A TEST OF ENDURANCE

So the Federal government is once again on the verge of shutting down – at least partially – if a House-Senate deal on funding disaster relief cannot be reached by Thursday.

I have to be honest: that sentence took me about 10 minutes to write. I lost interest in it so many times I could hardly focus long enough to finish it. The reason you have not heard much about the latest and impending "shutdown crisis" may be no more complex than simple fatigue. No one cares. The media lost interest after the debt ceiling three ring circus. People who follow politics have seen this show before and we already know the ending. Just cave in to the Tea Party and get it the hell over with.

On a personal level I've been dealing with this problem for the past year, a problem getting myself to pay attention to current political events as they get increasingly ridiculous. I'm supposed to be all earnest and deeply interested and devoting my mental energy to understanding this pseudo-gamesmanship as fully as possible. But I just don't care, because the outcomes do not vary. Cynicism always feels lazy in the realm of politics, yet I think we've reached the point at which it is warranted.

This is all academic, though. I can do my job and even keep up a reasonably interesting blog about politics without getting emotionally invested in congressional dick-waving and the antics of overgrown children in the world's most expensive sandbox. One thing I can't punt on is the election. And holy crap, people, am I going to have a hard time making myself take a detailed interest in this magnificent shitshow. Somehow I get the feeling that I am not alone.

The GOP, seeing Fred Thompson 2012 (aka Rick Perry) begin the crash-and-burn phase of his campaign, are furiously looking for yet another savior. The fact that they are begging Chris Christie to run is less a ringing endorsement of the New Jersey Governor than a tacit admission that their current crop of candidates is an embarrassment of historic proportions. Whoever the party ends up nominating, the majority of Republicans and potential Republican voters are going to be seriously unhappy and faced with the prospect of supporting a candidate they don't like.

Democrats already have their candidate, the guy who has spent three years giving the finger to all those people who went crazy for him back in 2008 (and in many cases devoted dozens or hundreds of hours to his election). His quest to win over moderates and independents by being all compromise-y and bipartisan-y has been a spectacular failure, meaning that he will need those core supporters from 2008 in order to survive the election with his 40% approval rating. Of course, they won't believe his happy horseshit and endless, empty speeches a second time. Most of them will sit this one out, and some portion of them will look at the nutbag nominated by the GOP and dejectedly agree to campaign for Obama one more time….

This is going to be little more than an endurance test, an obstacle course of empty promises, hollow rhetoric, inane commercials, manufactured controversies, and constant pleas for your time, money, and support from candidates who will produce indistinguishable outcomes if elected by catering to nearly identical special interests. Republicans are supposed to vote just to get rid of Obama. Democrats are supposed to vote just to keep the nutty Republican away from the White House. Everyone hates the person they're voting for, the process is interminable, nobody's happy at the end, and the whole thing somehow costs fifteen billion dollars and the better part of a year. Sounds like fun. Can't wait.

I don't think I can do it, people. I don't think I have it in me to take this sad excuse for a process seriously this time around.

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59 Responses to “A TEST OF ENDURANCE”

  1. Noskilz Says:

    Didn't Blue Oyster Cult have a song called "Going through the motions"?

    Sadly, I can't think of anything to make this Bataan Death March of reckless foolishness more appealing. Even if one decides not to take it seriously or just ignore it as much as possible, there will be real consequences to all these unreal antics – which kind of kills whatever amusement I might otherwise find in the show. I mean it really kills the mirth when one has to entertain the notion that not only are the GOP presidential contenders doing their best to become the extreme caricatures, but that there's a good chance that the GOP's mutant king will succeed instead of being so damaged as to never hold office again.

  2. roboteating Says:

    OMG RALPH NADER AL GORE 2000 911 FIREBAGGER BLARGY BLERG!!!!

  3. Elm Says:

    While I agree with the bulk of your post, I really hate to see you play the "indistinguishable outcomes" card. The Democrats currently or recently in office may not be doing/have done nearly what we on the left might wish them to in a lot of areas having to do with the economy, corporate regulation, civil liberties, income inequality, etc. (though remember that ought implies can), but at least they're doing a reasonable job of helping to hold back the tide of crazy on a whole host of fronts (teaching of evolution/science, school prayer/establishment of religion, public education, availability of birth control/abortion, rights of workers to organize, and so on and so on).

    Denying that there are significant policy-outcome differences between the parties is denying reality.

