2:00PM Water Cooler 11/5/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Readers, I must confess these links are a bit light; it took me longer to struggle into my yellow waders than I thought it would; I’ll have more tomorrow morning. That said, my $0.02 is that voters decided to punish Democrats (and with good reason). The conventional wisdom is that voters therefore love Republicans, but I don’t think that follows. Note sensible policy choices on the minimum wage in Red states (!), and successful marijuana initiatives. I’d especially like to hear more about stories like that in comments, as opposed to horse race stuff and personalia. Thank you!

Let the McConnell hagiography begin! [Matt Yglesias, Vox].

Best quote from a Democratic insider EVAH [Business Insider]:

“This is a tsunami. Heads will roll at 1600. And if they don’t, shame,” the insider said, adding: “The president has 60 days to clean house, regrow his spine, and lay out an aggressive, centrist agenda. If he fails at any of those, he might as well just start writing his memoir.

“[A]n aggressive, centrist agenda.” Wait, let me guess. A Grand Bargain, and Fast Track. Of course, neither of those will happen if the Democrats forget about this “showing we can govern” and “Obama’s legacy” bullshit and decide to use the filibuster to stop them. Then again, if McConnnell doesn’t abolish the filibuster in 2015, that will show his base exactly what Obama’s failure to abolish the filibuster in 2009 showed his base, had they been willing to see it. Kayfabe!

Handy list of winners and losers [Chris Cilizza, WaPo].

Larry Sabato calls for investigation of political polling, which was way off in Virginia, Georgia, and Illinois [Talking Points Memo]. “Boy is that an industry that needs some house cleaning.”

Nate Silver estimates that the average poll overstated Democratic strength by four points [FiveThirtyEight].

Minimum wage ballot initiatives win in Arkansas, Alaska, Nebraska and South Dakota [Politico]. All red states.

Phoenix, Arizona voters reject forcing municipal worker into 401(k)s [Arizona Republic]. Another red state.

Denton, Texas, home of fracking, bans it [Dallas Business Journal]. Another red state.

Washington closes gun show loophole, rejects prohibition for background checks tighter than national standards [Talking Points Memo].

Oregon and Alaska legalize recreational marijuna and retail pot shops; D.C. legalizes possession but not sale [Reuters].

250 Republican seats in the House; the Democrats can’t even beat the Staten Island dude who’s under indictment for tax fraud [Bloomberg]. This is the same guy who threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony [New York Times].

I guess the voters who left early during Obama’s rally in Maryland weren’t kidding [Reuters].

Covington & Burling: “There will not be an atmosphere of compromise around judicial nominations” [National Law Journal].

Coakeley loses again [Globe]. Film at 11.

Legislature to decide Vermont race [Rutland Herald]. Looks like the Democrats have managed to deep six single payer again. Well done!

And LePage (“he’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole”) won the governor’s race in Maine [Bangor Daily News]. But I wouldn’t cry for the Democrats; they can all get good jobs at good wages in the cesspit of patronage and cronyism at the University of Maine System.

And just to sum it all up, Pelosi gives Steve Isreal a reach-around [National Journal]:

[PELOSI:] In a difficult night for Democrats, our Members and candidates won hard-fought campaigns supported by and connected to their constituents, and strengthened by the tenacious leadership of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel.

House Democrats will continue to fight for middle class families who are the backbone of our democracy. There is important work to do to jumpstart the Middle Class and we hope we can do it with bipartisanship and fairness.[1]

Of course, most of Israel’s Red-to-Blue recruits lost, as did many of his incumbents [Down with Tyranny]. Mission accomplished!


[1] A lot of what Pelosi emits these days reads like it was generated by a bot. How do you “jumpstart” “the Middle Class,” anyhow? If you try to visualize that simile, how does it work? Where do the clamps go? What is the battery? Where is the power source? Et cetera.


The 2016 election is only 734 days away.


Why ObamaCare is like a crappy long haul flight [Riverdaughter].

States benefitting most from ObamaCare elected Republicans [New York Times]. Which totally makes sense. It’s a Republican plan!


Corrupt D thug Cuomo wins governship with 53.9%. “You ain’t seen nothing yet” [Daily News]. No doubt.

New York Senate stays Republican in “clear rebuke” to Democrats [New York Times]. Wait, I thought Cuomo promised the Working Families “Party” he’d work to prevent that?

Green Howie Hawkins: 4.8% [Post-Standard].

Arcane New York ballot: Greens rise two spots, WFP falls, and Cuomo’s straw, the WEP, makes it on in squeaker [Capital New York]. Important, since the higher you are on the ballot, the more visible you are, and the more votes you get.

