Archive - Jan 12, 2009

Nerf To A Gunfight

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Memo to Harry Reid and the congressional Democrats in general: GET A FUCKING CLUE.

I really don't need to spend the next four to eight years watching you people stumble around the halls of power like drunken pinballs, accomplishing little beyond spectacular self-immolation. You're in charge now. You have a huge majority in both houses of Congress. You have the White House. You need to start acting like it, because if you don't, the Republicans will run your agenda into the ground and then blame you for it not working.

And the first thing you need to do is seat Roland Burris. Not because Roland Burris should necessarily be seated, although I think that's true for reasons very different than anyone else. But because you lost this fight pretty much from square one, and you need to cut your losses and extricate yourselves from the situation you've created.

For those who live in a cave, Roland Burris is the appointee to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat. He was appointed by our good friend Rod "Tribblehead" Blagojevich, currently under indictment and impeachment for offering that appointment to the highest bidder. Harry Reid didn't want to seat any senator Blago appointed, for the obvious reason that Blago is corrupt and insane. But they fucked it up out of the gate, and here's why.

The Democrats needed to decide, as a group, the instant Blago appointed Burris, whether they were going to seat Burris or not. And then they needed to plan their strategy around that decision. Have justifications ready for not seating him. Have backup rationalizations ready for not seating him should the original justifications not work out. And most importantly, stick to their fucking guns either way. Because instead, what we're left with is the worst of all possible situations. An entire week of "No! No! We won't seat him! We won't seat him!" Followed by a whip-pan, a goofy noise, and the embarrassing moment when they do seat him.

As Exhibit A as to why they're fucked, I present this anonymous quote from a "senior Democratic congressional source" to CNN. ACTUAL FUCKUP TIME!

"We tried to send a political signal to Blagojevich that we would not seat someone he appointed. He called our bluff, in a reckless way."

This violates both rules of bluffing in politics. The first rule being, NEVER BLUFF IN POLITICS. Always be prepared to go through with your bluff, even if it's not your ideal outcome. Never play "chicken" with Republicans or crazy people, because Republicans fear backing down almost as much as they fear gay marriage and communism, and will go to any length to NOT back down. Which means if you bluff, you'll be the one backing down, and you'll never win.

The second rule of bluffing in politics is that if you do bluff in politics, under no circumstances admit that you were bluffing. Losing while maintaining the impression you were playing for keeps is a hell of a lot better than admitting you weren't serious and got caught with your pants down. Which means, by the way, no fucking going to CNN under condition of anonymity and admitting that you got your bluff called by an insane crook.

So find an excuse to seat Burris and do it already. You probably could learn a thing or two from him. He may be under a cloud, he may be touched by taint, but the motherfucker knows how to play the game. He decided what outcome he wanted, and he has relentlessly and mercilessly pursued that goal. I mean, get a load of this exciting composite quote from Burris advocate, Illinois congressman Bobby Rush:

"I would ask you the not hang or lynch the appointee as you castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer. There are no African-Americans in the Senate, and I don't think that anyone, any U.S. Senator who is sitting right now would want to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I don't think they want to go on record doing that. It reminded me of the dogs being sicced on children in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s what it reminded me of."

That's fucking ridiculous. It's beyond fucking ridiculous, it's the most blatant example I've ever seen of someone actually playing the race card. Normally, "playing the race card" is like "political correctness" - a meaningless phrase wielded by right-wingers to club into submission any activity they don't like. But here, Rush not only plays the race card, but earns at least three free flights' worth of bonus miles on his race card.

Rush's statement was outrageous, but it was also tactical. He knew, just like that other Rush knows, that if someone steps up and says something that's a 10 on the outrageous scale, that this gives the mainstream media permission to go up to six or seven on that same scale. So while MSNBC, CNN, and FOX didn't come out and say that the Democrats were "lynching" Burris, they WERE able to run plenty of promos and chyrons along the lines of "Is race a factor in the flap over the Illinois Senate seat?".

And all that chatter about race, thanks to Bobby Rush putting it "out there", made it even harder for Reid and company to keep Burris out on the perfectly legitimate grounds of him being appointed by a crazy lawbreaker. And that, as vile and unpleasant as it is, is how this fucking game is played. You decide on your desired outcome, and then you manipulate the debate so that your desired outcome seems the most reasonable. It's part of how Dubya got away with looting and pillaging America for eight years, and it's how 41 Republicans will keep Democrats mired in quicksand for the next decade if we don't take the fucking hint and start throwing a few elbows on the field.