “D” on your exam? (Careful, to me a “D” is a passing grade….).~~~~~ok, ok, I’ll give Jeffrey an A+ for self-deprecating sarcasm. :)And as he doesn’t care what I think, I’ll forgo any further grading er comments. 😉

  85. Jeff says:

    @shortchain: I agree that the Tea Party has a large element of social conservatives. That shouldn’t be surprising. “Conservative” is also a state of mine, which is why a “conservative” accountant can be a screaming liberal politically. @filistro: I agree that “On the middle level are the vast majority of Republicans. They are a combination of what you describe above as “the base” and “the Republican party.” Also, you say “For instance, what you (Jeff) call “the base” is a perfect description of what *I’d* call “the bulk of the party.” We’re getting down to fine points of definition, but again, I won’t disagree. I think the Democratic base is also the majority of the party.I’m actually heartened that you think I’m “sensible and pragmatic” and belong with the “vast majority” in the middle, both because kind words are always appreciated, but more because you think someone who is “sensible and pragmatic” belongs to the “vast majority.” I think we disagree only in your characterization of the GOP base as the fruit-loops and nutcases. By any textbook definition, I’m also part of the base. My first political involvement was passing out Goldwater literature (like Hillary Clinton). I was at James Buckley’s victory party when he won the NY Senate seat. I’m politically involved enough to have run (successfully) for office on two occasions. If that doesn’t qualify me as part of the base, I’m not sure what does.We may have somewhat different definitions of “the base.” I regard it as the core elements of a political party that in most elections, most years, can be expected to support most of the party’s nominees, because they generally support the broad thrust of the philosophy of the party’s leaders and membership. In other words, people who are apt to vote in primaries and the general election. This holds true for both Democrats and Republicans. Beyond the base for each party, you have “leaners” who are less involved and less often reliable supporters. And beyond that, you have true independents, most of whom don’t pay a lot of attention. Another way of separating the base from the fringe is to ask who is likely, when fired up, to leave the party. I think most of the Nader votes have been the fringe of the Democratic party, and that a freeper independent candidate would get an even lower percentage of the votes. I think you may think that “the base” consists of the “purest” and most fanatical of the adherents. That’s very dangerous, because both parties have their bases. I don’t think you would accept a definition of the Democratic “base” as being typified by raving racists (Rev. Wright), former terrorists (Bill Ayres), and current environazi’s (Earth First). So, I think we’re in general agreement, except when you say “base” you mean the fanatical fringe, and when I say “base” I refer to the core of the party. Not bad for a wing-nut conservative and a knee-jerk bleeding-heart liberal! 🙂

  86. filistro says:

    @Jeff: So, I think we’re in general agreement, except when you say “base” you mean the fanatical fringe, and when I say “base” I refer to the core of the party.Now we’re getting somewhere! You think the base is the “core” of either party… I think it’s the “hardcore.“Or, in graphic terms… You think that on a right-left political continuum, each party’s “base” would be the fat part lying closest to the middle of the bell curve… and I think it would be the stubborn, absolutist remnant way-y-y-y out at the tail end.Apart from that tiny discrepancy, we seem to be largely in agreement 🙂 🙂 🙂 Anybody else still reading this thread… how do YOU define the “base” of a political party?

  87. shortchain says:

    Jeff,Imagine a Venn diagram with blotches on it to describe “fiscal conservative”, “social conservative”, “political liberal” and “political conservative”.Now, there may be little or no intersection between “social conservative” and “political liberal”, and obviously none between “political liberal” and “political conservative” — but when “social conservative” beliefs involve passing more laws against what people do in the privacy of their own homes, and in the privacy of the doctor’s office, I don’t see that as compatible with “fiscal conservative”.Getting government out of personal lives would necessarily entail social liberalism. The fact that, for the Tea Party, it does not, implies that, at the base (pun intended), the Tea Party has an internally inconsistent political philosophy.What allows this unholy alliance between the libertarians and the social conservatives is ignorance and anger. Each of the groups is ignorant of the other’s philosophy, yet they share anger (although at different aspects of the current political scene).

  88. shiloh says:

    @FilistroAnybody else still reading this thread… how do YOU define the “base” of a political party?~~~~~Speaking of hardcore re: “base”As Potter Stewart said quite eloquently, I know it when I see it!A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest …

  89. mclever says:

    filistro, when I think of the “base” of a party, I think of the politically active and consistently motivated members who always turn out to vote and often volunteer for local campaigns. They often include but are not limited to the party extremists.The base tends to be to the “extreme” side of the median party member, but not the tail end of the bell curve. Those to the “moderate” side of median are more likely to cross party lines. Those at the extreme tail of the bell curve are more likely to cast protest votes for “third party” extremists in lieu of the “RINO/DINO” official candidate. Therefore, that leaves the voters between the median of the party and the farthest extreme as the base.

