Love in the Time of Cholera

Pat Ryan

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.--H.L. Mencken

 So the 2009 Democratic Hubris Tour starring Martha Coakley wrapped up a couple of days ago with the erstwhile candidate vowing to spend more time with her dogs.

Scott Brown, meanwhile, ran a populist campaign that co-opted millions of Tea Party dollars, snagged 20% of the 2008 Obama voters (with a whole bunch more just staying home), and had this to say during the campaign:

 "People are tired of the business as usual. What does that mean? That means the behind-the-scenes deals, the Nebraska, you know, subsidizing a Medicaid forever. Things like that have just -- just drive people crazy".

Obama had this observation which seemed right on the money to me:

"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts but the mood around the country: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years but what's happened over the last eight years."

Maybe my pal Barack was listening to the chants of "Yes We Can" that preceded and punctuated Brown's victory speech. Anyhow and Whatever. The New Dems that infest this administration like a bunch of virtually immortal cockroaches, led by the twitching and errant antenna of Rahm Emanuel, are already arguing for staying the course muscular and uncompromising timidity, 'cause even though their strategies are alienating every low info voter and every serious progressive who held their noses and voted for the aforementioned Change. This approach reminds me most of the "Free Market" libertarian minded, Wall Street supporters who just know that even though deregulation drove us right into the toilet, it was really the fault of corrupt liberals somehow............

If Obama's life story and experience predispose him toward conflict avoidance and resolution, allowing the New Dems to continue with their farcial enslavement to Republican talking points will be his undoing.

Even the old northeastern machine politicians like the hack ward heeler Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania haveImages finally had a buttful (as my old boss used to say).  He argues that there are two ways to move forward on healthcare after finally laying the 60 vote super majority, and Joe Lieberman to rest. You can break the bill up into parts that address anti-trust, pre-existing conditions, dropping coverage and so on, and make 'em all vote on each one separately. You can proceed with the Conference Committee and make 'em filibuster the whole danged thing for a few weeks to provide a little clarity to correctly confused voters.

Either one is fine with me, but while we're at it let's address the fact that the Seante bill is gonna make things worse in the near term as it targets the Sacred Middle Class for additional costs without many tangible additional benefits, and that's a loser politically.

Whatever the case, the Dems are just going to have to muddle through somehow with a scant 18 vote majority in the senate. Maybe they ought to put the NeoCons from the Bush administration on retainer to show 'em how it's done. As Jon Stewart and many others have pointed out, they managed to do whatever they wanted for eight years without this kind of majority.

Oh yeah. Watch out for this Scott Brown. He's light skinned and has no New England dialect uness he wants to have one. He's the most dangerous man to come out of the Tea Party crowd so far, and Glenn Beck is a bit worried that he might supplant the current Palin Beck speculation that's running arond the fringes of our political discuourse. 


 

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I have been wanting to go on a rant for about 36 hours now, but I thought I'd better hold off. Good thing: I let the professional step in. Thanks, Pat, that was cathartic.

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    "People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years but what's happened over the last eight years."

    I know you folks don't see it, but America is getting awfully weary of hearing "It's Bush's fault" from our President every time he is trying to explain his reckless agenda and the fact that the people don't want it.

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    Watch out for this Scott Brown. He's light skinned and has no New England dialect unless he wants to have one.

    Okay, that's the best line I've heard in a long time. It made it worth wading through all the preceding paragraphs of deep denial.

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    Rob: America is getting awfully weary of hearing "It's Bush's fault" from our President

    Actually, I'm awful weary of not hearing it. If there's any signature characteristic that divides this administration from the previous one is their reluctance to villfy their opponents in a regular methodical way.

    Jack: the preceding paragraphs of deep denial

    By all means, please elaborate.

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    I'm glad Republicans still feel like they speak for America. With 41 senators, a minority in the House, and President McCain, you have every right to feel so. Almost a full quarter of Americans approve of your performance!

    Scott Brown beat a terrible candidate and the Dems are behaving pathetically. Don't misread that result as an endorsement of Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP. Actually, do. And while you're at it, I think you should declare Sarah your leader and forge ahead.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    Right on to the point of sadness, Pat.

    So, just how are Democrats going to inspire the populace when they must please the big donors? This dilemma has only intensified with today's SCOTUS decision on corporate independent expenditures.

    Unless the voters become a lot more sophisticated [not likely], big spending campaigns will continue to win most elections, and elected officials will seek to please interests with enough money to get them reelected.

    This is a bigger problem for Democrats because their voters have a harder time swallowing the corporate agenda. Republican voters are more easily distracted by saber rattling, xenophobia, and the demonization of minorities, intellectuals, socialists[?], and the poor.

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    This dilemma has only intensified with today's SCOTUS decision on corporate independent expenditures.

    Yeah, and add in the Justice Department's craven avoidance of investigating the apparent murders of three prisoners at Camp No in Gitmo, or the whole bank bailout/big bonus fiasco; all in the interest of not playing the old divisive partisan politics of the past and looking to the future, lest we, (God Forbid) learn some lessons about consequences for Evil Doers in gummint jobs.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Today's talking point from the Dem. party is that health care is dead, "we just don't have the votes" says Pelosi. So apparently the Mass. special election has canceled out the General election that brought us a Dem. president and strong majorities in the House and Senate.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Applause, Applause

    Pat, when and if I ever meet you in person, I owe you a drink.

