by msaroff, Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:11:47 PM EST
In the aftermath of the Massachusetts debacle, a lot of people are wondering what the hell happened.
The talking heads inside the Beltway are sure that it's because Obama is too Librul™, of course, but I think that Josh Marshall talked about the core problem in August of 2004.
He was talking about the Bush-Kerry campaign, and he characterized it as follows:
Let's call it the Republicans' Bitch-Slap theory of electoral politics. It goes something like this.
Consider for a moment what the big game is here. This is a battle between two candidates to demonstrate toughness on national security. Toughness is a unitary quality, really -- a personal, characterological quality rather than one rooted in policy or divisible in any real way. So both sides are trying to prove to undecided voters either that they're tougher than the other guy or at least tough enough for the job.
One way -- perhaps the best way -- to demonstrate someone's lack of toughness or strength is to attack them and show they are either unwilling or unable to defend themselves -- thus the rough slang I used above. And that I think is a big part of what is happening here. Someone who can't or won't defend themselves certainly isn't someone you can depend upon to defend you.
Hitting someone and not having them hit back hurts the morale of that person's supporters, buoys the confidence of your own backers (particularly if many tend toward an authoritarian mindset) and tends to make the person who's receiving the hits into an object of contempt (even if also possibly also one of sympathy) in the eyes of the uncommitted.
Only now, it isn't the Republicans bitch slapping anyone. It's the Democrats who bitch slap themselves.
And can I say this? F*ck the Democrats. They couldn’t get shit done with 60 seats, why the hell would I care if they have 59? F%$# them seriously we deserve to lose Congress this year. And don’t bitch and whine about it either how much has changed since we took over in 2006? Ain’t s%$# as far as I can tell. We capitulated to Bush, then capitulated to Republicans and now are just capitulating to ourselves.
F%$# it dude, I mean Republicans get whatever the fuck they want with 50 seats and we can’t do fuck all we deserve to lose
("%$#" mine, "*" original)
Fundamentally, when we look at what is going on in DC, it looks like no one in the Senate or the White House is even trying to make substantive change. (Pelosi, at least, creates the appearance that she is trying to do something)
What's more, among the DC Dems, there has been near constant bitch slapping of the Party Base, whether it's the capitulation on the public option, the labor union insurance surtax, or the constant drum beat of how "the left" hates the Democratic Party because they want to primary DINOs (Democrat In Name Only) who have safe seats. The central campaign platform of the Republican Party is that government can't do anything.
The Democratic Party seems to try very hard to prove them right.
Cross posted from 40 Years in the Desert.