It’s Like, How Much More Broderite Could This Be? And the Answer Is None. None More Broderite.

Is Ron Fournier real? A vicious parody of a self-consciously “centrist” beltway pundit? It’s impossible to tell. We can start with the Green Lanternism:

But the president won’t get off easy. While Obama has reached further rhetorically toward compromise than Republicans have on sequestration and long-term debt, the president eventually needs to lead a stubborn Congress to actual compromise and accomplishment.

His aides and allies will ask, “Exactly what can he do to get the GOP to deal?” That is a question best put to the president, a skilled and well-meaning leader elected to answer the toughest questions.

OK, pretty terrible, but as the blogosphere has taught us a belief in the potential omnipotence of presidential daddies is widespread throughout the political spectrum. In itself, this is probably less embarrassing than your typical Drew Westen column. Although the concession that he can’t actually identify any concrete steps Obama could take to get House Republicans to vote for something they don’t want to vote for is a nice touch.

But wait! What if we compound green laternism with pure distilled vacuity:

Which side’s approach to averting the sequester, and solving the deficit, (do I) actually agree with? I honestly don’t have a strong opinion. Like most independent voters, I just want it fixed. I want my leaders to lead.

Rarely does one see Broderite bipartisanship as an end in itself put this clearly. What policies does he want Congress to pass? What direction should Obama be leading? It doesn’t matter! Just pass something! No matter what’s in it, it will…fix. Fix something.

The punchline, of course, is that Fournier doesn’t actually care if social spending is slashed or if the economy contracts; apparently he’ll land on his feet no matter what.

64 comments on this post.
  1. DrDick:

    Fournier doesn’t actually care if social spending is slashed or if the economy contracts; apparently he’ll land on his feet no matter what.

    I think that he is confident that neither party will allow policies which substantially impact his class segment in a negative way. After all, most of the politicians belong to that segment as well.

  2. gocart mozart:

    Shouldn’t that be “green lanternism”?

  3. anthrofred:

    It’s sort of a pastel Broderite.

  4. Funkula:

    And bipartisanship. You drunk posting, Scott?

  5. Uncle Kvetch:

    What direction should Obama be leading?

    What you do is get both sides together in a room and tell them to cut out the bullshit. Simple.

    Ronaldus Magnus would have known what to do.

  6. joe from Lowell:

    I just love this genre of punditry.

    Barack Obama said he wanted to be post-partisan, but the Republicans are still assholes. What a loser!

  7. joe from Lowell:

    What you do is get both sides together in a room and tell them to cut out the bullshit.

    I just love the image of John McCain sitting at the head of a table, with a bunch of Shiite clerics, militiamen, and politicians along one side, and their Sunni counterparts on the other, all of them turning towards their embarrassed translators with curious, interested looks on their faces when he stops talking.

  8. gocart mozart:

    Why does that mean Obama force those nice Republicans to behave like such assholes.

  9. sharculese:

    Translator: “Oh fuck, I can’t say any of that shit. We’re all going to die.”

  10. sharculese:

    Barack Obama is not Presidenting hard enough at John Boehner.

  11. Malaclypse:

    Back in the 1970s, Doonesbury’s Honey Huan character was both Mao’s and Duke’s chief translator, and routinely translated creatively so as to avoid being purged. I still remember “The joke has been made, and you should now laugh uproariously.”

  12. david mizner:

    Like most independent voters, I just want my leaders to enact conservative policies.

    “[To my friend, Karl Rove] The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight”

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/07/22/the-ap-has-a-ron-fournier-problem/144113

  13. JKTHs:

    Shorter Fournier: “We must do something. Bipartisanship is something. Therefore we must do it.”

  14. Hogan:

    Duke: A further goal of mine is the speedy implementation of normalization.

    Honey: (translating) A further goal of his is the speedy implementation of normalization

    Duke: Lastly, I come to China in the hope of fulfilling a life-long ambition – dropping acid on the Great Wall

    Honey: (translating) Lastly, he wishes you good health and long life

    Duke: In conclusion, let me just say that I look forward to a new spirit of cooperation from our Chinese friends. I sincerely hope it won’t be necessary to shell any pagodas

    Honey: (translating) He also wishes your wife good health.

    Foreign minister: Thank him, and ask him if he’d like to see the Great Wall.

  15. Uncle Kvetch:

    To me the archetype of the genre was Ross Perot in ’92 — any time he was pressed for policy specifics he’d revert to “You just get all the smartest people in the country together, and you lock ‘em in a room and say ‘You’re not coming out until you’ve fixed everything.’”

    I know it’s not uniquely American, but this childlike conception of oppositional politics as a (curable) disease rather than an incontrovertible fact of life does seem to be taken a hell of a lot more seriously here than in most places.

