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Beltway wankers pin the bogometer on so-called "government of national unity"

white bloomers Via Digby, Bloomberg, some Village Broderites, and a bunch of 80s retreads are calling for a "government of national unity." Can we get a grip, please? On something besides all the levers of power? Google it. Governments of national unity are for countries that have undergone huge trauma, like apartheid in South Africa or decades of civil war in the Sudan. You don't proclaim a government of national unity because there might be a change in government from one party to another, or because the cocktail wienies and jumbo shrimp won't always be there to glom onto, or because somebody's winger operative girlfriend is going to be forced to enter the dreaded private sector, or because a DFH or two is going to become a deputy assistant undersecretary of this, that, or the other. And you especially don't proclaim one because Washington, DC is your place. Eh?

Because that would be just too, too transparently a totally Villageous and deeply bogus cynical maneuver.

But before dealing with the distressing detail here, let me explain how we can calibrate teh bogus going forward, by introducing a few key technical terms:

/boh-go's*-tee/ n. 1. The degree to which something is bogus.[B]ogosity is measured with a bogometer; in a seminar, when a speaker says something bogus, a listener might raise his hand and say "My bogometer just triggered". More extremely, "You just pinned my bogometer" means you just said or did something so outrageously bogus that it is off the scale, pinning the bogometer needle at the highest possible reading (one might also say "You just redlined my bogometer"). ... 2. The potential field generated by a bogon flux; see quantum bogodynamics. See also bogon flux, bogon filter, bogus.

Readers, and especially those of you who are technically inclined: I encourage you to commit these terms to memory, and study to apply them when you examine and critique Village political discourse. (Anybody who wants plans for the bogometer has only to ask for Geoff, who tends the wet bar in the executive chambers of The Mighty Corrente Building. Tell him "the right people" sent you. The password is "specimen jar." But I digress.)

So, the Bloomers proposal for Wall Street Naderism a government of national unity pins my bogometer. Let's look at it:

The Bloomers facts are bogus:

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, has scheduled a meeting next week with a dozen leading Democrats and Republicans, who will join him in challenging the major-party contenders to spell out their plans for forming a "government of national unity" to end the gridlock in Washington.

Come on. Bloomberg's a chart guy; his operation is nothing but charts, and he knows the numbers. This is the chart via Digby) the Bloomers would be showing, if they had an ounce of integrity.


This isn't "gridlock." This is the Republicans filibustering everything in sight, and Bush vetoing everything he can. The solution to that problem is to take their power away from them, which the American people started to do in 2006, and -- may the God(ess)(e)(s) of Our Choice smile upon us -- will finish doing in 2008. That's the problem the Bloomers are addressing, through a sort of pre-election "pre-coup" (See? They learned from Florida 2000. We face a thinking enemy...)

The Bloomers solution is bogus:

Boren, who will host the meeting at the university, where he is president, said: "It is not a gathering to urge any one person to run for president or to say there necessarily ought to be an independent option. But if we don't see a refocusing of the campaign on a Bipartisan approach, I would feel I would want to encourage an independent candidacy."

Heh. Wall Street Naderites, just like I said. Can you say "empty threat"? Because I can. Go for it, Boren, you stupid tool.

Anyhow, last I checked, and I think this has been true for quite some time, elections were about competing candidates. See, the idea is to get people to "vote" for one candidate over another, not because they are the same, but because they are different!

And that gives me an idea. Call me crazy, but as long as we've got this "vote" concept going, why don't we hold something called an "election" and let the source of sovereignty, the "people," choose the President? Instead of the Bloomers? How would that be? Deal?

Finally, the Bloomers themselves are bogus. Here are the deeply Serious Democrats involved:

Conveners of the meeting include such prominent Democrats as former senators Sam Nunn (Ga.), Charles S. Robb (Va.) and David L. Boren (Okla.), and former presidential candidate Gary Hart.

That's the best they can do? 80s retreads? Honestly, who cares?

Frankly, I think this is good news. The only thing these people understand is fear, and they're afraid. More like this, please.

NOTE My question is: Will Obama pin the bogometer on his own candidacy by supporting this effort? Certainly, his "unity" rhetoric fits in with a "government of national unity" almost... like it was made to do just that, eh? And there is the mysterious breakfast with Bloomberg. And, of course, although his fan base isn't saying it now, up until a week ago Obama was saying he wants Republicans in his cabinet. Bring back Rummy, say I!

His fan base seems to think he'll go with The Bloomers. They burble:

"Today, we are a house divided," the letter said. "We believe that the next president must be able to call for a unity of effort by choosing the best talent available -- without regard to political party -- to help lead our nation."

If that is what they want, they should simply endorse Barack Obama. UNITY, changing America from red states and blue states to the UNITED STATES.

Why re-create the wheel when you have a candidate who can do the job, is FIRED UP! and READY TO GO!

