They Have Every Reason to Be Mad

Hard to fault the members of the House on this account:

By now you’ve read reams of stories about how House Dem leaders are smoking mad at the White House because Robert Gibbs suggested that Republicans could take back the House.

In a closed-door meeting yesterday, House Dems vented about their frustration. And it’s true that they’re angry with Gibbs for needlessly giving Republicans a recruiting and fundraising boon.

But there’s a more important story here underlying these tensions. What’s really driving the anger is that House Dem leaders feel like they’ve done a whole bunch of heavy lifting to pass jobs-related measures — while the Senate and the White House have effectively dithered. And, crucially, it’s House Democrats who are likely to pay the price at the polls this fall over this failure

I know there are those out there who think more theatrics and forceful antics from the WH would cure the problem (assuming they actually care and are not still mired in some bullshit internal debate about the deficit- that Obama, Summers, and others have stumped for UE benefits extensions suggests to me otherwise), but I lay most of the blame on the Senate. If the Senate rules were not so ridiculously undemocratic, UE benefits and job creations bills would have passed months ago. Add in you have jackasses like Ben Nelson (and I forget where I read this), whose state has low unemployment and who basically does not give a shit about the Democratic party, as he will be able to play the same role he plays now should the Republicans take back the Senate- the centrist hold-out who gets to be queen for a day every time the majority wants to pass a bill, and it becomes even more untenable.

If I were a Democrat in the House I’d be pissed, too. Without question, they’ve been the most responsible and pro-active part of the government on every issue to come before them, and they are the ones about to get pasted in the mid-terms. I’d be screaming bloody murder, too.

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102 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I would have loved to hear NANCY SMASH! at that White House meeting.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t blame them either. I’m not a big Gibbs fan anyhow (I think he was Peter Principled beyond his level of competence) and I was really unhappy when he said that the GOP might take back the House. Not because he’s inaccurate necessarily, but because it should be clear to anyone with a lick of political sense that it would be a huge gift to the Rethugs.

  2. 2
    Scamp Dog says:

    It’s time the Democrats stopped acting like the Washington Generals. The House seems to have gotten the idea, but Obama and the Senate Dems haven’t. Bleah.

  3. 3
    cleek says:

    House Dems vented about their frustration.

    splitters. snipers. fake liberals.

    Nelson is a douchebag, though.

  4. 4

    Just an example of different branches of government looking out for numero uno. The WH executive branch is managing expectations in case the worst happens and the wingers take back the House as to make it not look like too big a victory.

    Of course the House dems only care about winning, because short of that they are nothing. The minority in the House become doormats and coat racks. I can see where the members of the dem House caucus would get their knickers in a twist, but if they can’t overcome a blip from the WH press secretary to hold on, then they are in big trouble. Having a bitch session about it to keep it in the news doesn’t seem like the best tactic either.

  5. 5
    eemom says:

    maybe Gibbs is getting tired of his job. Isn’t he approaching the sell-by date for a WHPS?

  6. 6
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I would give good money to watch Pelosi crush Nelson’s crown with the Medicare gavel.

  7. 7
    taylormattd says:

    Yup.

  8. 8
    AhabTRuler says:

    Well, my district will return Van Hollen w/o breaking a sweat. But, then, I am a liberal, so I ain’t trustworthy…

  9. 9
    Barry says:

    Yes, and (assuming that we hold the House) there will be a lot of House members in 2011-12 who will be aware that they are again up for re-election in 2012, and that the Senate just isn’t trustworthy.

    Given 45 or so GOP Senate seats, I was expecting a legislative impasse for the next two years; this may or may not make a big difference.

  10. 10

    while the Senate and the White House have effectively dithered. And, crucially, it’s House Democrats who are likely to pay the price at the polls this fall over this failure

    This is baloney. The senate always dithers, that’s what they were created for. And the WH has the dubious chore of herding the cats in both chambers. Always imperfect, especially when “independent thinker” dems are concerned. Lots of mistakes are normal. The House minority makes fewer of them because they are a majoritarian dictatorship that makes it’s rules on the fly to always win. Not so much with senate rules. And the House always takes it in the ass in the first mid term of a new presnit of their party, unless there is another 9-11, and there isn’t, to this point.

  11. 11
    DonkeyKong says:

    It figures the one Democrat on the Hill with balls is a woman.

  12. 12
    Paul L. says:

    they are the ones about to get pasted in the mid-terms. I’d be screaming bloody murder, too.

    Do not fall for the Reich-wing lies. Democrats will gain seats in both houses of Congress due to their passing of the highly popular progressive agenda (TARP/Stimulus/HCR).
    Ignore the Reich-wing noise machine, the 2010 elections will be the same as 2006/2008 elections.

  13. 13
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I blame the Senate as well. What has happened is that for years fringe members of a party could vote against the party, because both sides – Dems and Repubs – would play the majority rules game, knowing that if the majority switched they wouldn’t get anything done if the other party did nothing. Now, with Republicans no longer playing by the rules, the fringe – Nelson, etc. – get to run the Senate.

    It’s obvious the Senate’s cloture rule has to be ended, but what do you do until then?

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    splitters. snipers. fake liberals.

    Nice snip there, but we can all see the whole quote:

    In a closed-door meeting yesterday, House Dems vented about their frustration.

    Yes, that’s exactly the same as having prominent “progressives” bitch and moan in public about how much the president sucks. Except for, you know, not being the same thing at all.

  15. 15
    Lolis says:

    I don’t think Gibbs saying Republicans may win the House is bad strategy. A: It sets expectations high for Republican midterm wins, so if they gain 25 or even 35 seats it is framed as a loss. B: It may fire up some complacent Dems both in Congress and outside of Congress to do something to fight back. It appears to have worked in my eyes.

    But, yeah, in order to keep losses to a minimum the WH needs better strategy on jobs and unemployment. Republicans are currently paying no price for their lack of compassion and obstruction. Dems need to try to educate the voters about what is going on. It may be a futile effort but at this point effort is needed. Plus, that would help fire up the base.

  16. 16
    Guster says:

    “I lay most of the blame on the Senate.”

    And relatively less on Obama? No! Is this John Cole or some doppelganger?

  17. 17
    Zifnab says:

    If I were a Democrat in the House I’d be pissed, too. Without question, they’ve been the most responsible and pro-active part of the government on every issue to come before them, and they are the ones about to get pasted in the mid-terms. I’d be screaming bloody murder, too.

    That’s not a shock. Under Republican rule, the craziest nutter legislation always came out of the House. Under Democrats, the most progressive reforms triumph.

    That’s largely because individual House members have far less power than their Senate colleagues, so the can’t throw a heaving hissy fit and bring all voting to a halt. You’ll notice the Democrats have a Blue Dog Caucus, and that Caucus didn’t really even matter until they assembled a solid twenty or so members.

    The reasons that the Senate is so dysfunctional are literally legion. And the individual strength of any single given member is definitely one reason for it. Hold-outs in the Senate get to be Queen for a Day. Hold-outs in the House get left by the wayside.

    Again, after watching DeLay run the lower chamber for eight years, I honestly don’t know if that’s a good thing. It seems like no matter how you divvy up power, conservatives always manage to fuck you over.

  18. 18

    I always love it when frustrated dems, and I am one, fantasize over getting rid of cloture in the senate. Folks think there is chaos now, with no cloture, every time there is a change in party of governance, the laws passed by the other party would get amended and superceded into nothingness. It would be like the CA referendum on steroids. We might as well start digging trenches and stock up on artillery shells.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    @Lolis:
    Totally agree. Firing up the Dems and lowering expectations isn’t a half bad strategy.

    And yes, the WH and Congress need to do something about job, jobs, JOBS if they are to have a prayer of keeping their seats.

    Heard something on the news yesterday or today that something like 60% of Americans associate the word soshulist with President Obama. Those wingnut talking points work.

  20. 20
    Mark says:

    Well, look, how much back-slapping was there over Howard Dean’s play to get Democratic wins in R+ whatever districts? Those were a poison pill – Blue Dogs ran on not being Democrats, they never talked to their constituents in a way that would allow them to take any action, they sabotaged every vote and now we’ve got way less to show for it than if they hadn’t been brought into the tent.

    If you can’t sell job creation, regulating Wall St, restoring tax rates for the wealthy to Reagan levels and affordable health care to the working person in your district, then what good were you as a Democrat? Their comeuppance will be losing their districts, but it sucks that they damaged the party more than if nobody ever dumped money and workers into their districts.

  21. 21
    AhabTRuler says:

    @General Stuck:

    when frustrated dems, and I am one,

    No you are not. Or, at least, so you said…

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T but why in the hell am I seeing pictures of Ben Stein all over this site?

    Rhetorical question, I know John has to deal with the advertising hand he’s dealt pretty much, but Ben Stein?? C’mon.

  23. 23

    @AhabTRuler: WTF are you talking about Ahab?

    edit- okay frustrated liberal. That better?

  24. 24
    Bill Murray says:

    Wait, I thought the legislative success was due to Obama. Wasn’t that a thread title here yesterday? How things change when one takes a few hours off

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Lolis: @Violet: I really hope you’re both right, that it’s carefully crafted strategy to fire up the Dems etc. But so far it doesn’t seem to be playing out that way.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Zifnab says:

    @Paul L.: You know, it’s funny you mention this, Paul. Because the Tea Bagger contingent really is doing its damnest to hamstring what should be a blowback election.

    Harry Reid is looking better and better in Nevada. The California Insurgency that was supposed to topple Barbara Boxer has largely crumbled. The biggest pick-up opportunities for Republicans remain in Red States, while the Northeast remains a Democratic stronghold. Incumbent John McCain is fighting for his life in his own primary. And Charlie Crist is going to beat the pants off Mark Rubio, no matter how loud Rush Limbaugh howls. Hell, we’ve got a Dem running hard in KENTUCKY, looking to upset the slim favorite Rand Paul.

    I wouldn’t call this a triumph for the Republican Party by any stretch.

    If you ask who WON’T be holding their seats this fall, you end up with corporate shills like Walmart subsidiary Blanche Lincoln and Bayh’s Dem heir to the Indiana seat. A dozen or so Blue Dogs who didn’t vote for anything on Obama’s agenda (but are getting pillared by the Republican noise machine claiming they did). You’re picking up the right most Democrats. The cream of the crap.

    Enjoy.

  28. 28
    lamh32 says:

    The Damned Democrats

    They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. That’s where I think the Democrats and Obama are today.
    Obama’s numbers are suffering from the policy whiplash in Afghanistan, which reminds people of the war they don’t like … the economy, which is sending confusing signals and refuses to reveals its intentions about the future .. and the oil spill, which reminds people that things, overall, aren’t working…

  29. 29
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top: Exactly right.

    .

  30. 30
    lamh32 says:

    The Damned Democrats

    …Also, voters these days are hyperkinetic and have higher expectations from presidents (who set high bars themselves.)
    When you think about it, It’s amazing that people don’t think Obama spends enough time on economy and jobs. He spends most of his time on the economy and jobs. What he can do about these things is not clear.

    When people’s expectations don’t track with reality — if only Obama just spent more time focusing on jobs!! — there is very little that any organized political institution can do to persuade large groups of people to set aside their reality for the real reality.
    The Senate and House can pass legislation and no one seems to care. In this environment, nothing will work until people feel better about themselves and their future Republicans are succeeding in engaging voters by enraging them — only by making them angry…

  31. 31

    Unemployment in Nebraska is 4.9%. Ben Nelson could give a shit about unemployment. Asshole.

  32. 32
    lamh32 says:

    The Damned Democrats

    The Obama coalition (not the Democratic Party per se) was not an anger-based coalition. They won’t feel less glum about their president until it becomes popular again to like President Obama. All the persuasion in the world won’t make it popular to like Obama. What will is evidence that the economy is picking up, the war in Afghanistan is going well, racial and ethnic tensions have abated — markers of progress.

    This is why the Obama political team ignores all the taunts about their obsessive focus on trying to persuade people that the Recovery Act was a good thing. They know that they’re not going to change a lot of minds. They also know that by focusing on the only thing they control that’s creating jobs, they can, at the very least, have the president show up at events where new jobs are created.

    We don’t live in the 1980s where the the President and the White House dictated the image of the day…where the President’s putting on a hard hat and testing a piece of equipment sent a signal that…hey, things are picking up. People don’t pay attention to the president in two week increments; they pay attention to what’s being done in the microsecond they happen to tune in to whatever news source they like….

    This is a good article by Ambinder, IMHO. Ya’ll should read the rest…

  33. 33
    Jody says:

    After all the shit they’ve pulled to derail his agenda, if I were Obama right about now I’d be conspiring with the House to do everything I can to kneecap that clique of a hundred little Heathers.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Zifnab says:

    @General Stuck:

    Folks think there is chaos now, with no cloture, every time there is a change in party of governance, the laws passed by the other party would get amended and superceded into nothingness.

    You’d need control of both houses for this to work. With a split in Congress, one party could just vote down the other party’s bills. And there is some legislation simply too popular to get rid of, no matter what your majority. Social Security and Medicare made it through from ’02 to ’05, at the peak of Republican power.

    And, frankly, the Democrats just aren’t interested in filibustering. They didn’t filibuster John Roberts or Sam Alito to the SCOTUS. They didn’t filibuster either of Bush’s tax cuts. They didn’t filibuster the AUMF against Iraq. They didn’t filibuster the Patriot Act. They didn’t filibuster the TARP. They didn’t filibuster the Bankruptcy Bill or the Graham repeal of Glass-Steagal or the host of bad budgets and defense bills and pork products or DOMA or… do I have to list them all?

    What do we need a filibuster for when we never use it?

  36. 36
    The Truffle says:

    @Zifnab: The DNC should be focusing on potential Dem pickups as well, yes?

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    @The Truffle: Without Howard Dean, I’m worried we kinda dropped the 50-state strategy on its ear. Which is a damn shame given that this is a decidedly “Throw the bums out!” election. I’d love to see us pick up seats in southern strongholds, where constituents hate the incumbent enough to vote for an outsider just because.

  38. 38
    Nick says:

    @Zifnab:

    Without Howard Dean, I’m worried we kinda dropped the 50-state strategy on its ear. Which is a damn shame given that this is a decidedly “Throw the bums out!” election. I’d love to see us pick up seats in southern strongholds, where constituents hate the incumbent enough to vote for an outsider just because.

    All the 50 State Strategy did was elect a bigger Blue Dog caucus and we’re not picking up seats in the South with a black president, no way. They’ll vote for Stalin before a Democrat now.

  39. 39

    @Zifnab:

    no matter what your majority. Social Security and Medicare made it through from ‘02 to ‘05, at the peak of Republican power.

    Do you honestly think dems wouldn’t have filibustered changes wingnuts would have proposed in SS leg during this time, if they had been stupid enough to try it? The wingers only passed the Prescription Drug Bill because 12 dems voted for cloture on it.

    And, do you believe that wingnuts wouldn’t then, or in the future, if they again controlled all branches of government, carved those programs into shreds, if it weren’t for certain dem filibusters? It is true that dems don’t use the filibuster like the republicans are now, but they still filibustered their big issues, and certainly would for any attempts by wingers to unravel any part of The New Deal, like say in 96 with Welfare Reform, when the goopers had to use Reconciliation to get it passed with 3, I think, dem votes for a simple majority.

  40. 40
    maus says:

    I hate the “make me do this!” attitude without a CLEAR vector for my efforts. I feel like I get bullshit and smokescreens, I’m getting the runarounds like trying to go up a corporate customer service/tech support escalation chain.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    lamh32 says:

    OT, but this may bode well, not so much the midterms, but def for the future for the Dems:

    Study: Hispanics view racism at center of immigration debate

  43. 43
    Tank Hueco says:

    @Zifnab:

    To steal a phrase, Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  44. 44
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Nick:

    All the 50 State Strategy did was elect a bigger Blue Dog caucus

    I always feel like the quintessential 50-State Strategy fable is that of Stephanie Herseth, one-time darling of Daily Kos, who now gladly touts her brave and principled opposition to HCR as government-run, overreach, etc. This is what you get. You don’t get more _liberals_ when you run the 50SS, you get more Democrats who are _not_ liberals. So the point of equilibrium among Democrats moves rightwards. By design.

  45. 45
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Does it need to be a “carefully crafted strategy”? Or can it be just, you know, true? It’s true that Republicans _might_ win.

  46. 46
    FlipYrWhig says:

    they’re angry with Gibbs for needlessly giving Republicans a recruiting and fundraising boon.

    Until Gibbs said this, Republicans were trying to raise money on the proposition that they would never win and barely wanted to try. But now…

  47. 47
    Davis X. Machina says:

    That’s largely because individual House members have far less power than their Senate colleagues, so the can’t throw a heaving hissy fit and bring all voting to a halt.

    No cloture in the House – makes all the difference. Reid can’t do what Pelosi has done, and there’s no guarantee Pelosi would be able to replicate what she’s done in the House in the Senate

    And, frankly, the Democrats just aren’t interested in filibustering.

    That’s coalition government for you. There problem with American politics is not a shortage of parties, but a shortage of labels. Then, as now, there are at least three parties in the Senate, from which a governing coalition is from time to time is cobbled together.

    There are:
    1.) the Democratic senators who are Democrats,
    2.) the Democratic senators who are Republicans
    3.) the Republican senators who are Republicans.

    (There used to be Republican Senators who are Democrats — Javits, Brooke, Hatfield, Stafford — but no longer.)

    Those ~12 senators who voted for cloture through the Bush years are Party #2

  48. 48
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Here’s my take on what’s driving the upcoming election

    The electorate isn’t that stupid. They know pretty well that (A) the GOP is largely responsible for the various messes we are in, and (B) the GOP has nothing to offer that won’t make things worse in both the short and the long run.

    Problem is, the voting public also knows darn good and well that the people most responsible for royally screwing the nation (Wall St., I’m looking at you) have not paid a price for doing so, and indeed they have made out like bandits courtesy of the various measures that Obama, et al have taken to stabilize the economy. The pigs have not only not been stood up against a wall and shot pour encourager les autres, but they’ve laughed all the way to the bank, with more of the same to come.

    And understandably, the average Joe is hopping mad and ready to maul somebody over this state of affairs. If they can’t get bloody revenge on the folks what have it coming, then they’re going to hurt somebody, anybody – whoever is most handily within reach, if for no other reason than to show that we’re not just passively going to sit back and take it from the POTBs.

    And that means House Congresscritters (most of the members of the Senate aren’t up for election) are in the bullseye, because they are the only part of the power elite who are not so thoroughly and carefully protected and insulated from popular rage so as to be beyond reach. They are living in the gatehouse of the gated community, which is as close to burning down the mansions of the rich as we’re ever going to get.

    Somebody has to take a beatdown now, and nobody else is available. And if the entire country and everybody else in it gets hurt as a result, that’s just too damn bad.

    It is a mix of teenage angst ritualized mock-suicide attention seeking, semi-rational hostage taking behavior, and self-defeating Hulk Smash! rage.

  49. 49
    QuaintIrene says:

    crucially, it’s House Democrats who are likely to pay the price at the polls this fall over this failure

    Ugh, I can’t keep track. I thought Gop’er’s were hoping that the economy would stay tanked, so voters would blame the Dem’s and vote against them.
    But lately, in Wingnuttia places like Free Republic, a lot of paranoid musings that there’s gonna be some horrible disaster, an Ocotober Surprise if you will, that will somehow swing sentiment towards Obama and the Democrats.
    No explanation of how these two things contradict themselves.

  50. 50
    Leonard Stiltskin says:

    Although it’s true that House Dems have done most of the heavy lifting to pass the Obama agenda, they are still a bunch of scared little pansies when it comes to defending their work. They will get trounced this fall if they continue to act like wilting flowers in the face of the teabagger hostility. When’s the last time you saw a Dem other than Grayson getting angry on TV and defending this administration? Cowards, all of them, projecting nothing but weakness and timidity, which makes Obama, in turn, look weak.

    I applaud Gibbs for trying to put a scare into complacent Dem voters. If we are to avoid an electoral disaster, it will be despite the idiots in office right now.

  51. 51
    Keith G says:

    but I lay most of the blame on the Senate.

    I call bullshit, John. If you recall two posts ago, you can envision the large part of this shit sandwich that Obama & Co. is responsible for.

    WTF is he talking about? That just makes no sense whatsoever. None. Zero.

    I can think of more than one administration that would flood the zone with major and lesser officials rewording your above take on this.

    If this were 1981. Bush, Baker, Regan, Stockman, Deaver, Meese and probably several others I have forgotten would be pushing the West Wing’s narrative on TV and elsewhere. Those fuckers were everywhere.

    I am an Obot, but I am freekin sick and tired of feeling that the Executive Office of the President is led and staffed by deaf-mutes.

    (Yeah that last bit *is* an overstatement, but I am exasperated.)

  52. 52

    @QuaintIrene:

    a lot of paranoid musings that there’s gonna be some horrible disaster, Surprise if you will, that will somehow swing sentiment towards Obama and the Democrats.

    It could be the horror of poor people getting health care, but who’s to say at this point;

  53. 53
    suzanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    /T but why in the hell am I seeing pictures of Ben Stein all over this site?

    Same reason I’m seeing J. D. Hayworth.

  54. 54

    @SiubhanDuinne: I installed Adblock yesterday and my blogging experience on BJ, has improved dramatically. Much faster page loads, etc… and no outside ads.

  55. 55
    Keith G says:

    @lamh32:

    From Ambinder:

    We don’t live in the 1980s where the the President and the White House dictated the image of the day….

    I disagree. If the above quote is correct, why is so much attention here paid to who is on MTP, or what Brooks has typed in his last column (to cite only two).

  56. 56
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Keith G:

    I am an Obot, but I am freekin sick and tired of feeling that the Executive Office of the President is led and staffed by deaf-mutes.

    Here’s what happens when the WH tries to control the ‘message’ – NBC News Chuck Todd Reports – “At the White House today, President Obama held a press conference in the Rose Garden, to address his economic agenda. Responding to questions about the stimulus, Obama replied…….OMG! Did you see what Sarah Palin posted on Facebook today! Oh snap! Did you see McCain’s twitter feed today? He’s still angry at Obama! Unemployement is still high. Why can’t Democrats fix unemployment? Here’s Pam Gellar to explain why Obama is a secret Muslim. Her views are controversial! Rand Paul wants to force the unemployed to fight for benefits in a ThunderDome! Should they? I mean, some people say they are lazy. America loves the new Arizona law! Do hispanics deserve to get the shaft? Probably, for not being white. Anyway, the uppity nigger we want to go away for failing to dance to our tune said some shit about his failed stimulus, like we fucking care. Here’s Chris Matthews to explain why Obama won’t get the vote of the lunch pail crowd, live from his mansion in Maryland.”

    How can the WH possibly control the message when the people who are supposed to relay said ‘message’ have the attention span of a crackhead?

  57. 57
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Keith G:

    I disagree. If the above quote is correct, why is so much attention here paid to who is on MTP, or what Brooks has typed in his last column (to cite only two).

    I was unaware that the Obama Administration set the agenda for David “We Haven’t Made Any Mistakes” Gregory on Meet The Press, or informed Brooks and Co. what to babble about in their latest collection of inanity.

    Moreover, if the White House has been trying to set the traditional media’s agenda over the past year and a half, they are doing a terrible job. Like, to the point that you would have to strongly consider that the have no interest in actually being productive on any level and are outright intent on sabotaging themselves.

    But that is the stuff of loons and crackpots…or so I hear…

  58. 58
    Hal says:

    How dare Gibbs acknowledge what the MSM has been saying for months, what polls have been indicating for months, what every political wonk from far right to far left has been talking about ad infinitum in every available media format, for months!

    Jesus H. Christ. Cat was out of this bag a long time ago Congress.

  59. 59
    Keith G says:

    @Hunter Gathers: @Midnight Marauder:

    I am not stomping my foot and demanding miracles. But, other folks have done this: They have worked the refs, massaged the egos, and charmed the snakes. Its not a science and there are no promises, but this is the way things tend to get done. Messaging, branding, and framing may be distasteful concepts, but they are what spins the world.

  60. 60
    QuaintIrene says:

    .OMG! Did you see what Sarah Palin posted on Facebook today! Oh snap! Did you see McCain’s twitter feed today? He’s still angry at Obama!

    The MSM has finally been taken over by 11 year old tweens who’ve worn out their copies of ‘Twilight.’

  61. 61
    Nick says:

    @Keith G:

    Messaging, branding, and framing may be distasteful concepts, but they are what spins the world.

    then until the American people grasp a better concept of policy and understanding of government, progressives will lose every single time.

    It’s hard to brand and frame complicated concepts and policies in nice one phrase simple answers.

  62. 62
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Keith G:

    Messaging, branding, and framing may be distasteful concepts, but they are what spins the world.

    I was just trying to make the point that no matter who the WH puts out there, no matter how often, isn’t going to change a fucking thing. The MSM will refuse to play ball. They despise Obama. He’s black, which is an insult in and of itself to the rich, old white fuckers who are the MSM, he’s not Daddy (they bent over backwards for Big Daddy Dubya, and repeated his lies and bullshit for 8 fucking years like it was gospel), and they would love nothing more than to destroy the first black POTUS, hoping that the rightwing will stop calling them liberals, and making them think they are biased. The fix is in. They want the GOP to take over the House, just so they can report on the circus that will ensue when the GOP goes for impeachment ten minutes after they take over.

  63. 63
    Citizen Alan says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You don’t get more liberals when you run the 50SS, you get more Democrats who are not liberals.

    As much as I detest the Blue Dogs in general, for the most part they are, for the most part, superior to the Republicans who would run against them. Travis Childers, despite how furious he made me in the last 2 years, is still better than Greg Davis (R) would have been and is still better than Alan Nunnelee will probably be, assuming he defeats Childers this November. Just as Jim Webb is vastly superior to George “Macaca” Allen.

    I support the 50SS because I simply cannot believe that it is good strategy to let Republicans run unopposed in every place that trends Republican. Kendrick Meeks is probably going to finish 3rd in Florida, because the Democratic Party was to timid to put up a serious name candidate against Charlie Crist, who was expected to bulldoze his way to the Republican nomination, and when that fell apart, Meeks was ill-equipped to take advantage of it. Similarly, it’s a bloodbath between McCain and J.D. Hayworth in Arizona, but whoever wins will still steamroll over whichever no-name sacrificial Democrat wins the primary.

  64. 64
    Keith G says:

    @Nick: Yes it is and that certainly is a burden we carry. So be it.

  65. 65
    kay says:

    @Keith G:

    I agree with you. I whine about Gibbs constantly.

    It’s hard to accept because they were so good at this stuff during the campaign, but they suck at it now.

    I think it takes a long time to accept because they were so good, once.

    Still, if they aren’t getting credit for anything, and they aren’t, it isn’t a substantive problem, it’s a presentation problem.

    My big fear is Obama and Gibbs are close, so Obama’s in that crony-friends stage of denial.

    They need a whole new group. I have never understood (for example) why they hired all those brilliant Cabinet members and then they never let them speak. It’s just a waste. Is there some reason Valerie Jarrett has to talk for everyone? She’s not even that good at talking. She speaks in that horrible marketing-language that everyone distrusts.

    Hilda Solis can talk. Let her out of the godammned basement. Might be nice to hear from the Labor Secretary in a Democratic Administration in the middle of an employment crisis.

  66. 66
    PT says:

    Thinking by analogy here: back in 2002, the Democrats held the majority in the U.S. Senate, and there was a Republican President. I seem to recall that the Senate periodically wanted to do things that the President disapproved of, for example preserving civil service protections for employees in the Department of Homeland Security. On paper, there was nothing that the President could do about it if the Senate Democrats really wanted to do things their way (since they had the majority, they didn’t even have to filibuster); in practice, the administration and its proxies made a very big deal about any such dispute, making every effort to get it clear in the minds of Americans where each side came down on the dispute and that if the voters disagreed with the position of the Democrats then they should punish the Democrats for that position. Some of their attacks were laughably heavy-handed, but it seemed to me to be extremely effective in getting the message across. The Obama administration might not be able to put enough pressure on the Republicans to change their minds, but maybe they could; and they could certainly make the Republicans pay a higher price for their obstruction than they have been.

  67. 67
    Nick says:

    @kay:

    It’s hard to accept because they were so good at this stuff during the campaign, but they suck at it now.

    It’s not their fault, it’s the media’s fault. They honestly haven’t changed a thing (I guess you forgot all those times during the campaign when supporters screamed his messaging team was blowing it; Rev. Wright, August before the convention, post-Sarah Palin)

    The difference is the media is deliberately keeping their message from being shown.

    I actually think Gibbs is very effective at time, very, but you never hear him when he is.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Citizen Alan: My tone may have been unclear. I agree with you, especially as a still-grateful Webb constituent. But my larger point is this: the dynamic you describe is also the source of all the vexation about why the Democrats have a large nominal majority but still don’t accomplish liberal policy. It’s because that majority is built on pushing districts to the leftmost position they will bear — and in a right-leaning district, that position is going to be far to the right of most of us posting here. Which is why it’s foolish to get mad that Obama or Reid doesn’t crack down on Blanche Lincoln or Ben Nelson. Everyone concerned knows that as awful as they are, they hold beachheads in otherwise hostile territory, and losing them entirely is much worse than satisfying their stupid demands. If you want to turn the thumbscrews on unhelpful Dems, you’ll have to replace their votes with Republicans; the Republicans know this too, which is why the fight is repeatedly over Nelson, Snowe, Lincoln, Collins, and now Brown.

  69. 69
    Nick says:

    @Keith G:

    why is so much attention here paid to who is on MTP, or what Brooks has typed in his last column (to cite only two).

    The White House produces MTP and writes Brooks’ column?

  70. 70
    kay says:

    @Nick:

    It’s not their fault, it’s the media’s fault.

    Okay. Now what do we do?

    I’m not being glib, I just don’t understand this “solution”.

    They were hired to figure this out. Not with some dream-world “better” media, but with the hacks we have.

    Democrats have never been very good at “messaging” and I personally think I don’t know how to do it, but it seems fairly obvious this approach isn’t working.

    They need to try something else. I don’t even care if it fails. Just saying, “well, media are dummies and it can’t be helped!” seems (to me) to contradict the vast amount of money and energy expended on what purports to be people who do this for a living.

    Is it really hopeless? Why have professionals working at it at all then? Just send random White House staffers out.

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kay: That’s an interesting point about Solis. I hadn’t noticed that she hasn’t been visible, and now I’m curious about why. Napolitano, Sebelius, Salazar, Chu, Duncan get some airtime. Locke made the rounds to talk about the Census. I’ve even seen LaHood. But I can’t say I’ve ever seen Solis.

  72. 72
    Nick says:

    @kay:

    Okay. Now what do we do? I’m not being glib, I just don’t understand this “solution”.

    Well, in other countries, they’d be general strikes demanding the end of corporate control of the press, but that’s out of the question here. We can always firebomb Fox News Headquarters, but that’s unlikely to yield any public support.

    Is it really hopeless? Why have professionals working at it at all then? Just send random White House staffers out.

    Yes, it’s really hopeless, and I think the WH knows that, I know a lot of local Democrats have given up, and for the most part, the WH doesn’t have professionals working at it anymore. They don’t really have a PR team in the WH, just a press secretary and random White House staffers who appear on the news whenever the news decides to have them.

    The core problem is corporate control of the media and the high salaries anchors and executive producers earn. Those who own media outlets spin theirs to fit their personal beliefs and personal desires. Many are liberal when it comes to social issues, but when it comes to national security, they’re conservative because they don’t want to face boycotts from advertisers, and when it comes to finances, they want to protect their millions.

  73. 73
    kay says:

    @Nick:

    Hillary Clinton, Hilda Solis, Chu, is there some reason none of these people are ever on television?

    They’re all great in their areas. I don’t really understand ignoring the potential and capacity there.

    Is it fear? They might make a gaffe? Who cares?

    I would worry less about people “going off message” and worry more about having a message.

    Axelrod is the political director. He shouldn’t be the sole source for everything.

    There’s a massive oil spill. Can we hear from the energy secretary? Maybe about…energy?

    They seem insular and defensive.

  74. 74
    Bernard says:

    all this self talk about this guy not doing this against the Republicans or about that Democrats who does this, is besides the point of what is happening.

    the Blue Dogs won’t EVER EVER help “the other side”. Unless you give them Fort Knox. these Blue Dogs are Republicans, they have the same Agenda as the Republican. MONEY. they care not a whit for the “unemployed” the poor or the “other.”

    these Blue Dogs and Republicans have gotten “theirs.” and they want to beat out the “poor and unemployed” at what’s left. Who can take Social Security money and “screw the workingman” for as much as possible.

    and they have been very successful at doing this under the Republicans/Blue Dog alliance. to think they will change is what the Republicans want you to believe. it hasn’t as of yet.

    almost 40 years of screwing America out of its’ manufacturing base, stealing money from public infrastructure, schools, and most importantly destroyed the Unions.

    St. Ronnie’s union busing of Patco signaled the end of wealth for the working man and the rise to the Empire for the Republican/Democratic representatives.

    our version of the Weimar Republics free wheeling anything goes class war on the “poor.”

  75. 75
    Keith G says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    They despise Obama.

    Some undoubtedly do. Maybe you are right and it is systemic. I hope not as that indicates a far bleaker future than I want to imagine. I view them as stupid, ego driven and lazy, but in the end whorish and somewhat malleable.

  76. 76
    cat48 says:

    There’s almost 70 to 100 seats in play per some talking heads and they only need 39 to take the house back, so Gibbs saying that really didn’t seem to be anything anybody wouldn’t know already to me when he said it. Mass hysteria about it is ridiculous. Did they just find out in the House? Do they not read National Journal occasionally?

    You know, Lean R or Tossup, etc.

  77. 77
    kay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    But I can’t say I’ve ever seen Solis.

    It seems a shame to me, because one of the differences between Democrats and Republicans is Democrats see the worth of having a Dept of Labor.

    Maybe she could talk about…jobs? Maybe even act as an advocate for…workers? Since all we talk about is unemployment?

    I don’t get it.

  78. 78
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @kay:

    Hillary Clinton, Hilda Solis, Chu, is there some reason none of these people are ever on television?

    Clinton gives many interviews, but all pertain to her job as Secretary of State, and as SOS, needs to stay as far away from political arguments as possible, unless they involve foreign policy, which is why she dropped hints at the DOJ lawsuit against Arizona weeks before it happened.

    Solis and Chu, as the Sec. of Labor and Energy, respectively, are irrelevant to the MSM, because Solis is hispanic, and Chu is asian. They don’t want some damned minority telling them anything. And why would they want to go on, say CNN, where they would have to debate some conservative fucktard who would shout them down, and therefore ‘win’ the argument according to MSM rules.

    My advice? Stop. Paying. Attention. Tell you friends and family to do the same. Hell, get rid of your cable. Get NetFlix instead. Cable news is a known carcinogen.

  79. 79
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Nick: Also, for some reason media people really get upset when right-wing howler monkeys send them a lot of hostile emails. That seems to be the thing they dread most of all. To prevent that from happening, they bend over backwards to be “fair” and non-judgmental about the raging idiocy and outright lies.

    There is _a lot_ of energy devoted to spewing right-wing nonsense at and through the media and at and through politicians. And it gets results. Nobody cares about getting a nasty email from one of us, or MoveOn, or Jane Hamsher. I’m not totally sure why, but it just doesn’t work.

  80. 80
    Keith G says:

    @Nick:

    The White House produces MTP and writes Brooks’ column?

    Oh come on. That is just an absurd thing to say. So all those complaints about barbecues and tire swings were empty drivel?

    There is a game to be played the others are playing it better. It is costing us.

    I am just suggesting that we be a bit less pure and cast a few shekels to the whores/hustlers who make up our media.

    edited

  81. 81
    cat48 says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Both Solis and Chu have been on MSNBC more than once. Solis has been on Chuckies show, Morning Ho, and Andrea Mitchell has had her on a few times. She’s very pleasant & very sincere. I like her. Chu’s been on mostly at nite. Rachel seems to enjoy him.

  82. 82
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    not so closed that we don’t know about it, right ?
    not so closed that everybody in the world doesn’t know about it, right?

  83. 83
    gene108 says:

    @Keith G: Well when the opposition has a 1 million Watt amp cranked to 11 – Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity back-to-back on the radio, right-wing print media, and right wing thing tanks – even shouting at the top of your lungs will get drowned out.

    Where’s a liberal organizations push back? What liberal organization attempts to push a media narrative? What little is out there – Maddow, Olbermann, etc. – get drowned out by the volume of right-wingers and their own angst at the fact Obama’s willing to compromise and has doubled down on Bush & Co.’s security policies (which isn’t really a surprise, no President is going to give those powers up).

    Republican politicians don’t get enough air-time to influence the political debate, their surrogates in the media – Fox News, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, etc. – push their talking points 24/7.

  84. 84
    mugwump says:

    Why doesn’t somebody just smother Ben Nelson in his bed?

  85. 85
    gene108 says:

    Which is why it’s foolish to get mad that Obama or Reid doesn’t crack down on Blanche Lincoln or Ben Nelson.

    As bad as Nelson is, if he goes down to a Republican, you can expect a Demint-style nut-job replacing him. Nelson’s from Nebraska, which doesn’t have much of a populist progressive streak that a few of the mid-West / Great Plains states have had in the past. Nebraska’s one of the most solid Republican states in the country. I think Obama only carried on district in the entire state in 2008. I doubt you can get much better than Nelson, as a Democrat coming out of Nebraska.

    At the end of the day he did vote for cloture on HCR, which no Republican did. He is voting for Wall Street reform, which the other Senator from Nebraska isn’t. At least you have a chance at some support for the Dem agenda.

  86. 86
    The Truffle says:

    @Nick: I’d focus on Western states and districts with lots of Latinos.

  87. 87
    gene108 says:

    Republicans in 1982 took a beating at the polls, especially Republican House members. Democrats increased their majority in the House. Reagan’s approval rating dropped to 35%.

    The only reason this didn’t derail the conservative movement is because you had non-governmental zealots pushing the conservative agenda and eventually the economy turned back around, as the inflation subsided and interest rates started to come back down.

    By 1986 Democrats had retaken control of the Senate, yet non-governmental right-wingers kept pushing their agenda because they had a decisive Presidential victory in 1984 and that was good enough to overlook Democratic gains in Congress.

