How much hope?

John might have linked to this already, but I think that Larison’s sum-up of the Taibbi/Fernholz/whoever smackdown was right-on:

Obama didn’t run on a platform of “fundamental” change of the economy. He was very careful not to scare anyone with anything as dramatic or interesting as that. He didn’t run on a platform of “fundamental” change in foreign policy, either.

This brings up a question: did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama last November? I didn’t. I thought I was voting for a pragmatist, who would (hopefully) bring about positive, gradual change in some areas — bring in a sane economic policy, do something about health care (he’s been more ambitious than I thought he would be on this), end the excesses of Bush foreign policy (even as he continues some Bush policies I don’t agree with).

Is that more or less what you thought?

I should probably admit that I was an Edwards supporter until he dropped out.

350 replies
  1. 1
    Jim says:

    I should probably admit that I was an Edwards supporter until he dropped out.

    Me, too, so what do I know? As a more practical matter, I thought Obama would bring in new voters–African Americans and younger people– who would significantly effect state and local races. I haven’t seen any hard data to back that up, but I always assumed that was how he got NC and Indiana. I don’t know how much of a powerhouse OfA is at this point, or if O can gin up the same excitement in 2010

  2. 2
    Jennifer says:

    “did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama? ”

    No, I voted for an incrementalist. I always saw him as someone who had their eye on the end game, but understood getting there is a step by step process, not a scorched-earth process.

    I think plenty of other people want the latter. I never did, more than that, I was tired of a unilateral foundation-change President who did things like, oh, approve torturing people.

  3. 3
    Triumph says:

    I didn’t think I was voting for someone who was going to seize the heights of the economy so to speak, but I sure wish he had been more willing to pursue meaningful reforms in the financial sector earlier in his first year because at this point there’s probably not enough political will out there to do what needs to be done to those scumbuckets. Well, what NEEDS to be done is to set up a guillotine outside of the NYSE but I’d settle for dismantling “too big to fail” institutions and some restrictions with teeth on the Banksters. Instead we’ve got the three biggest offenders basically brushing off Obama when he wants them to come to the White House in lieu of counting bonus money that they’re able to pay out solely because they got bailed out. It’s pretty frustrating.

  4. 4
    Kryptik says:

    I saw someone who would make a change by actually bringing sanity back into the process. Not to mention that Congressional Dems might actually grow a damned backbone with a firm Dem President in office

    How was I to know that the Republicans would double down on the batshit crazy even further? Or that the Blue Dog revolt would make the party even more ridiculously gunshy and cowered?

  5. 5
    dr. bloor says:

    I was for Edwards until he was out as well.

    As for Obama, I had no illusion that I was pulling the lever for someone who held any aspiration to institute generational, progressive changes. AFAIC, he’s never been anything other than Hillary without the pants suit.

  6. 6
    bobbyl says:

    I was an Edwards supporter also(thank god he didn’t make it given later revelations). Hower iirc Obama did run on a platform of change, didn’t he. Mr. Larison parses his own words very carefully here because in almost ever speech Obama mentioned something about “change we could believe in”.

  7. 7
    Pangloss says:

    The only candidate that espoused radical, fundamental change was Kucinich. The GOP wants to paint Obama as a radical, freaky, socialist so their policy of returning to the Guilded Age and adopting a fundamentalist Christian state will appear almost reasonable.

  8. 8
    Joshua Norton says:

    I was for Edwards originally, too. Obama rose up mainly as the antidote for the burn-out from the press shoving Hillary down our throats 24/7 for 3 years and he just caught on. People kept saying what a wonderful liberal candidate he was but I never got that from him at all. He made nice fluffy speeches, but didn’t really do much else but piss me off with the majority his Senate votes.

    Progressives just kept pouring their agenda into his empty vessel and swore that was what he was about. And pretty much cussed you out when you pointed that out to them. Now there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse, but I think we still got the best of the deal – all things considered.

  9. 9

    Same here. I’ll go out on a limb and say he’s in the Oval Office because he was a pragmatist. From the minute he annouced he’d run some people have treated Obama like a Rorscharch ink blot. Through out the campaign he said A, B and C and they heard X, Y, Z. Nuts to them.

  10. 10
    Zifnab25 says:

    Obama isn’t the US Senate. That much is clear.

  11. 11
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    This brings up a question: did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama last November? I didn’t.

    He’s out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops.

    And good does not always triumph over evil.

    That presnit ain”t a gonna impeach himself

    Pitchforks and
    Wolverines!!

  12. 12
    MobiusKlein says:

    I do remember “Change” being a big part of the Obama message. While not expecting the next FDR, I was expecting a bit more of the “Change” part.

    But that said, I’ll be OK if we get
    1) a decent health care bill
    2) a start on addressing climate change
    3) some financial system re-regulation
    4) return to lower unemployment
    5) less Iraq / Afghan war

  13. 13
    Keith G says:

    I thought I was voting for a transformational change agent who was very pragmatic. Remember “No Drama Obama”?

    The man has transformed several things, but he was never promoted as a purveyor of ponies. He is a center-left pol dealing with an Congress that is assertively center right, at best, and a largely apathetic public (except for the fucking tea-baggers, who are beginning to earn my respect because at least they are willing to raise hell while our side just blogs).

  14. 14
    Paul in KY says:

    I thought Pres. Obama would take a more ‘forward leaning’ approach to the idea that if Dick Cheney & George Bush liked it, it must be gotten rid of.

    That would also apply to any legislation that the Repubs were hot for.

    The only thing I’m really disappointed about is that he hasn’t moved more aggressively to fix the financial chicanery that we have been subjected to since the Gramm-whothefuck bill allowed virtual bucket shops to exist & investment banks to get into stuff that previously only ‘regular’ banks could do, etc. etc.

    I guess I’d also have to throw in his agreeing with some of the wiretapping/state secrets positions that the Bush admin foisted on us.

    At the end of the day, though, Pres. Obama is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy better than the previous occupant (and his boss Darth Cheney).

    P.S. I was for him from the beginning

  15. 15
    stacie says:

    I expected to get a president, which is what we seem to have gotten, and I think that’s a pretty “fundamental change” from the previous administration.

    But no, I didn’t expect any kind of ushering in of a socialist utopia, the conclusion of all wars as peace swept the globe, or the end of history as humanity awoke to a new dawn of hope and harmony. As far as I know, only the right thought Obama might be the second coming, and they’ve criticized him roundly for not measuring up.

  16. 16
    K. Grant says:

    Considering that I was pining for Russ Feingold to run, when I mashed my fingers onto the touchpad for Obama I knew exactly what I was voting for – a centrist who might actually be able to get a few things done. Lo and behold, that is exactly what kind of President we have.

    Those who thought that Obama was going to be something radically different existed only in two camps – the progressives who had deluded themselves into buying the right-wing nonsense that Obama was a radical leftist, and the right-wing paltroons claiming that Obama was a radical leftist.

    Shockingly, it is only the Naderites (or leftover PUMAs) that are kvetching and feeling all sorts of disappointed in Obama these days. —Word of warning, do not go near Kos today, they are in full melt-down mode. Yikes.

  17. 17
    geg6 says:

    I am not surprised by his economic policies or his social policies at all. All his positions pointed to his being a moderate, with only the slightest of leftward leanings.

    I did, however, think I was voting for a constitutional lawyer/professor and expected, not transformational change, but actually a return to the conservatism (with a little “c”) of honoring the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Seems that’s where I made my mistake. That said, I don’t know what else would have been any better. Certainly not Edwards (and I never would have voted for him; better to sit it out than vote for such a lightweight). Definitely not Clinton. And I would have killed myself rather than have McGrumpy.

  18. 18
    Stooleo says:

    PONIES…. WHERES MY FUCKING PONY..

  19. 19
    Demo Woman says:

    I thought that we were voting for hope.

  20. 20
    frankdawg81 says:

    I understood he was not the most liberal, I thought he was more conservative than I really wanted. I knew that he would be better than what we had but I was not expecting he would be as bad as the alternative.

    Really – do you see a single thing where Obama is substantially better than what McCain said he would do? Clinton was the best Republican President of my 58 years on Earth Obama seems to want to rank closer to Big Daddy for legislative competence and Boy George for legislative quality. 3 Bush Presidencies in 24 years.

  21. 21
    jrg says:

    I voted for someone who was not John McCain… or Sarah Palin.

    Seeing as how I would have voted for a carnival barker over either of those two, my expectations were never that high to begin with.

  22. 22
    DFS says:

    It seems to me like what a lot of people are missing in the furore over this article is that regardless of what policy we should or should not have expected Obama’s administration to enact in this area, it’s currently in the process of enacting some fucking wretched policy.

  23. 23
    4tehlulz says:

    @K. Grant: What’s the current number of “Why I’m disgusted with Daily Kos…” diaries? There were three the last time I checked.

  24. 24
    Jim Crozier says:

    I think there was a broad misunderstanding in the U.S. electorate of what the Obama Campaign meant by “change”.

    The change was, specifically, change from what Bush was. Obama wasn’t advocating some radical leftwing South American style revolution. His idea of change was simply to pull us back off the brink of what Bushism had brought us.

    Now here’s the key point in that last paragraph: That was dramatic, transformational change! If you rate on a scale of 1-10 with a 1 being a South American socialist and a 10 being a Bush Administration that, at its worst, flirted with outright fascism, then simply going from a 10 back to a 5 still counts as dramatic change.

    Where people are, I think, a little disappointed with is that they didn’t want a 5. They wanted something like a 3. What you see cropping up with regards to Obama is a lack of perspective. You see a “pox on both their houses” mentality and complaints about both parties being just the same. Corporate whores and sellouts.

    In other words, you see a lot of incredibly short memories.

  25. 25
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Jennifer: Jennifer, you said it just right!

    I second her entire comment.

    I saw him as a pragmatist and that’s what we needed. I was also for him from the start. But, what I was afraid of was too many people would pin their liberal hopes to him and be disappointed when he turned out to be a progressive/pragmatist more than a liberal.

    I think he’s basically doing a great job, and I’m for him all over again. I was never disappointed in him; he’s got a huge mess to clean up after Bush/Cheney.

    Liberals, give him some room and time, here!

  26. 26
    Martin says:

    I thought I was voting for someone that was rational and focused on solving problems, not fighting ideological battles. Turns out the Democratic base wants to fight ideological battles. Probably explains why I’m still an independent.

  27. 27
    Svensker says:

    I figured O was a pragmatist but I hoped he was committed to the anti-torture stuff, closing Guantanamo, etc. I knew I was hoping for more than I’d probably get, so it’s probably wrong of me to be disappointed. However, I do think the Rahm wing has kyboshed the Dawn Johnson wing pretty well — two dueling parts of Obama’s thinking. I did have SOME hope that the Johnson wing would win a bit, and that has really disappointed me.

    Yes, way better than Bush/Cheney or McCain/Palin, but not good enough. I’d do it again, too (you think CLINTON would be more lefty than O? hah). Edwards was never a consideration for me, always thought he was a lightweight.

    Re Obama — we needed an FDR and we got Hubert Humphrey.

  28. 28
    flukebucket says:

    I voted for him because it was obvious that he was exponentially smarter than his Republican challenger. He seemed to me to have the brains for the job and he certainly had the temperament. I have not been disappointed in him in the least little bit. Every time I see him give a speech or an interview I am still thrilled that I voted for him. When he shows up at a summit I am proud of the man who represents my country.

    And if any of you have not read both of his books then you damn well should make it a point to do that.

  29. 29
    MattF says:

    There was never much difference in policy between Clinton and Obama, and I always said that I’d be happy to vote for either of them. And I think either of them would have won.

    My marginal preference for Obama was based mainly on enemy-of-my-enemy reasoning. Obama’s enemies seemed to be worse and more dangerous to the future of right-wing politics than Clinton’s. And so far, I think I’m still correct about that.

  30. 30
    Sentient Puddle says:

    did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama last November?

    I did. But at the same time, I knew that these hopes were located somewhere around the absolute high point of the possibilities of an Obama presidency, and that I’d inevitably be brought back down to earth. So a year in, I’m quite alright with the fact that he hasn’t implemented a hardcore progressive agenda. In fact, I feel like I’ve gotten much more engaged in the political process, can better follow how Washington works, and do have a generally good handle on why we don’t all have ponies yet.

    But yeah, I share the frustration with you about those people who poured all their hopes into an empty vessel and are now bitching about how Obama isn’t doing what he promised to do. Because that’s bullshit.

  31. 31
    Gus says:

    I had no illusions that Obama was a liberal. I have no illusions that a real liberal could get elected today with all the forces that would be arrayed against one. So, no, I’m not surprised.

  32. 32
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Keith G:

    Exactly, ‘No Drama Obama’ is the guy I voted for. I wasn’t looking for a pony, that’s for sure. As far a the teabaggers go I will never respect them since I have seen the whites of their eyes (so to say) and they are not a group to waste respect on. The KKK had a great organizational structure once and they had no problems getting out and protesting either.

    They also have their own ‘nooz channel’ to promote their activities and keep feeding the chum/slop to them. I am not so sure we would be hearing so much about them without that free advertising boost.

  33. 33

    I voted for a Progressive who understood the role of the Executive Branch. And that is, by and large, what I’ve got.
    He’s not someone who’s going to “force” Congress to do his damned will. We’ve already had that, and it’s no more right to do it for the “right” reasons, reasons and issues I agree with and have personally shed tears and money over, than for the wrong reasons. Saying “let’s sell health care like Bush sold Iraq!” makes my skin crawl.

    That’s the change we needed, to put someone in that Office who’ll pull for “our” side, but also would replace some sense of balance, who would understand that he’s not the Dictat…er, Decider, but someone with very definite roles and boundaries. That we’ve not seen respect for those boundaries is not Obama’s fault, but I’m glad he’s taking steps to fix them.

    It’s a hard change, it’s an ugly change. But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, nor that he doesn’t want the laws he asked for. It just means that having two Constitutional Scholars in the Presidency (yes, Biden taught Constitutional Law for years, as well) makes a massive change in how lawmaking from the Executive Branch is approached.

    And that does fold in with a more pragmatic approach, an approach that’s about folding in potentially stable, long-lasting changes over ones that rupture the societal fabric. In this way, he is a conservative, but one who’s conservative about implementing Progressive polices and ideals. That’s structurally different in many ways that the “Third Way”-ism of the Clinton years.

    Pair to that his focus on The People being organized, and making him (and others accountable), and that’s who, in the end, I voted for. when he fails that — the keeping of the horrific Bush-era surveillance, the submitting of his own Health Care plan (good as it was!) — is when I’m the most disappointed (esp. on the former; I cannot imagine how any moral person can keep many of these activities going).

    In short: He, by and large, the person he said he was, the President he said he’d be, and he said it a lot, and it’s well-documented. I’m a lot more pissed at Congress, than at the Executive.

  34. 34
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I’ve been reading political blogs for about 5 or 6 years and commenting for 3. And in all that time, even during the steaming piles the Bushies laid on us daily, I have never seen as much pure unadulterated stupidity as there is right now in the blogosphere. It is truly a sight to behold, and no amount of reasoned explanation can so much as put a dent in it. The wingnuts have been this ways for years, but dems, or “internet Progressives”, or the Netroots, or whatever they are called have matched the wingnuttosphere and threaten to overtake them with a tidal wave of dumb.

    Speaking for me only

  35. 35
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Svensker:

    Re Obama— we needed an FDR and we got Herbert Hoover.

    Fixed.

  36. 36
    Jim says:

    Remember “No Drama Obama”?

    vs

    —-Word of warning, do not go near Kos today, they are in full melt-down mode. Yikes.

    “No Drama” and “The Blogosphere”. Never the ‘twain shall meet. Well, maybe here.

  37. 37
    Ed Drone says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    He’s out there operating without any decent restraint,

    What’s that from? It sounds like a typical WATB right-whinger kvetch, but I can’t place it.

    and, from Demo Woman:

    I thought that we were voting for hope.

    No, with the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, we’re hoping for votes.

    Ed

  38. 38
    Max says:

    @phoebes-in-santa fe: This. Also. Too.

  39. 39
    cyntax says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Yeah, pretty much the same. I certainly thought he was a pragmatist but I thought he was a little more focused on the change part of his message. But with his FISA vote, I started to expect things would turn out more like they have.

    Still the hands off approach he seems to take across a number of areas isn’t what I expected; I thought he’d be pushing harder for health care, and if you’d asked me to predict his response to the financial crisis, I’d have said he’d go after the “too big too fail” concept.

  40. 40
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Ed Drone:

    Apocalypse Now

  41. 41
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Tricky question. If “fundamental change” means tearing down the pillars of the status quo from root to branch, to mix my metaphors, then no, I didn’t think he would bring fundamental change.

    But I did think he would bring “hella change”. And, you know, he actually did promise it. He has broken several promises he made on the campaign trail after all, especially re: the power of the government to get into your shit.

    So Obama has basically turned out to be pretty much like every politician in one regard: he talks out of his ass during the campaign and then reneges once he is in power.

    However, among those politicians who lie out of their ass on the campaign trail in order to get elected, I think he has done better than most. He did make healthcare a top priority, and he did help keep the economy from cratering completely, so I give him plenty of slack … for a politician.

  42. 42
    jibeaux says:

    Being from North Carolina, I wasn’t an Edwards supporter. He’s one of those people who looks better from far away. From close up, he served one term in our Senate and got nothing done apart from grooming himself a little for the next step up the ladder. He found a populist niche in talking about poverty that was never sincere (I have heard him on the local NPR affiliate, WUNC, talking about how North Carolina didn’t need no stinkin’ unions. This was, of course, before his election to Senate/Stage One of Plan.) He has political and stage talents, but pfft. There’s not much there there.

    I guess in answer to your question, though, I also thought I was voting for a pragmatist who would probably bring about change in a lesser degree than some would hope, because the job just isn’t for dictator. But at the time, that LOOKED like radical, sweeping change. Having a president who spoke English in public in a way that wouldn’t make you bang your head against the table until you passed out was a pretty dramatic change. So I would say he lived up to those expectations. He disappoints in some respects, but I expected disappointment in some respects. I don’t blame him for Lieberman. There just isn’t anything to be done with Lieberman that doesn’t involve some wet concrete and the East River.

  43. 43

    @K. Grant: Feingold was my very first hope, as well. I really wanted someone to run who’d dismantle the worst aspects of the so-called PATRIOT Act. Again, that area is the one I’m the most disappointed in Obama over, since it’s all in his branch.

  44. 44
    Malron says:

    Doug, that’s more or less what I thought.

  45. 45
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I should probably admit that I was an Edwards supporter until he dropped out.

    Same here, since we are doing confession.

  46. 46
    some guy says:

    Well, I was Kucinich supporter (read: craaazy-DFH-radical-purity-troll-whatever) so, obviously, I never saw Obama as any kind of liberal messiah. He was/is a centrist with some liberal instincts. And he was/is clearly a better choice to lead vs. McCain/Palin.

    That said, I did expect him to do what he promised during the campaign: withdraw most troops from Iraq within 16 months, close Guantanamo, end torture, pass health care reform with a public option, etc. These things are happening to various degrees, perhaps more slowly that I’d like. But I blame Congress, specifically the Senate, for dragging their feet, not Obama.

    I’d still vote for O again in 2012 in an instant over any of the Republicans currently talked about as candidates. If I were in Ben Nelson’s state or Stupak’s district, though, I’d have a VERY hard time justifying pulling the lever for them.

  47. 47
    Pennsylvanian says:

    Man, you people make too much damn sense. They are going apeshit over at DKos because they think Obama was supposed to be some progressive-pony-purveyor, which he never promised to be.

    I’m fairly happy with Obama so far. I want more. Much more. But I have to choose from what’s on offer.

  48. 48
    nevsky42 says:

    Really – do you see a single thing where Obama is substantially better than what McCain said he would do?

    Really? I mean, I’m half-informed and not looking at any website before answering this, but off the top of my head, there’s the Ledbetter Act, stem cell research, stimulus package, getting troops out of Iraq, I mean, “not soiling himself daily” > President McCain in my book, but it seems to me that he’s been a lot more than that…

  49. 49
    JMY says:

    I should probably admit that I was an Edwards supporter until he dropped out.

    This brings up an interesting discussion I had with a colleague where he wondered how many of the liberals in the blogosphere who constantly complain about BO and question whether he is “liberal enough” actually supported him in the beginning. I don’t know how valid that is, but it was ironic to hear that question from him considering he was an Edwards supporter as well, when I was really buying into Edwards like a lot of people did. I didn’t even want him to be a running mate, hell people think he’s the reason Kerry lost in 04.

  50. 50
    Cat says:

    I voted for the non-Republican.

    I felt due to Obama’s background and the fact his wife came from a working class family there was a chance he wasn’t going to be or wanted to be a member of ‘The Village’.

    That he might do some good for the other 99% of America that has been ignored and treated as irrelevant until its time to get their votes.

  51. 51
    Xenos says:

    Another anti-corporate lefty here, who supported Edwards in spite of not liking him much, and then chose Obama over Clinton because I could not stomach living through the ’90s again. While I am disappointed in Obama in some ways he lets me hope this country has a future other than your typical dystopian science fiction scenario.

    The senate, however, has really pissed me off this time. Come the constitutional convention, there is one deliberative body that I want to see first against the wall…

  52. 52
    Tyro says:

    Exactly, ‘No Drama Obama’ is the guy I voted for.

    Sometimes, though, the drama comes to you.

    I knew that Obama didn’t have a particularly vindictive or machiavellian streak that was necessary to clean up the Bush/Cheney mess, but I did realize that he thought something went terribly wrong during Washington, DC’s fixation on invading Iraq.

    He could be better, but I knew his temperament was suspect from the start.

  53. 53
    Ailuridae says:

    I voted for the guy I used to play basketball with in college.

    Seriously, I voted for the Democrat in the race like I always do.

    At the time of his election (and it was a heady time everywhere but especially here in Chicago) my hopes for Obama could have been summarized as I believed he would be a competent President and could serve as a transitional (versus transformational) President to someone who could actually lead the country as a progressive in 2016 like Martin O’Malley.

    I’ll be honest, I think the combination of Obama/Reid/Pelosi probably gave too much ground at the start of both the ARRA and health care fights. But I really don’t see how a truer leftist moves those pieces of legislation much differently. Joe Lieberman was going to be Joe Lieberman unless McCain won. Ben Nelson was always going to be a kleptocrat.

  54. 54
    Steve V says:

    I didn’t think his policies would be overly progressive but instead thought the change he would bring would be a sort of de-fanging of the right wing and a raising of the level of political debate. That hasn’t happened yet, but the current histrionics of the right do sort of have a “last throes” feel to them. If he’s playing a long game aimed at process rather than particular policies, it could still happen. Who knows.

  55. 55
    strawmanmunny says:

    @Martin:

    This is my thinking. I’m still a Democrat but ready to go independent.

    I still think a lot of this stuff is because people want payback for Bush. They want “our” side to act like their side and shove stuff down peoples’ throats. I can understand that, but nothing will ever get done if that is the case.

  56. 56
    tamied says:

    I was originally for Edwards (thank goodness that pos didn’t end up with the nomination). I never liked Hillary Clinton, because I would never have trusted her. Barack I just grew to love because I didn’t think he promised the world, just to try to make it better and to work work work, meaning he realized that it wasn’t going to change overnight and there would be concessions along the way.

    A couple of things I am disappointed in: I want the torturers prosecuted (all the way to the top) and I want some financial control regulations added back. I don’t think those are ponies.

  57. 57
    Michael says:

    I was looking for a conservative application of liberal/progressive policy, and have not been disappointed. He’s doing things about as I hoped – thoughtfully, without much drama.

  58. 58
    "Fair and Balanced" Dave says:

    I do remember “Change” being a big part of the Obama message. While not expecting the next FDR, I was expecting a bit more of the “Change” part.

    WRT the 2008 election: In my view, “Change” meant any Administration that would be significantly more intelligent and less evil than the 8-year train wreck that was the Bush-43 Administration.

    I had no delusions that an Obama Administration (or a Hillary Rodham Clinton Administration for that matter) would usher in the 21st Century version of the New Deal. Both Hillary and Obama had too many Washington insiders and Wall Street wheeler-dealers in their campaigns for me to even think that for a second.

  59. 59
    Silver Owl says:

    I voted democrat because I had a, obviously very foolish, hope, that a democratic congress would be more apt to represent the American people than corporations.

    It was less about the president for me since he/she is just one person that signs bills and does not craft them and more about a democratic congress paired with a democratic president that issues facing the American people would be addressed.

    Corporate America made out like bandits. As usual.

  60. 60
    Ailuridae says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    That was a very glib comment. It was also materially false. Hoover’s record on the economy is pretty clear; Obama’s economic thinking is substantially more like FDR’s than Hoover’s

  61. 61
    Jim says:

    Just for the record: When I supported Edwards, I thought it was pretty clear he didn’t stand a chance. But he was at least talking about poverty and the wealth divide. I liked having a major voice talking about those issues, I hoped he would influence the other candidates, and the media’s perspective (this last probably my most naive hope). Looking back at the way Kerry iced him out, the way Feingold dissed him over the course of the campaign, the way Obama avoided getting too close, I suspect a lot of insiders knew the real story.

  62. 62
    dSquib says:

    Anytime someone brings up OTT reactions to Obama on the part of overzealous, young Joe Hopeandchangers, going either the way of unwavering idolatry or feelings of deep betrayal and irreparable disillusionment, someone asks us to take a look at Daily Kos for a view of what they are talking about.

    Just an observation.

  63. 63
    Keith G says:

    @DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal): I hear ya. I do not respect them as sentient beings, god no!

    I do respect that many of them get into their RVs and drive across a state to make their voices heard. That is one reason why their concerns get camera time.

  64. 64
    Xenos says:

    @Cat: Good point. I am a huge fan of Michelle, and her presence made me a lot more comfortable voting for Barack.

  65. 65
    Mike E says:

    Edwards got me with the “Two Americas” meme, but lost me at the beauty counter.

    Obama as incrementalist will be the undoing of a truly viable Democratic Party, only because this props up a self-imolating Republican Party. You don’t respond to war-like tactics by your opponents by offering yourself for slaughter. They (the Rs) have been asking to be crushed, and as always, the Ds do nothing but bring bread&cheese to a knife fight. I believe I could take Charles Krauthammer in such a situation, even if he was packing, and I had nothing but a wheel of cheese. Or George Will. Also.

  66. 66
    cleek says:

    i thought Obama would be fundamentally transformational in the tone and maturity he brought to DC. i think he did that.

    i also thought this would have an effect on Congress, making it more reasonable and cooperative. since the GOP responded to the notion of mature cooperation by acting like petulant children, and the centrists responded by assuming “centrist” means “being the center of attention”, i was clearly wrong about that.

  67. 67
    DougJ says:

    Certainly not Edwards (and I never would have voted for him; better to sit it out than vote for such a lightweight).

    I agree in retrospect that Obama is a better choice. But I still would have voted against Edwards against McCain in a hearbeat.

  68. 68
    gnomedad says:

    @stacie:

    But no, I didn’t expect any kind of ushering in of a soshulist utopia

    Only the wingers believed that. I voted for a smart (there’s radical change!) guy whom I hope will steer us in the right (or at least a better) direction, not beam us to the Promised Land.

    (Spelling amended to avoid moderation hell. I hope.)
    (Update: too late.)

  69. 69
    bago says:

    @Jim: If they meet the helicopters will start laughing, and the terrorists will have won.

  70. 70
    Elie says:

    @Martin:

    Turns out the Democratic base wants to fight ideological battles

    Yep – seems that way to me too.

    Me personally, I wanted to get some serious, practical things done to help people. Am I completely happy thus far? NO. But I have to stay positive and hope that we can do whatever we can. The choice is either to just keep bitching and moaning or to support progress and help to make as much better for ourselves as possible, prominently at the grass roots.

  71. 71
    Chat Noir says:

    @flukebucket:

    He seemed to me to have the brains for the job and he certainly had the temperament.

    Agreed. During the early Democratic Primaries, I couldn’t decide so I kept my mind open. I actually donated to Obama, Clinton (only once), and Edwards. By the time December ’07 rolled around, I moved into the Obama camp for good.

    He got into the race to try to get things done for the kinds of folks he was working with during his community organizing days in Chicago. And a huge focus for the Obama campaign was to try and engage a broader electorate beyond the Democratic base.

    I suggest reading David Plouffe’s “The Audacity to Win” (it’s an excellent read).

  72. 72
    dSquib says:

    My chief disappointment with Obama is not in areas where he has not moved fast enough, but where he has explicitly carried on the Bush-Cheney legacy.

  73. 73
    master c says:

    I voted for BHO cuz I thought he would work the hardest.
    I’m not at all disappointed.

  74. 74
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I will say however, that I was not a die hard Edwards supporter, and was pleased that the dems put up several acceptable candidates, and when Edwards dropped out initially I had no real preference for the others. I had always liked Hillary, even though her husband pissed me off with his antics. And I just didn’t know much about Obama. And so I resigned myself to support whoever dem voters chose, being basically a Yellow Dog Democrat at the time.

    And I believe it was after South Carolina, or maybe Super Tuesday, that it became clear Obama would win no matter, that I took to supporting him. And also by this time, I had seen him for awhile on the trail and was impressed.

    Then Hillary and her camp went full batshit nasty and I came to despise her and her campaign, and suffered through the hillbot wars.

    I am back to basically liking Hillary as she has redeemed herself considerably in my view, and would support her or any other dem for the next presnit, or any Yellow Dog for that matter, so long as no gooper sets foot in the Oval Office. I may have to use intravenous Jack Daniels for the duration if Hills won, but that is life.

  75. 75
    Dr Dave (a different one) says:

    I’m with the apparent majority here–AFAIC, having a well-informed, thoughtful pragmatist is a HUGE change over the uninformed, impulsive ideologue who preceded him.

    Now if we could get more of the same in Congress, we could actually make legislation based on what works best for the majority rather than on what will win the most votes…

  76. 76
    Peter J says:

    When does the Magical Unity Pony(tm) arrive?

  77. 77
    some guy says:

    Really? I mean, I’m half-informed and not looking at any website before answering this, but off the top of my head, there’s the Ledbetter Act, stem cell research, stimulus package, getting troops out of Iraq, I mean, “not soiling himself daily” > President McCain in my book, but it seems to me that he’s been a lot more than that…

    Don’t forget the “bomb-bomb-bomb bomb-bomb Iran” stuff and sabre-rattling with Russia by McCain during the campaign. Fact is, McCain was very tight with the same neoconservative wing of the party who had Bush’s ear post-9/11.

  78. 78
    Ann B. Nonymous says:

    I voted for Obama because he was a pragmatic Midwestern center-left guy who could pass a high school civics class without having to cram the night before. It’s what he campaigned as, and it’s what he’s proven to be. In my judgment, he’s done about 70-80% of what I thought politically possible within this miserable first year the Republicans so thoughtfully left us, and he’s done some things I didn’t think were possible, especially with regard to world opinion. (People who don’t travel much outside the U.S. don’t realize what a miserable reputation this country and its government had in the rest of the world before Obama’s election.)

    I’ve never seen the Edwards appeal, and the movement always came across to me a little like college music snobbery as a phenomenon. I can take or leave Yo La Tengo, but a North Carolinian Tony Blair? That’s two strikes right there.

  79. 79
    aimai says:

    I voted for a pragmatist and an incrementalist. I never wanted Obama–he wasn’t angry enough for me, and he wasn’t as committed to social change as I am. But for all that I figured he was lying to the voters on some stuff and I had my hopes up that he was *lying to appear more centrist and less scary*. I simply couldn’t believe that a man with his background–his mother was an anthropologist, for god’s sake, just like me–and his intellectual credentials, his constitutional law background, etc… would end up being such a fuckign milquetoast and so change averse. I don’t fault Obama for being a centrist or cautious. I fault him because where I think change is necessary–is in fact the pragmatic thing to do–he is consistently fucking up.

    I absolutely think that this health care fiasco which is going to come down to being a complete public relations disaster for the democrats is down to lousy, cautious, weak, centrist, thinking. If you know you can only get a lousy, corporate friendly bill *don’t try to puff up what you are doing* as seriously good change for the masses that they should support. And then don’t get pissy with your supporters because they took your claims seriously, they did the work of organizing and funding the reforms, and then you let fucking joe lieberman and the banksters piss all over you in public. This is not going to go well. You don’t hve to be a leftist to think that. You just have to have some spine and some balls and some sense that *when you let yourself be humiliated by lieberman and the bankers you are letting all of us get humiliated.*

    Which brings me to another point. I admire, about Obama, his willingness to take the heat for being America’s president and standing up for America’s wars, the fact that we tortured, and the fact that we are selfish, dangerous, country. When he took the job of president he took on the job of representing our worst side to the world, and he’s done that graciously. But the same lack of ego that allows Obama to do that seems also to incline him not to take personally or seriously the slights that his political enemies, like Lieberman, have dealt him. But its not possible to “rise above” those slights. Those slights and attacks are publicly emasculating the party as a whole. When rank and file voters look to Obama and the Democrats they see a weak, ineffectual, nice guy bunch of losers. That is going to cost all of us in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

    aimai

  80. 80
    Lee Hartmann says:

    I thought I was voting for someone who would uphold the rule of law; i.e., that the President cannot simply cover up any amount of torture or illegal activity from courts simply by saying “state secrets”. I was wrong.

    And: I knew we were in trouble when, when the stimulus package was first being discussed, there was talk from the White House about a bill with 80 (!) votes in the Senate. At that point I realized that not only was the guy fairly moderate, which I knew, but that he was either delusional or a wuss. Unfortunately, I think now he is both.

    And at that: much better than the alternative!

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I remember that one of the reasons I was slower to climb on the Obama bandwagon than many was that I was itching for some partisan ruthlessness and payback, which I thought other candidates (especially Hillary Clinton) would be better at supplying. But I was won over to the idea that Obama is someone who approaches problems via consensus-building — that’s the whole “community organizer” business.

    He’s gotten less ideological as he’s worked his way up, which is pretty much what you’d expect. You can win elections by rallying the base and bringing new people into the process, and that demands a certain kind of rhetoric. But you can’t use those same tools on the legislature. So you have to talk differently and act differently even in the best of circumstances, because there are new constraints.

    I don’t think President Taibbi or President Hamsher could have done much more. President Taibbi thinks that everyone would love him for standing up to the banks. Not if the economy was even more fucked-up than it already is. President Hamsher would be fulminating about why everything she wants to do is getting hung up on 52-48 votes, and the public would be getting exasperated about how nothing is getting done and the environment in Washington is so toxic.

  82. 82
    Max says:

    @Michael:

    a conservative application of liberal/progressive policy

    You just summed up my political perspective far better than I ever could.

    I’m stealing this phrasing and will use it forever.

  83. 83
    Osprey says:

    Was for Edwards as well. Though after the debates I probably would have switched to Obama.

    My only real reason in voting for Obama (or whoever won the Democratic Caucus) was just how catastrophic a McCain/Palin presidency would have been. And I’d be willing to bet a lot of people felt that way, even if just subconsciously, that we needed to get the Dem in there to avoid the disaster McGrumpy and his pet rock would have wrought.

    I think way too many folks were so enamored with Obama and his being the first black President that their expectations were waaayyyy too high. I think Obama has at least made a yeoman’s effort to stick to his campaign promises, with a few things (QED sticking with Bush/Cheney secrecy policies, Greenwald has plenty on this).

    On Obama’s behalf, and on ours too, we knew the kind of shit-can of worms that would be opened when he got elected. However, I think it has gone way beyond what anybody expected (nobody could have predicted etc.) I mean, we’re seeing open displays of racism and batshittery in actual elected members of Congress (if you want details or need proof, you need to brush up on your critical thinking and google skills).

    What I’d like to see is BHO do what he can (use Rahm, Pelosi, and his own influence) to get a proper health-care bill signed into law. If the senate fucks this up (and by all means they’re well on their way), in 2010 and possibly 2012, you’ll see a lot of the independents and possibly wingnut liberals (only term I can think of for the Kossians who are slitting their wrists atm) not vote, and we’ll wind up with more Michelle Bachmanns and a Republican majority, and then Obama, re-election or not, won’t be able to do shit.

    Edit: In adding to the above, BHO’s humping of bi-partisanship was a pretty poor move IMO. Granted, I don’t think he knew the level of shit he would be stepping into, but the idea he keeps trying to work with Republicans, people who would happily vote to deport his ass to Kenya, is ludicrous.

  84. 84
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Of the three main Dem primary candidates, I would argue that Obama’s platform was the least progressive. I voted for him in the primary because I thought he’d be a less polarizing figure than Hillary Clinton (whoops! fairly naive I guess) who could use his rhetorical gifts to make progressive policies more likely. However, I think it was fairly clear all along from his voting record that he’s not exactly Bernie Sanders.

    It’s strange… it’s almost like we’ve got a group of liberals who really believed the Birther insanity that Obama is a Liberal Fascist Communist Manchurian Candidate that will turn the US into a “socialist hellhole” any day now.

  85. 85
    mr. whipple says:

    “Is that more or less what you thought?”

    yes.

  86. 86
    donovong says:

    Before I answer I should probably let it be known that I was a political agnostic for the 20 years leading up to the Iraq War. Having been to Vietnam and lived through the wonderful world of Reagan, I didn’t believe anything I did mattered anyway. Then “W” won, and Iraq wasn’t far behind.

    I supported Obama from the git-go in 2006. I did not expect him to be as progressive as I would ideally like to see, but I don’t expect anyone truly “progressive” to be able to fucking win. I have not been nearly as disappointed as some by anything he has done yet, because I am taking the long view. Personally, I think that anybody who is blaming him for the HCR issues du jour is full of shit, and has no inkling about how disfunctional the Senate is.

    And, sorry, but I have never been an Edwards supporter. He would have been a distant fourth on my “anybody but McCain” list.

  87. 87
    matt says:

    Silly me, when he said he was for REAL healthcare reform I believed him…and the rest of the dems who said “all we need is a majority”

    Fool me once, shame on me….

    Good luck you corporate scum…never another vote or another dime!

  88. 88
    Makewi says:

    I voted for Hillary. I’m pretty sure her birth certificate is legit.

  89. 89
    Whispers says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the website for the Obama transition team http://www.change.gov?

    Seems a bit unfair to criticize people for expecting change from Obama, when he so openly embraced that word as a key part of his image.

    Obama really has broken a lot of his campaign promises. You may adopt an attitude of “well, we knew he didn’t really mean that” but keep in mind that a lot of people took him more seriously than that.

    Personally, I had moderate to low expectations for him in terms of living up to all of his promises, but I’m stunned at how he’s embraced so many Bush-era policies in so many aspects of his administration, esp. with regard to upholding the rule of law, cutting down on illegal executive branch activities, and turning over the keys to the Treasury to the bankers.

    He’s really been a disappointment to a lot of people, and I don’t see how it’s useful to blame the disappointed people.

  90. 90
    dSquib says:

    I was honestly not interested in anyone except Kucinich, meself. It was frightening, bordering on obsessive. Think I even signed up for some newsletters, god knows.

    I liked his 12 point plan on leaving Iraq. I liked the fact that he had substantive policy positions on most everything you could think of, and would reason about those positions openly and sensibly. For example, I liked how he made a sensible argument for lowering drinking ages in the debates, and lost interest in the likes of Edwards and Clinton when they were asked the same question and simply laughingly shook their heads and said they wouldn’t, feeling they were above explaining such a position. I was irritated that Kucinich and maybe Gravel were the only ones who seemed to be challenged much on any actual position, despite being rank outsiders.

    Until the actual election where I warmed to Obama more as someone I believed might be more further left than he would let on, was allowed to be, and warmed to him further when Palin was unveiled and McCain showed himself to worse than I could have imagined.

  91. 91
    donovong says:

    @Makewi: How would you know? Ever seen it? For that matter, of all the Presidents who have been elected since you arose from the spew of vulture vomit that was your birth, whose birth certificates have you seen, or given a shit about?

  92. 92
    Legalize says:

    I was an Edwards supporter at first, and thought hard about my primary vote between Obama and Clinton right until I actually voted. I then became an Obama supporter, dubious about the whole “hope and change” thing. His vote on telecom immunity in the Senate solidified my dubiousness. At that point I was convinced that Obama was a “pragmatist” who would do what he could, but who would cut bait and move on when he had to.

    He’s a fundamentally decent person.

    While I do wish sometimes that he had the ruthlessness of the Bushies, I’m thankful that he is not a sociopath. I don’t approve of many of his decisions but I continue to believe that he has his reasons because he’s not taking the political temperature with every decision. He’s obviously doing what he thinks is “right”. I trust him. I never trusted Bill Clinton. And I continue to loathe and distrust Congress. After W, being able to trust any political figure is a pretty big deal.

    I don’t believe in “hope and change” in the form of anything other than ridding the White House of the stench and rot of the Bush era. That’s all I ever hoped for. It’s a monumental task that will take longer than Obama’s 8 years.

  93. 93
    max hats says:

    I supported the candidate who I thought was least likely to start more wars. All major candidates were in favor of expanding the war in Afghanistan, so I knew that was a lost cause.

    I wasn’t voting for a Brand New America. I was just voting for an America that wasn’t bugfuck insane. Every day we haven’t bombed Iran or blockaded Venezuela is a good day for me.

  94. 94
    geg6 says:

    @Xenos:

    The senate, however, has really pissed me off this time.

    This. More than anything else, this.

