It might as well be spring

I don’t have the highest hopes for Obama’s second term or for American politics in general over the next decade, but I think something has changed last fall, and that all the right-center nation nonsense is now on its way out.

The general consensus is that Obama gave a more openly liberal speech than he gave four years ago. Atrios believes that Obama did a poor job of articulating a liberal vision over the first four years, and maybe so, but DC was wired for Republicans when Obama got here. Josh Marshall put it well in early 2009:

Most of all Washington is a city that coddles up to and worships power. But a generation of one party holding the reins selects for certain kinds of journalists in key positions of power, the policy experts at the think tanks who get the journalists calls, the lobbyists who move the most money and so forth. You build up a set of assumptions about what kinds of people and ideas are respectable and which aren’t. Which are old-fashioned, which are ‘cutting edge’ and so forth. Who defines conventional wisdom?

In all of these respects, DC remains overwhelmingly wired for the GOP.

Over time, the formal government shapes the para-government. But there’s no immediate transition. In fact, in the short-run there’s usually an intensified conflict between the two. And you see evidence of the disconnect in repeated failures of people in the capital to predict the reactions of the country to key political developments — which is something you’ve seen repeatedly in 2006 and 2008. And even into 2009.

In 2008, Obama won by seven-plus points and Democrats won large majorities in the House and Senate. This fall, Obama won by under 4 points and Republicans held the House. But in 2008, a lot of the emphasis was (incorrectly) on Obama’s special abilities and McCain’s shitty campaign and (more correctly) the public’s hatred of George W. Bush; in other words, on temporary personality-driven factors.

This time around, there’s a recognition that the political ground has shifted, that there have been permanent, profound changes in demographics and generational attitudes.

That doesn’t mean that Democrats will win on every issue. We’re stuck with a certain amount of austerity, and gun safety efforts may well be going nowhere. There’s no point in chasing dragons with a sword that’s made of tin, so I won’t be disappointed if Obama takes political stock of things and scales back a lot of what he proposed today.

Maybe it’s meet the new boss (corporatist Democrats), same as the old boss (corporatist Republicans), but I expect at least to hear a new set of political cliches over the next four years.

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187 replies
  1. 1
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Maybe it’s meet the new boss (corporatist Democrats), same as the old boss (corporatist Republicans), but I expect at least to hear a new set of political cliches over the next four years.

    The new cliches are a given – those turn over every couple months or so.

    I hope it’s not new boss/old boss, but if it is, at least the corporate Dems aren’t as deeply creepy as the Republicans.

  2. 2
    👽 Martin says:

    Hey Republicans: how about a deal?

    We’ll guarantee that Obama doesn’t run for another term, if you appoint Biden VP for life. Face it, you’ll never find anyone as perfectly suited to the VP job as Biden.

  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    Is there anything the liberal pundit class doesn’t think is insufficiently liberal? How do our collection of Cassandras every gain the courage to drag themselves to a keyboard and pound out yet another column of the failures of Barack Obama, Histories Greatest Insufficiently Liberal DNC-Lite Corporate Hack Reagan-Loving Weak Pussified Gay-Hating Drone Using Non-Marijuana Supporting Bastard? So many bleeding hearts, so much fake blood.

  4. 4
    Doug Galt says:

    Is there anything the liberal pundit class doesn’t think is insufficiently liberal?

    Depends on how you define liberal pundit class.

  5. 5
    ding dong says:

    The GOP thinks in millenia. The Dems think in decades. Don’t get me wrong, weve come a long way baby but weve got a long way to go. Waitint for demographics is not good enough. We need to take back the state capitols.

  6. 6
    Scotius says:

    @👽 Martin:
    I don’t think I have ever seen anyone enjoy their job as much as Biden seems to enjoy being vice president.

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    Maybe it’s meet the new boss (corporatist Democrats), same as the old boss (corporatist Republicans

    Isn’t this an old political cliché?

    I have no idea what’s going to happen over the next four years, or the next decade, except of course that some people will keep flogging that dead horse of “right-center nation nonsense.”

    Right now, it’s enough for me that America firmly rejected Mitt Romney and re-elected Obama.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    @ruemara: Balls deep in a goat. Change your mind one iota?
    No. No, it would not.

  9. 9
    Ted & Hellen says:

    We’re stuck with a certain amount of austerity, and gun safety efforts may well be going nowhere.

    Jesus.

    Nice way to spout Beltway Insiderist CW bullshit while at the same time enabling establishment Dem defeatism, Doug.

    Auditioning?

  10. 10
    👽 Martin says:

    in other words, on temporary personality-driven factors.

    Given the circumstances, finding anyone who wouldn’t just be in a full-on hair-on-fire panic all the time was a valid requirement.

    There’s no point in chasing dragons with a sword that’s made of tin

    But the sword is made of diamond. Climate change, immigration, and gun control are all designed to goad the GOP base into making fucking fools of themselves, and the GOP will be unable to resist. They all have broad public support, and Obama will set practical goals, and the wingnuts will screech about tyranny. Obama won’t get the policy he wants, but he might get the legislature he wants in 2014 this way.

  11. 11
    ding dong says:

    @ruemara: Yes, the Dems dont celebrate gains enough. The GOP look at it as another yard gained even if they just prevent the Dems from reaching a goal.

  12. 12
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    @👽 Martin: ON the news last nite, they breathlessly announced that Biden “may have let it slip” that he’s running for Prezknit in 2016. The evidence? He mistakenly said (paraphrasing) “I’m your President” instead of “Vice-president” while giving a speech in Iowa.

    Yup, a simple verbal miscue and someone’s pants are now creamed. Inanity run amok. Wired for Republicans? No, wired for complete and utter shitheads.

  13. 13
    The Dangerman says:

    Gun SAFETY has a chance; for example, I’d welcome learning how that kid in NM got his weaponry. Gun locks, gun safes, safety training, etc.

    Gun CONTROL is a bridge too far with this House (and, perhaps, Senate; there are some Dems from Red States running for cover on the matter).

  14. 14
    Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’d pretty much expect it of you, so, no.

  15. 15
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Scotius: unless the president dumps Biden, he’ll continue to be a drag on the ticket. Or so I was told.

  16. 16
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @ruemara:

    Is there anything the liberal pundit class doesn’t think is insufficiently liberal? How do our collection of Cassandras every gain the courage to drag themselves to a keyboard and pound out yet another column of the failures of Barack Obama, Histories Greatest Insufficiently Liberal DNC-Lite Corporate Hack Reagan-Loving Weak Pussified Gay-Hating Drone Using Non-Marijuana Supporting Bastard? So many bleeding hearts, so much fake blood.

    See? THIS is why I have to be here every day, pounding away as a counterweight to ruemara’s No One Is Worthy of Barack Don’t You See How He Suffers? schtick.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @ding dong:

    The GOP thinks in millenia End Times.

  18. 18

    As NTodd put it: “With malice toward the House GOP, with charity for all but the obstructionist Senate minority, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. Motherfuckers.”

    Yeah.

  19. 19
    Seth Owen says:

    @ruemara: You need to copyright that one. That’s a classic.

    As a former Republican, still moderately inclined in my politics, I’ve actually found Obama to be just about perfect in my comfort zone (well, aside from some of his War on Terror decisions) but I have to say that I’m actually ready for some more “liberal” solutions to problems. Not because I think they’re particularly right, but there is such a void of ideas on the Right/GOP that liberals are really about the only game in town these days.

    I mean, really, between wrong and insane, is there really a choice!?

  20. 20

    McMegan didn’t like the speech so that is a good sign. Not as good as Always Rong John Cole (TM) not liking it, but still good.

  21. 21
    Punchy says:

    Somewhat OT, but….does Firebaggery still exist? Shouldn’t all those clowns who were pissed at Obummer for beating Clinton now start supporting him in order to help the Dems slingshot another Dem (read: Hilary) into the Oral Office?

    What’s the point of continuing to firebag if Obama cannot be re-elected and Hilary’s on deck?

