Yesterday was a remarkable day on Air America Radio.
Cenk Uyger was completely excellent, despite being from East Brunswick. He’s better when the co-host is gone, I think (unless, of course, Sam Seder is co-hosting, as he did last Tuesday).
The Goddess, Randi Rhodes, on the other hand, had a difficult time. She screamed at callers and called them ‘stupid’, when they expressed their disapproval of Congress (shared by other AAR hosts such as Uyger), and she dropped a big ‘f-bomb’ and was distraught through the end of the show. She rhetorically begged to know why callers wouldn’t give credit to the Democrats for bringing up all those filibustered bills, and why callers focused on a non-binding ‘Here’s what we opine’ resolution where Democrats helped the 'Republicans' gain the only 'victory' of the day. For some reason, however, she felt it necessary to point out her disapproval of John Kerry’s cowardly, uncommanding behavior at the infamous Tasering. I think the between-the-lines message isn’t how could callers be so ‘stupid’, but Ms. Rhodes’s own similar disapproval of cowardly, uncommanding Democrats generally, where it would be too painful to face that Randi’s predictions of heroic behavior from both Democrats and, especially, Bushists such as John Warner, have come to nought. No one broke with Bush in September. No progress was made towards ending the occupation of Iraq. Approval of Congress is at 11% and it is Bushist voters who approve the most.
Such is a disadvantage of a ‘strategic optimism’ method for controlling anxiety: the optimism is very likely to be unrealistic, and continuing to support the failed optimism leads towards desperation. ‘Defensive pessimism’ has the problem that it is weaker at promoting action, but it does tend to be more realistic and to guard against desperation. A strategic optimist gets comfort from looking forward to fulfillment of a positive future, in which political heroes rescue the nation in September; a defensive pessimist gets comfort from being prepared and rehearsed ‘emotionally’ for such optimistic wishes and predictions not being fulfilled.
BTW a couple of the reasons such a non-binding resolution matters is that the Democrats, in their cooperation with the ‘Republicans’, display themselves as people whom the Bushists continue to control, and who will not show the combative attitude towards Bush that would actually raise their popularity. Because these Dems are more clueless than I’d realized, let’s take approval of Congress down to 9% ASAP. This may not suffice, but it I suspect the reaction is non-linear—that, with numbers so low, a further drop of 2% will have more effect.