Friday, December 9, 2011

Politics was the point

I like Rebecca Traister a lot, mostly. And I like the fact that she takes our Patriarch in Chief to task for his decision and his language in reversing healthcare experts' judgment about sales of Plan B. But she's still stuck in Obama Apologia mode:

"It should no longer come as a surprise that the president of the United States is, on perhaps an unconscious level, an old-school patriarch. What’s startling is the degree to which Obama seems not to have learned from any of his past gaffes, how no one seems to have told him – or told him in a way that he’s absorbed – that the best way to address a question of women’s health and rights is probably not by making it about his role as a father.

"This might be an especially valuable chat to have with the president as he moves into 2012 and toward an election in which he is going to be relying on the support of people he has just managed to anger, offend and speak down to — women. The least he could do is learn to address them with respect."

Not learned from past gaffes? This assumes it was an unconscious habit of mind, expressed in an unfortunate turn of phrase. But however he framed it, it's quite apparent that this decision was deliberate, political and his from the get-go. It's a silly lie that Sibelius made this call independently and that he only found out about it when we all did. He and his political advisors, the Boys Club of the West Wing, made the calculation that most voters -- or enough of them, anyway -- aren't ready to think about their daughters' sexuality, and so he simply threw out the data and ignored the considered expertise of medical professionals.

There's real sexism here, but it's not unconscious. It's considered. He thinks that the political price to be paid for principled action would be greater than the political price to be paid for unprincipled action. He thinks most people aren't ready for this, and anyway, women voters still have nowhere else to go.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Make mine a double - updated

Surprising outcome? Say what? Draconian deficit-reduction was the whole idea of this sword of Damocles.

Anyway, looks like
we're gonna get double-dip. Conventional wisdom -- and Mitt's strategy, I'm sure -- will be that this shit lands on Obama's shoes. Is there anything he can do to reverse this? I don't mean anything substantive -- it's far too late for that. I mean something political. Can he sell the idea that the GOP drove us into recession with their ideological refusal to tax the rich? Can he sell anything at all?

Update: Lest "surprising outcome" look cryptic, that was how the story was headlined last night. Some editor clearly thought better of it.

It'll be our fault -- in fact, it already is

One of the stranger logical pathologies of the Obama phenomenon is the way in which his acolytes reconfigure the known universe around his blankness, emptiness and passivity. There's no questioning of his own agency in what happens to him, or to us. He is the still point in a changing world, and it is the responsibility of that world to ensure that his actions (or, rather, non-actions) come out (or are seen to come out) right.

Case in point, this post by Earl Ofari Hutchinson. He ticks off a damning bill of attainder as if it were a litany of silly personal objections by self-unaware dilletantes. A more reasonable reading of that list would be that the needs of this moment in history were pretty clear, and Obama flunked in responding to them -- most centrally on the economy, not because he didn't kiss the right historical icons, but because he failed to step up to what this present situation demanded.

Ford didn't lose to Carter because of Reagan; he lost because of Watergate. Carter didn't lose to Reagan because of Kennedy; he lost because of recession and Iran. If Obama loses in 2012, it won't be because liberals fail to fake an orgasm -- it'll be because he flunked. It's a bizarro kind of tautology to insist that whole populations reorient their perceptions and attitudes to make cause not equal effect.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twilight of the neocons

Leslie Gelb has a silly piece up on Daily Beast, warning that the neocons are roaring back (and suggesting that Mitt Romney will carry their water). He must live inside as much of a bubble as the rest of the VSPs. Has he watched any of the Republican debates? Is he not aware that the Grand Old Basketcase has largely abandoned the expansionist neocon agenda in favor of old-style, Pat Buchananesque isolationism? Hasn't he heard these wingnuts fighting to see who can yell, "Bring the troops home!!" louder? Did he not see Herman Cain reveal he isn't even familiar with the term "neo-conservative"?

The fact is that, when it comes to electoral politics, Obama is now totally safe on foreign policy. Of course, it wouldn't have been very much of an issue anyway, given the Great Recession. But the guy who killed Osama bin Laden and Muammar al-Qaddafi is not vulnerable on this, er, front -- not to any of these folks, Romney included. If the Republicans win, it will be because of the economy. Period.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Post this on the locker room bulletin board

This is a good piece, and it could be important. I hope it gets widely circulated. Obviously, the bankers' cluelessness stands in pointed contrast to this. Money quote (pun intended): “'I have no problem with capitalism. I have no problem with a market economy. But I find the way the financial system is functioning deeply unethical,' Herbert Haberl, 51, said in Berlin."

That's the key point, the one embodied in Occupy Wall Street's brilliant name, the one that opens the door to a successful global movement, the one to keep hammering home: This is not about the failure of capitalism; it's about the need for financial capital to cede the stage in favor of production capital. Banking needs to become boring again. Innovation needs to move from financial instruments to transformative technologies. The rules of the road need to favor those who actually create something of value -- a product or a service -- rather than those who get rich from surfing the economy itself, from arbitrage.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bloomberg vs. Bloomberg

Paul Krugman today points to a strong piece by Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, "Regulatory uncertainty: A phony explanation for our jobs problem," which completely debunks the GOP's beloved confidence fairy dust. This chimera and the "invisible bond vigilantes," have been our Cassandra's Homeric epithets for the past two years -- truths that cannot, it seems, be uttered in public frequently enough to penetrate the miasma of lies in which we live, or to which our putatively Democratic administration dovens.

The piece closes thus:

"In conclusion, when looking at both what employers are doing in terms of hiring and investing and what they (and their economists) are saying in private surveys, it’s nearly impossible to make the argument that uncertainty about regulations is holding back the economy. A Bloomberg News editorial makes the point even more broadly:

'There is no doubt that certainty is generally preferable to uncertainty, in the economy as in most aspects of life….But there is no evidence that uncertainty has increased during the Obama presidency, or that, if it has, the president’s policies are responsible for it…The charge of “creating uncertainty” is a way to blame Obama for the U.S.’s economic trials without having to explain the connection.'”
Bloomberg News, eh? So, here's what the eponym himself said on Meet the Press this past Sunday, from MSNBC's transcript:
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, nobody has any confidence. If you're a bank and you have money, would you make a loan when people are talking about putting you in jail for what happened in the mortgage crisis three, four years ago? You hunker down. If you're a business, would you go take a loan and expand and hire more people when every day there's talk about different regulation, different tax policy? Business has to know what it's going to be in the future to plan because hiring people is a long-term commitment. If you're an individual, would you go take that extra vacation, buy a new house and that sort of thing when you're not sure whether Washington is going to do what's right to keep job creation going in America? That's the--in the end, it is confidence, confidence, confidence.
So much for our great Third Party hope. What it does suggest, though, is that he may actually be thinking seriously about running. Nonsense of this crassness is usually a harbinger of that.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bill of attainder - Updated II

Ron Suskind is a terrific journalist, and I trust the things he reports here, even if some of those quoted are now walking away from what they said to him. The picture he paints is exactly what PUMAs predicted -- including lack of leadership, misogyny and failure to understand the meaning of this moment in history. And the public verdict is now pretty well established.

We don't have to say, "We told you so." He told you so.

Update: A deeper dive into the book here. The money quote:
“'The administration’s domestic policy was fast becoming a debate society run by Larry Summers,' Ms. Suskind writes. 'Obama would sit on high, trying to judge if there was any shared ground between the competing debate teams that might coalesce into a policy.' Mr. Suskind asks whether this was 'a model for sound decision making, a crutch to delay, or avoid, the decisions only a president can make, or a recipe for producing half-measures — a pinch of this matched with a scoop of that — masquerading as solutions.'”

I would love every Obot who derided us for pointing out precisely these palpable leadership deficiencies... who claimed that even talking about "leadership qualities" was a strange, obsessive affectation... who claimed that the policies of Obama and Hillary Clinton were about the same... who told us he really did believe the same things she believed, because, look, it's there on his website... and who, btw, said it was simply deranged to claim that he was at least a garden-variety sexist and maybe worse, and insisted that it was neither representative nor important that his fratboy speechwriter could publicly deride Hillary Clinton in a borderline date-rape way (and that that didn't at least presage a hostile work environment for women)... I would love for every one of them to read Ron Suskind's book and then take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Update 2: More grist. Not ready at 3 am. Not ready in (or for) prime time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Age of Stasis

We’re living a comedy of errors – but they are overwhelmingly and repeatedly errors of omission, rather than commission. That’s why there is a broad consensus about a crisis of leadership – across all sectors of civil society. Yes, the best lack all conviction. Yes, the worst are full of passionate intensity. But neither of them actually does anything, much.

