Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Middle"

I lovingly loathe this comment from Jack Archer, left on Paul Krugman's blog after a post where, in part, the professor accused most Americans of not paying close attention to the news.
If voters (especially independent voters) are as clueless as you claim, and only react on the basis of their "gut instinct", and not what one side or the other says and does, then why insist that Obama should champion Keynesian economic policies in his public appearances and speeches? I understand that you would prefer that he actually implement such policies, which to a degree he has, against massive opposition, but what good would he accomplish at this late date, just before the election year, by hammering home points that make him appear to be as intransigent as the Republican Tea Partiers? Isn't it clear that Obama has moved to what he thinks is the middle of American politics, at this time, in order to win another term? He appears to be doing it quite well -- much better than his opponents are doing, and that is a winning strategy, I think. One question you and other progressives must consider, and that is, do you prefer that Obama wins another term or are you ready to accept Republican control of Congress and the presidency? Having an effective economic policy is one and very important thing. Winning the election, without debilitating compromises along the way, is quite another. You may think that Obama has already made such compromises. I don't.
Let's dissect it, shall we? Starting from the top...
If voters (especially independent voters) are as clueless as you claim, and only react on the basis of their "gut instinct", and not what one side or the other says and does, then why insist that Obama should champion Keynesian economic policies in his public appearances and speeches?
Or, perhaps, Obama should practice Keynesian economics, with the end result being improved wallets for the middle class; and improved infrastructure for the rest of America. No matter what anyone says, more Americans will notice the size of their wallets before the news -- that's where they vote from, as well.
I understand that you would prefer that he actually implement such policies, which to a degree he has, against massive opposition, but what good would he accomplish at this late date, just before the election year, by hammering home points that make him appear to be as intransigent as the Republican Tea Partiers?
This portion of the comment is curious indeed. Obama shouldn't espouse economic policies that, quite frankly, make sense and saved us during the Great Depression (which, by the way, is pretty much an empirical fact that one cannot reasonably argue -- anyone who denies this is either a liar or a dupe) because they "make him appear to be .. intransigent". Really. How? Why? Who constructed the notion that solid economic policies which have been proven to work now amounts to crazy jibberish? Could it be the Republicans who are now holding our economy hostage? Could it be their control of the news cycle to determine the talking points for DC politics, hence the national agenda? Shouldn't it be the job of our "progressive" Democrats that control the executive branch and the Senate to counter these lies with talking points pumped into the media that get DC headed in the right policy direction? Are all these questions rhetorical?

Or we could jump off a cliff. For example:
Isn't it clear that Obama has moved to what he thinks is the middle of American politics, at this time, in order to win another term?
Define "The Middle".

No, really, I'll wait... Think about this question for a second (because unlike my other questions, it's not rhetorical). Define it. What is "The Middle"?

"Progressive" Democrats who support the president like to pretend that the almighty, all-fabled "middle" of the American electorate is an immovable force. To win elections, you must get the majority of votes from "the middle". But what do they believe in? Unchanging, midwestern/heartland of American beliefs, right? All that fucking bedrock bullshit.

But do those values change over time? Of course.

Who changes them? The media. What's the most watched cable news channel in America? Fox News. Are most small town newspapers either A) Conservative, or B) publishers of the crappiest wire "news" stories and nationally syndicated conservative columnists? Yes.

So when conservative/tea party media organizations like Fox News and syndicated conservative columnists push their agenda into talking points for the news cycle, and other media agencies are forced to react to the conservative's BS "news" rather than actual news, what happens? Conservative viewpoints are the only ones discussed.

Therefore, "The Middle" shifts to the right.

If you doubt me, just look at what our president -- as Jack Archer mentions somewhat glowingly -- is doing right now to win a second term: putting entitlement cuts on the table. How, uh, fucking progressive.

Why has he done this? Because the Republicans are holding are economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And why is Obama playing to "The Middle", hence playing along with the Republican-led game? Because Republicans are screaming that our national deficit is holding this country's economy back? Does that even make sense? No, but since the Republicans are screaming it loudly enough and there's absolutely no counterbalancing voice in the media from our "progressive" leaders, suddenly exchanging entitlement benefit cuts for tax increases on the rich to solve the deficit "crisis" is now the opinion of "The Middle".

This is so crazy that it makes my head 'asplode.

Anyways, carrying on.
He appears to be doing it quite well -- much better than his opponents are doing, and that is a winning strategy, I think.
Great, so we have no determined that Obama has shifted to the right. Take pride, "progressives"! But of course, Obamabots such as Jack Archer insist that we just have to shut the fuck up or else Obama will lose.
One question you and other progressives must consider, and that is, do you prefer that Obama wins another term or are you ready to accept Republican control of Congress and the presidency?
And that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? The Republicans have done everything they can to prove they're insane, to the point of their willingness to throw the US economy off a cliff in order to fuck this president over. This isn't like the election of 2000 where Gore and Bush both played so close to the middle, and the differences between them appeared so minuscule, that Nader appeared to be the only popular candidate who was different. Democrats and Republicans are showing sharp differences right now, and anyone who cares about their country beyond the surface "Rah rah sis boom bah goooooo America!" level doesn't want power hungry Republicans sniffing power.

But Obama just isn't a leader. We're living through the failures of Obama's "leadership" right now.

Congress stalled over a debt ceiling vote is simply unprecedented. Additionally, everyone who takes an objective look at the situation knows that the debt ceiling must be raised, otherwise our economy will take a huge hit. And the fact that the notion of America absolutely needing a balanced budget now isn't questioned is ridiculous -- totally, utterly ludicrous. Students need to take out loans to goto college and graduate into a better position for employment. Businesses need to take out loans to reinvest into product creation, which leads to job creation. Families need to take out loans to live in a house and for the breadwinners to drive a car to their jobs. Debt leads to prosperity, but an unwillingness to take on debt leads to a halt. Indeed, if our government refuses to take on debt while unemployment is at 9% (and real unemployment is much higher), that rate of unemployment has now been institutionalized.

It's amazing that we're even debating the debt ceiling limit -- this used to be common sense. But unless our president is willing to effectively counter Republican talking points in the media and policies in Congress, "The Middle" is going to shift farther to the right -- and so will any "progressive" president.

Of course nobody in their right mind wants Republicans controlling all branches of the federal government again, but if entitlement benefits are cut because our president doesn't know how to fight for them, then let's not parse words here -- that's a Republican victory. And if Republicans win victories as monumental as that while a "progressive" president is in office, perhaps it's time for that president to ask somebody else to be the Democrat's nominee for president.

Unless you're content to sit back and take it, like Jack Archer. Then Republican extremism will take over in a few decades rather than a few years. The end result is still the same.

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