fart fire with fire

8/19/09

Look, we’ve known all along that Obama was going for the long haul – the brilliance of his campaign was calculating the chess match of “news cycles” all the way to Election Day, with a clear understanding that you have to have a couple bad weeks in order to return triumphant. His team had a clear understanding of “the media narrative” – the emotional yo-yo constructed by the press every 10 days or so.

The media narrative is one of the most reductive, destructive, stupid and dangerous by-products of cable news outlets needing 24 hours of bullshit to fill their schedule, but if you use it the right way, you can find yourself sitting pretty at just the right time. Now the question is: does Obama still know what he’s doing?

Supposing his moral center and long-held wishes haven’t wavered, he has supported a public option for health care since the very beginning. He knew full well that Republicans not only wouldn’t support a public option, but probably wouldn’t support anything coming from him. Of course, well-known asshole Jim DeMint (R-SC) said it best: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” At that point, anyone with a shred of insight recognized that Republicans cared nothing for the suffering of Americans, and were only in this game to break Obama personally.

That’s when most people – especially those with a plurality in the House and Senate – would have told the G.O.P. to eat shit and die. Instead, Obama and his people continued the bipartisan route, sitting through town meetings attended by wingnuts with assault rifles, even sandbagging the public health care option (which, to some progressives, was the whole point of reform).

Despite these overtures, the Republicans continued their disinformation campaign, courted their crazies, and made sure everyone knew they considered dialogue a sign of weakness. Finally, today, the White House and Rahm Emanuel declared they’d had it and were going it solo. Cue everyone screaming “IT’S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!”

So the question is this: is Obama’s team still playing for the long haul? Since the Republicans are as predictable as 2nd graders with a box of chocolates, being a step ahead of them is frighteningly easy. It’s a win-win situation: Obama could have predicted their pouty intransigence, and decided to test them on it… if they give in, Obama wins, and if they don’t, Obama does it without them, while saying “I tried bipartisanship, but they wouldn’t meet me halfway.”

In either case, the Republican Party is revealed for what it has become: asinine, backwards, hypocritical enemies of progress who probably wouldn’t mind a lone gunman doing their dirty work for them. As for me, however, I’m long past patience for these miserable fucks.

We wasted valuable time listening to imbeciles like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich talk about “death panels” and “rationing” while another 150,000 Americans lost their health insurance. In the interim, the level of discourse has sunk to early hominid levels, with the Administration having to veer off-message to debunk legends better suited for snopes.com.

Slate says the best way to combat the conservative message is to pretend it doesn’t exist, but I vociferously disagree. The second some bullshit like “death panels” comes down the pike, I would have an ad ready for national television that swings back 14 times as hard, bringing up every rotten thing that particular Republican has ever said, done or fucked.

Newt Gingrich says that Obama’s plan will euthanize your grandparents? Fine. We release an ad on every major network saying “Newt Gingrich is LYING about the health care bill. But what kind of health care analysis can you expect from someone who served his ex-wife divorce papers while she was in her hospital bed suffering from cancer? All the while cheating on her with another woman WHILE IMPEACHING BILL CLINTON?”

But that’s just me. Obama and his staff know what they’re doing. Right?

0 thoughts on “fart fire with fire

  1. Jody

    Unfortunately, I think the Obama team knows exactly what they’re doing. That’s the problem. I voted for the Obama change hoping that he would bring a bunch of unseasoned neophytes (as opposed to Cheney/Rove-type professionals) who would be somewhat immune to politics and “go solo”. Instead, he’s surrounded by DC disturbed folks like Emmanuel who are frankly as insane as Karl Rove and gain their power through these games as opposed to having to bear the exposure of being elected.
    Although an administration would like to take credit for something dynamic and new, it would be far easier to expand Medicare- every one of these proposals, including the death panels, are already instituted within that program. How to pay for it? There is no way to pay for it, or anything else for that matter, so who cares?

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  2. Anne

    The problem with the current atmosphere is that I’m so enraged, distracted, and appalled at the antics of the brainless “deathers,” “birthers,” and those roiled into a frothing mob that insists Obama is out to dismantle American democracy while wearing a cute little Hitler mustache, I have a hard time thinking critically about this administration’s intents and efforts right now. So I fall into a default position of defending health-care reform just because I’m SICK AS ALL HELL of the crazy people. You know, like that woman Barney Frank took to the woodshed Tuesday night. That video made my life (for this week).
    I find refuge each night in the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, a haven of clear thinking and amusing but serious desconstruction of right-wing whackness and hypocrisy.
    Liberal and proud of it. And proud of my brain, too.

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  3. Schultz

    “It’s a win-win situation: Obama could have predicted their pouty intransigence, and decided to test them on it… if they give in, Obama wins, and if they don’t, Obama does it without them, while saying “I tried bipartisanship, but they wouldn’t meet me halfway.””
    I think you are exactly right about this. But, as Jody pointed out, Obama has chosen to outsource much of his decision making power to others rather than absorb full responsibility.
    Obama needs to “grow a pair” and jam his agenda down the throats of everyone- including his own party. In other words- take a page from the Bush/Cheney book and stop trying to please everyone.
    I don’t agree with Obama’s policies or his craving to grow government. But I could grow to respect him more if he would get it done and let history be the judge of his presidency instead of the town hall meetings.

