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I watched the Last Word, Lawrence McDonald's new show on MSNBC,and he had someone who claimed to be a progressive blogger going on and on about how wonderful Obama is but that he would be so much better if he just fought more. He should have fought for the single payer...and fought for a larger stimulus,, but instead he got in a closed room and negotiate away all these things WITHOUT A FIGHT.  I guess the blogger wanted blood on the floor.

       I was impressed with the fervor of the blogger, but I came away wondering why he thought fighting was so great if, at the end of the day, you have your head handed you on a platter.  I have a rule: never show up at a gun fight with a knife!  LBJ said, he never asked for a vote if he didn't have the votes.  Our blogger seems to have wanted Obama to die on every hill.  What would that prove?  What would the headlines read the next morning after the President dies on yet another hill?  Wouldn't he soon be called Don Quixote Obama?  I can see the cartoon with Obama hanging from the vein of a windmill...done in AGAIN by the GOP windmill.  Will that make Obama look stronger?  Will it enhance the reputation of the Democratic Party?  Will it make candidates stampede to get Obama to campaign for them in their home districts?  I don't think so!  I have yet to see many fans lining up to get the autograph of the strike-out leader of the team!
      Truman was the fightingest president we have had in my lifetime but in 1948 he did not send bills after bill to Congress to be voted down and call that fighting.  He got on a train and whistle-stopped all across the country taking the fight to the Congress in the place where fighting matters: in their home district. You fight in Washington by getting the other guy un-elected! Anything else is window dressing.
       The blogger seems to not understand the fundamentals of American politics.  The President does not elect any of the members of Congress.  He cannot cut their pay and cannot fire them. If they vote with him it is because it is in their own political interest.  The only fight that matters was on previous Election Day!  It was then that we decides who is going to be on the President's team and who is going to be on the bench or on the other side.  And the fact is that in 2008 we elected Obama with a landslide but his allies in Congress....well, not so much...make that by a whisker!  And the blogger is part of a bunch of malcontents who want to stay home on Election Day so the rest of Obama's first term will be even less productive.  That's progressive???
       Don't get me wrong.  There are a ton of things that I wish were different in the bills Obama got passed, but, I'm from the school that says half a loaf is better than none at all!  I chose to see the cup half full.  The blogger thinks he is being a progressive by seeing it half empty.  That's not progressive.  That is kamikazi thinking.  And if that is what the blogger believe in, I don't stand in his way...what I will not stand for is challenging his presidency because he does not play Russian roulette with our political agenda and his presidential legacy.

Originally posted to Steve Love on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thought you were going to showcase JFK (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, neroden

        50 years after win, Kennedy's legacy endures

      By Susan Page, USA TODAY
      WASHINGTON — Despite enormous changes since his presidency, the United States still reflects JFK's America.

      Fifty years after the election that sent John Kennedy to the White House, the impact of his thousand days in the Oval Office continues to be seen in positive repercussions from the civil rights movement and problematic ones from the Vietnam War. He pioneered the media age that has shaped national politics ever since and expanded the role of the federal government in ways that continue to reverberate.

      Compare that withPresident Obama's "Glass Half Full" Accomplishments...

    •  Obama didn't fight on all-executive-branch stuff. (0+ / 0-)

      Or rather, he's fought hard to eviscerate civil liberties and the Bill of Rights even more than Bush, to maintain DADT, to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, oh god the list goes on.

      So I think you missed the point.  Obama didn't fight even on things he could win.  And if the President can't control the executive branch -- well then the federal government is screwed and it's time to give up on it, isn't it?

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:42:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  yep - you should watch Rachel this evening (0+ / 0-)

    if you haven't. Bless her heart.

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:11:27 PM PDT

  •  edit: O'Donnell (4+ / 0-)

    Who was the blogger?  links to anything?

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:16:44 PM PDT

  •  O'Donnell was a producer of The West Wing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nobody will ever measure up to Josiah Bartlett.  Though given how Matt Santos seemed very aware that campaigning was easy and that he'd run into trouble living up to the hopes and dreams of the voters, one would think O'Donnell would recognize as much in the real world.  

    Grassroot passion comes and goes - Corporate interest in consistent. Message being that if you want to stay elected then sell-out, it's safer.

    by Jonze on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:19:42 PM PDT

    •  I think Obama comes closer than anyone to (0+ / 0-)

      the fictional President Bartlett. I thought long and hard about the "whining progressives". They voted for Obama and because they gave him there vote, (and I might add, the vote was because the alternative was so much worse, it was not ever "full throated" support), they thought they owned him, and he had to march to their drummer. When he didn't do exactly what they thought he should do, they started to complain and kept complaining.
      I agree with almost everything this President did, I say almost everything because there are a couple of things I would have liked him to do better. I even agree that rather than prosecute G.W. Bush and his administration for "war crimes" we need to move forward. I say that as someone who would like nothing better than to see that entire administration doing time in jail. However, this President has singlehandedly improved our standing in the world and has a higher approval rating in other parts of the world than he has here in the U.S., for that alone, he should be praised. When Bush was President, the rest of the world hated and mistrusted the U.S., and that happened shortly after the world stood beside the U.S. after the attacks of 9/11. Bush managed to not only screw with the trust of the American people, but to screw with the trust of the entire world. I doubt we would look so good to the rest of the world if we showed them we prosecuted former administrations because we didn't like the way they operated. We just do it differently, that is why we are America. One of his first acts as President was to say waterboarding is torture, and the U.S. no longer tortures people at least under the Obama administration.
      I like the fact that wherever in the world our President goes, he is treated like a rock star, and the U.S. is once again respected. Call me crazy, but isn't that one of the most important jobs of the Presidency. The Domestic situation this President walked into, albeit willingly, was one of the wose domestic situations in my lifetime, (65 years). Not only did he take steps to improve the economy, but he tackled HCR which has been tried  by many other adminstrations without any success. So he is not FDR, so what. I like who he is, and I think he is doing just fine, and I will continue to support him until he gives me a reason not to, so far I have not been able to find on.

  •  Like Clinton, Obama lacks that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, neroden

    vision thingy unless we grant that their vision is the same as the GOP but without the sex police.

    "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

    by Marie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:27:11 PM PDT

  •  Is English your first language? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:37:57 PM PDT

  •  What you said plus (7+ / 0-)

    as many have stated here in the past:

    Finally the adults are in charge!!

    Have some forgotten the message? Throwing a tantrum or hissy fit

    is not adult behaviour.

    Exspectamus et vigilamus: quod nolite somnamus.

    by tapu dali on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:43:25 PM PDT

  •  Like Barack Obama, every day since January 20th, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amk for obama, FiredUpInCA
    1. Thanks for talking sense.
    •  Where's he been? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Big Tex, neroden

      He's fighting now that it's election time.  We'll see whether he keeps it up afterward.  He sure didn't fight much in the last 2 years.

      I'm curious to know if Truman did his fighting only at election time.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 07:26:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You might want to re-read the diary n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amk for obama, FiredUpInCA, Tulips
        •  Well, I did. So what? (0+ / 0-)

          It doesn't change what I said or what I asked about.

          Why did you suggest a re-read?

          The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

          by accumbens on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 08:34:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're confusing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            amk for obama, ahumbleopinion

            "fighting" with campaigning. Fighting takes a different form between elections -- working with Congress to get the best policies for which the votes are available.

            He hasn't been campaigning much the past couple years, because there wasn't a national election. But he's been fighting.

            •  He could've fooled me that he was fighting. (0+ / 0-)

              Sure fighting is different during and between elections, but one element is the same: keeping your based engaged and informed.  If you don't rouse the people in between elections - like he did during the campaign - you're fighting legislatively with one hand tied behind your back.  He has failed to get public support because (1) what he's done is seen as weak legislation, and (2) he's not communicated and activated his base about it.

              Now he's trying to do what he should have been doing all along and it may be too late for the Congressional elections.  By "campaigning" in between elections he would have at least given the impression he was fighting for what he promised and people wanted.  That would have helped maintain enthusiasm.

              The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

              by accumbens on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 05:23:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Folloshness (0+ / 0-)

                He has failed to get public support because (1) what he's done is seen as weak legislation, and (2) he's not communicated and activated his base about it.

                First, he hasn't failed to get public support. Presidential approval is primarily driven by the state of the economy, over which he had very limited control. A larger stimulus, which might have helped, was not possible when it could have helped. His level of public support are quite good given the state of the economy.

                What he has done is seen as weak legislation? Only by people who flunked Poli Sci  and American History 101. What he's done -- stimulus that stopped a depression, health care coverage for 32 million people, and major financial reform to prevent another crisis, to name a few things -- are huge, historic accomplishments. The only people who see it as weak legislation are ignorant people on the left who forgot (or never had a clue) that Congress existed, or how it worked, and imagined that Obama could just magically implement whatever he wanted.

                And Obama's communicated fine to the base. It's just that some people have been too busy shouting and whining at him to listen.

                •  er, that should say foolishness n/t (0+ / 0-)
                •  OK. You're right. You got me. I'm ignorant. (0+ / 0-)

                  And you failed to address the point about him not campaigning in between elections and being piss poor at selling his (so-called) achievements.  But then you might have to admit he actually isn't perfect.

                  The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

                  by accumbens on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 09:37:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Uh no. (0+ / 0-)

                    And you failed to address the point about him not campaigning in between elections and being piss poor at selling his (so-called) achievements.

                    I thought I had addressed campaigning between elections when I wrote that:

                    Fighting takes a different form between elections -- working with Congress to get the best policies for which the votes are available.

