A united progressive/tea-party front

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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81 Responses

  1. Will says:

    Look, there have been plenty of procedurally-focused movements in American politics. The ’80s reform alliance between pro-simplify the tax code liberals and supply-side conservatives who wanted to cut taxes immediately comes to mind – and they actually succeeded in getting tax reform passed in ’86.Report

    • Erik Kain in reply to Will says:

      But tax reform is a vastly different ball game than a populist movement against how Congress works writ large. How does that even really compare?Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Will says:

      It was an object of the Reagan Administration to reduce marginal rates yet again and Reagan himself had suggested during 1984 that tax simplification was worth pursuing for its own sake (and he was attacked by Walter Mondale for saying that the deductibility of mortgage interest might be rescinded as part of that); the initial proposals floated by Donald T. Regan at the end of 1984 were for a revised code that collected the same amount of revenue.Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Will says:

      Theoretically, one might imagine a co-operative venture between libertarians and mugwump social democrats to dismantle the direct and indirect business subsidies. There was an undercurrent of complaint in Congress about that a generation ago. David Stockman and Andrew Jacobs, Jr. are long gone from national politics, Bwaney Fwank is in the saddle, and one cannot imagine an Administration more indifferent to such a project than the one we have now. Such would require quite a reversal of fortunes for the Incumbistani Party.Report

  2. I agree with Will, and I’d also add that at this point procedural reformism could quite easily represent an entire governing philosophy unto itself – call it Public Choice-ism. There’s no reason that politics must inherently be divided along the lines we typically think of as “liberal” and “conservative” – neither coalition is terribly coherent as it is, and a coalition based on a sort of public choice-oriented world view would certainly be more coherent and could potentially be just as appealing as the two existing coalitions.

    Indeed, one could quite readily point out how attempts to overcome these procedural problems within the confines of our existing left-right paradigm have had little effect other than to make things worse (see, e.g., various campaign finance reform bills).Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I’ve heard worse messages than “quit making things worse”.

    Even if you can’t get people to agree on what, exactly, would make things better, it might be enough to get the gummint to stop setting things on fire.Report

    • historystudent in reply to Jaybird says:

      I agree, Jaybird.

      When the government ceases to be responsive to the electorate (as it has), the electorate has every right, and even a solemn duty, to rein in their representatives (and, by extension, the entire governmental structure).

      We cannot tolerate a federal government that works for its own ends rather than those of its nation. So let’s throw out the too comfortable crowd in office and select new faces to take their places.Report

  4. Bob Cheeks says:

    You guys are making a believer outta me. Let’s see: 1. The gummint’s f*cked up and congress isn’t even slightly interested in ‘fixing’ it, what to do?
    Yeah, maybe a come to Jesus moment for the grassroots commie-dems and the tea baggers…why not? Electing these parasites, commie-Dem/GOP, sure as hell isn’t working. Compromise leads to, some semblance of a republic…yeah, this old Paleo would jump on that wagon.Report

    • Erik Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      So who would this new coalition support in an election? Populist commie-dems or populist right-wingers? I fail to see where this could lead electorally but perhaps I’m just not thinking big enough.Report

      • Well, I would say that it has often occurred to me that Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have more in common with each other than either has in common with Olympia Snowe or Joe Lieberman, respectively. It’s just a question of which issues get most emphasized.Report

        • Cascadian in reply to Mark Thompson says:


        • Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          What they have in common is the view that the use of force and preparation for war is unnecessary because all regional conflicts are attributable to clumsy and stupid policy on the part of the United States Government or that whatever the origins of the conflict in question it can have no effect on this country now or down the road. Your are welcome to both these characters.Report

          • JustJoe in reply to Art Deco says:

            I’ll take either of them..thanks!
            Who are we fighting…a bunch of cave-dwellers. Oh that’s right…Bush’s evil terrowits!
            You need to watch ‘The Power of Nightmares”, from the BBC. I am not sure if I can post links here…but it can be googled.Report

