Those of you who play poker probably know this. There are several variations on the game but I like to play Texas Hold ‘em. Poker players often become hypersensitive to body language when looking for clues as to whether the opposing player has a winning hand or is actually bluffing. It’s called the ‘tell’. It can be a nervous twitch, a blink of the eyes, a dilation of the pupils; anything that gives the impression of lying about your odds of winning the pot.
The television show Lie to Me is based upon this principle of body language and there is science to back it up. When moral humans engage in deception, physiological changes take place. If you know what to look for, it becomes easy to detect.
In poker, there is a tendency to over-play one’s hand based on the supposition that your opponent is trying to make you believe he or she has a better hand (sidebar: never go all in on two pair. Chances are you’ll get burned). That’s when you look for the tell. After a few hands, if you haven’t figured it out, you’re the sucker at the table.
That’s what is happening to the Republicans. They have already overplayed their hand. And I can see by their body language, they know it. They have become the suckers at the table.
I should also note that I can read in President Obama’s body language and his actual language that he is disappointed at how things are going; maybe even dejected. Despite his best efforts, he knows the whole conversation has become about beating him. I suspect it’s crossed his mind that he feels that he isn’t doing the country any good by being the focus of so much animus. It’s the Republicans vs the President. A popular President. A black man. How dare he? And by juxtaposition, it’s the Republicans vs the rest of us. We are a partisan nation. The Republicans and FOX media have seen to it. It’s the Republican way or the highway (or battlefield, depending on whom you listen to).
We sent Obama to change the way Washington works. Surprise! Washington didn’t actually want to change. They’ve been doing business as usual for decades. They’re ALL good at it by now.
Here’s a recent example: probably the greatest contribution that Ronald Reagan ever gave this country was the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). It allowed inspectors from both America and the former Soviet Union to visually check each others reduction of nuclear arsenals and delivery systems. And it kept nuclear weapons from falling into terrorist hands when the Soviet Union fell apart.
START is about to expire. President Obama made an agreement with Russia to continue START (an idea first endorsed by Republicans). But just recently John Kyl declared that Republicans wouldn’t back the renewal of the proposal (even though he personally supported it in the first place).
I bet you can guess. Mitch McConnell’s call for Republican solidarity to defeat President Obama at all costs. Jim DeMint’s call for Obama’s ‘Waterloo’. They are proposing to not support the renewal of the START treaty because of their obsessive desire to crush President Obama. This would be a really nice Christmas present for terrorists around the globe who are looking to grabs some loose nukes. I frankly find this behaviour borderline treasonous. What happened to the days when we supported our President no matter how we voted?
But God bless Republican Dick Lugar. He finally said ‘Enough!’ and issued a plea to call the Republicans’ bluff. He rightly stated that not renewing the treaty with Russia would represent an extreme security risk to both America and the world.
The Republicans over-played their hand believing they had enough political capital in their chip pile. They went all-in right after the November elections. They denied unemployment insurance in a time of economic crisis. They demanded ‘no compromise’ on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when posing as fiscal conservatives. They insisted on the Bush tax cut that would ad $7 trillion to the deficit, and now this? They want to risk the security of the world just so they can beat Obama and get back in power? Are you fucking serious?
Gentlemen, I don’t think you have the cards or the stones. America has seen the ‘Tell’ and they call your all-in.
- Obama Pushes for Showdown on START Treaty (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Obama’s Russia ‘reset’ in peril in nuclear row (alternet.org)
- The Incredible Shrinking Dick Lugar (blogcritics.org)
- Obama: START Treaty With Russia Imperative (foxnews.com)
- Obama Lobbies for START treaty at NATO Meeting (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Obama says NATO leaders back him on START treaty (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Republicans blocking New START ratification (rt.com)
- FACT CHECK: Arms treaty debate full of half-truths (seattletimes.nwsource.com)