Panic On The Promenade

I’ve been saying for some time now that a large part of the problem with American politics above and beyond the NeoConfederates of the GOP is that they have a compliant and complicit ally in the Ferengi-based media.  It would seem that someone has finally gotten that memo (italics mine):

Here’s David Axelrod, on CNN today, pushing back on Candy Crowley’s suggestion that Obama bears some of the blame for Congress’s failure to act on the economy:

I think this is something — something different going on right now. When you have the leader — the Republican leader of the Senate say, our number one goal — in the midst of this economy, our number one goal is to defeat the president, and they’re acting like it.

They don’t want to cooperate. They don’t want to help. Even on measures to help the economy that they traditionally have supported before, like a payroll tax cut, like infrastructure, rebuilding our roads and bridges and surface transport. These — so you have to ask a question, are they willing to tear down the economy in order to tear down the president or are they going to cooperate?

And, listen, there’s a reason why the Congress is at nine percent in some polls, approval, lowest in history. Because this is different than we’ve ever seen before.

Greg Sargent’s post also pointed out the predictable pearl-clutching by the usual suspects:

…Obama’s newly aggressive populism and (gasp) partisan rhetoric has sparked a good deal of handwringing and complaining from centrist columists (see Brooks, David) and leading GOP officials (see Ryan, Paul), who have been arguing that the new approach is somehow out of bounds or that it risks alienating the middle of the country.

Hey!  How dare you Dems actually stand up for yourselves and not cower in fear at our continuous onslaught against the country?  The unmitigated gall of calling us out for wrecking the country because we cannot abide not being in charge!  Harumph!

Here’s the thing – Republicans ALWAYS overreach.  Axelrod is right though – this time is different, mainly because the NeoConfederates went further than any sane person thought they could, but also because this time enough people seem to have noticed and are willing to say so OUT LOUD.  Even some of the Sunday morning courtesans are slowly, ever so gently beginning to bend towards honest queries and away from singing backup vocals.

While I’m glad to see the new trend, I fully expect Gregory, Tapper, Todd, the aforementioned Crowley, Blitzer and the rest to double down – this is what courtesans do.

But maybe – just maybe – this time they won’t get away with it.

As Sharp As A Bowling Ball

Only in American politics could a man who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard have his bonafides questioned by a man who graduated lawdy how come from Texas A&M.   From TPM (h/t) Balloon Juice:

Rick Perry steps all over his tax plan messaging by asking for Obama’s report cards along with his birth certificate:

“I’m really not worried about the president’s birth certificate [but] it’s fun to poke at him a little bit and say ‘hey, how about let’s see your grades and your birth certificate.’”

The long commercial on that clip is worth watching just to see how stupid he looks when he says that. Perry is breaking new ground here, because it’s a major accomplishment to come up with a statement that alienates 100% of the electorate. Birthers take birtherism very seriously, so they don’t see the fun in this. And for everyone else, it comes off as stupid, racist and/or boring.

The real beauty of this is that it invites blowback from all sides: the “birthers” will be ticked that he’s NOT a true believer, sane Republicans* will bemoan the “distraction”, and the rest of us already think Perry is George Bush lobotomized.

He’ll literally be counting his own toes next…

*Currently assumes facts not necessarily in evidence.

The Professional Left – Sponsored by ACME

They'll gladly tell you so - just ask them!I got to this one late, but Milt Shook makes some great points regarding the “Professional Left” and their Wile E. Coyote-esque approach to politics:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it, because it’s an important fact; we live in a democracy. And whether you like it or not, the only people who actually get to make decisions about policy in a democracy are those who get the most votes. To use the vernacular, they are “elected officials.” Oh, I know, some officials are appointed, but they are appointed by elected officials.

I know. I can’t believe I have to make this seemingly elementary point, but apparently I do, because some on “the professional left” can’t seem to grasp the concept. You can have all of the “correct progressive positions” about human rights and corporate power and all of that, but if you’re not doing what you can to influence the electoral process, it’s all in vain. Once in a while, that means electing the right people to office, but sometimes it means unelecting the wrong people. Both are important.

Marches and protests didn’t give women the right to vote; legislation did. Blacks didn’t get equal rights (on paper) because of marches and protests; they got it through the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and affirmative action statutes. Title IX was a law, not the name of a branch of the SDS. Medicare wasn’t created by a voice vote by “we, the people.” The Vietnam War didn’t end because of marches and protests; it ended because the American people tossed out the elected officials who started that mess, and elected new officials with the courage to end it.

It works the other way, too. If the wrong people get elected,  we lose things we fought hard for. I’m sure you’ve noticed that workers’ and union rights have been severely weakened, and the right to vote has been under attack for years. I hope you’ve noticed that we’re probably about 1-2 steps away from severe limits on reproductive rights for women. And I know most of you have noticed that we finally got the beginnings of a universal health care system, but that it was far weaker than it had to be. Well, that’s because of a bloc of 40-41 Republican Senators who were using procedural rules that they created when they were in the majority to stop any and all legislation that might have helped people.

Yet, “the professional left” spent TWO YEARS trashing DEMOCRATS, calling them “spineless.” The Democratic House passed hundreds of bills (here’s a sample of some of them) that progressives would have loved, but 40-41 Republicans blocked them. The solution was fewer Republicans, yet “the professional left” spent all of 2010 trashing Democrats.

Doesn’t anyone wonder why they would do that?

Why yes.  Yes we do.