The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you

I believe that our federal government is screwed until the Republican party is crushed or split in two. Somewhat surprisingly, this obvious truth is being embraced by some in official Washington. Here’s John Dickerson of Slate:

Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition’s most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray.

I don’t agree with everything Dickerson says, I’m not sure the politics of gun safety are favorable to Democrats, for example, but Dickerson is mostly right on here.

Republicans can and will block the vast majority of what Obama proposes (though there may continue to be instances where the non-southern part of the Republican House caucus votes with Democrats to pass bills). The only possible way to stop this is to make them feel so much political pain that they back off.

Generally speaking, establishment political media holds that the poor and middle-class need nothing but sticks (e.g. Social Security and Medicare cuts) while elites need nothing but carrots (invitations to the White House, lavish praise from the plebes). I think the opposite.

It’s not just crushing the Republican party is a good long-term strategic plan, it’s also the only way to get anything done in the short term.

60 replies
  1. 1
    S. cerevisiae says:

    …and to hear the lamentations of Peggy Noonan…

  2. 2
    Ted & Hellen says:

    It would be so great if Obama looked at things the way you do in this regard, DougJ/Julia

  3. 3
    Stentor says:

    Obama needs to split the Republican Party in two like an aircraft carrier going through a Greenpeace boat, leaving nothing but shattered bits & pieces in his wake. They tried to break him, he needs to return the favor.

    The bonus would be the wailing, rending of garments, & general fainting couches of the Villagers that would be dragged out en masse if he managed to successfully pull it off. Mmmm, sweet, sweet schaudenfreude! The filet mignon of gloating.

  4. 4
    Doug says:

    Nancy smash!

  5. 5
    redshirt says:

    I want more Lamentations.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Lamentations of their old white guys, plus lamentations of the media will work for me.

  7. 7
    El Caganer says:

    What happens after he pulverizes them?

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    @El Caganer: Makes a nice Fume Blanc.

  9. 9
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I think your title is forgetting the last part of that parable, which is “and to hear the lamentations of David Brooks.”

  10. 10
    Haydnseek says:

    For decades I subscribed to the idea that both parties need to be strong in order to provide a counterweight to the excesses of the party in power. Rachel Maddow is still beating this drum. This position used to make sense, but it no longer applies when one party goes collectively, violently insane. The rethugs have proven themselves not only unfit to govern, but to even be part of the conversation in their present form. They’re only getting crazier. They’re dying. Good riddance.

  11. 11
    Ted & Hellen says:

    This open, frustrated fantasizing of the Bots is kind of bizarre.

  12. 12
    scav says:

    anybody for sackcloth and ashes as a side? still hesitating between keening and ululations, although the lamentations as a starter is tempting. breakdown for the main, with a salad of bitter regrets. Everybody having a milk shake for dessert?

  13. 13
    The Dangerman says:

    Ray Lewis will need a job…

    …in a couple weeks. Nominate him as Secretary of Republican Ass-Kicking.

    Still calling Harbaugh Bowl in 2 weeks (and where’s our FB thread?!)

    ETA: Oh, there it is. Oops.

  14. 14
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    Yeah. It sounds good, but I’m not quite certain I want the same things John Dickerson wants. It’s better than the idea that the president needs to adopt all the republican positions all the time, which is what, say, Democrat Dick Morris would do. But I’m reminded of the John Dickerson on the tv during the one of the later debate’s commentary who declared that Romney made compelling arguments but failed in the execution, then making Romney’s arguments for him and declaring the debate a draw. So because he writes at Slate, might be wary of taking his advice.

  15. 15
    Dennis G. says:

    And in a very funny tweet, Karl find it Alarming…

  16. 16
    scav says:

    oh, yes UNLIMITED POPCORN!, ahem.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    Let’s compromise: carrot sticks for everyone!

    /veggie-Broderism

  18. 18
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @BGinCHI: Those baby carrot bullets are so unappetizing and practically inedible.

    BTW doesn’t John Dickerson look like he could be a character in Downton Abbey?

  19. 19
    jamick6000 says:

    Generally speaking, establishment political media holds that the poor and middle-class need nothing but sticks (e.g. Social Security and Medicare cuts) while elites need nothing but carrots (invitations to the White House, lavish praise from the plebes). I think the opposite.

    Very well said. I think the withering away of the centrists is more likely than the explosion of the Repubs.

    Since the establishment political media enables the repubelicans(BOTH SIDES DO IT), I think the fact that fewer and fewer people are watching Meet the Press or reading the Washington Post helps us. These guys have no business model, while the Republicans can seem to get as much money as they want.

  20. 20
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Haydnseek: There are four parties, and only two labels, is the problem.

    And one of those four parties, the Republicans-who-are-basically-Democrats, went out with Ed Brooke and Bill Cohen and Jim Jeffords and Chuck Percy and…

    The remaining party, Republicans-who-are-basically-insane, have gained all the muscle, and mind-share, of the old Republican coalition as a whole.

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Second verse of “God Save the Queen,” only slightly modified:

    2. Great F.S.M., arise
    Scatter our enemies
    And make them fall
    Confound their politics
    Frustrate their knavish tricks
    On Thee our hopes we fix
    Pasta save us all.

  22. 22
    Herman_Newticks says:

    Hmm, isn’t this prescription more or less what BoBo has actually accused him of doing? If they think of him as malevolent wizard now, I wonder (but don’t care) what they’ll think if he actually does choose issues that delegitimize the GOP (or that encourage them to do it to themselves).

  23. 23
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Haydnseek: Problem is that will take a lot of innocent people with them, witness Pyrush Jindal’s death panel dystopian future in Louisiana. The GOP Tea Party will take hostages and it will be like what happened in Algeria before it is all over.

  24. 24
    Haydnseek says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Agree totally with your analysis. The third party is interesting. It’s composed of openly blue-dog democrats and other dems that sympathize with them, but are in congressional districts/states that would toss them out on their pork-fattened asses in a heartbeat if their true views were known. This leaves us with the two parties we we have today, moderate to progressive dems, and the toxic wingnuts who continue to marginalize themselves as they shoot themselves in the foot on every issue.

  25. 25
    efgoldman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Second verse of “God Save the Queen,” only slightly modified:

    The kid’s got talent.

  26. 26
    Suzanne says:

    I vote for the Lamentations of McMegan. Because they would be hilarious.

  27. 27
    Napoleon says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    @Haydnseek:

    I actually think there are more like 6 -10 parties sharing 2 names. Heck there maybe 6 in just the Dem party alone.

    At an absolute min. the Rep. still have at least 2 with real numbers.

  28. 28
    Haydnseek says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: I cannot disagree with your take, but I do agree with those that refuse to negotiate with terrorists, and make no mistake, that is what the modern ultra cons have become. Bottom line? They’ll take a lot of innocent people with them NO MATTER WHAT. I suggest we do what we can to crush them, while doing our best to keep collateral damage to a minimum. Easy to say, I know, but what’s the alternative?

  29. 29
    Liberty60 says:

    @El Caganer:

    What happens after he pulverizes them?

    I remember the last time the liberals conquered the conservatives, in the early 1960’s.

    The Goldwater/Bircher crowd didn’t vanish, but they shrank as more and more people decided they didn’t like being seen by their family and neighbors as Red-bating kooks.
    Conservative shot-callers like Buckley openly made war on the Birchers, knowing they sttod in his way of making conservatism intellectually respectable.

    We can win by making the Tea Party the face of conservatism, and shrinking the terrain of “respectable” conservatism aka BoboLand.

    As it is, we are winning on National Security- whether for good or ill, when an emergency occurs, it isn’t a Republican Daddy that people are thinking of- its the cool calm, competent Obama.

    We are winning on fiscal stability- the President’s advisor is confident to now openly demand that we raise taxes again, and yet again, in order to reduce the deficit. Here in California, a tax increase was just approved by the voters.

