About Last Night: Lefties and Limbaughism


After that insufferable morning of spin—everyone is claiming victory, no one conceding defeat—perhaps it is time to warn our friends on the left to avoid that most hideous post-election Limbaughism. Let us remember that after McCain's 2008 defeat, Rush told his listeners that it was the abandonment of Reaganism, the reaching out to moderates, that destroyed Republican chances for a third straight term in the White House. It was an incoherent argument (which I attacked here), but one with which foot soldiers of the GOP liked to soothe their nerves. A sample Limbaugh rant, frequently repurposed by the deluded party apparatchik:

We're going to get some rank and file, average American Democrats that are going to vote for McCain.  But these hoity-toity bourgeoisie… Well, they're not the bourgeoisie, but… Well, they are in a sense. They're following their own self-interests, so I say fine. They have just admitted that Republican Party "big tent" philosophy didn't work. It was their philosophy; it was their idea. These are the people, once they steered the party to where it is, they are the ones that abandoned it.

It only requires a teaspoon of common sense, available to even the most causal "Dittohead," to rubbish Limbaugh's class war-infused argument. Which amounts to this: had McCain only been more conservative, had he only left Lebanon in 1983, and fired the air traffic controllers, Americans would have ditched this Marxist, socialist, syndicalist, communist, Maoist, Khmer Rougist called Obama and elected Goldwaterbot3000.

But after the Republican surge in Virginia and New Jersey, the Limbaughs of left are using the same dumb argument, accusing losing Dems of not being sufficiently left-wing, and thus keeping those independents from voting for a Republican who once advised women to stop ruining America with their "jobs." Or whatever.

That sage of Democratic politics, Markos Moulitsas, says that if candidates aren't more lefty, aren't willing to punch below the belt, his robot brigades of Nation-reading lefties will "sit home" and let guys like Bob McDonnell win. (By the way, can you trust a party that elevates this dope to a position of importance?) According to the nuanced kids at ThinkProgress, the Democrats flamed out so dramatically in deep purple Virginia because Creigh Deeds wasn't progressive enough. Because the charisma-deficient Deeds didn't publicly endorse the requisitioning of grain, wage class war on the Richmond kulaks, and "did not run as a progressive reformer," say the Thinkers, all those people that came out for Obama in 2008 stayed at home and read Chomsky. Well, no. They stayed home because it was a Virginia governor's race, no celebrities told them if they didn't vote they would likely die of some horrible disease, and Deeds ran a terrible, boring campaign.

And if you realize that such arguments make no sense, why just not try the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explanation, which also seems generally representative of professional Democrats. Here it is, condensed by ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper on Twitter: "Shorter Gibbs: NY-23 has national ramifications, NJ and VA were entirely local."

NEXT: The (Doctor) Fix is In

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  1. Nothing new here. Same old Moynihan envy of a far superior intellect, thinker and communicator of ideas. Moynihan can’t hold Limbaugh’s intellectual jock strap.

    Moreover, limbaugh is a lot more entertaining to boot.

    1. I didn’t think Limbaugh was that popular with anarcho-capitalist neo-Confederates. Live and learn, I guess.

      1. Limbaugh is popular with those who believe in free market capitalism, the Constitution, and a strong national defense.

        1. And unpopular with some of those same people, and popular with people who might only believe in one of those criteria.

          1. The people who match all the criteria I listed that say they don’t like him say it to be politically correct and dodge attacks from opponents, or just because they are to scared to defend their beliefs, which I guess is just a part of political correctness.

            1. Or, like me, they believe in pretty much all that (well, not quite so huge a military, but still), yet, having actually read and listened to Limbaugh, think he is a huge blowhard who you’d have to pay me big bucks to listen to.

              Or something.

              1. then you sir have a very poor sense of humor

                1. I’d be happy with his program if he didn’t mock all of his intellectual opponents with a lame imitating voice.

        2. You mean he is popular with those who claim to support free-markets when a Democrat is in office.

          1. +1, “conservative” is roughly to conservative what “liberal” is to classical liberal.

        3. The last one often usurps the prior two.

      2. don’t lump him in with us.

        1. And Limbaugh might be entertaining, but only in the dreadful, bloviating way that Michael Moore is. Of course, ideologically, I’d align myself much more with Limbaugh.

      3. Do you doubt that I have ranted and raved, as well as screamed and shouted, at Rush in the past 20 years for being philosophically inconsistent? For being a GOP cheerleader? For being flat wrong on mj?

