The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Too Progressive for Obama? Vote Obama

    Last week a colleague made his case, and it's a strong one, for re-electing Barack Obama. Let me add my own case, for those who feel (like many of our Dagblog readers and commenters) that Obama is not progressive enough.

    If you would like to have a president more progressive than Barack Obama, the only way to make that happen in the next twenty years (or more) is to re-elect Barack Obama first.

    If Obama is defeated, the lesson that our political establishment will take away from that is that he lost because he was too far to the left. Saying that you didn't vote for him because he was too moderate won't matter. Saying that Obama would have won if he were more liberal will be pointless, even if it's true, because most people will draw the opposite lesson and they will act on that lesson. Even if that lesson is based on misunderstanding, it will change what it is politically possible for future candidates.

    On the other hand, if Obama wins after having been called a socialist and a secret foreigner and what not, the lesson that people will draw is that calling someone a socialist doesn't work any more. The lesson will be that a liberal can still beat a conservative. (I know, I know, you don't think of Obama as a real liberal, but that's what he gets called, and the media won't distinguish real liberals from him.) The lesson will be that you can run to the left and win two terms as president. And that lesson will also change the political playing field.

    I'm not talking now about how bad things will be if Obama is not re-elected, although it will in fact be very bad, and will be worst of all for the people that progressives care about most: the poor, the weak, the vulnerable. I'm talking about just avoiding evils. I'm talking about moving closer to actual goods.

    We cannot have a more progressive president than Barack Obama next year. It is Obama or someone worse. On the other hand, after two terms of an Obama presidency we can campaign successfully for someone to Obama's left: not just as a protest candidate or as someone to pull the front-runners to the left during the primary season, but as a legitimate front-runner with a chance to win. We won't have to be on the defensive. We won't have to persuade people that a liberal could hypothetically win, because everyone will have seen that a liberal (or a "liberal") can. If we have two terms of Obama, we can talk about moving forward with more progressive policies (much as Reagan's two terms allowed conservatives to back candidates whose policies were well to the right of Reagan's). That doesn't guarantee that we'll get the progressive we want. But it guarantees us a real fighting chance for someone significantly more progressive.

    Re-electing Obama doesn't mean that we'll get a more liberal president after him. But every road to a more liberal president over the next few decades starts with Obama getting re-elected first.

    If you're sick of timid moderates who are afraid of being called too liberal, we need to re-elect Obama. If you're sick of Blue Dogs who shiv their party leadership because they're convinced that the voters are really conservative, we need to re-elect Barack Obama. If half a loaf leaves you hungry for more, re-elect Barack Obama and stay hungry.

    I know some people think that if the conservatives and their terrible policies do enough damage, there will eventually be a backlash and the country will take a hard swing to the left. But we already had the backlash: Obama is what we got. And by the time the backlash came, our politics were already so far to the right that Obama looked like a massive swing. If Romney runs this country back into Bush II's ditch and buries our wheels in the mud, the swing back to the left will likely be to someone even more centrist than Obama.

    Don't believe me? That's what happened in our presidential politics for the last forty-four years. Hoping for the backlash has only gotten us further and further away from what we'd like. Every Democratic president since LBJ has been a disappointment to the left, and their defeats have only led to more moderate, more disappointing Democrats. LBJ's refusal to run again not only made Richard Nixon president, but set the table for the next Democrat in the White House to be Jimmy Carter, a centrist with no real interest in extending the Great Society programs. Carter's defeat by Reagan meant that the next Democratic president would be Triangulating Bill Clinton, who not only "reformed" welfare but actually bought and repeated the right's No-Big-Government mantra. It's only because Clinton managed a second term that we have a President who's not much further to his right, although the defeat of Clinton's half-a-loaf healthcare plan ensured that Obama couldn't get more than the quarter-loaf he actually passed. And if Obama's stingy stimulus package isn't enough to get him re-elected, future Democrats will be afraid of any stimulus at all, no matter how inadequate and stingy.

    Defeat moves us backward. Victory moves us forward. Talk about the Overton window and changing the terms of debate, but the way you move the Overton window for real is at the ballot box. 

    If Barack Obama frustrates you, vote for him. If you want more than what's on the table, you have to start by winning what's on the table now. Our best hope is for Obama's successor, and that starts with Obama's success.



    Hey Doc,

    Nice blog. I agree with it 100%.

    "Victory moves us forward"

    Yes it does. Well done.

    The lesson that our political establishment will take away from an Obama loss is that moving to the Left is a losing strategy.

    ​The lesson our political establishment will take away from an Obama victory is that moving to the Right is a winning strategy.

    ​Discuss, but without mentioning either the make-up of the political establishment, or the need to establish a new one.

    You have 45 minutes. 

    See my comment above, Quinn. It is indeed a problem when strategy overtakes principles, especially when there is a reliance upon huge sums of campaign cash involved.

    And yes, this comment violates the terms laid out in your third paragraph. After all, what is the "political establishment" if not hundred dollar bills by the pound and pallet.

    Time's up.

    Close but not quite.

    ​The lesson our political establishment will take away from an Obama victory is that the independent voter is king--which is the same lesson the political establishment takes away from every presidential election with the possible exception of 2004. The pundits will praise Obama for his shrewd appeal to moderates and condemn the GOP for indulging right wing ideologues.

    But if the trend of the last three decades continues, the ultimate effect will still align with your prediction. The Democrats will adhere slavishly to swing-voter theory and move right. The GOP will ignore the pundits and continue to cannibalize its own moderates. And the nation will continue its slow scrabbling slide down the right side of the ravine.

    Yes. And we will continue to vote Democratic.

    However - like making pies - it can be a more or less joyful and fulfilling experience.



    Also, fuck cake. I think I said that already.

    The Democrats will adhere slavishly to swing-voter theory

    Do you think it's JUST theory, or is there some foundation for the theory in fact?

    Is there good reason to think the theory is not true--say, moving further left would be more successful?

    OK, I'll have to remember all this when I vote next week.

    Who is the "political establishment"?   David Brooks?   Clarence Page?   The WSJ editorial page?  Who cares what narratives or lessons they take away?

    I completely concur.

    Moreover, seeing how progressives so thoroughly screwed up in Wisconsin, the notion that they can put together a winning ticket on a national stage in 2016 (with regions and media more thoroughly hostile to their agenda) seems pretty far fetched.  Maybe if the progressives had some significant leadership in the DNC or something along those lines.

    The reality is that liberal/moderate centrists and the conservatives are the dominant packs on the national political stage.  The progressives can only stand and sidelines and hope to get a word in now and then.  

    A person is a fool if they think having Romney in bully pulpit (for what it's worth) is going to further the cause of moving the country's political discourse in the correct direction.

    ...seeing how progressives so thoroughly screwed up in Wisconsin...

    Truly remarkable analysis. Especially when followed with

    Maybe if the progressives had some significant leadership in the DNC or something along those lines.

    You can have it one way, Trope. Or you can have it the other. But to claim the failures of the Dems are the fault of the Progressives and then criticize the Progressives for not having any positions in control of the Dems is not even logical, let alone apt.

    Truly remarkable.

    If you weren't so blinded by your desire to prove me wrong - you might see that this is in part exactly what I am point out. 

    First off - you have this reality:

    In short, he has hammered working people, undermined the capacity of those who represent them and marginalised many of those who might vote for their interests while effecting a massive redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich: a more balanced budget for a more unequal society.

    And he is winning in the polls.  If progressives can't leverage this situation in Wisconsin to get some kind of progressive movement going, do they stand a chance in places like Indiana, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina? 

    The progressives don't have any significant leverage on a national scale, and therefore the Party as a whole has backed away from this fight.  Exactly.  And yet there is some kind of dream of taking the Party back from the moderates, centerists, and conservatives in the Party in time to achieve victory in 2016?  Please. 

    And here is another little bit of reality for the short term - the other side is going to outspend the progressives, just like in Wisconsin.  That is the current playing field.  One can say that this reality doomed the efforts of the progressive in Wisconsin, that they didn't screw up an good opportunity.  Or one, such as myself, can say that if there was an opportunity for the progressive citizens of Wisconsin (members of the D party or not, inside or outside the party structure) to come together and do something for their state it was now - and if they had been effectively focused I believe they could have been victorious.  That is my opinion as someone not in Wisconsin.

