The Party of Eat Your Veggies and do your Homework

There are a whole host of issues where Democrats are the party that believes in making the tough, rational choices. From taxes, to building the middle class, to environmental policy*. We’re the party that has to tell people the truth: we’re going to have to burn a lot less carbon. We’re going to have to make industrial polluters pay if we want to slow industrial pollution. We’re going to have to pay taxes if we want education and social services.

I sometimes hear this described as a messaging problem: We’re the party that tells voters that they have to eat their vegetables and do their homework. If most voters were under 16, this would be a problem. Fortunately, most adults understand the value of vegetables and homework.

The problem isn’t that Democrats have to sell eat your veggies, it’s that they can’t sell eat your veggies to adults. I’m not particularly health conscious, but my whole apartment smells of the vegetables I roasted for dinner tonight. Sure, I’d rather have chocolate cake for dinner but I, like most adults, understand that in the long term that’s not a good idea.

And I think that’s the attitude we have to take: Sure tax increases are annoying, but the things they fund are better in the long run. Sure, there might be a problem switching to greener sources of energy and it might be a drag for some people to drive less, but the oceans are dying and the globe is warming. We’ll try to accommodate that as best we can, but ultimately, there is going to be some pain.

I know, I know, Jimmy Carter gave a speech in 1979, and a year and change later lost a presidential election. So we always have to sugar coat things. But seeing the consequences of the last 3 decades of a policy of cake for dinner and no homework, we may be ready for politicians to treat us like we’re adults.

* Yes, Lee demonstrated the other day that there are also issues where we, as a party don’t live up to that ideal. I still think it’s much more true of Democrats where we differ from Republicans, even if we do fall short.

Comments

  1. 1

    americafirst spews:

    There are a whole host of issues where Democrats are the party that believes in making the tough, rational choices. From taxes, to building the middle class, to environmental policy*. We’re the party that has to tell people the truth: we’re going to have to burn a lot less carbon. We’re going to have to make industrial polluters pay if we want to slow industrial pollution. We’re going to have to pay taxes if we want education and social services.
    ——————————–
    Dems always tell the truth, two notable examples by Obama; I will cut the deficit in half and my stimulus bill will keep unemployment under 8%.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Fortunately, most adults understand the value of vegetables and homework.”

    You’re pretty fucking optimistic, aren’t you, Carl? What are you, some kind of fucking Pollyanna? Listen, pal, you’re a human and you can’t see the ankles because you’re fixated on the tits. Take it from me, a rabbit, 90% of you humans are incurably blind to reality. It’s just a matter of time before you self-extinct. When you do, this planet will be a much healthier place, and we rabbits are gonna run it.

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Unemployment is over 9% because Obama is a sissy. He didn’t have the balls to do what 98% of the economists in this country said needed to be done, which was that the stimulus needed to be TWICE as large!

    What’s the Republican formula for prosperity? Just compare the unemployment statistics for 1929 with those for 1933 and you’ll get the diea where THEY would take us.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hell, I don’t have have to mention Republican idiocy like cutting spending and balancing budgets during a depression, all you have to do is look at what those fools are doing with Treasury default and you’ll get the idea. For all the world, it appears Republicans WANT to take America’s GDP right down to zero.

  5. 5

    proud leftist spews:

    Carl: “Fortunately, most adults understand the value of vegetables and homework.”

    In contemporary America, I don’t think I agree with that statement. When the House of Representatives doesn’t believe lifting the debt ceiling matters, when a majority of Americans believe both that the deficit should be reduced but no cuts touching me should be made, and when Michele Bachmann is considered a serious candidate for President, we are not talking about adults making decisions.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “my whole apartment smells of the vegetables”

    When I was a poor college student living in a hell hole Southern college town, I lived in a basement room (a converted coal bin) that rented for $20 a month — this room was so small I could cook on the stove while lying in bed — and the apartment upstairs was occupied by three colonels in Taiwan’s air force who ate chop suey for breakfast, chop suey for lunch, and chop suey for dinner — and the whole fucking house reeked of soy sauce.

