Of dogs and ducks and cojones

April 16, 2007 by barbara

by barbara

I love Paul Krugman. Also Bill Moyers, Frank Rich and Stephen Colbert. But today, mostly, I love Paul Krugman. Reliably credible. Smart. Discerning. He has earned my trust, and I'm sure he'd be thrilled to know that.

Krugman's NY Times column today discusses the phenomenon of the Democratic party's base pointing the way to its leaders. Read more. Please and thank you.

Krugman says: 'The party's base seems to be more in touch with the mood of the country than many of the party's leaders. And the result is peculiar: on key issues, reluctant Democratic politicians are being dragged by their base into taking highly popular positions."

The movement forward has seemed sluggish and uncoordinated to me. Democrats seem to be weighing their words and actions very carefully. I am trying not to wade into the slough of despond wherein I believe that everything our elected officials do is dictated by whether it compromises their re-electability.

I long for representation by people who will put national interest first, especially in this surreal Bushworld. Yes, I do understand that there is necessary strategery in order to keep both state and federal house and senate out of the hands of the faux righteous right. Hard to know exactly where that delicate line lies.

To some extent, our elected officials remind me of the collared dogs in yards where invisible fences (IF) are supposed to keep the pups from wandering over to the neighbor's place. Just yesterday, the enormous neighbor dog we have nick-named Goliath took off like a bat out of hell, right through the IF in his excitement at seeing a black lab. Goliath's owner heard the barking, called for his beastie, and finally had to go drag him back into his own yard, smacking Goliath's rump once they got there.

Have you noticed that Jim Webb and Jon Tester and even our own wonderful Tim Walz are relatively subdued these days? Urgh! I hope it's a temporary thing. That the quiet is strategic. I'm almost (though not quite) to the point of praying that there really is a passel of furiously paddling duckie legs under the surface where the political ducks appear to be gliding serenely across the pond.

Krugman again: It took an angry base to push Democrats into taking a tough line in the midterm election. And it took further prodding from that base . . . to push them into confronting Mr. (sic) Bush over war funding.

But the public hates this war, no longer has any trust in Mr. Bush's leadership and doesn't believe anything the administration says.

See why I love Krugman? He is just so out there. He's a bold truth-teller. But he doesn't limit his boldness to George's War.

Health care is another example of the base being more in touch with what the country wants than the politicians. Except for John Edwards, who has explicitly called for a universal health insurance system financed with a rollback of high-income tax cuts, most leading Democratic politicians, still intimidated by the failure of the Clinton health care plan, have been cautious and cagey about presenting plans to cover the uninsured.

But the Democratic presidential candidates'"Mr. Obama in particular'"have been facing a lot of pressure from the base to get specific about what they're proposing. And the base is doing them a favor. [snip]

If all this sounds like a setting in which Democrats could win big victories in the years ahead, that's because it is. Republicans will, for a while at least, be trapped in unpopular positions by a base that's living in the past. Rudy Giuliani's surge into front-runner status for the Republican nomination says more about the party than about the candidate. As The Onion put it with deadly accuracy, Mr. Giuliani is running for "President of 9/11." [snip]

Democrats don't have the same problem. There's no conflict between catering to the Democratic base and staking out positions that can win in the 2008 election, because the things the base wants'"an end to the Iraq war, a guarantee of health insurance for all'"are also things that the country as a whole supports. The only risk the (Democratic) party now faces is excessive caution on the part of its politicians. Or, to coin a phrase, the only thing Democrats have to fear is fear itself.

Krugman is hardly advocating for throwing caution to the winds, and neither am I. But I do believe the time for tentative is past. Every single hour that passes gives this thoroughly corrupt and essentially anti-America/anti-everyone-else administration precious moments to hide more evidence of their wrong-doing and further their pernicious agenda.

