‘Take It and Like It’

Eric Alterman:

This is rather rich. It wasn’t so long ago, that liberals were being called “f—— retards” by Rahm Emanuel for refusing to get behind the president’s compromises on health care. When they finally did, they were chastised for insufficient enthusiasm for a bill that they were instructed to hold their noses and support. Ditto financial regulation, which, in many respects, is a gift to Wall Street, not Main Street. And environmentalists, labor, and feminists have all received not merely nothing, but genuinely regressive rulings by the administration and told to take it and like it. That’s when it can be bothered to notice that they exist at all. Dana Goldstein’s story on the administration’s gratuitous slap at feminists Friday is just one of an ongoing series.

To be fair, this is how almost all Democrats have governed since the days when Joe McCarthy terrorized the Truman administration. McGeorge “Mac” Bundy knew how to goad Lyndon Johnson deeper into Vietnam by explaining to his eager student that the “Goldwater crowd” was “more numerous, more powerful and more dangerous than the flea bite professors” complaining about the war. Republican presidents traditionally cater to their base or face the punishment. (See “Bush, George H.W.”) Democrats shovel shit in their base’s face and tell them they had better act like they like it or face what Bundy called “the wild men in the wings.” And it usually works…

By now, those smart fellows in the White House must have figured out that however impressive their accomplishments are by historical standards—and they are—they do not come close to offering Democrats a sufficiently popular program to stave off a likely Republican landslide come November, not at least without a radical—miraculous actually—reversal in the current job situation. And yet, it is at least possible that this too was part of the plan, (or at least “Plan B”). After all, they got a great deal done in their first two years, but it was a hard slog. Bill Clinton, who did not manage a fraction of what Obama accomplished in his first two years, saw his political fortunes saved by losing a midterm election and inviting voters to imagine what it would be like to be governed by fire-breathing Newt Gingrich and company. This time, what with the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Joe Barton, Obama and company must be salivating at the moment when voters are finally forced to take a good hard look at what Paul Krugman nicely calls the “invincible ignorance” of the alternative. Having handily won re-election in 2012, he might be able to build on the legislative achievements of his first two years to take his place alongside FDR and LBJ in terms of genuinely transforming the way our government works. That’s my theory, anyway.

In the meantime, the mavens of the media are going to continue to make arguments like, “Obama is not responsible for the leak, and, realistically, there was little he could do to expedite the repair. But for an irritable public, the Gulf Coast debacle was a reminder—horribly timed from Obama’s perspective—that Big Business and Big Government are often a problem, not a solution.” The arguments are made, without anyone being able to make any sense whatever of them—except that whatever the hell Obama is doing, it stinks, and he should cut it out right now and do the opposite… whatever that is.

17 thoughts on “‘Take It and Like It’

  1. Is Alterman N.U.T. S. (nuts) ?

    He thinks Dems losing in the fall will make Obama stronger after he wins reelection in 2012? Stronger than he was in 2009? And with that strength he’ll (finally) do the stuff progressives wanted when they supported him?

    I don’t get it. As far as I can tell Obama doesn’t even pretend to be a progressive. So, why are progressives so sure that he’s going to start doing progressive stuff any day now?

  2. Eric Alterman isn’t that young, is he?

    He must remember that when Clinton eviserated the welfare system prior to campaigning for his 2nd term, everyone on the left sucked it up and said that he’d put everything back together as soon as he was re-elected–only better!

  3. Clinton got the benefit of a strong economy. Obama won’t have that. A year ago would have been the time to really push hard on jobs, jobs, jobs. Too late.

  4. This is bullshit,

    “To be fair, this is how almost all Democrats have governed since the days when Joe McCarthy terrorized the Truman administration.”

    It is a lazy excuse for all the idiots that got “hoodwinked” by a campaign to make sure nothing changed during a revolutionary year. I’m sick of these pathetic excuses for Barack, the guy is a jack ass and he is considerably to the right of Reagan.

