Playing To The Base
For anyone who is still confused about the Village, today's Dana Milbank column is a perfect illustration of its organizing principle: if liberals hate it, it must be good.
For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of President Obama.
I'm not particularly proud of the tax-cut deal he and the Republicans negotiated. But I'm proud that he has finally stood firm against the likes of Peter DeFazio.
But rather than caving in to liberals' complaints and allowing Democrats on Capitol Hill to take the lead - as Obama did to his peril over the past two years - he has pushed back with the full force of his office. In private persuasion and in public talk, the White House has delivered to disgruntled liberals a message summed up by Vice President Biden in a private session with lawmakers on Wednesday: Take it or leave it.
We knew the Villagers would blame the liberals for the loss of all those seats, because they believe that liberals are to blame for everything. But this little reading of recent history goes even farther down the rabbit hole than usual.
This is a hopeful sign that Obama has learned the lessons of the health-care debate, when he acceded too easily to the wishes of Hill Democrats, allowing them to slow the legislation and engage in a protracted debate on the public option. Months of delay gave Republicans time to make their case against "socialism" and prevented action on more pressing issues, such as job creation. Democrats paid for that with 63 seats.
I guess since Villagers believe that the Tea Party is now the exemplar of Real America, Max Baucus's quixotic quest to write a a bipartisan bill with Chuck Grassley, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins is now seen as liberal intransigence.
It's nice to see Villagers admit their true feelings like this however. It clarifies things. They loathe and despise liberals. (Hell, many of the establishment liberals loathe and despise liberals.)If a president really sees the political establishment as his base and wants to get back on its good side, he can't go wrong by insulting and humiliating Democratic activists.
Milbank surely needed to do this because he said some bad things about Tea Partiers, and that sort of thing cannot be allowed without ensuring that everyone understands liberals are even worse. Even if you have to make stuff up to prove it.
Update: Krugman calls it Orwellian Centrism