No joy in mudville

Not much to cheer about in the 2008 Presidential sweepstakes.

The mud is flying in hot and heavy from both candidates, the SwiftBoat attackers are muddying the waters with their usual lies and the issues are lost in a sea of swirling, toxic waste.

For a brief moment over the weekend, it looked like John McCain and Barack Obama would put pettiness aside and focus on the many serious problems that confront this nation.

Then the moment faded. Both went back on the attack. Both hurled charges and countercharges that deal more with each other’s character – or lack of it – than with any real issues.

In other words, business as usual.

Perhaps, in this sound-bite driven, Internet invective-dominated world, real debate is impossible. Perhaps Americans have lost the ability to reason, to discuss issues intelligently or to discern substance from hyperbole.

Perhaps we ask too much.

This election may prove America has lost the ability to intelligently govern itself. Voters cannot make informed decisions when they are uninformed. Too many Americans get their information from dubious sources, whether it is the partisan, right-wing talking heads of Fox News or equally partisan, left-wing entertainers posing as newsmen on MSNBC.

Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann pander to different philosophies and political points of view but both pander to those who want slanted news pitched to fit a specific, pre-conceived view of the world.

Sean Hannity and Chris Matthews each pitch partisan political muck that has little to do with fact and too much to do with set, philosophical agendas.

Even the venerable Associated Press, long the bastion of stogy, but objective, reporting is taking a more opinionated, "aggressive" role in "analyzing" news.

Today’s primary sources of information are based on the notion that Americans are too stupid to make informed decisions if they have the facts – all the facts – from unfiltered, unbiased sources.

Instead, shout fests disguised as news talk shows bring on designated spokespersons from each side of the political spectrum and allow them to spew propaganda as fact.

Voters will listen to the partisans who most closely reflect their particular points of view and reject any different points of view as "lies" because they are less interested in truth than in fitting in with their political peers.

The result is an uninformed, partisan electorate that follows the party line even if it goes against the best interests of the nation.

The system has failed. The grand experiment of an America of the people, by the people and for the people has failed.  Come November, most voters will take their choice based on with party’s political mud convinced them to hate the other guy the most.

There will no joy in mudville.

Mighty America has struck out.


  1. AveryMoore

    As predicted in the post above yours, you have responded to none of the arguments which note your habit of avoiding issues you dislike. Again you bolt from substantive debate. Thank you for proving my point.

    With invaluable eccentricity you associate yourself with a degree of ennobled disdain, or lack of attention span, that most of us thought went out with the last monarchies. As a stalwart of the Democratic Party High Command’s evangelizing, you’ve really turned history on its head. Vive Le Roi!

    It was predictable that you’d accuse a motley hoard of peasant others of indulging in arguments not to your taste. Horrors! Yet no sooner do you express utter contempt for fallacious argument, than you follow up with your own zinger: “You represent all that is wrong with politics these days.”

    ALL? Every teensy-weensey bit? Arguing with you? That’s what’s wrong with people and politics? Apparently you haven’t noticed, or given any thought to the list of people who also disagree with you, have you? How like the Democratic Party brass!

    Is your tiara welded on too tightly?

    Having resorted to what you detest most, still groping under that lamp post, you refute exactly none of the points offered for you to refute. Thus you fail, again, to explain why the Democratic High Command, with their vast strategic acumen, totally botched the election of Presidents named Gore or Kerry.

    Something else you missed in your dumb-voter-dismissive reasoning about Gore losing his own state.

    Former Governor Gore lost “TN” because it is “basically” a “Republican State,” you say? That explains his thumping defeat?

    Well Churlpat, I guess that means that two thirds of the time, for no good reason, Southerners just go to the polls, look for the word, ‘Republican’, and tick whatever dumb name is beside it. To you, if to you alone, it must not have anything to do with a widespread perception that there are any issues of merit to southerners more relevant than New-Yorker-style talking points? Those insufferable hicks! How dare they!

    Is your contempt for the South widely shared?


    Neondog – “Give us a friggin break..Bush has been elected twice and you expect a legitimate candidate to disarm and not fight back from the bullshit.”

    Almandine – “Just like any dysfunctional addict… we’ll have to truly hit bottom before the Phoenix can rise.”

    Pollchecker – Even when it was obvious that their votes were needed to win elections they were ignored, not approached.

    “You are dead right about that. Sometime in the 80’s the Dems gave up on my state (ie figured it was a lost cause to the GOP in the electoral total). As a result they abandoned our state’s organization, lock, stock and barrel. In essence anyone who was NOT a Republican in our state didn’t count and had no representation. So of course after decades of this stuff (nicer version of a shorter S word), it’s not surprising that many have just given up.”

    Belle – “Show me a politician who will not take advantage of every opportunity to better HIM or HER self and I will show you a dead one. We let them get by with everything, because of our ‘let someone else do it’ attitude. If this country ever rose up FOR the USA as it did from ’43 to ’46 it would be a great magnificent thing to see. I was raising a family during those years and believe me even doing without a lot of things we take for granted today, it was far better than this period of our lives. We are so split apart now. heaven only knows what it will take to mend us.”

