September 7, 2010

The Silent Majority Isn't Static

Justin Katz

David S left a comment to a recent post by Marc that indicates a lack of subtleties in his view of the political order:

- the silent majority-? Marc, where were the silent ones during the last election? The election that was this country's last real political referendum. Were the silent majority unable to rouse themselves for an election about the course forward concerning two full scale wars that had ground on for years? Were they equally uninterested in a tanking economy? Did they just decide they had better things to do on election day? Silent majority? I know its a Nixon term, but it probably can be applied to the present administration and not a noisy minority.

Considering the facts that we are in the midst of war and recession and fear and superstition- when the going gets tough, the cowardly go to tea parties.

The obvious rejoinder is that "the silent majority" did, in fact, rouse itself in the last election. The anger now evident on the political scene is attributable to its sense that it was duped. The American people thought that they were getting, with Obama and the Democrats, a centrist, reasonable party. The assumption, generally, is that the two major parties are mere shades of the same thing, and the United States wanted the other shade, after the Bush presidency. Instead, the Democrats' mantra, when they'd been handed power, became "elections have consequences," and they've set about proving that those consequences were not to Republican partisans so much as to the American people — the silent majority.


"Now, a lot of those voters appear to be bolting to the GOP," Holland said. "Republicans now have a whopping 38-point advantage on the generic ballot among voters who dislike both parties."

Republicans also have a large and growing advantage among independents. Sixty-two percent of independents questioned say they would vote for the generic Republican in their district, with three in 10 saying they'd cast a ballot for the generic Democrat. That 32-point margin for the Republicans among independents is up from an 8-point advantage last month.

The hope, now, is that the Republicans will at least conclude that the real consequence of elections is to the elected — that they must actually govern as if they are representatives. As the emergence of the Tea Party shows, this may be the last chance for the "shades of the same thing" bipartisan structure to function to the satisfaction of voters. The Republicans are benefiting from the lack of other options, and if they do, indeed, win hugely in November, they've only got this one chance to prove that a third option is not needed.

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The public's quick abandonment of Pres. Obama was entirely foreseeable.

As former Speaker Gingrich observed early in the 2008 cycle, Obama was a classic "Rorschach candidate;" he spoke in vague generalities and the voters saw in his agenda of "hope and change" whatever they wanted to see. The last such candidate was Jimmy Carter . . . how'd that work out?

The problem is that a vote for such a candidate does not really constitute a mandate for any specific programs or policies, and if new President doesn't succeed quickly, voters will abandon him without a second thought.

Pres. Reagan, on the other hand, ran on a very clear agenda. The public knew what he wanted to do if elected, and the votes gave him a strong mandate to deliver on his promises. Candidate Reagan clearly understood the importance of being elected with a mandate, Candidate Obama did not.

It looks like the Republicans have a good chance of re-taking Congress this year. If they do so just based on their opposition to Pres. Obama, it will be a short-lived and hollow victory. They need to lay out their own program and, if they win, work to enact it into law.

Posted by: brassband at September 7, 2010 11:31 AM

Something I think people overlook is just how large the Democrats current House majority is, and therefore how stunning it is that they look like they are about to lose it so quickly. I think the problem ultimately stems from Obama, but it's not a failure of leadership so much as a surfeit of leadership. He seemed to be so popular coming into office that the Democrats allowed themselves to become too closely associated with his agenda (and, of course, they assumed that the agenda itself had popular support).

In the past, House members stood more as individuals than they do today, and that helped to insulate past majorities from temporary swings in the national mood. With a national identity, the Democrats stand to lose a lead that could have stood for decades. The Republicans would be smart to reverse that trend and resist the effort to over-coordinate their activities. With a Democratic president in charge, it's not as if they'll get the chance to do very much legislatively in any event, and they'll be in a position to block most of the President's agenda without much effort. If the Republicans want a long-standing majority, they should encourage all of their members to deviate from the party line as much as possible, so long as their overall goals are achieved.

