Campaigns/Elections

Why Do Radical Voters Go Out With Centrist Candidates?, or, More on Progressives' Obama Buyer's Remorse

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Following on to Michael Moynihan and Damon Root's blogging yesterday on some left-wing Obama regrets, Daniel Larison at American Conservative, spinning off of Glenn Greenwald's commentary on progressive laments about the mainstream nature of Obama's appointments, offers some reasons why non-centrist voters will inevitably live to be disappointed by supporting centrist candidates:

At every stage, the "impractical" purist hears that he should not withhold his support from the marginally preferable candidate under any circumstances. He is urged to be realistic, and so he and those like him do not insist that the candidate make strong commitments on policy positions that are deemed by someone to be out of the mainstream. The candidate pays some minimal lip service to the purist's "values," and this is supposed to count for something. In the name of pragmatism, the purist decides that he has to support the candidate, because the candidate represents the best chance of advancing his views, but even before the election is held the purist has already given so much away in the name of pragmatism and realism that he and those like him have no leverage at all. Having yielded and given away their support in exchange for nothing more than lip service, the purists are scarcely in a much better position than before. They can take satisfaction in being on the winning side, but for the most part this means that they will bear the burden if the public turns against the candidate after he is elected and otherwise they will scarcely get much of anything. The purists-turned-pragmatists will receive the blame for enabling the administration in whatever it does, but they will receive no credit or acknowledgement that their support was important enough to merit meaningful concessions to their concens. Having refused in the first place to exact a price for their support, they have made their support worthless and ensured that they will have no influence.

This applies to libertarian support of most Republican candidates as well.

NEXT: Sen. Bill Clinton (D-N.Y.)?

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  1. Presidential candidate promising “Change” appears to be fairly mainstream and ‘status quo’. Film at 11.

  2. Bush pays lip service to libertarian ideas from time to time. Rampant government intervention leads to a flailing economy. Average Joe blames libertarian ideas for the flailing economy. Change jersey colors. Repeat.

  3. but, but, joe was just telling me that progressive/lefty dissatisfaction was all a myth not too long ago.

    The purists-turned-pragmatists will receive the blame for enabling the administration in whatever it does

    This sounds strangely familiar.

  4. This applies to libertarian support of most Republican candidates as well.

    Not exactly. The contention that Republicans are marginally preferable to their Democrat counterparts is utter bullshit. So you have to add stupidity to culpability when it comes to libertarians that vote Republican.

  5. I’m not convinced that Obama is a moderate. I’m waiting for the coronation. With the cellar stocked.

  6. Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that we throw our vote away?

  7. I think the solution to this problem would be to form something like voting clubs in which the members promise to vote as a block. The members could hold their own internal election and pick which candidates to support. If the clubs were large enough, they could make candidates make firm commitments prior to election.

    The problem for libertarians is that both major parties in America are based around restricting freedom in one area of life or the other. A libertarian club would have to prioritize the loss of freedoms.

  8. “I’m not convinced that Obama is a moderate. I’m waiting for the coronation. With the cellar stocked.”

    I just have a closet with a warm 30 pack of Miller Lite and some Steak-umms….hope I make it…

  9. The most enjoyable aspect of Obama’s, otherwise miserable, victory has been to watch the utter look of horror on the faces of my progressive friends as he makes his appointments. The recent announcement that he is retaining Sec. Gates put quite a few of said progressives over the edge. So enjoyable to watch.

  10. So the word “progressive” is officially back?

  11. Hotsauce,

    Yep. That is why it is kind of important for libertarians to distance themselves from republicans. The republican party is an albatross on libertarian ideas. A libertarian republican is simply a useful idiot and/or a confused libertarian.

  12. It was so sweet when Barry O’Bama said the economy was so bad, he might have to wait for a while before imposing higher taxes on people that make more than $250K.

  13. There are two political parties in the US: incumbents and challengers. Incumbents use the power of the state to give “goodies” to voters in order to stay incumbents.

  14. So, if the economy is bad, we don’t want to raise taxes on the rich? I thought that the TEH RICH with their evil CORPORASHUNZ were the cause of all economic woes.

  15. The recent announcement that he is retaining Sec. Gates put quite a few of said progressives over the edge. So enjoyable to watch.

    Like I have said before, Christmas has come early this year.

