A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Starts With A Single Step

I’ve been listening to some of my fellow conservatives – especially Tea Partiers – complaining about the debt ceiling deal, in terms that start with “it’s awful” and often as not end with “well, it was a great run – time to start hiding gold under the mattress”.

To which I answer, as appropriate, “what did you expect when we only control the House?” and “if you’re not storing gold, ammo and food even in the good times, you’re nuts”.  But I digress.

Ed Morrissey – with whom I co-host a radio show every Saturday on AM1280 – notes in The Week that it wasn’t a perfect victory for the Tea Party – there was no way for that victory to happen, at least not via democratic means, in this Congress with this President – but it was a victory nevertheless:

Who won, and who lost? Did anyone win? If we gauge winners and losers by the reaction from politicians and activists across the political spectrum, no one was satisfied with the deal reached between Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress and President Obama. Though it is arguably true that few actually advanced their agenda much in the deal, that doesn’t mean everyone came out of this deal equally worse off. Indeed, despite some dissatisfied rumblings from within the Tea Party, one lesson is clear: They succeeded in transforming Washington.

The codecil to that – one that the Tea Party needs to remember?  Politics is not like a championship game, with a final end result that stands for all time.  It’s a season – one that never actually ends.  It’s one where everything that happens in this game – hurt quarterbacks, momentum gained and lost, everything - affects the next game, and the game after that, and games played after your children take things over.

The example I keep coming back to: handgun carry reform in Minnesota.  When Concealed Carry Reform Now first formed, and started trying to change Minnesota’s racist, sexist, patriarchal weapon carry laws, they couldn’t even get time to talk with legislators – with “friendly”, Republican ones.

I can’t help but feel that some of the Tea Party conservatives who are complaining about the debt ceiling deal today would have fumed about the unfairness of it all back then, thrown in the towel and spent the next six years silently stewing.  But I’d hope it’d be a teaching moment.

Because the next year…well, only a few legislators talked with CCRN.  But it was more than the previous year.  And CCRN’s mailing list bloomed, and outstate voters started paying attention.

And the next year?  A few more legislators opened their doors.  And CCRN’s mailing list started having an effect – legislators started hearing from more people, which opened still more doors.

And the next year?  There was talk of a bill.  It never happened, but legislators were getting the message in droves; CCRN’s volunteer lobbyists were getting audiences with key legislators.

And the next year?  Well, the CCRN mailing list grew some more, and the DFL had to start playing defense.

And the next year?  And the following?  More of the same.  The DFL – and their point man on the issue, Wes “Lying Sack of Garbage” Skoglund – had to crank the smear and lie machine up into full force, since it was becoming clear they had no basis in fact.

And the next year?  There was a bill – and it died on the table (as I recall – I could very well have the specifics wrong, but it doesn’t really detract from the point).  And CCRN’s mailing list told voters which legislators voted against it.  And they got an earful, and a few of them – outstate DFLers who’d voted against the bill – lost their return tickets to Saint Paul.

And the next year?  We won.

(And two years later, we won again, after a DFL-pet judge struck down the law on ludicrously selective grounds).

Viewed from the perspective of 1995, and 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, we lost, lost, lost, lost, lost, lost, lost and lost again.

And yet without all the effort – and there was a lot of effort – expended from 1005 through 2002, there would have been no victory.

And the victory wasn’t won by simply wanting it badly enough – although you gotta have that.  It was won by playing grassroots politics better than the other side.  We – the pro-Second-Amendment movement – had to win over a lot of hearts and minds in the legislature, the media, and on Mainstreet Minnesota.

The Tea Party did transform American politics – once. It did it by convincing the American people last Fall that they had the best ideas for taking this nation forward.

And now they need to do it again – to win the Senate, the White House, and a bunch of State Houses and Legislatures, enough to really, seriously, totally revamp the way this nation views the relationship between The People and government.

And it’s not a sprint, or a single game; it’s a marathon, an endless season.  Something that’ll challenge many Americans’ addled attention spans.

All the better.

43 thoughts on “A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Starts With A Single Step

  1. As you’ve said before, Mitch, politics is a tug-of-war and the middle creeps back and forth. The difference this year is that “our side” wasn’t solely made up off white-pantsed preppies with their sweaters tied over their shoulders who would make a couple of half-hearted tugs and then sportingly shake hands with the winners over long-island ice teas at the Club. Now a slobbery bulldog has sunk its teeth into the rope and dug in its paws. You can tell by its growling it is not content with this outcome and it is not going away, no matter how much the other side demands that we shoot that damned dog.

    As with Carry and abortion, the public is being won over to reason and common sense.

  2. Political events of the past two years have delivered a more profound and devastating message: American democracy has been conclusively conquered by American capitalism. Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth. Self-governing rights that representative democracy conferred on citizens are now usurped by the overbearing demands of corporate and financial interests. Collectively, the corporate sector has its arms around both political parties, the financing of political careers, the production of the policy agendas and propaganda of influential think tanks, and control of most major media.

    What the capitalist system wants is more—more wealth, more freedom to do whatever it wishes. This has always been its instinct, unless government intervened to stop it. The objective now is to destroy any remaining forms of government interference, except of course for business subsidies and protections. Many elected representatives are implicitly enlisted in the cause.

    A lot of Americans seem to know this; at least they sense that the structural reality of government and politics is not on their side. When the choice comes down to society or capitalism, society regularly loses. First attention is devoted to the economic priorities of the largest, most powerful institutions of business and finance. The bias comes naturally to Republicans, the party of money and private enterprise, but on the big structural questions business-first also defines Democrats, formerly the party of working people. Despite partisan rhetoric, the two parties are more alike than they acknowledge.

  3. The public is largely reactionary. They don’t spend a lot of time mulling over public policy issues. If the economic nightmare we are in continues into Fall of 2012 Obama will be getting the vacation he has so richly earned.
    Of course, that prediction makes me a racist.

  4. These days the people who talk most about “capitalism” are the ones who obviously don’t understand it.

  5. You’re quite right, Mitch, and I’m ashamed to admit I was one of the impatient ones. My only defense is that with concealed carry, the stakes were not as immediate. If it took 10 years to win on principle, then it did. With the debt, I seriously question whether we have 10 years. Recall how quickly the economy flatlined when the financial crisis hit in 2007. In a single year, everything changed and never recovered. If the next change is as quick, and as dramatic . . . well, maybe I do need to start stockpiling SPAM.

  6. Political events of the past two years have delivered a more profound and devastating message: American democracy has been conclusively conquered by unbridled Government growth. Capitalism has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of government bureaucracy and concentrated power. Self-governing rights that representative democracy conferred on citizens are now usurped by the overbearing demands of government bureaucrats and special interests. Collectively, the public sector has its arms around one political party, the financing of political careers, the production of the policy agendas and propaganda of influential think tanks, and control of most major media.

    What the bureaucracy wants is more—more power, more freedom to do whatever it wishes. This has always been its instinct, unless people intervened to stop it. The objective now is to destroy any remaining forms of capitalism, except of course for favored business subsidies and protections. Many elected representatives are implicitly enlisted in the cause.

    A lot of Americans seem to know this; at least they sense that the structural reality of government and politics is not on their side. When the choice comes down to government or capitalism, capitalism regularly loses. First attention is devoted to the economic priorities of the largest, most powerful institutions of goverment. The bias comes naturally to Democrats, the party of money special interests, but on the big structural questions government-first also defines Democrats, formerly the party of working people.

    That was REDECKYULUSSLY easy. It is sad that our American society has let the tentacles of Marxism infiltrate our mentality, such that wealth and profit and prosperity and business are now so widely vilified.

  7. Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth.

    Rather than lament its capture, you might want to consider WHY government was viewed as being worthy of capture since capturing government is neither cheap nor easy. Is it now easier for GE to compete on building lightbulbs or for GE to compete by getting government to regulate competitors out of the market?

    The patrician “elites” of both parties are bad, yes, but again, why have they achieved their positions?

    You might want to consider what the Tea Party ideals of smaller, less activist and more constrained government would mean to the future. Putting your (dis)trust in government into action for a limited, constrained, and more responsible government might yield a better future.

    (Cut down from a much more vitriolic, acerbic response.)

  8. Recall how quickly the economy flatlined when the financial crisis hit in 2007.

    That’s our fundamental problem. Nobody is willing to attack our credit addiction now. Even with this victory the cuts are back loaded and only slow the rate of growth of debt.

    Mitch is right, this was a victory. My only fear is that it’s the same way that the Battle of the Bulge was a German victory: something too late and too small to turn the tide of the World War on Debt to victory. Everyone in this country except the various levels of government are deleveraging as fast as they can.

    I firmly believe that if Europe wasn’t in so much worse shape on debt we’d be getting the Greecian debt treatment ourselves but with nobody even capable of making a show at trying to bail us out.

  9. Yes, we all want to see our society “disabled or captured by the formidable powers” of Government Bureaucracy and public employee unions. That’s just such a better alternative.

  10. Mitch, did you call this about a month ago? Soooo remember back in 1991-92? MSM had all these sob stories about people suffering in the economy, then they would tie it into President Bush?

