Compromise

That word in the title is a dirty word to many. It seems to put teabaggers and firebaggers in a suicidal rage and can make partisans of all stripes a wee bit queasy. And yet, compromise is at the heart of our system of government. All progressive progress since 1776 has come through a series of hard and often bitter compromises. To reject the very idea of compromise is to reject the idea that Government by the people, of the people and for the people is a good thing. Because there are a lot of us with many different views and ideas of how to move forward. Some of these ideas are good. Some bad. Quite a few are horrible. Some only improve when tested against other ideas. The best ideas are tested by compromise and improve over the years.

Of course everything I just wrote is heresy if you view compromise as an evil in and of itself.

This is especially true if you’ve narrowed your political world view to the lens of a favorite single issue (or two) and force all of your thinking and reactions through the force rigidity that their talking points demand. If that is how you view the world then the notion of compromise is simply vile. Now, some would argue that this view of compromise as the great evil is evenly distributed between the left and the right or between Democrats and Republicans. That is, of course, pure bullshit. Yes, the Left/Democrats have their Firebaggers, but these folks are a tiny grifter minority whose main function seems to be to lighten the wallets of the gullible. Most Democrats view compromise the way Teddy Kennedy viewed it–as the best way (and the only way) to get things done.

But over on the right, the grifters control the show and any compromise is evil–especially any compromise with a Black President.

This is especially true of the Republican Party which has been taken over by neo-Confederates. Like their fore-bearers of old, this modern Republcan Confederate Party would rather blow up the Nation than compromise on any item that might harm the oligarchs running the con. Then, as now, it was about money and the right of the few to steal the labor of others while passing on the cost of their corruption to the majority. Then, as now, they built their political world view upon a foundation of magical thinking, fear and hate. And then, as now, they would do anything and everything to destroy the President of the United States. Then it was Abraham Lincoln. Now it is Barack Obama.

I had an email the other day from Dan, a BJ reader, who mentioned that the current debt crisis was “economic Fort Sumter” for our 21st Century Republcan Confederate Party. There is some truth to that. The first half of 1861 was a time when Confederates were convinced that they shit gold and spat fire. They were certain that when they acted the rest of the Nation and the World would follow their script. Compromise–or even giving President Lincoln a fair hearing–was out of the question. The only path was the path of Confederate fantasy and so the War came. Shots were fired on Fort Sumter, but things did not go according to plan.

History repeats as an echo with Wingnutopia and the Confederates in the 112th Congress. Once again, they are convinced that their fantasies are bold and true and that they must tear the Nation apart to “save it”. This time, the hostage isn’t a Fort in Charleston Harbor–it is the economy. Once again, they are convince if they pull the trigger, everybody will fall in line. These modern Confederates are just as crazy as their 1861 role models. You can tell how crazy they are by their auto-hostility to any hint of compromise–especially if the compromise has anything to do with that Black man in the White House.

And yet, compromise is at the very heart of America. Compromise is the foundation of our laws, our Constitution and our system of Government. Without compromise, everything falls apart. That is what the Confederates knew 150 years ago and what the Republcan Confederate Party knows today. If you can make compromise a dirty word–a shame to be avoided at at cost–you can destroy the Union. And tearing apart the Union was the goal then and it is the goal now.

Some are starting to notice that this hate of any compromise with Barack Obama is a dangerous sickness. Nicholas Kristof called out wingnut extremists and their insane desire to damage America in a must read editorial in today’s NYTs, but he stopped short of linking this madness to the leadership of the GOP. Other have made that link and in the coming weeks more folks will. As the Confederate attack on our economy heats up, connecting the dots will be unavoidable–even for the Villagers of DC.

President Obama has been pointing out rejection of compromise by the Republicans for months. In his press conference on Friday evening, when asked who Americans should blame if Social Security checks are not mailed in August, he said (emphasis added):

We should not even be in that kind of scenario. And if Congress — and in particular, the House Republicans — are not willing to make sure that we avoid default, then I think it’s fair to say that they would have to take responsibility for whatever problems arise in those payments. Because, let me repeat, I’m not interested in finger-pointing and I’m not interested in blame, but I just want the facts to speak for themselves.

And in answer to another question he added:

Last point I’ll make here. I mean, I’ve gone out of my way to say that both parties have to make compromises. I think this whole episode has indicated the degree to which at least a Democratic President has been willing to make some tough compromises. So when you guys go out there and write your stories, this is not a situation where somehow this was the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans. A lot of Democrats stepped up in ways that were not advantageous politically. So we’ve shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff on an issue that Republicans ran on.

Now some might ask: “Why is Obama still willing to try to work out a compromise with these fuckers?”. It is a fair question. After all, these folks are united in a desire to destroy him and are willing to do great harm to America if that harm might damage President Obama and/or his Party. These folks have rejected potential deals designed to cater to their stated fantasies and wish lists. The President has agreed to cuts that will do great harm and that put him at odds with many activists, leaders and members of his Party. And yet, he keeps advocating the idea of compromise as an American virtue and a goal worth pursuing.

Why?

Earlier on Friday, President Obama explained why at a Town Hall meeting in Maryland:

Q Hi. My name is Mary Wagner. I teach government at Blake High School in Montgomery County … And one of the things that we teach our students when we’re teaching them about this governmental system that we have is how important it is in a two-party system to compromise. And my students watched the Republican leadership after the last election saying things out loud like, we’re not going to compromise with the Democrats. And does that mean — are things changing? Do we not use compromise anymore? And what should I teach my students about how our government works if people are saying out loud, we’re not going to compromise with the other party? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I think you should keep on teaching your students to compromise, because that’s not just how government works; that’s how life works. How many people here are married? (Laughter.) For those of you who are not but intend to get married, let me just tell you — (laughter) — you better get used to compromise.

All of us have particular views, a particular vision, in terms of where we think things should go. But we live in societies, we live in communities. And that means we never get our way a hundred percent of the time. That’s what we teach our kids. That’s what we teach our students. That’s how government has to work.

And there’s this notion — I was actually reading an article on the way over here, and the basic notion was that, well, Obama is responsible, but he doesn’t fight enough for how he believes, and the Republicans are irresponsible but all full of conviction. So this was sort of the way the article was posed. And this notion that somehow if you’re responsible and you compromise, that somehow you’re giving up your convictions — that’s absolutely not true. (Applause.)

I think it’s fair to say that Abraham Lincoln had convictions. But he constantly was making concessions and compromises. I’ve got the Emancipation Proclamation hanging up in the Oval Office, and if you read that document — for those of you who have not read it — it doesn’t emancipate everybody. It actually declares the slaves who are in areas that have rebelled against the Union are free but it carves out various provinces, various parts of various states, that are still in the Union, you can keep your slaves.

Now, think about that. That’s — “the great emancipator” was making a compromise in the Emancipation Proclamation because he thought it was necessary in terms of advancing the goals of preserving the Union and winning the war. And then, ultimately, after the war was completed, you then had the 13th and 14th and 15th amendments.

So, you know what, if Abraham Lincoln could make some compromises as part of governance, then surely we can make some compromises when it comes to handling our budget. (Applause.)

But you’re absolutely right that the culture is now pushing against compromise, and here are a couple of reasons. I mean, one reason is the nature of congressional districts. They’ve gotten drawn in such a way where some of these districts are so solidly Republican or so solidly Democrat, that a lot of Republicans in the House of Representatives, they’re not worried about losing to a Democrat, they’re worried about somebody on the right running against them because they compromise. So even if their instinct is to compromise, their instinct of self-preservation is stronger, and they say to themselves, I don’t want a primary challenge. So that leads them to dig in.

You’ve got a media that has become much more splintered. So those of you who are of a Democratic persuasion are only reading The New York Times and watching MSNBC — (laughter) — and if you are on the right, then you’re only reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page and watching FOX News. (Laughter.) And if that’s where you get your information, just from one side, if you never even have to hear another argument, then over time you start getting more dug in into your positions.

They’ve actually done studies — this is interesting — that if you put people in a room who agree with each other basically — if you just put a group of very liberal folks together and they’re only talking to each other for long periods of time, then they start becoming — they kind of gin each other up and they become more and more and more liberal. And the same thing happens on the conservative side; they become more and more and more conservative. And pretty soon you’ve got what you have now, which is everybody is demonizing the other side; everybody considers the other side completely extremist, completely unscrupulous, completely untrustworthy. Well, in that kind of atmosphere it’s pretty hard to compromise.

So we have to wind back from that kind of political culture. But the only way we do it is if the American people insist on a different approach and say to their elected officials, we expect you to act reasonably, and we don’t expect you to get your way a hundred percent of the time, and we expect you to have strong convictions, but we also expect you to manage the business of the people. And if you’re sending that message, eventually Congress will get it. But it may take some time. You’ve got to stay on them.

I, for one, am glad that the President defends the idea of compromise. I think finding the point of balance and how folks can work together is a good thing. It is what America does when we are at our best. Rejection of balance–rejection of compromise–is what we do when we are at our worst. You may disagree, but perhaps if we talk and understand each other beyond the limits of my prose or yours we will find a point of balance, a point of compromise and enough agreement to work together on something bigger.

President Obama was right about Lincoln. He was a great compromiser. So was FDR. So was LBJ. So was MLK. Compromise has been at the root of all progress. Negotiations can be hard. Bitter. Difficult. It has always been this way. And yet, Americans find a way to work together. We find a way to compromise even with folks where the disagreement is real, painful and deep. Rarely has there been a political movement in America dedicated to the rejection of compromise in any form, but it did happen 150 years ago.

The opposition Lincoln faced was insane and willing to destroy the Nation to feed their delusions of grandeur. The costs of that total rejection of compromise was high in blood and treasure.

After the Confederates were defeated in battle, no President has faced an opposition willing to destroy the Nation rather than compromise with him. That changed in 2009 when Barack Obama became President and the neo-Confederates took absolute control of the Republican Party and the “Conservative” movement in America. Since that day this dedicated group of radicals has been willing to destroy the Union if that might also destroy Obama. Taking a tip from the Fire Eaters of old, the key strategy and only tactic of these neo-Fire Eaters is to refuse any and all efforts to compromise on any issue. The goal is to force crisis after crisis on the Nation until it breaks. Their hope is that a shattered Nation will blame the Black man in the White House and not them. Tonight the hostage is raising the debt limit. When it is resolved another hostage will be taken.

