With Democrats Like These, Redux

by matttbastard

Upon reading his latest public statement on health reform legislation,  it seems all-too-apparent that co-op-luvvin’ DINO Sen. Kent Conrad, one of 6 senators inexplicably tasked with determining the fate of US health insurance,  has officially lost the plot, as publius notes:

When law students learn about murder, they learn that you generally need to kill knowingly — that is, the prosecution must show that the defendant actually intended to kill the victim.

In some cases, however, a defendant can be so utterly reckless that he is assumed to have knowledge.  For instance, if I drive drunk really fast down a crowded street, I might not have knowingly tried to kill someone.  But because I was so knowingly reckless — so oblivious to the obvious risks — I could still be charged.

That’s basically what Conrad is doing. If he’s not knowingly trying to kill reform, he’s acting with such an extreme recklessness that we might as well assume that he is.

Really hope someone opens up a can of primary whoop-ass on Conrad. The tiresome Lieberman 2.0 “centrist” posturing has gone too far this time. There must be consequences for blatantly pulling a hit on the public option at the apparent behest of his loyal patrons in the health insurance lobby (and, perhaps, the White House).

Some things are more important than Pollyannishly striving to achieve a hollow bipartisan consensus for its own sake (that leaden thud you heard was David Broder’s wrinkled carcass hitting a real American’s kitchen floor. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. He has great health insurance.)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Advertisements

The Agony and the Ecstasy

by matttbastard

'Imported.' That just about says it all, huh?

Michael Ignatieff on CBC Radio One just a few moments ago:

“I’m a centrist. A pragmatic centrist.”

Come on, be honest, Iggy.  You’re a self-absorbed wanker who perpetually preens and postures, melodramatically agonizing over the moral implications of just how prime-ministerial you looked during Question Period (yep–so passionately Canadian he bleeds maple syrup, motherfuckers!) Which, admittedly, is a welcome improvement over the (highly public) moral agony you went through several years ago when you urgently debated the merits of torture, thus helping to legitimize the perverse notion that there even WAS any ‘debate’ over torture and its (dubious) merits.

natodutch

Yeah, am sure KSM has thanked you for that–at least 183 times.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Feigned Disbelief and Political Theatre

by matttbastard

Steve Hildebrand responds to critics in an interview with Greg Sargent:

“I don’t regret any of it,” Hildebrand told me when I asked him a few minutes ago by phone whether he regretted the tone of his piece, which many found condescending and finger-wagging.

“My intent was exactly what I wrote,” Hildebrand said, adding that the criticism had “surprised” him.

Hildebrand also confirmed that the Obama team had had no hand in writing or approving the piece. “This was not collaborated with anybody in the Obama camp,” he said, and a source close to the transition confirms this.

Perhaps Marc Ambinder and Ezra Klein are correct, and this was all just a Machiavellian attempt on the part of the Obama team (does anyone really buy Hildebrand’s hard-to-swallow contention that he called an audible with this play?) to shift the Overton Window via political theatre. Sure would be nice to finally see imperative policy endeavors like withdrawal from Iraq, health care reform, and climate change firmly established as mainstream pursuits in the US public interest, rather than planks in a narrow communist socialist Marxist anti-American ‘liberal’ platform.

Still, even if this is, in Klein’s words, “a calculated messaging strategy,” I don’t believe Hildebrand should expect much online backup from the (unnamed) angry “left-wing” boo-bears unwittingly cast as foils in his Kabuki production if and when he makes a behind-the-scenes play for the (operational) DNC chair.

And maybe that was also taken into careful consideration.

h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

How Not to Stem Criticism From Obama’s Left Flank

by matttbastard

Memo to Deputy Transition Director Steve Hildebrand: poking a beehive with a sharp STFU stick isn’t gonna stop the buzzing. It’s just gonna get your dumb ass stung.

David Sirota patiently explains why muzzling progressives isn’t the answer:

The reason the Republican Party and conservative movement were so successful [up until recently] was because they developed a symbiotic relationship. Specifically, the party apparatus knew that sustained conservative movement pressure on the party was good for the party in keeping it disciplined and on message. By contrast, the culture of the Democratic Party since the McGovern debacle in 1972 has been to bash the progressive movement – to triangulate against it as proof of “independence” and “centrism.” We saw where that got the Democratic Party for the last 30 years – but by the looks at the public post-election attacks on “the left” from Democrats, it seems like the party higher-ups still haven’t learned the simple lesson that pressure from a strong movement strengthens the party as a whole.

In other words, internal criticism from individuals and organizations who share your goals serves as a self-correcting ideological quality control mechanism.  Such good-faith criticism is a benefit, not an impediment.  Stifle it and you risk weakening your mandate.

Look, like Sirota, I’m not ready to give up on Obama just yet.  Every new administration will stumble at times, and I’ve been vocal (if perhaps a bit too impolitic) when I believe the criticism has been impatient and unfair.  But pat-patting progressive critics on teh heads with smug condescension and smarmy dismissiveness , as Hildebrand did, is just plain idiotic.

As Bob Cesca put it:

The better approach here would’ve been to underscore President-elect Obama’s progressive appointments and to remind us that even though the Republicans are on the run, we still have a lot of work to do together. “Together” is the appropriate word here. If the goal is to be all-inclusive, and then to write a piece that doesn’t reach out to the netroots, what are we supposed to take away from the message?

Couple this boneheaded online PR maneuver with Jon Favreau’s recent Facebook follies, and one can’t help wonder if the Obama team should perhaps rethink its wicked awesome new media strategy.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Liberal Heresy

by matttbastard

Via Greg Sargent:

dnA speak, you listen:

Lord I really don’t like Ronald Reagan. And despite how much I hate the Clintons right now, Bill was a better president than Reagan, by a long fucking shot.

With that said, I dunno if I’d go so far as to single out Obama as a “Lieberdem”, as Natasha Chart does. Now, as Noam Scheiber notes, despite utilizing narcotic, substance-free transformational rhetoric about hope and change that can intoxicate even a perpetual cynic like yours truly, “rather than tacking left, the Obama campaign went straight up the middle, where a much larger universe of potential voters awaited.” And it is a matter of record that Joe Lieberman mentored Obama in the Senate.

ZOMG, d’ya know what this means?! Obama, a proud member of the not-even-remotely-Progressive modern Democratic Party, is just another pro-establishment pol! Please, no earth-shattering revelations about wet water or Popes wearing funny hats; I don’t think my delicate constitution could take any more.

Still, the DLC-Dem charge seems ironic coming from a self-professed “spiteful” Clinton supporter. Um, so, let me see if I’m following: Chart, who claims to have always “disliked Democrats who tore down the Democratic brand, trashed progressives, and praised Republicans”, is standing up to the establishment by supporting a Triangulating perennial DLC favourite/defender (who counts Newt Gingrich as a fan club member) whose husband endorsed Joe Lieberman in ’06 and, during his tenure as both Governor of Arkansas and POTUS, essentially wrote the book on kissing GOP ass (when politically expedient) and eating your own (again, when politically expedient) in order to stake a claim on the mushy middle. All “out of spite”.

*blinks*

Shit, show me a viable Donkey candidate in this election cycle who isn’t a “Lieberdem.” And don’t say “John Edwards”, whose voting record belies his recent populist re-branding as Huey-Long-in-wingtips. Hopefully somebody somewhere is drafting a wide-ranging eulogy for common sense and intellectual consistency during this primary season–to say nothing of bullshit detectors.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers