November 09, 2006
Gnashing of Democratic Teeth Begins

Many conservatives look forward to the spectacle of Democrats attempting to lead Congress with small, ideologically diverse majorities. Accordingly, it is no surprise centrists and progressives on either side of the Democratic coalitions are already beginning to fracture. By no means gravely so, but the signals are already there.

That was quick.

Such events should come as no surprise. Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ran stories before the election highlighting the number of conservative Democrats that were essential to the minority party transforming itself into the majority. Moreover, not only do existing, fiscally conservative "Blue Dogs" and newly elected conservatives hold an important role in the Democratic majority, mainstream media sources recognize their mandate is limited. The Washington Post's editorial page acknowledged "Democrats don't have capital from voters; at most, they enjoy a credit line."

As conventional wisdom grows, the progressive wing of the Democratic party is chaffing. Nationally, progressives are already claiming the success of election night is due much to their hands, not their less lefty brethren who beat Republicans for competitive seats in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Locally, Goldy proclaims the netroots "won big," as part of a "new, national progressive majority."

Most interestingly, a more abrasive example of progressive pride has now disappeared from the blogosphere. This link used to take the reader to a post titled "Throwing progressives under the bus" written by the intrepid stilwell at the NW Progressive Blog. Now the link just takes one to the blog's main page. For good or for ill, however, this author printed out the text of stilwell's work from yesterday (Orbusmax also has coverage here, with a link to part of the captured post in question). [UPDATE: Orb's blog includes an update based on a response from NPI. They claim they were doing work on their server and now have a revised, and much toned down version up, with a different title, that appears when one attempts the link to the original post.] Here's what was originally said.

Stilwell quickly downplayed the need for comity: "In the face of the most extreme administration in American history, meeting them halfway is not moderation, it's capitulation." So much for the bipartisan notes Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid sounded today.

Stilwell further implores his fellow netrooters not to "accept the misleading media narratives." Why? Because progressives will threaten you, that's why:

The true conservative Democrats, the people who like to think of themselves as "centrists", should cut the crap and accept progressives as full partners, or we keep fighting. Their call. Deep down they know they would still be in the minority if it weren't for progressives.

Perhaps stilwell isn't on the DLC's Christmas card list?

Speaking of the DLC (the centrist Democratic Leadership Council), they not so surprisingly provided their own statement today, imploring fellow Democrats to "retake the abandoned political center." Meanwhile, the DLC praises the very DCCC Chairman who contributed much to a Democratic majority, Rahm Emmanuel; the same Rahm Emmanuel ripped by stilwell as one of "the mindless centrists who brought us twelve years of hell" and who "would immediately try to throw progressives under the bus." Perhaps stilwell is coyly applying for a staff position in Rahm Emmanuel's new leadership office?

Not that the DLC is without criticism. The irony of DLC founder Al From's statement is that his praise of Lieberman doesn't match his bashing of previous Iraq policy. Nonetheless, the differences between the wings of the Democratic party are clear, even roughly 24 hours into their new majority in Congress.

For verification, see the leadership fight about to unfold between centrist-supported Steny Hoyer (current Minority Whip) and John Murtha (supposed hawk, and now Iraq radical) for Majority Leader. Democrats will be lucky to escape that scrape with some revealingly contentious debates.

Then in the long-term, there is the inevitable challenge that the long-serving liberal lions of the Democratic caucus due committee chairmanships - such as Charlie Rangel, John Dingell, Henry Waxman, and John Conyers - will be seeking to produce legislation that moderate/conservative Democrats will have little interest in supporting on the House floor, especially when they have to run for re-election in 2008, in districts that have been kind to President Bush in previous elections. And that doesn't even touch on Democrats attempting to manage a narrow majority in the Senate that includes conservative Democrats Jim Webb, Jon Tester, and Ben Nelson, plus moderates Mary Landrieu, Bill Nelson, and Tom Carper.

Republicans have much to remedy after last night's elections, a subject for another post in the near future. In the meantime, Democrats should be providing plenty of opportunities to pass the popcorn, and watch the friction escalate.

You know, because everyone believes that:

Corrupt Republican one party rule of the United States is over. The conservative agenda is firmly repudiated. Voters have once again embraced progressive values - our finest traditional values.


We all deserve clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, access to a college education, the right to quality healthcare, a living wage, and policies that protect our people and our communities.

Because Republicans want dirty air to breathe, polluted water to drink, less access to higher education, healthcare for no one, bad wages, and policies that attack people and pillage our communities.

Democratic base, meet your Democratic Congress. Democratic Congress, stop laughing (or frowning). Your base wants you to pay the piper. Conservatives are looking forward to that.

