Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Incompetent or Evil?

with 4 comments

It’s the impossible question. Kevin Drum:

Basically, Obama has another two or three weeks to prove he’s not an idiot. During the lame duck session, a continuing public dedication to bipartisanship might make sense because there may still be a few bills that he can pass with just a few Republican votes. And it’s easier to get those votes if he’s not out in the Rose Garden every day telling the world that Republicans are all obstructionist assholes.

But — starting next year that won’t be true anymore. Republicans will control the House, and in the Senate it will take a significant chunk of the GOP caucus to get anything passed. Sweet talking Olympia Snowe will no longer even arguably be a viable strategy. Obama’s only hope is to draw dramatic contrasts with Republican orthodoxy, call them out relentlessly on their obstructionism and corporate obeisance, and try to rally public opinion to his side. It might not work, but there’s no better alternative.

Obama’s legislative strategy was defensible during his first two years because it might have been his best opportunity to peel off a few votes here and there and get stuff passed. But if he keeps it up next year, he’s just being willfully blind. Next year is put-up-or-shut-up time.

Rachel Maddow:

Why won‘t Charlie Brown learn, and why does President Obama keep trying to negotiate with Republicans when the Republicans always disappoint him? That has been the central cartoon-based metaphor around which liberals have understood the predictable the pitfalls and faults of bipartisanship in the Obama era.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm

4 Responses

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  1. it’s probably worth remembering that people asked the same question about dubya. though it was easier to assume he was an idiot and/or a pawn of his vice president (no one even bothered to suggest “11-dimensional chess”), it was just as taboo to call the things he was apparently responsible for intentional — maybe more taboo, because they tended to be so much worse.


    December 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm

  2. also i don’t think obama’s legislative strategy was any more defensible then than it is now. it’s just that in this genre of pretend advice the writer is obliged to give him the benefit of the doubt for past actions.


    December 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm

  3. This is something you’ve more or less sold me on. It’s largely pointless to speculate about what’s in Obama or Harry Reid’s heart, we need to look at the results.


    December 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

  4. maybe it’s 111-dimensional chess. Obama is a crypo-communo-socialo-fasco-cist. He’s pretending to be a lame duck in order to get the Republicans to act so heinously that the people will be forced to revolt against the senate, the congress, and Obama himself (who has already accepted his martyrdom, much like a young Jesus Christ). Then we will have 400 years of peace.


    December 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

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