If Republicans Gain Control of the Senate in 2014, Liberals Only Have Themselves to Blame

rand-paul-I don’t know how many times I’ve stressed the importance of the 2014 midterm elections.  Americans are absolutely sick and tired of the gridlock that’s gone on in Congress and it’s clear that there’s generally one party to blame for most of it – the Republican party.

And I’m honestly not saying that in any kind of biased sense at all.

Congress has never been the most efficient of institutions, but it’s never seen the blatant obstruction and attempts at sabotage like we’ve seen since President Obama was elected.  Obstruction that skyrocketed following the wave of tea party influence that was ushered in during the 2010 midterms.

Liberals have often complained that Obama hasn’t “lived up to the hype,” so to speak.  And on some levels they’re right.  Though I’ve always maintained that for many of these people, their expectations were simply too high.  But when liberals say something like, “Obama hasn’t done enough!” I’m not exactly sure what they’re wanting him to do.

A president is often beholden to whatever Congress the American people give them.  For most of President Obama’s time in office, he’s dealt with a House of Representatives that has absolutely no intention of ever working with him – period.  The lone saving grace to that is that Democrats have controlled the Senate.  So at least when all is said and done, liberals could say, “Well, we control 2/3’s of the government – we have the majority.”

But that might not be the case come November.  Many experts are saying Democrats face a real danger of losing power in the Senate.  Something that if it were to happen, would essentially doom any hopes of anything getting done until 2016.

And if Republicans do take control back in November, liberals can only blame themselves.

There’s a real argument to be made for gerrymandering impacting House seats.  But when it comes to the Senate, that’s not really an issue.

Liberals claim to be the more educated, tech-savvy, progressive intellectuals, right?  Then why do we let a bunch of knuckle-dragging neanderthals trying to take this country back to the days of legal discrimination and oppression beat us at the voting booths?

If liberals show up like we did in 2006 and 2008, Republicans can’t beat us.  Not only would we keep the Senate, we’d gain power – and take back the House.  Again, if we showed up like we did in 2006 and 2008.

But the question is, will we?  Well, we better.  Because if we don’t we’ll not only stand absolutely no chance at reclaiming the House, but we’re going to lose the Senate too.

And if that happens, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Jim Bean

    “Liberals claim to be the more educated, tech-savvy, progressive intellectuals, right?” That is absolutely true but factually correct only in the sense that they “claim” to be all those things. If they truly WERE all those things, they wouldn’t be in danger of losing the Senate. And if they didn’t actually believe they were all of those things they would have had the insight necessary to avoid a repeat of their 2010 misadventure.

  • Socialmedic

    Liberals need to get off their a$$e$ and Vote, that is true but don’t blame me buddy boy. Iv’e been on to the Republicans ever since Reagan sold fascism to the American public wholesale in the early ’80’s. There are enough statistics out on income inequality these days that should alone drive EVERY SINGLE American, of every stripe out to the polls to oust the republicans. But frankly the republican half will never man up and admit they were wrong. Their egos are much too important to them, more than the economy, more than our freedoms, more than our constitution and our country. Time will tell if stupid really is going to rule the day. The power mongers are counting on it.

    • vetsyoucansalute

      Socialmedic, I’ll keep this short. You are absolutely right!

    • terry63

      Reagan, did drive Americans of every stripe out to vote. He won re-election carrying 49 states. When he left office , none of the problems we experienced under Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter existed, those were dark days. Painfull , miserable days. He gave you a recovery that ran 20 + years of substantial growth and productivity.When Reagan , was done America, elected his vice President to lead. Yet you complain. Were it not for George Bush,43. You may well still be enjoying that. Sadly, that progress is gone and the guy at the helm today hasnt a clue how to fire the engines . Reagan could not get a seat at 50 dollar a plate function in the Republican party of today. Much like JFK, could never get seat at a Democrat, function today. The parties have moved on into deeper waters.

  • 2Smart2bGOP

    I will preach from now to November; we cannot allow ourselves to fall into the same mid-term malaise that was responsible for Rand Paul and Marco Rubio in 2010. If we ALL get out and vote, we can’t lose; but we have to actually VOTE.

  • Matthew Reece

    No matter who you vote for, the state remains in power.

    • Tynam

      It still matters hugely who’s _exercising_ that power.

      Figure out how to reform the state if you can. But in the mean time, don’t let evil have a free pass just because you haven’t figured out how to beat it totally yet.

      • Matthew Reece

        I would prefer that evil people wield state power so that illusions of the goodness of the state are dispelled, and people will be more inclined to oppose the state.

      • Tynam

        There have been many instances of this in human history. The effect you are hoping for did _not_ occur. (Was Bush unseated by revolution? How about Stalin? Mao?)

        The problem is that a significant minority of humans are _authoritarian_ – they care more that power is in charge than they care what it does.

        “Either contribute to reform, or choose the lesser evil” is a false dichotomy anyway. Most things that achieve the first also help with the second.

      • Matthew Reece

        It is certainly a problem that not only a significant minority, but nearly a majority are effectively slaves who are happy to be slaves. This is why things are going to get ugly when the proverbial slavemaster dies, which is probably going to happen in the next 50 years.

