Mister Tee wrote: Hexagon, your take on how Obama related to Republicans, especially regarding the stimulus, could not be further from the truth. It's well-documented that, the night before Obama's inauguration, GOP luminaries like McConnell and Paul Ryan got together and agreed that, since Obama would get credit for anything achieved during his presidency, they would see to it their party withheld votes on any proposal -- McConnell's well-known quote was "Our main goal is to make Obama a one-term president". The economy was in such turmoil, the need for economic stimulus so great, that nearly everyone (even right-wing pundits) assumed the parties could come together and pass something, but the GOP made it clear they would not only provide virtually no votes (except the few remaining actual moderates, in blue states), they would even filibuster any proposed plan. (It's since become routine to filibuster everything that comes up in the Senate, but that was NEVER the case before this radical GOP crowd.) And the plan Obama came up with didn't ignore Republican wishes; it was in fact something like 40% tax cuts, meant specifically to appeal to the GOP (a purely Democratic package would have focused more on infrastructure spending, and aid to the states). As it was, Dems had to cut some of what they wanted to get Susan Collins & Olympia Snowe on board.
Well, the negotiations on the stimulus are pretty well documented in Bob Woodward's The Price of Politics
, which I imagine is a fairly reliable source. A random comment from one Senator means nothing. I'll reconsider my take if you can provide some stronger documents.
I am under the impression that the reason why such a large part of the stimulus was tax cuts is because they were faster to implement than spending increases.
Bob Woodward has been a Republican spinmeister/hack for many years; if you rely on his take, you're bound to get wrong information. And, no: spending on infrastructure projects would have pumped money far more quickly/directly into the economy than tax cuts. The only reason the tax cut part of the package was so large was to appease GOPers...wasted effort, since they were determined not to cooperate. (As they have continued to be for seven years -- if you honestly believe it's Obama's fault that negotiations so often break down, we share no common view of reality.)
A lot is being written about the Sanders supporters, and I think it's important to separate out the groups doing the supporting -- some are responsible for bad behavior on the Internet, but others are not; they're simply for another candidate right now, but will vote for whoever the nominee is.
I'd guess the largest Sanders blocc is simply the most liberal chunk of the Democratic electorate. They tend to be white, upper middle class or higher, very left on social issues, concentrated in cities. Ron Brownstein of the LA Times calls them the wine track voters (as opposed to the beer track working class and minority voters). They were Bradley voters in 2000, and with Jerry Brown in '92. Many of them have been voting Democrat since McGovern, and, depending on your mood, you could describe them as courageously devoted to their beliefs, or pig-headedly resistant to adjustment after multiple electoral poundings. This group WAS largely for Obama in '08, but, crucially, Obama's race was able to bring massive numbers of black voters to his side, making for a hybrid coalition. Also worth noting: this group overrated (or over-hoped-for) Obama's leftiness, apparently confusing him with Dennis Kucinich; they were the first to declare themselves let down, starting with the Inauguration ("How could he invite Rick Warren!"). Even today, many of them will begin any conversation about Obama by declaring what a disappointment he's been.
(EDITED TO ADD: I'm probably being a little ungenerous on the above. In fact, I see from my Facebook feed that a number of friends of mine or my wife's fall into this category. They're all good people, and we usually end up in the same place on Election Day. I just think they're a bit over-exuberant right now.)
A subset of these would be Nader voters -- people for whom the purity of their ballot choice is always more important than any sticky detail like winning the election. I see Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore and Bill Maher have got the band back together and are all in for Bernie. Do you guys think we forgot about your last enthusiastic choice?
Then there are these young voters -- college students or recent grads. I tend to be sympathetic to them, because at one time I WAS them. In 1972, I voted for McGovern twice, in the primary and on Election Day. And even until the returns started coming in, I believed McGovern was going to beat Nixon, simply because it was the right and proper way for the universe to behave. McGovern's campaign, like Sanders', offered a top-to-bottom change in how politics was run, and that had enormous appeal to me, as I assume it does these young folk. When you're that age, you have few roots or things to lose; you've also just started to notice the world is more bland/boring than you'd like it to be. So, the idea of revolution isn't threatening -- it's thrilling! The idea that someone middle-aged, with a mortgage or kids to put through school, would not be as enthusiastically on board is one that doesn't even cross your mind. We'll win because we have right on our side!
I think there are two other elements to the current Sanders vote (and, I emphasize, the size of it may well be overstated by the demographics of the two states that have so far cast ballots; come Super Tuesday, we may not care about any of this), and I'd guess the worst of the sexist jibes and "corporate tool!" accusations are coming from one of these. The first is just Karl Rove's rat-fucking operation. He's spent millions advertising against Hillary/pro-Sanders in the first two states, and one presumes he's put at least some operatives into voting booths (as well as on Interney posting boards).
The second, it seems to me, is people who a few years back were hanging with Ron Paul. It's an almost exclusively male contingent, drawn from the Reddit and Gamer ranks. These people are not, clearly, ideologically consistent (since Paul and Sanders are so far apart on economics they can't even see one another), but they're big on being pissed off and wanting to turn over the table and wreck the game. These people, I'd guess, are the source of the worst Hillary-bashing going on, and even Sanders has seen fit to admonish them to cut it out.
Does anybody see any element I'm missing?