  16. Jamie:

    It would Be nice if I were 7 years old, and mommy and daddy would just figure things out.

    Wait, what? No. And I think the answer is that this one goes up to 11.

  17. Jberardi:

    Which side’s approach to averting the sequester, and solving the deficit, (do I) actually agree with? I honestly don’t have a strong opinion. Like most independent voters, I just want it fixed. I want my leaders to lead.

    “Uhh, my dog ate my opinion”.

    I mean, seriously? People get paid for this shit?

  18. joe from Lowell:

    Define “people.”

  19. Uncle Kvetch:

    Oops. Threading fail.

    Anyway, as long as we’re on the subject, fully agreed: “Duke in China” was one of Garry Trudeau’s absolute finest moments.

    (Nitpick time: Honey Huan was an interpreter, not a translator. It’s my line of work and I don’t get many opportunities to be tiresomely pedantic about it.)

  20. JKTHs:

    The punchline, of course, is that Fournier doesn’t actually care if social spending is slashed or if the economy contracts; apparently he’ll land on his feet no matter what.

    How dare you question the wisdom of austerity!

  21. wjts:

    “Honey, why is it I got the distinct impression you were taking liberties in translating my speech?”

    “Um… well, sir, I might have softened a word here and there…”

    “Softened? Who said you could soften? My job is to look after you, sir. I knew you’d want me to modify any potentially embarrassing remarks.”

    “I don’t believe this! Honey, tell me – what did my speech end up being about?”

    “Your admiration for last year’s ball bearing output.”

    “I spoke for 45 minutes on ball bearings?!”

    “Yes, sir. And you were spell-binding!”

  22. wjts:

    “Duke in China” was one of Garry Trudeau’s absolute finest moments.

    Well, it was no David Mamet cartoon about an octopus movie, but I suppose it had its moments.

  23. Shakezula:

    No, the answer is 42. No wait, blue – Aaaaaaah!

  24. Shakezula:

    Ah the dizzying, difficult heights of opinionating for fun and profit. How is it different from masturbating in front of a computer?

    Um…

    Thinking…

    Still thinking…

  25. sharculese:

    I actually had the pleasure of reading all my dad’s 70s Doonesbury paperbacks because my dad is an awesome dad who saves that sort of thing.

  26. Malaclypse:

    I still have mine. But I don’t think mini-Mal is ready to be introduced to Duke.

  27. commie atheist:

    Damn that liberal media.

  28. Joshua:

    What’s Ron Fournier doing here that millions of young bucks and welfare queens can’t do? All a pundit has to do is give an opinion, and he can’t even do that.

  29. UserGoogol:

    Masturbating in front of a computer is a noble and proud tradition.

  30. commie atheist:

    No, wait, make that double-dog-damn that liberal media! So says commenter “Perplexed”:

    Fournier: Your faux attempt to be ‘objective’ is pathetic. You have a long history of supporting obama and every left wing cause under the sun. obama loves you and is hardly put out with you. I am a former negotiator and obama is obviously not one. He makes ‘compromises’ that he knows won’t be accepted as a TACTIC not as a means of reaching agreement and solution. It is obvious.

  31. elm:

    One of them leaves a mess on your computer screen that may be impossible to fully cleanse.

    The other is forbidden by the Catholic Church.

  32. Anonymous:

    actually, drdick, i just looked him up and fournier is 50: if i were a well-paid 50-year-old pundit, i’d be asking myself some very serious questions about whether there will still be well-paying pundit jobs 10-15 years from now.

    of course, that would require a degree of analysis and self-reflection that does not appear to be fournier’s forte.

  33. howard:

    damn, i always forget to fill in my name when i’m using an unfamiliar computer to post! that was me….

  34. joe from Lowell:

    He makes ‘compromises’ that he knows won’t be accepted as a TACTIC not as a means of reaching agreement and solution. It is obvious.

    No no! That’s crazy talk!

    I have it on good authority that he was stunned – stunned! – when he heard that the Iraqi parliament wasn’t going to vote to grant American military personnel immunity from Iraqi criminal law.

    Nobody could have seen that coming; they guy was just trying to get to Yes.

  35. Hogan:

    I am a former negotiator and obama is obviously not one. He makes ‘compromises’ that he knows won’t be accepted as a TACTIC not as a means of reaching agreement and solution.

    Yeah, you know what? Obama has forgotten more about negotiation than you will ever know.

  36. Hogan:

    (Nitpick time: Honey Huan was an interpreter, not a translator. It’s my line of work and I don’t get many opportunities to be tiresomely pedantic about it.)

    My wife is in the biz, and I thank you.

  37. Tyto:

    Also, Duke in Samoa.

    “I’m a reasonable man, MacArthur, so I know this isn’t snow.”

