Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola
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Mishawaka, Indiana, USA
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March 10
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Kevin Gosztola is a multimedia editor for OpEdNews.com. He will be serving as an intern for The Nation Magazine during the spring in 2011. His work can be found on OpEdNews, The Seminal, Media-ocracy.com, and a blog on Alternet called "Moving Train Media." He is part of CMN News, which produces a weekly podcast or radio show on Talk Shoe. He is a 2009 Young People For Fellow and a documentary filmmaker who graduated with a Film/Video B.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring 2010. In April 2010, he co-organized a major arts & media summit called "Art, Access & Action," which explored the intersection of politics, art and media and was supported by Free Press.

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Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 12:33PM

Enthusiasm Gap Haunts Democrats as November Nears

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A not very happy looking crowd of Tea Party protesters listening to a Member of Congress. Tea Party protest, March 21, 2010, U.S. House of Representatives. By theqspeaks

 

 

The media's legitimization of fringe lunatic Terry Jones last week, the man with a history of actions only people sympathetic to the Westboro Baptist Church would support, had one effect that Democrats can be thankful for: it pushed aside talk of an "enthusiasm gap" between the Republican base and the Democratic base, which many think will produce big wins for the GOP in November. At least, that's the conventional wisdom or meme the media is promoting.

Talk of an "enthusiasm gap" has returned. One recent example from TPM: "The Enthusiasm Gap: How Dispassionate Dems and Fired-Up GOPers Are Defining 2010."

On September 7th, Rachel Maddow said on her show, "The most important national dynamic heading into this year's elections is the economy. The most important political dynamic is the yawning chasm that is the enthusiasm gap between the Republican base -- they're highly motivated -- and the Democratic base, which hasn't really been motivated at all." Joan Walsh of Salon.com said on "The Ed Show" that same day, there's "this huge enthusiasm gap" and referenced a Public Policy Polling poll that found in five battleground states, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, the Democrats "would be either way ahead or roughly tied if Democrats were turning out in the numbers that they did in 2008. But as of right now, they are not."

The day before, Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile said on "The Situation Room," Democrats "have a large enthusiasm gap," but the base consists of people who come to the party, sit around, look, get a drink, and then move. In other words, Brazile contends Democrats have consciously chosen to be inert while Republicans are on the move. That's a convenient argument for avoiding any discussion on the reality that much of the base is fed up with how failure or, in some cases, refusal to take on corporate and special interests has become a Democratic Party ritual over the past years.

Here's an incomplete list that reinforces the idea that the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party have failed miserably and should not be surprised their base is unexcited: initially failing to organize against Republicans looking to obstruct extensions of unemployment benefits, appointing Petraeus to replace McChrystal in Afghanistan and continuing a war in a country often regarded as "the graveyard of empires," committing to a permanent troop presence in Iraq, contributing to culture which led to the BP oil disaster by indicating renewed support for offshore drilling one month before the disaster, keeping the option of a national public-financed healthcare system off the table as Republicans cried foul about a socialist takeover of healthcare and talked death panels, refusing to advance the minor reform that labor unions have desired, the Employee Free Choice Act (pretty much the only real demand they have had for Obama), continuing the use of rendition, military commissions, or, in some cases, the denial of habeas corpus rights to detainees, refusing to investigate torture or release photos of the abuse that soldiers inflicted on detainees, failing to close Guantanamo, putting the Consumer Financial Protection Agency under the administration of the Federal Reserve and stalling on the appointment of Elizabeth Warren.

De facto Birther Newt Gingrich and other political leaders would like Americans to believe "the radicalism of the Obama team and Pelosi and Reid has, in a strange way, depressed [Democrats] and truly aroused both independents and Republicans in a way that [one] couldn't have predicted two years ago." But, that ignores the way that the base, which has traditionally given the Democratic Party the energy it needs to win, works.

