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View Diary: GOP Smackdown: Obama Threw Down The Gauntlet At The Health Summit (234 comments)

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  •  People here think bipartisanship is some naive (44+ / 0-)

    misguided notion by the President. It is not:

    Here is Barack Obama making his Presidential exploratory committee announcement:

    Listen carefully to what he says:'s not the magnitude of our problems that concern me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America has faced big problems before, but today our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical common-sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions. That's what we have to change first. We have to change our politics and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans. This won't happen by itself. This can only come from you. From people across our country who believe there's a better way and are willing to work for it...

    That was more than 3 years ago. His goal... his vision for changing the politics in Washington has not changed. And he's not gonna give up on that goal just because some of us see it as a sign of weakness.

    Please help StopRushLimbaugh. Because hate should not be profitable.

    by marabout40 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 05:33:36 PM PST

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    •  This was the first EVER (10+ / 0-)

      video of Obama I watched. Brings back way too many memories and emotions. Good times.

      "I don't want a line in the Sand lines can be moved. They can be blown away. I want a six foot trench carved into granite."

      by theone718 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 06:12:51 PM PST

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    •  I think that people forget that night in Grant (22+ / 0-)

      Park after he'd been declared the winner of the election.  Remember?  To those who hadn't voted for him, he said that he would be their president, too.  He meant it.  He's an honest, caring, brilliant man, and I believe that he truly wants to do what is best for all of us.  That's why it's so frustrating to see him constantly maligned, especially by the left.

      He believes in bipartisanship.  That's not his failing.  It's ours.

      •  Yup. I remember. People seem to remember (8+ / 0-)

        what they want and discard the rest that doesn't fit into their perfect picture of whom they think Obama should be.

        Please help StopRushLimbaugh. Because hate should not be profitable.

        by marabout40 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 07:02:59 PM PST

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      •  I believe in bipartisanship (6+ / 0-)

        with the republican party of 30-40 years ago.  The  republican party of today is a totally different and extremist animal--either we get what we want or we'll destroy your agenda.  Republicans such as Edward Brooke and Lowell Weicker would be considered far left liberal by today's repub standards.

        Realistically, all the President can do and needs to do for the good of the country is to round up and embolden as many dems as possible and do the peoples business for the interest of the people.

        "Sisters, brothers and the whities, Black and the crackers, Police and their backers, They're all political actors"--Curtis Mayfield

        by Cynic in seattle on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 10:30:44 PM PST

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      •  I Agree It's Not Weakness (0+ / 0-)

        To be a conciliator or an introvert in power.

        But Presidents are judged--rightly or wrongly-- by their legislative records. And it can be trying for our rare decent Presidents(Jimmy Carter is one conspicuous example) to bend the Congress towards their programs.

        Obama's an excellent communicator and mediator. But it remains to be seen whether he can harness those formidable talents towards bold political moves.

        If he can use the bully pulpit and play the presidential game on his terms, I'm sanguine about his prospects.    

        Tax Cuts Are Their Jesus -B. Whitford

        by Indieman on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:15:20 AM PST

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    •  Thank you! (9+ / 0-)

      Those comments by Obama are one of the main things that made me decide I had found a candidate I wanted to support. I've disagreed with him since then, but I have no doubt I made the right choice.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." ~ Mencken

      by royce on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 07:51:13 PM PST

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    •  marabout40 (7+ / 0-)

        Thank you for ressurecting the Obama video reminding us of who he is and what he is working so hard to do; change the way we do our politics.

        In the midst of all the ugly attacks on Obama-- which Republicans levy, or condone through their collective silence, I've wanted President Obama to not only fight fire with fire, but to use all his political muscle to nail those bastards to the wall.

       But President Obama's strength and quality of restraint is fueled by a higher purpose. He knows where his values are, and what they mean as he "walks the walk". The video is a reminder of why I follow him.  


    •  I don't know if it's naivete or not but this is (1+ / 0-)
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      just mistaken even if it is good primary politics:

      Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions. That's what we have to change first. We have to change our politics and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.

      If that were the issue, when we came together after 9/11, wouldn't we be in a much better place today?  (Before you respond with the Republican Party/Dubya pat response don't forget that the context of "politics" includes the other half of a two party system).
      There is a difference between presiding over gridlock and a breakdown of the process, appealing for our better spirits and that of actually believing that to tackle "big problems that demand solutions" we have to put politics aside to change politics (I know, he doesn't actually say this but that is exactly where he takes this idea home).  This is false.  It is patently false (if it were true this blog wouldn't or shouldn't exist).  False enough that the Presidents opponents have developed a deep seated distrust of him for it suspecting its inherent falseness and are actually using it as an opportunity to string him along his own petard (so to speak).  This can only lead to chaos.  A process deprived of a natural political engagement with the substitution of very awkward "summits" leading to predictable outcomes.
      This is not good.  And we all wonder where this actually puts his initiative to "change politics" if and when he does choose hardball as a last ditch tactic.  Does it make it all an illusion, an exercise then?

