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View Diary: The wrong way to answer Ms. Velma Hart (898 comments)

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  •  She spoke for a lot of people (18+ / 0-)

    I completely sympthize with Ms. Hart, but I think to blame Barack Obama for this mess we're in where we're all worried about going back to beans and franks for dinner is a scary close-to-reality.

    He's only the president--he's not the American government.

    Even with congress as stacked as it is with Dems, it is still a system with checks and balances, and a whole lot of crazies out there who have to be handled with kid gloves.  And if you think, "No, they don't, we shouldn't worry about them," then you are burying your head in the sand.

    I'm disappointed, too.  Really disappointed.  But I don't know if it could have gone very differently, even with someone else besides Gietner and Summers, etc.

    She came off as putting it all on his shoulders, and I think that's unfair.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 06:37:40 AM PDT

    •  The big upside and downside politically with (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, Matt Z, TomP, coquiero

      Obama is that he's thoughtful and cerebral in just about everything he does.

      Overall it helps, but spontaneity goes a long way towards communicating authenticity.

      This isn't to say he isn't being authentic--I believe he is.  But, he's not the type to go on instinct and go with the moment.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 06:41:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, he is JUST the president, BUT (28+ / 0-)

      He IS the FREAKIN'president and has a hell of a bully pulpit. Where was he on yesterday's DADT bill?


      Lady Gaga was providing better leadership.

      He didn't lead on single payer, he was nowhere ot be found when abortion rights were being eroded in the HCR bill that did pass, he has been an accessory to Bush's worst abuses of power, has stifled torture investigations, sided with illegal wiretappers, allowed BP to use the Coast Guard and the Parks Service as their own personal goon squad (still going on) and is put together and "advisory" panel bent on destroying Social Security.


      To appear "bi-partisan"

      And what do we have to show for all this "reaching across the aisle" to crazy people? We are about to lose the House and spend the next two years investigating Obama's every action for the past two decades followed by his impeachment for not being a U.S. citizen.

    •  There was no way to get a huge FDR stimulus (4+ / 0-)

      out of this congress, so I don't really know what anyone can do to fix things.

      except deal with the deficit by raising taxes on the people who sucked up all the wealth in the last decade

      •  How do we know if you don't (19+ / 0-)

        even try.  The point has been made so many times that it's almost becoming a cliche, but cliches are true:  you don't negotiate by first offering the price that you ultimately want to pay; you start by making a very low offer and work towards that price.  By putting something closer to an FDR style fix on the table and saturating the airwaves, he forces both democrats in congress and republicans to negotiate towards a more moderate compromise.  As a consequence, you end up with something to the left of anything that we've seen.  This is what pragmatic realism is, not the crap that so many have described as pragmatic realism.  Why is it pragmatic realism?  Because it recognizes the realities of negotiation.  Because it gets better policy.  Because it creates enthusiasm among the voters, enhancing chances of dems getting reelected.

      •  So instead you pass a mediocre plan (4+ / 0-)

        and allow your name to be attached to it.

        Congratulations, you lose (President Obama that is).

        No...what you do is you go on tv with your 70% approval ratings daily stating that we are on the verge of a great depression and the Republicans don't want to do anything.  And you put it up for a vote.  And you do that until you get what you want because you number 1 goal as President must be the economy.

        Instead, the decision was made to keep that political capital for future debates (i.e. Health Care).

        #FAIL...and all advisers who touted such a strategy should be fired.

        "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

        by justmy2 on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:02:56 AM PDT

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    •  blame versus holding someone responsible (15+ / 0-)

      No matter who is to blame, Obama is responsible for idenifying the problems that are most urgent, and for preparing and executing a plan of action to address those problems.   People should continue to look him straight in the eye, and say, my retirement savings have been cut in half, my electric bill has doubled, I can't get a job even though I have a college education, and I'm about to lose my home.  There are huge numbers of people in this country who are facing a similar situation.  Much of this problem is a direct result of government policy in failing to adequately regulate financial institutions, and in failing to more aggressively pursue a sustainable energy policy.  


      That's not blame.  That's asking him to take responsibility, because he is the leader, and it's his job to lead, whether it's to ask Congress to take action, or to issue executive order, or even to make a public and official request to corporations.

      That's his job.

    •  Problem with politicing. (12+ / 0-)

      You have to act and promise like you alone can change things even if you can't.

      People buy into it, hang their hopes and dreams on it.

      Then reality kicks in.

      What Obama needed was an old-fashioned union boss as his Chief of Staff. A brass-knuckle wearing, for the workers kind of person to deal with the Congress critters and the Repubs. The kind of person the would threaten to ruin a couple of careers, then just do it to a couple them just to prove he could.

      These are not the times for the president to be in the role of mediator between the partly corrupt and the outright blatantly f**king corrupt.

      The next few decades will be the decades of change, but it will be change in the climate and it will be catastrophic.

      •  Very insightful (7+ / 0-)

        You have to act and promise like you alone can change things even if you can't.

        People buy into it, hang their hopes and dreams on it.

        Then reality kicks in.

        It's the ugly truth.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 07:07:06 AM PDT

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        •  R's saw zero downside to flat opposition to every (6+ / 0-)

          Everything the President wanted to do - they never had to pay a political price for opposing him, on anything.  This of course went for Blue Dog Dems as well - there was never any downside to opposing the WH on anything, even from the get-go.  

          A fundamental miscalculation, from top WH advisers.

          •  That is the point. Democrats should have (5+ / 0-)

            created the downside when they announced their strategy.  Everything should have been framed "Republicans are blocking recovery".  And they should have intentionally created votes that Republicans had to vote against until they were viewed as so negatively their base forced them to change.  Instead, Democrats through them a life jacket and legitimized their points (See deficit commission as the prime example)

            "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

            by justmy2 on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:20:45 AM PDT

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            •  I would caution you that it (0+ / 0-)

              IS pretty easy to have all the answers, when you are anonymously sitting behind a computer.

              It seems to me that the reason they did not hold votes on all of these thing is that they have 30 -50 "democrats" that were potential no votes.  That doesn't fit with the desired narrative that the republicans are obstructing things.  The narrative it does seem to reinforce is "Obama and progressive dems are out of touch with mainstream America, and against the bipartisan congress"

              Watching these "democrats" argue against ending the tax cuts for the rich, which are hugely popular, and don't seem to have any downside at all, is all I need to know.  Obama has done his part.  Yet, 36 "dems" signed a letter supporting tax cuts for the rich.  THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY CONGRESS, IT IS A CONGRESS WITH A BUNCH OF MODERATES THAT CANT BE RELIED UPON!  Sorry for yelling , but this makes a big difference.  

              •  What leads you to assume (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Timothy J

                i don't realize that Democrats would have been called out as well.  That was part of the point.  And in case you didn't notice, placating blue dogs gave them more power and ultimately resulted in their potential demise v

                It's called leadership.

                There are certain actions that aren't made for compromise.  

                "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

                by justmy2 on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 07:14:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  agree (6+ / 0-)

      this lady frustrated the hell out of me, and i'll tell you why. She doesn't give specifics, at least when she asked the e question. I saw a new clip of it, maybe she got in to detail. If so then screw me. But i didn't hear her say what she expected that was not delivered. Obama should have asked what she expected when she voted for him.

      Then, he could give an specific answer to that issue. Every campaign promise not reached has a reason why it wasn't delivered. Some legit, some maybe were not given enough push or attention. It's been less that two years, for cryin' out loud. And he's working with half a team. The Rs won't play, and the use of teh filibuster have been taken to new lows. Maybe he promised too much, but pols do that when campaigning. Then she says this:

      Quite frankly, I thought that my question would set the platform for a response that would almost be, I don't know, whimsical, magical, very powerful.  

      "Magical"? He not fucking Merlin. That's her problem, her expectations are way out of whack.

      He's a president, not a king. The bills passed by this congress and president have real effects on people's lives. She says her daughter is going to college. Well, now she won't have to pay exorbitant interest on the loans. Couldn't say that before 2008.

      •  I heard (6+ / 0-)
        Mrs. Hart on Hardball yesterday,and on there she said she was fine with what she heard....go figure.
        Now, we all know that her personal situation looks pretty solid overall...over 250k in income between her and her husband,2 kids in private school ect.,but I will presume she thought she was speaking for a lot of people who are not in the top 2% of income in the country. Fine.

        What bugs me is this answer she seemed to be seeking. On Hardball she acknowledged that the President has done a lot of good things. She even admitted that of course she has credit cards(in the Q & A with the president when he has asked her as a way of explaining the credit card legislation she said no,which of course cut off his discussion on that)..that kind of disengunousness is not appreciated in my quarters.

        But this whimsical,magical bullshit she was seeking as an answer?  Sorry, but this was a townhall designed to have real people ask real questions on the economy and not an arena for soaring rhetoric.

        Bill Clinton has been interviewed all over the media this week and what he has consistently said the dems should do on the trail is to point out specifically what they have done to improve things, and what they plan on doing in the next two years and make a contrast with what the repugs are talking about doing....that is what Obama did.

        Funny how people who actually watched the townhall
        and commented on it in the liveblog, thought the President was brilliant. This woman and the response contituted maybe 3% of the entire session,and we have BBB out in Germany on vacation,reading that one selected tidbit in the conservative rag Post,and like most of the cable media, focuses on that one response and declared the President failed....great analysis.

        BBB= Hannity/Blitzer/Sanchez on this analysis. Cherrypicking is fun,isnt it. Jon Steward did the same thing last nite. These folks do not want real answers,they want whimisical magic. He aint a magician. They should go find one and elect him.

      •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, foufou, tjcj, coquiero, moonpal

        The whole idea of "magical" is pathetic.

        Mrs. Hart should be quite thankful that she has ANY investments left at all.  If the banks were allowed to implode (as many wanted!), she'd have nothing.  She still HAS a house and can make the payments.  

        Two kids in private tears from me.  I know people who sacrifice tremendously to put their kids in private school....and I don't mean not buying a new car....I mean 2 and 3 jobs, 3 hours of sleep, beans and franks 4 nights a week.  THAT kind of sacrifice.

        I just can't muster much sympathy for her.

    •  But I Didn't Hear (6+ / 0-)

      Ms. Hart blame the President for anything.  I heard her express her opinion, her fears, and ask a question that is on a lot of people's minds.

      I am very concerned when we cannot tell the difference between "criticizing the President" and expressing disappointment.  Ms. Hart was clear she is a supporter of President Obama - even as she was speaking from her particular realities.  Folks who get all bent over what she said, calling it "blaming the President" are really being rhetorically disingenous, IMO in an attempt to silence ideas they really don't have a response for that they feel confident in.  That may be how folks think one
      plays politics, but what I heard from folks at that Town Hall meeting, and what I'm hearing every day, is that this is not a game.  This is their lives, their fears, and their perspective.

      We either start developing some empathy on the Left for those who don't just line up with our view of what should be thought (I did not say develop sympathy and I presume people know the difference) or we will continue to tread water, accomplishing far less than our majorities in Washington justify and being perennially at risk for loss through apathy (as opposed to loss through active opposition).

      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

      by shanikka on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 09:19:25 AM PDT

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    •  And this attitude will get him fired (5+ / 0-)

      He's only the president--he's not the American government.

      Where does the buck stop again?

      For better or worse, he is viewed as the leader of the Government, so Government failures are ascribed to him.

      Which is why, you don't over compromise, and you don't negotiate behind closed doors.  You force people out onto the record, such as the DADT vote last night, to expose their positions, and you do it over and over and over again until it gets through.

      If you don't, people are left to make their own at fault judgements, and that is a nightmare waiting to happen for any politician.

      "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

      by justmy2 on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 09:59:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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