Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Intended Or Not, Pretty Slick


There will be two far-right responses to President's State of the Union address tonight. One is the official, GOP-sanctioned reply offered by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). The other is from Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and is pre-recorded, broadcast through the Tea Party Express website (though CNN now has announced it will telecast the address.)

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), in her 7,986th appearance of the past year on MSNBC, stated

I’ve never seen, in the 20 years I’ve been involved in the political process, that there has been more than one response to either side’s presidential State of the Union address. We have differing opinions in the Democratic Party, but we don’t have a Blue Dog response. We don’t have a progressive response. We have the State of the Union, and then we have the Democratic response when there’s a Republican president. So I think it shows the deep divisions that exist and that the Republicans are really not able to be on the same page, and it’s shades of things to come as they move forward.

We have differing opinions in the Democratic Party, but we don’t have a Blue Dog response. We don’t have a progressive response. We have the State of the Union, and then we have the Democratic response when there’s a Republican president.

That's undeniably true- but beside the point. The State of the Union address tonight is being delivered by a President who has compromised with Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats the past two years and who thus is presiding over a country with an official employment rate over 9% and an unofficial, real unemployment rate far closer to 15%. And tonight will promise to be civil and compromise with those same Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.

Bachmann, meanwhile, is on to something. And so is the GOP. The Minnesota congresswoman, contemplating a presidential run, presumably is motivated primarily by self-interest. But her ideological agenda, as well as that of her party, is well-served by issuance of a response even further right than the official tale to be spun by Ryan. It will move the political discussion even further to the right, no matter how difficult that is to imagine. It will allow President Obama to capitulate to negotiate with the GOP and receive plaudits from the mainstream media, which will gladly, and smugly, interpret it as a move to the center, bipartisanship, and a valiant effort to promote civility. Democrats in Congress, of course, will be further isolated, the "bad cop" in Obama's "good cop, bad cop" strategy.

This will improve the bargaining position of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), who appears ready to benefit from an implicit, de facto "good cop, bad cop" thing with Bachmann. Think Progress reports:

But at a breakfast event hosted by Politico’s Mike Allen this morning in D.C., which ThinkProgress attended, McConnell expressed a vision of cooperation that looks more like capitulation. McConnell said he is willing to work with Obama, as long as the president “is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway”:

MCCONNELL: If the president is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway, we’re not going to say no and –

ALLEN: But that’s not much of a concession. That’s not bargaining, to just give you what you want.

MCCONNELL: Um, I like to think I’m a pretty good negotiator.

The GOP to the President: agree with us, and we'll get along just fine. The President's response? tonight, 9:00 EST.



No comments:

Shedding Tears Over the Death of Orenthal James Simpson

Orenthal James Simpson has died, and he leaves behind an impressive, in a manner of speaking, record of misbehavior. In 1964, Simpson as a...