President Obama has written personal checks to those in need while Republicans continue to do jacksquat

ObamaCares

P031511PS-0669 As details emerge about the relentless negative coverage that President Obama receives as compared to every other presidential candidate1 (and even the non-presidential non-candidates — coughSarahPalincough) it is important, I think, to highlight positive coverage.

So here’s a bit of positive news reported by Jake Tapper: President Obama reads 10 letters from constituents every day; often times, he feels powerless to act in a direct manner to alleviate some of the pain that Americans are in, so he does what he can — he occasionally writes them a personal check:

In February 2009, ABC News was first to report on the 10 letters from constituents that the president is given each day.

Culled from the thousands the White House Correspondence Office receives each day from Americans who have taken the time to sit down and write to their president,” the letters “help him focus on the real problems people are facing,” said then-senior adviser David Axelrod.

Some of these, maybe two or three each day, the President responds to in his own hand.

Then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told us that before two different economic speeches, the President “pulled letters he has gotten and distributed them to staff, to understand what people were going through.”

The White House is now cooperating with a book about those letters, written by the Washington Post’s Eli Saslow, who says that sometimes the president has written a check to help his correspondents. “A few times during his presidency, Obama admitted, he had written a personal check or made a phone call on the writer’s behalf, believing that it was his only way to ensure a fast result,” Saslow wrote in the Post.

“It’s not something I should advertise, but it has happened,” the president told Saslow. “Some of these letters you read and you say, ‘Gosh, I really want to help this person, and I may not have the tools to help them right now. And then you start thinking about the fact that for every one person that wrote describing their story, there might be another hundred thousand going through the same thing. So there are times when I’m reading the letters and I feel pained that I can’t do more, faster, to make a difference in their lives.”

So to be clear, yesterday, Republicans voted against the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, a portion of President Obama’s American Jobs Act (which, by the way, every single Republican rejected last week.) The Teachers and First Responders portion of the American Jobs Act would have sent $35 billion to states to save the jobs of teachers, firefighters, and police.

The bill was to be funded by a .5 percent increase in taxes on the one-million-first dollar earned by millionaires — an increase which, as Vice President Biden explained, would result in a 500 dollar increase per $100,000 over $1,000,000 in the tax burden on millionaires, who on average earn $3M a year:

So while Republicans continue to filibuster any and all legislation that would actually create jobs (while refusing to come up with a plan of their own) because they have pledged never to raise taxes under any circumstances, and because their first priority is to make President Obama a one-term president even at the expense of the livelihoods of millions of Americans, President Obama is writing personal checks to his constitutents because he feels personally pained that he “can’t do more, faster, to make a difference in their lives.”

President Obama is gifting money to Americans because Republicans won’t do their fucking jobs.

So, I ask you, who are you going to vote for?

1 This post by Karoli over at Crooks and Liars is a must read: “Where I Rant About the ‘Liberal Media’, Imbalance, and Unrelenting Negativity”

[cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]

(edited to correct expression of tax increase)

85 replies
  1. 1
    Scott says:

    Just words.

    (/firebagger)

  2. 2
    smintheus says:

    I was slightly, but only slightly, surprised when this op-ed by Eli Saslow appeared at the WaPo on the 14th and garnered so little attention on line.

    The portrait of Obama that emerges, of an engaged and empathetic president, is so completely unlike George W. Bush that it’s difficult even to force your imagination to make the comparison. Maybe that explains why the Saslow piece tended to be ignored.

  3. 3
    gbear says:

    But.. but I’ve used coupons at Godfather’s Pizza!! Cain does it too!!!

    /wingnut

  4. 4
    Trurl says:

    I like to think he cut one such check to the al-Awlaki family to help pay for the burial of the pieces of al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son, who we killed either accidentally or as justified by the AUMF – though national security entitles them not to tell us which.

    It would be a classy gesture, I think.

  5. 5
    Cliff in NH says:

    500 dollar increase in the tax burden on millionaires, who on average earn $3M a year

    should be:

    500 dollar increase per $100,000 over $1,000,000 in the tax burden on millionaires, who on average earn $3M a year

  6. 6
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Cliff in NH: An even easier, and more effective IMO, explanation is it costs them less than a penny for every dollar earned over 1 million.

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    It would be a classy gesture, I think.

    So you’re a class guy. Take up a collection…

  8. 8
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @Trurl:

    Why don’t YOU do it, since you’re all torn up about it?

  9. 9
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t think that anyone would question that Obama is, fundamentally, a nice guy.

    That’s not the problem. And there’s a lot of problems. Will I vote for him in 2012? Yes. Will I feel good about it?

    In a word, no. Not at all. And just to get this inevitable reply out of the way, “better than the alternative” is not making me feel any better.

  10. 10
    ABL says:

    @Cliff in NH: i’ll change it. thank you. i’m terrible with numbers. :)

  11. 11
    Felinious Wench says:

    I keep telling myself that the Senate Republicans (and I include the 3 Assholes in that) are going to fall. I tell myself to look at the long game. But man, the short game is really disgusting to me today.

    Oh, and Trurl, weak. Go hard or go home.

  12. 12
    donnah says:

    My husband and I toasted with champagne Obama’s win for President and have been loyal to him ever since. I wept with joy during his Inauguration. I expected an immediate backlash from the Republicans and the news media, but never for the intensity and duration we’ve seen.

    I’ve read accounts of political hatred in the past, of deep divisions along party lines, but when it’s come down to the overall good of the American people, most times the bridges have been kept open. Not now. The Republicans are giving new meaning to “slash and burn” and that should come back to bite them in the future. But I don’t know if it will.

    I’m not the least bit surprised that the President has reached into his own pocket to help people. I can only imagine his frustration seeing his plans to help the country constantly thwarted by the selfish, hate-filled idiots on the Right.

    I wish we could have seen the Obama years come to fruition without the overriding damage done by the Republicans. I just hope we have four more coming in the next election to find out.

  13. 13
    Chat Noir says:

    So, I ask you, who are you going to vote for?

    Barack Obama. Voted for him in ’08 and will vote for him in ’12.

  14. 14
    gnomedad says:

    Socia list.

  15. 15
    r€nato says:

    so Obama is resorting to buying votes, just like the Chicago pol that he is.

    /wingnut

  16. 16
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Trurl: What’s the going rate on a Ziploc bag? I’ll kick down.

  17. 17
    Pococurante says:

    I slapped a “Yes We Did” bumper sticker on my car six months ago (right next to my “Support Conceal & Carry” sticker(*). A donation, my intended vote – my liberal guilt is assuaged.

    (*) This being Texas it’s amusing the number of confederate flag sticker wingnuts taking pictures of my bumper as I’m driving down the highway. The neo-hippie in me considers it my version of holding up mirrors to the ’60s tourist buses that cruised the Haight.

  18. 18
    Jenny says:

    I won’t be impressed until he starts posting on this blog and writes a personal check to the Red Sox!

  19. 19
    gbear says:

    @Chat Noir: Ditto.

  20. 20
    Augie says:

    It must be frustrating to be the President and be so utterly powerless like being unable to pardon wrongfully convicted criminals, commute wrongful death sentence, issue executive orders or prevent the prosecution of whistleblowers.

  21. 21
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Trurl:

    It would be a classy gesture, I think.

    Do you think it would be as classy an act as not implementing the CLASS Act, part of his own Fistoric (“fiercely” + “historic”) Affordable Care Act, which provides for such things as assistance to the old, infirm and sick for bathing and using the toilet while poor?
    .
    .

  22. 22
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @The Moar You Know:

    I don’t think that anyone would question that Obama is, fundamentally, a nice guy.

    And those innocent women and children he dronekilled won’t tell you any different.
    .
    .

  23. 23
    LTMidnight says:

    @Trurl: What stopping you from doing it, kid?

  24. 24
    piratedan says:

    @The Moar You Know: I don’t have a problem with Mr. Obama per se, I have a problem with all of the other crazy dumbfuck asshats the rest of us elect locally to represent us who appear to be so incredibly fucking clueless that they have no issues with fucking over millions of their fellow citizens to score partisan points or to adhere to a promise made to some trust fund simpleton who doesn’t even hold an elected office. mr. Obama has to work with that menagerie of fail in order to keep the country from eating itself and most of these folks don’t appear to live in anything that much resembles reality.

  25. 25
    Felinious Wench says:

    Man, who picked up the rock and let all the cockroaches out today? Is it just Friday, and no one wants to go to happy hour with our resident trolls?

    I find your bitterness….delicious.

  26. 26
    LTMidnight says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    And those innocent women and children he dronekilled won’t tell you any different.

    So where’s your bleeding moonbat heart for the tens of thousands of women and children dying in Uganda by the LRA and who needlessly die around the world each day?

  27. 27
    eemom says:

    Jeez, ABL — this is one I kind of wish you hadn’t posted here, just because I hate to see a simple act of human decency on Obama’s part turned into more fodder for the same old tiresome crowd of shit-eating trolls.

  28. 28
    The Moar You Know says:

    like being unable to pardon wrongfully convicted criminals

    @Augie: President can’t pardon people convicted in state courts. But you already knew that.

  29. 29
    The Moar You Know says:

    @piratedan: No longer able to buy your idea that he’s not the problem, everyone else is, although that “everyone else” is indeed a shit parade of fail is beyond argument. Tis true.

    But there are things, little tiny minor things he could do – or not do – and he’s not helping out there either. I’ll give you an example. His decision to turn the Justice Department loose on Californians WRT medical marijuana – something that will affect people in pain that I know personally – has turned my former enthusiasm for the guy into nothing more than a big “meh”. Hope he wins in 2012. And I’ll vote for him. But I’m not going to be very broken up if he doesn’t, because the differences between him and a guy like Mittens are, from where I sit, getting increasingly smaller every day.

  30. 30
    LTMidnight says:

    @eemom: Only in thread like this can you see the rare, exotic, so-called lefties with Stage 6 Obama Derangement Syndrome. you see, Stage 6 is the highest level and you only see it in racists and birthers.

  31. 31
    Yevgraf says:

    Moar better trolls, pleaze.

  32. 32
    The Moar You Know says:

    I hate to see a simple act of human decency on Obama’s part turned into more fodder for the same old tiresome crowd of shit-eating trolls.

    @eemom: So do I, but don’t blame ABL for the actions of a bunch of racist sheetwearers who hate anything and everything to do with black folk. I mean, look at the knucklewalkers who turn out for every single one of her posts. They don’t do this to any other frontpagers – just the black one.

  33. 33

    @Jenny: Red Sox? They don’t need money. They need a crack surgical team to remove their hands from around their throats.

  34. 34
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @LTMidnight:

    So where’s your bleeding moonbat heart for the tens of thousands of women and children dying in Uganda by the LRA and who needlessly die around the world each day?

    So where’s your bleeding moonbat heart for the 6 million Jews slaughtered by Adolph Hitler? Obviously, by your own “logic,” you must be pro-Holocaust. You need to look up the term “on topic.”
     
    The man said, “I don’t think that anyone would question that Obama is, fundamentally, a nice guy.” My response was focused on that exceedingly ridiculous statement (of which there is no shortage emanating from balloonbaggers).
    .
    .

  35. 35
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Yevgraf:

    Moar better trolls, pleaze.

    Cue The Moar You Know…
    .
    .

  36. 36
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I am going all brown-rice-and-tofu in a probably vain attempt to outlive the hacks, and watch proper historians to get a-hold of this man.

  37. 37
    stibbert says:

    thanks, ABL. also, what eemom said.

    if i had BHO’s job, i’d be alternating between episodes of manic raving & catatonic withdrawal. but Pres. Obama soldiers on, trying to do his best for us.

  38. 38
    piratedan says:

    @The Moar You Know: hey, not saying its all WIN! by any means. I think he should have closed Gitmo, I was upset that he didn’t pursue the banksters and the Bushies with the DOJ. Yet there are also inumerable small things that he has done that hardly get any pub that you have to glean from the chaff of our ongoing collusionary media fail.

    Things like simply meeting coffins of soldiers that get returned from overseas. Appointing a soldiers advocate to run military affairs, and issuing Congressional Medals of Honor again. Plus there’s backing the consumer credit protection agency along with what reforms he could manage. Signing Lily Ledbetter and the hate crimes legislation. I wonder how much different the chain of events might have been if Franken gets seated earlier, if Kennedy and Byrd don’t get sick and die. Do we then have a senate that’s allowed to overturn all the tedious partisan shit that McConnell and Kyl so effectively managed? It’s amazing that these fuckers can manage to use the tools of government so effectively and throughout their careers to not manage to pass much in the way that actually helps anyone other than the 1%.

    Is some of the the fault of Big O, yup, he didn’t choose wisely when it came to financial advisers and I hate to say it, but I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the partisan response his election created. I mean before he even signed a bill he was faced with so much vitriol, so much hatred, for who and what he was had to have been a bit of a shock I’d guess. Call him naive for thinking that Wall Street would be grateful for the help. Yet, like you, when I tote it all up I can’t help thinking that he still gives a shit, whereas his predecessor or his to be determined opponent, not so much.

  39. 39
    Libby's person says:

    @eemom:
    I know what you mean. It’s almost more discouraging than listening to R windbags. I, for one, am happy to give the man some simple credit for being a decent human being, just as I would salute anyone who takes it upon themselves to lend a helping hand when he hears about a person in need. It’s a simple thing that we all should do. It’s one indicator of character.

    Of course, obnoxious troll statements are another indicator of character. Not a good one.

  40. 40
    LTMidnight says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    So where’s your bleeding moonbat heart for the 6 million Jews slaughtered by Adolph Hitler? Obviously, by your own “logic,” you must be pro-Holocaust. You need to look up the term “on topic.”

    I think you’ve just confused yourself, kid. You’re confusing “on topic” with “non-sequitur”. To be completely “on topic” would be to question Obama generosity.

    Exactly what does drone attacks have to do with Obama writing personal checks to people?

  41. 41
    The Moar You Know says:

    Cue The Moar You Know…

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas: Right here, you racist piece of shit. Can I help you?

  42. 42
    Rob Wolfe says:

    @The Moar You Know: Just noting that IIRC she is NOT the only black front pager. She is just the only front pager that folks KNOW is black.

    Let the guessing begin.

  43. 43
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I think you’ll have to settle for historians bestowing sainthood on Obama 30 years hence. If nuke-creating, McCarthy-enabling, Japanese concentration camping, Dresden mass-murdering FDR is the current gold standard of “progressives”, it would actually be justice.

  44. 44
    Brian S says:

    I fully expect Eric, Son of Eric or some other right-wing nutsack will soon start a Tumblr demanding President Obama send them a motherfucking personal check to soothe their hurt fee-fees. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the jackasses in this very thread contribute to it.

  45. 45
    Brian S says:

    @Rob Wolfe: Zandar has written about being bi-racial, so that didn’t take much of a guess. Are there others?

  46. 46
    Joe says:

    In before some Republican says that it’s not really charity, because Obama knows nobody would ever cash a personal check from the President. They’ll all be scrapbooked, so they’ll cost him nothing.

  47. 47
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Rob Wolfe: Cole is black!?!?

  48. 48
    gbear says:

    @stibbert:

    if i had BHO’s job, i’d be alternating between episodes of manic raving & catatonic withdrawal. but Pres. Obama soldiers on, trying to do his best for us.

    As usual, The Onion has a story about this:

    Obama Tells Nation He’s Going Out For Cigarettes

  49. 49
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @piratedan:

    I think he should have closed Gitmo

    And we know Congress said no to that one.

  50. 50
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Brian S:

    I fully expect Eric, Son of Eric or some other right-wing nutsack will soon start a Tumblr demanding President Obama send them a motherfucking personal check to soothe their hurt fee-fees.

    Maybe we could convince Erick Son of Erick and his minions to send personal checks to Obama 2012 in protest. By the time they figured out what happened, the money would be long gone.

  51. 51
    Jenny says:

    @piratedan:

    I think he should have closed Gitmo

    So do I.

    But guess what. Super liberal icons Bernie Sanders and St. Feingold BOTH voted against it.

  52. 52
    piratedan says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): true, he had a choice to make on what he would spend his political capital on…If he gets a second term, I wonder if he’ll revisit it.

  53. 53
    Jenny says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    because the differences between him and a guy like Mittens are, from where I sit, getting increasingly smaller every day.

    Mittens wants to build a moat to drown brown people and Obama wants comprehensive immigration reform. Small difference, if you’re white.

    Mittens wants to continue DOMA and Obama wants to overturn DOMA. Small difference, if you’re straight.

    Mittens wants to more John Roberts and Obama wants to appoint more Ginsbergs. Small difference, if you’re financially isolated.

  54. 54
    kay says:

    @Joe:

    In before some Republican says that it’s not really charity, because Obama knows nobody would ever cash a personal check from the President.

    But they could cash it at any time, so he’ll never be able to let his balance go below X amount, or they’d have a better story: how the President’s personal check bounced :)

    What a nice story this is. I felt Bush hated us all, by the end. Remember how he stopped talking completely, and outsourced all speaking to others? Petulant. He hated the job.

    If he sends me a check, I’ll cash it, because it drives me insane when people sit on my checks. I don’t want to deal with this bookkeeping, it’s gone as far as I’m concerned, cash it already.

  55. 55
    boss bitch says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I don’t think that anyone would question that Obama is, fundamentally, a nice guy.

    Like hell. In every policy decision he’s made that the left does not agree with, they have viciously attacked his character. I’ve seen him called “morally bankrupt”, accused of not caring about the poor/middle class, sexist, homophobic, a liar, a murderer, etc.

  56. 56
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @kay: The thing is, think about what kind of straits these people must be in if the President of the United States feels moved to write a check to them? Must be awful.

    As much as they might like the souvenir, I doubt they’d keep it.

  57. 57
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    @Rob Wolfe: John Cole is black. And uppity.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    But I’m not going to be very broken up if he doesn’t, because the differences between him and a guy like Mittens are, from where I sit, getting increasingly smaller every day.

    IOW, you’re a straight white guy with a job, so the Republican program of banning contraception, breaking up gay families, and shitting on the unemployed isn’t going to affect you, so why should you care?

  59. 59
    boss bitch says:

    Awesome.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    The US Military has done some terrible things in the last ten years. And Obama has been President during nearly three of those years. Ergo, Obama is a brutal and bloodthirsty monster.

    Why didn’t Obama just dissolve the military entirely when he took office? Why does he continue in his failure to police a multi-million man army that has been recklessly murdering innocent bystandards since the Washington administration? What happened to the Obama I voted for, the one that road in on a Magical Unity Pony and promised to make sure no one in the US Government ever did anything bad again with a wave of his wand?

    I mean, just because I’m not privy to the intricate political details of White House politics or the various bureaucratic decisions made in the dozens of offices and sub-offices that make up one of the largest governments in the world, doesn’t mean I can’t hold Obama personally responsible for every bad decision and every judgmental error each and every one of the millions of federal employees makes every day.

    I voted for an end to everything I didn’t like in 2008, and every since then I have been served up nothing but disappointments. So rather than roll up my selves, delve into the details, get active, and support my pet cause-du-jure personally, I’m going to stomp my foot like a petulant child and threaten to withhold my likely-irrelevant-vote (btw, what’s up with the electoral college Obama?!) in the general election.

    Surely my blod-declared decision to give an imperceptible advantage to the Republican Presidential candidate in 15 months will accomplish what giving candidate Obama an imperceptible advantage 33 months ago failed to do. So suck it, Obama!

  61. 61
    Trurl says:

    Being called a murderer is one of the occupational hazards of killing thousands of civilians – as he he has done in his wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen – even if it was “a regrettable tragedy” each and every time.

  62. 62
    dogwood says:

    @Jenny:

    Mittens wants to build a moat to drown brown people and Obama want comprehensive immigration reform. Small difference, if you’re white.

    Perfectly stated.

  63. 63
    ruemara says:

    @Zifnab:

    you read my mind.

  64. 64
    triangular gutters says:

    Ah yes. The strategy of simply waiting for the business cycle to turn around and bring unemployment back up to 5%, without the need for any unpleasant class warfare or regulatory reform, did not come through as promised. “Look forward, not back” might have been a bad idea after all–at least economically. (Other rule-of-law follow-through never caught the interest of lobbyists or political advisors.)

    So, now for Plan B: start proposing some of the more popular economic policies. Since everybody seems pretty certain Republicans will block anything with the President’s name on it, back-channels can point out to donors that it’s for show. “No harm, no foul.” In fact, it’s probably even safe to split up the package of popular policies into individual pieces, daring the Republicans to oppose them one by one. Maybe you can even save some money on advertising if your opponents volunteer to star in your commercials.

  65. 65
    Norwester says:

    Nice that he cut a check to a few of the suffering 99%.

    But his political contributions will come from the multimillionaires whose tax cuts he saved back in 2010, in a fake “compromise” to extend unemployment benefits a few months. Then, he followed by the ONLY use of “Take it or leave it!” in his Presidency when he told the real Demo’s he was protecting the top 1%’s tax cuts, and they had to shut up, suck it up and buy in for his re-election.

    Any checks he cut to the peasants will be repaid 1,000x with the fees from speeches and wingnut welfare he’ll be getting from Goldman Sachs and Timmy Geithner’s other buddies when he leaves office, whether that be in 2012 or 2016.

    Voted for him in ’08, won’t ever make that mistake again. He killed any tiny sliver of populism in the Demo Party. RePukes represent the top 1%; Obama Demo’s the top 2%– everyone else is screwed until OWS gets bigger and stronger

  66. 66
    wrb says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Cole is black?

    You didn’t know??

  67. 67
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    Or the Wingnuts will say he’s not the first leader to do so:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._B._Bennett#Legacy

    While Bennett was, and is still, often criticized for lack of compassion for the impoverished masses, he stayed up through many nights reading and responding to personal letters from ordinary citizens asking for his help, and often dipped into his personal fortune to send a five-dollar bill to a starving family. The total amount he gave personally is uncertain, although he personally estimated that between the years of 1927-37 he spent well over 2.3 million dollars.

  68. 68
    wrb says:

    @Norwester:

    It’s fall, the nut trees are dropping their nuts. Many are landing here tonight

    I think Norwester is a pecan, Gutters a macadamia.

  69. 69
    wrb says:

    Trurl is a peanut that went off a long time ago, though

  70. 70
    Norwester says:

    Thanks, wrb, I’ve always been partial to pecans.

    Too difficult to actually address any of the points made, hunh? I’ll give you some help:

    I’m obviously not a logical thinker because in 2008 I voted for a President who promised “Hope” and “Change” and gave us Larry Summers and Timmy Geithner to run the economy (architects of the destruction of Glass-Steagall under Clinton and proud neoliberals) and enthusiastic Iraq war criminal Hillary Clinton to run foreign policy.

    I appreciate not being called a troll though. Obviously anyone who challenges Obama’s actual policies is a troll, while people who joke about gathering up the ashes of murdered 16-year old kids in Ziplocs are enlightened humanitarians.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Norwester:

    But his political contributions will come from the multimillionaires whose tax cuts he saved back in 2010, in a fake “compromise” to extend unemployment benefits a few months.

    You know, there are quite a few unemployed people who comment here. Should we ask them how “fake” those checks were that kept coming so they could continue to buy food and keep a roof over their heads?

    And, contrary to what you seem to think, the Bush tax cuts weren’t only continued for the top 1%. They were continued for everyone.

    Though at least you don’t seem to be under any illusions that Hillary would have totally done things differently. I’ll give you that much.

  72. 72
    piratedan says:

    @Norwester: hey, no one is claiming that Obama is the end all be all, far from it. I’d just like to know, who you think Hilary would have put in charge of Finance instead? Especially given Bill’s history with Wall Street? McCain? I think you would have been looking a fewer strings attached, not as many as Obama managed to latch onto the cash retroactively. I wonder if you have any insight into how much better the country would have been with Johnny Maverick in charge? Or Hilary, noted war criminal that she is?

    I’d love to hear about any realistic alternatives you might offer and any reason to believe that given the composition of the Congress (most especially the Senate) how much more would have or could have been done.

  73. 73
    LTMidnight says:

    @Norwester:

    Too difficult to actually address any of the points made, hunh?

    No kid, your points have been addressed to death. You just refuse to listen to anything but the sound of your own fart and think it’s Mozart.

  74. 74
    Lojasmo says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    See, your medical marijuana claim, debunked here earlier, is still being used why?

    I was JUST IN THE BAY AREA THIS WEEK, and there were plenty of legally operating dispensaries.

    Dispensaries that break the law are being closed down…rightfully so.

  75. 75
    triangular gutters says:

    @wrb: puts me in fine company; macadamias are from the 808 too.

    I’m pretty convinced the economy was seen as self-righting given a good push once. It wasn’t and a lot of people tried to point that out.

    As for the legislative strategery, my story works fine until/unless something passes. It could all be posturing. No way to tell from out here. After five years of Democrats scrambling to find fresh excuses why nothing was being fixed and we needed to send them more money to get “leadership” I ain’t gonna take stated good intentions at face value.

  76. 76

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    “McCarthy-enabling … FDR…” See, you lost me there. I don’t understand how Roosevelt in any way “enabled” McCarthy, as McCarthy got elected in 1946, a year and a half after Roosevelt died. (He ran, too, as it happens, in 1944, but lost the Republican primary to the sitting senator; are you saying Roosevelt somehow lent him a hand in that race?) I mean, what the hell should Roosevelt have done? Should he have had McCarthy kicked out of the navy in World War II? Should he have tried to get McCarthy expelled from law school, so he could never have become a judge and then used that to climb into the Senate?

    So I know it seems nitpicky to jump all over this one mistake, but you end up making yourself–and by extension your argument–look dumb when you can’t even get stuff like that right. And, while I can see–looking back–that interning Japanese Americans was wrong, and that bombing Dresden killed a lot of blameless civilians, and that nuclear weapons have been a pestilence for going on 70 years now, well, this is all looking back.

    What would you have done? We were fighting the nazis, for Christ’s sake. Hitler was going for nuclear bombs, too. What would have happened if he had gotten them first? Now I’ll give you the internment camps. I don’t have anything to say about them to mitigate what Roosevelt did. It should have been clear even then that it was wrong but he did it anyway. I’ll give you that.

    But to throw Dresden up and the Manhattan Project up today, when we know more about what was going on than Roosevelt knew at the time, I don’t see how you can blame him. Maybe things would have worked out better if he’d done something else, but he didn’t know that. He was doing the best he could at the time with what he knew then. There are things I’ve done that, looking back, I should have done some other way. I guess you could say that some of them would even qualify as dumb. But that’s today, looking back, knowing how it all turned out, and how what I did didn’t work as well as something else I chose not to do might have. I mean, shit, it’s easy as hell to take the test once you know all the answers, isn’t it?

    I don’t know why this fired me up the way it has; I know Roosevelt wasn’t flawless (you overlooked the Court packing, by the way, so you lose points for missing that easy pitch, too), but he did a pretty good damned job overall, at a time in this country’s history when anything less than “pretty damned good” might well have sunk us as a country. I think it’s cheap and small and whiny to pick out his mistakes and hold them up as his only legacy. It’s cheap and small and mean, and it reeks of what the firebaggers do here to Obama.

  77. 77
    Norwester says:

    Pirate Dan, you are the only person who addressed me in an actual “facts-based” manner, so I’ll respond to you. (But hey, LT, I just turned 52, and am old enough to recall the Vietnam War, so I find the use of “kid” to be rather condescending, grandpa. I bet the Spanish American war was glorious, though, so feel free to share your memories.)

    W/r/t Hillary or Johnny Maverick and his grifter running mate, I would never have endorsed or voted for such odious, sleazy exploiters. Obama was really the perfect shill candidate for our ruling elite, someone who gulled me and other “liberals” old enough to remember the pre-Reagan days when faux liberals didn’t cower under the couch and wet themselves when told to “Support the Troops”, vote for our “responsible” 8- and 10-year ongoing wars in Asia in hope that “stay the course” will someday work, etc. I honestly thought that as a black person and former “community organizer” he’d feel some sympathy for ordinary Americans and perhaps LEAD to improve things. Ha Haw! There won’t be any more FDRs, or even Harry Truman or Dwight D. Eisenhowers in the sham money-run “democracy” we have now.

    “Realistic alternatives”? Obama could have wrapped up the Iraq war a hell of a lot quicker, enacted real health care reform (single payer), strongly advocated for gay rights instead of taking a cowardly “evolving” (w/ the latest opinion poll) position, and not given away the store w/out even negotiating in the name of “bipartisanship” when he had huge Demo. majorities in both houses of Congress on numerous issues. Did he? Oh no, he di’nt!! Never meant to.

    Let me close w/ a quote from another ruling class member who did, from time to time, take the side of ordinary people (& not w/ payola checks), JFK: “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” (Think I recall that correctly, but feel free to google it.) Obama might have been the last U.S. President who had a chance to reform the system before it collapses under the weight of its blatant greed, corruption, militarism and racism (of the kind shown by people who joke about vaporizing Ay-rab kids on “liberal” websites.) (Oh yeah, don’t accuse me of exaggerating– didn’t the last poll show that 81% of stupid, complacent Americans– hell, even the moronic teahadists– know our gov’t is headed “in the wrong direction.”) As a student of history, I guarantee in 70 years Obama won’t be down in the history books as a real reformer– he’ll rank w/ Coolidge, apart from being the first non-white Pres.

    Viva Occupy Wall Street. Down w/ Teahadists and the Veal Pen.

  78. 78

    @Norwester:

    Dud, you have it all wrong. You say you’re a “student of history”. Good for you. Try reading up on your history of the last 3 years. The Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate for about a year and a half, after Franken took his seat and Specter had switched parties. And take a look at some of the names among those 60 Democrats: you’ll find names like Lieberman, Nelson (of Nebraska), Landrieu, Lincoln and Pryor. If any one of those had voted no, there would have been nothing.

    I would have loved to see a better bill. But those 5 boneheads were not about to vote for a better bill. (And along with those 5, you have other moderate Democrats to win over, like Conrad and Baucus and Tester.)

    Now, I know this has been beaten into the deep, dark earth, but here’s the thing: Right now, and for the last 30-odd years, it has taken 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate, because that’s how many senators have to vote to bring the bill up for a vote. Before you can win the real vote with 51, you have to win the procedural vote with 60.

    See if you can follow the math. Health care reform needed 60 votes to get over the procedural threshold. Democrats had 60 votes. No Republican was ever going to vote for the bill, so every Democrat had to vote yes on the procedural vote. Every one. That means Landrieu ahd to vote yes. Nelson had to vote yes. Pryor, Lincoln, Baucus, Conrad, Lieberman, all these senators had to vote yes. If any one had voted no, then the bill would have failed.

    I know I’m harping on this, but it’s important. You can’t understand anything about American politics if you don’t understand this, so I’m laying it out again, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you really don’t understand, and not that–as I believe is true about many here–you’re choosing not to acknowledge this truth.

    So, when you need every Democratic vote, and some of those Democrats really don’t want a strong bill–one that I, and I presume, you as well would call “good”–and when some others don’t care much one way or the other, then that gives those few Democrats the best footing. If Ben Nelson doesn’t want Thus and So, and doesn’t really care whether any bill passes at all, and you need his vote, you can’t live without his vote, then you need to pull Thus and So from the bill. It sucks, but that’s how things work now.

    If Lincoln doesn’t want some other Doohicky in the bill, and, like Nelson, doesn’t really care if anything passes at all, then you have to drop Doohicky as well. And so it goes for all of the other wavering Democrats. If each one, alone, can veto the bill–and each one in 2009 indeed could–then you need to give up everything that they don’t want or you won’t get the bill. It sucks. I don’t like it. But that’s life. It happens all the time.

    It happens to me. If I want one thing really badly, and my wife wants something else from me that I don’t want to give up, then, well, we have to work it out. Let’s say I have my heart set on some trip. I want it more than anything. To go to wherever, I need my wife to go along with it, since I’ll be leaving her with the dogs and our four year old while I’m away. Before she’ll let me go, she wants me to, say, stay for only one week rather than two. I don’t want to stay for one week. I really don’t. I want to go for two. But what the hell can I do? I need something from her, I need her say-so. And she doesn’t really care whether I get to go on this trip or not. She doesn’t lose anything if I have to stay home. So there isn’t much I can do. I have to go along with her wishes and have a one week trip. It’s either that or a no week trip.

    And, see, that’s the thing I think too many people somehow don’t get. The choice is not whether I get my one week trip or my two week trip; it’s whether I get the one week trip or no trip at all. It does me no good to hold out for a better offer, or try to outwait her or do anything else to get my way. I won’t get it. She doesn’t care if I get any trip at all. (All this is made up, by the way; my wife is not an inflexible asshole, and I am not, I hope, a selfish dick.)

