The other day when The Kenyan Usurper said:
“I cannot force Republicans to embrace … common-sense solutions,” Obama said at the press conference, referring specifically to budget gridlock. “I can urge them to. I can put pressure on them. I can rally the American people around those common-sense solutions. But ultimately, they, themselves, are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing. And I think there are members certainly in the Senate right now, and I suspect members in the House as well, who understand that deep down. But they’re worried about their politics. It’s tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that. And we’re going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what’s going to be best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”
…I have to admit I heard Permission Slips instead of Permission Structure, and I did laugh thinking that Obama finally has realized he is dealing with feral children in the GOP. “Good for him,” I thought.
It is really upon reflection of the latest screeds from the likes of known pop-culture fetishist MoDo and Dame Peggington Noonington of the Brooklynshire Nooningtons that I started to understand what he was really getting at, and it was not to get permission slips to take the pinheads bowling (to paraphrase Camper Van Beethoven).
The Republicans have admitted as much this week–as they have in the past–that their sole objective is to make our first black president a failure, and to that end they will oppose anything Anything ANYTHING he wants, whether or not they want it too. Nothing is too great or too small to deny him. Even being seen with him makes the Teabaggers suspect their representatives of collaborating with the enemy. Not to put too fine a spin on it, but it strikes me that their strategy is thinly veiled racism dressed up as nihilism.
I think what Obama’s Permission Structure means is that he will not publicly support or encourage anything (other than process?) so that the “you can’t make me” caucus feels empowered to actually do something.
Now whether behind the scenes that means he will continue his so-called charm offensive to try to peel-off some of the grownups, I’m not sure. It might be like a marketing-advertising campaign where you get a few celebrity endorsements (to the degree that Wingnut politicians are celebrities, but work with me here) to act as influencers on the rest of the caucus, but Obama himself cannot be seen to be one of the influencers.
Wingnuttia used to accuse him of leading from behind, and this might actually be his strategy now, it’s hard to say. Which of course will make Nooner and MoDo go nonlinear, but that’s kinda fun.
(Correction: An earlier version of this post misdientified Take the Pinheads Bowling as being a Dead Kennedy’s song. We regret the error.)
(Hat tips: TPM, Digby, Ezra Klein)