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View Diary: The progressive case for not caring if the mandate (or Obamacare) fails (38 comments)

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  •  FDR had much larger majorities (0+ / 0-)

    and less obstinate opposition

    and his economy had already collapsed so he didn't have to face the counterfactual of "your policies are worthless because the enconomy neither collapsed or recovered.  you say it would have collapsed, we say you made it worse" crap.

    Hoover tried the do nothing approach and it failed.  Had Obama been elected in 2016 after McCain/Pail fiddled and let both the financial and automotive sectors collapse, AND elected with FDR-like majorities in both houses AND some republicans actually occasionally voted with him and didn't block every single appointment with a filibuster or hold THEN you can compare FDR to Obama.

    The way things actually turned out, it's apples and oranges.  Obama had the best majorities since LBJ, but the worst opposition since the pre-civil-war era.   And he didn't have LBJ's majorities either, nor the moral authority of the Kennedy death briefly overcoming usual political bickering.

    •  Gee, we've never heard this before... (0+ / 0-)

      and it is just as silly/insulting today as it has been for three years. First, FDR did most of the ground work through executive orders ~100 in his first 90 days, then he bypassed the Old Guard by direct appeal to the people and made it very difficult for them to oppose, IOW, he fought for it.

      The facts remain, laying there like a rotting corpse that we all pretend isn't there as we hold our noses and move toward the window, he and the Democratic leadership blocked, obfuscated, and prohibited all the alternatives from consideration.

      Of course there were significant differences, the nation today barely resembles America in the 30's, but then it is always different. That doesn't exclude the requirement of leadership, nor excuse the lack of it. He and they got what they wanted, consolidation of power for the people they work for.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 01:19:11 PM PDT

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      •  Different situations (0+ / 0-)

        need different tactics.   What FDR did in 1933 wasn't possible in 2009.

        Forget about congress for the moment (even though without congress, any executive order can be eliminated by the next prez, and there are all kinds of restrictions on what executive orders can do)

        I've seen no evidence at all that there even is a "Bully Pulpit" anymore.  Instead we have corporate owned media that make up narratives out of thin air, ignore giant rallies and focus on tiny ones even on the same day in the same city (tea party vs immigration rally during heath care debates).    So the whole "take the appeal to the people" is BS.   Obama's been stumping for Jobs since last summer and giving speeches all over the place and the result is a tiny improvement in his approval rating and not a single damn thing in Congress.

        During health care there were many attempts to appeal to the people.  It just got less popular, drowned out by the Tea Party narrative, and as it did, the bill got gutted.

        FDR had the potential alternative of Communist  and Fascist revolution to scare the status quo into line, plus a labor movement capable of doing general strikes and shutting down industry...which was located here, not in some other country.

        Occupy is a pale shadow of the populism that was going on in the 30s.   Obama could have shouted till he was blue in the face and he'd still have gotten zero votes from the Republicans and probably less votes from the Democrats.

        About the only thing he could have done that he didn't actually try is more executive orders.  And more recess appointments.  I don't see why after a year of obstruction there, he didn't just appoint everyone via recess every time a holiday came up.

        •  I honestly do not see how you can continue (0+ / 0-)

          to try to sell this "he did everything he could" line. Every action he has taken since even before taking office screams which side he is on in this war.

          He and they not only did not try, they blocked other's attempts. They are only interested in "solutions" that maintain the source of the problems and we can expand that to include his economic and international policies as well.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:23:18 PM PDT

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          •  Inaction would have been the sign (0+ / 0-)

            That he was truly in the tank for the corps.

            I don't think he did everything possible.  I do think he did what he believed was possible.   IE, I ascribe him honest motives, even if he may have been mistaken.  (I think he was wrong to Surge in Afghanistan too, but he did in fact campaign on doing that...so...)

            Especially on his list of missed opportunities he spent way too long pursuing even a single R vote once he had 60 dems in the Senate.   If he just accepted it was going to be partisan by Spring, it would have been voted out of committee about when Franken got seated and horse-trading among the dems could have started then, instead of December.  That also might have given the opposition less time to get traction and lead to a better bill.

            But I also think you have to take into account that even trying to do anything with healthcare was something of a forlorn hope given all the other crap going down in 2009

            As I said...if  he was truly in the tank for the corps, he would have simply done nothing.   That would in fact have been very easy.  Nobody was saying except him "Now is the time to do Healthcare" by April 2009.

            I also don't think he had a lot of margin to work with given how things turned out.   Public opinion really didn't play into the dynamics at all, except as a negative.   Blue dogs were very nervous about voting for anything, and their 2010 slaughter proved them pretty much right to be nervous.

