Friday, September 03, 2010

Eugene Robinson sees toddlers everywhere

According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue.

What the hell does that mean?

This isn't an "electoral wave," it's a temper tantrum.

Right, just as it was in 1994, and every other time the electorate deigned to vote Republican over the advice of vapid political pundits.

It's bad enough that the Democratic Party's "favorable" rating has fallen to an abysmal 33 percent, according to a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. It's worse that the Republican Party's favorability has plunged to just 24 percent.

Eugene held his breath until he found a poll that supported the notion that citizens aren't pissed off at Democrats right now.

But incredibly, according to Gallup, registered voters say they intend to vote for Republicans over Democrats by an astounding 10-point margin.

To which, Gallup was not the polling firm used by NBC/WSJ. See how that works, Eugene? Different polls. Different results. Is this new to you?

My guess is that with a decided advantage in campaign funds, along with the other advantages of incumbency, Democrats will be able to mitigate these prospective losses

Okay, here's the thing. Eugene has written op-eds for how many years? Like, 30? He's won a Pulitzer. Is he really pretending that he doesn't know how the advantage of incumbency plays into polling numbers?

Incumbency does not "mitigate" against anything toward the end of an election cycle. The advantage of incumbency accrues to, for example, candidates who use town hall meetings to promote their achievements. As readers will recall, those town hall meetings haven't gone so well in the era of health care overhaul.

-- perhaps even relieving Nancy Pelosi of the hassles of moving.

That's a pretty incoherent aside, right there. Does he mean moving offices? Regardless of what happens in November, the Democrats would be out of their mind to keep Pelosi on as speaker.

But there's no mistaking the public mood, and the truth is that it makes no sense.

The party in power is perceived to have performed poorly. The electorate now opposes the party in power. This makes "no sense"? No sense? None at all?

In the punditry business, it's considered bad form to question the essential wisdom of the American people.

But Eugene will do it anyway, and the Washington Post will join the rest of paleomedia in lamenting their inevitable decline.

But at this point, it's impossible to ignore the obvious: The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.

This is not at all a partisan argument.

This is not, I repeat not, a partisan argument.

Of course not. Just like a tirade on a Lakers blog on poor officiating has nothing, at all, to do with the fact that the referees calls seemed to go against Kobe Bryant.

My own political leanings are well-known, but the refusal of Americans to look seriously at the nation's situation -- and its prospects -- is an equal-opportunity scourge.

No it isn't. Eugene has never admonished the electorate for opposing Republicans. Ever. Not once.

The nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems.

No. People like Eugene claim that government can provide solutions to problems quickly and painlessly.

In fact, just two weeks ago, Eugene claimed that Obama was on a winning streak, having quickly and peacefully ended the Iraq war, single-handedly saved GM. The only think the president hasn't done, per Eugene, is "walk on water".

But the American people don't want to hear any of this. They want somebody to make it all better. Now.

And so they elected Obama over the more pragmatic McCain. Obama promised change and hope NOW. Was Eugene there to call him out on his bullshit? No he was not.

President Obama can point to any number of occasions on which he has told Americans that getting our nation back on track is a long-range project.

And so Euguene will follow with a specific example of his having done so...

But his campaign stump speech ended with the exhortation, "Let's go change the world" -- not, "Let's go change the world slowly and incrementally, waiting years before we see the fruits of our labor."

In other words, Obama promised quick-fixes, and not so much long-range solutions.

And one thing he really hasn't done is frame the hard work that lies ahead as a national crusade that will require a degree of sacrifice from every one of us.

I, for one, certainly hope he does. That said, this is where the administration is heading, isn't it? To the same frustration with an American populace that refuses to sacrifice for the agenda of a noble leader. For how much longer can Barack Obama contain his contempt?

It's obvious, for example, that the solution to our economic woes is not just to reinflate the housing bubble.

Yeah. It might have been nice, though, if he had addressed the housing crisis in some substantial way. I mean, and I'm just throwing a fit here, but how about actually allocating some dollars to actually refinancing home loans, rather than throwing billions at the makers of poorly constructed automobiles? How about prosecuting the fraudulent mortgage lenders who put us in this mess?

I know. I'm just stomping my feet here. What I should expect is that my government take my money and do nothing with it. I should be happy with that result.

I don't want to pay more to fill my gas tank, but I know that it would be good for the nation if I did.

A rudimentary study of this issue, through the lens of mathematics and economics, suggests it will not be. But again, I'm on the floor, in my pajamas, screaming at the top of my lungs because I did not get my toy... Which, again, the toy being the application of environmental policy through the lens of mathematics and economics.

The richest Americans need to pay higher taxes -- not because they're bad people who deserve to be punished but because they earn a much bigger share of the nation's income, and hold a bigger share of its overall wealth.

This is so stupid, it practically drools. The richest Americans already do pay higher taxes (almost all of them, in fact), on account of their possession of the bigger share of the nation's income. Acknowledging this fact does not constitute throwing a temper tantrum.

Think of what the interstate highway system has meant to this country. Now imagine trying to build it today.

The hell?

Fixing Social Security for future generations, working steadily to improve the schools, charting a reasonable path on immigration -- none of this is what the American people want to hear.

No, that's exactly what Americans want to hear. At some point, however, you have to actually do it. Else, we Americans throw, as you call it, a tantrum.

It's easy to blame politicians for selling a bunch of snake oil. But the truth is that all they're doing is offering what the public wants to buy.

So, the Democrats have sold us snake oil, and it is flatly ridiculous that we aren't happy with it. The solution, then, is to buy more snake oil, lest we be deemed children by the pundits.

How stupid does he think we are?


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