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  • Lance Mannion
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Very good post, Lance.

I might quibble a bit about how much the Palinistas, the Rush Bunch, the Beck Dreck, etc., are driven by self-loathing. There is no way for me to be sure about this, of course, but my sense (e.g., from videos like the one TBogg posted and from reading the wingnutosphere on a regular basis) is that the sort of people who show up at Lawn Chair Rallies and Palin book signings are pretty smug and self-righteous. Some of them might feel inferior in the eyes of their God, granted, and most seem to resent all those coastal elites and liberal academics and such, but I do not get the sense that they are down on themselves about this. They truly do not believe that being better educated or more worldly counts as anything but a negative. They believe they alone possess Common Sense™ and Small Town/Christian Values™ and that these are always superior, and the only reason they're not completely in charge is because of [fill in list of scapegoats here].


I think those attitudes are two sides of the same coin, Bjkeefe. Either way, these people have the sense that the world doesn't take them seriously, heck, doesn't even care enough to dislike them, and there are two ways out of that which don't involve changing oneself to fit the world's expectations. One is to agree with the world's assessment, and to indulge in self-pity; the other is to lash out and declare the world to be the problem. Self-loathing directed outwardly looks a lot like smugness and superiority, because the message of both is that one is important and matters, even if the world is too blind to see it.

Lance, I think that your point about the Democrats failing to understand that they need emotional connections with voters is spot on. I think that that seeming aloofness is what makes them vulnerable to cries of "elistism!" - it's that impression of wafting along, of sitting in the political equivalent of the marble tower, insulated from ordinary concerns while thinking Serious Thoughts. (No coincidence that so many of the punditry are guilty of the same problem.) It makes me wonder if the true political legacy of Reagan and Clinton (and, for some, Bush) was not their policies, but their humanity, their willingness to reach out and act as if they "felt our pain." (Setting aside for the moment whose pain they were willing to feel, and how authentically they felt it.)

That's how Obama got into office - through an emotional call to "hope" - and it's devastating that he's now so cold to the people who got swept up in the excitement of it all. In some ways, it's worse than having been aloof from the start; now, in addition to feeling unheard and uncared for, people are feeling like they were tricked by a bully who made them feel like part of the popular crowd, but who, it now seems, was really just stringing them along for his own benefit and the amusement of his friends.


Interesting post. I don't however buy the argument that people are turned off to the Democrats because they don't feel that they care about them. That certainly isn't my reason. I'm turned off because they are now a right-wing party and they pursue only right-wing interests. Their policies directly damage my self-interest and make things harder for me. I couldn't care less about "emotional connections." I want health care, I want major cuts to the defense budgets, I want people who voted for the Iraq war, such as Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, prosecuted and put into prison where they can't murder any more people. The last thing in the world I want to hear is about "hope" and "change." I have plenty of hope, and the world is always changing. I'm just looking for concrete policies, and it's clear that the Democratic party is never going to give me them. The argument that the Repubs are worse is meaningless, and doesn't hold water anymore. Today's Demos are just as right-wing, and even more corporate.

"His name is Alan Simpson. He’s co-chair of the President’s own deficit commission.

In the last week and a half he’s made it clear how much worse he’d like to see things get.

Did he get fired?

Did the President tell him off?

Did the President say anything?"

You're missing the major point here. Obama _appointed_ him. He's doing exactly what Obama wants him to do, and what Obama is directing him to do. Because, like I say, Obama is a Democrat and pursues right-wing, corporate policies that favor the fat cats.

As a longtime progressive who has never voted for a Repub in his life, and tries not to even speak to him, I'll be delighted to see the Democrats lose in November. I hope they get slaughtered, and that in fact it will be the end of them as a mainstream political party. If the choice in 2012 is between Hillary and Palin (Obama is clearly no longer in the runninng) I think I might even vote for Palin. She's a right-wing loonie, but compared to a warmonger like Hillary she's practically Nader.


Thank you for your comments about Simpson. I don't understand why this hasn't become a huge issue and at the risk of sounding like a hated progressive, I don't understand why Obama isn't dealing with Simpson by removing him.
I've never seen a time when it was so perfectly ok to publicly go after the most vulnerable sections of the population, or break social contracts the way it's happening today, or do these things in a way that comes across so completely mean-spirited and angry, like it's a soldier's or senior's fault for getting sick or counting on a promised income. The whole 'how dare these people' attitude needs to be pointed out for what it is, a despicable pattern of behavior that is in no way honorable or acceptable.
Shame on all of them, the ones who throw the bombs and the ones who ignore the throwers.


