The Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell and the Wages of Hypocrisy

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Seanchaidh:
And? Is that not leverage in itself?

Not when the Republicans have bicameral majorities, no.

Seanchaidh:
40 out of 48 Democrats in the Senate voted for it.

It's true that the Democrats could have made a more meaningful opposition in the Senate than in the House. But the 2018 Senate map includes ten Democrats running in states that Trump won in 2016. Those Democrats are in an extremely vulnerable position: any hint of anti-militarism works to their detriment. They're wringing their hands over whether or not to vote for Trump's Supreme Court pick; how eager do you think they're going to be to try and block a military budget three months before an election?

Seanchaidh:
Instead they get to reap the reward of their cowardice: the correct idea that they willingly support spending so much money on an obviously unnecessary imperial military.

Look: if anything, the fifty-odd House Democrats who voted against the NDAA makes me optimistic that a Democrat-controlled House will see a reduced military budget. It indicates that a substantial chunk of the caucus feel strongly enough about excessive military spending that they're willing to go on the record voting against a budget that they cannot hope to stop purely out of moral principle. These things normally pass near-unanimously.

Seanchaidh:
You're just apologizing for a party that willingly feeds our militarized police state and its global empire. Along with the other wing of the money party. Yes, they clothe their bipartisan actions in "realism" and "pragmatism", but scratch beneath and all that bleeds out is money and debasement.

I do not support the current US status quo of ever-increasing military spending, nor the unholy symbiosis of politicians giving money to defence contractors and defence contractors giving money to politicians in a never-ending sixty-nine. I think they ought to be spending a much greater portion of that budget on the State Department rather than on buying new F-35s that don't even fucking work and starting wars that Australia inevitably gets dragged into. But there are times when you can exert political leverage to reduce military spending, and there are times when trying to do so is futile and self-sabotaging.

Right now, the Democrats in Congress have very little leverage, and all of it in the Senate. I wasn't really expecting them to stick their necks out over this, and I'm not surprised that they chose not to do so.

crimson5pheonix:

Then say what you actually believe, because that's what I've gotten from you. I said that I'm not going to vote for Democrats until they actually go left, you've said that they won't go left if I don't vote for them, I've said they haven't done so in 30 years so doing the same thing is a terrible idea, you've said that doesn't matter, vote for them anyway.

Where have I gotten it wrong?

You've gotten it wrong in that your descriptions of what I've said are simplistic fabrications. If you need to reacquaint yourself with my actual argument, you can read what has actually been written. The posts are there, and I'm not interested in an endless loop.

Seanchaidh:

Giving these people an incumbency advantage is self-sabotage. They are the obstacle to coalition of the left. It's not the Republicans that are standing in the way of that so much as the wolves pretending to be sheep.

Do you actually imagine this will be brought about by voting for shitty third parties? Even when the only figures you yourself recognise as almost representing something close to what you believe in-- such as Sanders, Warren, or Ocasio-Cortez-- have only managed to affect any kind of change, or pick up any kind of traction, via the Democratic Party?

Seanchaidh:

More than the Democrats already have, you mean?

Well, yes, the Republicans do pose a far greater risk to those groups than the Democrats. The slightest attention paid reveals that.

Silvanus:

crimson5pheonix:

Then say what you actually believe, because that's what I've gotten from you. I said that I'm not going to vote for Democrats until they actually go left, you've said that they won't go left if I don't vote for them, I've said they haven't done so in 30 years so doing the same thing is a terrible idea, you've said that doesn't matter, vote for them anyway.

Where have I gotten it wrong?

You've gotten it wrong in that your descriptions of what I've said are simplistic fabrications. If you need to reacquaint yourself with my actual argument, you can read what has actually been written. The posts are there, and I'm not interested in an endless loop.

Okay

Or, much more realistically, both parties will take the more likely message from a voterbase which rewards the furthest right of the two parties-- that the voterbase favours a right-wing platform. To expect them to take anything else away from it is a little bizarre.

Polling on specific issues, y'mean? It's a tremendously shaky and insecure basis to judge the mood of a country.

