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Value-addition by subtraction. [krakatoa] | Main | Kabuki Theater: White House Now Instructs Reid to Cut Deal with Joe Lieberman
Meh Update: White House Denies Pressure
December 14, 2009

Democrats Contrive "Knife in the Back" Storyline About Joe Lieberman

Ed is beset himself wondering how on earth Joe Lieberman's resistance to cloture on ObamaCare can possibly be a "surprise setback" when Liebermann's been saying the same basic thing since, like, the second week of last Forever.

Well, not to get all Hitler on anyone, but every failure needs a scapegoat. You need an Emmanuel Goldstein out there if you want to direct anger from its rightful object (the Democrats, generally, but especially Obama and the Congressional leadership) to a convenient whipping boy.

Joe Lieberman didn't stab them in the back. He stabbed them directly in their fronts, and not even sneaky-like; he's stabbing them after telling them repeatedly "Stop threatening me with this devastating blow to the economy or I will be forced to defend myself." After telling them that thirty times, and yet watching them continue to menace the country with ObamaCare, he defended himself, and us of course, but so now it's a surprise knife-in-the-back from the typical wielder of such weapons.

Joe Lieberman is technically -- and actually -- an independent. He owes the Democrats no allegiance or loyalty. That's what the word "independent" generally means, a lack of obligation or duty to any faction. They are casting this as if Lieberman owed them their vote, and that it is then an act of betrayal to not have it; while in fact of course it was always he Democrats' who had the responsibility to persuade and earn his vote.

Further, the Democrats have long been playing a cynical game here. On one hand, the angry netroots wants ObamaCare, in as extreme form as possible, not because they really understand this or that provision, but largely because they know the "Teabaggers" do not want it, and in the typical dreary calculus of thumb-in-the-eye vengeance politics, they simply want it because they want to make a show of political domination and humiliation over their opponents.

So at no point in these proceedings were the Democrats seriously, on-the-square negotiating in good faith for a bill that would be broadly acceptable to at least 60% of America; instead, they have always insisted on the outlines of a bill that would be eagerly greeted by 30% and unwanted, or even despised, by the rest. This has long been a cynical game of proposing a maximalist policy that they knew they didn't have the votes for to appease their base, so that they can then use claims of "betrayal" and Republican obstructionism to gin up support and donations.

As a pundit long ago suggested: The Democrats' dream scenario is to propose something extreme to get the netroots excited and yet lose by one or two votes, so they get credit from the far left for attempting to foist socialism on America but do not provoke the vast majority of voters, who are justifiably frightened of that prospect, by actually accomplishing the goal.

Best of both worlds. To the left: We really tried to create the Socialist States of America. To the center: But we didn't, so it's still safe to vote Democratic.

So, this is their dream scenario, their carefully-constructed contrivance for getting them out of the situation they created for themselves. I notice that there is apparently no surprise about Ben Nelson, a good Democrat they want re-elected, also stating he wouldn't vote for closure; or Claire McCaskill's statement she wouldn't vote for any bill that increased the deficit.

Of course not. Those are Senators in red or purple states and the Democrats want to insulate them from the wrath of the base; so anger is directed instead to someone not of their party at all. (Just as the Democrats' failures have long been pinned on Republicans, who cannot block a single thing the Democrats propose.)

And so it goes.

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posted by Ace at 01:43 PM

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