Not here for your entertainment

Joe Klein writes:

A lot of us have been picking around the edges of the problem of Obama’s curiously unsatisfying presidency…

I’d take issue with the “unsatisfying” part — ACA and DADT repeal were huge victories in my book — but I take even more with the “curious” part. There’s nothing particularly mysterious about 9 percent unemployment and a Republican Congressmen that admits it takes hostages. Klein comes out later and says that what he means is that Obama hasn’t made Klein’s mythical regular Murkins feel good. What he really means is that he hasn’t made Klein himself feel good.

Last season on “Mad Men”:

Don Draper: It’s your job. I give you money, you give me ideas.
Peggy Olson: And you never say thank you.
Don: That’s what the money is for!

That’s how I feel about all this “the president needs to make us feel good” stuff — that’s what the policies decisions are for! People feel bad because the economy sucks. No amount of pounding the bully pulpit or playing “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” and other boomer-friendly hits is going to change that, just as no amount of half-assed “thank you” makes up for being underpaid.

We heard this shit with Clinton too — he’s not living up to his potential, people don’t trust him, etc. A few years of 4% unemployment made him so popular that people had to shut about it eventually, but it went on for most of his presidency.

I also think of this quote from Kareem in “Airplane”:

Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

Tell Joe Klein to try to make everyone smile while Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell try to blow up the economy. Why not focus the criticism on the kidnappers rather than the insufficiently cheer-making negotiators?

275 replies
  1. 1
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Can we outsource the villagers’ jobs? Or may be eliminate all together.

  2. 2
    scav says:

    I’m trying desperately to think of any presidency that wasn’t at the very least curiously unsatisfying. I mean.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Doug..those other guys aren’t president.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    Because to do that would take him outside the Villager bubble and then he wouldn’t get any more invites to Georgetown dinner parties.

    SATSQ.

  5. 5
    Erin says:

    I agree with every bit of this and think Drew Westen went a little overboard in the NYT today but that doesn’t change the fact that Obama basically stabbed a knife into the back of recovery and keeps undercutting a lot of the progressive caucus for the blue dogs.

    By the way, Alan Simpson just told Politico that he knows Obama will embrace Simpson Bowles after the election. I’m afraid that’s true.

  6. 6
    jwb says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Jokeline paid to write shit exactly like this? I’ll add that his curious use of “curious” was the only thing in that entire piece worth remarking on and you’ve already dealt with it: he’s really just a lazy ass.

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Erin:

    By the way, Alan Simpson just told Politico that he knows Obama will embrace Simpson Bowles after the election.

    Shall we count the things that make this a stunning unreliable statement or should we just call BS on it?

  8. 8
    Phil says:

    Shorter DougJ:

    Obama may be a miserable failure, but he’s our miserable failure, so shut it wing nuts!!!

  9. 9
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    I don’t know how Obama’s presidency can be considered anything but unsatisfying, given his continuation of Bush’s foreign policy and his refusal/inability to go to bat effectively for progressive causes. I don’t even necessarily support many of those causes, but I recogize that what they need is an FDR to champion them — someone who knows how to garner support from the American people. I don’t see that in Obama.

  10. 10
    burnspbesq says:

    @Erin:

    Obama basically stabbed a knife into the back of recovery

    Say what, now? Can you count to 60? Yes? OK then, explain where the 60 votes would have come from for the stimulus package that you and I and Krugman and every other person on earth who knows even a little bit of macroeconomics would have preferred to the one we got.

    Willfully stupid is no way to go through life.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @Erin: hahaha..
    maybe he will but maybe he won’t.
    A lot of the tax code benefits the upper class although it does affect the middle class to a lesser degree. Vacation home interest is deductible but if you are living in an apartment there is no deduction for you. People scream about welfare but deducting 12,000 plus a year in interest for a vacation home could be welfare also.
    The tax code needs to be fixed so maybe Simpson was right.

  12. 12
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Erin:

    He will “embrace” it? The entire thing? And did Simpson actually use that word? Did it sound like he thinks it will be a long lost love kind of embrace or more like a bro hug? Also, did he really say he “knows” what’s going to happen? How? He reads Digby? Last question, did he have anything to say about The Table? Does he know where it is so we can smash it?

    Edited to fix typos.

  13. 13

    Shorter Joe Klein: WANNA WANNA WANNA!

    (This comment is not meant to imply there is any comparison between Lene Lovich & Joke Line.)

  14. 14
    Emma says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: BS and move on.

    Obama has to consider the Blue Dogs because in a practical sense there are no moderate Republicans any more and so the Blue Dogs hold the key to passing a Democratic bill through the Senate. Simple. Logical. Progressives keep trying to make the math change. It won’t.

  15. 15
    jwb says:

    @Erin: Very doubtful, since there is little support for Simpson Bowles now—the plan couldn’t even get out of its own committee—and there will almost certainly be even less support for it after the election, no matter how the election turns out. Simpson is blowing it out his ass.

  16. 16
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    his refusal/inability to go to bat effectively for progressive causes.

    Obama is not, never has been, and never pretended to be a progressive. He is under no obligation to go to bat for progressive causes.

    Your delusions are your issue, not anyone else’s.

  17. 17
    Emma says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half: Jesus, what do you know about FDR? The man who compromised on Social Security so it covered nobody but white men? Or the guy who sent American citizens into concentration camps? FDR was a damn politician and compromised when he needed to.

    I had assumed the difference between Democrats and Republicans was that one of us wouldn’t be forever looking back to a mythical golden age. Silly me.

  18. 18

    If I could have one magic wish, I would wish for all our pundits and press people to just go away, or almost all of them, anyway. Then–O.K., I guess I need more than one wish–we would get a brand new bunch of reporters and columnists. I recall that Al Franken wrote in one of his books about the famed “liberal bias” in American news. He acknowledged that there are biases, and that some of them are pretty bad, but they aren’t liberal biases. The one I recall specifically was laziness. That’s a bad one. This is why Joe Klein can’t bother to write anything other than what he already hears at his great parties with all his press and politician buddies: Obama isn’t clapping loudly enough; Obama said mean things about the republicans; Obama doesn’t care enough about average Americans; and on and on and on. And this asshole gets paid to drool out this shit. And then there’s the laziness on his bosses’ part: they can’t bother to let him go and find somebody who writes something worth reading.

    We’re fucked in this country if we can’t shake up things a little in the news biz, and get newspeople who can do their jobs. Well, we have a few, but not enough…

  19. 19
    Elie says:

    I swear, everytime I want to settle down in the easy chair of intelligent conversation here, I get bitten by little fleas and bed bugs.

    Honestly Erin… I know, I know, trolls gotta troll. But why is that so much fun for you? Why don’t you like being with your own kind more?

    I will honestly say that though I support Obama, I am sure that he has been less than perfect and has made his mistakes. But to say that he — HE, not the Republicans, have stabbed the recovery in the back is amazing.

    But you are a troll. Go scratch your warts.

  20. 20
    ruemara says:

    You know what I love about these articles, including the NYT op ed with from the lovelorn emprogs? It draws out so many people who are as fact free in their progressive thought as teabaggers are in their regressive thought. Interesting, no?

  21. 21
    DCr says:

    Who gives a shit what Joke Line thinks about anything?

    In re: Whose job it is to do what…

    It’s Obama’s job to uphold the Constitution and lead the country in the direction he thinks it should go. If he thinks a potential outcome (e.g., cutting trillions from the budget over 10 years) is a bad outcome, and if he thinks he can’t handle opposing the Rethugs by himself, he should go to the bully pulpit. But he didn’t, and he doesn’t. And he won’t.

    We are getting the outcomes Obama and others in leadership positions want. Period. We would be getting the same outcomes with Hillary; probably worse with McCain. That’s a two-party system for ya.

    The only real reason I see to reelect Obama at this point is the likelihood of at least one USSC justice leaving during the next term. Other than that, I just don’t see much difference between the outcomes we’ve been getting and the ones we would have gotten under someone else.

    DCr

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    Does anyone think that FDR could win today with 24/7 news and talk radio? I know he had enemies but I don’t think most folks knew about them.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    Klein piece was usual national affairs obsession with style over substance.

    The blind squirrel might have bumped into something shaped like a nice meaty pecan: Obama is good at eloquence, not so good at selling a good political narrative that is convincing to the voters.

    But we will never know, since the squirrel decided in the end that what the world needs now is for Obama to pitch a good old fashioned horse opera Western treatment, with good guys and bad guys.

    Cripes, how do you get a job writing that kind of lazy tripe? I want one.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Tell Joe Klein to try to make everyone smile while Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell try to blow up the economy.

    and Mark Halperin calls Obama a dick (does dear Uncle Joe, with his thirty-eighty, or is it now an even forty? years of experience, think Mark is a fellow worthy or unworthy of a dinner invitation?).

  25. 25
    jwb says:

    @Too Many Jimpersons (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): You got one thing wrong: His bosses hired and keep Jokeline precisely because he possesses just the right kind of laziness. If you notice, Village pundits become lazy in almost exactly the same way: that’s no accident.

  26. 26
    Stillwater says:

    Nice Doug. I agree. If employment numbers were better, we’d be singing praises and smugly beaming at all the shit that got done. Instead, we’re all supposed to wonder curiously why the black community organizer can’t quite cut it in the big time.

  27. 27
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Sadly No tackled an article of similar (erm) substance once, from Fred Hiatt: http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/29165.html

    In the Villagers’ defense, they probably think every aspect of politics is a minstrel show set up for them to be amused by and comment wryly on.

  28. 28
    somethingblue says:

    We heard this shit with Clinton too—he’s not living up to his potential, people don’t trust him, etc. A few years of 4% unemployment made him so popular that people had to shut about it eventually.

    By that standard it’s going to be a good long time before anybody has to shut up about Obama.

  29. 29
    TD says:

    ‘That’s how I feel about all this “the president needs to make us feel good” stuff—that’s what the policies decisions are for!’

    I think you’re wrong. The president is not a CEO. He does have responsibilities that include assuaging the fears and anxieties of citizens. Now, I don’t particularly care for Joe Klein’s feelings, but politics is a large enterprise; a truly stellar politician will take both the legislative and the emotional aspects of leadership seriously.

    Edit: I’m not making a comment about Obama, and whether or not he does or does not satisfy any “stellar leadership criteria”, I’m just being a pedant concerning the doug’s comment.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl:

    Cripes, how do you get a job writing that kind of lazy tripe? I want one.

    I don’t know you well, but I assume that you have a conscience and some sense of self-respect. You would have to drown those things like a puppy to get that kind of job.

  31. 31
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    Why not focus the criticism on the kidnappers rather than the insufficiently cheer-making negotiators?

    But that would be CLASS WAR!

    No, wait, that’s not it.

    But BOTH SIDES DO IT!

    (Concerned pause.)

    No, that’s not quite right either.

    But THEY WERE FORCED TO TAKE US HOSTAGE!

    Shit. That just sounds like Stockholm Syndrome.

    But but but … UNCIVIL TONE!

    (Fist pump.)

    Yeah! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    .

  32. 32
    Elie says:

    @DCr:

    Oh, a more creative troll…

    there is not difference between Obama and I guess, W.

    Get lost, troll. You have to do a little better than that.

  33. 33
    kdaug says:

    A lot of us have been picking around the edges of the problem of Obama’s Joe Kline’s curiously unsatisfying presidency thought processes…

    Kline’s on the fee-fees brigade. Obama’s getting shit done.

  34. 34
    Elie says:

    @jl:

    Me too (wanting the job writing tripe).

    Unfortunately, I want any job at this point. well, almost.

  35. 35
    Jenny says:

    Klien went on MSNBC and cried when the GOP lost NY-26 over Medicare.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    Hey, look at that. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong is off 2.97%. #TeaPartyDepression

  37. 37
    Elie says:

    @JGabriel:

    I think that you mapped it exactly, J. Exactly.

  38. 38
    Jenny says:

    I hate Obama. He didn’t send me the Prada bag I asked for Christmas.

  39. 39
    The Worst Person In the World says:

    DougJ’s Obotomania has reached the ridiculous level. These poor Obama, sad Obama, so mistreated Obama posts are pathetic.

    The man’s a corporatist whore and no amount of twisting yourself into pretzels to excuse his betrayals makes any difference to that fact.

    Also having reached the ridiculous level is the frequency with which Obots here are making the “Troll” accusation. Soon they’ll be denouncing Cole as a troll.

    Is there some requirement in the Balloon Juice charter that the blog maintain a pro-Obama stance forever and no matter what, and so anyone saying otherwise is a troll? I missed that part…

  40. 40

    @Spaghetti Lee: I don’t care if you used the term Minstrel Show by accident or not. You win the Internets.

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:

    Joe Klein:

    A lot of us have been picking around the edges of the problem of Obama’s curiously unsatisfying presidency…

    I had a curiously unsatisfying mint once — it was an Artichoke Altoid(tm). You had to scrape the mint from the bottom of a tough leaf, and rather than tasting minty, it tasted just like artichoke.

    Frankly, I think it was regular artichoke and the person who served it was putting us on about the Altoid(tm) part.

    But, I must admit, it was curiously unsatisfying.

    It lacked mintyness.

    You know, on further reflection, maybe the unsatisfyingness of a difficult to dissect unminty mint isn’t so curious after all.