Where and why did this start? One candidate would be 9/11. Whatever else the collapse of the Twin Towers did, it froze us in place. Obviously, we undertook a charade of active response in Afghanistan and Iraq – but we didn’t really commit to those (certainly not broadly). We avoided plans that would produce large-scale American casualities. Mostly, it’s been pouring money down the toilet – and money seemed funny, not tangible. Even now, in the midst of the deepest recession since the 1930s, we can’t get our mind around economic choices.

America has been a deer in the headlights in the face of terrorism – it has essentially stopped most trajectories of building, investment, social progress. In Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s new book, That Used to Be Us, they identify five “pillars of prosperity,” long-term behaviors that were key to America’s past success – all of which have taken a nose-dive since 9/11: 1) support for broad education up to the potential of the latest technology; 2) building of critical infrastructure; 3) government support of research and development; 4) support for immigration; and 5) the rule of law to ensure well functioning markets. Whatever you think of Friedman, or his list, it serves as a not-bad index of long-term governmental/societal/commercial trajectories. Pick any list you like, the pattern is the same. America has just sort of stopped. (So, of course, has Europe.)

Confronted with planet-scale, complex-system challenges, we are flummoxed, and we’re standing before them, blinking. Of course, China, India, Brazil et al. aren’t standing still – they’re charging ahead, fueled by historically unprecedented growth. So maybe this is just another example of one dying species having reached the end of its reign, and the new one sprinting to take over.

Or maybe it’s something deeper than that. Maybe those emerging-market sprinters don’t really have a long runway ahead of them. Maybe sooner rather than later they’re going to bump up against the same global complexity, and stand before it in something like the same perplexity.

Or, to be more hopeful, maybe there’s a genuine new frame working its way through the birth canal, underneath this surface combination of frenetic activity and static depression (in both senses). Maybe a new generation of global citizens is feeling its way toward different ways of making decisions, toward more collaborative ways of working, toward a more whole-systems mode of thought, toward a post-corporate form of capitalism and a post-nation-state form of polis. It’s not out of the question. Nobody in the 14th century, when the Renaissance was moving from gleam-in-eye to toddler, would have been able to predict its revolutionary impact just a couple of hundred years down the road… nor could the Medicis have figured out how the Renaissance would help spawn the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.

At the moment, though, Obama may be the perfect emblem of our culture and our politics. Maybe we can only elect a George Segal statue of Chauncey Gardner.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Knocking down a straw woman

I like Rebecca Traister. But her piece in the upcoming NY Times Magazine -- "What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done?" -- is a mediocre piece of thinking.

Fine, let's grant that it's impossible to say what her presidency would have been like, in no small measure because of the reasons Traister cites -- because it would be seen as having denied America not only its first African-American president, but also because it would, in fact, have kept the fantasy of Obama's magic alive. The tabula rasa, the universal mirror, wouldn't have been smudged, and would continue to provide a clear reflection of everyone's wishes. As I noted in my first post to this blog three years ago, there were deep feelings, high hopes on both sides of this contest, so somebody's were bound to be quashed. And quashed hopes are hard to forget. So let's grant that a fantasy future would have been denied for many.

And fine, let's also grant that our political culture is a mess, and that its shit would have landed on any president's shoes. In fact, let's go much farther than that. Let's stipulate that we're in the midst of a global crisis of leadership, an inflection point in modern history -- that our institutions (the nation state, the corporation, the university, etc.) are failing to keep up with the profound shifts represented by globalization and a radically transformative digital commons (much less the looming threats of nuclear proliferation and global warming). Let's stipulate that no leader of any country, no matter how competent or well intentioned, has the kind of power or control that leaders of earlier eras did.

