September 19, 2010
Clarice's Pieces: I Told You So
Last year I wrote that the Tea Party demonstration in Washington was a "transformative event," and I described it through the eyes of a participant:
Sometimes an event occurs which is transformative in a way that everyone who sees it or participates in it instantly is aware of. Yesterday's demonstration in Washington DC is one of those rare happenings in my opinion.The Daily Mail said 2 million Americans participated. My friend Charlie Martin extrapolated from the pictures an attendance figure of 2.3 million. Here is a time lapse of the parade portion of the event so you can get a feel for yourself of the size of the crowd. Whatever the actual number it is sure to be seriously underestimated by the Obama-besotted members of the press corps who are also likely to misrepresent the participants and their views. But as a participant, I want you to know the attendees were wonderful people, civil and polite. They showed their respect for the Capitol and the event by leaving no mess behind when they were through, in marked contrast to the inauguration and the usual left wing demonstrations here. The feeling I have is that this is a wretched political class, as full of itself as it is idea-less and talentless and the people know it. They are disgusted enough with the new American elitism to travel on their own dime by any means available to come here to let Congress and the President know that they will use every legal means at their disposal to overthrow them. And overthrowing them is precisely what they intend to do. Congress is up for election in 2010. They can rely on the grossly inaccurate press accounts if they choose. But I'm telling them it would be a major error to do so.
Rosslyn Smith described in detail her experiences with this growing movement and shared my views that it would not be out down:
Everyone in the political class, journalists, consultants, elected Democrats and Republicans alike, needs to know this: Those countless little-known people who established the local e-mail lists, organized first one, then two, then three or more chartered buses, held sign-making parties and packed box lunches, are not going to go away any time soon. Continue to enact legislation that we cannot afford and they will be back, perhaps in even greater numbers.The Democrats need to realize these demonstrators are beholden to no one. The Republicans need to realize that they still are not trusted. Why should they be when each day seems to have another story of compromise on core principals and going along to get along with spending their children cannot afford?While the media is concentrating on the anti-Obama aspects of the demonstration, there was also a message to the Republican establishment: Lead, follow, or get out of our way.
The primaries, the reliable polls, and the preposterous attacks on the Tea Party, its candidates and supporters all, to my mind, reflect the wisdom of the take Rosslyn and I shared a year ago.
Americans know how to organize themselves almost from birth. Tocqueville commented on this. It is a unique and undying American tradition. In recent years, it had dropped off considerably when it came to elections, as the candidates seemed not so different from each other, people felt relatively happy, and workers generally paid for their services and ran campaigns from the top down. But since such audacious executive and legislative overreaching in defiance of the voters' wishes have marked this administration, we have once again organized ourselves to fight back. And we prove again that we are damned good at it.
This week, the attacks on the rebelling voters were so preposterous that a friend suggested we rename this National Parody Week. It really is hard to pick out the most obvious examples, so bear with me if I've somehow left out a favorite of yours.
The great pundits speak:
Let's start with the incredibly myopic lefty journalist Margaret Carlson.
So hats off and raise a glass to the Tea Party. They really strutted their stuff yesterday in Delaware, nominating Christine O'Donnell, a 41-year-old marketing consultant, for U.S. Senate over Mike Castle, a moderate Republican congressman and former governor. Her victory puts to rest the old saw that you can't beat somebody with nobody. [snip] In most election years the lack of experience or competence is a negative. It seems to be catnip for many voters in this unusual election of 2010.
Need I remind you that Joe Biden, now our vice president, held the seat O'Donnell seeks to fill? Someone whose brilliance is manifest in these classic Bidenisms culled by my friend bgates:
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened,'""You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I'm not joking.""I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man.""along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon....""I have not bent the law, but I have let imagination take hold in some places where I think it's consistent with the spirit of the law. Is that the best way of saying that? Yes.""Non-action is action, unlike most generations."