It is all madness.

150 years ago tonight the Nation was learning about the First Battle of Bull Run. Almost 5,000 were killed, wounded or missing and the Confederate fantasy of a cost-free rebellion met the first stiff winds of reality. Still it would take many more lives before the traitors swapped their fantasies of easy rebellion for dreams of a “Lost Cause”.

And the 21st Century Republcan Confederate Party is still at war with America. All they have–all they ever had–is a sea of lies and their hate. They really hate what America has become. They hate the melting pot. They hate the diversity. They hate the rights that workers have and that women get to have control over their lives and their bodies. They hate a lot about America. Mostly they hate that a Black man could be elected President.

To feed that hate they will reject all compromise and crash the economy. And then these assholes imagine the world will thank them for all the destruction.

Good luck with that.

Cheers

159 replies
  1. 1
    WaterGirl says:

    I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, but before heading to bed, I want to say thanks for this post.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Good to see you posting again, Dengre. I’ve missed your take on things.

    This was worth the wait. Excellent post.

  3. 3
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    I think, if anything, this whole debacle show’s the lunacy of the firebaggers/whatever you call them that want the Democratic party to function tactically the same as Republicans.

    The occasional primary challenge is fine of course, as is maintaining some message discipline. But thanks to Grover Norquist and his fellow travelers I think here what we’re seeing is the end stage of a party that’s become so insanely focused on tactics it can’t even say yes to good policy anymore. The fact that the Republican congress is unwilling to accept ANY amount of tax raising in return for excesses of spending cuts is totally insane from a conservative policy viewpoint.

    Direct democracy is all well and good, but having senior leaders (e.g. Boehner) who are totally UNABLE to stand up to their constituents even when they think their representees are wrong on the merits is essentially useless. Compare anything Cantor and Boehner have come out with to Pelosi’s “we’re taking impeachment off the table”. You think either of them could stand up to their base on the merits in that way?

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    The rejection of compromise has its roots in the abortion battles of the 1970s. For those whose right-to-life views are based in their religious beliefs, compromise on abortion is akin to sanctioning the murder of innocents, and that can’t be countenanced.

    And once you get it into your head that the other side is aligned with the Devil, then compromise on any issue becomes unthinkable.

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:

    Mostly they hate that a Black man could be elected President.

    They have no problem with a Black man being President; they would welcome Herman Cain with open arms.

    Obama is hated for being a Democrat, a liberal, and, worst of all, for being someone that believes government has a role. The Republicans are only interested cutting government to cut taxes; fuck all, they still haven’t gotten over the New Deal.

    Obama the Democrat and the Liberal must be destroyed at all costs; his race has little to do with it.

  6. 6
    robertdsc-PowerBook says:

    Great post.

    I think the thing that bothers a lot of folks on teh left side of the dial is that the President has put things into the compromise mix that shouldn’t be there, like Social Security.

  7. 7
    Yutsano says:

    @The Dangerman:

    They have no problem with a Black man being President; they would welcome Herman Cain with open arms.

    If you think Cain is anything but a token to prove they’re totes not racist, then I want what you’re smoking.

    Obama the Democrat and the Liberal must be destroyed at all costs; his race has little to do with it.

    His race is a huge component as well. It’s pretty much a gestalt hatred of him.

  8. 8
    John Weiss says:

    Dennis,

    What a cogent analysis. Good on you!

    It is useful to point out that teh crazy has always been with us.

    Three steps forward, two back. I don’t like it much, but it seems that that’s the way it is.

    Many of my friends are running about with their hair on fire. Perhaps because I’ve achieved the exalted position of ‘old fuck’ that I can’t worry about it. The ship has always righted it’s self and I believe it shall again.

    But, believe me, I’m not stepping back, I’m pushing back.

    Fuckers! Our country was founded on a beautiful ideal, and you and I aren’t going to abandon that idea.

    Nicely written. Kudos.

  9. 9
    Frank says:

    Hey Dengre, awesome post. this post helped lighten my heart.

    Remember it’s okay to post something light hearted too, on an open thread. Stress relief is sometimes needed.

  10. 10
    Dennis G. says:

    The Dangerman:

    There are some who would welcome Cain, but most would not–anymore than they welcomed Steele as head of the RNC. The function of these guys is to serve as cover so folks can have plausible deniability for the racism of their movement. Yes, they hate Obama because he is a Democrat and one they identify as a Liberal, but they hate him most because he is black. Only racism explains the irrationality of the hate. Nothing else comes close. We might wish it was not so, but it is what it is.

    Cheers

  11. 11
    The Dangerman says:

    @Yutsano:

    If you think Cain is anything but a token to prove they’re totes not racist, then I want what you’re smoking.

    To them, Cain is the same as Bush; he would be the new Charlie McCarthy to be controlled by some Cheney-like power figure with his hand up his ass.

    His race is a huge component as well.

    Component? Yes.

    Root cause? No. They are pissed they’ve been repeatedly schooled by Obama (his appearance at the Republican retreat for example; hasn’t been invited again to my recollection) the Liberal, not Obama the African American.

  12. 12
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dennis G.:

    Yes, they hate Obama because he is a Democrat and one they identify as a Liberal, but they hate him most because he is black. Only racism explains the irrationality of the hate. Nothing else comes close. We might wish it was not so, but it is what it is.

    Does no one remember anything about the Hunting of The President?
    Starr Report, watermelons, lesbian wife, drug dealing Governor, etc?
    IMO it’s just standard issue by now. No legit Pres unless it’s an R Pres.

  13. 13
    Karen says:

    @The Dangerman

    They have no problem with a Black man being President; they would welcome Herman Cain with open arms.

    You’re really determined to stick to the racism doesn’t exist argument aren’t you?

    Herman Cain is not raising as much as Mitt Romney. Clarence Thomas has yet to write an opinion on SCOTUS in all the years he’s been there.

    Think about it.

  14. 14

    I’m just so fucking tired of the GOP moving the fucking goalposts at every opportunity and having the establishment media not even blink. Someone has to stand up and say ‘No, this charade has gone too far.’ and I don’t see Obama doing that forcefully enough. And it seems like when Reid & Pelosi take that line, the WH undercuts them – in the name of compromising with bullies who aren’t negotiating in good faith.

    Shit, most of the time they aren’t negotiating at all… It’s all so wearisome and disheartening. Retreat is not compromise. It’s retreat.

    I’m no Firebagger – I don’t see any strategic value in weakening the Ds out of anger or spite. But every day I feel more and more vindicated in my 1990s prediction that the first Black POTUS would be a moderate Republican.

    Eh. It could also be the Reisling talking… but it doesn’t change how disheartening things have been…

  15. 15
    jurassicpork says:

    There’s a big difference between compromise and capitulation that other people (meaning us) have to pay for. You seem to be missing the fact that Obama was holding up Lincoln not freeing some slaves as a model of compromise. If you free only some people to appease those who have long since been shown to be on the wrong side of history, then you are capitulating, not compromising.

    The current debt ceiling/budget debate shouldn’t even be a debate. And things that were until a couple of years ago inviolable (SS, Medicare, Medicaid) are now more than threatened. Obama agreed to let Social Security taxes get cut by 2% last December while he was “compromising” with clearly insane and clearly racist Republicans who will also be judged correctly by history. Obama’s put everything near and dear to us on the table but Republicans want the whole cut of meat even if they wreck the table, the dining room and the whole fucking house.

    Sorry. There’s compromise and then there’s capitulation. Obama’s a craven capitulator and the motherfucker has to go.

  16. 16
    Brian S says:

    They have no problem with a Black man being President; they would welcome Herman Cain with open arms

    Watch and see how many votes he actually gets in the caucuses/primaries. If he ever finishes higher than fifth I’ll buy you a cse of whatever beer you favor.

  17. 17
    Emerald says:

    Me, I think Lawrence O’Donnell has it exactly right. This has been an elaborate bluff from Obama the whole time that ends up with the Republicans being blamed.

    He demonstrated that he can bluff at that level the weekend he did standup comedy that destroyed Donald Trump just before he killed OBL. Do you really want to play poker with this man?

    Because it’s been clear from the beginning that these parties cannot compromise with each other.

    I think the end result of this is either a voice vote on a clean bill at the last gasping minute, or invoking the 14th Amendment and damn the torpedos. And that’s what it was going to be from the start.

    (BTW, Dennis G, fabulous post, as usual)

  18. 18
    The Dangerman says:

    @Dennis G.:

    …as cover so folks can have plausible deniability for the racism of their movement.

    OK, I’ll have to backtrack a bit; no doubt, the “movement” is full to overflowing with racists at the grass roots level…

    …my previous thoughts were more towards the Leaders of that movement, i.e., elected officials, the ones that have to be the “Compromisers”; I don’t think many elected officials are driven by racist concerns (I’m sure there are some) nearly as much as ideological concerns.

  19. 19
    different church-lady says:

    In a perfect world nobody would be allowed to blog unless they came up with stuff as deep and thought-out as this.

  20. 20

    I’ve been waiting for this post for a few weeks, Dennis. Great work!

  21. 21
    Batocchio says:

    Thoughtful piece. I’d only say that the goal is good governance, and “compromise” is a means to that end, not a goal in itself. Bipartisanship fetishists don’t understand that, but then, they always ignore actual policies and their consequences. Unfortunately, Obama buys into some of that crap, too, and has often started negotiations with concessions. That’s not to say he’s hasn’t been dealt an awful hand, because he has; the GOP leadership is a mix of corrupt, evil and insane. As earlier BJ posts have pointed out, it would have been nice if the Galtian overlords could have reigned in dumb nihilist Eric Cantor and the rest of the assholes, but that hasn’t happened yet (at least not publicly).

  22. 22
    Xenos says:

    @jurassicpork:

    Sorry. There’s compromise and then there’s capitulation. Obama’s a craven capitulator and the motherfucker has to go.

    You have six years to come up with an alternative, as you are way too late to organize something for 2012. Better get cracking!

    In any case, look to what Obama has accomplished out of this apparent ‘capitulation’ when it is over before you decide he has capitulated, or he has to go.

