Just remind yourself what BHO (and the rest of us) are dealing with, libs

What Obama (and Boehner, and the economy ) are dealing with – The Plum Line – The Washington Post


One really, really important point to remember about House Republicans right now: There’s a very good chance that a whole bunch of them just have no idea what they’re doing. For example, they visited the Senate today for the Cut, Cap and Balance vote, and Dave Weigel talked to them:

I walked out of the vote with Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Jim Jordan, two of the House’s CCB diehards. The two of them discussed the possibility of bringing the bill off the table. “They didn’t kill it,” said Chaffetz. “They just tabled it. That’s a great sign for us.” So it’s alive? “Clearly. They’re in panic mode.”

That would be Jason Chaffetz, member of the House from Utah. And no, it’s not a “good sign” for CCB proponents; it’s not any kind of sign at all. Tabling is a normal way to kill things in the Senate. Chaffetz might want to learn that, since he happens to be running for the Senate. He is talking nonsense here (as Weigel explains in his post). Here’s the thing, though — how do you negotiate with people who just have no idea what they’re talking about? Here’s another example, from the NYT write-up of the party-line vote against CCB:

[T]he outcome was  a foregone conclusion and leaders of both parties said the Senate needed to dismiss the House plan to show Republicans that the proposal was dead.

This is just depressing if true; it implies that an unspecified number of rank-and-file Republicans are, I don’t know how else to put it, either too detached from reality or too stupid or too incompetent to know that CCB was DOA without actually seeing the Senate results. And, based on what Chaffetz was saying, even watching the vote wasn’t enough to convince some of them.

Steve Benen had a really good item this morning pointing out that those seeking to criticize Barack Obama need to understand just what he’s dealing with, but I think even he underestimates just how impossible it must be to get through to some of these folks. You know, Buffy faced a lot of really formidable foes over seven seasons of her show, but the highly incompetent and more than a little buffoonish geek Trio was responsible for some of the most devastating and heartbreaking damage. 

[more detailed view of the entire negotiation, by the same author, here.]


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3 comments on “Just remind yourself what BHO (and the rest of us) are dealing with, libs

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  1. Oh, I get it, it’s the old R.D. Laing gambit, he’s sane, everyone else is crazy. Oh and interesting side note, one of the geeks, Jonathan, or Warren, is now a fairly accomplished propagandist, helming first ‘ReCount’ and now ‘Game Change’ an cloying hagiography by those
    ;two drones from sector 7G, where the protagonist is without fault,

  2. @ miguel cervantes:

    Might be more like people who consider themselves plugged-in citizens of the empire’s Capital City sometimes develop a view that the people new to the place, even people coming in to assume positions of significant power, Just Don’t Know How It Works Here.

    I think it was Capra made a move about it.

  3. Jeff Smith, was right, that’s the part you forget., Obama’s the one who said he opposed ‘the surge’ specially if it worked, who told Gibson, that he opposed capital gains cuts even if they brought it in more revenue. You know this strategery that he’s engaging in, makes no sense. Come on, Putin has lectured us on Free Market principles on more than one occasion, that’s like the Red Skull lecturing on aesthetics

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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