I'm merely arguing that if a voter rewards the right-wing, then I cannot fault politicians for concluding that the voterbase favours a right-wing platform.

No no, I think I got this right that you expect me to vote Democrat to indicate that I want left-wing policies. But maybe I'm still reading wrong.

This is not a conclusion reached from the number of people voting Republican; it's a conclusion reached from the number of people who don't care enough whether an extremist inhabits the White House to even vote.

As I said above: I don't know. I would like to believe that they would be picked up by a leftward shift, but I also can't shift the idea that these people simply do not care. The prospect of things getting substantially worse didn't motivate them, so I'm finding it hard to believe that they care very much about what's at stake.

Indeed: hence my support for putting that option on the table during the Primaries. But when it's not on the table, then I most certainly don't want things to deteriorate at an accelerated rate.

No, I do think I got this right. If your position isn't for me to just drop any sort of principles or what I see as the best chance to actually improve the Democrat party, and instead double down on why they've become a shit party for the last 30 years, then I don't know what you're saying.

The Democrats rely on the fact that they'll get votes no matter what they do to screw over their constituents. They will only listen to the voters if they need the voters to win. They'll only need their voters to win if they would lose otherwise. So to lose otherwise, they have to lose. And they lost to someone who they had no excuse to lose to. And they lost not because their opponent had a huge swell of voters, but because they lost all their own. If the message they take from this is "we need to go further right", then they shouldn't be governing as they are clearly suffering from brain damage.

Silvanus:

Seanchaidh:

Giving these people an incumbency advantage is self-sabotage. They are the obstacle to coalition of the left. It's not the Republicans that are standing in the way of that so much as the wolves pretending to be sheep.

Do you actually imagine this will be brought about by voting for shitty third parties?

It won't hurt.

Silvanus:
Even when the only figures you yourself recognise as almost representing something close to what you believe in-- such as Sanders, Warren, or Ocasio-Cortez-- have only managed to affect any kind of change, or pick up any kind of traction, via the Democratic Party?

Electing the corporate establishment of the Democratic Party to office only sabotages the efforts of exactly those on the actual left who are working within the party.

Silvanus:

Seanchaidh:

More than the Democrats already have, you mean?

Well, yes, the Republicans do pose a far greater risk to those groups than the Democrats. The slightest attention paid reveals that.

The antidote is a movement of solidarity among the working classes, not servile worship of the lesser evil.

Seanchaidh:

It won't hurt.

Again, so long as you're not hurt by the discrepancy in treatment between the Republicans and Democrats, which is a fucking gulf. You're making that sacrifice on behalf of other people.

If it doesn't hurt you, good for you. That's a position of comfort.

Seanchaidh:

Electing the corporate establishment of the Democratic Party to office only sabotages the efforts of exactly those on the actual left who are working within the party.

We've already established that we're talking about the Presidential election, and not the Primaries. So, when you say that electing the corporate establishment of the Democratic Party is sabotage, the alternative in that election is the Republicans.

Remember, this is the very crux of my disagreement with you-- your contention that it's better to reward the Republicans, even if they're further from what you want.

So far, whenever pressed on this, you've just riled against the corporate Democrats again on principle, which is fun and all but doesn't address the question. How does electing the Republicans-- who will try a thousand times harder to battle against everything Sanders, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez stand for-- help these people more? Where is the link? Where's the benefit? Where's any shred of demonstrable good?

It is genuinely just the vague hope that the Democrats will somehow intuit what you want from your conscientious objection, and become more left-wing in ten elections' time?

Is it any wonder the very people you support-- the Sanders and Warrens of US politics-- strenuously object to the course you're taking? Do they not know what assists their own programme?

Seanchaidh:

The antidote is a movement of solidarity among the working classes, not servile worship of the lesser evil.

So work to create that movement. Intentionally rewarding your opponents doesn't do a single thing to create that movement. It cripples it, by pushing the politics of the country away from it.

