Debt Ceiling Kerfuffle: Lawrence O’Donnell Explains that Liberal Outrage Helps Obama With Swing Voters

Gigantic Cloud of Smug

Tonight, Lawrence O’Donnell dropped some more knowledge about the debt ceiling negotiations, and I must admit to a sense of self-satisfaction that what he said tonight dovetails nicely with what I’ve been saying for a week (see e.g.here and here) about Obama governing and courting swing voters1 simultaneously:

Outrage notes have been struck today in the liberal blogosphere and elsewhere that the President was entertaining modest modifications in Medicare and Social Security that could save trillions, even though liberal democrats in the past have done exactly that. The President’s willingness to discuss raising the retirement age in Medicare or Social Security has met rage from some who don’t know that the eligibility age of Social Security has already been raised, that a gradual increase of a retirement age was enacted in 1983, increasing the full retirement from 65 to 67, and that increase had the support of liberals in the House and the Senate.

Now, if raising the retirement age is in principle bad, then it would follow logically that people who even oppose discussing it would be in favor of repealing the increase in the retirement age that has already occurred.  Yet none of them have ever proposed repealing the current increase in the retirement age. Some of the new-found liberal defenders of Social Security that will reject any discussions in the program were voting Republican back in the ’80s when the retirement age was raised, or not voting at all, not even bothering to register to vote. Some, of course, were not yet of voting age. They are all capable of getting up to speed on these issues reasonably quickly, but until they know more history, until they know where we have been, they will not have any comprehension of where we might be going. The President’s been attacked today for considering the means testing of Medicare, as you heard him describe, the possibility of rich people like him paying a little more on premiums and co-pays on Medicare. As rich people on Medicare already know, that’s nothing new — they already pay more. The President is willing to entertain a discussion in which they might pay even more, and suddenly some liberals have found what is, in effect, a small tax increase on the rich that they can oppose.

All such objections from the President’s base of supporters are actually — this is a bit counterintuitive, they are actually helpful to the President. Adam Green, the head of the Progressive Change Committee, and a friend of this show has been among the loudest and most progressive objectors to the President’s consideration of cuts in Medicare and Social Security spending. Today his group delivered 200,000 petitions to President Obama’s campaign headquarters warning about entitlement cuts. These are 200,000 people saying they will not contribute money to or volunteer hours to an Obama reelection campaign if he agrees to any cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security spending during these debt negotiations with the Republicans, and these are people who have contributed to President Obama and have volunteered for him before. These protestors are actually helping the President’s negotiation position, strengthening it, as well as his public appearance of being reasonable in the eyes of independence and swing voters by adding credibility statements like this.

I’ve been in the room, in the White House, in the Capitol, with politicians who are the subjects of that kind of protest with their party when they are trying to compromise, and they always, always, cite that protest when negotiating with the other side. They always say, in effect, look at how hard this is for me to do; look out there; look at the protest I’m getting from my own party — my own people. They don’t want me to do this. And, in fact, in such meetings, I have heard politicians frankly admit that they cannot possibly compromise on a given point because of such protests. Make no mistake here, I am not in any way demeaning these protests as some kind of stunt. I am telling you, I have seen these protests have their intended effect, and I have seen them have additional beneficial effects for the negotiating strength of the politician being protested against, the politician being pushed by his own supporters in a certain direct — publicly pushed.

The politicians of governing are far more complex than the politics of campaigning. Indeed, it is the unwritten volume. There are a few great books out there about the politics of campaigning.

There is not one about the politics of governing. People who’ve lived and worked within the politics of governing get it. We can speak in a shorthand with each other. In fact, we often find ourselves tongue-tied when trying to explain the politics of governing to civilians.

If you’ve never been in the room while a presidential decision is being made by the only person who can make that decision, the President of the United States, then trying to make sense of governing negotiations while they’re ongoing and while you’re only allowed the occasional leak of what was said in the room, and the public statements of players, which, I promise you rarely have any important linkage to what was actually said in the room or what is going to happen in the end — it is next to impossible to make sense of what you’re seeing.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As the President said on Monday, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, so the gigantic cloud of smug has dissipated as quickly as it formed.  (Plus, this is serious shit, so smugness is tacky.)

I understand that people are nervous and may view it as crass that I approach politics like a game.  Maybe it’s the lawyer in me.  Who knows.

I will say this, however: What I find utterly appalling is the lengths to which Adam Green has gone for fundraising purposes for his “progressive” PAC. Joy Reid lays out in great detail the extent of Green’s misrepresentations, misrepresentations that have been, in my view, willful.  (Extreme Liberal also details the lies concocted to push the PCCC narrative.)

Accordingly, while Lawrence does not demean Green’s protest as some kind of stunt, I sure as hell do. Green’s disdain for the President and for those who have the gall to support him is palpable:

Come on, Adam, you can say it: Obamalovers.  Or is it “dumb motherfuckers“? Obamabots?  Obots?  Obamaborg?

It’s so hard to keep up these days.

In any event, this here dumb motherfucker wants to thank Adam Green and PCCC for helping Obama’s negotiating strategy.  Unfortunately, I don’t have three dollars to send you. ::sad face::

I do have this for you, though:

You’re welcome.

1 You should definitely check out Politicians Don’t Care About “Independent Voters,” They Care About Swing Voters” by Dana Houle, which explains that politicians care about swing, not independent voters.

[cross-posted]






126 replies
  1. 1
    lol says:

    Is Adam Green ever going to do anything beyond creating on-line petitions?

    Instead of collecting email addresses to solicit donations from, maybe he could be directing the self-styled base to call the fucking Congressmembers who are actually going to be voting on this.

  2. 2
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Adam Green = McLovin

  3. 3
    Karen says:

    I love you ABL but you’re never going to win them over and it’s just us vs. them, going around in circles. They hate Obama and always will. It’s a waste of your energy.

  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    Firebaggers are high maintenance and tiresome. They might be liberals fighting The Man, but they still like to make a buck selling canned outrage. Adam Greene has that glint in his eye, that there is always room for one more enterprising huckster on the internet.

  5. 5
    Bruce S says:

    “I must admit to a sense of self-satisfaction that what he said tonight dovetails nicely with what I’ve been saying for a week”

    Hey – that’s MY line.

    Of course the part about nobody protesting the the 1983 changes in SS was remarkably stupid for O’Donnell. Although reading the comments here I do believe there are probably some “liberals” so stupid that they don’t know what the current and scheduled increases in the eligibility age actually is.

    But of course, since no one in the White House has mentioned changing any of this stuff, it’s all a moot point. But also important to defend as a concept just in case… Or something.

    Have fun. Of course, if O’Donnell had posted the part about Adam Green, et. al. in these comments threads, he’d have been branded a ratfucker and a firebagger. I know that because I did and was.

    But revel in your dishonesty…

  6. 6
    Martin says:

    Oh, this will end well…

    (Still a fan ABL.)

  7. 7
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @4 Herr General Stuckies

    Balloonbaggers are high maintenance and tiresome. They might be liberals fighting That Woman, but they still like to make a buck selling canned poutrage. Lawrence O’Donnell has that glint in his eye, that there is always room for one more enterprising huckster on the internet.

    Works for me.
    .
    .

  8. 8
    ABL says:

    But revel in your dishonesty…

    ok, i’ll bite.

    what about what i said about obama’s negotiating strategy (as noted in my two linked comments) strikes you as dishonest?

    i don’t recall ever expressing an opinion about the nuts and bolts of the sort of changes (cuts, noncuts, strengthening, weakening, whatever). the most i’ve said, IIRC, is that not all cuts are bad cuts. i think that is still true. but even if you disagree with that point, what is dishonest about it?

    i don’t understand your point about adam green.

    I love you ABL but you’re never going to win them over and it’s just us vs. them, going around in circles. They hate Obama and always will.

    oh, i know. ;)

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    Uncle Clarence Thomas

    Yer phoning it in now Clarence. My parakeet has more troll chops than you.

  10. 10
    MattR says:

    ABL – Are the firebaggers supposed to CTFD because Obama’s got this or are they supposed to apply pressure from the left so that they give him leverage during bargaining?

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ ABL:

    ok, i’ll bite.

    Mistake. Just sayin’.

  12. 12
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I had been wondering if part of the reason for ambiguity around “cuts” — for instance, not being as careful to say “benefit cuts” as they could — is for Obama to be able to make that case for sharing the political pain and, um, whatever you’re supposed to dare to do against sacred cows, and what have you.

    That way Obama could say, “We need to consider cuts to entitlement programs,” and then the “left” could say, “ohmygod no what a betrayal BLALHRLSDGGGH,” and then he can hammer out a deal with a grim face and announce the Hard Choices and Substantial Sacrifices, and then the “left” could say, “ohmygod I told you I TOLD YOU FDRLBJ bullypulpitcapitulation SKREEEEEE,” and then the news reports would come out saying, “The agreement phases in billions in savings and doesn’t touch benefits,” and Obama would say, “I just got all the muhfuckin’ snakes off this muhfuckin’ plane.”

