Le Freak, C’est Chic

If I can over-simplify ABL’s post about the chained CPI as “chill out, Obama’s got this”, then my position is something like “chill out and trust Obama to hear you”. The fact that Obama was a community organizer has been repeated so frequently that it’s cliche, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s looking for engagement from the people he represents. So when I wrote my Member of Congress to tell her not to support chained CPI, it wasn’t because I think that Obama and his surrogates are sellouts or phonies or frauds, it’s to encourage them to make a deal that doesn’t involve Social Security. My feelings about the Obama Administration–it’s fairly centrist, willing to compromise to get things done, too militaristic, a bit over-cautious, saddled with a terrible Congress, and probably the best Democrats can do at this point in history–didn’t change much.

What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal. There’s got to be a way to criticize the Obama Administration, or to try to push it in a different directions, without all the sweet emotion we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years.






197 replies
  1. 1
    MomSense says:

    When it comes to Social Security, taxes, Medicare–I don’t think we need to push the Obama Administration. I think the problem is absolutely with Congress. We need to shove them on these issues.

    There are other issues where I want to push the Obama Administration, namely nuclear power and national defense/ “security” issues.

  2. 2
    Big R says:

    Outrage addicts, that’s what they are. With an h/t to David Brin.

  3. 3
    dr. bloor says:

    What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal.

    Projection dies hard. A certain percentage of the progressive left–dare I suggest something on the order of 27%?–will never expect anything of Obama other than the fantasy attributes they projected onto him in 2008.

    As for the current negotiations, a lot of handwringing could have been saved if many had (a) used Pelosi as their barometer rather than anything coming out of the WH or the pie holes of the teevee unintelligencia, and (b) it never mattered what Obama was willing to put on the table, because Boner never had the power to negotiate a deal for his caucus.

  4. 4
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    Jennifer Rubin is shrill:http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ir-leader/

    The comments are lots of fun.

  5. 5
    different-church-lady says:

    There’s got to be a way to criticize the Obama Administration, or to try to push it in a different directions, without all the sweet emotion we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years.

    Oh, you’re just precious.

  6. 6
    Sterling says:

    “What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal.”

    And ABL’s snide, sarcastic, abrasive tone when talking about progressives isn’t irritating? That’s that nature of political blogging. A lot of very obnoxious people write blog posts because their readers love abrasive, obnoxious blog posts about people who disagree with them. The whole O-bots and firebagger thing is tired and cliche, but the readers love it.

  7. 7
    Scott S. says:

    What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal.

    Something I’ve said for a while is that there’s not a whole lot of difference between the Modern GOP and the Wingnut Left — not just because both hate Obama with the heat of 10,000 suns or because they reject reality and substitute their fantasy view of everything, but because they’re both bizarrely opposed to compromising with anyone on anything…

  8. 8
    some guy says:

    the pushback from the Left forced Team Obama to drop raising Medicare eligibility, hopefully the pushback from the Left and from the unions will get them to drop the Social Security benefit cuts as well. the Progressive Caucus is adamant they won’t vote to cut Social Security, and since the Teabaggers won’t vote for anything, come January the Dems in the House will have a lot more leverage.

    No to benefit cuts. SS has nothing to do with the deficit.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    @Big R: Tried it out once found it alright for kicks, then you find out that it’s a habit that sticks…

  10. 10
    PeakVT says:

    I agree. I think GOS has become the Loud Room of the internet.

  11. 11
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Sterling: Your tone concern is noted.

  12. 12
    cat says:

    Social Security has its own revenue stream and doesn’t contribute to the “debt”. Why is it even on the table during a BUDGET negotiation.

    And you do a poor job of simplifying ABL post as its more like, “Even if Obama does change the COLA to use Chained CPI its ok because it isn’t that big of a deal” when its a benefit cut to people who are the least likely to be able to make up the difference.

    Its outrageous to propose a benefit cut to SS when the benefits are already to low.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    I just don’t think, for some people, that there is a way to criticize the Obama administration without people reaching for their hysteria pill. When people tell you that they think Biden, or Hillary, or Bill are the “real progressives” they are simply delusional. They are refusing to recognize the obvious fact that the entire political process is situational and process driven–that people do what they can within the limits of their position and the totality of moves offered to them by the positions of other people at a certain point in time.

    The continued suspicion of Obama’s motives and his goals is driven by some atavistic rage against “one of us” (or one of them, depending on your outlook) who made it to the top of the tree and doesn’t magically cure all our ills but has to work within the system. Obama strikes me as the near embodiement of Weber’s “ethic of responsibility” in Politics as a Vocation. This is an ethic that takes into account the results of actions and policy–not merely the motivations or ideology of the actor.

    As for the continued excoration of Obama as an incrementalist. To my mind this is like looking at the situation of a man hanging by one handhold ten feet down a steep mountain cliff. Clinging to his leg are an old lady, a young child, a sick man and a small dog. While he tries to claw his way, inch by inch, back up the mountain to safety without dislodging those people someone at the top is shouting “damned incrementalist! Shake those legs and move those arms! You’ll get to the top faster!”

    aimai

  14. 14
    Scott S. says:

    @aimai:

    Maybe more like “WHY AREN’T YOU ON TOP OF THE CLIFF ALREADY?! YOU’VE HAD A WHOLE 30 SECONDS! YOU HATE ALL THOSE PEOPLE ON YOUR LEG AND WANT THEM TO DIE! I’M GOING TO GO FIND ROCKS TO THROW AT YOU!”

  15. 15
    amk says:

    emoprogs and teabaggers the sides of the same coin. At least the teabaggers were able to get some heavy political clout while these lefty morons just heel-snap at the dems to no use.

  16. 16
    Punchy says:

    “Chained CPI”? I’m too ig’nant and lazy to know what that is. Sounds like a Layne Staley Greatest Hits album name.

  17. 17
    curiousleo says:

    Stupid sorta question: I was telling a “not that informed beyond the evening news” friend that SS was very much not the problem with the debt or budget. And they wanted to know my sources and why I thought that–but not asking in a mean way. So…

    Any “easy to read/digest” link that I can send said “show me your source” person. They’re willing to have an open mind but just haven’t ever really heard anything beyond the “SS and Medicare are draining ALL our Dollarz”

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    @Scott S.:

    I will absolutely admit that I was one of those people for some time during the first term. And I still think that Obama radically misunderstood the situation he found himself in vis a vis the Republicans, and is not a good negotiator because he has a tendency to be too generous at the start of negotiations. I well remember Nancy Pelosi observing, bitterly, that a whole lot was left on the table during Rahm’s backroom dealings with the Pharma groups. But I think that not only has Obama grown as a person and as a President and negotiator over the last four years but that it isn’t really possible for an outsider to power to understand what negotiating at the brink of world economic collapse looked like from an insider perspective. I think now that it must have been like juggling knives and explosives, while aware that dropping any one would be a fatal choice from the perspective of the hostages (voters, the elderly, the unemployed, the poor).

    aimai

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Jesse Levine says:

    Obama has been breaking his promises to the base (no tax breaks for over 250k earners) since the FISA vote before he was elected. He really wants to be the “adult in the room” but if ABL thinks that the way to negotiate is to put half of what the other side wants on the table before they demand it, I’d love to sit across the table from her. More important, the chained CPI does not “strengthen social security, it is a cut in benefits that has real impact on the poorest among us, and does not help in reducing the deficit, if that’s the goal. Does anyone really think throwing meat to the crazies will satisfy their appetite? He’ll just keep on feeding them.

  21. 21
    negative 1 says:

    There is no incentive for the professional rage-a-holics to kick the habit now. They’ve set their tone, so they have that audience. If they stop, there’s no guarantee that their audience will – they’ll just find a new writer to give them the same fix.
    Additionally it’s instructive to remember – at least on the local level that I can attest to, no single bill has ever been passed in its original form that won’t piss everyone off. Ever. There is no way to do it, because contrary to popular opinion the easiest thing to do as a politician is nothing. Hence, that’s what people want to do. So in order to get a bill in motion to a vote it has to include something for literally everyone, at that’s going to make most people mad. If that’s true at the state level, I’d wager it’s true at the federal level too.

  22. 22
    Feudalism Now! says:

    Hear! Hear! The chained CPI was too much, but it was offered with the understanding that Boehner is not an honest negotiating partner. It was the honeypot to draw out any moderate repugs who will now be twisted for post cliff negotiations with Speaker Cantor next year.
    I trust Obama as much as any other Democrat, but I will continue to pressure for what I believe is right. No freak out. No DOOM IS NIGH! There is an adult in the WH and he will fight the good fight if he is reminded who he is fighting for. The congress becomes a little more blue next year, but people will be feeling real pain. Hopefully, a good deal will be reached without worrying about the Bush tax cuts,. All the reds have is the debt ceiling. It is a weak desperate gambit that further isolates their positions. Write early and often to your Senators, Assembly person and to Our President. We will be doing this for the rest of forever, so get in the habit.

  23. 23
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @aimai: @Valdivia: Obots! Obots erywhere!

    /sarcasm

  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26

    @cat:

    Social Security has its own revenue stream and doesn’t contribute to the “debt”. Why is it even on the table during a BUDGET negotiation.

    How many Americans actually know this, though?

    Even worse, how many of those would shake their heads ‘no’ at you if you tried to explain it to them? Because They Just Know.

    Borderline-retarded people elected borderline-retarded people to the House. Funny how that works.

  27. 27
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Obama is more conservative than many of us but he’s always been that way. He hasn’t lied about that. He’s still a decent human being and has actually accomplished some seriously progressive victories.

    Still, I remember what LBJ is supposed to have said to King about passing Civil Rights legislation: “Make me.”

    Obama may need pressure from his base to strengthen his stance. So be it. Let’s apply that pressure [and love him anyway]. And pressure Congress and the Senate too, although you really don’t have to love those guys. Just push.

  28. 28
    Itinerant pedant says:

    The other aspect I haven’t seen anyone point out is Obamas negotiating style, where public opinion is important: seem like the reasonable adult in the room and make the crazies identify themselves. It happened again. It doesn’t hurt that tactic that the Repubs are in fact actually batshit crazy.