    Was I offering some deep analysis?  No.  You don't like the conclusion I have drawn so you make some quip about it being some attempt at deep analysis.  It is one sentence.  Just as I intended it to be. 

    And here is something to consider - when I refer to progressives in the first part, I am including those who operate within the party system and those operate outside it.  There are progressives within the both the Wisconsin Democratic Party and the national Democratic Party.  Some are elected politicians, some not.  

    Obviously when you are talking about Progressives, they are different beasts than those of the Democrats.  I am talking about those who are working for a progressive agenda.  Some don't affiliate themselves as a member of Democratic Party, others do. 

    So...progressives in Wisconsin, working from within and from without the Democratic Party could not get focused enough to leverage the recall into a  victory (if all the current polls indicate the outcome).  This same kind of alliance would need to occur, but only on a national scale, if progressive-minded individuals would be able to achieve victory in the primary season (not to mention general election) if progressives have a hope of getting their candidate on the ticket in 2016. 

    Progressives would need, in part, assistance, rather than resistance, from the party structure, like the DNC.  Yet it doesn't look like there are many progressive-minded individuals within the power structure at the current moment.  I am sorry this kind of reality makes you upset.  But rather than trying to find some way to twist what I write so you don't have to face this reality, you should be focusing on viable paths to improving things.

    Yo Trope! I'm really happy for you that the progressives in Wisconsin are gunna lose, and Imma let you finish, but here's a thing you're too dull to get, but mebbe this time, so I'll say it again - things change.


    In politics, things change. 

    Teams that lose, can win. 


    So.... you just ROCK ON in Indiana. Yeah. Hell man, you must be like David Essex to those people. 

    David Fuckin' Essex.

    okay just lost everything i wrote so condensed version

    1. seriously, f you

    2. your criticism of me is just like Rush and the others who criticized the Left for taking glee in the predicted implosion of violence and death of Iraq

    3. I do what I can on a grassroots level to help those in poverty and change the political scene that will most likely vote f'ing Pence in as f'ing governor. 

    4. I take no glee in Walker victory.  But one could see this coming - even though i never made a prediction to that end.  The movement, in places like Wisconsin and even more so in places like Indiana are shaky.  PR is everything.  This is a freaking disaster and didn't have to be. If the progressives had the obvious candidate in the wings maybe.  But they couldn't even get around a single candidate in the beginning.  And one just had to know the 1% wasn't going to sit idly by.

    5.  You my friend are Chris Gaines.  Yes, indeed.

    No, the 1% didn't sit idly by - they pumped over $10 million into the effort from out-of-state.

    And the recall effort only lost by <7% (i.e. a shift of 3.5% would have won), and they got record turnout to a June election.

    Did progressives make mistakes? Quite possibly. Would Obama's presence have helped? Quite possibly. But not every movement has an obvious leader -( Occupy Wall Street never rounded that bend, and our current class of Democratic leaders with serious values + charisma + a future is quite limited)

    But they fought. They at least forced the right to pull out its checkbook and defend an incumbent for overreach - next time the effort will be more organized, next time an incumbent will think harder about anti-union efforts & power grabs.


    Are there silver linings to be found. Of course.

    But the reaction is - we fought, therefore no critiques or criticisms are allowed.  To do so is Slander!

    And there is no guarantee the effort will be more organized the next time.  It might be, but it is just as likely that there will be finger pointing etc in the aftermath that will leave the progressives as a group more fragmented than when they started.  Losing tends to do that to liberals and conservatives alike - one reason why one tries to pick ones battles wisely.

    And the other side will definitely think harder about their anti-union efforts and power grabs, and try to be more slick about it.  But chances are the outcome just proves to them that if Wisconsin is like this in 2012, the unions' power is on the wane nationally.

    See my comment elsewhere.  Really disappointed in your doom and gloom response to this AT.  You think it's so profound for you to rest on the fact that "unions are on the wane nationally", or that the right-wing of this country will be energized by that that given.  Please.  And therefore what?  You fight when you have to, and you're right AT, sometimes, nay often, we friggin' lose.  But we live to fight another day.  And this was a good fight, and our brothers and sisters out there in the Wisconsin that I love so much will be stronger because of this.  I for one, who lives in the labor movement, am so gosh darn proud of the folks for the fight they waged.  And guess what, they weren't fighting on a level-playing field--try it some time; it's the story of my life and, more importantly, it is the story of the folks I am so fortunate to work for every day.

    I guess this helps me understand why some folks have such an aversion to pulling the lever for Obama, because people like you and me are too often so incapable of offering anything resembling hope or solidarity or anyhing for that matter, except for flowery and mind-numbing prose.

    If the President showed some support for the unions, perhaps it could shift votes 3.5% like his limited statement on gay marriage.

    Instead, all I remember was Rahm saying about Arkansas "you flushed your money down the toilet". So much for embracing primary democracy.

    And presumably re-calling a politician in an off election is more difficult than defeating him in November.


    Maybe you just need to come to terms with the idea that there are a number of otherwise liberal people who just feel that the unions of today have become more of a barrier to fixing things than part of the solution.  Note: I am not one of them.  Instead of blaming Obama, maybe the attention should be how to reach these potential allies. 

    I thought these folks supported Obama bigtime - no love back?

    If the exit poll is to be believed: 60% of the Wisconsin voters believe recall elections are only appropriate for official misconduct and 9% think they are never appropriate.  Would seem that it wouldn't sit right with the People of Wisconsin, generally speaking, for the President of the United States of America to come and spend time involving himself with Wisconsin politics.  Sometimes PP politicians play and strategize like politicians.

    Obama always strategizes like a politician. Even Nov 2008 he wouldn't help campaign in a runoff against Saxby-Chambliss - too partisan for a Democrat to act like a Democrat.


    Here's where I confront the problem  with using my real name at times.  But let me try to be general.  I think about every major labor union and probably 2/3 of the  union families in this country (who will vote) will support Obama.  Turnout is definIitely an issue.  I was at the annual conference of union lawyers two weeks ago and Obama had his team there to show the colors big time.  Believe me, Obama's folks understand labor's disappointment in the president on many fronts.  He didn't push EFCA (despite the success and fairness of a similar system by our brothers and sisters up in Canada), and he's not doing a great job appointing judges below the Supreme Court level.  And the economy sucks.  But he's appointed one helluva NLRB, his DOL appointees rock, and in the daily reality of that mind-numbing bureaucratic mishigash in DC, he's the guy for the labor movement.  We'll see.

    Alright, thanks for assessment.


    Obama throws us a bone? 

    But he's appointed one helluva NLRB

    “Board Members are appointed by the President to 5-year terms, with Senate consent, the term of one Member expiring each year.”

    At the end of 5 years, the conservatives will again have the upper hand?

    Couple that with Obamas lackluster appointments, of Federal Judges, it's clear in the long run, when looking at the big picture; Obama serves the conservative agenda. 

    He gives us bones in the short term, in order to get reelected?

    Maybe you are right that this is one of the good fights within the larger war that needed to be fought, regardless of the outcome.  I might come to see that down the road.  But not all good fights have to be fought, especially when we are not playing on a level playing field.  And it seems from my perspective at this moment this was one specific strategy that should have been put on the shelf. 

    I would say that my work has me dealing with those living below the poverty line (many of them former union workers whose factories shut down)- talk about not having a level playing field. 

    And I would say that real solidarity allows for bickering debates and criticisms.  We should be able to hear - "oh, you screwed up there" - and then move on to the next fight.  We shouldn't have to feel the compulsion to always present some image of a group hug 24/7.

    Agreed on just about everything you write here AT. . .I think.  And just because you raised my BP it doesn't mean I don't luvs ya!

    luv ya too, dude.

    Maybe you are right that this is one of the good fights within the larger war that needed to be fought, regardless of the outcome.  I might come to see that down the road.  But not all good fights have to be fought, especially when we are not playing on a level playing field.  And it seems from my perspective at this moment this was one specific strategy that should have been put on the shelf.

    I think this is a false move, AT.

    You suggest that this fight shouldn't have been fought, but I don't see why not.

    What did we lose--how did the cause get set back--by fighting?

    Perhaps mistakes were made that can be corrected in the future. But to suggest that the fight shouldn't have been have to show me why. I don't see it.

    Given Walker's egregious sins...given his corruption...given what we had him on tape saying to a billionaire supporter...given all the grassroots energy...given Wisconsin's historic role in the rise of unions...not fighting would have been perverse. Bystanders would have said, "Well, if even they aren't going to fight for themselves, something must really have been wrong with them."

    You know the Talmudic saying: "If you're not for yourself, who will be? And if not now, when?" This really applies here.

    Stepping back, I agree that the role of unions and their reputations need repair. Lots of average people, most of whom have never been represented by a union and have no understanding of unions, have accepted the "common wisdom" about unions as corrupt, anti-democratic destroyers of otherwise viable companies.

    They think that unions protect bad, lazy teachers who are destroying their kids' futures by their incompetence.

    So...THAT does need to be addressed. I agree.

    But Americans also love underdogs who fight back. And given the amount of money that poured in to quash the recall, I think we did pretty well. Especially given that a lot of people just don't like the idea of recalling people who've been elected, even if they wouldn't vote for the person the first or second time.

    The anti-union forces will be emboldened by this. So the pro-union forces need to be emboldened by this. This is key.

    One reason indicated by the exit polls linked to by Flavius, and maybe hiring some pollsters beforehand would have shown this clearly: most of those voting don't believe this was an appropriate use of the recall vote.  Given the high turnout - this is probably a good indicator of how people in Wisconsin feel in general about it. 

    The question is what are one's objectives.  The first of course was recall Walker.  That wasn't successfully achieved of course.  But there are other objectives.  One is to give voice to one's discontent and anger.  Another is to rally the people on your side of the issue, get them passionate and pumped, so to say.  This would lead to another question: are those objectives possible to achieve using some other strategy besides the recall.

    From what I have read, the recall has also energized the conservative anti-union forces in Wisconsin, got them to get themselves more organized, just in time for the election in the fall. 

    Moreover, it provides the opportunity for Walker and his forces to stand in the media limelight and take a victory lap, to spew all their spin about unions and government and the economy.

    It is receiving national attention - so this victory lap and all this spin is going nationwide. One of the image problems unions have is about their effectiveness.  Losing to Walker doesn't help this image.  Many of those who in the middle about unions (neither passionately for or against) are not going to get the nuance about how much Walker's side spent compared to the Democratic side.

    So the question is whether to fight Walker - but whether the recall itself should have been the focus of the fight.  Like I said maybe it was a battle worth fighting even given a loss.  But the PR ripples from this seem to outweigh whatever benefits that came from fighting the fight - a perspective from someone who is not in Wisconsin.

    [One little exit poll number from Flavius' link - 31% of those from union households do not have a favorable view of unions.  So it isn't just those who have no exposure to unions.]

    Good points and things to think about.

    Maybe better to unseat Walker in the next election and work to give him a Democratic state legislature.

    The "union thing" is a big topic, but they have suffered a lot, both in dwindling numbers and in their "image" among a wide range of voters. It's really a shame.

    "Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and fallen and bruised itself, and risen again; been seized by the throat and choked and clubbed into insensibility; enjoined by courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, shot down by regulars, traduced by the press, frowned upon by public opinion, deceived by politicians, threatened by priests, repudiated by renegades, preyed upon by grafters, infested by spies, deserted by cowards, betrayed by traitors, bled by leeches, and sold out by leaders, but notwithstanding all this, and all these, it is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission of emancipating the workers of the world from the thraldom of the ages is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun."

    Sold out by leaders, who only want labors votes, at election time 

    To bad they only let leaders vote in Wisconsin.  They should change that let everyone vote.

    I suspect there might be a legitimate case made that in Wisconsin, as elsewhere, it's in fact too bad that they let the leaders COUNT the vote. But that is a whole different issue which would make all your prattle about strategery and tactics a mere child's game intended to keep you occupied, so to speak.

    Thanks, Bruce. I guess the real question is: "Where would we be if we always waited to defend ourselves until the outcome was first assured in our favor?"

    I awoke today thinking of Eugene Debs:

    "Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and fallen and bruised itself, and risen again; been seized by the throat and choked and clubbed into insensibility; enjoined by courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, shot down by regulars, traduced by the press, frowned upon by public opinion, deceived by politicians, threatened by priests, repudiated by renegades, preyed upon by grafters, infested by spies, deserted by cowards, betrayed by traitors, bled by leeches, and sold out by leaders, but notwithstanding all this, and all these, it is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission of emancipating the workers of the world from the thralldom of the ages is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun."

    Amen Sleepin'.  Amen.

    Your pompous playing with the English language to avoid responsibility for a slander is duly noted. But when you are all done, can you please explain the difference within this context between "conclusion" and "analysis?"

    Yeah, I thought so.

    And before you go making any more analysis conclusions about Wisconsin's fight, would you care to perhaps consider how a $25/$1 spending disadvantage might influence any campaign, regardless of whether or not the DNC, DLC, KKK, or even the fucking Knights of Columbus are involved?

    No? I thought so. Sit up a little straighter, Trope. That armchair is about to swallow you whole.

    The spending disadvantage is a real disadvantage.

    How to address it?

    The thing about money is you can send it off to war while you stay home and keep earning more.

    If all you have is bodies to throw into the fight, your side gets chewed up pretty badly sooner or later.

    One piece of the puzzle is to assemble a cadre of Progressive Fat Cats like that billionaire software guy whose name escapes me.

    To be matched by specific small donor goals: 1 million people giving $5 each, etc., toward a war chest.

    One other issue may also be working against us: Liberals have a million causes. I'm not sure that's true of conservatives whose one main cause is "stop this shit."

    So people's capital gets diluted and diffused.

    You made this comment - "truly remarkable analysis" after just quoting one part of one sentence I wrote. 

    Analysis: The study of such constituent parts and their interrelationships in making up a whole.

    In other words, all those parts and interrelationships that occurred over time in Wisconsin was reduced to this sentence fragment you quoted.  In the comments I have made since, I had added some of the my analysis which would lead me to the conclusion that the progressives screwed up in Wisconsin, which adds to the other conclusion - progressives aren't going to achieve much by 2016.

    Of course, the amount of money being spent is a factor.  It proves my point! (and by this I mean, the progressives should have assumed this was going to be the case when they chose to take the extra step of going for the recall, especially since the national party had not shown any real inclination of joining the fight in any significant way) For progressives, they are always going to be on the losing end of that battle in the near future.  That is as I have said the playing field.  Do you think it will be any different in the next couple of years as the progressive try to take on President Romney?  But I'm just some big a-hole for pointing out the hopes of winning in 2016 with a progressive candidate is pie in the sky when we all know should one make it to the ticket, there is going to be something worse than $25/$1. 

    Or maybe you think the 1% are just going to sit back and watch a real progressive take charge of the White House?


    "Conclusion" versus "analysis" Trope. Go ahead. It's your turn. Actually, "analysis that would lead to the conclusion" comes pretty close. And again, your slander is duly noted and had nothing to do with "I'm just some big a-hole for pointing out the hopes of winning in 2016 with a progressive candidate is pie in the sky when we all know should one make it to the ticket, there is going to be something worse than $25/$1. "

    You owe an apology to one hell of a lot of truly hard-working progressives in Wisconsin. But don't bother. You and your armchair pundits are of no real consequence anyway.


    How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
    - Sam Adams

    I owe no one an apology - i can commend the progressives for working hard, but they took an opportunity with one of the worst GOP governors in a state like Wisconsin and turned it into a boondoggle: that is screwing things up in my opinion.  how much energy went into this that could be directed toward something that didn't provide the Right with a victory lap on a national scale and mobilized the ground forces in Wisconsin, making this state all the more difficult in 2012.  It is your state, you can do what you want - but don't expect everyone to just see what is happening there and just say "thanks for working so hard."  This has consequences on a national scale.


    The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
    - Sam Adams

    It is astounding that you calculate what will be your response to injustice and an attack on rights and liberties by how easilt or difficult it will be to prevail. Says a lot about your degree of courage and moral iny=tegrity Trope. More than you can understand, I'm sure.


    It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
    - Sam Adams

    And yet, again, Sam Adams

    "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

    I'm done here. I got work to do.

    if that make you feel better and righteous - all the more power to you.  maybe you should put those in some motivational posters and put them on your wall.  that will do a lot toward helping feed the poor.


    I don't have much time, because the unions I am so friggin' proud of and truly and repeatedly humbled to represent and speak for every day of my professional life don't lick their wounds for very long.  The fight in Wisconsin is over but it goes on.  Somewhere in one of your comments you called the Wisconsin battle a "public relations" fight involving unions.  Respectfully, and I do respect you greatly and generally agree with you, but you are so off base this time that you raised my blood pleasure, and you are wrong.