See, unlike Tea Partiers, who promote a neutered brand of white nationalism ("We're taking our country back!"), the majority of the Democratic Party's base lives in what one could call the reality-based world. They normally do not fail to remember that they need to rely on what they see, hear, smell, taste and touch in order to make logical decisions about what to do in the world that surrounds them. They, unlike many, can see a document like a birth certificate posted on the Internet, and lay to rest all notions that the first African-American president of the United States is a Kenyan. On the other hand, Tea Partiers, who are responsible for creating the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, do not need their senses. They only need their gut instincts (you know, what George W. Bush relied on to assert Saddam Hussein had WMDs), prejudices and cosmic or religious ideas, which human beings can never really prove or disprove because they are abstract.

Americans who fill the National Mall for "Restoring Honor" or 9/12 Project rallies, those that pay $225 for a meet-and-greet event with Glenn Beck, will explicitly argue Sharia Law is creeping into America and Obama, a Muslim or weak Christian, is helping to make this possible. They will argue a communist or socialist takeover has been unfolding since Obama's election. Again, these are abstract and especially toxic notions that the Republican Party is lucky to be able to trot out as the 2010 Election approaches. They are pseudo-notions or sociopathic ideas that people who think and read for themselves and pause before speaking will never find reasonable.

The Democratic Party, except for perhaps the ideas that the Democratic Party is responsive to public pressure and in governance Democrats are more than slightly different from Republicans, don't have celestial or preposterous ideas they can roll out to whip their base into a frenzy. They do, however, have actual facts that prove Republicans are preposterous and harmful to the future of this country. That fear can never match the fear of a Manchurian Muslim President engineering a communist/socialist/fascist takeover that is restarting American civilization at Year Zero, but it can motivate Democratic voters to participate in get out the vote (GOTV) activities that will help produce Democratic Party wins in November.

The problem is the Democratic Party is gradually losing its power to enslave people with their logic that the Republicans are much more evil than them. That idea can only work for so long before people abandon ideals on collective society that push them to vote Democrat and decide to revert to a troglodyte state of mind and vote Republican. It can only work for so long before people resign themselves to the fact that they will try to survive on their own and hope they can perhaps get lower taxes and further remove themselves from feeding the system.

Also, more and more Americans do not want to play the game at all. Politicians are seeing more and more people leave the Democratic Party and even the Republican Party. They are designating themselves as "independents." The media and politicians can attempt to define the politics of "independents," but the most one can say is they are no longer interested in being Democrats or Republicans but still recognize they should vote in elections.

The number of people willing to "dump Obama" is swelling. But, that animosity will likely fail to translate into any meaningful movement (for right now). A combination of messages like, "Give Obama a Chance," "Republicans are way worse," "Progressives willing to sell out the many to have their way right now are no better than Republicans," "Obama was given a catastrophe, now we have half a catastrophe," "Corporate Democrats aren't generally as evil as Republicans," "Women, non-Christians, minorities, the poor, the sick, and the unemployed will be in for a world of hurt over the next two years if Democrats don't turn out," and more prevent the organization of a real movement that could produce an alternative to the broken two-party electoral system that continues to fail people especially those in the lower and middle classes.

There's also this message from Democrats: "Vote for your third party or sit on your hands on Election Day in protest. Then, be sure to acknowledge your share of the responsibility when what we have of health care reform is repealed, taking the leash off of the thieves in the insurance industry." That's a thinking progressive's way of giving those who genuinely want a way out of this mess the finger and hoping those whom they likely believe spoiled the election for Al Gore in 2000 will sit down and shut up.

It's reasonable to doubt whether this "enthusiasm gap" will have the impact pundits, columnists, political strategists and Republican political leaders are suggesting. Although the lack of enthusiasm means less people involved in working directly for candidates to get them elected, members of the Democratic base will ultimately fulfill their contractual obligation as unapologetic Democratic voters and believers in the small bloc of political leaders in Congress who continue to fail to make a real difference in advancing an agenda for hope and change in this country.

