Tuesday Evening Open Thread: The Virtues of ‘Gridlock’

Celebrating the President’s new term is all very well, but Alex Pareene at Salon reminds us that rust and the corporatist-loving media never sleep:

As David Brooks taught us last week, Barack Obama’s cunning plan to sabotage and undermine the Republican Party is to repeatedly force them to act as extremist and irresponsible as possible by proposing popular and sensible things that they refuse to support. By advocating gun control and immigration reform, two things Obama supports because he and most liberals believe them to be morally and politically necessary, Obama is tricking Republicans into revealing that they are dysfunctional, leaderless, and increasingly divided into two camps: the all-out crazies and the merely corrupt. This saddens David Brooks, naturally, because most things seem to sadden David Brooks, America’s Foremost Humility Expert…

How would we go about identifying the sorts of policies that would qualify as bipartisan, uncontroversial and capable of uniting America around a common goal again? Well, there are Brooks’ suggestions, which are mostly things Barack Obama has already repeatedly announced his support for. As Jonathan Chait pointed out, these suggestions are either things that have already been done or things that Republicans would just not support if Obama proposed them again.

We could also look, for guidance, to longtime Washington insiders Lanny Davis and Michael Steele, who have been fulsomely praised by much of the Beltway press for putting aside their political differences and joining together to … make a lot of money as lobbyists. Their “strategic communications” firm. (“Strategic communications” is P.R.-speak for “doing P.R. for politicians, athletes, corporations, institutions or dictators that have recently been discovered to have done something unbelievably horrible.”)

Recently, Davis and Steele were interviewed — for the five-hundredth time, I believe — by Howard Kurtz, at a nuclear industry-sponsored “breakfast-cum-panel discussion titled ‘The Media and Beltway Gridlock.’” It took place, appropriately, on K Street, which is to lobbying what Fleet Street is to British newspapers. Usually in Washington the alternative to “gridlock” is “policy crafted according to the wishes of groups rich enough to hire people like Lanny Davis and Michael Steele.”…

To make the thoroughly reprehensible, tactically inexcusable, totally unavoidable snark: Where the heck were those precision-targeted drones when our suffering democracy really could’ve used one?

Apart from me turning in my PC card, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

23 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Apart from me turning in my PC card, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

    I’m probably going to try and incorporate more phrases in Latin into my pithy comments here.
    I’m tired of DMX getting all the limelight.

  2. 2
    srv says:

    I was thinking today how sad it is that Bobo is so young. I’m sure David Broder is very lonely in the purgatory of reasonable conservatives.

  3. 3
    srv says:

    @Corner Stone: calix meus inebrians

  4. 4
    lamh35 says:

    everytime I see videos like this, I’m reminded of when my friend and I toured the White House and we were like “ooh, ya think the Obama are in residence?” No such luck, but the lucky few get to do this: Obamas Surprise Tourist At The White House”

  5. 5
    eemom says:


    Bobo is so young.

    I was horrified to discover that he’s not much older than I am.
    And that a bunch of his fellow assclowns — Milbank for example — are younger. I guess it only seems like they’ve been around for a million years.

  6. 6
    👽 Martin says:

    @lamh35: Didn’t seem like much of a surprise, though. I wanted some jumping out from behind the potted plants.

  7. 7
    quannlace says:

    Around these parts…just trying to stay warm. Be waking up to 12 degrees tomorrow.
    Also, the third installment of the really excellent ‘Abolitionists’ on PBS tonight. Check it out, if you haven’t

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: He is about a week younger than Obama. Gives one pause, yes?

  9. 9
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Really? He looks about 10 years older.

  10. 10
    Xantar says:

    Like the revolutionaries in Stephen Walt’s Revolution and War, the current crop of GOP elites seem to believe that loud, repeated affirmations of their preferences will simply and eventually steamroll Barack Obama, the Democratic Party and the American people into acceptance of their policy platform.

    Wait, that doesn’t work? Huh, how about that. So, like, if Obama had just thumped the bully pulpit a whole bunch of times and screamed constantly about the public option, he still wouldn’t have gotten it?

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’m probably going to try and incorporate more phrases in Latin into my pithy comments here.

    Oh, Ord-Lay. Ive us gay our yay essings blay. Aaaaaaaaaamen ay.

    (Wrong Latin?)

  12. 12
    Roger Moore says:

    Where the heck were those precision-targeted drones when our suffering democracy really could’ve used one?

    Since you’re advocating the use of DRONEZZZ, you must be the world’s worst Obot. I cast you out in the name of firebagging!

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: August 11, 1961 for Bobo. August 4, 1961 for Obama.

  14. 14
    Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo) says:

    Ordered an aftermarket nav system for Mrs. Closure’s new commuter.