    The social safety net can always be rebuilt or strengthened, as there is wide popular support for it… another eight years of corrupt GOP operatives burrowing into the bureaucracy and GOP presidents venturing forth on wars under false pretenses really will destroy this country.

  23. 23
    General Stuck says:

    Only racism explains the irrationality of the hate. Nothing else comes close. We might wish it was not so, but it is what it is

    Yes, and I don’t think there would be an org that is the tea party, if Obama was whit. And I very much doubt the wingnuts would be playing incredibly dangerous game of chicken with the full faith and credit of the US one the line.

    So I think the emo level (hate and rage) for the tea party movement, and the embrace (or fear of) these crazy motherfuckers, is something desperate GOP officials and others, cannot turn away from. It is the only electoral lifeline that exists for them and Bush. and without its energy, they would be more like dead fish trying to come back.

    It takes a lot to get a fat white crackers of the couch and out on the street protest grid, and Obama’s blackness has animated them more to get up off the couch and wave the “Witch doctor Obama sign)

    excellent post Dennis, and I might have had a mind meld with the reader Dan, having mentioned the FT Sumter feel for all of this in an earlier thread. And also the utter intransigence of confederates that didn’t aid them and their cause directly.

  24. 24
    different church-lady says:

    Watch and see how many votes he actually gets in the caucuses/primaries. If he ever finishes higher than fifth I’ll buy you a cse of whatever beer you favor.

    No need to wait, just look at how he’s polling now.

    Sorry. There’s compromise and then there’s capitulation. Obama’s a craven capitulator and the motherfucker has to go.

    You seem to have missed… I dunno… the whole damn POINT of the post. Which is that compromise is an unavoidable fact of how our government is set up, and that if you’re actually interested in governing you have to do it, and if you’re not interested in governing you dig in your heels and let the whole thing get ripped apart.

  25. 25
    The Dangerman says:

    @Karen:

    Herman Cain is not raising as much as Mitt Romney.

    Of course not; he has no chance of winning the nomination. Isn’t because he’s African American.

    Go back a few years; at one point, Colin Powell could have run for the Presidency and won as a Republican. Yes, he would have had to put up with a ton of shit and his wife, as I recall, wanted nothing to do with it, but he could have won.

  26. 26
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Compromise is one of the good things that allows government to function well in normal times. These aren’t normal times. Obama could offer the House Republicans an arm and a leg and they would insist on the other arm, the other leg, and their most cherished goal; his head on a platter. That’s why the word “compromise,” in the context of negotiations with the Republicans, has become unsettling to me. The Republicans don’t compromise, with them there is little to none of the give and take that forms the basis for compromise.

  27. 27
    Phildo says:

    Compromise is indeed a fundamental element of our political system, but to get things done, not for its own sake. At some point compromise becomes appeasement. Lincoln was willing to cut a deal with the secessionists, but there were key points he was not willing to give up, such as restoration of the Union. And he certainly never put Fort Sumter (or any Federal property) on the table. When the Confederates fired on it, compromise ended.

    If the Republicans lead us into default, I hope Obama understands that they have basically declared war on the United States, and that compromise has failed. Giving them what they want at that point will be appeasement.

  28. 28

    Corner Stone

    Does no one remember anything about the Hunting of The President?
    Starr Report, watermelons, lesbian wife, drug dealing Governor, etc?
    IMO it’s just standard issue by now. No legit Pres unless it’s an R Pres.

    You forgot the firearms that they brought to Clinton’s public appearances…Oh, wait…

  29. 29
    Cassidy says:

    Fuck it. Sometimes I wish those POS’s would start their civil war and be done with it. Tired of all this fucking around.

  30. 30
    Karen says:

    @Jurassicpork

    Obama has got to go?

    I shouldn’t even be wasting my breath on you but tell me who you plan to vote for? Nader? He has no chance in hell. Kucinch? Oh he’s going to win, that’s why he has yet to win Presidential Primary.

    Or maybe you want Ron Paul like Jane Hamsher. He won’t compromise but if you want Obama gone, you’ll really hate Ron Paul.

    Obama bought unemployed people time. I know that means nothing to you, just like the people ACA bought more time for on insurance mean nothing to you because he didn’t get single payer. You remind me of the people who demand that taxes don’t get raised by a penny to pay teachers better because they have no kids.

    Give me an alternative. I fucking dare you! Give me a real alternative. If you don’t then you’re just some Red State scumbag trying to cause trouble here because you’re bored with the people on your own blog.

  31. 31
    Ron says:

    I’m not happy about changes proposed to SS or Medicare either. But if we got something good enough in return it might be something I could swallow. The problem is the GOP doesn’t think they should give in on anything and getting nothing for something sucks.

  32. 32
    Marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    In most cases of course Dennis G. is quite right. Compromise makes sense — most of the time.

    There are some issues, however, on which compromise is not possible if we want to live in a civilized society. For example, if we compromise on the eighth amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment,” we wind up compromising on torture. “Okay, the Republicans want to gouge both a prisoner’s eyes out to get him to confess, and the Democrats refuse to accept torture. So let’s compromise, and whenever anyone is arrested, we’ll gouge out only one of his eyes to get him to confess.”

    Doesn’t work.

  33. 33
    grung0r says:

    Obama’s assertion that the emancipation proclamation was a “compromise” is startlingly daft. Obama may have read it the text, but he obviously missed the title, specifically the “proclamation” part. Lincoln proclaimed it. That’s it. There was no back and forth, no meeting in the middle. Any “compromise” took place within the confines of Lincoln’s own mind.

    Even where this not so, one has to wonder who Obama thinks Lincoln was compromising with. The Confederacy? Slave holders in union held territory? How is compromising with such people a virtue? Seems like something to be looked back on in shame to me.

  34. 34
    Lol says:

    One of my favorite thing about the “Obama capitulated by cutting Social Security taxes” meme was the just weeks before many on the Professional Left had been advocating a payroll tax holiday as a stimulative measure. Maybe not the most ideal one but one that could be sold tithe GOP. And then Obama actually get it done and since they’re completely incapable of giving him credit for anything, it’s since become a club to beat him with because he did what they were just suggesting.

  35. 35
    Marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    burnspbesq:

    The rejection of compromise has its roots in the abortion battles of the 1970s.

    No, the rejection of compromise has its roots in the politics of the Jacobins in France in the 1790s. The Jacobins refused to accept the political legitimacy of anyone who dissented from their views.

    The Republicans have adopted the same policy. And we seem to be headed for the same end result: tumbrels carrying prisoners to mass executions, state committees for security, violent revolution, and mass purges.

  36. 36
    hildebrand says:

    A very solid piece. Another bit to point out – Obama has not only had to deal with an insane Republican party, but also Democrats who have rarely had his back, especially in public. Where have Reid, Pelosi, and the rest been for the last four months? The last four weeks?

    Pelosi was great, absolutely huge, during the health care fight, but has disappeared since then. Yes, she is no longer Speaker, and that sucks in on multiple levels, but where has Nancy Smash been since the election? Is Reid not the Senate majority leader, where has he been? Have you heard one Democratic Senator get on TV regularly to support the President? What are they waiting for?

    I may be wrong (and would love to be proven wrong) on this, but the Democrats seem quite willing to let Obama fight this one alone.

  37. 37
    John Weiss says:

    Karen,

    Don’t waste your breath. You had it right in your first sentence.

  38. 38
    normal liberal says:

    Beautifully said. And true. I trust you won’t mind if I start quoting this, possibly on random street corners to whomever will stop to listen.

    For those of you who doubt the racial component in the overwhelming opposition this president has faced, I can only wish I see what you do. I see a daily, constant attack on him not for his policies, but for his very existence. There is a significant contingent of our fellow citizens (perhaps the oft-cited 27 percenters) who saw the “it’s called the White House for a reason” buttons as a statement of truth – how dare this dark-skinned man sully their temple? They are not kidding – they really believe this, and I am not at all inclined to give a pass to the Republican leadership, which has traded on this again and again.

    And for the absolutist purists among us, those who shriek “capitulation” at every damn turn, all I can offer to address your concerns is weary contempt. I’ve been a Democrat and a liberal for 35 years, and I do not need you.

  39. 39
    jwb says:

    Dennis G.:

    Yes, they hate Obama because he is a Democrat and one they identify as a Liberal, but they hate him most because he is black. Only racism explains the irrationality of the hate. Nothing else comes close.

    I don’t think this is quite right. I’m with Corner Stone that it is the (D) that takes precedence. Race is merely the instrument of the hate. Just as if HRC was president, we’d be having this same discussion about gender. But if a white male Democrat was in office, we’d still be having this discussion only it would be focused on whatever facet of otherness had poll-tested best for generating disgust and hate. The principle is general, the instrument is particular. And while Obama is in office that instrument will obviously continue to be race, but the principle is to make it that a (D) can’t govern effectively.

  40. 40

    There are “liberals” or “progressives” out there who actually want Obama to do the worst thing they can imagine, so that it confirms their worst predictions about him. They actually need Obama to be terrible.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    Great post.

    Now for the trillion dollar question, how do we change this before the country is destroyed? How do we restore even a modicum of sensibility to the conservative side of the isle? Do we have to have something like another “civil” war? The conservatives have fired several shots, the current mess is just the biggest one. How does the country respond? I think the civil war was easier because it was actual warfare. Shots could be fired and the perpetrators could be defeated. What we have is like terrorism, you can’t successfully fight it long term with weapons, you have to convince the terrorists that your side has better answers. By actually having them.

  42. 42
    J says:

    I’m a bit confused though. I know that Obama is willing to compromise, and that’s all to the good, but sometimes it sounds as if he thinks compromise is an end in itself, as if what he really, really wants is compromise, but this makes no sense if compromise is a matter of two sides each making some concessions, giving up some of what they would most like, or think would really be best. What would Obama like if he had his druthers? What is he grudgingly, with deep regrets giving up in the interest of compromise? What is that he thinks compromise is second best to? At this point, I have no idea. I hate and loathe the present-day Republican party with every fiber of my being, but even a non-criminal, non-insane opposition party would, I think, have trouble understanding Obama’s negotiating strategy, which seems to be to begin by saying “here is the compromise we should agree on”. Any opposition is going to take the opening position of the the other party as the one they should whittle down. At the risk of being labelled a ‘Firebagger’ I confess that I’ve grown weary of President Obama’s efforts to stand above the fray. I’d like him to be in the fray, using all his considerable powers to fight for the values that I sill vaguely expect members of the non-warmongering, non-plutocratic, non crackpot-fundamentalist, non-confederate party to share.

