The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Game On

Ah, the long knives come out. If Obama's "Lipstick on a pig" comment can be vaguely taken as a slam on Sarah Palin (and I don't believe it was. If she was ugly, maybe. But it makes no sense to me) then the sex education ad with Obama smiling down can even more rightly be considered an attempt to paint him as a sexual predator, playing on hundreds of years of stereotypes. Pretty vile stuff. Or nothing.

##

It seems to me that the advantage of the Republicans is their tendency to line up behind their leader (top down) and the advantage of the Democrats is the ability to mobilize the grass roots (bottom up) this is a very, very broad brush I'm painting with. But the screaming I hear on Air America, and occassional panicked email is just disgusting. Wow. Your lead shrinks, or you get behind in the Big Game and you start jeering the quarterback? Do they understand that that's exactly how you lose a war? Winners double-down, buck up and raise each other's spirits. It's not really about the guy running, and never is. It's about the citizens. And you know what? If Democrats don't get that, then they don't deserve to win. The clock is ticking, and the argument is basically: if you organize and think our way, you will win. Not "you will be right." Not "you can be smug." But "you will win." And if that doesn't matter to you as much as sucking your thumb and licking your wounds, you are what I call a child. This is a game for adults. Period.

#

News: I am now the story editor on "Hannibal" at BET. For the next five weeks they own me, and I will give them 100% of who I am. And will give everything I've got to taking the solid work of the people who've been on this show for two years and molding it into the very best animated show on television. Nothing less is worth even talking about.

Game on.

55 comments:

Kami said...

Re: Hannibal

Woo hoo! Go Steve!!

Mike Ralls said...

Very cool Steve. Good for you.

Q: How much Roman and Carthaginian history do you know?

salina said...

Congratulations!!! Whatchu think about the baby rumors circulating? Have you seen the youtube of "Kevin" the black male who is alleging that HE is the father of Bristol's baby? True or not, I'm wondering what impact this is going to have on the election, and race relations in general...

Dan Moran said...

Congratulations! Superb news.

"I am a member of no organized political party. I am a Democrat." -- Will Rogers

Nothing much has changed there.

The gutlessness of Democrats has never ceased to amaze me. If I were them I'd be running ads tying Palin to white supremicists, I'd have a "Daisy" ad running talking about how shoot-from-the-hip McCain can't be trusted with nuclear weapons, I'd revisit the comments by various Republicans about how John McCain as commander in chief scared the hell out of them, I'd revisit him calling his wife a cunt in front of reporters ...

Nasty stuff, but it works. The people who vote but barely pay attention, pay attention to that stuff. It's why Kerry and Gore lost.

Josh Jasper said...

Obama did reference Palin by name in that speech. He defended her from the crowd's booing. Which goes to show that's he's a gentleman of exceptional quality.

I too am disgusted at factionalism among Democrats. i just read a blog-post reply from a person who identified as a Democrat, but said that he wasn't going to donate to Obama unless Obama got nastier in his ads.

What is wrong with some of these people?

I am now the story editor on "Hannibal" at BET.

AWESOME! Congratulations! Did you get to meet Vin Diesel? I hear he's behind it.

Josh Jasper said...

Dan - you mean this story?

(SATIRE, folks)

Mr. Bill said...

With regards to "lipstick on a pig", of course the Republicans are taking it as a slam on Governor Palin. It was Palin herself who compared herself to a pitbull with lipstick in her introductory speech @ RNC. The Republican spin monsters are ignoring Senator Obama's policies comparison and making it out to be a not-so-veiled insult to Governor Palin.

@dan moran -- the reason you don't see nasty Democratic attack ads is that Senator Obama eschews "help" from the independently-funded 527 groups. He's running a much cleaner campaign, and, as such, isn't appealing to the lowest common demoninator of the electorate.

Shady_Grady said...

Congratulations on your good news Steve.

Obama has been trying to run an above the fray campaign. I don't think that will work.

He needs to make sharper distinctions between himself and McCain/Palin. He needs to go after them with everything he's got.

Certainly the Republicans who are calling him uppity or making fun of his "big lips"

College Republican Resigns

or what have you aren't going to stop with the underhanded ugliness.

It's harder for Obama to get aggressive and make distinctions when he's undercutting his base by selling out on FISA, saying "the surge succeeded beyond our wildest dreams" or talking about expanding the war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan.

The antiwar progressives are a large part of what helped Obama win the nomination and since that time he's disassociated himself from that group as much as possible.

