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Paul Krugman gives President Obama another well-deserved thumping on his lack of leadership, when his base, and the country, are crying out for strong, intelligent, and moral leadership in a time of crisis:

In retrospect, the roots of current Democratic despond go all the way back to the way Mr. Obama ran for president. Again and again, he defined America’s problem as one of process, not substance — we were in trouble not because we had been governed by people with the wrong ideas, but because partisan divisions and politics as usual had prevented men and women of good will from coming together to solve our problems. And he promised to transcend those partisan divisions.

This promise of transcendence may have been good general election politics....He could do uplift — but could he fight?

So far the answer has been no.

Krugman complains about his weakness, his lack of fight, his failure to show toughness.

Is that really what Obama's problem is?

It seems to me that what he has is a philosophical - or maybe a psychological - hump to get over. He believes in solving problems in a way that takes everyone's needs into account. He wants to make sure everyone is a winner, no one is a loser.

Part of me wants to cheer on that kind of approach. Who could argue that the world wouldn't be a better place if everyone dealt with the people around them that way?

Maybe, over a long period of time, things might even be able to be bent in that direction.

But in the short run - and the American political system is about very little except the short run - it's all just about winning and losing, baby. If you aren't winning, you're losing.

Obama can't seem to stand to let anyone lose. Even if it's the people who are trying to capture all the wealth and power for themselves at the expense of the middle and working class. Even if it's the bankers. Even if it's the people who are doing their damnedest to make sure he loses instead.

President Obama, some people SHOULD lose. AND IT'S YOUR JOB TO MAKE SURE THEY DO.

Originally posted to Th0rn on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:51 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your title's an excellent summary of the problem. (15+ / 0-)

    Giving everyone their turn at bat is fine for the four- and five-year-olds like my son, but by the time you get to Pony ball you must be able to make the cut or you don't make the team.

    Republicans are not serious about governing. They don't deserve to be treated as serious when they're so clearly behaving like thugs.

    The real enemy of the good is not the perfect, but the mediocre.

    by Orange County Liberal on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 12:12:36 AM PST

  •  You just coined the progressive talking point n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Th0rn

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican every time" Harry S. Truman

    by opticnerver on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 01:12:03 AM PST

  •  As far as Our Corporate Overlords (8+ / 0-)

    ...are concerned, Obama was the right man at the right time. That's why they overwhelmingly supported him financially over his boneheaded, stubborn Republican opponent.

    Krugman writes like a Monday morning quarterback, IMO. He's just keeping the kabuki (and himself) relevant.

    Regardless of who Our Overlords appoint as the next President -- and it could be Obama -- there is one thing we do know for certain:  The Defense sector and the Financial sector (which includes insurance) -- (along with the media monopolies that sit on their boards) -- will continue to be extraordinarily enriched.

    __________
    Some of us are Writing in the Raw these days. Join us.

    by Pluto on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 01:15:41 AM PST

    •  The Defense and financial sector (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, laker, Th0rn

      Two big winners right there.

      You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

      by redhaze on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 01:24:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Krugman's trying to consciousness-raise (4+ / 0-)

      Trouble is most of our elite, including Obama, just isn't willing to believe what the Republicans they're "compromising" with actually want: something approximating a fascist, theocratic dictatorship.

      Oh, just read Krugman of years ago for some details.

      http://books.google.com/...

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 02:10:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I prefer Einstein's economic writing (4+ / 0-)

        And when he pointed out that it was all a planned kabuki, I took that to heart and saw that it was true:

        Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones.

        The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society.

        This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature.

        The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

        Elections cannot change this pattern.

        There is no political solution for the problems of 21st century America.

        __________
        Some of us are Writing in the Raw these days. Join us.

        by Pluto on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 02:27:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's the "community organiser" mentality. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Th0rn

    Exspectamus et vigilamus: quod nolite somnamus.

    by tapu dali on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 01:35:19 AM PST

    •  Or.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Th0rn

      ...the "Kumbaya" mentality.  Both suck.

      Wilber

    •  YES! The President's 'Community' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Th0rn

      is the entire country...democrat, republican and independent, blue collar and white collar, laborer and lawyer, those on Social Security and those making $500,000+/year... and so on and so on.

      You get my point, but I'm sure you will disagree. And, any disagreement with my comments constitutes a bit of selfishness on the part of the far left (and the far right, for that matter). IMO

  •  And in Afghanistan he lets Petraeus... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, DarkestHour, laker, Th0rn

    ...be the de facto Commander in Chief.  I'm 59 and he's the weakest President since I was born.  I have more respect for the Republican presidents.  Yes they were assholes to one extent or another, but at least you had some sense that they were in control.

    "Yeah, like God couldn't play a better solo than that?" (reply to "Clapton is God" remark on You Tube)

    by dov12348 on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 02:17:37 AM PST

  •  Or, maybe Obama is just another (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, laker, Th0rn

    corrupt politician like all the rest of them.   If he's not, then he is twice as dumb as his supporters thought him smart.

    Don't tax the rich, starve the poor.

    by dkmich on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 03:00:24 AM PST

  •  Here's my two cents (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jiffykeen, lightshine, Th0rn, bewareofme

    You said something interesting:

    It seems to me that what he has is a philosophical - or maybe a psychological - hump to get over. He believes in solving problems in a way that takes everyone's needs into account. He wants to make sure everyone is a winner, no one is a loser.

    I think it's both philosophical and psychological in various ways.

    First, I think he's a brilliant man who was gifted with both a brain to think things through and the eloquence to put his thoughts into words. Philosophically, he can see both sides of a question. I forget who said it, but some pundit called him the most intellectual president since Woodrow Wilson. Obama is a college professor, not a pit bull.

    Second, his father left him when he was a kid (which isn't necessarily bad -- a lot of our country's great Presidents were raised by their mothers). He lived a few years in Indonesia -- where he learned to get along with other people as an outsider. Then he came back to America, where his black skin marked him as an outsider. So he learned to compromise, to make friends, and to fit in. He spent his life trying to avoid being perceived as the "angry black man."

    So now he's President and we're telling him to be a pit bull instead of a professor. To be an angry black man. To be more masculine ("I will conquer you!") instead of more feminine ("Let's see if we can agree"). I just don't think he can change his outlook. Which is probably good. And I'm really happy that we got Health Care Reform passed in the first two years. Thank you, Nancy Pelosi.

    Scientific method. Step 1: Form hypothesis. Step 2: Cackle loudly.

    by Dbug on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 03:34:35 AM PST

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