In case you need another reason to be annoyed at the Stewart/Colbert rally this weekend, here’s one: It’s going to suck up all the media oxygen at a moment when insanely gratifying pieces about Democrats throwing tantrums could (and should) be getting written instead.
I’m counting on a big day from the press on Monday, at least. A big, teary, tantrum-y, schadenfreudean day.
It’s a slight variation on the Democrats’ theme this year – that the problem is with messaging. Kerry is astonished that the party in power – his party – is facing a backlash for policies that have turned out to be unpopular with weary taxpayers, as if this is somehow a new and strange phenomenon in American politics.
And while Republican obstructionism is to blame for, well, pretty much everything – including the failure of his own energy bill (which was shelved by his own majority leader, Harry Reid) – Democrats have nonetheless managed to lead the most productive Congress since the New Deal. Talk about having it both ways.
Nowhere in the speech did Kerry acknowledge the 21,000 jobs lost in Massachusetts just last month, or the widespread discontent that was marked by the election of the Bay State’s own Scott Brown last January. Heck, why talk about practical realities when you can point your finger at (sigh) Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh?
“It’s absurd. We’ve lost our minds,” Kerry said. “We’re in a period of know-nothingism in the country, where truth and science and facts don’t weigh in. It’s all short-order, lowest common denominator, cheap-seat politics.”
See, this is what makes Waffles a cut above the usual conservative whipping boy. Most Democrats, when pressed, fall back on either the “messaging” excuse or the “voters are morons” lament. Not Kerry; he covers all his bases. Compare and contrast to Slow Joe’s latest pearl of wisdom in Iowa today:
The vice president told Democrats at the rally to take Republicans’ ideas seriously, a variation on what he’s said at over 100 other fundraisers for Democratic candidates and incumbents this fall.
“Don’t take these stupid ideas lightly,” Biden said in Dubuque. “They mean it.”…
“Next time a Republican tells you anything about fiscal responsibility, laugh at them,” Biden said.
See? Not as satisfying. There’s a “voters are morons” message in there, to be sure, but it’s filtered through an attack on the party that voters are set to crown next week. Plus, no whining about messaging. Let’s see if Krugman can do better:
This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness…
In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both worlds: They’ll refuse to do anything to boost the economy now, claiming to be worried about the deficit, while simultaneously increasing long-run deficits with irresponsible tax cuts — cuts they have already announced won’t have to be offset with spending cuts.
So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
That’s quality. Again, no “messaging” talking point, but there’s a vibrant “voters are morons” subtext plus an overt appeal to scare tactics of the sort that makes Democrats screech about fearmongering when the GOP does it. Which brings us to this:
ALAN GRAYSON (32:57): I think the right wing is trying to institute, consciously trying to institute, a national nervous breakdown. They have gotten their supporters so stoked up on hatred and fear that their supporters can’t contain themselves anymore. And they’re doing it cynically for an advantage in the election.
If you’re going to eschew “messaging” and “voters are morons” for a pure fearmongering talking point, then you’ve got to get creative with it. And Teacups, per his national nervous breakdown language, knows just what to do. Not as well-rounded as Kerry’s whining, but a fine effort nonetheless. Let’s call it … a solid B+.
Exit question: Is it time to start diagnosing people?