    .

  42. 42
    Violet says:

    Why not focus the criticism on the kidnappers rather than the insufficiently cheer-making negotiators?

    Because he’s scared of the kidnappers.

  43. 43
    Elie says:

    @Jenny:

    You are not supposed to remember those things…

    Gawd, these folks make me so sick!

    Hey wait, I have a “just” solution. Time, of whatever rag Klein writes for, should go out of business! Yes. That’s it. He can wait in the uemployment lines with everyone else. He can then think about what a stimulus would have given us, or why oh why the Republicans block jobs legislation. Instead of faulting Obama, he should go to the source of our problems.

    Boy, I would love to see him and many of his ilk in check out lines with Federal food coupons… WIC or Food Stamps. Hate these fuckers. Hate their mendacious, phony asses.

  44. 44
    Cat Lady says:

    Obama’s job is to make us Joe Klein feel good?

    The same Joe Klein who sucked off the Bush misadministration until Bush’s dick failed? Joe Klein is a sad little old failed Villager who now understands 5 years late that he chose… poorly.

  45. 45
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half: So yesterday, I was reading the Wikipedia entry on FDR, and one of the things they mention is the Conservative Coalition that developed when FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court because they were declaring his New Deal laws unconstitutional even though FDR had the Senate 79-17 and the House 342-89. Southern Democrats then joined with the Republicans to prevent further New Deal laws being passed, except for a minimum wage. This was one of the contributions to the recession in ’37 and I suspect the reason that FDR had to go the debt cutting route at that time.

    This coalition ended when a lot of the Democrats became Republicans in the ’90s.

    FDR was pretty good until he had to start dealing with the rest of the government.

  46. 46
    Keith G says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Obama is not, never has been, and never pretended to be a progressive. He is under no obligation to go to bat for progressive causes.

    Is the Democratic Party a progressive political party?

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    President Obama disappointed me because he couldn’t turn the tea baggers into stone. I’m not satisfied.

  48. 48

    […] this link: Balloon Juice » Not here for your entertainment Categories: Entertainment Tags: around-the-edges – curiously-unsatisfying – dirty – dirty-doug – […]

  49. 49
    Elie says:

    @The Worst Person In the World:

    You have to support your stance with provable facts rather than just name calling. That is not generally the case with the trolls.

    Hey, you wanna do it? Throw it down and lets see what you got. Hope its better than your other trolletes have given us. We actually like trolls. They can be stimulating if they are smart and interesting. Unfortunately, too too many are boring and stupid.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: No, it is a party with a significant progressive wing, but also moderate and rather conservative factions. Anything progressive must be toned down to get the votes of the moderates if it is going to have any chance of passing.

    ETA: IMO Obama is a center-left technocrat and a pragmatist.

  51. 51
    ChrisNYC says:

    I didn’t read Klein’s piece but if it’s what I think it is, ugh.

    I am *amazed* that the Morning Joe/Joe Klein/Maureen Dowd/ David Brooks types don’t get the hugeness of this period of time.

    Personally I think it started with Sept 11 but even just since 2008. The worldwide financial collapse, the Arab Spring and the yet to be known follow ons of that, the real problems we have with healthcare and with entitlement spending, our lack of an economic base to replace what was lost in the collapse, the rise of actual powerful global competitors, southern Europe about to declare bankruptcy.

    I think regular people get this — the hugeness of it. I think lots of Americans have learned a bunch of hard hard lessons since 2001. (Try to sell the Iraq War now, see how that goes.) These pundits just still talk like it’s 1996 and it’s all a game.

  52. 52
    JPL says:

    @Keith G: Seriously, it depends on the meaning of progressive.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @The Worst Person In the World:

    Is there some requirement in the Balloon Juice charter that the blog maintain a pro-Obama stance forever and no matter what, and so anyone saying otherwise is a troll?

    I think there’s a requirement not to be a self-important douchebag who thinks he’s clever for saying the same thing every other self-important douchebag says every time. Well, not a requirement, but more like “guidelines.”

  54. 54
    Keith G says:

    @Stillwater:

    If employment numbers were better,..

    But they are not and fair or not this will be laid at Obama’s feet. Maybe he will find a away to deal with this and I sure as fuck hope he does, but thus far he has not.

  55. 55
    Firebert says:

    I rarely have the time to read much of the comments here, and I’ve begun to realize that I’m not missing much. Seriously, the liberal Obama-haters sound like hipsters whining that a band isn’t authentically twee.

  56. 56
    Joe Lisboa says:

    You folks (some of you that is) have lost your collective minds. Off to Dkos with you already and commence with the circle-jerk firing squad already.

    Suggestion for a purity troll tag for Balloon Juice: Circle-Jerk Firing Squad.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G:

    Is the Democratic Party a progressive political party?

    Roughly half of it is. The other half is occasionally persuadable. When they aren’t persuaded, it isn’t.

  58. 58
    Lawnguylander says:

    Look Joe Klein and Drew Westen in they eyes and tell them that they’re satisfied. They’re so, they’re so unsatisfied.

  59. 59
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Why not focus the criticism on the kidnappers rather than the insufficiently cheer-making negotiators?

    I wrote a diary about this on DK called “Why are we not attacking Republicans?” It was in response to all of the FP articles there solely going after Obama for the debt deal, and completely ignoring the Republicans. It was the first time I had gotten so many responses, but I didn’t get a lot of Recs. I’m still just amazed at us not figuring out who our enemies are.

  60. 60
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @JPL:
    I see.

    Then, what does the Democratic Party stand for?

  61. 61
    JPL says:

    @Keith G: I HOPE they stand for a safety net. At this point I’m not comfortable saying a strong safety net but I do think they are trying to maintain some type of middle class. I really don’t know though. I do know what the repubs stand for though and I’m scared.
    Edit.. In Europe progressive can mean more conservative which is why I phrased my reply the way it was.

  62. 62
    jl says:

    Variations on a Theme by Joe Klein

    I pissed on the issues you were working on so old people could live, with medicine and heat and houses and stuff next winter.
    I am sorry, but it was morning and I had nothing to say later on TV, and making fun of all those boring industrial age numbers was so inviting.

    I laughed at the gardens parks where the country go to relax and renew,
    when some crazy people came by and sprayed them with lye.
    Forgive me, I simply do not know what I am saying.

    I laughed about giving away the money you had been saving for people to live on for the next twenty years.
    The man who would get it is so rich and powerful,
    And the martinis he gives me at parties are so juicy and cold.

    Last evening you were talking, but I didn’t understand what you said.
    Forgive me. That stuff is so hard to understand ,and
    I want you to tell me stories, where I am the critic!

    (with apologies to KK and WCW)

  63. 63
    PeakVT says:

    @Keith G: Getting its incumbents re-elected?

  64. 64
    Lysana says:

    I was going to say it’s just Joe Klein and his hand tonight, but the trolls have definitely made it a circle jerk. Maybe they need a better brand of lube to feel more satisfied?

    PS – Yay for the Pink reference, Doug.

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Firebert:

    Seriously, the liberal Obama-haters sound like hipsters whining that a band isn’t authentically twee.

    Yup. Almost all of those comments cry out to be read with the first word “Pfft.”

  66. 66
    Stillwater says:

    @Keith G: Is the Democratic Party a progressive political party?

    Krugman has suggested that the cornerstone of American liberalism is a defense of social programs. If that’s the case, then liberals are essentially fighting a rearguard action against a political opponent who has made it crystal clear for decades now that dismantling the ‘welfare state’ is its number one objective. Given this, tax cuts are over determined by the ideological commitments of conservatives: they appeal to the direct interests of the wealthy as well as the indirect interests of the ‘small government’ crowd.

    But Obama has pushed through progressive legislation. And the Pelosi house produced nothing but progressive legislation which languished in Senate committees unread or outright rejected. The Senate is still the problem for Dems. And the Senate is probably a better barometer of the nations temperature on these things. If so, the Democratic party is decidedly not progressive.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: What is that supposed to mean? It is the political party that is actually interested in trying to make government work. The various factions may disagree about how to do that, but in the current environment, an interest in having government work is a enough to make them better than any Republican.

  68. 68
    Elie says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Yes, a continuing mystery for me. Think of the energy in attacking Obama. Think of the energy of primarying a sitting President from our side (supposedly they say they are progressives). It makes no sense at all but we just see it the way it is. Maybe one day, we will understand but just as a personal thing, I don’t get how a progressive makes Obama into the enemy with those crazy people really overtly and relentlessly trying to hurt our country. How any so called prog could overlook that makes me extremely dubious of their real affiliations, frankly.

  69. 69
    JGabriel says:

    @jl: Nicely done.

    .

  70. 70
    Keith G says:

    @JPL: And the fact that that may be as good a definition of what Democrats are that I will get here scares the stuffings out of me.

    Edit:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ditto

  71. 71
    eldorado says:

    i love the kareem quote, dougj

  72. 72
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    ETA: IMO Obama is a center-left technocrat and a pragmatist.

    Yup. I couldn’t be bothered with Westen’s op-ed, but someone did tell me it includes the phrase “Obama doesn’t know what he believes”. One thing he believes in: Getting shit done. I think if he had the powers so many seem to think he does, he’d get a lot more progressive (by anyone’s definition) shit done. I think BTW and FWIW that the same is true of HRC.

    One thing I saw today in the comments at Krugman’s blog, a first even after all these years, a passionate “I told you so!” from a Bill-Richardson-bot. So two firsts.

  73. 73
    JPL says:

    @Keith G: me too… best I can do though..

  74. 74
    Samara Morgan says:

    im very pleased with Obama.
    he rawks.
    he believes in getting shit done, w/e it takes.
    he believes in making congress do its job.
    he is doing his best to protect the troops that fucking WEC retard Bush tossed into an unwinnable immoral meatgrinder, and to recover the economy Bush trashed on his missionary democracy crusade.
    he is doing his best to get re-elected.
    and hes a gamer.

  75. 75
    Elie says:

    @jl:

    Very sharp. I would say send it to him, but he knows he is a whore and stopped worrying about it a long time ago.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: The US really doesn’t do, or, at least, hasn’t done, ideological political parties.

  77. 77
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: thanks.. it is easy to forget all that he has done…

    One thing he believes in: Getting shit done.

  78. 78

    Obviously it’s not like there’s anyone currently on the scene that I’d prefer run for President on the Democratic ticket in 2012 (at least not if I’m quarantined to the real world); but at the same time I think it’s kind of silly to spend as much time as this blog does in defending Obama just because various worthless gasbags in the Village happen to say various worthless gasbag things that aren’t in his favor. Just — let’s not let Joe Klein and Bobo have such a deciding influence over what we ask of the President, please?

  79. 79
    Danny says:

    Why not focus the criticism on the kidnappers rather than the insufficiently cheer-making negotiators?

    Exactly. What’s the main difference between Bush II and Obama? Apart from Bush II shitting all over everything he got near, it’s the fact that up until the very end Bush II had an army of sycophants willing to shrill for him and relentlessly pound democrats. And yet the case for relentlessly pounding republicans is so much stronger… It’s a funny world.

  80. 80
    jwb says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Seriously, can’t we at least agree to say something two bad things about the Republicans for every bad thing we say about Obama and the Dems; and when we have to criticize the President be sure to say something positive as well. If you study right wing pundits you’ll notice that they usually say something nice about Republican politicians when they criticize them, and they NEVER miss an opportunity to go out of their way to take a swing at Democrats. I just don’t get why left pundits can’t learn this simple lesson.

  81. 81
    Elie says:

    @JPL:

    I know what you say, man, but I think that it still means that. I frankly think there is going to be a stampede to that sooner than we think. We will see…

  82. 82
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Keith G: In a function sense, it doesn’t stand for anything because it’s constituency is ideologically in-congruent.

    Look at the Health Care debate amongst the Democratic-leaning Congresspeople, that alone should say “This party fundamentally cannot put anything together consistently because they are all in at least 10 different directions of how to do things.”

  83. 83
    nellcote says:

    So the Prez goes out of the Village to do sm. business roundtables, townhalls etc. 2 or 3 times a week. But because the media doesn’t cover it, it didn’t happen. Meanwhile they whine about transparency but can’t be bothered to look at the WH web site to see what’s been going on. Fuck ’em.

  84. 84
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @nellcote: That’s our ‘liberal’ media for us, we conviently ignore anything that is actually ‘liberal’ and go out of our way to promote conservatives, or at the very least things that make some rank-in-file liberals queasy (like say other liberals who bash Obama for not using the bully pulpit)

  85. 85
    Elie says:

    @Elias Isquith:

    we spend time because folks come here or are in the msm spewing lies. Dunno about you or others, but its less about defending Obama per se for me, than defending what I sent him up there to do. So when some ignorant shitbird makes that harder for him to do, I take it as a personal offense and go for making that real clear to them. If I could personally meet some of the assholes in the MSM, I would make it equally clear.

    Dig?

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    Keith G, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to pie you now for your incessant back and forth arguing with people here.
    I hope one day you’ll mature enough to have an honest discussion.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BlueDWarrior: In a healthy two party system, we would have the center-left and prog Dems on one side and the Blue Dogs on the other. Interesting policy debates that resulted in decent legislation moving forward would probably result. Unfortunately, we don’t have that because a huge chunk of our governing bodies don’t believe in governing.