    Nav system
    XM tuner
    Rear camera
    steering wheel control harness.

    I am now going to drink ale until I forget my login to paypal.

  15. 15
    eemom says:

    Brooks does look old, and so does Milbank. Frankly, they both look old enough to be my father.

  16. 16
    eemom says:

    @Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo):

    Mrs. Closure’s new commuter.

    Like that movie about the couple on the train? Ooo la la.

  17. 17
    PIGL says:

    @eemom: except I only wanted to swear at and violently hit my father when I was 16. I am fairly certain my father, had he lived, would feel the same as I do about Bobo Brooks, whose expensive miseduction and also youth were wasted, as two kittens drowned side by side in half an inch of cheap perfume.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:

    A while back, commenter redshirt posted the following about the film Groundhog Day.

    I heard a theory about “Groundhog Day” that the Bill Murray character was trapped in that loop for 10,000 years. Or so. Imagine the torture! Which is depicted in the film, right? It’s really kinda scary to think about it.

    Tech writer and Sun Times columnist Andy Ihnatko has tremendous fondness for this film, and expanded on his view that this is one of the best holiday films on his own podcast, the Ihnatko Almanac. Fun listening, although I don’t know if I quite go with his idea that you can view the film as a variation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Still, the podcast deserves a listen and the reference links are amazing.

    A little gem is the book, available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook, Danny Rubin’s “How to Write Groundhog Day.”

    Why aren’t all movies as good as “Groundhog Day”? Did screenwriter Danny Rubin know what he was doing when he wrote it? That it would star Bill Murray and become a hit? That it would become a touchstone for major religions? That psychologists would come to prescribe the movie to their patients? Follow this unique screenplay’s exciting journey through agents, directors, studios, stars and the writer’s own confused brain to emerge as one of the most delightful and profoundly affecting comedies of all time. For movie lovers and screenwriters alike, “How To Write Groundhog Day” includes the original screenplay, notes, scene sketches, and a personal tour of the Hollywood writing process from this popular screenwriting teacher.

    A couple of ideas about the screenplay that got rejected would have resulted in an absolutely terrible and unsatisfying movie. It is interesting to see some of the luck that sometimes rescues a film from itself and nudges it into near classic status.

    Equally fun is the blog piece “The Groundhog Day Buddhism Sutra,” a fun take on the spiritual aspects of the movie.

    I always found this bit of dialog from the movie intriguing.

    Phil: I’m a god.

    Rita: You’re God?

    Phil: I’m a god. I’m not *the* God… I don’t think.

    If you were stuck with all the time in the world in a single location, what would you do with it?

  19. 19
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    He is about a week younger than Obama.

    Only chronologically. By every other rational measure, he’s still a toddler compared to Obama.

    Makes me think of the old line about some classical composer, might have been Vivaldi(?), when someone said that Composer X wrote “N” hundred pieces, some wag responded that said Composer actually wrote the same piece N hundred times.

    President Obama has used his 51+ years fairly wisely; Bobo keeps writing the same stupid shit overandoverandoverandover. But at least Bobo is humble teaches a course about humidity.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Interesting. I see Bobo as prematurely aged. Sclerotic of mind. And some who has been that way for years. The idea that he was a senior in college when I was a freshman astounds me. With Obama, I have no trouble with the concept.

  21. 21
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I see Bobo as prematurely aged. Sclerotic of mind.

    Sclerosis from “eating” too much mental junk food: conservative “thoughts,” right-wing memes, and so forth.

    Of course, if he had two brain cells to rub together, he’d be able to discern that right-wing talking points are all bullshit anyway.

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo):

    Mrs. Closure’s new commuter.

    For a change, I actually heard something interesting and useful on NPR’s Marketplace tonight.

    Back in the day, 100 or so years ago, the people who ran the trains noticed that a lot of their passengers were taking the trains into the city in the morning and then taking them back home at night, day after day after day. So as a marketing ploy they decided to “commute” the price of round-trip, return tickets. The travelers who took advantage of these reduced prices were known as “commuters,” and before long the term became applied to anyone who travelled from home to work in the morning and back again the same evening.

    I don’t remember the name of the dude who told the story, but he is a NY Times reporter who has just published a book about Grand Central Station at 100. It was fascinating, and I intend to read it.

  23. 23
    Brachiator says:


    I don’t remember the name of the dude who told the story, but he is a NY Times reporter who has just published a book about Grand Central Station at 100. It was fascinating, and I intend to read it.

    A couple of guys who call themselves The Bowery Boys do a great podcast about New York City history.

    You might find their take on Grand Central interesting. The site link includes some great historical photos in addition to the podcast, which is available for listening or download.

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