  43. 43
    hildebrand says:

    The very fact that the instrument is race makes it doubly potent and damaging to all of us. We cannot ignore the way in which racism divides and degrades all of us. It may only be a tactic, but it is a tactic that tears at the fabric of this country in ways that are not matched by attacks on a political party or a white male Democrat’s otherness.

    I remember sitting in the Chicago train station a week after Obama’s election – a group of elderly African-Americans spoke about the fact that while the Right may have said that they hated Clinton they wouldn’t do anything about it, they said the Right would definitely try to kill Obama, though. The fear and sadness of that conversation still claws at me.

  44. 44
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @jwb:

    I don’t think this is quite right. I’m with Corner Stone that it is the (D) that takes precedence.

    jwb Johnson is right about Corner Stone Johnson being right. the (D) trumps race. Jimmy Carter was a white Southerner and he caught hell from the Republicans throughout his term. In their charming way the R’s even used him as a scapegoat after he’d left office.

  45. 45
    bago says:

    So Lincoln was a capitulator because he didn’t free all of the slaves on the first iteration?
    FDR who gave us Social Security and a dead Hitler was a capitulator because SS wasn’t universal?
    The guy who got HCR done, ended DADT, and got Osama is a capitulator?

    Seems to me they are people who got shit done.

  46. 46
    TooManyJens says:

    @hildebrand:

    Have you heard one Democratic Senator get on TV regularly to support the President? What are they waiting for?

    To be booked, I’d imagine. Funny how the TV propaganda shows don’t book Democrats. I doubt they’re refusing to go on.

  47. 47

    @bago: Some people are more interested in posturing at being “liberal” or “progressive” than actually getting anything done.

  48. 48
    TooManyJens says:

    @jwb:

    I’m with Corner Stone that it is the (D) that takes precedence. Race is merely the instrument of the hate.

    Can’t agree. Why do they hate Democrats so much? A lot of it has to do with their perception of the Democratic Party as the party of “those people.” It’s hard to separate Democrat-hate from racism.

  49. 49
    Emerald says:

    @Ruckus

    We beat them silly in 2012, that’s how. We wipe them off the map.

    And we can do it too. Look at that ruby red district in New York that elected a Democrat because of the Ryan budget.

    Shoot, those fools have taken even worse votes than that since then. And they’re crowing about it.

    Once the professional Republicans see that their wackjobs have doomed their party they will marginalize the idiots into oblivion. If they have a party left at all by then.

  50. 50
    John Weiss says:

    Bago, I’m wit’ you. Gods above! Bagging on Obama is bagging on one of the best Presidents we’ve ever had.

    He’s a politician, for heaven’s sake! I firmly believe that he’s our politician. Do suppose that all the Obama nay-sayers would rather have had JC as President? I do not.

  51. 51
    The Dangerman says:

    @jwb:

    …the (D) that takes precedence.

    General agreement, but I would take it a step further; not only is Obama a (D), but he’s (D) that has got shit done.

    Shit, the ACA could have been a Republican bill a decade ago (and was, of course, in Massachusetts); it wasn’t radical in any way. But it had to be destroyed through whatever means necessary (death panels. etc) because Obama, the (D), couldn’t be seen as being victorious on anything.

  52. 52
    PanurgeATL says:

    Thank you very much, but please, please, please, “casualties” are dead and wounded. 5000 casualties, most of them wounded, not 5000 deaths. I’ve been seeing this for years now (I don’t know if it’s a liberal thing or a blog thing or a “level of education in modern America” thing) and I just had to speak up.

  53. 53
    LosGatosCA says:

    Compromise is tool. But as John C has pointed out and Lincoln learned how do compromise with irrational, nihilistic to the point of self-destruction, sorry to be judgmental, know nothings.

    Sure, Lincoln compromised, he also drew a line and sent the Union Army out to enforce it.

    Unfortunately, the audience for this post, meaning those who could learn the most from it are over a RedState, etc. For Obama, the real lesson from Lincoln is that in the face of irrationality, get the army ready. Appeasement and capitulation are not compromise, they are surrender. Lincoln never surrendered. FDR never surrendered.

    The real issue is not to compromise or not to compromise. The issue is judgment and understanding that some, not many, battles are in fact to the death. And sometimes even the good and the righteous die in fighting a battle that is lost.

    Judgment and proportionality are needed on both sides to reach a compromise, Obama just can’t accept that he’s dealing with nihilistic Confederates as Dennis G points out who see taking the whole country down with them as some point of honor. Consequently, he puts too much on the table and the bullies take this for weakness.

    Obama has already done lasting damage to the principles of equality and fairness across all classes of Americans. He’s treated SS, Medicare, Medicare as mere chips in budget/debt bargaining while exempting the Bush tax cuts from any ‘compromise.’

    He’s reappointed Bernanke, appointed Geithner, Orszag, Summers with no accountability for the people who blew up the economy and putting the burden on the poor and the middle classes go make up the differences. Obama has not arrived at this point by simply making ‘some compromises’ he’s purposefully from the beginning ranked job growth, truly affordable health care, income inequality as no priority compared to keeping the fat cats whole. He’s not one to lecture on compromise, he doesn’t really know the meaning of the word.

    To mix metaphors, TR, said talk softly and carry a big stick. Obama’s got the talk softly, but he’s woeful on the big stick part. Just ask Joe Lieberman, etc.

  54. 54
    kalyarn says:

    The President’s anecdote is nice, but is only applicable if whatever sane part of the GOP is left is looked at as still being in the Union and Obama is going to compromise with them, so they can both then turn and go to war against the crazies. Compromise can only hope to exist when there is some common goal, however attenuated, for each side. Traditionally in this country that goal could be stated as “To not have the U.S. fail and lose its stature in the world.” It might have been way down the bottom at times, past tons of rhetoric and bullshit, but it was there for both sides. But now the tea partiers riding the GOP seem to have truly eliminated that goal, and thus, Obama cannot hope to compromise with them. I think Boehner and his ilk still have that rock bottom, common goal with the Prez and most US citizens, but I don’t know if they have the stones to impose it.

  55. 55
    jwb says:

    TooManyJens: I agree with this: “A lot of it has to do with their perception of the Democratic Party as the party of “those people.”” But “those people” change in the equation as the person in the White House changes. It’s the logic and demonization of the other, and they are going to attack on that basis however is most effective. But the purpose of the attack is not to demonize the other; the purpose of the attack is to delegitimize the Democrat who is president. The demonization is just the instrument.

  56. 56
    Xenos says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Can’t agree. Why do they hate Democrats so much? A lot of it has to do with their perception of the Democratic Party as the party of “those people.” It’s hard to separate Democrat-hate from racism.

    The term “thug” is a critical tell. It is a Luntz-certified dogwhistle for ‘N’ or ‘N-lover’. I don’t recall hearing it in American politics prior to 2008.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Comrade Kevin : I always think of it as the same gene that leads people to dismiss any successful band as a bunch of hacks and sellouts. “I thought you were cool liberal, man.”

    It’s a nice rigged game. Obama is too quick to compromise, and should stand on principle; but he should also get more done. The only way to cut that Gordian Knot is a presumption that standing on principle actually gets more done. Usually the “bully pulpit” is the mechanism: stand on principle, emote properly, the other side caves, and you get what you want. But it seems to me that that’s way too easy. The real choice is between standing on principle and NOT getting what you want, at all, or compromising and getting SOME of what you want. We can keep arguing about the point at which it’s no longer worth it to seek a compromise that gives you so little of what you want that you’d rather just make a point and flounce away, defeated but ready to fight the next fight. But it’s dirty pool to presume this whole other possibility where Obama _could_ get everything he wanted if he just did the proper incantations and rituals. Politics isn’t a cargo cult.

  58. 58
    T. Taylor says:

    Thanks for the thoughts. Made for an interesting read.

    Everyone’s comments on this thread are much appreciated, by me at least.

    The only beef I have with Obama compromising is what he is offering.

    Not only do his decisions at the bargaining table make politics more difficult for Democrats by taking away issues that earn Democrats votes (SS, Medicare), but they are also policy decisions that will have strongly adverse effects on real people’s lives. If all of Bush’s tax cuts expired, taxes would rise and people would grumble. But no one would die because they had to pay $200 more bucks a year to the Federal government.

    A President who is any kind of able communicator should be able to convince the majority of the population that letting the Bush taxes expire is a necessary step. Hell, tell people that if we raise taxes back to Reagan levels, they will be able to get Medicare at 50. Raise payroll taxes a bit, both cap and percent, and tell everybody that 62 is retirement age. Maybe this makes me into a “tax and spend” Democrat, but I KNOW that I can afford to pay more in taxes and my family is a little below the median for income in the US.

    Changing the Medicare eligibility age (by moving it back!) is really a scary thought. Especially sobering is the fact that it came from the head of the Democratic Party. This isn’t just that bastard Lieberman talking out of his ass. This POTUS is supposed to be representing me, to some extent, or else there is no reason to vote for him.

  59. 59
    Quiddity says:

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to compromise at this time.

    I was listening to Alan Grayson being interviewed today (Background Briefing on Los Angeles KPFK-FM) and he pointed out that in 2010, throughout Florida, the turnout for the election was substantially lower than in 2008. (30% lower) But it wasn’t equally distributed. Republican turnout was down a little (to be expected in an off-year), but Democratic turnout was down by almost half (a huge amount).

    In 2008, Grayson had the most votes ever for a central Florida politician. In 2010 he lost by 18%. He said that politicians like him were replaced by politicians like Allen West. He also said that many people that will be hurt by Republican policies didn’t turn out to vote in 2010.

    Similar depressed turnout by Democrats gave us Republican governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Maine. Now the polls show those guys with big disapproval numbers, so maybe next election those “absentee” Democrats will be motivated to come out and vote.

    If a diminished Democratic electorate is a permanent feature of American politics, then compromise makes sense. You are reaching an accord based on the reality of political power distribution. But if 2010 was aberrational – which I believe it to be – then you wait until the elections and political representation is more in tune with the attitude of the body politic.

    CODA: I’ll add that reports that the White House has changed orientation as a result of the 2010 “shellacking” and interpreting that as a mandate for Debt Reform, is seriously misguided, precisely because of the peculiar nature of that election year.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    @Xenos:

    The term “thug” is a critical tell. It is a Luntz-certified dogwhistle for ‘N’ or ‘N-lover’. I don’t recall hearing it in American politics prior to 2008.

    Obviously race is a huge vector. No one can deny that.
    But are we seriously suggesting here that no one in the MSM ever called a D President a “thug” before Obama? Or played on an “arrogant/superior” attitude?
    IMO, it’s just a means to the end of delegitimizing any D President. Period.
    Clinton was a fucking murderer for Christ’s sake! That was actually officially investigated! His wife was a lesbian, and/or killed her lover Vince Foster!
    Travelgate, ChristmasCardgate, Whitewater, etc, etc.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’ve got some advice for you, little buddy. Before you point the finger you should know that I’m the man, and if I’m the man, then you’re the man, and he’s the man as well so you can point that fuckin’ finger up your ass.

  62. 62
    Joseph Nobles says:

    One difference between the modern Confederates and the originals: the outraged religious fanatics were then on the side of the abolitionists, right on up to old John Brown. Sure, the South had plenty of apologists twisting the Scriptures right and left to justify slavery — but if you get in there and read, they weren’t twisting it, oh, so ever much.

    Today, the Harpers Ferrys bloodseekers are gathered around the increasingly sparse abortion clinics in the country, and their anger is the lifeblood of Nixon’s Southern Strategy. The aborted fetus has joined Eva and Uncle Tom in the glorious heaven of America’s morality play, and compromise can only be seen as complicity on that stage.

  63. 63
    normal liberal says:

    @Xenos: Amen. This and related Luntzean terminology has been used up and down the Republican establishment. And how many references have we heard to “Chicago-style corruption” as well? They’re talking about Jesse, not Daley, and actual facts be damned.

    That said, it still leaves us with the task of convincing the 30% that can still be persuaded that “those people” includes them.

  64. 64

    @FlipYrWhig: Absolutely. You nailed it.

  65. 65
    Citizen Alan says:

    Karen @ 13

    Clarence Thomas has yet to write an opinion on SCOTUS in all the years he’s been there.

    What?!? Of course Clarence Thomas has written opinions, reams of them. They’re horrible things, mostly, the product of a diseased intellect and malignant soul, but there are plenty of them to read through. Not that his presence on the Court disproves the “Republicans Are All Racists” theory, of course — Thomas despises his fellow African-Americans more than the most virulently racist white man you could find. He is sitting on the Supreme Court because Bush I was obligated by political factors to nominate a black person and Thomas was the most qualified African-American judge then sitting on the bench who was ideologically opposed to every form of civil rights legislation. Affirmative Action indeed!

  66. 66
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Quiddity : The mirror image of that, though, is that 2008 saw a spike in voter turnout. A Republican might say that 2008 was the aberration and 2010 was just the usual regression to the norm. At any rate, turnout is key, and I agree that Democrats shouldn’t overreact by presuming 2010 is the new normal.

  67. 67

    Quiddity:

    A depressed Democratic turnout is a regular feature of Democrats being in power during a midterm. Seriously. The poll watchers and statisticians were telling us it would happen and it happened exactly as described. In fact, the BETTER the party does during the 2 years running up to the midterm, the WORSE the turnout. And the better the other guy’s turnout, because they’re hopping mad.

    The Dangerman:

    I object to one thing, and I think it’s important. ‘The ACA was a Republican bill’ is a load of hooey. The basic operating mechanism was one proposed by Republicans. The giant pile of cost control mechanisms and industry regulations that might make it work are pure Democrat and anathema to Republicans.

    EDIT – Other than that, Hell yeah. Obama Gets Shit Done. For a man who always caves, he seems to have kicked a lot of GOP ass so far. Fucking negotiation. How does it work?

  68. 68

    Joseph Nobles

    And the accusations that Obama is a secret mooslim come from where? The atheist right? The Buddhist right?

  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ CS : Tool, eh? I was thinking Husker-signs-with-WB.

  70. 70
    horatius says:

    sign me up for raising the retirement age to 79.

    The debt ceiling has to be raised and we need to compromise.

  71. 71

    Quiddity

    In 2008, Grayson had the most votes ever for a central Florida politician. In 2010 he lost by 18%. He said that politicians like him were replaced by politicians like Allen West. He also said that many people that will be hurt by Republican policies didn’t turn out to vote in 2010.

    Well, everyone knows that Grayson is just so much typical Democratic origami….Oh, wait, he isn’t? You mean that maybe Obama is just that popular that maybe, just maybe, his presence up-ticket got Grayson- the People’s Champion! (don’t get me wrong, I like Grayson)- into the House?

  72. 72
    Ruckus says:

    Emerald

    That’s what we do at the end of next year. My question should have been how do we do that, given our media and current economy? How do we survive until we win? What do we do if we don’t win?

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @horatius:

    The debt ceiling has to be raised and we need to compromise.

    You’re not fooling anyone. If you were really of a mind to compromise then your retirement number would start with an 8X.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Frankensteinbeck:

    The poll watchers and statisticians were telling us it would happen and it happened exactly as described.

    I also remember many people saying that it was risky to try to build a political campaign on young people and first-time voters, because those demographics aren’t necessarily going to be there for you in any lasting way. One theory is that Obama alienated them and they sat home; another theory is that they care more about Obama than about local and statewide Democratic politics and thus it was predictable that they’d stay home, irrespective of what Obama did.

    I’m not a joiner/organizer kind of person, so I have no evidence either way, but the complaint about Obama that has the most traction with me is that OFA hasn’t been as aggressive or innovative as they could have been since ’08. That would have been a way to counter that trend of decreased turnout in off-year elections. Then again, I’ve also heard that OFA has been very active all along, but it’s just below the radar. So I dunno.

  75. 75
    Citizen Alan says:

    Joseph Nobles @ 61

    One difference between the modern Confederates and the originals: the outraged religious fanatics were then on the side of the abolitionists, right on up to old John Brown. Sure, the South had plenty of apologists twisting the Scriptures right and left to justify slavery—but if you get in there and read, they weren’t twisting it, oh, so ever much.

    Today, the Harpers Ferrys bloodseekers are gathered around the increasingly sparse abortion clinics in the country, and their anger is the lifeblood of Nixon’s Southern Strategy. The aborted fetus has joined Eva and Uncle Tom in the glorious heaven of America’s morality play, and compromise can only be seen as complicity on that stage.

    It’s not as big a difference as you think. The modern Religious Right is primarily an outgrowth of the Southern Baptist and Methodist Conventions, both of which split from the larger Baptist and Methodist communities over the slavery issue, twisting the tenets of their own faith in order to find that slavery was ordained by God and that abolition was contrary to scripture. Also, believe it or not, but the SBC was initially (if tentatively) in support of Roe v. Wade until Carter’s IRS went after Bob Jones University’s tax exemption because it refused to admit black students. That was what finally turned the SBC and SMC into the religious arms of the Republican Party: the realization that the Democrats would no longer permit them to use religion as an excuse for bigotry.

  76. 76
    Geoduck says:

    Dittoing what someone said above; what worries me is that even now, after all this, I have no idea what Barrack Obama really wants. He’s put some really horrible-sounding deals on the table; did he truly want them, or was he doing it knowing that the GOP would automatically reject them? If he could wave a magic wand and Change Everything, what would he be wishing for?

  77. 77
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Geoduck : Well, there’s “what he really wants” from the magic wand perspective, and then there’s “what he really wants” out of negotiating with a bunch of wussbags and dipshits. I think it’s important to distinguish between the two.

  78. 78
    burnspbesq says:

    Of all people, Cornel West has come up with the metaphor that nails it.

    Obama has been the thermometer far too often. He needs to be the thermostat.

  79. 79
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Of all people, Cornel West has come up with the metaphor that nails it.

    Let us never speak of this again.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ burns : I don’t get that metaphor. If anything, he has been the thermostat: depending on the climate, he acts accordingly. Maybe West means he’s been the thermostat far too often; he needs to be the air conditioner. That’s the part that changes the climate. (I think that’s right; I’m not handy at all, but I do watch a lot of Mike Holmes.)

  81. 81
    burnspbesq says:

    Here’s the interview with West.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07......html?_r=1

  82. 82
    burnspbesq says:

    @Yutsano:

    C’mon, admit it: Cornel West is one of your five favorite cartoon characters of all time, alongside Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Stimpy, and Stewie.

  83. 83
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Actually there’s plenty of support for the institution of slavery in the Bible than for abolition. The horrendous twisting of the Bible comes in the arguments for the inferiority of black people, such as the cursing of Noah’s son Ham. But when strictly looking at the question of human slavery, the South could point to an actual letter of Paul telling a runaway slave to return to his master (Philemon), scads of laws regulating the treatment (but not requiring the release) of slaves, etc. Yes, the story of Exodus reverberates through African-American Christianity, but a white Christian slaveowner could hardly be expected to identify himself with the pagan Pharaoh. Who had the benefit of the blood of the Lamb, after all? Helluva drug.

    Abortion foes see themselves as the spiritual descendants of the abolitionists here. They accept that the abolitionists were the more moral of the Civil War’s activists. And just as the extremists in the abolition movement could tolerate no compromise in their righteous cause (one I also consider to be so), so the abortion foes cannot, either, and this intolerance has carried over into all their other political positions.

  84. 84
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: My favortiest cartoon character is a Japanese middle school girl with long hair and attitude for days. West doesn’t even crack the top 10.

  85. 85
    Greyjoy says:

    The social safety net can always be rebuilt or strengthened, as there is wide popular support for it.

    Popular support is meaningless when our government is run by corporations, through lobbyists and candidates specifically groomed to push and protect their interests. There’s been wide popular support for a lot of measures and yet they have been systematically destroyed by those entities and institutions who stand to lose by implementing them. Just look at what Wisconsin and Ohio are doing to unions for an example, or what the Minnesota legislature is doing to the government here. There is *no* wide popular support for most of their measures, and in fact wide resistance against those that have been pushed forward, and yet our state government was shut down for two weeks and 22,000 people laid off because the legislators themselves were pushing their own agenda. Nobody cares about popular support anymore, they care about their contributors and their personal ideologies.

