Always a pleasure to read something that pretty much mirrors my own feelings. Since now Whiskey Fire has saved me the trouble of writing it myself:
…Yes, the Obama folks could do more & should have feet set to fire, etc. (insofar as that’s even possible to do) — but even if they were, well, Nigerian Marxist Muslims, how much would actually be different, now? Because it’s not like there aren’t immense institutionalized impediments to sensibly confronting the real problems that actually exist, as opposed to the wingnut bugbears that suck up so much attention. Climate change. Unemployment. A hideous medical system.
Any chief executive seriously wanting to take on any of these messes would have to contend with a legislative system that’s totally cockeyed and sclerotic, especially in the Senate, with its new bizarre supermajority requirements; a judiciary loaded with wingnut zealots; a media run by vapid incompetents; and an economic sector run by lunatic ideologues who aren’t particularly good at, you know, capitalism.
And, since such a chief executive would really need to be a Democrat, he or she would also have to deal with a pretty fucked up party apparatus where lots of the powerful established Democratic figures who get to decide what the party does (or does not do) have about as much functional use even to other Democrats as a ninth hairy nipple. (I bet you can guess who I have in mind!) …
And from Matthew Yglesias:
That said, I agree with Chris Bowers that in a lot of ways the real story here is that the Senate leadership has, at every step of this process, underscored that a “reconciliation” path to a health care bill is off the table. That means Lieberman has unlimited control over what happens, and no incentive to compromise, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he’s being uncompromising.
Can’t liberals be just as stiff-necked as Lieberman? Sure, they could. But liberal members do have an incentive to compromise — the tens of thousands of people who die every year for lack of health insurance. The leverage that Lieberman and other “centrists” have obtained on this issue (and on climate change) stems from a demonstrated willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions.