Poll: 2010 Promises Democratic Losses Due To “Enthusiasm Gap”

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A new weekly tracking poll by Research 2000 for the Daily Kos brings some truly bad news for Democrats and good news for Republicans: as President Barack Obama’s overall poll numbers continue to decline, there is a notable difference in the “enthusiasm gap” between the two parties — which suggests that 2010 could be a big year of GOP gains as angry Republicans flock to the polls and disappointed or angry Democrats decide to teach their party a lesson and stay home.

Full details are HERE
but here is the relevant section of the poll and post:
But a bigger indicator of peril comes from a new survey question added the DK tracking poll for the first time this week. The poll now includes a rather simple indicator of baseline voter enthusiasm for the year 2010. The question offered to respondents is a simple question about their intentions for 2010:

QUESTION: In the 2010 Congressional elections will you definitely vote, probably vote, not likely vote, or definitely will not vote?

The results were, to put it mildly, shocking:

Voter Intensity: Definitely + Probably Voting/Not Likely + Not Voting

Republican Voters: 81/14
Independent Voters: 65/23
DEMOCRATIC VOTERS: 56/40

Two in five Democratic voters either consider themselves unlikely to vote at this point in time, or have already made the firm decision to remove themselves from the 2010 electorate pool. Indeed, Democrats were three times more likely to say that they will “definitely not vote” in 2010 than are Republicans.

This enormous enthusiasm gap, as well as some polling analysis done by PPP (and analyzed well here by Nate Silver), seems to make passing legitimate health care reform an absolute political necessity for Democrats. This polling data certainly should be something for Congressional leadership to consider, as they move along the legislative path.

You could see this one coming a mile behind the currrent road. In recent weeks, many on the left have been talking about how if there is no public option they’ll sit out the election. Others have said that if Obama asks for substantially more troops for Afghanistan they’re ottathere for 2010.

This fits into a decades-long pattern with post 1960 Democrats in elections. To be sure, there are no hard and fast rules in politics — no absolutes and there are exceptions. But generally you can say this:

  • Republicans are better at unifying during elections and putting some differences aside to vote for their party. As GOPers shun or excommunicate Republican moderates from their party, the cohesiveness of the GOP vote can be expected to be greater among conservatives and even some center-right Republicans. The question is what happens to voters who were/are more moderate Republicans who feel marginalized and disrespected. Will the present incarnation of the Democrats gain their votes? Will GOP moderates think of “Democrats” meaning the more progressive Congressional Democrats or the more centrist Obama?
  • There has been a pattern with Democrats over the years, particularly Democratic liberals (now called progressives since the word liberal was co-opted as a negative word by Republican critics and liberals did not fight to defend its meaning and virtues). Democrats will get all fired up about a new political era dawning but if there are serious bumps in the road some will decide to teach their party a lesson and stay home next time. Then the Democrats lose and spend the next few years expressing shock about Republican policy on environment, judicial appointments, the overall focus of foreign policy, and other issues. They decide to teach themselves a lesson but if they lose seats in Congress or the White House they are taught a lesson: elections (even if you don’t like everything your party does in power) have consequences.
  • Some Democrats seem to forget how difficult it has been for its party to win national elections and regain the White House once they’ve lost it. They will say “what difference does it make,” until the Republicans get the levers of power. Key elections Democrats won in the past few decades involved the creation of winning coalitions which means aggregating interests and short-term compromise to get key policies passed (the argument is that you can go back and fine tune a policy later but first get the basic bones of it on the books). The conventional wisdom is that neither Democratic liberals nor 21st century conservatives can win elections by themselves. But a caveat to that is: it is possible if the other side stays home or votes for the other party to teach its own party a lesson (and if you add to the mix a time of multi-pronged crises with voters unhappy about goverments’ overall abilities to fix problems).
  • “Moderate” is now a dirty word in both parties. So which party’s dominant faction (the Democratic liberals or the Republicans’ 21st century talk radio political culture conservatives) will likely to be less disappointed in its party and get out the vote in 2010?
  • Once Obama announces his Afghanistan policy next week (which most reports suggest will ask for 30,000 to 40,000 more troops and talk about an end game to this war) look for the Democrats to splinter further. Even look for an acceleration in anti-war protests hearing further into 2010, towards the mid-term elections. Indeed, Obama could find that on Afghanistan policy his support comes from GOPers and not from many in his own political party.

