Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Balanced Budget By 1983!

I post this in response to Brother Charlie Pierce who asks the musical question:
Somebody is going to have to explain to me why the Democratic "base," which is presumably younger and more spry than the older and whiter Republican "base," is nonetheless less likely to turn out for midterm elections than the That Sean Hannity Reminds Me Of My Grandson crowd. It is taken as a given, and past performance indicates clearly that it's usually the case, but I'm not sure why it has to be. So, in the interest to changing this curious dynamic, let me take this red-hot poker and shove it up the base's ass.
Short answer: Because  Drooooones!

Short answer: Because Both Sides.

Short answer: Because notta dime's wortha difference!

Not the entire base, of course.  Not all young voters, of course. But perhaps just enough.  And "just enough" is all that is required.

My first time out of the paddock, I voted for John Anderson, because Reagan was obviously nuts, and Jimmy Carter had done several things that slashed my Liberal heart.  Also Edward Kennedy expended enormous quantities of money and liberal passion explaining to me that Jimmy Carter was unfit to hold office and undeserving of my vote, so when it came time to close the curtain and pull the lever, I went for Anderson, because I wanted to walk down the street with a righteous spring in my step and be able to say, sorry, not my fault, if and when the shit came down.

And boy howdy, did the shit ever come down.  The Reagan Administration's butcher's bill is too long and ghastly to recap in a single post, but suffice it to say, the election of Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1980 whelped virtually all the economic, foreign policy, media and cultural monsters and demons and zombies and succubi which have since run completely amok in this country and destroyed our ability to have sane conversations about politics and government.

Because I was more concerned with my ideological purity than the practical outcomes of real decision in the real world -- because I would not bear the thought of getting my hands dirty voting for the lesser of two evils -- I bear some responsibility for the Reagan Catastrophe.  It is a mistake I do not plan on making again.

So if Brother Charles is really serious about this -- if he would like to do something more productive than  lecturing the Yute Of America in general, and instead throw some precision-guided shade in the direction of one the loudest, most vitriolic and best-funded advocates of Democrats standing aside and letting this happen --
Jim Inhofe as the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee? Chuck (Bag Of Hammers) running Judiciary? Grumpy McCloudyeller with an even bigger platform as chairman of Armed Services? Jefferson Davis Beauregard Sessions as chairman of anything?
-- then I suggest he take it up with this guy:

Because continuing to take this matter up with Mr. Greenwald all by my lonesome is now well beyond my pay grade.

(BTW, if you have a chance to watch the entire Anderson/Reagan debate, it's quite a remarkable time capsule.  From a "Drill everywhere right now!" energy policy to a constant drumbeat that Gummint is Evil and Out To Get You to the fairy tale that if we just slash regulation and taxes to the bone everything'll be great [A balanced budget by 1983!] and we'll all be rich as pirates...there is no fundamental difference between the Randite crank Reagan was slinging 34 years ago, and the average hour of Hate Radio or Fox Teevee today.)


Grung_e_Gene said...

But, you try and tell the young people of today that! And they won't believe you! They won't!!!

Anonymous said...

Huh. You think you got it bad? *My* first time outta da paddock, in 1968, I voted Peace and Freedom Party. And I bear responsibility for giving Richard Milhous Nixon to America, and all that has come after that. And, you know, for all the same reasons that you state. At least you remember the name of your "vote my conscience" candidate.

Never again. It's sad how CPP et al have suddenly become so foolish.

Anonymous said...

You said it brother.. and Charlie too. If midterm election trends hold sway in the coming cycle, that sound you hear will be the last gulp of water out of the bottom of the toilet.
The dude bro contingent peels votes from one side; the left...and there will be no rescue this time if the right maintains the house and gains the senate.
...and it is absolutely due to the "two sides of the same coins" crowd.
GG isn't trying hide it anymore. His goal is the destruction of the "democratic" party, via the current occupant of the White House.
Combined with gerrymandering and voter suppression, if we lose this next one, it is "game over man".

That link you put up to the unfortunately named "Reason", was the most depressing thing I have seen all month.
The tarians are turning this in to a generational thing.
Didn't you know? Boomers elected Reagan? ...but there is no shortage of hatred for the "dirty hippies".

Lawrence said...

Anecdotal evidence: Two weeks ago I got unexpectedly laid off from my job at Global Bullshit Corporation. I was able to land in another open spot, lateral transfer, no loss of blood. But for that week in between I was rather consumed with when to pull the trigger on cannibalizing my 401K to deleverage my household debt and when to tell my daughter I didn't have a job anymore. The latest atrocities of Ted Cruz and Louie Ghomert held much less purchase on my mind during that week of uncertainty. The young and the poor are scared. Apathy is an insufficient explanation for low voter turnout.

Lumpy Lang said...

Yep. Droneglass never fails to remind us:

No matter hooow evil the evil gets, the ONLY choice is the 'lesser' one.

Or as Malcolm (the truth-teller) used to say:

“You stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress ..."

Horace Boothroyd III said...

The hits just keep coming!

I did the John Anderson thing as well, in part because he came to my little town to shake my hand and ask for my vote.

The conclusions I drew from the experience are pretty much yours; what a coincidence that you are now my favorite blogger.

As an aside, the short story

is a capsule summary of my hatred for the hysterical ninnies and all their works. By another coincidence it was published in Omni magazine the same year you and I pulled the lever for Anderson. And that the Harvard Business Review published

Upon checking facts I see that Niel Postman would not come out with "The Disappearance of Childhood" for another two years, but that only makes my point stronger: Big Shit was happening in those days, how on earth did we fuck it up so bad?

Aside from electing Reagan and unleashing all the demons of hell.

Kathleen said...

Has Charlie called for Eric Holder's firing lately? Because Eric Holder is such a tyrant like his IslamoFascistHitler boss who's just like Bush. I wouldn't know because I've stopped reading him.

Anonymous said...

Driftglass I don't think your reasons for why the youth vote less are entirely accurate.

The olds have more invested in the system and the nation than the young do. They also tend to have more personal property and other items. Thus they have a lot more to fight to protect and keep than young voters do.

Young voters don't have anything really in their hands that can be taken from them or slashed and given to someone else. There's no cultural totems or tangible government services out there they are using right now for them to fight like demons to protect.

Grandma and grandpa on the other hand have their house, their pension, the tax rate on their meager 401k, the failing influence of their church, and their power in this society. That's worth fighting for, that's worth screwing other people over for, that's worth voting for.

For the youth there isn't much worth voting for other than taking it to the olds and removing their ability to tell people what they can and can't do for fun in their spare time. Largely social battles over sex, drugs, music, and various other things.

I know many on the left hate the term "bribe", but that's what the left needs to do if they want the youth to vote. Propose something like obliterating 40k worth of debt, be it from student loans, credit cards, or whatever. A guaranteed basic income, government matched savings accounts, there's a lot to do.

If the Democrats want the youth to vote regularly they need to be putting money in pockets so that not voting for them will have a direct tangible effect that's obvious to all.

Right now the point of youth voting is so grandma can't tell you who to fuck, what to smoke, what to watch, and so you can tell the church to fuck off. That's important, but it's not as much of a vote getter as money in your pocket is.

Of course that's not what the Democratic party is. And actually doing any of that will piss off the Democratic power and money base, including the power and money that's bought us all our social and civil rights progress.

So the party needs to choose. Money in pockets and who gives a fuck about social issues, or social issues and we keep dancing away from the New Deal as the plutocrats win gay marriage and other civil rights battles with the money we feed them.

But we can't have both. And till that fight happens and the party decides permanently who wins and that it will never touch the losing side again, or it splinters in half, bitching about vote turnout is silly and a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Please drop the twisted logic that by voting for the best candidate it is support for the crappy winning candidate.

This mind fvck that keeps us locked out of the best candidates winning is not worthy of your energy & support.

Monster from the Id said...

I regret that I cannot make a live link on the pitiful, user-hostile excuse for a format known as Blogger, as I am not a computer expert.

However, here's my reference source:,_1980#Statistics

There were only 14 states in the 1980 presidential election in which Reagan won, but his margin of victory over Carter was less than the number of people who voted for Anderson.

Those 14 are AR, CT, DE, KY, ME, MA, MI, MS, NY, NC, SC, TN, VT, & WI. In 1980 terms, those states mustered 158 electoral votes.

Hence, if all the people who voted for Anderson had voted for Carter instead, Carter would have picked up 158 more electoral votes, but Reagan still would have won handily, 331-207.

You can quit feeling guilty, Drifty.

Of course, I recognize that telling a prog of Drifty's variety to quit feeling guilty is as useless as telling a shoutycracker to quit feeling hateful. ;)

Anonymous said...


Well it is true. Say Clinton is up in 2016 as the D, the Republican is Kaisch, and Sanders runs as an I.

Now I happen to like Clinton. I also thinking bankrupting flyover to feed the big cities and then using that very money to roll back cultural conservatism and the influence of the Church is win fucking win. Pays off our people, hurts theirs!

But I'm aware not everyone shares my enthusiasm for a pro-business socially liberal Democratic party. So they vote Sanders.

Every vote for Sanders is actively a vote against gay rights, against women's rights, against minority rights, against the civil rights act, and for the Church. I'd say that anybody who doesn't vote pro corporate Dem is actively helping the racists, sexists, homophobes and bigots. Because that will be the cost of their vote.

It's cute the Pierce is enough of a fool to think we can unring the bell of the internet, video recording phones, GPS in phones, social media, and all the other technology that inherently destroys piracy CIA or not (the fact society has chosen to build online dosiers on themselves and wiretap themselves is hilarious but we aren't going back).

However the reality of the situation is we can't un-ring that bell. So all Pierce is doing is propping up supporters of a vile racist ideology and helping them get to power. He should just put on a sheet and get it over with.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Channeling your inner Rahm Emanuel, driftglass?

What a load of horse manure.

Democrats would be able to turn out their base better if they did right by the people who vote for them.

But they don't. They want the corporate payola.

They want the corporate payola.

They want the corporate payola.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Hej @Monster from the Id

highlight the link and right click

Your larger point is correct and important.

Yet, even as a scientist who hates woo in its every manifestation, there does seem to be something to this Zeitgeist concept. I can't find the quote just now but my favorite economic historian, Eric Hobsbawm, once observed that you could tell quite a bit about what is going to come by watching high fashion: the artists can somehow sense what is in the air.

So even though I am technically correct when I reassure myself that I was living abroad, and my home state was safely blue, I still suspect that the penumbras and emanations of getting that damned absentee ballot and voting for Gore might have interacted with all the millions decisions...

So since then I have never missed an opportunity to vote for the best available candidate - especially in the primaries, where these actions actually can have an impact.

And this is the base for my disdain towards the Economist Critique of voting, that the rational attitude towards voting is that the chance of my vote being the N+1 margin of victory is trivial so I needn't bother. A lot of us taking that attitude means that the bad guys are going to win.

And @driftglass

Thanks for that video, I had forgotten about it. The Greenwaldians appear to be sincere in their belief that the difference between a competent technocrat (who I would prefer to be a Social Democrat) is only ten percent different from a warcrazed psychopath, which is surely the origin of the "not a dime's worth of difference" slogan, but I must in all good faith disagree.

If someone can steer me to an example of when the Heighten the Contradictions strategy ever lead to a good outcome, you will be doing me a big favor.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Barry Commoner. Carter was a conservative, southern Democrat. I knew he was a bad choice in '76; but my friends said "He'll surprise you..." Boy, were they wrong. He pissed away the huge advantage that Democrats had -- much like Obama has pissed it away during his presidency. We got Reagan because Carter sucked. We're damn lucky we did not get Romney, because Obama sucks. We may well suffer for Obama in 2016 though. And I'm sure the losses in Congress are attributable to him. Lesser of two evils? I knew Carter was way behind. Still it's the only time I didn't vote for the lessor of the two evils...

Monster from the Id said...

HB3: Thanx. I'll see if this works.,_1980#Statistics

Anonymous said...


Obama does not suck. He's failed to get a grand bargain, tax reform, and entitlement reform but outside of that he's been fine. I'll vote D to get those next time, the Rs will never do it.

And that's the problem. We have one party of racists, hicks, and Christians that doesn't believe in science and spends it's time giving blow jobs to parts of the country that are really no more than dumps for toxic waste and human stupidity. Furthermore they block us from doing anything. Entitlement reform, tax reform, infrastructure building, science research, space research, STEM education funding... all the shit we need to do.

We have another party that realizes that parts of the country are a waste of humanity and actively fights those areas. It's also willing to do what must be done but keeps getting cock blocked by the party of idiotic hick Christian howler monkeys.

This isn't a competition, a huge swath of this country and the party that represents and protects it must be utterly crippled and obliterated before anything can be done.

More and more of us in the actual productive parts of America, your liberal coastal cities are starting to think that secession shit doesn't sound so bad.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

@Monster from the Id

My bad: the highlight/rightclick works to make a naive link work within blogger comments.

Let me use this as a test bed,if our murdering overlord may permetL

test test test

JHB said...

The first rule of "1980 election" is: if you don't mention "hostage crisis," the discussion isn't really about the 1980 election.

If every Anderson vote had gone to Carter, JC would have picked up 11 states, but still would have fallen short - 207 electoral votes to Reagan's 331. There were 4 states within 1% under that scenario, and Carter would have had to shift 3 of them (including the two largest of the set) for the election to go the other way.

That would have required tens of thousands of votes that weren't already accounted for, in particular places.

Nor was Kennedy the only factor among Democrats: Ed Koch was gleefully anti-Carter, whom he considered to have hurt Israel. People who single-issue-voted on that went either for Anderson or Reagan. Further, one of the factors that spurred the Kennedy challenge was the noise the proto-centrists were making about a challenge by Moynihan (from Carter's right). Their attacks on Carter pretty much fed right into Reagan's.

Carter won in 1976 in a way that's analogous to how you've described Harold Washington: with a run up the middle when everyone was pissed at the establishments of both parties. He didn't have strong ties to the usual power brokers, and spent his 4 years fighting his own party as much as the nominal opposition. Pile onto that oil embargoes, Soviet invasions, revolutions in Nicaragua and Iran, the hostage crisis, the fiasco of Desert One, and yes, he looked weak to a lot of people.

Despite all that, it was still neck and neck between him and Reagan until shortly before the election. The big thing that happened then was the realization that Carter wasn't going to pull of an "October Surprise", that there would be no hat-trick bringing the hostages home, that it was just going to drag on and on. In other words, exactly the sort of feelings that get people to think "this isn't working. Let's try the new guy, even if there's a lot about him I don't like".

DG, I like the way you use this as a cautionary tale; it certainly beats the triumphant righties and "shut up and sit down" centrists with whom I usually have arguments on this subject, but there's one other cautionary lesson here, and that's "sometimes it's just not about you."

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

The interesting thing about the Purity Candidate, is that there is never any kind of consensus on which candidate is the best.

So there's no way to arrive at the supposed 'best' candidate, unless you want to fragment the entire field. Which is what the system currently is, right?

I guess it is just time to vote for Harry Potter every year, and if that results in President Chris Christie, well it will just heighten the contradictions and result in better candidates NEXT time.

Let's just ignore that that has never actually happened in the past. All that happens is horrible shit happens, and better candidates have to spend most of their time trying to repair the damage.

I am still unsure how ensuring the election of teh MORE evil candidate helps anybody, but I suppose We're going to really enjoy President Jeb Bush.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

No matter hooow evil the evil gets, the ONLY choice is the 'lesser' one.

Or as Malcolm (the truth-teller) used to say:

“You stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress ..."

Not actually an equivalency. But don't let that stop your self-congratulatory tour. I see you are still thinking 'droneglass' has some kind of snarky meaning in this context.

DeistPaladin said...

We have to hammer home the message:

"Remember The Shutdown"

They almost destroyed America. If the GOP had had their way, America would have defaulted as a political stunt, the world economy would have crashed and our credit rating would be somewhere in the 3rd world nation category.

These people are crazy and must be kept out of power at any cost, no matter that the alternative is a milquetoast or conservadem "blue dog".

If they take the Senate:
1. They WILL impeach Obama!
2. They WILL crash the economy.
3. They WILL shut down the government again.

We can try to reform the Democrat Party later and there is much work to be done there, admittedly, but the top priority now is to keep the crazy people away from the driver's seat.

Anonymous said...

Vote for shitty Democrats.
That'll teach 'em.

n1ck said...

Vote for people who won't garner 1% of the vote.

That'll teach 'em!

Dave said...

Hello Drone Glass

I will say I like listening to your podcast and I've been a contributing member for a while (I had to stop due to stuff like bills and a lack of money)

If the reason why young people don't vote in midterm election is drones, both sides, and they're all the same, then wouldn't the rational thing for dem candidate is to bad mouth obama for drones, show how they're different, and show how they're different.

I understand you feel guilty that you voted for someone that didn't stand the best chance at winning the election, but that's no excuse for the democratic party to allow reagan legacy be minty fresh and pretend nothing bad happened.. when it come close to happening again.

I think at some point it's a politician's responsibility to try and win votes. Reagan was evil, but he and a few other built a coalition. One of racist, rednecks, Christians, and lunatics.

On the Dem side, they can build a coalition as well, of drone bots, gay people, socialist, whatever. They don't have to really believe in it all, but at least pay lip service and look interested enough.

I think republicans being crazy is a problem, but we have a political party who lets them run wild. If we had a stronger democratic party, we wouldn't have had this issue. If dems as a political party were more interested of sapping power from republicans, we would have a balance.

I agree we should vote for dems, but i can't turn to everyone else and scream at them for not voting.

Both sides do it can only work if the two main sides submit to that fantasy. Obama submit to publicans.. so there must be some truth in it? It's not as if bashing Bush for 2 terms could be enough to secure a Presidency...

Arbitrot said...

If Peter Player is not your alternate nom de guerre then you should be suing for copyright:

Or maybe just be happy the message got through?: