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« Really, this constitutional amendment is no big deal | Main | Nightmare on Market Street »

Mar 14, 2012


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Of course.

It's movement "conservatives" not having a like opposing force of movement "liberals."


Metaphorically? I do not see how controlling 1/6 of the economy via regulatory control of the insurance industry is metaphorical.

It seems obvious that Democrats thought that the very real concerns with "freedom ("government takeover") and life ("death panels")" were metaphorical and for that mistake they suffered 2 years ago and will suffer again this Nov.

Account Deleted

There is a lot of good stuff in that article and much of it rings true with me. Politics is and should be about the art of balance and what we've had in North Carolina since the 1990s and at the national level since W. is imbalance. As much as I loathe many aspects of Republican politics (the Christian right, blind worship of the free market with no empathy for the downtrodden masses) I worked hard, very hard to send smug local and state level Democrats packing in the last three election cycles.

If the Democrats can learn how to talk to people on a level that connects with average people and stop defaulting to policy wonks and talking elites who define the entire party as a class of egghead, know it all do-gooders then I think they will have a future.

If not, then they and the rest of you need to understand that the lumpen masses have and will continue to flock to right wing politics because it is easily digestible, fits with their mindless Christianity and provides them a sense of empowerment (psychologically connecting with American values [whatever that is] amidst the chaos of an uncertain if not bleak economic future).

It is most important to know yourself and know your opponent. I know full well my weaknesses as a person, as a writer, as a potential advocate for this or that. What Democrats fail to realize is the way their actions and policies are perceived by the mass of average educated, working or lower class Americans that make up the electorate.

Think the smugness of Edwards, the conceit of Easley, the blatant hypocrisy of Brad Miller, the snake oil salesman Nelson Cole, that entire class of Democratic leader that was the face of the party for the previous 10 to 15 years.

How easy do you think it was to watch the smug certainty of the Obama interregnum and wait, wait, wait for the overreach in the summer of 2009 when he launched health care on the heels of cap and trade? How easy was it to spend a year and a half running against that at the state and local level?

Is it any wonder those who are motivated to vote by dog whistle tactics like national security or welfare queens or now the spectre of co-eds having sex and getting a free contraceptive (OMFG!!) flock to the polls to vote based on huge brush strokes with no concern for the motivation of the artist?

Billy Jones

Wow, Jeff! Very well put.


An articulate comments, Jeff. I can't, though, support working to defeat Democrats simply because you think they're smug. I don't see them that way, but, if they are, it is an attribute matched by the religious and moral arrogance of the right. From my POV, every Democrat not elected mean a Republican is elected.

More seriously, so many people seem so worried today. Unemployment and the 30-plus years of stagnation in middle class income contribute to that, of course. I grew up during the Cold War, though, when the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear warheads targeting pretty much everything in this country and WEstern Europe. I remember the Cuban MIssile Crisis and the Berlin crisis before that.

That was scary. And there were recessions, unemployment, etc., etc. Yet, I don't recall so many millions of Americans giving up and living in a state of despair, and turning to extreme beliefs, irrationality, unexamined acceptance of authority, and conspiracy theories as refuge.

The reaction to terrorism is a prime example of this. Terrorism does not threaten the existence of the U.S. The Soviet Union did. It had the capability of physically destroying the nation. Terrorism threatens individual American citizens. That's an awful thing, but it is a threat of an entirely different nature and degree than the nuclear threat. Why, then, is the reaction to terror so extreme, if not hysterical, in so many quarters?

From a broader view, why are so many people so convinced everything is falling apart? They seem to lack confidence that we are capable of dealing with the issues confronting us. Instead, they wrap themselves in some consoling belief system -- it happens on the right and left -- and preach to others that everything thing will be fine if only everyone else stopped thinking and trying and joined them in their little utopias in their minds.

David Boyd

Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens.


Billy Jones

The Democratic Party has become the place where Liberal ideas go to die. I, for one, am sick and tired of voting for the lesser of 2 evils and if it takes lots of Democratic defeats to wake up the party then so be it.

Give the Republicans the time they need and the whole country will abandon them. But as long as we keep voting Democrat simply because the Democrat seems to be the lesser of two evils the longer the current political machines will remain entrenched.

To have faith in the current Democratic Party makes about as much sense as trying to speed up the earth.

Jim Langer

Lakoff's "Philosophy of the Flesh" was prescient. His arguments that much of our thinking is metaphorical, and subconscious, has Freudian overtones, but Mr. Santorum and the other Republican candidates are following the script rather well. And Mr. Obama's own self-portraits certainly deal in similar imagery.