  4. RT Butte Says:

    I was pretty young when it happened, but it seems like Bush and his Criminal Cronies really doubled down hard on the evil during their second term.

    Maybe Obama will double down on mediocrity during his second term. What a wonderful prospect.

    @Elm,

    What you say is technically true: Democrats have been on the forefront of every single movement for social justice and equality in this country. While that's true, it completely neglects the spirit of the post: the "indistinguishable outcomes" card has been played because the same machine that spits out Republican assholes for us to vote for also spits out Democratic assholes for us to vote for. And since politics in this country is so far to the Right, the only real difference between parties is rhetoric. Republicans get a major boner for war, guns, hate, and fuck you while Democrats tend to enjoy a more sensitive approach. However, they still vote the same way, and that's to punch you right in the asshole with a horsedick so their rich friends can become richer. Same "fuck you", different dicks.

  5. baldheadeddork Says:

    Transformative periods in politics, when one ideology has run its course and the country is shifting direction, is always brutal. The side slipping out of power becomes more radicalized, and because of the dominance for the preceding two or three decades the institutions of society know nothing else but to see them as always right and inevitably in power. The early leaders on the opposite side, the emerging new majority, are usually too timid and too easy to bow to the opposition.

    Harry Truman is still right, if you know your history what is happening now is not new or different. Real conservatives hated Nixon because he was too deferential to Democrats in Congress and expanded government instead of undoing anything liberals had done for the preceding four decades. Real liberals responded to the country pulling away from them by becoming massive assholes and screaming at the top of their lungs. That was helpful.

    Barack Obama was never going to be our Reagan, because the country isn't ready for that yet. Our great liberal president will be the next one. But we don't get there unless we win this period first. Obama matters.

  6. Death Panel Truck Says:

    "I don't think I have it in me to take this sad excuse for a process seriously this time around."

    Then stay home. And then prepare to welcome your new Republican overlords. God, the butthurt just never ends with some of you people.

  7. wetcasements Says:

    Eh, "not take seriously" doesn't mean "sit on the sidelines."

    I can't speak for anyone but I think you're missing the point — Obama has made Americans even more cynical about the political system than Bush did.

    I mean c'mon, that's pretty astounding by any measure.

    Obama will get my vote for certain, but definitely not any of my cash or time.

  8. eau Says:

    I sympathise, but you covered the 2004 election between Cokey W. McDadson and that other guy… ahhhm… Kerry. Yeah, that's it, Kerry. Now there was a Democrat that inspired… something… I believe you were even pretty entertaining, if memory serves.

    Just take the piss out of everyone, and make with the pant-shitting jokes. If it aint broke…

  9. Middle Seaman Says:

    You all seem to be sitting pretty and discuss Obama and his close friends from the GOP in term of pro and cons. Well, the country is bleeding heavily. Way too many are unemployed, the banks are holding us by the short hairs, we are waring and whoring, inequality is now expressed on a logarithmic scale, there are no Democrats anymore, the media reports only on news Fox likes (no Wisconsin and little Wall Street protests), etc.

    Obama caused a terrible damage, the GOP may be great if Bismarck were still 16. No, I am not disinterested. I am fine financially as are my kids and grand kids, but I am angry. I cannot vote for Obama because it's like vote for Bush.

    Are we sure they aren't identical twins?

  10. Arslan Says:

    Do not buy into the "beware of the CRAAAAAAAZY Republicans BS." In order for Obama to move to the right, as did Clinton years ago, it is necessary for the Republicans to move further to the right to give him room. If it becomes obvious that there is no difference and the two parties appear satisfied, the whole scheme is betrayed and everyone realizes immediately how pointless it is. So Obama keeps moving to the right, and the right keeps moving rightward as well, so that "progressive" or "liberal" continually move to the right as well.

  11. hamletta Says:

    How nice for Middle Seaman! How nice for everybody!

    You must be doing quite well if you can entertain the idea of another Republican in the White House with such elan.

    Fuck you all.

  12. buckyblue Says:

    Sitting here in beautiful RED WI, voting for and having the milquetoast Dem would have been a hell of a lot better than the crazy teabagger governor we have now. Sit on your hands and do nothing and beware the consequences.

