Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tom Friedman's column yesterday on "the real Tea Party" gets a lot wrong, but this paragraph is, by implication, surprisingly dismissive, even contemptuous, of Barack Obama:
The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats, understands this at a gut level and is looking for a leader with three characteristics. First, a patriot: a leader who is more interested in fighting for his country than his party. Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger — to make America successful, thriving and respected again. And third, someone with the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are — a leader who believes his job is not to read the polls but to change the polls.
In other words, according to Tom Friedman, Barack Obama is not a patriot in the sense described, has no plan to make American successful, thriving, and respected, and does not "have the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are." We -- you and me -- knew that, but we did not know that Tom Friedman knew that.
Tom Freidman is in Denial about what the Tea Party means. Like a lot of Democrats lately, his response is to say that voters are stupid. Once again Friedman says we should emulate China: we need our own Great Leap Forward … Obama just hasn’t been Mao enough.
Obama has started to move past Denial and is on to Anger. He realizes he’s going to get his ass kicked in November, everyone in his inner circle but Valerie Jarrett has turned on him … so he’s starting to blame his base.
After early November, will Obama move on to Bargaining? Developing ...
"The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats, understands this at a gut level and is looking for a leader with three characteristics. "
Let's diagram that sentence again, Tigerhawk: The Tea Party movement (noun) is looking (verb) for a leader with three characteristics (direct object).
Not sure that translates into Freidman "sticking" it to Obama.
"Not sure that translates into Freidman "sticking" it to Obama."
The article points out three fundamental needs that our current administration is not meeting. That administration is Obama's. There's no need to mention the sitting president by name.
"...Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats..."
Bull. It starts on the right with good, traditional conservatives, who indeed may have various social "centrist" values, but we're conservatives and patriots first.
“Bull. It starts on the right with good, traditional conservatives, …”
Leatherneck may be right … or not.
I come from a different point on the Left-Right /Big Govt – Smaller Govt matrix, and so have a different angle on this. I may be right … or not.
“Conservative” Republicans have made themselves felt in recent Republican primaries and gotten all the “Tea Party” press because of it. I put “Conservative” in quotes because I don’t know what it means anymore (more below).
Mad as Hell Independents and Reagan Democrats will soon be heard from once the elections go wide. The swing in the Independent vote alone is what will win the Republicans the House. If Obama’s base stays home -– what the Democrats fear most right now -– the Republicans will win the Senate too and gain 70 in the House.
I don‘t know what “Conservative” means anymore. The Republican Party doesn’t either, I humbly submit. It has a looming identity crisis because of it.
After November 2 we’ll have to face this dilemma: Can DC actually cut spending by hundreds of billions? On current trajectory, the USA will need buyers for at least a trillion in excess US debt every year until the end of time. I expect the Fed can carry us for a year or two or three by inflating its balance sheet, but it’s unsustainable. Do we double the personal income tax instead? That’s the other alternative. But Boehner & Co can’t propose cutting hundreds of billions without pissing off lots of “Conservatives.”
My take is that Friedman is just wandering around out in the journalistic weeds and happened to say something coherent, but not necessarily criticizing Obama by name. He would quickly disown the quoted section if it served some purpose he believed furthered his career in the tiniest way. That this passage was out of character for him is the first tip off, and that it was actually meaningful is the second, the third is that it almost contravenes most of whatever else he has ever said about Obama.
I did not read the article, but in reading the section TH laid out it appears to be Obama's "Cronkite moment" when LBJ knew he lost the Vietnam war when he lost Walter Cronkite. Could the Friedman article be Obama's Cronkite moment? He need he lost his base when Tom Friedman kicked him under the Tea Party bus?
Here’s a Cronkite moment: Obama’s lost Jon Stewart: We came … We saw … We sucked
It's worth it for Obama's "list of things to do -- 70% accomplished!"
@ Ignoramus, on the future of 'conservatism.'
'Conservative' needs to be redefined away from the hard-core, single issue culture war crap with which it is often associated. Lots of people are voting Republican this year, but that doesn't mean that they have become 'conservative.' It means that they've gazed into the abyss of modern liberalism and recoiled. In the modern political world of heuristics and sound bites, many people vote with their gut or their heart. You think most people have thought seriously about the details of deficit spending, trade balances with China, long term fiscal policy, etc.? No, this is a visceral reaction to the idea that the government is interfering too much in people's lives and spending money it doesn't have to do it. It's a reaction against aggressive and arrogant mismanagement, not an embrace of 'conservative values.' As such, these people's votes are temporary.
If Republicans intend to KEEP these votes and absorb a big chunk of this country's centrists (and I think this will be a real opportunity), they will have to earn them. That will require 2 things:
1) Not repeating the sins of the past, namely overspending, corruption, abandonment of principle, and sticking the government's fingers into fucking everything. And social conservatives are as guilty of this kind of thing as the most ardent statist Democrat; witness the pork of the Bush years or the proposed 'Marriage Amendment' to the Constitution (so much for federalism, eh?).
2) Back off the social issues. Most independents don't care that much, and the more that the conservatives shriek about such things the more turned off moderates become. Many, if not most, don't want to be associated with what they see as fundamentalists. That's not why they go to the polls, and if you make your party revolve around it they'll abandon it.
2a) The younger generation either REALLY doesn't care or they swing liberal. If Republicans expect to maintain relevance into the future, they need to not be a generation behind mainstream thought. There's nothing (objectively, anyway) preventing the Democrats from learning a lesson from their impending asskicking and embracing fiscal responsibility in the future. If it turns out that real differences between the parties will be on social issues, and society swings left, then the Republicans will lose.
That said, Homocon was a good start. Kudos to Coulter for lending her star power to it.
This Tea Party thing could be a great opportunity for the Republicans to move to the center and solidify a medium-term majority sufficient to enact real reforms. But I have every confidence that the careerists and ideologues will fuck it all up. I can't go two days without reading some idiots harping on about boycotting elections to 'teach the Republicans a lesson about REAL Conservatism(tm)!'
You know who else is doing that? The Democrats, in this election cycle. And, without the centrists to shore up their numbers, they're getting destroyed and their power to accomplish most anything will end. Yeah, that's the way to go.
Ignoramus asked: "Can DC actually cut spending by hundreds of billions? ... Do we double the personal income tax instead? That’s the other alternative."
That misses the third way -- really, the only effective way. Grow the Economy!
The right kind of bigger economy means a balance of payments surplus, instead of a deficit. It means low unemployment. It means higher tax revenues (regardless of tax rates), paying down the National Debt.
To grow the economy, we have to do two things: (1) start to roll back that tidal wave of excessive regulation which has killed the economy; (2) keep government costs under control, largely by eliminating the bureaucrats currently driving the tidal wave of regulations.
That is the real challenge for Republicans. But if the post-Obama/Peolosi/Reid Democrats show they can do a better job of it, lots & lots of us pissed-off people will happily vote for them rather than spineless Establishment Republicans.