RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Robert Reich begins: "Polls show Americans angrier and more polarized than at any time since the Vietnam War. That's not surprising. We have the worst economy since the Great Recession and the worst politics in living memory. The rise of the regressive right over the last three decades has finally spurred a progressive reaction. Occupiers and others have had enough."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

A Passionless Presidential Race?

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

12 November 11


Why we may be in store for a passionless presidential race.

olls show Americans angrier and more polarized than at any time since the Vietnam War. That's not surprising. We have the worst economy since the Great Recession and the worst politics in living memory. The rise of the regressive right over the last three decades has finally spurred a progressive reaction. Occupiers and others have had enough.

Yet, paradoxically, the presidential race that officially begins a few months from now is likely to be as passionless as they come.

President Obama will be supported by progressives and the Democratic base, but without enthusiasm. His notorious caves to Republicans and Wall Street - failing to put conditions on the Street's bailout (such as demanding the Street help stranded homeowners), or to resurrect Glass-Steagall, or include a public option in healthcare, or assert his constitutional responsibility to raise the debt limit, or protect Medicare and Social Security, or push for cap-and-trade, or close Guantanamo, or, in general, confront the regressive Republican nay-sayers and do-nothings with toughness rather than begin negotiations by giving them much of what they want - are not the stuff that stirs a passionate following.

Mitt Romney will surely be the Republican presidential candidate - and Romney inspires as little enthusiasm among Republicans as Obama does among Democrats. The GOP will support Romney because, frankly, he's the only major Republican primary candidate who does not appear to the broader public to be nuts.

But Republicans don't like Romney. His glib, self-serving, say-whatever-it-takes-to-win-the-primaries approach strikes almost everyone as contrived and cynical. Moreover, Romney is the establishment personified - a pump-and-dump takeover financier, for crying out loud - at the very time the GOP (and much of the rest of the country) are becoming more anti-establishment by the day.

At this point neither the Republican right nor the mainstream media wants to admit the yawn-inducing truth that Mitt will be the GOP's candidate. The right doesn't want to admit it because it will be seen as a repudiation of the Tea Party. The media doesn't want to because they'd prefer to sell newspapers and attract eyeballs.

The media are keeping the story of Rick Perry's cringe-inducing implosion going for the same reason they're keeping the story of Herman Cain's equally painful decline going - because the public is forever fascinated by the gruesome sight of dying candidacies. With Bachmann, Perry and Cain gone or disintegrating, the right wing-nuts of the GOP have only one hope left: Newt Gingrich. His star will rise briefly before he, too, is pilloried for the bizarre things he's uttered in the past and for his equally bizarre private life. His fall will be equally sudden (although I don't think Gingrich is capable of embarrassment).

And so we'll be left with two presidential candidates who don't inspire - at the very time in American history when Americans crave inspiration.

Instead of a big debate about the basics (how to truly restore jobs and wages, financial capitalism versus product capitalism, the place and role of America in the world, how to rescue our democracy), we're likely to have a superficial debate over symbols (the budget deficit, the size of government, whether we need a "businessman" at the helm).

This means political passions are likely to move elsewhere - finding their voices in grass-roots movements, social media, demonstrations, boycotts, and meet-ups - on the Main Streets and in the backwaters, and only episodically in the mainstream media or in normal election-year events.

In some ways this may not be such a bad thing. The regressive right has had thirty years to build itself into a political power. Newly-energized progressives (Occupiers and others) need enough time to develop concrete proposals and strategies. What's the rush? If polls are to be believed, most of the nation is progressive, not regressive (witness last Tuesday's results in Wisconsin and elsewhere). So it is, after all, only a matter of time.

Yet, viewed another way, a passionless presidential race may be dangerous for America. The nation's problems may not wait. They require bold action, and soon.

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on and iTunes. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+36 # artful 2011-11-12 14:23
So how do you define "passionless"? It seems clear that the republican party has adopted "The Big Lie" as its central strategic element, with their main PR organ, the Faux News Network operating as the Big Lie Amplifier. "Big Lies" tend to be aimed at generating passion among a public willing and even anxious to be told what they wish to hear. These Big Lies energize the Stupid People of America, and they all seem to be armed and dangerous. Doesn't that all seem to contain a bit of Passion??
+19 # Texas Aggie 2011-11-12 16:43
The question comes as to whether the Big Lies are actually generating any passion. They may be resonating among the stupid and uninformed, but generally, they are sort of shooting themselves in the foot.
+33 # PhilO 2011-11-12 16:57
GOP = the Greedy One Percent!!
+11 # AndreM5 2011-11-12 23:36
"We have the worst economy since the Great Recession and the worst politics in living memory."