The incumbency shifts the political centre in its own direction. The further right the incumbent, and the longer they sit, the further the political centre shifts in their direction. Every election sacrificed for this greater good lets the political centre shift further and further away from where you want it to be.

crimson5pheonix:

No no, I think I got this right that you expect me to vote Democrat to indicate that I want left-wing policies. But maybe I'm still reading wrong.

There's only a minor mistake in this particular statement. A vote for the Democrats in the Presidential election indicates only that you prefer their platform to that of the Republicans, that's all. It indicates no greater endorsement of left-wing policies.

The Presidential Election is a terrible, terrible avenue to send specific messages on your priorities in general. That's the realm of the Primaries, in which the Party's platform can actually be effectively changed.

crimson5pheonix:

No, I do think I got this right. If your position isn't for me to just drop any sort of principles or what I see as the best chance to actually improve the Democrat party, and instead double down on why they've become a shit party for the last 30 years, then I don't know what you're saying.

Yes, obviously that's what I've been saying; "drop all principles".

Ridiculous. If you're not actually going to engage, we can end it here, as I said.

Silvanus:
in which the Party's platform can actually be effectively changed.

I mean, unless the party establishment puts the kibosh on all that "improving the party" business. Like the Democrats did. Theory flies out the window when dirty tricks come out. So, since primaries are at best the most ridiculous uphill battles and at worse rigged, the best chance is to take the people in power out of power so they have less grasp on the primaries.

crimson5pheonix:

No, I do think I got this right. If your position isn't for me to just drop any sort of principles or what I see as the best chance to actually improve the Democrat party, and instead double down on why they've become a shit party for the last 30 years, then I don't know what you're saying.

Yes, obviously that's what I've been saying; "drop all principles".

Ridiculous. If you're not actually going to engage, we can end it here, as I said.

You have been. I've laid out why I have actually no reason to vote for establishment Democrats and your response has been "but Republicans", which doesn't actually address my points. You just want me to ignore all the problems of the Democrats and just vote for them. Despite knowing it will make things worse for me to vote for them.

Silvanus:
So work to create that movement. Intentionally rewarding your opponents doesn't do a single thing to create that movement. It cripples it, by pushing the politics of the country away from it.

You haven't demonstrated this, merely asserted it. When Hillary lost, it showed that her brand of politics don't work (despite the stubborn refusal of some Hillary cultists to believe it). That, in turn, aided the resurgence of the left that Bernie Sanders also has benefited from (and, to some degree, has caused). When corporate Democrats fail, people look elsewhere. That is good.

Seanchaidh:

You haven't demonstrated this, merely asserted it.

It's a noticeable trend throughout Europe that incumbency shifts what people consider the political "centre". Observe the impact of Reagan and Thatcher, resulting in future generations slavishly adhering to monetarism and Friedman-esque doctrine.

Observe, too, how Trump's positions are now more widely entertained by "mainstream" Republicans and media outlets. What was once considered extreme by the RNC and even Fox, is now becoming steadily normalised-- by incumbency.

crimson5pheonix:

I mean, unless the party establishment puts the kibosh on all that "improving the party" business. Like the Democrats did. Theory flies out the window when dirty tricks come out. So, since primaries are at best the most ridiculous uphill battles and at worse rigged, the best chance is to take the people in power out of power so they have less grasp on the primaries.

If there's one thing we can agree on, it's probably that the Wasserman-Schultz fiasco-- and the Clinton campaign's treatment of it, and benefiting from it-- was the most self-destructive and moronic episode of the entire sad affair.

Yet, to reject corruption by rewarding the more corrupt candidate does not work to end corruption: it normalises it yet further.

crimson5pheonix:

You have been. I've laid out why I have actually no reason to vote for establishment Democrats and your response has been "but Republicans", which doesn't actually address my points. You just want me to ignore all the problems of the Democrats and just vote for them. Despite knowing it will make things worse for me to vote for them.

Alright, we've had three posts now, of drawing up trite little strawmen and insisting those are my positions.

I'm not going to respond to this again, because it's pointless and inane.

Silvanus:

crimson5pheonix:

I mean, unless the party establishment puts the kibosh on all that "improving the party" business. Like the Democrats did. Theory flies out the window when dirty tricks come out. So, since primaries are at best the most ridiculous uphill battles and at worse rigged, the best chance is to take the people in power out of power so they have less grasp on the primaries.

