Another Deficit of Trust

Earlier today in the comments, I said some nasty things about Steve Clemons, and Steve has come to defend himself. All’s good, he was right, I was rude and hasty and unfair, and I apologize. In other words, it is Monday.

The crux of the foodfight is his post several months back in which he asserted that the WH intentionally did not put up the text of the Human Rights Campaign speech fast enough on a Saturday night, which started yet another inevitable “Obama Hates The Gays” three day affair on the internet. You may not remember which one of those it was, because it was sandwiched in between a couple days of “Obama hates the womyn folk” because he doesn’t play basketball with them, and a couple of days of “Obama hates the progressives” because he hasn’t shot Lieberman in a dark alley yet but asked Howard Dean to tamp down the rhetoric (hint- one of those two people has a vote in the Senate). Likewise, I don’t want you to confuse this freak out with the “Obama hates the gays because he has not waved a wand and ended DADT and DOMA” and “Obama hates the gays because Rick Warren gave a shitty speech and was totally outclassed by Gene Robinson and Rev. Lowery.” No doubt, the fact that I have even mentioned this will foster fifty emails and delinkings because I am not gay friendly.

But here is the thing- Steve says he has private information, and I just don’t want to hear it. The piece making the assertion was public- very public, and if he and others have evidence that this was intentionally done, then I want it out there so I can beat up on the WH Communications Office. I don’t want private assurances, because right now I see a real deficit of trust between the beltway progressive activists who call themselves the base and a lot of the rest of the party who look and think like me and many of the people here.

I’m new to this whole party, so I haven’t quite figured out the whole history of all the infighting yet, but I have to tell you that there are a number of people like me who worked their ass off last year trying to get Obama elected, and who would still crawl over glass to get him elected again. We are just sick and tired of the unending negativity in some quarters and tired of being told that we are vastly outnumbered by the disaffected (but loudest) few, when polls show Obama with up to 90% of liberal support. So help me God I will curbjaw the next person who savages Obama on Fox and then has the balls to use the “Overton window” as a defense. I’m sick and tired of people writing pieces flaying the administration alive and then saying “but I only wish the best for the admin.” I’m sick and tired of people looking at the HCR bill and picking out only the things they dislike, ignoring all the positive aspects that make folks like Feingold and Sanders willing to vote for it- but that isn’t good enough for our progressive betters on the blogs and in the media.

I’m sick and tired on the focus on Rahm, because it weakens the President for his alleged allies to constantly act as if Rahm is really running the show. Everything you think has happened because of Rahm, Obama had to sign off on it.

I’m sick and tired of people on the left having the same amnesia that the folks on the right have about how well and truly fucked this country was on 20 January, and now pitching daily fits because there is no pony yet. I’m sick and tried of going to progressive websites and reading the following posts:

Obama sucks
Rahm sucks
Obama and Rahm suck
Obama sucks
Rahm sucks
Obama and Rahm REALLY suck

And then, without a trace of humor, ending with a concern troll post about how demoralized Democrats are about the fall elections. No shit? Your readers are demoralized? I wonder what could be helping to cause that?

So I tend to act in a volatile manner when I see unsupported assertions. Maybe we have carved out our little Obot sanctuary here. Or maybe we have carved out a place where we remember all the good things that have happened in the past year, on top of the failings. And yes, there have been lots of failings.

But right now-I just don’t trust the beltway progressives any more than the beltway Republicans, even though on a lot of issues I think the progressive activists are probably right about policy. What I see going on are the same hysterical types of responses to everything that we get from Republicans, only the position on the issues has changed.

And I’m rambling.






426 replies
  1. 1
    Dave says:

    A-fucking-men, John.

  2. 2
    TR says:

    Preach!

  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
    bob h says:

    I tend to pay attention to what Steve has to say about foreign affairs, but regard his views on politics in general as just Beltway CW.

  6. 6
    Zifnab says:

    and a couple of days of “obama hates the progressives” because he hasn’t shot Lieberman in a dark alley yet but asked Howard Dean to tamper down the rhetoric

    In all fairness, you’re not really a Democrat unless you’ve drawn up plans to kill Joe Lieberman via blood loss from a thousand HCR paper cuts.

  7. 7
    Emma says:

    Bravo! And another thing — the whole “anonymous information” crap has got to stop. Either have the balls to step up to the plate and take the consequences or STFU. The only thing that could happen to you is that you’re fired from your government job and you won’t be invited to all the cool parties. Isn’t your country worth risking that for?

  8. 8
    jayackroyd says:

    JOHN!

    Fix the typo where you have transposed HCR into HRC! First mention. Very confusing trying to figure what this has to with Clinton.

  9. 9
    aimai says:

    Tell us what you really think, John. Don’t hold back.

    But seriously, John, I guess I want to hear what you think is going to happen with the Republicans in congress and the senate? Do you think there’s any chance that Obama’s offer to have a televised show down with them will be accepted? If it is accepted do you think that all of them can hold together under the torrent of contempt that their health care “plan” will receive and continue to vote in lockstep against Obama and the dems? I’m really interested in what you have to say as an X republican. I talked to my (other) X republican friend today and in the three years I’ve known him he’s gone from being a guy who would lecture me on how social security should be privatized to being a raving, tearing, leftist politically and economically. I just hung up the phone after hearing him lecture me for an hour about how the corporate/republican/capitalist masters of the universe were screwing us and the Dems needed to do more to stop them.

    aimai

  10. 10
    TR says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Actually, I believe that’s right — HRC for Human Rights Campaign. There was some weird theory that he was trying to hide his stance on gay rights issues because the text of a Saturday speech to them wasn’t instantly online.

  11. 11
    BTD says:

    In my experience, Steve is a pretty good on his info.

    Nobody’s perfect of course, but if Steve is reporting it, I know he thinks the info is solid.

    He’s earned some trust with me.

    And I have butted heads with him on a lot of issues (Cuba to name one.)

    Of course, trust is earned, and if you have not followed his work, you will not have learned to trust him.

    Anyway, good post John.

  12. 12
    Svensker says:

    and a couple of days of “obama hates the progressives” because he hasn’t shot Lieberman in a dark alley yet but asked Howard Dean to tamper down the rhetoric

    I think you meant “tamp”. Maybe if Obama had asked Dean to tamper with Lieberman everyone would be happy.

  13. 13
    meh says:

    That’s because the media is falling over itself to show that, even though they fell down on the job with Bush and just completely mailed it in, they are gonna show the good ol’ U.S. of A. that they are on top of this guy and they are gonna hold his feet to the fire, you betcha. Just because they were asleep at the switch for the last 8 years, well, no sir, that’s not gonna happen again. They are showing how unbiased they are by blasting a Democratic President as opposed to the lovefest of the Bush years.

    It’s like the guy who beats his kids all of a sudden becomes SuperDad because he knows everyone is watching.

  14. 14
    Midnight Marauder says:

    But here is the thing- Steve says he has private information, and I just don’t want to hear it. The piece making the assertion was public- very public, and if he and others have evidence that this was intentionally done, then I want it out there so I can beat up on the WH Communications Office. I don’t want private assurances, because right now there is a real deficit of trust for me between the beltway progressive activists who call themselves the base and a lot of the rest of the party.

    Well now, the information is public, and surprise, it really doesn’t sound like it was worth the entire brouhaha it initiated in the first place.

    Color me expectedly nonplussed.

    @BTD:

    Of course, trust is earned, and if you have not followed his work, you will not have learned to trust him.

    Well, he certainly didn’t do himself any favors with this one. In my opinon. Of course. Being my opinion and all.

  15. 15
    Tom says:

    This is the only political blog I read…

  16. 16
    Tom Q says:

    With you all the way, John. Obama is still trying to pull his party away from the edge of the cliff (where they placed themselves the moment Scott Brown was called the winner in MA). It’s been careful, painstaking work, but progress appears to be being made. And every time one of these “Why Obama (Or His Team) Sucks” articles appears, it works against that effort.

    No doubt this will be interpreted by some as “So you’re telling us to just shut up and take it?” Answers: 1) No, I’m not, but 2) there does come a point when the team has to concentrate on a single goal (in this case, getting health care passed) and STFU about everything else for a little while.

  17. 17
    John PM says:

    And I’m rambling.

    Well, then, keep rambling, because one of your rambles is worth 500 “well-reason opinion pieces” anywhere else. And this one coming after shoulder surgery, to boot!

  18. 18
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Okay, so you felt bad about calling Mr. Clemons a dipshit just because he was clearly acting like one.

    How about the rest of us? Can we still call him a dipshit?

    Maybe he could avoid this in the future by… I dunno… just being less of a dipshit in general? Is that an option?

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    And then, without a trace of humor, ending with a concern troll post about how demoralized Democrats are about the fall elections. No shit? Your readers are demoralized? I wonder what could be helping to cause that?

    But they’re just telling the truth. You know, like when your SO tells you that your new haircut is ugly as soon as you walk through the door. They’re just being honest, so why are you so upset?

    Substitute your own experience with hostility thinly disguised as “truth” as necessary.

  20. 20
    Mary says:

    @jayackroyd: I think he means Human Rights Campaign, not Hilary Rodham Clinton. The secret story is about Obama’s supposed perfidy addressing the HRC convention, the one where Lady Gaga played. My recollection is that Obama’s joke about opening for Lady Gaga received wide coverage.

  21. 21
    licensed to kill time says:

    I love it when you get volatile, Meester Cole.

  22. 22
    Max says:

    @jayackroyd: HRC = Human Rights Campaign.

    Bravo John! I appreciate Steve’s coming here. His article has made the rounds of the ODS sites (as they love anything they perceive as Obama is the Fail) and it’s unfortunate that those people will never see the back and forth that took place here.

    I still think it’s bad habiting to use unnamed sources and the media seems to be resorting to that more and more. “Some People” or “Senior White House Official” are the most quoted in today’s reporting and the quality of journalism is not the better for it.

  23. 23
    toujoursdan says:

    This gay man says Amen too.

  24. 24
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I’m new to this whole party, so I haven’t quite figured out the whole history of all the infighting yet, but I have to tell you that there are a number of people like me who worked their ass off last year trying to get Obama elected, and who would still crawl over glass to get him elected again who are just sick and tired of the unending negativity in some quarters and tired of being told that we are vastly outnumbered by than the disaffected few, when polls show Obama with up to 90% of liberal support. I’m sick and tired of people writing pieces flaying the administration alive and then saying “but I only wish the best for the admin.” I’m sick and tired of people looking at the HCR bill and picking out only the things they dislike, ignoring all the positive aspects that make folks like Feingold and Sanders will happily vote for it but it isn’t good enough for our progressive betters on the blogs and in the media.

    I hope this was as good for you other Obots out there as it was for me. If I still smoked I’d need a cigarette, maybe a carton,. Charlie is wimpering for a walk, gotta go. He doesn’t ask for much, a little exercise is the least I can do for this wonderful little canine.

  25. 25
    plasticgoat says:

    Welcome to the Democratic party. This is nothing new and it will continue, we are, as you know, the “big tent” party. We love to argue amongst ourselves, if you can’t take the heat, you need a new and improved fire suit.

  26. 26
    BTD says:

    @BTD:

    Oh and

    “Obama’s GREAT!”

    “Rahm’s GREAT!”

    “Obama and Rahm are GREAT!”

    “My readership is fired up for the elections this fall!”

    Or not. Anyway, that seems a strange thing to get all pissed about.

  27. 27
    jayjaybear says:

    Heh. Welcome to the Democratic Party. We’ve got at least a century of internal discord to our name.

    “I am a member of no organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” – Will Rogers

  28. 28
    jayackroyd says:

    @TR

    Indeed. I cannot really make any sense out of this and should not have said a word.

    I will note that transparency doesn’t seem to have made a lot of progress. I read Steve’s piece, and it seems like we have the same dealing in access journalism, manipulation of access journalists, and deals cut.

    What to do about that, as ordinary citizens, is ….tricky.

    I can see both John and aimai’s point of view. But the first requires a lot of trust, which I had a year ago. Things have not gone well in regard to trustbuilding.

  29. 29
    Valdivia--phone says:

    Just wanted to say thank you since I really vented my spleen early on the other thread. And also–a thousand times what you said. I am
    so tired if this shit. Will they ever learn?

  30. 30
    LTC says:

    Well said, John. I had to quit posting on a message board I have been posting on for eight years because the wingnuts and crazies are just that…CRAZY! It had gotten so bad that instead of wanting to try and discuss issues with them, i just wanted to slap crap out of them. They would rather spew a lie than the truth and never accept fact unless it is a fact they want to hear. Example….the retraction of the Rueter’s article the other day. They continue to insist that the article was true and that it was pulled because Rueters is a shill for Obama. A columnist in LA coined a phrase a couple months ago…Couch potato conservative…Facts merely get in their way. They live in a fantasy world in which reality has no meaning. They are couch potato conservatives who don’t do their homework and just haul off and say nutty things. They have no interest in anything resembling the TRUTH!

    I fear for this country.

  31. 31
    maye says:

    Nice rant.

    I like Clemons. He’s wicked smart on foreign policy. But you’re right about the chicken little syndrome in the leftie media.

    I’m worried about Obama and HCR, and I believe his inner circle has not served him well over the past year with respect to communications, but that said, I’m always cognizant (sp?) of how much worse we would be right now if you-know-who had gotten elected.

    xoxo

  32. 32
    Woodbuster says:

    You can apologize if you want to, but I haven’t seen anything yet that, if I had said it, I would feel compelled to apologize for at all.

    If I don’t see a name attributed to a quote that is used by Clemons or anybody, I automatically assume that it is one of three things: a lie, complete fiction, or a fictitious lie. If they don’t have the balls to come forward, I don’t have to believe the bullshit connected to it.

  33. 33
    beltane says:

    The concern trolling from some quarters (not mentioning any names) has been going on since the primaries. Most of it seems to be coming from hacks who happen to be “progressive”, but who were not Obama hacks and so were denied the administration posts they thought they deserved, and which they might have gotten had another candidate won the nomination.

    When I hear former Edwards supporters refer to Obama as “naive” I just have to laugh. Likewise, when Clinton supporters argue against all evidence to the contrary that Hillary would have been some kind of progressive avenger, I also have to laugh.

    Had Hillary been elected president, it is not unlikely that she also would have chosen Rahm Emanuel to be her COS, in which case the same people who are his most vocal critics now, would have been his fiercest defenders.

  34. 34
    jayackroyd says:

    Yes I am clearly not been in this pie fight. I am sorry for the mistakd, and appreciate the folks who have corrected me. Human Rights Campaign makes sense!

    Sorry. I mostly lurk. Now I will lurk more.

  35. 35
    Lev says:

    Yeah, Obama may be the official Leader of the Democratic Party, but let’s not forget that he gets that title but little of that authority. Tony Blair became Labour’s leader in 1994, and he had three years to recruit candidates, assemble a team, work out a message, etc. Obama had much less time, and he has no say in who his party’s candidates for Congress are. Well, at least not until this upcoming election, and even then it isn’t like he can say that Wes Clark gets the nomination in Arkansas-2.

    Obama didn’t assemble the pathetic congressional delegation in Congress. It was mostly Bill Clinton who did, along with some recent additions from the past few years. Obama isn’t responsible for the sacks of lameness that are Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman. But they are here, and he’s got to work with what he’s got. I’m no fan of Rahm, but Obama’s problem isn’t a White House problem necessarily (though he needs better media people), it’s mostly a congressional problem, and specifically a problem with the mediocre peter-principled deed recorders and county assessors that the Democrats chose to promote to Congress over the past two decades.

  36. 36
    BR says:

    Co-sign.

  37. 37
    Uloborus says:

    Honest to god, John, I’m really happy with Obama. You may not think the way he sold Health Care Reform was effective, but he’s not the congress and his only power over them is behind-the-scenes stuff we couldn’t see anyway. If you want him to debunk the lies, he’s been doing it for months, he just doesn’t get credit for it.

    There’s been no shortage of progressive legislation, despite the republicans going off their noodle. He’s just told us he has no interest in compromising with them, but he’ll take any of their proposals *that will work*. Should he have leaped faster on financial reform? Well, he decided to leap on health care reform first instead, and we’re damn all closer than we were under Clinton. If it fails, it will be flatly congress’s fault, and there’s no way he can force them to pass it. It’s not like he’s let financial reform die, he reminds us frequently it’s on his list.

    TARP? Sorry, TARP ain’t his fault. He’s gotten most of our money back, and when the auto companies came crying, he told them that if the government backs them, the government owns them. And it is a *legitimate* and very, very widely held attitude among economists that bailing out the banks was one of the things that staved off a depression.

    Stimulus wasn’t big enough? Yeah, I wanted bigger. He didn’t get as much as he asked for, though. Why pretend he could have waved a wand and gotten something twice as big? And ‘Didn’t get a big enough stimulus’ is, at worst, miscalculating the need, when we’re all basically guessing anyway.

    Gitmo? Treatment of prisoners? Anybody noticed that every time he does something that isn’t enough, he pushes another step later? Don’t like military tribunals? Tough, they’re consistent with international law. I’d have liked him to have immediately thrown all terrorist suspects into civilian court, but I don’t accept that anything short of that means he’s confirming and strengthening Bush’s policies. He’s already walked back all the worst abuses, and keeps walking back more.

    International policy? What part of ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ do people not get? He got actual nuclear concessions from Iran, for pity’s sake, the country where agreeing with the US is literally political suicide. They may not hold, but he got them, and that’s better than anybody else.

    Progressives screamed ‘A slow draw-down from Iraq means nothing! He won’t draw down!’ News flash: He’s been drawing down. Do you think we should have pulled out of Afghanistan? Well, he doesn’t agree, and neither do a lot of reasonable people. He reviewed military advice, and picked the solution he thought best. I’m entirely cool with that.

    How is this not an admirable record of accomplishment, with a fractious and weak democratic congress, and republicans who have flat-out declared they will do anything to oppose him, no matter how irrational it is?

    He’s just not a magic negro, okay? He won’t be exactly the president we all want, and it’s irrational to expect him to be. Especially since a lot of the things we want are utterly impossible or honestly unwise, they’d just make us feel better.

  38. 38
    wrb says:

    @Tom:

    It is getting to be the only political blog I can stand to read.

    When, by the way did Huffington, go to all PUMA headline writers?

    Again and again the headlines misrepresent the story, always in a way that implies an Obama “failure.”

  39. 39
    BTD says:

    @beltane:

    And vice versa?

    Actually my Rahm hate is on the record and longstanding.

    I think it would have been more likely that most of the Rahm defending would be missing.

    Maybe not though. Maybe all of the Rahm defenders have always loved him.

  40. 40
    Valdivia--phone says:

    @Uloborus:
    co-sign. That was just as good as John’s rant.

  41. 41

    Thanks for the thoughtful post John. I may try to take up this trust deficit issue at some point. I’m not officially a Dem — I’m an Independent because I don’t have a lot of trust in either party, but that topic for another day.

    FormerSwingVoter — I’ll try to be less of a dipshit, but can’t fully promise. I tend to frustrate all sides of the political spectrum eventually — and thus collectively, over time am an equal opportunity dipshit.

    But John’s post gets at something big I think. And given the revulsion some of you have, for instance, to Tom Daschle — what would have happened to your trust in matters if Daschle were at the helm and we were still in a mess. In another arena, I understand why President Obama reached out to Rubin and Summers when he came into office because the global economic house was on fire — and hiring untested, eclectic personalities was not attractive compared to what looked like a crack economic stabilization and reconstruction team.

    But these guys were never going to privilege job creation over Wall Street resuscitation — and were not experts in the kind of national deep infrastructure investment that I think would have made the Obama administration successful and legend for generations. So, I guess I do feel that there needs to be response from some of us about personnel and policy decisions and likely scenarios.

    Anyway, I too am rambling and my rambles are worth less than John’s here….and I know it.

    Good to meet you all — even those of you who want to have my head.

  42. 42
    askew says:

    Great post. I have just about had it with the fucking whining going on in the liberal blogosphere. All good news is shunted aside like it is unimportant and every anti-administration rumor is given way more attention than it deserves. It’s like the blogosphere has turned into CNN.

  43. 43
    policomic says:

    @Mnemosyne: That hit the spot. Thanks!

  44. 44
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Maybe all of the Rahm defenders have always loved him.

    Rahm defenders? LOL. Rahm is chief of staff to the president. I have no need to defend him or not, unless he is sacrificing live progressives on the South Lawn. Obama is president, and though he may listen to this or that insider on his staff, the dude thinks for himself in the end. If progs want to attack Obama, then ok , do that, but not through proxy pissing matches with critters that serve only at the presnits behest. Take it directly to Obama for what you don’t like about his doings as POTUS. The average stay historically for a CoS to a presntit is 22 months. Rahm will be gone at some point.

  45. 45
    Tom Hilton says:

    But right now-I just don’t trust the beltway progressives any more than the beltway Republicans, even though on a lot of issues I think the progressive activists are probably right about policy. What I see going on are the same hysterical types of responses to everything that we get from Republicans, only the position on the issues has changed.

    This. Exactly.

  46. 46
    Svensker says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    Good to meet you all—even those of you who want to have my head.

    But we promise to give it back! (After we’ve kicked it around the block a few times, but still…)

  47. 47
    jayackroyd says:

    Having shown myself to be just wrong and confused, I went to the damn ft article.

    The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

    I am not screaming like Jane. I am not obotting either. But can anyone really argue with this? I figured that the relatively inexperienced Obama had picked Rahm to help him govern, to drive stuff through the congress in particular. But with huge majorities, stuff is not being driven through. And the admin response seems to be another speech, rather than some tough dealing.

    But, I ask, can you disagree with that assertion? As best as we can tell from the outside?

  48. 48
    PS says:

    Good for you, John. I want to push Obama “left” (that’s very shorthand) but I also want to acknowledge that he has to work within constraints. I still like him and respect him, and I am not disappointed, largely because I did not have illusions about Obama’s politics. I’ve been happy to see some folks saying about DADT that Obama seems to have spent a year getting the Pentagon on board, and this may have been a sensible use of time. That’s the kind of subtlety missing in some criticism. Anyway, right now I’m settling for “best since …” — since whom is arguable . There is still some possibility that he’ll end up as the best since FDR. Or maybe it’ll be best since Clinton. Either way, we won’t know for several years.

  49. 49
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    This post is screaming about “Rahm Sucks” post and there is a lot of “Right On!” in the comments.

    Could it be possible that people actually think Rahm Sucks and that’s why they say it? Hell, can we entertain the possibility that Rahm actually does suck?

    Why or why not?

  50. 50
    Punchy says:

    Holy shizzle….you dragged Clemons AND Big Tough Democrat into this blog? Now all we need is Jane Hamsher Of The Left to step up and blast your posts.

    Good job, padawan.

  51. 51
    The Moar You Know says:

    The “beltway progressives” are doing the GOP’s dirty work for them, and in some cases (Jane Hamsher, et al) have openly allied with the GOP to kneecap this presidency.

    You are right not to trust them. At least with the GOP I know where I stand.

  52. 52
    Mary G says:

    Bravo from me too.

  53. 53
    Admiral_Komack says:

    If that’s rambling, you should ramble more often.
    Good post.

  54. 54
    jibeaux says:

    you’re not really a Democrat unless you’ve drawn up plans to kill Joe Lieberman via blood loss from a thousand HCR paper cuts.

    Good stuff there, Zif.

    For the life of me I can’t understand all the anger directed at Obama and Rahm when there are sooooo many other good targets? I mean, I often feel deeply pessimistic that we are almost irretrievably mired in an undemocratic and dysfunctional parody of “representative democracy” with no feasible way out, at least not until things get far worse and more gridlocked. In other words, I despair daily about the ability of our government to address major, major, national and worldwide concerns that have to be addressed if we expect to survive on this planet.
    But with all that, I have never lost sight of “the other choice was John McCain and Sarah Palin”, and I do not intend to waste a single second forgetting that.

  55. 55
    Soldat says:

    Amen Cole. The lesson for 2009 for me is to never trust the blogs to ‘know better’ than the traditional media or the Dems in Congress. A large chunk of the party prefers to settle scores instead of fixing things.

    OT but connected: the Queen of the Firebaggers is claiming credit for killing HCR. I’m waiting to see one of her former paid bloggers at GOS also take a bow. (I don’t think it’s dead yet, but its notable to me how she’s framing it).

  56. 56
    bob says:

    Good hippie bash, Cole. Hit ’em again and see if THAT doesn’t re-moralize them.

    Ain’t it nice to always be on the bashing side? I notice how this site is full of such “winners.” You bashed the Progressives from the Right, now you get to do it from the Left.

    Whatever.

  57. 57
    Shinobi says:

    I am of two minds about what you’re saying here John. I will try to comment in a way that makes sense.

    I agree that criticism of the Obama administration is frequently overblown and bordering on hysteria. However, I think it is important that commentators and electorate constantly push back on our leaders to make sure they are acting in our best interests.

    Part of what was so horrible about the first four years of the Bush administration was watching our country walk the plank with a bunch of crazy media blowhards cheering it on while reasonable people stood by trying to get anyone ever to listen to them. (Maybe that’s just my skewed recollection, but it really felt like everyone was WAY more on board with some of the WORST IDEAS EVER than they are now with a very moderate health care reform package.)

    I don’t think we should go back to that. While Obama himself seems unlikely to fall prey to the dreaded group think (he seems very open to making mistakes and other points of view) that doesn’t mean that progressives couldn’t.

    I guess I think the challenge is in finding balance, and right now progressives are failing miserably at that. We need to still be critical of this administration just like we would any other. But people also need to stop throwing tantrums in the store when they find out that Obama is not getting them a new bicycle RIGHT THIS SECOND.

  58. 58
    jayackroyd says:

    But this is just a hack job aimed at Rahm, unsourced. Many insiders want more access.

    The absence of any kind of policy concerns is really remarkable. Cabinet officials don’t “get on tv” or get access.

  59. 59
    Ana Gama says:

    YOU GO, John Cole!! Amen and Hallelujah…and thanks. Best post I have read all day.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    @jibeaux:

    For the life of me I can’t understand all the anger directed at Obama and Rahm when there are sooooo many other good targets?

    When you’ve got a bare handful of Senators between another bitter compromise and legislative victory, it’s hard to understand that no – you can’t just walk into the Senate, drop your balls on the table, and demand the bill gets passed. George Bush and Bill Frist weren’t able to do it during their terms. Harry Reid and Barack Obama won’t do it during their terms.

    In the House, you can twist arms. In the Senate, the path forward requires you to pay the piper. In this case, the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase greased the wheels and got the bill over the finish line. People don’t like that method, but it’s the only one that gets things done in a chamber where a single Senator can take a pipping hot crap on anything on the floor (see: Shelby, Dick).

    The problem is that Ben Nelson and Richard Shelby aren’t making promises to the general public about passing HCR or appointing district judges. Obama is the one giving the SCOTUS. He’s the one in charge of moving the agenda forward. So he’s the guy that gets pegged with the spitballs when progressives feel they’ve been short changed on results.

  61. 61

    @Punchy: Punchy, just want to share an anecdote about my partner once telling Dave Meyer and a number of other good young guys who were part of the “Drinking Liberally” movement and who were asking me to speak at one of their imbibe with policy movement “Steve is not a liberal!!!” My partner who is a professor of international relations at a small liberal arts college is a genuine, hard-hitting liberal who wants good stuff to happen now for everyone gets disgusted when people think I’m a mainstream liberal.

    Like John, I have an ambidextrous past and used to head the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom (that was the name then….no kidding). I’m a progressive realist in most things — and I am a progressive who wants to see serious action plans, priorities, and a genuine effort of the reigning Dems to accomplish the things that they have said they were going to do — and which are now self-defining challenges.

    I supported Obama and still do generally — but I am of the view that he has to change course. I don’t think Rahm’s many skills should be kicked out but I think he needs to be redirected. I don’t think Axelrod should leave — as Obama, like Bush, basically benefits from having a Rove inside and close….but on the whole, I do think that they have to look at the broader challenge of how to turn the gains they got at the beginning into tangible progress.

    Rambling again…sorry.

  62. 62
    Max says:

    @Soldat: From what I read on the Twitter – she went on Ratigan’s (MSNBC’s version of Glenn Beck) show and endorsed parts of the teabagger’s campaign.

    She’ll be endorsing Palin soon enough.

  63. 63

    @Svensker: Please return my head with thicker hair. :)

  64. 64
    D-Chance. says:

    Chill, Cole… Obama’s Brain is back on the job. Let the magical unity ponies fly, once again!

  65. 65
    jayackroyd says:

    weird liveblogging my reading an article.

    The piece is entirely about who gets access, and beltway jealousy,

    An outside adviser adds: “I don’t understand how the president could launch healthcare reform and an Arab-Israeli peace process – two goals that have eluded US presidents for generations – without having done better scenario planning. Either would be historic. But to launch them at the same time?”

    Again, close allies of the president attribute the problem to the campaign-like nucleus around Mr Obama in which all things are possible. “There is this sense after you have won such an amazing victory, when you have proved conventional wisdom wrong again and again, that you can simply do the same thing in government,” says one. “Of course, they are different skills. To be successful, presidents need to separate the stream of advice they get on policy from the stream of advice they get on politics. That still isn’t happening.”

  66. 66
    Da Bomb says:

    I have your back John. It’s the way I have been feeling since January 2009. other than the blog I write for, your blog and a few others are the only ones I can stand.

    Nothing else to add.

  67. 67
    Joel says:

    Amen.

    As my old wrestling coach would say, “suck it up.”

  68. 68
    Ana Gama says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    If I still smoked I’d need a cigarette

    Gotcha covered! ;o)

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @bob:

    Good hippie bash, Cole. Hit ‘em again and see if THAT doesn’t re-moralize them.

    I don’t see what you’re so unhappy about — you won. Healthcare reform is dead, just like you wanted. Are we supposed to thank you for that?

  70. 70

    How about the nitty-gritty of this? What exactly is it that the Executive Branch is subject to criticism about? Anything?

    Exactly how many posts have been made here about pushing Congress to pass HCR? There’s a lack of willingness – translation – lack of votes. Sound familiar? If the “Left” does it somehow it becomes traitorous behavior and yet…

    This aspect of public pressure on Congress was what Obama did not accomplish and given his reputation for connecting with voters this isn’t something to criticize? Why not? You propose that you can get this piece of shit passed by calling, and yet efforts to keep it from being such a piece of shit were Lefty garbage.

    Oh the Left is so disruptive and dangerous to Democrats, and your behavior qualifies as what? You don’t claim to be participating in the internal warfare? WTF?

    What, didn’t anybody bother to call you retarded Quislings of the Confederate Party of Republicanism? Maybe they should have just to keep things pretty equal. You are not above the fray as you wade hip deep into it – except in your imaginations.

  71. 71
    Paul W. says:

    Pass the kool aid, you’re hogging it!

    John, I’m a political neophyte, supported Obama and thought the Iraq war might have worked (now I know much better, but cmon I was 16 at the time).

    Anyways, this President has my full support. I gave it to him during the election in dollars and time, and I don’t intend to pull the carpet out because he hasn’t forgiven all my student loan debt. Thanks for this, it is much appreciated.

  72. 72
    gwangung says:

    I guess I think the challenge is in finding balance, and right now progressives are failing miserably at that. We need to still be critical of this administration just like we would any other. But people also need to stop throwing tantrums in the store when they find out that Obama is not getting them a new bicycle RIGHT THIS SECOND.

    I agree with that.

    I also agree that adopting rightwing terminology and memes is not the way to move the Overton Window to the left; it can’t possibly do that when you’re using phrasings and ideas originally launched by the right.

    And finally, any push on Obama has to come from a position where you wield power. You have to be able to deliver votes and funds, as an identifiable block, to be able to push. I’m not sure progressives can point to an influential bloc of votes to be able push. We can point to scattered individuals, but not sizable blocs. It seems to me that a lot of people don’t recognize that, and actually couch their arguments that emphasize their own powerlessness.

  73. 73
    Martin says:

    @BTD: How about the idea that Rahm both sucks and doesn’t suck? Personally I think he’s a clear win for the WH at getting the votes in line. I haven’t seen a lot of evidence to suggest that he isn’t great at that.

    That said, I think he sucks at keeping Obama’s long term relationship strategy going. I mean, I personally like the fact that he tells people to fuck off but I also know that can be pretty counterproductive, and how much further from Obama’s approach can you get? (In my view) every time Rahm sticks the rhetorical knife in it undermines Obama as a ‘lets all work together’ kind of guy. It’s a bad public combination, particularly as Rahm is all about winning the short game where Obama is about winning the long game.

    So, I’d personally much rather have him back in his Clinton position where he could be effective but less often seen. It’d allow for most of his good qualities to be effective without too much impacting the bigger game.

  74. 74
    Tractarian says:

    Rahm sucks

    Obama’s cool though

  75. 75
    Elie says:

    @jayjaybear:

    I’m sorry — I am not buying that off quoted “fact” anymore — that Democrats self destruct as a routine and that what is happening here is more of that same thing.

    I have been around a while and I have never — NEVER seen a young Democratic administration treated like this internally — never. And it has been relentless almost from within the first couple of months.

    I have never seen or heard of a so called liberal teaming up with an arch conservative blowhard, ala Hamsher and Nordquist — or observed Democrats cheer on the destruction of much needed health care legislation initiated by the Democrats! Nevah!

    So, while I will not disagree that we have our cat fights and our disagreements, I have never seen Democrats this destructive and malacious and unremitting..

    I am not sure what is happening, but I have since reconciled myself to the possibility that there is some purposeful selling out for both naive and cynical purposes. I do not believe anymore that this is just a thing about “principles”. Nope..don’t buy it..

    So yeah, chalk it up to more of the same noise only slightly different flavor from the Republican noise machine.

  76. 76
    Tonal Crow says:

    I think much of the progressive frustration with Obama (and Democrats generally) is about their bewildering tendency to torpedo themselves with Lousy Rhetoric ™. With few exceptions (e.g., Alan Grayson; some of Obama’s comments at the recent GOP conference), Democrats in power refuse to hit hard at even the most egregious GOP behavior. Witness, for example, the official (non-)responses to The Crimson Bribe. If a Democrat did something like that, most officeholding GOPers’d be screaming it from the rooftops, like they did with Ben Nelson’s (much less egregious) special deal a few weeks back. From Democrats? Not much more than a peep.

    Obama’s substance is generally much better than his ability to convince voters that he’s doing the right thing. And, guess what? Electorally, it’s more important to be convincing than it is to be good. Or, why do people listen to Palin?

  77. 77
    Elroy's Lunch says:

    Keep going John. Between you, DougJ, Tim F and Anne, this is the first blog that I go to. If you’ve got Steve Clemens replying like mad you’re doing something right.

  78. 78
    Zifnab says:

    @D-Chance.: Just a note, Karl Rove wasn’t called “Bush’s Brain” because he was Bush’s campaign manager. He earned the title because people were trying to fathom how someone that stupid could get elected President – twice.

    The true absurdity of it all was how “Bush’s Brain” had Bush’s ass campaigning out of California in 2000, a state he lost by double digits, while the real fights were in New Mexico, Ohio, and Florida. Karl Rove was a terrible campaign strategist. He just happened to have a massive right wing media engine ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to sell Love Boat and Wind Surfing as viable political talking points.

    If you’re wondering how Republicans went from chants of “Permanent Majority” to an Super Minority in the Senate and a 41% presence in the House, you might want to check The Math.

  79. 79
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    Its good to have you aboard. We may be jerks, but we’re well-meaning and occasionally funny jerks! ;)

  80. 80
    Mary says:

    @Steve Clemons: You’re not like John. John had a change of heart and committed to being a Democrat and supporting Obama. You, on the other hand, play both sides of the street depending on which way the wind blows. You don’t really have any ideology at all, do you, except to make a name for yourself?

  81. 81
    eemom says:

    Splendiforous!!

    We are all Cole-bots now.

  82. 82
    John Cole says:

    OT but connected: the Queen of the Firebaggers is claiming credit for killing HCR.

    They are operating in their own damned fantasy land. The proximate cause of the current stagnation in HCR is the election of Scott Brown, nothing else. Had he not been elected, they would either still be negotiating or they would have found a compromise already and it would have passed. This is one of my biggest problems with our progressive activists- the magical thinking.

    If they can show how they elected Scott Brown, I’ll give them a big kudos for killing HCR. Quite the progressive victory that.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Let me guess: she has health insurance, right?

    Jesus. That’s just despicable. The crowing and self-congratulatory tone just really makes me angry.

    I guess she won the imaginary battle with Rahm Emanuel. Too bad there’s so many collateral casualties.

  84. 84
    jayackroyd says:

    @steve clemons

    I think that the frustration we have is that pretty much everybody: you, Rahm, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc essentially say “Trust us.” But none of the people we are supposed to trust, or their staffers, are willing to go on the record on anything. And then I read a piece like this, which is largely policy free, except as a policy “victory” being politically useful. Nobody in the piece says, “Damn. 20,000 Americans died because Rahm ineffectual.” They say he has hurt himself politically. The central concern is not with policy results, but with political results.

    Now you could remark, well, that is just our point. But it is hard to be persuaded by that remark, because, you know, 20,000 people dying deserves more pressing attention.

    I know how much of getting things done is overcoming the process, but the players seem to be more concerned about the process and status than about the policy results. (Referring to the ft piece.)

  85. 85
    wrb says:

    @Soldat:

    As one of the uninsurable, I wonder how many of us will die as a result of Jane’s “victory” if that is what it proves to be.

    I really doubt she or most of the rest of the Firebaggers give a shit.

  86. 86
    Dannie22 says:

    I said it this morning and I’ll say it again. Rahm must be kicking butt and taking names to have all these folks mad at him. Keep doing what your doing Rahm.

  87. 87
    merrinc says:

    Imagine me standing and applauding. God, I love this blog.

  88. 88
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    Okay. What should they do? How can Obama “change course” when, at least wrt domestic policy, all the road blocks come from the Congress, especially a unified Republican minority and a (to borrow David Plouffe’s phrase) bed-wetting block of ConservaDems who don’t have the brains or the guts to stand for anything? I’d like to see some specifics. You only have to look at Susan Collins’s shameful demagoguery on the UndieBomber to see the purely political obstructionism of the GOP (granted, Collins probably isn’t smart enough to know how absurd she looks, lucky for her a cowed, bitch-slapped political media will never tell her, or anone else), or the way the GOP leadership in the House is hemming and hawing about Paul Ryan’s budget to see the same level of dishonesty there. I’ll give Ryan credit– his plan is politically disastrous, and I think lousy policy, but he’s not backing down.

  89. 89
    bumblebums says:

    Nice.

    ‘preciate it.

    Rowing up the same stream.

  90. 90
    maye says:

    1. He needs a new communications team.

    2. He needs to make Reid and Pelosi find a way to pass some form of HCR with 51 votes in the Senate.

    3. He needs to campaign as hard for the policies he’s promoting as he did for president.

  91. 91
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You are so right, so right…

    The left so called progressives can kiss my ass…to show up here with that crap after they succeeded in their craven mission. I.don.twant.to.hear.anything.from.them. PERIOD. Just STFU

  92. 92
    mcc says:

    So I don’t know if participating in these ranting sessions is especially healthy, but…

    there does come a point when the team has to concentrate on a single goal (in this case, getting health care passed)

    The thing that was the breaking point for me was when it became clear that for most of the people who’ve installed themselves as leaders of the progressive netroots “team”, getting health care passed actually isn’t a goal at all, or is something they actually oppose. At some point a lot of the A-list lefty bloggers seem to have decided that the important thing is whether the progressives come out well in the negotiations with the conservadems (for example does the bill contain a “public option”, or whatever) and health care reform itself is unimportant, or is at best a bargaining chip within the larger overarching struggle of sticking it to Ben Nelson. The idea that getting people health care is important by itself, or that at some point we’re talking about people’s lives and not just policy positions, seems to have at some point been forgotten.

    Let’s say most of the bloggers don’t agree with me about Obama. Okay, so what? I feel like this is something I should try to hold back from criticizing on (even if I’m not always good at holding back). It does not make a difference at all whether bloggers like Obama. If they attack Obama maybe that hurts my and the bloggers’ shared goals, but it’s the shared goals that matter, not Obama himself.

    But now I can’t tell anymore if those shared goals are there. I see them either ignoring or fighting against what I thought the shared goals were. And this is where my problem is. It’s not my place to tell someone how to feel about Obama. But if someone says that I don’t deserve continued access to insurance unless they get sufficient concessions from Harry Reid first, then it’s my place to get angry:

    I actually haven’t been paying enough attention to DailyKos or to FDL since December to tell if they’re willing to support HCR again. But I’m not sure it matters what they do now— the damage is done. I saw this comment on a blog yesterday:

    “And, finally, no reasonable analysis of the current HCR bills find that they are not a vast improvement over the status quo.”
    .
    Huh, actually I kind of thought there was no reasonable reading that this bill wasn’t a huge POS that was going to give the insurance companies everything they ever wanted while pretending that unenforced regulations were going to protect consumers.
    .
    If you look at what this bill does it sets back HCR by decades and makes it virtually impossible to ever make any headway because the insurance companies will have orders of magnitude more power because we’re giving them a blank check to raid the treasury.

    You see this stuff all over the place. And people are saying things like this because they’ve been trained to, because people we put our trust in decided they were going to scaremonger against the bill if they couldn’t get their way.

  93. 93
    mcc says:

    So I don’t know if participating in these ranting sessions is especially healthy, but…

    there does come a point when the team has to concentrate on a single goal (in this case, getting health care passed)

    The thing that was the breaking point for me was when it became clear that for most of the people who’ve installed themselves as leaders of the progressive netroots “team”, getting health care passed actually isn’t a goal at all, or is something they actually oppose. At some point a lot of the A-list lefty bloggers seem to have decided that the important thing is whether the progressives come out well in the negotiations with the conservadems (for example does the bill contain a “public option”, or whatever) and health care reform itself is unimportant, or is at best a bargaining chip within the larger overarching struggle of sticking it to Ben Nelson. The idea that getting people health care is important by itself, or that at some point we’re talking about people’s lives and not just policy positions, seems to have at some point been forgotten.

    Let’s say most of the bloggers don’t agree with me about Obama. Okay, so what? I feel like this is something I should try to hold back from criticizing on (even if I’m not always good at holding back). It does not make a difference at all whether bloggers like Obama. If they attack Obama maybe that hurts my and the bloggers’ shared goals, but it’s the shared goals that matter, not Obama himself.

    But now I can’t tell anymore if those shared goals are there. I see them either ignoring or fighting against what I thought the shared goals were. And this is where my problem is. It’s not my place to tell someone how to feel about Obama. But if someone says that I don’t deserve continued access to insurance unless they get sufficient concessions from Harry Reid first, then it’s my place to get angry:

    I actually haven’t been paying enough attention to DailyKos or to FDL since December to tell if they’re willing to support HCR again. But I’m not sure it matters what they do now— the damage is done. I saw this comment on a blog yesterday:

    “And, finally, no reasonable analysis of the current HCR bills find that they are not a vast improvement over the status quo.”
    .
    Huh, actually I kind of thought there was no reasonable reading that this bill wasn’t a huge POS that was going to give the insurance companies everything they ever wanted while pretending that unenforced regulations were going to protect consumers.
    .
    If you look at what this bill does it sets back HCR by decades and makes it virtually impossible to ever make any headway because the insurance companies will have orders of magnitude more power because we’re giving them a blank check to raid the treasury.

    You see this stuff all over the place. And people are saying things like this because they’ve been trained to, because people we put our trust in decided they were going to scaremonger against the bill if they couldn’t get their way.

  94. 94
    MTiffany says:

    “Obama hates the gays because he has not waved a wand and ended DADT and DOMA”

    Yeah, he must be saving all the juice in that magic wand of his for “A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”

  95. 95
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: Rahm sucked well before he became CoS. He sucked when he worked for Clinton and for most everyday since and before. In fact, many, and I among them, believe he was hired precisely due to his major suckage, as low key Mr. no Drama needed some full on suckage in the WH. And as far as I can tell, Rahm is doing his job well with suckage to spare. I. do. not. care. that Rahm sucks. He is not Obama. And as long as the Rahm suckage rants aren’t intended as Obama Fail meme flogging due to Rahm sucking, I have nothing to say on the matter.

  96. 96
    eemom says:

    @John Cole:

    yeah, and she was creaming her jeans over Mr. Clemons’ post, which she took as a direct tribute to her grandiose righteousness in beating up on Rahm.

    And btw, according to her it was actually RAHM who sank the Senate bill. Because he was scared of her, or something. I couldn’t quite follow the, er, logic.

  97. 97
    maye says:

    4. I have no opinion on Rahm (but I seriously doubt he’s Rasputin). Obama is too smart to be in thrall to a Rasputin.

  98. 98
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Elie:

    I have been around a while and I have never—NEVER seen a young Democratic administration treated like this internally—never. And it has been relentless almost from within the first couple of months.

    My memory is rusty and my vision tired, but IIRC Clinton had at least as many problems with the Senate Dem caucus. Especially dear old Pat Moynihan whose last political act was to take a giant public crap on Al Gore, and if that wasn’t motivated by pure spite, I’d love to hear another explanation.

  99. 99
    mr. whipple says:

    John: Standing ovation.

    You articulated my exact thoughts, and why this place has become one of my few daily blog stops, and why this is such a special place.

    I’ve watched people I used to admire and read daily that I just can’t handle anymore because they’ve become total dicks with constant ‘everything Obama does sucks’ posts.

    Keep up the good work.

  100. 100
    Martin says:

    @John Cole: More to the point, the logical conclusion from Jane’s assertion is that she’s helping get Republicans elected now – which is what some of us have been accusing her of actually doing, whether that was her intention or not.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jayackroyd:

    The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

    Isn’t it a little weird that they’re recycling the exact same criticism that lefties had about Bush? It seems to be happening over and over again: criticisms that were applied to Bush get re-applied to Obama. Sometimes there’s some truth to it — like complaints about military tribunals — but most of the time, there isn’t.

    Did journalists just get a Big List o’ Memes back in 2005 that they keep recycling?

  102. 102
    mcc says:

    Curses, my crafty plans to fit several paragraphs into a blockquote failed and now I can’t edit. The intent was for ““And, finally, no…” to be the beginning of the blockquote and “…blank check to raid the treasury” to be the end.

  103. 103
    beltane says:

    @wrb: She should be bombarded with the unpaid medical bills of fellow progressives. As far as I am concerned, she may call herself a progressive, but if it walks like a wingnut and talks like a wingnut, it might just be a wingnut.

    We need a term for these “progressives as fashion statement” types that is similar to John’s “glibertarian”.

  104. 104
    John O says:

    It doesn’t seem like I’m the only one who really loves it when you get all pissed off.

    Great job. As usual, I’m with you. He (Obama) isn’t King. That was the last 8 years.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    @wrb:

    She didn’t kill anything. Look, there was no way she was going to lose on this. If the bill passes, she is going to spend three years saying how much it sucks, see: the stimulus.

    If it fails, she’s going to take credit for killing it, or blame Rahm for killing it, or both.

    This “advocacy” carries no risk. Whatever the result, the opponent can claim they were “right all along” and claim a “win”.

    Let’s not help her move the goalposts. She set out (ostensibly) to pass health care reform with about 40 liberal lines in the sand she WOULD NOT CROSS.

    Did that pass? No? Well, she then she failed.

  106. 106
  107. 107
    Joe Beese says:

    I question the progressive credentials of those who threaten people who disagree with them with “curbjawing”.

    Seriously, John, if you miss the brown shirts that much, why did you bother switching sides?

    Oh, right… I forgot. Your embarrassing taste in candidates.

  108. 108
    Alex S. says:

    It doesn’t make that much sense to admire Obama’s political skills at integrating the different democratic machines and then to complain about his Chicago core just because of some communications mishap or something.

  109. 109
    Elie says:

    @D-Chance.:

    Plouffe is Obama’s brain?

    This kinds offhand comment has been driving me wild. This black President just doesnt have enough brains, he needs this white boy to come in and give his his bwain, right? What a stupid comment!

  110. 110

    @Mary: Thanks Mary — ouch. I already have a name for myself actually. I am a pragmatic realist that wants to achieve a variety of progressive goals and I don’t care which party moves in that direction actually. I don’t blow with the wind from my point of view but I do opportunistically maneuver between sides of the aisle to try to push things forward — particularly in foreign policy/national security issues. If I had wanted to make a name for myself, then I think i could have done so via other tracks. I may seem very establishment (and probably am) – but I’m probably the most iconoclastic member of the establishment that the establishment will allow….hope that helps you understand my course a bit more. Sorry to get your ire up by comparing myself to John here. :)

  111. 111
    Lev says:

    I sure wish Obama’s team was better at campaigning for, say, health care reform.

  112. 112
    Martin says:

    @maye: This.

    I don’t think a new communications team is necessary – this one is certainly capable, but they’ve just been off key for a while now. If they can keep up the highlights of the last two weeks for the rest of Obama’s term and pack it in a little more tightly, I think everything will be fine. Someone in the WH is doing this, after all.

    But Reid needs to take some risks. He needs to work with Obama to seriously hang some people out.

  113. 113
    bemused says:

    The same sandbox crap goes on in city council meetings, no matter how large or small the town. People suck at getting along.

  114. 114
    Elie says:

    @Joe Beese:

    You all have no shame. Don’t expect respect where you have not shown any. Many of you deserve being curb jawed and much worse..

    I want to clear my throat and spit from the foul taste some of you leave… go to your own web sites and shit where you eat. Don’t come here with that crap

  115. 115
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes. Until Democrats fix their rhetoric, they’re going to find it hard to accomplish the big things.

  116. 116
    mcc says:

    And finally, any push on Obama has to come from a position where you wield power. You have to be able to deliver votes and funds, as an identifiable block, to be able to push. I’m not sure progressives can point to an influential bloc of votes to be able push. We can point to scattered individuals, but not sizable blocs. It seems to me that a lot of people don’t recognize that, and actually couch their arguments that emphasize their own powerlessness.

    It depends on what you mean by “progressives”. We do have the actual progressives, you know, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in the House. This actually is an effective bloc, though it has limits. Like, last year the CPC went to bat and swore they would vote as a bloc against a health care bill without a robust public option. Of course then it turned out the robust public option couldn’t pass, so they folded and voted for the House health care bill anyway. Now the CPC is saying they won’t vote for the Senate bill without “sidecar” improvements simultaneous or first, and on this they actually do appear to be getting their way, Pelosi was basically ready to go pass the Senate bill as is but her caucus balked. Now we’re going with this sidecar strategy and unless things derail horribly somewhere it looks like the bill will be improved to some degree as a result.

  117. 117
    Davis X. Machina says:

    As one of the uninsurable, I wonder how many of us will die as a result of Jane’s “victory” if that is what it proves to be. I really doubt she or most of the rest of the Firebaggers give a shit.

    I’m sure there will be a Day of Remeberance, or a commemorative stamp, or something equally tasteful.

  118. 118
    mr. whipple says:

    @wrb:

    As one of the uninsurable, I wonder how many of us will die as a result of Jane’s “victory” if that is what it proves to be.

    I really doubt she or most of the rest of the Firebaggers give a shit.

    I’m another uninsurable, and have been told by people who think of themselves as Liberals/ Progressive ‘it sucks to be you.’ Indeed it does.

    With these morons, making a ‘statement’ is more important than results.

  119. 119
    scav says:

    Yea! All I want is a place where people occasionally take a god-damned breath and don’t expect to get everything all their way immediately at once. And have a fine rant while doing it.

  120. 120
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Joe Beese:

    Seriously, John, if you miss the brown shirts that much, why did you bother switching sides?

    Leave it to The Beeser to come along and Godwin this fine thread. You get three plastic unicorns out of 4 possible for prog wankery today.

  121. 121
    John O says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    You were one of the first bloggers I linked, Steve, because you strike me as fair and rational and not generally stupid. Your comments here do nothing to dissuade.

    Keep up the good work.

  122. 122
    Mary says:

    @Steve Clemons: I know who you are. I just wish that, instead of trafficking in gossip, you might write up the Goldstone Report or something useful like that. That would be useful.

  123. 123
    Martin says:

    @Steve Clemons: BTW, I want to say that I appreciate you engaging with the crowd here. Agree or disagree, showing up always counts for a lot in my book.

  124. 124
    kay says:

    @Martin:

    She’s cheering the failure of a vast expansion of Medicaid.

    Whatever else the Senate bill does, it does that. You’re talking about millions of people who would have had health insurance and now will not.

    You know, I am really freaking curious. Democrats (including my little local group) busted ass to expand S-CHIP.

    Where were all the liberal activists decrying that “half-measure”? S-CHIP expansion was considered a huge success. How is vastly expanding Medicaid different? That’s now just chump change? One year ago we were celebrating the final passage of the expansion of S-CHIP. Now we’re dismissing expanding Medicaid?

  125. 125

    @Mary: yep, well say hi then next time. I’m there now and then. you?

  126. 126
    freelancer says:

    @Joe Beese:

    I question the progressive credentials of those who threaten people who disagree with them with “curbjawing”.

    He can fax you his credenzas. Just give him the number!

  127. 127
    Jon Wiesman says:

    This rant by John is a perfect example of why I read this blog. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  128. 128
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    I see you’re up to your usual rabble-rousing, Mary :)

  129. 129
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mr. whipple: a lot of progressives are still so angry about Bush–so am I, I wish more people like Steve Clemons were– that they want a big bloody brawl, they don’t care about the outcome. They want single-payer rammed through the way the Iraq War was. I wouldn’t mind that myself. But the simple fact is that, primarily due to the nature of the Senate, secondarily due to a Broderized, Russertized, Cokie-ized media, the rules are different for Democrats. We can and should fight to change that, but for the time being, we have to play on field we have, not the one we wish we had (damn me if that bastard didn’t have a way with a phrase). The fire-baggers simply cannot accept this reality. And then when they retreat into President Hillary/Dean/Kucinich fantasies… how do you even argue with these people?

  130. 130
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I see you’re up to your usual rabble-rousing, Mary :)

    That rabble ain’t gonna rouse itself.

  131. 131
    Elie says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Yeah, their interest in the average person is about zero. They helped kill legislation desperately needed by many and weakened the ability of the administration to tackle all the difficult issues left to it by the orks of the previous administration.

    My contempt is almost without ability to be mitigated. I do not truly consider them to be progressives. They are fakers and grifters carving out their little feifdoms while burning down the house without care to anyone else.

    No, I will not tolerate them and will not treat them with any respect or hear them out. Get lost and stay lost. Go suck up to your Republican overlords….the ones paying your salaries.

  132. 132
    AxelFoley says:

    That…was a righteous post, Mr. Cole. If you need me, I’ll be right with you clobbering fools left and right. Just say the word.

  133. 133
    Violet says:

    Late to the party, but A-freaking-men. Thank you for this post.

    Happy to be part of the Obot sanctuary here.

  134. 134
    John O says:

    Obama is moving the bow of the ship. It’s a big ship.

    Yes, I wish it had a smaller turning radius, but it doesn’t.

  135. 135
    Svensker says:

    Well, that Jane Hamsher article made me really mad.

    Why DIDN’T that mean Obama pass a public option bill? Everything would have been FABULOUS if only he’d done that. Srsly.

    Firebaggers indeed.

  136. 136

    @Martin: Thanks much Martin. I frankly would rather participate in discussions where everyone doesn’t agree than where they all do. I’ve been a lurker here now and then because i enjoy more unvarnished commentary than you get at most places and there are smart folks here. I can’t deny that I am an insider type — no doubt, but that doesn’t explain all of my positions or views. I was one of the few guys who worked hard from the center to oppose the Iraq War invasion — and I have been concerned by a creeping national security statism in our politics, on both sides of the aisle. That animates me more than a lot of other things — but I get that many folks see things differently.

    I respect John and any blogger at this– and remained quiet when he took me on about the Obama HRC dinner speech before, and frankly I should have engaged him then. Anyway, good to learn here — and see what’s up.

  137. 137
    Martin says:

    @Elie: Oh, come on. 2 years out I’m still blown away by how accurate the delegate projection spreadsheet that presumably Plouffe created and was ‘leaked’ turned out to be. That was fucking brilliant – like they had gone back in time 6 months and published the thing.

    I think you have to give Plouffe a huge amount of credit for the underlying technicals of Obama’s election.

  138. 138
    The Populist says:

    John, you aren’t alone. This meme that Obama hates the gays is very old hat.

    I see it like this…change takes time. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Obama making change happen within the rest of this term or definitely his second term should he be re-elected.

  139. 139
    NR says:

    @kay:

    Where were all the liberal activists decrying that “half-measure”? S-CHIP expansion was considered a huge success. How is vastly expanding Medicaid different? That’s now just chump change? One year ago we were celebrating the final passage of the expansion of S-CHIP. Now we’re dismissing expanding Medicaid?

    Easy. The S-CHIP expansion didn’t come bundled with a mandate for people to give money to the same private insurance companies who’ve been screwing up our national health care.

    Pass the Medicaid expansion by itself and I guarantee you that every progressive out there will support it.

  140. 140
    Uriel says:

    I feel as though I could have supported this post, if only it mentioned teleprompters, Hillary or the evils of the excise tax. Or at least threw a little love to Palin.

    But is is nice to see someone finally getting in front of the story on the whole Rahm/ Obama sucks, and the Despair of the Democratic base.

    Maybe you could add an update about Tim Giethner? That might help.

    /deliberately-missing-the-point

  141. 141
    Martin says:

    @kay: Well, Jane was promised a pony and she’s gonna BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLACE DOWN IF SOMEONE DOESN’T GIVE HER A FUCKING PONY!

    Yeah, my problem with the activists is that they hit a triple and are pissed they didn’t get a home run. Jane Hamsher – the Yankees of the activist left.

    And FTFY!

  142. 142
    Elie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    No way was that period anywhere near as extreme and pervasive. Yeah, the Democrats have always had characters, the Congress did challenge the white house, but it was on the up and up — not this kind of back stabbing, consorting with the enemy, killing centerpiece legislation kind of thing. Do you SEE the distinction at all? This is unprecedented

  143. 143
    Eric S. says:

    Because I’m leaving for the gym I’m going to ask this here and check back later instead of using Teh Google: is ‘curbjaw’ the same as ‘curb stomp?’

    BTW, loved the rant, er ramble.

  144. 144
    scav says:

    @Martin: I think the difference she’s making is between asserting he’s Obama’s brain as though he doesn’t have one of his one and being an important part of Obama’s team.

    apart from that, I do so rather enjoy it when free-for-alls erupt in Valhalla. Who’s that swinging from the chandelier waving a battle-axe?

  145. 145
    Jules says:

    Thank you, John for putting into words the way I have been feeling for months.

  146. 146
    Elie says:

    @NR:

    Ah — unfortunately there is reality. Now there is NO BILL, so no one in the 35 million uncovered people get anything so you can have your revenge on the evil insurance companies.

  147. 147
    Newsie8200 says:

    There are two default lines that I see:
    1. Policy wonks v. activists. (Name a credible health care policy wonk that thinks the Senate bill is a piece of crap that shouldn’t be passed. Right, you can’t find one. There are plenty who think that it’s worth passing and will need improving in the coming years, but there’s no one who thinks it should be killed.)
    2. Activists who are “reform Democratic Party and progressive infrastructure” types vs. everyone else. The former is the source for a lot of the more extreme criticism. The problem is that the former is dominated by the loudest netroots voices and a lot of people who haven’t exactly worked in politics day in and day out in recent history and haven’t done so besides something IT or netroots-outreach related.

    And this is on the mark:

    I have to tell you that there are a number of people like me who worked their ass off last year trying to get Obama elected, and who would still crawl over glass to get him elected again. We are just sick and tired of the unending negativity in some quarters and tired of being told that we are vastly outnumbered by than the disaffected few, when polls show Obama with up to 90% of liberal support.

    This is a huge problem for the netroots. It’s powerful enough to push narratives into the traditional media, but it hasn’t built a widespread support base. Its actual numbers are relatively small, and the scary thing is that the progressive netroots is dominated by people who are representative of a small slice of the Democratic base while the right-wing blogosphere is representative of a much larger slice of the GOP base. Those who complain about the GOP listening so much to its nutty base need to understand that the first step to the Dems listening more to netroots is to grow its slice of the base. There isn’t one thing that the major netroots leaders is doing on this front, and they’re not doing it because instead of growing its power they’ve decided to constantly proclaim power and numbers it doesn’t have.

  148. 148
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Nice post John. Sorta glad I was too busy today to even notice the blowup.

  149. 149
    gwangung says:

    @mcc:

    It depends on what you mean by “progressives”. We do have the actual progressives, you know, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in the House. This actually is an effective bloc, though it has limits. Like, last year the CPC went to bat and swore they would vote as a bloc against a health care bill without a robust public option. Of course then it turned out the robust public option couldn’t pass, so they folded and voted for the House health care bill anyway. Now the CPC is saying they won’t vote for the Senate bill without “sidecar” improvements simultaneous or first, and on this they actually do appear to be getting their way, Pelosi was basically ready to go pass the Senate bill as is but her caucus balked. Now we’re going with this sidecar strategy and unless things derail horribly somewhere it looks like the bill will be improved to some degree as a result.

    I’m thinking of progressives as cohesive unit. How many online progressives were trying to channel work through the CPC? (How many knew it even existed?) How many are working with the CPC to identify districts where progressives can win (no use trying to primary a Democrat in Nebraska, for example)? Where and with who (inside and outside of Congress) can progressives form ad hoc coalitions with, to wield the combined power?

    And there is certainly a deficit within the progressive community in communicating these nuts and bolts (the whole kerflunkle with the LGBTQ community made me aware that a lot of the louder elements had no clue on where to apply pressure, except at the top of the party).

  150. 150
    The Populist says:

    @John O:

    This x 10000.

    While I am definitely not as enthused by Obama as I was when he was in his first 100 days, we all need to understand that this man HAS a mess to clean up…a very BIG mess in many areas of domestic and foreign policy.

    If we want him to focus, let’s give him some more space. The caveat, though, stay vigilant on him. If he says we will pass HCR, I expect it. If he says he will work hard to remove DADT, I will push him. When it comes to other issues, let’s just be patient. There is still time for all concerns to be addressed.

    Bush ruined this country (yes, right wing fuckwads, I said it and it’s true as hell) in so many ways. I truly believe Obama’s approach to the economy kept us from falling into a depression (don’t believe me? look around at all the public works projects now getting under way).

    Yep, I know in my heart and my logical brain that McCain would have put the nail in the economy had he won. Obama is flawed, deeply flawed, but I feel more comfortable with him.

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:

    @John O:

    Or, as the spouse and I have been saying, Obama’s trying to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg, but at least he’s trying. McCain/Palin would have added more speed so they could ram that sucker even harder.

  152. 152
    mr. whipple says:

    @kay: @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I agree with ya somewhat, but what I really see is more of a class conflict.

    Remember that these are the people who claim they are the ‘base’, but I know of no ‘base’ that turns on a President pre-inauguration and then only criticizes since. And when polls consistently show 90% Liberal approval for Obama, I wonder why it is that the remaining 10% all seemingly have ‘progressive’ blogs/websites.

    And I’m sorry, but people that are employed at think tanks or as university faculty or own websites worth millions of dollars, or have cuhsy desk jobs that allow them to post on the internet 10 hours a day(on the bosses’ dime) enjoy lifestyles that have absolutely nothing in common with mine. They can afford to say, ‘hey, you don’t have health insurance and that sucks, but you know, there’s a bigger point to be made here.’

    To me, there is no bigger point. The way I see it, this is the way privileged douchbags act when they don’t get their little progressive ponies. They can always see their doctor, even if they have to fly to France to do it.

  153. 153
    Elie says:

    @Martin:

    Martin. Now you know better. There is a heap of difference between saying Ploufee is sharp as hell (which of course he is), and that he is Obama’s brain.
    If Plouffe is Obama’s brain, what is Obama? Its just too loaded a comment to be valuable and therefore, why use it? Is the point then to stick your thumb in someone’s eye? (not you personally)

  154. 154
    NR says:

    @Elie: Right. It’s my fault that the ConservaDems made the bill so shitty that progressives couldn’t support it anymore, and it’s my fault that Obama and Harry Reid let them do it.

    You have a funny way of looking at “reality.”

  155. 155
    birthmarker says:

    John C , you continue to be a breath of fresh air online, and I admire how you have bravely soldiered on despite personal injury and major surgery!

    I blame Huff Post in particular for stirring up discontent amongst Dems, through their headlines. Most people reading blogs (and newspapers) just scan the headlines and don’t read the full article. A lot of times the headline at HP doesn’t even reflect the info in the article. It is dishonest and morally bereft.

    Kos said the other day that 16 million unique users view HP every month, but 80% read posts on subjects other than the political ones. What Kos didn’t point out was that all of those 16 million visitors see and read the headlines on the HP home page. I see that as a hugely effective contributor to (and degrader of) the overall tone for dems.

    Many times I see diaries on Kos responding with great upset to a headline on HP. Thus it spreads.

    I will say the commenters at Kos have calmed down somewhat since Obama’s sexy time with the House republicans.

    BTW-does anyone know how many unique users Drudge has a month?

  156. 156
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    The S-CHIP expansion didn’t come bundled with a mandate for people to give money to the same private insurance companies who’ve been screwing up our national health care.

    Provider costs are soaring far more quickly than insurance costs, and are in fact driving insurance costs. Even if every insurance company was shut down by fiat tomorrow, we would still have costs increasing by 20 percent every year because providers are the root of the problem, not insurance companies.

    But, hey, why let reality interfere with your lovely fantasy of sticking it to the insurance companies?

  157. 157

    This is an excellent post, John Cole. Thanks.

  158. 158
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mr. whipple:

    I agree with ya somewhat, but what I really see is more of a class conflict.

    That’s for sure. I remember a 2000 Joe Conason pointing out to Tim, Susan, Michael and Bill, that to people with net worths, and even incomes, in the eight figure range, there probably was no difference between Bush and Gore, but there was a very big difference to a lot of working class and poor people.

  159. 159
    Martin says:

    @Elie: I guess it depends on context. I give Plouffe a lot of credit for navigating the campaign, and I don’t think Obama could have done it without him. But I think of the ‘brain’ meme as something specific to campaigns, particularly to the technicals of it – not the ideas, not the governing stuff. I don’t think Nate Silver is particularly insightful on policy, but if you want to predict the future based on the data at hand and draw conclusions from that, I can think of few better people to go to. That’s the ‘brain’ meme to me. Maybe that’s just me.

  160. 160
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elie:

    See? “Bush’s Obama’s brain.” It’s like people took the list of memes about Bush and did a universal search-and-replace to put Obama’s name in instead.

    (Not bashing on you, Martin, just pointing out how insidious the framing has been.)

  161. 161
    Da Bomb says:

    @Elie: I understand exactly what you are saying Elie.

    That’s one of the issue I have with the Rahm Derangement Syndrome. Some progressives are basically saying that Obama is Rahm’s puppet and can’t think for himself.

    Everything is Rahm’s fault. It’s belitting and insipid at the same time. Obama is very smart politician for christ sakes. He didn’t make as far as he did by listening to other blindly. He’s always followed the beat to his own drum.

  162. 162
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Elie: There’s the substance of the mandate, then there’s the rhetoric. The substance (for review; I’m sure you know all this) is that you can’t have workable universal coverage without a mandate, because otherwise people will wait until they’re ill to get insurance. The Democrats have been correct on the substance. [1] Where they’ve fallen down — badly — is on the rhetoric. Basically, they didn’t do what it took to immunize the mandate from GOP attacks (to the extent such immunity can be conferred), nor did they defend it well once it came under attack. Secondarily, they didn’t emit the rhetoric necessary to convince some portion of the progressive sphere that the mandate is necessary.

    Rhetoric is not simply telling the truth and believing that people will be convinced by it. That, frankly, is like wishing for a pony. Rhetoric is the science and art of crafting an appealing message, and of making your opponents’ messages seem less appealing. Until Democrats recognize and correct their rhetorical weaknesses, they’re going to make far less progress than they should.

    [1] This is *NOT* to say that the mandate wouldn’t be both substantively and rhetorically more supportable if we had a public option. But, alas, the Democrats failed to lay the rhetorical foundation for that, too, so it’s been taken “off the table”.

  163. 163
    Elie says:

    @NR:

    We didnt have the votes for your bill. These could not be made up and couldnt be just given to you without the support of the others.

    Okay, even if we allow that you are right, that the conservatives made it less than ideal, why were you so happy to have killed the many good things that the bill DID do? Why are 35 million uncovered lives, actually more when you factor in the expansion of Medicaid that you guys killed by supporting opposition to the bill. Why didnt that value matter to you????? A liberal Democrat who won’t do the best he can to move things along?

    Sorry, I dont buy your crap. Its wrong and narrow and without mercy for those who desperately need the help and for giving our administration a key victory to accomplish even more things that at least nominally, you guys say you want. Without a doubt I cannot abide the conservadems, but you guys are no better in that you would sacrifice the needs of the many to meet your narcissistic ideals. You dont care at the end of the day, you are no different than the Republicans.

  164. 164
    Da Bomb says:

    @NR: How did Obama let the Conservadems do “it”? What was he suppose to do as President? Hold guns to their heads and force them to vote for the bill as is?

    This is the same tired meme, that is recessitated over and over.

    It should have honorable death.

  165. 165
    John O says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yep. The reason the “he’s trying to do too much” trial balloon didn’t float was because most people realized he had an awful lot to do.

    I never saw him as anything other than a pragmatist, at least as long as I wasn’t listening to him speak. He’ll get what he can get, for the most part, and try again later. I think his conciliatory and naturally non-confrontational personality has really hurt him, politically, but that’s better for us in the long run, too, if you think about it hard enough from the right direction.

    I’ll tell you what: Anyone who mentions that he has failed to “change the tone” in DC is bound for an earful from me, because I don’t see any objective way to make the case he hasn’t tried.

    My hope is he knows when to bring the hammer down. There are signs lately…

  166. 166
    WereBear says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Pat Moynihan. I’m sure it’s a bit hot there.

    The way I see it, the old days were full of camaraderie, because we all loathed and despised the same things.

    We spoke out against Bush and for some of us it was human rights and for some of us it was the war and for some of us it was Katrina and for some of us it was everything.

    But there was nothing of any size to divide us.

  167. 167
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Joe Beese: So, they wouldn’t let you back at DKos, looks like. Can’t blame ’em, you racked up a hell of a record trolling over there.

  168. 168
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne: I never took ‘Bush’s brain’ to mean anything differently. The mere fact that it appeared as a phrase very early on and was used positively within the Bush circle suggests that it wasn’t taken as a derogatory. I took it the same way.

  169. 169
    jeffreyw says:

    Damn, what a ferfluffle. I missed the whole damn thing today I guess. Just doin other stuff. How about a kitteh to calm you down?