  95. 95
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Well, yeah, I’m sure few people thought they were going to get a socialist utopia or whatever, but still I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that there are lots of people-perhaps not political junkies like us-who are disappointed in the lack of “change,” who are going to make life difficult for Dems in 2010 and 2012.

  96. 96
    Emma says:

    I voted for Obama because ANYTHING was better than the maniacs in control of the levers of power. I still believe that. Whether I love everything he does or not, whether I agree with him or not, he’s sane, and that matters.

  97. 97
    rob! says:

    I believed then, as I do now, that Obama isn’t liberal enough.

    But I also live in the reality-based world, and know that thje United States will never elect a true liberal unless we, as a country, make small steps in that direction, proving to an easily-bamboozled and frightened nation that electing a Liberal president won’t mean forced abortions and gay marriage ceremonies on the White House lawn.

    In my view, Obama was the best hope in this effort, so I supported him, and still do, even though I disagree with many of the actions he’s taken since being inaugurated.

    If Obama, as a President, fails, then this country will go right back to letting the insane, drooling, hateful GOP run the show, and we’ll be even further away from any sort of humane, responsible leadership.

  98. 98
    CaseyL says:

    Early in the primaries, when any of the three – Edwards, Clinton, Obama – looked viable, I made a deliberate decision to support Obama on the basis of what I saw as his superior understanding of how politics worked, what was possible, and the fact (as I saw it) that, although he would have to compromise to get anything done, he would start with a high bar, so that the inevitable compromise was something better than a shit sandwich.

    I also was excited by Democrats increasing their majorities in Congress, because I thought that having the WH, the House, and the Senate, would result in a legislative process driven and controlled by the Democratic agenda, platform, and philosophy.

    I was NOT expecting that Obama would lower the negotiating bar before the legislative process even got started; nor that Reid would be a complete jello-spined failure as majority leader; nor that even with 60 Senators either Democratic or caucusing with Democrats that Republicans would still be the major players in getting legislation to the floor, much less in getting legislation passed.

    I did not have what I considered overly high hopes. I was willing to trim my sails even more.

    What breaks my heart, and my hope, is that even not expecting a progressive renaissance there’s so little progress overall, and what should be signature Democratic issues are being gutted for reasons that make little sense to me. I really don’t know if all that groveling for GOP support is really necessary, or if it’s because Reid sucks so very much as a leader, or if Obama is really that obsessed with bipartisanship. I just know that on every single signature issue (HCR, Gitmo, domestic surveillance, putting the US back on the side of the civilized world in terms of rendition and indefinite detention) Obama caved without even trying to stick to his guns.

    it hurts. It hurts really really badly.

    It does not hurt so much that I won’t vote a straight D ticket in 2010 – I’m not an idiot – but it means I have no hope of things getting better; just not getting too much worse.

  99. 99
    harlana pepper says:

    DougJ: Yes

  100. 100
    Ann B. Nonymous says:

    I have to wonder: did eight years of the unitary executive make people think all presidents would govern like W? There are three branches of government (not four, as Cheney once implied), and I’m pretty sure Obama thinks they’re coequal.

  101. 101
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @cleek:

    i thought Obama would be fundamentally transformational in the tone and maturity he brought to DC. i think he did that.

    Change DC to The United States of America, and that would be one of my primary reasons for supporting him. Again, I have not been disappointed in that regard.

    Harry Reid, on the other hand…

  102. 102
    Makewi says:

    @donovong:

    Did you know that vultures vomit when scared, as a self defense mechanism? Did you know the birth certificate “question” came out of the Hillary camp. Funny.

    Me, I’m more interested in why he won’t release his college records.

  103. 103
    jl says:

    I thought I was voting for a centrist progressive and a pragmatist. I remember interviews with Obama’s ex-students in law school who said they thought he would be, as one of them said, a “ruthless pragmatist”. I believed them.

    However, I had hoped that he would make a much better case to the voters of the country for building a continuing progressive movement. Whether that was liberal, or centrist or pragmatic in policy terms, I did not care. I had hoped that his innovative campaign tactics and strategy would carry over into the administration.

    I do not care much about whether Obama does everything on my personal political wish list. He is just the president for 4 to 8 years. Real change has to take place in this country over a longer period, and there must be much better people elected to Congress in order to keep us from continuing on our path to becoming an ’emerging third world country’ (and by ’emerging’ I mean that we are emerging into that type of state in the wrong direction).

    Obama’s neglect of his electoral responsibility keeping enthusiastic support among the voters alarms me much more than any of his specific policies. Heading into the midterm elections with a demoralized group of Democrats and independents who supported Obama is a bad thing.

    If he is such a political n-dimensional chess player, I would think he would realize it is very important to keep support for a better Congress as a high priority. The majority in the Senate is razor thin, given their piss-poor and undemocratic organization that allows a few A-holes to block everything without any explanation, or even visibility, to the country.

    I think he has done a lousy job of continuing to build any kind of durable political movement. The tone and operation of his administration is very ‘inside’ baseball, or at least seems that way.

    In terms of a magic president, I always thought that was a silly idea. One president cannot solve all the problems in federal government and policy. I did expect much more in builing momentum against the insane and dangerous wingnut political movement (which IMHO includes the Bush II crowd).

    My fear is that he is like Clinton, much better at winning elections than governing, and governing for the long run includes building a political movement, or a Democratic majority that will be useful to the country.

    He has stuck with the post-partisan act long after it has become a tired and impotent gimmick. I have seen polls that show most US voters think that the GOP is operating in bad faith. If Obama keeps up with his canned act, he will be perceived as weak or insincere, and that will disillusion his support.

    He seems to still think that he is cutting inside baseball deals as a member of the Senate. He is not. He is the leader of the ruling party, as well as the head of state and executive.

    In terms of building a movement to change the dangerous irrational and self-destructive reactionary trend in US politics, he is both disappointing and dangerous (because he raised hopes).

    Time to stop worrying about Obama, though. People need to think about how they can work locally to improve chances of getting better Congressman and Senators elected in the midterms. Time spent worrying about whether Obama is ‘all that’ is wasted time that should be spent on more constructive efforts. Unless you can move out of the country before it falls apart.

  104. 104
    Olly McPherson says:

    @aimai:

    Yeah, what you said!

    Re: Edwards, I also supported him because he was engaging poverty and the wealth divide. In hindsight, obviously, I am glad he wasn’t the nominee.

  105. 105
    Da Bomb says:

    @nevsky42: The scary part is, you know more than people who claim to politically astute. And you know about his accomplishments than people over at GOS.

  106. 106
    Paul in KY says:

    aimai, (always want to drop that first ‘i’ when I spell your handle), I think you can be ruthless without being emotionally invested in it.

    Certainly, when playing sports one can be quite vicious to members of the opposition, but that viciousness is directed at them only to advance you or your team’s fortunes.

    I thought/hoped Pres. Obama might bring more of that mindset to the table when dealing with the Repubs/Lieberman/fake senatorial democrats.

    Personally, I think he is always mindful that white people sometimes get real flaky/sketchy when a black man starts showing some anger & he really tries to maintain a calm public persona (even when you & I think he should show more emotion).

  107. 107
    Olly McPherson says:

    @Olly McPherson:

    God, more than anything, though, I wanted someone who would step on the neck of the Republicans while they were down. Sigh…

  108. 108
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    Doug, it doesn’t matter what Obama actually said. It doesn’t matter that he told us upfront about redeploying our troops to Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter that he never made a pledge to close Guantanamo in the first hundred days. I will hold him to promises that he never made.

    I will proclaim that a person who has done more to move the country forward in 11 months than Bush has in 8 years to be the same as Bush. I will paint his Treasury Secretary as a boob and then pretend he doesn’t exist when the economy rebounds 6 months ahead of schedule. I will pretend that the stimulus package wasn’t a big deal. I will pretend that we aren’t investing billions in green technology. I will pretend that the racial and cultural diversity of Obama’s cabinet doesn’t exist.

    It doesn’t matter that Medicare today doesn’t look anything like Medicare did at its inception. HCR must emerge full-grown from the birth canal or I am agin’ it. It doesn’t matter that the job of Congress is to pass legislation. Obama should rule by fiat because that’s what Cheney did. And if he doesn’t I will take my marching orders from Rush Limbaugh and make sure that Obama fails. Because I am a progressive.

  109. 109
    New Yorker says:

    No, I didn’t expect a radical. I expected a sane center-left politician. On healthcare, he’s been better than I expected (and one can’t blame the idiocies of Lieberman and Nelson on Obama), on foreign policy, he’s been exactly what I expected (did everyone miss where he basically ran to the right of McCain on Afghanistan?). My only disappointment has been on civil liberties so far, and his refusal to investigate the serious crimes committed by the Bush administration.

  110. 110
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @rob!:
    __

    I believed then, as I do now, that Obama isn’t liberal enough.
    __
    But I also live in the reality-based world, and know that thje United States will never elect a true liberal unless we, as a country, make small steps in that direction, proving to an easily-bamboozled and frightened nation that electing a Liberal president won’t mean forced abortions and gay marriage ceremonies on the White House lawn.

    I don’t know about “not liberal enough.” It’s more like “as liberal as he can be and still get elected.” I really didn’t expect Obama to do anything much differently than what he has done so far. It would have been nice if he had rolled back some of the FISA/PATRIOT crap, but I never really expected that anyone running in 2008 would have. Certainly not McCain, and certainly not Clinton.

  111. 111
    Paula says:

    Stuck can speak for me, too.

    Actually, this place in time is around the general vicinity of where I thought we’d be with Obama when he emerged as the Dem nominee. There was a brief period after the inauguration where I thought the sheer euphoria of people would carry him through the passage of various policies, but that got jammed up in the legislative process pretty quickly. But as long as people are, for the most part, as uninformed and/or as disorganized in the process of domestic policy reform, I don’t think that people in power are going to be pushed any faster.

    The “Kennedy weakness” (liberal wanting to shore up hawk credentials to appease criticisms of weakness) was also something that I was afraid of after his FISA vote in 2008, so it’s not a huge surprise that the “one step forward/two steps back” dance in regards to both national security and military is dominating the decision making.

    The foreign diplomacy front is hazy, though. On the one hand, the Israeli-Palestine issue is creating the usual headaches, but am pleasantly surprised the the administration publicly dared to criticize Israel (however toothless it may be). On the other, the “jump start” given to the long-festering issues of Cuba, freedom of information in China, Europe and Russia re Iran, new relations w/ South America have been surprising, to say the least.

    The legitimization of Edwards ’08 was a stupid mistake for the Netroots. If they wanted a true progressive even if said candidate had no chance of winning, why didn’t they support someone who had a genuinely consistent progressive voting record and not some guy who made heartwarming speeches about poverty just in time for the election? (Seriously, as kooky as he is, Kucinich would have been a more honorable, philosophically consistent choice.)

    Yeah, still bitter.

  112. 112
    wasabi gasp says:

    I was just lookin’ for an extra waffle with my chicken.

  113. 113
    Tecumseh says:

    @Michael: I always thought Sully had him pegged before most other people did– a leftist with a heart of a small “c” conservative– somebody who wanted progressive change but thought it should be done not by tearing down institutions (ie the health insurance industry or the banks) but trying to reform and fix them. That seemed about right to me then and it seems about right to me now so everything has gone as expected. In this political world and for a lefty, this is probably the only way to affect any sort of decent change.

    Sully also said Obama was about trying to end all the pointless and poisonous culture wars over the past 20 years and so far, Obama has done just that, although it’s making nobody happy. A LOT of people are itching to start them up again, some of whom (like gay people) are fighting the good fight. I’m still giving him the benefit of the doubt on DADT and a few cultural issues, but I don’t think he’s gotten any credit for trying to make political dialogue saner.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I’ve been reading political blogs for about 5 or 6 years and commenting for 3. And in all that time, even during the steaming piles the Bushies laid on us daily, I have never seen as much pure unadulterated stupidity as there is right now in the blogosphere.

    This. I started reading blogs (or aggregators, or alt-media) during the 2000 recount, to the point where I remember feeling hopeful about the 2002 midterm elections because, hey, there were a lot of people out there feeling as irritated as I was.

    But, really, since this election there’s been nonstop “All Obama needs to do is”-ism from a pack of self-crowned radical champions. I guess there’s a reasonable argument that we need those voices moving the “Overton Window” in the proper leftward direction, but, you know, I’m not surprised that Democratic politicians disregard them or harbor lasting grudges against them–like Lieberman-for-Lieberman apparently does against Moulitsas and Hamsher–because, Christ, are they spectacularly fucking annoying.

    I think complaining and counterstrategizing is cheap. Anger is gratifying. But anger doesn’t get shit done. And we need to get. shit. done.

  115. 115
    Keith G says:

    @Whispers: I used to pop Dexatrim, but never got pissed when I didn’t get to my ideal weight as they indicated I would.

    In time, I did closed the gap by reforming my diet and dragging my ass out of bed early every day to put in some road work.

  116. 116
    Randy P says:

    I was an early Edwards supporter and then a Hilary supporter. Voted for Hilary in the PA primaries, which were pretty late in the game. But as a matter of fact once the field settled on those three I had this huge feeling of pride about our bench. I thought I’d be damned pleased with any of the three as President. My main concern about Obama was his youth.

    Once the campaign progressed I became more and more impressed with Obama for his own sake. What impressed me was the “no drama” stuff, the way he came across as a fundamentally sincere and decent human being, and the fact that he really does seem to be an advocate for progressive principles. Plus he impressed me more and more with his political smarts. He seems to be able to deal with the Stupid that is American politics today and especially that is American political reporting. And to get things done in that environment.

    I’m disappointed in HCR and how much ground has been given up, but still feel to my bones that any forward motion is going to get us on the right track. We must pass a bill. Even a shitty bill. I laugh at the 11-dimensional chess stuff but still keep finding evidence that Obama really does think about politics to that depth. I still think he knows what he’s doing and is doing the best he could in the swamp he has to work with.

    My biggest disappointment so far is probably the stance on torture prosecution and how often the DOJ is arguing for Bush/Cheney style reading of executive powers. I was looking for an administration which would strengthen the Constitution, which took the oath of office seriously. The guy is a Constitutional law professor for cripes sake. That executive power stuff is completely the wrong direction.

  117. 117
    Olly McPherson says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Straw man, straw man, doing things that a straw man can!

  118. 118
    inkadu says:

    Like many here, I think any member of the reality based community is a huge change.

    If I feel let down over anything, it’s effectiveness. I was very impressed with the way Obama ran his campaign, and a lot of people who in the beginning criticized his strategy concluded by the end of the primary, “Obama is smarter than me.” So I thought we’d have a really effective president, someone who could play the game behind the scenes, pull strings, and get things done even if it looked impossible on the face of it.

    I think Obama has continued to do that; I’m not sure that a full-frontal assault on the Senate would have a better outcome — given how effin’ bought and paid for just enough of those douchebags are. And since I’m not sure, I will defer to Obama. Why? Because Obama is smarter than me.

    BUT I think one drawback to Obama, as many have noted, is his respect for the traditional power of the congress. I think it’s a waste of time. The United States has been trending to Empire for a long time. The only political value to Congress is to bring down Democratic presidents. If Obama forgets about restoring the Republic and begins ruling as Emperor, he’ll get a lot more done.

  119. 119
    booferama says:

    I didn’t think I was voting for some revolutionary transformational change agent, but it’s important to remember how radical so much of the Bush administration’s policies were. Compared to that, Obama seemed more transformational than he actually has been. Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s gone back on fundamental campaign promises.

  120. 120
    Mark says:

    Obama was definitely my third choice. I voted very early in the CA primary for Edwards, and he dropped out between the time I mailed my ballot and election day.

    Two things always struck me about Obama: I worried that he wasn’t lying when he said he’d seek out “bipartisan” solutions to problems. Of course, he has no choice given the state of the senate, but he always made me think he was too conservative and too weak.

    The second issue was that the people who supported him spoke in endless platitudes. The worst were the “Clinton-Bush” dynasty (what garbage that one is); and “outside-the-beltway”/”not a Washington insider” – he has proven to be a consummate insider. One girl told me she decided she had a hallucination after she drank absinthe and it made her vote for Obama. Seriously, junk like that.

    Is it any surprise we got a conservative guy who coddles the banks and refuses to get public opinion on side with any of his policies?

  121. 121
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: FTW.

  122. 122
    Svensker says:

    @max hats:

    That about covers it.

  123. 123
    kay says:

    I’m not at all disappointed in his first year.
    I never got the Edwards attraction, honestly, although I would have been fine with Hillary.
    I think it’s fair to say that a lot of his first year has been response and mitigation to what he found when he got there.
    I don’t really bother second guessing strategy once the path has been set, so I don’t spend a lot of time on what “might have been”s for approaches to what were pressing, immediate problems in the economy.
    I had real trepidation when they decided to forge ahead with the three-pronged legislative approach (health care, environment and finance reform) in the first year, despite the crash of the economy.
    My inclination is to think that’s too ambitious. I recognize almost everyone here thinks it hasn’t been ambitious enough, but I disagree.
    I was on board with the strategy despite those misgivings and I don’t second guess a year after the fact, because I don’t see the point. Timing is tough to get right, and it’s too easy to say that it might have gone better with MY PLAN, which would have been concentrate on the economy and leave the rest.
    So, no, no real regrets.

  124. 124
    Michael D. says:

    Oh. Come. On.

    Every piece of Obama campaign literature
    All the bumper stickers
    His entire Web site
    His entire campaign schtick

    WAS CHANGE.

    Saying you didn’t expect some fundamental change when he got into office reminds me of some of those people who, after George W. Bush started spending gazillions of dollars and adding massive amounts to the debt, started to say:

    “Well, we always knew George Bush wasn’t a conservative, and that’s not what we voted for.”

    Please.

    Obama’s entire campaign was about changing direction in Iraq and Afghanistan. To many people, that meant getting the hell out of Iraq quickly. It meant change in Afghanistan – and I bet many didn’t think that change would be adding 30,000 bodies to the mix.

    – It came to mean CHANGE in the economic picture.
    – We expected change in our relationships internationally.
    – Gay people expected fairly quick change in laws that are unfair to us.
    – We expected CHANGE in the use of “National Security” to cover up abuses in court.

    Etc.

    To say now that, because he’s not doing all of this, that this was not EXACTLY what we expected, is not being honest.

    My 2¢

  125. 125
    Shalimar says:

    I would have been an Edwards supporter if I thought he was sincere, but his past history suggested his platform was just bullshit to attract a base. As for Obama, he ran explicitly on “change” and motivated millions of supporters who otherwise wouldn’t have been engaged in the political process at all.

    Did I realize he was a pragmatist given that his Senate mentor was supposedly Lieberman, among other things? Yes.

    But I’m not surprised that all of those new activists did believe Obama was a huge change compared with the past. They bought the image he was selling, and abandoning it after the election will hurt him and the party down the road. He created an opportunity for enormous progress that he was unable and unwilling to capitalize on, which is disappointing even if it was expected to a degree.

    Obama is a good president even under current conditions, but his style would have been much better suited to just about any time other than the last 20 years, when Republicans have become increasingly more lockstep and completely unwilling to compromise on anything. You can’t reach out to people who spit on you for existing.

  126. 126
    Joel says:

    I was voting for a non-lunatic who shared most (but not all) of my values.

    Satisfied customer, here.

  127. 127
    Randy P says:

    The other thing I like about the guy is that he seems to enjoy being a Democrat. He seems to be fully aware that we are a noisy bunch of *&(*&, that being the leader of the Democratic party is cat-herding to the n-th power, and he seems to like it just fine that way and know how to do the herding.

  128. 128
    geg6 says:

    @DougJ:

    But I still would have voted against Edwards against McCain in a hearbeat.

    I know you meant you’d have voted FOR Edwards against McCain. And I get why you say that.

    I’ll be real here for a minute. Before Obama came along in 2004 (and, yes, I did pick him out back then; just ask the ex), I was ready to give up on politics completely. A tough decision for a political junkie since the age of 4 and who has never regretted majoring in political science. But I’m no young spring chicken and I’d about had enough of banging my head against a brick wall. Obama changed my mind. And I went to work for him the minute he looked like he was even thinking of running. I did everything possible to get him in the race, get him the nomination, and then get him into the White House. And I don’t regret that. But I would never have done any of those things for Edwards because I had no respect for him back when he was running with Kerry. So had he won the nomination (or anyone else), I wasn’t going to do anything other than pull the lever (so to speak) for them. That’s what I mean by sitting it out. When you’ve been an activist since 1976, simply voting and doing nothing more is sitting it out. I’ve never done such a thing.

    I will, however, consider that my MO from here on in. I simply don’t believe anything can or will change and I won’t put myself at risk, emotionally or financially or intellectually, again. None of them are worth it. You can change your state’s senator, which we did, and nothing changes. You can change your congressman, which we did, and nothing changes. You can change your president, which we did, and nothing changes. I’ll continue to vote, but I won’t be an activist any more.

