Sad Songs, Sold Souls, Same Silliness

There’s very little room for misinterpretation of Jon Chait’s latest NY Mag piece, if you go by the title:

How Obama Tried to Sell Out Liberalism in 2011

So, yeah.  For those of you keeping all hands and arms inside the boat on this, the short version is Chait completely buys this weekend’s Kaplan Special on the President being at total fault in the debt ceiling debate last year for not rejecting the GOP out of hand and just using his Green Lantern ring to create a deal and tell the GOP take it or else.  When it became clear the GOP wouldn’t accept any deal short of 100% of what they wanted, it was the height of liberal idiocy to continue down the path of good faith.  This constitutes, let’s see here, that “Obama’s disastrous weakness in the summer of 2011 went further toward undermining liberalism than anybody previously knew”.

Chait argues that President Obama wanting a deal — any deal, mind you — led him to treat the GOP as good faith partners when they were clearly not.  Republicans, he goes on to say, were going to screw POTUS and the country no matter what Obama did.  This is where Chait’s argument turns into purist whining:  There was nothing President Obama could have done that would have changed the outcome of the GOP screwing us over (indeed, the GOP is now signaling that it will simply ignore the debt deal), and at the same time he didn’t do enough to change the outcome.  It’s just meaningless stupidity, brought about by the “liberal” Washington Post unloading this hit piece on the President, and Chait absolutely takes the bait, re-fighting the same arguments we had in 2010 and 2011 about “but if Obama had done THIS and LISTENED TO HOW SMART I AM…” five minutes after saying there was nothing he could have done.

There’s nothing productive about this civil war re-enactment other than Chait scratching his own “Tell Obama what to do” itch that so many of our professional pundit class seem to suffer from.  But generating that itch was the entire point of the Kaplan piece.  Chait performed admirably, attacking the President from the left.  After all, attacks from the right aren’t working too well, since the wingers keep putting most of their ammo into their own feet.  Whenever the left is winning, we have to be demoralized into our own worst enemies, and we’re damn good at it.

It keeps pissing me off that we’re really going to go through the same self-flagellation over this when we should be concentrating on taking back the House, keeping the Senate, and not losing the White House to any of the GOP dipsticks.  Instead, we’re just going to bash ourselves in the gonads until the GOP crawls across the finish line.  Awesome.  Thanks, Jon.

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204 replies
  1. 1
    pragmatism says:

    every once in a while journalists have to make a broder sacrifice to teh Village. likely causes: lack of spine or job protection. see, Marshall, Josh.

  2. 2
    cmorenc says:

    I say let these purity ponies like Chait go to the alternative parallel universe where Ralph Nader won a stunningly unexpected upset in the 2000 presidential election and successfully cajoled Congress into enacting every Progressive wet dream.

    The rest of us are stuck in this universe where the only realistic alternative in 2012 is Obama or a really dark, evil abyss of the sort where Lord Voldemart successfully killed Harry Potter and Rick Santorum is in charge of the Death Eaters.

  3. 3
    Ben Franklin says:

    Obama is a pragmatist. He gets what he can, then moves on. Just like the Bankster deal.

  4. 4

    Cheer up, Zandar. This asshole has only one vote. And very little influence. How many people have you heard say, “I don’t know how I’ll vote. I’ll have to check with Chait and get back with you.”

    Por nada.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    I don’t see Chait’s piece as defending the Left so much as defending Jon Chait and the Professional Left who wish in some deep part of their hearts that Wingnut Welfare extended across the aisle more vigorously.

    This reads like a “we have a Wurlitzer too!” moment by a self-important Villager. Or does he think he helps the poor when he does this and gets paid good money?

  6. 6
    Schlemizel says:

    The problem is I believe there were several things the President could have done to at least frame the debate so that when the inevitable GOP clusterfuck came he could have made some hay on the deal. Thats not to say he would have gotten a better deal last time but if the traps had been laid, as a few were, the black eye the GOP took might have affected the next debate. Since the last was not a loser for them expect the next to be identical at least from their side.

    That said there has to be a distinction drawn between what was possible and how the possible should have been managed. The obvious take away, for the average voter, from that distinction shuld be clearly made that electing more and better Dems is the answer not the problem.

  7. 7
    Emma says:

    I no longer read “analysis” or “opinion” pieces from so-called centrists or liberals appearing in regular news outlets. I have never seen such a bunch of whiners in my entire life.

    I make an exception for Krugman when he’s talking economics. And ye god, HOW I WISH Ta-Nehisi Coates could have a megaphone as loud as Chait has. That guy can think rings around all of them and then phrase it all beautifully.

  8. 8
    wrb says:

    I guess it is touching that they have such belief in the president’s super powers.

    They voted for the superhero in their imaginations.

  9. 9
    Mino says:

    I don’t blame Obama for what Blue Dogs were all too eager to do. The jury is still out as far as what kind of a liberal Obama is, given what he has to work with.

    But you are absolutely right, Dems should frame this as a mandate election. Pick yur poison, folks. Freedom! or FEMA, FDA, firetrucks, etc. Yu know, all that government stuff we whine about paying for.

  10. 10
    wrb says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Since the last was not a loser for them expect the next to be identical at least from their side.

    It was a loser. They took a major hit to their popularity.

  11. 11
    Mino says:

    @Linda Featheringill: That’s gonna hurt.

  12. 12
    kansi says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    THIS! Who cares what one dimwit says? Very few people read him, and even fewer would have their votes changed because of him. I would ordinarily agree that the left can be our own worst enemies, but the terrifying GOP has left sane Americans with little choice and absolutely no protest (aka Nader, et al) votes to cast.

  13. 13
    kindness says:

    Let’s all be honest about another thing too though. The media, those writers and talking heads out there, they may claim to be liberals but that doesn’t make them one automatically.

    Chiat seems to want to wank his junk in public with this piece. It says way more about Chiat than it does about the Obama Administration. And I agree with Chiat that Obama shouldn’t have expected reasonableness from Republicans. But that in no way means that Chiat isn’t an idiot trying to show off his stuff this way.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    Chait really needs to go somewhere and sit down.

  15. 15
    c u n d gulag says:

    Ah, more from the “Liberal Purity Police.”

    There are e main prizes, and a 4th one down the road:
    The White House.
    The House.
    The Senate.

    And, finally, the SCOTUS!

    Keep your eyes on those prizes, or else we may wake-up one day in a Supreme Court sanctioned “The United Dominionist Christian Capitalist (read: Fascist) State of America.”

    Time to rally ’round the flag, kids!
    The other side’s rallying ’round the Bible.

  16. 16
    Ben Wolf says:

    The President was desperate and negotiated a bad deal which the Republicans fortunately rejected because it wasn’t bad enough. The best that can be said of Obama was that he was politically incompetent and a naif. He screwed up and it happens to the best of us.

    The question is: has he learned from his mistake and from the failure of his centrist, pragmatic “uniter” shtick.

  17. 17
    ornery_curmudgeon says:

    So, Chait is wrong. He was a senior editor at The New Republic. Woo. Of course he’s wrong.

    There must surely be a better way to permanently discredit pretend-liberal ‘institutions’ like the New Republic, so we can quit being lead into circular firing squads.

    There does not seem to be any way for ‘progressive’ front-pagers of any description to stop inciting internecine warfare, however. We can probably blame Nader for that, also.

    Too.

  18. 18
    Ben Franklin says:

    And, finally, the SCOTUS!

    KAGAN ! Our Souter…

  19. 19
    Tom Q says:

    @Schlemizel: How was the debate not a loser for the GOP? Their numbers tanked horribly, and when Obama challenged them directly shortly afterward — on the jobs bill, and the payroll tax extensions — he clobbered them. You could make the argument that by going as far as he did rhetorically WITHOUT EVER SACRIFICING ANYTHING IN REALITY, Obama grabbed the high ground and won the trust of those low-information middle-ground voters, who are going to provide him with significant margins in the 2012 re-election.

    All the “history” here involves mind-reading — Chait, and whatever Kaplan reporting he relies on, assuming knowledge of what Obama INTENDED to do, and being angry about it. Only Barack truly knows what he’d actually have done, push come to shove, and any Beltway conventional wisdom about it is as meaningless as all other Beltway CW (like, Hillary is unstoppable for nomination).

    It’s a sad thing, but I just assume most of what I read in mainstream newspapers is what a bunch of ignorant wankers have agreed among themselves is the truth, which has no relation to actual fact.

  20. 20
    Linnaeus says:

    It’s fine if folks don’t like/disagree with this particular piece of Chait’s. But if one looks at his work in its totality, I don’t think one can call him a purist at all.

  21. 21
    SenyorDave says:

    Maybe Obama and Biden could get together and activate their superpowers to force the GOP to compromise. I could see it now:

    Supertwin powers Activate

    Obama: Shape of a wooly mammoth
    Biden: Form of a tidal wave

    Together they could have the force to get Boehner to sign the deal.

    It could happen that way just as realistically as negotiating with Boehner and Cantor.

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mino:

    But you are absolutely right, Dems should frame this as a mandate election.

    If only that worked, but everyone knows there’s no such thing as a Democratic mandate. The Republicans get a mandate if they have 50% + 1, or even if they have <50% plus 5 of 9 in the Supreme Court, but the Democrats can never, ever have a mandate no matter their margin of victory. If Obama wins and the Democrats keep control of the Senate and win back the House, we'll still be a Center Right Nation and Obama will still have to pray at the altar of bipartisanship or be an evil dictator.

  23. 23
    ornery_curmudgeon says:

    @kindness: The media, those writers and talking heads out there, they may claim to be liberals but that doesn’t make them one automatically.

    Interesting idea … you seem to have discovered a hidden secret of our times. Sure this seems obvious, but the blind media squirrels can’t ever quite see it.

    Or if they see the truth in one post, they forget it by the time of writing the next.

  24. 24
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    If we end up with a Republican president in 2012 I will know who to blame.

  25. 25
    danimal says:

    My $0.02…Critique the president for the deals he accepted, and ignore the whining about the deals he didn’t accept.

    This just seems like a good faith way to live in the real world. We really don’t know what Obama was going to settle for, if anything, in 2011. And it really doesn’t matter anymore.

  26. 26
    ppcli says:

    Chait’s article is just silly. If Obama wanted “an agreement, any agreement” he could have just accepted what the Republicans were offering, period. (Though even then they probably would have backed up and demanded more stuff, no doubt.) In fact, when it became clear that any compromise would be rejected, Obama offered something which was so close to what they claimed to want that their obstructionism became clear. [And what if they actually accepted? There would be lots of opportunities downstream to throw a wrench in.]

    If I recall correctly, this was the moment when the Republican strategy of obstruct at all costs (which of course had been clear all along) became *so* obvious that even committed Villagers couldn’t deny it. Net plus to Obama.

    I often admire Chait’s stuff on the topic of University of Michigan athletics, but he has not met that standard here.

  27. 27
    AA+ Bonds says:

    other than Chait scratching his own “Tell Obama what to do” itch that so many of our professional pundit class seem to suffer from.

    Um this is the duty of every U.S. citizen

  28. 28
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @cmorenc:

    I say let these purity ponies like Chait go to the alternative parallel universe FDL where Ralph Nader won a stunningly unexpected upset in the 2000 presidential election and successfully cajoled Congress into enacting every Progressive wet dream.

    FDL, Alternative Parallel Universe = Same Thing.

  29. 29
    Lev says:

    I find this interesting. Chait is, by most standards, a pretty ardent O-bot. He wrote a rather lengthy article about why liberals can never be satisfied with a Democrat in the White House, and has regularly praised Obama for his accomplishments. He’s, if anything, the polar opposite of Jane Hamsher, and frequently defends the president in picking fights. So if he’s got a gripe with Obama, it should be taken at least somewhat seriously.

    Instead, we have Balloon Juice frontpagers dismissing the source with their best Republican anti-media impressions (even though nothing in there was very new except for that the $800b in revenue was imaginary–everything else has been reported elsewhere), acting as though the problem is over (it isn’t, the debt ceiling is still in place), and acting as though any criticism of the president is a betrayal of America. I had enough of that during the Bush years, thank you. Obama has many great accomplishments, but if you think cutting trillions out of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for nothing is just something that should be forgotten, just don’t be surprised when a second-term Obama gets something like the same deal for real.

  30. 30
    Jay B. says:

    @Linnaeus:

    No any criticism of the president at all automatically makes you into a purist, like Jon Chait and Kevin Drum. Wild liberals both, so utterly enthrall to the impractical I…Oh fuck it. It’s literally insane to call either of them anything other than the most milquetoast liberals, but they each dared to say that something the president did was less than perfect (given the immense political limitations of the Presidency and the massive popularity of deficit reduction and cuts to Social Security) and so they are now on the same level as Ralph Nader. It’s geometric logic!

  31. 31
    Tractarian says:

    You could make the argument that by going as far as he did rhetorically WITHOUT EVER SACRIFICING ANYTHING IN REALITY, Obama grabbed the high ground and won the trust of those low-information middle-ground voters

    Shhh! If the hippies ever get wise to this, they’ll start showering Obama with praise! And then, you can say goodbye to your precious low-information middle-ground voters!

    In all seriousness, I just have to shake my head and sigh when I read all these “liberals” complaining about Obama’s “political incompetence”. We’re talking about the same Obama that, last time around, beat an inevitable front-runner with universal name recognition and an unlimited campaign budget, then got 69 million people to vote for him in the general election.

    I’m not saying the guy is incapable of making a mistake, but he has most definitely earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to political decision-making – and all this WaPo piece does is sow seeds of doubt.

    I only wish every Democratic presidential candidate in my lifetime was this incompetent.

  32. 32
    Clime Acts says:

    Zandar, you are so willfully clueless.

    You are a good writer, but so many of your posts are composed from a the perspective of an blind Obama loyalist that they are irrelevant.

    You see, Chait apparently doesn’t see his job as supporting and re electing Barack Obama no matter what. He chooses here to write about something that happened, without making the goal of his piece to elicit unquestioning support for O.

    It’s called journalism. It is kind of useful.

    You should try doing the same sometime.

  33. 33
    MikeBoyScout says:

    we should be concentrating on taking back the House, keeping the Senate, and not losing the White House to any of the GOP dipsticks.

    I’m with you!
    Let’s concentrate on how we can work together to motivate voters throughout our nation so that we take back the House, gain in the Senate and keep the White House.

    I love the snark and outrage as much or more than any of us, but you’re right. We need to keep our eyes on the prize or suffer disastrous consequences.

  34. 34
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Yall should really critique the President from the left because it gives him cover

    It’s your patriotic duty as I see it

  35. 35
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Why oh why can’t Obama be more like that great liberal palladin LBJ, who as everyone knows[1] signed so much liberal legislation into law during 1967 (i.e. right after the GOP cleaned our clocks in the 1966 midterm elections)?

    [1]as everyone knows, aka what actually happened is the exact opposite of the stated premise.

  36. 36
    kd bart says:

    There’s still time to draft Dennis Kucinich for 2012. Only he can save us!!!

  37. 37
    Ben Franklin says:

    I

    nstead, we have Balloon Juice frontpagers dismissing the source with their best Republican anti-media impression

    We have seen the enemy; and become, like them.

  38. 38
    PeakVT says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon: Legitimacy has nothing to do with the ongoing presence of TNR, Colmes, and the like. They’re useful to right-wing and mainstream news organizations, so they will continue to be part of our public discourse.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    mk3872 says:

    Also known as “HuffPost Bait” as his piece with the eye-catching title got prominent play on HuffPo for over 24 hours. Congrats, Jon!

  41. 41

    I find the armchair generaling of political negotiations baffling. People who have no experience dealing with congress are constantly haranguing a man who does it every day and has delivered amazing results, because they’re SURE his method just can’t work. Obama delivered on the ACA, finreg, and repeal of DADT, major pieces of legislation congress was always pissy about. The GOP held the US economy hostage and wanted badly to pull the trigger, and Obama over and over talked them into accepting a pile of glass beads. As for ‘framing the debate’, raising taxes on the rich is popular for the first time in thirty years, and the GOP’s approval numbers have tanked while Obama’s remain steady throughout years of ugly politics. The results speak for themselves, but DAMN do a bunch of not-even-amateurs think they’re better salesmen than he is.

  42. 42
    TexasDan says:

    @Jay B.:

    How Obama Tried to Sell Out Liberalism in 2011

    != “less than perfect”. I think that’s, you know, the point.

  43. 43
    Tractarian says:

    @Clime Acts:

    You are assuming that anyone who criticizes Obama is doing so in good faith and without prejudice; and anyone that defends him is just doing so out of “blind loyalism” and “unquestioning support”.

    Yeah, someone is willfully clueless here – and it’s not Zandar.

    @Lev:

    if you think cutting trillions out of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for nothing is just something that should be forgotten, just don’t be surprised when a second-term Obama gets something like the same deal for real

    “Cutting trillions out of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for nothing” should be forgotten about, because it never happened. It’s as if some people have never heard of strategically proposing a deal that you know will be rejected. And even if Obama genuinely wanted that deal, there was no way it it survives the Senate.

    This was about optics, pure and simple. You may not like the optics, but the fact is, optics is all we’re left with after last summer. Not the best outcome, but it sure ain’t “cutting trillions out of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for nothing”.

  44. 44
    4tehlulz says:

    Obama sold out liberalism by not allowing the Republicans to destroy the country, Social Security, and Medicare.

    Only by destroying the country, Social Security, and Medicare can we hope to save them.

  45. 45
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The results speak for themselves, but DAMN do a bunch of not-even-amateurs think they’re better salesmen than he is.

    I, for one, give him his due. He is the Jackie Robinson of Politics. That does not mean he is above critque.

  46. 46
    fasteddie9318 says:

    I hate to participate in refighting the Great Liberal Bloggy Wars of the 2000s, but hey, Jon Chait attacked Obama from the left and did it in kind of a dumb way. So the fuck what? For one thing, Linda was spot on that Chait just ain’t that big a fish to fry, and for another, once again we stray into the “Must Never Utter a Discouraging Word About the President from the Dirty Left” territory. You don’t like the article, which I agree was poorly conceived as most of these Green Lantern pieces are, then attack the article. But tacking on shit like this:

    It keeps pissing me off that we’re really going to go through the same self-flagellation over this when we should be concentrating on taking back the House, keeping the Senate, and not losing the White House to any of the GOP dipsticks. Instead, we’re just going to bash ourselves in the gonads until the GOP crawls across the finish line.

    is fucked up and bullshit. I don’t like Chait as a rule, and this piece is pretty poor even by his standards, but in general criticism of President Obama from the left is A Good Thing. Because if Barack Obama, and I like the guy relatively speaking, but if his centrism becomes the Leftmost Permissible Pole of American Politics, we are all triple-swirl hot-fudge-covered FUCKED with a cherry on top. So, really, I’m glad when I see that there are people out there who are critical of this president from a liberal perspective, because if there weren’t, then I’d worry even more than I do about how far to the right we’ve lurched.