This term "enthusiasm gap" will haunt Democrats from now until November. And, they largely deserve to be haunted. The failure of Democrats to argue in favor of taking this country in a decisive and new direction nullified the historic election of Barack Obama. The failure of President Obama to be a truly transformative leader and take on the corporations and special interests ensured the midterm election would be hellacious for Democrats. And, the failure to steadfastly take on the conservative media echo chamber which has won the scalps of former members of the Obama Administration like Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod, and others has helped seal the Party's fate in November.

What should those who believed in Obama and Democrats in 2008 do? For starters, remember how Democrats in Congress failed to fulfill their mandate and end the Iraq War after winning big in 2006. And then, do some thinking. If you find you are cornered and there's no way of getting out without a fight, good. You're one step closer to understanding why Democrats don't need to give their base anything, really, in order to win elections.

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The reason there is an enthusiasm gap or perhaps a perceived enthusiasm gap is because the republicans have a large group of people that have been motivated by demagogues rallying for them. They make it appear that they have more enthusiasm. The truth is there probably isn’t much enthusiasm for either, certainly not from me.

What we need is a bigger grass roots movement to create more real independents that are campaign at the grass roots level not with massive ads. The public needs to control the election process and they need to address the issues starting with the basics. Now we have to watch out for a new wave of “independents” that have been financed by the same corporations that finance the two corrupt parties.
Maybe the Democrats have hit upon the right combination of populist rhetoric and policy more recently: the unwillingness to back down on allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, along with the president's fiery speeches. But of course one sees few signs of anything that could be called significant change in the system. The most disturbing thing to Democratic strategists should be how quickly what elements of real social movements that were behind Obama in '08 have abandoned him, and the system, and returned to a posture of local action or simply quietism. This is not too surprising considering, as you point out, the willingness of the administration to throw them over in favor of a centrist middle-class line. His dismissal of ACORN was perhaps the most revealing, and most damaging, action he's taken from the point of view of any real progressive base he ever had.

rated.
So sad. The lackluster performances of our reps just won't make our resolve any firmer they are believable. tough times ahead, I fear.
R
I think a lot of this came about because the Democrats just assumed they were still getting a lot of the support they thought they deserved because they weren't Republicans. Unfortunately, the people who voted against the Republicans last time around haven't really found a reason to vote FOR Democrats this time around. And that's where the Democrats are right now. They have to prove to an electorate that they are more important than "not the other guys", and if they don't do that, their entire support structure stays home, allowing the Republicans to rally their own minimal support which will be strong enough to push out the lead the Democrats have already achieved by not being Republicans.
the brush strokes here are very broad. the need to vote democratic has never been clearer in the wake of the reactionary backlash. saying "obama has failed to be a transformational leader" after passing the largest health care bill in the nation's history, along with the stimulus, regulatory controls, and keeping his promise in Iraq (for starters) is pure claptrap and puts the writer's credibility in doubt. it ain't a time for term papers or a misguided ideological assessment. this isn't objective, it's foolhardy. if faux liberals default once again they are effectively joining with the racists for this one. it's that simple.
The facts are: all politics is local, particularly in an offyear election. Sure, there's discontent with the Democratic administration. But it's a long stretch to connect that to races for governor, state rep, or county commissioner.

The Ds will take losses this year because of the midterm effect. But I don't think it will be a disastrous double loss the way some pundits are currently predicting.

And as you say, it all depends on turnout.

PS: My latest post has additional information.
There is an enthusiasm gap because thinking people of any political persuasion, armed with a knowledge of history can clearly see Obamas utter ineptitude and total lack of authenticity. His is in WAY over his over educated,under experienced head.
I think the so-called enthusiasm gap is more about where those in the middle lie. I equate the majority of Americans in the middle to the way water sloshes back in a nearly submerged boat if you press down more on one foot or the other. They're a sloshing tide.

Reagan won with so-called Reagan Democrats coming over as they were aghast at what they deemed over commitment to special interests around the Rainbow Coalition, Unions, and NOW, among others. (Not arguing the merits, reciting history from memory, here.)

They left and returned to Clinton. One of his masterful moves to recruit the center back was to openly renounce Sister Souljah at a Rainbow Coalition event. It has its own wikipedia spot for those interested.

