If it walks like a lame duck ...
Gloria Borger wrote a column today about "the arrogance of the budget cutters" which CNN flogged on the afternoon show. It sounded promising, but I'm sure you won't be surprised to find out that it is warmed over conventional wisdom about nothing with a huge dollop of gibbering nonsense. You can read the column for yourself, but you might want to save yourself the trouble and just let her explain it to you:
Borger: ... Let's give them [budget cutters] credit Brooke, because they really came to Washington and came to their state houses that they can change the way an inefficient government operates. I think they have to be applauded for that. In theory it's a very good idea.
But they have to be careful, and those of us who've covered politics for a while know this. Where they have to be careful is in the overreach and thee arrogance of power, if you will.
Now I've been around Washington for a while and I saw the overreach when Newt Gingrich took over as Speaker of the House. And even you might say when Barack Obama became president of the United States and he had Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate. There were lots of people who would say that he overreached in his own agenda and didn't end up doing himself any favors. He only became more popular when he started getting things done in the lame duck session.
Brooke Baldwin: You say overreach, but in you column say "arrogance."
Borger: It is arrogance. It is the arrogance of power.
Baldwin: What does the public say?
Borger; Well, well, the public is kind of sitting back right now. But if you look at all the polls you'll see that the public does not want to end collective bargaining for public employees and it doesn't want a government shut down. What the public wants is what it voted for. And that was to see members of both parties actually working together to get things done.
You know, they didn't vote for Republican control of the House because they were in love with Republicans. It was because they wanted a check on Barack Obama. And they wanted to see some progress on policy ---- and on deficit cutting!
Brooke: it's an important distinction.
Oh Lord. Where to begin?
First of all, wealthy TV celebrities who daily prescribe "sacrifice" for the plebes even mentioning the "arrogance of power" is always amusing. But be that as it may, the analogies she uses to describe it are a he said/she said stretch of epic proportions.
Newt Gingrich overreached by shutting down the government and impeaching a president over a blowjob. This is not comparable to Barack Obama trying to enact the agenda he ran on over the obstinate obstruction of the GOP. It just isn't. Moreover, her analysis of his approval ratings as a result of this alleged overreach is simply not borne out by the facts. Once Obama's honeymoon was over (it lasted for five months or so) his ratings came down to more or less reflect the numbers of those who voted for him. And it has stayed there solidly ever since.
But never let that get in the way of an established village narrative. Numbers be damned, as far as they are concerned, Obama was buried until he "worked with Republicans" to extend the tax cuts for the rich, thus doing exactly what the American people wanted, which was to check his own power. Or something.
Furthermore, Borger and the rest of her cohort seem to truly believe that the people who voted for all these Republicans weren't really voting for their agenda. I don't know on what basis they make that claim. More Republicans than Democrats voted in 2010 and while they certainly wanted to stop Obama, there's no reason to believe they didn't want their elected officials to do what they said they were going to do. (Now as to whether they fully grasped the ramifications of what they were going to do is debatable --- I suspect they truly believe that the deficit is causing the bad economy.) They don't care if Democrats sign on. Indeed, they delight in homing in on Democratic sacred cows and explicitly taking them apart. And they aren't punished for it --- they are rewarded! (The Democrats unfortunately fret about what Gloria Borger is going to say ...)
In her column she insists that people want to them work together and "just want results"
But nobody out here in America gives a damn if these people work together or hack each other to pieces --- and there's a significant disagreement about what those "results" should be. But since Villagers don't really care about anything of substance, that just seems absurd. What's the difference? If only everyone could go back to the days of Tipnronnie and Tilertoo when everything was so much better.
In the Village, there are grown-ups and bad boys and girls. And all that's required to be extolled as a grown-up is to pretend to slap the silly children senseless. Nothing makes them happier:
One of the most level-headed public officials in all of this budget frenzy is Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels. He's a grownup, having served both outside and inside Washington. Yes he also dealt with the public employee union issue, by signing an executive order ending collective bargaining for Indiana state workers, which cost him politically early on in his tenure.
Yet when state Republicans called for a vote on a proposal to weaken unions in the private sector -- and Democratic members started heading for the hills -- Daniels decided to lower the temperature and shelve the bill. "I thought there was a better time and place to have these very important and legitimate issues raised," he said.
Daniels is right. And at a recent speech in Washington before a conservative group, he was right again: "Purity in martyrdom," he warned his GOP audience, "is for suicide bombers."
That's right. The man who dictatorially signed away the rights of public employees is a level-headed compromiser who understands the middle ground --- because he felt that the wholesale destruction of the union movement in one swoop might be a tad too far for one year. Big of him. (And I have a sneaking suspicion that the good little CPAC children know that daddy loves them.)
Borger just picked up the goalposts, which were already at the far conservative end, and moved them completely off the field.