      • mike farmer in reply to Erik Kain says:

        They would support candidates as individuals who have integrity. You’re trying to imagine another special interest voting bloc, when it’s a diverse political group who simply want better representation, regardless if they are Rs or Ds.Report

  5. Cascadian says:

    As a libertine paleo this position makes sense to me. The country is too diverse/divided to allow any traditional national party to govern effectively. Quite the contrary, without any good answer the gov works for itself. It’s about time that the Left retakes its Jeffersonian roots back, hobble the Federal Government in favor of local rule. Let Alabama decide (and pay) for itself. Let San Francisco keep its money and develop its own social policies without interference. Good fences make good neighbors.Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to Cascadian says:

      ED, Cascadian is plowing the right field here! Should remind us all of the FPR. Let people functioning in smaller polities (city, county, twnshp) elect THEIR representatives. Reduce the power of the FEDS, increase the STATE, …in other words re-introduce a little John Randolph republicanism.
      By re-introducing the concept of republicanism, and educating the public re: its viability, the statist inclination will decline. The trick is to convince the statists, or most of ’em, to join in for the ‘good of the country.’
      Also, one other point. We might want to push for a clearly defined moral order, since we’ve become a corrupted people (you didn’t think it was JUST the politicians did you?)…the ever popular libido dominandi!Report

      • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        Ah so freedom is vital in economics but poison in morality eh Bob? I’m sure a national code of morality would do wonders for respect for religion. I can sympathize; virtue is too important to be left to the masses, let’s just pick a flavor and enforce it with gusto. Sure for many this is a sentence of misery in this world but their invisible imperceptible and eternal souls shall thank us for it in the next.

        (Happy holidays, my warmest to the Missus as always. )Report

        • Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

          North, I love you, dude and I’ll pass your greetings on to the long suffering beloved.
          My call for a recapturing of a “moral order” has nothing, what-so-ever, to do with what you’re trying to hang on it. And, specifically I’m certainly not talking about oppressing anyone or group or race or inclination. I’m merely arguing that we’ve, quite naturally I think, become corrupted and if we really, really do seek order in society, including freedom/liberty, the intrinsic, foundational element is a moral sense in the Greek/Judeo/Christian sense of it. A reordering of the ‘family,’ of the fundamental dignity and worth of the individual, of the love of ‘place’ as in the polis/city. We have to celebrate/restore our traditions, heritage, and history all of which are found in the manifold exasperations of the constant communal legislative debate, but dependent on the rise of Christianity. Does this mean we cast out the atheist/agnostic, no, of course not, but a people need a moral order and the state (please feel free to contrast Eastern Europe/Soviet Union) isn’t capable of providing one…at least I don’t think so.
          So, North, my palsy, its all good. Anyone messes with you in Bobelvania, they’ll have to lay me low first..and that’s a promise. Freedom, at least the republican version, for all.Report

          • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

            Fair enough Bob, couldn’t the original comment pass without sticking a claw in. Besides you know how I do love to squabble with you. Much obliged, best wishes for the holidays.Report

          • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

            Remember that the Eastern Europe, France, Quebec didn’t happen in a vacuum. They were a reaction to a very corrupt church. Painting a picture of theocracy that doesn’t address its real history is wishing to live in the TV land of Ozzy and Harriet. Reality was (is) different.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        So, no Statism unless it has to do with morality??? Um, no thanks. Localities should have just as much control there as well. Texas should be allowed to outlaw dildos. The Coasts should be allowed to set policies that are atractive to loose women.Report

        • Bob Cheeks in reply to Cascadian says:

          Cas, I don’t have a problem with your proposal re: localities. My suggestions are, for me, the ideal that I would prefer. I don’t think any ‘local’ polis will succeed without the effort to recapture a moral order.

          And, Merry Christmas to all you guys, your families, friends, et al!!!!!!!!!!Report

        • Nob Akimoto in reply to Cascadian says:

          How is state/local country not a form of statism as well? You’re just replacing a federal government with a local (and often times more tyrannical and narrow interest driven) government.

          Last I recall it wasn’t the feds who enforced Jim Crow segregation or outlawed sodomy.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            It’s a “consent of the governed” thing, fundamentally.

            If you can see why we ought not impose our cultural values on Afghanistan or Iraq (seriously! there are people that relativist out there!), it’s not a *HUGE* jump to get to “we shouldn’t impose our cultural values on Canada” and then, from there, to “we shouldn’t impose our cultural values on Maine”.

            While I completely believe that we need to impose our cultural values on everybody and we should *TOTALLY* use military force if necessary, it should be pointed out that there are folks who think that localities ought to be left to their own devices because “it’s none of our business”.

            The hell it’s not, I say.Report

          • greginak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            nob- you have just hit upon one the interesting bits of one strand of conservative thought. The basic premise is: fed gov=evil, everything else is fine. if localities or powerful social groups discriminate or wield massive power over individuals depriving them of things, well that seems just ducky.Report

          • Bob Cheeks in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            Everyone has good, historical points!
            My point is in recapturing the gummint we’re going to have to make an effort to understand the essence of republican participatory political order e.g. that it is moral (in at least a philosophical sense), that it seeks the Aristotelian vision of the greatest good, etc, etc.
            I’m not talking about American history per se, I’m talking about another shot and what it will require (in my humble opinion).Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Cascadian says:

      You will find among the left no interest in local discretion unless state law inhibits a county or municipal government from tossing bon bons at the gay lobby.Report

      • North in reply to Art Deco says:

        Perhaps, and commensurately you’ll find an identical inclination on the right except the bon bons in question will be going to the religious busybodies.Report

        • Art Deco in reply to North says:

          You will not find anything commensurate.

          And, of course, ‘religious busybody’s’ get no bon bons, except a pass to ride on school buses paid for by their property taxes.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Art Deco says:

            Sodomy laws? Laws banning “adult novelties”?

            Both strike me as laws that go behind the closed doors of consensual adults in long-term relationships and criminalizes leisure activities.

            The right and left recognize no right to privacy when it comes to the contents of your pants… they just focus on different pockets. The left cares about your wallet. The right cares about your junk.Report

            • Art Deco in reply to Jaybird says:

              I will aside a discussion of the question of the justice of laws on consensual sodomy. There was such a provision in the Penal Law of New York. The provision was, of course, antique, and was not an artifact of the political mobilization of evangelical populations after 1973 (which mobilization has had no effect on the New York state legislature in any case). The state Court of Appeals arbitrarily annulled the provision in 1980, in the course of ruling on questions of law which arose from a case where two men were going at it in a parked car. You will recall that the federal Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that state laws proscribing consensual sodomy do not contradict any extant provision of the federal constitution. They then ruled 17 years later that they did violate some penumbra. The courts are willing to engage in rank dishonesty to deliver benefits to Mr. Justice Kennedy’s mascot group (whose public spokesmen seem to fancy themselves abused by the larger society, go figure).

              “Adult novelties”?Report

              • North in reply to Art Deco says:

                Well no, there was no need for the evangeliticals to mobilize until then. Prior to that the religious could righteously stomp their feet on the faces of homosexuals with impunity. It wasn’t until the sexual revolution that they even had to exert effort to keep their assaults and cruelty socially acceptable.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to North says:

                There is little or nothing in the way of a ‘religious right’ in New York, and evangelicals are quite thin on the ground in all parts of the state. There has certainly been engagement by protestant congregations over the years, though hardly in living memory; Jimmy Carter is as much an heir to this sort of engagement as Pat Robertson. The Catholic Church attempted to exercise influence, sometimes successfully, sometimes not; up until about thirty years ago, their primary conduit was the Democratic Party. I think you would have a hard time finding much controversy over the legal proscription of consensual sodomy prior to 1948. The society was more Christ-haunted than it is today, but also had a more vibrant sense of personal dignity, not to mention masculinity and femininity. Anyone of these things can compel consensual sodomy into the realm of things no decent person would wish to do. You will note it was not repealed in the succeeding 30 years.Report

              • North in reply to Art Deco says:

                Yes, it was pervasive and certainly bipartisan. Thank goodness things changed from 1948; the women were let out of the kitchen, the gays were let out of the closet, the ethnic minorities were let out of the back of the bus and the even the men were let out of the tool shed. Speaking at least for the gay side of things, the religious right can peddle their retrograde fantasies of mid last century all they want but they’re never going to force the people back into the misery that was. It is a lovely thing to behold, watching those old social mores being carried away, gibbering full of impotently sound and fury, into the great beyond by the passing of generations.
                Good riddance.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to North says:

                About a quarter of the formal labor force in 1930 was female and about a third was in 1957. Retirement options for the male population were considerably more constrained then and the share of the female population which was divorced was much more modest; these were married working women, by and large. The proportions were lower than today in great measure because the daily grind of running a household was more time consuming. The notion that the female population was sequestered in 1948 is fanciful. There were very few women in professional-managerial employments, but only about 13% of the jobs in the economy are of that character. Clerical work tended to be a feminine preserve and the trades were a masculine one; that has not changed. It was also the assumption among women who were achievers that professional women were celibates, and that no longer is the case. What really has changed is the willingness and capacity of men and women to form durable affiliations, which do incorporate the economic dimensions of marriage.

                Legal segregation applied not to ‘ethnic groups’, but to the black minority which constituted about 12% of the population, and did not apply in regions of the country were 2/3 of the population lived; there was de facto segregation of public accommodations, but it was very haphazard for any subset of the population other than racial minorities. I am not sure what you posit is the functional relationship between dismantling these practices and dismantling standards of sexual conduct.

                The unabated expansion of the exhibitionism of the homosexual population and in the entitlement mentality of its self-appointed spokesman is, of course, a manifestation of decadence.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                Yes doubtlessly the historic sexism, racism and persecution of homosexuals in society were all invented wholesale by professors and hippies in the 60’s or something.

                I’d say that the functional relationship between the three is that they are all groups who are happier, more prosperous and more empowered now than any time in this country’s history. And they’re never going to willingly go back to the dystopia of the 50’s. I’m confident that the social institutions will find a new equilibrium. Among the gays at least the younger generations are far better rounded and ordinary. No wonder since they didn’t grow up under as the misery that the preceding ones did. Women and men are going to work out their new more equitable relationships and society shall move on.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Art Deco says:

                Who’s talking about justice?

                I’m talking about moral busybodies passing laws about your junk.

                “Adult novelties” are things made out of some weird substance with the intention of being applied to one’s junk.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Jaybird says:

                About 40% of the children are now born out of wedlock and north of 40% of all marriages end in divorce. I do not think the cultural scripts people are following are working out for the benefit of too many people. Life is lived socially, and instances of self-assertion and self-expression that seem like a good idea come back and bite you later and have external costs associated with them. The common life is like an actual commons, something that has to be regulated in the service of communal goals or everyone is worse off.

                The black population has more civic and social status than was the case in 1948, and, like the rest of the country, is materially more affluent. This has come coincident with severe social disorganization in that subculture and a selective decline in the quality of life along many measures. One cannot say that there is a functional relationship between the two, merely that in comparing the ancien regime with the present, one sees quite a bit lost as well as gained.

                People are better or worse adapted to various dispensations in social relations, so some people are more satisfied and some less so. The characteristic of contemporary thought among our word merchant class on these question is to simply define the interests of portions of the community as being of no consequence and, in fact, contemptible. All of this is done by people who fancy themselves being ‘inclusive’. It is a remarkable piece of intellectual jujitsu.