            One thing you see with Obama right up to the Debt Ceiling debate is that he's unwilling to demonize the people he needs votes from for things he considers important.    After the debt ceiling thing, he pretty much had no hope of getting any useful legislation out of Congress and had no more "take hostage" stuff to worry about and he finally started a more populist narrative.

            For the first year, he needed Leiberman, Nelson, etc, for his second year he needed at least one R to get much done.    To not have the country go into default he needed an R-controlled house to vote something that the Senate could get 60 votes on.

            If you don't care about legislating (or you are a candidate) you can say whatever you want.  If you actually have to work with real people who you have no actual power over except persuasion to do stuff for you, you don't start by railing against them in public.

            You seem to believe that taking a populist message in Jan 2009 would have lead to better legislation.   Obama clearly believed that his approach to congress was superior to what you propose.

            We can never know who is right.   From the sidelines though, I don't see malice in Obama.  I see a consistent approach to getting what he wants done, and while I don't agree with all of it I don't see him as a tool either.  

            He's his own man.  He has his beliefs, he made his choices and he got some results.

            I don't see Clinton doing better.  Certainly not McKain.  Especially not any of those asshats running this year.  For that matter, I don't see Bill Clinton, Reagan, Carter or Nixon doing any better.  Or LBJ without his 1964 majorities.

            That's every president in my lifetime.  So excuse me for thinking Obama did a fairly good job given the hand he was given.   Not the best possible job.   Absolutely the wrong choices on the National Security State especially.  But a pretty good job and better than any of the current alternatives.

            I'm open to hearing who we can get elected that will do better.  Perhaps someone will emerge in 2016.  If Warren can actually get elected I'll have a little hope.  

            •  We certainly agree on more than we disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't believe he has sinister intent, something I can't say about the Idiot Frat Boy, but I honestly think he is not up to the job, not at this time in history. I have compared him to Wilson in the past and think that holds true today.

              Before the nation went completely insane I would have welcomed a competent manager in chief, but we are in a global crisis, the proportions of which are literally unprecedented and criminally downplayed to the sheeple. And yes, I absolutely do believe that he had the best opportunity in generations to make substantiative changes to put the nation on a course to correcting previous mistakes and improving the lives of millions here at home and several times that abroad.

              You wrote about his unwillingness to "demonize the people he needs votes from for things he considers important" and "If you actually have to work with real people who you have no actual power over except persuasion to do stuff for you, you don't start by railing against them in public". Absolutely correct, you don't start out demonizing/railing, you start out in private meetings where you establish your dominance and tell them what is expected from them and what you will do to them if they don't go along, subtly and with plenty of room to maneuver, but never leave any doubt that fighting you will be far more unpleasant and unprofitable than working with you. After all, you just won the most powerful political position on earth with clear majorities not seen since 1980. IOW, you have to immediately establish that you are the boss, and in this regard I think Hillary is better suited to the position.

              Who would have been better? Even though I supported DK I suspected at the time, and that suspicion has grown over the last three years, that Hillary Clinton would have done a much better job in the Big Chair.

              In short, he is not a fighter and in DC you are a shark or you are a snack. Oh, and I have to strongly disagree with you about LBJ, he was a crude, rude, vindictive son-of-a-bitch, and nobody screwed with him that valued their political life (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he would/had ended real lives as well).

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

              by Greyhound on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:23:19 PM PDT

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              •  IMHO, LJB would have been nothing (0+ / 0-)

                Without the death of Kennedy during his short first term and his massive majorities in his second term.

                And without movement politics pushing the envelope and giving him moral cover.

                But we can agree to disagree there.

                I can see the parallel with Wilson.  Like Obama he had an academic background.  Like Obama he had a pretty good legislative first term, but didn't get everything he wanted and had one child labor law struck down by the supreme court.   He was both for and against war, depending on the timing.  He was late to support woman's sufferage, but in the end helped it get done.

                He's got a bad rap because of the Versailles treaty and the US failing to join the League of Nations.   But as presidents go, he didn't exactly suck.

                As for Clinton - she just wouldn't have tried to do as much, and would have been even more hawkish (I know, it seems odd given how Obama has behaved, but she actually is even more of a national security nut than he's become).    I actually think she'd have had a harder time getting the democrats in line on health care as well, should she even have attempted it.

                I'm not convinced she wouldn't have been just as deep or deeper in the tank for the corps as Obama was - she is a third way democrat who as a senator was all into the stupid bipartisan reaching across the aisle stuff that works so well when R's have the presidency but somehow never ever seems to happen when Ds have it post-Reagan.

                Who knows?  Maybe we'll find out in 2016 if she gets nominated and elected.  Although 2016 Hilary is likely very different from 2008 Hilary.   She'll be starting assuming the kind of opposition Obama got, instead of getting blindsided by it.

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