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The Dog has been thinking a lot about the office of President of the United States lately. There are a lot of folks in the very diverse coalition that elected our current president who have found various reasons to be disappointed with President Obama’s performance in the first eight months of his term of office. The Dog is not happy about the failure to empower a Special Prosecutor to fully investigate the criminal Bush Administrations apparent state sponsored torture program, but is this completely fair? After all the office of President is not really intended to be that powerful, has some of this disappointment come from a misunderstanding of the nature of the office?

If you look at the Presidency from the point of view of the Constitution, it really is not a powerful office except in terms of what it prevents. It is really and primarily a check on the powers of other areas of our government and military. The president proposes no legislation, none. He can only do one of two things with a piece of legislation; he can sign it and make it law, or he can veto it. This is intended to be the final check to prevent the Congress from making a big mistake. They can override a veto, it is true, but when a veto happens it requires a reexamination of the bill by both Houses and a two thirds majority in each in order to overrule the President.

It is true the President is the Commander and Chief of the military forces, as the criminal Bush Administration made a big deal of during their lawless reign, but here again the Presidents intended role is that of a check, this time on the military. The Framers were very concerned about the use of military power to control the political process. They had seen first hand in England and the Colonies what that would look like and they felt there needed to be a check on the power of the military. By putting the decision making power in one office, that of the Presidency, they made someone not of the military accountable. Even here the President needs the approval of Congress to start military action, by a declaration of war, or some other legislation allowing him or her to wage war.

The President is the head of the Executive branch of government and so has many departments under him, yet again, this is really intended as a check position rather than one of real power. The President appoints the leadership of these departments, but he is not really supposed to be involved in the day to day running of them. As an example, the Attorney General, not the President, is the only person that appoints a Special Prosecutor. The President can give his opinion, but he is really only able to do one thing if the AG does something he does not like, which is to require his resignation and appoint a new AG. Even that would not prevent the moving forward of a Special Prosecutor who has been appointed. This is the proper role of the President, to be the person who makes the Executive branch accountable and keep if running smoothly.

It is not particularly surprising we don’t really view the presidency this way. Since the Nixon Administration we have seen more and more Republican Administrations misusing the powers of the Presidency all in pursuit of the spurious and completely unconstitutional idea of the "Unitary Executive". It is the idea which President Nixon so famously detailed in his interviews with David Frost, basically "If the president does it, it is not illegal". We have seen this in the Regan Administration when they traded arms for cash to fund the Contras in Nicaragua against the specific legislation of the Congress.

We have been witness to eight years of the lawless behavior of the criminal Bush Administration who have filled the Executive Branch with partisans and used its offices from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Justice to help more and more Republicans get elected.  We have seen the Office of the President stick it nose into every part of the Federal Government to help reward their friends and punish their opponents. We have seen them break US surveillance laws, set up extra-legal prisons and torture detainees. All of this was done through either Executive Order or with their willing accomplices in the Congress, but it came from a misunderstanding of the role of the President and a willingness to misuse those powers.

All of this leaves us in a difficult place. We have been taught, for many of us our entire adult lives, the office of the President has sweeping powers which can be exercised at will, but this is not really the case. It makes us feel as though our current President should be doing more, sweeping aside the opposition and putting things right according to the way we see things. This is part of what the hard-core Right fears so much about President Obama; they think he actually has the powers President Bush appropriated and misused. In the hands of someone they inherently distrust and to some level fear, this is a very scary idea indeed.

Those of us on the Left who are frustrated and disappointed by the President have a bit of a problem. Do we really want President Obama to act in a autocratic fashion like the lawless Bush Administration?  There is no doubt major changes could be forced through in this manner, but there is a cost the Dog thinks is too high to pay. Namely it is the cost of making the kind of Unitary Executive of the criminal Bush Administration the de facto way all presidents will be able to reign. This is a dangerous precedent to confirm for our Republic.

It is only through complete overreach and not a small element of luck that the plans for the Bush Administration backfired on them. If they had limited themselves to Afghanistan instead of going to Iraq, if they had not have those eight US Attorneys who believed in the law over politics, if they had just bitten their tongue about Joe Wilson’s article discrediting the Yellow Cake purchase statement in the State of the Union, if the warrantless wiretapping had not been so overblown that whistleblowers felt they had to come forward, then they might been able to use their misappropriated powers to install a permanent Republican Majority. It is because of their overreach they failed, but who is to say a future Republican could not learn from their mistakes, if this style of Presidency becomes the norm?

On the whole the Dog thinks it is better to have a President who is primarily a check and balance than one who can on his or her own hook take the nation in directions which we don’t want to go. If we have this kind of President then we are at the mercy of the least stable of the people we elect.

So, where does that leave those of us who want change for the better? It seems it leaves us with the Congress, who are much tougher to get going in one direction than a single President. This is not to say it is not important that we on the Left keep elected Democratic Presidents, they are, at the very least, less likely to abuse the powers the President does have and more (though not a lot more) amiable to making the limits of Presidential power clear. Still it is not very smart to focus our ire and efforts on the so strongly on the President, we have to make it clear to the Congress that abdication of their responsibilities to the President is not acceptable, that failure to engage in their oversight role is grounds for replacement and that pretending their job is solely to do what it takes to get reelected is grounds for a strong primary challenge.

Markos of Daily Kos has as the purpose of his site to "elect more and better Democrats". We have done a good job of electing more; it is time to make them better. We do not have to be as rigid in our enforcement of discipline as the Republicans, but we can certainly make it clear they have to earn the right to represent the people with regular primary challenges.

It sucks to be the reasonable ones, the balanced ones, the temperate and long term thinkers. There are less wins when you take the long course, there is often a level of despair as the passion we feel today gets worn away by the "slow boring of hard boards" that is the political system our Founders gave us, but in the end we do more than just achieve our goals, we do the hard work of preserving the idea of a nation of laws not men we have been born too.

In the end if you want to make things work in this Republic, you have to work the system as it was intended. It is far to easy to do what the Republicans have done and short circuit the system, the problem is that way lies tyranny of one kind or another. The basic idea of our system of government and law is one of balance; we must not trade short term achievements, no matter how well intentioned, for long term imbalance. This is one of the myriad ways that democracies die, and it is one we must avoid.

The Dog is not going to argue that you should not be disappointed with our President, you are always going to be disappointed to one level or another will all politicians. It is just when you are calling for major change from that office, be aware of the limitations of presidential power. Calling for something which can only be achieved through abuse of presidential power is not a good long term strategy either for achieving your gains or for our nation.

The floor is yours.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:41 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The White house Proposes ,the Congress disposes (5+ / 0-)

      From the entire Federal budget to any law the Presdent wants this is how it's always worked.

      The Presidency is the ONLY position in our Government elected by all the people of all 50 states and his bully pulpit Power makes him the single most powerful Goverment figure in the USA.

      How he uses or misuses that power changes the world and every citizen of the USA life in innumerable ways.In Simple terms Whomever occupies the office of the POTUS is the most powerful person in the world,period.

      http://dumpjoe.com/

      by ctkeith on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:02:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  with caveats (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vtdblue

        The caveats being that a president is as effective as the coalition behind him/her. When Bush had a rubber stamp congress, corporations, and Republican activists uniformly behind him then he had the power to do what he wanted (for the most part), but even he ran into a brick wall when it came to social security privatization. Clinton didn't have these advantages, so he did what was possible in his term.

        Presidents are able to do what is politically viable and that's about it. They're not dictators.

    •  DK sez la la la I can't heeeeaaaar you (7+ / 0-)

      Republicans presidents have traditionally got more done because they have activists out their pressuring senators/congresspeople and really doing the heavy lifting of the overall conservative agenda. Just look at how anti-abortion activists have been not only a reliable vote, but active in many other conservative causes almost to a fanatical extent. They've been rewarded with supreme court nominees and restrictions on abortion rights over the last 40 years. Had they not been out there reliably doing the hard work do you think they would've gotten any of that? Do you think that "safe" Senators like Hatch would be doing their bidding? I don't think so.

      It takes more than one elected official to get things done, but this is a fact that's unsatisfying to those who like to criticize President Obama from the sidelines. Activism is the name of the game, and if you're not working for your causes and standing behind the elected officials that can get your agenda enacted you have no right to bitch. The election is never over. Those who thought it would rain ponies on January 20th are naive.

      •  This is very true. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nippersdad, hyperrreal

        Of course, it does put the progressive Democrat in something of a dilemma.  Obama was and is a centrist Democrat whom many progressives -- whether out of inattention, desperation, infatuation, or just plain hope -- confused with one of their own.  

        For such folks the question isn't (only?) whether they should expect Obama to push harder and, as the diarist implies, to the possible detriment of the Constitution; it's whether one should expect sweeping changes from Obama in the first place.  Not that this should stop them from trying -- as long as they realize that their goal may just be, in certain cases, "inspiring" or compelling Obama to do things he's disinclined to do.

        •  President Obama has been clear (2+ / 0-)

          He has said throughout the nomination process, GE, and after the election that it was our job to hold his feet to the fire. He has said that he needs our help to push him in our direction.

          To criticize, although momentarily satisfying, does absolutely no good. Where is our counter grassroots movement to the tea baggers? At my town hall the tea baggers were outnumbered 10 to 1, but never-the-less dominated the conversation through the force of their rhetoric (in a progressive district). We not only need to pressure Obama, but our elected officials to do the right thing and show them that we are not willing to give up - EVER. In short, we need to be the change that we seek. They need to fear us as activists and as a political force, but so far it honestly seems like we're too lazy to step up to the plate. Why should we expect our representatives to fight battles that we don't intend to fight ourselves?

          •  While you are of course correct, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nippersdad, hyperrreal

            you're just confirming what I already wrote, viz.

            as long as they realize that their goal may just be, in certain cases, "inspiring" or compelling Obama to do things he's disinclined to do.

            At some point it's no longer a question of "needing our help to push him in our direction"; it becomes one of "dragging him against his will in our direction."

            •  Certainly. But it's not just Obama... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Luetta

              As I wrote above, a President's power is really dependent on what is politically viable. If he has Kent Conrad supporting a Republican filibuster than he's screwed. That's where we come in with pressure and activism. I believe we need to be the driving force behind the political will in congress and stop just focusing on Obama, since at the end of the day he's really only able to sign or not sign what's put on his desk.

              If you look at Obama's policy proposals he really does look more like a progressive than a centerist, however what does that matter if his policies are being held hostage by Blue Dogs.

              •  I do wonder just how seriously (3+ / 0-)

                Obama takes his own proposals.  Seems to me he's in a bit of a hurry to capitulate in the name of compromise.

                The kindest interpretation is that he's failed to master the first rule of policy making: Never propose anything until you're sure you have the votes to pass it.

                The less kind interpretation, of course, is that he thought progressives would be so satisfied by the proposals that he could stiff them on the actual resulting legislation.

                •  Maybe he overestimated the support... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... he would get from us. Coming out of the election, I'm sure he was on a contact high from all the momentum he got and thought he would be accomplish anything so long as we had his back. How could he know once the election was over we'd all sit on our collective asses and say "serve me!".

                  •  What momentum? (0+ / 0-)

                    His landslide was in the electoral college only, and surely he realized that Democrats aren't as lockstep as Rethugs are.  That, and much of his support relied on new voters who may have had, shall we say, a rather idealistic notion of just how well politicians should keep their promises.

                    •  I think you answered your own question. (0+ / 0-)

                      "What momentum?" indeed. God forbid we give him actual support and not just a vote. In this thread I've consistently pointed to individual activism as the solution and you have persistently steered the conversation back to Obama as some kind of naive failure. It's easier to cast blame on others than take personal responsibility, isn't it?

                      He actually seems to be bringing health care slowly to his desk one step at a time after others have failed to do so over the last 40 years. How is that capitulation? Would you be happier if he proposed nothing and delivered nothing?

                      •  Oh, I'm not so sure he's naive. (0+ / 0-)

                        You seem not to realize that I'm coming from a different perspective: I expected little of Obama in the first place.  After all, I never confused him for a progressive.  To my mind, he's an eloquent and charming representative of, and advocate for, the moneyed status quo.  He's the technocrat who will ameliorate the worst abuses of the Bush thugocracy without making any real changes -- and this is just about as good a description of his actions so far as any I've seen to date, and better than most.  (I also take no credit for it!)

              •  Then he should have found out what (0+ / 0-)

                Kent Conrad wanted and taken it away.  Why is the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man on earth, cow-towing to some hypocrite from North Dakota

                Republicans need people to be stupid

                by strengthof10kmen on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:28:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  good discussion, tipped & rec'd... nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

      by Lady Libertine on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:07:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I DO expect A Lot from my President and (8+ / 0-)

    President Barack Obama has the ability to Deliver.

    Notice: This Comment © 2009 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:45:03 PM PDT

    •  The diarist put some effort into this (9+ / 0-)

      and made a lot of valid points.  The least you could do would be to put a little effort into reading it, and responding with some thought of your own.

      •  But that takes reasoning, not passion -eom (6+ / 0-)
      •  His false dichotomy (9+ / 0-)

        is barely worth the time of day.  For example: How would Obama be violating the constitution by doing any of the following?--

        • suspending enforcement of DOMA pending Congressional review and action
        • committing to go to Copenhagen for the climate conference he claims is so important (but apparently not as important as an Olympic bis)
        • announcing that certain constitutional abuses in the most recent FISA law will not be practiced by his administration
        • purging out of the upper echelons of the Armed Forces some of the dominionists and careerist suckups purged into their current positions by the previous Administration

        Actually, there's a lot Obama could do without violating the Constitution.  But of course, by appointing a weak AG and a cabinet largely populated by figures who don't exactly ooze "change," our expectations have already been managed downward several notches.

        •  That's a more worthy response, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soms

          Not that I agree with 100% of it (the reference to the Olympics is a bit petty) and even though I don't know that it's 100% factually accurate (how do we know, really, that there isn't some weeding out of the upper echelons of the inherited military brass going on).  That said, it's still much better than a catty and disrespectful "no".

          •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buckhorn okie, 3goldens

            how do we know, really, that there isn't some weeding out of the upper echelons of the inherited military brass going on

            . . . because they're all still there?  Hell, he even promoted the dubious McChrystal.

            •  All of them? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              soms

              You're sure of that?  You've examined the before and after organization charts in all branches of the military since Obama took office?

            •  I have seen people promoted to be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buckhorn okie

              placed in the spotlight and then forced out.

              I like President Obama. I think I understand his vision for the country and I'm all in.

              by Blogvirgin on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:28:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And I've heard that that's precisely (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                buckhorn okie, 3goldens

                Obama's strategy with folks like McChrystal and even Gates.

                If so, it's a highly dubious strategy, even if it works; after all, people are dying because of the actions of such folks.

                •  Gates isn't going anywhere (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, nippersdad

                  For all that he's worn the uniform of the military in his time, he's a politician through and through.

                  He has a Beltway power base (especially in the CIA) which will raise hell if he's ever removed. Especially if it's by a Democratic president.

                  No, Gates is staying until he decides he wants to leave, which could be a couple months from now, or seven years. Only he knows when.

                  "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

                  by limpidglass on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:01:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh, absolutely. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    limpidglass, nippersdad

                    When I identify Bush's military leadership cadre as consisting of True (often dominionist) Believers and careerist suckups, there's no question but that Gates belongs in the latter category.

                    Not for nothing he was decried as a "suck up, kick down" kind of guy in the Bush-era confirmation hearings.

            •  If you think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Something the Dog Said

              John Dean knows a thing or two about the workings of the Executive Branch, here's an interesting statement he made not too long ago.

              It takes about 18 to 24 months for a new presidential team to get control of the national security behemoth.

              This makes alot of sense to me when we're talking about such a huge system. The first step would be to get the lay of the land. Then, especially when we're talking career professionals and the politics of power, you have to develop a very systemic gameplan. That can takes years rather than months.

              I'll be very interested to see what all of this looks like and where it appears to be going about mid-terms.

              Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by NLinStPaul on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:01:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How does a new Executive expect to inform (0+ / 0-)

                himself in order to "get control of the national security behemoth", or any of the other behemoths out there, if he decides to pretty much leave most of the status quo players in their former positions?

                Wouldn't it start to look like nothing in particular had changed? What is the motivation for a McCrystal, a Petraeus or even a Rubinite to admit failure?

                A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                by nippersdad on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:12:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think the point is (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  northanger

                  that you learn the system before you develop a plan to change the system. Then you go in with your overall strategy and make your power moves.

                  Anyway, that's what I would do in such a situation. I've had to work at changing the dynamics of a much smaller system. It took me several years to get it humming. And no, I didn't come in with guns blazing and start pushing my power around. Chaos is not a good thing to stir up in an behemouth like this. You never know where the blowback is going to come from if you don't take the time to understand the power alliances.

                  Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                  by NLinStPaul on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:18:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh, come on! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Something the Dog Said

                    Obama was in the Senate for six years. Are you telling me he had zero ability to gauge political dynamics in that time period? The man is not exactly learning on the job as would have been the case for a Carter or a Clinton; even a Bush II.

                    If he was not smart enough to recognize that NeoCons were never going to be unbiased war advisors or that Rubinites had been running the economic show for twenty years and probably had a lot to do with the implosion, he had no place running for Executive in the first place. The Presidency should not be the sinecure for retards that it is increasingly appearing to be.

                    It shouldn't be controversial to point out that advisors for policies so unpopular and disastrous that they had deleterious effects on the body politic itself cannot be relied upon to give rational advice on how to fix the problems they themselves created.

                    A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                    by nippersdad on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:32:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Four years. That is why Sen. Burris was (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      nippersdad

                      appointed. But that is just a nit to a good point.

                      •  I'm sorry, you're right. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Something the Dog Said

                        Obama did not serve a full term. Still, one has to wonder what he was concentrating on if he could not recognize the obvious. Expressed as a percentage, though, I would be interested in knowing how many Kossacks thought that rehiring Bushies to oversee their former debacles would be a good idea. I suspect, not many.

                        I would give Obama credit for one thing, he probably should have known more about the consequences of his choices than we would have, and the implications of that viewpoint scare me.

                        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                        by nippersdad on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:56:32 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  If you didn't read (0+ / 0-)

                      John Dean's article that I linked to - then you probably don't understand the context he's talking about and I'm referring to.

                      Its not a matter of politics in terms of neocons - its a matter of the power politics involved in any large system. And its a matter of having some understanding of what it takes to change a system like that.

                      And as John Dean points out in the article - very few Presidents come into the job with the information they need to move quickly to change that system. The power alliances are often subtle in nature and form. That's why he said it takes 18-24 months to get a handle on things.

                      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                      by NLinStPaul on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 07:32:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I understand the rationale and have a great deal (0+ / 0-)

                        of respect for John Dean (these days), however, I reiterate that anyone who thought that NeoCons would be a good choice for primary advisorships on debacles of the scale their wars were is not living in the real world. The proof is in the pudding, Obama is about to be attacked by the very people he hired to advise and execute his policies. Where is the eleven dimensional chess analogy right now? Chimpanzees could have seen this coming, hell, armadillos know enough to roll up in a ball when the trucks are coming (though they get crushed anyway). The best thing to do is just to get out of the same damn road or or jungle that holds such imbecilic specimens.

                        This really is common sense in its' purest form; you don't allow the fuckups the opportunity to drag you down with them. It is what drowning people do and, whether it is in an athletic or a political arena, people die (in this case literally) when sufficient forethought is not given to the ramifications of wading in and pinning your future on the vagaries of hysterical, barely half sentient beings.

                        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                        by nippersdad on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 08:07:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Not only do we overestimate the power of the (6+ / 0-)

    office, but we understimate the limitations that existing laws, and seperate and co-equal branches of government can place on the President.

    "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

    by lordcopper on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:47:49 PM PDT

  •  for instance, the WH drafted a bill to close (7+ / 0-)
    •  so I reiterate that he overestimated support for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Luetta

      his agenda in the congress

    •  well, that was his mistake, wasn't it? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, buckhorn okie, 3goldens, corvo

      I also don't recall him rallying public support on this issue. Maybe if he had, the outcome would be different.

      One rule of politics: don't ask unless you already know the answer. The margin of defeat of the resolution suggest that the administration didn't do its homework before submitting it. Counting the votes beforehand might have prevented that embarrassment.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:13:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  there was no need (9+ / 0-)

    for FDR's base to plead "patience" and "he needs more time." His results spoke for themselves, as did the speed at which he achieved them.

    Also, please don't wave the Constitution around as a reason for why Obama can't put pressure on Congress. It is not unconstitutional to twist arms and call in favors and use the power of the bully pulpit to push the president's agenda.

    And given that Obama's administration is embracing the "states secrets" doctrine, seeking to have detainees at Bagram prison stripped of their right to habeas, punting on the investigation and prosecution of torture crimes, and continuing to assert the unilateral power to detain anyone the president calls a terrorist, it's simply ridiculous to assert that he is being easy on Congress out of respect for the Constitution.

    He's not pressuring Congress because he wants to avoid all conflict and unpleasantness, and he thinks that if he just lets them play their usual games, he can avoid having to risk his own political skin. He's learning otherwise.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:50:45 PM PDT

  •  All I can do... (9+ / 0-)

    ...is agree with the diarist.  Bush abused the office and we hated it -- and did most of it either by running a bluff or having the support of a Congress that wasn't doing its own job.

    Now, a lot of people are complaining because the current POTUS isn't abusing his power like the last one did.  Granted, a lot of that complaining is often in the form of venting and not criticism as such, but it often sounds that way...

  •  Here there is a little problem called (11+ / 0-)

    the difference between theory and practice.

    Ad 1: Yes, the President cannot propose legislation. But he is the leader of his party, and a powerful political influence, not to mention the single most powerful individual in the country. If he can't get a Congressman - one congressman - to propose legislation he's as thick as a yard of lard.

    Ad 2: The President's veto power is an effective means of blackmail, since a petulant President can ensure that, barring a 2/3 majority of one party in both Houses, nothing gets passed. That would bring the state to a complete and utter standstill.

    Ad 3: Sure, the President is not supposed to interfere in the work of his Secretaries, but, since they serve at his pleasure, they tend to be his creatures.

    Ad 4: The problem with the presidential system is that the President, who is the leader of the executive branch, is also the leader of the military, and is very much involved in daily politics. That is a potentially catastrophic combination. Parliamentary systems are safer, since the leader of the military, the President, has almost no power, save for clemency and confirming ambassadors.

    The office of the President is very powerful. In fact, it mirrors the rights the King of England had at the time of the US's secession.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:51:33 PM PDT

  •  There is an interpretation (4+ / 0-)

    that would say we expect too little.  I.e., some people are so trapped in a world of failure that they don't even know what success looks like, so they're enraged that they're getting it instead of some fantasy incarnation.

  •  This jumped out at me (9+ / 0-)

    among a lot of pretty well-reasoned stuff here:

    It sucks to be the reasonable ones, the balanced ones, the temperate and long term thinkers.

    Seems to be a dying breed, on both sides at times.

  •  Perhaps the Question Should Be (5+ / 0-)

    Did Obama promise too much as the candidate?

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:53:52 PM PDT

  •  I don't think we expect to much from Barack Obama (17+ / 0-)

    I think we expect to little from Congress.

    "You can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into." -- Jonathan Swift

    by Wes Opinion on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:56:29 PM PDT

  •  We need jobs --a strong manufacturing policy (10+ / 0-)

    Robert Reich yesterday wants the govt to do more to produce jobs.

    But the answer is not just government spending but to have a manufacturing
    policy.

    The administration has to do more to keep manufacturing jobs here in the US.
    If they have to weaken the dollar, ask China to float their currency, fight currency manipulation or even impose import taxes or subsidize manufacturing or prevent explicitly intellectual property and technology know created here but transfered to China to be manufacturing, they must do so.

    Because America's future should also include producing and manufacturing and exporting.  We should stop outsourcing jobs,  technology secrets,  outsourcing manufacturing know how.  Just look at the future ---what kind of jobs can we see---none  ---even those energy jobs will go to China and India  ---Why because our dollar is to cheap and we have a unfair trade policy---unfair to us because of artificially expensive dollar or too cheap Chinese ruan and Indian money.

    Yes the administration is funding research on alternative energy  --but guess who will be doing the manufacturing.  It will be CHINA.

    We have a unfair trade with China.  we must stop that.

    The only way is to have a strong manufacturing, industrial policy similar to what we had prior to NAFTA.

    Dont let the LIARS win. Stand up for TRUTH! Stand up for Health Care Reform!

    by timber on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 01:59:14 PM PDT

    •  Well, NAFTA isn't an issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      so much, prior agreements had already done much of what is attributed to it, but the policy of our government from about 1970 to at least the beginning of 2009 had been to move manufacturing out of this nation.  Nearly every major economic policy of the last 40 years has assisted in this.

      -5.38/-4.41 © all rights reserved

      by Willamette Democrat on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:17:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here, of course, the relevant question is: (0+ / 0-)

        Just how hard will Obama push, or resist, further NAFTA-like agreements?

        •  NAFTA was a GOOD Idea (0+ / 0-)

          When NAFTA was passed, the idea was to make Mexico a functioning 1st world country through manufacturing.

          We did/do not want 10 million Mexicans coming across our borders because they have a totally dysfunctional country.

          It might have worked to everyone's benefit, but just as it was getting started China got MFN status, and undercut everything Mexico was doing.

          We ended up with the worst of all worlds. Cheap overseas manufacturing AND 10 million Mexicans coming across our border.

          The point is moot anyway. Even Mexicans don't want to be here now...

      •  Why? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie, 3goldens

        Why did they think that outsourcing manufacturing outside the country benefits the US.

        They thought the financial sector will replace manufacturing?  --Look what happened.

        Consumerism only is possible because of borrowing.  --Shouldnt we be saving and lending to others instead of the other way around.

        America does not have to produce everything it needs but it needs to protect some industries ---especially those that they subsidized research --like computers, high technology,  energy.

        But no we research,  China manufactures and benefits.  Then lends us money to research more so they will produce more and we can buy from them.

        Dont let the LIARS win. Stand up for TRUTH! Stand up for Health Care Reform!

        by timber on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:32:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your history is way off (0+ / 0-)

          The Internet is what was suppose to replace the jobs lost in manufacturing...

          This financial garbage didn't come along until well into W's term...

          •  Yes US invented and research the Internet (0+ / 0-)

            But guess who is benefitting from it ----India and China --they are manufacturing the computers,  getting outsourced internet jobs ----manufacturing the wireless networks, cables, etc.

            What does America do buy from them.

            Here is again a case of technology transfer lose win for America.

            We subsidize the research for the advance technology but we dont get to sell it or manufacture it.  China, India and other countries do.

            Instead we have to borrow money from China to buy the computers, network which US invented or research --and spent money subsidising it.

            Isnt that sad.

            Dont let the LIARS win. Stand up for TRUTH! Stand up for Health Care Reform!

            by timber on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:58:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The binary number system (0+ / 0-)
              that powers the modern day computers was first developed by an Indian scholar called Pingala (see here, and explore the links from this google search). The Indians also invented the number zero, the place-value and decimal number systems, and they made various assortment of mathematical inventions that laid the foundations for modern mathematics and thus to modern science and technology.

              In the first 500-1000 years of this millennium (before India was invaded first by Islamic conquerors and later by western colonizers), India was the leading center of knowledge as well as wealth. Chinese scholars used to frequently visit India to learn from Indian scholars, and the Chinese made their own important inventions, generally of the hardware kind (printing process, gun powder etc), as well. As recently as 300 years ago, India and China had between over half to 2/3rds of world's wealth.

              See the telling chart here of Share of GDP: China, India, Japan, Latin America, Western Europe, United States (past 500 years) based on the data compiled by Dr. Angus Maddison of U. of Groningen:

              Western colonization (during which wealth was transferred to European countries and labor was extracted from the colonized) drained countries like India and China and left them poor/illiterate/weak, while also seeding the initial capital behind our Western capitalist system. Now those countries left behind in the emergence of a global capitalist economy are reemerging (China has already arrived). That reemergence isn't a bad thing in and of itself, as economic development is the needed means by which the countries left poor can lift themselves out of poverty and destitution.

