Monday, February 22, 2010

The Tide is Turning

The under-appreciated Steve Benen notes that the fissures separating the crazy-right from mainstream politics are leading to isolation:

The remarks were a further reminder of the isolated nature of the Cheney wing -- the dominant wing -- of the Republican Party. The Obama administration's positions are enjoying the support of Powell, Gen. Petraeus, Adm. Mullen, the Pentagon, and national security experts from across the spectrum.

A lot of people on the left are despairing that Dems seem so weak, the right seems to own the media narrative, and we are all hopelessly doomed. And if this particular movie were to roll credits right now, it would surely be so. But this ain't the last reel in the film...

David Axelrod noted to a reporter after a big victory that "you guys" -- meaning his former profession of political reporter -- are always looking backward. You're sitting in the back of the pick-up looking at where we've been. Those who are actually driving the truck -- the candidate and his team -- are looking forward, always forward.

From where I sit, the trivialization of the crazy-right, long thought to be absolutely inevitable, is well and truly underway (apologies to John Cleese). An important step in the process is to have a series of issues that they embrace, but are not embraced by those in the mainstream.

Here comes Colin Powell. (In my mind, he is a sad and mostly pathetic creature, but is a card-carrying member of the mainstream elite.) He says that the claim that the Obama administration is making us less safe is not his view. He comes as close as any card-carrier ever will to saying the claim is nuts.

The idea that we need to start over on health care, or that it is a government take-over, is likewise finding less and less traction in the mainstream. Some sort of health care financing reform seems both desirable and inevitable. So, HCR is another brick in the wall.

The idea that the stimulus was a pork-barrel wasteland that did nothing for the economy is likewise now firmly rejected. I/m sure you can come up with more examples.

The point of all of this is that the steps necessary to dismiss these nuts for a good long time are now being taken. Looking forward, Axelrod-like, it seems clear that the President will pass some sort of HCR, and that some group of non-crazies Republicans will join him. If not, that will lead to the demise of these GOPers. HCR is the thin edge of the knife: those that want to be part of relevant politics in the next half decade or more will have to find a way to appear to be on the side of HCR, while those who go down fighting it will, well, just go down -- to oblivion.

Dems seem unable to imagine a future in which they win. I think the President sees it, and that's why he's not projecting defeatism.

It seems to me the future will be the result of a new wave of pols on the left and right. On the right, lack of sociopathy will become the norm, once again, and restraint, caution, reluctance to accept change, etc., will return as the positive forces society needs. On the left, defeatism and fear will be shown the door, and the new pols will embrace the electorate's growing appetite for change.

Right now, Obama is the leader of BOTH groups. At one point, he may end up on one side or the other. (I'd guess he'd be a more center-right than center-left.) The President is trying to preserve a space for non-insane GOPers, and is also trying to buck up those of his party-members who would really rather just quit.

Is is written in stone that Obama can't yet succeed? Aren't there enough sentient voters left that will reject the crazy and embrace meaningful change? My guess is that the electorate is ahead of the old-school pols and that a majority is way past ready for change - real change, and that they will end up getting it, at long last.

That concludes today's screed.

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