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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?

Obama's comments to Rolling Stone are causing a predictable hissy fit in the lefty base. How dare he say he doesn't suck! And that libs who bail now aren't really "serious" about reform? Doesn't he know that nothing will inspire the Dems to fight for victory like a full body grovel, Wayne and Garth style ("We're not worthy!")?

Is there anything in politics more predictable than the Democrats' circular firing squad? Honestly, I don't know what annoys me more, the routine, spineless wankery of the Blue Dogs or the whiny, self-loathing purism of the Fire Dogs. The reader comments at the various center left blogs are enough to make me wonder if the Dems will ever be able to assemble a stable governing coalition.

A few basic points: 1) the Fire Dogs seem to complain that Obama should go on offense more, but they only seem to go on offense against Obama. Adam Green was on Lawrence O'Donnell tonight bitching about how Big O didn't kneecap Lieberman or Snowe to ram through purer versions of HCR or FR or DADT, etc., rather than cutting deals. Fine. But that's some high risk, bad cop behavior for a guy with a razor thin cloture margin. Maybe, just maybe, he should play good cop while someone else does the dirty work. Like Adam Green. The real issue, however, is that you can't play offense if your team didn't bother to study the playbook or figure out which end zone they were supposed to be attacking. I sometimes think the Dems are a team with a Hall of Fame quarterback (Obama), a Swiss cheese offensive line (Congress), and Terrell Owens as media spokesman (the prog blogs).

2) As much as the Blue Dogs suck, you can't expect them to defend Obama when even the liberals won't trumpet what is the most progressive legislative record in roughly 75 years. Sure, raise hell at Congress over their waffling on a tax cut vote. But don't pee on your own party when it comes time to win an election, especially when you're getting killed by the "enthusiasm gap." I completely get Obama, Biden, Gibbs, and Emmanuel when they bemoan their bad blockers in the base. They've got FOX envy: the GOP has a reliable outlet that will always step up at game time, while MSNBC is still trying to hold Obama's feet to the fire. No disrespect to Maddow. She's the best journalist on TV--and generally a strong team player. But the rest of that crowd lacks discipline.

3) My two consolations are (a) that Obama and Biden do seem to understand this game pretty well, and they almost always call the right play, and (b) that most of the lame media narrative is epiphenomenal--more effect than cause. At 45% approval, thanks to the slow recovery, the media narrative will be negative by default. Still, I'd like to see a united front against that narrative rather than a reflexive ratification of it. The game's not over. The other team just has the ball.


At 8:07 PM, Blogger Number Three said...

Agreed. I think that 'the Left' has adopted the position that individual authenticity is the most important thing; thus, compromise is evil, and even if it's a lesser evil . . . still evil. I don't get this.

The arc is long, but liberals are winning. To some extent, that is why the geriatric-cons are so up in arms.

People. Enjoy. This. It won't get better than this for a long time.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Yeah, I think that years from now this will be seen as a glory age for reform politics in America, and possibly a real turning point. But try convincing people of that now.

FWIW, I don't want MSNBC to descend to the level of FOX as a propaganda outlet. But I do wish they'd push back more consistently on some of the defeatist narratives we get from the left.

Nice pic there, 3!


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