    Wellll I get home about 5:32 today, turn on the TV. Now, I haven’t watched network news in about 20 years, but CBS was on while I was putting my stuff away. Long story on the bad economy and how everyone is suffering. Any mention of Barry Obama? Nope. But lots of talk about Congress. CBS is trying to tie in economic unhappiness to the Republicans in congress. They went back and forth with sob stories and polls on congress. Not one word about the President. Seems like times have changed since we had a Republican in the white house.

  11. Um, Duh? Anyone here know anything about the Chicago School of Economics? It starts and ends there.

    As a starting point, we all need to agree that the Tea Party is NOT FUELED by the people holding racist signs with poor grammar, shaking their fists asking for birth certificates or overweight balding dudes on the internet who are getting old and more hateful every day about the world changing. The Tea Party is a MECHANISM constructed by free market corporate powers and established wealth to undermine the spirit and construct of the New Deal and everything that it stood for in American history. Free market doctrine is contingent on a “clean slate” policy, because in a Democracy the free market would never, ever be allowed to do what it does. Thus, “crisis” and “catastrophe” are CREATED in order to declare that we have no other choice. Like, duh.

    David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”

    We can blame voters like you all we want, but without a small number of billionaires funding it, your Tea Party disappears.

  12. Also, you should all be seriously proud of this: Under the debt ceiling deal signed into law on Tuesday, government-subsidized loans for graduate and professional students across the nation will be eliminated in July 2012. Those students will begin paying interest on their loans while still in school, or let it accumulate.

    Yeah, that’s going to help with the multi-national competition and job creation, inception of new businesses and technologies, and oh, yeah, didn’t the stock market bottom out today because confidence in theses policies is totally getting vacuumed like last weeks (white girl) teen abortions? This country is going to need lots of advanced degrees if we want to stay competitive with the world, so logically it’s a great move to make it even harder for American students to afford graduate educations? Kudos, geniuses. Nihilism? L’enfer c’est les autres?

  13. Grad student loans eliminated? Actually, that might be the best news yet.

    In case you haven’t heard, there’s an “education bubble” similar to the “housing bubble” with a similar cause – subsidies – and likely a similar result – people buying more education than they need at prices they can’t afford.

    If government raised student loan limits to one trillion dollars per student, would colleges raise or lower tuition? Answer: they’d raise it, to soak up all the extra money available to the students.

    Besides, how many more Doctors of Womyns Studies do we need living at home and making decaf lattes part-time? How many infants could have been vaccinated with that wasted money? Why do you hate children so much?

  14. Eerie,

    Nate beat me to it. It’s Econ 101; there are a limited number of seats at colleges; if you pour more government money into putting people in them, the price just rises.

    But let’s ignore that for the moment. The change applies to graduate degrees. Now, this nation has no shortage of womyn’s studies majors and communications, psychology and business BAs. We don’t even have a shortage of MA and PhD engineers. What we have is a shortage of Americans with or seeking BAs in hard sciences and various flavors of engineering.

    We don’t need more advanced degrees, not as a matter of federal policy, whether the government pays for them or not; we need more people who can effectively provide what the market is craving enough to go to India and China to buy.

    And if you think yesterday’s (and today’s) market tanking is a verdict on conservatism, you need to put the koolaid away.

  15. I have yet to see any proof that the Tea Part movement is “brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires”. Which ones? Show us the connections. There has to be a paper trail.
    Otherwise, this is just another nutty, left wing chanting point.

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  17. L’enfer c’est les autres?

    So, how many GBLT Studies postgrads can Starbucks and Caribou absorb? Soon these Womyn’s Studies PhD’s will be taking jobs away from seniors as greeters at Wallmart to keep up their latte lifestyle of entitlement.

    My daughter is starting college this year and we are absolutely aghast and disgusted, but alas, not surprised. During orientation week , it seemed that the ONLY thing University was interested in is to graduate her in 4 years with a degree totally unsuitable for life in the real world, to basically force her to go into post-graduate studies. Eeriecanal’s nirvana!

  18. “Which ones? Show us the connections.”

    Koch Brothers, of course! And Scaife! And Grinch! And Scrooge!

  19. Oh you guys! With your blatant misogyny and your utter fear and contempt for the GLBT community, coupled with the rampant anti-intellectualism, it’s truly charming, such wit and elegance with the printed words, and the best part is that it’s all just soooooo unexpected, that’s the cherries on top of the neighborly hatred banana split. It’s all, BOOM, here’s the hate, not even coded, how awesome is your comfort level with that? Love it. Did everyone take the Jim Goad correspondence school of creative writing classes? Personally, this seems more like a Peter Sotos kind of crowd…

    Posthaste for you perfectly piss-poor pathetic people to get back to playing smooshie-cookie over the strangled and raped corpse of the New Deal and chase the neverending hollow dream of a Bachmann sex tape.