    Old Curmudgeon – “They never told us in grade school or high school that nurturing a democracy would require that we actually do anything.”

    T. J. Flapsaddle – “Why does what passes for leadership in the so-called “party of the people” appear to have succumbed to the theories of left-leaning elitists? Where did the notion arise that these voters were unworthy of pursuit or were somehow intellectually or temperamentally incapable of understanding the fundamentals, much less the nuances, of the platform and the general philosophy?

    Perhaps if these know-it-alls had spent a fraction of the time trying to understand the motivations of these voters as was spent disparaging their beliefs and dismissing their electoral impact, the political landscape of the last two decades might slope somewhat differently.”

    T.J Flapsaddle again – “The Democrats have, starting ca. 1972, consistently and premeditatedly dissed a lot of the blue-collar and socially conservative voters. Comtemptuously, the elitists in charge of politcal theory decided, once they felt that they no longer needed to enlist such folks for the matter of civil rights and/or anti-war politics, that these – to use Lenin’s term – “useful idiots” could then be disparaged and dismissed and still be expected to robotically follow the braying ass while they ignored the elephant in the electoral living room.”


    Your direct response to those above? Well ah, nothing: they must have been deemed unworthy. To Flapsaddle? A sidebar dissertation on the Electoral College. That sure showed him up! You betcha!

    So tell us – except on TeeVee, when has the US elected a woman President? Or a Black male? Or a stateside-born Chinese, Turk, Hispanic, Hungarian, Samoan, or Azerbiajani, to occupy the President’s domain?

    If two-thirds of the time a vote in favor of a white Republican is sufficient explanation for a Democratic Party governor losing his own state, then can there ever be a female President Clinton, male President Obama, or any other ‘odd’ if homegrown nationality? By your logic – never.

    If never, explain why the remaining party faithful soundly rejected your implied wish to see a vote-by-the-precedent-surge to anoint another white male? Could it be that not one white male on the Dem side, acceptable to the hierarchy, is sufficiently trusted?

    You really don’t get it. That Hillary and Obama alone duked it out was an historic and total repudiation of your view that backwards-looking analysis can predict who people should elect.

    You accuse others of ‘misunderstanding’ the brilliance of your analysis – without bothering to ask:

    A/ Are your arguments as dazzling as you perceive them to be? Where have your points been verified?

    B/ Why do you completely lack support on these pages?

    Not finished with tactics over substance, now fess-up, you went sexist, didn’t you?

    “Ms or Mr Avery Moore“

    Is it to be “Ms or Mr” Pollchecker? Or “Ms or Mr. Belle”, T.J. Flapsaddle, Neondog, Alamandine, or Old Curmudgeon, just to play it gender-safe?

    Why are you the only person to stoop this low?

    Thanks though for defaulting on ideas and resorting instead to buckshot. You voluntarily keep blasting holes in your own credibility.

    I’ll ask you again – is gender a disadvantage for – Laura Flanders, Susan Eisenhower, Christiane Amanpour, Lara Logan, Rachel Maddow, Randy Rhodes, Naomi Klien, Naomi Wolf? Would you prefer a longer list?

    Or, unlike you, do these thinkers focus point-by-point, not on obscurantist talking-points, off-topic contradiction and gain saying, but squarely on a connected series of ideas to establish a proposition?

    The proposition of those who disagree with you?

    Is the Dem leadership hermetically intolerant of policy ‘interference’ from the electorate below; a monarchical throwback of courtier intrigues and kowtowing to whatever fad has recently swept academia; a collection of old-boy plutocrats-in-waiting guiding policy to suit the corporate sector and themselves, thus rendering the party dysfunctional by being steadfastly out-of-contact with the electorate?

    I join with countless others in thinking – yes, the alternative to the Republicans is not perceived as a true alternative but more of the same rubbish with a different label – this is the problem we are witnessing right now as Obama struggles with a losing hand dealt to him in a crooked game.

  2. churlpat

    Ms or Mr AveryMoore:

    No, this is not high school, but that does not mean that it must devolve into a barroom brawl. You represent all that is wrong with politics these days, the inability to debate issues without exhibiting a streak of meanness as wide as the stripe on an Eastern skunk.

    Now I will say I am sorry. I am sorry that you cannot understand what I was saying, just as I am sorry that you, as are so many of your ilk, lacking in the ability to refrain from taking words out of context, twisting meanings, and making snide remarks.

    Churlpat — a plutarch by any name is still a plutarch

  3. AveryMoore


    Alas. How we all task your patience.

    Remember the logic-joke about the drunk looking for his keys under the lamp post?

    A passerby asks what he is doing and is told “I lost my keys over there in the dark!”

    “Then why aren’t you in the dark looking for them?” asks the stranger.

    “Well, there’s no light over there!”

    When others attack faulty or credulous reasoning, yours, it will not be done politely. This isn’t high school. It’s grown up stuff.

