liberals elected Obama, and they can fix the country too

Round about late 2004 or early 2005, when things seemed bleakest, a friend of mine got an “Obama ’08” sticker. You might not remember, but those were, in fact, novelty stickers at the time. The idea that Obama might run in ’08 was a sort of earnest dream, a sort of sighing, “if only” kind of a dream.

And a liberal dream, if you’d care to remember. I am reading daily about how horrid liberals are to criticize Obama, and I want to laugh. When Andrew Sullivan launches into another screed against liberal critics, in defense of Barack Obama, I want to ask him if he’s really forgotten who laid so much of the groundwork for Obama’s election. Who was Barack Obama’s key constituency? Are people who are now talking about the responsibility of the moderates and centrists really going to pretend that Obama was the moderate presidential candidate in ’08? Can three years really explain that kind of poor memory? I will remind you that the mainstream media initially treated Obama as a joke, and one of their favorite axes to grind against him was that he was the favored constituency of the looney left. In those crucial early days, when people in power refused to take his candidacy seriously, it was the left that organized, the left that donated money, the left that went door to door, the left that wore t-shirts and buttons. It was the enthusiasm factor that made a huge difference, the enthusiasm of liberals. Hilary voters proclaimed endlessly that Obama was too liberal to elect, that the sensible response to the Bush presidency was to nominate the more moderate and experienced candidate. To now turn around and make Barack Obama out to be some centrist hero is a joke. It takes a special kind of ingratitude to blame people for criticizing your hero while ignoring the fact that they did such a huge amount of work to put him in office in the first place.

Politics ain’t beanbag. I don’t care about feelings, and while the ingratitude is galling, I suppose it’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the dynamic that keeps playing out the same way over and over again, and hurts the country. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this: when you attack the left, you empower the right. So many supporting Obama against left-wing critics– by attacking those left-wing critics, by the way, far more loudly and harshly than they attack the right wing– are trying to thread an absurdly thin needle. They want to attack leftists like myself in the service of attacking Republicans and supporting a president the American people permanently regard as very liberal. You think this country’s political system allows that kind of nuance? There is no such thing as objectively moderate. And even if there were, we have all the evidence in the world that the average American voter isn’t engaged enough to know what that is. The only way you get to be called a moderate in this system is to pass bipartisan legislation– and that is something that is not going to happen. Listen to Mitch McConnell–

“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” McConnell says. “Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”

Give the man credit: it’s working. When you push Obama to be more of a centrist, you are doing exactly what Mitch McConnell wants. He knows that the American people think of Obama as very liberal, regardless of reality, and that there is nothing but political benefit in his side being as intractable as possible. I want to say to many of the commenters on this blog, when you push Obama to move to the right at the same time as the Tea Party pushes Republicans to the right, Mitch McConnell is playing you. I want to say to Andrew Sullivan, Mitch McConnell is playing you. He loves this “responsible centrist” shit. One person pushes towards the center, one towards the right, where does the object go? While you spend all your time congratulating yourself on how sensible and moderate you are, you are losing. Is it worth it?

Bill Maher gets it. He understands that our politics are distorted by one side that allows an extreme and one that doesn’t. This is not calculus. If you don’t care for my deductive explanation, just look around you. John Boehner– who you say you hate, who you say is ruining the country, who you think has to be stopped– he has just gotten, by his own estimation, 98% of what he wanted. 98% of the policy that you say is ruining the country. What is the value of being the responsible party if in doing so you are empowering the irresponsible party and hurting the country? Every time you attack liberal critics of the president, you strengthen John Boehner. But, hey, at least you aren’t shrill!

mistermix said earlier, “I’d say that this kind of West Wing drama is exactly what Joe Klein and all the other political connoisseurs want from a President. Lots of noble words accompanied by noble failure. In addition to being worldly, dirty and un-presidential, messy compromises just can’t be tied up in two hours, so they cut into lazy pundits’ TV and cocktail time.”

I don’t want flowery speeches. I don’t pretend that better speeches from Obama would fix things. But mistermix– those “messy compromises” that you associate with virtue is why our country is the way it is. Because every messy compromise is at least 80% for the wignuts, you end up with a corrupted country. How long do you keep playing that game until you realize it’s rigged? I told you how I think liberal politics can be restored. There have been liberal grassroots movements in this country before and there can be again. But it can never happen if the party leadership forever cuts liberals off at the knees. It cannot happen if we have a messaging machine that refuses to listen to the left wing. It can’t happen if blogs like this one associate our own ideas and our own values with shame rather than with pride.

Or you can keep doing what you’re doing and keep getting the results you say you hate. It’s up to you.






510 replies
  1. 1
    jwb says:

    More than a little projection in there Freddie, but good try.

  2. 2
    Strandedvandal says:

    FDL called, they want their meme back. When Firebaggers start being part of the solution instead of part of the problem, get back to us. Your absolute inability to give this Administration any credit at all, for any of the many things accomplished, should be a trigger for self reflection into what it is you really want, or really hate. Instead, you lash out, flinging poo against those who would work with you.

    Also, too, Grover F*cking Norquist.

  3. 3
    Yevgraf says:

    How about if the progressive left stops acting like a bunch of whiny assed titty babies like they’ve done since 1968?

  4. 4
    Mike Goetz says:

    This is completely wrong. Edwards was the candidate of the left.

    And Mitch McConnell is playing you like a fiddle, not Obama supporters. His entire strategy is based on frustrating you and getting you to attack Obama, and it is working beautifully. Unlike you, I refuse to be a tool in Mitch McConnell’s plan.

  5. 5
    jwb says:

    Let me try summoning M_C to drive this thread into the ground it deserves to die on.

  6. 6
    Bruce S says:

    “There have been liberal grassroots movements before and it can happen again…”

    Here’s one idea, if anyone is actually interested in engaging in organizing at the grass-roots and connecting to a national agenda that average folks might give a shit about:

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blog.....ement.html

  7. 7
    wrb says:

    You make an error. I noticed it in your first thread and have been thinking about it. You claim those who are criticizing Obama for not doing things that can’t be done as somehow the liberals or the left while he and those who support him are not.

    Instead the argument is between liberals who believe in getting liberal shit done and ineffectuals.

    The ineffectuals make outcomes less liberal, if anything.

  8. 8
    Stooleo says:

    Hilary voters proclaimed endlessly that Obama was too liberal “black” to elect

    fixed

  9. 9

    Hilary voters proclaimed endlessly that Obama was too liberal to elect

    The opposition said it, it must be true!

    I will remind you that the mainstream media initially treated Obama as a joke, and one of their favorite axes to grind against him was that he was the favored constituency of the looney left.

    Yes, they’ve really come around on him since. Bwahahaha!

    Perhaps this is a good time to discuss what it means to be a liberal and a leftist. I mean, you seem to posit there are liberals (who helped put Obama in the White House) and then there are leftist who are a different sort of animal. I consider myself both and I think this post is full of it.

  10. 10
    Lynn Dee says:

    It’s not the criticism. It’s the whiny ass, he’s a corporate monster, “spawn of satan” crap that I’ve had enough of.

  11. 11
    Mike Goetz says:

    Drew Westen publishes a 3,000 word Obama-piercing RPG in the New York Times, and an Andrew Sullivan blog post is the big problem?

    You guys have gone so over the top you have become camp.

  12. 12
    lacp says:

    Hmmm. Time for a Woody Allen type syllogism:

    “Liberals donated money to Barack Obama’s campaign.”
    “Wall Street financiers gave millions more to Obama’s campaign than to the Ancient Mariner’s.”

    “Therefore, liberals are Wall Street financiers.”

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    I agree with this one hundred percent.

    I also would like to say that although there are plenty of reasons and excuses why Obama and his team tried, at first, to work with the Republicans during the first two years there are zero excuses for trying to work out compromises with them after the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. From that moment on every attept to give the Republicans some kind of cover,some kind of “face saving” or honorable way forward (“I take him at his word” “I’m sure he means well” “we all love our country…” blah blah blah) was only another way of offering all our necks up for the chopping block.

    I want to say again what I’ve said a million times. Sometimes voters want “the only grown up” in the room to be the grown up. That’s one way of looking at the Presidential election, as though its all about electing a daddy figure. But in reality our political system demands that one party control the entire apparatus from top to bottom. Even if Obama gets over on enough voters to get back in if he isn’t strongly identified with a party that wins local elections he will not be able to do anything. Every time Obama puffs himself off as the “only reasonable one” or “the compromiser” and at the same time undercuts the Democratic party/democrats in congress he is destroying the brand “Democrat” and making it that much harder for any serious policy advances to be made if he does get a second term.

    I think Obama is following a strategy to get back in power to do good stuff. But at some point they need to realize that the entire party sinks or swims together. They need to recapture the populist/change mantra or they are ceding it to the Republicans. And even if we don’t know what the Democrats could do with serious power we know for sure what the Republicans will do with it. So Obama and his voters (among whom I count myself) need to get cracking to figure out what will motivate Obama’s voters to create another wave election. The only way Obama can do that is to come out swinging as an insurgent–not against “Washington” but against “Republicanism.” Because it does us no good if he gets in but he loses the house for us because he runs against it.

    aimai

  14. 14
    wrb says:

    The inneffectuals push outcomes toward the right. If the inneffectuals on the left can’t be relied upon, will criticize any outcome, stay home and write things that cause others to stay home they must be replaced in order to gain a majority. The only replacements are on the right.

    Therefore the Firebaggers/inneffectuals MUST move outcomes to the right.

  15. 15

    From a messaging standpoint, I agree with this post. For example, from a numbers point of view, the debt deal did not likely alter what the budgets in the next 10 years would look like, but from a messaging point of view, I feel Obama could have better said, that cutting spending = economic slowdown.

    I have no problem when a liberal (me included) complains that a policy differs from what Obama said he would do: Gitmo, etc. What I DO have a problem with is when a liberal projects their own beliefs onto Obama and complains when he has not met their expectations: Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. When Obama does what he said he would do, as he has done in the wars, liberals should not complain.

    In 2008, your friend had no clue what Obama’s positions on liberal causes would look like, yet chose to be Obama’s liberal champion. While Obama needs to dance with those who brought him, he cannot swing to the left on every position as if he was purchased.

  16. 16
    Jewish Steel says:

    Okay, let’s make you Obama for the nonce. How would you have played the past three years? And how would have yielded better results?

    Go!

  17. 17

    Shorter FdB: Before I tell you how liberals can fix this country, I must air my grievances. [Opens giant book.] Whoops, out of time. In short, LEAVE THE LIBERALS* ALOOOOONE!

    I want to say to many of the commenters on this blog, when you push Obama to move to the right at the same time as the Tea Party pushes Republicans to the right, Mitch McConnell is playing you.

    All right, which one of you has been using the comments section in this blog to push Obama to the right? Come on. Fess up.

    *Whoever they are. Not you, that’s for damn sure.

  18. 18
    jwb says:

    @aimai: I don’t think Freddie said what you think he did, because whereas I agree with most of what you wrote here, I agree with very little of what Freddie said.

  19. 19
    Mike Goetz says:

    The one good thing about Westen’s opus is that it finally admits that the left wing started to bail on Obama on Inauguration Day, and haven’t stopped since. How willing to fight would you be knowing that you had a bunch of fair-weather-friend bastards at your back?

  20. 20

    Freddie, why do you hate freedom? Don’t you know that blog posts like these mortally wound the President and ensure a tidal wave of Republican victories? I have it on good authority that every time you refuse to clap louder, Barack Obama sheds a single tear.

  21. 21

    We need a new term, maybe Peak WATB, due to a tiny group of rare and delicate liberal flowers with internet connections and a fuckton of butthurt.

    Thanks for the early morning laugh.

  22. 22

    @Mike Goetz:

    This is completely wrong. Edwards was the candidate of the left.

    This. However, let’s assume for a second that Freddie’s argument that it was left liberals that formed the base of Obama’s support during the election.

    If it’s really the case that these people supported Obama because they thought he was a left liberal, it means that there powers of perception were just as bad then as they are now. Freddie, if you managed to convince yourself that Barack Obama was the next coming of Henry Wallace, that’s on you, not him.

    He made it perfectly clear all along that, policy wise, he was a pragmatic technocrat. Even if you go back to the 2004 convention speech that launched him, you’ll find an awful lot of the themes that have embodied his presidency. It was, after all, about coming together across the aisle and managing to work together despite disagreements.

    Be disappointed in him if you want, but this sort of faulty memory goes beyond selective into outright dishonest. It’s the kind of thing that is a perpetual fault of your writing.

  23. 23
    CaseyL says:

    Wow. This is the S&P Credit Downgrade of BJ posts: inaccurate, wrongheaded, and full of self-serving wishful thinking.

    Take this, f’rex:

    Hilary voters proclaimed endlessly that Obama was too liberal to elect, that the sensible response to the Bush presidency was to nominate the more moderate and experienced candidate.

    Excuse the hell out of me? No they did not say Obama was “too liberal.” They said he was all talk, no action; they said he had no sense of the hard, slogging work it would take to be President; they said he was a Magic Negro and nothing more.

    Here, in fact, is exactly what Clinton said about Obama: “The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.”

    Sure: that sounds exactly like “Obama is too liberal.”

    Jeeze.

  24. 24

    Obama was never a liberal. He’s a moderate Democrat, slightly to the left of Bill Clinton.

    Any cursory reading of his books, or listening to his spoken words, would reveal this.

    You decided to pretend Obama was a liberal, and you are left with the disappointment of your fantasy conflicting with reality.

    Just because a group of liberals ignored reality and supported him doesn’t make him a liberal, and it doesn’t make you the base.

  25. 25
    Citizen_X says:

    when you attack the left, you empower the right

    This is true. And by your own logic, so’s this: when you attack Obama, you empower the right.

    Oh, and John Boehner getting 98% of what he wanted? I don’t know if you remember this, it was so long ago, but the alternative was the country going into default. Which would have been like (the S&P downgrade)^100. So yeah, we got the better alternative.

  26. 26
    Mary Jane says:

    FDL and Dkos have soiled the label Progressive, firebaggers can have it. Leave Liberal the fuck alone.

  27. 27
    ruemara says:

    liberals? The friend who was pro-Obama was a liberaltarian (he grew out of that when he entered government legal analysis). It was mostly young types who knew they wanted something different for the future and people who were out of work seeking the same. Often not exactly Dems, but not republicans. The liberals I knew were into Kucinich or Edwards if they were more mainstream. Whatever, deBoer. It’s your opinion, so, I can’t fault that.

  28. 28
    stormhit says:

    While you whine about ingratitude, anyone who actually read Audacity of Hope knew exactly what they were voting for all along.

    Your posts are universally ridiculous.

  29. 29
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    I went door to door in 2008 to get Obama elected, because I listened to him, reveiwed his proposed policies, and thought, ‘Sweet! The guy is a moderate!’. This is the guy who was talking about purple, not blue America. I am a moderate who donated and worked for his campaign. I am certainly not the only one. So I think you are totally wrong. There are not enough liberals out there to get Barack Obama elected, not by a long shot. Liberals are a minority of the country, and not even the majority of Democrats. So when liberals start screaming about how Obama is a huge disappointment and how he should be primaried, I am still going to call them idiots with delusions of grandeur.

  30. 30
    Skipjack says:

    I don’t agree that Boehner got what he wanted, i think the commision will amount to nothing. In addition, I think the Republicans lost their chance not to raise taxes in some measure with these shenanigans. So no I don’t think that results skew in wingnuts direction, just rhetoric.

    I really don’t think this kind of debate helps us either, as Yglesias pointed out, we have to move the median person with hands on the lever of power to the left. If we had a more liberal Congress they’d have sent more legislation that Obama would have been happy to sign.

  31. 31
    superluminar says:

    There have been liberal grassroots movements in this country before and there can be again. But it can never happen if the party leadership forever cuts liberals off at the knees. It cannot happen if we have a messaging machine that refuses to listen to the left wing. It can’t happen if blogs like this one associate our own ideas and our own values with shame rather than with pride.

    Ok, wait, what? That’s a load of incoherent nonsense right there. There can’t be a grassroots movement if the leadership cuts it off? The whole fucking point of a grassroots movement is that it’s not beholden to the leadership, but operates independently from it.
    And this blog is ashamed of liberal values? Really? Whose writing on here did you get that from.
    This is so weak I am forced to agree with M_C that you are probably trolling for the glibs.

  32. 32
    Lolis says:

    Huh? So now people who support the president are to blame for him being a centrist? I actually thought the voters who elected psychotic Tea Party Republicans to control the House were to blame for most of our shit sandwiches over the past nine months.

    I personally hope the president reads Krugman and even the deeply flawed Drew Westen piece. I think they have some good points. Krugman obviously moreso.

    I think the larger problem is not that Obama doesn’t get criticized by the left (which he clearly does), but rather that the media doesn’t allow truly liberal people get to express their points of view in all media from national to local news. It is hard for Democrats to fight back when the media treats liars and charlatans with equal weight.

  33. 33
    Sad Iron says:

    A lot of the early portion of this post doesn’t fit my memory, especially, “Hilary voters proclaimed endlessly that Obama was too liberal to elect, that the sensible response to the Bush presidency was to nominate the more moderate and experienced candidate.” She ran on Universal Healthcare. Her whole platform was that her healthcare plan was MORE liberal than Obama’s–she said over and over that she would insure 100% of Americans and Obama would not. Etc.

  34. 34
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Hilary voters proclaimed endlessly that Obama was too liberal to elect, that the sensible response to the Bush presidency was to nominate the more moderate and experienced candidate.

    (In so much of a hurry that you can’t spell Hillary correct I see.)
    Just because someone claims he’s too liberal doesn’t make him that way. The Wingers claim he’s a socialist. That obviously doesn’t make him one.

    I don’t have that much of a problem with the left criticizing Obama. What I have a problem with is:
    1. Claiming he’s a failure without looking at what he’s done with what he has to work with.
    2. Totally ignoring the environment he’s working in.
    3. Claiming that all they would do differently is give a speech and that it would work.
    4. Completely forget how our government works, and that we were against an Imperial President before we were for it.
    5. Ignoring who is really the reason nothing is working the way it should: The Republicans.

  35. 35
    Legalize says:

    @jwb:
    Yeah, more than a little. Obama never ran as a “liberal.” Ever. “Liberals” just saw him as the “liberal” candidate because he was publicly opposed to the Iraq war. Other than that, he didn’t differ THAT much from Hillary or any of the other Dem candidates in 2008. Matter of fact, Obama probably had one of the right-most positions on health care reform of all of the Dem candidates.

    So-called liberals despise him now because he’s not delivering on the pipe-dreams they imagined him to be associated with. So, they stayed home last fall and opened the door for the hostage takers to waltz right in and shit all over the place. The irony being that Obama has accomplished much of what liberals stand for, in a very short period of time, given the political realities, and with tremendous intransigence conspiring against him.

    It’s a bit much to be lectured by fucking babies.

  36. 36
    no video at work says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    As a lefty I concur – Edwards was candidate of lefties. Obama was to moderate by far. I didn’t come to support him until the night of the caucus when 200+ showed up just to vote for Obama. I hoped he was trying to be a stealth liberal in the same way Boy Blunder was a stealth asshole in ’99.

  37. 37
    Paul in KY says:

    @aimai: Excellent points. Dovetails with some of my comments in past.

  38. 38

    @NoFortunateSon: This.

    One difference between the GOP and the Dems is the GOP cultivated their radicals, called them the Base and is now being forced to hand over its car keys, wallet and pants to stay alive. Democratic radicals WANT to be the Base and have the same power, but they ain’t going to get it. Hence the tantrums.

  39. 39
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Jewish Steel: That things would be better if only a more progressive and left wing agenda, as you see it, had been pursued is an article of faith that seems to have no root in reality.

  40. 40
    aisce says:

    barack obama is the most liberal president in history.

    every last one of you in this thread, both sides, every side, are out of your fucking minds. i hope its merely the economy that’s short circuited the internet, because goddamn does this blog suck right now.

  41. 41
    Paul in KY says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: Load knows I’ve seen all kinds of people here saying ‘If only Pres. Obama was more like the Republicans, then he’d get some stuff done’.

    If I had a dollar…

  42. 42
    dslak says:

    What about Obama’s campaign promises to pursue war criminals, curtail executive power, and and end – not merely reduce – the US presence in Iraq? Those positions were certainly to the left of Hillary’s, and he also failed to follow through on them.

  43. 43
    superluminar says:

    OT, but it looks like the markets are well and truly fucked now. Been following here. I blame Obama blah blah blah.

  44. 44
    Strandedvandal says:

    @aisce: And yet, here you are. Thanks for playing.

  45. 45
    no video at work says:

    @Legalize:

    No, lefties are unhappy with him because he swallows and regurgitates wingnut talking points while allowing his administration to be whipped about. Even when the outcome is as good as could be expected he feeds the Republican noise machine.

    I was not a Hillary supporter but at least I think she would have fought back against the waves of bullshit lapping against the White House.

  46. 46
    cleek says:

    I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this: when you attack the left, you empower the right.

    physician, heal thyself.

    Or you can keep doing what you’re doing and keep getting the results you say you hate

    please, tell us what the alternative is. show us the plan, including the eventual electoral breakdown. show your work.

  47. 47
    walt says:

    I love this post not because it runs counter to the groupthink on this blog but because it spells out a correction to our dreaminess: without an extreme on our side, there can be no balance with the other side.

    Yes, Firebaggers are irritating. I’ve gone around a few times with them on their “corporatist” rhetoric But they are necessary. And if we keep trimming our sails to suit current fashions, we’ll eventually find ourselves dead in the water. We fundamentally require grass-roots organizations to organize the left and communicate coherently. Right now, we’re utterly lost because we’re more interested in ad hoc tactics than a self-sustaining movement. This is the core issue for us and the argument we’re having now is the core illustration why a leftwing movement must underpin our political message. Without it, we’re dilettantes just wasting time on the internet.

  48. 48
    no video at work says:

    @aisce:

    More of that snarky sarcasm I see.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Well, if the liberals started to bail on Obama on inauguration day, then Obama started to bail on them on election day.

    Specifically, the way he seemed to start dismantling his campaign apparatus at once and replace it with the usual Washington insider types who are all for “business as usual” and not the change Obama campaigned on.

    Obama’s record on correcting the civil liberties atrocities of the deserting fratboy and the Dark Lord have been disappointing, to say the least, which is why Greenwald has been so critical of Obama.

    I don’t think Obama has been nearly as aggressive as he needs to be in regards to getting the Ferengi under control, either. Speficially, putting Glass-Stegal back on the books would be a great first step, and I don’t care how much the Ferengi of Goldman-Sachs bitch about it, either.

  50. 50
    agrippa says:

    That post makes very little sense.
    Obama did not run as a liberal.

    I think that covers it.

  51. 51
    Culture of Truth says:

    He’s your hero, ingrates!!

  52. 52
    wonkie says:

    @aimai:

    I thhik that people o gthe left sometimes fail to see the power of theater. Anamai is right: voters like a dady gigure. Also agt the poit it is a form of collaboratio–unintentional collaboration-when Democrats speak of Republicans as havig good intetions etc.

    I’m generally OK with Obamaad I realize that he has bee dedalt a very very bad hand. I do wish he’d do the theatrer thing bettert though. Ad I wish all of tghe elected Demcrags wojuld stgop beig so fuickig mealy mouthed and do a more foreceful job of callig gthe Retghugs out.

  53. 53
    homerhk says:

    Freddie, first liberals alone did not elect Barack Obama. It was a mix of liberals (at least those who weren’t supporting Edwards or Clinton or Kucinich), progressives (by which I mean, those people who actually want, you know, progress) and moderates (including moderate republicans – remember Obamacans?). Liberals don’t own this President.

    In any event, let’s assume your premise is correct, that it is liberals who elected Barack Obama what does that mean “liberals” should have done once he was elected? I know the answer to that one, no doubt. They should have stayed on the sidelines carping at every move or non-move that the President made insisting that they knew better and had the magic panacea. Obama should have nationalised the banks; shouldn’t have supported TARP; should have appointed Paul Krugman as Treasury Secretary. Did “liberals” think that electing Barack Obama was mission accomplished, sit back and then say what has he done for me lately? Did they forget or just ignore the many many times President Obama said (as candidate) that he couldn’t change Washington alone? That he needed everyone to organise for him? That he needed everyone’s support to make it happen? And what happened when in August 2009 healthcare reform (which btw was pretty much enacted as set out in his campaign literature, save for the mandate and the lack of a public option)? Did “Liberals” attend townhalls to drown out the crazies? Or did they sit on the sidelines complaining about the 2% of HCR that they didn’t get (mind you, nothing had been lost at that stage).

    You say in the link to your previous post: “the reason many bloggers and commenters around here have been so hostile to left-wing criticism is because they believe that the key for Obama’s victory in 2012 and liberal aims afterwards is for Obama to win the hearts and minds of independents”.

    I believe that’s entirely wrong. I don’t recall many people saying that the key to Obama’s victory in 2012 is to appeal to independents or even if that is the case that that is the reason why people are hostile to “liberal” criticism. I’ll tell you why I am hostile to liberal criticism: it’s because it does not seemingly ever concede the “liberal” policy that Obama has helped enact. Healthcare reform? Meh, just merely a conservative way of covering millions more (it’s universal coverage just not the universal coverage that we wanted. Wall Street reform/consumer protection agency? meh, no good without Elizabeth Warren. Repeal of DADT? Meh, took too long and anyway Prez doesn’t approve of same sex marriage? What’s that you say – equal rights to same sex partnerships under federal law? Meh, that’s nothing. Two liberal supreme court justices? well, after the initial uproar because they weren’t the precise liberal icons you wanted them to be they got discarded as achievments notwithstanding the clear liberal bent in their subsequent judgments. Stimulus bill that invested more than ever in clean energy, providing subsidies to alternative fuels. meh? he didn’t do it in a way that would confirm liberal keynesian philosophy for ever so it’s just dismissed as worthless. I could go on and on and on and on. Speaking personally, although I’m not an american and can’t vote, if I were, I’d be RUNNING to the polling booth to pull the lever for Barack again, for all that he has managed to accomplish. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he’s done (but since when was that a requirement? rather it’s an impossibility and I never ever saw before with previous “liberal” presidents this need to preface every comment with “i don’t agree with everything he’s done). And note, that I haven’t mentioned republicans once.

    I have no time for the complaint of “we elected him and he’s done nothing in return”.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @aisce:

    barack obama is the most liberal president in history.

    The stupid. It burns.

  55. 55
    Culture of Truth says:

    liberals elected Obama, and they can fix the country too

    Good! Looking forward to it!

  56. 56

    barack obama is the most liberal president in history

    And to note the surreality of BJ these days, I agree for once with aisce. Any fair reading of what Obama has accomplished with actual legislation, he is one of the most liberal pols in our history. The so called left of a few bloggers, are confusing pragmatism in governance, and the certainty of compromise in a democracy, with some kind of ideological failure by Obama. And hanging on every utterance for any sign of betrayal, without any regard to the art of politics as a debate with the other half of the country that votes republican. And nary a second of focus on the greatest reality of all. What ends up getting passed, compromised for sure, but also most certainly liberal progress as the real meaning of ‘progressive’

    There is a reason why Obama imposed concentrated federal regulation for the first time on the health insurance agency. That reason is success, albeit short of the ideal, but success just the same for moving the country leftward. Why do you thing that zero republicans voted for the ACA, and have nearly lost their minds trying to destroy it, even if it means destroying the world economy. Hint, because the ACA was nothing republican, and everything democrat and pragmatic liberal.

  57. 57
    ET says:

    No offense but just because the media called Obama the candidate of the loony left doesn’t make it so. Seriously dude, I didn’t think and still don’t think that he represents the loony left, because I don’t consider myself loony left. I wanted someone who actually respected government and what it can and cannot do. Fully aware that the GOP was not a party of compromise, I knew that there were going to be times that I would disagree with policies that were signed into law some of which Obama agreed with/pushed and others that due to the dynamics he conceded on.

    Do I like the debt deal? No. But considering the GOP and Obama’s temperament and governing style could we honestly expected anything different? I am also no a tea reader and there are just enough variables so I that have no idea how this will play out for the next election cycle.

    The course of US history is littered with cases where the loonies of the day held too much sway. Same song new verse.

    We do the best with the situation that is, but no one person can do the heavy lifting and after 30+ years of GOP abuse the American public, the media, and all the talking heads on both sides of the aisle means the dynamics favor the GOP in the PR and politicking world.

  58. 58
    Legalize says:

    @no video at work:
    Christ. You’re mad because he hasn’t been clapping loud enough.

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Great Sen. Dirkson quote on lobbyists (paraphrasing): ‘If you can’t drink their liquor, take their money, and fuck their women and then vote against them, you have no business being in the Senate’.

    Pres. Obama needs to tell Goldman Sachs ‘Thank you for your support, now go away & let me do my job’.

  60. 60
    Dollared says:

    Freddie, not only are you mostly right, I think you just out-trolled JC. Keep it up.

    The spectrum in 2007 was, from left to right, Edwards, Obama, Hilary, with Obama closer to Hilary. And we all knew Edwards was unelectable, so he died early. So people made their choices. The left had to take on Obama because we all knew Hilary was unelectable, and too far right. Such is life.

    Now, as to BJ: The people here want compromise. They are fundamentally conservative. They want Obama to give us back the good old days of Bill Clinton, when we didn’t move to the left and it was Good. They just want to get through the next five years without a Republican president. That’s all they really care about, and on this blog, they are Lalalalalalalalala don’t talk to me if you think that Wisconsin could happen on a national scale. And they sure the hell don’t think Vermont could ever happen on a national scale.

    The problem is that to fix what was wrong then and what is wrong now is that we have to defeat rampant capitalism’s control of the bases of the argument. We have to defeat the core neoliberal meme that the free market can be harnessed to good, and its corollaries that globalism is good for America, that working people have to accept a lower standard of living, that private delivery of critical services is more efficient than the post office and the VA, that financialization is a net benefit to society, that it’s OK to export energy consumption and pollution, that massive concentration of industries is good as long as it drives up the stock market during takeover waves.

    Until we control the market rather than the market controls us, we are powerless as a nation. wrb is exactly right on that – ineffectual is the right term.

  61. 61
    Judas Escargot says:

    Are people who are now talking about the responsibility of the moderates and centrists really going to pretend that Obama was the moderate presidential candidate in ‘08? Can three years really explain that kind of poor memory?

    What election were you watching in 2008? Obama was a moderate Presidential candidate: Outside of the Iraq war, he was arguably running slightly to the right of Sen. Clinton on a lot of issues.

    If you’d asked me about Obama’s chances back in 2007, I would have laughed. “No way Joe Caucus-Voter in Iowa fires up his pickup truck to go vote for a Black man named ‘Barack’, and no way the Dem primary voters in other states go for someone who’s a social conservative.”

    As it turns out, J6P in Iowa didn’t give a Tinker’s damn what I thought (gods bless ’em). The primary voters in the other states took awhile longer to come over (my own state went for Clinton, so I at least understand my local Democrats).

    McCain was ahead of Obama in the polls for the first half of ’08, remember. Then McCain showed such horrible judgement in choosing the insipid Palin, financial Armageddon happened, Obama ran circles around McCain in the debates (without coming off as a bully or an effete snob)… and the rest, as they say, is history.

    I have no idea why the far left decided he has to be one of them: He didn’t run as a leftist. He never voted as a leftist in previous offices he held. And it wasn’t the leftists who got him into the Oval Office, it was the centrists. So why would he (or should he) govern as a leftist now?

    I do still wish he’d fight more, though. Yes, “pragmatism”, etc. But even in those battles you know ahead of time you’ll lose, IMO you need to make that victory hurt the other guy as much as possible so he’ll think twice before fucking with you again.

    We Little Folk need a street-fighter up there more than ever: Unfortunately, only the other side lets the street-fighters get into positions of power.

  62. 62
    Steve says:

    Of course there is such a thing as “objectively moderate,” just as Obama is objectively non-socialist no matter how many Republicans call him names. Currently perceptions of Obama may get warped by the passions of the moment, but there is no chance the history books will say that Obama was a far-left ideologue who radically transformed the country (except maybe the history books published in Texas).

    In my view, the clear-eyed Obama supporters knew from the start that Obama was no radical, but they saw within him the potential to effect positive change in a liberal direction (and they were right, in fact). These people understood that Obama was a mainstream Democrat much like Hillary, that there wasn’t a great deal of difference between them in terms of policy, but that Obama had more promise because of his charisma and the fact that he lacked some of Hillary’s baggage. I was a Hillary supporter myself but I see this as a rational pro-Obama case.

    But then there were the liberals who weren’t so clear-eyed and tricked themselves into believing Obama was something he isn’t. For the most part, these people couldn’t handle the fact that even after 8 years of GWB the Democratic Party still had no great liberal hope to offer, so they exaggerated the differences between Obama and Hillary and told themselves that he was the savior and she was the devil. These people still haven’t quite figured out what’s going on.

    And of course, then there were the people who convinced themselves that Hillary Clinton was the great progressive champion who would be a million times better than Obama. Let’s be real.

  63. 63
    Freddie deBoer says:

    Guys: you have been doing the same thing the entirety of the Obama administration. You are getting the same thing. You think you’re helping this man get elected?

    This is the country you want. And you’re getting it. Enjoy!

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @wonkie: Agree with the post (I think), but are you on medication?

  65. 65
    jwb says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I wouldn’t disagree with this assessment, except that Obama signaled, much to my irritation, his step away from civil liberties already in the summer before the election. The dismantling of his campaign apparatus remains to me the most perplexing and the most short-sighted of his decisions. We suffered for it in 2010. At a most banal level, I noticed as I worked at OfA-sponsored call centers that fully 60% of the calls I was making were to wrong or disconnected numbers: a perfect emblem of the broken connection with those voters.

  66. 66
    David Brooks (not that one) says:

    That’s it. I’ve had enough of the mudslinging between supposed allies. It was bad enough being a Hillary supporter on GOS (I stopped taking that seriously years ago).

    Thanks for the advice; I’ll keep an eye on that door.

  67. 67
    Paul W. says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    This. Obama ran firstly on the platform of “not red America, or blue America, but the United States of America”.

    Almost his entire winning margin was a constituency of NEW VOTERS, not the same old liberal grass roots that helped a Kerry or Hillary. Obama was the fan favorite of political neophytes such as myself, and people tired of the same old same old in Washington. I didn’t want to the same old shit from the culture wars, and was naive enough to think that America was over that (blinded by the fact that no one under 30 gives a shit about the stuff our Congress still can’t get out of their blood).

    Anyways, no. Your whole premise is pretty damn wrong. Obama was not a liberal champion, he was not primarily supported by liberals but by new voters, and the primary cause for the shit sandwhiches we have been eating is that 16% of those eligible to vote turned out in 2010 and gave us 80 new Tea Bagging “kill the government and the liberal soci@list Democrats that it rode in on” Congress critters.

    Obama is playing the hand dealt him, give him better cards and you get stuff like the repeal of DADT and the ACA.

  68. 68

    Shorter @Freddie deBoer: And this is central to my point! [slams door]

  69. 69
    Mike M says:

    God you are a breath of fresh air around here. Here’s hoping some of these people actually here it. I for one am sick of the compromise fetishists and the positivity police agreeing to every single fucking capitulation that brought us to this sorry state. Only your excessive self-regard prevents you from seeing what is really going on here. Are we going to clap harder or actually do something about it?

  70. 70
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    FPer, please unmoderate me.

  71. 71
    Ed Marshall says:

    Obama saved me $100 in NFS fees the other day. I’m waiting on my Pell Grant and Subsidized Stafford loans. My sister was denied health insurance after getting bounced off her policy and she wound up able to buy it from an Obamacare exchange for $125/month (she isn’t poor either).

    These are real tangible benefits. I’m so sick of the “God has shat upon us all, curse you, Barack Obama!”. If that is how you want to spend your day, whatever gets your rocks off, but I think it’s just leftist/liberal preening. It’s the bane of the left, and it dates back to people who were actually proposing a revolution. That’s the tradition of shitting on the elected ones. If you aren’t proposing that, it’s just some smart ass, sneering, nonsense.

  72. 72
    Dave says:

    People defending Obama against the left use the same logic as anti-immigrant weirdos: B-b-but they’re illegal! What about our identity?

    Anyway, accomplishments, whatever, Obama’s failed to do the only thing that matters, which is claw money back from the rich.

    You need actual leftists to do that (liberals are useless), acting independently of the President.

  73. 73
    jwb says:

    @Freddie deBoer: And enjoy your fantasy in ponyland.

  74. 74
    wrb says:

    @aisce:

    barack obama is the most liberal president in history

    @General Stuck:

    I also agree. These who like to call themselves liberal on FDL and Kos help the right, if the thighs that happen in meat world are what matter.

  75. 75
    aisce says:

    @ strandedvandal

    yes, here i am not demeaning the most liberal president in history by calling him a fucking moderate. or centrist.

    i’m cool with that.

    but, hey, i’ll give you jackasses a shot to repair your shredded credibility. who was more liberal? that guy who interred a couple hundred thousand americans on the basis of their ethnicity? one of our slaveholding founding fathers? lincoln? was it lincoln?

    put up or shut up. or admit that barack obama is no fucking moderate. thankfully so. and start asking yourselves why you’re so desperate to call him one. what are you hiding?

  76. 76
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Dollared:

    The people here want compromise

    Way to not understand people. What we here expect is things to change slowly because that’s how the freakin’ constitution works. It’s geared toward not having anything change unless both sides compromise, which means that things will change slowly. I would be happy if we made giant leaps to UHC, but it won’t happen, so I’m going to be happy if we get ACA and things like the new rule that made contraceptives available without a copay.

  77. 77
    Freddie deBoer says:

    These are real tangible benefits. I’m so sick of the “God has shat upon us all, curse you, Barack Obama!”. If that is how you want to spend your day, whatever gets your rocks off, but I think it’s just leftist/liberal preening. It’s the bane of the left, and it dates back to people who were actually proposing a revolution. That’s the tradition of shitting on the elected ones. If you aren’t proposing that, it’s just some smart ass, sneering, nonsense.

    But that, of course, is not what this post is doing. This post is saying that you guys are tactically hurting yourselves with this behavior. Yet 90% of the comments are referring to a straw leftist who says things that have nothing to do with me. I’m reading these comments and I want to ask, who are you talking to? This shit has nothing to do with what I said. I am saying a very basic fact: when one side pushes to the right, the other side pushes to the center, the country moves to the right. And then you all complain about that movement!

    You guys are so caught up in this narrative about “Obama is Satan”, “Firebagger Firebagger!” shtick that you can’t actually even respond to a tactical argument. I am expressing what I think are the problems with getting what you want. I’m not even complaining about Obama’s policies here. I’m explaining to you that it’s insane to keep doing what you always do an expect change.

    I don’t think 75% of you even bother to read the post before weighing in. This has got nothing to do with whether Obama is liberal enough. It has everything to do with a coherent political platform for the Democratic party and for American liberalism.

  78. 78
    Jewish Steel says:

    And please don’t forget that for every “progressive” initiative that would be proposed by the president and shot down by the legislature that excites 1 person on the left, you excite at least 1 but probably 2-4 people on the right to double down on getting Obama diselected and delivering President Romney majorities in both houses.*

    Plus demonstrating for all to see the right-wing tenet that, “Government just doesn’t work.”

    *oh, and don’t forget those Supreme Court appts coming up.

  79. 79
    Kane says:

    I have no problem with this statement from Andrew Sullivan. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a “screed against liberal critics.”

    I’ve lost track in how many times I’ve heard some on the left wish that President Obama was as ruthless and polarizing as Bush, not so much for the sake of policy, but rather because they are constantly itching for a fight. And it’s certainly true that when Obama does accomplish things, there are always some on the left who are waiting to criticize him and to argue that the policy isn’t liberal enough, yet never quite explaining how those liberal policies could have been accomplished with the congress he has to work with.

  80. 80
    Bruce S says:

    Great Sen. Dirkson quote on lobbyists (paraphrasing): ‘If you can’t drink their liquor, take their money, and fuck their women and then vote against them, you have no business being in the Senate’.

    That’s actually a quote of Jess Unruh who ran the California State Assembly in the ’60s.

  81. 81
    homerhk says:

    @Freddie deBoer: What is being done is a debate and comment on a post you made. But, I’ll say this, the idea that it is all on the President to fight and push ideology and to promote the “liberal” view is not the right one. As I said, and I’m speaking for myself here, the reason why I get frustrated and angry with the constant liberal criticism of President Obama is that it never admits the liberal successes he has presided over. IMHO liberals should be shouting from the rooftops at every available opportunity that because of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi the US has some semblance of universal healthcare. Liberals should be shouting from the rooftops that because of Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, the US now has a consumer protection agency that is designed, by its nature, to be on the side of consumers. Liberals should be shouting from the rooftops that because of Barack Obama gays can now serve openly in the military. If liberals do indeed have a voice – as you seem to suggest – may I propose that you use it to advance, you know, liberal successes rather than all the multiple complaints you might have? then, maybe the country might actually listen instead of hearing everyone crap on every achievment made by President Obama and the Democrats (from right and left) and then just conclude that all those achievments are actually pretty crap.

    And don’t come back to me with criticism of HCR. Nancy Pelosi, whose “liberal” credentials I do not think are in any doubt has herself said that passing HCR was the proudest day of her political career and the best vote she’d ever taken.

  82. 82
    jwb says:

    @Dave: Well, actually we have to show that we can get a significant number of actual leftists elected. If we could do that we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And whoever occupied the White House would move left.

  83. 83

    You need actual leftists to do that (liberals are useless), acting independently of the President.

    Apparently the leftists (who ever they are) can’t swing into action until everyone is super nice to them.

    Christ, it’s like the wealthy refusing to create jobs until we agree they don’t have to pay taxes or obey speed limits and get rid of all those safety pesky regulations.

    Oh, and John McCain’s top secret plan to make everything perfect forever but he couldn’t share until he was PotUS.

    They can all get fucked with the same pitchfork.

  84. 84
    auntieeminaz says:

    @Legalize: “It’s a bit much to be lectured by fucking babies.” Amen.
    Liberal Democrat since 1968.

  85. 85
    Norwonk says:

    The attitude towards liberals here is pretty interesting: “We despise you, you crazy fucktards! Now STFU and vote for our guys!” I’ve noticed that Obama pursues it as well, although with nicer language.

    It’s an interesting campaign tactic, but I don’t think anyone has any reason to be surprised if it fails to mobilise the left. They may end up feeling they’re not wanted in the Democratic Party. Because, you know, they’re not wanted in the Democratic Party.

  86. 86
    some guy says:

    Freddie,

    excellent post, and the whines and moaning from the regulars here only means that the bright shiny mirror you have held up to the Balloonheads presents a clearer picture than they are used to seeing.

    keep it up.

  87. 87
    Mike Goetz says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Yes, I am getting the country I want – one that, after hard, bitter struggle and with dogged determination, actually accomplishes things. The country you want would only scream at each other and accomplish nothing. That would certainly not help Obama get elected.

    Even aside from the legislative and administrative accomplishments, I will vote for Obama on maturity alone.

  88. 88
    Strandedvandal says:

    @aisce: Actually you are demeaning everyone here, so get off your fucking high horse. Maybe you didn’t understand what it is you wrote? You attacked me, and everyone here, so for that, fuck off. For putting words in my mouth, fuck off. For making vast general assumptions about my beliefs based on 0 information, fuck off. So, in summary, fuck off. Have a great day.

  89. 89
    homerhk says:

    @Freddie deBoer: This is a bit of a disingenuous comment. You spent most of the first part of your post complaining about people criticism of the “people that got Obama elected” (a flawed premise, to begin with). But anyway, let’s talk about the tactical argument. You say:

    I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this: when you attack the left, you empower the right. So many supporting Obama against left-wing critics—by attacking those left-wing critics, by the way, far more loudly and harshly than they attack the right wing—are trying to thread an absurdly thin needle.

    If you really believe that, I think a more powerful statement is:

    I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this: when you attack the left President Obama, you empower the right. So many supporting Obama against left-wing critics attacking Obama—by attacking Obama supporters those left-wing critics, by the way, far more loudly and harshly than they attack the right wing—are trying to thread an absurdly thin needle

  90. 90
    Michael Finn says:

    Whenever I am frustrated by liberals/democrats, I am often reminded of quote from LBJ.

    “You want to know the differences between liberals and cannibals? Cannibals don’t eat their friends.”

  91. 91
    Jewish Steel says:

    I am saying a very basic fact: when one side pushes to the right, the other side pushes to the center, the country moves to the right. And then you all complain about that movement!

    So, wait. You think that with this post you discovered movement of the Overton window?

    Okay, well, congratulations, I guess. For a rhetorician, you sure don’t communicate very clearly.

  92. 92
    Maxwell James says:

    Freddie –

    I’m sympathetic to your POV, but I think by even talking about Obama & whether or not he should be criticized by the left, you are drawing the wrong lesson from the Tea Parties. The Tea Parties never targeted Bush – even now, they mostly try to avoid talking about him at all. What they did was very effectively and methodically set up right-wing primary challenges to Congressional incumbents.

    That’s what the left should be doing – almost exclusively focusing on the House and the Senate. Plus a concerted effort to change the rules of the Senate. The grassroots is good at that sort of action, because the outcomes are local and driven by local factors.

    Threatening Obama with a primary challenge is more than pointless. On his own, Obama – and any other president – will be constrained primarily by what is possible in the Congress. That’s where the bottleneck is.

  93. 93
    Dollared says:

    @Mike Goetz: Oh yes, yelling and screaming would be bad. So you like 16% of GDP spent on health care? You like 19% U-6? You like the evaporation of pensions, the declining income of the middle class, the highest poverty rate since the early 60s?

    You like that we spend more on the military than all other nations of the world combined?

    What’s not to like?

  94. 94

    @Norwonk: I consider myself a liberal and a lefty. FdB makes an odd but strangely undefined distiction between the two*.

    How about we say the assholes demanding we bow down and make nice and do everything their way OR ELSE are radicals?

    *You wanna clear that up FdB?

  95. 95
    cleek says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    I am saying a very basic fact: when one side pushes to the right, the other side pushes to the center,

    who is pushing to the center? examples?

  96. 96
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Ok, what are you proposing exactly? I like grassroots campaigns. I’ve been working on them since I was six, following my grandmother door to door to get her neighborhood declared a superfund zone because the industries that had cut and run in the 80’s had dumped chemicals into the groundwater until if you took a shower your skin would burn and the water would blind you. I run the 350.org campaign locally. What exactly is this grassroots organization going to do?

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    @Legalize:

    Other than that, he didn’t differ THAT much from Hillary or any of the other Dem candidates in 2008.

    Correct—his voting record was scored about teh same as Hillary’s by Americans for Democratic Action.

    So-called liberals despise him now because he’s not delivering on the pipe-dreams they imagined him to be associated with.

    LOL. Liberals don’t like him because (a) he’s been way too soft on the banksters, (b) he doubled down on the waste of blood and treasure known as Afghanistan, (c) he’s an ineffective leader (witness the debt hostage debacle).

    So, they stayed home last fall and opened the door for the hostage takers to waltz right in and shit all over the place.

    LOL. The Congressional election results were the predictable outcome of a terrible economy.

  98. 98
    Admiral_Komack says:

    As Democratic disgust with Obama’s debt fumbling spreads, Clinton supporters recall her ‘3 a.m. phone call’ warnings—and angry, frustrated liberals are muttering that she should mount a 2012 challenge.

    At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a.....ation.html

    I’ve been to weeseeyou.com:

    “At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”

    -Then Hillary should have won the election, in order to become President.
    Oh, wait…

  99. 99
    wrb says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    can’t actually even respond to a tactical argument.

    Can and have. The pony crowd (who aren’t any further left than many Obama supporters, the just have a stunning inability to understand process and constraints) are pushing Obama and the outcomes to the right, for a reason that if stunningly obvious: to win you need a majority, and the only people to replace you with are from the right margin, so policies have to be adjusted to win their support.

  100. 100
    SteveinSC says:

    Well, well, well, as I have said before, this blog with its aggressive, abusive Obots, is now as blind as Cole was to Bush 6 years ago before the epiphany. Clean house Cole. You’ve got this place loaded with blind-as-bats deniers.

  101. 101
    jwb says:

    @Freddie deBoer: And yet your post reproduces every accusation you make against the Obama defenders criticizing the left and redirects it at them, whereas my sense is that Obama supporters do not mind so much the critique from the left as much as the fact that the critique so often stops at Obama and never manages to get to the actual problem, which lies with the Republicans. So if the left stops sniping at Obama, and devotes its energy to taking out Republicans, I think you’ll find that the Obama supporters will stop sniping at the left. As I’ve mentioned in the past, look at how conservative pundits criticize their own.

  102. 102
    liberal says:

    Good post.

    I want to say to many of the commenters on this blog, when you push Obama to move to the right at the same time as the Tea Party pushes Republicans to the right, Mitch McConnell is playing you.

    I thought the O-bots here have proclaimed the Overton Window is wrong. So you’re wrong, wrong, wrong for having essentially cited it. /snark

  103. 103
    aisce says:

    @ strandedvandal

    Actually you are demeaning everyone here

    that’s right. i am. stop lying about the president’s record.

    he is a deeply liberal and progressive president who is accomplishing deeply liberal and progressive things for this nation.

  104. 104
  105. 105
    lamh34 says:

    I’ve voted Dem since I could vote. I’ve always considered myself to have liberal/leftist ideals, I would have voted for Hilary (as an loyal AA Dem, not for any particular reason other than that weirdly enough) but post like this and other like it make me realize that maybe I’m not really a liberal, I’m certainly NOT independent. I would contend that many AA such as myself who have consistently voted Dem are probably wondering right about now, where and how do we fit in within the Dem party. Personally, IMHO, I would bet that the main reason why AA are not voting GOP is because of historical precedent. The Dem party benefits greatly from that precedent, and the inherent racism that AA associate with the GOP.

    This kidna doesn’t have anything to do with this thread though, but it’s what was on my mind recently.

  106. 106
    Han's Big Snark Solo says:

    What the fuck is this?

    Nobody can deny Obama was helped by liberals, but you make it sound like a bunch of long haired hippies with giant puppets put Obama in office. That is not accurate.

    I donated money and time to Obama, but I’m not on the left so much as in the center. One of the big stories of the 2008 election was all the first time (young) voters Obama brought in, these aren’t people that were driven by liberal politics, they were driven by Obama’s message.

    Also too, John Edwards was the candidate “of the left”.

    Holy fuck, I expect the wingnuts and Teabaggers to be reality impaired, I don’t expect that from those on the left. Grow up Freddie, you dumbass.

  107. 107
    Mike Goetz says:

    @Dollared:

    As frustrating as those problems are, the paradox is that yelling and screaming is not going to solve them. It’s going to make them worse by driving away potential allies.

  108. 108
    Strandedvandal says:

    @aisce: Are you high? Where am I lying about the President’s record. Point it out, C&P if you must. I’ll wait.

  109. 109
    Ed Marshall says:

    @liberal:

    The Overton window is about policy ideas. Writing “Obama is the SuXors! on the internet has nothing to do with the Overton window. Getting on MSNBC or Democracy Now! and doing the same thing similarly has jack shit to do with the Overton window.

  110. 110
    Freddie deBoer says:

    Look, there are policy disputes and there are political disputes. Coalitions have both. I understand that and welcome it. The people around here don’t, and I get that too. When I was invited to blog here, I knew what Balloon Juice was. That’s cool.

    But the complete lack of elementary reading comprehension evident around here is discouraging. If you disagree with my political arguments, say so. If I make policy arguments and you disagree, say so. But saying that this post is “Obama is Satan and woe is us” is just dishonest or stupid. It’s one or the other. That has nothing to do with what I’ve said here. Literally nothing.

    I will ask again: are you guys happy with right now? Because that’s what you’re asking for. The status quo. You mock Jane Hamsher et al now. You mocked them last year. You mocked them the year before that. You are doing the same exact thing. And you’re getting the same exact thing: American politics as usual.

    BJers need to make a decision: you need to either change what you’re doing or stop complaining about the way things are. Because you are losing. You are losing to the wignuts that you say you hate. You are losing the messaging battle. You are losing the electoral battle. You are losing the political battle. You are losing the policy battle. The question is, what is your priority? Do you hate Jane Hamsher so much that you care more about her losing than you do about you winning?

  111. 111
    burnspbesq says:

    Another alternate reality heard from.

    In the real reality, Freddie, you can level all the specious criticism you want at Obama, but you have nowhere else to go. We know that. You know that. Either get to work or get out of the way.

  112. 112
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Legalize:

    So, they stayed home last fall and opened the door for the hostage takers to waltz right in and shit all over the place.

    Actually, liberals voted about the same as they did in 2006 and 2008. It was the extra voters that turned out those two years that failed to turn out, and the right winger turn out was even higher than normal.

  113. 113
    Lolis says:

    @Mike M:

    WTF? Writing comments on a blog is clapping harder. Who is the fucking audience so moved by our clapping? What matters is what we do in the real world. I have called or written the WH, my senators and Congressman at least one hundred times in over two years. I have attended protests and rallies in Austin. What the fuck have you done? What has Freddie done?

  114. 114
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @aisce:

    he is a deeply liberal and progressive president who is accomplishing deeply liberal and progressive things for this nation.

    Only in reference to the ridiculously tilted to the right US political spectrum.

    By European standards, he’s a tory.

  115. 115
    aisce says:

    @ strandedvandal

    indeed, your issue was that i said this blog sucks right now (because with threads like these…), and this was apparently too much for your fragile self to handle at the moment.

    sorry for distressing you so. this blog is amazing, its commenters brilliant, and you should be proud to be a part of its community.

    happy, sunshine?

  116. 116
    jwb says:

    @Freddie deBoer: And you absolve yourself of all responsibility. Neat trick that.

  117. 117
    OzoneR says:

    It most certainly was not “the left” that laid the groundwork for Obama’s election, they were still on the Edwards bandwagon until South Carolina, and even after that were pretty split between Obama and Hillary.

    It was entirely young voters and African-Americans, nether of whom I would characterize as a whole as “the left”

    Especially young voters, they’re not nearly as “left” as you think.

  118. 118
    Paul in KY says:

    @Bruce S: I’m sure I have read that being attributed to Sen. Dirkson. Anyway, it’s a great quote & thanks for correcting who said it.

  119. 119
    Strandedvandal says:

    @aisce: That is the lamest apology I’ve ever read. Next time, think a little before you lash out at everyone. Have a great day.

  120. 120
    Lolis says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    I don’t know what you mean. What is Hamsher doing that we should support? Many of us here pressure Obama from the left. I tell my Congressman to help Obama get a more liberal outcome by standing firm. I attend rallies for teachers, immigrants, and labor in Texas all the time. I give money to leftist causes. What is your solution? Be specific about what you think we should be doing. Right now you just sound like a condescending blogger, cause I have no idea WTF you have ever done. Kay walks the walk. How about you?

  121. 121
    aisce says:

    @ villago delenda est

    good show, guvnah! and how do you take your afternoon tea?

    …look at them goalposts go. go goalposts, go!

    america did not become the most liberal country on earth overnight. clearly this obama asshole is a failure. clearly.

  122. 122
    cleek says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Do you hate Jane Hamsher so much that you care more about her losing than you do about you winning?

    what the fuck does she have to do with anything? how many House votes does Hamsher have?

  123. 123
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    BJers need to make a decision: you need to either change what you’re doing or stop complaining about the way things are. Because you are losing. You are losing to the wignuts that you say you hate. You are losing the messaging battle. You are losing the electoral battle. You are losing the political battle. You are losing the policy battle. The question is, what is your priority? Do you hate Jane Hamsher so much that you care more about her losing than you do about you winning?

    Freddie, make sure you read this paragraph in a week, because I do think you are missing what we are arguing here. The House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans, and therefore, all legislation coming through Congress has to deal with that fact. I think this sucks big time, but it has to be dealt with. As I said earlier, the Constitution does not generally allow for big changes, which is why we ended up with ACA and not UHC. And from what I see, the only messaging battle those of us who want to cheer for the small victories is with those who cannot seem to see that most of the time you will only get small victories which you build upon. And we will continue losing until all Democrats focus on those who truly are blocking progress: The Republicans.

  124. 124
    signifyingmnky says:

    There is so much wrong in this post that it’s almost criminal not to respond to it. Let me start of by making this point:

    The far left (I am not ceding “liberal” to these people) is a victim to the same illusion that the far right is, they both believe that they’re the mainstream of the country. They’re not. About a third of the country considers themselves liberal, about another third conservative, and the rest is a mix of the independents, the apathetic and those who’ve been so turned off by it all that they no longer participate. The far left and far right are virtually a third of each of their respective thirds; they’re fringes. Fringes who claim their minority speak for the majority of the American public, who have absolute visions for this country, and who intend to institute their vision by radical change or not at all.

    That’s why their on the far end of the spectrum.

    Barack Obama told the world his vision of America in 2004 in his speech at the Democratic National Convention. He further elaborated on it in his book, Audacity of Hope. He articulated his vision as being more concerned with achieving progress than the absolutism of pure ideology, and faulted pure ideology for the lack of progress from government. He didn’t hide these beliefs. He didn’t go out on the campaign trail claiming to be a hard left ideologue and then switch into a centrist upon entering the oval office. He put these beliefs out into the mainstream for all of America to see.

    And they resounded with a diverse sectioning of the country, including young voters and older voters who were voting for the first time. He was supported by liberals, moderates, moderate Republicans, women, minorities…these were all groups who embraced President Obama for his vision of working for actual change, instead of just ideology and no one group was more responsible for his election than another.

    One group however, did claim credit for electing him all by themselves: “Progressives”. And when President Obama made the mistake of actually governing by the beliefs he campaigned on instead of kissing the rings of the “Progressive” power brokers, they “decided” he was a sell out. And ever since they’ve shot down every single positive achievement he’s accomplished, because if it wasn’t done their way, it shouldn’t have been done at all.

    This is the nonsense that is being called out, this is the group being criticized for their inanity, not liberals. Liberals still support this President with high numbers. And if they’re tired of being called out for attacking this President, then it’s time they started trying to work with, instead of opposing him at every turn.

    If “Progressives” can fix this country, then it’s time they partner up with the President and prove it.

  125. 125
    phillygirl says:

    I mostly agree with you, Freddie, but why don’t you want flowery speeches? I do. Flowery speeches got this guy elected, and it wasn’t coincidence that they were flowery speeches extolling liberal values.

    I worked the polls for the Obama campaign on primary day in ’08. The neighborhood, which is about 99% African American and probably 40% unemployed, came alive. People brought grandparents in walkers and 18-year-olds voting for the first time. Older ladies put on their church hats, and guys of all ages wore baseball caps and t-shirts plastered with Obama buttons. At the end of the day our state rep arrived bearing copies of the speech on race that Obama had given at the Constitution Center here. They were snapped up. People took to park benches to pore over this flowery speech. That fall, turnout in Philly gave the state to Obama. And the voters of 2008, pumped by flowery speeches, gave us a Democratic Congress and the ACA.

    People like to be appealed to. But Obama has pretty much scrapped the flowery speeches in favor of scolding us about having to balance the nation’s books. (I’m disappointed, too, that he cut heating assistance for the elderly poor, but I guess that makes me a firebagger.) That’s not the kind of stuff that gets anyone to vote in 2012, let alone campaign for Democrats. And what this country needs is Democrats. That is why I want the old Obama back. He was always a cautious technocrat? No, he wasn’t. He was a leader for people who hadn’t seen one in quite a while, and who had every right to believe that he meant what he said about, y’know, helping them.

  126. 126
    Strandedvandal says:

    @Freddie deBoer: So you figure that the whole hostage taking thing worked out well for the teabaggers, what the hell, maybe it’ll work out the same for the firebaggers?

  127. 127
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    But the complete lack of elementary reading comprehension evident around here is discouraging.

    Ha-ha! Yes, when I write a song nobody seems to like my first thought is that everyone’s ears are broken.

    But then I have a second thought…

  128. 128
    different church-lady says:

    In other words: a bunch of people fell in love with a dream instead of a person they didn’t really understand and now they’re all surprised and disillusioned and can figure out why reality ain’t the same a dream.

    And now they’re all hankering to move on and repeat that very mistake all over again.

  129. 129
    Mike Goetz says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    This entire thread is nothing but disagreements with your political arguments. Nobody believes that what you are proposing would help achieve what we want to achieve. Nobody here thinks that the left wing is anything other than negatively effective. If you can’t be a positive player in the coalition politics by which we do things here, then you are of no use to anybody.

  130. 130
    signifyingmnky says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    +1000

    These people can’t even cheer the end of pre-existing conditions and millions more getting access to health care. How in the world do they expect to convince the country to go along with a single payer system?

    It’s like they want to bat from third base.

  131. 131
    aisce says:

    @ strandedvandal

    i’m truly deeply sorry that you got your feelings hurt. when i “demeaned you.” on the internet. by saying this blog’s commenters are circle jerking dullards who lie about the president.

    i can only imagine how terrifying a time this must be for you right now. how is your support system? do you have the right people around you to get through this?

  132. 132
    Derf says:

    Bahahaha,

    Can always count on Babboon juice for my daily gloom porn.

    Stay gloomy everyone! Oy vey…..

  133. 133
    OzoneR says:

    @liberal:

    Liberals don’t like him because (a) he’s been way too soft on the banksters, (b) he doubled down on the waste of blood and treasure known as Afghanistan, (c) he’s an ineffective leader (witness the debt hostage debacle).

    Three things that were ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE in 2008, when he said he “wanted to look forward, not backward” campaigned on adding troops to Afghanistan and campaigned on working across party lines.

    and yet liberals swooned anyway.

  134. 134
    agrippa says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    I, too, will vote for Obama on maturity alone.

  135. 135
    jwb says:

    @Mike Goetz: Freddie is evidently really into projection this morning: that lack of reading comprehension that he was complaining about: he seems to suffer from it himself.

  136. 136
    OzoneR says:

    @phillygirl:

    That is why I want the old Obama back. He was always a cautious technocrat? No, he wasn’t.

    yes, he was.

    He was a leader for people who hadn’t seen one in quite a while, and who had every right to believe that he meant what he said about, y’know, helping them.

    when? when he was giving speeches you guys reject now as “just words?”

  137. 137
    Strandedvandal says:

    @aisce: Thanks for asking. I’m have a great day. Plan on doing a brick workout here in a few. Just starting my taper for the State TT Championships this weekend, so it’s going to be a low intensity workout. Try to stay below LT for most of it with 4 2:00 LT intervals. How about you? You have plans beyond being bitter, jaded and lonely the rest of your life?

  138. 138

    @Freddie deBoer: Let me get this straight (so to speak).

    Your solution for this country’s problems is for everyone to follow (or at least not mock) Jane Fucking HAMSHER?

    Man, before you even attempt to tell us how the hell THAT would solve shit, go lie down until the drugs wear off.

  139. 139
    agrippa says:

    @signifyingmnky:

    I think that you are right.

    I voted for Obama on the basis of what he wrote and what he said.

    I am not dissatisfied, nor am I disappointed.

    The country has hard adjustments to make. Making those adjustments, in foreign policy and in the economy will not be pleasant.

  140. 140
    Rihilism says:

    Obama has been sooooooo disappointing. Thank the dear baby jeebus, there ARE alternatives…..

  141. 141
    Linnaeus says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    Nobody here thinks that the left wing is anything other than negatively effective.

    I’ll disagree with that somewhat; I think we very much need a better left wing in this country than we currently have (unless you’re saying the same thing, but in a different way).

    I like this blog a lot and I think the vast majority of participants here are smart informed people who want the the best for our country, even when I disagree from time to time. But lately I’m getting the feeling that we’re talking more, on a surface level, about the need to get things done, but not as much about what those things are (both short and long term) and how to get those things. It’s an unfortunate effect of the Obama Wars.

    If folks like, they can start linking the positive achievements of this administration with a future path, e.g., “So we got X which can lead to Y” and with respect to any negatives, they can say something like, “The admin and/or the Democrats did X, but Y would be a better path, and here’s why”, all the while hitting the Republicans hard for their recklessness.

  142. 142
    OzoneR says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Do you hate Jane Hamsher so much that you care more about her losing than you do about you winning?

    I hate Jane Hamsher because she’s a reason why we’re not winning.

  143. 143
    ShadeTail says:

    All ye gods above and below. Why do so many of my fellow liberals forget everything that happened over the past 5 or 6 years? “We” elected Obama? We helped, but it wasn’t all us. It was a broad coalition of different interests, and you forget that at your peril.

    And why are so many of us determined to ignore *Congress*? Why spend so much energy attacking Obama and ignoring Congress? I’ve long-ago lost count of the number of liberals who either forget about Congress all together, or make whiny excuses about how “my wingnut Rep wouldn’t listen to me anyway, so why bother getting involved?”

    So you forget about how the election *really* went, you forget about, or ignore, Congress’ part in this mess, and then you self-righteously lecture people who criticize you for your over-simplified and unrealistic ideas?

    Little wonder that we liberals have been so marginalized when so many of us don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.

  144. 144

    A question: Has anyone ever seen DougJ & FdB in the same room?

  145. 145
    Strandedvandal says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: You may be on to something there.

  146. 146
    different church-lady says:

    @signifyingmnky: This. One BILLION TIMES this.

    Now if only people could accept this we could start to have a rational conversation about whether Obama is doing a good job or not, and evaluate exactly how and where he is or isn’t.

    But people will never accept this. So it ain’t gonna happen.

  147. 147
    trollhattan says:

    Got around to watching Maher last night and thought his Donner Party screed was masterful–his best in a long while. While it felt great to watch I’m not suggesting it’s a policy strategy, but I’d surely like to see a cadre of articulate “lefty” politicians and policy folks grabbing and dragging the Overton window back the other direction.

    I’ve come to realize after two-plus teabagger years that merely pointing the camera at them and letting the public discover without further assistance they’re all crazy as bedbugs doesn’t work. Far too many nod their heads and think, “I know how you feel” and of course, Fox et al. continue to portray them as heroic and brave to go up against the librool elite who really are running things (and stealing their front porch lightbulbs).

    Also, too, the director of St. Sarah’s(tm) big movee on Maher’s panel didn’t get punched around for continously lying about the stimulus and its outcomes, not to mention not a single mocking about the movee itself. Lost opportunity.

  148. 148
    different church-lady says:

    @ShadeTail:

    Why do so many of my fellow liberals forget everything that happened over the past 5 or 6 years? “We” elected Obama? We helped, but it wasn’t all us. It was a broad coalition of different interests, and you forget that at your peril.

    Answer: ego.

    And why are so many of us determined to ignore Congress? Why spend so much energy attacking Obama and ignoring Congress?

    Answer: intellectual laziness

    So you forget about how the election really went, you forget about, or ignore, Congress’ part in this mess, and then you self-righteously lecture people who criticize you for your over-simplified and unrealistic ideas?

    Answer: ego and intellectual laziness

  149. 149
    Norwonk says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen:

    How about we say the assholes demanding we bow down and make nice and do everything their way OR ELSE are radicals?

    OK. And which side of this debate is that?

    Look: No politician is entitled to your vote. People have every right to express disappointment with Obama. And it’s the squeaky wheel which is the engine of change in any movement. If you’re perfectly happy with Obama, you can be a cheerleader, but that also means you have to accept that nothing will change. So the question isn’t really about radicalism, but whether or not you think things could be better.

  150. 150
    jwb says:

    @OzoneR: Also owned and paid for by Grover Norquist.

  151. 151
    auntieeminaz says:

    @signifyingmnky: You nailed it.

  152. 152
    FlipYrWhig says:

    This post is a gigantic steaming load by someone who hasn’t thought one iota about the gigantic steaming contradiction that drives it: that criticizing Obama “from the left” (so they say) is not at all playing into right-wing hands, but criticizing “left” critics (so they say) is a terrible awful thing that plays into right-wing hands. That’s idiotic.

  153. 153
    different church-lady says:

    @jwb:

    Freddie is evidently really into projection this morning: that lack of reading comprehension that he was complaining about: he seems to suffer from it himself.

    It’s ether that or he really believes he didn’t write some of the things he wrote, and thinks we should just ignore those things so that he can keep the bit he thinks is more defensible.

  154. 154
    signifyingmnky says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Jane Hamsher is mocked because she deserves to be mocked. She claims to represent the Democratic base while partnering with Grover Norquist, actively working to elect Republicans, and using her soapbox to fill her own pockets instead of using it to elect candidates who support her purported point of view.

    I get why people find her and firebaggers’ perspectives appealing. They’re full of anger, and in an economy like this, people are angry and they’re drawn to that. The problem is, anger doesn’t make for good policy, anger doesn’t win elections and as Jane herself has proven (with her “Kill the Bill” efforts), anger doesn’t drive positive change.

    The Republicans are actively trying to destroy the middle class, and now that they have the House, they cannot simply be ignored, and they have the power to stop any attempt at progress.

    If you want the President to go left, help him changed the hearts and minds necessary to win back the house, and keep the White House and Senate.

    Anything short of that is a waste of time.

  155. 155
    les says:

    @Freddie deBoer:
    Two (main) problems, I think. First, if you honestly read Obama as leftist, you had a self induced psychosis problem; and attacking him for not being a leftist is not just pointless, it’s self-marginalizing, because most of us get that you’re just inaccurate and wrong. Second, you’re confusing “attacking the guy in the center, regardless of efficacy or reasonable basis,” with “pushing to the left.” If you want to push left, advocate for leftist policies and support leftist politicos; screaming “my hallucination didn’t work out” really isn’t getting it.

    I don’t know which of the tactics you seem to endorse is stupider–attack a moderate democrat for being what he’s always been instead of a leftist dream, or ignore the actual liberal policies hes advocated and actually enacted, to pretend he’s worse than a Republican. Allying with folks who prefer to see gov’t destroyed, rather than effective, is just icing.

    Finally, learn to distinguish “pushing to the center” from “at least we got something this time, now let’s try to get more.”

  156. 156

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Edwards wasn’t the only candidate of the left. If you remember, in TGOS user polls, it was always an Edwards and Obama race. Hillary regularly polled 5% or so for a very long time. A lot of people thought Edwards was a phony and fraud before his marriage problems came to light.

  157. 157
    Dan says:

    I think the black community might disagree about who Obama’s “key constituency” was.

    Seriously, this is fucking ridiculous. When you attack the left, you help the right, but apparently when you attack a Democratic president, everything is just fine for the progressive agenda?

  158. 158
    SteveinSC says:

    These hysterical responses to Freddie are more in the line of “the bit dog hollers,” so Freddie can take comfort in that.

  159. 159
    cleek says:

    @ShadeTail:

    And why are so many of us determined to ignore Congress?

    acknowledging congress’ role in all of this would force people to admit that getting progressive legislation in the US system is not a simple matter of picking the pure progressive pony-promising President, rather, it involves the care and feeding of 535 other people – all of whom have their own ideas, motivations, desires and electoral schedule. and that’s just too much work. too many nuances. too many moving parts.

    it’s much simpler to just focus everything on one guy and pretend all the country’s problems are his fault. it’s easier to loudly proclaim your own righteousness that way. you don’t have to confuse your audience with a large cast of characters. KISS.

  160. 160
    Munira says:

    So why, in poll after poll, is Obama’s biggest support coming from people who call themselves liberal Democrats?

  161. 161
    NobodySpecial says:

    When this argument was made in 2008 and 2009 and prior to the elections in 2010, the answer was always that there could never be 60 votes, therefore pushing was useless.

    When this argument was made after the 2010 elections, ‘moderates’ simply pointed to the House of Representatives and proclaimed in loud tones that NOTHING COULD BE DONE.

    Which is only true because the one thing they fear the most is losing any battle.

    A lot of BJers who mock the left, you have to remember, are disaffected Republicans who had their come to Jesus moment in the Bush administration or just before. They don’t like pushing from the left because A) They are highly comfortable with things proceeding at a glacial pace and B) Because they don’t like the left period.

    At any rate, they’ve learned from the Clinton years and the ‘Third Way’ nonsense is that there’s no incentive to ever push for a lefty outcome to any legislation – they’ll never get it anyways, and disaster always lurks around the corner, so that if they actually push for something, all of the 20th century will be magically undone and they won’t be comfortable anymore. So they never pick a fight until they are absolutely sure that there’s no chance of a loss, and if there IS a chance of a loss, they will never pick a fight.

  162. 162
    jwb says:

    @Norwonk: You can also wonder tactically whether Obama is the most prudent place to apply political pressure. Like it or not, he’s the only Dem who can be elected President in 2012, which diminishes our leverage considerably at that point. That’s one reason why all this hand-wringing over Obama is so ridiculous. Where we do have considerable leverage is in electing the House and the Senate, making sure that we are working hard to get the most liberal voice that is electable in each and every district. If congress moves left, Obama will move left.

  163. 163
    Kane says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    I will ask again: are you guys happy with right now? Because that’s what you’re asking for. The status quo.

    Granted, not all of the problems and challenges we face have been solved in three years. However, I’m much happier now than I was during the Bush administration, for a number of reasons. Here’s one example: Remember when the tornados hit Missouri and the floods devastated Tennessee? Tragic events. Well, remember how citizens were left to fend for themselves and there were scenes of people sitting on their rooftops for days begging for help and others were dying in the streets? Neither do I.

    The status quo would have been a non-response from incompetent government. Instead, the Obama administration offered something quite different than the status quo. It’s called effective government serving the needs of the public. It’s something that we were sorely lacking during the past administration, and that has changed during this administration. And it’s something that the Jane Hamshers of the world refuse to recognize.

  164. 164
    chopper says:

    @Mary Jane:

    this, right here.

  165. 165
    les says:

    @Norwonk:

    The attitude towards liberals here is pretty interesting: “We despise you, you crazy fucktards! Now STFU and vote for our guys!”

