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Will the last Democrat to leave office turn out the lights?

By Doug Thompson
January 6, 2010

Just ain’t a good time to be part of the party of the jackass.

Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan just joined a growing list of Democrats headed for the exits over in the House. They’re quitting. So is the Colorado Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.

A Democratic House member jumped ship over the holidays and became a Republican. Others, we are told, are considering a jump.

And those who choose to stay may lose their re-election bids, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

To steal an old line from songwrite/satarist Tom Lehrer, Democrats right now “feel like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.”

President Barack Obama’s approval rating with the public is below 50 percent and dropping. Public approval of Congress squats at an all-time low.

Democratic political strategists fear the party could face a disaster in the mid-term elections like the 1994 washout that put Republicans back in control of Congress.

In 1994, Democrats fogot their base and paid the price. It could happen again.

Writes E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post:

As they enter this difficult election year, Democrats seem ready to engage yet again in a debate they never seem to tire of: whether winning demands “moving to the center” or “mobilizing the base.” If they get stuck on this, they’re in for a very bad time.

The simple truth is that in midterm elections, no party can win without its base because turnout is lower than in presidential elections. Those who do vote are more committed to their parties and their ideological priorities.

Behind the 1994 Republican midterm sweep was a dispirited Democratic base unhappy about the failure of heath-care reform, grumpy about the economy and badly split over the North American Free Trade Agreement, for which President Bill Clinton pushed so hard. While Democrats stayed home, Republicans mobbed the polls and won races all the way down the ballot. It’s the midterm rule: No base, no victory.

The health care “reform” bill that comes out of Congress in the next month or so will do little to satisfy the Democratic base. It won’t make independents or moderates happy either. The only people who seem to like the health care bill are the industry lobbyists who wrote it.

Obama, who rode into office on a tidal wave of public discontent and hope for real change in Washington, could leave it mired in the quicksand of business as usual, swallowed up by a system that proved, once again, impossible to change.

So far, Obama hasn’t been up to the job. Neither has Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi or Nevada casino bagman Harry Reid. Reid is so out of touch with his Democratic Senators that Dodd and Dorgan didn’t tell him befor the news of their retirements leaked out.

Like Republicans in 1994 and 2000, Democrats were handed a golden opportunity by voters and blew it.

If they get blown out in November they will have only themselves to blame.

13 Responses to Will the last Democrat to leave office turn out the lights?

  1. keith

    January 6, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Once again, you’ve nailed it Doug!

    In the lead up to the 2008 election, I repeatedly made the comment that the Republicans and Democrats were simply two factions of the same “country club”.

    Nothing has changed.

    That is, unless and until ALL of these clowns are thrown out of office and replaced with a completely new set of entirely new faces, everything else will simply be another useless exercise in “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”. We will go on trading one set of corrupt politicians for another.

    Right now, we have too many lawyer-politicians writing too many self-serving laws supporting and enriching too many entrenched, self-serving (spelled “horrifically corrupt”) special interests.

    And nothing is going to fundamentally change in Washington unless and until we start electing people of integrity who absolutely can’t be bought.

  2. Sylvester

    January 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

    It happens sometimes, when people just get disgusted with what they are doing. A break will do them good, I guess.

  3. Carl Nemo

    January 7, 2010 at 12:30 am

    It’s too bad several hundred of them don’t offer us the same deal.

    Our representatives have become so corrupt that we probably could find more honorable men and women throughout our nation’s prison system than these characters who simply haven’t been charged and prosecuted for all the sneaky, criminally disposed deals they’ve pulled off over their years in Congress. They’re all responsible for damaging this nation mightily in the past thirty years or so.

    Gentlemen, don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. elemming

    January 7, 2010 at 3:46 am

    So with more Republicans then Democrats retiring it is somehow a Democratic mass exodus?

    Boy, the RNC sure knows how to frame a story.

    So far 6 Republican Senators will not be returning and 14 Representatives.

    Republicans also lead in governors not running for reelection.