Huh? Robert, surely you mean the worst economy since the GREAT DEPRESSION! We never left the Great Recession.
+50 # wantrealdemocracy 2011-11-12 14:41
We don't need a passionless political race in these dire times. We need to have a lot of passion to make our democracy work. We need to face the fact that both of the major parties are working for the 1% and they don't care a watt for the 99%. What we have to do is kick out the entire Congress for being the paid lackeys of the rich. Forget the concept of the 'lesser evil'. Evil is evil and our government has been going down into deeper and darker evil for the last four decades. Time to put the brakes on the decline. We need to vote NO on all incumbents. Vote out the corrupt! We must stop voting for a continuation of this bad government. We need a clean sweep. Vote out those we know are corrupt and hopefully we can improve things. Don't vote for anyone who wants to wars to continue, the poor to suffer and the rich to get richer. We need candidates with morals and ethics. We've had enough of greedy bastards who can't think beyond their bottom line. We need honor and empathy in our candidates. Kick out the sleeze we got now.
+12 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-11-12 15:30
How well you've commented and told the truth, wantrealdemocracy.

Do we dare hope for a real McCoy, tougher than tough people server vs. Kochsucker to run in '12? With a huge majority of the 99% fed up and then some, and not buying into all the karlroving Adv. 101 caca, this might just be the right time to hurricane third party, proven supporters of people/peace/ju stice into the presidency, congressional offices, etc.
+14 # X Dane 2011-11-12 22:44
ritaague, for heaven's sake, can the third party talk. This would be the absolute worst action to take. As imperfect as the democrats are, they HAVE TO WIN.

At least 2 supremes will leave the court within the next 5 years.
as bad as things are now, they can sure get worse.

Romney has announced that he will ask ROBERT BORK, to select the next Supreme, and BORK is itching to overturn Rove, so no more legal abortions.
For many, many years we would have, not 5-4 decisions, but 6-3 0r 7-2. It would be the most extreme right wing court EVER

So all you, who want to go for a third party.......Now sure is NOT the time. You might as well just GIVE the election to the GOP.....NO WAY. Remember what Barbara stresses: NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN
+2 # jon 2011-11-13 21:11
Right ON !!
+40 # chick 2011-11-12 16:30
You are so wrong. When the supposedly Democratic party had the majority, it did not really with Blue Dog Democrats that were really Republicans.

Joe Manchin of W. Virginia
Amy Klobuchar minnosota
Ben Nelson Nebraska
John Testor montana

These all voted with the Republicans and was enough to stifle the votes of the Dems. plus of course the no, no, filabusters of the Republican party.

If we gave the Democrats a big, big majority then you would see what a good Congress can do for the American people.

If you look back in history every good law made for the people were passed by Democrats. Nothing from the Repugs.

If you kicked out all of your sleezy Repugs. YOu would get a bunch of new sleezy Republicans as we have already seen with the new ones.

Vote Democrat give them a big majority and you will see a good change in Congress.
+25 # Cassandra2012 2011-11-12 17:17
And don't forget the health insurance industry shill — Baucus! or the repulsive Lieberman.
+15 # jon 2011-11-12 17:39
Absolutely, chick!

Our only chance is to get a rock solid Democratic majority.

To vote out an incumbent Democrat so that a new Koch owned Republican would be seated would be a lose-lose situation.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:35
But perhaps to get in an Independent, a Green would be a better way to clean up the Senate and House. Democrats are owned also, look at their leader
-2 # futhark 2011-11-13 01:58
Yes, KittatinyHawk, I abandoned the Democrats after about 35 years of loyally supporting them, since they seem to me to be just the other side of the Plutocratic coin. Registering and supporting Green Party candidates or candidates who are explicitly anti military industrial complex, pro constitutional rights, and/or pro environmental protection and are socially compassionate will, I think, yield better returns than just mindlessly marking the "D" candidate on your ballot.
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:34
We need a majority but tired of Dems going for the One, only when they have majority.
they should all be like Shulmer, K, and other good guys all the time not just 'when'
Look at Casey, he has folded like a bad hand of Texas Hold Em. Doesnot have the spine his dad did. None in Pa took the time to talk to the People themselves. They hired out of state people to run their headquarters in Depressed Counties. they refused to go into communties and talk to them, then after election they started the Dems4Change. A bunch of snobs who haven't a clue of what it is like to lose a home, have to make ends meet, or actually fight for something. They were ignored by Democrats and should be avoided at all costs.

