Will liberals self-destruct in 2012?

Michelle Goldberg’s video essay, produced for the Daily Beast website, gets at one of the big questions of the 2012 campaigns.  Will miffed progressives pack their bags and bag Obama?  Will lefty dissatisfaction with this administration tip the White House to a far more conservative president?   Check out her arguments and chime in below.

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53 Responses to “Will liberals self-destruct in 2012?”

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  1. OnewifeVetNewt says:

    Nice essay.
    Fortunately, I (gravely disappointed in Obama for his appointment of, basically the Gold Sachs Board of Directors to his lead his economic team, with predicable results as I am), think that
    1. Nearly all liberals and progressives have learned the lessons of 2000: not to make the “perfect” the enemy of the ” far preferable to any Republican”.
    2. there is no Ralph Nader on the scene to suck off the votes of ignorant idealists.
    3. Obama his finally figured out who his enemies are, and whom he is supposed to be serving.

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  2. Peter Hahn says:

    Its an interesting essay. Im not sure how historically accurate it is. She talks about the Christian right taking over the GOP but leaves out the simultaneous conversion of the Southern Democrats into Republicans after the Democrats pushed through the civil rights bills. Many of them are the same people.

    Her thesis is that the liberals should stick with the Democrats and not run off to third parties (e.g. Ralph Nadar elected Bush) or get so disaffected that they (we) don’t vote. This is pretty obvious but hard to do anything about. People vote (in great numbers) when they are really excited about the way things are going or they are really angry.

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  3. Paul says:

    I was surprised to see that Hillary and Geitner are both out if Obama is reelected. I like both of these cabinet members. Wonder why everyone seems to be jumping ship? You would think that they would wait till after the election to make these announcements??

    Peter, wasn’t it Eisenhower (a republican) who started “pushing” civil rights legislation thorough with the 1957 CRA?

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  4. Paul says:

    One thing she has correct is that OWS crowd is clueless.

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  5. dbw says:

    Americans have seemed to prefer divided government in recent years. With the future of social security on the line, progressives as well as others may come to see a second Obama term as the only thing way to prevent a shredding of the safety net. This would esp. be true if it looks like the Senate will change hands. BTW, once a member of a succeeding generation has been elected, the country has not subsequently elected a president from an earlier generation. Both Romney and Newt fall into this category. That is not saying it couldn’t happen, given these unpredictable times, but it would be a first.

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  6. Paul says:

    dbw, I am afraid that the “safety net” will be shredded if the president and the senate continue to ignore the fact that we need to overhaul the system.

    Our Canadian and European friends are starting to make the changes that republicans (and the president’s bi-partisan commission) have said need to be done.

    We saw France raise their retirement age already and it looks like Canada is ready to do some of the same things. When are we going to wake up?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/01/27/pensions-harper.html

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  7. JDM says:

    Michelle says, “politics only works if they stick with it after the ecstasy is gone”.

    Hey, Michelle.

    The ecstasy is gone. Obama killed it.

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  8. Jim Bullard says:

    My own disappointment with Obama is that he spent the first two years trying to work with the Republicans in a bi-partisan way. Most Americans do like divided government as a way to arrive at solutions to our problems that involve compromise to reach the greatest good for the greatest number but The Republicans started their relations with Obama by declaring outright war on anything he proposed even if he got the idea from them. That made compromise impossible.

    Obama offered several of the reforms to SS and Medicare that the Republicans demanded but they then backed away in favor of getting everything they wanted, all or nothing. Democracy isn’t about one segment of society dictating to everyone else how things will be done. That’s the kind of government that the Arabs are overthrowing.

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  9. Paul says:

    “Obama offered several of the reforms to SS and Medicare that the Republicans demanded but they then backed away in favor of getting everything they wanted, all or nothing.”

    Jim, “nothing” is exactly what the senate democratic leaders said they would allow as far as changes to SS and Medicare. It wasn’t even all or nothing. That is despite what was advised by the president’s commission. Did he go to the senate leaders and say hey guys we gotta make some changes? Nope.

    So he had two years to plow through changes to SS and Medicare changes if he wanted to. What changes did he even suggest? I think the answer is nothing.

    Missed opportunities to fix some of the nations problems. Not a great thing to have on his resume for reelection.

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  10. dave says:

    Paul, that is utterly untrue. Anyone who has been following this debate would know otherwise.

    Significant changes to social programs (changes that Republicans have suggested and agree to) have been on the table for the majority of this debate… and still are.

    The reason they have not been implemented is because the Democrat compromise for these changes is increased tax revenue via the richest Americans.

    Republicans will not budge on that. Keeping tax breaks for the rich seems to be the higher priority for them. Or, they are holding out for both. Either way, implying that somehow Obama or Democrat leaders have refused to consider reform and changes to these programs is just wrong.

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  11. Pete Klein says:

    Hillary should go. The woman is tired and shows it.
    The extreme right and left have one thing in common. They are goof balls.
    We need an election season limited to 6 months. I would prefer 3 months but this start of one campaign as soon as one is concluded is absurd.
    How about we elect a President for one term of only 8 years?
    That would stop some of the nonsense.

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  12. Paul says:

    Dave, I have been following the debate and I disagree. You probably heard the state of the union address. Where in his “blueprint for America” does he describe what he is going to do about these major problems? There is NOTHING in there. It is simply not a priority for the administration. They know that if they have courage and talk about it they will potentially lose votes. It is politically expedient to keep it off the table. As I am sure you know Harry Reid said flat out that ss was “off the table”. Then when it was too late he conveniently says he would consider some changes. That isn’t governing that is politics as usual, just what I thought this president was going to try and change.

    Instead he seems to want to stay focused on this useless debate about how some wealthy individuals need to pay more taxes. This will have no real impact but it does work well to rally his troops.

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  13. dave says:

    Paul, just do a google search for the super committee…. re-read the details of what was offered and rejected.

    This is a matter of record. Not opinion.

    Maybe this will help jog your memory: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/opinion/the-deficit-supercommittee-collapses.html

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  14. Paul says:

    Pete, that is an interesting idea but to have a president start a term as a lame duck might not be such a great idea. But they would certainly try and get things done if there wasn’t an election to worry about.

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  15. dave says:

    And it is important to add… the proposed super committee bargain was just the most recent effort to find compromise.

    Similar compromises involving medicare/caid/SS cuts in exchange for taxes on the rich were a part of discussions long before the super committee was even envisions. They were a part of discussions between Obama and Boehner early on in this process. The sticking point was ALWAYS taxes.

    You can argue that the Republicans were right to reject these compromises… but you can not factually say that Obama and the Democrats were not offering them.

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  16. Paul says:

    Dave, it was funny that you said “Not opinion” and then followed that with an opinion piece from the NYTimes.

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  17. Paul says:

    dave, the senate democrats made it crystal clear that necessary changes to entitlements were not acceptable. Remember Harry Reid’s “back off social security” campaign? This wasn’t just something off the table this was something that he was playing politics with to score points for himself. When the negotiations started these things were off the table this is a fact that I am sure you are well aware of. They were only raised later when things were beyond repair in the negotiations. This kind of stuff poisons the whole process. That may have been the plan all along.

    Look at it this way the only way to make changes to these programs is to make changes. Raising revenue can be done a number of different ways. The plan of taxing the rich (which isn’t going to raise much revenue anyway) is just one bad way to do it. The only reason that this was suggested is that it allows the democrats and the administration to start their “pay your fair share” baloney as the president describes it (“class warfare” as others describe it).

    Dave, if this was a priority for the president don’t you think he would talk more about it, maybe at least a little?

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  18. dave says:

    Cute Paul. I have to assume you know what an op-ed is, and realize that not everything in an op-ed is necessarily opinion.

    An op-ed that offers an opinion about the space program does not mean that the existence of the space program is an opinion.

    If you really don’t know the difference, I will try to explain it. In this case, this author was offering his opinion about the failure of the supercommittee to agree on compromises. That there were compromises offered, is not an opinion.

    If you really can’t maneuver the complexities of an op-ed, then just google the topic and read any of the hundreds of results that offer the same information. As stated, it is a matter of record.

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  19. dave says:

    Paul, you can continue to pick out quotes and choose to believe that political posturing represents facts if you want – but it doesn’t.

    It is matter of record, that I have never heard anyone deny – other than you – that compromises were offered by the democrats that included cuts to social programs in exchange for taxes on the rich.

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  20. Two Cents says:

    “Democracy isn’t about one segment of society dictating to everyone else how things will be done.”

    I think that is the thinking behind Obama’s attempt to be bi-partisan

    “We saw France raise their retirement age already and it looks like Canada is ready to do some of the same things. When are we going to wake up?”

    We should be concerned with getting people jobs, before we worry about when they retire from something they dont have.

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  21. Two Cents says:

    How about a mandatory retirement age for politicians?

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  22. dave says:

    To the topic of the post… I’m hoping people consider 2000 (and more recently the MA senate election) before deciding to vote against their interests, or not vote, in an attempt to send some sort of message.

    My read on what happened back in 2000 was that people were willing to take a bit of a political hit, naively thinking that if they sucked it up for a term or two that it would send a message and buy them the chance to truly change the political system. At the time the sentiment seemed to be that the election would lead to the introduction of viable third parties, and in turn this would pull the major parties (at least the democrats) away from corporate control, and that it would be a first step in creating a fair and just economic system, etc etc.

    One of the common rally calls of the Nadar voters was that there wasn’t that much difference between the two parties. Ohhhhh, but they learned that there are indeed differences.

    Had these voters known the consequences of that election would be as detrimental as they were – wars, tax give aways, squandering of the surplus, and so on – I bet they wouldn’t have done what they did.

    For me personally, I no longer believe that level of change is even possible. So I am going to vote for the person who I think will do the best within the broken system. In this case, that is Obama for me – Although I will say that if Huntsman had made it through the GOP primary, I would have had a tough decision. (but alas, it seems poor Huntsman was far too… sane… to make tracks in this crazy primary season)

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  23. dbw says:

    As recently as 2010 the Congressional Budget Office determined that the current Social Security system is solvent through 2037. Why the crisis mentality now? Where was this sense of urgency four, eight or twelve years ago? Why is the onus on this President and senate? Perhaps it has more to do with ideology and politics than reality.

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  24. Paul says:

    dbw, like I said I think that Obama has made a well calculated decision to leave these issues off the table in 2012. His supporters (maybe like yourself) do not think they are priorities.

    Dave, yes back to the post.

    No, I don’t think that liberals will self destruct in 2012.

    For example today we see a report of modest growth in the economy. Now the president (and even some here) say that he has not been able to get through any of his economic polices. That he has been stymied by republicans at every step. Now he will probably argue that it is his policies (I guess the ones we were unable to adopt?) that are responsible for this modest growth. If that argument (which makes no sense) keeps working he has a good shot at a second term in office.

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  25. Two Cents says:

    oh i’m sorry- Did i get off topic?

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  26. Paul says:

    Two Cents, no that was my fault.

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  27. PNElba says:

    “We saw France raise their retirement age already and it looks like Canada is ready to do some of the same things. When are we going to wake up?”

    How about some numbers added to that statement. France raised their retirement age from 60 to 62. Canada is talking about raising their retirement age from 65 to 67. What is the current retirement age in the USA for most people?

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  28. Pete Klein says:

    Two Cents,
    I’m in favor of all elected and appointed officials, including judges, to retire at age 65 – without pensions or health care.

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  29. PNElba says:

    “Now he will probably argue that it is his policies (I guess the ones we were unable to adopt?) that are responsible for this modest growth.”

    Well since Republicans haven’t done anything to help fix our economic problems, I guess we will have to settle for the stimulus, the auto company bailout, and the payroll tax cut for helping out the economy. Or, I guess you might argue that Reagan’s trickle down has finally started.

