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November 06, 2021

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Note also that, by doing those things, you help legislators in swing disteicts make the case during the next campaign that they are the sort of moderates (for lack of a better term) that their voters want. Which is in your interest, because progressives can't win there, but reactionaries could.

This should only be used tactically as a party, though, the same way that the progressive wing should not prevent a bill like infrastructure from passing with their "no" vote. Candidates in bluish purple districts (especially those trending towards blue) should try hard to make a case for the *get more next time* side and not for the *slow down change* side. The change you want must be normalized, not incrementalized.

Indeed. I was thinking more of folks representing otherwise very red districts. Say because a major flake got nominated against them last time. Every little bit helps for those cases.

In 2022 and 2024 I expect more examples of the MAGA folks making careful use of that gun rest strapped to their knee. The one that makes sure they won't miss their foot. Maybe not enough to hold the Congress. But possibly even enough to give the Democrats more cushion.

And more” seems to mean anything a centrist Republican ( to the extent they exist) want.

Oh come on. It has nothing to do with “centrists”.

It’s about what people can agree on. The stuff everyone can agree on is what’s most likely to happen. The stuff that only a few want is what’s not likely to happen. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s not unfair. It’s not anything but how human interactions work.

The stuff that only a few want is what’s not likely to happen.

Fair enough. What stuff would that be?

So only a few people want lower prescription drug prices. Sinema and Manchin were just spokesmen for the people. That’s the narrative switch.

From what I have read negotiating for lower drug prices was the most popular of all the proposals, but corporations don’t like it. What centrists working at the behest of their corporate donors want is what passes easily. Gigantic military budgets pass without a squawk about the deficit from all the deficit hawks in Congress or the press. We don’t have gigantic months long debates about it because our system reflects what most people want. I don’t think so. I don’t think most people pay close attention to what happens and what they prefer is mostly limited to showing up in poll questions. But people can be stirred up over culture war stuff and generalized concern about supposedly massive spending if it is for social programs and that happens a lot. So no, I don’t think our political system reflects what most people want. I think progressives are not as good at pointing out deficit hawk hypocrisy or other forms of manipulation.

But your claim has further implications. If we just had a competent set of Republicans in office or at least people willing to break with Trump, we’d be passing all the things most people really want. So either the Republicans become sane or the Democrats should go back to the 90’s strategy of chasing the center right voter because progressives are a whiny minority with no place to go.

Fair enough. What stuff would that be?

it's the set of stuff that enough people can agree on to get the required votes.

--

We don’t have gigantic months long debates about it because our system reflects what most people want.

we have those debates because that's how the 560+ people who matter get around to deciding what to do about big things.

So no, I don’t think our political system reflects what most people want.

the only people in this scenario are Congresspeople, because we don't have direct democracy. we get what they want, collectively.

So either the Republicans become sane or the Democrats should go back to the 90’s strategy of chasing the center right voter because progressives are a whiny minority with no place to go.

more progressives could get themselves elected. progressives could get good at persuading evil centrists* that their plans are good.

but right now they don't have the numbers to get all of what they want, so they have to settle for those things that they and everyone else can accept. this is how every negotiation works. it's not a conspiracy. it's not an evil centrist plot to keep them down. it's just democracy.

* who, we mustn't forget never have motives other than greed and corruption, right?

But the centrists (= the DNC) also for the most part control the money flow for election campaigns and attach strings to that (e.g. which consultants to hire and to obey).
So, progressives are at a strong disadvantage there and the Dem leadership is also not averse to (metaphorically) kneecapping them. AOC & Co. are not in their positions because the leadership wanted them elected but because they were unable to prevent it. Less openly brutal than on the GOP side but still rather what we would call 'hinterfotzig' in German.

First, we live in a country where things like managing prescription drug prices via public action and guaranteed parental leave are thought of as radical left ideas.

So, that’s the context.