Posted by: Mario at September 7, 2010 1:16 PM

How can we expect people who despise government -Elect me, I hate government. I’ll let the corporations rule- to govern when they are only too happy to hand over power to unelected business people? Tell me again about the blind benevolent hand of the market, and how after 8 years of Bush we ended up in such a mess. Where in hell was the benevolent hand then?

Point number two is; where did you get the idea that we elected Obama to head a centrist government? Did you think he was a centrist? Not if we are to believe what you wrote during the 2008 election cycle. On the other hand, many, including myself thought he was a Leftist, and voted for him. I have no ardor for his presidency, or for his chicken s#%t party. However, I will vote Democratic in November, not that I love the Democrats more, but that I love the Republicans less. The president has lost my ardor, but not my vote, and the rule is one person, one vote, not one decibel, one vote.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 7, 2010 2:58 PM

OTL-I don't doubt you're a nice guy personally,but I really think your(and others)leftist visions are not the wave of the future.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 7, 2010 4:43 PM

Likewise. We could have a beer together and have a good time doing it.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 7, 2010 5:29 PM

Oh, how I love the "where was the silent majority?" argument from the left. Working. Raising families. Not paying attention to the putrid course in which this country has been headed for some time.

Forget the tired blather that it was all Bush's fault. Check out Barney and Chris, Freddie and Fannie, and Wall Street rip-off artists who gave most of their campaign $$$ to Dems. Now shut up and pay attention.

The GOP will get one chance. You can see it playing out in the primaries, where the beltway GOP is seen as the evil twin of the Dems. This is not about party. It is about sound fiscal policy and the threat to our children's economic future and quality of life. It is about adhering to Constitutional principles rooted in individual liberties which made the free market the route to unsurpassed human gains in this country on every level since its inception.

Hang on my leftist friends and fasten your seatbelts. We are about to witness history with the slow halt of cancerous progressive policies and a return to the founding principles which made this nation great. If that does not happen this time around, that great swath of middle America will find an alternate path to our restoration.

Posted by: Madmom at September 7, 2010 5:35 PM

Is that mad as in insane?
You speak for trust fund babies.
You, who never felt a wound, jest at scars.
Your view is narrow and your politics are crimped.
You hold your teacup with your pinkie extended.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 7, 2010 5:42 PM


I'm going to jump to David S's defense. I think the point that he was making was that first the last national referendum this country had elected Obama president. Second I think he was saying that many of the so called silent majority are the ones who voted Obama into the presidency. Mark had tried to make the case that tea party people constitute this silent majority. I seriously doubt that there are many Obama voters that joined this supposed grassroots organization right after the election. Why would they?
The state of the economy is the biggest campaign issue going into the November elections. It's that simple. Voters will remove those they feel are responsible for a weak economy and this year those seen as responsible are Democratic incumbents. The tea party is a noisy sideshow pumped up by Fox News.

Posted by: Phil at September 7, 2010 5:46 PM

Phil-there are a hell of a lot of non-extremist independents who voted for Obama(I didn't)and realize they elected a man who is trying do the Presidency on OJT.Bad move.It's his personal inabilities that are driving this-he had an unbeatable majority in both houses and blew it.I'm personally glad to some degree,because he pushed legislation that was not properly evaluated.
Obama's election is a case of"oh,sh*t,I got elected,now WTF?? do I do??
I'm not kidding Phil-this guy doesn't pack the gear fo serious work at a national and international level.
If you are even thinking of the race issue,forget it.
Condoleeza Rice is probably the single best qualified American to be President.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 7, 2010 6:13 PM

""If that does not happen this time around, that great swath of middle America will find an alternate path to our restoration""
posted by Madmom

Alternate Path ????

Care to explain ?? anyone ??

Thanks Sammy
Oh and Happy Labor Day

Posted by: Sammy at September 7, 2010 7:01 PM

"Hang on my leftist friends and fasten your seatbelts. We are about to witness history with the slow halt of cancerous progressive policies and a return to the founding principles which made this nation great."

