April 21, 2015

"I think she’s a Democrat just like they all are. She seems like every other Democrat."

"I would not like to see her win. She’s the same old shit. I’d like to see me win," said Roseanne Barr, who ran for the Green Party presidential nomination in 2012. Roseanne isn't impressed with the idea of Hillary Clinton as a woman President:
"No, not at all. I think that a party that was woman-friendly would be revolutionary, and that party could be headed by a male or female. It’s what the party itself stands for that matters. She is standing as a Democrat so she’s a Democrat, and I don’t see much difference between them and the Republicans. They both get paid by the same guys. They do the same thing, they want the same stuff, more business.... I would rather see the first intelligent, honest American president. I don’t care what’s in their shorts. I don’t care what it looks like down there at all."
I'm blogging this because Roseanne is saying something that isn't heard too much anymore: Democrats and Republicans aren't different enough to get excited about. I remember back in 2000, when Ralph Nader was a strong third-party candidate and lefties scoffed at the option of voting for the Democrat, as if Al Gore were significantly different from George W. Bush. It was a popular joke to say "Gush and Bore."

Something changed in our political culture. Those who, in the past, would have been straightforward lefties with an aversion to mainstream Democrats have bonded with Democrats and get passionate in support of them, as if the difference between Democrats and Republicans is profoundly important. To me, it's quite weird. I mean, I don't look to Roseanne Barr for lucid analysis, but her serio-comic riff reminded me of how much the Democratic Party jams the left-wing brain waves of America.

115 comments:

Bob R said...

Go to Reason.com for a big dose of this. They've been playing this tune for as long as I have been reading them.

I think the nature of a two-party system is to make it hard for people to fall in love with a party. Our parties are large coalitions. There is no way to love all the parts. Only the people with the illusion that they can control the party fall in love. For the rest of us, it's just the bad party vs. the astonishingly horrible party.

Earnest Prole said...

DEMOCRAT : REPUBLICAN :: COKE : PEPSI

Ann Althouse said...

"Go to Reason.com for a big dose of this."

I don't consider Reason to be left-wing America.

Ann Althouse said...

But, yeah, of course I know that libertarians make a thing of standing apart from the 2 main parties.

F said...

I hate to admit I agree with Roseanne -- as far as I'm concerned she's wrong about just about everything she addresses. But she's got it right here and I think a lot of people would agree there is no difference between parties.

Fen said...

Odd, I see the reverse - the Leftist radicals are in charge of the Democrat party. And the moderate Dems are constantly bombarded with agitation propaganda to remind them the GOP has horns and a tail.

CStanley said...

I think the Democratic Party has done a tremendous job of smearing the Republicans. It's common to read leftist and left of center bloggers and commenters saying that they don't like the democrats but they couldn't possibly vote for the GOP- either because of perceived homophobia, racism, misogyny, hawkishness, or whatever.

Obama has very successfully coopted this tactic- everything he does is framed as the reasonable thing in contrast to the crazy GOP, and the Democratic voters eat it up.

It's tribalism and propaganda against the out group. What's interesting (and sad) is the lack of self awareness among the Democratic voters. They still think conservatives are the tribalism ones, and don't even recognize that they are being played.

Brando said...

Roseanne does make a good point--despite all the rhetoric, the actual policy decisions between the two parties isn't really that great. Obama still takes us to war repeatedly, extends Bush's tax cuts for two years and then makes most of them permanent, adopts bailouts similar to those started by Bush (and remember, both Obama and Bush signed expensive, underfunded health care entitlements into law)--when in power, our leaders tend to govern very similarly. Where Roseanne is wrong is to assume it would be different if some third party took over.

Of course there are differences between how different administrations run things, but in the grand scheme of things the differences aren't that great and have as much to do with the temperament and character of the politicians rather than their party.

AReasonableMan said...

Althouse said ...
To me, it's quite weird.


Almost as weird as your pro-Walker obsession - for a career politician who runs a substandard economy.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think the Democratic Party has done a tremendous job of smearing the Republicans. It's common to read leftist and left of center bloggers and commenters saying that they don't like the democrats but they couldn't possibly vote for the GOP- either because of perceived homophobia, racism, misogyny, hawkishness, or whatever."

Yes, but my point is: Why are these lefties doing the work of the Democratic Party? They've been coopted into this task of cranking up aversion to the GOP for the benefit of the Democratic Party, when, in the old days, people like them would not subordinate themselves like that.

Young people who might be persuaded to go left are instead persuaded to just be Democrats. That's good enough. Just make sure not to vote for Republicans. Oh, okay. That's easy enough.

Ann Althouse said...

@AReasonableMan

You are a very good example of the kind of person I'm talking about. Why not explain precisely how you got there and why you are behaving like that? Give us some insight! Or are you just so damned committed to the interests of the mainstream party that is benefiting from your efforts? Don't you want to be free? Don't you want to rise above it all and criticize everyone? Are you getting paid for your efforts? If not, what's your motivation? I'd really like to know.

CStanley said...

Why are these lefties doing the work of the Democratic Party?

My comment answered that. IMO it's because they are tribalist too but they won't or can't admit that to themselves. The Democratic Party has successfully exploited this very human trait. The lefties have to sit at the cool kids' lunch table, so all the party has to do is convince them that the GOP are the outcasts-who-we-wouldn't-be-caught-dead-with.

Fen said...

? If not, what's your motivation? I'd really like to know

That's easy - its branding. The constant MSM promotion of the Left and bashing of the Right ("Democrat operatives with bylines") has made it "cool" to be a Democrat and "uncool" to be a Republican.

People like ARM support Dems because it makes them feel good about themselves, not because of any liberal principles.

Their Edmund Burke is Oprah Winfrey.

Or maybe its Stuart Smalley: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough ... and doggone it, people like me!"

You need proof? Ask your class to define "Conservative" for you. They won't know. They think its about rich old white men and racist-sexist-homophobes.

campy said...

It was part of George Wallace's 1968 campaign: "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats."

Fen said...

It was never this bad. Something changed in 2000. The Left sincerely bought into the agitation-propaganda that Bush was trying to steal the election.

They've been "useful idiots" ever since. I think at the Dem leadership level a light clicked on and they realized "our people will believe anything! Lets use that!"

AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
You are a very good example of the kind of person I'm talking about. Why not explain precisely how you got there and why you are behaving like that? Give us some insight!


You failed to address the motivation for your own obsessive pro-Walker postings - fangirl love rather than objective political analysis.

Personally, I would never stoop to writing so positively or repetitively about any politician.

As a moderate, I see two parties captured by much the same set of economic interests who then gin up social issues in an attempt to disguise this. You will get no traction trying to tie me to the Democrat or Republican party.

Fen said...

ARM: As a moderate...

*snort* That's not the middle ground you are standing it, that's the 3rd Base Line. You're so biased, you think Left Field is out in the parking lot.

And you dodged her question. So I guess my answer for you will remain.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Ann-- Several of my more annoying acquaintances who post Democrat Party Propaganda non-stop actually ARE paid about $8 an hour to shill for the party. So, ARM might be in that crowd.....

As for Walker-- I think he's a pretty decent candidate. His main problem is that he's not flashy, and people like flashy. (I'd still prefer Mitch Daniels, but he's even LESS flashy. I don't think America is ready for a presidential comb-over, even if it comes attached to a brilliant executive officer.)

Todd Roberson said...

The failure to provide clear differences in policy - despite all the rhetoric - is due to the fact that both parties are trapped in the reality that the only way to obtain lasting political power in the current environment is to deliver favors with other people's money. All the war, borrowing, funky accounting, carve-outs, insane tax code, yadda yadda yadda is to perpetuate that system.

They all talk big when running, but settle into that reality once in office.

That's a failure not so much of the parties but of the form of government. Political scholars from Cicero to Ben Franklin long recognized this flaw of the republic as a form of government.

We're attempting to deal with 21st century problems with an 18th century business model.

Brando said...

"Why are these lefties doing the work of the Democratic Party? They've been coopted into this task of cranking up aversion to the GOP for the benefit of the Democratic Party, when, in the old days, people like them would not subordinate themselves like that."

It all goes back to 2000. The Democrats and the swampy Left both agreed on one thing--that Ralph Nader cost Gore the election. Then, because of the Iraq War (which the far Left always opposed, and the Democrats started opposing once things started going differently from the 1991 Gulf War, and their opportunistic support backfired on them) the Democrats made the argument that "because you swampies wanted to be so pure and Green, we got Bush, and now we have this war. Thanks, morons!" The far Left couldn't really argue with that--they too believed Al Gore wouldn't have gone into Iraq (whether that's true is another matter) and knew if a few thousand Nader voters in Florida had gone to Gore it would have made a difference.

At that point, the far left stayed loyal to the Democrats--in some cases, they influenced the primaries (2008) but still bristled at their party's Wall Street cronyism (bailouts, weak Dodd-Frank, ACA compromises for insurance companies and no public option, Obama's new wars) but not so much to stray from the party.

Whether Hillary--who is far more venal than Obama ever was, and has sold out the Left at every opportunity--would be enough to change this remains to be seen.

Todd Roberson said...

@Dierdre -

Your'e right about Mitch Daniels. What a gifted chief executive officer. He could appeal to both parties (and did here in Indiana.)

...except ...

He has a little bit of a strange marriage, that reputedly involved infidelity and abandonment of the family on the part of his wife. America can handle a crook, a philanderer even a liar. A cuckold, however, is a bridge too far.

J2 said...

I'd like a bumper sticker that says:

"Don't blame me, I voted for Ross Perot"

but I'm too worn out to make one.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think the fact that he raised the girls alone and then took his wife back is actually a testament to his character in a GOOD way...


But the word on the street is that he won't run because it would hurt his wife.

Which points to the main problem with out Presidential system: The current election process is so horrific that only sociopaths will endure the whole thing. Thus, we're only governed by sociopaths.

The competent, kind, honest people can't see putting their families through the meat grinder.

Though-- it's pretty easy to see why he'd prefer Lafayette to DC.....

Robert Cook said...

"I'm blogging this because Roseanne is saying something that isn't heard too much anymore: Democrats and Republicans aren't different enough to get excited about."

I say it all the time.

Robert Cook said...

"Odd, I see the reverse - the Leftist radicals are in charge of the Democrat party."

This just shows how badly you see...or it reflects how far to the extreme right you are.

CStanley said...

I think that is probably correct that 2000 was an inflection point.

Before that, liberalism was more principled (wrongheaded, IMO, but more principled nonetheless.) The statistical tie of the election of 2000 (many believed it was caused by Nader voters) triggered a panic.

CStanley said...


Which points to the main problem with out Presidential system: The current election process is so horrific that only sociopaths will endure the whole thing. Thus, we're only governed by sociopaths.

This!

Ann Althouse said...

"You failed to address the motivation for your own obsessive pro-Walker postings - fangirl love rather than objective political analysis."

I have neutral feelings about Walker, in fact. What I react to is the compulsive hatred aimed at him. You're just not able to see that, but if you could read all my Walker posts with that hypothesis rather than your reflexive politics, you might be able to see that.

I'm not a political ideologue. I don't even like politics. I'm not a politico at all. I'm someone who stands back as a distanced observer, and I've mostly been observing lefties over the past 30 years because of my location and work. That's why things may look skewed to you, but ask any of the righties who hang out here whether I've one of them. I bet they all say no.

Ann Althouse said...

"He has a little bit of a strange marriage, that reputedly involved infidelity and abandonment of the family on the part of his wife. America can handle a crook, a philanderer even a liar. A cuckold, however, is a bridge too far."

So then Hillary should lose.

Robert Cook said...

"The Democrats and the swampy Left both agreed on one thing--that Ralph Nader cost Gore the election."

Actually, he didn't. Gore still had more votes than Bush. It was all the shenanigans in Florida that cost Gore the election.

Of course, Gore might easily have been as bad a president as Bush, but we'll never know.

Todd Roberson said...

@Ann -

Don't worry, Hillary is going to lose. In fact, I'll be quite surprised if she even makes it through the primaries. If ever someone is "going through the motions" it's her. She'll drop out, citing a health problem or the desire to "spend more time with family".

I'm convinced the only reason she's maintaining the charade is to be able to make the claim that she tried her best on behalf of all the parties who tried to buy favors from the anticipated first female president by contributing to the her ... Er ... Foundation.

AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
I have neutral feelings about Walker,


- spills coffee on laptop.

