Monday, February 27, 2012

The Choice Is Yours

I want to post one more excerpt from Jonathan Chait's impressive piece in New York Magazine on the "GOPacalypse" -- what 2012 means to the Republican party in its current incarnation and why the right is casting the coming election in such stark, portentous terms.

I'm not sure it's ever been laid out more clearly just what's at stake this coming November.

"The Republicans have gained the House and stand poised to win control of the Senate. If they can claw out a presidential win and hold on to Congress, they will have a glorious two-year window to restore the America they knew and loved, to lock in transformational change, or at least to wrench the status quo so far rightward that it will take Democrats a generation to wrench it back. The cost of any foregone legislative compromises on health care or the deficit would be trivial compared to the enormous gains available to a party in control of all three federal branches.

On the other hand, if they lose their bid to unseat Obama, they will have mortgaged their future for nothing at all. And over the last several months, it has appeared increasingly likely that the party’s great all-or-nothing bet may land, ultimately, on nothing. In which case, the Republicans will have turned an unfavorable outlook into a truly bleak one in a fit of panic. The deepest effect of Obama’s election upon the Republicans’ psyche has been to make them truly fear, for the first time since before Ronald Reagan, that the future is against them."

So that's it. That's why your vote is so important. Why you can't sit this one out just because the current president hasn't given you everything you wanted. I talk a lot about the acceptance of political reality and get a lot of push-back for doing so, but a fact is a fact; you can try to avoid it all you want, but the bottom line is always what things really come down to. And the bottom line in this case is that if you don't have Barack Obama in office, flawed though he may be at times, you will have Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich. Complain all you want, but those are your only choices for who will run the country next -- for who will, as Chait explains, likely set the tone for years to come.

Barack Obama will be President of the United States in January of 2013 -- or one of the current Republican candidates will, and he will be someone who's already professed or at least pandered to the panicked notion that we need to save America by restoring the proud traditions of a past that's no longer a viable option for us nor should it be.

That is your choice. And it's no choice at all.


DragonIV said...

Chait (or his editor) missed this gem: "party in control of all three federal branches."

Um, no. Congress is but one branch, the President is one, and the judiciary (not being referred to here) is the third.

CNNfan said...

Oh... I found a future
Mrs Pazienza for you better than Kate

Just Joking.

TheReaperD said...

@DragonIV: He's correct. The Republicans also hold the majority of the Supreme Court as well and the next president may get to assign one or two more seats. The Republicans want their proper white, pious country back and they're willing to do anything to get it.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans already have the Supreme Court thanks to several seats opening up during the Bush adminstration. They have half of Congress already. If they took the Senate and the Presidency, they'll have a full house.

At this point, I wonder if we wouldn't be better off with the Republicans taking it all, if only to wake people up at how broken the system is.

In the short term, of course, it would be disasterous. If you believe the rhetoric being spewed, one might think that the Republican party is poised to turn us into a Christian theocracy much like we see in the middle east with Islam.

DragonIV said...

Sorry, guys, but Chait never mentioned the Supreme Court. He was referring to winning the two bodies of legislature and the Presidency. I agree that the GOP has a majority of SCOTUS, but that's not how that statement reads, and not relevant to the point he was making.

All in all, it's a pretty decent analysis, however. Ahh, I'm going to enjoy this election season. :)

Anonymous said...

It's not that they want to return to a past that's no longer a viable option. They want to "return" to a revisionist past that never existed in the first place. It's like they want to go to an alternate reality where the Confederate forces won the Civil War. and we have a feudal system that they somehow believe they would be on top of.

ntx said...

>>At this point, I wonder if we wouldn't be better off with the Republicans taking it all, if only to wake people up at how broken the system is.<<

Anonymous, this is what's known as cutting off your nose to spite your face. The GOP is on the ropes. Chait's (and Chez's) point is that now is no time for the usual liberal masterbation. It's time to drive a stake into their hearts.

Steven D Skelton said...

There is no way I could, in good conscience, vote for a member of either major political party.

I've followed politics pretty closely since high school, and with the exception of 1994-1996ish, the whole of Washington as governed by these two parties has been nothing short of a gigantic cluster fuck.

