Guns, Religion and the Glenn Beck Rally

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beck rally.jpg
(photo depicts participants in Glenn Beck led march on Washington; November 23, 2009)
I hope that David Frum is right and that the Tea Party movement, which is growing in numbers and ferocity, will hit its limit, experience an Icarus moment, and plunge back into the fringe of American politics where pugnacious, jingoistic, narrow band nationalism has always lurked.
But there is no guarantee of this. A prominent mega-funder of the political left recently told me that he had miscalculated about a number of things in the last election.
One of these was that he thought that electorally smashing the increasingly manic right wing that had hijacked the Republican Party and dislodged the more moderate, straight-talking John McCain in favor of the McCain that empowered and unleashed Sarah Palin would produce a more reasonable GOP.
He told me that “their political loss didn’t teach the Republicans anything; they actually got much worse.”
And the evidence of what this Democratic Party mega-funder was saying was clear in the truly massive “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial and on the National Mall this past weekend staged by the political crusader and hugely popular talk show host Glenn Beck.
While I think Frum is probably right that this movement, much like the Obama “movement”, will eventually crest — it’s not clear that losing political battles chastens the right, at least not yet.
During the presidential primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Obama conjured up a big politically incorrect gaffe, which like many gaffes, had some truth embedded in it.
Obama said:

OBAMA: Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by — it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.
. . .But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

What Barack Obama described in the campaign is what we are seeing unfold in the country. Guns and religion — or, in other words, fear and intolerance.
There are surprises and exceptions to this.
Mehlman American Foundation for Equal Rights.jpg
Count me as stunned that former GOP chief Ken Mehlman’s recent self-outing to Marc Ambinder (though Mike Rogers really did out him before) that he is gay has produced statements from McCain campaign czar that supporting gay marriage is becoming a “conservative issue.” Stunning statement.
Mehlman is leading a gay marriage rights fundraiser featuring the landmark lawsuit orchestrated by former Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson and Democratic political powerhouse David Boies — and those supporting include Paul Singer, Mary Cheney, Mark Gerson, Steve Schmidt, John Podesta, Steve Elmendorf, William Weld, Christine Todd Whitman and more.
This is the one bit of news that makes me think that there is potentially a constructive undercurrent pulling away from the reality that Obama aptly described in 2008.
But like Chuck Hagel who tried to stand for a kinder, sensible, bigger tent conservatism, Mehlman and his fellow travelers in the GOP may find themselves soon joining Christine Todd Whitman, Lawrence Wilkerson, Susan Eisenhower, Lincoln Chafee, Colin Powell, Rita Hauser in the camp of the Republicans exiled or pushed to the fringe of the party they worked hard to build.
Let’s hope that the Mehlman trend and not the Glenn Beck frenzy define the future of the GOP.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

94 comments on “Guns, Religion and the Glenn Beck Rally

  1. Gerry says:

    IF YOU LIKE THIS VIDEO PASS IT ON
    I went to the 1963 March on Washington. When I saw the last summers

    Reply

  2. Don Bacon says:

    Both parties are moving to the right. More and more the Rs and Ds resemble each other, as the Ds move away from their traditional progressive and labor constituencies. There is little or no difference between neocons and neolibs — their agendas are virtually the same.
    Sixty-three percent of the electorate voted in the last presidential, and that was high. The US government is extremely unpopular with its people. Approval of Congress is steady in the low twenties, the president in the mid forties. There is a wide abyss between the people and their elected representatives because these representatives don’t properly represent the people.
    So the goal should be to isolate or at least marginalize both Rs and Ds, and this can only be done with additional parties who (1) influence the Rs and Ds to move toward the people and (2) give people a reason to vote w/o holding their noses.
    Unfortunately the Rs and Ds have made ballot access difficult at the state level, where it happens, so legislation is needed to open up the process. The chance of that happening, I realize, is small.

    Reply

  3. David Billington says:

    Don Bacon.
    I agree that in close elections the performance of the two major
    candidates is at least as important as the influence of any fringe
    candidacies. And as we have seen recently in Britain, a coalition can
    result from an election with three parties in which no party wins enough
    seats to secure a governing majority. Coalition government could
    happen in the United States if you have three roughly equal parties or at
    least no one party strong enough to govern by itself.
    My point is that a hard right party of conservative white identity could
    gain enough votes to win the White House with less than a majority if an
    opposing majority divides. In the original post above, Steve Clemons
    argues that moving farther to the right will isolate the Republicans. It
    will do so only if Democrats and independents all vote together.

    Reply

  4. Don Bacon says:

    That’s the tired anti-Nader argument, that Nader swung the 2000 election to Bush. But (1) Gore was a weak candidate who could have won those Nader votes if he had gone more left, (2) the Supremes interceded in the vote counting (saying Bush was a victim of unfair treatment!! Silver-spoon Bush!!) and (3) Gore, weak as he was, never contested the blocking of Black voters in Florida.
    A healthy multiparty election would open the debates (now restricted by the D/R’s to D’s and R’s), increase ballot access (now restricted by the D/R’s), broaden the campaigns and increase voting to those who aren’t willing to hold their noses and vote (37$ in the last presidential).
    a
    In a particular district what you say might be true,and no system is perfect. Looking at the overall possibilities democracy would be enhanced for the reasons I mentioned.
    The present system has resulted in two look-alike parties, each one trying to appeal to the same voter prejudices and going after the same corporate funding (another problem), and it’s clearly not working.

    Reply

  5. David Billington says:

    Questions and Don Bacon,
    If the center party is the third and weakest party, then elections in
    single-member districts will turn on which of the hardline parties to
    the left or right gets a plurality. Same will be true in Presidential
    elections. Clinton was the beneficiary of a three-way split like this
    in 1992 but a hard-right Republican candidate could benefit in
    2012 if moderates in both parties support a centrist candidate who
    comes in third and a Democrat comes in second.

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    DBillington: “If a three-party system emerges, then narrow pluralities will be enough for hardline parties to govern and polarization will sharpen.”
    I believe that a an expanded multi-party system (currently made difficult by D/R ballot restrictions) would diffuse the votes for extremists by leading to coalitions and compromises, thus promoting tolerance. (Thirty-seven percent of the electorate stayed home in the last presidential.)

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law
    In response to David Billington’s three-party suggestion. Via Wiki. Sorry.

    Reply

  8. David Billington says:

    “During the presidential primary battle between Barack Obama and
    Hillary Clinton, Obama conjured up a big politically incorrect gaffe,
    which like many gaffes, had some truth embedded in it.” (Steve
    Clemons)
    There is another point about 2008 that also ought to be noted. The
    2008 Democratic primaries saw an undercurrent of racial tension
    that could be as troubling for Democrats, if it revives in future
    campaigns, as appeals to conservative white identity could be for
    Republicans. Both parties, in other words, have work to do if they
    are to appeal to broader groups of voters. If a three-party system
    emerges, then narrow pluralities will be enough for hardline parties
    to govern and polarization will sharpen. This doesn’t have to
    happen.

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    The Social Security Trust Fund, on paper, is solvent until 2037 and even then could cover 78% of its obligations. The problem is that the pols have raided the Fund and diverted the money to war and pork.
    After the upcoming elections via Obama’s Deficit Commission the Dems and their Repub buddies are preparing to reduce SS benefits.
    Here’s a video of Rep. Van Hollen, Chair of the DCCC bobbing, weaving and waffling on SS cuts.
    http://tinyurl.com/2g6hw6n
    So the “crap” is not just coming from the right but also from Obama and the Dems. Why isn’t this stuff the stuff of headlines?

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    A completely rational look at SoSec that seems to square with much of my reading about the program:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/04/AR2010090400096.html?hpid=topnews
    If everything is on the table, then we can see what should be taken off the table. Here’s hoping that Alan “Catfood” Simpson is there just so that we can get a good defense of SoSec, instead of the crap that we’ve been seeing from the right.
    Why isn’t this stuff the stuff of headlines?

    Reply

  11. silverslipper says:

    Wigwag – Your post really is good! Thanks!

    Reply

  12. silverslipper says:

    Wigwag – Your post really is good! Thanks!

    Reply

  13. David Billington says:

    Drew,
    “It doesn’t matter if oil is denominated in dollars, what we know is
    that those dollars buy fewer Porsches or Euros as the dollar
    weakens, so markets require more of them in order to maintain their
    purchasing power.”
    I’m glad we agree on this.
    “And in any of these discussions, I would never take the position
    that your straw man version of me did, which was say dollar stability
    was absolute; of course there were periods of instability between
    1790 and 1913, but the secular trend is broadly flat, versus the
    swan dive in dollar value since 1913.”
    Apologies if I inferred an argument you weren’t making. I thought
    you were arguing that gold stabilized the purchasing power of
    money. The dollar was in fact absolutely stable in the sense that its
    gold redemption value was fixed, but the purchasing power of gold-
    backed dollars varied.
    If I understand the data correctly, the trend in wholesale prices
    before 1913 was not broadly flat; the periods from 1790 to 1815,
    from 1848 to 1873, and from 1896 to 1913 were all inflationary,
    while the intervening periods saw prices decline. You can see these
    in the Historical Statistics of the United States (online). The trend in
    goods production was more linear.
    “I agree on the current level of national debt/GDP of 90% and
    disagree with your implication that it doesn’t matter, because
    democratic socialist members of the G8 have equivalent or higher
    national debts.”
    I believe that we could sustain a slightly higher ratio of debt to GDP
    for a few more years, unlike some of the European countries that are
    in more urgent trouble. What I said was that we can’t deficit spend
    indefinitely and I stand by that.
    “As our national debt rises it will crowd out private sector
    investment/lending

    Reply

  14. Tony says:

    from WigWag: “…two thirds of New Yorkers oppose placing the mosque/cultural center so close to Ground Zero.”
    Who the hell cares? Since when are we deciding whether to follow the Bill of Rights only if a majority approve? Those 2/3 New Yorkers who oppose the Mosque being built can kiss my red, white & blue ass as they move to Iran where they’re more than welcome to live without religious and political freedom. You don’t like the 1st Amendment – the get the hell out of my country!

