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Josh Marshall published an intruguing comment titled A Total Strawman. He claims:

"But I don't think anybody with half a brain (and maybe that excludes more people than it should) doesn't realize that the Democrats problems are overwhelmingly tied to the fact that we're in the midst of the worst recession since the end of the Second World War. Whether it's 75% of the problem or 80% or 90% I sort of go back and forth on in my mind. But clearly this is overwhelmingly the issue."

Talk about Total Strawman. Josh, you are missing the point.

Josh, do you really believe that voters in Massachusetts elected Scott Brown because he would be more effective at addressing the national economy?

Josh, do you really believe Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Harry Reid in Nevada are polling so poorly because they've been completely ineffective at addressing the national economy?

Josh, do you really believe Ben Nelson (who is not up for election in 2010) in Nebraska is polling so poorly because he's been completely ineffective at addressing the national  economy?

Josh, do you really believe Chris Dodd in Connecticut declined to run for re-election because he's been completely ineffective at addressing the national economy?

Josh, reality check time. President Obama is not running in 2010. If he were I would grant you that the national economy might be responsible for some portion of his and the Democrats' problems.

Josh, the 2010 election is going to be a series of local elections. Voters will have a chance to express their desires regarding the issues important to them. I seriously doubt that voters expect their local leaders to have fixed the economy during the prior 24 months. Voters aren't that shortsighted.

Voters can be influenced. Voters can be distracted. Voters can be manipulated. There are powerful, wealthly, and determined forces who have, are, and will continue to influence, distract, and manipulate voters.

If you need any further proof that even the most intelligent and politically savvy voter can be manipulated to think that voters are angry at Democrats because Democrats fail to heed the "It's the economy, stupid" mantra, then all you need to do is read this.

The Democrats have an issue that can provide a winning majority for decades. President Obama knows all about this. He speaks about it all the time.

It's the middle class, stupid.

I have yet to hear any Democrat besides President Obama repeat every day how the health care reform bill, as imperfect and flawed as it is, will help the middle class. Right now.

That's right. The health care reform bill will help the middle class. Right now.

Democrats, instead of running toward the single most important piece of (imperfect and flawed) legislation, are running away from it.

You know it's true. That Democrats are running away from this bill.

You know it's true. The health care reform bill is the single most important piece of legislation that can help the middle class - right now - during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

How you can fail to see this is breathtaking.

Originally posted to W T F on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 09:42 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  it IS the economy (0+ / 0-)

      and it always will be so the answer to these questions is yes....

      Josh, do you really believe that voters in Massachusetts elected Scott Brown because he would be more effective at addressing the national economy?

      Josh, do you really believe Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Harry Reid in Nevada are polling so poorly because they've been completely ineffective at addressing the national economy?

      Josh, do you really believe Ben Nelson (who is not up for election in 2010) in Nebraska is polling so poorly because he's been completely ineffective at addressing the national  economy?

      Josh, do you really believe Chris Dodd in Connecticut declined to run for re-election because he's been completely ineffective at addressing the national economy?

  •  Josh Marshall (0+ / 0-)

    has had his leg up from the so called Netroots now he is running full tilt for mainstream "respectability" and acceptance.

    Pity.

    Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom
    -Herbert Spencer

    by stevej on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 09:50:53 AM PST

  •  in other words the middle class needs help (17+ / 0-)

    becausse we are in the midst of the worst rcession since the 1930's?

    Isn't that what JM said?  I must be going gaga or something. You just made Marshall's point in a pointless rant about who wrong he is?

    Help!!!!!!!!  or was that the point?

    •  HCR Bill Will Create Jobs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaulVA, happy camper, pamelabrown

      Also will free up self employed business oweners to quit worrying about whether they will healthcare insurance or not. HCR bill will motivate more people to go out and start businesses.

    •  Agree, soccergrandmom. Ha ha. A strawman (7+ / 0-)

      about a strawman.

    •  In summary (0+ / 0-)

      Josn's point: it's the economy, stupid. And there's nothing we can do about that. We are doomed.

      W T F's point: we can't do a thing about the economy. We can help the middle class - right now. Health care reform is one way.

      •  That wasn't Josh's point at all (0+ / 0-)

        Your reading comprehension sucks.

        In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

        by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:11:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see. Then what is Josh referring to with (0+ / 0-)

          "this" in the last sentence of the paragraph I quoted?

          "But clearly this is overwhelmingly the issue."

          •  Did you stop reading at that point? (0+ / 0-)

            Because the remaining two paragraphs completely refute your entire premise.

            In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

            by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:51:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then Josh wrote (0+ / 0-)

              "So while it's clear that a lot of what's happening isn't just not in the Democrats control but isn't their fault,..."