Jim Langer

"arguments have"


Billy, I don't think it makes much sense to have faith in any political party. I don't vote for Democrats because I have faith in them. I vote for them because I think they are more likely to make the decisions I would make if I was in their place. Sometimes they do, sometines they don't. I know, though, that conservatives won't make the decisions I would.

Even f you're right about Republicans being their own worst enemies, I don't want to give them the chance to do even more damage. One reason that looms large in my thinking is having a Democrat in the White House when the two or three next Supreme Court justices leave the bench. Obama, or who ever it might be, probably won't nominate anyone who thinks like I do. That's OK. What's much more important is to keep people who think like Roberts and Scalia off the court because their appointments would mean long-term damage to democracy in this country.

It's a game of small victories and nuance, not of glorious battle and revolution.

Bill B.

Give me smug over Republicans any day.

And we do not have public discourse. We have fear-mongering and manipulated ignorance, for the most part.

Account Deleted

I'm at work now and so can't really type out a full answer to Corbly but I totally agree with the last two-thirds of your comment. I don't know why irrationality has taken hold. Lately I've been immersed in curious ideas related to post-modernism, post-structuralism, late-capitalist Marxist critiques and themes such as Society of the Spectacle. Perhaps it is technology plus the advance of consumerism into the deepest trenches of our public psyche. I try not to be dystopian but I don't live in a thriving, educated area like Raleigh or Greensboro. I live in rural, post-industrial North Carolina and I can only reflect and comment on what I see and hear everyday in passing conversation.


"Messaging" goes hand-in-hand with 24 hour news cycles and the rest of internet media. People didn't flip out and abandon reason en masse in the 60's because there were not yet 45,983 pandering asshole shills on TV and radio. Also, people are dumber and more easily led in general today.


On the other hand, you could say that the electorate is 'more informed' I suppose...but there is no shortage of agendas or spin -- it takes a certain level of discernment to filter it all and in the Right Now culture we live in, many just can't be bothered.


"If not, then they and the rest of you need to understand that the lumpen masses have and will continue to flock to right wing politics because it is easily digestible, fits with their mindless Christianity and provides them a sense of empowerment (psychologically connecting with American values [whatever that is] amidst the chaos of an uncertain if not bleak economic future)."

Jeff, that is just fantasyland. This whole narrative is fantasyland that is fed by false stereotypes of conservatives. More than anything, it is the reliance on that false stereotype that causes liberals/Democrats to be willfully blind. In their pursuit of that stereotype, they miss an entire segment of the voting public who are center-right and don't recognize themselves within that model.

If anything, the liberal message is far more digestible and and easily understood: Do whatever you want, and let someone else pay for it. Wonk it up all you want to, but in the end that is what it comes down to. Conservatism is actually a much harder sell, especially as the welfare state has expanded.

Account Deleted

Sam I'd say you live in a fantasy land of high income people who live in homogenous cul-de-sac neighborhoods and listen to homogenous radio and tv outlets.

Get out of your comfort zone sometime and you will see the world as it is beyond the confines of your class.

Billy Jones

Jeff, "Get out of your comfort zone sometime and you will see the world as it is beyond the confines of your class."

Conservatives who do what you suggest are quickly shouted down as RINOs and Liberals and Spag is already treading on thin ice when it comes to our local conservatives.

justcorbly, "It's a game of small victories and nuance, not of glorious battle and revolution."

The end result is the same, your suggestion just takes longer. As a matter of fact: Your suggestion hasn't worked in the 55 years I've been alive. Need I remind you that insanity is said to be repeating the same process over and over again while expecting different results? How long before you figure it out?

Bill B "Give me smug over Republicans any day."

See my comment to justcorbly.

The Phoenix can only rise from the ashes-- putting out his flames only prolongs his suffering.

Billy Jones

Put us out of this misery!


"Do whatever you want, and let someone else pay for it."

Actually this is the mantra of the military-industrial complex, but we not only pay in money but in lives lost. Republicans are presently more militaristic, and that is all I need to know about them.


Thanks, Jeff. I think the world is a better place than it was in, say, 1962.


Jeff, you really do know so little about me. I might suggest the same to you, and I mean this with all seriousness- growing up in a small town can warp your perspective. There is a reason why the plurality (almost a majority) of Americans describe themselves as conservatives and it isn't because of the narrow focus in your comments or in the article Ed linked to.

We all know a few rednecks and theocratic fundamentalists, but they aren't the majority of conservatives in this country. Liberals need to realize this, although I'm fine with them continuing down the path of ignorance. The New York centric view of the world by elites combined with southern guilt distorts reality and leads to Republican victories. Stereotype at your own peril.

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