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    drew,
    avert your eyes from the following description of a gross physical event that should be kept utterly private because it’s about innards….
    “Thousands of people turn to the Lutheran Social Services Community Care Center in Van Nuys every year for help putting food on the table.
    Last week, a sign went up on the door:

    Reply

  16. Paul Norheim says:

    “I cannot think of a single case where Obama has answered his
    opponents’ actual objections, instead of making something up.”
    (Nadine)
    And I have lived under the illusion that you learned that trick
    from Barry Rubin or Rush Limbaugh…
    By the way: You didn’t answer my questions on another post:
    Why have you been demanding that the Palestinians should speak
    in Hebrew or Yiddish during the current direct talks? Isn’t that
    taking it too far?
    Secondly: Why do you still insist that the Palestinians should be
    represented by the Vatican?

    Reply

  17. A Texian Observer says:

    “Let’s hope that the Mehlman trend and not the Glenn Beck frenzy define the future of the GOP.”
    Fair enough. But it will be a long haul; the 2010 Texas GOP platform — the formal, written document that defines what they believe and intend to do in power — explicitly calls for invalidating Lawrence v. Texas and recriminalizing gay sex. Not sure if rank-and-file Republicans, in Texas or elsewhere, understand that that’s the party’s official policy here.

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    “Had he said, Sure, I had sex with that woman, none of it would
    have happened.” (Drew)
    I wonder why they asked him?

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    “Are we talking economics or politics.” (DonS)
    Both. Obama treats his opponents with disdain and straw men arguments in both cases. I cannot think of a single case where Obama has answered his opponents’ actual objections, instead of making something up.
    I was thinking of the health care debate when I quoted “my opponents would have us do nothing” — that was Obama’s line — when the leadership refused to even look at the Wyden-Bennet bill, which had a two year head start and dozens of co-sponsors, which could have garnered some Republican support.

    Reply

  20. DonS says:

    ‘”But Obama’s arrogance and the arrogance of the left in dismissing concerns by millions of Americans about mounting large deficits is just another example of how progressive people, including the President, are unwilling or unable to be frank and responsive to the concerns of tens of millions of our fellow citizens.”‘ (wigwag via nadine)
    Are we talking economics or politics. The opposition of the “millions of Americans” on the right opposed to larger deficits at this time, reflects a canned political meme, not a ‘Keynesian’ understanding of the role of running deficits. In case you didn’t notice, wigwag, nadine just culled your reasonable statement and used it to bolster her right wing obsession. Not that you care.

    Reply

  21. nadine says:

    Good post, Wigwag.
    “But Obama’s arrogance and the arrogance of the left in dismissing concerns by millions of Americans about mounting large deficits is just another example of how progressive people, including the President, are unwilling or unable to be frank and responsive to the concerns of tens of millions of our fellow citizens.”
    Has Obama EVER been frank and responsive to any argument of any of his opponents? Ever? He never responds to the real argument; he is perpetually setting up and knocking down straw man arguments. It’s always “my opponents would have us do nothing” or “my opponents have no plan” (when they have offered plans which have been disdained, not even looked at) or “my opponents don’t support freedom of religion”.
    “The Tea Party movement is now so popular, at least in part, because it represents an antidote to the elitism and arrogance of those who claim the progressive mantle for their own. Unfortunately for the Democrats, a party that used to be the party of working men and women as well as immigrants has been captured by an elite set (some of whom work on Wall Street and some of whom hold senior positions in the “knowledge industry”) that views the culture, values, nomenclature, religious beliefs and core values of the average American with contempt.”
    Yes, you are on the same wavelength as Pat Caddell, another Democratic survivor, who remembers the McGovern disaster first-hand and sees it all happening again. Heck, since then George McGovern has lived in the private sector (he owns a hotel) and he is now well to the right of Obama on tax policy.
    All Presidents live in a bubble and suffer from their isolation. But Obama started in a progressive/Chicago Machine/left-wing think-tank bubble, so he is suffering worse. His public persona is basically a fraud where he talks center and governs left. The net result is that he’s not far enough left to please his base (as we see on TWN) while he infuriates the right by seeming to deliberately rub salt in their wounds — he runs up trillions in new debt but talks soberly about fiscal responsibility and castigates powerless Republicans for their lack of it!

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry Drew,
    as an ignorant and provincial Scandinavian, I can assure you
    that I had no idea that I had assaulted not only you and other
    members of the… uh… Tea Party, but even “Civilization”!
    Googling the word, however, I learned from Wikipedia that it
    “can be done for its own enjoyment or as a foreplay.”
    I have to admit that I was relieved after reading that.
    Here at home I have some effect pedals made by the legendary
    American synthesizer maker Robert Moog. These wonderful
    analog pedals can be used with guitars as well as synthesizers.
    I use them with both. They are called “Moogerfoogers”. I have
    the MF- 102 ( a ring modulator) and the MF-104 (an echo
    pedal), as well as a Minimoog Voyager.
    Moogerfoogers… I have to ask you Americans at TWN: do you
    have any idea what that means? Anything with…mothers… or
    something?
    If you had read my post, Drew, we may not have talked past
    each other the way we did. I didn’t only refer to the Tea Party in
    my original comment, but explicitly to the broader political
    right, and populist sentiments on that side of the political
    specter in general.
    I tend to think that rightwing populist sentiments are a bit like
    my effect pedals. A demagogue, a skillful populist, can use and
    abuse and manipulate these sentiments in many different ways
    and for different purposes, just like a talented musician can get
    all sorts of nasty effects out of these moogerfoogers.
    In my view, a demagogue like Glenn Beck is a virtuoso who
    treats the sentiments of the American right the way Jimi
    Hendrix treated his guitar. There is an obvious element of
    obscenity in the performance of both, as I see it. And
    personally, I prefer Hendrix.

    Reply

  23. DonS says:

    “everybody knows that Scandinavians speak better English than us Americanos. I think the literacy and subtlety of his writings verify that. ” (drew)
    I still think that Paul misses a beat now and then, and that’s not a rap on Paul, obviously.
    But to continue my point,now that you’ve re-uped, take, for instance, a John Boehner, who stands in front of the microphone day after day, prim and proper, pressed and starched, straight as an arrow while, message wise, he’s all about shafting the middle class. So what’s important, overall, the appearance or the actual effect of message?

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    Wigwag posits, “the fundamental question that Steve’s essay poses is why the Tea Party and its fellow travelers are ascendant.” Maybe Wigwag should review why the Brown Shirts became ascendant.
    In both cases, there are ample infusions of cash from wealthy folks trying to manipulate populist discontent to their own ends.

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    Yeah, the correct way to say it is “Scandinavians speak better English than WE Americans…”
    A Scandinavian probably would have gotten that right.

    Reply

  26. drew says:

    DonS, everybody knows that Scandinavians speak better English
    than us Americanos. I think the literacy and subtlety of his writings
    verify that.

    Reply

  27. drew says:

    Paul,
    Clinton was impeached because he lied under oath. That is not
    under dispute.
    The more important analysis, perhaps remote to a Norwegian, is
    that he was *disbarred* by his homestae (Arkansas) judiciary.
    That is, they reviled their favorite son, because he lied under
    oath, and therefore removed his privileges to practice law. This
    is a commonplace in our republic, which is approximately 120
    years older than yours.
    Had he not lied under oath, none of that would have happened.
    Had he said, Sure, I had sex with that woman, none of it would
    have happened. The American system depends upon the
    reliability of sworn testimony, and that has nothing to do with
    sexual behavior. It has to do with what people say under oath.

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    Watching your stunt as the Vox Populi of the Teabaggers is
    certainly amusing, WigWag, but I have to admit that your
    performance was not entirely convincing.
    As I understand you, it would be very elitist and arrogant not to
    enthusiastically support The Sacred Majority in their crude
    prejudices and ignorance regarding Islam and its 1.5 billion
    believers.
    If the Sacred Majority of Americans in their blessed ignorance
    and manipulated confusion think that not only Iraq and al
    Qaeda, but also Islam as a religion was behind the attack on
    9/11, then fine. If the sacred Majority wants to forbid Mosques
    in America because the Muslims are terrorists, then fine. To
    correct these crude misconceptions would be very arrogant,
    beltway and effete.
    If, on the other hand, the Sacred Majority is ignorant on John
    Maynard Keynes, then this ignorance should be met with
    patience and eager attempts to inform, enlighten and explain
    the nuances…
    A global clash of civilizations is to be encouraged, but heaven
    forbid an economic depression!

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    “Apparently not. Well, here’s news. When you use that term it’s like shouting “f*** you” at the opera. It is an assault on civilization to
    use language like that. Please lighten up.” (drew)
    C’mon man, maybe you need to lighten up. First, you recognize that Paul is not a native English speaker, right. Second, ‘teabagger’ has legitimately found it’s way into colloquial usage. If it is offensive to those of that political persuasion, so much the better.
    Pardon me for butting in. Carry on.

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    “If Obama was undisciplined enough to even LOOK at a woman beside Michelle, there is no doubt that the usual suspects would do what they could to impeach him too.” (paul)
    Uh, Paul, impeachment is not the traditional yahoo way of dealing with uppity Negroes, assuming it was a white woman he would be accused of ‘looking at’. Surely you know the old ‘joke’, updated, “What do you call the President of the United States who is also a lawyer?”
    On a different note, Bush’s war crimes have effectively been swept under the rug, and not coincidentally never gained traction among the political classes because, as you know, they were virtually all complicit in their post 911 fear of being called ‘soft’ on terror. Even those who objected to the inception, made damn little peep thereafter.