You are neutral in the same sense that Garage is neutral. I, on the other hand, could give a shit. Just another career politician with a crappy economy.

Brando said...

"Actually, he didn't. Gore still had more votes than Bush. It was all the shenanigans in Florida that cost Gore the election."

There's no evidence that Gore ever had more votes in Florida than Bush. At best, Gore could argue that the margin of error in statewide recounts is greater than the margin of victory for Bush, and that there is no way to definitively determine who won that state.

Sucks for Gore, but then, he was a crappy enough candidate that he managed to lose a race that was in the bag.

GRW3 said...

This item brought up Bush vs. Gore again. Which reminded me of the question I've had since that campaign. Why did Gore take such an angry turn to the left? The majority of people were happy with how things went for them, they just weren't crazy about the sturm and drang of the Clintons. If Algore had just said, with a smile "I'll continue the policies you like in a very boring fashion"
I think he would have won. His demeanor scared people off.

Shawn Levasseur said...

I was surprised to read that Barr has recently given a strong unequivocal support of Isreal, if not it's policies, at least its existence as the lone democracy in the region.

http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2015/03/roseanne-barr-netanyahu-is-elected-leader-of-a-true-democratic-state/

walter said...

Gee...Obama and Dems are a bit different on this supreme threat of Climate Change. Only a Dem could get elected promising to skyrocket electricity costs just to punish industry and diminish their 1st world guilt.

Deirdre Mundy said...

One last "Why I wish Daniels would Run" thing (Meade, can't you get to work on this?)

Many see him as a 'penny pinching conservative' --which is true, but that didn't make him anti-social welfare. He actually INCREASED the reach of programs that provide demonstrated savings down the line.

So, he expanded WIC and the 0-3 therapy programs (free in-home evaluation and therapy for kids with delays) because he did the math and discovered that every $1 spent on these early interventions saves $3 down the line and helps kids grow into more productive citizens.

He pioneered healthcare savings accounts for state workers and people on Medicaid.

He supports the poor, but in ways that give their families a way OUT of poverty.

And he implemented statewide school choice, so that poor kids could escape bad schools.


Seriously, except for the wife and the fashion issues, this man would be a great president.

(I bet if you agreed to let him telecommute to DC and only show up on state occasions, he'd run.... Maybe an old-style "Front Porch Campaign?" Meade. You have connections. Get on it! A Walker v. Daniels primary would be great!)

(Google is clearly in the pocket of 'Big Grain'-- to prove I wasn't a robot, I had to find all the pictures of bread!)

Brando said...

"Only a Dem could get elected promising to skyrocket electricity costs just to punish industry and diminish their 1st world guilt."

It's true they get elected promising such things, but look what happens when they take office--they failed to pass any climate change bill, even in 2009-10 when they had big majorities in the House and Senate, and Obama in the White House. This wasn't just GOP obstruction, either--too many elected Democrats ran away from the thing.

Whenever a party takes a majority, they become more dependent on a moderate middle that accounts for their margin (swing districts, and purple states) and this prevents any truly radical agenda from getting through. When they do try to ram something (like the ACA, which wasn't a disaster so much for being too left wing but mainly for being a poorly conceived bunch of corporatist crappola) they pay for it later.

Todd Roberson said...

@Dierdre -

You continue to bring up interesting points so I must make one more comment (then I've seriously gotta go to work).

Check out my post @6:49.

Why don't all politicians telecommute to DC? In fact, other than state occasions and national holidays, why do we even need the apparatus in DC anymore? Why do we even need the layers in between the people and decisions? Isn't the existence of that apparatus part of the problem?

This is what I'm talking about when I refer to the "18th century business model".

Phil 3:14 said...

This post is '60's Althouse speaking. Think of Dem convention '68. Dick Daley trying to shout down Abe Ribicoff and Abbie Hoffman outside rousing the rabble.

I'm not criticizing mind you, just musing on the progression of the young radicals who grew comfortable with the Democratic Party.

My first indication of that metamorphosis was Gary Hart or Jerry Brown.

But at least we're still cool

SGT Ted said...

Obama and Democrat supporters complaining about a substandard economy under a GOP State Governor is just so precious.

Phil 3:14 said...

The real "radicals" who disdain the Dems as being the same as the Republicans remind me of Strelnikov in Dr. Zhivago:

angry, convicted and ultimately heartless.

AReasonableMan said...

Why does Wisconsin underperform relative to the national economy?

Phil 3:14 said...

"Why does Wisconsin underperform relative to the national economy?"

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves

Peter said...

Walker deserves credit for Act 10. Act 10 cut back the political power of the public-sector unions, it badly needed to be done, and there are few politicians who would have been willing to actually do it.

BUT that's a far cry from swearing fealty. I don't owe Walker, or any other politician, fealty.

As for the Republican Party, it badly needs to learn the difference between being pro-market and being pro-business (but it won't).

Roughcoat said...

Concerning Walker and Wisconsin: Oh, gosh, what can I say as an Illinoisan? From down here in the flatlands of this phenomenally and fantastically corrupt dysfunctional misgoverned Democrat one-party feudal state Walker seems a paragon of good and virtuous and effective governance. Illinois is so thoroughly screwed up and dominated by the horrid Democrats in general and by the Cook County Democrats (and Democrat voters) it may never recover (you know that Illinois would be counted as a Red state if it didn't have Cook County?). You guys up there in Cheesehead Land don't know how lucky you are to have Walker. I hope he runs for president and I hope he gets the nomination and if he does I'll vote for him.

Patrick said...

ARM, I'm surprised to see you describe yourself as a moderate. I'be always thought you presented yourself as a fairly unabashed leftist.

Are there any issues on which you disagree with the President, but you side to his right, not his left?

MayBee said...

It's true they get elected promising such things, but look what happens when they take office--they failed to pass any climate change bill, even in 2009-10 when they had big majorities in the House and Senate,

Brando-
The Democrats have stopped trying to do that Democratic bill passing thing. Obama is doing it all through EPA regulations.

Robert Cook said...

"There's no evidence that Gore ever had more votes in Florida than Bush. At best, Gore could argue that the margin of error in statewide recounts is greater than the margin of victory for Bush, and that there is no way to definitively determine who won that state."