  29. 29
    Itinerant pedant says:

    The other aspect I haven’t seen anyone point out is Obamas negotiating style, where public opinion is important: seem like the reasonable adult in the room and make the crazies identify themselves. It happened again. It doesn’t hurt that tactic that the Repubs are in fact actually crazy.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    The White House seems on their game. (Except for Ben Gazzara!) I got this email today,

    A Message from President Obama about Your Petition on Reducing Gun Violence

    By Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden

    In the days since the tragedy in Newtown, Americans from all over the country have called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of you have signed petitions on We the People.

    I’m writing you today to thank you for speaking up, to update you on an important development, and to encourage you to continue engaging with the White House on this critical issue.

    First, you should know that President Obama is paying close to attention to the public response to this tragedy. In fact, he sat down to record a message specifically for those of you who have joined the conversation using We the People. Watch it now:

  31. 31
    Itinerant pedant says:

    The other aspect I haven’t seen anyone point out is Obamas negotiating style, where public opinion is important: seem like the reasonable adult in the room and make the crazies identify themselves. It happened again. It doesn’t hurt that the Repubs are in fact actually crazy.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @cat:

    Social Security has its own revenue stream and doesn’t contribute to the “debt”. Why is it even on the table during a BUDGET negotiation.

    Actually it does contibute to the debt, but it’s exactly opposite of the scare mongering. When we reach the point where more is going out than is coming in, the SS trust fund will shrink. All of those trillions of dollars in the trust fund *are* the national debt.

  33. 33
    Scott S. says:

    @Itinerant pedant:

    And strategy is actually working pretty well — more and more people now say the GOP is too extreme and can’t be trusted.

  34. 34
    max says:

    then my position is something like “chill out and trust Obama to hear you”

    Can’t hear you (or me) if you don’t say anything.

    My feelings about the Obama Administration–it’s fairly centrist, willing to compromise to get things done, too militaristic, a bit over-cautious, saddled with a terrible Congress, and probably the best Democrats can do at this point in history–didn’t change much.

    I think it’s better to say that O is running a good, but more expansive foreign policy than I would like. Legal policies are honestly decided upon, but borderline terrible (partly the fault of Congress D&R alike). The overarching decision-making process is solid. The main problem is with economic policy – I have no fucking idea what the guy believes, but it seems to be whatever Tim Geithner believes, and that guy is all Wall Street all the time, which is how we got into this mess.

    I wouldn’t call it centrist policy, exactly, so much, as honest to God limousine liberal. (Gay marriage is fine, and you should treat women decently, and so on, but God help you if you mess with the 2 and 20 or the definition of profits.)

    it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal.

    I expected Obama to go right back to pattern after the election and I expected to be deeply annoyed by it because it hurts him, which hurts me and mine. But while O mumbled a bunch of shit about the deficit, they also took some pains to say they weren’t messing with Social Security.

    So they went and messed with Social Security. It is one thing to do what you say you’re going to do (and frequently the firebaggers ignored what O said) and another thing entirely to do something you explicitly said you would not do. That he did this when he didn’t have to, and he did this when it weakened his position, and that he did it when the Republicans don’t want to do it (which means this is entirely something the White House wants. It was a boneheaded play. But Krugman has said it better, or at least less harshly than I would.

    (Incidental note: I’ve got no reason to think the Chained CPI adjustment would be applied to anything other than Social Security, and I’ve got no reason to think any so-called protections for the elderly poor. For a generation the D party has told the base of the party that this, that or the other thing (trade, welfare, crime, etc. ad nauseam) would be just fine and they would fix any problems that arose and of course it was not fine and they never did anything about it. So no, I do not trust them when they get like this.

    max
    [‘Note that I am not enraged, just disgusted.’]

  35. 35
    MattF says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: I’ll credit Rubin with not attempting a contrarian “good news for Republicans” interpretation about last night’s fiasco, but her analysis is wrong.

    First, Americans didn’t opt for a divided government. We got a Republican House, thanks to gerrymandering.

    More important, what happened isn’t a failure to govern, it’s a collapse of the Republican political strategy. You may recall that Republicans were confidently assuming they’d win the Senate and the Presidency. The Congressional Republicans would then be in charge and what’s-his-name in the Oval Office would sign anything that was placed on his desk.

    But that’s not what happened, here in RealityLand. Here, in reality, the Senate and the Presidency went to the Democrats. And now, the third shoe has dropped and Nancy Pelosi has a veto on what legislation gets passed by the House. It’s not going according to the Republican plan, to say the least.

  36. 36
    AnotherBruce says:

    @cat: Maybe some day, someone might propose expanding social security. It is arguably the most successful program in American history. Why not change the conversation instead of fighting rear guard battles all the time?

  37. 37
    Culture of Truth says:

    What bugs me more is the implication that Obama must be, unlike some fearless internet commenter, stupid, ignorant of how Washington works, a bad negotiator, a coward, bought and paid for, or indifferent to people’s suffering.

    If makes a reasonable offer, then he concedes too much up front; if he makes big demands and then gives some up, he’s caving.

  38. 38

    I admit, dealing with the wild misrepresentations, conspiracy theories, and outright lies has made me and most strong Obama supporters a bit punch drunk. It builds up a great deal of anger after awhile. There are elements of your description of Obama I strongly disagree with, even consider flatly unrealistic – but you are exactly the sort of person who can and should be engaged with in reasonable debate. The instinctive anger built up by dealing with the people who aren’t listening and make shit up is unproductive.

  39. 39
    jamick6000 says:

    What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal.

    I think you’re misreading the “professional progressives”. It isn’t that Obama “betrayed” us, it’s that he doesn’t share our values. He’s an establishment, centrist, “third way” kind of guy who takes David Brooks seriously, admires Ronald Reagan, etc.

  40. 40
    General Stuck says:

    I just don’t think, for some people, that there is a way to criticize the Obama administration without people reaching for their hysteria pill. When people tell you that they think Biden, or Hillary, or Bill are the “real progressives” they are simply delusional.

    The pathological suspicion and fear of betrayal concerning Obama from white liberals is due to Obama being a black man. I am not going to dance around it any longer. Because after 4 plus years listening to the dedicated Obama smear merchants claiming to be just concerned progs holding Obama’s feet to the fire, I am convinced it is racism, a white liberal version, at least with the caricature building of someone who is going to disappoint you when you let down your defense even a little bit. And after 4 years of evidence, that this good man is probably the most honest president we have had in my lifetime, at least.

    And i don’t want to hear front papers hand wringing about trolls, when you don’t do one damn thing to deal with them in comments.

    If all you do is hammer PBO without facts, and nothing else, then you deserve the same derision we give to republicans, because you are doing their work for them.

  41. 41
    kindness says:

    I don’t agree that the Obama administration has it’s ducks in the correct order here. Especially when we see from just these last 3 weeks that Republicans are determined to burn the whole place to the ground if they don’t get their way, just like the first term of Obama’s administration.

    Obama should NEVER have offered anything wrt Social Security. It is not part of the deficit. Obama should have learned his lesson by now but obviously hasn’t. Republicans now days only understand hardball. Anything resembling responsible give and take negotiating to them is blood in the water shark feeding frenzy weakness in Republicans eyes and we get the fiasco that happened in the House this week culminating with last night.

    No, Obama has to stick it to Republicans, each and every step of the way. And he would do better to be up front and say exactly why he is sticking it to Repubs. Being polite and nice is a losers game right now.

    How come so many don’t see that by now?

  42. 42
    gnomedad says:

    The fact that Obama was a community organizer has been repeated so frequently that it’s cliche, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s looking for engagement from the people he represents.

    Caribou Barbie thought she was really clever with her line about “kinda like a community organizer, but with real responsibilities” (which she abandoned as soon as the wingnut welfare circuit promised a bigger payoff), but unlike a politician who can say FU to anyone who didn’t vote for him/her, a community organizer has to build consensus. So there’s that.

  43. 43
    jamick6000 says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    If makes a reasonable offer, then he concedes too much up front; if he makes big demands and then gives some up, he’s caving.

    So this last offer with the chained CPI was “reasonable.”

    I guess, if you think it’s reasonable to propose solving a fake problem (the deficit) by cutting something (Social Security) that doesn’t even contribute to the fake problem.

  44. 44
    Culture of Truth says:

    Again with the Ronald Reagan thing. He admires how Reagan was able forge a coalition and change government and society. I assume any honest progressive who wants to be successful does also.

  45. 45
    Anya says:

    What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal. There’s got to be a way to criticize the Obama Administration, or to try to push it in a different directions, without all the sweet emotion we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years.

    What bothers me most about our perpetually outraged fellow progressives is not the emotion, but the snide, disrespectful and down right condescending way they talk about the President. They portray him as the bullied kid who gives away his lunch money, even before the bully asks him. That irritates me more than anything.

  46. 46
    General Stuck says:

    @kindness:

    Obama should NEVER have offered anything wrt Social Security. It is not part of the deficit. Obama should have learned his lesson by now but obviously hasn’t. Republicans now days only understand hardball.

    I’m pretty sure they do after having had their testicles delivered to them so many times the past four years. They are as popular as dick cancer right now, and don’t know whether to shit or go blind. Only racist morons would think it was the other way around. Some anglo people just cannot absorb the idea that a black man, any black man, is not their lesser. Not for a minute, or a second.

  47. 47
    Culture of Truth says:

    So this last offer with the chained CPI was “reasonable.”

    Did I say that? No.

    I think it’s fine, even necessary, to criticize trial balloons coming from Washington. But it doesn’t make the critic a saint or a genius and Obama an idiot or evil. It means both are participating in the messy business of politics in their own way.

  48. 48
    different-church-lady says:

    @kindness:

    No, Obama has to stick it to Republicans, each and every step of the way.

    And that’s how he’s going to get legislation passed by a Republican House?

  49. 49
    Culture of Truth says:

    Kerry is in for Sec. of State. Feel free to commence panicking about MA.

  50. 50
    kindness says:

    OK, my bad for posting without reading all the prior posts first. I’ve read them now.

    Soooo, criticizing Obama’s negotiating and his proposals is now equal to the TeaHaddists, eh?

    WTF is up with some of you? You know you sound just like Third Way/MSM Village Elders when you whine so. I hate to call people I like morans but Jesus folks….circular firing squads are not called for for those you agree with 90% of the time and you damn well should respect other’s views when you don’t agree 100%. At least find a way to disagree without resorting to the same lunacy we see from NPR.

    I can’t believe I have to tell you this.

