Thursday, March 18, 2010

Clinton Built The Cuckoo’s Nest

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for March 18th, 2010


1) Because of a delay in the CBO estimate, today’s Morning Joe show was essentially a do over of yesterdays show as it pertains to the health care bill on it’s way to passage and it’s implications. Only Dennis Kucinich was available as a fresh news item. In the process of the rehashing guess what, all of the same conclusions were reached.

Through all the celebrity features, there was a deafening noise emanating from the Democrats. A silence so vacuous that it could peel paint.

It’s that thing that you do when you’re about to close the deal. You shut up. The worst thing you can do when you have the votes and are simply waiting out the CBO and 72 hours, is fuel any of the waning fires of Republican opposition.

The Republicans released their plan for obstruction in the Senate. That also wasn’t news. Joe Scarborough essentially listened to the plan and then quoted me: do the Republicans know Joe Biden holds the gavel?

2) I am learning something in this 7th level vacuum environment. There are indications that the theory of premature elation by Republicans of a turning tide with Scott Brown and a few other mini victories are a valid sign of coming greater success.

The real story is that everyone will now be reading the health bill like they used to read the Sears Christmas catalog in August and September. That voters will perceive the new law as the features and benefits brochure for keeping the Democrats in power.

If the economy continues to slug out modest gains, that will be enough to say the worst is over. The artifice of financial reform, while hollow to any expert, will be enough to sell the same incremental approach that is working on health care, that is, incremental after the comprehensive starter package.

The international situation is both good and bad, but it appears that the stories change from bad to good in the order that Obama prioritizes them. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are widely recognized as the early priorities and having shown the kind of improvement that can’t be denied. Any troubles with Iran, China, North Korea or Israel can bee seen as the story being continuous and trouble that will be handled with a steady hand when our busy country gets a free minute.

And comparatively, what do the Republicans have? Hell, even Scott Brown is keeping his options open.

3) If Bill Clinton was the genesis of ‘red state vs blue state’ as we know it, it might answer some questions that have plagued the Democrats self-definition. I am deeply troubled by the Bob Reuben led charge to repeal Glass Steagall in 1999 during a Democratic presidency. I feel like today helps me understand the environment where a concession to Wall Street like that might occur.

In the divisive environment that has resulted since the red-blue stalemate developed, there has been zero progress that required sacrifice, only giveaways. Repeal of Glass Steagall might have been a giveaway to attempt to have an accomplishment of record in what was a very weak moment of the Clinton presidency.

It was followed by Bush tax cuts, Bush overspending, Bush Wars while we shopped, the pharma deal, and these two Obama mandates on health and finance. All of which were giveaways of one form or another because neither side would allow a sacrifice without a lynching.

This allows for the entry of the irrational voter that we’ve discussed here and the Morning Joe show has touched on. The voter, if given the opportunity, will vote for lower taxes, more services and outright denial that the national debt will ever have to be repaid. It’s a giveaway culture. But if you touch entitlements or raise taxes or cut services, you are toast.

This is by no means a story with an ending, what passes Congress this week fits neatly into it in it's undeniable pattern of a lack of credible sacrifice for the greater good.

But at least, we are one step closer to recognizing the origins of our current madness.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow

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