Tuesday, February 02, 2010
This is Chess, not Checkers
Look, I know I'm a few days late on this, but I just had to comment on how the President made 140 republicans proverbially bite a curb right before he stomped on the back of their collective heads. It was truly a thing of beauty. Garden variety republicans found themselves being mercilessly beaten with their own talking points, the same ones that inept cable news hosts would usually allow them to peddle with reckless abandon. Politicians whose agenda for the past year has been solely obstruction, found their attempts to score political points sent in the other direction - facts have a way of cavalierly swatting bullshit into the cheap seats. It was like watching a Bruce Lee fight scene: The taking on of all-comers, the graceful debate pivots, roundhouse kicks to false premises, leg sweeping politically disingenuous arguments - best best of all, holding obstruction up by the neck for the whole world to see. I'm sure that performance would have made the creator of Jeet Kune Do would be proud.
But on a larger level this was an elaborate trap set by Barack Obama, and we saw him starting to construct said device during his State of The Union speech. Even though you couldn't throw a rock without hitting some pissed off liberal who thought his proposed "spending freeze" was a disastrous idea during a recession, and I can't say that I particularly disagreed with them, I got the feeling that that was the beginning stages of a plan to counter GOP obstruction. Understandably, I'm sure the President was rather perplexed that the republicans were reaping political benefits by sitting on their hands while the political clock ran out. By proposing republican ideas and making them vote against their core beliefs in the name of obstruction is a great way to prove to a nation that isn't well served by their news media where the gridlock in Washington is really coming from. His appearance at the Republican retreat in Baltimore was only a way to build on said narrative. How many times did the President cite republican ideas that he adopted, only to get the business end of a republican stiff-arm later?
Who knows if this plan will work, but successfully tying the "obstructionist" label around the necks of republicans could be so politically toxic that there may be some votes to be had by reasonable members of that party. That's if there is such a thing as a reasonable republican.