Unity Goes Obama for the Repbulican Party, Progressives Cheer Getting Screwed

The centrists get it. This political fight is between the “centrists” and the people. They want it all, they want it all, and they want it now. Liberals have to get bupkis before Obama gets a single Republican vote. If liberals were smart, they would draw the line here and tell President Obama that if he makes more concessions, they walk, and he gets nothing from them and will have to govern as a Republican from here on in. Last time that happened was NAFTA, and the Democrats are still smarting over how long they were out of power. So it won’t happen now. So America, bend over and lube up, because you are about to feel the Unity Pony.

Let’s be honest, because right now the blogosphere is packed wall to wall with people who want something, a job, a program passed, influence. I’m not looking for these things, and would not get them even if I was. Instead, since burning down to the numbers, important or small, is what I do, let me do the numbers.

Number of Republican Votes for the Stimulus Bill: 0
Number of Depression Dog defectors: 11

Obama isn’t a Democrat giving things up to get Republican votes, he’s a conservative mugging liberals for a conservative agenda that includes:

1. War in Afghanistan
2. Paulson’s version of TARP where taxpayers buy all bad assets.
3. Slash social security and Medicare
4. Tax Cuts
5. No Comprehensive Health Care, but huge subsidies for Health Insurance companies instead.

Taken as a whole, Obama is offering small concessions to the left, in return for trillions of dollars that are coming directly out of the pockets and veins, of ordinary people. He couldn’t even come up with a bit of money to help poor women pay for birth control pills. But he could cave on Pay-Go. Pennies for the people, pounds for the powerful.

Right now, your liberal leadership is selling the country out for little things. Game theory has something to say about this, it is called the stag hunt.

A stag hunt is when there are two choices, cooperate for a large objective, or go for a smaller objective you can get yourself. People will chase rabbits unless there is something that makes chasing the stag really worth while. Absent messaging, the best strategy devolves down to hunting rabbits until the other side hunts stag, then you get the rabbits, and the half the stag pay out. Of course, this doesn’t happen absent some other pressure. So everyone lives on rabbit while the stag is out there.

That’s what Obama is offering: the chance for liberal groups to sell out for 2 billion here, a million there, a minor concession here. In return, Obama gets all the big things. All of them. It isn’t the Republicans who are stopping this – their votes are irrelevant. It is the Unity Ponies and the Blue Dogs who are the problem. But the Liberal Blogosphere, wants to hunt the rabbit of bashing Republicans. Now bashing Republicans is fun and easy. They say the stupidest things, they break their word, they break the law, they undercut their own principles. Remember how the Republicans screamed that even thinking that Bush might fail was treason? Well there’s Rush “cheerleader for failure.”

However the right wing isn’t going to provide any votes. None. Obama said he wanted 13 Republican votes in the Senate. He could barely get that many blue dogs in the House.

Until the left wakes up and realizes that their brand is on the line, and that Obama needs to move well to the left on major issues, both for the pragmatic reason of liberal policies work, and right wing policies don’t – and for the political reason that liberals are going to supply his votes, things are not going to get much better, and long term they will be much worse. Because after Obama is finished doing the Unity thing all over your Social Security, and has sucked up all the losses of the elites, they won’t have a use for him, and all the Wall Street money will slush back over to the Republicans, who will win an election. And then the real damage starts.

Time is running out, it is probably too late already. However, clearly the American left is too busy hunting Rabbits. Maybe the progressive blogosphere needs to change it’s mascot to Elmer Fudd, because that’s how they are acting.

Shhh be vewwy quiet….

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  • This was obvious from the get-go and many warned of it during the primaries. Now liberals/progressives are shocked, shocked, shocked that they are getting rolled by “their guy.” Actually, a good many of them haven’t yet woken up that the horse has already left the barn, and they are left holding the bag.

    But what the numbers don’t reveal is perhaps most important in the end, and I am talking end, as in “end of the Republic._ That is a policy of NO-ACCOUNTABILITY. Obama has decided that no one at the top will pay for past mistakes, neither the criminals of the previous administration, nor the financiers that created the current crisis. The rich will stay rich, and the powerful will remain in power. That’s the planned program.

    Why is this so serious? Because it creates a two-tier society in which some people are “more equal” that others. This is the antithesis of what America has stood for from the the outset, and indeed, why it was founded. It is indeed the end of the Republic as a moral force.

    When the moral force of the nation is eroded from within, then the populace no longer believes the “dream,” which it recognizes as merely propaganda put out by the wealthy and powerful to justify their privilege.

    Then, the respect for the law devolves, since if some are above it, why shouldn’t all be outside of it. The result is the emergence of an outlaw society as a “third-tier.” Then, the internal security force is expanded to meet the challenge, draconian measures imposed, and you know the result.

    The US is already headed down that road now, with more people incarcerated per capita than any other nation, a flourishing blackmarket in which ordinary people can compete for great wealth, a privatized prison system, and laws that allow citizens to be pursued under terror laws.

    Beginning with Nixon and reinforced by Reagan, the GOP has consistently undermined American (Enlightenment) values in favor of Tory values. The Bush administration did enormous damage in advancing this agenda. Now Obama is headed down the same Tory road, while disingenuously talking a different game. Watch the walk, not the talk.

    Historically, the word [Tory] has been applied in various ways to supporters of the British monarchy. The word comes from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe, modern Irish tóraí — outlaw, robber, from the Irish word tóir, meaning ‘pursuit’, since outlaws were “pursued men”.
    Wikipedia

    in this kind of society, the elite outlaws (above the law) make up the ruling class, and those that refuse to accept a two-tier society make up the so-called “criminal” class, who “break” the law.

    We’ll see how far Obama gets in foreign policy trying to smooth-talk other nations while continuing US foreign policy based on global domination, economic and military. I suspect that they will be a lot more astute than many if not most American liberals/progressives have been.

    Wen and Putin already scolded the US at Davos for financial irresponsibility and are calling for a new architecture. Other nations are also chaffing at the US plan to run multi-trillion deficits for years to come, thereby soaking up the world’s capital. This is being denounced as protectionism, and we know where that beggar-thy-neighbor philosophy leads.

  • What we thought America was, the dream, the country of equal opportunity, will exist no more if there are no Bush admin indictments, no perp walks for the bankster CEOs. And I do think the sheeple are watching. They see their benefits cut, their jobs decimated, their retirements killed while watching the bailout boys keep collecting their mega-bonuses.

    Where do we go from here? There have been riots in Europe and Iceland. How about a march on Washington?

  • Things are going to get a lot worse in the streets. This is going to be an interesting and rocky four years the way it is beginning. Obama is setting the Dems up for an eventual big loss to the GOP, which is tending further to the right as Rush and dittohead pols take greater control of the party. This is a scary possibility. I’m concerned about the aftermath. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that there will be a progressive revolution in the US. Bush III is more likely as things stand. That’s where the wealth and power are concentrated instead of on the progressive side. More and more people at the bottom will be radicalized and there will be a larger outlaw society as the US tends more and more toward a have and have-not nation.

  • people don’t even have to be radicalized. when I was getting my teaching license, I met folks who loved FoxNews and Clear Channel smear.

    folks truly enjoyed Bush’s hate based comments like “american fries” and “freedom fries.”

    sadly, the lives of people seem to be meaningless voids which need to be filled with something– religion, talk radio theories, etc…

    DemocracyNow had an interesting piece “Economic Stimulus Moves to Senate Following House Approval” today and it was very informing: in the British industrial revolution, children replaced skilled labor since they would work for less.

  • I never though Obama was a liberal… he always seemed to be a pragmatist. I see this as just a long term carrot-and-stick strategy.

    The first big vote fell down along party lines. So what? Time to take your ball and go home? Rule like a liberal with an iron fist because he has the house AND the senate?

    That would crash and burn FAST.

    I’m positive he was expecting this. The Republicans are doing what they always have done. They would reject this plan, no matter what. He made a show of optimism, and hope for bipartisanship, but he’s not naive enough to think they would hold their word.

