secrets and substance


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    I agree with you about the power of personality in our/ any democracy, but I’m not sure there is any way around that. To a degree personality politics in not a bug but a feature of democracies. We don’t have a particularly intellectual country that respects learning so personality often takes it’s place. Politicians are to a degree another consumer product. Although I’m not sure what you mean that the democratic brand lacks any substance.

    There are plenty of D’s who want a truth commission or better yet prosecutions. It is silly to assume all members of a party agree with all the same ideas. I actually don’t think we will have any sort of truth commission, the public does not want one , the R’s will burn down the country to prevent one and there are not enough D’s who do want one. The truth will dribble out slowly over years.Report

  2. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    True, there are many Democrats who do in fact want a truth commission – though I am much less sure of the leadership of the party. The point I’m making is that if you take Obama out of the equation, the Democratic party suddenly seems a lot less appealing.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Fair enough but if you took Reagan out of the equation of the 1980’s the republicans wouldn’t have looked like much either. The president for better or worse becomes the leader of the party even if they didn’t start that way before the election. Anyhoo, before the election the R’s were grossly unpopular and while the D’s were ascendant. There arn’t large majorities in both houses because everybody hates the D’s.

    I agree the D leadership is often less then aspiring on some/many issues. Then again on support of veterans they are worlds better then the R’s.Report

  4. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Yes, and the Reagan-as-leader (as posthumous leader, I might add) of the GOP is one of the fundamental problems with the GOP today.Report

  5. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    And yet, the Gifted One ‘protects’ Cheney and Bush, breaks the one campaign promise for which the radical Left hungered, and continues to hold, without trail, those innocent and unfortunate sons-of-the-desert illegally imprisoned and tortured by the evil Republicans. Question: Is the Big “O” a pawn of those secret societies that manipulate the central gov’t? And, do these actions define him as ‘evil’ as George W. Bush, or is it different for Democrats?Report

  6. Avatar Fred says:

    I think you are pretty much dead-on when it comes to the top-driven Democratic party (much as the party was under Clinton as well). And your points about personality are well taken. But you can’t overlook the fact that the Democratic base is far wider, deeper and more engaged in the issues than the Republican base–fertile land for growing future leaders. And many Dems (and others who voted for Obama) aren’t involved because of Obama’s personality so much as the way he engages the issues. If Obama’s election shows us anything, it isn’t that personality triumphs, but that temperment does.Report

  7. Avatar Michael says:

    I agree that Harry’s a waste of space, but I think a bit more highly than you about Nancy.
    Nevertheless, the Republicans are in deep doo-doo of their own making. Who could rise to a leadership position in today’s GOP without disowning evolution, climate change, legitimate functions of government, separation of church and state, etc.?
    As long as the 21% of Americans who qualify as morons are GOP, I think the Dems will always have the lead in the leadership contest.Report

  8. Michael:
    Nancy has one big problem. She can’t seem to control Steny Hoyer. The Democratic leadership in the House is old and corrupt. We need new blood(which doesn’t include Rahm coming back to the House in a few years). It is obvious why Reid, Pelosi and Hoyer occupy the posts they do. Campaign cash(which Hoyer spreads around alot better than Pelosi). What we don’t need though is Blue Dogs like Hoyer and his ilk running the place. They’d just as soon cave to Republicans on everything(like Reid already does). In the end, the Republicans are the ones that blew it. The Democrats just fell into regaining the majority. There is a good reason Will Rogers said what he did and it applies as much now as it ever did.Report

  9. Avatar John M. says:

    It’s true that personality is a remarkably strong force in politics, and that the current House and Senate leaders for the Democrats are currently rather useless. However, I’m not sure how rudderless the Democrats would be without Obama. If he hadn’t run we’d probably have Hillary in charge right now, and say what you will about her, she is certainly leagues more capable than Reid or Pelosi.

    I think the Democrats also have a pretty clearly articulated agenda, particularly on the environment and health care as well as the wars abroad. Now, is there an overarching philosophical principle as there was with conservatism a few decades back? No. But I for one hope we (as a country or even dare I say planet) are moving away from an era of grand governing principles (not just conservatism or liberalism but also recent failed grand experiments like communism, fascism, and socialism). I would like to think that we are instead perhaps heading towards an era of pragmatic solutions to problems on the ground.Report

  10. Avatar Ottovbvs says:

    If Pelosi and Reid are such schmucks you’d have to wonder how they won control of house and senate TWO YEARS before Obama was elected president and then further increased their majorities in 08. This attempt to drag Pelosi into the torture controversy is basically an in beltway game that has little resonance in the country and will probably be forgotten in a week, If it’s not it will be because it builds the pressure for some sort of congressional or administration truth investigation. Somehow I don’t see this ultimately redounding to the credit of Republicans particularly since a few nasty accusations are surfacing that amongst other things these guys were being tortured to provide evidence of a link between Hussein and Al Quaeda. Overall the effort to make Pelosi some sort of boogey man to compete with Cheney doesn’t seem to have any legs to me. I’m also mildly entertained by the newfound Republican enthusiasm for the truth and integrity of the CIA who they have been more or less at war with for the past eight years.Report

  11. Ottovbvs:
    What has Reid accomplished in the Senate? Very little. He can’t even get Dawn Johnsen confirmed. How sad is that?Report