  90. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff,Imagine a Venn diagram with blotches on it to describe “fiscal conservative”, “social conservative”, “political liberal” and “political conservative”.Now, there may be little or no intersection between “social conservative” and “political liberal”, and obviously none between “political liberal” and “political conservative” — but when “social conservative” beliefs involve passing more laws against what people do in the privacy of their own homes, and in the privacy of the doctor’s office, I don’t see that as compatible with “fiscal conservative”.Getting government out of personal lives would necessarily entail social liberalism. The fact that, for the Tea Party, it does not, implies that, at the base (pun intended), the Tea Party has an internally inconsistent political philosophy.What allows this unholy alliance between the libertarians and the social conservatives is ignorance and anger. Each of the groups is ignorant of the other’s philosophy, yet they share anger (although at different aspects of the current political scene).===================I partially agree with you, and it’s why I described the GOP base as “An often-uneasy coalition.” It is difficult to see the libertarians and bible-thumping moralists lying down together (“Don’t touch me!).However, it’s not impossible to see overlap between the small-government people and the moralists. It’s not internally inconsistent to say that the Federal Government should be hugely pruned back in size and power, so that local communities can have strict anti-gay laws, ban Demon Rum, and enforce a strict standard of morality. It’s also not illogical to say that a diminished Federal Government shouldn’t have as one of its main tasks the enforcement of traditional or biblical morality. I think the 19th century showed that a small government could also be very conservative and morally traditional. And as for incompatibility with fiscal conservatism — I can imagine a bi-sexual member of a wife-swapping club who believes in fiscal (but not sexual) restraint. Economics and morality are fairly easy to separate.

  91. mclever says:

    To use the bus analogy, you’d need to realize that the middle level of the bus has two sections. Everybody sitting on the right side of the Republican bus is the “base”, plus most of the folks on the bottom level.:-)

  92. shortchain says:

    filistro,I define the “base” of a political party as that group of voters which votes for that political party without regard for the relative merits or faults of the candidates.

  93. Jeff says:

    mclever wrote:filistro, when I think of the “base” of a party, I think of the politically active and consistently motivated members who always turn out to vote and often volunteer for local campaigns. They often include but are not limited to the party extremists.The base tends to be to the “extreme” side of the median party member, but not the tail end of the bell curve. Those to the “moderate” side of median are more likely to cross party lines. Those at the extreme tail of the bell curve are more likely to cast protest votes for “third party” extremists in lieu of the “RINO/DINO” official candidate. Therefore, that leaves the voters between the median of the party and the farthest extreme as the base.============Well-said. No matter which party I belonged to, I’d be concerned if my base was the most likely element to desert for a 3rd party. I agree with your characterization as the base being “the politically active and consistently motivated members who always turn out to vote and often volunteer for local campaigns.”

  94. mclever says:

    Jeff, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that lately the social conservatives are increasingly making the fiscal conservative/social liberals feel uncomfortable in the Republican party. Ever since the Christian Coalition, the face of the Republican Party has become the moralists.Technically, the DLC (and Bill Clinton) are fiscally conservative/pro-business while being socially more liberal, so perhaps those moderately liberal/fiscally conservative Republicans might find themselves feeling more welcome across the aisle.

  95. filistro says:

    Now we have a third POV from mclever… the base is not the middle bulk of the party (Jeff) nor the extremist outer edge (filistro) but the reliable tail-end-of center.I confess I’m wavering a bit but I do have a powerful ally who seems to share my defintion.From the Daily Show two years ago, discussing John McCain’s decision to speak at Jerry Falwell’s university:Stewart: “I feel it’s a condoning of Falwell’s crazy making, to some extent, to have you go down there. It strikes me as something you wouldn’t normally do.” McCain: “I’m going there to speak to the students at his invitation. I can assure you that the message will be the same as I give everywhere.” Stewart: “You don’t think it helps reassert Falwell as the voice for a certain group of people — say evangelicals of the Christian Right…. McCain: “…I love to travel around the country and speak at colleges and universities. They’re all parts of the Republican Party. I respect them. I may disagree with them.” Stewart: “Are you going into crazy base world?” McCain: “I’m afraid so.”

  96. filistro says:

    @shortchain… I define the “base” of a political party as that group of voters which votes for that political party without regard for the relative merits or faults of the candidates.Ooops.. Hold the phone… I think we have a winner!

  97. mclever says:

    filistro, I would posit that shortchain’s and my definitions are compatible, especially considering that the criteria I used to eliminate segments from the base was their likelihood to defect.Also, with respect to being precise with the language, there’s “the base”, and then there’s the “crazy base”, which would be the extremist subset of the majority base.