  88. 88
    Elie says:

    @jwb:

    i think your idea is totally valid and good. Only they know why they don’t or won’t do that, but I have my ideas.

  89. 89
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Elias Isquith:

    Just—let’s not let Joe Klein and Bobo have such a deciding influence over what we ask of the President, please?

    I don’t think think Klein and Bobo et al have any influence over the type of people who read political blogs, but a whole lot of people, in my mind the type who make up the essence of “indys” and “tote-baggers” (I love that term even if I have to cop to being a bit tote-baggery) think of themselves as very well-informed because they read Time, the NYT, and/or watch MTP. And political and local reporters are part of their audience. If you listen to the Very Serious (and Liberal) NPR at all, you’ve been hearing a lot that the deficit is our country’s greatest menace since the Soviet Union, and Both Sides Are Just Playing Politics.

  90. 90
    Ol' Dirty DougJ says:

    @Elias Isquith:

    Just—let’s not let Joe Klein and Bobo have such a deciding influence over what we ask of the President, please?

    Everyone is talking about that Drew Westen article and Klein’s take on it was particularly stupid.

  91. 91

    For years, everyone whose opinion I trust said the first black president would be a conservative. And they were right.

    It’s just that back in those days conservative did not mean bugfuck crazy panty-sniffing Bible humping let’s burn this fucker down dance in the ashes and let the rich rule what’s left destructobot.

    Seriously, I’ve given it a great deal of thought and have concluded the people demanding the Super Liberal Lefty Obama they voted for were in a fucking coma during 98% of the election and came out of it just in time to vote. (OK, there are two other far less charitable conclusions, but they’ll keep.)

    And the next dipshit who says ACA and/or the death of DADT are no big deal can jump through their own asshole for me. Please?

  92. 92
    JPL says:

    @Elie: i’d rather a flat tax with a 50,000 dollar deduction. Bill Gates get a 50000 and I get a 50,000 deduction. It would be a lot more progressive than what we have. Supposedly we are a consumer based economy and a progressive tax system would help.

  93. 93
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    If that speculation is indeed true, I would argue that at the very least we have had political parties that defined their national role around a focused set of ideas, as in “free labor, free land, free men”

  94. 94
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Now Corner Stone, I talked to you about the value of fiber in your diet and how that, would, you know, help you out with some of your ‘problems’. Chronic constipation can actually cripple you and prevent you from walking upright… not that you would even if you could, but you get what I am trying to say. Yep, a good psyllium, oatmeal and dried berry formula would help you a lot — even improving other lower spinal reflex activities that probably add to your grumpiness.

  95. 95
    NobodySpecial says:

    Westin has a point.

    Presidents DO get a unique voice in everything. People also do look to the President, as the executive of the government, as the spokesman for what he wants done, whether it happens or not. If they don’t like what he’s talking about, then he’s going to have problems.

    There is nothing stopping Obama from offering any kind of job creating bill he wants, and making Congress run on ‘we can’t do that’. The only thing stopping him is the paralysis that has become the default position of the Democratic Party since Clinton’s ‘Third Way’ became trendy. Many of those same people who put that excrement into play are still in major posts in the government or advising the government, making it harder to actually implement progressive policies.

    When Democrats get over their fear of looking foolish when they swing and miss every once in a while, they’ll take the bat off their shoulder and do something with it.

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    In a healthy two party system, we would have the center-left and prog Dems on one side and the Blue Dogs on the other. Interesting policy debates that resulted in decent legislation moving forward would probably result.

    That’s the way most of Europe seems to be, though I’m no expert. You vote for the party that wants to do with the government what you want to see. But, as you point out, we’ve ended up with the Make Policy Party and the Do Nothing Party, and hence the Make Policy Party is an unwieldy coalition that contains people with diametrically opposite views.

  97. 97
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Good luck getting it to work. I tried with Reality Fuck (sorry water girl) and all I got was Reality Fuck.

    Guess that’s one tough fucking troll. (sorry w.g.)

  98. 98
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @NobodySpecial:
    I think some of the problem that I have with this line of thought is that I feel the American people at this point are so fundamentally schizoid in their voting habits that they really would rally around Pres Obama if he were to go with a big 3 Trillion or whatever WPA 2.0 Program… and then turn around and vote for someone to Congress who would do everything in their power to see such a thing never existed.

    How do we as liberals/progressives/not-conservatives get people to get past this fundamental problem in their voting?

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Yes, and those parties tend to last a short period of time while the particular set of circumstances that spawned them are salient in the public mind.

  100. 100
    Elie says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I think you make some good sense… frankly, I dunno why the democrats don’t do that. I will say that in the current firebag climate, its pretty hard for the democrats to swing and miss. Not only do they have to fight off the teahadists but the firebaggers as well.

  101. 101
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    There is nothing stopping Obama from offering any kind of job creating bill he wants, and making Congress run on ‘we can’t do that’.

    I think you’re right about Democratic risk-averse tendencies, but I am not confident that Obama’s touting what could be done only to watch it get smothered in Congress would make him look stronger rather than weaker. What we need is an argument against obstructionism and intransigence that doesn’t come across as whining No Fair! But I can’t say I know what that argument would look and sound like.

  102. 102
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Elie: niice.
    here’s Isquiths latest Obama-concern troll offerring at the LoOG…. glibertarian chatt roul3tte c1rcle jerk of unmitigated whankage.
    IMHO he should go back there and firebag.

    Especially when, as Westen writes, “they’re still unemployed, they’re still worried about how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month and their kids still can’t get a job.” Obama beat Hillary Clinton three years ago to win the nomination? Oh. Good for him. And he’s ensured that GM and the banks are reaping profits on a level perhaps unseen in modern history? Cool. It would be even cooler, of course, if that led to anyone getting hired, of course; but — hey — at least his favorables are “solid.”

    go slobber over Westen at your own blog, Elias, you fucking neoliberal-liberaltarian-civillibertarian-classicliberal-cryptoconservative asswipe.

  103. 103
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Ol’ Dirty DougJ: well here is Elias slobbering over Westen worse than jokeline.
    missed that, did you, ol Dirty?
    but the LoOG is on your blogroll.

    hahahaha

  104. 104
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Except that “free labor, free land, free men” that I noted was the early slogan (1865) of the fledgling Republican Party.

    I think they may still be around.

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elie: Maybe you should try consulting to clients for their diet? Getting paid for your good advice? Instead of being a drag on society and all.

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: Yes, I do enjoy double-double choco pie. Thanks!

  107. 107
    J says:

    love the airplane quote. Hilarious re-purposed to our current wingnut cancers on society.

  108. 108
    LosGatosCA says:

    First off, Obama has already embraced the Catfood Commission. In White House statements, by initiating the discussion on entitlements during the debt limit fiasco, s

  109. 109
    Linnaeus says:

    I’m all for having more discussions about 1) pointing out the dangers of the Republicans and 2) talking about how to create a more progressive climate so more progressive things get done. Time, money, effort, and brains; we’re gonna need all four. So let’s get to it.

  110. 110
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Fair enough. Within 35 years though, that party had evolved into a different entity with a progressive and a conservative wing. The Democratic Party did the same thing and that is more or less what we have lived with until recently. Free Soilers, Populists, and others tend to get co-opted and absorbed by one or the other of the major parties.

  111. 111

    Don’t feed the crazy stalker.

  112. 112
    lol says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    You mean the various job creation bills that Obama has pushed to little avail for the past couple years? Those bills?

    Obama doesn’t get credit for unqualified victories. (DADT repeal, Lily Ledbetter)
    Obama doesn’t get credit for qualified victories. (Stimulus, ACA, FinReform)
    Obama doesn’t get credit for trying for victories. (Immigration, ending tax cuts for rich)

    Really kind of tired hearing about the positive feedback the Professional Left is willing to provide if Obama would just LEAD HARDER.

  113. 113
    kdaug says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Obama’s job is to make us/Joe Klein feel good?

    My point exactly.

  114. 114
    lol says:

    @LosGatosCA:

    Yawn. Come up with a new tune. You’ve played this one several times to no avail.

  115. 115
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Comrade Kevin: Which one? I kid.

  116. 116
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I agree with that statement, the problem with American politics isn’t so much that liberal groups don’t exist, which can be solved by making then exist. They do exist, but as a sub-group under a larger super-group. I treat the Democratic and Republican party as super-parties that are made up of various smaller parties that would exist independently in a European parliamentary system.

    The real problem is two-fold: 1) not enough of the electorate want to do anything besides punch hippies and 2) corporations have out sized influence either through direct contributions or blackmailing the labor force within the constituency of said politician.

  117. 117
    LosGatosCA says:

    First, let’s stipulate that Obama has already embraced the Catfood Commission recommendations. In White House statements, by initiating the discussion on entitlements during the debt limit fiasco, specifically with the increase in age for Medicare eligibility, etc.

    Now, if Simpson is saying Obama will go all in publicly after the election, my guess is that depends on the election and the way it’s won. The scenarios are:

    1. President Wingnut gets inaugurated on January 20, 2013 and Health Care is repealed by voice vote by Jan 31. The Catfood Commission isn’t embraced by President Wingnut because it’s insufficiently draconian. The rest of 2013 becomes the revenge of Robert Taft, Jr. repealing every humane piece of legislation since Dredd Scott.

    2. Re-elected Obama out wing nuts the Republicans to narrowly win and does almost the identical program as President Wingnut would have. The Catfood Commission becomes the extreme Socialist position. Social Security retirement and Medicare eligibility ages raised to 75.

    So, I think Simpson is wrong on all counts. It will happen before the election if at all and after the election it won’t be harsh enough to be considered serious – no matter who wins.

  118. 118
    PanAmerican says:

    Curiously unsatisfying. I’m guessing Joe Klein gets that a lot from his sexual partners.

  119. 119
    Dollared says:

    @Stillwater: The Senate is not a fucking barometer of the nation. The Senate is a deliberately created house of lords specifically designed to favor rural aristocrats over productive city folk. Two votes for Wyoming, two votes for California.

    The filibuster is that body’s obscene crystalization of that ethos to empower the rural aristocrats into a small group of wealthy old men (or their widows) who are driving this country into depression.

    That’s how Senators representing 13% of the national population, or whatever it was, were viewed as the 41 seantors who could block the public option. It makes a mockery of democracy.

    The exact job of an effective president is to come up with the combination of public shame, private threats and naked fear of power that will move the Senate.

    Obama has been weak at this. Period.

  120. 120
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Oh my… that wasn’t what we agreed to. I thought you were going to “come clean” as it were..

    Ahem, well of course, as you wish. We won’t talk about it anymore here, wink wink…

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BlueDWarrior:

    I treat the Democratic and Republican party as super-parties that are made up of various smaller parties that would exist independently in a European parliamentary system.

    In some ways, they (the major parties)are sort of pre-fab coalitions that tend to vote together more often than not and vote for the same leadership.

  122. 122
    jefft452 says:

    Emma @17
    “Jesus, what do you know about FDR? The man who compromised on Social Security so it covered nobody but white men?”

    by “nobody but white men” do you mean about 1/3rd of black workers and about ½ of women workers?

    There is a reason that he went fron 20% of the black vote in 32 to 75% in 36
    If Wilson were designing SS, it would have been whites only, not just disparate impact

    Next you’ll be telling me that it was unheard of to live past 65 when SS was started

    “I had assumed the difference between Democrats and Republicans was that one of us wouldn’t be forever looking back to a mythical golden age”

    Well, you see, I’m old enough to remember it. From 36 to the late 70’ was a period of massive increase in the standard of living for Americans of all classes – since St Ronny taught us that government was the problem and not the solution weve had 30 yrs of decline for all but the top

    JPL @22
    “Does anyone think that FDR could win today with 24/7 news and talk radio?”
    Sure he could, the 3 biggest dailies were rabid anti-FDR propaganda sheets

  123. 123
    SensesFail says:

    @PanAmerican:

    Curiously unsatisfying. I’m guessing Joe Klein gets that a lot from his sexual partners.

    HAHAHA!

  124. 124
    Dollared says:

    @jefft452: Second. The first wave of radio had as its #1 show Father Coughlin, who taught my grandparents that Roosevelt was in daily communication with Joseph Stalin.

  125. 125
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Joke Klein is a tool.

    No, strike that.

    Tools are useful. Joke Klein is not.

  126. 126
    Valdivia says:

    wow the Obama didn’t give me a pony brigade is out in force. ducking out.

  127. 127
    Gus diZerega says:

    I haven’t read much of the previous commentary. I am tired beyond words of those who keep finding excuses for Obama. I will give only one symbolic and one substantive example of why the man is no friend at all of progressive values, although he is a far more competent corporate administrator for the oligarchy than his predecessor.

    Yes he finally came through ion DADT. But that issue does not touch the heart of the malaise that is destroying this country, and decent managers would have no problem with treating gays as as good as anyone else.

    But consider Dawn Johnson. Anyone remember? She could have been one of this loser’s recess appointments, and she wasn’t. Because he didn’t care about progressive values at all.

