Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When Outnumbered: Name, Rank, And Serial Number

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 26th, 2010


1) Chris Hayes and Michael Crowley had Joe Scarborough cornered. Joe had played possum along the incumbent point we’ve all made recently: that Dems and Republicans alike are in trouble if incumbent. Then Joe took a leap of faith when he claimed this is all the sign of a center right nation. Both guests didn’t react emotionally to the claim, they dropped science: Chris Hayes said this isn’t center anything, it’s anti incompletion because no administration can do the people’s business and appear to be at the service of Wall Street and special interests, while Michael Crowley took a dismissive interpretation by JS of Chris Hayes and knocked it out of the park with the simple science that between cloture and the redefining of the national demographic by the Senate, where California and Alabama have equal representation, the center right as a population is over represented by the most severe magnitude in government. The two takes, one the peoples judgment, and one the peoples representation, Joe Scarborough could only mutter his new catch phrase “nothing to see here, move along people”. Implying the guests were somehow misconstruing his altruistic version of the tea leaves.

The music played over loud protests by the two guests who were being mis-paraphrased to such an extent that Chris Hayes got a further question in asking Joe if there was a double standard or if JS the candidate would fall within the same expectations and use anti incumbency to his benefit in any case, revealing that the voter is getting duped whether the administration accomplishes it’s goals or not.

I call it possum because it’s the same thing that Mike Pence is doing in Indiana, but from a fa├žade of equal peril for both parties. Joe knows full well that anti incumbent has nothing to do with an anti big government platform but is instead cyclical. The size of government is coincidental with whomever resides in power at the time of the next upheaval. The voter is triggered by a feeling of powerlessness that corporate interests will continue to rule the day, and is continuing to send incumbents home in increasing droves.

2) This point was furthered by the Bob Herbert segment. All the same objections are there: we would’ve been in financial meltdown if we hadn’t acted when we did, and possibly the problems we face are ungovernable in our current structure. But there are two results of the actions we took financially, one good and one cataclysmic: we staved off a depression, but we gave every dollar we had to Wall Street, who traded the apocalypse for personal enrichment without recourse. Simultaneously, there is a worsening situation regarding doing the people’s business in Washington: the insiders are intent on holding on to power, and the war chest for doing so comes from the anti-populist interests, and the last vestiges of control over how that war chest is distributed just got thrown out by the supreme court.

The coming election will be the most obscene thing anyone has ever seen. Up will be down. Truth will be heresy. Over 100 people with the same look in their eyes as Mitt Romney will look into the camera and say literally whatever placation is available to them to make their base (the weakest, most fear based voters) walk in lockstep. It will be the disintegration of any inconvenient science or math or economic theory by sheer white noise in opposition, sort’ve like what we’ve seen on the global warming front, but on steroids.

Unfortunately, the anti-incumbent tendency of the independent voter favors a dramatic swing back to the pro-corporate profit camp, not by any wisdom, but simply by cyclical, emotional mechanics. If we said above that big or small government was accidental in the cyclical anti-incumbent tendency, we are about to face the most unhappy of accidents.

3) What’s missing from all of this gloom and doom? As my daily optimistic aside, I give you what’s missing is the synthesis of the soaring rhetoric that turned us all into believers not once but at least 5 different times with Obama, and governing.

Everyone is really mad at Barack Obama. They are mad not at his intent or belief, but at the symptoms of his inaction. We are all convinced that we’ve made a bad choice because he got into office and was reduced to George Bush II showing even a Harvard-ite struggles with the learning curve of the job. We have interpreted that as incompetence.

What’s missing is that just like a quarterback just entering the professional level, the speed of the game is a demon early on and you look like an absolute moron. While he may have thought that he needed to keep the Goldman guys close in the first post apocalyptic year, for fear that they would engineer an outright meltdown if the financial crisis wasn’t managed to their liking, he may have thought he had to use his majority in Congress to accomplish his toughest mission in his first year, he could not have thought that the sheer speed of the game would make him seem like he was a step late or outright invisible on issues that needed out front leadership.

We may not have been wrong about Barack Obama after all. There may be a tornado coming. But the stakes are clear: even though it’s conventional wisdom that it’s the 3rd year where even a great quarterback adjusts to the speed of the game, if you are the chosen one, you’re period to deliver is from right now until November 2nd, 2010.

This isn’t an endorsement, but my optimism is that sometimes it’s the stakes that deliver the goods.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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