    The unions led this fight because they had to.  We lose lots of fights and it always hurts, but sometimes the fight is necessary and not sufficient.  Do you have any idea of what Governor Walker has done for the cause of collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, and by extension the country? 

    You lick your wounds, you fight the good fight, and you live to fight another day.  I think your response to  Wisconsin is sort of one size fits all and I don't buy it.  And I bet you the folks out there--after the shock and disappointment--will be pumped and ready more than ever.

    Remember, when you're tilting back one or two this Saturday, thank the labor movement--we're the folks who brought you that weekend, and it didn't happen overnight.


    I appreciate the work that you do and I do appreciate what the unions have achieved for workers. 

    When I talk about it being a PR battle, in part what is in my head are the times I hear the otherwise bleeding heart liberals around me bad mouth the unions, or more specifically the union workers.  I would posit that most of these people will agree whole heartedly that in the past the unions were able to achieve great things.

    Many of these people are like those in Wisconsin who voted for Walker and will vote for Obama come November.  They see the unions as a barrier to compromise and getting a broken system fixed because they are unwilling to negotiate, etc etc.  That doesn't make it true, but getting through to these people is a huge key if organized labor is going to start winning significantly in the coming years. 

    In other words, the battle the pro-union forces are fighting is just with the conservatives, it is also with a segment of the liberal constituency.  Until these liberals are won over, there is little hope of gaining ground against the conservatives in the public discourse arena.

    Well, the polling in Wisconsin seems to be VERY pro-Obama. So if your worry is about 2012, I don't see it.

    Beyond that, maybe you can show us a fight that should have joined instead of this one. IOW, put some specifics to:

    "how much energy went into this that could be directed toward something that didn't provide the Right with a victory lap on a national scale"

    Problem is, I think ALL of these fights are going to have national implications if only because that is what the right is going for. They aren't going for obscure victories that no one knows about. They want a very public rout of progressives, liberals, Democrats.

    So, by looking for fights that don't provide the Right with the opportunity for a national victory lap, you are depriving the left of the same opportunity and you may end up fighting fights that aren't all that important.

    and sometimes it is about organizing and not getting into a open air fight with the other side.  energy and money spent on the recall could have been spent recruiting and developing networks.  less glamorous, but critical.  boxers spend most of their time training for a fight, rather than fighting a fight.  

    I totally agree that all of these fights have national implications (even global).  I totally agree that the other side wants, craves, a very public rout of progressives, liberals and Democrats.  And they have more resources at the ready then the progressives, liberals and Democrats as the Walker recall clearly shows.

    Sometimes the correct thing to do is fight the fight even one is going to get routed over and over again.  Sometimes the correct thing to do is back off, get organized and prepare to fight another day.  Like say in the fall of 2012 when Wisconsin progressives and liberals could hand to Walker a state Congress dominated by those who opposed him. 

    Maybe fighting this fight will strengthen the liberals and progressives hand for the upcoming election.  I happen to be of the opinion this is not the case when all the dust settles.

    From a national scale: Even if Obama wins Wisconsin, I just don't see how this would have any significant impact of (1) getting someone who would otherwise vote for Romney to vote for Obama or (2) getting more liberals to the voting booth than conservatives.  As I pointed out, it is has fired up the conservative base as much as it has fired the liberal base.  And now there is less likelihood politicians nationally, esp in the swing states and districts, are going to be volunteering to push the union issue.

    Sometimes the correct thing to do is back off, get organized and prepare to fight another day.  Like say in the fall of 2012 when Wisconsin progressives and liberals could hand to Walker a state Congress dominated by those who opposed him.

    But isn't it more than possible that this fight created a vibrant network that could easily turn its attention to what you say here?

    I, too, found your case persuasive.

    Well, there you are. The data doesn't lie.

    Nice to see you take some of your mental resources and apply them to me.  See my response to Sleepin above.  I realize it is difficult to face the reality of power structures within  political systems, or when those aligned with one's paradigm fail to act effectively, but you've got to try.

    Doc, thanks for a very good post. I would like to add one more thing to your historical look back. Ever since this country became a nation, the political parties go through a idiology realignment every 30 or 40 years. The last New Deal president was Jerry Ford. Therefore Carter was the first to usher in the Southern ideology into power. Without Carter, Regan could not added the Ayna Rand and Milton Freeman capitalists to the coalition. The backlash to civil rights and women rights put this coalition firmly in place. The extreme language and mean spirited proposals against women issues, minority rights, immigration and dismantal public education that we hear now and see at some state governments is the corporations and capitalist trying to hang on to the south's support. As you said the backlash happened when Obama was elected. The real watershed moment was when the people of Wisconsin began to push back against the radical extreme laws that was put in place by the corporatists who bought Wisconsin's state house. I agree it is important to reelect Obama to keep moving the ball forward and make it easier for this younger generation to protect our democracy from corporate led corruption. It is the big picture of the future that matters not the disappointments in the details now that can be fix as the ball moves forward.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79, Antonin Scalia is 76, Anthony Kennedy will be 76 in July, Stephen Breyer will be 74 in August.

    Do you trust Romney to choose the next Supreme Court Justice?



    Also, for some historical perspective, FDR authorized the internment of the Japanese and the initial Social Security Act did not include most women and minorities.


    For fuck's sake, the initial Social Security Act didn't exclude women & minorities - it specified particular job sets that would participate in the program, typically industrial work. As most of the nation was self-employed small farming, asking broke farmers to pay more for later retirement was a non-starter.

    Any minorities on the payroll in steel mills got Social Security. Women who were married to steel workers got covered by Social Security, including at some point life insurance for themselves & their kids.


    The Social Security program as Congress originally enacted it did not provide universal coverage for retirement benefits but provided benefits principally for industrial employees. The legislation initially excluded most workers, including farm laborers, the self-employed, educators, household servants, casual laborers, and the unemployed.


    FDR's initial plan did not provide the extent of coverage we have today . Using the criteria you use now for Obamacare, you would have labeled Social Security a failure. So we can either use the initial baby steps found in legislation like Social Security as a nidus  for further, or we can just complain about the weakness of a bill.

    In order to get the votes of Southern Democrats, FDR bowed to pressure and specifically excluded jobs where many blacks were employed. The New Deal created the Agricultural Adjustment Agency which allowed white landowners to get paid more for leaving land untilled. 100K black sharecroppers were forced off the land as a result.

    Blacks who were trying to buy houses in white areas could not get government backed mortgages.

    obama is not the great ogre being depicted if we use FDR as a barometer.

    We already had baby steps - Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP I & II, plus the Schedule D prescription drug benefit (Bush's unpaid add-on). And we had attempt #1 at full health care behind us for learning experience.

    As for sharecropping & the rest, I'll leave that to you.

    You said that FDR did not specifically exclude blacks in the Social Security Act. You were wrong.

    FDR made a compromise deal with racist Southern Democrats. Obama has to compromise with his wingnut laden GOP.

    Show me where it says "blacks are ineligible for Social Security"

    The current "Progressive" argument about Obamacare is that it is not universal. The initial Social Security Act was constructed so that the agricultural jobs that employed most blacks (about 75% of black workers) were excluded.

    There was an argument at the time that the bill did not go far enough.It seems that you are suggesting that the compromise bill was just fine. Clinton failed to get a health care bill passed and you are upset that Obama could not get Universal Health Care passed.

    Are you hopeful that the Supremes overturn the health care bill, pull people who are being covered off so that we can start from scratch to get your "fantasized" Universal Health Care bill in short order.

    Did FDR fall short? Did Bill Clinton fall short? Or did only Obama fall short?



    Show me where it says "blacks are ineligible for Social Security"

    Gee, I guess de facto discrimination never happened.

    If you're going to slime FDR for leaving blacks out of Social Security, you should hint at the mechanisms & reasons.

    If it's that the most obvious place to start Social Security was for industrial professions that didn't have as many blacks....

    Vs. a specific deal that pinpointed black professions and cut them out of the legislation...

    Which was it?

    LBJ discriminated against women. He wrote a piece of legislation abut the military, which didn't have women at the time. See how easy that sloppy logic is?

    you should hint at the mechanisms & reasons.

    Nowadays, they're call pathetic excuses, PP.