Than in 1994 it sloshed back towards republicans when the public felt he was too focused on issues such as health care and gays in the military.

It's a regular pattern that seems to move in shorter and shorter cycles indicating electorate dissatisfaction based on this volatility.

The answer is not to hew more leftward. The answer is to LISTEN to the citizen concerns of those in the middle and find ways to address them. The middle has healthcare. The middle is worried about jobs and making ends meet. It's the economy stupid, to steal a line from a Democratic All Star from days gone by.
Ben Sen,


“the brush strokes here are very broad.”

I’m not sure what you’re trying to imply exactly. Sounds like I might be up to something sinister though.

“the need to vote democratic has never been clearer in the wake of the reactionary backlash.”

Framed that way, it’s hard to argue with you. I’m pretty afraid myself. But, I increasingly doubt that we would be worse off under Republicans if we didn't elect Democrats. If Democrats are allowing Republicans to do all this, does it really matter who is at the helm? I mean, it's almost like we are going to hit the iceberg no matter what and the key question is, "How long before we hit?" That's not really the role I want to continually take up. I don't really want to be part of a group whose content with their chief success being the fact they are capable of pushing the proverbial Doomsday to a later date every two or four years.

“saying "obama has failed to be a transformational leader" after passing the largest health care bill in the nation's history, along with the stimulus, regulatory controls, and keeping his promise in Iraq (for starters) is pure claptrap and puts the writer's credibility in doubt.”

I’m not going to debate whether I am credible or not. I will say just because the health care bill is “large” doesn’t mean it will fix our health care problems. I don’t know what regulatory controls you are celebrating and I guess the promise on Iraq was “kept.” He did withdraw troops, but this was President Bush’s plan so all he was doing was carrying out what his predecessor committed to. If he was really getting out of Iraq, 50,000 troops would not still be there.

“it ain't a time for term papers or a misguided ideological assessment. this isn't objective, it's foolhardy”

Yes, well, I think I was objective. I addressed both sides, Democrat and Republican. And, what I came up with is that both parties are racing each other to see who can bring complete ruin to this country first. At least, that’s what it increasingly seems like.

“if faux liberals default once again they are effectively joining with the racists for this one. it's that simple.”

It’s only racist if I got to say your exploiting Obama’s race to advance your political ideology. Otherwise, it’s not like that and it’s not that simple.

Thanks for commenting.
Black Jack Davy,

An anti... ? I'm interested in the rest of your thought.
Gwool,

“I think the so-called enthusiasm gap is more about where those in the middle lie. I equate the majority of Americans in the middle to the way water sloshes back in a nearly submerged boat if you press down more on one foot or the other. They're a sloshing tide.”

It’s hard for me to accept your premise. I don’t address politics with a “left vs. right” perspective. I address politics with a public vs. private perspective. And, my concerns are that far too often politicians protect corporations and special interests at the expense of the people --- people who are Democrats, independents, Republicans or left, right or in the middle.

I also don’t know what “middle” is if I indeed tackle your comment with a left-right premise in mind. Is that like a compromise? Do people in the “middle” look at Democrats and Republicans and conveniently choose to average what the two want and then choose to be for that? They’re pragmatists, right? I don’t believe in the “middle.” That to me is a political strategist or media construct.

“Reagan won with so-called Reagan Democrats coming over as they were aghast at what they deemed over commitment to special interests around the Rainbow Coalition, Unions, and NOW, among others. (Not arguing the merits, reciting history from memory, here.)

They left and returned to Clinton. One of his masterful moves to recruit the center back was to openly renounce Sister Souljah at a Rainbow Coalition event. It has its own wikipedia spot for those interested.

Than in 1994 it sloshed back towards republicans when the public felt he was too focused on issues such as health care and gays in the military.”

Yes, masterful. So, what Obama should do to win in 2012 is privatize part of Social Security? Is that what you want to see happen so Obama can stay in office?

Are you suggesting all Obama needs to do to win is repudiate an “extremist” and he could win? Maybe his administration should take some more cheap shots at Representative Dennis Kucinich.