  129. 129
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Let’s see if I break the blockquote…

    @Whispers:

    Seems a bit unfair to criticize people for expecting change from Obama, when he so openly embraced that word as a key part of his image.
    __
    Obama really has broken a lot of his campaign promises. You may adopt an attitude of “well, we knew he didn’t really mean that” but keep in mind that a lot of people took him more seriously than that.

    (blockquote ends here if it didn’t)

    See, this is exactly the kind of thing that DougJ has a problem with (or if it’s pretentious of me to try and speak for him, the kind of thing I have a problem with). You say that he campaigned on change, broadly defined, and then you go on to say that he didn’t deliver on that because you apparently have your own pet definition of what this change entails that (a) isn’t apparent to the rest of us, which means you end up saying nothing of substance; and (b) when defined more specifically, is probably not something that Obama actually campaigned on in the first place.

    Feel free to state some specific campaign promises he has broken. But until then, this is just projection.

  130. 130
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    __

    moving the “Overton Window”

    ARGH!!! I’m so sick of hearing about the friggin’ Overton Fucking Window!

    /adjusts safety valve again

  131. 131
    Randy P says:

    @Michael D.:

    I expected change.

    I got it. From day one.

    Every time the guy speaks, I am practically weeping with gratitude at the change in the drivers seat. And sometimes it’s more than “practically”. I literally can not imagine what would have happened if McCain had gotten in and driven us deeper into the economic and moral abyss.

  132. 132
    K. Grant says:

    never another vote or another dime

    This is precisely the kind of attitude that I simply do not understand. Who do you plan on supporting? I recognize that a good number of folks would like a viable third party in the mix right now, but it simply is not going to happen. Thus, while you may not like it, and while you are certainly not going to get everything you want, you really don’t much of a choice if you want at least something to get done. So, you won’t get real healthcare, does that mean you are willing to throw away a plan that at least starts to get at the root of the matter? Will you allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good?

    Likewise, how do you plan on changing the system if you are not within the system? It may not be particularly sexy, but you have be willing to grind out the work to get things that make sense to your political agenda. Obama is never going to throw haymakers, but his patient (a word altogether foreign to a great many today), one might say plodding, work is going to slowly shift the way things get done. I don’t subscribe to Sully’s overheated chess v. checkers foolishness, but I do recognize that Obama is patient, and tends to be the tortoise rather than the hare.

  133. 133
    Randy P says:

    Not particularly apropos of anything, but the other day I found a picture I’d taken with my cell phone of a Borders calendar display. I think it was probably from December of 2007, and had two competing “countdown” calendars to Election Day 2008, showing the presumptive nominees.

    One featured Hilary Clinton, the other featured Rudy Giuliani.

  134. 134
    Will says:

    This brings up a question: did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama last November? I didn’t. I thought I was voting for a pragmatist, who would (hopefully) bring about positive, gradual change in some areas—bring in a sane economic policy, do something about health care (he’s been more ambitious than I thought he would be on this), end the excesses of Bush foreign policy (even as he continues some Bush policies I don’t agree with).

    The thing is, all of those things, when compared to the eight-year horror show of the Bush Administration, are transformational. So, yes, I did believe I was voting for a transformational change agent. And by and large, we have gotten one.

  135. 135
    Leelee for Obama says:

    I wasn’t voting for a Brand New America. I was just voting for an America that wasn’t bugfuck insane. Every day we haven’t bombed Iran or blockaded Venezuela is a good day for me.

    @max hats: This, to the billionth power!

    I wanted the guy I’ve got. He won’t bomb Iran to make Lockheed Martin or Darth Cheney orgasmic. He looks at Hugo Chavez and sees what’s there-a man who could have been something better if he wasn’t so convinced he’s supposed to be the Real Fidel.

    I wanted someone whose daily or fewer pronouncements wouldn’t make me vomit incessantly. I wanted someone who would restore my faith that the America I knew-flawed and mistaken far more often than I’d like-was back. I wanted a President whose very presence in the WH would let me get a decent night’s sleep for the first time in 8 years. If a centrist incrementalist with progressive leanings isn’t enough for DKos, I’m sorry about that. But a bombthrower ain’t ever gonna get elected, unless he or she is really, really stealthy.

  136. 136
    DanF says:

    I think I expected him to be a stronger leader on health care than he has been, but I’m holding my verdict until I can see what’s signed into law. I was pretty angry at the reports coming out of the Senate last night, but I have no idea how much arms can be twisted before they break and how much they can’t.

  137. 137
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @CaseyL:

    it hurts. It hurts really really badly.

    It’s possible that I’m just insensitive, and I don’t mean to single you out, but I have a hard time believing that 11 months of a presidency has resulted in “really really bad” feelings of “hurt.” Frustration, sure. But hurt, real, personal, actually felt “hurt”? I’m not there. I felt that when the Supreme Court made that recount decision. I’m a sentimental person who cares a lot about politics. I don’t feel that about Obama.

  138. 138
    jwb says:

    @FlipYrWhig: “I think complaining and counterstrategizing is cheap. Anger is gratifying. But anger doesn’t get shit done. And we need to get. shit. done.”

    This.

  139. 139
    JMY says:

    I always thought “change” was about policy and attitude – being and acting as an adult, taking the job as president seriously, taking governing seriously, try to do good things for everybody, not just the people who are doing well, being reasonable and understanding. I’m happy with my vote and what has been done so far despite some hiccups and that’s all there is to it. If that makes me an Obamabot – so be it. I take it as a compliment.

    This “not liberal enough” bull, just has to stop though.

  140. 140
    Comrade Dread says:

    No. In contrast to the crazed lunatics on the right screeching about Islamo-commu-fascist-racist change on the way, I actually listened to Obama, and recognized him as largely a Pro-establishment politician who would govern pragmatically and not upset the apple cart.

    I must confess even being cynical about civil liberties and economic issues, because no one advances through the ranks that quickly if they’re not behind the current establishment at least 90% of the time.

    I guess my only real expectation of change was that we would get out of Iraq sooner and that he would put a nicer face on the foreign policy madness of the Establishment.

  141. 141
    Midnight Marauder says:

    There’s another element here that I think a lot of people forget about when talking about retrospective subjects like this as it relates to the Obama Administration, and that would be the fact that his administration is still grossly understaffed–particularly in some very key positions, like Dawn Johnsen at the OLC.

    @Svensker:

    I figured O was a pragmatist but I hoped he was committed to the anti-torture stuff, closing Guantanamo, etc. I knew I was hoping for more than I’d probably get, so it’s probably wrong of me to be disappointed. However, I do think the Rahm wing has kyboshed the Dawn Johnson wing pretty well—two dueling parts of Obama’s thinking. I did have SOME hope that the Johnson wing would win a bit, and that has really disappointed me.

    Here’s the thing. I don’t believe that for a minute, Svensker, because for the most part, I would contend that the Dawn Johnsen Wing of the Obama Administration hasn’t even come close to getting off the ground and running yet (especially when compared to the Rahm wing, seeing as how Rahmbo was there from Day One). There are too many nominees being obstructed right now by Republicans for that to even begin to happen. President Obama is missing a ton of key players in a ton of key areas of his administration, so realistically, any disappointment has to be tempered with that element of reality. And I understand that this line of discussion takes us down the road of “Sure, but Obama could have done more to get those nominees through,” but in all honesty, could he? With Harry Reid as his go-to man in the Senate, do you believe that to be a realistic possibility?

    Think back to a month ago, when Reid included the PO in the Senate bill and everyone said “Oh wow, look at Harry Reid getting big over there!” And meanwhile, the White House was saying “Yes, that’s all well and good, but do you have the votes, Harry?” And a lot of people shit all over the White House Obama for taking that position, because he himself was shitting all over the people once again somehow. But here we are now, and look at the mess Harry Reid has given us with another bungled attempt at leadership.

    My point (if there is one any more) is that, fine, you can be disappointed with Obama or furious that he’s not doing more in a particular area or with a particular issue; I think pretty much everyone here feels that way about some matter or another. But if you are that disappointed or furious with Obama, then you should be five times as disappointed or furious with the Obstructionist Assholes in Congress (on the Democratic side), but particularly the feckless efforts of the Senate, as lead by the great Harry Reid.

  142. 142
    Cat says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Anger is gratifying. But anger doesn’t get shit done. And we need to get. shit. done.

    lol. Sorry, but you are wrong. A lot of laws are passed because people are angry and outraged. The list is long and full of bad and good laws, ex. Amber alerts, Food inspection, child labor laws, etc.

  143. 143
    Da Bomb says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: This is so full of win!!

  144. 144
    kay says:

    This is bitchy and small, but I can’t resist. I have heard for a solid year about the concern for closing Gitmo.
    They’ve been making real progress, and it goes completely unnoticed on liberal blogs.
    They announced today that they’re going to move +/- 100 to an Illinois prison, subject to Congressional approval. There are about 200 left at Gitmo, so that’s a huge step.
    I absolutely think Obama and Co should be held to account. But why isn’t there any follow-up on any of these concerns?
    I mean, January would be great, the original deadline, but February doesn’t suck.
    It makes me question the sincerity of the concern.

  145. 145
    Michael D. says:

    @JMY:

    I always thought “change” was about policy and attitude – being and acting as an adult, taking the job as president seriously, taking governing seriously, try to do good things for everybody, not just the people who are doing well, being reasonable and understanding.

    Agreed. 100%. And we got that. And I am HAPPY. Don’t get me wrong.

    But I also understand people who complain that bigger things are not happening.

  146. 146
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Cat: Not entirely correct. A lot of laws are passed because people are angry and outraged, and because they know how to direct that anger to get shit done. Getting angry over a lack of a public option in the health care bill and blaming Obama does not get shit done.

  147. 147
    K. Grant says:

    But if you are that disappointed or furious with Obama, then you should be five times as disappointed or furious with the Obstructionist Assholes in Congress (on the Democratic side), but particular the feckless efforts of the Senate, as lead by the great Harry Reid.

    Exactly this.

  148. 148
    gizmo says:

    There is no doubt about the fact that Obama presented himself as an agent of change. It was the central theme of his campaign. The problem is that we never had a national conversation about the meaning of the term “change.” For Obama and Rahm Emmanuel,
    any improvement on Bush / Cheney represents change. Some of us were foolish enough to set our sights a bit higher.

  149. 149
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @cyntax:

    I’d go with “real” healthcare reform.

    I said specific.

  150. 150
    jwb says:

    @Cat: Yes, but the anger has to be channeled in productive directions, and bitching and whining or packing up your cards and threatening to go home are not productive directions.

  151. 151
    danimal says:

    @cleek:

    i also thought this would have an effect on Congress, making it more reasonable and cooperative. since the GOP responded to the notion of mature cooperation by acting like petulant children, and the centrists responded by assuming “centrist” means “being the center of attention”, i was clearly wrong about that.

    This. A thousand times this. Obama’s election gave centrists of both parties the opportunity to rise above the partisan games, and they took the opportunity to preen for the cameras.

  152. 152
    Paula says:

    Oh jeez, Larison’s post is about Taibbi being a blowhard? Shouldn’t have bothered …

    And I thought it was common knowledge not to believe too much in what a politician says on the campaign trail [particularly slogans], but to look at the voting record.

  153. 153
    R-Jud says:

    @cleek:

    i thought Obama would be fundamentally transformational in the tone and maturity he brought to DC. i think he did that.

    Hee hee hee.

    @jibeaux:

    Being from North Carolina, I wasn’t an Edwards supporter. He’s one of those people who looks better from far away.

    Having come of voting age in ’98, I’ve always had the Internet at my disposal for reading the news. I’ve found it useful to go back to local media when looking at a potential national candidate for office.

    Obama was local to me, so I knew what to expect from him, but a lot of the stuff I read about Edwards from NC media convinced me he was pretty phony back in ’04. And the stuff I read about Sarah Palin curled my hair.

    Things are going more or less how I expected them to go. I am disappointed that Obama has elected to uphold some of the “Unitary Executive” bullshit.

    W/r/t legislation, I figured the Senate was always going to be the millstone around any Democratic President’s neck even with a majority: Harry Reid is not the leader Nancy Pelosi is (does anyone else wish John Kerry was majority leader instead?). In addition to the lawmakers beholden to various lobbyists, I think there is a lot of unspoken resentment among some of the Dem senators that this one-termer got to the Oval Office before they did. (For this reason alone, I think it’s good that Obama got HRC out of the Senate by putting her in the Cabinet).

    The Republicans were always going to be loud and crazy. Being loud and crazy has been their MO since about 1946, when this guy entered the House of Representatives. The Master’s shadow is long.

  154. 154
    Elie says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Asolutely…wouldnt change a word of your comment. Period

  155. 155
    bayville says:

    Wow!
    There is a lot of revisionist history being employed on this thread. Some of the rhetoric he employed when Hank Paulson came to town for bailout money was quite radical…for Washington.
    From Fernolz’s home turf April 2008:

    Obama, unlike Paulson, proposes specific remedies — far greater disclosure, tougher capital requirements, and strict prohibitions against conflicts of interest. Obama declared, “If you can borrow from the government, you should be subject to government oversight and supervision. Capital requirements should be strengthened. Transparency requirements must demand full disclosure by financial institutions to shareholders and counterparties.” Obama also called for tough new regulations against conflicts of interest.

    I don’t think his campaign rhetoric has transcended into action.

  156. 156
    cyntax says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Didn’t he specifically say we needed the public option to control costs?

  157. 157
    dr. bloor says:

    @DanF:

    I have no idea how much arms can be twisted before they break and how much they can’t.

    This much.

  158. 158
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Larison’s sum-up of the Taibbi/Fernholz/whoever smackdown was right-on: “Obama didn’t run on a platform of “fundamental” change of the economy.”

    Yes he did, in so many words:

    “The policies of the last eight years and — and Washington’s unwillingness to tackle the tough problems for decades has left us in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And that’s why the biggest risk we could take right now is to adopt the same failed policies and the same failed politics that we’ve seen over the last eight years and somehow expect a different result. We need fundamental change in this country, and that’s what I’d like to bring.”

    So yes, in one of the biggest platforms he was ever going to get he ran on “fundamental change”. In so many words.

    Now of course, smart folks like you and me know that this was just campaign rhetoric and that he’d be more of a “realist” once elected, but the fact remains that he did run on “fundamental change”. In so many words.

  159. 159
    Cat says:

    @geg6:

    You can change your state’s senator, which we did, and nothing changes. You can change your congressman, which we did, and nothing changes. You can change your president, which we did, and nothing changes. I’ll continue to vote, but I won’t be an activist any more.

    Your a PoliSci major, you know we have other options still available to us.
    The question that troubles me is it even possible in our two party system to wrest control of the government from the corrupt influences in a way that enough people would go along with?

  160. 160
    lamh31 says:

    OT,
    but Greg Sargent is reporting that Howard Dean just gave an interview in which is said “Kill the Senate Bill” .
    http://theplumline.whorunsgov......nate-bill/

    Oh well, I guess that’s that. No health care this year.

    Too bad, so sad, I have insurance, and my career path is solid in an up or down economy.

    So to those who don’t have health insurance…sucks to be you. Gonna have to wait another 20 years…

    (sigh…)

    Seriously, if I had any sort of life, I quit politics and the political intertubes til after the New Year. Start of fresh…

  161. 161
    Leelee for Obama says:

    The United States has been trending to Empire for a long time. The only political value to Congress is to bring down Democratic presidents. If Obama forgets about restoring the Republic and begins ruling as Emperor, he’ll get a lot more done.

    I’m fairly sure that you’re joshing, but just in case-the Empire leaners are always Republicans, and if Obama even attempted it, we would be treated to the most public coup in the history of the Nation. Just sayin’.

  162. 162
    Max says:

    I just have to say that, hands down, this is the thread that exemplifies for me why I come to this website almost exclusively.

    In this thread, we have like 125 unique posters that are communicating their thoughts and perspectives like adults, without hyperbole or histrionics.

    Do we all agree? No, but we are able to discuss and be realistic.

    It’s such a change from the usual suspect “progressive” blogs.

    Hug.

  163. 163
    inkadu says:

    Does anyone here think Obama wants to barely pass a weak watered down bill which is already at risk of being filibustered and therefore fucking his presidency right at the starting gate?

    I mean, really, what’s the pay-off for him? Do you think he’s lying back with his hands behind his head saying, “Yeah, you know what, FUCK the base. Just fuck ’em. I’m starting my presidency by getting filibustered on my first major piece of legislation; and it’s not even a bill I care about!”

    If Obama didn’t care, he wouldn’t have his balls hanging out on HCR eleven months in. Bitch about strategy if you want, but his motives and intent can not be impugned.

  164. 164
    JMY says:

    @Michael D.

    But I also understand people who complain that bigger things are not happening.

    I absolutely understand that as well and I would agree. I don’t think it’s because of a lack of effort on the president’s part considering all the things he has tackled in this year alone. I think it has a lot to do with politics and how Congress runs. That’s how major things get done in D.C. But people seem to forget that sometimes. Sure the administration should do more, but Congress is the way to get things done. Should he ignore Congress and do what he wants the way he wants because liberals love it? No, that’s what Bush did and that’s what we hated. When good things happen, like what kay noted about detainees, that gets ignored. I’m all for holding the administration to account. But when I try to explain the factors that may lead the president to a decision or policy objective – even if I disagree with him – or why certain things aren’t happening the way people would like – I get called an Obamabot. I just try to be realistic about the political environment that we are currently in.

  165. 165
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @cyntax: I don’t know. Did he?

    Honest question. My memory of the campaign season is fairly hazy, especially when they can be mixed up with statements from this year (point of reference: this year he said that he backed the public option, but that it was not critical to reform).

  166. 166
    gizmo says:

    My disappointment with Obama is twofold-

    First, healthcare is supposed to be his signature issue, the one that defines his Presidency. And look what we’ve got– a clusterfuck of a process, and a forthcoming healthcare bill that reveals that the administration didn’t have a clue how to manage this issue.

    Second, opportunities for significant transformation rarely come along. We had a perfect storm, with 8 years of disastrous governance under Bush-Cheney, GOP incompetence and corruption rampant, and a charismatic candidate in Obama, combined with strong majorities in Congress. This set of circumstances is not likely to repeat itself in the next century– we’re not going to have a better shot at overturning existing circumstances than the present one.

  167. 167
    mr. whipple says:

    But if you are that disappointed or furious with Obama, then you should be five times as disappointed or furious with the Obstructionist Assholes in Congress (on the Democratic side), but particular the feckless efforts of the Senate, as lead by the great Harry Reid.

    I’m kind of bleh on Reid, but appreciate the enormity of dealing with a caucus that stretches from Lieberman and Baucus to Brown and Whitehouse. Lots of room there for things to go wrong reaching a consensus, no?

    Out of this whole thing, I am perhaps most disappointed with the House. They came out with the first bill, and frankly given the makeup of the House, was pretty damn weak, and knew from there on that there was no stomach for really taking on Health Care, Inc. (not just insurance, but all the scoundrals in the equation.) I can’t really blame them, as you can see what happens when they go out on a limb only to have things die in the Senate.

  168. 168
    dr. bloor says:

    @Max:

    I just have to say that, hands down, this is the thread that exemplifies for me why I come to this website almost exclusively.

    In this thread, we have like 125 unique posters that are communicating their thoughts and perspectives like adults, without hyperbole or histrionics.

    Do we all agree? No, but we are able to discuss and be realistic.

    It’s such a change from the usual suspect “progressive” blogs.

    Hug.

    I’m troll rating your comment because you failed to point out that my opinions have greater validity than the others’. Jerk.

  169. 169
    Snark Based Reality says:

    People seem to be forgetting why the Obama camp is getting quite a bit of noise from the left on the collapse of the HCR bill:

    Rahm fucking Emanuel has his finger prints all over it. And thus so does Obama.

    Hoover indeed. 2010 is going to be “fun”.

  170. 170
    Whispers says:

    See, this is exactly the kind of thing that DougJ has a problem with (or if it’s pretentious of me to try and speak for him, the kind of thing I have a problem with). You say that he campaigned on change, broadly defined, and then you go on to say that he didn’t deliver on that because you apparently have your own pet definition of what this change entails that (a) isn’t apparent to the rest of us, which means you end up saying nothing of substance; and (b) when defined more specifically, is probably not something that Obama actually campaigned on in the first place.

    I don’t quite know why you’re taking this tone. Again, it feels more like blaming-the-disappointed. My contention was that Obama campaigned on “change” and hasn’t delivered change. Obama apparently managed to convince a lot of people that he was going to radically change how business was conducted in Washington, and yet he has continued business-as-usual on many fronts.

    When I voted for Obama in the primary, he was the anti-war candidate. Remember that? Remember how Hillary was the one who was going to keep us in Iraq forever, but Obama was the one promising to end the occupation relatively quickly? I’ve seen no real movement on that front.

