I think things are beginning to turn towards the Democrats. Even though Newt Gingrich is dismissive of the Occupy Movement, it has already changed the political conversation for 2012.

But politically, Democrats believe that they have already won this latest skirmish in the message wars. And some exasperated Republicans acknowledge that they are losing the exchange; party leaders have worked this week to bring the rank and file in line behind the tax cut.

Democrats have concluded from the payroll tax debate that Republicans are vulnerable over their opposition to any new taxes on the wealthy in a way they were not when Democrats proposed such taxes for deficit reduction. So they have reprised an old message — that Democrats fight for the middle class, Republicans for the rich — and are likely to sound it through 2012, in hopes of blunting the headwinds they face as unemployment remains high.

“Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hard-working Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the first Senate vote.

You add to this the possibility that the first big wave of Baby Boomer retirements and an improving employment picture might drop the unemployment rate below the 8% level by next summer. We have talked here about the fact that America is no longer a hard goods export economy. This may ironically be an advantage in the next couple of years as Europe struggles and China sees it’s largest export market pull back its purchases. Even more reason for us to concentrate on the American Redoubt.

Which leaves us with the question of Obama’s opponent. Clearly Cain is in free-fall and should be out of the race by Monday. He was a construct of the Koch Brothers and Fox News—a proxy to debunk the notion that the Tea party was a bunch of racist know-nothings. Anthea Butler gave him the “Lawn Jockey of the Year Award”, but now that Cain has served his purpose, Rupert and the Koch’s will drop him like a hot potato.

That seems to leave us with Gingrich and Romney. Some of my die hard Republican friends hold out the hope that these two will fight to a draw over the coming months, with neither of them having enough delegates to lock up the convention on the first ballot. This fantasy then leads to an old fashioned brokered convention where Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels emerges from a brokered convention. Shades of Mark Hanna and the Gilded Age of the Republican Oligarchs. How fitting for these times. Personally I think this is pure fantasy. As the recent Ron Paul Ad shows, Gingrich is such a hypocrite, he could not survive a Presidential Race. However, Conservatives are so wary of Romney that they may overlook Gingrich’s truckload of baggage. What Josh Marshall calls “the Murdoch Primary” is clearly being won by Gingrich, now that they have thrown Cain under the bus. There is a good case to be made that Gingrich could win both Iowa and South Carolina, thereby blunting Romney’s inevitability pitch.

All this must bring a smile to the President.

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21 Responses to Politics-12/2/11

  1. Not sure unemployment numbers will get that good, but anything with an 8 as the first number in it will blunt the major GOP attack on stimulus bill as in “we spent all that money, that you said would cut unemployment to 8% and it didn’t work.” Obama”s response will be, “it took longer than we had hoped it would and certainly longer than we liked, but it is working as we said it would and our ideas, not your stubborn defense of the 1%, are the ideas that will work in the future too.”

  2. len says:

    “Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hard-working Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the first Senate vote.

    As the sign says on Facebook – There are two kinds of Republicans: Millionaires and suckers.

    There are some seriously deep in thought and not happy about it faces here in the belly of the MIC. They see the big money pipelines about to turn into dribbles along with shift away from the big ticket items to agile gear. And they are right.

    Curiously, there was a national news article about Huntsville being one of the cities that is politely helping the OWSers here by giving them 24 hr a day access to the park and police protection. What they are not telling you is it is a hand full of people, mostly young and otherwise not very dangerous and the police have concluded along with the Mayor that rolling back out of the punch and doing the same thing the sheriff did in Georgia with Martin Luther King is the smart move. And so far, they are right.

  3. John Papola says:

    Morley, it is pure intellectual fraud to claim that the lower official unemployment rate is a sign of success when it is almost entirely the result of lower workforce “participation”, aka people giving up. The stimulus failed. Keynesianism is bogus. It failed here. It failed in Japan. The many many instances of stagflation discredits it’s core conceptual framework, that increased nominal spending improves employment and that inflation is impossible with “slack capacity”.