  170. 170
    mr. whipple says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But, hey, why let reality interfere with your lovely fantasy of sticking it to the insurance companies?

    My psychologist loonietarian brother had a spaz over HCR. I was shocked though, when he told me his rationale was that because there was no PO, costs would continue to rise because of the evil insurance companies.

    But then he turned around and complained that the reason he hated insurance companies so much was because they kept a lid on his reimbursements.

    It’s like I’ve said all along: what makes this all so incredibly difficult is that everyone wants more, more more. Insurance companies, patients, Drs, nurses, pharma…everyone.

  171. 171
    kay says:

    @NR:

    Easy. The S-CHIP expansion didn’t come bundled with a mandate for people to give money to the same private insurance companies who’ve been screwing up our national health care.

    Except it did. In all 50 states, unmarried parents (divorced or never married) now have to comply with something called a Medical Support Order.

    It mandates insurance purchase for their children, and if they can’t purchase insurance at a “reasonable” price, they have to pay cash towards “medical support”. If they receive S-CHIP or Medicaid they reimburse the state at a percentage of gross income, unless they’re at or below 150% of poverty level.

    It was a rule change that followed the S-CHIP changes, and all 50 states adopted some variant of that mandate through enabling legislation.

    I don’t think we would have gotten the expansion of S-CHIP without the mandate.

    See what I mean about wondering where the health care activists were during S-CHIP?

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Martin:

    The mere fact that it appeared as a phrase very early on and was used positively within the Bush circle suggests that it wasn’t taken as a derogatory.

    But you’re assuming that Bush’s people didn’t realize he was an idiot. They did realize it. In fact, it’s the reason they put him into office — they only needed Bush to be a figurehead. They were perfectly happy to have someone else act as Bush’s brain because they knew Bush was in way over his head.

  173. 173
    John O says:

    Too much ain’t never enough.

    Word, Mr. W.

  174. 174
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Elie: I think this is absolutely right. Especially as the article that launched a thousand dipshits insists that

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, Mr Emanuel managed the legislative aspect of the healthcare bill quite skilfully, say observers. The weak link was the failure to carry public opinion – not Capitol Hill. But for the setback in Massachusetts, which deprived the Democrats of their 60-seat supermajority in the Senate, Mr Obama would by now almost certainly have signed healthcare into law – and with it would have become a historic president.

  175. 175
    Tonal Crow says:

    @birthmarker:

    I blame Huff Post in particular for stirring up discontent amongst Dems, through their headlines. Most people reading blogs (and newspapers) just scan the headlines and don’t read the full article. A lot of times the headline at HP doesn’t even reflect the info in the article. It is dishonest and morally bereft.

    You’re not kidding. Last year I repeatedly wrote comments in the HP threads (and emailed the staff) about misleading headlines. I never got a response, and things haven’t changed, so I stopped reading the site.

    I’m sad that Arianna’s let herself slide like this.

  176. 176
    Blue Raven says:

    @beltane:

    We need a term for these “progressives as fashion statement” types that is similar to John’s “glibertarian”.

    “Fauxgressive.”

  177. 177
    NR says:

    @Elie:

    We didnt have the votes for your bill.

    And now we don’t have the votes for your bill.

    I have to say, the double standard around here is pretty breathtaking. A conservative says “I can’t support the bill in its current form” and BJers say “Well, we have to bow down and give him whatever he wants.” A progressive says “I can’t support the bill in its current form” and BJers say “WHAT A TRAVESTY! YOU BASTARD, YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN THE REPUBLICANS!”

    And by the way, since you guys like to talk about political realities so much, it’s pretty ironic that, for all you’ve been bashing progressives, you’re ignoring the reality that you don’t have Stupak’s gang on board and the bill can’t pass without him.

    But hey, don’t let me interrupt your hippie-punching session. I’m sure it feels good.

  178. 178
    Tax Analyst says:

    It’s good to see you rambling again, John. I’m looking forward to when your shoulder is all healed up so you can land some wild haymakers to go with the rambling.

    Until then remember: step-and-jab, step-and-jab with your left…and for God’s sake keep your right up when you do that.

  179. 179
    SIA says:

    Late to the thread John, but just want to say it was a great pleasure and relief to read your “rambling”. BJ is an oasis of balance and sanity (on this issue at least!)

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    How about the nitty-gritty of this? What exactly is it that the Executive Branch is subject to criticism about? Anything?

    Exactly how many posts have been made here about pushing Congress to pass HCR? There’s a lack of willingness – translation – lack of votes. Sound familiar? If the “Left” does it somehow it becomes traitorous behavior and yet…

    I’m very confused. Are you saying that Obama should have voted for HCR? Because, um, he can’t, what with not being a senator anymore.

  181. 181
    Elie says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I do agree that the Democrats and also the WH did not make stirring enough supportive arguments and case for passage. But how does that absolve the left progressives who wanted to kill the bill to achieve the perfection they sought at the cost of all that was going to actually be provided by the bill? There is no doubt that the passage of it was made more shaky by the lack of strong supporting statements, but what did that have to do with the aggressive rhetoric we read and heard from supposedly our friends on the left — ya know — our side — to KILL IT. The only other group using that language were the tea baggers and Republicans!

    So yeah, I get what you are saying and agree in part — but it does not explain the left progressive actions to defeat it.

  182. 182
    John O says:

    @Blue Raven:

    LOL. I don’t know if it’s yours, but case closed, IMHO.

    And the definition should include something about babies crying when their diapers are wet, or 2-3 year olds having irrational tantrums.

  183. 183
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jeffreyw:

    I had to click on your photostream and admire the tuxedo kitteh because that’s how our household rolls these days.

  184. 184
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    S-CHIP was preceded by a mandate. The only families they could reach with the mandate were those who were subject to the jurisdiction of child support agencies and state courts. So, families with parents who are not married. They could reach them.

    We have a mandate, in all 50 states. It just didn’t come to the “activists” attention, and it’s wildly inequitable, because it treats married parents and non-married parents differently.

  185. 185
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @NR: You are so full of shit.

  186. 186
    serena1313 says:

    John, Iam with you on this.

    I do believe criticism is necessary when it is legitimate, but the harsh over-the-top negativity the “Iam sorry I voted for President Obama, I will not make that mistake again” crowd is unbelievable. President Obama is just one person. He is not superman nor does he have super powers. If that were the case we’d be living under a dictatorship.

    Yes I have been disappointed with some of the decisions Obama has made, however, many of his accomplishments are worthy of praise. Yet more often than not they are overlooked or criticized for one reason or another; it is never good enough.

    Apparently some people are under the impression that because Bush is out of office it means every thing is okay. It’s not; it will take decades to clean up his mess. Lest we forget getting major legislation or any, for that matter, passed is difficult sometimes and other times impossible. No Thanks to the GOP.

    Finally, there is a difference between constructive criticism and harsh, shrill negative criticism. We get enough of that and more from the Republicans. After all they turned it into an art form. Let’s not be so hasty in assessing the President. Pre-drawn conclusions, at this point, often turn out to be wrong anyhow. I believe there are better and more constructive avenues to pursue than just constantly berating everything Obama does.

  187. 187
    SIA says:

    @jeffreyw:

    How about a kitteh to calm you down?

    That’ll work! Is that beautiful creature part of your pack?

  188. 188
    John S. says:

    you’re ignoring the reality that you don’t have Stupak’s gang on board and the bill can’t pass without him

    That’s not reality. The reality is that Richard Trumka says “NO” and that is why the House cannot pass the bill. BTD tells us all about it on a regular basis.

  189. 189
    Elie says:

    @NR:

    NR. The goal of any legislation is to get something done. We presumed that all of the left progressives, would want to at a minimum, give coverage through a mandate to as many folks as we could get pushed through. Who knew that wasnt YOUR goal??? Yeah, you guys will shoulder much of the blame because you were supposed to be ON OUR SIDE, OUR TEAM, ya know — common goals to get people health care coverage by any means possible, end recisions and end the policy of excluding folks for pre-existing conditions. We were expanding Medicaid to get millions of people who were working poor and working class who had nothing or very little in the way of health care access right now. That was the starting point we all thought we had in common with YOU! YOU — not the GD Republicans!!!!

  190. 190
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I’m sad that Arianna’s let herself slide like this.

    One of the reasons I found Clemons’ post hard to take seriously is that he names AH as one of the people Obama should reach out to break out of his bubble. Also Fareed Zakaria, who about a month ago blamed the failure of HCR on Obama’s unwillingness to listen to Republicans.

  191. 191
    John O says:

    @NR:

    Now THAT is quite the false equivalence. Yes, you’re right about counting, and I don’t see how this rabbit gets pulled from the hat.

    But most grown-ups have realized that you don’t let the better be the enemy of the perfect. I’m a single-payer guy, personally, but to hate this bill from the left is a bridge too far from me.

    If nothing gets done, I’ll hate it. If they pass the shi**y Senate bill, I’ll say, ironically to folks like you, “Well, at least it’s progress.”

  192. 192
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    And by the way, since you guys like to talk about political realities so much, it’s pretty ironic that, for all you’ve been bashing progressives, you’re ignoring the reality that you don’t have Stupak’s gang on board and the bill can’t pass without him.

    Linky, please. I know that Stupak has been going on Fox News claiming that nothing can get done without him, but he seems to be exaggerating his own importance, to put it kindly.

  193. 193
    mcc says:

    @Elie: Put a different way–

    There was some point where I saw TPM writing this baffled article about the phenomenon of media sources saying that Obama had not explained the details of the health care bill very well to the public. And TPM’s response was– wait, you’re media sources. Isn’t it your job to explain details of legislation to the public? And if people don’t understand it– couldn’t you, you know, try to help them understand it, instead of just sitting back and passively noting that people don’t understand it?

    You can ask the same question of the blogs. Let’s say the blogs want to attack Obama for not doing the right thing in, I don’t know, negotiations with the Congressional leadership. Well, okay, fair enough, Obama has a fair amount of leverage there and the blogs have none. In that case the most the blogs can do is expect Obama to act as their representative, and criticize him if he fails at it. But if the complaint is Obama not doing enough to make the case for the health care bill to the public? Wait, why aren’t the blogs making the case for the health care bill to the public? Isn’t that sort of all the blogs are, is a message machine?

  194. 194
    clone12 says:

    I’m with you John

  195. 195
    t jasper parnell says:

    @NR:

    I have to say, the double standard around here is pretty breathtaking. A conservative says “I can’t support the bill in its current form” and BJers say “Well, we have to bow down and give him whatever he wants.” A progressive says “I can’t support the bill in its current form” and BJers say “WHAT A TRAVESTY! YOU BASTARD, YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN THE REPUBLICANS!”

    Evidence?

  196. 196
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mnemosyne: My understanding ( which is based on reading between the lines, so take it with a grain of salt) is that Pelosi could pass the bill, but doesn’t trust the Senate to fix it. Which I get, but I think is the wrong strategy.

  197. 197
    demo woman says:

    Wow! Between reading this post and then reading the earlier posts, I have been lurking for close to an hour.
    What an excellent post.

  198. 198
    Mnemosyne says:

    @serena1313:

    Finally, there is a difference between constructive criticism and harsh, shrill negative criticism.

    This can’t be said enough. I don’t know if the problem is that we can’t get rid of the shrill edge after 8 years of Bush, but there’s a big difference between, “I don’t like that the president did this, here’s why, and here’s what I’d prefer to see instead” and “OMIGOD HE’S JUST LIKE BUSH! NEVER VOTING AGAIN NEVERNEVERNEVER!”

  199. 199
    gwangung says:

    @NR:

    That’s a mouthful from someone who’s may not know very much about the areas they’re talking about. How do we know you’re not pulling another S-CHIP again?

  200. 200
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Elie:

    I do agree that the Democrats and also the WH did not make stirring enough supportive arguments and case for passage. But how does that absolve the left progressives who wanted to kill the bill to achieve the perfection they sought at the cost of all that was going to actually be provided by the bill?

    The bill lost a lot of progressive support because the supporting rhetoric was awful. Listen to the talk about the mandate — lots of people don’t understand why it’s necessary, and, frankly, the Democrats never attempted to address the very understandable resentment that it’s created. This is not a peripheral issue. It is absolute central to the mess in which we’re mired.

    Once again, most people — progressives included — take positions primarily for emotional reasons, not rational ones. Until Democrats understand that, and craft rhetoric that recognizes it, they’re going to be largely stymied.

  201. 201
    JBax52 says:

    @Dave: All I can say is DITTO!!

  202. 202
    wrb says:

    @NR:

    Right. It’s my fault that the ConservaDems made the bill so shitty that progressives couldn’t support it anymore, and it’s my fault that Obama and Harry Reid let them do it.
    You have a funny way of looking at “reality.”

    Right. “Progressives” would rather have massive death and suffering among the less privileged rather in order to win against their equally privileged enemies. It is a dorm room fight between utter twits. Evil ones.

    You have a funny way of looking at “reality.”

  203. 203
    Newsie8200 says:

    One of the reasons I found Clemons’ post hard to take seriously is that he names AH as one of the people Obama should reach out to break out of his bubble. Also Fareed Zakaria, who about a month ago blamed the failure of HCR on Obama’s unwillingness to listen to Republicans.

    Talking to Arianna Huffington to break out of the bubble? WTF? She and other major netroots bloggers are in their own bubble where they think they’re representative of the base.

    You don’t go from one bubble to another one.

    If Obama wants to break out of the bubble, he needs to hold more town halls, and have staffers go out amongst those hardest hit by this economic recession.

  204. 204
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne: From what I understand, the left didn’t come up with the nickname – Bush’s inner circle did. He got the nickname around the same time that he got the nickname ‘The Architect’.

  205. 205
    Tonal Crow says:

    @mcc: Blogs are important to spreading a message. But so is the President. He has the pre-eminent bully pulpit, and if he doesn’t use it consistently to spread helpful rhetoric, it’s much more difficult for that rhetoric to get spread.

  206. 206
    The Populist says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    He has no evidence. He belongs to a party that is pushing anybody who disagrees with the far right base out and disparaging them.

    Granted, Dems are hard on the blue dogs but while many here disagree with some (key word: SOME) radical progressive bloggers, nobody is talking about taking away their party affiliation or exiling them like they do on the right.

    If NR wants to play that game, he should STFU until his base stops trying to purge their party of the few dissenting voices.

  207. 207
    jeffreyw says:

    @SIA: Nope, he is a newbie at the shelter where Mrs J volunteers.

  208. 208
    The Populist says:

    @Newsie8200:

    This…as long as the screaming meanies are asked to STFU the minute they get out of line.

  209. 209
    Tattoosydney says:

    Having been on holidays for ages, and having found it difficult to get back into commenting because it’s politics and I just don’t care…

    Yes! This is why I come to Balloon Juice. Thanks Mr Cole – I hope you are feeling better.

  210. 210
    wrb says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Blogs are important to spreading a message. But so is the President. He has the pre-eminent bully pulpit, and if he doesn’t use it consistently to spread helpful rhetoric, it’s much more difficult for that rhetoric to get spread.

    So that these same people can attack for “just pretty speeches” or even being “still in campaign mode”?

  211. 211
    John O says:

    @Tonal Crow: @Tonal Crow:

    I dunno. Without getting all shrill (which would be MY political advice, for the record) I don’t see what more the POTUS can do in terms of rhetoric. He’s tried to be as calm and rational as he can be, which most of us like, but you gotta take the good with the bad and accept that, as someone up-thread said, most people are moved by emotion, not rationality. Or at least moved further and faster.

    Even though I realize it is hurting him politically, I see the good in his approach. And he got pretty damed tough with the GOP in that Q&A, too.

  212. 212
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    EJ Dionne says

    PTDB

    On health care: ‘Finish the kitchen’
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.
    Monday, February 8, 2010
    If President Obama gets to sign a health-reform bill, as I believe he will, one reason may be Rep. Jay Inslee’s difficult experience renovating his kitchen..

  213. 213
    Elie says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Somehow, I dont think that you answered my question very directly. If I read between the lines, it seems you are saying that the left progressives needed to hear a refined argument in order to support the less than perfect bill before the House and Senate and that somehow, that lack of effective argument somehow obscured the fact that essential health care services was going to be made available to people who did not have it and that folks who had it couldnt be terminated for stupid reasons or because they had certain conditions.

    Pray tell me why oh why, the administration would have to make a convincing argument of this to the left progressives who in theory, would already know this. Pray tell me what “emotional” reasons allowed them to argue to KILL THE BILL over providing this much needed access for millions – MILLIONS of uncovered Americans.

    Tell me the impact you think it made to have the right wing memes megaphoned over and over on the airwaves and media from the left, right before the Massachusetts election? That had no effect that the Democrats themselves didnt seem to want the bill (yes, I acknowledge the conservadems played a role as well).

    If you are saying that your defense of the left progressives was that the conservadems did it too, well sorry, while that is true, why is that a principled defense?

  214. 214
    mcc says:

    Listen to the talk about the mandate—lots of people don’t understand why it’s necessary, and, frankly, the Democrats never attempted to address the very understandable resentment that it’s created

    Except for the billionth time, there were no objections to the mandate before December. Barack Obama opposed the mandate until last July and it was “progressives” like John Edwards and Ted Kennedy who talked him into going along with it. I spent a couple years trying to get people to care about the mandate, back before it was too late to remove it from the bill. No one cared until the public option died. (And I still see zero evidence that there is public discontent about the mandate now, outside the blog bubble.)

    The reason Democrats never attempted to reassure progressives about the mandate was because the “progressives” were in favor of it until everybody got in a snit about something else.

    Once again, most people—progressives included—take positions primarily for emotional reasons, not rational ones. Until Democrats understand that, and craft rhetoric that recognizes it, they’re going to be largely stymied.

    I feel like if the solution is “the Democrats need to start treating progressives like children” then we’ve made a mistake in constructing the problem somewhere.

  215. 215
    Martin says:

    Oh, and I have to point out an inconvenient fact about the HCR debate – early on, certainly into Sept/Oct of last year, the insurance companies were quietly and cautiously going along with the deal because it was focused primarily on lowering costs at the provider level. Even though the insurers would have to give something as well, it made the landscape much more predictable for them, and therefore less risky. That was enough to keep them on board, provided they weren’t being put in an untenable situation. The public option scared the shit out of the for-profit guys, but the non-profits didn’t strike out against it even then.

    Part of what turned the insurers more against the effort was the demagoguing from the left calling for the head of the insurance execs and demanding that Congress go after them more strongly. That *really* didn’t help things, as up to that point there were shaky understandings with drug companies and insurers and the larger medical groups. The Dems hadn’t declared war on any groups in this effort, and that helped hold something of a working alliance in place.

    Then the activists showed up…

  216. 216
    Ash Can says:

    John, you rock.

    I haven’t quite figured out the whole history of all the infighting yet

    I’ve been voting Dem for 34 years, and I haven’t either. What’s more, I really don’t want to, because it’s all horseshit to me.

    I’m sick and tired of people on the left having the same amnesia that the folks on the right have about how well and truly fucked this country was on 20 January

    This, this, and this. I swear, some people have no fucking idea how lawmaking works on the federal level. It ain’t called “sausage making” for nothing, and reason number one is because it tends to be ugly as sin. And there’s not a damned thing any of us can do about it other than to contact our representatives and let them know what we think.

    Finally, kudos to Steve Clemons for showing up here to get pushed around in person. I still think Beltway gossip is worse than bullshit (you can spread bullshit on your garden and it will help your vegetables grow), but coming here in person is worth big points.

  217. 217
    Ash Can says:

    And PS:

    @Michael D.: This made me laugh out loud. :D

  218. 218
    demo woman says:

    @Newsie8200: If Obama wants to break out of the bubble, he needs to hold more town halls, and have staffers go out amongst those hardest hit by this economic recession

    Except for Joe, Ben and Evan, the President seems to be the only other Democrat that gets air time. Fox won’t cover his town halls but the other networks will.

    For those that just read the headlines at Huffington Post and Drudge, the President is a failure. Minor posters like Jane and Steve desperately want to make a difference and to impact the agenda but their methods are faulty. Just screaming give me single payer is not going to be effective.
    Steve’s posts lately have dealt with innuendo and the HRC screed is an excellent example. The President made an excellent speech on Human Rights. It did not get the coverage it deserved but that’s not because he released his speech late. Ask John Edwards’ what gets news coverage these days.

  219. 219
    Pangloss says:

    I was going to leave work for the day and decided to check Balloon Juice before turning off my computer. Glad I did– Best Post Evah.

  220. 220
    k_michael says:

    @Emma:

    Oh, yes yes yes yes YES!!!

    Crapspeak like “It’s been rumored that” has ***NO*** place in public discourse, and *especially* not in what’s supposed to be News!

  221. 221
    Wannabe Speechwriter says:

    I was having an interesting conversation with a mid-level person in on of the major unions in Illinois. He lives in what was once Rahm’s district. I had this theory: Rahm is not the cracked-up operator everyone claims him to be. My basis was the IL-6th race. In that race Rahm forced the previous Democratic nominee, Christine Cegelis, out in favor of Tammy Duckworth, a decorated war hero. Cegelis had put up a very impressive showing in 2004 and this was when Henry Hyde was the incumbent. Rahm decided to use DCCC resources to back Duckworth, even though she wasn’t from the district. While Hyde was retiring and Cegelis had done surprisingly well, Rahm decided Duckworth was better candidate solely on her story. Duckworth would loose the race. Apparently the race was very difficult in the first place. Peter Roskam, the Republican, ran a very effective campaign demonizing undocumented workers. However, I was wondering if Cegelis had run instead, being well known to the voters of the district, would she have won. If this was the case, how could a congressman from Illinois have bungled it up badly.

    His response was this-the race I was talking about was always going to be difficult. It’s not certain that Cegelis would have done any better than Duckworth. However, Rahm is no more or less brighter than any other political operative. 2006 was going to be a good year for the Democrats. The violence in Iraq, the bungling of Katrina, the plans to privatize Social Security, and, as John remembers very vividly, Terri Schiavo, created a Perfect Storm for the Democrats. All you needed was a guy at the helm who wouldn’t pull a Coakley and fuck it up. Rahm was that guy. By merely not being a miserable failure he was able to win. In some races, did he help? Most certainly. However, some races he got completely wrong. For example, in the California 11th race, the DCCC abandoned the Democratic nominee Jerry McNerney because they thought he was too liberal. Yet he went on to beat long time Republican incumbent Richard Pombo by over 6 points.

    When we talk about politics, I think we always forget it’s not a very intellectually intensive field. Policy is, of course. But in politics, luck matters more than anything. Preparation helps as well. However, politics is a field where Bob Shrum can make a living and Michael Steele keeps moving up the latter.

    Rahm was a very skilled fundraiser during the Clinton campaign. In 2006, he did a good job running the House races. However, he’s not some sort of Superman. He can’t perform brain surgery or disassemble a nuclear bomb. He is a political operator, nothing more, nothing less. This hype we’ve created about him, as either this master strategist or this evil genius, doesn’t serve to better understand anything.

    Ultimately, we live in a Democracy and we decide what government we want. If we want health care, we’ll get it. If our leaders are smart and wise enough, they’ll convince us that what they are doing is in the best interest of our country. However, this obsession we have with the horse race of politics, framing serious policy questions through the lens of how this will affect a political party in the next set of polls and in the elections and not how it actually will address the problems of today is something I find very disturbing for the future of our little experiment in government.

    However, I’m ranting, so this probably didn’t make any sense.

  222. 222
    Tonal Crow says:

    @John O:

    @Tonal Crow: @Tonal Crow:I dunno. Without getting all shrill (which would be MY political advice, for the record) I don’t see what more the POTUS can do in terms of rhetoric. He’s tried to be as calm and rational as he can be, which most of us like, but you gotta take the good with the bad and accept that, as someone up-thread said, most people are moved by emotion, not rationality. Or at least moved further and faster.

    I said that. Obama and the Democrats need to understand that deeply, and to craft their rhetoric to match. “Calm and rational” is nice for people who operate mostly on that level. Most people don’t do that most of the time. We will not win by simply stating the truth and wishing for the Success Pony. We will win by studying and using the art and science of persuasion. How do you think the GOP got Bush into the Whitehouse? It wasn’t just election fraud and Sandra Day O’Connor. It was crafting an appealing message. Listen to the Bush/Gore debates with attention to what’s a rational appeal and what’s an emotional one. Gore’s all rationality, and Bush is all emotion. Yeah, Bush nauseated me even then. That’s me. Most voters aren’t like me. Most voters aren’t like most of the people on this blog.

    Really, it all comes down to rhetoric.

  223. 223
    Comrade Jake says:

    I think a lot of Obama’s problems would be solved if he just agreed to some town hall meetings with John McCain.

  224. 224
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @serena1313:

    but the harsh over-the-top negativity the “Iam sorry I voted for President Obama, I will not make that mistake again” crowd is unbelievable.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if the Obama FAIL prog crowd would be so honest as to just come out and say this. I believe everyone has a right to choose who they want for presnit or any other elected office, and I will never belittle them for that choice. I may disagree and oppose who they support, but not the honesty of their conviction. And if I do, then I am the one in the wrong.

    But what we have are folks using the shield of claiming to be supporter that just want Obama to do better, when it seems to me they have made the decision to want another presnit. Sometimes, it further appears that they are ok with, or at least nonchalant about scorched earth criticism of Obama and using Right Wing framing to build dishonest memes about the Obama administration.

    This is what makes me see red and want to hippie punch. And the reasons don’t much matter for anti-Obama rhetoric in the end, whether there is Hillary support behind it, or whatever. The result is making it more likely for republicans to regain power, and that is not ok with this Yellow Dog Democrat.

    Several months ago, all this infighting was causing me great angst and my BP was thru the roof. But at some point that worm turned and now I don’t just don’t care that these people agree with me mostly on issues, but are helping wingnuts whether they realize it or not. And my BP is just fine again and sometimes now, it is even fun to punch hippies, if the truth be known. As it is not as much fun punching wingnuts due to them being totally insane. Feels like I’m kicking not quite dead roadkill, most of the time with wingers.

    But I wish it would end, but don’t expect it to. The die is cast and we will continue to have this little internecine war, I fear. At the root of it all is, I think, simply the fact that Obama is not left enough for many on the internet, and it is apparently lost on them, or they don’t care, that they voted for the guy who never presented himself as what they desired.

    But the act of voting for him somehow entitles them to believe he is somehow letting them down. That is what it seems like to me of what is mostly behind this seeming take no prisoners dissent. It is not honest at it’s core, and I will not treat in that way, so long as it exists this way.

  225. 225
    Newsie8200 says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. But let’s be honest here, there was plenty of solid information on health care reform that’s been ignored, and I’ve definitely seen some of the louder corners of the netroots try to discredit anyone who didn’t agree with them that the public option was the most important aspect of health care reform and then promote the writing of those who weren’t health care policy experts at all.

    No credible health care policy wonk thinks the Senate bill is a piece of crap that shouldn’t be passed. There are plenty who think that it’s worth passing and will need improving in the coming years, but there’s no one who thinks it should be killed. Yet, there’s a loud section of the netroots that think it should be killed.

    As a side note regarding messaging on health care reform, I strongly believe that OFA and the party could have done a better job disseminating information. I’ve forwarded suggestions regarding a weekly digest of all that is happening at the WH and in Congress. There are other small things that the WH and its political allies could have done communications wise, but let’s be honest here, there’s a reason why health care reform has failed every time its been brought up in the last 100 years or so. It’s just an incredibly difficult task, and the public gets in this ‘better the devil you know than the one you don’t’ mode. The best communications operation in the world would have a tough time building support for HCR, a topic that is so easy to attack. So yes, the communications could and should be improved, but support for HCR was always going to decline the longer this went on. It’s why the WH had such aggressive deadlines last year on the topic.

  226. 226
    Martin says:

    @John O: Honestly, he’s not sold it to the public. When you break down HCR into individual elements that the public understands, the only two that poll negatively are the mandates and the deduction cap, and the latter pretty mildly. The other 20 or so elements poll positively, overwhelmingly so in most cases – enough to make the mandates palatable.

    The problem is the public doesn’t see those 20 or so elements – just HCR in full, on which they layer all of their worries about losing their insurance, paying more, etc. which of course is amped up by the folks that are eager to kill this thing.

    The supporters really haven’t made the calm, rational, point by point case for HCR that the public can clearly understand. Someone pointed out that we need a Ross Perot chart presentation, and I think that’s not far from the truth. Remember, most people know fuckall about their health insurance – that’s why HR staff were invented. A big education is needed here.

  227. 227
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mcc:

    The reason Democrats never attempted to reassure progressives about the mandate was because the “progressives” were in favor of it until everybody got in a snit about something else.

    And I remember Obama coming in for a fair amount of criticism from the left during the primary because he was against a mandate (at that point) and many people felt that health insurance reform was impossible without a mandate.

    Now those selfsame people are pretending that the mandate just landed in the bill out of the blue and they had never even heard of such a horrible thing until it was drawn to their attention.

    And for the people who say they’re against a mandate without a public option as laid out in the House bill: are you the person who can finally explain to me what the functional difference is between having the HHS administer a public plan and allowing people to get insurance through the OPM as is laid out in the Senate bill? Not the ideological difference of government-as-provider vs. government-as-administrator, but the actual functional difference that people would experience.

    Before you do, please doublecheck your previous comments and make sure you never said that ordinary Americans should have access to the same great healthcare that members of Congress do before you start talking about how bad a plan administered by OPM would be.

  228. 228
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Elie: I am not a firebagger and am not defending them. I am explaining some of the phenomenon of progressive opposition to the bills currently before congress. Listen if you want, drop it if you don’t. Also, please don’t put things in my mouth, e.g., “If you are saying that your defense of the left progressives was that the conservadems did it too, well sorry, while that is true, why is that a principled defense?”

  229. 229
    John O says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I think we’re pretty close. I have liked the POTUS’ rhetoric, in general, and it’s a tough battle out there for someone trying not to demagogue, which I’m assuming you wouldn’t like Obama doing, either.

    He does have to get meaner. Repeating now. Mr. President, show us your inner-trash-talker.

    But he sure doesn’t get a lot of Dem rhetorical support, as I see it, no matter what he does.

  230. 230
    danimal says:

    I’m convinced that progressive anger at HCR stems from Lieber-rage. Most progressives were grudgingly on board until Lieberman showed up with his manipulations. Ironically, while Lieberman eventually signed off on HCR, Lieber-rage may wind up killing it. IOW, ironically, Lieberman wins (again). He’s a jerk, but he has learned to turn the anger of his opponents into a potent political asset. A true master of Jedi mind tricks.

    Many progressives, after they calm down, will regret their anger at this bill. I won’t be sympathetic in the least.

  231. 231
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @jayackroyd:

    No, you idiot. The bill isn’t law because of the Republican and blue-dog Democratic opposition. Period. You are attacking the wrong side. That is the whole problem with this line of argument.

    A good analogy is this: A boy scout tries to help a little old lady across the street. A car runs a red light and severely injures the little old lady. The progressive blogger response is to scream at the boy scout for NEARLY KILLING the little old lady. They don’t mention the driver of the car at all.

  232. 232
    Cat Lady says:

    Back in the mists of October 2009, there was a Cole post called “Parsing Obama’s Critics”.

    I had this to say at the time.

    I wouldn’t change a word, and in fact, reading through most of these comments, I am amazed that I feel more strongly now about what John said then and says now. He had me at “Earlier today”. General Stuck, I will smoke a cigarette for you. This is the last bastion of liberal sanity.

    /O-bot and Cole-bot, over and out

  233. 233
    rootless_e says:

    100 cheers.

  234. 234
    John O says:

    @Martin:

    I don’t disagree with that, either, but what do you want him to do? Sit down and read go through the bill line by line?

    He’s covered the important parts and their connectivity time and time again, and the American public has the right to be as stupid or smart as they want to be.

    You can learn a lot of stuff on the internets.

    Update: Plus, he has the most popular news network cutting away from him if he starts making sense! I get into some pretty heated debates about this stuff with people on the right all the time, and I never stop trying to persuade them. I don’t see how Obama shoulders all the blame, no way, no how.

  235. 235
    mr. whipple says:

    The reason Democrats never attempted to reassure progressives about the mandate was because the “progressives” were in favor of it until everybody got in a snit about something else.

    That’s right. The reasoning for it was that it would be totally acceptable to make people write a monthly premium check to the gvt, but not to an insurance company.

    The ultimate goal, of course, was the hope that the Gvt would be cheaper and better, which would induce more people to want to sign onto the gvt. insurance, and after time it would kill private insurance.

    Once the far-fetched pony of killing insurance companies was removed when the PO was ditched, all of the sudden progressives became loonietarians and said the mandate was unacceptable.

    In other words, for them the goal wasn’t ever getting people insured so much as it was to get insurance companies.

  236. 236
  237. 237
    rootless_e says:

    @Wannabe Speechwriter: . For example, in the California 11th race, the DCCC abandoned the Democratic nominee Jerry McNerney because they thought he was too liberal. Yet he went on to beat long time Republican incumbent Richard Pombo by over 6 points.

    And then went on to tell the people who put him in office to suck on it. Oddly enough many of the genius tacticians who insist that Rahm be fired forget that McNerney went to the right when he got into office even though he was their guy.

  238. 238
    jurassicpork says:

    I’m not going to apologize, Jimmy, for taking the Obama administration to task because I know it isn’t just me and not even something restricted to the blogosphere. The late Howard Zinn in The Nation wrote just before his death that Obama was a mediocre President who started off the HCR from a compromised position. He and Rahm Emanuel, He whom you think is next-to-powerless, engineered a secret back room deal with Billy Tauzin’s pals in Big Pharma to cap payments to the gov’t at $80 billion.

    But everything critical I’ve ever written about the Obama administration has been sourced in hard, cold facts, in matters of public record, not merely speculation fueled by impatience:

    He is busting a nut trying to protect the Bush/Cheney administration from even transparency let alone criminal complaints regarding our torture in Iraq and elsewhere. He has ramped up defense spending, done very little to wind down the war in Iraq, has ramped up the one in Afghanistan, has not only not done anything to curb outsourcing, that’s been ramped up, too.

    He handed out hundreds of billions of our money in another round of bailouts without imposing any restrictions whatsoever and even illegally fiddle-fucked with a carmaker’s pension plan that will deprive tens of thousands their pensions. His Treasury Secretary was caught acting duplicitously with Goldman Sachs while head of the NY Fed yet is still employed at Treasury.

    He has sold down the river those liberals who supposedly give him approval ratings in the 90’s (source for that, please?) by insisting on bipartisanship with a rabid pack of upholstered, slavering jackals of the GOP who would sooner see him strung from the WH Xmas tree than see him light it.

    He is opposed to gay marriage, has done nothing but tread water and punt further and further down the road repealing DADT and his own DOJ wrote a despicable brief likening gay marriage to bestiality and incest in ,lambasting the DOMA, a brief that Obama publicly supported the very next day. He can eradicate DADT with the stroke of a pen, as he can vulture funds in US courts yet has not.

    He is not a friend of the LGBT community, he is not a friend to middle America and he is not a friend to the liberals who, through a massive netroots campaign, largely got him elected.

    He has lost my vote no matter what he does in the next three years and I will proudly stick to my guns. And you and everyone else have to disabuse yourselves of the destructive “But, but… at least his name’s not George W. Bush!” mindset that’s paralyzed your cognitive abilities.

    What happened in the first 100 days was miraculous and heart-warming, yes, but that was window dressing, so many sops slopped over to his liberal/progressive base. The rest is diluted Bush and he’s covering the fat, pasty ass of the previous administration just as effectively as had Ford the Nixon administration.

  239. 239
    Tonal Crow says:

    @mcc:

    . I spent a couple years trying to get people to care about the mandate, back before it was too late to remove it from the bill. No one cared until the public option died. (

    Because many people viewed the public option as an acceptable alternative under the mandate. When it died, the remaining alternatives — buying private insurance or paying the tax penalty — struck many people as overreaching. Again, remember that this is largely an emotional phenomenon.

    I feel like if the solution is “the Democrats need to start treating progressives like children” then we’ve made a mistake in constructing the problem somewhere.

    Good rhetoric recognizes the fact that most people approach most problems emotionally most of the time. We won’t make progress by downplaying that. Indeed, it’s not rational to downplay it; it’s a form of denial to say, “All we’ve got to do is explain the truth very clearly, and most people will agree with us.”

  240. 240
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Newsie8200:

    the public gets in this ‘better the devil you know than the one you don’t’ mode

    That’s a huge part of the problem. I’ve seen people in this comments section whose current insurance is crappy and absolutely cannot believe that it could be made better with the Senate bill despite things like the requirement for insurance companies to cover primary care. They are always, always convinced that their insurance will get worse or be dropped entirely.

    I can’t say I blame them, but it’s very hard to argue rationally with someone whose objections are primarily emotional.

  241. 241
    jenniebee says:

    @Zifnab:

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, Mr Emanuel managed the legislative aspect of the healthcare bill quite skilfully, say observers. The weak link was the failure to carry public opinion – not Capitol Hill. But for the setback in Massachusetts, which deprived the Democrats of their 60-seat supermajority in the Senate, Mr Obama would by now almost certainly have signed healthcare into law – and with it would have become a historic president.

    Sorry, but What. The. Fuck? If Marcia of the Lonely Dogs was being sworn in would Lieberman and Nelson and Lincoln be suddenly having a change of fucking heart? Would the Senate have voted all over again, this time for the Stupak language? Would Weiner have suddenly decided that, now that the Senate still has a supermajority, he still has to take the Senate bill or leave it? This makes no fucking sense whatsofuckingever. If anything, losing that vote in the Senate should be propelling the progressive caucus in the House to take what they can get because nothing better is coming out of this Senate.

    If this sense of the situation really is pervasive in DC and not the product of the author’s wishful thinking, then HCR is really dead, because this means that the House is grasping at ways to Let This Cup Pass From My Lips.

  242. 242
  243. 243
    Trinity says:

    John – this post is exactly why I come to this site first, and most, each and every day.

    Spot.Fucking.On.

  244. 244
    Martin says:

    @John O: But you can’t make the public go on the internets. In the mean time, the right (and some of the left) is pulling out every sentence fragment they want and spinning it against the bill, with nobody in support of the bill really doing anything to counterfact that, nor pulling out their own segments and selling that either.

    People just don’t understand the bill. Obama doesn’t need to read it line by line, but he needs to walk through the major points, explain what they do and how they work and who they will affect, and be honest about any of the downsides to it. And Obama would do that without making anyone out to be the evil bad guy. And the big media will follow that up with their own details, as that’s what they do to look smart and useful.

    He needs to do it more than once – he needs to make it a regular component of the news cycle. The GOP critiques will fall away under their own weight, just as death panels did.

  245. 245
    rootless_e says:

    To me, the perfect example of “progressive” chumposity has been their effort to saddle Obama and Geithner with the bailout and their endless, fact-free, speculation about how the “banksters” were getting blown by Timmey etc. etc. Even once smart people like Duncan went for this idiot narrative like Palin fans cheering for non-sequitors.

  246. 246
    mcd410x says:

    What Digby said:

    “In other words, far too many people believed the [Obama] hype, which I understand was very, very seductive, but it was foolish, nonetheless.

    “The problems were always huge, the system was always broken, the Republicans were always nuts. For some reason it was convenient to ignore all that pretend that we had had a rebirth all shiny and new and that if the worst happened, Obama could always just make a speech and everything would fall into place. Nobody’s as good a politician as he was assumed to be — and that assumption came from a presidential campaign that could have probably been won by anyone with a D after his name, which makes it even more facile.”

    Slow change > no change.

  247. 247

    Everything you think has happened because of Rahm, Obama had to sign off on it.

    Oh, much better.

  248. 248
    rootless_e says:

    @Tonal Crow: Of course people are emotional, that’s why supposed “progressive leaders” screaming to high heaven about the supposed criminal behavior of Rahm and Timmy, the imaginary weak fecklessness of Obama, the corruption of Democratic leaders in the Congress, the absolute horror of the health care bill, the supposed zero accomplishments of the first year and other Luntz points is inexcusable.

  249. 249
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jeffreyw:

    Charlotte gets that exact same look while she’s trying to decide if she wants to bite or not.

  250. 250
    birthmarker says:

    As far as the messaging-wouldn’t that be such a better use of Keith and Rachel than what they are doing now? Not just touting for the admin, but actually using their air time as real news shows– informative, spin free. I commented about this topic the other day on Kos–right now we are letting the repubs control the conversation every single day. Keith and Rachel included. They react to the daily meme. They need to quit getting their content off the blogs and let real (as Obama says) independent experts talk about the finer points of legislation. It would be such a counterpoint to Fox News, and I believe it would build ratings. We are grown-ups. We can take some wonkish info.

  251. 251
    CT Voter says:

    I’m bookmarking this rant.

    Thanks.

  252. 252
    kay says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Right. And people would not mind writing a check for their mandated insurance policy if it went through the cleansing process of a public option. Because they’d be making it out to Health Corp. LLC rather than Anthem?

    How many people NOW know who gets their premium check?

    The mandate for the unmarried parents of children to purchase health insurance or reimburse the state for state-provided health insurance went in on October, 1, 2007, in my state.

    I have had ONE complaint. ONE. The people who are reimbursing the state for S-CHIP do not even ask why MARRIED parents don’t have to reimburse the state, even though that strikes me as blatantly unfair, and I’m not even subject to the mandate. We effectively have the unmarried parents of children subsidizing the health insurance costs for the married parents of children, right now. Is that fair?

    They want their children insured, and as long as it’s “reasonable” in cost they haven’t risen up and defied the mandate yet. No one even calls it a “mandate”, but that’s what it is.

  253. 253
    jenniebee says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Once the far-fetched pony of killing insurance companies was removed when the PO was ditched, all of the sudden progressives became loonietarians and said the mandate was unacceptable.In other words, for them the goal wasn’t ever getting people insured so much as it was to get insurance companies.

    You’ve got this completely backwards, but whatever. You’re the sane one and everybody else is a stupid rabidly anti-corporatist dirty dippy hippie. Also, liberals are never smug or denigrating to people who disagree with them even the slightest bit – that’s a total myth and completely unfair.

  254. 254

    @Martin:

    But you can’t make the public go on the internets.

    Nonsense, they’re on the internets all the time, playing Farmville on facebook and forwarding chain e-mails. You can’t make “the public” be informed, sure. But they are all about those internets.

  255. 255
    John O says:

    @Martin:

    Well, you don’t have to make the public go on the internets, that I can assure you. Talk about non-partisan.

    No, what you can’t do is make them learn about what they’re supposed to be paying attention to, because it’s easier to watch the gasbags on TV tell them what to think in both subtle and unsubtle ways.

    The President has a lot of plates spinning, has let several important to me crash and break, this likely to be another one as best I can read it, but I sure don’t blame him in any other way than a subjective “buck stops here” POV. Ultimately, he’s “responsible.” But he has very little control over the details.

  256. 256
    Blue Raven says:

    @John O:

    LOL. I don’t know if it’s yours, but case closed, IMHO.

    I am finding references to it back in 2008 with a quick Google search. But it’s more apropos now than ever, considering the flailing going on in this thread and elsewhere.

  257. 257
    mr. whipple says:

    @mcd410x:

    Ah, another rerun of the ‘Obamabots are so naive’, this time from Digby.

    I seem to recall HRC making the same argument in southern Ohio. Almost word for word.

    Fancy that.

  258. 258
    blackwaterdog says:

    AMEN!!!

    From Yglesias:

    …If this agenda had simply been spaced out as one small-to-medium sized achievement per month, and Obama had never attempted systematic reform of the health care system, then his administration would look like a stunning series of policy successes. And with his job approval rating at 51 percent you’d say he was doing fine politically as well. The fact that he accomplished most of the small-to-medium sized stuff in a single giant leap doesn’t mean it didn’t happen nor does the fact that his ambitious health reform drive may not work invalidate everything else that’s happened. In America, it’s hard to pass laws. If you’re passing some, and staying more popular than the other political party, then you’re doing pretty well. The greatest presidents, of course, exceed that standard. But “he’s not getting as much done as Lincoln” is a long way from “he’s a failure and needs to ditch the core of his team.”

    http://yglesias.thinkprogress......eeding.php

  259. 259
    mcd410x says:

    Frankly I’m more worried about the cult of Palin/Tebow. They’re coming for you, not only if you’re a Democrat or an agnostic or a Muslim, but if you’re the wrong kind of Christian, too.

  260. 260
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I’m sick and tired of

    It’s funny, I’m not sick and tired of all the things you’re sick and tired of, primarily because I’m not seeing nearly as much of it as you seem to be. And what’s even funnier is that I cruise through many of the same blogs that you do, I’m guessing.

    I dunno, John, I think you’ve got your antenna tuned way too finely on this one. Like the poor, the disaffected left will always be with us. Instead of berating them like Rahm why don’t you try reaching out to them? Maybe a beer summit? Question time at a retreat? If you’re truly an Obot why don’t you try his approach to this?

  261. 261
    Tonal Crow says:

    @John O:

    I think we’re pretty close. I have liked the POTUS’ rhetoric, in general, and it’s a tough battle out there for someone trying not to demagogue, which I’m assuming you wouldn’t like Obama doing, either.

    I like honesty and ethics.

    He does have to get meaner. Repeating now. Mr. President, show us your inner-trash-talker. But he sure doesn’t get a lot of Dem rhetorical support, as I see it, no matter what he does.

    Yes. My comments are aimed not only at Obama, but at Democrats and progressives generally. We are much too nice, and place far too much faith in tropes like “the truth shall set you free”. It won’t unless it’s crafted into a persuasive argument. Alas (and ironically), it seems that lies are more easily crafted in that way. What’d Mark Twain say? “A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has put its boots on?”

  262. 262
    mr. whipple says:

    “You’ve got this completely backwards, but whatever. ”

    How so? Please explain.

  263. 263
    mcd410x says:

    @mr. whipple: No, actually, she’s saying the opposite. That far too many thought the big O would snap his fingers and everything would be ponies.

    But you’d have to read the link. Much easier to mime the supplied/perceived narrative, isn’t it?

  264. 264
    Tim (The Oher One) says:

    What Ash Can said at 215. I’ve got 36 years of voting Dem and Harry Reid’s “leadership” just about brings me to my knees. When I see Steve Clemons and Balloon Juice hooking up it gives me hope for the future. It’s only been a year kids and our shit was really messed up.

  265. 265
    Keith G says:

    @demo woman:

    *Exactly*

    John writes a wonderful exhortation and it takes an hour to carefully read how the debate ebbs and flow (and to click kitteh links, Jeff). So now 58 min later I forgot what I was thinking of typing to Cole. Though the time did allow me the comfort of a short glass of smooth Kentucky whiskey.

    Steve Clemmons, I have been reading your stuff for a long time. If you note some of the stuff that NR was typing up-thread, you may get insight into the headwaters of the frustration for people like myself. Obama is the only President we have and if he goes down, we are not likely to get an agreeable replacement til 2016 *if then*.

    I get frustrated that the other side, and their supporting media voices, get a president elected and for at least a few years, coalesce around his program and get it underway. Right or wrong (mostly wrong), they get stuff done.

    We get our guy elected and we immediately purity test and attack, as deemed necessary, his “weaknesses”. And there is so much that needs to be done – not only our agenda, but removing horrid stuff that the other guys did when they had the com.

    At this point, we need to paddle this canoe together no matted which bank of the river we are heading for, since the only other alternative is to go over the falls.

    Now I will go back and read the dozen or so comments posted since I began typing.

  266. 266

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Instead of berating them like Rahm why don’t you try reaching out to them? Maybe a beer summit? Question time at a retreat? If you’re truly an Obot why don’t you try his approach to this?

    I, for one, would pay good money to watch JC, the Jane Hamshers of the left, Arianna Huffington, and others on stage discussing this.

  267. 267
    rootless_e says:

    @Tonal Crow: It is much easier to craft an emotional and effective fear/bigotry/hate based message than an emotional message based on common sense and civic values. Can you name one politician of the last 30 years who has succeeded with a raving populist leftwing pitch? One?

  268. 268
    Malron says:

    the beltway progressive activists who call themselves the base

    Perfect.

    About time those pain-killers wore off, John.

  269. 269
    Colleen says:

    Best post I’ve read all day.

  270. 270

    And smudge has a middle finger and tongue for the “progressives” who think nothing is better than something on HCR.

    ETA: Just watching the Anthony Weiner interview on TDS. This guy is a smart politician. Too bad about the name. He should go far.

  271. 271
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mcd410x:

    I don’t think that she is, but that’s because she writes stuff like this:

    What this really signals is that the Obama bubble has conclusively popped and people are now dealing with political realities. Believing that he was some kind of wizard whose very person was imbued with the power to change reality with a few well chosen words wasted a lot of time. But if its over, I’m very glad of it. Now maybe they can start looking at problems realistically and understand just how hard they have to fight to solve them.

    I think the “people” she’s referring to are Obama’s administration, not his critics on the left. I hope she’s referring to the critics on his left since she seems to have been very slowly moving to recognize that a lot of the criticism from the left has been counterproductive, but I don’t think she’s quite there yet.

  272. 272
    rootless_e says:

    The flaw in Digby’s argument is that many of the same people who are very prominent and loud in the “what happened to my hope and change” whining brigade, spent the primaries telling us stupid obots that Obama was a zero who sounded good. So it would be incredibly naive to give any credence at all to their transparently dishonest disappointment now.

  273. 273
    John O says:

    I suppose I have to confess I’m not a Democrat, but prefer The Man who is willing to throw the part of the country that needs it a bone from time to time, and the GOP has flown off the rails so bad it isn’t a difficult choice.

    Where I don’t see it mattering, I vote some other party, usually Green.

    But yes, “we” on the left tend to be much more…uh…er…”intellectually consistent?” :-)

  274. 274
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mcd410x: That far too many thought the big O would snap his fingers and everything would be ponies.

    Who believed that? Digby imputes that belief to unspecific people, assumes everything in the Luce and Clemons pieces is fact, not opinion or speculation, and then comes up with this beaut:

    First, this is exactly the set-up which everyone admired so much about the first term Reagan White House. He was surrounded by three close aides, Deaver, Meese and Baker, who insulated his beautiful mind from outside influence. It’s surprising how much the Obama administration modeled itself on Reagan

    I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid. And so is this:

    Nobody’s as good a politician as he was assumed to be — and that assumption came from a presidential campaign that could have probably been won by anyone with a D after his name, which makes it even more facile. It was hubris, and we all know where that leads.

    I have no interest in re-hashing the primaries, but let me just say that a key component of this campaign was that No Drama Obama ignored a lot of baiting from McCain and the Broderites (town hall debates, campaign suspension, etc). Other candidates would’ve jumped in with both feet to show how moderate they were.

  275. 275
    SIA says:

    @Michael D.: HAHA! Great, perfect, wonderful shot.

  276. 276
    Elie says:

    I have to say for just me, personally, this whole argument with the left progressives has made me wonder who they are and what they actually stand for.

    I guess my old “Democrats care about people” belief system has been completely upended by how I have observed “our side — or at least what I thought was our side, say and do some unbelievable things that did not have getting people who need it, better off than they were. I am still not understanding, nor have I heard an effective argument from their side about how the Kill the Bill worked for the little guy.

    What I did learn was the degree of libertarian infestation that had ocurred in some of the thinking of some of these blog commenters and what I heard was about mememememe — not getting stuff for the folks who need it most and then making sure we all are square.

    These folks I believe come out of the Khmer Rouge school of politics — destroy the village to save it. Remove those who oppose you — why bother trying to convince anyone, just subvert and destroy…

    I am sorry — I just cannot accept that there is the core value system underlying the behavior and practices that I have observed from some of these folks… it just doesnt synch up with what I see them Do and Say.. I count them as Republicans — just easier and more honest in mapping strategy to get things done. They do not share my values.

  277. 277
    mr. whipple says:

    “That far too many thought the big O would snap his fingers and everything would be ponies.”

    And who would those people be? I don’t know any, excepting those that critique from the left that the Obama failures are the result of him not bully pulpiting enough.

  278. 278
    PTirebiter says:

    @jayackroyd:

    The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

    But, I ask, can you disagree with that assertion? As best as we can tell from the outside?

    I can, and do. If you don’t want to accept all the small but important accomplishments that could have been easily avoided; think about all of the big campaign opportunities they passed on. Think how Rove would’ve handled the Navy Seal putting a bullet in some Somalian’s head on W’s orders.
    The Captain/hostage would have been at the WH to thank Bush for saving his life, and then gone on a right wing radio tour before having a book written for him. Just one of many.

  279. 279
    Norbrook says:

    Yes! Well said, John! I have been so frustrated with the constant griping, screams of faux outrage and whines that many so-called “progressive” or “liberals” have been busily making, along with trying to insert random knives in the back of anyone deemed insufficiently “pure.”

    On one other well-known site, I actually had the unmitigated “gall” to ask some simple questions of the noisiest anti-HCR group. Really simple, obvious ones that they should have been able to answer – like “OK, we kill this bill because it’s sucks. What’s your realistic plan to introduce a new one right away? How are you going to get that passed?” I got all sorts of hemming, hawing, and then heard the sound of crickets.

    On almost all of the places that make the most noise, it’s pretty clear that the whole reason they’re whining so much is that the administration and Congress didn’t do things yesterday, exactly the way they wanted it done, and while they were at it, took the Republicans outside and slapped them into stocks.

  280. 280
    Martin says:

    @John O: No, I agree. I also don’t mean to say that this is necessarily Obama’s job to do – but honestly, who else can cut through the media and actually do it? Job or not, if we want it done, Obama has to do it.

  281. 281
    constantlurker says:

    BTD…..
    I hear your mommy calling.

    speaking for me…only

  282. 282
    Mary says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Digby doesn’t even make sense anymore. Has she ever addressed the fact that Bill was having an affair with that lady up in Canada and the GOP was counting on using that? One of the things that made me support Obama is that I felt it more likely that Clinton would lose. The Democratic leadership felt the same way, both Pelosi and Reid.

  283. 283
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @mcd410x:

    I think digby was mostly doing what you say she was with this piece, giving a detached view of why their is so much disappointment within the prog blog left. But I don’t agree that most of it is from being seduced by Obama’s rhetorically soaring speeches of rapid change. What this Obot heard with nearly every hopey change speech were realistic caveats that it will not be easy and will take time, a long time. Which should be obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together. And this is likely the case with many rank and file prog blog goers who simply want what they want and to hell with nuance.

    But with the headliners like Hamsher and BTD and others, they know better. Are are fueling the natives to go rabid on Obama for their own reasons, which I think is to either force Obama to do their bidding, or to run him out of office. Even if it means the wingnuts take back the WH and Congress. This is just my impression of what is going on, so I do think it’s accurate generally speaking with exceptions of course.

    Luckily, rumors of their power are exaggerated, IMHO.

  284. 284
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mary: I think they also knew about Edwards, and if they had spoken up, I’d be a thousand dollars richer. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

  285. 285
    SIA says:

    @jeffreyw: What area/city is the shelter in? Maybe someone reading desperately wants to adopt both of those beautiful kittehs!

  286. 286
    wrb says:

    @mcd410x:

    Here Digby speak utter bullshit:

    Nobody’s as good a politician as he was assumed to be—- and that assumption came from a presidential campaign that could have probably been won by anyone with a D after his name, which makes it even more facile.

    The brutal never-ending assault from the HRC camp never happened?

    McCain didn’t look likely to win post Palin & pre-Lehman?

    Obama needed to inspire every bit of hope possible.

    And hope that hope would lead progressives to work together to achieve stuff rather than act like spoiled death- kitties who had been denied a live pony to slash up for dinner.

    Guess some of us were too hopey-changey about the quality of people on the progressive side.

  287. 287
    Mary says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I feel your pain. If I had given money to Edwards, I’d be beyond angry.

  288. 288
    demo woman says:

    It’s Monday night and almost time for a Chuck open thread.
    Diversion is okay.

  289. 289
    Elie says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    And there is a school of thought about including those who oppose you and stick knives in your back and all… it might be very Obama like in fact — No punishment from this President has been an evident strategy that he has repeated over and over…

    It just gets hard to move forward when you have to pull several knives out of your back…especially from your own team (supposedly)

    That said, I do believe ultimately in inclusiveness but its a goal that one achieves through hard work and suffering over time…

  290. 290
    rootless_e says:

    @Elie: well put.

  291. 291

    Putting my O-bot hat on for a moment, this from Digby pisses me off:

    Believing that he was some kind of wizard whose very person was imbued with the power to change reality with a few well chosen words wasted a lot of time. But if its over, I’m very glad of it. Now maybe they can start looking at problems realistically and understand just how hard they have to fight to solve them.

    You know, I thought the enthusiasm and positive message the Obama campaign crafted was a welcome change (pun intended) from what most of the campaigns were bringing to the table in 2008. But I had no illusions that he was bringing me a unicorn.

    I have yet to find *anyone* who really believed that Obama would snap his fingers and change reality. I do know people who had a sense that he was an adult, and calm and intellectual, and he would bring a different tone to the conversation. I think he’s done that. I haven’t agreed with everything his administration has done, but that’s politics.

    And anyone who thinks Hillary would have done better is smoking something.

    I think Digby is building a huge strawman here, as are a lot of “progressive” bloggers. *there were no unicorns, okay!*

    ETA: I say this as someone who sang along with “Yes We Can” and dug the “Damn You, Barack Obama” poetry and the “Barack Obama is my new bicycle” meme, because they were fun, not because they were reality.

  292. 292
    kay says:

    @blackwaterdog:

    They can fire Rahm Emanuel. I could care less. They can sideline whomever, if the Democratic punditry have now decided that the Administration is “in crisis”, and the remedy is to change advisors.

    But. I don’t want them to start taking political and policy advice from Huffington, because that’s where I object.

    Because Huffington shamelessly promotes Joe Scarborough, I guess because she likes appearing on Morning Joe and mouthing that breathless inanity she specializes in, and Joe Scarborough is very bad for the country. And an idiot.

    So, she’s out. “The Left” will have to come up with another candidate. Someone who doesn’t owe anything to Morning Joe.

  293. 293
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rootless_e:

    The flaw in Digby’s argument is that many of the same people who are very prominent and loud in the “what happened to my hope and change” whining brigade, spent the primaries telling us stupid obots that Obama was a zero who sounded good. So it would be incredibly naive to give any credence at all to their transparently dishonest disappointment now.

    Yep — it’s pretty funny to watch the same people who supported Hillary for President right up to (and even past) Hillary’s endorsement of Obama at the Democratic National Convention now claim that they were Obama’s biggest supporters until he disappointed them. It seems to be the lefty version of, “I was a Democrat until 9/11 — now I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick!”

  294. 294
    blackwaterdog says:

    @Uloborus:

    This. Yes.

    That’s all.

  295. 295
    Comrade Doctor General Willibro says:

    Dude. Smoke this. It will tighten your wig. And your wig needs tightening.

  296. 296
    CalD says:

    GOD BLESS JOHN COLE!

    (If you believe in god. If not, then bless him yourself.)

  297. 297
    Paula says:

    Hippie Punch — my fave Kool-Aid flavor. :)

    Seriously, though, Cole is being soooo polite, ya’ll. In my infinite bitterness and immaturity I’d take this opportunity to rub the whole John Edwards debacle in their faces, for realz. Given the bloggy bloviations about him among the A-listers, they don’t have much room to talk about the blind cheerleading of politicians.

    They gave legitimacy to an ineffective pol with a centrist record who wasn’t even the most progressive among the Democrats (still goes to Kucinich). That he turned out to be such a d-bag is icing on the cake to the spectacle of their general incoherence.

  298. 298
    Nathanael says:

    I guess my old “Democrats care about people” belief system has been

    (overturned)

    Well, yeah. Some Democrats are bleeding-heart types.

    Others are enlightened-self-interest types. Who care about other people *because* that is better for them.

    From an enlightened self-interest point of view, certain programs to “help the needy” are seriously dangerous because they end up backfiring in the long run. For instance, funnelling vast amounts of poverty relief through churches which like brainwashing people… would be a relatively uncontroversial example.

    So someone using an enlightened-self-interest anaylsis would say “Is this bill going to start us on a path which will lead me to a better health care — or other — situation?” Obviously, universal single-payer would do so. Does entrenching the incompetent private insurance companies? Well, that’s a question — does it make things better or worse?

    But from that perspective, expansion of Medicaid, which is a favored beating boy of the right and requires people to be fingerprinted like criminals, is not a step in the right direction, but instead a temporary help which will be shredded next time Republicans are in office.

    It surprises me to hear short-termist bleeding heart “But we have to pay the protection money, otherwise people will get hurt” arguments, even though I guess I’ve always known people who feel that way. Accept that not everyone analyzes everything from a “how many people can I make slightly more healthy this week, regardless of the long-term consequences” POV, and perhaps you can understand what’s going on.

  299. 299
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Remember when Obama hired all the former Clintonites?

    Now they’re all The Chicago Gang, apparently, including, I guess, Hillary Clinton herself.

    Who seems to completely escape mention in these “how Obama failed on foreign policy” screeds, although she is the Secretary of State.

  300. 300
    chopper says:

    @MTiffany:

    ah yes, the people arguing for a ‘unitary executive’ are back. glad to see you guys never left.

  301. 301
    chrome agnomen says:

    @Uloborus:

    seen.

  302. 302
    HyperIon says:

    I stopped reading Clemons about a year ago. I got really tired of his name dropping and coy statements along the lines of “I was at dinner with cool, powerful people last night and they said things I’d like to share but can’t.”

    Then there are his “they really, really like me” posts where “they” are typically DC insiders.

    I ended up wondering: Is Clemons part of the solution or part of the problem?

  303. 303
    kay says:

    @Paula:

    In my infinite bitterness and immaturity I’d take this opportunity to rub the whole John Edwards debacle in their faces, for realz. Given the bloggy bloviations about him among the A-listers, they don’t have much room to talk about the blind cheerleading of politicians

    I’ll join you Paula. I didn’t buy Edwards for second, yet all these savvy political types with blogs thought he was the second coming of FDR.

    Although his Senate record was less than “progressive” and he kept losing primaries, and had lost a general.

    Imagine of we had listened to our betters and he had been the nominee. Luckily, rank and file Democrats didn’t buy him, or we’d be serving under Sarah Palin.

  304. 304
    Nathanael says:

    In the House, you can twist arms. In the Senate, the path forward requires you to pay the piper. In this case, the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase greased the wheels and got the bill over the finish line. People don’t like that method, but it’s the only one that gets things done in a chamber where a single Senator can take a pipping hot crap on anything on the floor (see: Shelby, Dick).

    Which brings us back to the absolutely essential need for the elimination of “holds” and the filibuster and frankly all unanimous consent requirements.

    To show my integrity bona fides, when the “nuclear option” was proposed by the Republicans some time back I thought it was a blessing in disguise — and was really really hoping they’d do it and that it would serve as a precedent to destroy all filibusters.

    Someone pointed out that the President *could* simply assassinate sufficient Senators to pass whatever bill he wanted (dead Senators don’t count towards the total for the purposes of the 3/5 rule…) and then pardon himself. (He has already claimed the right to assassinate American citizens without trial or outside review — you can look it up on Greenwald or elsewhere.) This is obviously a terrible idea, but it would probably result in a more functional Congress than the current wreck. We’re headed for something along those lines anyway if we don’t do something about the Senate’s crazy supermajority rules.

  305. 305
    Elie says:

    @Nathanael:

    Yikes!!

    “help the needy” are seriously dangerous because they end up backfiring in the long run. For instance, funnelling vast amounts of poverty relief through churches which like brainwashing people…

    LOL! That is definitely NOT a liberal approach! We would never funnel any social service through churches as a routine program delivery approach. Who ARE you? Liberal democrat you are not..

    Your second argument about making people slightly more healthy each week is unintelligible and would never be a goal for liberals as stated.

    Me think you slumming with us libwals for kicks today — slow day over at Red State?

  306. 306
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Let me just say I never thought Edwards was second coming of John Kerry, much less FDR, but he was the only one of the three major candidates consistently talking about poverty and the income gap.

  307. 307
    kay says:

    @Elie:

    Al Gore (who is quite religious) promoted Faith Based initiatives heavily.

    I still like him and all, but a fact’s a fact. Bush expanded them like a maniac, but progressive religious signed on in a big way, at the onset, and Al Gore is (or was, I’m not sure) a progressive religious person.

    I always thought it was a terrible idea.

  308. 308
    kay says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I’m really wary of populist hucksters, and he always struck me as that.
    He was sort of on the leading edge of populist hucksterism, which is now a burgeoning industry that includes Glenn Beck and (incredibly) Huffington, so I will give him that.
    He was early on the populist huckster train.

  309. 309
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I, for one, would pay good money to watch JC, the Jane Hamshers of the left, Arianna Huffington, and others on stage discussing this.

    I don’t think I’d pay for it, but perhaps it would be more constructive use of our time. John averages about one of these meta-bellyaches a day about all the bellyachers on the left. And I persue the comments above and there are hundreds of bellyaches about all the bellyaching. I just don’t see the point. So yeah, maybe your panel will shed some light. Or not.

  310. 310

    a real deficit of trust between the beltway progressive activists who call themselves the base

    But right now-I just don’t trust the beltway progressives any more than the beltway Republicans

    Do you even understand what this word means? “Beltway progressives?” By that I would think you mean progressives from DC, you know, the beltway. Like the Center for American Progress. Or Media Matters. Or the Children’s Defense Fund, that led the fight to get the SCHIP expansion passed and started the career of Hillary Clinton. (I’m sure you remember these groups from when you were calling them treasonous for not “looking and thinking like you” a few years ago.)

    Yet I don’t hear vitriol against them, and rightly so given the important and beneficial work those beltway progressives are doing. Instead you keep whinging about “beltway progressives” interchanged with “progressive activists.” And either way you mean… umm.. some bloggers. You don’t like a certain couple of bloggers from a certain website. Who from a casual reading of half your posts have somehow become the embodiment of the entire progressive movement. Who people like me are now apparently fans of because I must be since I don’t yet find it “tiresome” to point out that the president and his staff have frequently failed to accomplish things they claimed they would do.

    Funny how you’re so furious about how you somehow think Obama is being “weakened” by people complaining about him (since you are still claiming the “new to this” angle I guess I’ll offer another reminder: Democrats actually don’t just imagine that everything happening is good news for them) and yet are as happy and irresponsible to hurl “progressives” –oh those insane progressives!– like an epithet just as the conservative movement has done is making the word “liberal” as palatable as the N-word.

    Maybe just a thought to consider in your next lecture about how oh so many other people aren’t helping.

    They are operating in their own damned fantasy land. The proximate cause of the current stagnation in HCR is the election of Scott Brown, nothing else. Had he not been elected, they would either still be negotiating or they would have found a compromise already and it would have passed. This is one of my biggest problems with our progressive activists- the magical thinking.

    And as my one policy argument in this, maybe since we’re dealing with “magical thinking” that once- just once- someone still adamantly supporting Obama the entire way on his health care maneuvers would justify the original pre-Brown plan, which was to hope that the 92-year-old and the man with brain cancer didn’t get sick and could make any vote they needed while wasting six months talking to Olympia Snowe, as tactical brilliance, without declaring that pointing out Plan A being fucking stupid makes me Arianna Huffington’s fluffer.

    Because coming from someone who still wants health care to pass, still wants Democrats to win, and still is proud to call himself a progressive, summing up the reality that Obama (yes, and Rahm!) have been sucking on a lot of stuff lately by screaming “with us or against us” is going to have you a lot more angry one Wednesday morning in November than you are now.

  311. 311
    CalD says:

    Everyone else is correcting typo’s. I want some.

    I’m sick and tired of people on the left having the same amnesia that the folks on the right have about how well and truly fucked this country was on 20 January, and now pitching daily fits because there is no pony yet.

    20 January 2009, we assume?

    PS: What means curbjaw?

  312. 312
    John Cole says:

    I actually get the same exact full-of-shit-say-anything vibe I had with Edwards with Joe Sestak. I love how he has pushed Specter to the left, but for reasons I can not explain other than (colbert be damned) my gut, I do not trust him.

  313. 313

    Obama didn’t have to shoot Lieberman himself. He could have had one of his posse do it. Or call in an air strike.

  314. 314

    Have you ever worked with one of the People Who Love It When Things Go Wrong?

    That’s digby.

  315. 315
    Elie says:

    @kay:

    I hear you but I don’t think that is a true liberal approach. That was Gore and other politicians conceding that they had to do something to look like they were placating the religious folks. (I hear you say he was religious, but I still dont see Gore as pushing that publicly) But these programs are not administered out of churches but churches had the operational end…(I think).

    I dont think that the commenter that I responded to knew what the hey he was trying to say anyway…mixing religion with government programs in general is not a traditionally liberal approach, though there are obviously some exceptions…

  316. 316
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    It just gets hard to move forward when you have to pull several knives out of your back…especially from your own team (supposedly)

    Who is sticking knives in your back? Do you regularly use hyperbole of this sort?

  317. 317
    Elie says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Or call in an air strike.

    I like this. Could we see it in real live action from the camera mounted on the wing of the drone?

  318. 318
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Obama’s back moran. from his alleged supporters.

  319. 319
    John O says:

    Ouch, A.J. That was nicely put and fair.

    You’re missing a caveat though. I agree Obama has blown some tactical “maneuvers” and even some strategic ones, but one of the fundamental facts of life is, quite definitively in my estimation, “We all wish everyone else thought and were always right like we are.”

    Armchair QBing is easy, and boring, and arrogant in the implicit assumption that you (and by you I mean anyone) could’ve done better.

    Maybe, maybe not. Me, too.

  320. 320
    The Raven says:

    I have to tell you that there are a number of people like me who worked their ass off last year trying to get Obama elected, and who would still crawl over glass to get him elected again.

    And will you still do it when the wheels come off the banking and health care systems? Because the banking system is not fixed, and the Obama administration played a huge part in that, and the cost controls and regulations in the Obama/Senate health care plan are hopelessly inadequate. Loyalty is important to you, I get it. But how far are you willing to go?

    We are just sick and tired of the unending negativity in some quarters

    I started out very positive, and I’m still pleased with some things. America! Elected! A! Black! President! Wow! A Constitutional scholar! A sane man! Wow! But only listening to the good news leaves me vulnerable, so I listen to the bad news, too. (Besides, that’s where the food is.) Consider the on-going financial disaster. The public was hugely over-optimistic, only wanted to hear the good news, and got conned. Even the “insiders” got conned. And the con is not over.

    But, hey, that’s all negativity. No reason to think about it until Sarah Palin’s second term.

    Croak!

  321. 321
    Elie says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Do you regularly use hyperbole of this sort?

    LOL — I wasnt meaning YOU were putting knives in my back. It was a rhetorical florish — an exaggeration for effect…basically trying to say that its difficult to be conciliatory when you are under constant attack. Not me personnally under attack, but the Obama administration etc. Get it now?

    sigh — really…that hard to get?