  22. 22
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    but I expect at least to hear a new set of political cliches over the next four years.

    That’s one thing I don’t expect, especially seeing how the junior league of pundits (Gregory, Todd, Erin Burnett) are such parrots for the old Broderist CW. But if Democrats can keep up voter base expansion, the influence of the Village will continue to fade. David Gregory and Tom Brokaw will be just as obnoxious, and just as omnipresent on TeeVee, but hopefully less relevant.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    I hope it’s not new boss/old boss, but if it is, at least the corporate Dems aren’t as deeply creepy as the Republicans.

    Fuck, if all it means is that we’re ruled by crooks who aren’t racist, homophobic, or as psychologically disturbed as a Batman rogues’ gallery, instead of crooks who are all three and who’re constantly trying to please those who tell them they’re not being hardcore enough about it…

    … that’s a pretty good start.

  24. 24
    Naughty Noo-Noo says:

    Maybe it’s meet the new boss (corporatist Democrats), same as the old boss (corporatist Republicans)

    Do people honestly think there’s no difference? Or might there be some distinctions, no matter how subtle?

  25. 25
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I made the mistake of checking out Andrew Sullivan after a long time. Big mistake. This is what I found

    And then the first big disappointment and the first big surprise. The first big disappointment is his not being honest with us about the entitlement state. We will have to choose between caring for our elderly and investing in our children if we do not reform entitlements and raise taxes and cut defense. Merely talking about innovations in lowering healthcare costs is truly not enough. The first big hope – huge savings from electronic records – has turned out so far to be a dud. When we face that challenge, telling us we do not have to choose is not leadership. It’s pious bullshit. Trade-offs are necessary.

    Dear Sully, please learn how to calculate a percentage before opining how to balance the budget.

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Heh, Malia just checked her texts

  27. 27
    Valdivia says:

    Count me as someone who doesn’t think today’s inauguration message translates into: new boss=old boss. I don’t know how much Obama will get done but where he is leading us and the Democratic party is not even close to being on par with Corporatist Republicans.

  28. 28
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: They are already less relevant, since the people who get all their news from TV continues to drop.

  29. 29
    Pococurante says:

    DougLatestInsecureName….

    Animism is a good place to start. But it is ignorant of the immanence of G-d.

    Start with immanence and realize that all religion is someone standing on the shoulders of a previous complexity – a lattice for soul.

    Lattice break.

    All soul stuff is born and reborn – a snowball that once started picks up its own evolution.

    Animism assumes evolution stops after the soul’s first conglomeration of sub-souls.

    When it should realize that it is a crocus pushing through a winter’s first frost. A soul is born and it starts.

    Well before even that level of complex cellular complexity… soul stuff started sooner.

  30. 30
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Atrios believes that Obama did a poor job of articulating a liberal vision over the first four years

    To be fair, [liberal opinion writer] believes that [left-of-center major-party president] did a poor job of articulating a liberal vision over [time period of any duration between 1819 and this instant].

  31. 31
    justawriter says:

    @ruemara:

    our collection of Cassandras

    Remember that Cassandra was not a doomsayer, but was cursed so that she would know the future but would never persuade anyone to listen to her.
    Kind of like an ancient Greek Paul Krugman.

  32. 32
    Schlemizel says:

    @Seth Owen:

    Its true that Bill Clinton was the best Republican President of my lifetime (and Harry Truman was Prez the day I was born!) Barack Obama may end up being the second best (still time for best its a very close thing).

    But it is clear the GOP is devoid of ideas and will completely destroy the economic engine that built this country if they are allowed to continue. We have had to spend much of the last 4 years mostly trying to stop the bleeding and I am afraid much of the next 4 will be wasted in the same sort of bullshit fight against gooper insanity. It may be a generation before we can have a reasonable debate on any significant issue.

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    @Brachiator: No’ it’s a fucking song by the Who.

  34. 34
    Jeremy says:

    The problem with some liberals is that they are constantly disappointed and nothing is ever good enough. The stuff some are saying are the same things some on the left said when FDR was in office.

    The problem is that the GOP is not the masterminds that they used to be and Micheal Tomasky even wrote an article about how the GOP is not strategic like they were before.

    The country is changing politically and you can feel it. The right wing knows it and that’s why they hate Obama more than Clinton and Carter. It will take time but we are dealing with another political realignment.

  35. 35
    hoodie says:

    Maybe it’s meet the new boss (corporatist Democrats), same as the old boss (corporatist Republicans), but I expect at least to hear a new set of political cliches over the next four years.

    That’s a given, there will always be an establishment, it’s more a question of whether the new bosses are at least more competent than the old ones. Given the inertia of a country of this size, it doesn’t take a lot to nudge things so that they diverge pretty far from what was taken for granted just a few years earlier, such that those seemingly small nudges can end up making a big difference in the quality of a lot of people’s lives. Of course, liberals are impatient with the pace of change, but things are different in pretty profound ways after just the last four years. Just ten years ago we had a fake cowboy president with a permanent Republican majority who together were going to build an Ownership Society and remake the entire Middle East as part of a new American Empire. That isn’t a realistic prospect now, and now mostly what we have to deal with are some angry reactionaries and their grifter enablers fighting what is ultimately a losing battle to destroy a modern state that most people think is necessary. Some conservatives seem to get this more than a lot of liberals.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    @Scotius: Joe Biden certainly is enjoying the office of Vice President more than anyone has ever enjoyed it before.

    You know the official pictures of the President & Vice President in the ferderal offices? Joe Biden looks like the happiest guy in the world.

  37. 37
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Schlemizel:

    I think you’re generally correct.

    Which is why watching PBO laugh and scratch and chum it up with Boehner at the inaugural luncheon makes me want to vomit.

    Face it: Bottom line, those in power are all chums.

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    Watch Michelle Obama Throw World-Historical Shade at John Boehner

    http://gawker.com/5977763?utm_.....socialflow

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  39. 39
    MattR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    See? THIS is why I have to be here every day, pounding away as a counterweight to ruemara’s No One Is Worthy of Barack Don’t You See How He Suffers? schtick.

    So idiotic comments in support of Obama require idiotic comments opposing him?

  40. 40
    Jeremy says:

    @Schlemizel: The problem is that Obama is no republican and people need to stop comparing him to Clinton. Obama didn’t de-regulate the banks, he didn’t de-regulate telecoms, or put into place DADT, DOMA. Obama had to clean up Bush and Clinton’s messes. Obama basically is a center-left Democrat. He is not an ideologue but neither was FDR and FDR borrowed ideas from his republican predecessor for his New Deal program.

  41. 41
    NotMax says:

    Been bugging me as to what the totality of Ms. Obama’s overcoat, belt and boots reminded me of so strongly in some video shots.

    Finally got it sussed out: a fashionably updated take on the Grand Moff Tarkin uniform.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  42. 42
    Emma says:

    @ruemara: Thank you. I was going to launch into my standard rant, but you did it so much better that I will just point people to your comment.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    @Corner Stone: I know that’s English. Unfortunately, it’s nonsense, but without at least a pity rhyme. Free form poetry is just not your thing.
    @Ted & Hellen: You’re a counterweight? Right. I thought you were just a bored sociopath who said things to get a rise out of people. Whatever floats you.

  44. 44
    WereBear says:

    I seem to remember a lot of campaigning on stuff like ending wars, turning the economy around, and improving health care. I’m not thrilled with the way things turned out, but I am very pleased.

    I do believe the second term will be a Time of Buttkicking. I expect to be even more pleased.

  45. 45
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Schlemizel: We’re basically going to have to wait for Republicans to rediscover that the point of their party is supposed to be to propose and support government policies and laws that harmonize with their ideology. It’s a lousy ideology, but that’s what they’re supposed to do. What they’ve been doing is something else: actively impeding the government from addressing any problem in any way. We’re not supposed to have one party that wants the government to do something and one party that doesn’t want it to do anything. We’re supposed to have one party that wants the government to provide incentives for those who already prosper (because profit makes for a rising tide that lifts all boats) and another that wants it to provide support for those who get left behind (because a lifejacket can save you when your boat springs a leak). The former still sucks, but at least it’s an ethos.

