Via the Crack Den, for the love of the baby Jesus on the Thanksgiving holiday:
Leave aside the cliches about Hillary Clinton. It is true that Republicans are willing — and have been willing for some time — to aggressively and unapologetically pursue policies even when they are unpopular. They know how to read polls as well as anyone else. They knew that most Americans were vigorously opposed to Clinton’s impeachment, but they pursued it to the bitter end anyway. And they know that the Iraq War is deeply unpopular with Americans, and that George Bush is even more unpopular, but they stand by both of them anyway.
They don’t have hordes of frightened Joe Kleins constantly fretting in their ears that they better not take any unpopular positions otherwise liberal activists will say mean things about them and they will lose. Republicans have calculated — correctly — that Americans have greater respect for a political party that is perceived to stand steadfastly for its convictions (even when unpopular) than to be perceived as politically afraid to state what it is that it even believes.
I’m going to put this a little more baldly than Greenwald did.
When you roll over for a bully, day after day after day, change your positions based on what people like Klein and fucking Shrum and all these other Beltway dickheads say, promise things and then back down, say harsh stuff and then apologize, take a stand and then forget about it, you look like a pussy.
And people don’t like voting for pussies.
More than that, they don’t like voting for people who make them embarrassed. You all know what an embarrassment squick is, right? It’s why I can’t watch Ricky Gervais’s original version of The Office, or Charlie Kauffman movies, or Jerry Seinfeld, or those silly home video shows of kids falling off bikes or doughy guys getting hit in the balls. I don’t … it’s just …ugh. It’s the feeling you get when watching uncomfortable people being stupid, and sticky, and … it’s like this in politics, every day, with Klein and his ilk. They are advising a course of action that sets off everybody’s embarrassment squick, and nobody’s gonna vote for the guy who, you watch and it’s like your baseball team’s getthing whomped. You’re up in the stands, having your tenth beer in an hour, pulling your hat down over your face and hoping nobody is looking at you. Or your team. You don’t even want to be there because the yuck might rub off on you.
Is that dumb and irrational? Sure. We’re talking about perception and strategy here, so it’s dumb and irrational. But Democrats won in 2006 by acting like they didn’t give a fuck what Republicans thought, they were gonna fix the mess we’re in, and everybody was happy, and they felt like winners, and people like winning because the parties are better, and so on and so on. I don’t know what it will take for them to act like that again. A veto-proof majority? A Democratic president? Both? The sudden and unexplained silence of every pundit everywhere? A memory transfusion? I really don’t know what it’s going to take but I can tell you for damn sure going back to the glory days of 2002 is not the answer here.
What Klein is advising is lunacy, and what’s more lunatic, plenty of people who should tell him to fuck himself are going to read that and think, “You know, the solution to my looking like a feckless moron is to change my mind again and go along with whatever somebody else wants.” It sets off my embarrassment squick, just thinking about that.