Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama's New Approach

President Obama has adopted a new approach to going after the Republicans. Rather than bending over backwards to compromise with uncompromising jerks, he is focussing the spot light on meaningful policy differences that most people can readily understand. This is a good idea. The deficit/debt problem is fundamentally a distributive one. Specifically there is no solution that makes all interested parties better off without making someone worse off. That means that any debate will ultimately boil down to WHO is going to be made to be worse off that the others may benefit. Republicans are insisting that it should be the middle class and poor who are made worse off so that the wealthy and corporations benefit. That's a hard position to defend when it is revealed for what it is.

The Democrats' position is that taxes should be raised on the top brackets and corporations. At this point the mood of the country is increasingly angry with exactly the targets of these increases.

So long as Obama continued to try to find common ground the stark differences would not be revealed and Republicans could more easily hide the real effects of their policies. But with Obama's new confrontational approach, the Republicans will be forced to state exactly why the super rich should continue to pay low tax rates while the rest of the country struggles. Obama dug quite a whole for himself through the (I think necessary) compromises to avoid defaulting on the debt, but the more the 2012 election becomes about these two competing visions, the harder it will be for Republicans to win. If the Republicans are foolish enough to nominate Perry, the contrast will only become starker.


USWest said...

Obama sacrificed way too much on the alter of "bipartisanship". It's about time he gets confrontational.

I think the Republicans used stalling techniques to try and turn Obama into a 1 term president. But I think that is going to backfire. Obama will be elected for a 2nd term. And then, the Republicans will change their tune because if they want a shot at the WH in 2016, they'll have to.

All of this confirms my thought that as a voter, I don't matter anymore. As a citizen, I don't matter. Again, as my rant below indicates, I am a mere marketing statistic, a consumer. So long as elections are about thin slices of undecided voters rather than about the country; so long as winning the next election so the other party won't is more important than governing today, we will not see any progress under any president or party. And the nation, or democracy will continue to atrophy as has our infrastructure and or civil society.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Like most real progressives, I'm holding my breath to see if Obama will have a spine. If he does, I'm in.

Raised By Republicans said...

US West,

You do matter. It's just that you don't matter any more than anyone else and this a diverse and huge country. Most of us make the mistake of assuming that our problems and preferences are the majority view. And so bemoan a lack of a inherent democracy whenever we don't like policy outcomes. But in a country as complex as ours, there is almost certainly no easily identifiable majority on most issues - except the most starkly divided issues that have only two sides.

I'm not saying that your frustration isn't justified. But being justifiably frustrated by the way politics has played out in the last 15 years or so is a long way from declaring that voting rights and citizenship simply don't matter. I know these are common views. I just don't think they are a productive line of thought when it comes to actually changing things.

USWest said...

Fair point. There should be a link, however, between democratic practices and policy outcomes. I recognize that I may not be the majority on some issues, but I am pretty mainstream overall. And I see fewer mainstream (defined as moderate, fair, reasonable) outcomes. I see extremes (cutting Planned Parenthood, programs for the needy, etc). And I link this to a devaluation of mainstream views in favor of pursuit of the fringe (Tea Party), the dissolution of a serious political statesmanship and depth replaced by Joe the Plumber(resembles the Arm-and Hammer baking soda guy),sound bites, and marketing gimmicks.

The bright side is that I think we are in a very interesting and necessary national debate at the moment,and one with great potential to redefine the direction of our nation and our democracy. And the presentation of this debate should be held above the din of typical media noise. From crisis comes opportunity as they say.

And we need to be seen as people with interest, not just consumers and statical data points. I think in the din of election cycles, this point gets lost.

There is this great line in the old NBC West Wing series (Galileo ) where everyone is upset because it got out that President dislikes green beans. And there was all this concern that he would alienate bean growers. The President's body man tells the press secretary that to get a grip, the President can dislike stuff and people are smart enough to get it. She responds that "Everybody's stupid in an election year". The President's body man responds, "No, everybody gets treated stupid in an election year."

That says it all.

Raised By Republicans said...

I would go so far as to say that in a big complicated democracy, people should expect to be in the minority on many if not most individual issues, even if their preferences are close to the median.

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