Would that were true but the R's are just slightly less "Thelma and Louise" than the D's. Globalism, militarism, open borders, police state and drug warism, corporate, banking and Wall Street bailouts.
This fall, people realize that R's are mostly scum but that D's are all the way scum.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at September 7, 2010 7:29 PM


I'm sure you're right about some you voted for Obama are now regreting it. Again I would say that the President and the President's party historically takes the blame in times of economic uncertainty. But do not ask me not to mention race. I cannot help having an emotional attachment to this President and the First Lady. Thirty seven years ago I married a lovely young woman who is Arican American. I am white. Our two sons have grown into men. My wife's family is mine now as we have passed through the years together. Their stories along with the hopes and fears I have for my family does make me I admit less than impartial when it comes to some of the criticimm the Obama Presidency has recieved. When I read what Madam Starfish wrote....

"Hang on my leftist friends and fasten your seatbelts. We are about to witness history with the slow halt of cancerous progressive policies and a return to the founding principles which made this nation great. If that does not happen this time around, that great swath of middle America will find an alternate path to our restoration."

Posted by Madmom at September 7, 2010 5:35 PM

...I can't help thinking about where this country was not that long ago. I don't want to go back.

Posted by: Phil at September 7, 2010 9:05 PM

Well,Phil-what can I say?If you have an emotional atachment to this President,so be it.
Fourty years ago i married a nonwhite Hispanic woman-wehave two adult children of mixed background-my older grandaughter is Black and Cherokee on her mother's side-my younger grandaughter "looks" white because her dad is Scoth-Irish,but her mom is half Hispanic.
It all means nothing in our relationships-I love my wife,son,daughter and granchildren,period.
I could not imagine feeling emotional about a politician because he might share a similar racial background.
I'm Jewish by background,and there is probably only one Jew in the Congress I'd vote for-Eric Cantor.Forget Lieberman-a weasel to the core.
I have zero emotion about tany of them except maybe Barbara Boxer,who is a disgrace to my high school,and Al Franken,who is a disgrace to humanity.
I never considered voting for Obama for a second,yet I wanted Colin powell to run in 1996,so what can you say to that-all I want in a President is competence and that the person not be left of center.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 8, 2010 8:40 AM

What a brilliant ploy to make the argument that a non-response to issues means a Silent Majority agrees with you.

Yet, the only unifying factor is silence and perhaps an inhibition or even fear towards articulating their thoughts publicly.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at September 8, 2010 10:14 AM

I can't help but wonder if madmom will have a total meltdown at some point, or is she has already?

Posted by: Swazool at September 8, 2010 10:25 AM

Just a warning Swazool: You're coming close to the borderline at which I'll stop tolerating ad hominem. (If Madmom weren't anonymous, you'd have crossed it already.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 8, 2010 11:24 AM

The Silent Majority is silent no more. Every day, more Americans are waking up to the reality that the Progressive movement is merely the American version of what George Orwell warned us all about.

And we are not going to take it.

This is an all-or-nothing proposition. Like Ebola or cancer (choose your favorite metaphorical fatal disease) either Progressivism will destroy the Constitutional vision of America or it will be eradicated. I think the latter is much more likely. The Progressives like to think that their system is based on Darwinian evolution. They will be surprised to find that it will wind up as an dead end in the evolution of human civilization. Just like its close relatives, fascism and Communism.

Posted by: BobN at September 8, 2010 11:47 AM

Hahahahahaha, OTL! Trust funds? Extended pinkies? Surely you jest. How about growing up in dairy farm country shoveling icy bits of coal for the stove in a real (not RI) winter? If I have any manners it is only because my parents drilled them into me between their efforts at growing a business and taking care of my severely mentally and physically disabled sister, while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for the rest of us. Perhaps that is why I identify with the tea party movement so passionately. These people are real Americans with true grit. Unlike many of the close-minded and pampered leftists I have encountered here in this insular little state.

Newsflash: This place is NOT normal. But perhaps you'd have to be from somewhere else, or actually leave here at some point, to recognize that fact.