  13. J. Dryden Says:

    eau nails it, Ed et al. The key word here is "seriously." Avoid doing/being so. The path to sanity is to treat this like farce rather than politics. A sight gag done once is funny (Sideshow Bob stepping on the rake.) Twice, less so. Thrice, even less so. But push it past the point of boredom and annoyance, and it swings around to funny again. (Sideshow Bob stepping on the 14th rake.) Obama has given us that, and there's something endearing about the administration's claims that, no, really, this time we're going to stand our grounds. Sure, you are. And *this* time, Charlie Brown will kick the football.

    It'll be difficult to lose Bachmann and Santorum and the really *funny* candidates, of course, but there was a kernel of comedy gold in the Bush v. Dukakis election, with both men scrambling to prove that they were not empty suits: "Look at me! I'm riding in a tank!" "The Pledge of Allegiance is the most important issue ever!" Obama v. Whoever has that element. Absent the ability to talk about the issues that actually matter (inasmuch as they're too complicated to move the voters, or they're matters–the economy–over which the president has no influence), we're in for a cavalcade of non-issues puffed into fire-breathing dragons.

    Just remember: none of us wants an installment of the Three Stooges where they sit over tea and crumpets and discuss the finer points of Etruscan pottery. Let the clowns be clowns, I say! Especially when the alternative is nine months of wracking sobs of frustration and despair.

  14. Arslan Says:

    "You must be doing quite well if you can entertain the idea of another Republican in the White House with such elan.

    Fuck you all."

    Someone doesn't understand it's a puppet show yet. Let me break it down to you. Remember how even by 2006, possibly earlier, many people were getting fed up with Bush? People were just starting to get the idea that perhaps maybe the economy was a little more important than gay marriage. Now imagine that a Republican wins in 2008. He enthusiastically gives out more corporate welfare, concocts a healthcare bill that is written by lobbyists, extends the Bush tax cuts, and expands the wars while continuing other Bush policies.

    People would start to get REALLY pissed. Conservative working class citizens might start to wonder if their leaders really have their best interests in mind. It would become undeniably clear that the Republican party was fully steeped in militarism and neo-liberal capitalism. And then who would be left but the Democrats- making America a one-party state from one point of view. In short- the Republicans HAD to lose this one.

    The ruling class needed to pass some regressive policies and in order to get away with it, they had to be past by "the left". In order for that to happen, the right has to give him room. They can't possibly say something like, "Gee, at first we thought he was some kind of radical socialist but it turns out we have a LOT of common ground. Obama's not that bad after all!" If anyone does that- the game is over. People start wondering what that common ground is, exactly.

    So on one hand the right has to move to the right to provide room for the Dems, and on the other hand they are practicing the principle of follow-through(like how one breaks a board by, among other principles, aiming for a point beyond the board and punching through it). You see, if they act like the conservative Obama is Che Guevara, than anyone to the left of Obama automatically becomes beyond the pale and out of the frame of discussion.

    And that last point is how America's ruling class keeps control. They don't censor, they just frame the debate to leave out things they don't want to discuss.

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    Sure, it's all a joke.

    But the joke's on you if you decide to sit on your asses.
    And, then the joke trickles down to me.

    Just don't call me when you stop laughing.

  16. Mike R Says:

    Buckyblue, you got it exactly right. If you sit on your hands you get a Scott Walker type with a lot more power to do damage, and not just at the edges. While Obama has been a disappointment the guys and gals contesting for the republican nomination are not your friend. Bush and Obama are not the same, we heard this once before, do you remember ole Ralphy Nadar rode that theme in 2000. After the chimp left office did it appear Gore and the chimp were the same? Life sucks, and then you die, but you contest issues, consider Obama a delaying action. Doing nothing and get a Rick Perry or Mitt Romney with a tea bag congress and not only will we suffer but the world will also. If you find that a joke, well it ain't funny and it won't be pretty.

  17. Tim H. Says:

    Point taken, but the Democrats haven't entirely abandoned foreplay, and they use lube.

  18. Aaron Weber Says:

    At least you've got good company: Krugman began today's column with "Is it possible to be both terrified and bored?"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/26/opinion/euro-zone-death-trip.html

  19. A Says:

    I don't think I can do it, people. I don't think I have it in me to take this sad excuse for a process seriously this time around.

    & yet you want to be a prof…

  20. Elder Futhark Says:

    Jesus H Fucking Christ in a body bag, with a midget fucking him sideways until he shits his loincloth.

    Hey, people, if you can't get it up, you don't get to play.

    Maybe you should all just "Go Galt" and wait for 2016.

  21. Arslan Says:

    Local and state elections do matter, sometimes a lot more than national elections. Why else do you think Republicans and libertarians love saying "leave it to the states"? The reason why is because they know they can get away with more radical laws on a state level.

    But on the national level? Forget it. Once Obama wins another term he doesn't even have to pretend that his hand was forced.

  22. Chicagojon Says:

    How about a NAW – No American Wednesday. Write a post about somewhere else in the world and the Greener/Darker side of elections.

    I'm with you on the apathy. I heard a report today about local election offices getting their funding cut by 50%+ and scrambling to figure out how they will get equipment and monitors to run a fair (*cough*) election. Yet the next POTUS will be the first billion dollar President with campaign money spent. It's mind boggling how much money will be spent to force ads and political 'debating' by talking heads down my throat.

  23. comrade x Says:

    And inevitably we have to listen to whiny dems desperate to scrape up votes for their empty corporate suit for another year. And if he loses then we get blamed even though most of us " radicals" stopped voting for democrats long ago.
    " Well, if you don't get giant douche, you will get turd sandwich." Yeah, Scott Walker sucks. But where was Obama's support of the people protesting his crazy bullshit? His absense should be telling you something.
    You clowns are just as delusional as the red state voters you make fun of. Delaying action? Gee, I've been hearing that one since Slick Willy did more to destroy the American working class than any reactionary Republican when he dropped NAFTA on us. It was Obama that put SS and medicare on the cutting board behind the scenes while his clueless supporters were distracted by the latest Palin/ Bachmann gaffe. He then said it was off the table again when Bernie Sanders made a stink about it. You can bet your ass it will go back on when Obama gets a chance to cave in again to the Teabaggers in congress. And the proposed cut on payroll taxes will go the way of his avowed support of the Employee Free Choice Act.
    So don't blame us " radicals leftists" if Obama goes down in flames next election. He never had our vote in the first place. Blame the American people for seeing through this fraud.

  24. kathy k. Says:

    I was listening to a story on NPR this morning about how much money each county voting office has lost over the last few years and, as one man said 'if they want 20% less people to vote, you have to wonder which 20%?' and I thought 'good lord, they have elections in Indonesia with their hundreds of islands and manage to do it better than this!' – the whole place is going to hell in a hand-baskeet…

  25. AliceBlue Says:

    "Indistinguishable outcomes"? I beg to differ. At least Obama isn't sitting around pontificating on what I can and can't do with my lady parts. That's reason enough for my vote.

  26. DS Says:

    There is no way that the Republican base would support Chris Christie. It's just the media once again hoping against hope that there are two sane political parties remaining. Isn't the dude pro-choice and supports civil unions? Haha. Yeah right. I'm sure that would go over well in Iowa and South Carolina.

  27. xynzee Says:

    @RT: "What you say is technically true: Democrats have been on the forefront of every single movement for social justice and equality in this country. "

    Beg to differ historically speaking. I do recall a period in the mid-1800's when the Dems were the one's seceding from the Union, and it was a Republican who ended slavery.

    My understanding the South always voted Democrat – it's Democrat Jim, but not as we know it – up until the '80s. This was a response to the Johnson's signing off on Civil Rights.

    So really it was Northern Dems who've been in the progressive camp. The South from what I can tell hasn't changed much, and tends to poison things. I look at my brother who's spent way more time than has been good for him in the USAF, and been stationed far too long in the Southern States. I never remember him ever having his head this far up his arse as we were growing up.

    We forget that while there's a very vocal bunch of nutcases in the GOP, there are many GOP aligned who though preferring the "libertarian perspective" see what's happening as really bad indeed. I have a friend who's a real St. Ronnie type, however as an ex-pat he'd be on the first plane back to the States to campaign against a Palin or a Bachmann. He sees them as being completely not in contact with this or any known reality. He also feels that the U.S. has completely lost the plot.

  28. Da Moose Says:

    Just hope that we get a viable third party candidacy. That could make things more interesting potentially. BTW, I am a "super delegate" for Americans*Elect. Participating in that process should be interesting enough.

  29. Monkey Business Says:

    Being completely and totally uninvolved with the 2012 Presidential Elections sounds like an awesome idea. On one hand, we have the President, who by any measure of the statement has been a disappointment in being further right than we believed him to be. On the other, we have an almost absurdly far right Republican.

    There is this thread among a large portion of the population that doesn't engage in the political process because they feel like both parties are the same. As if it doesn't matter if Rick Perry beats Obama, because they're basically the same guy. Well, they're not. Not even close.

