Steve Benen has a post up about a David Brooks column that will probably cause David all sorts of trouble on the right, but I guess he has burned a lot of those bridges already. My observation of David Brooks is that he really blows in the wind with his opinions. He is the definition of hypocrisy in many ways and often traps himself in his own logic. But I find myself agreeing with him sometimes in between his contortions. Here is a piece from Steve Benen’s post…
In his speech in Ohio last week, President Obama tried to explain that the underlying cause of American progress can be entirely non-partisan. Democrats made Social Security, the minimum wage, the GI Bill, Medicare, civil rights, workers’ rights, and women’s rights a reality, but “we also recognize that throughout our history, there has been a noble Republican vision … of what this country can be.”The president noted that it was Lincoln who used the power of the federal government to set up the first land-grant colleges and launch the transcontinental railroad; it was Teddy Roosevelt who broke up monopolies; it was Dwight Eisenhower who built the Interstate Highway System; and it was Ronald Reagan who worked with Democrats to help save Social Security for future generations.
Apparently the President’s speech prompted David Brooks to write this next bit that will surely piss off most of the people leading the Republican Party these days, you know, “The Party of No”…
Throughout American history, in other words, there have been leaders who regarded government like fire — a useful tool when used judiciously and a dangerous menace when it gets out of control. They didn’t build their political philosophy on whether government was big or not. Government is a means, not an end. They built their philosophy on making America virtuous, dynamic and great. They supported government action when it furthered those ends and opposed it when it didn’t.
If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom, then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition and exiling it from the G.O.P.
That is Republican blasphemy. Elections have consequences and the ascension of the Tea Party and the rest of the crazies within the GOP is causing a lot of rifts within the Grand Ole’ Party. It is up to us Democrats to help drive that wedge between the two factions. Rub salt in those wounds. Kick them while they are down. Give them that little shove they need to go over the cliff. Isn’t politics fun?
For years, Republicans have used the media to create new realities. They do it by using repetition and by spreading the message far and wide. They of course have set up many venues for spreading their talking points and alternate realities, Rush Limbaugh and countless other right-wing radio hosts, Fox News’ entire programming, CNN is played like a cheap violin because they bend over backwards to give two sides to every issue, including facts and MSNBC has an obsession with polls even more than the rest of the cable news networks. They don’t seem to care much who commissioned the poll and whether the methodology was sound or not. New polls get them all excited and they love them some lower thirds graphics that scream the latest poll results.
From my perspective, I’ve watched as the Republicans went from being completely marginalized, losing control of both branches of government and having no real leaders, which continues to this day – to somehow being ahead in generic polls and now the pundits are saying they are going to take control of the House of Representatives in November. How did they do it? By forming a unified front and setting out to block every single thing that the Obama administration attempts, by feeding misinformation into the psyche of the American electorate, by throwing red meat to the uninformed masses with all sorts of subtle and not so subtle appeals to racism, by outright lying with the help of the idiot media and the hired right-wing media, by forcing the administration to the middle with their unified front which has caused the White House to negotiate with the conservadems and moderate Republicans in order to pass ANYTHING, which has caused the “firebaggers” like Jane Hamser, Cenk Uygur, Ed Schultz, Taylor Marsh and Arianna Huffington to start attacking him from the left flank. This has served to demoralize the base with some of those turncoats actually encouraging their readers to not turn out to vote in November, as if that will somehow teach the White House a lesson. The “professional left” completely fell for the Republican’s tactic, swallowed it hook, line and sinker. The Republicans counted on the politically naive Hamsher, Huffington and others to not understand how Washington works, you can read it almost daily on their blogs – this sense that if the president really wanted to pass it, he would just do it. How fucking naive is that thinking, haven’t they ever watched C-Span for more than 5 minutes? I heard Arianna Huffington “GlennBecking” her book last night with full-throated populism and Tom Ashbrook asked how she proposes we change these things and her response was that we have to “insist” that they do it. A perfect example of her naiveté.
The fight over the health care bill is a perfect example of how the Republicans manipulated the process to get back in a position to “possibly” win back the House of Representatives in 2010. We all remember how popular the idea of passing health care reform was right after the election in 2008. This is where the pollsters started their role in helping the Republicans. They all asked very general questions like “Do you support reforming health care?” or something to that effect and of course that general question is going to get a yes answer from many different people, those who want universal health care to those who really don’t know what they want, but just know that what we have now isn’t working. So the pollsters set the high water mark on the popularity of health care reform in its generic form. This helps to set up false expectations of people, especially the media who are lazy motherfuckers and instead of doing some original reporting, they just get the latest PDF from Gallup and recycle the same clichés that they all spew forth. With these high expectations it becomes the media’s job to chip away at it. They love them some dramatic teases or scrolling text which screams “The President’s Support For Health Care Plummets” or some crap like that.