    Second, during the medical reform debate I tried hard to find out where the guy actually stood. It was like trying to interpret subtle moves in the Kremlin during the old USSR. He never presented a vision and ultimately gave us a Republican plan from years ago with a large Democratic majority. Not all his fault and I know he’s not a dictator – one of the more irritating defenses of this guy. He didn’t even try to lead.

    I could go on, but the willfully blind refuse to examine the larger picture.

    I’ll still vote for the SOB over a Republican, (better a corporate tool who is not a sociopath over one who is or a religious fanatic) but I’ll vote for any primary challenger that shows up.

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jefft452: The larger point that FDR compromised in order to move legislation forward still stands. The programs that he started were not what they have become. The question is whether those compromises were worth it; history’s verdict seems to be that they were.

  129. 129
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Indeed the GOP did evolve – an evolution enabled by their early success at standing firm. That was something their Whig ancestors were not known for.

    Like the poet Frost, Obama has chosen a road, a road where he will accept no defeats since he will engage in no pitched battles. Sometimes a defining contest is needed. The early Civil Rights Movement was strangely strengthened by learning from defeat and using that as a springboard to further successful action. Obama’s calculated, defensive battles have not left him stronger leader. Maybe this is the best he can do and if so, it most likely will not be enough.

    Matt Tiabbi’s writing can be too much about Matt Tiabbi, still I think that he is a useful observer of the dynamics of power. He writes:

    The blindness of the DLC-era “Third Way” Democratic Party continues to be an astounding thing. For more than a decade now they have been clinging to the idea that the path to electoral success is social liberalism plus laissez-faire economics – in other words, get Wall Street and corporate America to fund your campaigns, and get minorities, pro-choice and gay marriage activists (who will always frightened into loyalty by the Tea Party/Christian loonies on the other side) to march at your rallies and vote every November. They’ve abandoned the unions-and-jobs platform that was the party’s anchor since Roosevelt, and the latest innovations all involve peeling back their own policy legacies from the 20th century

    There is a lot here that I agree with.

  130. 130
    Quiddity says:

    @JPL: During FDR’s time there was no television. Some radio, but the overwhelming media was newspapers and a huge majority were hostile to him.

    That said, people here seem to be of the opinion that those criticizing Obama don’t want him to succeed. They do. But they can identify specific things that he has not done:

    Push for more judicial appointments in his first 2 years.
    Bully pulpit (even though Cole thinks it’s meaningless).
    Smarter tactics, like getting a debt ceiling agreement last year.
    Being more involved in crafting/pushing legislation instead of letting Congress work at it’s own, sluggish, pace.
    Staying the hell away from Debt Commissions and talk of “balanced” approaches that involve cuts to entitlements. Why do we need “balance” when there was no balance in the distribution of wealth in the previous decade?

    Things like that. Yes, the Republicans and the Tea Party are thugs and yes, Obama has the unique problems with being the first black president. Nobody is denying that. But there are issues with his negotiating smarts and overall drive to get things done.

  131. 131
    Gustopher says:

    That’s how I feel about all this “the president needs to make us feel good” stuff—that’s what the policies decisions are for!

    Most people vote based on feelings. Might be stupid, but it’s true. Making people feel good is part of his job if he doesn’t want to be a one termer.

    Bush made people feel good. Not good people, of course, but horrible people, and that was critical to his reelection.

    He’s got a little over a year to get his base enthused to help GOTV operations, which will be more important than ever with the Republican War On Voters.

  132. 132
    burnspbesq says:

    @Keith G:

    Is the Democratic Party a progressive political party?

    No. There is no progressive political party in this country. SATSQ.

  133. 133
    Yutsano says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    But that issue does not touch the heart of the malaise that is destroying this country, and decent managers would have no problem with treating gays as as good as anyone else.

    Because, you know, civil rights just have to wait until the economy is better.

    He didn’t even try to lead.

    I see this criticism constantly, yet no one ever enumerates what they wanted him to DO that would please them. Please enlighten me. And be specific. And while doing so, acknowledge fucking political reality.

    I’ll still vote for the SOB over a Republican, (better a corporate tool who is not a sociopath over one who is or a religious fanatic) but I’ll vote for any primary challenger that shows up.

    Even if that primary challenger was Evan Bayh?

  134. 134
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G:

    a road where he will accept no defeats since he will engage in no pitched battles.

    Aw, bullshit.

  135. 135
    boss bitch says:

    He didn’t even try to lead.

    Cries the crowd that abhors following anyone in power.

  136. 136
    piratedan says:

    gee, what I am curiously unsatisfied with is that we have so many rich people that don’t understand history or economic theory that are ignorant that their positions lead to less money and a greater likelihood of them being murdered in their beds. That we have so many scared, latent racists still in positions of control within our government, nationally, and at the state and local levels. That we have people that are more concerned about being in charge rather than doing anything to make life better for the majority of us while they are in charge. That for some reason its trendy to “believe” that faith trumps science and that “faith” also somehow makes one fit to lead. That our media spends more time finding spin for stories rather than providing context for those stories. That’s what is curiously unsatisfying to me.

  137. 137
    burnspbesq says:

    @Firebert:

    Seriously, the liberal Obama-haters sound like hipsters whining that a band isn’t authentically twee.

    That’s actually a fantastic analogy. I would tweak it just a little bit, and say that the Firebaggers are like the original fans of an indie band (Obama) that decides it likes to eat, and signs a major-label deal, to be met with shrieking about “sellout.”

  138. 138
    Cat Lady says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    This is right – the jig is up, and weirdly the very last place to go for information about the jig being up is the MSM. The’ve not only missed every big story, they’ve been provedly responsible for catapulting Republican propaganda. The left blogosphere is the visible side of the one sided mirror into the FAIL media, and the inability of the media corps to repeatedly accept their failure in the face of all of the feedback available to them just convinces me that it’s willful blind ignorance. Willful, prideful ignorance seems to be winning the day all around.

  139. 139
    Valdivia says:

    @Firebert:

    perfectly put. or what @burnspbesq: said.

  140. 140

    @nellcote:

    So the Prez goes out of the Village to do sm. business roundtables, townhalls etc. 2 or 3 times a week. But because the media doesn’t cover it, it didn’t happen. Meanwhile they whine about transparency but can’t be bothered to look at the WH web site to see what’s been going on. Fuck ‘em.

    Jesus. Do I have to? Could I at least get Soledad O’Brien or someone, instead of Joe Klein?

    Asia is falling through the floor, and the US and European futures aren’t looking any better.

  141. 141
    Valdivia says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    the teabag depression is here.

  142. 142
    Stillwater says:

    @Dollared: The Senate is not a fucking barometer of the nation.

    Two words: Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman.

    Oops. That was five words.

  143. 143
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Which ones do you consider his “lead from the front”/”this is where I stand” efforts?

  144. 144
    boss bitch says:

    A lover of fairy tales casts Obama as villain-in-chief

    http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.c.....ma-as.html

    Have fun with this article folks. The news of Obama’s (political) death have been greatly exaggerated. How many times have we done this before? Obama will say or do something that will cause very serious people to cry, “finally”, “where has this guy been”, “now this is the Obama I voted for” blah blah blah. The emo tide will (temporarily) stop drowning the Internets and they will move on to making shit up about what’s going on inside the itty bitty super committee.

  145. 145

    @Valdivia: I have a bunch of index puts that were meaty when I bought them, and are damned near 100 delta now.

  146. 146
    Dave says:

    I mean, I dunno. Is there a point to being an Obot, other than “it feels good”? Aren’t we all just Joe Klein?

    Obama’s not doing anything for you, and the vast majority of Americans he’s just screwing outright.

    We’re ruled by evil people. Defending them from Joe Klein may be momentarily satisfying, but in the long run what might be more deeply satisfying is taking people like Joe Klein and, I dunno, killing them.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: You poor little firebagging fool.
    Good luck next time. Amigo.

  148. 148
    Dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: Really? So show me the screaming fans, the sold out concerts, the fantastic devotional displays, the adoring magazine covers.

    At this point, I’d be happy to see a few drunk juggalos.

    Obama is a competent crisis manager with no idea how to undo the Reagan Revolution. Until somebody comes along with his connections and the ideas that go with it, we are stuck with his ilk as the best we can do.

    And we will be in slow retreat when he’s in charge, and full rout if he loses.

    And yes, any army faces those two choices has a high rate of desertion.

  149. 149
    Dollared says:

    @Corner Stone: That’s not like you. He is asking for examples. I think DADT qualifies. Electorally meaningless, but an example…

  150. 150
    srv says:

    @Gus diZerega: Obama wants a world where Congress comes up with great legislation and he signs it. He won an election campaigning for health care, and it was Congress’ job to make all that happen. Exacting commitments and policy wonkishness on what single-payer and stimulus and all is, well, up to what is is.

    There’s something quaint about all that, but I think that’s what he sees his job as.

  151. 151
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Gracias

  152. 152

    @burnspbesq: The problem with that analogy is that the “liberal” Obama-haters never liked him to begin with.

  153. 153
    Dollared says:

    @piratedan: Yes. And what is the plan to change all that? You see, in any rational world this would be hard, but somebody would know how to do it.

    I think that’s the unsatisfying part.

  154. 154
    Valdivia says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    sorry to hear that. I think it will get worse for a while this week, but maybe it will rebound later depending on the insane asylum.

    Also I think someone Violet maybe, already made a comment about the coming Depression being caused by the Tea Party. Credit where due!

  155. 155
    burnspbesq says:

    @Valdivia:

    Not too put too fine a point on it, but Obama is the Liz Phair of American politics, and the 2004 Democratic Convention speech was his “Exile in Guyville.” All the emobaggers who fell in love with him as a result of that speech want him to make that record over and over again, and won’t accept anything else, even though that record was a product of a specific time and place, and wasn’t fully representative of who he really is.

    It is not true that everything since “Exile in Guyville” has sucked. It’s been different, to be sure, which is to be expected, since the woman who made “Somebody’s Miracle” was 15 years older, a mom, and living a very different life than the woman who made “Exile in Guyville.”

    Same deal with Obama. Different time, different place, different responsibilities. Why expect the same things from him?

  156. 156
    piratedan says:

    @Dollared: agreed… where to begin, out of all of that blechness, which one is the most reasonable one to return to sanity? To be honest, if I had to pick, I would start with the media, the better armed with information that people are, the more likely they are to make more informed choices that should lead to better folks getting elected.

    Does it solve everything, no… but as far as I can see, its the best place to start.

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dollared: If Keith G wasn’t such a hardcore firebagger then I’d agree with you, in some respect.
    But his unrepentant firebagging ways leave little leeway to mitigate any of his responses.
    He’s really quite argumentative, and some of the threads he participates in remind me of a serial TV show of some kind.
    Can’t quite remember it now…but it will come to me.

  158. 158
    NR says:

    @boss bitch:

    Have fun with this article folks.

    What’s fun about it? It’s just the standard cry of “But we didn’t have the votes!” that’s used to respond to any and all criticism of Obama. It’s beyond played out at this point.

  159. 159

    @srv: I’d go farther than that, and say that Obama thinks that a world in which Congress comes up with legislation, great or otherwise, and passes it is the only world in which the ramshackle structure of the US governmental system works. Without it, you end up with an imperial presidency, but one that has the limitation that Congress can try to grandstand and prevent anything from happening. The worst of both worlds.

    I rather agree with him on this. The system that a lot of people want, where Obama uses the bully pulpit to ram through his big package, is one in which Congress, and in particular, Congressional minorities, can assume a lot of power without taking on any responsibilities. It’s a recipe for disaster, as we are seeing.

    The only place I really fault Obama on this is that I’m increasingly concerned that the US governmental system is hopelessly broken and can’t be fixed. If that’s the case, then we’re screwed, and there isn’t any way out that does not involve a whole bunch of people violating their oaths of office, including Obama. It is probably worth giving repair efforts more chances than they really deserve.

  160. 160
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dollared:

    Really? So show me the screaming fans, the sold out concerts, the fantastic devotional displays, the adoring magazine covers.

    The 2004 Democratic Convention. Or have you forgotten?

  161. 161
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Have you ever read John Keegan’s The Mask of Command? I see Obama’s leadership style as closer to that of Wellington than Alexander, so the lead from the front actions aren’t likely to happen.

  162. 162
    Valdivia says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Win. And I say this as someone who liked the Liz Phair album where she was supossed to have sold out.

    Srsly though, yes being a President that gets shit done is not the same as being the lone voice in the woods repeating what we want to hear. It’s amazing to me to come here and read some of the naive crap about if only he had done this or that. With this crew of nihilists called the Republican party or the media whores?

  163. 163

    @Quiddity:
    I have a question for you: What is the bully pulpit? How does it work? Not end results, methods. Do you mean he should give lots of speeches about the importance of jobs or the safety net? He’s doing it. He can’t make television stations cover it. He does not have that power. They’re independent companies, not part of the government. He can’t force liberal bloggers to say ‘Hey, this entire speech was about the importance of preserving the safety net and raising taxes on rich people!’ when they hear the words ‘deficit’ and ‘sacrifice’ and that’s all they feel is important. It’s not just that the bully pulpit doesn’t work. It’s that it doesn’t exist. You get the stories you’re fed and Obama does not decide what they are.

  164. 164
    burnspbesq says:

    @NR:

    It’s just the standard cry of “But we didn’t have the votes!” that’s used to respond to any and all criticism of Obama.