    Obama is a centrist Democrat. He's always going to tack as close to the middle as he can, and that means occasionally supporting some formerly Republican positions. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and the rest of the Republican field are reactionaries who don't want to just stop the clock, but roll it back.

    The Tea Party came to power because the organization Obama built in 2008 was left to rot on the vine, and they elected a bunch of nihilists to Congress who are basically stopping the wheels of government. You know what happens if you sit out 2012? More and worse nihilists. Scott Walker and Chris Christie and Rick Scott and John Kasich are the beginning, not the end. You could have guys like that everywhere. Unions, abortion, the poor, the elderly, the gay would all get screwed. With more Republicans in Washington, it would be worse.

    So yeah, sit this one out. When the Galtians come to enslave us, I'll know who to blame.

  30. xynzee Says:

    @Monkey: "More and worse nihilists. Scott Walker and Chris Christie and Rick Scott and John Kasich are the beginning, not the end."

    When someone suggests that Orin Hatch isn't Right enough, and can even float the idea of "primarying" Hatch, should send alarm bells ringing.

  31. Joe Bauers Says:

    Having come to realize that paying attention to all this shit is driving me out of my mind, I'm not paying attention any more. (I still read G&T because I love Ed's writing, but I've given up all other political news inputs.) There's no point in arguing with conservatives any more because they're insane and are living in a reality that has no overlap with my own. There's no point in trying to engage "independents" because they either don't care or will vote for whoever runs the last TV ad they see before they get to the polls. And there's no point in preaching to (or being preached to by) the choir.

    Granted, there's still more than enough reason to show up on election day and vote straight Democrat, which I will do. They are still, by and large, sane. And there's something to be said for electing the sane. They give us a better chance of a gradual decline instead of crashing and burning. But be excited about it? Give it my time and attention and money? Let myself believe that there's any path to a medium- to long-term future in which we're not totally screwed? Nope.

  32. Mark Says:

    I think the point is that while the outcome any individual election might matter, there is no possibility of the offerings from the Dems getting any more inspiring if this triangulating "adult in the room", business-coddling BULLSHIT keeps getting rubber stamped over and over again because the (marginally) lesser evil is good enough for most progressives. If progressives declare early and often that they aren't going to withhold any support from Dems because they are terrified of whatever loony sack-o-crap the Repugs put on the ballot, why on earth would the Dems EVER give a rats' ass what progressives think? They KNOW you are already in their back pocket. Better to go pander after "independents" etc.

  33. Ravi M. Singh Says:

    I think you're right on all counts and as a Canadian I can't say that it's any different up here. In fact, we're on the other extreme end of the spectrum because our campaign periods are so short, so we get all the hollow rhetoric that you guys do but condensed into three weeks.

    It's not that I'm a bad citizen, but it's difficult to stomach another campaign of Prime Minister Blandy McBlanderson and Opposition Leader Dickhead von Condescendingwhore (I really don't have the energy for more creative or clever puns) talking down to me like I eat my own pubes for breakfast, all while offering little in the way of substance. It's just a pageant of whores, but at least you guys have more interesting ones than we do.

  34. Major Kong Says:

    Obama, for all his many faults, at least has the advantage of not being completely batshit insane.

    I find "not batshit crazy" to factor very strongly on my list of qualifications for the Presidency.

  35. Mike Says:

    While it's obvious, at least to me, that the Democrats are not nearly as evil as the Republicans, there is also this difference: I don't actively vote for Republicans. I have actively voted for Democrats. So at some point, I feel morally culpable for doing so.

    I've voted the "lesser of two evil" slates since 1986, and honestly, I feel it has been a completely pointless endeavor every time. So yes, 2012 may be the year that I sit it out.

    Also: Second Chicagojon's suggestion for NAW. Or anything that will recharge you. Review old jazz 78s; write about video games; post some funny lolcats; don't let G&T burn you out.

  36. grumpygradstudent Says:

    This post effectively explains why, after passing my qualifying exam in American Politics, I will probably never have anything to do with that field for the remainder of my career. I'm throwing my hat in with the policy wonks. At least there, there are legitimate questions that MAY have some bearing on the real world. American political science amount to increasingly complicated ways to reach (usually common sense) descriptive conclusions about a largely exogenously determined process. What drives American politics is public opinion and institutional structures. Both are largely fixed, for all practical purposes. So an understanding of the process does little to improve it.

    At least applied research deals with variables that are malleable. It's pointless most of the time as well, just not quite so often.

  37. Mackeyser Says:

    I wish I could write them all off.

    I just can't. I'm a 100% service connected disabled vet. I recently, after nearly 20 years of fighting various battles with the VA and whatnot was able to purchase a home. Not one of those mega $700K homes on a shoestring, but a reasonable home on a budget.

    Now, every time the Republicans threaten to do this, I fear I'll lose the first and likely only home I'll ever own.

    And as Major Kong writes, as disenchanted as I am with Obama, and I am…very, he is at least sane.

    Further, he HAS at least accomplished a few things in the single most hostile legislative environment any President has ever functioned and that includes Lincoln during pre-secession if you look at things like the use of the filibuster and various other rules to block and otherwise stop the functioning of the government. None of it was perfect, but it got done.

    Passed some kind of healthcare law.
    Ended DADT.
    Got Bin Laden
    Drew down troops in Iraq.
    Reopened a dialogue with other world leaders that simply didn't exist during President Bush's tenure.

    And he seems to finally have gotten rid of some of the staff that was feeding his Lincoln complex.

    Now if we can just get someone to do a Tanya Harding to Larry Summers (kneecap him in stairwell), we'd really be getting somewhere.

  38. jult52 Says:

    I think this post is wise. Look, we know what the future holds in terms of the federal government:

    modest deficit spending as far as the eye can see and all of it spent on senior citizens' pensions and health care,

    an underfunded, incapable bureaucracy with a broad policy mandate that it isn't staffed or funded to administer properly,

    a disaffected younger generation all-too-often unable to work its way into middle class life but taxed to the hilt;

    a dysfunctional, violent underclass sequestered in its precincts (heh) with less funding out of taxes than in the past

    I'll quote Flaubert on the German-French War of 1870: "The only thing that is certain is that we will be as stupid afterwards as before."

    I didn't vote for President in 2008 and doubt I will in 2012.

  39. Charles Says:

    So, this has been a great pity-party. Gin and Tacos is one of about 4 sites (Lawyers, Guns, and Money being another) on the entire internet where reading the comments is worth the time. Usually, we get an extremely well-informed community who provide a lot of thought-provoking insight. I think we can thank Ed for bringing this group together. Today, this is sickening. All those who say that they won't vote/donate/campaign for Obama- I'm am so pissed too. I just got out of law school with a reasonable debt load but no job and I helped elect a Democrat to the right of Nixon in the worst economy since Hoover. But, it really would be worse with McCain/Palin in office as there would have been NO stimulus unless more land wars count. We need to stop whining. Mother Jones said "don't mourn, organize". If the Democratic Party is unresponsive, let's shake it up the way Movement Conservatives have the Republicans for 40 years. Find your nearest Democratic committee and you could take it over with like 10 people simply showing up and voting. Run for school board. Snark is cathartic, but doesn't accomplish much. The national party has no reason to listen to us. But in 10 years, the party's leadership can look a hell of a lot more like we want it to if we get involved instead of throwing up our hands. Cynicism is fine unless it prevents us from acting collectively to protect our interests.

  40. Anonymouse Says:

    @Elm: It's appalling, the amount of focus and energy spent on fighting against the backwards, anti-American idjits on the right. I can't imagine how beyond-screwed we'd be if the crazy old man and the evil lunatic had won the last election.

    Elm:at least they're doing a reasonable job of helping to hold back the tide of crazy on a whole host of fronts (teaching of evolution/science, school prayer/establishment of religion, public education, availability of birth control/abortion, rights of workers to organize, and so on and so on).

  41. Vinny Says:

    "Mike:
    I've voted the "lesser of two evil" slates since 1986, and honestly, I feel it has been a completely pointless endeavor every time. So yes, 2012 may be the year that I sit it out."
    Mike, take a look at the supreme court. Do you want more of the same? Do you really want more Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas. Come on man.

  42. eclair Says:

    Boredom, ennui, depression – all of which I have been feeling, btw – I have come to realize are the signals that something is desperately wrong with the current situation and, that unless one gets up off one's tush and makes some drastic changes, one falls into a pit of despair.

    Now, the kicker here is, what are the changes that we make, what course corrections, what new paths. And, while dealing with changes in one's individual life is difficult, getting an entire society, or a large enough portion of it to make some difference, to change is almost impossible.