Party still doesnot get it that they need the blue collar, the poor, seniors, the homeless in their corner. Until they come to that realization, I am afraid we are not interested in them either. Out with all of them...we need a Clean Up, Politicians are the Newest Superfund Sites!
+4 # josephhill 2011-11-12 19:30
Yeah....look at how much they accomplished when they held majorities in both Houses. Anybody counting on Obama and the rest of the 'Democratic' Party "leadership" to do ANYTHING useful for the 99% are living in a 'dream world.'
+9 # X Dane 2011-11-12 22:52
This needs to be said......many, many times, for it is true. There were also several blue dogs in the house, and you forgot another senator, who votes republican too often Mary Landriou of Louisiana.
+10 # Ralph Averill 2011-11-13 03:21
Absolutely right on! It's all about Congress! All of the House and a third of the Senate is up election in 2012. Forget the presidency; use your passion, and time and money, to support progressive candidates for Congress in 2012! Restore the Dem majority in the House, strengthen the majority in the Senate. Chris Murphy, seeking to take Schmuck Lieberman's seat, and Elizabeth Warren are but two outstanding progressives seeking Senate seats for the first time. There are more, and even more will be emerging. Get involved in your local Congressional campaigns!
+13 # Texas Aggie 2011-11-12 16:47
In an ideal world, what you say is very true. In this one, in many races there will be no opportunity to vote for a good person. After all, how many Dr. Warren's are there in this world? So in those cases we need to go with the lesser of two evils.

To mitigate this disaster, it helps to let the candidate know exactly which side his bread is buttered on and that money can only go so far. To be elected, you also need votes. And let the candidate know loudly, clearly, and often.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:39
I agree with second paragraph I am not going to vote for lesser of two anymore.
I expect good Candidates. Although I believe not voting is bad, I am not seeing 2012 giving me a reason to vote.
With what we have now not on our side, the GOP only on their side or whoever is paying...I am afraid their will be many sitting 2012 out for better or worse.
We have made bad decisions, and I do not see the Candidates all that great in 2008 or back.
We have allowed garbage to aspire to Political Power. Time for clean sweep, more Concerned Citizen Groups to start taking back America.
+13 # X Dane 2011-11-12 23:02
KittatinyHawk. I think I have to HAMMER this in.........SUPR EME COURT.
The Democtats HAS to win. And we need to get the best we can find
+16 # AndreM5 2011-11-12 23:43
Know just one thing: The Supreme Court. It can only be reclaimed for the people without any of the Corporate Repubs in the White House.
+14 # Vardoz 2011-11-12 20:01
Yes that should be the goal. Get rid of the GOP,TP and Blue Dogs and replace them with Progressives. They may not fix everything but a Progressive Independent majority is not something that has been tested so far. But those who get elected in spite of the Citizens United attack ads will be people who will hopefully genuinely fight for their base and not become a reps just to get rich. And we better let them know that they won’t be reelected if they don’t get to work for us. But no matter what transpires we need to keep the pressure up and let them know we mean business just like they do. They are going for our economic throats and we need to show them we won't roll over and play dead!
+6 # NanFan 2011-11-13 05:37
I agree!

Read this on the home page of RSN 12 November and today:


We must begin now!
+24 # George Kennedy 2011-11-12 15:10
Reich is spot on in his analysis: Neither Obama nor the prospect of a Romney presidency inspires their supporters. Americans want solutions and if neither candidate appears up to the task, the real action will shift to the Congress and to State houses. If Obama wins a second term, expectations will be even higher and, this time, he will have to be up to the task or face a Congressional-i nstigated public backlash from an even-more emboldened Right and a Left with the attitude "They wish Hillary had run." In either case, this could be a rough four years if his modus operandi does not change.
+6 # Regina 2011-11-13 13:48
I hope, with fingers, toes, and eyeballs crossed, that if Obama is reelected, knowing that he can't run again, he will FINALLY dig in and oppose the rabid right on all the issues that need to be decided in the PUBLIC'S favor, not conceded to the obstreperous obstrucionists who have distressed our economy over and over again. What didn't we learn in 1929 that we should have known well enough in 2009 to have prevented the current replay?
+1 # jon 2011-11-13 21:09
Very well said.
+34 # nancyschimmel 2011-11-12 15:23
Don't throw the baby out with the bath-water. Senator Sanders in Vermont and my own Representative Barbara Lee from Alameda County are on the side of the 99%, and I'm sure there are others. Let's be more precise in our targets.
+32 # X Dane 2011-11-12 15:33
Professor, I do not agree with you.
There was plenty of passion in Ohio. People sure spoke up and voiced their anger the right way. They VOTED HELL NO to the governors disgusting attempt to castrate public employees.

