The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 10th, 2010
1) It will be interesting to see whether the sense of denial in the Obama White House can withstand a salvo like we saw on Morning Joe today. It’s a dream world of consensus. Joe Scarborough had another “was that Joe or Howard Dean” moment that must’ve felt like a Louisville Slugger across the chops of David Axelrod. Now it is questionable if Mr. Scarborough has aligned the facts in the optimal or even correct manner, but he has achieved an unseen level of accuracy demonstrating the national mood on the vitality of this presidency.
Mr. Obama sold out and has been found out as such for the entire first year. 6 cast members Heilemann, Halperin, Ratigan, Dickinson, Mika, Joe. That’s 3 on 3, all moderate, riffing on Tim Dickinson's "No We Can't" article in RS. Consensus: You campaigned on a platform of citizen government and immediately abandoned it. You did not build a team to optimize your standing or the standing of your campaign platform in Washington, and lost every battle. Whether it was being out gunned, or you were lying to the people, you have only one minor victory, education, that no one knows anything about (more on that below).
You have overestimated your abilities as a magician. Consensus: New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Copenhagen, the Senate. All depressing defeats that, with the exception of Virginia (that state you can see from your new house), had last minute appearances by the President that seemed like a bad student cramming for a Literature final. Not one of those cram sessions has worked and they have all voted against you by proxy. Missing from every one of those losses were the people that were on the mall at your Inauguration.
You have proven out the strategies of your opponents. Consensus: Whether it was the “Washington always wins” crowd, the Waterloo crowd, the death panels crowd, or the Dr. Strange-Cheney crowd, each of these opponents have won their respective message wars with stronger messages representing weaker points. Washington shouldn’t always win, it’s bad for America. Party of no hurts America, wins elections. Death panels don’t exist, health care frees up job growth, no one understands this. Torture makes more terrorists and the world is less safe, but don’t try and sell that in Massachusetts.
The cataloging of this across the board failure was done as completely and concisely on Morning Joe as one could’ve ever hoped. But it had a cherry on top. Joe Scarborough actually got into role playing and imitated David Axelrod failing to grasp the sheer weight of his role in America’s future capturing Axelrod’s Starbucks-esque passive aggressive demeanor unable to disguise real denial and real contempt. Then Joe Scarborough put on his Howard Dean lucidity cap and told the Democrats what a path to victory looks like, abandon the 2600 pages, put real reform in 50 pages that kneecaps special interests, and ram it through reconciliation.
It is not too late. Tom Daschle needs to replace Rahm Emanuel. And Howard Dean needs to be brought in as a competitive rival within the party and craft the 50 most lucid unadulterable pages of health care reform possible, and then Tom and Howard muscle every vote needed to gain reconciliation. Further. If Ben Nelson, Claire McCaskill, and Evan Bayh are a collection of cooked geese, then what prevents them from casting their vote the right way versus some delusional job security way for once in their political lives.
2) The only part of this story that Joe Scarborough is questionable on is the leave John Boehner and Mitch McConnell alone and concentrate on the same 3 northeastern Senators. These congressional leaders have hid in the trees long enough. They are both weak leaders. Drawing them out to a fight doesn’t just expose them as having the weaker standing, it exposes all 179, all 41 in their respective tribes.
We tried the fringe insurgency tactic before and it didn’t work because it made good people like Susan Collins look like bad people like Joe Lieberman. All of the fringe Republicans abandoned us in the end, and looked at Nelson and Lieberman as bellwethers. That is horrible for governing, as it more dilutive than directional.
No, we need to go to the heart of the opponent. When you are in a fight, you find the biggest opponent, and you take him down. The rest of your adversaries then take a recount of their assets and that's when you gain the most ‘new friends’.
Defensive wins nothing, and unless you have been waiting for some time to line up Boehner and McConnell and exact your brutal superiority while they’re out in the open, then why did you bother? They don’t hold the high ground because they are right, they hold it because you gave it to them for absolutely nothing.
3) It’s a day of two triumphs really, as the show continues to use it’s New York influence to shine a light on the battle over New York education. Bringing in the New York Superintendent of Schools kept up a regular drum beat on the matter of an old world union blocking real educational reform. This is a real chance to show a win for schools.
I was a harsh critic of the appearance of Randi Weingarten on a past show for, while representing education, she was actually shilling for status quo and putting the tenure of bad teachers ahead of the interests of school children. I continue to wish that she did not have a benign forum for what amounts to disingenuous grandstanding, but I accept this next chapter of focus as a strong correcting action in this ongoing fight.
It’s a microcosm of what’s going on across the nation. Let’s be very careful not to forget that the only player in this fight that isn’t local is Ms. Weingarten. She is the national union chief. She must be assumed to be pursuing this myopic agenda nation wide, and a New York defeat might represent a national tipping point.
4) OK, so I thought I was done, but reading observations 1 and 2 might leave the lazy amongst us with a quick read that they are mutually exclusive. Nope. Do you think that the Republican leadership is going to show up on February 25th, if there is no threat of reconciliation, or at least the sub nuclear option of a blind pass of the 2600 page monstrosity currently sitting out there? You do both the hard line and the cooperative strategies simultaneously and give the Republicans the one minute to midnight option. You will come to the table, you will not filibuster, we will trade simple unpolluted ideas, we will do an honest horse trade and build a mutual goal, or Dr. Dean will come.
That current bill is so bad, it might actually motivate both sides.
That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.