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We know there are tendencies in groups to rally when attacked as a cultural phenomenon, regardless of political views in particular. For instance, when the rest of the country was telling Louisiana they were nuts to have let nice-face Klansman David Duke get as far as he did in politics, many of them voted for him anyway. Southerners who did not necessarily support segregation grew angry when federal troops came into their states to enforce segregation. When OJ’s indictment led a number of talking heads to discuss domestic violence as a problem endemic in the black communities, African Americans rallied behind him.
I can only imagine that the backlash against the town halls and Glen Beck’s mouth accounts for this odd statistic.
It’s also true that ideologically driven media benefits when the opposition is in power. When Clinton was in office National Review and American Spectator soared in sales and subscriptions. They declined under Bush, while Nation and Mother Jones dramatically increased their sales and subscriptions. I imagine the pendulum has swung back this year, though National Review lost some favor with conservatives when they canned Ann Coulter and some of them, including founder William Buckley, took a stand against the war. But I’m sure the other conservative media is up as well. Kind of puts all ideology based media in an odd economic circumstance – if you’re too effective you may bring about your own demise.
There are 46 Senators who have now confirmed support of a public option, which leaves 13 Democrats in limbo. TPM looks at each of them. There are two firm “no” votes, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is facing an electorate which is majority Republican birther, so she’s probably out. So that’s 56 votes assuming the Massachussetts legislature doesn’t get a replacement for Kennedy in place in time. The reconciliation maneuver becomes paramount. Even with a pledge of no filibuster from the three “no” Democrats, I don’t think 59 votes and one abstention does it. It’s reconciliation or bust. But that shouldn’t be a problem. All we need is votes from 4 of 10 wafflers.
Addendum: Feinstein is reportedly set to announce her firm support of a public option tomorrow. That’s a pretty good indication of where the wind is blowing right now.
Another Kos poster has an interesting theory of Obama’s game plan. Makes him out to be much more clever than I think any politician is. Elaborate schemes play out well on television series like West Wing, but this seems too elaborate. Still, the basic analysis is probably right on, namely that the tea party energy has come and gone, and can’t be sustained until October. Tactics of that nature can have a short term impact, but in the long run the public does get tired of the antics and looks for at least the impression of debates of substance.
I’m looking forward to Thompson’s town hall meeting next Wednesday. Think the anti-reform protesters will show up with Obama/Joker placards?
Meanwhile, some pro-reform town hall attendees are starting to act up as well, probably figuring tit-for-tat. I don’t think it’s productive. I’d rather the reform side come across as the grown-ups. We should at least pretend.
Second addendum: Town Hall protest rallying cry – “keep government out of Medicare.”
At the Alaska State Democratic Convention in 1968 speaking shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King. It wasn’t preserved well visually, but the sound is fine. It’s a great speech. It’s the type of speech that probably wouldn’t go over well today as it addresses our shortcomings as well as our hopes – perhaps one of the last expressions of true liberalism before Nixon’s “southern strategy” blow-pout win and his subsequent crushing of McGovern would alter the climate and tenor of American political discourse for decades to come. For all his shortcomings, Obama has at least reintroduced nuance and humility into public discourse, with the losing-grip right wing shrieking as he spoke to Europe.
But for Chappaquiddick, what might have been? Would Kennedy have been president in 1976? Would Reagan have been a footnote? A woman died in that car, and much else maybe died with her.
Still, he was a great Senator. Possibly the best we’ve ever had. Yes, I’m including senators to his left like Wellstone, Sanders, and La Follette. He made things happen. But for his health, Kennedy may very well have had a bill with a public option in Obama’s hands by now.
Not lions. Humboldt Pride is holding it’s annual event at the zoo this year.