That may well be a winning strategy. Time will tell. But certainly people who voted earlier for Obama for issues on which he's either changed his mind or issued 'clarifications' have the right and duty to reconsider their support. Obama is not owed anything.

Palin is under investigation for abuse of power claims. Obama should be talking about that as much as he can. He should talk ad nauseaum about Palin's anti-choice positions.

Gore and Kerry didn't show enough fight.

What Obama needs to hear...
The Chicago Way!

lynn said...

I'm afraid Obama does need to get more aggressive to win. It's downright depressing. People say they want less mudslinging but then they vote for the best mudslinger.

Frank said...

Congratulations Steve.

It must be very satisfying to now know that your big move has paid off the way you had envisioned.

Vision, hard work and commitment pay off more often than not.

Having a great team mate doesn't hurt either.

Well done. Both of you.

AF1 said...

Congrats, Steve. Hannibal sounds like a kick ass project to be a part of.

re: the politics....you have said that the US will get the president it deserves. I am starting to think that is 100% right.

Marty S said...

I think all this negativity on both sides about the other is over the top. We would all be better off if both sides would stick to putting their agenda out there for us to evaluate and stop looking to hit on the other side. My sister, who's a moveon.org support keeps fowarding me messages from them and I find them disgusting. My son's father in-law keeps fowarding me stuff from rightwing organizantions and they are equally disgusting. Its very depressing.

Lester Spence said...

congratulations!

mjholt said...

Great going Steve. Good fortune on Hannibal.

The "lipstick on a pig" comment responses are just nuts to me. I use that phrase all the time in my work as a management consultant. When I read the context of the statement, it seemed to me that he was referring to the Repub campaign as the pig.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Congratulations!

It's not really about the guy running, and never is. It's about the citizens. And you know what? If Democrats don't get that, then they don't deserve to win.

Then I can only hope that the D's win without deserving to -- I don't think you can have a national political party without some childish people in it.

Well, I'm also hoping that childishness on the R side will hurt them, and the bit about lipstick on a pig is a remarkable example.

Josh Jasper said...

Lynn - I'm of a mixed mood about Obama needing to get more negative. one of the reasons he's my candidate in a way that Clinton and Kerry were not is how much integrity he's showing by not getting nasty.

If he looses because he wasn't putting out enough attack ads, we as a nation deserve the President who did, and the results of that presidency. Just like we deserve Bush because not enough people in America saw what he was doing as wrong.

Dan Moran said...

Josh, gotta tell you, that "lose with dignity thing" is one of the reasons people don't vote Democratic. No one wants a good loser in the White House -- they might very reasonably vote for a 72 year old mean as a snake bastard with a pitbull in a skirt as his #2, before voting for a good loser, no matter how qualified he might otherwise be.

John Kerry should have challenged George Bush to a cage match. Jokingly ... but he should have done it. If the pair of them had gone into a small room alone, the whole world knows which one was the killer who'd walk out alive. But Kerry couldn't/wouldn't make that case, and he lost as a result.

I'm tired of fucking nice guys. Bill Clinton was a pig but he wasn't nice. It's why Republicans hated him so much, and why he won.

Josh Jasper said...

Dan, I'm coming around to the idea that if we don't want a president with dignity, we will be a nation without one. I want Obama to win very badly, but one of the reasons I like him at all is because of his dignity.

If he stoops to McCain's level, I'll loose some of that respect for him, and if the reason McCain gets ahead in the polls is because he gets nasty in ways Obama won't, then the fundamental flaw is with Americans, not Obama.

suzanne said...

If he stoops to McCain's level, I'll loose some of that respect for him, and if the reason McCain gets ahead in the polls is because he gets nasty in ways Obama won't, then the fundamental flaw is with Americans, not Obama.

I cannot accept this!
I don't deserve the McCain-Palin ticket
and if they win I and everyone else
who didn't vote for them will lose
and yes those who did
will also lose

lynn said...

I don't want Obama to stoop to McCain's level but I do want him to win so... I don't know. Actually I don't think getting nasty would work at this point anyway. Everyone would consider him a hypocrite and they would be right.

Only (approximately) half of America deserves McCain. I really hope it's a little less than half this time.

Dan Moran said...

The budget deficit will be half a trillion dollars next year. Four more years of Republican rule will gift us with another 2 trillion in deficits, plausibly. My children, my five children, are currently carrying 33 thousand dollars in debt, each, as a gift from two generations of Republican fiscal policy.

Another 6K in debt, per child, over the next four years, for what? So that Obama can say at the end that he was "better" than his opponent?