Gore indisputably did have more votes nationwide...but, I realize, given the electoral college, that having a majority of the popular vote doesn't guarantee the popular choice the win. However, even in Florida it seems Gore had a narrow majority vote. If thousands of voters in Florida had not been disenfranchised--by means of regular polling places in primarily Democratic districts being closed early or moved to other locations without prior notice, or voters removed from the voting rolls because they had names the same as or similar to known felons (97% of those purged were not these felons)-- there is no doubt the votes in Florida would have gone overwhelmingly to Gore.

Sebastian said...

"the only way to obtain lasting political power in the current environment is to deliver favors with other people's money"

Most Americans like it that way. They want to be bribed with other people's money. Anyone who proposes a serious reduction in entitlements or the administrative state will be crushed. The dirty secret of American politics is that there is no dirty secret: the people get what they want.

"but ask any of the righties who hang out here whether I've one of them. I bet they all say no"

Don't worry. Of course, viewed from the left, allowing the likes of us to hang out with you is itself a righty thing to do.

AReasonableMan said...

Patrick said...
Are there any issues on which you disagree with the President, but you side to his right, not his left?


Immigration. Unfortunately because of the weak state of our human capital we currently need to bring in the best and brightest from other countries to remain competitive, but that is all we should be doing. Immigration should work for the benefit of the current residents.

Foreign wars. A few Republicans (Paul and Buchanan) are closest to my views.

Crony capitalism.


Brando said...

"However, even in Florida it seems Gore had a narrow majority vote. If thousands of voters in Florida had not been disenfranchised--by means of regular polling places in primarily Democratic districts being closed early or moved to other locations without prior notice, or voters removed from the voting rolls because they had names the same as or similar to known felons (97% of those purged were not these felons)".

That's impossible to determine--you can't know how many purged voters would have actually voted, and voted for Gore for that matter.

Likewise, at the precinct level there's all sorts of shenanigans going on from both sides in terms of tossing out ballots, misrecording vote counts, etc. It happens all the time, in all states, but in 2000 it just happened to occur in Florida where the vote was shockingly close. In a state with millions of votes, when the winner wins by a few hundred, no one is going to be happy with the result, and no one can prove how the vote "should" have been.

As I said, the margin of error due to these things happened this time to be greater than the margin of victory, and it's impossible to prove how things would have turned out otherwise.

Patrick said...

Noted ARM.
Would you eliminate immigration for unskilled labor then?

Brando said...

"The Democrats have stopped trying to do that Democratic bill passing thing. Obama is doing it all through EPA regulations."

That's true, but even though his "pen and a veto" approach is often questionably illegal, he's unable to get done as much as he'd be able to if he had an enacted law on his side. With Cap and Trade, surely Obama would be able to go much farther than his regulatory encroachment (which also could run into trouble with court challenges if it overreaches enough).

Laslo Spatula said...

ARM,

Thank you for your 8:45 comment.

I am Laslo.

Pat said...

Kind of a soft-focus look at Barr; apparently her 9-11 Trutherism has been forgottem over at the Beast.

MayBee said...

Before that, liberalism was more principled (wrongheaded, IMO, but more principled nonetheless.) The statistical tie of the election of 2000 (many believed it was caused by Nader voters) triggered a panic.

Yes.
And the way Bush was treated at his inauguration - protests, eggs thrown at his limo- opened the door to treating the Republican president terribly. That filtered down to Republican lawmakers, and eventually republican voters.

I absolutely agree with Fen that rather than having amazing ideas, Democrats more or less run on the idea that your "group" would be crazy to vote for xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, granny hating republicans.

MadisonMan said...

If ever someone is "going through the motions" it's her.

Agreed. There seems to be little fire in her belly. I'm reminded of Barrett running for Governor here.

Someone who actually wants the office would run circles around her tired self.

Also, total agreement on Daniels.

jr565 said...

Liberals had their one shot of going third party with Ralph Nader. And when they saw that Gore/Bush was won by a handful of votes they decided "never again".
I wish libertarians would learn this lesson.

As to differences between the two parties, that's ludicrous. There are fundamentally profound differences between the two

The Cracker Emcee said...

R"As a moderate, I see two parties captured by much the same set of economic interests who then gin up social issues in an attempt to disguise this. You will get no traction trying to tie me to the Democrat or Republican party."

This sort of declaration has become a comic tell in Internet political discussion. The principled soul airing his independence invariably goose-steps smartly with the Democrat Party line and dutifully, if dimly, attacks conservatives whenever the hive demands.

Michael K said...

"What's interesting (and sad) is the lack of self awareness among the Democratic voters. They still think conservatives are the tribalism ones, and don't even recognize that they are being played."

All you have to do is read HuffPo every day and you see this. It's about 75% of them who write about Fox News as if they watched it and knew what was being said. The Rush Limbaugh haters who have never listened to his program.

The Democrats have been very successful at this. See Harry Reid and his defiance about being seen as a liar and this is the Senate Majority Leader !

jr565 said...

A ReasonableMan wrote:
As a moderate, I see two parties captured by much the same set of economic interests who then gin up social issues in an attempt to disguise this. You will get no traction trying to tie me to the Democrat or Republican party.

Funny, as I'd tag you in with democrats. A direct supporter of Obama, no questions asked.

khematite@aol.com said...

As far back as 1960, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. felt that it was necessary to write a book titled "Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference?"

Brando said...

"Why did Gore take such an angry turn to the left? The majority of people were happy with how things went for them, they just weren't crazy about the sturm and drang of the Clintons. If Algore had just said, with a smile "I'll continue the policies you like in a very boring fashion"".

It's because Al Gore is an idiot. He somehow thought by running as an "angry populist" he could have fired up the Democrats, along with the moderates he already had, to sweep into victory in 2000. He likely had moron advisors who approved that strategy. What made it stupid was he was VP--not exactly a populist outsider, so it wasn't clear who he was running against! Plus, the economy was strong, and Clinton had high approval ratings. There could hardly have been less fertile ground for a populist anger campaign, yet Gore figured this was a good idea. He ended up alieanting moderates, who Bush could scoop up by appearing a more "gentle" conservative.

Gore's people can blame Florida vote counters endlessly for his loss, but the real culprit was Al Gore. That race was in the bag and had he been in a coma throughout 2000 he would have won it.

Michael K said...

"As a moderate, I see two parties captured by much the same set of economic interests who then gin up social issues in an attempt to disguise this. You will get no traction trying to tie me to the Democrat or Republican party."