    You have a problem with the truth?

  165. 165
    Valdivia says:

    @burnspbesq:

    yes and: the 75000 that showed up to see him in Seattle the summer of 08, the convention in 08, the inauguration. Even last year during the elections the crowds he got were pretty big 30k or more.

  166. 166
    Keith G says:

    @Dollared: I love that it happened and I think Obama was very cagey in how he played it, but I am not sure it was a line in the sand moment.

    I agree with what you said here . Obama is a hell of a guy. I just worry that an America shaped by what Obama defines as acceptable will not be as good of a society as we really could be.

  167. 167

    @NR: So, the truth is played out? Fascinating.

  168. 168

    @Valdivia:

    sorry to hear that. I think it will get worse for a while this week, but maybe it will rebound later depending on the insane asylum.

    Sorry to talk in options code, but my puts becoming 100 delta is very good for my bank account, which I need badly. I understand that most people’s financial interest need the market to rebound, but could you give me a chance to take my profits first?

    @burnspbesq: Many people conceive of rock music as fundamentally attached to adolescent angst and driven by the response thereto. It’s supposed to be about throwing temper tantrums when things go wrong, not dealing with raising a kid or something. Live fast; play hard; die young; hope you die before you get old; don’t trust anyone over thirty.

    Many of them take their political fandom the same way.

  169. 169
    ruemara says:

    @jefft452: Oh, dude. Not exactly.

    Most women and minorities were excluded from the benefits of unemployment insurance and old age pensions. Employment definitions reflected typical white male categories and patterns.[13] Job categories that were not covered by the act included workers in agricultural labor, domestic service, government employees, and many teachers, nurses, hospital employees, librarians, and social workers.[14] The act also denied coverage to individuals who worked intermittently.[15] These jobs were dominated by women and minorities. For example, women made up 90% of domestic labor in 1940 and two-thirds of all employed black women were in domestic service.[16] Exclusions exempted nearly half of the working population.[15] Nearly two-thirds of all African Americans in the labor force, 70 to 80% in some areas in the South, and just over half of all women employed were not covered by Social Security.[17][18] At the time, the NAACP protested the Social Security Act, describing it as “a sieve with holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through.”[18]

    mind you, wikipedia, but I have no text books at hand.

    @NR:
    Is it played out when we factually didn’t have the votes? Does it chance the past if you don’t like that fact? Truly, I’d like to know.

  170. 170
    Dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: proves exactly my point. That was the Indie moment. My point is that the sellout has been, well, curiously unsatisfying.

  171. 171
    Valdivia says:

    off to listen to some Liz Phair.

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    got it. hope you get to take them out before that.

  172. 172
    Triassic Sands says:

    All presidencies are unsatisfying — the best are “curiously” so.

    One thing I do find curious is the degree to which some Obama supporters denigrate the use of the Bully Pulpit, something that has been used to great effect by some previous presidents, but seems to have been left stored in the attic by Obama. Many of those same critics would probably praise Obama’s speech-giving talents, while claiming that the use of the BP would be pointless.

    There are (for Obama) at least two primary target audiences for the BP: the opposition party and the citizenry. I don’t know if any president could have successfully used the BP to positively affect the behavior of the current crop of morons in the Republican Party — I kind of doubt it. But even if some previous Democratic president could have used the BP effectively in dealing with the modern GOP, I don’t think Obama, himself, could ever use the BP successfully in dealing with a hostile opposition — I just don’t think his personality is well-suited to that particular task. That’s not a criticism — different people have different personalities and the traits that may make him ill-suited to one task may also make him much better suited to another.

    Which brings me to the second primary use of the BP and a task that I think Obama has simply failed at — more because he hasn’t tried than because he has done a poor job.

    There is no rational reason why the vast majority of Americans shouldn’t be at least moderately enthusiastic about health care reform. It was widely recognized as necessary and the PPACA, while guaranteed to be inadequate in the long run (any plan that continues to use private, for-profit insurance companies is never going to be truly successful — the evidence for that is found in every other successful universal health care system in the world), certainly contains some reforms that ought to be attractive to most, if not all, non-ideologically driven citizens. Yet, the PPACA, aka Obamacare, continues to poll poorly, even though individual elements are popular.

    I think Obama’s personality is much better matched to use the BP (“bully” does not mean someone who pushes others around — it means “good”) for informative and persuasive purposes, especially when the target audience is not unfailingly hostile to his very existence. It’s here that I think Obama has failed, as I said, more because he hasn’t tried, than because he’s done a poor job.

    I can’t guarantee that Obama would have been successful, but I think he could have done some good, and he couldn’t have made things worse. I think those supporters who disparage the idea of the BP, do so because 1) they just don’t want to criticize Obama, and/or 2) because they mistakenly think the BP is used to browbeat Republicans into cooperation — something I think we can all agree is all but impossible never going to happen. (You may be able to teach old dogs new tricks, but you can’t get complete idiots bent on your destruction to cooperate — especially politicians who view everything as zero-sum. Curiously, Obama seems to continue to believe he can.)

    A large part of my dissatisfaction with Obama arises out of the things I think he could have tried to do, but didn’t. Would he have been successful? How can we know? It’s the not trying that is troublesome, not the failure.

    From speaking with many other long-time lefties, I know they share some of the same dissatisfaction I feel. We all had high hopes for an Obama presidency — in part because it wasn’t a McCain presidency — and many of those hopes were dashed when the Republican Party decided to act like a subversive terrorist organization and do everything it could wreck Obama’s presidency (and the country, if need be, to achieve their main goal, which appears to be first regaining the White House and subsequently turning the US into a third-world hell hole). I just feel he’s spent much too much time in the hopeless task of appealing to Republican politicians and too little time trying to persuade and inform the people who, after all, are the key to whether he gets a second term.

    I want Obama to succeed (for the sake of the country), and, at least in part because there is no other choice, to be re-elected. To that end, I want him to do the things that I think will help. Personally, I think the expert use of the bully pulpit could have been a great plus in Obama’s first term, and I’m not willing to deny its potential, simply because Obama has chosen not to use it (much more often than not). After all, trying to inform the American people may be the second most unrewarding job a president can do (the first would be trying to cooperate with the Modern GOP), but it’s worth a try.

  173. 173
    Dollared says:

    @Comrade Kevin: Bull.shit. This has been yet another Obot Excuse for Why Liberals Get Disappointed by A Democratic President Who Sells Out Working People to Court the Village.

  174. 174
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dollared:

    My point is that the sellout has been, well, curiously unsatisfying.

    Only if your expectations are out of whack.

  175. 175

    @Triassic Sands:
    Once again, I ask: What is the bully pulpit? How does it work? How does he make television and newspapers and radio report on his speeches, since they’re not doing so and those speeches are happening? How does he make blogs report that he’s just said that the rich need to pay more taxes and the safety net is morally and economically necessary? When he says that the deficit is entirely Bush’s fault? What is he not doing that is the reason this message doesn’t go out?

  176. 176
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, then I pray that Obama meets his own played-out Napoleon.

  177. 177

    @burnspbesq: I find Obama’s sellout curiously unsatisfying, too. I was hoping he would beat Mitch McConnell to death with the official seal of the presidency.

    However, I know enough to talk to my therapist about these expectations, rather than blaming Obama for not fulfilling them.

  178. 178
    NR says:

    @burnspbesq: Well since by “truth” you mean “zombie lie that gets trotted out far too many times,” yes, I do have a problem with it.

    The simple fact is that the White House gets most of the bills passed that it really wants to pass. Saying their hands are tied by Congress has nothing whatsoever to do with the facts on the ground.

    When it came time to block drug importations from Canada as part of their backroom deal with Big Pharma, they went out and got the votes. When it came time to extend tax breaks for the rich in exchange for a pittance for the unemployed, they went out and got the votes. When it came time to shield banksters and kill real financial reform, they went out and got the votes.

    There are far too many examples out there that prove what a ridiculous lie this is for anyone to give it any credence at this point. It’s just embarrassing to see it trotted out over and over and over again.

  179. 179
    burnspbesq says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    That pretty much says it all.

    Good night, everyone.

  180. 180
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    It’s the not trying that is troublesome, not the failure.

    In the old days, there was a difference between the swordsmen who were successful fencers and those who were successful duelists. The duelists, using sharpened weapons and risking injury or death, were far more cautious, took fewer chances, and took their time looking for exploitable openings. The fencers, with buttons on the tips of their weapons and wearing safety gear were greater risk takers and far more aggressive. Obama is in a position where failure could be catastrophic. Careful and incremental progress may be all that is possible now. Maybe more is, but what is downside risk?

  181. 181
    burnspbesq says:

    @NR:

    Stop wasting everyone’s time with your nonsense.

  182. 182

    @Dollared: See burnspbesq’s response to NR.

    ETA: Every time I see your handle, I think it says “Dullard’, and I’m not really wrong.

  183. 183
    Dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s not my expectations, Burnsie.

    it’s the burning need of 30 million unemployed or prematurely retired people. It’s the desperation of 100 million workers who – with two parents working -are making less than their parents.

    The need is far greater than the competence that’s been displayed. And the kumbaya bullshit with people who are nothing less than treasonous has clearly, clearly failed.

    How he allowed 2010 to turn into the debacle it truly was will be the stuff of history books (Tim Caine? Whocouldanode the Tea Party would start the Summer of Protest?).

    What is terrifying is if those books also have to examine his one term presidency. Because the Senate will flip – the odds are overwhelming. We could be facing Wisonsin’s last legislative session, except in Washington, from 2012 to 2014.

  184. 184

    @NR:
    You’re right, of course. He’s passed a fuckload of progressive legislation, with the ACA and finreg and DADT being merely the big names. The Tea Party’s insanity has finally shut things down for two years, but while the rules of congress were still in effect it’s amazing how much great stuff the man got done despite record uses of every Senatorial trick to block legislation. I mean, Health Care Reform, the unrealized dream of a hundred years of progressive presidents. Wow.

    Damn, I love this man.

  185. 185
    Stillwater says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): The system that a lot of people want, where Obama uses the bully pulpit to ram through his big package,

    I’m all for Obama getting more of what he wants, but I think I gotta draw the line somewhere. And it’s here.

  186. 186
    Another Bob says:

    Obama’s performance has been lackluster when this country needed a real fighter. A real liberal agenda would have been the perfect antidote to years of Republican mismanagement and corruption. Instead, we get tributes to Ronald Reagan and a respectful acknowledgement that maybe the Republicans have a point if only they will work with him to cut the budget more deeply and maybe then someday they’ll think about raising taxes. It’s mealy-mouthed bullshit when we need someone to denounce Republicanism and everything it stands for. Obama is the best friend the establishment ever had. The irony is when establishment mouthpieces like Joe Klein don’t even have the decency to acknowledge that.

  187. 187
    NR says:

    burnspbesq: Wow! Great rebuttal! Good to see that the Obama fans are living up to their ever-so-high standards of reasoned, fact-based argument. I’d expect nothing less at this point.

  188. 188

    @Another Bob: Here we go again. Another despatch from fantasy land.

  189. 189
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I mean, Health Care Reform, the unrealized dream of a hundred years of progressive presidents. Wow.

    I guess you weren’t paying attention, but health care reform died back early in 2009. What we got instead was health insurance reform, and as far “progressive” goes…. Well….

  190. 190
    Dollared says:

    @Comrade Kevin: Yes? And who the fuck are you? You make a completely unsupportable assertion about people you disagree with, and one that is patently untrue just on the demographics of who worked for and paid for Obama’s path the presidency, and when you are called on it, you call names?

    Yes. We’re all PUMAs. And racists, too. That’s it. I bore Geraldine Ferraro’s love child. I admit it.

    And yes, this dishonest, dismissive attitude does get to honest people after a while. We’re glad that Obama has legitimized the right of young gay men to operate the killing machines of the world’s most expensive, wasteful and destructive military organization. We’re thrilled that Obama has ordered 45 million people to purchase private health insurance, and arranged for subsidies and reasonable business terms for the transaction. We recognize that it is progress.

    But we wanted him to try for more, and he has not. Period. Card check anyone?

  191. 191

    @NR:
    Possibly it’s that you either flat-out ignore reasoned arguments or dismiss them out of hand with stuff like ‘this again’, but don’t actually rebut them? Much like your treatment of Obama, you are cherry-picking only the things you can complain about and claiming that nothing else exists.

    EDIT – Ah, excellent. Thank you for providing a perfect example, where you simply throw off a major argument made against you by describing it in a dismissive way. You are, in fact, doing exactly what you complain about.

  192. 192
  193. 193
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Possibly it’s that you either flat-out ignore reasoned arguments or dismiss them out of hand with stuff like ‘this again’, but don’t actually rebut them?

    If you’re not going to read my comments, don’t bother replying to me. I rebutted the “We didn’t have the votes!” argument just up above.

  194. 194

    @Dollared:

    Yes? And who the fuck are you?

    I’m a commenter on this blog, like you.

    You make a completely unsupportable assertion about people you disagree with,

    That you are a dullard? Your comments speak for themselves.

    The rest of your comment isn’t worth bothering with, as it’s full of non-sequiturs and bullshit.

    I don’t believe that you ever actually supported him, at all.