              I agree that a lot of what's happening - to the economy - isn't just not in the Democrats control.

              I disagree that a lot of what's happening - to the Democrats - isn't just not in the Democrats control.

              Then Josh has the gall to write: "After all, it's holding the majority in such trying times that is doing them such damage; so they might as well use the perks."

              "Holding the majority" "is doing them such damage"? "The perks?"

              Josh's point is that the economy is responsible for the vast majority of the Democrats problems.

              My point is that the Democrats are responsibile for the vast majority of the Democrats problems.

              •  Here's the crux of Josh's point: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                soccergrandmom

                When you sail in rough seas or adverse winds your sailing abilities don't cease to matter. They actually become even more important

                In other words, when you're sailing into a headwind, don't point your boat the wrong way.

                In order to take issue with Josh, you either have to (A) misrepresent what he's saying entirely, or (B) believe that the governing party is unaffected by U3 over 10% and U6 over 17%.

                In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

                by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:18:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You left out the rest ofJosh's sentence: (0+ / 0-)

                  "They actually become even more important, even though sometimes the circumstances are so adverse that almost nothing you do yields more than marginal gains."

                  The health care reform bill (for all its shortcomings) is "nothing...more than marginal gains"? That health care reform bill will do more to cushion the blow of the great recession for the middle class - and serve the middle class beyond the great recession - than the 2009 stimulus bill. A bill I believe was invaluable.

                  Josh believes that 75% or 80% or 90% of the Democrats problems are due to the economy.

                  I believe that 10% U3 and 17% U6 are responsible for less than 25% of the Democrats problems and that 75% or 80% or 90% of the Democrats problems are due to the Democrats failure to lead.

                  •  Have you actually seen the polling (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    soccergrandmom

                    on the health bill, and public opinion on the relative importance of the health bill and the jobs bill?

                    Now, some of that is attributable to the Dems' failure to explain the economic importance of the health bill, but the fact is, Dems are suffering in the polls because of a perception that they've wasted time on HCR when they should've been fixing the economy. The economy is what voters are thinking about, first and foremost.

                    In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

                    by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:46:34 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  And BTW, your argument's selfcontradictory (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    soccergrandmom

                    You say that the economy's largely irrelevant, but the problem is that the Dems have failed to move a bill you say is vital for the economy.

                    In effect you're saying the problem's the Dems' failure to fix the economy. I agree. So does Josh.

                    In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

                    by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:48:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I never wrote (0+ / 0-)

                      "Dems have failed to move a bill you say is vital for the economy".

                      I wrote that a significant part of the Dems problems is their failure to pass a health care reform bill that offers tremendous benefits for the middle class - now and forever.

                      By the way, the Democrats can't fix the economy.  No one can fix the economy. A new jobs bill won't fix the economy. It's still worth passing a new jobs bill.

                      The Democrats can cushion the blow from the great recession. And the Democrats can institute reforms, such as health care and health insurance, that will have lasting benefits for the middle class.

                      Struggling middle class voters should blame Democrats when Senator Nelson carves out a sweetheart deal on Medicare payments for Nebraskans in the dead of night.

                      Struggling middle class voters should blame Democrats when Senator Lieberman plays Majority Leader Reid for a fool - for weeks.

                      Struggling middle class voters should blame Democrats when Majority Leader Reid tries to pass a health care reform bill that respects Senate traditions in spite of the fact that his opposition leader in the Senate crows in public that the failure of health care reform will be President Obama's Waterloo.

                      Is this change we can believe in?

                      And what the h*ll does any of that have to do with the economy?

                      •  Waffle. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        soccergrandmom

                        By the way, it was DeMint, not McConnell, that said health would be Obama's Waterloo.

                        And you're just the latest in a very, very, very long line of Kossacks who want Democrats not to be Democrats. They've never been a highly whipped party. That's why they appeal to people who can think for themselves. Meanwhile any honest evaluation of the last year in Congress would be forced to consider what would have happened if the Republicans had acted like any minority party in the history of the nation up until 2006: by occasionally putting the interests of the country before the interests of the party.

                        When even lefties entirely absolve Republicans of any blame for their obscene obstructionism, it creates the environment in which that obstructionism can be successful. The Republicans ought to be facing electoral Armageddon for creating the biggest mess this country has seen in 80 years and then standing squarely in the way of any and every effort to fix it. But instead, you blame the Democrats, the vast majority of whom have been busting a gut to try to put the country back on the right track.

                        In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

                        by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:35:54 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  BTW, if you don't understand "the perks" (0+ / 0-)

                read this: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

                OK, it's Brian, not Josh, but it's essentially the same argument.