Working Families Party “deeply wounded” [New York Observer]. As they should be. They sold out to Cuomo, who promptly betrayed them. Nobody could have predicted!

“#NY24 utterly insane: Dem Maffei lost 60-40 in Obama 57% seat. Utterly shocking for a scandal-free incumbent” [Daily Kos Elections].

Hong Kong

What domestic “helpers” think of Occupy Hong Kong [HK Helpers Campaign].

Top Leung advisor proposes student representation on nominating panel for chief executive [Reuters].

News of the Wired

  • Oliver Stone to make Snowden biopic; interview [Russia Insider].
  • Sounds of historic rocket flights, and the solar system and beyond [NASA]. Music of the spheres!
  • How influenza particles travel in airplane cabins [Popular Science]. Say, after somebody sneezes.
  • Movement patterns of free-ranging Maremma “Livestock Guardian Dogs” [PLOS One].
  • “Timely topics” — the gold standard [St Louis Fed]. On election day. That was fast!
  • Ex-FIFA executive buys Manhattan townhouse for his cats [New York Magazine].
  • Ford fires workers by robocall [Indiana Business Review]. Classy!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. grayslady

    Citizens of Maui voted to halt growing of GMO crops on their island despite $8 million spent by Dow and Monsanto against the measure.

      1. jrs

        I figure we’ll have monocultured GMO legal pot grown from Monsanto seeds soon – way to go voters, this is the world you wanted.

    1. EmilianoZ

      That’s an outrageous attack on the freedom of corporations! I’m surprised there’s no federal law preventing states from legislating on such nationally important issue as food production.

  2. Vatch

    So the pre-election polling was inaccurate? Does that mean that Alf Landon wasn’t elected President in 1936?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      What it really means is that you could dope out the outcomes from the narrative. That was supposed to be obsolete after Nate [genuflects] Silver’s work in 2012. (I think that says more about the election than Silver’s methodology.) Silver aggregates, but how does that help if all the components of the aggregate are off in the same direction?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think the polling matter is a bit overblown. Sabato was always a blowhard. An older neighbor girl told me that shortly before our 4th and 1st year on Grounds, so I’ve always been a tad biased against Sabato.

        The polling numbers don’t make the headlines, but the campaigns can see the methodology and compare to previous years. If no one wants yard signs, there is a problem regardless of estimates of the electorate. If the campaign brain trusts don’t understand this, they shouldn’t be protected by arguments about polling.

      2. Kim Kaufman

        it could mean polls were OK – but voting totals not. Who knows? Most of these wide variances between votes and polls are on non-verifiable voting machines.

    2. zapster

      Well, no, the elections were rigged. The polls probably *aren’t* that far off. Between Crosscheck’s million or more voters tagged, Texas turning away people with suspended licenses for unpaid parking tickets (thousands of them) and Georgia “losing” 40,000 voters–this was a rigged election. I’d investigate that first.

      1. hunkerdown

        Is there anything not-rigged about the US government right now? Focusing on elections would be about as useful as the right-wing habit of meticulously chronicling the genealogy of evil, much as retirees find time to do with their bloodlines.

  3. steelhead

    Just waiting for someone or some organization to praise Obama for “his liberal insight and standing tall in the face of a forgone defeat”. LOL

  4. wbgonne

    my $0.02 is that voters decided to punish Democrats (and with good reason). The conventional wisdom is that voters therefore love Republicans, but I don’t think that follows

    People know they are trapped in a failed and corrupt political duopoly. Why the Greens can’t take advantage is a mystery to me.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The greens have had two problems: astro-turfing by the GOP over the years and Team Blue blamed them relentlessly for the 2000 fiasco. Overcoming those prejudices without a celebrity candidate (Jill Stein is a nobody, but Ralph Nader was a known, national figure) will be extremely difficult.

      Dean’s 50 state strategy and optimism around Team Blue then co-opt ed a certain amount of strength.

      1. wbgonne

        I recognize that partisan Democrats hate Nader and the Greens. Forget them. Go after the Progressive independents, build a little strength, and then wait for the partisans to climb aboard. I absolutely agree that a celebrity candidate would be a huge asset in breaking through. I also agree with your assessment of Jill Stein (for whom I voted). Leonardo DiCaprio (or somebody like) that would be a tremendous benefit as the party face and spokesperson. But even without the celebrity face, man, there seems to be an awful lot of political low-hanging fruit for a real Progressive party. People are really pissed off.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I get the feeling a lot of it is driven by Dem fear-mongering. “This election is SOOO important that you have to suck it up and vote Dem for this round.”

          I’ve also met some people that genuinely think their votes can push the Dems to the left and genuinely think non-legacy parties are distraction and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

          1. pretzelattack

            a poster on one “progressive” website blamed people who were not sufficiently willing to vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Half of those “progressives” are just upset Obama is no longer a trendy black friend.

