Sunday, April 10, 2011

Serious Scalpels and Mendacious Machetes

I'll Give It to the Republicans.... 200% of What They Want!

I knew there was a reason my email from the President announcing his re-election campaign got jammed next to a Proactiv ad in my spam folder last Monday.  It's because he is going to be proactive for a change, and give a speech on the deficit in just three more days!  We don't know the details yet, but his point-man, David Plouffe was all over the TV jabberfests this morning to tout it.

I just looked over a written transcript of Plouffe on "Meet the Press" and was able to formulate a rough idea as to the predictable uplifting vagueness (inspiroratory) we can expect. Plouffe used the words "moving/going forward" a total of nine times, and "come together" for a grand tally of seven -- in just the first few minutes.  Therefore, we can rest assured that the Obama speech will contain lots of winning the future and bipartisan bullshit.  We'll hear more sermonizing on shared sacrifice, historic cuts, visiting our national monuments and national parks, marriage counseling tips to stop all the bickering, lots of ideas on lots of tables, as well as a bit of David Brooksian S&M drivel on the joys of pain and belt-tightening.  And it will not be complete without some philosophical hovering above the fray, with Obama talking about Democrats and Republicans as if he were not partisan himself.  Actually, he is, but it's Republican-lite, and that is not an official party (yet). But I am counting on at least one pointed, blaming dig at Congress and how "the American people" are fed up and sick of "the way things are done (by others) in Washington".  And that "we" (meaning they) will do better, because that's why we/they were sent to Washington, to do better.

Paul Krugman, who was pretty dismayed by Friday's Democrat capitulation on the budget, writes on his blog that he dreads the speech and wouldn't put it past Obama to call for privatizing Medicare.  Since that is what Paul Ryan wants too,  Obama might do what Obama does best, and start negotiating by preemptively offering Republicans twice what they're asking for and then settling for 400 percent. He still hasn't figured out his job description.  But many are calling him Mediator in Chief, and those are the ones who are being kind.

The only thing we are being told is that Obama will use a selective scalpel to slice and dice, as opposed to the vicious machete of Paul Ryan and the Austerian Hordes.  Paul Ryan was also on TV this morning, and he was every bit as vague as Plouffe.  And yes, the pundits are still calling his plan to privatize, and thus kill, Medicare "bold."  I think it's only because they don't know how to spell, or pronounce, chutzpah.  H-u-t-s-p-a.  Here are some more synonyms the vocabulary-challenged chattering class might consider for Ryan's budget plan:  reckless, overreaching, brazen, overweening, rash, unmitigated gall, mendacious, nasty, brutal, vicious, moronic, math-challenged, politically suicidal.  It sure makes whatever death by a thousand sterile incisions Obama is planning under the anesthesia of his rhetoric seem painless in comparison.  But maybe that's the whole plan. 


Anne Lavoie said...

I read that Plouffe claims Obama remains committed to a tax hike for the wealthy. Good thing he reminded us that Obama is 'remaining committed', because we haven't heard anything since November when he said "That's a fight I'll be happy to have" as he conceded it to the Republicans. They actually want us to believe that this time he will really fight for it. Anyone believe that?

I think the REAL point of bringing up that canard again is so that when he is 'forced' to concede that one to the Republicans again, in return for...nothing, he gets to blame the Republicans. Again.

I've seen this cheap, phony, grade B (or F) political theater crap before, and it isn't any more believable this time around. I can hardly stand to follow the news anymore. Wake me when it's over.


Marvel said...

I'll turn 53 this summer. Seemingly out of no where these past few months I've become really worried about whether I'll make it to age 55 before medicare (and perhaps social security) are benchmarked, which is a polite way of saying that anyone under 55 may be screwed.

I had hoped that as long as Obama was president medicare and social security would be left alone. And, if Obama were to be re-elected to a second term, that those two programs would be left alone until at least 2017. I don't have much confidence now.

The current bunch of bums in Washington are well on their way to engineering a financial train wreck for many baby boomers. I can only recommend that those currently with the means, to be carefully preparing for the remainder of their lives.

Patty Reynolds said...


