The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Waiting for Presidential Jujitsu Watch

Well, Obama managed to pull it off and get himself elected despite having to run against a clearly mentally inferior Republican, a disadvantage which defeated both Gore and Kerry. Hooray USA. It seems that a small group of Democrats decided to actually pay attention to how campaigns could be won and lost, used a lot of very smart media buys, innovated in fundraising, followed Howard Dean's gameplan for competing in all fifty states, and had an incredibly disciplined candidate who was excellent at framing - something that Republicans have traditionally been very good at and Democrats not so much. Obama's team was incredibly savvy about the media. Here, for example, is a great analysis of a truly inspired move by our new WhiteHouse spokesman against raging idiot Sean Hannity.

So, ok, Obama's people know how to campaign, which is totally great and unexpected in a group of Democrats. But what about governing? As George W. Bush tragically demonstrated, winning elections and governing competently are two entirely different things. And the track record of Democrats in fighting evil and incompetence is not reassuring. The Democratic leaders in the Congress are terrible, full of the most cowardly, unprincipled, puling wretches who couldn’t be bothered to defend the law, the Constitution, or our freedoms if their livelihoods depended on it. They continually make choices that are not only bad policy but bad politics. The way they act is a continual source of shock, outrage, and disappointment to their base. It’s like trying to fight Darth Vader with a limp lasagna noodle. There are only a few, such as Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold, and Bernie Sanders (who isn’t a Democrat, of course) who break through the nod-and-wink charade of pretending free market capitalists are not the lying thieves they have proved themselves to be.

Any student of recent politics knows that the GOP excels at being very effective in opposition. Here's what they do: they demand and demand and demand compromise on legislation, which the Democrats always give in to, always too much and too early. Then, when the legislation has been made completely ineffective, they vote against it anyway. This is exactly what they are doing with the stimulus bill. A recent piece by the Rude Pundit puts it this way:

We don't know what Barack Obama actually said to Republican members of Congress in his closed-door meetings with them yesterday regarding his stimulus plan. But we do know one thing for sure: it accomplished nothing. This is the way it's gonna go, and if you've paid attention at all, you know the steps: Obama will concede shit and Republicans will ask for more (even though they already got more tax cuts than anyone fucking needs), Obama will concede more shit and Republicans will ask for more (even though they're gonna get the family planning funding taken out), Obama will concede more shit and Republicans will ask for more, and then when the vote comes, Republicans will vote against it, saying that no one listened to them and fuck that Obama for lying about bipartisanship. Yet the legislation will have passed in a watered down form from the deep infrastructure and other spending so desperately needed to, you know, create jobs, which will, you know, create taxable income, which will, you know, help actually pay for shit some day.

Now, long after the thieving horses have left the barn, they are closing the barn door. In a pattern repeated many times in history, a regime that tortured people and spied on their own citizens has left, leaving a popular new regime saddled with debt and a bunch of Chicago School economic advisors to forbid them from doing anything useful about it. This happened in Poland, in South Africa, in Russia, in country after country in South America . . . and now it is happening here, right on schedule. Read “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein, if you haven’t already.

We await evidence that the Obama team is just as smart about governing the GOP as they were at campaigning against them. The only effective way to approach this stimulus bill is to devise it with no compromises, to make it an actually effective bill, to reject yet more tax breaks, and to pass it without the GOP. Obama doesn’t need them.

Tomorrow, how we know that stimulus spending actually works.


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