        2. neo-realist

          Celebrities like DiCaprio, Cooney, etc would never go as far as to front a Progressive party or movement—The Studios owned by those corporate interests opposed by such a progressive party would blackball them from any further opportunities to gain any meaningful work in Hollywood.

          Find intelligent charismatic nobodies to run for office for the greens or any similar progressive party at the local level and build the brand, at the least, for progressive pols with policies to match, e.g., Sawant the socialist on the Seattle city council.

          1. wbgonne

            Fair points. Can it be done purely from the grassroots? I don’t know, My thinking is that the “celebrity” would get free media for a party with little cash. Just ruminating.

          2. hunkerdown

            You don’t need milquetoast aristocrats. You need a George Carlin, a Bill Hicks, maybe even a Lewis Black at the right end. It’s just possible Roseanne Barr, certainly no stranger to the process, could find her moment.

      2. LifelongLib

        Didn’t see Greens on the ballot here in Hawaii this time (they were in 2012). IIRC Libertarians were in a few races though.

        1. wbgonne

          Libertarians are filling the political vaccuum, which is bitterly ironic since libertarianism is just corporatism through the back door. So the political stranglehold tightens.

          1. LifelongLib

            Should have looked at the official statewide results before I posted. Libertarians were in a lot of races — governor, U.S. Senate and House, and a number of state legislative races, including a few where Republicans didn’t run (Hawaii is virtually a one-party Democratic state). Of course the candidates were unknowns with no chance of winning, but if the Greens want to be noticed they’ll have to at least toss their hats in too…

            1. wbgonne

              Three Greens on my ballot in Massachusetts: they each got about 4%. Still pretty weak but not insignificant.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Part of the reason is that the major parties now control the debates so other candidates simply aren’t invited now that the League of Women Voters don’t run them anymore.

      In Maine a political party has to get a certain percentage of the votes every election to remain an accredited party. Not enough votes, you have to go through the whole process of accreditation again and in the meantime you can’t get on the ballot.

      When a 3rd party candidate does make some headway, just watch the Dems go out of their way to crush them. This happened in Maine with the Senate race a few years back. The Maine Dems pulled out all the stops to keep a 3rd party candidate off the ballot so he wouldn’t siphon votes from Dem candidate Tom Allen, Allen played nice with Susan Collins during the campaign rather than pointing out her many shortcomings, and he had his ass handed to him.

      Both parties of much more scared of 3rd parties than they are of each other. When a major party is out of power the big players can always get a revolving door job as a lobbyist or corporate hack. But if 3rd party candidates who are actually serious about reform start making inroads, that well oiled revolving door might get slammed shut.

      1. wbgonne

        This is area that is ripe for litigation. Political parties don’t even exist in the Constitution and most of the Founders hated them. There is no way any two poltical parties are entitled to duopolistic status. Those hurdles for third parties that you mention are akin to poll taxes and literacy tests for voters, IMO.

  5. McMike

    In Colorado, Governor Frackenloper’s lead over the GOP challenger is barely more than the votes for Green party candidate (yes, Harry Hempy). Now tell me that third party votes don’t get their attention.

    Another unaffiliated third party candidate, Mike Dunafon, did not receive nearly the attention he deserved. He owns a strip club, and is a libertarian who advocates for home rule on fracking, and his platform was a true cross section of both right and left libertarian.

    But apparently missed in the media rush to ignore third party candidates was the photo on his web site. Go to “bio” and look for the hot tub shot in the upper right.

    Best candidate photo ever.

    1. cwaltz

      In Virginia, the Senate race is razor thin. Recount thin. Sarvis collected enough votes that his candidates could have tilted the race either way.

      1. Jagger

        The Republican leader said Mr. Obama called him on Wednesday and discussed issues that might form the basis of a common agenda, including work on trade deals that Republican lawmakers strongly support.

        Yes, but are there enough tea party members to stop trade deals and gutting Social Security? Hard to imagine but it seems to me I need to pin my hopes on the tea party.

        1. wbgonne

          It is possible that the Democratic Congressional caucus might rebel. Would Obama stick it in the face of the Congressional Democrats? Very possible. But Obama is a coward, IMO, and if the Democratic base rises up against him he might back down. Elizabeth Warren and Jeff Merkeley and Sherrod Brown and Al Franken may have a lot of power within the Dem Senate caucus now. Based on recent history, of course, the corporatist Democrats will overwhelm the Progressives and poof goes the Democratic opposition. But maybe things have changed. I think we’ll know very soon.

    1. djrichard

      LoL, Wallstreet is going to have to figure out how to rejuvenate this brand again. Giving the people a choice between their two teams doesn’t work if one of their teams has lost its brand appeal.