    We have gender equality in debates now. Watch Rachel Maddow, Naomi Klien, Naomi Wolf, or Randy Rhodes in action. They are articulate, their viewpoints well-researched in depth, and unladylike or no, they don’t pull punches.

    Face it. You can no longer demand preferential treatment because of gender or age. Either your argument is concise, coherent, relevant and to the issue, or you are looking in the wrong place, and people of both genders will call you on it. I regard this as fair.

    For a moment, ponder the larger picture you so steadfastly ignore, and look at what is at stake in the newly minted Mudville: ENRON-ICA..

    In this corner there is a bright young man who is allegedly “inexperienced.” Bright enough to “learn?” Absolutely! Of course! But the Dems have allowed his cranial capacity to be deemed, oh god-forbid! ELITIST!!

    So they squander the question of who is the brighter guy.

    Obama is opposed by another man not renown for his emotional stability, honesty, or steadfast support of his own initiatives at voting time. The older fella is torn by alternatives, in a word, “INDECISIVE.” He is too busy, or doesn’t like to attend meetings to discuss the trivialities of war stuff either. This “maverick” just “knows things..” and votes with Bush, on average, all the time.

    Consider the following proposition. Two candidates appear before you to compete for a post as an air traffic controller. One is confident, thoughtful, careful, open-minded and cautious not to make mistakes. The other is John McCain with a track record of vacillation, denial, blame-shifting, resort to swift-boating, gang-banger pandering, who uses gutter politics to mask questionable decision-making and chronic inattention to detail.

    Attention to detail you do understand is crucial to the tasks an air traffic controller performs? Agreed?

    Still you are torn. Why kick a civilized old southern gentleman, who offers his wife for topless contests, because he might be grumpy and his faculties are slipping? You sense he could do a “heckuva job” at something.

    You ask him about his background, his life skills, wealth, how many homes does he own? He dodges the question and tells you his staff will get back to you ‘on that’. Meaning? He doesn’t know.

    At this point has he demonstrated the competence to get the job? Because if he has not then how can this macho septuagenarian be a serious candidate for a far more rigorous and challenging job – as POTUS?

    You mention trends over the last few decades, so inform us all – why is the sclerotic Democratic Party so supine and invertebrate when the prize is so close at hand? Perhaps you have seen this impertinent view implied in many responses which offended you.

    But routinely you do not respond with facts but irrelevancies where, to you, “there is more light”. You are too noble a soul. Above the fray. You declaim responsibility for seeing that something is banal, inept at cross-purposes or dead wrong, by saying so bluntly.

    “I did not say that I thought this was a good idea..” A fine piece of rhetorical ballet but not quite up to any honesty standard of merit. Perhaps you think it good manners to fence-sit or equivocate en pointe?

    The “reality of the way the parties work” is that one side, which should be sweeping the floor with the other, is losing due to chronically obtuse social policy and broom-up-the-chute snobbery.

    It is undeniable fact that people who once admired and supported the Dems no longer respect or trust them – despite 8 years of Bush, scandals, mass dis-employment, collapsing morale, and a financial meltdown caused largely by a two-front war and deregulation.

    But you think winning the Presidency is a numbers game of weighted averages, historical trends, and other forms of divinatory prestidigitation.

    You resort to this gambit in saying, “it is safe to say that TN is basically a Republican state, having voted Republican more than two thirds of the time since 1952.”

    “Basically?” What illumination! Gosh! There could never be a Democratic Governor! It’s also safe to say that Gore ran that state. Using your own logic, how about Texas and the Deep South? They were traditionally the safe states for which party? How exactly did the Dems lose the south and central states and still not care enough to shift tactics or strategy? Smart numbers work, was it?

    Whether you are, or are not “a civil, refined lady of indeterminate age“ misses the point entirely. If you are, or were a DEMOCRAT, your attitude personifies the problem under discussion. You just don’t seem to appreciate the gravity of this debate or understand that at stake is a contest for earth’s most important office – not a collegiate wine-and-cheese shoot out.

    I agree, there are many “advantages of advanced age.” I’m pushing 70. And when people like me see tendentious sophistry pretending to be objective analysis – we call it: irrelevant, immaterial, gas.

    A mirage of argumentation which uses words as fog to avoid the bothersome fact that the Democratic Party cannot cope with the prospect of winning the Presidency by re-earning public trust.. rather than pontificating in a genteel manner.

    You are not going to find the keys where you have chosen to look.

  4. churlpat

    I don’t even know where to start in the face of all the personal attacks.

    So I will say that I was pointing out the strategy that appears to have been used by both sides; if you go back and read my apparently offensive post you might see that I did not say that I thought this was a good idea, primarily because, based on personal experience, I do not think it was a good idea; what I set forth was my view of the reality of the way the parties work. And this is based on my observations while working at precinct and district levels in the Democratic Party and keeping my ears open to what people said.

    Now, about the positions of WV and TN in the electoral college voting:

    Since 1900, there have been 27 elections; WV voted Republican in 13 of those 27 elections. TN voted for the Republican candidate 12 times.

