Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Common Sense Policies Fail

This John Cole post is a keeper. James Joyner proposes that Americorps volunteers should not need to be on food stamps, and that a modest stipend would fix this. It's not a bad idea. But Cole runs with it:

But here is the thing- we can’t do anything about it. I’m sure the House could pass a bill containing a small stipend for Americorps volunteers- in fact, I bet it would get a good bit of support. It might even be very popular with the entire country, as well as being good policy! Likewise, I bet almost all the Democrats and even some Republicans in the Senate would be in favor of passing that bill.

Except the bill would never pass, and I’m surprised James does not recognize that he is operating in a fantasy world. Once the bill hit the Senate, the fun would begin. Even though in the past there were probably numbers of Republicans who supported Americorps, the large majority of them would just flat out say no.

Wanting to negotiate in good faith, having never learned a lesson ever, the Democrats like Baucus and Conrad would slow down the debate to give the Republicans time to participate. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe would work for a couple weeks with Senate leadership, get a couple things they want in the bill, then sigh and utter their public regrets that they just can not support the bill. Chuck Todd, the Politico, and other dullards in the beltway media would run a few pieces wondering why Obama hasn’t reached out more to moderates. While this is happening, the wurlitzer’s media blitz starts...

Malkin would start printing the addresses of Americorps volunteers, and would have her internet sleuths post a facebook picture of an Americorps worker drunk four years ago while in college. By this time, the noise machine is in full swing, and Rush, Glenn Beck, Hannity, the Heritage Foundation, the rest of the Koch funded “think tanks,” Fox News, the NY Post and the Washington Examiner, the NR, and the Weekly Standard and the other wingnut welfare publications would all embark on another disinformation campaign.

Somewhere around this time, Randy Scheuenemann and Meg Stapleton would post a bunch of nonsense on Palin’s facebook page, maybe declaring that Americorps is just like Hitler Youth Corps. This would get picked up by the Weekly Standard’s resident Palin fluffer, Matt Continetti, repeated by the increasingly loathesome Michael Goldfarb, and mainstreamed into CNN by Stephen Hayes in one of his typical fact-free appearances. Bill Kristol would pick up the ball and run with it, and before you know it, Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap would have 20 editorials railing against Americorps...

Read the rest. (There's a brief follow-up of sorts here.) Watch the Maddow video in the previous post. Satirizing these maddening dynamics gives some comfort, but the point is that average citizens are getting completely screwed by the current setup.


Suzan said...

Screwed from both sides.

Making one wonder about that treasured two-party system - where nothing occurs for the common citizens anymore - only for those connected to the in-crowd's power.

Long live U.S. democracy!

But where is it hiding?

Thanks, Bat.


but the point is that average citizens are getting completely screwed by the current setup.

Tony said...

Perhaps the republic has become ungovernable... I honestly do not know. I certainly cannot remember a time when the rancor was at such a pitch.

The world nearly ended 15 months ago with the credit crisis, yet we still have no financial reform. No health care reform means the costs will be 18%, 20%, 25% of GDP? Wars, lobbyists, yada, yada, yada.

Maybe we just two new parites: Party A and Party B. The names themselves have become emotional triggers and I have to admit that I'm affected as well. If someone says says they are "Republican" or even just "voted" Republican, I immediately get visions of Cheney-like authoritarianism and Strom Thurmond racism streaking through my head.

But maybe this is how the sausage has always been made, and there is no better solution.