Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bipartisanship Requires Two Partisans

Paul Krugman today reduces the Ryan phenomenon, as he has repeatedly, as emerging from the willful blindness of those, especially in the media, looking for credible Republicans with increasing desperation:

...the Ryan phenomenon wasn’t primarily driven by the hard right, which has plenty of heroes. It was driven, instead, by “centrist”, self-righteously nonpartisan pundits who seized upon Ryan as their demonstration that see, there are honest, reasonable conservatives who must be taken seriously.
And these people have been hit really hard by Ryan’s precipitous plunge from icon to punchline, which is made much worse from their point of view by the fact that some of us warned years ago that Ryan was in fact an obvious con man.


The astounding, egregious Republican primary sequence was an exercise in hailing one absurd candidate after another as the Great Not-Romney Hope, only to be dashed on the rocks of reality. We now have Romney elevating Ryan, demonstrating that Romney himself isn't much better.

Those looking for the moderate, centrist, reality-connected candidate, with an actual plan to deal with the economy, should vote for Obama, who is all of those things. Were the Republican party not dominated by liars and crazies, it'd be easy to see him as bipartisan. And those of us (raises hand) who find Obama too centrist have no alternative at all but to vote for him.

Obama: Devoid of Republican Substance

David Brooks often suggests that Obama's government is defensive, and that neither the Republicans not Obama have had substantive plans for changing things for the better.  Consider today's article, in which he offers Obama his skills as a speech writer:

Obama has been reactive. He has been defined by the various negotiating positions he has taken in his confrontations with Congress. He’s used a more partisan political style to mask his small-bore policy substance. It’s not clear what he is passionate to do if he is elected for another four years.


Small-bore policy substance?  Mr Brooks obviously hasn't read the president's jobs program, not even taken up by the Republican-controlled House.  Nor Obama's budgets, dismissed a priori.  Nor Obama's negotiations with the Republicans over the budget, in which they refused to consider the slightest bit more spending or a penny of tax increase, holding simultaneously and irrationally that the deficit and high taxes are both problems needing to be addressed urgently and forgetting unemployment.  Nor Republican intimidation of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Takes two.  If there's only one at the table, that one makes concession after concession and meets only obduracy, that isn't symmetry.  Add on the constant drumbeat of doubt as to Obama's birth, religion, association with dangerous radicals, apologies for America, attacks on religion and other nonsense, and it's even worse.  Perhaps Mr Brooks should reconsider...