    And, really, Zandar, if Jon Chait’s feet-stamping in the widely circulated heavily quoted broadly read, the, um, printed pages of New York Magazine, which, of all the magazines out there, is definitely one of them, is seriously going to contribute to the GOP crossing the finish line in November, then this administration has some serious, serious problems.

  47. 47
    Cat Lady says:

    I’ve said a million times to anyone who will listen that Obama’s conciliatory nature is his best quality, and the one that serves him best in the face of Republican nihilism. He always seems so reasonable, and that’s why his relatively high personal approval rating has remained steady – he has denied his opponents on the right the ammunition that would ultimately hurt him the most – the perception that he’s angry and ideological. His critics on the left can be safely ignored because they don’t have his back, ever, because they’re always threatening to stay home or primary him. The action is in the middle where the independents are, and when they do pay attention to what’s going on politically, Obama always, always, always appears to be the only adult in the room, giving the lie to the extreme characterizations of him that the wingnut wurlitzer spews, and has to crank to 11 every day because he’s denying them his lashing out. The man is the coolest cat I’ve ever seen in the political ring.

  48. 48
    mk3872 says:

    All pundits and bloggers know more about politics and negotiating than Obama, didn’t you realize that?

    That became perfectly clear the moment that Obama was sworn in.

    The egos and Monday morning QBing of DC writers is nauseating.

  49. 49

    @Ben Franklin:
    Correct. However, he’s deluged with critique that is based on lies or imaginary theories of how government should work, and all such critiques deserve to be stomped on.

  50. 50
    Jesse in Jersey says:

    The tag line to the Chait piece is that the White House says the same crappy deal is still on the table. If that’s true then all the denial in the world won’t change the fact that in the area of economic justice Obama is selling out liberalism.

  51. 51
    Jesse in Jersey says:

    The tag line to the Chait piece is that the White House says the same crappy deal is still on the table. If that’s true then all the denial in the world won’t change the fact that in the area of economic justice Obama is selling out liberalism.

  52. 52
    david mizner says:

    Yes, this story tells us nothing much new. President Obama was willing to cut Medicare and Social Security.

    The new and scary item is that his offer is “still on the table.”

  53. 53
    Jay B. says:

    @TexasDan:

    Did you even read the article? Have you ever read anything else by the guy? Chait has been a hippie-punching ball washer almost as much as most of you. The article in the Post, which outside of the op-ed swamp actually does cover the inside politics beat pretty well, scared the shit out of Chait. What the Post reported was that Obama was serious about making the deal. Something it seemed abundantly clear at the time to all but the willfully deluded. He wasn’t calling the Republican’s bluff, he was capitulating to it — and even then it wasn’t good enough. We got absolutely lucky.

    Ignore that reality at your peril.

  54. 54

    @Jesse in Jersey:
    When Obama actually sells out economic liberalism, let me know. Hasn’t happened yet, and he’s had the best opportunities any president could ever hope for. ‘He’s going to cut Social Security THIS time, I KNOW it!’ is not a convincing argument.

  55. 55
    Lynn Dee says:

    I agree. As if there weren’t enough reasons to be sick at heart at what looks to be an ugly election coming up.

  56. 56
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @mk3872:

    All pundits and bloggers know more about politics and negotiating than Obama, didn’t you realize that?
    __
    That became perfectly clear the moment that Obama was sworn in.
    __
    The egos and Monday morning QBing of DC writers is nauseating.

    Personally, I’m nauseated by the suggestion that we shouldn’t second-guess politicians

  57. 57
    Tractarian says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    I think you’re right.

    For the same reason that Zandar wants Chait to lay off Obama and train his fire on Republicans instead, we might want Zandar to lay off Chait and train his fire on, say, Mitt Romney or Rush Limbaugh instead.

    That said, I’m not aware of any blogger on the planet that has read something on the internet, formed an opinion that it is wrong, and then resisted the urge to write about it!

  58. 58
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    That is also correct. But, then there are those who react strongly to any critique, justified, or no.

  59. 59
    wrb says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Well said

  60. 60
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Because if Barack Obama, and I like the guy relatively speaking, but if his centrism becomes the Leftmost Permissible Pole of American Politics, we are all triple-swirl hot-fudge-covered FUCKED with a cherry on top.

    Aaamen, aaaamen, aaaamen, amen, amen

  61. 61
    matt says:

    Chait’s just doing his job as a spineless liberal columnist.

  62. 62
    Clime Acts says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    The President was desperate and negotiated a bad deal which the Republicans fortunately rejected because it wasn’t bad enough. The best that can be said of Obama was that he was politically incompetent and a naif. He screwed up and it happens to the best of us. The question is: has he learned from his mistake and from the failure of his centrist, pragmatic “uniter” shtick.

    You’re not supposed to write such things here. It is shockingly honest.

  63. 63
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Tractarian:

    For the same reason that Zandar wants Chait to lay off Obama and train his fire on Republicans instead, we might want Zandar to lay off Chait and train his fire on, say, Mitt Romney or Rush Limbaugh instead.

    Yes, absolutely. But since I think Zandar’s reason for wanting Chait to lay off Obama is bullshit, I won’t make the same demand of him.

  64. 64
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Remember that bit about FDR and how he said “now make me”, well, you have to make them, politicians

  65. 65
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The other issue here as many have noted is that Chait is a Serious Person left-basher and this business gives him cover, when what you should be doing is giving Obama cover by pushing him from the left

  66. 66
    Clime Acts says:

    @Lev:

    You can’t say this here.

  67. 67
    grape_crush says:

    Instead, we’re just going to bash ourselves in the gonads until the GOP crawls across the finish line.

    Probably a little exaggeration on the impact Chait’s article will have, dontcha think?

    Obama would have likely given up more than was prudent – if to in order to get a deal done, even if it gave the Great Society a swift kick in the ‘nads. We all lucked out in that the Teabagger contingent was batshit crazy enough to blow up the grand bargain, making Obama look like the rational party in the negotiation process.

    Again, lucky. I don’t necessarily disagree with Chait’s opinion, and appreciate that he’s countering the idea that Obama fumbled the Grand Bargain with the idea that the Grand Bargain was something that Obama should not have been doing.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    The scary part isn’t what happened, it’s what _could_ have happened, because that’s obviously what the intention always was all along. Good thing his incompetence trumped his perfidy, I say! And the other scary part isn’t what Obama did, it’s how little he tried to do things that everyone knows couldn’t happen and wouldn’t help, because that’s the most important part of politics.

  69. 69
    pete says:

    And now a note for those who like to attack Kevin Drum: He thinks Chait is full of it on this one. My point being that I neither expect nor want to agree with everything any particular pundit says — and yes, that includes Zandar. Chait has his points, and sometimes he screws up. I think Drum is more often interesting, but sometimes I disagree with him too. Big tent, people, gotta have a big tent.

  70. 70
    eemom says:

    I knew Chait was a vacuous media whore before knowing Chait was a vacuous media whore was cool.

    And I agree with fasteddie and others — but this is just the latest in a long series of ZOMG the sky is falling Obama’s gonna lose we’re all gonna DIE posts by Zandar. Fer fuxsake dude — are you a concern troll, or are you seriously this much of a Chicken Little?

  71. 71

    @Ben Franklin:
    It reads that way, but I put it to you that the phrasing that makes it sound like that is based on frustration. When a man you support and think is doing a good job is assaulted over and over with lies by people who are supposedly on his side, you start to get angry and question the motivation of the criticism. Particularly, the least reasonable critics are by far the most vocal on this blog (and everywhere), and since debating in good faith the merits of Obama’s performance doesn’t work, his defenders are left with ‘Are you people deliberate ratfuckers, or what?!’ There is room for reasonable debate about Obama’s performance, but the reasonable critics are lost in the screaming. There is room for refuting hysterical and counterfactual accusations as well, bear in mind, but those are met with ‘Deluded Obot!’ Alas, it’s the tragedy of the commons. A handful of trolls make it hard to hold a reasonable discussion.

  72. 72
    Clime Acts says:

    @Tractarian:

    You are assuming that anyone who criticizes Obama is doing so in good faith and without prejudice

    NO, I’m assuming that CHAIT, whose writing Zandar’s post is about, is writing in good faith given his track record.

    Maybe Cole has Zandar set up to provide a Obot Parody versio of everything. That would explain much.

  73. 73
    Jesse in Jersey says:

    To Frankensteinback:

    I didn’t argue anything. I said IF it’s true that offer is still on the table it’s a sellout. Especially since doing nothing allows the Bush tax cuts to expire and the deficit is substantially reduced without tearing more holes in the safety net.

  74. 74
    Jim C. says:

    @Lev:

    I agree. In the first 30 comments I saw people bashing Chait and John Marshall, two of the most reliably liberal voices that the media currently has.

    If those two sources aren’t to be taken seriously and should be just dismissed out of hand without consideration, then I question who among liberal media sources SHOULD be considered trustworthy by some of the individuals here.

  75. 75
    david mizner says:

    This thread is hilarious. For the last three years, there’s hardly been a more pro-Obama pundit that Chait yet he’s written a single critical piece, so now he must be morally bankrupt, corrupt, and/or deranged.

  76. 76
    Keith G says:

    It keeps pissing me off that we’re really going to go through the same self-flagellation over this when we should be concentrating on taking back the House, keeping the Senate, and not losing the White House to any of the GOP dipsticks. Instead, we’re just going to bash ourselves in the gonads until the GOP crawls across the finish line.