  38. joe from Lowell:

    The thing is, these two statements do not contradict each other:

    While Obama has reached further rhetorically toward compromise than Republicans have on sequestration and long-term debt

    He makes ‘compromises’ that he knows won’t be accepted as a TACTIC not as a means of reaching agreement and solution.

    Barack Obama can know that his offers won’t be accepted, even if he reaches for a compromise.

    Republican stubbornness, which they think is such a strong, manly maneuver, only serves to hand Obama a gift.

  39. DrDick:

    Firstly, I only said that he was confident, not thoughtful or insightful. I also strongly suspect he is extremely well paid at present and has a gold-plated retirement plan. It is also painfully clear that centrists pundits remain employed long after their sell-by date (witness Broder himself), so he probably reasonably expects to remain on as long as he wants.

  40. Malaclypse:

    Also, Duke running the orphanage:

    “The supply closet has nothing but duct tape!”

    “Duct tape solves all child care issues, Honey.”

  41. wjts:

    His stint as the president of the Baby Doc College of Offshore Medicine (and subsequent zombification) might have been my favorite.

  42. howard:

    well, fair enough that he probably thinks all that, but i would say it’s a very open question whether any newspaper publisher in 15 years is going to think “highly compensated pundits with gold-plated retirement plans: that’s the trick!”

    in fact, depending on the nature of his gold-plated retirement plan, i’m not sure he should be counting on it surviving the next 40 years or so….

  43. Ronnie Founier:

    I JUST WANT IT FIXED, DAMMIT!!!!

  44. BigHank53:

    One of these activities stunts the intellect, saps both the individual and collective will, and is profoundly anti-familiy.

    The other, of course, involves rubbing your genitals.

  45. Scottie:

    BUT CAPTAIN, THE DILITHIUM CRYSTALS ARE DISSOLVIN! THE ENGINES CAN’T TAKE MUCH MORE O THIS!

  46. cpinva:

    it is one of the earliest internet traditions, of which we are all aware.

    “Masturbating in front of a computer is a noble and proud tradition.”

  47. Jewish Steel:

    well-meaning leader

    A phrase copied and pasted from the Republican primaries and presidential campaign.

    “I know Mr Obama is a good man, but he’s in over his head” Just as you’d expect any black to be.

  48. Tybalt:

    “The fact that there is still politics going on in Washington is downright embarrassing for America.”

  49. Tom M:

    The problem unrecognized by the usual centrist qua Fournier, is that Obama has to negotiate with Grover Norquist. The Republicans in Congress don’t negotiate they just say “no” to anything that might be construed as raising taxes on people who support them (who happen to be wealthy). Raise FICa taxes? Sure, they’re regressive let’s do it. Raise the top rate? Arrrrrrgggggh.

    Fed revenue is about 15% of GDP and 42% of that is FICA and Medicare. So the gov’t is supposed to run on 8% of GDP with Defense War running about 5% which leaves 3% for everything else.

    Until Obama cuts a deal with Norquist, we aren’t going anywhere.

  50. The Dark Avenger:

    MODULATE THE SHIELD FREQUENCIES!

  51. Wesley Crusher:

    HOLD ON WHILE I TRANSFIGURE THE ATOMIC COMPONENTS SO THAT THEY PHASE WITH THE TRANSDUCERS!

  52. Both Sides Do It:

    The gratuitous Terry McAuliffe tongue-bath was great

    But Josh Kraushaar making a “Romney was a deal-maker in Massachusetts he would have made a deal to avert the sequester no problem” argument got more of my dander up. Fournier’s just being asinine but Kraushaar’s being a dick.

  53. S_noe:

    That’s where I learned the word marijuana! Or, as my seven-year-old self put it, “Mare-a-jew-na.”

  54. Harry Kim:

    I’M LOCKED OUT OF THE TRANSPORTER

  55. JKTHs:

    “Why can’t we all just congeal into one big status quo party?”

  56. Rhino:

    The deal should be a one way flight over open water in an unreliable small plane.

    I have had it with Grover fucking Norquist.

  57. RhZ:

    Perfect!

  58. Manta:

    Because two is better than one.

  59. Cody:

    I feel like the most prevalent is “Obama said he was on the path of defeating racism, but I still have black people so he failed!”

  60. Cody:

    ^ That was supposed to be hate, not have.

  61. swearyanthony:

    can always go on the friedman spoken word tour, fleecing the corporate rubes

  62. swearyanthony:

    both work

  63. Origami Isopod:

    There are always jobs for hacks and grifters. If they’re confident enough of their abilities, they can sell them to anyone rich and amoral enough to pay them.

  64. SteveNYC:

    YOU ARE SMART! MAKE IT GO!

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