Nonetheless, what Traister is declaring illegitimate is, in fact, perfectly sound intellectually, and even more justifiable emotionally. It is so for a number of reasons.

First, Obama's failure is undeniable (not only from a leftist pov, but simply as an effective leader). Is she saying it's illegitimate to declare that, and/or to describe where and how he has failed? If so, then her piece is nothing but the rankest kind of excuse-mongering and/or fatalism. If not, if she's okay with criticizing his myriad mistakes, then all she's really saying is, "It's impossible to say for certain that Hillary wouldn't have made the same or equal mistakes." Well, duh. But that's a silly strawman. It's certainly not impossible to say Hillary probably wouldn't have made these mistakes -- and to point to actual evidence (her far greater expertise, clarity, systems thinking, lifetime record -- as a policy-maker, as a political leader, as a negotiator, and even personally, in her strength and growth through adversity). It's certainly not impossible to point to the fact that the right way to approach this economic crisis was clearly known, and clearly articulated, and ignored (viz. Paul Krugman) -- and it's certainly not unreasonable to speculate that Hillary, always a serious wonk and a seriously quick study, would have been very likely to see that.

Most fundamentally, Traister's petty critique ignores two simple things:

One candidate articulated clear policy objectives that were more progressive than the other, who consistently danced away from clear proposals or analyses, whose main accomplishment was and remains to have voted "present." It's far from unreasonable to suppose that the former candidate would have been a stronger leader for progressive values. Could many of the same roadblocks Obama has encountered have defeated her, too? Sure -- and so what? That's not the point of the comparison. The point isn't that one would obviously have triumphed where the other failed. The point is that there's every reason to believe that one would have tried, and there is ample evidence that other never did.

Second, the contest between these two was vicious, and the viciousness lay overwhelmingly on Obama's side. The very hatred that drove Traister -- admirably -- to switch to Hillary... the very stakes that were raised by the misogyny that Obama's fratboy team and their media helpers pushed day in and day out... meant that there was a breach to be repaired. And it never was. Obama has spent virtually every waking moment of his presidency caring for the sensibilities of Republicans, but not one moment caring about the disenfranchisement of 18 million Hillary voters or the woman-hatred that helped him to the nomination. He has made zero attempt to heal the Democratic Party, or even to tend to it, to build it as a vital institution. Rather, he has continued to sit inside the increasingly small cult of his own personality (ironic, since he has precious little actual personality). He has done a generation's worth of damage to the Democratic Party, to its base, to its future. When Hillary warned of the dangers of false hope, she couldn't have been more right on the money. And we're not supposed to remember all of that?

Sorry -- but the bill of attainder on this guy is too long and damning, and the road not taken is too clear. It's not only justifiable to contrast the two, it's inevitable -- in no small measure because Hillary may well re-emerge.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Drumbeat

And so it begins. All that's needed is a door-opening stalking horse to tip the first domino.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Says it all

A forceful and cogent obit for the obots, in today's Times. As Westen says, the damage will last at least a generation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Natch

The hits just keep on comin'. I think we're pretty safe now in saying, "Even worse than Bush."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cui Bozo? - Updated

Citing a soon-to-be-published NY Review of Books article by Elizabeth Drew, Krugman this morning calls out -- once again accurately (dedicated and articulate Cassandra that he is) -- the twofer political-and-policy idiocy of Obama and his enablers.

I look forward to reading the Drew piece -- she's a terrific and thoughtful reporter. But before that further fodder (thanks, Groucho), a thought:

Obama needs both parties to be seen as crazy. It is required for his self-conception and self-delusion as the only sane man in the room. He must be deeply terrified, really profoundly lacking in self-confidence, in a sense of self, to need this fantasy so strongly. But whatever the source, it is clear by now that it is in Barack Obama's self-perceived self-interest -- hence the pun in my title -- to posit a political landscape equally polarized between ideologies.

Problem is, the Dems aren't crazy; they're feckless, but they're not batshit. So he winds up ignoring them in practice, leaving them out of any negotiations. And the "negotiations" aren't any such thing. They're all about him, about how he will get to appear in their wake. The policies and principles involved are of no interest. The real-world outcomes are of no interest. He is entirely willing to abandon foundational things, to cut into supporting beams. He is walking around inside a fantasy world in which his success inheres in where he stands on the stage vis a vis the others there. And it must be alone.