    Just a theory.

  13. 13
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @8 ABLINO

    what about what i said about obama’s negotiating strategy (as noted in my two linked comments) strikes you as dishonest?

    I don’t think it’s especially overtly dishonest. It’s just morally depraved, that’s all. Which, from what I can gather of your high school cheerleading, is why you don’t find it unacceptable and why I do.
    .
    .

  14. 14
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ ABL: I think Bruce S meant that if Adam Green himself had said, “I’m raising a ruckus because holding Obama’s feet to the fire is a way to make a better deal,” some of us would say, “It doesn’t work that way, and he should shut his fool mouth.” Well, I probably would. And that’s basically what O’Donnell is saying. He’s just doing it with an extra soupcon of neener-neener.

  15. 15
    ABL says:

    ABL – Are the firebaggers supposed to CTFD because Obama’s got this or are they supposed to apply pressure from the left so that they give him leverage during bargaining?

    that’s hardly a serious question, now is it?

  16. 16
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @9 Herr General Stuckies

    Yer phoning it in now Clarence. My parakeet has more troll chops than you.

    Upon analysis, your comments are self-mocking, which is what I highlighted so effectively. I do not troll, unless you mean I efficiently criticize balloonbagger logic without your permission.
    .
    .

  17. 17
    MattR says:

    @ABL: Yeah, you are right. Firebaggers generally need to STFU. Replace that word with Obama critics.

  18. 18
    Heliopause says:

    Liberal Outrage Helps Obama With Swing Voters

    At last ABL and O’Donnell get something right. Yes, liberal outrage helps Obama with swing voters. The policies causing the outrage are fucking up the country no end, but at least you have your priorities straight.

  19. 19
    ABL says:

    @ ABL: I think Bruce S meant that if Adam Green himself had said, “I’m raising a ruckus because holding Obama’s feet to the fire is a way to make a better deal,” some of us would say, “It doesn’t work that way, and he should shut his fool mouth.” Well, I probably would. And that’s basically what O’Donnell is saying. He’s just doing it with an extra soupcon of neener-neener.

    well, that’s not what he said. he concocted some bs, sent out a SEND ME THREE DOLLARS NAOW!!! fundraising email, and lied extensively in that email, so… not sure how i’m supposed to respond to that hypothetical. i think green is dishonest and is no stranger to the dog whistle.

  20. 20
    ABL says:

    At last ABL and O’Donnell get something right. Yes, liberal outrage helps Obama with swing voters. The policies causing the outrage are fucking up the country no end, but at least you have your priorities straight.

    like he said, there’s campaigning and there’s governing. you can’t really govern if you don’t campaign and win. it’s pretty silly to get outraged at politics because it’s politics.

  21. 21
    ABL says:

    i’ll be back later. i have stuff to do.

  22. 22
    MonkeyBoy says:

    @ABL:

    Hey ABL. Are you so technophobic that you don’t want to use the reply button fix, or are you like some of the old-farts here that won’t install a modern browser like Firefox or Chrome because it didn’t come with their computer?

    Or do you figure that doing so would be disloyal to Cole?

  23. 23
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    Who’s Adam Green?

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    But revel in your dishonesty…

    This is good news for John, Sarah, Romney, Pawlenty, Newt, and the rest. Thanks for highlighting this. I now feel saved.

  25. 25
    ML says:

    Those rank and file democrats who deign criticize Obama are deluded.

    Check.

    What else you got, ABL?

  26. 26
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ ABL: Green is just doing the same con, er, _strategy_ as NewsMax. Buy web ads that say, “Do You Oppose Scary Thing? Click here!” Then harvest emails and claim to be a grassroots organization.

    Plus he’s one of the biggest purveyors of the Firebag Circle: “Why doesn’t Obama fight for X?” “What do you mean by that?” “All he does is talk, but he should have done more.” “Like what? There’s not enough support for it in Congress.” “He could have talked about it more.” “He did talk about it.” “But he didn’t fight for it, and why doesn’t he do that?”

  27. 27
    Bruce S says:

    ABL – First of all, O’Donnell’s key point was about negotiating positions. I’ve been making that point here about Obama needing a stronger left flank to strengthen his own position – that’s been the essence of what I’ve said and believe about folks like, first and foremost, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders and Steve Israel making noise in the context of the reports about shrinking Medicare and changing the SS COLA. For that, your gentle commenters have gone batshit crazy. The more sane ones have simply tried to twist “cuts” into something that will be “progressive.” The very fact they went into some extraordinary lengths – even attempting to refute the English language in one case – to spin “cuts” as absolutely not a worrisome concept suggests they believed they were “on the table.” Otherwise, why bother.

    I think you’re dishonest to not admit that a lot of the bile directed against anyone – literally anyone here who checks in under your posts – who expressed concern about “cuts” or who suggested that the left flank plays a very important – essential – role for the Prez (given his being essentially locked in the Oval Office and having a very constricted set of options, ironically, as President in this political climate) was totally debunked by O’Donnell’s analysis about the role that a “left flank” plays for Democratic pols – Obama included, despite his Jedi skills.

    The kind of trash that’s been rained down on anyone who expresses any positive notes for independent, left critics of Obama within the Democratic coalition has been hysterical and extreme. It’s always couched in “Look over there, Jane Hamsher.” I don’t give a flying fuck about Jane Hamsher, I’m disgusted by fucktards like Cornel West, etc. etc. But I will say that Bernie Sanders has been speaking for me, as has Pelosi, as has Steve Israel and others. But you guys trash the very idea that anyone stake out anything other than what comes off as Obama-worship. It’s apolitical, juvenile and pretty much a signal that very few of you have any experience in either politics or social movements. Nor do the commenters here know much history, so far as I can tell. Some of this bullshit really feels like the kind of group-think that one used to get in sectarian Lefty groups back in the (bad old) day. Draw the circles as tight as possible and verify loyalty!

    My “dishonesty” comment was directed generically toward this little clique – but, yes, to some extent to you personally. You don’t get to “own” his observations about Adam Green after all of the trash talk dumping pure shit in that direction.

    Because O’Donnell would, literally, himself have been trashed if he’d come in here as a commenter and expressed the point about the absolute importance of the more aggressively critical wing of the Democratic Party, if the pols working the “center” are to have any bargaining chips at all or any credibility to back up their essentially liberal impulses (the better ones – and Obama is IMHO one of the best.)

    Sorry if that was a rambling answer – blame it on the Laphroaig.

    Also, if anyone here suggests I “hate Obama” – and I’ve been charged with that by some of your tender folk – they can royally go fuck themselves. You just prove you’re a completely mindless idiot. And worthless in the realm of real politics. Juvenile shit. You know who you are…

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ opal: If you’ve ever seen an ad on a liberal blog that says something like “Stand with Elizabeth Warren,” that’s Adam Green and “Progressive Change Campaign Committee,” unless I’m mistaken.

  29. 29
    Quiddity says:

    O’Donnell:

    Now, if raising the retirement age is in principle bad, then it would follow logically that people who even oppose discussing it would be in favor of repealing the increase in the retirement age that has already occurred. Yet none of them have ever proposed repealing the current increase in the retirement age.

    Some people, mostly bloggers, have called for lowering the retirement age. Atrios, for one. There are a number of economic reasons for it, in addition to the argument that this wealthy country can afford to “spoil” seniors.

    (I won’t get into this here, but O’Donnell’s argument is a classic example of propaganda. “You didn’t complain about X before, so you can’t object now to more X”.)

    I’ve read several pro-Obama comments here that are in favor of entitlement “adjustments” (to use the president’s term). I guess that’s what being an Obama supporter means these days, but that runs against the preferences of about half the Democratic party. It’s a formula for division.

  30. 30

    @opal: He’s someone who has figured out a way of using wedge tactics to extract money out of a certain type of “progressive”.

  31. 31
    boss bitch says:

    @opal:

    Who’s Adam Green?

    grifter.

  32. 32
    tomvox1 says:

    @ Uncle Clarence Thomas Re: “Morally Depraved”:

    What the fuck do you know about anything vis a vis (small d) democratic legislating much less being president during these incredibly tough times? Fucksticks like you are either A) wishing for another John Anderson/Ralph Nader or B) Creaming themselves dreaming of an American “progressive” Pol Pot to really stick it to all those unbelievers by forcing them into glorious orgasmic re-education camps. Go fuck yourself with a rusty cat cock, shitlicker. You talk a big game but can’t figure a way out of your mom’s basement much less a governing strategy to navigate the most hostile political environment for any president since Lincoln. Asshole.

  33. 33
    Bruce S says:

    Quiddity – “It’s a formula for division”

    I don’t think some of these folks care about that any more than Jane Hamsher does. As long as they’ve got their wagons circled around their comfort zone… This group is the flip side of the crank lefties who blow one note and make enemies lists of anyone who doesn’t sing along.