ARM, I have previously posted that I think you are sane but you don;t always show it and this is one of those times. To the degree that all politicians support those who give them money, I agree but the political philosophies that members support are very different.

Show me the Democrat Tom Coburn.

Michael K said...

"It was all the shenanigans in Florida that cost Gore the election."

The lunatic left exposed. The 2000 election was indeed a turning point. Away from logic by Democrats and especially lefties like Cookie.

Brando said...

"Liberals had their one shot of going third party with Ralph Nader. And when they saw that Gore/Bush was won by a handful of votes they decided "never again".
I wish libertarians would learn this lesson."

I think for any third party voter you have to understand that to them, their political preferences are so outside the 2-party dynamic that it really doesn't matter which of them wins, they'd rather not vote or vote for a third choice even if they might have swayed the election by picking what we view as the "least bad" option. Try to imagine that the Democrats nominated Hugo Chavez, and the Republicans nominated Fidel Castro--if you saw the choices that way you'd genuinely not care which one won.

A lot of Leftists though had a wakeup call in 2000, and discovered that they didn't in fact see it that way--they realized they would much have preferred Gore to Bush. But I suspect a lot of them still justify their Nader vote by figuring Gore may have done the same things Bush did.

Coupe said...

I think the American experiment failed many years ago. The two-party system was murdered by FDR.

Every regime since, has been a run on the treasury.

dbp said...

I see the temptation to throw one's hands up and say there isn't a dime's difference between the two parties. But there are real and important differences in how they govern and in their political philosophies.

So I would coin my own phrase: Those who think there is no difference between the parties don't have a dime's worth of discernment. In most cases it is just a case of distance: They are too far away (to the right or left) to make-out the differences.

Anonymous said...

"I would rather see the first intelligent, honest American president." Take that, George Washington!

MadisonMan said...

It was all the shenanigans in Florida that cost Gore the election

Had Gore won his home state, Florida would have been moot.

campy said...

"It was all the shenanigans in Florida that cost Gore the election."

It was all the shenanigans in Florida that almost stole Gore the election.

FTFY

CStanley said...

They are too far away (to the right or left) to make-out the differences.

I think this misses the point. There undoubtedly are people who complain about the similarity of the parties because neither is as extreme as the person's preferences, but I think the more important criticism is about process, not policy. Both parties are alike In that the politicians tell voters what they want to hear but they really pursue their own interests.

So on the left, the politicians appeal (with rhetoric) to voters who want government to solve problems. But in reality the policies they champion help the large special interests because that is where their bread is buttered. Their main task is convincing voters that they are trying to be the champion of the little guy (any failure is pinned on the opposition party.)

And on the right, the GOP claims to be the party of small government in an attempt to appeal to voters who value liberty. But again, the politicians actually pursue policies that are contrary to those goals because of incentives- they too are funded by the rich and powerful who want to keep the system rigged to their favor against, say, small businesses and start ups.

So the way in which this is true differs a bit for each party, but it is in fact true: neither party really pursues the interests of the voters.

Michael K said...

ARM, I would be interested in your reaction to George Will's speech to the " Disinvitation Dinner "

Brando said...

"So the way in which this is true differs a bit for each party, but it is in fact true: neither party really pursues the interests of the voters."

The voters themselves are largely to blame for this, though. Sure, the GOP candidates talk about smaller government, but the reason they can't get any traction on entitlement reform isn't so much because the politicians got too cozy with the AARP, but because they know their voters want cuts for people other than themselves--they don't want to miss a payment! Voters on the Left, for their part, talk about how they don't mind paying more taxes and think of course the "rich" (meaning "someone who is not me") could pay a hell of a lot more, and that this would enable the government to fund all sorts of goodies. But the poltiicians start to realize there's only so much you can get out of the rich before your receipts drop, and when their voters say they'd pay more in taxes they don't really mean it.

If these politicians believed they could keep getting elected by sticking to the base-pleasing plans they campaign on, and that they could feasibly get these things done, they'd absolutely do it. But what the voters want--even just their base-voters--tends to contradict itself or be unrealistic.

dbp said...

@CStanley
I think that in most cases it is that the person is too far from the center to see the differences. Even in cases where the parties seem the same, they really are not once you look deeper: Take favoring big business for instance. Republicans favor deregulation out of a belief in free markets, this is interpreted as favoring big business. Democrats slam big business all the time and yet get huge contributions from same. Why? They favor heavy regulation, which acts as a barrier to entry for new businesses and helps large established ones. There is also much rent-seeking, where businesses contribute in the hopes that regulations will be written in a way that hurts the competition more than it hurts them.

Mike said...

Ann Althouse said:
Why are these lefties doing the work of the Democratic Party? They've been coopted into this task of cranking up aversion to the GOP for the benefit of the Democratic Party, when, in the old days, people like them would not subordinate themselves like that.

Because for progressives and activists it is now Party Uber Alles because there is no other way to power. There's no other way to wield power than within the two-party system. This is the same realization the Tea Party came to in 2010. If we wait for establishment Republicans to foment the change we want it will never happen.

Thus two parties that had been drifting centerward into a mushy bureaucracy-loving middle since at least 1992 are now being pushed by their most active members to emphasize differences and achieve goals that are right-of- or left-of-center as it were.

Roseanne is wrong on one point: third parties have no way to drive the engines of change by virtue of exclusion from the party leaders and levers of power.

CStanley said...

Dbp- you just described how each party comes at the same dis ingenuity from opposite sides.

Both know that large corporations want regulation that favors them by thwarting new competitors, the right sells their platform to voters as though they plan to fight against regulation but they consistently vote for the regulation that helps the big players. The left rhetorically embraces regulation as a way to protect the little guy when the reality is that it rarely accomplishes protection for anyone except for those same large players.

Big Mike said...

@Madman, there never was a chance that the people who knew Al Gore best -- the people of his home state -- would ever vote for him.

CStanley said...

Brando- agree with your first paragraph completely but the second not so much.

You are assuming that the politicians would be happy to enact good policy if the voters would reward them for it. I disagree because their interest isn't in getting elected and governing, it's in gaining power and wealth. That power comes from the rent seeking arrangements.

Brando said...

"there never was a chance that the people who knew Al Gore best -- the people of his home state -- would ever vote for him."