If there's one thing we can agree on, it's probably that the Wasserman-Schultz fiasco-- and the Clinton campaign's treatment of it, and benefiting from it-- was the most self-destructive and moronic episode of the entire sad affair.

Yet, to reject corruption by rewarding the more corrupt candidate does not work to end corruption: it normalises it yet further.

Well it's not like that's stopped. I know it's been posted before that the DNC is willing and able to throw the 2018 elections if the primaries don't go their way.

So yes, rewarding their corruption would be bad.

crimson5pheonix:

You have been. I've laid out why I have actually no reason to vote for establishment Democrats and your response has been "but Republicans", which doesn't actually address my points. You just want me to ignore all the problems of the Democrats and just vote for them. Despite knowing it will make things worse for me to vote for them.

Alright, we've had three posts now, of drawing up trite little strawmen and insisting those are my positions.

I'm not going to respond to this again, because it's pointless and inane.

Then I have no clue what your position is. Luckily you aren't American so I don't have to worry about you keeping the establishment Democrats in power and dragging the country further right.

Silvanus:
It's a noticeable trend throughout Europe that incumbency shifts what people consider the political "centre". Observe the impact of Reagan and Thatcher, resulting in future generations slavishly adhering to monetarism and Friedman-esque doctrine.

Observe, too, how Trump's positions are now more widely entertained by "mainstream" Republicans and media outlets. What was once considered extreme by the RNC and even Fox, is now becoming steadily normalised-- by incumbency.

The Democratic Party's continual lurches to the right are far more significant in causing this. They continually adopt the talking points of the GOP-- "government takeover of healthcare" (Dianne Feinstein), the idea that children should be deported "to send a message" (Hillary Clinton), their cringing disavowal of socialism and social democracy, "we're capitalist and that's just the way it is" (Nancy Pelosi) and so on. Their reliance on the support of capital makes it a priority for them to co-opt and crush any real movement of the left because that is priority number one of capital. In light of that, they must be destroyed. They are the primary obstacle because they are the ones in the way of and preventing a working class movement.

Seanchaidh:

The Democratic Party's continual lurches to the right are far more significant in causing this. They continually adopt the talking points of the GOP-- "government takeover of healthcare" (Dianne Feinstein), the idea that children should be deported "to send a message" (Hillary Clinton), their cringing disavowal of socialism and social democracy, "we're capitalist and that's just the way it is" (Nancy Pelosi) and so on. Their reliance on the support of capital makes it a priority for them to co-opt and crush any real movement of the left because that is priority number one of capital. In light of that, they must be destroyed. They are the primary obstacle because they are the ones in the way of and preventing a working class movement.

Do you apply the same rationale in those other instances? Do you conclude that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale are more responsible for pushing the USA towards monetarism than Reagan, even though he was the one with his hands on the wheel?

Silvanus:

Seanchaidh:

The Democratic Party's continual lurches to the right are far more significant in causing this. They continually adopt the talking points of the GOP-- "government takeover of healthcare" (Dianne Feinstein), the idea that children should be deported "to send a message" (Hillary Clinton), their cringing disavowal of socialism and social democracy, "we're capitalist and that's just the way it is" (Nancy Pelosi) and so on. Their reliance on the support of capital makes it a priority for them to co-opt and crush any real movement of the left because that is priority number one of capital. In light of that, they must be destroyed. They are the primary obstacle because they are the ones in the way of and preventing a working class movement.

Do you apply the same rationale in those other instances? Do you conclude that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale are more responsible for pushing the USA towards monetarism than Reagan, even though he was the one with his hands on the wheel?

Was Democratic strategy all about following the Republicans right and adopting their talking points then?

Seanchaidh:

Was Democratic strategy all about following the Republicans right and adopting their talking points then?

Not before their election, as far as I know. You'll notice that after their election, Reagan and Thatcher succeeded in normalising a dogmatic economic doctrine which has held inordinate sway in Europe and North America for decades hence.

