Comments: Beliefs, What Beliefs?

Would it be too obvious to recapitulate that in the period from Goldwater to Reagan, movement conservatives did just what Moulitsas, whose goal seems to be majority-building, finds so weird?

Posted by Save the Oocytes at November 4, 2009 09:50 PM

Hi Bernard, StO,

Forgive me for blowing my own horn, but that's what I said this morning in the 11/02 comment thread regarding the Grayson campaign.

As far as Markos criticizing democrats for being unprincipled, he will reliably toe the line when the next election nears, if past behavior is any indication. He just wants to seem relevant and 'edgy' for the moment.

Meanwhile Arvin Hill and others have been making this observation for years, not just me. I wish that, like Zaphod Beeblebrox I could ask Kos, "hey earthman did you think of that all on your own?"

Posted by Jonathan Versen at November 4, 2009 10:12 PM

The amusing thing about liberals is that they commonly do both: sacrifice their principles *and* lose elections. It seems to me that many have become way too cocky since last November, under the impression that the Democrats did well because they were so good, rather than because the Republicans were so bad.

Posted by Duncan at November 4, 2009 10:38 PM

what duncan said

Posted by N E at November 4, 2009 10:50 PM

I thought this was an excellent example of Jon's "Iron Law of Institutions".

Posted by saurabh at November 4, 2009 11:19 PM

Jonathan Versen is rolling in the hoopy there!

Posted by almostinfamous at November 4, 2009 11:31 PM

...sacrifice their principles...

The main liberal principle (see "Rawls") is to seek the widest consensus possible, of all the political forces present. That is was "liberal" means. "Liberal" doesn't have its own content.

The only way they can sacrifice their principles is if they refuse to negotiate with Joe Lieberman or John McCain or some such.

Posted by abb1 at November 5, 2009 02:00 AM

These conservative activists are approaching things differently -- they'd rather lose general election races than make gains in Congress with (in their eyes) less-than-perfect Republicans. That's a weird way to build a majority.

How's that supermajority working out for you, Hoss?

I assume the public option just soared right through the senate.

Democrats have embraced the lesser of two evils approach to politics with incredible thoroughness; they see it not as one approach to our fucked up electoral system, but as the ONLY legitimate approach.

If Scozzafava is going to work against your interests, why the fuck should you vote for her?

But it's missing two important facts: the first is that the anger is legitimate.

What the heck does that mean? What would be an example of illegitimate anger?

Posted by Christopher at November 5, 2009 02:27 AM

Rawls was a dumb motherfucker who spent too much time listening to NPR, and now he's dead.

Posted by John Locke at November 5, 2009 04:18 AM

Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, dude, at least it's an ethos.

Posted by Walter at November 5, 2009 05:14 AM

I question whether the teabaggers are in fact "a political movement that would rather lose an election than its principals." This post --

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/sorry-charlie-by-digby-it-would-appear.html

-- links to some pretty compelling evidence that this "movement" isn't much more than a kabuki act bought and paid for by the real Republican establishment.

Chazelle is right that some of the anger has legitimate roots. But some of it really is just stupid crap. Chazelle is startlingly clearheaded a lot of the time, but in this case I think his impatience with received-wisdom liberals is leading him to romanticize something that actually has a lot less to do with "principles" than he thinks it does.

Posted by Patrick Nielsen Hayden at November 5, 2009 08:03 AM

The margin was only 4%. Hoffman did have an enormous media force behind his losing campaign, but he was also a doofus who didn't live in the district or have any clue about it. Essentially, it's like Club for Growth picked an uncharasmatic version of W and put him up for the seat and nearly won, despite there being a relatively competent R in the race (who wasn't under their thumb).

Posted by darrelplant at November 5, 2009 10:13 AM

I think one of Richard Viguerie's lessons to his flock was that sometimes it's better to lose an election. The ideologues who control the right wing of the GOP have a long-term plan and agenda.

Movement or kabuki act, legitimate anger or stupid crap? What's with all the either/or thinking? There's plenty of all of it! Every kind of fascism in the past had plenty of kabuki act, and plenty of stupid crap too, which caused others to take it too lightly.

Stupid crap and kabuki act are the real strength of the teabagger "movement" and help explain why Glen Beck does so well despite being a moron. That doesn't mean it isn't a movement or isn't based on real anger. People would rather watch paint dry than listen to a speech about policy by John Kerry or Michael Dukakis or Walter Mondale or Poppy Bush or Bob Dole because there wasn't enough kabuki act.

Populism is growing because the conditions that create it are growing. That populism has to become something. If the Dems don't do something with it, the Beck/Limbaugh crowd will.

Posted by N E at November 5, 2009 10:55 AM

The anger is real enough, and it exists in virtually all segments of "the People."

The main reason why left/lib anger isn't on as high degree of display as that of the Teabab/tenth/birth rabble is that to express it, we'd robably have to hang around with those asswipes and fucktards, and we won't on principle...

Posted by Woody at November 5, 2009 11:14 AM

I think one of Richard Viguerie's lessons to his flock was that sometimes it's better to lose an election. The ideologues who control the right wing of the GOP have a long-term plan and agenda.

The "right-wing" agenda is not exactly synonymous with that of the Owners/Oligarchs/Aristos, but it is close enough that is is plausible to aver that THAT agenda has been developing since Edouard Bernays got together with Wooderow Wilson to drive America into WW I...

Posted by Woody at November 5, 2009 11:18 AM

Here are the "principles" that matter to "liberals" --

1) disparage Rethugs
2) criticize Repugnicans
3) vilify teabaggers
4) scathe rednecks
5) exult Democrats
6) apologize for Democrats
7) ignore when Democrats behave like Rethugs, Repugnicans, teabaggers, rednecks
8) perpetuate the Repub vs Dem charade as if its continued existence is paramount to the survival of all mankind

At bottom, the most important thing to a "liberal" or "progressive" is being NOT A REPUBLICAN. How shallow and bitter, to define one's self only by what one is not.

Posted by the anti-federalist at November 5, 2009 12:08 PM

This is the third time in a week I have found nothing to disagree with in N E's posts. Worrisome.

Posted by empty at November 5, 2009 12:26 PM

Movement or kabuki act, legitimate anger or stupid crap? What's with all the either/or thinking? There's plenty of all of it! Every kind of fascism in the past had plenty of kabuki act, and plenty of stupid crap too, which caused others to take it too lightly.

Precisely. Liberals/lefties seem to be especially concerned with people's "heart of hearts", and when it comes to the right wing, they think what passes for analysis is dismissing Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, et al, as frauds who don't really believe what they claim to believe.* WHO GIVES A FUCK? All that really matters is that there is an audience that very much believes it, and it doesn't change a goddamned thing whether the spokespeople of that audience are motivated by pure insanity or money-grubbing cynicism. But leave it to a thousand bloggers to keep harping on this utterly academic footnote as if it means anything.

*Hey, it turns out GWB really did believe all that lunatic religious fundamentalist shit after all! Goodness me! I was assured by urbane, cosmopolitan academics that no one in a position of power could ever believe anything so ludicrous!

Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.

Honest. This isn’t a joke. The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion. Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

Posted by . at November 5, 2009 01:28 PM
At bottom, the most important thing to a "liberal" or "progressive" is being NOT A REPUBLICAN. How shallow and bitter, to define one's self only by what one is not. Posted by: the anti-federalist at November 5, 2009 12:08 PM

There must be something in the DNA of some folks that prohibits the appreciation of irony...or even its recognition.

Posted by Woody at November 5, 2009 02:29 PM

"This is the third time in a week I have found nothing to disagree with in N E's posts. Worrisome."

GAA (giggled almost audibly)

Yeah, me too. Well, I haven't been keeping count, but that's my feeling.

Posted by Donald Johnson at November 5, 2009 03:23 PM

My mind is being controlled by aliens via microwaves.

Posted by N E at November 5, 2009 03:32 PM

Woody wrote:

"THAT agenda has been developing since Edouard Bernays got together with Wooderow Wilson to drive America into WW I..."

--I would think that somebody who goes by "Woody" would know that Woodrow Wilson didn't "get together with" anybody "to drive America into WWI." Geez. Poor Woodrow Wilson is never going to get to stop rolling over in his grave.

Let's give Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, Ralph van Deman, Robert Lansing, Edwin House, Charles Evans Hughes, General George Pershing, every admiral in the United States Navy, JP Morgan, Thomas Lamont, William Donovan, Ambassador Zimmerman, the DuPonts, the Rockefellers, and oh so many more people credit where credit is due.

I hope empty and Donald Johnson feel better now.

Posted by N E at November 5, 2009 03:44 PM

A nice enough article except for one thing: conservatives don't have principles.

Unless "loyalty" is counted as a principle there really is nothing that right wing conservatives have at their core.

Posted by DavidByron at November 5, 2009 05:16 PM

Hey DavidByron: What was the name of that method of pushing the whole political debate in one direction by taking an extreme position? I can't think of it or an easy enough way to look it up again.

Posted by N E at November 5, 2009 05:24 PM

Movement or kabuki act, legitimate anger or stupid crap? What's with all the either/or thinking? There's plenty of all of it!

It's funny, really; The conservatives suddenly realized that raucous dissent has a long, important history in this country and is one of the most important parts of democracy, and at the same time, the liberals realized that the President deserves some respect purely on the basis of his office, and that you can't have a debate about policy unless everybody is calm and respectful. And then I think the liberals sold their hair to buy the conservatives a watch fob.

This idea of "legitimate" anger is still a bit odd to me. Racists, idiots, and nutjobs still get to vote. What's the idea? That Tea Party attendees are all corporate shills who are all going to stay home on election day?

Posted by Christopher at November 5, 2009 06:27 PM

"I hope empty and Donald Johnson feel better now."

Nah, I'm just bored. Conflicts between dead white elites don't excite me much.

Posted by Donald Johnson at November 5, 2009 06:56 PM

N E: moving the "Overton window"

Posted by Save the Oocytes at November 5, 2009 06:57 PM

Markos or Beck; who would you rather have a conversation with? How about which one would be a better high school teacher?