  322. 322
    John Cole says:

    Do you even understand what this word means? “Beltway progressives?” By that I would think you mean progressives from DC, you know, the beltway. Like the Center for American Progress. Or Media Matters. Or the Children’s Defense Fund, that led the fight to get the SCHIP expansion passed and started the career of Hillary Clinton. (I’m sure you remember these groups from when you were calling them treasonous for not “looking and thinking like you” a few years ago.)

    Reasonably sure the fact that I link to media matters and think progress on an almost daily basis, and approvingly so, means I can tell the difference between people doing damage and people helping the cause. And you know what else those two have in common- they spend the vast majority of the time attacking the real problem- Republicans and the media.

    Additionally, I was not a big fan of the treason bullshit. Some of my biggest fights with Republicans when I was one was over the smearing of people as anti-American. You don’t have to believe me, and I’m sure you can find some occasions when I was an asshole, but by and large I defended folks from this stuff. There is a reason folks like Oliver and Markos and others would still talk to me. Hell, check the site here for Durbin + Pol Pot. You are injecting your own truthiness here.

    Finally, you are flat out making things up when you assert that it was Obama’s “plan” to speak with Snowe for six months. He wanted a Senate bill by before the August recess, if you recall. The fact that the shithead conservadems held it up, dragged this out, and allowed for the teabags of August is, in your narrative, I’m sure, Obama’s fault. Somehow.

  323. 323
    kay says:

    @Elie:

    I actually grew to like Al Gore a lot. I admire him, and I didn’t always. Oddly, I admire him most for losing so gracefully. I actually believe the SCOTUS is the last word, and so does he. I was the only liberal on the face of the planet that completely approved of his behavior after the 2000 recount. He lost. In court, which rankled, but he lost. He accepted the fact that the we obey the SCOTUS, because that’s the rules we agreed to abide by, and the acceptance of the SCOTUS decision is an adherence to the rule of law. I admire that. I thought it was oddly brave, and almost selfless.
    I think the original intent of Faith Based Initiatives made sense to people that care about poor people, so I think he was sincere.
    I just have a problem with them because they’re impossible to regulate, and I’m cranky about that. I don’t really want taxpayer money used for religion. I don’t have any problem with religion. I just don’t want to funnel money through it.

  324. 324
    Elie says:

    @kay:

    100% wicha kay

    I just have a problem with them because they’re impossible to regulate, and I’m cranky about that. I don’t really want taxpayer money used for religion. I don’t have any problem with religion. I just don’t want to funnel money through it.

  325. 325
    John O says:

    MM and TP and others like them are playing offense against the right team.

  326. 326
    rootless_e says:

    @kay: Gore’s deference to the SC reminded me of MLK

    I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

  327. 327
    priscianus jr says:

    No, John, you’re not rambling. That’s a post that really needed to be written and that ought to go viral.

  328. 328
    Lisa says:

    @Paula (#297): Girl, I feel the same way. I get a nasty thrill of pleasure thinking about the sanctimonious “I am more progressive than thee” types. Remember all of the “I will plug my nose and vote for Obama, but I campaigned for Edwards.” posts? LULZ. That shit is funny as hell to me now.

  329. 329
    HyperIon says:

    @The Raven: Croak!

    Your signoff always reminds me that I miss the Easter Bunny.

    “peeps, bitches.”

    And several good CSPAN programs this weekend on the banking system. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winner, was eloquent (but never shrill).

  330. 330
    John O says:

    @Elie:

    I’ll third that.

  331. 331
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    :

    @The Raven:

    But how far are you willing to go?

    this is not a zero sum game, and while I disagree with most of your premise preceding the question, I will still play.

    The answer, quite a ways. Because one step past that and you have a John Thune or Sarah Palin presidency. Unless, you think Hillary Clinton could do better than Obama. Or Kucinich, or whatever other dem. There are lots of choices for the glass to be filled and you are free to pick your particular ingredient, but it will not stay empty if you abandon it. There is a wingnut in waiting to fill the void. always, forever, every time. this is the political universe we live in, and there is nothing beyond it but wingnuts.

  332. 332
    ruemara says:

    Hear, hear dammit!

    & Raven, go have a cracker.

  333. 333
    kay says:

    This is good news. I think.

    “Updated 8:08 p.m.
    By Shailagh Murray
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has released his controversial “holds” on more than 70 pending presidential nominations, the senator’s office said Monday night.”

  334. 334
    John O says:

    @The Raven:

    Hmmm…a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I knew a genius that went by the handle “Raven.”

    Couldn’t be the same guy, though. I don’t think my old Raven would consider that Palin could get elected.

  335. 335
    HyperIon says:

    @kay: I thought it was oddly brave, and almost selfless.

    ya know, i think it WAS selfless. he could have pouted but he chose not to. he got little praise for his actions from ANY quarter. he did what he did because he thought it was right.

  336. 336
    Elie says:

    @rootless_e:

    WOW … amazing..

    thanks for sharing that… it cuts a lot of ways on this thread, you dig?

    If I heard some of my leftie bretheren argue for their version of health reform and to kill the bill because it was righteous from the aspect of helping the most folks, and tackling righteouness the hard way and not some ideological, intellectual conceit argument, this would breathe life into their opposition.. I would support them

    But no. They have argued from the bloodless plain of perfectionism for its own sake — and so lost THEIR opportunity to make their arguments from the wellspring that MLK wrote this from…

    I see this and it dooms their point of view and their values for me — I.don’t.hear.this.from.them.

  337. 337
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    LOL —I wasnt meaning YOU were putting knives in my back. It was a rhetorical florish—an exaggeration for effect

    Yeah, that’s what hyperbole means. Thanks for the newsflash.

    sigh—really…that hard to get?

    Oh, I get it alright. You’re sick and tired of all the complaining. But when you equate the complaining with multiple stab wounds it’s all just a joke, ha ha!

    You realize what a clown this makes you look like, right?

  338. 338
    Mike in NC says:

    There is a wingnut in waiting to fill the void.

    So here people are with the circular firing squads, doing their business for them. Why not just send a fat check to SarahPAC?

  339. 339
    slag says:

    I only skimmed the comments, but I still have to open my big yap. As someone who reads both John Cole and Steve Clemmons, I actually think this kind of debate is healthy. Especially since both parties seem genuinely interested in having a reasonable debate instead of a screaming match. And while I agree with a lot of what John says in this post, my issues with the “beltway progressives” haven’t been that they’ve been too negative. It’s that they don’t even seem capable of engaging in anything positive.

    After the last eight years of being thoroughly left out of the national conversation, I had a bizarre notion that it might be a nice change of pace to see liberals have more of an impact on our discourse. What people talk about as “moving the Overton Window”, I think of as “having my perspective actually matter for a change”. Well, here it is a year later, and some of us lefties are still hanging out there on the margins. Not because we’re too far left, but because, rather than grinding axes and bolstering our own reputations, we want to see some–any!–amount of meaningful progress. Maybe we’ve all been sucked into the pit of low expectations, but it’s not as if anyone else, on either the right or the left, is offering anything better.

    Or to put it simply: Nihilism isn’t a political strategy. From a personal perspective, I find that periodic bitching is a useful activity for blowing off steam. But it won’t ever make the world a better place.

  340. 340
    kay says:

    @rootless_e:

    This sounds pretentious, but I actually believe he thought preserving the system, the big ‘ol fancy Rule ‘O Law, was more important than his Presidency.

    I think of it like when Nixon acknowledged he had to obey the lowly SCOTUS clerk, and hand shit over.

    If they stop obeying that idea, regardless of what I saw as the bad faith of the individual justices, we’re in a world of hurt.

    I had to shut up for a long time after the decision came down, because I didn’t want to storm the city. I was with Gore, 100%. I still think it was his best moment. The idea is bigger than Scalia or Gore. It has to be.

  341. 341
    mr. whipple says:

    @res ipsa loquitur:

    Good seeing you here.

  342. 342
    Elie says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Somebody didn’t get nappies this afternoon….

    Here. Relax. I’m not after you. Have some warm milk and cookies.

  343. 343
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Now you are just being a mendacious pissy pot. The stabbed in the back metaphor is so common it is mundane in it’s historic and often use. Not “hyperbole” except in the fever swamp neural nets of concern trolls. You being one of our longest running ones.

  344. 344
    kay says:

    @HyperIon:

    That’s what is so unfair about how Gore is portrayed by the Right.

    He’s a well-mannered, smart Southern person, and he respects institutions. Why didn’t voters see that? He’s no radical.

    I think he probably follows every rule he is aware of :)

    He woulda been a fine President. Mainstream as hell, but fine.

    Instead they chose that radical lunatic. Go figgur.

  345. 345
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    The stabbed in the back metaphor is so common it is mundane

    And if DigbyHamsher were to use this “mundane” metaphor about Obama it would be what? No big deal? Christ, what clowns some of you are.

    Not “hyperbole”

    The individual who used it admitted it was hyperbole. You’re a little behind the times.

  346. 346
    CalD says:

    @John Cole: Sestak is a piece of shit as far as I’m concerned.

    Sestak points to that move as one reason Americans are uneasy about Democrats. “They should be,” he said. “I think that Democrats have failed as much as Republicans as erstwhile servants.”

    Speaking of left-on-left street crime.

  347. 347
    mcd410x says:

    @wrb, et al: Several of you seized on the Digby “facile” line with this: The brutal never-ending assault from the HRC camp never happened?

    I don’t think Digby mentions the primary anywhere. Not sure where that comes from. IMO, she’s saying the GOP screwed up so badly any Democrat was going to emerge as the winner in 2008, HRC’s bullshit taken as read. Which again, IMO, is probably correct.

    And this from @rootless_e gets to the heart of it: “The flaw in Digby’s argument is that many of the same people who are very prominent and loud in the “what happened to my hope and change” whining brigade, spent the primaries telling us stupid obots that Obama was a zero who sounded good.”

    This doesn’t sound right to me. People get hurt/angry the most when our rising expectations meet with sad reality. If you never believed in the guy in the first place, why would you feel betrayed now?

    Frankly, I’m just tired of the Obot-Prog narrative. It’s tired and intellectually lazy.

  348. 348

    Reasonably sure the fact that I link to media matters and think progress on an almost daily basis, and approvingly so, means I can tell the difference between people doing damage and people helping the cause.

    I could care less about what differences you can tell; I care that you apply the word “progressive” almost exclusively in negative terms to bloggers you’re cranky at- the issue I made that you just completely avoided. Jesus Christ- as I was writing this someone made a comment describing progressives and Obama supporters as mutually exclusive entities. Congrats.

    The fact that the shithead conservadems held it up, dragged this out, and allowed for the teabags of August is, in your narrative, I’m sure, Obama’s fault. Somehow.

    When you can finally address this problem without resorting to that strawman you’ll understand why we’re in such a bad situation.

  349. 349
    rootless_e says:

    @kay: Well, I get what he thought he was doing, but to me, he was sacrificing the people who depended on him to an ideal of order. And I’ll never forget that shameful shameful clip in F451 when the black representatives beg for one white senator to take their pleas seriously and Al Gore and the others sit there.

  350. 350
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @BTD: “Maybe all of the Rahm defenders have always loved him.”

    I think the “Rahm defenders” line is total bullshit since the way it’s deployed it’s as if you have to either hate him or love him, no middle ground. Many of the people here who have been called “Rahm defenders” really don’t give a shit about Rahm one way or another other than we are getting sick and tired of the manic progressives who are foaming at the mouth and running around yelling their heads off about him. It makes you wish there was such a thing as a vaccine for political rabies.

    I. Don’t. Give. A. Shit. About. Rahm. Neither do most of the people out there. You do, and my only response to that is I. Don’t. Give. A. Shit. You can stuff the “Maybe all of the Rahm defenders have always loved him.”  bullshit up your ass. Sideways.

    Of course, this is only my opinion.

  351. 351

    @mr. whipple: Thanks. It’s nice to be here.

  352. 352
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nathanael:

    Does entrenching the incompetent private insurance companies? Well, that’s a question—does it make things better or worse?

    Given that the insurance companies are only a tiny part of the problem — provider costs are driving medical inflation, not insurance companies — propping them up a bit longer so we don’t have the several million people who work there thrown out of work when unemployment is already at 10% seems like a win/win for both the bleeding hearts and the self-interested.

    But from that perspective, expansion of Medicaid, which is a favored beating boy of the right and requires people to be fingerprinted like criminals, is not a step in the right direction, but instead a temporary help which will be shredded next time Republicans are in office.

    Again, it depends on what your intended endgame is. If your intended endgame is to have single-payer healthcare, then you want to expand Medicaid as far as you possibly can, because that will be the base on which you can build your single-payer system. You’ll already have a provider network and a bureaucracy in place that you can use to switch to a single-payer system. So is it the bleeding hearts who want a single-payer system in your formulation or the self-interested?

    Of course, your intent seems to be to throw a bunch of nonsense ideas together that contradict each other to try and muddy the issue, so you go ahead and do that.

  353. 353
    Elie says:

    @kay:

    Its exactly his “reasonableness” that inflames the right. They know he is a decent man. They know he would have been a good President…that is what they are always afraid of in the Democrats — competence and core character and what they always seek to destroy and drag down.

    That said, though I hear and understand your point — sometimes you do have to know when to fight just a little harder and for a little longer. When? He would not have been fighting for himself, but for us and for what many of us knew we were getting (though we could not have (nor he probably), known how bad it would be).

    But that is a hard call and I recognize there is always an error term and where do you want that error term to be. He decided to support the system and I have to accept that as his righteous decision at a time of great import and I DO accept it and respect his choice.

  354. 354

    @DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal):

    I think the “Rahm defenders” line is total bullshit since the way it’s deployed it’s as if you have to either hate him or love him, no middle ground.

    Yep, and the other thing about the “Fuck Rahm! Rahm Fuck!” thing is that it assumes that BHO has no agency. I don’t give a shit what anyone says. I think BHO is The Decider.

  355. 355
    rootless_e says:

    @August J. Pollak: I’m sorry, but deferential forelock tugging is not a popular mode of expression on this blog as far as I can tell.

  356. 356
    mr. whipple says:

    @res ipsa loquitur:

    Indeed it is.

  357. 357
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    The individual who used it admitted it was hyperbole. You’re a little behind the times.

    Don’t believe so, but even if they did, it is still an oft used metaphor and quite apt to describe people who say they support Obama and at the same time spend most of their time trying to build dishonest Obama FAIL memes that resemble those of the wingnuts.

    And if DigbyHamsher were to use this “mundane” metaphor about Obama it would be what? No big deal? Christ, what clowns some of you are.

    and this comparison demonstrates ably your high level of dim witted tomfuckery. Digby is not even remotely comparable to crazy Jane. She might say stuff people here disagree with, but like Hamsher, not hardly. And you are an idiot if you missed the broad “Obama Screwed Us” whine from much of the progosphere. And it gets louder every day.

  358. 358
    priscianus jr says:

    @Emma at 7

    And another thing—the whole “anonymous information” crap has got to stop. Either have the balls to step up to the plate and take the consequences or STFU. The only thing that could happen to you is that you’re fired from your government job and you won’t be invited to all the cool parties. Isn’t your country worth risking that for?

    I agree with you that something about this is not right and ought to stop, but I disagree as to what it is. There’s nothing wrong with public servants giving journalists information off the record, if it’s true. In fact it could be a great service to the country. And it is risky, that’s no joke. If the source was known you could definitely be fired from your government job. That COULD be extremely serious, not only for you and your family but also for the country.
    Of course, we saw especially under the last administration how many of these sources were actually shills for the government, deliberately spreading disinformation.
    But in either case, whether the source is a secret whistleblower legitimately trying to help, or a sock puppet for the party line, the problem is not with the sources but with the journalists. It is ridiculous to cite an authority and not identify that authority.
    The journalist must thoroughly investigate that information to see if it rings true. If it doen’t smell right, don’t use it; but you’ve still learned something — that some faction is spinning a particular line. On the other hand, if the information checks out, it becomes a piece of the puzzle, a pointer in the right direction, a clue as to where to direct further questions.
    But in no case should the journalist CITE it, because the public cannot evaluate unattributed authority. Once it’s out there, true or not, it’s no better than rumor, because the public, commentators, bloggers, can at best only guess where it’s coming from.

  359. 359
    mcd410x says:

    And please don’t equate Digby with FDL. That’s preposterous.

    This is where the left/hippie/prog (yes, we’ve created pejoratives!) narrative is just lazy and stupid. Not all (or even many!) lefties/hippies/progs are against Obama or want him to fail. Hell, most don’t even know what FDL is or what you all are talking about. There’s a lot echo chamber going on here.

    Try something different. Step outside the narrative. Create one of your own!

  360. 360

    Absolutely AMEN to that (and I neither pray or believe in God).

    In fact it is precisely because I do not believe in a God, whether created by the media or otherwise that I knew and understood that President Obama could not wave a magic wand and change the World overnight.

    His election didn’t end racism as a systemic, institutionalised system. It did not and could not make racists disappear off the face of the Earth. Any more than the belief that a Clinton or (please let this never happen) a Palin victory would end sexism and rid the World of sexists. (A view pushed by the author of the article Obama hates women because he does not play basketball with them).

    He cannot end effectively 30 years of GOP hegemony in one year. Many on the left objected when Barack said it, but yes the right had won the battle of ideas for the last 30 years, ideas propped up by a banking and property boom.

    The battle is now on to replace those broken ideas, whose final failure left millions around the World impoverished. Are the tea-baggers really the solution?

    We hated Bush, because his administration failed to see a separation between the three equal, but different segments of government. Now we have a Democratic President, those on the left and I use that term very loosely, are hating on him because he does understand the need for separation?

    I still say there remains a very real possibility of a 62 Democratic Seats in the Senate, it is very much in reach, even accepting some of the easy losses, but please give up on the negativity.

  361. 361
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    I’m with John on anonymous sources and people using them for just about everything, in too many cases as if the sources are unimpeachable and trustworthy. Nothing is crazier than the ranting that goes on about something that later proved not what it was portrayed to be.

    Great rant John, right on target.

  362. 362
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mcd410x:

    I don’t think Digby mentions the primary anywhere. Not sure where that comes from. IMO, she’s saying the GOP screwed up so badly any Democrat was going to emerge as the winner in 2008, HRC’s bullshit taken as read. Which again, IMO, is probably correct.

    Honestly, I don’t have your confidence in Hillary and Mark Penn. I think that Penn could easily have found a way to lose to McCain, especially since McCain probably would have found a sane VP candidate (like the oft-rumored Joe Lieberman) and run on, “Do you really want a chick in charge?”

    McCain/Lieberman would have run the country into the ground much more slowly than McCain/Palin, but it still would have been heading there.

  363. 363
    mcd410x says:

    Why do the progs dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? What do they hope to gain?

  364. 364
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @mcd410x:

    Frankly, I’m just tired of the Obot-Prog narrative. It’s tired and intellectually lazy.

    I agree about being tired of it, but “intellectually lazy”, don’t think so. We have been inundated daily by progs that are outraged we still support Obama and reject their daily meme flogging Obama FAIL. Sure seems to me, they are not happy BJ has yet to be assimilated into the nutroot hive, and would like to change that.

    Call it blog maintenance sweeping the smarmy motherfuckers out the front door.

    If it bothers you so much, then
    why are you still here?

  365. 365
    rootless_e says:

    surely u must admit
    that rahm and tim
    are just the pits
    that barack has been
    one epic fail
    why won’t you join
    our endless wail?

    surely u must admit
    the sandwich has
    the taste of shit
    oh lieberputz
    still has his chair
    no wonder
    we must sulk and glare

    our hopey change
    IT WAS NOT THERE!
    indeed it is
    a bitter pill
    we told you ‘bots
    to vote for Hil

  366. 366
    John Cole says:

    @August J. Pollak: If your main complaint is that I am painting with too broad a brush, perhaps you are right. I do think your treason remarks were inaccurate, though.

  367. 367
    RinaX says:

    Awesome fucking post. I hate the phrase “So and so speaks for me…”, but damned if this doesn’t read like what’s been floating around my head since the Inauguration.

  368. 368
    rootless_e says:

    @Mnemosyne: McCain would never have picked Palin with Hillary in the race, he would not have needed to. And Hillary and Mark Penn would have blown the messaging. McCain would veered “left” and walked into the WH.

  369. 369
    J.W. Hamner says:

    I admit to not reading all 350+ comments, but I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t seen anyone advance a Manchurian Candidate related theory for John Cole… planted by Karl Rove to derail HCR by opposing “true progressive principles” from the inside.

  370. 370
    CalD says:

    News of HCR’s demise is likely somewhat premature, BTW.

  371. 371
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Don’t believe so, but even if they did,

    What, you don’t read shit before you comment on it?

    and this comparison demonstrates ably your high level of dim witted tomfuckery.

    Good job avoiding the question. Pick your Obama-Fail-Meme-Maker, I don’t care who it is. If that person said that Obama stabbed him/her in the back (multiple times) would you say that comment was “mundane”?

    And try not to be such a stunning hypocrite.

  372. 372

    @kay:

    This is good news. I think.
    “Updated 8:08 p.m.
    By Shailagh Murray
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has released his controversial “holds” on more than 70 pending presidential nominations, the senator’s office said Monday night.”

    Continuing on with the theme of Democratic Party supporters wanting to aim guns at their own feet, Nelson has just joined in.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....54437.html

  373. 373
    CalD says:

    Why would president Obama need to stab anyone in teh back when he has a perfectly good bus to throw them under? [/sarcasm]

  374. 374
    wrb says:

    @Elie:

    Somebody didn’t get nappies this afternoon….

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Now you are just being a mendacious pissy pot.

    That sequence was art

  375. 375
    SIA says:

    @rootless_e: Very well done.

  376. 376
    Tonal Crow says:

    @rootless_e:

    It is much easier to craft an emotional and effective fear/bigotry/hate based message than an emotional message based on common sense and civic values. Can you name one politician of the last 30 years who has succeeded with a raving populist leftwing pitch? One?

    Exactly. That’s why Democrats and progressives generally are in trouble. They go on and on and on and on (and on) about policy, but pay only the most cursory attention to *selling* their policy.

  377. 377
    Veritas78 says:

    My problem with Steve Clemons is that he uses “I” or “My” in every single fucking post. “I met with”, “When I was in Shanghai”, “My panel colleagues said”… sheesh, it isn’t about you, Steve, it’s about your content. Drop the first person, and you might end up as the respected journalist that you clearly crave to be. It’s as irritating as Glenn Greenwald’s refusal to pay an editor to trim his endless verbal diarrhea in half.

    This is the curse of the new journalism — no editors. That is all.

  378. 378
    kay says:

    @rootless_e:

    Well, I get what he thought he was doing, but to me, he was sacrificing the people who depended on him to an ideal of order. And I’ll never forget that shameful shameful clip in F451 when the black representatives beg for one white senator to take their pleas seriously and Al Gore and the others sit there.

    I don’t think MLK Jr. is a good comparison.

    MLK could not work within the system, because the system was inherently and by design inequitable, as it was then. Racism was institutional.

    That’s not true of the system that gave us Bush v Gore. The individual justices were compromised and acted in bad faith. The system wasn’t broken. They were.

    I’d just ask you to turn it around, and make it a little broader. Would you accept the President defying an order from the Supreme Court?

    Whether you agree with the order or not. Is it okay for Al Gore to determine a court order that can’t be appealed isn’t to be followed?

    I don’t think it is. I think that comes back to bite me in the ass, when it’s an order I want followed.

  379. 379
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Go wank somewhere else. Your schtick is getting old, really old.

  380. 380
    Lex says:

    I’m sick and tired on the focus on Rahm, because it weakens the President for his alleged allies to constantly act as if Rahm is really running the show. Everything you think has happened because of Rahm, Obama had to sign off on it.