    If present trends continue (particularly if health care reform either dies by the end of the year or is booted towards 2010 and doesn’t get voted on until February or March) these trends are likely to continue. The GOP should shoot itself in the foot if exclusionary rhetoric makes moderates of both parties fear it more than the Democrats.

    But at this point if you put all of this together, and factor in the Democrats’ history of teaching their party a lesson by allowing Republicans to win elections by staying home at the polls or voting for third party candidates when they’re angry at their party over a key issue or two, just which party do you think might not be jumping the gun if it sends someone to measure the drapes in Congressional offices and put in a few orders now?

    47 Comments

    1. Republican angry is *loud* and just getting a lot of attention. But *real* people are angry, too. The enthusiasm gap is sure to close before elections.

      http://bit.ly/5K4TIZ

      (satire)

    2. If economic times were better, people would forget about what having a republican “represent” them meant. But since there is such a gigantic catalog of clips where republicans thumb their noses at the ever-growing masses of poor, rendered that way by GOP malignant policies and illegal war, all it would take is a clever editor and some time in front of a PC to develop ads for hopeful dem candidates.

      I mean there must be like what, thousands of hours of footage to choose from? Like I said, people are hurting and all it will take is a reminder of why they are at the critical hour..

    3. Is there a surprise here?

      Most Liberals would have wanted a single payer health-care system, instead of coming to the table with a single payer system and then negotiating down to a powerful public option with highly regulated insurance companies, the democrats show up with a weak public option and negotiated that away.

      Most Labor supporters wanted “The Employee Free Choice Act” passed, still not the law or even close to being the law.

      Most Gay right supporter wanted to see “Don't Ask Don't Tell” to be eliminated, despite broad public support for getting rid of that law, Democrats still haven't found the intestinal fortitude to do it.

      And I won't mention the massive give-aways to Wall street…

      When comes election time, all those fine Democrats come and ask for our support, our money and our vote, once they get o DC, they forget who elected them and why…

    4. Perhaps much of the problem comes from the Dem leaders and advisors to consistently and exclusively focus in on how insane Repubs are. First it was Limbaugh and talk radio, Cheney and his blathering, more Limbaugh, the Tea Partiers, the birthers, Bachman, and now Palin. The point is that the Dems just seem to be saying “at least we're not as crazy as them”, all the while not managing to really accomplish anything other than lip service to the folks who elected them. The only motivation to show up at the ballot box is to vote against one party rather than for the other. If that's “teaching the party a lesson”, then I suppose its time to gear up for another several years of mindless partisanship.

    5. If there were a competition, in the spirit of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, for the most obtuse and historically inaccurate piece of commentary prose, I do not believe I could construct a better entry than this:

      “… Democratic liberals (now called progressives since the word liberal was co-opted as a negative word by Republican critics and liberals did not fight to defend its meaning and virtues)…”

      Mr. Gandelman appears thoroughly ignorant of any use of “liberal” prior to the FDR administration. It is, indeed, the statist left that co-opted this term and contorted it until it bore no resemblance to its original meaning. Several tenets of classical liberalism, such as property rights and the importance of individual freedom, are antithetical to the left wing of the Democratic Party — and not especially popular at the party's center.

      Even the Civil Rights Movement, the one period where classical and left liberalism powerfully coincided, has deteriorated into identity politics, corporate shakedowns, and “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.

      This post underscores the political incoherence of TMV: not the chatter of a diverse internet hub, but the prattle of people who confuse soft leftism with a principled platform that would appeal to the majority of a center-right nation.

      I can depend on TMV to serve up at least one howler per week. This is one of your best of 2009.

    6. Balthar — the change of “liberal” from its classic meaing (which is now provided by “libertarian,” as firm rule) occurred in the later 19th century during the beginnings of social upheaval after the Civil War with the fruition of the Industrial Revolution and the urbanization of society. Some of us do know that, well. (The change goes far beyond disenchantment with laissez-faire, and includes the “fatal conceit” that “society” can reengineer and plan and perfect everything in the economy and society, if we consent.)

      The rest of what you have to say is bulletproof and nuclear hardened, though I'd view other howlers this year as possibly better. (Look at the material that's been provided about Palin and Prejean, for example, as well as Beck and Limbaugh, and the continued Bush-bashing a year and more after the election, too.)

      * * *

      “The point is that the Dems just seem to be saying “at least we're not as crazy as them”, all the while not managing to really accomplish anything other than lip service to the folks who elected them.”

      That's part of it — ironically, manipulating the GOP into negligeability while saying they're the Party of No (while the Dems have obstructed reform of entitlements and other things for several years, and still do).

      The other part of it has been exemplified by Don Q. here, but is widespread — the far lefties are impatient and upset; even though this year the Dems have gone too far left, and rushed too quickly to do too much too far to the left (to the point they began causing conflicts within themselves as well as put re-election in jeopardy as they offend the mainstream), the impatient, demanding, unrealistic far lefty “progressives” are never satisfied, and are viewing everything from an unrealistic vantage point (viewing health care “reform” from the standpoint of Medicare for All or “single-payer” [sic], as the best example; the other is the intellectually-devoid insistence on destructive, perverse, irrational “climate” energy-related political objectives in legislation). The Dems have gone too far left, too quickly, and yet the far-left critics are unsatisfied! (That they viewed the process all along as beginning from substantially compromised and deficient positions reveals their lack of realism and even rationality.)

    7. “once they get o DC, they forget who elected them and why…”

      Exactly. Well, sort of. A politician is currently elected either because they have the right letter after their name (D or R), or because they seem like a better choice than the other guy. The whole “mandate” idea is, at best, a weak generalization that's useful in speeches and justifications, but not anything concrete.

      People have been calling for a cleanup of Washington DC from both parties for a long time, but so far, politicians have delivered only rhetoric. Do you think that might be part of the problem?

    8. “Perhaps much of the problem comes from the Dem leaders and advisors to have consistently and exclusively focused in on how insane Repubs are.”

      Not all of us are distracted, no matter how they attempt to distract us. We've seen them rush too far left, too fast, and they've also been inept and improper. Was the “stimulus” (which morally and in other ways represents a huge bargain with the public and an enormous moral and economic risk undertaken) correctly done, and effective? No. Have the Dems been responsible fiscally? No — they've been far worse than anyone and anything before. (At least World War II had an underlying justification for all the spending and debt, and had real results in exchange for it.) Have the Dems been prudent as well as acting to “rescue the nation”? No, and in fact they've often done the opposite (increasingly so this year, until they foundered of their own accord).

      That they have irritated the impatient far leftists with lack of ill-defined and ill-sought “progress” and raised the risk of apathy or laziness (among people with a short attention span and perhaps a dearth of dynamism, and who share the mainstream view that the GOP can often be ignored, anyway these days) really isn't big news, even when the apathy proves to be something of a default or forfeiture of elections to a pathetic GOP. (OK, so they're impatient and have no persistence, as well as being unrealistic.)

      Short of ending the Duopoly and having proportional representation in multi-seat legislatures, the Green Party won't be viable and the far lefties are going to continue to be disappointed, even by Dems this year who have gone too far left, too quickly, for everyone else to accept. Until you get “PR,” it's time for some overdue patience, perserverence, realism, and rationality, for a real Change [tm].

    9. “People have been calling for a cleanup of Washington DC from both parties for a long time, but so far, politicians have delivered only rhetoric.”

      Well, there are two sides to it. There is the side of the politicians, who want power for power's sake (and fame and fortune), which is a subject in and of itself (and which is related to the libertarian thread that was just started elsewhere on this site). Then (which also affects that thread, but which I didn't address, along with general power-seeking, on that thread) there is the position of the public. For decades, many, if not most, of the public are perfectly happy with an ever-growing size and scope of the federal government, and the concept of a big government in general. (The explicit nature and details of constitutional federalism or different political philosophies don't matter at all to many people; who are either bored or annoyed by these subjects or at the mere mention of them.) It goes beyond, but it is well illustrated by, the popularity of government entitlements and other benefits that people perceive, while neglecting the costs (or viewing them as paid largely by others).

    10. Perhaps much of the problem comes from the Dem leaders and advisors to have consistently and exclusively focused in on how insane Repubs are. First it was Limbaugh and talk radio, Cheney and his blathering, more Limbaugh, the Tea Partiers, the birthers, Bachman, and now Palin.

      This started even further back, probably with Reagan but really was galvanized in 1994 against Newt Gingrich. Even when Democrats are in power they still seem to feel that just demonizing Republicans is enough reason to vote for them.

      There is a whole generation of Democrats that knows nothing else and that is reflected in the MoveOn/DailyKos bunch. In their political lifetimes they have no statesmen like Hubert Humphrey or Scoop Jackson as models, indeed moderate Democrats are demonized as well and lumped in with Republicans.

      The GOP has largely adopted the same strategy although as underdogs that strategy has a better chance of working.

    11. The white progressives thought they were getting a kindred spirit and nows have begun to realize that they elected a Chicago Machine politician who is about passing out government goodies and is so afraid of being blame for something that he refuses to make a policy proposal or a decision.

      My guess is that 2010 will see the Democrats in Congress voting on more apologizes for slavery, more entitlement spending, and more social engineering in the hopes of getting the level of non-white voter turnout that elected President Obama.

      David Axelrod will probably scour the country looking for articulate black and Hispanic politicians without a track record in order to help turnout and so that the Democrats can play the race card.

    12. Democrats are stupid. I mean so is the GOP, plus the GOP seems to have a more vested interest in making me go to church, their church, every Sunday, but Democrats are still idiots. Pelosi and Reid have been wallowing in the change in power as if they brought it about with action instead of just being handed the reigns because we were sick of Bush, war, deficits, wiretapping, prison without trial, and a few other things. Apparently they thought it was a mandate to govern without oversight or fiscal restraint and its really beginning to show. Maybe once they get kicked back to the woodshed they might think “hey, guys, you think this is happening because voters are paying attention?”

      Of course, its entirely possible the GOP does the same thing, mistake a bitchslapping of the current regime for approval of business as usual by their replacements, instead of what it is, the desparate plea from the American people for them to stop acting like jackasses.

    13. “At least World War II had an underlying justification for all the spending and debt, and had real results in exchange for it.”

      So have our bailouts. You might have noticed the banks are still open. That was at one point in serious doubt. We were closer to a total fiscal catastrophe than we have been since the end of the Great Depression and it was avoided. So lets not act like none of the money spent did any good.

    14. Jchem–

      With all due respect, the Republicans you're complaining about are putting themselves out there as leaders of the Republican party. And it seems to me that the Republicans are just putting out a bunch of distortions that do seem kind of insane.

      It's hard for me to believe that this is a recipe for victory.

      If there have been serious policy prescriptions put forward by leading Republicans, I've missed them. Perhaps you can point them out.

    15. GS, what you point out though is the problem. Right now the Repubs are insane, or at the very least, giving every indication that they are. But my beef isn't totally with them. Sure, I'd love to have a coherent minority party willing to help govern faithfully, but the fact is, we don't. At the same time though, I can't see how it does any of us any good to continually focus on them, because they aren't in power. Those who actually have the wheels of power, as DQ pointed out above, have done virtually nothing with it. Its too tiresome, at least for me, to everyday see another stupid Repub say something that somehow makes its way to the presses.

      With the sanity level portrayed right now by the Repubs, do you feel at all comfortable giving power back to them? People aren't going to vote for Repubs next time around, they're just going to vote against Dems. Given the lack of anything coherent from the Repubs, it should be enough to scare the hell out of everyone.

    16. Look, we can all agree that dems and the GOP have their flaws. The difference though between the two parties is that one has a heart and a desire to help others and the other doesn't. It's just that simple. Dems believe in loving their brother as themselves, by and large, in true actual christian form..meanwhile ironically many dems have turned their backs on “traditional christianity”. Then the GOP while daring to espouse “traditional christianity” [the worst punishments are reserved for those who use the Name in vain], is actually the party of “turn thy brother out to die if a profit can be made”.

      It's a topsy turvey world out there. I guess you could distill it to say that dems seem to place emphasis on the walk while the GOP seems to put emphasis on the talk. I'll be willing to bet that when push comes to shove [election 2010], people can be reminded of this in spades.

      “The rest of what you have to say is bulletproof and nuclear hardened, though I'd view other howlers this year as possibly better. (Look at the material that's been provided about Palin and Prejean, for example, as well as Beck and Limbaugh, and the continued Bush-bashing a year and more after the election, too.)”

      **********
      Bullets, nukes, Palin, Prejean, Beck and Limbaugh….let me guess DLS, you're a “moderate” right?…lol…

      As to Prejean and merely talking the talk. I noticed Hannity drooling all over her the other day. Isn't it weird how traditional christianity is thrown out the window when one wants to woo a pretty mindless blonde, who produced lewd sex tapes of herself. I'm trying to remember which sermon it was in church where the preacher spoke about how one should emulate someone like her?

    17. Jchem–

      Given the lack of anything coherent from the Repubs, it should be enough to scare the hell out of everyone.

      I presume that as the election draws nearer, this point of yours will become clearer.

      And it's hard for me to believe that scaring the hell out of everyone is a recipe for Republican victory.

    18. DaGoat, “Even when Democrats are in power they still seem to feel that just demonizing Republicans is enough reason to vote for them.”

      Yes and while Americans of both parties are down in the gutters pointing fingers at the other party at least we have a president who no longer demonizes the opposition party. Gone are the days when Bush called the Democrats “obstructionists” on a daily basis. Gone are the days when the GOP (when it was in power) refused to listen to the Democrats on any legislation. Obama may have won the election in part by putting the blame on Bush/Cheney, but that was all. Obama did not demonize Republicans as a group and instead has offered them places in his administration, even keeping some Bush appointees in place. As far as the Dems in Congress… even they let Republicans offer amendments to legislation, whether it's the stimulus bill back in Feb. or the healthcare legislation or anything else for that matter.

      So let's be clear that not everyone is trying to demonize the other party. I think it's to Obama's credit that he attempt to include Republicans in the process. Something Bush (and other Republicans when they had the power) never did.

    19. GS: And it's hard for me to believe that scaring the hell out of everyone is a recipe for Republican victory.

      I'm not saying this is a recipe for a Repub victory. The recipe for a Repub victory is for Dem supporters to stay home, as the original post brought up. It bothers me a bit to entertain the idea of passing any power back to Repubs given the state they're in. Didn't the Repubs just lose the last two cycles because many in their party “wanted to teach them a lesson”? What good will it do if they come back to power without having learned that lesson, whatever it may be? The Dems just need to do something to give people reason to keep them there. Telling voters that the other side is just plain nuts isn't going to do it.

    20. GS, I really can't find anywhere on this thread that I disagree with anything you've posted. I probably haven't been making my point as well as I should have. I would most certainly agree with you that the Dems should look at this poll as a wake-up call. It just seems to me that every few years one of the two parties needs to get taught a lesson, the result of which being the other party being put in power, regardless of their ability to govern. That pretty much leaves us in a situation where the pendulum just swings back and forth because the populace just gets too tired of the current party in power. And what bothers me is that the Repubs, in their current incarnation, aren't really open to people who disagree with them on anything. I would hate to see the Repubs come back to power simply because people tired of the Dems. Because then, it seems, we would be having this same conversation a couple of years from now when the pendulum starts to swing the other way. At this point in time, I would much rather have a Dem party in power that can't get anything done than a whacked out Repub party that will push through anything they want.

    21. Your claim that “Dems believe in loving their brother as themselves…” while Republicans who “espouse 'traditional Christianity' is actually the party of 'turn my brother out to die if a profit can be made” is quite possibly the single most factually inaccurate assertion made on this chronically reality-challenged site. Just read this book:

      http://www.amazon.com/Who-Really-Cares-Compasio

      then try to cultivate the useful habit of acquainting yourself with the rudimentary facts before making absurd, sweeping claims about other people's morality.

      Like most leftists, you confuse spending other people's money with charitable giving.

    22. “This started even further back, probably with Reagan but really was galvanized in 1994 against Newt Gingrich.”

      Absolutely. As with “global warming,” “climate change,” or whatever phrase is chosen next, I've read your postings and am thankful these days that someone else besides me can state what's not only correct, but obvious.

      Many lefties (Thom Hartmann makes it a habit on his show) never accepted Reagan's election and what it meant about the public's limit-setting to modern liberalism. As for 1994, Dodd and Gephardt were merely two of the most blatant loud-mouths after that election, on C-SPAN frequently complaining about “extreeee-mists.”

      “There is a whole generation of Democrats that knows nothing else and that is reflected in the MoveOn/DailyKos bunch.”

      Sadly, we see too much such immoderation like this (and other mischief) all too often lately.

      * * *

      “So have our bailouts. You might have noticed the banks are still open. That was at one point in serious doubt.”

      Well, some of the banks are still open — those who are at the top of the consolidation food chain, and which are at the opposite end from the many banks that have been taken over. Enjoy reviewing all the entries on the following list that have 2009 closing dates.

      http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/bank

      An historically-related side note regarding the banks: Years ago, there was a bank, whose ads in California were catchy, called Independence Bank (of Encino). It featured ads about you and I, the “little fish,” being treated (unlike at, say, Bank of America, where you had to be a whale to get noticed) a “big fish.” Adnan Khashoggi's BCCI (that notorious outfit) took over Independence and made plenty of news. There's a bank currently running catchy decent-to-ordinary-people commercials, called Ally; I wonder if, someday, it will be involved in some kind of shady goings-on (maybe with terrorists, maybe with China).

      * * *

      “Given the lack of anything coherent from the Repubs, it should be enough to scare the hell out of everyone.”

      I'm not scared, only because the GOP is so unappealing currently I'm unsure it would get many votes, necessarily. (Much also depends on what the Dems do after they're done pulling themselves out of their current nosedive with health care “reform” in particular. Additional antics like playing games at Copenhagen with climate politics and related legislation back in the States, and other things the Dems have deferred, like “card check” and immigration “reform,” also will influence what happens. But the GOP is starting from a very weak position with the voters not only holding their noses about the GOP but donning personal protective equipment, almost.)

      * * *

      “let me guess DLS, you're a “moderate” right?…lol…”

      Yes, though not mushy, obviously. I'm also astute when it comes to observing the world around me, including poltical fun and games.

      * * *

      “I noticed Hannity drooling all over her the other day. Isn't it weird how traditional christianity is thrown out the window when one wants to woo a pretty mindless blonde, who produced lewd sex tapes of herself.”

      1. Prejean (and Palin) are celebrities now primarily because of attention (and hatred) from the Left, not the Right. (How ironic that the Tribe of Perpetual Victimhood creates a current True Victim Industry for Palin and Prejean out of true hatred. “Congratulations,” lefties.)

      2. I heard a brief exerpt of Hannity's drooling all over her. (Or was it an exerpt of his drooling over Palin?)

      3. The best critical commentary I heard was something rare, on a show hosted by, of all people, normally-mentally-ill Randi Rhodes. (Stephanie Miller is pre-junior-high-school childish and at times, vulgar. Randi Rhodes typically is a mental patient who has siezed a radio microphone and radio transmitter. There are better far-lefty talkers much more worth one's time — but I'm now posted where the radio selection is such I was happy to listen to Rhodes. [gulp]) Rhodes did a great show on Prejean and on Palin (it was actually funny and witty), and it featured commentary by Prejean's former boyfriend, for whom the tape was made — someone who described quite a lot fo phoniness and other demerits of Prejean.

      * * *

      “I'm trying to remember which sermon it was in church where the preacher spoke about how one should emulate someone like her?”

      Sounds like a Democratic church and preacher (or would sound like this, if it included the open demand to vote for her, too, and if she were a Democrat). Don't you mean the negative, praying for Obama's death?

    23. I'm still not sure on this “uniform Republican thinking” concept. Their politicians seem to be better at not criticizing each other (the unspoken rule of “thou shall not criticize a fellow Republican”), except in primaries, but more right-wing media, such as the Wall Street Journal, have been critical of Republicans, at least when they're building debt.

      Currently, a lot of their base has become disgusted with their spending, and other excesses, so you would expect their remaining base to be a little more uniform.

    24. “ever-growing masses of poor, rendered that way by GOP malignant policies and illegal war, “

      I have difficulty in believing that you actually believe this statement, Sil.

      You essentially said that the poor were made that way by the GOP. First of all, besides outright communism, I don't see the DNC doing much for the poor either. The numbers poor have not shrunk on their watch, nor did they grow from 1996-2006 when the GOP had the Congress.

      Additionally, it cannot be defined as an “illegal” war, when it was blessed by Congress – a BI-PARTISAN Congress at that.

    25. “When comes election time, all those fine Democrats come and ask for our support, our money and our vote, once they get o DC, they forget who elected them and why…”

      You and I don't always see eye-to-eye, Don. But I feel ya on this one. My Senators were split on the healthcare issue and Cap and Trade issue. Energy and healthcare happen to be the biggest industries in my state. Can you guess which clown won't be getting this democrat's vote? The one that supports cap and trade and socialized medicine. The house will fare no better with people like me.

      I'll gladly vote for a republican just as long as the Democratic party remains sold-out to the ACLU, gays, and humanists.

    26. “We were closer to a total fiscal catastrophe than we have been since the end of the Great Depression”

      Ya know…. That tends to happen when you get rid of a gold standard and go to a paper standard. The Fed system has made this bed, and now we refuse to lay in it. It's also much easier to start wars that we cannot afford when all you have to do is print more, manipulate a market, or borrow from China.

    27. “I have difficulty in believing that you actually believe this statement, Sil.”

      I don't.

      * * *

      “as long as the Democratic party remains sold-out to the ACLU, gays, and humanists”

      The extremists within these groups are among the most apathetic, disgusted, or angry Dem voters now.

      As I wrote much earlier this year, when Obama was tardy on a favored gay issue that militants wanted resolved in their favor promptly (as if it were a condition of Obama's election and legitimacy in office): Now you know the “back of the bus” feeling that the Religious Right is subjected to, after the election, until shortly before the next!