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    except of course that some people will keep flogging that dead horse of “right-center nation nonsense.”

    I always rated their claims that America was a center right nation “basically true but basically meaningless.” All nations are “center right nations,” in the sense that the system’s basic impulse is to stick with the status quo until it can no longer ignore the pressure to change. It means the world’s biased towards inertia, but not that people inherently prefer GOP politics.

  47. 47
    Emma says:

    @Ted & Hellen: No. You have to be here because nobody wants to talk to you in real life and you’ll take what you can get, even if it’s mockery and insults.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    We have a cold ideological war to finish. We are winning right now, in part by some very good timing and posturing by the Obama team to walk us back in baby steps, to the rightful dovetailing of mainstream liberal dem values and the majority of voters.

    Give the wingnuts credit, in the 70’s they set out to at once promote their right wing ideas, but also to find ways to cleverly and purposely confuse the electorate as to identifying culturally with democrats and confuse that with agreement of policy and issues that they have always favored. The wingers put their cash behind the effort with all sorts of cons long and shot, brewed up in a string of well funded think tanks dedicated solely to get them into power, in part by blurring the ideals of liberalism with doublespeak and a steady stream of patriotic jingoism.

    The problem they had was after getting power, to use it for the betterment of all citizens, which of course they never intended to do in the first place. But became responsible for their governance, that predictably failed because they were lying all along on what they really cared about. And it wasn’t the 99 percent. Now they are a fractured mess, and fairly dangerous to us all.

    I didn’t hear the speech today, but I have never doubted for a second where Obama the person, and not Obama of pragmatic president, was anchored. And that could be seen by his earlier choices, namely community organizing. Not many Harvard Law grads, magna cum laude and presnit of the Hawvord Law Review choose to pound the mean streets of south Chicago after graduation. You pretty much have to really want to do that in the first place.

  49. 49
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I made the mistake of checking out Andrew Sullivan after a long time.

    Didn’t he put up a pay wall for his site? Maybe he should build the wall higher.

  50. 50

    Moar bad news for progressives. The AVN awards were held on Saturday and “Occupy My A$$” sadly did not win the Clever Title of the Year Award. Pr0n 1% keeping the hippies in their place.
    http://gawker.com/5977659/the-.....ll-winners

  51. 51
    Raven says:

    People who keep talking to it are as bad as it is, maybe worse. Just stop.

  52. 52
    Jewish Steel says:

    He’s right. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Ted & Helen is here every day saying stuff.

  53. 53
    agrippa says:

    @ruemara:

    ruemara:

    got it in one.

  54. 54
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Brachiator: Not yet, I am not paying to read that drivel.

  55. 55
    gogol's wife says:

    @rikyrah:

    That is hilarious! I wonder what he said.

  56. 56
    mir13 says:

    No one trolls as well as liberals on other liberals. Jesus H. Bomb, can’t we enjoy 24 frakkin’ hours without the rain, rain crowd going all Captain Bringdown on our asses? You lost, get over it.

  57. 57
    NotMax says:

    @schrodinger’s cat

    I made the mistake of checking out Andrew Sullivan after a long time.

    A comment also often overheard in certain bars, one imagines.

  58. 58
    Raven says:

    Like some of you nervous nellie’s Tweety was stunned to know anyone who got ANYWHERE NEAR PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE WAS SEARCHED AND SCANNED. I had no idea that the secret service was aware that it might be dangerous out there.

  59. 59
    scav says:

    Alternative football of equal merit qua human: How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini’s millions

    Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church’s international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

    Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m.

  60. 60
    MattR says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Reading through the list of nominees I laughed once. Got to the bottom and discovered that was the one that won.

  61. 61
    Jeremy says:

    I think Obama has done more for progressive politics since the 70’s when Nixon was in office. Expanding, SCHIP, medicaid for the working poor, Medicare prescription discounts, (near universal health care- a bill similar to what Nixon and Ted kennedy came close to pushing as a compromise), Student loan reform, Wall Street reform and the creation of the consumer financial protection agency, Hate crimes and gay rights, equal pay, investments in clean energy, tobacco regulations, credit card regulations, etc.

    His record is not perfect but it’s hard to argue that he has not done more than the previous democratic presidents combined. It seems like some Liberals expected perfection when no president is perfect.

  62. 62
    NotMax says:

    @Raven

    Won’t go there to check, but any pushback from the desperate-to-find-scandal FOXoids that the route the parade is to follow is demarcated in the street by a *gasp* blue line?

  63. 63
    agrippa says:

    There has been some writing in the comments about how matters are changing; a re alignment and all that.
    I think that may be true.
    The GOP is certainly stuck; and, may be declining or in serious trouble intellectually and morally.

    The do not know if the Democratic Party can see the opportunity; or, if they see see can take advantage.

    I think that Obama recognizes this; and, is trying to get some movement.

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    @Valdivia:

    Count me as someone who doesn’t think today’s inauguration message translates into: new boss=old boss. I don’t know how much Obama will get done but where he is leading us and the Democratic party is not even close to being on par with Corporatist Republicans.

    I would agree. As hard as it is to turn the tide against thirty years of Reaganism, his economic stances make me think he’s more than just another 1%er tool.

  65. 65
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: Um, no Bic?

  66. 66

    @MattR: Funneh pr0n titles are a tough racket. Not every year can be as inspired as the Devil Wears Nada from a couple years back.

  67. 67
    nellcote says:

    What’s disconcerting is reading an op-ed and not knowing if it’s written by a Teabagger or a Firebagger without checking to see who the author is.

  68. 68
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @NotMax: I should have been clearer, I meant the Daily Dish, not him personally. Besides, I don’t think Sullivan would be interested in me, since I am a woman.

  69. 69

    @General Stuck:

    Not many Harvard Law grads, magna cum laude and presnit of the Hawvord Law Review choose to pound the mean streets of south Chicago after graduation.

    This is a very important part of Obama’s biography that is almost never discussed. And although the path he chose ended up with two terms in the White House, there is no way anyone back then could have imagined that such an outcome was even possible, even thinkable.

  70. 70
    Doug Galt says:

    @nellcote:

    I agree.

    Matt Stoller comes to mind.

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @ruemara: Sorry you’re too simple to understand.

  72. 72
    Brachiator says:

    @Raven:

    No’ it’s a fucking song by the Who.

    That too.

    @Chris:

    It means the world’s biased towards inertia, but not that people inherently prefer GOP politics.

    Makes sense. The GOP, for now, has been rejected. The only people who don’t see this are the members of the GOP.

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @Doug Galt:

    Matt Stoller comes to mind.

    Don’t you mean “The Disgusting Racist Matt Stoller” comes to mind?

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @ruemara:

    Is there anything the liberal pundit class doesn’t think is insufficiently liberal?

    Other than themselves, you mean?

  75. 75
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Dropped in to troll the Obots some and I see it’s already being done, albeit poorly.

  76. 76
    Seanly says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    About what I was going to say.

    I’d be happiest if we let the “austerity now” crowd and their synchophants test out the latest in ice floes. But as Atrios likes to point out, the austerity is only for the little people.

    Lastly, I don’t think the Democrats are as much of a corporatist party as the Republicans. Or more simply, I’ll take any D over any R.

  77. 77
    NotMax says:

    @schrodinger’s cat

    I know that, and no offense intended.

    It was just that the other interpretation was such an inviting softball, begging to be batted.

  78. 78
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:
    Ya know, I’ve always wondered about the Grand Moff’s equestrian pants and boots. He was never seen anywhere near a George Lucasian horse-like creature.

  79. 79
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jeremy:

    His record is not perfect but it’s hard to argue that he has not done more than the previous democratic presidents combined. It seems like some Liberals expected perfection when no president is perfect.

