links for 2010-06-22
Eberhard von Stohrer Liveblogs World War II: June 23, 1940

The Right Wing of the Democratic Party Has a True Deathwish

Harold Meyerson:

Centrist and clueless: Liberal Democrats know what they're for: a second stimulus to create more investment and jobs.... Republicans... know what they're against: anything the Democrats are for. That leaves the centrist Blue Dog Democrats, who don't really know what they're for or what they're against. Earlier this year... Blue Dogs... were saying they would welcome an end to the debate over health-care reform so they could turn their attention to jobs, jobs, jobs. But now that President Obama and Democratic legislative leaders have done that, the Blue Dogs have largely turned skittish. Efforts by the leaders in both houses to pass bills that would save the jobs of teachers and police officers, maintain states' ability to make Medicaid payments and extend unemployment insurance have hit not only the expected bumps in the road (unified Republican opposition) but also fresh potholes: Blue Dog resistance to countercyclical spending....

The downside of not passing any further stimulus legislation is clear.... In today's economy, alas, the government remains the only source of significant investment.... [N]onfinancial companies are hoarding cash -- a record-high $1.84 trillion... they are not using it to expand....

Until recently, virtually every Democratic member of Congress could be counted on to support some level of countercyclical spending. That was one of the basic ways Democrats distinguished themselves from the laissez-faire right.... The problem here is that the Blue Dogs, like much of the public, conflate the issues of the nation's long-term fiscal sustainability with the short-term deficits created by the worst downturn since the '30s. Thus the Democratic imperative of creating jobs in 2009 became, earlier this year, one of creating jobs and reducing the deficit, and now, for some Blue Dogs, has become chiefly one of reducing the deficit. In polls, meanwhile, the public rates "jobs" as its chief concern, with the deficit lagging far behind....

[T]he Blue Dogs' short-term deficit hawkery is more than bad economics. It's bad politics, too. Even pragmatic centrists -- especially pragmatic centrists -- have to be in favor of something. The Blue Dogs don't seem to know what exactly that might be.

As Duncan Black says:

Eschaton: The silver lining of Congress's failure to do anything about mass unemployment is that a lot of s----- politicians will lose their jobs. That they fail to understand this is a bit weird, and inevitably when it happens they'll fail to understand why. But at least we won't have them to kick around anymore.

What he doesn't say--what he doesn't seem to recognize--is that the Republicans who will replace the Blue Dogs in swing districts will be much, much, much worse.