Our friend Iowahawk, channeling T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, compared O'Donnell and Biden in much the bgates framework:
With its long record of electing deep, gravitas-laden men such as Joe Biden (who, despite suffering over 1500 sun strokes, cerebral infarctions, and hematomae over the last 10 years, retains a reputation as one of Washington's brightest minds) the 'First State' seemed the last state to be seduced by the Tea Partyist's inane lowbrow "smaller gubmint" hillbilly bunkum.[snip] Mr. Biden's elevation to the executive branch created an open Senate seat and, mercifully, a rare moment of kismet for moderate and intellectual conservatives; here, at last, the right kind of seat, for the right kind of state, and the right kind of candidate in Mr. Mike Castle. With his nomination a forgone conclusion and a voting record scarcely distinguishable from Mr. Biden's, Mr. Castle would be undoubtedly competitive in November and could be supported by a better stripe of conservative without fear of Washington social embarrassment. Better yet, his nomination would represent a return to the rational conservatism which has been all but eclipsed by the dark moon of Tea Party lunacy.
Margaret herself was forced to concede during the presidential campaign that Obama had no experience suitable to serve as Commander-in-Chief, but she brushed aside that seeming handicap for the Delaware Senate seat when it came to the far more critical presidency.:
Forget ExperienceExperience is an argument Obama should avoid altogether, since next to McCain's three decades in public office, Obama's four years in the Senate look slight. The only time Obama should utter the word is to point out that experience didn't stop McCain from helping get us into a disastrous war.
The editors of the New York Times, like Carlson, provided comic relief to a week when all the pols and pundits and First Ladies Bruni and Obama seemed to be at each other's throats. They see in the voters' rebellion frothing moderates itching for a (gasp!) victorious fight:
Republican leaders have to decide if they want the tiny fraction of furious voters who have showed up at the primary polls to steer them into the swamp for years ahead. They have a chance to repudiate the worst of the Tea Party crowd and show that they can govern without appealing to the basest political instincts. So far, they have preferred to greedily capitalize on the nuclear energy in the land without considering its destructive effects.
It's not clear what the editors mean by "the destructive effects" of the movement, but from all the polls I'm reading, the effects of the Tea Party efforts seem to be a successful driving of both parties to the right and back to the fundamental principles of a representative federation. This is certainly "destructive" to the NYT's agenda, but apparently not to a plurality -- perhaps even majority -- of the American voters.
I suppose it would be churlish to note that what the editors of the NYT call "the basest political instincts" would be called intelligent choice by most. After all, take a look at the Republicans the Tea Party voters have rejected. Charlie Crist, when he lost the nomination for Florida's senator, switched parties, and polls show he's far behind Mark Rubio, who was the Tea Party pick. Or Mike Castle, whom the voters rejected in favor of O'Donnell. He's refused to abide by their choice and endorse her. And then there's Lisa Murkowski. She was defeated in the primary by Joe Miller, sought the endorsement of another party, and when they, too, rejected her, she announced she's running as a write-in. None seem to have the principles any shrewd voters would look for in deciding whom to support for office. They are Me-Firsters. Period.
No account of the pundit mewling would be complete without E.J. Dionne's contribution. He shows his love (only) for Republicans who lost their bids for the presidency. He called the defeat of the unreliably republican Mike Castle "the final collapse of the Republican Party not only of Nelson Rockefeller and Tom Dewey, but also of Bob Dole and Howard Baker."
Usually people like E.J. praise only those Republicans who can be counted upon to vote with the Democrats on big issues. Dionne goes beyond that, saving his respect and regard for the losers.
It's not just the final collapse of these Republican turncoats and losers, which Democrats warn us we must mourn. Congressman Clyburn, last on the public scene warning that the helpless Democratic nominee Alvin Greene was a Republican plant -- that he could see elephant dung, now has a word of warning for the Republican opposition:
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) called the nomination of Christine O'Donnell and other tea party favorites "an implosion" in the Republican party and says he feels "very comfortable" about the chances of Democratic candidates running against them.
"What we are witnessing is sort of an implosion taking place within the Republican party," he told reporters Thursday. "When these nominees get compared and contrasted with our nominees, I'm very comfortable that we have got the kind of candidates the American people will look favorably upon come November 2nd."
It pains me to disagree with such a perceptive observer of the political scene, but I think Clyburn is confusing implosion with explosion and his party with O'Donnell's.
On taxes, having seen the guillotines being rolled up to the polling places, the Democrats in Congress are pushing Pelosi to agree to extend the Bush tax cuts to everyone, including those the Democrats absurdly call the wealthy -- that is, families earning more than $250,000 per year. (That, by the way, is $50,000 less than Michelle earned in a make-believe job to provide political cover for the University of Chicago hospital's desire to persuade poor blacks in the hood to go to clinics elsewhere -- a salary on which she complained about the high cost of her kids' piano lessons.)
And then there's the signature legislation, ObamaCare:
Since the beginning of Congress's August recess, Democratic candidates have poured $930,000 into ads deriding the health overhaul but just $300,000 in pro-reform spots, according to Evan Tracey at Kantar Media. "Go back to 2006, and even before that, and Democrats used health care as their No. 1 issue," Tracey said. "They had a villain in the pharmaceutical industry. Now that they passed this law, it's almost disarmed them rather than given them an opportunity."Moreover, Tracey's data shows that health reform opponents - inside and outside of Congress - are increasingly outspending supporters. Opponents now spend seven times as much on anti-reform spots as supporters spend on pro-reform spots, a marked change from early May, when their dollars only doubled those of reform advocates.
So maybe they don't want universal health care and individual mandates, and maybe tax breaks for "the rich" aren't so awful after all. But since this represents a last-minute volte face in the shadow of the blade, who believes them? Well, who besides people like the pundits who said we should support Crist and Castle and Murkowski for our own good?
It's not just Congressional Democrats in disarray. The DNC and the White House seem to be losing their bearings.
Rumors were flying that David Axelrod was going to be replaced after the midterms by David Plouffe, who managed Obama's presidential race. Bgates, that wag, says, "Finally we'll see some attention paid to campaigning."
Leaks from those who worked in the white House (and perhaps still work there) continue, and one of them tells us something we long expected: Obama is not very focused on the job and has paid no attention to the details of governance.
The DNC announced with great fanfare that they had a big announcement this week. We could hardly contain our excitement.
Then it came -- a new website and a logo consisting of a D inside a circle and an explanation:
I'm sure you'll also notice our new look. Some may think: it's just a logo - it's just a brand. Well I don't believe the Democratic Party is a logo or a brand - we are much more than that. We are Democrats. We create change that matters. Ours is a party of ideas and ideals, of policies and people, history and purpose.
The logo reminded many of the JOM posters of the button denoting the down elevator. Others thought it looked remarkably like a toilet bowl.
Still others thought the logo reminded them of the "drive" shift in cars, which would fit with Obama's oft-made speech about driving us out of the ditch. Bgates thinks that driving cars is not the Democrats best analogy.
They really want to use that "put the car in drive" lineSpeaking of burning gas, the Senate Majority Leader takes convoys of SUVs rather than walk 100 yards to an environmental conference.Speaking of environmental cars, the government will subsidize pricey electric cars with a $7500 tax break targeted for 'the rich'."The rich" will need the money to charge their electric vehicles, since Obama has said he plans on making sure American energy costs "necessarily skyrocket".Speaking of destructive tax subsidies, the Obama administration's policy of paying people to destroy perfectly good used cars has reduced America's used-car supply and thus increased their price.Speaking of GM, the guy Obama picked to run that bailout says Obama was "out to get" the car companies.Speaking of cars and what Obama gets, Obama doesn't understand car insurance.By all means, let's keep the election focused on cars.Posted by: bgates | September 17, 2010 at 12:30 PM
Others in the nation's capital, all of whom are smarter than bitter, clinging, spit flecked Tea Party supporters, showed us what it takes to get the corner offices and big bucks.
Like the courtiers in Versailles, we who live and work here find it important to keep changing terminology so that when you return home to tend to your real affairs, you will on your return be hopelessly lost, not knowing what we are talking about or even the appropriate protocol for knocking on doors of your social betters.
In that vein, White House Science Adviser John Holdren wants us to stop using "global warming." Instead, we are to use "global climate disruption." If you want to be taken seriously here, for future reference put this in your files along with "man-caused disaster" instead of terrorism and "overseas contingency operation" for war.
I don't want you to think this week has been all under the net jostling in the primaries and on the Hill.
There's been one very bright bit of news on the horizon. There's a move afoot in Congress to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs.
One other announcement buoyed my spirits:
Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies productive entities, services and budgeted sectors with bloated payrolls (and) losses that hurt our economy. Job options will be increased and broadened with new forms of non-state employment, among them leasing land, cooperatives and self-employment, absorbing hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years."
I assumed Congress had come to its senses or Obama had started paying attention to the highest unemployment figures in decades.
But no, a closer reading indicates that that was a statement of the official labor federation of Cuba.