     

    ~ ~ ~ ~ Gary D

  5. Doug Thompson

    January 7, 2010 at 9:00 am

    So, you join here five hours ago and immediately conclude that we publishing Republican spin. Perhaps if you spent a little more time investigating our site you might find that we treat all parties with equal disrespect.

    But that would get in the way of your shallow drive-bys.

  6. griff

    January 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I was driving by Fort Stanwix the other day and saw a man standing on the side of the road with a hand-written sign that read, “Remove all politicians in 2010.”

    I honked my horn and gave him a thumbs up. As he smiled back and returned the gesture, a chorus of horns began as traffic passed him by.

    The natives are restless. 

  7. AustinRanter

    January 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    The Perpetual Game of Partisan Ping Pong Politics

    I have a metaphorical perception of the relationship between the electorates and political parties, which resembles the game of ping pong.

    The electorates have been playing an endless game of “Two-Party Ping Pong”.  It’s the only game in town. 

    The Parties’ Game Promoters continually bait the electorates with promises of colossal payoffs for the winner of the game. 

    As a provision of the game by-laws, the Party Game Promoters must make sure that the electorates exercise their duty under the by-laws, which is to pay a substantial entry fee in order play the game. To inspire the electorates to readily accept their cost to participate in the game and put forth their best performance, the Party Promoters ensure the electorates that the benefits from paying the entry fee will outweigh the cost. 

    The electorates are repeatedly told that for sake of the protecting the institution of the game and the parties who reside over it, they must exhibit an undying devotion to the Party that they respectively represent in the game, and be willing to sacrifice blood, toil, and tears in the process.

    As the game advances, the battles between the opposing electorates have been, and are fierce and even savage like.  The Party Promoters sit comfortably in their box seats high above the playing field observing the game.  However, the game is frequently interrupted by the Party Promoters to remind the players that regardless of the hardships that they must endure in the pursuit of victory, they can’t give up, the game must go on.  

    Just as victory appears to be within reach, the Party Promoters quickly step in and protract the game by increasing the winning game points needed to triumph.  Despite the electorates’ disappointments, losses of life and resources spent to play the game, they feel the abiding need to prove their faithfulness to the Parties. The electorates press on in the never-ending game to ensure that the image, integrity, and honor of Parties are forever preserved.  

    The electorates refuse to accept the reality that keeping score in a never-ending game doesn’t matter.  In the face of a very long history of empty or broken promises and the purse of the game being purloined by the Parties for whom they give their commitment…the electorates still believe that their victory is but a volley away. 

    I still believe that the American citizens should embark on the serious task of inspection and consideration of the merits of a “unicameral system of government”.

    Thanks….Gregg

     

     

  8. Senegoid

    January 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    “Remove all politicians in 2010.”

    In the best of possible worlds the above sounds about right.

    I’ve been going a long time now and along the way have learnt some stuff about prostitutes, er politicians.

    In general those who aspire to political office and the related power games (ping pong included) should be immediately disqualified from holding office.

    These types are not of sound mind, and those who are will be quickly corrupted by a system underpinned by the corruption and filth or self interest. It’s a type of “Gresham’s” dynamic where the bad guys push out the good guys.

    Most decent and reasonable people I know would never dream of becoming a prostitute, er politician – for to gain and hold office they would have to betray their values, the people they respect, and a country they love.

    I find it infinitely sad that politics is a game for the cynical, egocentric, narcissist and down right corrupt, rather than ordinary fair minded and socially responsible human beings.

    It would appear that the time is ripe for an alternative party. Wouldn’t it be great if it were a party of human beings instead of politicians?

    A party that refused to manipulate the minds and imaginations of the people for cynical reasons – a party that was transparent and told the truth. A party that put America first and Wall St et al in its place.

    But in this day and age such a party would instil terror into the sick and twisted souls of the powers that be – they would find a way to declare it a terrorist organisation, freeze party funds and round up the leaders. Nevertheless it appears if Americans want to reclaim their democracy a third party would probably be the best course of community action.

