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View Diary: (LA-04) Daily Kos political posers should feel pain and shame (170 comments)

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  •  Let me take the example of health care (2+ / 0-)
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    buckhorn okie, golconda2

    legislation to explain why your logic is flawed.

    Eventually, Obama is going to come up with a health care plan.  The Republicans may well be 100% united against it, as they were with Clinton's budget plan -- which fostered the prosperity of the 1990s -- in 1993.

    When that happens, we are going to have to peel off Democratic votes one by one.  Each vote will cost something, possibly something involving vitiation of the plan.

    Carmouche is obviously no strong liberal, but my guess is that he'd probably be one of the votes that we would not have to peel off, who would prevent vitiation of that plan.

    Yes, every House vote matters.  The magic number in the House is not merely 218.

    If that logic is what kept you or others from calling, I sincerely regret it.

    Never forget or repeat our 2008 failure in LA-04. Carmouche.

    by Seneca Doane on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:39:00 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I should have called, I apologize for that (1+ / 0-)
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      Seneca Doane

      But Obama cant dropped everything to focus on a House race this soon after an election.

      •  Where we disagree is this: (4+ / 0-)
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        buckhorn okie, jj32, condorcet, golconda2

        he didn't have to drop everything.  He could have done something high-profile, and interview on local news for which he'd need 20 minutes of briefing.  He could have sent Michelle.  Seriously, if he had wanted this badly enough, he could have found a way.

        He's our party leader.  He ran to don that hat as well, and that hat matters.

        •  Well, he did do a radio ad for Carmouche (0+ / 0-)

          I realize he is our party leader, but he is also president-elect. I'm willing to cut him some slack for not doing more, right now, a month after the general election. Plus, as a Georgian, I can tell you he would have motivated conservatives with anything high profile here, the case might be the same in LA-04.

          •  Understood (2+ / 0-)
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            buckhorn okie, golconda2

            In that case, he should have worked low-profile.  His people could have found a way.  We can use dog whistles on our side too, you know.

            He was not fired up to win this, largely because his advisors -- you can find quotes about the Martin race that apply to this as well -- didn't want him to become tainted by association with a political loss.

            Well, instead, the low-information public sees only this: three Republican races out of three elections since November 4.  That really sounds good, huh?

            He should have been fired up to get every seat.

      •  By the way, in case it is not completely clear (3+ / 0-)
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        buckhorn okie, jj32, thethinveil

        my criticism is not focused on you personally.  Hell, you opened my diary and left a constructive and supportive comment.  That puts you way ahead of the curve.

        But anytime there's a special election coming up, people should look for diaries on how to help win it, and if they don't see one, they should write one.

    •  A fistful of disclaimers (ok, just two) (1+ / 0-)
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      Disclaimer #1: While my inclination is to elect the person who has what it takes to do the job, and then let him do it (rather than spending time complaining or defending), I have to admit to having been a bit disappointed that Obama didn't come to GA once during our Senate race.  This came mainly from having been on the ground (just a little bit, not as much as I should have) with the impassioned, sleep-deprived 22-year-old volunteers who had come from all over the country to help out.  It made me sad to think about how hard they were working, and how much just one Obama appearance at a rally could have done for turnout here.

      But, I changed my mind once I saw the final tally.  Right or wrong (some are convinced that corruption was involved), those results couldn't have been reversed by a dozen Obama rallies.  In the end, I think he made the correct decision (even though my Martin sign still stands forlornly in my yard).

      Disclaimer #2: I learned much of what I know about politics from you (Seneca Doane), so your knowledge of these matters obviously eclipses mine here.  Still, I can't help but think that by avoiding behaviors that might be deemed partisan and doing things like retaining Gates, as well as just being who he is, Obama is building unprecedented amounts of political capital with the moderate wing of the Republican party, as well as with the moderate/independent/undecided segment of the population.  It may very well be that when he does come forth with a health care plan, the number of moderate Republicans who choose to side with him will far outweigh the presence or absence of one additional Democrat in the House.  Is this plausible, or am I just being naive?  My instincts tell me that in our current climate, things could easily go down this way.  But my instincts have been way, way off before.  (For example, never would have guessed W could even win a Republican primary, let alone an election or two...)  

      •  Hi huple! Gad, I never replied to your last post (1+ / 0-)
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        Sorry about that.  It was a thoughtful one, too.  I'll go look it up.  (I also owe you an e-mail from months ago.)

        Where I disagree (respectfully and with great affection, of course!) on the first point is that winning a race is not the only metric by which one should evaluate one's actions.  He should have gone because he is the party leader and his being there would show respect for the troops, win or lose.  Right now, many people feel that the time they put in was wasted and unappreciated.  It was worth an afternoon for him to show solidarity with the people who are putting in all that time.  Letting them think "oh, we were just being stupid, Obama knew better" is something that will cost us in the future, when we will call on such people again to be just as stupid -- sometimes leading to an unexpected victory.