Posted by Eric Earling at November 09, 2006 12:43 AM | Email This
1. LOL, and the incredibly arrogant Neo Cons have already started to plat the blame game. No secrets here, the idiotic GOP has had its 12 years screwing the average American, now it is time to regain the respect of the world and start official inquiries. Hibernate wingnuts, come back in about 23 years.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 03:38 AM
2. LOL, and the incredibly arrogant Neo Cons have already started to play
the blame game. No secrets here, the idiotic GOP has had its 12 years screwing the average American, now it is time to regain the respect of the world and start official inquiries. Hibernate wingnuts, come back in about 23 years.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 03:38 AM
3. LOL, and the incredibly arrogant Neo Cons have already started to play
the blame game. No secrets here, the idiotic GOP has had its 12 years screwing the average American, now it is time to regain the respect of the world and start official inquiries. Hibernate wingnuts, come back in about 23 years.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 03:43 AM
4. Crackass,
Wow, in triplicate, no less! Shrill, pompous, self-congratulatory. All traits of the left. But now that you have duped the limp-wristed moderates to vote for you, what will you offer them? Pelosi, Rangel, Conyers, Waxman, Waters, McDermott, Frank and Company? And offering what?.... unilateral pullout from Iraq...sodomite marriage...100% taxpayer-funded medical care...amnesty for college education for all...upscaled homeland security...along with fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget? Good luck placating both ends of your strung-out party. And thanks, milque toast moderates, for providing two years of the best entertainment George Soros could buy!

Posted by: Saltherring on November 9, 2006 05:21 AM
5. `Pelosi, Rangel, Conyers, Waxman, Waters, McDermott, Frank and Company` Well let me see, do I want the names you have listed...or- Cunningham, Ney, Delay, Rumsfield, Cheney, ... very tough decision. America has spoken, time for you and your koolaid drinking crybabies to grow up and join the modern era.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 05:41 AM
6. funny boy slathering, or is that gibbering...speaking of fun, I can just imagine you and your wingnut inbreds hiding under your beds as the new house and senate start holding your parties extremist legislation up to scrutiny. This will be a great two years watching your party totally go beserk as their selected Monkey In Charge gets his legislation shoved where the sun don´t shine. GWB the lamest lame duck in US history.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 05:46 AM
7. Funny slithering, the first post was in triplicate because wingnuts take three times as long to understand simple English.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 05:48 AM
8. Crackass,
Better put the bong down and head for class before mommy gives you a spanking. And good luck on the potty training!

Posted by: Saltherring on November 9, 2006 05:52 AM
9. The bong was purchased from your street walking mother, you shouldn`t be so hard on her, but then again, wingnuts are known for inbreeding.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 06:57 AM
10. Children PLEASE! A little decorum! There a funeral going on after al1!

Posted by: deadwood on November 9, 2006 07:01 AM
11. It must be Caracas's computer hour at the Asylum.

Posted by: swassociates on November 9, 2006 07:07 AM
12. I suspect that one of the first orders of business is to re-enact the brady bill because of course Dems love nothing more than to reduce our rights, not reinforce them.

Posted by: DJ on November 9, 2006 07:45 AM
13. Northwest Progressives are right to blast Rahm Emmanuel, but they should be blasting themselves as well. I'll write more on this later too, but suffice it to say that the Northwest Nutroots showing was pathetic, even by their standards.

WA is one of the Bluest States in the Union. Look at the legislative sweep in our State House. It doesn't get much Bluer. And yet, even with that, the most vocal Nutroots activist in the NW appears to have failed with his two most prized candidates, Burner and Goldmark. King County Elections is still working on Burner.

For the Nutroots to claim success with someone like McGavick would be equivalent of Crawford, TX getting all whipped up about electing George Bush. C'Mon, McGavick never really had a chance.

NW Progressives have a tendency to overrev. It's only when a groups gets as enthusiastic, ney abandons all caution, like NW Progressives that it opens itself up to failure. I fully expect NW Progressives to go for broke. They'll implement socialism and Draconian regulation and taxation to the point that even Blue WA voters turn against them. And I sincerely hope they do. Few states are more deserving of Thelma and Louise style Progressivism than WA.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 9, 2006 08:15 AM
14. The Senate is now 49-49-2. Since it isn't an "overwhelming" majority, I wonder if the Dems are going to raise the idea of power sharing like they did in 2001?

Probably not.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 9, 2006 08:29 AM
15. Make a big bowl of popcorn and pull up a chair. This will be quality entertainment.

Now I know why tigers eat their young.
Al Czervik

Posted by: jimg on November 9, 2006 08:36 AM
16. I won't be so foolish as to call these democrats "conservative." Those cited by the publications you've mentioned all have ratings that place them well within the progressive margins, if they can't be called outright liberal. What I observe is a strong point for Democrats - at least in a long term outlook - is that a diversity of opinions is valued and representatives are expected to do just that...REPRESENT their districts, unlike the past republican congresses which have been more concerned with towing a party line or the agenda dictated from the whitehouse. Let's not confuse dialogue with fracture.

Posted by: Chas on November 9, 2006 08:41 AM
17. Understanding that many of the newly-elected Democrats are "somewhat moderate" and "somewhat conservative" is of little comfort to me. The ultra-left party leaders will have them toeing the line in short order because the House is constantly running for re-election.

Republicans lost because we (they) were more interested in staying in power rather than governing.

As a Goldwater-Reagan conservative, I am calling for the ousting of the "neo-conservatives" and their pals.

I'd start with Diane Tebelius, notwithstanding the fact that I supported her over Reichert in the primary. I'd also get rid of the KC GOP bosses also.

Luke Esser would make a good party chairman now that he got shafted by that cretin, Rodney Tom.