  16. So the word “progressive” is officially back?

    I work at a university, so not remotely representative of the U.S. But, on my campus, it is back with a vengence.

  17. Does Bill Ayres get an administration job after the first year? Sounds like everything he might be able to further his wishes with is already filled.

  18. It’s like they KNOW me… like they’ve read my political mind for the last 20 years…

    Until now, that is. Proudly didn’t vote this year.

  19. Shannon Love, did you mean to re-create the notion of a political party? (It can be hard to tell on the internet.)

  20. I think the solution to this problem would be to form something like voting clubs in which the members promise to vote as a block.

    I know… we could make two voting clubs. One will be called “The Democrats” and the other will be called “The Republicans”. Oh, heck, let’s make more than two. We’ll create some others. I’m partial to “The Libertarians”.

    And then these “voting clubs” can “promise” to vote a straight ticket.

  21. Until now, that is. Proudly didn’t vote this year.

    Good man, it only encourages them.

  22. progressives over the edge

    There’s no drop past that “edge.” They’ll be back licking Party ass at the first opportunity. Their self-image as members of the dominant (or, when they lose, more noble) group is more important to them than any policy, principle, or personality. You watch.

  23. What baffles me is not that radicals support a aminstrean candidate, but that they fall head over heels in love with, sell their ideological souls to a mainstream candidate.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a radical, an idealist. I’m considered one everywhere but Hit & Run. What we get wrong is ignoring or losing our cynicism even as we get new reasons daily for embracing it.

    If we were to ever elect a libertarian congress the first order of busimess would likely be “How can we rig the system so we can stay in power?”

  24. This doesn’t just happen within the Democrats and Republicans – a lot of libertarians would love to feel at home in someplace other than the Libertarian Party. The only real way to fix this problem is to give Americans more legitimate choices.

    This blog post sums it up pretty well, especially in regards to the Libertarian problem.

  25. Barack Obama will be sworn in as President in 55 days. A month of two after that, it might be possible to write something intelligent about the initial ideological direction of his presidency.

  26. Although I see that Shannon Love’s idea is being criticized, I do think that there might some value in getting [x]-oriented indivduals together (i.e. liberal, conservative, libertarian] and making them define their priorities a little better.

  27. The Angry Optimist | November 26, 2008, 1:23pm | #

    but, but, joe was just telling me that progressive/lefty dissatisfaction was all a myth not too long ago.

    It is. Finding a single blog post that tells you what you want to hear isn’t that difficult.

  28. Barack Obama will be sworn in as President in 55 days. A month of two after that, it might be possible to write something intelligent about the initial ideological direction of his presidency.

    Indeed. We need to keep our knives sharp. He’s probably just trying to lull us into complacency.

  29. Obama disappoints the Left the way Bush disappoints the Right. Which is to say, not all that much.

    Then again, it’s a bit early to tell.

  30. Hazel,

    He certainly isn’t working to lull conservatives into complacency with his economic-policy pronouncements over the past three days.

    Personally, I like the idea of his leftish stimulus/energy/infrastructure package being implemented by people who aren’t enthusiastic true believers. It makes it more likely that it will be carried out effectively.

  31. 17 years ago, when I first entered highschool, “Progressives” were the kids that listened to the Cure, Depeche Mode, and Bauhaus and wore fishnet stockings and black lipstick. I guess they’d be called “Goth” now, but it still tinges the mental picture I get when people talk about “progressives”.

    If only it were true…I’d way rather listen to old Joy Division than Jackson Browne.

  32. Yeah joe.

    There has only been background noise from the left portion of the spectrum regarding Obama’s appointments (and VP pick). You’d have to search the internet for hours to find more than two artycles complaining or voicing disappointment over them.

    In fact, I heard Daily KOS was celebrating the return of Tom Daschle and thwe elevation of Hillary Clinton all last week.

  33. J sub,

    Sharp-eyed realist that you are, you must have picked right up on the fact that all the commentary keeps linking to the same Hayes piece.

    In fact, I heard Daily KOS was celebrating the return of Tom Daschle and thwe elevation of Hillary Clinton all last week.

    See, this is your problem. You “heard” about what’s been on the Daily Kos, but you’ve obviously never bothered to go there and find out for yourself. They love Daschle as HHS/Health Czar.