Laws are made by cleek’s 560+ people. They are nominally the representatives of the actual human people who elect them, but in fact they have obligations to other parties as well. Their allegiances are divided between the folks who vote for them, and the folks who write them checks so they can afford to run for office.

We are, to a large degree, a nation governed by people who speak for moneyed interests of various kinds. Money makes the rules, to a degree that undermines or even negates the principle of representational republican governance.

There are ways to address this, but I don’t see that we have the will or discipline required to do it.

we live in a country where things like managing prescription drug prices via public action and guaranteed parental leave are thought of as radical left ideas

You know, for just a second I had a mind-cramp where this could have been part of the plot of a far-fetched dystopian futuristic novel...

From what I have read negotiating for lower drug prices was the most popular of all the proposals, but corporations don’t like it.

To be precise, pharmaceutical corporations dislike it. Other corporations, however, don't really have a problem with it. Since, after all, it would cut the costs of company health plans. (It's not like they are going to promptly roll the savings over into wage increases, so it's money in their pockets.)

Of course, said pharmaceutical companiea are Sinema's biggest donors by far....

We are, to a large degree, a nation governed by people who speak for moneyed interests of various kinds. Money makes the rules, to a degree that undermines or even negates the principle of representational republican governance.

There are ways to address this, but I don’t see that we have the will or discipline required to do it.

As I recall, we did have the will and the discipline. Then came Citizens United.

"we live in a country...."

I read this article and THEN scrolled up and looked at the byline:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/11/scary-future-american-right-national-conservatism-conference/620746/

This one, too:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/caesarism-from-post-liberal-right/

"We live in a country" ... that has engendered, by some twisted, perverted logic that was embedded from the getgo in the cellular structure of the concept of Americanism, an appalling (when we get over the shock of being appalled, we'll get to the solution), fascist, right wing political movement, not the first time, but this one has what bookies would call "legs". It's everyone's fault but the conservative movement's. I'll take the blame, but never mind that. Young, handsome, pretty, designer jackbooted fuckers. Also, relentlessly cheerful, like SS troops supervising the digging of mass graves for Jews and throwing babies up in the air and catching them on the business end of their bayonets, and returning home to enjoy the western canon, much to the disappointment of the canon itself, the latter having been mistake for a cannon.

The only comfort I find in those articles is that Brooks, and by extension the remaining reasonable (talk about a word that is nothing more than a bloody sheet hung out of the Overton Window) conservatives form a kind of provisional demilitarized zone, like the one between the two Koreas, FOR THE TIME BEING.

The latter innocents will be killed first by the growing and malignant fascist right wing in America, so I'll have a bit of time to carry out what needs to be done before they get around to me.

As to Dreher, the coy, fake orthodox Christian, he'll go along with Deneen's and Ahmari's project to wipe history off the map all the way back to before the Enlightenment as long as those fucks eliminate Dreher's obsessional bugaboo .... everyone who can't quite decide between a pair of trousers and a dress when they leave the house in the morning.

In other news ... not really "other", but the same subhuman conservative shit, it's time Reps Omar and AOC strap on Second Amendment solutions and do a Rittenhouse on armed subhuman thug vermin who expressly threaten to murder them in the hallowed halls of the gummint that conservative filth don't want to pay for.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/morning-memo/omar-response-boebert-racist-jihad-squad

Not surprisingly, except to the mealy-mouthed, both-sides-do-it purveyors whose expressions are constantly frozen into a rictus of surprise at every newly upped ratchet of the conservative murder syndicate, Rittenhouse looks like he'll beat them to it in the now fully fetched nowtopian right this fucking minute reality show that has us in its vice-grip jaws.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/11/18/matt-gaetz-kyle-rittenhouse-congressional-intern/

Well, at least the next fascist insurrectionist band of tourists looking to hang Nancy Pelosi and company will have an armed greeter and guide to Democratic hidey-holes in the U.S. Capitol, that will be left as a burned-out hulk the next time the conservative movement moves again, if they aren't stopped cold right fucking now.

Remember the baby and the bathwater.

They are now one, having swallowed each other.

Throw.

So, Gaetz, Goser, and Boebert (Tucker Carlson is idling the getaway car in the alley for quick dispatch to the Trumpcave butlered by Mitch the Bitch) walk into a bar in the Bronx with AOC and Omar offering generous pours to their valued customers.

The three thugs state their business word for word from their twitter threads.

Quick edit to three bullet-riddled conservative corpses covered in sheets and being loaded into meat wagons for the ride downtown to the Coroner's office, probably in Texas, where lead poisoning among the true believers is not recognized among the causes of death, but rather as an admirable rapturing of soulless soles.

The getaway driver and his monied evil fucks get away.

Again.

Keep in mind that Citizens United also protects progressive and left-leaning nonprofits, labor unions, and reliably Democratic membership associations. Even that right-wing organization the ACLU was in favor of the ruling.

As I recall, we did have the will and the discipline. Then came Citizens United.

A result stemming from a court appointed President who nominated judges representing a distinct minority viewpoint, approved by a majority of senators representing a minority of our national population, who routinely go out of their way to make rulings favorable to ALLcorporate interests (many more than just Citizens United.)

But I guess we shall just have to settle. For do we not live in the best of all possible worlds? Resistance is futile.

The specific case of Citizens United WAS decided correctly (and that's what e.g. the ACLU agreed with). The problem was not the specific case but the unrequested extension/broadening.
Plus the 'reporting of money source optional' (by guys who knew exactly that the GOP and some Dems would block any attempt to make it mandatory. I would have bet a lot that the Court would have declared that part also unconstitutional, if Congress somehow made a law in that direction).

Keep in mind that Citizens United also protects progressive and left-leaning nonprofits, labor unions, and reliably Democratic membership associations.

Regardless of who benefitted, it was still a bad decision with bad, and entirely foreseeable, consequences. (Whether they were unintended consequences I cannot say.)

cleek: but right now [progressives] don't have the numbers to get all of what they want, so they have to settle for those things that they and everyone else can accept.

I know what you mean, cleek, but it's unfortunate that the grammar and vocabulary of political discourse can leave the impression that "progressives" want lower drug prices for themselves, climate change mitigation for their own private climate, and so forth.

Not that I know how I'd rephrase your comment, mind you. We argue using the language we have, not the language we wish we had.

--TP

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a38278097/marco-rubio-block-china-ambassador-nominee/

Further downside to this is that we won't have an Ambassador in Peking to ask, prior to launching of the nuclear war republicans will fucking give us, that they direct their ultrasonic nuclear warheads solely to conservative-congested red states to incinerate the malignant villains, saving us the time.

Trump schooled Rubio on how to jack off small change with smaller hands.

Deport the shit heel back to Cuba and let them snuff him.

This is back to another topic--racism, but here is a long link that I find really worthwhile. I haven't finished it.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2021/11/a-contentious-conversation-on-systemic-racism-in-america

BTW, Nathan Robinson is a complete asshole to his friends and my opinion of him dropped quite a bit recently, but he is still a good writer (albeit too longwinded) and a great interviewer.

Deport the shit heel back to Cuba and let them snuff him.

Seems more likely that they'd make him Minister of Information. His ability to ignore reality and spout nonsense with a straight face would be valuable enough for them to get past his family's fleeing the island a generation ago.

I find the Loury interview that Donald linked to above to be a deep, and honest back-and-forth on race and racism that is worthy of a deep dig. I disagree at many points with Loury and find his framing here to be a worthwhile intervention, but unjust and unhelpful in its asymmetry of judgment and consequence. Still a very worthwhile read for the nuance and framing.

I hope Robinson did provoke Loury to some deeper reflection and a better synthesis of the moral conundrum he's working on. It's clear Loury is working in good faith on these issues, but it also seems he's caught in his own double consciousness and feeling that parallax quite acutely in this moment.

but right now they don't have the numbers to get all of what they want, so they have to settle for those things that they and everyone else can accept. this is how every negotiation works.

If I keep coming at these arguments, it's because the UC-AFT just finished negotiating a contract full of things that were unacceptable to the university for 2.5 years.

https://calmatters.org/education/higher-education/2021/11/uc-lecturer-strike-2/

There is a need for compromise, but there is also a need for building strength and resolve, and creating public pressure. I see moderates focusing on the compromise, but squirming at the sharp elbows that build strength and galvanize a sense of purpose.

You cannot apologize yourself into a stronger position for negotiation. All you can do is settle for status quo.

You cannot apologize yourself into a stronger position for negotiation. All you can do is settle for status quo.

Or you can accept a compromise which gives you less (perhaps even far less) than you might like. And then use the success of the things that you did get to argue for getting more of the things you want.

Of course part of such an approach is that you have to limit (not eliminate, but limit) the sharp elbows you throw at those who agreed to the compromise but would not go further. It can be irritating to practice that kind of restraint.

All of this discussion seems to assume that all parties are equally committed to a deliberative process where everyone advocates for their point of view and the result is a sort-of common-ground consensus - the set of things that everyone can basically live with - and we move ahead from there.

What we actually have is a party that represents a minority of the population, but which has outsize leverage due to the structure of our political institutions (Senate, Electoral College) but which is furthermore determined to prevail through any means necessary, including passing laws to make it more difficult for people who don't happen to vote for them to vote, gerrymandering, replacing election officials with loyalists, etc.

Not to mention a coup attempt.

Our form of government works if all parties participate in good faith. All parties are not participating in good faith.

Not only are they not participating in good faith, their base threatens and in fact prepares for violence if they don't prevail.

I appreciate the calls for reasoned words to try to win over the less-rabid folks in the right wing. But I think we're past all that, at this point. I don't know where we are, exactly, nor do I have any bright ideas about how to function effectively in the current context.

But somewhere along the line, the option of reasoned discourse and persuasion was abandoned.

We're living in a weird time, I have no idea where it's gonna land.

unhinged?

Let me show you unhinged.

Dude's a US House Rep.

Not so much unhinged as out the door and down the rabbit hole. Unhinged would be a lot more attached to reality that is demonstrated there.

All of this discussion seems to assume that all parties are equally committed to a deliberative process where everyone advocates for their point of view and the result is a sort-of common-ground consensus - the set of things that everyone can basically live with - and we move ahead from there.

You will note that the discussion here was AFAICT about internal discussions within the Democratic Party. Because, as you say, people in the Congressional GOP with whom one can bargain in good faith are thin on the ground. (And definitely not being allowed into anything resembling a leadership position.)

You cannot apologize yourself into a stronger position for negotiation. All you can do is settle for status quo.

not sure if i'm advocating for apology.

but, the way you win negotiations is to have leverage. and progressive Dems simply do not don't have much of it because there aren't enough of them. they have the threat of taking down the caucus and definitely getting nothing, but that's stupid. so, they aren't going to get many wins for things that aren't supported by the rest of the Dem caucus. and, you can bet that all those evil corrupt centrist sell-out aren't getting everything they want either.

Dude's a US House Rep.

feels like all the Dems he showed have something in common. i just can't quite put my finger on it...

hmm

The weird thing about Crenshaw (the guy in the 'unhinged' video) is that, on policy, he's not that much of a nutjob.

He's very conservative, and he's a profound nationalist. He's not, however, down the QAnon rathole or similar, as far as I can tell.

Not my guy, but if I met him in person we could probably have a conversation.

So why the "Red Dawn" cosplay bullshit?

I appreciate his military service, but his opposite parties in the video - AOC, Schumer, et al - are not his freaking enemies. The antifa folks he parodies are not the ones walking around in public with AR-15's.

