Winning the Culture War

President Obama’s Inaugural Address did not waste the moment. He declared victory in the culture war that social conservatives have waged for so long against liberals. He clearly sought to shift the balance of power to progressives.

But are his fellow victors so sure? Liberals have been beat up, demonized and let down for so long that I think they’re having trouble accepting Obama’s declaration of victory. And yet, it’s up to them to provide the ground game that makes his rhetoric real.

This is about reversing the Reagan revolution and restoring what Roosevelt started.

Obama has successfully stitched together a new coalition in American politics by uniting disparate constituencies behind a populist, progressive vision of middle-class economics and social advancement for all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

Will he deliver? I think he will try. At least, he said so in his Inaugural Address.

55 thoughts on “Winning the Culture War

  1. I think this will go with your post today
    Craig and what you guys were discussing yesterday.

    Well, I’m glad to know that someone found some help with that health care reform out there. I’d like to hear the specifics of exactly who and how because I haven’t personally seen it and I was in health care. Ironic, isn’t it? Do you specifically have any testimonials?? I want the details. Please. The peeps I knew, who were in need, were still left high and dry.

    My sister who needed some serious help, and probably represents a large chuck of the population, got nada! I think she is in a group that the health care reform was suppose to be all about, those who are really deserving and desperate, the DD group.

    That’s pretty much the story of most of the help the government provides, it doesn’t help those who both deserve and need it the most, the DDs. And I blame the Republicans the most for that, thank you very much. Oh, they do get plenty of help from their buds on the other side and usually it’s because there’s a big payoff for all of them for not helping or for helping those who don’t need it. It’s not entirely because they are just evil through and through.

    The Republicans hate government help and dang it, if they can help it, they’ll make sure any help coming from the government isn’t helpful and/or is very wasteful, just to prove it. They might help the extremely rich, like those big oil corps, with their subsidies, banks, and the Wall street guys. Corp welfare is alive and well. There’s plenty of government help there. Another group they reluctantly help is the… I don’t have one effing thing and never lifted a finger to try to get anything, group. Even the Repubs realize they have to help that group but they claim it’s only the bleeding heart liberals who really want to help them. If they don’t help that group, what would they do?? They certainly don’t want to watch them squirm on the streets dying? No, that would be a bit too disgusting.

    Now I have heard Hannity joke, more than once, about stepping over some homeless person on the street, his audience gets a kick out of that. But, I don’t think those he stepped over were squirming yet or at least not while anyone was watching him do it. Ann Coulter wouldn’t care either way. The fact that she has such a big fan base makes me realize just how much evil we have in this world. That also goes for Rush.

  2. I really don’t get why anyone could be proud to be a Republican these days. Most , who call themselves Republican, are in serious DENIAL and they have Fox News to help them out there. I do know some really good people who call themselves Republicans. Most have made denial into an art form. Most, listen to Fox News. Down in my neck of the woods people either don’t listen to the news at all or they only listen to Fox News. It’s on every TV that is on in any public place. They also naively believe that if some channel says they’re news, they really must be.

    Well, that’s my early morning ponder..and I’m sticking to it.

  3. speaking of cultures, warring and otherwise, this wapo article from a slate piece reminded me of the different strokes for different folks world out there.

    Some Peruvians are told that lingering too long in front of the fridge can cause cancer. In the Czech Republic, everyone knows that drinking water after eating fruit leads to painful bloating. Filipino kids can’t wear red when it’s stormy out, since that would attract lightning. Germans and Austrians live in mortal fear of drafts, which get blamed for everything from pneumonia to blocked arteries, so summertime commuters routinely swelter on 90-degree trains and buses rather than cracking a window through which a cooling—but lethal!—breeze might pass.

    In South Korea, however, the concern about ventilation is exactly the opposite. Koreans will only use electric fans if a window is cracked, because leaving a fan on in an enclosed room, it’s almost universally believed, can be fatal. The mechanism behind the threat is a little vague: Sometimes it’s said to be a lack of oxygen that kills you, sometimes it’s a chill. But either way, you won’t care. You’ll be dead.

    I actually grew up as a child in Seoul, South Korea, and fans were no laughing matter. Everyone took the Great Fan Menace for granted and had a hard time believing that other cultures were ignorant of it.

    so who’s to be surprised that boehner’s and rant’s crowd don’t believe in equality and pursuit of happiness for we the people.

  4. When Obama mentioned help for women, gays and immigrants…we, women, got top billing. We were mentioned first. Go back and check it out. We’ve come a long way baby. Bout time!