    The point is, an incomplete, insufficient, inadequate, but worthwhile bill was passed and later improved. That's the core argument.

    But in general, FDR did compromise with the southern Democrats to get his agenda passed. That doesn't make him a racist, but it does make him a pragmatist.

     A vote for either candidate is the worst thing we can do; were trapped. 

    “What neo-liberal policies have achieved is to reduce wages for working Americans, reduce the proportion of Americans working, and shift the balance of corporate revenue away from workers and into corporate profits. ..........Large corporations have been able to repay their debts because they are keeping an increasing proportion of corporate revenues that had previously been paid to labor in wages. The banks survived because they received several trillion dollars in free money in the bailouts. They continue to survive on government guarantees and economic predation. .......Third, the anti-democratic nature of these reforms .......Not only did economic reformers put policies into place designed to drive wages and employment security down, they did so on a global scale and through mechanisms specifically designed to undermine existing democratic institutions. Many of the trade agreements passed by un-elected officials behind closed doors supercede national policies and once passed are very difficult to reverse


      Corporatism, snuck right in 

    File:"Rath ^amp, Wright's buffalo hide yard in 1878, showing 40,000 buffalo hides, Dodge City, Kansas." - NARA - 520093.jpg

    "Not  to much longer and democracy will be extinct too"

    So we should all give up?

    What is your solution?

    So we should all give up?


    The people are like crabs, in a boiling pot of water, being prepared to be devoured, and you think I got a plan to get you all out.

    Should I scream "Hey you. inside the pot; get out while you can, before it's too late?"

    "If you're not in the pot ......RUN" 

    "Look out for the traps" 


    Short of reboot, I don't know what else we can do.  

    If you want to survive longer, don't get into the container?  

    Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty?

    Given that the voting public is divide about 45-45% with about 10% undecided (so-called independents) who will be in charge after a reboot?


    WE THE PEOPLE and not corporations. 

    who will be in charge after a reboot?

    Did you read the link I provided, about agreements made in private,  in order to corrupt the democratic process?


    Given  a political split down the middle, who will cast the deciding vote?

    Which groups wishes get overridden? 

    We do not all agree.


    comment deleted.


       I'm curious - specifically what is your plan?  What are your thoughts on what we should be doing?  I get the sense you aren't supportive of either candidate for POTUS, so do you believe we shouldn't expend our time and energy by campaigning for and/or voting for either/any in the upcoming elections?  

       If so, what do you believe we should be doing that would yield better/more productive results?  


    Win or lose; the tea party is gearing up for war. 

    How many extremists have been busted in the last few years by  our diligent government looking for homegrown terrorists? 

    what we should be doing?

    For starters, You might consider buying a hand gun for personal protection and get proficient at using it. 

    Assad of Syria has proven, the one with the most and the biggest guns,  prevails.

    The tea baggers are way ahead of the sheeple in this respect.  

    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past........It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun!

    If so, what do you believe we should be doing that would yield better/more productive results? 


    "And it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," Obama said.


    Ouch, pretty biting retort; amazing how much that quote fits Mr Resistance's favorite themes....including the bitter.

    Yes, better just to go through the motions of attending a church with a bitter pastor you don't care about to polish your "religious" cred.

    And everyone knows that bitter feelings about free trade & unemployment are markers for anti-social behavior - fortunately with an 8.2% unemployment rate (11% for Hispanics, 13.6% for blacks) we can show we're above the bitter fray.

    What. Me. Worry.

    IMO, if you're too progressive to vote Obama, you should be out marching in the street, or something, to reboot the government.

    Amazing exchange.

    Apparently any post on any subject will produce the usual series of indictments of Obama. Undercut in this occasion by the claim that Bill or Hillary or FDR or Grover Cleveland would have been better.

    Even if they would have been the issue is purely whether Romney would  be better.

    Let me be plain. If you vote for Romney you're either not a progressive or you're a dumb one

    Since 1956 I've been consistently  disappointed that the Democrats didn't choose a more liberal candidate but I've then voted-and worked- for the one they did. On the occasions when they've won they've often done terrible things -like Vietnam,or NAFTA(according to me) but I've at least had the consolation of knowing that their opponent would have done  worse.

    And that I personally hadn't been a self indulgent poor loser.

    Some of the impassioned attacks on Obama here are from those who worked for him in 2008. Question:  do you now think we'd have been better off if the McCain/Palin ticket had prevailed.

    It is an amazing exchange. It's lame too though Flav, cause it is the same argument, between the same people, over and over again.

    But I agree with your comment of course, it's a good one.


    cause it is the same argument, between the same people, over and over again.

    Round and round we only makes one dizzy and frustrated.

    And wouldn't it be better, if all the time and energy was used to actually do something else that would better yield more productive and helpful results?!?

    FDR dealt with the situation and Congress he had and Obama is dealing with the situation and Congress he has. All that has happened is that "Obamabots" have taken the time to examine the historical record, and no longer can be made to feel "immoral" because we support Obama over Mitt Romney, Ron Paul or any other supposedly superior candidate.

    Clinton did not get health care reform passed. Clinton ushered in NAFTA. Once they get over their transparent Bill Clinton swoon (only being used to attack Obama), they'll go back to attacking Clinton and Democratic Leadership Council.

    I do have to thank them for confirming further why Obama is the best current option.


    Let me be plain. If you vote for Romney you're either not a progressive or you're a dumb one

    As one of the progressives who has made 'impassioned attacks on Obama' here after supporting him with a few bucks early on and as one who tries not to be dumb, I want to offer another way for you to view my vote. A distinction which will make no difference.

     I cannot vote for Obama. I now have a very different opinion of him. I will always vote against the Republican candidate for the Presidency. My vote for either is absolutely of no consequence. The final outcome will not be based on Obama winning Utah by a one vote margin.

     The best outcome I can imagine is for Obama to win by the narrowest provably correct margin possible and for every analysis to show that the votes he lost from the previous election are either a protest against his criminal foreign policies, bla bla bla, or because he was not enough of a progressive himself.

     I will cast a vote for the third party candidate who most clearly reflects my views, if one is on the ticket. I wish every Democrat in every obviously red state would do the same.

    I can also fantasize that if my view of how a progressive should vote, depending on the state he votes in, were to get a prominent push nationally, pissed off progressives who are completely off Obama's wagon might see a legitimate reason to get to the polls and vote for him. They might see that as the damage to our country progresses a bit slower under Obama than under Romney, a message has been sent to every politician in the country about the direction that Democrats want to support.  

    It's dumb to do what's been done before and didn't work. Eugene McCarthy wanted to punish Humphrey and withheld his endorsement until it was too late; Ted Kennedy didn't think Carter was good enough; and any number of my friends felt obliged to vote for Nader.  None of them were dumb people. 

    But it was dumb.

    "But Bobbie woulda won if he hadn't been shot."

    Yes, let's pin our hopes on a dead, coulda-been.

    The problem is the line for progressives is they are inevitably trashing what is and swooning over what isn't.

    No, it's simply dumb to ignore the circumstances in 1968 to draw your weird conclusions.

    The Democrats had a very strong horse to ride on 3 June 1968, but a few days later they didn't. It's hard to plan for an earthquake, tsunami or assassination.

    Humphrey was tainted goods, as was LBJ - had the Vietnam War all over them. How do you expect the anti-war candidate to easily flip and support that? Yet RFK was an acceptable choice - no swooning required. 

    McCarthy did get screwed by RFK coming in the race late to take the anti-war plank, and then he got screwed by the Humphrey anointment. Not surprising he would have been slow endorsing the war VP. But we can blame it all on McCarthy, not on Humphrey, not on an assassin's bullet, right?

    The answer, of course, is we should have supported LBJ no matter how unpopular the war, because a Republican would have been worse. (even though the Republican did end the war and opened talks with China and enacted pro-environmental legislation)

    (even though the Republican did end the war and opened talks with China and enacted pro-environmental legislation

    And ran a criminal operation from the oval office.

    Nixon was a bad man and Humphrey wasn't. McCarthy should have declared his support for the obviously better human being. No later accomplishments or policies justified doing anything to help Nixon secure that office which he predictably dishonored          

    If you sup with the devil you need a long spoon. 


    Josephus, I presume?

    The answer, of course, is we should have supported LBJ no matter how unpopular the war, because a Republican would have been worse. (even though the Republican did end the war and opened talks with China and enacted pro-environmental legislation)

    This is the sort of time-shifting you find appealing.