This isn't a fucking war. First person shooter games are not a useful model for governance. The people these people fantasize about killing are their neighbors.

Lately I find myself considering getting a firearms license and getting some basic tactical training. Which are things that are widely and readily available, even here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Because some knucklehead is gonna watch Crenshaw's video and decide that, hell yeah, what he or she really needs to do is go shoot some liberals.

This shit is not a joke anymore.

Conservatives need to get your people sorted out. Yeah, yeah, I know, BLM and antifa, both sides, blah blah blah.

Liberals in positions of public office and/or public responsibility are not talking about shooting conservatives.

Conservatives in positions of public office and/or public responsibility - the public faces of the positions you claim to endorse - regularly talk openly of violence against their counterparties.

It needs to stop. Like, 20 years ago. But now will do.

People Like Me have no influence over it. People Like You do. You tolerate it, you vote for the assholes who think all of this is a cute game and foster this kind of rhetoric and behavior.

I can't do a damned thing to make it stop. You can.

Make it stop.

I have zero interest in getting a firearm, zero interest in any of it. But how many times do I have to listen to the people you guys vote for threaten my life and the lives of people like me before I take it seriously.

A conversation under the threat of violence *is not a conversation*.

Make it fucking stop.

so, they aren't going to get many wins for things that aren't supported by the rest of the Dem caucus.

A few wins is better than none, no? The Progressive Caucus represents nearly 1/2 of the Dem caucus. To poo-poo their leverage is pretty astounding, given that 10 'moderates' basically started out with a blackmail threat...but what's a little treachery among allies? As for these centrists? Well, what, exactly, are they NOT getting out of this mess? They could have joined the PC and passed both bills with the caveat that the Senate would have to go along...thus maximizing whatever leverage the House had......but noooo. Now the whole caucus (voting on BBB tonight) is basically begging for something they all claim to support deeply, cross my heart, hope to lie. Way to go, moderates.

The PC played the hand they had to the hilt. Is that not what one is supposed to do? Good on them. They lost. But it is only one battle in what is a war about just what the fuck America is about. This is far from over.

Lately I find myself considering getting a firearms license and getting some basic tactical training. Which are things that are widely and readily available, even here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Alas, I have had the same thought. (The training is available here in the People's Republic of California as well.) It's been half a century since I had occasion to fire a gun; I'm thinking I'm probably a bit rusty.

The PC played the hand they had to the hilt. Is that not what one is supposed to do? Good on them. They lost.

On the contrary, they won. It wasn't a total victory; it won't be, even if the BBB bill passes. But a victory it was none the less. And frankly, it disrespects the PC to suggest otherwise.

“ And frankly, it disrespects the PC to suggest otherwise.”

It’s not about them. It’s about the issues.. it isn’t a sporting event.

It’s not about them. It’s about the issues.. it isn’t a sporting event.

No, it isn't sport. But I believe the analogy was to war -- see "battle" above. (The casualty numbers are far closer to a war than a sporting event, too.) Arguably, legislation is more like logistics than combat, but still it's all part of the same effort.

"It's been half a century since I had occasion to fire a gun; I'm thinking I'm probably a bit rusty."

I had the same situation and the same reaction, but it turned out that the "calming" effects of the intervening years has greatly improved my ability to put holes near the center of paper targets.

Not sure exactly what the criterion is for a US Army "marksman" badge, but if I haven't gotten there, I'm close.

It's fun, too.

The Progressive Caucus represents nearly 1/2 of the Dem caucus

fewer than 100 House members, and ... one Senator (who is only a Democrat when he needs the party infrastructure for elections).

they. don't. have. the. numbers.

But a victory it was none the less. And frankly, it disrespects the PC to suggest otherwise.

what the PC boosters want you to know is that any victory that requires compromise on anything is a complete loss.

what the PC boosters want you to know is that any victory that requires compromise on anything is a complete loss.

I'd noticed that propensity to make the pertect the enemy of the good.

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