Tuesday, December 07, 2010


An exchange between Zandar and me earlier today, in comments:

I still say the Tea Party will kill this deal to prevent President Obama from getting Centrist Warm Fuzzies from the Village.

Interesting theory. Although won't lefties try to beat them to it?

Or maybe we can look forward to [a] Jane Hamsher/Michele Bachmann summit meeting to pool anti-Obama resources.

I thought I was joking, but, well, here comes the normally level-headed Bernie Sanders:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is making the loudest filibuster threats in the Senate right now, vowing to do all he can to block President Obama's tax cut compromise.

Here's how: "Find a handful of Republicans who are willing to vote no on this agreement and then come back and come up with a proposal that is much stronger and much fairer," he told reporters today.

"What I'm saying as a progressive should appeal to conservatives all over this country," Sanders added. "I think we have a winnable fight here. I think the American people are with us and I intend to do everything that I can to defeat this proposal."


I actually fear that this is more or less what's going to happen: a deal-scotching revolt (and thus the complete negation of the lame-duck session). Sanders is angry, Pelosi and other House Dems are angry, Durbin says some Senate Dems are angry, long-time Bush tax cut supporter Mary Landrieu is hypocritically angry ... Ahhh, the good old Democratic Party, the folks who never, ever hang together because they'd always rather hang separately. (And, given his unilateralism on this, I absolutely have to include the president in that criticism. His party is virtually incapable of coming together on anything, so why did he play right into this tendency by excluding congressional leaders?)

The absurdity of what Sanders says is in his fantasy that Democrats will "come up with a proposal that is much stronger and much fairer" -- and it will be able to get past the GOP brick wall in Congress. So how, precisely, is that going to happen? Oh, right -- he's going to start an insta-revolution!

"I'm not into naming names," he said, "but let me tell you something: Obviously I come from a more progressive state than most. But I will be willing to bet -- and you ask them -- dollars to donuts, that in R states all over this country there are people saying, 'Wait a second, it is insane to give tax breaks to billionaires when the rich have done phenomenally well in recent years.'"

You know what? He may be right about those folks in the heartland. And you know something else? Republicans don't give a goddamn. Republicans have been pounding their propaganda into these people's heads for thirty years. When Republicans let up for a few seconds, these people sometimes think for themselves and say, "The rich? Why are we cutting their taxes?" But if Republicans thought that argument could ever trump their DEMOCRATS EVIL BIG GOVERNMENT EVIL SOCIALIST EVIL TAX-AND-SPEND EVIL IVY LEAGUE EVIL HOLLYWOOD EVIL ACORN EVIL EVIL EVIL, they'd just crank up the volume to 11 to the 11th power and flood the zone with even more propaganda. And it would prevail, as usual.

Long term? Maybe -- maybe -- a concerted messaging effort could beat the GOP, despite the GOP's 30-year head start. However, Bernie thinks he can beat this messaging before Christmas. And, I suppose, get an unemployment extension, DADT repeal, and the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck as well.

IT'S TOO FREAKING LATE RIGHT NOW. Filibuster this and the GOP will ram something through that's immeasurably worse.

Though, yeah, I suppose before that happens there could be a summit meeting between angry lefties and Mark Levin, or the Club for Growth. If so, good luck with that, folks.


A stray thought: I have no evidence to back this up apart from a gut sense, but I can't help thinking that if the White House fought off an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich but didn't get a dime in extended unemployment, the people who are the angriest now wouldn't be nearly as angry as they are now. I'm not sure they'd be angry at all.

Am I right about that?

And if so, what does that say about the priorities of the angriest Obama critics? What's more important -- getting what can be gotten for the people who are struggling, or experiencing a satisfying win against the GOP?

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