They were able to shift a political landscape for generations. Because they were in power. Nobody remembers what the opinion polls reported as the reasons that non-voters didn't turn out for Mondale, because it's irrelevant all these years later: the lasting, obvious impact is what was accomplished by the incumbent.

Silvanus:
Because they were in power.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Seanchaidh:

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

So, you don't believe that the mainstreaming of monetarism in Britain and the US derived from Reagan and Thatcher, its greatest advocates, instituting policies in that direction for 8 and 11 years respectively?

What, that was just coincidence? This is getting silly.

Silvanus:

Seanchaidh:

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

So, you don't believe that the mainstreaming of monetarism in Britain and the US derived from Reagan and Thatcher, its greatest advocates, instituting policies in that direction for 8 and 11 years respectively?

What, that was just coincidence? This is getting silly.

As if Thatcher and Reagan both just appeared out of nowhere, uncaused like cosmological prime movers? Thatcher and Reagan had media and money behind them. Neoliberalism had already gained huge influence in the Democratic Party. BEFORE Reagan.

http://theweek.com/articles/725419/decline-fall-neoliberalism-democratic-party

Seanchaidh:

As if Thatcher and Reagan both just appeared out of nowhere, uncaused like cosmological prime movers? Thatcher and Reagan had media and money behind them. Neoliberalism had already gained huge influence in the Democratic Party. BEFORE Reagan.

Yes, I'm aware. Do you genuinely see no significant difference between the financial/ economic policies instituted by Thatcher and Reagan, and what came before? And no lasting impact resulting?

I would find it frankly incredible if so, for somebody versed in economic history.

Silvanus:

Seanchaidh:

As if Thatcher and Reagan both just appeared out of nowhere, uncaused like cosmological prime movers? Thatcher and Reagan had media and money behind them. Neoliberalism had already gained huge influence in the Democratic Party. BEFORE Reagan.

Yes, I'm aware. Do you genuinely see no significant difference between the financial/ economic policies instituted by Thatcher and Reagan, and what came before? And no lasting impact resulting?

I would find it frankly incredible if so, for somebody versed in economic history.

If the neoliberal agenda was in ascendance in both parties prior to Reagan, it's silly to say that he caused it to become mainstream in the United States. He was elected because it was becoming mainstream, not the other way around. Why was it becoming mainstream? The moneyed interests wanted it.

Seanchaidh:

If the neoliberal agenda was in ascendance in both parties prior to Reagan, it's silly to say that he caused it to become mainstream in the United States. He was elected because it was becoming mainstream, not the other way around. Why was it becoming mainstream? The moneyed interests wanted it.

Note that I said monetarism, not neoliberalism. That aside, the above doesn't answer the question.

Silvanus:

Seanchaidh:

If the neoliberal agenda was in ascendance in both parties prior to Reagan, it's silly to say that he caused it to become mainstream in the United States. He was elected because it was becoming mainstream, not the other way around. Why was it becoming mainstream? The moneyed interests wanted it.

Note that I said monetarism, not neoliberalism. That aside, the above doesn't answer the question.

It answered all relevant parts of the question. My position is that what we might call "Reaganism" was caused by forces other than just Ronald Reagan, and that those forces are responsible for changes in what was considered 'normal' after Reagan's presidency. Those same forces now say that the social democratic policies of FDR are soviet communism. There is no particular reason to think this would have failed to happen without Reagan or Thatcher. The legal groundwork (weakening campaign finance law) was there-- First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978). Democrats had already bought into deregulation. Even Ralph Nader(!) had helped to deregulate airlines by that point under Carter. Significantly, Democrats had the House of Representatives throughout Reagan's term, though they were behind in the Senate by a smaller margin (by percent) six out of his eight years (they recaptured the Senate at the start of 1987). Reagan needed Democrats in order to pass things.

Monetarism was already influential by the time that Reagan was elected; Volcker, while perhaps not explicitly a monetarist, managed the Fed quite like one during the 1970s. Monetarism itself-- the bare bones of the theory, anyway-- is probably the least offensive aspect of the economic policy of that era.

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