Swazool, I'm MELTING! I'm MELTING!

See ya in November. Unless you'd like to meet me at the MMA kick-boxing gym.

Posted by: Madmom at September 8, 2010 8:40 PM

Well Madmom,
FYI I grew up in a house in Philadelphia with a coal furnace in the cellar, a kitchen with no heat that my father built from an attached shed. No permanent hot water, we had to light a gas burner in the cellar a half hour or so before taking a winter bath. Hot water for the dishes was provided by a pot of boiling water from the cook stove. The one bathroom (there were 7 of us) had no sink, just a toilet and a claw footed tub.

My grandparents were illegal immigrants, arrived from Italy W.O.P. like most of our neighbors. Grandpa pushed a broom for the Lackawana railroad, 60 hours a week at ten cents an hour while the S.O.B. who owned the railroad was building a pleasure dome in Newport for several million dollars so that he could take a six week vacation by the sea every year to escape the sweltering heat of New York City. We all have our pasts, if you decide to use yours to throw your lot in with a bunch of pushy plutocrats and wannabes go to it.

I have a question for you, what do you say to the person who is unemployed, has exhausted his unemployment benefits, is diabetic and has no medical coverage? Are you going to tell the person that he or she is not a "real" American? What do you say madmom, what do you say to that person? Are you telling me that the time I spent in military service is meaningless because I'm not a "real" American. Who in hell do you think you are that you can label someone as a "real" American and some one else as not? I thought we got by that HUAC crap after the McCarthy era.

By the way, your childhood sounds wealthy to me - growing a business was was a distant dream for most of my neighbors, you were in the middle of it and wealthy by my childhood standards. My older brother and I had the task of going to the railroad tracks with a basket to scavenge for coal which may have fallen from passing coal cars. That was how we helped heat our house.

Dairy farm indeed!

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 9, 2010 12:28 AM

OTL_I'm not going to get into a comparison argument because we had a sink in the bathroom,so I guess my family was well on the way to being tycoons.
Seriously though,the pretension that your forbears were illegal aliens because they showed up without papers is a false equivalence argument.
Both your family and mine,which came here in the first decade of the 20th Century were required to undergo inspection at Ellis Island or some equivalent facility.They didn't just traipse in here unknown to anyone in the government.
It is true that many illegal aliens today have indeed made legal entries,but then violated their terms of admission.The difference is reflected in the fact that an alien who was inspected and admitted is not subject to criminal penalties for violating the immigration law,but those who entered without inspection are.
The claw-footed tub,haha!!I remember that.When I was little,I took baths in the washtub of the kitchen sink-I have some old photos from those days.
Still,there's no reason to compare madmom's upbringing on a farm to the spoiled brats from Brown who fancy themselves "radicals",community organizers,etc.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 9, 2010 7:47 AM


I have a memory of having one of my parents placing a brick warmed on the stove in the foot of my bed in an unheated room shared by my brothers on a winter (RI) night.
Don't have a cow over Madmom. Justin seems a bit jittery about criticism of this anonymous writer.

Just a warning Swazool: You're coming close to the borderline at which I'll stop tolerating ad hominem. (If Madmom weren't anonymous, you'd have crossed it already.)

Posted by Justin Katz at September 8, 2010 11:24 AM

So I'm thinking that this Madmom is not just some commentor stopping in and throwing around some bovine bombast. This is someone known to the AR folks.

Posted by: Phil at September 9, 2010 8:08 AM


You wrote this:

See ya in November. Unless you'd like to meet me at the MMA kick-boxing gym.

Posted by Madmom at September 8, 2010 8:40 PM

Do you care to explain. What do you expect to happen in November and why and under what circumstances are we going to see you?

Posted by: Phil at September 9, 2010 8:14 AM

It's a metaphor, Phil, meaning that that the progressive left is going to get its collective (no pun intended) butt kicked in November.

