Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Democrats Banking on Reform
Even as its business model is shredded to smithereens by the Internet, our mainstream media persists in propagating a wisdom utterly conventional.
Why the information industry's foot soldiers insist the Democratic Party is headed for doom in this year's elections, and bury an article headlined "Democrats Top GOP in Fund-Raising for Midterms" is anybody's guess.
Back on January 10, in "Dem Dead Dems," the highway scribe said the Democrats' problems were relative and the Republicans were in no position to take advantage of them.
Although highwayscribery hates repeating itself, the popes of American news do not, and so we are obligated in our gadfly's mission to follow suit, repeat, and refute this widespread fallacy.
We are not going to serve up a bunch of stuff you are supping on daily, just a few recent examples of the aforementioned popular pap.
The "San Francisco Chronicle," which ought to know better, put a California spin on things.
The state's Democrats just adjourned their convention and the reporter wonders how they're going to rev things up to 2008 levels of excitement, which, of course they can't.
This begs the question of whether a governing party needs to generate the energy of historic, watershed elections every time voters are convened to settle the polity's direction.
We would suggest there is margin for error and that, in the wake of the health care debate, the Democratic Party is holding its own, hardly imploding as the present-day narrative strains to assert.
At the national level, "Salon" throws in the towel on the mid-terms, too. Then it sugar-coats things for its liberal audience with some high-falutin', demographically based hoo-hah about how 2012 will be better for Democrats.
The article only affirms the highway scribe's hypothesis that journalists think way too much before arriving at like conclusions.
Our editorial board's take, honed over years in opposition, is that Republicans will not fare well just because folks are unhappy with the other guys.
It's a cyclical analysis of American politics that sees parties rise to power, expend themselves of ideas, crash on the shoals of a popular clamor for change, engage in internecine policy purges, and then start hatching ideas anew.
In today's speedy world, this takes less time than before, but it's still a process that requires some years unfold.
highwayscribery's prediction is that, as the premier and dominant figure on the American political landscape, Barack Obama remains the focus of our national narrative by holding serve in 2010, slowly wearing down the opposition, and imposing those programs he was elected to affect.
We predict he gets reelected in 2012 for lack of fresh Republican talent, coupled with a bruising 24-hour cable-news-ified primary season on the right, before getting his hat handed to him in 2014.
If that comes as cold dousing given what you've been reading and watching, witness the flailing Republicans push each other to the right, waffle over keeping or dumping their ineffectual party chairman Michael Steel, while slowly losing their ability to gum-up the legislative works.
Here, an article in the "New York Times," about the Democrats effectively moving on nominations held-up by the GOP for nine months.
It notes that, "Under the threat of late-night sessions, Republicans have agreed to allow votes on two federal judicial nominees, and Democrats hope to force votes on two others this week."
From which we can only surmise that Republican legislators are willing to surrender their ideological bona fides for an early ride home.
Here's another "Times" piece about follow-up health care legislation regulating insurance premium increases.
No GOPers are predicting the end of freedom as we know it this round. So either they've accepted socialist enslavement or don't think that line of reasoning worked too well for them.
The Republicans bet everything on the health care debate. It was a careless wager against something a lot of people have been clamoring decades for.
There was never a clear policy from the opposition.
We never knew if they were against the drug companies, who backed the measure, the insurance companies whom Obama had wisely co-opted early on in the process, the medical community, or the American people themselves.
What they were clearly against, was President Obama's achieving anything.
As Tom Friedman noted in "Everybody Loves a Winner," one needn't be Machiavelli "to believe that the leaders of Iran and Venezuela shared the barely disguised Republican hope that health care would fail and, therefore, Obama's whole political agenda would be stalled and, therefore, his presidency enfeebled."
Now, the highway scribe and countless leftists wanted and worked for much the same in the case of George W. Bush. But he stole an election.
As Frank Rich recently noted, the problem for Tea Partiers, who are otherwise "doing fine," is that Obama is black.
That is less an offense than rigging an election in your big brother's state. Except in the south, the regional rock to which Republicans cling for a modicum of relevance.
As Democrats continue their efforts to keep us healthy at a cheaper price, we'll see how the world did not come to an end and that their positive labors in this area will match their good deeds in the credit card business.
Have you seen your statement lately? It tells what you've forked over in fees and interest for the year to date, maps out your future expenses at current rates of payment, and details alternative sums that wipe out your debt sooner.
The changes are due to new laws, not some new predisposition on the part of big banks who want to be your friend.
They really don't.
And as the "New York Times," noted on April 19, the Democrats have seized a great combination of populist ire at banks and fancy pants investment houses, and their opponents' predilection for all things financial, to make hay at the GOP's expense.
You have to hand it to the Republicans. They know what they stand for and they don't back down when the political climate is searing their values on the grill.
They like banks. The lunch with banks. They want to help banks. They tell bankers not to worry about congressional staffer "punks" harassing them.
Obama was out here in Los Angeles raising money for Sen. Barbara Boxer; someone who is supposedly vulnerable in November, which is not likely.
The President informed his audience about where his opposite number, politically speaking, has been of late. That would be Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader whom, the president noted, recently convened a little confab including Wall Street Brahmin, himself, and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.
"Now, the Senate Republican leader, he paid a visit to Wall Street a week or two ago," the president narrated for his partisans. "He took along the chairman of their campaign committee [that's Cornyn]. He met with some of the movers and shakers up there. I don't know exactly what was discussed, all I can tell you is that, when he came back, he promptly announced he would oppose the financial regulatory reform. He would oppose it. Shocking. And once again he's threatening to tie up the Senate with a filibuster to block progress."
The health care debate turned McConnell's once obscure tools of obstruction into household words so that now "filibuster" is officially a dirty one, unless you're the kind who ties teabags to your NASCAR baseball cap.
The Senate minority leader explained that he was on Wall Street, "gathering information" regarding peoples' views on the proposed reform.
Which is fine, but highwayscribery is still waiting to talk with McConnell so he can air some views, too. He hasn't heard from Mitch yet.
While the Obama crowd and their suddenly cohesive cohorts in Congress were working to get financial reform on the Senate floor within a week (the House has already passed a bill), the federal government sued Goldman Sachs for fraud.
The firm just posted another $zillion quarterly profit and word has it the government's case is a tough sell, but the timing's right, isn't it?
If you think it's a mistake an Obama Department of Justice filed the lawsuit around the same time the administration would like the Senate to take up financial regulatory reform, than you're one of those people who thinks the president is stupid.
You are invited by a supporter of the administration to keep doing that.
McConnell is backtracking, because his threat to kill legislation reining in predatory financial institutions, while railing against predatory financial institutions, is fooling nobody and he can't get the 41 votes he needs.
The strategy of gridlock is being affected by a law of diminishing returns and financial reform represents the second big loss in a month's time for Republicans.
And this time it wasn't even close.
By now you should see where things are heading, but might be distracted by flack from an endless barrage of mentions about the Tea Party. The biggest white elephant in American politics since Ross Perot.
Essentially Republican voters, the only thing that would make this 18 percent segment of the population newsworthy is if they actually turned on the GOP and helped consolidate Democratic control.
And it is happening.
They've made Florida's Marco Rubio a poster-boy for the new conservatism, and a dumping ground of Sunshine State Gov. Charlie Crist's political career.
The feckless Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), in a dog-fight with a newly, self-identified Tea Partier, J.D. Hayworth, just "distanced" himself from Crist.
Ham-handed and craven, the Republican establishment has treated one of its proven and successful moderates so roughly that Crist is threatening to run as an independent.
Can you say "split ticket?"
Michael Gerson, a right-leaning columnist with the "Washington Post," thinks McCain's in trouble. The operative phrase to his piece is, "in an environment where anything can happen to an incumbent."
Which is one of our points here. If the electorate is still in a foul mood seven months from now -- something that is open to dispute -- it won't be the President's party alone that pays the price.
With the pain equitably distributed, the Democrats can be expected to hold onto power.
Bank on it.