    It’s all quite Sisyphean.

  20. Eerie said:

    “Um, Duh?”

    Weighty and appropriate words, Eerie. And better than most of the other crazy crap you seem to believe. Does the tinfoil cap protect you from the ethereal and evil “billionaires”?

  21. With your blatant misogyny and your utter fear and contempt for the GLBT community

    I don’t think the Tea Party movement per se has much to say about GLBT other than it isn’t the business of the federal government to fund programs for it.

    On a personal, conservative level, though, my views are different. Contempt for the community? No. Contempt for behavior such as this documented by Zombietime?Yes.

    coupled with the rampant anti-intellectualism

    Let’s see, I’ve got 5 degrees all in the hard sciences, 3 of them graduate and NONE of them paid for by the federal government in any manner. Rampant anti-intellectualism might have gotten me out of school sooner and certainly would have helped my return on investment to the economy. I believe you’re also tarring with a broad brush several others here of a scientific and legal bent.

    Again, I don’t think the Tea Party has any stance on this other than the federal government is corrupting academia and shouldn’t be funding it.

    On a personal level, I can agree with that for different reasons. Back when I got my first teaching appointment there was one administrator for every 20 or so positions. When I quit there was one for every 5. Now at that same institution (and most others) there are more administrators than professors. Do you not see what that massive influx of money has done to academia? That tidal wave of money has led to wasteful, silly paper pushing and almost no real improvement of result.

    And don’t even get me started on the silly soft sciences. Those are cesspits that smell beyond belief. There politics are rampant and ideology so firmly enforced that it makes the Spanish Inquisition look tolerant by comparison.

    It’s all, BOOM, here’s the hate, not even coded, how awesome is your comfort level with that?

    You liberal thinkers are so awesome. Now if you’d only live up to that “tolerance” part we’d all be happier.

    Why is it “hate” to oppose someone else’s morals being imposed on you? You should be tarring yourself firmly with the “hater” brush given these diatribes and insults. You certainly show “hatred” for any viewpoints different than your own.

    There is a difference between hating and opposing, hating and discrimination (in the classical, good sense). I don’t support some GLBT causes. I do support GLBT persons and have them as friends. There’s a difference between supporting policies you see as wrong and hating the people who propose them. But I suppose that’s too subtle a point for you to understand given how you’ve been arguing so far, and how much you need to promote your own feeling of smugness over “the others.”

    It’s all quite Sisyphean.

    Hey, you got that one right. I’m doing it right now. I’m trying to point out the blindness in your arguments, facts and knowledge. And like Sisyphus, I doubt that shining any light in the vacuum of your “facts” will yield any results.

  22. Oh no, my Pretenti-O-Meter is stuck! How ever will I gauge how impressive Eerie is trying to be? It’s all totally Tantalean, dude.

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  24. I totally called it that one of you would come back with, “But, I have GLBT friends…”. You owe me a beer Nerdbert, this is too easy, teetering towards total ennui. Can you try next time? The lack of effort, and success, from you is sadder than a goth girl on prom night.

    PS- Since we’re all such good friends now, can we type about Mitch’s series of bad checks and his not showing up for his court ordered summons yet, and that it took him 4 years to pay off his debt to that shop in St. Paul?

  25. So, Eerie, you have brain damage?
    Maybe you should not write on the internets.
    What’s your real name, anyhow? Mine is Terry.

  26. Hi Terry, thanks for the kind words of encouragement! In these troubled times it’s really nice to read your typings, and I want to acknowledge the time you took out of your busy day when you normally metaphorically finger bang Mitch Berg to reply to me. Thanks!

    Do you also write bad checks and then skip out on court summons, yet lecture about “living within your means” and other claptrap that is obviously total lies? I’m going to guess, “yes”. Do you also have GLBT “friends” like Nerdbert, who are “friends” but yet you do not support(his words, not mine)?

    Holla’ back!

  27. I am glad that you will be by LGBT friend, Eerie. Glad! Get it! Ha!
    I am glad because I do not have any LGBT friends and that makes me ignorant. If I had an LGBT friend than I would be LGBT friendly instead of being ignorant. Unless I had an LGBT friend and didn’t say anything about it! Then I would be a bigot also!
    I would like to send you a picture of me, LGBT pen pal! Would you prefer I dress as the cop, the indian, the biker, or the construction worker? Please don’t ask me to swap ass-chaps with you! That would not be hygienic!