And Mississippi certainly also told their governor, that a fertilized egg is NOT A PERSON.

Voters are beginning to wake up. There is a YEAR till we cast our vote. We will get more and more involved. Be certain of it
+8 # Regina 2011-11-13 13:53
But we have to ensure that our votes will be cast and counted. The rabid right is already making moves to prevent voting by the poor, the elderly, the students away from parents' homes, and anyone else they suspect of Democratic preferences.
And that's on top of the Republican shenanigans in Florida, 2000 and Ohio, 2004, which they could well repeat.
+3 # jon 2011-11-13 21:08
We think we are collectively outraged now.....

Just wait until the republicans pull off their carefully planned bannana republic style election theft THIS go 'round !!

Get ready. It is coming.
+35 # Barbara K 2011-11-12 15:51
I watch the Senate and the House. I can assure you that there are people there trying to help us who are being blocked at every turn, and it is not the Dems. We need to be careful with our votes, study the candidates, look what happened with that concept, we got a bunch of moronic Tbaggers in there that won't do anything, not even ONE thing to help us.

+11 # Cassandra2012 2011-11-12 17:21
Sen. Kirk (IL) who on the surface seems intelligent, turns out to be just another party hack-loyalist who votes the obstructionist partisan anti-Obama, anti-jobs agenda like a knee-jerk robot. He is NO Charles Percy, that is for sure. And so he will never get my vote.... but the Dem hacks need to run a VIABLE candidate, and not just anyone as they did last election.
+14 # gentle 2011-11-12 15:53
Where is the third party candidate? Sorry, I forgot, this is the corporate gulag. I keep thinking I'm still free and livin' in America.
-2 # Okieangels 2011-11-12 17:54
Jill Stein - Green Party.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:42
With so many going Independent, where are the Candidates. Last good one was John Meyers, no one would take a third party seriously, that was early 80's Well, Yuppies, see where that has gotten the USA?
+20 # BradFromSalem 2011-11-12 16:02
Obama's problems are not that he does not inspire. He just walks away after he inspires voters to hope for a better way, he goes into the next room, sits down with the opposition and tries to make a deal after conceding 1/2 the yardage.

He cannot negotiate, but he can inspire. Hopefully Obama has realized this and will take to his strength, inspirational speeches, to affect change and leave the negotiating to people that are goos at it.
+9 # X Dane 2011-11-12 23:23
LiberalLibertar ian. I think Obama realizes that there IS NO ONE to negotiate with. He is certainly doing the right thing now.

Remeber, he PROMISED to change the tone and to work with the republicans.
If he had not tried hard, he would have got a LOT OF FLAK.
He is calling out republicans BY NAME.
Let's encourage him.
+16 # fredboy 2011-11-12 16:11
The tragedy began during the first two years of the Obama White House--passionl ess and at times pathetic. Many of us will vote for him again, the lesser of two disappointments . Neither party gives us a particularly hopeful view of the future.
+12 # JCM 2011-11-12 16:12
Our democracy as written in the constitution is a beautiful form of government that is one of the best if not the best in the world. But one thing the founding fathers didn't protect us from was the corruption that can be created from great wealth. Lobbying and corporate contributions have taken our democracy out of our hands. It is very unlikely this will ever change with the present Supreme Court (one good reason never to vote Republican) and the addiction congress has to the money that finances their elections. Truth in political advertizing or lack there of is another drag on our democracy but is part of free speech and might be difficult to regulate. Our democracy is based on the people and if there were an amendment to somehow restrict corporate influence, prop up truth in political advertizing and make the whole political process, of the people, for the people, by the people, then we would have the system of government that we all want and what the founding fathers tried to create. At this point I wouldn’t call this a political reality but it is a goal worth pursuing as a country. It would be a bold action that would empower the people!
+6 # cadan 2011-11-12 16:24
Well, i like Robert Reich, but i wish he would have mentioned Ron Paul. Perhaps he was intending Paul to be one of the rest of the Republicans the general public considers to be nuts. And perhaps the general public does consider him to be nuts --- i certainly don't agree with Paul on everything.

But one thing Paul is right on point about is our series of crazy, self-destructiv e wars, and hundreds of bases around the globe, and not just in the Middle East. Why on earth do we still need bases in Germany----or Korea and Japan for that matter? We absolutely depend on China so it seems bizarre that we have to keep these East Asian bases.

I would just like the election to dwell a little on our manifest lack of need for all these bases and all these wars.

That shouldn't even be a democrat-vs-rep ublican or liberal-vs-cons ervative issue. It should be a no-brainer to pull the plug on the war machine.

Maybe in 2016 we'll get a chance to vote against the war.
+19 # Cassandra2012 2011-11-12 17:23
Ron Paul is, among other things, a thoughtless sexist.... why would any intelligent self-respecting woman vote for a male who is anti-abortion under any circumstances? And Ayn Rand's ideas which he embraces, are plain dumb.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:47
In corporate pocket...Pollut ion, Pollution. No clue on economy or healthcare...
Have not see a good candidate yet. Cain was the better, until the charges proved of sexist/groper, he still has some issues that are better than the rest of the lot however, he is a corporate buddie so Adios
+11 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:44
Ron Paul has no clue of economy or healthcare. Ron Paul is in favor of Corporations Polluting so he is in their pockets...

2016 who will you suggest Chris Christie of NJ?
+4 # X Dane 2011-11-13 00:04
+9 # X Dane 2011-11-13 00:03
Cadan, I certainly agree with you about he wars. We better watch out, for there are a lot of hawks itching to attack Iran. That would be a MONUNENTAL mistake.

I think we should get out of some of all the bases too. And we need to speak up about it.

But Ron Paul is a rerrible choice. He is against pretty much everything Democrats believe in. Check out what he is for and against and you will onderstand why he is the wrong choice.

In regard to the war machine...unfor tunately too may Americans make money from it. War material is produced all over the country. It will be very difficult to cut out. And it means many will loose their jobs.
+30 # moby doug 2011-11-12 16:30
Who else finds it ironic that the GOP and its Democratic enablers have picked the working & middle classes clean for THIRTY YEARS and only now are a few ragged bands of young people standing up to shout "Stop!" The biggest heist in history is all but over, the accounts of the thieves are bulging with the loot, the politicians are long-purchased, the media are mere echo chambers for billionaires, American manufacturing hollowed out and the jobs shipped to Asia. Of course, the hyenas are still hungering for a few remaining juicy scraps like privatizing Social Security & public education and selling off the national parks.....
+11 # Okieangels 2011-11-12 17:57
I think "hyenas" is an apt description. They'll privatize anything they can get their paws on.
+7 # panamericans 2011-11-12 16:54
What this Country needs NOW is a strong Dark Horse candidate(s) who can inspire and lead forward on the points that Robert Reich raised.

Obama is assumed to be the candidate, yet his dismal record gives a Dark Horse a perfect platform to surge ahead for the Democratic Nomination. Of course Goldman Sachs wouldn't approve.

I heard and read a bit about Robert Kennedy Jr. I suspect he could do and inspire where the others are too impotent to try. This County is in serious trouble, Obama and Romney are not he way to go! Anyway, it is just a thought.
+4 # jcdav 2011-11-12 21:17
I concur the country is in serious trouble and the power mongers are happy. They will not surrender one jot of $, influence or power willingly. We must clean house (& senate) and replace the sold out with those who will serve the people not their own comfort. Yes, Sanders (VT) and Eliz. Warren have the right stuff and one or both should be NOMINATED at the Dem. Convention--HOP Efully the blokes running the Dem. Party will get the message (...Do it NOW or we will fight you as well as the rethugs.)and CHANGE their platform or at least lie less.. A relentless running of genuine populist candidates at ALL levels is necessary.
+3 # Ryguy913 2011-11-13 10:00
I saw RFK, Jr. speak in NYC in 2009, and he was without a doubt the most amazing speaker I've ever heard. He gave an informative, inspiring, incredible talk about the work he's been doing to fight mountain-top removal, and the way in which corporate power threatens democracy. I would absolutely vote for him, work for his campaign, volunteer to get out the vote for him, and be thrilled to have him as President. I seriously doubt he wants to be a politician at any level, though, most of all President. Too bad. Seems like the best people to wield power are almost always the ones who don't want it.
+1 # brianf 2011-11-13 17:19
I agree. The best thing for this country at this point would be a liberal Democratic candidate to run against Obama.
+3 # brycenuc 2011-11-12 16:59
Just because Democrats favor something that Republicans don't doesn't mean it has any validity. Cap and Trade is one such item. It is based on total scientific fraud; it will be ineffective in reducing carbon dioxide; it will be extremely costly with the poor bearing the heaviest burden; and, finally, it will greatly diminish our ability to produce the energy needed to maintain our economy.
+3 # brianf 2011-11-13 17:30
You are right that Democrats do not always have the best solutions. Cap and trade is not the best way to fight global warming. A high carbon tax with an equal refund for everyone would work much better and would be more fair. People who reduced their use of fossil fuels would make money, and people who refused to help in the fight would have to pay for the privilege of causing suffering and death for future inhabitants of earth.