        I am more hopeful about the outcome this time around simply because the technology to fight the state, as well as replace the few necessary services currently monopolized by the state, is more advanced now than it was in the examples you mentioned. This advancement alone should render functionality of governments impossible in the next 100 years, but I hope people will throw off their chains before then.

        One thing I am certain about is that there will not be reform. If infiltrating evil institutions to make them virtuous is such a good plan, then people should have turned the mafia into a charity by now. (This would be good practice because the only real differences between the mafia and the US government are size, WMDs, and the power to make laws.)

      • Tynam

        You’re completely correct until that last paragraph – which is self-justifying nonsense, and arrant nonsense at that.

        There has never been an _attempt_ to turn the mafia into a charity. There has never been a person that _aimed_ to infiltrate that evil institution and make it virtuous from the inside. So the comparison is exceedingly poor.

        But what makes it not just poor but worthless is this: the Mafia is not subject to external social pressures in the way that the government _is_.

        The vile institution, as a whole, opposed freeing slaves – but was forced to cave. It opposed equal rights for non-whites – but is being forced, slowly, to give in. It opposed votes for women – but is being forced, slowly, to give in. It opposed equal rights for gay people – yet history will record that it lost that battle.

        The world is more nuanced than that. “Smash the state” isn’t an answer; it’s running away from the question.

      • Matthew Reece

        People don’t attempt to infiltrate the mafia because they know it is a silly thing to try to do. My point is that people should figure out that trying to reform the state beyond some minor policy changes is just as silly. The changes you mentioned took a human lifetime or more to be completed, in which cases we aren’t dealing with the same unelected bureaucrats the whole time.

        The mafia is not subject to external social pressures? Really? You don’t think they have to change tactics if the communities they oppress get tired of them and decide to do something about it, like demand more law enforcement activity against the mafia or start shooting at the mafia themselves?

        “Smash the state” is the answer because it is the root of most evils in the world and an amplifier of the other evils.

      • Tynam

        In order:

        1) That’s my point. It takes many years to enact real change. But the reason that real change happened is because people were pushing at it _every_ year, voting appropriately, making noise – not just giving up.

        2) Obviously the mafia – like anyone else – is subject to the society it’s in. But it doesn’t _answer_ to it the way the government does. Obviously I agree with you; I just thought that was so obvious I didn’t need to explicitly say it. Sorry, my bad – I should have seen that I hadn’t made it obvious _to you_ that _I_ knew that.

        3) The trouble with “smash the state” is that there is strong historical evidence that the results of doing that are even _more_ evil than the state they replace.

        tl;dr: Blunt tools won’t help.

      • Matthew Reece

        1. I don’t know how changing tactics from political to anti-political is “giving up.” It is just a different approach, more along the lines of what Samuel Konkin advocated than what Murray Rothbard tried to do.

        3. Strong, but not conclusive. For example, the people of Somalia are not well off by American standards, but they have seen many improvements in their standard of living since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991 and no effective government has replaced him.

        I think it is possible (although difficult enough that it has not yet succeeded) to create a stateless society simply by having enough people with enough weapons who are willing to kill anyone who would try to set up a government over them. Eventually, would-be rulers would stop trying for fear of their lives.

      • Tynam

        1) It’s giving up on pressure and persuasion. Whatever your anti-political approach is, nothing stops you from taking the political route _as well_.

        3) It is certainly _possible_ to create the stateless society you describe. It is just not desirable, since it will be a society of pain, horror and brutality to match the worst excesses of the worse states. Yes, I’m including, say, Cambodia under Pol Pot.

        Filling the area with weapons – and people willing to use them not to be ruled – doesn’t prevent would-be rulers. It just guarantees that the would-be ruler is a heavily armed thug.

        Your “enough people with enough weapons” will immediately fracture into cliques based on mutual respect for each other’s skills. Within those cliques the most effective, respected warrior – even if he’s a crappy person – will become de facto in charge, whether he’s formally in charge or not. The opinion of people who are not armed, or not willing to use violence to get their way, will become deprecated, then irrelevant. Shortly after that you’re back to Afghanistan – feuding warlords with bands of followers.

        Stateless societies can exist and work well – the kibbutzim spring to mind. But they don’t do it by being heavily armed.

        There is _no_ circumstance in which would-be rulers “stop trying for fear of their lives”. Unless you can define – and enforce – the exact moment at which an arbitrary citizen of the society is suddenly deemed to have transitioned from “person I’m negotiating with, and must respect” to “person who’s attempting to get his way, who I must shoot”.

        (Also, if your stateless society has property inheritance, within a couple of centuries all property is owned by a few descendants of the most successful first-generation families. Without formal takeover, everyone else becomes de facto slave labour. This is pretty much what’s happened to corrupt the US and UK labour markets, and that’s _with_ inheritance tax. )

        Do NOT kid yourself that your state accomplishes no function just because it’s utterly corrupt.