  6. Carla

    Yesterday Move to Amend (Corporations are not people; Money is not speech) ballot initiatives passed with a 70% yes vote in Mentor, OH, and 65% yes in Chagrin Falls, OH. Mentor is a city of 47,000 located in notably red Lake County.

    Some background: the Move to Amend passed in Ohio cities Newburgh Heights and Brecksville in 2012, and in Cleveland Heights and Defiance, OH in 2013. (In 2012, Brecksville voters went 67% for Mitt Romney and 52% for the Move to Amend, indicating this could be THE bipartisan issue the partisans always claim is so elusive.)

    In five of the six Ohio cities, it took a robust grass roots effort to gather signatures and get the issue on the ballot (once there, it seems to sell itself). In the sixth, far-sighted Mayor Trevor Elkins worked with his Newburgh Heights City Council to place the measure on the ballot, where it easily won.

    Also, it seems that Green Party candidate for Governor Anita Rios garnered 3.3% of the vote, insuring Ohio ballot access for the Greens next time around.

  7. Banger

    No matter where you are on the political spectrum don’t vote major parties and encourage others to do so. Also, we need direct democracy not one mediated by “representatives” who from the point they even think about running meet with a stunning array of threats an bribes that get worse over time. The system is obsolete–we no longer live in the 18th or 19th century–the only reason the system survives is because the oligarchs can completely control the outcomes.

    1. Deloss

      What an amazing and excellent idea! Cast your vote with the other 3% who are voting Green, or WFP, or that other one, because, after all, there’s no real difference between Republicans and Democrats, right?

      You’re about to find out.

      1. Vatch

        Yes, there was one Democratic Senator, Russ Feingold, who voted against the original Patriot Act, and there weren’t any Republican Senators voting with him. I guess 1-0 means that the Democrats are infinitely better than the Republicans on that vote, right? Oh, wait, I almost forgot about the 48 Democratic Senators who voted in favor of the Patriot Act. And most of them voted to renew it 5 years later.

        And we’re all extremely proud of our Democratic President for having the backbone to prosecute the fraudulent bankers who caused the Great Financial Collapse of 2008. Well, we will be, when his administration actually prosecutes one.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I might have exaggerated the number from the reconciliation vote and forgot the details over time. I remember being annoyed at Blanche Lincoln.

              Or I was thinking about Senators up for reelection in 2010. Dorgan retired.

              I still like Russ.

        1. skippy

          The Democrat party is an insipid marketing PR campaign, whilst the Republicans view themselves as the managerial master race of a planet.

          skippy… or more colloquially put, the Dems are Janet Jackson in Dubai and the Rep are the private army, one to beguile you with, whilst the other pillages.

      2. cwaltz

        Ohhhhhhhhhh I’m ascared of the Republican boogeyman. They might pass a corporate sponsored health care giveaway or cut food stamps or codify the Hyde amendment thereby making the new goal post women’s access to birth control……..oh wait….too late Democrats already did that.

        1. wbgonne

          Bingo! Ooooh, scary Republicans! The country is going to shit under the Democrats. What do tbese fools expect voters to do?

      3. ambrit

        Yeah, and the Republicrats are soon going to find out how loud a pitchfork wielding mob of Peasants, er, Citizens can sound.

      4. Banger

        I never said that I think there’s “no difference” — of course there are differences! But, do these differences really make things better or worse for me or for others. I see pluses and minuses. I’ve gone through this before so I’ve come to the conclusion that on a “net basis” there’s no powerful difference for things I value.

        1. wbgonne

          There definitely are differences! For instance, to satisfy their Big Oil masters, the evil Republicans want to bake our planet with oil and coal. But to satisfy their Big Oil masters, the goodly Democrats want to bake our planet with oil and natural gas. See the difference?

      5. hunkerdown

        Milquetoast Democrats need to go read their Gilens and Page, then either get to work, get out of the way, or get bent.

  8. Andrew Watts

    “Wait, let me guess. A Grand Bargain, and Fast Track.”

    Oooh, let me guess! A more aggressive war involving ground troops against the Islamic State AND Assad. The sky is the limit and America can’t lose! What could possibly go wrong?

    1. ambrit

      *Maximum Sarcasm Alert*
      Wait, wait! Won’t that make “them” hate our (version of) Freedom?
      General Gordon knew how to treat Fuzzy Wuzzies. (Oh, wait, didn’t they get him in Khartoum? Yes. Sorry, it was Kitchener I was thinking of. Now, not only did he know how to deal with N—–s, but he applied it with great success in the Boer War, to W—e people. [Then, alas, the German National Socialists ‘perfected’ his system. I guess they had their own class of N—–s to contend with. Doesn’t everyone?])
      For extra ‘Tinfoil Hat Points’, explain just exactly what FEMA is doing with all those Relocation Centres.