    Lemme guess – you read a quote from Markos Mousilitas about how betrayed he was by the Clinton pick, right? Had you ever bothered to go to the site, you might have seen the post where he call the writer a moron, and points out that the quote he provided was about dissatisfaction with the Senate over the Lieberman vote.

    Which raises and interesting question – why the loud, universal anger among the netroots with the Senate Democrats barely covered at all, while the barely-perceptible, minority-level anger among some bloggers at Obama getting wall to wall coverage in conservative (and libertarian) media outlets?

  34. Back to the blog post:

    At every stage, the “impractical” purist hears that he should not withhold his support from the marginally preferable candidate under any circumstances.

    Even among the people you can find complaining about Obama’s picks, you won’t see anyone describing Obama as “marginally preferable.”

  35. Hey, J sub D:

    Memo to the news media
    by kos

    Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 03:05:04 PM PST

    If you’re going to go around claiming “Daily Kos” thinks a certain way or says something, then show your work. Add some quotes. Cite some authors. Make the distinction between editors (who can speak editorially for the site) and commenters and diarists (who speak for themselves).

    And when you do decide to cite authors, make sure they are talking about what you think they are talking about.

    Mr Obama has moved quickly in the last 48 hours to get his cabinet team in place, unveiling a raft of heavyweight appointments, in addition to Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State […]

    Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos site, the in-house talking shop for the anti-war Left, warned that Democrats risk sounding “tone deaf” to the views of “the American electorate that voted in overwhelming numbers for change from the discredited Bush policies.”

    The author of that piece, Tim Shipman, is a moron. I was taking about the Senate’s decision to keep Joe Lieberman aboard. That had nothing to do with 1) Obama’s appointments, or 2) Hillary Clinton.

    Really, it’s getting tiresome of you media people inserting words into our mouths. Stop it.

    Really, it’s getting tiresome of you sour grapes people inserting words into our mouths. Stop it.

  36. Finding a single blog post that tells you what you want to hear isn’t that difficult.

    Who the hell said I particularly care one way or the other?

    So, you’re saying that this statement:

    progressive/lefty dissatisfaction [is] all a myth

    Is absolutely true? Is that right?

  37. Really, it’s getting tiresome of you sour grapes people inserting words into our mouths. Stop it.

    Sour grapes? Over what, an Obama victory?

    cracka, please.

  38. It’s amazing what you can to do by inserting words like “all,” “none,” or “entirely” into statements that don’t contain them.

    What I actually wrote is absolutely true. It is right. I can’t speak to distorted, straw-man versions of what I’ve written.

  39. I think you doth protest too much about how little you care.

  40. So the arguement now is whether or not “the left” is upset at some of the picks that Obama made?

    a. why do we care?
    b. isn’t there anything that people won’t argue over?

  41. One thing a “lesser of two evils” vote does is to assure the two-party duopoly that they can take you for granted. And they will.

  42. If it ever comes up in Trivial Pursuit, the answer to the question Why Do Radical Voters Go Out With Centrist Candidates? is:

    Ralph Nader.

    “Not a dime’s worth of difference,” doncha know.

  43. Personally, I like the idea of his leftish stimulus/energy/infrastructure package being implemented by people who aren’t enthusiastic true believers. It makes it more likely that it will be carried out effectively.

    Interesting. Your stance is directly at odds with a certain variety of left-winger that argues that failures of left-wing policies stem not from the shortcomings of the policies themselves, but from the insufficient zeal with which the implementers and/or polity believe in them.

    Will Wilkinson had a post on just this very phenomenon not long ago and it attracted a few “clap louder!” liberals in the comments.

  44. I am so looking forward to everything being joe’s team’s fault for the next 4 years.

  45. Dr. Ken,

    I think you linked to the wrong piece, because the entry from Wilkinson isn’t about the zeal of the people implementing the program, but the hostility to the program among the political opposition.

  46. I’m in the camp that says time will tell. Obama’s radical supporters may be afraid he went too far before it’s over. No one knows.

  47. joe, wipe your chin and read
    One,
    Two,
    Three,
    Four
    Four.

    There’s more but I’ve wasted enough time with sycophants for one day.

  48. That should be a five. My oopsy.

  49. Congratulations! An hour and a half of your life, and you found the same three stories that keep getting linked to – the Greenwald story, the Hayes Story, and the TalkLeft stor – a story about Arab-Americans that has nothing to do with progressives, and a blog post that reads “I’m not yet in the mood to make any thundering pronouncements on any of this stuff.” BTW, two of those are about Brennan, whose name was removed from consideration yesterday.

