Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Mid Term Peri Mortem: Open Thread

Well, was it a ripple, wave or Tsunami? My take from across this troubled pond is somewhere in between. Or, as Shaun Appleby put it, a mudslide rather than a landslide. (Though a mudslide, even if shortlived, can be pretty damn scary, as this video from Afghanistan shows)

The Republicans win control of the House, but the Democrats keep the Senate. Hey, it’s not good. But not as bad as 1994 when Clinton lost both.

How do you think this will pan out? And who should we blame the most?

As expected, I’m reading on some liberal blogs that Dems lost because they didn’t go for a public option on HCR.

This contradicts every bit of polling coming out of the mid terms, where it seems Dems were punished for paying excessive attention to HCR rather than the economy was the problem. The public option wouldn’t have made HCR less time consuming or easier to pass.

Personally, I blame both sides. The Dems got waylaid by fights over HCR and the public option. They were punished, as most parties are, for in-fighting. Here’s some of my thoughts on another Obama bashing diary on Dkos.

I doubt lefty bloggers demoralised too many people, but even on British TV the talk was about the demoralisation and dissent in the liberal wing of the party – Obama’s left flank crumbling, all that….

Seriously, infighting, meta procedural wrangles, division, bickering – that does put voters off as we in the Labour party discovered for 19 years during the Thatcher/Major reign.

Both sides of the debate should come to some kind of political compromise in the next two years, or you really will be screwed.

Obama expended a lot of capital to get HCR passed in some form. Though it is of partial benefit to most people (and a PO even more benefit IMHO) that’s not how this was perceived in a time of national economic crisis.

…yes, the elected politicians are primarily responsible. But don’t forget who elected them: registered democrats as a whole.

You can’t keep playing the blame game, and shuffle off responsibility all the time. Everyone should reflect and think how they could have done better to get across a coherent message and hammer out a JOINT policy you can rally round.

That’s everyone by the way, just in case you missed it. Every democratic activist has somehow failed.

But what do I know?

So that’s my CSI like report on this bloody scene. The Democrats were battered, mainly because they were in power in hard times (but not ‘end times’ please Sarah). They were further punched and kicked, not because they were hippies, or corporate blue dog plutocrats, because they spent too much time navel gazing and duffing each other up.  


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  1. Strummerson

    is to figure out a way to deal with the new reality of Citizens United corporate freedom to dump their money wherever and whenever they see fit, mostly under the direction of Rove and Armey and the Koch cartel.

    Realistically, we’re absolutely not going to succeed in out-pacing them in funds.  But we are going to need to raise and commit more than we have.  It’s unfortunate that in this economy, the sector that will grow fastest will be election consultants and advertising.  Not exactly an effective way to re-structure a national economy in a global environment.  These firms are not going to bring unemployment down in MI.  But it is what it is.  We need to look for ways to spend more effectively than them.  The outlook is gloomy.  But unless SCOTUS reverses that decision, we need to look for ways to succeed in a game now fixed in favor of a politically savvy and engaged corporate plutocracy that couldn’t give a fuck about main street or preserving our “freedom.”

  2. Jjc2008

    to BUY the win.  The corporatists provided the money, and then co-opted the crazies of the Tea Party to help themselves.

    I have no kind words, no words of compromise.

    I believe this will be the beginning of a dark, dark time for this country.   The amount of poor, unemployed white folks who worked for these crazies and against their own interests astounds me.  

    I knew my county would go right.  No surprise there. But the fact that people like Bachman get elected and re elected and Feingold loses truly frightens me.

  3. jsfox

    at least of over at Kos are in circular firing squad mode screaming about who’s is at fault. No one is stopping to think about what’s the solution and what the voters actually said as opposed to what the Republicans think they said.

    The Dems are always going to have a messaging problem until they can figure out a way to take a complex message and dumb it down to the anti-thesis of:

    Government is not the solution it is the problem, Government is too big and cut taxes.

    The Dems problem was  forgetting the the basic truth that any one who deals bring innovative thinking and introducing course change into organizations knows. When you first arrive everybody is clamoring for change until you actually start doing it. The immediate response is what you meant it!? Stop we didn’t mean for you to actually do it.  

  4. Rashaverak

    I read your back-and-forth in comments over at DKos and you have my sympathies.

    I think that there were multiple causes for the results last night.  First and foremost is the state of the economy.  People are scared and angry.  Some are desperate.  It is unrealistic to expect improvements virtually overnight, but don’t preach patience to people who are a few months away from losing their homes.

    The White House and the Dems in Congress made a decision to go for health insurance reform because they saw that as a key to helping the economy and the ability of employers to attract people with decent benefits.  However, the process took much too much time, and the Republicans dragged it out in a cynical game.  By the time that the bill passed, so much disinformation had been passed, and the bill had been so watered down and the benefits so strung out over time that many people did not see it as any real accomplishment.

    It is possible that Barack Obama would not have been elected had the economy not tanked in 2008, and he certainly is not responsible for its tanking, but people are now blaming him for not restoring prosperity or at least getting things headed in the right direction.  Yes, the free fall has been averted, but it looks like the recovery is going to be painfully slow.

