Matt Yglesias writes:

You can like the 111th Congress or you can dislike it, but there’s just no way to deny that it did a lot more stuff than the four or five congresses before it.

I dunno, just off the top of my head, I remember that those Congresses blew a trillion dollar hole in the budget with tax cuts for the rich, authorized two wars, one the most insane one in recent history, passed the most vicious assault on civil liberties in a generation with the Patriot Act and the rewriting of FISA, enacted a budget busting prescription drug benefit, and passed the atrocious No Child Left Behind Act.

That seems like a lot of "stuff" to me. But of course, the REAL objection is not about the measure of the amount of "stuff" that was done - it is that people don't agree with the Beltway Bloggers about how AWESOME the "stuff" passed by this Congress was. Yep, it's "nuts" to disagree with the Beltway Bloggers. Also read Susie Madrak.

Speaking for me only

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    Ford had the ability to roll a lot (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:54:31 AM EST
    of Edsels off the assembly line. Problem was people did not like the product and refused to buy it.

    BTW, Susie Madrak's post nails it.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:57:51 AM EST
    It seems odious to argue "vote for us because the alternative is worse" but the alternative here really is fascism. The Pledge to America is dangerously reactionary.
    Conservatives have an important role, but they cannot be allowed to govern. The policies of the previous neo-con administration mimic the economic and civil liberties policies of 1920s Italy. The result then was war and recession. No further proof required.

    You don't get to argue that (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by cawaltz on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:57:30 PM EST
    when this admin's crowning achievement was to sellout to the insurance industry and hospitals. Or when this admin after failing to ensure that the government was doing it's job instead of allowing BP to walk all over regulation and sign it's own paperwork then allowed BP to run as point on clean up. I mean seriously it appears the options available to Americans is fascism either way from where I'm sitting.

    My terminology for this is (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by robotalk on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:00:13 AM EST
    "Spew." It seems like something that just continuously emanates--substance free--from certain sources.

    It is worthy of being ignored.

    And since when ... (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:02:58 AM EST
    has "doing a lot of stuff" been how we judge congress?

    It's like that Woody Allen joke.  "The food here is so bad."  "Yeah, and such small portions."

    The Beltway Bloggers are appealing to that sentiment.  Sure, the stuff the 111th passed was crap.  But you got a heck of a lot of it!

    Susie's right: we're just not that (5.00 / 7) (#6)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:19:14 AM EST
    into Congress.  If Congress were a date, it would show up with 1 living flower in among the dead ones, an ancient box of candy full of the nuts we're allergic to, take us to a dive for an over-priced dinner we'd end up paying for, and wonder why, when arriving back at our house, we didn't want to invite it in for, um, an after-dinner drink.  Sheesh.

    For crying out loud, Congress isn't our date, and this isn't about "liking" them as much as it's about their job performance and who they answer to; they don't get points just for showing up and they certainly don't get them for slapping an inspirational title on crappy legislation and calling it "historic."

    If anyone needs to get over themselves and stop whining, it's the Democrats in Congress and the guy in the WH; if what they've "achieved" is the best they can do, it's time to replace them with those who don't think a shrug qualifies as "action" on the issues that need addressing.

    Matt Yglesias may be smart and bright and all that other good stuff, but he's been co-opted like almost no one else other than Boo-hoo Man; doesn't' anyone have standards anymore?

    Jesus, these people are getting on my nerves.

    Moving the goalposts. (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:34:31 AM EST
    Too many folks running around talking about success or 'progressive success' without trying to define success or to measure it either comparatively or objectively.

    If we compare the health insurance reform to nothing, it's a success because it passed. doesn't matter if it does nothing a health CARE reform would do... something is more than nothing, so why don't you like us?

    We're more progressive than GWB was, so stop your crying. I'll give you something to cry about if you don't stop your crying.


    Part of this is because of the shift (none / 0) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:57:29 AM EST
    to a the-other-guys-are-worse form of governance, such that no matter how poorly the Dems perform, as long as they can point to the GOP as being worse, they think they've not just achieved something, but committed a great humanitarian act by saving us from the evil ones.

    And they are annoyed that we don't appreciate it.

    They just don't seem to get that the standard that matters to most of us is not how much worse the other guy would be, but the quality of what they - the ones in charge - have delivered.