      1. ambrit

        Then why didn’t he “hear the voters loud and clear” in 2008 when he was given a clear mandate to clean up all sorts of messes? I do get your sarcasm. It’s been a long day. The next two years are going to be a long uphill slog.

  9. ambrit

    Herein appended, the “secret” Jekyll Island “Rules For Jumpstarting the Middle Class”:
    1) Organize ‘Helicopter Drop’
    (In the far off days of the original Jekyll Island Conference, this was referred to as the ‘Sikorsky Strategy.’)
    2)Invite Middle Class along for the ride.
    (Usually promoted as ‘Participatory Democracy’.)
    3) Throw Middle Class out of helicopter along with money.
    (Considered an early version of the ‘Trickle Down Theory’.)
    4) Wash, rinse, repeat.

    1. abynormal

      i just finished the ‘timely fed’ piece…

      “No economic system can completely protect against the threats posed by recessions, stock market bubbles, unemployment and inflation. However, the fiat system employed by the Federal Reserve has been largely successful in maintaining low inflation and price stability.”

      in the last year, my esophagus has burnt up and the lining of my stomach has thinned beyond repair.

      “I had a dream about you. I had a boomerang and you had a Frisbee. You asked if I wanted to play catch, and I said yes. Then you stood around waiting for me to throw to you, and I just looked at you like you were crazy, because I had a boomerang—and therefore I didn’t need you to play catch. Geez, you’re as useless as the Central Bank.
” Kintz

  10. pretzelattack

    great diagnosis by “democratic insider”–a more aggressive centrism! his centrism was too limp wristed and weak. but now he will be reborn, a fire breathing centrist, aggressively pursuing his grand bargain, and trade agreements, and destroying the middle class while letting bankers skate. it’s so inspiring.

    1. OIFVet

      “Democratic insider” is either an idiot or willful liar. Most likely both. One of the talking points today is that the democrats lost the elected positions but won the progressive referenda placed on the ballots, such as minimum wage measures, even in places where the Dem candidates lost. “Insider” takes this info and by the type of DC Dem logic that is unique to that animal specie, concludes that the answer is more aggressive centrism. No thought given to the fact that the Dems were punished for being to the right of their electorate on almost all issues, this is forbidden by their Daddy Warbucks. One can’t possibly punish the Dems harshly enough, given that electoral defeat simply hastens them taking the richly compensated lobbyist/corporate boardroom gigs.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Many Democratic “insiders” are trying to protect their jobs and reputation. Everyone one of them with the certainty of Moses coming down from the mountain run to the left in the primary and to the center in the general as if it was divine wisdom.

        1. hunkerdown

          And their social class. Never forget their social class. If the people stop paying for their cocktail parties, that’s a big Life Event and they might need to mail off a form to their insurer…

    2. Uahsenaa

      I thought “aggressive centrism” surely had to be tongue-in-cheek, then I realized there is a strong likelihood this person actually believes it means something.

  11. DJG

    Three advisory referendums (countermanding Hobby Lobby, raising the minimum wage, and slapping taxes on millionaires) all passed in Illinois, but they are not binding. Yet a constitutional amendment against voter suppression did pass.


    This does not mean good news for the Democrats. Who cares about the Democrats, party of The Hollow Men?

    And as to jumpstarting another consenting citizen of the middle class with clamps, well, we all know where the clamps go. Do I have to draw you a picture?

  12. afisher

    I’ll wait until the newly elected folks throw off their camouflage and write legislation that is far far right, aka the theocratic wingnuts. The leaders of both houses of Congress may be able to keep their agenda from being discussed on CSPAN but it will make for entertaining reading nonetheless and I get to show readers how crazy these politicians really are.

    I’d hope of a Progressive leader to emerge – but past that, I will no longer feel obligated to support a political party – and fund groups that are needed such as: ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

    General moderate sites today are full of racists wingnuts screaming about commies….seriously.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The GOP held it together, but the Tea bagger element is the beating heart of the party. They are going to be crazier and more entitled than ever because they don’t have a leader. They don’t really like McConnell and know the rumors about him.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m starting to suspect they aren’t true, or the GOP didn’t think they were going to win. They did put Dreier out to pasture.

          Hey, Lisa Ling is doing a documentary on the gay rodeo circuit. I swear a commercial for that just came on.

          1. ambrit

            Gives a whole new slant to ‘Congresscritters,’ don’t it. (Hint: A steer can still gore the s— out of you, eight seconds or no.)

