Our Last Exit Ramp

Bachmann actually said something accurate last night during her appearance on a Tea Party tele-forum, but she said it for the wrong reasons.

No stranger to hyperbolic rhetoric, Bachmann suggested that the very existence of the country is on the line in 2012. “This is our last election,” Bachmann told the activists, “our last exit ramp.” Tea Party Patriots said 23,000 people participated in the tele-forum, which also included a straw poll. Newt Gingrich won the straw poll with 31 percent, but Bachmann made a surprisingly strong showing at 28 percent. Mitt Romney secured 20 percent.

Yes, it is.

I don't agree with Michele Bachmann's rationale that this is the Tea Party's last election because America will crumble soon after, but I do agree that this is their last election.

A second term for President Obama would serve as a repudiation of fringe, ideologically-driven politics, whether the ideology is that of the Right or Left. And if President Obama is re-elected without the support of the far-left, and despite the burning hatred of the far-right, future presidential candidates will have no reason to adhere to the demands of either.

For all their passion, the unrelenting kicking and screaming of the far-left in the face of President Obama's lack of ideological perfection, regardless of his numerous policy success stories in an imperfect government rigged against change, may be their most consequential lapse in judgment of this decade.

If the president and the Democratic party is able to achieve political victories, while also moving the country forward without you, they no longer have a reason to listen to you. Because you are no longer the base of the party. And if you want your leaders to listen to you, you have to support progress, not shit on it.

This is not to say we shouldn't hold our leaders accountable, but we should do so in a manner respective of their record.

  • rgbyref

    They won’t go away. They won’t because Faux Nooz still exists and the rest of the media will feel compelled to continue publicizing their snits and tantrums as a way of creating stories. The fact that President Obama operates consistently to the right of the center of American political thought will, ironicly, not be reported. You can throw out all the “radical leftist hippie” straw men you want, but Clinton spent two terms and Obama will likely spend two terms moving the Democrats to the right.

    By the way, I plan to vote, not happily, for President Obama. That’s what I did in 2008.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    I agree that a win for Obama would be a repudiation of the so-called Tea Party™ and its rhetorical lunacy, but then again so was 2008 (and 2006, for that matter). One of the problems of epistemic closure is that you live in a universe populated only by like-minded people, and you become deluded into thinking that practically everyone thinks the way you do, that you represent not just a majority but an overwhelming majority of the total population.

    I think the corollary to the repudiation motif is more trenchant: Obama’s loss next year will serve as a validation of the Tea Party™, its rhetorical lunacy, and the scorched-earth tactics of the GOP which has essentially been threatening the country with social and economic ruin if we don’t give them back the White House. GOP voters love nothing more than validation, than being “proven” “right,” and for a lot of them, winning elections is enough to do that. (Heck, for some, Fox News’ Nielsen ratings are enough to “prove” that Conservatives™ and Republicans are and have always been right about absolutely everything.)

    That, I think, is what bothers me the most about Obama’s impending loss. It will validate a political and governing philosophy that has proven to be nothing less than disastrous for this country. This might be our last chance to put Reaganomics and Christianism to bed for good. When Obama loses next fall, the country will be condemned to yet another generation of both of those awful things as dominant political forces.

    • When Obama loses next fall…

      Graf, I love ya much and agree with the vast majority of what you say, but next fall I am going to happily rejoice in you being wrong here.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        As will I, if it turns out that way. 🙂

  • Not sure I follow this train of thought since it’s the Electoral College that provides the illusion that the President wins via the Popular vote. Do you really believe that our elected Reps listen to us? They have a loophole that immunizes them from insider trading, so they can vote in their own interest, not ours. I’ll leave out all the other money-laden activities that Congress spends their time on each day, and that they works two thirds to one-half less than those that elected them.

  • Well, JM, one can hope and dream. I fear that far too many of the electorate actually have shit for brains, though. A few years ago I lived in a neighborhood with an average income of maybe $40K and 2/3 of the folks had McCain/Palin campaign signs in their yards. Can’t for the life of me understand how these folks thought the Repuublican party represented their interests.

