And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
Loser liberalism, by implying that all fortunes are created equal, alternately goes too easy on scoundrels and comes down too hard on people who are merely prosperous. [Even “low” paid] folks working on Wall Street are making a living in an industry that’s systematically dependent on implicit and explicit government guarantees. Making a living as a patent troll is totally different from making a living as a genuine innovator. Dentists enriching themselves by blocking competition from independent dental hygenists and tooth whiteners aren’t the richest people around, but their income represents a healthy share of ill-gotten gains. A viable egalitarian politics needs to find a way to distinguish between “malefactors of great wealth” whose revenue streams need to be systematically reappropriated, and people who are just paying higher tax rates because of the declining marginal utility of income.
Reasonable people are going to disagree, of course, as to who exactly the malefactors are and what policy levers can and should be used against them. […] But there’s something deeply unimaginative, cramped, narrow, and — I think — fundamentally incorrect about this vision of America where everything is on the level, but people need to pay a top marginal income tax rate of 39.5% rather than 35%.
I’d say Yglesias has provided us with a rather trenchant distillation of just how warped our national political discourse has become.
Extending his example, the Republicans more or less universally call this potential 4.5% rise in top marginal rates on the richest of the rich “pure socialism,” or, at best, anti-American, anti-jobs, anti-whomever they’re talking to at that moment. That approach tends to be a conversation ender and the point at which the MSM says something along the lines of “we’ll leave it there.” And but also it’s unclear to me how you even address the broader issues in the economy that Yglesias rightly lays out without at least being able to have a semi-sane discussion about tax rates and revenues. If that 4.5% rise can be effectively dismissed using “socialism!” just how is a national candidate supposed to make the more nuanced and complex point?
I’d say it can’t be done in the current media environment. It is not possible. The slow motion implosion that is the GOP’s series of primary debates is a symptom, not a cause. The underlying rot is fundamental to the discourse itself; the growing and brazen willingness to use that rot for personal gain (e.g. by lying your ass off to score temporary political points even within your own party) is simply the work of our old friend the invisible hand. Fix the discourse and you’ll functionally eliminate the lying and its various outgrowths, such as but not limited to uniform one party partisan intransigence that the predominant national discourse inevitably blames on both political houses in Congress. A truly honest assessment could never reach such a illogical conclusion as that. Obviously one party is more to blame in any gridlock situation. Say so. You’ll put the Daily Show right out of business.
Considered relative to our long-term national health, the truly successful national candidate needs to disrupt the discourse itself. On the surface, this would seem a relatively straightforward thing for a President to do (despite the ineffective nature of Presidential speeches)…Obama did make some early feints in the direction of cutting off their air supply but ultimately (and predictably) chickened out. And, frankly, a frontal attack that simply refuses to speak to FOXnews (or similar organizations) will never work; journalists love nothing better than circling the wagons over perceived slights. You’ve got to destroy their memes by making them functionally irrelevant and you cannot do that by simply not talking to anyone but your chosen scribes.
If Obama really wants to be the modern TR, I’d say that’s where to start: with the discourse. Be smart. Explain, but not in novel form. Short, declarative sentences and concise paragraphs. Pick one thing; this cycle it’s going to be an outgrowth of what Yglesias is distilling above. Explain that. Repeatedly and in simple language. People already understand it in a deep sense, but they need you to give those feelings voice (Elizabeth Warren is proving the true power of such an approach; the application of the traditional GOP meme(s) actually increased her popularity). Explain. Say nothing else. If they want to show the President, some of this stuff will have to be included. Never leave that message behind, even for a second. Also provide it to your Congressional allies. Anyone who goes off script loses financial support, chairmanships, or whatever idiotic perks matters most to them. It’s our rotted discourse or the country. Choose one.
"Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom. Average Americans. The very Americans that our government now, and this president, does not trust to make a decision on your health care plan. Those Americans risked everything so they could make that decision on their health care plan."
— Rick Santorum, mulling the true evil of Hitler: an under-appreciated penchant for wanting to provide affordable health care.
Assuming big Republican gains this November, the media narrative will claim Democrats overreached and governed too liberally. Yet actual progressive policies polled well and continue to poll well. If anything, it’s been failure to act on popular legislation that helped put them in this hole.
—Markos “The Orange Menace” Moulitsas
Not sure how many times we’re going to have to cover this one, but let’s have at it again:
GOP landslide, Senate and House change hands: Democrats overreached and governed too liberally. The only solution is a far-right governing philosophy. Obama is a seat-warmer for the next GOP president, nothing more, nothing less. He is not even entitled to his Constitutionally mandated veto power and the GOP exhibits this by shutting down the government every time he uses it and investigating the composting patterns of the WH garden when he’s not.
GOP gains, Senate Democratic, House barely or even marginally GOP-held: Democrats overreached and governed too liberally. The only solution is a far-right governing philosophy. Obama is a seat-warmer for the next GOP president, nothing more, nothing less. He is not even entitled to his Constitutionally mandated veto power; Democratic Senate pressured to cooperate with whatever inane policy the GOP House wants in name of “bipartisanship,” this pressure is then extended against Obama: “why won’t he work across the aisle??!?!” Obama vetoes said bill: The Democrat just can’t govern/circular firing squad! Signs it: Another Democrat failure that is destroying the country. This, by the way, would be the best possible outcome for the GOP (as it is currently figured) heading into 2012. Just sayin’.
GOP nets some gains, but The Democrat holds House and Senate: Democrats overreached and governed too liberally. Their gradually diminishing majority clearly shows that the only solution is a far-right governing philosophy. Obama is a seat-warmer for the next GOP president, nothing more, nothing less. He is not even entitled to his Constitutionally mandated veto power; clearly the fact that the Democrat held historic majorities and has essentially “won” the last four Congressional elections (in terms of the majority either switching or staying) is beside the point. America demands a far-right governing philosophy and will get it just as soon as ACORN stops stealing elections.