                    Campaigning doesn't necessarily help, and can actually be counterproductive for, that form of fighting.

                    But, in fact, Obama did campaign for the stimulus (even before being sworn in), health care, and financial reform.  And he campaigned in the Massachusetts special election.

                    But, ultimately, governing and campaigning are different things. And Obama's been busy doing the job we elected him to do: governing.

                    As for being "piss poor at selling his major achievements," that's just plain nonsense. He's explained those achievements clearly, for those willing to listen.

  •  If LBJ never asked for a vote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, jabney, neroden

    unless he had the votes, he also did what he needed to in order to get the votes.  That in a nutshell is the difference between LBJ and Obama.

    Proud member of the unpaid "professional left" since 8/10/2010 / Viva Canadian healthcare! Death to the Pentagon! Free Mumia!

    by Big Tex on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 07:29:16 PM PDT

  •  the Separation of Powers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ETF, amk for obama, ahumbleopinion

    Somehow there is a large segment of the population who think that the President of the United States is equivalent to the Supreme Ayatollah. Actually the president has strictly delimited powers. He is not even as powerful as a regular CEO is at his own company. A president can only exhort so much. At the end of the day, the Senate will do what the Senate does.

    Yes a president is said to have  the 'bully pulpit'. But let's be honest here. How many of you actually  watch the President's weekly address. HOw many of you even know which day of the week these addresses come out? How many of you even know there is such a thing? That should tell you how much of a 'bully pupit' he really has.

    •  More strawmen.... (0+ / 0-)

      Even if we accept that the President has no influence over Congress or the public -- he has influence over the executive branch.

      Which is where the worst atrocities of this Presidency have been going down.  Eric Holder's DOJ is inexcusable.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:45:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But, my friend, the Executive branch does not (0+ / 0-)

        make the laws. They function within the laws that Congress makes.  Like icemilkcoffee says, the President cannot command Congress.  He may be Commander-in-Chief but NOT of Congress.  
          But don't talk about "atrocities of this president."  That cheapens the suffering of the victims of real atrocities and creates a false illusion regarding the powers of any branch of government.  

        ...toward a better tomorrow.

        by Steve Love on Fri Oct 01, 2010 at 02:28:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Medicare was a compromise (3+ / 0-)

    Excerpted from "The Ghost of LBJ" by Ed Kilgore

    As for Medicare and Medicaid, the idea that LBJ came up with a bold set of proposals and ram-rodded them through Congress is wrong by all sorts of measurements. It’s important to understand that however important these health care entitlements became, they were at the time clearly major compromises from the progressive commitment, first articulated by Harry Truman, to enact national health insurance. Medicare, obviously, was offered only to retirees, not all Americans--a distinction that is cherished as a matter of principle by those Medicare beneficiaries who today oppose universal health coverage. Medicaid was even more of a compromise, eschewing national health coverage for a crazy quilt system in which the states would largely determine eligibility and benefit levels, with coverage generally limited to low-income families with children.

    Medicare and Medicaid also did not spring fully formed from LBJ’s head or his White House, and weren't enacted via royal disdain for Congress and the petty fiefdoms of the committee system. Federal health insurance for retirees was narrowly defeated in the Senate in 1960 and in 1962. It finally passed the Senate in 1964, only to succumb in the House when Democratic Ways & Means Chairman Wilbur Mills refused to support it. It was finally enacted in 1965, but only after Mills shaped the legislation, and also added Medicaid, intended as a sop to Republicans and the AMA, which had long proposed health care subsidies for low-income families as an alternative to national health insurance.

    So the myth of LBJ as the driven president demanding and securing progressive legislation against the grain of party, congressional prerogatives, and even public opinion, is an exaggeration, to put it mildly. LBJ showed great courage and resolution on civil rights, but he was riding almost a century of momentum, and he certainly didn’t reject bipartisanship in his effort to get the job done. The landmark health care initiatives of Medicare and Medicaid were “betrayals” of the long-established progressive goal of national health insurance--certainly far more so than, say, the substitution of a health care cooperatives for a “public option” in a system of universal health coverage.

    In the context of actually history as it authentically played out, devoid of nostalgic revisionism, it's clear that one of the great Presidential arm twisters used compromise to get through his greatest legislative achievements. Those scaled-back initiatives were constantly built on and we are better for it as a nation, that he didn't let the optics be the enemy of the politically possible.

    •  I appreciate your filling in the gaps in this (0+ / 0-)

      discussion.  The only straw men here are the visions of LBJ or FDR or any of our Democratic heroes being able to force through Congress the full-blown vision of their programs without revisions or dilution.  Your observation should help our more exuberant friends to take a more measured look at Obama's achievements and not be so negative.  If Obama fulfilled all the promises he made in the campaign he would be the FIRST President in history to do so.  ;-)

      ...toward a better tomorrow.

      by Steve Love on Sat Oct 02, 2010 at 08:52:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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