  34. 34
    Lolis says:

    Adam Green is taking a salary of nearly 80 K and so is another staffer. Are they even working 40 hours a week? The Obama Diaries has all their financials. They also have the dirt on the PAC run by Hamsher and Greenwald that has never donated to a federal candidate. Hamsher and Greenwald both get 20 K per year for consulting.

  35. 35
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Bruce S: You should still hold open the possibility that “cuts” can mean _either_ reductions in benefits at the point of the beneficiary _or_ reductions in expenditures at any other point. Thus it’s premature at best and demagogic at worst to presume that “cuts” are benefit cuts. And they’re sort of like Schrodinger’s Cuts anyway, because it works to Obama’s favor at the bargaining table to keep being as ambiguous as possible, because that enables him to say that he’s taking a serious political risk. My sense is that he _isn’t_ really taking a serious political risk and the whole matter of “cuts” is specifically not benefit cuts; but if Republicans know that, they won’t let him get away with that ploy.

    So on these threads I, at least, am trying to say, principally, “Please make a distinction between cuts and benefit cuts for the purposes of our internal discussion”; and, secondarily, “Obama may not be making that same clear distinction for strategic purposes that align with outcomes we would want, rather than trying to pull a fast one, get away with cutting benefits, and dare us to like it.”

  36. 36
    eemom says:

    ah, an amiable, mellow Friday evening thread to usher in the weekend.

  37. 37
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    And worthless in the realm of real politics

    You don’t know jack-shit about politics.

    You’re a pathetic retro-hippie that has apparently spent his formative years in a wicker basket.

  38. 38
    Lolis says:

    @Quiddity:

    I favor cuts to Medicare that don’t negatively affect current or future beneficiaries. I have always supported that. I supported it in the ACA. I support it now. There are several ways to cut Medicare that are really good ideas. I don’t like the idea of means testing. As for the debt ceiling proposals, it is hard to be for or against something that nobody has any idea of what it is.

  39. 39
    Bruce S says:

    FlipYrWhig – first of all, I can make that distinction and have when I’ve addressed this elsewhere. But some of the commenters here have been defending the change in an SS COLA index (reducing it, to save money) not just as perhaps a defensible “recalculation” but also as not a “cut” in benefits – when it obviously is. I don’t get that kind of Orwellian attempt to eliminate a word when it’s clearly applicable. Defend the cut, but don’t claim that folks aren’t going to be getting less $$. That’s dishonest. I also have a problem with putting Medicare and SS – any discussion or changes at all – in the context of this half-assed debt ceiling debate. Obama may be pure genius in having it and making the GOP look like fools this month, although we aren’t at the end of this, but if he was playing it, he absolutely needs Bernie Sanders and, yes, people like Adam Green, out there banging their drums. We also need folks banging those drums in general, because whether you realize it or not, the Tea Party has set the entire terms of this fraudulent “deficit” debate.

    If you want to know my broader perspective on this stuff, your welcome to go here:

    http://tinyurl.com/5wffozs

    Or for running commentary here:

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blogspot.com/

    Decide for yourself whether I’m some anti-Obama “firebagger” or just someone who’s trying to keep my eye on the bouncing balls and doesn’t think that saluting the President and waiting to applaud whatever he manages to pull out of this pig-fuck is quite enough.

    I don’t want to get in a go round with any of the assholes here. If ABL replies, I’ll try to respond to my best ability. But the experience of these particular comments threads remind me way too much of the kind of crap I’ve put up with arguing against some Chomsky-Nader morons who only see the world through a single, very exaggerated and self-serving lens and can’t handle complexity or shades of gray. Not edifying or interesting. My bad is that I keep getting sucked in…

  40. 40
    Bruce S says:

    opal – go fuck yourself. You’ve got nuthin’

  41. 41
    eemom says:

    I highlighted so effectively

    I efficiently criticize

    good heavens. You really ARE Clarence Thomas, aren’t you?

  42. 42
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @Bruce S

    Honest question (because I don’t know the details), but will SS beneficiaries see a decrease in benefits (a smaller check next year than this year) or lower benefit increases (a larger check next year, but smaller than it would have been) due to the index changes?

  43. 43
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Bruce S: I also think that this is a dumb time to be having a discussion about how to deal with budget deficits — which should have nothing to do with the debt ceiling and which should be a distant priority given joblessness and other bad economic signs. But the party that thinks it has a great story to tell about deficits and spending won the majority in the House, and the other party has been beset with so-called “deficit hawks” since the ’90s, so I don’t see how it was ever going to be possible to _stop_ the deficit reduction train once it left the station. It’s not the biggest problem facing America, but if it has to be faced, let’s try to face it with some intelligence and ju-jitsu it to some kind of advantage. Having a hair trigger about “cuts” prevents us from doing that, IMHO, because it blocks us from being able to talk about helpful cuts.

    I think the discussion about indexing (COLA and all that) is a useful one. I’m not sure I see the reduction of future benefits as a “cut” exactly, but it’s close, like the two have an asymptotic relationship or something. I think I’d be tempted to say, “OK, in some sense and over some time horizons it could be called a cut, but if done properly it wouldn’t be experienced in real time as a hit to anyone’s wallet. If done improperly, it would, so let’s make damn sure we know what we’re doing.”

    ETA: If you worked on Wall Street and expected to get a bonus, but then you didn’t get one, would that be a “cut” to your compensation? I wouldn’t say so. But that’s a deliberately unsympathetic example.

  44. 44
    Bruce S says:

    “Honest question (because I don’t know the details), but will SS beneficiaries see a decrease in benefits (a smaller check next year than this year) or lower benefit increases (a larger check next year, but smaller than it would have been) due to the index changes?”

    Hopefully none of this will come to pass – but the discussion is over “chained CPI” which changes the indexing of inflation benchmarks. Which means the checks will not be smaller than the previous checks, but will be smaller than they would be under the current schedule. Any member of a labor union would tell you that if the inflation-indexing is lowered on their wages, they’re experiencing “cuts.” What I found weird in some of this discussion was the denial that the word “cuts” was descriptive or appropriate. It’s a cut in the size of future benefits, but still a cut.

    On Medicare, the notion of lowering eligibility age was “leaked” – I think credibly, and possibly by the White House at least partly to stir up folks like Pelosi and Berne S, to put Obama in some concocted “center.” I absolutely believe we have to control health care costs – more insurance that’s at least as cost effective as Medicare and more regulation across the board is necessary – but this debt ceiling insanity is not the atmosphere to reform the entire health care delivery system, which is the problem – not Medicare itself, which is more cost-effictive than any other insurance.

    Unfortunately, the very fact that we’re even discussing deficits as an issue during a time when we need the government to be spending more money – which is cheap right now – is a signal that the center is way, way to the right. Thanks to the grassroots activism of the GOPer’s right flank and the passivity and self-congratulation of most of the folks who worked to elect President Obama as soon as he got into office. I definitely include myself among the blameworthy. We had at least the potential makings of a broader social movement and let it slip away.

  45. 45
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @FlipYrWhig

    I think that conservatives have an easier time selling their message because its easy to sell. Everyone has household expenses that they have to balance every month, so you can always sell the message that a budget should balance. The devil is always in the details because while polls will show that voters want a balance budget, the same polls show that voters want their roads fixed, more jobs, lower taxes, etc. Governing is difficult because voters want conflicting goals achieved simultaneously. Churchill may have been an asshole, but he was also right.

  46. 46
    MattR says:

    @Non-Existent Patricia:

    Honest question (because I don’t know the details), but will SS beneficiaries see a decrease in benefits (a smaller check next year than this year) or lower benefit increases (a larger check next year, but smaller than it would have been) due to the index changes?

    The change that has been discussed ad nauseum the past few days would result in lower benefit increases. (The cost of living adjustment would be based on a different measure. IIRC it is roughly .3%-.4% less than the current meansure. ie. if the current measure was 3.5% one year, the new one would be about 3.1-3.2% that year)

  47. 47
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @MattR

    Thanks for that. If that’s the case, it makes sense at a time when COLA is resulting in no increase anyway, but (honestly how ridiculous is that? I’m actually hoping we see some inflation) could make a significant difference in the future. I will say, though, if healthcare costs stop increasing exponentially the lowered increase probably won’t have as much impact.

    Edited for clarity

  48. 48
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    Whatever. Have fun storming the castle with your Che Guevara/Ralph Nader commemorative action dolls.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Non-Existent Patricia : Even with the household budget, though, almost everyone has a ton of debt, from the mortgage to the car to the kid in college. We’re all in debt. I would like to see Democrats flip the script a little bit and spin the nation/household analogy the other way: when your household budget is a mess, you might cut back on dining out and get fewer haircuts, but you probably wouldn’t pull your kid out of college or detach your house from the municipal water supply. Even conceding the household analogy, most people handle debt very differently than by sharply cutting essentials.