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    As soon as I saw the title and the author I knew BO readers would be in for something more than a rehash. A little of Paddy's barbwire goes a long way.

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    Pat, I owe you an apology. I went back and read your post again and realize that I was missing your point. My first quick read led me to believe that you were arguing that Democrats just need to return to their ideological message. When I slowed down and read it more carefully, I saw that you were actually saying the opposite.

    Which is not to say Democrats need to start talking like Republican (actually, I just which Republicans would go back to being old-time Repulicans, but that's another topic), but I think you did point out that there is a message in these election results and it is much more middle-class populist anger than either Republican or Democrat, or for that matter conservative or liberal.

    So I take back the "denial" remark but reconfirm that the Scott Brown line was very funny. I also think your broader point aboutis true as well, especially since Brown was a fairly moderate state legislator who supported Romney-care and had a good working relationship with his Democratic colleagues (despite Keith Olbermann's bizaare attempt now to paint him as a far-right wacko.)

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    On the other hand, there's this from Sam Stein this AM:

    The White House and Congress Democrats are launching a major populist initiative in an effort to lead, rather than suffer from, the anti-Wall Street, anti-establishment mood sweeping the country.

    In a sharp turnaround, the administration on Thursday announced a new proposal to place limits on the size of banks and prohibitions on their commercial activities. It's an idea that one senior White House official said President Obama began considering "a couple of months ago." But the timing of the rollout, coming one day after what the White acknowledged was a "wake up call" wasn't a coincidence.

    The reality of angry voters turning against them, as embodied by the election of Republic Scott Brown to the Senate seat in Massachusetts, is having a profound effect on Democratic leaders. Officials now recognize that the party appears far too aligned with financial industry bailouts and special-interest dealmaking, and that if the electoral bloodletting is to end, more distance is needed from Wall Street.

    Here's the link

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    despite Keith Olbermann's bizaare attempt now to paint him as a far-right wacko

    Yeah Jack, from your lips to God's ears. Keith and Rachel do no service to themselves or to the progressive effort, in vilifying this guy rather than looking at his record and the real disgust being channeled by voters toward, as you point out, both parties.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    The White House and Congress Democrats are launching a major populist initiative in an effort to lead, rather than suffer from, the anti-Wall Street, anti-establishment mood sweeping the country.

    Good idea. I await it's execution, but not while holding my breath.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Today's talking point from the Dem. party is that health care is dead, "we just don't have the votes" says Pelosi. So apparently the Mass. special election has canceled out the General election that brought us a Dem. president and strong majorities in the House and Senate.

    Your party wallowed in a cesspool of corruption for a year without ever coming to a final vote on the topic. Somehow, that is the superminority's fault.

    If you couldn't pass politically palatable transformational HCR with a supermajority and a fresh president in the WH, you'll never do it.

    Time for a piecemeal approach that can actually attract votes and some modicum of procedural speed.

    Open up the health insurance market across state lines, and outlaw folks from being dropped at the first hint of catastrophic illness in exchange for malpractice reform.

    Bring big pharma to heel in exchange for allowing more freedom to states to experiment with Medicaid and making health insurance affordably portable.

    There are lots of opportunities to do horse trading now that there is electoral trepidation about ramming things down people's throats.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    William Greider, a wise man, writes thusly: Coakley's Loss: Pie in the President's Face

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    And the wise and beautiful [I will chastise myself for that remark as soon as this is posted] Katrina Vanden Heuval writes thusly: The Massachusetts Lesson: Go Populist Now

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Josh Marshall of TPM confirms that there is no plan, the Dem. party leaders have decided it's no fun to play politics with health care anymore, so they are going to pretend it doesn't' exist anymore. The 49,000 deaths annually from lack of health coverage doesn't matter. http://www.harvardscience.harvard.edu/medicine-health/articles/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-lack-health-coverage The 46 million who have no coverage doesn't matter. The '08 election doesn't matter. Only the Mass. election matters. Right now the Dem. Party is more afraid of the tea-baggers than abandoning and betraying its own base.

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    Keith and Rachel do no service to themselves or to the progressive effort, in vilifying this guy rather than looking at his record and the real disgust being channeled by voters toward, as you point out, both parties.

    No kidding. Especially when Olbermann defends himself by pointing out that what he said about Brown isn't as bad as what Glenn Beck was saying about him. Sort of setting a low bar for yourself, I think.

  • Brian C. (unverified)
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    Though the title reminds me of an awful piece of cinema I recently sat through, your post is far superior to such dreck.

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    Brian,

    Yeah the book was pretty much unreadable as well, but hey, it's Literature.

    <hr/>

    Jeff,

    Sure you noticed some sentences and punctuation that sorta

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Is this a change, or were you not dissing progressives for taking an identical position on HCR?

    Well put. In the future I won't consider that we are making different assumptions. When you're working out of the same paradigm, "right" and "wrong" are back in play.

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    Right and Wrong are always in play with me as I never bought into the morally neutral meme that the libertarians have successfully embeded in the collective psyche starting in the early 80s.

    <hr/>

    That said, I'm also aspiring to be practical and strategic. That's where people who are concerned with both ethics and practicality will disagree.

    A lot.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    <h2>I was just making a technical point that you can't debate those things between paradigms, only within them. It's like trying to prove the assumptions of Euclidean geometry. You can't. That's why they're assumptions. Try assuming something different, and you don't reach a contradiction and a QED, you get a different geometry. Conclusions are only right or wrong within a geometry that shares assumptions.</h2>

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