    We can make the Republican party the “me too” party, where GOP candidates send out robocalls touting how they will save Social Security, and provide a pathway for immigrants to become citizens…in a conservative, Burkean way, of course.

  30. 30
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Haydnseek: No disagreement there.

  31. 31
    jheartney says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: The GOP has been taking the lives of the innocent (and not so innocent) for years. Everything from unnecessary wars to uncontrolled guns to uninsured health problems has been killing people by the multiple thousands. This in addition to the ongoing rape of the middle class and destruction of the public commons.

    They won’t stop doing it until they’re forced to. If you have an alternative method to forcing them that doesn’t involve pulverizing them politically, I’d be happy to hear it,

  32. 32
    Haydnseek says:

    @Napoleon: Maybe the Reps. do have two “parties” with real numbers, but the second is getting its ass absolutely handed to them by the first. No surprise. They live in fear of getting the shit primaried out of them from the right, so they go along to get along. The truly insane Reps. continue to be the tail that wags the dog. They are too insane to notice that the dog is rabid, foaming at the mouth, and not long for this world, but that just falls into the category of too fucking bad. They’re doing it to themselves, and are taking pride in their stupidity.

  33. 33
    hitchhiker says:

    This is another version of what Brooks said yesterday, right?

    The president is going to expose the poison by forcing the people who claim to want to govern to confront actual issues that need to be resolved.

    Their actual agenda, when brought into the light in all its ugly glory, will make the voters nauseous.

    David ended his column by admitting that he doesn’t have a clue what the Rs ought to do in response. My own hope is that they continue to walk off the pier of their own insane “principles.” Or, they could refuse to, knowing that the districts they cleverly gerrymandered are likely to primary them for insubordination, thus clearing the way for sane Democrats to win.

    In my dreams. But, hey, it could happen. Weirder things have.

  34. 34
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Suzanne:
    I vote for Die Leiden des jungen Werthers.

  35. 35
    efgoldman says:

    @Haydnseek:

    They’re doing it to themselves, and are taking pride in their stupidity.

    And who are we, in our reality-based cocoon, to get in their way?

  36. 36
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Haydnseek:

    They’ll take a lot of innocent people with them NO MATTER WHAT. I suggest we do what we can to crush them, while doing our best to keep collateral damage to a minimum.

    This, exactly — because there’s no real alternative: The GOP simply does not recognize the legitimacy of any Democratic officeholder. The collateral damage will be nothing compared to what they have done/will do if they continue to be given even a quarter of a chance.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    The GOP has two wings, the Shitheel Wing and the Shittier Heel wing.

    They must continuously be challenged and marginalized.

  38. 38
    Haydnseek says:

    @efgoldman: Yep, Napoleon will always be right in this regard…….

  39. 39
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @jheartney: Like I said I did not have any disagreements with Haydnseek’s analysis. Especially with the GOP’s stranglhold with the gerrymandering. This country is in for some nasty scheissen, I guess the only consolidation that many a teabagger will be be eliminated by the policies they supported.

  40. 40
    Chris says:

    @Haydnseek:

    For decades I subscribed to the idea that both parties need to be strong in order to provide a counterweight to the excesses of the party in power. Rachel Maddow is still beating this drum. This position used to make sense, but it no longer applies when one party goes collectively, violently insane.

    Exactly.

    Addendum to your statement: more bluntly, the theory applied back when Republicans had a liberal wing (not milquetoast look-at-me-I’m-not-COMPLETELY-insane like the Chris Christies of the world, actually liberal). Back then, your theory of counterweight to the excesses of those in power worked, because if the Democrats got too corrupt or incompetent, you could vote for liberal Republicans and trust them not to use the opportunity to roll back all the Democrats’ accomplishments (example: Fiorello LaGuardia, who was both the fiercest opponent of Tammany Hall and the face of the New Deal in New York City. It wasn’t a contradiction back then).