  98. shortchain says:

    Jeff,There are, in fact, some inconsistencies in wanting the federal government to be drastically limited in its power.The goal in doing so would be, presumably, to give the individual and the local government more freedom. Sadly, society has evolved in a direction where this would not be the case, due to the introduction into the ecosystem of international mega-corporations and the mega-rich.The imagined freedom of the individual in the absence of government regulation is, as we have seen, actually the freedom of the unscrupulous corporations and their creations to treat the millions of individuals as a source of revenue by extracting their assets and the taxes they pay and giving it to their investors and their executives.In short, making the populace support the wealthy.Individuals and Local governments are incapable of standing up to even medium-sized corporations or the ordinary hecto-millionaire (worth a hundred million or so). Even our federal government is only weakly able to protect us against the actions of the mega-corporations and the unscrupulous billionaires like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, largely because both parties are at least partly in thrall to big money.

  99. filistro says:

    I define the “base” of a political party as that group of voters which votes for that political party without regard for the relative merits or faults of the candidates.On second thought.. maybe not… Because the “firedoggers” and the Kos Kids are the base of the Democratic party (do we all agree on that?) but they are quite capable of not voting for the party’s candidates because they feel “their” issues have been neglected.

  100. shortchain says:

    filistro,I don’t think the party functionaries and “leadership” (such as Obama and members of his administration) think the firebaggers are their base…

  101. mclever says:

    Actually, fillistro, I do not consider the Kos Kids and FireDogLakers to be the base of the Democratic Party. Some of them are, but not all. If they aren’t going to support the Democrats, then they’re not the base. As I pointed out in my previous post, those at the tail extreme are more likely to abandon the ticket for a third party in lieu of a so-called “DINO/RINO”, and therefore I would exclude those defectors from the base.Of course, my perception of Kos and others is that they’re politically immature and have unrealistic expectations of the political process. They could be part of the base if they’d stop ransoming their support. Those who say, “If we don’t get X right now, then we’re never voting Democratic again” cannot be the base of the party.

  102. filistro says:

    All right, you guys almost have me convinced the “base” is not the extreme but the bulwark of a party.One question, though… why then do we have the concept that it’s necessary for politicians to “fire up the base” in order to win? By your definition the base would the segment of the party that will reliably vote all the time no matter what, and doesn’t NEED to be “fired up.” (In contrast… I’ve always considered the base to be that crazed, slavering animal that needs to be fed a regular diet of “red meat” or it will turn on you.)

  103. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff, There are, in fact, some inconsistencies in wanting the federal government to be drastically limited in its power.The goal in doing so would be, presumably, to give the individual and the local government more freedom. Sadly, society has evolved in a direction where this would not be the case, due to the introduction into the ecosystem of international mega-corporations and the mega-rich.The imagined freedom of the individual in the absence of government regulation is, as we have seen, actually the freedom of the unscrupulous corporations and their creations to treat the millions of individuals as a source of revenue by extracting their assets and the taxes they pay and giving it to their investors and their executives.======There is a difference between wanting something, and agreeing that the outcome would be undesirable. You have drawn some conclusions as to the probable outcome of a smaller government that not everybody would necessarily agree with. Comparisons and analogies are inherently suspect, but Switzerland has the least powerful central government of any advanced country. Aside from defense and foreign relations, the cantons call the shots. At least one canton doesn’t even allow women to vote. Yet Switzerland has relatively good income equality, is very prosperous, and has fairly liberal (in some respects) moral codes. And Swiss corporations don’t loot and pillage the citizenry.Furthermore, there is a vast difference between saying that the Federal (and State and local) government is too big, too obtrusive, and too complex, and saying that it should be reduced to impotence. There’s a basic premise that laws should be logical and comprehensible by an average citizen of reasonable intelligence and education. I honestly do not believe there is a single person in the United States who understands the entire Federal tax code, and it is certainly beyond the capacity of any “average citizen” to understand. Speaking as somebody who has had his own business, and has been CFO in other organizations, I can state that no matter how hard you try, it is virtually impossible to be compliant with ALL the laws, even in a relatively simple business. I know this is purely anecdotal, but most small business people will agree. From their perspective, the tax code is overbearing and obtrusive, and burdensome for far more than the tax payment itself. Most small business people want protection from big companies, not more power for them. Big companies can afford to hire the staffs and specialists that the little guy can’t.If you doubt that, try putting a new food product on the market. Trivial for Kraft, hugely complex for the little guy (above and beyond making sure the product itself is wholesome and safe). When small business owners say “Get government off their backs, they’re asking for the complexity level to be reduced to something manageable, and not to deal with arbitrary bureaucrats.

