Have We Been Sold Out Yet?

We’ve been ignoring the debt-ceiling talks as long as possible, in part because it’s a ginned-up crisis that nobody cares about, in part because the daily play-by-play is fucking boring — but really because we just want to know how much we’re getting screwed and be done with it.

We’ve been so heroic in our disregard, we managed to ignore an entire day of flailing, following the deliberately provocative suggestion the Social Security and Medicare are now among the lambs to be sacrificed to the Gods of Bipartisanship.

At least, that is, until Glenn Greenwald socked us in the kisser:

When I first began writing about politics in late 2005, the standard liberal blogosphere critique — one I naively believed back then — was that Democrats were capitulating so continuously to the Bush agenda because they “lacked spine” and were inept political strategists: i.e., they found those policies so very offensive but were simply unwilling or unable to resist them. It became apparent to me that this was little more than a self-soothing conceit: Democrats continuously voted for Bush policies because they were either indifferent to their enactment or actively supported them, and were owned and controlled by the same factions as the GOP.

This certainly isn’t a new critique — we all can name our favorite conservative Democrats — and it’s not even new when applied to Barack Obama, especially if you recall the consternation when he originally handed over his Cabinet to Wall Street.

It’s just that, at this particular moment, we’re having a hard time resisting it.

We never bought into the Svengali Rahm theory, that somehow a henchman was keeping The Preznit from releasing his Inner Progressive. Obama’s been in charge from Day One. Yet despite our own longstanding frustration, we’ve somehow felt there was an Inner Progressive in there somewhere, but trapped by circumstance.

The circumstances are bad as they ever were, in some ways worse. And hey, you play the hand you’re dealt. But the poker metaphor only goes so far — a President can change the rules. This President hasn’t. We’re honestly left wondering what Barack Obama stands for, because while he’s not a pandering idiot like Romney, he doesn’t seem to believe in anything except mediation. And silly us, we thought we had voted for a leader.

It’s been said that throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been lucky in his opponents. We see no reason for that luck to change next year, since all his prospective opponents are flat-out unthinkable. But if the only reason to vote for Obama in 2012 is that he’s Not Michele Bachmann, we’ll have come a long way since 2008.

Reports: Obama pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare [Greenwald]

Compromise for merely the sake of comprise is just fucking dumb.

The problem, really, is idiotic attempts at “triangulation.”

When Bill Clinton first adopted the strategy on 1992 and onwards, it worked remarkably well for him, and drove the GOP nuts, because he had adopted and claimed credits for many of their ideas (i.e. Welfare reform) while allowing him to push his own policy objectives (i.e. tax policy).

Since then, however, the GOP has learned to “game” the triangulation strategy. It’s simple. Triangulation is just another word for “meeting the opposition half way.” If you are in the opposition and want to successfully counter (or game) your opponent’s triangulation strategy, all you need to do is move so absurdly to the right that your opponent’s “triangulation” position falls precisely where you want it to fall. Instead of your opponent playing you, you are now playing him.

I only half-blame Bill Clinton for this. He may have been the first to succesfully implement the strategy, but it’s a lack of imagination on the part of recent Democrats that they continue to rely on the strategy, even as it’s painfully obvious that it’s working against them.

But, hey, you know, at least Obama hasn’t issued hunting licenses for seniors.

To paraphrase Drew Westen, there are three branches of the RepubliKKKan Party: The lunatic hate-crazed fringe, the neo-fascist corporate supremacists and the Democrats.

Where’s your Dexter when we need him?

@¡Andrew!: So the neighbor explains to me last night that America has been a chariot led by three horses: left, right, and center. Only the center horse has disappeared, and the left and right horses are pulling us in different directions.

No, I correct him, it’s the left horse that’s gone, and we’re veering hard right.

But what about the Democrats? he asks.

Center-right, I explain. Obama and the leadership are all Rockefeller Republicans.

we shoulda voted for jesse jackson and al sharpton when we had the chance.

Howard Dean with Democratic House and Senate majorities might have been fun.

Why do I bother voting in NY?

And here’s my quesion: what would President Hillary do in this situation? Would she let them disassemble the New Deal?

@blogenfreude: Are you shitting me? The Clintons watched the fucking banks finish nuking the usury laws, which had been around since at least the reign of Hammurabi, without comment.

@blogenfreude: What Chainsaw said. And don’t forget the so-called “welfare reform” that pushed millions more children into poverty.

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