Neither party really believes in anything other than getting to 51% in the districts, 219 house members and 50(1) senators and an electoral college win. They will slice and dice the coalitions and take positions pretty much with only that in mind.

Don't believe me? How else do you explain the 90%+ purity of both parties on issues. If one party supports it, the other party has near unanimous opposition. When the gov't was about to shut down, do you really believe there wasn't a single democrat who thought maybe the republican plan was better than a default? If you polled the hearts of the Republican's, do you really believe there isn't one of them that believes a health insurance mandate is a good idea?

These fuckers go to Washington and fall in line with whatever the leadership tells keeps the re-election coffers full.

Fuck them.

I'm a libertarian, but I would sooner vote for a Green Party candidate than a Republican/Democrat because at least that person believes in something other than just getting elected.

You can argue things will be better with Obama and others can argue they would be better with Romney....but you're painting the fenders on a car with a blown motor.

Our two party stranglehold on government must be broken and we must send to Washington individuals from parties with a philosophy of government rather than a philosophy of fundraising, demo-gouging, opponent demonization, gerrymandering and incumbent protection at all costs.

warrenbishop said...

@ntx: "It's time to drive a stake into their hearts."

I couldn't agree with you more! Sadly, this President and the Democratic party aren't sufficiently ruthless enough (or smart enough) to do that.

They should've done it in 2008. The conservative philosophy had been largely discredited, the Democrats had enormous public support, the White House, the Senate AND the House - yet they were too timid to pursue their agenda. Their timidity emboldened the Republicans, and you end up with the Tea Party and big GOP victories in 2010.

Even if Obama wins re-election, the Dems retain control of the Senate, and maybe re-take the House - they won't take full advantage of it.

They're like a team that builds up a lead, has momentum on their side, then instead of putting the opposition away, they take their foot off the gas and let the other team back in the game. They are completely lacking in killer instinct.

Chez said...

Steven, I always expect you to be the voice of opposition (to whatever really). However, there are some times when you bring at least a modicum of good sense to the table and other times, like now, when you show yourself to be embarrassingly dumb.

Steven D Skelton said...

I never have understood the point of typing "I agree..yeah" There are enough voices in the respective echo chambers

Embarrassingly dumb?

You're naive if you think these people believe in anything more than their own re-election.

Every position they take is poll tested and donor approved.

The unions own the Democrats and Chamber of Commerce own the Republicans....but they all bow down and kiss the ring of the banks.

Are you tired of war...good luck with either of these parties. The party of war (R's) want to spend 750 billion on the pentagon and the party of peace (D's) want to spend 700 billion. For damn sure neither wants to cut some useless weapon system so long as it's built in their district.

Sure, they take different positions on different issues...except the most important one.

Keep the campaign donations flowing and we'll make sure the checkbook is open for you and we'll keep the regulators away (or sick them on your enemies.)

Blind allegiance to political party is just as dumb as blind allegiance to a porta-potty. They are both full of shit.

I'll piss in the woods instead. Maybe I can convince enough to go with me to make a difference.

Chez said...

You won't be able to. And in doing so you'll be helping to sacrifice the future of this country, which is, yes, a fucking embarrassingly dumb thing to do. You have two choices at the moment and they are as I spelled out in the post. Whatever choice you make will benefit one or the other of those two parties -- even the choice to do nothing at all.

Steven D Skelton said...

I can't do it.

I've read your perspective, and I respect it.

But here's what's important for us to do as I see it.

1. Bring troops home. Not just from the war zones but from all the countries currently sponging off of us for their national defense. Defend our country and stop being the world's policeman.

2. End the war on drugs. It's created an Afghanistan across the rio grande, incarcerated millions of non-violent americans, created untold street violence through the highly profitable drug trade and wasted hundreds of billions of dollars.

3. Give our inner city children a way out of public schools and stop pissing away 12k per year per kid on unaccredited districts.

4. We need a comprehensive energy plan. Drill now so we can stop funding backwards nations that treat women and minorities horribly and try to kill us. Invest in renewable energy for the future because oil won't last forever.

5. We have to get our deficit under control before our money becomes worthless. Raise taxes...cut spending...whatever. We must protect the dollar.

So how does voting for Barack Obama advance any of those causes?

You may think these things are embarrassingly stupid, but I think the future of our country rides on this stuff.

Asking me to vote for one of the two is like consulting me on a vegan lunch menu.

Chez said...

I take it back. Please stay home on election day, Steven.

Anonymouse said...

Steven, you un-American bastard, don't you know that if one of these GOP idiots get elected over Obama, that dogs will fuck cats, blood will rain from the sky, and there will be no stopping of massive social change and injustice (somehow the bureaucratic inertia will magically disappear) that the GOP wants to wreck upon us all.

Think of a world where there will be secret assassination of US citizens without any proper oversight...or a situation where the US surrounds Iran with over 350 military installations within striking distance and we claim they are saber rattling in an attempt to launch another war...or we would have nothing in the way of a national policy on Energy or education or the environment...or no attempt to address the growing divide between the rich and poor, along with a massive trade imbalance...or a world where more and more kids graduate with massive amounts of debt to gain degrees for jobs that have long been exported overseas.

That is what you are going to get if you don't vote and the GOP gets the presidency...

Chez said...

I swear, it's like talking to fucking 7th graders.

Marc McKenzie said...


Nah, Chez....7th graders are smarter than some of these chaps.

Just saying...

Chez said...

If you can't see the very serious difference between Barack Obama and the current representatives of the Republican party, then you're a moron. If you're arguing just to hear yourself talk, then you're an asshole. Either way, your opinions on this subject are pretty much worthless.

Steven D Skelton said...

Of course there is a difference between the two....but neither one will end the war on drugs, close our overseas bases or enact a coherent energy policy that deals both with the near and long term energy and security needs of our country.

And sure as fuck neither of them is going to be responsible with the budget.

Sure, these aren't the only important issues we're dealing with..but they are the most important.

Chez said...

No, Skelton, they're not. Not necessarily. They're apparently the most important to you, and that's fine as long as you plan to vote for Ron Paul. And I highly suggest that you do. At least I'll know that your say in the matter has gone safely where votes go to die.

Ref said...

The choice between the GOP and the Dems, to many of us, is like (paraphrasing David Sedaris) a choice between a somewhat dry bologna/cheese sandwich and a plate of feces studded with broken glass. I've eaten worse things than bologna, but not by choice...

Steven D Skelton said...

I'm going Gary Johnson, same result though.

But you never needed to worry about me voting for Romney or Santorum. I'd rather see Obama re-elected.

Chez said...

Congrats. It'll be you and Greenwald (provided he can get his absentee ballot sent from Rio in time).

Anonymouse said...

Chez, I'm just razzing you but I got to ask, what make think if the worse possible president gets elected, say Michelle Bachmann, what do you think the end result would be? I honestly don't feel there would be much of a difference in the long term effects of a shitty president than even the best president ever elected. I don't necessarily agree with Steven that all the presidential candidates are the same. I personally agree with most of our current president's position on things. But he has been hamstring from doing a lot of what he wanted by the institutional inertia from the office. That same inertia is always going to be there. President Santorum (god that makes me sick to say) could no more bring back sodomy laws than President Paul closing down every Federal agency or President Obama shutting down Gitmo. For better or worse, our government is design to barely function.

Mart said...

I agree with a lot of the can't trust either party with a military budget or to punish a criminal banker. But I do know that Obama has signed a decent stimulus bill, bailed out the auto companies, is taken baby steps to reign in the military budget and passed a bill that has already had a positive impact on my families health insurance coverage - and the good parts ain't in place yet.

I know the other guys all condemn every one of these very moderate and sensible bills as the end of America as we know it. They want to stop and dismantle all these forward steps. (Never mind their mind bending stances on social issues.)

If Obama could restore the Clinton tax rates, plow more federal money into shovel ready, teacher, police and fireman jobs, cut $600 billion from the security budget and pass medicaid for everybody he would be my Hero.

Since pigs don't fly that ain't gonna happen, I will have to settle for him being my President not my Hero. There is no choice.

Busayo said...

This is why I despair over the voters in your country. Regardless of who wins the GOP nomination, it should be a no-brainer as to who wins in November.

And yet, and yet, and yet.

Ref said...

Please let me clarify the comment above. It's the REPULICANS who are the "plate of feces studded with broken glass."