    You can’t do anything with a house like that. You can’t bulldoze it, because if you do, the soil will still reek of soy sauce. The only thing you can do is burn it down and hope the ash smell masks the soy sauce smell afterwards. It’s like trying to build a new house on a lot where someone was murdered in a cabin, you can never get rid of the goddamned smell and the ghost hangs around for at least 500 years afterward.

    I doubt very much that crummy rooming house is still there; it probably was razed to make way for apartment buildings years ago; and I’ll bet every goddamned one of those damned apartments reeks of soy sauce, and nobody can figure out why.

  7. 7

    proud leftist spews:

    Rabbit @ 6
    But have you no nostalgia for that collegiate room? I think back fondly to a rat-infested, heatless home on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, a windowless, basement room in Berkeley, a teardown in Shoreline, as I went to school. Ah, those were great years . . .

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Not that a goddamned unheated hole in the ground in a public park I have to share with Mrs. Rabbit is much of an improvement; but at least I’m getting laid once every six months in this hole.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Here’s what’s gonna happen if the GOPers blow it on the debt ceiling:

    “If no agreement is reached and the Treasury is forced to begin prioritising spending, the economic blow would be severe; it would amount to an immediate cut in government spending of about 44%. And should the worst happen and a default occur, it’s difficult to know what would happen to the global economy, but the outcome would almost certainly be something extremely bad.”

    http://www.economist.com/blogs.....c-policy-0

  10. 11

    jimmyc spews:

    Democrats are so much for “the Children” that they cheated on tests for them!
    http://www.ajc.com/news/invest.....01375.html
    It’s a real sad commentary on Democrat Union Teachers and the ends they will go to to make a buck at the kids expense (teacher compensation tied to test results). They should all make the “tough choice” and go right to f*%!ing jail

  11. 12

    jimmyc spews:

    The Republicans cannot default on the debt. It’s a lie. Only the President can do it by making a choice not to pay the interest and maturity of Treasury’s before anything else. We have enough money (over $200 Billion/mo.) coming in. It’s about prioritizing how it is spent.

  12. 13

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 11: Yep, JC wins the prize, he’s the first to charge that anyone caught in the cheating allegations MUST be a Democrat.

    My own experiences with teachers (my mother was one, and I have several friends who are teachers) is that they pretty much reflect the general population with regard to party affiliation.

    But this is a natural result when you insist on tying teacher raises, performance, and even their continued employment to student test scores, without changing anything else in the matrix. Well-meaning teachers can work as hard as they can, sometimes 12 hours a day, and still not be able to overcome the simple fact that they don’t have control over the one thing which impacts the test scores the most – which students are assigned to their class.

    It makes sense for the best teachers to be assigned to the most challenging students, the great majority to be assigned to average students, and the “elite” classes (college prep, etc.) handled in a more specialized fashion. But in most schools the best a teacher can hope for is a randam allocation of students to teachers, most of the time the most inexperienced teachers are given the most challenging students.

    So getting back to the original topic of this post – it’s about making adult decisions, not easy sloganeering. At a minimum, if you are going to insist on tying teacher performance reviews to test scores, you need independent testing – not performed in the teacher’s own class. Sure, it costs more, but that’s what is needed to ensure accurate results. Why should the teacher who doesn’t correct her student’s answers after the exam is over be given an advantage over that do?

    More importantly, the pay-for-performance is just sloganeering designed to get around the fact that we really need very serious changes in our K-12 education system, and it’s going to cost a lot of money for smaller class sizes, etc. But Republican politicians prefer to pretend that’s not the case.

  13. 14

    rhp6033 spews:

    JC @ 12: So you are in favor of the President having an effective line-item veto by deciding which Congressionally-approved appropriations are paid, and which ones are not? What happened to Republicans believing in limited government and no powers beyond those granted in the Constitution?

    And this nonsense that it won’t prevent the consequences of a default is nonsense. If we don’t reach a settlement on the issue soon – one which actually works toward a balanced budget in the long term – Moody’s is going to downgrade our credit rating, perhaps as early as next week. Just paying interest on the debt isn’t going to prevent that from happening, as Greece and Ireland discovered.