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  31. Franklin says:

    Don Bacon,.
    Of course Obama does not equal Democrats in Congress (he has higher approvals than the generic ballot — granted he is flirting with the 50 percent threshold well below the post-inaugural peak of 64 percent).
    And yes, recent polls suggest that a majority of genuine swing-voting independents are likely to break for the GOP this election cycle.
    That doesn

    Reply

  32. drew says:

    Paul,
    You do understand that ‘tea bagger’ is a gross sexual term
    describing private sexual acts that has no place in public
    discussions?
    Apparently not. Well, here’s news. When you use that term it’s like
    shouting “f*** you” at the opera. It is an assault on civilization to
    use language like that. Please lighten up.
    –drew

    Reply

  33. drew says:

    Don, thanks.
    My grandfather’s middle name was Burr. That’s because we are
    descended from that wonderful scoundrel, and don’t mind that he
    shot the guy dead.
    Even then, we were clingers, apparently.
    –drew

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    “Calls to impeach Bush or try him as a war criminal were routine.”
    (Nadine)
    Yeah, and why on earth would anyone think of trying Bush as a
    war criminal, the president who decided to start an illegal war of
    choice leading to the death of hundreds of thousands – placing
    “illegal enemy combatants” in a legal limbo, defending torture
    etc.?
    As a contrast, the right wing partisans tried to impeach Clinton
    for lying about an extramarital affair in the Oval Office.
    If Obama was undisciplined enough to even LOOK at a woman
    beside Michelle, there is no doubt that the usual suspects would
    do what they could to impeach him too.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    This is a very thought provoking post by Steve; I haven’t been able to get it completely out of my mind since I read it yesterday afternoon.
    It seems to me that the fundamental question that Steve’s essay poses is why the Tea Party and its fellow travelers are ascendant, while progressives (or what passes for progressive in 2010) and Democrats of all stripes are facing political and social annihilation and oblivion.
    I hope that Steve will not take it personally (because I don’t mean it that way) when I say that he is to blame for this along with legions of his fellow pundits, thank tankers, journalists, university faculty and other elites. They just can’t hide their disdain for ordinary people and they can’t hide their annoyance when the “great unwashed” hold political views that diverge from their own.
    There was a time when the motto of progressive people was “power to the people.” Anyone who attended the Civil Rights or Anti War demonstrations in the late 1960s and early 1970s remembers the chant, “the people united will never be defeated.”
    What a long way we’ve come from those days. The Tea Party movement is now so popular, at least in part, because it represents an antidote to the elitism and arrogance of those who claim the progressive mantle for their own. Unfortunately for the Democrats, a party that used to be the party of working men and women as well as immigrants has been captured by an elite set (some of whom work on Wall Street and some of whom hold senior positions in the “knowledge industry”) that views the culture, values, nomenclature, religious beliefs and core values of the average American with contempt.
    No one epitomizes this contempt for the “average American” better than Barack Obama and nothing captures this contempt better than the statement he made during the campaign about bitter people clinging to the guns” Could anything be more perfectly emblematic of how Obama and his supporters feel?
    Sarah Palin and her allies look good to tens of millions of Americans because unlike Obama and his supporters, she deliberately identifies with the average American instead of heaping ridicule on them.
    The Mosque controversy perfectly proves this point. A New York Times poll came out today that demonstrates that two thirds of New Yorkers oppose placing the mosque/cultural center so close to Ground Zero. The fact that so many New Yorkers disapprove of the project suggests that Mosque supporters (including President Obama and lesser personages like Steve Clemons) whose views were well publicized have lost the argument. But it

    Reply

  36. questions says:

    Via TPM more on the amazing Jan Brewer and her Amazing Disappearing without answering a question act!
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/jan-brewer-speechless-on-headless-bodies-video.php?ref=fpblg
    How can anyone support this woman?

    Reply

  37. nadine says:

    Gotcha, drew. Disintermediation trope is all yours.
    But it takes more than organizing rallies on Facebook to disintermediate the federal government. They are well protect and have the law on their side, and they pay their friends well.

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    “If you read what I said, it’s all there, not between, but on the
    lines. My main point is that the extraordinary (yes, it’s
    extraordinary!) expressions of hate, anger, and the systematic
    demonization of Obama, has less to do with what he does than
    with issues beyond his actual policies. Racism is just one of
    these issues (class, culture etc are other issues, as mentioned
    in my post). It could develop into some kind of fascism, yes,
    but it’s not there yet, and it could also go in a somewhat
    different direction or calm down.
    P.S.
    Hitler is a cheap hat-trick; and I usually try to avoid referring to
    Adolf and his mustache every time I am worried about some
    current political or ideological tendency – so no, that was not
    what I had in mind. But some of the teabaggers and rightwing
    nuts and radio- and TV-hosts obviously have both Hitler and
    Stalin in mind when they contemplate this phenomenon called
    Barrack Obama, and they are not shy when it comes to
    comparisons.
    Clearer now?” (Paul Norheim)
    Not really. You apparently missed the approx. 10 million times that Bush was called Hitler, usually contracted to “Bushitler.” A quick Google search should refresh your memory. There is nothing at all novel in the reaction to Obama; overall he’s getting fewer insults than Bush got. Almost nobody, even among the majority of the country that is alarmed by his policies, is calling for his impeachment, for example. Calls to impeach Bush or try him as a war criminal were routine.

    Reply

  39. Don Bacon says:

    Interesting analysis, drew.
    Hamilton v. Jefferson

    Reply

  40. drew says:

    Nadine, I thought that the most remarkable aspect of the
    Caddell interview was when he casually described the mood of
    the electorate as ‘pre-revolutionary.’ What I admire about
    Caddell is his unrepentant loyalty to President Carter (whom I
    voted for, and who was elevated — as was BHO — by the
    personal reaction of Iowans to him during the 76 caucuses), as
    well as his reasoned populism, which emerges in the interview
    above. He doesn’t presume to represent the people he considers
    himself superior to, and that is refreshing.
    So Caddell offers the inverse of those who find the electorate a
    bunch of yahoos, clinging. He’s suggesting that the ‘political
    class’ (his term) is clinging to its secularism, its control of the
    media, political and academic verticals, and its superior
    knowledge of wine (this, kidding).
    Barone calls them the ‘educated class’, Caddell and Rasmussen
    the ‘political class’: these are people, by this definition, that
    believe that the purpose of government is to elevate those with a
    very particular educational and social background to positions of
    institutional dominance. Sure, they are subservient to the
    electoral process in many respects, but they better resemble
    each other than the people that must authorize them every 2, 4,
    6 years.
    They’ve also completely missed the most pervasive social and
    economic transformation of the past 40 years, even as it now
    blows up one after another of their sacred cows. (“Newsweek the
    Corporation: on sale for less than the newstand price of a single
    issue.”) That is disintermediation. I think this is why they are so
    weird in their denunciations of the Tea Party as a bunch of
    lowlife racists: if the TP is not delegitimized, more and more
    people like Joe Miller are going to get elected by promising to
    disintermediate the Feds as the primary arbiter, and distributor,
    of government benefits. And the TP is nothing but a
    disintermediating political force: self-organizing, unruly in
    structure, ideological (rather than pragmatic) at the core.
    Guys like Beck, whatever his merits or demerits, are already more
    important than the Senate Majority Leader, and perhaps the Vice
    President. Drudge has a better revenue model than Time. Dell
    Direct survived, IBM sold it’s PC business to the Chinese. GEICO
    is a better business than State Farm, which is furiously
    attempting to mimic it. GM and Chrysler are trying to survive in
    part by disintermediating themselves (terminating thousands of
    their own bricks-and-mortar dealers in order to regain pricing
    authority). Amazon blew up the book business, and is now
    blowing up its own book business (i.e., it is blowing up the paper
    book business and already sells more electronic books than
    paper books.) Apple *owns* the music distribution business.
    It’s folly to think that two traditional political parties, and the few
    hundred thousand people who make a living by subscribing to
    one or the other, will continue to control the American political
    system. This isn’t Europe; we have always had a powerful
    populist undercurrent, and populism, at its best (cf. Goodwyn), is
    about one thing above all others: local control of economic
    resources. Well, in political terms, it appears that about 70% of
    the country has reached its breaking point with the old-line
    Tammany Hall model. BHO is our post-modern Tammany
    politician: a product of the best political machine in history.
    Everything that works in that machine is not working now.
    “Please sir, may I have some more” is not, today, working well for
    the status quo. Will people even know who David Frum is in 10
    years? I don’t really think so.
    Disintermediation trope is (c) Me. I expect attribution!

    Reply

  41. Don Bacon says:

    Franklin: “So basically the Tea Party grows the GOP base by motivating the core demos of . . . get this . . . voters who already self-identify as Republicans.”
    Your conclusion is not supported by the data. A popular misconception, which you apparently share, is that the US electorate is either Republican or Democrat, whereas Independents outnumber each of those. It is Independents who elected Obama and who are now shifting away from him.
    news report:
    WASHINGTON

    Reply

  42. Paul Norheim says:

    “I thought your point was that the Tea Party was a kind of
    national socialist bigoted fascist operation” (Drew)
    If you read what I said, it’s all there, not between, but on the
    lines. My main point is that the extraordinary (yes, it’s
    extraordinary!) expressions of hate, anger, and the systematic
    demonization of Obama, has less to do with what he does than
    with issues beyond his actual policies. Racism is just one of
    these issues (class, culture etc are other issues, as mentioned
    in my post). It could develop into some kind of fascism, yes,
    but it’s not there yet, and it could also go in a somewhat
    different direction or calm down.
    P.S.
    Hitler is a cheap hat-trick; and I usually try to avoid referring to
    Adolf and his mustache every time I am worried about some
    current political or ideological tendency – so no, that was not
    what I had in mind. But some of the teabaggers and rightwing
    nuts and radio- and TV-hosts obviously have both Hitler and
    Stalin in mind when they contemplate this phenomenon called
    Barrack Obama, and they are not shy when it comes to
    comparisons.
    Clearer now?

    Reply

  43. Franklin says:

    “It appears the Tea Party is gaining in popularity and more force than ever”?
    Lede from KARE 11 in Minneapolis:
    “Minnesota voters are angry at Washington, D.C., but generally unsupportive of the Tea Party . . .
    Only 25 percent of the voters surveyed said they support the Tea Party movement, while 22 percent said they oppose it, and 53 percent are indifferent. Similarly, only 16 percent said a Tea Party endorsement would make them “more likely” to support a candidate, while 29 percent said the endorsement would make them “less likely” to support a candidate, and 48 percent said such an endorsement would make no difference.”
    So a net negative of 13 percent for a Tea Party endorsement with almost half of the voters saying “no difference”. Granted this is just one reliable swing-state.
    CBS poll from August 26th — the Tea Party enjoys 29 percent support. 54 percent say they do not support the Tea Party. The rest are undecided or had no opinion. That represents a shift from April of 18 yes, and 62 percent no. The numbers from July though are essentially unchanged.
    Core demo from April — one in three voters in the South; 20 percent in the Northeast and Midwest; about 25 percent in the West. About 60 percent male; almost 90 percent white; 75 percent are 45 and older; less than 10 percent are Democrats; the rest are either Republicans or Republican leaning independents; 73 percent Conservative, 20 percent “moderate”; 4 percent “liberal”; and apparently 3 percent “don’t know” or refused. An overwhelming majority have a favorable opinion of George W. Bush and have Fox-RNC News as their primary news source.
    So basically the Tea Party grows the GOP base by motivating the core demos of . . . get this . . . voters who already self-identify as Republicans.
    Motivating the base isn’t a bad off-year election strategy, but it’s not a great strategy for actually growing the party base beyond its core demographic groups.

    Reply

  44. rap says:

    David — you are correct. Thanks much for this.

    Reply

  45. drew says:

    Paul, I really don’t understand your point. I thought your point
    was that the Tea Party was a kind of national socialist bigoted
    fascist operation, and that it wasn’t important to cite an example
    of that behavior because it was so manifest. (Sorta like the SC
    blog entry above, which takes the manifest cravenness of the
    Beck followers as so obvious as to not require sampling.)
    I did not think that you meant that some media guy called
    another administration fascist and that … it’s on YouTube! Who
    cares? What does that prove? I think that the only
    administrations that have not been called fascist since Kennedy’s
    was Carter’s, and that’s because of the killer attack rabbit thing
    (i.e., it’s hard to call a pussy a fascist). There hasn’t been an
    administration ever that’s not been labeled racist. It’s all a yawn.
    That’s why all this name-calling is a waste of time. Wait four
    years, change the channel, and you’ll hear the same stuff going
    in the other direction.
    David, if you believe Jim Rogers, pricing information is best
    discovered in commodities. I believe Rogers, as well as people
    like Hayek, because politicians cannot virtualize grain, oil, or
    gold, as they have virtualized money. Good farmland today is
    projected to rise in value another 60% over the next five years;
    that’s a proxy for something, and I say it’s a flight to quality.
    It doesn’t matter if oil is denominated in dollars, what we know
    is that those dollars buy fewer Porsches or Euros as the dollar
    weakens, so markets require more of them in order to maintain
    their purchasing power. And in any of these discussions, I would
    never take the position that your straw man version of me did,
    which was say dollar stability was absolute; of course there were
    periods of instability between 1790 and 1913, but the secular
    trend is broadly flat, versus the swan dive in dollar value since
    1913.
    I agree on the current level of national debt/GDP of 90% and
    disagree with your implication that it doesn’t matter, because
    democratic socialist members of the G8 have equivalent or
    higher national debts. That’s because their economies (and
    indeed their countries) are moribund economically and
    demographically; it’s hardly an objective to chase. As our
    national debt rises it will crowd out private sector
    investment/lending, creating a vici

    Reply

  46. Don Bacon says:

    A recent CBS Poll shows that 29% of Americans support the Tea Party. Since these supporters are nearly all white, and whites constitute about 70% of the electorate, then about 41% of white Americans support the Tea Party — a substantial portion.
    Why? Obama has failed to represent the change-wanting people who elected him, and instead has sided with the hated establishment, with Summers/Geithner on economics and with Gates/Petraeus on the military.
    The domestic economy continues to worsen for American workers and homeowners, a function of unrestrained speculation, job outsourcing and government corruption. While citizens flounder they look on to bank and corporate bailouts while the prez goes on an extended vacation, and shmoozes with foreigners.
    Obama’s biggest accomplishment? An intrusive, unconstitutional, unpopular healthcare bill which will require all citizens for the first time in history to purchase a commercial insurance policy or pay a penalty, which Obama has falsely characterized as giving Americans options on healthcare. Really.
    As a result of the two political parties suppressing third party involvement in elections, Americans have gotten used to voting for the lesser of two evils. They will probably look back in anger, hold their noses and do so again.
    “Change” — it will come back to haunt the Dems because they didn’t deliver on it.

    Reply

  47. Sand says:

    Re: China
    — US officials to visit China for talks
    “…US National Economic Council chairman Larry Summers will visit China next week for talks on bilateral relations, China announced Thursday.
    Summers and Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon will visit China September 5-8, foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.
    The National Economic Council is a key White House policy-making body.
    Jiang gave no further details, such as which Chinese leaders would meet the two US officials…”
    h/t: http://rawstory.com/news/afp/US_officials_to_visit_China_for_tal_09022010.html

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    Longtime Democratic Pollster Pat Caddell understands the political earthquake that is happening. Some quotes from a recent interview:

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    “nadine suggests that Tea Partiers are also mad at Republicans. Sure… that’s why they didn’t organize until a Democrat was in office and trying to fix the literally devastating polices of Republicans. ”
    Tony, the Tea Partiers were mad at Republicans. That’s why they sat home in 2006 and 2008, which is what put the Democrats into power. Anybody who tried to put through Obama’s fiscally reckless policies on the mistaken idea that two elections gave a broad progressive mandate for an American Social Democrat program would find the same organized resistance.

    Reply

  50. David Billington says:

    Drew,
    The dangers with fiat money are clear but gold does not guarantee price
    stability either: the price level under the gold standard fluctuated
    throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Periods of
    deflation (1815-48, 1873-96, 1920-33) were periods of slower growth,
    in the nineteenth century largely because money supply lagged
    productivity. Tying the dollar to gold also didn’t prevent additional money
    from being printed when national emergency (eg. the Civil War) required
    an expansion of public credit.
    My understanding is that the total federal debt now stands at about 90
    percent of GDP, which is low by G8 standards. The TARP funding has been
    largely repaid. Where conservatives have a point is that we can’t keep
    running up the debt and bailing out corporations indefinitely. What would
    you have done differently in the last two years? Do you see any need to
    change the role of the federal government going forward?
    “Oil is a commodity and

    Reply

  51. Steve says:

    It appears the tea party movement is gaining in popularity and with more force than ever. Many of those center left and center right have realized that the liberal/socialist ideologies that you, Obama, and thousands of otheres espouse wil do nothing but destroy this country. Thank God people are waking up.

    Reply

  52. Paul Norheim says:

    Psst, don’t say that loud, Franklin, unless you want a longwinded
    post about causation/correlation, Hume, and Aipac from
    Questions.

    Reply

  53. Franklin says:

    Drew’s argument appears to be less Q.E.D. and more P.H.E.P.H (post hoc ergo propter hoc).

    Reply

  54. questions says:

    dear drew,
    some people save, and inflation does indeed cut down on the purchasing power of their savings. If they save AND earn, then earnings increases will help them significantly.
    Some people are in debt, and inflation helps erode the value of their debt so that they pay back the debt with cheaper dollars.
    I honestly think it’s perfectly fine to have some inflation to help debtors over savers.
    We have SoSec to help the old (savers) over the young (debtors), and we have schools to help the young (uneducated) over the old (done with all that years ago, thank you), and we have (sort of) affirmative action to help those left out become included.
    Society makes trade offs among groups and individuals, and as long as the trade offs are shifted occasionally so that no one group bears horrific burden (slavery, racism, homophobia, economic penalties of various sorts) and as long as people can traverse various groups (from debtor to saver, from lower class to middle class) the whole things turns out ok.
    IF we design the system to benefit only savers, or only oldsters, or only straight white guys, then I would think we’d be pretty (anglo-saxon) unjust.
    So again, I don’t care about the fucking gold standard, the loss of savings over time due to inflation, or the concomitant pay raises also due to inflation.
    If the general positions shift enough, and relative ability to function is maintained in some decently fair way, I’m fine with things.
    Please remember, I am first and foremost quite liberal in my thinking, and not much in the way of a greed head. Keeping mine for me is not my top concern in the universe. Not white privilege, not anglo privilege, not citizen privilege, not exclusivity pretty much anywhere.
    So, no, your golden panic isn’t my thing at all.

    Reply

  55. Paul Norheim says:

    Drew, you know how to find YouTube?
    Here is a link to a video titled “Beck compares Obama admin to
    Nazis:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqXKoql-VnQ
    There are plenty of similar videos at the same site – both on
    Beck and Limbaugh (and lots of others from the same corner).
    But I assume I’m wasting my time providing links.
    “The finger is not the moon.” (Chinese proverb)
    Or, if you prefer the longer version: “When the finger points to
    the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.”
    QED.

    Reply

  56. Paul Norheim says:

    “Anyway, what’s an example of ‘demonizing and fear
    mongering’ from Beck’s camp meeting?”
    Drew, no, there was no demonizing at the Lincoln Memorial
    meeting, and I did not refer to that specific event. As for
    bigotry, racism, and baseless demonizing in general from
    the teabaggers and rightwing fear mongers, I could link to
    hundreds of statements.
    Or you could just do a YouTube search on Beck/Limbaugh +
    obama + nazism as a starter.