              The Europeans, beginning with Kepler and Newton etal created modern math/science/tech (on the foundations laid by the Indians, Chinese and to some extent Arabs and Persians that came before them), the US emerged as the leader in scitech in the 20th century, with strong contributions from immigrants (in the second half of the 20th century, most notably by Jewish Americans and immigrants.) Since the formation of the EU in the 90s, Europeans are once again making leading contributions in various fields of mathematics and science. The recent discovery that that there is water all over the moon by the Indian space mission Chandrayaan-I, in collaboration with NASA (both India's MIP (Moon Impact Probe) and Nasa's M3 (Moon mineralogy mapper) onboard Chandrayaan indeitified water presence on the moon), could well prove to be the key for Star Trek like space exploration in the coming centuries; ain't it exciting!

              Therefore, various peoples have contributed to the human intellectual evolution, and in particular, the Indians made strong contributions during period between 500 BC and about 1300 AD.

              My viewpoint is this: any good things humans invented and contributed anywhere belongs to the common heritage of the entire human race. In the connected world of today (connected closely by the internet. Thank you, Al Gore!), we should take pride in all (positive) things human, and be inspired by it to make our collective human society better with our own individual contributions. No particular group of people has a patent on intelligence and creativity. We really are all in this together.

              As for the current trade relationships, US and India have a balanced bilateral trade relationship, which is also rather small in size compared to the US and China trade. The latter is extremely unbalanced: in 2008, China exported $338 billion worth of goods and services, but only imported $71 billion worth from the US, creating a whopping $266 billion trade deficit for the US with China. Those trade deficits with China do need to be dramatically reduced for the US economy not to weaken further. You need to thus distinguish between the two trading relationships the US has with India and China. Please see the numbers for 2008 here: Why ragging India on jobs is grossly unfair.

              As previously/currently poorer nations develop and emerge, some balancing out of prosperity and wealth between nations will happen, but that doesn't have to mean that the currently rich nations will necessarily become poor. If trade relationships are balanced properly, all nations can develop, and eventually the entire world can prosper together.

              Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

              by iceweasel on Sun Oct 04, 2009 at 03:42:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I never said it benefitted us as a nation. (0+ / 0-)

          It benefited a class of CEOs and major stockholders.

          -5.38/-4.41 © all rights reserved

          by Willamette Democrat on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:31:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  People should stop reflexively bashing India (0+ / 0-)
      without any meaningful basis for doing so, any time they want to point to China.

      China has been pegging its currency for a couple of decades now (and has enjoyed ridiculous trade surpluses with the US, and thus amassed a huge 2 trillion dollar dollar holdings in the process.)

      India doesn't peg its currency, and it has a balanced trade relationship with the US. India's currency is lower valued because it has been a weak economy, primarily owing to it being left poor/weak by western colonization as I have explained to you in my preceding comment  addressed to you (India had near zero capital and a 20% literacy rate when British left India in 1947,) and because it depends heavily on imports of oil and other energy sources (eg, Uranium, for nuclear energy) from other countries.

      Then, what justifiable basis do you have for injecting India as you have done in this comment?

      Baseless India bashing is a bad habit that's also unfair to India and the Indian people, who are striving to lift their economy out of poverty through hard work and investment in education.

      If you have specific and substantiated criticism of India that's justifiable in the context of the global economy, please present it, and such would be worth discussing and debating. Reflexive bashing is mean-spirited xenophobia and/or self-centeredness at its core, and it is un-progressive considering the rampant poverty in India (which itself was imposed by western colonization), and that must stop.

      Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

      by iceweasel on Sun Oct 04, 2009 at 04:03:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we expect solutions to problems that (4+ / 0-)

    we are contributing to I'd say a resounding YES!  That goes for govenment in general.  Government is supposed to help us do collectively what we can't do alone.  If we do nothing ourselves, then it is ridiculous to expect anyone else to help.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:02:23 PM PDT

  •   The British View The Corruption ie HCR (6+ / 0-)

    Just a few paragraphs that should make you even more upset.
    From the Guardian, Revealed: millions spent by lobby firms fighting Obama health reforms

    Reform groups say vast spending, and the threat of a lot more being poured into advertisements against the administration, has helped drug companies ensure there will be no cap on the prices they charge for medicines ‑ one of the ways the White House had hoped to keep down surging healthcare costs.

    Insurance companies have done even better as the new legislation will prove a business bonanza. It is not only likely to kill off the threat of public health insurance, which threatened to siphon off customers by offering lower premiums and better coverage, but will force millions more people to take out private medical policies or face prosecution.

    "It's a total victory for the health insurance industry," said Dr Steffie Woolhander, a GP, professor of medicine at Harvard University and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Programme (PNHP).

    "What the bill has done is use the coercive power of the state to force people to hand their money over to a private entity which is the private insurance industry. That is not what people were promised."

    "The Dream Lives On", Sen. Teddy Kennedy

    by SmileySam on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:05:26 PM PDT

    •  There is no bill yet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      There is no bill yet

      There is no bill yet

      There is no bill yet

      There is no bill yet

      There is no bill yet

      How many times must it be said

      There is no bill yet

      If there was a bill it would be on the president's desk now.

      The congress is in the prosess of making a bill

      •  If one reads the article for context (0+ / 0-)

        it is easy to see they are speaking of the Baucus/ Finance Bill. I understand your point but it in no way enhances the discussion to point out
        There is no bill yet

        There is no bill yet

        There is no bill yet

        There is no bill yet

        There is no bill yet

        "The Dream Lives On", Sen. Teddy Kennedy

        by SmileySam on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 07:12:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe expecting too much too soon (5+ / 0-)

    He's had a lot of problems to deal, a lot of complex problems, and has only been in office for a little over 8 months. That's not to say people shouldnt criticize him. Quite the opposite, definitely speak up and advocate for the policies you want, but dont necessarily dismiss Obama as not being change if those policies havent been implemented yet.

  •  So the Repubs come into office (12+ / 0-)

    go outside The Rules and fuck everything up.

    Then a Dem gets in and plays by the Rules...and so is unable to change what the Repubs did.

    People get frustrated and don't vote, and the Repubs get in again and go outside The Rules and fuck everything up.

    In the meantime, Congress members practically are FORCED to become corrupt in the atmosphere of Corporate Corruption that the Repubs create, in order to keep their jobs.

    So things get steadily worse as we all sit by and watch.

    And the moderates ENCOURAGE this by not only NOT fighting the repubs, but by fighting The Left when they call for SOME kind of pushback. They encourage us to be weak, to not fight back, to not rock the boat.

    To play by the Rules that NO ONE else is playing by...because playing by The Rules is somehow more important than saving the world from the Repub plans.

    They can do whatever they want and we can't do anything to stop them, let alone clean up their mess.

    Does that pretty much sum it up?

    There is no middle ground? No effective way to fight back? All we are doing is marking time until enough people get disgusted by the weak Dems never doing anything and throw them out and let the Repubs back in based on their lies.

    Obama/Rahm pressure won't meet with Progressives, they put pressure on the Progressives to back down and encourage Baucus.

    Isn't that using Presidential Power? How does that fit into your theory of Presidential impotence?

    •  I am not saying there is no effective way of (5+ / 0-)

      fighting back. We have to hold our Reps and Senators to account as much as the President and do it all the time, not just when we want one particular agenda item or another.

      But we also have to stay within the boundaries of the law and Constitution as we do it. It is not fair that so far the Republicans have gotten away with their crimes, but it is no excuse for us to over step the law either or condone doing so.

      •  There IS no way to hold our reps accountable (7+ / 0-)

        as long as the are bought.

        "Fair" has nothing to do with it. People are out of work, thrown out of their homes and children are starving. We are fighting two wars to kill brown people and no one can really say we are going to "win" or how to win them. The planet is well on it's way to evicting the human race for mismanagement...

        And torturers walk free.

        The game is rigged and the Rule of Law and the Constitution have been rendered moot. You know I agree with you in principle, you know I am a Rule of Law guy...but...

        When do we take "fair' out of the picture and actually DO something?

        When do The Rules STOP applying? I wished The Rules worked, We are good at playing by The Rules, if we still HAD Rules, we would win. But...we don't. At some point we have to come to terms with that, right? The fact that the Rules only apply to US...and so that in effect there are no Rules?

        Somebody is standing in front of you, punching you in the nose...and a cop is standing there watching him do it. Waiting for YOU to throw a punch so he can arrest YOU. What do you do?

        (ps you know this is not personal, I am jusdt arguing the other side, as I say above, I wish there WERE still Rules)

        •  I can't bend on this Buhdy, if we (5+ / 0-)

          do not follow the rules, the rule of law, then who will, when will they? Doing it outside the rules because the other side does is a sure way to chaos.

          This is and always has been hard. That we have woken up and found out how far we have let things slip while we weren't paying enough attention just means we have more work to do not that it will change in a flash.

          I wish I had better news about that, but we are so far down the path we actually have two choices, accept the fucked up system forever, or stand for the way it is supposed to be and work our asses off to make it that way.

          •  They NEVER will play by the Rules (3+ / 0-)

            I would suggest changing the Rules...but changing the rules ....is against the Rules, right?

            IF what you are suggesting worked I would agree.

            But it doesn't. And I don;t think you can give me evidence to counter the reality that we are now facing a corrupt Congress and political system that The Guy who was supposed to change the system...has discovered that he can't change....and is so now forced to play along with the system to get the crumbs he can get.

            Your argument is a good one, and a noble one....there is just one problem....it doesn't work.

            And I challenge you to show how it can under these circumstances.

            The system is broken. Obama can't fix it, and the People ...won't. Because the System has convinced enough of them that they are powerless to take on the system, so they don't try.

            So now what?

            •  No, changing the rules by the rules provided (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              On The Bus, buhdydharma

              is just fine. I also don't for a minute believe the system is broken beyond repair. But fixing or making a new system are about the same amount of work, so I always come down on the side of fixing. But lets not kid ourselves that it will ever be easy or something which can be done on a part-time basis.

              You are spun up, you are active, you are working to fix things, now all we need is 200,000 just like you and we can get some real change going. But it is a calling, it is a vocation.

              We can change things inside the system, but not by dipping our toes. We need folks who think like you and I to run for office, to get in there and make a difference. We need folks like you and I to recruit candidates who will stay true the views they share with us, we need to get them elected. It takes people going and seeing their Reps and Senators on a regular basis, I have written muliple posts on this very topic along with step by step instructions but how many of us have done it?

              This is how the system changes. It is the way it has always changed before. But it is not going to happen without a lot more than just blogging.

              •  But this diary (2+ / 0-)

                is arguing against people getting spun up and active.

                The message of this diary is that there is nothing anyone CAN do...not even tthe President.

                The message of this diary is acceptance of the fate that we live in a broken system and there is no remedy for it.

                If the Guy we elected to Change things can't Change things, because he has no power over a corrupt Congress...what do we do?

                How does the system get fixed?

                •  I think you are interpreting it that way (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NLinStPaul, buhdydharma

                  but it is not. It was merely an exercise in looking at what the role of the president is. There is nothing saying we should not push for change, just that we should push in the right place.

                  I know it is long so you might have missed this:

                  So, where does that leave those of us who want change for the better? It seems it leaves us with the Congress, who are much tougher to get going in one direction than a single President. This is not to say it is not important that we on the Left keep elected Democratic Presidents, they are, at the very least, less likely to abuse the powers the President does have and more (though not a lot more) amiable to making the limits of Presidential power clear. Still it is not very smart to focus our ire and efforts on the so strongly on the President, we have to make it clear to the Congress that abdication of their responsibilities to the President is not acceptable, that failure to engage in their oversight role is grounds for replacement and that pretending their job is solely to do what it takes to get reelected is grounds for a strong primary challenge.

                  •  Why won't he meet with Progressives? (2+ / 0-)

                    Why, when it is time to twist arms, is it the Progressive arms that he twists?

                    The President is NOT doing all he can, yet you call on us Progressives to "leave Obama alone."

                    Why?

                    I donl't know if you are hiding the true meaning of the diary from yourself or trying to hide it from the rest of us....but ask yourself...what is the political message of this diary?

                    •  Whoa, there my friend! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      buhdydharma

                      I do not and have not ever advocated anyone not speak up when they are unhappy about the actions of the their government! This essay was about the limits of presidential power, and why it is important we don't encourage our current president to go beyond them.

                      You may have missed this paragraph too:

                      The Dog is not going to argue that you should not be disappointed with our President, you are always going to be disappointed to one level or another will all politicians. It is just when you are calling for major change from that office, be aware of the limitations of presidential power. Calling for something which can only be achieved through abuse of presidential power is not a good long term strategy either for achieving your gains or for our nation.

                      •  Yes I know what you SAID (3+ / 0-)

                        I am asking you to ask yourself what message the diary sends.

                        There is a difference.

                        Listen, you admit the system is broken and corrupt right?

                        And it is my impression that you know that the Pres could be doing more even within the Rules.

                        But this, like all diaries calling for moderation in the midst of crisis, spreads a message of helplessness.

                        The message I get from it, and apparently others too, is that in this time of crisis we should be temperate and reasonable....in a situation that is unreasonable. Instead of arguing for 200,000 more people to get fired up, you are calling for people to reign in their expectations....whether you realize it or not.

                        Is moderation what we need right now, as HCR gets sold down the river?

                        If not why write this diary?

                        It is somewhat correct, it makes a not quite valid point (since Obama COULD be doing more, even within the Rules)....but what is its political purpose?

                        Surely not to ask us to pressure Congress, we have been going full court press on that here everyday. (except for the moderates who criticize us for doing so instead)

                        So I ask you to ask yourself, what are you really trying to accomplish with this?

                        (btw, you are one of the few people whose intelligence I respect enough to understand the argument I am making, and one of the few that have the resources to not treat it as a personal attack, you should be honored! And I am thankful for you!)

              •  theres Rules and then theres (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Something the Dog Said

                RULE$$$$$.

                We need folks who think like you and I to run for office, to get in there and make a difference. We need folks like you and I to recruit candidates who will stay true the views they share with us, we need to get them elected. It takes people going and seeing their Reps and Senators on a regular basis, I have written muliple posts on this very topic along with step by step instructions but how many of us have done it?

                Show. Me. The Money.

                Maybe we can hit up Alan Grayson (The Pol Who Owns Himself, FL) to fund your campaign! LOL.

                Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

                by Lady Libertine on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:52:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, your next homework assignment! (2+ / 0-)

        Are there any constitutional elements that can assist us in the current situation? If the GOP is gaming the system & stacking the deck toward corporate interests, what are the applicable checks & balances?

        And why am I suddenly reminded of Tiger's Swing?