  104. Mainer says:

    Shortchain is indeed close in terms of definition of a party base to what I have seen over my life time even though I might expand on it a little.A political party base are those elements of the party that can be counted on to reliably vote in a given manner, donate money and time in a known manner and that will when asked self identify as belonging to the group in question. We have heard much this last 2 years about the Republican party playing to the base. If that is true then the Republican party is now made up of what some of us see as fringe elements. Also if that is true then the Republican party is in deep trouble over the long run because they are playing to what now appears to be a base that wants to destroy it.For generations it was reasonably easy to identify the Republcan base. Now in the case of my town it was the mill owners, mill managers, land owners and certain professions such as doctors and lawyers. Farmers were not as monolithic but a good portion of them were and still are Republican and they were and for the most part still are WASP to the max. These groups and their extened families gave Republicans in this area pretty strong support. They voted by making one X at the top of the Republican list of candidates, they gave of their money and they made sure family members were there to GOTV and put up the signs and at times to make sure a political appearance looked sufficiently attended to be for real. As long as the Republican establishment and candidates said the right words and promised the right things (ooooooh, he said cut taxes, ahhhhh he said damned commies build another bomber, weeeeee he still believes in pickerel or pay checks) then the world was good and simple and every one knew who was a Republican and they knew too and were proud to tell any one that they were.But some where along the way it all got kind of defrazzelated. Around here we still have Republicans but most of the traditional ones seem kind of dazed lately. You sit in one of their homes and hear some off the wall stuff we have been hearing the last cycle or two and especially the last 2 years about just being the Republicans playing to their base and remind them that that would be them and they don’t seem to buy it.No boys and girls I think we have a new Republican base and it is not easily identifiable, is very unreliable over the long run, sure as hell isn’t the Republican base of your dad and grand dad and could well cause many Republicans to just walk away from politics for a time. We have seen it in Democratic circles around Vietnam so we could see the situation again but this time with Republicans.Some are leaving to be Independants but I’m betting there are many others that are just plain leaving until the dust settles. Wish I knew how to quantify this but it is beyond me. How would one even poll it?

  105. shiloh says:

    Would just point out that Kos has raised beaucoup $$$ since their inception for all Dem candidates, including Jack Conway, James Webb, Jon Tester, Charlie Melancon, Heath Shuler ie conservative Dems.Again, elections come down to choices, having despised John Kerry in ’04, but held my nose and voted for him anyways knowing the alternative …>It comes down to who is electable and who isn’t, which is why there’s no rational, intellectual conservative explanation for Linda McMahon and Christine O’Donnell winning their primaries other than McMahon’s $$$.Even turdblossom acknowledged O’Donnell is a frickin’ train wreck! lolI digress.

  106. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:All right, you guys almost have me convinced the “base” is not the extreme but the bulwark of a party.One question, though… why then do we have the concept that it’s necessary for politicians to “fire up the base” in order to win? By your definition the base would the segment of the party that will reliably vote all the time no matter what, and doesn’t NEED to be “fired up.”(In contrast… I’ve always considered the base to be that crazed, slavering animal that needs to be fed a regular diet of “red meat” or it will turn on you.)============You want to fire up the base because they are your ground troops. They address envelopes, ring doorbells, talk up your candidate at parties, and contribute money.When the base is dispirited, most of them probably still vote for you, but they don’t do all the extra stuff needed to win. Throwing them red meat can work to motivate them, but the real power is when the base is fired up to support your campaign; less so when it’s opposition to the other guy. That’s why Obama’s campaign was so incredibly impressive — people were supporting Obama as much or more than they were opposing McCain. Even Republicans thought he might be a unifier and post partisan. (And let me tell you, McCain didn’t have much of a base, much less inspire it).

  107. Monotreme says:

    Filistro,Good question, and maybe worthy of another article.My definition of “the base” would be close to shortchain’s and mclever’s.The reason the punditocracy refers to “the base” is that they say a lot of stupid stuff. Also, “the base” is who’s contributing money and manning the phones and taking Mrs. Lilollady to the polls. For example, I made phone calls for Obama but this year, the Governor and Senate races are so uninspiring I will just vote, not help.

  108. shortchain says:

    filistro,Disclosure: I’m one of them firebaggers. I won’t donate to the party, nor will I vote for any old candidate with a D behind their name.

  109. mclever says:

    filistro, the way I see it, the “base” are the ones who make the GOTV efforts work. If the base isn’t fired up, then they won’t knock on doors or make phone calls or even talk to their neighbors. They’ll just quietly go vote for their party, unless the weather’s really bad or something.If the base is fired up, then they bring their own votes, plus a dozen friends and strangers who each base member also convinces to go vote.The base does need a steady diet of red meat, because there’s a reason they’ve chosen one party over the other, and they need to be reminded of it from time to time to keep their energy up. Hence the “appeals to the base” which are obviously partisan platform items. However, those often do not meet the demands of the extreme fringe.Of course, a party can shift who it’s base will be by positioning its platform to appeal to certain segments. Big moves will lose everyone, but they can shift over time by appealing to more extreme or more moderate elements within the base of the party.