Posted by: John425 on November 9, 2006 08:45 AM
18. SouthernRoots, I doubt that they will.
I also doubt that they'll stay fractured for long.

49 Democrats.
1 Bernie Sanders (socialist, always votes with the Democrats).
1 Joe Lieberman (Independant in Name Only).


49 Republicans.

The Democrats have enough votes on their side that power sharing won't be a gleam in their eyes.

If we try to find something positive about all this, we might find two things.
1. The Democrats will now have to present a real "plan", instead of just saying they have one. They'll have to lead.
2. If things don't go the way the left wants now, they have noone to blame but themselves, and that may come back to bite them.

You know, this might not have happened if Democrat voters had kept their promises after 2000 and 2004 (and moved to Canada). (Just kidding).

Posted by: Perri Nelson on November 9, 2006 08:46 AM
19. Somehow, I don't think Joe Leiberman owes a whole lot to the netroots crowd. They expect him to show them the proper deference?

Posted by: Dishman on November 9, 2006 09:09 AM
20. you guys have a lot of audacity.....given the failures of the republican-controlled congress for the last 6 years, the flag-waving and chest thumping, the certainty of conclusions (while ignoring facts and evidence to the contrary), it would seem that the least you could do is be patient for something greater than 48 hours.

also, understand, that conservatives record of prognostication is shot. your credibility has been compromised by your sheer partisanship.

Posted by: dinesh on November 9, 2006 09:10 AM
21. If Heath Shuler votes like a "progressive" after he ran as a conservative, and after he played commercial after commercial saying he would bring his "mountain values" to Washington D.C., he will be a one-termer. NC's 11th District will throw him out on his ear.

Posted by: Bill H on November 9, 2006 09:24 AM
22. Dinesh,

You have a lot of arrogance... given the success of the Republican controlled congress for the last 6 year: record home ownership, unemployement historically low, stock market at record highs, keeping America safe - NO TERRORIST ATTACKS ON US SOIL sine 911. Once liberals reimplement pre-911 Gorrellick rule barring intelligence agencies from sharing info with law enforcement, stop all wiretapping of terrorists and monitoring of terrorist bank accounts, there WILL be another 911.

And YOU Dinesh will share the blame for it. Conservatives show one hundred times more class in defeat than liberals show in victory.

Where are all the liberals screaming about the Diebold machine being rigged? Or is it only when you lose you complain.

With every post Dinesh, you prove how pathetic and petty liberals are.

Posted by: pbj on November 9, 2006 09:34 AM
23. Eric,

Many conservatives look forward to the spectacle of Democrats attempting to lead Congress with small, ideologically diverse majorities.

I have to confess, I find this to be a fascinating lede. First of all, I'm not sure how approximately 230 seats constitutes a "small" majority given that one only needs 218 votes in the current House. That leaves plenty of room for coalition building while still passing a great deal of legislation.

More importantly, I'm really fascinated with this notion that ruling in the face if ideological diversity constitutes a "spectacle." I always thought that finding compromises in the midst of ideological diversity is the very substance of Democracy. How that should become a "spectacle," and not celebrated as what Democracy should look like tells me a lot about how Republicans managed to lose in this election.

As for the derision of the netroots campaign, is actually winning elections outright the only measure of success? Is the fact that, we're well into the second day after the polls have closed, and we still don't know who has one in WA-08 not significant?

Posted by: Don Joe on November 9, 2006 09:38 AM
24. You Republicans will never win in this state until you figure out a way to defeat King County. That is your biggest enemy.

If you truly want to change this state's neo-socialist government, I suggest you start working on defeating King County government.

Posted by: Libertarian on November 9, 2006 09:38 AM
25. I was watching Stewart last night- and after doing the usual ribbing of GOP stereotypes he said something altogether true-

Democrats won the House and Senate without a single coherent strategy position what so ever.

In 2004 the left said Bush the winner was dumb (so how does that qualify Kerry the loser?)

Not all Republicans lost and a lot of the Republicans that lost- DESERVED to lose and many of those lost to centrists who may end up being a pain to Pelosi.

However- the fact that Darcy Burner is as close as she is has to communicate that a lot of voters believe that NO strategy is better than Bush's strategy.

Most voters don't read SP or any other news source outside of the front page of MSM...many didn't know who was even on the ticket until they opened the voter pamphlet- ie most voters are not well informed and would fail a jr high civics test if they had to take one. 67% turnout should tell you something...33% could give a rip.

What irks me is that the national politics is really killing us here locally. I almost believe that WA will have an inverse political environmnet to DC....God help us if Hillary has to win in order for Dino to win.

Posted by: Andy on November 9, 2006 09:39 AM
26. Dinesh:[i]
also, understand, that [the liberal]'s record of prognostication is shot. your credibility has been compromised by your sheer partisanship.
Mr Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. Mr Kettle, say hello to Mr. Pot.

Posted by: pseudotsuga on November 9, 2006 09:40 AM
27. Oh, where to start ...

- "Dems will need to lead rather than just plan": well, duh, that's what happens when any party regains power. Your memory of recent history seems a bit lacking - have Republicans been "leading" forever? Um, no.

