Sunday, June 19, 2011

Unicorns gather in Minneapolis to move forward with "Operation Annoy Obama" plan

So, Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis this past weekend, and I had that 4th of July feeling when you don't go see the fireworks because it's just silly and not worth the hassle but then come ten o'clock you hear them going off and you feel kind of sad in a way even though you know it's silly and kind of a hassle but you still get that urge to run out and maybe you can just see a few but you know you won't make it in time anyway so you just get drunk and eat macaroni instead and the feeling eventually passes.

It's not like I really missed anything other then the opportunity to throw shit at Andy Breitbart ("Right Online 2011" was also in Minneapolis at the same time), because the videos are starting to come out, and from the few I've watched, can I just say I wasn't very impressed with (Angry Mouse) Kaili Joy Gray's interview with White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer like everyone else seems to be?

Not that there weren't good parts, or that I could do any better (I'd be hiding under the table passing him notes, because that's how I roll) but I sensed a chance to really set the whole DFH bashing straight and I feel like it was missed. Like I've said in the past, I feel one of the major problems between this White House and the Netroots is that the actual arguments aren't really being taken seriously and instead subject to strawman arguments - it's "the Left", and we know how they are.

For example, when Gray touches on the tenancy for Democrats to cave on liberal values in response to Republican obstructionism, she brings up the Hyde Amendment in regards to Health Care reform. At which Pfeiffer goes into lecture mode and says simply - it wouldn't pass. Bipartisanship, bitches. It's all about compromise, don't you silly little kids know that? You can't always get what you want.

Well, for one, what's not touched on here is that the major stumbling block was a Democrat in the Senate - Ben Nelson. You know, one of those guys that we had to bite our tongues and support back in the aughts because Howard Dean's liberal utopia is so close, guys, and if you ladyfolks would just shut the fuck up about your rights and shit, everything would just be peachy? That worked out really well for us.

This does highlight a problem within the Democratic Party. You know why Republicans tend to vote in lockstep with each other? Because if they don't, their asses are in trouble, and they know it. And although they do it to excess, which I'm not advocating, I do believe there are certain issues that the party should be united on. And Health Care is a major one, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Instead, Democrats have become the party of "Not Republicans", which allows every single drama queen in congress to steal the spotlight and obstruct their own party's legislation. This is a problem. Any "Democrat" that honestly tried to derail Health Care reform should seriously have their committee memberships reviewed.

But rambling on that aside, the I probably wouldn't of brought up Hyde. What I would bring up is the Public Option. Because that, my friends, is where Democrats really screwed the pooch. And it is a solid example of where the White House is, deliberately or not, strawmanning the arguments surrounding it, and offering up this idiotic "bipartisan" lecture as an excuse. Oh, those whiny leftists, they won't take anything but a plan with a public option in it, they will end up tanking the whole project, they are so unreasonable.

Except that's not really why people are upset about it. I'd argue that although it was a desired outcome in many circles, most liberals never really believed we would have a single-payer system in health care after this legislation was passed. Instead, it's because it was never considered. Never on the table. Didn't exist. And for those of us that are understanding of the need to compromise, this never made sense. The White House gave away what was probably the best bargaining chip we had in the Health Care debate, for nothing.

Perhaps they have good reasons. I suppose, if the Public Option was seriously considered in the Health Care debate, it would have caused the Republicans to don funny hats and run around that summer screaming about socialism.

Oh wait.

And I think that's what the Dirty Fucking Hippies are really upset about. It's not a matter of them stomping their feet and holding their breath until they get what they want. It's that what they want doesn't currently even exist in the debate. They don't currently exist in the debate. And they should - starting negotiations absent solidly liberal input is a bad idea for a number of reasons, the whole "deficit" fetish when the middle class is desperately gasping to stay afloat should provide a solid example as to why.

"The Left" exists for a reason, and Democrats would do well to pay them a bit more heed; they present a starting point for compromise. Real compromise covers everyone, it starts with extremes and settles in the middle. As it stands now, the only debate we have in this country is between the center left and the extreme right.

Want to take a guess as to where the "compromise" is always going to land within this nice little frame we've created?

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