Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Watch the Donut, not the hole...

This is likely my second and last post on what's going on in D.C. at the moment. I fired off this screed at First Draft this morning:
I listened to FDR's inaugural speech yesterday, from 1933, when he said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And I realized the reluctance of the Dems to do anything is not a bug, it's a feature.

I'm supporting Obama for the same reasons Athenae* is, but I'm not hopeful he'll bring any real difference to the table. When Lloyd Doggett and Dennis Kucinich and John Culberson agree on something, I expect to see pigs flying. Instead, I get the still, calm voice of Obama arguing for the status quo, which is to give Paulson essentially what he asked for so there are no political repercussions that Dems have to deal with or worry about or politic on, so they can win the White House and then....do what? Do what, except continue to promote the status quo because that's what the people want? (Except they don't, which is the House voted against the bill yesterday, albeit barely.) Do what, except continue to be in the pockets of Wall Street (yeah, the Dow dropped almost 800 points yesterday. It's a marketing gimmick, not an economic tool. Hell, even the GOP Representative on NPR this morning understood enough nuance to argue that Dow had no relevance to the issue of legislation, and he wouldn't be scared or buffaloed by it.)

FDR took on the status quo, because he knew it was needed. He had fights in his own Cabinet over what to do, and despite the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, he had a fight in the first 100 days to get his New Deal enacted, a fight that lasted long after the 100 days, and included a battle royal with the Supreme Court. Can you imagine any Democrat, even Obama (especially Obama!) doing that come February?

I can't. Still, McCain would be so much worse....
James K. Galbraith reassures me that Doggett and Kucinich and even John Culberson (blind pig finds acorn! Film at 11!) were right in their votes: we don't need this. There are better ways to react to this problem, and there is time to find those solutions. If that happens, it will be in spite, not because of, the leadership of both parties.

I would only add that the DJIA was up 235 points 15 minutes after opening today. But like the wheel of fortune, where it stops, nobody knows.

So it goes.

*What Athenae said:
That I am supporting Obama, is in the hope that with a White House in their control, they'll be less cowed. That with the example of what someone can do to inspire Americans to move, they might realize we're all here, we're all ready, we're all hungry for it. We're listening. All they have to do is speak. That I am supporting Obama, it's in the belief that the simple "whoa, holy, shit, look at all those people who are fucking pissed off at stuff" will finally sink in.

Let's not kid ourselves, though. This isn't exactly the first big opening they've had to do something. This isn't their first chance to fail. They've had chance after chance, and they've never missed a single one yet.

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