    Well, my attitude toward these “liberals” you seem to represent is more “observe reality occasionally, stop using stupid unreal tactics and maybe we can work toward goals we likely share.” Really, endless whining about betrayal and lack of appreciation for your endless charms, dedication and political power is ineffective, inaccurate and unattractive–in the sense of attracting allies, political strength or any of what you claim to want.

  166. 166

    @OzoneR: What do you consider TGOS readers? Do you know what the results of their reader polls were? Sounds like it is more than our elites that have memory problems.

  167. 167
    cleek says:

    @Norwonk:

    The attitude towards liberals here is pretty interesting

    you do not represent liberals.

  168. 168
    les says:

    @Dollared:
    My dog you’re an idiot. It is more than possible for anyone with a brain to dislike everything you cited. If Freddie wants the flaw in his argument, it’s that fools like you agree with him.

  169. 169
    chopper says:

    @General Stuck:

    yes, obama is the most liberal president in history by the current definition of ‘liberal’. by contemporaneous ones, i’d say FDR and LBJ beat him but not by more than a length.

    we can go on and on about all of FDRs illiberal policies, ones that would make modern liberals shit their pants in anger.

  170. 170

    @Norwonk:

    So the question isn’t really about radicalism, but whether or not you think things could be better.

    Nope. When someone claims they (and only they) can make it better, I suspect they’re radicals. When the promise of making it better turns into a long-winded rant about a lack of respect, I know they’re radicals. Once I know they’re radicals I know instantly that they need to be mocked or ignored.

  171. 171

    @Kane: Tell that to the unemployed. He’s not the evil spawn of Satan or anything, but he hasn’t done nearly enough given the problems we face. If you want the job, you can’t cry when it’s harder than it first appeared.

  172. 172
    Stillwater says:

    @Freddie deBoer: It has everything to do with a coherent political platform for the Democratic party and for American liberalism.

    That’s the issue discussed in the last post. I think to a large extent your confusing commenter’s criticisms of Obama’s critics as a defense of Obama. There is a gap there. I’m pretty sure that most people commenting on this blog would love to see more left-leaning legislation passed, higher taxes on the wealthy, a public option and medicare buy-in, a debt reduction bill that wasn’t cuts only, a bigger stimulus or another one …

    The commenters here are not defending those policy-choices: they’re criticizing firebaggery on two levels: one is that most of the criticisms aren’t grounded in political realities; the other is a rejection of the Firebagger premise that bitching really loudly will actually move policy back to the left.

    How does bitching louder change policy? To do that, you need money or votes. How does bitching louder get you either one of those?

  173. 173
    Paul W. says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    I don’t even understand what you are saying… How has this blog done anything to create the current situation? My recollection is that 16% of those eligible to vote determined that we should have a House led by the GOP, which then set the stage for the numerous hostage taking/negotiating experiences that have defined the past 2 years.

    What did YOU expect when you and your friends sat home on election day grumbling instead of using your super grass roots powers to put more progressive candidates and votes on the board?

  174. 174
    Sly says:

    Obama is a liberal. Bill Clinton is a liberal. Jimmy Carter is a liberal. Lyndon Johnson was a liberal. Harry Truman was a liberal. Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal. None of these men are or were leftists.

    When progressives, as a collective, start learning the distinction, I’ll take their criticism seriously.

    For assistance, here’s a basic scenario that outlines the basic dimensions of American political culture for the better part of a century: There’s an industrial worker standing outside a factory on his lunch break in 1925. He’s barely making ends meet and though his job satisfaction is abysmally low, losing that job means losing the roof over his head. Three men walk up to him.

    The first, a leftist, starts telling him all about the structural deficiencies of capitalism; how the commodifaction of labor has produced a class of wage-slaves and has undermined his ability to defend himself against competing interests (namely, the profit motive of his boss). The proper function of government, the leftist tells him, is to empower people to defend themselves against competing interests, with variations on the precise type of defense depending on the type of leftist (whether Marxist, syndicalist, anarchist, etc).

    The second, a conservative, starts telling him that the only reason he’s barely making ends meet is that he’s not working hard enough and/or he lacks the natural ability to excel, and that there are no structural deficiencies in capitalism because capitalism accurately reflects human nature, which is both absolute and a reflection of humanity’s divine origins. The purpose government, the conservative tells him, is to keep people who seek to defy the natural order in their proper place because to countenance otherwise would cause the nation to fall apart.

    The third, a liberal, tells the worker that all these arguments about the structural deficiencies of capitalism and the natural order are all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day two things remain clear: the worker is dissatisfied with his economic life and, regardless of how he addresses that, he needs a roof over his head. So instead of challenging the fundamental underpinnings of capitalism and all that neat-o stuff, he and the worker should join forces to enact a set of piecemeal reforms that tinker with capitalism in order to build marginal improvements for the wage class (minimum wage, collective bargaining, workplace safety regulations, prohibitions on child labor, etc). The system is not replaced, but improved.

    Then the conservative says to the worker that what the liberal really wants is to give all his shit to some parasitic brown guy who is not biologically fit to succeed on his own and that the liberal is clearly not religiously-inclined enough to be a moral leader. That the liberal lacks the ability to admire the pristine moral absolutism of the natural order and, by extension, the nation itself, and one cannot lead a nation if one does not admire it.

    Whether or not the worker and a majority of his cohort buys into that bullshit determines elections in this country.

  175. 175
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Munira:

    ‘Is simples’, as the meerkat says.

    They’re not real liberals. If they were real liberals, they wouldn’t support Obama. That’s how you can tell who real liberals are.

    Duh.

  176. 176

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: So MLK and others of that era weren’t radicals? Frederick Douglas and the abolitionists? As you know, if you know anything about history, radicals are often right. Especially those of what we’d consider would be progressive positions.

  177. 177
    different church-lady says:

    @Stillwater: Yes, EXACTLY. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that saying person-of-the-left X said something really stupid isn’t automatically the same thing as defending Obama.

  178. 178

    @cleek: Has anyone defined liberals and the left? (He asks, rather wistfully.)

    Maybe FdB will do that. And then maybe he’ll explain the connection between mockery of Jane Hamsher and the terrible no good very badness of everything.

    Not holding my breath, mind.

  179. 179
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I also think it’s pretty fucking rich to think that the biggest, most-awful-est phenomenon dogging American politics is that people who support Obama are too mean to the bunch of cranks who started complaining about Donnie McClurkin and haven’t stopped yet.

  180. 180
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    The more drama that builds over this, the more it feels like it’s building to a dolschtoss-legende targeted toward ‘liberals’ or ‘firebaggers’. “OMG, THOSE STUPID FUCKING HIPPIES HAVE SABOTAGED US ALLLLL!!!” @aimai pretty much stated all I wanted to here past that.

    I mean, fuck, the “We should’ve had Hillary!” bullshit makes me facepalm, and I still cringe at the ‘primary Obama’ stuff sometimes, but it feels like past that, a lot of the froth and hate Democrats pour out toward “liberals”, “firebaggers”, “progressives”, etc. makes the same infuriating charge as I see in the media as a whole. It ends up more about criticizing them for tone rather than substance. Yes, some of the substance is bad and stupid and counterintutive too, but it’s become a fucking catch all for all sides it seems that the “liberals” and “hippies” are all to blame for everything and fuck them all,.

    And yet, when have you actually seen any of those fucking “hippies” actual get within a shade of being taken seriously enough in the wider political sphere to actual influence policy, the same way the Tea partiers get their psychos to craft, push, and accept their crazy policies? You can’t claim they’re irrelevant and then turn around and blame them for fucking everything that’s gone wrong here. Yes, Hamsher can go dig a hole somewhere, but at the same time, I’m not going to act like the Firebaggers are the end all be all to blame for all that’s fucked up with the Democratic party lately.

  181. 181
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Paul W.:

    This is a typical argument used to bash leftists: Leftists stayed home in 2010 and allowed the Tea Party to control the House thereby.

    It’s typical, but it’s false. Go look at the exit poll data. Liberals came out in force. The ones who stayed home were the new voters and the ‘moderates’, which is not unexpected in off-Presidential year elections.

    When people make these sorts of false accusations, they’re actually trying to make sure the leftists don’t vote Democratic. Ever wonder why that is?

  182. 182
    Jewish Steel says:

    I will ask again: are you guys happy with right now? Because that’s what you’re asking for. The status quo.

    Your right. So let’s have a vote of no confidence and install a new prime minister that way he and his majority party can quickly change the direction of policy.

    Or failing that we can at least get our voices heard in the legislature on account of proportional representation.

    Problem solved!

  183. 183
    A Mom Anon says:

    I agree with those above who suggest that what has to happen is changing the face of Congress,which right now is way too conservative to get real progressive change(and it sucks that the meaning of progressive has been hijacked and trashed and demonized like the meaning of liberal has)to even have a hope in hell of happening. The President is not a lawmaker,that’s the job of Congress. Right now we have a GOP who uses any proceedural trick they can use to stop progress of any sort.

    I don’t know what the answers are,but I do know this:

    If you sit people down and ask them what they want for themselves and their kids and the future and you lay out liberal policy without calling it liberal,you find that most people are actually in favor of the same things we are. I think most of the country is actually fairly socially liberal and they want fiscal conservativism that isn’t mean spirited and stingy. Most people actually like parks and roads and bridges in good repair,they want their kids to have a good education and a shot at a decent future. They want clean water to drink and air to breathe that doesn’t cause a heart attack or asthma. They want older folks to have a retirement free of financial worry,they want to not become bankrupt if someone in the family gets very sick or injured. All that stuff has been labelled liberal,soshulist,marxist,maoist,communist and nanny state. It’s not,it’s American,or at least it used to be.

    How we communicate this in a hostile environment is tricky and I have no idea how to do it,but I do think that if we can’t conquer that obstacle it’s going to take a lot longer for things to really turn around with the general public

  184. 184
    different church-lady says:

    @Phil Perspective: I don’t really consider civil rights to be a radical idea, do you?

  185. 185
    SteveinSC says:

    @cleek:

    you do not represent liberals.

    Oh right. So it is you who keeps the Grand List of who is and who is not a liberal.

  186. 186
    jwb says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Not sure whether I agree, but you said it much better and expressed it more coherently than Freddie did.

  187. 187
    NobodySpecial says:

    @different church-lady: It certainly was back then, now, wasn’t it?

  188. 188
    Scott P. says:

    I am saying a very basic fact: when one side pushes to the right, the other side pushes to the center, the country moves to the right. And then you all complain about that movement!

    And I’m getting tired of all this Overton window shit. If a Republican becomes more crazy, then yes, in some sense the geometric mean of all political orientations in this country shifts a tiny bit right. But that’s meaningless, and does not in any sense require somebody on the left to go equally crazy in the opposite direction to “balance it out”.

    As the right marches into crazy territory, they lose voters, and that opens up opportunities to gain more political power, just by staying where we are. Of course, picking up voters from the moderate wing of the Republican party does move the center of gravity of the Democratic party a bit right, and that’s what I think a lot of the kvetching is about. But it’s always been the case.

  189. 189

    @Phil Perspective: This is a joke, right? If MLK was a radical I’d be posting from the coloreds-only side of the Internet.

    Radicals RARELY get shit done because they can’t stop the petty minded ego-tripping exhibited at the top of this page. When they do force their way into power you get a repressive regime.

  190. 190
    different church-lady says:

    @NobodySpecial: No, it wasn’t. It was a perfectly sensible idea that a lot of people embraced, and had some very large very artificial obstacles placed in front of it.

  191. 191
    trollhattan says:

    What’s a liberal? Good question–think I once had a definition but today, not so much. On a somewhat related note, has anybody met a Republican in the last ten or even twenty years who can actually define “socia1ist”? When I quiz them they’re quite clueless.

  192. 192
    les says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    BJers need to make a decision: you need to either change what you’re doing or stop complaining about the way things are. Because you are losing. You are losing to the wignuts that you say you hate. You are losing the messaging battle. You are losing the electoral battle. You are losing the political battle. You are losing the policy battle. The question is, what is your priority? Do you hate Jane Hamsher so much that you care more about her losing than you do about you winning?

    I assume this means you think you and Jane are winning or winners? No wonder you couldn’t recognize Obama for what he is. Add deadly arrogance to the list of unattractive qualities.

  193. 193
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I told you how I think liberal politics can be restored. There have been liberal grassroots movements in this country before and there can be again. But it can never happen if the party leadership forever cuts liberals off at the knees.

    One minor detail, Freddie. Building a “liberal grassroots movement” TAKES A LONG FUCKING TIME. In the meantime, there are things to do. Squawking about how the movement is totally gonna fix everything, so you shouldn’t harm the movement… this has no bearing on what to do SOON or NOW. And IMHO putting all your faith in The Movement and refusing to acknowledge immediate small progress _as_ progress makes The Movement’s chances of actually arriving less likely. The Disaffected Left needs to find a balance between how to play a useful role in _the current moment_ and how to build towards the glorious future of its would-be visionaries.

  194. 194
    les says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Pretty true. Unfortunately, we’re not in Europe. If you think attacking the prez is the solution to that problem, well, don’t bogart that joint, bro.

  195. 195
    Cacti says:

    Who was Barack Obama’s key constituency

    So, states like North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Nevada flipped because of the white, wine-track, angry left?

    Maybe in their fevered dreams.

  196. 196
    cleek says:

    @SteveinSC:
    fucking set theory. how does it work?

  197. 197
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    This is a typical argument used to bash leftists: Leftists stayed home in 2010 and allowed the Tea Party to control the House thereby.

    I agree that it’s a false claim, but it was also a typical argument used _by_ many “leftists” to claim importance: “We weren’t satisfied, voted with our feet, and now you’re paying the price. Try making us happy next time.”

  198. 198
    Marc says:

    Freddie: do you actually want to understand what motivates folks like me? Or do you want to be like Yglesias, determined only to score points against people by mischaracterizing what they believe?

    You appear unable to understand the problem, despite it being repeatedly pointed out to you. But I’ll try again, probably in vain.

    I feel as if there are a lot of so-called progressives motivated primarily by active hatred of Obama. I object to attacks on him that are based on things that he hasn’t done; ones that attribute bad faith to him; ones where he is viewed as “worse than Bush”; and so on. I see a lot of criticism from the left as being based on magical thinking. I see a refusal to credit Obama with achieving anything positive and a refusal to assign blame to the Republicans for their actions.

    In terms of tone, people like me get targeted for a lot of abuse by so-called progressives…because I’m apparently so stupid that I defend Obama against what I view as unfair criticism. Look up and down this goddamn thread and put yourself in my shoes. Look at the Obama critics and the words that they’re using to describe supporters of the President.

    In short, we have a “prgressive” movement focused on continuous criticism of a Democratic president. It appears anxious to attack on frequently spurious grounds and is simultaneously hypersensitive to any response. These people are not my allies. They serve the interests of my real political enemies (the republicans) and they deserve to be treated as such. I’ve seen this movie before (Carter, LBJ) and I didn’t like the way it ended.

    Now if you want to deal with actual things that Obama has done wrong that’s a different matter – see, for example, executive power. If you want to elect liberals in primaries – great. There are a lot of things to do.

    But I think that a lot of the behavior of online “progressives” has been incredibly destructive, and a counterweight is badly needed. If BJ serves only that purpose it’s a valuable one. Thing of it as an internal Democratic way of drawing attention to the costs of divisive and factually wrong tactics on the part of some activists if you wish. But don’t pretend this is the same as “I love everything that is going on.”

  199. 199
    Quiddity says:

    @General Stuck: Insulting people is a great way to turn off liberals and get them to walk away in disgust. Keep up the good work.

  200. 200
    different church-lady says:

    @Marc: Game, set, thread.

  201. 201
    auntieeminaz says:

    trollhattan – August 8, 2011 | 12:51 pm · Link

    “What’s a liberal? Good question—think I once had a definition but today, not so much.”
    See Sly @171

    “On a somewhat related note, has anybody met a Republican in the last ten or even twenty years who can actually define “socia1ist”? When I quiz them they’re quite clueless.”
    They define it with the National Socia1ist Party of Hitler. Clueless indeed.

  202. 202
    Emma says:

    @Freddie deBoer: I have never read Jane, so I wouldn’t know. I have read you and I agree to the extent of saying that it would be better if we stopped sniping at each other and attacked the enemy instead.

    The problem is that we seem to disagree as to who the enemy is. To a great many posters here, the enemy is Obama. He has disappointed them politically, so it’s time to primary him, teach him a lesson, force him to the left, or whatever. Every accomplishment is received with “he could have done so much better if he had just yelled louder”. And if you try to find common ground, you get “not before you agree with me that he sucks.” Arrogance is not an useful tool in gaining allies.

    And the next cycle begins.

  203. 203
    Paul W. says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    That’s because 75% of your original post was about who you thought Obama was, who you thought voted for him, etc.

    So to say you had only one “simple” thing in the OP is just wrong.

  204. 204
    Scott P. says:

    So MLK and others of that era weren’t radicals?

    During the Civil Rights Era, the real radicals frequently denounced MLK as an appeasing moderate sellout.

  205. 205
    Stillwater says:

    @Marc: Exactly. That’s it.

  206. 206
    Cacti says:

    @Marc:

    I feel as if there are a lot of so-called progressives motivated primarily by active hatred of Obama

    I’ll take it one step further. I think there’s about a thimble’s worth of difference between the angry left and the Teabaggers.

    Their solution to every complaint is to primary Obama with some flavor of the month who always happens to be a white guy.

  207. 207
    OzoneR says:

    @Phil Perspective:

    What do you consider TGOS readers? Do you know what the results of their reader polls were?

    yeah Edwards for President folks

  208. 208
    Turgidson says:

    I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this: when you attack the left, you empower the right.

    I’m sure smarter commentators than me pointed this out already, but this works in the other direction too. Liberals attacking Obama (who in this country, regrettably I admit, is center-left no matter his centrist sellouts) also empowers the right.

    And I’ll say it again. Healthy criticism of Obama from the left is NOT what most “Obots” get upset about. It’s the take-my-ball-and-go-home pouting and toothless primary challenge bravado nonsense, and the wretched pile of “no different than Bush” bullshit that is substituted in place of such healthy criticism. And there’s a lot of that shit flying around, and the ones flinging it are the loudest of the bunch. There’s plenty about Obama to disappointed with, criticize, be angry about, etc. Just do it productively, is what I hope for. The GOP is still the biggest enemy of progress. We should spend at least as much time fighting them as bitching about how Obama sold us out.

  209. 209
    SteveinSC says:

    @cleek:

    fucking set theory. how does it work?

    Its too complicated to try to explain here, maybe you should try either a “HowTo on Fucking” or Schaum’s Outline.

  210. 210
    Strandedvandal says:

    @Quiddity: Really? The “real” base, whom according to them is the only way for Obama to be reelected, will walk away from the political process because someone mocked them?

  211. 211
  212. 212
    Sly says:

    @Phil Perspective:

    So MLK and others of that era weren’t radicals?

    No, they weren’t. The original aim of the Montgomery Bus Boycott was to keep segregated seating but prevent a white person from taking a black person’s seat if the white section was full. Did you know that? Did you know that King and the other leaders of the movement severely clamped down on anyone who would tarnish the movement in the eyes of the average (white) American, as they did with Bayard Rustin and a young John Lewis?

    Frederick Douglas and the abolitionists?

    Depends upon the abolitionist. There were lots of radicals in the abolitionist movement, like John Brown and the Secret Six, but most of the ones we learn about in school like Garrison and Douglass were less concerned with symbolic gestures and more concerned with actually ending slavery.

    Garrison, for instance, grew increasingly despondent over the radicalism that was occurring within the American Anti-Slavery Society that he formed, and left the group in 1865 with some degree of bitterness over the direction they were heading. Douglass, meanwhile, condemned Harper’s Ferry as a fool’s errand, and supported Lincoln and establishment Republicans despite the compromised nature of the end of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

  213. 213
    different church-lady says:

    @Cacti:

    I think there’s about a thimble’s worth of difference between the angry left and the Teabaggers.

    Mirror images are like that.

  214. 214
    Quiddity says:

    @Freddie deBoer: You write:

    If you disagree with my political arguments, say so. If I make policy arguments and you disagree, say so.

    You will never get that from General Stuck. Never. He’s an insult machine that can’t be turned off.

  215. 215
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: That’s an interesting viewpoint. His vision was definitely radical, though he most definitely wasn’t the first. His execution of that vision, though, was definitely measured. He didn’t expect it to happen overnight, especially since there was nearly 100 years of no change before him.

  216. 216
    Sly says:

    @Phil Perspective:
    Also…

    As you know, if you know anything about history, radicals are often right.

    So what? Right does not make might, despite what a famous liberal sell-out once said.

    It’s not about being right. Its about convincing others to support you. And if you know anything about history, you often don’t even need to be right to accomplish that.

  217. 217
    Paul W. says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Once again, you seem to be talking right past everyone else. I’ve seen numerous political and reality based arguments against you and the OP. I also don’t agree with your premise that supporting the President brought us to the current political fiasco. I’m pretty sure now you are no longer even reading well, so I’m going to stop responding to your directionless screeds.

  218. 218

    @Scott P.: Also, too.

    This takes us into Tinfoilhat Land but I grew up among people who were convinced Malcom X was taken out by supposed supporters because he was becoming less radical (which, they saw as a good thing).

    Although this may have been an attempt to articulate the reason they loath Louis Farrakhan.

    Insulting people is a great way to turn off liberals and get them to walk away in disgust. Keep up the good work.

    Walk away from what, exactly?

  219. 219
    dollared says:

    @walt: This.

  220. 220
  221. 221
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different church-lady:

    Now if only people could accept this we could start to have a rational conversation

    American politics just doesn’t do rational anymore. I give you Eric Cantor as the prime example of this.

  222. 222
    NMP says:

    Is there anything that liberals, progressives or WTF ever will not try to co-opt?! It was people like me (a Black woman with progressive values with no delusions about the plantation politics of the Democratic Party and no tolerance for the whining and detachment from reality of what passes for progressive today) and apolitical friends and family who were captured by his 2004 convention speech who laid the ground work for Obama 2008. When you were still pushing the losing candidacy of that fraud Edwards who morphed from the poster child of the DLC to RFK in one election cycle, people like me had actually read Obama’s books and fully understood he was a pragmatist above all. People like me who actually listened to what he was saying from day one and not what we wanted to hear laid the groundwork. Y’all just got on the bandwagon late in the game when you had no other options. Get wits!

  223. 223
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @signifyingmnky:

    Thank you.

  224. 224
    gwangung says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    That’s an interesting viewpoint. His vision was definitely radical, though he most definitely wasn’t the first. His execution of that vision, though, was definitely measured. He didn’t expect it to happen overnight, especially since there was nearly 100 years of no change before him.

    An incrementalist?

    (And, yes, he was seen as a moderate. I don’t have a problem with people pushing for more radical and progressive agendas; I have more of a problem with purity purges refusal to engage).

  225. 225
    dollared says:

    @les: OK, then point out where I’m wrong. One fact, one example. I guess you’re really happy with the state of our society.

    And yes, you are a fucking dipshit for throwing insults around without articulating an argument in disagreement. And when you make the arguments, whether or not I agree, I will withdraw the insult.

  226. 226

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): All men are created equal (with no exceptions) is a radical concept? I suppose you could argue that.

    However, we can agree that his approach proves he wasn’t a radical. Or put it another way, try to imagine Jane Hamsher or FdB sitting at a lunch counter while people spat on them and called them names in the HOPE this would ultimately result in the end to segregation.

    Yeah. Makes your head hurt, don’t it?

  227. 227
    gwangung says:

    @NMP:

    Is there anything that liberals, progressives or WTF ever will not try to co-opt?!

    Nope.

    As an aside, there was a big streak of white paternalism in radical politics back in the day. However, some of the more self-aware did some self examination and modified their stance. I would think that’d be useful to do that and really think about the actuality of civil rights and not the mythology.

  228. 228
    different church-lady says:

    @dollared:

    I guess you’re really happy with the state of our society.

    We already covered this.

  229. 229
    Cacti says:

    @NMP:

    Is there anything that liberals, progressives or WTF ever will not try to co-opt?! It was people like me

    The premise that the hippies were the reason Obama carried states like NC, VA, and IN is so palpably ridiculous, it’s amazing that anyone can argue it with a straight face.

  230. 230
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:
  231. 231
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: To me today, no, I would not consider that radical, and I would hope that I wouldn’t have back then. But trying to ultimately change the status quo could be considered radical. There are definitely lots of people who think that going from now to what should be considered a right is radical. See voting, for instance.

  232. 232
    BrianM says:

    As someone who shares a lot of Obama’s virtues *and* faults, I am genuinely conflicted. I resonate with his style, his plugging away for concrete accomplishments, his willingness to engage. But I also catch myself saying, “No, no, no! That’s what *I’d* do! You’re smarter than me! Find a better way!”

    Nevertheless, I think Freddie’s right. We have *got* to stop focusing on the perfidy of the firebaggers or of the obots and start focusing on the Republicans.

    I will say the no-holds-barred, attack-my-President-and-I-will-make-your-blog-life-hell side bothers me more (because I expected more of them). Many people *are* to the left of Obama. Many of them have become actually – not just for pretends – disillusioned. Calling them stupid, lumping them in with racists, is not the way to woo them back.

    Don’t be self-indulgent. If you support Obama, you probably appreciate how hard it must be to sit down civilly with the reptiles he has to deal with, to keep coming back, to keep trying, to keep talking, to squeeze out the least-bad solution when no good one is possible. You’d honor him more by trying to emulate him than by flaming away.

  233. 233
    dollared says:

    @Mike Goetz: Actually, no, I’m not yelling and screaming. I’m advocating that the Democrats, and the Democratic president, have a plan and have a set of principles that promises to change those things.

    The plan does not exist and the principles have not been either adopted or articulated. Instead, Obama publicly advocates a slow, well managed march to parity with China on free market principles.

  234. 234
    gwangung says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I’m suggesting that many people are relying on the mythology of the civil rights movement, and not the history. To my mind, the current tendency is to treat the movement as a Great Victory with rights granted, instead of an ongoing process with fitful stops and starts, incremental gains here and there with substantial backsliding. Not unlike what we’re seeing since 2008.

    To me, it is not useful to throw up our hands and give up. It is not useful to be disillusioned by the small change we’ve seen. Civil rights veterans have already seen that AND ARE STILL PRESSING FORWARD TO COMPLETE THE DREAM. That kind of perseverance IS useful to consider.

  235. 235
    Turgidson says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Firebaggers need to make a decision: you need to either change what you’re doing or stop complaining about the way things are. Because you are losing. You are losing to the wignuts that you say you hate. You are losing the messaging battle. You are losing the electoral battle. You are losing the political battle. You are losing the policy battle. The question is, what is your priority? Do you hate Barack Obama so much that you care more about him losing than you do about you winning?

    Fixed for you.

  236. 236
    dollared says:

    @different church-lady:

    I feel as if there are a lot of so-called progressives motivated primarily by active hatred of Obama. I object to attacks on him that are based on things that he hasn’t done; ones that attribute bad faith to him; ones where he is viewed as “worse than Bush”; and so on. I see a lot of criticism from the left as being based on magical thinking. I see a refusal to credit Obama with achieving anything positive and a refusal to assign blame to the Republicans for their actions.

    Is that it? That liberals/progressives hate Obama and don’t adequately criticize Republicans?

    You think the the entire subject of how our President should consider changing his tactics and goals is covered by an unsubstantiated (“I feel”), totally overgeneralizeed, blanket attack on the sincerity and good will of all of the President’s critics on the left?

    You really know how to have a constructive argument and build alliances with your fellow anti-Republicans.

    And I sure don’t know how to get the blockquotes to behave.

  237. 237
    The Tragically Flip says:

    Freddie has written a thoughful and polite post, and it’s frankly difficult to read the replies for all the e-spittle about “firebaggers” and “whiny ass titty babies” pointless e-rage.

    Yes, I get that there are some real points in the replies, but fuck it’s hard to care enough to find them.

    Calm the fuck down please.

  238. 238
    Heliopause says:

    Freddie, I think everything you say here is pretty much correct, though I’m not sure it’s doing any good. Nevertheless keep it up, and kudos to John for letting you take a crack at it.

  239. 239
    Emma says:

    @BrianM: Preaching to the converted. People in this blog have individually and as a group acted. Fundraisers for democratic, liberal candidates are common. Many people are involved at the grass-roots level. And as far as I am concerned, with Freddie came here and said “I’ve decided to establish a PAC to get progressives elected to Congress,” I’d scrape the bottom of the piggy bank and pull out the last few cents left.

    But I haven’t heard any useful proposals. From any of the so-called progressives that haunt these comment threads. If your proposals are limited to “let’s primary Obama,” or “he’s hateful and I’m going to vote for the Green party,” I turn off the hearing aid.

  240. 240
    Marc says:

    @232: I can see that – but it cuts both ways. If someone comes here with an Obama=Bush message, for instance, what do I do? Can I tell them that I disagree, strongly? Do I say nothing on the “no enemy on the left theory”? Ignore it?

    I’d rather focus my efforts against the right-wing. But the current state of left-leaning online discussion makes that actively difficult – because a substantial majority of the conversation treats Obama as the biggest problem and culprit.

    What to do then?

  241. 241
    Paul in KY says:

    @Cacti: Russ Feingold is rested & ready to go!

  242. 242
    stormhit says:

    @BrianM:

    Rational people aren’t holding down the fucking firebaggers and angry left. They’re going to do what they always do and tear down their own side regardless of what anyone else says or does. It’s all they’re good at. The persecution complex presented in this post is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on this blog.

  243. 243
    Marc says:

    @236: that would be me, kemosabe. I was describing how I feel on the subject and why I have such a negative reaction to much (not all) left criticism of Obama. I’m sure that you’d see things differently – so describe that to me. Maybe we can get somewhere.

  244. 244
    bob h says:

    There is only one way out of the fix we are in: the 30 million who showed up in 2008 but not in 2010 have to show up again. The only way I see to motivate them is to make a change on the ticket: put Hillary Clinton on it. She’ll lay some heavy shit on the Republicans.

  245. 245
    Turgidson says:

    @BrianM:

    This. I’m more Obot than firebagger, as my last two posts will more than demonstrate, but everyone forming up the circular firing squad should focus on the real enemy. It’s not Obama or Jane Hamsher of the left, as infuriating as each can be in their own special ways.

    Group hug on 3!…..no? well, ok.

  246. 246
    cleek says:

    @Turgidson:
    give this man a cigar

  247. 247
    dollared says:

    @Emma: Maybe if you stopped labelling all critics on the left as Janebots or Firebaggers, and only acted badly to the ones that actually advocate counterproductive behavior, you would spend less time in conflict with your allies.

  248. 248
    pbriggsiam says:

    Freddie,

    What you had to say needs to be heard. I just read this post on the blog Down With Tyranny.

    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.

    So in addition to ending the hippy bashing by this administration, Obama needs to change the damn narrative. I said as much to an OFA caller yesterday afternoon.

    Too many “realists” here think that politics is ONLY a straight-up numbers game of the possible. They discount the power of the intangibles associated with big ideas backed by something more than a speech.

  249. 249
    Paul in KY says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: My take on Malcolm’s assasination was that he was killed for his criticisms of Elijah Muhammed (particularily the sex scandal). Malcolm’s embrace of Sunni-style Islam over Nation of Islam was probably also a factor.

    Your thoughts?

  250. 250
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @bob h: Actually, the best way to fix that would either be to not hold elections in off Presidential years, or, even worse, make the Presidential election every two years. Go look at the polls, the people who didn’t show up in 2010 are the people who generally don’t show up in midterms.

  251. 251
    Heliopause says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    All this is true, too. There is a core group here at BJ that Greenwald accurately described as completely lacking self-awareness. Not sure how to get them past that, but I encourage you to keep making well thought out posts devoid of strawman argumentation, adolescent cliquishness, or exhortations of “fuck you in the face” and maybe it will slowly sink in.

  252. 252
    The Tragically Flip says:

    As for Edwards v Obama – Edward did lead all the 2007 Kos straw polls, but Obama was always second.

    By early January, Obama had overtaken Edwards (and was crushing Hillary).

    So it is true that the activist online left was among Obama’s biggest supporters right from the start, and if you want to ask why he was taken seriously, having a significant constituency in his camp has to be a part of that. Everyone else had trouble getting out of the single digits among the netroots.

    Obama gained a lot of fans online that night in 2004 at the DNC so I don’t see any real way to seperate his rise from the contributions and support of the online liberaliti.

  253. 253
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @pbriggsiam: You mean like the ACA, which was the first time a President got a health care law through that actually affected all Americans?

  254. 254
    Emma says:

    @dollared: I only use “firebaggers” when I am fed up with the carousel effect — and at that very lightly. It’s an unsatifying insult.

    But you have proved my point, haven’t you? Instead of saying anything constructive, you attacked. Way to go, progressive.

  255. 255
    cleek says:

    @bob h:

    The only way I see to motivate them is to make a change on the ticket: put Hillary Clinton on it.

    if this is serious, it seems to be assuming that:
    a) what people want is more partisan warfare
    b) that Clinton will give it
    c) that people would want Hillary Clinton to do that

    i think those are all incorrect.

  256. 256
    Samara Morgan says:

    @jwb: me voici!

    how horrid liberals are to criticize Obama, and I want to laugh.

    but de Bore…..YOU criticize Obama.

    I am asking sincerely and openly: given that I have the commitments I’ve laid out above, how can I possibly support Barack Obama? He bragged– bragged– yesterday that this deal would be lowering non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest levels since the Eisenhower administration. That is, he bragged about his role in ending essential government programs that defend our environment, educate our children, provide crucial scientific and medical research, and in a myriad of ways contribute to the flourishing of our country and our people. At some point, the charade can’t continue. This is not merely a person who doesn’t deserve my support. This is a person who is unequivocally and demonstrably not an American liberal, and someone who has no interest in defending the historical constituencies or commitments of the Democratic party.

    you just do it on your own blog, away from your latestest reacharound and your credulous audience of balloon juicemarks.

    im not reading the whole thread but i see your technique is wearing thin.
    you need a warrior soul to firebag here dude.

  257. 257
    Emma says:

    @Heliopause: And another one. Boy, I should have hung out a psychic sign. I’d be rich.

  258. 258
    OzoneR says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    By early January, Obama had overtaken Edwards (and was crushing Hillary).

    where’s the date of this poll?

    Still, you’re telling me Obama only narrowly passed Edwards after Obama won the Iowa caucus?

  259. 259
    gwangung says:

    Hm. I thought this was useful: “No permanent enemies, no permanent allies…just permanent interests.” That puts the focus on policy, not people.

  260. 260
    Corner Stone says:

    @Heliopause:

    or exhortations of “fuck you in the face” and maybe it will slowly sink in.

    Hmmm…this…this sounds familiar somehow.

  261. 261
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Heliopause: look, this a another pile of steaming high verbal glibertarian crapology.
    why do you guys continue to fall for this?

  262. 262
    Paul in KY says:

    @pbriggsiam: I think Mr. Westen has some good points. Pres. Obama has not (IMO) managed the optics well. Sort of the opposite of GWB. There, you had great optics & everything else was shit.

    Here, there have been some concrete wins, some excellent work stopping the Rethugs from wrecking the country, but no optics.

  263. 263
    TooManyJens says:

    John Boehner—who you say you hate, who you say is ruining the country, who you think has to be stopped—he has just gotten, by his own estimation, 98% of what he wanted. 98% of the policy that you say is ruining the country.

    Wait. We’re taking John Boehner’s attempt to spin the deal for his caucus and keep his Speakership as fact now? WTFever.

  264. 264
    NR says:

    The real reason that Obama supporters are getting so unhinged these days is that it’s finally starting to sink in that Obama is going to lose next year, and they’re desperate to find a scapegoat for that. Rather than blame the feckless leadership of this administration that has led to the high unemployment and shitty economy that will be Obama’s undoing, they prefer to blame the left for not clapping loudly enough. It has nothing whatsoever to do with reality, of course, but they don’t care about that.

  265. 265
    Mr Furious says:

    @aimai: Nicely put, aimai. I’m with you. Everyone correctly bemoans Congressional Dems hanging Obama out to dry, but neglects to realize that Obama’s strategy does every bit as much to further the “both sides do it” bullshit as the media.

    He needs to name fucking names, not bemoan “Washington partisanship.”

  266. 266
    OzoneR says:

    The real reason that Obama supporters are getting so unhinged these days is that it’s finally starting to sink in that Obama is going to lose next year, and they’re desperate to find a scapegoat for that.

    Obama’s going to win next year, and he’ll do it without you.

    Rather than blame the feckless leadership of this administration that has led to the high unemployment and shitty economy that will be Obama’s undoing, they prefer to blame the left for not clapping loudly enough.

    Wow, you’ve gotten so unhinged, you’re actually blaming him for Bush’s economy. Stick to the firebagger remarks of “He’s not doing enough to clean up Bush’s mess”

    you’re not doing a good trolling job anymore.

  267. 267
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma: why do they keep falling for the EDK/Isquith/be Bore/Sully reacharound?

    these assclowns all crit their fellow travelers just to make a stalking horse for their audience pageclicks and then say what they really feel on their own blogs.

  268. 268
    Samara Morgan says:

    Cole should be ashamed.

  269. 269

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): OK, you’re talking about concepts and ideals. I’m talking about people. The former can sometimes be useful. The latter, ain’t.

  270. 270
    ShadeTail says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Freddie has written a thoughful and polite post, and it’s frankly difficult to read the replies for all the e-spittle about “firebaggers” and “whiny ass titty babies” pointless e-rage.
    __
    Yes, I get that there are some real points in the replies, but fuck it’s hard to care enough to find them.
    __
    Calm the fuck down please.

    Translation: I’ve read a post that confirms what I already believe, and I’m not willing to read and reply to comments that challenge it. Instead, I’ll dismiss them all as irrational rage.

  271. 271
    Samara Morgan says:

    @OzoneR: lol i thought you were quoting de Bore.

    c’mon juicers.
    get a clue.

  272. 272
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @OzoneR:

    where’s the date of this poll?

    Still, you’re telling me Obama only narrowly passed Edwards after Obama won the Iowa caucus?

    Hmm, it seems to have dropped that info when I clicked through to get the results. I didn’t keep the original URL, but it was after Iowa yes.

    The point was Obama had real support among liberals and I well remember that most Edwards supporters were not opposed to Obama the way they might have been to Hillary. The fact that once Edwards was out of contention they went firmly for Obama shows this.

    Freddie’s basic point is that liberals made Obama a national star capable of runnning for President. I think this thesis is debatable, but liberals clearly had something to do with it. Could Obama have succeeded without any online support? Who knows? But he had it, and it clearly mattered right from the moment in 2004 he hit the national stage. There was a reason those two diaries he posted at Daily Kos in 2005 drew so much notice, he was already someone people were watching with enthusiasm.

    (Which reminds me, Kerry doesn’t get enough credit for putting Obama in the keynote slot. That was a good play, building for the future even as he campaigned in the present. Obama wasn’t even a Senator at that point.)

  273. 273
    The Tragically Flip says:

    ShadeTail:

    Translation: I’ve read a post that confirms what I already believe and I’m not willing to read and reply to comments that challenge it. Instead, I’ll dismiss them all as irrational rage.

    Oh really? Here’s the first couple replies:

    More than a little projection in there Freddie, but good try.

    FDL called, they want their meme back. When Firebaggers start being part of the solution instead of part of the problem, get back to us. Your absolute inability to give this Administration any credit at all, for any of the many things accomplished, should be a trigger for self reflection into what it is you really want, or really hate. Instead, you lash out, flinging poo against those who would work with you.

    Also, too, Grover F*cking Norquist.

    How about if the progressive left stops acting like a bunch of whiny assed titty babies like they’ve done since 1968?

    Yes, such eloquent and thorough rebuttals, I am ashamed at my inability to accept the many dazzling points raised so calmly and persuasively here.

  274. 274
    Scott P. says:

    Sort of the opposite of GWB. There, you had great optics & everything else was shit.

    I’m not sure this is evidence of great optics.

  275. 275
    JC says:

    You know, when the actual debt battle was going on, I was engaged in this “Is Obama a chess master, powerless, a dope (middleman), or a sellout?”, because it was HAPPENING.

    But there is nothing useful about the last week, except as blowing off steam.

    But it’s all very weak.

    Obama is the president we have, and he has done very well in a lot of regards.

    It’s always going to be an open question whether he serves the liberal 1% rich, rather than ‘is he progressive enough’.

    But practically, that is the best we can get, and will be, until 2016.

    Take over democratic committees in every precinct now. Show up and only vote for those who take a strong position to have federally financed elections. (the only way to actually get the money from not calling the shots, is to get money OUT OF THE GAME.)

    But beating up Obama, or beating up the people who beat up Obama, is not going to be of any help.

  276. 276
    Samara Morgan says:

    @The Tragically Flip: that is not de Bore’s basic point.

    this is de Bore’s basic point.

    I don’t want flowery speeches. I don’t pretend that better speeches from Obama would fix things. But mistermix—those “messy compromises” that you associate with virtue is why our country is the way it is.

    he wants to concerntroll Obama and firebag.
    like he said on his blog which you guys dont read.
    This is not merely a person who doesn’t deserve my support. This is a person who is unequivocally and demonstrably not an American liberal, and someone who has no interest in defending the historical constituencies or commitments of the Democratic party.

  277. 277
    NR says:

    @OzoneR:

    Wow, you’ve gotten so unhinged, you’re actually blaming him for Bush’s economy.

    Like it or not, it’s Obama’s economy now. Granted it was shitty when he came in, but it’s stayed shitty on his watch, and he hasn’t pushed for policies to fix it. The liberals that you like to whine and cry about tried to get him to do so, but Obama ignored us. And now he’s going to pay the price for that.

  278. 278
    Marc says:

    Obama still has real support among liberals – a large majority of them, in fact. There is also a minority disaffected faction of mostly white liberals. So this isn’t about liberals vs. non-liberals; it is about an internal dispute between liberals. And people like NR (in the post above mine) absolutely do not speak for me.

  279. 279
    JC says:

    Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, since in the last two years there isn’t any legislation to deny it, Obama will not challenge the liberal rich agenda.

    Does that mean you would primary Obama?

    In what universe would that work? Because it is not in this one.

  280. 280
    Samara Morgan says:

    /draws blood pentagram on screen

    ABL! ABL!
    send this firebagger straight to hell.

  281. 281
    Corner Stone says:

    @JC:

    since in the last two years there isn’t any legislation to deny it, Obama will not challenge the liberal rich agenda.

    “liberal rich agenda” ?
    More info please.

  282. 282
    Marc says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    There have been substantive replies too. Care to respond to any of them?

  283. 283
    Corner Stone says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    ABL! ABL!
    send this firebagger straight to hell.

    Are you looking for someone to close comments on this thread?

  284. 284

    @Paul in KY: Interesting. Like I said, this was grown up talk I overheard as a kid.

  285. 285
    Paul in KY says:

    @Scott P.: I think the ‘everything else was shit’ sorta overwhelmed the optics in Shrub’s case.

  286. 286
    LTMidnight says:

    @NR:

    The real reason that Obama supporters are getting so unhinged these days is that it’s finally starting to sink in that Obama is going to lose next year, and they’re desperate to find a scapegoat for that.

    If you’re that fucking sure, then who exactly is going to beat him?

  287. 287
    lol says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    When discussing Netroots support of Obama, you really have to distinguish between *readers*, who favored Edwards but liked Obama, and *writers*, who were completely in the tank for Edwards and absolutely hated Obama.

    Obama’s biggest sin is that he became President without the permission of the Professional Left. The Obama campaign built the infrastructure for online activism that Markos always talked about doing but never did. He’s never forgiven Obama for going around him.

    Oh, and what history of the Netroots in the primary is complete without the big push for Chris Dodd, “the go to guy” for the Netroots?

  288. 288
    Paul in KY says:

    @Samara Morgan: I think it’s 3 times to summon her ;-)

  289. 289
    Elie says:

    @signifyingmnky:

    Here Here!!!

  290. 290
  291. 291
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    Granted it was shitty when he came in, but it’s stayed shitty on his watch, and he hasn’t pushed for policies to fix it.

    No, absolutely didn’t get the biggest domestic spending package in history passed a few months after taxpayers had to swallow a bank bailout. He absolutely didn’t bailout the auto industry and save millions of jobs, while taking flack from even you guys for it. He absolutely didn’t announce billions in investments in a high speed rail system only to have the public elect governors who rejected the money. He absolutely didn’t get unemployment benefits extended over a year longer than they could have been.

    The liberals that you like to whine and cry about tried to get him to do so, but Obama ignored us. And now he’s going to pay the price for that.

    We all know this is all about you. When he WAS listening to you, you were too busy have conniptions over Bradley Manning and the public option to even pay attention.

  292. 292
    jwb says:

    @Heliopause, @The Tragically Flip:Someone discovered sockpuppets.

  293. 293
  294. 294
    Corner Stone says:

    @jwb: Careful now, you’re flailing.

  295. 295
    OzoneR says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Freddie’s basic point is that liberals made Obama a national star capable of runnning for President. I think this thesis is debatable, but liberals clearly had something to do with it.

    No, they didn’t, they were still trying to get Howard Dean or Al Gore into the race in 2006 and 2007. Obama made himself a national star capable of running for President. He won the Iowa caucus on his own, then liberals hopped on board the bandwagon.

    They had nothing to do with it.

  296. 296
    boss bitch says:

    The real reason that Obama supporters are getting so unhinged these days is that it’s finally starting to sink in that Obama is going to lose next year, and they’re desperate to find a scapegoat for that.

    No. what’s going on is that Obama critics smell blood in the water – AGAIN and are having their feelings validated by prominent liberal critics of Obama. We’ve seen this before. What’s different is that Obama’s supporters are getting more vocal and pushing back harder because WE are tired of being drowned out. WE are tired of people like GG, Hamsher, Cornel, Joan Walsh, Krugman going on TV and telling people that they represent US. They do not. Apparently Obama’s critics don’t like the push back so they write posts like this.

  297. 297
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Marc: I describe it as a fight between liberals who want large changes all at once and those who want lots of little changes; I am in the latter group. The thing that annoys me is that we’re both aiming for the same goal. If, somehow, we were to get everything tomorrow, I would be happy along with those who wanted it all now. I just don’t see it happening, so I am content with small changes.

    I just wish we would get over fighting with each other, and fight the Republicans, which is why I find this post, and posts based on the word Firebagger, to be annoying. Jane, on the other hand, deserves to be clubbed for doing anything with Grover.

  298. 298
    Paul in KY says:

    @Corner Stone: Good one!

  299. 299
    LTMidnight says:

    @OzoneR:

    Obama made himself a national star capable of running for President. He won the Iowa caucus on his own, then liberals hopped on board the bandwagon.

    Exactly.

  300. 300
    Heliopause says:

    @jwb:

    This is a quite a penetrating observation for a blog that consists almost entirely of silly pseudonyms from anonymous posters and even some FPers shift identities every week or so.

  301. 301
    TooManyJens says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I describe it as a fight between liberals who want large changes all at once and those who want lots of little changes; I am in the latter group.

    Same here. I call myself an evolutionary, not a revolutionary. I’ve seen significant evolution under Obama; probably more than could be expected given the ferocity of his dead-ender opposition. I neither expect revolution, nor think it’s necessarily a good idea to get everything at once (society is MUCH too complicated to make huge jumps at once without unforseeable consequences). So while I’m pissed about some of the things he’s done with regard to civil liberties, state secrets, etc., I’m mostly happy with Obama.

    This is why I have no patience with people whose response to, say, the ACA wasn’t “good start; now let’s build on that to get something even better,” but “there’s no public option; burn it down!”

  302. 302
    jwb says:

    @Corner Stone: Wrong time, wrong place. You’ll learn.

  303. 303
    jwb says:

    @Heliopause: And yet your responded. Hopeless.

  304. 304
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I describe it as a fight between liberals who want large changes all at once and those who want lots of little changes; I am in the latter group. The thing that annoys me is that we’re both aiming for the same goal. If, somehow, we were to get everything tomorrow, I would be happy along with those who wanted it all now. I just don’t see it happening, so I am content with small changes.

    +1. And I think Freddie’s political approach is rather like being so committed to solar power as to treat hard-won steps to increase the fuel efficiency of gasoline-powered engines as not only Part Of The Problem but The Biggest Problem There Is. While we’re working towards bigger better leftier solutions, how’s about we _also_ stand up for less ambitious, less dramatic, achievable solutions in the meantime… rather than being all pissy about how those efforts just aren’t enough, and then on top of that _extra_ pissy about being accurately called impractical and, well, pissy.

  305. 305
    LTMidnight says:

    @NR: BTW, did I mention more people still blame Bush for the economy?

    http://politicalwire.com/archi.....al+Wire%29

  306. 306
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TooManyJens:

    This is why I have no patience with people whose response to, say, the ACA wasn’t “good start; now let’s build on that to get something even better,” but “there’s no public option; burn it down!”

    Or, re: the stimulus, instead of saying, “The stimulus worked, but we need more stimulus so that it can work better,” saying, “The stimulus was too small, toldja so, betcha feel stupid now.”

  307. 307
    Heliopause says:

    @jwb:

    And yet your responded. Hopeless.

    And yet my responded what?

  308. 308
    Corner Stone says:

    @jwb: Learn to quip meaningless bullshit about other posters? Nah, I got that down already.
    Your insight on the other hand…still needs work.

  309. 309
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Corner Stone: it would be moar bettah than than this longwinded high verbal dishonest fucker shitting all over the front page.
    jeeezus, wanna know what de Bore thinks about Obama?
    read his fucking emocutting pissy poutrage blog.

    I am asking sincerely and openly: given that I have the commitments I’ve laid out above, how can I possibly support Barack Obama? He bragged—bragged—yesterday that this deal would be lowering non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest levels since the Eisenhower administration. That is, he bragged about his role in ending essential government programs that defend our environment, educate our children, provide crucial scientific and medical research, and in a myriad of ways contribute to the flourishing of our country and our people. At some point, the charade can’t continue. This is not merely a person who doesn’t deserve my support. This is a person who is unequivocally and demonstrably not an American liberal, and someone who has no interest in defending the historical constituencies or commitments of the Democratic party.

  310. 310
    LTMidnight says:

    @boss bitch:

    What’s different is that Obama’s supporters are getting more vocal and pushing back harder because WE are tired of being drowned out. WE are tired of people like GG, Hamsher, Cornel, Joan Walsh, Krugman going on TV and telling people that they represent US. They do not. Apparently Obama’s critics don’t like the push back so they write posts like this.

    Exactly. It takes away their delusion that they are the majority. Nothing pisses off people like NR more than to be reminded they are a very small minority of the left. They are merely the loud 20%-ers.

  311. 311
    dollared says:

    @TooManyJens: I agree with what you see. However, two things make me less happy with Obama (although he has done many good things): first, I think he is blowing a chance to delegitimate the Republicans, who I regard as evil, powerful parasites who must be delegitimated and beaten, because with their unlimited financial backing and complete lack of morals, they can and will destroy this country unless they are beaten; and second, the condition of this country is far more dire than you realize. We are passing the point where our way of life can be saved – massive overspending on privatize health care, military overspending, erosion of the welfare state, growing state powers and massive unemployment are all secular trends that are accelerating, not slowing, under Obama.

    Maybe 20 years of sustained, evolutionary change will save us. But if you don’t understand how opportunity for our young people and security for our middle aged folks is simply disappearing, you are too comfortable.

    And of course, Obama is not supporting 20 years of sustained, evolutionary change, because he still articulates that Reagan was right.

    So yes, I support him. But he needs to articulate a different future. And “green jobs” ain’t it.

  312. 312
    Donut says:

    Bill Maher gets it. He understands that our politics are distorted by one side that allows an extreme and one that doesn’t. This is not calculus. If you don’t care for my deductive explanation, just look around you. John Boehner—who you say you hate, who you say is ruining the country, who you think has to be stopped—he has just gotten, by his own estimation, 98% of what he wanted. 98% of the policy that you say is ruining the country. What is the value of being the responsible party if in doing so you are empowering the irresponsible party and hurting the country? Every time you attack liberal critics of the president, you strengthen John Boehner. But, hey, at least you aren’t shrill!

    I cast a vote for Barack Obama long before alot of you assholes knew who the fuck he was, and I’m 100% supportive of his reelection.

    That out of the way, please keep reading the quoted paragraph in this post over and over, until it sinks in. Freddie is dead dead dead right on the point. If you can’t see it, I don’t know what else to say.

    Nope, to some of you, when Boner gets 98% and those of us who want better outcomes from Obama are just shrill Firebaggers.

    Once you assholes finally realize that most elections are largely won on emotions and nothing else, and we start describing a liberal agenda in a way that hits people in the gut and the brain, we may finally get somewhere. Fuck it.

  313. 313
    Corner Stone says:

    @Samara Morgan: yes, I’ve seen this exact same C&P from you about eleventy times now.
    I guess it’s supposed to tell me something instructive about Freddie, which I couldn’t care less about.

  314. 314
    jwb says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Krugman did have a point that by selling the stimulus as just right rather than as good as we can get that the Administration would own its failure. His tut-tutting can get irritating at times, and I don’t think his political instincts are always on mark, but on the politics of the stimulus as well as with respect to his mocking “the economy is doing great” happy talk that the White House often presents, his views seem sound.

    Krugman has all the talent to be a great, great leftwing pundit, but so far he hasn’t shown the discipline of remembering that he always needs to keep his sight trained on conservatives.

  315. 315
    cleek says:

    @Donut:

    when Boner gets 98%

    except, he didn’t get 98%.

  316. 316
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Donut: oh FUCK OFF.
    freddie is a just another libertarian mutation, here to scold liberals and concerntroll our President.

    The system is WAI. There is no IQ criteria for voting for the Murrican electorate. Stupid people vote for dishonest demogogues.
    and yes, you and freddie are firebaggers.

    you both hate Obama, but freddie cant say that here, because his audience would shred him. I have to wunner if its psycho-sexual jealously on your and freddies parts? Fear of the Black Man?

  317. 317

    @Quiddity:

    You will never get that from General Stuck. Never. He’s an insult machine that can’t be turned off.

    It’s been a few weeks, Quiddity, since you penned a poem about yours truly. I am feeling a bit neglected here.

    And if you have run out of poem, please consider writing a camp fire song about moi, cuz I always wanted to be immortalized in a camp fire song on a blog. Please consider.

  318. 318
    ciaran says:

    word.

  319. 319
    jwb says:

    @Corner Stone: You need to learn when a remark will cut. On the other hand, if you had that down, you’d be scary rather than amusing, so it’s probably for the best.

  320. 320

    This is why I have no patience with people whose response to, say, the ACA wasn’t “good start; now let’s build on that to get something even better,” but “there’s no public option; burn it down!”

    Oh, you mean the people who are experts on government run health care systems and yet have no clue about the history of Medicare (the original soshulust health program)?

  321. 321
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Donut: like i said the system is WAI.
    it self corrects, just slowly.

  322. 322
    The Tragically Flip says:

    OzoneR:

    No, they didn’t, they were still trying to get Howard Dean or Al Gore into the race in 2006 and 2007. Obama made himself a national star capable of running for President. He won the Iowa caucus on his own, then liberals hopped on board the bandwagon.

    Your opinion clearly trumps the empirical data I provided. Liberals already fucking supported Obama in substantial numbers, and he was almost every Edwards supporter’s second choice the whole time, proven by their en masse move to Obama after Iowa.

    Did you forget Hillary won the NH primary? It would have been just as easy to jump on that bandwagon if one was inclined, it was still a very open race to the nomination from that point.

    BTW, that you mention 2006 is really odd. Obama hadn’t announced yet, and really who was expecting him to run for President with less than 2 years as a Senator? Of course they were trying to recruit Dean and Gore. What else should they have been doing?

  323. 323
    AlphaLiberal says:

    It takes a special kind of ingratitude to blame people for criticizing your hero while ignoring the fact that they did such a huge amount of work to put him in office in the first place.

    Agreed. Obama is practicing the failed “bash the base” play that has been popular among the wealthy Democratic elite since Reagan’s first term. It’s dumb politics, alright, and we sure don’t see the right wing doing it.

    And, no, it’s not about “feelings.” It’s about politics. It’s about being a fucking liar to people when you run for office about CHANGE! and standing up to powerful interests and then putting those interests in charge.

    Dear Mr. President:

    Please don’t piss my leg and then tell me it’s lying.

    -Alpha Liberal

  324. 324
    Corner Stone says:

    @jwb: You think your pipping has some weight? Too funny.
    It’s why I’m humorously teasing you now. You think you’ve got something to add.

  325. 325
    Samara Morgan says:

    @CS

    my new hypothesis is that the XY firebaggers and Obama concern trolls are actually subliminating psycho-sexual jealously of black male sexual prowess.

    Have you seen a pic of freddie? i think that is why hes so bitter about Obama on his blog.
    :)

    ditto glenn greenwald.

  326. 326
    Mr Furious says:

    @Lolis:

    I personally hope the president reads Krugman and even the deeply flawed Drew Westen piece. I think they have some good points. Krugman obviously moreso.

    I think the larger problem is not that Obama doesn’t get criticized by the left (which he clearly does), but rather that the media doesn’t allow truly liberal people get to express their points of view in all media from national to local news. It is hard for Democrats to fight back when the media treats liars and charlatans with equal weight.

    Absolutely. I cited that Westen piece on FB not because I felt he had Obama nailed and everything pinned on him, but because he made some very good points, and much of it rang true to the way I feel about Obama and how things have worked out–even if it’s not (always) his fault.

  327. 327
    JC says:

    “liberal rich agenda” ?

    Basically, not challenging the financial elites, but continuing the smooth operation of the financial elites agenda, with Bernanke, Geithner, and not quickly installing more liberal voices in the upper echelon of the Treasury, financial postings, when he could.

    HAMP policy, serving banks, and the consumer provisions not even being followed, but allowing banks to go wild in foreclosure.

    And yet, even with the go along to get along financial policy decisions of Obama’s administration, we do get a big stimulus, we do get Ledbetter, we do save the automakers, we do the HCA, etc, etc.

    So again, liberal policy, except where the financial elites and big banks are concerned.

  328. 328
    Marc says:

    @Donut:

    Who is the enemy here? The Republicans took the economy hostage and Obama paid some of the ransom demands.

    Freddie isn’t even wrong in the passage that you quote. Why doesn’t his logic apply even more forcefully to him than it does to the people he’s arguing with?

    Most people see criticism of someone as, well, criticism. They’re likely to look at Obama, see attacks from the left and the right, and conclude “Obama is awful. Elect the alternative (republicans.) ” In this way of looking at things left critiques of Obama *hurt* the left and enable the right. It may be right, may not be, but the causal link is as reasonable as his.

    More to the point – how are people supposed to respond to attacks on Obama which they perceive to be wrong or counterproductive?

  329. 329
    Corner Stone says:

    @Samara Morgan: I’m sure this approach will have legs. It’s no more irrational than anything else you repeatedly, repeatedly posit here.

  330. 330
    jwb says:

    @Corner Stone: And now you’re babbling. Wevs. ETA: Nice edit to your comment where you admit to wasting your time. Precious.

  331. 331
    AlphaLiberal says:

    An excerpt from this very good op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times regarding disappointment in Obama (which has nothing to do with feelings):

    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.

    It strikes me as entirely reasonable for people who backed a President based on his actual, not imagined, statements to criticize him when he closes ranks with the opposition and gives voice to their message.

  332. 332
    Corner Stone says:

    @jwb: So concise. You’re a real pro at this blog commenting thing.

  333. 333
    JC says:

    The other thing about the Westen piece – like it or not, this is what happens in politics, is that the wolves move in, when failure happens.

    So now we start to get the liberal post-hoc explanations about how “Obama has failed”. There are already the winguts ‘failure’ memes. And then there will be the centrists ‘Obama failed because” memes.

    All of which are B.S., and post hoc explanations, that obey only one political rule. Success breeds upon itself, failure brings out the vultures, of every stripe.

  334. 334

    @Donut:

    Nope, to some of you, when Boner gets 98% and those of us who want better outcomes from Obama are just shrill Firebaggers.

    Actually, boner got 0 percent of what he and the house tea tards wanted, from what they had been tough talking since back in the winter. And that was deep and broad cuts to medicare benefits, or no raising the debt ceiling. And as Cantor stated during the hostage crisis, they would settle for the HCR mandate killed to stand down. Which is what they were angling for from the beginning.

    And why would anyone believe what John Boehner says, the idiot who called for a final vote with not enough republican votes to pass the final bill, needing dem votes to get it passed. Some 98 percent, that was. This is the kind of shallow polemics we get from the internet progs, that will accept about any right wing frame to attack Obama and his supporters with. Pathetic, and the worst reasoned FP post I have ever seen here at BJ. With enough holes in it to drive a fleet of clown cars through them.

  335. 335
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @dollared: I will grant you this. I do wish he’d go after Republicans more. I guess he feels like it wouldn’t be governing the entire country if he did, though.

    Which is why I think we all should be doing it instead of going after each other.

  336. 336
    JC says:

    A good counter take on Drew Westen’s article.

    There is definitely some mythmaking going on in that article.

  337. 337
    OzoneR says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Liberals already fucking supported Obama in substantial numbers, and he was almost every Edwards supporter’s second choice the whole time

    you just contradicted yourself there.

    Did you forget Hillary won the NH primary? It would have been just as easy to jump on that bandwagon if one was inclined, it was still a very open race to the nomination from that point.

    No, because a major reason the left moved from Edwards to Obama was because they were anti-Hillary because her husband upset them as president and she supported the war.

  338. 338
    liberal says:

    @JC:

    So now we start to get the liberal post-hoc explanations about how “Obama has failed”.

    There was absolutely nothing post-hoc about Krugman’s real-time complaints about the size of the stimulus and that there wouldn’t be a second chance to have one.

  339. 339
    OzoneR says:

    @AlphaLiberal:

    It strikes me as entirely reasonable for people who backed a President based on his actual, not imagined, statements to criticize him when he closes ranks with the opposition and gives voice to their message.

    Not when he did what liberals wanted for tow years, saw it fail, and decided governing was more important than grandstanding.

    It’s not as if he came into office AND THEN tried to negotiate budget cuts.

  340. 340
    liberal says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I guess he feels like it wouldn’t be governing the entire country if he did, though.

    That has to be one of the sillier O-bot memes.

  341. 341
    OzoneR says:

    @liberal:

    There was absolutely nothing post-hoc about Krugman’s real-time complaints about the size of the stimulus and that there wouldn’t be a second chance to have one.

    No there wasn’t, but there was about how he blamed Obama for that and not the three Republican Senators and numerous Blue Dogs who whittled down the stimulus from what was originally proposed.

  342. 342
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    I for one remember President Obama’s campaign speech like it was yesterday, where he clearly, specifically, loudly, and repeatedly said he was not a liberal. Don’t you? You firebaggers need to harvest the potatoes out of your ears.
    .
    .

  343. 343

    @JC:

    All of which are B.S., and post hoc explanations, that obey only one political rule. Success breeds upon itself, failure brings out the vultures, of every stripe.

    Bullshit. The right wing is not claiming any victory here, except for Boners and Mitch’s face saving wankery. And the only folks from the left that are, are self centered so called progressives on the internet.

    The polls are clear, that an overwhelming majority of democrats approval of the deal we ended up with, and by a similar margin polled, republican voters were unsatisfied with the final bill.

  344. 344
    Marc says:

    @liberal:

    I like Krugman a lot. But it’s hard to separate his obvious contempt for Obama with his critiques of what Obama has been doing. He has never liked the man, from the primaries on, and this flavors everything that he says about him.

    More to the point, he is a brilliant economist, but no more qualified than I am to talk about how to get things done in politics. His writing is extremely weak on specifics and doesn’t seem to ever address real problems, such as the political reality that it was difficult to even pass the stimulus that did pass.

  345. 345
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: The complaint that it was too small is a statement of economic principle. That’s fine. To never, ever take into account that it was the size it was because Republicans demanded it be so as a condition for voting for it… that’s just being a dick. And to remain hung up on how it was too small rather than come up with cases to be made for why more is still necessary, _now_, is being an even bigger dick.

  346. 346
    wrb says:

    @JC:

    That is quite the takedown

  347. 347
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Marc: And the story that IMHO isn’t told enough is that TARP was already presented as necessary to avert total catastrophe, as was the auto industry bailout, and thus it was not going to be easy to present successive economic measures as _also_ necessary to avert total catastrophe.

  348. 348
    AxelFoley says:

    Seriously, Cole? You let this hot garbage pass for commentary?

  349. 349
    cleek says:

    @AlphaLiberal:

    He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement,

    would just one motherfucker please explain to me the process, including all statements, twisted-arms and eventual votes that gets us from April 2011 to today with a debt limit deal that favors the Dems ?

    all this “appeasement” bullshit is a fantasy based on the notion that there was a plausible alternative that he didn’t take. but nobody has ever explained, even in vague terms, how that alternative was supposed to have worked.

    and, that NYT editorial was idiotic. any comparison of Obama to FDR without mentioning noting that FDR started his first term with a 313 to 117 majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate is bullshit.

  350. 350
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @liberal: Except, if you notice, I wasn’t saying I knew what he was thinking, just what I thought he might be thinking.

    I guess I should have pointed out to dollared that Obama has, on plenty of occasions, gone after the Republicans, rather than trying to say that we should be doing it. A lot of times, though, because the MSM will not show him giving speeches, we only hear about it after the fact, through transcripts.

  351. 351
    Corner Stone says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Seriously, Cole? You let this hot garbage pass for commentary?

    Why not?
    He lets others poo out their FP posts here. Seems about on par.

  352. 352
    srv says:

    @OzoneR:

    No, because a major reason the left moved from Edwards to Obama was because they were anti-Hillary because her husband upset them as president and she supported the war.

    I’m sorry, but only binary thinking has been allowed on BJ since 2008. You were for Obama or you’re a PUMA.

  353. 353
    The Tragically Flip says:

    OzoneR:

    you just contradicted yourself there.

    No, I didn’t. Obama had north of 20% support in Kos straw polls right from the moment he announced. This is “substantial” support. Lots of liberals liked and worked for Obama right from the start. Slightly more (single digits percentagewise) supported Edwards but were mostly favourable to Obama too.

  354. 354

    Obots confront progressives not on legitimate criticism of President Obama, but on poorly reasoned and sourced arguments that run the gambit from jumping small sharks to building a land bridge of bullshit.

    All the while picking up any right wing meme laying around they can reach as a line of attack. Somebody ought to write a book about it someday, probly 3 or 4 volumes. And include the latest that the republicans got 98 percent of what they wanted, from probly the worst House Speaker in modern history, who can’t even count the votes in his own freaking caucus. Or Mitch Mcconnell blathering what a great idea it will be going forward to take hostages with the debt ceiling, when he drew up the plan to turn that “great idea” over to Obama to raise the debt ceiling as he sees fit for the rest of his first term.

    Some days it’s like a pre school romper room around here, with all the slinging of toys from the left, at Barack Obama

  355. 355
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JC: All the “framing” and “narrative” people have way too blithe a sense that when politicians speak a certain way it not only connects with the public _but also_ wins over votes from their opponents. Obama actually does a pretty solid job of getting the people on his side. The polls show that. But even when the people are on his side, it doesn’t budge Republican politicians to vote in accordance with those views. That’s a huge issue for framing/narrative theory.

  356. 356
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @srv: And if the reason they moved from Edwards to Obama is because Bill upset them, then they really don’t know how presidents work. And don’t tell me it was because of the intern, because I know plenty of liberals arguing that it that was between him and Hillary.

  357. 357
    Bill says:

    An interesting read, and even more interesting comments. The divide among liberal and moderate Democrats is wider than I can ever remember.

    A few thoughts:

    Obama is not, and never portrayed himself as a liberal. It’s the reason he didn’t get my vote. As I examined his platform, I found it virtually indistinguishable from Hillary, and I was not voting for yet another “New Democrat.” If I wanted a Republican in the White House, I’d vote for an actual one not a watered down version.

    That being said, he took certain liberal positions while campaigning. Specifically, he endorsed a public option, and strongly supported shutting Gitmo and getting out of Iraq. Positions that gave those of us on the left some hope that his presidency might throw a few bones to the hippies. Instead he ignored us.

    His presidency has not been a total failure, but I still see very few difference between him and a moderate Republican. He would fit in fairly well in the Nixon administration. I understand that the Republicans have drifted far right of Tricky Dick these days, but forgive me if the thought of voting for what is basically a moderate R doesn’t get me all excited.

    The bigger problem with Obama is the fact that he never seems to deliver on the few left leaning positions he does take. Bush tax cuts expiring…nope. Need to raise taxes to deal with debt…not today. I understand that the House Repubs are insane, but at some point someone has to push them and win.

    For 8 years I watched president short pants push every shitty piece of legislation he wanted through Congress, including with a Dem controlled house. Can we get a bit of that going the other way? Or is it just possible that we are getting exactly what our centrist president wants?

  358. 358
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck:

    And include the latest that the republicans got 98 percent of what they wanted, from probly the worst House Speaker in modern history, who can’t even count the votes in his own freaking caucus.

    Boehner got 95 D’s to vote for this. He got just what he wanted, his vote count didn’t fail.
    You act like D’s voting Yay here is outside the realm of what Boehner needed/expected.

  359. 359
    Donut says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    I’m not a white man. Sorry that you’re an idiot.

  360. 360
    different church-lady says:

    @dollared: Did you read through to the end?

  361. 361
    Rihilism says:

    Harumph, harumph, harumphatoody.

    There are times that Obama pisses me off, and other times that narcissistic “leftists” piss me off (or is it narcissistic liberals? but I thought I was liberal? what the hell am I anyway?…).

    Does this make me a self-hating obot or an obot-hating selfist? It’s all so very confusing…

  362. 362
    NR says:

    @cleek:

    any comparison of Obama to FDR without mentioning noting that FDR started his first term with a 313 to 117 majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate is bullshit.

    Wrong. FDR did not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate at the beginning of his first term. The Democrats had 59 seats, and at the time, it took a two-thirds majority to break a filibuster, meaning 64 votes.

  363. 363

    @Corner Stone:

    This is why you are clueless on politics. The House is a majoritarian body, and any time the majority and it’s speaker needs to pass controversial legislation, it is a black mark on that leader to depend on the minority for that passage. And none so much as this bill, from a concocted crisis by the House republcans, in the first place.

    He didn’t know what the dems would do, and how many would vote for his bill. Pelosi had already told him he was on his own, and responsible for passing the bill in the House he runs.

    edit – and when I say ‘count’ the votes in his own caucus I am talking about ‘whipping them’ for a GOP majority passed bill.

  364. 364
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill:

    I understand that the House Repubs are insane, but at some point someone has to push them and win.

    I think a political view that revolves around what “at some point” “someone” “has to” do conflicts rather sharply with your claims to “understand.” House Republicans are the majority. What can you push them to do? How can you win? You can’t. Not until the next election. And a lot of boo-hooing about how the liberals aren’t liberal enough for your precious vote isn’t going to help that happen.

  365. 365
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Donut: lol
    you SOUND like a white man.
    what are you? grrlstyle firebaggette like hamsher?

  366. 366
    Elisabeth says:

    For 8 years I watched president short pants push every shitty piece of legislation he wanted through Congress, including with a Dem controlled house.

    How’s that privatized SSI working? Oh wait…fortunately, Bush didn’t get everything he wanted.

  367. 367
    different church-lady says:

    @NR:

    The real reason that Obama supporters are getting so unhinged these days is that it’s finally starting to sink in that Obama is going to lose next year, and they’re desperate to find a scapegoat for that.

    Do you have this stuff on a macro or something?

  368. 368
    Samara Morgan says:

    are you this kind of dumb donut?

  369. 369
    lol says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Like I said, you have to distinguish between the readers and the writers who drive the entire blogosphere narrative.

    Remember, even at Netroots Nation this year, Obama had a 80-something percent approval, not terribly dissimilar from what his approval amongst liberal Democrats has been pretty much his entire Presidency according to Gallup. So the readers of blogs are still on board with Obama.

    But if you just listen to the Professional Left that actually produces the writing for those blogs, you would think Obama is utterly despised by “the base”.

    The Professional Left has hated Obama ever since he took office in the Senate because he was more interested in passing bills than screaming. After 2006, the Netroots decided they were going to be the kingmakers in the Democratic primary. Except Obama refused to kiss their rings and went around them to reach their readers. Edwards and Dodd got much love from the Professional Left for one reason – their campaigns lavished love and attention on the PL.

    It had nothing to do with ideology or policies. It was solely about who got paid.

  370. 370
    different church-lady says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    The point was Obama had real support among liberals… (snip) Freddie’s basic point is that liberals made Obama a national star capable of runnning for President.

    Perhaps true, but this is not quite the same statement as “liberals elected Obama”, no?

  371. 371
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Are you fucking kidding me? Are you this fucking stupid?
    Why do you think Obama called Reid and Pelosi to the WH?
    He told them they will pass whatever bullshit bill Boehner can get chucked back up for a vote.
    It’s not a black mark you fucking clown. Boehner got 95 D’s to sign onto this garbage pail of a bill. He and his financial caucus have all the cover they need to demagogue moving forward.
    Boehner’s claims of getting 98% of what he wanted, combined with 95 D votes, is like a junk punch.
    God damn you’re stupid.

  372. 372
    cleek says:

    @NR:
    correct. my bad.

    what he did have was a Senate that didn’t assume 2/3 was necessary to pass everything.

  373. 373
    different church-lady says:

    @jwb: Knock it off.