This shit drives me crazy. I think there's a real disconnect in people's minds -- despite being politically informed, they really don't see the connection between policy and the shit in their own life. Mom died earlier than she should have because there was no medical care for her? Yeah, but we're better than them.

You couldn't send your kid to college because tuitions have quadrupled in the last 20 years? Yeah, but we're better than them.

Couldn't buy braces for my daughter because you were paying too much for gasoline? Hey, the kid might be ugly, but at least you're better than those Republican bastards.

All that and more, and for what? For a false sense of superioriority, so we can identify with "nice" Obama instead of that "pig" Bill Clinton? That pig Bill Clinton (and he was that, for reasons having nothing to do with his conduct in elections) ... that pig made your lives hugely better. No soldiers' children were orphaned in psychotic wars during his watch. There was no wave of foreclosures (due directly to conservative borrowing) on his watch. Gas was $2 a gallon. Food prices were reasonable. Housing prices were reasonable.

Sure ... if this country elects John McCain, it deserves what it gets. Even the stupid working class conservatives who vote for him deserve what they get. But probably nobody deserves it more than the people who are proud of Obama, or Kerry, or Gore, for not "stooping."

I'm insanely tired of Democrats who are too good for politics.

Losing well is losing.

Josh Jasper said...

suzanne - Not you personally deserve it, but America, as a county will.

Dan -
I'm insanely tired of Democrats who are too good for politics.


I'm getting tired of American politics, and Americans who vote based on sleazy attack ads. It's not a false sense of superiority, or any sense of superiority that has me this tired.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Dan, what have you got in mind? There's a range of things the D's could be doing that are they aren't-- withdrawal of courtesy, insults, lies in their own names, covert lies, nonsense, election fraud.... This probably isn't an exhaustive list, but it'll do to get started.

What do you think is necessary to win? Is there anything you think is so unethical that it isn't worth doing?

Dan Moran said...

Jason, Nancy, apologies. Coming back to this thread hours later, my comments sound personal -- they weren't intended that way.

Nancy, there's plenty of perfectly ethical stuff Obama could be doing, that he's not.

One of the classic Republican tactics is to attack a candidate not where he's weak, but where he's strong. It works. McCain's the "safe" commander in chief, and Obama and the idiots running his campaign have decided to concede that for fear of not looking "nice."

This is downright crazy. A steady drumbeat about McCain's competency to be CIC would work and wouldn't require lies.

-- he's too old. No need to push that one lightly; run with it. Find pictures of him falling asleep, push them. When the 3 A.M. call comes, do you want someone who can't shake himself awake quickly?

-- He's a bitter, angry man who can't control his temper. Called his wife a cunt in public. Has screaming matches -- with McCain doing all the screaming -- when people disagree with him. Screamed "Fuck you" at John Cornyn, a fellow Republican. Called Pete Domenici, a fellow R, an "asshole" repeatedly. Called Sen. Chuck Grassley a "fucking jerk." Actually had a scuffle with 92 year old Strom Thurmond -- what, he couldn't find any puppies to kick?

There's tons of that stuff out there. One republican Senator said McCain as CIC scared the hell out of him. Why isn't that running in ads 24/7 in swing markets?

-- He's a liar who twists in the wind. I could come up with 20 easy examples, but I assume you all know how to use "the Google."

McCain doesn't. Because he's Too Old.

The simple narrative is: John McCain is unfit to be CIC because he's too old, too angry, and too unstable. It's a winning argument ... an election winning argument. It's a narrative ... which Obama and his crew apparently don't know how to establish.

McCain's running uphill in this election and it might not matter that Democrats in general don't know how to street fight. (Or worse, think it's a virtue.) But this election shouldn't even be close, and wouldn't be if Lyndon Johnson were running it.

When Lyndon Johnson ran for Congress he told his staff to spread the rumor that his opponent fucked pigs. Johnson's staff said essentially, "You know that's not true."

Johnson replied, "I know. I just want to make him deny it."

Obama doesn't have to be Lyndon Johnson. But being a great transformative candidate does him and us no good if he doesn't win the damned election.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Dan, thanks. That all sounds reasonable and ethical. It just isn't nice, but I've never trusted the "no negative campaigning" idea. It just leads to playing gotcha.
Negative is fine with me as long as it's true and relevant.

If the idea is to run hard against McCain for being too old, then it's crucial to run just as hard against Palin.

Meanwhile, things like taking people off the registered voter list because their house is in forclosure need to be opposed. I recommend reading the comments, too-- there are suggestions (especially from Votekeeper) on methods.

Shady_Grady said...

The Obama campaign says it will sharpen tone and attacks on its rival but is not going to make a major strategy shift.

Obama's Sharper Tone

For what it's worth the local Republican Party says it has no plans to challenge based on foreclosures.

Misquoted?

Marty S said...

The truth and the distortions you get when you read/listen to left and right leaning sources are two different things. Last night I was listening to an analysis of Sarah Palin's first one on one interview on MSNBC by some MSNBC correspondent and Barbara Walters. They discussed her response to a question about the "Bush Doctrine". I got a very negative reaction to that response. Then this morning CNN replayed the actual question and response. I got really angry at the distortion I heard on MSNBC the previous night and my negative reaction to what Palin said turned positive.

Mike Ralls said...

The Democratic brand, for my entire lifetime, has been a weaker Presidential Brand than the Republican one. The Republican brand is battered and bruised right now, and the Democrats still can't get a clear and decisive lead. I think this is because liberals are in a weaker political position than conservatives because more people in America self-identify as conservatives (36%) than liberals (19%), with the largest number self-identifing as moderates (40%).

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=285

(That may have changed some recently, but not a deep change and not for long I bet).

If Democrats wanted a shoe-in, they should have nominated a conservative Democrat, preferably a Southern governor. They decided that they could afford to nominate a further left candidate this year, while the Republicans nominated the most moderate candidate they could hope for. And now a competitive race is on.

In their guts I just don't think liberals realize what a weak position they are in. They still seem to think FDR's coalition is their just waiting for a liberal enough candidate to bring it back to full life.

Also, a Democratic candidate peaking early and then losing votes the closer it got to the election is SOP. I can't recall an election the last time that didn't happen. The proper response three months ago to looking at polls saying Obama had a 5% lead over McCain should have been, "Only 5%! We're in serious trouble! We need to swing towards the center and screw the base, ASAP."

Steve Perry said...

Problem with the question about the Bush Doctrine, if you watched the vid, is that Palin, from the look on her face, didn't know what it was.

That's why she was catching flak. If you are gonna be a heartbeat away from being CiC, you would think that you'd know what the foreign policy of the current President is.

She didn't say it, but she might as well have: "The Bush Doctrine? What is that?"

She vamped when Charlie Gibson pressed her. And he he gave her enough of a clue for her to scramble and come up with something, but it was like watching a deer in the headlights.

Josh Jasper said...

I thought Palin's repose to the question of should we attack terrorists in Pakistan without invitation was interesting, because the same thing she said was criticized by McCain for coming out of Obama's mouth.

But really, the election is about McCain and Obama. Not Palin.

Dan Moran said...

And by Jason, I mean "Josh."

I can't get my sons names straight either.

Dan Moran said...

In their guts I just don't think liberals realize what a weak position they are in. They still seem to think FDR's coalition is their just waiting for a liberal enough candidate to bring it back to full life.

Shrug. The Republican coalition of the last forty years is hanging on by its fingernails, and Republicans are whistling in the dark about it. If they can't reach out to non-white voters, they're done. So far they've done a dreadful job of it.

It's odd, Mike, but the liberal brand did just fine in '06 in regional elections. In fact, it kicked the conservative brand's butt. It looks to do the same again in '08, too.

I grant you the point about general election positioning. I genuinely admire Republican willingness to swallow hard and vote for a guy a lot of them hate -- not in the general, but in the primaries -- to have their best possible shot at winning during a year that's poisonously bad for Republicans. Republicans are serious about their politics. I wish Dems were.

Marty S said...

Steve: First of all I watch an hour or more of news everyday and I watch multiple sources. I can't ever remember hearing of a Bush doctrine before this so if she hadn't heard of it either I wouldn't be surprised.
Secondly, when I googled Bush doctrine I read three or four different definitions as to what that doctrine was comprised of, so even if I was aware that something called the Bush doctrine existed I would have ask for clarification before I answered a question about it. When she answered the question as the interviewer defined the doctrine in my opinion she answered firmly and appropriately given that definition of the doctrine. Finally, if she knew exactly what the Bush Doctrine was, she would still have been smart to ask the question so viewers of the interview would know what was meant by the Bush Doctrine and understand her answer in context.

Steve Perry said...

Well, I'd heard of it. And whether you have or not, Palin should have. The woman might be President if circumstance not that unlikely came to pass.

You can spin any way you want, but she wasn't asking for clarification to educate her audience. She didn't have a clue.

Look at her face. She. Didn't. Know.

Deer in the headlights. (If she was hunting, she'd shoot it. She hasn't risked unscripted interviews until now, and I can see why. I only hope the American public can, too.)

Oh, and it is about Palin and Biden, as well -- who the head honcho chooses as a back-up might never matter, but if you need it, you will need it a lot.

Picking a running mate who doesn't have the chops speaks to your ability to make the right choices.

It matters.

Mike Ralls said...

> The Republican coalition of the last forty years is hanging on by its fingernails,<

Mmm . . . Can you explain what you're seeing there? I don't see any major fault lines that would result in the current Republican coalition breaking up within the next 10 years and 10 years is a long time in politics.

And of course in 2010 the new census will happen which will give more political power to the red-states (they are growing in population vs a vs the blue states, another Republican advantage).

> If they can't reach out to non-white voters, they're done.<

Depends on your scenario and time-frame really.

What do you call someone in 2050 who has one grandparent who is Asian, one who is Hispanic, and two who are white?

My guess? You'll call them white same as we called someone with one Irish grandparent, one German grandparent, and two English-decent grandparents white in 1900. Irish weren't considered white in 1850, but 50 years later they were. Being "white" is a social label after all and it has changed and will change with time. Ben Franklin didn't even consider the Swedes white!

Hispanics and Asians show show every sign of fully assimilating into white America as fast if not faster than Germans and Italians did at the turn of the last century (third-generation Hispanics and Asians are just as likely to marry a non-Hispanic or a non-Asian as they are members of their own ethnic group for instance, which was not always true of 3rd generation Germans and Italians).

> It's odd, Mike, but the liberal brand did just fine in '06 in regional elections. In fact, it kicked the conservative brand's butt. <

Relatively speaking, it didn't. The Democrats had a perfectly average mid-term election victory, and that was running against an unpopular president in the midst of a war that many felt we were losing. The party holding the Presidency in a mid-term election almost always looses seats. If it doesn't, that's a really bad sign for the opposition. I guess it depends on if you think having what happens in 9 out of 10 mid-term elections shows that a brand is kicking another brand's but or not. I don't. I think it shows a "return to normalcy" after the abnormal 2002 mid-term election where the President's party gained seats in both house a senate, the first time that has happened since 1934.

And of course that was Democrats, not just liberals, who won in 2006. 9 Dem seats were won by Blue Dog Democrats.

If we are looking at liberals alone then it's telling that liberals didn't achieve enough seats to pass anything really significant and liberal. Pretty much every significant liberal effort they tried to do over the last two years died one way or another. That's not a sign of a strong brand.

And of course, Congress is even more unpopular than President Bush. Again, not a sign of a strong brand.

> It looks to do the same again in '08, too.<

Actually it's looking more and more competitive;

http://www.gallup.com/poll/110263/Battle-Congress-Suddenly-Looks-Competitive.aspx

Which is something that I was not expecting. I still think the Dems will retain control of congress, but if they don't it will not flabergast me. Given the economy, voter fatigue, an unpopular sitting president, that polling data is not a sign of a strong brand.

> I wish Dems were.

Me too actually. It would make the feedback cycle more efficient, and hence be in the long term interests of the nation.

Dan Moran said...

> The Republican coalition of the last forty years is hanging on by its fingernails<

Mmm . . . Can you explain what you're seeing there?


Just demographics. You can project that Latinos will become white, that Asians will become white, etc. But it's not happening yet. Latinos in particular are both an increasingly large part of the electorate, and increasingly Democratic. The hard core of the Republican party is virulently anti-immigrant, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

I don't see any major fault lines that would result in the current Republican coalition breaking up within the next 10 years and 10 years is a long time in politics.

Breaking up, probably not. They'll hang onto a losing forumula for a long time before they'll really try something different.

Right now, Democrats have a bigger majority in the House than Republicans had at any time during their 12 years in power.

And of course in 2010 the new census will happen which will give more political power to the red-states (they are growing in population vs a vs the blue states, another Republican advantage).

Shrug. The old Confederacy will stay Republican forever, most likely. But the West is going Democratic, and the North has gone.

Hispanics and Asians show show every sign of fully assimilating into white America as fast if not faster than Germans and Italians did at the turn of the last century

Tie it to voting. At least so far, you can't. The net result is a huge wave of new Democratic voters.

> It's odd, Mike, but the liberal brand did just fine in '06 in regional elections. In fact, it kicked the conservative brand's butt.<

Relatively speaking, it didn't.


Republicans spent the runup to the '06 election bragging about how redistricting had made them bulletproof. And there's zero doubt that massive Republican redistricting helped contain the bleeding -- but any election in which you manage to lose control of both houses of Congress is an asskicking, period. A pile of conservative bloggers said as much.