      (CLUE: Obama may offer some lefty groups a sop or two next year, to squelch the apathy and get 'em turning out this time to vote.)

    28. It's a simple thing of giving the people what they want–especially those who place you in office. Neither party is up for the task it seems.

    29. Three current nightmares Nixon can be thanked for.

      1. Our current health care system
      2. Ending of the gold standard
      3. China

    30. The election is November 2010, not Jan 1 2010. Really now. Health Care will likely be passed by then. (Right now GOP is all about delaying the inevitable.) DADT will be repealed in an amendment to the Defense Spending Authorization Act that is passed every year by Oct. Actually, I'd say a great deal hangs on defense spending bill.

    31. The DADT policy cannot be implemented with a wave of the wand. There are many many many internal and infrastructure barriers that prohibit it. New barracks, shower facilities, and other internal matters must be worked out. And to the best of my knowledge, no one has offered up an answer to this yet. Don't look for DADT to be repealed until this is addressed.

    32. Three current nightmares Nixon can be thanked for.

      1. Our current health care system
      2. Ending of the gold standard
      3. China

      Nixon?
      1. Our current health care system started during World War II, and has in the making for a long time. Nixon had a part in the HMO stuff, but it's a bit much to blame him for burning down the house when he was just throwing one more log in the fire.
      2. The gold standard effectively ended in 1913, with the Federal Reserve Act. Unless you can show that he voted for that, his part couldn't mean much.
      http://www.historycentral.com/documents/Federal
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_Act
      3. Well, yeah, that one I can't argue with.

    33. 1. You are absolutely right about Nixon NOT being the impetus behind the healthcare mess.

      2. I have to disagree with you on this one. Many things were put into place prior to Nixon that helped to end the Gold Standard. But Nixon put the final nail in the coffin in 1971. He didn't cause it, but he ended it.

      3. Yeah… Who can possibly argue with that.

    34. Crap I had the Gold thing totally off but I still stand behind the HMO's since in my opinion that is when the whole system began its long demise it just took a while for the cancer to spread. Also I do not blame him totally I also blame Kennedy for not making a deal with him for a health care plan for the nation but many things converged in his term that we are still struggling with today.

    35. A few links:

      History back to 1900s from PBS:
      http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/history.htm

      A more insurance-based view:
      http://healthcarereform.nejm.org/?page_id=1647

      It doesn't go back far enough, but a graph medical increases. I want one that goes back much farther:
      http://theglitteringeye.com/?p=9326

      An inflation-adjusted graph of federal health costs, back to 1940:
      http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/faculty-rese

      which is part of a large group of inflation adjusted graphs from this page (well, I found some interesting):
      http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/faculty-rese

    36. Hmm perspective is everything isnt it? In 93 I was against reform because I was raised on UAW insurance and thought everything was hunky dory since I just graduated HS that year. Not long after that though I moved into the world of the HMO and ever since have hated myself for not backing reform then. So Nixon gains infamy in my world due to HMO's but of course medicare/caid have more of an effect on overall costs.

      The question is what is the fix? I see two valid options that are polar opposites to actually bring down costs, single payer which would cost a fraction of what it costs us now or nothing. When I say nothing I really mean it though, take away the AMA's ability to say how many DR's we will have every year and gut every regulation while nuking the health insurance industry and start from scratch, after 5-10 yrs of extreme pain and trauma we would then be able to pay out of pocket without the market being twisted and true free market principles would be brought to bare. Problem is that neither of those two options are being offered by either side and the “nothing” approach would be attacked from left and right and of course the electorate would never support either. Its depressing but if we want things to change little the current approach seems to be the only option short of doing nothing which looks basically the same with zero safe guards for consumers but Wyden's amendment which I support will switch it slowly from employer to employee at least.

    37. That's just weird, because I've been thinking pretty much the same thing, but using nationalized (true government takeover) instead of single-payer, which is just taxpayer money going to private companies — the worst of both worlds. I have come up with two hybrid alternatives:

      1. Temporary nationalization, in order to kill off the current monopolies and start from scratch.
      2. Dual layer: nationalize family doctors, but free up the private market using Wyden's approach and repealing McCarran-Ferguson.

    38. There is no plan, and never will be, to segregate gay soldiers in separate barracks. Secretary McHugh already said there's no plans for that. What is needed is education for the few remaining straight guys that can't get it through their heads that their fellow gay soldiers aren't sexual predators.