  374. 374
    les says:

    @dollared:
    I won’t go back to many of your comments based on flat wrong facts and logic; but here’s the “comment” I responded to:

    Oh yes, yelling and screaming would be bad. So you like 16% of GDP spent on health care? You like 19% U-6? You like the evaporation of pensions, the declining income of the middle class, the highest poverty rate since the early 60s?

    First, you’ve got a massive straw man and your usual logic fail: it’s perfectly possible, and if you had the perception of a mushroom you could see it in every thread you fuck with, that people dislike your fact free, twee emotional “Obama is terrible” yelling and screaming, and that they don’t like our current health care system, high unemployment or erosion of the middle class. That’s why they do like ACA, while recognizing that it needs to be better, and has a chance to continue to develop just like every progressive policy ever enacted did; they did like the stimulus, while wishing it could have been better; and they regularly bemoan the executive presidency, security fetish side of the Obama administration. Because unlike you, they’re not bone stupid and they don’t live in a “leftist” fever dream.

  375. 375
    Rihilism says:

    @Bill:

    a.)It’s the reason he didn’t get my vote.

    b.)Instead he ignored us.

    In the midst of your hippie disgust with Tricky Dick Obama, have you ever considered that a.) might lead to b.)?…

  376. 376
    Samara Morgan says:

    ABL! ABL! ABL!
    send these fuckers straight to hell!

    /chanting, painting face with glibertarian blood

  377. 377
    different church-lady says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    The thing that annoys me is that we’re both aiming for the same goal.

    I’m not so sure about that: calling attention to my own brilliance on cable TV news programs is not my goal.

  378. 378

    @Corner Stone:

    God damn you’re stupid.

    say what?

    When the voting began on the controversial—and ugly—debt ceiling bill in the House of Representatives on Monday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democratic leader, did not know how many votes House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had for the measure that had been crafted by President Barack Obama and the Republicans. Boehner had not reached out to her to make certain that the crucial legislation designed to prevent a potentially disastrous US default would be approved. When Boehner “went to the table”—brought the bill to a vote—he “had no idea” how many votes he had, Pelosi says.

    The speaker, as it turned out, did not have enough Republican votes to pass the bill—only 174—and he had made no arrangement to guarantee its success. When there were minutes left for the vote, and it became apparent that Boehner would fall far short of the 216 votes necessary for passage, Pelosi’s Democrats began voting in favor of the measure. “We were not going to let it go down,” she told a small group of journalists on Wednesday morning.

    Here ya go dumbass.

  379. 379
    Bill says:

    “And a lot of boo-hooing about how the liberals aren’t liberal enough for your precious vote isn’t going to help that happen.”

    What liberals? Last time I checked we had moderates and conservatives in this country. Seriously, at some point labels become meaningless if all we are doing is identifying with a brand.

    I understand I’m left of most. I also feel obligated to do something to try to drag the country kicking and screaming out toward me. Voting for moderates doesn’t help that cause.

    Yes the House R’s are a majority. Here’s how he could push. “Hey John. Get your crazy ass party in line and vote to increase the debt ceiling and taxes on the richest 5%. I’ll talk about other issues, but those are non-negotiable. If they don’t, and this thing heads for arma-fucking-geddon I will hang it around each and every one of your necks like a stinking corpse.”

    Oh yeah – and don’t blink first.

  380. 380
    lol says:

    @NR:

    Sure, if you ignore the facts that a sizeable contingent of northeastern moderate Republicans existed, that filibusters weren’t routine and that they played by different rules to begin with.

  381. 381
    Bill says:

    “In the midst of your hippie disgust with Tricky Dick Obama, have you ever considered that a.) might lead to b.)?…”

    So your position is that Obama would be more liberal if only more liberals had voted for him?

    I don’t think you understand how this works.

  382. 382
    les says:

    @dollared:

    The plan does not exist and the principles have not been either adopted or articulated. Instead, Obama publicly advocates a slow, well managed march to parity with China on free market principles.

    And you wonder why I think you’re an idiot.

  383. 383
    Bill says:

    “Oh wait…fortunately, Bush didn’t get everything he wanted.”

    Fair point – I over stated.

    Perhaps you will concede he got an awful lot though.

  384. 384
    AxelFoley says:

    @dslak:

    What about Obama’s campaign promises to pursue war criminals,

    He never made that promise, liar.

    curtail executive power,

    Making Congress do its job not a good enough start for ya?

    and and end – not merely reduce – the US presence in Iraq?

    Still working on that, ass.

    Those positions were certainly to the left of Hillary’s, and he also failed to follow through on them.

    FAIL

  385. 385
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Corner Stone: not my fault you dont have the substrate, dude.

  386. 386
    different church-lady says:

    @General Stuck:

    And if you have run out of poem, please consider writing a camp fire song about moi, cuz I always wanted to be immortalized in a camp fire song on a blog.

    “I know a boy who’s name is Stuck…
    (Hey naney naney nay…)
    When he makes a comment it’s dumb as f***…
    (Hey naney naney nay…)”

  387. 387
    Donut says:

    @cleek:

    It doesn’t matter if he didn’t get 98%.

    The whole point of dragging out the debt ceiling talks and the budget fight this spring was to cement Obama as weak and as a loser in independent voters’ minds.

    Notice I am not saying I think Obama is weak and a loser.

    I am saying the whole strategy being employed by the right at this point is to extract as many cuts to budgets and taxes as possible, and try to separate Obama out from independents. That’s the cake they are baking. Obama is giving them a lot of ingredients they need by trying to compromise. I’m not sitting here saying if Obama would just use the bully pulpit, all would be well. What I am saying is he keeps trying to compromise with people who want to destroy him. I wish he would stop trying to compromise, draw some lines in the sand, and hold those lines. Yes, he’s done a lot of good and many good things have been accomplished. But he is fucking up the budget and spending stuff and somehow also keeps fucking up the magical “pivot to jobs” that the White House seems to think is just always around the next corner. That’s all I’m saying. I want him to succeed very badly, but I also want to be able to say something critical without being called a Firebagger and having my genitals compared to Obama’s.

    (That was really an asshole thing to say, Samara Morgan)

    Oh well, I am going to vote for President Obama anyway. It’s not me he has to worry about, I guess.

    Have a nice day.

  388. 388
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Hilarious.
    You’re going to believe Nancy and her team didn’t know the position of every single House member?
    I’m going to continue believing she has every last one of them pegged, left, right and center.
    Stories like this are floating cover and bullshit. Only idiots like you consume them wholesale.
    You really think Nancy didn’t know the score?

  389. 389
    different church-lady says:

    @Samara Morgan: Now that’s the kind of dumb-ass race baiting I can really get behind.

  390. 390
    cleek says:

    @Bill:

    “Hey John. Get your crazy ass party in line and vote to increase the debt ceiling and taxes on the richest 5%. I’ll talk about other issues, but those are non-negotiable. If they don’t, and this thing heads for arma-fucking-geddon I will hang it around each and every one of your necks like a stinking corpse.”

    yeah. he tried that. the House GOP, and almost 1/2 of the House Dems rejected that idea.

    plan B?

  391. 391
    Corner Stone says:

    @Samara Morgan: Ahhh, substrate. Right.

  392. 392
    Donut says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    You’re a fucking asshole.

  393. 393
    Bill says:

    “yeah. he tried that. the House GOP, and almost 1/2 of the House Dems rejected that plan.

    plan B?”

    Did you miss the “don’t blink first” part of my post?

  394. 394
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill:

    I understand I’m left of most. I also feel obligated to do something to try to drag the country kicking and screaming out toward me. Voting for moderates doesn’t help that cause.

    So, this something you’re obligated to do… Is it the not voting, or the ill-considered fantasies?

  395. 395

    @Corner Stone:

    You really think Nancy didn’t know the score?

    Shut up and take your punking like a man and not a piece of shit that compares the daughters of other commentors as whores. And consider yourself lucky to be tucked away safely in that Texas shithole you miserably exist in. And that Cole lets you get away with it on his blog.

  396. 396
    cleek says:

    @Bill:
    explain how not blinking forces the GOP to vote for a clean bill. show your work.

  397. 397
    different church-lady says:

    @cleek:

    all this “appeasement” bullshit is a fantasy based on the notion that there was a plausible alternative that he didn’t take. but nobody has ever explained, even in vague terms, how that alternative was supposed to have worked.

    That is completely wrong: the 14th Amendment Fairy was going to fix up everything if only Obama had let her.

  398. 398
    Bill says:

    “So, this something you’re obligated to do… Is it the not voting, or the ill-considered fantasies?”

    Where did I say I didn’t vote?

    What fantasies are you refering to?

  399. 399
    Samara Morgan says:

    @different church-lady: yeah..ive known freddie a lot longer than youse guys.
    Hes pretty fly for white guy.

    but my problem with him…..he will never come out and play-– he just runs away.

    pretty gutless for a white guy?

    LOL!

  400. 400
    JC says:

    Bullshit. The right wing is not claiming any victory here, except for Boners and Mitch’s face saving wankery.

    Stuck, I’m on YOUR side on this. OF COURSE the right wing is claiming victory. Except for the idiots who WANTED the U.S. to default.

    But this isn’t the point of the comment.

    Also, this is an implicit criticism of these ‘high-toned’ articles, like the Westen one, which I also linked a takedown to.

  401. 401
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Why? What are you gonna do about it Internet Tough Guy? Threaten physical violence?
    You’re the idiot who couldn’t see the compromise debt bill coming from a mile off.
    Now you’re swallowing planted stories for idiots.
    Ahh, it’s expected.

  402. 402
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill:

    Here’s how he could push. “Hey John. Get your crazy ass party in line and vote to increase the debt ceiling and taxes on the richest 5%. I’ll talk about other issues, but those are non-negotiable. If they don’t, and this thing heads for arma-fucking-geddon I will hang it around each and every one of your necks like a stinking corpse.”

    OK. So then John Boehner says, No. And then Fantasy Obama says, “I warned you, I’m going to ‘hang it around your necks like a stinking corpse.'” And Boehner says, Fine by me. And then Fantasy Obama says, “Hey, American People, this arma-fucking-geddon thing you’re in the midst of? It’s totally someone else’s fault.” And Boehner says, “We were willing to make a deal, but Fantasy Obama insisted on raising taxes, and we wouldn’t let that happen.” And then Fantasy Obama says, “Why are my approval ratings 38%? Probably because I wasn’t assertively liberal enough, like that guy who refuses to vote for moderates wanted.”

  403. 403

    @Corner Stone:

    Why? What are you gonna do about it Internet Tough Guy? Threaten physical violence?

    Nope, too old and you aren’t worth it. But I would bet good money you are as big a twisted asshole in your real neighborhood, to where justice could be served by others there

  404. 404
    Bill says:

    Cleek

    The R’s knew just as well as everyone else that not voting for the debt ceiling increase leads to absolute disaster. Their corporate overlords didn’t want that any more than the Dems did. Not blinking pushes them in to a position that forces them to accept Obama’s position or be the cause of the collapse of our economy. It makes them own the problem, and therefore makes them likely to give in.

    Yes it’s a dangerous game. But at some point it has to be played it with these people. The only other route is constant capitulation.

  405. 405
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: In my real neighborhood I’m surrounded by a bunch of Republicans, most of which remind me of you.

  406. 406
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Donut:

    You’re a fucking asshole.

    weak

    try harder, babe.
    if im fucking at least im getting some.
    im the resident blog little bad grrl

    did i hit a nerve?

  407. 407
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill: You said you wouldn’t vote for moderates, and you said that all we had in this country were moderates and conservatives, so I concluded that between those two propositions, you didn’t vote. Where was I wrong?

  408. 408
    different church-lady says:

    @Donut: It’s a good thing you’re not doing stand-up. Otherwise the hecklers would own your ass.

  409. 409

    @Corner Stone:

    , most of which remind me of you.

    Ha! I looom large in your mind, then. Good

  410. 410
    Bill says:

    “Why are my approval ratings 38%? Probably because I wasn’t assertively liberal enough, like that guy who refuses to vote for moderates wanted.”

    Ah – got it – so this is all about getting re-elected. Not about actually doing what’s right for the country.

    Also, how’s his approval rating with the route he went? How’s the prospect of re-election looking?

  411. 411
    cleek says:

    @Bill:

    The R’s knew just as well as everyone else that not voting for the debt ceiling increase leads to absolute disaster.

    i’m not sure they ‘knew’ that at all. or if they knew, that they cared.

  412. 412
    Donut says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    You are stupid and acting like a child. There is not much else to say to you.

    Oh. And you’re a fucking asshole.

  413. 413
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill:

    Not blinking pushes them in to a position that forces them to accept Obama’s position or be the cause of the collapse of our economy.

    I don’t think they care about contributing to the collapse of the economy. They know that Obama would take at least as much punishment as they would. Look how even now, even after S&P has specifically said that their intransigence on revenue is a key reason for the downgrade, they still say it’s all Obama’s fault. They don’t change their minds just because what they want to do is stupid or damaging. They do it anyway, because they’re on a mission from God.

  414. 414
  415. 415
    Bill says:

    “Where was I wrong?”

    My statement referred to the two major parties, and admittedly was not well defined. Apologies.

    I voted third party. And FWIW have voted in every election I have been eligible to vote in.

  416. 416
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Listen, you flaming firebatards, what he said during the campaign was, “If the Secretary of Defense says we need to spend less on frivolous charities like Medicare and Social Security, and more on defense, then by God that’s what I will do to keep America safe! May God bless these purple United States!
    .
    .

  417. 417
    Rihilism says:

    @Bill: Uh, no, my point was that you do not intend to vote for people like Obama, so why should they spend a lot of their time trying to make sure you get everything you want. There is no downside to ignoring you…

    Yes the House R’s are a majority. Here’s how he could push. “Hey John. Get your crazy ass party in line and vote to increase the debt ceiling and taxes on the richest 5%. I’ll talk about other issues, but those are non-negotiable. If they don’t, and this thing heads for arma-fucking-geddon I will hang it around each and every one of your necks like a stinking corpse.”

    Oh yeah – and don’t blink first.

    By all means, screw the people who’s lives would be damaged in “arma-fucking-geddon”. Just collateral damage.

    So if I understand you correctly, you’d like your president to be a Dirty Harry/Mary take-no-prisoners hippie who does everything you want despite your refusal to vote for him/her.

    You are most certainly correct, I don’t understand how this works…

  418. 418
    TheStone says:

    @Samara Morgan: If Freddie came out to play every time you pulled your Glenn Close act, he’d wouldn’t have time to breathe. But don’t let that interrupt your poo-flinging.

  419. 419
    les says:

    @Donut:
    Look, this is all well and good. Here’s a question: what did you here from the right fringe when GWB was in office? Did you here them loudly denouncing the administration? Did you here them calling him a Democrat? Fuck no you did not; when they’re in power they exercise power to the extent they can, and they shut the fuck up. They primary legislators; they make up idiot pledges; etc. etc. But they didn’t weaken the national administration, or take action that might jeopardize a second term. They still don’t attack Bush the way Freddy and Jane want to go after Obama.
    Jebus. The point of contention here is not whether more liberal policies would be better. The point of contention here is whether the best way to obtain them is to attack the sitting president, who has achieved more liberal policies than we’ve seen in a long time. Or as the dollared would have it, who is a stealth commie intent on turning us into China, or some such stupidity. And, of course the contention that attackers are the only “real left/liberals,” and anyone who sees any progress is jsut clapping louder. Let me know the next time the real left elects somebody to a school board.

  420. 420
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill:

    Not about actually doing what’s right for the country.

    So the right thing for the country is letting the Republicans crash the economy so that Obama can point the finger at them? And then what?

    How’s the prospect of re-election looking?

    Better than it would if he had rejected the whole idea that there was a deficit/debt problem, as most of the “left” critics wanted him to do, and then S&P issued a downgrade that called him out for runaway deficits and debts.

  421. 421
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: It’s true. Ignorant authoritarian assholes are in an oversupply here currently.
    You’re definitely #Loo00oo00ming.

  422. 422
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Donut: LOL like i havent heard that before.
    :)
    you jus’ keep agreeing with de Bore.
    take yur shabby genteel recylcled glibertarianism and fuck off please.
    you need a warrior soul to firebag here, and neither you or de Bore can cut the mustard.

  423. 423
    Pat says:

    Can’t you see that adopting memes like “Professional Left” and “entitlement reform” is ceding the argument to the opposition before the first volley is even lobbed?

  424. 424
    different church-lady says:

    @TheStone: Now THAT’s how you’re supposed to handle a heckler.

  425. 425
  426. 426
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TheStone: he NEVAH comes out to play anymore. he jusr runs like a scalded cat.

    remind you of n/e one? LOL!

    dont you want me baby?
    dude, im wounded.
    bettah mail Cole and tell him to ban meh.

    ichi! ni! san!

  427. 427
    Samara Morgan says:

    awww 2 many links.
    @TheStone: he NEVAH comes out to play anymore. he jusr runs like a scalded cat.

    remind you of n/e one? LOL!

    dont you want me baby?
    dude, im wounded.

  428. 428
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Pat: But “Obama sucks and has no passion and you can’t tell what he even stands for,” totally not ceding the argument to the opposition.

  429. 429
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TheStone: you and dumb donut should get up a petition.
    bettah mail Cole and tell him to ban meh.

    ichi! ni! san!

  430. 430
    dollared says:

    @les: Please respond with at least two elements of Obama’s public plan for our nation’s future that is not pure market-based neoliberalism.

    You keep coming here an insulting me, but you do not actually say anything of value or substance.

  431. 431
    Samara Morgan says:

    @different church-lady: hahaha

    how did that work out for him?

  432. 432
    Donut says:

    @different church-lady:

    There is nothing else to say to someone who assumes you are something you are not, and further compares your genital size to those of the president.

    Says more about her than it does about me.

    Any of you can fuck off for all I care at this point. What a circle jerk this thread is. I’m out.

  433. 433
    dollared says:

    @different church-lady: yessss…..

  434. 434
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TheStone: hahaha!

    worked for our last glibertarian assclown frontpager, dint it?

  435. 435
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Donut: you should go over to the LoOG.
    many more of your fellow travellers there…they specialize in chatt roul3tte style c1rcle jerks.

    good journey.

    :)

  436. 436
    les says:

    @Bill:
    I was with ya right till about here:

    For 8 years I watched president short pants push every shitty piece of legislation he wanted through Congress, including with a Dem controlled house.

    How’s your privatized Soc. Sec. account doing these days? It’s too bad we have to have his secretary on the Supremes, but waddayagonnado? Bush may look more successful in the rear view mirror, largely because of war; but the only domestic change I can remember comparable to ACA is his tax cuts, which he had to sunset because the longer term projections showed they blow up the deficit. Look, maybe it would be nice if Obama ponced about like GWB and patted his own back constantly, and if he continually went all Sadly No! on the republicans for our entertainment–but I really question whether that would have meant better legislation.

  437. 437
    different church-lady says:

    @dollared: Good. So you merely failed to comprehend the last sentence. Glad we cleared that up.

  438. 438
    Pat says:

    @Flip

    Aside from the “sucks” part, your Obama description is an arguably objective observation, while the usage of “Professional Left,” et al is printed verbatim (w/ proper noun caps no less) from the Wingnut Cookbook.

  439. 439
    Scott P. says:

    I understand I’m left of most. I also feel obligated to do something to try to drag the country kicking and screaming out toward me. Voting for moderates doesn’t help that cause.

    Voting is not about sending messages. Voting is about picking the candidate that you think would do the best job from those on the ballot. If you go into the ballot booth thinking that your goal is to move the country left — well, I don’t know what you are thinking.

    There are lots of times and places to drag the country left. The ballot box on Election Day isn’t one of them.

  440. 440
    Marc says:

    @Donut:

    I share your frustration with Obamas manner of dealing even with unreasonable opponents. I find it more fruitful to approach this problem without assuming that he actually wants bad things to happen, which also sounds like what you’re saying.

    Real people get hurt when you allow things to blow up, and Obama actually cares about the collateral damage. If that emotion is a weakness it’s one that we need more of. Criticism based there is something that I can understand, in a way that criticism based on a backstabbing motif is not.

  441. 441
    dollared says:

    @les:

    Do your homework: I was responding to this:

    Yes, I am getting the country I want – one that, after hard, bitter struggle and with dogged determination, actually accomplishes things. The country you want would only scream at each other and accomplish nothing. That would certainly not help Obama get elected.

    So you think I somehow made a strawman out of that simple statement?

    Now, have you finally done enough homework for a substantive response?

  442. 442
    Marc says:

    @Pat: I can tell that there is plenty that he stands for, and there are plenty of subjects where he does show real passion. You don’t have to shout to have convictions, and having different priorities than I do doesn’t mean that someone believes in nothing.

  443. 443
    Corner Stone says:

    @Scott P.:

    There are lots of times and places to drag the country left. The ballot box on Election Day isn’t one of them.

    If not the ballot box, then where and when?

  444. 444
    les says:

    @dollared:
    Dude, you’re the one who knows that Obama intends to turn us into China. How about you explain the path and end result, using facts rather than labels. I think your current comment, and so many others like it, are ignorant and fact free on their face; I don’t argue with creationists, either. What aspects of Chinese politics and economy is Obama trying to imitate, and how does he intend to get there? You’re the boy who knows. Or, as I’ve said, maybe you’re an idiot.

  445. 445
    les says:

    @dollared:
    Dude, I quoted the logic fail you offered up, and explained it for you; if you don’t understand “straw man,” sorry, but not surprised.

  446. 446
    Pat says:

    having different priorities than I do doesn’t mean that someone believes in nothing.

    That was Flip’s straw man, not mine. Wouldn’t fit me as I’m a 44 long. Is it time for a blogger ethics panel on the logical fallacies?

  447. 447
    les says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Seriously? By the time you’re in the ballot box, choices are fixed. Even the teabaggers get that–they’re willing to lose Senate races, to push their crazy in the primaries, to have the choice in the ballot box.

  448. 448
    different church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone:

    If not the ballot box, then where and when?

    That is actually a great question. I can see your point, as well as Scott P’s.

    Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the ballot box is the weakest point in the chain — at that moment you can’t drag the country to the left. The most you can do it nudge it a bit, or open the door to dragging it there in the future. The real dragging happens before (when the candidates are selected) and after (when the legislating actually occurs).

    These are half baked thoughts, submitted for consideration.

  449. 449
    beergoggles says:

    I’m about as depressed as my portfolio. This shit better sort itself out by the end of the week but Obama is right now fellating the Republican narrative for Democrats of austerity now. If the only way to get another stimulus to get the economy out of the dumps is to elect a republican, we should probably give the terrorists what they want.. was it a one term president?

  450. 450
    dollared says:

    @les: OK, free market and free trade. All workers are equal. Equal pay, equal conditions. China or US, just about the same.

    Isn’t that the Fortune 500’s goal? How is Obama going to stop that?

    Free trade with Colombia? We’ll never get parity with them, it’s actually illegal here to kill union leaders.

  451. 451
    Corner Stone says:

    @les: Not to belabor the point, but primaries make use of the ballot box too.

  452. 452
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Pat:

    while the usage of “Professional Left,” et al is printed verbatim (w/ proper noun caps no less) from the Wingnut Cookbook.

    IIRC that phrase gained currency after Rahm Emanuel or Robert Gibbs used it to slam people who were criticizing Obama “from the left” about something. Then the blogosphere erupted, as per usual, that “the left” was under attack, without making the distinction that the target was the _professional_ left, that is, people who make a living representing “the left,” regardless of how “left” their actual views are. I don’t remember right-wingers ever using the phrase. I remember it emerging from the internecine wars between left critics of Obama and left supporters of Obama, with the particular tone around here that the “Professional Left” is trumped-up, inauthentic, and trolling for attention, like Jane Hamsher and Adam Green of PCCC.

  453. 453
    Pat says:

    Rahm Emanuel or Robert Gibbs used it to slam people

    Yeah, and it’s been in the Pajamas Media lexicon ever since. As if Rahm did anyone one the left any favors. Ever.

  454. 454
    Pat says:

    Aw, looks like your confidence fairies took a powder today.

  455. 455
    Pat says:

    And for Rahm, who was drawing six figures as WHCOS, to call out people who make literally hundreds of dollars promoting liberal causes online is pretty awesome, no?

  456. 456
    Bill says:

    “Voting is about picking the candidate that you think would do the best job from those on the ballot”

    I use to think this too. I don’t anymore. When “the ballot” only includes two choices, neither of which agree with my views, I reach a point where my objectives change.

    That being said, I do understand the “lesser of two evils” approach, and may well apply it depending on who the R nominee is and how the polls look in my state around election day.

  457. 457
    les says:

    @dollared:

    OK, free market and free trade. All workers are equal. Equal pay, equal conditions. China or US, just about the same.

    Isn’t that the Fortune 500’s goal? How is Obama going to stop that?