      • Matthew Reece

        1. I suggest reading about opportunity cost. The cost of using time/money/resources to do one thing is that they cannot be used to do anything else that might have been done instead. Effort spent on politics cannot also be spent on anti-politics. As for giving up pressure and persuasion, your reasoning would suggest that atheists have given up on pressure and persuasion by no longer going to church.

        3. I am concerned with preventing rulers, not would-be-rulers. Everyone has would-be-ruler tendencies. The issue is simply to keep these from manifesting by whatever means are necessary. If the risk to one’s life in trying to become a ruler is too great, then few will try and those few will die, which would solve the problem. The level of risk that needs to be levied against would-be-rulers is something which still needs to be determined.

        Note that many people in a free society will be heavily armed, not just the thugs as is the case today. This is because a free society has little in the way of weapons control, which monopolizes heavy weaponry in the hands of criminals (gangsters and agents of the state). Also note that we are talking about rulers who force themselves on others. Those who voluntarily follow a leader who does not force his rule upon anyone are not problematic.

        The opinions of people who are unwilling to defend themselves are irrelevant. They always have been and always will be. Pacifism is not a self-sustaining ideology; it can only flourish if those who practice it are defended by non-pacifists. This is one reason why libertarianism is based on non-aggression rather than complete non-violence.

        “Person I’m negotiating with, and must respect” or “person who’s attempting to get his way, who I must shoot” is a false dichotomy. Everyone tries to get their way; the problem comes when someone eschews persuasion in favor of the initiation of force. There is also no moral obligation to shoot an aggressor; there is just no moral prohibition on it.

        Next, this is not what happens to property in a free society. People tend to go from rags to riches to rags in about four generations, as the first generation sacrifices to create opportunity, the second generation makes fortunes, the third generation lacks the drive of the second after being born with silver spoons in their mouths, and the fourth generation finishes squandering the riches and is back to rags. This does not happen now because the state grants favors to the 1% to keep them in the 1% in return for campaign contributions. Trying to counter this unfair advantage with inheritance taxes is about as effective at solving this problem as trying to counter a person’s risk for lung cancer by focusing on diet and exercise rather than their habit of chain smoking.

        I never claimed that the state accomplishes no function. I do claim that it does far more harm than good, and the good it does can be done better without it.

      • Tynam

        The opportunity cost is only a deal-breaker if reforming the system is the only thing you do with your life. The opportunity cost of the last work _I_ did to reform the system was about two hours spent playing Arkham Origins. I consider this price acceptable.

        1) I’m interested in, but horrified by the idiocy of, your inability to distinguish between “pacifist” and “not a gun-toting sociopath”.

        (I’m also interested in your thesis that Gandhi’s opinions were irrelevant to the future of his nation. I suspect few historians would agree. But that’s a side issue.)

        You talk of people who are “unwilling” to defend themselves, but conveniently leave out “unable”. Apparently you also consider irrelevant the opinions of children, the physically disabled, doctors (those who work to preserve life every day are rarely willing to end it for mere resources), anyone who doesn’t have a talent for martial arts and/or the range, and the 90-98% of human beings who are normally empathic and cannot bring themselves to kill another under all plausible circumstances.

        In other words, your new society will be ruled by the most aggressive gun-toting lunatic around.

        The idea that everyone else could and should stop this with more guns, and that this will somehow result in a peaceful trade society, is just staggeringly ignorant of human nature. Research into how humans can learn to kill is extensive, and I suggest you read some of it, because most people simply can’t do it without extensive special training. (Modern armies put a _lot_ of work into this, for exactly that reason.)

        Absent special training, or utterly abhorrent empathy-breaking upbringing, less than 3% of humans are capable of killing – approximately evenly split between sociopaths who don’t care about anyone else, and heroes who can do whatever it takes to protect the group.

        Any view of society which requires the other 97% to magically become heroes in order to work is utterly and ludicrously doomed.

        The _only_ exceptions are societies in which violence has become endemic, such that young men are socialised to it. In these the rate of men-who-can-kill (but not women) jumps to about 10%. And the strongest thug is boss. NOT what you, or I, are aiming for.

        3) Sorry, but the “rags to riches to rags” cycle you mention is a myth; it has never happened in an unrestrained capitalist economy. The third and fourth generations do not “finish squandering the riches”, but parasitise everybody else’s work to sustain themselves indefinitely. They don’t _need_ any actual skills, except not being such completely vile slave-owners that it’s worth bloody revolution to get rid of them.

        (Are you really claiming that the Koch brothers, absent the state, will run out of money? No. They will do exactly as they do now – continue to profit off the backs of everyone they employ, while contributing no actual productivity of their own – just without as many PR expenses.)

        Capital attracts capital, _faster_ than the growth of the economy it fits in. If you think that in a libertarian society the 1% are less capable of buying unfair advantages than in a state, you are being outright deranged. The only advantage they’ve been buying is freedom from regulation; in a stateless society they don’t even have to bother buying that.

        Look up “moral hazard” for why your crude, simplistic definition of “aggressor” doesn’t work. A violence-driven anarchy such as you envision simply can’t cope with the tragedy of the commons.

  • reasoning with facts

    If , If , If !