“It's a regular pattern that seems to move in shorter and shorter cycles indicating electorate dissatisfaction based on this volatility.

The answer is not to hew more leftward. The answer is to LISTEN to the citizen concerns of those in the middle and find ways to address them. The middle has healthcare. The middle is worried about jobs and making ends meet. It's the economy stupid, to steal a line from a Democratic All Star from days gone by.”

I don’t know what you mean by “leftward” or what would be so frightening if the agenda went leftward.

That’s the key problem of the two-party system and why America needs a multi-party system. The “middle” or the “swing voter” should not be always treated as the people who will define elections.

Thanks for leaving a comment.
Kevin:

America will never have a multi-party system until the voting is changed. Ross Perot and Ralph Nader have proved the mistake of voting for a third party.

You need either proportional representation (ie a parliamentary system, ain't gonna happen) or a run-off (another expensive third election after primary and general, ain't gonna happen) to give third parties a real chance.

I'm not so sure it makes a big difference. America's parties hold a wider range of the political spectrum from countries with more parties and many countries with multiple thriving parties are still hostage to the looney element. Would the Tea Party be more or less effective as a minority party in coalition with the Republicans or as an element within the Republican party?

And of course, multiparty systems leave you open to what happened in the UK: Left and Right in coalition because the real vote was anyone but Labor.
Kevin: A nice, eloquent discourse that describes exactly why I am so pissed off. Until we get politicians who are unafraid of losing an election (the mother of all oxymorons), we won't have anybody in office who will get anything done.

It's too bad there is so much animosity between him and Bill Clinton, who famously told Gingrich and his cronies to go fuck themselves and shut down the government when they tried to bully him into accepting a budget larded with fat-cat tax cuts. Within days they had been brought to heel as the fools they were. Obama could have used that play book but clearly does not have the courage, after all, to do so. Now his eloquence and rhetoric that mesmerized us all during the election just comes across as pompous and hollow.

Obama, in his unwillingness to attack early on the neo-Nazi fringe of the Republican Party out of fear of offending someone, is almost certainly a one-term President.

But then what?
There are many members of the electorate who believe that Obama is a poor leader who is taking the country in an undesirable direction. Many feel an intense sense of unease at the idea that persons ranging from Jeremiah Wright to Van Jones are closer than light years away from the White House. Many who voted for Obama on a wave of romanticism are alarmed that his desire for change is targeted outside, rather than within, Constitutional limits.

You ill serve your cause by attempting to smear those with whom you disagree with references to de facto birthers, racist motivations, and demagoguery. If anything, those juvenile tactics will cause any fence-sitters either to stay home on election day or vote for more moderate candidates.

It is a lesson of history that those who overplay their hands suffer reversals of fortune. This will happen this November, as surely as the sun rising in the East, and it's a good thing.
Malusinka,

I don't disagree. And, I am glad you have thought about questions related to having a multi-party system.

I support fusion voting and/or Instant Run-Off Voting.

And, I think if we the people expect people to be in office who will really represent us, we need to not only be prepared for reactionary foes from factions like the Tea Party but we also have to have movements in place who can continue struggles before, during and after election. This means those leaders we support always have space to carry out the changes we need even in the face of pressure from the top-down.

Thanks for your very thoughtful comment.
james poyner,

What you say here is key ---

"Obama, in his unwillingness to attack early on the neo-Nazi fringe of the Republican Party out of fear of offending someone, is almost certainly a one-term President."

Because that fringe has been able to pull the agenda in their direction time and time again. They haven't necessarily won victories but they have gotten Obama and Democrats to back away from advancing real change.

Thanks for your comment.
Gordon Osmond,

"There are many members of the electorate who believe that Obama is a poor leader who is taking the country in an undesirable direction. Many feel an intense sense of unease at the idea that persons ranging from Jeremiah Wright to Van Jones are closer than light years away from the White House. Many who voted for Obama on a wave of romanticism are alarmed that his desire for change is targeted outside, rather than within, Constitutional limits."

Please stop reading that copy of Kenneth Blackwell's "The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency" or your copy of Dick Armey's recently released "Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto."