          2. MikeNY

            Well, to change the subject to rumors that are true:

            Ahm dee-lighted ta see that Miss Linsdey Graham, Senatrix ex-tra-or-dee-naire from Care-lina, has been re-elected! Those nasty ‘ol ISIS turrists aint gonna like it none when Miss Lindsey wallops ’em with her purse!

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The Dandy Senator from South Carolina is the beneficiary of the Christian Right’s complete and utter lack of self awareness.

    2. Carla

      @afisher: before you give money to the ACLU, please consider their filing an amicus brief on behalf of Citizens United because, you know, they are “first amendment absolutists.”

      If you believe that Corporations are not people and money is not speech, perhaps you’d like to send $ to http://www.movetoamend.org instead.

      Or just support Naked Capitalism!

  13. Carolinian

    How about the notion that Obamacare, and particularly the mandate, were the source of this Dem debacle. A couple of weeks ago Washingtonblog linked an old Corey Robin article about the politics of freedom and why Republicans are successful. I found it highly insightful. A sampler:

    If there is to be a true realignment—not just of parties but of principles, not just of policy preferences or cognitive frames but of deep beliefs and ideas—we must confront conservatism’s political philosophy. That philosophy reflects more than a bloodless economics or narrow self-interest; it draws from and drives forward a distinctly moral vision of freedom, with deep roots in American political thought.

    * * *

    From Emerson and Douglass to Reagan and Goldwater, freedom has been the keyword of American politics. Every successful movement—abolition, feminism, civil rights, the New Deal—has claimed it. A freewheeling mix of elements—the willful assertion and reinvention of the self, the breaking of traditional bonds and constraints, the toppling of old orders and creation of new forms—freedom in the American vein combines what political theorists call negative liberty (the absence of external interference) and positive liberty (the ability to act). Where theorists dwell on these distinctions as incommensurable values, statesmen and activists unite them in a vision of emancipation that identifies freedom with the act of knocking down or hurtling past barriers…..

    We must confront this ideology head-on: not by temporizing about the riskiness or instability of the free market or by demonstrating that it (or its Republican stewards) cannot deliver growth but by mobilizing the most potent resource of the American vernacular against it. We must develop an argument that the market is a source of constraint and government an instrument of freedom. Without a strong government hand in the economy, men and women are at the mercy of their employer, who has the power to determine not only their wages, benefits and hours but also their lives and those of their families, on and off the job.

    Needless to say what the Dems have really done is champion the market and make the government a force for coercion by embracing the mandate and a “do as we say or else” approach to health care. Freedom be damned. Who could ever believe this would be popular?

    And so the results you see…..

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The mandate was one of numerous sins, but the real crimes were O’s pivot to attack SS after his reelection despite promises of a new liberal Obama and running a campaign telling voter types they were wrong about the economy. If Team D came out with a economic contract with America on Oct. 1st, they would have had a relatively great night, and the Kos-twits would be out and about explaining Obama’s genius.

      1. James

        I’m not sure I’d know where to start with O’s “real crimes,” other than to note they started fast and furious as soon as he took office. And it’s not like he was just unfocused and disorganized like Billy Bob before him in ’93. He had an agenda and he actively pursued it from day one. Just not the one anyone who voted for him thought they were getting.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I should have specified they election strategy crimes. The big misstep was forgetting to lie to people and kiss their ass. Instead the Democrats told voters that the voters were wrong and demanded to have their asses kissed.

    2. Vatch

      “Without a strong government hand in the economy, men and women are at the mercy of their employer, who has the power to determine not only their wages, benefits and hours but also their lives and those of their families, on and off the job.”

      Very true. Walmart certainly restricts employee freedom. The very concept of “at will” employment is antithetical to liberty.

      1. not_me

        “At will” would cut both ways IF we had an adequate BIG and/or asset and land reform thus taking the threat of privation off the table.

    3. jrs

      Honestly I don’t’ think freedom (any definition of it) is what’s behind conservative psychology, except maybe for true libertarian types and maybe the young and idealistic (definitely some overlap there). Conservativism is usually about JUST DESSERTS and a preference for a certain world order where everyone gets just what they deserve in their view. And they’re not going to be sold government intervention in say the labor markets in the name of freedom because it interferes with their just desserts beliefs.

      But sure the mandate might be unpopular and broadly so not just among conservatives. The ACAs unpopularity can’t have helped.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m sure they do mean it even if what they really mean is freedom of action for people like them. There is a lot of cynicism around here–and rightly so–about the lies we were all taught in history class and how the country was about money from the get go. But I do think the other motive for people to come here which was freedom–a buzzword my generation heard constantly–is not just a platitude but a force whose power shows that some things really are more important than money. Why do the conservatives understand this and the liberals, modern edition, do not? What the left currently lacks, utterly lacks, is the common touch. Nobody loves a technocrat.