  110. shortchain says:

    filistro,”Firing up the base” is, in my opinion, pointless. The way elections are won or lost in our current political environment is by pulling enough of the independents (Definition: those not in the “base” of either party) to your side or losing them to the other side.

  111. filistro says:

    Okay, I’m convinced. You guys are right about the “base” and I’m wrong. Now I have to readjust my world view and revise my entire political lexicon. And having reached the age where a certain amount of… shall we say… mental rigidity has begun to set in, I’m not sure I can survive the trauma.On the bright side.. I do get to blame JEFF for the whole thing… 🙂

  112. mclever says:

    Mainer, I agree that the definition of the Republican base seems to have shifted noticeably from who Republicans were in my parents’/grandparents’ youth.Jeff still seems to think of the Republicans as the responsible, fiscal conservatives, and maybe they’ll return to that platform someday. For now, there seems to be some fluidity in the Republican base, which seems to me to be an opportunity for enterprising Republicans to reshape their party.With regard to your question about how to poll for the phenomenon of Republicans leaving the party (either to become Independent, or simply silently withholding their support), that’s a tricky one, because a lot of people aren’t honest about their motivations, not even with themselves, especially when it’s something as emotionally involved as politics. Political scientists will probably engage in correlation analysis and inference to show the effect to try to get a feel for what’s going on. Of course, the drawback is that their studies won’t be published until they’re four or five years out of date!

  113. shiloh says:

    Re: the political base discussion.Having just mentioned recently, liberals argue amongst themselves all the time. Hey, it’s in “our” progressive DNA to disagree. ;)>Whereas “true” conservatives fall in line like robots!I rest my case …

  114. Mainer says:

    McLever I would probably not have even brought it up but for what I have been seeing around me. This is a Republican area…..very Republican…..very rural…..very very poor. It was the only county of 16 countys in Maine to vote for McCain in 2008. Yeah really Republican. So even though I am one of those damned progressives I am tolerated by my conservative and Republican friends for reasons I do not some times understand but through it I keep hearing things that seem to indicate that many of those that have been Republican stalwarts for years are feeling a certain amount of disconect right now.It is almost as if they too are looking at the entrails and wondering who eviserated their party. I know it is annecdotal but when I hear from several old line Republicans that they are not working the polls this year and not putting up the signs…..well they will probably still vote because they always have but I would actually be more than curious to know if some of them are not going to be splitting the ticket this time around. I think in this state a fair number of Republicans that are feeling disenfranchised by their own are most of the poll numbers for the 2 Independent candidates. I also think that the closer we get to election day that one of the Indies could make up some serious ground, maybe not beat the Democrat but I actually have this feeling that we could see the Republican candidate slip to 3rd place. If indeed that happens I expect to see some old line Republicans wanting what is left of their party back and most likely not being in a mood to want to listen to the supposed new wave of the Republican party.And yes I do not see this being figured out until well after it is over. When good friends that have always been pretty up front with me about politics now do not want to discuss where they are some thing is up…..and dadgum wouldn’t I like to know what is going on in their little conservative minds.

  115. Monotreme says:

    Grandpa was a carpenterHe built houses stores and banksChain-smoked Camel cigarettesAnd hammered nails in planksHe was level on the levelAnd shaved even every doorAnd voted for Eisenhower’cause Lincoln won the war. – John PrineThose are my Republican people, whose Republican roots run deep: first Industry (near Farmington), Maine, not far from where Mainer lives; then Wisconsin, following the timber; then Washington State.My grandfather was not only a carpenter, but was in the Merchant Marine and hated “Rooo-seh-velt”. He lived on Staten Island. My father’s first vote for President was for Thomas Dewey.That Republican Party is gone now. The party of Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, and yes, even Hoover, was killed by Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater and Turdblossom and will never come back.If there is a center-right party, then I will vote for it, some of the time. I’m not happy at feeling compelled to vote for whatever crap the Democratic Party machinery sets in front of me. But I will, which I suppose makes me part of the base, and as we’ve been discussing, when I get fired up for a candidate (John Anderson 1980, Barack Obama 2008), I will spend all of my free time and money working for him or her.

  116. mclever says:

    Mainer, it’s interesting to hear your perspective from the conservative northeast. I agree that it seems like something is up with some of my conservative friends here in Iowa, too.Granted, my own folks are Tea Party supporters (though not activists), so they’re thrilled with the current moralist “Real American” bend to the Republican Party. On the other hand, my friends of the classical, fiscally responsible yet socially libertarian profile are increasingly appalled by the Palins, DeMints, O’Donnells, Bucks, and Pauls. If anything, the Tea Party line appears to be fiscally libertarian and socially conservative, which these friends are disinclined to discuss with me, other than occasional grumbling.

