Bill O’Reilly Needs a Hug

Bill O’Reilly’s recent statement in support of a public insurance option as a part of health care reform, followed as quickly as it was by him decrying being taken out of context and saying “the internet is a safe haven for liars,” reminds me of nothing so much as a baseball player who charges the mound, but does it just slowly enough to make sure his teammates catch up to him before he has to throw a punch. It’s a “Hold me back! Hold me back!” moment.

It’s got to be a bit tough being the Big Giant Head right now. With Glenn Beck’s crazy rise, Bill’s isn’t the cool table in the Fox News cafeteria anymore. When Media Matters does its daily round up of right wing half-truths, O’Reilly can barely even get ink anymore. He’s learning first hand that it’s better to be made fun of than to be ignored.

Why else would he ask that press be barred from his acceptance of a Media Courage Award over the weekend?

It’s a cry for help.

Bill O’Reilly Needs a Hug

The Nature of Political Compromise, and Bourbon

Watching the GOP on cable news fulminating about health care reform makes me think about the nature of compromise.

(Well, actually, first it makes me giggle a bit; then I get very quiet and think about America’s future; then more giggling, only bitter now; then I give the television the finger; then I grab a bottle of bourbon while muttering about John Boehner being an “asshat”; and then I start thinking about the nature of political compromise.)

Near as I can figure, there are three reasons for compromise in our legislative system.

1) To get the votes necessary to pass a bill – With the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, compromise for votes (at least outside of the Blue Dogs) is not very needed. Also worth noting that when the Republicans were in power their approach towards this flavor of compromise went along the lines of telling the Democrats they were communistic, terrorist loving, troop hating, wusses if they didn’t tow the line, and then calling them that anyway after they did.

2) As an end in itself – The idea that bringing the other side to the table is either an inherent good, or will make generalized aspects of governing easier. Given the clubbiness of Congress, this could also be the “I don’t want anyone to feel awkward at Cokie Roberts’ next dinner party” position. We know from their recent history that the Republican Party doesn’t consider this one much of a value, hence Dick Cheney’s telling a Democratic Senator to “go [expletive deleted] himself.”

3) To make the legislation better – The Easter Bunny of political goals. Besides an impulse towards harmony as opposed to discord, I think this is at the heart of the desire for compromise on important pieces of legislation. Both in the media and Democratic leadership, there’s a tendency towards looking back wistfully at some hazy former day when both parties met, exchanged ideas, and shook hands over the improved bill. That carries over today into an attitude that posits the solution to national problems as being invariably found somewhere in the middle of what each party is advocating. Which is, of course, bunk.

With all there reasons for political compromise being either deeply flawed or fully broken, might it make sense for the Democratic Party to just quietly push away from the table and go about the business of governing mostly on their own?

The Nature of Political Compromise, and Bourbon

3 thoughts about politics

(or “While I’d Probably Have a Different Opinion if I Made More Money…”)

(or “Men in Black References Are Too Still Relevant!”)

1. Does the anger over the AIG bailouts represent the cresting of a more significant popular anger over what’s been a 30 year trend of American capitalism valuing moving money around far more than actually making things? It’s not just that the AIG mess can serve as a shorthand for rewarding people who failed so badly at their jobs that they hurt the rest of us along with them, but that a closer look reveals a system in which even if they had succeeded at their jobs, they still wouldn’t have “deserved” that money.

2. Watching Norm Coleman in Minnesota pivot pretty directly from arguing right after the Senate election that a recount would cost the state too much money (up to $120,000) to arguing that a new state-wide election is the only way to serve the public interest (at a cost of millions) has me wondering, as so many things do, if, as part the process of joining the Republican Party, one is hit with a Men in Black-style gadget that erases the bit of the brain in charge of cognitive dissonance. It would explain so much.

3. Eric Cantor (R-VA) is every student council president ever.

3 thoughts about politics