Posted by Murfyn at November 5, 2009 08:07 PM

"My mind is being controlled by aliens via microwaves."
Posted by N E at November 5, 2009 03:32 PM

That's what the aliens WANT you to think.

Its Thought Insertion through Telepathy!

You're wife is a reptilian shapeshifter!

The truth is out there!!!

Posted by Nikolay Levin at November 5, 2009 08:55 PM

tks save the Oocytes

Posted by N E at November 5, 2009 09:00 PM

So I go over to daily kos for the first time in a long while and I see this from Markos.

"And really, what the fuck is the DSCC doing begging for money to protect a majority that hasn't done shit? We're supposed to give to protect Joe Lieberman's ability to continue killing everything we stand for? Here's an idea -- pass good legislation, THEN ask for money to "protect the gains we've made". Right now, the DSCC and the Senate Dems can go fuck themselves -- a sentiment I will quickly and happily revise if and when they actually DO something good."

Does that count as a principled statement?

Posted by RobZ at November 5, 2009 10:18 PM

Man, I call bullshit. If democrats hadn't won the hell out of elections for the past two cycles, would we even be talking about health care reform, or measures to reduce carbon emissions? Also, since Obama got seated, most of kos's fire has been directed at the likes of Max Baucus and Harry Reid, precisely because right now the balance of political power is between corporate democrats and progressive democrats. Contributors like nyceve and slinkerwink have been relentlessly exposing and pressuring democrats who want to slide backward on behalf of insurers and big pharma. daily kos is fighting for a progressive agenda, you eggplant-head! What kind of site would casually dismiss an effort like that? Oh, I know - the kind of site that would attack Glen Greenwald for daring to suggest, a week into Obama's presidency, that it would make sense to wait until AFTER he made unprincipled decisions to criticize him for making unprincipled decisions. Go soak your feet.

Posted by tejanojim at November 5, 2009 10:35 PM

1. Rob Z is right, Tejano Jim is wrong. The purpose of a deliberately bad healthcare bill is to pat the lefties on the head and tell them to run along and not cause trouble while we give billions to the insurance companies.

2. anti-federalist, liberalism and the democratic party establishment are by no means mutually-inclusive and as the years go by the overlap(what little there is), diminishes on a regular basis. You are describing the democratic party, not liberalism, but I'm guessing you already know this.

Posted by John Locke at November 6, 2009 12:39 AM

a week into Obama's presidency, that it would make sense to wait until AFTER he made unprincipled decisions to criticize him for making unprincipled decisions.

your point being?

Posted by almostinfamous at November 6, 2009 01:10 AM

He'd made bad decisions before he got into office--picking Biden as his running mate was a strong indication of what he was probably going to be like. One could still hold out faint hopes that the Obamaphiles were right and that it was all part of his 11 dimensional chess game, but the smart money was on cynicism.

Posted by Donald Johnson at November 6, 2009 12:31 PM

"Oh, I know - the kind of site that would attack Glen Greenwald for daring to suggest, a week into Obama's presidency, that it would make sense to wait until AFTER he made unprincipled decisions to criticize him for making unprincipled decisions"-T

Let's see:

he voted for ratification of Patriot Act II, the Military Commisions Act of 2006, and the bill giving retroactive immunity to the telecoms for their participation in the illegal wiretapping of American citizens;

he rolled Rev. Jeremiah Wright under the bus for making what were essentially banal observations about American history and culture;

he voted for the Team Bush military appropriations AFTER the Dems took over both houses of congress in 2006 largely on the anti-war sentiments of the voting public;

he twisted arms on the Hill to convince recalcitrant members of congress to go against the will of their constituents in supporting the 700 billion dollar TARP giveaway to the Wall Street hustlers who destroyed the world economy;

and he stacked his cabinet with Clinton era retreads and Wall Street alums guaranteed to maintain the status quo in obvious contrast to the Hope & Change rhetoric of the campaign.

The Barockstar made these decisions BEFORE his inauguration. What part of all this did you miss?

Posted by Coldtype at November 6, 2009 02:26 PM

slow down, folks. i'm not defending obama or his record. yes, he did shitty things before he was elected, and i assure you i did notice. my point was to defend markos mousalitas, daily kos generally, and glen greenwald from the hate that sometimes gets dumped on them here. markos and greenwald are both doing their best to hold obama to the principles he run for president under. the health care bill isn't set in stone yet, and a lot of the good things in it are due to citizen pressure organized at daily kos. if those guys can't get a ticket to your leftist purity party, i'm not sure who can.

Posted by tejanojim at November 6, 2009 08:01 PM

Donald Johnson:

The smart money is ALWAYS on cynicism, but that's not too inspirational or motivating.

Posted by N E at November 7, 2009 12:24 AM

The Republicans have a Big Circus Tent, and the Democrats have the kind that you put over your house when you're gassing bugs - except they gas um.. principles?

Posted by LST at November 9, 2009 12:08 PM