                Moreover, your criticism of the Josh article you picked out entirely ignores the context. You can't ignore the context, because the entire point of the article is an ongoing debate, as established clearly in the first paragraph:

                Yesterday I did a handful of posts about how Hill Democrats seem much less adept as mixing politics and policy together than their Republican counterparts. And this seems especially the case in the House where control of the Speakership is a uniquely powerful political tool because it allows the majority to hold votes on their own terms, one which unify the majority party and split the minority party. But a number of people have responded by saying: that's a distraction. The reason the Democrats are in such trouble is because of the lousy economy.

                Marshall started out blaming Democrats for their woes. Readers said "you can't say that, it's all the economy, and you take no account of the economy." Marshall responds saying "/because/ of the economy, the politics matter".

                You're in violent agreement.

                In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

                by sullivanst on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:05:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Total BS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soccergrandmom

        You quoted one paragraph out on an article, and then distorted that into a strawman

        Josn's point: it's the economy, stupid. And there's nothing we can do about that. We are doomed.

        He does say it's the economy. But he says that while it's inevitable that the Party in power is going to be blamed for that, they need to use that power to enact policies that will benfit voters. Josh goes on to talk about how political skill is even more important in tough times.

        Your diary is entirely constructed out of straw.

        God has no religion. - Gandhi

        by OIL GUY on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:24:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I stand corrected (0+ / 0-)

          when I wrote that Josh implied that "We are doomed." You are right to call me out on that. I do stand by the two sentences that precede that sentence.

          I stand by the fundamental thesis of my diary: the economy is responsible for less than 25% of the Democrats problems now - going into the 2010 elections.

          My position is represented by Brian Beutler's article at TalkingPointsMemo.com. I understand Brian's arguments to be in strong contrast to Josh's blog.

    •  er, no (0+ / 0-)

      There's a lot of rhetoric about the economy as if it were just one sector, as if were all about either the very wealthiest (the banksters) or the very poor (the un- and underemployed).

      The diarist has the point, which all the internal Democratic rhetoric lacks acknowledgment of, that it's not just about fixes for the socioeconomic top 3% and bottom 30%.  It's that the two thirds middle between the two is also in an economic predicament, for one thing because it is being parasitized by the unreformed health care system.

      We have a comprehensive problem of a perversely misorganized economy that has to be ironed out.

    •  I thought this diarist was supporting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Standard Deviant

      the "half a brain" part of Josh's argument.

      God has no religion. - Gandhi

      by OIL GUY on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:19:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  economy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, sullivanst

    Josh, do you really believe that voters in Massachusetts elected Scott Brown because he would be more effective at addressing the national economy?

    Do you think Scott Brown would have been elected if the economy was doing great and everybody had jobs? People in general vote with their pocket books. This is a big reason Obama got elected in the first place.

    Congress should still pass the HCR bill. If they can't get it done with 60 votes in the senate, they really should not bother us voters with governing again.

    •  Great question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Danali

      "Do you think Scott Brown would have been elected if the economy was doing great and everybody had jobs?"

      Yes, had Martha Coakley run the same campaign.

      My take on the Massachusetts election: Martha Coakley give it away. Scott Brown ran a great campaign and happened to be the last Republican standing.

      80% of success is showing up. Scott Brown showed up.

    •  Do you think Scott Brown would have been (0+ / 0-)

      elected in Mass if Single Payer were the start of the negotiations?

      How about if the Banks were more than slapped on the wrist?

      How about if Rahm didn't tell Democratic Activists to STFU?

      Or we didn't give Nelson, LIEberman, Snow & Baucus the HCR ball?

      Fucking funny.

      I totally disagree on "it's the economy, Stupid!"

      It's about work and protection from exploitation in hard economic times.

      We've got a 'growing economy'. It's just not working for us.

      We're being fed to it and everybody knows it.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:31:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems are playing not to lose... (9+ / 0-)

    rather than playing to win. It's like they're constantly apologizing for being Democrats.  

    Claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility and run on it. Point to the budget surplus under Clinton and the budget deficit racked up by Bush/Cheney.  Point out the Cheney quote that "Deficits don't matter. We have a mandate" and ask Republicans where their concern for the deficit was then?  Point out Orrin Hatch's "We didn't worry about paying for stuff back then" and ask why he and other Republicans only have concern when paying for stuff when Democrats are in charge.

    Republicans spend like drunken sailors and Democrats have to clean up their mess.  And still the belief is that Republicans are more fiscally responsible?

    Any Republican who voted for Medicare Part D without paying for it, voted for the Bush Tax Cuts without paying for it, and voted for the two wars without paying for it should be attacked on their total hypocrisy each and every moment come campaign season.  