People may be uneasy that "persons ranging from Jeremiah Wright to Van Jones are closer than light years away from the White House" and that could be because they are struggling with a fear of black people. You do know that both of those people just so happen to be black people? Not only that they are people who many white nationalists would say threaten the security of America's national identity.

And, unless you are reading Armey or Blackwell, there is no real proof Obama is subverting the Constitution. Except for the fact that he has continued certain imperial policies of the Bush Administration, he has done nothing to make the wrath he has incurred from so-called constitutionalists reasonable.

"You ill serve your cause by attempting to smear those with whom you disagree with references to de facto birthers, racist motivations, and demagoguery. If anything, those juvenile tactics will cause any fence-sitters either to stay home on election day or vote for more moderate candidates."

Well, I have no problem with the idea that de facto birthers, racists, and demagogues may choose to not participate in elections. I also think if you're going to brush off the idea that there are people afflicted with racism and how he has transformed America's identity you are being not only juvenile but also ignorant.

"It is a lesson of history that those who overplay their hands suffer reversals of fortune. This will happen this November, as surely as the sun rising in the East, and it's a good thing."

Poetic and ominous. I like it. Sounds like you took the first and last sentence from a steamy political thriller and put the two together to say --- I don't really know what you're trying to say, but I am afraid.

Thanks for leaving a comment.
Kevin, I appreciate you view the party system as how you would like it to be, while I am merely talking about the reality of the way it is. Party implosions haven't hit since the Whig's went belly up in the 1850s/1860s.

So the two parties are a collection of factions that at times are at cross purposes. Center Dems winced at what they felt were excessive concessions to interest groups. Center Reps wince at social conservative recalcitrance on settled law, etc.

And yes, it is about campaigns. You are not much good if you are not one of the 535 able to formulate policy right? That is the practical reality.

The old model used by Clinton and Nixon quite masterfully was the notion that after sealing up the primaries you seek to co-opt the center. In so doing you might lose a couple on your extreme flank who either stay home or vote for a marginal candidate as a protest.

But, For every one you appeal to in the middle you can lost almost 2, or twice what you recruit, from the flank.

Deadlocked 100 and 100, you take one from the center to go to 101 and 99. As such, lose two from the flank and you are at 99.

Rove had a different take however.

His was the country is pretty split as it is, with each getting about 40% before even putting up a candidate. In his world view, you energized your base while simultaneously placating the opposition base and hope to keep the middle out of it.

Depressing voter turnout is a cynical way to get elected that I do not like, but it plays to the idea of "energizing the base."

The Rove example outlined in an Economist Article from several years ago used Gay Rights and Immigration reform. You play up gay rights (or antigay rights) to get your base to the polls and then you offer conciliatory language around Immigration (which bush did) to take the steam out of the Hispanic bloc. Get your guys riled up and get the other side placated and don't worry about the middle tuning out the language and staying home.

We're in a prolonged period of stalemate that may be a result of a country honestly evenly divided on key matters, and it could also be a negative consequence to instantaneous electronic communication. Where once it was three national news shows of 1/2 hour, we now have sliced and diced cable segmentation demographics and 24 hour feeds. We have unfiltered sources such as blogs. We have lessening civility of discourse as folks hide behind the anonymity of the keyboard pushing out into the ether utterances many likely would be too intimidated to utter if sitting face to face across a table with the intended recipient.

We're getting nastier and more dismissive, and it poisons the well of national dialog.

Anyway, interesting stuff. I am not agreement with you, but can hear the passion you have for the subject matter in your words.

Keep writing it up. :)
Hey thanks, Gwool. If we can keep the spam from getting between us, I suspect you and I may have future discussions on this topic. And, I look forward to that.

It's important to acknowledge reality. Give the sober analysis of the situation and understand the way things are. But, don't let that limit you idealistically from having higher expectations for democracy. That's my belief, and I attribute it to the fact that I am young.

I am not interested in short-term. I want long-term. I want people to believe in a Seven Generations Ahead approach like the Native Americans.