    If you want, let's go back to the daisy ad. Is there any REAL reason to think that Goldwater woulda dropped the bomb on Vietnam?

    Did LBJ turn out to be the war candidate or the Great Society candidate? Could one have known at the time? Maybe Goldwater would have nipped the war in the bud. Who knows?

    And the same thing with Nixon and ALL candidates. But you have this penchant for going back in time and Rube Goldberging events so they come out the way you want them to and saying it was very predictable.

    Who knows? You say HHH was tainted so "of course" he was rejected. Well, having watched LBJ up close and personal being taken down by the war, it's entirely possible he would have ended it even sooner than Nixon who got to reboot the thing on his own terms.

    HHH didn't preach well against the war - he was timid to stand up to LBJ, and he was part of the war government.

    Nixon ran as a peace candidate.

    But you would have said "Democrats good, Republicans bad, just pull the lever".

    Yes, it's possible HHH would have gotten pigs to fly. We'll never know because we didn't give the liberal the chance. But Nixon did stop the war, for all his other faults.

    So who's Rube Goldberg now? I told you what happened, you come up with speculation.

    And no idea what you want me to say about Goldwater & the Daisy ad. Do *YOU* think Goldwater would have dropped the bomb on Vietnam?

    Nixon promised to end the war--but he wasn't the "peace candidate." If he'd been the peace candidate, there would have been no reason for Kennedy or McCarthy to run.

    We'd have to go back and see--would be very interesting--but doubt that a single person in the "peace camp" voted for Nixon. 'Member the southern strategy? I suspect, though don't know, that that had a lot more to do with his victory.

    And he didn't end the war until he was into his SECOND term. If we apply Obama metrics to Nixon, he was an utter failure.

    I agree with what you say about HHH, though I'd have to consult the record. So yes, I can see why it played out as it did.

    But voting for Romney would be a bit like voting for Nixon.

    I agree. I did RG it a bit with HH. At the time, I supported McCarthy, but would not have voted for Nixon. But looking back and trying to learn from failure, I think it would have been smarter to stay with the Democratic standard-bearer because he would have had a better chance of beating Nixon.

    And as I recall, perhaps wrongly, he was noticeably more dovish than LBJ.

    And I don't think I would've trashed the Democratic convention. The prime offender, LBJ, had taken himself out of the race. Trashing only gave fuel to the Nixonites. It didn't help our party and it didn't help progressive causes. And it certainly didn't help the country.

    The lesson learned by the two capitalist parties.

    Promise change; and the suckers will vote for you; because one of the two; will be viewed as the lesser of the two evils.

    Besides; the candidate did promise.

    Nixon promised 'honorable peace'. he brought troop levels from a half million to 24,000 on Dec 31, 1972. He agreed peace 3 days after his 2nd inauguration, signed 4 days later, last US soldier died Jan 27, 1973, all troops out before end of March 1973, 2 months into 2nd term. Obama is promising 2 years 11 months into his 2nd term but saying it might be extended if x, y or z. Your facts are off.

    Seems to me he was also bombing Cambodia.

    "Peace with honor" was a laughing stock.

    There really is no way you can sufficiently rewrite history to say that Nixon was the "peace candidate" -- certainly not from a progressive point of view.

    The folks in Chicago weren't trashing the convention in order to get Nixon elected, though I think they helped him win.

    But who knows? Maybe he woulda won anyway.

    Seems to me you could Google some facts here and there.

    He mainly bombed Cambodia in 1970. How that detracts from ending the war in 4 years, I don't know.

    Of course "Peace with honor" or "honorable peace" was tongue in cheek, a useful sleight of hand. So what? He got us out. Do you expect him to say "let's bugger out, and admit we got our asses kicked"?

    I said Nixon ran on peace, getting us out of the war. You're hung up on whether he was "the peace candidate", which seems to mean that only if anointed by the left or Democrats or whatever could he have been for peace.... Whether the left didn't believe Nixon, or mistrusted his anti-democratic tendencies or whatever, that doesn't change his platform or success. You're the one who keeps rewriting history. Yes he bombed Cambodia and Laos, mined Haiphong, bombed Hanoi, tapped his enemies - and he drew down 500,000 troops in 4 years.

    Obama was the "peace candidate" in the 2008 campaign - tell me what a joke that was.

    Sorry, but at this point, it's impossible for me to tell what your point is or was.

    You insulted progressives for supporting Bobbie Kennedy, the dead guy - should have backed LBJ or Humphrey.

    How they blew the election (McCarthy, then hippies in Chicago- who protested Nixon but should have supported Humphrey).

    How Nixon wasn't the "peace candidate" even though he ran on a peace platform and ended the war in 4 years.

    And how it didn't matter that he ended the war because he also bombed Cambodia.

    Whatever happens, you can't be pinned down by facts, and are always able to kick a hippie.

    By the way, LBJ started Cambodian bombing in 1965, presumably with Humphrey's knowledge, even though Nixon later perfected the carpet bombing. Should that have discredited Humphrey? Was it good of Nixon to try to bomb Pol Pot & the Khmer Rouge in 1973 as they were advancing on Phnom Penh, or was that bad? And please list the many ways the hippies were responsible.


    PP: You insulted progressives for supporting Bobbie Kennedy, the dead guy - should have backed LBJ or Humphrey.

    PS: No. First of all, no one could back LBJ because he had pulled out. The convention occurred AFTER RFK was shot. EYE was backing McCarthy. But once HHH had won, they should've backed HHH, unless their goal was to have RMN win, which it was not.

    PP: How they blew the election (McCarthy, then hippies in Chicago- who protested Nixon but should have supported Humphrey).

    PS: The hippies were not protesting Nixon. They were protesting the Democratic administration. They hurt the election by not supporting HHH after he'd won. The violence at the convention (not the hippies fault, though they didn't all help) hurt the chances of whomever the Democratic was going to be: McCarthy or HHH.

    PP: How Nixon wasn't the "peace candidate" even though he ran on a peace platform and ended the war in 4 years.

    PS: He wasn't. And NO ONE who was interested in peace--a pull out--thought he was.

    PP: And how it didn't matter that he ended the war because he also bombed Cambodia.

    PS: It was good that he finally ended the war, but Cambodia suggests strongly that, when he came into office, he still believed he could win militarily or "end it with honor," which was a bit the same.

    PP: Whatever happens, you can't be pinned down by facts, and are always able to kick a hippie.

    PS: Fuck off.

    PP: By the way, LBJ started Cambodian bombing in 1965, presumably with Humphrey's knowledge, even though Nixon later perfected the carpet bombing. Should that have discredited Humphrey? Was it good of Nixon to try to bomb Pol Pot & the Khmer Rouge in 1973 as they were advancing on Phnom Penh, or was that bad? And please list the many ways the hippies were responsible.

    PS: It should have discredited HHH with respect to McCarthy. But it should not have discredited HHH with respect to Nixon. Plus, Nixon had enough else in his background that should have been enough to convince anyone to keep him out of office.

    Nixon's Democratic opponent in the general election was Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who was nominated at a convention marked by violent protests.[105] Throughout the campaign, Nixon portrayed himself as a figure of stability during a period of national unrest and upheaval.[105] He appealed to what he later called the "silent majority" of socially conservative Americans who disliked the hippie counterculture and the anti-war demonstrators. Agnew became an increasingly vocal critic of these groups, solidifying Nixon's position with the right.[106]

    Just googling around...

    HHH didn't preach well against the war - he was timid to stand up to LBJ, and he was part of the war government.

    Nixon ran as a peace candidate.

    Alright, let's try this. The first sentence, I guess, means to say that folks on the left rejected HHH because he wasn't sufficiently anti-war.

    But why switch to Nixon? No one on the left thought HE was going to bring peace. They didn't trash Chicago because they WANTED Nixon to win. And they thought so even less when he got into office.

    Then you attempt to show that he WAS the peace candidate because, after four years and a bit, he got us out. After he figured out what LBJ had already proved: That there was no military victory to be had. In fact, LBJ had already admitted that the war was lost and his presidency was lost. But Nixon had to find out for himself, I guess.

    What does this excursion even mean? That sometimes a Republican brings peace and sometimes a Democrat doesn't?

