Soljah Politics

by digby

I was catching up on some gasbaggery last night and came across this lovely little gem. I see that Jane Hamsher got there first:

MATTHEWS: OK. Who's going to break it to the blogosphere? They don't like anything that looks like a give to the right. Where are they going to be on this thing? Are they going to give him a break if he doesn't go hard left, if he doesn't do what they want?

Mr. WHITAKER: I think that Obama has to worry as much about the far left as he does about the far right. But, look, you know, I think that it could be a plus for him in some ways because I think they are going to give him what you might call Sister Souljah moments, when he can stand up to them.


Mr. WHITAKER: I've been talking to some veterans of those early Clinton wars who think that particularly this issue--the card check push by the labor unions to change the rules on organizing could be a moment for him, either by delaying that, standing up to the unions, of positioning himself more in the middle and making it harder for the far right to position him the way they tried to during the campaign.

Jane and Pach both speak to this possible cave on the EFCA and what it means both politically and substantively. It seems like a poor way to repay the unions for their hard work during the campaign, but hey, the establishment has made it clear that the new administration must Sistah Soljah the left some way or risk being seen as being under their thumb. And there's nothing like sticking it to the unions to make the political establishment happy. (It's how you get airports named after you.)

I know you'll all recall the pressure from the political establishment for George W. Bush to Sistah Soljah the right. Remember how they blew up at him when he said this:

THE PRESIDENT: ... Something refreshing about coming off an election, even more refreshing since we all got some sleep last night, but there's -- you go out and you make your case, and you tell the people this is what I intend to do. And after hundreds of speeches and three debates and interviews and the whole process, where you keep basically saying the same thing over and over again, that when you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the President, now let's work to -- and the people made it clear what they wanted, now let's work together.

And it's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on...

What, you don't recall the press insisting after both Bush elections that he needed to repudiate his most enthusiastic followers as often as possible to maintain his credibility?

Oh wait. Sorry. I'm mistaken. They didn't. They just celebrated the fact that Real Americans had insisted that there would be no oral sex in the white house and that the president would throw strikes at Yankee stadium. Even after the Terry Schiavo circus, they didn't say anything about Sistah Soljahing the Republican base. (I suppose they couldn't --- after all, the Republican base are Real Americans unlike the crazy hippies on the left.)

And then there's Matthews, the man who is sending serious signals that he wants to run for the Senate. As a Democrat. And I've heard some rather unfortunate rumblings that it's not a bad idea since he's really a liberal, he just couldn't show it during the decade he spent sucking up to Republicans on a daily basis for ratings. Underneath it all, he's "one of us."

Perhaps the" real "Chris Matthews has emerged now that MSNBC has been made safe for progressives. Or, conversely, maybe the real Chris Matthews is actually an opportunistic, hypocritical jackass who should be shunned from any kind of Democratic politics for as long as he lives. Your mileage may vary depending upon whether you think enthusiastically sucking up to the GOP on television for the past decade is something that should be forgotten.

I won't bother to write the book on Matthews again, but as one who has been chronicling his televised rhetorical atrocities for years, let's just say his record speaks for itself. The amount of damage he did, going all the way back to the Clinton years and up until just about five minutes ago is considerable. He is as unacceptable as a Democratic high official as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, perhaps less so because of the fact that he is, by all accounts, a whore who has made millions of dollars a year destroying Democrats, while privately assuring his friends and associates that he doesn't really mean it. At least Rush plays for his own team with everything he's got.

Seriously, this guy is a clown who will make the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania into a laughing stock. Darrell Hammond alone will kill him if Youtube doesn't. It's an insane idea. If you like liberals like Joe Lieberman, you'll love Chris Matthews.

The fact that this is being discussed seriously makes me wonder if there's anybody who has repeatedly and enthusiastically fucked the Democratic party over the past 20 years or so to whom the party leadership aren't giving political amnesty? It would be nice to know so that I don't waste my breath defending them anymore only to be made a fool of when their tormentors are welcomed into the party as if it never happened. (I'm not a willing Omega.)

Punishing your allies while rewarding your enemies is a very unusual strategy, but it seems to be the one the village has set forth as being Obama's best chance of success. It's risky. I could be wrong, but I'm not entirely convinced that the Republicans and the media always act in good faith.

Trust 'em?