Obama and the GOP “Permanent Campaign”

Elizabeth Drew as an interesting piece today in the New York Review of Books about the problems facing President Obama, and his style so far of governing.

For those not wanting to read the whole article, which also gets into some of the details of health care reform, her basic argument is that Obama is trying to build consensus through pragmatic efforts to compromise while the Republican party is set to try to discredit him and destroy his Presidency in any way possible.   This means Obama has to rely on support from his own party to get things done.   She wonders if this style is effective in such a hyper-polarized country, especially when vile blogs, internet sources and mass media do all it can to try to make insults of Obama a new conventional wisdom.  The birthers come forth as only slightly disguised racists, the neo-conservatives try to spread the idea he is weak and doesn’t lead, and the far right simply pull out old rhetoric about socialism and big government.  The onslaught is fierce, far worse than what President Clinton faced in 1994, and worse than anything the Democrats did against President Bush.   Bush was attacked by the extreme left, but escaped the kind of assault put forth by the Republicans today.  Buoyed by talk radio and uncertainties over the recession, they hope they can, as Senator DeMint said, make this “his Waterloo” and undermine his entire Presidency.

Before turning to Obama’s ability to handle this, the Republican strategy has to be critiqued.  On the one hand, from a purely partisan perspective, it makes sense.  If you don’t like Obama and the Democrats, and you want to weaken their ability to govern despite having large majorities in both houses, you go all out on the offensive.  It doesn’t matter if it’s true, if it’s logical, or if you have an alternative, you try to plant the seeds of doubt.   A couple of days ago I blogged about this, arguing that there is limited efficacy to the politics of rage.  I still believe that to be true, though Drew suggests that considerable damage could be done anyway.

More important is the question of whether the Republican strategy is good for the country.   When I teach Comparative Politics, I argue that democracy is a very difficult system to implement and maintain — hence my early skepticism about trying to spread democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan.   It rests on some fundamental shared cultural norms and values, including toleration of dissent, recognition of the legitimacy of all disagreement, a belief that the country is not in fundamental danger if ones’ opponents come to power, and a willingness to compromise and work with the other side, rather than to see politics as political war.   The war is in the campaign, once the campaign is over, governing involves compromises, deals, and pragmatic problem solving.

By choosing a “permanent campaign,” the Republicans seem to violating a number of those norms, painting Obama out as some kind of dangerous un-American socialist, a threat to the country, and someone with whom they refuse to work.   Even though some, like Louisiana’s Governor Jindal, argue that Congressional Republicans should work with Obama and seek common ground, so far they’ve been in attack mode.   It stinks of racism to many on the left — would they be so vicious against an inside the beltway white Democratic President?

In the past, both Republicans and Democrats played the game more subtly.   The most vicious attacks came from pundits people associated with either the left or the right; the politicians tried to stay above the fray.   Thus pundits would now and then turn on their own side attacking their temerity in fighting for the cause, but that could be useful too.  The rhetorical battle would go on in the press, but in the Capital deals would be made, and compromises sought.

Now the country faces record debts, high deficits, a steep recession, and conundrums abroad in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, South America and elsewhere.  All this is happening when most of the world believes the US is in decline, and no longer as powerful or relevant on the world stage.   Important, but not dominant.   This is perhaps the most important era in American history since the end of WWII.   We are going through a national transformation in the midst of a global transformation.  Shouldn’t the GOP be working with Democrats to influence how the US responds to the crisis?   Isn’t this a time when national interest should trump political posturing?

Obama seems so far to want to be a pragmatic compromiser, surprised by the vehemence of the opposition and the refusal of Republicans to compromise.   He’s been having to mediate disputes within his party, recognizing that the likely compromise he expected (moderate Democrats with moderate Republicans) is in danger because the Republicans are playing hard ball.   Here in Maine, the hope is that Senator Snowe, who has always focused on compromise, cooperation and pragmatic problem solving, might break loose from the grip the right wing has on the GOP right now, perhaps bringing other Republicans with her.

But some question Obama’s pragmatic approach.   If the GOP want to fight a campaign war, shouldn’t Obama take off the gloves and give them one?   Instead of calm, reasonable appearances on lightly watched Sunday morning TV, shouldn’t he get his campaign organization retooled and ready to fight not just about the issue, but take the GOP on head first?   Shouldn’t he push for the most “liberal” health care reform possible, using reconciliation to pass it in the Senate 51-49, and get whatever majority he can in the House?   Shouldn’t he pressure fellow Democrats to follow him or risk punishment down the line?   The Republicans have declared a Machiavellian any means necessary war — shouldn’t he join the fight?