- "Dems are fracturing": I love the 'don't confuse dialog with fracture', well-said. Also, would you like me to list the various legislation that the Republicans failed to enact, despite controlling pretty much all three branches of government? Democrats fault ... or fracturing within the Republicans? (And in the interest of forestalling the "Wah wah, Democrats were being obstructionists ... turns out "opposition parties" actually do things like, oh, oppose things that don't match their beliefs.)

- "WA is one of the bluest states in the union, why didn't they do better here?": Um, local history and politics lesson, whichever genius dropped this one. Washington is one of the most COMPETITIVE states in the union - and the bi-partisan redistricting commissions tend to keep it that way, for better and for worse. Now would be a great time for the Democratic super-majority to change that and allow gerrymandering ala Texas and other GOP strongholds, however ... (DEFINITELY just kidding on that point)

- "Democrats probably won't share power": who knows, you could be right - which would put them simply on par with the unilateral bullying that filled the last Congresses. I can't see the Dems every even considering the "nuclear option", for instance. I certainly hope they can occupy a somewhat higher spot on moral high ground, however.

Posted by: Patriot on November 9, 2006 09:42 AM
28. Libertarian points out the obvious :-)

sorry but it will take a "Pelosi economy" to defeat democrats....

Posted by: Andy on November 9, 2006 09:44 AM
29. pbj, one of the last of the real cretins, nice to see you show your sorry ass and give us such a thoughtful projection. Maybe it is time for you to run to your mommy, climb under her (his) skirt and dream of your immediate past. Times have left you and your ilk in a no man´s land. A real twilight zone for koolaiders like yourself.

Posted by: Caracas on November 9, 2006 09:50 AM

And Jacob stands alone.

The Jew hater Baker with his hands firmly back on the reigns tells the Israel PM to get lost and plans to isolate Israel.

Great strategy!

I will bless those who bless you and curse him who curses you (Gen 12:3)

Gee I wonder how God will react to this after the SD vote to kill babies and the MO vote to create babies so as to kill them.

John Kerry's new hick slogan: "Can I get me some KI here?"

Posted by: Jericho on November 9, 2006 09:52 AM
31. Southern Roots,

Try to get your facts straight. The Democrats proposed (and Rs agreed to) power sharing when the Senate was 50-50 immediately following the 2000 election.

It was expressly part of that deal that if the Senate went to 51-49 for some reason, the power sharing deal would end -- and that's exactly what happened when the Democrats went to 51-49 due to Jeffords' decision to align with them.

I'll even save you the trouble of having to find what's been documented a million times from the 2000 "power sharing" deal and its aftermath. Here are a couple of articles detailing exactly what I've just described above. First, about the 2000 power sharing deal and the agreement to abandon it at 51-49 control by either side: Second, some discussion of the aftermath of the agreement and what happened when the Senate went 51-49 (this is from FR, but is just a reprint of a 2003 AP article):

So the parties have unequivocally agreed that a 51-49 split for the Democrats (or Republicans) means that the winning party CONTROLS the Senate. Get used to it.

And next time, do a little background research before you lanch into sanctimonious, but false, claims of hypocrisy from the other side.


P.S. You'll note, SR, that no one in the current Republican non-leadership has even hinted at the "power sharing" notion that you have. The reason, of course, is that there's no basis for it in history (from either the Dem or Rep side) or in what the Republicans themselves have agreed to in recent years. That should've been a caution to you before you launched into your little baseless rant.

Posted by: Vonnegut on November 9, 2006 09:57 AM
32. Uh, both Caracas and pbj, you're not being terribly constructive. Can you go meet out at the flagpole, work it out there, and come back when you've shaken hands like adults?

Posted by: Patriot on November 9, 2006 09:57 AM
33. Carcass - Caracas - I guess I was right the first time. Why so bitter? What was it you didn't win in the election?

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 9, 2006 09:58 AM
34. Let's just see what happens. Since the democrats are all about litmus tests, a year and a half from now we can evaluate their effectiveness using the litmus tests upon which they have based their platform during the campaign and for which they criticized the former majority:

Reduced spending
Reduced trade deficit
Stabilization in the Middle East
Improved relations with our neighbors
Domestic security

The world is watching...

Posted by: ERNurse on November 9, 2006 09:59 AM
35. pbj: you have a problem understanding cause and effect.

Posted by: dinesh on November 9, 2006 10:25 AM
36. It's great that you are bashing us as the opposition but don't forget that the Conservative polititians forgot who put them there. 1994 election wave was an uprising of the disenfranchised, but the legislators turned to the corporations and special interest groups. Their reply, "Democrats do it to" Can anyone name one piece of legislation to come out of Congress other than the Patriot Act. Has this congress come up with an Energy Policy?
This has been absolutely abismal leadership and if you disagree, you are a bigger hack than you could ever accuse me of being.

Posted by: Mike Barer on November 9, 2006 10:28 AM
37. Vonnegut, chill. Let's see if I can do this properly - "I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative" about the illustrious, all knowing, and benevelant party of the common people's return to well deserved and earned power. - Does that help calm you down?

ERNurse - you're right, the list you give is what I remember hearing in a lot of ads but then, when can we really trust ANY politician to live up to what they say during a campaign? (notice I didn't call them "promises").