As a result, the evisceration of the Democratic Party isn't just collateral damage, it's the point (albeit the still-unconscious point) of all this kabuki. This is what we PUMAs said during the 2008 primaries -- we grokked how dangerous this guy was to the Democratic Party, while the putative leadership of the Democratic Party ushered this fox into the henhouse.

What will come of this "disaster" (to quote the Krug)? The GOP won't be hurt, it'll be enormously helped -- but, in my view, even that isn't the goal. The goal is to establish the sui generis, above-it-all, new-paradigm cult of the Precious.

And that, of course, is mad as a hatter.

Update: The Connie Bruck piece is out. It lays out the full scope of the disaster that is this presidency, and this president.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dump the Dems?

When I saw this, I was encouraged. When the governor of my state led this, I was moved. I am a lifelong partisan Democrat.

However, I’ve become convinced that the Democratic Party, as currently constituted, is more part of the problem than of the solution. So it needs to be reconstituted. And I’m thinking the only way to do that is to abandon it in 2012. The current leadership and structure of the party are addicted to their post-Vietnam fecklessness and caution, and it may be that the only way to save it is to go cold turkey. My beloved Democratic Party needs some tough love.

I hope somebody primaries Obama – and I would love for it to be Hillary. I can even imagine a scenario like 1968, where an unknown from the left, somebody with basically no resume, a la Gene McCarthy, opens the door… and then an electable star (Hillary, playing the role of Bobby Kennedy) walks through it. Is there any doubt that Bobby would have won the election if he had lived? Is there any doubt that Hillary would defeat anybody the Republicans nominated?

But I don’t believe that will happen. And if it doesn’t, I have come to think that it’s vital for the real Democratic Party to surgically remove the cancer represented by Obama, before it irreversibly becomes that cancer. And if some surrounding Congressional and Senatorial tissue has to be removed at the same time, so be it.

We can disagree about who and what Barack Obama actually is. I don’t personally believe he’s a diabolical genius of the right, but rather a personal and political cipher. An invisible man – to go all dramatic-irony on ya. He’s a fiction writer, the creator of the character “Barack Obama,” described with an adjectival and metaphoric vividness – “audacity”… “fierce urgency”… “hope”… etc. – that couldn’t be farther from the reality of whatever person is buried deep inside him. There’s a good chance we will never know that reality – that he himself will go to his grave never knowing it. In fact, it’s kind of haunting that this modern-day Chauncey Gardner seems entirely and permanently cut off from reality. There’s something deeply spooky, almost psychotic about his convivial smoothness, casual style, preternatural self-control… in the context of such a profound disconnect.

But that’s a topic for less urgent psychological and historical reflection. The matter at hand is that he is doing deep damage to the Party, the country and the world. The President of the United States at this inflection point in the global economy and in our broader history needs to be a force for progress – not just to keep the U.S. competitive, but to use America’s standing and capabilities to help crystallize a new global era of greater openness, prosperity, interconnection, fairness and sustainability. We need to make real progress, ergo a real progressive.

Of course, this was knowable – by many of us, it was known – in 2008. We knew we needed FDR, and we knew this guy was at best Jimmy Carter. Probably the most accurate analogy is the one Anglachel has made, and that Krugman has lately been substantiating: from a policy perspective, Obama is Herbert Hoover. The enraging spectacle of the Democratic Party embracing that and rejecting a serious thinker, doer and leader – with the accompanying misogyny, frat-boy shallowness, smugness, trickery and disenfranchisement – was simply awful… never to be forgotten.

But that’s water over the dam. The question is: What do we do now? The cards are on the table. It is no longer possible to pretend that Obama is a real progressive who is doing whatever can actually be done in a bad world. When our putatively Democratic president is pushing hard for policies to the right of the majority of Republican voters… when he is repeatedly dealt strong political hands that he invariably tosses away or misplays… when he runs the U.S. economy into the ditch again and again and again… we need to get him out from behind the wheel.