      •  No. it doesn't. (3+ / 0-)
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        salsaMan, sherijr, marabout40

        The picture is much deeper than your careless suppositions and silly scenarios try to paint.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say. If you please, don't back up the track, this train's got to run today.

        by kafkananda on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 10:07:34 PM PST

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        •  What A Small Response (1+ / 0-)
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          If you can't address the substance of what he/she said why on earth bother replying?  Whether you agree or not wit what was said it was a well-written post displaying a lot of deserved more than the mindless insults you tossed its way.

        •  I don't think it's careless to point out that (0+ / 0-)

          we need political engagement where the rubber of power hits the road.  Empowerment here is the historic majorities the Democrats have, the election of 2008, and the President, as leader of the party, marshaling that into legislative advance. I'm all for this guy if only he'd put his illusions away for now.

      •  What exactly was unnatural about the summit -- (1+ / 0-)
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        -- as political engagement?

        I for one believe it couldn't get more natural than that. Face to face, all adversaries present, all stakeholders nationwide watching and listening.

        Now, most of the Republican positions and talking points were indeed unnatural. Unprincipled, arbitrary, inconsistent, illogical, indefensible and often buttressed by 'data' that was just not true.

        They reminded me of a drunk very carefully trying to speak without slurring. Underneath that veneer of civilized discourse, you could sense the sheer insanity of their stance.

        Lay off the footwork and throw a punch! ~ Joe Bageant

        by gotgat54 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 11:57:01 PM PST

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        •  It's not how our process works. (0+ / 0-)

          It was held outside of the legislative maneuvering.  You know how you handle obstructionists in the minority who simply don't have it together to be responsible negotiating partners?  You don't negotiate with them.  You first deal with the obstructionists in you own party (because there is the question of the Democrats disfunction too).  Then you actually pass legislation using existing rules with the majority the American public gave you in the last two election cycles.

          I know it sounds too simple to believe but it beats the Dr. Phil approach.  The longer it goes on the more insulting it becomes.

          •  Yes, it's too simple to believe. (1+ / 0-)
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            -- It was held outside of the legislative maneuvering. No, it was part of the legislative maneuvering. If it can happen in smoke-filled rooms, it can also happen in broad daylight on C-SPAN.

            -- obstructionists in the minority....You don't negotiate with them. Unless you want to expose their obstructionism for all to see, with the cameras rolling. (And, in the process, refute their lies and get the facts across to the vast audience garnered by a little showmanship and theatre).

            -- You first deal with the obstructionists in your own party  Why first? Why not in parallel? Walk and chew gum -- (or, in Lyndon Johnson's coinage, walk and fart) -- at the same time.

            I think Obama values the appearance of even-handedness and restraint for legislation like this one, which is all too vulnerable to lies and distortion. Sure, the Dems could ram it through 'using existing rules'. But why not do it while singing the bipartisanship song to the last? Give 'em no scope for attack on the grounds of 'tyranny'?

            Lay off the footwork and throw a punch! ~ Joe Bageant

            by gotgat54 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 06:15:21 AM PST

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            •  This assumes the "vast audience" is held in a (0+ / 0-)

              thrall to the theater of the absurd.
              Absurd republicans being exposed as absurd by an absurd notion by the WH that people give a damn to have to go through another impromptu layer of absurdity just to prove this is absurd.

              The Republicans were right about one thing: This was theater.

              •  Of course it was theater. (0+ / 0-)

                Hence the vast audience. Who could resist a showdown? Because that's what it was, for all the talk of serious bilateral consultation. Folks knew it. They were supposed to know it, and show up with their popcorn.

                I'm sure many came for the visceral appeal of a 'high noon' confrontation, and a first-of-its-kind spectacle to boot.

                Whatever they came for, they got a peek at the backstage machinery, and also acquired a little education about the issues. And that's important if carrying people with you is as important as enacting the legislation through procedural finessing.

                Lay off the footwork and throw a punch! ~ Joe Bageant

                by gotgat54 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 07:13:23 AM PST

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                •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

                  But I don't think the people got a look at the backstage machinery.  That involves lobbyists and to a much higher degree that these shows distract from.

                  The deals are made with the professionals that work the politicians, Republican and Democrat.

                  •  Sad but true. (0+ / 0-)

                    However, if that's where the real action is, then why be such a stickler for legislative procedure and rules and other bits of protocol? Those too are theatrical posturings after the fact.

                    Not disagreeing with your take on how it's all lobbyists and 'professionals'. But that's all the more reason why Obama would wish to stage something like this -- and, I hope, a few encores as well -- so as to whip up a tide of popular opinion.

                    Politicans listen to that too. It's not all lobbyists.

                    Lay off the footwork and throw a punch! ~ Joe Bageant

                    by gotgat54 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 07:45:15 AM PST

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                    •  If you stage something you do it to grab (0+ / 0-)

                      control of the public discourse to take with you to negotiate the legislative product you need to pass.
                      You can resort to an appeal but 11th hour campaigns with such complicated legislation have little effect.
                      This is the horse trading hour.  And it's obvious that the trading can't be done with the Republicans.
                      The Democratic Party is actually in a pitched battle with itself and it will be interesting to see how they pass this and preserve the stability of their majority.

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