    @Culture of Truth:

    Kerry is in for Sec. of State. Feel free to commence panicking about MA.

    let me get my Bushmaster out and take aim at my foot.

  51. 51
    The Dangerman says:

    What Obama says during “negotiations” (read: “kabuki theater”) doesn’t amount to a hill of shit; what matters is the end result. Right now, Obama is the reasonable man in the room; he had to know full well that Republicans would never vote for a bill to support tax increases. The Left Wing freakout over the kabuki is really rather sad.

  52. 52
    Kristine says:

    @General Stuck:

    The pathological suspicion and fear of betrayal concerning Obama from white liberals is due to Obama being a black man.

    My feeling is that they thought that as a black man, he would be as liberal as they were, if not more so. I think some even thought they were indeed voting for a socialist, and were quite happy to do so. It didn’t turn out that way, and they haven’t wrapped their minds around it yet. They may never adjust.

  53. 53
    General Stuck says:

    Okay, somebody show me where Obama at any time has offered the chained CPI as a cut to SS. I know Jay Carny mentioned it once. ONE FUCKING TIME. But has to my knowledge never crossed the presidents lips as a genuine offer for compromise, and even Carny said that Obama would absolutely insist that it not harm the most vulnerable, or poorest seniors and disabled.

    If you think even this meager talk by Carny was wrong, then fine, but don’t exaggerate it to more than it was. Especially when Obama came out of the gates with a 2 to 1 offer of new tax revenues to cuts.

    You jackasses are just like the republicans. You fish one hole for the tiniest excuse to launch into a compulsive bashing of your side’s president. At least the wingnuts aim their fire at democrats.

  54. 54
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Hey, the nuttiest wing of the Republicans got everything they wanted for 40 years by repeatedly freaking out. At one point, they even drove Poppa Bush out of office for supposedly selling them out. Maybe some wildly exaggerated hysteria on our side is what we need.

  55. 55
    ruemara says:

    Here’s my issue: outrage brings eyeballs. The more you can tap into whatever people want to feel outrage about, the more likely you’ll have an audience. I learned my lesson during the primaries back in 08 when it was all the rage to decry Obama because he said Reagan shaped dialogue. Except it was turned into “Obama admires Reagan”. You know something, Reagan did shape the arguments for decades to come. He had tremendous influence. I too felt like, who is this nutty Dem,admiring Reagan? Until I went and found what he said and agreed with it. Same thing with the public option outrage. I can’t be the only one who remembers Obama not being for the public option in the primaries. Not because he did not like it, but because he did not think it could get through Congress. I had no illusions on that. Suddenly it became the hill to die on. I can’t be the only one who recalls that Reid brought a bill with a weak public option to the floor, the WH asked if he was sure he had the votes, he said yes and it failed. How is that Obama’s fault? But it was due to the nebulous reasons of not fighting hard enough with parameters that do not seem to be defined. It’s always the same thing, an opinion that should be held over any reality. It makes me rightly suspicious of anything being said, because I’d actually like to hear the full spate of facts, not be told how I’m supposed to feel betrayed.

  56. 56
    aimai says:

    @General Stuck:

    Despite the fact that the General and I mixed it up plenty during the early Obama years–because I’m far to the left of any Democrat while being a staunch yellow dog democrat anyway–I really agree with him. Admitting to the deep seated sexism, racism and ageism of liberals is the third rail of commenting but there really is no other explanation. I’d like to add that if Hillary had been elected president you would have seen the same shit, different valence, every fucking day–if she’d been aggressive it would have been because she was “trying to be like a man” and if she was diplomatic it would be because she was “too pussy” or something. On the center/left commentariat there is simply a strong belief, unstated and unexamined, that any boob commenter could do a better job than Obama. Aside from delusional self regard and arrogance what else looks like this kind of confidence? Its straight up white male arrogance. Very few people think they could jump in and do brain surgery or rocket science without years of practice and some pretty extensive talent–why do blog comenters think they could jump in and run a multi party, multi stakeholder, complex, multi year negotiation involving nothing but moving parts? Arrogance and contempt for the actual players who, you know, are playing for keeps.

    aimai

  57. 57
    Eli Rabett says:

    Only if Obama promises to give up hippie bashing in the next four

  58. 58
    doofus says:

    @kindness: I am confused. What exactly do you think he ‘lost’ so far on this set of negotiations?

  59. 59
    sparrow says:

    @curiousleo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd4HDautaUw

    This video sums it up very well, is unerstandable, and short.

  60. 60

    @max:
    Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce strongly disagree with you.

  61. 61
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Did any of you idiots think that any offer Obama made the Republicans was something he was serious about? Shit, I wish he’d offered them abolition of all taxes and termination of all government services. Don’t you get it? They wouldn’t have taken it, because the offer came from The Stalinist Negro and not from a serious white guy.

    Good God, he’s not stupid and he knew, just as I did when this deal originally got hammed out over a year ago, that the GOP was going to do exactly what it just did and fall on their fucking faces into a cesspit of failure.

  62. 62
    different-church-lady says:

    @ruemara:

    I can’t be the only one who recalls that Reid brought a bill with a weak public option to the floor, the WH asked if he was sure he had the votes, he said yes and it failed. How is that Obama’s fault?

    That jars a thought out of the back of my mind: when the votes weren’t there for the public option, the criticism could have reasonably framed as “Obama didn’t get us a public option. He failed.” But instead, that step was skipped right over in favor of “OBAMA NEVER WANTED A PUBLIC OPTION IN THE FIRST PLACE! HE’S A TRAITOR! HE’S A REPUBLICAN!”

    You simply can’t have conversations with people who do that. And you can’t ever explain to people like that why other people stop listening.

  63. 63
    jprfrog says:

    The “professional progressives”, to the extent that they stayed home and encouraged others to do so in 2010 bear some responsibility for the insanity loose in the House. This is a gross exaggeration, but the FDLers remind me a little of the German Communists in the early thirties. Following the lead of Stalin’s Comintern and slavishly adhering to the “immiseration” theory of Marx, they enthusiastically attacked the “Social fascist” (their term) center from the left as the Nazis did so from the right. Their motto was “Nach Hitler, uns” (after Hitler, us) and in a bizarre way they were right, at least for the truncated Eastern half of the nation. But between there was 12 years of Nazi terror and destruction, 60 million dead, and the continent in smoking ruins. And their reward was the NKVD (precursor of the KGB) and the Stasi.

    Now we have to hope that in 2014 there is a concerted effort to oust the wingnut crazies from Congress, and not forget the statehouses. Without that, our politics will become as intractable has the Israeli-Palestinian
    donnybrook.

  64. 64
    ruemara says:

    @different-church-lady: Exactly. Everything is a betrayal, an outrage, get furious at this one guy-ignore those 500 guys over there in charge of domestic affairs. Throw in the venom towards anyone supportive of anything Obama does, and yes, you do have teabaggers of the left.

  65. 65
    Linnaeus says:

    1. I don’t feel “betrayed” by the president and I believe he was and continues to be the best choice we had available. On the whole, I think he is on the right side of things.

    2. I don’t agree with everything he does. I don’t think a move to chained CPI is a good idea, but I am willing to wait and see what happens. If the deal is something I don’t agree with, I will say so.

    These two are not mutually exclusive.

  66. 66
    different-church-lady says:

    @ruemara: And my problem with them is not their anger or frustration. My problem is that they just can’t see how counterproductive their anger and frustration is. Heck, they honestly believe the more they scream and exaggerate the better the results will be. It’s like a tipping point theory of rage: if I scream and nothing changes, then it’s because we simply haven’t screamed loud enough to hit the tipping point.

  67. 67
    kindness says:

    @doofus: Lost? Maybe it’s an 11th dimensional chess negotiating tactic but 1) he should never have agreed to raise the tax cut level above $250K to $400K as he promised during his campaign. 2) he should never have included ANYTHING wrt Social Security in negotiations.

    So, lost? Some of my respect & trust but that doesn’t matter much in the greater scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong. I still love Obama, but loving him does not mean I can’t disagree with him.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @max:

    Can’t hear you (or me) if you don’t say anything.

    Yes, but there is a difference between saying something and freaking out. If you want the President to hear you, you’re much better off making a polite but firm letter or telephone call to his people, rather than bitch about what you’re worried he might do on a blog somewhere.

  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @AnotherBruce: if you do “chained CPI” AND AT THE SAME TIME create a guaranteed minimum benefit — which was a blip on the radar screen at least at one point, and IIRC part of the Simpson-Bowles prescriptions — you would restructure Social Security so that the bottom end, the most vulnerable, would quickly be a lot better off. The top end would get less generous benefits. It would essentially be means-testing with redistribution. Or, if you will, an expansion of SS… for those on the bottom. I don’t think that sounds so bad for progressivism. You’d have to be wary of making SS feel more like “welfare,” which is the progressive concern about means-testing generally. So I don’t know about the politics. As a technowonk way to tinker with SS, shore up its future funding, and not jeopardize the poorest, though, it sounds defensible.

  70. 70
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    Too Centrist, too militaristic……?

    I thought Mayan Calender failed…

    APOCALYPTIC APOSTASY !

  71. 71
    jamick6000 says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Did I say that? No.

    What were you talking about with “if he makes a reasonable offer…” ?

    It means both are participating in the messy business of politics in their own way.

    That’s the problem — Obama’s way of practicing politics is “make concession after concession while extracting nothing in return.” It’s not effective, not good policy and not good politics. Nothing to do with your ‘I’m a genius and Obama is dumb’ straw man.

  72. 72
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @different-church-lady: that’s what the “trial balloon” idea ensures. It makes screaming at rumors feel like doing politics well.

  73. 73
    Triassic Sands says:

    I don’t agree this is the best we could do at this time in history, because some of the issues/policies on which Obama is worst are ones he could change without any significant change in his electability, but which would be improvements that would make him more popular with the left in general. For example, human rights are not something most “average Americans” are paying much attention to, and if Obama significantly improved his policies, we’d have a better government without it costing Obama anything. Also, consider your belief that he’s too militaristic. It’s not surprising when the lunatics on the right force Democratic politicians to take more military-friendly positions than they might otherwise assume if not for the strident criticism from the wingers. However, Obama doesn’t really have to worry about that, since no matter what his position is the wingers will accuse him of being a communist-loving, terrorist-appeasing, blah, blah, blah. He adopted a number of conservative ideas for health care reform and the crazies call it socialism and government takeover. In short, the complete insanity of the right means that no matter what Obama does he will be accused of being a far-left-wing extremist. So, he could probably move to the left on a number of issues without changing the wingers’ claims about him, the media coverage, or the public’s perception.