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 9, 2006 10:32 AM
38. From one so-far-left-I'm-right-moonbat who knows that the crassly corrupt Nixon admin ushered in environmental regs in the 1970s... most of my right wingnut good friends who vote the Red ticket unwaveringly have been disgusted for years with the Party stance on environment, energy, education, choice, deficit, and a host of other social issues. They shifted a little on Tuesday, though they are scared of what they think Pelosi goes to Washington means to them. If the Reds want to swing back in 08 they are going to have to get real and address these issues or lose more ground in the middle. They can't keep up the appearances of tap dancing switch and bait denial for dollars and expect to get the normalized conservative group back into the fold. The rapture baiting dominionists have to go and the energy sucking nation builders have to settle down before reformed Reds will take them as anything but a powerful fringe party more radical than anything San Francisco ever cooked up.

Posted by: ben on November 9, 2006 10:47 AM
39. Why so bitter? What was it you didn't win in the election?

They're lousy and ungracious winners.

They're bitter because the GOP Machine was supposed to save them from themselves by stealing the election, setting up a sweep back into power in '008. Instead, now they have to give up all their cherished slogans ("fascism descending on America" and the like) and actually have to do something instead of acting like spoiled (and barely housebroken) three year olds.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega on November 9, 2006 10:48 AM
40. Raoul, I don't think it's bitterness at all. Amazement would likely be a better word. This election is a wake-up call about reality, and Republicans are still living in a cocooon that won't allow all of the facts to penetrate.

Read this. Explain to me how he's wrong on this.

Posted by: Don Joe on November 9, 2006 11:17 AM
41. pbj says "You have a lot of arrogance... given the success of the Republican controlled congress for the last 6 year: record home ownership, unemployment historically low, stock market at record highs, keeping America safe - NO TERRORIST ATTACKS ON US SOIL sine 911."

1) Home ownership rose because of historically low interest rates caused by *gasp*, 9-11. With that came historically high prices and now no one can buy a house in Seattle for under $350k.

2) Unemployment historically low? Looks like you may be right on this one...According to CNN the unemployment rate is the lowest level of unemployment since May 2001.

3) Stock market at record highs. Well sure the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at an all time high, but the S&P 500, the true benchmark of the economy is nowhere near it's all time high.

4) NO TERRORIST ATTACKS ON US SOIL sine 911. Yeah, how many terrorist attacks were the prior to 9-11 on US soil? Maybe 1993 at the WTC? 1995 with the Oklahoma City bombing? Terrorism in the US is a pretty new thing compared to Europe and the Middle East. Still it's quite a rare occurrence. I'd hardly attribute it's absence to whatever party is sitting in the white house or controls congress.

Face it PBJ, your talking points are just that talking points. Examples that seem true on the surface but have no real merit once you take the time to look into them.

Posted by: Cato on November 9, 2006 11:18 AM
42. Andy 25--
well said--most people don't care until something literally bubbles up in their back yard. A bad method for fighting terror too. people are basically lazy. i'll bet they all know who was recently divorced & the names of their kids.

"grow up and join the modern era" and "regain the respect of the world?"
Sounds great on paper. But I don't care if the world hates us. They have for many years. I care more about OUR sovereignty. Brussels and the intl Courts can pound sand. America's interests are first. It's pretty obvious that terrorists and their supporting nation-states do not "respect" London, Spain, Chechen schools and other recently-attacked targets.

And as for "joining the modern era," Im ready--with empty wallet (higher Dem taxes) and a prayer rug based on the "enlightened" and "tolerant" European strategy of ignoring its current problems and appeasements. Checked out France's riots lately? Sure 'aint about bad wine vintages or lack of good cheese.

No thanks.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on November 9, 2006 11:18 AM
43. You all have forgotten the BIGGEST accomplishment of the Republican congress... even bigger than stopping terrorist attacks after 911:
They have stopped Hurricanes, after Katrina.
Way to go Cons... we will miss you.

Posted by: soon on November 9, 2006 11:18 AM
44. Can anyone name one piece of legislation to come out of Congress other than the Patriot Act. Has this congress come up with an Energy Policy?

You cannot be serious. If you want information on the 109th Congress, click here

108th is here

You will find the energy policy passed here.

This Congress got alot done, including legislation for intelligence reform, terrorist prevention measures, boosting border security, building a security fence and a deficit reduction act. Too bad it's not reported like it should be.

Posted by: Palouse on November 9, 2006 11:19 AM
45. Cato, you're awfully adept at putting bad spin on good news. You should be a member of the MSM!

Bottom line, economy is strong. Look at GDP, look at unemployment, look at home ownership (you cannot buy or keep a home unless you're doing well), all the markets have been strong including the S&P, look at the misery index. If Democrats were in control of government, we would never hear the end of how good things are with the economy.

Posted by: Palouse on November 9, 2006 11:26 AM
46. It appears with the pending fall of the Senate to the Democrats, that this election has earned the Democrats some "politcal capital" (as someone once said). Let's hope the Democrats spend it more wisely than the Bush spent his:

Enact the 9/11 commission recommendations. We live in a Port City for crying out loud. We should all be demanding better port security regardless of our political party.

Develop something other than a "stay the course" (regardless of the looming iceberg in front of our faces) strategy in Iraq. I don't care if it's a Baker plan, a Biden plan or a Murtha plan.... Obviously the current "plan" is not working.