What do we do now so our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren can live in the society we like to celebrate as one of the best countries on the planet?
Oh, dear, where to begin?

First, I'm to stop reading (how about that for a liberal statement?) something that I've never read, and then later you say "if" I'm reading the works. Which is it?

I can't believe that someone with faint indications of incipient, though hardly developed, intelligence would suggest racism on my part because I have reservations about an admitted racist and an avowed collectivist who have ties to the White House. Is one of your guiding principles that if a person is black, he or she is immune from criticism? Very non-racist of you.

I see no reason why you should be "afraid" of the coming consequences of the democratic process, unless, of course, you favor a different system. If you're sufficiently confident of your political policies and philosophies, you can always have a go in 2012.
Kevin, I'm in the "Obama was given a catastrophe, now we have half a catastrophe" camp. And the other half of the catastrophe is a Humpty Dumpty quandry that cannot be fixed by the actions of government. The other half of the catastrophe is the 8. 5 million jobs lost, the bulk of which cannot come back until American business psychology changes.

Sometimes, the best revenge of the transgressor is to let the other guy try to clean up a mess that cannot be cleaned up. Then, when the other guy fails, or is perceived to fail, climb right back into the cockpit and fly the thing into the ground again, making money all the way down. And in our unenthused moment, laissez faire rises like a phoenix. As I see it, a lack of enthusiasm is a luxury we cannot afford now. And I continue to encourage people to read the history of 1936. In this redo moment, conservatives lick their chops over a renaissance of Hooverism.
When you say, "If Democrats are allowing Republicans to do all this, does it matter who's at the helm?" You lose me entirely, as it makes no sense whatsoever.

The ideological battle lines have never been drawn so precisely. Despite all of Obama's intentions and compromises they have no intention to compromise, and even today it was made clear with McConnell announcing they will fight the tax reforms to the last man. The Repugs can be relied upon to remain loyal to their party, the Dems cannot. This has been tested so many times it is incontestable.

I'm not sure you realize how big a deal it is to have passed that health care legislation--even if it is an unholy compromise that will not in the end work. Political change happens by approximation so it is the start that has been brewing for more than a generation. That needs to be stressed again and again for those who do not understand how our government works.

My observation at this point is that what you call "objectivity" is a thinly disguised or naive attempt to overcome the current reality: if the Republicans gain further power in the midterms the government and all attempts at reform will grind to a stop--not just a matter of compromise but a stop--just as it happened with Clinton, only worse since Obama was able to enter the stage with even higher intentions given the Bush debacle.

I don't think this is a time to remain on the fence. The forces that want to swamp Obama are definitely reactive and the nation will not benefit as a result. You may not be a racist, but I wouldn't count that out as a factor overall--not when Obama has made the efforts he has to placate conservatives and had it fall on deaf ears. He needs all the support he can get.

I appreciate our conversation, so don't get me wrong. We may not even disagree as much as it now appears. You are making me think of a post of my own where I make my views clearer, then you can punch holes in my argument.
Americans who fill the National Mall for "Restoring Honor" or 9/12 Project rallies, those that pay $225 for a meet-and-greet event with Glenn Beck, will explicitly argue Sharia Law is creeping into America and Obama, a Muslim or weak Christian, is helping to make this possible.

Well, maybe, but it was YOU who said that Palin would like to introduce "Sharia-like" law. So, maybe you're equally confused.
Maybe you want to take pot shots at me and engage in foolish hackery, Barbara Joanne.
Call it a pot shot if you like, but you are still avoiding the implied question. Here it is: If the people like Palin are trying to convince people that "Shria law" is coming to the states, how is it that you also believe that they, the Palinists, want to introduce "Shria-like" laws? You can call me a hack all you like, and it is really pretty funny coming from someone who is not exactly poetic in his prose, but you still don't address your "intellectual" contradictions.
you got a dem pres, a dem reps and a dem senate, and how do you like it? voting for tweedledumdee is not productive, and maybe that is why there is a tparty on the right. now, if we could just get a socialist party...