    Reply

  57. Franklin says:

    drew,
    Valuing “more individual freedom” is pretty much an American value. It’s not the exclusive property of a political philosophy that dates back to the mid part of the 20th century.
    So that particular end is hardly a defining characteristic of libertarianism or conservatism. There may be disagreements over the means to that end between political belief systems, but not in the end itself.
    Of course played out in the real world a purely non-interventionist credo means “more liberty for some, less for others,” because liberty, in some situations, is a zero-sum equation.
    In a market system that usually means: “the more money you have, the less subject you are to restraints; the less money you have, the more subject you are to the restraints imposed by the rich and powerful”. In a representative system of government the way that we tend to resolve these disputes by definition is through the electoral system. The non-interventionist approach doesn’t really specify in a practical way under what circumstances a political resolution is merited.
    Of course this highlights an issue that you rarely hear libertarians or social conservatives talk about: Equality. But that’s another topic entirely.
    An additional point: Social conservatives were main drivers of the poorly named “PATRIOT ACT”. So I think it’s probably accurate to say that there are not only disagreements on social policy between social conservatives and libertarians, but there are also disagreements about the degree to which the government should be allowed to “sit at the family dinner table”.
    questions hit on this same exact issue from another relevant, but different angle:
    e.g. When the government has food safety standards is this an example of the government “sitting at the family dinner table”?
    If you say so, then by that standard the Chinese are much more free than we are. The freedom of food distributors to poison their customers through negligence — willful or otherwise — doesn’t strike me as one of the kinds of liberties that we should celebrate.
    With respect to any currency having an “absolute value” — this notion is just patently absurd. Currency is primarily a medium of exchange. Its value is always and everywhere relative to something else. It has no “intrinsic” or “stored” value.
    Using gold as a proxy for some kind of “absolute” value is equally absurd. Gold is just another commodity with a value that fluctuates relative to other commodities based on the laws of supply and demand. It has no more absolute value than cows or grain. In fact, cows and grain probably have a lot more intrinsic value than gold during periods of scarcity, but that’s another topic too.

    Reply

  58. drew says:

    questions, you are economically illiterate and I’m sure I can’t
    help you.
    But whatever you do, do not attempt to save or invest, because
    evidently you don’t care if the government takes 3-20% of your
    money each year in the form of a debased currency. You’ll be
    trying to live on 2011 dollars in 2025 or 2035 and since you
    don’t care about the absolute value of your dollars, only dumb
    luck will preserve their purchasing power.
    It’s illustrative of how dumb Americans can be about money that
    they walk around saying things like “price of oil is going up” —
    when the only that is happening is that the dollar is worth less
    this year than two years ago. Oil is a commodity and hence a
    measure of stored value and it takes more dollars to buy it,
    adjusted for supply, than it used to.
    Thanks loads for the anglo-saxonisms!

    Reply

  59. Michael Wolraich says:

    And so history repeats itself. After a 1992 conservative coup in the House and Senate Republican caucuses, one Democratic analyst argued that the conservative uprising would be detrimental to the GOP, claiming, “They are silencing the more moderate elements in their party and seeking an ideological purity from the right. A marginalized, right-wing Republican Party will be less competitive with Bill Clinton in 1996 than a more inclusive and centrist Republican Party.”
    But that’s not what happened. In the 1994 Republican Revolution, the GOP picked up fifty-four seats in the House and eight seats in the Senate, taking control of both houses for the first time since 1954.
    A few years later, the Republican Revolution crumpled under the weight of ethics scandals and election losses. A Chicago Tribune political analyst wrote, “The emerging cliche seems to be that the Republicans, having lost an unexpected five seats in the House and a couple of statehouses they thought were forever in their camp, will forge a new political message that is pragmatic and much less ideological, a shift in emphasis that will endear the party to moderate voters.” Some Republicans looked to emulate the “pragmatic” approach of Governor George W. Bush, who had developed a reputation for governing by consensus in Texas.
    We all know how that turned out. Though Bush ran for president in 2000 as a “unifier,” he soon embraced Karl Rove’s “wedge issue” strategy to energize the base. In 2004, Bush lost the moderate vote by nine percentage points, but he won 84 percent of self-described conservatives, who made up a third of the electorate. Tom DeLay’s Republican-controlled congress was even more extreme than Gingrich’s, and conservative action groups like the Club for Growth continued to hunt down the few remaining moderates like Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI).
    When the Republicans finally lost their majority in 2006 due to voter dismay over lingering wars, a deteriorating economy, and a string of ethics scandals, strategists again counseled moderation and the “California way” of moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    But conservatives would have none of it. The problem was not that the party was too conservative, they argued, it was that it wasn’t conservative enough. “There’s no doubt in my mind it was not a repudiation of conservatives but it was a repudiation of the Republican Party,” argued Pat Toomey, leader of the Club for Growth. Rush Limbaugh concurred, “Republicans lost last night but conservatism did not.” Instead, he blamed “blue-blood, country club, corporate type…Rockefeller-type,” even though the Rockefeller Republicans had long since gone extinct.
    In short, the miscalculation of the prominent mega-funder you mention would not be the first such error. The GOP has been surprising pundits by turning further to the right at every juncture.
    David Frum may be correct in his assessments of the Tea Party movement itself. Past conservative movements, such as the New Right of Paul Weyrich and Richard Viguerie and Gingrich’s Republican Revolution, have eventually burned their fuel and dissolved. But the overall trend of rightward drift in the GOP has continued unabated since the 1970s.
    Unfortunately, the radicalization of the Republican party has not cast it permanently from power. Instead, the transformation has lowered voter expectations, turned fringe figures into viable candidates, and pressed the soupy gestalt of American politics ever rightward.
    More on the 35-year radicalization of the GOP in my book, Blowing Smoke, coming out in October: http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Whack-Job-Fantasies-Homosexual/dp/0306819198

    Reply

  60. questions says:

    A nice read of crowd size estimates for the Bleckathon
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/8/29/897319/-Beck-rally-crowd-size-by-the-numbers
    Gives some methodology for how one estimates.

    Reply

  61. drew says:

    Paul Norheim:
    “What on earth is all this demonizing and fear mongering
    about?”
    You realize that it is the left who is accusing people of bigotry,
    racism, cultural inferiority complexes, lack of education, bad
    clothing, bad haircuts, intolerance, … uh, what did I leave out?
    Oh. Gun ownership. At least the latter has a basis in fact.
    Anyway, what’s an example of ‘demonizing and fear mongering’
    from Beck’s camp meeting?
    Surely it was redolent with these qualities, since that is the
    essence of the Tea Party initiative. People keep referencing
    things that they have trouble reporting, witnessing, repeating. I
    believe one person here was in the Hamptons on the day of the
    rally, but nonetheless is reporting as fact the same sort of thing.
    Maybe it doesn’t matter to the political class, what is or is not
    discoverable in fact. Maybe everything is just a narrative,
    requiring illustrations, such as a confederate flag that, ipso
    facto, belongs to one’s political opponents and therefore
    characterizes an antiseptic rally on the Mall that no one attended.
    But I keep reading these interpretations of an event no one
    watched, listened to, or attended. It’s like waiting for someone
    to collect his $100,000 for proving that someone used the n-
    word against John Lewis. As for Godot, we wait, and wait, and
    wait. But the idea of Godot certainly holds everyone’s attention.

    Reply

  62. questions says:

    Hey drew,
    Regarding the gov’t at the dinner table — umm, half a billion eggs recalled for salmonella?
    Oh, yeah, that’s the BREAKFAST table.
    There’s a thing they did in hospitals some years ago to help teach dr’s and nurses the costs of equipment and general stuff that they used and often wasted. EVERYthing was tagged with a price and people expressed surprise at the costs.
    Perhaps we need to do a regulatory tagging….
    See this food? It went through these regulations and you’re more likely than not gonna live after eating it.
    See these plates? Here are the regulations….
    See this outlet? This clothing? This furniture? This…..
    Maybe we don’t even know how much safety regulations help us. Maybe we don’t realize anymore that regulations are a lagging indicator, a reaction to some horrific death or maiming. No one sets out to regulate in advance of disaster. We regulate to prevent the previous disaster.
    Oh, probably not. It’s more fun to scream about regulations. To scream about all the taxes taken away from you. To scream about how suddenly unfree you are…than it is to study, read some econ, read about how regulations work, read about what is regulated and realize that though there may be some seriously perverse effects from regulation, on the whole, it’s a pretty good set up for those of us who can’t research every single source of every single product we use.
    drew, since we’re not on a fucking gold standard, how could it matter how much gold a dollar buys?
    What was the average wage in 1913? What is the average wage now?
    Who the fuck needs gold anyway?
    I buy food, clothing, shelter, a ton of books, transportation and insurance, telecomm shit of various sorts, coffee, and I don’t buy gold.
    So who the fuck cares about gold prices relative to a dollar that changes in value over time even as the number of dollars I get paid also changes over time.
    Honestly, who the fuck cares.

    Reply

  63. DonS says:

    Paul, your reductionist view seems quite correct to this American, no matter how various additional factors influence and tinge around the edges.
    Actually race may be a salient factor not just, or even mainly, in the manner of broad prejudice or intolerance, but that it is a multiplier for projecting disdain and blame — usually, in the benighted US, with the general acquiescence and silence of the majority.
    That the middle class is drowning in the US and that the prior administrations, and current Republican rhetoric is not only largely responsible, or would exacerbate the troubles is of little importance to the repubs, or the tea baggers either. They simply wish to stir the pot more; ignore the actual crises that require actual solutions (vs return to the good old days of the 19th century); raise the temperature so high that their own vacuous and negative ideas achieve a sort of legitimacy.
    There is much in the ignorance, intolerance and blame of the current period that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, and the vast swaths of Germans who were swept up or acquiesced in the hysteria.
    That a nadine can brazenly assert that there were no signs at Beck’s rally, in defiance of the facts, is a small but clear example of truth by ignorance and bullying. Even a semblance of factual basis doesn’t matter to the blind.