Posted by: madmom at September 9, 2010 8:33 AM

I bet you are polishing your own apple with your madmom act. I bet your family income exceeds $250,000 per year and that your motivation is primarily personal greed. What does your agenda have for the unemployed, uninsured, out of work, out of benefits population? Your attitude seems to be "Screw them, I got mine"

For an intelligent person, you can really miss the point. I was trying to point out to madmom that we all have our stories and that many of us came from a poor background. Some of us appear quite willing to abandon the underclass because we were fortunate enough to make a few dollars. I was trying to tell her that I won't abandon them and that she apparently has. Examine the story she is telling, "I got out of it, let them eat cake".

joe, my grandparents arrived here before Ellis Island. They got on a ship in Naples, arrived in Philadelphia and went to work, all without papers. If you have any information about them, let me know and I'll be glad to retell the story.

It's also strange, or perhaps significant, that you say nothing about madmom's predilection to define who is a "real" American and who is not. Neither you nor she have deigned to comment on that particular no-nothing statement. Your silence here speaks very loudly. I have come to expect ignorance from madmom, but on this your selective hearing is disappointing.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 9, 2010 1:20 PM

I don't care about madmom's definition of a "real" American.Why do I need to decide what she's thinking on that point?
My definition is someone who,whether born here or not, appreciates this country and loves it above all others.
There are plenty of native born Americans who seem almost embarrased to put this country first.
Someone who is willing to sacrifice something,maybe even their lives if needed when the country requires some to step up.
I don't want to hear sh*t about the "international community",or the UN,or how the Europeans know the right way to live.
I don't know what your ulterior motive is here,but somehow I suspect you're about two seconds away from a homily about "brown people" or something.
To sum up,a "real" American is someone who realizes how lucky they are to be one.
I wouldn't have any idea where to lok for info on my grandparents,let alone yours.I am not very familiar with that aspect of immigration.I do have my grandmother's naturalization papers-back then when your husband naturalized,so did you.
What's this crtap about turning one's back on the "underclass"?
I and my wife never need to worry about a six figure income,let alone $250,ooo.
The "underclass"you mention is hard to define-people on assistance driving nice cars and sporting bling and phones that do everything but go to the can for you-I have seen that,and I've seen grinding poverty.
I don't feel guilty about one damn thing-no one in my family made money on someone else's sweat.I don't give a damn if you believe me or not.
Plenty of your lefty heroes,particularly stinkers like Jack McConnell,sure did.
Your little game of trying to make people here justify themselves really sucks,you know that?
I don't feel the need to justify myself to anyone.
BTW I have some family members who are really in the "underclass"-I help them out-they come first with me-got a problem with that?
I pay my taxes with no sneaky deductions and all I ask is that it not be wasted-I must be insane I guess.
BTW I need dental work-and I got zero coverage.Federal health benefits aren't excatly cadillac level-unless you want to pay a lot.
VA health doesn't kick in for dental unless you're 100%.Am I asking you to help me pay for it?Of course not.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 9, 2010 1:52 PM

I have noticed a disturbing tendency on this site of commenters' trading stories of childhood deprivation in order to boost their credibility. It's beginning to sound like Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch:

"Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah."

Posted by: David P at September 9, 2010 2:03 PM

I think it started with Old Time Lefty trying to make everyone here who doesn't kiss a photo of Castro every night feel like Goldman-Sachs pigs.Well,he ain't having his way on that.
Actually,I liked growing up where and when I did.I had the chance to do anything I wanted and I'm damn glad I got to see the last of some good things that are gone forever in a world of "virtual" everything.
I wonder how OTL knows madmom makes more than 250k per year unless he really knows who she is.
He never tells one thing about how he made money.Stuart was vague also.Forget sammy.
Phil has told us-the only one of the opposition who has done that.
Maybe OTL has big investments-I mean,we could all be mindreaders,right?

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 9, 2010 4:41 PM

Good call, David. Here's the video of that Monty Python skit.

The last line is the killer.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 9, 2010 5:22 PM


Funny stuff. I don't mind being made sport of unlike some of us. Just include little Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm too. She was milking it for all it was worth.

