Learning to Take "Yes" for an Answer

This is how I plan to dress if I'm ever invited to the White House. So we're sitting at the big table with the grown-ups, and Barack is choosing his cabinet, and pundits I used to think of as intelligent (smarter than a Republican anyway) are already bitching about the choices. Welcome to the difference between bitching and governing, a moral struggle the Grover Nyquists and Gingriches never grappled with at all.

I'm no fan of the Clinton years either (and a digression here to explain why I don't like them would only give the Clintons what they want)but damnit, the only Democrats younger than Clark Clifford who can find the White House washrooms all worked for the Clinton administration. So deal with it. I was going to use a Lyndon Johnson quotation here: "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in," but Sam Donaldson, comfortable millionaire and bloviator, already beat me to it, the cost of my procrastination.

The complaint assumes that a wonk who worked for President Clinton will still follow Clinton-era policies under an Obama administration. In my own small experience with bureaucracies, I've seen teachers and nurses who bitch and moan about policy as a matter of course learn to prosper and produce after a change in administration, like desert plants waiting, begging for the rain. This is a chance to shine.

I asked an acquaintance, a professor of political science with experience in city planning, economic development, and capital budgeting-- hence the only person I know with more than barroom expertise in economics-- what she thought of Obama's picks for dealing with the crisis. Her opinion, mixed with backstage talk from a relative at the Fed, was that the Obama appointments are mildly disappointing, uncontroversial, but probably politically "safe".

I wonder if the so-called "carping from the left" is real, or if this is just another manufactured pissing match invented by columnists who would rather write about sexy conflict than how in the hell we're going to budget the rebuilding of bridges and schools. Me, I'm just happy to exult in feeling that the president is smarter than I am, better organized and hipper than I am, and can be trusted to hire really, really smart and well-intentioned people. Yes, this is me, the perpetual outsider, sighing like a fractious dog who's finally had the thorn removed from his paw.

The challenge for the progressive left has little to do with who's at the top of the agency, except as they affect the climate. Here's the challenge: whether you're interested in housing the homeless or protecting our groundwater or teaching a child the difference between bullshit and biscuits, we are finally in an environment that is friendly towards problem solving instead of actively hostile. What are we going to do in the lame duck session?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha! Nice outfit! And good observations. But you haven't been watching enough of the teevee machine if you think only Sam Donaldson beat you to that Johnson quote . . . but maybe only he beat you to quoting it correctly. I've heard it hilariously mangled everywhere from NPR to Olbermann's show (but not by Keith). And that one is much funnier in the mangling than "It's my rules . . . or the highway." Cheers! Pat

Johnny Danger said...

I think that you should always wear an eyepatch over your right eye. That is the appropriate thing.

I think that you are right that this is a chance to shine, but this is also a chance to be a fucking asshole. Some are just predisposed or something to being fucking assholes. They are just either so goddamned stupid that they don't realize that they are assholes, or they know it and act accordingly. The two are qualitatively the same.

So, whether or not there is any real debate--which is truly doubtful--the assholes will be gnashing their teeth at Obama's fucking sack until he is actually inaugurated since they simply have nothing else to do, are bored and unimaginative, and can fuck right off.

PS - If you throw in a ten gallon hat, or a propeller beanie, to that ensemble, I'll give you a dollar.

Johnny Danger said...

Wow, I love that Pat and I commented at precisely the same time somehow.

Michael Fountain: Blood for Ink said...

I assume you mean a Tom Mix/ Hoss Cartwright style phallic chapeau. Not worn with dinner (I was raised in the best circles of Bungtown society, and know how to behave). Biggest worry is how to get my trident past the Secret Service.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Yeah, the pissing quote has made the mangled rounds, I've even heard "pissing inside the boat." And don't you agree that Sam Donaldson should play Spock's dad in any future STAR TREK remakes? And if the pundits didn't always have something to gripe about, it would be a slow news day. Hardly anything going on besides that Wal-Mart employee being trampled to death by fucked up shoppers.

WV: mingsu, you can come up with the appropriate asian joke.

Michael Fountain: Blood for Ink said...

mingsu: Charles Middleton threatening a laundry.

Word Verification etigicas: Gail Simone's "kickass" revision of Etta Candy

Anonymous said...

BTW,
Has anyone noted the obvious, how the discussion of pissing matches takes a cue from that scene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?
It may become a pissing match, but think of the creative power that can manifest: snow angels!
Oh, Mike, from Deep in the Heart of You Know Where ... as long as they don't refer to them as "Cow Patties" they won't be too confused ... at least not for a while.
-LC