Monday, January 25, 2010

Chaos – It’s What’s For Breakfast

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 25th, 2010


1) Why are the cast members fighting? Why does Willie refer to his segment on the show as ‘trotting out’ the news no one else is willing to associate themselves with? Why does Chris Licht act as though he has had ‘just about enough’ of Mika, and why is Joe Scarborough oblivious?

How on earth was this the backdrop to 3 of the most intense philosophical debates concerning the way forward anyone could have hoped for?

A word of warning if any of the cast take this forward: I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. Mika Brzezinski does not have an ego problem, it’s the psycho mechanical defense mechanism that you have to put a label on everything, and if you had to swim upstream everyday in a world not really trying to ween itself of nonessential pop culture, you might seem during the grind of a 3 hour daily show to be driven by something beyond the normal pale. That’s not ego, that is determination.

The fallout of mis-diagnosis is disintegrative. Its plain that there are giant egos everywhere you look on MSNBC. But those bonfires are of necessity. Your entry into the female lead category for which there is no Emmy, is fighting with you like a psychotic sister and you either argue on the merits, or stay on the sidelines.

2) In the fallout of Massachusetts, everyone is finding consensus rapidly. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs very efficiently speaks on this matter as condensed as Richard Hass speaks to foreign affairs. His take is that dilution of Obama’s economic objectives is what the protest is all about. About the same number of people voted for a public option as voted for a giant industry handout: zero. And when sausage making was the story of the entire first year, revolt ensued.

Everyone is finding consensus that is, except Obama, Congress and Washington. It would seem to the naked eye that this denial is some form of gravy train maintenance. The most effective use of the media in the second year is to amplify this disconnect as loudly as possible. I am enamored with the clarity with which Joe Scarborough basically told Republicans today ‘wipe that smile off of your face, this apocalypse is yours as well’. Obstruction is sausage as well.

This denial, as has been well documented on Morning Joe for some time, was mine as well. And if you look back at my defense of public options and the Obama technique, it was that there must be a secret weapon waiting in the wings. Howard Dean? Reconciliation? Conference? I never thought that was the whole strategy I was watching. The what you see is what you get, we never really had a plan, plan. As it became apparent that no silver bullet existed and that Obama had retreated from the high ground without a plan to fight for it, no megaphone was loud enough for me to shout alongside those on the center right: that’s not leadership, that’s not even realism, that’s attrition. And further, I smell a rat.

3) But as always, optimism must prevail. Obama is having a hard time making a fairly obvious move, and Congress is having a difficult time making a parallel move. Bernanke and Somers have got to be shown the door. Volker, Goolsbee and Elizabeth Warren have to be injected into the conversation, and the first order of business is whether Tim Geithner is a useful conduit in a checks and balances infused financial team or if he needs to go as well. If they fail at this, and I daresay the decision is more evident in the Plouff hiring, as he will be effective in communicating to the administration how damaging a continued Goldman tie is, that failure would be a voter trigger.

That Joe Scarborough is finding optimism in what a better balanced health care move would look like with the stuff the middle of America wanted in that bill back on the table from death’s door, is a very good sign that the voter may get a result after all. If I had one beef with Congress it’s its inability to multi-task. The fact that it’s been broken trying to write health care for months, that the results were failure, that no side looked like a finisher, and that the jobs work was set aside the entire time Congress was busy failing, that fact is a voter trigger.

Congress needs a supervisor much like the cashier at McDonalds needs one. They need to be told that only 20% of their productivity can be allocated to the health care debate but they must come forward with a bipartisan product, post conference, by the summer break. 30% budget, 40% job creation, 10% everything else, no failure permitted or else the voter will be triggered by that lack of accomplishment. That supervisor is meant to be Obama, not by constitution, but as a representative of the revolting voter.

In a dream world, on Wednesday, during the state of the union address, Obama would ask Pelosi, Reid, McConnell and Boehner to stand with him, and they would unveil an 8 item bipartisan health bill where each got a fair bit of representation, and that the majority only determined the order of choice, not the exclusion of choice. Then Obama would reveal that the plan was hammered out in 3 hours in the oval office the day before over Chinese food, and that no longer will the Congress of the United States obstruct the nation’s business for it’s own selfish benefit.

That would be a voter trigger.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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