Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blogifying Tuesday: Don't Panic

Following up a bit from yesterday, via the Kosness himself, there's this post from Balloon Juice, which introduced me to the useful word: poutrage. And he uses it in a sentence. After pointing out that the right wing was just as upset with Ronald Reagan early in his presidency as some lefties are with Obama, he concludes:

"I find this amazing in no small measure because Barack Obama has already done far more in his first 18 months than Reagan did at this point in his first term. Conservatives took on Reagan over specific battles, but basically they always trusted him. When push came to shove they always had his back. Today they have made Reagan’s record into a myth of conservative victories and Reagan into a romanticized Wingnutopia Saint (despite what actually happened).

Progressives, OTOH, have worked over time to turn an amazing chain of victories over the last 18 months into a narrative of defeat. It is a bit mind boggling to watch as so many ‘progressives’ embrace the memes, frames and talking points of the Right as they level an endless stream of attacks at the most progressive President in my lifetime. And why? Mostly because President Obama does not follow this or that preferred strategy, timing and/or set of tactics to the imagined screenplay of these armchair generals with keyboards. It is stunning to see process trump results and spin trump reality. Watching so many on the left jump at a chance to downplay the victories and inflate the outrage is like tracking an epidemic of foolishness. Useful critiques about important things are lost in the nonsensical noise about every rumor, every post, every tweet and each twist of every news cycle.

It is odd that some on the left have chosen to embrace the same attack tactics, strategies and rhetoric used by the Right when they confronted a President who is basically the champion of their POV without also embracing the way the Right always got Reagan’s back whenever it really mattered.

Meanwhile, things move on. More and more things are getting done by this White House despite the tantrums. Of course, even more could be done if some of the progressive poutrage practitioners would place action and unity over their egos, but they can’t. So it goes. Good luck with that in November.

Time will tell how the story of the Obama Administration will be told and what will be his impact on our Nation. I think it will be a good story regardless of current levels of poutrage on all sides. We shall see, but I think Steve is spot on when he said: I guess the moral of the story is that perceptions can change in time

Which brings us to the question, are Democrats really toast this November, as the panic media has it? Maybe, but at least in some races, independents are swinging towards the Dem they know rather than the GOPer idiot they fear, and despite the great press she's getting on her endorsements, away from a Sarah Palin-approved mama grizzly.

Why? When elections are perceived to be what they are, a choice between actual alternatives, generic anger might get ungenericated. And as polls often show, Obama policies in themselves are often approved--most recently, Obama's economic policies over Bush's, which remain GOPer priorities. Hammer that theme, as Obama has been doing, and it doesn't look so bad for Dems.

This doesn't mean that Congress isn't still a corporate lobbyist and campaign contribution snakepit involving both parties, but the GOPers are in much deeper, both personally and in terms of policy.

Sherrodgate: yeah, it didn't last long enough to get such a moniker, and that's what I find interesting, and even heartening. I agree with this post by Jed Lewison--FOX was its usual despicable self, the NAACP and Ag Dept. panicked, but the media dealt with the story surprisingly well, and kept driving home the central message of: don't panic. Verify.

And speaking of FOX, how surprising is it that this watchdog of racism has an viewership in prime time that's less than 2% African American.

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