Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

One Year On: The Hangover – Open Thread

A wake up call from this side of the Atlantic.

I’ve noticed after last night’s results that many of you are feeling despairing about your country, and even contemplating giving up political blogging because of the distress of it. I’ve one word of advice…


Hold on. Buckle up, and keep going. It was always going to be a bumpy ride.

Of course the media narrative was just ready for this part of the story. It’s the headline in this morning’s Guardian: Obama Reeling After Senate Defeat.

Reeling? It’s certainly a shock to those who didn’t see it coming. Whether it’s the problems with Obamacare or the normal US desire to see different parties in the White Office and Congress, I’ll leave cephologists to divine. My expertise is in drama and story telling (including the slow unfolding of political narratives) and one thing I can tell you: the media will soon get bored of this phase of the story – Obama failing – and then move on to both inspect the opposition more thoroughly, and look for signs of the inevitable next move; the bounceback.

In narrative timing, this is like Texas during the primaries. Better to have flush of success, setback and then bounceback in this order.

Of course this a slightly superficial take – but you lot are much better at giving me the ins and outs of the American psyche, US politicians and as King Lear said “the pacts and sects of great ones/Who ebb and flow with the moons”. Only two things I would reiterate from my distant perch: these I posted in response to an article by  British HuffPo contributor, Antony Painter this morning on Labourlist (we’re concerned about it here too!):

It’s only one year, one senate seat. The Dems are exactly in the position they would have been had Al Franken lost the endless legal appeals on his votes. For those of us who have followed Obama, like I have from 2004, will know that he takes lessons from adversity, and will use the current setbacks to move forward.

The US is in a dire state, with two wars (one a dumb one according to Obama) inherited from the last Republican Regime. They are also dealing with the near collapse of the banking system and the biggest recession for 60 years. That is a legacy of ‘free market’ thinking. Glass Steagall was hedged many years before Clinton signed it away. The deregulation….. goes back to the Neo Liberal policies of Thatcher and Reagan.

So yes. Obama as Simon Schama says, is partly a prisoner of history: the failures of Neo Con foreign policy and Neo Liberal economics. I can’t think of anyone better to cope with these crises…

It’s only a year. There has yet to be the defining event of the Obama presidency. Judging by character, probity, intellect – the United States is very lucky with its President, even if the President isn’t lucky with the current state of the US.


  1. DTOzone

    than if Franken had lost the Senate appeal because a Franken loss would’ve only gotten us 58 votes.

    It wasn’t until Specter flipped parties that we had 59, Franken making it 60.

    Still, see the TV read Sen. Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) fucking hurts.  

  2. creamer

     They need to break out the valium. Some of the bloggers very much think this means we should move to the left and our blaming centrist of the “old democratic party”. One commentor blames Rahm for not showing enough respect for the netroots. Maybe’s he’s right. Maybe he has a Napoleon complex. I would hope that the President knocks some heads, calms people down and reestablish’s some unity. Imploding is what Rove and others have been predicting we would do.

  3. creamer

    But all else is not well. One in 10 American workers is unemployed. Add to that the number of underemployed and discouraged and the figure rises to 17 percent. The big banks flourish again, thanks to the mammoth efforts of the Bush and Obama administrations to keep them afloat. Their executives thrive mightily. Beyond Wall Street, however, layoffs still outpace job creation and more homes go underwater.

    As manufacturing and construction continue to dwindle, and states lay off teachers and consider laying off police, what does Washington do? Just what it has done since Obama became president: haggle over health care.

    He might have a point.

  4. fogiv

    …but whatever, the people in MA have ‘spoken’.  what they’ve said sounds like something Alan himself (or a ruh-tard) would say, but there’s little I can do about it.

    Moving on.

    In other news, last night’s loss has swelled the PUMA ranks over at MyDD, as evidenced by the triumphant return of toothless PUMA harpy Shazone (aka CoyoteCreek), the Palin-lovin’, McCain votin’, IQ vacuum that still thinks teleprompter gags are clever.


    I should have a diary up today, with a somewhat optimistic / half full vibe.  That’s the way I’m trying to roll these days.  What’s the alternative?  Marshall Law?

  5. Last night, I was as unhappy as many other people about the election result. Today, I see it as a small setback. Others seem to see it as a tsunami that has destroyed any hopes for progressive advances. As far as I’m concerned, that’s silly.

    This wasn’t a disaster. This was a warning. Dems need to seize control of the narrative. I’ll bet that’s exactly how Rahm and the President see it.

    When Alan Grayson burst on the scene, I said I needed to see more of him before I could decide whether he was a force for good or not. Well, I’ve seen enough. He gets it. Hopefully, more Dems will “get it” and we will see a change in the messaging.

    There is a certain percentage of the population that will continue to support the Right no matter what. Those are the 20% that think Bush was a great president. The rest of the population is open to persuasion. The Dems have to fess up to their own failings, but, at the same time, hammer home the fact that what got us into this mess was the failed policies of the Right. “Yes, we are stumbling at times, but do you really want to hand things over to the people that got us into this mess?”

  6. It was a fundraising email, of course, but I found the first paragraph very appropriate to the current situation.

    There is no denying: the election in Massachusetts was a disappointment. However, let us not focus on our disappointment but rather, redouble our commitment to fighting for the causes and values that are so important. I can tell you that the voters are not looking for a year of gridlock or months of excuses and hand-wringing between now and the election. Voters want action. They want solutions to the challenges they face.  And they want hardworking leaders who are prepared to deliver.

    About all I disagree with there is the use of the colon in the first sentence.

  7. copy and paste a full post from another site, but I think it is short enough to justify it in this case. The last paragraph is the money quote.

    From Andrew Sullivan – The Agony Of Jon Cohn

    Cohn writes a letter to nervous and frustrated House Democrats. I want to look away. Those of us who want Obama to succeed in tackling this country’s deepest problems are bummed enough. But healthcare reform was never my reason for supporting him. I was much more invested in getting past the cynicism and laziness of the red-blue divide, restoring the rule of law and the constitutional balance, ending the unwinnable wars in  Iraq and Afghanistan, stopping torture, and so on. But for those progressives who have fought for wider access to health insurance for their entire lives, this must be an excruciating, devastating moment.

    It is, of course, heightened by the almost unimaginable irony of Ted Kennedy’s seat being the death-knell for insurance reform, the end of the hopes of many that they might have a chance to buy some affordable insurance, that they could get insured despite a pre-existing condition, that the rest of their lives would not be filled with economic stagnation and profound personal insecurity. Well, the GOP has a clear message to them: “Tough shit. We needed a way to break a reform presidency and your lives were the mechanism.”

    The glee with which the GOP is greeting the end of any access too health insurance for millions of the working poor, even as they propose nothing in its stead to help them or to restrain soaring costs for everyone else, is instructive. This really is a game to them. But to the sincere progressives who backed this moderate bill as the best they could get, this is, simply, tragic. And to those of us who wanted politics to become something more than a game, given the accelerating decline of this country on all fronts, it’s a body blow.

  8. spacemanspiff

    Didn’t vote cuz he has politics fatigue. Dude doesn’t trust any of them and doesn’t give a fuck unless it’s every 4 years. Even thennn the % of people who vote in the U.S. is pathetically low.

    People have more importante things to worry about. In their personal life I guess.

    Won’t or can’t see the bigger picture.

    I think it sucks.

    I also believe the the netroots got behind this candidate way to late (if they think they would of impacted the race at all). On Dkos for example it has been all meta all the time for the last 2 months. Coakley? I lurk the blugs and surf and the first time I heard of her somewhere other than the Moose was a couple of weeks ago on the Dkos rec list.

    DKos was to busy having piefights ON THE INTERNET (which I ate up cuz I love the flames) to do more than a few halfassed  dairies a couple of weeks before the special election.


  9. creamer

    President Barack Obama is telling Democrats not to “jam” a health care overhaul bill through Congress, instead urging them to coalesce around popular parts of the bill.

    In an interview with ABC News, Obama said Wednesday that Congress must wait for newly elected Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to be sworn into office before lawmakers move forward.

    The far left is going to get wacky.

  10. HappyinVT

    With talk of TV Everywhere and instant access to content on the go, the White House is picking up on the trend and building on it. Now you will be able to live stream video from the site on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Announced just a week before the State of Union Address, you will be able to watch President Obama’s address live while on the go.

    from Joe Trippi’s blog.

  11. and moved on. I just got off the phone with my Rep’s office. I told them I wanted the House to vote for the Senate bill without making changes. I told the woman that answered that people are fed up with the Democrats failing at this effort and there will be serious consequences for incumbent Dems if they don’t succeed. I pointed out that reps like my rep, Dale Kildee, will be the ones who will bear the biggest brunt of that outrage, since he’s been there forever and hasn’t managed to advance the cause of reform.

  12. HappyinVT

    …Fabrizio’s exit polling showed that Scott Brown’s opposition to health care reform was a strong driver of the pro-Brown vote, confirming that health care was indeed a major factor in the election.

    But the poll also found that only 38% said their vote was motivated by opposition to Obama’s overall policies and the direction he’s taking the country. Meanwhile, 59% said they were motivated by support for his policies or that they weren’t a factor. Obama’s approval checked in at at 55%, too.

    Fabrizio said the results show that the outcome was a major repudiation of the health care plan – but not of Obama’s presidency.


  13. HappyinVT

    WASHINGTON – President Obama’s nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration, Erroll Southers, withdrew his name on Wednesday, saying that Republicans had politicized the appointment.


    “It is clear that my nomination has become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people,” Mr. Southers, a former F.B.I. agent, said in a statement. “This partisan climate is unacceptable, and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue.”

    So, how on this green earth aren’t Dems and the media shouting from the effin’ rooftop about this?!  (Yes, rhetorica question.)

  14. He Wasn’t The One We’ve Been Waiting For

    Health care reform – which is crucial for millions of Americans – hangs in the balance. Progressives are desperately in need of leadership; more specifically, House Democrats need to be told to pass the Senate bill, which isn’t what they wanted but is vastly better than nothing. And what we get from the great progressive hope, the man who was offering hope and change, is this:

       I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on. We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people. We know that we have to have some form of cost containment because if we don’t, then our budgets are going to blow up and we know that small businesses are going to need help so that they can provide health insurance to their families. Those are the core, some of the core elements of, to this bill. Now I think there’s some things in there that people don’t like and legitimately don’t like.

    In short, “Run away, run away”!

    Maybe House Democrats can pull this out, even with a gaping hole in White House leadership. Barney Frank seems to have thought better of his initial defeatism. But I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.

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