“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Goodbye, Mr. Nudge


 
This is probably sad news for the president. If Larry Summers was the brains of the Obama response to the Zona – the Great Recession – the very spirit of Obamaism is Cass Sunstein.  Obama’s general policy of compromise with all men (as long as they were rich, and to the right)  is embodied in a man whose major policy idea is government by “nudging”. Instead of the bad old liberal days, where the government corrupted men’s souls by guaranteeing them healthcare and the like, the new new liberal eschaton was to be brought on by a government that simply, quietly poked a finger in the back of the citizenry.

Sunnstein was the head of a corporate hogwallow called the OIRA – the office of regulatory affairs – about which we have these glorious stats, from a previous article by David Dayen at FDL:

“While the rest of the public might not know about OIRA, lobbyists have the office on speed dial. Industry groups visit OIRA largely for one purpose: to reduce regulation. Steinzor’s analysis found that industry representatives outnumber public health and safety advocates by almost 4 to 1 at OIRA meetings.
Jim Tozzi helped create OIRA and worked on regulations under five presidents. He says the tilt toward industry is to be expected.
Regulations, he says, “increase the cost of industry. So they have more direct skin in the game.” In contrast, he says, environmental groups’ members “don’t have skin in the game, because they just say ‘they’ll cough their lungs out’ or something like that.”
I’m staggering from that comment, but let’s get to the data. The Center for Progressive Reform studied the records of 1,080 OIRA meetings over two Administrations. They found that OIRA changed 84% of all environmental regulations, and 65% of others, under the Obama Administration. This is an increase over the Bush Administration.”

So many people despair at the radical lefty flank that doesn’t appreciate the greatest president ever as he matches off against  the man from Glad. These defeatists are regularly scolded in the pages of American Prospect and other stalwart liberal mags. And how right they are, for just think – if Obama has trumped the Bush administration by turning even further right on the environment, just think how bad Romney will be! On the other hand, not much has happened environmental-wise on Obama’s beat – just the attempted murder of the Gulf of Mexico by BP and the advent of the heat death planet. I mean, we hardly have any skin in this game, and if the heatdeath planet keeps spiraling out of control, the lack of skin will be oh so literal. Which is why, as Obama puts it,  Cass Sunstein “years of exceptional service” have been so important. The only question, I guess, is who the service has been for, exactly.

Sunstein is retiring to a Harvard post, where he will manufacture more fabulous  ideological pudding for the next generation of fabulous centrist Democrats. Democrats who won’t be mislead by the rather minor damage of “coughing your lungs out”, but will, of course, troll some concern about all the expectorated bronchi during the election, thus making electing them the most important thing anybody has ever done or ever will do!

For more info on the ‘most influential liberal legal theorist” of his generation, Mr. Sunstein his own self, here’s a NYT Magazineprofile

The profile is in that special, brownnosing mode that just makes the reader go quivery inside with the sense that one is touching greatness. Here’s a graf:

“Sunstein, who is 55, has an almost childlike excitement — his e-mail messages end in long strings of exclamation points, and when other academics talk about his mind, they do so in the way people talk about the ballet, as something precious that ought to be preserved.”

Uh, yeah, I know! Everybody I know was talking about ballet and preserving it just yesterday, at the Quickburger.

“Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was…”

4 comments:

Ed said...

The "heatdeath planet" is a great coinage.

Unfortunately, the latest research that shows that the world is getting to that state is also suggesting that today's pollution was produced throughout the last fifty years, which means unfortunately you can't quite blame Obama. There is a good chance we already are in the middle of a done deal.

In fact, this may explain the "steal everything in site, the future of the institutions we are running be damned" behavior of the elites. Or at least the rather rapid drop off in interest on the part of the same elite with dealing with any environmental issues.

Vermin Direct, LLC said...

In brand management circles, researchers have found that the excessive use of exclamation points correlates strongly with a preference for anal-sadistic product lines and certain types of secretive, auto-erotic stimulation. Prof. Sunstein, for example, is what they call a “prostadigitator”.

If you doubt me, do a google image search. The look on his face is all the proof you need.

roger said...

Vermin direct, you are back!

Vermin Direct, LLC said...

The NYT's brownnosing is what I'd call anal-hysteric coprophagia. It's desperately, pathologically overwrought.