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  30. Paul says:

    Liberals in 2012 are much more like republicans in that they are likely to fall in line behind the president when the chips are down. Although the “activists” that she describes are good at showing up for protests but they will have to get to the polls, and it doesn’t sound like they are too excited (and rightly so) This is an interesting fact from the 2008 election:

    “A look back at exit polls from 2008 shows exactly how crucial that challenge is for Mr. Obama. He won the 18-to-29 age group by a 66% to 32% margin, which the Pew report says is the largest margin by any presidential candidate among any age group in any election since 1972. By contrast, Mr. Obama was even with Sen. John McCain among voters aged 45 to 64, and lost among those 65 and over. Moreover, those younger voters made up an unusually large 18% of the electorate.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203733504577023931037152266.html

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  31. Paul says:

    PNElba, there was also the continuation of the Bush bank bailouts under Obama, and don’t forget the extension of the Bush tax cuts that the president signed into law.

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  32. PNElba says:

    Almost forgot about the tax cuts for the rich. I guess maybe it finally is trickling down.

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  33. PNElba says:

    Oh yeah, and about that Bush tax cut extension? Did Obama have any choice?

    “Senate Republicans promised Wednesday to block legislative action on every issue being considered by the lame-duck Congress until the dispute over extending the Bush-era tax cuts is resolved and an extension of current government funding is approved.”
    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-01/politics/gop.senate.demands_1_tax-cuts-congressional-tax-negotiators-spending-side?_s=PM:POLITICS

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  34. Two Cents says:

    from social security website :

    Full retirement age
    If you were born in 1944 or earlier, you are already eligible for your full Social Security benefit. If you were born from 1943 to 1960, the age at which full retirement benefits are payable increases gradually to age 67. The following chart lists the full full retirement age by year of birth.

    Age to receive full Social Security benefits
    Year of birth Full retirement age
    1943-1954 66
    1955 66 and 2 months
    1956 66 and 4 months
    1957 66 and 6 months
    1958 66 and 8 months
    1959 66 and 10 months
    1960 and later 67
    Note: People who were born on January 1 of any year should refer to the previous year

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  35. tootightmike says:

    Hillary should go. The woman is a Republican war hawk in sheep’s clothing and will take us to war in Iran next.

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  36. tootightmike says:

    What is this talk of “retirement age”?? As a self employed person my retirement will likely occur about a week before they bury me. In times of crisis, folks need to buck up and do a little extra. Maybe you’ll have to make your lifelong hobby pay off after all. If you do manage to make an extra buck, why not hire the kid next door to mow or rake or paint the garage.

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  37. tootightmike says:

    I like to envision the Social Security “crisis” as a car rolling down the hill toward the pond. A tiny adjustment to the steering at the top of the hill would save us all without even noticing. Later some real action might be required to direct us in a safe path…That would have been twenty or thirty years ago, but it wasn’t politically expedient. Ronald didn’t want to do it, George didn’t want do it, nor Bill, nor George II, and here we are closer and closer to the pond. The blame for inaction goes all the way back, but right now we’ll blame Barack Obama for running a system doomed to fail. When we reach the edge of the bank, we’ll all bail out and let the old folks drown…and blame it on whoever is at the wheel at that moment. Let’s see…2037…

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  38. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    dave and Paul, jumping in a little late here but op-ed is defined as opposite of the editorial not opinion/editorial.
    google it.

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  39. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    About 20 seconds into her thesis Goldberg states that progressives believe that problems were small enough that Obama should be able to manage them in 3 years, or some such poppy cock. Strawman. Nobody expected Obama to change everything in 3 years.

    All the Left wanted was to see Obama attempt to represent their side. Even a little.
    It would have been nice to see him place one, 1, uno, singular, ONE progressive in his cabinet as a show of goodwill toward the powerful movement that worked really, really hard to get him elected.

    Or maybe it would have been nice to see him give some lip service toward backing Single-Payer Universal Health Care. Or maybe he could have allowed the Bush Tax breaks expire — do nothing more than what the law George Bush signed said should happen!!! I must repeat: Obama should have followed the law that George Bush signed and allowed those tax breaks to expire — not a far left position — and liberals would have liked him more.

