« Vo Nguyen Giap | Main | Don't Move the Strategic Goal Posts for U.S. Policy on Iran - Christopher Bolan »

06 October 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

William R. Cumming

It will be interesting to see if Asian immigrants prove red or blue!

Omo Naija


Going my the last Presidential election. They bleed deep blue!



I certainly do. He brought the court case. He also signed the second, after a voter referendum overturned the first, piece of 'emergency financial managger' legislation.

One of Obama's former funderaisers is the current EFM. The soon to be cut deal will sell of the water treatment system, which will give whoever buys it a guarnteed income stream of hundreds of millions annaully. Meanwhile the smoke and mirrors distraction is the artwork in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

A great deal of transactional wealth is going to be made. Ethically solving the financial problems of the city? Probably not.


Viewed from abroad, this is an infantile form of Kabuki that does not reflect very well on America. To put that another way, it is American stupidity on display for all to see and it isn't a good look.

There is a stack of petulant posturing going on: The White house closes national monuments, inflicting pain on the innocent, and the Republicans refuse to dignify even the concept of single payer healthcare.

More and more countries, led by the BRICS, are doing what they can to insulate themselves from the need to engage with the American Empire, to avoid the need to deal with stupid, if not homicidal, legislators and Administrations - McCain, Powers, Rice, etc.

The endgame to this type of farce should be obvious: the rise of of a Fascist party that promises to sweep away this mess and get things done without the need for compromise and "debate". As Robert Paxton has pointed out, no country has embraced fascism without first becoming completely frustrated by the workings of "democracy".


It (CA's "Top 2" thing) also makes it even harder for third-party candidates to get anywhere. Lousy system.

different clue

Perhaps the gerrymandering drives the "extremising" in some districts because they are so safe for their party that those Districts' Reps fear being primaried by someone in their own Party more extreme than they are, so they go further to one side or the other to save their safe seat.
And in some cases the Extremist Primary Challenger defeats and unseats the same-party Incumbent from his/her same-party safe seat.

different clue

It isn't just Republicans who refuse to dignify even the concept of single payer healthcare.
It was also Obama, Baucus, and the Insurance Lobby Democrats who also refused to dignify it. Baucus (a so-called "Democrat") went so far as to threaten any Doctors for Single Payer who showed up at his Finance Committee hearings with arrest. He may even have had some arrested and removed. And the fact that the first hearings were held by Baucus's Finance Committee shows that the goals and interests were all financial right from the start with some medical decoration to distract from the financial interests and goals.

different clue

If this polarization is irreversible and gets bad enough long enough it could lead to the sort of velvet divorce that is hoped for by some. If so, it will be all the more difficult because it would involve politically separating the Red and Blue parts of the same states.
A slow Purpling of all might be a better outcome if enough people agree and seek it.


Balz! Balz fits Krugman's "VSP" ("Very Serious Person") profile: always careful to pretend that "both sides" are equally culpable, no matter how imbalanced the situation.

Big Money Republicans (ALEC, etc) set out to win State Legislatures in 2010 in order to tilt the House elections thereafter. It worked.

I'm not saying that Democrats have never tried this, but there are reasons that they haven't succeeded (recently): their money comes from less concentrated sources; their perspective is shorter; their iddeologies are weaker.

Deep in the article, Balz says weakly that "Republicans have shifted more to the right than Democrats have shifted to the left, but on both sides passions are stronger than they were two decades ago." The reality is that the GOP has swung radically to the right, while the Democrats have pretty much sat still.

Nixon, Eisenhower - even Reagan! - would be considered too liberal for today's GOP. The Health Care program put forth by Republicans in the 1990's - and implemented by Romney in MA - is excoriated as Godless Communism by the Tea Partiers. The last few true Centrist Republicans have given up & left the party (or politics).

I've been trying to think of examples of the Democratic party moving to the left, and I've got nothin'. Any leftward drift has been a result of Blue Dogs switching to the GOP, not the result of any radicalization.

Some have compared the Tea Party's takeover of the GOP with the Democrats' McGovern tilt in the '70s. But the "radicals" of that era never made it to Congress; and the liberals who did make it never threatened to shut down the whole government.

Bottom line: Balz sells false equivalencies.


I'm in India this week. Clear to them here is that we are bailing on Afghanistan, Pakistan is shifting to terrorizing India again as a result and
China will press down again on India. What is not clear is what the heck is happening in Washington. The further geographically I am the more confusing the USA's self destruction appears to all observers including myself. Have Americans given up on America?

Mark Logan

Bill H,

Just an indication some people are seeking and experimenting with fixes.

One thing I like about proportional representation is it makes more political parties viable. I suspect the ability to form new parties would increase public interest in participation. I think the reason we aren't getting many of our best and brightest is due to cynicism. Having to join either of our two existing "clubs" IMO is chasing away many of them.

The Twisted Genius

I suspect the current condition is largely due to a failure of our education system. Look at this Kentucky exam for graduation from grammar school. That's eighth grade for many of you. My wife considers me to be a quaint throwback for referring to these early school years as grammar school.