  195. 195
    Stillwater says:

    @Triassic Sands: That’s a good comment. I don’t know how to answer it except to say that in my memory, Obama has taken the message to ‘the people’, and Congress has consistently failed to follow up on the messaging, and the media has consistently failed to give his views even the smallest of amounts of respect or attention.

    I think the stack is dealt against Obama on any number of levels – intraparty infighting, media bias, Teaparty bullsit, racism, etc.

    I’ve been critical of him in the past, and my criticism of those things hasn’t changed, but I think pinning progressive angst and the ‘rightward turn’ on him is really ridiculous.

  196. 196
    OzoneR says:

    @Keith G:

    Is the Democratic Party a progressive political party?

    when was it ever?

  197. 197
    amk says:

    amurikans are wont to blame daddy (and mommy) for everyone of their own fuck-ups. All the pampered, self-absorbed, whiny little brats & bitches need to grow up and learn from how the rest of the world is coping up with more serious livelihood issues.

  198. 198
    Narcissus says:

    Apparently Anonymous just took over the Syrian Ministry of Defense website.

  199. 199
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    When it came time to block drug importations from Canada as part of their backroom deal with Big Pharma, they went out and got the votes. When it came time to extend tax breaks for the rich in exchange for a pittance for the unemployed, they went out and got the votes. When it came time to shield banksters and kill real financial reform, they went out and got the votes.

    I don’t know if it’s physically possible to be so delusional that you think these things didn’t have the votes already.

  200. 200
    Steeplejack says:

    @Keith G:

    The Democratic Party, based on its actions rather than its rhetoric, is currently a center-right party. The Republican Party currently is far right/cargo cult insane.

  201. 201
    Stillwater says:

    @Dollared: This has been yet another Obot Excuse for Why Liberals Get Disappointed by A Democratic President Who Sells Out Working People to Court the Village.

    What’s that you say? Democratic preznits selling out working people? And who, in your mind, was the most effective champion of neoliberalism and NAFTA and the WTO? Why, BillyBoy of course. The most recent Last Great Champion of the Working Man.

    Give it a rest, brother. Obama is working for your interest more that Slick Willy ever did.

  202. 202
    Dollared says:

    @Comrade Kevin: You are simply proving my points. Would you like to see my credit card receipts? From 2007 and from 2008? What would that accomplish? Would it open your eyes? I doubt it.

  203. 203
    OzoneR says:

    @jefft452:

    There is a reason that he went fron 20% of the black vote in 32 to 75% in 36

    Well, it certainly wasn’t Social Security since the first benefits were paid in 1940.

  204. 204
    Yutsano says:

    @Steeplejack: This leaves me wondering though: if the Democrats have gone center-right, and the Republicans are so far right as to be quasi-fascist, then why is the vacuum on the left not being scooped up? Surely there exists some organization out there willing to fill in that gap. Is it happening and I’m not aware?

  205. 205
    Dollared says:

    @OzoneR: 1896-1908? 1932-1948? 1964-1972?

  206. 206

    @Dollared: Sure, let’s see ’em. How will I know they’re yours? Just how lame can you get?

  207. 207
    Stillwater says:

    @OzoneR: when was it ever?

    I’m 2/3rds the way thru an exquisite bottle of Carlos de Roscia, so I feel comfortable giving you the answer to this rhetorical question: Democrats were a progressive party when unions determined political outcomes. The victories achieved are staggering. But those days are long since past, and the rightward turn of our beloved Democrats pretty unambiguously maps onto the decline of union influence in funding campaigns.

  208. 208
    OzoneR says:

    @Dollared:
    1896-1908?

    William Jennings Bryan was a Progressive?!?!? Scopes Trial anyone?

    1932-1948?

    Civil Rights? Human Rights?

    1964-1972?

    Vietnam

  209. 209
    Dollared says:

    @Stillwater: Wow, tough call between the two. But you’re right – the rot runs deep, and there is no left wing of politics in the US.

    In retrospect, SS and Medicare, as well as the GHWB Peace Dividend, are the greatest miracles political science has ever seen.

  210. 210

    @Yutsano: No, it’s not happening, and will not. The system in this country is rigged for two parties, and will remain that way, likely forever. If you want to get something done, on the left side, you either support the Democrats, or give up.

  211. 211

    @NR:
    And then I rebutted that if you’re using the standard of whether he can get the votes to accomplish things, he’s performed fantastically. He has the best legislative record of a president since LBJ. Your quibbles with what he’s accomplished – like the stimulus and the ACA are ‘I think this could have been even better’ without facts to back them up. If you assume he can pass any legislation he wants, that would assume a conspiracy between Democrats and Republicans and that they are a body who completely agree on goals. That IS conspiracy theory logic, and I cannot rebut it because it’s an assertion that is in a realm of assumption of secret motivation that it’s impossible to have evidence about. If you do not assume that he has the ability to pass any legislation he wants, then as I asserted – admittedly with snark – his accomplishments are phenomenal and to assert that he’s weak or not trying is counter to the facts.

    EDIT – As I recall, you ‘countered’ only by dismissing one of his most important pieces of legislation with a silly name.

  212. 212
    OzoneR says:

    @Yutsano: ,

    then why is the vacuum on the left not being scooped up?

    there’s no vacuum, there is no left.

  213. 213
    Keith G says:

    The Democratic Party has been the major(though many times imperfect) advocate for progressive change since the days of William Jennings Byan, a three time nominee for the office of President.

  214. 214

    […] New definition of conservative, via Balloon Juice: […]

  215. 215
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    It’s just the standard cry of “But we didn’t have the votes!” that’s used to respond to any and all criticism of Obama. It’s beyond played out at this point.

    But, totally the opposite of played out: “He diddin’ even twy!” No, he did try. “But not enuff!” What makes you think so? “He diddin’ even twy!” Well, that’s productive. “Stop shuttin’ down my crittacizm!”

  216. 216
    Keith G says:

    Thanks folks, need to check out. A very grumpy cat is telling me that it ts bed time

  217. 217
    MikeJ says:

    @Keith G: That’s one of the dumbest things ever written here, and I included loco moko’s œuvre in that.

  218. 218
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Yutsano:

    If the Democrats have gone center-right, and the Republicans are so far right as to be quasi-fascist, then why is the vacuum on the left not being scooped up?

    Because the left is already a small group, and most of it realizes that it’s better served being part of an uneasy coalition with the center-right to notch some small but tangible progress — at the cost of less-than-pure rhetoric and some lip service to happy-talk words like “bipartisan” and “common ground” — than trying to strike out on its own, always lose, get nothing done, and make lots of cathartic symbolic protests.

    And here’s where the indie/DIY analogy breaks down: you can be Ian MacKaye or Ani DiFranco and never compromise and go straight to the public and be who you are, because you’re willing to accept a different kind of stardom and a differently-shaped career. But in politics we’re talking about a large-scale, nation-spanning operation. Keep it small and niche-y and authentic and you can probably pull off a big-city city council spot, or a state legislature. To scale up and win higher office, you need people to your right. Because there aren’t enough to your left to win. You have to figure out how to build your way up to 50% + 1.

  219. 219
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Stillwater:

    I think the stack is dealt against Obama on any number of levels

    I agree. Only Roosevelt and Lincoln (probably) faced a worse set of circumstances than those that awaited Obama when he took office (see Note below). It is also worth recognizing that both those presidents are routinely ranked in the top three or four in presidential rankings. However they did it, they rose to the occasion in such a way that they were eventually seen as “great.”

    The Lincoln presidency may not be relevant at all — his opposition was even more virulent than Obama’s (they were after all, at war, and not just a war of words and votes), and communications were nothing like they are today. In the case of Roosevelt, there were national and international communication networks and it was possible (for the first time really) to appeal directly to the people. Roosevelt has been widely credited with using the bully pulpit for both of the purposes I mentioned in my original comment. (But he went beyond those two and used it to rally his own party.) Based on his results — he didn’t end the depression and still managed to get re-elected three times, I’d say he was very successful.

    In the end, I don’t think any of us can tell Obama what he should or shouldn’t do. If we see him failing to use a resource that other presidents have used effectively, then we can comment on it, but it’s really up to him to figure things out. Historically, a great president has found a way to overcome the obstacles he faced, and done so in a way that set him apart from other presidents and leaders. Right now, I’d say there was no likelihood that Obama has accomplished that task. It’s up to him to figure out the way to do it — that’s what defines greatness and it doesn’t look to me like Obama has or will rise to that level. (And we desperately need a great president right now. Of course, we also need a minimally competent Congress and that is totally out of reach.)

    It is possible that the final judgment on Obama (which is still years or decades away) will be that he served at a time when we needed the greatest president in our history and he couldn’t or didn’t deliver. Whether anyone else could have is an open question, but I have my doubts. Is it reasonable to expect anyone to be the “greatest” president ever? I guess you expect what you need, fair or not.

    It may be that in the end the answer is a simple tautology — Success is what works. It’s up to the president to find that. If he can’t, no matter what the reason, he comes up short.

    Note: It is possible that given the nature of the problems facing Obama, that his challenges/obstacles are even greater or more difficult than those of Lincoln or Roosevelt. If so, then it shouldn’t be surprising if he needs to surpass their performances in order to be successful. Maybe no one could do that, but Obama happens to be president — and not by accident, he asked for it — so it’s his job. I wish him luck.

  220. 220

    @Triassic Sands:
    And history will record that he oversaw a historic expansion of the safety net, prevented another depression, enacted a gigantic regulation package that was the first attempt to fix a broken medical system in decades, included infrastructure and green energy expansions into every money bill, and faced with a nightmare opposition willing to risk the entire country for partisan pissing matches outwitted them in negotiation after negotiation, turning their apparent power to destroy the government and the country aside by giving them the legislative equivalent of cheap plastic beads and saying they were diamonds. Only historians will pick through the rest of his accomplishments that we forget to even discuss and say ‘he was better even than that’.

  221. 221
    Dollared says:

    @OzoneR: We can debate the dates, but you need to know about “anachronism.” That means the mistake of extrapolating from your time to a past time, and assuming things are the same.

    Scopes trial is the best example. In WJB’s time, social democracy really was based on Christian principles. And the enemy of social democracy was science in the form of the twin evils of Social Darwinism and Lassiez Faire economics. Sound familiar? So in 1900, to defend religion was to defend human values against social darwinism. Pure progressivism.

    1932-1948 and civil rights? That is the persistent silliness of the people who hate FDR for no reason. No nonwealthy Americans had any form of social justice in the 1920s. FDR got social justice for the majority in the 1930s and 1940s. He had absolutely no chance of breaking Jim Crow. Instead, he installed the Supreme Court justices who broke Jim Crow 15 years later. And by 1960, with conditions improved for white folks, liberation of black folks could begin.

    As far as VietNam goes, remember how important it was for America’s left to be sternly anti-communist. VietNam was a very unfortunate extension of that.

    So if you understand each in its timeframe, Democrats in my suggested time periods were much more progressive, much more on offense rather than on defense, and much more vocal advocates of positive change for the middle and lower classes than Democrats are today.

  222. 222
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Dollared:

    FDR got social justice for the majority in the 1930s and 1940s. He had absolutely no chance of breaking Jim Crow.

    You mean sometimes there are massive structural and political impediments to enacting better social policy? And it’s not always a good idea to fight quixotic battles against determined opposition, even when that opposition is a bunch of assholes and when beating them would be tremendously cathartic? Perhaps that’s applicable to other moments in American political history.

  223. 223
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dollared:

    No nonwealthy Americans had any form of social justice in the 1920s. FDR got social justice for the majority in the 1930s and 1940s. He had absolutely no chance of breaking Jim Crow.

    It’s so funny how you’re perfectly able to see that FDR was forced to make moral compromises in order to get things done but you’re completely unable to see that maybe — just maybe — Obama is having to do the same thing, except his compromises have to be different because Democrats today would be completely unwilling to accept the tradeoff of, say, killing DADT repeal to get the Bush tax cuts to expire the same way that FDR accepted the continuing murders of African-Americans in the South in exchange for the New Deal.

    I don’t hate FDR — he was one of our greatest presidents. But I also don’t have the starry-eyed hero worship that you seem to have that ignores the very real and damaging compromises he had to make in order to get his agenda enacted.

  224. 224
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Dollared:

    Democrats in my suggested time periods were much more progressive, much more on offense rather than on defense, and much more vocal advocates of positive change for the middle and lower classes than Democrats are today.

    I’d agree that this is true, by and large. But when claims for economic and social justice for minority groups arose, Democrats split, Republicans picked over the carcass, LBJ signed off on the civil rights bills anyway, and the Democratic party has been struggling to figure out what it stands for ever since. I happen to think it was the right call to bite off the Dixiecrat arm, morally and ethically speaking, but it did massive electoral damage.

    So that’s where I get hung up: I would be gratified to see the Democrats act and talk en masse as a more liberal party, but I don’t think it’s a prescription for winning more elections. There’s a way to talk more about class and labor and populism, I’m sure, but it runs up against the ominous and deeply ingrained idea that what Democrats _really_ want is to take your stuff and give it to lazy dark-complected people. And a lot of Democratic populists are not going to be reliable votes for gay rights, gender issues, reproductive rights, or immigrants’ rights, and those are kind of important to liberal Democrats.

