Sunday, December 09, 2007

Yet another metaphor attempting to explain Democratic capitulation to Bush

It seems that one of the main preoccupations of the progressive blogosphere is figuring out why Congressional Democrats won't tell Bush (one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history), to take his stupid war (also very unpopular) and shove it up his ass. Indeed, it is a puzzling subject. Here's another attempt at getting our heads around it, from smintheus on Daily Kos:

Haggling with a poker player just doesn't work and almost never ends well. As Cernig reminds us again today, it's foolish and positively dangerous to try to haggle with George Bush.

Democrats in Congress really ought to think long and hard at some stage, maybe soon, about the implications of seeking to reach a middle ground with a man who sees politics as a game of poker, where there are only winners and losers.

Bush is not a good poker player. In fact, he was exposed long ago as godawfully bad. By this year he had run out of cards to play, in any round, other than the veto. With Bush it's always bluff, bluff; and bluffing doesn't normally succeed when you've been exposed as a perennial bluffer.

So it's remarkable that the Democratic Congress manages to keep finding ways to lose in what should be a completely uneven match. Democrats hold both chambers of Congress, which the public gave them on the promise that they'd call Bush's bluff. It's tempting to put these repeated failures down just to timidity and cluelessness. But there's also a clash of cultures. Many Democrats in Congress cling to a culture in which true negotiation is the norm, a culture that rewards compromise. It's a culture that Republican leaders rejected a generation ago, but Democrats stubbornly refuse to see any culture but their own.

I'm not sure whether the poker player vs. haggler framework is the best way to view this problem, but the matter does scream out for some kind of explanation. Maybe Congress can de-fund the war and bring an end to this whole "fishing for the right metaphor to explain Democratic capitulation" industry.

And where are Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on this? Instead of telling us you would end the war, why don't you just end it? (Well, Edwards isn't in the Senate anymore, but the other two are in a position to do a lot more than just blather.)


Anonymous Bill in Minneapolis said...

Come on guys. The Democratic control of the Senate is razor thin. Remember that it requires
Joe Lieberman to get to 51 votes and he certainly is not strongly opposed to Bush's Iraq strategy.

Besides effective control requires 60 votes and even then Bush's veto
power is still there.

Bottom line: right now the Democrats must put together a coalition to get anything through the Senate. They just do not 'control' the Senate. That is an illusion.

Just hope that in 2008 that the Democrats can have 'effective control' of the Senate.

7:37 PM, December 09, 2007  

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