Monday, September 14, 2009

Midnight In The Garden Of Goobers And Weasels cont.

Much hand wringing this weekend about the prez's so-called loss of white support, the media's thrall of the angry super-pats, the perils the Dems face in the '10 elections. Even Mr. Rich was cranky yesterday about how in his opinion Obama allowed the healthcare debate to be hijacked by the flag necktie set, dah dah dah. . .

You may say I'm a dreamer, but let's look at things in a slightly different light. First: there is still no smart person in sight in GOP Land. Stupid people running things make colossal and avoidable errors, even when events might favor them, which they currently don't. Second: Newspapers and TV have always sided with the forces of money and entrenched order, being forces of money and entrenched order themselves--that is until recently. Watching their influence and income drain every quarter, they have ramped up their coverage of the shrill and mindless because A) their bottom line inclines them to do so (count the ad pages and commercial minutes for prescription drugs and hospitals sometime) and B) the old media folk desperately need to prove they still drive the narrative, now that it's getting clearer that they really don't.

Just as Three: the GOP's legislative apparatus desperately needs to show its sponsors that it can still deliver, a proposition which has looked dubious all year and now, after the prez's address last Wednesday, verges on the laughable. No, the serious money people are looking on those loud-mouth sign-waving clowns (I am referring to elected Republican officials in the House chamber, not the good citizens assembled on the Mall) and must wonder deeply what their money is getting them now.

Nutty Jim DeMint is right, this really is Waterloo for the GOP--not because our freedoms as a nation have been sucked away by fascist czarist communists, but because those who hand out the serious green will look to spend their Washington money where it will get the best return, which will not be the coffers of the result-starved, brain-dead, helpless GOP.

In truth, big money moving back to the Democratic side is not such great news, but I will venture to say that big money ain't what it used to be and that the Dems do not line up in nearly as fine an order as the highly-trained Repubs. But that will have to be a story for another day.

Nate Silver advises not to minimize the import of a DC rally which drew at best estimate 70,000 souls, so I won't. But still, organizers would have certainly liked to have at least cracked the six-figure mark. Looked at from the perspective of audience share, it was a very poor showing indeed if what you wanted to demonstrate was the awesome power of right-wing radio and TV media.

Nope, the visuals were pretty pathetic (honestly, how many non-bottom-feeding advertisers will look upon the video and film of the sincere and strange people assembled in DC this weekend and say: Yes! There's my national market!), and as near as I can tell, no speaker or entertainer of any vividness or strength--a Huey Long, say, a Woody Guthrie--appeared to galvanize the attending and appeal to those watching from afar. No, the best the likes of FUX et. al. could accomplish was to get a bunch of decent, if very upset and confused, people to mix with some genuinely hateful low-lifes to reflect the pain and discord felt by most Americans anyway. Message being: Things are tough all over.

UPDATE: Like I was sayin' (even a month ago--this just in from Matty

Thursday, September 10, 2009

About Last Night

It is a little disappointing to see Josh Marshall succumb to the traditional media's thumb twiddling here in his on the one hand this reaction to President Obama's speech. Understandable, I guess, because he runs a big brand now and, like all big branders would hate to appear wrong.

So let me.

It was a first of all a fighting speech, specific and detailed. More than the ghost of Ted Kennedy hovering over the proceedings, the president's bitter experiences watching his mother die far too young from cancer--mentioned during the campaign though unremarked on last night--surely gave his words an especial heat and strength. Second, after calling out the baboons (one of whom was monumentally dumb enough to actually yip back) he made it awfully clear, in emphasizing the fiscal balance of his proposal, that the budget resolution path--that is, simple majority passage--is very much in the cards.

The prolonged, almost hysterical, ovation upon his entry and introduction told me that the chamber was packed to the rafters with scared and unhappy men and women dearly looking now for deliverance from this plague of responsibility which has settled amongst them, a task Mr. Obama seems ready and able to undertake.

Unremarked on about the president's dropping health care poll numbers, settled at something like 50% approval is that a good deal of that loss is from disappointed Dems left to drift in a haze of bad news. In fact, it did not dawn on me until yesterday afternoon that any specific proposal from the president will bring a sizable bump-up in numbers. We'll know in a couple days.

As for the details, I thought they were beautifully addressed and laid out in a logical way. The only rhetorical bad guys in sight were the insurance companies, whom nearly everyone hates already, and those unnamed politicians mudding the brook on their behalf. He gave a sold competition-based model of a two-tiered plan for covering the uninsured--the state/private colleges analogy was especially apt--and even offered a couple, albeit passing, examples of where savings in the existing system might come from. More to the issue, his words rang true in the ear.

The GOP reply was, as usual, tepid and inane. And then there's their latest problem of Representative Jackass from South Carolina. Though he had the wit to apologize last night, I'm sure before tucking into the rest of that bottle of scotch, he was able in one ill-conceived outburst to glue all the brain-dead rudeness and chip-on-the-shoulder stupidity of last month's theater-of-the-absurd townhall meetings tightly onto the GOP brand.

I expect we'll hear more of Rep. Wilson in the coming days, with none of the attention good for the long-term well being of his political fortunes. I have no idea where his little red district is, but in apologizing to the chief executive last night, he neglected to also say he was sorry to those who matter most, his constituents. His little trailer-park outburst may have endeared him to the outraged 5%, but he broke GOP Rule 1 last night, being: Let Others Do Your Dirty Work For You.

UPDATE: The Field Negro gives a far more nuanced appreciation than I.