    My point is, you make the best choice you can given what you have in front of you and given what you think you've learned from the past. In 1964, it was LBJ. Turned out badly. In 1968, it was not Nixon, IMO, and no one interested in peace (pulling out) thought it was that I can recall, though maybe some voices raised this possibility. In 2000, many progressives said there was no difference between the two parties. I thought they were wrong then and still do.

    At this point, warts and all, I think Obama is a better bet than Romney.

    Whether "No one on the left thought HE was going to bring peace", Nixon brought peace. An ugly peace, but he got out as fast as any American politician could have. The bombing of Cambodia in 1970 stopped North Vietnam's supply lines through Cambodia, so it arguably made North Vietnam more willing to negotiate.

    ​But 4 decades later, you're unable to acknowledge reality, that Nixon ended the war in 1 term, despite all his faults. That he ran on peace and achieved peace, but in your eyes he can't be the peace candidate because that had to have been a Democrat and no one on the left saw him like that.

    ​And it's this kind of visual impairment that makes it hard for people to see past "have to support our guy because the other guy is Dracula/Hitler/Ming the Merciless"

    ​Obama has 50,000 more troops in Afghanistan than the 30,000 he started with. And he needs at least 2 1/2 years more - total 6 years to get 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan, when Nixon took 4 to bring down 500,000 troops in a much more engaged war. Our combat operations in WWII only lasted 3 1/2 years. Where's our urgency? What the hell are we doing? Are we going to have "peace with honor" or "won hearts and minds"? Hell no, we'll leave through the back door or middle of the night like all these conflicts, a bit of flag waving at the airport and pats on the back and the hollow feeling of what-was-all-that-about.

    In all of the rant - the most perceptive comment:

    but he got out as fast as any American politician could have. 

    now if this is as subjective assessment as they come that I know of.  The main point here is that, a president just doesn't get out, but gets out while avoiding pitfalls, etc.  Obama is no different.  One can debate whether it would be better if he had done it one or two years earlier or later, but as your statement indicates, an American politician has numerous considerations when drawing down any war.

    You're not debating - you're just presuming with no details or analysis. Whatever pace or excuse Obama gives is just fine with you. An escalation from 30,000 to 100,000 is "getting out", and falling from 100,000 to 87,000 is getting out as fast as we can - don't bother the dude, he's got major troubles to think about. I bet he needs 2 hours to evacuate in the morning.

    PP, all you're doing is making the excuses for Nixon in hindsight you accuse me of making for Obama. What's the point of this?

    The war didn't end until his second term.

    Nixon ran on a law and order platform.

    Here's a timeline picked up at random. It would appear he drew down his 70,000 under pressure from Democrats, which perhaps supports your strategy, though isn't an HHH disqualifier, IMO--though, who knows?

    ichard Nixon Elected President:     Running on a platform of "law and order," Richard Nixon barely beats out Hubert Humphrey for the presidency. Nixon takes just 43.4 percent of the popular vote, compared to 42.7 percent for Humphrey. Third-party candidate George Wallace takes the remaining percentage of votes.


    Nixon Begins Secret Bombing of Cambodia:     In an effort to destroy Communist supply routes and base camps in Cambodia, President Nixon gives the go-ahead to "Operation Breakfast." The covert bombing of Cambodia, conducted without the knowledge of Congress or the American public, will continue for fourteen months.

    Policy of "Vietnamization" Announced:    Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird describes a policy of "Vietnamization" when discussing a diminishing role for the US military in Vietnam. The objective of the policy is to shift the burden of defeating the Communists onto the South Vietnamese Army and away from the United States.

    Ho Chi Minh Dies at Age 79

    News of My Lai Massacre Reaches US:     Through the reporting of journalist Seymour Hersh, Americans read for the first time of the atrocities committed by Lt. William Calley and his troops in the village of My Lai. At the time the reports were made public, the Army had already charged Calley with the crime of murder.

    Massive Antiwar Demonstration in DC


    Sihanouk Ousted in Cambodia:     Prince Sihanouk's attempt to maintain Cambodia's neutrality while war waged in neighboring Vietnam forced him to strike opportunistic alliances with China, and then the United States. Such vacillating weakened his government, leading to a coup orchestrated by his defense minister, Lon Nol.

    Kent State Incident:     National Guardsmen open fire on a crowd of student antiwar protesters at Ohio's Kent State University, resulting in the death of four students and the wounding of eight others. President Nixon publicly deplores the actions of the Guardsmen, but cautions: "...when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy." Several of the protesters had been hurling rocks and empty tear gas canisters at the Guardsmen.

    Kissinger and Le Duc Begin Secret Talks

    Number of US Troops Falls to 280K


    Lt. Calley Convicted of Murder

    Pentagon Papers Published:     A legacy of deception, concerning US policy in Vietnam, on the part of the military and the executive branch is revealed as the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon administration, eager to stop leaks of what they consider sensitive information, appeals to the Supreme Court to halt the publication. The Court decides in favor the Times and allows continued publication.

    Nixon Announces Plans to Visit China:     In a move that troubles the North Vietnamese, President Nixon announces his intention to visit The People's Republic of China. Nixon's gesture toward China is seen by the North Vietnamese as an effort to create discord between themselves and their Chinese allies.

    Thieu Re-elected in South Vietnam


    Nixon Cuts Troop Levels by 70K:     Responding to charges by Democratic presidential candidates that he is not moving fast enough to end US involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon orders troop strength reduced by seventy thousand.

    Secret Peace Talks Revealed

    B-52s Bomb Hanoi and Haiphong:     In an attempt to force North Vietnam to make concessions in the ongoing peace talks, the Nixon administration orders heavy bombing of supply dumps and petroleum storage sites in and around Hanoi and Haiphong. The administration makes it clear to the North Vietnamese that no section of Vietnam is off-limits to bombing raids.

    Break-In at Watergate Hotel

    Kissinger Says "Peace Is At Hand":    Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho reach agreement in principle on several key measures leading to a cease-fire in Vietnam. Kissinger's view that "peace is at hand," is dimmed somewhat by South Vietnamese President Thieu's opposition to the agreement.

    Nixon Wins Reelection


    Cease-fire Signed in Paris:     A cease-fire agreement that, in the words of Richard Nixon, "brings peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia," is signed in Paris by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. The agreement is to go into effect on January 28.

    End of Draft Announced

    Last American Troops Leave Vietnam

    Hearings on Secret Bombings Begin:     The Senate Armed Services Committee opens hearing on the US bombing of Cambodia. Allegations are made that the Nixon administration allowed bombing raids to be carried out during what was supposed to be a time when Cambodia's neutrality was officially recognized. As a result of the hearings, Congress orders that all bombing in Cambodia cease effective at midnight, August 14.

    Kissinger and Le Duc Tho Win Peace Prize:    The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Henry Kissinger of the United States and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam. Kissinger accepts the award, while Tho declines, saying that a true peace does not yet exist in Vietnam.


    Thieu Announces Renewal of War

    Report Cites Damage to Vietnam Ecology:      According to a report issued by The National Academy of Science, use of chemical herbicides during the war caused long-term damage to the ecology of Vietnam. Subsequent inquiries will focus on the connection between certain herbicides, particularly Agent Orange, and widespread reports of cancer, skin disease, and other disorders on the part of individuals exposed to them.

    Communists Take Mekong Delta Territory

    Nixon Resigns

    Communists Plan Major Offensive:     With North Vietnamese forces in the South believed to be at their highest levels ever, South Vietnamese leaders gird themselves for an expected Communist offensive of significant proportions.



    You're too funny. Nixon's *FOREIGN POLICY* platform that he ran on was honorable peace.

    I said he got a peace agreement *3 days after his 2nd inauguration*, signed *7 days after his 2nd inauguration* (when the last US soldier died), in effect 28 Jan 1973. Yes, he barely missed 1st term, unlike Obama at *2 years 11 months* into his 2nd term.

    Your stupid little datum is after he drew down 400,000 he drew another 70,000 to end 1972 at 24,000. Wow, you managed to find a pony in all that shit to wave for the Democrats - ain't you grand. You qualify as overtly and obsessively partisan - badges given at the exit doors.

    (what you might have noted was that often in presidential election years, candidates respond to pressure. *IF THEY'RE PRESSURED*. But you guys just want to support the president and the war and his cesspool of renditions/detainments/drones/and whatever just because Romney might oh might use them worse.

    If we backed the Constitution instead of the President, no one would be able to use illegal means - how about that as a more elegant solution?