        Never mind the times when he praises lincoln!

        1. So you assert that you are fit to hold Rush’s intellectual jockstrap? Even with the psychological odor of all the mental Astroglide and existential smegma smothered on it?

        1. What’s all this “+1” I’ve been seeing in these comments since tree structure was adopted? I read it as a die roll modifier in games.

          I thought it might mean, “In addition…”, but not since I’ve seen it, as here, alone.

          1. A lot of comment boards have “+1” to signal agreement or “-1” to signal disagreement.

          2. Mod up, mod down. Slashdot, yo.

    2. I’d have a lot easier time taking Limbaugh seriously if he wasn’t thoroughly infected with a terminal case of hypocrisy vis a vis his pill-popping habit and the drug war.

  2. I was initially going to post that MM must have been in his cups when he wrote this. But now I see he’s corrected the typos.

  3. The Kos Kidz can’t have it both ways. I remember the election where Ned Lamont was running, and was so heavily supported by the Daily Kos machine. Yes, the democrats retook the houses of congress, but Markos himself was engaging in a little chin-scratch-blogging about how, yeah, great, the Dems retook the houses of congress, but the particular hard-left “progressive reform” candidates specifically supported by Kos all lost.

    So which is it, young feller? Should they run a hard progressive campaign or not?

    1. Gotta love how Obama’s non-progressivity sends them into a tizzy.

      Of course, DK was also a den of Hillary PUMAs. That particular purging was fun to watch.

  4. Jeez, Libertymike, by saying Moynihan “couldn’t hold Limbaugh’s intellectual jockstrap”, you might as call Moynihan retarded. Not that Limbaugh’s retarded, but if you have an IQ of 100, you can probably hold Limbaugh’s intellectual jockstrap.

  5. Limbaugh’s not in the same league as Thomas Sowell or George Will.

    1. Exactly. Limbaugh may be a great entertainer to those who like his shtick, but he’s no intellectual giant by any means. I’d say MM, whether you agree with him or not, is more intellectual than Limbaugh.

    2. Not too many are in Sowell’s league, period.

      1. Sowell’s professional work is admirable, but his articles lately at have been largely of the Republican attack-dog mold.

  6. Who was “this dope” again? Linky link not linkin.

    1. It was that Markos Moulitsas guy. I was certain it was going to be Joe Biden…

    2. Gilbert Gottfried

  7. This isn’t to defend Limbaugh, but here’s something I don’t get, in general, at the sniping of ‘Conservatives pushing to the edges!!!’.

    Isn’t the ‘conservative purge’ about candidates who……..stick to fiscal responsibility and oppose the growth of Government?

    Isn’t that the opposite of the complaint about GWB/Johnny Mac? Two guys who advocated ‘Compassionate (Big Government) Conservatism? The electorate hated it, the GOP base hated it, and Reason hated it.

    So when the GOP/conservative base angles for more fiscally responsible representatives, they’re now ‘extremists’? Explain.

    1. Just to let you know, the reason why the GOP gets softie moderates as candidates is because lefties vote in their primaries.

      1. Which is the main problems with a two party system and open primaries, one side choosing the other side’s candidate with no intention of ever voting for them in the general election.

        1. I have been telling people for years we Republicans need to expand the base by electing moderates just like John McCain.

          Oh, uhm, he changed. That’s not the John McCain that I knew and backed in the primaries. The guy with the antipathy to free trade, welfare reform, who lacked any policy experience, and who stood against most every public policy pronouncement I ever made in my life was a much better choice.

      2. So.
        Limbaugh was promoting rightwingers to vote for Hillary in some primaries.

    2. I think you haven’t been paying attention to what the H&R bloggers have been saying.

  8. I thought I understood the post quite well until I started reading the comments.

    1. I think MM thinks the reason why the arguments make no sense is more obvious that it is.

      1. He did use a lot of words to say, “They appear to be deluded as to why they lost, the political magnitude of the losses, and are therefore likely in for some more losing until they clue in or are displaced as opinion leaders.”

  9. I thought that MM was trying to say that Kos and others on the left are arguing, much like Limbaugh in ’08, that their party (or favored candidate) losses were due to being too moderate, rather than the seemingly more rational conclusion that their party’s actions and their positions (and their campaigns) are massively unpopular among moderates.

