Sunday, January 24, 2010

Katie reads the kitty litter

But Spot, Katie is a dog person!

Nevertheless, grasshopper, it was the kitty litter she was sifting when she came up with her op-ed piece today about Scott Brown winning a special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy. Here are a couple of grafs from the piece:

On Tuesday, we got incontrovertible evidence that the country has finally awakened from its yearlong, modern-day tent revival. Massachusetts citizens spoke for many across America: This man is not the messiah, he doesn't walk on water, and he was selling snake oil all along.

* * *

In fact, America hasn't moved to the left. On Tuesday, we saw this vividly in Massachusetts, where registered Republicans make up only 15 percent of the population. The Bay State hasn't elected a Republican senator since 1972. Last year, Obama coasted to victory there by 26 points.

Katie also tells us that Brown’s victory is cautionary tale for a party that governs too “arrogantly.”

You know, it probably does seem that way to Katie, a woman who takes a long bubble bath in Victimhood® every night, with a glass of white zinfandel perched on the tub, and while listening to podcasts of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

Frank Rich, f/k/a The Butcher of Broadway, and a pretty clear-eyed thinker in Spot’s estimation, also considered the special election in Massachusetts:

It was not a referendum on Barack Obama, who in every poll remains one of the most popular politicians in America. It was not a rejection of universal health care, which Massachusetts mandated (with Scott Brown’s State Senate vote) in 2006. It was not a harbinger of a resurgent G.O.P., whose numbers remain in the toilet. Brown had the good sense not to identify himself as a Republican in either his campaign advertising or his victory speech.

Rich’s entire column is well worth the read. Rich says the loss of the seat was a symptom of a different problem than that identified by Katie’s sifting and sniffing: Obama’s apparent dithering on the economy and on actually delivering a health care bill. He concludes that it isn’t that Obama hasn’t been too arrogant, maybe rather the reverse. Rich has a better example of a cautionary tale for Obama to heed:

The incident unfolded in April 1962 — some 15 months into the new president’s term — when J.F.K. was infuriated by the U.S. Steel chairman’s decision to break a White House-brokered labor-management contract agreement and raise the price of steel (but not wages). Kennedy was no radical. He hailed from the American elite — like Obama, a product of Harvard, but, unlike Obama, the patrician scion of a wealthy family. And yet he, like that other Harvard patrician, F.D.R., had no hang-ups about battling his own class.

Kennedy didn’t settle for the generic populist rhetoric of Obama’s latest threats to “fight” unspecified bankers some indeterminate day. He instead took the strong action of dressing down U.S. Steel by name. As Richard Reeves writes in his book “President Kennedy,” reporters were left “literally gasping.” The young president called out big steel for threatening “economic recovery and stability” while Americans risked their lives in Southeast Asia. J.F.K. threatened to sic his brother’s Justice Department on corporate records and then held firm as his opponents likened his flex of muscle to the power grabs of Hitler and Mussolini. (Sound familiar?) U.S. Steel capitulated in two days. The Times soon reported on its front page that Kennedy was at “a high point in popular support.”

Can anyone picture Obama exerting such take-no-prisoners leadership to challenge those who threaten our own economic recovery and stability at a time of deep recession and war? That we can’t is a powerful indicator of why what happened in Massachusetts will not stay in Massachusetts if this White House fails to reboot.

The Obama White House is apparently deploying some of its operatives from the 2008  around the country to shore up the Democrats’ fortunes.

Better, in Spot’s opinion, would be to take Rich’s advice and govern boldly. That’s the opposite of what Katie intimates, which is further confirmation of the soundness of Rich’s advice.

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