Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Ruminations: Kingfish v. Cold Fish

The great Huey Long: he would not be losing the midterms.

As the Dems stroll toward the midterms like guys carrying balloons to a knife fight, I'm again reminded of the great Huey "Kingfish" Long and how he'd be getting sh*t done around here. Kingfish would not have gone "gently into that good night" - he'd be yelling, bribing, bobbing and weaving on behalf of the people. And it seems Bill Clinton, a Kingfish for our times, may too be pining for the good old days when messaging meant bullhorns not research groups.

See, Bubba's been expressing frustration with the lame nature of the Obama Dem's campaign. Clinton said at a recent rally that the Dems have "achieved significant things on issues like the stimulus, health care and education" but "Democrats haven't made enough of it." And you can't argue with that. The Obama Dem's may have achieved much, but they seem weirdly disinclined to boast about it. Instead, they're taking the campaign high road, trying to counter right-wing hysteria with sobriety and restraint. Like that's gonna work.

No-one seems sure what's driving the Democrat non-strategy. Frustrated progressives like me might accuse Obama of not doing sh*t in two years, but even I know that's an angry exaggeration... reality would beg to differ. Says Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast:

Truth is, Obama has exceeded in 18 months what Clinton and Carter achieved in a combined 12 years.

So why no talking up of their own accomplishments? Why the self-defeating subtlety? Why are we set to lose??? Bubba Clinton most definitely has a point. It's almost as if the Obama Dems are taking a dive... almost as if the fix is in and they've decided to make the Rethugs put up or shut up by letting them get their sweaty mitts on the majority. Why? Heck, given the convolutedly f*cked up nature of Washington, a Republican majority would actually help Obama because the GOP would be forced to actually participate in the legislative process for once. If they still acted like obstructionist pr*cks after winning the tools to get things done, they'd just look like even bigger idiots and turn off all but the wingnuts... and cue their own annihilation in 2012. I'm sure both Obama and Boehner have figured that out.

But enough with pointy-headed theorizing...

Back to Bubba.

There's a big difference between the JFK-style Obama Dems and the Kingfish-style Clinton Dems who made winning a martial art back in the 90s. So you can't blame Bill for his impatience. If Bubba (or Huey Long) were in charge today, I'm sure we'd have that 'mobilized base' and the whole country would know what the f*ck the Democrats had achieved because he'd be yelling it in our faces at every given opportunity. Yup. There's a big difference between the two schools. Bernie Quigley at the Hill says the style gap between the Clinton Dems and the Obama Dems is "breaking the Democrats in half". Maybe a drama queen exaggeration on Quigley's part. But the essence is true:

The Clintons do not like Obama. They think they should be speaking to the minions at Mile High stadium. Now Harvard’s James Kloppenberg tells The New York Times that there is a primal difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Kloppenberg disparages the “vulgar pragmatism”... that is Bill. He praises Obama’s “philosophical pragmatism.”

Wow. The more I think about this, the more I start to worry that Obama might go out like the Democrat equivalent of Pa Bush. Is Obama too damn clever for his own good too? Too academic, too 'measured', too aloof for a country that prefers rabble-rousing yahoos like Clinton (the good kind) and Reagan (the sh*tty kind)? We'll find out.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.