And of course that was Democrats, not just liberals, who won in 2006. 9 Dem seats were won by Blue Dog Democrats.

Yeah, yeah. They're liberals when you're running against them, conservatives when you lose to them. "We sucked but our ideology is strong!"

Conservative ideology is an interesting collection of good ideas that conservatives lie about holding to, and bad ideas that they vigorously push.

And of course, Congress is even more unpopular than President Bush. Again, not a sign of a strong brand.

Winning elections is a sign of a strong brand. Congress has a rotten approval rating because people like me want them to impeach Bush, and they haven't.

This is a generational war. Liberals a decade ago had no money and no organization and major media companies were working hard to keep it that way. It's no accident that when the enabling tool of the internet came along, suddenly liberals had ideas again ... or at least, could get their ideas heard. The mainstream media which conservatives hate so much hasn't had real liberals on the air in two generations.

Actually it's looking more and more competitive

Shrug. You've had one good polling cycle in the last six months, in the week after your convention.

Dan Moran said...

Absent those new district lines, says the American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein, "it could easily have been 45 or more." And there are other results that break with past patterns, Ornstein adds. Democrats did not lose a single seat — a feat the party had not accomplished since 1922. Even in the Republican sweep of 1994, the G.O.P. lost four of its open seats to Democrats. What's more, the wave swept all the way down the ballot — for instance, handing the New Hampshire House to the Democrats for the first time since 1922.

Historic, epic asskicking.

Frank said...

Mike Ralls

The Democratic brand, for my entire lifetime, has been a weaker Presidential Brand than the Republican one. The Republican brand is battered and bruised right now, and the Democrats still can't get a clear and decisive lead. I think this is because liberals are in a weaker political position than conservatives because more people in America self-identify as conservatives (36%) than liberals (19%), with the largest number self-identifying as moderates (40%)

I get blue in the face saying this (was that a pun?), but Democrats keep losing the Presidency precisely because they keep presenting far left candidates to a center right country. Mike has it correct.

And the reason for that is that the core of the primary-voters are leftist activists. This creates a problem right away because primary candidates have to run left during the primaries then run to the center to win the election.

This is obviously a problem.

And while this is somewhat true as well for Republicans, I have shown on a number of occasions that the Republican base isn't as "conservative" as people make them out to be. After all, they nominated McCain.

But the fact remains that unless and until the Democratic Party jettison's the Left wing of it's Party, or at least neutralizes it, this problem will keep recurring.

Notice that Clinton won by adopting positions of the Right; his so-called "triangulation". He was a Center Left candidate which, along with help from Perot, was enough to win.

If Democrats wanted a shoe-in, they should have nominated a conservative Democrat, preferably a Southern governor.

I argue that this is a direct result of the undue influence of the Leftist activists.

Shady_Grady said...

One way in which the Republican coalition might break up is the increasing economic stress faced by middle class and lower class families.

The book "Grand New Party" argues that an economic agenda more in tune with middle/working class families is in order. The authors are Republicans.

http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780385519434-0

The other way the Republican coalition might break up is that the social conservatives, big business conservatives, the neo-cons, the paleo-conservatives and the libertarian or free-market conservatives are all seeking progress on issues that in some cases are anathema to their fellow conservatives.

Immigration "reform" is the most obvious example of this. Business interests want more cheap labor and will continue to push for this. Social conservatives can't tolerate the idea of amnesty for lawbreakers and mutter nasty things about changing demographics. Some traditional conservatives (Buchanan, Raimondo) are aghast at the deficits that Bush has run up and his claims for an imperial presidency.

Some social conservatives don't think that Bush went far enough on issues dear to them like abortion, contraception or gay marriage while some libertarians view such issues as irrelevant.

Until it became apparent that Obama would be the nominee (and even for some time afterwards) many conservatives were less than enthusiastic about the McCain campaign. Limbaugh was saying McCain's nomination would destroy the GOP. Dobson was adamant that he wouldn't vote for McCain. Palin is a nod to them and similar thinkers. She gets the social conservative base energized.

Mike said...

> But it's not happening yet.

Well whites not being the overwhelming majority isn't happening yet either. It's what the trends show to be happening though.

>Republicans spent the runup to the '06 election bragging about how redistricting had made them bulletproof<

More fool them.

>any election in which you manage to lose control of both houses of Congress is an asskicking, period.<

Only if you hold it by a huge margin. Otherwise it's a standard fluctuation within the means of previous fluctuations.

> Winning elections is a sign of a strong brand.<

Your right, but notice you said elections. Plural. Your trying to draw data from a sample of one, which is never a good idea.