    And if you want to know why so many people are upset with Obama, on issues ranging from torture to healthcare, that’s why. James Watt and Anne Burford served as Ronald Reagan’s first-term lightning rods, but what no one seemed to grasp at the time was that they were doing what they were told.

    I crossed party lines to vote for Obama, and if any of the Republicans currently mentioned as a possible candidate for the GOP in 2012 turns out to be the nominee, I will do it again. But I push issues, not people. I try to hold people accountable regardless of party. And “not as bad as George W. Bush” ain’t nowhere near good enough — not for me, not for our country.

    If torture is a war crime when Bush orders it, then Obama is at least an accessory to a war crime when he allows his Justice Department to ignore it rather than launching the investigations that are required by statute and/or treaty.

    And that’s just one issue on which he has disappointed me. There are others. Forgive me if that position violates some sort of Obot ethos, but — wait, on second thought, I don’t care if you forgive me or not.

  381. 381
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    That sequence was art

    Either that or completely unresponsive to a simple question.

    What do you think? If Steve Clemons (or whomever) said that Obama had stabbed him in the back repeatedly would that be a “mundane” comment?

  382. 382
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    If torture is a war crime when Bush orders it, then Obama is at least an accessory to a war crime when he allows his Justice Department to ignore it rather than launching the investigations that are required by statute and/or treaty. And that’s just one issue on which he has disappointed me. There are others. Forgive me if that position violates some sort of Obot ethos, but—wait, on second thought, I don’t care if you forgive me or not.

    “Obot ethos” I like that, and will steal it. And you don’t have a clue to what accessory to warcrime is do you? It is not one American president prosecuting the previous one. It may be dereliction of duty, but not accessory to any crime. and have you ever heard of prosecuterial discretion? And did you know that there are at least 4 investigations into Bush’s torture policy as we speak. One by a special prosecutor, who is first finding out what exactly happened. Then we will see where it leads. But your linking Bush’s crimes to Obama because he hasn’t put Bush in jail yet, is the type of thing this post is about. Fact free bullshit coming from any direction is what is scorned here.

  383. 383
    Karoli says:

    When did you crawl inside my head? And while there, could you possibly leave some words like the ones you put together? You captured the stuff rolling around in my head perfectly.

  384. 384
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Go wank somewhere else. Your schtick is getting old, really old.

    You really are mortally afraid of a very simple question, aren’t you.

    If Steve Clemons (or whomever) said that Obama had stabbed him in the back repeatedly would that be a “mundane” comment? Are you ever going to answer that?

  385. 385
    Church Lady says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Then you might understand why people on the other side of the political fence, or even those in the middle, might be sick and tired of these people as well. They don’t walk in our shoes and they really don’t know what is best for us, as much as they claim that they do.

  386. 386
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    No

    Fuck off

  387. 387
    Veritas78 says:

    I’m as big an Obot as any reader of this blog, but there were crimes committed during BushCo, and if no one ever pays, those criminals will be back within years if not months, and even bolder. “War profiteering” would have been low-hanging fruit.

    I cut him slack on everything else.

  388. 388
    Rdalin says:

    I’ve been cutting out blog bookmarks for the last month, every time I come across one of those crazy childish posts. Anyone who equates Obama with the republicans doesn’t deserve to be read – Americablog, Firedog, openLeft, to name a few. I used to love John Aravosis, but these guys have clearly done some damage over the last year. I come here because you guys are level headed and definitely not Obots.

  389. 389
    Elie says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Its a relatively banal comment that you have elevated to “tugg” on an issue like a baby with an empty bottle that sucks too long on the nipple…you have swallowed a lot of air and you have gas and really need a good burp or a fart to feel right again.

    I get it. Just lay down now and get some relaxation to that abdomen of yours so you can pass that gas one way or the other.

    that’s all…

  390. 390
    m3872 says:

    We’re here for ya, pal

  391. 391
    fourlegsgood says:

    Amen. Thank you for that. I’m rather sick of them all myself.

  392. 392
    williamc says:

    Wow, I go out drinking on a worknight, come back to read what happened today, and a monstrous thread that I have to read through…fuckers!

    While JC’s rant would be admirable to the hippy bashers, as always, “where’s the beef”? To date, the hippy bashing here has consisted of hitting Hamsher at FDL for joining forces with the Lord of the Monied Sith, Norquist, and Clemons for using anonymous sourcing, but the rest of the “progressive blogs”? Where are the links? Where is the proof the big Prog blogs are doing this? Who is doing the O-bashing, kill-the-bill stuff besides the ‘Progressives’ over at FDL? Anyone who would even think of getting into bed with Norquist, I doubt their lib bone fides, as well as anyone engaging with Glenn Beck in marginalizing voices from the left, which is happening here, pretty constantly. Beck is on a rampage and has been for year, talking about how evil Progressives are, and here you folks are from the Center-left doing the same thing.

    I’m having a hard time with this site and those FDL folks right now with the groupthink going on: the President is seriously screwing up as head of the Democratic Party and we aren’t allowed to criticize? Since when? Does no one have any historical awareness of politics anymore? Liberals complain about policy, conservatives fall in line with the conventional wisdom on policy, what’s changed now that we have a Dem President? The President is not just like Bush, he’s just like Obama. A lot of libs I know personally disapprove of the job he’s doing as a leftist but approve of the job he’s doing as President, hence the steady Lib support in the polls, what’s so hard to understand about that? I said it in another thread, and apparently have to here again; the Overton Window is a real concept, it has impact on what’s happening in the real world, and just because you think its not real doesn’t make it so. A lot of you may be former Repubs, some may be lifelong Dems, but we beat up on the other side, not our allies. This progressive bashing is not helping; we are not Republicans. Making fun of us doesn’t just make us angry, we go vote for Nader because the people we thought were our political allies keep selling us out and comparing us to our mortal enemies. Why don’t you do the true lefty thing and reach out and try to reason with people by conversation instead of bashing? This schism is only going to help the people we all hate. Why don’t you try some of the “communicate with your enemies” the President is always going on about?

    Sorry to go on with this, and I know this will be interpreted as Hamsher support, but this internectine lefty Civil War stuff has got to stop. We’ve got crazy tea baggers and an insane, torture-indorsing opposition party at the door waiting to turn this country into a feudal, bankrupt paradise for the Rich, with no social safety net for anyone else, and who have been actively engaged in demonizing anyone who supports the current regime as Commie Sympathizers worthy of death, and yet you are angrily attacking the people who are most energetic and involved about stopping that from happening. Um, priorities? Call the Senate, tell them to pass the Reconciliation Package and then call your Reps and tell them to pass both the Senate bill and the Rec’d package so we can get past health care for the moment. I don’t know if any of our nerves can take much more…

  393. 393
    sgrAstar says:

    Fabulous thread and a great way to end an evening! BJ, a glass of zinfandel, the big lab at my feet…thanks, John, for the great post that started it all, and to the many BJers whose ability to swing for the fences with wit and passion makes this blog essential reading.

  394. 394
    The Raven says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Because one step past that and you have a John Thune or Sarah Palin presidency.

    So are you loyal to Obama, or afraid of the wingnuts? (This doesn’t apply to John, who seems to me to be loyal.) “Vote for us, we’re the lesser evil,” isn’t much of a campaign slogan. Sarah Palin can offer a coherent story; Obama doesn’t have one any more.

    @John O:

    Couldn’t be the same guy, though.

    I’ve only been using the pseudonym for 2½ years, so probably not. And “President Palin” weirds me out. She’d be a horror if she got the office–we’d wish for Bush back. But she does seem to have a chance.

  395. 395
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @williamc:

    I’m having a hard time with this site and those FDL folks right now with the groupthink going on: the President is seriously screwing up as head of the Democratic Party and we aren’t allowed to criticize?

    who has told you you aren’t allowed to criticize? You just did and nothing more happened than me telling you i disagree. Cole has a point of view and states it. And bans no one for their opinion. Maybe you just don’t like his, and those of us who agree with him. And fill aggrieved and need to make shit up that you are being victimized somehow. At least that is what it sounds like.

  396. 396
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @The Raven:

    So are you loyal to Obama, or afraid of the wingnuts?

    I am pleased with the job Obama is doing. I am afraid of wingnuts getting back into power, aren’t you? Loyalty has not much to do with it for me. I think Obama is the right person to be president at this time. I like the job he is doing and give him the space to learn to be a better president.

    He is a pragmatic progressive in my opinion, and that is exactly what I voted for.

  397. 397
    SamInMpls says:

    K — no ponies. I can deal.

    But can we at least get the seniors all riled up over SSA and Medicare privatization in time for November?

  398. 398
    taylormattd says:

    @BTD: Armando, are we supposed to believe you don’t understand the origin of John’s snark about Rahm?

    Could it be because there is a frenzied like cult of people present at all of the left blogs who believe (a) Rahm is a knowing and powerful; (b) Rahm makes every decision that comes from the Obama White House; and/or (c) Rahm is evil?

    These people are deranged. And they are the majority of posters at FDL, Daily Kos, and elsewhere.

  399. 399
    Elie says:

    @williamc:

    If you cannot take divergence of opinion from your own, perhaps you do not belong here.

    No one is throwing you out…you are having a little hissy fit and walking away.

    That is fine. You are a four star whiner and always have been when I read your post. You belong on whinyblog.com.
    The blog of victims of the radical centrists…

    Most of all, you are BORING.

  400. 400

    @williamc:
    You wasted a bunch of bytes. There is no more fun to be had than when you can assert there’s a devil behind your lines in your uniform. The right does it all the time with the generic “Democrat” Party, evil people behind the lines posing as Americans. They just spray a little more spittle when they say “hippie.’

    They’d like to pretend that Jane has left Democratic credibility and anyone who complains is a Jane. It’s tired old shit and they same crap they pulled in the run up to Iraq. Yes, I said that.

  401. 401
    williamc says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Stuck,

    I never feel aggrieved by anonymous internet posters. I’m a real person who lives in the real world with people with real problems. You miss the point of what I wrote. This whole idea of bunching up and attacking people because they agree with you as you disagree with their means is insane when there are actual CRAZY people that are our mutual enemies waiting in the wings to bring the crazy to fruition nationwide.

    This is like a kindergarten class. Some of the students are accusing the other students of bad behavior when it’s really just one student misbehaving and her friends come to her defense just because their friend is being attacked.

    I don’t agree with Jane Hamsher, and I don’t really need to explain where and why I don’t, but I will: she’s gone loco, she’s led herself and her commenters and supporters over the edge of the cliff into the waiting arms of Grover Norquist, a sworn enemy of everything any Progressive would swear to believe, and apparently she has decided that people dying for years for lack of insurance is better than a plan that she doesn’t personally agree with. I just asked for any other major progressive bloggers that agree with Hamsher to be linked to, and not just a blanket accusation of “He’s just like Bush!” or “Just Words!”. I just want the name-calling and hippy punching to stop and some communication to start. JC being angry and lashing out at these “Progressives” who are agreeing with Hamsher is not going to solve his problem with them. These people aren’t ignorant teabaggers, find out what the issue is, talk to them about it, find out what their deal is, and not do what Elie is doing and calling people whiny and boring just because I’m not into falling the crowd. Is that what’s wanted here, everyone agreeing all the time about everything? Isn’t that what happens at RedState?

  402. 402
    Elie says:

    @Elie:

    “a monstrous thread that I have to read through…fuckers!”

    No cheating now, we see you moving those lips!
    Spell out all those words, no skipping…

  403. 403

    @Elie:

    If you cannot take divergence of opinion from your own, perhaps you do not belong here.

    Why Elie, what a fine self-description you have posted here. It’s damn near enough to make me want to “spit.”

  404. 404
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @williamc: this is a political blog and people with different perspectives argue. That is all that is happening now. You expressed your opinion about the intra party spat without real consequence except from people who might disagree. Sometimes people call others names and all sorts of impolite stuff. And then it is forgotten. That was my only point, that and the fact that there really is a split in the liberal blogosphere on Obama’s presidency and it gets discussed here and elsewhere. It is not personal to me, and I don’t think of it as a family dispute any more. It is just politics that in my opinion needs to be debated as can be gleaned from the long comment threads the subject always brings about.

    This was my only point to you. I don’t ever believe that open dialogue to work out conflict is a bad thing.

  405. 405
    williamc says:

    @Elie:

    WTF does this even mean? I know its 1am on the East Coast right now and she’s prolly in her hibernation tube, but this sounds like something Gretchen Carlson on Fox&Fiends would retort to someone.

    I haven’t been called boring since the 1990s when I was screaming about how crazy it was impeaching a President for lying to his ballsy wife about an extramarital blowjob. Boring? Me? Up your game beotch, you’re spouting wingnut-speak!

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I know its a waste of time, but I’m a liberal in the South. I argue with people who don’t comprehend that they are what they hate all the time. You get used to it after a while. But I refuse to equate anyone here to the “Shutup/Sit-Downers” from the Iraq War period. I lost too many friends to that madness, and even though they will admit that they were wrong about it all now, I don’t take kindly to being called a terrorist-sympathizer. I’ll go toe-to-toe with any ahole, left or right, I don’t back down in the face of fact being on my side, ask any teabagger I’ve ever encountered. Trust me, being a gay black man in the South, I’ve been called worse names than “whiny and boring” and I’m not going anywhere. I think JC, Tim, DougJ, and Anne Laurie bring a lot of different points of view to a lot of different issues, and I think some of the commenters here are politically involved drinkers after my own heart, and they seem to all be in the tank for the President as much as I am; I just know that critical thinking means we sometime have to complain when people don’t live up to our expectations or aren’t living up to their own. I just don’t get the ad-hominem attacks on anyone who deviates from the line here. The massive thread that Glennzilla joined us in over here a few weeks back that devolved into people attacking him, and today with Steve Clemons, I just don’t get it, why people are ok with it happening, and how they don’t see that its the same sort of mindless groupthink that they accuse the right of. Attacking political allies is not smart politics, it creates hurt feelings and hardened hearts and it might be the one thing that old drooler Reagan got right.

  406. 406
    williamc says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Thanks, and I agree with you here wholeheartedly.

    Truce.

    Bed.

    Goodnight.

  407. 407
    Karoli says:

    I kind of hate linking to the simpatico-Jane bloggers, mostly because it draws more attention to them than they deserve. They’re not hard to find, though.

  408. 408
    robertdsc says:

    Nice rant, John. Keep it up.

  409. 409
    MJ says:

    By Grabthar’s freakin hammer, John Cole, … that was the best blog rant evah!

    Well done, Sir! That’s the kind of post that keeps me coming back here day after day.

    Damn, I love this blog!

  410. 410
    Uriel says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    If Steve Clemons (or whomever) said that Obama had stabbed him in the back repeatedly would that be a “mundane” comment?

    Well, not to speak for anyone else, I’m going to say no not at all.

    I think my reaction would be “what a surprisingly obvious and un-imaginative way for a headline blogger to make the same tired argument the progo-sphere has been making for months. Not as trite as the ‘thrown under the bus’ metaphor has become, but probably up there with ‘not change I can believe in.’ Can’t they come up with something a little less hackneyed? I mean, that’s supposed to be their thing. Not only is this not exceptional- it’s depressingly expected”

    Out of curiosity, what exactly was the response you were expecting? Shocked outrage? Pearls clutched? Fainting couches groaning under the sudden strain?

    Over a turn of phrase that was old when Augustus Caesar was alive?

    Really?

    (edited to add- And I’m being sincere here- Do you really expect this scenario to elicit some kind of outrage or shock? Why? I just don’t see it.)

  411. 411
    Mnemosyne says:

    @williamc:

    I only just got back to the thread, so sorry for responding after you’ve already gone to bed. :-)

    I said it in another thread, and apparently have to here again; the Overton Window is a real concept, it has impact on what’s happening in the real world, and just because you think its not real doesn’t make it so. A lot of you may be former Repubs, some may be lifelong Dems, but we beat up on the other side, not our allies.

    This is the question I have for you: why do you see Obama as being on the other side and not one of our allies? Because, frankly, that’s how a lot of bloggers on FDL and DailyKos and Huffington Post have been acting: as though the president we have right now is on the opposite side politically and must be opposed at all costs.

    We’ve been making fun of Republicans for demanding purity tests this past year, but let’s face it, no one can do a purity purge like the left can. We’ve been doing it since at least, what, 1968? We’ve got it down cold. Obama hasn’t closed Gitmo/repealed DADT/passed healthcare/started torture prosecutions/(your pet issue here) so therefore he’s on the other side and can be ripped apart just like we would a Republican.

    What’s really been driving me nuts through this whole thing is the people who don’t seem to realize that when they adopt the right’s memes about Obama (he’s weak, he’s controlled by Rahm, he’s a dangerous fascist who’s going to stomp on our civil liberties), they’re actually moving that famous Overton window to the right. They’re helping the right push the idea that Obama and Bush are exactly the same so it doesn’t really matter if a Republican gets elected in 2012, does it? It’s not like a Republican would do anything differently than Obama has. Even The Liberal Glenn Greenwald says that Obama is no better on civil liberties than Bush was, so why not elect a Republican?

    Of course, I would hope that by now we all know that there is a difference. A big difference. Even if the big things never get fixed, we’re still going to have safer water and better protections for consumers and workers than we would ever have under a Republican administration. But Republicans don’t want you to think about those things. They want you to say that Obama=Bush because it will put them back in power. And the Overton window will continue sliding to the right because everything is still framed in Republican terms.

  412. 412
    cat48 says:

    Didn’t read yesterday, but just have to add–I agree with you 100%. It is depressing because I feel like he was never given a fair chance after so many worked so hard for him. Myself included. I’m bitterly protective of him now because of that. I know he isn’t perfect and mistakes are occasionally, but he’s our guy. Sorta like my husband is my guy. I wouldn’t forsake my husband over policy and he was a Hillary supporter; but we made it thru the primaries some how. We should be behind the prez right now because no one else is. He is our last best hope. Sticking with our man here in my land along with my husband who supports him, the rest can f off.

  413. 413
    rootless_e says:

    @kay: I am in favor of Presidents defying the Supreme Court in the right circumstance. For example, the Emancipation Proclamation was in defiance of a series of SC decisions. Similarly, although Dred Scott and related decisions clearly determined that black Americans could not be citizens, the Lincoln government provided citizen papers and defended the rights of african-american seamen serving the the merchant marine and navy. FDR had to threaten to add justices to the court to get new deal legislation accepted.

    And I think that Gore should have approached the court politically with this case. There should have been massive protest throughout florida and elsewhere. The lawyers for Gore should have come to court and denied the court had the right to make a negative decision instead of humbly arguing technicalities. He chose order over justice, to his and our shame.

  414. 414
    Skip Intro says:

    Actually, I think Cole’s inital comments about Clemons were spot on. He may be a reasonably good foreign policy scholar, but I stopped reading his blog when it became a parade of cocktail party anecdotes and criticisms of his commentariat.

  415. 415
    scott says:

    “I was rude and hasty and unfair.”

    WOW! Rude and hasty and unfair? How unlike you John.

  416. 416
    williamc says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. If you read back to what I wrote, I didn’t slag Rahm, or adopt a right-wing frame, I just asked that the attacking of political allies personally for disagreement is folly and is just making the wedge between the center-left and the left deeper.

    I think the whole point is, I don’t want to spend my time here arguing with people I agree with mostly when there are teabaggers/wingnuts close to gaining power that need my anger and your anger, but who are instead wasting the energy on Hamsher, who has already proven herself powerless.

  417. 417
    MNPundit says:

    The farthest east I have ever lived is Des Moines.

  418. 418
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Out of curiosity, what exactly was the response you were expecting?

    I don’t “expect” anything. What I hope for is minimal levels of intellectual consistency.

    Here’s a summary of the discussion so far.

    John says he is “sick and tired” of “Obama and Rahm REALLY suck” material from the left. Remember that? It’s the lengthy entry at the very top of this page. So that’s what we’re talking about.

    I suggest, half seriously, that John reach out to these people rather than berate them, since he complains about this issue several times a week.

    Elie tells me that it’s hard to reach out to people who are stabbing you (her? Obama? she wasn’t clear) in the back.

    Needless to say, it’s blindingly obvious to anybody who doesn’t have a horse in this race that we’re witnessing a rather jaw-dropping level of hypocrisy here. If harshing on Obama from the left is something we ought to be “sick and tired” of then calling Clemons or Digby or Hamsher or Greenwald or whomever a bunch of backstabbers is something we ought to be sick and tired of as well. Fact is, these little bitchfests that John starts aren’t having the effect he hopes. Rather than shaming the disaffected left into better behavior he’s simply starting long threads of “so-and-so sucks” schoolyard taunts aimed back in the other direction. I guess a lot of folks here like these “food fights”, and that’s their prerogative, but please don’t complain about other people’s behavior when you yourself are tossing potato salad.

  419. 419
    Cate says:

    THANK YOU GOD. And Juan. Both.

    Sick to death of progressive hate. Maybe they should consider joining the GOP.

  420. 420
    Lex says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    And you don’t have a clue what accessory to war crime is, do you?

    I Am Not A Lawyer(tm), but actually, it ain’t hard to figure out. The Geneva Conventions are online, the UN Convention Against Torture is online, and a little Googling will find you the related U.S. statutes defining failure to comply as felonies. And finding out what constitutes being an accessory to a federal felony is just one Google more.

    Try it sometime.

    As it happens, we now have another reason to be concerned: Obama has just appointed William Lietzau to be deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs. And who’s he, you ask? Why, a former aide “to William J. Haynes II*, the David Addington protégé who was Donald Rumsfeld’s lawyer at the Pentagon. In this role, he played a central role in creating a harsh new environment for prisoners taken in the war on terror, including the crafting of rules for a military commission that were subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court.”

    And you wonder why some of us wonder about Obama.

    *Full, and admittedly odd, disclosure: William J. “Jim” Haynes II was my freshman hall counselor in college.

  421. 421
    reality-based says:

    @BTD:

    true, this – personally, I’ve been really pissed at Rahm since about 1994/Nafta – I ratcheted it up after around October of 2006.

    so if we’ve been pissed at Rahm for YEARS – and remember, John , you weren’t following the ins and outs of Democratic party hackery until relatively recently – is it OK to be STILL pissed at him now?

  422. 422
    Abeman says:

    Yes. But dont forget that Obama said at the outset that we were going to have to help him. And we hear it oft repeated that Lincoln and other presidents had to be pushed to take the actions that they did. And so I like to try to cut those griping progressives some slack and recognize that there is truth in that. We can not fall back on our haunches, right?
    Abeman

  423. 423
    muckamuck says:

    a comment to try to cure the blank page problem

  424. 424
    mfpdx says:

    Ya know what I’m sick of John? I’m sick to death of MY OWN GD PARTY telling ME that it’s all the sudden NOT OK to disagree with a President; THAT’S what ticks me off. I’m sick of that hypocrisy. It gives the rwnj’s TONS of ammo and leaves us with…..NOTHING!

    I’m also sick of people acting as though folks like Hamsher had NOTHING to do with Obama’s election; OMFG, are you kidding me?

    Up unitl now I HAVE kept my unhappiness to myself but no more; if the conservadems and those who seem to HAVE a burning “need” to consider themselves “moderates” want to push us even FARTHER to the right, go right ahead, but I’m not goin with you.

    I voted the bastard conservative’s out for a reason :(!

  425. 425
    Mark says:

    Been told I have to comment to access here…

  426. 426
    williamc says:

    @mfpdx: Your comment here will fall on deaf ears. They don’t want to know that they are dispiriting the activists and behaving like lemmings following the White House over a cliff. A lot of them have a nose for the news, but don’t understand how politics and policy happen in tandem, apparently unaware that their wanting to compromise on everything just to get a win is what is spurring on the wingnuts into playing for keeps. And why not? if your ideological opponents are always willing to compromise their goals away and you aren’t isn’t all you have to do is hold firm to get what you want?

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