    Impressive. Maybe if bury it in some pointless personal insults, no one will notice that you spent an hour and a half of your life trying to prove that something is widespread, and failed.

  50. joe,

    Barack Obama will be sworn in as President in 55 days. A month of two after that, it might be possible to write something intelligent about the initial ideological direction of his presidency.

    Given all that Obama has been proposing (in what, his third news conference in as many days?) and who he has been nominating that seems like a rather odd conclusion for one to make.

    Personally, I like the idea of his leftish stimulus/energy/infrastructure package being implemented by people who aren’t enthusiastic true believers. It makes it more likely that it will be carried out effectively.

    Make work projects are never carried out “effectively” if by that we mean that they are effecient uses of resources. They are inherently ineffecient. Bastiat described why this is through the example of the myth of Sisyphus.

  51. Seward,

    Given all that Obama has been proposing (in what, his third news conference in as many days?) and who he has been nominating that seems like a rather odd conclusion for one to make.

    He’s made a lot of centrist nominations, while outlining a liberal economic recovery program. “Wait and see” seems to be the most plausible position to take.

    Make work projects are never carried out “effectively” if by that we mean that they are effecient uses of resources. That depends on the projects, doesn’t it? Quick, name one.

  52. joe,

    No, it doesn’t depend on the project. Make work jobs invariably ignore the price mechanism (for one thing), and thus they are wasteful. One cannot really defend them as effecient uses of economic resources, which is why they are defended on other grounds like “we’ve got to put people to work in order to avoid social turmoil” and the like. Now perhaps that is the case and perhaps it is not (personally, I think they just crowd out more effecient market actors for resources and make the matter worse by doing so because that retards what markets are far better at creating – innovation – one of the real engines of growth – and the use of human capital for such).

  53. joe,

    Addendum: if one is really interested in ameliorating poverty via some state mechanism then Freidman’s notion of a negative income tax seems like a far less market distorting idea IMHO than trying to “create” employment for people via some central planning mechanism.

  54. I think you linked to the wrong piece, because the entry from Wilkinson isn’t about the zeal of the people implementing the program, but the hostility to the program among the political opposition.

    The link concerned the lack of zeal of the polity and how that apparently confounds the best laid plans for .

    In any event, I thought it interesting that one lefty believes a lack of zeal for a policy among the implementers helps the policy succeed while other lefties believe a lack of zeal for a policy from critics at large can doom it to failure. I certainly hope that Obama’s policy failures as he sets down the path of Disaster Socialism won’t be met with admonitions from the left that us darned libertarians simply weren’t cheering loud enough.

  55. “No, it doesn’t depend on the project. Make work jobs invariably ignore the price mechanism (for one thing), and thus they are wasteful”

    Government doesn’t actually create anyhing – jobs or anything else – to begin with.

    All government does is redistribute wealth already created by some private sector party.

    It’s just a shell game. Money that government expropriates to “create” jobs related to some activity it wants to accomplish is money that is no longer being used in the other economic activities that it would otherwise have been.

  56. The point, Seward, is that you have plucked the term “make work projects” out of thin air, without any apparent knowledge of any of his proposed projects whatsoever. That’s why “it depends on the project.”

  57. Dr. Ken,

    The feelings towards a project among the people implementing it, and among the political opposition, are two different things. There is nothing contradictory about believing that having a healthy skepticism among implementers keeps them honest, and that having a motivated opposition makes things more difficult.

    I certainly hope that Obama’s policy failures as he sets down the path of Disaster Socialism won’t be met with admonitions from the left that us darned libertarians simply weren’t cheering loud enough.

    Look on the bright side: if things work out as they did in the 1990s, libertarians’ predictions of “disaster socialism” will only be a punch line for a couple of decades.

  58. why do punk rock guys go out with new wave girls?
    why do punk rock guys go out with new wave girls?

    it’s all about scarcity.

  59. I doubt Move On.org has any problem with the Clintonization of the administration. They may act leftist, but they were and probably still are Clinton people. The other blogs may be bonafide lefties, but they aren’t done rationalizing and excuse making to actually be upset at their beloved leader.

  60. joe sez Sharp-eyed realist that you are, you must have picked right up on the fact that all the commentary keeps linking to the same Hayes piece.

