Friday, December 20, 2013


Today The New York Times gave some op-ed column inches to Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, so she could attack all the evil Republicans who just allowed a budget to be passed. Here's Martin's lead paragraph:
THERE'S a political axiom that says if nobody is upset with what you're doing, you're not doing your job. We've seen this proved time and again in the liberal attacks on conservatives like Sarah Palin and Dr. Benjamin Carson, who provide principled examples to women and minorities and are savaged by the left for doing that job so well.
Amazing. Martin decides to illustrate a truism about "doing your job" -- and who are the first people who come to mind? Sarah Palin and Ben Carson. Tell me, Jenny Beth, what exactly are their jobs? Sarah Palin hasn't held a real job for more than four years, nor has she pursued one; Ben Carson had a real job, as a neurosurgeon, but he retired this year to become, in effect, the spokesperson for a right-wing talking point ("liberals are the real racists"), succeeding (among others) Alan Keyes, Michael Steele, and Herman Cain. To the extent that Palin and Carson have jobs right now, those jobs consist solely of yelling at people on Fox News. This is not a real job.

Basically, what Martin is saying is this: If you're not pissing people off, you're not doing your job -- if your job is pissing people off. (I think this is an example of the reflexive property.)

If Martin had cited Scott Walker, say, I'd have no complaints. I may not like the way Walker approaches the job of governor, but it is an actual job, and he has some sort of approach.

Now read what Martin writes about Republicans who also have actual jobs, and who -- for once -- recently did the jobs they were elected to do:
Consider how [Mitch McConnell] handled the vote on the [budget] bill. To defeat a filibuster, its supporters needed 60 senators to win cloture and move to a final vote. Instead of rallying his troops against the vote, Mr. McConnell allowed a handful of Republicans in battleground states -- who needed to be seen as supporting the bill -- to vote for cloture, while he and the rest railed against it, casting themselves in the role of budget hawks.

With cloture accomplished, a dozen Republicans were then free to vote against final passage if they need wiggle room when they're confronted on the campaign trail next fall by voters demanding action on government spending. Mr. McConnell and many Senate Republicans used the vote to manipulate the system, allowing them to cast themselves as deal makers or principled conservatives, depending on their audience.
Oh. So McConnell concluded that this was the best deal the GOP could get, given the fact that his party doesn't control the Senate. McConnell realized that the public actually wanted his caucus to pass something rather than block everything. And so McConnell found a way to finesse the politics, while actually accomplishing the task of keeping the government functioning. To Martin, this isn't "doing your job." This is "manipulat[ing] the system." (Funny, I thought that, in a non-dictatorship, legislative dealmaking was the system.)

Martin presumably would prefer that all Republicans in Congress be replaced by the likes of Sarah Palin and Ben Carson, who would yell a lot at liberals and, in a divided Congress, make sure that nothing ever got passed.

Y'know, just as the Framers intended.


Victor said...

I think the NY Times did a great job with giving a doofus like Jenny Beth Martin an Op-ed column.

She proves how stupid, ignorant, and insular the Teabaggers are.

I'm all for letting morons show how utterly stupid and ignorant they are, in public.

Instead of giving her a shoebox and a newspaper to use to shriek her opinion in a public park, the NY Times have her a few inches of valuable real estate, to demonstrate how closed-minded and Manichean the Teabaggers are.

Kevin said...

Wait... you only need 50 votes pass a budget bill. For non-budget bills you need 60 votes for cloture, but budget bills are exempt from that rule.

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