The President is not a party leader, he is the leader for the country.   If Obama gave in to that temptation, it would risk further polarizing the country and making us impotent at a time when very important decisions have to be made.   A country like this doesn’t change directions on a dime, our whole political system is set up to make change difficult and slow.  Obama needs to maintain his kind of pragmatic calm tone, even if the noise might need to get turned up by some of his supporters, especially against the most outlandish of his attackers.

Obama does need to do whatever he can to pass some kind of health care reform, even if it’s through reconciliation.  He has to have results.  The only way to break the Republican slash and burn tactics is to show that they can’t stop his legislation.   The GOP is used to having power, and the shout radio jocks are offering a kind of therapy after the stinging defeat at the hands of Obama and the Democrats last year.   It distracts them from confronting the reality of the poor decisions about Iraq and Afghanistan made in the Bush years, and about questions of economic liberalization caused by the recession.  Anger at Obama is a way to avoid looking inside.

But the GOP must at some point reconsider their policies and positions, come up with ways to confront the current crises while staying true to their principles, and then work to compromise and problem solve.     That ultimately will be necessary to rejuvenate the GOP, and it’s imperative if the US is going to find a way out of the morass of problems we currently face.  No single party has the answers.   We only survive and prosper if we find a way to work together.

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  1. #1 by Scruffy on September 30, 2009 - 16:04

    Wow, you covered a lot of ground. I think you have it exactly right.

  2. #2 by Josh on September 30, 2009 - 22:42

    While I agree that many Republicans want no compromise, it does seem like several Republican congressmen have had their amendments to the current health care bill shot down. I think Democrats need to compromise, too (although I admit, perhaps, Republicans may need to compromise more). I agree with much of your post. The people voted Obama, and he has every right to do what he believes is right.

    I disagree about Republican attacks being more vicious than previous attacks by Democrats. That really is, in my opinion, difficult to prove. When I think of the things said by Democrats concerning Palin and Bush…I don’t know. In politics, you have to be able to endure attacks by the opposition, and it’s only natural that we would perceive our political enemies as vicious or unfair.

    But, I personally agree Obama has been very classy during this whole thing.

  3. #3 by Scott Erb on September 30, 2009 - 23:22

    Palin was mocked during the campaign — and I agree that during the campaign such things are fair game. With Bush the Democrats supported him on Afghanistan, Iraq, and he had Democrats support a number of his domestic policies too. There were attacks from the pundits or Michael Moores, but in Congress there wasn’t the same level of vitriol. Kennedy worked with him closely on education, for instance. So I think the Congressional refusal to work with Obama and claims they want to undercut his entire Presidency are more intense than I’ve seen, especially this early.

    Maybe way back in 1981 the Democratic response to Reagan was similar, but they didn’t have talk radio and the internet to intensify it (that was a similar defeat to the one the GOP suffered last year).

  4. #4 by John H. on September 30, 2009 - 23:27

    Josh,
    You’re comparing how Bush was treated after YEARS in office to how Obama is treated from day one. The harsh reaction to Bush was in response to his policies, especially his “secret” ones, not silly things like his birth certificate.

    Does anyone still take Sarah Palin seriously as a viable national politician? What’s her platform? I quit on Alaska, now I’m ready for the big time! She openly undermined McCain’s campaign, and used her motto at the time as the title of her forthcoming book.

    I understand that some Republicans have offered amendments that are quickly shot down. Kind of like anything a democrat offered for the last eight years. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just reminding that you both sides need to give.

    John

    • #5 by classicliberal2 on October 1, 2009 - 03:44

      “You’re comparing how Bush was treated after YEARS in office to how Obama is treated from day one. The harsh reaction to Bush was in response to his policies, especially his ‘secret’ ones, not silly things like his birth certificate.”

      The birth certificate isn’t just “silly,” it’s entirely manufactured, and that underscores an important point about the opposition to Obama: It’s nonsense. Baseless garbage, if one is feeling blunt. The screaming idiots ranting against Obama have been organized by huge corporate interests around “issue” like that, and “death panels,” and indoctrination of children through an innocuous speech, and his use of “czars” (said to constitute a secret government), and his effort to provide health care to illegal immigrants, and more other nonsense than can be listed. More is added to the pile every day. They’re furious–FURIOUS–about things that aren’t even real. And the allegedly “responsible” Republican officials and the rest of the conservative elite have played to this right down the line.

