Monday, April 11, 2011

More on Yglesias.

Aravosis noticed the same Yglesias post I did -- and writes a much longer response.
Matt's second paragraph is a point we often hear from Obama defenders, but also from Democratic party defenders, with regards to any issue on which the party falls short of its promises: But the other guy is worse.

While I understand the premise, I'm not sure I get the point. Yes, Republicans are, more often than not, worse than Democrats on most issues we care about. And yes, the Republican House is far worse than President Obama.


Does that mean we shouldn't expect the President to keep his promises, or at least fight for them (early and often)? If politicians aren't held response for broken promises, then like Fluffy peeing on the floor, they'll just keep breaking 'em until a politician's promises mean nothing. And while you can certainly try to get out the vote, and the money, by telling voters that the Ds are still better than the Rs, I think the D's job is a lot harder when voters think you lied to them after one too many broken promises.

And, if our goal to is to do good, then why not do all the good we can before our political life is over? There's an assumption in Matt's second graf that we shouldn't expect the President to try for more, simply because the Republicans are less. Why is that? Perhaps he's implying that we hurt the President's re-election chances when we chastise him for falling short of his promises on the stimulus, HCR, or the current budget debates.
He concludes:
You often hear from the White House and their defenders excuses such as: If we only had 60 votes; if we only had the right 60 votes; if we only had control of the House; and my personal favorite, "he's not God, you know" (as if). When it comes down to it, this debate is really between those who think the President is weak, and those who think Barack Obama has incredible untapped strength.

Which one do you think encapsulates the politics of hope?

It's difficult to get into someone's head, but Obama seems temperamentally an incrementalist-pragmatist.

There's nothing wrong with that, but that's a) not what he campaigned on; and b) not what the country desperately needed at the end of the disastrous Bush/Cheney administration and three decades of Reaganism.

People who don't have jobs and who are losing their houses are not going to be moved by, "Well, we're moving at a slower-than-ideal pace but in the right direction."

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