Invincible ignorance. A fool throws a stone into the sea, and a thousand wise men can't get it back out. The "house divided" rhetoric, like the entire "government of national unity concept, is a hysterical over-reaction by the Conservative Movement to the prospect of losing power, and they're using some 80s retreads as tools. That's all that's going on. Worse, though, is that the Bloomers message has been reinforced by Obama's soaring but shallow Red/Blue rhetoric. The problem isn't Red vs. Blue; the problem is the Conservative Movement versus the interests of the American People.

But what does Obama think? Is he with the Bloomers, or not?

Is he bogus, or not?

UPDATE Obama could put this question to rest very simply by saying that he expects to run, as a Democrat, in 2008, and that, in a democratic society, the results of national elections give the nation the unity it needs. (Since the people are sovereign, right?)

UPDATE Armando has more: High Broderists Prepared To Spend Bloomberg's Money. [Snicker. Dig in, boys!]

No votes yet


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

The needle on a meter gets pegged, forced up against the peg on the dial face. You digital age whippersnappers, sheesh.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Great post, but what's up with this "8os" thing? Did you mean 80s?

PS. More challenging math questions, please.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Ah, the heuristic algorithmic text reformatter strikes again.

where4art's picture
Submitted by where4art on

yesterday, and I can't leave :)

Anyway, since this takes up where yesterday's opus left off, I'll just say that I'm thoroughly enjoying your take on Obama and his Politics of Conciliation. I'm not much of a writer, being more prone to instinctive reaction than literary exposé; so I really appreciate your ability to put my gut reactions into such glorious prose. And you make me laugh...

But I need to bring up one thing: the report about Obama mentioning Republicans he'd consider for his Cabinet may not have been entirely accurate. There was a diary (or a comment; I can't remember now) on dKos about this a few days ago that gave the full context of the quotes in the news report. Apparently after Obama said it was too early to talk about who he'd put on his Cabinet, the interviewer encouraged him to name Republicans that he respected; and Barack then mentioned having respect for Arnold on environmental issues, etc. It was the reporter who made the great leap from "Republicans I respect on certain issues" to "Republicans I would put on my Cabinet."

I must say this is a first: *me* defending Obama! But accuracy is important, eh? And the man does enough every day to drive me crazy, as it is.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Not too accurate to mention Arnold and fail to mention Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel. Obama did mention them and has mentioned them more than on one occasion. Of course, if you look at those Republican s' voting records, it won't seem too Democratic...but Obama supporters willfully ignore evidence at every opportunity. As for Arnold, there are many posts about his agenda....first, he was put in power by a conservative movement that recalled a Democrat. Secondly, he initially tried to pass by ballot initiative extremely conservative policies...but was rejected at the ballot box....I hardly think this earns Arnold praise at this point. California has a huge deficit and health insurance doesn't seem to be going anyway. But if the Republicans Obama names are good with "rhetoric" like Mr. Obama, then I can see what they have in common. Hagel of course is anti choice as is Lugar. And other than the war, Hagel has not been some great Democratic voter in the Senate. So please....don't throw the accuracy term around like rhetoric....Maybe being honest is more apt.

Submitted by lambert on

Sounds like a bad cache. Try clearing your cache and cookies.

As for the Case of the Shrinking Comments: Dammifino. Let me go look. Sheesh, it's 12:08AM.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

1. The wet bar is off the executive boardroom, up the marble stairs, to your left, past The Department of The Happy Dance! Or you can ask any of the courteous, uniformed Ironists and Media Critics for directions. Tell 'em the guy under the stairs sent you.

2. Thanks for the cabinet correction, where4art. It's late for me. Got a link?

3. Dammit, I don't know why the comments are shrinking. Maybe if I go to bed it will fix itself by the morning.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

where4art's picture
Submitted by where4art on

So, lambert, I went looking for a link on dKos and couldn't find one... so then I googled "obama republican cabinet" and found this, which might be what the commenter I read was quoting because it contains the same material:

Much to my surprise, in reading this I discovered that while Obama may have been misquoted recently, *Edwards* really did say, on December 3, that he would consider Republicans for his Cabinet:

.. and Richardson apparently has said the same thing. What is this? Some kind of weird fad among the Democratic candidates? I must say I'm shocked that Edwards, of all people, would say this. He claims it would keep him from being surrounded by toadies, in the tradition of W. Ugh.

P.S. Thanks for the tips on getting around the place. I didn't realize what amenities were available...

Submitted by lambert on

It never made it because, well, there was no plan.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

We need a government of national unity.
Of course, it will be composed entirely of Democrats.
We really need to reach across the aisle to work with Rahm Emanuel.
Heal those wounds and look for bipartisan solutions!

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

bogometer ain't bad either

But these are also the people, the new unitarians, like Boren and Nunn and Broder who are always trying to wash the filth of the sixties off of themselves, and thus do they contribute to the stereotype of the Boomers as self-involved avatars of everything we are not supposed to like about the last three or four decades. Calling them bloomers is so satisfying.

Boren claims to be an American first, Democrat second, as if there is something inherently contradictory about being both.

And talk about elitism; who the hell are these jokers to decide to narrow the choices Americans have in the next election, and before a ballot, even a primary one is cast? It if isn't blackmail, pure and simple, it's like some kind of protection racket. Does anyone think that what is being protected here is the average American? None of these calls for unity would have any meaning save for Mike Bloomberg's billions. Yes, just what America needs, the super-rich being accorded a special role in decision-making by former legislators.

Who says that a majority of Americans long for a government of national unity? Oh, and does that mean that the Republicans would finally stop trying to steal elections? Wouldn't a better approach be to make sure that elections actually decide something, that they are fair and free and the votes, all the votes, get counted?

What the hell is Gary Hart doing? Can anyone explain? He's been good on the depredations of the current Bush administration. Once again we are to get no accounting of illegality and corruption on the part of a Republican administration?

Just a note about Boren: as Digby points out, he had no problem undercutting Bill Clinton's most important piece of proposed legislation right at the start of the administration - the budget proposal, which contained a very progressive fossil fuel tax, the proceeds of which were meant to allow for some real action in the area of alternative energy sources, without undermining Clinton's attempts to get hold of the Reagan/Bush runnaway budget deficits.

Boren wasn't an American first back then; back then he was an Oklahoman first, determined that no sacrifices would be made by his constituents, and this at a time when a majority of Americans were concerned about our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

And look what Boren, the great Democratic centrist achieved. It's sixteen years later, and we're still jawing about the same problem, with almost nothing accomplished on a national level in all that time, and global warming happening faster than anticipated.

These guys have to stop thinking of voters as a vast audience for a drama carried out by someone else, by people who have appointed themselves as the actors who get the big roles, and decide what the range of choices will be, (talk about political correctness), and start thinking of voters as citizens, as we the people, of whom and by whom and for whom government is instituted among men and women.

Submitted by lambert on

I can't think of a better term to call bullshit on the possessiveness, insularity and -- along any dimension you choose to name -- the sheer smallness of the Beltway establishment. (As Ursula LeGuin wrote in another context, or not, "There are not very many of the Shing.") It also has a straight line connection back to Sally Quinn's famous article in WaPo, where Clinton came in and "trashed the place. And it's not his place." And that's not even mentioning the horror film connotations.

No, "the Village" is an edged weapon we cannot deny ourselves. Mad props to Digby for honing it.

Now, "Villageous" may be too cute. We'll have to see.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by Avedon on

You owe me for that Krugman link, you know - he reads Eschaton regularly.

I see your blog recognizes me, now. I didn't do anything to cause this, so it must've been a hiccup on your end.

I think most of the candidates are trying to look "serious" by doing meaningless things like pretending there are Republicans who aren't crazy. Don't think it means they'll actually put them in their cabinets, though. I just take that stuff as "sounding reasonable and non-partisan" cost-free.

It's Obama's willingness to throw nasty comments toward you and me that chafes my butt. I don't mind him trying to sound inclusive, it's when he does things that are needlessly alienating to the Evil Lefty Base that I think, "Oh, no, not another one!" He sounds like he reads too much Broder and Joke Line.

More liberal media at The Sideshow.

Submitted by lambert on

And if you're in the area of One Corrente Square, be sure to tell Geoff, the bartender, that the guy under the stairs sent you. The password to the V.I.P. Lounge is "specimen jar."

(And did you shut down your browser, even if you didn't clear cache and cookies?) Every so often, Drupal gets fluky about session information, and I think that was the source of the hiccup. Also, can you tell me if this comment thread is in smaller type?)

I agree that most of the "Sure, I'll work with any Republican who isn't insane or evil" is totally cost free and not to be taken seriously.

Except when, like Obama, you've got a message of "unity" and bi- or curious partisanship, in which you have to take the idea seriously, unless the unity message is going to turn out to be more vacuous and non-operational then it already is.

Then you've got to ask yourself which Republicans are on the short list. Do the math, and the list turns out to be quite short:
Like this:

R - t - r - $ - et - C = 0 [zero]


  1. R is Republicans
  2. t is torture
  3. r is racism
  4. $ is corruption
  5. et is election theft
  6. C is destruction of Constitutional government

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Village is a great way to separate these parasites from the great city of the District of Columbia. And it is how they see themselves.

I can't help but be struck by the resemblance between Unity08 and Putin's Unity party.

I also think we are looking at the replacement for the Republican party.

Look for Bloomberg to choose Hagel for his VP. Anyone who thinks Unity08 is not a threat has not considered the kind of machines we are up against.

I was going to say "pegged" too, but add the caveat that I learned electronics in the 70s in Colorado, and I don't know how others say it.

I think you can tell a Dem from a Gop by seeing where they are when they call for bipartisanship. The Gop only does it when he's on the bottom: the Dem does it when he's on top.

Submitted by lambert on

Er, um...

Welcome to The Mighty Corrente Building!

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.