    The Gingrich Revolution purged the party of pretty much all its liberals, and the teabaggers have been purging even those that aren’t, so the idea of a liberal Republican faction making a comeback doesn’t look plausible for some time. And until it does, there’s nothing of value in the GOP.

  41. 41
    Fred says:

    All sounds great but I recall “The Death of the GOP” in 2008. It was happening and there was no way they could make a comeback. And then we had 2010.
    I have hopes but they are the sort of hopes that have been dashed before.
    Right now the ball is in the senate with f-f-f-filibuster ref-f-form. Harry Reed don’t f-f-f-fu-fuh-fuh, well you know.

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    @Chris:

    …the idea of a liberal Republican faction making a comeback doesn’t look plausible for some time forever and ever.

    Small fix.

  43. 43
    Suffern ACE says:

    As an OT, whenever I hear that title quote, I imagine Ghengis Khan walking into one of Plato’s dialogues, running Phaedrus through, then moonwalking out the door.

  44. 44

    Somehow, some way, Obama & the Democrats have to figure out how to get sanest 5% of the white people who have been voting R since Reagan to Red Rover, Come Over to the Dems. The reasons they vote R were never that sound to begin with, and I don’t think that they actually agree with anything the R’s stand for except low taxes.

    Maybe R intransigence on guns will become a wedge issue. I’d certainly like to see a more aggressive “get people to work” program.

  45. 45
    Haydnseek says:

    @Chris: Very well said. Ya know, funny thing. When I was in my late teens I couldn’t understand why my father was going to vote for Dick Nixon. It seemed absolutely incomprehensible that somebody would actually support him, or Rockefeller, etc. When you look at the positions Nixon took, and the legislation that he signed into law, he seems like like a lefty radical by todays rethug standards. Then Gingrich. Yeah, Reagan got the ball rolling, but fucking Gingrich. We’ve been suffering ever since, but I’m beginning to see light at the end of that tunnel. Hope I’m not flattened by an oncoming train….

  46. 46
    piratedan says:

    so this would be yet another example of “both sides do it”, with Obama being the reasonable legislator looking to move the country forward and on the path to growth and recovery, thereby destroying the Republican characterization of him causing the GOP to splinter and the GOP itself opening up its own fissures within the party as our happy fourth estate keeps putting microphones in front of folks like Louie Gohmert, Virginia Foxx and Michelle Bachmann illustrating to all that the GOP have indeed devolved into political idiocy and politics of the Id.

  47. 47
    Chris says:

    @Haydnseek:

    Yeah, I can actually understand white people with racial hangups voting for Nixon – the man didn’t undermine their interests, after all. The Reagan revolution is went they all went fucknuts and decided that screwing black people over was SO important, they didn’t care what happened to them.

    I wonder what would’ve happened if Nixon Republicanism (racially conservative but still economically populist) had managed to stick around, instead of basically being co-opted by the Goldwater crowd. Could it have kept the “liberal consensus” going, at least on economics, just with the other party dominating the landscape? Would we have managed to bury Golwaterite economic royalism once and for all? How would the country be different, better or worse? Etc…

  48. 48
    agrippa says:

    The GOP is vulnerable and can be put on the run. But, legislation has to get through Congress. That will be difficult. It is hard for me to see that this Congress is going to accomplish very much.

    People have written about ‘liberal Republicans’. I think that, nowadays, they mostly vote Democrat, do not vote, or go along to get along and continue to vote Republican.

  49. 49
    mai naem says:

    I don’t think Obama can do much. I think the only big hope is that enough old fart Goopers die so that the Dems take over the House in 2014. The other option is that something really awful like 9/11 happens and Obama brings the country together and gets stuff passed. I really do not want this second option, primarily because we can’t afford another 9/11 kind of event. Also, Obama wouldn’t get a pass like Bush did.