  •  Easy answer (8+ / 0-)

    No, we do not expect "too much" from the President.

    We expect him to make every effort to deliver the goods he promised, and fight HARD for it.

    So far, there is a lot of room for disappointment.

    I'll believe the hype about "change" when I see it, but my stomach is turning too see that it is pretty much "business as usual" at this point.

    Yes, I am disappointed. I will not throttle back my expectations.

    The Democrats just never learn: Americans don't really care which side of an issue you're on as long as you don't act like pussies - Bill Maher

    by Wamsutta on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:28:47 PM PDT

  •  Obama promised change, he should have promised (10+ / 0-)

    not to fuck things up any worse.

    We expected change, as in BIG CHANGE, not just working around the edges.

    So if Dems just hold the ground and the GOP takes us back a step we will never get anywhere. Obama needs to challenge the moneyed powers if he wants change to happen. Without that, NOTHING changes, or at least not enough to change things fundamentally.

    He promised a lot, so I expect a lot.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:35:36 PM PDT

    •  But is it too much? And what role do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MinistryOfTruth

      we have for believing him if he promised too much?

      •  face palm (4+ / 0-)

        Dog, you know I love you, but... are you "blaming the victim" here??  

        Stupid me, I believed it was possible. I believed we stood half a chance. Yes I did. Fool.

        Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

        by Lady Libertine on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:56:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all! We all want change (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soms, MinistryOfTruth

          we had a candidate who latched on to that meme and said we could have it. The question becomes did we read too much of our desires into what we were being promised? Did we put an expectation of more than was truly doable on this, because we have real needs that are not being met and the last president was so freaking horrendous? The willingness to believe change can and will happen is a good thing, but are we focusing too much on one part of the government to get that change done? That is what I mean. Congress has a big role to play, yet it seems to me that I and (maybe) some others expected too much out of one branch on this.

          •  "buyer's remorse" (2+ / 0-)

            yeah, probably a little of that. ;-/

            Funny, I had said (whispered actually) back in '08 that I hope he doenst turn out to be "the Saturn" of politics (referring to the car brand).

            ironic.

            Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

            by Lady Libertine on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:09:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Fact is, Dog, WE'RE informed, the electorate isnt (6+ / 0-)

            and people read into vague promises what they want to.

            Obama could do nothing a still be better than Bush, and as the GOP goes Batshit, it gives Dems cover to suck ass and still seem better by comparison.

            Meanwhile I see this pattern where the GOP/Conservatives (R+D) wreck shit and Dems just hold the ground or move things around on the edges.

            Look at the Public Option! Are we to believe Obama when it is gone, HCR is signed without it, and he says "Oh Well, I wanted it, but . .  ."

            So we get Iraq when NO ONE wants it, and we can't get a PO when MOST of us want it?

            And then I read about the C Street Family and their Free Market Corporatism wrapped in Jeebus and I'm supposed to believe that Dems and Repukes are in it on both sides but the middle class ISN'T being fed to thee machine?

            Change would be drastic, change would be meaningful, by not attacking the GOP for their glaring faults and only settling for changiness Obama is signaling that he is just another politician, and if so, he IS NOT bringing Change We Can Believe In.

            If HCR is a bailout for Insurance CEO's it will prove to me that the whole system is bought off to the last man, other than a few Progressives in Congress. If Obama considers change not being as bad as Bush you or I could have done that!

            Worse, if Bush/Cheney DO go scot free, it will prove to me that there ARE two sets of rules, one for Politicians, the Wealthy and the Celebrities and another for everyone else.

            That means there is no rule of law, there is NO JUSTICE, just the Pirate Code, Steal what you can while you can and if you get caught have a good alibi. People worried about fascism under Bush, why did we think it was going to go away or stop now that someone with promises WE like is in charge?

            Promises mean jack shit. I want RESULTS

            The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

            by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:20:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  MoT there is no justice if we bail on the (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Garrett, On The Bus, soms, MinistryOfTruth

              idea of justice either. I won't dispute your list of problems, I won't argue the President is not doing a great job on many fronts. I will argue we have to do the work of making the Peoples House exactly that again. It is the only way things are going to change and the good news is we can start on that as soon as this January and then again every two years for as long as it takes.

              Brother, this is not something which got to this state of affairs in a short time, and no matter what we do it will not get fixed in a short time either.

              But no matter what we do we should not throw the baby out with the bath water and try to start from scratch. We have lots of work done in the past which can be put back into play, that alone argues for fixing the system with our sweat.

              •  I agree, Dog (2+ / 0-)

                and I'll continue to try to change things from the outside in, because I don't see how it is possible to do it from the inside out, but

                at some point we need to PUT OUR FOOT DOWN, and that point is coming VERY soon, if it's not here already.

                If we miss THAT opportunity, we are really, really fucked. Do we gget a second chance? I am not sure. That's why I want to fight it out now, and if Dems stand in my way or Repukes I don't give a shit. I am an American first and a partisan second, and we must continue to ask the question, "If not now, when?"

                The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

                by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:33:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I don't want to go all "Obama = bad stuff", but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GeeBee

        if change = 5-10% and NOT 50-100% it ain't exactly change, is it?

        Further, I fucking mean it when I say if they feed me a Sh!t sandwich on HCR I'll burn the fucking tent down. If they force me to play nice with the fuckers who have been robbing us we don't NEED Dems in charge, the Republicans could have done the same fucking thing.

        You know who has the majority in Congress? The CONSERVATIVES! 15ConservaDems + 40 Wingnuts = Conservative Senate

        Look at the House, the only reason it isn't as bad as the Senate is because the Bush Dogs aren't as big of a thorn as the ConservaDems in the Senate are.

        It's like they hedged a bet that f the Dems DO win big, there's still a way to fuck it up and slow things down.

        And when you look at the WH it seems to me that the Beckerheads have it half right! Obama has power, but so does Rajm, Geithner, Summers, etc, and that dilutes what Obama does, or goes against it. Hell, Hillary, LaHood and Salazaar are all C STREETERS! That means they LIKE free market Corporatist fascism. Obama spoke to the National Prayer Breakfast in feb 09, and the NPR is a front for the family. I'm not saying Obama is a C Streeeter, but he knows who they are and he isn't quite throwing them out in the street if you know what I mean.

        So what Change did he bring, other than the two teams are now defending different goal posts? Seems like a lot of the shit is still very much the same.

        Class War! You didn't think we were Winning, Did you?

        hell, we're worse off than EVER, just proles, not even outer party members!

        The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

        by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:29:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dammit. (4+ / 0-)

      .
       I go and tell the person just above you that their's is "Comment of the Week" and then you go and write this.  Hell, Entire Diary Comment Section of the Month/Year.

      bg
      ______________

      "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

      by BenGoshi on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:37:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  whatever happened to "fierce urgency of now".. (7+ / 0-)

    and how old is that quote to begin with?

    I hear you, Dog, but Im afraid we cannot afford the luxury of the whole patience game, time wise. And I dont just mean climate change, global warming.

    Im in agreement with others above who mentioned FDR, and also some of the sideways uses of power. The bully pulpit, etc.

    We need Obama to provide the leadership he campaigned, and won, on. I truly believe he has the potential to be a transformative Prez, but I don't see too many clear indicators that he is inclined to move forward strongly with Progressive change, fundamental change, "changing the way D.C. works". For us.