    Obama also derided “Scooter LIbby justice” when he launched his campaign. But he’s made no attempt to investigate any of the Bush-era crimes, and has indeed sought immunity for anybody and everybody involved in the torture regime.

    I thought at the time I was voting that I was voting for accountability. Certainly that was the message in the air at the time of the primaries, when it mattered. At the time of the general election, should I have expressed my growing dissatisfaction by voting for the war-monger?

    You know, this is really quite condescending language:
    “pet definition of change”. I use the same definition of change that everybody else uses. Are you contending that Obama is making substantial changes in how business is conducted? All I see are the worst features of the Clinton administration – cronyism with Wall Street billionaires, a hawkish approach to foreign policy, and a tendency to continue the bipartisan pattern of unfettered growth of the legal bullying by the Executive Branch. Given how much Obama tried to contrast himself against the Clintons in the primary season, this is a bit disappointing. I’ve yet to see him do a single thing that Hillary Clinton would have done differently.

    I certainly didn’t expect an Obama DoJ to make even stronger cases for Executive Branch secrecy and immunity than the Bush administration did! I expected an Obama DoJ to see to due process applied to the people who had been kidnapped and held indefinitely in Cuba. Instead, the only people getting due process are the ones Obama is convinced will be convicted in a court of law. People who are being held on flimsier evidence (or, indeed, no evidence whatsoever) will be buried at Gitmo (or at that prison in Afganistan, or somewhere else) because, apparently, Obama puts their rights to liberty and due process less important than his need to avoid the accusation “you released terrorists!”

    So, no, Obama didn’t explicitly promise to not be more authoritarian than Bush in his legal arguments. If that’s the sliver of ground on which you wish to base your condescension, have at it. I was simply trying to blow away some of the smoke surrounding this issue Reading through the comments here, there seemed to be evolving a groupthink assertion that Obama never really promised change, and that silly liberals were living in la-la land for thinking he had. The candidate who gave us this famous logo? Who named his transition website http://www.change.gov? And he didn’t promise to change things?

    It’s unproductive to rest on technicalities at this point. The best that you can say about Obama and change is that he bamboozled a lot of voters by seeming to promise change without actually making any specific promises that he would later break. Actually, even that’s a bit generous – he has broken a number of promises (such as the promise for transparency in government, the promise to undo DADT, etc.). Mostly, his simply allowed people to misread what he was promising by speaking in vague terms. That may be good politics in the short term, but it certainly has left a lot of Obama supporters feeling burned.

  171. 171
    Rhoda says:

    I thought he was the same, policy wise, as HRC. In point of fact, I really liked HRC better on economic policy and think she would have pushed the administration in a better direction if she were the VP in this regard.

    But since HRC and Obama were so similar, and the only other Dem I really liked was Biden, I wanted Obama to win. I liked the idea of a black president, finally. It’s something I could say to my nephew, the president’s black and you can be like him one day. If HRC had won, I’d have been happy for a similar reason.

    I’m not disappointed in Obama. I’m disappointed in a lot of his actions and think he’s made a lot of rookie mistakes; but overall he’s done a good job IMO.

    The real eye opener has been the inherent dysfunction in the senate. The House had done health care, cap and trade, and passed all it’s appropriations except the defense bill that’s been held back. I think unless the senate is reformed, Obama and any democratic president is screwed.

  172. 172
    John S. says:

    What it’s starting to look like is they’re going to get anything passed that will then be called reform.

    I’m sorry, but THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE FROM DAY ONE.

    Anyone that looked at the existing climate in the Congress and saw otherwise is fucking deluded. I’m sorry that so many people feel butt hurt over Obama not personally riding into the chambers of Congress on a white horse and saving the day, but that isn’t how our government works.

    Bush created such a raw emotional state in this country that the citizens have projected all their hopes – and fears – onto Obama directly, and that’s not fair. He is but a man, and one limited by his authority and conscience (unlike Bush).

    I’m so tired of the incessant whining on the left and all the nonsensical purity that I almost wish McCain/Palin had won. Elections are binary constructs people – you get one or the other. You want to bitch about how awful the government is and how doomed we all are? Then imagine the alternative.

  173. 173
    inkadu says:

    @Max: 124 adults. I tend toward histrionic hyperbole I admit.

    @Leelee for Obama: When I say “rule as Emperor,” I mean Obama could start doing everything via executive order as Bush did. Since Republicans can’t start any movements in Congress to impeach or investigate, Obama is clear for now. Republicans can only block at this point — and they’re doing it quite well. Obama can’t even get his government in place! So if he can’t the congress to function as an integral responsible part of government (aka restoring the republic), he might have to go around them (rule as emperor). This is, of course, a horrible thing; but since every Republican president does it, I see no advantage in holding up our agenda to play by a rule that only works against us.

  174. 174
    Chat Noir says:

    @Max: That’s why I visit here every day. Best web site on the intertubes, hands down.

    And for the pets! Don’t forget the pets. They rule.

  175. 175
    Cat says:

    @kay:

    Gitmo

    I must have missed the trials they had that convicted them of some crime that gives us the legal authority to imprison them.

    If they were treated as the war prisoners the majority of them are then there would be no reason for gitmo to be closed down. Closing gitmo isnt about the prison, its about the ending the policy that says we can torture and imprison whoever the fuck we want. Obama is for ending torture, but he’s pro imprisoning indefinitely.

  176. 176
    inkadu says:

    @Rhoda: I think HRC would have been immediately sunk by Republican attacks and her completely reasonable counter-attacks. We’d be talking about civil war right now instead of health care reform.

  177. 177
    kid bitzer says:

    i always knew that obama had unremarkable views on policy. (good views; well thought-out; but not far outside of the liberal mainstream. unremarkable in that sense.)

    but i also knew that the very act of electing him would itself work a transformation in american politics. and it has.

    i am disappointed that things take longer than i’d like. i am not disappointed in the obama presidency at all.

    of course he is better than mccain/palin would have been–that would have been just an utter catastrophe for the polity. but i actually think he is going to go down as one of the best presidents in a long, long time.

    i’ve been through a lot of presidents. this guy still impresses me more than any president i have lived through.

  178. 178
    cyntax says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    The public option was part of his helathcare plan during the campaign; he didn’t push it much till after he got elected. So we’re both kind of remembering what supports our POV.

    What gets me about jettisoning the PO to satisfy Lieberman is that the PO does the best job of covering the most people and controlling costs (which BO did campaign heavily on). So that seems pragmatic only in the cynical sense of doing what it takes to pass any kind of legislation, not pragmatic in the sense of doing what it takes to get the job done in a meaningful way (actually changing the status quo). It’s worth noting that Dean is now saying it’d be better to kill the Senate bill.

  179. 179
    JMY says:

    And you know what? I constantly here people talk about how they regret their vote and they should have voted for Edwards or Kucinich. There are people who thought and probably still do, that Kucinich would have been a better president and should have been the president. If you think the obstructionism that you’re seeing in Congress is bad now it would be 10X worse with him as president. Republicans already think Obama is this flaming radical liberal, I could only imagine what they would think about Kucinich. And being that Kucinich is extremely principled, I find it hard to believe he would get as far or farther as Obama in his first year.

  180. 180
    mr. whipple says:

    “The policies of the last eight years and—and Washington’s unwillingness to tackle the tough problems for decades has left us in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And that’s why the biggest risk we could take right now is to adopt the same failed policies and the same failed politics that we’ve seen over the last eight years and somehow expect a different result. We need fundamental change in this country, and that’s what I’d like to bring.”

    What this meant to me was that there would be rules governing what caused the collapse(regulation) and no creation of a new/redone bubble to make America feel wealthy based on some BS speculation like homes or Pets.com or tax breaks to the wealthy that break the bank at the expense of the middle and lower classes.

  181. 181
    Will says:

    @kay:

    It makes me question the sincerity of the concern.

    That is really it, isn’t it?

    When I go to a website like FireDogLake, and the comments section is not 1, not 5%, but 95-100% focused entirely on staying home in 2012 and 2012, scrapping the entire health care bill, and getting Harry Reid primaried and hopefully kicked out of office, I really wonder how long these people have been paying attention to American politics, and what they were ever really in it for.

  182. 182
    Elie says:

    @Max:

    Yes Max, everyone has been well behaved on this thread…hasnt always been so, however..

    I applaud us as well and Lordy, its been a lot more informative because of that – for me

  183. 183
    Makewi says:

    @John S.:

    He is but a man, and one limited by his authority and conscience (unlike Bush).

    Let’s not forget the limitations of his lack of executive experience and his preference for voting present. I’m sure those things are playing into his having the lowest polling numbers at this point in his administration of any modern president.

  184. 184
    DougJ says:

    ARGH I’m so sick of hearing about the friggin’ Overton Fucking Window!

    You probably hate Niebuhr too, you childish nihilist.

  185. 185
    mr. whipple says:

    What gets me about jettisoning the PO to satisfy Lieberman is that the PO does the best job of covering the most people and controlling costs (which BO did campaign heavily on).

    The PO in the house bill was considered the ‘strongest’, but was actually very weak and very limited.

  186. 186

    President Obama cannot fail, he can only be failed and if you question any of his policies you’re nothing more than a dirty, filthy purity troll.

  187. 187
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Not today, BJ. I’m swearing off political sites for a few days. My cynicism and low state needs a rest.

  188. 188
    flukebucket says:

    and I bet many didn’t think that change would be adding 30,000 bodies to the mix.

    I am pretty sure that he said all along he was going to add troops in Afghanistan.

  189. 189
    Joy says:

    He is pretty much what I thought I was getting. I’m disappointed in Gitmo, the slow movement on DADT and DOMA, and the indefinite imprisonment. I also am not privy to the conversations he is having with the DOJ, so I defer to him for now. I am really confused why some of his “supporters” are now willing to throw him under the bus, and that’s not a metaphor – I am really confused. He has accomplished many things since his inauguration and the HCR bill is the largest domestic bill in decades. I didn’t think it would be a walk in the park and I think that the Senate leadership made missteps as well as the WH, but I’m not ready to ditch the whole thing and wait another decade or two for health care reform to become a reality. The reality is there is no “bill” yet. We don’t even really know what we are arguing about. I’ll keep reading and digesting everyone’s opinions, but all I hear is “ditch the bill”, “no, don’t, we can build on this later” and back and forth. It makes me want to cover my ears and pull the blankets up over my head. I am waiting for someone to explain it dispassionately. Probably wishful thinking but I am not willing to pile on Obama yet.

  190. 190
    Makewi says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Only racists complain about the POTUS. He’s black you know.

  191. 191
    Malron says:

    After twelve months of bomb-throwing TV and radio personalities, disingenuous politicians, meme-laundering news reports, tea baggers, birthers, tenthers, truthers, Hamshers, Palinites, McWalnuts and the Great Orange Freakout at the blog formerly known as Daily Kos, it is unbelievably encouraging to see a thread full of people that still remember how to think rationally.

    Or, at the very least, agree with my perspective.

    EDIT: I see Max had already said pretty much the same thing.

  192. 192
    donovong says:

    @Will: Amen. Seconded. Dittoed.

  193. 193
    frankdawg81 says:

    Really better than McCain? Still in Iraq, escalating Stan, still have Gitmo, still performing renditions, still bailing out banks not people, still no real reform of health care (what is currently on the table is worse than the status quo), still no actual improvement in financial oversight, still no real movement on greenhouse. Still no interest in doing what is best for American’s only what works for short term American business.

    Oh yeah – President McCain would be proud of this record. The couple of probablys you mentioned would just be icing on the 5417 cake.

  194. 194
    Joy says:

    @JMY: I agree completely. I like Kucinich but obstructionism would have taken on a new meaning. Edwards – don’t get me started. I was an early supporter. He would never had made it to the presidency. His indiscretions would have come out during the general campaign and we would have had President McCain and President-in-Waiting Palin. “Shudder”

  195. 195
    donovong says:

    As I type this, the subject in DC is about to change dramatically – the announcement about Gitmo in Illinois is being made. Batten the hatches and hoist the mizzenmast – we are about to have a big blow from the chickenshit Republican cowards who are afraid of the monsters.

  196. 196
    Randy P says:

    @flukebucket:
    Indeed, that was pretty much a staple of the foreign-policy part of his platform.

  197. 197
    K. Grant says:

    First, healthcare is supposed to be his signature issue, the one that defines his Presidency. And look what we’ve got—a clusterfuck of a process, and a forthcoming healthcare bill that reveals that the administration didn’t have a clue how to manage this issue.

    How would you have managed the Senate? I am quite serious, and looking for a constructive response. How on earth could you have ‘managed’ Holy Joe, Nelson, and various other prima donnas in the Senate. This says nothing of the completely obstructionist Republicans who made the decision to simply say ‘no’ to everything.

    What can be done in such an environment? Bust heads? Really? Folks like Lieberman would gladly screw everyone out of sheer spite, how do you threaten someone like that? Or would you rather Obama simply ignore the checks and balances of the system?

  198. 198
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Makewi: As motley a crew as we are, I am still comforted by the fact that, through all the shouting, we can all still agree on the fact that you’re a moron.

  199. 199
    TooManyJens says:

    We had our front wheels over the edge of the cliff. I was voting to back the damn car up and at least turn toward the right road. I would have liked more than that, I hoped for more than that, but that was the immediate concern.

    I was also voting to live in the kind of country that’s not shit-scared to elect a black Democrat named Barack Hussein Obama, you know?

  200. 200
    itsbenj says:

    Wow. Did you listen to any of Obama’s rhetoric on the campaign trail? He practically WON THE RACE because McCain said that “the fundamentals of our economy are sound.” Hello! HOW many times did he pledge to overhaul our regulatory system? How many times did he pledge to reign in the bankers etc?

    In “the worst economic times since the Great Depresssion” are you seriously trying to suggest that Obama didn’t enter office with mandate to reform our economic system?

    I submit that you have to be pretty much nuts to believe this.

  201. 201
    Joy says:

    @kid bitzer: Well put. You said it much better than I.

  202. 202
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Obama’s reluctance to whip Congress too hard is to me a feature, not a bug, and might have something to do with his earlier career as a con-law professor. Congress, and not the president, is where the people have placed their delegated power. We’ve had an elected monarch my entire life — I’m 52 — and that’s not the way things are supposed to be.

    Congress is broken primarily because there hasn’t been any real need for it to actually work for a generation. Asking it to work now may painful in the short run, but a good thing in the long run.

  203. 203
    TaosJohn says:

    I never dreamed Obama would be such a patsy, so easy to roll. The bankers are making a joke out of him, for one thing. And the generals, too. (Never mind the idiot senators…)

    Kicking sand in the face of a president has never been easier, apparently. Yes, that surprises me.

  204. 204
    Randy P says:

    @frankdawg81:

    That’s right. It’s a record any Republican would be proud of. That’s why the Republican rank and file and the Republicans in Congress have been 100% behind his every move right from the start, cheering him on.

    How’s the weather in your universe?

  205. 205
    flukebucket says:

    Oh yeah – President McCain would be proud of this record.

    Yeah. McCain has nothing but great things to say about Obama every Sunday on television.

  206. 206
    bayville says:

    @flukebucket:

    I am pretty sure that he said all along he was going to add troops in Afghanistan.

    He already did that back in 2009, March.

  207. 207
    Davis X. Machina says:

    ….are you seriously trying to suggest that Obama didn’t enter office with mandate to reform our economic system?

    No, but I at least am seriously suggesting that he didn’t enter office with a mandate to enact a Michael Foote-era Labour Party election manifesto.

  208. 208
    mr. whipple says:

    @Malron:

    Agreed. This is wonderful.

  209. 209
    Dr. Squid says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Obvious Troll is Obvious.

  210. 210
    Mike in NC says:

    I’m just relieved that the war-loving neocon puppet masters have been sent packing. But the question remains, when will they be back?

  211. 211
    horatius says:

    If I knew Obama was this much of a pussy, I wouldn’t have been so convinced by all his double-talk.

  212. 212
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    What this meant to me was

    It was skillful campaign rhetoric to be sure, in that individuals can take away just about anything they want from it. But the point remains, it was a staggering failure to Google on the part of Daniel Larison.

    Taibbi has more thoughts on campaign promises in today’s post. For all you Taibbi fans.

  213. 213
    MNPundit says:

    I thought fundamental change meant normal people would have a voice in government.

    Oops.

  214. 214
    Makewi says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    2010 is shaping up to be a good year for Morons. It turns out that the average voter isn’t that enthralled by the super geniuses currently in charge.

    Lowest. Polls. Ever.

    That has to hurt.

  215. 215
    cyntax says:

    @mr. whipple:

    The PO in the house bill was considered the ‘strongest’, but was actually very weak and very limited.

    Relative to single payer?–sure. But it seemed better to me than chucking it for Lieberman’s amusement. And it seemed like the sort of center-left policy that was smart, incremental (relative to single-payer) and exactly the sort of policy the administration would get behind.

  216. 216

    Oh, and all of this parsing of what the word “change” means sounds like the kind of nonsense that Erick Erickson was pulling last week with his stupid essay about conservative, the noun, versus conservative, the adjective, versus conservative, the dangling participle. The change that Barack Obama was implying he was going to bring to the presidency was something more than “Hey, I’m not as much of a fuckup as my opponent and nowhere near as much of a fuckup as the current occupant of the office” or “Hey, I won’t get us into an endless and bloody quagmire in Iran, I’ll get us into an endless and bloody quagmire in Afghanistan.” If Barack Obama had defined “change” as narrowly as his defenders have been doing here he never would have become president.

    I once heard a minister say that you have to spend some time preaching to the choir, otherwise they stop singing. The Republican party spends all of it time preaching to the choir, and their choir is completely fucking nuts. The Democrats don’t spend any time preaching to theirs, and their choir is going to start losing members. Now, you can argue that the Republicans are worse than the Democrats, but a political platform of “Hey, we really aren’t going to do anything to make your lives better, but if you elect those other guys they’ll make them worse” isn’t the kind of thing that motivates people to get out and support you.

  217. 217
    TooManyJens says:

    @geg6:

    I did, however, think I was voting for a constitutional lawyer/professor and expected, not transformational change, but actually a return to the conservatism (with a little “c”) of honoring the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Yeah, that’s been my biggest disappointment as well.

  218. 218
    JMY says:

    I’m convinced that something seriously needs to be done with the Senate and soon. It’s a shame that the House can get all types of things done, yet the Senate is just one huge clusterfuck.

  219. 219
    Original Lee says:

    @Kryptik: This. I loved at the time, and still have great affection for, the pragmatic aspect of Obama’s character. I voted for the pragmatist, the Constitutional scholar, the guy who actually had long-term goals, the gifted speaker. I *hoped* for someone who could get things done in Congress, and I thought that hope was justified when he picked Rahm Emmanuel as one of his closest aides, but really, I did not expect the GOP to continue the slide into the sea it began during the campaign, nor did I expect the media to join them on the journey. *Sigh.*

  220. 220
    Da Bomb says:

    @Malron: Also this.

    It’s just interesting, how ignorant some of the masses are about how policy and law-making works. This isn’t 1835. We are not at the OK Corral. It’s not about who draws their guns the fastest.

    Congress has been lazy for a long time and we have been browbeaten to believe that the Executive Branch is to run our country by a fiat.

    And all of the commenters on here who think that Obama is Hoover, are being very disingenious. How can you draw comparisons to Hoover, 11 months into someone presidency. Especially, since Hoover existed in a completely different era that didn’t involve 24 hour infotainment, teabaggers, and C-Street politicians. That’s just ridiculous.

    As someone else stated upthread, there still plenty of positons in his administration that are being held up by the party of Obstructionists.

    And yet again, if you want to see how much the President has accomplished and what promises he has broken, please refer to Politi-Fact, they are doing a great job of tracking his campign promises, compromises, and broken ones. I am also tired of how some people say he has broken alot of promises, when there are things in the works, or stalled. He hasn’t been in office long enough to “break so many promises”.

  221. 221
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Makewi: Mayan prophecy, baby. Mayan prophecy.

  222. 222
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I should probably admit that I was an Edwards supporter until he dropped out.

    You don’t have to tell everything. Sometimes less is more.

  223. 223
    freelancer says:

    OT – Oral Roberts is wormfood.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34.....ews-faith/

    EDIT: Like, officially cooling and decaying wormfood at this point.

  224. 224
    WereBear says:

    One thing President Obama hasn’t done yet: surprised me.

    I was shocked when Bill Clinton’s health care thing went down in flames… and then he bailed. I was stricken when I realized the Bush administration actually had lied us into a war and were torturing people to support that. I was ticked off when I found that Edward’s voting record didn’t match his rhetoric, and disgusted when Hilary Clinton started race-baiting during the primary.

    But Barack Obama? I might worry about when he’s going to do what I know he can do… and then (so far) he does it: kickass speech, legislative maneuver, something to show he’s in there swinging.

    I got exactly what I felt he sold me. Which is amazing in itself. But the way he treated Michelle is like something I have frankly never seen in politics ever before in my whole life.

    He treats her as an equal person, as his co-partner. It takes a heckuva fellow to do that.

    So I’m not regretting my money, my time, or my vote.

  225. 225
    some guy says:

    Let’s not forget the limitations of his lack of executive experience and his preference for voting present. I’m sure those things are playing into his having the lowest polling numbers at this point in his administration of any modern president.

    It’s all about the economy. Despite the sympathy from him being shot that year, the shitty economy dragged Reagan’s approval rating to 49% by the end of 1981, to 41% by the end of 1982, and it cratered at 35% in 1983 before turning around with the economy.

    And, like with Reagan, if the economy rebounds by 2012 then it’ll be a “morning in America” landslide for Obama.

  226. 226
    geg6 says:

    @Cat:

    Your a PoliSci major, you know we have other options still available to us.

    What, exactly? No, I don’t know of any other options. Not within the political system as it is currently constituted. That is why I’ve given up trying. Unless we blow up the whole thing and start all over, I’m at a loss for how to make the government work for the people. It is set up to work for the corporations and the very, very rich. And I don’t see that changing in my lifetime. Another 20 years or so and I’m gone, so, no, it’s not gonna happen.

  227. 227
    Makewi says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    2012. So 2 years of gridlock before the fire and brimstone.

  228. 228

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    And once again, Taibbi proves that he’s either stupid or dishonest. Watch this trick:

    As a candidate, Barack Obama endorsed the idea of allowing consumers to import cheaper pharmaceuticals from other industrialized countries. In the Senate he co-sponsored a bill that pushed the idea.

    But now that he’s president and is taking money from the pharmaceutical lobby (PhRMA) to help get his bullshit health care bill passed, his administration is backtracking. His FDA chief Margaret Hamburg is pulling out the old safety canard. The CBO has estimated that a bill sponsored by Byron Dorgan to allow drug re-importation would save the government $19 billion over 10 years, and save consumers $80 billion.

    There’s no legitimate reason to bar re-importation, except one: to preserve a subsidy for the pharmaceutical industry and, by extension, preserve the flow of campaign contributions to the Democratic Party. That is why President Obama is now opposing the sensible measures he endorsed as a candidate. He is pursuing this year’s expedient goal of getting a campaign war chest now that he’s already achieved last year’s expedient goal of getting elected.

    Except, you know, Byron Dorgan is a Democrat. What’s more, he’s a relatively conservative Democrat from North Dakota. And Senator Diapers is a co-sponsor of the amendment, so that ought to clue you in that there’s a relatively deep well of support for re-importation in the Senate. So you can imagine that the Senate is unraveling Obama’s deal above the administration’s objections, or you could imagine that the administration knew re-importation would get support in Congress, and therefor cut a deal with Phrma they knew they had no way of living up to and never had any intention of honoring. Considering that Obama was just in the Senate, Rahm was just in the House, and the West Wing is staffed up with people who were high ranking Congressional staffers this time last year, how likely do you think it is that the administration had no idea re-importation was so popular it could get David Vitter’s support?

  229. 229
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I think a lot of people on the left have Outrage Envy. They see the tea-party people throwing shitfits and getting attention and think, hey, if we throw the right kind of shitfit, _we_ could get attention too! For reasons that I don’t quite comprehend, the deck is stacked against us, and it just doesn’t happen like that. It doesn’t play well in the media and it doesn’t play well with the non-committed public. (My only explanation is, America is fucking weird.) But stamping your feet that it’s just not fair doesn’t actually accomplish that whole important fair-making step.

  230. 230
    cyntax says:

    @Da Bomb:

    It’s just interesting, how ignorant some of the masses are about how policy and law-making works. This isn’t 1835. We are not at the OK Corral. It’s not about who draws their guns the fastest.

    In all fairness, your metpahor seems disingenuous. I don’t think anyone on this thread is asking that things get resolved like the OK Corral and that Obama has to come out with guns blazing.

    Instead let’s look at how LBJ got the Civil Rights Act passed: by using persuasion. Which is really the biggest wrench in the Executive Branch’s toolbox. Now obviously Obama’s no LBJ, but sending out Rahm to tell Reid to appease Lieberman is sending your fixer out to work on the wrong guy IMO.

  231. 231
    geg6 says:

    @freelancer:

    Good. Now Billy Graham, please.

  232. 232
    DougJ says:

    Now Billy Graham, please.

    Why, so a decent man’s religious empire can be taken over by his crazy son? Count me out of wishing for that.

  233. 233

    @cyntax:

    That’s giving way too much credit to the Great Man theory. The Civil Rights Act didn’t pass because LBJ was an awesome hardass, it passed because a handful of Congressman decided that the moral imperative of passing the bill was worth them committing political suicide over it. And then they did lose their seats because of their votes. If they hadn’t made that moral judgment, nothing Johnson could have done could have moved the ball.

  234. 234
    jenniebee says:

    I was astounded during the campaign that Obama managed the neat trick of remaining enough of a blank that nearly everyone was able to project their own vision/nightmare, whatever your flavor happens to be, of what his presidency would be like, all the while making it abundantly clear that he was a centrist candidate whose ambitions had very little to do with any particular domestic or foreign agenda, and very much to do with cleaning up the mess and restoring the 1999 status quo. He was always more Clintonite than Clinton.

  235. 235
    tamied says:

    How do we fix this broken system though? We’re expecting the people who are profiting from it to actually vote to fix it up? I just don’t see that happening. Like fixing the filibuster problem. Who’s going to vote to fix that?

  236. 236
    Comrade Jake says:

    Honestly he’s mostly been what I had expected. I would have liked to have seen him move more aggressively or forcefully on some things (like DADT), and get the fuck out of Afghanistan, but overall the guy hasn’t been some surprise. I certainly wasn’t expecting a pony.

    At minimum, the guy is an adult. And he really hasn’t been keen to demonize the GOP, even when they fully deserve it.

    Maybe that approach will come back to bite him in the ass in 2012, I don’t know. But if the electoral map looks like Reagan’s in 1984 (except blue), that won’t surprise me at all.

  237. 237
    hal says:

    Maybe when people get over Obama being the next LBJ, or FDR, or Lincoln, there won’t be so much disappointment. I voted for Obama, and not because I thought he would be the next anything. There are things I like about him, and things I don’t, and I’m thrilled that McCain/Palin aren’t in the Whitehouse.

  238. 238
    Da Bomb says:

    @cyntax: First all, I am not speaking about everyone on this thread.

    My analogy is not disingenious. And there have been commenters who do want that from the President.

    As for LBJ, Kennedy passed on, he had some leverage in that regard.

  239. 239
    Da Bomb says:

    @hal: This.

  240. 240
    Corner Stone says:

    This brings up a question: did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama last November?

    What a gem of a thread this is. Thank you DougJ.

  241. 241
    freelancer says:

    @geg6:

    I’m very meh about Graham, but if Jesus put his crosshairs on Pat Robertson on the other hand…

  242. 242
    tamied says:

    @geg6: God, I thought they both died years ago. Must be all that clean livin’.

  243. 243
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Gloomberals

  244. 244
    bayville says:

    @DougJ:

    Graham’s son is nuts, but describing ol’ Billy as “decent” would depend on your definition of “decent”.

  245. 245
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @geg6: This, for sure. Unless and until jes’ plain folks can compete with Our Corporate Overlords in terms of economic and political influence, significant change ain’t happening around here. OCO aren’t even partisan—a quick look at campaign contributions from the biggest corporate donors shows that they give big bucks to both Dems and Pubs. Once OCO buy a pol, they except him/her to stay bought, and in general, they do.

    Nothing personal, just business, right?

    Political reform will only come if there is some calamitous social upheaval, and even then, only maybe. That may not mean that we should stop trying to effect change, but it does mean that we shouldn’t expect sweeping reform any time soon, and that any change that does happen will be very incremental.

  246. 246
    ppcli says:

    I figured I was voting for a *marginally* more liberal, *far* more disciplined version of Bill Clinton. A version that could be counted on not to derail his entire administration with intern dalliances. Who would be somewhat more prepared than Clinton’s people were for the right-wing noise machine.

    And, as a bonus, he was someone whose respectful and joyful relationship with his wife is a model for men to emulate, and who is actually really very smart and, for a politician, exceptionally learned.

    Most of the votes I cast when young were for socialists, so I know what they sound and act like. Obama isn’t one, and nothing he said suggested to me that he was.
    I accepted that by coming to live in the ‘States, I had given up the opportunity to vote NDP, and so I didn’t delude myself into thinking I was electing J.S. Woodsworth or Tommy Douglas or Stanley Knowles. I chalked up the talk about “Obama the socialist” to right-wing fantasia and scaremongering.

    And, though I’m occasionally frustrated with some decision or other, I feel I got exactly what I expected.

  247. 247
    jwb says:

    @FlipYrWhig: If we threw the right kind of shitfit, we probably could get attention—no, FauxNews would pump 40,000 protesters into 2 million for us, but the right kind of shitfit, staged with an eye for theater, would undoubtedly garner some attention. Actually, we used to be good at that sort of thing, but when’s the last time the left has organized an effective large-scale demonstration?

  248. 248
    geg6 says:

    @DougJ:

    a decent man

    Well, your standards on what constitutes “decent” and mine obviously are quite different. I do not consider such a coward “decent.” I do not consider such a whore for proximity to power “decent.” I do not consider someone who uses anti-semitism so casually that he doesn’t even remember saying the anti-semitic things he was recorded saying “decent.” I do not consider someone who could raise and then empower his crazy son by giving him a religious empire “decent.”

    In fact, in general, my opinion of any religious leader is that they are automatically corrupt pieces of shit until they prove themselves differently. So far, I haven’t seen any American examples to prove me wrong. And few European either. In fact, I’m pressed to think of one anywhere.

  249. 249
    batgirl says:

    @Cat: No, we are f**ked.

    This is why I don’t blame Obama even as I’m disappointed in him. Our system is fundamentally broken and the American people are fundamentally short-sighted and stupid.

  250. 250
    ppcli says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, the dreaded s-word put me in moderation. I try again:

    I figured I was voting for a marginally more liberal, far more disciplined version of Bill Clinton. A version that could be counted on not to derail his entire administration with intern dalliances. Who would be somewhat more prepared than Clinton’s people were for the right-wing noise machine.

    And, as a bonus, he was someone whose respectful and joyful relationship with his wife is a model for men to emulate, and who is actually really very smart and, for a politician, exceptionally learned.
    Most of the votes I cast when young were for soc ialists, so I know what they sound and act like. Obama isn’t one, and nothing he said suggested to me that he was.
    I accepted that by coming to live in the ‘States, I had given up the opportunity to vote NDP, and so I didn’t delude myself into thinking I was electing J.S. Woodsworth or Tommy Douglas or Stanley Knowles. I chalked up the talk about “Obama the soc ialist” to right-wing fantasia and scaremongering.

    And, though I’m occasionally frustrated with some decision or other, I feel I got exactly what I expected.

  251. 251
    jwb says:

    @cyntax: Unless you think Reid is your problem and this is basically the sign that his days are numbered. In any case, that’s how I read this.

  252. 252
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    And once again, Taibbi proves that he’s either stupid or dishonest. Watch this trick

    Your argument is that Obama did not support re-importation as a candidate? Or is your argument that Obama’s administration does support re-importation?
    Because those are the two points made in Taibbi’s article.

  253. 253

    I figured I was voting for a political realist who was probably personally liberal. I also thought I was voting for the rule of law at the executive branch – thought I was.

    I did expect lots of Makepees and did get that.

    For all the difference it makes, I did help elect one of the best Freshman Sens – Jeff Merkley (D-OR). As if that makes spit difference.

  254. 254
    cyntax says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    Actually it’s not giving too much credence to the great man theory: LBJ really did quite a lot to persuade various senators. That isn’t to say that he was soley responsible but that wasn’t my contention. When Obama sends Rahm (or allows him, whichever) to go tell Reid to cave to Lieberman, that’s applying pressure for watered-down legislation.

  255. 255
    some guy says:

    If we threw the right kind of shitfit, we probably could get attention—no, FauxNews would pump 40,000 protesters into 2 million for us, but the right kind of shitfit, staged with an eye for theater, would undoubtedly garner some attention. Actually, we used to be good at that sort of thing, but when’s the last time the left has organized an effective large-scale demonstration?

    What’s really sad is that the anti-war protests in 2003 actually did draw several million people, and I remember that there was live coverage of those on network TV, but those protests ended up not being very effective in the end.

  256. 256

    @Corner Stone:

    No, my point is that Taibbi doesn’t mention that the guy sponsoring the re-importation bill is a Democrat, and a conservative one at that, and then in then in the next paragraph claims that the reason for this is to get the Democratic Party PhRMA money for the midterm election cycle. Either Taibbi is unaware that Dorgan is a Democrat, which wouldn’t speak well of his knowledge/dilligence, or he is aware and deliberately omits the tidbit because disclosing it would make said juxtaposition rather confusing. I mean, why would PhRMA support Democratic congressional candidates if even conservative Dems are opposed to PhRMA’s legislative priorities? He pulled the same trick in the “Sell Out” article. He devoted nearly an entire paragraph to Jason Furman’s role as Deputy at the NEC, yet didn’t make any mention of Furman’s role as an economic adviser to the Obama campaign. Similarly, he painted Karen Kornbluh as one of the good guys, so to speak, from the campaign who had suddenly been jettisoned for the dreaded Rubinites, but neglected to mention that in a previous life she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to…Robert Rubin. Of course, disclosing those facts would have cast a pretty big shadow on the article’s narrative wouldn’t it?

    Either way, you can believe Taibbi is uninformed/lazy and wasn’t aware of these things when they were omitted from his pieces, or you can assume he must have come across the information at some point and conciously chose to omit it because it made supporting his premise harder. But it has to be one or the other.

  257. 257
    neff says:

    As right-wing war criminals go, Obama is a fairly likable one, I’ll give him that. It just goes to show how screwy this country is that people can unironically refer to this rightist as “center left”.

  258. 258
    neff says:

    @Brien Jackson: I’m not seeing where in Taibbi’s post there’s any implication of Dorgan being something other than a Democrat, but Taibbi has never been that stuck on political parties. You aren’t one of those blue-jersey vs. red-jersey people are you? You don’t seem that type.

  259. 259
    georgia pig says:

    @Davis X. Machina: This is an important point. The problems we are currently experiencing have more to do with Congress than Obama. Obama knows what the president is supposed to do — be a competent executive — and he does it irrespective of politics. This is a profound change and it will become more apparent as time goes by.

    I just went to a legal conference in which Dave Kappos, Obama’s new director of the Patent Office, spoke. It may be meaningless to most of you, but after suffering 15 years of political hacks, I can’t tell you the profound change it represents to have someone in that office that actually knows what the hell he’s talking about and who believes in the mission of his agency. My guess is that changes like that are occurring throughout the executive branch, and these small changes stand to make the government more effective and rehabilitate the image of government that has been trashed by Reaganites.

    So, while I’m disappointed that we still have a bunch of worthless hacks in Congress, I don’t blame that on Obama (there are probably limits to what Reid and Pelosi can achieve, too). I just wish folks would take the long view and see that this ain’t gonna be fixed overnight.

  260. 260
    les says:

    Given that there’s never been a politician on the national stage who would represent me, I expected and think I’ve gotten a pretty good deal. The basics: he can talk, he can think, he’s gracious and adroit and inclusive–as my face to the rest of the world, I like it. As prez, he doesn’t think he’s king; a huge positive change, that of course means he can’t do a lot of stuff I wish would get done. I think he believes in rule of law; I wish he’d change, or try to change, some of them–especially Bush’s excesses on privacy and human rights–but at least I believe if we can get a congress to act like a congress–that is, the body supposed to represent us and generate and pass laws–he’ll execute them like he’s supposed to.

    Yeah, he’s party politician; but he’s not as corporatist as Clinton and the DLC. Yeah, he’s at best a moderate–but I believe he wants some progressive moves on health, consumer protection, the environment. Unfortunately, it’s neither his job nor within his power to force legislation.

    We’ll just have to see whether the near-terminally fucked political system we have, can generate enough politicians who won’t fuck us for fun and profit.

  261. 261

    @neff:

    Not really, no. But Taibbi’s interpretation, or whatever you want to call it, is that the idea is to get Democrats lots of PhRMA money for the 2010 elections. But that rationale doesn’t make a lot of sense if you note that re-importation is overwhelmingly popular with Congressional Democrats now does it?

  262. 262
    mr. whipple says:

    Relative to single payer?—sure. But it seemed better to me than chucking it for Lieberman’s amusement. And it seemed like the sort of center-left policy that was smart, incremental (relative to single-payer) and exactly the sort of policy the administration would get behind.

    Yes, the original PO in the House bill was very weak, yet this is what a lot of people were calling the ‘strong’ public option. Only a limited number of people would have been allowed to even sign up for it.

    The public option was chucked in the Senate for Medicare 55-65(again with only a subset of people in that age range elligible to join.). That’s what Lieberman killed, and what the Dems agreed to to get the 60th vote. (assuming that holds.)

    All along the way, people have been urging Dems to dump various forms of the bill. In fact, I found it amusing that when the Senate substituted the Medicare for the PO a lot of people screamed bloody murder and then turned around and said how great it was, and how sad it was, when it was dumped.

  263. 263
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @jwb:

    we used to be good at that sort of thing, but when’s the last time the left has organized an effective large-scale demonstration?

    There have been large-scale demonstrations about the war in Iraq, there have been large-scale demonstrations about immigration, there have been large-scale actions to draw attention to the health care crisis like the fairs Olbermann has been supporting. All good and honorable things. But they don’t shift the debate. Some guy on a bench heckling a Congressman gets dissected on the news for hours upon hours. There isn’t a level playing field. I don’t know how to change that.

    I get the Eric Alterman “working the refs” theory for how conservatives ensured that the media doesn’t try to hold them in check, but liberal ref-working just rolls away. Honestly, I think the entire political scene has gotten used to the idea that conservatives act like dicks, so it’s expected, so no one acts shocked by it, and it gets normalized. But that doesn’t mean that liberals get to act like dicks too, not even in righteous revenge. For that matter, I have a feeling that if peaceable liberal demonstrators got blasted with firehoses in 2009, public opinion wouldn’t be with the people getting blasted, it would be with the people wielding the hoses.

    As a result, there’s no incentive for Republicans even to consider doing the “right thing,” or being on “the right side of history,” because they lose nothing by refusing. There was a time when “conscience” still existed, even among some Republicans, even among some of the not-especially-liberal ones, but it’s gotten almost totally squelched. It’s not just the permanent campaign, it’s the permanent Fuck You. Our political system isn’t set up to be able to handle that, and I don’t think our media system is either. It’s a hell of a thing.

  264. 264
    AnotherBruce says:

    @geg6:

    Exactly so, watching this health care fiasco has confirmed it for me, we have a government run by and for the corporations. I don’t see any way to change it. Certainly Obama is way too timid to do anything about it.

    Or maybe he just doesn’t care. He may be a better actor than I give him credit for.

  265. 265
    SGEW says:

    Yow. What a thread. Quick, mostly unrelated thoughts:

    – Historically speaking, we have no idea what the “Obama years” will wind up looking like. I’m trying to take a long view, and am withholding any definitive judgement for now. Besides, it’s better for my emotional state.

    – Every American President is, by definition, a monster. A monster. Therefore, so long as we (apparently) must have kings: Better King Log than King Stork.

    – Climate Change; Nuclear Proliferation; Long-term relationships with Europe, India, and China; The “Africa Question”; the evolution of International Human Rights; Avoiding new and unnecessary wars; adapting to/creating the New Global Economy (whatever the fuck that is). A hundred years from now, these are a few of the big questions that will matter; and except for the economic question (a matter on which I opine no opinions, as I am unqualified to remark upon it, honestly), I haven’t seen anything that Obama has done to be egregiously awful. That’s saying a lot!

    @geg6, and others who despair: I feel for you, very much so; but marginal improvement over generations is still something worth busting our asses for, right? I mean, personally speaking, I’m the child of a multi-racial marriage; one of my best friends just got married to their transgendered partner; and who knows what sort of life my newly born nephew will live? I still haz hope: why not? Pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into our tragically flawed political system may not bear fruit in our lifetimes, perhaps (tho’ I iz a relative youngster here, median-age wise), but long term progress is worth it, right? Oh, and, uh, “Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope,” kinda, maybe?

  266. 266
    mr. whipple says:

    The Civil Rights Act didn’t pass because LBJ was an awesome hardass, it passed because a handful of Congressman decided that the moral imperative of passing the bill was worth them committing political suicide over it.

    It’s also important to remember that it wasn’t motivated strictly by higher ideals. Votes had a lot to do with it.

  267. 267
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @georgia pig:

    The problems we are currently experiencing have more to do with Congress than Obama. Obama knows what the president is supposed to do—be a competent executive—and he does it irrespective of politics.

    I think that also explains why he brought in so many people who would otherwise be useful Senate candidates–like Sebelius and Napolitano–to run executive-branch agencies. There was a need to get governmental functions functioning again first, even before considering how those functions might be re-thought. I’m in many ways a technocrat, and I see that in the Obama managerial style too. That’s the Dukakis segment of the party: I still like “It’s not about ideology, it’s about competence.” Of course I want it to be about ideology too, but at a certain level it has to begin with rebuilding competence.

  268. 268

    Hey Makewi. Does your party have any viable candidates? Let’s see who the Republican line-up is in 2012, we have:

    Mike “Cop Killer” Huckabee. You’re still OK with the Huckster’s pardoning of rapists, murderers and future cop killers. I mean you were in 2008. But the Huckster is dead in 2012, dead, dead, dead. Don’t believe me? Well hey, come to Washington state where I live and where those four cops were executed by the thug that Huckabee paroled, and go out caucusing for him. C’mon, you can do it, and when you’re done we have a world-class trauma center in Seattle that should at least be able to set you up to be fed through tubes and crap into bags. All any opponent of the Huckster needs to do in 2012 is have a couple of off duty cops at every single one of his campaign events carrying a picture of the four dead police officers and Maurice Clemmons.

    Mitt “I served my country proudly during Vietnam by going to France as a Mormon Missionary” Romney. Yeah, Mittens is a great candidate, except the batshit insane evangelicals in your party will never support him because he’s a Mormon, and your evangelical buddies hate Mormons even more than they hate black drag queens. Watching a Mormon v. evangelical holy war in 2012 would be fun though. My money is on the Mormons because they’re disciplined, in shape (When was the last time you saw some fat, evangelical bastard out riding a bicycle to spread the word?) harder working and more intelligent (The Mormons have BYU, a world class university, the evangelicals, Liberty and Regence U). So watching your evangelical buddies get their asses handed to them on a platter will be tons and tons of fun.

    Sarah Palin. Here’s the thing, once Sarah’s tits start sagging a little more and once someone younger comes along all of your Republican friends will no longer be seeing starbursts. There’s also the fact that the only people who support Sarah Palin and think she’s a viable candidate are too stupid, ignorant and lazy to create the kind of organization necessary to win primaries, much less the general election. Sarah’s day is done she’ll last about as long in the primaries as a bucket of chum in a tank full of sharks. I’m hoping she’ll run though, because watching her will be as much fun as, well, as watching her get dropped into a tank full of sharks like a bucket of chum.

    John Thune. Well he’s tall, and a lot of Washington Republicans are gay for him. But he’s a senator, and every single vote he ever made can be used against him. Oh, and he’s from South Dakota, which means that all you have to do to run against him is come out with an ad saying “Have you ever been fucked over by a sleazy credit card company? If you have then thank John Thune.” There’s also history, when was the last time a senator from a small and insignificant state like South Dakota won the presidency? Well that would be never. In fact the last time a senator from South Dakota ran for the presidency was in 1972. Remember him? His name was George McGovern, and he lost by a landslide.

    Newt Gingrich. The problem with Newt is that he has to walk a tightrope between trying to get normal people who aren’t hate filled retards to vote for him and making sure that he can get the support of hate-filled retards like you. Anything he does to get support from normal people means that he’ll lose support of the hate-filled retards. Anything he does to appease the hate-filled retards will make normal people flee from him in terror. And face it, the only thing the hate-filled retards have been able to accomplish lately is making sure that NY-23 went Democratic after 150 years and piss off tons of Jews by comparing health care reform to the Holocaust. Good job!

    Yeah Makewi, you Republicans sure have a great line-up. And you have such great ideas too. Like more tax cuts for the rich. Oh, and less financial regulation for Wall Street. Yeah, those worked really well. And of course there’s always that perennial Republican standby, pandering to white racists like you and your fears of brown people. But the problem with that strategy is that you end up pissing off all of those brown people who are becoming a larger and larger share of the electorate while the white racists like you die out.

    The fact is that as bad as the Democrats are the Republican party is nothing more than a bunch of shit throwing monkeys.

  269. 269
    Olly McPherson says:

    @georgia pig:

    Yeah, but the next Republican President will just push back to the Imperial mode, meaning they’ll get theirs and we won’t have gotten ours.

  270. 270
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    we have a government run by and for the corporations

    We have an economy run by and for the corporations too. And when the economy sucks, the corporations hold a lot of cards. Cards and/or hostages. If a dirty, filthy, corrupt bank can play a role in fixing The Economy, it’s damn hard to tell them to fuck off. Because they’ll kill the hostages. And you care about them, and the terrorists don’t.

  271. 271
    Whispers says:

    @Brien Jackson

    I know you think you’re making a compelling point, but I’m just not following it.

    Taibbi seems to be saying that the Obama administration wants the Democratic caucus to do the bidding of Pharma. The fact that some Democrats don’t want to do that hardly negates Taibbi’s point.

    Certainly you’re a long way away from showing that Taibbi is “stupid or dishonest”.

  272. 272
    Da Bomb says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: That was awesome.

  273. 273
    Will says:

    It is comments like this that sum up the position of some of my friends on the left who cannot look reality in the face, and depend on unfair, unfounded and useless extrapolation instead:

    http://swampland.blogs.time.co.....ciliation/

    Unfortunately, Obama and Rahm Emanuel have already made their choice and that’s to take whatever Lieberman wants (because I think it’s what they want, too).

    Um, hey moron, no it’s not: it’s because THEY HAVE NO OTHER FUCKING CHOICE AT THIS POINT.

  274. 274
    The She says:

    I voted for someone who wasn’t Bush with a temper. Srsly. I did my research on McCain and came to the conclusion that he has a MASSIVE temper problem and I felt we absolutely couldn’t afford that. Obama is even tempered so I picked him. He also met some of my basic voting issues: net neutrality, ending torture/Guantanamo, healthcare, etc. even if he didn’t and hasn’t met what I would like to see on gay rights.

    I’m pissed over the USA PATRIOT act–I want to see that whole bill binned. Gone. Never to return and never to see the light of day. And that’s not what happened.

    Also, I would like to kick Congress. In teh face as a collective.
    I want the Glass-Steagall act back. I want torturers to go to court and I want it now. We might get something like the GS act again, but I think sending the torturers to court is out of our reach now.

    *is ashamed* My initial choice was Ron Paul. I wised up and left the Paultards in about July of 2008, I think.

  275. 275
    Mike E says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:
    I still don’t get why Dems can’t Paiste these pushovers — oh, wait, I got Mike Dukakis and Al Gore on line 2….

  276. 276
    Deb T says:

    Obama was always too conservative for my taste as was Hillary Clinton. I liked Edwards because he talked about issues I cared about.
    I heard Obama say he was going to concentrate on the war in Afghanistan and that bothered me. I was very anti-war back then. I don’t know what to do about Afghanistan so I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open and hope Obama either knows what he is doing or is very lucky.

    I enjoyed the Obama candidacy. He was a pleasure to watch and listen to especially after so many years in Bizzaro World with George W. But I never idealized him and remembered his stance on Afghanistan.

    I don’t feel like being hyper-alert and critical right now. I’m going to hope for the best and put some trust in Obama for the time being. I hope he’s the best president ever not because I’m a progressive Democrat, but because I’m an American and more importantly a human being. Bless us and keep us everyone!

  277. 277
    Cain says:

    @geg6:

    Good. Now Billy Graham, please.

    I’m not Christian, but I respect Billy Graham, he was truly in it for the spiritual and I never seen him do anything that was money grabbing or dishonest on the news. Unlike Bakers, and the Oral Roberts and what not. Those guys were assholes taking money from the old and pretty much creating an empire out of it for their own benefits. The ultimate in snake oil selling. I felt bad for those folks since I know they saved up for retirement post great Depression and then threw it all away to these worthless people.

    cain

  278. 278
    b-psycho says:

    Fill in the blank: If Obama was a radical and not a Serious, Competent Manager then he would’ve been ________ long before he took office.

    Your time starts in 3…2…1…GO!

  279. 279
    sparky says:

    interesting thread.
    i thought Obama would be more conservative than i wanted but i did not expect him to be so beholden to Wall Street.
    i also did not expect him to essentially continue the Bush Executive (I am the Law) regime.
    i also thought that he was more concerned with substance than appearance. on this last, i was wrong as well.
    so yeah he’s a disappointment pretty much all around.

    here’s an argument that Obama has failed on his own terms.

    and what does “pragmatism” mean as a political philosophy?

  280. 280
    joe from Lowell says:

    I voted to change from a conservative who ruled with his gut and thought every foreign policy problem required bombs and/or the silent treatment, to a liberal who approached problems rationally and played well with others.

    Mission Accomplished.

  281. 281
    4jkb4ia says:

    No.

    But I think you have to separate whether you thought you were getting it before FISA Amendments Act or after FISA Amendments Act. You always knew that Obama was smart enough to conceive of fundamental change. But after FISA Amendments Act you knew that even though Obama was smarter than this, he would settle for whatever would pass the group of flawed personalities he was dealing with. He would also listen to the advisors who told him that it was not worth fighting for because people weren’t paying attention.

    (David Plouffe had nothing to do with policy but does not give FISA a single word in his book. The bailout has some words.)

  282. 282
    Jennifer says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    It’s strange… it’s almost like we’ve got a group of liberals who really believed the Birther insanity that Obama is a Liberal Fascist Communist Manchurian Candidate that will turn the US into a “socialist hellhole” any day now.

    For the win. Beautiful!

  283. 283
    4jkb4ia says:

    Dealing with climate change will require fundamental change, and Obama may be pushed into it by not being an international villain.

  284. 284
    dan says:

    Respectfully, THIS THREAD IS BULLSHIT.

    Obama would never have been elected based on the sentiment reflected here. Incrementalism. Accommodation. Continuation of the basics of the Bush war policy and the Bush domestic security policy, secrecy policy, and detainee policy.

    None of the motivated voters, the new voters, and the young people that pushed him over the top would have voted for him. Or even shown up. To make the comments I see here without acknowledging this obvious, indisputable fact is disingenuous in the extreme. And no, the fact that John’s question does not really ask you to consider this is no excuse. There will be consequences to this unmasking in 2010 and 2012, and to pretend that is not so, and to fail to come up with a strategy to address this real discontent, is just suicidal.

  285. 285
    georgia pig says:

    @Olly McPherson: Yeah, that’s certainly possible, but what the hell else do you do? Be a left-wing version of Bush? You think right wing idealogues have a lock on the ability to screw things up royally? There are some “progressives” I wouldn’t put in charge of a motel night desk.

  286. 286
    sparky says:

    @dan: perhaps i am missing something, but i would think the strategy to prevent disappointment is to not disappoint the people who came out to vote for you. since that apparently is not the plan, i am unclear exactly what the strategy could consist of besides misdirection.

  287. 287
    DougJ says:

    In fact, in general, my opinion of any religious leader is that they are automatically corrupt pieces of shit until they prove themselves differently. So far, I haven’t seen any American examples to prove me wrong.

    I hate to keep harping on this but wasn’t Niebuhr an American religious leader? (I’m not trying to be a jerk here.)

  288. 288
    myiq2xu says:

    I was a regular here since 2006. I started out supporting Edwards then switched to Hillary. I went from being one of the gang in November 2007 to being called a “troll” by February 2008 all because I didn’t support Obama.

    Anyone who was here during the primaries who says they didn’t drink the Obama Kool-aid is a lying sack of shit.

  289. 289
    kay says:

    @Cat:

    You did miss a lot, Cat. They’ve been holding show cause hearings since September, in federal court, right under your nose.

    Again, I have to question the sincerity of people who are grandstanding on the detainees who don’t know this.

    If these people are just a convenient talking point, I object to that.

    They’re individual prisoners, not a political issue.

  290. 290
    4jkb4ia says:

    @kay:

    According to Spencer Amnesty is not thrilled with this because these people will get a military commission trial, so this is a mixed development. Not that the wingnuts will see it that way.

  291. 291
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @georgia pig: Excellent news! Hopefully we’ll get an end to the “reject-reject-reject” culture at the USPTO. Now we have to wait to see how In re Bilski will come out…

  292. 292
    Mike in NC says:

    Republican party is nothing more than a bunch of shit throwing monkeys.

    To many people this is a feature, not a bug!

  293. 293
    4jkb4ia says:

    “Supporting Obama” is different from “drinking the Obama kool-aid” which may be different from “believing that Obama will come in, wave a wand with his magical Obamaness, and make everything right”, of which genre I saw a few comments at DKos during the primaries. Simply believing that Obama was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton doesn’t mean that you believe that Obama will bring fundamental change. And I should ignore this poster.

  294. 294
    dan says:

    @DougJ: My point is that this thread is not the universe of all people who voted for Obama. Underlying this thread is the notion that everyone should be “satisfied” and has no business feeling otherwise.

    Getting votes is about delivering policy. We’ll see on health care. On Afghanistan, detainees, secrecy, financial reform… again, I’ll have to keep being patient. And you’ll keep telling me “60 votes.”

  295. 295
    kay says:

    @Cat:

    There are 15 federal judges holding hearings. 30 prisoners have been released.

    Do you see what I’m objecting to here? I feel these individuals are being used politically, by the Left and Right.

    I’m sick of that. They’re not symbols. They’re individual people.

    If there is true concern, for these individuals, it seems to me that following the process and their progress towards a hearing would be a given, rather than making broad statements about “the detainees”.

  296. 296
    4jkb4ia says:

    @Will:

    But that is not really fair because you have posters over there who have been paying very detailed attention to any kind of political information they can get since I have known them. And the public option has been FDL’s great cause for months. I would expect the wrath of God over there today since they do it very consistently.

  297. 297
    kay says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    Really? How does Spencer know that? They haven’t even determined their status yet, as individuals.

    Spencer knows the purely hypothetical 100 detainees are going to be tried using military tribunals?

  298. 298
    DonkeyKong says:

    positive, gradual change in some areas

    No, I don’t recall seeing that poster at anytime during the run up to the election.

  299. 299
    4jkb4ia says:

    @DougJ:
    Rabbi Soloveitchik was an American religious leader in that sense and a person of absolute integrity.

    I would say that “religious leader” was iffy for Niebuhr because he didn’t have a formal position leading anything. So maybe “religious influence”. The Rav was Rosh Yeshiva of RIETS which is the intellectual center of MO.

  300. 300
    sparky says:

    @kay: can’t agree. they are receiving some form of review but that review was mandated by the Supreme Court during Bush’s term of office. so, Obama has nothing to do with it. further, those hearings are only to determine whether the US can continue to hold someone–not the form of the trial, assuming charges are brought.

    so, from my perspective, yes it is a good thing these hearings are finally being held, but that’s nothing to brag about because there’s no serious contention that they could be put off forever. even the Supreme Court couldn’t figure out a way to void 800 years of legal history.

  301. 301
    4jkb4ia says:

    @kay: Senior administration official on conference call. Here is his post

  302. 302
    4jkb4ia says:

    @Da Bomb:
    Bringing the bankers into the Oval Office to simply use moral suasion was exactly the kind of thing Hoover did.

  303. 303
    superking says:

    This is a huge thread already, but my 2 cents:

    I was voting for a moderate who would be an effective, i.e. strong, leader. I was willing to accept incrementalism because I thougth Obama would actually put his weight behind achieving those incremental changes. As it turns out, he’s a wishy-washy leader–willing to talk tough about the banks while gently patting them on the back; campaigning on a public option and then standing before congress and saying it’s a good idea but not necessary. Giving everything to Joe Lieberman just to have Joe spit in our faces again, and again, and again.

    There’s a difference between goals and methods. I didn’t think Obama was a wild eyed socialist, but I’m not a wild eyed socialist. I thought he was a solid liberal, based on his campaign stances, I don’t think it was wrong of me to think that. Rolling back Iraq, reforming health care, closing gitmo, talking to Iran and North Korea, these are reasonably liberal positions–not stridently “progressive” but reasonably liberal.

    Obama gave great speeches in favor of these reasonably liberal positions, and that is a method. Not just that, but his campaign was good enough to lead people. It convinced people to work on his behalf. I know I did. That is method.

    But now he’s gotten into office and basically handed his administration to Joe Lieberman–a man who DID NOT EVEN SUPPORT HIM DURING THE FUCKING ELECTION.

    So, yeah, I’m kind of pissed about the way things have been going. I was expecting Obama to lead, but he’s handed the reigns to JOE FUCKING LIEBERMAN.

    There is reason to be angry here that doesn’t have anything to do with misinterpreting Obama’s beliefs.

  304. 304
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dan:

    None of the motivated voters, the new voters, and the young people that pushed him over the top would have voted for him. Or even shown up.

    Respectfully backatcha, I pretty much guarantee that virtually nobody was motivated to cast their vote for Obama on the basis that he was or wasn’t going to do something more about detainees and surveillance. The people who cared a lot about those issues voted for the other guy because they wanted detainees to be tortured, like, more. The constituency for civil liberties and human rights is _minuscule_. It’s sad and maybe even frightening, but as important as the FISA business was online and to the Greenwald/Turley wing of the blog-pundit nexus, I would say it mattered extremely little to voter behavior among liberals and Democrats.

  305. 305
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @superking:

    But now he’s gotten into office and basically handed his administration to Joe Lieberman

    The word “basically” is doing some seriously heavy lifting in that sentence.

  306. 306
    sparky says:

    @FlipYrWhig: i’d agree with you on civil rights/liberties. but there is going to be a tidal wave of disappointment when people find that they are obliged to write checks to insurance companies for coverage they can’t afford. and that’s leaving aside Wall Street.

  307. 307
    swordfish says:

    I guess it all depends on whether you expected the “change” to be anything beyond just a departure from neocon/conservative and a return to the neoliberalism of the Clinton yrs/administration. Even though Obama’s campaign rhetoric often did in fact insinuate going beyond that “change,” his quick appointment of Emanuel as his CoS told me that was indeed as far as the “change” would go. An even earlier indication for me was Obama’s corporate contributors during his POTUS campaign. Sorry kids, but Wall Street was in fact (opensecrets.org) a heavy contributor to Obama’s POTUS campaign. Granted, I’ll take neoliberalism over neoconservitism/conservatism in any election but as Ralph Nader said, this isn’t the lesser of two evils, it’s the evil of two lessers. So my expectations of Obama was pretty much limited to the return to the neoliberal policy positions of the Clintonistas reign but so far he doesn’t seem to even want to go that far, often opting to favor a perverse blend of neocon, conservative and liberal. Obama’s Afghan surge is a perfect example: he calls for a 30k troop surge to appease the neocons/cons on the right, he sets a withdrawal timetable to appease the liberal left but then two of his cabinet, Hillary and Gates just days later say none of Obama’s (long deliberated and debated) decisions are definitive. WTF? Was that just to appease anybody who wasn’t already appeased or to piss off anybody who wasn’t already pissed off? There is no debate that Obama is a breath of fresh air compared to the intellectually challenged/dysfunctional Bush but what I can conclude from reading many of the threads on the lefty blogosphere for the last few months is that two to three months ago it was an even 1 to 1 progressives/liberals for/against Obama and just in the last few weeks the tide has turned against Obama as in a 2 or 3 to 1 against/for Obama. The reason people feel abandoned, or even betrayed is because they have been, as in Obama not living up to their expectations. Whether their expectations were unrealistic or not doesn’t change the way they feel. All I can say is get over it and get ready to get in the unemployment line. The audacity of hope, er I mean expectations.

  308. 308
    myiq2xu says:

    “believing that Obama will come in, wave a wand with his magical Obamaness, and make everything right”, of which genre I saw a few comments at DKos during the primaries.

    You didn’t need to go to Cheetoville to see that stuff. Shall I delve into the BJ archives?

    Just off the top of my head I recall that on the day of Obama’s Greatest Speech on Race EVAH! there were two different regulars here who claimed they were moved to tears just from reading a transcript.

    You remember that speech don’t you? The one where Obama said he could never disown Rev. Wright just a few weeks before he disowned him? Whatever happened to that “national conversation on race” we were supposed to have?

  309. 309
    Will says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    But that is not really fair because you have posters over there who have been paying very detailed attention to any kind of political information they can get since I have known them. And the public option has been FDL’s great cause for months. I would expect the wrath of God over there today since they do it very consistently.

    It is perfectly fair. We all have been paying “very detailed attention” to this debate, and the public option has been a cause for myself and many other Ballooners for just as long as the FDL crowd. And yet you don’t see the majority of us running for the cliff’s edge, or John leading the charge the way Jane often is.

  310. 310
    WereBear says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: A rant of beauty.

    I’m grateful to President Obama: we avoided another great Depression.

    And I’m doing badly enough, thank you very much, and if that had happened, the troubles of me and the sick husband and the three rescue kitties wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

  311. 311
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @myiq2xu GoatBoy:

    I love the smell of hot goat sex in the morning. You know, one time I was loose in a goat pen… for 12 hours. When it was all over, I looked up. I couldn’t find one standing… not one stinkin’ goat. The smell… you know that hot goat sex smell? The whole pen. Smelled like… victory.
     