  86. 86

    Joseph Nobles @83:
    The bible certainly supports slavery. It was a fact of life in all of biblical times. However, Leviticus mentions laws requiring the freeing of slaves, and indeed outlining all slavery as a temporary contract of indenturement. The ancient Hebrews were very liberal by the alien standards of their times. If you go by Leviticus, which is where the bible really goes into detail, slavery is not much like what it was as a Southern institution. Also, it’s pretty hilarious to see laws for slavery side by side with the law not to be gay side by side with the laws for Kosherate, but only one of those is respected by modern Christians.

    Disclaimer: I’m not disagreeing with your main point at all. Just arguing about details!

  87. 87

    Joseph Nobles: That’s why he said that the religious *crazies* were the abolitionists.

  88. 88

    Yutsano @84:
    If you’re still awake, DO tell! Mine is a blonde German ball-jointed doll girl wrestling with loneliness, centuries of abusive relationships, and deep moral conflicts.

  89. 89
    Yutsano says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Girl with the purple hair on the right. Originator of the quote I use here most often:

    Do you think you could stop and THINK for a second before you answer a question?

    Number two is a personification of a country in one of the most bizarre anime evar.

  90. 90
    NR says:

    There are some issues, however, on which compromise is not possible if we want to live in a civilized society.

    Spot on, and I see that nobody on the “Compromise is absolutely necessary all the time!” has an answer for this.

    For example, one side wants us to torture prisoners, and the other side doesn’t want us to torture prisoners. So obviously, the answer is to compromise and only torture some prisoners. Or torture them all, but not as much. After all, compromise is an unavoidable fact of how our government is set up!

    One side wants to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid completely and leave the poor and the elderly to die. The other side wants to keep the programs. So obviously, the answer is to compromise and just cut the programs. Remember, compromise is an unavoidable fact of how our government is set up!

    What this post doesn’t seem to get is that once the other side knows that you will ALWAYS seek a compromise, every time, no matter what, they’re free to take the most batshit insane position out there, since you’re going to give them most of what they want anyway.

    In fact, by the compromisers’ logic, the Republicans could argue that we need to legalize child molestation. We don’t want child molestation to be made legal, but hey, “compromise is an unavoidable fact of how our government is set up,” so we have to come to some sort of compromise, right? We can’t possibly stand firm on principle, so I guess we’ll just legalize molestation of some children. Or all of them, but only under certain circumstances.

    Compromise is a good thing when both sides are pursuing reasonable goals and have the best interests of the country at heart. When one side is hell-bent on a destructive and insane path, though, they need to be fought. Not compromised with.

  91. 91

    Yutsano:
    Egads! A series I have not seen! Eeeeeeexcellent. A new world to conquer…

    After the star, and Rose Maiden Crimson does manage to be the clear leader, it gets murky with many beloved competitors. I think The Most Fabulous Pony is in the #2 spot right now.

  92. 92
    Yutsano says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Fair warning: Lucky Star isn’t called the Seinfeld of anime for nothing. It literally has no overarching plot. It’s one of the very few shows that is completely episodic. If you can make it through the first ten minutes of the first episode you can handle it.

    Hetalia is just bizarre. But Finland, as in reality, is the secret ass kicker.

  93. 93
    MJ says:

    Two things:
    (1)Dennis, I want to thank you for putting together this amazing post. Pieces like this are why I started to read blogs in the first place.

    (2) @TooManyJens: Hmm.Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  94. 94

    Yutsano:
    Sounds like Pani Poni Dash,, which is the closest thing to a coherent statement I can make until I’ve tried Lucky Star myself!

    And I shall, oh yes.

  95. 95
    Admiral_Komack says:

    “Sorry. There’s compromise and then there’s capitulation. Obama’s a craven capitulator and the motherfucker has to go.”

    Who are you going to primary him with?
    WHO?

    “The current debt ceiling/budget debate shouldn’t even be a debate. And things that were until a couple of years ago inviolable (SS, Medicare, Medicaid) are now more than threatened.”

    Maybe you want to go talk to the Republicans about that, hoss.

    But you won’t.

    Thanks for playing.

  96. 96
    Anonguest84 says:

    A lecture on the importance of compromise. So reasonable. So ‘serious’. So worthy of Bobo.

  97. 97
    Admiral_Komack says:

    30. Karen – July 25, 2011 | 12:47 am

    Thank you.

  98. 98
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @burnspbesq:

    A thermostat is a thermometer that has a switch on it that engages/disengages as the temperature rises/falls past a set point that is adjustable. In some ways, Obama has been exactly what Dr. West says that he wishes he was with the way he adjusts to the situation and responds to it. One problem with his analogy is that a thermostat is adjustable by others and not the thermostat itself.

    IMO, Dr. West should stick to things he understands a bit better.

  99. 99

    I thought @Yutsano was talking about matoker_chan.

  100. 100
    kay says:

    This is especially true if you’ve narrowed your political world view to the lens of a favorite single issue (or two) and force all of your thinking and reactions through the force rigidity that their talking points demand. If that is how you view the world then the notion of compromise is simply vile.

    I enjoyed the post, Dennis, but I just wanted to make a distinction here in defense of advocates. Advocates for an issue or cause always go right to the wall, and that’s good and proper. It’s their job. You’re a poor advocate if you’re running around saying “hopefully, we;ll get half of what we want”.

    But you can’t buy your own bullshit. You have to hold two ideas in your head at the same time: push hard, publicly, but keep your eye on the end result, and know when to accept the best deal. if an advocate doesn’t hold those two ideas at the same time, the advocate loses sight of the person or idea they were fighting for, and it becomes about the advocate and “winning”.

    Trumpka is good at this, w/unions, and Kos is good at this, on immigration issues, as two real-world examples. They make sure they don’t forget what the point of this exercise is, and it’s NOT that the advocate “stand firm” or burnish his or her own reputation or moral standing. Advocates are supposed to get something, at the end of the day.

  101. 101
    Dan says:

    @General Stuck: I’m the Dan in question. I usually lurk, but you can visit my site for more of the same blinding insight.

  102. 102
    kay says:

    Bernie Sanders is another real-world example. Bernie Sanders clearly hated the health care bill, and he could have taken his ball and gone home, but he stayed in their to get something, That’s humbling, for him, to have to swallow hard and give up on his Big Idea, but at the end of the day he served the people he came to serve, and came away with something tangible and real.
    Ted Kennedy did it all the time. Swallowing hard and accepting the best he could get almost defines his legislative career.
    Hell, Kennedy was willing to essentially over-turn his own immigration law to compromise with Bush and get protection for the 12 million undocumented in this country.
    Talk about swallowing hard, and humility. He knew, specifically, who he was fighting for, and it wasn’t Ted Kennedy, it was those 12 million.

  103. 103

    Someone way upthread asked “what can be done?” to change our politics. I tried to point out a way forward in AL’s thread above. Please take a look if you’re so inclined.

    And, btw, great post, dennis g.

    Eta: also, what kay said. Kennedy helped push NCLB, although he later regretted it.

  104. 104
    Dennis G. says:

    PaturgeATL: Thanks. I was moving to fast and the prose got sloppy. Fixed.

    Cheers

  105. 105
    Tyro says:

    President Obama was right about Lincoln. He was a great compromiser. So was FDR. So was LBJ. So was MLK. Compromise has been at the root of all progress. Negotiations can be hard. Bitter. Difficult. It has always been this way.

    This is correct. But unlike MLK, FDR, and LBJ, Obama starts with the meta-understanding of compromise and works from there. Most negotiators know they’re not going to get everything they want, but they are willing to be disappointed by planting a stake in the ground over what they want and then becoming willing to accept some movement away from their ideal work.

    Obama isn’t willing to go through the hard emotional process of trying to get what he wants and then seeing that whittled away. Instead he tries to come to the table pre-compromised, see that whittled away, and then reassures himself that there was nothing he could do, and he didn’t really like that pre-compromised position in the first place, so losing even more stuff from there isn’t a big disappointment.

    In this regard, Bernie Sanders understands compromise a lot better than the president.

  106. 106

    @tyro:

    Obama isn’t willing to go through the hard emotional process of trying to get what he wants and then seeing that whittled away. Instead he tries to come to the table pre-compromised, see that whittled away, and then reassures himself that there was nothing he could do, and he didn’t really like that pre-compromised position in the first place, so losing even more stuff from there isn’t a big disappointment.

    That is so much mind-reading psychobabble.

  107. 107
    Ash Can says:

    Outstanding post, dengre.

  108. 108
    Swellsman says:

    Politics is the art of compromise, but that does’t mean that the entirety of the political process is. It is the job of advocates to continue to advocate for 100% of what they want, while counter-advocacy groups argue the opposite.

    But for the process to work, all sides involved in any issue have to recognize that — at any given time — actually enacting legislation relating to an issue will almost always necessarily involve some compromise on the part of the particular politicians responsible for that legislation. In this way, progress is made.

    This doesn’t mean that the process ends though. Instead, all advocates regroup and begin trying to repeal/modify/defend that legislation some more, and eventually new laws get passed. And on and on and on it goes, until some new societal status quo is reached that everyone can live with. Politics is the never-ending story we tell ourselves about who we are as a people.

    The point is simply to recognize that advocates are correct that their goals and ideals are not to be compromised — in this, we are Platonists. But no society of self-rule can function unless advocates also recognize that the actual work of getting something concrete done in the Real World necessarily involves compromise — in this, we are Aristotlians.

    This tension between idealism and effectiveness is at least part of what makes the never-ending story of ourselves so damned fascinating.

  109. 109
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Make sure you post this on DKOS. This will be a great counterpoint to the FDR post yesterday.

  110. 110
    Tyro says:

    That is so much mind-reading psychobabble.

    (shrug). I call it like I see it.

  111. 111
    OzoneR says:

    You seem to be missing the fact that Obama was holding up Lincoln not freeing some slaves as a model of compromise. If you free only some people to appease those who have long since been shown to be on the wrong side of history, then you are capitulating, not compromising.