  5. #6 by Josh on October 1, 2009 - 01:39

    John and Scott,

    That makes sense. It does seem like Obama is being attacked quite early. That is a good point.

    I think, however, that it’s difficult to prove that one side attacks more viciously than the other. Both sides attack each other equally without regard to logic or reason. But I can’t prove this for sure, just like (I believe) no one can prove one side is more “unfair” than the other.

    I also agree that Democrats certainly have the right to deny Republicans the ability to amend. That is fair game and you are right, Republicans did it to the Democrats when Bush was in office. It would seem to me then, that Democrats shouldn’t complain about Republicans and their unwillingness to compromise.

    I want to be fair, though. I certainly will admit that many Republicans in the Congress have not been doing anything but attack Obama’s plans. I think many don’t do this, but those who do should actually try to come up with logical solutions for health care.

    • #7 by classicliberal2 on October 1, 2009 - 04:52

      “I think, however, that it’s difficult to prove that one side attacks more viciously than the other. Both sides attack each other equally without regard to logic or reason. But I can’t prove this for sure, just like (I believe) no one can prove one side is more ‘unfair’ than the other.”

      Forget “proof.” That’s a Fox News game you’re playing. Let’s go on anecdotes, instead. Offer a litany of baseless nonsense about Bush comparable to the ones that have been offered about Obama, and show how they permeated the press and the Democratic party “establishment” to the extent that the anti-Obama nonsense has permeated the press and the Republicans.

      In Bush, you’re talking about a “president” who was put into office by the U.S. Supreme Court after losing the election, lied the country into a war, initiated an embryonic police-state, among so many other things, and was never held accountable by ANYONE. There was no Democratic party scramble for impeachment. The press kept its collective nose wedged so deeply in his rectum as to be capable of smelling his breath in those years. Even finding news about these things was almost impossible. Bush’s lies killed more Americans that Osama bin Laden, and everyone in officialdom just shrugged. Bush lied the U.S. into a war, no weapons turn up, Bush’s own handpicked inspector says there haven’t been any since the early ’90s, and everyone in officialdom just shrugged. Bush embarks on a political cleansing campaign that replaces experienced, professional career employees with people whose only qualification was loyalty to Bush; officialdom shrugged. As I said, even finding that sort of information was difficult. That doesn’t mean there weren’t people like myself shouting about these things. It’s just that we were mostly shouting in a vacuum.

      The point: With Bush, there was PLENTY to chew on, if anyone had wanted to do any chewing. The truth is that not many did. They not only failed to make up a lot of nonsense to use against Bush–they didn’t even use what was available.

      With Obama, on the other hand, the mountain of nonsense at the core of the hatred against him suggests there isn’t really that much in the real world to make people so angry. Which is, of course, why we get all the nonsense in the first place.

      My attacks on Bush are vicious. I wish them to be so. I wish them to be even more vicious than the attacks on Obama. I want them to be so vicious that when someone looks up “vicious” in an online dictionary, there’s a link to me. While vicious, though, those attacks are based on what Bush actually did, unlike most of those on Obama, and they are not “unfair,” which is inherently the case with much of what generates the heat against Obama, since, there, it’s mostly just fiction. I, and those like me, are NOT morally equivalent to some brainless teabagger screaming about “death panels.” Even suggesting any equivalence, there, is as intellectually bankrupt as it is offensive. There are some things that SHOULD make responsible citizens very angry.

      • #8 by Scott Erb on October 1, 2009 - 14:19

        I have to disagree on the 2000 election. We’ll never know who really won Florida — even a recount had too much statistical chance of error to know for sure. So you go through the process as its laid out in the Constitution, and that led to a decision in favor of Bush. I think Vice President Gore’s concession speech was a lesson in American civics — the process is to be respected.

        I certainly agree there is plenty to criticize Bush and the Bush Administration about — indeed, my critiques of American foreign policy and public policy transcend parties and can be applied to past Presidents as well. I personally try to criticize the policies and avoid attacking the person. I don’t know Bush, his intents, or his thoughts. I can analyze the decision to go to war in Iraq and point out failures by Bush and the bureaucracy, and aspects of managerial incompetence and dishonesty. At the time the choice to attack was made it seemed clear to me the US was probably making the biggest error of its history, and it shocked me that the decision makers were so caught up in a world of their fantasy that they didn’t see things that should have been crystal clear. Rather than just criticize them personally, I’m more interested in why that happened. Increasingly, I think we have a dysfunctional political culture prone to generating imagination-driven understandings of reality at the highest levels. It’s very dangerous.

      • #9 by Josh on October 1, 2009 - 15:02

        This morning I was having this same debate with a Republican friend. I told him that conservatives were exaggerating and saying untrue things about Obama and his health care plan. His response: “Frankly, the Republicans haven’t said anything that isn’t true.” Of course, I disagreed. Both Republicans and Democrats defend themselves the same way.

        I think the “litany of nonsense” spoken about Bush was echoed in your last comment. Many believe that politicians, media outlets, etc. exaggerated and called Bush ugly things for untrue reasons.

        When I was in high school during the Bush years, I used to think it was the Democrats that only lied and participated in character assassination. Every since Obama took over, I’ve been extremely disappointed with the Republicans. I know who they really are now, and I’m not sure if I am going to vote the same way I did last election.

  6. #10 by classicliberal2 on October 1, 2009 - 04:18

    You do a good job and laying out the current political climate, Scott, but I totally disagree with your conclusion that Obama should continue what is so often falsely labeled as “pragmatism.” From the moment he was elected, he’s been the “pragmatist” compromiser looking for someone with whom to compromise, and there just isn’t anyone. That is the on-the-ground political reality.

    Obama begins every fight by giving up a big part of what he and his base wants right up front, in the hopes of working out a compromise with his opponents (both Republicans and conservative Democrats), but he never demands anything in return. It’s all just give, give, give, and meanwhile, the other side is running around calling him a socialist, a Nazi, a would-be killer of old people, a secret Muslim, and not even an American (among a great many other things), and they don’t give on anything. They have no motivation to do so. He gives them half of what they want, right up front, and all they have to do is stand firm and whittle away at what’s left. And that’s all they do. It’s a recipe for continued Republican rule, and that isn’t what the public voted for in the last election.

    On health care, he threw single payer over the side right up front–a HUGE compromise, particularly given its popularity (a sustained 60%+ of the public in most polls, going back over a decade). The other side gave on nothing. Next, he started hinting at throwing the “public option”–one of the only genuine reform elements on the table–over the side, too. Again, the other side gives nothing, and he demands they give nothing for it. Worse, he threw this over the side at the very moment he gave in on the matter of requiring people to carry health insurance (which he’d long opposed). There are 5 health care reform bills in congress at present. Not one of them has a single Republican co-sponsor. Not even the “Baucus” bill (authored, in fact, by the former Vice President of Wellpoint), which is being used to try to beat back any “public option.” That’s what his “pragmatism” has gotten him.

    Obama was willing to waste hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts in his stupid “stimulus” bill–nearly half that bill–to get a “compromise” with Republicans whose votes he didn’t even need. At a cost of hundreds of billions, he got two of them.

    The way the game is played–and the way Obama should have played it–is to introduce strong legislative ideas, fight hard for them, and then compromise at the end, offering magnanimous concessions to the minority. When, instead, you play the way he has, the result will always be something that looks more like the other side produced it in the first place.

    I know I rant about this a lot, and probably sound dreadfully repetitious at times, but I don’t think any of this can be stressed strongly enough when there are so many people who just don’t seem to get it. Elizabeth Drew is starting to catch on, but she doesn’t entirely get it, even at this late date. I started a political blog right after Obama was elected, and this has definitely been the subject about which I’ve written the most. I wrote, long before he was ever sworn in, that the Rodney-King-ist politics he was looking to adopt (“can’t we all just get along?”) are a non-starter in the current political environment. It’s like publicly committing suicide. Events since have born this out rather painfully.

    • #11 by Scott Erb on October 1, 2009 - 14:00

      I knew as I wrote the blog entry that you’d likely disagree! I do see your point, and the Daily Show had a brilliant skewering of the Democrats who with a “super majority” still can’t seem to pass squat. And you’re probably right that most Democrats didn’t see what was coming, given the popularity of Obama early on, and the scope of the Democratic victory. Perhaps they indeed squandered a chance to be more bold from the start.

      I think in this case the problem is not just the Republicans, its within the Democratic party. If they had true unity of purpose they would bring more Republicans on board because the alternative for the GOP would be to have no voice. But as long as the Democrats are divided, the GOP can focus on attacking Obama with no cost to themselves. In fact, it makes Obama look even weaker if he can’t get his own party to pass anything.

      So I guess the question is what can Obama do within his own party? The same in the House — it’s not clear what kind of health bill would get a majority given Democratic divisions. Democratic Congresspeople and Senators get a lot of money from those who profit from the health care system as it is.

      They have to pass something — and right now Obama needs to find a way, through persuasion or even threat — to get those in his party to support reform. Yet…I do not think he’s committing political suicide yet. If he gets something passed that is decent (and can be built upon), he can turn things around. His first task is to be able to lead his party. Pelosi seems a pretty strong leader in the House, I have doubts about Reid in the Senate. I wish Daschle were Majority Leader.

      • #12 by classicliberal2 on October 1, 2009 - 17:50

        “I knew as I wrote the blog entry that you’d likely disagree!”

        Ha! I see my usual ambiguousness on this matter didn’t fool you!

        “I do see your point, and the Daily Show had a brilliant skewering of the Democrats who with a ‘super majority’ still can’t seem to pass squat.”

        The claim that they even needed that supermajority was little more than an excuse for their not doing anything. Legislation is passed by majorities, not supermajorities. Does anyone really believe Republicans, who were in such sorry shape when Obama was sworn in, would have started filibustering everything? They would have just been burying themselves deeper.

        “And you’re probably right that most Democrats didn’t see what was coming, given the popularity of Obama early on, and the scope of the Democratic victory. Perhaps they indeed squandered a chance to be more bold from the start.”

        There’s no doubt about that at all. I don’t know that Democrats in general didn’t see what’s coming so much as Obama didn’t see it. I credit him with significant intelligence. That can help make one a good political observer; as Obama has shown, though, it doesn’t, in itself, make one a good one.

        “I think in this case the problem is not just the Republicans, its within the Democratic party. If they had true unity of purpose they would bring more Republicans on board because the alternative for the GOP would be to have no voice. But as long as the Democrats are divided, the GOP can focus on attacking Obama with no cost to themselves. In fact, it makes Obama look even weaker if he can’t get his own party to pass anything.”

        Bingo. And to make something else clear, the divisions within the Democratic party are also being insanely exaggerated, and used as an excuse not to do anything. The votes are present, in the Senate, for a “public option,” to use the example currently being debated. It isn’t a supermajority, but it is a majority, which is all it takes. Both Tom Harkin and Jay Rockefeller have noted this (and they’re right).

        “Democratic Congresspeople and Senators get a lot of money from those who profit from the health care system as it is.”

        They only got a majority of that money in this election cycle, though. Republicans have always claimed the lion’s share of health industry contributions–a lot of Republicans in congress owe their entire careers to such industries. The money goes wherever the power is. Max Baucus is entirely in the pay of the health care industry. He let the former VP of Wellpoint author “his” bill! The obvious way to begin to deal with this is to simply forget about the completely irrelevant Finance Committee, and work with the bills from the RELEVANT Senate health committees. It’s the job of Finance to find a way to pay for these things, not to write them. Obama–himself awash in dirty health care industry money–has put the matter in the hands of Finance to far too great an extent. Notice, too, which bill the press is currently treating as the only one.

        “They have to pass something”

        No. The vile Rahm Emanuel is wrong when he says any bill would be better than no bill. Reforms desperately need to be enacted. That’s not the same thing.

  7. #13 by Scott Erb on October 1, 2009 - 15:43

    Josh makes a good point. I think partisans both left and right really believe the other side is lying and they are telling the truth. Most people think they are on the most reasonable side. Ultimately, we have to each of us make the call on what or who to believe, but I want to at least keep listening, and questioning my own perspective. Later today or this evening I want to delve into this more in another blog entry, looking at a different aspect of this, and one where the Democrats clearly deserve criticism (and I think classicliberal will probably agree on that count). More later!

  8. #14 by classicliberal2 on October 1, 2009 - 17:19

    “Josh makes a good point. I think partisans both left and right really believe the other side is lying and they are telling the truth.”

    That’s not really a matter of “belief,” though, which is, I suppose, why I find such comments so exasperating. Those many items in that anti-Obama litany are demonstrably false. “Death panels” didn’t exist in the health care reform bills–Jon Stewart, of all people, destroyed the clown who fabricated that lie on national television by simply insisting that she point them out in the legislation. She couldn’t, and she was left a laughingstock. After Joe Wilson’s posterior-displaying accusation at Obama’s address to congress, I actually started quoting the provisions of the various bills explicitly stating illegal immigrants were not covered. It didn’t matter. The conservatives with which I fenced held to the notion, and said those were just show provisions intended to fool people, and that really points to the larger problem, which is exactly as you’ve stated it: a political culture driven by fantasy.

