Wednesday, November 09, 2011


You know, they told me that if progressives took to the streets in protest, it would be a futile gesture, because the media (and therefore the public) wouldn't pay any attention. Far better to focus on working to change the system from within. Well, Occupy Wall Street happened, and everyone did pay a lot of attention -- but the attention is increasingly focused on the protesters, their encampments, and their activities, and less on the issues that are motivating their protest. The point of it all is being lost as we focus on whether they have generators or what the hygiene situation is. Increasingly, we're talking about Occupy Wall Street, not about Wall Street.

And then yesterday the people who are working within the system won a rather impressive wave of victories. John Kasich's union-stripping law in Ohio was overwhelming rejected by the voters in a repeal referendum. The personhood amendment in Mississippi lost 59%-41%, after polls showed the contest to be neck-and-neck. Voters in Arizona recalled state Senate president Russell Pearce, author of the state's notorious SB 1070 immigration law. Voters of Maine reinstated same-day registration, which had been the law for decades until wingnut governor Paul LePage led an effort to repeal it. Oh, and Republicans failed to win a majority in the Virginia state Senate, defying predictions, while the Iowa state Senate stayed in Democratic hands, thwarting efforts by Iowa Republicans to push through a full GOP agenda, including the banning of gay marriage.

And yet I go to the New York Times Politics home page, and what's the lead story? Herman Cain. (In fact, the two lead stories are about Cain.) I go to Talking Points Memo -- what's the lead? Cain.* Memeorandum? Cain. Politico? Cain and the rest of the GOP field as they get ready for the 7,836th of their 34,325 scheduled debates. Mark Halperin? Ditto.

So they're basically ignoring a big progressive thumpin' at the polls the way they routinely ignore, or used to ignore, lefty political protest. And actually, there's a common thread. Lefties protest the war? Downplay it. Lefties occupy public spaces? Downplay the issues, play up the conditions. Lefties win elections and referendums? Look, there's a gaffe from Herman Cain's campaign manager! Whenever lefties actually focus on an issue and win support from a broad swath of the general public, it's a non-story.

Some of that is the lack of an effective lefty noise machine. Some of that is the disconnect between different parts of the progressive universe. Some of it is the fact that stuff is happening at the occupations that is inevitably distracting.

And, yeah, not every contest yesterday went our way. Mississippi voters also toughened voter ID laws. Ohio voters rejected the health care mandate that's a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (though, of course, opposition to mandates has never been an exclusively conservative cause).

But no wave election is ever universal -- some Democrats win in Republican waves and vice versa. Yesterday was a big deal. Does anyone care?


*UPDATE, 10:45 A.M.: TPM now leads with Ohio, not Cain. Good.


Matt said...

I care, but then again, my salary doesn't depend on my turning a blind eye to such things. Shame about TPM, I used to really like that site. Now they're the NPR of the blogosphere.

c u n d gulag said...

I'm glad for Ohio, Maine, and Mississippi! YAY!!!

Meanwhile, two candidates who I was supporting and making phone calls for in Upstate NY lost.
The Mid-Hudson Valley continues to be predominantly Republican - against their own interests, as usual.
Oh well, onwards to 2012!

And sex will always outsell results on what the MSM feels are wonky issues.
Just be glad Cain isn't a Democrat, or that's ALL we'd hear about for the next 12 months.

Dark Avenger said...

TPM has this as the first post of the day:

The Dems' Big Big Night

The results were not entirely unexpected. But the margins and the uniformity of last night's election results tell an important story going into 2012. Across the country, Republican overreach coming out of the 2010 election was decisively rejected by voters in multiple states.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's signature anti-union legislation was rejected by an almost 2-1 margin. That's a big win for the labor movement and will put in place a deep anti-Republican undercurrent next November. Kasich will be an albatross around the neck of the Republican nominee and there's organization on the ground that will be an important force too.

You got it wrong, Steve M, about TPM.

gone said...

TPM sucks. Their headlines lie half the time. And really, Josh Marshall's a dick, I learned in a recent email exchange. Only the GOP makes news in TPM world.

Steve M. said...

@Dark Avenger: Yes, I see that the top headline has changed. Good for TPM.

Dark Avenger said...

They also had a live link to the results of the elections yesterday that actually worked.

That really demonstrates how far they are in the GOP's pocket, doesn't it, gone?

gone said...

Did I say they were in the GOP's pocket? No, no, I didn't. I said "only the GOP makes news in TPM world." Shall I explain the difference? So they changed the headlines on one day, so the fuck what? It was probably just an accident on their revolving headline app.

Still, if you think every time a GOPer farts it's the most important news of the day, keep reading Talking Po'Man's Huffpo Memo. At least you can say you're as marginally informed as any Fox Comedy Net mark, right?

Dark Avenger said...

Did I say they were in the GOP's pocket? No, no, I didn't. I said "only the GOP makes news in TPM world." Shall I explain the difference? So they changed the headlines on one day, so the fuck what? It was probably just an accident on their revolving headline app.

Nope, the site last night had the results of the election before the article about the results was posted today.

So I've falsified your thesis, anything else I can do for you?

BH said...

One point worth making about the Ohio result: the cops' and firefighters' unions were apparently on board with the other unions there. If I recall rightly, in Wisconsin, they got co-opted in advance; in return for supporting Walker in the election (which they did), they were exempted from his PE-union-killing legislation. So, the Ohio vote may not be such a harbinger of resurgent general pro-union voter sentiment; instead, it may simply be a lesson to the GOP to neutralize the cops & firefighters first, and then go after the rest.

gone said...

You haven't falsified anything, sport, much less any non-existent thesis you dreamed up just now. I can show you the email where Marshall explains the revolving headlines, if you like, but I doubt you're interested in truth at this point. You just wanna win win win even if you have to make shit up to do it. Typical GOPer, actually, which is prolly why you lurves yourself some TPM.

Dark Avenger said...

A lot of sites use revolving headlines, sport.

BTW, this did make news, but not in a positive way for the GOP:

A constituent town hall meeting by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) this past Sunday was disrupted by a loud, combative man who yelled and cursed at the other attendees: Namely, Congressman Walsh himself.

Walsh — the freshman Tea Party Republican elected in the 2010 GOP wave, who was recently given a “pro-family” award by a top conservative group, despite allegations by his ex-wife that he owes over $100,000 in back child support — held the small constituent meeting at a local UNO bar and grill.

Walsh proceeded to get into a freewheeling argument with attendees over the role of government in the economy, with Walsh saying that the economic meltdown should not be blamed on the banking industry, but on longstanding government policies that pushed homeownership.

In turn, the attendees complained of the revolving door of policymakers, of officials who go back and forth between working in the banking sector and the government that’s supposed to regulate it.

This caused Walsh to hit back in strong rhetorical terms — in a sort of cross between Jimmy Stewart and Christian Bale.

This is known as falsification, add it to your vocabulary, sport.

gone said...

Heh. Bless your heart.

Dark Avenger said...

If you had one, I'd bless it for you.