Get serious about energy indepenance

Enact a reasonable plan for reforming immigration AND protecting our borders

It's been 36 hours and people are still talking nice... let's see if they can actually make something happen.

Posted by: Splinter on November 9, 2006 11:45 AM
47. "Cato, you're awfully adept at putting bad spin on good news. You should be a member of the MSM!"

That statement would have far more weight if your own account of the relevant facts didn't leave out details like falling real wages, changes in the labor force and corporate profits at or near all-time highs (which explains why GDP is up, yet why so many people don't feel the effects of that increase in GDP in their own lives).

The truth doesn't care what your ideology is.

Posted by: Don Joe on November 9, 2006 11:46 AM
48. Palouse, look at the facts. The S&P 500 is recovering nicely from 9/11 as are most people. I think Greenspan did a great job of managing the economy. PBJ stated that the stock market is at an all time high, I'm just refuting his point with the true measure of the economy.

If you look, gas prices are up, dollar is down, house prices are finally slumping, minimum wage is still $5.15/hr nationally. Lower in some states like KY where they count tips towards minimum wage. It's a lot harder to get by than it was 6 years ago.

If Dem's had been in power I'm sure PBJ and others would be bitching about how Kerry or whomever had not done enough for the country.

Posted by: Cato on November 9, 2006 11:46 AM
49. Cato--read a book on economics before offering your "facts". Either you don't know what the S&P 500 really is or else you have been watching too many episodes of "Mad Money". It is a benchmark, nothing more.

As for the skyrocketing housing prices, that has more to do with the Growth Management Act silliness and the local government jacking up appraisal values to get more taxes without a vote.

Also, the most of the attacks on the US (including bases, embassies, and ships) took place under Bubba's watch. The islamowhackos thought Bush would be just as unresponsive. They quickly found out that was not the case.

Posted by: Burdabee on November 9, 2006 11:48 AM
50. I often see conservatives say that because there has been no attack in the US since 9/11/01 that this is a reason to keep Republicans in office. I really don't understand that logic. More than 8 years passed after the initial attack on the twin towers, 8 years, these poeple are very patient. Oh, and how did the Taliban destroy the Soviet Union? By keeping them in a decade long war that they couldn't win and bleeding their economy dry. Does any of this ring a bell? Perhaps you feel that spending $9 billion dollars a month while our tax base is shrinking is good economic policy, I don't. And to imply that the war in Iraq has made the US safer suggests that you aren't really paying attention to what has been going on there.

Posted by: mark a on November 9, 2006 12:25 PM
51. Don Joe says:

That statement would have far more weight if your own account of the relevant facts didn't leave out details like falling real wages, changes in the labor force and corporate profits at or near all-time highs (which explains why GDP is up, yet why so many people don't feel the effects of that increase in GDP in their own lives).

And you would have the Government do... what?

Does this statistic require a government solution? The best thing a governemnt can do is to encourage economic growth. The growth in the GDP is evidence of this administration's policies. What they CANNOT do is force companies to allocate their incomes in certain ways without the risk of causing significnat barriers to economic growth. Employee wages will rise in a free market as businesses that want to compete will risk raising wages to attract (or keep) better employees from the competition. In many cases I would expect wages to lag corporate profits. If you think all businesses are in collusion about wages, I would like to hear your rationale for that.

Or... If you think government policy in any way impacts how companies set employee wages I would like to hear that too, and also what specific plans you think democrats might have to alleviate this "problem". If you don't know of any, that's fine, you can just tell me YOUR theory on how the goverment can fix it without destroying free enterprise.


Posted by: Eyago on November 9, 2006 12:27 PM
52. Talking, whining, carping, criticizing and complaining how badly someone else leads is a far different thing from standing up and being the leader.

The dems now have 729 days (leap year 2008) to prove how well they can Lead... or not lead.

They won and now it's theirs to keep or to lose.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on November 9, 2006 01:15 PM
53. The very best thing about the dems winning and chasing out Rumsfeld.... we can offically blame the Democrats for anything that goes on in Iraq from this point on.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on November 9, 2006 01:17 PM
54. Eyago,

You asked, "And you would have the Government do... what?"

My short answer, is that I would have the government do whatever we ask it to do, since it's a representative form of government. The real question is, how do collectively decide what to ask the government to do, and a good part of my response to that question is that we certainly can't decide what we should ask the government to do if we are willing to leave out important facts simply because those facts don't conform to our ideology. Before you get to a discussion of what ought to be, you have to take an unbiased look at what is.

One approach would be to strive to understand some of the
causal factors determining real wages. One of those causal factors is the way changes in technology drive demand for different forms of labor (different "skill sets" if you will). If left to its own devices, the Economy itself provides little means that would assist labor in making the adjustments necessary to respond to these changes in technology, and one of the ways the Government can alleviate this issue is to provide programs that assist people to acquire new skill sets.

The overall point, however, ought not be lost: by taking an ideological approach to what information and facts might be relevant to the discussion, we close of any form of well-reasoned debate about what the Government ought to do. You take potential solutions off the table, and, I would contend, this kind of ideologically-driven approach to problem solving is one of the underlying causes of the results of this week's elections.