    He was strong in appointing Rahm.

    He was strong in blocking the release of the torture photos (oh not that again!). IOW he is capable of the strong arm, he is.

    I expect MORE.

    Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

    by Lady Libertine on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:39:25 PM PDT

    •  Hi. (3+ / 0-)

      .
       What you say:  spot on.

       See a couple of my comments, just above.

       Cheers Kampai.

      bg
      ______________

      p.s. - from my Deep South front porch on a not-warm-but-not-quite-cool afternoon in early October.

      "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

      by BenGoshi on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:44:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  More leadership, sure. More active (0+ / 0-)

      leadership, yep. But would you really have him do things the way the Bush administration did, even good things?

    •  Seems like every time Obama said "fierce" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenGoshi, limpidglass, Vtdblue

      he meant "maybe, when I have nothing else to do."  Compare his promise to be a "fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans."

      •  Fierce! Like a day-old kitten! - nt - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo

        "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

        by BenGoshi on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:51:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More like (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BenGoshi, Lady Libertine

          Fierce -- like Rahm Emanuel staring down a crowd of progressives.

          •  That fucker wouldn't dare show up in a room... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            On The Bus, corvo, Vtdblue

            .
            . . . full of Progressives.  Mr. Toughnuts would soiled himself (all Vitter-like) and be whimpering like the 6-year-old shithole he is within 5 minutes if some REAL badasses got in his face.  Just because that asshole (1) has money, (2) does the cocktail circuit with Wall Streeters, (3) is the President's Boss, and, (4) thinks his shit doesn't stink intimidates me not one fucking whit.  And I think that I'm not unique in that.

             No, Rahm Emmanual intimidates other shitholes on his level, but not real people, not real Progressives.  He's a pussy who swears a lot.  Hell, that's less than a Man than the several thousand drag queens who'll be performing tonight in cities large and small throughout These United States.  At least the drag queens have real balls.

             bg
            ____________________

            "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

            by BenGoshi on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:01:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  He has shown himself so far to not be the man (0+ / 0-)

        many of us thought he was.......he has already lost any future support from me.

        He will have to earn that back....but guess what--that's not very likely to happen,cause I'm betting  the lack of leadership only gets worse and more pronuonced from here on out.

    •  Exactly. It's a logical fallacy presented here (5+ / 0-)

      Dog is presenting the Beltway conventional wisdom that incrementalism is the only mature, sound way to push for change in this system.  False dichotomy, among other logical fallacies.

      It sucks to be the reasonable ones, the balanced ones, the temperate and long term thinkers. There are less wins when you take the long course, there is often a level of despair as the passion we feel today gets worn away by the "slow boring of hard boards" that is the political system our Founders gave us, but in the end we do more than just achieve our goals, we do the hard work of preserving the idea of a nation of laws not men we have been born too.

      Tell that to freakin' FDR and LBJ.  We would not have the social safety net systems (or the Voting Rights Act, etc.) we have today without their non-incremental, bold measures.  

      I beg to disagree.

      "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.'" - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in "Get Shorty"

      by Vtdblue on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:02:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama always said (3+ / 0-)

      that changing the way DC works would be on us. If he's going to fight the $ - he needs an overwhelming army in his court. And I think its our job to get him the army.

      The way folks are so bent on wanting him to be some kind of savior - I'm not sure we got the message yet.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by NLinStPaul on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:33:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  checks and balances (2+ / 0-)

    has some of this disappointment come from a misunderstanding of the nature of the office?

    Several years ago I noticed the lack of any Democratic president to hold two terms of office. After repeating this list to my sister she looked at me and said: that's scary.

    Appreciate the thought & care you took with this diary. Think you did a great job setting this up for discussion. I have to agree with your outline of checks and balances (a key and important element of our government) that this may be the fundamental issue. When I was visualizing the president after Bush I thought of someone steadying the swaying bow of the State. If that is the limit of what Obama can achieve, then my next issue is securing those checks and balances so that another "overreach" (great points you made there) doesn't have the possibility of ever succeeding.

    Thanks for your diary.

  •  The president is elected on a party platform (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, 3goldens, corvo

    The people expect him to express and press for his agenda. If you watched all the debates, in the primaries and general, we all had a sense of Obama's priorities. Getting out of Iraq, focusing on Afghanistan, delivering healthcare reform, creating jobs by improving infrastructure etc.
    We have an adversarial Party System in this country. The party in power should advocate together, congress and executive. This really isn't about the constitution right now, it's about following up on the party agenda. If the Republicans do it, the Democrats are supposed to do it. Why have an election then? This whole health care debate is turning into a farce. The Democrats must advocate, not equivocate. Obama made his position clear in the primaries and general, no mandates and an option to keep Insurance Companies honest. The Democratic party leaders have let us down.

  •  Maybe Obama is too weak to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo
    be President.
    Bush, who was very limited intellectually and morally, nevertheless rammed through most of his important legislation with less Congressional support than Obama. Except for Carter and Ford, the office of the President has been very strong since at least the time of FDR.
    If there's a problem, it's with Obama.
    Quit with the excuse making and start living in the real world.

    My take, by the way, is that Obama in no way wants a public option in the  HCR bill. He wants a giveaway to the insurance industry, to keep campaign money flowing to the Dems.
    I don't see him as weak; I see him as fooling many of you people about his goals for domestic policy.

    •  Well, this certainly seems . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoringDem

      He wants a giveaway to the insurance industry, to keep campaign money flowing to the Dems

      . . . to be Rahm Emanuel's modus operandi.  Of course, at some point one has to ask who appointed Emanuel to his current position; and why, if that modus operandi were seriously opposed to the President's, why Emanuel still occupies it.

  •  No. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:18:18 PM PDT

  •  good diary (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this thoughtful perspective. I like diaries that offer something to think about. Most of the diaries are overly reactionary.

  •  Three words. Delegation, delegation, delegation. (0+ / 0-)

    If you expect the president to do everything personally, then A) you deserve to be laughed at, and B) it isn't going to get much done.

    On the other hand, the President probably has the resources to have set groups of staffers up working on any major and quite a few minor issues, who could then drop him a page or two long summary report each week, such that he is kept up to date on everything in the space of one working day a week, and able to jot directions back to each task force, then take the rest of the week to focus on whatever he feels best needs his attention at the time.

    No issue needs to be ignored, but neither do most need his personal attention until such time as the task forces have something ready that only needs a small amount of his time to set in motion.

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:20:01 PM PDT

  •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    However, people don't expect enough from congress.

    http://politicz.wordpress.com/

    by GlowNZ on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 05:00:34 PM PDT

  •  The President is responsible.. (0+ / 0-)

    for everything that happens in life..not only my own life, but your life. Basically all living things. I have no control over anything, nor do I need to lift one finger to help bring about what I want. Those people in Congress are just window dressing. It's not my fault my elected officials vote against everything I want. That's the Presidents fault. The President writes laws, and then 'twists arms' to get anything he wants. If he fails, he alone fails. I know what the President thinks, who he speaks to, and what he is doing on a daily basis, and also what he will do in the future. I know the outcome of the 2012 election, and I know what will, and will not be passed into law during this President's term. As a result of all this, I am here because I believe you all need to know how terribly brilliant I am, and how horrible this President really is.

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