28 March 2012

We can't afford complacency


Watching the Republican primary clown show, the deranged forced- ultrasound laws and other anti-women legislation and gaffes, polls showing massive public support for Medicare, Social Security, and higher taxes on the rich, etc., it's easy to assume that we're looking at a landslide win in November. Unfortunately there's not much evidence of that at the moment. Consider:

Most polls have been showing Obama with only a narrow lead over Romney, occasionally even trailing Romney.

The latest poll shows the recall effort against Walker losing, though by a very narrow margin.

Until last week, Warren was trailing Brown in Massachusetts.

A lot more Democratic Senators than Republican ones are facing re-election this year.

Yes, a third candidate might split the right-wing vote, but the same danger exists on our side.

Republican rhetoric about socialism, "liberty", greedy unions, the rich as "job creators", etc. has a lot of resonance among the paranoids and LIVs isolated from reality in the Fox/Drudge bubble.

And there's still a small but significant number of idiots bleating that "there's no difference between the parties", as if Republicans would have put Kagan and Sotomayor on the Supreme Court, passed the ACA (imperfect as it is), removed DADT, etc., etc., etc. Anybody who still believes such nonsense is probably beyond persuasion; there's no one more naïve than a cynic.

It's hard to know why exactly the Republicans aren't doing worse in the polls, considering how unpopular most of their positions are. True, with the election so far away, many voters aren't paying much attention yet. A bigger factor, though, is that not many people actually decide whom to vote for on the basis of those issues. The huge unpopularity of the forced-ultrasound laws, for example, will have little impact on the election unless large numbers of people who would otherwise have voted Republican switch to voting Democratic because of them, and I've seen little hard evidence of that (most of the people who are really outraged would have voted Democratic anyway, so the outrage didn't change their votes).

In the current economic situation, the biggest vote-swayer is going to be jobs. The fact that most people still blame the recession on Bush rather than on Obama isn't as big a positive as we might think. They're much more interested in who can bring the jobs back than on who is to blame for the problem. If anything, the Republicans have probably been most hurt by the fact that they just talk too much about other issues (the deficit, birth control, etc.) instead of about jobs -- but Democrats have also failed to focus on jobs to anything like the extent that they need to.

Bill Maher is right
-- Obama could lose. And this is not just about Obama. Congress is equally important. Personally I think our side will, in fact, win by a big margin -- but I'm far from certain of it, and those who want to claim the contrary can point to plenty of evidence backing up their position.

The point is, we can't afford complacency. Everyone needs to do as much as they can and donate as much as they can. No matter what we believe will happen, we must fight every fight as if defeat were a real possibility and as if everything depended on winning (and there is a great deal at stake). If you know someone who thinks we've got this in the bag and plans to waste his vote on this year's Nader, give him a good talking-to. There'll be time to relax after we win.

[Image at top from Politics Plus]

16 Comments:

Blogger Ahab said...

See you at the polls in November! Now more than ever it's important for progressives and moderates to vote.

28 March, 2012 06:57  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

I've seen a few smatterings here and there that Republican women (and even men) are less than enchanted with their party. I just hope they hold onto that thought and it becomes as contagious as the measles.

Couldn't agree more about the "there's no difference" crow. Not only are they naive, they're hard headed as hell and are no more capable than the righties of connecting the dots - and just as closed minded.

Sheep come in many colors.

28 March, 2012 09:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: Exactly.

LP: It seems that women, and a lot of other groups, should be growing more alienated from the Republicans' antics. I'll breathe easier when that actually starts manifesting itself in the polls, though.

28 March, 2012 12:19  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Well, here's a bit of good news that was just published.

" If the general election were held today instead of in early November, 54% of registered voters say they would back Obama, with 43% supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner in the GOP nomination battle. That's up from a five-point 51%-46% advantage the president held over Romney in February."

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/28/cnn-poll-obama-leads-romney-and-santorum-in-november-showdowns/?hpt=hp_t2

28 March, 2012 14:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: Yes, some of the more recent polls have been looking better, at least for Obama, and that's good. We don't dare let up until the day after election day, though.

28 March, 2012 14:57  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

We can't let up.

I can't understand any woman who would embrace the GOP party and its anti-woman agenda.

I read somewhere that something like 1100+ anti-woman bills have been introduced by GOP state legislatures all over the country.

Rmoney has already stated unequivocally that he will defund Planned Parenthood when he's president and overturn Obamacare.

Never do I hear any GOPer say what they will do to replace these needed safety nets for low income and uninsured people.

Just look at what the GOP has done in states where they hold the governorships and understand that this is what they will do nationally.

The GOP slogan for the 2012 election? "A Probe in Every Vagina!"

