Post-election links and open thread

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 · 16 Comments »

Here are a few interesting links from the roundup:

Many people on the left with whom I normally agree, such as Glen Ford at BAR, see Obama’s reelection as nothing more than the triumph of the status quo. And if you look at what Obama has actually done and proposes to do, there’s some undeniable truth to that. Nevertheless, I think Glen and others are missing the mark.

In the straitjacket semaphore world of voting, what happened yesterday was that the American people emphatically jerked their heads to the left. To the left. Go that way, go that way. See? Look at my shoulders. Look at my head. See the direction I’m pointing. That way. That way.

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16 Responses to “Post-election links and open thread”

  1. purplefinn says:

    Thanks for these. I am enjoying the Republican anguish over their well deserved defeats. However, I will not feel victory until the reversal of the rulings
    1) that corporations are people and

    2) that money is protected speech.

    Republicans lost big, but I’m not sure that the billionaires that control the three branches of government aren’t still comfortably determining policy.

  2. Violet Socks says:

    Yeah, I’m seriously worried about the Grand Bargain. In Obama’s victory speech last night (which was otherwise excellent), he mentioned the deficit at the top of things to work on. And today Boehner announced that under the right circumstances, Republicans are open to “new revenue” (i.e. taxes). And what might those circumstances be?

    I hope that the incoming Senate really will be more liberal, and that Obama and the rest of the Democrats will recognize that they’ve just received a mandate to maintain the New Deal and expand it. But I’m not counting on it.

  3. purplefinn says:

    I thought the victory speech had a lot more vitality and substance than his previous orations.

    Liberal, New Deal – your hopes give me some. We’ll see.

  4. Violet Socks says:

    I agree with you about his speech. It’s the most genuinely emotional speech I’ve ever seen him give. Rachel Maddow compared it to his 2004 oration, but she completely missed what was so different about it. When he gave that convention speech in 2004, I could see that he was aware of giving a great speech. (I’m an ex-actor, picking up on that stuff comes with the territory.) Last night his delivery was genuinely emotional. It really struck me, because genuine emotion is quite rare in politicians, even gifted orators.

    As for my hopes, well, as I said, I’m not counting on it.

  5. scott says:

    I liked the Friedersdorf piece because he made the point that conservatives have constructed their own world, immunce from self-examination or self-criticism, and are vulnerable to getting mugged by a reality they never saw coming. He’s right about the disservice that their hacks do them. The bit that made it ironic for me is that a lot of liberal blogs were complaining about the “hack gap” after Obama’s horrible first debate, arguing that if liberals had been more positive and less critical of Obama after the debate that his polls wouldn’t have taken a beating. I’m afraid that the liberal blogosphere, which was born of disenchantment with mainstream Democratic leadership bullshit and drift, is becoming nothing more than a breeding ground for hacks. Sites like this one where you can just talk about political things and how they strike you without toeing some party line are becoming rarer. A pity.

  6. tdraicer says:

    I agree a majority of the American people want us to go left. That was true in 2008 as well. But so what? Obama and the Dems are no more likely to listen now than they have the last four years. Instead, more Right-wing policies will be made “bipartisan” (almost the first word out of Obama’s mouth after winning).

    Breathe a sigh of relief if you must, but there is certainly nothing here to celebrate. In Obama’s case the emphasis in “lesser evil” is on the noun, not the adjective.

  7. albrt says:

    You need to imagine yourself in a straitjacket to rationalize voting for Obama?

    Not a good sign.

    You know what’s coming.

    Lots more extrajudicial killings all over the world, and a Grand Bargain that will make the original catfood commissioners blanche (however briefly).

  8. Violet Socks says:


    That word usually means making excuses, often with false arguments. I haven’t done that. I have tried to explain as clearly as possible my logic in choosing to vote for Obama. I’m not making excuses for it. I’m not even sorry.

  9. Alice Molloy says:

    When he first started talking I thought he looked and sounded like he’d been listening and watching hard to Bill Clinton.

  10. purplefinn says:

    Conservatives need to study Ayn Rand more closely.

    “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

    ― Ayn Rand

  11. cellocat says:

    You know, in the articles I’ve read about why the Republicans lost, I haven’t seen any mention of the Occupy movement, which seems like a key contributor to me. It helped change our national narrative, introduced many people to the concept of the 1%, and gave us the framing for the 47% remark by Romney. Seems like leaving it out of the post-election discussion is dishonest. The Occupy movement showed a lot of people that change is possible even against big powerful banks.

  12. Alison says:

    The Democratic Party has a mandate to move left, which I only hope they take advantage of. Last decade, the cowboy clown had TWO mandates to gut the working class, start wars on our young people’s credit cards, and give taxpayer money to billionaires. Hell, losing the popular vote is a mandate to the GOP. The Democrats can damn well have a mandate. They could move much farther left socially than they have, and become more economically progressive. What remains to be seen is whether or not they will capitalize on that mandate.