    PS. my apologies to prostitutes, it was a poor comparison for in general prostitutes are far more decent and honest than most politicians.

     

  9. AustinRanter

    January 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t know how many times I’ve been so angry with the state of our political parties and government.  Nearly every time I’m about to blow… the first solution I can think of is to make a bold statement with a very clear message by firing all incumbents in Washington.

    But as I take a few deep breaths and try to calm down…I always go back to “We have to Fix whats broke in the system”. 

    I won’t take long for predator lobbyists and/or special interest to converge on all of the new members and corrupt them with 2 irresistable offers.  One is information that they can’t get any other way.  The other is money. Without those two…they have no power. 

    As much as we’d like to believe that there are at least 550 honest people left in this country who could perform the tasks that genuinely are in the best interest of our nation and the general welfare of the citizens…we are kidding ourselves.

    Like in Iran, America has its own Mullah.  They decide who will or won’t be in office because they hold the power and purse strings to manipulate primary and general election outcomes.  Our Mullah is made of of powerful corporations who mold and shape both individuals and the process.   Under the cloak of of being called Special interest, PACs, etc…these corporations are the financial backbone that creates the rock star image that a politician needs to get in office.

    So no matter who the new kid on the block is…they still owe their souls to the country store.

    All elections, primary and general, must be financed only by the people.  We have to remove the deep pocket machines that control who we have in office.

    How do we manage the relationships between lobbyists and our elected officials?  Once in office…there’s almost no stopping politicians from being infected by the power allure that is dangled in front of them on a daily basis by powerful lobbyist.

    As we speak today about this topic…a recent article came out about how lobbyists have discovered a new way to beat current transparency laws that lobbyists should be complying with…tsk, tsk, tsk.  They now sell very exclusive and expensive subscriptions to a newsletter to major corporations.  These exclusive subscriptions provide the same core information and elements provided by lobbying groups and they fall under the radar of the current laws.  So there’s no need to be concerned about transparency laws.

    Lobbyists aren’t going away…and they’ll be like cockroaches and survive even the clever of enacted legislation.

    Our system has profound problems that if we continue to treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease that causes the symptoms…then all that we do will be an exercise in futility.  And that includes firing every single incumbent.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  10. griff

    January 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct. – Thomas Jefferson

    At least prostitutes have a marketable product. 

  11. Warren

    January 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Yeah. So here’s my dilemma. And I’m seriously asking for this group’s take on it.

    I could run for U.S. Senate this year, on the Libertarian ticket in Arizona. I’ve run before – congress three times, state legislature once, and Phoenix city council once. Of course, running as a Libertarian there’s no chance what-so-ever of being elected. The purpose is not to get elected but to get out a message. That message has always been something like ‘These guys are crooks. We need less government, not more. Here’s why …’. I get equal time on the TV, newspapers, etc.

    This time I’d be running against John McCain and whatever sucker the Democrats convince to run. It’s a truly wonderful opportunity to deliver a message.

    The problem is twofold: First, what’s the message? “These guys are crooks”, again? Heck, everybody’s got that message now. Thick as our electorate is, I think they’ve finally got the message.

    Second is, frankly, I’m getting tired of running for office. No chance of winning, and it’s really a lot of energy that goes into it. Both physically and psychologically. But, I feel deeply that keeping a 3rd party perspective in full front view of the electorate is important.

    So, help me out here. Is it worth it?

    —W—

  12. Carl Nemo

    January 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Hi Warren,

    So, help me out here. Is it worth it? …extract from post

    ***

    Planning and strategy are the most important aspects of winning a campaign. You also need “fire in the belly” with defeat not being part of your mindset…period!

    Of course, financial backing is very important too, but not necessarily the defining factor.

    I thought I’d supply a Wiki link concerning “The Independent Party” which has a nice chart showing the major to minor parties in American politics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Independent_Party

    As a rule Independent Party candidates don’t do well in American politics with only three candidates havng won office to date and none of them of major consequence. Ron Paul ran as such in 1988 and didn’t do all that well.  Americans have been conditioned to settle for a two party system.