  50. 50
    Bruce S says:

    Opal – You, once more, prove yourself to be an idiot locked in your own fevered imagination. Totally full of shit. Mindless. Literally attacking something you’ve concocted from your own whole cloth.

    I’d be embarrassed by that level of stupidity.

  51. 51
    Loviatar says:

    You know I’ve been trying to figure out what it was about Obama’ that really makes me distrust him and dislike his followers.

    He is a Republican.

    His policies, his talking points, his everything is circa 1980s republicanism. And while Clinton also implemented a lot of “centrist” policies I never got the feeling Clinton was anything but a centrist Democrat. Maybe Clinton hid it better or was a better actor, but I always felt he had to be pushed into the reducing the social safety net. With Obama my distrust stems from the fact that there is no pushing needed. He makes me feel as if he is doing it because its the “right” thing to do, damm how it impacts peoples lives its the right thing to do.

    As far as the obots go, my dislike stems from the fact that they don’t look as his record only the “D” beside his name. I guess thats okay, because its better than the current Republican party right. I mean the 80s republicans were so cool and they fought for the disenfranchised, what better than to have that back, but wrapped in our own black Reagan package. I guess that also explains why the former Republicans (John, etc) love him, he is a return to their glory days. They get the benefit of not being a part of the crazy party while at the same time seeing a lot of their policies still being implemented.

    Now why the anger by the obots at the “Liberals/progressives” – I believe people just don’t like to have their blind spots pointed out to them, particularly in politics. The current crop of Democrats (the non former republicans) are desperate for a “win”. Going on 40 years now they’ve been abused, they’ve been told that they are naive, that they are whats wrong with America. Now they have a “winner”, one who is to the left of the current Republicans, who gives a damm if his policies are to the right of Reagan. He is there own and he is a “winner” (psst, plus he is black). Anyone pointing out the inconvenient fact that he not much of a Democrat must be shouted down. Don’t these leftist idiots know it is naive to believe that a Democrat can succeed in governing with democratic policies, we realist know that is impossible, because the Republicans and pundits told us so.

    Hey obots, do me a favor, its a simple task. Take a look at Obama’s policies, both implemented and proposed and compare them to the the Republicans policies, both implemented and proposed. Here is the twist, don’t compare them to the current Republicans, but compare them to Reagan’s policies from the 80’s. Now tell me, has Obama done anything that you would think Reagan wouldn’t have done.

  52. 52
    Nellcote says:

    O’Donnell called firebaggers useful idiots. Can we all agree on that?

  53. 53
    MattR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Completely agree with this and was typing a similar response. One example I use is that if you are broke and have no job, one of your best chances of changing that is to make sure you have appropriate clothes for job interviews, even if you have to borrow money to buy them.

  54. 54
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @FlipYrWhig @49

    I completely agree (I actually think the household budget analogy is completely stupid, I just understand why it sells). I had a Public Finance professor (I have an undergrad degree in Economics but don’t actually use it in my professional life) who once asked the class if the government could go broke and got the standard answer of, “Yes, blah, blah, blah.” His reply was that as long as the tax rate was less than 100% the government could never go broke. I don’t think, in wildest dream, he ever imagined what we are currently going through.

  55. 55
    ABL says:

    bruce-

    sure, in the end green along with those who are honest in their criticism of obama played their role. but green is a hack; he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he uses the real fear of liberals to fundraise.

    i won’t accept responsibility for whatever bile gets tossed around in my threads to the extent that bile is tossed at those approaching these sorts of discussions in good faith. i’ll accept responsibility for my own bile, which has been addressed at the green/hamsher contingent because, in my view, nothing they do in this process is in good faith. while those folks join the honest folks in playing this “left flank” role, they are a menace and a pain in the ass.

    as for this-

    I think you’re dishonest to not admit that a lot of the bile directed against anyone – literally anyone here who checks in under your posts – who expressed concern about “cuts” or who suggested that the left flank plays a very important – essential – role for the Prez … was totally debunked by O’Donnell’s analysis about the role that a “left flank” plays for Democratic pols – Obama included, despite his Jedi skills.

    still not sure what i have been dishonest about. have i ever denied that bile exists in my threads? was that question ever posed to me? have i ever said that folks with concerns should clap louder? that seems to be your perception. yes, i said people should CTFD because the tone of the most ardent “firebaggers” is unproductive.

    that said, i haven’t followed the discussions here about COLA and cuts and whatnot. i skim those comments.

    if adam green wants to bang his drum, then that’s fine, but if he bangs his drum and stirs up outrage based on bs — which his emails undoubtedly were, then he should be called out. it’s purposeful and dishonest.

    /rambly comment that likely makes zero sense

  56. 56
    Steve says:

    The part about an angry base being helpful in negotiations rings true. I don’t think there are many independent voters who really care how many hippies Obama punches, though. Hippie-punching helps him score points with the Beltway media, I guess, for whatever that’s worth.

  57. 57
    Bruce S says:

    “has Obama done anything that you would think Reagan wouldn’t have done.”

    That’s a remarkably dumb question. You’re like the flip side of some of the “sit down and shut up” hysterics. Either/Or!

    First of all, you can’t isolate a President from the political context he’s facing or the historical context in which he was elected. That shapes the limits of their presidency – none of these guys are elected dictator, and they all have to draw a significant chunk of so called “swing voters”, i.e. folks who don’t believe or know much and mostly vote on impulse or in a sort of media-induced fog.

    That said, Obama has already done major stuff Clinton couldn’t get done or caved on. He’s also facing an even more insane opposition. But I could easily give you that list, re: Reagan.

    But in lieu of that, I think I’ll just let you draw fire away from me. Thanks for showing up…

  58. 58
    The Raven says:

    Martin Luther King–pacifist, non-violent Martin Luther King–was often told he was making matters worse for blacks by protesting.

    “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice.”

    Croak!

  59. 59
    Binky the perspicacious bear says:

    The center left circles the wagons and makes their own enemies list.

  60. 60
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    Literally attacking something you’ve concocted from your own whole cloth

    Literally attacking

    Literally

  61. 61
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    This is fucking hilarious. LOLZ.

    So called liberals who have been bashing obama non-stop since before he was inaugurated are trying to horn in on the credit for winning the debt ceiling negotiations by saying “our tantrums only strengthen his hand”.

    That may be true. But not once did anyone ever say, “hey, let’s freak out and make an obama look adult and reasonable in the process”.

    This is almost as sad as the bushies trying to horn in on the credit for the bin laden raid.

  62. 62
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @Bruce S @57:
    That said, Obama has already done major stuff Clinton couldn’t get done or caved on. He’s also facing an even more insane opposition. But I could easily give you that list, re: Reagan.

    Are you saying that Reagan’s opposition was crazier than what Obama is dealing with? Reagan had Democrats that would work with him (there’s a reason the term “Reagan Democrat” exists). Name one Republican that has been willing (publicly) to work with Obama.

  63. 63
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    But I could easily give you that list, re: Reagan

    Of course you could.

  64. 64
    Mutaman says:

    “Now tell me, has Obama done anything that you would think Reagan wouldn’t have done.”

    He appointed Sotomeyor. That’s the only thing I can think of.

  65. 65
    fuckwit says:

    I’ve gotten really disgusted with the whole “constant campaign” style of operating, which was started by Repugs in the Reagan/Bush era and adopted enthusiastically (and successufully) by Clinton, and raised to a level of destructive mayhem by Karl Rove, in which everything is fucking horserace and media fellation and voter manipulation, all the time, non-stop.

    Obama doesn’t seem to do that shit, and I find it refreshing. He seems more concerned with actually governing. He drives media-morons and partisans of all stripes to psychosis because, he wins by not trying to win. And it totally dumbfounds ideologues and political-consultant and talking-head types.

    It’s not n-dimensional chess or any of that bullshit. The guy is actually trying to focus on GOVERNING, not campaigning.

    At first, I took it to be friendly fire and I got outraged. I’m tired of that, and I’m tired of the constant-campaign style of thinking that I’d gotten habituated to, which was causing my outrage.

    Now I see what he’s doing, and I like it. Just do the right thing, or whatever teensy small fraction of the right thing is possible in this corrupt and fucked-up world, whenever possible. He seems to do it, more or less consistently, and I’m glad at least some group of voters are happy with it too.

  66. 66
    Bruce S says:

    ABL – I have generally been supportive of Green. I am completely turned off by what OFA has become – just a DNC vehicle with neat tee-shirts. As for his “dishonesty” – I returned his last email with a comment chastising them for exaggeration. That said, I’m very glad they are making the noise they are. Nothing’s perfect and they’re no more full of shit than some of the OFA people I talk to – who are truly blind to how badly we dropped the ball and let the Tea Party take center stage. When I suggested organizing some events around the deficit brouhaha, they told me they didn’t do things like that and were planning a brown bag lunch to tell small business people about the potential benefits of the ACA. This when Ryan was gearing up with his crazy scheme. During the health care hysterics, one of the OFA folks admitted they didn’t know what to do exactly because they didn’t know what would be in the bill!!!

