Blocking All Roads Into Town

by digby

I've been writing for a very long time that the minute a Democratic president is sworn in, the Village cries for bipartisanship are going to be deafening. They did it after 2006 --- imagine what they'll do now. Just last week, Broder laid down the gauntlet. Now Obama fan (and former Bush sycophant) Howard Fineman is starting to get nervous:

This is the engine room of a novel grass-roots machine that may soon have another purpose: to help Obama govern the country. If he wins, it also could cause him headaches...'His supporters have sky-high expectations and expect to be involved,' says Will Marshall, who studied the Obama organization for the Democratic Leadership Council. 'They are loyal but not easy to control.'...

It could also cause Obama problems. Much of America may be gung-ho about putting more troops into Afghanistan, but it's not clear Obamaworld is; he could run into opposition if he seriously pursues it. On the other hand, initiating talks with Iranian and Venezuelan dictators enjoys more support on his e-mail lists than in the rest of the country. If the Democrats win bigger majorities in the House and Senate, they (if not Obama) may well be eager to exact vengeance on Republicans, or at least cram Democratic ideas down GOP throats. Obama supporters might prefer more reaching-out. As Marshall sees it, most of them want a "transpartisan" approach that jettisons the old labels. "These people feel a close, personal tie to Obama, just as conservatives did to Reagan," he says. "But if and when he starts governing, he is going to start disappointing them."

He sounds awfully sure of himself.

Here's David Sirota correctly assessing the real meaning of all this:

To the Village, it would be horrible - catastrophic even - if Obama supporters dared to expect Obama to actually pursue a true progressive agenda. Obama supporters are therefore depicted as a wild-eyed, bewildered herd of lunatic leftists that, as the corporate-backed DLC says, are - gasp! - "not easy to control."

This is a portrayal designed to press Obama to immediately shun his base, capitulate to conservatives (in the spirit of "transpartisanship"), reject "cramming Democratic ideas down GOP throats" (even though Obama campaigned on Democratic ideas), and bow down to the Serious and Respected Villagers after the election. Of course, these are the same Villagers whose neoconservatism got us into Iraq and whose free-market fundamentalism drove the country to the bring of economic disaster - all under the guise of "transpartisanship." Now, these same Villagers are making it clear that the Serious and Responsible thing for Obama to do is deliberately "disappoint" the people who elected him.

Indeed, disappointing the people who elected him is the only way that he can be taken seriously. It's a right of passage for Democrats and if he doesn't do it himself, they'll bring in some elders to push hard in the press. (Here's where our new best friends like Colin Powell will come in handy for the villagers. He may have been a good soldier for Bush, but his history is one of stabbing Democrats in the back.)

Predictably, establishment Dems are helping them:

Democrats said they were well aware of the mistakes of the past and the overconfidence exhibited during one-party rule of the Clinton and Bush administrations that led to Democrats’ losing control of the House in 1994 and to Republicans’ experiencing a similar defeat in 2006.

Chastened by their years in exile, Democrats said they were determined to avoid those pitfalls should voters deliver them control of the White House and Congress.

The nature of the Democratic majority, expanded partly through the election of centrists and even conservatives, would also temper Democratic zeal to pursue an overly ideological agenda, Democrats said.

“We are going to get new members with a clear understanding that the reason they won is appealing to independents and disaffected Republicans, and they are going to want to continue to do that,” said the House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland.

Good to know we won't have to deal with any crazy stunts like universal health care, withdrawal from Iraq or badly needed economic investment to counter the recession and the banking crisis. Steny's going to save us from all that left-wing nuttiness. (Tax cuts, that's the ticket. More tax cuts. More war.)

The Republicans, who ruled like a marauding horde of Vikings, agree with Steny that Real Americans want them to govern us from the opposition:

“I think the Senate operates best when it makes things happen in the middle, and that happens when you have 41 or more people who resist an idea to the point where you can compromise,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a lawmaker whose own seat is at risk. “I think there will be enough Republicans plus discerning Democrats in the Senate after January to keep a kind of far-left agenda from steamrolling through the Senate like it often does through the House.”

Oh Thank God. The Republicans will almost certainly have enough "discerning Democrats" to continue to run the country as effectively as they have the last eight years. Whew.

I don't know where Obama stands in all of this, but I assume he knows that the success of his presidency rests on his ability to relieve this free floating anxiety out in the land about America's future. More people than ever before think America's best days are behind it and that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. And they are not just "whining." The nation is facing some very, very serious challenges that require bold action: the economy is in serious trouble, we are dealing with an energy crisis so acute that we are fighting wars over it, and the planet it in grave, near term danger from global warming. Oh, and there are a bunch of religious fundamentalist terrorists still running around and Americans can't afford to get sick anymore without losing everything. Worrying about whether or not David Broder and Howard Fineman think it's "serious" to take these things seriously is a recipe for failure.

Let's hope Obama can either finesse them or ignore them. In the meantime it's incumbent upon all of us latte sipping freaks to make sure that the Democrats know who brung them. One way to do that is to vote in some real progressives to balance out the "Discerning Democrats" who are really Republicans in sheep's clothing. Blue America is backing a whole slate of them. If you live in or near on of their districts, volunteer to help in this last week. Some of these races are very, very close.

And you can still buy ads in their districts through SayMe. (Click the Blue America ad to your left.) It could mean the difference between having Steny and the boyz take credit for this win and making it a true progressive victory.