    Unfortunately it seems the only way a candidate is going to make it through the front door is through an affiliation with the big boys; ie., the Republicans or Dems. To me, the heads side of the coin is the Republican party with the Dems tails. Right now the Democratic party image isn’t doing all that well so it would be an uphill battle trying to sell yourself as a party affiliate. The Republicans will recover seats in 2010-2012 with the possibility of a successful presidential contender for the 2012 election.

    I’m supplying a Wiki link about Dr. Ron Paul which is an excellent outline concerning his background and political career.

    You might consider “Liberty Caucus” a group of Republican Congressmen that share Ron Paul’s ideals and views concerning smaller government, reestablishing the gold standard or at least a currency linked to specie. I’m supplying a link to a .pdf showing the “Liberty Caucus” compact. You might consider contacting them and take a position supporting their goals and run against John McCain as a Republican with a “Liberty Caucus” endorsement and support.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul

    Their address is: Republican Liberty Caucus Political Action Committee, 44 Summerfield Street, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.

    You should sign the Liberty Caucus compact and send them a resume of your past attempts at campaigning and express your goals and hopeful support during your campaign and if elected your support of their collective goals. 

    http://www.rlc.org/Library/OrgDocs/LibertyCompact.pdf

    So if you meet wealthy, connected, Senator McCain on the field of battle, you’ll virtually be a David confronting a Goliath in politics.

    John McCain is old and his mental faculties are failing. Also his constituents in Arizona are fed up with the guy no differently than Senator Harry Reid’s-Dem constituents in Nevada. Different parties, but same syndrome; ie, operating under the same failing paradigm of politics as usual in order to support shadowy corporate agenda.

    You’ll have to study every aspect of your opponents life, his accomplishments his failures and whatever dirt he’s picked up on his shoes throughout his career such as the “Silverado Loan” scandal, his mishandling of POW inquires etc. Although his military record has some questionable aspects, its best to stay away for the issue because perceived heroism is sancrosanct to uninformed Americans. There are no Marquis of Queensberry rules in politics. John McCain will get down and dirty if necessary, so you best be squeaky clean if you are to both confront and defeat him. You’ll have to surround yourself with folks that want the same thing in government you want and the idea you will be there to support them and not special interests. Although running as a Republican you can promise that you will not pull an Obama on them once in D.C. ; ie., promise much and deliver nothing.

     A campaign cannot be won by simply slinging dirt so you have to get into the heads of the electorate on all sides not just Republican and Democratic to find out what they want out of D.C. Questionaires are good for this on line or by mail. They need to be asked if they want smaller government, the dissolution of the Central bank, the return to a gold standard, the termination of biased trade treaties etc. Also Arizona has a large Hispanic community, so the question of legal immigraton is going to be in the forefront for sure.  You need their vote to win. The ideal candidate should not be “leading them”, but representing them and to do so by drawing a distillate of their opinions then acting in a responsible fashion to hopefully satisfy their needs.

    Tackling a long term, Senatorial contender is a monumental undertaking without having deep pocket supporters etc. It’s easier to run for a Congressional District Reps office because you are dealing with a reasonable territory and number of constitutents. So that’s something to consider. You have a chance of running every two years for a Congressional slot, whereas every six years for a Senate seat with possibly a better chance of success. You also have your experience base which is important in that you’ve run for office before. First have a sound plan, then execute the plan. Good Luck!

    Carl Nemo **==

  13. woody188

    January 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Do it Warren and I’ll tell my whole family in AZ to vote for you if they can.  There needs to be good people to challenge the corrupt system.  And McCain is ripe for the picking as he is losing his mind.

    Besides, if it was futile, the Whigs and Know Nothings (American Party) would have never came to any power.  Timing is everything and I’ve never seen so many so upset with the US Federal Government than they are today.