02 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Does anyone know of any sites that are taking money on when the Cons will wake up and smell the reality? I'm placing a bet for 1,000,000 years:

The LA Times has a piece today that makes a fairly obvious point: the Democratic majority in the Senate may be at its biggest point in 30 years, but it's still not filibuster-proof. Given the arithmetic, Democrats will have no choice but look to the handful of Republican "moderates" -- a group small enough to "squeeze into a Volkswagen Beetle" -- in order to actually pass legislation in the face of GOP obstructionism.

The Times piece noted that these centrists have largely disappeared as "swing voters have been alienated by President Bush's policies and perceptions that the Republican Party is dominated by extremists." It included this gem:

Moderate Republicans worry that their party's conservative wing is not going to change its ways in response to the GOP's election drubbing.

"I would hope that the more conservative members of our caucus would take a look at these election results," [Sen. Susan Collins of Maine] said. "It's difficult to make the argument that our candidates lost because they were not conservative enough."

Well, yes, it may be difficult to make that argument, but that hasn't stopped them.

Republican leaders are still coming to grips with exactly how and why they failed so miserably at the ballot box this year, but they've looked at the election results and not one of them has so much as hinted about moving the party back towards the center. Indeed, there are a half-dozen candidates seeking the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, and, to a person, they're all promising to keep the GOP as conservative as humanly possible. Those who've been loosely associated with moderate Republicans in the past are scrambling to downplay those ties as meaningless indiscretions (see Steele, Michael).

They still don't quite understand that the reason why they lost is because the majority of the American public has seen the face of conservative governance and, after a good long scream, has fled (still screaming) in the general direction of away. They gravitated to the person who offered change. This is because they didn't want things to stay the same. Now, John McCain offered change as well, but there's an important thing to note here: he offered "change" as in "take the country further right," and people abandoned him in droves. Conservative change would not do.

This should prompt anyone with an IQ of 50 or more to realize that what the country wants is actual change, not merely a change in conservatism's packaging. Alas, it seems that Cons do not have an IQ of 50:

Peter Berkowitz has written an op-ed in the WSJ that lays out a bold new direction for the Republican Party. He calls it "Constitutional Conservatism" which he defines as being devoted to the preservation of constitutional principles. What good news.

He lays out this bold new agenda in some detail:
- An economic program, health-care reform, energy policy and protection for the environment grounded in market-based solutions.

- A foreign policy that recognizes America's vital national security interest in advancing liberty abroad but realistically calibrates undertakings to the nation's limited knowledge and restricted resources.

- A commitment to homeland security that is as passionate about security as it is about law, and which is prepared to responsibly fashion the inevitable, painful trade-offs.

- A focus on reducing the number of abortions and increasing the number of adoptions.

- Efforts to keep the question of same-sex marriage out of the federal courts and subject to consideration by each state's democratic process.

- Measures to combat illegal immigration that are emphatically pro-border security and pro-immigrant.

- A case for school choice as an option that enhances individual freedom while giving low-income, inner-city parents opportunities to place their children in classrooms where they can obtain a decent education.

- A demand that public universities abolish speech codes and vigorously protect liberty of thought and discussion on campus.

- The appointment of judges who understand that their function is to interpret the Constitution and not make policy, and, therefore, where the Constitution is most vague, recognize the strongest obligation to defer to the results of the democratic process.
Whoa Nellie, bar the door. I don't think they can take all that change in one fell swoop do you? Talk about bold new thinking!
I've put all of the bold new thinking in bold for you. I figured that would make it look more bold, and represents about the same degree of "change" offered.

Paul Krugman has a beautiful op-ed piece up analyzing the Cons's failed tactics of racial backlash. It calls the GOP a "party of whiners," explains why their reliance on the South has led them into a dead end, and ends with a question-and-answer:

Will the Republicans eventually stage a comeback? Yes, of course. But barring some huge missteps by Mr. Obama, that will not happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. And when they do, they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.

Can I change my bet? I'd like to add another million years to my guesstimate.

Nancy Pelosi seems to have finally woken up and smelled the stench of a decaying but still lively corpse, and is now taking steps in an attempt to ensure that the obstructionist fools don't cripple the country:

Alan K. Ota reports for Congressional Quarterly today:

An early partisan skirmish is likely in the House next week, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to move a rules package that would curb the GOP’s ability to derail legislation through a parliamentary maneuver it used on occasion over the past two years.

. . . A senior House Democratic aide said Pelosi, D-Calif., had not made a final decision on whether to move the two proposed rules changes when the 111th Congress convenes Tuesday, Jan. 6.

But Democratic leaders are definitely taking a hard look at preventing the minority party from scoring easy political points with motions to recommit a bill to committee with instructions to make contentious language changes and then report it back to the House “promptly.” In the outgoing Congress, “promptly’’ has meant an indefinite hold, because committees were not willing to adopt poison-pill amendments sponsored by the minority.

. . . “Republicans will still get a chance to make motions to recommit. But they would not be allowed to just kill bills in a way that was never intended,” said one Democratic aide.

She's learning the lesson all mothers eventually do: if you want your children to play without rioting, you take the dangerous toys away. Let's hope she succeeds. They we can attempt to teach them how to play nicely and share with others, lessons they were apparently never taught in their preschools.

And while we're at it, we may want to put John Bolton in time-out:

Ben Armbruster notes that John Bolton has a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, arguing for "regime change" in Iran.

Iran and North Korea achieved their objectives through diplomacy. Mr. Bush failed to achieve his. How can Mr. Obama do better? For starters, he could increase the pressure on China, which has real leverage over North Korea, to press Kim Jong Il's regime in ways that the six-party talks never approached. Options on Iran are more limited, but meaningful efforts at regime change and assisting Israel should it decide to strike Iran's nuclear facilities would be good first steps.

This comes just a few days after Bolton insisted that the violence in Gaza offers the U.S. an ideal opportunity to attack Iran.

Bolton, of course, doesn't need an excuse. He called for a war against Iran over and over and over again. It doesn't matter that his idea is crazy, Bolton has access to conservative media outlets and he knows how to use them.

I know the WSJ's editorial pages are nothing more than a neocon lovefest, existing only to trumpet moronic right-wing talking points, but still, there should be some standards. When even Bush can tell that someone's a total assclown with zero credibility, you know you've got a doofus of rare caliber on your hands. So why the fuck is anyone giving this dumbfuck a national stage from which to spout utter bullshit?

Oh. Right. Because our vaunted MSM doesn't know any better.

Sigh. Like the poor, it appears the terminally stupid will always be with us. Although at least there's a slim chance we can eliminate poverty...

1 comment:

Mike at The Big Stick said...

From Dana: Now, John McCain offered change as well, but there's an important thing to note here: he offered "change" as in "take the country further right,"...

really? John McCain right of George Bush...interesting analysis.