Amen

I realize it’s lame to simply quote a larger, move visible blog and say “amen” but you really can’t say this better than TPM is saying it:

But aside from the math and economics, there’s a point of media criticism that needs to be made. While the (stimulus) bill was being debated, the news media — and particularly television — focused almost entirely on the question of whether it was too big. The possibility that it was too small — which now seems likely — was seldom raised. As Krugman argues, it’s a mini-version of the press failure in the lead up to the Iraq War, with depressingly familiar dynamics.

I think the administration deserves a small amount of the blame for this for not starting the debate with a much more aggressive and expansive bill, kicking off the game with the goalposts more advantageously placed, as it were. But fundamentally it goes back to that issue of DC and the national political media remaining wired for the GOP.

People who think that our brain-dead media and our even more brain-dead GOP leadership don’t affect the decisions that go on under Obama are kidding themselves. Obama — for better or for worse, and in this case certainly for the worse — is a pragmatist who is only likely to push for things that he thinks are possible in our current media/political environment. That’s why we’re unlikely to see universal health care under him, even if we do see some improvement in the national health care system.

It’s perfectly reasonable to blame Obama for not shoving this stuff down the Beltway Establishment’s throat. But it’s naive to think that he wouldn’t have to push pretty hard to make them swallow it.

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59 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Just sent you an email mr cole as I’m being blocked from commenting with a message that says I’m commenting to fast, which untrue unless 30 minutes between comments is too soon’

    I rebooted my computer and if this comment goes thru it is fixed.

    Weird, it worked. please disregard my email.

  2. 2
    Oliver's Neck says:

    That’s why we’re unlikely to see universal health care under him, even if we do see some improvement in the national health care system.

    If we leave it to him and his administration, then you’re probably right. We will have to lead the government on these issues, rather than the reverse. This historical moment is one of the U.S. rediscovering government of, by, and for the people.

    Zinn’s chapter "Self-help in Hard Times" may end up being a guidepost.

  3. 3
    Incertus says:

    I think that too some extent Obama knows this, which is why he spent so much time and energy connecting with people online during the campaign, and why we keep getting emails every week even though the campaign is over. He’s trying to find ways to bypass the media as much as possible. He’ll never get around them completely, but he’s looking for options–you don’t think calling on a reporter from The Huffington Post was a coincidence, do you? He’s legitimizing news on the web.

  4. 4
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    Which is more "brain dead?" A media that focusses on one side of an argument, or a public that couldn’t figure out that there is more than one side?

    The braindead media declared Hillary Clinton the sure winner of the Democratic Party nomination.

    The public managed to figure out that she wasn’t. The people are not braindead.

    The public isn’t interested much in arguments over false dichotomies. The public is mostly interested in government that works.

    Post #2 contains the core truth. The people have all the power here. The braindead media nothwithstanding. That’s why Obama, and not Clinton, won the nomination, and the election, rather handily.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Comrade Stuck says:

    For awhile there it seemed at least some in the media were resisting giving quarter to the absolutely relentless false meme ranting by wingnuts. I’m mostly talking about cable news. But the rabid packs of teabaggers and sockalist baiters never ever quit, and it seems we’re moving back into the previous status quo. The blame imo should be put on producers who bring these mindless RW hacks on teevee, day after day. My guess is they do it because the mindless RW hacks in suits back at the corporate whorehouse tells them to.

  7. 7
    Incertus says:

    The people have all the power here.

    I don’t disagree, but it’s awfully easy to start thinking that you’re the only one who believes something, if you only get your news from the corporate media, and until recently, that was the case for most people. In 2002, it was real easy to believe that you were alone in opposing the run-up to the Iraq War if you weren’t online, and even there it could feel like you were one of only a handful. That’s how the web has been a real game-changer–in the realm of organization and connection.

  8. 8
    Laura W says:

    @John Cole:
    You are commenting too quickly! Please slow down!

  9. 9
    bayville says:

    Frankly, I don’t think Obama had a full grasp of the extent of this financial problem until recently. And I think Geitner doesn’t want his banker pals to take the fall. And Geitner is part of the DC establishment.

    Remember Geitner’s major qualification to becoming Sec of Treasury was that he understood TARP. So in essence, Obama has hired Paulson-lite as his economic pointman.

