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Friday, December 21, 2012


As I said the other day, I was disappointed with Obama's poker face at his presser, but I'd like to think that he's playing a decent game of chicken with the GOP.  I don't think it's a bad strategy to offer them a few things that rational actors would accept when you know they're dominated by crazies who will shoot it down, all while potentially motivating your ostensible supporters and allies who are rightfully critical of your approach and policies.  Not suggesting that's necessarily what Obama's doing, but it's one possibility, and how I might go about it myself when I have a mandate, but the other side hasn't caught on yet and still has the power to obstruct.

The problem with sausage making is that it's ugly.  It also happens a lot behind the scenes, even in this 24/7 news cycle and social media world.  To follow every zig, zag and headfake might make you feel wicked connected and informed, but what we see is really only part of the story.

That's not to say one shouldn't respond when there are opportunities to do so.  As I said, it's quite possible that Obama can rally support for the stuff he campaigned on not by using the mythical bully pulpit, but rather by stepping a little out of line (where there is arguably little consequence) and getting people concerned and engaged enough to create the pushback he needs.

I think mistermix (following up on a post by ABL) boils it down well:

What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal. There’s got to be a way to criticize the Obama Administration, or to try to push it in a different directions, without all the sweet emotion we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years.

It's no more the end of the world than the Mayan Apocalypse if he says "chained-CPI."  Nothing's been done yet, our system has plenty of veto points, the opposition is in disarray, and we the People still have our part to play.  

I won't claim that Obama's so prescient that he knew Boner's Plan B kabuki would fail so spectacularly.  However, he is a smart guy and knows that there is really nothing that the House GOP would accept short of tax breaks for the 1%, stopping DoD sequester cuts, and gutting the social safety net.  He also knows that despite the opposition, he'll have a stronger hand after January 1, when he has a larger minority in the House and a larger majority in the Senate.  All he really needs to continue generating public pressure on the handful of "moderate" Republicans who are left and driving the rest of the GOP to do dumber and dumber things, as Boner just did.

This ain't a linear exercise.  Even when you have a more rational opponent who is willing to compromise, this stuff always progresses in fits and starts, and that is amplified by our current split government.  In this environment, there's absolutely no way that Obama can ram through anything we progs might want, so he has to find an alternate path.  This could very well be it.

In the meantime, there's no need to freak the hell out, just do your damned job and keep the fire lit, for fuck's sake.


December 21, 2012 | Permalink


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Amen, brother!

Posted by: mnkid | Dec 21, 2012 12:08:15 PM

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