Glenn Greewald has a good article out today on Obama’s “bad negotiating”. Glenn get’s it right, mostly. Of course we all know his blind side, like many liberal purists, that the Clinton’s are even worse than most in the GOP. But we’ll let that slide. Mostly. Read the whole thing, but I’ll pull out a few gems. He starts with a summary of extending the Bush tax cuts, continuing and extending wars, etc., etc., and then the recent willingness to accept GOP legislation to put the hardship on the backs of the poor:
All of that has led to a spate of negotiation advice from the liberal punditocracy advising the President how he can better defend progressive policy aims — as though the Obama White House deeply wishes for different results but just can’t figure out how to achieve them. Jon Chait, Josh Marshall, and Matt Yglesias all insist that the President is “losing” on these battles because of bad negotiating strategy, and will continue to lose unless it improves. Ezra Klein says “it makes absolutely no sense” that Democrats didn’t just raise the debt ceiling in December, when they had the majority and could have done it with no budget cuts. Once it became clear that the White House was not following their recommended action of demanding a “clean” vote on raising the debt ceiling — thus ensuring there will be another, probably larger round of budget cuts — Yglesias lamented that the White House had “flunked bargaining 101.” Their assumption is that Obama loathes these outcomes but is the victim of his own weak negotiating strategy.
I don’t understand that assumption at all. Does anyone believe that Obama and his army of veteran Washington advisers are incapable of discovering these tactics on their own or devising better strategies for trying to avoid these outcomes if that’s what they really wanted to do? What evidence is there that Obama has some inner, intense desire for more progressive outcomes? These are the results they’re getting because these are the results they want — for reasons that make perfectly rational political sense.
Exactly. Obama is doing all of this on purpose. He and his WH are not bad negotiators. Why so many Obama supporters are disappointed and are still scratching their heads over his “ineffectiveness” is still wondrous to behold. And why:
Why would Democrats overwhelmingly support domestic budget cuts that burden the poor? Because, as Yglesias correctly observed, “just about anything Barack Obama does will be met with approval by most Democrats.” In other words, once Obama lends his support to a policy — no matter how much of a departure it is from ostensible Democratic beliefs — then most self-identified Democrats will support it because Obama supports it, because it then becomes the “Democratic policy,” by definition. Adopting “centrist” or even right-wing policies will always produce the same combination — approval of independents, dilution of GOP anger, media raves, and continued Democratic voter loyalty — that is ideal for the President’s re-election prospects.
Exactly. Why would he do any different. It’s been the plan all along. He has make it clear to those of us that bothered to listen to him, that this is what he does. But then a bit later Glenn brings out the usual crutch for why 2008 didn’t matter:
Before Obama’s inauguration, I wrote that the most baffling thing to me about the enthusiasm of his hardest-core supporters was the belief that he was pioneering a “new form of politics” when, it seemed obvious, it was just a re-branded re-tread of Clintonian triangulation and the same “centrist”, scorn-the-base playbook Democratic politicians had used for decades.
Right Glenn, because the 90′s where so horrible under the Clinton’s when the gap between the rich and poor continued to widen just like under Reagan/Bush… oh wait, no it didn’t, it actually reversed. And there was a surplus. And more jobs. Yea, that was really horrible for the working class. We wouldn’t want any more of that. See, this is where even Glenn continues to fall short. He can’t come to grips with the fact that something really horrible happened in 2008, and that horrible thing was fully funded and backed by the sample people that brought us Reagan/Bush I/ Bush II, and the wars and many other things. If you can’t see a better, viable alternative right in front of your face, you will never get there. It’s the usual liberal purist thinking I guess. Glenn continues:
What amazes me most is the brazen claims of presidential impotence necessary to excuse all of this. Atrios has written for weeks about the “can’t do” spirit that has overtaken the country generally, but that mindset pervades how the President’s supporters depict both him and the powers of his office: no bad outcomes are ever his fault because he’s just powerless in the face of circumstance. That claim is being made now by pointing to a GOP Congress, but the same claim was made when there was a Democratic Congress as well: recall the disagreements I had with his most loyal supporters in 2009 and 2010 over their claims that he was basically powerless even to influence his own party’s policy-making in Congress.
Nicely said. Glenn does a nice bit of shredding of some of our least favorite bloggers and their silliness. He seems to think Digby is in the right side though. Another blindside for him I think. All in all a good read.
So there you have it. Glenn mostly gets it. And in fairness mostly has along the way. But how does that help? I know we’ve all been down in the dumps because it seems pretty hopeless out there with a Reagan/Bush president destroying what little is left of the Dem brand, and mindless creative class types cheering all the way. Maybe someone with some guts will challenge him in ’12. I’m not holding my breath though.
This is an open thread.
Filed under: 2012 Elections, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Catfood Comission, Democratic Party, Disingenuous Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Media Zombies, Politics, Ronald Reagan, Social Security | Tagged: Glenn Greenwald, Ronald Reagan | 64 Comments »