    If Obama’s current policies and positions are really his preferred positions, irrespective of the GOP, then this is the best Obama can be, but if some of his policies and positions are in response to right wing criticism, then it probably isn’t the best he could be.

    You’re probably right if you mean we couldn’t elect a genuine progressive or liberal, but I think Obama has room to be a better president without really risking anything.

  74. 74
    Albaz says:

    I love to read how so many of you who do not live almost entirely on Social Security and the kindness of strangers (ha ha ha) like yourselves find cutting or offering to cut Social Security COLAs so fucking reasonable when St. Ronnie and the mysterious and magical Greenspan with the active participation of Tip o’the bottle and Obamalike centrist Moynihan already left Social Security and other government pensions lagging actual inflation.

    Our great five dimensional chess playing Obama (the biggest mistake you guys made was sending ABL to the convention for now she believes she has a stake in Obama’s career) does not have a clue about how one NEGOTIATES! One does not start with the other guy’s position. One begins by demanding a COLA of CPI PLUS one percent and lets the other guy negotiate him down to the desired point. This is what the Republicans were doing and you can imagine their joy when they find the negotiating point not only accepted but that they were offered more.

    Chained CPI is only reasonable for those so called progressives (PINOs?)who participate in his comment thread. For those of us aging and aged souls who fortune and a bad choice here or there has left dependent upon Social Security it is a not very mitigated disaster.

    Just wait until your ox is gored. It will come. When the pol thinks he has you in his pocket, he’ll empty it and tell you to be satisfied with the lint.

  75. 75
    General Stuck says:

    @Kristine:

    My feeling is that they thought that as a black man, he would be as liberal as they were, if not more so. I think some even thought they were indeed voting for a socialist, and were quite happy to do so. It didn’t turn out that way, and they haven’t wrapped their minds around it yet. They may never adjust.

    This could be. I do believe that most of it is unconscious and rationalized in more acceptable terms. There have been some folks on this very blog that have evolved from a willingness to honestly examine their thinking about these things. It is not a crime to not be aware of things that were fed to you as children and as a matter of long running birthright. And yes, some may never adjust, like you say, but others will.

  76. 76
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @Kristine:

    My feeling is that they thought that as a black man, he would be as liberal as they were, if not more so. I think some even thought they were indeed voting for a socialist, and were quite happy to do so. It didn’t turn out that way, and they haven’t wrapped their minds around it yet. They may never adjust.

    Actually, what I think is that they thought they voted for a Samuel L. Jackson, but ended up with a Morgan Freeman.

    And they mad!

  77. 77
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Triassic Sands: but there are still a hell of a lot of middle of the road people, like blue-collar Democrats in the Midwest, who like some of these “muscular” foreign policy and civil liberties ideas, and whose support might waver if they began to feel like Obama was a wuss. So, sure, the wingnuts will always bleat and scream, and there’s no reaching them. But there are others whose soft support of Obama and Democrats needs a lot of maintenance, and being cagey about when to move left has a lot to do with keeping them in the fold, IMHO.

  78. 78
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @jprfrog:

    The “professional progressives”, to the extent that they stayed home and encouraged others to do so in 2010 bear some responsibility for the insanity loose in the House.

    The effect of that, if any, was minute. Democratic turnout in 2010 was completely normal for a midterm election. The problem was that the mainstream Democrats made an insufficient concerted effort to turn people out nationwide in the face of a Tea Party rage-wave.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MikeJ:

    For once I understand a song lyric reference! Apropos choice, too.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Albaz: if people _dependent_ on Social Security had a greater benefit, but people who receive it gladly but don’t depend on it had a gradually lesser one, who would that hurt? There’s a difference between a proposal to apply chained CPI to everyone and then call it quits and a proposal that has other features. How much do we know about the other features? Are there any? Because even Simpson-Bowles had a few, like the one that occurred to me last night and that I’ve been barking about ever since, the guaranteed minimum benefit.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Matt McIrvin: or, to think of it another way, the people who didn’t turn out were the ones who liked Obama more than they liked Democrats in general. Obots?

  82. 82
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    but there are still a hell of a lot of middle of the road people, like blue-collar Democrats in the Midwest, who like some of these “muscular” foreign policy and civil liberties ideas, and whose support might waver if they began to feel like Obama was a wuss.

    That may be true, and if so, it doesn’t bode well for domestic efforts to get the US to begin to dismantle its military empire. Perhaps we’ll need to be compelled to do so, but that has its disadvantages as well.

  83. 83
    gwangung says:

    @kindness:

    Lost? Maybe it’s an 11th dimensional chess negotiating tactic but 1) he should never have agreed to raise the tax cut level above $250K to $400K as he promised during his campaign. 2) he should never have included ANYTHING wrt Social Security in negotiations.

    I don’t know. It depends if this stuff appears in the resulting plan without amelioration.

    It’s not Politics 101, but it IS politics 201 to take positions that you know the opposition won’t accept so as to make them poisonous for the overall discussion. “You won’t take ANY compromise? OK, here’s my plan”

    Remember. Not everyone is tuned into progressive positions. Progressives are NOT the base. They are one of MULTIPLE bases. And those other bases really like their leader to at least try to offer compromises.

  84. 84
    David Hunt says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Kerry is in for Sec. of State. Feel free to commence panicking about MA

    While I’m disappointed that Rice was bullied out of even being considered, I can’t panic about this. I expect Kerry would make a fine SecState and the worst that will come out of this that Scott Brown will again be the junior Senator from Massachusetts…because Elizabeth Warren will be have seniority on him.

  85. 85
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gwangung: yup. Poll after poll after poll shows that self-identified Democrats say they want compromise rather than uncompromisingness. That doesn’t mean that all compromises are equivalent, of course.

  86. 86
    different-church-lady says:

    @FlipYrWhig: When your only tool is a pin, every problem looks like a trial balloon.

  87. 87
    aimai says:

    Why is it so hard to understand that this is a very complicated system–its not the equivalent of any other kind of bargaining table because different stakeholders have motivations that make the chief negotiater not able to corral their votes, or only corral their votes on X by promising Y. Meanwhile, our chief negotiator has other irons in the fire–the entire ACA was like this. Lots of parts of it make sense only when you grasp that Medicaid and Medicare were going to be expanded to take up the slack for the poorest in the states–where those programs are run by the states. When the states reneged there were (and are) complicated backupplans to try to make it still work. That’s something that was negotiated at the table, but also in a sense not negotiated at the table because the negotiaters couldn’t constrain the hands of THE GOVERNORS and the state legislatures who were ultimately going to have to implement the ACA in some of its particulars.

    aimai

  88. 88
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    Actually, what I think is that they thought they voted for a Samuel L. Jackson, but ended up with a Morgan Freeman.

    The amazing thing is that Morgan Freeman won re-election, and they still think they’re going to get Samuel L. Jackson.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Good God, he’s not stupid and he knew, just as I did when this deal originally got hammed out over a year ago, that the GOP was going to do exactly what it just did and fall on their fucking faces into a cesspit of failure.

    You, my good sir, win the cigar. Here’s what Senator Dick Durbin said in an on-the-record conversation with Greg Sargent:

    The Speaker and many of his Republican friends are hell bent on Chained CPI,” Durbin continued. “It may be part of an overall solution [later] but to do it at this stage is the wrong way to go.”

    So they offered Boehnher and the Republicans the thing that they claimed was non-negotiable and then sat back and watched as Boehner vainly tried to gather up enough votes from his caucus to pass his own plan.

    I still think the stroke of genius was having Nancy “She-Devil” Pelosi come out publicly in favor of chained CPI, knowing full well that having Pelosi in favor of anything in the deal would immediately kill it, even if it was something that Republicans had insisted on.

    And yet people like some guy insist that this was all a co-inkydink and it’s just pure luck that Obama was foiled in his nefarious plan to kill Social Security. Because apparently Obama isn’t even smart enough to notice what has happened every other time the Republicans claimed to negotiate, so this all happened purely by accident.

    What’s the phrase Ian Fleming came up with? “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.”

  90. 90
    different-church-lady says:

    @Albaz:

    …does not have a clue about how one NEGOTIATES! One does not start with the other guy’s position. One begins by demanding a COLA of CPI PLUS one percent and lets the other guy negotiate him down to the desired point.

    That might be how one negotiates when buying a used car, but the analogy probably becomes a lot more convoluted when dealing with legislation in the American system. (I believe this is a more polite way of telling you to your analogy is simple minded.)

    This is what the Republicans were doing and you can imagine their joy when they find the negotiating point not only accepted but that they were offered more.

    If that’s true then explain to the class why they turn that down every time.

  91. 91
    👽 Martin says:

    So when I wrote my Member of Congress to tell her not to support chained CPI, it wasn’t because I think that Obama and his surrogates are sellouts or phonies or frauds, it’s to encourage them to make a deal that doesn’t involve Social Security.

    Again. Social Security Disability Insurance is out of money before Obama’s term is up. There’s nothing left in their trust. The program is paying out much faster than it’s receiving money. The trustees have said they will be forced to cut benefits 21% in 2016 based on the current model.

    Obama MUST find a solution to this problem in his term. The current options, with no changes to SS, are:

    1) to let the cuts go through, which go up to 25% the following year and stay there forever.
    2) to make up for the shortfall from the rest of the OASDI trust – basically shift retirement dollars to disability, and take retirement which is expected to be solvent through 2038 and shorten its life considerably.

    That’s it. Everything else requires a change. The beauty of C-CPI is that nobody’s benefits get cut (that 21% is a full-on cut, C-CPI is slower growth but never money taken away) and because SS calculates everything on a 75 year model, it has big benefits way out there at the end and shoves that 2038 date back quite a bit. That can be used as leverage to get other concessions that help SSDI in the near term.

