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Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

December 26th, 2009, 07:12 pm admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Got an opinion? These people do.

Timothy Egan:

“People will be hunting Democrats with dogs,” said Senator Phil Gramm of Texas.

This was 1993, in the fragile first year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, on a vote to raise taxes for the wealthiest 1.2 percent and cut them for the poor and small businesses. That budget bill passed without a single Republican vote…

There are new taxes on tanning salons — already dubbed the Boehner tax, for the preternaturally bronzed Republican House leader from Ohio — and those at the highest end.

Will Democrats run on it, or run from it? That depends on whether they take a long view, and fight, or a short view and cower. There are plenty of people in the latter camp. The former can look to the lonely legislators who stood with Bill Clinton in 1993 and say “told you so,” while grandchildren listen at Christmas.

Ross Douthat: The “deeply insightful” is elusive this holiday season. I’m having as much trouble as everyone else in pigeonholing Obama, so like them I’ll just make stuff up.

Obama baffles observers, I suspect, because he’s an ideologue and a pragmatist all at once. He’s a doctrinaire liberal who’s always willing to cut a deal and grab for half the loaf. He has the policy preferences of a progressive blogger, but the governing style of a seasoned Beltway wheeler-dealer.

Ross, your homework assignment is to write an essay starting with “Obama is a doctrinaire liberal because…”

David Broder: Richard Daley is so much more grounded in reality than you DFHs who got Iraq right and elected Obama. Daley (the Daleys had a stellar grip on reality about Vietmnam) said:

All that is required for the Democratic Party to recover its political footing is to acknowledge that the agenda of the party’s most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans — and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan.

Funny, that’s exactly what he is doing. And that’s where the unhappiness in the polls is coming from – the left thinks he’s too center-right.  

Ron Brownstein continues a new piece of conventional wisdom:

The new Internet-based left, because it is so heavily reliant on college-educated whites generally less exposed to the economy’s storms, has a blind spot on kitchen table issues.

Ah, so it’s not that Obama is a pragmatic ideologue (or something), or that he’s too left, it’s that the DFH’s on the internet are too educated and affluent to understand – that must mean the left is too left. I am so grateful that we have the elite press to explain to us what “regular Amuricans” think, though. And, by the way, everyone on the left is not against this bill. We just want to make it better.

Chris Cillizza:

But a closer look at history suggests that both too much and too little can be made of a president’s first year in office.

Got all that, or do you need a chart?

Ezra Klein joins the “Senate is broken” holiday choir:

This might seem an odd moment to argue that the Senate is fundamentally broken and repairs should top our list of priorities. After all, the Senate passed a $900 billion health-care bill Thursday morning. But consider the context: Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republican Party earlier this year gave Democrats 60 votes in the Senate — a larger majority than either party has had since the ’70s. Democrats also controlled the House and the presidency, and were working in the aftermath of a financial crisis that occurred on a Republican president’s watch. This was a test of whether a party could govern when everything was stacked in its favor.


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