  14. 15

    rhp6033 spews:

    Of course, this whole debt-limit crisis is one manufactured by the Republicans, with roots in the Dec. 2006 demands that the President take tax increases on the richest Americans off the table, in exchange for not cutting off unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands the week before Christmas. It’s pretty much the same thing as Walker did in Wisconsin – killing the revenue side of the equation so you can pursue your other agendas as “emergency fiscal measures”.

    It’s a continuing policy of the Republican Party – create a crisis, blame the other side for the crisis, then use it as cover to pursue your other agenda, like turning over Social Security to Wall Street brokerage firms, turning over Medicare to private insurance companies, etc.

  15. 16

    rhp6033 spews:

    JC @ # 13: “The Republicans cannot default on the debt. It’s a lie.”

    No, you are an idiot, who doesn’t know how to do anything more than parrot another idiot, Michelle Bachman, and the Fox News talking points.

    What has happened is that the Republicans thought they could get the President to cave in and offer major cuts on social programs if they stamped their feet real hard, cried like two-year olds, and made a big scene. They were counting on Obama having to be the one to act like an adult, to cave in to prevent a default from which it would take decades to recover.

    But suddenly, they are finding themselves in the same position they were in in the government shut-down in the 1990’s. The public blamed the Republicans, not the Democrats, and they lost considerable ground in the next elections as a result. So now that the President has stood up to them, they are trying to find a way out of the trap they set for themselves – McConnell is proposing a rather extraordinary and complicated proceedure which pretty much eliminates the debt ceiling in practice, and Cantor is trying to buy time by arguing for a 30-day extension of the debt ceiling to “give them more time” for a negotiated settlement.

    Time to do what? Nothing is going to change over thirty days, the positions are set – the only thing that needs to be done is for them to reach a reasonable compromise. My guess is that, with internal polling showing public opinion turning rapidly against them, the Republican house members want to spend the next thirty days going to their home districts and trying to repair the damage by blaming it all on the President.

  16. 17

    Ekim spews:

    jimmyc @11 spews a line of stupid crap and posts a link that somehow is suppose to support his argument but doesn’t. That reminds me of ButtPutty. Is jimmyc a ButtPutty sock puppet?

  17. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 Yep, pay rich bondholders and contractors first, and cut off granny from her rent and food money — spoken like a true Republican.

  18. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve been saying all along the GOPers are going to pull the debt trigger. Which is a good thing for savers tired of getting less than 1% interest on their money. Republicans are about to do what Bernanke has refused to do: Send interest rates shooting up and the stock market crashing down … just when I’m sitting on a pile of cash. THANK YOU REPUBLICANS!!! Boehner and Cantor must have read my e-mails.

  19. 20

    americafirst spews:

    @3. Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Unemployment is over 9% because Obama is a sissy. He didn’t have the balls to do what 98% of the economists in this country said needed to be done, which was that the stimulus needed to be TWICE as large!
    ———————————-
    Of course, and there would have been no recession if the bush tax cuts had been twice as large, but why not a stimulus a hundred times larger so everybody can be rich.

    @19. Roger Rabbit spews:
    I’ve been saying all along the GOPers are going to pull the debt trigger.
    ————————–
    McOldfart is already getting cold feet so that is questionable, but if they have any guts the House will pass a debt increase coupled with spending cuts and also a bill requiring certain spending in the event of impasse, social security and so on, then dare Obama to do nothing with them.

  20. 21

    uptown spews:

    @20
    if the bush tax cuts had been twice as large

    The Bush debt would then have been twice as large.

  21. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @20 “why not a stimulus a hundred times larger so everybody can be rich”

    I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen a wingnut offer an actual plan for the economy. And why not let everybody be rich? You got something against wealth?

  22. 23

    spews:

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  23. 24

    correctnorright spews:

    @20: Americans last
    Maybe you need a course in basic economics – the reason we had a recession was the lack of regulation in the banking and mortgage industries. Giving more tax breaks to the rich would have only encouraged these people to rip off more money.