    $200B Budget Surplus under Democratic Clinton Administration left to George Bush.  Bush left Obama with $1.3T Budget Deficit. This fact should be in every attack ad Democrats produce this cycle.  

    Republicans voting against PayGo should be in every attack ad this campaign cycle.

    Attack the false meme that Republicans are better on the economy.  What we're in now is the the Republican recession.  Repeat that ad naseum so it eventually sticks "REPUBLICAN RECESSION!!" The GOP is trying to level this on Obama and the Dems, don't accept that - push back hard. One year can't possibly clean up the mess eight years of Bush and the Republicans have made.  

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 09:59:28 AM PST

  •  You seem awfully mad at Josh. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SamSinister, Samer, Little, OIL GUY

    Are you two dating or something? My ex used to say my name over and over again when we were arguing. "Shiz" this, "Shiz" that.

    Very annoying.

    If I push (Obama) to the left, it's not because I'm mean, it's because I like him and I want him to do well. - metal prophet

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:02:29 AM PST

  •  Josh is a very good guy. He was almost (10+ / 0-)

    single-handedly responsible for calling out the Bush admin's plan to privatize Social Security -- he was the one that got the Dems going on this. I have been aware for years that he is more conservative than I am but he is very honest. In addition, I don't see his analysis as wrong, but merely partial.

    Want jobs? Invest in Infrastructure: Energy, Transportation, Technology, and Education

    by lecsmith on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:07:32 AM PST

  •  The issue isn't just about political packaging . (0+ / 0-)

    At the end of the day swing voters tend to vote their wallets.

    If their situation is good or has improved, then they tend to vote for the status quo.

    If their situation is insecure, then they tend to vote for change -- ANY kind of change.

    The Dems do have a messaging problem.  They also have a policy problem.  They are not moving fast enough, or aggressively enough on the economy.

    When Obama talks about "spending freezes" and when he proposes a modest $100 billion package, he is not showing that he gets it.  What he probably needs is a $400 billion SPENDING package this year (tax-cuts won't do it).  

    If he can't get that package to save American jobs, then he and the Dems need to highlight GOP obstruction.  

    The Dems did take some action on the economy last year, but it wasn't enough.  They oversold the first stimulus too.

  •  Marshall is saying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madmsf

    the bad economy is hurting the Dems. Are you saying the bad economy actually helps the Dems?

    The bad economy has affected public perception. The bank bailout and the inept handling of the healthcare reform bill have fed the perception that the Dems are caving to special interests instead of giving the middle class some relief and the jobless some reason for hope.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:20:04 AM PST

    •  Josh is saying (0+ / 0-)

      "But clearly this is overwhelmingly the issue." I take "this" to mean the economy.

      I'm not saying the bad economy helps the Dems. I'm saying the bad economy doesn't really hurt the Dems.

      I'm saying what really hurts the Dems is their failure to lead, their failure to manage the political process, their failure to manage the legislative process, their failure to manage the news cycle, and their failure to stand up for their positions.

      When Josh says "But clearly this [the economy] is overwhelmingly the issue." he clearly rejects that the Democrats have failed to take responsibility for their own success.

      •  The voter response to the bad economy... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DWG, W T F

        ...isn't to vote for the GOP, it's to vote against the (presumed) incumbent. Plus the obvious fact that Brown ran a better campaign than what's-her-face.

        As you mention, the GOP still has no fresh ideas, and is in no position to get the economy moving again.  As Kos mentions in today's poll results, the congressional Dems aren't losing favor because they're doing the wrong thing... it's because they aren't doing anything at a time when a whole lot of folks are hurting and angry.

        Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

        by godwhataklutz on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:04:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The horse is dead, stop beating it! (0+ / 0-)

        God has no religion. - Gandhi

        by OIL GUY on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:29:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Firefly Award For Shooting Your Own Men (0+ / 0-)

    Congrats

  •  Help the middle class? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catnip

    By taxing many of them to pay for it?  

    Big tent leads to big fail.

    by Paleo on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:37:35 AM PST

  •  "that can ..."? (0+ / 0-)

    Surely you're not suggesting the present legislation is superior to single-payer, are you?

    •  I am not suggesting that (0+ / 0-)

      the present legislation is superior to single-payer.

      I am in favor of single payer. I believe it was political suicide to attempt it in 2009.

      I am in favor of the public option. I believe that, if Harry Reid had real political will, the Democrats could have passed a public option and sent it to the President's desk. In 2009. I believe it is politically untenable to attempt that now.

      The current health care reform legislation, with appropriate fixes as described by Speaker Pelosi, will help the middle class starting today and those benefits will persist well beyond the great recession.

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