  225. 225
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dollared:

    One more thing since FYWP decided I’m not allowed to edit my comment:

    So if you understand each in its timeframe, Democrats in my suggested time periods were much more progressive, much more on offense rather than on defense, and much more vocal advocates of positive change for the white middle and lower classes than Democrats are today.

    Fix’d. Again, African-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc. etc. didn’t count as being “middle and lower class” in FDR’s time, so they did not benefit from the New Deal the way that white people did. And when Democrats extended those same benefits to non-whites in the 1960s, LBJ did it knowing full well that many of the whites who had benefited from the New Deal would rebel at the thought of spreading the wealth to those who did not originally benefit and would spitefully do everything they could to bring the whole house down to prevent that. Hence Nixon’s Southern Strategy and every Republican policy that followed.

    This is just reality. Ignoring all of this history to insist that Obama is the worstest president ever because he can’t overcome hurdles that FDR was never even presented with is just wallowing in fantasyland.

  226. 226
    Dollared says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I hear you about this split. I just think the economic issues are fundamental. I’m a materialist – I think there are very few environmentalists who worry about having enough to feed or educate their children. Rich kids worry about the whales, poor kids need a fucking job. Similarly, gay marriage is a luxury issue, and has almost no electoral rewards.

    In that vein, I think you have to start just where Roosevelt did – get a fair deal for the white folks, get them a level of security, then point out that it’s unfair to have security while others do not. The Republicans may be evil geniuses at wedge issues, or the white population may just be massively stressed and unsure where to place the blame. I think the latter.

    And in that vein, I do think it is beyond foolish that the Democrats do not wage class warfare. The whites know they are in a world of hurt, but the Democrats tell them that just a bit more free trade will bring them freedom from want and fear. And the Republicans say all the stress comes from those freeloading darkies and beaners.

    If the Democrats would point out that the banks and the Fortune 3000 (and the Republicans) are to blame, and to lay out the facts as we all know them, there would at least be truth on the table, and a chance to change things. As it is, there is no hope.

    And no, Obama is not the worst president ever (Strawman alert, and a frequent problem on BJ). I just disagree with him on strategy, and on what it means to play the long game.

  227. 227
    Stillwater says:

    @Dollared: I do think it is beyond foolish that the Democrats do not wage class warfare.

    This right here – the above – is the craziness in you talking. Democratic representatives are either part of the upper class, or dependent on them for election. They can’t engage in a class war.

    If you want a class war, you gotta break the system down. Preferably without guns.

  228. 228
    Dee Loralei says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: That is one of the best comments about how Obama fits historically that I have ever read, and it was clear and concise about his accomplishments and how difficult they were…Kudos to you sir.

    I even printed it, for my own future edification. Because we need folks like you who can synthesize the last few years.

    Thanks again.

  229. 229
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    My full response simply got too long. The much, much shorter, but still too long version:

    I can take each of your points and argue that, at best, it is provisional. The budget negotiations and elections of the next few years may undo virtually all that has been “accomplished” so far. Almost none of what you claim as successes for Obama can’t be undone by a Republican sweep in the 2012 elections, and much of it could be stopped or reversed if the GOP simply holds the House and regains the Senate, both of which seem likely at this point.

    Accomplishments that never come to fruition or are reversed in a subsequent Congress don’t usually qualify as major achievements of a presidency.

    Historians may record that Obama helped avoid a second depression, but since that is only theoretical, what they may emphasize is his failure to get a large enough stimulus package to both stop the slide and fuel a robust recovery. They may dwell on the historically high unemployment, the historically anemic job production, and the historically low economic growth. Which interpretation is more likely? That may be decided in the next year (economically) and Congress (politically).

    Part of my full response dealt with the shakiness of the PPACA and its dependence on Medicaid, a program whose future is clearly in question, if not outright danger. Any cut backs in Medicaid could completely derail PPACA’s goal of near-universal coverage.

    I don’t see any reason for us to “argue” this any further. You want to give Obama credit for things that I either think are less impressive than you do or are in grave danger of being reversed or erased.

    If Obama loses next year and Republicans win both houses of congress, history may record Barack Obama as simply “The first ever minority president. Obama served between George W. Bush, who laid the foundation for the destruction of the United States, and President TiMitch BachRomChristorum, who finished the job.”

  230. 230
    harlana says:

    Screed on Behalf of the Helpless:

    Honestly, if the president and dem leadership roll over without a peep like most here seem to want them too, we really ARE doomed. You could at least let the people know what you stand for and point out the republicans are out to destroy all the good things dems have done for working people and poor people, whose numbers will increase with the current economic situation. This is not the time to be silent, but the perfect time to start espousing, loudly, what you stand for as a party – my God, people are hurting and suffering in this country, some holding on for dear life to try and preserve what independence and comfort of living they once had.

    Shit, you can’t get anything passed, so what? Make proposals for creating jobs, say what you would do, I don’t think that will skeer the markets too much by doing so, and point out that republicans are against all these measures and wrongly believe tax and spending cuts are the answer to everything.
    They do need hope! Hope and pray that someone will fight for them. They’re not seeing it right now, all they see is talk of a “happy middle ground” (John Kerry yesterday on MTP) – pathetic, Dems!

    If the president won’t do it, or would just frighten white people in the process, he and Nancy Pelosi need to round up these fuckers, inject some good talking points into their feeble brains and command them to get out there and sell the Dem message relentlessly. Yes, in this regard, be like republicans! It works.

  231. 231
    bob h says:

    You have a President who feels he must respect and abide by the normal protocols of American political institutions doing battle with people who don’t care what they destroy.

  232. 232
    Keith G says:

    @MikeJ: Good morning.
    Okay. I left and you rook a shot at me. Good move, Mike.

    So, how about backing up your attack with facts from history. I look forward to your citations.

    I will reiterate for your convenience:

    The Democratic Party has been the major(though many times imperfect) advocate for progressive change since the days of William Jennings Byan, a three time nominee for the office of President.

  233. 233
    Lawguy says:

    @burnspbesq: I’d suggest that you look to where he was coming from right out of the shoot. Whatever momentum he had after the election he managed to wast within 30 days of the inauguration.

    At any rate his defenders always fall back on the same defense. He couldn’t have done anything more than he did, so there too.

    He has never been anything more than a second rate bag man for the banks and other corporations, would that we had realized this before the election. If we had we could have gootten the real thing a first rate bag man: McCain.

  234. 234
    OzoneR says:

    @Dollared:

    In that vein, I think you have to start just where Roosevelt did – get a fair deal for the white folks, get them a level of security, then point out that it’s unfair to have security while others do not.

    and obviously the guy to do is a black guy.

  235. 235
    Emma says:

    @harlana: I need not to read things like this early in the morning. So you want a, let’s see, an ineffectual mouthpiece for progressivism that is also some sort of magical dictator who can put thoughts into people’s heads by….. ?????

    Holy Mary Mother of God.

  236. 236
    Emma says:

    @jefft452: And all white males. And let’s forget Jim Crow. Jesus. You don’t see the compromising he had to do? At all?

  237. 237
    The Raven says:

    @Yutsano: “I see this criticism constantly, yet no one ever enumerates what they wanted him to DO that would please them. Please enlighten me. And be specific. And while doing so, acknowledge fucking political reality.”

    Wrote in comments in this blog last April. It was general advice to Democrats, but it could apply to Obama as well–in fact, Obama could do more, since he is President. These are all within the purview of a Presidency and do not require making deals with either faction of the Republicans:
    – Get out there & start talking up Keynsianism. Remind people how of Hoover’s failure in 1930, and FDR’s budget balancing in 1937. Criticize the investment banks for gross malfeasance, the mortgage banks for fraud, and the health insurance companies for price-gouging.
    – Get out there & start talking environmentalism. Start talking science. Start talking jobs. Start talking union. Start talking women’s rights. Start talking freedom and equality—remember those?
    – Investigate the Koch Brothers. Investigate ALEC.
    – Stop lying to the public. Stop telling people it’s really OK when no way it is. Stop making deals with the devil.

  238. 238
    The Raven says:

    @Dollared: “I’m a materialist – I think there are very few environmentalists who worry about having enough to feed or educate their children.”

    You don’t live in the Pacific Northwest. There are, in fact, plenty of not particularly well-off environmentalists here who love their home and will fight for it. Remember that if environmental issues are not addressed their is no future for any nation, or any political faction.

  239. 239
    Emma says:

    @Keith G: Utopia much? No society framed by human beings is ever “as good as it could be.” Ever.

    Do I have big issues with Obama? Yep. But he’s trying, in spite of the disgusting minority that has acquired remarkable power in the US. In spite of a press that is seemingly hardwired to turn everything into a “Republicans are better” story. And I know, for sure, that as long as we’re shooting at him, we’re not shooting at those who are fighting him.

    We’re killing our own.

  240. 240
    The Raven says:

    One thing I think you haven’t fully assimilated, Doug, is just how bad the current budget deal is going to before the economy. These are my notes from my blog:

    Paul Krugman has been calling this the Lesser Depression. But if the austerity budget holds in Congress, it will become the Greater Depression. There will be no WPA, no new government programs to help people in bad times–in fact, the austerity budget commits the government cutting what programs there are. Education funding will be cut, as will research. There will be nothing to keep cyclical unemployment from becoming structural unemployment.

    I wonder how long it will take to get there? Is there any hope that Congress or the President will see sense before 2020? Obama has said that he believes the Republican model of economics, and that is a road down into long-term poverty for most.

  241. 241
    Bruce S says:

    Joe Lisboa – August 7, 2011 | 10:51 pm · Link
    You folks (some of you that is) have lost your collective minds. Off to Dkos with you already and commence with the circle-jerk firing squad already.
    Suggestion for a purity troll tag for Balloon Juice: Circle-Jerk Firing Squad.

    Good idea to get rid of firing squads – although I’m not sure “commissars of party unity” are much more welcome – but unfortunately dispensing with the “firing squad” would leave mostly just a circle-jerk.

  242. 242
    Emma says:

    @Triassic Sands: God, I have to stop doing this. Go to the White House web site.Look at the list of speeches he has made, townhalls he’s held, all that stuff. Read the transcripts if you can find them. Then, go find how much of it made it through the MSM filter.

  243. 243
    norbizness says:

    “You tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”

  244. 244
    The Raven says:

    BTW, Doug, I think you are right. The Joe Klein piece is incoherent. Allow me to be very mean to Klein, and juxtapose two fragments of it.

    […] the decision to pursue universal health care rather than staying focused on the economy (or even going with his campaign vision of a “green” rescue plan for the economy) was the biggest blunder. […] Most of Obama’s policy choices have been the right ones

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, …

  245. 245
    Mary says:

    244 comments in and no one has pointed out that Don was being a totally hypocritical jerk in that scene?

  246. 246
    The Raven says:

    Oh, BTW, Yutsano, Emma, the Drew Westen article that Kline has a broken link to answers both your questions: setting out what else Obama could have done, and spelling out what he has not done. Link.

    To get votes for a plan which the elites don’t like, a President goes to the people, as both FDR and Reagan did. That’s a part of Reaganism that Obama is not emulating.

  247. 247
    lol says:

    @Emma:

    One of the reasons Obama aggressively courts local press is because he knows he’ll have a better chance of getting through the media filter there than on the national level.

    Of course, the problem is that it’s *local* media so few outside their areas are going to see what he’s doing.

    Anyone screaming “USE THE BULLY PULPIT” needs to remember that press conference a few weeks back with Pelosi that the networks covered but then cut away from because she talked about jobs instead of Anthony Weiner’s cock.

  248. 248
    kay says:

    the decision to pursue universal health care rather than staying focused on the economy (or even going with his campaign vision of a “green” rescue plan for the economy) was the biggest blunder.

    Oh, baloney.

    Had the Obama Administration done that, had they made the decision to abandon the legislative agenda and focus exclusively on the economy, each and every critic would now be pointing to their lack of legislative achievements, and saying an opportunity was lost. The noise would be deafening: “failed on health care!” “worse, he didn’t even try

    Presidents simply don’t get credit for actions to avoid or mitigate a worse result. They don’t. Pundits won’t allow it.

    We all have listened to pundits over the years, and we all know this.

    Abandoning the legislative agenda and focusing exclusively on mitigating the effects of the economic implosion was the safe political choice. Obama took the riskier option, which was health care reform despite the economy. I love how all these people calling for BOLD action ignore that obvious fact. He took the bold option. Ducking on health care because of the economy was the dodge.

  249. 249
    Emma says:

    @The Raven: To get votes for a plan which the elites don’t like, a President goes to the people

    Sometimes people just make me honest to FSM cry. During the stimulus battle the President held townhalls. Made speeches. Gave interviews to the press. He could barely move the needle. Instead, people elected crazy Teabaggers and screwed up Congress even more than it was before.

    During the mess over the debt ceiling, he asked people to call their Congressmen. The Congressional phone lines were jammed. The bill barely passed, and it passed because Nancy Pelosi swallowed hard and asked half the Democrats to vote for it.

    The problem with the “go to the people” is that you assume that the people are all rational, thinking human beings and they will see their commonality with other people in their own economic level. THEY DON’T. The American political needle is stuck on race. I know people, personally, who hate medicare because “those people get away with murder.” When you point out that white people get it too, then it’s “that’s different.”

