Thursday, August 25, 2011

J. Bradford Delong's commenters deconstruct Obama

Damn straight:

If you look at Obama as a politician, his entire MO is to look at what his political opponents are proposing, and then take a position that's one step closer to the center than theirs. It's what he did in the primaries, it's what he did in the general, and it's what he's done in office. That's the whole thing, the super-high level multi-dimensional chess that the rest of us were too dense to comprehend, the brilliant nefariousness, everything. Of course, such an approach is entirely disinterested in policy and outcomes, but that isn't really Obama's problem or interest. And also of course, if you don't really concern yourself with outcomes, your outcomes aren't likely to be all that great.

If you spend a lot of time trying to deconstruct an approach like that you end up tieing yourself in knots -- it's rather like trying to deconstruct extreme nonsense verse. Such attempts end up revealing more about the doconstructor [sic] than the subject matter itself.

This is simply the Democratic congressional election strategy transported down Pennsylvania Avenue. Everyone dives for cover and makes sure they camouflage themselves by sounding just a little more moderate than their opponent. The Republicans have become adept at exploiting this, first filling the message void Democrats have created for themselves, then moving ever further to the right, pulling the Democrats with them.

It really doesn't matter how many seats we win, the Republicans win the future. We have been arguing who has the better approach to supply-side economics for the last thirty years. We have done nothing to change that conversation, even when the evidence was plain that supply-side was a sham. This was the President's responsibility and his biggest failure to date.

I mean, am I the only one to find Obamapologistas relentlessly, tiresomely Panglossian? "He did it the best way he could, and no other way could have possible led to a better outcome [in this, the best of all possible worlds]". Or the similar tune, "Maybe it could've been done better, but considering everything, it maybe wasn't the best but it was the most you could expect given the opposition [in this, the best of all possible worlds]."

I understand the impulse to avoid the fallacy of "If X had just done Y, we wouldn't have all these problems." Yet at the same time, it's senseless and anti-logic to insist that nothing could have happened in any other way, or that every other possible way for Obama et al. to have played things in the past 3 years would've been a) worse or b) IMPOSSIBLE.

Ugh and argh. Might I toot my own horn a bit here and say that a number of friends have found my old/previous posts on Obama to have been borne out, in essence? Though most of them, at the same time, don't want to spend too much time thinking about that because it's too disillusioning... Somehow my happy bubble of pessimistic optimism... cynical happy-realism... um, whatever it is I have, I still have. But as for a while now, it doesn't include much confidence, happiness, or willingness to vote for centrist Democrats.