Passive Aggressive Rot Sets In

Obama’s troubles are ours now. We collectively identified Obama’s peculiarly militant brand of passive aggressiveness beginning in March 2009. Recall our frustration watching the Rightist initial fabrication of the Tea Party then go unchallenged. Or behold Obama’s White House spokesman joke in Summer 2010 they might even lose the House.

Seeing This Car Wreck In 2007

We could do little but share why the re-constituted Movement would quickly mutate into a demonstrably feral brand of anti-Enlightenment, anti-democratic emotive rejections. In the face of Obama and Democratic inaction, we argued ‘the fever’ would not quickly subside. Did we not — at the time in 2008-09 –declare Obama’s chief task to be seen doing one thing surpassingly well? To rebut Rightist narrative and restore faith in empirical government?

Even before his 2008 victory, Obama’s congenital “Goldilocks Syndrome” of compromise in the face of extremes was obvious. Didn’t we predict with scary accuracy how it would work?

Here’s our take from 2007 for new Readers. NPR’s “Spilled Bong Water” show assessed the Obama Campaign and his presidency like a seer.

NPR Spilled Bong Water on 2007 Obama Campaign

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Some People Apparently LIKE Getting Punched In The Face

Despite their grousing about the administration during the Netroots Nation conference, liberal activists and bloggers are relatively happy with President Barack Obama’s performance.

A straw poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that 80 percent either approve or strongly approve of the president more than a year before voters head to the polls to decide whether he deserves a second term.

Sunshine daydream.

Obama Lays Claim To A ‘Center’ He Thinks He Found


The Right Wing Moves The Goal Posts And Obama Caves

Surprisingly statesman-like”. . . Michael Barone (4 Stars)

Chris, the inside story is he beat the Republicans at their own game!”. . . Website analyst Howard Fineman

Masterful. I have all the details in my new book.”. . . Morning Joe hanger-on Mark Halperin

Frankly, the most radically deceptive and truly dangerous moment ever to confront the American people.” . . . . Newt

We won! We own the middle now! There’s no place for Republicans to go! Our recent poll shows it’s succeeding. In the Boulder Colorado 73rd school district, a progressive candidate leads by +5, outside the margin of error”. . . . Usual Suspect Daily Kos Blogs

Isn’t it a fact — a FACT! – that if Obama didn’t move to where Republicans painted the middle, he now would be unemployed? Fact! If he didn’t become a Republican you wouldn’t have a Democrat in the White House? I have worked on the Hill as Chief of Staff of the Senate Finance Committee, Sir! I have been in the room ! You’ll pardon me if I take your dismay as just rank amateur second guessing” . . . Obvious

I just don’t get his socialism.” . . . . Jamie Dimon

Obama As Goldilocks: Now, About That Debt Ceiling . . .

Admit it. It’s OK today finally in polite circles. Because Paul Krugman woke up the other night.

And Lo! Verily. So cameth this divine vision down unto his Nobel winning noggin that truly, he who dost caveth before all hath no spine. ‘Why hast thou forsaken your flock?’, he cried. ‘Have we not offered Chenin Blanc and Brouilly both avec Camembert de Normandie‘?

What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular? (April 10, 2011)

Thus did Krugman hear the reply as if carried on the wind borne by a twin DR-103 stack. But without mid or presence controls and five pre-amp ECC83 and four EL-34 output tubes per head. For the reply did packeth punch without cascading gain sizzle:


And it was good. Around the dried and empty barrels of Kool Aid and blogs, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Down unto his Twitter followers’ great-great-grandchildren.

Poll: Democrats Want Compromise, The Movement Republicans Prefer To Gut Them Like Sheep Resolve (General Budget Blah Blah Thread)

According to the poll, 68 percent of self-identified Democrats, as well as 76 percent of political independents, say they want Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to make compromises to gain consensus in the current spending debate. By comparison, 56 percent of self-identified Republicans — and 68 percent of Tea Party supporters — want GOP leaders to stick to their position, even if it means the inability to achieve consensus.

After 7 years, Markos, Josh et. al., take pride that you’ve worked that number down to the high sixties.

Waiting For Columna Vertebralis In Obama (Act One)

ESTRAGON: People are bloody ignorant apes.
[He rises painfully, goes limping to extreme left, halts, gazes into distance off with his hand screening his eyes, turns, goes to extreme right, gazes into distance. Vladimir watches him, then goes and picks up the boot, peers into it, drops it hastily.]

VLADIMIR:Pah! [He spits. Estragon moves to center, halts with his back to America].

ESTRAGON: Charming spot. [He turns, advances to front, halts facing America.] Inspiring prospects. [He turns to Vladimir] Let’s go.

VLADIMIR: We can’t.

ESTRAGON: Why not?

VLADIMIR: We’re waiting for him.

ESTRAGON: [despairingly]. Ah! [Pause.] You’re sure it was here?

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Obama AWOL – Get Used To It

The Walking Dead

We always liked working with Jim Moran. He’s like all of us, imperfect (yes, yes, we know). For all of that he’s a straight shooter. So when The Hill says “This is a lack of leadership on the part of Obama,” Moran (D-Va.) “I don’t know where the f*** Obama is on this or anything else. They’re AWOL”, we sympathize.