    Someday I am going to have my teeth pulled to make blowing goats easier…

    Good to see ya GoatBoy! How’s life treating you in PUMAville? Hopefully one day you will be able to score on some of that old wrinkled primo racist PUMA ass so you can give up on the goats once and for all.

  312. 312

    @FlipyrWhig

    Respectfully backatcha, I pretty much guarantee that virtually nobody was motivated to cast their vote for Obama on the basis that he was or wasn’t going to do something more about detainees and surveillance. The people who cared a lot about those issues voted for the other guy because they wanted detainees to be tortured, like, more. The constituency for civil liberties and human rights is minuscule. It’s sad and maybe even frightening, but as important as the FISA business was online and to the Greenwald/Turley wing of the blog-pundit nexus, I would say it mattered extremely little to voter behavior among liberals and Democrats.

    Nice cherry picking. You ignore Dan bringing up the Obama administration’s continuation of the Bush administration’s war policy or his lameness on domestic policy or his “Gosh, I can’t make Joe Lieberman angry” policy. Again, what exactly was the “change” that the Obama administration was promising? Was it just “Hey, we’ll have a black guy in Oval Office?” or “Hey, we’ll have a president who isn’t as dumb as Bush, McCain or Palin?” or “Hey, I’m going to ask the banksters really, really nicely to stop being a bunch of sociopathic criminals?” Good luck motivating voters with that in 2012.

  313. 313

    Here’s the thing myiq2xu. Hillary Clinton would have been an absolute disaster as a president, perhaps not as bad as John McCain, but far worse than Obama. The woman’s campaign was run by a bunch of complete incompetents, they were barely better than John McCain’s campaign. They had no strategy other than going from state to state, primary to primary, caucus to caucus with nothing more than a massive sense of entitlement and ego and expect the voters to fall to their knees and anoint her as the front-runner based upon nothing more than her last name.

    The stupid lies she told about what happened at Tuzla certainly didn’t help either. Clinton’s story about what happened at Tuzla was every bit as stupid and mendacious as anything that’s ever come out of the mouth of Sarah Palin. That bit of stupidity, combined with her complete and total ineptitude as a campaigner and her campaign’s lack of discipline shows what a horrible president she would have been.

    Clinton’s supporters weren’t any help either; they acted like a bunch of goddamned teabaggers at the King County Caucus, going over their allotted time and heckling the speakers for Obama. They also insulted the intelligence of the people they were asking for support, telling us that we should ignore Clinton’s vote on AUMF and the fact that until early 2007 she unhesitatingly supported all of the Bush administration’s war policies. And the insistence of so many of them that they would vote for McCain if Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination didn’t endear them to anyone either. Indeed why do you think Sarah Palin got on the Republican ticket? It was partially because McCain was hoping that you would vote for him because he had a woman on the ticket; an act of political tokenism attempting to take advantage of the venality and stupidity of Clinton supporters like you. Asshole Clinton supporters like you did more to damage Hillary Clinton than Richard Mellon Scaife and a thousand years of lies on Fox News about Vince Foster and Whitewater ever could have done. Indeed even if Clinton’s campaign had been disciplined, had stayed on message, or had even had a message to begin with other than “my last name is Clinton, vote for me”, had conserved its resources for a long campaign people like you would have completely fucked it up for her just like the Club for Growth and Sarah Palin fucked up NY23 for the Republicans.

  314. 314
    Alan in SF says:

    I thought I was voting for someone who would actually address our very real problems in a realistic way. Wrong.

  315. 315
  316. 316
    horatius says:

    Wile,

    Hillary would have kicked Joe in the balls the first chance she got. Not take repeat spits-in-the-face from Traitor Joe.

  317. 317
    dbags says:

    So the country is falling apart and you folks were all happy voting for an incremental pragmatist. What a bunch of tools.

  318. 318
    Olly McPherson says:

    @georgia pig:

    Use some muscle–that’s all I’m saying. IMHO, Obama has failed to articulate and lead his vision for government–a government he leads!

  319. 319
    myiq2xu says:

    The woman’s campaign was run by a bunch of complete incompetents

    Hillary spent 1/3 as much money as Obama did, yet she got more votes. She won all the big states except Illinois, including several she won by double-digits. She won the swing states like Florida and Ohio.

    Obama won the red states and the small state caucuses, but ask Pacific John about how he won the caucuses. Obama had more money and the media supporting him, but he still needed the Rules and Bylaws Committee and the superdelegates to drag him over the finish line.

  320. 320
    myiq2xu says:

    @ DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)

    Speaking of lying sacks of Kool-aid stained shit, look who’s still here.

  321. 321

    did you all think you were voting for a transformational change agent when you voted for Obama last November?

    If by ‘transformational change’ you mean Jeebus Effing Christ, Not McCain, You Fucking Idiots, then, yes, that’s what I voted for.

    The First Lady is a smokin’ babe. I’ll vote for her, too.

    ETA: I, too, was an Edwards supporter in the primary. Punching the card for Obama didn’t really require a lot of thought.

  322. 322

    @myiq2xu

    Hillary spent 1/3 as much money as Obama did, yet she got more votes. She won all the big states except Illinois, including several she won by double-digits. She won the swing states like Florida and Ohio.
    __
    Obama won the red states and the small state caucuses, but ask Pacific John about how he won the caucuses. Obama had more money and the media supporting him, but he still needed the Rules and Bylaws Committee and the superdelegates to drag him over the finish line.

    If Pacific John is another wankstain like you I’ll avoid asking him how Hillary won the caucuses because it will be utter bullshit. Here’s the deal, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was run by people who were too fucking stupid to understand how the system worked. They blew off the red states that Obama won, newsflash, those states count. They won the small states, newsflash, those states count too. As far as winning big states by double digits, she only won two states that count as big by double digit margins, New York and Florida. In the rest of the big states she was in the single digits. As far as the superdelegate issue goes, well that one is bullshit, Clinton was trying to work the system to get the superdelegates to support her at the convention, so she’s no better than Obama is on that issue.

    You are so stupid, pathetic and dishonest as to boggle the mind. You have just admitted that the Clinton campaign was too stupid and too incompetent to win because they didn’t know how the Democratic nomination process worked. Oh, and as far as Hillary spending 1/3rd as much money as Obama did, that’s got to be the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard a PUMA say. Do you know why Hillary spent 1/3rd as much money as Obama did? It’s because she didn’t have any fucking money! Potential donors said “Jesus Christ. The Clinton campaign is run by a bunch of losers and assholes who could fuck up a wet dream. I think I’ll give my money to someone who might actually be able to win the presidency Instead of someone who’s just going to piss it away on that stupid bastard Mark Penn!”. But hey, if the metric of who spent less money to get votes is all that counts here then I’ll bet that the Mike Gravel campaign had an absolutely awesome dollars per vote ratio in 2008. You go Mike, keep that awesome dollars per vote ratio and those awesome commercials like that six minute long one with the campfire on the beach! Yeah brother!

    Clinton campaigned with a massive sense of entitlement, that’s why she lost. She lost because she was lazy and figured that she would win because of her last name. And when someone with more discipline, a better organization and WHO UNDERSTOOD HOW THE FUCKING NOMINATION PROCESS WORKED came along, that someone being Barack Obama, he defeated her.

    I normally hate sports analogies but I’m going to use one here. Listening to your lying, revisionist nonsense is like listening to a football fan explain why their team is better even though they lost every game they played last season because they had more time of possession, or fewer turnovers, or a better passing game while ignoring the fact that none of that matters if the other team scores more touchdowns and has more points when the game is over.

    So to recap, Hillary Clinton lost because she’s

    lazy
    too stupid to understand how the nomination process worked
    mendacious
    and because her supporters, supporters like you, were stupid, lazy good-for-nothing assholes who didn’t work hard enough to secure her the nomination and instead went around shitting on everyone who didn’t support her and threatening to vote for McCain and shit on the Democratic party if she didn’t win.

  323. 323
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ@Top:

    I thought I was voting for a pragmatist, who would (hopefully) bring about positive, gradual change in some areas…
    __
    Is that more or less what you thought?

    I was voting against Republicanism.

    I hoped for someone more transformational, another FDR who would push through robust health insurance reform and financial regulation, get us out of Iraq, capture bin Laden and al Zawahiri, and get us out of Afghanistan.

    So far I’m generally pleased with Obama’s foreign policy, if mildly disappointed that it’s taking so long to get us out of Bush’s wars — though to be fair, even that was kind of expected given the enormity of those clusterfucks.

    I’m rather more chagrined over domestic policy. I had thought that Obama would be a little more progressive and proactive on civil liberties, civil rights (yeah, I consider gay marriage a civil rights issue), health insurance reform, and financial regulation. After 30 years of the Reagan paradigm, I’m not sure an incrementalist approach to fixing things is going to work for the latter two issues.

    With all of that said, though, I have to admit I didn’t expect Obama to fulfill all of those hopes. Yes, I heard “hope” and “change” in his speeches, but I also heard his policies, and like Doug, I initially supported Edwards — because he was better on policy grounds. When I switched over to supporting Obama, I hoped for the best but expected a little less.

    On foreign policy issues (war, Gitmo, nuclear proliferation, multilateralism vs. unilateralism), Obama is roughly between where I hoped and where I expected, so that’s pretty good. He’s exceeding my expectations there. Maybe he feels like he needs to live up to that Nobel.

    But I confess to being a little disappointed on the domestic front so far, even with lowered expectations.

    .

  324. 324
    DougJ says:

    On foreign policy issues (war, Gitmo, nuclear proliferation, multilateralism vs. unilateralism), Obama is roughly between where I hoped and where I expected, so that’s pretty good. He’s exceeding my expectations there. Maybe he feels like he needs to live up to that Nobel.

    But I confess to being a little disappointed on the domestic front so far, even with lowered expecatations.

    I’m mostly the opposite, disappointed with Afghanistan (even tho I know he’s doing what he said) and with some other Iraq-related things (torture investigations), but pleasantly surprised he went for broke on health care.

  325. 325
    JGabriel says:

    Wile E. Quixote:

    You go Mike, keep that awesome dollars per vote ratio and those awesome commercials like that six minute long one with the campfire on the beach! Yeah brother!

    Hey, don’t knock Gravel. If that’s the one where Gravel silently stares at the camera for two fucking minutes, I love that commercial. You gotta love the surrealism.

    Plus, it looks just like the cover of The Cure’s Standing on a Beach (LP) / Staring at the Sea (CD). That’s gotta be worth something.

    .

  326. 326
  327. 327
    Pixie says:

    I am disappointed in Obama. I am disappointed in the lack of leadership. During the campaign, he promised change from business as usual in Washington. He alluded to accountability, spoke of the need for a robust public option. He spoke of the need for accountability and transparancy in government. What we have gotten so far is an actual EXPANSION of odious Bush administration policies with regards to release of Abu Gharaib photos, investigations into the deaths of detainees in our custody and a continued resistance into torture abuses.

    He has basically handed the spineless democratic congress the ball and doesn’t whip the fools into line as they scramble over one another to see who can cave the hardest to republican and corporate interests. At least Bush had an agenda he was willing to push through.

    Repealing DODT, supporting a public option (remember this WAS the compromise from a single payer system yet it gets painted as the far left position), seeking justice for those who were tortured and those who abused their power in the previous admin was part of his campaign. If we can’t get this done now with 60 democrats in congress (wtf does it take 60 for us to get anything done??!), a largely sympathetic american public and a democratic president, then when the hell WILL we be able to push this through?

    I realize that it has only been a year, but I would have liked to see a more forceful stance by Obama on behalf of those who elected him. I will wait til the end of his term and judge his performance then, but if this year is any indication of what I have to look forward to, I WILL stay at home next year.

  328. 328
    kay says:

    @sparky:

    I know about the Supreme Court ruling, Sparky, and you just made my point.

    If you were concerned about the detainees you would not be making their finally getting to a hearing about Obama.

    You’re using them to political end.

    It doesn’t COUNT on the little Obama tally sheet because the SCOTUS ruling was Bush-era?

    Do you think they care about that? Do you think they give a rat’s ass about the effective date of the SCOTUS ruling, or Holder’s deadline?

    You’ve forgotten completely about the detainees in your crusade for their liberty. You’re using them just like the Right is using them, to push an agenda.

  329. 329

    @DougJ

    but pleasantly surprised he went for broke on health care.

    When the fuck did this happen DougJ? Do you have some kind of way bitchin’ health insurance that provides free medical marijuana and powerful hallucinogens? Because the only way I could say President Obama went for broke on health care is if I was seriously fucked up on sticky bud and blotter acid, and perhaps not even then.

  330. 330
    myiq2xu says:

    Do you know why Hillary spent 1/3rd as much money as Obama did? It’s because she didn’t have any fucking money!

    Hillary spent approximately $230 million, Obama spent $750 million. Any other year, $230 million would be considered a lot of money.

    But she still got more votes than Obama did.

  331. 331
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ:

    I’m mostly the opposite, disappointed with Afghanistan (even tho I know he’s doing what he said) and with some other Iraq-related things (torture investigations), but pleasantly surprised he went for broke on health care.

    Maybe it depends on which subject you know better. I’m no expert in foreign policy, but I have friends that work at the UN and otherwise in the international diplomacy arena.

    So I can hear and see the difference, the relief, that they feel over Obama’s administration after 8 years of Bush & Cheney, not to mention how much they hated Helms pushing himself into UN policy during the Clinton years.

    They’re not happy about Afghanistan, but they are happy to be dealing with a new, sane, administration that doesn’t have to kowtow to a GOPer majority in the House or Senate.

    .

  332. 332
    JGabriel says:

    myiq2xu:

    But she still got more votes than Obama did.

    No, she didn’t. I suspect you’re counting Michigan & Florida, but neither Obama or Edwards campaigned there. And even with those states included, I don’t think she exceeded Obama’s vote total — unless you do something weird like only count her votes from those states but exclude Obama’s, which the Clinton campaign actually tried to do at one point, if I remember correctly.

    If you have proof otherwise from a reliable source, provide the link.

    .

  333. 333

    @myiq2xu

    Hillary spent approximately $230 million, Obama spent $750 million. Any other year, $230 million would be considered a lot of money.
    __
    But she still got more votes than Obama did.

    Console yourself with that. But she still lost the nomination. Again, Clinton was too lazy, undisciplined, stupid and incompetent to know how to run a decent campaign and how to win the Democratic party nomination. Stupidity, laziness, a complete lack of discipline and incompetence it’s a miracle that Clinton won any primaries at all, especially with fuckups like you on her side.

  334. 334
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @myiq2xu:

    LOL. The war is over and the Japanese surrendered. Time to move off that desert isle.

  335. 335

    Oh, and I’d love to see a source for your claims myiq2xu. Do you have one? And by the way, how many Clinton voters were Clinton voters and how many of them were Republicans who crossed over because of Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos. Winning more votes in the primaries doesn’t do you a lot of good if those extra votes came from Republican ratfuckers.

  336. 336
    myiq2xu says:

    No, she didn’t. I suspect you’re counting Michigan & Florida, but neither Obama or Edwards campaigned there. And even with those states included, I don’t think she exceeded Obama’s vote total — unless you do something weird like only count her votes from those states but exclude Obama’s, which the Clinton campaign actually tried to do at one point, if I remember correctly.

    Why bother? I spent 3-4 months here providing links to every claim I made, but it never stopped any of you shit-sacks from lying.

    BTW – Obama received zero votes in Michigan only because he chose to remove his name from the ballot. Hillary didn’t campaign there or Florida.

  337. 337
    myiq2xu says:

    And by the way, how many Clinton voters were Clinton voters and how many of them were Republicans who crossed over because of Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos.

    Remember when Obama bragged about “Obamacans?”

    “Last time I checked, Republicans were supposed to be open-minded and free-thinking,” says Tony Campbell, spokesperson for RepublicansforObama.org.

    Campbell’s organization was founded in 2006, even though Obama didn’t become a candidate until 2007.

  338. 338
    myiq2xu says:

    Again, Clinton was too lazy, undisciplined, stupid and incompetent to know how to run a decent campaign and how to win the Democratic party nomination.

    But she still got more votes than Obama did.

  339. 339
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @myiq2xu:

    But she still got more votes than Obama did.

    You keep misspelling “delegates.”

    How very odd.

  340. 340
    myiq2xu says:

    From the Obamacan link above:

    Campbell wasn’t alone. CNN.com reported that 70% of Republicans they surveyed who voted on the same day in Virginia’s primary cast their ballots for Obama.

  341. 341
    myiq2xu says:

    You keep misspelling “delegates.”

    Without the help of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, Hillary got more delegates than Obama too.

  342. 342
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @myiq2xu:

    Without the help of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, Hillary got more delegates than Obama too.

    Wow. I thought people like you were the stuff of internet myths.

  343. 343
    Mike D. says:

    I thought I was voting for a person who very sincerely recognized that major change was — is — needed in this country, but who also recognized the inherent dangers in sudden, pronounced changes in the way government relates to the people it governs, and in what it does in terms of policy. I think those who see more of that caution and less of the movement toward change that they expected are well within their rights given the tone of the campaign, but I personally am not surprised that the balance is the way it is. that said, even though i am not surprised by Obama’s reluctance to make moves that seriously challenge entrenched interests and take actions that would have serious effects on the balance of the economic situation confronting most Americans, I nevertheless believe he is making a fundamental and perhaps term-limiting mistake in not doing so — and one, moreover, that will have enormous negative consequences for the well-being of the great majority of middle-class Americans. (Unless of course Obama is entirely right, and my estimate of the downside of such moves is entirely too sanguine, which is possible. I am not an economist and don’t have daily personal access to the country’s very best ones as he does.)

  344. 344
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Oh my god-shaped-agnostic-negative-space, we’re still talking about the ’08 primaries? Can we fight about Mondale vs. Hart too? Any remaining frayed nerves over the swap-out of Shriver for Eagleton in ’72?

  345. 345
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @myiq2xu GoatBoy:

    Damned rights I am still here, unlike your wussy ass who ran off when you had your shit called on you by everyone here. I’m not sorry I wasn’t here to post some witty retort to your whiny-assed half-hearted throwaway line but it seems that unlike you, I have a life off of the intert00bs. Come on GoatBoy, you can do much better than this lame attempt at a comeback. I think your hanging around in PUMAville has dulled your wits. That’s what happens when you hang out with the intellectually devoid GoatBoy. They suck you dry, just not the way you would like.

    You are stuck in the past and want to keep reliving (and rewriting) history, as if that is going to make everything better for you and your fellow racists. You are THE Original Balloon Juice Goatfucker and I just like to remind you of that every time you drop in to take a dump. Now go back to SwampDaughter’s Cornholefluence and dive back into the cesspool of tears, rage and bitterness that you fuckwits love to swim in.

    They are all you got.

    @Midnight Marauder:

    GoatBoy is the REAL DEAL! Just don’t let him get your goat, you won’t like what he does to it. Neither will the goat.

  346. 346
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Damn, teh BJ Mod Gawd done et me post!

  347. 347
    Phoebe says:

    He marketed himself as Mr. Big Change, in contrast to Clinton, who was supposed to tweak a little here and there.

    I supported him heavily and from very early on. I remember this well. I’m not bitching and moaning now; I’m very pessimistic about everything. I HOPEd he wasn’t a total craven asshole. Expectation met. So far.

  348. 348
    Wayne says:

    I was expecting probably a wee bit more change, but I can’t say that I am wholly disappointed. As of yet, anyway.

    On Afghanistan, I think the left obviously weren’t listening during last year’s campaign. He is doing what he said he’d do. On foreign policy overall, the grown ups are back at the table.

    On the economy, I’d rest a little better at night if the architects of the collapse weren’t running the show, but my hunch is Obama wants them to fix their mistakes. And this bunch is a whole lot better than Bush’s economic team.

    On health care, the bill in its current form (without a public option or Medicare buy-in) is very similar to how health care is approached in other foreign countries (save the UK and Canada) and those systems work just fine, not to mention way better than the US’s.

    I admit, I get a bit perplexed sometimes. But then my rational side reminds me that this guy is doing exactly what he said he’d do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    PS:I was a Biden supporter initially. So the the Obama/Biden team really excited me.

  349. 349
    madium says:

    I didn’t vote for Obama. Everything he is, he was. I voted Green, where was a progressive to go after the DNC ousted Hilary behind closed doors. I saw Obama as a moderate republican with serious social prejudices – gays, women, the poor. So am I disappointed, oh yes, I wanted a democrat and got an autocrat, even I didn’t quite expect that.

  350. 350
    myiq2xu says:

    @ DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) Stuck on Stupid:

    Amazing. Two full paragraphs in that rant, and you didn’t refute a single point of mine. Were your parents brother and sister or just cousins?

Comments are closed.