    Actually, that’s the very definition of compromise. You give some, you take some.

  112. 112
    OzoneR says:

    If the Republicans lead us into default, I hope Obama understands that they have basically declared war on the United States, and that compromise has failed. Giving them what they want at that point will be appeasement.

    so what should we do? start shooting Republicans?

  113. 113

    @Tyro: wow, i’m impressed that you can “see” that Obama isn’t willing to go through the “hard emotional process” you envision.

  114. 114
    OzoneR says:

    I’ll add that reports that the White House has changed orientation as a result of the 2010 “shellacking” and interpreting that as a mandate for Debt Reform, is seriously misguided, precisely because of the peculiar nature of that election year.

    Regardless, leaders take the temperature of the country depending on who turns out in elections. You don’t show up, you don’t get to be part of that temperature.

    Which begs the question, why couldn’t the people’s champion Alan Grayson get them out?

  115. 115
    boss bitch says:

    Fucking awesome post.

  116. 116
    Tyro says:

    wow, i’m impressed that you can “see” that Obama isn’t willing to go through the “hard emotional process” you envision.

    I don’t see why you’re so hung up on my interpretation of that. As I said, Obama seems to recognize that in a compromise “you don’t get everything you want” and decided that the takeaway lesson is, “so don’t even bother trying to get it,” which is too-clever-by-half.

  117. 117
    Pococurante says:

    The Confederate Party meme needs to stop.

    This is pure corporatism class warfare. Southern bigots didn’t invent it.

    This meme is a projection of what it means to mock, that these are “others” that are “over there”.

    They’re not over there. A lot of them sit on the same sofa as you on holidays.

  118. 118
    agrippa says:

    Excellent post.

  119. 119
    Pococurante says:

    @ 105 Tyro

    Obama isn’t willing to go through the hard emotional process of trying to get what he wants and then seeing that whittled away. Instead he tries to come to the table pre-compromised, see that whittled away, and then reassures himself that there was nothing he could do, and he didn’t really like that pre-compromised position in the first place, so losing even more stuff from there isn’t a big disappointment.

    That’s one viewpoint.

    But it’s not mine. I think he really does want those cuts, that he wants to create structural improvement. That it has political benefits as the GOP self-destructs I suspect is not really part of his calculus.

    I’ve maintained since his campaign days (and have had little reason to correct myself since) that there is basically no daylight between Barack Obama and the George H. W. Bush of 1979.

  120. 120
    liberal says:

    TooManyJens wrote,

    Can’t agree. Why do they hate Democrats so much? A lot of it has to do with their perception of the Democratic Party as the party of “those people.” It’s hard to separate Democrat-hate from racism.

    That’s completely true. But that’s not the same as hating Obama because he’s black; it’s one step removed (hate Dems because of “those people”, Obama is a Dem…).

    IIRC maps of the 2008 electoral results did see a racist “signal” (by comparing to recent previous results where the Dem was white), but it was fairly faint.

  121. 121
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    jurassicpork

    You seem to be missing the fact that Obama was holding up Lincoln not freeing some slaves as a model of compromise. If you free only some people to appease those who have long since been shown to be on the wrong side of history, then you are capitulating, not compromising.

    So, I guess you understand the mindset of abortion opponents and all of those people who oppose tax increases.

  122. 122
    liberal says:

    @49 Emerald wrote,

    Look at that ruby red district in New York that elected a Democrat because of the Ryan budget.

    That’s going to be at least marginally harder now, given that Obama has suggested cutting entitlements.

  123. 123
    Donald says:

    Why is it so hard to accept that Obama is better than the Republicans, but he’s not a progressive and he’s not your friend except in the sense that the enemy of your enemy is your friend? We need someone to stop the insane Republicans and Obama is all we’ve got. That’s hard to argue with.

    On the other hand, if one is inclined to 11 dimensional chess theory like Lawrence O’Donnell, I’d say it’s a lot more plausible that Obama is not your pal as O’Donnell fondly imagines. Instead, he’s used the Tea Party as cover for making attacks on Social Security and Medicare and moving the Democratic Party rightward. Obama is one of the Serious People who (like Clinton before him) wants to bring the Democratic Party to the center or center right, in part because that’s what he truly believes and also because he figures the left has no place to go. It locks the Democrats in as the majority party.

    As for what Obama said about compromise, my impression is that politicians often try to persuade voters that they are really on their side, appearances and positions taken to the contrary. Clinton was a master of making anyone who talked to him think that he really cared what they had to say and was on their side. Gosh, maybe this is a trait that in various forms might come in handy if you run for public office.

  124. 124
    AxelFoley says:

    @jurassicpork:

    There’s compromise and then there’s capitulation. Obama’s a craven capitulator and the motherfucker has to go.

    Then do something about it, mothafucka.

    What’s that? Yeah, I thought so.

  125. 125
    Violet says:

    Great post, Dennis. Thank you for writing it. Excellent.

  126. 126
    Donald says:

    Support for what I said in comment 123 in the Elizabeth Drew article (cited by the Shrill One)

    link

    My theory about some of the Obama supporters here is that you don’t want to admit that Obama has you by the balls, so you fondly suppose he really agrees with you. Well, he’s got me by the balls–I dislike him, but don’t think the third party route will do anything in the short term except bring a Republican victory, and a primary challenge won’t do anything either. Gosh, that sounds pathetic, doesn’t it? So I could either pretend a primary challenge is a serious answer or I could pretend Obama is basically on my side.

    I’ve just summarized every Balloon Juice thread I’ve ever bothered to read.

  127. 127
    boss bitch says:

    @Donald:

    that’s not 11 dimensional anything that’s just making shit up and repeating nonsense you read on liberal blogs.

  128. 128
    kay says:

    This tension between idealism and effectiveness is at least part of what makes the never-ending story of ourselves so damned fascinating.

    Well, okay, but maybe the two groups could stay out of each other’s way?

    I never hear absolute anti-abortion people trashing a state law that restricts abortion (although they want all abortion, and some contraception, outlawed). I never hear them saying anyone “sold them out” with some chipping away gradual process toward their goal of criminalizing abortion. I didn’t hear those conservatives who want Medicare privatized (so, all conservatives) trashing the Medicare Advantage partial privatization that passed in 2002.

    They wouldn’t do that, with completed legislation, because doing that is counter-productive.

    They run on two different tracks, at the same time, and one group doesn’t impede or denigrate the other.

    I would like it if we could do that. I think it works. I’d like to take a page from them.

  129. 129
    Donald says:

    Hey boss b, here’s another article–

    link

    Makes sense. Liberals have no place to go (unless they want to do the Nader thing, not something I’d advise). And any politician with an IQ above two digits would know this. So move to the center or even the center right while the Republicans move to the completely insane right and by the standards of Beltway conventional wisdom you’re doing the correct thing in terms of 2012.

  130. 130
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    I dont’ know if anyone’s asked this; but for those who say what Obama has faced is not about race I have just a few questions:

    Why do black people consistently believe that it IS about race?

    Is it that black people don’t know real racism when they see it and need instruction?

    OR COULD THEY BE RIGHT?

    [ETA- edited to fix counting fail- this was more than one question]

  131. 131
    OzoneR says:

    that you don’t want to admit that Obama has you by the balls, so you fondly suppose he really agrees with you.

    He doesn’t have anyone by the balls, the Republicans do.

  132. 132
    Donald says:

    What I see the right doing is relentlessly framing issues in a rightwing way. On economics they’ve been successful ever since the days of Jimmy Carter in pushing this contradictory idea that taxes and deficits are the worst thing imaginable (though of course they only mean money spent on social programs for poor and middle class people). When Republicans are in power deficits fade into the background and then it’s just taxes are the worst thing imaginable.

    And what one sees the left doing for decades now is surrendering the rhetorical high ground, adopting the right’s rhetoric, comparing government spending to a family’s budget. It’s what drives Krugman crazy.

  133. 133
    Donald says:

    OzoneR–It’s not either/or. Well, at Balloon Juice it’s generally either/or, but not in reality. Yeah, the rightwing is holding the country hostage, but that doesn’t conflict with the idea that Obama can use the situation to move to the center or center/right and position himself nicely for 2012.

  134. 134
    OzoneR says:

    that doesn’t conflict with the idea that Obama can use the situation to move to the center or center/right and position himself nicely for 2012.

    The fact that he has to do that to position himself nicely for 2012 shows it isn’t him who has the left by the balls, its the damn Republicans.

    You don’t have leverage over Obama, because you don’t have leverage over the country. Your ideas can’t get people elected

  135. 135
    OzoneR says:

    And what one sees the left doing for decades now is surrendering the rhetorical high ground, adopting the right’s rhetoric, comparing government spending to a family’s budget. It’s what drives Krugman crazy.

    Because to do otherwise doesn’t win you elections. Even now I don’t know anyone left of center who doesn’t laugh at the idea that government spending shouldn’t be controlled. It’s conventional wisdom and the people in power can’t change it because they can’t get power unless they adhere to conventional wisdom.

  136. 136
    boss bitch says:

    @Donald:

    So move to the center or even the center right while the Republicans move to the completely insane right and by the standards of Beltway conventional wisdom you’re doing the correct thing in terms of 2012

    .

    You have a conservative congress, you get more conservative legislation.

  137. 137
    Bruce S says:

    Ozone – you’re delusional.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....64989.html

    Also check out this latest by Grifter-in-Chief:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07.....ugman.html

    If Obama is putting Medicare cuts – i.e. raising the eligibility age – on the table it’s terrible policy and terrible politics.

    Despite some obsession of yours with marginalizing the “left” – this runs right down the “swing” center. It’s about winning elections in key states that are hardly liberal bastions but can easily be “swung” by a cynical GOP that desperately wants to turn the “cut Medicare” angle against the Democrats rather than themselves. At this point they’re the most vulnerable on this key issue.

    This is pretty much Politics 101 – as well as Econ 101 in terms of any talk about raising eligibility age, given Medicare’s relative cost-effectiveness. I don’t have a signed statement by Obama that this has been “on the table” – other than Jay Carney’s explicit reference to Medicare “cuts” and serial anon reports – but neither do you have anything even remotely resembling an assurance that it’s not.

