Happy post-Equinox, everybody. I couldn’t even see the full Harvest Moon last night — too overcast. It’s been a discouraging week, hopefully the capper to a discouraging summer rather than the opener to another season of slow-leak enervation. Digby’s post on “The Method To Their [GOP] Madness” has been getting some circulation, but I think it deserves more:
… Those of you who went through the 90s will recognize this phenomenon. It’s when the right’s ferocious attacks are so vicious and relentless that they eventually wear down average, common sense people with normal lives to lead — and even scare them a little.
In Clinton’s case it was defending him from the non-stop personal attacks that was so wearying. It took a brave soul with a taste for political combat to keep fighting in the face of that onslaught. It was called Clinton Fatigue, the sense that even people who were sympathetic to the president’s political plight and understood that his enemies were rabid and insane, just wanted it to end… It was the prospect of four or eight more years of wingnuts shrieking and howling that made at least few people say “whatever… give it to them … anything to shut them up.”
In Obama’s case it’s this moribund economy vs the outsized expectations that form the substance of the Democratic base’s complaint. And there’s good reason for people to be disappointed and worried. But the exhaustion at defending him, at least some of it, comes from the same place as that Clinton Fatigue. The right’s non-stop attacks eventually just wear people down, sap them of their enthusiasm, make them question their own judgment, especially in the face of a negative and less than hopeful future. You have to be pretty committed to want to wallow in this toxic mud every day and most people have better things to do with their time…
[Democratic legislators] seem to be paralyzed in the face of this psychotic right wing onslaught. They have a huge majority and the White House and they are left holding kabuki votes like today’s DADT show and tell and rather than making the Republicans look like big meanies, they end up making it appear that the crazies have the upper hand again. And when that happens a lot of Dems just tune out, avert their eyes, preferring to look to more personal concerns and withdraw into their own projects and pursuits…
So there is a method to this madness. It’s the same method that all bullies use. And it’s very effective.
Seconding Digby’s sense, Charles P. Pierce, in Esquire, asks “When Did They Build a Time Machine in Washington?”
… It’s time to give the 1990s a rest, I think. It was not a good time for our politics. Bill Clinton drove people utterly insane, and they acted on that insanity, vigorously and in full public view. The Republican party gave itself wholeheartedly to freaks and Arkansas con-men, and produced a generation of politicians who would believe anything because they could talk themselves into anything, and who were urged on to further flights of fancy by the rise of crazoid designer media. They not only detached themselves from the reality of governing. They detached themselves from the reality of what they themselves were doing…
The line from then until now is clear and bright, and it belies all the nonsense about how Tea Party politics is sui generis for the age of Obama. It also belies the lunatic notion that our “divisive” politics are a result of pressure from both extremes against the middle. Only the Republicans empowered their extremes… For all the exotic fauna now traipsing around the conservative landscape, the 1990s were the pre-Cambrian explosion.
On the other side, it was the Clinton years that produced a Democratic party content with half-measures and wishful thinking, attaching itself to trade policies that substituted the messianic buzzwords of globalism for, you know, actual jobs, abolishing the Glass-Steagall Act to great acclaim and even greater financial fraud, and generally refashioning itself as a home for people who really, really Liked Ike… This was fine when the economy was humming along, and we were not bogged down in two wars, and the financial system hadn’t nearly dissolved into a puddle. Now, it’s been so long since the Democratic party ran on a genuinely progressive platform that the president and his people can’t seem to put together a coherent campaign based on what they relentlessly assure us has been the most triumphant progressive presidency since LBJ. They don’t know how to run like that anymore, especially not the retreads from the Class of ’92.
Earlier today, commentor Kryptik called for a “Green Balloon Juice Friday“, a day where we’d talk about anything and everything except politics. I can’t go that far — no telling what will surface on BadNewz DumpDay — but I do plan to try a sort of extended Weekender Linkdump by scheduling a bunch of non-political posts on stuff I’ve got tabbed. Feel free to email me (addy near the top of the right-hand column) with your suggestions, or to tell me how much my lack of commitment sukks! ! !…