    In some respects, the President is the victim of unrealistic expectations, but he probably could have done a better job of letting people know that winning the election was only the start of the process.  Regular outreach with clear and pointed messages about here is what needs to be done and here is how the Republicans are standing in the way might have helped.  In other words, he probably should have stayed more in campaign mode to keep the pressure on and to avoid the bleeding away of enthusiasm and political capital.  He and the Dems should also have strongly contested the Teabaggers’ outbursts during the Town Hall meetings of August 2009.

    The President got back into campaign mode in the last month or so, but by then, peoples’ attitudes were largely fixed.

    Perhaps he felt that he simply could not afford to campaign continuously and that he had to focus on the business of governing.  I can sympathize if that is what he felt, but that attitude may be unrealistic in this day of cable news and the 24/7 spin cycle, and in light of the obvious disinterest on the part of Republicans, at least to date, to contribute to solving the problems that we face.

    To an extent, the Republicans’ strategy has succeeded.  But the onus is now on them to come up with solutions and to work with the President and the Democrats in the Senate.  Otherwise, they might not be able to fool people the next time.  It’s hard to complain that things are not getting better if you are in a position of authority.

    One of the big questions now is whether the Teabag freshmen will work with the R. leadership and hold their noses to do things like increasing the ceiling on the national debt, or whether civil war will break out within Republican ranks.

  5. HappyinVT

    There’s enough to go around:

    ~ Dems for pushing healthcare (with or without the PO) without making the economic case more clearly

    ~ Dems for not touting the success of holding the economic disaster at some kind of minimum; how much worse would it have been if we hadn’t saved the auto industry or had TARP repaid with interest…

    ~ Dems for not vociferously reminding folks that the Republicans have offered not one new idea to fix the messes they created

    ~ Reps for lying about tax increases and death panels and stirring up fear of the president and his agenda

    ~ The media for not doing its job

    ~ People in general for either allowing themselves to be duped or overlooking the evidence in front of them

    Having said all that, it could have been worse; we could be staring at Majority Leader McConnell.


    I’m going to look at how we did getting the Democrats out to vote in my county, where we did well and where we need improvement.  Then, in the next election, we’ll contribute even more to keeping CO blue.

  7. Unemployment is too high. The Dems lost the messaging game. The Right went crazy. The Left spent two years sniping at each other…

    I could come up with another dozen reasons, but they don’t mean a whole hell of a lot. There’s really a very simple way to look at the losses. It’s an off-year election. The out party almost always makes gains during these elections. Add in a bad economy and they make some more. Even with that in the mix, the Dems still hold the Senate and the WH. Now, we move forward. Plain and simple.

  8. sricki

    From my father — minus the colorful (and unflattering) pics of Dems — just now in email:

    Whoo Hoo!  GOP now controls all 3 branches in Alabama.  GOP now controls US House.  So long botox faced Speaker Pelosi!  

    So long democommunist nutjob Alan Grayson of Fla. !

    All looks good except on the democomunist controlled east and west coasts.  Good God, California fruits vote Jerry “Gov. Moonbeam” governor again!!!

    And how about Barbara “General, I worked too hard to become a senator for you to call me mam” Boxer.

    The only people approaching Cals level of impaired judgment hail from New York. I must say though, Paladino v Cuomo proves the reps and democoms in NY are both impaired.

    I guess Nevada falls in the judgment impaired group too, having re-elected “Dingy Harry” Reed.

    How about Ron Paul’s son, Rand, winning in Kentucky?

    At least he isn’t whiney like his father.

    The electorate in the rational parts of the country clearly rejected Obama’s socio-fascist policies and governance against the will of the people.

    I know I should be “above” it, but I really hate the gloating.

  9. spacemanspiff

    I just went over to Kos and saw the Wreck List. I just read the authors (Cenk, eve, Bob) and knew what it was about. So what’s the point? By the number of comments I can tell some major flame wars are going on. Dems lost. It happens. This is why we have a 2 party systems and elections. All the whining and pouting is really pathetic. If you want to see why we lost some seats. Look no further than this attitude of bitching everytime things don’t go our way. The constant infighting over important and mostly not so important issues hurts a lot more than it helps.

  10. DeniseVelez

    you engaged in GoS dueling.

    Tsk tsk.

    Decided to look at POTUS press conf in slim’s diary and see what all the fuss was about.


  11. HappyinVT

    Some nice sanity over yonder.  Reid won 90% of the Hispanic vote in NV; it was largely the Blue Dogs who got their asses kicked (half their membership is gone) while the PCCC lost just 2 or 3 members (not to make light of their loss but the percentages are interesting); and most of those Dems who voted against HCR are gone (12 out of 39 are left) ~ doesn’t seem like that vote was all that helpful.

    The biggest loss to me is the House in general not the individual Reps for the most part.  And maybe, just maybe, the apparent inability of the Senate to pass House bills may be a good thing.  😛

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