On Morning Joe today, the guests were Jim Cramer, Paul Ryan, Carl Berstein, Joe Klein, Chuck Todd, Rick Stengel, then regulars like Barnicle and Geist, and of course there was Mika and Joe. What was clear today is that the political class has reduced analysis to obscurantism. Both sides in the political realm do it, but the Left/Center have mastered the art of obscurantism -- it helps to keep the public off balance and to avoid ever having to lay out a set of principles -- plus it allows politicians and pundits to dodge tough issues. The only person on the show who was clear and principled was Paul Ryan, and he was a breathe of fresh air. Ryan called for an end to corporate welfare and tax looholes by reforming the tax code. The people around the Morning Joe table all agreed, but when it comes down to reducing the power of government none of them will beat the drum for limited government.
The conversation fluttered from Obama's failures to Obama's continued popularity in spite of his failures (based on one Reuter's poll which is contradicted by other polls). Just about everyone agreed that the jobs plan fell flat, but then it was stated that Obama is addressing national solutions while congress is worried about re-election. Obscurantism is what the political class does when the facts are too harsh and reality too unfriendly for their purposes. Pundits have no problem contradicting themselves, saying one thing one minute and another the next. It's clear that many Americans are dissatisfied with government, but pundits manufacture different reasons for the dissatisfaction to avoid admitting that statism itself has failed -- Obama inherited a mess; political division prevents the best plans from succeeding; people like Obama personally, but they believe government is out of touch; Obama doesn't understand the realities of business, but business is out to profit at the expense of the poor; taxes are too high on businesses, but not enough businesses pay their fair share -- on and on it goes, with no clear analysis of any one problem, with the result being doubt and confusion. Ryan forced a moment of clarity, but it soon vanished when Ryan was gone. In the end, the question they ask is whether the Right, with Rick Perry as the model, is too extreme.
So, if the Left and the Center are accused of being biased, they can point to the times they criticized Obama and progressive policies, but in the end the choice is between an extreme Rightwing or a more moderate status quo. The political class wants to save the statist system and the Washington game. You hardly ever hear the principles of limited government and free market promoted as an alternative to government planning and engineering -- it's always a matter of who can plan or engineer the best in government.
Rick Stengel and Time Mag have Perry on the cover, and Stengel was defending Perry as a man who's tapped into public dissatisfaction -- Mika asked Stengel what he was doing, and there was a moment of insider winking. What Mika was asking is -- Rick Stengel, are you talking up Perry because you'd love to see Perry and Obama as the choices in the 2012? Stengel slyly smiled. Oh, isn't the insider game so interesting? Scarborough caught on and began pressing Stengel and Klein about Perry's extremism, because Scarborough believes that between Perry and Obama, Obama will win in landslide, and Scarborough wants a Centrist candidate on the Republican side. The political class doesn't care which party wins, although they prefer Democrats, as long as the statist system is kep intact. Democrat politicans care, of course, because they want to maintain their power, but those who make their living in the political realm just want the status quo protected because it would upset their lucrative gigs if government became limited and the private sector became empowered.