    Tell ya what joe. Let’s make a little bet about who does ALL of the wailing and gnashing of teeth when Obama really does retain Gates as SecDef. Or is this just a figment of my imagination?

  61. OK. I put my money on Stephen Hayes.

    Srsly, what are you talking about? Why did you capitalize ALL?

    Is there some point I’m missing, beyond the uncontroversial “there are left-wingers who don’t like Robert Gates?”

  62. None of us can be convinced of what Obama is yet. Many of Bush’s initial cabinet picks, like Colin Powell for SoS, seemed initially quite moderate.

  63. I stand corrected. Juan Williams was almost in tears discussing Obama’s appointments on Special Report. You lose Juan and you’re in trouble.

  64. Wheres Michael Moynihan – Hugo Chavez just attacked Mumbai

  65. Someone probably said it, but it bears repeating: Won’t the conservatives who went on and on about what a radical Obama is look just as stupid as disappointed radicals if he does indeed turn out to be a centrist? Will they continue to insist he’s a radical anyway, or will they find a new line of criticism?

  66. joe,

    The point, Seward, is that you have plucked the term “make work projects” out of thin air, without any apparent knowledge of any of his proposed projects whatsoever.

    The point is actually is that I don’t have to know anything specific of said projects. You see, there is a very long pattern of government behavior here which rather dimly emphasizes the need for employment, and when that is emphasized it invariably turns into make work jobs of some variety or another. In other words, I don’t have to wait around and “test” this proposition once again.

  67. joe,

    In other words, the government needs to stop worrying about employment, “creating” jobs or industries, and all that sort of thing (much of which smacks directly of mercantilist attitudes which have been discredited for some time now). What it ought to be doing is fostering appropriate rules so that market forces can create employment, new industries, etc. Government simply is quite bad at that sort of thing and it has proven itself to be so time and time again.

  68. I argued the same thing recently, and it really is bizarre that so many supposedly intelligent thinkers can’t seem to grasp this.

    You have to play politics, and move to the center if you want to hold onto power. This renders the chance of a Libertarianism Presidency highly unlikely.

    However, on this blog it seems that acting in a such a way would defeat the purpose of the Libertarian platform, since it would be a never-ending compromise.

  69. “It is. Finding a single blog post that tells you what you want to hear isn’t that difficult.”

    Cherry picking is a Libertarian pasttime. They excel at it.

  70. Famous Mortimer,

    The attitudes, behaviors, etc. of libertarians have little to do with why we’ll never have a libertarian president.

  71. You guys are irrelevant and seem not aware of it.Instead, all you do is spew venom about Obama.
    Why not wait to see what he does and then judge those things? Nah. In your little corner you snipe away and thus it always will be. You believe you have Truth and are a cute little minority but just perhaps you have little to offer but biting commentary about those who will be running thi ngs, allowing you to sit on your haunches and continue the venom.

    Time has passed you by. You will vote GOP and pretend you are something else.

  72. All I hoped from Bush was to get Iraq under control and to set the tone of the war for a Dem administration.

    Well Obama is keeping Gates – He promises Osama dead or alive and he will be going after Al – Queda in Afghanistan and that will be it. – It will be enough.

    The Muslims will goad him into something and the war will be on. To prove he is not weak on defense he will have to fight. India was the first probing attack. So far “He regrets…” No mentioin of the targeting of Americans, Brits, and Israelis.

    Oh yeah – he will not lose Iraq because he can’t afford it to become a spawning ground for terrorists. Or for Iran to gobble it up.

    But you know I’m a rather odd bird – neocon on foreign policy, libertarian on domestic.

  73. Barack Obama will be sworn in as President in 55 days. A month of two after that, it might be possible to write something intelligent about the initial ideological direction of his presidency.

    Why wait so long? Surely we can see how uses the power and authority of the Office of the President-Elect.

  74. Jimmy Carter for Energy Czar – He has experience.

  75. ROFL. Who was the “truly” progressive candidate everyone on the hard left should have supported?

    John Edwards?

  76. M. Simon,

    Only if they make him the Czar Nicholas II Energy czar.

    I’m still waiting for Carter to croak so I can have a day off.

  77. No matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in

    — Neil Innes

  78. There are two political parties in the US: incumbents and challengers. Incumbents use the power of the state to give “goodies” to voters in order to stay incumbents.