    • GrafZeppelin127

      The Republican party represents their interests, in the sense that voting Republican makes them feel good about “sticking it to” some despised constituency. When I talk to Republican voters, once they get past the vague boilerplate nonsense about “limited government” and “freedom,” their reasons for voting Republican boil down to self-congratulation and resentment. Some group or some constituency, usually one that tends to vote Democratic, is getting something it doesn’t deserve, at their expense, and the Republicans will put a stop to it. Put simply, voting Republican makes them feel good about being selfish and mean. It’s become an act of aggression.

      The only other consistent reason I get from Republican voters is that they believe Democrats, or some particular Democrat, are all kinds of evil and horrible and [X], [Y] and [Z], parroting the right-wing media’s propagandistic fiction about the Democratic Party that goes back decades, and really hasn’t changed much since 1971.

      At the end of the day, the GOP doesn’t have anything to offer voters except for the kind of emotional satisfaction I’ve described here. The irony is that GOP voters always claim that they vote based on “facts” and “logic,” and accuse non-GOP voters of voting on emotion instead, where in my experience and observation the opposite is true.

  • KXA

    Help me to understand. Your post, especially the last paragraph begs several questions. If the President makes decisions or pursues policies that are counterproductive to liberal or progressive aims how are we to hold him accountable?

    Several of the facts of the President’s “record”, and not some straw man concept of ideologic purity, are extremely suspect and to use your words deserve a mighty “shit”.

    • JMAshby

      The president hasn’t pursued policies that are counterproductive to liberal aims. Healthcare reform, fuel efficiency standards, energy efficient standards, subsidies for green energy, banning torture, financial reform. I could go on. These are all liberal causes.

      What’s counterproductive is not allowing him any victories at all if 100% of your criteria for success isn’t met.

      Because each of those wasn’t perfect doesn’t mean we aren’t moving in the right direction.

      That’s what progress means. Waiting around for perfection isn’t progress or progressive at all.

      • MarshallLucky

        He asked you to address the issue without strawmanning. Very few people, even guys like Glenn Greenwald, give President Obama no credit for anything, expect everything to go perfectly or blame the President exclusively for every setback. They might use strong rhetoric, but I’ve seen few people even in the far-left blogosphere that would say those things.

        To continually make the claim that anyone who assertively criticizes the President is some sort of daydream-believer lunatic is a strawman argument. It’s a dishonest way of dismissing entire swathes of criticism without facing up to the real issues.

        For instance, what about the President’s policies on state secrecy, detention, wistleblowers and covert war? Even with substantial rationalization you can’t deny he’s happily embraced many of the powers vested on the presidency by the war on terror and has in fact pushed to codify and expand those powers. I wouldn’t call that very progressive.

        This issue is before us now with the NDAA. How should progressives respond in your view?

        • villemar

          In regards to state secrecy and whistleblowing, is this through the prism of Bradley Manning exclusively?

          And covert war, if actions are covert how would you know about them to criticize the policy?

          Lastly, detention and NDAA, what is PBO supposed to do with a 86 member ultramajority that would override his veto? Have a public fit and have it overriden anyways? What good would that do? In short, is this theater criticism or realistic policy criticism?

          • MarshallLucky

            Don’t be dense. Are you seriously suggesting that our drone attacks throughout the middle east in countries we are not officially at war with, which kill innocent civilians and breed new terrorists every week, are not intended to be covert? Certainly the scope of our operations are not publicly acknowledged, and we would know a hell of a lot less about them if it weren’t for Wikileaks (ONLY BRADLEY MANNING LOL TRAITOR CODDLER).

            In short, are you making an actual point on this, or are you nitpicking semantics because you have nothing of value to say?