    You’ve been insisting it’s Obama’s goal, Dude–your position is he doesn’t want to stop it, he’s driving it. Now it’s the Fortune 500’s; you might or might not be right (60%-70% consumer driven economy, remember?), but as usual you’re evidence free. Do you know why the free trade bills haven’t passed? The evil Obama is insisting on worker protection provisions. I know you don’t understand “straw man,” so there’s probably not much point in mentioning “moving goal posts.” So far, little progress on the “not an idiot” front.

  458. 458
    les says:

    @Corner Stone:
    True enough; I read the original comment more narrowly, my bad.

  459. 459
    TK-421 says:

    Almost from the title I could have predicted this would have been a flame fest (and there is NO WAY I’m reading through these comments). I’m almost sorry I missed it. Almost.

    Because every messy compromise is at least 80% for the wignuts, you end up with a corrupted country. How long do you keep playing that game until you realize it’s rigged?

    Many years ago (~2006-7), when Democrats were in titular control of Congress but still let George W. Bush continue to wreck the place, over at the GOS the FPer formerly known as Kagro X wrote a couple posts that explicitly asked the question: what is the “pragmatic/reasonable/moderate/centrist/whatever” response to extremism? If the goal is to maintain & advocate for moderate & centrist governance, then doesn’t extremism on one side necessarily dictate equal & opposite extremism on the other side, just to make sure we don’t start drifting off towards one side and become unbalanced and unrepresentative? If so, then WTF is the problem that Dems have with their liberal base? WhyTF do moderates have their panties in a bunch about liberals talking about (totally justified) investigations and impeachments?

    IMO, there was never a good answer then, and IMO there isn’t one now. If extremism is always going to be met halfway by the other side, then the rational move by the original extremists is to become more extreme. Have moderates thought this through? Eh, doubtful, but if they have then they’re letting foolish pride and ego ironically prevent them from doing the pragmatic and reasonable thing (i.e. moving to the left and becoming more extreme themselves).

    Moderates think they’re somehow protecting President Obama by knocking down “extremism” on the left. But if equal and opposite extremism on the left is to be opposed no matter what, then the burden is on moderates and centrists to develop a plan to stop the extremism on the right. Do they have a plan? No, no they don’t, all they know is that lefties are icky and smelly and shrill and shut up shut up shut up.

    One could argue that President Obama, as the ideal representative of moderate/centrist/pragmatic conciliation and bipartisanship and whatnot, is demonstrating a possible moderate/centrist/pragmatic plan to knock down extremism on the left and the right. And, well, how’s that working out for you moderates? Are you enjoying this ride?

    If we’re being pragmatic, then we have to acknowledge that right wing extremism has to be balanced out by some other opposing force, if only to avoid what we’re going through right now. And if liberals are not going to be the preferred and supported vehicle for that balance, then what or who will be?

  460. 460

    Moderates think they’re somehow protecting President Obama by knocking down “extremism” on the left

    Not knocking down “extremism”, knocking down stupidity related to process and tactics based in reality. Obots are moderates on PROCESS , not policy. Maybe someday that will sink into thick skulls of fake progressives. I doubt it though, so the war goes on.

  461. 461
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    460 posts of pointing fingers and I’m pretty sure only a few were going in the Tea Party’s direction.

    Well done, Freddie. Well done.

  462. 462
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @General Stuck:

    Obots are moderates on PROCESS , not policy.

    That is a complete fabrication, Republican ratfucker. Obots are a CULT OF PERSONALITY within a culture of FEELGOODISM, and are center-right on policy today, because President Obama is center-right on policy today. Maybe someday that will sink into the thick skulls of Republican ratfuckers which sit upon your thick and bewarted red necks.
    .
    .

  463. 463
    les says:

    @TK-421:

    If we’re being pragmatic, then we have to acknowledge that right wing extremism has to be balanced out by some other opposing force, if only to avoid what we’re going through right now. And if liberals are not going to be the preferred and supported vehicle for that balance, then what or who will be?
    Reply

    I’m gonna need some evidence for your “extremism balances extremism” hypothesis. I don’t actually believe that crazy cancels out, just because it has some different or opposite valence; I tend to believe that you fight crazy by not being crazy, because the majority of people aren’t crazy. Currently the crazies on the right are the noisiest and have captured a not-insignificant chunk of Republican politics, largely through intimidation. Now I also believe that folks on the left just tend to less craziness, and haven’t tended to bow to the crazies who are there; and that that’s a good thing. What I prefer to see is that we mitigate the damage the crazies can do–I mean, they are there in the House and they are trying to blow up the country–and hold ’em off till they implode. Pretty much be definition, you can’t “outcrazy” them; and your balancing proposal seems unworkable in reality.

  464. 464
    eemom says:

    normally I wouldn’t bother to pile on this late in the game — but honestly, this post is SUCH a piece of regurgitated, poorly written, unconstructive adolescent tripe, it makes Glenn Greenwald look like Thomas Paine.

    It makes toko-loko look like Molly Ivins.

    FFS Cole, you’d do better with a writing contest at the local middle school.

  465. 465

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    Shorter Uncle Clarence – I’m insane and can’t get up.

  466. 466
    NR says:

    @TK-421: Yep. Every time the Democrats meet the Republicans in the middle, the Republicans just respond by moving further right. And of course, the middle moves with them.

    The only way to change this dynamic is to actually start fighting for liberal principles. But oh no, we can’t do that because we’d look unreasonable. Or we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate. Or whatever the excuse is this week.

  467. 467
    Marc says:

    @Pat:

    Nonsense Pat. You looked at a quote that said “Obama sucks and has no passion and you can’t tell what he even stands for,” and you said “Aside from the “sucks” part, your Obama description is an arguably objective observation”. I called you on that – because I don’t think that is remotely objective.

    Then you changed the subject to,.,I don’t know what. It’s hard to parse those invested in free-floated Obama hatred. Or, apparently, to get them to stand behind anything.

  468. 468
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TK-421: /points at freddie and his fellow traveller TK and laffs

    hahahhahahahahah!

  469. 469
    pbriggsiam says:

    @ Paul in KY,

    I just read this on Digby. I thought it was an interesting take that relates back to your agreeing with me on optics:

    Barack Obama might make a good, even great president during times of stasis and normalcy. His approach to problems is precisely the sort that is needed to steer calmly through times of peace, prosperity, and bipartisan sentiments..

    But the great complaint with Barack Obama isn’t so much about what he has done, as about the opportunity he has largely squandered. America stands at a precipice, at a time of great crisis. A time when bold, aggressive and determined leadership is called for. It is a time when America needs drama. After the near wrecking of the country by a combination of conservative and neoliberal policies of war, supply-side economics and deregulation, America needs a vision.

    I thought you’d appreciate it.

    I’m actually still amazed that an OFA caller listened to me go on (politely) about why I was going to have trouble doing anything directly for President Obama’s reelection run. It was almost like he was interested in my concern about the narrative being absent – maybe hearing it for the first time. I think most callers would have hung up as soon as they caught an inkling their call was going nowhere.

  470. 470
    Samara Morgan says:

    @eemom: hahahaha

    tole ja so.
    ;)

    i shall dance naow.

  471. 471
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TK-421: dude. here is your basic fallacy.
    liberals believe in the free market too.
    Murrikkka is basically founded on worship of the Holy Free Hand.
    no one had an inkling that all the free hand does is fist the underclass until the Econopalypse that ate amerikkka’s jobs.
    and liberals also bought into the “common school, soap and water society extending from one corner of the globe to another”.
    4.4 trillion dollahs of unfunded war has brought this country to the verge of bankruptcy. And unlike Japan and Germany, we aren’t getting a “trading partner” out of the ruins.
    we are getting an implacable enemy with friends-with-benefits (oil), and a countably infinite supply of spare parts for the jihaadi factory.

  472. 472
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TK-421:

    If we’re being pragmatic, then we have to acknowledge that right wing extremism has to be balanced out by some other opposing force,

    and demographically that simply cant be done…..yet. :)
    Obama is being pragmatic.
    You are being stupid.

  473. 473
    Samara Morgan says:

    @NR:

    to actually start fighting for liberal principles

    no, cudlip, we cant do that because we dont have the demographics.
    the country is still half bubba.

  474. 474
    Karen says:

    I knew Obama was toast the moment he was elected because the right succeeded in making Obama the “messiah” that was going to save us all.

    There was no way he’d live up to all the building up people did.

    But what I don’t get is how Congress is left out of the equation. He’s supposed to do everything, like Cheney said Bush could right? Obama is supposed to rule by fiat, fuck Congress right? If he cared enough, he’d terrorize Congress and they’d do his bidding if he was just enough of a dictator and cracked the whip. If Bush did it, Obama should damnit!

    Only….Obama taught Constitutional Law. He knows the Constitution like the back of his hand and knows that you do need Congress.

    Obama is a consensus builder. That’s how he ran. Consensus means Congress. Both parts of Congress.

    But go ahead, primary him, we’re sure to get President Kucinich finally!

    He passes the purity test for sure!

    Yet he couldn’t even win his district last election. Could it be that….maybe not all the country is as liberal as that?

    Obama looks for common ground. That’s how he’s always been. He’s concerned more about similarity than differences. Perhaps there’s no place for someone like that in this new political climate.

    And finally, Obama doesn’t want to be Reagan! What he admires is how Reagan was able to get both sides of the aisle to work to get things done. He also admires Reagan as a communicator.

    So I want Freddie and the others, tell me who you’re going to primary Obama with that you think has a chance in hell to win against Romney. Tell me. Put up or shut the fuck up.

  475. 475
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I’ll quit pointing out, laughing at and attacking the Jane Hamshers of the Left when they stop attacking the president and people like me. It’ll never happen though, Jane and her type profit from the internal dissent they whip up.

    They argue that Obama and his policies depressed voting on the left in 2010 and then get mad if someone says that they were the ones who decided to stay home in 2010, which they quickly refute with data that says otherwise. This is the way they operate; whatever makes their case, even if it conflicts with something they already claimed.

    I can’t take these people seriously, especially when one of them thinks that teaming up with someone like Norquist is a good idea to advance the progressive agenda.

    Anyone who thinks that is fucking nuts.

  476. 476
    NR says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    I can’t take these people seriously, especially when one of them thinks that teaming up with someone like Norquist is a good idea to advance the progressive agenda.

    Take a look at what Norquist had to say about the debt deal, Skippy.

  477. 477
    sparky says:

    I can’t take these people seriously, especially when one of them thinks that teaming up with someone like Norquist is a good idea to advance the progressive agenda.

    can’t defend that particular alliance, though can’t see as how it really matters to people who are supposed “pragmatists”. if anything, a pragmatist ought consider such utility a plus. after all one must work with what one has, or so it is said.

    in any event,

    –undeclared war in TWO countries in the mideast (Yemen and Libya)
    –trillions for banks, not one cent for jane or joe average (HAMP, 100% Obama policy effectively punished homeowners seeking mortgage mods)
    –billions for the existing health care industry and complete capture of the federal government on behalf of the health industrial complex
    –further erosion of civil liberties including a savage campaign to physically destroy whistleblowers
    –continuation of the Bush tax cuts

    cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called progressive, unless one means progression of the corporatist National Security State, or the progression of an oligarchic cancer within the United States.

    anyone who thinks these are progressive (whether one uses a small or a capital P) policies ought, at a minimum, consult a dictionary.

    incidentally, anyone who thinks the Lilly Ledbetter act or a quasi-overturning of don’t ask don’t tell is more important than the above, well, i suggest some glasses, for a start. helps to see the body bags.

  478. 478
    MikeMc says:

    This article is pretty weak. Liberals didn’t get Obama elected. As I recall, they were all pretty hard for John Edwards. It was a bunch of kids in Iowa, with true believerism, that knocked on doors and sent Sen Obama on his way. Not the liberal base. Now, a lot of them may have, in-the-end, voted for Obama, but he was hardly your guy, Freddie. Truth is, no one would be pure enough for you. This is what I hate about liberals. You thrive on disappointment. You love having someone to be angry at. You love having someone, anyone, to blame. Take health reform, it was an epic achievement 60 yrs in the waiting. FDR couldn’t do it with 67 Dem senators. Still, it wasn’t enough for you. 30 million more people with coverage, but the bill was a failure because it didn’t have a public option. Do liberals lack the ability to celebrate anything? It’s disappointing.

  479. 479
    lol says:

    @sparky:

    One reason no one takes the professional left seriously, outright lies:
    —trillions for banks, not one cent for jane or joe average (HAMP, 100% Obama policy effectively punished homeowners seeking mortgage mods)

    Hello? Stimulus and auto bailout?

  480. 480
    TK-421 says:

    @les:

    I don’t have evidence, I think it’s just a theory born out of intuition. But here’s the thing- if you reject that theory, then you have to replace it with something else. And that something else has to be fundamentally different than what the Democratic Party and the Obama Administration are currently doing, because what they’re currently doing is NOT balancing or stopping the extremism.

    What I prefer to see is that we mitigate the damage the crazies can do—I mean, they are there in the House and they are trying to blow up the country—and hold ‘em off till they implode.

    You seem to imply that the craziness is new, a fad that will blow over, etc. Um…it’s not. What you propose there has been the modus operandi for awhile now. It’s not working, IMO.

  481. 481
    Rihilism says:

    Do liberals lack the ability to celebrate anything?

    Yes.

    It’s disappointing.

    Yes, yes it is.

    Aaahhhh, I anxiously await our glorious future, when we finally decide to do away with elections altogether and replace them with massive town hall meetings in which people stand in line for a chance to complain…

  482. 482
    MikeMc says:

    @sparky: Destroy whistleblowers? Are you referring to the kid who stole classified documents from the Gov’t and forwarded them to wikileaks? Why should he be treated as a hero?

  483. 483
    jeff says:

    Yes, I am getting the country I want – one that, after hard, bitter struggle and with dogged determination, actually accomplishes things. The country you want would only scream at each other and accomplish nothing.

    What,exactly, are they accomplishing? And I haven’t heard a the screaming stop.

    Someone, at the top of this post, asked what Obama could have done differently. One thing: Joe Biden goes on every single politics show, and when the GOP brings up one of their talking points, asks him “Are you stupid or evil? Because you have to be one or the other to believe THAT!”

    =====================

    Also, too:

    Hello? Stimulus and auto bailout?

    You mean the stimulus that accomplished so little that unemployment is significantly unchanged? That stimulus? Whoo and also hooo.

  484. 484
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @NR:

    I don’t give a fuck what Grover Fucking Norquist has to say about any-fucking-thing, Sparky. As wrong as some people are about something, the fact that they might be on the right side of an issue doesn’t negate what a piece of shit they are. Nor does it want to make me align myself with them in common cause.

    I’ll spare you the Godwin. :)

  485. 485
    pbriggsiam says:

    It’s amazing the lack of any kind of politeness by some here. Anonymity makes it so easy.

    Additionally, it’s too easy to take what someone says and assume a completely black and white perspective on the argument. . .rather than take the more nuanced shades of grey perspective. The latter would be the harder route to take and the more worthwhile.

    It would be a god damn bit more constructive too!

  486. 486
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @jeff:

    You mean the stimulus that accomplished so little that unemployment is significantly unchanged?

    You mean the stimulus that prevented the loss of 2-3 million jobs, the equivalent of 2 GMs shutting down.

    Once again, no credit for preventing something from happening.

  487. 487
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TK-421: dude..its red/blue genetics.
    whatchu gonna do, genetically engineer the teabaggers to be rational?
    you simply cannot negotiate with Team Reaver.
    unless you are River Tam.

  488. 488
    Samara Morgan says:

    @pbriggsiam: also, politesse does not work with Reavers.
    or zombies.

  489. 489
    Nic says:

    This infighting on the left is stupid. We’re on the same side folks, knock it the fuck off.

  490. 490
    Samara Morgan says:

    @pbriggsiam: didnt you see my TK-421/de Bore Axiom of Teabagger/Firebagger Isomorphism?

    Firebaggers sublimate their pyscho-sexual jealously of Obama into concerntrolling and scolding liberals. Teabaggers subliminate their psycho-sexual jealously into birtherism and illegitimism.
    __
    Hamsher corrollary: Jane Hamsher doesn’t have a pen1s, but she relly, relly wants one.

  491. 491
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @General Stuck:

    Shorter Uncle Clarence – I’m insane and can’t get up.

    Shorter General Shmuck – “I’ve fallen for Obama and I can’t get up.”

    But please continue your “Hey, look over there” issue avoidance strategery until satiated, you Republican ratfucker.
    .
    .

  492. 492
    Hbin says:

    What a load of self-importance tosh. Cole, you sure have an eye for these earnest, pretentious, bursting with self-important young men. First ED Kain, now Freddie.

    Kudos for completely misrepresenting 2008, though. I thought a certain cheating husband was the candidate of the left in 2008 – man of the people, likes to talk about the third America, the only candidate who cares about the fate of the poor yadda yadda.

  493. 493
    Hbin says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    The one good thing about Westen’s opus is that it finally admits that the left wing started to bail on Obama on Inauguration Day, and haven’t stopped since. How willing to fight would you be knowing that you had a bunch of fair-weather-friend bastards at your back?

    Q fuckin’ ED. Maybe we should all raid Freddie’s archives at his own blog to see how quickly he soured on Obama. Heck, maybe as early as the inauguration (that was already a huge controversy, right, he did this wrong, he did that wrong, ohh it’s all wrong).

  494. 494
    Hbin says:

    @Elias Isquith:

    Freddie, why do you hate freedom? Don’t you know that blog posts like these mortally wound the President and ensure a tidal wave of Republican victories? I have it on good authority that every time you refuse to clap louder, Barack Obama sheds a single tear.

    Oh F you. Another self-important young men bursting with hurt fee fees. Get a grip and grow a pair, people.

  495. 495

    you Republican ratfucker.

    LOL, now now, you sound bitter.

  496. 496
    Hbin says:

    @Legalize:

    It’s a bit much to be lectured by fucking babies.

    Fucking babies who deign to condescend to mistermix at that.

  497. 497
    Hbin says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Guys: you have been doing the same thing the entirety of the Obama administration. You are getting the same thing. You think you’re helping this man get elected? This is the country you want. And you’re getting it. Enjoy!

    I know you’d personally rather live in a country governed by Republicans so you can nurture your martyr complex, but most of us don’t. So fuck you, you condescending asshole with your fucking “Enjoy”. God, why the heck is the left filled with these emo boys, anywhere? Where are the grown-ups?

  498. 498
    Hbin says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Guys: you have been doing the same thing the entirety of the Obama administration. You are getting the same thing. You think you’re helping this man get elected? This is the country you want. And you’re getting it. Enjoy!

    I know you’d personally rather live in a country governed by Republicans so you can nurture your martyr complex, but most of us don’t. So fuck you, you condescending asshole with your fucking “Enjoy”. God, why the heck is the left filled with these emo boys? Where are the grown-ups?

  499. 499
    Hbin says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    Look, there are policy disputes and there are political disputes. Coalitions have both. I understand that and welcome it. The people around here don’t, and I get that too. When I was invited to blog here, I knew what Balloon Juice was. That’s cool.

    Why did you deign to blog here then if you have such a low opinion of the blog. Go back to your LOOG oh-so-intellectual perch, then.

    I don’t get it Cole. Why are you such a masochist you have to invite these emo boys who think they are oh-so-much-better-and-more-intelligent than this blog? Do you need to borrow a handcuff or something? At least that would be less painful for the readers of this blog.

    These emo boys (Kain + Freddie) thinks they are too good for this place, Cole. Don’t you get it yet??

  500. 500
    Hbin says:

    @Lolis:

    Be specific about what you think we should be doing. Right now you just sound like a condescending blogger, cause I have no idea WTF you have ever done. Kay walks the walk. How about you?

    He spends his time nurturing his martyr complex and picking fights with more established liberal bloggers for not being leftist enough. And I bet he thinks that’s important work.

  501. 501
    AxelFoley says:

    500+ posts.

    Who didn’t see that coming?

  502. 502
    NR says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Nor does it want to make me align myself with them in common cause.

    Guess what, Skippy? You are aligned with Norquist when it comes to the debt deal. He thinks it’s great and is really happy about it, just like you. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  503. 503
    Riggsveda says:

    Jesus Christ. I feel like I just stumbled across an open grave in Cambodia.

  504. 504
    Paul in KY says:

    @pbriggsiam: Thank you for the link. Interesting article.

  505. 505
    signifyingmnky says:

    @NR:

    Because approving of a plan that avoids a default is the same thing as actively working with a far right conservative to cripple a Democratic organization and undermine policy.

    Nice try.

  506. 506
    Paul in KY says:

    @jeff: I wouldn’t mind seeing the Veep do that, but I’ve come to conclusion that doing that is not Joe’s style. Especially with a Repub who is a former colleague. That forced civility stuff is pretty ingrained in someone who was in the Senate for 30 years.

  507. 507
    NR says:

    @signifyingmnky:

    actively working with a far right conservative to cripple a Democratic organization and undermine policy.

    And you just described Obama working with Bohener on an austerity plan in the middle of a recession. Congratulations.

  508. 508
    Hbin says:

    Just saw Freddie being smacked down by TNC at his blog for attempting to play the “you’re not leftist/liberal enough” blame-game with TNC the way Freddie was goading Yglesias and Klein. Too bad TNC is smart enough not to indulge him – “you have your own blog”. Ooohhhh, burn!!!!

    Not to mention the humiliation of the commenters at TNC’s blog not knowing who Freddie de Boer is and calling him “faux liberal troll”. LOL, I guess Freddie’s tireless effort to increase his reputation by picking fights with more established liberal bloggers hasn’t work at all. Faux liberal troll indeed!

  509. 509
    Mike D. says:

    I honestly don’t remember Hillary saying he was too left to elect. I remember her savaging him because his health care plan was not in fact “universal” (read: not Leftist enough, which was true, and on which he flip-flopped to be come more liberal by including an IM).

    I do accept that a lot of people took him to be a great progressive hope, and for those to whom that meant “a true progressive,” whatever that means to them, which he has proven not to be, I do have sympathy. I, too, took him to be a great progressive hope, not because I thought he was a “true progressive,” but because I thought he was a true talent, one who was likely to be elected, and progressive “enough.”

    People who care about such things and paid close attention to his words sniffed him out as not a “true progressive,” (or even progressive enough for them) from early on (I think we all know who I am talking about here). I didn’t like hearing that at the time, but neither could I disprove it; I simply knew I didn’t have the perspective on the relation between political hedging and eventual policy that Paul Krugman did. On the other hand, I also knew I was not as in need of highly principled progressivism in my candidate as he was saying he was. So I considered myself warned, checked a few boxes on whether what Obama was saying really was enough in line with my preferences to be able to support him, found that they were, and charged ahead.

    But we were warned: indeed, as Krugman would say, by the candidate himself. he said who he was, and (with the exception of a some clear flip-flops, which are indeed disgraceful) has more or less been that person. So yeah, I guess three years really does erase memories that much, or perhaps simply reinforces what were mistaken impressions from the get go. I trust Krugman to have gotten it right in real time more than I trust de Boer to be getting it right three years later, when what he has to say now is clearly just what needs to be true in order for him to be on the right side of some narrow point of record pursuant to his ongoing intra-Left factional axe-grinding enterprise.

  510. 510
    Mike D. says:

    I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this: when you attack the left, you empower the right. So many supporting Obama against left-wing critics—by attacking those left-wing critics, by the way, far more loudly and harshly than they attack the right wing—are trying to thread an absurdly thin needle. They want to attack leftists like myself in the service of attacking Republicans and supporting a president the American people permanently regard as very liberal. You think this country’s political system allows that kind of nuance?

    There isn’t a single link to one of these so-called attacks from a more moderate part of the left. There’s just a link to Sullivan’s attack – but Sullivan isn’t a liberal! At all! He wants Medicare and Social Security slashed! A ton!

    I don’t see where Obama is being pushed to be more moderate, or his left critics are being attacked by his defenders. Obama is just being defended by his defenders, which feels like an attack on the left critics to them, and which they see as a positive act of pushing him to the Right, since if everyone thought and acted like them, there would be more pressure for Obama to move to the left. But that doesn’t make his defenders’ actions intentional pushes to the right. They’re just defending him, because either they’re calling it as they see it and don’t think he could do much better, or because they just identify with him. Call those things that. Don’t call them “pushing him to be more moderate,” or “attacking Obama’s Left critics.” A defense against criticism is not an attack on the criticizer.

    If there are examples of people who actually consider themselves on the Left saying, “on balance I think Obama should be more moderate,” I’d love to see them. And I’d like to see some examples of these “attacks” on Obama’s critics. And not by Balloon Juice commenters, because a) they don’t matter, and b) they’re currently being trolled within an inch of their lives and really shouldn’t be judged by the comments they make after being repeatedly flamed in the way that they are being of late.

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