  117. mclever says:

    Monotreme, my politics probably parallel yours… 🙂

  118. shiloh says:

    @MonotremeInteresting you mentioned Anderson, as was just thinkin’ of the ’80 election.Carter, a very weak president, high inflation, high gas prices, gargantuan interest rates, the Iran hostage crisis and yet, and yet, and yet Reagan only got 50.75% of the vote as again, Reagan won by default.One party screws up and is replaced by the other party.Also noteworthy, the polls, and don’t we all love polls 😉 didn’t break for Reagan until the final weekend of the race as Reagan had a hard time closing the deal against Carter, who coincidentally, almost blew a (34 pt.) lead against Ford in 1976.Indeed, the polls didn’t move until the final weekend in 1980 which is why Bartles is still sweating bullets lol fearing an Oct. surprise.btw, if the Dow goes up exactly 101 pts. tomorrow it will be at 11111.11 as Oct. is notoriously a bad month for the Dow.

  119. Mainer says:

    Ohhhhh Inustry population 790 in 2000….its less than that now, hard times you know. I wouldn’t even go here treme but when your grand dad was there it was probably higher…..nah it was definetly higher. Times have not been kind to my chunk of Maine and yes Industry is pretty close to me.I am defenitely socialy progressive. I am also against wasting money doing things that do not work. I pay taxes too and have been on the receiving end….I have government health care and I find TriCare to work very well (thank you American taxpayers for this wonderfull, well functioning, effective, cost efficient government health care, so nice of you) but I am also a realist to understand that we have been played to death even here in Maine to give more and more tax breaks to those with wealth. I’m sorry that this is not 1820 when Maine became a state. Things were simple then, taxes were lower and even when my grand parents started their married lives 82 years later the taxes were low and the roads were impassable, schools struggled to even stay open, medical care was pretty primitive and industrial masters treated employees as not much above indentured servants. Workers died in droves, there were epidemics that came close to wipping out communities here (stories that cemetaries around here tell so well)….I could go on and on but we have those now that would all but advocate us returning to that day to save them way to little money. I’m a progressive, there was a time when Republicans were and those that still are few as they may be will still get my vote but for most of the Republican party that boat has sailed and it has left behind Republicans that always thought that they were the faithful…. but now find themselves staning on the beach.It is that crowd I am curious about treme…..very very curious.

  120. Alki says:

    My latest conspiracy theory is that the overlords have set us up. After the elections of 2006 and 2008, they could not let the Dems win a third time in 2010, so they are swinging things back to the Rs. Its only way I can rationalize why the Dems who came out big in 2006 and 2008, and presumably knew what was at stake, won’t come out big in 2010. And let me add, making it look like someone was throwing a book at Obama was a nice touch in the overlords’ elaborate setup.I can also report that I am in the last stage of grief over the midterm elections……that would be acceptance.Except I am not sure how solid I am with these stages since I plan to work on DelBene’s GOTV this weekend.Did I mention I hate losing?

  121. Alki says:

    Filistro, just for you:Dems Define Success DownThe party hopes to declare victory by losing less than expected.http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/nj_20101009_4400.php

  122. Jeff says:

    filistro said: On the bright side.. I do get to blame JEFF for the whole thing… ===========That’s OK. I’m married and I’m an elected official. I’m used to it….;-)

  123. Jeff says:

    mclever wrote:Jeff, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that lately the social conservatives are increasingly making the fiscal conservative/social liberals feel uncomfortable in the Republican party. Ever since the Christian Coalition, the face of the Republican Party has become the moralists.==========Yes, I agree. My stock line is that the social conservatives want to tell me what to do and not do in my bedroom, while the liberals want to tell me what to do the rest of the time. And since I can pull the drapes in my bedroom, I don’t worry about them as much as the liberals.The moralistic and know-nothing segments of the party do trouble me greatly, but where I live they’re not a significant factor, and they have yet to dominate the national party. At least for now, they’re important sources of support, and you don’t win elections by kicking people out (whether they be RINO’s or creationists). But I don’t think I could bring myself to vote for a Palin/Huckaby ticket (much as I enjoy it when she throws red meat to the base).The fascinating thing about the Republican Party is the alliance between social conservatives and libertarians. I don’t have a good explanation, only theories, and my best one is that neither thinks they’re going to get their way, so they both end up Republican because the Democrats look down on them with contempt.Goldwater was pretty libertarian. Reagan managed to marry the Goldwater fringe with the Christians and the traditional Republicans. And as has been oft-noted, he was divorced and rarely went to church.I think the Tea Party movement could be a rebirth of the old fiscally conservative wing of the party. Small town folks, nice polite people (apparently when they held their rally in DC, they didn’t leave a speck of trash). And I really do think their primary focus and concern is spending and debt.One last comment… the bulk of the Christians are good people. My brother and sister-in-law spend 4 hours in church every Sunday, and go to prayer meetings almost every night. They live in a small town, and the church is their social life. They also use their limited money to make sandwiches all Saturday morning, then drive an hour to Raleigh to feed homeless people. They’re not atypical. So when they shudder at San Francisco and its Gay Pride Parade, it’s not all because of intolerance — I THINK it’s because they find it tacky, embarrassing, and generally in bad taste.