28 March, 2012 18:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SK: The GOP slogan for the 2012 election? "A Probe in Every Vagina!"

"And you won't have insurance to pay for it!"

Back when there was some speculation about a Gingrich/Santorum ticket, I thought their campaign slogan should be, "No birth control on the Moon!"

There are some encouraging new polls from Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. But no, we mustn't let up -- and always remember that Congress is just as important.

And you're right to mention the governorships. The Republicans have done a lot of damage on the state level too, especially in Wisconsin and Michigan. We have to take it all back.

28 March, 2012 19:22  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

That's a good warning for all, Infidel753!

28 March, 2012 19:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to relax after the election?? That seems to be the whole problem here... a Ronco electorate with the motto "Set it and forget it!"

29 March, 2012 06:59  
Blogger Bob Broughton said...

There's lots of lessons to be learned from the 2010 election, and here's one of them: in the Delaware Senate race, a moron got 40% of the vote.

The Repugnikans start the 2012 race with 40%. It doesn't matter how many ridiculous things he says, and whether he chooses another moron for his running mate.

This doesn't give the sane candidates a huge margin for error.

29 March, 2012 07:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are Progressives to vote for when Obama's administration has been so centrist? Yeah, Obama supporter here but not the one I was in '08. Obama's centrist leanings are the cause, looking forward and not backward, NDAA, some other things including ACA. The failure of the President to move toward the progressive end of things is not a failure of ideology but of logic. So, what really needs to be done is no more progressive promises only to end up with centrist results. Getting rid of blue dogs too. the Dem's are foolish sitting in the middle when the country clearly needs progress.

29 March, 2012 07:36  
Blogger Distortion not Noise said...

While I do believe that there is a a large difference between electing Romney and re-electing Obama, I have a problem with how our President views the progressive part of this country. He assumes we will vote for him because there is no choice, but ignores most issues that are key for that group. Examples being civil liberties (NDAA), energy (Keystone XL southern portion just greenlighted); bargaining with terrorists in the GOP (Simpson Bowles Commission); Patriot Act. There are others. I am glad we are largely out of Iraq and Afghanistan will be closed out sooner or later. Ands the ACA was better than nothing at all. But I am left with a real conundrum. After 40 years of Conservative and centrist rule, baby steps are not enough to turn around the problems that plague the country. The military budget sucks up so much money that kids are starving, schools are underfunded and over regulated and the infrastructure is crumbling. We don't need to spend more money on the military than the rest of the industrialized world combined. And Obama will not do much on that front. I am horrified that this is the best we can do. I will dutifully vote for him because the alternative is unthinkable. But it still sucks.

29 March, 2012 09:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many things wrong with this post; on several levels. First, you assume that voting is fair and "every vote counts"; wrong; ask "Diebold" and voters in Ohio 2004 and Florida 2000. Second, most working class white men and women in this country vote ONLY "race",not self interest; they vote Republican, not because the Republicans have made their lives any better over the decades but because they perceive the Democrats as being for the "niggers". Because of this perception, they will vote to have their own throats cut rather than be reminded of the fact that they are no better nor worse than the "nigger"....that we are all equal.

Because of these two points and the fact that Obama has been a great disappointment to most liberals, I am betting that he will lose this election.

29 March, 2012 11:56  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

JJ: Too bad some will never listen.....

Anonymous 6:59: Well, one has to relax sometime.....

BB: Exactly. The sheep will vote, whether it's for a flat-out nutcase like O'Donnell or bland evil like Romney. So we have to make sure that we do too.

Anonymous 7:36 and DnN: See Bob Broughton's comment above yours, and my paragraph beginning "And there's still a small but significant number.....". If the Democrats move too far to the left, the Republicans will win the elections and we'll wind up with far worse policies in place than with Obama and the current crop of Democrats. This is a function of the distribution of the electorate across the political spectrum. The Democrats have not done everything we wanted, but they've done a lot -- certainly far better than the Republicans would.

29 March, 2012 13:06  
Blogger Bob Broughton said...

Distortion not Noise, we do have a choice. We can vote for Senate and House candidates in Democratic primaries that support more progressive policies, specifically single-payer.

29 March, 2012 16:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anonymous 11:56: Nonsense. Millions of working-class white people voted for Obama in 2008. As for the rest of what you say, clearly you're a cynic, and thus too naïve and dogmatic to be worth reasoning with. People like you don't accomplish anything, but merely try to discourage those who are trying to accomplish things -- which makes you objectively an ally of the right-wingers. If you have don't have anything to contribute, please stop bothering those who do!

BB: Exactly. Those who are dissatisfied with how the Democratic party is, have plenty of avenues for working to improve it -- if they want to improve it, as opposed to just having something to complain about.

29 March, 2012 18:13  

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