The Morning Joe Rebuttal for September 3rd, 2010
1) What should have been a ho-hum Friday filler with vacation coverage casting turned into a 9 way labyrinth of economic upheaval. Chris Jansing was quoting Anne Kornbluth, and Willie Geist was Eddie Haskell-ing his way through Pulitzer prizers and wunderkind like it was easy.
I’m not so sure that Carl Bernstein is right in his pessimism for the future, and actually Matt Lewis made the most salient point to counter said pessimism by encouraging all parties to not fear the shared power version of government. So what if the Republicans own some part of the legislative body? Won’t it just draw them out into actually having to govern as opposed to the convenient cover they have right now to not actually having to do anything, and the gain they make as a minority via obstruction?
You may not like Republican obstruction, or negative campaign ads. But it is now doctrine that both practices are highly effective. There are only two ways to end the obstruction, share power or bury the Republican Senate below 40 votes during a Democratic House. The only option that is in our future is the former, and embracing it isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, if you are pro government effectiveness, you have to see the shared power scenario as more useful than if the Democrats squeak out two victories.
I really take issue with the fact that we have to give up the House to the Republicans, when it is the Senate that is the most compromised away from effective government. It would actually be far better for America in a shared power environment if the Senate went Republican and the House stayed Democrat. That makes the Republicans responsible for the filibuster nonsense, removes the Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson corruption, and leaves subpoena power in the vault where it belongs.
2) The news surrounding the on air debate was fair cause for Bernstein’s depression. The Obama administration coming out and saying no second stimulus is a very bad optic showing that administration as hapless. That message should have been ‘we will do whatever it takes’. Instead the message is we are hamstrung by the political will of Washington and Congress.
The point above about Matt Lewis noting the effective possibilities in a shared power environment was even more shocking given that he made an idiot out of himself trotting out Bush era fallacy economics, which was torn apart by 4 other guests like a zebra on the Serengeti Plain. But listening to the Carl Bernstein part of the tear down was particularly poignant because it hit the Obama headwind right on the head. Obama can’t win with logic because the Republicans have succeeded in making a nonsensical economic theorem stick in the voter psyche. The ideology that serves the Republican theorem is not made to make the economy better or life better for the middle class, it is to arrange words in any order possible to say you are making the economy better while actually pilfering the tax base, cutting services and entitlements to the middle class, and privatizing government via sweetheart deals that enrich enablers. All this and then Lewis finishes by proving the double speak mantra with the unemployment number.
The unemployment number ticks down but the rate ticks up because of the good news, and the brutally honest Matt Lewis take is if Republicans parade the negative optics of the rate around then the voter won’t ever see the positive fine print number that carries it. That is Lord Of The Flies stuff, up is down, down is up, make the negative louder, making sense be damned.
3) Then, with a very long base of information feeding it, Eugene Robinson comes on and uses unfortunate words to describe the phenomenon of voter irrationality. The voter isn’t irrational because they suddenly became selfish or ‘spoiled brats’. They were taught. Taught by the Republican Party that says no taxation is ever safe on their watch. Taught by the Democratic Party that includes corrupt expenditures masked as provision in its spending plans.
Voters were more accustomed to an employer who provided many of the services other countries rely on their government for. As those employers turn the page on honestly providing job security, health care and pensions, that voter has been forced into an irrational position of having to go back to the government looking for those services.
The ultimate genesis of this voter irrationality, at least on my radar, was California proposition 13. A promise was made to find ways other than property taxes to pay for the Rolls Royce educational system and local governments in California, but those governments were no longer going to have the power to stay solvent via property taxes. This morphed over 35 years to become the mainstay public persona of the Republican party. The problem was whenever it was time to discuss solvency, the promise to remain solvent was broken, and deficit governments emerged everywhere. The California education and services systems are fatally wounded at this point, and the voter base doesn’t find it convenient to look at solutions. They have been taught when the dirty little secret of solvency shows up, you can turn your head the other way.
35 years ago, 99.9% of people never considered that they would be propped up by unemployment insurance, or that privatized health care would be afforded monopoly power and allowed to consume 32 cents of every health care dollar spent on ‘administration’, or that United Airlines would be allowed to use bankruptcy to void pensions and tell retired mechanics to go drive a truck to live out their days on this planet because their pension was gone. There was no such thing as a 401k 35 years ago.
No you have taught the voter that government can get real small just by cutting off the tax revenue spigot, but you conveniently left out the fact that your new sevices partner is the unwilling potpourri of for profit banks, for profit health care companies, for profit colleges and student lenders, and for profit security firms. They don’t want to be taxed, they lobby the government into a hapless quivering mass, and they consider the middle class to be useless eaters unless they have a dollar left to spend.
The only thing left in the hands of the voter is the voter booth. But even that ‘vote the bums out’ ability seems to be operating in a manageable range. The Democrats have been forced to lie about their accomplishments, calling them ‘health care reform’ and ‘financial regulatory reform’ and ‘the end of combat operations’ when what’s left of the objective journalists in the country uniformly state that each of those descriptions is a misnomer.
It’s not a temper tantrum, Mr. Robinson. When that plane crashed into Rockaway Beach, the FAA figured out that the pilot, while trying to regain control, thrust the rudder all the way left then all the way right so many times that he eventually broke the tail of the plane off causing disintegration.
The voters are right there, right now.