    But then what would there be to outrageously blog about?

  77. 77
    gnomedad says:

    It’s suicide for a politician too get to far ahead rhetorically of what he/she is in a position to actually accomplish. It energizes the opposition and accomplishes nothing. In short, Chait wants Obama to do to himself what the Repubs are doing to themselves.

  78. 78
    eemom says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Remember that bit about FDR and how he said “now make me”

    REMEMBER it? The only stupid cliche that’s been repeated more infinity zillion times than that is “This is good news for John McCain.”

    Tiresome shit getting tiresomer.

  79. 79
    pete says:

    @david mizner: I would agree with you but there’s a typo in your post so clearly you are not worthy of my attention ever again.

  80. 80
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    A handful of trolls make it hard to hold a reasonable discussion.

    Their frustration is apparent, as well. I’ve seen the attacks by what I call the Posse. Self-appointed Guardians of the acceptable trope could be a contributing factor to their becoming screaming trolls.

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay B.:

    No any criticism of the president at all automatically makes you into a purist, like Jon Chait and Kevin Drum.

    No, this is not the point at all.

    There is criticism, and then there is stupidity. Many of these critics think that the Republicans would magically have blinked had Obama stood firm, or did something different.

    This is an interesting hypothetical, but one without proof.

    This is the difference between punditry and journalism. Pundits are fabulists who can spin gossamer tales of perfect heroism that mean nothing.

    The Republicand obstructed Clinton. They are even more rigidly opposing Obama.

    But if only Obama did what Chait did when he was president, then all would be well.

    Wait a minute. Chait was never president?

    Hmmm

  82. 82
    Clime Acts says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Particularly, the least reasonable critics are by far the most vocal on this blog

    You’re kidding, right? Please name a Front Pager who is not a Bot. Thanks, I’ll wait.

  83. 83
    Ash Can says:

    This strikes me as odd. I didn’t follow the link to the article in question, but if in fact Chait is arguing as Zandar portrays, it seems weird. Joe Biden recently said that he in fact had three deals preliminarily concluded with GOP legislative leaders, but they all backed out when it became clear to them that their foaming-at-the-mouth caucuses wouldn’t stand for it (with e.g. the lovely and talented Eric Cantor explaining that he couldn’t stick with the deal he had made because it would cost him his position as majority leader, poor thing). (Here’s the link — fair warning, it’s HuffPo.) This would certainly indicate that, at least in the preliminary stages, the prez had reason to believe he could negotiate with the GOP Congressional leadership. It’s not as though they were telling him to take a flying leap right off the bat — in fact, I got the impression from what Biden said that they were, in private, actually somewhat apologetic, if thoroughly cowardly.

    For Chait to ignore this wouldn’t make sense. Seems to me he’s been much better on partisan political topics in the past.

  84. 84
    Clime Acts says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Alas, it’s the tragedy of the commons. A handful of trolls make it hard to hold a reasonable discussion.

    Shorter Frank: “Echo chambers complete me.”

  85. 85
    Liberty60 says:

    We’ve all met people like Jon Chait.

    The fat smoker who sits with coffee and donut sermonizing on how Peyton Manning shoulda just fell back and turned his elbow just so, y’see, and then scrambled and feinted like this then of course the field would have been wide open but of course those stupid coaches never listen and don’t know jack about the game.

  86. 86
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Co-signed.

    Look, Obama isn’t the most liberal Democratic president of the last 100 years. FDR pretty much nailed that one, and LBJ ex Vietnam isn’t far behind. As nice as it would be to go there, I’m kind of glad to pass up the historically contingent parts that helped make that liberalism possible, such as the Great Depression and WW2.

    Me, I’m easy to please so I’m rather happy to have a president whose legislative record thus far is well to the left of the only other Democratic presidents I’ve known in my adult lifetime, aka Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And from what I can tell from the outside, it looks like Obama’s approach to working with Congress bears a passing resemblence to the way TR got it done 109 years ago. We could do worse.

  87. 87
    gwangung says:

    “Cutting trillions out of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for nothing” should be forgotten about, because it never happened. It’s as if some people have never heard of strategically proposing a deal that you know will be rejected.

    I’m pretty sure they haven’t. I think some folks really do need to take Political Negotiation 101, because it’s clear they don’t have clue one about it.

    (ETA: ANd to be fair, ALL of us don’t have clue one about what went on in the political negotiation–sure as hell there could be factors that would change our perception of events)

  88. 88
    JWL says:

    A person needs actually be something in order to sell it out. Obama could no more sell-out a liberal agenda than I can sell-out the republican party.

  89. 89
    dww44 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    The question is: has he learned from his mistake and from the failure of his centrist, pragmatic “uniter” shtick.

    Not according to a David Dayen post that Atrios just linked to.
    In which Atrios says:

    The Unaccountability Era
    It’s generally true, but certainly the most true during lame duck sessions. Vote Democrat, and see Social Security cut anyway! Inspiring times.

    Access the Atrios post and click on the link to the David Dayen one at FDL.

    http://www.eschatonblog.com/20.....y-era.html

    But then, Atrios is ever the cynic. Never met an elected official that he really likes or supports. And his commenters are definitely of that persuasion vis-a-vis the President. Wow, are they purists or what? I need to get out more often!!

  90. 90
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Do the purity crowd ever consider Obama ended up giving the GOP nothing, twice, beyond vague promises in the future and now in an election year Obama is the greatest compromise since Henry Clay and can play hard ball as much as he wants (like with that contraption thing)

    But I guess effective politics is all about ichy games about narratives and persuading people, and purists want the purity.

  91. 91
    taylormattd says:

    @Jay B.: It appears Zandar has summoned the Obama-hating psychopaths from FDL with this piece.

    My deepest condolences that Obama appears to be headed to re-election. It must be so devastating for you all.

  92. 92
    taylormattd says:

    @Clime Acts: Shorter Clime Acts:

    those who refuse to call Obama a nun-raping wingnut are bots

  93. 93
    lethargytartare says:

    @Clime Acts:

    You’re kidding, right? Please name a Front Pager who is not a Bot. Thanks, I’ll wait.

    how about we start with the site owner, you fucking idiot.

  94. 94
    NR says:

    @Tractarian:

    t’s as if some people have never heard of strategically proposing a deal that you know will be rejected.

    Yeah, proposing cuts to incredibly popular programs is a great strategic move. We all know how much America hates Social Security and Medicare, so Obama’s proposed $650 billion in cuts to those programs no doubt won him a ton of support. Why can’t the fucking purity brigade see that this was a brilliant piece of strategy??!?!?

  95. 95
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I don’t get why there’s so much emphasis among the pro-am pundit set on the rhetoric and theatrics. SO MANY comments about how the Republicans obviously weren’t going to do X but Obama should have seized the occasion to talk about X even if X couldn’t come to pass, because that way more people would know and talk about X — and he sure fucked up by doing Y instead, or too soon, because that meant we didn’t get to talk enough about X. Maybe in a world where people want to be informed about politics, that would work. We don’t live there.

  96. 96
    TexasDan says:

    @Jay B.: Read it. Read this as well. Jonathan Chait’s attempt to villainize Obama runs afoul of reality. But hey, keep attacking, you’re winning hearts & minds.

  97. 97
    wrb says:

    @taylormattd:

    It appears Zandar has summoned the Obama-hating psychopaths from FDL with this piece.
    __
    My deepest condolences that Obama appears to be headed to re-election. It must be so devastating for you all.

    They’ve not yet begun to fight

  98. 98
    Schlemizel says:

    @wrb: @Tom Q:

    Not to pretend they are sane but seriously, if it was such a loser for them why are they doubling down this year? They have pollsters, they follow election trends. I don’t think they are at the end of the pier yet. If it is such a loser for them why do these clowns poll close to Obama? Forget the generic R/D poll, how many R congressthings are in danger vs how many D?

    Any hit they took was transitory at best.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Still, STILL you refuse to accept that there are different ways to cut costs in social programs, not all of which deprive end-users of benefits. How many years have we had this same conversation? Why are you so stubborn about it?

  100. 100
    Linnaeus says:

    To me, the deeper question raised by pieces like Chait’s is: how did the Republicans get in a position to be able to even consider rolling back programs like Social Security and Medicare, among the most successful domestic social polices this country has ever had and that should arguably be expanded rather than reduced?

    There’s a lot of answers to that question, but the bottom line is that we as citizens have a lot of work to do: writing, organizing, voting, etc.

  101. 101
    Yutsano says:

    @Schlemizel:

    If it is such a loser for them why do these clowns poll close to Obama?

    It must be some other factor then. I wonder what it could be…

  102. 102
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Schlemizel: The vast majority of people who vote Republican vote Republican regardless of anything their candidates do or say. And the reason is because people on food stamps get their nails done, so, vote Republican to stop that.

  103. 103
    Jay B. says:

    @Brachiator:

    No, this is not the point at all.

    Right. That you have been pre-disproven throughout this thread and by the post itself holds no water. Words only mean specifically what you declare them to mean. No more no less. It’s the same old bullshit.

    And you, only you, the brave defenders of everything the President does, can mete out the parameters of what is, and isn’t up for debate or meant by words. Chait is obviously stupid because he said that a deal Obama put on the table was “capitulation” when obviously, it was a NON deal, as anyone could see if they didn’t pay attention to what the President said or did. How could anyone at the Post or Jon Chait be so stupid as to believe what Obama said he wanted to do? It defies belief!

