Friday, July 16, 2010
Considering how insanely difficult it was to pass health care and financial reform, which big ticket items do you think are likely to be sighed into law under a narrow Democratic majority in the house and the senate?:
-Cap and Trade
-Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
-Repeal of DOMA
I honestly can't see any of these things getting passed and if we're going to have at least two years of congress being completely useless (as opposed to mostly useless), it might as well be useless like a fox! Over the last twenty years the majority of Democratic political and policy failures have been the result of the party being overly "centrist" and lacking any real coherent ideology other than opposition to the far right in the GOP. The Republicans are just the opposite. They have been growing more and more into a solidly neo-conservative party for about 30 years now and their failures are usually the result of ideological overreach. The Clinton Impeachment Trials, The Iraq War, Terry Schiavo, the GOP's overzealous pursuit of its own ideology is its own worst enemy.
If the GOP wins the house they will go overboard like they did in the 90s. You will probably see millions of dollars go to investigating Sestackgate or to finding a connection between Obama and the New Black Panther Party. There will be epic battles over the federal budget with threats of closing down the post office. Then there will be the theatrics. Nobody does ludicrous political theater better than the Republicans. Unemployment will continue to be high and future state of the economy shall remain uncertain, during which the public will watch the GOP make complete asses of themselves, while almost nothing is done to help the American people. Obama will probably benefit politically as well from being able to play the centrist card against the GOP. It will also likely hurt the chances for the GOP winning the presidency in 2012. In 2012, the odds may be pretty good for GOP losing a narrow majority in the house to an Obama re-election wave.
As I have said before, I don't expect much if anything more from Obama in terms of positive accomplishments( as opposed to preventing the other guys from implementing worse policies than his own). I believe his ability to implement policy changes from left has already peaked and will likely be arrested by the results of the midterm. Still, I think we are more likely to see some decent reforms passed by a Democratic congress coming off of a win in 2012, than a democratic congress in 2011 that has just lost several seats.
So get out the big top, call up the yak woman, place a want add for the carnies, procure me some monkey and fish parts to mold into a Fiji Mermaid, and send in the clowns!
Friday, July 2, 2010
The following was posted over at Balloon Juice in response to this:
I have reporduced the lenghty post on my part in full for archival purposes.
I hate to say this, but when the Dems are defending Obama’s dumbassery on Afghanistan in classical GOP style, it just shows that there has not been nearly enough change. And no, I really don’t give a shit if Steele is a moron who can’t string together a coherent critique of the president. I also don’t give a shit if he gets fired and replaced by another idiot or if this causes a fracas among conservative pundits for a few hours before they move on to another scandal. In terms of the coming election this will all be irrelevant. What is relevant is what it says about the Democratic Party.
I was always a bit cynical towards Obama and always found the Pumas and their opposite numbers to be hysterically stupid in their faith that either Obama or Clinton would be substantially more progressive than the other despite no solid evidence of any significant policy differences between the two. Still, I had hoped that conditions might have forced whoever won the nomination and the presidency to set a radical new course in both domestic and foreign policy. That alas has not happened.
Everything has gone more or less as Bernhard over at Moon of Alabama predicted. The stimulus was not enough to rescue the economy and with its failure there is no political will for further stimulus or even to extend current unemployment benefits. Most of the western politicians have now adopted a neo-hoover mentality towards the economic crises. Obama, a prisoner of his own lack of audacity early in his presidency when he had the political capital to actually achieve things, is powerless to stop this. At best this means further economic stagnation in the west, at worst it means a double dip recession. At this point we are all like Luke Skywalker on the second Death Star, being laughed at by the evil emperor who knows we are doomed. Luke and his buddies were bailed out by an army of munchkins dressed as teddy bears. I don’t think we can count on that.
The Europeans are fortunate at least in that they are mostly under center-right governments and will have viable alternatives when election time comes. We yanks on the other hand shall be presented with a choice between a rational crypto -Republican and and irrational Republican. What don’t believe me? Let’s say that the new austerity leads to a double dip recession? What is Obama going to do? Is he going to dust off FDR’s New Deal and run against his own record? Are the tea baggers going to suddenly discover Keynesian economics? Is Christopher Hitchins going to invite Pope Benedict over to his place to administer last rights? Nope.
In a wonderful post, the great Bilmon said that in spite of all their flaws the Democrats were the only hope for progressive change in this country. That assessment was correct in 2008 and it may be correct in 2016, but it is probably not true today and it certainly won’t be after the midterms. It does not matter whether the GOP retakes the house or not. The dems will lose seats simply because the massive majority they gained in 2008 is unsustainable. This won’t matter though, the media narrative will be the same as when Brown won-that this is push back against Obama and big government, The remaining conservative dems will eat it up and nothing besides spending cuts and war appropriations will get passed. Obama was a force for change, but in terms of anything that needs a congressional vote, he is a largely spent force.
There are things that he could do in his role as chief of the executive branch such as change strategy in Afghanistan and role back some of the more pernicious claims of executive power that he inherited from Bush, but he has shown no will to do such. The passage of health care reform is almost certainly going to be seen as the peak of Obama’s presidency. All that is left now is to watch this paralyzed administration be destroyed by poor economic and foreign policies and then watch him hand over the keys to the Bush security state(largely preserved by Barry despite his rhetoric) to the next king.
There seems to be a lot of bitterness towards the likes of Greenwald and Luis Black for not indulging in the tribal chant of the Democratic Party loyalist. I suppose this is understandable. Alcoholics do not like to be told that they are addicts and religious fundamentalist do not like to be reminded that their bible is contradicted by fact. It is of course great fun to make fun of the fundies, the homophobes, the birthers, the war nuts, etc. etc. But then some smart ass comes by and points out that your party sucks. Yeah you can always point out ways in which the dems are better, but that is a bit like claiming your couch potato child is athletic because he can out compete Christopher Reeves. So without anything substantive or even particularly clever to say in return, you just call them assholes or naderites for exposing you to reality.
Good Night and Good Luck!