From "Drill, Baby Drill" To "It's The Economy, Stupid"

Matt Yglesias writes an interesting post on the political delusions of Republicans and their enablers in the Drudge/Halperin Media. But in the end, Yglesias' best, and obvious insight (except to those fascinated by 11 dimensional chess) is this:

Iíll be the first to tell you that none of this will matter very much if the economy is in the toilet in 2012.

Indeed. Elections are, first and foremost, referendums on the governing party. I suggest those who are really interested in Democratic success worry more about whether the Obama Administration's policies will work than whatever antics the GOP is pulling. Cuz that's gonna decide the political health of the Democratic Party for the next decade at least. Given the situation in the country, President Obama can lead Dems to FDR-like dominance or Jimmy Carter-like enfeeblement. I think the Bill Clinton Third Way is no longer on the menu.

Speaking for me only

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    If you're right, too bad. . . (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:17:13 AM EST
    I think the Bill Clinton Third Way is no longer on the menu.

    That the "Third Way" has always been Obama's favorite entree.

    How about "Obama in China"? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:24:36 AM EST
    LAT article says China's stock market is rebounding due to China's stimulus measures.  

    Clinton didn't have the luxury of (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by hairspray on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:27:18 PM EST
    majorities in the senate and the congress.  Obama does and needs to act accordingly.

    it is very perplexing. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Salo on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:33:01 PM EST
    Obama has something aproaching fiat.  But he's decided not to even come close to using 50% of that power. What is he thinking? He'll get blamed for everything that does go wrong in the next 4-8 years so why not just enjoy the honeymoon?

    As I've said before, Obama appears (none / 0) (#25)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:35:13 PM EST
    to be just the kind of President he promised to be---an unusual and unfortunate situation, this time around.

    Obamarama Ding Dong (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:26:26 AM EST
    My only hope is that, pols being pols, Obama will realize he has to try another "act".  Now, hope is far from reasonable expectation, but at least it's still there.  I mean, sakes alive, is it that hard for him to see clearly the gameplan that needs to be used?  Can he not understand the concept of righteous anger?  If the economy weren't about to collapse like the house of sand it is, he could be a little patient and try this nicey nicey act.  But the time is yesterday to get mad.  Tomorrow may be too late.

    And hence my hope reamins just that and nothing more.  

    "Obamarama Ding Dong " (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:48:28 PM EST
    "Otis, my man!"

    "You mind if we dance with your dates? (none / 0) (#36)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 03:23:35 PM EST
    And that giant hand.  Great movie from my baby green salad days.  

    Can't get that song out of my head now... (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 03:47:01 PM EST
    I hate the typical repbulican... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:39:38 AM EST
    I don't share many, practically any of their views - but I think their antics are created to provoke a lack of introspection on the left - I mean that's what the entire Palin debate was - so pissed at them that we get less and less critical of so many assumptions and statements made by others.   They're financed by some of the richest people in the world, I doubt that if these statement were not designed to elevate the perceived rationality of non-republicans they would not be as pervasive.

    "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, `Look, here's what happened.'"

    Going back to the well (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:45:52 AM EST
    We've missed the chance to use a "big" offensive to fight the economic downward spiral. Under Bush we put money into the rebate, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Also AIG, the banks and etc. Then we sat back and waited. Now we're going to scatter more money around and wait again. By the time we realize that we have to drastically alter our strategy, we'll be too broke to have a do over.

    We are already (none / 0) (#17)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:02:37 PM EST

    On Monday we'll be broker.

    The economy may turn around because it can't be much worse but we'll be in huge debt, inflation will set it, etc...

    I am very gloomy on the economy.  I think we are heading towards our own lost decade or a few lost years and Dems will suffer because of it.  

    I wish they'd suffer for other reasons because I'd reather not suffer through a bad economy just to get republicans in office to screw it up their own way.

    A bipartisan government created this mess and now dems are making it worse by passing this stimulus.

    Republicans want me to believe that they've some how come to their senses but that is only because they are in the minority now and it's easy for them to do what they should have been doing when they where in control.

    I hope I'm just a chicken little and this great economy recovers despite our government but after this "stimulus" passes it may take a travesty for our government to realize it can't spend it's way to prosperity.


    "can't spend it's way to prosperity" (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Teresa on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:08:59 PM EST
    so what is your solution? The tax cut bill the Republicans proposed the other night would cost four times as much over ten years. You think that would work? Haven't we got into this mess partly due to the Bush tax cuts?

    We had another company, one of the country's largest magazine distributors shut its doors yesterday. That's 400 more jobs in my town on top of over 2,000 that I know of. That's just the companies that have totally shut down. There are many that have had layoffs. There are no jobs for these people. What do we do? Just let them starve, lose their homes and die from lack of health care?

    I could use a good MilitaryTracy rant right now.