They had elected him repeatedly as Senator, and twice as VP when he was considered a centrist. It was his pivot to populist swampy leftism in the 2000 campaign that made him not just lose Tennessee, but several other "redenning" states that Clinton had won twice (NV, CO, LA, Arkansas, KY, Missouri, WV, FL once, GA once, and AZ once). What changed between 1996 and 2000? Gore was no longer on a centrist "new Democrat" ticket, but ran away from that label by trying to be that year's answer to Liz Warren.

dbp said...

" they consistently vote for the regulation that helps the big players." When have Republicans ever voted for more regulation?

Sure, some have sometimes but what I'm talking about is the majority of Republicans voting for more regulation. I can't think of any examples, can you?

Anyway, this is one example of where the parties can appear the same. There are lots of other areas of complete departure: Take other issues. If the Dems had their way, there would be no private ownership of guns, there would be single payer health care and essentially no first amendment.

Added: One industry the Republicans would regulate if they could is the abortion industry. Even here it would not be out of any business-related ideology, but rather of recognizing some level of rights for the unborn.

Drago said...

Phil 3:14: "This post is '60's Althouse speaking. Think of Dem convention '68. Dick Daley trying to shout down Abe Ribicoff and Abbie Hoffman outside rousing the rabble.

I'm not criticizing mind you, just musing on the progression of the young radicals who grew comfortable with the Democratic Party.

My first indication of that metamorphosis was Gary Hart or Jerry Brown"

My first was the failure of the left to capture the hearts and minds of the dem party in 1968 (hence the assault on the party from the outside).

My second indication of the metamorphosis was the capture of the dem nomination in 72 by McGovern.

Except the country wasn't quite prepared to go full lefty crazy in 72.

The left has continued it's long march thru all of our institutions and become more savvy about how to "boil the frog". That and the takeover of the media/hollywood/academia etc laid the foundation for what we have now: obambi. A leftist who would love to be a "full on" lefty but still has to play the "pretend" "game to keep the frogs from noticing they are being boiled.

richard mcenroe said...

If one thinks Roseanne Barr would make an acceptable President, permit me to suggest you can probably find any number of women of comparable skills, intellect and experience in the frozen food aisle at WalMart.

At 3 A.M.

richard mcenroe said...

FEN -- I see ARM closer to the foul line.

CStanley said...

Dbp- the big ones that come to mind are Sarbane-Oxley and McCain-Feingold. The latter had a good bit of GOP dissent I think, but it still hardly makes the GOP the safeguarders of the 1st Amendment that you'd have them be.

Since you raised the question though I realizere that my broader point would be better made by looking at all types of economic policy (esp tax policy) in terms of the way the GOP caters to large corporations- not just regulatory policy.

Drago said...

Althouse (to ARM): " Are you getting paid for your efforts? If not, what's your motivation? I'd really like to know."

On this small point I find, to my ever-lasting discredit no doubt, I must rise to a small defense of ARM.

I find it unlikely that ARM is a paid shill for the dems. He has exhibited just enough of a glimmer of separation on a couple issues that indicates he is not in 100% lockstep with the dems that a paid "shill-ery" would require.

So, acceptance of the above does not lead directly to an answer of the question Althouse posed, but does perhaps rule out one of the possibilities.

And on that note, I must retire momentarily to drink lustily from the nearest bottle of "forget what you just wrote" elixir.

Which reminds me of an amusing anecdote of a long retired 40 year veteran of the US Marine Corps who I had the pleasure of meeting at his home in the late 1980's.

He asked if I would like something to drink. He informed me that he had beer, wine, all manners of alcohol, tea and water.

When I said I would like a beer, he proceeded to yell at me and then tell me that "in this house, we drink scotch!!".

So I had the scotch.

He had the most amazing pith helmet collection as he had spent significant amounts of time as a liaison to the British army during the end of their colonial run.

Michael K said...

"America is in decline, and your party is getting angrier and angrier as the days go by."

Excuse me but are you trying to say the Democrats are not angry ? Read a couple of leftist blogs like HuffPo.

Read about the campus "micro aggression" farce.

I guess you could argue that insanity is not anger.

ken in tx said...

I guess Cook didn't read or didn't believe the NYT post election analysis that declared that Bush won and would have still won if the recounts were allowed to continue as Democrats wanted. As for disenfranchised voters, absentee military voters were almost totally disenfranchised in Democrat held areas in Florida. Their votes were simply not counted.

buwaya said...

Political polarization has been increasing in the US (and I think elsewhere also, it may be global).
Interesting recent paper on US trends -
https://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/publications/working-papers/2013/wp13-41.pdf

There is quite a lot of literature on this.

One effect, as noted above, is that the extremes have seen the bulk of their "sides" converging with them. If so, why bother with separation.

Earnest Prole said...

Republicans and Democrats: Distinctions not cost-effective.

AReasonableMan said...

Michael K said...
Show me the Democrat Tom Coburn.


The outliers in each party are just that, a sop to the fringe members of the group. Elizabeth Warren is the equivalent.

What matters is how they govern and, as others have noted, there is not a lot of difference. Partly that is because of the sharing of power between the executive and the legislature but, in general, it is because neither party is allowed to stray too far off the reservation by entrenched interests.

campy said...

"I guess Cook didn't read or didn't believe the NYT post election analysis that declared that Bush won..."

Who's gonna believe a right-wing organ like the NYT?

Drago said...

ken in tx: "I guess Cook didn't read or didn't believe the NYT post election analysis that declared that Bush won and would have still won if the recounts were allowed to continue as Democrats wanted."

You must never forget that Cook is one of those crazies who actually believes HWBush hopped an SR-71 to Paris to meet with Iranians (while Carter was still President) to persuade the Iranians to keep US Citizens hostages longer in order to get Reagan elected.

Cookie. Actually. Believes. That.

Ann Althouse said...

Drago said: "Althouse (to ARM): "Are you getting paid for your efforts? If not, what's your motivation? I'd really like to know." On this small point I find, to my ever-lasting discredit no doubt, I must rise to a small defense of ARM. I find it unlikely that ARM is a paid shill for the dems."

Oh, I agree. I'm just approaching the "what's your motivation" question with an allowance for a possibility that doesn't involve self-expression.

Gusty Winds said...

AReasonableMan said, "You failed to address the motivation for your own obsessive pro-Walker postings - fangirl love rather than objective political analysis."

Wow is that off base. I give the good Professor a lot of credit for calling it like it is; especially in the liberal community she lives, and the liberal environment where she works.

I don't always agree with her, but the ARM's statement above is simply disingenuous.

Walker and the shift in Wisconsin politics is huge. It was the canary in the coal mine that lead to last fall's Republican sweep. Illinois followed suit electing Rauner.

From the center point of the fight, this blog has given great coverage.

Gusty Winds said...

AReasonableMan said, "As a moderate..."

Give me a break.

Unless being a moderate requires a complete lack of self awareness.

I think you would be removed from all Aristotelian reindeer games for failing the , "an eye is only a good eye in so much as it can see" test.

dbp said...

CStanley,

Your point is semi-valid in SA, it passed with majorities of both parties. It was a law that I'm sure busineses find burdensome but hardly helps one over another since it applies to all publicly traded firms and is ostensibly to provide more openness to investors. Not that I necessarily would have voted for it.

As to MF, you are way off base: The final vote on the Republican side of the House was 41 to 176 against. Yes, Bush (to his great dishonor) signed it but I think he was never the conservative the press made him out to be. On the Senate side, it looks like 11 Republicans voted for it out of 60 yea votes.

bbkingfish said...

Anne Althouse said...

"Something changed in our political culture. Those who, in the past, would have been straightforward lefties with an aversion to mainstream Democrats have bonded with Democrats and get passionate in support of them, as if the difference between Democrats and Republicans is profoundly important."

The same has happened on the right, and only more obviously.

Militia movement/Tim McVeigh types, your Wade Michael Page-style white supremacists, and Cliven Bundy-style super-patriots used to be fringe elements, but are now at home cuddled up, comfy under the big GOP tent.

Even erstwhile revolutionaries like the Koch brothers, who spent their entire lives on the outside throwing bombs at the Republican Party (they even reviled Reagan) now, in their dotage, are regarded as latter day GOP sages.

I don't know what letter grade 50 percent translates to at law school, so I give this post an I, for Incomplete.

Robert Cook said...

I guess Cook didn't read or didn't believe the NYT post election analysis that declared that Bush won...."

You didn't see the headline of the article I linked to, (or read any of the article itself)?

damikesc said...

I'm not a political ideologue. I don't even like politics. I'm not a politico at all. I'm someone who stands back as a distanced observer, and I've mostly been observing lefties over the past 30 years because of my location and work. That's why things may look skewed to you, but ask any of the righties who hang out here whether I've one of them. I bet they all say no.

Not remotely, no.

However, you do engage in honest dialogue on most issues, so I respect you even if I don't agree.

As for the Republican Party, it badly needs to learn the difference between being pro-market and being pro-business (but it won't).

Brilliantly said. Republicans love corporations not markets.

Democratic districts being closed early or moved to other locations without prior notice, or voters removed from the voting rolls because they had names the same as or similar to known felons (97% of those purged were not these felons)-- there is no doubt the votes in Florida would have gone overwhelmingly to Gore.

If FL wasn't called for Gore before the polls closed, Bush would've had an additional (minimum by any study) 10,000 votes. The panhandle of the state (a Republican stronghold) had abnormally low turnout due to the early calling causing people to leave the voting sites.

Immigration. Unfortunately because of the weak state of our human capital we currently need to bring in the best and brightest from other countries to remain competitive, but that is all we should be doing.

That's been proven to be false. High tech firms just want to keep people working at below market wages so they demand more visas. There's been considerable criticism of the abuse of the H-1 visa program.

retired said...

"Why does Wisconsin underperform relative to the national economy?"

Its unemployment rate is about the same as nationally.

Its GDP per capita is average for great lakes states, all blue states, below the national average.

Mostly, it's been a blue state for a long time, part of the rust belt. Can't blame Walker for a generation of anti-business climate. He was in Germany on a trade mission last week.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Why not explain precisely how you got there and why you are behaving like that? Give us some insight! Or are you just so damned committed to the interests of the mainstream party that is benefiting from your efforts?

Wow, Ann. Really?

Tell me what good any Republican has done in 22 years and I'll tell you why one party is the consistent lesser of two evils. A much, much lesser evil.

This Tim Russert false balance crap is what's lame. ARM's right that Demos are essentially co-opted (not usually by choice) by the same payola that Pubs want, but at least they don't have to cater to creationism, climate denialism, anti-Keynesianism, and foreign policies made bellicose for its own sake.

Those are four consistent things that should make any rational person run from the GOP. And, oh yeah, religious fundamentalism. Don't forget that.

Demos might have said the personal is political, but the Pubbies definitely cloud their thinking by making everything political, personal. They've been doing it since they accused FDR of sending a destroyer back somewhere in Alaska to make a special, (at obviously exorbitant pretend-cost) effort to rescue his Scottish Terrier.

And they've been this brain-dead for 80 years. Remember the supposed Obama entourage to India? All the outrage over the next made-up scandal, and the next. It's like their addicted to it.

I guess avoiding zombies for representatives and leaders at all costs is just a bigger priority for some of us than it is for you.

Apologies for not relating.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I'm not a political ideologue. I don't even like politics. I'm not a politico at all. I'm someone who stands back as a distanced observer..

So distanced, in fact, that two depressions, consistently greater increases in debt (despite much more rabid and persistent rhetoric to the contrary), trillions in a war that wasn't budgeted, McCarthyism, and a clear anti-science agenda didn't even register for you.

You know Ann, all this time it's not as if national politics didn't also happen.

God bless your clear-eyed impartiality. I guess someone's got to live in Madison and pretend that their immediate surroundings are the only form of cuckoo worth noticing and reporting. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

But then, that's sort of how 'Pubbies are. Pretending that their immediate situation is the only truth there is.

Anonymous said...

I'm very late to this thread but I've been hearing the refrain for some time now that Republicans and Democrats are the same.

There are a few things I've noticed about this refrain.

Its loved by Democrats. You'll almost certainly see supporters of leftist policy and Democrats, like Robert Cook, an unreasonable man, garage and others parotting this line the closer we get to election time.

Its also a line beloved of libertarians.

Which I find very interesting. Leftists, Democrats and Libertarians all want us to believe there is no difference between a Republican and a Democrat.

