Monday, September 5, 2011

Jonathon Chait: Useful Idiot

If you want to know why so many Democrats and liberals are still satisfied with President Obama's performance, I think you need look no further than numskull "progressive" pundits like Jonathan Chait:
It's worth recalling that several weeks before Obama proposed an $800 billion stimulus, House Democrats had floated a $500 billion stimulus. (Oddly, this never resulted in liberals portraying Nancy Pelosi as a congenitally timid right-wing enabler.) At the time, Obama's $800 billion stimulus was seen by Congress, pundits and business leaders - that is to say, just about everybody who mattered - as mind-bogglingly large. News reports invariably described it as "huge," "massive" or other terms suggesting it was unrealistically large, even kind of pornographic. The favored cliché used to describe the reaction in Congress was "sticker shock."

What the Left Doesn't Understand About Obama
There's a whole lot of stupidity in Chait's article, which I daresay Scarecrow did a fine job of rebutting over at FireDogLake today. But this bit irritates the crap out of me, because not only is it abominably stupid, it's stupid because it fails to understand the things that critics of the stimulus was saying.

First, the $500 billion stimulus that no one supposedly complained about. That was being talked about, as this article notes, at the time that Goerge W. Bush was still cleaning out the closets at the White House. No one at that time was pitching it as the one and only stimulus, either. That was something else Obama managed to screw up once he took office.

As for all those people who matter who didn't think the stimulus was too small when just about everyone who understood how economics works knew otherwise, why in the world would Chait think this is something that justifies Obama's decisions? If anything, what it tells me is that The Audacity of Dopes was an inspired title for his economics policies. Anyone who couldn't tell that this stimulus wasn't nearly large enough wasn't paying attention.

And as for Nancy Pelosi, right here is proof that liberals didn't think too much of her either then, or later. She got progressive legislation passed, but she never stood up for it when the Senate or the President decided they wanted something different. She should have known she'd lose the House by doing that, but she did it anyway.

So, yes, yet another reason that we are screwed. Nearly anyone who doesn't want to believe that Barack Obama is either a con artist or an incompetent can find asshats like Chait who are willing to make excuses for him. All these people who keep telling me how stupid the Republicans are seem to forget one thing - they're getting what they want. The reason they're getting what they want is that they demand it of their politicians. We progressives, on the other hand, are apparently supposed to accept naked opportunism or outright incompetence as the best we can expect of our leaders.

As I've written many times before, progressives who refuse to vote out Democrats who have failed to do what we sent them there to do have only themselves to blame for this state of affairs.


lawguy said...

Obama can only do what he has done and what we got is the only thing that we could have gotten. I saw this described as the Dr. Pangloss critique of the democrats on another comment thread. It is apparently the best of all possible worlds after all.

Cujo359 said...

I love this quote, which I cannot attribute: "An optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist knows it is."

Which, I suppose, makes me neither.

As someone who watches entirely too much science fiction TV, I've noted that fans over the years seem to take it as a challenge to explain away a series' mistakes and inconsistencies with backstory. Perhaps there's a similar urge among politics junkies.