    That Obama the wall street corporatist crony and warfare state murder can belt out tired marxism-lite tropes about the rich paying their “fair share” and have such rhetoric eaten up is a litmus test for whether someone is a child or an adult.

    I don’t know why ANYONE would be pulling for the guy who re-appointed Ben Bernanke, packed his administration with banksters, pushed billions to the richest people alive, further rigged the financial system to favor the big guys in a scam “reform” bill, hasn’t done anything about the immoral war on drugs even though he has ample power to relax enforcement, is a disaster on civil liberties, has murdered US citizens, kept gitmo open, increased our drone murder of the innocent overseas, increased the wars…


  4. Jon Taplin says:

    @Papola-you are not addressing the argument of my post. The Republicans have no credible candidate. They are stuck defending their Billionaire cronies and OWS has turned the debate to one of income inequality. Not even your partisans are going to blame Obama for using drone strikes against Al Qaeda. If that’s your argument against him (drones + Bernanke) , your side is in more trouble than even I thought.

  5. Jon Taplin says:

    @Morgan-What happened to all your brash predictions that Rick Perry was going to be our next President? All hat and no cattle.

  6. John Papola says:

    @Jon Taplin

    I don’t disagree (minus Ron Paul, of course, who I support).

    But look at this another way. Forget the silly notion that this election is an especially important one. It isn’t. Instead, consider what sort of change you want to see and how it will come about. You and I agree on a great deal, especially about the degree to which Obama has failed not just on absolute terms but in the relative terms of his supposed beliefs. For all his clearly-focus-grouped-structured-for-rhythmic-memory talk of “millionaire and billionaire paying their fair share”, Obama has failed. Worse, he’s betrayed everything important as I mentioned.

    So, if YOU won’t punish him, WHO WILL?!?!? Forget this silly “lesser of two evils” and start thinking systematic. Presidents who betray their positions should be punished. If that becomes the norm, it will impact the pressure these people face.

    I don’t like the idea of President Gingrich or Romney. But I also don’t expect it to be very different. There’s 3 million or so employees in the executive branch. This one guy isn’t nearly as important as anyone makes him out to be.

    Given that your vote isn’t worth the time it takes to pull the lever, why not vote on principle and advocate that vociferously.

    Do you really want these jerks taking your vote for granted? They do. They shouldn’t.

  7. Tim Moore says:

    Mitt Romney isn’t combative enough. He’s a conciliatory mushball.
    Gingrinch is a tenacious hedgehog on roller skates. Paul will go third party.
    Iowa is no longer prophetic. Evidence: Huckabee 2008.
    Romney will take New Hampshire, Gingrich So Carolina and Florida, if he doesn’t implode.
    Reminder, America: the Civil War never ended. Defiance is the national emotion.
    Once Obama wins 2012, what GOP congressional mission will replace “beat Obama 2012”? Your play, Mitch McConnell.

  8. Tim Moore says:

    Mitt Romney isn’t combative enough. He’s a conciliatory mushball.
    Gingrinch is a tenacious hedgehog on roller skates. Paul will go third party.
    Iowa is no longer prophetic. Evidence: Huckabee 2008.
    Romney will take New Hampshire, Gingrich So Carolina and Florida, if he doesn’t implode.
    Reminder, America: the Civil War never ended. Defiance is the national emotion.

    The big question: Once Obama wins 2012, what GOP mission will replace “beat Obama 2012”? Still as obstructionist?

  9. woodnsoul says:

    I see Newt winning the primaries and the nomination, taking all the TeaBags with him as he goes down in a landslide to Obama – causing both the House and Senate to once again become Democratic – alas, not that it will do much good for progress.

    The real “Run for the Roses” will begin after Obama gets in – who is going to replace him?

    The Republicans will have to find their party again amidst the shambles of the HUGE loss – no one there can do it at this point.

    And the Democrats will have to find someone who can actually lead and govern the nation out of it’s stagnation.

    The interregnum may last a long time…

  10. len says:

    @woodnsoul: Hillary Clinton. If she wants it.

    If Obama uses his second term to reverse the tsunami of fascism emanating from the Senate Republicans and MIC/Homeland Security apparatus, Clinton could be exactly the change predicted.

  11. JTMcPhee says:

    Reps, Dems, like any of it makes any real difference in how deep the prod is inserted up the strip-searched rectum. Pontificating about who the face of the rulership will be a year hence is about as important, far as I can see, as getting all deep and complicated about whether Tony Stewart or Carl Edwards or Ron Paul will end up at the top of the NASCAR ™ point standings. At least with NASCAR events, and WWE for that matter, you have some actual transparency that everyone thinks is so terribly important to talk about and is so terribly good at fending off in their personal areas of greedhood. And a good bit of good ol’ fashioned, cracker-barrel Catharsis. And sometimes some really exciting wrecks, parts flying, flames, drivers and occasionally fans carried away in body bags, or really great rasslin’ grimaces, almost as exciting as all those Youtube videos of that War game over in Wogland! where millions view the detonation of an IED made up of US-profit-making artillery shells “gifted’ to some warlord, that shreds even a Buffalo, the “Mine-Resistant (not, of course, “-proof”) ambush-protected” million-dollar MICmachine. And the Troops We Support smeared within the wreckage.

    There used to be some speculations here about stuff that seems to me a little more important than whether the Evil Empire of Papola’s libertarian fantasies, which I expect are reflected in the illuminating serial Yves Smith is running (latest installment here — http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/12/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-v-%E2%80%93-dark-realities.html ), stuff about what comes after what we are all currently involved in falls apart. Something about “New Federalism?” Maybe a renegotiation of the social contract, between parties of something closer to parity? About what size of human community (or maybe just “population,” since the predilections of libertarianistic, suckuptowealthism, and all our other pathologies we will have always with us) actually has the chance to survive before the next K-T-scale event scours the planet? Or maybe the best we all can do is descend into the Ford-versus-Chevy handicapping of the poster-face of what we are still suckers enough to think of as two parties?

    Three hundred twelve million-odd humans, the decent, the depraved, the despairing, the ravenous, (plug in your own adjectives and pejoratives here) have a huge momentum, a huger inertia. The elements of the Civil War are still on the battlefield, mowing each other down with all the modern weapons of political and social combat. How fucking sorry is it that all that striving, all that bit of altruism, all the affection and dysaffection, resolve down to a rugby scrum over who gets to control the Football?

    Any Innovations on the horizon to address all that, mine host? Or is innovation, as it seems to me, just another facet of acquisition, of consumerism, of MOREism, of Really Cool Dissipation and Decline?

  12. Roman says:

    Who wins 2012? The candidate best at needling the country’s pain. It’s that simple. Whoever channels Bill’s “I feel your pain” gets sworn-in on Jan 20, 2013.

    Obama never grasped and leveraged the power of the bully pulpit. He never forged a visceral connection with the country, and the country’s responded by tuning him out.

    Who would have thought three years ago that “smart-phone” apps like “Angry Birds” would generate more buzz than Barry? Does Barry have his own app?

    Problem is, Newt’s the imp who won’t go away, who’ll unabashedly needle those unhealed sores, and most importantly, who connects to generations (voters) who don’t know, and who don’t want to know, what apps are.

  13. woodnsoul says:

    @len: I think when Hillary may be a bit long in the tooth by 2016 for most voters, not to mention, she may have transcended “it” by then.

    Newt’s essential smallness will not be able to stand the national scrutiny for the long campaign season for Pres. He is, at heart a small, venal man and it will out over and over and turn off the middle who will: vote for Obama or; stay home, but not in sufficient numbers to cause O to lose the election. Plus, there are a lot of folks who will vote against Newt’s hypocrisy and venal mentality – and lots of them will be women, I’ll bet.

  14. Roman says:


    Concur on HRC. Regrettably, her ship has sailed. Can’t wait for her autobiography, particularly her take on the “longest campaign” and how she ended up at State.

    Not so on Newt. Mud is mud. Does Obama’s camp really welcome another round of public vetting?

    Although running against a “challenged” opponent has its obvious upsides, in this instance, it leaves the incumbent vulnerable to a similar level of scrutiny. “We dealt with that in 08′” won’t be enough to satisfy new inquiries, in fact, it will probably just inflame them.

    I also wonder if the political prism hasn’t been permanently shattered by our “contemporary” Presidents. We’ve all become so “real world”, that many of the old automatic dis qualifiers (i.e. divorce, marital infidelity) hardly get a shrug anymore. I suspect many “Newtisms” will be met with a similar reaction. Quite a contrast to what Clinton endured in 1992 when Gennifer Flowers surfaced.

  15. len says:

    Hmm. She’ll be younger than Reagan was. My sense is she doesn’t want the job but no one has shown the skill for it she has and the endurance.

    By the way, for all the gloom and doom, it has actually gotten harder to fool all the people most of the time. The next horizon is learning how to beat the algorithms filtering our opinions and world views more effectively than marketing ever has, but at this time the stupid in government is pretty dammed obvious and having purchased the mainstream, we’ve started learning how to sort the opinions of our friends and it’s working. Thus OWS.

    An oldie but still a relevant talk from a well-informed guy:

  16. Roman says:


    “…no one (HRC) has shown the skill for it she has and the endurance.” Agreed, but it’s hard to imagine how she’d connect to the country now. 08′ was her moment; she had the infrastructure, financing, message etc. Heck, HRC, Inc. was a billion dollar corporation. Why she let it pass will be the topic of much discussion and many books for years to come. IMHO, the DNC made a huge mistake by selecting Barry instead of her.

  17. JTMcPhee says:

    @len — all that’s needed is to fool, intimidate, bamboozle or otherwise dissipate the energies and anger of enough of the people enough of the time. And so many of us are so happily complicit in aiding and abetting the schussing…

  18. len says:

    @roman: I believe because when it is all said and done, Hillary Clinton is a patriot in the truest sense of the word. She actually gives a damm. She has proved it as Sec of State. She is connecting to the country every day on the news and it is powerful. Again, I doubt she will want it. Very likely she will want to do more close to home perhaps with grandbabies and Bill. Just a guess.

    @jtmc: True enough over enough time. On the other hand, there is momentum building and even the Tea Partiers are starting to notice they have more in common with the OWSers than they first thought and the OWSers show no sign of backing down. Obama’s speech yesterday is picking up the theme of economic inequality. We never get a perfect solution or a final solution, thank god. We get thumps to the left and thumps to the right and in the world of non-linear dynamics, thumps are the way an unpredictable event chain is kept inside boundaries so it never becomes completely chaotic. And I think that is not only as good as it gets, that is as good as it can get.

    We have to turn the boat and she is big and she is slow in the turn so the cribbage players don’t fall off their deck chairs.

  19. Roman says:

    @Len: HRC “connection with country” = marketability to country. It’s hard to imagine how Ickes would package her. Barry stole the “transitional” mantel in 08′, and no one’s going to give a hoot about “glass ceilings” in 12′. But just imagine the fight to displace Barry…Her moment has passed, time to think of life after gov’t service…

  20. len says:


    The point is not to displace Obama. She won’t do it even if asked in my opinion. It’s not in her nature. No, the question was who might be able to lead AFTER Obama assuming he wins next year. Having watched some bits of the debate last night while coding this application to help people be more productive who are proud of their computer illiteracy, a) the Republican candidates are hopeless and b) Why do I spend my weekends coding for people who consider it an affront if one helps them do things cheaper, faster, better (you actually can do all three but only if the users are willing)?

    Well, because some people think karma is better if they do. Karma is a bitch. So as to a, the right deserves the rewards of willful incompetency and as to b), every line of code I write teaches me something I can take to a new job and the code too if I do it on my own machine.

    That’s local in a nutshell. Hillary is the quintessential work local for better global results politician. As a result, anyone in the Democratic party still willing to call her a bitch has bad karma in their future.

    That’s winning: patient, persistent, loyal, always moving forward.

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