Whenever liberals and lefties are unhappy with the Obama Administration, there is a chorus of pundits and political scientists who raise the specter of Green Lanternism: the belief that the president, if he only wanted to do something, could (it sounds more like Peter Pan-ism, but I digress), that his failures are failures of will, not inability. Related to that is the claim that liberals didn’t understand what Obama was really all about (though some good reporting back in 2007 that could have uncovered the Pritzker connection might have been useful. Just saying). I won’t speak for the left or liberals, but I was very well aware that Obama was a ‘New Democrat’ back in 2007, as demonstrated by his desire for a ‘Grand Bargain’ back in 2007 (which he then lied about on the campaign trail). Nonetheless, I thought he beat the alternatives, though that’s damning with faint praise.
Let’s leave aside Obama’s failure in 2009 to use reconciliation to get a bigger stimulus, or the unwillingness of Democrats to repeal the filibuster (which means the Republicans would have been unable to block over all sorts of legislation that the then Democratic-controlled House passed). No need to be churlish.
I get why political scientists like to remind us of ‘Green Lanternism.’ They observe a phenomenon, think it’s relevant, and describe it. TEH SCIENTISMZ!! But I don’t get the pundits and left-leaning Mandarin class types. If you want to simultaneously establish your faux-worldliness and that you’re a putz, by all means, tell rank-and-file Democrats–some of whom need this crap to work–they’re deluding themselves. It probably pays well too.
But what I would like to know O Great Pundit-ji, what is your plan for progress? Let say you think a twelve or fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage or a public healthcare option would be desirable outcomes. The goal, after all, is not to establish how fucking smart you are, but to achieve good policy outcomes. How do we get there? What things need to happen? After all, in 2009, Democrats controlled the Senate, the House, and the Presidency–and it wasn’t the professional pundit class that did it. What we got in return was Romneycare (remember: better than is not the same as good), no resolution of the housing crisis, an inadequate stimulus, and the fucking bankers walked. Never mind a lot of stupid slights–we’re looking forward, not back, to use a phrase.
I never hear their strategies–and I’m fine with long-term ones. Maybe we are doing it wrong by trying to hold our party leadership accountable. So tell us what would work better. But rather than treating this like Friday night football (GO TEAM!), give us your strategy for getting there. Because otherwise, you just being a pedantic dick. Don’t be that guy (even if it pays well)…