It would surely be godawful if we had President Michele Bachmann… or President Sarah Palin… or President Newt Gingrich. It would be deeply depressing to have President Mitt Romney. But – and here’s the key point for me – I don’t think it would be materially worse vis a vis the economy. It’s a danger re the Supreme Court, and re civil liberties, and those are non-trivial. But they can also be repaired. And with regard to the social safety net, I believe it would actually be harder for a Republican president to eviscerate it than for this “Democratic” Herbert Hoover. Nixon, China and all that.

Anyway, the point, finally, isn’t this person. The point is the Party, and whether it will matter to the world. If the Democrats are to return to political and policy relevance – much less innovation and progress – they need a swift kick to the gut, a slap upside the head, a bucket of cold water. The election of America’s first African-American president was a wonderful, historic event – but now we’ve done it. We passed that symbolic milestone. Now, we have work to do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The summer of our discontent - Update

Looks like the economy speech was not a new awakening, but an aberration. We're fucked. Millions of people will suffer grievously for our phony Democratic president's appeasement of this. How long is it before we'll see Obamavilles popping up all over America?

Update: This is what selling a sell-out sounds like. When I've compared Obama to Hoover or Coolidge, it was primarily a statement about fecklessness. But now, it's looking less like an analogy and more like a conscious policy choice. We elected this guy, it seems, to undo the New Deal and return us to the state of affairs under Coolidge and Hoover.

In the mornin', in the evenin', ain't we got fun?

Update 2: This whole spectacle is excruciating to watch -- regardless of your view of Obama's motives. Whether he's a walking cypher being pushed around by batshit crazy bullies... or a Republican in his heart who is engaging in (increasingly ineffective) kabuki to carry out his financial masters' agenda... it's not just enraging, but also humiliating. One wants to turn one's eyes away from this playground scene.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

At long last

Thank god. Obviously, there's ample reason to believe he won't fight hard for it -- but at least he's no longer negotiating with himself in public. At least he's finally attacking his/our opponents -- acknowledging that they are opponents. At least he didn't do the plague-on-both-your-houses crap.

And yes, the plan itself doesn't go far enough (e.g., no Medicare for all). But credit must be given where credit is due. At least he has finally done something politically smart. At least he has finally edged toward "I welcome their hatred," called the Ryan plan out for what it is:
"This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. Ronald Reagan's own budget director said, there's nothing 'serious' or 'courageous' about this plan. There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on Capitol Hill. That's not a vision of the America I know."
And at least he has committed himself not only to the veto, but to a different kind of discourse:
"To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I'm President, we won't."

"... let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations."

"... we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can't afford it. And I refuse to renew them again."
Seems to me Barack Obama has just won the 2012 election. And if we're really lucky, if he can grok the import of what he himself just said, maybe this is even a step toward redeeming his presidency.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Op-idiot

What is one to make of Ross Douhat's column today? One could use it as evidence of an individual's stupidity and lack of knowledge. One could say that the Times is down to Krugman and the seven dwarfs. Or one could generalize it to the hermetically sealed foolishness of the Beltway. Or one could take it all the way out to the devolution of discourse in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Whatever your preferred flavor of head-scratching and/or outrage, I would note that among the silliest attempts of this silly man's silly piece is its attempt to apply the 'liberal vs. conservative' frame to this set of facts. One could point out that the approach critiqued here was that of Bush Pere (and, for that matter, of St. Reagan, who never actually deployed any force anywhere for anything of consequence). One could point out that Bosnia and Kosovo didn't work out badly, in the end -- while one is pointing out that Iraq and Afghanistan haven't worked out anywhere near as well, either from a humanitarian or US strategic interests standpoint. One could point out that the broader historical pattern, for good or ill, is for liberals to be more interventionist than conservatives (FDR, yo? Robert Taft, yo?).

Or one could just bang one's head on the desk.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No-duh observation of the week

It's obvious, and plenty of people say it -- but Krugman's post today prompts me to say it, too. Yes, the Democratic Party has largely been useless for a generation -- and if you are of this frame of mind, corrupted by "corporatism." But the Republican Party is flat-out batshit crazy/evil.