    Some Democrats are already predicting their party’s defeat in 2014 and envisioning an even more brutal, Tea Party sweep of Congress in the midterms. If you’ve decided to lose before you’ve given the election a shot, you might as well not even run. The Democrats have an opportunity to make the last 30-some years right…to make a case for economically progressive, anti-Reaganomics legislation that truly puts the needs of the 99% ahead of the 1%. They need to figure out how to sell progressivism to the broadest number of voters possible, and differentiate politicians like Elizabeth Warren, who are true populists, from politicians like Paul Ryan, who are faux (and Fox) populists. (If they manage to pull this off, and run the likes of Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016, I may actually change my voter registration, but for now, “No Party” will do just fine.)

    It’s funny: I’ve been seeing critics chide Elizabeth Warren because they perceive she is an elite, Ivy-League lawyer who sides with rich people, takes taxpayer money, and looks down her nose at the working class. Those of you who know her background can see the irony in that. And a good coalition of those same critics also want Obamacare overturned because there isn’t a public option. There is definitely a pool of voters who are angry, tired, and economically disenfranchised, but they have nowhere to turn, so they’ve sought false comfort in the military industrial complex and the corporate welfare state. Progressives can change that. We just have to figure out how.

    So, how can we do that? How can progressives, Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans who’ve been shut out by the Tea Party revolution reform the Democratic Party to become an even bigger tent – without compromising our values, setting women or the LGBT community back, or prioritizing corporations above people?

  13. scott says:

    I agree with Alison, and it’s been pointed out elsewhere. When Republicans win, by the narrowest of electoral vote margins in 2000 and 2004, they still have a mandate to be conservative. When Democrats win, the media immediately begin either denying they have any mandate or claiming that it’s a mandate for the center. But there’s no reason that a party and a president acting with the same self-confidence (minus the self-delusion) of the GOP in the last decade couldn’t act aggressively to promote their objectives.

    The only two problems I see that would prevent that approach are two: money and self-belief. The Dems decided back in the 1980′s that they would go after elite financial backing to keep the party funded, and both socially (these folks became their friends and associates) and as a matter of self-interest the party has pulled its punches on economic issues over that same period. The other, self-belief, is harder to pin down but very real. I’m 45, and ever since becoming politically conscious in the 80′s I became aware that many Dems view themselves in masochistic terms. For 30 years, I’ve seen a palapable feeling among them that they live in a center-right country where only limited progress can be made and that they have to live down some (mythical) McGovernite legacy of failure characterized by hippies, cultural excess, insufficient patriotism, etc. The dominant feeling wasn’t that we had ideas that we needed the country to know about or to act on, but that we should set those aside and tailor what we said to what we thought would be pleasing or at least non-threatening to the imagined Real Americans in the Heartland. We’ve had a full-fledged reactionary movement in this country for 40 years led by conservatives and funded by the wealthy, with no ideological response to it other than attempts to accept it, accommodate to it, and work around the margins for marginal progress. It would be nice to think it possible that the Dems could be more ambitious about rolling back the tide instead of retreating further inland, year after year. But you have to start by believing in your own ideas enough to try.

  14. anna says:

    I was really pleased with the local races.

    Women increased their numbers in the Senate (to 20) and in the House (to at least 77, with a few races still to be counted.) Elizabeth Warren became Massachusetts’ first female senator. Heidi Heitkamp became North Dakota’s first female senator. Mazie Hirono became Hawaii’s first female sneator. Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay senator, and Wisconsin’s first female senator, and she’s a progressive woman (and only 50 years old! Dare we dream of a run for President in 8 or 12 years?) New Hampshire became the first state with an all-female Congressional delegation (including representatives, senators, and the governor.) Rape-supporting pigs went down to defeat (including Todd Akin, Joe Walsh, Roger Rivard, Richard Mourdock, and Joe Koster. Linda McMahon, who argued that Catholic hospitals shouldn’t be required to give emergency contraception to women who’d been raped, also lost. Allen West however is demanding a recount, and Steve King won, as did Scott DesJarlais, who pressured his mistress, who was also a patient of his, into an abortion against her will.)

    Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote, in addition to Tammy Baldwin becoming the first openly gay senator. Stacie Laughton from New Hampshire became the first openly transgender state legislator in American history: And Kyrsten Sinema might become the first openly bisexual member of Congress in American history (her race is still being counted).

  15. anna says:

    Also Tulsi Gabbard became the first Hindu-American in Congress. She’s pretty liberal also. And Tammy Duckworth became the first disabled woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. She lost both her legs and part of her right arm serving in Iraq. And Mazie Hirono became the first Asian-American woman in the Senate.

  16. anna says:

    I meant John Koster not Joe Koster. Also rape apologist Tom Smith lost, ha ha.