Monday, November 3, 2014

Dems Dig Their Political Grave

The big problem with the Obama administration is its foolish way of doing things in backrooms. The problem is that the Obamis never manufacture a political consensus for their policies.

There is a word for this kind of politics. It is "chickens**t."

As I keep saying, politics is division. There's a problem with division.  The more you divide the more you provoke people into fighting each other. Eventually it could end up as civil war. That's why I paraphrase Clausewitz and say that "politics is civil war by other means."

That's why I have a problem with the idea of the "permanent campaign" proposed by Jimmy Carter's pollster, Pat Caddell, after Carter's presidential win in 1976. Sidney Blumenthal renewed the idea in 1980. You remember him; he was a hit man for the Clintons.

If you have a permanent campaign it means you are permanently dividing people. You are permanently getting people mad at each other. What would that mean in practice?  Exactly: civil war.

The art of governance, on the other hand, is to take a divisive issue and solve it by creating the notion of a "consensus" and trying to give everyone something to take home. As Noam Chomsky says: manufacturing consent. He's sneering at the idea, but that's what politicians do when they get home from winning the election. That is why presidents are famous for calling congressmen and "arm-twisting" them. The idea is to get a super-majority in favor of the president's program and end up with a bipartisan signing statement at the White House.

Yes. How did Ronald Reagan pass his program in 1981, including defense budget increases, tax cuts, and domestic spending cuts? How did he do it with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives? And how did he manage a tax reform act in 1986 with the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski?

The answer is that Ronald Reagan didn't spend most of his two terms bad-mouthing the opposition. He put out the idea that he and Speaker Tip O'Neill could battle all day on politics, but they could still share a joke after work was done. (Actually the two didn't like each other).

But that was back in the day before average lefty minds had been hopelessly infected with tropes from Herbert Marcuse and Saul Alinsky. Today young lefty heads full of mush think that "activism" and getting in peoples' faces is the alpha and the omega of politics.

Now we are hearing that President Obama plans to introduce his immigration amnesty plan as an executive action after the election. And it sounds like his people are thinking up ways to get in the faces of the Republicans and make them look bad and provoke big clashes over the budget.

Maybe so. A lot depends on whether the Republicans win the close ones or lose them in the Nov 4 election. But I'd recommend that the president ease up on the executive action and the budget crises.

The job of the president is to play the hand that's dealt him and do the best he can for his country. He and his party don't seem to understand that the permanent campaign is not a sure thing that is bound to benefit the president's party. It could just as easily stir up a rebellion.

Remember Winston Churchill? He recommended: in victory magnanimity; in defeat defiance.

I wonder what he meant by that, Barack.

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