Posted by: Phil at September 9, 2010 5:53 PM

I'll let Shakespeare talk for me on the subject of defining my nation through the voice of Captain MacMorris in Henry V.

MACMORRIS: It is no time to discourse, so Chrish save me: the
day is hot, and the weather, and the wars, and the
king, and the dukes: it is no time to discourse. The
town is beseeched, and the trumpet call us to the
breach; and we talk, and, be Chrish, do nothing:
'tis shame for us all: so God sa' me, 'tis shame to
stand still; it is shame, by my hand: and there is
throats to be cut, and works to be done; and there
ish nothing done, so Chrish sa' me, la!

JAMY: By the mess, ere theise eyes of mine take themselves
to slomber, ay'll de gud service, or ay'll lig i'
the grund for it; ay, or go to death; and ay'll pay
't as valourously as I may, that sall I suerly do,
that is the breff and the long. Marry, I wad full
fain hear some question 'tween you tway.

FLUELLEN: Captain Macmorris, I think, look you, under your
correction, there is not many of your nation--

MACMORRIS: Of my nation! What ish my nation? Ish a villain,
and a bastard, and a knave, and a rascal. What ish
my nation? Who talks of my nation?

Madmom certainly does not speak of my nation. Who in hell is a "real" American?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 9, 2010 10:35 PM

I guess you don't speak of her nation either.
Apparently you don't believe in the concept of a national identity-you want to just open the borders and say the hell with it?
I can't imagine why you're a damn malcontent-I don't think you're on a soupline.
Or are you one of those great "humanitarians" who thinks he knows how to solve everyone's problems?
Your allegation about madmom's income is nothing but a guess unless you know her.I hope you realize that when you go off on a tangent like that,maybe one or two people here take you seriously.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 10, 2010 5:08 AM

There are only one or two serious people who write to this blog.

FYI-I have been a Leveler ever since I can remember. I must have been born that way, I remember being shocked as an eight year old when I read a newspaper account of some businessman making a profit from WWII. Couldn't believe it! My uncles and brother in law were risking their lives and this guy was making money from the conflict. It stuck. It never left. It never will.
I don't expect you to understand this, you'll miss the point just as you did with the Shakespeare. MacMorris' patriotism and the commitment of his compatriots was being questioned and he responded. He did not question Fluellen or Captain Jaimy-How could you miss the obvious unless you went in with eyes wide shut, riding the horse of willful ignorance?
Old TimeLefty

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 10, 2010 5:08 PM

If you think I missed the example of the war profiteer,then you must really be losing it.
A lot of people make money on conflict,including some of your liberal ilk.
This may amaze you,but I really am conservative,meaning I don't think I need more than I have in terms of material possessions..I'm not gonna turn down a COLA on my VA benefits,pension,or Social Security because the last time I checked utilities weren't plunging in price.
Greed isn't something I learned growing up,so it never took hold on me.
Nor envy.I'd prefer to admire someone than to be jealous.
I am,however, pretty much uncompromising on a number of issues and I don't care what anyone thnks about it.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 10, 2010 9:03 PM

1. What the hell is an "ilk"? I never joined one, wouldn't know how. Didn't know I had one. It has become a nonsense word, a favorite one of lazy, unimaginative people.

2. What gave you the idea that I'd excuse anyone who would profit from war? IF YOU PROFIT FROM WAR TO HELL WITH YOU. That is my mantra here. So enough of this ilk crap.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 11, 2010 1:48 PM

My point was that people of all political stripes make money hand over fist during a war.
It obviously went over your head.
In any event I never made a penny off a war-I never owned stock or a company,so there you go.Did you ever own stock in war profiteering companies?
BTW do you accuse companies like Electric Boat of profiting from war?
I don't because they make weapons we need for our national defense.
Maybe Blackwater is what you're talking about,or RMK-BRJ of Vietnam days,supposedly owned by Lady Bird Johnson to a significant degree.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 11, 2010 6:43 PM
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