    Reply

  64. drew says:

    Franklin:
    On libertarianism and conservatism:
    “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is
    libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer, just as
    liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals

    Reply

  65. Franklin says:

    Steven,
    Of course we’re in the realm of counter-factuals so a lot of these questions are speculative — especially without really granulated polling data.
    However with 30 percent disapproval on the first day that he was in office, Rush hoping that the presidency failed within days of the inauguration, and Koch Family funded and Fox News publicized Tax Day protests just 3 months into the administration, it was pretty clear from the outset that there was a segment of the population that was vehemently against this president regardless of what he did.
    The tax day protests were especially ironic given that the stimulus package reduced tax burdens for the majority of Americans. Of course people at some people at the rallies disputed this fact, even though it was simply a fact (suggesting that some of the opposition has no rational basis).
    I would wager that a large percentage of the Tea Party protesters fell into that 30 percent cohort in January 2009 which was opposed to this particular presidency from Day One regardless of the actions that Obama undertook.
    With respect to Obama’s “economically risky” policies — this strikes me as dubious at best. The health care bill is actually a deficit reducer (a significant one at that after 10 years based on CBO projections). The measure contained reductions in outlays for programs like Medicare advantage; they also eliminated an annual $5 billion dollar subsidies for private student loan companies.
    The stimulus package was a drop in the ocean of debt — it has actually done some good. The main problem with the package was that it wasn’t large enough to off-set the fall in aggregate demand caused by the financial crisis.
    The current economic crisis is not a by-product of any policies that Obama enacted. It’s also true that the state of the economy is a major driver of political sentiment — especially with swing voters.
    It’s true that Obama came into office on a wave of goodwill.
    However, it strikes me as inaccurate to suggest that the wave of goodwill was universal. There is a dedicated cadre of haters who for a variety of reasons are determined to see this presidency fail.

    Reply

  66. Tony says:

    Yes, questions, I know that most of our economic problems arose from the Bush tax cuts and the incompetently managed wars. But you more often hear Tea Partiers, like nadine, gripe about the Obama’s stimulus and the bailouts, both signed into law by a Republican president. I hate the false analogy of the government needing to tighten its belt like a family. More appropriate would be comparing it to a business that needs to advertise and invest money in order to secure more revenue and come out a slump.
    Not a single Tea Partier I’ve heard will admit that the spending that has happened under Obama likely saved us from a 11.5-13% unemployment. having ONLY 9.5% unemployment was a blessing, considering what the Republican policies would have given us.
    And now that Americans can expect to save ~$1200 a year not paying for non-insured people’s emergency room visits, won’t have to worry about being bankrupted by a market-driven health care system, and won’t have to choose between food or medicine, you’d think families that do have to tighten their belts could rest assured a bit more.
    nadine suggests that Tea Partiers are also mad at Republicans. Sure… that’s why they didn’t organize until a Democrat was in office and trying to fix the literally devastating polices of Republicans. and this is why they’ll turn out to vote Republican in record numbers – against their own economic interests – and blame the last 19 months for economic woes 8 years in the making.

    Reply

  67. Paul Norheim says:

    “Maybe you’re right, we’d all adore Obama’s policies if only
    his skin color was white.” (Nadine)
    Yes, I tend to think that the literal content of this remark
    is closer to the truth than its ironic intent. Maybe many
    teabaggers and others on the right would actually – if not
    “adore”, then at least somehow “tolerate” his policies, if his
    skin color happened to be white, his name Jimmy Johnson
    and his party GOP.
    Or perhaps most of those who hate and blame Obama
    now, wouldn’t “adore” a GOP lead White House with
    McCain/Palin either, not because of their policies, but due
    the economy, the loss of jobs, the uncertainty, being
    bogged down in the Middle East etc?
    What on earth is all this demonizing and fear mongering
    about?
    Perhaps Bush’s Afghanistan strategy versus Obama’s AfPak
    & drones & General Petraeus in charge? Or Romneycare
    versus Obamacare? GOP stimulus package versus Obama’
    stimulus package?
    Viewing this from the comfortable distance of the
    Norwegian fjords, I don’t see ANYTHING beyond culture,
    class, race issues, rhetorics – and other issues going
    beyond the actual policies of this administration – that can
    convincingly explain the ferocious opposition to Obama
    from the right.
    Yes, I have a small TV with American channels in my
    rowboat in the Hardanger-fjord, I read American
    newspapers, magazines, and blogs as well; and the more I
    watch the back and forth, the paranoia, the hysteria, and
    the hateful distortions and polarizations within the
    political climate in the United States, the more I am
    convinced that this is all about:
    1) frustration and anger due to the economic crisis,
    2) culture,
    3) class,
    4) race,
    5) America’s loss of self-confidence in the last decade;
    America questioning itself, it’s values, it’s influence, it’s
    role and “mission” in the world.
    As for the last point, some are capable of formulating their
    questions and self-doubt in eloquent words, and those
    who aren’t, see nowhere else to put their frustration than
    on Obama.
    The simple fact is that Barack Obama is ruling more or
    less from the center of the political spectrum in America
    on most issues – just like George Bush did. So why do the
    teabaggers and the GOP talk as if there has been some
    revolutionary change in US policies since Obama took
    office?
    While the progressives were extremely unhappy with Bush
    and continue to be unhappy with Obama, the only
    significant change seems to be that the right was
    apparently very happy with Bush, and are extremely
    unhappy and very scared by this slim, cafe latte drinking
    atheist-Muslim Hussein negro-boy; while the rest of the
    world, frightened by George Bush’s Texan rhetorics,
    basically seems very comfortable with the dignified, calm,
    but almost MLK-like rhetorics of Barack Obama, and even
    gave him a Peace Prize in relief – after having been forced
    to listen to the broad Texan dialect of W. for eight long
    years.
    So yes, Nadine is probably closer to the truth than she
    thinks: the reasons for rightwing America’s fear and
    frustration are to be found elsewhere than in the actual,
    center-driven, un-spectacular, pragmatic policies of the
    Obama administration.

    Reply

  68. Steven says:

    “What Barack Obama described in the campaign is what we are seeing unfold in the country. Guns and religion — or, in other words, fear and intolerance.”
    What’s misleading about the above statement is that it implies that Barack Obama was correct in assessing how people respond to economic insecurity — by becoming hateful and paranoid. But what if it’s not simply that his prediction ended up correct or that he was describing an already established trend? What if, instead,What’s misleading about the above statement is that it implies that Barack Obama was correct in assessing how people respond to economic insecurity — by becoming hateful and paranoid. But what if it’s not simply that his prediction ended up correct or that he was describing an already established trend? What if, instead, the very attitude he expressed above has increased the Tea Party’s viability?
    Think about it: Obama won and entered the White House on a wave of goodwill and optimism. Now after almost 20 months of pushing rather economically-risky legislation (ex: the healthcare bill) and taking positions wildly out of touch with most of America (his support for the “Ground Zero Mosque” and stance against Jan Brewer), people are moving away from him. Still without jobs, still waiting for the economy to again shows signs of life, they’re frustrated with a President whose decisions they disagree with, whose attitude continues to be appear out of touch and condescending.
    In other words, when you’re left out of the clubhouse, you’re going to go build your own. And that’s what these people are doing.
    Disagreeing with the President’s actions, having an alternate vision for the country, utilizing the wonders of grassroots activism… perhaps it’s more convenient to think of them as “bitter clingers,” but I think they’re proving themselves to be far more proactive than that.
    And if you’re going to present the Beck rally and the American Foundation for Equal Rights as fundamentally at odds with one another, let’s not forget Beck’s recent statement that gay marriage is “not a threat” to the country. He may never actively work for marriage equality, but he’s certainly not working against it, either.

    Reply

  69. Franklin says:

    drew,
    I think it’s questionable that “most Republicans trend libertarian”.
    Most Republicans — the base — are social conservatives who seem to put a higher value on social issues than economic ones.
    e.g. George H.W. budget balancing tax-increase easily would have been forgiven in 1992 if he’d found a way to outlaw abortion.
    Of course there are exceptions, but on balance there’s a reason that the culture war and ballot initiatives against things like same-sex marriage have been a staple of GOP politicking. The Southern Strategy which helped to bring the GOP back into the majority after years in the wilderness (with the exception of the Eisenhower presidency) was almost entirely about ginning up cultural resentments.
    With respect to current deficits the overwhelming majority of those debts can be traced to tax-cut and spend policies of Reagan and George W. I’d wager that a large number of the people railing against current deficits voted for both those presidents, so their complaints are especially hypocritical.
    Never mind that the few GOP proposals currently on the table are likely to only further exacerbate the current trend in deficits (e.g. extending ALL of the W tax cuts).
    With respect to “e,” the Federal Reserve has been around since 1913. The value of the dollar has not depreciated 98 percent since that time.
    e.g. In 1915 the rate of exchange for a dollar to the British pound was about $5 for 1 British pound. Today the rate of exchange is a little over $1.50 for 1 British pound. That’s not a 98 percent depreciation.