    To make the comparison more on the modern era, which I have chosen arbitrarily as beginning in 1952, West Virginia has voted Republican in five out of 14 elections, while Tennessee has voted Republican in ten of the 14 elections.

    I think it is inaccurate to say that WV votes pathologically Democratic, and it is safe to say that TN is basically a Republican state, having voted Republican more than two thirds of the time since 1952.

    I submit to you the reason that Al Gore was not elected President in 2000 was as much a factor of the Republican majority here as it was the Democrats’ failure to recognize that TN was the ultimate swing state. They assumed, against the odds, in my opinion, that the Democratic candidate was a shoo-in just because it was his home state. There are many states that vote for one party at the state level and the other party at the national level. If you look closely, I believe you will find this true in North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado.

    What I want to know is why, just because you disagree with me, so many of you have to make ad hominem attacks, accusing me of smoking some recreational drug, not thinking, “not being a pin-sharp thinker,” slinging BS, etc., etc.

    I admit freely that I have, on occasion, questioned certain people’s thought processes, but those occasions have been where some person on the lunatic fringe has said something that is just so patently insane as to cause me to react viscerally. The vast majority of the time I am a civil, refined lady of indeterminate age; if you treat me with respect and dignity and attack my arguments rather than my person I will remain that way.

    But I am not stupid, I think a lot (one of the advantages of advanced age meaning that period of time when the children have finally relocated permanently from my abode), I do not indulge in any recreational drugs stronger than the occasional glass of wine; I deeply resent those who feel that the best way to attack a person’s arguments, ideas, and positions is to attack the person espousing those views.

    Churlpat — a plutarch by any name is still a plutarch

  5. almandine

    And if the Dems don’t see what the voters see, with all that’s happened, when will anyone say – ‘Whoa!’?

    Just like any dysfunctional addict… we’ll have to truly hit bottom before the Phoenix can rise.

  6. AveryMoore

    Flapsaddle & pollchecker, you’re on the money. Game. Set. Match.

    Churlpat just isn’t a pin-sharp thinker.

    Democratic election strategy? A mirage. Approach it and there is nothing substantial within. It’s just hot air seen shimmering from a distance.

    Consider the employment factor. Given their political track record – Tennessee switches sides and Gore loses the state? This doesn’t ring any bells to the brass? – would you hire these ‘strategists’ to run a company? A farm? ‘We’ll feed only the cows we like!’

    Are they good at their assigned tasks?

    How badly do you have to botch it so that a multimillionaire can be depicted like an aw shucks humble pie biker-wannabe who’d rather tour the wilds on his Harley and display his babe topless to his amigos, than sit in the Oval Office?

    Does no one remember the umpteen times McCain voted against legislation he first initiated? Or how often McCain walked away from anything which might seem controversial, or reversed his stand completely, or failed even to show up for crucial hearings?

    Forget the media, the media is an excuse: Dems have made this guy teflon by refusing to attack his record of failure to be consistent, reliable or intelligent. They are waving hankies at a bull. ‘Now just calm down, OK?’

    As POTUS this macho septuagenarian must remember a miriad of details on the job. He must be clear headed, and take a wide view of his responsibilities, not be some I’m For It\Against It, knee-jerk berserker, vindictive and snarly.

    Which has he been so far?

    With the Democratic strategy at full tilt who is gaining ground as the pick perfectly qualified to be Commander and Chief of all US forces, and President of the United States? This is the people’s choice over an obviously very bright Obama who McCain has painted as ‘elitist’ and just not as hip as a man displaying all the signs of senility?

    After eight years of scandals, trials, ‘what he said is no longer operative’ flame-outs, lies, phony excuses for war, catastrophes made worse by ignoring them or denying they even exist, financial scandals, massive corporate disemployment, and world ridicule, the Republicans should be in the toilet no matter who challenges Obama.

    But the Democrats have become the Republicans of 50 years ago. They are too inflexible, like a sozzled politburo – would fossilized be a better word? – to see what a mess they’ve made. Affected by nothing externally they just keep making it worse.

    Finally, how dumb is an opposition that can’t cash in on a candidate who today can’t remember, or is publicly indifferent to, how many houses he owns?

    But Obama’s the snob? And we’ll leave it at that?

    I think most people on this page want better than either Bush or his fumbling reincarnation, McCain. They recognize that Obama is being shafted by his own party’s belief in its hierarchy’s omniscience. Playing to the college crowd is what – a 10% vote? Abandoning the working stiffs by ignoring the downsides of NAFTA – that was really smart too?

    That leaves the other 90% – where?

    I think, truth be known, Churlpat likes things just the way they are.

    Hence his facile resort to remarkably dismal arguments in the form he prefers – a mirage.

  7. AveryMoore

    Neondog. “Enough is e-f’kin-enough!”

    And if the Dems don’t see what the voters see, with all that’s happened, when will anyone say – ‘Whoa!’?