    “Expected” isn’t quite right, though. Even the most uncompromising and doctrinaire leftist doesn’t think that everyone else is an uncompromising and doctrinaire leftist. In fact, it’s rather the point to self-righteously congratulate yourself about how few people are as highly evolved as you are. They don’t _expect_ perfection, they demand it, but they don’t demand it because they think they’re going to get it, they demand it so that they can be pissed off when they don’t (99.99% of the time) and dismissive when they do (0.01% of the time). If it happens, it was easy to make it happen, so it doesn’t count. If it doesn’t, it’s a self-perpetuating disappointment, suffering the pangs of the political elect, which, like The Princess and the Pea, proves that they were special all along.

  80. 80
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Chris: Also the GOP is not center right but is dangerously radical. They are not any where near the center. They have gone off the deep end.

  81. 81
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @James E. Powell: And, after a while, Lincoln realized that the best place for him to be to fight vampires was the White House.

  82. 82
    Chris says:

    @Jeremy:

    It seems like some Liberals expected perfection when no president is perfect.

    Yeah, they really do. It’s not entirely a bad thing. FDR’s administration was more liberal than anyone outside of an insane asylum would have dared dream about ten years earlier, but still compromised like hell and left a lot for future generations to do (as will every liberal president).

    I wish liberals could occasionally pause and smell the roses, but find it hard to completely condemn the never-satisfied ethic, since it’s kind of the core of the belief system.

  83. 83
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @NotMax: None taken. Plus he is no longer cute, I don’t go for the shaggy bearded look.

    ETA: Regarding Michelle’s hair and outfit, she seemed to be channeling Romulan chic as I mentioned on the one of the now dead earlier threads.

  84. 84
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: And when I say previous democratic presidents I mean Carter and Clinton.

  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Homage to tauntaun dressage?

    Which is not a competition for the faint of heart. Or of nose.

    :)

  86. 86
    schrodinger's cat says:

    DougJ@top
    Whatever happened to the DC meetup. Did you guys actually get together?

  87. 87
    Doug Galt says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I’m not sure…eemom was in charge!

  88. 88
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Chris: but find it hard to completely condemn the never-satisfied ethic, since it’s kind of the core of the belief system.

    I’m fine with the lack of satisfaction, as you say, it what keeps thing moving, it’s the negative cult of the presidency and/or personality that bugs me, the keening over every disappointment which is never because of broader flaws in the political system, it’s because Obama is either weak and stupid (Krugman, Atrios) or intentionally deceitful (Stoller, Hamsher)

  89. 89
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris: I don’t think it’s “the core of the belief system,” and I don’t really especially think it’s appropriate to let the never-satisfied people get to wear the mantle of “liberals.” There are people whose version of politics involves establishing goals that may well be for the moment unreachable, then challenging people who share their ideals not to accept that those goals are unreachable and instead to work hard to reach them. Then there are people who aim lower and focus on goals that are currently reachable. Most people in elected office, or who aspire to elected office, are in that second category.

    IMHO it’s a waste of time to berate the people in the second category for not being in the first. (It’s also a waste of time to berate the people in the first for not being in the second, but I still do that, like a jackass.)

  90. 90
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Chris:

    I wish liberals could occasionally pause and smell the roses, but find it hard to completely condemn the never-satisfied ethic, since it’s kind of the core of the belief system.

    I agree when the lack of satisfaction is sincere and arises from actual idealism rather than a compulsion to strut around like the World’s Most Special Peacock.

  91. 91
    Jeremy says:

    @Chris: True ! And I think the president understands this. He didn’t get the public option in the health care bill but he knows that once that bill is enshrined and put to work then states and the federal government will work to expand the law and improve it in some ways as it gains popularity over the years.

    FDR did this with Social security which many liberals today would have called it a sell out because the benefits were meager, it wasn’t provided for many Americans, it was funded through a regressive tax. But FDR knew that it would be improved over the years. And the same with medicare which was a smaller program.

    I think we need to keep pushing to improve things but not view everything as a sell out if things aren’t perfect.

  92. 92
    Maude says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    They are dangerous to the country.

  93. 93
    NotMax says:

    @schrodinger’s cat

    Cool.

    Must also get it off my chest that the older daughter’s coat and scarf ensemble put me in mind of someone using Uncle Fester as a design starting line.

    But on her, it worked.

  94. 94
    mclaren says:

    @Jeremy:

    Jeremy Says:

    I think Obama has done more for progressive politics since the 70′s when Nixon was in office.

    This is true. Just as liberals erupted with disgust and disbelief when Nixon’s crimes came to light and were roused to a fury of progressivism in pushback, the seemingly endless litany of Obama’s war crimes and cave-ins to insane reactionaries like Pete Peterson, as well as Obama’s total embrace of the Bush “Global War of Terror” militarization of America have all combined to fill progressives throughout America with such disgust and appalled incredulity that we have got another progressive era a-brewin’. Just talk to anyone udner the age of 25, and you’ll hear fire-breathing progressivism like you’ve never heard. These people are sick of being beaten by riot-armoed goons for the “crime” of non-violently protesting Obama’s refusal to prosecute the Wall Street crime lords. People under age 25 are sick of drowning in debt so Obama can make a deficit “grand bargain” that perpetuates an unsustainaible crazy surveillance-military-police state while perpetuating most of the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich. People under age 25 are sick and tired of Obama tearing up the constitution and wiping his ass with it by embracing nationwide warrantless wiretapping, the malicious prosecution of whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz and by ordering the murder of American citizens without even accusing them of a crime.

    Expanding, SCHIP, medicaid for the working poor, Medicare prescription discounts, (near universal health care–a bill similar to what Nixon and Ted kennedy came close to pushing as a compromiise)…

    This is of course a contemptible lie. Obamacare contains no cost controls, so health insurance premiums (that people are forced to buy) have skyrocketed and poor people are unable to afford the co-pays, while states are slashing medicaid right and left because the cost of medicaid is bleeding them dry. Hard cold fact: more people are without health insurance today than when Obamacare was passed.

    Student loan reform

    This is a particularly cowardly and contemptible lie. Student loans remain the only form of debt which can never be discharged by bankruptcy. Student loans are crushing people under age 25, bleeding them dry, destroying their lives — and both Democrats and Republicans have done nothing about this ever-worsening crisis.

    Wall Street reform

    Another contemptible lie. Obama’s scandalous refusal to order the prosecution of even one single Wall Street crime lord has so enraged and disgusted the American people that PBS has mounted a 6-month-long investigation culimating in an hour-long special THE UNTOUCHABLES: FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.

    I’m not going to bother to further debunk your ignorant lies because you’ve drifted so completely free from reality at this point that we’re well into drug hallucination territory.

    His record is not perfect but it’s hard to argue that he has not done more than the previous democratic presidents combined.

    Exactly right.

    Obama’s record isn’t a perfect score of Republican travesty and coddling of wealthy criminals and destroying the constitution while turning America into a militarized police state where the courts destroy justice, doctors destroy health, universities destroy knowledge, government destroys freedom and common human decency, and the banks destroy the economy…but Obama has certainly done more to push America into the far-right vision of a militarized police state run by the rich where anyone who dares dissent gets beaten into hamburger than Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush put together.

  95. 95
    Chris says:

    @Seanly:

    Or more simply, I’ll take any D over any R.

    This.

    At the presidential level, that’s been true since 1932 at the very latest. I can’t think of a single election starting with that one in which we weren’t or wouldn’t have been better served by the Democrat winning than the Republican.

    At the local level, your mileage could vary right up until 1994. Since then, same thing.

  96. 96
    MikeJ says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    it’s the negative cult of the presidency and/or personality that bugs me, the keening over every disappointment which is never because of broader flaws in the political system

    What is especially annoying is the fact that in Washington the appearance of power is power. When your own side is tearing you down it makes it harder to actually accomplish anything at all (5a’s!) and just sets the stage for yet another round of not pure enough.

  97. 97
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @NotMax: She is tall and skinny, so almost anything looks good on her. She is going to take the mantle of the most fashionable Obama from Michelle one of these days.

  98. 98
    Maude says:

    Twitter is down.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’d like to see more people acknowledge that what they would ideally want from politics, or Democrats, or Obama, is about as likely as ending the NFL because of head injuries. Yes, there are problems that would be great to fix, yet won’t be. So don’t give up on your hopes and ideals, but try to move things in the right direction. In a Zeno’s Paradox kind of way, you might never get to the end, but at least you keep getting closer. And that’s good too, and you’re not a patsy or a sell-out if you applaud each step.

  100. 100
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    There was one sentence in Obama’s speech that I completely missed at the time — probably because it came smack in between the sentences about gay marriage and immigration, both of which had me cheering. But it’s a sentence that echoes an election-night pledge:

    Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity

    I like a President who can go from “By the way, we gotta do something about that,” almost as a throwaway line, to crafting it as a visionary statement in an inaugural address.

  101. 101
    MCA1 says:

    Agreed with those who see the last four years and the next four as slowly and steadily tilting the field toward more progressive solutions. The rhetoric’s changing, the catchphrases are changing, and you can smell the stench of irrelevance on the GOP a little more with each passing month. Their stances are losing traction, and the Democrats continue to gain voters. Someone a few years ago made the Obama-Reagan comparison, then analogized the eventual Democratic President in 2024 or so to GWB (hopefully without the excesses and the catastrophic fuckups), being swept in on an unabashedly liberal platform and having no compunction about pursuing a liberal agenda.

    Go read Pierce’s response to the inaugural address today if you’re fretting over Obama’s non-liberalness. It’ll make you feel better.

    Obama has to lay the groundwork to change the conversation against a backdrop of 30 years of Reaganism. The country’s just not ready to hear of one-payer health care systems and the like yet. In another decade, it will be, and it will be much cooler to self-identify as a Democrat than as a Republican. It certainly helps to have a 100% insane Republican Party so hellbent on making itself look ridiculous at the moment.

    Am I imagining this? Am I the only one who feels like “Both sides do it” and principled centrism is finally starting to die now? No one watches “Meet The Press” anymore. Jon Stewart is more known to people under 45 than David Gregory will ever be. The liberal atmosphere on the internet has a lot more oxygen than its counterpart, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have reached their ceilings, and corporate newpapers are still dying a slow death because no one actually reads them anymore. It all takes time, and maybe this is just bias confirmation on my part, but I feel like since the election, the GOP’s been waving the freak flag as hard as it can, and people are by and large laughing at them.

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    And to whit your comment

    From the dark and dreary dungeon of disappointment, Digby sees a tiny light of hopey changey.http://digbysblog.blogspot.com.....peech.html

    If he wants to be in the liberal pantheon beyond the obvious (and very real) accomplishment of becoming the first African American president and some movement on gay rights, the second term will have to be different from the first. From the sound of today’s address, it would seem that he wants it to be. And if that’s true, progressives have some leverage.

    This is the problem. Folks that huddle forlorned under the bridge of permanent disappointment are apparently unable or unwilling to see or accept that it is not a matter of having “leverage” to get their way past the dastardly republican light Obots and their dear leader, it is a matter of the accepting the art of the possible.

    And that all completed progressive works must survive a gauntlet of governing mechanisms, that others with a vote oppose. And that conflating the ideal with realities of govenance, drives a wedge between them and allies that basically want the same policy outcome. I personally think it has to do with personal psychology, that has nothing to do with politics. Though it could just be intellectual laziness, or something. who knows?

  103. 103
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Also the GOP is not center right but is dangerously radical. They are not any where near the center. They have gone off the deep end.

    Yeah, I agree, which is another reason I don’t think “center right nation” means what they think it means. The same bias towards inertia that frustrated liberals for decades when they tried to reform health insurance or education, has done the same thing to conservatives trying to privatize Social Security or Medicare.

  104. 104
    redshirt says:

    I’d like to believe the tide has turned. However, it remains to be seen whether this turn is personal – based on one Barack Hussein Obama – or institutional.

    Can other Dems keep it up, and even pour it on? Or is a one man movement?

  105. 105
    General Stuck says:

    @MCA1:

    Well stated

  106. 106
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Jeremy: Yes, but expanding social security must have come about because brave souls were willing to stand up and prevent any form of hero worship. That has to be it.

  107. 107
    Jeremy says:

    I’m not going to even address mclaren because he hates Obama and is one of those “everyone is a sell out liberals and I know everything”.

    It still stands that Obama has achieved major things that many presidents haven’t. Also Mclaren if you want to call Obama a war criminal then I guess you have to call every former president one including world leaders in the industrialized world.

  108. 108
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I thought we weren’t allowed to notice what Michelle Obama wears, or how she styles her hair, or how much her eyelashes weigh.

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I agree when the lack of satisfaction is sincere and arises from actual idealism rather than a compulsion to strut around like the World’s Most Special Peacock.

    It’s not always easy to tell the difference. And I think it’s cheap and easy to call yourself an idealist and have all your opinions be distilled down to “Pfft, it sucks.” Even idealists need to be concerned with how ideals might become actuality. If they aren’t, they’re just pleasuring themselves, and if they’re pundits or bloggers, they’re just pleasuring themselves for a horny and desperate audience.

  110. 110
    CT says:

    Every white progressive columnist/blogger can do a better job of being president than the actual president.

  111. 111
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @MCA1:

    Jon Stewart is more known to people under 45 than David Gregory will ever be.

    Jon Stewart is quite Broderish himself.

  112. 112
    Chris says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    @FlipYrWhig:
    @Betty Cracker:

    Yeah, that’s fair. And true.

    @Jeremy:

    Also true. Baby steps. Occasionally you get a huge push as in the thirties and sixties, but even then only with a lot of groundwork being laid before that.

  113. 113
    General Stuck says:

    @Jeremy:

    I’m not going to even address mclaren

    Good choice.

  114. 114
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Am I the only one who feels like “Both sides do it” and principled centrism is finally starting to die now? No one watches “Meet The Press” anymore. Jon Stewart is more known to people under 45 than David Gregory will ever be.

    I think it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the group most influenced by MTP and its media ilk is the Senate Democratic caucus. Ezra Klein (I think) told the story not long ago about being in the Senate elevator and hearing one moderate Dem Senator say to another in grave tone, “Did you read Friedman today?” Can you imagine them saying “Did you read Krugman today?” Too many elected Democrats crave the approval of the the Village media, while the Village media craves the approval of Republicans

  115. 115
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    FDR’s administration was more liberal than anyone outside of an insane asylum would have dared dream about ten years earlier, but still compromised like hell and left a lot for future generations to do (as will every liberal president).

    Even if a liberal president somehow managed to fix everything, he’d still leave a lot for future presidents to do. The world always changes, so we’ll always have new problems to fix and new situations to deal with.

  116. 116
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: I should have said other world leaders.

  117. 117
    Chyron HR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I believe “Moochelle” is the preferred appelation used by the First Lady’s critics.

  118. 118
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @redshirt:

    Can other Dems keep it up, and even pour it on? Or is a one man movement?

    A good and necessary question. And I’m really not sure. I think Obama is better than most anyone else at speaking about communal ideas: shared responsibility, pulling together, mutuality, inclusivity, etc. I don’t think someone like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden really sounds like that, even in the best possible performance. (Bill Clinton connects with people, but not in that idiom; John Kerry, Al Gore, Howard Dean, nope, nope, nope.) And that sound and style have a lot to do with how well the underlying ideas can be propagated among the citizenry. To me, it’s an underappreciated aspect of Obama’s contribution to the Lakoffian “framing” we’ve been kicking around in the blogosphere for a decade or so.

  119. 119
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Why would you call her that?

    Projection is an awesome thing.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris: I can’t even imagine a return to the ideas about civil liberties, surveillance, and privacy that were not just held by liberals but absolutely mainstream around the time of Watergate, COINTELPRO, the Church Commission, and all that. I think 9/11 negated them, at least as majority views, for the foreseeable future.

