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The President has done Democrats  HUGE favor this past week.  Especially in the Senate.

I guess that meeting he had with Democratic Leadership on November 18 left him feeling worse than everyone thought.

At the White House meeting earlier in the day, Obama used the Oval Office sit-down to quietly push back on grousing by Democratic leaders about the lack of a coherent White House message on tax cuts, asking Reid for more clarity on what compromise his conference could ultimately agree on. But the legislative leaders, while cordial, offered up a wide array of proposals, none of which appeared to offer a clear path to passage, given the united front of opposition promised by newly empowered Hill Republicans.

What really happened at that meeting?

And why is all this GOOD for Democrats?

One administration official told POLITICO that Obama was so dispirited after his Nov. 18 meeting with the Democratic leadership that he decided, then and there, to place his faith in direct talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

We all remember that quote.  It's Politico, so please use the grains of salt you find necessary.  But the meaning is clear.  He couldn't make a good deal with Democrats that could get passed, so he turned to Republicans to get something done.

But this deal is not the ending.

Get used to deals like this.  

That's what he's going to have to do to pass anything at all through this Congress.  Think about it.  Senators like Sanders and Brown WILL filibuster much of the proposals coming from the House.  Legislation coming from the Senate will be watered down even further.  We all know this.

And it frustrates the hell out of us.

So one of the things the President did this week, was to get Congressional Democrats to actually FIGHT.  To actually engage.  I'm pretty sure this deal will pass, but there will be more sweeteners added.

And remember that the President, most of all, wants to be seen as someone who GETS THINGS DONE.  And unfortunately, that's his PRIME motivation.  He wants to be an "accomplisher".  After all, it's good political strategy to be seen as "doing things" and "getting things done".  Call it "caving" if you will, it seems he'd rather deal than "stand for principle".  Meaning he may deal with whoever will work with him to pass something.  Now I do believe him when he says he wants things to "move left".  Which means that if DEMOCRATS become the party of NO, he will have to cater to Democratic needs to get things passed.  And the path to that is clear.

Because think about the makeup of the Senate:  You will have 47 Republicans.  PLUS Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, Mary Landrieu, and one or two others.  That's MORE than 50, but less than 60.  So it will be up to a few Senators on the Democratic side to be able to say NO in order to get better deals.  And we also must pressure Reid to include some of those Senators when bills go to conference.

So, in conclusion, the President did us a HUGE favor by waking us up to what will be coming out of the new Congress.  

Let's make it US who he's "forced to deal with".

Originally posted to zenbassoon on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I still support the President, BUT (13+ / 0-)

    we have LOTS of work to do.  Let THIS be our uniting ground on which to fight Republicans.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:58:20 PM PST

    •   Let THIS be our uniting ground on which to fight (4+ / 0-)

      I agree.

      This day is call'd the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.' Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words-  Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,   Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-     Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

      Religion: Treat it like your penis. Don't show it off in public, and don't shove it down your children's throats. (-9.00,-8.41)

      by MinistryOfLove on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:16:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  President Obama did the nation a disservice (10+ / 0-)

    The tax cuts hurt us all. I would love to see them all expire. Shortly after announcing the "compromise" interest rates on treasury bonds started to rise, increasing interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages and new mortgages. Fewer houses will sell. Fewer new homes will be built. Businesses will pay higher rates for loans. Rates for loans for new cars will increase decreasing new car sales. Credit card companies will raise interest rates. All this from extending tax cuts. Think about it.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:02:45 PM PST

  •  I mostly agree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, zenbassoon, isabelle hayes

    If the public wanted the income gap and tax unfairness addressed they sure as hell wouldn't have voted in the Republicans, now would they have?

    They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

    by yet another liberal on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:08:16 PM PST

  •   "sweeteners" don't matter (6+ / 0-)

    What does?  Don't bend over for the sodomization of Social Security.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:08:56 PM PST

  •  "Sweeteners won't do" (8+ / 0-)

    The thinly veiled undermining of Social Security, the estate tax trickery must be undone.  If the Democrats stand for anything, this "deal" will be rejected.