                As it is, around 2% of the adult population seek to build their lives around their sexual dysfunctions, and they have built a dyadic relationship with gatekeepers in the legal profession and entertainment business which involves the mutual exchange of ego satisfactions. A much larger fraction of the population is repelled by the detritus of this, but we are, in the view of the Chief Justice of Massachusetts, just peasants.Report

              • North in reply to Art Deco says:

                Neat. You left out in your analysis that the changes that have occurred for the most part have done so with people freely choosing to live their lives however they wish to. Certainly you’re welcome to advocate that a scripturally revealed moral code should be imposed on the masses for their own good. If you ever get it off the ground and set out to renew the old traditions of assault and immiseration on our relationships we’ll see you on the barricades.Report

              • Cascadian in reply to Art Deco says:

                Well now, isn’t that *special*. Who could be responsible for this decadence? Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe, Saaatan.

                In my neck of the woods, it’s these decadents that are actually generating the wealth that pays for the rural areas, including most of “Red America”. (Remember, Gays actually increase your property value!) Though many do retain the veneer of inclusion, I’ve long given it up. I can understand why you long for a time when other groups were disparaged instead of you and yours. But, as you say, “There are a great many local ordinances (and public mores and preferences) that leave people cheesed-off. They put up with it and so can you.”Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m talking about moral busybodies passing laws about your junk.

                Because you think that is unjust. There are a great many local ordinances that leave people cheesed-off. They put up with it and so can you. There is invariably tension between freedom and community.

                “Adult novelties” are things made out of some weird substance with the intention of being applied to one’s junk.

                The ads for K-Y jelly you see now at 8:00 pm in the evening are disgusting. Do you all have to exercise your right to privacy on television?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Art Deco says:

                “Because you think that is unjust.”

                I think it’s none of your freaking business. I would *LOVE* to see a justification for *WHY* my junk is your freaking business. I’m monogamous and I’m pretty sure that you aren’t the person whose junk is my business and for whom my junk is hers. You aren’t me and you aren’t the one other person on the planet who has the right to call my junk your business.

                “The ads for K-Y jelly you see now at 8:00 pm in the evening are disgusting.”

                While I tend to think that cunnilingus is two or three orders of magnitude more effective than store-bought lubrication, I can also appreciate that not everybody has their priorities in order enough to devote two-three hours for a session and, hey, sometimes you need to get it over with quickly. People with kids, for example. That said, I don’t watch television and so I don’t know how disgusting the commercials in question are. I’d suggest just not watching tv but getting Netflix, using your local library, and purchasing box sets of television shows that don’t suck (e.g., The seasons of the X-Files up to the conclusion of the black oil storyline, Firefly, Due South).

                It’s an idiotbox and you’d be better off distracting yourself with videogames or the internet if you need distraction. Or, hey, devote some time to a nice two-three hour session with someone you love very much.Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yoo, yoo, JB…X-Files, oh yeah! We are bros dude. I gotta get the one you recommended!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are many ways to look at marriage.

                One is a “lifelong covenant between two people who wish to forge a family between them”.

                Another is “two people who feel things strongly about each other”.

                If the folks who argue the former had a divorce rate significantly different (statistically) from the libertines who just feel stuff and get divorced when they stop feeling it, I’m sure that the folks who argue the former could point to themselves as role models for the rest of us.

                As it stands, you people (I love saying “you people”) are not particularly good role models. As a matter of fact, I wish you people would stop telling me how to live my life behind closed doors. I have no children out of wedlock, I have a covenant marriage with my life partner (female) that is strong enough to withstand “feeling things”, and I see you people as folks who really ought to envy me… I certainly don’t envy you. I really wish you all would stop telling me how to live. At the very least, have the dignity to get your own houses in order before you start explaining how society is going to hell in a handbasket.

                If you were a better role model, if you were a better example, maybe more people would be following it.