    The idea that delivering sweetie-pie university-style talk-down-to-the student-voter lectures, to an electorate already at variance with business as usual and hurting financially, is a losing game. It’s a cricket match on a hockey rink during a no-rules NHL final.

    All these voters cathetered into TV-LAND may be nicely impressed by this erudite young man’s charm, wit, and popularity – in Europe – but at most that makes him another picture in People Magazine, or a heartwarming story in the Ladies’ Mags, but global celebrity is not a solution to anything that matters to voters, and will not cause them to get out of bed to elect him.

    In short, it’s always the same: the majority of voters want to see the guy who will fight for them. While Hilary made puff-piece speeches and lost, that image emerged. Where did ‘he’ go?

    The problem so many voters perceive viscerally is that the corporate beliefs of their flaky and aloof representatives directly oppose the interests of the majority of the population.

    There is no qualitative difference in the Free Trade crap being dished out and the old problems created by off shore absentee-landlords to benefit rentiers. While the public is subjected to unbelievable levels of scrutiny, more people, and corporations, have been exempted from law and taxes, than ever before since Rome. Welcome to ENRONica.

    This, so a very few can make buckets of money from off-shore slave labour? And all those little people stateside – dis-employed by the scam – what do they do now Senators?

    Enough is enough. Voters have seen a deluge of problems, self-generated problems by one administration’s truly unique decision-making, using faked ‘intelligence’ to justify a series of preconceived schemes. The chaos this has created is beyond the downsides of any other administration in US history.

    It isn’t the tail wagging the dog, it’s a paw.

    Despite this, it is all too obvious with his sudden about-face in ‘What I Believe [uh, now]’ that the Dem-leadership told Obama not to hit back on Big Vote Winners – like reworking NAFTA and re-employing Americans.

    What would people think if the party of the people promoted such concepts!

    Avoiding these issues and refusing to make strong stands on the public’s behalf is like stacking donuts to hold off a flood..

  8. neondog

    Give us a friggin break..Bush has been elected twice and you expect a legitimate candidate to disarm and not fight back from the bullshit.

    Bush-Limbaugh-Hannity-Ingles-Coulter-O’Riley-All are American success stories….And you expect the U.S. to vote on the issues??? where have you been for the last 20 years?

    If I was Obama, every freaking commercial would have John McCain/Bush/Keating 5….and to top it off Obama needs to stick Walter Reed up John McCain’s patriot ass every chance he gets!!!

    These idiot who voted for and continues to support Bush deserve to get bitch slapped at every turn…

    enough is e-f’kin-enough!!!

  9. Flapsaddle

    No, you missed the point. The Democrats have, starting ca. 1972, consistently and premeditatedly dissed a lot of the blue-collar and socially conservative voters. Comtemptuously, the elitists in charge of politcal theory decided, once they felt that they no longer needed to enlist such folks for the matter of civil rights and/or anti-war politics, that these – to use Lenin’s term – “useful idiots” could then be disparaged and dismissed and still be expected to robotically follow the braying ass while they ignored the elephant in the electoral living room.

    To further illustrate the point – and to show you that I really am not in need of a lecture on how the financial algorithm must span the electoral vector space – let me revisit the 2000 election. This is how the dissing works, so that money is immaterial, conspiracy theories about the USSC are immaterial, hanging Florida chads are immaterial and Ralph Nader spoiling the punch is immaterial to how the Democrats really lost the election.

    Ignore Florida, Nader, the courts and the chads. Without Florida, look at the electoral vote count.

    Now, move Tennessee – Mr. Gore’s home state – and West Virginia – which usually votes Democratic to the point of it being pathological – from the Republican to the Democrat column. Now, who has one the election?

    Now, ask yourself why Mr. Gore, the VP of a popular administration, who should have been a shoo-in, lost his home state? And ask yourself, why West Virginia, a state peopled largely by low-end socioeconomic white coal miners, laborers, shop-keepers, farmers and small-businessmen – a core constituency of the “party of the people” – should have gone red instead of blue?

    Perhaps it was the gun-control plank of the campaign – the product of the left-leaning elitists of the party – that Mr. Gore had to carry through two states where hunting and firearms ownership are sacrosanct? Perhaps it was the elitists’s general contempt for fundamentalist religious expressions, expressions very widely held in these two states?

    That is what I mean by disparaging and dismissing electoral groups – not some plan based on a what one poster here brilliantly referred to as “economic triage.”

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  10. Flapsaddle

    Spot-on! Thank you for reenforcing the point. I hadn’t thought it to be so obtuse.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  11. AveryMoore

    Earth to Churlpat…

    “It’s not that the parties are writing off an electorate, they are putting their money into the areas where it can make a difference.”

    An amazing piece of psychiatric gymnastics, sport. Gotta agree with ‘pollchecker’ again.

    Churlpat, look. You are among friends, so put down that hookah pipe, untangle yourself briefly, and be open with us: you’re joking, right?

    Because this debate is not just a BS exercise in rationalizing a failed strategy of financial triage.