    The economic crisis is a logical result (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 04:10:16 PM EST
    of a democracy operating as a plutocracy.  The problem is that our government is run by special interests that buy off elected officials on both sides of the aisle.  Our Dems gave us a stimulus bill with precisely the sort of pork that breathes life into what should have been the moribund Republican Party.  We already know that Republicans are scheming behind closed doors on two core goals:  1) Making our Dem leaders, especially our Prez look bad in 2010 and worse in 2012, and 2) Protecting privilege, wealth, and the status quo that keeps them personally in power. They will sacrifice our country and the American people to obtain these two objectives.  We are well on the way of becoming a third world nation, and unfortunately, we cannot compete against countries who don't share our values (like not making our kids go to work and not selling one of our daughters to support the rest of the family.)  

    Obama has been very clear that it's up to us to set the tone and the direction, and his (and the government's) job is to lead the rest of the country the way we want.  If we want progressive policies, we need to demand them loudly and clearly, right now.  

    The primary problems we face are 1) Lack of agreement (or understanding) on what our party goals should be for the next two years, and 2) How to further our goals without those actions being used against us.  As Democrats, we need to recognize that many of our Dem leaders are bought and paid for.  The telecom industry switched their financial support & lobbing from Repubs to Dems last year, which may be why the stimulus bill has $650 million allocated for the Digital Converter Box Program to help transition from analog to digital television.  We need to prevent elected Dems from setting our Party up for failure with easily criticized pork as opposed to real stimulus programs.  

    We also have to eliminate our Party's classic, historical impediments.  This is an opportunity to cut back on spending that isn't in our country's best interests and/or is actively used against us by our critics (the Iraq occupation tops this list, and on the lower end, various programs in the stimulus bill that are clearly pork).  This economic crisis is our chance to end policies for redistribution of wealth that Republicans created, and move forward with programs that actually fix the root of the economic crisis and that help the middle class (e.g. HOME/HOLC or the creation of a true Commonwealth Bank and/or legislation that would allow bankrupt homeowners to have their mortgages modified under court protection, or perhaps interest-rate subsidies to help lenders and borrowers agree on modified loan terms, and the ability of bankruptcy court judges to impose a settlement on lenders who aren't doing enough to prevent unnecessary foreclosures).

    In addition, we need to move ahead quickly on mitigating the age old right wing nonsense that they bang us over the head with, including civil rights and tax breaks for the wealthy.  

    It's up to US to save this country -- not our corporate sponsored politicians, and not the super rich who are hellbent on turning our country into a third world non-competitor. Upper middle class Democrats seem to be hoping that if we throw enough money at our economic problems, their recent stock losses will somehow be returned to them. In reality, these Wall Street losses are like a ponzi scheme.  Banksters just used TARP I to enrich themselves while foreclosing even more aggressivly on the very Americans who were footing the bill for the bailout.  The business model is just plain wrong.  It's not sustainable in a world economy.  In fact, rampant capitalism is what is killing us, and the sooner our upper middle class realizes they're part of the group under the heel of the oppressors, the sooner we'll come together and demand our government support US for a change.  

    It may just be public posturing (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:12:35 AM EST
    But Chris Van Hollen, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says there probably won't be a "third wave" of Democratic wins in 2010 and the job is to "hold the line."

    And he agrees with you, as well:

    But if the economy does not begin to recover after the passage of the stimulus, Van Hollen warned that Democrats may face a major political problem. "The political challenge will be if the economy doesn't turn the corner and trying to explain that," he said.

    Probably true; but should (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:26:52 AM EST
    this man in this position publicly proclaim this now?  

    Not now or ever (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:29:02 AM EST
    But Dems have the nasty habit of always discussing their political strategy with reporters, on the record. In short, they are idiots.

    Another example: (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:34:54 AM EST
    Emanuel admits obama messed up http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123449249590080699.html]

    Really nice guy.  Isn't Emanuel's job to get Congress in line on the President's legislative priorities?

    P.S.  Why is Fidel having so much trouble figuring out the significance of "Emanuel"?  Has he never read the Bible?


    Bad link. (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:35:57 AM EST
    They actually don't (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:47:40 AM EST
    They EXECUTE their political strategy on the record.

    Talex, I know you have never understood that point, but I took the opportunity to highlight it using your example.

    Thanks for that.


    they never say (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Salo on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:19:08 PM EST
    God, Guns and Gays.

    They propose bills that follow that phrase. That is the difference.  

    The dems could say:

    Healthcare, Jobs, Housing

    But they never really pass bills that address these issues adequately.

    We use explicit slogans all the time and they really don't do it explicitly.


    link one republican... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Salo on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 04:00:25 PM EST
    ...saying the phrase "God, Guns and Gays..."

    The only people that say it are summarizing GOP strategy--journalists and dem strategists.

    You won't find Gingrich or Limbaugh saying that phrase.


    Spreading talking points and "seeds" IS (none / 0) (#34)
    by esmense on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:38:36 PM EST
    "executing" strategy. You are confusing using media to execute strategy with revealing strategy to the media. (Perhaps the inability to discern the difference is the Democrats' problem.) There is a huge difference between going on the talk shows to tell people the President's policies are disasterous and so you won't be supporting them and revealing to a reporter that you are taking some action primarily because conditions look bad for, or because doing so will advance the interests of, your party. It's the difference between telling the media, for instance, that you are proposing tax breaks for a certain constituency because it will "create jobs" and telling reporters that tax breaks for that constiuency are designed to win you their much needed votes.  