    But…but….Nick and Matt told us just the other day that democracy is best.

  79. And they kind of also imply that smaller government is also better.

    Now don’t go getting confused here children, this all makes perfectly logical sense. You see, it’s the voters faults for electing bad politicians, when we know for a fact that [in our minds] there are plenty of good politicians we could have voted for instead.

  80. Obama disappoints the Left the way Bush disappoints the Right. Which is to say, not all that much.

    I don’t know yet about Obama, but much of the Right has been plenty disappointed with Bush.

  81. M. Simon,

    But you know I’m a rather odd bird – neocon on foreign policy, libertarian on domestic.

    I don’t know what “neocon” actually means, other than it’s kind of like getting called a bad name out on the play ground.

    But your domestic/foreign policy mix sounds a lot like mine.

    You’re right, we’re rare birds.

  82. Duverger’s Law. Why Libertarians and the fringe at the other end of the spectrum can’t grasp it is beyond me.

    If you want measurable positive influence on state decision-making, then you’ll have to get the rest of us to agree to a pr purely parliamentary system so you can blow up coalition governments when they deign to include you. But that would mean amending the Constitution, of which you claim be the sole true guardians.

  83. ….Having refused in the first place to exact a price for their support, they have made their support worthless and ensured that they will have no influence.

    This applies to libertarian support of most Republican candidates as well.

    All of which means exactly what? That we should only compromise on some issues but not others? That we should refuse to compromise on anything? Think, for 0.1 seconds, what this would mean.

    We could splinter every political coalition there is into its respective fragments. With 300 million Americans, we’d end up with 300 million “parties”. By this principle nobody would vote for anybody but themselves as president.

    And you thought that heavy metal guys having to go out with new wave chicks were the only ones with big head aches? Well why does anybody go out with anybody?

    [PS: that’s a trick question, people get horny and that’s how the song is going to play out]

    In the end we face an either/or kind of choice: the compromise that makes up real-politic vs anarchy and/or war on the other (though I realize some few worship at the Anarchist Alter, but that’s another pipe dream for another day).

    But I’ve griped often and much around here, about the inherent flaws/holes/blind spots in contemporary libertarian thinking — and there are many. This is exactly why. In the end people will compromise, for reasons similar to why the heavy metal / new wave date is going to happen (similar in the sense of meeting very basic human needs).

    Which means, the only real influence that libertarians have hope for, is to influence and shift the center of the spectrum. Which is why, btw, I disagree with those who say it’s a waste of time to work the libertarian angle from within the Republican or Democratic parties. It’s no a waste of time at all, if you understand what our real prospects are.

    If influence on the center is what we can hope to achieve, then we’ll have the most influence by assembling the very best arguments, and then giving these arguments the very best polish and marketing package that can possibly be done. So when I’m poking at what I see as the holes and flaws in libertarian thought, this is exactly where I’m coming from.

    I call myself a classical liberal more than a libertarian (I don’t “do” open borders, and stock libertarian foreign policy is a childish fantasy). But libertarians and classical liberals in many ways not so far apart, and both have lots of thinking to do if their general principles are going to be made both current and relevant to today’s real world problems.

    So how about let’s get busy with the real work. I remember a thread around here, a couple of years ago, where we were talking about how to market libertarian principles as positives (rathar than, for example, just being against everything from big government to the WoD). Being For sells much better than being Against.

    I suggest we put more time and effort into this sort of activity. At the same time, we need to grab the thermometer and take our own idealogical temperature. We think our theory is pure, when in fact much of it needs a lot of evolving before it could ever be applied in the real world.

    If we don’t build the bridge between our ideals and the real world, it’s never going to get built.

  84. well, we can be pretty sure that if Al Franken and the Dems succeed in stealing the Senate seat in Minnesotta, Franken surely won’t disappoint the left.

  85. > There are two political parties in the US:
    > incumbents and challengers.
    > Incumbents use the power of the state
    > to give “goodies” to voters in order to stay incumbents.

    Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

    The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim – for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives – is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.

  86. Scrooge,

    Neo-con in my context is a belief that it is better to drain the swamp than wait for the alligators to attack.

    The attitude of most Libertarians is: America is strong – the alligators wouldn’t dare attack. And if they attack we are strong and can defend ourselves and besides – Geo. Washington said –

  87. Scrooge,

    I’m working with the Republicans – and where am I having my best effect? Convincing socons that a libertarian domestic policy is their best defense. It is a slog. But I’m moving some.

  88. Oracle of Duverger,

    I like our system better. Coalitions get made before elections. So you know who your coalition partners are going to be.

  89. The radical members of the illuminati are expecting something radical. The word “change’ was so loudly blasted for so long that anything non-radical is going to be disappointing.

  90. It’s interesting so far, that the only places I’ve seen talk of any kind of “buyer’s remorse” by Progressives appear to be on Conservative blogs.

    Wonder why that is?

  91. Yes, Seward, you don’t need objectives facts. Too reality-based. You’ve got your ideology, so you can just assume the facts fit it.

    Were you a Chalabite, too? You think like them.

  92. Not me @ 7:22. Different email, so I assume it’s not a spoofer.

    Gee, Hubert, you think? It’s almost like someone has sour grapes.

  93. I’m working with the Republicans

    May The Force be with you.

  94. It’s the Bell Curve, stupid!

    There are more voters in the center than on the fringes. Wooing the fringes costs more votes in the center than a candidate picks up on the fringes.

    Add to that the fact that the fringes are marginalized for a good reason – they are marginal if not outright insane. Grow up and get a life. We are not going to abolish taxes, and the Government will never reveal the truth about UFO’s because UFO believers have already decided what the truth is, and anything else is by definition, not true. We are not going to seize all wealth and redistribute it. You are just not going to get your dystopian fantasy, and it’s time you realized it. If your life is not what you want, it’s mostly due to you, not the welfare cheats or the fat cats. (And no, your particular anecdote does not prove anything about the general situation. I’m talking N=millions, you’re talking N=1. Nobody cares.)

    The only exception to appealing to the center is if you can somehow radicalize the center enough for fringe ideas to have an appeal. Conservatives won big with this tactic by marketing crime and family values. Obama won on medical care. But be awfully careful: Hitler won because the German center got radicalized. The KKK drew support from a disaffected and insecure middle class. You’re safer kicking a sack of rattlesnakes than trying to play this card.

  95. this is ridiculous. He is acting exactly as i expected him to. Pragmatically. I don’t remember him ever saying he wouldn’t be pragmatic, it was the Republicans that were toting the ‘lefter than left’ stuff, that was never real you dork.

  96. “Throwing your vote away” on a 3rd party candidate is only true if you vote in a battleground state. In fact if you vote for McCain in a blue state like Massachusettes, or Obama in a solid red state like Texas, you already threw your vote away. Heck, the system could afford to lose your vote if you vote with your state’s candiate in a solid state. Anyone in a solid red or blue state isn’t throwing anything away by voting third party.

    Then you have to consider that a third party doesn’t have to win to be a winner. The rise of a third party isn’t going to happen overnight. First step is for a party to get its name out into the public, educate people on its core beliefs and values, and strike a chord with these voters frustrated with the two party system. You don’t need to actually win an election, just get enough votes to secure federal dollars next time around. That should be enough to get more people to take notce and realize that party could be a serious rival.

    Of course you have to make sure to keep fielding serious canadiates and avoid your party’s public image from centering around a single candidate. And then realize you still won’t stand a chance in the next few elections. But the goal needs to be getting the ssage out, and building on momentum with each election. It wouldn’t hurt to field congressional candidates, or even local candidates to get some minor victories under your belt.

    But it’s not going to work from the start unless more people realize their vote may be worthless from the start, and begin voting for who they want to vote for instead of the lesser of two evils.

  97. You libs are slipping. It took 33 responses until you pulled the race card. Slackers.

  98. I’m impressed. The psychological theory of projection is right on. I would not have thought it as obvious as it turns out it really is. Easier than Rutherford finding the nucleus in a Gold Atom. Ironic, especially for you libertarians.

  99. The Government is lying to us, looting our treasury, tearing up the constitution, and buying up private businesses. The current wall street crisis could have and should have been stopped before it happened, but why would the government stop what it created? I listen to the pointless left/right arguing and wonder how long it will be everyone stops caring and begins to think. Americans are pansies, While the entire left/right government lies and laughs at you, you argue over who is lying less. We USED to take pride in ourselves, now we take pride in our party. Pathetic

  100. So the lesson is that you should ask for the opposite of what you really want and then wait for the inevitable backlash to push policy in the direction you really want.

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