    What we’ve discussed is winning elections and how Democrats perversely sabotage their chances by following only their own high counsel – into a routine, ever so noble, Fool-For-A-Client fiasco.

    Time after time, full of self-congratulatory hubris, self-blinded Dems boldly march forward into a battle strategy which mindlessly commits them to losing elections.

    Undaunted by repeated failure they march on confidently (and publicly!) disdaining to engage voter majorities, or connect with people who would otherwise help by volunteering..

    The strategy of shunting money into areas they imagined they might “win” – has it worked?

    It worked brilliantly in 2000, did it?

    It led to another smashing triumph again in 2004, right?

    After ’06’ there was a whopping Senate majority of Dems, was there? See the problem with parsimony, yet?

    Withholding money, time and effort, which results in losing elections, is precisely “writing off an electorate.” Worse, the other team has all those juicy votes handed to them. And that my friend is dumb.

    This process publicly exposes a huge disconnect between a supposedly national party and the nation it wishes to lead. It sends an unsubtle message directly from the cash-register-obsessed politico – “Vote for Us! [if you’re from a Big State! Otherwise, who needs you?”]

    Call them uninformed but voters get offended.

    And not to be nosy but how did those Republicans take all those states from the Dems in the first place – other than by default?

    You think routinely abandoning a huge string of states is OK from the company bean-counter standpoint?

    OK then, back it up. Show us all how it worked!

    Was it a great shock when Obama blindsided the bejesus out of DNC Empress-in-waiting Hilary? Did he do so by doing exactly the opposite of what you and the DNC high command recommend?

    Did Obama deliberately target and take states that Hilary didn’t think mattered? By the time all the noses were counted and Hilary was losing badly, where could her team turn? Her strategy – the one so sensible to you – imploded.

    Obama got the populist point.

    And so do Republicans who spend time and money to capitalize on the DNC idiocy of offending voters. The GOP simply does not let it appear that they care whether a voter harvest might seem too strenuous or expensive: as long as it means they can win.

    It isn’t how Republicans tackle winning over voters that has torpedoed them – it’s what they do in office. The Dems just can’t figure out that they have to win big to show the voters what they can do. Instead of the main course they ask for table scraps. You can’t pitch a butler as a leader.

    Doubt it? Look at the poll numbers right now.

    Churlpat, your accounting-is-god viewpoint is D.O.A. Let it be buried.

    Decades ago, Einstein demolished your core argument – expecting the same failed experiment to succeed merely by repeating it… is just plain crazy.

  12. almandine

    I believe TJ’s argument is not about the numbers but about the political philosophy and collective voice of those who have been ignored that might be awakened and brought to bear on the process.

  13. Warren

    I, too, enjoy Jon Stewart.

    Just, don’t for a second think you’re getting unbiased news. Or even real news. It’s wonderful entertainment. I love it. Probably the best comedy show on TV.

  14. pollchecker

    It’s not that the parties are writing off an electorate, they are putting their money into the areas where it can make a difference.

    OK, upfront I don’t mean to be offensive, but I think that is total BS!

    Statistically speaking (and I can prove it) my state should be voting Blue all across the board. So why is it Red? Because the Dems decided 20 years ago, that it was a lost cause to the GOP…mostly due to the Bush family.

    As a result the ONLY time they come to my state is with their pocketbooks wide open to the very rich.

    So the average Joe in my state, unless they are Republican (which statistically is the MINORITY) are NOT represented on a consistent basis.

    As a result we see a consistent undervoting in the Dem base which is desperately needed in order to turn it around in my state.

    Interestingly enough, this pattern has statistically proven to be repeated in various states across the country.

    So I understand where the apathy comes from. I just dont’ agree with it because personally I believe that no matter how bad it gets, it is my only opportunity to make my voice heard by voting even if I am voting against someone instead of for someone.

  15. churlpat

    Mr Flapsaddle:

    The reality of the Electoral College is that there is not one election for President, there are 50 (51 actually, now that DC has 3 electoral votes), since each state’s electoral votes are awarded independently.

    So if you have state A, where no Republican has taken the states 13 electoral votes in 60-plus years, and always by 3 to 2 margins or better, there is no reason for the Democrats to make more than a token effort to win the electoral votes. And vice versa where there is a state that always votes Democrat by a wide margin.

    It’s not that the parties are writing off an electorate, they are putting their money into the areas where it can make a difference.

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if enough states subscribe to the popular vote thing that is getting a bit of traction. Can you imagine if all of the states joined in and said that they would allocate their votes to the candidate that took the national popular vote plurality? I’m not certain where this stands at the moment.

    By the way, When I said there were 51 separate elections, that’s not actually correct. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, use a tiered system where a single elector is chosen within each Congressional district and two electors are chosen by statewide popular vote. So in Nebraska there are three votes allocated at the Congressional district level and two votes for the winner of the statewide tally for a total of four elections. In Maine there are two Congressional districts, thus three separate elections. So there are actually 56 separate elections: 48 + 1 + 4 + 3.

