I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like to attend "progressive events" because really nice people suffering from advanced stages of extreme sincerity make me itchy. I think it’s great that people with dreams and ideals think that if they if could only get the opposition to sit down and listen to their heartfelt arguments they could win them over. I think they also spend a lot of time being horribly disappointed.
First of all you have to decide if you really want to win. If you just want to spend your time debating hypotheticals and dreaming of how swell things could be while weaving yourself a safety net of emergency qualifiers in case things don’t go the way you planned, go get a job at the fucking Brookings Institution. But if you’re gonna go to ideological war, then go to ideological war. And if you are going to fight this war you have to ask yourself "what would Dick Cheney do?"
Never admit weakness.
Never concede points.
You have to remember that, in the case of the Glenn Beck conservative wing (a group of people who make the Dittoheads look like Quakers), you are dealing with a crazy salad of stupid people (and let’s quit excusing them as "low information voters"…they’re dumbshits), lunatics, assholes, racists, political performance artists, opportunists, and the kind of people who make eugenics seem desirable if not downright necessary.
These are not the people you need or want. You want the mushy middle and the mushy middle loves people who project strength and power. It makes them feel safe. They like being on the winning team. Power and winning intoxicates them. If they write for the Politico, it gives them boners and they’ll write anything you want them to. But these people do not respond in the quite the same way to squishy papering over of defeat. For example:
Instead of pointing out that Jones is out because of a concerted mob effort against anything the Obama administration wants to do, led by a man with a history of drug, alcohol and psychological problems who is being abetted by ‘conventional wisdom’ insiders (we’re talking to you Stephanopoulos, you midget fuck) who pretend to understand the pulse of America from inside their highly paid media bubble, Gibbs gives the kind of lame "the President appreciates his service… now let’s move on" soundbite that could have just as easily come from Scott McClellan when ass-raping Dr. David Hager stepped down from the FDA.
But, no. Gibbs punted.
This isn’t just about Van Jones. It’s about Obama and it’s about leading. Again with Stephanopoulos and Gibbs:
I had a pretty spirited go around with White House Press Secretary Roberts Gibbs and the latest on this dilemma over the public option. The bottom line: Gibbs says the President will make the case for a public option in his speech to Congress on Wednesday but he won’t issue a veto threat if it isn’t in the final package.
STEPHANOPOULOS: "[Obama] wants a public option, but… "
GIBBS: "And he still does."
STEPHANOPOULOS: "But — he wants it, but will he sign a bill that doesn’t include it? Because it can’t get through the Senate."
GIBBS: "Well, we’re not going to prejudge what the process will be when we sign a bill, which the president expects to do this year. The president strongly believes that we have to have an option like this to provide choice and competition, to provide a check on insurance companies, because without it, again, we’re going to have markets as big as a whole state of Alabama, almost 90 percent of which is dominated by one insurance company."
STEPHANOPOULOS: "The president, from what I can hear, is going to make the case for the public health-insurance option — for a form of the public health-insurance option — on Wednesday, but he is not going to say: If you don’t bring me one, I veto the bill."
GIBBS: "I doubt we’re going to get into heavy veto threats on Wednesday. We’re going to talk about what we can do, because we’re so close to getting it done. He will talk about the public option, and why he believes, and continues to believe, that it is a valuable component of providing choice and competition, that helps individuals and small business, at the same time provides a check on insurance companies, so they don’t dominate the market."
This is all fine and good if you’re putting up a public front like you give a shit what the other side thinks but, based on what I’ve seen so far, there is little indication that Obama is willing to risk even the slightest legislative defeat in defense of anyone who isn’t a friend of Tim Geithner or Larry Summers. I’ve negotiated deals big and small for years and I know that, if you can’t or are unwilling to say "Fuck you. No." and then walk away, you’re already losing before you even sit down at the table. Instead what you’re saying is "Make me an offer. There’s a good chance I’ll be your bitch."
With solid majorities now, and God knows what will happen in 2010, the clock is ticking on Barack Obama to take charge of what once promised to be the defining issue of his administration. Back In January Obama told Republican leaders "I won."
It’s time to fucking start acting like it.