    Okay, that’s my hobby horse. I really don’t think the neutering of OFA in ’09 was helpful to Obama. There was a lot of grassroots energy that could have been used productively. We had a few meetings in Oakland with hundreds of people, then…nothing. I have no idea what happened, but they went blank and I’m assuming it was because it became a DNC operation.

    My bone to pick with you is that you take credit as though Lawrence O’Donnell is bolstering what you’ve been saying, per the Adam Green, et. al. observation regarding the necessity of a vocal left flank, when my take is that you’ve been counseling folks such as myself to sit down and shut up because…you know…Obama’s got this. He probably does. But that’s a pretty weak approach to politics IMHO. And as for “grifting”, the DNC does it all the time. I send them $$. I send OFA money. I’ve sent $20 bucks to Adam Green and I’m glad I did. Even if he may be an asshole. I’m an asshole. You can be a bit of an asshole IMHO. Big fucking deal. In politics, it’s not about assholes – because that’s required – it’s about impact. On this particular moment, Adam Green has had some positive impact. OFA? Not really. Next year those roles will obviously be reversed – although I definitely want to see the “left flank” raise money independently for the most progressive congressional candidates. Obama will be fine with the $$$

    I don’t get the purism. I also don’t get a lot of the leaping to “Firebagger!” that seems to be the default mode of a lot of this clique.

  67. 67
    Bruce S says:

    Opal and Non-existent Patricia – do you even read shit?

    The guy asked for a list of stuff Obama did that Reagan wouldn’t have done. I said I could easily give him that list. I also made it clear Obama has done more than Clinton.

    Where the fuck are your brains? You’re a couple of goddam hysterics. Even when I’m taking the side of defending Obama against that ridiculous comment, you attack me.

    You’re fucking pathological…which is the problem with too many of the morons who comment here.

  68. 68
    boss bitch says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I would like to see Democrats flip the script a little bit and spin the nation/household analogy the other way: when your household budget is a mess, you might cut back on dining out and get fewer haircuts, but you probably wouldn’t pull your kid out of college

    That is the way Obama has been using it.

  69. 69
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    I also don’t get a lot of the leaping to “Firebagger!” that seems to be the default mode of a lot of this clique

    Your lame, bad faith arguments could have something to do with that.

  70. 70
    slightly_peeved says:

    With Obama my distrust stems from the fact that there is no pushing needed. He makes me feel as if he is doing it because its the “right” thing to do, damm how it impacts peoples lives its the right thing to do.

    The Affordable Care Act is the largest increase in the US’s social safety net since the 1960s. Once they finish setting it up, it will give anyone in the US who doesn’t have insurance through their employer access to the a health care system equivalent to (and run by the same people as) the federal employee system.

    I’m yet to hear an objection to it other than ‘well it’s not here NOW’, ‘the government will screw it up somehow’, or ‘it doesn’t prevent costs increasing so the system will implode anyway’. Objections rooted in general distrust as opposed to concrete issues with the actual legislation. Most people who’ve objected to it can’t cite one damn thing from it.

    I’d say that one obot objection to liberal/progressive types such as yourself is that the greatest progression towards the Democratic goal of universal healthcare, passed under slimmer legislative margins than previous democratic presidents, means nothing to you. Or gets handwaved away with some bullshit that has no grounding in the actual legislation.

  71. 71
    Bruce S says:

    opal – since you have shown absolutely zero capacity to counter any actual argument, you can shove your lame shit back up your nasty little ass.

  72. 72
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @Bruce S @67

    I’ll give that I initially misread your comment, but I haven’t personally attacked you, so I see no need for the personal attack on me.

    That being said, you seem to take ABL’s post a little too much to heart. I don’t read ABL’s initial post(although, I’ve already admitted having reading comprehension problems) as having anything to do with you needing to sit down and shut up. I think real, sincere opposition is a good thing, but grifters grifting is not.

    If you feel so unwelcome here, why are you still here?

  73. 73
    ABL says:

    Even if he may be an asshole. I’m an asshole.

    he’s not just an asshole. he’s a LIAR. he doesn’t believe what he’s saying, he’s only saying it to raise money. you don’t do that, do you? i don’t do that. that’s what makes him different.

    i think you misperceive me as telling you to sit down and shut up. i would like those who approach the process with hair-on-fire-i’m-going-to-circulate-this-petition hysterics to sit down and shut up.

    if you are inclined, check out his twitter stream. it’s just chock full of bullshit. i think i’ve been pretty clear in targeting my ire against hamsher and green, and not at readers or whomever — folks who were concerned genuinely and not driven by agenda. anyone who asks “what does he have to do to lose your support” is agenda-driven and full o’ crap, IMO.

    the difference may seem minor, but it’s there.

    as for your beef with OFA, i’m not sure how i’m supposed to respond to that.

  74. 74
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    One would hope you are channeling that prodigious anger at least part time in a positive direction.

    Who would you like to see elected president next year?

    Be honest.

  75. 75

    Lolis @ 34:
    Did they spend money on Bill Halter last year?

  76. 76
    Bruce S says:

    None-existent – I’m sorry. That weird response coming from both of you struck me as a streak of genuine “bad faith” in reaction to anything I might say. My tone was wrong in response to you.

    opal ? not so much…

  77. 77
    Bruce S says:

    opal – you’re fucking beyond stupid. Really.

    You are a mindless twit, if you even have to ask.

    Go to hell…

  78. 78
    boss bitch says:

    @Bruce S:

    although I definitely want to see the “left flank” raise money independently for the most progressive congressional candidates.

    these guys AREN’T RAISING MONEY FOR CANDIDATES. Its to line their pockets. The Cause is themselves. period. They ain’t adding shit to the conversation. All they do is say: ‘Obama’s gonna SLASH! GUT! SS and make grandma eat cat food. Send me $3.00 and buy my book/watch my show/listen to my show…”

    OFA? what’s that got to do with anything? that’s Obama’s team, not the left’s. Its first job was to get Obama elected. Once in office, it’s job is to push Obama’s/Dems agenda. Doesn’t belong to the left. Overall, OFA has done more than all the grifters combined.

  79. 79
    Non-Existent Patricia says:

    @Bruce S @76:

    Hey, shit happens. I wasn’t offended, just surprised. But that’s what happens when you comment after skimming.

  80. 80
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    Please. You’re a self-described political expert.

    What good are your opinions if you don’t spell them out explicitly.

  81. 81
    Bruce S says:

    ABL – thanks for the response.

    You don’t have to respond to the bit about OFA. It’s just part of where I’m at. As for Adam Green, I don’t do Twitter – I’ve told my wife to shoot me if I start doing Twitter feeds. So I have no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t like their last email at all and told them in clear terms I thought it was fucked up – but that’s the first indication I’ve had that supports IMHO anything approaching the extreme distaste and distrust that you obviously have for him. I’ll keep my eyes open. But generally, my beef within the Democratic Party is that there isn’t enough activism on the ground. The Tea Party folks are obviously batshit crazy, racist and…uh…spawn of Satan IMHO, but at least they got off their asses and make a big impact on their party. That’s why we’re having a completely inappropriate debate about absolutely ridiculous shit being driven by utterly dishonest know-nothings. Maybe there’s a lesson there…and maybe we could have done more for Obama. I don’t look to the President to save us. One of the reasons I became such a strong supporter of Obama very early on was because I literally heard him say it wasn’t going to be on him – that the Presidency would force him into a compromised position and that he couldn’t make real change without social movements pushing him. Now if I suggest that might be a plan, I get some nitwit here baiting me about fucking Che Guevara and implying don’t want to see the President re-elected. That’s one of your fans. There’s something a bit perverse in that. I can’t blame you for morons in your comments thread, but there’s a tone here.

    I’m going to try to stick to making comments addressed directly to you and keep them respectful and on point (concision is not my strong suit) – you’re okay and at least as opinionated as I am and I’m sure under better circumstances and without some of the surrounding noise and escalation of rhetoric, we could probably have a decent conversation.

    The internet is totally fucking weird…

  82. 82
    Bruce S says:

    boss bitch – I’ve gotten emails from Green raising money for candidates. That’s just a fact.

  83. 83
    Mino says:

    Yes, well the “only a Democrat can reform Welfare” worked out pretty much like the DFH’s said. The economy tanks; lots of kids go hungry. So, we might be forgiven for being a little nervous about a similar “only a Democrat can reform”… SS & Medicare situation.

  84. 84
    slightly_peeved says:

    although I definitely want to see the “left flank” raise money independently for the most progressive congressional candidates.

    Unions already raise money for progressive candidates and advocate strongly for progressive causes. I’d rather see the left flank work with unions in fundraising, assuming that they’re not doing this already. They may find that allying with a larger group gets them a greater ability to influence legislation – see the excise tax in the ACA. However, that may come at the price of having to obey Reagan’s 1st commandment once in a while.

  85. 85
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ boss bitch / 68 : I agree. Which is why it’s frustrating to me, as someone who reads and writes and teaches (ETA) other people to read and write for a living, to keep coming across people in the blogosphere who use so few of those skills. You have people who view any use of the nation-household analogy as validating Republican memes/frames. They come across one red-flag phrase and immediately shut down their interpretive minds. So many of the complaints are about using something other than the approved lingo, and drawing conclusions rather haphazardly from there. I think Obama is a bit cleverer than that, and he knows how to co-opt pieces of political rhetoric and spin them in a different direction.

    The liberal blogosphere’s habits and practices of reading are a mess. All too often it’s little better than Control-F, find, no results, panic. I think we got habituated to the framing/memes discussion and now we completely fetishize a small set of shibboleths, and when Obama isn’t saying exactly those things, we freak out, even if the underlying concepts are still there, in plain view. Even Krugman does this. It’s kind of astounding.

  86. 86
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    The internet is totally fucking weird

    And you are totally full of shit.

  87. 87
    Loviatar says:

    @70 – slightly_peeved

    I’ve said it before in other threads and I’ll say it again; the PPACA is nothing more than an expanded Insurance scheme. It is not Universal Healthcare or a path to UHC it is Insurance.

  88. 88
    Bruce S says:

    Also, re: boss bitch – the last thing I would want is for OFA to “belong to the left.” I just don’t think it’s belonging to the DNC is so great. You don’t really have a clue as to where I’m at. I’m not “left” (I have arguments with lefties about Obama’s foriegn policy, which I pretty much support across the board all the time) – but I am someone who would like to see more of the grass-roots organizing focused on some key issues that we did to make Obama’s candidacy real and broad-based. It would empower Obama. No question. Now it’s campaign mode, which is fine. But there was a moment of great potential that was lost. And it will impact the campaign as well.

  89. 89
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    Last I heard, Lawrence O’Donnell was insisting that Tim Pawlenty was the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination and deriding anyone who suggested that a Teabagger could get the 2012 nomination. I don’t watch him much because his record as a prophet rivals Mark Halperin’s

    Unlike his prediction that the War Powers Act would never be violated because the U.S. would be out of Libya long before that, Pawlenty’s nomination could still occur. As could the “Barack Obama plays 11th-dimensional chess and doesn’t bugger Social Security and Medicare to get the debt ceiling extended” notion.

    I forget how many times I’ve heard the “you don’t understand what’s going on behind the scenes” argument. Experience has taught me that (a) this form of ad hominem is used only when the speaker has absolutely no other weapon and (b) the speaker is usually dead wrong.

    As someone who objected to implementing the findings of the 1983 Catfood Commission (which was run by Alan Greenspan, by the way)– and got buried by the O’Donnells of that era using pretty much the same argument– I claim the right to complain.

    Although, to be blunt, O’Donnell’s “Agree once and you forfeit the right to say ‘no’ ever again” argument is fundamentally identical to the defense offered by husbands on trial for marital rape. I’m not sure why anyone who supported raising the normal retirement age to 67– on the belief that it was a one-time change that would save Social Security forever– should be penalized for being gullible.

    It’s especially galling to see O’Donnell– who constantly berates progressives for fighting unwinnable battles and holding politicians to impossible standards– using an example of bowing to political realities as a weapon against them. Why would one bother arguing for a ‘normal retirement age’ of 62 or lower when everyone in The Village is trying to get it to 70?

    Having done all this crowing, I hope that ABL will be properly gracious to the people she’s deriding if the people who believed Barack Obama would use the debt limit as his excuse to damage Social Security and Medicare (just as he used unemployment benefits as his excuse to gut the estate tax and fold on the 39% tax bracket). At the very least, the mea culpa ought to be cross-posted at Firedoglake.

    Or, if the rationale will be, “He needed to do this to save our financial system”, then could we have that post now?

  90. 90
    opal says:

    @Bruce S:

    I’m not “left”

    Who would you like to see elected President next year?

    It’s a simple question.

  91. 91
    Loviatar says:

    @90 – opal

    A Democrat who believes in governing with democratic policies

  92. 92
    Bruce S says:

    opal – when you’re off the drugs, get back to me.

  93. 93
    slightly_peeved says:

    I’ve said it before in other threads and I’ll say it again; the PPACA is nothing more than an expanded Insurance scheme. It is not Universal Healthcare or a path to UHC it is Insurance.

    Firstly, the PPACA includes one of the most significant expansions of Medicaid in its history.

    Secondly, well-regulated insurance is the cornerstone of several countries’ UHC systems.

    So not only do you not know how the PPACA works, you don’t know how UHC works, either.

  94. 94
    Bruce S says:

    Honest question for ABL –

    “i would like those who approach the process with hair-on-fire-i’m-going-to-circulate-this-petition hysterics to sit down and shut up.”

    Does that include Bernie Sanders, who was also circulating a petition ? If so, we are seriously at odds.

  95. 95
    opal says:

    @Loviatar:

    And who would that be specifically?

    I mean, aside from those that you think would theoretically win every independent vote in your Cutie Mark imagination.

    Here’s a clue:

    You already have your best chance in ages. Quit stabbing him in the back.

  96. 96
    Loviatar says:

    @95 – opal

    So now the criteria is to not win the election but to win every independent vote. Nice changing of the goalposts.

    I could see Andrew Cuomo possibly getting elected and governing to the left of Obama.

    As far as stabbing him in the back I guess my request for a Democratic president to govern with democratic policies is now considered a stab in the back. Wow how times have changed.
    .

    I’ve respectfully answered your question, now answer mine.

    Has Obama done anything, that you could not also see Reagan doing?

  97. 97
    Kane says:

    I sent Adam Green a check for the sum total of REALITY. I hope he cashes it.

  98. 98
    Loviatar says:

    @93 – slightly_peeved

    As I said I’ve had this conversation before so I’m not going to repeat myself. Here are the links if you’re interested.

    405, 408, 411, 412, etc.
    .

    please take a close look at 411 where the other countries argument comes up and 412 where I address that argument.

  99. 99
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    I could see Andrew Cuomo possibly getting elected and governing to the left of Obama.

    your embarrassingly not up to speed. Cuomo has governed as a red-state conservative, cutting taxes for millionaires, and capping property taxes of billionaires, all the while attacking unions and decimating services for children and the elderly.

    http://www.ianwelsh.net/less-c.....on-please/

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/.....-democrats

  100. 100
    Loviatar says:

    @99 – Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century)

    yeah, I can see how pushing throug a Gay Marriage law is the same as governing like a red-state conservative

    I’ll also check your other facts and get back to you

  101. 101
    CaliCat says:

    Thanks, Adam Green, for helping Mr. Obama get re-elected. Us O-bots really appreciate it. LOL

  102. 102
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    I’ll also check your other facts and get back to you

    they’re not my facts. those are facts from hard core leftys.

    He’s endorsed by Murdoch and opposed by “The Nation” who calls him “the bull dog of the rich“.

    That you take Rupert’s side, says it all. As Murdoch glowing says, “But what’s better is that from now on, spending for health care and education will be capped — limited by taxpayers’ ability to pay.” That’s straight outta Reagan’s playbook (stave the beast). Keep fuckin’ dat chicken.

  103. 103
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    @slightly_peeved

    You might want to Google the phrases “P.L. 96-223” and “P.L. 100-418” before being so condescending.

    When Jimmy Carter decontrolled crude oil prices in 1980, Congress passed a bill that was supposed to provide a mechanism to prevent price gouging. The bill turned out to be a dismal failure in practice– and then it was repealed during the Reagan administration.

    It’s a regrettable fact of life that regulations are written by people who have considerably less experience– and make a great deal less money– than the people employed by the industries being regulated.

    So, even on the rare occasions when the industry can’t buy off the legislators, they almost always manage to find loopholes. And if that doesn’t work, they sue and either delay implementation or find a court in a district that will rule in their favor (which gets easier and easier).

    A good rule of thumb is that the effectiveness of the law is inversely proportional to its complexity. The simplest laws with the fewest working parts and gray areas are the ones most likely to succeed.

    Another is that the stronger the regulation, the more often and more fiercely the industry challenges it. I don’t work in the industry so I don’t keep close track, but I don’t remember any of the HMO’s trying to block implementation.

    That suggests one of several possibilities:

    1. The HMOs have decided, in the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship, to comply with the spirit and letter of the law.

    2. They’re prepared to fight it in court, but have decided to wait for the 2012 election to see whether the battle will be necessary (which is feasible, since they stuff they really hate is back-loaded).

    3. They’re convinced that gains from the individual mandate and government assistance will outweigh the losses.

    Or it might be both #2 and #3– they’re planning to eat all the candy they were offered and then block the provisions that mandate peas.