    Another of Obama’s consistent but vague statements has been to fix SS to help low-income people. There is no minimum benefit for SS. You can retire at age 65 and get a SS payment of as little as $1. 20% of all retired minorities and unmarried women get SS benefits that are less than the poverty level. Those individuals then receive additional support out of TANF and other programs, which directly impact the immediate budget. Tied to C-CPI has always been to put a floor under SS benefits – so that everyone would receive a benefit of 100% or 125% of the poverty level. That would shift quite a bit of spending out of the welfare budget and over to SS, but it needs to be paid for – so the folks at the bottom get a big boost, while everyone else gets slower increases.

    And the argument that we need higher COLAs to cover health care costs is fundamentally wrong. If health care inflation is higher than overall inflation, you can NEVER catch up to it. If you pay out more in the COLA, you need to bring in more in revenue – but SS revenue is identical to the measure of inflation. The only possible solution to the health care cost problem for retirees is to make health care cheaper and get it down in line with inflation which is what PPACA is designed to do (not all the way, but it gets it much of the way – we still need to do more there). Health care inflation has been running a full 2 points ahead of overall inflation, and PPACA sought to cut that to 0.5 points higher.

    Everyone freaking out about the 0.2 point difference with C-CPI are willfully ignoring MUCH bigger problems directly related to it. The 21% cut in SSDI that will happen in 2016. The fact that SS retirement is already cutting into the trust and has been since 2010. The fact that we’re making up for income shortcomings in SS by paying out of the general tax base through TANF and other programs. And the fact that the much bigger threat to seniors retirement income is the 2 point, hopefully becoming 0.5 point gap in health care inflation. If taking a 0.2 point reduction in benefit increases helps gets any of those problems solved, then take it. Eagerly.

  92. 92
    Gus diZerega says:

    @Anya: Why then does he give away the lunch money before he is bullied. I voted for him, would vote for him again knowing what he proposed, and hope that those of you who say “don’t worry” are right.

    BUT….

    This compromise was unnecessary. He has a long history of frittering away his advantages in the name of bipartisanship. Look at especially his first year but it was a continual theme throughout his first term, always defended as part of a nonexistent “multi-dimensional chess” game. Remember?

    Someone might say- well it (usually) turned out OK. Up to a point, anyway. His job is also to lead, to hold his base together. He failed miserably in 2010, and we paid big time. Why did he fail? Because he consistently in public seemed to care more about Republican sociopaths than those who worked for his election. Anyone remember Dawn Johnson? Or Elizabeth Warren- though that time we came out ahead anyway as she decided to run for the Senate.

    When combined with his coddling of the banks and his militaristic foreign policy, his performance did not breed a lot of fervor on his behalf.

    It still doesn’t. I’m happy to be proved wrong, but they way he has acted on this so far as not encouraging.

  93. 93
    General Stuck says:

    @aimai:

    Despite the fact that the General and I mixed it up plenty during the early Obama years–because I’m far to the left of any Democrat while being a staunch yellow dog democrat anyway–I really agree with him

    LOL, the end times must be near. Actually, on social and most domestic economic policy, I am pretty far left, as for personal policy preference goes. It’s just a possibly over sized homage to pragmatism for what is possible, that makes it seem like centrism. I think the same is likely true for Obama, and most of the so called Obots.

    On foreign policy, I try hard to keep ideology out of it, and political concerns in general. And gauge each situation with an open mind.

  94. 94
    AnotherBruce says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Removing the cap and having the wealthy participate more in the program would be the easiest way to expand it and have the wealthy receive expanded benefits as part of their contribution. Other than that, the payroll tax could be increased. But I doubt this would fly. It would be nice to lower the eligibility age back to where it was at 65. It would also help with employment if seniors didn’t have to work until the day they die.

  95. 95
    NR says:

    @Scott S.: The problem is that Obama’s idea of “compromise” is going halfway between rational and batshit insane. That’s not good for anyone except the crazies and their 1% overlords.

  96. 96
    NR says:

    @Itinerant pedant: Kos already destroyed this bullshit. The polls show that when Obama does shit like this, the public doesn’t agree that he’s “being reasonable” and “looking like the adult in the room.” Rather, they (quite correctly) see his conciliatory approach as weakness. And nobody likes a weak president.

  97. 97
    different-church-lady says:

    @👽 Martin: You appear to actually know something about the details of this topic. I’m afraid we’re going to have to ignore you now.

  98. 98
    General Stuck says:

    @NR:

    LOl, faithful troll NR rides in.

    Maybe Kos needs to absorb who won the election we just had. And who has a 56 percent job approval in the here and now. With such horrible negotiating skill. Not to mention looking at the clown republicans fumbling along trying to keep up with our prez. And failing miserably.

  99. 99
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    Lessee….Dubya’s number was, I believe, 62% in December of 2004.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116.....-bush.aspx

    He didn’t negotiate either. He just got cramps from signing off on everything.

  100. 100
    Gus diZerega says:

    @General Stuck: Sort of irrelevant to the point his Democratic critics have made. He is truly blessed in terms of the skills of his opponents. Even so he has yet to prove his negotiating skill given my comments just above on 92.

  101. 101
    Tonal Crow says:

    The stupid navel-gazing and fomenting of internecine conflict will continue until Republicans gain absolute power.

  102. 102
    👽 Martin says:

    @Albaz:

    One begins by demanding a COLA of CPI PLUS one percent and lets the other guy negotiate him down to the desired point.

    This makes zero sense.

    CPI is not some arbitrary number plucked out of the air. It’s an actual measure of something and it’s the measure of how the cost of things go up. Given that Social Security encompasses the entirety of the US population, the inputs to SS are governed by effectively the same formula.

    Your negotiating plan is the equivalent of offering to give someone $.90 if they give you a dollar. There’s no value in there to weigh. There’s nothing you’re giving up which you value less that they might value more. It’s just stupid. It fails basic math.

    C-CPI wasn’t created to fuck retirees. It was created a decade ago to fix problems with CPI that everyone could see – that it was an upper-bound measure of inflation because it always measured the worst-case outcome, but over time, actual inflation experienced by people was reliably lower. So, armed with computers and shit, can we create a measure that better matches reality. C-CPI is science. It is a measurement and nothing more. Obama cannot go to Congress and demand the speed of light + 5% or that they make more oil than actually exists. This is your proposal.

    You can argue that C-CPI is bad because it doesn’t account for health care inflation that we know is higher than overall inflation (even though it does consider health care inflation effects, it does for the overall population, where seniors take that high harder) but just like you cannot borrow on your credit card every month to pay your bills without going bankrupt, the same holds for artificially boosting the COLA each year to try and catch up for health care spending. The only solution that will ever work is to get health care inflation down to the same level as everything else.

    Rejecting C-CPI is the equivalent to demanding the government stop studying climate change because you don’t like the possible outcome. It’s bullshit, and we shouldn’t harbor a denialist attitude that is no different than what Republicans do every day.

  103. 103
    General Stuck says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    The CPI thing is simply a side show, blown up by the republicans and media. It has never been pushed by Obama, other than saying he is open to anything.

    The primary negotiating objects are the amounts for overall spending cuts versus raising tax revenues. Obama out of the gate post election for the lame duck congress, laid down a 2 to 1 ratio of more revenues over spending cuts. How is that not starting high for a negotiation?, especially when pre election the wingnuts said they wouldn’t entertain any deal lest it be 10 to 1 WITH SPENDING CUTS BEING THE 10, AND TAX REVENUES BEING THE ONE. So your premise is just silly.

  104. 104
    doofus says:

    @kindness: Okedoke. As long as we are clear that nothing outside of your mind was lost.

  105. 105
    Triassic Sands says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I really think Obama is in a different position than other Democratic presidents (and candidates) have been in the last fifty plus years. The rhetoric from the right is so extreme that anyone looking for an excuse or even a sign of weakness can run with the GOP’s nonsense if they are so inclined. Obama could move to the left and the rhetoric wouldn’t change — it can’t, there’s no room.

    I don’t really think many of the Midwestern blue collar Democrats are paying close attention to actual policies (the polling concerning how well-informed voters are is usually pretty depressing). They go by perception, and perception is often created by nothing more than rhetoric. So, if Obama talked tough, that could be enough. The policies could change without seriously affecting support.

    Of course, that, like what you wrote, is just an opinion, and since Obama has run out of elections, we’ll never be able to test it. The closest we could come would be to seeing what happened to his poll numbers if he modified certain policies. I’d be willing to make a small bet that they wouldn’t suffer much, if at all. (Plus, despite Republican efforts, Obama will always be the guy who got bin Laden.)

  106. 106
    General Stuck says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    It doesn’t matter, as we are in the here and now, and Obama is not Bush, in case you missed it. You can’t gauge a future that hasn’t happened yet. If Obama goes down to 30 percent approval next year, like Bush in 2005, then you might have a point. Otherwise.

  107. 107
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    You can’t gauge a future that hasn’t happened yet

    Well, if I’m driving pretty fast toward a bridge abutment, and I don’t brake or turn, I think the outcome is fairly predictable.

  108. 108
    General Stuck says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    Well, if I’m driving pretty fast toward a bridge abutment, and I don’t brake or turn, I think the outcome is fairly predictable.

    Well, yea. But you’re an idiot. Obama is cruising the broad highway of luv.

  109. 109
    Maude says:

    @General Stuck:
    I don’t worry about things that might not happen. Get all worked up and then, nothing happens.

  110. 110
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Roger Moore:

    . If you want the President to hear you, you’re much better off making a polite but firm letter or telephone call to his people, rather than bitch about what you’re worried he might do on a blog somewhere.

    Is there some reason a person can’t do BOTH of those things?

  111. 111
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    Heh. I could have said ‘if you’re driving…’, but said ‘If I’m driving…’ so’s you could further prove yourself wrong.

    You are eminently predictable, just like our Prez.

  112. 112
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Scott S.:

    Here’s the difference (and it’s a big one) between the Modern GOP and what you call the Wingnut Left.

    The Modern GOP is huge (more than 40% of the people); the Wingnut Left, if it even exists in any meaningful, organized way, consists of a very small number of people with no real influence. (Otherwise, we’d be preparing to inaugurate Mitt Romney).

    I know a lot of Democrats who are disappointed, even disgusted with Obama, but I don’t know any who “hate him with the heat of 10,000 suns,” or who fit any other part of your description. They voted for Obama, most gave money, some worked for him — more out of fear of Romney than love of Obama, but would they have done any of that if they fit your description?

