Did you hear the falling bombs

17 10 2013

Yet another genius pundit:

If he can split the Republicans in the House, essentially, he regains control of the two houses of Congress and he might be able to enact his agenda. I think that’s what he’s up to,” Krauthammer said.

He added, “I think Obama’s long game has always been, if he’s going to pass his agenda in the second term, where he doesn’t control the House, he has to fracture the Republicans in the House and by rubbing it in or by antagonizing conservatives, he’s going to help in doing that.”

To which I can only say: if only.

President Obama is a smart and able president, and one who certainly thinks beyond the electoral cycle (see: his work regarding nuclear weapons proliferation), but Krauthammer’s glowering take on Obama’s “long game” should be treated with the exact same seriousness as the Sully-dream of him as “eleventh-dimensional chess-master”, i.e., not at all.

What also should not be taken seriously: that the GOP will disappear and/or a nationally-viable third party will emerge in the next decade. Republicans continue to do well at the state level, and the Tea Party, while damaging in some ways at the national level, are unlikely either to get stronger (and thus more damaging) or to leave the Grand Old Party altogether (and if they would, that would likely mean the end of the TPers rather than the GOPpers). Insofar as they turn off independents from the party, they add a few bumps to the 2016 presidential electoral road, but to a deft politician (i.e., not Ted Cruz), they are merely bumps.

Republican puritans make politics more difficult—to say no negotiation, ever, is to repudiate a central function of politics—and thus inflict real harm on the country, but given that they’re unlikely to wreck the GOP, they’re certainly not going to wreck the US of A.

Which is why I have no problem encouraging ruthlessness on the part of the Dems. Politics does benefit from some degree of generosity, but when you know the other guy if given half a chance would stab you in the face, you’d be foolish to hand him a knife.

No, go ahead and twist your own blade. They can take it.

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Bam! Bam! Bam!

12 07 2011

Hellooooooo! Anyone hooooooomme? Democrats, are you theeeeere?

“We think public schools should go away,’’ says Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate — both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — of passage of school voucher bills. The tea party operates in those two states and Delaware. They should “go away,” she says, because “they are hurting our children.’’ […] Adams says the current voucher program “discriminates” against wealthier students by providing public subsidies only to inner-city children in allegedly failing schools. Her group’s e-mails pushing vouchers caught the attention of James Kovalcin of South Brunswick, a retired public school teacher who asked Adams for clarification. She responded via email: “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.” [emph. in original]

Can you do something with this? Or how about this—Orrin Hatch on taxation:

No matter what these Democrats tell you, the wealthy and middle class are already shouldering around 100 percent of the nation’s tax burden and 51 percent pay absolutely nothing in income taxes,” Hatch fumed before lambasting the entire system.

“Furthermore, because of this perverse distribution of federal income taxes, there is no way to fix our deficit hole and start paying down the debt by increasing taxes only on the so-called rich,” he said.

And here’s Senator Hatch again, on aid for workers displaced by trade deals (TAA):

I hope we can find a better path forward and the president will now act quickly and submit these agreements for congressional consideration, without including the TAA poison pill.

That’s right, help for workers thrown overboard on the rough seas of  ‘free’ trade is a poison pill.

You can’t do anything with that?

How about Eric Cantor’s proposal to make students begin paying interest as soon as they take out student loans? Republican resistance to corporate tax breaks?

Go after them, all of them. Go into their districts and raise hell, force them to deal with constituents who’d be burned by their policies, make them all answer for the worst of them.

Let the president play nice.

The party, on the other hand, needs to grow a pair of titanium tits and fight! fight! fight!

_____

h/t Zaid Jilani, Think Progress; Michael McAuliff, HuffPo; Pat Garofalo, Think Progress/Doug Palmer and David Lawder, Reuters





I’m not angry!

19 09 2010

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

Entertaining scene.

You do know, of course, that Howard Beale is a nutjob.

That doesn’t mean he makes no sense whatsoever. I happen to like the declaration I’m a human being, goddammit, and my life has value! And as a jolt to complacency (steel-belted radials. . . ) well, here’s a common quaking ground between an agitated left and agitated right.

Anger has its uses, of course, precisely in that jolting kind of way—it can get one moving out of passivity and into action—so it’s a start, a propeller, an accelerant, spark and fuel. Fine. But it’s a shitty engine.

Which is to say, it’s a shitty politics.

I’m not a fan of the Tea Party folk (surprise!), but that kind of raging rhetoric can be found all over the political spectrum. I get it, I really do—I was known in college for yelling at the news and once smeared butter all over the dorm-lounge t.v. because I didn’t like what I was witnessing—so I understand what it’s like to be electrified by what one considers to be lies, distortions, and general injustice. (And yes, I still yell at the radio, tho’ I keep the butter in the fridge.)

But that ain’t enough; even Howard Beale noted that after everyone gets angry, ‘then we’ll figure out what to do. . . .’

So what will the Tea Party do? Christine O’Donnell, TP-GOP nominee for the Delaware senate seat, said in a speech to the Value Voters Summit that whatever the disagreements among Republicans,  “we’re loud, we’re rowdy, we’re passionate.” And Sharron Angle, the Nevada TeePer senate candidate, has spoken of recourse to the 2nd Amendment if her kind don’t get their way. Is this where the anger ends?

But what if you win, what will you do? Ms. O’Donnell notes that all of her votes will be decided on the basis of the Constitution; does she know that tax increases, spending increases, unbalanced budgets, unfunded wars, and international treaties are all Constitutional? Does Ms. Angle realize that supporting the military, cutting spending, extending Bush-era tax cuts, and paying down the national debt does not compute?

This isn’t just snarking on incoherent campaign platforms—it is a campaign, after all, and as long as you reel in votes, anything goes—but noting that these two campaigns, at least, seem to be less about any policy and more about stickin’ it to The Man.

And once that Man is dead (he won’t be, of course, you remember how Network, ends, don’t you?), then what?

Once your anger is slaked, then what? Or is the point the anger, after all?