    So cast Obama–or if you don’t trust his motives, then try Bernie Sanders or somebody you like better–as me, and Ben Nelson as my wife. I know, that’s a slur on my wife, but bear with me. Now cast the health care bill as the trip. Sanders wants his bill. Nelson really doesn’t. He’s willing to go along with it up to a point, but he’s going to put some restrictions on it. It means Sanders only gets half of what he wants. If he demands it all, Nelson just shrugs and walks away, and Sanders gets nothing. And because this is a Senate vote, there isn’t much Obama can do. He can threaten to withold his backing, but for somebody who represents Nebraska or Arkansas, that isn’t much of a threat. (Connecticut is something else altogether, which is why Lieberman isn’t running again.)

    You can ask if this is right or wrong, or whether it’s fair or not. I think a strong bill is a moral imperative, and so does Sanders. But as long as Nelson and Lincoln, et al., don’t, and as long as the Senate can’t pass a bill without their votes, then it doesn’t matter whether it’s right or fair or not. It just is.

    I look forward to a day when even politicians from Louisiana and Nebraska want strong health reform laws, but that day isn’t today. Bitching about how Nelson’s an ass or how we should primary him won’t do anything about that. Nebraska will not in 2012 send somebody to the U.S. Senate who wants a strong health reform law. Maybe someday, if this OWS keeps rolling and gets even stronger, Nebraska will, but it’s going to take time and hard work.

    I’m beaten this drum before, but it bears beating again: it takes time to change things. I believe a lot of liberals believed that 2008 was the hump and we got over it, and that we could all just sit back and let Obama do all the hard work. It doesn’t work like that. No one person can change this country alone; it’s going to take millions of us, all working, all waiting, all being willing to see things slow down or even slide backward now and then, without giving up, without throwing our toys all over the room, without saying “Fuck it, if you won’t play by my rules, I’m leaving!” In short, it’s going to take us behaving like grownups. Can we do that? Are there enough grownups? I sure as hell don’t know. But I hope so, since if we can’t get it together and deal with the world as it is and not as we’d like it to be, then we’re all fucked. And I don’t want to be fucked, so I ask you: Be a grownup.

  79. 79
    LTMidnight says:

    @Norwester:

    I honestly thought that as a black person and former “community organizer” he’d feel some sympathy for ordinary Americans and perhaps LEAD to improve things.

    In other words, as a black person, you expected Obama to think a certain way, act a certain way, believe a certain way, and behave a certain way.

    You are aware that this is racism in its purest form, right?

  80. 80
    piratedan says:

    @Too Many Jimpersons (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): one small yet important quibble… the actual 60 vote majority window was really only about six weeks with elected senators.

    Franken was finally sworn in around the end of the first week of July (thanks to the holiday and Mr. Coleman’s intransigence) and Kennedy was dead by Mid to late August and was incredibly sick to even show up during the last two months. Even after his seat had an appointment, that only lasted until a special election was scheduled and by that time Byrd’s health was failing.

  81. 81
    LTMidnight says:

    @Norwester:

    “Realistic alternatives”? Obama could have wrapped up the Iraq war a hell of a lot quicker, enacted real health care reform (single payer), strongly advocated for gay rights instead of taking a cowardly “evolving” (w/ the latest opinion poll) position, and not given away the store w/out even negotiating in the name of “bipartisanship” when he had huge Demo. majorities in both houses of Congress on numerous issues. Did he? Oh no, he di’nt!! Never meant to.

    How many times on the campaign trail did Obama say “I will be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting into Iraq”?

    I stopped counting at 30.

    Are you aware that “single payer” isn’t the best universal health care system. The top ranked universal health care, according to the World Health Organization, is the system in France (which is not single payer), whereas countries like the UK and Canada with single payer are 18th and 30th respectively.

    Thus showing how short-sighted people like you can be.

    Obama has been the biggest gay rights president ever. Last time I checked, a person doesn’t have to convert to Islam in order to be for Muslim rights. Likewise Obama doesn’t having to be gung ho for gay marriage to believe gay people deserve rights.

    And you still believe Boehner got his 98%? Get a clue.

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    Flugelhorn says:

    Awww. How Sweet.

    Fuck Obama.

  84. 84
    oregonmom says:

    @Hill Dweller: So, I think of it as one penny per two dollars above one million… or, do I have this right?… $10,000 on $2,000,000! Gee, that might cost “them” an evening at the coast.

  85. 85
    Hoosierpoli says:

    @The Moar You Know: I pray the day never comes that you rue that comment. The difference between a Republican suit who will sell anything he can get his hands on to the lowest bidder and a president who will, at worst, tread water for four years, should have been made CRYSTAL clear during the Bush nightmare. How quickly we forget.

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