However we do it, the world has to drastically change its energy system within the next 5 years, according to the IEA, or dangerous climate change will be irreversible. "Dangerous" mean such things as worldwide famine and mass migrations of climate refugees. If we wait a few more years, we won't be able to avoid a mass extinction.
-1 # disgusted American 2011-11-12 17:01
Totally agree with moby doug on all he says above.

However, not all Democrats are enablers, many are ruled by their corporate masters and not interested in we the people or this country. They like profitable wars as well.

And Obama is getting exactly what he wants. He just uses fancy phrases to cover this up but barely.

Actions speak louder than words. Stop apologizing for him. That's exactly what he hopes you will do.

I won't vote anymore because I can't support this two-party oligarchy that is bringing us down, down, down.

They are all broken humans - they are monsters not unlike other monsters in past history.
+10 # josephhill 2011-11-12 20:19
"I won't vote anymore because I can't support this two-party oligarchy that is bringing us down, down, down."

Please don't stop voting. That is the absolutely worst thing to do. There ARE other candidates (although it is increasingly difficult to find them on our ballots). As you say, the Dems are useless and the Reps are evil; but let's not give up on our country altogether. Go ahead and vote for the GREEN Party or the Socialist Party or the Labor Party...whichev er candidate comes closest to your ideals.

We are continuously told that 3rd party candidates "CAN'T WIN". Maybe not the first time around; but if enough of us vote our Hopes, rather than give in to the Fear the Dems promote about "wasting" your vote or "enabling" the Reps to win.

To me, Voting is almost sacred. I always vote, but it is seldom that I vote for either of the 'Corporate' Parties' candidates. I vote as if MY candidate CAN win...better to vote honestly than to vote for candidates that I don't trust and don't want. If EVERYBODY voted their conscience, the political landscape and the genuinely democratic process would CHANGE.

Please don't give up your franchise...use it to advance the progress toward democracy.
+13 # oakes721 2011-11-12 17:22
It is amazing how our leaders (political, financial, religious) can so blithely ignore the catastrophic issues that everyone else is passionate about resolving. The appearance of a calm resolve where there is no game plan accompanied by a masterful ducking and dodging of telling blows, the punishment absorbed by the people they are alleged to represent.
Political activists seeking cooperation, often learn than a Chicken Little receives less attention than the whispered warning overheard.
+9 # Nel 2011-11-12 17:32
Professor Reich:
Never mind the "Passionless" but the NAUSEA!
With very few exceptions, all USA politicians'obs equiousness, servitude, to Israel's mafia, is sickening. It's killing us and it's killing Judaism.
0 # Erdajean 2011-11-14 21:21
And you are right. "Obsequious servitude" to the Zionist Mafia by our "leaders" -- particularly Obama and Madam Clinton, serves NO ONE but the Rabid Right. This "Mafia" no more represents Israel and the Jews than the GOP Frights of the Right represent America. The persecution of Palestine and the big itch to start a war with Iran (at American expense, of course) personify these bullying thugs. And WE support them.
And, personally, I am sick to death of the fear, in our own ranks, of demanding REAL leaders -- candidates we CAN vote for, with a passion. We have suffered too much and stand too much at risk to tolerate another four years of gutless betrayal. To hunker down and invite more of this is just WRONG. I do not believe the country can survive it. There ARE wise and courageous people we could draft to run, and I say let's get on with it.
+11 # B-Aware 2011-11-12 17:43
Chick and Texas Aggie are right-on. All of us need to apply as much pressure as possible to bring Nelson, Testor and other just-pretend Democrats to stop sabotaging their own party in order to curry favor with the Republicans. One way we can do this is by encouraging all our friends to sign a petition now circulating online at

To be effective, it needs explosive growth. Check it out.
+7 # jon 2011-11-12 17:55

There it is again!

I signed it, and now I am going to email it to my friends. Thanks B-Aware!

Please every RSN reader, do the same. It is quick and easy.
0 # Ryguy913 2011-11-14 08:03
Thanks! Just signed on.
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-12 18:49
+10 # Linda 2011-11-12 18:09
wantrealdemocra cy, REALLY? We need to vote NO on all incumbents.