        1. Carolinian

          Btw the Lambert linked Riverdaughter does a better job of saying what I was trying to say (except for the pro Bill Clinton aside…she was big on Hillary back in the day). Whatever one thinks of Obiecare, politically it is a disaster. It is what the Republicans run on these days.

        2. James

          Why do the conservatives understand this and the liberals, modern edition, do not? What the left currently lacks, utterly lacks, is the common touch. Nobody loves a technocrat.

          Agreed! The Rs at least understand the concept and give it lip service. The Ds on the other hand act like it’s altogether beneath them. And given the people who make up their party’s senior leadership, it’s not hard to understand why. Even when they do come from dirt poor roots (HillBillary, looking RIGHT AT you two!), they despise them and feel either utter contempt or contempt veiled as pity.

          And as perverse as this sounds, I absolutely think there’s some truth to it. Regardless of political affiliation or stance on any particular issue, people of the blue state working classes (from which I hail) still have a keen nose for what politicians say vs what they actually do, and will punish those they feel have lied to them accordingly for elections, if not generations thereafter. It’s something I grew up with and still feel viscerally myself, long after becoming “smart enough” and well off enough to see through tawdry and patronizing R tactics, only to be sold out by the Ds in an even more patronizing and insulting manner.

          And BELIEVE ME, Barry O and the Mannequins lil’ performance art thing these past six soon to be eight years has TORN IT for me FOR GOOD! Whether or not they listen or learn anything from here on out is of no consequence to me WHATSOEVER! I’m only hoping that they don’t get the chance to repeat those same mistakes EVER again! I want the freaking bastages politically EXTERMINATED!

          Music please!


    1. James

      And just think, Terrible Ted’s able to muster all that gonzo without any pharmaceutical assistance whatsoever! One shudders to think of the lost possibilities!

  14. Jeff W

    “Top Leung advisor proposes student representation on nominating panel for chief executive”

    That advisor would be pro-Beijing New People’s Party chairperson Regina Ip, who is well-remembered for her advocacy of the anti-subversion law that was shelved by the Hong Kong government in 2003 after massive protests and whose Stanford University master’s thesis on Hong Kong’s democratic development earned her, in 2006, a grade of D from one South China Morning Post commentator (who said, among other things, “her paper repeats, virtually verbatim, the indefensible reasons presented by former chief executive…for delaying universal suffrage…”).

    The South China Morning Post characterized the proposal as “rejected by the students and branded ‘idiotic’ by one protester.”

  15. optimader

    As long as I’m in the perpetual jug of moderation I might as well post something that actually could use some moderation

    “Barack Obama knows that to create an economy built to last, we need to focus on middle-class families. Families who stay up on Sunday nights pacing the floor, like my dad did, while their children, tucked in bed, dream big dreams. Families who aren’t sure what Monday morning will bring, but who believe our nation’s best days are still ahead.”
    ~Charles Schumer

    “I don’t care whether you’re driving a hybrid or an SUV. If you’re headed for a cliff, you have to change direction. That’s what the American people called for in November, and that’s what we intend to deliver.”
    ~Barack Obama
    LOL that one..

    1. OIFVet

      Schumer is a special kind of awful. Unless I am missing some deeper hidden meaning in his quote, Chuckie Schumer thinks that middle class and economic insecurity go hand in hand. I always thought otherwise but I might be wrong. Anyway, big kudos Chuck, you have succeeded admirably in creating an insecure middle class. You sort of forgot the dreams about a better tomorrow though. Is that a feature or a glitch?

      1. MikeNY


        I can’t stand to watch that career Wall Street shill with his mangy hair plugs doing his de rigueur Sunday (slow news day!) pandering pressers. It’s like the infinite loop from Hell.

      2. optimader

        No hidden message…. Schumer is just a craven fake vomiting up a fiction that channels a Woody Allen script. As a HvdLwScl grad excreted directly into professional politics he doesn’t get it, as a matter of fact he is 180deg out of phase w/ how a healthy middle class would behave on a Sunday night — maybe because he never had a real job?
        My dad certainly wasn’t vibrating in the kitchen Sunday night, because he’d be in the sack at 9:00 so he could be up at 4:30am to get to the plant to sort out whatever world of sh*t occurred on 3rd shift..

      3. jrs

        They pace the floor with worry but their children couldn’t possibly pick this up, could they? And their children can dream and they can have dreams of their children because the best days are still ahead, and never mind any actual concrete evidence that that might not be so from the present. Their children afterall are all like little orphan Annie singing about tomorrow.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    I do wonder how Democrats are going to explain the end of the gentleman’s filibuster. I imagine there will be cries of “it’s not fair!”