    What the Right, and the Media, can’t seem to grasp is that Obama isn’t a liberal or a Progressive. Get it through your thick skulls. Obama is a Corporate, Wall Street Moderate.

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  40. Two Cents says:

    Tootight,
    i’m with you on retirement. My last job will be building my box and digging the hole.
    PNElba requested some retirement age data for the U.S.
    Retirement age never concerned me, hell you can retire whenever you want, but you won’t get your SS back till the Government says it’s time.
    The issue is if the Government keeps raising that age, i’ll be dead before i can “retire”

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  41. dave says:

    Not sure I get the point of the clarification Knuck. An op-ed is still an opinion piece. The ‘opposite the editorial page’ just means it is an opinion piece by someone who isn’t on the paper’s editorial board.

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  42. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    No point, really. Just a clarification for the record.

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  43. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Oh, and by the way, I plan on going out to vote for Obama. I will go out and work to get him re-elected. I will encourage all my liberal friends to get their scrawny tofu butts out to vote for him. Because a seat, or maybe more than one, on the Supreme Court is at stake. And the War Hawks are circling around Iran; dumb as that may seem. Do they learn nothing? And the Republicans are proposing more laws to benefit the One Percent at the expense of everyone else. And we still don’t have Universal Health care, and…

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  44. PNElba says:

    Of course I know the retirement age for full SS benefits in the USA. It seemed others didn’t. The USA raised their retirement age many years ago. France and Canada are only just now starting to talk about raising their retirement age. The retirement age doesn’t need to be raised any further.

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  45. Pete Klein says:

    When I’m talking about forced retirement, I’m talking about the welfare kings and queens, also known as elected and appointed people in government.
    The rest of us need to work until we drop dead because we don’t have the sweet deals they have.

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  46. Paul says:

    “The retirement age doesn’t need to be raised any further.”

    It seems to make sense to have the retirement age have something to do with how long people live. If not you have to keep increasing the amounts of money you will have to pay out. I say we have even larger changes. SS and Medicare should be paid for by everyone (like it is) and it should be given to people who need it, not to those that just throw the check on the pile of money they already have.

    Like DBW said at the beginning. A “safety net”should be just that a “safety net”.

    If liberals really care about fairness as they say this is a no brainier.

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  47. Mervel says:

    How big of a voting percentage are “Liberal activists” or I guess the people Goldberg is talking about? It seems to me most live in solidly blue states and not in swing states, how much of an impact do they really have?

    I mean from an electoral voting calculus standpoint, if every left wing voter in New York stayed home and did not vote it would make no difference at all to Obama, he would still win every single electoral vote in NYS.

    More important is how the manufacturing guy in Ohio or the Florida women who just lost her house feels.

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  48. Two Cents says:

    Paul, who determines who needs it?
    If i Paid in, “they” were able to use it for a time period, make a profit, keep that (siphon off ), return “my loan” back to me. simple.
    If i don’t need it, i can find someone who does. That is something i won’t need Government help with. The point maybe “they” have mismanaged those funds. Maybe i’d like a lick at it.
    Don’t want an F-22, want health care and education.
    …if ANYONE cares about fairness….Fairness is not a political point, it’s inherent human nature

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  49. Paul says:

    “”they” were able to use it for a time period, make a profit”

    This is not currently how it works. Some folks have suggested that this would be a good idea.

    The government has used it, but never to make a profit.

    If you can determine who needs to pay what tax rate than you can figure this out. As an example lets say you have retirement income (outside of ss) that is 200K you don’t need a check. Give that money to someone else.

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  50. Paul says:

    Mervel, I posted this above from the WSJ:

    “”A look back at exit polls from 2008 shows exactly how crucial that challenge is for Mr. Obama. He won the 18-to-29 age group by a 66% to 32% margin, which the Pew report says is the largest margin by any presidential candidate among any age group in any election since 1972. By contrast, Mr. Obama was even with Sen. John McCain among voters aged 45 to 64, and lost among those 65 and over. Moreover, those younger voters made up an unusually large 18% of the electorate.” “‘

    “activists” probably make up a chunk of this 18%.

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