Posted by: Don Joe on November 9, 2006 01:46 PM
55. Don Joe,

You must be a politician. That was a very good non-response to the questions being asked. What it seems to tell me is that you probably DON'T have an answer to why real wages are lower. You just note the fact and thus assume that the government failed in some way to "fix" the problem.

Now, you could very well be right that there is some underlying issue that DOES need to be addressed, but your failure to address it suggests to me that you don't know what it is, and thus all your posturing is meaningless. In onther words, you blame the current government for a symptom of a problem you have not identified.

Let us look at a few facts.

Real wages in 1994, the first "real" impact that Clinton would have had on that statistic with any chosen economic policy, was 259.97. That was only slightly higher than 93 - 258.12. It was lower in 95 - 258.43 and then back up in 96 - 259.58.

In Bush's first effective years it was: 2002 - 278.91, 2003 - 279.94, and 2004 - 277.57, and 2005 - 280.35. (All in 1987 dollars)

The numbers for 2006 are not in yet. If there IS any cry about falling "real wages" I do not find them and cannot see how they can be counted on as a major issue over a short term of 1 year since fluctuations can happen.

Now I ask you this, do you know what the Clinton administration did to affect real wages? Can you identify polices, or programs that addressed it? Can you identify specific things that the Bush administration did to reverse any gains Clinton may have done?

Or, can you point to SPECIFIC and KNOWN factors that are affecting real wages and the programs that would be best to address them?

Next, how quickly should an administration act on such an issue that would affect it quickly enought to stem a flow such that it would NOT appear as a loss at all? If, in Bush's case we have modest gains from 2002 though 2005, would they have needed to "react" to any reported drops in the early quarters of 2006? If they did, would those have had time to affect any drops in the real wage today?

Finally, can you point to anything specific in the Bush Administration that celarly indicates taht they refused to address the issue of shifts in workforce needs, technologies and the like? A simple compare and contrast between the two administrations would suffice.

If you cannot address these specific issues, then you are just blowing smoke by taking one isolated economic marker that has dropped in the short term and used it to declare the Bush economic policies to be both a failure and harmful to workers. The economic well-being of people are not measured in one economic indicator over the short term, so I posit that you are just talking ideolocial gobbledygook.

However, I do not want to discount economic ideology because we DO have significant differences there. On the one hand we have those who believe the government exists to fix everyting for everyone, on the other we have those who believe that people are pretty much responsible for figuring out their own problems and just need government to make sure no one is cheating.

If I were in an industry that is declining and my prospects are dimming, I do not think it is incumbant upon the governemnt to guarantee me certain wages anyway or retraining or some other giveaway of OTHER PEOPLE'S money for my benefit. And yes, I have been laid off. I believe the government owes me an opportunity, not that it owes me a living.

Additionally, I do not think the government best serves people by regulating business to insure some sort of emplyment and wage guarantees for all workers. That creates negative influences on both the business and the worker and ultimately depresses the economy and hurts everyone more. I would think that the lovers of biological darwinism would be more apt to champion economic darwinism, but then that is why I am not a liberal: though I understand the motivation, I could never quite buy into the self-defeating policies that come out of it.


Posted by: Eyago on November 9, 2006 02:53 PM
56. Libertarian points out the obvious :-)
Posted by Andy at November 9, 2006 09:44 AM
It's obvious, but it warrants repeating.

Posted by: Libertarian on November 9, 2006 04:43 PM
57. Eyago,

"You must be a politician. That was a very good non-response to the questions being asked. What it seems to tell me is that you probably DON'T have an answer to why real wages are lower. You just note the fact and thus assume that the government failed in some way to "fix" the problem."

Wow, that was a fast shift in gears. Someone on this blog posted a comment crediting to the Economic policies of the Bush Administration as having improved the Economy, and I merely pointed out that this ignored some of the facts. You turned that around into something I've never said, i.e. that the Bush Administration's Economic policies have failed.

You followed that up with a broad question about what the government can do, and I gave a broad answer with a mostly hypothetical example of how we might use a careful examination of all of the facts, and arrive at an efficacious policy.

"Let us look at a few facts."

Well, actually, my point was that we should look at all the facts, not just a few. And, when we do look at a "few" facts, it's customary to state exactly what the facts are and to cite a source for where you got them. You've done neither, but the numbers you cite look like these numbers. That would make your numbers the average weekly non-farm payroll, though the numbers at the link I gave are in 1982 dollars, not 1987 dollars. I'm guessing your 1987 dollars is just a typo, or maybe you misread the data. In either case, mistakes like that are why we cite, and preferably, link our source.

There are several problems with the BLS' AWNFP if one intends to use it as a guage of wages, the most notable of which is that it's based on an estimate not an actual measurement (see the note on the BLS web site regarding the computation of the AWNFP). Secondly, the raw data is, itself, derived form a survey. While a survey is closer to a measurement, there are potential stastical and sampling errors.

Average hourly earnings is a little better. You can find the most recent BLS report here. Take a look at Table B. There are a couple of months where the average weekly NFP, in constant dollars, when up while the average hourly NFP went down. (Note that percentage changes reflect changes from the same month in the prior year.)