I take your "two sides of the same coin" point, Rana. As I said earlier, I don't have any evidence-based way to back up my view of the teabagger-type people feeling only smug and superior (and unduly put-upon by "elites" who have no business speaking their minds, let alone legitimacy to govern). It's just my sense of the wingnut mindset, based upon the better part of a decade of tracking it through the blogosphere and occasional, and longer, exposure to hate radio and FoxNews. You could be right, but I just don't get the sense of self-loathing. Maybe I'm too obtuse.

Secondly, I don't know how much I agree with your point about the Dems and emotional connections. Certainly, I think you're right about how Obama was able to connect during his campaign, and certainly I agree that it's quite sad that he seems to have shied away from speaking inspirationally.

On the other hand, two things. First, it is cloying as all hell to me when a politician tries to play the Jes' Folks act. I don't like the phoniness, and in fact, I want my political leaders to convey a sense that they're better than me. (Even as I grant most of them aren't.) Second, I think there are any number of Dems who are good at connecting with people on emotional levels, and I think it's a bit of a canard, or at least an over-generalization, to suggest that this is a problem for all of them, just because it is the CW on the Sunday yakfests and the WaPo and WSJ op-ed pages.


Deal breakers for me, in no particular order:

Obama puts Larry Summers in charge of the economy.
Obama reappoints Ben Bernanke.
Obama says Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are "savvy businessmen."
Obama puts health care in the hands of Max Baucus; health care reform becomes nothing of the sort and in any case doesn't kick in for four years when the crisis is now.
Obama gets squishy on DADT.
Obama appoints Alan Simpson to the Catfood Commission and then leaves him there after he mouths off. Repeatedly.
Obama says no one can deny that George W. Bush supported our troops.
Bobby Gibbs says that people like me need to be drug tested.

Ralph Nader was wrong in 2000 when he said there was no meaningful difference between the Democratic Party and the GOP. Ten years later he has been proven right, in very large part because he was an obtuse ass in 2000. But, alas, he is correct now. Barack Obama had the opportunity to be exactly what we needed after a very long and very real nightmare. Instead he opted for marginality and incrementalism and reflexive bipartisanship with a party that will always and forever hate him. He has led us precisely nowhere. What comes next will likely be worse than I can imagine, and I have been politically aware since about 1965. But Barack Obama will not be missed by me, even as we sink into the mire of failed empire.

@KLG: I won't try to dispute your points of pique right now, but I will ask: When it finally comes down it, do you really think it's responsible to choose the worse of two evils?

Try to imagine how less bad things would have been had Al Gore had won Florida in 2000. Now consider that in light of the current stars of the GOP and the Teabaggers, about three hundred and ninety-seven of whom make George W. Bush and Dick Cheney look like Rhodes Scholars and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

On a related note, and getting back to our pride-in-stupidity discussion: We should start a pool to predict which wingnut bloggers come stridently out in defense of Jan Brewer's opening statement. (Libtard snark collected here, for your enjoyment.)

My money is on Erick Erickson, for one. I'm also going to bet that there will eventually develop a meme in the wingnutosphere about how THIS PROVES LIBERALS ARE THE REAL ANTI-FEMINISTS!!!1! And in that light, I'll take Althouse for another bet.

Ugh. Looks like the Blogger team has some more work to do on their OpenID module.

Leslie B

If the true progressives can manage to attract the political clout they would need to actually change policies in America, I'll vote with 'em. Until that time, I'm not throwing my vote away. America won't re-invent itself overnight on wishful thinking and pouting. And, OK, I'll blame those high-minded progressives for Gore's defeat. We don't have a crystal ball, but I can't help thinking that we'd be in a better place.

As for Palin:

SARAH PALIN: Moms kind of just know when something's wrong. There in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. If you thought pit bulls were tough, well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies.
Read more:

...and then not long after she said this, a mama grizzley with three cubs (average litters are two cubs) attacked campers in Yellowstone for the purpose of feeding those hungry cubs (on camper meat)-- a more fitting analogy could not have been devised by her staunchest detractors, of which I am one. She may have her pit bulls and her mama grizzlies, but when I hear the depth of her deeply flawed rhetoric, and the misguided, desperate people who flock to her, I go completely rabid dog.

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