  28. Terry is drunk/drugging again. If you’re driving, don’t drink, and if you’re drinking don’t drive(@ you, Tom Emmer). Also, don’t write any bad checks, it’s wrong.

    Doesn’t Tommy “drunk as fuck behind the wheel” Emmer have a pre-trial next week on his whole being a terrible lawyer, screwing over a friend for money, thing? That sounds rather Republican…

  29. Please sty smwhere near ont-topic, mr eairie, or get yor own dam blog I want your adress Hieronymo’s mad againe Datta Dayadhvam Damyata Shantih shantih shantih no ass chaps why then Ile fit you

  30. C’mon, Eerie, bathe and perfume yourself. Come to my tent. Don’t play hard to get. It only hurts the first time.

  31. Hm. “Eeerie”. Same as “Cupkaake”, another creepy commenter from way back. One of 2-3 people who have been obsessing over some bad bookkeeping of mine from 2004 that caused me to bounce some checks, not that it’s anyone’s business. Yep, thought I paid ‘em promptly, there was a miscommunication, and between that and a slew of other financial problems, it took longer than it should – again, not that it’s anyone’s business.

    By the way, it was at a neighborhood coffee shop that I patronized for ten years before then, and still do today, and did during the four years that the little pack of midgets were carping about.

    “Eerie” reads a bit like Ken “Avidor” Weiner. I could be wrong, but there’s a little “stylistic” tell about Weiner’s “writing” (which is as cramped and claustrophobic as his “cartooning” – you be the judge, it’s just my opinion), and his passive-aggressive love of using sock-puppet IDs to leave defamatory googleturds all over the place, that makes me think he’s our “guy”.

    Anyway, Eerie/Cupkaake/24.118.133.11/I’d almost bet Weiner, you’re done here.

  32. I don’t think “Eerie” is Weiner. He sounds more like the mentally ill Steve Timmer of Cucking Stool infame. So much hate and vitriol (badly) disguised as observation and critique.
    Really, Terry is drunk/drugging again. followed by Doesn’t Tommy “drunk as fuck behind the wheel” Emmer along with the legal references and snide “inside” legal references to Mitche’s petty misdemeanors points to someone who suffered through a law degree. I will defer to Learned Foot on this opinion, of course.
    My opinion is that “Eeirie” is Spot the Wonder Dumb ass.

  33. Yeah, I thought Timmer too – if he were trying to “write stupid”, it could be.

    Thing is, Weiner/Timmer/”Phoenix Woman” and a few of the others are pretty closely wound together. Back when Swiftee outed Timmer, I got an email from “Phoenix Woman” – who, somehow, had my private email address, even though “she” and I have never interacted in anyway. But Timmer and I have.

    Not sure who’s who, and why, and I don’t really care, because it’s just Weiner/Timmer/”Phoenix”, and none of them really matter a whole lot to me. Just kind of odd.

  34. If he “were trying to write stupid”? Have you ever read Sigmund Spotty? Lord, if this is the intellect that passes the bar exam, I fear for our legal future. The State Fair 86′d the freak show, but Drinking Liberally lives on.

  35. I need an LGBTQ pen pal too! Blunt Force Trauma and Cupcake were meant for each other!

  36. Me — Mid-thirties, college educated, professional, resemble a young Brian Setzer.
    Likes: Long walks on the beach, Greco-roman wrestling.
    Dislikes: Phonies.
    Eerie — ?
    Write me at BluntForce@gmail.com, Mr. Eerie.

  37. WSJ has a story on Cantor this weekend: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903454504576486752134553990.html?mod=rss_opinion_main
    Cantor comments:
    “The assumption . . . is that there is some kind of perpetual engine of economic prosperity in America that is going to just continue. And therefore they are able to take from those who create and give to those who don’t. We just have a fundamentally different view.”
    This fits in marvelously with what liberal Ann McFeatters wrote in an editorial for Scripps-Howard today:
    “The sad truth is that no U.S. president has much control over job creation. That mysterious process involves business and consumer confidence, now very low.”
    http://www.scrippsnews.com/content/watch-obama-now-irrelevant
    “Mysterious process”? Jesus wept.
    Businesses create jobs to replace employees who leave or to expand. No expansion, no job creation.
    It’s not freakin’ magic.

  38. It’s interesting how Eerie focused on half of a sentence in Nerdbert’s response while ignoring how Nerd had dismantled his/her/its arguments. That sounds to me like the very definition of anti-intellectualism. Actually, it reminds me of Dwayne Rudd celebrating a tackle after the ball-carrier had just ripped off a 30-yard gain.

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