    It’s the one major mistake he’s made in his first 47 days in office. Geitner’s strategy is just to try and kick the can down the road. Unfortunately, he is running out of road.

  10. 10
    jenniebee says:

    More and more I think that "pragmatist" isn’t the right word for Obama. Long term, what’s really valuable is to change people’s minds about the best role for government, and the way to do that isn’t necessarily through head on confrontation. There’s something to that comparison of Obama to Karl Rove, if you limit the comparison to an interest in establishing a new baseline of expectations for the role of government. Rove certainly did, and he thought that if he could push the policy he wanted, the public acceptance of his ideology would follow. Obama’s the flip side of that – he’s going to chip away at the ideology on the theory that the policy (all of it: health care, infrastructure, education, environmental protection) will follow as night follows day.

    Absolutely, public uprising to widen the debate would be a good thing. Obama needs the cover and he needs somebody else to expand the conversation for him.

  11. 11

    The post above that one at TPM takes you to a column by Alan Blinder that crystalized some of my thoughts on nationalization. It makes me ask the question, "What’s the point of nationalization?"

    If it’s just about the government taking control of the banks, I’m not sure I see the value. Yes, I want to see shareholders wiped out, but, with C trading on the dollar menu, that’s pretty much happened anyway. Busting them for the rest is a rounding error.

    Yes, I would like to see current management fired. I have no idea who should replace them, but they need to go. Still, this doesn’t require nationalization. The treasury could just make it a requirement for more bailout money.

    The key element to any plan is clearing up the balance sheets of the banks. As Blinder sort of steps around, this is going to cost the taxpayers pretty much the same amount of money whether you nationalize or not. What makes a difference isn’t bailout vs. nationalization. It comes down to who takes the hit.

    The government taking over the banks doesn’t solve the problem of all those assets that are sitting there, worth less than their carrying values. They remain either way. Regardless, the government either ponies up the cash to cover those assets, or it doesn’t.

    This brings us back to the debate about bailing out the counter-parties. If the government cleans up the bank balance sheets, it’s doing this, and it doesn’t matter whether it owns the banks or not. It’s the same money.

    The fundamental question isn’t whether or not to nationalize. It’s whether or not you think that the financial system can survive writing down all those assets to a lower value. If you do that, you will push a bunch of the big banks into bankruptcy. You can call it whatever you like, but insolvent is insolvent. Make them bankrupt, and you will further trash the balance sheets of all the rest of the banks. Again, it doesn’t matter whether the government owns the banks that default or not.

    Can we handle a bunch of Lehman Brothers or not? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that no one who posts here has any idea. My guess is that Tim Geithner has better knowledge about this than we do, but I’d bet that he isn’t very confident in the answer, either. We don’t know.

    I think that there is a much better explanation for his behavior than that he’s a shill for Wall Street, or that he doesn’t understand the magnitude of the problem. It’s that he thinks that the problem is so big that we can’t survive a bunch of Lehman’s. He may be right, and he may be wrong, but that’s his fear.

    If he is right, and we can’t take it, everything he’s doing makes sense. He can’t give a straight answer to anyone who asks him, because there is no answer he can give that won’t trigger what he’s trying to avoid. Really, he can’t say a damned thing until the money the government is going to pour into the system is already lined up. Any definitive answer he gives that indicates that he thinks insolvency is for real means that the shit hits the fan right then. If the plan to deal with it isn’t in place, too bad.

    Of course, not giving a straight answer makes it really difficult to put a plan in place. That’s a dilemma. What the hell do you do? Take a step back from the question that’s been asked of, if you want Geithner to go, who do you think should replace him? Ask yourself the question, why would anyone even minimally competent want his job? I’ve been unemployed for three years, and need a job desperately, but I don’t think you could pay me enough money to take over as Treasury Secretary.

  12. 12
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    if you only get your news from the corporate media, and until recently, that was the case for most people.

    Right, I know that is the CW, but I just don’t believe it any more.

    For one thing, it’s a shaped response. It’s almost a push poll. It’s self-reported and in response to shaped questions.

    People may think they get "their news" from this or that outlet, but in reality, they get information from a variety of inputs and signals. And they mix these inputs with their own experiences and ideas and fears and prejudices and beliefs. And they come to their own conclusions.

    I cannot find any empirical or even correlative connections between the conceits of the media and the behavior of the public. What I see is that the gap between the apparent media models for what is going on, and the public’s perceptions, seem to be widening. I see the influence of the legacy media dwindling, and the influence of the so-called "new media" mostly imaginary at this point.

    Thoughts?

  13. 13
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    In 2002, it was real easy to believe that you were alone in opposing the run-up to the Iraq War if you weren’t online, and even there it could feel like you were one of only a handful.

    After re-reading that, I think you have really hit on something.

    I think that it’s the community effect, and not the information stream itself, that has become paramount in the equation.

    I think that as you indicate, this is the big effect of the web. And it probably explains a lot of what I am seeing as the virtual disappearance of the predictable influence of the media.

    Maybe we are really seeing a new form of populism. More of an instinctual populism without clear, verbal drivers. Which might explain the collapse of the influence of talk radio and Fatass Limbaugh, too.

  14. 14

    @TheOfficialHatOnMyCat: I think that it depends on the region too. Being in the DC metro area, we are as blue as all get out, and there was certainly credible anti-war sentiment around. Certainly there was still the narrative supplied by the media and the White House, but those who opposed the war were never as isolated here, IMO. I can imagine it being different, very different in other places. OTOH, in the DC area we also see so much more off Congress’ fat, sweaty ass hanging in the breeze, so to speak, so perhaps we are a touch more cynical.

  15. 15
    Jay Severin Has A Small Pen1s says:

    Why poor people feel bad about the taxes the rich pay after they FUCKED us so hard the last eight years is beyond me?

  16. 16
    Brian J says:

    I was thinking about this today. Now, unless I’m forgetting something, the biggest tax cuts in the package were the Making Work Pay tax credits, which seem like a backdoor payroll tax cut, and allowing businesses to write off losses from up to five years prior. The latter didn’t seem to find too much support on either side, so I’m really confused about why it went in, but maybe I just missed something important. Still, there were other seemingly great ideas, like an investment tax credit from Bruce Bartlett, that didn’t get much attention. If we had to try to play nice with the Republicans even though they were going to slap our hands away, why didn’t we start out with this?

    Regardless, I wonder if there’s a slight psychological game being played. Is it possible that a small group of people in the administration–essentially, Larry Summers and the other NEC, Tim Geithner, Obama and Biden, Melody Barnes, Christina Romer and the other CEA members, and Peter Orszag–have some decent idea of how bad it’s going to get, based on knowledge only people in the government would have, but in spite of this knowledge don’t want to freak out the public by asking for what they think is an appropriate stimulus all at once? In other words, if they felt it was appropriate to ask for something truly massive, like $1.5 trillion or more, is it possible that they figured it’d be better to ask for it in pieces, which is definitely possible?

    And really, while it’s always possible that it will make it more difficult to pass a second stimulus if his luck is starting to run out, you have to figure that he’s more likely than not to have a decent chance of passing a second stimulus in the late summer or fall of this year if necessary. If that’s the case, then maybe–maybe–it’s takes some of the sting out of the charge that he didn’t give us what was necessary the first time around.

  17. 17

    Maybe we are really seeing a new form of populism. More of an instinctual populism without clear, verbal drivers. Which might explain the collapse of the influence of talk radio and Fatass Limbaugh, too.

    I think that Healthcare, at the core has become such a horrendous clusterfuck that enough people are finally paying attention.

    I mean, I took, what, 3 decades of wage stagnation, idiotic tax policy, and practically the collapse of the world financial system (and it’s early yet) to get peoples’ attention, but then something something about gallows.

  18. 18
    DougJ says:

    I think that it’s the community effect, and not the information stream itself, that has become paramount in the equation.

    That certainly could be true.

    Unfortunately, I think that the cable chatter is part of that.

    What I mean is that when I talk to my mother and she’s been watching CNN, she says “people are saying X” not “bobbleheads and think tank whores are saying X”. And my mother is pretty sharp in general.

  19. 19
    Cat Lady says:

    I’ve noticed that more and more news websites have provided the ability to comment on their columns and reporting, like the WP does. Rick Sanchez on CNN provides Twitter feeds on the scroll while he does his show. The ability to talk back has really become the standard now, and like the angry comments to Fred Hiatt’s circle jerk today with that clown Cramer show, we’re not going to just sit here and believe what they say. The media will ignore that at their own peril.

  20. 20

    Unfortunately, I think that the cable chatter is part of that.

    OK. When CNN announced the arrival of cable news as an "adult" (i.e. fully developed) form of news gathering during the Gulf war, it had credibility. However, I think that it has been somewhat downhill over the past few years, especially as the different channels try to outdo one another in pandering to their core audiences (CNN=Nancy Grace/WTWWA TV; Fox=Wingnut fantasyland, MSNBC=Stupid Money Porn, etc.). They seem to have moved into the realm of self-parody since the election, they don’t seem to get that it isn’t business ass usual in America right now, and I think most people know idiots when they see them.

  21. 21
    Anoniminous says:

    Classic study in Social Psychology has shown a person who thinks they are "wrong" versus the group undergoes anxiety. Even if they know they are correct.

    Which is interesting.

    We’re a bipedal, forward vision, pack hunting species and we get all weirded out if we think we’re no long ‘part’ of the pack.

  22. 22

    Shorter me: Everybody knows that Wolf Blitzer is a jackass now.

  23. 23
    bootlegger says:

    @AhabTExpropriator: The healthcare is huge part of the solution. Everyone our companies compete against on a global scale (and make no mistake, everything is global now) don’t pay for health care because their governments do. This is a fundamental disadvantage for the US. If the Cons were right, and health care should be private, we should have buried the other nations by now. But instead we’re choking on it. Go figure.
    @bayville: Geithner is overwhelmed, he doesn’t even have his staff in place, no mid-level executive AT ALL.

    Re: Obama and his priorities. Right now a man (or woman) has to to be able to walk and chew gum. I, for one, like having a president that can run with scissors.

  24. 24
    Nikita says:

    OT but awesome skit on SNL just now. Barack Obama turning into The Rock Obama when he gets angry and throwing Senator Coburn, Hutchinson and McCain out the window. Loves it!

  25. 25
    Zifnab25 says:

    @AhabTExpropriator: Healthcare is expensive, scarce, and life-or-death. It’s always going to feel like a clusterfuck. That’s not to say the current system is worse than it could be, but conservatives have some very valid criticisms of Medicare and Medicaid in terms of coverage and price (that they admittedly make worse with Medicare Part D and other "reforms").

    That is to say, so long as someone’s quality or quantity of life remains on the line with a price tag into the six or seven digits you’re going to have problems. Good medical care is not efficient. It’s not quick or easy or cheap. Given the best conceivable policy wins out in the next year or two, people will still have shit tons to dislike and with good reason.

  26. 26

    @bootlegger: I know, but people, including companies and their reps, have had their head in the sand so long that the problem has become critical.

  27. 27
    bootlegger says:

    @DougJ: The Villagers are choking on their own vomit. I’m hoping Obama is using his new networks, and debates like those on Balloon Juice, to bypass the Villagers. I think it will work because only 15% watch the Villagers to begin with, and the rest will go with the vibe. If you can use alternative methods to change the amplitude of the sound wave, let the Villagers be out of tune, then perhaps our man can beat ’em and bring his case straight to the peeps.

  28. 28

    That’s not to say the current system is worse than it could be

    The system in America is barely functional.

  29. 29
    bootlegger says:

    @Anoniminous: The Asch experiments are what has ruled the Reps for two decades now. We all knew which line was shorter, but we let the group tell us it was really the longer line that was shorter.
    (by "we", I mean the general electorate)

  30. 30
    bootlegger says:

    @AhabTExpropriator: No doubt Ahab, no doubt. We’re going to have to take a crowbar or some dynamite to those buried heads. Or, if you prefer a less violent metaphor, we’ll need to come up with our own special brand of American socialized medicine. However we do it, it needs to be done. Public goods simply cannot be privatized, it does not work.

  31. 31
    bootlegger says:

    @Zifnab25: Exactly, health care is, or should be, a public good at our level of economic development. The last 3 decades should lay to rest the notion of privatizing public goods.

  32. 32
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    @AhabTExpropriator:

    I really don’t think CNN influences many people.

    For one thing, have you seen Larry King lately? The man is a talking corpse.

    For another, have you listened to Wolf Blitzer for more than 30 minutes? Anybody with a brain cell still working would have to run away, there is no other reasonable response.

    John King? Dana Bash? Come on.

