The New Post- Partisanship: Punch The Hippies
You can hear the defenses now, but they are coming from fewer and fewer quarters. And they are become feebler - consider this one:
[T]he latest collective freak-out is over the proposed discretionary spending freeze that Obama will explain in the State of the Union address and that his administration is rolling out tonight. [. . .] What progressives should be concerned about isn't a spending freeze that is more symbolic than meaningful. [. . .] This stupid spending freeze is peanuts that won't mean anything in the larger picture. Congress probably won't go along with it anyway. [. . .] The best I can say for this bit of triangulation is that it polls well and it doesn't mean anything. The fiscal problems in Washington are endemic and unsolvable in our present system, and pretending the amount of money we're talking about here is even a drop in the bucket is just silly.
When this is the best that even an aspiring cheerleader can muster, you have to wonder about the political value of the politics of weakness being practiced by the Obama team. Here is Obama stalwart Nate Silver:
[C]ognitive dissonance [. . .] is going to be created in the mind of the average voter when the White House is promising to freeze spending on the one hand (or, more accurately, this will be the media caricature of their gambit), and on the other, trying to defend its stimulus and its health care reform package, trying to excuse the bailout package as a necessary evil, and perhaps trying to champion new programs. [. . .] [T]he White House (or at least the Democrats collectively) look flip-floppy. Every time the Democrats propose a jobs bill, or a big investment in alternative energy, you're going to have Krauthammer and Kristol chomping at the bit to go on Fox News and proclaim Obama to be a hypocrite. Pity Robert Gibbs trying to parse his way out of that. This is not how one wins news cycles -- or elections.
It's getting harder and harder for us progressives to stay chipper these days, isn't it? Today's deflating news for lefties was Obama's spending freeze proposal, and conservative Rich Lowry shows via Twitter that he understands why, even if the White House doesn't: "spending freeze, no matter how notional, is a huge ceding of rhetorical grnd by WH. will give GOP more leverage in makng anti-hcr, stim case." Sigh.
Village wonk and Obama stalwart Matt Yglesias writes:
Suffice it to say that Iím very skeptical of this approach. Iím attempting not to freak out because (a) I donít have details and (b) I suspect this initiative was deliberately leaked to progressive bloggers in an effort to get denounced by the left and I donít want to give them the satisfaction.
It is indeed a "punch the hippies" strategy. One forwarded by Harold Ford, Jr. earlier this week:
Harold Ford thinks we should cut taxes and cut the deficit and that the federal government should shrink in size and create jobs. And that's how stupid you have to be to write an op-ed for our elite papers.
(Emphasis supplied.) Or work in the White House. Ironic isn't it? Here is the Obama Administration reprising The Big Lebowski:
Your "revolution" is over, Mr. Lebowski! Condolences! The bums lost!
Yes, the "hippies" have now lost. But I doubt there are any winners outside the Tea Baggers and the GOP. The DLC rides again!
Speaking for me only
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