    1. cwaltz

      I know Pelosi’s not in the Senate but someone had better get her a fainting couch. After all, this is the woman who insisted in 2008 that we be all civilized and appoint Obama to his rightful place because……..fighting on the floor would be uncouth.

  17. Erick Borling

    Lambert, here is a great website that occasionally has material that would best be filed in the Imperial Collapse Watch category. Cliff Mass’s Weather Blog. He is occasionally wrathful about the state of the U.S. weather prediction infrastructure and about math and science education in Seattle (where he teaches at the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences). One can also learn quite a bit about how the weather works, and he sometimes explains myths misperceptions about nuances of global warming (he is of course not a global warming denier).

    I do as much bonsai gardening as I can so if you like those kinds of pictures I’d be honored if you wanted to see some. Buenos nachos, Erick

  18. Eureka Springs

    I was thrilled to see our County Sheriff (R) tossed out when no other Republican was. We had our mini Ferguson moment a couple of weeks back and that’s why the incumbent was defeated soundly 61/38%. Thankfully a citizen captured it on film or chip and much to my shock local news committed an excellent act of journalism.

    Yet another reason for prog/dems to quit thinking they are they only….

  19. TedWa

    Lambert : I really think this needs to be reported on and the word spread. It could be very significant in a fight against corruption and money in politics.

    “On Nov. 4th, 2014, voters in Tallahassee, Florida, made history by approving the first city Anti-Corruption Act in the United States by an overwhelming 2 – 1 margin. A small but dedicated group of progressives, conservatives, and independents put aside their differences to wage a historic battle against corruption in their community, and they won.

    They weren’t afraid to call the money pouring into our political system what it is: corruption. They went all in with comprehensive reforms instead of settling for half measures. And they did it all by sidestepping entrenched politicians and putting a citizen initiative directly on the ballot — no politicians required, just we, the People.


  20. jrs

    #MillionMaskMarch today though I didn’t know it. I asked what was being protested and was told “government corruption”, I replied “good cause” to express support (mostly I support PROTEST), then wondered if I was being dissembled to. Because you could tell anyone of any political orientation from a progressive to the most conservative republican that you were protesting “government corruption” and they’d nod. Now of course the government is corrupt, but surely those very radical signs had to be more radical than that.

    I wondered if it was an ethnic thing and I was just deemed the wrong race to tell the truth to (turns out it isn’t entirely). Because I can’t be shocked by radicalism really. They could tell me they were protesting for the immediate implementation of #fullcommunism and while I’d have my reservations on that one (preferred a less fully centralized solution #fullanarchism) it wouldn’t be completely alien to me why someone might think it better than what we’ve got. The reactives around here (very common, people in corporate can be shockingly so) are reacting with their suspicion of any protests and remarks “to get a job”, but they’re idiots, if there’s no protest, if there’s no resistance, things will continue to get worse. But yes working your job like the slave you are is more important …

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ex-FIFA…Manhattan townhouse for cats.

    That’s probably some esoteric Karmic principle at work here – if you are a serf and if you conduct yourself respectively, then, in your next life, you can upgrade yourself from serfdom to living the life of a pampered cat.

  22. neo-realist

    Re the Staten Island republican who won in spite of the indictments–no surprise. Staten Island by and large is a Conservative White Ethnic red state enclave that doesn’t really see itself as part of that urban liberal jungle of NYC.

  23. Jay M

    I woke up on the center line. It was intermittent therefore passing was allowed. I wondered whether I was reborn or my natality was singularly abrupt. Traffic was interrupted and I wonder if this star Sol is my origin from the matter point of view.
    Big picture: the big swinging dicks prevailed. Welcome to the world assholes.

  24. Larry

    Coakeley loses again [Globe]. Film at 11.

    Annnnnnnd while we in the great Commonwealth elected Charlie “Pension Scandal” Baker to be our executive, we also voted in paid sick time for most workers. You can’t tell me that has nothing to do with punishing Democrats.

    Moreover, Coakley is a terrible candidate. I am convinced she keeps getting propped up for a run at these high offices in Massachusetts because she played nice and rolled over in the multi-state mortgage settlement.

  25. Faye Carr

    Whatever happened to Russ Feingold anyway? I don’t think he died in a tragic single engine air plane wreck…

    1. Jay M

      I get confused on who the deep state did in. The ongoing train wreck. Funny how train wreck seems so apt.

  26. different clue

    The Republican Party is not a legacy party. It is still a real party with real goals and real internal conflicts befitting real internal ideological differences and so forth. The Republican Party has many years of successful life left.

    The national-level Democratic Party has become a velcro-decoy psychological warfare organization . . . a false flag energy diverter serving the upper classes by grounding out non-upper class rebellion energy.

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