    That is American conservatism at the moment.

    A significant segment of the right reduces everything–even the truth itself–to matters of “opinion,” then behaves as if anything they dislike or that is inconvenient to them can simply be ignored if it doesn’t meet a partisan litmus test.

    Look at the Obama “birther” thing. Obama released his birth certificate over a year ago, conservative Republican officialdom in Hawaii certified it as genuine, the press dug up contemporaneous reports of his birth in the local Honolulu papers. Any other birthplace by Obama would necessarily involve a massive conspiracy of hundreds of people, including some clever newspaper editors who were on it way back in the early 1960s.

    And, at this moment, an astonishing 58%-64% of Republicans continue to entertain “birther” notions. A few days ago, I ran into a group of conservatives who oppose birtherism and find it embarrassing. They were, however, very loudly saying this was only a tiny minority of crackpots within the Republican party who believe such things. When I pointed out those poll results to them, they said I was a liar and idiot because I was quoting a DailyKos poll. The initial results actually came from a Research 2000 poll, commissioned by DailyKos. It was then explained to me at great length, by them, that Research 2000, a well-established polling firm in Maryland that predates the existence of DailyKos and that claims over 300 media outlets as clients, was really just a DailyKos operation. I’d noted that those poll results have been replicated. Public Policy Polling in Virginia, in an active bid to disprove the R2k results, polled on the matter themselves and found an even higher percentage of Republicans–64%–entertained this birther notion. In perhaps two-dozen lengthy comments on the matter, none of the conservatives would touch that fact. They pretended as though DailyKos was the sole source (when, in fact, it wasn’t even one source), and ranted like idiots against the findings. It was next explained to me that I was using trickery in presenting the results, because I was combining those who flatly said Obama wasn’t a U.S. citizen with those who said they had doubts he was a citizen. I should, they said, define “birthers” as only those who say Obama is not a U.S. citizen, then combine those who say he is a U.S. citizen with those who have doubts. While that would make birthers a smaller percentage of the total, it doesn’t make a lick of sense–the birther movement is the only reason ANYone has doubts about the U.S. citizenship of the President of the United States, and few who have loudly pimped birtherism have flatly claimed Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen. That’s why their demand is that he “produce a birth certificate” (which falsely suggests he hasn’t).

    See the common thread? And these were NON-birther conservatives, and presumably more sane. They played a shell-game, embracing anything that would distance their beloved conservative movement from the birthers. They’re willing to disregard facts, throw away logic, abandon any sense of intellectual honesty, and even contradict what they, themselves, had just said in order to make their case. And they were EXTREMELY ugly about it, at every stage, calling me a liar, a fraud, a clown–as much personal invective as they could squeeze into their responses.

    That has become typical of my interaction with conservatives in recent years. It’s typical of contemporary conservative commentary. There isn’t any sane counterbalance to it on the right.

    Both sides do, indeed, tell everyone the other guy is lying, but it’s true, in one case, and not in the other. That isn’t to say the liberals and those of the larger left don’t lie. When it comes to politics, every faction, without exception, does that. The old joke about how you know a politician is lying is quoted far too often, but it really is true. There exists, however, a massive (and massively funded) culture of fantasy-driven politics on the right that is actively–and remarkably effectively–hostile to reality. There’s no liberal equivalent. There’s nothing else anywhere that even comes close.

    “Later today or this evening I want to delve into this more in another blog entry, looking at a different aspect of this, and one where the Democrats clearly deserve criticism (and I think classicliberal will probably agree on that count).”

    Hey, I’m always up for grilling Democrats. Here’s you a freebie to start: Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has, according to Common Cause, received more funding from health care industries than anyone in congress, and his “reform” plan was actually written by the former Vice President of Wellpoint. It’s being used as the means to defeat any “public option,” and the press is currently treating it as the only reform plan (there are four others that have already cleared RELEVANT committees, whereas the Baucus thing is coming from the Finance Committee, which has nothing to do with health care).

  9. #15 by Jeff Lees on October 1, 2009 - 19:04

    I can sympathize with Obama from my current experience on Senate.

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