    I don’t recall him making any value judgments about the merits of the radical party positions or whether he liked the positions that Limbaugh was (failing at) communicating about or those that Kos or Gibbs presumably favor.

    1. Makes sense to me.

    2. “I thought that MM was trying to say that Kos and others on the left are arguing, much like Limbaugh in ’08, that their party (or favored candidate) losses were due to being too moderate”

      I get that, but in the case of the GOP isn’t that correct? Wasn’t a big complaint about the GOP that the electorate no longer understood what it was ‘for’. That essentially Bush/McCain were, along fiscal lines, like Democrat-lite. Weren’t folks of all stripes bemoaning what happened to fiscally responsible Republicans? ‘Moderates’ of the time were defined as Brooks-ian molded politico’s like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Mike Bloomberg, etc. Popular bunch.

      I know, on principal, we all have an urge to reject ‘running to the extreme’s’. But is conservatism and Progressive-ism ‘equal’ in terms of position on the political pole? Getting away from what passed/passes as ‘Moderate’ (term often defined by MSM/David Brooks meaning ‘Republican who agrees with Democrat, who voices occasional polite restraint like a well-meaning but stuffy Uncle’) on the GOP strikes me as actual good sense in the case of the GOP.

      1. You’re definitely right that fiscally the GOP was “very moderate” in ’08, but MM’s argument is that they got politically creamed by the radical conservative standard of excessive military adventurism. Whether or not it is accurate, it is still a cultural theme that this is a conservative feature.

  10. The Axlerod sound bite on NY-23 being a microcosm is great. The only thing missing is him literally spinning like a top as he says it.

    Mean while the GOP seems to think it has landed on the fucking moon by beating incumbents and retards.

    1. One thing not getting a lot of air time are the actual statistics and shifts. You get some of it with the spin, but it is obviously the part that suits their side they are using.

    2. So true. This really was a spectacularly meaningless election all around. Anyone trying to find tectonic shifts or deep insights into the vaunted “fabric of the American character” in 2 peculiar governor’s races and an even more peculiar house race is being silly.

    3. That’s one thing that isn’t explored here: How much is the GOP still busy failing? As MM ably points out, they went through this just last year and they still haven’t really marginalized Limbaugh and he still doesn’t appreciate why they lost in ’08.

      So, is the GOP still political clueless and they only won because the Dems are still drunk on last year’s Kool Aid, or is the GOP starting to recover some appeal for moderates? McDonnell suggests the former.

      1. Short answer: the GOP still sucks for the reasons that they got booted, but enough of the electorate is realizing that the replacement team in most ways sucks even more, to switch back to Team Suck Lite.

      2. Almost certainly the former rather than the latter.

        The country is moving back to where it was in the 90’s: Democrats control the Executive, and Republicans control the Legislature. Which is how it should be.

        Let the fiscal conservatives control the purse strings, and let the social liberals control the implementation of laws.

  11. Let’s face it: Obama’s election was the result of a perfect storm of a despised, execrable Republican president and a collapsed economy producing a demoralized and desperate electorate. And even with virtually every factor in his favor, it was hardly as though he won a Lyndon Johnson type landslide.

    Now that the initial “hope and change” euphoria has begun to wear off, the traditional slightly-right-of-center electorate is reasserting itself again in force.

    1. This.

    2. hilarity! you entirely missed the point of the post! Did you even read it?

      This election means basically nothing at all; and it certainly doesn’t mean that “the electorate” is right of center. Unless you’re deluding yourself that NJ is somehow normally “right of center.”

      These elections were controlled by local factors. Trying to see some grand large pattern is stupid. You can see what happened if you look at the individual races, which is:

      -VA is a swing state that always elects a governor of the opposite color to the president; also, Deeds ran a boring campaign.

      -NJ is normally blue but doesn’t like Corzine.

      -NY23 is normally red but had a weird race.

      -the CA congressional district is blue and voted blue.

      1. Is that you Mr. Axlerod?

        The truth probably lies a little closer to all the factors having an effect with the ones closer to home carrying more weight. I believe the current health care mess polled high as a dislike on exit polls. Which is tied to the current administration.

        Screaming the election means nothing is as silly as screaming it means everything. If for no reason than a perceived victory. Which in politics is a victory. Damn those rational people.

  12. Ideological foot soldiers always see it thus. But what no one likes to admit is it isn’t always about them. The people of Virginia might have elected the republican because they (gasp) like him better.