    If you try to generalize the Wingnut Left to include all people with sincere disagreements with Obama, I think you’re creating a straw man that exists largely within the comment section of BJ. I read about these people all the time (here), but I rarely, if ever, meet any.

  113. 113
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    The stupid navel-gazing and fomenting of internecine conflict will continue until Republicans gain absolute power.

    Tide goes in, tide goes out. You can’t explain that.

  114. 114
    Gus diZerega says:

    @👽 Martin: I am unqualified to make a judgement here as I keep reading different views from people better informed and as liberal as I. But I am competent to understand something about politics.

    The issue you describe is not related to the current deficit. It should be dealt with separately and not in a way that rewards the Republicans in any way. Politics is as much perception as substance, as George Lakoff tirelessly and apparently uselessly says to Democrats.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Or Elizabeth Warren- though that time we came out ahead anyway as she decided to run for the Senate.

    Yes, another of those strange coincidences that accidentally work out for Obama against his will. Funny how those keep happening over and over again.

  116. 116
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    . They voted for Obama, most gave money, some worked for him — more out of fear of Romney than love of Obama, but would they have done any of that if they fit your description?

    Does two out of three, qualify? Yes, I have been disappointed in Obama, but what I fear is that disappointment will continue to grow larger as the breadth of his 2nd term becomes History. My hope was that his real work would bear fruit that blows his 1st term away.

    Now, I think I would be happy with a breeze.

  117. 117
    different-church-lady says:

    @Albaz: Actually, I just realized a better way of putting my initial comment to you: you don’t seem to understand the difference between negotiating and dickering.

  118. 118
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: You know that wolf is gonna come! You just watch! It’ll happen this time!

  119. 119
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, another of those strange coincidences that accidentally work out for Obama against his will. Funny how those keep happening over and over again.

    Except that, you know, Obama just stripped us here in Massachusetts of our very senior senator and we’re very likely to end up with fucking Scott Brown again. So instead of long-serving and very senior senator Kerry in office, we end up with two junior senators, one of them a fucking republican.

    Funny how these things keep happening over and over again.

    The fact that this doesn’t even give you pause is yet another stark example of your emo Bot tendencies.

  120. 120
    General Stuck says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    You are eminently predictable, just like our Prez

    Thank you. That’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me on this blog since being called “a funny asshole”, yesterday.

    You might want to think some about your debate strategy. Flattery could get you somewhere, or not.

  121. 121
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Because, you know, there was NO ONE else Obama could have nominated as SOS.

  122. 122
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    Heh. If flattery is what you seek, that’s hardly self-complimentary.

    Flattery is for fool’s who want to believe in it’s sincerity.

  123. 123
    different-church-lady says:

    Look folks, it’s simply pointless to continue to ask that certain people attempt to reject the weird rush they get from regurgitating half-digested rhetoric they’ve read on blogs. When someone points out a hill, it will always be one worth dying on. It ain’t gonna change no matter how much debate or discussion goes on.

  124. 124
    Gus diZerega says:

    @General Stuck: I don’t think so. “Entitlements” which is a term he apparently uses, is Republican framing of social policies. I guess it’s a term an Eisenhower Republican might use, but it supports a right wing frame. Our deficit problem is not due to ‘entitlements’ it is due to the Bush tax cuts plus a lot of military spending and war.

    You might not have any difficulties with making the military spending and war disappear from the discussion while ‘entitlements’ are described as part of the problem, but I and many progressives do even though we voted for Obama.

  125. 125
    El Cid says:

    @👽 Martin: If a social statistics measure does not actually capture the population it’s intended to capture, it is not a useful or valid social statistic in the context of what you were trying to determine with it in the first place.

    Since C-CPI is explicitly being employed in this context to assess purchase prices for that population which will be receiving Social Security funds within the timeframe specified, it must accurately assess that group’s actual and/or likely expenses, else it’s simply a contextually inapplicable statistic.

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yutsano:

    And when one of these guys shows up, they shriek, “You see? I told you so! That’s the wolf! Right there!”

  127. 127
    Gus diZerega says:

    @Gus diZerega: I came across a Robert reich quote from hius FB page that is relevant to my point:
    “The fact is, future spending is being driven almost entirely by rises in healthcare costs, which affect the entire economy (Medicare and Medicaid aren’t the culprit; their administrative costs are low compared to private health plans) and the military. The President’s proposed budget cuts everything other than the defense and Medicare and Medicaid to 1.7 percent of GDP, the lowest percent since Eisenhower was president; Paul Ryan’s budget (the last Republican budget) cuts domestic discretionary spending almost as much. In other words, our real budget problem is (1) we’re not collecting enough taxes, especially from the rich, (2) we’re not controlling healthcare costs nearly adequately , (3) our military spending is out of control, and (4) we’re investing far too little in infrastructure, education, and the well-being of our children.”

  128. 128
    👽 Martin says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    The issue you describe is not related to the current deficit. It should be dealt with separately and not in a way that rewards the Republicans in any way. Politics is as much perception as substance, as George Lakoff tirelessly and apparently uselessly says to Democrats.

    Some are related.

    The cost of welfare programs for retirees earning below the poverty line is definitely in the budget now, and can be shifted off of the 10 year deficit horizon and onto the 75 year social security one. It puts SS in worse shape overall, but it also makes SS a more critical program and is just better for us.

    The cut to SSDI payments is in the deficit baseline now as those dollars will largely need to be replaced with welfare programs and particularly Medicaid. Simply eliminating that cut will improve the deficit baseline. We tend to conflate the budget with the deficit baseline, but they’re different in odd ways. Shifting dollars doesn’t seem like it should make a difference one way or another (it’s all still government, right?) but it turns out that’s where a LOT of deficit reduction comes from. It’s entirely possible to cut revenue, increase spending, and cut the deficit at the same time. It all depends on the details of how its done.

    I’m not sure many people will want a straight-up debate on SS given where we are now. The problem that I see is that most people (including a lot of Dems and people here on this board) are eager to say ‘fuck the disabled, I paid for retirement and nobody better mess with it’. The denial over the state of SSDI suggests that well enough, and a LOT of people believe that the bulk of SSDI recipients are scamming the government and undeserving. That’s a big reason why politicians are afraid to talk about it – the public may demand something that even the GOP believes is a shitty idea.

    Since the right are all eager to fix the deficit, if we can find ways to make SS stronger which also make the deficit better, they may be (relatively) easy to get now. As a stand-alone debate, the GOP will want something they can take credit for, and who the fuck knows what they’ll demand. Right now, they demand deficit reduction. So ok, we can do a few things that gives them that. Why bypass the opportunity?

  129. 129
    General Stuck says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Our deficit problem is not due to ‘entitlements’ it is due to the Bush tax cuts plus a lot of military spending and war.

    And Obama has said the same over an over, (and I don’t consider the term entitlements a republican frame) and I have not heard Obama say otherwise. One short blurp in the daily briefing by Jay Carny, has given rise to this shitstorm in a tea pot. And Carny was explicit that any savings would go back into SS and not to pay down the debt. As did Pelosi. Nor would any SS change be considered that in any way harms the poorest seniors and the disabled. The Chained CPI can easily be constructed to benefit the poorest seniors, while giving less to rich ones. That may not be good policy, and I don’t think it likely is. But it is a progressive notion, and not to be confused with using such money to pay down the debt right now. that is a conservative notion.

    The rest of this bullshit is exaggerated by emo prog personnel, hungering for the goods to impeach Obama as a person, and to impeach his credibility as a dem president. I have already said what I think is the why. I think it sucks that people on my side (supposedly) are taking these tactics, that are straight out of the wingnut hand book for opposing democrats.

  130. 130
    General Stuck says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    Flattery is for fool’s who want to believe in it’s sincerity.

    Then why do you keep doing it?

  131. 131
    👽 Martin says:

    @El Cid:

    Since C-CPI is explicitly being employed in this context to assess purchase prices for that population which will be receiving Social Security funds within the timeframe specified, it must accurately assess that group’s actual and/or likely expenses, else it’s simply a contextually inapplicable statistic.

    But CPI is every bit as inaccurate – moreso in many ways. It’s worse at calculating food expenses, transportation, and housing because seniors are more open to substitution in those categories. They often have more time and flexibility to substitute over workers.

    The only category at issue is healthcare, and it’s the only category that we are actively legislating to change, with the specific goal of getting those costs to the C-CPI level.

    And if you adopt a specific measure for COLAs to address a unique problem, you’re compelled to adopt an equivalent measure for inputs. That is, if you accept that expenses are climbing relative to inflation and that benefits should climb proportionately, then you need to increase contributions at the same rate.

    So the alternative to C-CPI is to index payroll taxes to a higher rate than inflation, and if we trust the 0.2 gap is a real measurement, we need to increase the payroll tax rate by 0.2% each year to cover it (or expand the cap upward a comparable amount). But we warned, growing the cap won’t be able to cover it entirely, and the result will be an annual payroll tax increase. And this will look less and less like an entitlement program and more and more like welfare the more of these kinds of changes we put in place.

    So, is everyone more okay with annual payroll contribution increases as an alternative? I suspect not, but let’s talk about that if that’s more acceptable.

  132. 132
    different-church-lady says:

    @👽 Martin: What’s funny about this (and I mean funny in an ironci way, not funny in a derogatory way) is that you and others are now having an informative and rational debate about which mechanism is better for measuring cost of living increases for SS. Which is wonderful, and yet completely misses the point of the freak out: THEY’RE TOUCHING SOCIAL SECURITY! SS IS UNTOUCHABLE! IF THEY’VE TOUCHED IT, IT CAN ONLY MEAN THEY’RE GOING TO KILL IT!!!!

    You’re participating in a rare example of an internet debate where the longer it goes on, the smarter it is. Savor it, people.

  133. 133
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    Despite what a number of local commenters want to believe, there are lots of people who were/are disappointed with Obama, who don’t hate him, and who are long-time, reliable Democratic voters. Thomas Frank (“What’s the Matter with Kansas?”) writes in Harper’s (in October):

    “We know now that Barack Obama is no Superman [a reference to something Norman Mailer wrote about JFK in 1960]. He has been unimaginative and conventional. On his watch the banks have gotten bigger. The oceans continued to rise. The wars sputtered on. But at least he has been a conscientious administrator of the state. He is not flamboyantly corrupt, in the manner of Tom Delay and his congressional cohort, or gleefully perverse, in the manner of the Bush Administration’s Dept. of Labor. And that makes the choice easy for me, despite my disappointment. …It’s the best we can hope for this time around.”

    But none of that matters, since the world ended today. Damn, non-existence feels just like existence. Now I’m really disappointed.

  134. 134
    dollared says:

    @aimai: Aimai, I’m surprised at you. You can keep your race-baiting general. And don’t forget to personally email Charles Pierce and call him a racist. And Maddow, too. And Robert Reich. You’ve got a long list of racists out there to personally insult rather than engage on the facts and strategy.

    My complaint is very simple: Obama has done NOTHING that reduces the profits or influence of the big money – not the oil companies ,not the health insurers, not pharma, not the banks.

    Come back and tell me he’s doing the job when he’s done one fucking thing to reduce inequality. One thing. One.

    And please, call me a racist because I disagree with his strategy.

  135. 135
    dollared says:

    @👽 Martin: No, you raise the cap as needed to match the raise. Obama is stealing from the middle class while asking nothing from the rich. Oh, coreection. He’s offering better than the baseline for the rich.

  136. 136
    different-church-lady says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Damn, non-existence feels just like existence.

    My theory on this is that we never actually had existence in the first place.

  137. 137
    different-church-lady says:

    @dollared: There was that whole banking reform thing, for starters.

    You can argue it wasn’t enough, but you can’t argue it was nothing.

  138. 138
    Gus diZerega says:

    @General Stuck: I haven’t followed the issue as closely as you so I hope you are right. But your progressive bashing makes me doubtful.

    A lot of progressives are willing to believe the less flattering version of Obama’s actions because of so many disappointments in the past. And that is not just from mindlessly following left wing media. Coddling banks, too much and ill thought out war, and an obsession with ‘bipartisanship’ are not figments of an overwrought leftist imagination. One of the best political speeches I ever heard was from Lakoff two years ago, and he was quite detailed on the issue. And on the political importance of framing.

    For example, “entitlements” carries with it the implication that they are privileges. The alternative term is “rights.” I think you can see the difference.

    Social security is not an entitlement. The term was first used in reference to it by those who wanted to spread the message that the old were soaking the young in a ponzi scheme. Medicare is the same. Both go to everyone, as is their right as an American citizen.

    If you haven’t read Lakoff’s more recent work I recommend it.

  139. 139
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    Ha! I’ve been accused of many things, but flattery hasn’t been one of them.

  140. 140
    dollared says:

    @General Stuck: Protecting the poorest by taking from the middle class. Great. That worked really well for the Democrats in the late 70s, didn’t it.

    He isn’t strengthening SS – if he was concerned with that, he’d be raising the cap at the same time.

    Stuck, he’s touching the 3rd rail. Obama is. Personally. His authorized speaking representative, Jay Carney, confirmed it. Don’t play ignorant on that. I know you’re not stupid, so that would just confirm that you’re dishonest.

  141. 141
    different-church-lady says:

    Stuck, he’s touching the 3rd rail

    As Earl Weaver once said, “Am I a fuckin’ genius or what?”

  142. 142
    dollared says:

    @different-church-lady: Nothing. Note that there is no enforcement at all under the law. They screamed and yelled, but that was the kabuki. No effect on their operations or their profits. I am a securities lawyer. Every day the big banks do things that are clearly illegal. No change whatsoever.

  143. 143
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    But none of that matters,

    Hey, when one door closes, another opens….or somesuch notion.

  144. 144
    different-church-lady says:

    @Gus diZerega: The problem is that, by strict definition, “entitlement” is the perfectly cromulent word. That the word has been warped into a pejorative doesn’t change the fact that it still actually is an entitlement. So, yeah, it’s probably legit to say “Stop using that word, it gives people bad reactions”, but it’s not legit to say it’s it’s an incorrect word.

  145. 145
    different-church-lady says:

    @dollared: I beg your pardon, but every freakin’ time I open my credit card statement I see the results of the law with my own eyes.

  146. 146
    General Stuck says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    I haven’t followed the issue as closely as you so I hope you are right. But your progressive bashing makes me doubtful.

    The fact that you claim to be a “progressive” when you and your friends are hardened ideologues of the left (which is okay to be) makes me doubtful. The progressives you speak of are a handful of people on the internet, and only represent the tiniest sliver of the dem base, and many are not even dems at all. Everyone’s voice is important in its own right, but in the larger version of the democratic party base, you guys don’t speak for nothing more than that tiny sliver.

    For example, “entitlements” carries with it the implication that they are privileges. The alternative term is “rights.” I think you can see the difference.

    Baloney, entitlements are rights, by any sane sense.

    An entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits based on established rights or by legislation.

    And Lakoff is a clown, imho.

  147. 147
    General Stuck says:

    @dollared:

    I cannot improve on different-church lady’s response.@different-church-lady:

    And it is incredible to think that these entitlements were immaculately conceived and never maintained by adjustments, and therefore they must never be spoke of, let alone adjusted for maintenance purposes, that is needed by every goddam thing that man has ever created .

  148. 148
    Gus diZerega says:

    @different-church-lady: Meanings are what they are by context. ESPECIALLY in politics. There was a very powerful reason why right wingers started using the term “entitlement” for SS and Medicare. It was just as well thought out as when they adopted the term “death tax.”

    These guys hire the best skills in advertizing and we should never forget it and anytime a conservative changes a word or uses a new frame for an issue (on guns currently it is video games and mental health) our mental alarms should ring,.

  149. 149
    Corner Stone says:

    @👽 Martin:

    You can argue that C-CPI is bad because it doesn’t account for health care inflation that we know is higher than overall inflation (even though it does consider health care inflation effects, it does for the overall population, where seniors take that high harder)

    There is literally nothing else to say after one admits this fundamental truth.

  150. 150
    General Stuck says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    So since it is politics, we shouldn’t use terms that are defined in the precise way they are being used. Everyone I know, knows that entitlements are something people are entitled to. Though not surprising this would come from people who declare themselves progressive, when they are anything but.

    edit – you folks can be running scared at what the nutters may or may not try to do with well defined terms, but will call myself a liberal and other shit precisely the way they have been defined over time by society at large.

  151. 151
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Look folks, it’s simply pointless to continue to ask that certain people attempt to reject the weird rush they get from regurgitating half-digested rhetoric they’ve read on blogs. When someone points out a hill, it will always be one worth dying on. It ain’t gonna change no matter how much debate or discussion goes on

    So we can look forward to your absence from these discussions?

  152. 152
    Gus diZerega says:

    @General Stuck: Since I put on international conferences using – in a positive way – the work of F. A. Hayek, I am amused at being called a hardened ideologue of the left. But you are proving to me you are unwilling to think outside dichotomies and so, however smart you might be in a technical sense, largely a waste of my time communicating with on these issues.

    You call Lakoff a “clown.” While you might be smart on narrowly wonk issues, you are tone deaf on communicating with people on any other level.

    Pity.

  153. 153
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dollared: the rich would also receive less in SS under chained CPI, no? I think I’d like to see a raised SS cap, a guaranteed minimum benefit, and leave the whole CPI thing to economists who study how inflation applies to seniors and the disabled. But what I don’t see is why chained CPI is just totally unthinkable. By comparison, perhaps related… Inflation, considered separately, is bad; who wants to pay higher prices on things? But a number of progressive economists have said that inflation is too low and really ought to be higher, because of its effects on debt and employment. I’m not an economist. I have no idea. But if that’s a thinkable thought, why isn’t chained CPI a thinkable thought, especially if paired with other complementary policies?

  154. 154
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    So we can look forward to your absence from these discussions?

    I should be so lucky…

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    @dollared:

    I know you’re not stupid, so that would just confirm that you’re dishonest.

    Why not both?
    It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!

  156. 156
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Apparently John Kerry is unable to decide for himself whether he wants to be Senator or SecState, and the people of Massachusetts cannot decide for themselves whether to vote for Scott Brown or somebody else.

    Such is the power of BarryBamz!
    God, but you are one stupid motherfucker.

  157. 157
    General Stuck says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Since I put on international conferences using – in a positive way – the work of F. A. Hayek, I am amused at being called a hardened ideologue of the left. But you are proving to me you are unwilling to think outside dichotomies and so, however smart you might be in a technical sense, largely a waste of my time communicating with on these issues.

    Does this mean what we had at the Hayek conference in Vienna was nothing? You have crushed this Obot.

    Pity

  158. 158
    Triassic Sands says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Now, I feel even more cheated.

    When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.

    And you’re telling me I didn’t even have the nothin’ I thought I had to lose. Jeebus, what a ripoff.

  159. 159
    General Stuck says:

    @dollared:

    Protecting the poorest by taking from the middle class. Great.

    Now Festus, I said no such thing about the middle class.

  160. 160
    cat says:

    @👽 Martin:

    But CPI is every bit as inaccurate – moreso in many ways. It’s worse at calculating food expenses, transportation, and housing because seniors are more open to substitution in those categories. They often have more time and flexibility to substitute over workers.

    Are you sure SS recipients are more “open” to substitution or are just so poor they have to substitute while on SS because SS doesn’t pay enough, nobody has pensions anymore, and most peoples wages didn’t keep up with costs so they could save less?

    SS should pay more, SS taxes should be on all your income, and we need to figure out a way to make employers pay more into SS without screwing the workers.

  161. 161
    Donald says:

    “There’s got to be a way to criticize the Obama Administration, or to try to push it in a different directions, without all the sweet emotion we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years.”

    As long as people criticize his choices when he’s wrong, I’d be happy to do without the emoting (on both sides).

  162. 162
    AxelFoley says:

    @General Stuck:

    The pathological suspicion and fear of betrayal concerning Obama from white liberals is due to Obama being a black man. I am not going to dance around it any longer. Because after 4 plus years listening to the dedicated Obama smear merchants claiming to be just concerned progs holding Obama’s feet to the fire, I am convinced it is racism, a white liberal version, at least with the caricature building of someone who is going to disappoint you when you let down your defense even a little bit. And after 4 years of evidence, that this good man is probably the most honest president we have had in my lifetime, at least.
    __
    And i don’t want to hear front papers hand wringing about trolls, when you don’t do one damn thing to deal with them in comments.
    __
    If all you do is hammer PBO without facts, and nothing else, then you deserve the same derision we give to republicans, because you are doing their work for them.