  121. 121
    Chris says:

    @MCA1:

    Obama has to lay the groundwork to change the conversation against a backdrop of 30 years of Reaganism. The country’s just not ready to hear of one-payer health care systems and the like yet. In another decade, it will be, and it will be much cooler to self-identify as a Democrat than as a Republican.

    This. Between the moment when the tone shifts and the moment when the people who made it shift finally get to collect, it takes years, often more than a generation.

    Rise of populism and Progressivism and the call for an alternative to laissez-faire capitalism = late 1890s. New Deal = 1930s. Great Society = 1960s.

    Beginning of the black movement over to the Democrats = 1930s. Civil rights becoming an issue rather than a third rail again = late 1940s. Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act = mid-1960s.

    Republican victory over the New Deal coalition = late 1960s. Creation of movement conservative think tanks, media outlets, electoral organizations, etc that have defined our politics for so long = early 1970s. GOP takeover of Congress = mid-1990s.

    So, if Obama’s presidency is the “shift in tone” moment for our generation, well, good. But it won’t really bear fruit for years and years to come, and even when it does, we still won’t get everything we want, any more than the New Dealers, civil righters and movement conservatives did.

  122. 122
    Roger Moore says:

    @redshirt:

    However, it remains to be seen whether this turn is personal – based on one Barack Hussein Obama – or institutional.

    I think there’s a lot that’s institutional, or at least demographic. The Democrats won about the same percentage of the white, black, and Hispanic vote this year as they did back in the 1980s, but it was good for a solid victory this year instead of a resounding defeat because of demographic change. As long as the Democrats can hold together their current coalition, they should continue to pull away from the Republicans at the polls.

  123. 123
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Give it a fucking rest, okay?

    ::

    ::

    DAMMIT!! I just fed a troll, didn’t I?

  124. 124
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Chris: Agreed, institutional changed is hard, and proceeds at a generational pace. Even a cataclysmic event like the Civil War was years (decades) in the making.

    BTW is anyone watching the PBS series on abolitionists?

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I suspect Sasha is going to be the fashion plate since she was the one with a Kate Spade dress and coat.

  126. 126
    Jeremy says:

    I think you will see a lot happen after Obama leaves office. Obama knows he will never get 100 % of what he wants or campaigned on but if he can get as much as he can and move the ball forward for the next president (democrat), and future legislatures. Reagan understood this when he came into office and FDR as well. This is how you begin to change the political directions of the country.

    I agree with many here who see this shift. Joe Biden called the ACA a big deal because the bill eventually will expand and fundamentally change our health care system (one modeled off of the Swiss and German model). And that is just one part of the change.

  127. 127
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    And I think it’s cheap and easy to call yourself an idealist and have all your opinions be distilled down to “Pfft, it sucks.”

    Yeah, but I think it can also be cheap and easy to dismiss the “idealists” as stutting peacocks living in a dream world.

    It’s fine to say that there’s no way FDR could have done anything meaningful on civil rights, or that the internment of Japanese Americans was something he couldn’t have opposed even if he wanted to, or that he had to leave health insurance reform to the next generation. And it’s true. But it’s also a very cold comfort to black people, Japanese-Americans and poor (or even middle class) people who had to continue watching their loved ones get lynched by the KKK, locked away by thugs or die from lack of medical care – or anyone who cared about these guys.

    (And that’s not to say that there aren’t strutting assholes in circulation to go along with the honest idealists and understandably pissed off people, either).

  128. 128
    Maude says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    It happens. Your comment to JC about where is Tunch had me LOL and I thank you.

  129. 129
    Josie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s so hard not to do so. You just want to reach out and smack him/her. Very similar to a mom’s reaction to an early adolescent.

  130. 130
    Maude says:

    @Chris:
    LBJ learned about civil rights in the political realm from FDR. That’s how he knew how to craft the legislation. He also learned how to do Medicare and Medicaid from that time.

  131. 131
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Yeah, unfortunately, I agree. And the Church Committee era was pretty exceptional in that regard too, compared with the kid gloves we treated the security/intelligence community for the previous fifty years (now calling J. Edgar Hoover to the stand…)

    I’m not even sure if it’s possible to really address that, given how universal, timeless, and sadly successful the “give up your liberties or we’re all gonna die!” strategy has been. On the other hand, I never thought we’d get even this level of pushback against guns in my lifetime, so maybe there is hope.

  132. 132
    Raven says:

    @Maude: And he learned how to carpet bomb North Vietnam from Bombs Away Le May.

  133. 133
    Roger Moore says:

    OT: The Catholic Church’s child rape scandal continues to be a slow-motion train wreck. Newly released documents show that the Los Angeles archdiocese was actively concealing child rapist priests from the police. And yes, the rot went all the way to the top; Cardinal Roger Mahony was actively involved in the discussion.

  134. 134
    WereBear says:

    @Jeremy: I believe the point is, you are not going to get the BIG dreamy perfect bill that solves the problems of millenia in a single stroke.

    Such a big thing is always going to be too much, too soon.

    It won’t get passed.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    BTW is anyone watching the PBS series on abolitionists?

    Watched an episode last night, but did not get a chance to finish it. I don’t know if this was the first episode. It dealt with Douglass and Garrison.

    Was kinda disappointed. It was good, I guess, as an overview, or survey of the issue. And I can understand the use of dramatizations, but it sacrifices time that could be spent on delivering more actual history. When I have more time, I will see if what’s on the PBS page about it.

    I did like some of the personal details about Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the death of her child and its impact on her.

    @Chris:

    It’s fine to say that there’s no way FDR could have done anything meaningful on civil rights.

    You could also say that FDR was a coward, or cynical, or uncaring about these issues, and history would not change one bit.

    Idealists can easily say that we’ve got to do better this time, but you still have to get from idea to action.

  136. 136
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @MCA1: Jon Stewart is more known to people under 45 than David Gregory will ever be

    Mixed blessing. He’s now the public face of both sides do it, to the extent of having 400,000 folks turn up on the Mall to celebrate the fact.

  137. 137
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris: Fair enough, but I think that there are limits to where a strategy of “permanent critique” can really go. Without people crying foul about politicians or the government, yes, complacency can set in, and worse. That’s the value of it. But it’s always going to be possible to rip politicians for not living up to an ideal.

    And is the objective simply to keep that gap from becoming invisible, or for there to be some kind of tangible, perceptible improvement _towards_ that ideal? There’s a difference between putting pink foil lids on yogurt to increase breast cancer awareness and actually reducing the incidence of breast cancer.

    The word “pragmatic” is almost a joke at this point, but I still think it’s important, not because all critics have to be rhetorically obeisant to pragmatism at every turn, but because anyone invested in politics should really be concerned with what immediate action would/could/should look like.

  138. 138
    Brachiator says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The Catholic Church’s child rape scandal continues to be a slow-motion train wreck. Newly released documents show that the Los Angeles archdiocese was actively concealing child rapist priests from the police.

    Some of this is, sadly, old news. The most recent fight has been about getting more names in redacted documents released. The pattern of the cover-up has been long known. Maybe some of the details are new.

    And the other sad thing is that Cardinal Mahony continues to be respected and loved by many in the community.

  139. 139
    Cacti says:

    @Jeremy:

    The problem with some liberals is that they are constantly disappointed and nothing is ever good enough

    The problems is that many of them are protest people. Their paradigm is based on what they are against.

    It’s easy and emotionally satisfying to be against things. Implementing a positive agenda is hard work, and progress is usually piecemeal. This is convenient for protest people because they can always protest how XYZ doesn’t go far enough, and how the doers of deeds should have done them better.

  140. 140
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: NYT version with details reads a bit like an OTT pilot for a Sopranos in cassocks porn film written by Dan Brown. Funny how fast the moral pillars and arbitrators of all that in inerrant and good as proven by the ages can run to the “well everybody else was doing it!” defense.