            As for the NDAA, I don’t expect President Obama to do anything, because he clearly supports the expansion and codification of war on terror executive power. If he was a president who actually cared about that aspect of the progressive agenda he would have conducted his administration very differently from the beginning. You see, I’m not criticising his technocratic skills: he got what he wanted out of this bill, and obviously the Dems are right there with him. What I’m criticizing is his position on the issue, just as I criticised Bush’s position. Why is that wrong again? Last time I checked no-strings-attached support for the War on Terror was a conservative talking point. I oppose it regardless of who sits in the oval office, because it’s wrong in every way.

            In short, did you really think President Obama was opposed to the essence of this bill? Do you really think he’s signing it only because his hands are tied? You’re naive.

          • mrbrink

            You assume too much and extrapolate too little. Do you really think if we leave Afghanistan to Taliban warlords they won’t seize the country and take possession of trillions in minerals, natural gas, and oil?

            Do you really think Russia and China would care who they’re throwing money at for access to all that? And once Russia and China get a foothold, and they would, how difficult do you think it would be to get a UN resolution saying we disapprove of a Taliban with a retaliatory war chest?

            You want to talk about naive? This is political rookie hour.

            And the president ended national policies of torture and ordered Gitmo closed on his first day.

            But you’re lucky because apparently electing a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate has no effect on you the way President Obama’s policies do.


  • This line of thinking may have more weight if the President of the United States (whoever it might be) had more power. Unfortunately, as we have seen, it is the Congress of the United States – both the Senate and the House of Representatives – that are screwing things up. They are beholden to the extremists from both sides and beholden, most of all, to their corporate masters who control the flow of campaign contributions.

    • Please name one of our current representatives , including the president, who doesn’t take money from corporations.
      Just one.

      • The point is not who or who does not take money – they all do – the point is that the President is pretty much just a figurehead especially when it comes to domestic policy. After all, the President heads the Executive branch which simply “executes” the laws as legislated by Congress.

        Sure. The President can veto but in the even of an override, he’s pretty much obligated to do what Congress wants.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        Bernie Sanders.

    • MarshallLucky

      Pretty much. Let’s not pretend that all the bad people will just go away if Obama takes in ’12, as he probably will. Most of the real meat of American politics takes place above, below and around elections. The structural problems won’t go away if one team wins over another; the only question will be whether we keep the deeply flawed status quo or move further and faster down the road of imperial collapse.

  • I dunno, DC. I see your point, but living in Cherokee County, Georgia (80% voted for Palin/McCain) and living on a street where they hold monthly “official” Tea party meetings (I’d say anywhere between 50-70 extra cars) the hatred for Obama is indeed fading slightly. They may talk-amongst-themselves that he’s still “destroying the country,” but every now and then I hear one of them stick up for him a bit. It’s a little weird. I do think the Rush-Beck-Fox media has to keep the hatred strung along as long as possible for the true racists, but ever since Bin Laden was killed a little Obama-hatred died inside a lot of them. Notice the Muslim/Interfaith Center near the World Trade Center opened without fanfare… The Ron Paul crowd is getting larger because they can really get behind the Iraq-Is-A-Dumb-War (Obama’s words) thing… With Palin and Beck completely off their soapboxes, it’s been nice.

    • Guest

      There is so much out there now, not just in the mainstream media or on the Internet, but in print media with attributable statements showing the shallowness of Sarah Palin. I’m finishing up Joe McGinniss’s book, The Rogue, Searching for the Real Sarah Palin. I recommend it. Talk about 15 minutes of fame. Her political career is kaput. So many of the people she screwed in Alaska have come forward on the record that she couldn’t even be elected dog catcher let alone president.

  • [F]ringe, ideologically-driven politics has been repudiated over and over and over in US, and indeed world, history. I don’t think we’ll ever be rid of it, because there will always be dumbstupids — be they left or right leaning — who will band together for group ego stroking.

    • JMAshby

      I’m not suggesting we will be rid of ideological politics. They’ll simply be less relevant, electorally speaking.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    If you think the tea-tantrums were bad at the beginning of Obama’s first term, wait until they realize they’ll have another four years under the Evil Kenyan Atheist Muslim Usurper ™.