    Thank you, Stuck. This is why I lose my shit with the garbage that is thrown Obama’s way by those on the left, those who are supposedly on our side.

  163. 163
    Donald says:

    For some reason I can’t edit my previous post, so I’ll add it here. I’ve been guilty of some emoting myself, but it does no good. As someone upthread said, obviously all this sarcasm we get from both sides appeals to people and I know I enjoy a good smackdown myself (probably nearly all of us here enjoy Charles Pierce when he smacks the Tea Party types), but if you’re trying to reach people on the other side of an issue it’s exactly the wrong approach to take.

  164. 164
    Soonergrunt says:

    @General Stuck: “And i don’t want to hear front papers hand wringing about trolls, when you don’t do one damn thing to deal with them in comments.”
    You’ll never hear this from me. I either engage them directly or ignore them as the whim strikes me, but I don’t complain about them. That’s for everyone else to do.

    John has never told me what to write or not write, nor has he ever told me what to do about trolls and banning except “you need to let me know if you do this,” I figure that it’s his house and if somebody gets to be too much for him to bear he’ll deal with it. I’m really nothing more than a house-guest (like you all) except that I get to play with the remote.

  165. 165
    cat says:

    @General Stuck:

    And after 4 years of evidence, that this good man is probably the most honest president we have had in my lifetime, at least.

    He maybe the most honest President we’ve had, but the drone strikes are an abomination. I wouldn’t say someone is a good man who is willing to kill children in order to kill their parent.

  166. 166

    Part of the problem is that the guardians of political debate presume that Social Security and the rest of the safety net is fair game, so much of the anxiety is based on what the talking heads say Obama should or will do.

    A badly adjusted CPI is always there to be corrected, so I’m less worried about that than Medicaid and Medicare, where real harm can be done immediately.

    Not sure what politics in the House is going to look like over the next two years. Perhaps the reasonable right will join the Dems to make a working coalition. Can they do that?

  167. 167
    dollared says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, I was trying to keep things simple. But when you’re right you’re right…

  168. 168
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Your pretense of naivety is embarrassing, Soonergrunt.

    Once again, maybe someone should think of something bigger and more important than the individual ambitions of John Kerry or Barack Obama.

    Bots such as yourself are always shrieking that the republicans put party before country, yet here you are saying JK and BO’s personal fee fees and lust for power are of more import than the entire population of Massachusetts’ political representation and the balance of power in the congress.

    Your Bot tool is showing.

  169. 169
    dollared says:

    @cat: Substitution, by definition, is a decline in standard of living. You lose choices. You lose utility. All it’s really saying is: “beggars can’t be choosers.” It’s another way of slapping the poor.

  170. 170
    different-church-lady says:

    @Donald:

    probably nearly all of us here enjoy Charles Pierce when he smacks the Tea Party types

    I most certainly admire his linguistic trapeze act, but it is, at most, a guilty pleasure — one more connected to art than to political effectiveness. Which is a longer way of saying, ‘You’re spot on’.

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dollared: if there’s also a guaranteed minimum benefit, it is emphatically NOT “slapping the poor.” You’ve already established that you’re in the top 10% of income. Stop rhetorically using The Poor as human shields, and make the case you mean to make instead of playing sleight-of-hand games.

  172. 172
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Pro troll is pro, but only just above the Mendoza line.

  173. 173
    General Stuck says:

    @cat:

    He maybe the most honest President we’ve had, but the drone strikes are an abomination. I wouldn’t say someone is a good man who is willing to kill children in order to kill their parent

    I don’t agree with the personal framing of your comment, but it is not an outrageous one. All American presidents get blood on their hands, some way, some how. They are not all personally indifferent to it. I don’t think Obama is, nor Clinton and democrats that were POTUS in my lifetime. When you make war, innocents die, always have and will. It is for each of us to determine the cause for warfare by our country, and I don’t begrudge others their thoughts and feelings on such weighty matters. I don’t like the drone deaths either, but I do think Obama has developed a stringent process to where he makes the final call. He is not passing the buck, in that sense, but mistakes will happen regardless, and innocent people do die for those mistakes, in a war.

  174. 174
    General Stuck says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    You do engage trolls in your threads. appreciated.

  175. 175
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck:

    …mistakes will happen regardless, and innocent people do die for those mistakes, in a war.

    Which is why I can’t figure out why the focus is on drones instead of just somehow getting the hell out of Afghanistan altogether.

    I mean, is almost as though people who focus on drones were being… disingenuous or something. But that couldn’t possibly be true…

  176. 176
    Soonergrunt says:

    @General Stuck: Sometimes. Like the others, I don’t always watch after I’ve posted, but I do usually try to poke my head in to see if anybody said anything interesting.

  177. 177
    General Stuck says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Agendas, how do they work?

  178. 178
    1badbaba3 says:

    @Soonergrunt: Nope. No interesting tolls here.

  179. 179
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck: Trolls go in, trolls never go out. You can’t explain that.

  180. 180
    Gus diZerega says:

    @General Stuck: Don’t know nuthin about that conference. The next one I am putting on is in Vancouver in May.

    I am pretty obviously not a right wing Hayekian- but right wingers read him with as much discernment as they do their Bible.

  181. 181
    McJulie says:

    @aimai: You guys are making me happy. That is all.

  182. 182
    different-church-lady says:

    @aimai:

    why do blog comenters think they could jump in and run a multi party, multi stakeholder, complex, multi year negotiation involving nothing but moving parts?

    As I have said before: political blogs are sports radio call-in shows for people who don’t like sports.

  183. 183
    cat says:

    @General Stuck:

    They are not all personally indifferent to it. I don’t think Obama is, nor Clinton and democrats that were POTUS in my lifetime. When you make war, innocents die, always have and will.

    This is a bit different then WW2 and we had to send a 100 B-52’s to bomb a tank factory and a few bombs go astray even if you didn’t mean them to.

    The drone strikes are more like firing into a crowd knowing there are civilians standing between you and your target.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/.....index.html claims an 18%-25% civilian casualty rate in a country we aren’t at war with, Pakistan, and is a quasi-ally.

  184. 184
    cat says:

    @different-church-lady: Its also possible he’s being engaged by someone who wanted out of both theaters a president ago. Even it would have been a jerk move messing the place up and going, “Ooops, my bad!”, and bugging the hell out.

  185. 185
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @cat:

    While understanding your overall point, actions in WW2 were not always about hitting military sites. Revenge………

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....rld_War_II

  186. 186
    cat says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    While understanding your overall point, actions in WW2 were not always about hitting military sites.

    Desiring revenge is understandable, undertaking it is immoral even in war.

  187. 187
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I hope the Democrats in Congress simply tell President Obama “no” if he tries to cut Social Security or raise the age of entitlement for Medicaid.

    I love President Obama to pieces. But I guess I’m not as willing to compromise as he appears to be. Hopefully, we’ll go over the “cliff” and then pass something sensible in January when there are more Democrats in the House and Senate. Perhaps that’s what Boehner is hoping for too.

  188. 188
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @cat:

    Agreed….one hunnert percent.

  189. 189
    General Stuck says:

    @cat:

    I obviously don’t agree with comparing drone strikes to B 52 strikes in any meaningful way, especially for killing civilians. But agree that drone strikes were not being done in safest to civilian casualties manner. The New America Foundation has a study that says civilian deaths are way down this years, for several reasons, but mostly a very tight target selection process that is personally approved by Obama before being conducted.

    And they have also downsized the missiles used to reduce those civilian deaths.

  190. 190
    NR says:

    @👽 Martin:

    But CPI is every bit as inaccurate – moreso in many ways. It’s worse at calculating food expenses, transportation, and housing because seniors are more open to substitution in those categories. They often have more time and flexibility to substitute over workers.

    The only “substitution” that seniors living below the poverty line can do is substituting hunger for food.

  191. 191
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I mean, is almost as though people who focus on drones were being… disingenuous or something. But that couldn’t possibly be true…

    Agreed 100%. The people who focused on the drones and not the policy itself were absolutely being disingenuous…or something.

  192. 192
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Martin continues to make the argument that substitution is valid for seniors and others in tight spots.
    Substitution may as well be a parlor trick at your local kid’s birthday party magician hack.

  193. 193
    Donald says:

    I can’t think of anyone who criticizes drone strikes who wouldn’t be criticizing them if the explosives were delivered by plane. And the assumption that drone critics are all motivated by bad faith is (IMO) the problem here. Or rather, half the problem, the other half being those on my side of the fence who sometimes argue in ways that seem more calculated to get people mad than to persuade.

    Again, I think we do this because self-righteousness and thinking the worst of one’s opponents is fun. Human nature. But not a very admirable aspect of it.

    I’m not here to argue about drones though. I saw a pretty good article about them some weeks back that I’d link to if I were, but I don’t want to spend the time tonight hunting it down.

  194. 194
  195. 195
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @dollared:

    And those people vote. And Obama is a dumb shit.

    No, he’s very smart. What will we do now except eat the corn out of our own shit?

  196. 196
    Jesse Levine says:

    @General Stuck: read jane hamsher’s post of 12/19 on Firedoglake

  197. 197
    RobM says:

    The problem could very well be emotion but the the stoic on the other side only cheer and rarely make an argument for a policy. They talk compromise and dealing w/ the devil but never say how. they are so emotionally invested in President Obama’s success they have become blind to the consequences of policy. They’ve no problem w/ him rolling his African American cabinet, sub cabinet and kitchen cabinet members under the bus w/ out arguing for him yet they wonder out loud why does any member of the Taliban have such disrespect? Ever ask yourself if you fail to show respect to yourself no one else has respect for you? Do you ever wonder how in President’s negotiations that the process of achieving results is more important than the results? Do you wonder why so few criminals from the Financial industry have gone to jail; as though fines are a substitute for a night in the slammer?
    It’s all about policy. No one wants to admit we are dealing w/ Republican light circa 1955 till 1968. It corporatism light. Figuring out that the auto industry meant the total end of industrial manufacturing was great but think about what has occurred since then……… Please do not tell me about jobs cause I’m going to ask you what they pay? One other thing is the social issues they don’t put money in your pocket.
    So you want to have a discussion about policy let’s. You have to be honest what the policy is supposed to be.

    Cross posted jjp

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