    It’s obvious, as always, that the most convoluted meaning of anything is the most correct one. That when Administration cleverly lays out “the deal is still on the table” it really means that the deal isn’t there, doesn’t exist and that, in no way, does it reflect the Administration’s goal. Because that’s not how you negotiate, stupid!

    Here’s how REAL negotiation works: First you always have to pretend what you don’t mean is what you do mean — because who could possibly see through that? And then, once you’ve stated your fake position, you then offer them more of what you don’t want, just to prove how unserious you are to giving them what they want. And when putative supporters say “please don’t offer them that”, they are so stupid to state their preferences that it almost makes you faint over their ineffectual stupidity! No. No. No. That’s not how it’s supposed to go. They are supposed to, as part of the grand strategy of negotiations, accept the fake offer as “the best that can be hoped” and glumly support it — but not too glumly, lest it offends the sensibilities of the President’s VERY BEST supporters and they think you don’t know how these things really work.

    And then when things don’t work the way the President fake-expected them to and the things that were on the table, but which clearly never were because of the everything is opposite strategy of negotiations which no one can ever figure out because it’s so amazing a strategic gambit, aren’t part of the deal because there is a global catastrophe about to happen and that the money daddies of the other negotiating party said that the global catastrophe can’t happen, it’s a total success for the canny strategy of offering up literally the most important government program there is for tens of millions of people. Because everyone, but especially independents, really only care about the importance of appearances and process.

  104. 104
    AxelFoley says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I find the armchair generaling of political negotiations baffling. People who have no experience dealing with congress are constantly haranguing a man who does it every day and has delivered amazing results, because they’re SURE his method just can’t work. Obama delivered on the ACA, finreg, and repeal of DADT, major pieces of legislation congress was always pissy about. The GOP held the US economy hostage and wanted badly to pull the trigger, and Obama over and over talked them into accepting a pile of glass beads. As for ‘framing the debate’, raising taxes on the rich is popular for the first time in thirty years, and the GOP’s approval numbers have tanked while Obama’s remain steady throughout years of ugly politics. The results speak for themselves, but DAMN do a bunch of not-even-amateurs think they’re better salesmen than he is.

    This right the fuck here.

  105. 105
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Still, STILL you refuse to accept that there are different ways to cut costs in social programs, not all of which deprive end-users of benefits.

    Definitely true for medical programs, even though they are more efficient than private sector insurance. Don’t see how it’s true of SS, though.

  106. 106
    burnspbesq says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    You can second-guess politicians all day, every day if that’s what floats your boat. But do try to have a take that is based in something approximating reality.

  107. 107
    liberal says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Obama delivered on the ACA, finreg, and repeal of DADT, major pieces of legislation congress was always pissy about.

    Putting aside the others, finreg as it is right now is extremely weak tea. And no, the fact that Wall St sociopaths are whining that we gave them 98% of what they wanted instead of 105% isn’t evidence that it’s effective reform.

  108. 108
    AxelFoley says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I’ve said a million times to anyone who will listen that Obama’s conciliatory nature is his best quality, and the one that serves him best in the face of Republican nihilism. He always seems so reasonable, and that’s why his relatively high personal approval rating has remained steady – he has denied his opponents on the right the ammunition that would ultimately hurt him the most – the perception that he’s angry and ideological. His critics on the left can be safely ignored because they don’t have his back, ever, because they’re always threatening to stay home or primary him. The action is in the middle where the independents are, and when they do pay attention to what’s going on politically, Obama always, always, always appears to be the only adult in the room, giving the lie to the extreme characterizations of him that the wingnut wurlitzer spews, and has to crank to 11 every day because he’s denying them his lashing out. The man is the coolest cat I’ve ever seen in the political ring.

    BAM! Right there!

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: Much less so for Social Security, agreed, depending on your view of “indexing,” which does tend to smell fishy to me.

  110. 110
    Jay B. says:

    @TexasDan:

    I stopped at “villainize Obama”. It’s a joke.

  111. 111
    AxelFoley says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    @Ben Franklin:
    It reads that way, but I put it to you that the phrasing that makes it sound like that is based on frustration. When a man you support and think is doing a good job is assaulted over and over with lies by people who are supposedly on his side, you start to get angry and question the motivation of the criticism. Particularly, the least reasonable critics are by far the most vocal on this blog (and everywhere), and since debating in good faith the merits of Obama’s performance doesn’t work, his defenders are left with ‘Are you people deliberate ratfuckers, or what?!’ There is room for reasonable debate about Obama’s performance, but the reasonable critics are lost in the screaming. There is room for refuting hysterical and counterfactual accusations as well, bear in mind, but those are met with ‘Deluded Obot!’ Alas, it’s the tragedy of the commons. A handful of trolls make it hard to hold a reasonable discussion.

    Thank you.

  112. 112
  113. 113
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @AxelFoley: @Cat Lady: I’m not sure independents are in “the middle” exactly, but independents are persuadable with both results and personalities. And, as many polls have showed, people who call themselves Democrats and liberals actually _support_ political compromises and the “bipartisanship” the blogosphere abhors.

    This other model, whereby the right thing for a Democratic president to do is to refuse to deal and instead take his case to the people as a tough hombre who doesn’t get pushed around, sounds appealing _when you imagine it leading to victories_. Imagine it leading to nothing. Then imagine how people who are persuadable with results and personalities would feel about that state of affairs. Happy their president is a fighter? Or pissed that their president gets nothing done and makes everything a nasty, drawn-out and inconclusive battle?

    The blogosphere lives for nasty, drawn-out and inconclusive battles. Normal people do not.

  114. 114
    Ben Franklin says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Did you notice the shoe on the other foot? S’ok if you didn’t. Just askin…

  115. 115
    Clime Acts says:

    @lethargytartare:

    Such language!

    Um…Cole plays coy at times, but he’s definitely a Bot. Or can’t you read?

  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay B.:

    And you, only you, the brave defenders of everything the President does

    I don’t defend everything the president does, and certainly did not do so anywhere in this thread.

    And since you are clearly wrong about this, you are pretty much wrong about everything else in your long post, so I won’t waste any more time on it.

    But thanks for trying.

  117. 117
    Daaling says:

    The media is panicking that they won’t get the horse race they thrive on. Fuck all these ratfuckers with a rusty cattle prod!

  118. 118
    Danny says:

    It’s inane to criticize members of our team over what Boehner claimed happened in private negotiations. The day the President or some other Democrat comes out on the record in support of something you find unacceptable, by all means fire away.

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    Good post. Adding to that, Gallup polling has show Obama consistently between 80% and 90% with liberal Democrats and consistently polling better with liberal democrats than with moderate and conservative democrats, ever since inauguration day.

    That means that those ever present online purity trolls who often aspire to speak for “the left” does in fact not, at all, but represent a vocal (and often rather obnoxious) minority.

  119. 119
    Clime Acts says:

    @Daaling:

    The media is panicking that they won’t get the horse race they thrive on.

    If that’s the case, and O will win easily, then what is Zandar clutching his pearls about?

    Surely not for page hits?

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Danny: Yes, but the carpers are the TRUE liberal/left/Democrats, you see. :P

  121. 121
    Jay B. says:

    @Brachiator:

    Nah, you’re just another one of the self-appointed assholes who decide what is permissible regarding criticism of the president, lest it become something for the purists.

    It’s not a cult. It’s a gaggle of teenage girls deciding who is cool.

  122. 122
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t get why there’s so much emphasis among the pro-am pundit set on the rhetoric and theatrics.

    Because this is all that our pundits know how to do. 99% of them have never signed a bill into law, or for that matter been involved in more mundane executive jobs. All they know how to do is talk, talk, talk, regardless of whether they even know anything about the subject at hand, and always in a manner which frames them favorably and flatters their egos. When was the last time a pundit had to negotiate anything that didn’t involve browsing the priceline-dot-com website?

    Listening to our pundits advising Obama how to negotiate better is like tuning in to hear a bunch of 40-year old virgins discussing how if only somebody would put them in charge, they would run the awesomest brothel evah!

  123. 123
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    Chait is engaging in a past time which I think is toxic: using republican memes against ourselves.

    Writing that “Obama was prepared to gut the safety net and lower taxes on the rich in exchange for nothing”* is “using Republican talking points against ourselves”?

    * Only summarizing what Chait wrote, not making that argument myself.

  124. 124
    manual says:

    You all do realize how silly condemnations of Chait are, right. Despite your words, he is not purity troll or member of the professional. In fact, he is just like most of you: a strong supporter of Obama’s political temeperment and policy successes.

    For my money Chait is Washington hack that supports the sort of vacuous neoliberalism of an Obama presidency.

    Disagree with him all you want on the substance of his post. But what I see here, is a lot of dismissal of the man based on poorly understood ad-hominem – any criticism of the President must be coming from naive, liberal purists, so that’s what Chait is.

    Well, a former TNR staff writer who supports Obama, Lieberman and the DLC is not the same as Jane Hamsher. So please people, dont use categories for dismissing an author that dont fit. Hate on the merits not on the messenger.

  125. 125
    wrb says:

    wrong thread

  126. 126
    Quiddity says:

    We know that Obama has spoken about the need to “tighten our belts” (along with the false analogy to a household budget). We know that Obama has put Social Security on the table. We know that Obama was repeatedly trying to secure a Grand Bargain.

    The Washington Post story of the sequence of events is credible. Chat’s reaction – and remember, he warms to some entitlement cutting – focuses on the fact that had it not been for a random event (he Gang of Six proposal) Obama would have agreed to the Boehner deal. That’s where Obama was back then. It’s not reassuring.