  13. So what is your suggestion for either party, just straddle the center?

    1. Try something new, Go Less Government!

      1. So what is your suggestion for either party, just straddle the center?

        Governing from the center is not a bad place at all to be. It worked wonders for Bill Clinton, once he learned his lesson.

        Nancy Pelosi can never hope to match Bill Clinton in political temperament, instinct, or brainpower. The moderate Dems would be wise to rein her in, fast.

        1. Sure governing from the center does wonders, for the politicians themselves. I just want a politician who is not scared to be completely politically incorrect in defending free markets and individual liberty.

    2. I’m not entirely sure where “the center” lies, but I can tell you that I don’t think the mainstream of the Dems or the Repubs really believe in individual liberty.

      1. “I’m not entirely sure where “the center” lies, but I can tell you that I don’t think the mainstream of the Dems or the Repubs POLITICIANS really believe in individual liberty. ”


        1. No, I think Art-P.O.G. had it right the first time. Theres a certain level of consistency implied in “really believ[ing] in individual liberty,” a consistency lacking in those who would self-identify as either republican or democrat.

      2. Indeed, the people most concerned about individual liberty are what’s now referred to as the ‘far left.’

        1. Good troll, I almost bit

        2. If by “concerned about individual liberty”, you mean “concerned that there’s too much of that individual liberty”, then yeah, +1 dude.

        3. Only if by “individual liberty”, you mean the right to smoke weed and have sex with anything that moves.

          The leftist version of liberty is to distract the masses with such things while actual freedoms, such as freedoms of property, speech, and religion get smothered by the almighty state.

          1. That’s sort of what Burning Man has become.

            You can have as much sex and drugs as you like, but everything else is strictly regulated.

            1. Except that there’s a massive police presence from multiple government agencies, all trying to do their best to punish drug use.

    3. Yes, and then bitch and moan that there is no difference between the major parties.

  14. The democrats did win a district that was a (apparently) GOP stronghold for almost a century. Altnough Owens is supposedly a “blue dog”?

    I’ll be excited if Tom Campbell or Steve Poiznor wins California. Dear god, not “Governor Brown”.

    1. That is a boldface lie put forth by dems to make them feel good about completely losing the executive branch in Jersey‘s_23rd_congressional_district

  15. I cannot fathom your support for Rush, l-mike. I just don’t get how you can like someone who (let’s just take this example) supports the WOD and got caught taking them? That right there should blow his credibility out the window.

    Also, I don’t want to hear you say “Baba Booey Rush’s Penis”.

    1. Trying to make sense of libertymike’s blurtings is like baling out the ocean with a paper cup. Like woman, he is mystery.

      1. I would not not be surprised if Moynihan did not feel a little envy towards a Jeremiah Wright because of Wright’s ability to communicate. Do you think that Moynihan can spellbind an audience like Mr. Wright?

    2. Let me explain:

      IMO, MM exudes envy. He has what sports talkmasters John Denis and Gerry Callahan of WEEI 850 AM Boston have. For those of you in the New England area who listen to WEEI (it promotes itself as the no. 1 sportstalk station in the country), you might know of which I write. The two of them constantly put down national talk show hosts, play by play and color guys. For example, they deride Chris Berman of ESPN, Tom Jackson of ESPN, Joe Morgan of ESPN, John Sterling, the Yankees play-by-play guy and they just hammered John Madden for years. I have called them and told them so in no uncertain terms. I pointed out that they ooze jealousy as their targets have made it nationally while they are stuck in Boston.

      Moynihan does the same kind of thing to writers, broadcasters, media stars and other opinion makers who have more cache than he. In contrast, Damon Root does not do the same thing.

      THus, the point of my post was not to praise Limbaugh. Epi, of course I can’t stand Rush in many respects-the WOD being near the top of the list. Primarily, it is Rush’s contradictions that upset me.

      1. So when you criticize Obama, that means you’re envious of him because he has more power than you?

        (Give me a few trillion more years, and I’ll have the Marianas Trench dry. I promise!)

  16. Moynihan’s piece is totally incoherent.
    Had McCain taken a “hard right” position against the bailouts he might well be the President right now.The only reason he didn’t take a worse beating was his selection of a running mate.

    1. Fair enough, but I’m still not sure that would’ve been enough.

      1. After proposing to “suspend” the campaign and admitting he didn’t know much about the economy, I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that it would not have been enough to win. Self-disclosed incompetence vs. eloquence and projected competence. “Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb Iran” also less than inspiring.

      2. I agree it might not have been enough.
        It is what”being more conservative” means to the base rather than school prayer and sodomy laws as the left and MSM would have you believe.

      3. McCain’s campaign tanked after he and Palin came out in favor of the bailouts. Hell, I hadn’t absolutely ruled out voting for the lesser of two evils until they pulled that stunt, and then it was time to vote for Barr.

        1. Same for me, exactly the same for me. I even cast a vote for that horrible Elizabeth Dole, who took away my drinking privileges just a few years before I turned eighteen when she lead the Reagan era DOT, because she passed the one litmus test that mattered in the fall of ’08. She voted against TARP.

          The final nail in the coffin for her campaign was a commercial that showed Kay Hagan meeting with an atheist group for campaign donations. Polls showed people were deeply repulsed by the ad (I remember when it first ran, during House, of all shows given the atheist lead character). I found it revolting as well. However, she voted against TARP. I would have voted for anyone to the right of Kennedy, or to the left of Idi Amin who voted against TARP.

          1. By Kennedy, I mean the fat, drunk and stupid brother.

            Zombie JFK would have been well within my range of acceptable candidates.

  17. Come on, I’m to the point of trying to think of ways I can trap game on my property. Does anyone really think progressives have more than a few more years in power?

    1. Trapping is fun.Particularly poaching “survival trapping”,where you don’t worry about following fish and game laws (just not getting caught).

  18. Whatever Markos says, the Dems strategy in the Obama age is to elect moderate Democrats in more conservative districts: to focus on getting the majority via math that’s simple enough. Get more Democrats. A lot of liberals criticize Rahm Emanuel for this strategy, and the accompanying strategy of winning a vote being more important that making good legislation. I’m not sure what alternative they have. Our districts are still gerrymandered from the Bush era, after all. In other words, they’re not taking Markos’s advice.

    What Republicans (following Rush Limbaugh) are doing is frankly just insanity. It’s both cravenly political (all that matters is Obama failing), yet a horrible political strategy for winning national elections.

    1. and the accompanying strategy of winning a vote being more important that making good legislation.

      We know… we know…

      What Republicans (following Rush Limbaugh) are doing is frankly just insanity.

      Except you could argue it worked in ’94.

    2. It’s not a horrible political strategy at all. Running against Bush and little else worked wonders for the Dems.

      1. It’s a tried and true political strategy, it’s worked for both parties. Bush jr, won running against the errors of the past admin. That’s what cracks me up about people bashing Obama for running on a platform of change. Both parties have been doing so for years, and you can bet the GOP candidate in 2012 will be running on that platform too.

  19. Yeah, that’s it Markos. Corzine lost because he didn’t embrace Obama enough. Seriously, why in the fuck is this guy given the time of day moreso than some total fucking partisan psycho like oh, let’s say Olbermann? At least Olbermann is not a raging anti-semite like Markos is.

  20. Br’er, I had a half dozen squrrels gathering acorns in my front yard this afternoon. And I have a creek in the back with bass, bream and turtles galore. We can eat without violating the king’s poaching laws.

  21. I’m not sure these particular elections have a Deep National Meaning at all.

    1. In Seattle, they rejected the incumbent mayor. This gave me hope. But then the guy they voted for was more like the incumbent than the incumbent was.

      So once again, they deposed the tyrant because he didn’t go far enough.

  22. The 2008 elections results were because the GOP had been too conservative since 2000? Really? Because from where I sit the electorate came to the conclusion that if the GOP was going act like Dems then they might as well vote for Dems.

    I’m not sure what yesterday’s elections meant except that ’08 was not the permanent realignment the conventional wisdom was trying to convince us it was.

    1. Whoa, whoa, I didn’t read it like that at all. I read the reaction as being against the “establishment” “Neocon/compassionate cons”.

      1. Which is part of what I meant. The establishment GOP is more go along to get along than the rank and file. What I don’t get is how people try to spin ’08 into a repudiation of conservatism when neither McCain nor Bush ran (and in Bush case governed) as particularly conservative Republicans. What happened with Hoffman is a continuation of that as the NY GOP bought into the conventional wisdom and ran a terrible “moderate” and the base revolted.

    2. The elections were a weak indicator that some Blue Dogs in traditionally Republican districts might want to run hard against, and sink, socialized medicine if they want to get reelected.

      And that the luster of Obama is wearing thin fast.

      But, we’ll only know for sure in 2010, see if it’s 1994 all over again.

