CONTRADICTIONS AND LOBBYISTS! Obamas slight problem began way back when, in that Cordelia campaign: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2009
The growing kingdom of Hackistan: How will the stimulus package end up in the Senate? We dont have the slightest idea. But we couldnt help noting one amendment which passed yesterday, as described in this mornings Post:
Obviously, that amendment got a bunch of Republican votes. We noticed this amendment because wed seen such suggestions advanced several times in recent weeksby Republicans and conservatives. For example, here was Republican congressman Donald Manzullo on The Rachel Maddow Show:
There's a very small amount that puts people back to work, Manzullo quickly said, correcting himself.
Was Manzullos idea a good one? We werent sure (still arent), and it got no further discussion, ever, on Maddows program. We did notice that Maddow ran quickly to dogma, improbably connecting Manzullos suggestion to work on the National Mall. She was just trying to be economically cogent, she saidbut we got a different impression. Our impression? She didnt know squat about Manzullos proposal, any more than we did.
In the past week, weve seen at least two conservative-leaning columnists make proposals similar to Manzullos. And omigod! Yesterday, a liberal Democrat sponsored a similar (if smaller) proposal, and it ginormously passed. That was strange, because all across the wild lands of Liberal Blogistan, wed been reading fiery claims about what Republicans do and dont want/will and wont propose. In particular, we kept reading that Republicans dont want to spend any money at all. Yesterday, for example, Eric Kleefeld wrote this at TPM, misstating what John McCain had just said:
But thats obviously not what McCains dispatch saidunless you live in the wild tribal lands of Outer Hackistan. Speaking of that growing kingdom, we found our way to Kleefelds post via this rube-running piffle.
For the record, Hackistans a rapidly growing kingdom, with rapidly changing demographics. For decades, it was a land of the pseudo-right; in that kingdom, hacks misled conservative rubes while liberals stared off into space. (Essentially, there was no liberal discourse then.) Weve been stunned, in recent weeks, to see the way this kingdom has spread through the world of the liberal web. Hackistan is becoming a kingdom of pseudo-libs tooof silly-bill claims from the left.
For decades, pseudo-cons dumbed your country down. This practice is now spreading widely.
Contradictions and lobbyists: Even Maureen Dowd gets a few things right todayafter getting a few things semi-comically wrong. Wrong things? Lets start as she grandly thunders about that stimulus package:
In that passage, Dowd comes perilously close to affirming the notion that the current bill is 99 percent clean. If so, that would likely set a world record; why then would she waste her breath complaining about the need to make the package even more lean andclean? And why would she have thundered like this, just two paragraphs earlier?
All the provisions that looked like caricatures of Democratic drunken-sailor spending? If the bill is anything like 99 percent clean, how many such caricatures could there be? But then, such niceties rarely distinguish Dowds work, and today is no exception. In her opening paragraph, she compares the disaster of 9/11 to the disaster of Daschles withdrawal. And a few grafs later, she helps us peer straight into Tom Daschles soul:
What a shamethat Dowd didnt explain what those red glasses meant when her insight could have done us some good!
So yes, Dowd plays the fool today, as she persistently does. But even Dowd gets something right about Obamas setbacks. Arrogant is a fairly tough word, one we wont be endorsing today. But aside from that, we largely agree with what followsthough we think Dowd has left something out:
Dana Milbank, the Posts Dowd knock-off, expresses this problem even more clearly. Consider two different passages:
Alas! Even people as dim as Dowd can see these contradictions. But she failed to specify where they began, out on the campaign trailmore specifically, out on the primary campaign trail, as Obama sought the Dem nomination.
Duh. It never made sense to thunder against lobbyists quite as loudly as Obama didwith Tom Daschle virtually running his campaign. For ourselves, we have no particular negative views about Daschleand no, he wasnt technically a lobbyist. But he was plainly everything butand his wife, Linda Daschle, had long been one of Washingtons biggest lobbyists. Our question: Did it really make sense to thunder about this breed, with Daschle playing such a key role in Obamas campaign? This posture always struck us as a bit silly. But do you remember that fateful Netroots convention in 2007? When Hillary Clinton refused to make the stirring promises made by her rival (about accepting donations from lobbyists), she was assailed for her vile, thoughtless wordsand everyone pretended to think that Obamas high-minded claims made absolute sense. Everyone included people like Dowd, in the mainstream press.
This is part of why we sometimes called the Dem nomination fight a Cordelia campaign. As with King Lears one truthful daughter: In several episodes in the Dem primary, the person who wouldnt offer BS got widely slimed for such conduct. By way of contrast, the guy who did seem to be BSing slightly got praised for his high-minded ways. Milbank is basically right in one statement: Some of Obama's most fervent supporters are angry today (or something like it) because of the way Obama used waivers to sidestep his own lofty rules. But for us, the contradiction began at that Netroots eventand people like Dowd agreed not to notice. You see, people like Dowd were still involved in their long-running wars against the Clintons and Gore. And many liberals bought the whole package; in some cases, they had internalized the press corps long-standing anti-Clinton campaigns.
For ourselves, were not angry at Obama, nor have we ever pretended to know whether he or Clinton is the more perfect human. Others did think they knew such thingsand Dowds brigade had been pushing their views about Clintons vile character for many years. Dowd said nothing, back in the day, about the slight oddness of Obamas pronouncements about the evil ways of lobbyists. In our view, Clinton was being a bit more honest in what she said about this subject. But given the wars of the past sixteen years, observations like that werent allowed.
Regarding that flap about Washington lobbyists, we always thought Clinton made a bit more sense; many such people are perfectly OK, just as the lady said. Unlike Dowd, we said so then. Dowd knew the rules, and kept quietjust as she later kept her trap shut about what those weird eyeglasses said.
Tomorrowpart 3: A tale of three cities.