Family Fight

I seem to be in the minority in thinking that the debate raging between the White House and the Democratic base is a good thing as long as it doesn’t last too long. There are justifiable frustrations on both sides but I think the Obama administration has done a *horrible* job of selling its policies. For example, its health care reform bill is a decent first step towards a goal that most Democrats share: health care as a right, not a privilege. Neither Social Security nor Medicare emerged as the full blown programs we know today. Incremental progress is a good thing but the White House should have admitted that the program needs to be improved and made it clear that they plan to do so in the future.

The main problem we face is that Democratic Presidents have developed a nasty habit over the years of bashing their own supporters. It started during the Johnson years as the Roosevelt coalition collapsed and both Carter and Clinton effectively ran against the liberal wing of the party. Barack Obama did not do so in 2008 but his minions; especially Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod have done their share of base bashing since entering the West Wing. Knock it off, guys, you’ve said your piece; so get over it and move on or as the Veep might say, “Buck up.” Or as Rahm himself might say: “Buck the fuck up.” He should, however, look in the mirror while saying this. One more thing about Rahm. I’m glad he’ll be out as Chief of Staff BUT the idea of leaving this close to an election is tantamount to deserting the President he serves. As we say in the South, “tacky, tacky, tacky.” Fuck you, Rahm. If you leave before the election, I hope you get your ass kicked in Chicago. Fucking yuppie scum.

I think that the Dems have made a mistake in declining to make this a national campaign. That’s what the other guys are doing and it has led to some seriously crazy and extreme people running under the GOP banner. The inside the beltway conventional wisdom is that nationalizing the campaign will doom the Democrats. That’s horseshit. And the CW has led to the insane (inane too) spectacle of the House and the Senate leaderships not making the Republicans vote *against* a middle class tax cut that’s tied to the elimination of the Bush fat cat tax cuts. It’s a winning populist issue and Speaker Pelosi is at least *trying* to get that message through to her troops. The Senate majority has chosen, as always, to duck and cower. Make the fuckers vote and if they threaten to fillibuster, let them. It won’t last long: it’s an election year. This is not only sound policy, it’s good hardball politics.

Okay, now that I’ve chastised the White House and Congressional leadership, I’d like to remind my fellow progressives that the lunatic fringe has taken over the opposing party. Crazy is the in thing among Republicans and these people must be kept out of power on the Hill. It’s not too late either: most people do not mainline politics and do not focus on elections until a month out. Let’s keep those fucking wingnuts in the minority where they belong: I don’t want to wake up some morning and hear about a birther investigation. If you live in a marginal district, please get out and vote, even if you have to hold your nose whilst at the polls. It’s my plan.

I dislike the Democratic nominee in the Louisiana-2 race, Cedric Richmond. He’s a dumbed down but handsomer version of Dollar Bill Jefferson. And like Dollar Bill, his ethics are questionable. His GOP opponent, the Accidental Congressman, Joseph Cao is a well-meaning man who sometimes votes with the Democrats because he represents a majority African American district. This choice is an argument for nationalizing the race: there are many goo-goo NOLA Democrats who may vote locally and if they do so it will be for Mr. Cao. The only issue that matters to me in this race is this; who do the candidates plan to vote for as Speaker, John Boehner or Nancy Pelosi? I speak as an admirer of the Speaker but also as someone who shudders at the thought of Speaker Boner. We all know who will get boned, and where, if that happens: the American people will take it up the ass. So, I plan to affix a clothespin to my nose and vote for Richmond because he will vote for Pelosi and Cao for Boehner. It could come down to a single seat and this is a pickup. A single seat. It’s that simple for me.

Back to the family fight. I think it’s healthy for everyone to vent their frustrations. A lot of this stuff has been bottled up for months and it’s best to let it out. It’s also time to move on and remember who we’re dealing with. Letting the teabaggers gain control of the House is like giving an arsonist a guided tour of one’s own home. Do we really want the likes of the primordially stupid Michelle Bachmann to have any influence on policy? I’m just as disgusted with the spinelessness of many Democrats as many of you but the alternative is so much worse. If you need to hold your nose whilst voting for a Democrat just remember this: clothespins are cheap.

Cross-posted at Adrastos.

11 thoughts on “Family Fight

  1. virgotex says:

    Incremental progress is a good thing but the White House should have admitted that the program needs to be improved and made it clear that they plan to do so in the future.
    Wouldn’t have mattered what they admitted or how clear it was. UNLESS they could have somehow (and I’d like to think they could have IF they tried) take control of the message they wanted and the spin and made themselves the dominant voice over the din of punditry, Fox, et al. And this is something I am frustrated by. You are the President, you have means at your disposal to get the best talent, you have power. Don’t be afraid to use it to play offense, at least to get the message out to your own side. And as far as I could see, they never did, and they lost control of the health care sell early on, so whatever they said was largely ignored or manipulated.
    I think that the Dems have made a mistake in declining to make this a national campaign.
    This. Yes. I don’t care if you’re running for dog catcher. Bash the Republicans over the head with their privatization fetish. Harder, harder, harder.

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  2. Buck says:

    I’ve voted D for about twenty years and have come to realize that the national leaders of the party serve much the same interests, with only mildly different priorities, as the national R leaders. It’s like the real game is not something we see. The main division of politicians into only two parties — D and R — is mainly for show. The real sport involves coalitions and agendas we do not see.
    There’s no other explanation for the D leadership’s consistent lack of engagement with its base. It is as if they become incredibly frustrated that we fail to see that all this D and R stuff is not that relevant to the immediate or distant future of the country.

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  3. Adrastos says:

    @Buck. The Dems have once again become the coalition party as the GOP has “purified” itself and gotten rid of moderates. It leads to majorities BUT it makes doing anything hard. A big issue is the institutional mistrust between Senate and House. House members feel they take tough votes and get cut off at the legs by the Senate. It’s true too.

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  4. Elizabeth says:

    The thing that’s been bugging me the most about this situation (among many strong contenders):
    White House reaction to lunatic right-wing opposition: “They have valid concerns, and we need to take that into consideration.”
    WH reaction to left-wing opposition: “Quit whining because you didn’t get every single thing you wanted.”
    Really, sirs?
    (Obama’s on board with the base-bashing too, as of this week.)

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  5. Adrastos says:

    I saw that, E, but decided not to go there except implicitly. The political press corps encourages pols to bash their own bases. It was a key to McCain’s rise as a folk hero.

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  6. Athenae says:

    I think that the Dems have made a mistake in declining to make this a national campaign.
    Agreed so much. Same as in 2002, 2004. Let’s hang individual guys out to dry because we have no clear national message.
    Now we’ve got people running from Obama and as usual humping the legs of reporters for the opportunity to bash him and their own party.
    A.

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  7. Brother you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, you’re so right. However, where is the evidence that the triangulation scam began during the Johnson administration? The hawkishness of LBJ was of a piece with the hawkishness of FDR and Truman. There was nothing novel about it. And LBJ nonetheless must be the greatest liberal in the history of the country.

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  8. TJ says:

    Incremental progress is a good thing but the White House should have admitted that the program needs to be improved and made it clear that they plan to do so in the future.
    I’m pretty sure the Dems don’t want to touch HCR again with a ten foot pole. What you see is what you get (until the whole thing collapses).
    I’m glad he’ll be out as Chief of Staff BUT the idea of leaving this close to an election is tantamount to deserting the President he serves.
    Looks like he was pushed, so maybe he’s not to blame. Not that he didn’t deserve it.
    And the CW has led to the insane (inane too) spectacle of the House and the Senate leaderships not making the Republicans vote *against* a middle class tax cut that’s tied to the elimination of the Bush fat cat tax cuts.
    Based on what happened today, it’s obvious that the majority of Congress wants tax cuts for zillionaires only. Pelosi’s probably saving their sorry asses by not scheduling a vote.

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  9. Adrastos says:

    @voracious. I agree about LBJ as a great liberal. But it was a combination of Vietnam (with the Left) and Civil Rights (with the South) that shattered the Roosevelt coalition for good.

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  10. pansypoo says:

    you can’t turn a boat to fast or it will tip over. plus the media still loves zombie reagan.

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  11. Tom Allen says:

    To my antique eyes, this looks like the choice we’ll all be faced with in November:
    “Do you vote for the crazy party, or the party that will immediately capitulate to the crazy party?”
    (I’m gonna contribute to and vote for my Representative, Tim Walz (D-MN), because I vowed that if he’d vote for a public option, I’d vote for him. He did, so I will. Perhaps this democracy thing might catch on.)

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