Follow your formular and what we will have is some crazy Tea Party candidate as President and more of them in Congress and the Senate because they would be the only ones voting !
Sometimes voting for the so called lesser of the two evils is the smarter move to make until the time is right to vote for a third party candidate .
To jump ship now would be suicide and either your stupid or your on the Tea Party team trying to persuade Pregressives not to vote so your candidates can win !
+11 # jon 2011-11-12 19:57
"either your stupid or your on the Tea Party team trying to persuade Progressives not to vote so your candidates can win !"

Linda, I suspect that the Koch funded opposition is so methodical, and thorough, that employing shills to infiltrate our ranks is a foregone conclusion.

Anytime we read an opinion that advocates splitting our vote - you can bet there is a Republican behind it.
+1 # jky1291 2011-11-13 02:26
I'm sorry but if the Obama supporters want to split the progressive vote and give the White House to the Republican terrorists that is on them, because there are enough Independents who will not vote for Obama, as well as disenchanted Democrats that he has zero chance of being reelected. But, a true Progressive could enjoy a landslide victory, by leveraging the 80% and growing dissatisfaction with Congress. While I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live, the tax reduction extension welfare entitlement bailout for millionaires and billionaires, following the health care capitulation, forfeited my support for President Obama. It is one thing if one does not know what is right, but it is inexcusable when one knows what is right and still refuses to uphold those principles. It is essential that a candidate that genuinely supports and will fight for the fundamental issues presented in the Rebuild the American Dream movement is identified, recruited, and elected as a 3rd party President to wrestle our country out of the death grip of the multinational corporations.

If President Obama wished to run in 2016, I would wish him well, hoping he had learned what is required to truly represent all of the citizens of this nation, not just the wealthy 2%.
+2 # jon 2011-11-13 20:56

if your opinion prevails, we will have a republican president. Won't that be great.

The only chance we have is if we elect a rock solid majority of democrats to congress, and to the presidency.

Then we can change things. Otherwise, the "divide and conquer guys" will continue to prevail.
+3 # Ryguy913 2011-11-14 08:08
Quoting jon:

Anytime we read an opinion that advocates splitting our vote - you can bet there is a Republican behind it.

Really? It's just impossible that people actually believe in overhauling Congress, isn't it? I don't believe that is a good plan either, but it strikes me as ridiculously paranoid to think that anyone who does believe in that plan is a Koch-funded Republican deviously dividing our ranks. Come on! People - even progressives (gasp!) have different opinions than you. Get over it.
+5 # Smiley 2011-11-12 21:57
Obama already "jumped ship". He didn't get hog tied by the Republicans. He surrounded himself with the same crooked advisers that were around Bush. He has never used his "bully pulpit" to call out the crooks, challenge them and ask the people to back him up. He has never even tried to lead the country or show the people that he is with them!
+8 # X Dane 2011-11-13 00:25
Right Linda, as I remarked here several times. THIS TIME we MUST vote democrat because of the Supreme court. 2 judges will retire in the next 5 years. We CANNOT let Robert Bork chose them. Then we will have 6-3, 7-2 decisions, for years to come.
+20 # 2011-11-12 19:29
The role model we need is Elizabeth Warren who has shown passion, intelligence and courage in fighting for the new consumer agency.
Let's make sure she beats Scott Brown in Ma and watch what she does to stir the cobwebs off the senate.
+14 # B-Aware 2011-11-12 20:32
Elizabeth Warren is our present best hope. But so was Obama 4 years ago, before the Koch-Corporate- Obama team shut him down thrugh the power of the arcane Senate filibuster. I am encouraging everyone to send dollars to Elizabeth. But don't get ur hope up too high. In the senate whe will be one out of 100, hogtied by the same rules that have defeated Obama.

And I'm still pushing the anti-blue dog petition at
+16 # oakes721 2011-11-12 20:40
First, make certain that the voting method is accountable. Easily hacked computer voting machines are the safe-cracking tools for rigging elections. Replacing these must be a first step.
+5 # X Dane 2011-11-13 00:28
Vote absentee
+2 # boudreaux 2011-11-14 11:45
Quoting oakes721:
First, make certain that the voting method is accountable. Easily hacked computer voting machines are the safe-cracking tools for rigging elections. Replacing these must be a first step.