  127. 127
    Hoodie says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: No, it’s more like that scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin when Steve Carell describes caressing a woman’s breast as like “touching a bag of sand.” The Chait article is silly because it’s a second-hand account of hearsay from unnamed sources with a bunch of armchair commentary thrown in for good measure. It’s not criticizing the president; it’s criticizing what the Wapo says some unnamed sources said about exchanges between the president other people in nonpublic negotiations. It’s a nothingburger.

  128. 128
    ShadeTail says:

    @Quiddity:

    We know that Obama has spoken about the need to “tighten our belts” (along with the false analogy to a household budget). We know that Obama has put Social Security on the table. We know that Obama was repeatedly trying to secure a Grand Bargain.

    Really? I don’t know that. I’ve seen people claim it, but the claim never gets backed up, particularly the bit about “putting Social Security on the table”.

  129. 129

    The real question true progressives of all stripes need to address is whether it is permissible for M. Millerand to take a seat in the Waldeck-Rousseau Cabinet.

    Once we get that sorted, we can make headway on the remaining issues.

  130. 130
    Tom Q says:

    @Quiddity: How many times have we heard “Obama is just about to (sell out liberalism in some way)”? Yet it NEVER happens. But folks like you are here to assure us he MEANT it to happen, and it’s for sure going to happen the NEXT time.

    The WP story is credible to you, because it conforms with what you want to believe. For the rest of us, it assumes facts not in evidence.

  131. 131
    Ben Franklin says:

    One thing I think we can all agree on. Get rid of Doofus..

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po.....aden-raid/

  132. 132
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay B.:

    Nah, you’re just another one of the self-appointed assholes who decide what is permissible regarding criticism of the president, lest it become something for the purists.

    And you are one of those clowns who insist on making things up. I could give a rat’s ass about what is permissible regarding criticism of the president.

    I simply said here, and say again, that I don’t think that the criticism is not valid.

    But keep on stirring up the dregs of your imagination. It is very amusing, if not particularly meaningful.

  133. 133
    your poor uncle says:

    WTF does Jon Chait know about liberalism?

  134. 134
    Danny says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    But is there a man brave enough to enforce the will of the pure 1% on the rest of the dirty, unwashed, uneducated masses? This timid failure in the White House certainly hasn’t delivered.

  135. 135
    Clime Acts says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    Chait is engaging in a past time which I think is toxic: using republican memes against ourselves.

    Is Chait a member of the Obama re election campaign? Administration? Democratic Leadership Council? Democratic National Committee? Obama’s speechwriter?

    What the hell are you talking about?

  136. 136

    […] crisis was revealing of several flaws in Obama’s modus operandi, which is why something like this is so misguided to me. Saying we should just focus on what’s going on now is no different […]

  137. 137
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.:

    It’s not a cult. It’s a gaggle of teenage girls deciding who is cool.

    Um, that’s you guys. “Ew, I can’t believe I used to like that guy, he’s so gross!” “You should totally tweet that.”

  138. 138
    Bruce S says:

    I have trouble imagining that you actually read the piece and comprehend Chait’s perspective on the problem with Obama’s strategy, based on this.

    I’d like to read some coherent discussion of this piece, but Balloon Juice is obviously not the place. Too bad.

    “You all do realize how silly condemnations of Chait are, right.” Futile suggestion. We’re dealing with brain death here. Stuck’s comment below is an example.

  139. 139

    I wonder if the foaming at the mouth Obama haters on this thread even realize how obvious they are. When you get to the point of reading minds on what people intend to do, and needing to condemn the impurity of rhetoric , then the black shark is jumped and you are found out. In this case the current president of your proclaimed party. That is all.

  140. 140
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Um, that’s you guys. “Ew, I can’t believe I used to like that guy, he’s so gross!” “You should totally tweet that.”

    Why do I get the feeling that people like Jay B are those perpetually disappointed pseudo progressives who are working themselves up into a lather to give themselves justification for not voting for Obama in November.

  141. 141
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: Nah, Jay B. isn’t going to not vote; he’s a vocal critic but he knows the score. I’m just needling him.

  142. 142
    scott says:

    He offered to cut Social Security and Medicare. Everything else is excuses.

  143. 143
    Daaling says:

    @Clime Acts: Who gives a fuck what some random blogger on same backwoods swamp blog thinks.

    You think those pearls of his contain wisdom nobody else has figured out or something? Ha!

    He is blogging because that’s what he does. Is this a trick question? Ask Cole if there is a weekly quota or if they are just working for pet calendars or coffee mugs. That’s a Cole question which I suspects he would rather none of us know.

  144. 144
    Heliopause says:

    Hilarious. You realize that Chait is solidly in the Obot wing of the punditocracy, right?

  145. 145
    David Koch says:

    RuN pO0ll/gLeEnEN ᄅ⇂0ᄅ

  146. 146

    @Bruce S:

    I’d like to read some coherent discussion of this piece, but Balloon Juice is obviously not the place. Too bad.

    Lol, somebody water the daisies growing out Bruce’s ass so can think straight. Our very own Nurse Rached, dropping by to stuck her nose up at us. This thread has all the BJ clowns out clowning.

  147. 147
    Bruce S says:

    #78 – eemom

    Comparing an actual anecdote about FDR that has historical and political resonance – at least with all but the brain-dead – to a ridiculous internet meme barely even qualifies as “tiresome shit,” to use your term of art.

    I’m out of here. This thread is an embarrassment.

  148. 148

    Don’t quit now firebaggers, you are just getting yer juices up. Here we are now, entertain us.

  149. 149
    David Koch says:

    Boy, Kaplan has become completely unreadable. Yesterday, GOS pointed out that they were furious that Obama raised a record amount of money from average people. According to Kaplan, money isn’t green unless it comes from a swiss bank account.

  150. 150
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: First of all, because you’re wrong on the policy aspect. Provider-side Medicare cuts mean fewer doctors accepting Medicare patients. This is a fact.

    And, as I’ve mentioned before, the $650 billion in cuts also included Social Security. Social Security operates with less than 1% overhead, so any cuts there come directly out of seniors’ pockets.

    The notion that there’s a lot of “fat” in Medicare and SS that you can just cut without any impact on the people who use those programs is a right-wing fantasy.

    And second, it’s also a political loser. It takes away the ability for Democrats to campaign against the Republicans on protecting SS and Medicare, because all the Republicans have to do when they’re accused of wanting to cut those programs is reply “Obama wants to cut them too!” Obama can talk all he wants about how his cuts aren’t really cuts, but somehow I doubt that that’s going to resonate with voters who depend on those programs to live.

  151. 151
    Bruce S says:

    “I’m out of here” except to note that Stuck proves my point once again. What a childish douchebag. Everyone else in that particular circle jerk deserves this analytic and rethorical titan.

  152. 152
    NR says:

    @taylormattd: Shorter taylormattd:

    Anyone who doesn’t uncritically support everything Obama does is a psychopath.

  153. 153
    Tractarian says:

    @manual:

    But what I see here, is a lot of dismissal of the man based on poorly understood ad-hominem – any criticism of the President must be coming from naive, liberal purists, so that’s what Chait is.

    Your eyes deceive you.

    You are not seeing “ad-hominem” attacks on Chait. And that makes perfect sense, because, as many here correctly note, Chait usually shows good judgment on these types of things.

    What you are in fact seeing is a lot of dismissal of Chait’s fallacious argument that Obama THREW LIBERALIZM UNDER TEH BUS ! !!1!

  154. 154
    eemom says:

    @Bruce S:

    That’s right, keep telling us you’re out of here every two comments. That’ll learn us.

  155. 155

    @Bruce S:

    I’m out of here. This thread is an embarrassment.

    So pure, he glows then goes. umpff!! It is obvious you’re far to wonderful to waste on the cretins of BJ. Somebody sculpt a bronze of Bruce, so when we log on, can be reminded what high brow pretension is all about.

  156. 156
    NR says:

    @ShadeTail:

    Really? I don’t know that. I’ve seen people claim it, but the claim never gets backed up, particularly the bit about “putting Social Security on the table”

    It’s right here, in the president’s own words:

    Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.

    I don’t know how it can possibly be any clearer than that.

  157. 157
    Tractarian says:

    @Bruce S:

    You really don’t need to announce you are going to leave (and for God’s sake, don’t do it twice). Just leave.

  158. 158
    NR says:

    @Tom Q:

    The WP story is credible to you, because it conforms with what you want to believe. For the rest of us, it assumes facts not in evidence.

    How about the fact of what Obama himself actually said?

  159. 159

    @eemom:

    Now eemom, be tender with Bruce. We are in the presence of his pure genius, dontcha know. And we must be reminded every two minutes.

  160. 160
    Tractarian says:

    @NR:

    I don’t know how it can possibly be any clearer than that.

    Obama was very clear, but your post wasn’t, because you didn’t include the part where he says that the deal also included $2 billion in new revenue.

    You know, the part that guaranteed no Republican would vote for it?

  161. 161
    RP says:

    I think Chait does a lot of good work, but it’s often underminded by his need to do the standard, DC media contrarian schtick. He wrote the “why don’t liberals appreciate Obama” piece when liberal complaints about Obama were at their peak last fall. And now that the trend on the left seems to be going the other way, especially as the election draws near, he feels obligated to write a “Obama actually sucks!” piece.

  162. 162

    Republicans have not voted to raise a single tax dollar since George Bush senior, when Grover Norquist took control of their congressional souls. Everyone in DC knows this, and also knows, until that devil tears up those contracts, their political souls are owned. Do you really think Obama is out of that loop?