    Churlpat — a plutarch by any name is still a plutarch

  16. acarponzo

    I am watching The Daily Show for my convention coverage. It is easier to take humor that chatty pundits laughing with and at each other. Ho Ho Ho your so right wing, Yuk Yuk Yuk your so left wing. Stewart provides intelligent humor with an edge. I also will be following to see how the two candidates fair on this real-time on-line open poll. While I am not sure what the numbers mean, I do think it is interesting to watch the counts keep going up. Who will break a million first?

  17. Flapsaddle

    Why does what passes for leadership in the so-called “party of the people” appear to have succumbed to the theories of left-leaning elitists? Where did the notion arise that these voters were unworthy of pursuit or were somehow intellectually or temperamentally incapable of understanding the fundamentals, much less the nuances, of the platform and the general philosophy?

    Perhaps if these know-it-alls had spent a fraction of the time trying to understand the motivations of these voters as was spent disparaging their beliefs and dismissing their electoral impact, the political landscape of the last two decades might slope somewhat differently.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  18. AveryMoore

    Democratic voter-harvesting is the only sport where the team’s coaches don’t believe in defense in depth.

    When the other side scores on the ground game? Hey! No big deal. Look how big California is!

    Perpetually behind on points they seem to wait until the fourth quarter and then throw a series of hail-marys at the end zone, hoping they can beat odds they’ve stacked against themselves.

    As you point out, for 20 years, mindlessly, they’ve created an ‘inclusion vacuum’- the message: we don’t really need your state to win. It’s high level strategy – you wouldn’t understand it.

    Which told rural and minority supporters and a huge pile of potential voters, go watch TV.

    And when the polls opened – damned if that wasn’t what they did!

  19. AveryMoore

    A contagion of fatalism?

    There’s a uniformity of opinion on this page that is remarkable for its gloom. It looks like something Samuel Beckett would write, starting with a sigh and:

    “Nothing to be done…”

    In his play this motif progresses, while two tramps wait for a mysterious stranger with a message about what to do.

    They agree. Let’s wait. Let’s conjecture. Let’s view the appalling spectacle. Your feet stink. Have a turnip.

    Has nothing much changed since Beckett wrote Waiting For Godot in 1948?

    I understood it to be a black comedy about The Inert. An early send up resembling Jon Stewart’s “Indecision” series. A listing of dim rationalizations for accepting the absurd and refusing to move past one fixed idea of The Solution and who would deliver it.

    Yet the same defeated theme persists here, now?

    Are people overestimating the usefulness of acting together to form a consensus in a democracy? Do they underestimate the chronic FUBAR which undermines tyrants?

  20. pollchecker

    I have to disagree with any who say that the MSM is doing a good job.

    I never said the MSM was doing a good job (nor did you imply that I said that either). What I said was that the MSM does talk about the issues or at least their version of what the issues are. Remember the MSM is some of the world’s richest people (even as defined by McCain). Do you really think they want to pay more taxes?

    Perhaps people would prefer to watch Friends or Seinfeld repeats because listening to these guys sometimes just makes one want to run screaming with hands full of hair (grin)

  21. Timr

    I have to disagree with any who say that the MSM is doing a good job. The corporate owned MSM does what feeds the bottom line. They pander to the “sound bite” pithy short statements that are rehearsed to make the candidate appear knowledgeable about a subject. They do not report nuance, they take words and sentences out of context in order to fit a preconceived objective. This is the state of our current MSM. Network “News” gives us 22 min every evening of news that they use to fit their agenda. Real news, hard news only takes up until the first commercial is aired, after that we hear happy news stories, soft stories that one might get while watching the Today Show or other morning programs. Censorship is real, it exists right now in the US. Not govt run censorship, but corporate censorship. They decide what news to feed you in order to shape your opinion. The Russia Georgia conflict is a prime example. You will not hear-except maybe in passing-that it was Georgia who actually started the war in expectation that the US would send troops to bail them out. No, one does not get the truth from the networks, and, after Mr Davis of the McCain campaign complained to NBC-and made sure that the letter was made available to every network-that the network was unfair to McCain, you can expect that in the future you will see only puff pieces on McCain. No one will be asking hard questions or demanding answers. But on Obama, whose good/negative stories are already running about 65% negative, you can expect more negative stories, while McCain whose good/negative story ratings were running 49% good, you can expect that number to increase.
    The reasons are many but they boil down to 1- most reporters are basically lazy, they would much rather repeat the daily republician talking points and the “sound bites” of McCain than the thoughtful, abet long, answers of Obama. 2-They will-or at least the editors and producers will-take Obama’s answers out of context and impugn everything that he says. Remember who ultimately will gain if McCain is elected. The multis will continue to loot the treasury thru no bid contracts, the Military-Industrial complex(the one that Ike warned about)will continue to get massive contracts for more and more expensive weapons systems that might or might not work, at any rate everyone will get millions in profits thru cost plus contracts. Big oil will continue to use the US military as their private army in order to try and regain the oil fields that they lost when countries kicked them out. The losers? We the people. Because 50% of the voters never look for news, they are the uninvolved, the couch potato, the sheeple. All hail the sheeple who will be the ones who decide who our next president will be.