    But 4 decades later, you're unable to acknowledge reality, that Nixon ended the war in 1 term, despite all his faults.

    This is what you said, PP.

    Yes, by reasonable metrics he ended the the war in 1 term. If it's "getting the term paper in by 5pm", he didn't quite. What is your point?

    So what exactly is your point in all this PP?

    That Nixon got out quicker than Obama has?

    Even Nixon got out quicker?

    That it was cool for Nixon to bomb Cambodia because maybe it brought the NV to the table more quickly? That's an excuse that you would otherwise decry.

    I mean, if Nixon wanted "peace," why didn't he just pull out starting day one? "Peace with honor" wasn't tongue in cheek, nor was it a sleight of hand.

    It was, "I don't want to preside over America losing its first war."

    By progressive standards, all those extra years were a sin. The fact that Obama has more years in is meaningless. Maybe he has more years, but fewer deaths.

    What's the big deal here for you?

    The reason I brought up "law and order" was that that was Nixon's MAIN appeal, likely the one that got him elected, and a better definition of his presidency overall.

    Regardless of intentions, demonstrating in Chicago really only served to help Nixon get elected--it certainly didn't help McCarthy--and give us four more years of war. It certainly didn't lead to a progressive result. In foreign policy.

    If you're a big fan of Nixon, fine. I think he did some good things, too. I would have preferred HHH at the time. We'll never know what he would have done, but that's where I would have put my money.

    Would you have voted for Nixon...based on all the good things you didn't know he was going to do?

    I'm not sure why you think I support the war or the cesspool for, etc., etc. I participate in all the anti-war marches that I can and give to a whole variety of progressive causes.

    What I don't support is supporting the "Nixon" we have before us (either directly, indirectly, or by damaging my candidate) because once upon a time the original Nixon ended a war in four years and my guy hasn't.

    I do back the Constitution and that's why I back the guy who comes the closest to that goal, IMO, and otherwise has the best policies that will do the most good for the most people. In Romney's case, we have to guess a little bit what he would do, and we also have to guess a bit what Obama will do in a second term.

    If the Constitution were running for president, I would vote for it. Unfortunately, we have two people running for office.

    I make a relative judgment and weigh a lot of issues (not just one) because there are two people and one of them will end up in the office and neither of them is anywhere close to perfect. Nonetheless, I want the better person in there.

    In any event, it's strange for you to be arguing for abiding by the Constitution AND for Nixon as a man of peace--or whatever your point is.



    Just to put a button this for me at least...

    If you think Nixon was a better president, a more peace-loving guy, more in tune with the Constitution, than Obama, I'm fine with your thinking that.

    I don't have any more to say on this.

    I think Nixon was an asshole.

    But he said he'd get the US out of Vietnam, and he did, in roughly 1 term. 500,000 troops.

    (I assume "honorable peace" meant trying to not let South Vietnam be overrun, which it was anyway. While our bombing of Cambodia was horrific, North Vietnam's use of Cambodia as a supply and attack route was criminal)

    I can only surmise whether Hubert Humphrey, the war VP, would have been as fast.

    I can better guess that RFK would have been faster, as would have McCarthy.

    I know Obama would have been slower. Much slower.


    Yes, and I supported McCarthy with my body, though I was too young to vote. I would have supported RFK the same way. And I supported HHH when he won.

    It is true, Nixon promised to get us out and he did.

    The comparison between him and Obama is a little dicier, but I'm not sure it matters much. Consider this:

    • Nixon had already seen the unpopularity of the war and how a president, who had won in a landslide and done much, had been ousted by the war.

    • He probably (though I don't know) saw that VN wasn't worth fighting over and may even have had inklings of opening talks with China. Remember, the big fear around VN was that it would fall under China's control.

    • Arguably, much more is at stake in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan than was at stake in VN. VN fell and what happened? So "just pulling out" is probably a trickier option.

    • AQ is an enemy with whom it will probably be impossible to "sign a peace treaty" as we did with the VNese. It was much more of a conventional war than this conflict, which can't really be called a war at all.

    Anyway, I don't say all this to justify what Obama has done, but just to point out some differences that might be important.

    Anyway, good chatting with you, as always.

    Reply at bottom of page.

    Thanks for the response. I do not see any risk free way to hope that Obama wins over Romney but at the same time attempt to push Obama in a direction that I believe to be vital. I make that statement out of the belief that it is extremely important to change some of Obama's policies. I think we must risk  saying out loud what our disagreements are when we have them. Even if we are talking about a Democrat.
     So, taking the chance that I will be responsible for Obama losing if I don't fall totally in line with those who worry that any lack of total unequivocal support for him will boost Romney's chances, I will say again: I want Obama to win but I am willing, and I believe also correct, to criticize his bad policies.
    I hope Obama wins every "blue state. I hope he wins every 'swing state' and I hope every single thinking Democrat/liberal/ progressive/ whatever, voting in a solid 'red state chooses to make a meaningful vote by casting it in favor of a candidate other than Obama who might really believe in a host of issues such as protection of civil liberties, recognizing the right of other nations to exist as sovereign states, no avoidable wars, etc, etc.  I would like to one day get a President who showed by his actions that he believed that the rights and protections written into the Constitution are important to uphold for U.S. citizens but were put there with the recognition that all humans everywhere deserve those same rights and protections. They may not be able to get them from their own government but we certainly have no right to ignore them and infringe upon them from thousands of comfortable miles away.
     I think many of Obama's most grievously mistaken policies are not just mistakes, I believe they are also wrong in a philosophical sense and I also believe they will be shown, ultimately, to be stupid. 

    Fair enough.

    I can agree with this.

    It's the final stages of "Obama sickness."

    First, the right-wing hated him and tried to eat him.

    Now, the left-wing hates him and is trying to eat him.

    In both cases, the parties fly off into non-existent counter-factuals or imaginary futures, both of which are unreal. *

    For dessert, they ignore the choices that are really before them.


    * The igniting event seems to be Obama's use of drones and other Bush-era tactics. But the irony is, of course, that this is the one area where Hillary would have probably done the same thing as Obama.

    First, the right-wing hated him and tried to eat him.

    Now, the left-wing hates him and is trying to eat him.

    That's what you get when you try to serve two masters. Both sides hate you. 

    Give me a drink of something, either hot or cold; if its luke warm/cold it'll never satisfy and you'll spit it out.  

    One usually finds, that if someone can fence straddle; it's because they have no balls. 

    In Obamas case, he does serve only one master ....Corporatism 

    and it wants to destroy the democratic process.


    For desert

    I don't like shite sandwiches with either a choice of catsup or mustard, and I sure as heck don't like the desert either.

    Maybe you like a turd with powdered sugar, it doesn't appeal to me.  

    We get it, you're waiting for the reboot.

    Not a reboot;  only to boot both parties to the curb, they've both done America, a great harm.

    Beginning with Joseph "Joe" McCarthy and his allies, they changed the course and direction of the country.  

    Forget about expanding the New Deal

    Joe's attacks weren't only directed at Communists; he went after those looking for Social reform.

    As a worker; the battle we face is between Socialism or Capitalism.

    LBJ tried to deliver "The Great Society" but it was killed on the battlefields of Vietnam. 

    Capitalism doesn't want to give social reformers an opportunity to redirect the course set by McCarthy.

    Who really wanted the War?  The war profiteers (the capitalists)? 

    Capitalism brought us this Worldwide financial crisis and it wouldn't surprise me to learn; it hoped to kill off Nations with socialized programs. Telling those Nations; how are you going to pay for your social programs, you have no money.  

    The bankers got the bailout; not the people.

    Folks, please refrain from using images and videos to taunt people. It's gotten out of hand. We will moderate these going forward.

    Nixon wasn't called "Tricky Dick" for no reason 

    Our generation was sick of the  War .

    We would have elected the devil, to end the needless sacrifice.

    The thing is, the economy was good under Nixon (and  Reagan).

    Towards the end of the VN war, when pressure was mounting;  the thought or "vibes" was, Nixon and the war supporters, would get even with the generation, that forced an end.

    As evident today, it's the baby boomers (the draft aged kids of the 60's) who have been and are continually being screwed big time.  

    The war profiteers, the monied interests, have consistently tried to stick the peace movement, for interfering in their plans of enriching themselves.

    "We'll teach you hippies with your socialist ideas; to interfere in our capitalist endeavors" 

    "You'll be sorry you ended the War that made us money"

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