    But, as long as we, the voters, keep allowing ourselves to be herded into the voting booth to cast votes for the (D) candidates because they  are marginally better than the other choices, the quality of our representation will just continue to decline.

    I shudder to think what the "bottom" will look like...


    used to worry about fascism rearing (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:02:35 PM EST
    it's ugly ways here. Now I am more concerned with higher levels of incompetence, or order-of-magnitude jumps in stupidity and/or corporatism. I think a block of tea party candidates could make things much worse.

    But I think things are bad, very bad, right now.


    Coment by "someguy" to Susie's post (5.00 / 8) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:59:04 AM EST
    By analogy...

    Obama is like the guy that gives his wife a mop for their anniversary. At first he's confused and then he's angry because his wife is disappointed with the mop.

    Good analogy, except ... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Yman on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:39:37 PM EST
    ... a mop would actually be helpful in cleaning up his mess.

    Excellent comment. (none / 0) (#12)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:03:21 PM EST
    It's a great example.

    I thought Yglesias ... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:08:34 PM EST
    was being sarcastic, when he included this as one of the 111th's impressive achievements:

    [The 111th] also mandated calorie labeling on chain restaurant menus nationwide.

    But the rest of the pieces suggests he meant this seriously.

    The Onion could save a lot of money on professional comedy writers by just reprinting the work of Beltway Bloggers(TM).

    Does supporting policy vs. politicians work? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Swiggs on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:38:42 PM EST
    Serious question.  I understand the appeal of loyalty to policy not politicians.  We don't want to be slavish lapdogs the way Republicans seem to be.  But, of the top progressive policy successes in the last quarter century (say), how many came because progressives successfully advocated for that policy at the time vs. a progressive politician opportunistically forwarding a progressive agenda item when s/he saw an opening?  It seems to me that republicans / conservatives support broad "principles" vs. specific policies.  They support politicians who adhere to their stated principles.  And it seems like if you lined up "conservative" policy success over the past 25 years vs. progressive policy success, the conservatives are way ahead (again, please educate me if you disagree).  I think it's easier to build majorities / enthusiasm around broad principles than specific policies.  I can articulate conservative principles (lower taxes, less regulation, get gov't "out of your life).  What are the progressive principles?  Could the Democrat's fabled "enthusiasm gap" be less about politicians who don't sufficiently deliver against progressive policies than the fact that it's hard to work up enthusiasm for wonky policies like public options or cap & trade, and we don't really have a broader shared vision that voters can get enthusiastic about?

    'Administratium' in academic circles: (none / 0) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:08:50 AM EST
    That wonderful new element with an atomic number of 0 and an atomic weight of 312. I guess I'm one of those lepton-like particles ;-P

    Administratium [Ad]

    I agree with this (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:23:11 AM EST
    That said, I'm not really sure how people are supposed to know about all this since the incumbents responsible for a lot of this sweeping change to come seem almost embarrassed to talk about it at times.

    Sometimes I feel like bloggers are trying to persuade blog readers so blog readers will go out and campaign for politicians (because the politician sucks at it).  When in reality, it would be a lot easier for the politicians to just do the campaigning.  In this case though, I would suspect the reason they aren't talking about the calorie count is because the American people have bigger fish to fry (har har) at the moment.

    I wonder if what Susie says about the mandate will be true.  I think the mandate might be how we get to the public option...but then again if we get close enough to a PO the mandate will lose insurance company support.  And it's clear they still rule our world.  

    Not to mention the last Congress had (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:47:13 PM EST
    more hearings into the WH abuses of power.

    Susie Madrak (none / 0) (#17)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:55:57 PM EST
    Her piece could use a few more verses, but at least she's singing in tune:

    You have no idea how difficult, how scary it is for the rest of us out here. That's why these incremental, kick-the-can-down-the-road bills you pass seem like such a big deal to you, and such a small deal to us. They don't help us with the problems we face right this minute -- you know, like 21% unemployment?

    Johnny Rotten had the tune right too.

    I'm also rather fond ... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 02:00:56 PM EST
    of this from her comments section:

    Also if you don't love me your next boyfriend will be a morbidly obese axe-murdering rapist, so really, all things considered, you should love me.

    Unfortunately, (none / 0) (#20)
    by NYShooter on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:34:07 PM EST
    it's true.

    We've seen what they can do as a minority, a super-minority at that; just imagine what they'll do when they hold all the committee chairs.

    Nothing but subpoenas as far as the eye can see....