    I (none / 0) (#4)
    by SOS on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:24:41 AM EST
    imagine you had little in the way of social and/or intellectual capital to pass on to your children. One thing you could give to your kids is "stuff."

    That's going to require lot's of Oil. . the lifeblood of industrial consumption.

    Derivatives and exotic investment instruments obviously didn't quite work out to well as a sustainable economic model.

    Pelosi on her way to Italy? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Radiowalla on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:25:10 AM EST
    Congress ready to go on vacation tomorrow?  Is that why the stimulus bill is being rushed to a vote?    This is what I'm hearing on the radio right now and, if this the case, the referendum on Congress will not be pretty.  We won't have to wait until 2012 to suffer voter backlash.  

    Unfortuantely (none / 0) (#8)
    by SOS on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:28:50 AM EST
    they make our world and we just live in it.

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#28)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:57:52 PM EST
    we are the ones who have created that scenario.

    Last I heard (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:38:29 AM EST
    Obama wanted it on his desk so he could sign it on Monday (Federal Holiday - could own the news cycle).

    But he and Michelle are going to Chicago this weekend for Valentine's Day, so I guess it's ok if Pelosi goes to Italy....


    What a bunch of elitist hypocrites! They put up (none / 0) (#45)
    by suzieg on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:13:05 AM EST
    a show of indignation against the excesses of wall street and banks, simply to turn around and do the very same thing!  Where is their sense of decorum? Have they no shame?


    Intrepid Lawmakers to Brave the Alpine Front

    By In The Loop Al Kamen
    Thursday, February 12, 2009; A15

    Hurry, hurry, hurry. Congress will begin its 2009 travel season in earnest this weekend with two spectacular codels -- trips for House congressional delegations -- that are not to be missed.

    On Saturday, Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House delegation to NATO's parliamentary assembly, and his wife will lead a delegation of 13 lawmakers -- plus 10 spouses -- on a fine nine-day jaunt starting at NATO's headquarters in Brussels.

    Before you start scoffing about how this hardly compares to Tanner's post-election delegation to Valencia and Rome in November, we would point out that the next stop is, yes, the City of Lights, Paris, where one could have a nice late Valentine's Day moment.

    From there we move on to Vienna for a little Sacher torte and then to review NATO's strategy to defend the Bavarian Alps, stopping in the lovely ski center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with its breathtaking views.

    The huge number of members, spouses and staffers, plus military escorts, will require taking one of the bigger military jets, but we're told these trips are an important use of taxpayer money

    more if you can stomach it....


    Obama Knows His Job Is ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:09:39 PM EST
    on the line if the economy and the financial system meltdown is not yesterday's news by the time 2012 comes.  He has said so.  The question is whether or not he has the courage and team support to do what has to be done.  He may be toast either way in 2012 because the medicine is not going to go down easy.  Who likes Castor Oil?

    Do you think that matters to him? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:01:20 PM EST
    He'll be a former president faster if he only does one term. Seems Jimmy Carter makes a nice living on his books and speeches.

    I don't see him being an over-achiever in any of his past positions. This works just fine for him. He got to POTUS on it.


    You really believe that? (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by WS on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:25:50 PM EST

    Will the next person (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:16:23 PM EST
    to be considered for Secretary of Commerce signal that something has been learned about the not so grand success of post-partisanship?   Will it be a Republican, a Democrat, or, maybe,  find a nice comfort zone and sort of split the difference with an Independent? Maybe, the most important aspect of the nomination.

    Penny Pritzker (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:19:19 PM EST
    No She Is Not (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:23:45 PM EST
    Yes she is (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 03:43:35 PM EST
    She can change her mind.

    And it was snark - seeing as how good a record he has in filling this position.

    But YOU knew that.


    Snark? (1.00 / 1) (#41)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 03:48:14 PM EST
    Is that your euphemism for trolling?

    I'm slow today and I've spent half an hour (none / 0) (#26)
    by Teresa on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 12:40:45 PM EST
    reading about "Third Way" politics. Are you saying he can't govern like Clinton did due to current circumstances? We need strong leadership and FDR-like programs or he will end up like Jimmy Carter?

    I guess I need a political lesson.

    HE ought to be governing... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Salo on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:13:36 PM EST
    ...like Attlee in the late 1940s or he'll have no real political legacy--win or lose in 2012. Obama's head games with the GOP are not particularly germane to the job he's got. He needs to immediately get teh healthcare reforms he's planning passed.  Then he'll have some credibility with historians and future admirers.

    FDr had the luxury of 3-4 terms to put his stamp on things even then he stopped short of the big healthcare reforms. Obama gets a few years of productivity and then he's going to turn into a foreign policy obsessed president just like all the rest since 1945.