    Wait until the inevitable filibusterer… senate republicans will demand concessions before allowing it to come to a vote. Democrats will say, “what’s the point? we made those in the house, and you still voted against it, with no plan of your own.”

    Then the claws will come out…

    The media thus far HEAVILY favored Republicans when discussing the stimulus package. 2-to-1 according to Kos. Evil Obama would be keeping notes, show them to the media, and demand a 2-1 ratio in favor of Democrats when the bill is in the senate… and they might also air a few ads in vulnerable Republican Senate districts… “Call Sentor Whats-his-name, and ask him why he refuses to create jobs.”

    Then another carrot… I’m not sure what it will be… but it will probably get enough votes to break a filibuster.


    http://bexhuff.com
    Of COURSE you can trust the US Government! Just ask the Indians.

  • What would happen? Would the Republicans accept this ‘change of heart’ peacefully?


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • There is no doubt that Obama is going to outsmart the GOP, which basically is adrift, and he will come out of it looking like someone who is a “post-partisan centrist” (read moderate Republican/Blue Dog Dem), which is the image he wants to project and call it progressive. That’s not the point being made here.

    Obama is not proposing a liberal/progressive agenda, not taking liberal/progressive action, and is not appointing liberal/progressive people in his administration, except in a token way. The people with real power aren’t liberal or progressive other than in contrast to the GOP far right.

    The present trajectory, as many people are now complaining in the blogosphere, is that his agenda is to keep the rich rich, and the powerful in power, and to continue the previous imperialistic policy of the US. He is basically a Reaganite in disguise.

    The GOP didn’t “force” Obama to come across with hundreds of billions in tax cuts. It was his decision in the end, and it shows his true colors, however anyone spins it. If that’s what you voted for, you’ll be happy.

  • I see some signs of accountability.

    Like prosecutions for crimes, as is REQUIRED, not optional, as many seem to think. Obama is falsely leading the public to believe that he has this option, even though as a constitutional law professor he knows better. That is just to continue the façade that the president is above the law and what he decide is automatically lawful. Unless Obama takes action, he becomes complicit in war crimes under international law since he has the authority, power and obligation to prosecute them. I am tired of my president being a war criminal or an accessory after the fact through obstruction of justice (“misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of the office”).

    Like, letting the bad debt default and the rich who made foolish decisions take their lumps.

    Like, making the boards, execs and equity holders of the financial institutions pay the going market price for failure — bankruptcy.

  • cutting out useless or counterproductive government programs is a great idea… and it probably only politically and economically viable in the middle of MASSIVE government spending.

    By keeping the powerful in power, he’s being pragmatic. You don’t need a 100% overhaul of the system to get better government. You just need a few good ideas, inspiration, and direction. It takes surprisingly little effort to tune a complex system… all you need is good communication, feedback loops, and a shared purpose. You want “the powerful” to have a place in that, because if nothing else they know how to execute.

    Throwing idealists into top political spots always leads to disaster. Remember the de-Baathification of Iraq?


    http://bexhuff.com
    Of COURSE you can trust the US Government! Just ask the Indians.

  • These people are not interested in making government work for everyone, just for the few, with the assumption that if the people who “know how to execute” are in charge, everyone will be better off.

    BTW, it’s called “trickle down.”

  • was never between an ideal candidate and Obama.

    The choice in November was between hateful, crazy people and Obama.

    There were two choices on the lunch menu in November. One was a shit sandwich, which provides some needed context to the choice of something that may or may not turn out to be a raw turnip.


    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • And I am overjoyed that Obama won, as should be all liberals/progressives and thinking Americans. The alternative was too horrible to contemplate.

    Similarly, we should all be routing for Obama to succeed. The alternative is going to be even more horrible to contemplate.

    Liberals/progressives are not “opposing” Obama or trying to undercut him in any way, let alone bring him down.

    Politics in the US is the politics of interests. The two parties are made up of diverse factions, only one of which is in power, since that is the president’s faction. Obama is not a liberal/progressive, so liberals/progressives need to use whatever clout they can muster to shape the agenda in the way that they see best for America.

    The faction to which Obama belongs is essentially Hamiltonian instead of Jeffersonian, while liberals/progressives are Jeffersonian.