For the rest of your questions, much of them appear to be based on a false premise: i.e. that I'm somehow interested in apportioning blame and or credit with respect to various policies of the two most recent Presidential administrations. Frankly, I think that's a pointless exercise. I'd rather take an unbiased look at the conditions as they are, informed by theory though not constrained by theory, and see if there aren't things the government can do to resolve, or at least alleviate, some of those issues.

For example, while real wages have fallen most recently, and been mostly stagnant throughout most of the recovery since 2001, productivity has been on a stead increase. What might those two facts suggest? Well, one way this happens is through technological change that makes people more productive, but also leads to fewer jobs in those industries where the productivity gains occur. This, in turn, causes some of those displaced workers to have to seek employment elsewhere, and that likely ends up in lower-paying jobs. That unemployment has gone down low would also confirm this hypothesis.

It's probably worth noting that one of the potential reasons why technology change leads to reduced wages rather than more unemployment is the extent to which households have sufficient savings to weater a period of unemployment. When savings are up, technological change tends to cause unemployment. When savings are down, technical change tends to cause lower wages.

Another factor one can consider, and I haven't looked at actual data on this recently, is labor and wage factors accross industries. Unfortunately, I'm under a bit of a schedule at work, and I don't have time to pull the numbers out of the BLS data base, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see certain sectors of the economy with both rising employment and rising wages. Indeed, it's almost always the case where some sectors are growing faster than others.

Put all of that together, and I think it's possible to come up with a reasonable argument for a government program designed to provide training assistance for displaced workers. Note, that I really don't care about whether or not someone has some kind of ideological predisposition against such programs. The argument isn't about "entitlements" or whether or not people have some kind of right to expect the government to do something like this. The question is entirely pragmatic: do we, as a whole, benefit from a government program that helps workers move accross industries?

If you want to make this an argument about what the government "owes" us, then we have only one point of disagreement: I don't even think the government owes you an opportunity. What the government owes you is a set of freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. The acutal opportunity to exercise those freedoms in a productive way generally comes from other institutions in society.

Posted by: Don Joe on November 9, 2006 08:04 PM
58. DOn Joe,

I have to admit I assgned to you much more than you actually stated, probably because I was reading your comments within a chain of others. I apologize for mistaking your argument. As I isolate your argumetns from the rest I can see that there is nothing inherently wrong with what you suggest. Yes, it would be helpful if our government DID look at the factors involved before it established economic policies. And, I will grant that there could be arguments made that government could benefit society and the economy by involving itself in assisting various parts of the labor force transition to other industries as needed.

That said, I tend toward minimalist government involvement if at all. I think the government does have a role in insuring that the powerful do not exploit the weak. In general, however, anytime we invest an entity with power, we risk losing that control for ourselves. Could a large single entity more effectively assist in labor reapportionment? Sure, but is it worth the price when the market can also do the same thing? We do run risks of a certain amount of pain for the worker if things to not transition well, and there are other negative impacts to local economies when businesses fail, more or downsize, and that hurts lots of people, so I am not prepared to fall on my sword over the idea that the free market should reign unencombered by government involvement. I do think there is a continuum, and where on that continuum is the ideal balance is certainly debatable. I disfavor governemnt involvement and think that too much meddling can have overall negative impacts. Whether a non-government agency could analyse and provide useful programs for the transitioning of labor as industry changes, I don't know. It may be that we are stuck with a political solution rather than a business one.

As for my "rights" as I describe them, all I meant to say is that I expect government to create an opportunity in that they remove such barriers as illegal acticity, collusion, discrimination and other activities that exploit workers. I certainly did not imply that they owed me an economic environment condicive to my own hopes and dreams.

I will end my portion of this discussion but will check back to see any final comments you may have.


Posted by: Eyago on November 9, 2006 09:15 PM
59. That statement would have far more weight if your own account of the relevant facts didn't leave out details like falling real wages, changes in the labor force and corporate profits at or near all-time highs (which explains why GDP is up, yet why so many people don't feel the effects of that increase in GDP in their own lives).

If real wages are falling as you say, then why is disposable income up? This chart shows personal income, compensation and wages all steadily increasing over the past few years.

There's far too much good economic data, even for Democrats, to talk down the positive economy over the past few years. You can pick and choose a few statistics sure, but overall this economy has been strong by most measures. I remember just a few years back, the news media could not stop talking about the "jobless recovery". Now that unemployment is back around 4.4%, not a peep.

The MSM was complicit in making this election about Iraq - the booming economy was the most underreported aspect of this election.

Posted by: Palouse on November 10, 2006 11:32 AM
60. And if there's any doubt that the MSM was complicit in this, just take a look at the way they report the positive economic data:

"News on the economy and job front tonight, it's a bit of a mixed picture. While the U.S. job market grew by only 51,000 jobs across the whole country last month, the previous two months were revised upward, and the unemployment rate did tick down a notch to 4.6 percent."

--NBC's Brian Williams spinning good news as bad news

The fact that with all of the positive economic data out there that the public still believes it is not as strong as it is says they're being duped. The media has tremendous power to influence how people feel about the economy, too bad the reporting isn't as "fair and balanced" when Republicans are in power.

Posted by: Palouse on November 10, 2006 11:44 AM
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