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November 3, 2010

MIDTERMS + 1: Sucking, Or Sucking it Up?

Charles Dharapak/AP

Yes, this photo is today’s “day after midterms” wallpaper.  And it symbolizes a perfect collusion between an all-too-generic interpretation (guy takes hit, guy chastened) and and a conservative ones (President reeling from policy slap-down from the American people).

The only thing is, both readings are wrong.

The fact of the matter is, Obama wasn’t expressing any remorse or feeling of self-reproach over policy in his press conference today, only process.  In terms of the prospect of getting anything done, bipartisanship might be a requirement now, not a Presidential style or a Presidential vision, but Obama’s words today reflected a “show me” attitude toward his enemies opposition more than anything else.   Nobody knows better than Obama does that the Republican leadership is coming out the mid-term victory smelling blood in the water, that the first (fantasy) order of business is taking his head off with a vote on repealing the health care legislation.  To accept that Obama is so chastened by the experience as to pull his punches, certainly anymore than he has for the past two years, is both selling Obama short and also buying into the rightwing meme that Obama is just another Democratic wimp.

That being the case, let’s go back to the wallpaper. Given Obama’s competitive streak, we’re aren’t looking at a guy who is licking his wounds as much as we’re looking at a guy feeling wounded, in the immediate moment, over getting roundly licked.

(caption: President Barack Obama listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010.)

  • Wayne Dickson

    [How can one do that to his or her own face? Shouldn't every person in public life learn not to do it? Anyhow… ]

    For what conceivable reason would Republicans be willing now to work with rather than against the President? They achieved their recent success — typical of the first midterm election after a president takes office, but nonetheless inflating them with hubris — by following these principles:

    (a) No matter what the President proposes, even if it reflects past Republican positions, obstruct it. Not by evidence and logic — partly by manipulating reasonable parliamentary procedure but, especially, arcane and anti-democratic senate tricks.

    (b) No matter what they ask of you, no matter how transparent and demeaning, kowtow without whining to the demands of the plutocracy and corporateocracy.

    (c) Frame your obstructionist lust for power and your sucking up to personal and corporate wealth in terms that will disguise the truth and flatter low-information and/or easily suckered conservatives.

    From the Republicans’ POV this strategy has been successful (albeit assisted by an unanticipated and mind-boggling reversal of many decades of precedent by the SCOTUS). In other words, from where they stand, it ain’t broken, so why should they fix it?

    These will be happy times for the rich and powerful; sad times for the working class and the disadvantaged. Middle class? Yeah. Good luck. The few who win the lottery might join the privileged class. The majority will be driven down. The three-layered socio-economic cake will become two-layered. And, ironically, the fatuous teabaggers will assist gleefully in their own subjugation.

    [BTW, have you seen the reconstructed, remastered release of Fritz Lang's Metropolis? If not, do so. I'm going to watch it again tomorrow. And remember that the fictional "Metropolis" of the movie is based on Lang's impressions of New York when he first saw it, on board ship while entering the harbor.]

  • jmac

    Republicans might want to work with Congress to get things done because they’re so heavily funded by corporations and Wall Street. They start hurting the Chamber of Commerce or the market- – and the money can flow in the other direction.

    This is a good thing for Obama and the Dems in the long run. How many people in the US even know who Boehner is? Most can’t even name the VP. Well, they’ll know who Boehner and Cantor and Pence is very soon – and the onus shifts to the House to come up with solution to pay the deficit and what to cut. It will no longer be just the Dems fault.

    I don’t feel too sorry for Obama – he slammed Bill Clinton during the primaries for losing seats in his mid-term.

  • skeat

    ‘negative culpability’

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