We also smiled seeing Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) declare “Our caucus will not submit to hostage taking and we will not submit to this deal.” Inslee is a class act and walks the walk. We worked with him and his office on legislation during the Clinton years to overcome the usual Clintonian deference to financial service interests at the expense of consumers. Both Moran and Inslee have seen this movie before, having been in the minority 1994-2006.

But both also know far more than pundits that House Dems are the real Walking Dead. They got bit. Sure, they got bitten in large measure after carrying Obama’s water for two years with no political cover from him. Obama was worse than absent; his political abstinence actually galvanized the Movement’s rise. So House Dems got screwed twice over. Remember how easily Gibbs tossed off losing the House this past summer. Like complaining about remembering to rotate car tires.

To survive the Walking Dead the rules are clear. Self-preservation is the new good, especially if one strikes a moral pose. As Atwater said, once you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made. Obama knows Moran, Inslee — any of them — are gone. Toast. Like any Walker, they’ll just stagger around aimlessly, lifelessly and pose no threat. Walkers are dangerous only gathered en mass. Like say, a House majority. Even then, as we saw, he didn’t really care anyway.

Over at Kos they’re noting per NYT that Obama’s EPA is already postponing new regulations to please corporate interests and climate change deniers. The Kos folks express a desire for policy based on science. Touching, that hope. How’s that audacity tasting now?

Obama Does Have A Napoleon Complex, Just The Wrong One

For Obama to flog audacity in 2008 like a Taco Bell jingle, we can be pardoned thinking we’d see some kind of Napoleonic fire. Audacity changed history at Austerlitz. At Marengo. Even Dresden in the end game. Napoleon’s domestic reforms audaciously modernized the French civil code and transformed Europe as a whole. (Obama’s a constitutional scholar, didn’t you know?).

Alas, no. Wrong Napoleon. Audacity? We got a 2 year-long Michael Cera movie. Turned out we got Napoleon III. You know, the one whom von Moltke and Prussia crushed at Sedan in 1870. After capturing that Napoleon, Bismarck went on to forge the new German Reich dictated in Versailles. The Movement didn’t show such military or political genius crushing Obama’s ‘audacity of hope’. But it’s hard not to see Obama today in his own Sedan, surrounded by enemies, surrendering to circumstances of his own making, economy aside.

Of course, permanent government types see Obama’s steely disregard for the Democratic Walking Dead and Rightward lurch as the smart play for 2012. Let’s assume that Obama’s problems are really the economy, not his political abdication and disengagement. Krugman plays it out as a thought experiment. Conceding the initial political premise, he deconstructs the actual economics and timing:

Unemployment benefits aside, all of this is very much second-best policy: consumers would probably spend only part of the payroll tax break, and it’s unclear whether the business break would do much to spur investment given the excess capacity in the economy. Still, it would be a noticeable net positive for the economy next year.

But here’s the thing: while the bad stuff in the deal lasts for two years, the not-so-bad stuff expires at the end of 2011. This means that we’re talking about a boost to growth next year — but growth in 2012 that would actually be slower than in the absence of the deal.

This has big political implications. Political scientists tell us that voting is much more strongly affected by the economy’s direction in the year or less preceding an election than by how well the nation is doing in some absolute sense.

When Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1984, the unemployment rate was almost exactly the same as it had been just before the 1980 election — but because the economic trend in 1980 was down while the trend in 1984 was up, an unemployment rate that spelled defeat for Jimmy Carter translated into landslide victory for Reagan.

This political reality makes the tax deal a bad bargain for Democrats. Think of it this way: The deal essentially sets up 2011-2012 to be a repeat of 2009-2010. Once again, there would be initial benefits from the stimulus, and decent growth a year before the election. But as the stimulus faded, growth would tend to stall — and this stall would, once again, come in the months leading up to the election, with seriously negative consequences for Mr. Obama and his party.

Obama in that case screws himself — and all Non-Rightists, again. There goes the Senate to boot. He will have no one else to blame. Not the Walking Dead shuffling in the House minority. Not his volunteers. Not his financial supporters. Ultimately, not even the voters.

Just him.

The Boy King (And Democrats) Want Us To Follow Them Into The Desert

You know you’ve been thinking the same thing.

If only a primary challenge was more than a sophomoric reflex. The Democratic ‘Party’ as political construct is a dysfunctional, dissipated golem. 6 more years? Who wants to contemplate just another 2?

n.b. Another blank on your iGadget? Kvetch to Steve Jobs per usual.

Aftermath – Barack Hussein Kerensky

The rotting amalgamation of disparate interest groups called the Democratic Party can’t preserve the tattered remnants of a liberal democratic republic. Our hopes and dreams were held hostage by craven cringers, flinchers and the inept. So many today rationalize their political malpractice as ‘it [the Democratic collapse] was just on the economy.’ And still act bewildered.

The Boy King’s shoe gazing today? Repulsive in its habitual accommodationist weakness. If they weren’t dragging us all down into the abyss with them, one would say they deserved their fate.