      I suspect it will echo 1994 — the Dems seem to be pulling all the same dumb overreach they did then.

  23. Fire Moynihan now.

    Fuck purging the Republican party. That shit can wait. Can’t we accomplish the much more important business of purging Reason first?

    Fire this asshole Moynihan, and give his salary to Balko.

    1. You know who else liked purges?

      1. Nicole Richie

        1. My first ever one of these, but man that was good.


          Use to think she was vaguely ugly, but over time I have come to like her face.

          1. I have come to like her face.

            She has big boobs.

            1. Oh what!!

              What the fuck am i talking about?

              I confused Nicole Richie with Christina Ricci.

    2. Settle down Fluffy and take your pills.

    3. I’d be delighted to hear what pissed off Fluffy in Moynihan’s post.

      1. Why do you assume it’s in this post? I’ve been reading Moynihan’s crap for years, mainly because it somehow ends up on the page along with the work of actual libertarians.

        If I want to read snide claims that centrism is the cat’s meow and anyone who says otherwise is stupid or nuts, I’ll just read that asshole David Broder’s column instead.

        Moynihan is mixing up his usual “KILL KILL KILL KILL BROWN PEOPLE ESPECIALLY IRANIANS” column with a “CENTRISM GOOD, RIGHT AND LEFT WINGS BAD” column. Fire Moynihan so he can go get his dream job massaging Joe Lieberman’s nutsack. He’ll be happier, we’ll be happier, Joe Lieberman will be happier – it’s a win/win/win.


          some brown people need killin’.

          (i say this as a life-long brown person)

  24. We’re going to get some rank and file, average American Democrats that are going to vote for McCain. But these hoity-toity bourgeoisie… Well, they’re not the bourgeoisie, but… Well, they are in a sense. They’re following their own self-interests, so I say fine. They have just admitted that Republican Party “big tent” philosophy didn’t work. It was their philosophy; it was their idea. These are the people, once they steered the party to where it is, they are the ones that abandoned it.

    These days I really do not see anything wrong with this view.

  25. but Sowell is not really that good. He supported McCain.

    1. Only while holding his nose like most everyone else who supported him.

  26. I think there may be something to Limbaugh’s argument, but only on the fiscal level. I think the main complaint I heard during the 2008 election primaries was that all the Republican candidates were moderates–particularly on fiscal matters. Ron Paul was the exception, but he never had the all-important backing of the Republican Party (because of his stance on the war).

    I think in the current atmosphere, a hard-right fiscal conservative would really motivate the GOP base (and maybe some independents) more than a social conservative.

  27. BTW where is TAO these days? Ban Hammer?

  28. Rush told his listeners that it was the abandonment of Reaganism, the reaching out to moderates, that destroyed Republican chances for a third straight term in the White House. It was an incoherent argument (which I attacked here), but one with which foot soldiers of the GOP liked to soothe their nerves.

    Huh? How is moderate David Brooks not a joy kill for just about every registered Republican alive?

    And considering how unpopular the Bail outs and Stimulus are among independents it is not hard to think that if Republicans had followed more closely to Reagen, who called “libertarianism the heart of conservatism”, that they could have gained more support from independents in the 2008 election.

    Rush is right that the party that embraces a more fiscally libertarian (I think Rush would call it a fiscally conservative) agenda can scoop up a bunch of independents. The left wing blogosphere on the other hand is dead wrong if they think doubling down on Obama and company’s progressive economic agenda will get independent votes.

  29. Joshua Corning,

    The one area where Kos is actually quite correct is that one of the big reasons that “the luster has worn off Obama” is because he ran a campaign that allowed his supporters to believe that big changes were coming, and then did not change virtually anything in his almost-year in the office.

    If you can see the demoralizing effect that the failure of the GOP to live up to its ideological promises had on Republicans, I’m surprised you can’t see the similar effect Obama’s timorousness has had on his own people.

    I am annoyed with Moynihan because he is pushing the “Both parties have to move to the center” meme here, and I think that’s false. Elections offering stark choices actually end up increasing participation rates for both parties. And note that he’s not just mocking Kos for thinking that his party could improve its performance by actually presenting people with the opportunity to support a more sharply ideologically delineated candidate – he’s mocking people on the right who think that as well.

    1. While you are right that in both cases appeal was reduced at the base, there is no data suggesting that lack of voting support by the base made the difference in either election.

      Moynihan is making a Machiavellian argument not that both parties have to move to the center, but that in order to win an election a candidate must appeal to the center more than his opponent, that voting choices made by moderates are the consistent crux of virtually every election in this country. Furthermore, he is arguing that opinion leaders on both sides are falsely asserting that the Party’s or the candidate’s failure to conform to the opinion leader’s particular political views are what really lost the election. In both cases, it is a self-serving lie that, if believed, will continue to hurt their electoral chances and, coincidentally keep both Parties mired in issues that are particularly reprehensible to libertarians.

      This is not to argue that libertarianism is moderate, but that on both extremes of the major Parties, their particular authoritarianism trumps the value of the freedoms that they’d protect.

    2. You have to consider the non-normative emotional balance of those who accepted the promises made.

      It is worthy of an Onion headline:

      Politician Promises Heaven On Earth, Doesn’t Deliver

      Not that much of an exaggeration when you recall his acceptance speech for the nomination upon defeating Hillary. That bit about stopping the tides from rising?

      How could you live up to that? Usually when a leader is backed up to the wall of staggering promises of that magnitude he offers a suicide pill and the followers take it.

      While Republican politicians are dastardly to a man, there promises are normative ones. What is on display on the Democratic side is koo koo.

      It is hard to get a fix on gauging Democratic disappointment given the unreality of their desires.

    3. I’m surprised you can’t see the similar effect Obama’s timorousness has had on his own people.

      Yeah i will have to say the DKOS crowd seems pretty demoralized.

      I guess the take away here is that Moynihan is wrong about everything.

      Still even with what the Dem base calls “moderate change”is enough of the wrong kind of change to independent voters that doubling down with stimulus health care and bail outs will be catastrophic to the dems come 2010.

      The country is moving to fiscal conservative (libertarianism?) pushing harder against that will not help.

  30. WTF? Isn’t the Reason spin that George Bush and compassionate conservatism destroyed the Republican Party and made it just a like the Dems and that the Republicans deserved to lose in 2008 because of that?

    That seems to be exactly what Limbaugh is saying. What the hell does Moynahan think Limbaugh is talking about when he says “big tent”? He is talking about big government Republicanism that tries to buy off soccer moms and the like for votes. Reason hated John McCain because they thought, rightly given his record, that he was a big government Republican like Bush.

    Moynahan and the Reason staff pretty much agree with everything Limbaugh is saying. But I guess since someone off the approved cool list is saying it, Reason must now say it was wrong.

    1. Are you saying it’s spin when reason says it but not when Limbaugh does?

  31. “Rush told his listeners that it was the abandonment of Reaganism, the reaching out to moderates, that destroyed Republican chances for a third straight term in the White House. It was an incoherent argument (which I attacked here), but one with which foot soldiers of the GOP liked to soothe their nerves”

    That is the dumbest thing a Reason staffer has ever posted on here. Is now Reason’s opinion that George Bush didn’t spend enough or raise the size of government enough? That is why he lost?

    I don’t understand how anyone who claims to be in favor of small government and lived through the last 8 years can say such a thing. Actually I do. Reason is more interested in being hipster posers talking about that philistine Limbaugh than in intellectual honesty.

  32. Moynihan needs to better distinguish between what he wishes were true, and what is true. While I too am loathe to draw any broad conclusions, Deeds in particular most certainly DID severely damage himself by running away from Obama. Anyone who actually watched the race and paid attention to VA politics knows this, and the particular ups and downs where Deeds shot himself in the foot and waffled, in detail. Moynihan’s take seems to consist almost entirely of saying “nuh-UH!”

    Talking about a good/bad campaign as if it were something entirely independent of message and targeting is nonsense. Deeds tried to run as a Democrat while being very iffy on nearly everything that got Dems and Dem leaners in VA excited about Obama in 2008. As a result, he fooled no one on the right, and excited no one on the left. If Moynihan doesn’t like those things, that’s great and all, but what the heck does it have to do with whether or not those things are what Dems in VA like?

    1. When your candidate gets crushed among independents like Deeds did, it doesn’t matter what VA Dems like.

  33. Going by self-identification in public opinion polls, there are more conservatives in America than Republicans, but less liberals than Democrats. So, for a Republican to lean further in the conservative direction is to broaden his appeal, while for a Democrat to lean further in the liberal direction is to narrow her appeal. Thus, when Kos says it, he’s wrong, and when Limbaugh says it, he’s right.

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