    You’re putting an irrational amount of confidence in mechanisms (exchanges) that don’t currently exist– and can’t, therefore, be shown to be effective. You’re also assuming that they will exist (Ohio is now signalling that it will join Louisiana in not implementing one).

    And if the price controls don’t work, the ACA could turn into a dystopic nightmare for consumers.

  104. 104
    opal says:

    @Loviatar:

    Has Obama done anything, that you could not also see Reagan doing?

    Your devastating argument has swayed me.

    I am now a Michele Bachmann supporter.

  105. 105
    slightly_peeved says:

    Actually, Loviatar, that thread indicated you had no idea how UHC systems actually work beyond reading some articles that were linked to you.

    There are a number of requirements for universal health care; a government body to decide what care is provided to people, means for people to pay for that care (whether through taxation or insurance), and protections that ensure they receive the provided care. The PPACA achieves a number of these, and where they don’t, they make significant steps beyond the current status quo in the US. It pushes the US significantly closer to UHC.

    Implementing an 100% mandate before implementing the other aspects is a recipe for electoral disaster in the US, and does bugger-all to actually ensure the PPACA system works. It’s an irrelevance, and to use it to argue the PPACA makes no advancements is ridiculous. Especially since that whole argument you make on that other thread ignores the changes the PPACA makes, such as the increase in Medicaid funding, that are indisputable improvements in the US healthcare system regardless of the other parts of the law.

  106. 106
    Loviatar says:

    @104 – opal

    So you agree Obama is governing like an 80s era Republican.

    If thats true and I disagree with those governing policies, why should I support him in 2012.

  107. 107
    opal says:

    @Loviatar:

    Not really.

    I only agree that you are an idiot.

  108. 108
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Woodrow:

    A good rule of thumb is that the effectiveness of the law is inversely proportional to its complexity. The simplest laws with the fewest working parts and gray areas are the ones most likely to succeed.

    Go read the PPACA, and look for references to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. In case of dispute, he or she gets the final say on pretty much any aspect of insurance offered through the exchange. In that respect, the PPACA is actually very simple.

    You’re putting an irrational amount of confidence in mechanisms (exchanges) that don’t currently exist—and can’t, therefore, be shown to be effective.

    Exchanges do already exist. They’re called the FEHBP. They’re implemented by the same people as the PPACA exchanges, though the PPACA will be run under an even stronger regulatory framework.

    you’re also assuming that they will exist (Ohio is now signalling that it will join Louisiana in not implementing one).

    If the states don’t implement an exchange, the Feds implement one on their behalf. That’s in the law.

    I don’t think it’s condescending to point out things that are clearly in a law that is the subject of discussion. Some of the points you’ve raised are flatly contradicted by the law. Your argument doesn’t even refer to the PPACA; it’s just a general appeal to cynicism regarding government regulation, untethered to any actual discussion of what the PPACA does. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but it actually undermines any criticism you make of Obama. If government is always incompetent, why is having someone more left-leaning at the helm going to help?

  109. 109
    Loviatar says:

    @105 – slightly_peeved

    your comments show you’ve not read my posts.

    There are a number of requirements for universal health care; a government body to decide what care is provided to people, means for people to pay for that care (whether through taxation or insurance), and protections that ensure they receive the provided care. The PPACA achieves a number of these, and where they don’t, they make significant steps beyond the current status quo in the US. It pushes the US significantly closer to UHC.

    The PPACA does not push the US significantly closer to UHC. Woodrow L. Goode, IV (103) makes the case above in that while insurance is now mandated for all the regulation of that insurance is still left in the hands of private industry who may or may not decide to challenge the “medicine” part of the regulations. I pointed out this fact in my links that this is similar to the Dutch plan which has lack of care and rising costs problems as laid out in the article that I just happened to glance through.

    Implementing an 100% mandate before implementing the other aspects is a recipe for electoral disaster in the US, and does bugger-all to actually ensure the PPACA system works. It’s an irrelevance, and to use it to argue the PPACA makes no advancements is ridiculous. Especially since that whole argument you make on that other thread ignores the changes the PPACA makes, such as the increase in Medicaid funding, that are indisputable improvements in the US healthcare system regardless of the other parts of the law.

    Again, nowhere in any of my writings do I advocate a 100% implementation of UHC within a specified time period. Also nowhere do I advocate implementation of UHC without consideration of our current health insurance policies. What I do advocate is a written down and agreed to path for UHC, which identifies a plan and a schedule to implement that plan. PPACA is not such a plan. It is an expanded Insurance scheme. And unfortunately after 3 years of hastily glancing through several articles on the subject it seems to be a poorly designed scheme.

    Also, while the increase to medicare funding are indisputable improvements in the US healthcare system they are not a path to UHC which is what the discussion revolved around. Again similar to my other discussions on this subject you are attempting to blur the line on my simple statement that PPACA is not UHC and is not a path to UHC.

    .

    P.S.

    by the way I haven’t forgotten your posts @99 / 102 and will respond once I’ve confirmed the facts you’ve presented.

  110. 110
    slightly_peeved says:

    Woodrow L. Goode, IV (103) makes the case above in that while insurance is now mandated for all the regulation of that insurance is still left in the hands of private industry who may or may not decide to challenge the “medicine” part of the regulations.

    This is flatly contradicted by the law. The regulation of insurance is left almost entirely in the hands of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He or she has the final say on every aspect of the law’s implementation. If a state does not implement an exchange, he or she implements it on their behalf.

    Have you, or Woodrow, actually read the PPACA? If not, maybe those few articles you have skimmed through aren’t a good basis for arguing its effectiveness.

    [Edited to tone it down a notch]

  111. 111
    Loviatar says:

    Exchanges do already exist. They’re called the FEHBP. They’re implemented by the same people as the PPACA exchanges, though the PPACA will be run under an even stronger regulatory framework.

    I’m going to have to disagree. While PPACA impacts federal employees who are covered by FEHBP by extending out their children’s coverage along with other benefit changes. It however, does not mandate that the new exchanges will be managed by the same personnel managing FEHBP. If I’m missing where is says so, please show me.

    If the states don’t implement an exchange, the Feds implement one on their behalf. That’s in the law.

    I’ve heard this said repeatedly, please point out where it is written down as I seem to be missing it on the Coming in 2014: Affordable Insurance Exchanges site.

  112. 112
    Loviatar says:

    Also, by the way this whole discussion is a nice distraction from my simple statement that PPACA is not UHC and is not a path to UHC.

  113. 113
    slightly_peeved says:

    It however, does not mandate that the new exchanges will be managed by the same personnel managing FEHBP.

    PPACA, Sec. 1334, (a) (4) and (5). Even if the exchange is run by the state, personnel from the OPM will administer multiple plans within those exchanges.

    I’ve heard this said repeatedly, please point out where it is written down as I seem to be missing it on the Coming in 2014: Affordable Insurance Exchanges site.

    PPACA, Sec. 1321, (c).

  114. 114
    Thymezone says:

    Whoops.

  115. 115
    slightly_peeved says:

    Also, by the way this whole discussion is a nice distraction from my simple statement that PPACA is not UHC and is not a path to UHC.

    This discussion establishes that you are misinformed as to the actual content of the PPACA. Any statement you make as to what it does or does not do has no value. I’ve given you the cites; go read it. I’m done here.

  116. 116
    Loviatar says:

    @113 – slightly_peeved

    Exchanges do already exist. They’re called the FEHBP. They’re implemented by the same people as the PPACA exchanges, though the PPACA will be run under an even stronger regulatory framework.

    PPACA, Sec. 1334, (a) (4) and (5). Even if the exchange is run by the state, personnel from the OPM will administer multiple plans within those exchanges.

    Just to be clear; your 1st statement above is in disagreement with your 2nd statement. The states and the insurance companies will continue to administer the exchanges. The federal government can only administer multiple plans within the exchange.

    PPACA, Sec. 1321, (c)

    I read this as meaning unless the exchanges are setup by the states they are subject to the whims of the president in office (similar to granting benefits to domestic partners). Is this true? If so what makes you think that the next president won’t have his HHS Secretary dissolve the changes along with putting a gag on abortion in AIDS funding while doing away with domestic partner benefits.
    .

    Oh by the way, PPACA is not UHC and is not a path to UHC.

  117. 117
    Loviatar says:

    @115 – slightly_peeved

    why the frustration.

    you and others have stated a falsehood – PPACA is UHC or a path to UHC. I’ve asked you to prove it, you’ve given me a lot of information about PPACA, you’ve insulted me, called me names, but you’ve yet to prove PPACA is UHC or a path to UHA.

    Show me where either of these things have been voted on and approved by Congress and the President and I’ll make my apologizes and move on.

