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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's astounding how after a decade, Democrats still don't know what they're dealing with
Posted by Jill | 4:27 AM
If it weren't for the fact that the viciousness of today's Republican Party is so dangerous to us as a nation, I'd almost say that the Democratic Party deserves to go away, because a party this inept has no business running a nation.

The tinfoil hat side of me says that Barack Obama was allowed to win because the Republicans wanted a Democrat, particularly a weak one, to be running the show when the ecnomy they created went entirely to shit. But if I discount that, all I'm left with is being appalled at the sheer, utter cluelessness of whomever is making the political decisions at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I'm going to dump the Massachusetts debacle about half in the lap of Martha Coakley, who made the John McCain mistake of believing in her "entitlement" to Ted Kennedy's seat. Just as John McCain felt his POW experience entitled him to the presidency he so dearly longed for, Coakley felt her status as a Democrat entitled her to Ted Kennedy's seat. Both of them were hopelessly out of touch with the mood of the people, and both of them lost.

A quarter of the fault falls in the lap of Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid and Max Baucus. For these are the people who took an 80% of the population longing for real health care reform -- even the possibility of single payer -- and turned it into a giant blowjob for the insurance industry, losing most of the support along the way.

And a quarter of the fault lies at the White House. I don't know if Barack Obama is a George W. Bush-style figurehead with Rahm Emanuel as the Karl Rove pulling the strings, or if his habit (or deep psychological need) to have everyone like him has made him temperamentally unable to lead when the opposition is a party for whom compromise is Do It Our Way Or No Deal. Long after it was clear that the Republicans' goal was not just to be the loyal opposition, but to pound him into the ground and then spit on the pieces, he was still seeking "bipartisanship". The result was a summer spent aloof from his own signature issue, while Harry Reid wasted months on Olympia Snowe, as if the American people were supposed to believe that this ridiculous wooing of ONE Republican senator somehow constituted "bipartisanship" when the rest of the Senate Republicans were baying like wolves.

Rahm Emanuel has never once been right about anything at all. So the day that he was selected as Chief of Staff, I knew the fix was in. I know that Emanuel seems to think that throwing EVERYONE you can rely on to vote for you under the bus while chasing people who dance at any new shiny object held in front of them is the way to win elections, rather than providing Americans with an alternative to a Republican agenda that is going to make life for more and more Americans nasty, brutish, and short.

There may very well have been no choice but to continue the Bush bank rescue plan and throw more money at the banks. But to sit quietly by while the banks tell the very people who loaned them money to go fuck themselves, we're going to shovel record amounts of cash into our executives' pockets; to not recognize that this was not going to sit well, demonstrates an ineptitude of the highest order.

You can blame the media if you want, though the media hadn't yet fallen in love with Scott Brown the way they did with Sarah Palin, so they're off the hook on that front. (I expect that to change now, especially for Chris Matthews.) But at this late date, knowing what we know about Republicans and how they operate, there's no one to blame here but the Democratic Party.

Greg Sargent lays the Giant Turd o'Blame in their laps at well:
The predicament her loss has created for Dems is yet another reminder of the folly of the Dem decision to delay reform last summer in hopes of winning over a few GOPers — and, by extension, of the folly of their broader, ongoing quest for empty “bipartisan” support for the health care plan.

This is clearly true on two levels. In practical terms, if Dems hadn’t delayed reform this summer, they would very likely have passed a bill by now. As bad as the loss of the Kennedy seat is for Dems, it wouldn’t have been quite as bad if they already had health care reform under their belts. Now it’s in peril. If it does pass, the current situation all but ensures that the bill will be much weaker than it might have been.

More broadly, if we accept the interpretation that tonight’s results are a referendum on health care reform and Obama’s agenda, it becomes even clearer that with tonight’s loss, Dems reaped what they sowed. The GOP strategy — stated openly in multiple forums — was to delay reform as long as possible in the belief that the longer it took to become a reality, the more public sentiment would turn against it. As much as people like to argue that Massachusetts election wasn’t about health care, Brown stated clearly on the trail that he would be the 41st vote for a GOP filibuster.

Bottom line: The GOP has been very open about the fact that the longer the clock runs, the better it is for them. Dems, foolishly imagining that they needed to win over one or two Republicans to make David Broder happy, fell for it. The electorate grew more confused. And here are the results.

So you'd think that perhaps Barack Obama might have learned something from this. You'd think he might look back to what got him elected. But you'd be wrong. Because for the next three years, what we're going to have is a very, very weak Republican president.

Exhibit A:
Faced with growing alarm over the nation's soaring debt, the White House and congressional Democrats tentatively agreed Tuesday to create an independent budget commission and to put its recommendations for fiscal solvency to a vote in Congress by the end of this year.

Under the agreement, President Obama would issue an executive order to create an 18-member panel that would be granted broad authority to propose changes in the tax code and in the massive federal entitlement programs -- including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- that threaten to drive the nation's debt to levels not seen since World War II.

So if you don't have health insurance, or if your premiums went up 25% this year, too bad. If you're a low-wage worker lucky enough to still have a job, and you don't have anything left after putting a roof over your head and food on the table to put money into an IRA, get ready to live on the street in your old age -- or kill yourself, because your Social Security is going to go away. You want to talk about pulling the plug on Grandma? There's more than one way to do it.

Exhibit B:
President Obama will address the House Republican Conference later this month during their retreat in Baltimore, being held Jan. 28th to 30th.

Obama was invited by the elected GOP Leadership to speak a few weeks ago and will take them up on their offer.

House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) said the following about the upcoming meeting with the President:

"House Republicans are grateful that the President of the United States has accepted our invitation to meet with the Republican Conference later this month. House Republicans look forward to presenting the president with our proposals to protect our nation, create jobs, control federal spending, lower the cost of health care, achieve energy independence and strengthen families."

And Obama had better be ready to rubberstamp everything the Republicans want. I'm not worried about that at all. He's already demonstrated that he'll do anything...anything they want, as long as they just LIKE him.

Well, he'd better not expect the netroots to have his back anymore. Because we warned him: If you don't Dance with Them What Brung You, you're going to go home alone.

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Blogger Distributorcap said...
reid, pelosi and it looks like obama - just dont know how to lead - they have the smarts, not the ambition or guts

whereas the republicans - no smarts, but all the ambition to lead (lead poorly, but they love to lead)

the cautiousness of obama and the fact he does want to get his hands dirty (on health care) - is making it all come apart

Blogger rjs said...
all that blame, and what geithner, summers and bernanke hath wroth dont even get an honorable mention?

Blogger Bob said...
Nothing pisses off independent minded voters more than indifference. I knew a Democrat who voted for Republican council candidate because the candidate actually knocked on the door & asked for his vote. When I saw Coakley's campaign appearance numbers, I was stunned. She didn't go out & shake hands every day & do some listening.

Anonymous mandt said...
But, they know. They are no different---just a different reality show.