    However, Ghandi, Martin Luther and his namesake, Martin Luther King, refused to wallow in despair and depression.

    We know what's wrong – well, pretty much everything – from the gutting of unions to stagnant wages and a vanishing middle class and massive asymmetries in wealth distribution, to a misallocation of resources into imperial military endeavors, to despoiling a lovely planet with garbage and poisonous gases and the raping of its natural resources, to a realization that our cherished myth of an exceptional nation that wants nothing more than to sprinkle Democracy, like fairy dust, over the bowed heads of oppressed peoples everywhere, is getting a bit frayed around the edges. For starters.

    The Opposition have a clear message: cut taxes, reduce the size of government, unfetter corporations, abolish social safety net programs. They have seized the offensive position.

    We – Progressives, Liberals, whatever we choose to call ourselves (I really prefer not to use the party label "Democrat") – are in a defensive position, milling about like an ant colony that has been kicked into smithereens. Boredom, depression, repressed fear and anger directed against ourselves – we know lots of things are wrong but we just haven't been able to gather them together and articulate them as a single, compelling vision that thousands of people can latch onto and work to bring into reality.

    Obama gave it a try – but "Hope" is too vague a concept to change a society. And, either he was not totally committed or was up agains too entrenched a bureaucracy. Or most people don't really care because life's ok for them. Right now.

    Maybe the brew hasn't had enough time to simmer, maybe things have to get a lot worse. In the meantime, keep writing on ginandtacos and other blogs. We need to change and focus the thinking of a huge portion of society.

  43. GoBlueInSF Says:

    There is nothing noteworthy or admirable about cynicism. Its the province of the weak-minded and the cowardly. If any of you really believe the both sides do it/they are all the same, Naderite B.S. that your ball-less souls are selling you, then you are truly lost.

    And certainly no progressives. More like nihilists.

  44. Mrs. Chili Says:

    "Barack Obama was never going to be our Reagan, because the country isn't ready for that yet. Our great liberal president will be the next one. But we don't get there unless we win this period first. Obama matters."

    That, and I can't bear the idea of one of the republican candidates as president. Truly; the thought is terrifying to me, and I'm pretty ramped up scared as it is.

  45. ladiesbane Says:

    I'm with AliceBlue — especially when I consider that we have some aging Supreme Court members.

    Even if Obama wins in 2012, what about 2014? Joe Biden is not the heir apparent, and I can't think of any electable progressives. I doubt Hillary would run again, but if she did, could her husband be Vice President? (Silly thought, but I don't know the answer.)

  46. SamInMpls Says:

    Ed,

    Okay, so 2008 was you actually taking the process seriously?

    I see.

    We're talking about our system, the one where showing photos of the two candidates to students in elementary school is enough data for them to correctly predict the winner, right?

    Its the same system where partisanship filters out basic statements of fact for liberals and conservatives, right?

    Same one where less than 40% of the electorate is considered a mandate, right?

    All I can say in response is: welcome to the party.

  47. SamInMpls Says:

    @ladiesbane

    Bill and W are ineligible because they are both term-limited. Jimmy Carter and HW are not.

  48. ladiesbane Says:

    Presidential term limits apply to Vice Presidency too? I'm kind of surprised.

  49. Rydell Bewtaine Says:

    Although it's a close call to make, no branch of government which has done more damage to this country, since 2000, at least, than the Supreme Court. Because I hate the idea of another Citizens United decision, Obama will have my vote next year.

  50. Bernard Says:

    the whole pretext of "free elections" and "choices" in who will put more nails in the coffin that was America. The Right took charge and now we have their "world".

    to think Obama isn't part of the "show" astounds me. the facility with which plays us for "votes" when he needs "us". the Rhetoric is so well crafted. now Obama is "courting" those he ran over with the Bus. now that it is getting into "election time mode".

    all the nice and correct word used to "reach and re-connect". a true politician is i ever saw one. and Living in Louisiana, we "breed" politicians like that. that's all call to "Fame."

    how expendable we the Obama voter was up until NOW. all of a sudden, Obama is focused on what we think and say. lol. Boy have i some wetlands in West Texas to sell, if you believe what Obama is saying. or a nice Bridge in Brooklyn for Sale!!

