Archive for September 4th, 2009

The Leadership Thing

September 4, 2009

I’ve been harping for a while on Pres. Obama’s lack of leadership since early in the summer.  He’s backed off of numerous campaign promises at the first sign of resistance from those who favored the old policies.  And his hands-off — even neglectful — approach to health care reform has both encouraged GOP intransigence and crazyism, and deflated liberal and progressive supporters, leaving him with no momentum and sagging approval.

I said last week that if he wants followers, he’s got to lead.  He’s got to show some strength.  Stand up for something.  Hit back when elected officials accuse him of secretly plotting a genocide, like any human being would who was accused of something so offensive.  Otherwise, he would lose people’s respect.

According to uber-pundit and pollster Charlie Cook, that’s exactly what’s happened.

I don’t exactly deserve an award for seeing this coming.  It’s very basic stuff.  Which is why it’s all the more frustrating that Obama and his entire political team have gotten it so completely wrong.

It seems we still have the problem I mentioned a couple of years ago (though durned if I can find it now): we have one party that stands for all the wrong things, and one party that stands for nothing.

Between those two, people will follow the leader.

A Study in Contrast

September 4, 2009

So, conservatives went apey over President Obama’s address to the nation’s schoolchildren, earlier this week.  Seems it’s creeping socialism and dictatorship and indoctrination for the President of the United States to encourage kids to stay in school, which is what Obama’s address was about.

You can’t have government telling kids what to study and think.  It’s partisan indoctrination.

On the other hand, there’s this.

The state of Texas, rather known for its staunch conservatism and freedom-loving, and therefore presumably right in the vanguard of indoctrination opposition, has adopted new statewide education standards that are, shall we say, peculiar.

If nothing else, it’s a reminder that history, the story we tell ourselves to define who we are, never stops being contested.

System-Blaming We Can Believe In

September 4, 2009

Matt Yglesias finally gets around to pointing out some senate rules that actually do keep the Dems from getting things done and actually should be changed:

Democrats hand out committee chairmanships by a blind seniority rule. Republicans do not. Chairman need to rotate out of their positions after fixed terms, which then gives the caucus as a whole input over who takes over next. Consequently, the Senate leadership has some meaningful leverage over Republican Senators—even Senators from liberal states. If they’re really determined to make Snowe (and Collins) vote “no,” they have tools at their disposal to make that happen. By contrast, the Democratic leadership heads into tough fights basically disarmed with no real tools of discipline and leverage at their disposal beyond the vague risk of a primary challenge. One day perhaps the Democratic caucus will decide that it wants to be an effective legislative party and it will adopt some principles that equalize the playing field. But until then, it’s going to be extremely difficult to overcome truly determined Republican opposition even with a large majority.

That explains a lot.  A lot.  I’d love to see the Dems change it, but I find myself doubting they ever will.

Honorable Mention

September 4, 2009

Somebody on the teevee in the other room is playing clips from Glenn Beck’s teevee show.  If I’m not mistaken, Mr. Beck is demonstrating, with logic and everything, that John D. Rockefeller was a communist.

John D. Rockefeller.  The original oil man.  America’s first billionaire.  The monopoliest of all monopolists.  The laissez-fairest of them all.  A communist.  A communist.  We’re talkin’ ’bout communists.  Communists.  Communists?  I mean, communists?

Honestly, I couldn’t make this shit up.  The stupid goes all the way down.