13 October, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Stupid does not take holidays.  Especially not holidays like Columbus Day.  Therefore, the cantina is open.  We shall limber up the Smack-o-Matic and get to work.

You may have noticed a certain kerfluffle over anonymous remarks by some unspecified Obama adviser supposedly dissing bloggers.  I hope you have a salt block handy.  Especially those of you who reflexively believe the worst of Obama no matter what's going on.  Slow down, take a deep breath, and consider the immediate and strong push-back from the White House:
Asked for comment, White House senior communications adviser Dan Pfeiffer emailed:
“That sentiment does not reflect White House thinking at all, we’ve held easily a dozen calls with the progressive online community because we believe the online communities can often keep the focus on how policy will affect the American people rather than just the political back-and-forth.”
Whatever you think of the White House’s record on gay rights issues or the respect it does or doesn’t have for the blogosphere, paraphrased second-hand claims from a single anonymous adviser don’t really seem like grounds for sweeping conclusions about the White House’s alleged disdain for the online community.

You can debate whether the White House has been solicitious enough towards the issues that matter to the online world. But it seems clear by White House actions — the hiring of Internet outreach staff, the frequent blogger conference calls, the elevation of Huffington Post at press conferences — that the White House sees the blogosphere as playing a valuable role of sorts.

To which Steve Benen adds:
It's exactly why I'm not more worked up about this. The quote, as characterized by Harwood, was ridiculous. But note, if the White House didn't give a damn about online progressives, Dan Pfeiffer wouldn't be going on the record to distance the White House from the quote at all. If the White House simply expected bloggers to "take off the pajamas," there'd be no need for pushback, since the president's team would simply ignore the complaints.

I just haven't seen the evidence that the White House considers the netroots and progressive activists in general as some kind of annoying sideshow to be ignored. On the contrary, I've seen the opposite. It's why my outrage about a blind paraphrase of an anonymous "advisor" of unknown significance is tempered.

And Digby is handy with an additional nail in the coffin of this manufactroversy:
Obviously, I have no way of knowing if any of this is true and nobody else does either. That's the beauty of anonymous sourcing, right? And that leads me to believe that while it's certainly possible that an administration official said this to him about the left, it's also entirely possible that Harwood made it up. After all, he has a habit of saying exactly the same thing in his own voice all the time. I've been documenting it for years.


Harwood spouts this line on a regular basis as a pundit. In fact he's so predictable that I know to look for it every time I see him on one of the gasbag shows.

It's possible that a White House official did say it; I certainly wouldn't put it past them. But I would guess that there's an equal chance that if he or she did, it's because the official watches Harwood saying it on TV every other week and was currying favor with him. After all, there is no villager more contemptuous of the left than John Harwood.
And that's all I have to say about that, aside from saying that there are plenty of substantive Obama imperfections one can criticize.  This isn't substantive.  It's just Village idiocy.

Hmm.  I need a segue from media assclownery to Con fuckery.  And remarkably enough, here's a perfect one.  It seems Limbaugh may, as he says, not be the de-facto head of the Con party.  In fact, it's looking very much like Glenn Beck is:
A couple of weeks ago, Media Matters had a good piece, noting the ways in which a certain self-described rodeo clown influenced political news coverage: "It used to be common knowledge that Matt Drudge ruled the media's world. These days, Drudge must be jealous. If the past few months have shown us anything, it's that Drudge's position as the media's assignment editor is now filled by Fox News' Glenn Beck."

But it's not just major news outlets. In Salon today, Gabriel Winant and Tim Bella put together a very interesting report noting the influence Beck has over Republican Party priorities and talking points.
Something strange has happened to rank-and-file Republicans since President Obama took office. These past few months, standard-issue gray lawmakers have sounded like fire-and-brimstone demagogues. Conspiracy theories and over-the-top legislation to fix imaginary wrongs are flying wildly around formerly mainstream GOP circles.
It turns out that like so much of what ails the world today, this can be traced back to Glenn Beck. Some fifth-term Iowa senator might be railing against death panels, but it's really Beck's voice you're hearing. With his show on Fox News, Beck has successfully positioned himself as the weirdo right's ambassador-at-large to the rest of the world. When the patron saint of the Tea Parties lets his freak flag fly, seemingly normal right-wing functionaries have been known to line up and salute. Republicans parrot Beck's crackpot notions and pet issues routinely -- sometimes running with his manias the morning after he first airs them. [...]
Beck is more than a harmless -- if deranged -- entertainer. His ability to push the GOP from rhetoric to action means he can inject toxic ideas and fears directly into the body politic.
It's surprisingly common given Beck's instability.

But unsurprisingly common given the Cons' instability.

However, it seems that Cons are insufficiently unstable for the Teabaggers:

The right-wing "Tea Party" activists are, obviously, deeply opposed to the Obama White House's policies and the Democratic agenda in general. But Alex Isenstadt reports that they're not especially pleased with the state of the Republican Party, either. Apparently, the Teabaggers think the GOP is too moderate.
While the energy of the anti-tax and anti-Big Government tea party movement may yet haunt Democrats in 2010, the first order of business appears to be remaking the Republican Party.
Whether it's the loose confederation of Washington-oriented groups that have played an organizational role or the state-level activists who are channeling grass-roots anger into action back home, tea party forces are confronting the Republican establishment by backing insurgent conservatives and generating their own candidates -- even if it means taking on GOP incumbents.

Now, the notion of hostilities between right-wing activists and really right-wing activists is, to a certain extent, entertaining. State and local Republican parties are already pretty unhinged -- pick a state GOP platform at random and read it -- but that's apparently insufficient.

But the part of this that's really remarkable to me is the notion that the Republican Party of 2009 is just too darn reasonable and open to compromise with those sneaky Democrats, as far as this crowd is concerned.

Yes, the recovery-opposing, nominee-blocking, ACORN-hunting, Fox News-following, health care-rejecting, gay bashing, global warming-denying, scorched earth-raging Republican Party isn't far enough to the right for the Teabggers.
I love Digby's response:
Hey, more power to them. They have a perfect right to try to move the Republican Party further to the right even though the party was just rejected in favor of a man and a party they portray as being far left. I guess they are convinced that the country really wanted a right wing fascist so they accidentally voted for a left wing socialist instead. Hey, it could happen to anyone.
Indeed, especially given how often the right confuses socialism and fascism.  I'd laugh, but I wouldn't be completely surprised, if one or two Teabaggers had made just that mistake.

In light of all these challenges from the tea-stained right, you'd think Cons would want a certified hero of the Teabaggers stumping for them, right?  Wrong:
Sarah Palin stands ready to stump for the Republican gubernatorial candidates running in the two most closely watched campaigns in the country this fall, but neither seems to want her help.

Less than a month before voters go to the polls, it appears increasingly clear that the former Alaska governor, vice-presidential nominee and conservative favorite will not appear on behalf of either New Jersey’s Chris Christie or Virginia’s Bob McDonnell.

Palin is the only one of the most talked-about potential 2012 presidential candidates who has not yet campaigned for either Republican candidate.
It appears some Cons realize they can't win elections by relying on right-wing fanatics alone - they need independents and saner Republicans, too.  To both of which Sarah Palin is equivalent to salt on a slug.


And look at Mittens positioning himself to win the rabid right by flip-flopping yet again:
Guess who's decided he doesn't like cap and trade anymore.
Mitt Romney took a shot at the Democrats' climate bill [this week] in a web video launched by his Free and Strong America PAC, Romney's political fundraising and action group.
"President Obama has asked Congress to pass a cap and trade program. It would have a devastating impact on the families of America and on the economy," Romney says. [...]
Romney's PAC sent the video out to supporters via email; the page that hosts it contains prominently placed forms to donate and sign up for alerts from Romney.
This wouldn't be especially interesting, if it weren't for the fact that Romney, up until fairly recently, thought cap and trade was a fine idea. In fact, in 2005, while Romney was serving his only term in public office, he called cap and trade "a great thing" for his state. Romney added that with a cap and trade policy, ''We can effectively create incentives to help stimulate a sector of the economy and at the same time not kill jobs..... I'm convinced [cap and trade] is good business."

I'm sure that quote will come back to haunt him.  A lot.

This next election season promises to be damned entertaining, and it's possible the Cons' friendly fire will leave us sitting quite pretty, especially if Dems come through on some major legislation (like, oh, say, not fucking health care reform up).  Best lay in a good supply of popcorn just in case.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

I don't doubt Harwood's assertion. If he weren't using a tape recorder when he interviewed whoever he interviewed, it's possible he used his own idioms to describe lefty bloggers rather than the ones the subject used.

There are plenty of examples of how much contempt some members of the WH for bloggers and progressives in general. The only time they talk to us is when they need something. I don't have any trouble at all believing that someone there could have said such a thing.