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I have noticed, of late, a number of my fellow Kossacks are ready to throw in the towel on the Obama presidency.  This is despite the fact that we have yet to pass the anniversary of his first year in office and is in spite of the fact that Mr. Obama has been working at a furious pace to both overturn the worst of the Bush years and shape his own legislative agenda.  This willingness to give up on Barack, to me, smacks of impatience at best and naivete at worst.

I'm old enough to remember this point in the Clinton presidency and I'm here to tell you, my friends, it was far, far worse than this.  The Big Dog got off to an awful, clumsy start and didn't really recover his bearings until after the '94 elections that gave him that paragon of virtue and conservative intellectualism, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as his legislative partner.

Clinton's missteps over gays in the military and the First Health Care Reform Debacle spelled certain doom for the possibility of a second term.  Plus, Clinton had rammed through his tax increases, which made him an enormous target when the off-year elections rolled around.  Never mind, of course, that Clinton's economic policies led to the greatest post-war boom in American history.  Never mind that we enjoyed years upon years of prosperity under his watch.  The GoOPers painted him as a tax and spend liberal and it stuck.

Until...1995.  Suddenly, the fruit of his labors started to pile up in bushels.  The deficit was beginning to be tamed.  Unemployment shrank.  The stock market exploded and, with it, the era of on-line trading was born.  The dot-com boom (which would later go ka-flooey) was making millionaires left and right.  By the time the 1996 elections rolled around, poor Bob Dole didn't stand a chance.  Bill rolled over him and, with a little detour in his second term we'll call "the M.L. incident, Clinton enjoyed another four years of unparalelled growth.

Given this history, I am untirely unmoved by those who would label Obama a failure this early in his tenure.  He is doing much- not all, but a great deal- of what he promised to do when he was elected.  Yes, the health reform bill should be better and it would be if not for Droopy Joe and the Blue Dogs.  Yes, we're sending more troops to Afghanistan, but we're beginning the withdrawal from Iraq next year, at long last.  Yes, Guantanamo is still open, but we're looking to transfer a great many of those prisoners to my home state of Illinois for trial next year.  And yes, yes, yes he should get rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  And I have little doubt that he will.  

So carp and complain (as you should) that things aren't happening as fast- or in the exact way- you would like them to.  

Me?  I'm in this for the long haul.  

I still believe.

Originally posted to Cyberactor on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:01 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Clinton was timely (0+ / 0-)

    it's the dotcom economy that saved his butt. there won't be such luck this go around

    1 term and he's done...

    •  When the economy comes back (and it will) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, second gen, Kylopod

      people will forget year 1.

      "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

      by captainlaser on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:14:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if by "the economy" you mean the stock market (0+ / 0-)

        the jobs aren't coming back.  Which do you think will make a bigger difference in an election: stocks or jobs?

        This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

        by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:17:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jobs will come back. I love the Boss but (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          casperr, blueyedace2, second gen, Kylopod

          he was talking about manufacturing jobs which are long gone, but this is still a rich country and the unemployment rate will steadily decline over the next year.

          The only way that won't happen is if richer people are too scared to start spending money again.

          "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

          by captainlaser on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:25:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "jobless recovery" (0+ / 0-)

            You need to read more Krugman.  

            The issue isn't if "richer people are too scared to start spending money again", the rich don't actually fuel most consumption, the middle class does.  And the erosion of the middle class's purchasing power has depressed demand over the long term, this is why recent economic down turns have seen job recovery be slow to non-existent, and over all job growth to be flat.  

            Just to keep up with increases in population our economy has to add, 100,000 jobs a month.  To recover the jobs we've lost to-date, we need to add 300,000 jobs a month for the next three years.  There is absolutely no prospect for that happening absent a massive hiring program by the government (which is not going to happen).

            Sadly, America isn't a rich country, in fact large swaths of it are little better off than most 3rd world nations.  We are just a country with a bunch of rich people in it.  The middle class can no longer fuel consumption by taking on debt the way it has over the past 10 years, instead people will cut back.  That in turn will depress demand and employment.  Double digit unemployment has been chronic for many communities for years, soon it will become the new normal for the nation.

            This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

            by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 04:16:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Things looked bad during the 2008 primaries too (4+ / 0-)

    I thought whoever won the nomination would be too damaged to win in the general, and look what happened.  The party was divided then like it is now.  I was threatening to leave the Democratic Party, and naturally never did.  

    But the midterms should bring Democrats back together, even if the election cycles are kind of fruitless as far as all those promises and attacks on the other side, then not much happens once "we win."

    "Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame." ~ Bertrand Russell

    by samantha in oregon on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:08:40 PM PST

    •  no, you're so very wrong that it's just sad (0+ / 0-)

      The party came back together because the left thought it won and Obama built bridges with the Clintonites.  What's going on now is discrediting Obama himself.  With little to no credibility left with the base Obama's not going to be able to pull your party back together again.

      This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

      by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:20:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're just sad... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm still proud of my President and my country.

        by second gen on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:27:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sad and realistic (0+ / 0-)

          Obama was elected based on expectations that are now going unmet.  Some of those expectations were unfair and based on assumptions.  Others, however, were based on promises he made, and has not kept.  Fair or unfair, those failed expectations now fuel a sense of betrayal among many former supporters who will turn their backs on the party in the mid terms.  

          This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

          by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 04:19:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If you really believed your signature you would (0+ / 0-)

        want to explain how all republicans think exactly the same, why  they want you to love their Jesus or go to hell, and why you are now on the same side.

