A thirst for diagnosis
by Jerome Armstrong, Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 11:28:05 AM EST
You know, I don't recall hardly anything coming out of the Republicans, after they lost total power in 2006-2008, in terms of wailing and gnashing of teeth-- a reflection and revamping. I guess we just expected them to go to the wilderness, like the Democrats have, after such a decimation. They seemed to have just bounced right back, with no remorse, of having been so wrong for so long. Without a doubt, its helped that a side attraction, the Tea Party, was developed to agitate, and from which to fold back into voting for the GOP come November.
But with Democrats (not even having lost yet), the analysis on our side is moree griping than anything I hardly ever see about "what to do" going forward. Lots of how the strategy failed, but little on the tactics to embrace.
Anyway, that while I was reading this Dan Gerstein (I know, I know) article, and this John Neffinger article, on losing. I'm convinced we already lost and that this is Lakoffian genius at work in diagnosing just how it happened. John Cole explains it thusly:
Right-wingers spend their whole lives seething with incomprehensible rage.
Left-wingers spend their entirely lives butthurt.
Discuss. This observation explains pretty much everything you need to know about the blogosphere.
Rage has no reflection, and butthurt lasts a lifetime.
OK, on HCR, as it appears we will see something passed (and praised for at least being passed), is too late to matter (ie being a positive)?
I remember being at a political conference in 2006, after the Iraq surge, and there were Republicans there in the session I was at, arguing that if the surge worked, Bush and the Republicans would be recused of their previous fiasco. No, I argued, the opinion is set, its done, even if it does "work" politically. And so it turned out.
Conservative Peggy Noonan argues this same sort of equation is at work with HCR and Obama, saying Republicans...
...believe the bill is not worth saving, that at this point no matter what it contains—and at this point most people can no longer retain in their heads what it contains—it has been fatally tainted by the past year of mistakes and inadequacies.
The CW's CW (its even titled "political pulse"), Bill Schneider, argues similarly:
If the Democrats pass health care reform on a partisan vote, a political firestorm will likely ensue. Congress would be defying public opinion. President Obama said at last week's health care summit, "I think we've got to go ahead and make some decisions, and then that's what elections are for." That's also what makes Democrats in Congress very nervous.
If they pass the bill, Democrats have to hope that the firestorm passes and people discover they are better off. But expanded health insurance coverage will take years to kick in. At the same time, higher taxes are also likely to be some years down the road. The battle over health care reform could go all the way to the polls in November, with politicians still arguing over principles rather than experiences.
I do like Obama's thirst for the electioneering. Big questions for the election to decide. Is it a net-negative to have passed something rather than nothing, even if few like the outcome? Is HCR, the vote, as the issue, for 2010's mid-term? Or, can't Democrats pivot to another issue before then to broaden the debate?
Many think that's the economy, but I'd argue that the emerging Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill on energy solutions seems to have the biggest potential to shift the terrain in the coming months. Its a big deal, if we have passed a bill that could dramatically enhance the energy indepenence and environmental concerns, for the 2010 political environment. I've long argued that the "all of the above" perspective on energy is the way to go-- what the public supports is and that's what is politically feasible. There is still a long way to go for this to become law, but it does seem to be coming together in a way that Cap-and-Trade would never have done.
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