  22. pollchecker

    That’s why the MSM does NOT usually discuss the candidates policy positions.

    I disagree. MSM was all over Senator Obama’s energy policy after his speech. They talked about it and compared and contrasted it with McCain. And the MSM has done the same on the issues that were talked about at Rick Warren’s forum as well. There are many examples of this.

    However, too many people are busy watching “Friends” reruns instead of the news and will rely upon the debates in Sept and October for their information.

    And in the end they will still vote emotionally not logically about the issues that are most important to them.

    As for why there is no activism. The biggest difference between now and then is the DRAFT. People stood up and said NO because they did not want to die for something they did not believe in. Today with the volunteer army, the only people dying are those dumb enough to enlist.

    Besides, today’s youth are the most ENTITLED group EVER in the history of our country. They believe they are entitled to whatever they want even if it means walking in front of a moving vehicle.

    Also in the 60’s there was not the threat of Guantanamo or something like it. Oh yes, you could go to jail for evading the draft but that is not the same as being whisked away in the dead of night to some place where you have no rights of any kind.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not afraid of going to jail for what I believe in as long as there is DUE PROCESS. But the way things are today, DUE PROCESS no longer exists because the Constitution and Bill of Rights are considered by some just a damn piece of paper. But that’s just my opinion…..(wink)

  23. old_curmudgeon

    Therein lies the rub: the political parties and their stooges in the MSM realize that the majority of Americans do not have the time nor wish to take the time to “search out other news sources and centers of debate…”

    They realize that the majority of Americans who will take the time to vote (usually around 40%-60%, sadly) will get their information from the sound bites and mudslinging carried wall-to-wall by the MSM. The majority of Americans now live off their short-term, back-of-the-cereal box memory. That’s why the MSM does NOT usually discuss the candidates policy positions. Too boring. Too drab. Doesn’t sell.

    The majority of Americans have decided to maximize their schedules leaving little time for stuff like searching out and trying to understand the policy stances of the latest batch of political saviors.

    The way the majority of Americans manage their time excludes stuff like trying to understand the guy running for office. They think, “we’ve had bad leaders before and we’ve survived”…so far.

    This is the way we’ve been trained to live. In the effort to maximize our lives we’ve left little time to take care of the political issues. It’s the way they (those that own us) want it to be, and stay. The less informed the American populace is the less blowback from poor or stupid policies.

    I mean, think about it…If the FBI had come out with such a poor excuse of a “slam-dunk” case against a dead scientist back before Mr. Everything is Fine started to massage the people, they would have been ripped apart by the press and the American people.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Peter Schumann this past weekend. Her husband is the founder and creative mind behind the Bread and Puppet Theater. Those of us who participated in anitwar parades and gatherings in the 60s and 70s remember the impact of the performances the B&P Theater made. They defined the antiwar activist movement in paper mache masks – very large masks.

    Mrs. Schumann gave the tour through the museum and afterward I asked her why there was no real activism today against the Iraqi and Afghani wars. Her response did not surprise me at my core.

    She said that people did not have the time nowadays to really care. It does not affect them, she says. In the 60’s, the military draft made it very pertinent to most people. Today, it directly affects maybe 300,000 people. The students today are not directly affected therefore there are no pressing reasons to “fight the establishment” nor take to the streets.

    She said she and Peter were saddened by the lack of concern by people over the issues today.

    I also am saddened. This is not the America I dreamt it would be like when I “grew up.” We’ve had it relatively easy and now we are paying the price for sitting back and enjoying the ride.

    They never told us in grade school or high school that nuturing a democracy would require that we actually do anything.

    It was all being taken care of for us.

    But, as always, that is just this old curmudgeon’s opinion…

  24. Warren

    If one just follows the commercial press, the reward is sound bites, flying mud, and zero substance.

    If one takes the time to search out other news sources and centers of debate (eg. this website) one will be rewarded.

    ALL news outlets have bias and an agenda, whether consciously acknowledged or not. That there is bias does not mean there is not substance.

  25. Lcoast

    Well, said, but this is one of those “chicken and egg” issues that cannot be resolved without substantial reformation of the media business. The one-two punch of Reagan’s repeal of the fairness doctrine and passage of theTelecom act under Clinton has made it impossible for the kind of fact-based campaign I think we all agree is preferable.

    What we’re getting now and for the foreseeable future is hardcore, unconstrained P&G-style brand advertising, which Republican understand and have mastered, while the Dems continue to believe that what sells is a cogent and nuanced policy argument. The past 30 years proves the Republican view more effective.

    What’s necessary will never happen. We need to restore the fairness doctrine as a condition of receiving and renewing an FCC license. These are our airwaves, not a license to mint money or spew propaganda from either side. Until and unless that happens, we’re going to get much more of the same.