Democrats win every seat, hotly contested or otherwise: Democrats overreached and governed too liberally. The only solution is a far-right governing philosophy. Obama is a seat-warmer for the next GOP president, nothing more, nothing less. He is not even entitled to his Constitutionally mandated veto power. The rise of the Tea Klan proves this; it just hasn’t shown up at the electoral polls yet, so we should ignore the electorate and govern far-right. Likewise the failure of the TARP, which I’m pretty sure was a dismal failure, right? Also: Hitler.
"The exact phrase ‘separation of church and state’ came out of Adolf Hitler’s mouth. That’s where it comes from. The next time your liberal friends talk about separation of church and state, ask them why they’re Nazis."
— Glen Urquhart, the GOP nominee for the race for Delaware’s lone House seat.
This is the agenda. Never forget it, never doubt it.
"If the purpose of this mosque, as we are lead to believe, is to create this tolerant environment, to avoid anything like a 9/11 ever repeating, you have to ask why didn’t one of those 100 [existing] mosques already accomplish such a thing."
Sarah Palinpolitico (via brooklynmutt, liberalsarecool, robot-heart-politics)
You know which country has a lot of churches and cathedrals? Germany. If the supposed purpose of all those structures is spreading the word of this supposed Jesus who supposedly is all about loving thy neighbor and whatnot, then why did those churches fail to prevent the rise of Hitler and this Holocaust thing that never actually happened anyway? Why!?!? I ask you WHY?!?!?!
Jonathan Chait isn’t too worried about consequences of the failure of the Senate’s cap and trade bill to find support:
I don’t think the failure of a bill means the planet will burn. I think it means that the Environmental Protection Agency will take over the issue. This isn’t ideal from an economic point of view. But it is ideal from Congress’s point of view — or, at least, the conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans who hold the deciding votes in Congress.
I agree up to a point. But I think the biggest winners here will be the far right. This sort of quiet expansion of governmental powers plays right into their hands; likewise, they have a base that’s already sure the EPA is right up there with [Godwin’s law alert] the Gestapo, meddling as they do in our water and air and such when the little guy with a massive industrial waste stream is just trying to get by. Likewise, it will be taken as yet more “proof” of the creeping Socialization of everything.
This is usually the moment that sensate individuals take recourse to the facts: why, cap and trade is a Republican idea, and Republicans are the ones stopping it; this means it is they who will suffer the consequences.
To which I say: don’t worry your pretty little head about that; the facts do not matter. This is additionally one of those cases where it is genuinely Bad for the Democrat; this outcome dispirits the base and empowers the opposition.
Were I an optimist, I might say that the administration and its cronies will easily foresee this eventuality, and be ready to combat the inevitable “it’s not enough for the government to take our water and other precious bodily fluids and poison them with fluoride and God knows what other Communistic contaminants, now they want to control the air we breathe” style-nonsense that will inevitably emit from the maw of the far right. Yes, theoretically optimistic me opines that the various trans-limbic individuals inhabiting American polity will furthermore soon begin their own inoculations against such future tropes so that, when said tropes arise, the public will be well prepared to disregard the new, and incompatible information. After all, it is well known that fact-primacy is everything in the current environment.
But I am not an optimist.
Helen Thomas says something stupid (about Israel, no less) and what happens to her:
Thomas had been dropped by her speakers’ agency; upcoming appearances were being canceled; the White House was unlikely to call on her ever again; and perhaps most importantly, the board of the White House Correspondent Association (WHCA) was considering whether to revoke her front-row seat. The board was not likely to deliver a response Thomas would like — in a statement, the WHCA called her comments “indefensible.”
Glenn Beck, on the other hand, offers no apology this morning for his latest edition of fetid spew:
This morning on his radio program, Glenn Beck responded to the general outcry over his approving comments last week for the work of Elizabeth Dilling, a virulent anti-Semite who actively supported Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. Beck’s response contained neither an apology nor a disavowal nor any indication whatsoever that he was at all contrite over using his considerable media presence to promote a discredited and hateful woman’s writings.
Rush Limbaugh, last week unfurled shocking rhetoric in which he compared the Obama White House to a Nazi organization and even likened Obama to Hitler. (“Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate.”) The outlandish attacks seemed to be a case of Limbaugh playing catch-up to Fox News’ Glenn Beck (Limbaugh = Beck Lite?), who had been pounding the noxious Nazi angle for weeks.
There is literally nothing a right wing pundit can say that will get him or her removed from the “serious people” commentariat. Nothing. Concomitantly, almost any comment, no matter how banal, will, can, and probably has already been used to permanently silence someone with known left-wing tendencies. I don’t pretend to defend Helen Thomas, but her near-instant defenestration is absolutely without context relative to the treatment of far more horrifying offenses taking place daily from the mouths of commentators with far more reach and impact than Helen Thomas has ever had. Unforgivable. Your Liberal Media at work.
"If I had to guess, I’d say [the Chilean earthquake] must have to do with Chile’s persecution and attempted prosecution of their great former leader, and a personal hero of mine, Augusto Pinochet – who, it should be noted, had never been convicted of a crime when the Lord called him home three years ago. General Pinochet not only assisted the CIA in the overthrow of Chile’s Marxist government, but is widely credited with personally arranging the meetings of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of his countrymen with Jesus."
— Pat Robertson. Presumably he means these folks literally got to meet Jesus through Pinochet’s direct and focused intervention. Must. Resist. Godwin’s. Law.