Posts Tagged ‘Palin’

micheleAs noted by Talking Points Memo, last weekend Michelle Bachmann unwittingly revealed exactly what’s wrong with the GOP’s approach to negotiation with the President and the Democrats, how ruthless the Republicans really are, and how they are prepared to put their personal political agenda ahead of the country’s needs – even to the point of shutting down Government, at huge cost – personal and financial – to many of the American people.

Here’s what the genuinely awful Bachmann said to the Washington Examiner, explaining why she and other far-right Conservatives do not fear a Government shutdown. The bottom line is: They think this is their chance to stop “Obamacare”.

“There is a very large group of us who believe that this is it, this isn’t just another year, this isn’t just another CR fight,” Bachmann told the Examiner’s Byron York. “This is historic, and it’s a historic shift that’s about to happen, and if we’re going to fight, we need to fight now.”

“This isn’t just another bill,” Bachmann said. “This isn’t load limits on turnip trucks that we’re talking about. This is consequential. And I think the reason why you’ve come to this flash point is that this is an extremely consequential bill that will impact every American, and that’s why you have such passionate opinions. And we’re not giving up and we’re not caving in that easily.”

Bachmann also – in her terms – dismissed concerns about congressional brinksmanship, which some contend has a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

“I don’t get upset about brinksmanship,” she said. “That’s what negotiation is. I was a federal tax lawyer. That’s all I did – negotiation. And in negotiation, you usually don’t get anywhere until the final five minutes, and then everybody realises OK, we’re going to have to break and actually make this thing happen. That’s how negotiation works.”

Well, Wellthisiswhatithink has a message for Bachmann. That is not what negotiation is about, nor how it works well.

That’s called “oppositional disorder”. And if that’s what you learned as a lawyer, well, it’s just one more testament to the sick state of the American legal system. Of course, you did work for the IRS, so renowned for understanding the other side’s point of view in any dispute.

Anyhow: you are opining that you refuse to concede anything until the very last moment. Yet even then, there is no overt commitment that your side will be making concessions, too. That’s why this style of negotiation is called “Win-Lose” – for this negotiation to work, you are essentially saying, then “you”, my opponent, have to give in, and I have to win. That’s only one type of negotiation, Congresswoman, and it’s a pretty poor one.

That level of aggression in negotiations characterises people who do not really care about compromise, who don’t much care about the consequences of their own actions, and are prepared to push the point so far that they may end up walking away rather than concede anything.

It’s macho negotiating – old fashioned, full of bull**** posturing and usually limited to what Americans charmingly (and accurately) describe as “dick swinging exercises”.

How sad it is that a certain type of woman in politics seems particularly enthusiastic to engage in such nonsense … they seem determined to outdo the men in their obduracy. Bachmann, Palin, Thatcher, Gandhi, Bandaranaike. The list is unedifying, and it usually ends in tears. As opposed, say, to the example set by women like Golda Meir or Aung San Suu Kyi, who both combined genuine toughness of resolve and political skill without any apparent need to ape the worst excesses of testosterone fuelled nonsense from their male colleagues.

(Indeed, and notably, when millions of Arabs departed the newly formed State of Israel in 1948, Meir memorably called the exodus “a disaster”. What a difference to the current Israeli leadership.)

Anyway, a Win-Lose strategy, also known as distributive bargaining, is based on an attempt to divide up an amount of resources, resulting in a win-lose situation. When choosing this strategy, one always takes on an adversarial or competitive view. The focus is on achieving immediate goals, with little or no regard for building future relationships. Little time or energy is needed in resolving conflicts using a win-lose strategy, because few if any creative solutions are considered.

Bachmann and her Tea Party colleagues are crossing their fingers and hoping they don't wear the blame if Government gets shut down. In our estimation, they're wrong.

Bachmann and her Tea Party colleagues are crossing their fingers and hoping they don’t wear the blame if Government gets shut down. In our estimation, they’re very wrong.

Generally, one or two fixed solutions are presented and a decision or choice is expected almost immediately.

Some negotiators that employ the win-lose strategy engage in manipulative tactics to trick or force the other party into a decision. In this regard, Rachel Maddow’s argument that the Republicans have been set on this course for more than five months is instructive.

This strategy is only ever of any use in situations where achieving short-term goals is more important than maintaining or building a long-term relationship. Think about it this way. If one member of a couple was using this strategy to decide what to watch on TV, one of them would more than likely say something like, “This is the movie I want to see. Take it or leave it.” There would be no real discussion about the wants and interests of both parties. The resolution would be reached either by diktat or after some fierce arguing. Good luck resolving the next discussion happily.