I spent a fair number of years as a peacemaker, as in being deeply involved in peace activities. My being still trends that direction. But as Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us, there is a time for everything under the sun, and in order to achieve peace and even begin to restore the America that was, I believe it's time to kick duck butt, without ceasing. (Dear PETA, I mean that metaphorically.)

The long, befuddled silence of the American people is over. Speak often. Speak loudly. Speak to the powers that be. We are the base. Show our leaders the way.

Did I mention that I love Paul Krugman?

Posted in


Perhansa (not verified) | April 16, 2007 - 4:24pm

Speaking of Paul Krugman, why do we rarely see him in the Strib the last few months? Or Mo Dowd, or E.J. Dionne, and, of course, we miss Molly. Is the Strib management doing a rightward tilt? Every morning it's Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, George WIll, Cliff May, David Brooks, though Brooks hasn't been there as often since he's gotten more critical of the Admin. Is it just me or are we starting to see a lopsided, Faux News version of the editorial page?

We need Krugman now that Molly has left us.

In my post I forgot the mention the really deep, intellectual, placards the anti-tax group were carrying like:
"Liberalism 101: Tax and Spend", "Cut Taxes, Now", "Less Government Spending". Who comes up with this stuff Peewee Herman? I did chuckle thinking up a few we could have carried if we had the thoughtlessness to: "Conservativism: Are There No Prisons? No Workhouses?" "Compassionate Conservativism: Decrease the Surplus Population", "Bush: They Hate Us for Our Freedoms, Especially the Freedom We Feel to Grab As Much As We Can for Ourselves".

Sometimes it would be nice to be mean spirited, rotten-thoughtless-nasty wouldn't it? It's all my parents fault for not brringing me up that way.

The Dems seem to be acting out a Wizard of Oz fantasy. Is there no courage, no heart, no brain? Who's that man behind the screen, Howard Dean? Did I see Hillary wearing ruby slippers? Does Barack remind you at all of the scarecrow? What about that mane on Chris Dowd? Edwards, well, can't say Tin Man or you have to go into therapy. (The Tin Man did seem to be a bit too sensitive to be straight, didn't you think?) Wolfie does bear a strong resemblance to the frightening talking trees in the forest that threw apples back at Scarecrow. And W, well, we know he looks like the flying monkeys don't we, wink wink? Dick and Condi will have fight it out over the green makeup and broomstick. Toto come back, come back.

Damn, there I've gone and got nastyrootenthoughtless. Soap my mouth! Maybe our fair friends are patiently throwing buckets of water on 'em, they're melting, melting...


Poet (not verified) | April 16, 2007 - 6:23pm

Just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been reduced to the "I have a Dream" soundbite, so to has FDR been reduced to "We have nothing to fear but fear itself". What we need is another FDR but not that sound bite FDR.

To get an idea of how amazing a leader FDR was let's remember that he is descended from a wealthy patrician family that certainly was made for Republican politics (cousin Teddy was after all a President of that persuasion). Bankers, financiers, and old money were his natural allies and those with whom he would have been most socially and culturally comfortable.

But when it came his time to serve as president he abandoned all of that for the needs of the country. If you want to hear how somebody burns all his bridges behind him then listen to FDR's 1932 innaugural and please pay particular attention to his withering attacks on bankers, financiers, and especially Wall Street.
They never forgave or forgot what he did and he knew it and he still did it. That's cojones (or mammeries for those of feminine persuasion).


In '92 when wacky-doodle Ross Perot was running Clinton and Bush Sr in circles in their debates and all the illuminati in the media couldn't figure out exactly why, Mark Shields made a telling remark on the Snoozehour on PBS. He said "everybody knows that all politicians hate
Washington and love main street while they are running for office, but Ross Perot is the only one in this race who hates Wall Street and they (Wall Street and those supporting him) know it".

That's what we need--a well-educated aristocratic type able to hate Wall Street and the way things are for average Americans enough to burn his bridges with his own class. The closest I can come to fathoming such a person is current NY Governor Elliot Spitzer. I hope I am right and that he runs and wins soon..