Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Third Way to Irrelevance
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Let us grant for the sake of argument that the Obama Administration's push to put Medicare and Social Security on the table in the Grand Bargain is not Wall St. fueled corruption, but an act of technocratic and political calculation that doing so is actually the right thing to do. That's a postulate fraught with loaded assumptions of good will, but simply for the sake of argument let's go down that road for a moment.

On the political side of the equation, no one better encapsulates that argument better than the people at Third Way, the newest reincarnation of the old corporatist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The Third Way people have a new memo out called Democrats Winning the Battle of Reasonableness on the Deficit:

Republicans understood one part of their November mandate: reduce the deficit. But not the other: compromise. Now, Democrats are winning the battle of public opinion on Republican turf – the deficit – because they have been willing to put sacred cows on the table. If Republicans do the same, we may get the grand bargain budget deal the country needs, and it may also be good politics for Republicans as well.

Their white paper looks at recent polling on the default ceiling battle indicating that voters favor hard choices and compromise (as usual), that the GOP is losing support over their stance on this particular issue, while Barack Obama is seen as the adult in the room. All of which are true, insofar as that goes.

Digby has pointed out before that there's a leadership issue involved here, in that many people see the President as the national leader, and that if he encourages "shared sacrifice", many people will support that and the polls will follow. If he were to lead in a different, more progressive direction, the public would follow him there just as easily (within reason, of course.)

But beyond that, even if one grants the Third Way every argument they and their allies have made, their position is still hopelessly myopic.

It really doesn't matter how voters view the current battle, in the long run. By the time November 2012 rolls around, the particular emotional character of the agents in this battle will be long forgotten. What will be remembered is the result: Did the economy improve? What services got cut? How many jobs were lost? Can I afford to go to the hospital? What will the attack ads say as a result of the consequences of those very real results that affect people's lives?

None of which even even approaches a discussion of lost opportunities in the area of cognitive linguistics and the power of framing to shift people's active metaphors about the respective roles and powers of government vs. the "free" market, deficits and surpluses, and the barriers to achieving the American Dream posed by massive income inequality. These are conversations that need to be happening, but they're not even remotely on the table.

Which side of the debate was more "reasonable" to voters in 2011 will matter very little to them in 2012. This is the problem with tuning one's policy pitchforks to the frequency of shifting public allegiances rather than to basic principles. In the end, principles matter because they affect real results, while today's political posturing is forgotten with tomorrow's headlines.

Which means that even if the Third Way types were right on the details, they are still hopelessly wrong on the big picture--which is really the only one that matters.