    Hamiltonians presume that those who “know how to execute” and have shown this by accumulating wealth/power should be in charge and manage the country chiefly for their interests. In this way, the greatest good will accrue to all. The problem with this approach is that it is expedient instead of moral, and it is used to justify a two-tier society. This approach to government is based on centralization and consolidation of power.

    Jeffersonians disagree. They presume that there are fundamental values that guide America, namely, harmonizing liberty, equality, and community through distributive justice, and that the government pursues the common good best when it pursues this end directly rather than indirectly. This view of government is based on decentralization and distribution of power, following the principle of subsidiarity, that is, that decisions should be made as close to the level of those affected as possible.

    If liberals do not manage to sway the course, we are going to continue down the road of privatizing the gains and socializing the losses, because that is the Hamiltonian way. While this is not going to be the catastrophe that would have transpired under McCain/Palin, it is going to be a disaster for a lot of people, both in the US and around the world. Unfortunately, it is the poor and disadvantaged of the world that are going to bear the brunt of rescuing the rich and keeping the elite in power.

    Liberals/progressives and all people who consider themselves chiefly human beings should be doing all they can to avoid this gross injustice. Obama is not going to do this through the course he has set. Just because it is better than Bush/McCain is no excuse to roll over and accept it. Liberals/progressives and human beings need to keep the pressure on not only the president and his administration but congress critters as well.

  • that US Protectionism is rearing its ugly head in Canada and the EU

    Countries will revolt against these lobbyists getting their way–Obama is going to have to find a way to reign them in.

  • Its about momentum. You can’t change everything about how a government works in a matter of months, or even years. Some of the bad element needs to stick around, if for no other reason than to keep order, and prevent chaos. With strong leadership dedicated to change, it takes surprisingly little pressure to get government to work for the people again.

    We used this lesson to restore order after the American Revolution, keep order after the Civil War, and have a peaceful post-war transition in Japan. Both the French and Bolshevik revolutions tried to do too much too fast, were far too idealistic, resulting in years of unnecessary bloodshed…

    BTW, the “pressure the senate” strategy seems to be catching on:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/1/29/213127/808/834/690720


    http://bexhuff.com
    Of COURSE you can trust the US Government! Just ask the Indians.

  • Some of the bad element needs to stick around, if for no other reason than to keep order, and prevent chaos.

    It is not question of getting rid of every member of the Village. Many of them are actually quite progressive in their own way. Of course, I am not suggesting putting incompetents in charge of anything. There are good people available, however, and virtually none of them are showing up in key positions, while people who made major mistakes are still in charge of the financial system and government, and the generals who couldn’t beat a bunch of poorly organized insurgents armed with RPG’s with a trillion dollar budget are still in place.

    It’s a matter of accountability. The people who made major mistakes or committed crimes need to be held accountable — that means getting fired, going bankrupt, being prosecuted, etc.

    I don’t agree that we need to let bad people stick around because we supposedly need them. That is exactly their rationale, and it is specious.

  • I don’t agree that we need to let bad people stick around because we supposedly need them. That is exactly their rationale, and it is specious.

    If Obama is putting incompetent folks in charge of important projects, then I’ll be both surprised and irked. I’m sure he’s compromising a bit… maybe passing over the most qualified person in favor of a relatively competent person with good connections, people skills, etc… I cant say.

    Project Idea! How about a “shadow government” list of the people who Obama “should” have appointed?


    http://bexhuff.com
    Of COURSE you can trust the US Government! Just ask the Indians.

  • I think Krugman had some ideas a while back on the economics crew.

    Far more useful than repetitive whining


    I feel the American worker has been sacrificed to the capitalist idols in the ancient Mayan fashion. – Sue Lamb, NYT reader

  • I’m not enough of a political junkie to know who would make a good commerce secretary. Wasn’t that originally offered to Richardson? And the second choice was Gregg — a Republican who tried to shut down the department.

    huh… Seems to me a bowl of fruit might be a better choice than Gregg…


    http://bexhuff.com
    Of COURSE you can trust the US Government! Just ask the Indians.

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