    I heard Bush Jr. isn’t attending the inauguration because he wants to spend time with Daddy Bush. This is the same Bush Jr. who couldn’t be bothered to see Daddy Bush till he was in the hospital for several days/weeks. He’s the former president who could easily get a private flight to D.C. go to the actual inauguration and fly back within a few hrs. But no, he’s weak doofus POS president who can’t handle the other side winning the election.

  50. 50
    Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoenhenheim den Sidste says:

    @El Caganer: Victory!

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @agrippa:

    People have written about ‘liberal Republicans’. I think that, nowadays, they mostly vote Democrat, do not vote, or go along to get along and continue to vote Republican.

    Exactly.

    I think looking for “liberal Republican” voters in this day and age is as much of a pipe dream as when conservatives tried to appeal to “Nixon/Reagan Democrats” (e.g. racist white Democrats) in this past election. At this point, pretty much all the fruit that can be harvested has been harvested. It’s not that liberal Republican and conservative Democratic voters don’t exist, exactly, but if the last fifty years haven’t convinced them to switch parties, then nothing will.

    I also think a lot of the crossover between the parties came from the slow process of Republicans and Democrats “switching sides” (which is usually remembered as happening in the sixties but in reality lasted decades, arguably over a century). Now that the switch is pretty much over, so are all the old opportunities for crossover.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mai naem:

    Does the previous president usually attend the re-inauguration of his successor? I don’t remember Bill Clinton being at Bush Jr.’s second inauguration after the 2004 election, but I was trying to pretend it never happened.

    Speaking of which, I need to head out and buy cookies for tomorrow’s inauguration party. Our local bakery made Obama cookies in 2008, so I’m going to see if they have them again.

  53. 53
    Zagloba says:

    @Suffern ACE: As an OT, whenever I hear that title quote, I imagine Ghengis Khan walking into one of Plato’s dialogues, running Phaedrus through, then moonwalking riding Gagnam Style out the door.

    /Sorry

  54. 54
    Lojasmo says:

    If I point out that this thread has been a success in that nobody has addressed the dimwit does it wreck the magic?

  55. 55
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @piratedan:

    as our happy fourth estate keeps putting microphones in front of folks like Louie Gohmert, Virginia Foxx and Michelle Bachmann illustrating to all that the GOP have indeed devolved into political idiocy and politics of the Id.

    But does that make a difference? Two of the three have a lock on their House seats; Bachmann survives thanks to being a talisman of the lunatic caucus. House gerrymandering has delivered power to the GOP without accountability, and that’s fucking dangerous.

  56. 56
    Lojasmo says:

    Despite outspending her opponent by six times, Bachmann won by less than two percent. Thank FFS for Governor Dayton.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents.

    No, Obama’s goal should be to govern well. This might delegitimize his opponents, but this is an added benefit, not a goal.

    Bonehead pundits think that government is some kind of twee debating society, or a poetical contest where one gets hosannas for the best narrative. Or high school, where the idea is to be king of the cool kids, and pat yourself on the back for the quality of your snark.

    These fools need to get a life, and leave the real world for the grown ups.

    @Chris:

    Now that the switch is pretty much over, so are all the old opportunities for crossover.

    Not necessarily. You have new generation of voters coming up. And if the Republicans continue to reap the benefits of gerrymandering, the solution is to appeal to more voters in red districts.

    And in California, for example, a sizable chunk of voters are Independents. And they do not just reflexively vote GOP despite their lack of party affiliation.

    Demographics alone won’t do it for the Democrats. You gotta peel away the voters from the GOP like an onion.

  58. 58
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @mai naem: If something like 9/11 happened on Obama’s watch, the exact same people who were screeching, “Criticism of the president in wartime is treason!” in 2002 would be demanding that he be impeached, hanged, drawn and quartered.

  59. 59
    Dave says:

    “Gun safety” like a Republican refusing to say “privatizing Social Security. “

  60. 60
    TriassicSands says:

    I believe that our federal government country is screwed until the Republican party is crushed or split in two.

    I’d be satisfied if all the Modern Republicans were in jail or mental institutions — where they all belong (one or the other or both).

Comments are closed.