Notes from the post-Republican underground – Dear Democratic base, part II.

The following was just too good to leave buried in my comments, and so I present it to you here: The wit, the wisdom, the flat-out fury of former Republican Paul Wartenberg (a regular commenter at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s place, and the keeper of these two fine blogs: The Amendments We Need and Witty Librarian).

Dear Democratic Base:

I’m not a registered Democrat. I’ve never been a Democrat. I have, in fact, been a registered Republican as far back as 2002… although I will admit that I haven’t voted for a Republican since the 2000 Primary when I voted McCain over Bush.

I consider myself today a no-party affiliate moderate. Except I admit to the truth that I am in fact a bitter ex-Republican who’s soured on a party that’s gone batshit insane on me.

And I am here to tell you one thing about your disappointment with Barack Obama:


Yes, his record on the torture issue is horrible. For the most part, it’s because he’s in no position right now to even investigate the serious BS that happened. And while his administration isn’t backing away from a lot of the abuse-level authority the White House grants itself now, there’s no evidence (outside of Manning) that he’s actively pursuing a massive torture regime of his own. The only ones comparing Obama to Bush on this issue are Greenwald and Sullivan, and they are absolutists on the issue of civil liberties so I don’t blame them for that.

But in all other issues, Obama has exceeded expectations. Take this from someone outside your little circle of far lefties: Obama passed a stimulus that stabilized the economy and prevented a full-on Depression; Obama passed the Ledbetter Act for fair pay for women; he’s dedicated to the drawdown of troops in Iraq to where we’re almost out of that country altogether; he’s done what he could to keep the nation’s economy going.

This is all in spite of the fact that Obama has faced the most outrageous, slanderous, bullshitty wave of personal attacks and hate-on since Abraham Lincoln got slimed by the pro-slavery Confederates. Clinton got off light compared to what Obama’s getting now. The entire Republican Party, led about their collective nose by the far wingnut psychos of the Teabagger brigades, is openly working to make Obama FAIL, and are prideful of that effort. Even if, and especially if, they can make Obama fail and have the nation suffer for it. Right now, the core ideology of the Republican Party is “If Obama’s for it, then we are against it.” Just look at their flip-flopping on Libya for God’s sake.

Dear Democratic base: do not blame Obama. BLAME THE GODDAMN REPUBLICANS WHO ARE STILL SCREWING US AND THIS NATION. The same Republican Party that refuses to compromise on easing up on the Bush-era tax cuts, the very cuts THAT CREATED THE MASSIVE DEFICIT WE’RE IN.

If Obama seems weak because he’s trying to compromise, that’s because as a politician he’s EXPECTED to attempt compromises. A majority of American voters, even the majority of Democrats, expect that. The problem isn’t Obama: the problem is a Republican Party THAT REFUSES TO COMPROMISE AT ALL, AND INSTEAD KEEPS MAKING HARSHER DEMANDS.

The Republicans are at war with the people of the United States: they are at war with minorities, they are at war with teachers, they are at war with unions, they are at war with women, they are at war with anyone under 55 and anyone whose income is under $100,000.

The solution here is not to abandon Obama: any other Democratic leader would be facing the same problem because THE REPUBLICANS DON’T CARE WHO THEY HATE OR HURT.


Look at here. Look at Florida. In 2010, we had a choice between a Democrat who uses a Blackberry over a Republican WHO COMMITTED MEDICARE FRAUD. And Florida has more registered Democrats than Republicans (this is true, by 900,000 voters). And yet, voters were so glum or refused to turn out to vote. As a result, Rick “MEDICARE FRAUD” Scott won by less than 5,000 votes. The state of Florida is now getting screwed over by a crook who wants to privatize everything, kill our schools, destroy health care for nursing homes and the elderly, shut down unemployment benefits, force workers to take urine drug tests at HIS clinics, and give massive tax breaks to his corporate buddies… all because not every Democrat turned out the vote.

Look at Wisconsin just now: thanks to their electing a Republican governor who’s turned out to be EVIL, their state is facing disaster as well. But they just had a mid-cycle election for Court Justice. Where the voter turnout was expected to be 20 percent, turnout jumped to 33 percent because a ton of Democrats showed up to vote the Far Right-backed incumbent (and incumbent judges rarely lose… ever) out. The vote was still close and does face a recount effort, but by turning out the vote the Democrats won.

Dear Democratic Base: you may not like Obama right now. You may have issue with some of the decisions he’s made. BUT HE IS FAR AND AWAY A DAMN BETTER SOLUTION THAN ALLOWING THE REPUBLICANS TO REGAIN POLITICAL POWER. The Republicans are not to be trusted on ANY issue anymore. They are too corrupt: They are too batshit crazy. You far lefties may not like Obama, but you need him because the alternative (President Palin? President Bachmann? President Newt???) is fifty times worse!

Here’s the thing to remember: DON’T VOTE REPUBLICAN. Just don’t. Not at any level. Get the vote out for Democrats. Get candidates in every campaign, from School Board on up (this was where Howard Dean, a far leftie himself, got it correct). GET THE DAMN VOTE OUT. SHOW UP. VOTE. STOP THE REPUBLICANS AND THEIR UBERRICH OWNERS NOW.

Otherwise this nation dies within five years. I shit you not.

Pardon my Swedish.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.


  1. Matt

     /  April 11, 2011

    Agree completely on this, but on the other hand it’s getting clearer that – at some point – the low-information voters that form the nucleus of the Tea Party are going to need to wake up and realize that voting for candidates based on Gawd and gheyz doesn’t work. Perhaps Paul Ryan showing up to take away their Medicare scooters might help that process along…

  2. the biggest problem this last midterm election in Florida was the hideously low voter turnout. I still think that if 6,000 – 10,00 more Democrats showed up to vote we wouldn’t be stuck with our disaster of a governor right now.