    Reply

  70. questions says:

    Here’s a link to a kos thing that has Jan Brewer’s opening statement from a debate in AZ. There’s a link there to the full debate on a pbs site, but it wouldn’t work for me….
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/9/1/898316/-Jan-Brewer-is-dumber-than-a-rockUpdated
    drew, I don’t care what econ book is on the best seller list….
    And indeed at some level many things matter less in context than you think.
    For example, your cancer doesn’t matter at the moment you’re having a heart attack. You do the bypass surgery and then go back to the chemo.
    The debt and deficit don’t at all matter in the short run while unemployment is spiking. First we do unemployment (that’s like the bypass) then we worry about the rest.
    The main cause of the debt mess we’re in is the Bush tax cuts that transferred HUGE amounts of wealth to the top of the pyramid and denuded the bottom.
    The wealth at the top wanted more wealth, chased after insane returns, set up a sick dynamic of wealth stripping from the bottom (see wage gains and wealth distribution over the past decade).
    The money didn’t just trickle up, it was vacuumed up.
    And most of that money, because it wasn’t paid in wages up to 106,000/year isn’t in the SoSec tax bracket.
    SoSec is fine. It was redone by a commission not that long ago. The boomers are figured in. The very slight increase in lifespan after retirement is figured in. There isn’t much of that despite the increase in general lifespan in the US. Most of that increase is better infant mortality rates.
    The US gov’t isn’t going to default on the T-bills that SoSec has invested in.
    SoSec has dramatically reduced elderly poverty, has enabled our parents to manage their senescence without moving into our livingrooms and sleeping on the couch, which of course means that we all have a little more money with which to pay our increased SoSec witholdings.
    SoSec is secure, far far far safer than stock market investments. It guarantees a not horrific old age.
    How many workers can really work past 65 or 57? Think about package delivery, warehousing, digging, building, lifting, hauling, hefting. People who do this stuff break earlier than people who sit in chairs all the day long. So raising retirement ages is pretty nasty.
    Cutting benefits just means that if your parents need help, they’re going to take from you even as you are paying your own premiums.
    Privatizing and making it all voluntary will simply increase the elderly poverty rate.
    So what do you want?
    If we take care of all elderly, then your parents and mine, you and I, will be taken care of as well. It’s not a bad deal. In fact, it’s pretty fucking smart.
    As for the number of future workers…the commission took this into account as well.
    Please trust to actuaries. They are fucking smart people. Smarter than politicians who are looking to be reelected on the strength of panic and ignorance.
    And Tony, no, not TARP and not the stimulus…. Those are short term nothings.
    The Bush tax cuts, the fact that the Iraq war was off budget, and the Bush tax cuts are the difference in the budget woes we face. Oh, and did I mention the Bush tax cuts?
    And the incentives that those tax cuts created.
    And the deregulation of finance along with the stripping of wealth from the bottom of the economy.
    There’s our problem.

    Reply

  71. nadine says:

    Tony, the Tea Party people are mad at the Republicans too. That’s why you are seeing so many Tea Party insurgent candidates upset Republican establishment candidates in the primaries.
    But the Tea Party people are far more mad at Obama, and with good reason. TARP didn’t make him raise domestic Federal spending by 16% in one year, the biggest increase ever. Congress didn’t even pass a budget this year, so heaven only knows what they are spending now. TARP didn’t make him spend a trillion dollars on a non-stimulative stimulus packed with pork, or add a new 2.5 Trillion dollar health care entitlement when our existing entitlements are already broke.
    In short: there are only two parties in this country. Trying to create a third party never works. So you have to pick a party and go with it.

    Reply

  72. Tony says:

    What I don’t get is voters like nadine who rant and rave about a trillion dollar debt – created in no small part by bailouts and TARP – both of which were signed into law by a Republican President. Yet they almost certainly plan on voting for Republicans again. They have no sense of who’s really to blame for the country’s economic problems.

    Reply

  73. drew says:

    I’ll regret this but let me see if I understand you, questions:
    a. deficits don’t matter
    b. the national debt and its rate of increase do not matter
    c. a liability is a vaporous thing, just an “assumption about
    future income” (someone, quick, notify FASB and the SEC, they’re
    doing accounting all wrong!)
    d. your retirement, which presumably you paid for through FICA,
    but was spent on other things by politicians, will be paid for by
    future workers, and it doesn’t matter that i) there will be fewer of
    them; ii) they won’t want to pay off your debts for you; iii) if they
    pay for your retirement account they won’t get one for
    themselves
    e. the decline in absolute value of the US dollar since the
    creation of the Federal Reserve (98% is the decline in value), and
    the advent of fiat currency, doesn’t matter
    f. the fact that an obscure 60 year-old book on Austrian-school
    economics was the #1 seller on Amazon in June 2010 … doesn’t
    matter!
    Since none of these things matter, anyone who says they do
    must be a “quiet racist”. That certainly settles things for me.

    Reply

  74. nadine says:

    No, questions, the rally would only have been reported as a million strong if it had been a pro-Obama rally. Most news outlets reported it as somewhere in the 200,000 – 500,000 range fwiw.
    “The other issue here is likely quiet racism. Meaning that the teaparty will go away about the time that Obama isn’t pres anymore and we go back to the white guy status quo ante.”
    Yah sure, questions, we all think we are upset at trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, Federal takeovers of everything in sight, and the tsunami of new taxes headed our way, but what the hell do we know? Maybe you’re right, we’d all adore Obama’s policies if only his skin color was white. After all, didn’t the whole country support universal health care when Bill Clinton tried to pass it? Oh, wait. Do you think that was racism, too, because Bill Clinton was our “first black President”?
    This warmed-over Marxist false-consciousness crap (that’s what it is, at base) gets tiresome after a while, questions. If Obama had governed as the sober, fiscally responsible centrist he campaigned as, the Tea Party would never have got started. According to Gallup, 30% of Americans identify themselves as Tea Party supporters*. Are we all latent racists?
    *”These findings are based on three surveys Gallup conducted in March, May, and June of this year. Thirty percent of Americans, on average, identify as Tea Party supporters — a percentage remarkably consistent across the three surveys.”
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/141098/tea-party-supporters-overlap-republican-base.aspx

    Reply

  75. questions says:

    Frankin, no no! The rally was a million strong! Didn’t you catch Sarah Palin’s crowd estimate?!
    The teaparty needs an election cycle burnout which they might actually be headed for if the dems play it right. Who the hell knows if the dems will.
    AND the repub party needs to rethink its court-the-base strategy.
    As long as they think that bad policy wins elections, as long as they depend on overheated rhetoric, as long as the very wealthy among us fear the loss of any money at all, there will be room for this crazy nation-destroying strategy.
    In other words, for as long as Newt is the idea man of the pub party, the teapeople will continue to be courted.
    There’s a puritanical strain, a biblical-literal strain, a fiscally ignorant strain, and a lot of people with too much time on their hands — all coming together to make for bad policy suggestions.
    The other issue here is likely quiet racism. Meaning that the teaparty will go away about the time that Obama isn’t pres anymore and we go back to the white guy status quo ante. That should comfort a lot of the uncomfortable among us. The sense of foreignness, of loss of country will go away. The white guy loss of status and the blue collar-made-enough-money issues will not go away, however. So that might feed a teaparty sensibility even without Obama’s being on the scene.

    Reply

  76. questions says:

    Ok,
    Add up all the costs to keep me alive from now til my death at age whatever.
    Put in some cancer, heart disease, and stroke treatment (they’re all floating around my genes), add in food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, transit, utilities….
    That’s my UNFUNDED LIABILITY.
    I had damned well fucking better pay it off now or my psyche is going to split apart and part of me will scream and scream until I’ve paid off my unfunded liability to myself for my future existence.
    Give me a break!
    Unfunded liabilities are simply assumptions about future income. If we work on a cash only basis, we actually will have to commit suicide at this moment, in the present, right now as we never know for sure if there will be future funding to cover the unfunded liabilities.
    OR, we can do what we always do. ASSUME we’re a)going to be alive and b)going to earn enough to cover the future and c)buy insurance against risk so that the risk is shared across broad populations some of whom will need the support and some of whom won’t.
    Teapartynomics is ill-informed.
    As is, by the way, the “balanced budget” concern.

    Reply

  77. drew says:

    When the $130 trillion of unfunded USG liabilities goes away, so
    will the Tea Party. It either finds expression in the Republican
    Party, or it creates a third party. Frum’s error would be that
    because he doesn’t care about $130 trillion of unfunded USG
    liabilities, other people should not.
    ***
    That picture is as misleading as this posting is confused.
    See? I just characterized something without evidence.
    Annoying, isn’t it. This pretty much sums up the intelligentsia’s
    response to Beck’s revival. Kathleen Parker also checked her
    brain at the door on this subject, yesterday in the Post.
    Somebody needs to do something — and fast — about all these
    stirred-up clingers reading Hayek and the New Testament, and
    admitting it in public.
    Most Republicans bend libertarian, and neocon Republicans
    launched wars in defense of human rights, so I don’t find it odd
    at all that someone like Olson has an expansive view of the
    individual’s right to define his own relationships.

    Reply

  78. Franklin says:

    I am skeptical that the Tea Party movement is growing. The 9-12 rally last year had about 70-80K. The celebration of Golden Glenn was about 100K. Both turnouts are pretty respectable in terms of numbers for a DC protest, but the trend line isn’t particularly robust. Given the free media and the amount of money poured into publicizing the events too, those numbers are what they are.
    I don’t see the TP tent growing either — the demographic trend lines are what they are, and much of the rise of the TP seems to be grounded in a reaction AGAINST trend lines rather than a movement pointing towards the future. You can only sustain a backlash for so long — even with an endless supply of money for PR and organizing from benefactors.
    I agree that it is a bit of a surprise that the GOP hasn’t moderated itself more — especially after the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. On the other hand, as others have pointed out, as the GOP has shrunk in size it has been reduced to its most radical and uncompromising elements. It’ll be interesting to see if 2010 is a kind of last hurrah for the Reagan-Bush eras of conservatism, or if there is actually sufficient space for growth.