I turned 53 last month and the same things have crossed my mind. Very scary indeed, and Obama gives me no reassurance whatsoever. This is going to be real generational warfare, designed so that the current social security/medicare recipients get to keep theirs so the Republicans can keep them, and to hell with everyone else. Ryan's budget plays right into the theme of the tea party seniors, who've no concern for anyone but themselves. I especially worry for my 23-year old daughter and what kind of future awaits her.

Karen, I have never disagreed with anything you've written, in fact enthusiastically embrace your words, but one tiny quibble. President Obama is not Republican-lite, he's full-bodied Republican. What a disappointment he's been.

adirondax said...

Rather than hope for Obama to put on the brakes a little and actually stand up to the Republicans, I am beginning to think we'll all be better off if he capitulates.

The sooner the charade becomes clearer to the man and woman in the street, the better off we'll all be. That's why I've been hoping that the Supremes will take a run at Roe v. Wade.

Change, my friends, has to come from the bottom, not the top.

How's that going to happen?

I think our friends in Egypt showed us how.

Let's get on with it!

Anonymous said...

Power is an end in itself to Obama and his handlers, and every political decision they make reflects this fact. As long as there is no organized effort to enforce his adherence to democratic-liberal values, he and they will continue to snub the progressive wing of the party. That's politics. The only way to extract liberal concessions from the Obama administration is to seriously threaten its viability, and to follow through on the threats if they're not taken seriously.

julemry said...

Where is the strong progressive who will run against Obama for the Dem nomination in the next election? I voted for Hillary because I hoped to see a woman president in my lifetime. Obama was a great campaigner and got my vote in the general election. Never again. What a two-faced disappointment he has turned out to be.
Will he grow a spine and stand up to the asinine Tea Baggies? I doubt it.

Aaron Walton said...

So is anyone actually getting organized? Are the Greens still around, or are they still hiding their faces in shame after backing a narcissistic goon like Ralph Nader? Better, is anyone in the progressive wing of the Democratic party gearing up to hold the leadership's feet to the fire? Seriously, if the Christian Coalition can hijack the GOP, no reason (other than their own innate contentiousness) that progressives can't throw a little fear into the can't get organized, speak out and shift the Party momentum at least a little a la izquierda. Somebody send me a url.

Anonymous said...

Ralph Nader is not a "narcissistic Goon"; he is a non-politician who understood many years ago that there is no longer any fundamental difference between our two major political parties. It is the mirage of that difference that tricks progressives into voting for corporatist democrats over and over again.

Karen Garcia said...

Americans are protesting, but the corporate media are not covering domestic civil unrest. Late last month, thousands of New Yorkers marched on Wall Street, but you wouldn't know it if you just read all the news that's fit to print in The Times. On Saturday (4/15) there will be a huge rally in Union Square NYC. I am afraid such demonstrations will get coverage only if they turn ugly or are infiltrated by provocateurs of either party. Then the protesters can be labeled thugs by the government.

Anonymous said...

It's time to cut military spending and invest in people again. Join us around lunch time at the White House on April 12 as part of our Global Day of Action on Military Spending, happening in cities across the U.S. and in more than 35 countries. Bring a friend! More info at

Marina said...

Re: Ryan, Karen, you left out "sociopathic."

By the way, I felt a vicarious thrill when one of Krugman's many commentators on today's column singled you out with gratitude for your earlier comment. Marie Burns was pretty much on fire (pun unintended) as well...

I dread Wed. speech and I just won't watch it.

Mike DeMarco said...

In reaction to the political gong show currently running we have scheduled a diversion. Tonight we depart Kansas for Munchkin Land for a colorful hike on the Yellow Brick Road. Our destination is Oz. Our return plans are a little sketchy but we hear there is a Wizard who can help us out. Sound familiar? We'll let you know how it works out when we return if you all will tell us what alternative there is to Obama.

turnipseed said...

Thanks for sharing Kate Madison's thoughts on Obama's family/upbringing. I've missed Kate in the Times' comments lately--she doesn't seem to be there as often as you and Marie Burns, so it's great to see this well-reasoned contribution from her.

Can't even bring myself to comment of the rest. Sad, sad, sad. For the first time, I'm glad I'm over 55, but that doesn't mean I don't care about all those who are NOT.

Janet Camp