      Gays have to abide by the same rules of conduct straights do. They've already been working on this. The repeal will most likely include a time table for the military to follow and it's up to them to prepare and carry it out. And it will likely include training and rules for conduct. Congress legislates, not the military.

    39. Both of your ideas make me want to take my nuke everything approach off the table as your ideas address the issue without the extreme trauma of leaving everyone without care. A nationalized restart is actually a rather brilliant idea. Of course trust would have to be created so that neither side saw it as some scary “slippery slope” but it is a really good idea.

    40. I would also like to add that if you take away the entrenched interests and reset everything I no longer care about a public option of which I am currently a vocal supporter. The public option is a tool to use against entrenched interests in my opinion and otherwise has little use other than things I really do not care much about, incremental nationalization or having a gov option to say its a gov option. Do not get me wrong I see many advantages to nationalization I just see many negatives as well but not if it is merely a method to reset things.

    41. Permanent nationalization would be an admission of defeat, sort of the best that we could do with our current corrupt political situation. I would think that temporary nationalization is politically impossible, because advocates would be facing the wrath of the AMA, AARP, pharma, hospitals, insurance companies and host of others all at the same time. Political leaches would never go down without a fight. Besides that, I don't think people (including me) would trust them to let it go after they started it. It's just too easy (and profitable) for those who can change the rules to renege on their original plan.

    42. Very true. One thing I always try to remind myself of when I am really upset about a policy or law that is making its way through the gov is the sh*t sandwich approach. Meaning all rational and intelligent ideas are off the table for obvious reasons and therefore we get to choose between an array of sh*t sandwiches. If you think your idea is better than let people know but once it is stripped of all that upsets and offends both sides too much and you again have another sh*t sandwich so in the end you either accept a strong Fed gov filled with sh*t sandwich laws or a miniscule Fed gov with local smaller sh*t sandwich ideas for everything but of course then we lose our global dominance and our choices of recipes is not as large though the groups deciding may be happier with the results since its a more socially cohesive group.

      In the end though I think sh*t sandwiches are one of the flaws of democracy since it is a method to try to appeal to as many people as possible unfortunately as our founding fathers learned when drafting our first legislation it does not make you sound coherent or intelligent but it passes and it works until it breaks(all created equal/slavery insanity for instance). I see a “fix” but its the states rights melt the fed to a tiny unimportant thing track which also means the US would begin to rank behind Europe for power and prestige which would limit many of our choices but to be honest I think we pay to high a price to be the global super power and from my view it really only benefits the top .01% anyway. For the rest of us it just distorts our nation our laws and our morality further and further. Put on top of that that pols are creating laws to please Dems Reps and the business community and you get what we have in the current legislation an icoherent giveaway too all three that we will all pay for. In a grown up world I prefer your method but you are correct that it would float like a lead balloon. The only enemies we seem to fear more than those attacking us with bombs is those in the other party which I think is a pretty dangerous state of affairs but it has a long history.

    43. Careful guy, we'll have a mutual admiration society going if you keep this up!

    44. I see a comment I made to Jchem was “flagged for review”.

      There were no personal attacks and no profanity was used.

      Can someone tell me what's wrong with the comment under review?

    45. That's all well and good, GrrrlRomeo.

      Then all heterosexual males will then get the full opportunity to bed down and shower with females.
      They aren't sexual preditors either.

      Regardless if anyone agrees or disagrees with openly gay people serving in the military, this IS a problem that must be addressed. As I've pointed out before….. Gay men and women have the right to defend their nation. That's fine. But there are many internal issues, besides your “sensitivity training” that must be accomplished to make it a go.

    46. It's only a problem with a minority of guys who are shy around gay guys. (Straight women are generally comfortable around gay women.)

      There are already gays in the military right now. This isn't a debate about whether they can serve, it's about whether they can serve openly. What's the difference between straight guys currently showering with closeted gay guys (which at least some likely know are gay) and straight guys showering with guys they definitely know are gay? The straight guy's own self-consciousness.

      I guess you're just going to be disappointed when they don't segregate the showers and barracks.

      You may not be aware the gays are a 100 times better at controlling themselves than straight people are. We're used to living in a world of 90% straight people. The hardest change will be that straight soldiers might actually have to adhere to the rules regarding dating and sexual harassment. And straight males won't be able to blackmail females that turn them down by reporting them for being gay. (Many aren't even gay, it's just impossible to prove you're not gay once you've been reported.)

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