If winning elections is a sign of a strong brand, then a brand which won the 7 of the last 10 elections would be the stronger brand, right?

> Historic, epic asskicking.

Over the last 17 mid-term elections the party of the president lost and average of 28 seats in the House. Dem gains in 2006? 30.*

Woo! A victory that is 7% above the average surely deserves to be considered epic and long remembered in song and verse!

* I'm cherry-picking here. They did 50% better than average in the Senate. Still, as a whole 2006 was not that huge compared to 1994 or 1974, or 1958 or 1946 or 1942.

Mike said...

>Palin is a nod to them and similar thinkers. She gets the social conservative base energized.<

And she's done that in spades. I take this as a sign that the Republican coalition is strong. The base _has_ rallied behind McCain, someone who they liked about as much as the Democratic base liked Lieberman. That to me is a sign of a strong coalition, when the people who were expected to be sulking aren't.

Pretty much all the conflicts you talk about have been around for a generation now, yet they've held together. I think they'll hold together for a while longer.

In a country as big and as diverse as America, if you want to get 51+% of the vote you have to have a coalition filled with people who have lots of disagreements. It's getting them to work together that is the key.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

First of all I watch an hour or more of news everyday and I watch multiple sources. I can't ever remember hearing of a Bush doctrine before this so if she hadn't heard of it either I wouldn't be surprised.

I don't watch any TV news at all, and I'd heard of it. I'm really surprised that anyone running for VP wouldn't know what it is, especially since I don't see myself as that much of a policy wonk.

I'm sure I remember reading about it in both the NY Times and the LA Times, for example, repeatedly; it's really not too esoteric knowledge for someone who may be making major foreign policy decisions really soon if McCain dies to have.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Democrats keep losing the Presidency precisely because they keep presenting far left candidates to a center right country.

2004: Substantial anti-Iraq War sentiment propells Howard Dean to an early lead in Democratic polls. But he fades in favor of John Kerry. John Kerry, who has voted for the Iraq War, and hasn't disavowed that vote. John Kerry, war hero. John Kerry, experienced candidate. John Kerry, pretty much a centrist in relation to that year's Democrat field. Remember, "dated Dean, married Kerry"? And yet Kerry lost.

The Democrats haven't been presenting far left candidates. Certainly not even close to the farthest left candidates in the primaries. (How well did Al Sharpton fare? Jesse Jackson? Notice how much more centrist Obama is in his positions than either of them.) The candidates do, of course, tilt left during the primaries and then try to swing right again in the general (with Republicans doing the reverse). And they are, of course, portrayed as far left by Republicans, once the general comes up, by cherry picking their voting records. But far left? Hardly.

(Actually, Dean wasn't particularly far left, either, if you looked at, say, his economic proposals or his position on gun control. Just strongly against the Iraq War. But he was perceived as the "left" candidate with the best chance of getting the nomination, while Kerry was perceived as the more centrist contender, as well as the guy whose war hero cred was going to win the general, and Democrats buckled down and voted for Kerry.)

There are no Democratic candidates available who won't be portrayed by Republicans as far left once we get to the general election. Don't exist. Couldn't vote for them if we tried.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Heck, even Lieberman was argued to be far left, by Republicans, when he was running as Kerry's VP.

Frank said...

Lynn Gazis-Sax

I don't watch any TV news at all, and I'd heard of it....I'm sure I remember reading about it in both the NY Times and the LA Times

Maybe you know what it is, but Charlie Gibson doesn't. Governor Palin was smart to ask Gibson how he defined it. And Gibson answered her in this way:

The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

But Gibson himself defined the Bush Doctrine in 2001 as

"He also outlined what is being called the Bush Doctrine, a promise that all terrorists organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated."

Bob Woodward defined it in 2002 as follows:

"This is now the Bush Doctrine . . . , namely that if we're attacked by terrorists, we will not just go after those terrorists but the countries or the people who harbor them."

Which is funny precisely because before Gibson corrected Gov Palin, her answer was this:

I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation.

In fact, as Charles Krauthammer points out, there have been four distinct "versions" of the Bush Doctrine over the years and not one of them is as Charles Gibson defined it though there have been versions that that are in line with Gov Palin's version.

And the Bush Doctrine that existed in 2002 is as Gov Palin defined it.

And while you may know what Charles Gibson meant, those of us who pay attention to politics would have a difficult time answering the question. As Ben Smith of the Politico points out:

the Bush Doctrine exchange was “not a great moment” for Palin. But he conceded that critics are unfairly “pouncing on Sarah Palin’s apparent unfamiliarity with the Bush Doctrine as last night’s gaffe.”