    Right now the liberal non-governmental groups are disorganized and upset because they didn’t get everything they wanted with HCR, Wall Street reform, etc., and are among the first to second guess politicians pushing any part of what they want done, rather than embrace those politicians for getting some of their agenda accomplished.

    When facing unified opposition from the right, the left needs to be just as unified and on point celebrating what’s been accomplished, if they want any chance to frame the debate.

  88. 88
    Glen Tomkins says:

    You’re in a less crabby mood than I am

    I don’t give even the House a pass. They have the Constitutional duty to run this country. The House. Not the president, who is supposed to merely execute the will of the legislature. Not the Senate, which is supposed to oversee appointments and foreign policy, while deferring to the House on appropriations, which is the one actual governmental power, the root and source from which all others spring.

    If the House isn’t getting what it sees the country needs, it can and should shut down the Senate and the presidency. It should have both of them on a short leash budget, day-by-day if that proves necessary. They don’t get staff, they don’t get offices, they don’t get paid, until and unless they produce results to the House’s liking. They can enjoy all of their Constitutional prerogatives and powers in splendid theoretical isolation from the reality of actual things that all have to be paid for, and the House controls the pursestrings, so the House can, if it chooses, cut them off from exercising any of their powers in the real world.

    The House chooses not to exercise this power. They don’t get a pass from me on total responsibility for this mess we’re in now.

  89. 89
    The Truffle says:

    @gene108: What you said.

  90. 90
    Kryptik says:

    @Keith G:

    Unfortunately, from where I stand, it IS systemic. I’ve become convinced that THIS is the ‘Permanent Majority’ Rove was talking about before. Not control of Congress, or either House, but a total utter manipulation of the political discourse to where it doesn’t matter if Republicans are ‘out of power’, they still control the direction of the debate in all aspects and respects.

  91. 91
    RinaX says:

    When the media decided that there was much more drama in rooting for the first Black president to fail than to succeed, it was over. With respect to those who continue to twist themselves in knots over “messaging”, that battle is not going to be won in the MSM. And it’s funny that NOW people glorify the campaign messaging as this glorious and wonderful thing, but I remember just how much crap the MSM was spewing along the way, and all the wailing and caterwauling on the blogs about how awful President Obama’s messaging was and OMG if they didn’t shape up and GET TOUGH then PRESIDENT PALIN!!!! Because it was an election year, the media HAD to show President Obama some of the time, but I haven’t forgotten how often they would cut away from his campaign speeches while giving McCain/Palin stops full-blown coverage.

    The media has simply doubled down on what they were already doing during the general election. President Obama has done countless townhalls and such since the beginning of the year talking about the importance of job creation, and all of the stuff people are screaming at him to say, but the only place you tend to see it is when someone posts a youtube link on the blogs, or if he slips and says “ass” so the media can freak out over it.

  92. 92
    Kryptik says:

    @RinaX:

    Not to mention the free coverage of everything Tea Party, even after their attempts to inflate the protest numbers were shown to be full of shit. It’s a complicit media, and I don’t see how any sort of concerted messaging push by the Dems or liberal activists is going to change this, since they’ve already shown that if it’s inconvenient to the narrative, it’s to be ignored, and if it can’t be ignored, it has to be demonized.

    This is what I mean when I say ‘the fix is in’, and this is why I can’t fault Obama or even the horribly worthless Dems in Congress all that much. Jesus Christ could come down from the sky right down in Ground Zero and preach that the Christian Right are full of shit and we need to help the needy and the poor…and the media would be the first out there wondering if Jesus is really some kind of Commie Islamosympathizer. Reality means nothing when you can lie not only without consequence, but with the assurance that the truth will be derided nonstop.

  93. 93
    Nick says:

    @mugwump:

    Why doesn’t somebody just smother Ben Nelson in his bed

    Because Nebraska had a Republican governor.

  94. 94
    Nick says:

    @kay:

    Hillary Clinton, Hilda Solis, Chu, is there some reason none of these people are ever on television?

    Because they’re not asked to be on TV. Chu’s been on a lot, but people don’t like him cause he’s wonky.

  95. 95
    Nick says:

    @Keith G:

    I can think of more than one administration that would flood the zone with major and lesser officials rewording your above take on this.

    Good God Dude, the media LOVED Reagan, they HATE Obama.

  96. 96
    darms says:

    Blue Dog Dems are Rethugs who could not get elected in their party as they were insufficiently rabid, Obama’s Dems hate primary challengers of these ‘moderate’ Rethugs.
    I have had enough and w/no kids I do not care as my future is a dirtnap & nothing more. My congressperson is Lloyd Doggett, if your position is to the right of his then fuck you & the horse you rode in on, If Obama’s bunch keeps giving primary support to Blue Dog Dems he deserves to be a one term president (assuming he’s not impeached) and the last black president in my lifetime.

  97. 97
    Nick says:

    @darms: Well that’s progressive.

  98. 98
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Cable news is a known carcinogen.

    That is so fucking beautiful!!

  99. 99
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Glen Tomkins:

    I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter…

  100. 100
    Pat says:

    Nebraska has a population of roughly 1.9 million people. There are over 2 million unemployed, and this is called democracy.

    I have never despised a government body more that I have this session of the United States Senate and the 100 idiots who hold the future of this country in their greedy hands. I will never, ever vote for a senator again. This body of government needs to be abolished.

  101. 101
    TJ says:

    TS for the House. That’s what happens when you always cave. The WH and the Senate don’t take you seriously. Shiv them on something they actually care about, like supplemental war funding, and then you’ll get a better response.

  102. 102
    mnpundit says:

    Right, and who do progressives love? Nancy Pelosi.

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