    Obama is doing his "part" in destroying the safety net, part of his "commitment" to his Party. not ours, but the one who "owns" Obama et al.

    so enjoy the ride. i bet you money Obama will go back to his "compromise mode" once this election cycle is over. A good Republican does what it takes to achieve their 'goals" Getting Social Security and Medicare has always been the Republican dream.

    and Obama offered the Republican just that. Obama offered with no arm twisting by the Republicans. how generous and giving of Obama to do "exactly" what the Republicans can only dream of. Getting rid of Social Security and Medicare.

    and that is why Obama is a "Democrat" and the lesser of evils. evil is as evil does

  51. Turok Says:

    I can feel Ed's frustration…liberals are mad, not because Obama hasn't done good, but because deep down we all wanted a liberal version of Bush that would steamroll the opposition and give Republicans fits for 8 years.

  52. Elle Says:

    Presidential term limits apply to Vice Presidency too? I'm kind of surprised.

    Isn't the answer that no one knows? The West Wing compelled me to look this up, and there's some different schools of thought about whether the Twelfth Amendment, which debars people who aren't eligible to be President from being VP, interacts with the Twenty-Second Amendment to prevent term-limited ex-Presidents from being VP. It seems like something a court would have to decide.

    Fwiw, and this is a selfish, internationalist perspective, I would very much appreciate any vote that would not return the State department to Republicans. I think Hillary Clinton has been a more than adequate SoS, particularly with regard to the nudges she has given other States in directions supportive of the rights of poor women. There has been continued cavilling in the White House on enjoyment of sexual health and reproductive rights for women around the world, and I don't believe that Obama is pro-choice, but the inching in the direction of support for the ICC, among other institutions, would all be rolled back under a Republican White House.

  53. Confused Says:

    you want a progressive super liberal democratic party? then pay a little f-in attention. Look at what the movement conservatives have done over the last 40 years. They have involved themselves in the foundations of party politics. They positioned themselves in all the crappy little deputy county commissioner of the Republican party positions, and worked their way up. They involved themselves in all the infrastructure that help finance and elect candidates. It's a crapload of hard work, and it takes a long time, but eventually it gets you the power to help shape which candidates are nominated. It also means that you can drag the entire party towards your policy positions.
    Instead, you whine about the guy that presented himself as a moderate, who believes in compromising, because he is too moderate and too willing to compromise. Your big action will be to sit out the election. I'm sure that will get you the change you want. Sit out the next election, don't work to get Obama re-elected, and the change you get may well be whatever the great job creators decide to put in your cup as they pass your unemployed ass on the street.
    PS SCOTUS you idiots.

  54. cromartie Says:

    Take a moment to figure out who profits the most from your apathy.

    Then get off your ass and get organized.

  55. Arslan Says:

    What some of you people STILL aren't getting is that even if one of those "crazy republicans" gets into power, they will shape up and go into "business as usual" mode once in the oval office. Their ranting and raving is all for a specific purpose right now. Do you REALLY think that people running for public office want to see government eliminated so badly? Do you really think that people who intend to lead a world empire are going to cut ties with allies which help them enforce the empire's will around the world?

    Let me remind you people of a fact you seem to have forgotten: More Democrats have started wars in the 20th and 21st century than Republicans. Hell, who started the war in Vietnam, and who ended it? Johnson expanded the war because it was NECESSARY to the empire at that particular time. Nixon ended it because it was no longer necessary and had become a liability.

    Some of you haven't gotten it through your skulls yet that Obama doesn't give a shit about your "progressive" values. He might not stand up and attack abortion, but he sure as hell isn't going to defend it. And was it not Bill Clinton whose opinion on the matter was "safe, legal, and rare?" And exactly how did Bush ban or restrict abortion?

    As long as you keep rewarding these scumbags, they will continue to disappoint you. At some point you have to wake up and say no.

  56. Rick Says:

    The beauty of the Obama presidency is that it exposes the Progressive philosophy for the bankrupt fascism that it is. You bowed down to him then and you will again because you can only pretend to think for yourself but in reality must have someone to tell you what is good. Kiss his ring then kiss his ass you knee bending big government storm troopers.

  57. Elm Says:

    @Rick – Obvious troll is obvious.

  58. Elle Says:

    He might not stand up and attack abortion, but he sure as hell isn't going to defend it. And was it not Bill Clinton whose opinion on the matter was "safe, legal, and rare?" And exactly how did Bush ban or restrict abortion?

    Enforcing or withdrawing the Mexico City Rule has become a little bit of a pantomime signifier at the start of a presidency, but its impacts on SRHR services and policy around the world are pretty profound.