AboutI'm Maya Dusenbery. I'm a writer and editor at Feministing.
The very idea that the minority would filibuster the debate itself, then filibuster the bill, then reject any effort at compromises, then refuse to offer a credible alternative, then rule out the possibility of creating any jobs at all during a jobs crisis would have seemed genuinely insane for much of American history. And yet, in 2011, the entire political world finds this routine and unsurprising. It won’t be front-page news tomorrow morning, and we’d be lucky if most the public heard about the developments at all.
Tomasky concluded, “I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing — and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.”
Prohibited from joining in political struggles, dedicated to observing what is, regardless of whether it ought to be, the savvy believe that these disciplines afford them a special view of the arena, cured of excess sentiment, useless passion, ideological certitude and other defects of vision that players in the system routinely exhibit. Therefore the savvy don’t say: I have a better argument than you. They say: I am closer to reality than you. Especially if you are active in politics yourself. #
Now in order for this belief system to operate effectively, it has to continually position the journalist and his observations not as right where others are wrong, or virtuous where others are corrupt, or visionary where others are short-sighted, but as mature, practical, hardheaded, unsentimental, and shrewd where others are didactic, ideological, child-like and dreamy. This is part of what’s so insidious about press savviness: it tries to hog political realism to itself. #
The trend of throwing around ableist language to dismiss political extremists as “crazy” and the trend of labeling woman politicians as “crazy” just for daring to have an opinion dovetails to heighten the effect for conservative women. Look, I understand the urge to label a party that’s willing to destroy the U.S. economy over a game of political brinkmanship as beyond the pale. And, there’s no question that Bachmann’s views are as hateful, incoherent, and hypocritical as they come. “Batshit crazy” has become the go-to short-hand during a time when the right-wing is slipping farther from the mainstream than ever before. But it’s ableist, counterproductive, and just lazy, and, as feminists and progressives, we need to do better–and better than we’ve previously done on this very blog.
If you’re trying to illustrate the extremism of a politician’s views and find yourself relying on sexist, ableist tropes that have been used to discredit women since they first started fighting their way into the public sphere, just stop. The odds are good that Bachmann herself will make your point for you.
This. Democrats are failing on messaging in such an epic way that I have to consider that most of them don’t actually want to win.
It can’t be that hard to figure out that nobody gets excited about “revenues” but 70-80% of the population favors “taxing millionaires”. It can’t be that hard to understand that when you say “entitlement cuts” most people think that means programs that are giving money to lazy schlubs who are freeloading off their tax dollars, while when you say “cutting Social Security benefits” people get outraged.
It’s just not that hard. That it has consistently not occurred to most Dems who aren’t in Wisconsin or named Sherrod Brown is beyond me.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzes John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan.
Is this real life?