Political Animal


March 11, 2013 9:24 AM 2009 Redux?

By Ed Kilgore

For those of you vulnerable to a bout of deja vu, this could be a tough week. Here’s the emerging MSM narrative of the national political scene:

President Obama, having “shifted to the left” since winning re-election, is in a popularity free fall because of his harsh partisan treatment of Republicans and his false prophecies of the negative impact of the taste of austerity offered by an appropriations sequester his staff invented in the first place. Moderate Democrats are fleeing him in hordes, and/or preparing to triangulate against his old-school liberalism.

Republicans, meanwhile, having “rebranded” themselves and shown they are willing to adjust to defeat by bravely attacking the memory of Todd Akin and considering a change in their posture on immigration that’s half-way down the path back to that of George W. Bush, have at the same time held fast on making “runaway spending” their obsession. And they have a new hero: Rand Paul, whose 13-hour filibuster last week showed that principle-based confrontation is the best, the only, the eternal way to secure conservative victory.

If you’ve watched all this and gotten a distinct whiff of 2009, you’re not the only one. The arrival this week of a new and more radical Ryan Budget will spread this impression more widely.

Worst of all, the realities of an incumbent president’s second midterm election immediately after an adverse redistricting have significantly increased the possibility that a Republican Party stampeding yet again to the Right will secure another electoral vindication: not the kind of gains they made in 2010, to be sure (that required two consecutive Democratic congressional landslides to create massive Democratic “exposure,” not to mention a Great Recession and larger-than-usual turnout disparities), but enough to convince conservatives all over again that extremism bears no significant political risks.

It would all be either pathetic or funny, if it weren’t our own country we were talking about.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on March 11, 2013 9:40 AM:

    This isn't the country that I grew up in, anymore.
    Not even close.

    Common decency, and looking out for one another, are long dead and buried.

    It's now some kind of combination of armed asylum, Christian relgious revival, and "F-U! I got mine, you go get your own", Randian dystopia.

    The "Ignorati" are still out there, and may well grasp power back in a few years.

    May I respectfully again suggest that, on top of the Flouride we're already adding to the water, that, in some Congressional districts, we also add Thorazine?

  • Ron Byers on March 11, 2013 9:41 AM:

    Ain't the media herd grand. It's all about the brainless narrative stupid. The Washington chattering class can't let facts get in the way of a good narrative.

  • Peter C on March 11, 2013 9:41 AM:

    They don't care about 'truth'. They will say anything if they think it will help them win an argument.

    This leads to bad consequences as people make bad decisions based upon their specious claims. However, as long as one of the consequences is that they gain power, they don't care about the other consequences. For the rest of the damage to the world, they figure 'buyer beware'.

  • T2 on March 11, 2013 9:55 AM:

    I agree with Peter C, this is as much a media fabrication as anything.....the Media has to create a "story", and they will. I don't see a mad rush to elect more Crazy GOPers, but due to various GOP schemes such as redistricting, I do agree that it will be hard to root out the crazies already in office. If there is one thing berserk guys like Wayne LaPierre show, it's that some seriously deranged people are in positions of great power and will do anything to keep it and get more of it.

  • catclub on March 11, 2013 9:59 AM:

    it is still pathetic.

  • boatboy_srq on March 11, 2013 10:00 AM:

    @Peter C: Add to that the old "you can tell a politician is lying because his/her lips are moving" attitude to the debates, and throw in a dose of BSDI, and the MSM is unlikely to believe that the GOTea is b@tsh!t-crazy because the Dems can't be trusted either.

    This President Obama, having “shifted to the left” since winning re-election bit is particularly infuriating, since the "shift to the left" was merely a nudge of the wheel to keep the car out of the ditch - hardly a move "leftward" unless you consider careening off the road into a field and over a cliff to be "holding the center".

  • max on March 11, 2013 10:14 AM:

    If you’ve watched all this and gotten a distinct whiff of 2009, you’re not the only one.

    I got a distinct whiff of 2008 in 2012 ('I ran as a Democrat but I intend to govern like Bush the Elder'), so a whiff of 2009 here seems inevitable.

    but enough to convince conservatives all over again that extremism bears no significant political risks.

    But I don't think anything we did caused that. No matter what O did, even if announced after November that he would be adopting Mitt Romney's agenda lock, stock and barrel, would have prevented the graycoats from proclaiming that dawn of real conservative success was just around the corner. They lie enough that in any other circumstance we'd consider them pathological, and conservatives really really want to be lied to.

    Having expected that (unreasonable and dishonest people behaving unreasonably and dishonestly) I'm not disappointed. Nor am I surprised that the big media types are all announcing that Things Have Totally Changed. They always do that, and they all were basically Romney (agenda) supporters anyways.

    The problem here is whether or not D's will try and drive hard bargains, or do we have to hope for total girdlock? I'm thinkin' gridlock is the game to play for here. The advantage is that while we may not be able to move anything immediately, we can bleed these ***** to death.

    ['So, it's OK. The reality is the same as it was in December. Nothing much changed.']

  • mk3872 on March 11, 2013 10:56 AM:

    I like the "Obama plummets in NY" Politico story the best.

    O plummeted ALL THE WAY down to 56% approval, LOL!

    Politico is a joke and this story by Ed is, unfortunately, based primarily on his links to that joke of a site.

    Politico, I am sure, had this all planned since November because we all knew that O's #s would come back to earth and that there are conservative districts that Dems have to defend.

    Do us all a favor and PLEASE just ignore Politico.

    It is fantasy political DC-Beltway reporting for Joe Scarborough and the Centrist Brigade.

  • Milt on March 11, 2013 10:59 AM:

    It seems clear the msm is afraid of a distinct separation developing between the popularity of the major parties. They can not afford for this to happen because they need a war-like atmosphere to exist in order to sell their stories. If voters decide the Republicans have gone too far and begin to support more liberal ideas, how can the media feed off of the built-in anger in creating on-going weekly stories? The only way to counter act this is to imply a back lash against Obama and his measures. Don't expect to read much about real economic effects unless they can be construed to mislead.

  • joanneinDenver on March 11, 2013 11:12 AM:

    I get a whiff of 2009 that carried a faint scent of the stink that became 2010.
    It is not the media nor the progressives that are the problem. The problem is Obama and his continued attempt to replace local democratic party organizations with his own personal political machine, OFA. It worked in 2008 and brilliantly in 2012, but it does NOT work for mid-term elections. Nor, as we saw with the sequester debacle, does it work to mobilize public opinion to help the President's agenda.

    The Republican party, be it the moderates or the Tea Party, have had overwhelming success in the states. They control 30 governorships and I believe it is 23 state legislatures and governorships. This is what the Republicans have done:

    1) Broke the 60 vote filibuster proof majority in the Senate in 2010 by electing
    Brown in MA. This effectively rendered Obama's agenda DOA.
    2) Redistricted state Congressional Districts to almost guarantee Republican control of the House in the foreseeable future.
    3) Made Michigan a "right to work" state.
    4) Broke the back of the teachers union and the democratic party in Wisconsin and make Scott Walker a emerging national leader,
    5) Began to pass legislation requiring photo IDs and other measures making it more difficult for the Democratic traditional voting blocks to vote. If the Supreme Court decision renders Section Five of the 1964 Voting Rights Act obsolete, then those laws will go forward and will no doubt be joined by many others.
    6) Marshaled state attorney generals to pursue court cases to challenge Obamacare. That effort was not successful in the Supreme Court, but the
    legal challenge to the contraceptive mandate continues on its way to the Supreme Court.
    7) Defunded Planned Parenthood in many states.

    I also contend that the legislative restrictions on Roe at the state levels are designed to bring a test case to SCOTUS. The goal is not to outlaw abortion, but to return the issue to state control, citing the provisions of the 10th and 14th amendments. Such a decision would grant enormous power to the individual states on many issues, not just abortion.