I so agree with you on this, I don't think that we can have any votes that can be trusted outta machine...I watched that video on how people in the white house know about the rigging of those dirty...
+6 # Smiley 2011-11-12 21:48
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that struck a chord and really made me laugh. It said, "Don't blame me. I voted for Nader"!!
+2 # X Dane 2011-11-13 16:25
Well Smiley, I think it should have made you cry, for if Nader had not run, Gore would have won, and much of what happened the last 10 years, would not have.
+1 # jon 2011-11-13 20:58
Just imagine how Rove rejoiced when Nader announced his candidacy?!
+4 # Ryguy913 2011-11-14 08:12
Quoting X Dane:
Well Smiley, I think it should have made you cry, for if Nader had not run, Gore would have won, and much of what happened the last 10 years, would not have.

Oh, please. I'm sick of this argument. The Communist Party also got enough votes to swing that election. The real problems were voter disenfranchisem ent, the sleazy Rove-engineered Bush campaign, and Al Gore's weakness as a candidate. Back in 2000, Gore was very moderate and not at all inspiring like he is today. Nader did not hand that election to Gore. And the argument is dumb, because there is no guarantee that all the people who voted for Nader would have voted for Gore. They might have instead voted Communist or just stayed home.
+4 # Vegan_Girl 2011-11-13 03:09
This planet may not have time to wait. Why can't we have a candidate that inspires us? Like we hoped Obama would prove to be?
+5 # X Dane 2011-11-13 16:49
Vegan, because once a candidate becomes THE PRESIDENT. he finds out that he does not have as much power as he expected. And the opposition trips him up at every turn, then to make matters even harder, his own base gets mad because he didn't accomplish what he promised.

Our much touted form of government really is bad, for the republicans will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CONSTRUCTIVE. They only WANT THE PRESIDENT TO FAIL. That the country goes down too.......TOUGH . And when they get back in the White House, they try hard to dismantle the government, and enrich the wealthiest.

Basically, the party NOT in the White House, will do anything to get back IN....and the country is not being governed.
+1 # Ryguy913 2011-11-14 08:16
Yes, yes, and yes! I agree with you wholeheartedly. And I think Obama was also not nearly as progressive as we all thought he was. And much of that was our own dreams getting in the way of clearheaded understanding of who he always was. He didn't dupe us. Post-Bush we wanted a savior, he fit the bill, and he and his campaign people could tell what the country wanted, and matched that, as any sensible campaign would, if actually trying to win the election.
+2 # X Dane 2011-11-14 14:11
One very big problem is that too few people bother to read opinions of intelligent journalists and commentators, who TRY TO INFORM US.
I remember Fareed Zakaria wrote months before the election, "Obama is not a liberal, HE IS A PRAGMATIST"

Obviously VERY few paid attention to that. They all just projected their own wishes and feelings on to him.

Remember. he became president of the law reviw precisely because of his skills at reasoning. He was not wealthy, did not have connections. He had to rely on his own fine brain, and as I mentioned, skills.

He was able to convince both conservatives and liberals, wealthy and poor students that he would work to promote their interests as president of the Law Review.

He had an easier time dealing with the student body though. FOR HE WAS DEALING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE WITH BRAINS AND INTELLECT.
Now he is dealing with congress????
Too many there are pathetic idiots with mush for brains.

Have you ever heard senator Inhofe of Oklahoma speak? or rep. Louis Gomert of Texas. That makes you want to scream!!
+5 # mwd870 2011-11-13 09:33
"Viewed another way, a passionless presidential race may be dangerous for America. The nation's problems may not wait. They require bold action, and soon."

Many elections have been passionless, with candidates saying whatever their contituents want to hear. Obama was an exception and look what happened.

We tend to forget how entrenched the Republican party is - I'm talking about ordinary citizens who can't see the 1% think of them as dirt. I hear Republican talking points from local people all the time.

Yes, we desperately need charismatic leaders like Elizabeth Warren. The opinion expressed here several times that change will come, but not as quickly as we would like seems more realistic. If you have concrete ideas for bold action to be taken now, I'm in.
+4 # reiverpacific 2011-11-13 11:59
Passionless perhaps but just as high-spending if not more so.
I've signed up for Dylan Ratigan's "Get the Money Out" campaign, which is the only way anything like democratic representationa l elections has a chance -and cutting out lobbyists, -fair and impartial media, -constant surveillance and accountability of the candidates and: -ach-neh! We're just not up to it in the Fragmented States!
+3 # Doug600 2011-11-13 12:33
Robert Reich, as usual, is absolutely correct in his analysis. We certainly need a new slate of Democratic candidates to challenge the current crop of easy sellouts. Let me suggest Robert Reich for President and Elizabeth Warren for VP, with Dennis Kucinich in reserve (and my choice for Sec. of State!). And I have a slogan for them already: OCCUPY THE WHITE HOUSE!!

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.