Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Silent Running


“The chief characteristic and strength of the submarine is its invisibility due to its ability to submerge. As a consequence, the submarine is distinguished, at the same time, by another special feature, the advantage of surprise. ”


Andrew Sullivan has an interesting take on the Obama strategy:

Every single symbolic act has been inclusive and sober. From that speech in Grant Park to the eschewal of euphoria on Inauguration Day; from the George Will dinner invite to the Rick Warren invocation; from meeting the House Republicans on the Hill to convening a fiscal responsibility summit; from telegraphing to all of us Obamacons that he wasn’t a fiscal lunatic to … unveiling the most expansive, liberal, big government reversal of Reagan any traditional Democrat would die for.

(more after the jump)

Lets face it, Big O is playing the cognitive dissonance card, hard. He speaks enough like a centrist to garner a constant stream of criticism from the left, then BLAM, a budget Bernie Sanders would envy.

If his political camouflage weren’t confusing enough, he’s moving so fast that it’s difficult for his opponents to mount an effective opposition against any one thing, without letting something else go unchallenged.

Again from Sullivan:

He won the stimulus debate long before the Republicans realized it (they were busy doing tap-dances of victory on talk radio, while he was building a new coalition without them). And now, after presenting such a centrist, bi-partisan, moderate and personally trustworthy front, he gets to unveil a radical long-term agenda that really will soak the very rich and invest in the poor. Given the crisis, he has seized this moment for more radicalism than might have seemed possible only a couple of months ago.

I mean, the big debate is over the budget now – I’m sure the GOP wanted to dig in and undermine the stimulus, but that’s pretty much water under the bridge at this point. Now they have to push back against the budget while Health Care looms – THIS year. The promise of EFCA has inspired the unions, as evidenced in the the awesome “party of no” commercials. This is six weeks into his presidency.

I work with staunch conservatives, and what’s amazing is that I can see a sort of dazed resentment is setting in. They have begin to treat Obama less as an actual opponent, and more like some sort of liberal Hurricane Obama. No longer do they accost me with wingnut-skewed criticisms of this proposal or that, they simply send me charts of the budget deficit – mute symbols of resistance with no actual thrust or point.

If Joe Wingnut is adrift, his political apparatus fares no better. Steele is a caricature of himself. Jindal rendered an EPIC FAIL in front of 50 million people, then flew away to hide in the Magic Kingdom. An unlicensed plumber is a rock star at CPAC.

I suspect the worst thing, from their point of view, is exactly that cognitive dissonance Obama fosters, the jarring disconnect between as ambitious a social agenda as we’ve seen in a generation, and a foreign policy McCain praises. That this Djinn of the Left maintains 60%+ approval ratings must produce a deep bafflement on the Right, I’m sure if we could read wingnut thought balloons {“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!?”} would be the predominant specimen.

Along with the obvious schadenfreude, I admit to some concern. I’ve seen my coworkers move from scorn, to anger, to actual fear in some cases. Organized protest assumes utterly ridiculous themes – hundreds turn out for anti-tax tea parties, when the vast majority of those people will be getting a tax cut (no refunds without representation?). Media personalities court sedition and worse. This is not the orchestrated irrationality of Rove and Atwater, this is actual hind-brain survival-mode batshit crazy. The culture war of the Right has turned on them, not in coded symbols and campaign slogans, but in a society that is being remade as they watch. Have the stresses on our idealogical faultlines been larger at any time since the 60’s?

Yeah, I’m worried – but I think Obama understands the tightrope he’s walking. He continues to defy definition – resisting nationalization (SOCIALISM!) until even republicans begin to agree. Oh, it’ll happen, but he’ll be “forced” into it. Cognitive dissonance. Camouflage. Keep up the moderate mask to placate the Center and near Right, while essentially overthrowing the past 40 years of republican influence.

We are up against an ideology that sees Obama – with perfect justification – as a threat to all they hold dear. Open political warfare is out of the question. This is not a battle we will win with battleships, the stakes are too high. We need a U-Boat, running silent and deep.


  1. Michelle

    I love it!  It’s almost like saying, get on board or get the hell out of the way.  To see efficiency in our federal government gives me such hope for our country.  In a time of crisis, we cannot continue to sit back and wait.  The Republicans have had plenty of time to get their acts together, but they have refused.  Sure, I want a healthy opposition, but I see no reason why we should wait for them to figure it out.  We simply cannot afford to wait any longer.  I see that party now as a drowning person who is fighting the person trying to save him.  If the saving person continues to help, she will be brought down with him.  So let go, find a new voice, and let’s rebuild our country together.

  2. I think of O as more like one of those giant earthmovers. The opposition can’t stop it, all they can do is get out of the way and throw stones at it as it moves past them. If they aren’t careful they will get run over.

  3. Sure, there are some things I’m not pleased with, but overall I’m very pleased. I wish he had said we’d be out of Iraq a month after they held their elections this year, but that’s not going to happen. I wish congress had already started investigations of some of the activities of the last administration, but at least that looks like it will happen eventually. I wish the bank bailout was being handled differently, but even there, I think you are right. The administration will continue to deny any desire for nationalization until the clamor for it cannot be ignored, then they will do so reluctantly. The result will be the same in the end, however this way Obama will seem to be giving into the will of the majority when it’s what  he’d like to do all along.

    Let’s face it, he’s even better than many of us expected. We were hoping for the best and we just might get it.

  4. creamer

    The other day I watched Tom DeLay bitch about everything including Bush and seemingly the Republicans in congress.

    Matthews finaly cut him off and told him that someday he needed to explain why rethoric and idealology never matched the results.

  5. which really sums up your ideal submarine commander.  The boxing analogy would be the later career of Mohamed Ali, but the GOP is not doing a good George Foreman imitation, more like Peewee Herman in trunks freaking out on way too much benzadrine.

    I think there will be nationalization of an extent to some of the banks, but I think in the end the government will sell off that ownership again.  As far as whether the country is moved Left or Right I don’t specifically care, my judgment will be reserved for whether there is more prosperity in the country or not.

  6. fogiv

    Great diary.  I think we are seeing the country move left before our very eyes, most of it occuring while GOP stalwarts keep figting with the same old blunt idea weapons from the 80s.  It’s the GOP death rattle.

    Thanks for cross-posting.  Hope to see you back often.

  7. rfahey22

    I wonder if his machinations make the sound of whales humping.  I’m pleased with the progress so far, I’m glad that they’ve kept the early mistakes to a minimum.  I’m a little puzzled by the apparent stance on state secrets, but in the main I like what I see.  

  8. Hollede

    and I am forced to run screaming from the room to find a burger;~>, I should welcome you to our Motley group.

    It is good to see you here and posting such an excellent diary. You have nailed the absolute genius of the President and the helpless squirming of the pugs. Oh and you made me smile through the entire article. Thanks Neef!

Comments are closed.