Patterico's Pontifications


The “reality-based community” meets reality

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:35 am

[Posted by Karl]

Ron Brownstein writes about “Why Obama Can’t Satisfy The Left”:

As Democrats settle in to power, two distinct, and somewhat dissonant, lines of complaint are emerging from leaders on the left. One charges that Obama is deferring too much to Wall Street and its party allies in his response to the financial crisis…

The left’s other complaint is targeted at moderate-to-conservative Congressional Democrats resisting elements of Obama’s agenda. Obama’s budget has provided the initial flashpoint…

Brownstein’s discussion of the Left focuses on pundits, the nutroots, Big Labor and the Sorosphere, but the Congressional Progressive Caucus also has its collectivist nose out of joint. 

As Brownstein notes, there is blue-on-blue sniping over the budget: and Americans United for Change, the labor-backed organization that serves as the White House’s chief third-party operation, began airing ads Wednesday urging moderate Democrats in both the House and the Senate to get on board with the president’s budget.

Among the targets of Americans United for Change is Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who declared the ads “not very helpful.”

“The liberal groups need to understand that we are not elected to represent the president,” Pryor said. “We’re elected to represent our states, and we are trying to reflect the attitudes and values of the people who sent us to Washington.”

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) is also unhappy with the friendly fire…


Leadership aides were grumbling about the liberal advertising campaigns.

Moreover, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) are quarreling over whether to try ramming a government heathcare scheme through Congress with only Democratic votes as part of budget reconciliation.  (Some may think this is some clever “good cop, bad cop” approach, which ignores the Byrd rule.)

Brownstein is also correct to note the nutroots’ horror (The horror! The horror!) over the notion that Obama is not forcing employees of TARP fund recipients into indentured servitude (though the big banks were forced to take the TARP money, regardless of financial health).  And indignation from the more honest proggs over Obama’s actual record on controversial war issues and his apparent “all in” approach on Afghanistan.

Thus does the self-proclaimed “reality-based community” attempt to come to grips with certain realities.  Other nations have issues with US foreign policy, regardless of the person sitting in the White House.  It is far easier to be united in opposition than it is in governing (though the GOP is fumbling that at the moment).  The separation of powers creates some checks and balances, even when one party holds Congress and the White House.  Voters will be merciless in punishing the party in power if the economy continues to lag.  Stabilizing financial markets actually requires working with people experienced in financial markets, because demonizing them could cause the collapse of the entities into which the US has poured billions.  The president may have to treat a war like a war, even if he names it something else.  Governing is tough.  Reality bites.


Light Posting Until Tuesday — From Me, Anyway

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:01 am

When I say “light” I may mean “non-existent.” Hopefully Karl and Jack Dunphy will step into the breach, to the extent they can. In the meantime, I leave you with Barney Frank’s pathetic defense of his attack on Justice Scalia as a “homophobe,” and Ed Whelan’s explanation of why it’s B.S.

This is how the left has operated for eight years: foster a cartoonish view of someone based on a distortion of their words taken out of its proper context (in this case a legal one), and then level an inflammatory charge. In the legal context, the game is to judge every decision by its result rather than its reasoning.

Antonin Scalia is not a homophobe, he’s a justice who leaves matters from the culture war to the political realm. But making that argument requires an audience that can handle subtle distinctions, such as the distinction between policy preferences and legal results. More and more nowadays, such distinctions are bulldozed by demagogues out to make everything black and white, and demonize the other side for their political views. God help us if Barney Frank’s method of political discourse becomes the blueprint for the way Republicans speak.

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