        A miracle is simply something we cannot understand, or explain yet.

        by Crispian Day on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 04:58:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, captainlaser, second gen

    Keep the faith

  •  Good on ya, Cyberactor. (4+ / 0-)

    Maybe it is age.  Maybe it is having lived not only through BushII, but BushI, Reagan(only, thank God), Ford, Nixon and, yes, Eisenhower.

    Progressives tend to be idealists and expect the perfect.  Having a parent who was threatened with deportation in the McCarthy period, I would have expected my father to be bitter.   But he was a total optimist.  He lived through good democrats and bad democrats.  He lived through appalling Republicans.

    I've been thinking about this HCR bill.  Sure it is a windfall for the insurance industry.  But if we can insure 20-30 million poor people, is that not a good goal for a Democrat?  So what if it costs too much?  We put up with wasting trillions on foreign adventures that bring us nothing but hatred around the world.  We bail out banks which still act like robber barons.  If some health insurance makes Cigna rich, but gets guaranteed coverage for the working poor, isn't that worth walking away with?

    I'm incredibly disappointed with the Senate and I hate the obstructionists as much as anyone, but I want to get something positive out of this for some poor people.  We can fix the mess that will result over then next decade, but let's start the motion to public funding of health care by giving a leg up to those who need it the most.... those making less than $80k.

    Ok, flame away Kossacks. I've got asbestos skin as I have seen a worse America and one that was even less caring.  I've never had expectations that "America will do the right thing". But we still have a chance to do some good. We need to get something out of this instead of burning down the whole house.

    "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

    by captainlaser on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:13:59 PM PST

    •  this bill won't insure 20-30 million people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angela Quattrano

      it will force them to buy junk insurance they either don't want or can't really afford (otherwise they'd have bought it already).  

      By "junk insurance" I mean insurance with co-pays so high they still can't afford to go to the doctors.  Keep in mind many of the people showing up at those free health care clinics we keep seeing diaries about have insurance of this type.  It has lower premiums so it's all many people can afford, but it's often little better than having no coverage at all.

      What's more the excise tax with encourage employers to offer less generous health insurance coverage packages to their employees.  This bill is worse than nothing.  It will force individuals to buy coverage, and employers to cut back.  

      Expect a huge backlash from the middle class if this passes, and Republicans will be able to pick up votes by promising to repeal it.

      This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

      by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:38:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Health care is a scew up, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, Blogvirgin

    it is a very long way from being the only issue. I too am still supportive of Obama and firmly convinced that it is crucial that he be re-elected.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:15:14 PM PST

  •  Faith doesn't require proof afterall. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angela Quattrano
  •  And the Clinton went on to... (0+ / 0-)

    sign NAFTA, which sent American jobs out of country, and the repeal of Glass-Steigle, which set the stage for our current economic crisis.  

    Clinton is a really bad example to site if you want to make the case that Obama will be a good President.  Unless "in ten years there will be no jobs and another economic collapse" is the argument you were going for.  If that's the case, then you're spot on.

    This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

    by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:16:44 PM PST

    •  The right wing blogs are that way --------> (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      captainlaser

      I'm still proud of my President and my country.

      by second gen on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:26:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  adhominem much? (0+ / 0-)

        Right-wingers blame the current crisis on the Community Development Act (minorities), not the repeal of Glass-Steigle.  

        But you serve as an apt demonstration of why any liberals defend Clinton namely: the right-wing attacks on him caused the left to rally around him and to equate any criticism of his policies with the worst of the right's character assassination efforts.

        What you're engaging in here is blind tribalism, this is the 21st century, you might want to grow up a little.

        This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

        by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:42:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama is one of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, second gen

    most gifted pols in a generation. That doesn't automatically guarantee a successful presidency (it didn't for LBJ). But I'm astounded by the amount of people here who seem completely blind to Obama's gifts.

    Not too long ago, I found out that the majority of Kossacks actually preferred John Edwards to Obama as a candidate. That says a huge amount about their sensitivity to political genius.

    Look through history, and the most notable American presidents, from Lincoln to FDR, have not necessarily been the ones with the best ideas, but they have consistently been very shrewd, deft, calculating types, who often compromised on major principles to get their agenda done.

    "A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they're dead." -- Leo Rosten; My blog

    by Kylopod on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:16:57 PM PST

    •  we're not blind to his "gifts" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angela Quattrano

      In fact we're keenly aware of the way he is using those gifts to violate our principles and enable a corporate/conservative agenda.  Some may, falsely believe he is weak or foolish, but most seem to be waking up to the fact that he's actually our opponent.

      The fact that he was able to pull the wool over eyes of so many for so long is an apt demonstration of the "genius" you mention.  It's just a shame it's an evil genius.

      Look through history, and the most notable American presidents, from Lincoln to FDR, have not necessarily been the ones with the best ideas, but they have consistently been very shrewd, deft, calculating types, who often compromised on major principles to get their agenda done.

      True, so the question becomes what's his real agenda?  Lincoln wanted to preserve the union.  FDR, arguably, wanted to save capitalism form itself.  I don't know for sure what Obama's agenda is, but it's obviously not the things he campaigned on.  I'm afraid it maybe nothing more than "get corporate cash to fund my re-election".

      This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

      by Thought Crime on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:48:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I still support my President. I never thought he (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    casperr

    was the second coming who could right all wrongs in his first year in office. For the first time in a long time I feel that we have a President who has the best interests of the country at heart and who will leave the country in far better shape than he found it.

    Sitting here in my cheerleader uniform, drinking kool-aid; sharing my thoughts with you. Gimme an O!

    by Blogvirgin on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:40:48 PM PST

  •  ME TOO AND GREAT DIARY! (0+ / 0-)

    A miracle is simply something we cannot understand, or explain yet.

    by Crispian Day on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 04:54:42 PM PST

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