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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blue Dog Fools

Compare and contrast. Example #1., former President Bush videotapes one of "two touching tributes to the military men and women serving in the Middle East" for -- and I'm not making this up -- WWE Monday Night Raw, a professional wrestling event. A Kansas City journalist, Peter Rugg, blogs about the experience (thanks to Think Progress for the link).

The mere sight of Bush elicited thunderous boos -- even more jeering than the maniacal [WWE Wrestler] Randy Orton, who dropped Triple H's wife, Stephanie, on her head and kissed her while a handcuffed Triple H could only watch. Then Orton hit him with a sledgehammer. I’m going to repeat that again, just to be clear: To wrestling fans, George W. Bush is worse than a sledgehammer molester.

I'm not going to pretend that professional wrestling fans are a demographic I know a lot about, but you'd imagine the "hit him with a chair!" crowd aren't especially liberal. It's anectdotal, sure, but clearly indicative of something. Maybe something like this:

Bush approval graph

That's George W. Bush's career approval ratings, according to Gallup. That big bump was 9/11, then a fairly steady decline to the point where he gets booed at WWE events. A couple two-three smaller bumps along the way (including the 2004 election), but otherwise it's smooth sailing straight to the bottom. Bush got booed because everyone knows Bush sucked.

Meanwhile, President Obama's ratings are doing pretty well. His own career is still young, making a career average almost meaningless, but it's hard to believe that Obama's average -- currently 64% -- will ever match the depths of Bush's 49%. It's even harder to believe that he'll reach the 25% that Bush reached three times in his two terms.

While last week's big polling story was that Obama's numbers were down, this week they're up. And the truth is that he's been holding steady at an extremely respectable 62-64% since the middle of February.

Still, some aren't getting the message. It's a given that Republicans would miss the lesson here -- driven entirely by a disproven and unpopular ideology, their political philosophy is basically a matter of religious faith. True believers rarely wise up.

But there are Democrats who are missing the message. So-called "centrist" Democrats who don't seem to realize that the current political center is Obama.


House Minority Leader John A. Boehner snarled at moderate Democrats Wednesday, but the real bite came from liberal groups frustrated by centrist opposition to Barack Obama's budget priorities.

As Boehner accused Blue Dog Democrats of being "lap dogs" for Obama, and Americans United for Change, the labor-backed organization that serves as the White House's chief third-party operation, began airing ads Wednesday urging moderate Democrats in both the House and the Senate to get on board with the president’s budget.

Among the targets of Americans United for Change is Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who declared the ads "not very helpful."

"The liberal groups need to understand that we are not elected to represent the president," Pryor said. "We’re elected to represent our states, and we are trying to reflect the attitudes and values of the people who sent us to Washington." The Blue Dogs oppose both the middle class tax cuts and health care reform in Obama's budget.

While being a thoughtful moderate has some value, having an impulse toward it has no value at all. I don't care what Pryor believes, no one in Arkansas voted for him so he could go to Washington and avoid fights; one, that's not the purpose of government and, two, people tend to vote against things, not for things. They're voting for congressional candidates who'll protect them from bad ideas, not candidates who'll take stupid ideas and negotiate them into being a halfway stupid ideas. People who call themselves "moderate" are rarely actual moderates, they're usually people who are afraid of controversy and want to be all things to all people.

Opposing these budget measures is a great example of taking a stupid idea and making it a halfway stupid idea. The stupid idea is to complain about spending and burn the budget to the ground, then build it up again as a perfect GOP economic disaster in the making. The halfway stupid idea is to complain about spending and oppose two measures that would free up money for the vast majority of consumers. Like Republicans, the Blue Dogs seem to believe that the problem with the economy is that government spends too much. It makes no goddam sense at all, but that's the basic idea of the conservative argument.

What Blue Dogs need to do is look around them. A lot of them were elected simply because they weren't Republican. Does it really make sense to move toward Washington's political center, when it means moving away from the national center? And how helpful will it be to face voters and tell them they took their tax cuts and health care reform -- both popular measures -- away to appease the crazy people most Americans voted against? This is a plan that's going to work out great in the end? Really?

Look at Bush's numbers and look at the reaction he got from the WWE crowd. That's the direction that this "moderation" is leading. The liberals are much closer to the mainstream than the conservatives Bush represents. Blue Dogs need to ask themselves whether they want to get votes or boos.

Don't count on them to make the right choice.


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1 comment:

M said...

Ha ha...

I'm an odd lefty.

I like WWE and NASCAR, Bass fishing competitions and the spirit of the Grand Ole Opry as part of my diverse range of interest-ticklers.

But I really dislike "Blue Dogs."

Okay. So they're not John Boehner or Mitch McConnel, but really, they're not that much different. Maybe just a little less Southerny-spoken.

"To wrestling fans, George W. Bush is worse than a sledgehammer molester."

I loved this line. Good good stuff. Big smiles.

And it sounds like John Boehner is trying some sophomoric reverse psychology on the Blue Dogs to get them to do the GOP's bidding. He's basically calling them "pussies," or "Obama's bitches," on the legislative playground, and we'll just have to see if the Blue Dogs declare, "Oh no we're not! Obama isn't the boss of us!" and then do exactly what that tool for the lunatic fringe wants--- Partners in idiotic counter-productive obstruction.

I think Obama's polling a couple points higher than Reagan. Do the Blue Dogs know about this? Do they think it's because of something they've said and done?

It's cute that they think their role at this particular time is to slow down the agenda a little bit, but bringing the President's campaign promises to a halt, isn't something they should push.

It's not like the President's agenda is a surprise that is being unveiled in the dark of night.

I knew exactly who, and what, I was voting for less than 5 months ago. The whole world knew it. I wanted the President to do exactly what he said he was going to do, knowing that some calm and pragmatism was going to direct important decisions, but also that I was voting for someone who actually gives a shit about who we are as America and the direction we need to take.

That's who and what I voted for. I didn't vote for John Boehner's theatrical bullshit agenda. We had that ad nauseam forced upon us all like victims of a little dicked rapist.

I'll take my chances on the most intelligent President in modern history.