Archive for November 2nd, 2010


We might as well have an open thread up about the election. So instead of talking about the particulars of each race and ballot issue, I think it might be instructive for folks to get into the grist of the issue:

How did Democrats, after two solid elections that took control of Congress, and a landslide victory for the presidency two years ago, manage to lose control of the message and the agenda, and gave it all back to the republicans and the t-party?

The search for a pariah could begin with Max Baucus. In a post at Slate, and making the rounds in the Montana blogosphere (LitW and MtCowgirl already are on this one) the finger pointing has begun:

Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. Unless you’re talking about the 2010 elections, in which case the list of scapegoats for likely Democratic losses is long and growing…

Max Baucus. Health care might not have happened without Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Then again, it might have happened a lot faster. Over the course of four months in 2009, Baucus made one compromise after another—scrapping the public option, killing the employer mandate—in order to attract Republican votes that never materialized. That gave Republicans time to demagogue the bill and ate up valuable time on the congressional calendar—time that could have been used to pass legislation like immigration reform or an energy bill (which, of course, would probably have hurt Democrats, too).”

Had Baucus not gone on his fools errand looking for 10-20 republicans to sign on to his health insurance bill, and instead worked for a public option and not alienated the progressive base by such acts as having activists and leaders arrested in chambers, maybe the base would have stayed energized and worked harder to turn out the coalition of voters that swept Max and Obama into office.

Jes’ sayin’…

That August recess last year really kicked the air out of the progressive base with the t-party having time to get organized and begin to demagogue Baucus’ bill, and from there everything else the dems tried to do. Of course, that little antic with Robert Gibbs ostracizing the “professional left” didn’t help much either. Of course, I advocated kicking the republicans while they were done, so as to solidify the dems around the progressive wing of the party, but no…

Thoughts? Have at it!

Dia De Los Muertos Indeed

by lizard

It’s been an ugly two years, the culmination being today’s midterm elections. And soon we will know how ugly the next two years will be.

Personally, I have absolutely no hope people will become better informed, more civil human beings after today, and while there is plenty of blame to go around for why we are in this situation, I think there is a very good reason the main target of Jon Stewart’s RALLY TO RESTORE SANITY was the mainstream media, and that reason is their blatant complicity in polarizing us by using misinformation, suppression, and plain deceit to exploit our fear and feed our hate, effectively keeping us at each other’s throats while the corporate agenda moves seamlessly forward.

Locally I need look no further than our local rag, the Missoulian, and the recent behavior of editors like Sherry Devlin. Since yours truly brought a bit of noise to the wretched sewer that is the Missoulian’s comment thread section, the folks making the decisions over there decided to bury the offenses and resulting criticism of their coverage.

As the controversy was happening, I had comments censored, then critical comments posted, only to be later taken back down. A response by Devlin to someone who’s comment wasn’t available was posted, then taken down. Then the two stories the Missoulian had featured that day on their “hot topic” bar at the top of the page were dropped, and subsequently the previous story about the Poverello Center looking for overflow space at the fairgrounds was dropped from the “most commented” section. To find the story now, you have to make a specific search.

Luckily that story no longer includes the comment from H. Hood about transient “parasites” and the need to put them in “mass graves.”

The Missoulian has so successfully solidified the connection between dirty, scary transients destroying downtown businesses with the existence of the Poverello Center, that anything positive the Pov does (which is plenty, though you’d never know it) will be tainted by the repeated negative association with unsightly panhandling street drunks.

The failures of our community, our city, our state, and our country in dealing with complex, emotionally-charged issues like poverty, addiction, mental health, incarceration, war, and all the other things that fuel chronic homelessness are made worse by cowards like Sherry Devlin. When the criticism turned from hating on transients to criticizing the Missoulian’s coverage, she appears to have decided to suppress the criticism, and bury the evidence, instead of taking this opportunity to stand against hate, and look critically at how their paper’s voice has negatively influenced the conversation.

Sherry Devlin’s cowardice is indicative of the crisis of credibility facing main stream news outlets these days. Newspapers are increasingly seen as mere tools serving the interests of business, and as money consolidates into fewer and fewer hands, fewer people are interested (or capable) of monetarily supporting these tools of wealth.

I certainly won’t be parting with any more quarters to support the Missoulian. That is one small way I can register my disgust with their behavior. And it may be one of the only ways, since when I try to login now to make comments about anything, a window pops up saying “unknown error.”

Oh well, life goes on. And at the Day of the Dead festivities tonight, I will be thinking about the death of civility, the death of an independent media capable of informing citizens, and ultimately the death of our Democracy as the corporate grip tightens its noose around our necks.

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