Thursday, April 8, 2010

Well, I suppose he would know a little something about that

Reading anything by Karl Rove is a strange experience. Virtually every accusation he lobs at his opponents is not only untrue, but it's almost perfectly true of himself. Here's one good example from the Wall Street Journal:

Obama Has Overpromised and Underdelivered

In the real world, the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate has produced the following accomplishments so far:
  • Passing the stimulus bill, which has cushioned the blow from the recession
  • Passed the Lily Ledbetter Act
  • Passed student loan reform
  • Passed health care reform
  • Passed sweeping regulation of the credit card industry, and is likely to reregulate Wall Street
  • Passed new regulations on the tobacco industry
  • Has signed a new treaty to reduce the prevalence of nuclear arms
Admittedly, Obama hasn't been nearly good enough on security matters, often taking Republican-lite stands on these matters (though the end of torture, of course, removes the most objectionable of Bush-era practices). He's unfortunately (though understandably) reversed himself on recognizing the Armenian genocide. Immigration reform is very unlikely to happen, except for as part of a strategy to make the right look awful (possibly in conjunction with a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell). And Obama's economic team vastly misread the depth of our economic problems at the outset of their term and foolishly didn't try to put a safety cushion in the stimulus in case the problems were worse than they seemed. But the truth is that Obama has generally produced about at the level at which he promised.

Now, the Bush White House was a different story. Coming off an election in 2004 that was supposed to settle a permanent Republican majority--in itself a dubious goal, as states with protracted one-party rule tend to be corrupt, dysfunctional and ruling parties tend to do whatever will keep them in power--the GOP failed catastrophically to deliver the goods, tossing away senior support with an abandoned attempt to privatize Social Security and losing Hispanic support by botching the immigration reform debate. In neither case could the Republicans deliver what they promised, in the first case because few people actually wanted to mess with Social Security, and the latter because immigration is anathema to conservatives. And, of course, there's Bush's foreign policy adventures that were billed as a way to turn the Middle East into a democratic oasis.

In fact, I'd go even bigger than this. Movement conservatism has for decades overpromised its followers on things like abortion, the scope of government, the Clinton impeachment, and so on. While many former right-wingers have been disgruntled at the results of all this and have moved to the center, the remaining core is actually completely uninterested in the results of the enterprise. They must be, since they apparently read columns by Karl Rove.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.