                As it stands, I can’t tell the difference morally between you and the people you’re screaming at.Report

              • JustJoe in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well said…(I love the ‘you people’ thing!)Report

  6. A vibrant oppositional movement that didn’t elect anyone, but rather sought to keep both parties’ feet to the accountability fire via public engagement wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either.Report

    • Well sure, but who would actually take part in a political movement that didn’t seek to elect anyone? I just don’t see that as a very realistic trajectory for any political grassroots movement but especially not one of the populist variety. Every populist movement needs its William Jennings Bryan.Report

      • People who don’t see anyone worth voting for? Or people who vote strategically and then look to hedge their bets post election. I’m not saying something of the like would reshape American politics, but it isn’t inconceivable that some fractured variation could come into being and do some potential good.

        I just don’t understand why you’re so adamantly opposed to it.Report

      • Taking Scott’s (more limited) vision of what such a coalition would look like, I think there’s quite a bit of evidence that such a coalition has a good amount of precedent in American history. Indeed, coalitions that exist on limited issues independent of the two-party system are the very essence of a healthy, pluralistic society for which our Constitution was at least theoretically set up – see, e.g., Federalist #10. Above, Will provides one such example, and I think you could argue that the civil rights movement of the 50s and early 60s also fit the bill.

        On top of that, there’s no reason such a movement need refrain from seeking the election of specific candidates, as long as it limited its interests to the particular issue(s) around which it formed. For instance, one issue that seems to unite these two particular groups is a suspicion of the Fed; one could easily see a grassroots interest group with roots in each camp forming for the sole and specific purpose of electing candidates that are staunch advocates of auditing the Fed. Frankly, existing interest groups already do this fairly regularly – I’ve seen unions endorse and actively support pro-life Republicans even in elections where doing so would ensure a GOP majority overall, for instance. The sole factor in the endorsement and campaign support was that the Republican was a strong supporter of their most important issue.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Scott H. Payne says:

      You say “a” movement, but in fact you needn’t postulate it: it exists, just many times over. There are many vibrant political movements that act just the way you describe. Moreover, it is because they are focussed, and can demand concessions from establishment pols in exchange for support that they are successful at exactly what you describe. The dream that isn’t worth chasing is some fusion of all these into a big-tent political force that would remake American politics. We already have those big tents: the two major political parties. The third-party dream in America is just that, because we don’t have a parliament in part, and because we have evolved two-party rule. Your vibrant civil society groups already very much exist; what’s the added value of trying to establish some pressure-group central office that would have no credibility on the actual issues that motivate the existing groups you’d be seeking to co-opt? They’re doing just fine on their own, thank you very much (care to donate, though?).

      It’s just the white whale of American politics that you’re after: the final coup-de-grace of a decisive third party. You’re just not admitting it.Report

  7. Nob Akimoto says:

    The more I read what both Tea Partiers and “Progressives” write, the more I’m inclined to think that neither have any coherent policy objections, but are solely based on resentiment and envy. Their objections certainly aren’t based on concentration of power in any one group, but rather a lack of power in their own favored method of governing. Whether this is some weird incoherent regionalism ala tea partiers or public sources of power like progressives, the fundamental complaint from all of them seem to be “the wrong people have power” not “power imbalances are bad”.

    More over neither are amenable to engagement with reason or the actual merits of policy positions, but are hardline ideologues in general. There’s no “public engagement” when all they’re doing is venting rage at the fact they don’t get exactly what they want.Report

    • Interesting how you put “Progressives” in scare quotes. Is there a PINO movement afoot?Report

      • No, but I find nothing “progressive” about people who are purely interested in using government as a punitive measure against corporations at the expense of helping real people.Report

        • Which is a fair, accurate, and comprehensive characterization of Howard Dean, Glenn Greenwald, and Jane Hamsher, or a characterization that suits the needs of your argument?Report

          • In terms of the specific issues that have been mentioned such as financial sector interventions and health care form, that is precisely what they’re arguing for. They want punitive measures against private corporations even if it means screwing over millions of people. Moreover the general gist of comments from those who frequently self-identify as “progressive” has been along the same lines. The first and foremost complaint is that there’s some benefit in it for a private corporation.Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      The more I read policy wonks the more I realize how derailed a person can be in seeking to address a system that forbids their participation.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        Fundamentally I’d say policy experts and analysts in general fail at educating people in what they actually study and those that turn to punditry often abandon any pretense of sobriety in favor of reading well. There’s a definite divide here, no matter how many op-eds and press releases we learn to write. Everyone knows what a law school or business school teaches, but what about a school of public policy/affairs?Report

  8. JustJoe says:

    Resentment? Imagine that…Rage? No reason for that either? Wow…you ‘Nob and Bobs’ are funny!
    I have seen more ‘policy’ details written about at Firedoglake (Hamsher’s site) than almost anywhere else on the web. And Glen Greenwald, who supports Jane Hamsher’s position, is more wonky than any mid-road Dem I know of…You keep your Barney Frank sellouts…I’m with the new alliance! Paul and Kucinich sound way better than any other politicians of our day, no matter how silly the MSM makes them out to be.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to JustJoe says:

      No one’s saying the resentment and rage is unwarranted. But that it’s either misdirected or poorly expressed.

      It’s fine to be angry at bankers, but demanding that we let the entire capital markets collapse because of that anger is both idiotic and irresponsible.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Believing the bankers when they tell you “if you don’t give me money, the entire capital market will collapse!!!” is not exactly the picture of non-idiotic responsibility.Report

      • JosephFM in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        What if one isn’t so much angry at bankers as at the capital markets themselves?

        I mean, I do have an odd sort of admiration for those who wanted them to fail so they could be replaced outright with something better.Report

        • Nob Akimoto in reply to JosephFM says:

          I can’t say I have an admiration for those sorts of people anymore than I have admiration for people who pray for politicians to die, or nukes to go off to prove a political point. I mean god knows there’s problems with capital markets, but they’re the circulation system for the economy’s life’s blood: capital.Report

          • JustJoe in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            O.K., I know you here are real smart…but what happened to the idea of “the rule of law’? Does no one care that laws were broken, and that no prosecutions, nor investigations, have been made regarding the ‘collapse’ of 2008? What’s to keep things from repeating?
            I refer you to William K. Black, and this interview…


            • Mike Schilling in reply to JustJoe says:

              Does no one care that laws were broken, and that no prosecutions, nor investigations, have been made regarding the ‘collapse’ of 2008
              Apparently it would be impolite to mention that, sort of like the Bush administration’s war crimes.Report

              • JustJoe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Thanks for pointing that out, Mike! I wondered why I have been fairly ignored no matter where I go and mention this.
                I intentionally leave out the war crimes bit . . . as I understand that talking about ‘war crimes’ implicates all my fellow citizens, who kept voting in the criminals, even after the case.
                However naive I must be! I guess this thing about ‘rule of law’, no longer applies in my once ‘law and order’ country. How sad . . . that also helps to explain why the republican party has lost it’s validity. And that helps to explain why Mr. Obama feels no need to keep any campaign promises.
                I do seem to remember when even the weak-kneed ‘media’ made G. H. W. Bush pay for his ‘watch my lips’ promises. Where O’ Where has my country gone?

                Politeness is the new ‘rule of law’? Even on the most intelligent of websites? We are truly lost!Report

            • Nob Akimoto in reply to JustJoe says:

              “Rule of law” doesn’t mean “we prosecute people we don’t like”.

              There’ve been several attempts to place fraud charges at the door of bankers involved in the recent mess, but they’ve not been able to do criminal convictions due to the fact that while their actions were borderline there wasn’t sufficient evidence to suggest they were acting fraudulently.

              The problem isn’t “fraud” the problem is information asymmetry and conflicting interests in banks. Criminality is the least of our worries, since the criminally greedy tend to get caught (see: Galleon)Report

              • JustJoe in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                This idea of ‘prosecutions’ is not about people I don’t like. And it is not just my idea!
                I don’t like very many people . . . but I’m pretty sure, that I never said anything about who I like or not.
                I have heard a more than a few prosecutors making the point that criminality did occur, and that prosecutions were not attempted…again I refer you to William Black


                I do agree that the problem began with banks taking on more interests than they previously had. Oh, for the day when banks are just banks, once again!
                Thank you for responding to my comment. I look forward to more interesting conversations on this admirably gentlemanly site!Report

  9. JustJoe says:

    They still are on the verge of collapse. We have not had one single investigation as to what went wrong, and now the credit default swaps and the huge bonus payouts are right back on schedule…the casino is back on track, and the cries for criminal investigations are only coming from the progressives and the Ron Paulists. Wake up people…the new currencies are coming from the developing countries. The markets are continuing to be milked via Wall Street. Here in the U.S. there are no efforts at new manufacturing. Example: the new Solar technologies supposedly coming soon thanks to the “stimulus” funds are being manufactured in China.
    The only cries for ‘rule of law’ are coming from Kucinich, Paul, and Grayson…oh, and Glen Greenwald of blogger fame. And that truther Sy Hersch. And that silly lefty loser Bill Moyers, too.
    Those silly bloggers, progressives, and loony right wingers? Right! Who else would push for the end of hidden deals and sunshine laws?
    It is those very markets we all claim to love that are in danger of complete failure if the crimes of the bankers are not exposed. The trust is gone, gone, going…I remember when banks loaned money, and were not giant insurance scamming mechanisms for the top .5% of the elites. Bernie Madoff was just a small time hood in comparison.

    Sorry for the sarcasm…I’m new here…love this site…but am overwhelmed by the horror I see going on in my country.

  10. JustJoe says:

    And not one criminal prosecution, of one CEO, or accountant since Enron!Report

    • North in reply to JustJoe says:

      Well we can prosecute for criminality but we can’t prosecute for idiocy. So far we’ve found lots of evidence of the latter but not much for the former.Report

      • JustJoe in reply to North says:

        just ask Bill Black, who prosecuted the S and L’s back in the 90’s. You can’t find what you do not look for. Idiocy is there, no doubt…but so is criminality!Report

  11. Michael Drew says:

    To Mark: it is opportunistic in the extreme to highlight this. E.D. has it right: there are irreconcilable differences substantively, to say nothing of the cultural/personal antipathies that are being ignored. The most that has really been said elsewhere is that the left and right share a populist rage. There’s a reason a populist uprising has never taken hold in this country: because reactionary conservatism fuels an uncommonly large portion of grass-roots political energy among industrial democracies. in other countries, populist pressure has resulted in the establishment of vastly larger welfare states at much earlier moments in post-war the mega-growth era, because it to a great extent embraces left-wing politics substantively. (Right-wing movements exist, but occupy a slice of the activist population much more commensurate with being a true fringe — and hence traffic much more heavily in racial and nativist exploitation.) Here, conservative populism is closer to being on equal footing with leftist populism. The result has not been a powerful force of strange bedfellows for change, but rather fleeting moments of alignment interspersed with alternating engagement and disengagement by one side or the other. At those moments of alignment the potential for major becomes visible, but it never seems to pan out as tides change and the immutable (seeming) differences between the two sides’ viewpoints come back to the fore. You’d have to show why this time it is likely that the two sides will embrace their few substantive commonalities and move forward with locked arms when in other cases they have shown very little interst in doing it.

    I think you vastly misread both sides’ intentions if you think either the Tea-Partiers or the Jane Hamshers of the world have any serious intention of forging a serious, long-term alliance with the populists across the way, much less any likelihood in sustaining such a partnership over a long-enough period to effect real change.Report