    Frankly the more I read of the “Firebagger!” hysterics here, the less I take them seriously. It’s pretty pathetic and increasingly sounds desperate, rather than anything resembling an inclination to rational discussion of key issues or questions.

  138. 138
    Pat says:

    *Then do something about it, mothafucka.*

    It’s called voting with their feet.

    That’s all Obama and you BJ-ers have to offer – the Fear of Batshit Republicans. How is that different from the right’s Fear of a Dark-Skinned Gay Liberals?

  139. 139
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    How is that different from the right’s Fear of a Dark-Skinned Gay Liberals?

    Our “Fear of Batshit Republicans” is driven by what they do.

    Their “Fear of a Dark-Skinned Gay Liberals” is driven by what we are.

    Or are you too fucking stupid to see the fucking difference.

    And again– one of you smart white people, someone please tell me why is it that black people overwhelmingly see the attacks on President Obama as being racist? Are they stupid? Thin skinned? The actual racists, themselves?

    I really want to know what qualifies most of the white people who say it ain’t TO say it ain’t; and why so many black people see it otherwise.

  140. 140
    Donald says:

    “You don’t have leverage over Obama, because you don’t have leverage over the country. Your ideas can’t get people elected”

    Well, giving up on the rhetorical battlefront is why the left has been doing so badly for so long. Many voters hold confused contradictory mixtures of beliefs–they hate government and love Social Security and Medicare. Rightwingers use whatever rhetoric they want to win, even blaming Democrats for attacking Medicare, but that said, there’s been this consistent underlying drumbeat about how government is bad, taxes are bad, deficits (except when Republicans are in the WH) are bad. We might make some progress if we attacked this head-on instead of using mindless analogies about household budgets that play into Republican hands.

    I don’t have the answer on how the left should put pressure on Obama, but I do know that when he adopts the Republican framing on economic issues he’s contributing to the problem. But he probably calculates that it helps his chances in 2012. That’s what the Elizabeth Drew and Salon articles point out that I linked above. And we should be complaining about the rhetoric–even if you think Obama really is a progressive at heart , we need liberals like Krugman complaining loudly about his use of Republican rhetoric and his proposal of disastrous policies (even if his proposals are all part of Lawrence O’Donnell’s masterful 11 dimensional chess game).

  141. 141
    Pat says:

    Ivan @139

    That’s a false distinction. The right isn’t just afraid of what dark skinned gay liberals are, they also think we want to take their guns and convert their offspring to the party of Sodom and Atheism. They’re very afraid of what they think we might do to their world when empowered, and that has served their political leaders well.

  142. 142
    Pat says:

    OK BJ-ers – if you’re white then you can no longer criticize the Leader here. Got that? And don;t act all anonymous and everything – The Oracle of Anger and her Army of Righteous Loyalty can see your lilywhite asses thru their webcams. You can fire-bag, but you can’t hide!

  143. 143
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    They think this even though there is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that we do want to take it. No, that’s worse than weak, it’s a thin, watery gruel of wood shavings and dried catshit masquerading as an equivalency argument.

    You know good and damn well that blacks, gays, lesbians, etc. have NO power to force our blackness or gayness onto them, and have expressed no desire to take their precious guns away from them (in fact, since they have their guns, ain’t nobody gonna take mine either).

    What they think we would do is driven by their fear and hatred of what the fuck we are, empowered by their own projection.

    Besides that, the gun control they are so fucking afraid of was first instituted to keep guns out of the hands of black people.

  144. 144
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Can’t answer the questions, can you, Pat?

    Fucking dipshit.

  145. 145
    Bill Murray says:

    Bernie Sanders is another real-world example. Bernie Sanders clearly hated the health care bill, and he could have taken his ball and gone home, but he stayed in their to get something, That’s humbling, for him, to have to swallow hard and give up on his Big Idea, but at the end of the day he served the people he came to serve, and came away with something tangible and real.
    Ted Kennedy did it all the time. Swallowing hard and accepting the best he could get almost defines his legislative career.
    Hell, Kennedy was willing to essentially over-turn his own immigration law to compromise with Bush and get protection for the 12 million undocumented in this country.
    Talk about swallowing hard, and humility. He knew, specifically, who he was fighting for, and it wasn’t Ted Kennedy, it was those 12 million.

    and they’ve been rewarded by the continual right ward shift of legislation throughout the entirety of their careers

  146. 146
    Pat says:

    For the Official Representative of All Black People:

    And again—one of you smart white people, someone please tell me why is it that black people overwhelmingly see the attacks on President Obama as being racist?

    Not overwhelmingly, just a small minority like you who would vote for him even if he skullfucked your grandmother in Times Square at noon,

    Are they stupid?

    Well, yes (see above.)

    Thin skinned?

    Well, yes.

    The actual racists, themselves?

    Nah. That small group is mostly misguided by raving Loyalists. (nice try, tho.)

    So now you wanna point to some credible evidence that DFH criticism of Obama is racist?

  147. 147
    Bill Murray says:

    Regardless, leaders take the temperature of the country depending on who turns out in elections. You don’t show up, you don’t get to be part of that temperature.

    sure they do, but they should use something that gives an accurate answer. Debt issues had little to do with the 2010 elections. Jobs and health care were the primary issues, debt was tertiary at best

  148. 148
    OzoneR says:

    you’re delusional.

    November, 2010 says otherwise

  149. 149
    OzoneR says:

    Debt issues had little to do with the 2010 elections. Jobs and health care were the primary issues, debt was tertiary at best

    Which is true, except the GOP ran on a platform of cutting spending and controlling the debt, they tied it to jobs (cutting spending = more jobs)

  150. 150
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Sideslipped the question, didn’t you, Pat? I’d love to know just how many black people you’ve actually talked to about this subject.

    Granted, my sample size is small: my college roommates (all black), my adult daughters (all black), my daughters’ husbands and boyfriends (all black), my cousins (ditto), the fellas at the barber shop (getting repetitive now, isn’t it) and they ALL believe Obama’s getting a bum rap because of racism. In fact, I don’t recall one single black person who agreed with you that attacks on Obama weren’t primarily racially motivated.

    Do you really even know any black people, Pat (other than Herman Cain and Michael Steele and Clarence Thomas and Uncle Ruckus)?

    Because you’re so full of shit I can smell you from here.

  151. 151
    Pat says:

    Loyalists operating out of abject fear can at least be proud that, if elected, President BachmannPerryPalin will enjoy wide bipartisan consensus over extreme executive powers, made possible by Obama’s wholehearted embrace of them. What could’ve been just an Ed Wood-esque Saturday afternoon schlock horror film is now a top-tier first run deal like Aliens and Schindler’s List. And not one Democrat will have the credibility to challenge any of it. Congress? So 20th century.

  152. 152
    Pat says:

    Wow that there’s a lot of black people! Simmer down dude – sure a lot of blacks think Obama’s getting a bum rap because of racism – Republican racism, and that much is self-evident. But to say the DFHs are being racist about Ohbama is really weak and unsupported by facts, and it conveniently avoids the Main Complaint – that Obama has abandoned nearly all of his campaign promises in the interest of winning over the Money Party and making entrenchment of executive power his legacy. I’ll wager that very few blacks even know about the online dust-up amongst the left between loyalists and DFHs. Again – where’s the evidence of DFH racism in this regard?

  153. 153
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    As is frequently mentioned at Jack and Jill, I’ve been black longer than three days.

    In fact, why don’t you roll your so-called DFH shit and take it over there. I imagine there are a few black folks there who’ll have the energy to deal with your passive-aggressive bullshit. They’ve been getting a tremendous wingnut-troll infestation lately, you should feel right at home.

    Oh, and by the way– you should see the consensus of opinion regarding Lady 3Jane and whether her so-called DFH Obama-hate is racially motivated or not.

    (Caveat– clearly black people don’t know jack fucking shit about racism or white supremacy; we live for good white people like you to show us how stupid we are.)

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:
    Are you arguing that racism is the sole driver, the primary driver, or a significant driver?

  155. 155
    Rome Again says:

    @Cassidy:

    Fuck it. Sometimes I wish those POS’s would start their civil war and be done with it. Tired of all this fucking around.

    You obviously don’t have children, or care much about them if you do.

  156. 156
    TJ says:

    In all of your middle school bravado, you neglected very important facts. In your shameless effort to make this a racial issue by bringing in the “21st Century Confederate Party”, you neglected to point out that Abraham Lincoln was the republican. The Dixiecrats fought integration well into the late 20th century. Afterall, George Wallace (famous for facing armed soldiers in the school doorway) was a DEMOCRAT. As far as the debate itself, NO NEW TAXES you assholes! If you want to spend trillions of dollars covering healthcare for the laziest of our society, then give to your own atheist churches.

  157. 157
    Pat says:

    you should see the consensus of opinion regarding Lady 3Jane

    Accusations of grifting and cynically targeting black voters to incite anger are serious stuff and I don’t dismiss them, but to extrapolate and equate those events to the motivation behind the open debate on Obama policies on the left is just childish and shows you’re not really paying attention to the complaints. Obama’s critics on the left are no more motivated by racism than right-wing critics of Bush were motivated by sympathy for Muslims.

    My straw man can beat up your straw man. Watch.

    You’ve suggested you support anything Obama does, so objectively that means: you support killing Americans without due process, imprisoning suspects until Obama says otherwise, denying gays all of the same rights married people have, invading any country Obama deems appropriate, cutting taxes on millionaires until they pay the same rate you do, granting immunity to torturers, tapping phones and internet connections without a warrant, paying bank executive bonuses with taxpayer money for throwing poor people out of their homes, subsidizing big agribusiness and wasteful monoculture, building more highways to hasten global climate disruption, and finally, you are totally cool with the next Republican president possessing all of the same powers Obama currently enjoys to do all the aforementioned acts that you fully support.

  158. 158
    Tehanu says:

    If you want to spend trillions of dollars covering healthcare for the laziest of our society, then give to your own atheist churches.

    Where’s my Troll-Be-Gone?

    And since when are people who work at shitty jobs ten hours a day with no benefits “lazy”? I’d fall over dead with shock if I found out that you’d ever done any real work in your life.

  159. 159

    […] destroying average Americans-just so they can destroy and delegitimize Barak Obama. Dennis, over at John Cole’s place summed up their view point rather nicely: This is especially true of the Republican Party which has […]

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