  5. sayeth Eric:

    And yet, it is at least possible that this too was part of the plan

    Ah! The 11 dimensional chess we are all too dumb to understand and comprehend. 🙄

    Eric must have good health insurance and access to wonderful drugs. 😛

  6. Today’s Facebook:

    S Brennan Gee…I can hear now, Hillary would’a been worse…yeah…sure, you betcha

    Women’s Groups Respond to Obama’s Ban on Abortion Coverage in High-Risk Insurance Pools

    President Obama decided that women with serious health conditions, under the temporary high-risk pool insurance plan, do not deserve coverage of abortion care – even if they use their own funds. Women’s health advocates respond.
    16 hours ago Friends Only · Comment · LikeUnlike · Share

    S Brennan Worst president ever? Look out Bush II, Obama is making his move….I can hear his fans cheering him on.

    Obey: White House Suggested Cutting Food Stamps to Pay for Education Program

    This entire interview with Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), the head of the House Appropriations Committee and a powerful veteran member of Congress, who is retiring this year, is worth a read. But one passage is particularly striking.
    16 hours ago Friends Only · Comment · LikeUnlike · Share

  7. I still can’t get over the fact that these people (alterman, white house staff, all of them) think of this as a GAME. Move here, move there, sacrifice this for that, how do we make people think this or that,…..

    Its not a GAME. This is LIFE. People live or die by these decisions; people are hurt, left in misery but what they do.

  8. oh and we are supposed to vote D just to stop the Republicans?
    why? The Republicans are worse, than deceiving Democrats. lol
    fat chance the Democrats will get votes from those thrown under the bus.

    oh oh But if the Republicans win? good it’s about time some one put up or shut up.

    this is not a GAME. but the Democrats like games!!!

  9. The system is being seen for what it has become – a complete fraud.
    It no longer matters who is elected as long as the money people stay in power. The president is just a puppet or mouthpiece to do their bidding. Congress is already bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporate controllers while the so-called Justice Department keeps everyone but the well connected and powerful in line. This country is collapsing from within just as Kruschev predicted in his shoe-pounding speech at the U. N. in the ’60’s. The middle class is all but dead and becoming the working poor and nothing is going to change in this election or any other from here on out, except to get so much worse that we’ll look back on these horrible times as the good days! It’s not even about politics – it’s the environment!

  10. Was “the dismantling of the welfare system under Clinton” the W2 program pushed by Tommy Thompson? I can’t remember. I remember NAFTA, I remember Janet Reno. I remember women moving forward then, too. I remember earning enough in a semi-skilled white collar position to save money.

  11. here’s the other thing I remember about the Clinton admin: raising taxes on the wealthy, cutting taxes on the poor and the middle class. And oh yeah: a first lady who defied her own husband’s state dept. to make a speech declaring the revolutionary concept that women’s rights were human rights. And oh yeah, too: a first lady who named something called the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. And oh yeah, a Supreme Court nominee who had a long visible history of fighting for women’s rights.

    In other words: someone who knew who the enemy was; someone who knew what steps needed to be taken; someone with courage. A former first lady who just recently said that the rich weren’t paying their fair share in this country.

    Gee, instead we nominated and elected the guy who said in the Iowa debates he’d cut Social Security and the guy who said he wasn’t comfortable with the mental health exception to the ban on third trimester abortions because he worried about women who were “feeling blue” and the guy who thought the Reagan initiatives were a “necessary corrective” to the “excesses” of the 60s and the 70s.

    And Eric Alterman and so-called progressives just like him are part of the reason why we have in the white house a Prom King with a muddled reading of history, a naive and facile understanding of politics as competition for power, a shallow grasp of economics, no history of fighting for anything whatsoever other than his own electoral victory — as well as a bone-deep assimilation of corporatism.

  12. >>Having handily won re-election in 2012, he might be able to build on the legislative achievements of his first two years to take his place alongside FDR and LBJ in terms of genuinely transforming the way our government works.


    Carolyn Kay

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