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  4. Kevin In Philadelphia

    Ian, I agree with you completely on this one…and being that I have been unemployed – and therefore lacking health insurance – since April 2009, I have a personal stake in health care reform that includes a public option. Not that I want him back, but where are the LBJ’s of this generation’s Democrats? LBJ was a lying scumbag, but you can’t argue that 1. He did a lot of good domestically – Medicare, TVA, Great Society, and 2. he often twisted, and sometimes broke, arms to get things done. I don’t want a bully – Rahm, for all his DC insider status, is far less feared or respected than he imagines and pretends – I just want someone effective. These people that we elected must stand up for us, or pretty soon they’ll be on the unemployment rolls with me.

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  5. kjf

    this is my great disappointment with obama. he has worked so hard to kiss up to right wingers on many important issues including healthcare. does he forget that he won the election? how about his position on stem cells? his treatment of gays and lesbians? inviting rick warren to speak at the inauguration? the naming of a loony right wing christian to head NIH? so many disappointments after such high expectations. sigh.

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  6. dean

    I still don’t completely understand how this clusterfuck can be blamed on Republicans. The Dems control Congress and the White House. Pass what you want and move on with it.
    If this issue is important to Obama as a matter of principle, then he will ignore all polls and sign whatever bill he likes.
    By the way, it is possible for us conservatives to dislike the proposed healthcare reform bills without being a racist or nutty. The nutjob carrying an assault rifle outside the 1 forum is as representative of me as some of the evil-spewers dailykos.com are of you guys. The majority of Repubs and the majority of Dems fall into the middle of the bell curve while both groups try to excommunicate the tips of the bell curve.

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  7. jje

    FWIW, Francis Collins is a Tar Heel alum and gave one of the best graduation speeches EVER. (Of course, perhaps the bar isn’t looming high when you follow a drunken Ted Turner ranting about marriage counseling.) I give Obama two thumbs up on that appointment. :-)

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  8. Bob

    You would have thought that the “just ignore the crazy people” philosophy would have disappeared from the Democratic play list in 1988, after it destroyed the Dukakis campaign. But we Democrats, whose motto is “We never make the same mistake 14 times,” just can’t seem to let go of it.
    I’m glad to see that Obama is finally hitting back. I only hope he keeps it up.

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  9. ChrisM

    I agree that Obama is going for the long-haul.
    He understands that past (election) results do not guarantee future performance. So rather than enacting change based on the results of the dramatic 2008 election, Obama intends to sign health care legislation that he believes will aid his re-election in 2012.
    Nor did Democrats in the House and Senate who represent swing districts and states “stop thinkin’ about tomorrow.” Tomorrow, in this case, being November 2, 2010. These vulnerable pols are the canaries in Obama’s coal mine.
    (Pardon the carbon-rich metaphor).

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  10. Chip H

    As usual, your instincts are right. These guys know what they’re doing. Progressives won’t like all of what they’re doing. But Obama and co. had to play it this way. First they had to smoke out the Republicans. Now they have to smoke out the “centrist” Democrats in order to see which buttons to push now that these yokels have lost the cover that the Republicans gave them.
    I don’t see any other way the administration could have figured out what sort of bill would pass. The question I’d ask folks arguing for the “jam it through” option is just how they are planning to jam anything through Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln, and Evan Bayh. The Senate doesn’t have to do a damn thing and each of these folks seem to be shilling for something different.
    And for those noting that W. was able to get things done, I’d say that’s because the Republicans actually did agree on what needed to be done (tax cuts and war). If you know what 51 of the Senate Democrats (let alone 60) will agree to on health care reform, it would be AWESOME if you would let us know.
    Look, when stuff is easy, Obama sails it through. Look how they lit up the Republicans with Sotomayor. Perhaps not the most liberal justice that could have been confirmed, but a smart (wise?)woman who will make sensible rulings. With the added benefit of revealing anti-Latino bias among enough Republican leaders to move thousands of future voters into the “D” column.
    The problem with health care is that there’s just not an easy answer that is both sensible and at the same time politically feasible. God bless them for trying. Apologies to my uninsured friends, but I was really hoping the Obama-nauts would start with some other stuff for exactly this reason. I think it speaks well to their courage and confidence that they are pushing it.

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  11. Randy

    You had to go and bring up Gingrich and his divorcing his wife while she had cancer. Nothing like former Dem presidential candidate John “Paternity suit” Edwards and his affair with a campaign flunky while his wife suffered with cancer. Or for that matter, you got to love the clips of Barney Frank towing the line while belittling people because they brought an Obama poster with a Hitler mustache. It’s called the first amendment, and while I don’t agree with those tactics, they are allowed and protected in the debate. (and some are better at debate than others).
    Okay, enough. I think it has been well established that both sides have their hypocrisies. I don’t think anyone is surprised that the WH is now looking to go it alone. They have the votes to ram something through and the sad thing to me is that there is plenty of money to fix this mess for most everyone as long as there is a leader with the stones to make some tough choices. As I’ve said, too many groups are sucking at the trough and you are going to have to cut some of those jobs in a recession to fix this mess. The current healthcare system works great if you aren’t sick, but God-forbid you have to use the system and wade through the mounds of paperwork to get care. I’m a conservative who is all for reform, but it’s got to be a reform that sustains itself. There isn’t any more taxpayer money to cover it, but the healthcare system is ripe for the pickings to be fixed.

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