I seriously doubt I could pass this test if I had to take it tomorrow... and I had a damned fine grammar school education. I learned how our town government worked, then our state and national governments. In geography we studied how people lived in different parts of the United States and in other parts of the world. We were taught respect for these different cultures. Naturally, we learned our New England history in great detail. We also studied the Civil War during the centennial commemoration of that war. We learned the good and bad of both sides and were forced to acknowledge the honorable nature of the Confederacy and their struggle. That was quite a feat considering our town war memorial is a Union soldier on the town green and we were but mere children. Our literature studies reinforced our studies in history, civics and geography. We learned toleration, respect for others, the meaning of community and critical thinking as children. I doubt grammar schools in the United States, or most high schools are near this rigorous today.

What passes for education today is cable news... mind rotting propaganda for the most part. What do we learn now? The other guy is always the bad guy. Our side deserves everything it can get away with. It's "Lord of the Flies" on a far grander scale. Gerrymandering is just one symptom of the illness that plagues us.

nick b

"Balz! Balz fits Krugman's "VSP" ("Very Serious Person") profile."

I don't think you mean Krugman, he's delightfully partisan. Perhaps, Tom Friedman?

nick b

Balz mentions the Cook Political reports partisan voter index in the article. It's worth looking at. If you read the whole thing, you'll see that the redistricting really didn't change all that much. Some to be sure, but not enough to warrant the hype it's received in this election cycle. Here's the link: http://cookpolitical.com/house/pvi

This quote from the report is quite telling. It's a great example of shifts in the American electorate that change the make up of various congressional districts, with out redistricting:

"In many minimally altered districts, the local electorate has simply become much more homogeneous. For example, the boundaries of West Virginia’s 2nd CD haven’t changed much since 1998, but its PVI score has shifted from EVEN to R+8 as voters have moved away from the national Democratic brand. Likewise, Albuquerque’s migration to the left has bumped the PVI score of New Mexico’s 1st CD from R+1 to D+5 in ten years."

Something else is causing the shift. 'Gerrymandering' is just getting the blame.

Omo Naija


This example runs counter to established science that says measured intelligence increases over time - The Flynn effect.

Omo Naija

Its Krugman. VSP is his derogatory designation for the beltway types that regurgitate conventional wisdom and end up on most cable news shows or the opinion pages of the Washington Post.

Edward Amame

There's nothing inherently wrong with "increasingly separated thinking," the problem seems to me that there's now a very noticeable lack of ideological diversity in the parties. That would be perfectly OK, even probably desirable, in a parliamentary system, but in presidential system like ours, a sharply divided parties can only lead to breakdown.

Mike Lofgren (former congressional staffer to Ohio's John Kasich) describes the crew behind the shutdown as "basically neo-Confederate insurrectionists." If true, that would indicate that the problem appears to be intractable and we should consider the long-term viability our system of gov't. (Please note, I am not suggesting secession).


ALEC has been after changes to push it's agenda for years, it did not start in 2010.


Yes, of course; they are a great example of the long-term political planning which works for the big-money right... only.

nick b

Thank you, I misunderstood.


I strongly disagree. I think the decline in ideological diversity is almost entirely an effect of the radicalization of the GOP. If anything, there are fewer "radical" Democrats in office these days (with Kucinich, etc, gone).

The Democratic party has been shifting to the Right since Reagan (I was there - I've got an old Gary Hart t-shirt to prove it) - at least on economic issues, and even on (some?) social ones.

There are anti-abortion Democrats in Congress; how many pro-choice Republicans are there?

There are pro-gun Democrats in Congress; how many Republicans advocate any kind of Gun Control?

Reading TAC this AM, I found a link to a different Wa-Po article which I think explains our current governmental gridlock far better than Balz does:


Richard Armstrong


I find it difficult to signify the "tongue in cheek" when writing.

When a sufficient number of the populace of any region of this country so strongly desire to "shrink [the size of the United States Government] down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub" that they take active measures to cause great harm to this country, then they might very well be considered to a "belligerent power". That's the same term that Congress used to refer to the rebellious state in their declaration of war in 1861.

It is to the Constitution of the United States of America that all military and federal law enforcement and elected officials take an oath to protect and defend. Serious attempts to cause harm to this government of this republic must be defended by those bound to those oaths.

The "victor" I spoke of was the Government of the United States of America which declared war against the southern belligerent power and prevailed. Governments declare wars and order military actions, it is men who fight them as the Colonel and others on this board will attest.

Richard Armstrong


You and I both agree that "A great deal of transactional wealth is going to be made." Yes, indeed.

The extremely wealthy and their corporations, especially the multi-nationals are never ones to let a good crisis go unexploited.

But let's all be honest here. The decline of Detroit began with the decline of the auto industry that virtually every part of the economies connected to Detroit were dependent on. As the auto industries declined so did the other interdependent economies and so did the tax base.

The government of Michigan tried to delay the inevitable through credit and that chicken came home to roost as it eventually had to. I really don't know if Detroit would be better or worse off today if the previous state governments had chosen a different path.

Richard Armstrong


Perhaps the administration knew that single payer would be politically impossible to implement and have used the Affordable Care Act to "get the camel's nose under the tent" so to say?


You have perfectly described the hardening of attitudes that is coming about amongst many Americans yet you seem not to realize that all virtue is not on one side. This is no longer a North South division but a metropolitan/rural one with allot of overlap.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad