The Third Shift


  1. Via Hullabaloo, we learn David Frum said something amazing on Morning Joe and neither Scarborough nor Chuck Todd nor David Gregory dared acknowledge it. It comes about four minutes in:

    Since the loss of the election, we have heard an enormous amount of discussion from Republicans on television and newspaper columns about immigration as an issue…but all of us who are allowed to participate in this conversation, we all have health insurance. And the fact that millions of Americans don’t have health insurance, they don’t get to be on television. And it is maybe a symptom of a broader problem, not just the Republican problem, that the economic anxieties of so many Americans are just not part of the national discussion at all. I mean, we have not yet emerged from the greatest national catastrophe, the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. And what are we talking about? The deficit and the debt. And these are important problems, but they’re a lot easier to worry about if you are wealthier than you were in 2008, which most of the people on television now are again, if you are securely employed, which most of the people on television now are. But that’s not true for 80% of America. And the Republican Party, the opposition party, needed to find some way to give voice to real urgent economic concerns held by middle class Americans. Latinos, yes, but Americans of all ethnicities.

    The debt is a real problem for the country, but right now, it’s secondary. We adopt the Charlie Pierce approach to the American economy: Eff The Debt. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money.

    Of course, had Romney won, we’d probably be right back in “deficits don’t matter” territory. But it’s telling that everyone ignored what David Frum said about it.  A Canadian conservative and former GW Bush speechwriter — the one who coined “axis of evil” — is calling out the cupidity and narrow parameters of the national political press, and they don’t dare acknowledge it. 

    Conservatives get worked up about media bias — supposedly “liberal” media bias. Well, part of this is true — there is a media bias, but it’s a class bias. The political media in America, in terms of income and status, is much closer to the people it covers than the people it is supposed to inform, and this frames what the acceptable discourse on the multitude of political chatfests is.

    Thus, we are hearing about the debt, deficit, and fiscal cliff as if it is Apocalypse Now for the U.S. and it means we have to cut social services for people who are already suffering — because everyone must suffer more.

    Why Did Mitt Romney Lose The Presidency? (by Mark Stothard)