Feelin' My Sanctimoats

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Memo to Barack Obama: I HATE TO DO THIS...

You know what? Fuck that. I don't hate to do this at all. Doing this is what I do. This site's not called You Are Dubya. Or even You Are Republican. It's called You Are Dumb. And if a single press conference can provide me with three dumb quotes, then I don't give a shit who gave that press conference. It's a shame that this time, it was Barack Obama, but that's just something you have to be prepared for when IDIOTS SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS.

"Now, if that's the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let's face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are, and in the meantime, the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of preexisting conditions or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out. - Obama, at the press conference yesterday. I know. Shocker.

Fuck that noise. I swear, if Obama and his speechwriters spent a fraction of the time building up strawmen like this to attack Republicans with, we'd have held Congress and he'd be sailing to a second term. Right before this, he was talking about how the tax cut compromise is just like the health care compromise, where the left got all "sanctimonious" and pissy because he bailed on the public option.

But the public option isn't the purist position. It's the compromise position from single-payer. And you gave up the COMPROMISE in a compromise. Same with the tax cuts. Clinton-era top marginal tax rates aren't a fucking purist position. Bill Clinton wasn't some fucking hippie class-warrior, he was a triangulating centrist. You've now triangulated to the right of a triangulating centrist. Being unhappy with that is neither sanctimonious nor purist.

"I've said before that I felt that the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. Then people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case, the hostage was the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed. Again, this not an abstract political fight." - Same guy, same place, duh.

I'm sorry, are we unclear on the meaning of "hostage"? A hostage is someone you take and threaten to kill unless you get what you want. That's the whole point of taking a fucking hostage. So there's no "unless". Every hostage-taking situation involves the hostage getting harmed if you don't negotiate.

Also, don't get me wrong. The middle class tax cuts were nice. And yes, people would miss them if they went away. And some people would have a tougher time making ends meet if they went away. And their somewhat stimulative effect on the economy would go away. But we wouldn't be shot in the fucking head if it happened. We made it through 2008, while the financial system crashed around our fucking ankles, before you passed the damn things.

And I'm sorry, but if you try to feed me that "abstract political fight" bullshit for two more years, you'd better hope Mama Grizzly wins the nomination and drags my ass to the polls out of sheer disgust. Tax cuts for the wealthy aren't an abstract concept I hate abstractly because Republicans like them. I'm not looking for you to score points. Progressive tax policy is the most effective way of reversing the obscene fucking concentration of upper income wealth that's been happening over the past decade. You know what harms the American people? Income inequality harms the American people. A shitload more than an extra twenty bucks in my paycheck does. Abstract motherfucking political motherfucking point. Jesus.

"Hold on a second, Ben. This isn't the politics of the moment. This has to do with what can we get done right now." - George W. Bush... wait, no, it's still fucking Obama again.

Cognitive dissonance hurt much? This is what happens when you talk yourself into doing stupid shit. Eventually, one of your rationalizations is going to butt up against another of your rationalizations and a sentence like this is going to come out of your mouth and make you sound stupid.

I don't know if you believe this, or think you need to be seen to believe it, or if you've managed to convince yourself of it, or what, but it needs to stop. The only people who are going to be impressed at how well you're kicking the Left in its balls is Chris Matthews' crowd. This ridiculous caricature of an impossible-to-please "professional left" who will never be satisfied no matter how many things you accomplish is a crock. It's a double-crock when you're turning around and handing massive victories over to people who really are impossible for you to please.

You want to know what you've accomplished with this deal? Here's what you got. You got a year of unemployment insurance extensions - but only for the people who haven't exhausted the extensions. The people who haven't found a job in a 10% unemployment market after 99 weeks are still fucked. You got a one-year payroll tax cut that might well be a ticking time bomb for the dismantling of Social Security. And you saved our twenty bucks a paycheck for two more years.

In exchange, you got tax cuts for millionaires Republicans will get credit for. You got their ballooning of the deficit that you'll be blamed for. You eliminated the estate tax for single-digit millionaires. You cut it to a third for double- and triple-digit millionaires, plus billionaires. You've demonstrated with a previously unseen level of precision exactly how you can be made to do whatever the Republicans want. You've kicked the left in the balls again.

But worst of all. Absolutely worst of all. You've made it so that if principled Democrats try to oppose this deal from the left, fight the Republicans, and win, they'll be directly responsible for the tax increase you wanted to avoid. To use your analogy, before this deal, if the hostage got shot, you could blame the Republicans for pulling the trigger. Now you've made it so that the only way to stop the hostage-takers is for your SWAT team to shoot the hostage themselves.

And that's not some abstract political point. You say you're going to fight this really, really hard two years from now when they expire? You've just made that fight more difficult. Assuming you're even in office two years from now. Assuming Congress is even remotely friendly to you two years from now. Even with all that, it's going to be harder, because you've shown exactly how far, and in the face of what tactics, you're willing to fight.

And if that's sanctimony, then I'm fucking soaking in it.