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Outrage fatigue

Another post at Kos, as at so many of our left leaning blogs, documenting yet another “outrageous” act by a Republican, this time the fact that John Kyl is holding up the Start Treaty in order to get a tax cut for the rich.

I must confess that I am not outraged by this, nor am I outraged at any of the other outrageous acts in which Republicans have engaged lately. I will admit that the acts of the Republicans are objectively outrageous, but I no longer find them emotionally outrageous. At this point, it is just Republicans being Republicans. It is what they do. Worth noting and cataloging to be sure, but not worth an increase in one’s blood pressure. After all, so far as the Republicans are concerned, I can take comfort in the fact that I am in no way responsible for their push to establish a plutocracy. I didn’t vote for them, contribute money to them, or support them in any other way.

I’m afraid that at this point my emotional outrage is reserved solely for the Democrats, from Obama on down, for whom I do have some responsibility, although in my defense, I didn’t have a lot of choices. I know objectively that spineless retreat and ineffectual public communication is what the Democrats do (in the latter category, and somewhat mysteriously, only after they get elected, see e.g., Obama’s campaign in contrast to Obama’s presidency), but I confess that I can’t accept this with the equanimity with which I can accept Republican outrageousness. It is outrageous that the Republicans will hold the government hostage to get their tax cut; it is even more outrageous that the Democrats will cave. It is outrageous that the Republicans are out to destroy the middle class, it is even more outrageous that the Democrats will let them do it. It is outrageous that the Republicans manipulate the middle class, working class, and stupid class with misleading frames; it is even more outrageous that the Democrats make no attempt to counter those frames by effectively packaging the truth. It is outrageous that the Republicans accuse Obama of failing to reach across the aisle, it is even more outrageous when, in the teeth of 2 years of evidence to the contrary, Obama agrees with them.

In the single case of the tax cuts, it would have been easy- it would still be easy- to brand the Republicans as lackeys of the rich, the servants of the folks who are living off of our bailouts. I am 100% certain that if given the choice, most people would prefer no action on taxes over giving yet another tax cut to the rich. But that’s not going to happen. The best we can hope for is a “temporary” extension that will be made permanent later, either by another Democratic capitulation, or by the Republican president elected in 2012 due to the Democrats demonstrated weakness. Meanwhile, the Republicans will, out of feigned concern about the deficits they created with their tax cuts, demand cuts in programs that benefit the lower 98%, to which demands the Democrats will cravenly accede, since they won’t want the pundits and the Republicans to think they can’t make “tough choices”.


  1. Name: Mark wrote:

    They are talking about deficit reduction on the backs of the same people they just robbed. There is no way I will accept any compromise on anything from this administration until he starts accomplishing giving something to the people who voted for him. I’m sick of his bipartisan bull shit. There are stories all over out there that Obama is admitting he is a Blue Dog and a DLC NEW Democrat. I sure as hell didn’t vote for that, and that sure as hell isn’t how he ran.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink
  2. This is perhaps the most lucid article I’ve read in months. John, may I have your permission to repost this verbatim on my blog? With credit, of course. Email me if you want,

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink
  3. Ed in Silicon Valley wrote:

    We have the framework of an effective counter. We can articulate a pro-middle class agenda. I agree that outrage for Republicans has no value. Outrage towards Obama and the Democrats (who are essentially Republicans) has no value either. We must use new-media to advance the interests of the middle class. We have to stop waiting for the Democrats to start acting like Democrats and push our agenda on our own. Many others and I are already starting to do this. We welcome anyone who wants to protect middle class Americans.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

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