    Reply

  79. questions says:

    Think about it this way — the dems had to give up on the gun issue (think Obama’s “Yup, I looked at the 2nd Amendment, talked to L. Tribe, and indeedy I found an individual right to GUNS”). There’s no way to get between a gun and a gun lover, between the NRA and the gun dealers, between paranoia and rationality. So the guns are here to stay. The dems moved towards the center, and even reasonable urban controls on guns are going to go away.
    The Repubs also have to move to the center, and the gay issue is a pretty easy one to give up on. They can push the love the sinner hate the sin/redemption line, they can push the truly conservative line regarding marriage, and the right will just let it happen. If the tv dudes don’t push the issue, it goes away.
    So both parties move towards the center even as they attempt to court the base. This double dance is pretty important, and it’s post-Newtian, revelatory, and back to basics all at once.
    Each party has to find ways to go left and right simultaneously and so we’re in a season of double-speaking all over the place.
    Witness the TPM stories about candidates who both trash health care reform and gov’t spending AND take the money and run. There’s the left/right thing.
    Witness the keeping on of Alan Simpson — there’s some overton window moving (or preserving??) — he’s so insane that he makes the alteration of SoSec look like it ain’t going anywhere. And opposition to him might take up some political energy on the left, while his mouth might make some people in the center and right feel like at least the commission is getting the full story on SoSec, even if Simpson is basically wrong about everything.
    ***********
    As for the status of the Tea Party, I think it’s probably a good idea to get far more specific. At this point there are numerous candidates who use the banner and so their particular sets of policies should be examined.
    Sharron Angle, as one example, is a Tea Party candidate and she’s against black football jerseys, she thinks the govt violates the First COMMANDMENT.
    We could ask Rand Paul and Joe Miller what their views are regarding black football jerseys.
    We should get explicit statements from these people on what gov’t programs they’d for real try to cut, what the economic effects of those cuts would be, how those cuts would affect tea party sympathizers. Make it into an easy to read chart, and get the chart to go viral.
    Use public statements, CBO predictions, reasonable analysis. See if there’s anything worth preserving in the general tea outlook, and see what’s way beyond sane. Probably there’s something as there often is. I’m starting to think that the mortgage interest deduction is a weak policy, so if they are against that, I might support them on the issue.
    At any rate, a chart with very clear data presented in easy to read fashion would be worth the effort.

    Reply

  80. nadine says:

    Don, there is nothing vague or confused about the Tea Party’s desire to retain what remains of a free-market system, reimpose some Constitutional constraints on the Federal government’s power grabs, and restore some fiscal sanity to DC before we go the way of Greece. Unlike Beck, who is tacking off in his own direction, the Tea Party as a whole sticks to mostly economic and legal issues.
    Whose reports did you listen to, Daily Kos? Even NPR has been giving the Tea Party a fairer shake than that.

    Reply

  81. Don Bacon says:

    The symbolism of the little US flag(s) and the large confederate flag with ‘Bring Back We The People’ on it is interesting. Talk about a mixed, confused message.
    I attended a bluegrass concert event in Virginia recently and noticing a vendor selling lots of confederate-adorned hats and shirts, which was new to me, I approached the vendor in a slack moment and asked her why so many people bought confederate stuff.
    She first gave me the southern pride talk and then as she warmed to the subject her eyes narrowed and she got into bigotry big-time. This included a comparison of city blacks (bad) and country blacks (good), and warnings about Muslims (this being a Christian country, they’d better watch out).
    I don’t take this one encounter as definitive, and it would be interesting to know why people who supposedly promote patriotism also display the confederate flag. I suppose that for many (unlike the vendor) it has an anti-federal, pro-state meaning, but who knows.
    The interviews with tea-partiers that I’ve seen and read mostly show confused people with vague feelings, not clinging to guns and religion but simply to simple negativity and that strange mixture of patriotism and rebellion.

    Reply

  82. nadine says:

    “The particular picture above is from a November 23, 2009 Glenn Beck led march on Washington and is consistent with my broader point.”
    Your broader point that Tea Partiers are a bunch of racists? It would be a stronger point if you could find a bit more evidence for it, beyond the undeniable (& apparently culpable) whiteness of most of the Tea Partiers.
    To think that one of the subthemes of the Obama campaign was that voting for Obama would prove that America was no longer racist. Only if we march in lockstep with him forever, apparently.
    Well, sorry, Obama does not have a right to call a halt to American politics because he’s in office, though the way the elections are looking for the Democrats (Chris Cook used the word “grisly” in his last report), I’m sure he’d like to. Never has a President destroyed his party so fast.

    Reply

  83. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks as always for your civility Nadine. You are wrong. Many who went to the Mall did carry signs, some were Confederate symbols and some were innocuous, even endearing tributes to the country. Many wore American flags and were there to show their patriotism. But yes, there were signes.
    The particular picture above is from a November 23, 2009 Glenn Beck led march on Washington and is consistent with my broader point.
    All best — steve clemons

    Reply

  84. Don Bacon says:

    Regarding the Repub effort to buck the religious right, good luck on that (the Bible told me so).

    Reply

  85. Steve Clemons says:

    David — you are correct. Thanks much for this.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  86. David Billington says:

    Steve – I should have added that given Mark Gerson’s standing with
    many conservatives his attendance is certainly impressive.
    Do you know where Mr. Beck stands on gay marriage? There have
    been reports that he does not oppose it.

    Reply

  87. Don Bacon says:

    Regarding the narrower subject of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which challenges a California ballot referendum outlawing gay marriage, the problem is that the government, any government, has no business meddling in human relationships by licensing them, and certainly has no right to outlaw them. Also our fellow citizens have no such right.
    We’ve been through this before with miscegenation. Mildred Loving died a couple of years ago.
    from the ACLU, 2008: Fifty years after Richard and Mildred Loving were married and forty-one years after the Supreme Court struck down the Virginia law that criminalized their union, Mrs. Loving has died.
    Mildred was not an activist, nor even a particularly outspoken supporter of the civil rights movement, but she did something indisputably heroic: She stood up to Virginia and an entire region of this country permeated by racism and demanded her right to marry the person she loved. Richard was white and Mildred was black. They wed legally out of state, but violated Virginia

    Reply

  88. nadine says:

    “His primary point is the Democratic Party used to champion the poor, the working class, but over the past several decades has changed into a party that virtually insults working class whites who live in the country. Obama’s comments would be taken as an patronizing insult by many. But the Republican Party has listened to these folks, made them their friends, and guess what, they now reliably vote Republican.” (Bob Morris)
    I agree about the elitist nature of the current crop of Democrats. But it’s unclear that the Republicans have done much better. The Tea Partiers are very angry at the Republicans for screwing up and putting us in the hands of these fools, and very worried that the Beltway Republicans will have learned nothing if simply returned to power. As you can see by the number of Republican primary upsets this year, (cf. Miller vs. Murkowsky in Alaska), the Tea Partiers are just as engaged about changing the Republican Party as voting out the Democratic Party.

    Reply

  89. nadine says:

    There were no signs and no politics at the Glenn Beck rally, so showing a picture of a sign with a Confederate flag and implying that it was part of the Beck rally is pretty sleazy, Steve Clemons.
    “I hope that David Frum is right and that the Tea Party movement, which is growing in numbers and ferocity, will hit its limit, experience an Icarus moment, and plunge back into the fringe of American politics where pugnacious, jingoistic, narrow band nationalism has always lurked.”
    Keep on not getting what the Tea Party is about. You elitist goo-goos have woken a sleeping giant, and it’s nothing to do with “jingoistic, narrow band nationalism”. It’s about recovering a government that has the consent of the government.

    Reply

  90. David Billington says:

    Steve,
    May I ask why the surprise over Mark Gerson? I believe he is the
    chairman of Gerson Lehrman Group in New York. Maybe you were
    thinking of Michael Gerson, the former speechwriter to President
    Bush.

    Reply

  91. Bob Morris says:

    As one who help organize multiple large anti Iraq War protests, including some in DC, I disagree that the Beck rally was massive. One reliable outside source had it at 87,000. There were several antiwar protests in DC that were much larger than that.
    As for favoring guns and religion, Joe Bageant, a leftist journalist who grew up redneck responded, yes we do, and your point is?
    He wrote ‘Deer Hunting With Jesus’ about the town he grew up in. His primary point is the Democratic Party used to champion the poor, the working class, but over the past several decades has changed into a party that virtually insults working class whites who live in the country. Obama’s comments would be taken as an patronizing insult by many. But the Republican Party has listened to these folks, made them their friends, and guess what, they now reliably vote Republican.
    Bageant sees this as a huge blown opportunity for the left. So do I.

    Reply

  92. davidt says:

    Steve.
    Thanks for the info and the invite.
    Two questions.
    What do the points you make and the invitation have with
    one another? In what small town in the Midwest is this
    fundraiser? And in fact as the Koch New Yorker profile
    pointed out the Koch brothers are both big supporters of the
    tea parties and one of them is a big supporter of gay rights.
    So where’s the issue? Wasn’t the conservative’s favorite vice
    president the father of a lesbian?
    The Tea Party may die out but the elements at its core, which
    are a general distrust of government and opposition to taxes
    are the driving force behind your friend Grover Norquist’s
    efforts. Its hard to see how that will fade away so long as
    he’s around and doing whatever he can (and his fellow anti-
    government types like “The Club for Growth” and the like) to
    point out that “government is the problem” and any dime
    spent on it is a dime down the drain.
    Secondly you draw a parallel between the Tea Party
    movement and the “Obama movement” in suggesting they
    will both fade away. What “Obama movement” are you
    talking about? If a tea party movement person is anti-
    government and anti-tax (and pro getting social security),
    then what would an Obama “movement” person care about?
    Isn’t that your and so many people’s rap on the president’s
    chief of staff, that he’s too willing to cut deals and split the
    difference (as is the president)? Isn’t part of this president’s
    midterm challenge that he is not really a “movement” type of
    politician which can help him thread the legislative needle
    but can also be challenging when he needs to gin up the
    “base”?
    Fondly,
    DavidT

    Reply

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