    Find something he actually did to debate, you act like politics is a freeking confessional to always say the virtuous true thing, and expect the rubes out there to understand and support you. It doesn’t work that way, that is the old way of democrats rising about the insane republicans, leaving them to their chorus of round the clock lies. And not getting into the ditch with them to mudfight for liberal ideals, and enjoying moral victories instead of electoral ones and legislative ones.. Obama is better at this shit than they are, and some of you fuckers don’t want to let him do the dance of politics with right wing crocodiles.

    edit – Bruuce. S. how did I do Obi Wan? on the debate fu thingy. I live for your approval. Dontcha noes.

  163. 163
    Danny says:

    @NR: So maybe he offered to put Chained COLA on the table if the savings were used solely to strengthen SS solvency, and maybe he offered more provider side cost cuts for Medicare. Both common sense reforms. Totally acceptable for progressives, if done right.

    The notion that there’s a lot of “fat” in Medicare and SS that you can just cut without any impact on the people who use those programs is a right-wing fantasy.

    Yes and no. True for Social Security.

    But we’re paying much more for health care than other industrialized nations. That’s true for Medicare.

    So are you saying that it would be impossible for Medicare to provide the same services at the same price as say NHS? That it would be impossible to rein in Medicare cost growth while upholding the same basic level of service? If you are, then that means that you think the program is unsustainable.

  164. 164
    Karen says:

    I love how the Obama haters conveniently forget about the Blue Dogs that side with the GOP in Congress and seem to think it doesn’t matter that the Dems in Congress don’t have Obama’s back. I also love how the Obama haters seem to forget that Obama did not run as a partisan Democrat and anyone looking at his legislation and background should have seen he was a centrist. He never claimed to be liberal. The problem is, he’s the equivalent of a moderate Republican in the early 70s but the bigger problem is that the country moved so far to the right that’s considered to be liberal in this era. The GOP that used to be on the fringes are in charge now and saying that Obama sucks because he let the GOP get away with things is the same as saying that we shouldn’t save someone from a suicide bomber because we’d only be giving them their own way.

    I didn’t vote for Obama because he was liberal, I voted against McCain and this time I’ll be voting against Romney so don’t go calling me an Obot. However, I do think that Obama really does care about people and wants to do the right thing and is a decent person.

  165. 165
    atlasfugged says:

    I think that you may have misread parts of Chait’s piece, Zandar. I don’t think Chait, in any way, endorsed that turd of an article in last weekend’s Washington Post. That article essentially blamed Obama for allowing an already tenuous deal deficit reduction to collapse because he was unwilling to capitulate completely to the Republicans and give John Boehner everything the GOP demanded. (Also, the “Gangbang-Of-Six” deal supposedly collapsed because Obama did what pundits, including Kaplan employees, told him to do and endorsed it. “Mr. Obama should endorse the Gang-Of-Six deal, but kept it to himself” or something). The GOP demanded spending be cut by trillions of dollars. In return, they wanted a promise to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent and, on top of that, an additional tax cut for the top brackets. The revenue side of the “compromise” was to materialize out of thin air from supply-side sorcery; that is, the revenues the GOP was willing to discuss were not real. They would have come entirely from an accounting trick: dynamic scoring of the supply-side effects of the tax cuts. This is like blaming a clerk at a 7-11 for getting himself shot because he wouldn’t agree to also let the robber ravage his wife, after already agreeing to give up the cash register and safe. The Washington Post is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of compromise.

    Chait ridiculed the Washington Post’s assessment of the debt ceiling debacle at length and lamented that that assessment was likely to become the de-facto Beltway narrative of how that debacle played out. The essence of Chait’s complaint, which was really an expression of shock, was that Obama was very close to capitulating to the Republican’s awful non-compromise. Had Obama done so, I think we can all agree, he would have suffered irreparable political damage and, moreover, been complicit in the Republican’s ploy to drown government in a bathtub. Had that non-compromise become law, the damage of the Bush Tax Cuts would be magnified and extended for decades. I think Chait is correct to lament how close Obama came to allowing this to happen.

    This is not to say that Progressives and those who support Obama should be dismayed over this, certainly not to the extent that they would to stay home in November as a rebuke to the President. I think Chait’s story illustrates the insanity and mendacity of the GOP. This should be enough to overcome whatever reservations Progressives et al. have about Obama’s performance during the debt ceiling negotiations.

  166. 166
    Ruckus says:

    Instead, we’re just going to bash ourselves in the gonads until the GOP crawls across the finish line.

    1. Self-flagellation. Both sides do it.

    2. Un-constructive criticism. Always welcome.

  167. 167
    atlasfugged says:

    @atlasfugged: correction: “ravish” was the word I was looking for in my 7-11 analogy above, not “ravage”.

  168. 168
    NR says:

    @Tractarian: Right, I forgot. We should always believe everything Obama says, except when it’s something we really don’t want to believe. My mistake.

  169. 169
    Bruce S says:

    General Stuck – 160 comments down and someone finally outlines the bare bones on which any attempt at coherent counter-argument to Chait could be fleshed out. And I had to squeeze your tiny nuts to even get that puny sketch, as opposed to the rain of pearl clutching and hissy-fitting.

    I’m impressed.

    Unfortunately, you also just proved the point of my earlier comments about the thread.

    Here’s something for “balance” on Chait:

    http://my.firedoglake.com/phoe.....n-edition/

    “Both sides”, etc. etc.

  170. 170
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Clime Acts:
    I believe they just did.

    Are you ever going to tell me why Mmen’s analogy was incorrect? The one where she compared how you said it was better to not stop a child being raped if it appeared they were enjoying it to you doing the same to your own daughter? You said it was a false analogy. You also said you’d tell me why. Could you now?

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: It’s not “a fact.” You’re being obtuse. Every health care policy wonk talks about reining in Medicare expenses not by cutting reimbursement rates for each procedure but by, for instance, creating arrangements other than “fee for service.” But you always deflect and refuse to engage that that kind of savings is possible, amounts to billions, curbs the rate of growth in the budget for the program, and harms only the providers ordering redundant tests and needless procedures that don’t produce better health. It’s real. It amounts to billions. But you can’t embrace it because it’s a “cut.” Such cuts would be BENEFICIAL. Not all talk of streamlining and ending duplication is euphemistic, and it’s not all Death Panels, and by refusing to take this into account you’re doing a kind of Death Panels From The Left maneuver. That’s not taking a stand on a policy, that’s clinging to a rigid oppositional position.

  172. 172
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Danny:

    So are you saying that it would be impossible for Medicare to provide the same services at the same price as say NHS? That it would be impossible to rein in Medicare cost growth while upholding the same basic level of service? If you are, then that means that you think the program is unsustainable.

    NR is committed to a view by which even a “provider cut” is a backdoor attempt to inflict suffering on the poor and vulnerable.

  173. 173
    Tractarian says:

    @NR:

    Right, I forgot. We should always believe everything Obama says, except when it’s something we really don’t want to believe. My mistake.

    Huh?

    You were the one you linked to Obama’s press conference as evidence that he’s willing to cut $650 billion from Medicare and SS.

    Yet you ignored the fact that he’s only willing to do that if the GOP agrees to $2 trillion in new revenue.

    It sounds like you’re the one believing only the things you want to believe.

  174. 174
    Danny says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    So it seems. Imho, that’s a very stupid position for a progressive to take. It will drive people straight into the arms of Paul Ryan, or worse. The projected cost growth of medicare is unsustainable because we already pay more than other countries and HC inflation is 8%. No one’s disputing that.

    If we take the position that government can’t possibly rein in costs without hurting seniors, well, then we’re saying that government can’t solve the problem. Along comes Ryan or some other smarmy fuck offering to solve the problem with free market magic and fairy dust.

  175. 175
    MomSense says:

    I just want to make a point on the ability to cut costs in Medicare without harming patient benefits. It is more than possible! It is being done at places like the Mayo clinic where they spend less per patient AND have better outcomes. They and some other fine institutions have developed best practices–proven courses of treatment that lead to superior outcomes. Now these best practices will be the guidelines for treatment of Medicare patients. And to provide the carrot/stick reimbursement will be tied to following these best practices. Believe it or not, fee for procedure reimbursement leads to more procedures and some of those are unnecessary. Unnecessary procedures add tremendous cost and little to no value.

  176. 176
    lethargytartare says:

    @Clime Acts:

    nice – all us “Obots” blindly support everything the president does, except when we don’t, only when we don’t we’re just being coy, and actually do blindly support everything the president does, even when we don’t.

    eat a bowl of fuck, d-bag

  177. 177

    @Bruce S:

    And I had to squeeze your tiny nuts to even get that puny sketch

    You couldn’t wrap both your delicate hands around my nuts, if you tried. Bosco. And your point upthread, was already figured out by my parakeet. You are just one more clown playing its role on this mad little blog, condescending from a fools perch and the absolute all time winner of projection unbound. It is kind of endearing, and we have had your busy beeing superior type forever on this blog, at least one. Shit don’t stink and let’s us know on a regular basis.

    You should change your handle to Bob Loblaw, so everyone can get the joke you are.

  178. 178
    Ben Franklin says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    Howz about we put an 8-gauge rifled slug through this dead-head thread.

  179. 179
    NR says:

    @Tractarian:

    I’m not ignoring anything. Cuts to Social Security and Medicare are unacceptable whether or not they’re tied to new revenue. People depend on those programs to live.

    The simple, objective reality is that Obama offered to cut Medicare and SS by $650 billion. You can deny it all you want, but that doesn’t change facts.

  180. 180
    TK-421 says:

    There’s nothing productive about this civil war re-enactment…It keeps pissing me off that we’re really going to go through the same self-flagellation over this when we should be concentrating on taking back the House, keeping the Senate, and not losing the White House to any of the GOP dipsticks.

    I find this to be an odd sentiment. First of all, everything from last summer’s debacle will be revisited at the end of this year, and in a lame duck session to boot. To pretend there’s no use in examining the things that went wrong last year seems foolish at best and dangerous at worst.

    Perhaps there’s some incentive by BJers to just forget about last summer. For example, I remember ABL loudly telling us that the President in fact DID NOT put Medicare cuts on the table. I vaguely remember the entire BJ crew becoming increasingly desperate to defend the Administration on their increasingly bizarre negotiations, so I can understand why they don’t want to revisit this.

    But I don’t think Zandar and other BJers can wish this problem away. Remember, if the WaPo is to be believed, the things offered by the Administration last summer are still on the table. We’re going to go through all this again, whether we like it or not, and to pretend otherwise seems hopelessly naive, and perhaps dishonest.

  181. 181
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: If there are ways to reduce health care costs, they should be applied across the board, to the entire system. Picking an arbitrary number to cut from just Medicare tells me that cost savings isn’t the real issue.

    And you are still ignoring the fact that Obama also offered to cut Social Security.

  182. 182
    priscianusjr says:

    @Tom Q:

    ll the “history” here involves mind-reading—Chait, and whatever Kaplan reporting he relies on, assuming knowledge of what Obama INTENDED to do, and being angry about it. Only Barack truly knows what he’d actually have done, push come to shove, and any Beltway conventional wisdom about it is as meaningless as all other Beltway CW (like, Hillary is unstoppable for nomination).

    What you said.

  183. 183
    NR says:

    @TK-421: I’m calling it right now. The signature accomplishment of Obama’s second term will be a “Grand Bargain” with the GOP on Social Security and Medicare. And everyone here will cheer him on when it happens.

  184. 184

    @TK-421:

    ABL loudly telling us that the President in fact DID NOT put Medicare cuts on the table.

    A link would be nice for this assertion. I don’t remember ABL putting out that comment for the grand bargain thingy, though some of the other deals, like the first government shutdown deal that ended up nothing much, nor the supercommittee triggers, concerning bennies that were off limits, and were not offered up. Medicare provider cuts are not benefits, and are something dems wanted in the ACA to help to bend down the cost of medicare, and republicans opposed. I think you are being dishonest, either on purpose, or misremembering. But a link would be nice, or quote. To back up your claim.

  185. 185
    Danny says:

    @NR:

    If there are ways to reduce health care costs, they should be applied across the board, to the entire system.

    I would just love to see you elaborate on this. How would that work? Are you arguing in bad faith? Because it sure as hell sounds like you are…

  186. 186
    NR says:

    @Danny: How would it work? How about some regulations curbing the ordering of unnecessary tests and procedures across the board, not just for Medicare? Of course, that would require taking on the AMA and the medical-industrial complex, which isn’t about to happen.

  187. 187
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: See above. I’m less sure about how Social Security cuts could be genuine reforms. But the point about cost savings in Medicare is that Medicare is where “fee for service” approaches run rampant, and because in Medicare it’s the government left holding the bag. Insurance companies control how they reimburse providers because they want to make a profit. The government needs to control how it reimburses providers because they don’t want to have to keep pumping scarce revenue into the system. And that’s why BILLIONS IN MEDICARE CUTS! doesn’t scare me, because there really are billions to save from the grift in the system that currently exists, where everything the doctors do gets reimbursed, regardless of whether it helped the patient. Testing whether the procedure actually helped the patient is a multi-million-dollar savings in itself. You can’t possibly oppose that kind of “cut.” You’re just dug in on the idea that those aren’t the cuts we’re talking about.

  188. 188
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Well, one way to be sure you can’t win a fight with the AMA is to accept the framing that when doctors make less money it does irreparable harm to their patients.

  189. 189
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Insurance companies curb those practices by drawing lines around what they will and won’t cover with an eye on company profits. When the government is the insurance company, it can curb them by concentrating on effectiveness. Being more effective means spending less money, which means a “cut.” Having a hair trigger about cuts by measuring them in billions rather than in quality of outcomes ensures that savings is left on the table. I don’t think we should be defending that.

  190. 190
    Danny says:

    @NR:

    How about some regulations curbing the ordering of unnecessary tests and procedures across the board

    What would these ‘regulations’ look like, considering you want to regulate a negotiated agreement between two privately owned companies? I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, I’m just not sure exactly what you’re proposing. It would seem to me that it would be slightly easier for government to shape an agreement to which it is a party.

  191. 191
    Bruce S says:

    General Stuck – “my parakeet” – who apparently helps you with your comments. Explains a lot.

  192. 192
    TK-421 says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    You mean a link like this? The headline kinda says it all- “Obama is not going to slash Medicare or Social Security so CTFD already.” That’s a pretty strong statement.

    Medicare and Social Security cuts were put on the table, by the Obama Administration. I’m pretty sure at this point not even the Admin disputes it. But at the time this was all going on, ABL and possibly others denied that the offer was even made.

    If you want to argue that these cuts are necessary or good or whatever, that’s completely different than claiming that these cuts were never offered or agreed to. And if you want to argue that the offer was some sort of headfake and wasn’t a “real” offer or something, then I think you have an argument with a lot more people than you think.

  193. 193

    @TK-421:

    he headline kinda says it all- “Obama is not going to slash Medicare or Social Security so CTFD already.” That’s a pretty strong statement.

    But that is not what you accused ABL of. You accused her of saying Obama did not put medicare cuts on the table. She didn’t say that, and neither have I. I have said that Obama will not cut safety net bennies, and you know what is the best evidence of that. It hasn’t happened. And it won’t happen, but exposing the republicans as favoring the wealthy above all else has happened. Putting something on the table with a poison pill attached is not the same as wanting to do what you put on the table.

    And inoculating himself against the usual right wing meme of tax and spend liberal.

    To believe that it is really what he wants to do, gut the new deal, you have to suspend belief that Obama is not aware of the iron lock Norquist has on the republicans, as they have built their entire party around this holy grail of not raising taxes by so much as a nickel. He might as well offered up a cyanide cocktail for the GOP at large, as to attach major tax hikes for the wealthy, as a condition for cutting medicare.

    And if you look at it in this most probable light, unless you think Obama is stupid enough to offer something that the republicans could accept, for gutting medicare, then the worst thing you could say is OBama was as balsy as the tea tards for brinkmanship of his own, maybe to a fault. And even upped the anty demanding more tax increases than he first offered, to make sure the wingers would not take the deal.

  194. 194

    @TK-421:

    then I think you have an argument with a lot more people than you think.

    LOL, using Cole as the gold standard for political argument, is not exactly a barn burning idea.

  195. 195

    @TK-421:

    and you should have read your own contribution to the thread you linked to Cole’s “Bad Politics”

    On a more serious note, at this point I’m just crossing my fingers this is all theatrics and nothing substantive is going to happen. That’s much more hope than makes me comfortable, however- these negotiations are making me tug at my collar in a Dave Letterman way.

    Nothing substantial did happen regarding cutting medicare bennies. You could have saved yourself the discomfort from listening to ABL in the first place. You are welcome.

  196. 196
    Ben Franklin says:

    Zed is Dead

  197. 197
    Clime Acts says:

    @lethargytartare:

    eat a bowl of fuck, d-bag

    Obot, much?

  198. 198

    […] which I mean, I think this post from Zandar at Balloon Juice is very not good. He’s complaining that a recent Jonathan Chait […]

  199. 199
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Clime Acts:
    So….? Are you ever going to educate me on why that analogy was inaccurate? You seem intent on educating the Obots on this blog of their Obotiness, but you can’t help little ol’ me out?

  200. 200

    Jonathan Chait Has Sinned –

    OH noes!! Elias has his diaper in a twist. Face it, grasshopper, Obama is black and way smarter than you or me, and also too, better at politics. I know that’s a shock for entitled white liberals to manage, but it is true, and the twoof will set you free from that awful privilege from which you suffer. Swear to gawd.

  201. 201
    Jesse in Jersey says:

    From March 14 Daily Kos.

    At his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) confirmed what aides in both parties have been telling reporters: Cuts to Medicare will be on the table in deficit and debt limit negotiations, led by Vice President Joe Biden.

    Another brilliant negotiating strategy?

  202. 202
    TK-421 says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    You accused her of saying Obama did not put medicare cuts on the table. She didn’t say that…

    Maybe this link would make it clearer (but probably not). Here’s a passage that I found interesting (emphasis mine):

    Pragprog bloggers noted Obama’s repeated statements that he would not accept any deal that cut Medicare and Social Security benefits and believed them; unlike the emoprogs and members of the Professional Left, who frantically gathered signatures and raised funds based on their incorrect notion that Obama had “put Social Security and Medicare on the table” (a point which pragprogs repeatedly and vociferously noted was patently untrue.)

  203. 203
    Frank Barbo says:

    I agree with this. Many people on the left, and the right don’t really like politics which is the art of the possible. People on the weird left complain that Obama is a dictator, and then they complain that he compromises too much. People on the right refuse to even listen to a word of his no matter how reasonable. It’s a tough time to govern.

  204. 204

    […] which I mean, I think this post from Zandar at Balloon Juice is very not good. He’s complaining that a recent Jonathan Chait […]

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