    People leave CNN on to see what their relatives’ weather is like on the other side of the country, and to find out if there have been any disasters anywhere. And of course, aging mothers listen in to be able to sound topical when their sons call. Like mine used to do, before she went to the assisted living home. She canceled her cable subscription when they found OJ not guilty.

  33. 33
    Anoniminous says:

    @bootlegger:

    Between Asch and Milgram one can get a pretty jaundiced view of the human race. Fortunately, as the influence of the MSM propaganda blather machine starts to decline we’re starting to see "role models for defiance" starting to pop up.

  34. 34
    bootlegger says:

    @Anoniminous: Right. But don’t forget Asch and Milgrams other findings, that a confederate can aid resistance to the "norm".

  35. 35
    Bill H says:

    Make them bankrupt, and you will further trash the balance sheets of all the rest of the banks. Again, it doesn’t matter whether the government owns the banks that default or not.

    Oh yes it does. An insolvent bank owned by the US government is a vastly different thing than a privately owned insolvent bank. The FDIC only covers cash deposits, and only up to (now) $250K. That’s why nationalization is being touted as necessary.

  36. 36
    flounder says:

    DougJ, on Friday your "class warfare" question got answered in the WaPo chat by Perry Bacon Jr., but it was only one of six on the topic. the Baconator was getting pissed he was having to answer for the eliteness of the media, even though he came off clueless.
    Don’t you get the impression that 90% of the things people were writing in to him were calling out the Villagers for their stupidity on the tax issue? I do. That chat just felt like that.
    We are pushing these clueless punks and they hate it, but we are having an effect. I imagine when the Republicans first started whining about the liberal media in the 60’s it felt really pointless, but eventually they got to where Saint Reagan was claiming he was at Auschwitz and it was "liberal bias" if you pointed out it wasn’t true. Between all the Limbaugh crap and health care that everyone hates now and a party who turned themselves into Grover Norquist’s pool boys, the media sees their own layoffs and are trying to find their way. Just like FDR asked people to open a window to allow him to do things, we are actually doing it for Obama. Now if he will just toss Geitner to us fir hir tar and feathers and put Buffet in his place we will be getting somewhere.
    Sorry, I’m drunk.

  37. 37
    bootlegger says:

    @Bill H: My only hesitation with this is that my local bank and credit unions are solvent and doing well. Should they, or can they, compete with a "nationalized bank"?

  38. 38
    Et Tu Brutus? says:

    It’s called ‘Social Norming’ or normative effect; most people need to fit in with the ‘group’. Sucks, but without it, it would likely be real tough to have any kind of civil society; the salient question is, who decides what the group thinks? Ah, enter the MSM ( Obama and his cronies surely know this as well as Rove & the Rethugs).

    More to the point of the thread, Obama made it clear last year in his Rolling Stone interview: you can’t just overturn everything, the status quo is propped up by powerful interested parties who must be assured of their continued place at the table ( change has to be incremental to avoid chaos, or a JFK scenario).

  39. 39
    ksec says:

    Obamas treatment by corporate media only proves them to be in the tank for repukes.

    Hes been treated like a dog since day one. Not one media outlet gave him a fair shake. They ran with repuke talking points since day one.
    And thats no diferent than its ever been. Bush was treated like a mob boss they were afraid to piss off.

  40. 40
    DougJ says:

    Don’t you get the impression that 90% of the things people were writing in to him were calling out the Villagers for their stupidity on the tax issue?

    I don’t know. It’s possible. We should keep on hammering these guys in any case. I do believe they have an influence (and in the case of WaPo and the Times, a not entirely bad one) and that engagement is the only way forward.

  41. 41
    bootlegger says:

    @Et Tu Brutus?: It’s "called" many things, stereotyping, prototyping, exemplars, identity processes, but cognitive psychology is consistent with what you’re talking about, all people sort information this way.

  42. 42
    DougJ says:

    More to the point of the thread, Obama made it clear last year in his Rolling Stone interview: you can’t just overturn everything, the status quo is propped up by powerful interested parties who must be assured of their continued place at the table ( change has to be incremental to avoid chaos, or a JFK scenario).

