Sunday, December 18, 2011


I enjoyed today's Frank Bruni column, which is about Newt Gingrich's ego. But I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it didn't include this passage:

Yes, we live in a grotesquely partisan moment, the main reason for gridlock, brinkmanship and super-committee ignominy on Capitol Hill. But would Clinton have stood at so far a remove from that committee? Isn't it possible that a glad-hander more aggressive and warmer than Obama would be making a smidgen of headway?

Gingrich isn'’t the answer: he's hot-headed and truculent.

If Bruni thinks a Gingrich presidency wouldn't solve the problem of excessive partsanship and gridlock, that means Bruni is yet another fool who believes partisanship and gridlock are caused by politicians in general, rather than by Republicans. That alone makes him unfit to write political commentary for one of America's most important news organizations (although in making this particular misreading of the cause of gridlock, he has a hell of a lot of company within the ranks of the elite media).

Assuming we have (as is likely) an all-GOP Congress, or even a Congress just like the one we have now, with a GOP majority in the House and a "superminority" of Republicans in the Senate (i.e., a number greater than 40), there will be absolutly no gridlock as long as there's a Republican president -- any Republican president, with the possible exception of Ron Paul. In the case of Gingrich, the only way there'll be gridlock is if he reverts to being the occasionally centrist Gingrich of the past -- if he tries to do something about climate change, or urging a less-than-draconian path on immigration, he'll be shot down as decisively as George W. Bush was when he attempted immigration reform or proposed Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. Otherwise, the agenda of Gingrich -- or Romney or Perry or Bachmann or Santorum -- will go through Congress like a knife through butter, because it will be a conservatively correct agenda, rubber-stamped at every stage of the process.

Democrats certainly won't gum up the works -- I'm predicting there won't even be a filibuster to save the Obama health care law if Republicans win the White House and the Senate, not even if there are 49 Senate Democrats. (After an election loss, Blue Dogs and pants-wetting Democratic senators up for reelection in 2014 will desperately avoid any dissent from the Republican agenda.)

I suppose this is why the public is so slow to sour on Republicans (it took six years with W and nearly twelve with Reagan and Poppy Bush), and so quick to sour on Democrats: voters just want something done in Washington, and when a Republican is in the Oval Office, things get done. Think of W's first term. Tax cut? Done. No Child Left Behind? Done. Patriot Act? Done. A war and then another war? Maybe the second one took a little arm-twisting, but you didn't see the Democrats threatening a government shutdown over it, or relitigating it once it started. And Reagan got his agenda fairly effortlessly through a Democratic House.

Gridlock happens only to presidents who are Democrats. Shouldn't a political pundit for The New York Times know that Politics 101 fact?


c u n d gulag said...

And that's why the new NY Times Sunday "DC Old Zoo Review" is something I read - maybe - during the week. If that - except for the Liberal multi-panel comic strip.

When Frank Rich, for all his earlier faults was writing there, it was the first section I looked at as soon as I picked the paper up on Sunday's.

Bruni, who is not ATROCIOUS, but is, at best - insipid, and has picked-up the DC BS faster than anyone since that fucking idiot Chuck Todd on MSNBC. At least Luke Russert has an excuse - he inherited the "insipid follower of Republican Talking Points" gene.

Bruni and Nocera, as much as I hoped for the positive, have turned into uninteresting scribes of standard Beltway bullshit.

I'd say it's time to cut them loose, but I'm afraid of what the NY Times might bring in to replace these assholes.

Bill Kristol would LOVE another crack at the NY Times.

God - all I ask from Santa for Christmas is a fucking fatal cardiac or aneurism!

I'm tired SOOOOO tired of this countries bullshit!

Steve M. said...

Nocera gets credit for exposing that sleazebag foreclosure-mill near Buffalo where the employees dressed as homeless people for Halloween, when they weren't engaging in massive robo-signing abuses. He helped drive the company out of business.

Bruni? Nothing of value so far.

Davis X. Machina said...

NCLB, the Patriot Act, and the tax cut were all popular. The war was popular, if a UN resolution was sought as promise, it'd have had 2/3 a majority.

Bush's vaunted political skill consisted of passing things that were going to pass anyways. The half of the Democratic caucuses that are actually Republicans saw to that.

Which is why Social Security isn't privatized. That's not something everyone wanted -- and no amount of bullyarmfirepulpittwistingchats could cause it to pass.

Steve M. said...

Tax increases on the rich are popular.

Davis X. Machina said...

Tax increases on the rich are popular.

Two of the three parties in parliament are against them.

Steve M. said...

But that's my point -- you said Bush could get things through because they were popular. Tax increases on the rich are popular, but Obama can't get them through. So popularity isn't sufficient.