  5. There was a documentary released in 1945 that was still being shown in schools for about another 10 years. Maybe everyone in Congress should be sent a copy. Most have you may have seen it at one time or another, but with the addition of girls, a few more colors, and ways of enjoying the bedroom, it could be Obama’s inaugural speech. With a few apologies for the WW II propaganda -- here are all Americans in The House I Live In

  6. my grandmother and her folks all believed and dreaded to be put in hospital meant death. actually they weren’t too far wrong considering nowadays the mersa and other hospital borne germs and medical accidents out there.

  7. Even though the liberals are very willing to help the DDs, most all of us are a little reluctant to help the DBIACCs. That’s those who are desperate because it’s a career choice. Many of them are in jail.

  8. You are so correct there Patd even though it wasn’t that much of a problem when your grandparents went into the hospital. Now you have to be close to dead to get in a hospital and if your aren’t, they will try to kill you when you get there. Not on purpose though.

  9. The progressive spirit has always been a part of our culture. It may take years of effort, but eventually plain decency wins out.
    The Wiunion effort is a good example. The spin from most media was that it was a left fringe movement, the last gasps of a dying union culture. But when farmers drove their tractors around the Capitol in Madison, that argument failed. When we work together, things can change.

  10. “When we work together…”

    sjwny, those times are only a fond, distant memory. But maybe we could all start visualizing a world where it’s a reality.

  11. Main topic for discussion on Fox news yesterday went something like this.

    “Is obama trying to destroy the GOP?”

    I laughed my ass off when I saw it.

    Look in the mirror guys, it’s the GOP trying to destroy the GOP. So far so good.
    Why would Obama interfere?

  12. I think that the culture war has been decided for the time being. That said republicans will still continue to wage it in some form.
    They will hide behind a different set of code words, and they will present a new fresh looking set of candidates, chosen for their ability to appeal to women and minorities, especially Latinos, and they will talk endlessly about reform. In the end they will still be the same tired old party, anti women, anti immigration,anti abortion rights, anti public education.and the list goes on. In short they will continue to oppose anything that suggests the existence of a social contract, or tolerance for alternative views of society.
    I think that we can safely say that they will use the next four years to dress the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  13. Methinks the left has always been winning the culture war. Just look at one issue…. rights for gays and lesbians.
    Craig… you and David don’t have the right to get married because of the “epiphany” Obama recently had… that fight has been going on for years.

    This country has been striving to be a more perfect union since it’s inception. Progress always takes time.

    The Reagan Revolution had more to do, IMO, with Reagan’s sunny disposition as opposed to Carter’s seriousness and affinity toward glumness. Americans have always loved the “can do” attitude.

    Now it’s the exact opposite… the Democrats slogan is yes we can… while the Republicans say no we can’t, we are broke.

    IMO… most voters don’t vote because of the culture war… no matter how loud and noisy it gets. Americans (at least in my lifetime) back the party with the most positive attitude… they want morning in American and will back whichever party points in that direction.

  14. BS on the culture war…what about Marijuana? Still classified incorrectly at the DEA and no changes on Holder’s war on pot. AND that same ineffective Holder — where is his voice on gun control? Oh, he was the one who let the guns out during the first term?

    I say dump Holder. And tobacco smoke is so toxic, Obama…you used to be such a big pot head in Hawaii and you know it doesn’t hurt a human much…you made it to President, ganga head!!

  15. The GOP is on the wrong side of history. Bigoted white guys are becoming fewer in number in the good ole USofA, and unless they recognize and get over their delusion that the new demographics agree with the old BS they have spouted since Reagan, they will continue to be back benchers who obstruct rather than govern.

    McConnell is shameless -- after vowing to make Obama a one term president and make his presidency a failed one, threatening to shut down the government if Obama didn’t acquiesce to their stupid spending cuts (which they never identified mind you) and to once again fail to avoid default on the federal debt, he and the GOP now complain that Obama wasn’t nice enough to them in his second inaugural address. WahWahWah. As Denis Leary says, Life sucks. Get a f***ing helmet.

  16. I’m on hold with my insurance company, It’s a conspiracy I tell you, they are intentionally evil.
    No they are just stupid really stupid.
    evil
    stupid
    evil
    stupid
    evil
    stupid
    evil
    stupid

  17. RR, I agree with your assessment -- voters are people. People like to be around people whose values they share or whose values they would like to share. To a large extent I think that is applicable to voting (although I can’t imagine how anyone would vote for McConnell, Cantor, etc. under that principle, but I know folks who do). I know some people let their budget and prejudices run their life, but most of them still smile at people they don’t even know. I like to think that when Americans vote, they vote for candidates they think will make their country like what they think it should be like. But then again, I live in WV, and it went overwhelmingly for a guy who would have made sure that the America WVians depend on would offer them less than they have now (which ain’t all that much anyway.)

  18. New definitions --

    HD Used to be ‘high definition’ Today it is HIGH deductible. What a joke to be called health care! It is an attempt to prohibit use of the system and to protect profit and nothing more.

    VD Used to be Victory Day, veneral disease. Today it is VANISHING deductible in auto insurance. The insurance industry laughs!

    We desperately need insurance reform and I no longer believe in ‘the speading risk around.’ A joke on humans and I hope to see insurance reform in my lifetime.

  19. “True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.”

    FDR 1st Inaugural.

    As true today as it was then. ;-)

  20. Don’t confuse the stepping stones of Obama Care with Universal Health Care. We still have miles to go, and hordes of Republicans to oust, until that goal will be achievable.

  21. In his first term Obama thought that “moderate, bi-partisan compromise” what was the way to go. It didn’t work.

    Now the center of gravity among the electorate has shifted left. Obama knows that they want him to be more progressive and confrontational.

    Will the conservative “blue dog” Democrats actually back him up? Obama may have to fight them too.

    The bottom line: the public is behind Obama and he knows this.

    His second term is going to be a LOT more interesting.

  22. Nash
    The republicans hate the Blue Dogs with a passion and fight them tooth and nail each election. Every time one of them loses, it’s one less Democrat in the Blue team’s caucus. I think we should give them some comfort.

  23. Flatus…
    I’m glad that Rand Paul is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I’m glad about his questioning of Hillary today. I bet that his appearance will be highlighted on all news programs tonight. IMO, one of the best things for Democrats is for this country to see the Republican batshitcrazy far right in action.

  24. Well said, Renee. Rand should have been moved away from the region as a youngster as the caves in that area are filled with guano. It’s a damned shame he was allowed to play in it.

  25. Flatus imparts his wisdom. Right as usual. Universal health care is a ways on up the road. Under current rules, it would take a majority of Dems in the House, a super majority in the Senate, the president with a true visionof universal healthcare and one huge Dem shift toward getting a large set of brass cojones. Since the likelihood that all that will happen concurrently is somewhere around the level of Congress’ approval rating, we will continue to have a second class healthcare delivery system (including the financial side of the ledger) that excludes many of those who need it most.

  26. wapo on today’s debt ceiling vote

    A measure to suspend the nation’s legal limit on borrowing for nearly four months cleared a key vote in the House Wednesday, as Republicans broadly endorsed a new tactic that would temporarily remove the threat of a potentially calamitous government default from their ongoing fight with Democrats over government spending.

    The measure, which would set aside the legal debt ceiling and allow the government to borrow as needed to meet spending obligations through May 18, was adopted on a 285 to 144 vote.

  27. ct commented ” Fox News will probably try to edit out some of his “batshit crazy.” too late for fox plastic surgery, the crazy bat has already shat outside his cage.

    rant rants

    Shortly after the Foreign Relations Committee grilled Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Tea Party favorite and possible presidential hopeful sent out a video clip Wednesday of his questioning with this headline:

    “Had I been president, I would have relieved Secretary Clinton of her duties.”

  28. Given that seniors now account for more than a quarter of the Japanese electorate, this might not have been the shrewdest political move:

    Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care.

    “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

    from foreign policy blog

  29. In 2004 Professor Agre wrote an essay on “What Is Conservatism and What is Wrong with It” on how to answer those questions. According to the good professor the answers were simple: “Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.” and “Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.”

    In light of the policies that conservatives champion, as apposed to the rhetoric, the professor seems to right on the mark.

  30. Why does it have to be a “culture war”, Mr. Crawford? Can’t people live their lives by their own values rather than only those of which you approve? This “Us Vs. Them” mentality hardly makes for a “more perfect union”, in my opinion.

  31. Howdy Hank… welcome to the blog.

    Champ… I don’t have any problem with people living their own lives according to their own values. What I have a problem with is when said people want to legislate those values in order to make everyone follow them. I mean this on both the right and the left.

  32. Greetings, Hank

    C’mon, Champ, in the short run who’s after a more perfect union? It’s votes in the electoral college that count.

  33. Ah Champ, luv ya man. I didn’t declare the “culture war” — Reagan and Pat Buchanan did. Lincoln only reacted to Ft. Sumter, and whipped their butts.

  34. Of course… this does not mean I believe in an anything goes society. Society cannot function is chaos. Therefore, IMO, laws are an important function of a civilized society.

  35. Sweet nothings are being whispered in your ears while your rights and your money are stolen. It’s a good scam- maybe I should have gotten into politics.

  36. Russia is having a culture war, too! I don’t think Progressives are fairing as well, there. Yikes.

  37. goper house critters are being much nicer to hillary than some of their senate counterparts were. that debt limit vote must have awakened and improved their inner american spirit.

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