    I’m certainly sympathetic to Obama’s point of view though part of me wishes someone more Edwards-like were president now (go ahead and laugh, but I think that a harder push on the stim and for bank nationalization would be good things). In the end, I lean towards Obama-style pragmatism. And I think that part of moving forward pragmatically has to involve discrediting Village elites. Not because they’re self-absorbed assholes (though they are), but because they’re wrong about the big issues and because their wrongness pollutes the debate.

  43. 43
    Anoniminous says:

    @bootlegger:

    If I recall correctly — it’s been mumblety-mumblety years since I was current on the literature :-) — the effectiveness of the confederate depends on his/her relative status versus the authority figure and the psychologically affective "distance" between subject, confederate, and authority.

    Without either a resistance model or that distance Authority can achieve the state of conformity described in "Backing Hitler: Consent & Coercion in Nazi Germany" by Robert Gellately? (ISBN 780192 802910) The last sentence partially reads [emphasis added]:

    Many people apparently could not afford to let themselves see the [approaching end of the 3rd Reich], including the brutalities for what they really were …

    In other words, the regime had successfully indoctrinated people to the point they could no longer rationally process the evidence of their eyes.

  44. 44

    @Bill H: Why does it make a difference? Either you are paying off the counter-parties, or you aren’t.

  45. 45

    Despite What the Blowhards Are Telling You, Real Economists Think "Massive" Stimulus Package is Too Small, So Why the Dearth of Media Coverage)…

    by Damozel | The real problem with the stimulus bill is, of course, not that it is so "giant," but that it is so timid compared to what is needed. Hurray as ever for Media Matters, which points out the complete failure of our useless media to point o…

  46. 46
    bootlegger says:

    @Anoniminous: Obviously, not everyone resisted with a confederate, just like everyone wasn’t infected with the conformity bug. My point was simply that the spell can be broken.

  47. 47
    bootlegger says:

    @DougJ:

    has to involve discrediting Village elites idiots,

    That’s better.

  48. 48
    Anoniminous says:

    @bootlegger:

    Point taken.

    I didn’t mean to imply the spell couldn’t be broken … just got fixated on the "spell casting" side of the issue.

  49. 49
    mannemalon says:

    @TheOfficialHatOnMyCat:

    I cannot find any empirical or even correlative connections between the conceits of the media and the behavior of the public. What I see is that the gap between the apparent media models for what is going on, and the public’s perceptions, seem to be widening. I see the influence of the legacy media dwindling, and the influence of the so-called "new media" mostly imaginary at this point.
    Thoughts?

    How bout that after almost turning the most prosperous nation in the world to a failed state, the 72 year old candidate from the same party with nearly identical policies and advisers, choosing the most downright inept and dimwitted running mate in the history of the country still received 46% of the vote?

    Cable news and other media isn’t completely shaping public opinion, but you’re just simply wrong to think that it has negligible or even little effect. Fox News is by far the most viewed cable news channel in the country, and as we all know is the propaganda arm of the GOP, run by GOP heavyweight Roger Ailes. If you think the only people watching it are people who are already true believers you’re mistaken. A lot of folks simply don’t know better. There are really some dumb folks out there, who get duped quite easily.

  50. 50
    Cerberus says:

    From what I’ve read on the Great Depression, this is pretty much how it went the last time too, with the small exception that there were actual socialists and non-bought-media sources. But there was a lot of noise on the evils of spending and debt, mass resistance from papers owned by former Robber Barons and other "captains of industry" talking about how doomed to failure FDR was and why couldn’t he focus more on making the stock market remake the 1920s boom years. Also, the New Deal wasn’t one bill. There were a ton of bills over a long time with massive spending to really turn things around and FDR also started over-cautious and most of his most successful policies came years later when the public more and more caught on that the other party had no intention of arguing in good faith and were more interested in protecting the rich.

    In other words, this is an old game and I think Obama gets that. Everyone needs to see the Repubs and media fully put their chips on the rich who started it all so he can make the sockialist reforms needed to save capitalism from itself.

  51. 51
    Et Tu Brutus? says:

    @ DougJ: brother, that ain’t me laughin’, more like cryin’. I would dearly luv to see all the architects of our current sad state of affairs booted to the curb and pissed on ( although one must point out that participation implies consent, which means most us would join them curbside). Still, if you spend 30 years developing a diseased body through poor lifestyle choices, you can’t expect, when you suddenly see the light, to be cured/ made whole in 30 days.

  52. 52
    Xel says:

    Pretty much typical – a democrat is bullied into being pragmatic and cautious and democrats and America suffer for it.

    Seriously, democrats, you are NOT, repeat NOT, letting go off this ball here. The pendulum swung and by Satan it will not swing back until the GOP has crawled in the dust so thoroughly their mothers can’t recognize them.

  53. 53
    Wilson Heath says:

    "Zombie media" seems the most appropriate term. Just picture Charlie Gibson meandering through the night, devouring the actual middle class while groaning "Capital Gains Tax Cuts! Capital Gains Tax Cuts!"

  54. 54
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    The media will ignore that at their own peril.

    Which they have done and by all indications will continue to do so. Just look at the (com)Post. Their political hacks reporters still churn out the same ole Villager crap that’s been prevelant in DC for the last 12 years and when the shrill DFHs call em on it, all they do is circle the wagons, put their fingers in their ears and sing LALALALALALALALA. You see it at least once a week in their various chats.

  55. 55
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    We are pushing these clueless punks and they hate it, but we are having an effect.

    Flounder @ 36: I used to think that but I’ve been thinking that for the last 5 years now when I see the kinds of reactions you describe from Baconbits. And yet, here we are five years later and the same reactions and patterns of behavior are evident amongst the Village Idiots.

    I long gave up thinking that we’re having an effect on them. Instead, we’re simply by passing them.

  56. 56
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    Cable news and other media isn’t completely shaping public opinion, but you’re just simply wrong to think that it has negligible or even little effect. Fox News is by far the most viewed cable news channel in the country

    If there’s any empirical basis for believing this, I am not aware of it.

    I think you are simply wrong. Given the probability of an action-reaction effect in voter response to almost anything, I don’t think you can prove that the 46% wouldn’t be higher if Fox News just didn’t exist.

    There was no Fox News when Nixon worked his strategy to harvest the south, or when Reagan started working on his sainthood. The Foxless media were so rude to Reagan, his crazy wife had to put a spell on them, but his popularity soared.

    Show me the data to support your assertion.

    BTW, what percentage of Americans watches Fox News? AFAIK their top draw pulls in a little over 1% of the population.

  57. 57
    TheOfficialHatOnMyCat says:

    There are really some dumb folks out there, who get duped quite easily.

    Of course. But in the last election, we outpolled them by almost ten million votes, behind a black candidate with a scary sounding name.

    Your theory requires that those ten million votes could be pushed away by Fox News just trying harder.

    Without the existence of Fox, or any strong cable media, Reagan boosted the GOP’s presence in the population.

    Today, that presence is in freefall. Here is the measurable effect of Fox News’ popularity. The GOP grabbing something like 27% of party identity. Down a third since Reagan, and still falling.

    As I said pretty consistently over the last four years, never mind the large base of stupid people. We outnumber them.

    Show.Me.The.Data.

  58. 58
    CalD says:

    Shorter Josh Marshall: Shame on the MSM for beating up on Barack Obama about his stimulus plan. Only Josh Marshall should be beating up on Barack Obama about his stimulus plan.

    Do you suppose that guys like Marshall will ever get it through their heads that politics is the art of the possible? A functional democracy is basically a system of government designed to try and ensure all its citizens as close to half a loaf as possible (not a whole loaf for half of us). It’s supposed to be one big argument.

    I’m not proposing that liberals should strive to become the mirror image of Dittoheads, but a little solidarity once in a while is not always such a terrible thing either. You have to try and cut your own guys a least a little bit of slack sometimes.

  59. 59
    jcricket says:

    It’s perfectly reasonable to blame Obama for not shoving this stuff down the Beltway Establishment’s throat. But it’s naive to think that he wouldn’t have to push pretty hard to make them swallow it.

    Obama and the Dems are going to have to learn to play the game better, and go on the offensive, if there’s any chance of passing healthcare reform. The lies will be thick, the unsourced allegations and false comparisons and industry scare tactics unimaginable. Republicans are going to say government can never be good at anything, and they’ll get the press to dutifully ignore all the data to the contrary.

    It will have to be a game of long ball and "keep your eyes on the prize", but also some mud slinging of our own. I am, in this sense, glad we have Rahm on our side. I want Republicans to come out of the healthcare fight like the stimulus fight, 100% against, and losing 10-20% of public support (right now and probably more down the road) because of it.

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