  3. Might have to edit the bit about the “Wisconsin Democrats winning” the Supreme Court justice vote, considering how they “found” just enough votes for the conservative judge to “win”. There better be a recount on that…

  4. Democratic voters have no one but themselves to blame for Obama’s problems; they set the throttle back to cruise control after 2008, and basically opted out of the heavy fighting over things like Gitmo, health care, gays in the military, Wall Street, etc. There was a lot of complaining and whining, but no one hung in there to keep the President’s back covered. And then came 2010, and rather than taking their collective outrage and harnessing it to give President Obama even larger margins of safety in the House and Senate, they gave up the ghost and let Republicans in in a bunch of cake walks. The only hard fighting that occurred during the mid-Term election was between the Republicans and the Tea Party, which was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other.

    Now, thanks to Illinois, Wisconsin, and other places, people who slept through the last few years are finally waking up. But they better stay awake… we have a long road to November 2012.

  5. Mary

     /  April 11, 2011

    Worth reading a second time.

  6. I am not a member of the Democratic base—I am too far left to be a member of the base—and I’m not furious/angered/aggrieved by President Obama.

    Because I didn’t expect much from him, I am, for the most part, merely disappointed. (And yes, I’ll vote for him again in 2012, because this particular leftist doesn’t have a problem veering right to vote for a guy who’s far and away better than anyone the GOP will put up.)

    But even as a not-base member, I do object to the notion that the base has no basis for objection. I also object to your calling people who are passionate members of the Democratic party, who show up to gather signatures and hand out literature and cold-call would-be voters—all to support candidates who if and when they win office will vote to support the people who supported them—as “out of their damned minds.” They are not. They’re pissed off for having their contributions pissed on, and they have every damned right to make their displeasure known.

    And calling them “far lefties” when, for the most part, they are not, is an insult to them, a way of trivializing their very real and serious concerns about basic matters of justice. Yes, they may have expected too much from this president and they may not have taken into account Senate rules which allowed for so much obstruction in the first two years, but guess what: people who can be bothered to pay attention and do the work and listen to the speeches which raise their expectations may justly be upset with the dashing of those expectations which they hold dear.

    Further, you seem to hold the Democratic base responsible for the wreckage caused by Republicans. No, the responsibility for that wreckage lies with the Republicans; it is not the fault of Democrats that too many (not all) Republicans have become unhinged.

    Finally, I don’t see how insulting people will motivate them. You might simply be engaged in hyperbole and have no offensive intent, but you know what, telling people who have different views from you (not least about exceeded expectations) about the president that they’re not allowed to have those views is, indeed offensive.

    Paul, I know you from TNC’s joint and I know that you are well and truly distressed at what has happened to your former party. Perhaps you could allow some empathy for those Democrats who are also distressed, even if you don’t quite understand why.

  7. I’m with absurdbeats on this one, and Glenn Greenwald, for that matter:

    It was often said that Bush/Cheney used fear as their principal political weapon — and they did — but that’s true of the Democratic Party as well. When it comes to their base, Democratic leaders know they will command undying, unbreakable support no matter how many times they kick their base, because of the fear that has been instilled in the base — not fear of Terrorists or Immigrants (that’s the GOP’s tactic), but fear of Sarah Palin, the Kochs and the Tea Party….

    It may be that this fear of Republicans is rational (or, given how many GOP-replicating policies and practices the Democrats embrace, maybe it isn’t). But whatever else is true, one thing is for certain: dedicated partisans who pledge their unbreakable, eternally loyal support for any Party or politician are going to be steadfastly ignored (or worse) by that Party or politician, and rightfully so. If you spend two years vehemently objecting that certain acts so profoundly offend your principles but then pledge unequivocal support no matter what almost two years in advance to the politicians who engage in them, why would you expect your objections to be heeded? Any rational person would ignore them, and stomp on your beliefs whenever doing so benefited them.

  8. My primary objection to the negative reaction that the far left seems to have with Obama right now is that such a negative reaction tends to turn into poor voter turnout. Depressed Dems = Depressed Voting Numbers.

    My argument is that the Democratic base needs to stay active – GET THE DAMN VOTE OUT – and stay angry: BUT TO FOCUS THAT ANGER ON THE REAL ENEMY. The Republicans. Don’t throw a hissy fit at Obama: Throw that hissy fit at the Republicans who are holding budgets hostage! Throw that hissy fit at the Republicans looking to kill Planned Parenthood, to kill health care reform, to kill Medicare and Medicaid, to kill unions, to kill our schools and our kids. Obama’s not the one threatening all that: THE REPUBLICANS ARE.


    • Except that the Republicans aren’t the ones who will respond to the Democratic base—any more than Dems will respond to the Republican base.

      The Dems are yelling at their own, to keep them in line, and are tired of being told that if they don’t shut up the GOP bogeyman is gonna get ’em.

      Yeah, fear CAN motivate, but it’s not the only, or even the best, way to move people.

    • I really don’t want this to turn into an ugly intra-Horde fight, but come on, Paul. Republicans want to kill our kids? Really? And if we’re going to blame dissatisfied Democratic voters for registering their dissatisfaction at the polls, then why bother with a representative government in the first place? I’m not going to defend Republican/Tea Party policies, but Obama and the Democrats are far from innocent (we wouldn’t have skirted the shutdown abyss if they had passed a budget last year), and attempts to deflect calls for accountability into a Republican Two Minutes Hate smack of tribalism at best.

      Longer thoughts on the whole matter here.

  1. “Petty” » Notes from the post-Republican underground – Dear Democratic base, part II
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