    And when did Reagan go to the people about anything except to reinforce their prejudices? That’s easy to do. Moving them into a whole new way of thinking — that’s damn near impossible.

  250. 250
    Emma says:

    @lol: Exactly. Why can’t progressives understand that our battle is with the MSM, not Obama? Media Matters is fighting a good fight and it barely registers. Until we wean the press away from their dependence of Republican talking points, or until we destroy it completely, we won’t be safe.

  251. 251
    The Raven says:

    “During the stimulus battle the President held townhalls. Made speeches….”

    Except, it wasn’t enough stimulus, and the President’s staff knew it at the time. So now “the people” figure that the stimulus didn’t work.

    Had the Obama Administration [concentrated on jobs instead of health care] each and every critic would now be pointing to their lack of legislative achievements

    You’re probably right about the Villagers, including Kline himself (who wrote that), but Obama’s approval ratings would be the through the roof, people would be better off, and so would the country as a whole.

    “Why can’t progressives understand that our battle is with the MSM, not Obama?”

    Maybe because his administration keeps attacking progressives?

    Uncritical loyalty to a ruler or a party is not a democratic virtue.

  252. 252
    wrb says:

    The problem with the “go to the people” is that you assume that the people are all rational, thinking human beings and they will see their commonality with other people in their own economic level.

    The problem with going to the people and all the other strategies that are so obvious in firebagger magic fantasy dreamland is the majority in the house don’t give a shit what those people want. It will make no fucking difference. The only way to get shit done is to cut deal with those who have the votes.

  253. 253
    Emma says:

    @The Raven: Bless you, Raven. We live in different universes. Go your own way and I’ll go mine.

  254. 254
    kay says:

    @The Raven:

    but Obama’s approval ratings would be the through the roof, people would be better off, and so would the country as a whole.

    Fun with counterfactuals, again. Why would his approval ratings be through the roof? Because he focused on the economy and (perhaps) avoided 10% unemployment?

    No, they wouldn’t. He wouldn’t get credit for avoiding catastrophe and producing mediocrity. No one ever does. In anything.

    People would say “I am so glad Obama prudently abandoned his legislative agenda and focused on the economy, or we’d have 10% unemployment” ?

    No, they wouldn’t.

  255. 255
    Emma says:

    @wrb: True, but that is reality and I wanted to go meta :D

  256. 256
    wrb says:

    Except, it wasn’t enough stimulus, and the President’s staff knew it at the time.

    Jeasus you people go in circles. That is because EVEN after going to Townhalls Nelson, Collins etc. insisted that it be cut to the level of the final bill. That is all that would pass. No fantasies about Obamas scrotum capacity would change those votes. You can’t wave that away, you can’t go around that.

    If you are going to think responsibly you stop there, full stop, and conclude “all this coulda, woulda, shoulda stuff is just irresponsible, self-indulgent wanking that is harming the country and the real people in it.”

    But instead you all just continue to wank in circles, because, hey wanking feels good, and this is America where nothing is more precious than the right to wank.

  257. 257
    wrb says:

    You’re probably right about the Villagers, including Kline himself (who wrote that), but Obama’s approval ratings would be the through the roof, people would be better off, and so would the country as a whole.

    Bullshit, he would be getting savaged by firebaggers for abandoning his campaign promises and “not even trying.”

  258. 258
    Steeplejack says:

    @Yutsano:

    The “vacuum on the left” is not being “scooped up” because our political system is not actually very responsive to what the public wants. For example, there were many polls pointing out in the debt-ceiling fiasco that the deal being discussed was to the right of what even self-described Republican voters wanted.

    Our political campaigns are funded largely by corporate money, and what corporation is going to fund even a leftish candidate, much left a truly leftist one? So our choices get narrowed to far-right, crazy, “let business run amok” Republicans or sober, “serious” Democratic business tools and enablers (who still rely on corporate money to stay in office).

    I thought Obama’s excellent grass-roots fundraising campaign in 2008 was the beginning of a fundamental change, but I don’t see any signs that it has been expanded “down ticket” to Senate or House campaigns.

    The result is that we keep on voting for the “less bad” Democrat, but they take it as validation that they’re doing just great.

  259. 259
    kay says:

    @wrb:

    Bullshit, he would be getting savaged by firebaggers for abandoning his campaign promises and “not even trying.”

    Not just by “firebaggers”. By the entire media.

    “He came in with such promise, but failed on health care”. Hell, they’d be nailing him on 8% unemployment, or 7% unemployment.

    The only people I have personally encountered who follow the ludicrous Joe Klein Theory of Credit for Bigger Disaster Averted are auto workers, who know they would be specifically and personally out of a job but for the auto bailout. That’s it. One group of people.

  260. 260
    kay says:

    @The Raven:

    My point, Raven, is you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist you want a bold President who takes risk, and then look back wistfully at the safer path he didn’t take.

    I was surprised that they went forward on health care considering the state of the economy. I was worried about that. I saw it as a gamble. And it was. With “bold” comes risk.

  261. 261
    wrb says:

    @kay:

    The only people I have personally encountered who follow the ludicrous Joe Klein Theory of Credit for Bigger Disaster Averted are auto workers, who know they would be specifically and personally out of a job but for the auto bailout. That’s it. One group of people.

    I’ve heard credible economists estimate that the economy would have contracted by another 25% without the stimulus, that he barely got through after doing all the stuff people say he should do.. That is riots and starving in the street territory.

    Where is the gratitude?

    Where is the credit

  262. 262
    Hbin says:

    This discussion is the type that never goes anywhere, really. Just primary him already if you are so disappointed.See where that gets you. Why, hello there President Pawlenty. Or even President Bachmann. As long as it makes the true progressives happy.

    I just want to add that I think it’s pretty tacky to use the comment section of another blog to flog posts you’ve written at your own blog. You know who you are.

  263. 263
    JojoRaze says:

    You know what FDR and LBJ had that made them so successful? They didn’t have sanctimonious progressives who complained behind their laptop screens, they had people who went to Washington or New York City, or the nearest major city and pressured their Congresspeople and political leaders with marches and protests. Their was a protest-left instead of whining left.

    If 3/4 of the energy spent on complaining that the Magic Negro is not magic enough was spent outside Mitch McConnell or Eric Cantor’s office, you would have single-payer. Don’t want ground up change and whine on the Internet. It is so unseemly. 3/4 of the whiners probably haven’t even written their Senators to lobby about what they want. There are 535 other people on than the President that determines what gets passed in Congress. Try pressuring them for once.

    A question for the firebaggers. Why aren’t you and your multitude of disenchanted friends protesting for what you want? Don’t you think that would be more helpful?

    And finally, ACA did not put 32 million people at the mercy of health insurers. 1) multi-loss ration means the insurers have to spend 85% of their money on care or refund to their subscribers what they spend over; 2) MEDICAID was expanded to include those up to 110% of poverty level. If you aren’t going to mention that, please shut up.

  264. 264
    kay says:

    @wrb:

    Where is the gratitude?
    Where is the credit

    I don’t think it’s human nature to say “while I am unemployed, I am grateful that more aren’t, and I credit President Obama”.
    Anyhow. They made a decision to go forward on health care and it’s just silly for Klein to say he would have credited Obama for NOT doing something.
    No, he wouldn’t have. There would be 5,000 word screeds on how the Democrats failed on health care, again, and how Mitt Romney would be fabulous at tackling this problem.
    I do think it’s interesting that it always seems the people who yell loudest for “bold action” are the same people who are the loudest critics when there is a poor political result out of “bold action”. There’s some connection there. They may be more risk-averse than they’re willing to admit.

  265. 265
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    people also have to remember that FDR had some serious opposition on the left, some of which was very pure progressivism that would make modern liberals go ‘wow, those fuckers are for some full-ass equality’. those guys hated FDR as much as the right. FDR wins in the history books of course, and modern liberals hold him up as a great example, when those same guys back then couldn’t wait to piss on his grave.

    i’m sure a great number of manic progressives, after 50 years of future history hash out, are going to be telling their grandkids about how much they supported obama’s presidency, just like many of those early liberals still kvell over FDR.

    people hated lincoln’s ass too. shit, we were at civil war and everyone was pissed. now he’s considered the greatest president ever.

  266. 266
    chopper says:

    @wrb:

    clearly, obama should have put the stimulus off until after the next election and spent all of his time trying to get a bigger majority in the house and senate. then we would have gotten every bill we wanted! on pink paper with glitter and sparkles!

  267. 267
    The Raven says:

    @kay:

    You can’t insist you want a bold President who takes risk, and then look back wistfully at the safer path he didn’t take

    I put compassion and competence in government before boldness in political leaders. Ending the torture and the war in Afghanistan would have taken much boldness, if Obama desired an arena in which display it.

    As to economics, I am a fan of King Log. I would like to avoid a Greater Depression. Unless the coalition that Obama has helped build comes apart and something better replaces it, that is what we will have.

  268. 268
    Gus diZerega says:

    @Yutsano:

    I support gay marriage, let alone getting rid of DADT, and have for a long time and have blogged at some length on the topic. But no, that is NOT a fundamntal challenge to the viability of this country. Corporate control is. Open minded corporatists have no problem with treating gays equally and likely some are gay themselves. So your comments is pretty thin on reason and even thinner on attempting to deal with my argument.

    You ask about solid suggestions for leading. How about making his views on health care reform clear in advance and then if necessary compromising? How about him making his views in deficit reduction clear in advance and not leaving us guessing what he was putting on the table?. How about using recess appointments extensively when Rethugs refuse to do their duty as a LOYAL opposition?

    Bayh as a challenger? He won’t be the primary challenger and you know it. Proves to me how unserious your comments really are.

  269. 269
    Keith G says:

    Emma and the rest…I get it. We live in the best of all possible worlds now. This wonderful world where lies about an educated workforce and clean energy jobs mask the fact the the former working class of America is being cut lose to fend for themselves by a political party that knows that it is better not to piss off banks and other corporations.

    This is a president and a party with problems. Some of those problems originate from with in. I know it is popular to take up the view that Obama makes no mistakes and has no faults, but that is just not realistic.

    A great shift of risk and wealth is happening in America the the victims are feeling powerless and forgotten. No one is taking a stand for them. They used to a voters reachable by the Democrats, now less so.

  270. 270
    Emma says:

    @Keith G: I would call you what I think of you but my mama has taught me ladies don’t swear in public.

    Nobody said this is the best of both possible worlds. If we believed that, we wouldn’t be politically engaged. I personally have large issues with the President, especially in the area of international relations. Stop the willful misreading of what we’re trying to say, and maybe then we can have a fruitful discussion.

  271. 271
    Emma says:

    @Gus diZerega: Please note that the President can make no recess appointment because the REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED Congress has decided to use a rule by which they can keep Congress “in session” even though they are on vacation. It has been covered in several venues.

  272. 272
    dollared says:

    @The Raven: I actually live in the PNW. And I stand by my statement. Lots of children of privilege in Seattle try to force me to take my children to daycare by bicycle in the pouring rain. They currently control city government.

    Well I use a car. I work long hours and make good money and I don’t have time to take a slow moving train to the suburbs to work. Those things aren’t going to change because a bunch of children of privilege rant about the evil of my four cylinder gas engine.

    And out in the suburbs, the suburbanites look at the anti-car fascists in SEattle and vote down every valuable transit initiative and vote Republican for governor, because they look at the mismanagement in SEattle and say “not us.”

  273. 273
    AlphaLiberal says:

    When the author writes this, he clearly does not understand what the people he is criticizing are talking about:

    That’s how I feel about all this “the president needs to make us feel good” stuff

    Bullshit. People I speak with who are impatient with this President want him to fight the Republicans, stop repeating their message and deliver a strong alternative. Right now, he is more concerned with appearing above any fray at all – that’s his top priority!

    This article from yesterday’s New York Times does a good job of laying it out.

    And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it

    and…

    IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far.

    No where in the whole thing is there “he hurt our feelings.”

  274. 274
    jefft452 says:

    Emma @236

    “And all white males.”

    Nope, only about half of white males

    “And let’s forget Jim Crow.”

    Pre-dates FDR, not just his Presidency, it pre-dates his birth, and the New Deal era was the first time since 1877 that the Feds didn’t act to increase racial discrimination, the pervious Dem president went as far as forbidding the hiring of blacks for categories of government jobs that had previously been open to them. If FDR wanted to race bait, he could have – but he didn’t
    (the kingfish should get a shout out for the shocking lack of race-baiting for a southern politician at the time)

    “ Jesus. You don’t see the compromising he had to do? At all?”

    Sure, he didn’t just compromise; he also got beat – a lot
    Most of his agenda was over turned or never got out of Congress

    I get touchy when people respond to comparing Obama to FDR and LBJ, not by trying to claim that Obama had great achievements (I would disagree, but half heartedly)
    But instead try to make Obama look beter in comparison by minimizing the New Deal and the Great Society

    SS, Medicare, and Medicaid were, in the words of Joe Biden “A big fucking deal”

  275. 275
    jefft452 says:

    “You know what FDR and LBJ had that made them so successful? They didn’t have sanctimonious progressives who complained behind their laptop screens”

    Norm Thomas and Earl Browder says hi,
    so does Abbie Hoffman

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