A Win-Win strategy on the other hand – this strategy is also known as integrative bargaining by the way – focuses on both parties achieving their primary objectives without either feeling they lost. Prior to going into a negotiation you must choose if this is the strategy you want to take on. The goal is to collaborate and generate one or more creative solutions that are acceptable to both parties. This strategy takes more time and effort to prepare for, but allows you to continue on a long-term relationship with the other party long after the negotiation is over.

The problem for America, and for the Republicans, is that because the Republican base has move markedly towards the extreme right, they cannot start to construct such a strategy with POTUS, the Executive, and the Democrats because they essentially refuse to countenance the basic tenet of the Affordable Care act, which is that all Americans should have, as a basic legal right, access to affordable healthcare.

A more logical (and centrist) position for the Republicans to hold (unless they think shutting down Government is going to do them good in the 2014 elections, in which case, good luck to them and goodbye) would be something along the lines of:

“Well, Mr President, it’s been a long road, and we wouldn’t have done this ourselves, but we respect the fact that you won the election fair and square, and in the richest country in the world we agree it’s time we did something to bring everyone into the healthcare fold. But we think “Obamacare” as it’s currently constituted is overly complicated, it has made some people who can’t afford it losers not winners, and small business has genuine concerns about the effect on employment. We know you’re determined to go ahead with the change, so we’ll fund it so long as you give more businesses than you have at the moment a year’s delay, and you also give us a real chance to make valuable amendments in the next six months. It’s going to be nitty-gritty line by line stuff, but we promise we won’t try and gut the bill, and we’ll say so publicly.”

That’s what they would say if they were genuinely negotiating. But they haven’t. And in our estimation they aren’t negotiating in good faith, and they won’t. And in refusing to do so, we strongly suspect they are signing their own political suicide note. Because there is also what’s known as a Lose-Lose negotiation, of course, Ms Bachmann: and that’s when the negotiation founders almost immediately because of a total lack of willpower on both sides, and no one wins really anything.

If America goes into shutdown, the GOP will be castigated for precipitating an avoidable budget crisis by a public that is undoubtedly uncertain about Obamacare, but in repeated polls seem to also be saying “We’ll give it a go, we’ve come this far, we need to work out what it means for us personally, before we make a final call.”

In failing to recognise that, the Republican Party is showing once again that it has apparently irrevocably lost its political antennae. Thoroughly lost its way. And as such, it is in danger of losing all relevance to all except the most right wing Americans when they oppose with such implacable illogic a reform which is clearly designed to help those least able to protect their own interests, even if the legislation is flawed.

You heard it here first.

Note: Michelle Bachmann has announced she is not running for Congress in 2014. So it’s no skin off her nose if the whole thing turns to s***.

Goodbye, and Good Riddance, we trust

News that Fox have cancelled Sarah Palin‘s contract with them should come as no surprise to those who have watched the gradually deteriorating relationship between the ex Governor of Alaska and the right wing “news” network.

Her Facebook outburst complaining about Fox canceling her appearance at the Republic National Convention revealed something deep about Palin’s often rocky relationship with the network.

Palin’s contract is now up, and according to sources, Fox News executives have been weighing what kind of deal they would sign, if they signed one at all. Well now, accompanied by some weasel-words of thanks, Fox have pulled the plug.

Palin earned roughly $1 million per year from Fox, making her the highest paid contributor at the network. Fox executives were disappointed with her ratings; Palin was disappointed by Fox’s decision to not give her top billing on bookings.

According to sources, the relationship at times got so bad that much communication was conducted via Palin’s husband Todd. One thing became clear: It was risky for her to push the envelope too far. Fox had been a central pillar of Palin’s national reach since quitting the governorship, and without the network’s platform, it’s unclear how she could maintain even her current, much-diminished level of visibility. Well, now it’s over.

Palin’s Facebook outburst surely didn’t endear her to the President of Fox News Roger Ailes, who prizes message discipline and loyalty among his troops. Ailes has been at times frustrated with Palin’s erratic public moves since her decision to ignore his advice to remain quiet in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in 2011. At the time, her ill-thought out comments signalled to many that her political career was over and that she revealed clearly why she was unfit for office.

Palin crossed him again when she gave her decision not to run to talk radio host Mark Levin, not Fox.

Palin's very unlikely replacement, Dennis Kucinich

Palin’s very unlikely replacement, Dennis Kucinich

After healing her relationship following the RNC outburst, Fox spokesperson Brian Lewis said: “We look forward to having a long and beneficial relationship with the Governor.”  Yeah, right.

What is much more interesting than the on-going demise of the dreadful Ms Palin is that Fox have just signed Dennis Kucinich, a former Democratic presidential candidate far to the left of Palin, as an analyst. Kucinich will receive criticism for signing on with the rabidly biased network, but if he gets any valuable airtime at all, as opposed to merely being used as a dancing dog to poke fun at, then his move might be worthwhile.

He would do well to remember my old Mum’s sage advice, though. A fount of knowledge as encapsulated in proverbs, she would have quietly intoned:

“If you would sup with the Devil, use a long spoon.”*


(Some information sourced from the Washington Post)

*HE SHOULD HAVE A LONG SPOON THAT SUPS WITH THE DEVIL – “If you keep bad company you will need to be on your guard.  If you agree to partake of the devil’s hospitality, you are on dangerous ground and need to beware. The reference to a long spoon is obscure; probably it emphasizes the distance it is necessary to keep from the potent contamination of the devil. The proverb was current in the fourteenth century. Chaucer using it in his Canterbury Tales: ‘Therfor bihoveth him a ful long spoon/ That shal ete with a feend,’ thus herde I seye.’ (The Squire’s Tale, c1386). And Shakespeare referred to it in The Tempest where Stephano says of Caliban: ‘This is a devil, and no monster; I will leave him; I have no long spoon.'” From the “Dictionary of Proverbs and their Origins” by Linda and Roger Flavell (Barnes & Noble Books, New York, 1993).

Republican candidate Michele Bachmann got a little carried away in the GOP candidates debate. Not the first time the right in America haven’t let a few facts get in the way of their point of view in recent times. Not all are quite as clumsy as this, however.

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

BACHMANN: “President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern time.”

THE FACTS: Well, that’s true, if you leave out Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford. All of them at some point in their terms dipped lower than Obama’s low point of 38 percent job approval, according to Gallup’s comparison.


Of course, it’s not the first time Michele has been caught out talking crap. As a brief review of just part of her Wikipedia entry notes:

On October 17, 2008, Bachmann gave an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews in support of the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain that brought the Minnesota 6th Congressional District race national attention. During the interview she criticised Barack Obama for his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, saying “…usually we associate with people who have similar ideas to us, and it seems that it calls into question what Barack Obama’s true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are…I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views.”

She noted the terrorist bombings done by Bill Ayers and his associations with Barack Obama, saying that “Bill Ayers is not someone the average American wants to see their president have an association with.”

Matthews responded with, “Why is it of concern? What is wrong with it? When asked by Matthews: “How many Congresspeople, members of Congress fit into that anti-American crowd you describe?”, Bachmann stated “You’d have to ask them Chris, I’m focusing on Barack Obama and the people he’s associated with”.

Matthews followed up by asking “But he’s a Senator from the State of Illinois, he’s one of the members of Congress you suspect of being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You’ve already suspected Barack Obama, is he alone or are there others?”

Bachmann answered, “What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look … I wish they would … I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that.”

The five Democratic members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation – Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar – issued a joint statement in which they questioned her ability to “work in a bipartisan way to put the interests of our country first in this time of crisis”. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlson said that her comments had influenced their decisions to endorse Obama for president.

Bachmann brought up the interview before business leaders and Republicans during a campaign stop in St. Cloud, Minnesota on October 21, 2008. She stated that she never intended to question Obama’s patriotism. “I made a misstatement. I said a comment that I would take back. I did not, nor do I, question Barack Obama’s patriotism…. I did not say that Barack Obama is anti-American nor do I believe that Barack Obama is anti-American … [But] I’m very concerned about Barack Obama’s views. I don’t believe that socialism is a good thing for America.”

However, in March 2010, Bachmann said, “I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views. And now I look like Nostradamus” while speaking at a fund-raiser for the Susan B. Anthony List.A year later, in March 2011, Bachmann was asked on Meet the Press if she still believed that Obama held un-American views. She responded “I believe that the actions of this government have, have been emblematic of ones that have not been based on true American values.” Pressed for clarification, she said “I’ve already answered that question before. I said I had very serious concerns about the president’s views.”

Oh yeah, we need her as President. I could go on, but perhaps you’d just like to read another blogger’s expose of her false academic credentials. And pass them on.

Is it possible that this woman is more peculiar than the redoubtable Ms Palin? We think the people should be told. Indeed, we think the people should be told where in hell the right in America finds these people.