  118. 118
    kay says:

    200,000 signatures nationwide is a very low number. Particularly because he’s asking them to sign a petition to NOT do something (donate, volunteer). “Signing” the petition takes all of 30 seconds, and getting a “NO!” (what he did here) is easy. It’s getting a YES that’s difficult :)

    For comparison, the political director of the Ohio Democratic Party makes about 80k, and she just co-ran a campaign that collected 1.3 million physical hard-copy signatures in 88 counties with 10,000 volunteers. That’s ONE STATE.

    If you’re really paying him 80k, he’s not worth the money.

    You could hire two on the ground organizers in a swing state like Florida or Ohio or Missouri for that, and they’d be expected to multiply their impact by recruiting thousands of flesh and blood volunteers. IMO that’d be particularly effective in a state like Florida on SS and Medicare cuts; tangible signatures: “I won’t vote for Obama”. You only need one state, if it’s the right state. Hell, you could pick certain counties in one state. Your organizer could just camp in one or two crucial counties.

    Half a million actual voting Dem signatures in Florida would probably get the Obama campaign’s attention.

    Does anyone check the work of internet activists, or look at what they’re actually doing? I have yet to see any evidence that anyone does.

  119. 119
    glasnost says:

    I don’t have time to read all these comments, ABL, but my conclusion is that you haven’t really dealt with your issues.

    The Lawrence O Donnell quote here comes to the conclusion that pressure from the left is a good thing for liberal priorities (no shit!). Since human beings are not robots, that is going to come along with a lot of hyperbole, mean statements, unfair stuff, maybe some blank-ism, which basically all you do is bitch about here.

    So maybe this post is an attempt to recognize that you go too far. It’s also nice to see you trying to engage with opposition to Obama that is not a juicy, easy target, the obvious idiots like Jane Hamsher.

    I personally am getting to the point where I’d support a primary against Obama. I only reached it this year, maybe in the last few months. He’s not a plant, he doesn’t hate progressive goals, he’s just failing. He doesn’t have what it takes. He has needed creativity and aggression and has lacked it.

    I’m still sort of waffly on this, but what got me here is the assumption that this final debt ceiling deal will be terrible.

    So, let’s get to the point. None of this other stuff really matters much. Here’s what matters. Raising the retirement age on Social Security, or the eligibility age on Medicare, is bullshit. I was not in fact there in the 80s, but I highly doubt that nobody on the left complained when the age was raised – and if they were all too intimidated, distracted or bedazzled by other priorities, I still would not give shit one. What it boils down to is that in a lot of jobs, working past about 60 entails an increasing likelihood of physical suffering. Working to 67 is just a world of physical pain and probably no small amount of limited-capacity humiliation for many people, and that’s even if you can manage to stay employed.

    I would love to lower the retirement age to 60, as would any good progressive. The fact that there’s no movement for it doesn’t mean shit. This is a goddamn stupid argument. Progressives, many of them, distrust nuclear energy, but there’s no movement to go blow up nuclear reactors (or, more mildly, have laws passed to shut them down). Republicans hate taxes, but there’s no move to lower the income tax rate to zero for rich people, although it would be their wildest dream come true. Movements are weighed against political realism.

    I actually think it’s okay for you to question orthodoxy on whether or not a given concession by the president is a big deal. Maybe even a healthy role. But don’t bring that shit in here about the retirement age. Any deal that comes out with that – or cuts to Medicaid reimbursements, or gigantic hits to a stretched domestic discretionary budget – or other bad things- loses me. I’m not promising not to vote for Obama but I’m lost all the same.

  120. 120
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    yeah, I can see how pushing throug a Gay Marriage law is the same as governing like a red-state conservative

    And yet Obama gets no credit for repealing DADT.

    I’ll also check your other facts and get back to you

    In other words, you’ll conveniently ignore them.

  121. 121
    glasnost says:

    Also, I went back to actually read your linked post about Adam Green’s “misrepresentations”, and it’s a bunch of bullshit.

    This is the way in which it is bullshit:

    #1. You have your opinion about what Obama means by those statements. Adam Green has his. Personally, I find your opinion to be unconvincing, and if you think Obama hasn’t put cutting entitlement benefits on the table, you’re kidding yourself (what do you think the “four trillion” deal was all about, eh?)
    But you’re allowed to raise the other side of that argument.

    #2. But you jump from there – maybe adam green’s take on what’s going on isn’t right –
    to a bunch of literally and completely unsubstantiated bullshit about Adam Green being a grifter. Allow me to quote you:

    misrepresentations that have been, in my view, willful

    IN your view? What the fuck does this mean? The fairies in your head told you that Adam Green really doesn’t care about progressive causes at ALL, he’s just in it for the MONEY MONEY MONEY…?
    Frankly, that’s stupid, unrealistic, and most importantly, unsubstantiated with anything even remotely like evidence.
    Unless you’re saying that because Tip O Neill was okay with benefit cuts in 1983, Adam Green must be a hypocrite for opposing them now.

    So, here’s the bile you should take responsibility for – your own. Oh, sure, it’s hypothetically okay to be “nervous” about some of what of the store Obama is giving away, but anyone who’s actually ANGRY must be a “grifter”.

    That’s a juvenile approach, and frankly, it’s a little damaged. It’s leading you to basically make shit up about people’s motivations must be because you appear to be unable to stand the idea of people being angry at Obama, but not being douchebags.

  122. 122
    John D. says:

    @Loviatar:

    I read this as meaning unless the exchanges are setup by the states they are subject to the whims of the president in office (similar to granting benefits to domestic partners).

    READ. THE. FUCKING. LAW.

    SEC. 1321 ø42 U.S.C. 18041¿. STATE FLEXIBILITY IN OPERATION AND
    ENFORCEMENT OF EXCHANGES AND RELATED REQUIREMENTS.
    (c) FAILURE TO ESTABLISH EXCHANGE OR IMPLEMENT REQUIREMENTS.—
    (1) IN GENERAL.—If—
    (A) a State is not an electing State under subsection
    (b); or
    (B) the Secretary determines, on or before January 1,
    2013, that an electing State—
    (i) will not have any required Exchange operational by January 1, 2014; or
    (ii) has not taken the actions the Secretary determines necessary to implement—
    (I) the other requirements set forth in the
    standards under subsection (a); or
    (II) the requirements set forth in subtitles A
    and C and the amendments made by such subtitles;
    the Secretary shall (directly or through agreement with a notfor-profit entity) establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.

    I am getting entirely fed up with know-nothing idiots opining on a law that they HAVE NOT BOTHERED to read. If the state does not have an exchange up and running, or looks to not have one up and running by the deadline, the feds will set one up and run it in such a fashion that it complies with the PPACA requirements. This is not an interpretation — this is precisely spelled out in the section that slightly_peeved GAVE YOU. You had to read 127 words to cover the information, and that was too much for you.

    You, sir, have made it clear that you are not interested in factual discussions. Go fuck yourself.

  123. 123
    Tim Connor says:

    You know, the issue isn’t making the cuts. The issue is giving them for nothing.

    Commit to let Bush tax cuts expire as part of the package, and I am with you.

    For free, or with the lame revenue measures I have seen discussed? I don’t get it.

    The question really becomes which is more important:

    1. The well being of the OBama brand
    2. The well being of the Democratic Party
    3. The well being of the nation’s citizenry

    A pretty good case can be made that Obama’s recent actions only advance item 1. Is that previously unknown in Presidential politics? No. Is it the change I “have been waiting for”?

    No.

  124. 124
    Pococurante says:

    Bruce S, I started to subscribe to your blog but unfortunately it is one of those “read more” that are hostile to RSS readers. Having to click through every single entry to see all content is just too tedious after awhile.

    (It’s one of the reasons I stopped reading Krugman, but with KThug it’s not necessary since so many bloggers full quote him.)

  125. 125
    aisce says:

    I understand that people are nervous and may view it as crass that I approach politics like a game. Maybe it’s the lawyer in me. Who knows.

    vs.

    What I find utterly appalling is the lengths to which Adam Green has gone for fundraising purposes for his “progressive” PAC.
    __
    Accordingly, while Lawrence does not demean Green’s protest as some kind of stunt, I sure as hell do.

    makes no sense. politics is a game and anybody can play it. including some guy called adam green. and his appalling stunts. that have no place in our political game. stunts and games don’t mix.

    you can’t gush about how great a liar and a poker player somebody is with one breath, and throw a tantrum regarding another liar with the next. everybody’s out for number one.

  126. 126
    Bruce S says:

    Pococurante – thanks. I’m not really up on RSS. I just have some stuff I bookmark. Click through. Old school shit. Cuz I’m old. But check in occasionally, if you’re so moved. It’s not anything you can’t get elsewhere, but I think it’s useful in that I’m trying to keep a focus on the current economic “debate” (such as it is, as opposed to simply clinging to a modicum of sanity against the raging hype) rather than random notes on what I woke up angry about. Which, of course, I also enjoy reading but don’t particularly feel the need to share.

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