Misunderestimating the Asinine

September 28th, 2010

Steven Benen got me on this one (emphasis mine):

Just a few months ago, the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein, not exactly a raging leftist, said House GOP leaders “are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious.”

Ornstein may have thought of that as a throwaway line, but I’ve considered it rather devastating. He didn’t just say Republicans aren’t serious; he said they can’t get serious and don’t even want to try. That’s not only a powerful critique, it has the added benefit of being true.

Early last year, as the GOP’s descent into nonsense picked up steam, there was some rejoicing on the left, and I understood why. As Republicans took on the collective persona of angry, over-medicated children, it seemed highly unlikely American voters would reward them with power. The GOP was becoming a national embarrassment, progressives assumed, and would need to come to its senses before it could return to the big kids’ table.

But that satisfaction was misplaced. Sure, Republicans abandoned the pretense of credibility, seriousness, reason, and thoughtful policymaking, but they’re nevertheless poised to make significant gains anyway. Voters care less about the GOP’s radical recklessness and more about a struggling national economy.

He’s right. Looking back at my posts from about 18 months ago, it’s almost painful how naive I was, smugly certain that people would see through the most transparent of political plays, and that the GOP would marginalize itself to obscurity. Of course, that was before the Obama and the Democrats truly revealed how weak-kneed and surrendering they could be with the GOP, but it’s not as if Democrats had never acted that way before. It’s also not as if demagoguery never worked before. But seriously: I had a much higher opinion and expectation from the centrist American voter a year and a half ago than I have now.

However bad the economy might be, it should be clear to any idiot that:

  • It was primarily Republican policies that got us into this mess;
  • While the economy is still bad, it is far, far better than it would have been thanks to the stimulus;
  • Democrats, for all their failings, have had better and more responsible policies;
  • Republicans are acting like deranged, idiotic maniacs who are mostly incapable of telling the truth;
  • Unless you’re wealthy, the Republicans are not on your side; and
  • Republicans don’t have any ideas worth listening to, certainly none that hold up to close inspection.

So, naturally, voters are set to sweep them into office–because with the massive damage left by Bush and the GOP, and the Republicans going all-out, balls-to-the-wall in obstructing every move the Democrats try to make, the Dems have only been able to partly undo the damage the GOP has done.

If campaign slogans had to be truthful, then the GOP would have to run with: “We’re Crazy and Destructive, but the Other Guys Are Ineffective at Stopping Us.”

  1. Tim Kane
    September 28th, 2010 at 15:51 | #1

    I suppose I’ve brought this up before, but a salesman, I believe his name was Kurt Jehle (pronounced jay-lee) told me two important things: 1) Nothing happens (nothing gets made) until something is sold & 2) All decisions to buy are made as a by product of an emotion.

    Republican party has been run by Mad Men marketing geniuses for a long, long time. The emotion they use the most is anger and hate.

    This isn’t necessary, as people are ANGRY over the economy. Sure Bush created it.

    So what? They voted against Bush when they voted for Obama – remember ? It was all supposed to be about change.

    Obama, was cagey. He was vague by what he meant as change. His idea was the elites from both parties could get along. But that’s not what the public’s idea of change was.

    The public thought it was getting FDR on top of the Wall Street collapse and that this time around, we would have learned from the 1930s, and at least skip the whole Hoover era of four years of massive ineptness and suffering by people.

    Instead, Obama IS Herbert Hoover, complete with half measures (okay Hoover’s where quarter measures) to fix the problem. And that’s reason to be angry. On jobs and the economy, Obama phoned it in. People are angry.

    Now the loons on the right are incoherent, and diabolical and insane. But they are, at the very least, angry. And that reflects the public’s mood.

    Two years ago, I saw Obama taking advantage of this looneyness to marginalize these guys. I called it the rumpification of the rump of a rump of the Republican party. It seemed like a good idea. But I assumed Obama was going to manage the economy, because all the evidence was there, all the precedents was there, all set by FDR.

    I am seething mad at Democrats, and that angry is vested in Obama. There’s nothing I’d love to do more than vote him, and every one of the weak kneed Democrats out of office.

    But deep down in side, I know that’s counter productive. But that makes me all the more angry at Obama. I have to vote for him and he has nothing but contempt for progressive politics and economics, and the later is the ONLY way out of the current depression.

    So I don’t get to vote for a solution. All I get to vote for is “don’t make it worse”. Personally, I’d rather McCain had gotten elected. We’d be in full melt down now and the Republicans would own it and be rumpified by now. So instead all we are getting, be it from the Republicans or Obamacans is prolonged agony for tens of millions of people because Obama and the Republicans only do the bidding of the rich.

    Okay, so I’ll vote democratic no matter what this time. But I’m looking for alternatives. The jobs depression WILL NOT END until there are progressive economic policies. I very well might vote green party in 2012.

    I don’t think there’s enough difference between the Republicans and the Dems right now and nobody represents the common people or the public’s interest.

  2. Troy
    September 28th, 2010 at 17:06 | #2

    I assumed Obama was going to manage the economy

    How can you manage a smoking crater?

    I’d rather McCain had gotten elected

    We got to replace Souter with Sotomayor and Stevens with that lesbian chick.

    Now I don’t know the first thing about them but at least McCain didn’t get those picks.

    That was pretty critical, actually.

    The jobs depression WILL NOT END until there are progressive economic policies.

    Not sufficient. The US economy is completely screwed up. I have a tough time figuring out which is worse, Japan or the US. I think the US’s problems are more fixable but our political process is simply completely broken — we just have too many stupid people here who can be “fooled all of the time”.

    The core problem is that we a 300 million people but only enough opportunity for 200 million.

    The solution AFAICT is social ism, but as the man said,

    “The American People will take Social ism, but they won’t take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Social ist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.”

  3. matthew
    September 28th, 2010 at 23:19 | #3

    I know anecdotes are worth little but as far as Japan is concerned i must add this. My girlfriend went to Hello Work and got a job in a day. Decent pay, winter and summer bonus, incentive program that pays more per performance and strict 9 to 5. i wont go into details but she found this and got this in about 3 hours of her time.

    There are jobs. (in fact my own business has an opening starting next month–good wage and benefits. )

    Just my two yen.

    September 29th, 2010 at 15:25 | #4

    From my vantage point as a foreigner living in a foreign land, Obama is brilliant and time should prove him right if Americans allow him to. The demands that they make of him are unrealistic and absurd. Maybe he should have followed Biden’s advice with respect to Afghanistan, but I still feel that he will disengage the U.S. from that mess before the end of his term: McCain was prepared to stay one hundred years in Irak, and probably the same in Afghanistan. Obama was dealt the worse possible hand and he is doing with it the most that can be done with it in the real world.

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