Of course the Republican lie machine kicked into gear and started scaring senior citizens with the “death panels” and injected the terms “government run health care” into the lexicon, even though none of the proposals had government running anything except possibly a public option for buying insurance. But of course the Rebubs, with the help of the media AND the idiot firebaggers, began their campaigns to misinform the public by distorting the bills being floated. The right did it by making people believe that the government was going to decide what procedures would or wouldn’t be covered and the firebaggers did it by attacking the mandate, which by most accounts is necessary, if we are really going to bring costs down…think emergency room visits for uninsured. Of course, the firebaggers claimed it was going to be a big gain for insurance companies, which may or may not be true when you consider all the other provisions that put restrictions on them and stop them from kicking people off for pre-existing conditions, etc., I’m not so sure the insurance companies will benefit as much as the haters think. It is probably true that the more people who have health insurance, the more the insurance industry stands to gain from it. So when you step back, the firebaggers would rather the health insurance industry not make money, even if it means poor people suffer. Where are the priorities here, supposed “left”? And really, having observed how things really work in Washington, the congress can revisit a lot of these issues in the future and as long as Democrats stay in control, much of that can be fixed. But here is the rub. The firebaggers who should be supporting the president and helping to fix the problems with the bill are actively trying to bring this president down. Do they really care about progressive issues or have their emotions (hate and jealousy) overcome their ability to reason and show compassion for their fellow citizens? Bastards.
If we look at the other big lie that Republicans have successfully perpetuated with the help of the media and again, the firebaggers, is the idea that the stimulus didn’t work…all based on one measure, the unemployment rate. I’ve posted about this before so I won’t rehash it…go look at it if you haven’t already. Almost immediately after President Obama was elected, before he was even sworn in, someone in the Obama gang made a prediction about the unemployment rate based on the numbers Bush and Co. were giving them. Remember how everyone was demanding that Obama come up with a solution to the economic mess and solve the looming “depression” that was surely around the corner…even before he was sworn in. So bowing to that intense pressure, a big mistake, the incoming administration made some rosy statements based on the information available. These predictions were modified very soon after the real numbers were discovered, after the Bush folks walked away laughing that they fell for it. But the Republicans, the media and the haters on the left (firebaggers) apparently didn’t like those new numbers so they just stayed with the Bush inspired ones, it served their purposes much better. So here we are 20 months later, no depression, the stock market back near the 10,000 mark, massive profits in the pockets of business and new private sector jobs being created for the last 8 months…not enough for sure, but a lot better than the legacy Bush left us and of course all that positive news is overshadowed by the unemployment rate. No one seems to grasp that it could very well be 18 – 20% had the stimulus not been passed. How many times have you heard someone in the media brush that off because damnit, there are still a lot of unemployed people. No shit Sherlock, and it does matter that it could be much worse….it does matter. Especially for all those people who still have their jobs and can pay their bills, it really fucking matters. Oh, but let’s ignore them because someone made a prediction back in December of 2008 that was wrong. Let’s just focus on that one number as the measure, fucking idiots.
But having said all that, it doesn’t mean that Democrats have to lose in November. With such a large percentage of the population not paying attention to politics at all until about 2 weeks out from an election, with the right tactics, we can minimize those loses and retain control of both houses of congress. I’m encouraged that David Plouffe is on our team and actively organizing and pushing for the GOTV efforts. I’m also glad to see the President out delivering the message that no one else seems to have the balls to do, including the firebaggers and the so-called “professional left” who in my opinion, hasn’t done shit for progressive causes since President Obama took office. They’ve been whining and bitching about the president not fulfilling some fantasy they created in their pea-sized brains or they are out to prove that we all should have voted for Hillary by joining with the right to damage this progressive president. Fucking sore losers……well, losers period.
So it is up to the rest of us to help the Democrats save our country from the catastrophe that will surely happen if John Boehner and Mitch McConnell get control. Go out and do your part to elect Democrats, start today. It isn’t that hard, talk to your liberal friends and make sure they are going to vote this year. If you have the time, volunteer for your local democrats and post comments on blogs encouraging people to get out and vote. We can win this thing if we all do our part.
Guest Blogger – Staci
If Democrats lose control of Congress, it’s their own damn fault. I’ve read the pundits that are predicting doom and gloom for the D’s. I have heard all of the reasons that it is Obama’s fault and if he had just done this or that or the other, then all would be well. Well, let me tell you who will be at fault if the Democrats lose – each and every single candidate that actually loses. They spent the entire month of August “on vacation”. Maybe that time would have been best spent for every Democrat to have as many flippin’ town halls as they could fit in a month’s time. Hell, three a day all over their districts, and when they’ve covered the entire district, start over again because somebody didn’t hear you the first time. The Democrats have passed some huge bills in the past 20 months and they should be out there shouting from the rooftops why they took those votes, not running away from them. Healthcare, I would be beating my constituency over the head with what is available right now. Credit card reform, hell, that law alone will probably affect at least one person in every household in the district. The reforms to student loans, the extensions to unemployment, the fucking stimulus! I am convinced if people really understood, and if each Democrat took it upon themselves to make sure their districts understood, the Democrats would have unprecedented numbers in both Houses. My gosh, they are running against a party without a plan.
So Democrats, don’t blame Obama or the media or use historical references to justify losing your seat. If you lose, you have only yourself to blame.
