The Progressive Left's naive delusion

You know, if you care about making investments in our kids and making investments in our infrastructure and making investments in basic research then you should want our fiscal house in order so that every time we propose a new initiative, somebody doesn't just throw up their hands and say more big spending, more government. You know, it would be very helpful for us to be able to say to the American people, our fiscal house is in order.
That's the President - supposedly talking to "progressives" in a press conference. The "senior policy editor" at DailyKos, Joan McCarter responded with a "front page" story.
Obama seems to believe, and seems to be backed up by his advisers in the White House, that by dealing with the deficit now, by dealing with cuts to Social Security and Medicare now, he'll be neutralizing them as issues. Republicans will never give up these issues.[...] the next time Obama wants to try spending, to try to do something to create jobs, they'll cry "tax and spend liberal."
Ms. Carter quoted David Dayan, who is the main politics writer at FireDogLake blog to support her.

As for the idea that you can get the deficit “off the table,” I think the word naive actually fits best here. [...] Republicans are never going to stop shrieking about stopping the spending
So Ms. McCarter and Mr. Dayen tell us that the President believes that addressing the deficit will cause the Republicans to "give up" on the issue of deficits and will take the deficit "off the table". That is, they characterize his argument essentially as "if we give in to the Republicans on this, they will let us go on to more important topics." If the President really believed such a story, he would be remarkably naive - so naive that one might be puzzled how he ever got to be a state legislator let alone President. But if you do not start with the assumption that the President is a kumbaya singing buffoon, you might read his statement to mean that getting the budget under control will assist Democrats in making their case to the public - against the expected Republican attacks. Doesn't that seem more probable? It is characteristic of the progressive left that it has, I'm sure, never occurred to Ms. McCarter or Mr. Dayan that it is unlikely that the President is such a fool and that it is offensive and probably racist to casually imply that he is.

Until Barack Obama became a serious candidate for President, it never occurred to me that "progressives" would claim that an obviously smart, successful, and accomplished black man was an empty suit unable to comprehend the obvious - I was naive enough to assume that such claims would only come from the right wing along with noxious winking about affirmative action. But I've learned a couple of new and rather unpleasant things about the progressive left since 2007 - and a second one is that they are often anxious to believe Republican lines that are not based on fact. Let's read the continuation of Mr. Dayan's analysis for some context (my emphasis)


As for the idea that you can get the deficit “off the table,” I think the word naive actually fits best here. Even a $4 trillion solution would be a smaller deficit reduction than the majority of the Republican caucus called for. It would be smaller than the Ryan budget, which all but four in both chambers of the House voted for. Republicans are never going to stop shrieking about stopping the spending
The Paul Ryan budget? The one that turns Medicare into a voucher program and hands out tax deductions to corporations and the rich with glad abandon? The one that has made even the Republican faithful flinch? That budget would cut the deficit by more than $4trillion? Really?
The Ryan budget plan relies on dubious assertions, questionable assumptions and fishy figures. The ideas may be bold, but the budget presentation falls short of his claim that he is getting rid of budget gimmicks. Two Pinocchios [Washington Post Fact Check]

So in the course of explaining that the President is a naive fellow who does not understand the Republicans (and, as he later explains, economics), Mr. Dayan basically signs on to the duplicitous PR for the Ryan budget without a qualm in the world. It turns out that assuming Republican spin to be true is not all that unusual on DailyKos. Here's DKOS highly influential writer (and former FireDogLake employee) who goes by the name of "Slinkerwink".
I see that people were pleased with President Obama for walking out of the room due to being treated disrespectfully by Rep. Eric Cantor, but what they've missed are these pertinent facts: the President does not want a clean debt ceiling bill, and he does not want the McConnell bill.
Eric Cantor's story was that the President walked out of discussions - Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and the President disagreed. And McConnell's bill is clean? Actually, McConnell has turned into something of a hero on DailyKos recently where the non-naive and self-assessed as smart progressives cannot understand the reluctance of the President to let the Republicans crawl out of the hole they have dug for themselves. But there's an even better example


Michael Barone has a reality check for the "pass the damn Senate bill already" crowd.
Yes that's DailyKos Senior Political Editor Joan McCarter citing right wing operative Michael Barone to oppose what turned out to be the winning legislative end game strategy on Health Care Reform.