  124. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyOne last comment… the bulk of the Christians are good people. My brother and sister-in-law spend 4 hours in church every Sunday, and go to prayer meetings almost every night. They live in a small town, and the church is their social life. They also use their limited money to make sandwiches all Saturday morning, then drive an hour to Raleigh to feed homeless people. They’re not atypical. So when they shudder at San Francisco and its Gay Pride Parade, it’s not all because of intolerance — I THINK it’s because they find it tacky, embarrassing, and generally in bad taste.~~~~~Whereas there is no reason to doubt your anecdotal family story, one could also say your brother and sister-in-law have a very limited world view as probably most of the evangelicals in general do. And I’m not sayin’ your relatives are evangelicals, just using it as a comparison as Christians would be be a broad, obvious generalization much like sayin’ most of the citizens of America are good people.Anyway limited world view usually encompasses lack of education and of course lack of education usually helps determine how prejudiced anyone can be, ie (((they are not like me))) and not sayin’ your relatives are prejudiced towards Gays, but of course we all have prejudices to some degree since Mother Teresa is no longer w/us.>Re: the people of San Francisco and most liberals as I will now generalize just as you have: Most of us find cheney/bush’s bogus/misbegotten Iraq War and all the needless dead and wounded U.S. soldiers that it caused and Iraqi dead and wounded civilians that were left in its wake, tacky, embarrassing, and generally in bad taste.hmm, maybe obscene would be a better word as I’m sure my fellow liberals could come up w/many descriptive terms to describe it.Just a personal opinion observation, much like your own re: your relatives.>btw, we could also argue ad nauseam about Hitler being raised a Catholic and believing in the Bible’s god yada yada yada and most of the wars since the beginning of time being fought over religion and religious territory, but that would be a bridge too far 😉 in this thread about chicken entrails and generic polls …

  125. Monotreme says:

    @Shrinkers:This is for you. Off-topic, but couldn’t wait ’til Friday.http://t.co/42KB93y

  126. Jeff says:

    @filistro:I hope you return one last time to this thread.Re our long-standing discussion about the fringe of the Republican Party and the nature of the Tea Party, the following is from today’s Wall Street Journal Political Diary:At Ralph Reed’s Values Voter summit in Washington D.C. last month, the narrow winner chosen by the 800 attendees was Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. Sarah Palin won 19% of the 1,600 votes cast in a straw poll at Right Nation in Chicago held at the same time. But the second-place finisher in Chicago was intriguing — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose roots are firmly planted in Northeastern moderate Republicanism. He finished with 16% of the vote. Mr. Christie followed up that showing with a dramatic victory in the straw poll conducted at the Virginia Tea Party held in Richmond, Virginia this past weekend. Mr. Christie won 14% of the 1,560 votes cast, topping Ms. Palin and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who came in third.

  127. mclever says:

    Jeff, I also hope filistro sees your comment.I think the loud, loutish Tea Party gets all the media attention, but there are still a large “silent majority” of fiscally responsible, socially moderate-to-liberal Republicans, especially in the northeast. Because they aren’t extreme, they aren’t as noisy or attention-grabbing as the Tea Partiers.As an outside observer, it will be interesting to see whether cooler heads prevail within the Republican Party over the next 2-10 years.

  128. mclever says:

    Ah, perhaps I should have said, “silent plurality”, because I’m not sure they form a strict majority…:-)

  129. shiloh says:

    @mcleverAs an outside observer, it will be interesting to see whether cooler heads prevail within the Republican Party over the next 2-10 years.~~~~~It’s really quite basic:Do Reps want to win the presidency in 2012 or do they want to lose as straw polls er beauty contests contests are meaningless, just ask Huckabee.Reps may have a few fringe candidates win in a low turnout mid-term in Ruby Red states in 2010, but 2012 will be quite different. >McCain, although a totally flawed flip/flopper was the Rep nominee in 2008 because Reps thought he had the best chance to win, which was true ie a military war hero against a young African/American or woman.As of right now, mittens, another totally flawed flip/flopper gives the Reps the best chance to win in 2012 as he also looks the part, handsome and presidential, Christie not so much, plus he already said he’s not running as he will have a tough time getting re-elected in NJ if the nation’s economy remains sour.Again, the catch-22 for Reps, do they want to remain obstructionists and have the economy continue to tank, thereby losing any temporary gains in 2010 in the 2012 general and further on down the road.Politicians worst fear ~ there’s always another election in the immediate future and also a major problem w/American politics ie the 24/7 never ending campaign process that starts right after another fool is elected.>Again, Christie is a non-starter and Christie himself knows it as he doesn’t look the part and is not likable in a campaign setting. Just ask Meg Whitman as Christie made a fool of himself stumping for Whitman last month.Christie beat a really, really unpopular incumbent, Corzine, in a race that was only close because Christie himself wasn’t very likable.Hey, you have to vote for someone or stay home …btw, as a rule, the Rep political establishment, er turdblossom, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Limbaugh and his right wing radio lemmings, fixednoise, etc. really, really, really want to win presidential elections. Especially after losing to a young African/American in 2008. Soooo it will be very interesting to see how palin fits into this equation in 2012.

  130. mclever says:

    shiloh, if the past is any prediction, then I fully expect Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee in 2012, unless he decides to wait for 2016. He’s the one whose “turn” it is, he’s the established candidate, and he’s got appeal to independents and moderates while still being capable of dishing the red meat on occasion. In other words, he’s the obvious, electable choice.If someone other than Mitt is the Republican nominee, then that may be the first sign that “cooler heads” are not prevailing within the party. However, I won’t read too much into the 2012 nomination. Depending on Obama’s popularity (among other factors), the 2012 contest may be the year for a sacrificial lamb, whereupon the “serious” candidates like Mitt stay home and let the crazies have their hey day. In which case, the real test will be who gets the nod in 2016. If we have back-to-back crazies from the Republicans, then I would worry that the saner members have lost their influence within the party.As of now, the crazies are vocal and the media eats it up because it makes for a juicy story. I don’t believe the media reflects reality, especially when you consider that the relatively moderate McCain was the most recent nominee–a sign that the sane folks were still in charge of the asylum. What’s harder to tell is whether and how much things might have changed in the past couple of years. And a wave election in the midst of an economic crisis does little to clarify the scene.

  131. filistro says:

    Jeff… like shiloh I don’t think Christie will be the nominee, straw polls notwithstanding, and I dont consider these polls at all meaningful. If you are a person motivated enough to attend a conference for a group whose public mantra is CUT CUT CUT… then you are obviously going to select a candidate whose claim to fame is being the embodiment of that mantra.But I still don’t believe (even after the humiliating beatdown I got here yesterday 🙂 that fiscal conservatives form the majority of the Tea Party. I think their motivation lies elsewhere… and is more amygdala than frontal lobes. Actually I’m not really as interested in WHO the GOP nominee will be as I am in what the nomination process itself is going to do to the party. Now.. THAT will be interesting.

  132. shiloh says:

    @mcleverAs of now, the crazies are vocal and the media eats it up because it makes for a juicy story.~~~~~Indeed lol which is why MSM is hoping/praying palin will enter the fray. 😉 Hell, she quit as governor and still is in the news 24/7!She’s a cash cow to the press in an era where the National Enquirer and TMZ are respected journalistic rags.Edward R. Murrow is turnin’ over in his grave …You Bet’cha!

  133. Alki says:

    Is it possible to have a blog thread that’s devoted just to the upcoming elections? I didn’t put that in the suggestion box last Friday. However, it hit me today that people who are most interested in the midterms could make related announcements on that thread and note changes that are occurring as they occur. For an example, Manchin in WV has regained the lead in the latest PPP poll. That has significant impact for the Senate. A discussion of that change may not be appropriate for this thread because of the way the thread has evolved. Just a suggestion.

  134. Alki says:

    Just out…….the latest Elway poll:Murray Firming Up Lead Over Rossi, Tops 50%http://www.publicola.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Elway-Poll-OCT12-Senate.pdf

  135. Jeff says:

    @filistro:I wrote the most incredibly brilliant, articulate response to your Bucaneer post, almost immediately after it went up (only 1 comment). The damned system gliched and I lost it. I then tried to post another comment and that went into moderation, then again, and again…. so I’m posting here in hopes that you’ll see this.I’m very frustrated, and think this is proof of a communist socialist plot on the part of the programmers, and a deliberate attempt to destroy America as we know and adore it.I’ll try again, but probably not until morning. But in brief, I’ll agree that this exemplifies perfectly the split between right and left, and I’ll disagree on your basic premise.There are times I hate computers even more than (to quote Rush) “long-haired, maggot infested hippie lefties 🙂

  136. shiloh says:

    JeffreyI wrote the most incredibly brilliant, articulate response~~~~~Damn, you really are full of yourself lol.“long-haired, maggot infested hippie leftiesNow I see why Limbaugh is soooo popular w/wingers. Who could resist such eloquence.btw, is Rush your hero 😉 hmm, probably not as your ego may even surpass his.>And yes, life can be so frustrating! Next time you have a computer glitch offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory and think of the Chilean miners (70) days trapped a half-mile below the surface in a collapsed mine …It may put things in perspective for you.Or not.take care

  137. Pingback: A Matter of Style | 538 Refugees

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