It’s kind of funny, in a sick way, that a week ago when Gallup had the generic Republicans 10 points up, the media was all over it telling us how this tidal wave was going to sweep Democrats out. Just one week later, Gallup suddenly has it all tied up and where are all the stories telling us about the Democrats resurgence. A ten point swing is pretty big, but crickets. Liberal media, my ass. From Steve Benen….
SO MUCH FOR THE GREAT GALLUP FREAK-OUT…. Last week, Gallup’s generic-ballot tracking poll showed Republicans leading Democrats by 10, 51% to 41%. It was billed as the GOP’s biggest Gallup lead in the history of humanity, and the results generated massive media attention, including a stand-alone Washington Post piece on page A2. It was iron-clad evidence, we were told, of impending Democratic doom.
What’s more annoying, though, is the media double-standard. After the vast news coverage last week’s Gallup numbers received, it’s striking to see how little outlets care this week. I’m still looking for the headline that reads “Resurgent Dems close gap against GOP” in a major daily, but can’t seem to find it.
Indeed, take Chris Cillizza, for example. Last week, the Gallup generic ballot was the lead story in his “Morning Fix” column, and he devoted more than 500 words to the results. Today, Cillizza’s “Morning Fix” column doesn’t mention the new Gallup results at all.
When the media culture decides poll results that Republicans like are more newsworthy than results Democrats like, there’s a problem.
One of my heroes, The Rude Pundit, has an excellent post up about President Obama’s prowess when it comes to campaigning. I’ve felt all along that the Obama Administration is playing the Republicans like a cheap violin, not responding to the many moronic issues they and the media keep trumping up. It’s kind of funny how the media manufactures an outrage, often sourced from the right, and then they scream because the White House doesn’t play their game. The story then becomes about how the White House isn’t responding to “so many questions” about….fill in the blank. I equate it to getting down in the mud with them. Obama did it masterfully in the primaries and the general election and he is doing it masterfully as president. Anyone who underestimates Obama and David Plouffe’s savvy when it comes to getting elected is a damn fool. From the Rude Pundit…(I always love Lee’s titles)
Is President Obama Ready to Make Republicans Shit Blood Again?:
But there’s one significant measure that the Rude Pundit has decided to await: how much is Obama willing to fight to keep the Congress at least nominally Democratic?
If yesterday is any indication, the answer is: “Oh, fuck, it’s on.”…
First he put out the evidence and explained what they were doing that was so assholish: “Now, you’d think this would be pretty straightforward stuff, but I’ve got to say that lately we’ve been having to wrangle around what used to be pretty noncontroversial things — providing loans for small businesses, extending unemployment insurance when 8 million people lost their jobs during the recession. But lately, there’s a minority of senators from the other party who’ve had a different idea. As we speak, they are using their power to stop this relief from going to the American people. And they won’t even let these measures come up for a vote. They block it through all kinds of procedural maneuvering in the Senate.”
Then he gave it some context for how we got here: “Now, some of this is just politics. That’s the nature of Washington. Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win. Right — that was the basic theory. They figured if we just keep on saying no to everything and nothing gets done, then somehow people will forget who got us into this mess in the first place and we’ll get more votes in November. And, you know, that will make people pretty cynical about politics.”
Which led to: “Now, let’s be fair though. The other party’s opposition is also rooted in some sincere beliefs about how they think the economy works. They think that our economy will do better if we just let the banks or the oil companies or the insurance industry make their own rules. They still believe that, even after the Wall Street crash, even after the BP oil well blew, that we should just keep a hands-off attitude. They think we should keep doing what we did for most of the last decade leading up to the recession.” That line, “let’s be fair, though,” is just fucking awesome. Calling Republicans “sincere” in their ideology means that, no matter what they say, at the end of the day, there are beliefs that aren’t gonna change.
Then the knife twist: “So their prescription for every challenge is pretty much the same — and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here — basically cut taxes for the wealthy, cut rules for corporations, and cut working folks loose to fend for themselves. Basically their attitude is, you’re on your own.”
Every misstep that the Republitards make is being filed away for later use in the midterms and 2012 elections. For some reason, the Republitards have very short term memories and forget that we have these things called the “internets” and “youtubes” that make pulling up their lies so much easier. It makes producing web ads so freakin easy. There is no shortage of stupid shit coming out of the right wing’s assholes that it’s going to be like shooting ducks in a pond. The Rude One brings it home with this…
The Rude Pundit’s said it before and he’ll keep saying it: Obama plays rope-a-dope with his opponents. He did it with Hillary. He did it with McCain. He wants to see what your best swing looks like before he unleashes. For all his faults, and there are many, the man knows how to make Republicans shit blood at the thought of going up against him. They have to know it’s coming. They just don’t know when. The question, of course, is if it’s too late in the match.
If there was a takeaway from the speech, a talking point for other candidates to use, it was this: “So I want everybody to understand, this debate that we’re having in Washington is not about big government or small government. It’s about responsible government. It’s about accountable government. It’s about whose side government is on. It should be on the side of the American people.”
It’s always nice to see someone rip the corpse of Ronald Reagan out of the earth and smack it around in front of an audience.