Let's see if they are right.

Its certainly true that ideologically, Conservatives and Liberals are not the same. Its also true that Republicans are seen as conservative and democrats as liberal. But we all know this is bunk. So we can begin by saying the claim that there is no difference between the parties, isn't the same as saying there is no difference between the two ideologies.

Therefore, the conclusion must be that both parties are filled with liars, or an argument that there is no difference between an ideological conservative and an ideological democrat when it comes to governing.

Taking a break from that, these same people abhor the "extremists on both sides" and by that they mean specifically the Ted Cruz types (usually Democrat examples of this are wanting). They don't like the Ted Cruz types, and they don't like the lack of difference between the parties, they prefer when politicians reach across the isle to "get things done" and they prefer when the parties in Washington aren't the same.

Anyone see the contradiction here?

This is a snow job.

Don't vote for a Republican or a Democrat. Vote for a person who will represent your views in Washington.

Right now, my guy is Ted Cruz, but I'm not ruling out others

Why? Because he is Pro-life, strong on border enforcement, speaks out on Islamism and doesn't pussy foot around the truth of that threat, wants a broader tax base with a simplified tax code, and looks to God, rather than himself, as a higher power.

If Democrats and Republicans are the same, show me the Democrat with those beliefs and I'll vote for him.

Marc Winger said...

The Democrats are definitely in trouble, with no viable personages that can win, unless they pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Drago said...

R&B's: "Demos might have said the personal is political, but the Pubbies definitely cloud their thinking by making everything political, personal. They've been doing it since they accused FDR of sending a destroyer back somewhere in Alaska to make a special, (at obviously exorbitant pretend-cost) effort to rescue his Scottish Terrier."

LOL

You didn't go far enough back! Democrats were drawing cartoons of Lincoln as a monkey!

But hey, we get it. Lincoln had it coming.

Drago said...

R&B's: "Demos might have said the personal is political, but the Pubbies definitely cloud their thinking by making everything political, personal. They've been doing it since they accused FDR of sending a destroyer back somewhere in Alaska to make a special, (at obviously exorbitant pretend-cost) effort to rescue his Scottish Terrier."

A more recent example of partisan crazies thinking partisan crazy things include those who think Sarah Palin is not the mother of her own child!!

I know! Can you believe it?

Extremists.

Mike said...

LOL

bbkingfish:
The same has happened on the right, and only more obviously.

Militia movement/Tim McVeigh types, your Wade Michael Page-style white supremacists, and Cliven Bundy-style super-patriots used to be fringe elements, but are now at home cuddled up, comfy under the big GOP tent.


Really? Tim McVeigh a Republican? Who exactly stood up on the floor of Congress and praised Cliven Bundy? Go ahead and name names.

Even erstwhile revolutionaries like the Koch brothers, who spent their entire lives on the outside throwing bombs at the Republican Party (they even reviled Reagan) now, in their dotage, are regarded as latter day GOP sages.

Off by a mile again. The Kochs are free-market libertarians. The establishment (Ds and Rs) despises them and if as you say they "threw bombs" at the GOP well, good for them. They were ahead of the Tea Party times. Wait, are you one of those ignoramuses that think they started the Tea Party?

Either way, your examples are complete bullshit. As usual. Where are the analogous Republican activities to:

- Democrats letting Code Pink crazies into Congressional hearings, etc.?
- Democrats voicing solidarity with the sidewalk-pooping Occupy freaks?
- Democrats who state their fear out loud in Congress that (wait for it) "too many people" on Guam will tip it over?

In fact when has a Republican ever said a black man isn't black anymore because of what the man believes? Or that a woman isn't a female because she believes differently than the Republican Party? Those are common Democrat talking points. That's why they're the Dangerous Party.

The GOP does have a big tent, but we don't rush out to welcome every crazy person with a cause the way the Dems do.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Drac, in his typical idiocy, actually believes that LIncoln (or TR, for that matter), have anything to do with the Republican party of today. What a moron!

He should let us all know which of Lincoln's policies he supports and sees reflected in today's Republicans.

He actually doesn't know that their positions changed since 1920, let alone since 1865! What a fuckwad! Lol!

He gets a history grade of "F". No, it doesn't mean "fantastic", or "fabulous", you unloved bachelor.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Drago said…

"But hey, we get it. Lincoln had it coming."

Wow. He's actually in favor of Lincoln being assassinated. Incredible.

But predictable. He's probably in favor of other pols (and commenters) being assassinated. Plus, he's a shill for the party that never wastes an opportunity to reach out to Confederate flag displays, the party ascendent in the South for the last 45 years.

Confederate Draco. Vlad the Confederate Impaler. Tell us how important "states' rights" are to you and your party, Drag.

Rhythm and Balls said...

A more recent example of partisan crazies thinking partisan crazy things include those who think Sarah Palin is not the mother of her own child!!

Did you deliver her baby, too? Or just have all your gynecological clinical expertise to fall back onto when you advise women, post-amniorrhexis, to give speeches and board planes with six-hour itineraries?

I'm not saying it couldn't be done. But is it insane? Oh yeah. But Drago, OB/GYN, will uphold the uncriticized story of the retarded Christ-child that his She-God, Sarah Palin, has birthed unto the electorate. There is no other way to demonstrate her Godliness. She loved that retard so much, that she put him through an unheard of pre-birth itinerary. To save the sins of the Republic.

Drago's sins are saved through Trig's ordeals. That's how much Sarah loved his world.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of crazy Democrats and crazy conspiracy theories, oh hey R&B.

damikesc said...

No joke, Eric. Apparently he is taking up Sully's investigative OB/GYN schtick.

Hey, R&B, how will it feel voting for the originator of birtherism?

Brando said...

Already the media's noting Hillary hedging on the new trade bill (where Obama and the GOP are agreeing to give the president more authority in negotiating trade deals, and the Left is balking). The fissures are there--it's just a question of whether an unskilled automaton like Hillary can deftly hold on to the Democrats' business allies without alienating the swampies.

On the other side of the coin, can the GOP avoid scaring the middle? Right now the best hope the Democrats have is that their diverse coalitions can be held together out of fear of extremist Republicans running the country. Hillary will try and position herself as the sanest, safest obstacle to total "crazy" GOP control. Without that foil, the Hillary strategy falls apart.