  141. 141
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    It’s fine to say that there’s no way FDR could have done anything meaningful on civil rights, or that the internment of Japanese Americans was something he couldn’t have opposed even if he wanted to, or that he had to leave health insurance reform to the next generation. And it’s true. But it’s also a very cold comfort to black people, Japanese-Americans and poor (or even middle class) people who had to continue watching their loved ones get lynched by the KKK, locked away by thugs or die from lack of medical care – or anyone who cared about these guys.

    I think the key difference is where you place the emphasis. An honest evaluation of any politician’s career has to include their failures as well as their successes. The problem is when you get things out of proportion by focusing predominantly or exclusively on one side of the ledger or the other. If you define FDR’s presidency primarily in terms of the Japanese internment, failure to pass federal anti-lynching legislation, and the strategic bombing campaign, you’re missing the big picture at least as badly as if you ignore those things. Similarly, defining Obama’s presidency in terms of drones and the surveillance state while ignoring the economy, PPACA, and gay rights advances is at least as big a distortion as the other way around.

    I think that part of what’s happening, though, is that it’s much easier to focus on the distorted view during the president’s term than when looking back. People who are focused on winning further elections- or who have just gotten some long-desired advance- want to talk about achievements rather than failures. People who still want to accomplish something will focus on things left undone to the point they forget to celebrate successes. It’s only with the benefit of distance and hindsight that we can really see things in their proper proportions.

  142. 142

    @General Stuck:

    it is a matter of the accepting the art of the possible.

    This is a lot harder to do than it seems. Each person’s understanding of what is possible is shaped by that person’s particular perspective, hopes, and limited experience. Or, using a sports analogy, when you’re sitting in the bleachers, playing shortstop doesn’t look that hard.

  143. 143
    AxelFoley says:

    @Punchy:

    Somewhat OT, but….does Firebaggery still exist?

    Do you have Ted & Hellen on pie filter?

  144. 144

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I see you’ve added “insufferable cad” to your public persona.

  145. 145
    scav says:

    @Brachiator: Names help, and even oldish news to some can be news to others and in a changed context enough to get the ball rolling a bit harder. The few bad apples line is harder to swallow after the same dog and pony defense has been dragged out on an international tour.

  146. 146
    Davis X. Machina says:

    it is a matter of the accepting the art of the possible.

    “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” John Kenneth Galbraith

  147. 147
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Roger Moore Well said!

  148. 148
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I expect at least to hear a new set of political cliches over the next four years.

    If the optics get thrown under the bus and sold out worse than Bush, I’m down with that.

  149. 149
    El Caganer says:

    “We’re stuck with a certain amount of austerity…”

    Well, there’s the rub. What is a ‘certain amount?’ Enough to nudge the age of eligibility for SS/Medicare up a couple years? Enough to give us Euro-style 25% unemployment? Something in between?

    I’m not sure it’s a good idea to start discussions with an assumption of any amount of austerity.

  150. 150
    Brachiator says:

    @scav:

    Names help, and even oldish news to some can be news to others and in a changed context enough to get the ball rolling a bit harder. The few bad apples line is harder to swallow after the same dog and pony defense has been dragged out on an international tour.

    Mahony has retired, and any idea of justice seems to have been left behind long ago.

    Church officials got rid of the “few bad apples” idea long ago, and substituted “we’re so sorry, we didn’t know, we didn’t understand, please forgive us.”

    The main goal, of helping offending priests escape any prosecution, appears to have succeeded (especially in the case of priests who have died). Civil suits may be all that’s left.

    This is not to say that investigations should be dropped, but it’s just wearying to see how this has been dragged out, and how outrage seems to have faded.

    And even though it is on a far smaller scale, the LAUSD’s protection of sex offender teachers is just as outrageous. And here, some good liberals scurry away like rats from holding teachers and school officials accountable.

  151. 151
    Liberty60 says:

    “I thought it was an amazing speech, and historically very important,” Krauthammer began. “This this was really Obama unbound. And I think what’s most interesting is that Obama basically is declaring the end of Reaganism in this speech.

    My emphasis. From Kraut’s lips to God’s ears.

  152. 152
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Brachiator: It was the second in the series, the first one focused on how Garrison got his start, and also on Grimke. In short, the beginnings of the movement.

  153. 153
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    What Betty Cracker said.

  154. 154
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:

    The main goal, of helping offending priests escape any prosecution, appears to have succeeded (especially in the case of priests who have died). Civil suits may be all that’s left.

    I’m still hoping for some kind of RICO case. When a Cardinal is directly involving himself in covering up felonies, it seems to beg for something like that.

  155. 155
    MikeJ says:

    @Roger Moore:

    When a Cardinal is directly involving himself in covering up felonies, it seems to beg for something like that.

    RICO may be all that’s left if the Cardinal is spirited away to a corner of Rome that will refuse to extradite.

  156. 156
    AxelFoley says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Dropped in to troll the Obots some and I see it’s already being done, albeit poorly.

    Corner Stone is still learning from you, sensei.

  157. 157
    General Stuck says:

    @James E. Powell:

    I understand that, that once people accept the fundamental principle of what is possible as a limiting reality in a democracy, then we can debate where that falls. What I am saying is that there are quite of few folks we call progressives on the internet, that reject out of hand that any such fundamental principle even exists with applied politics, let alone find comfort in such a utility.

    And often by otherwise very smart people. It is almost like there is a need to feel the angst for the existential discomfort that comes with imperfection of human experience. That somehow democracy is supposed to insulate us from that imperfection. When all democracy does is reduce the likelihood that tanks will be involved with day to day politicking. We trade that for a steady diet of half baked governance.

  158. 158
    scav says:

    @Brachiator: Depends if your end game is the simple prosecution of the guys doing the abuse or the reform of the institution protecting the abuse, if not enabling it. I’d love to see lawsuits but public pressure, especially from those that have the most vested in Catholicism not being a laughingstock and obvious punchline in morality jokes might help with the latter as well as a swift kick to their bottom line (as measured in both filthy lucre and bums on pews). Imagine having to wait until GWB died out of office – what would the rep of the US been after more decades?

    Personally, I’m happy enough with they’re being the obvious punchline but there are other opinions. Even I can still see it’s going to take geologic time for them to fix their act most likely. And first they may have to reargue the whole concept of geologic time.

  159. 159
    AxelFoley says:

    @redshirt:

    Can other Dems keep it up, and even pour it on? Or is a one man movement?

    That’s my concern. Can the next Dem nominee inspire the masses like President Obama?

  160. 160
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It was the second in the series, the first one focused on how Garrison got his start, and also on Grimke. In short, the beginnings of the movement.

    The beginnings of the movement were as much in the free black communities, as with Garrison or Grimke, or Wendell Phillips, or Lucy Stone.

    Was there anything about Charles Henry Langston or his brother John? Or Frances Harper? Or Robert Purvis?

    Still, the parts I saw were good. Just gotta find time to see the whole thing.

  161. 161
    AxelFoley says:

    @CT:

    Every white progressive columnist/blogger can do a better job of being president than the actual president.

    Sums it up, don’t it?

  162. 162
    Roger Moore says:

    @MikeJ:

    RICO may be all that’s left if the Cardinal is spirited away to a corner of Rome that will refuse to extradite.

    At some point, the Pope will actually have to consider if he wants to maintain good relations with the rest of the world by shielding a bunch of felons. Something tells me, though, that he won’t do anything until he manages to piss off Italy to the point they start questioning whether the Vatican should really continue to exist as an independent country.

  163. 163
    cckids says:

    @WereBear: Yep. My BIL was the pilot/captain/commander?? whatever the title is, of Air Force 2 2009-2011, he said Biden was the nicest, greatest VIP to be around. When the VP isn’t using it, AF 2 gets used by Boehner, cabinet heads, etc. Biden, hands down, was the best person using it.

    Typical military; they trained him for 6 months to fly the plane, he had the job just under 2 years & they sent him off to Afghanistan. Because he had to do one more foreign tour before his term was up. So they had to train someone else. And now, he’s over there doing a desk job he’s WAY overqualified for, just because theres a rule that says he had to go overseas again. No wonder the Defense Dept. bleeds money.

