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.

Last week, Kevin Drum was punching hippies. Last night he was punching Obama:

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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  • Display: Sort:
    So Mr. 60%, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:28:07 AM EST
    what do you think the chances are that some Social Security cuts are enacted by Obama?
    Maybe he'll just cut SS for hippies, and everyone will be happy.

    TPM says 250 Billion over 10 years (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kidneystones on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:35:35 AM EST
    Or 25 billion a pop. I haven't seen the numbers but I have sneaking suspicion that between the steadily depreciating dollar and the cost of borrowing from the taxpayer, this is going to be a whole lot less than a drop in the bucket. It's an insult to anyone seriously interested in cutting spending, and a major kick in the face to folks watching their final UI benefits running out.

    I wouldn't have believed gang-rape of the public purse over the last year from Republicans in the teeth of the unemployment figures. What's the cost of winning Ben Nelson's vote? How much did buying the good will of Wall St. and the insurance companies cost?

    I frankly don't have much sympathy for the hippies. Too many spent too much time shilling for folks who view hippies with open contempt: the man in the Oval Office is probably smirking right about now. First year down. Three to go.

    Oh yeah. 'I'd rather be a good one-term president than win a second term.' True. You believe that don't you. I mean, it's not like he'd lie or anything.

    If Dems don't figure out which side their bread is buttered on quick, Obama is going to put the entire party under the bus, while he serves as the voice of sweet reason opposing a Republican controlled House and Senate.

    That's the real lesson of '94. And some Dems still believe Obama has their best interests at heart.

    He's going to hang the entire mess on them while Dems watch dumbfounded. Slow motion train wreck.

    Well, he's right in a way. (none / 0) (#4)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:39:37 AM EST
    The independents are the least informed voters,  overall---with many individual exceptions, obviously.

    Are you kidding me? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by itscookin on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:06:36 AM EST
    What kind of informed voter do you have to be to just go into the booth and vote for the person with a "D" after his name?

    Much better informed (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:29:28 AM EST
    than those who step into the booth and vote R.

    And much better informed than the 'vote for the man' crowd (read independents) who helped Obama get nominated.

    Now if the Democratic Party has any sense (boy, there's a stretch)they'll demand that caucus states become ballot states and lobby for closed primaries.

    We can't forget that defective caucuses and Republican crossovers put Obama over the top.


    Not so (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:23:02 AM EST
    Not so, in the least.  Many Independent voters (take me, for instance), came to this position with the enlightenment that neither party cares even a tiny bit about the needs of average working Americans.  One is just better at pretending that they do.

    At this point, I see party affiliation as an act of groupthinking brainwashing.

    I think you're doing what the media does -- equate Independent voters with "undecided voters" -- those who go into the poll on Tuesday, with their coin ready to flip or vote based on the best hair...although I'm not sure that electing presidents based on a coin toss would result in any better or worse outcome..


    There are two groups I might (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:04:33 AM EST
    be confusing, but I can't remember what the other one is!
    Anyway, surveys show that the vast middle of American politics---the people who don't have a party affiliation---are woefully uninformed.
    Many of these people thought they were voting for GHW Bush in 2000.
    I am pretty sure that voters with a partisan affiliation are more informed, generally.

    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:24:04 AM EST
    you think all those Nu-Dems who registered and went to rallies and phone banked were really informed as to the issues and the candidates' stances?  Or is it more likely that that they fell in love with a personality?

    You're making the piont (none / 0) (#16)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:38:23 AM EST
    that poorly informed, unaffiliated voters fell for a pesonality.

    How often did Obama supporters boast that they were pulling in people who had never before participated.

    Those new participants of all ages were the independents that don't get it.  That's how we got stuck with Obama the nominee.


    The new participants (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:49:24 AM EST
    Were just that - "new".  For many, this was probably the first time they'd ever voted, so I think it's a mistake to classify themselves as "independents" before hand.

    There were a number (none / 0) (#18)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:49:22 AM EST
    of older people involved, especially in my community.  Many of these people were independents.

    Predictable (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:56:48 AM EST
    I thought the losses in NJ , VA and then Mass. would be blamed on the progressives and Obama would push even further to the right.

    Rather than accept that the base is disgruntled over the lack of Democratic leadership, Obama and his team offer more Republican solutions to our national problems. (Well I remember him commenting about all of their good ideas!)

    He won't have to worry about being a two term mediocre president. He won't be given the chance. He now has to worry about being a one time disaster.

    'Mediocre' (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:22:20 AM EST
    is giving him too much credit.

    So far; worst Democratic President since the 19th century.

    Jimmy Carter crawls out of the basement.


    How is Military Tracy to wean (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:33:51 AM EST
    herself from Booman addiction if the link to Booman is disguised?

    I just can't wait (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:29:40 AM EST
    until Speaker Boehner attempts to enact "Obama's spending freeze."

    Hang on everyone, this is going to be so much fun!  

    Better than Bush (none / 0) (#6)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:18:19 AM EST
    he'll always have that.

    Really? I wonder what percentage (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:21:48 AM EST
    of voters think that now.

    As I said in another comment (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:41:54 AM EST
    the sooner a progressive like Dean, Grayson, Elizabeth Warren, Hell, even Kucinich announces a 2012 Democratic primary challenge, the better.  The flood of contributions to that candidate from the netroots and other disaffected Democrats will shock this White House, maybe into taking some positive, progressive actions.