“This isn’t an easy question,” Smith noted. “Commentators have offered a range of meanings for the phrase, from the principle that countries that harbor terrorists are responsible for their actions to broader statements about the spread of freedom.”


So it seems that it was a good idea for Palin to find out what it was that Charles Gibson meant by that.

And Gibson got it wrong.

Frank said...

For reference, the complete exchange between Gov Palin and Charles Gibson goes like this:

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?
GIBSON: The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?
PALIN: His world view.
GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.
PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

Steve Perry said...

Holy Smokes, Bullwinkle!

The woman isn't just a lightweight, she makes helium look like heavy metal. How do they keep her from floating away? Lead in the glasses?

The R's should let her talk more. Lots. It won't matter to the hardcore right who will vote for her if she's caught robbing Fort Knox, but it might to the swing voters who pay attention.

Cranky old, ill-tempered man and the beauty queen, want to give us for more years of Bush's policies.If God is truly on their side, I'll just make my reservations for Hell now, and avoid the rush.

Ick. Ick!

Marty S said...

Frank's post coincides with what I have found. There are multiple versions of the "Bush Doctrine". This appears to me to be the case because in actuality there is no "Bush Doctrine". Some people have dubbed certain aspects of Bush's approach to foreign policy the "Bush Doctrine. I get the impression from my research of the past day that those who have so dubbed it are primarily liberals who oppose the policy and those who read liberal publications are most likely to be familiar with the term. In any case it is clear to me that it would have been foolish of her to answer the question without clarification of what this interviewer meant by the Bush Doctrine. I think that far from showing her from being a light weight, it showed she up to handling a difficult question without rushing to spew forth some unthoughtful answer.
By the way depending upon which version of the doctrine you put forth, I personally would give a different response, in some cases opposing and in some cases supporting

Josh Jasper said...

The "Bush Doctrine" debate is just noise. What's worth noting is that Palin echoed Obama's words on what to do in Pakistan - if we see terrorists, we hit them.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

when he was running as Kerry's VP

Self-correction: when he was running as Gore's VP. But still true.

Frank said...

Bad news for Dan....

A potential shift in fortunes for the Republicans in Congress is seen in the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, with the Democrats now leading the Republicans by just 3 percentage points, 48% to 45%, in voters' "generic ballot" preferences for Congress. This is down from consistent double-digit Democratic leads seen on this measure over the past year....

The positive impact of the GOP convention on polling indicators of Republican strength is further seen in the operation of Gallup's "likely voter" model in this survey. Republicans, who are now much more enthused about the 2008 election than they were prior to the convention, show heightened interest in voting, and thus outscore Democrats in apparent likelihood to vote in November. As a result, Republican candidates now lead Democratic candidates among likely voters by 5 percentage points, 50% to 45%.


One book each would be a wash, but two books, now that would be something...

Frank said...

Lynn Gazis-Sax

The Democrats haven't been presenting far left candidates. Certainly not even close to the farthest left candidates in the primaries.

And you use Kerry as an example of a not far-left candidate?

Vietnam Veterans Against the War Kerry? Winter Soldier Kerry? The one who testified that our troops "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country." That Kerry?

The same John Kerry who in 2006 said "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

The same John Kerry who, along with Tom Harkin met with Daniel Ortega?

The Kerry who's lifetime rating by the National Journal was the 11th most liberal member of the Senate?

The John Kerry who

Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP.

Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime.

Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions.

Rated F by the NRA

Supports assault weapons ban & Brady Bill.

Voted NO on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms.

Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.

Voted NO on more penalties for gun & drug violations.

Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record.

Voted YES on blocking medical savings accounts.

Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade.

Drilling for oil doesn't gain energy independence. (Oct 2003)

This is the JOhn Kerry you're attempting to pass off as a centrist?

Pagan Topologist said...

Thing is, Frank, those ARE centrist positions. Left wing positions would be things like advocating the nationalization of the airlines, as I do, or advocating a Canada style national health care system.

Frank said...

Pagan Topologist

Thing is, Frank, those ARE centrist positions.

Centrist positions within a Left wing party, perhaps.

But they are not centrist positions within the US.

And that, ultimately, is the problem for Democrats.

Pagan Topologist said...

As I see it, the only left wing party in the US is the Green Party. Trouble is, they support a weird mix of wonderfully sensible policies (wind power, for example) and total nutcase policies (opposition to nuclear power, for example.) More of the former than the latter, but enough of the latter to seem problematic to me.