  164. 164
    scav says:

    I’m fairly sure Ratzy isn’t doing his team (w/i church too) any favors with his management style and decisions. Dissent: not just for Nuns anymore

    Father Tony Flannery

    “How can I put my name to such a document when it goes against everything I believe in,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “If I signed this, it would be a betrayal not only of myself but of my fellow priests and lay Catholics who want change. I refuse to be terrified into submission.”

    In the letter, the Vatican objected in particular to an article published in 2010 in Reality, an Irish religious magazine. In the article, Father Flannery, a Redemptorist priest, wrote that he no longer believed that “the priesthood as we currently have it in the church originated with Jesus” or that he designated “a special group of his followers as priests.”

    Instead, he wrote, “It is more likely that some time after Jesus, a select and privileged group within the community who had abrogated power and authority to themselves, interpreted the occasion of the Last Supper in a manner that suited their own agenda.”

    still expecting decades, if they’re lucky.

  165. 165
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Brachiator: They are focusing on 5 people
    Garrison
    Grimke
    Douglass
    John Brown
    Harriet Beecher Stowe

  166. 166
    Roger Moore says:

    @scav:

    I’m fairly sure Ratzy isn’t doing his team (w/i church too) any favors with his management style and decisions.

    Nobody could have foreseen that the former head of the Inquisition Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wouldn’t take kindly to dissent within the Church.

  167. 167
    Brachiator says:

    @scav:

    Depends if your end game is the simple prosecution of the guys doing the abuse.

    Isn’t this called justice? Isn’t this why Jerry Sandusky is currently doing jail time?

    Hell, I would love to see some cardinals thrown in jail, as well as Boy Scouts administrators, Penn State officials, and LAUSD and teachers union leaders whose foot dragging protected predator teachers.

    Give me this, and I would gladly leave the repairing of reputations and keeping the Church from being a punchline to others.

    @Roger Moore:

    I’m still hoping for some kind of RICO case. When a Cardinal is directly involving himself in covering up felonies, it seems to beg for something like that.

    This would be interesting. Has this approach been tried in any other investigations (Boston, for example)?

  168. 168
    dead existentialist says:

    @mclaren: Wow, Bamz did all that in 4 years? I’m impressed.

  169. 169
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:

    Has this approach been tried in any other investigations (Boston, for example)?

    Not that I know of, or that a quick Google search turned up. I think that prosecutors are still terrified of the political fallout from trying to make a RICO case against the Church, maybe rightly so.

  170. 170
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: You forgot the “A-ha!” and the swirl of the cape for dramatic effect. Vatican Casual is only on Fridays. Tweeting in Latin while hauling out the faggots of wood for burning heretics should be in all the Where Did They Hide My Sacraments? business manuals within the year.

  171. 171
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Chris: Well, there was that one sex criminal guy from Oregon. But otherwise, spot on.

  172. 172
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I thought everyone was joking, then I saw the pics. That print! I just about died.

    I figure it signals something, like ‘ready to go to work’. We know those Romulan generals didn’t fucking mess around.

  173. 173
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: Oh, it was mob and pitchfork time in Boston but Law skeddadled before the careerist AG could really even get started.

    As for Rome and the Vatican, they let Bernard Cardinal Law hang out on Italian soil going to/from St. John Lateran, which is technically Vatican territory but outside their walls. I just about puked when I found out. I think they made him ceremonial pastor of Maria Maggiore for a time, too. Maria Maggiore is a beautiful church built on the site of a grove dedicated to Juno.

  174. 174
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @scav: Nice. Thanks for the linky.

  175. 175
    scav says:

    @Brachiator: Justice isn’t alas always like idealized fast food, made to order, arriving seconds after being ordered and cheap. Not even theologians working overtime can explain why their god™ allows such things and lawyers generally snigger when it comes to the law. But leaving the enablers and framework intact is about as useful as changing the sheets to deal with bedbugs. I don’t give a shit about their reputation as nice guys and brand rehabilitation myself (others undoubtedly are), I’m thinking more of dragging themselves and the very framework of the law into recognizing their beanied selves and minions have to submit to the same rules as everyone else. I’m just not expecting it to occur in a single puff of perfect outrage and magic.

  176. 176
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Oh, it was mob and pitchfork time in Boston but Law skeddadled before the careerist AG could really even get started.

    I think there’s a big difference between going after the people who were obviously involved and going after the whole organization. A RICO prosecution or even a civil RICO case would take a hell of a long time, during which the Church would be able to bring its whole PR apparatus to bear. They would do their to present it as an attack on the Church itself, not to mention the First Amendment. It would be very, very hard for the prosecutor to stick it out for long enough to turn up the really damaging information that would make it clear how deep the rot goes. As much as I would love to see a single, massive case that wound up with all the corrupt priests going to jail and their money going to their victims, I think I’m going to have to be satisfied to see this kind of death of a thousand cuts type failure.

  177. 177
    JoyfulA says:

    @Brachiator: Some Penn State officials, including the former president, will be having their trials soon. Stay tuned!

  178. 178
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yep.

    Long as we’re dreaming, I’ve been wishing for a RICO case that could take down the Republican Party, NewsCorp or some of the big Wall Street megacorporations for some time, but alas, the real world insists on disappointing me and probably will until the day I die.

  179. 179
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: They don’t _expect_ perfection, they demand it, but they don’t demand it because they think they’re going to get it, they demand it so that they can be pissed off when they don’t (99.99% of the time) and dismissive when they do (0.01% of the time). If it happens, it was easy to make it happen, so it doesn’t count.

    This.

  180. 180
    Corner Stone says:

    @AxelFoley: Hey troll. Good to hear from you. Not.
    Go fuck off somewhere. Troll bitch ass.

  181. 181
    LAC says:

    @AxelFoley: amen. Yummy , piss covered cornflakes. Let me guess, corner stupe, right?

  182. 182
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: Something tells me, though, that he won’t do anything until he manages to piss off Italy to the point they start questioning whether the Vatican should really continue to exist as an independent country.

    The Popes accomplished pissing off the Italians but good centuries ago. The question is who has the power? and so far an authoritarian, tax-evading upper class has managed to hold onto the reins.

    I might be generalizing a bit here b/c I don’t know much about Southern Italy or its politics, other than the corruption. Italy is like Louisiana attached to Minnesota (including the whole “Minnesota nice” thing and Paw-lenty of Republicans) with Rome in the middle. Can’t muster an American analogy because Rome is just… Rome.

  183. 183
    taylormattd says:

    Atrios believes that Obama did a poor job of articulating a liberal vision over the first four years, and maybe so

    Gee, what a shock. A whiny quasi-PUMA, emoprog, and professional left wannabe hack blogger is bitching and moaning about Obama.

  184. 184
    liberal says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It would be very, very hard for the prosecutor to stick it out for long enough to turn up the really damaging information that would make it clear how deep the rot goes.

    You mean the information which AFAICT is already publicly available?

  185. 185
    liberal says:

    @Jeremy:

    …Wall Street reform…

    Sadly, the Wall St. reforms have been pretty weak tea.

  186. 186
    Suffern ACE says:

    @taylormattd: liberals themselves do a poor ass job articulating their vision. Heck, most of them think it involves making fun of working class people as much as possible.

  187. 187
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: There are two other things I see happening:

    1. US progressives read international writing about US politics, and have probably seen the “You Americans don’t realize you have two identical right-wing parties; why aren’t you smart enough to vote for three parties (or however many) like we do?” essay about a thousand times. They want to prove they’re not punks.

    2. A certain subset of US right-libertarians have gotten very good at trolling progressives into cheering for them by appearing to attack Obama from the left, especially on foreign policy and civil liberties, but sometimes on other stuff too. Frequently, they actually have some good points that can be fairly acknowledged, but it’s easy to forget what they’re doing until they swerve into the absurd. I have seen Obamacare attacked on the grounds that it preempted single-payer health care, by a Ron Paul supporter. Ron Paul wasn’t going to get him single-payer!

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