        But I don't think that Obama should have gone to Georgia simply for a Martin rally; he is too busy for that.  But it does not take too much creativity to figure out how to make a trip do double duty.  I've said before (but will repeat here) that he could have (and still should) give a speech explaining the relationship he wants from Congress at a time of economic crisis: that he needs people who will have his back as he navigates these treacherous and uncharted waters.  Do it with Martin there on stage, and shake his hand.  That would have been doing enough.  And it's a message that should be sent now, on its own merits.

        You may be right about his building up chits with moderate Republicans -- "both of them," I find myself wanting to say -- and I don't want to dismiss it.  There are not enough of them left in office to make much of a difference, I'm afraid, and I think that they will betray him at the earliest moment it appears to be in their interest, but I could be wrong about that.  My problem is not so much his engagement with the Right as with his lack of engagement with the Left.

        I've written elsewhere that I'm 60-40 in favor of pretty much all of his more questionable appointments.  I think you can make a case for any of them individually.  But when you pile "60-40" appointments on top of one another, the notion that he is not making a fair number of regrettable appointments gets very small.  Where are the appointments that give centrists heartburn?  Has there been even one?

        Indeed, Joseph Stiglitz -- the Nobel economist who was more right about things than Larry Summers times Bob Rubin plus Paul Volcker with whipped Timothy Geithner on top -- evidently has no place in Obama's economic team because he's antagonistic to Rubinism (or at least Summers doesn't like him.)  You would know more about the merits of this than I would, but to me that's a terrible signal.  It suggests that Obama -- whose statement that all policy shall derive from him strikes me as the moment of hubris we will identify in future years as the beginning of trouble, like "doesn't he know he's going to be too busy?" -- has become a de facto captive of the "anti-Left" portion of the party in economic policy.  (Yes, he's got a great infrastructure plan coming; thank God.  But any sensible politician would have one now; the wonder is that he's sensible.)  You can make the same argument about foreign/intelligence policy.

        So it's not that I'm hankering to tap dance on the faces of Congressional Republicans; by all means, if rapproachment works, go for it.  It's that he seems to be leaving out the Left, the ones who have been correct about these issues, that worries me.

        •  Hey, nice to hear from you! (2+ / 0-)
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          AlanF, Seneca Doane

          and don't worry about the other post or the email, which are now basically archives of past states of mind.  You're easy to find and catch up with in real time, so I'll just do that whenever I am so moved to.  (I would say "have a spare moment", but I don't think I'll ever have a spare moment again.  "Have a moment where work is sufficiently overwhelming that I look for excuses to avoid it" is more like it.)

          I completely agree with you about Stiglitz.  Frank Rich's column (which I read after posting) made this point, as well as the point that for all the hoopla about Kennedy choosing the best and brightest, look what that led us into.  Obama's comment adds another angle, because it also sounds a bit micro-managey (my pet peeve from my comment last week).  If he weren't too busy, and he were actually able to control everyone, this would then be micro-managing rather than letting the smart people do their jobs, which in my experience leads to failure.  But if he lets the smart people do their jobs, we could have another Vietnam!  We are doomed either way!  But in all seriousness, it would be impossible for any of us to pick a dream-team Cabinet that would be failure-proof.  (And I don't know how to incorporate the information that we are already in a quagmire because an idiot president appointed other idiots to whom he gave free rein, and possibly a few smart people to whom he lied to and micromanaged.  So I'll move on to another topic.)

          As far as the need to keep the ground troops motivated and whether the goodwill he is instilling in moderates is real, those are good points.  I feel like the Jim Martin volunteers are probably ok.  The ground troops were invariably young post-Obama volunteers who weren't ready to stop campaigning yet - in most cases because they enjoyed it and saw it as a useful line on their resumes.  I was initially disappointed that Obama wasn't here because he was in a great position to ask more of the first-time voters who may have gone to the polls only because of him.  I'm not sure about the hypothetical effect of asking more of them in this way, only to see Martin lose anyway.  Perhaps he would have been spending political capital that can now save for later.  Or maybe he would have been ensuring their future support by getting them more involved in the process.  Both are probably defensible, depending on what model of political capital is used.

          As for the existence of moderate Republican politicians and citizens, perhaps I'm being overly optimistic here.  I'm getting most of my notions from mainstream media coverage, brief conversations with my neighbors, etc., and have been pleasantly surprised to see supposed moderates and Republicans favorably inclined towards him.  One outgrowth of this could be a bipartisan effort the likes of which hasn't been seen in my political memory (which begins in 1980).  But this could be wishful thinking; there are of course plenty of other possibilities.

          So thanks - I'll add your arguments to the mix I've got going here, and see if this doesn't temper my optimism a bit.  Ideally (and selfishly) I'd like to remain optimistic enough that I can sleep at night and get work done rather than worry about this stuff, but not so optimistic that I am bitterly disappointed when reality eventually strikes.  So this should do the trick (and yes, the lambs have stopped screaming.  For now.)    

          •  Thanks for the nice analysis (0+ / 0-)

            I'm about to take my stepdaughters -- see, you do have reason to e-mail me, so I can send you photos! -- to the movies, so I won't say more than that now, except that your last line makes me want to come up with a good joke along the lines of "it rubs the lotion on its resume or else it gets the hosers again."  (Needs work.  Lots of work.)

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