    Perhaps you are right that Obama will learn he must deal with his friends and then deal with his enemies, but he seems confused as to who are his friends and who enemies. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:09:14 PM PST

  •  I hate artificial sweeeners, they are unhealthy (6+ / 0-)


  •  Yeah-he's getting shit done alright... (11+ / 0-)

    Helping the opposition party sow the seeds for something they were unable to do under the last five Republican presidents.
    I wish I'd seen this coming during the campaign-I could have saved some money and shoe-leather.
    If the GOP had common goals and were trying to help us build a house, then it's time for compromise. The problem is, they don't want to build a house-they want to tear it down and sell it for scrap. I prefer partisan gridlock, thank you very much.

    Just spitting out emails from my sanctimonious purity-castle.

    by porchdog1961 on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:15:21 PM PST

  •  LOL - I agree with the conclusion if not the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    awcomeon, zenbassoon, MinistryOfLove

    analysis.  You place way way too much faith in Obama as orchestrator of the results here.  Everything about both recent events and the entirety of his predisncey say otherwise.  Regardless, I agree with your conclusion -- we need to make ourselves a forec to be reconed with / scared of if we expect policy comingout of DC to recognize us

    •  Hey--I'm devious enough to have thought of it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      so I can't put it past anyone else.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

      by zenbassoon on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:20:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I so want what you are saying to be the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, zenbassoon

    truth, but even the President said that it is just like the Health Care debate.

    "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

    by ranger995 on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:20:05 PM PST

  •  I like the President, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    awcomeon, zenbassoon

    ...he completely misread his mandate from 2008 and fumbled away two golden years -- an historic, once in a lifetime opportunity -- on bungled negotiations with right wing crazies.  He (like Bill Clinton) may have discovered a brilliant strategy going forward from now, but I will not let go of what the past two years cost every cause I believe in for probably another generation.

    So bravo to him for figuring out how to triangulate in 2011, but our party is a wreck, the Republicans instead of being out of business now defacto control both houses, our rich are getting richer, our poor are getting poorer, and our artists are being harassed.  And that's before the GOP has even taken power!

  •  Thank goodness for Sanders and Brown. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mighty Ike, zenbassoon
    •  It's all for naught unless they get a few more. (0+ / 0-)

      Republicans will throw Reid and most of the moderates a few bones and the President will (I hope not) pressure them to "make the deal to get things done", which is why this is a teachable moment for the Democratic Congress.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

      by zenbassoon on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 04:32:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think Pres. Obama and surrogates will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ever take progressives and liberals seriously  until his poll numbers really sink into the basement.  

    It is fine to say that 85% of the base approves of and supports him.  But, which segments of the base are activist in actually getting Dems elected?  Which ones put their boots on the ground knocking on doors, making phone calls, writing LTEs, donating cash, organzing, and GOTV?  

    I have family members, friends, co-workers who often vote ONLY because I hound them mercilessly.  Some of them, I have to physically provide transportation to the polls for--am glad to do it, 'cause otherwise they would just sit home indifferently.  If asked now, they probably would say they approve of Obama because they don't listen to any news or bother to bestir themselves to learn one blessed thing pro or con about anything political.  Their favorite responses seem to be variations of:  "All politicians are the same.  Both parties are the same.  Nothing I say or do will ever matter.  I couldn't care less because all politicians are liars."

    So, yeah.  They "approve" of President Obama.  But, they will not get off their duffs to do one thing to support him or get him re-elected.  Not even vote, unless someone else harasses them into doing so.

    IMO, polls don't always or even usually tell the full story.  Some parts of the Dem base do a hell of a lot more work than other parts of the base do.  Our president would do well to remember that.

  •  The Politico quote, if accurate, would explain a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    lot. The Dems screaming about the compromise are very similar to the president's bashers on this site. They are very self righteous about their goals but have absolutely no idea on how to achieve them. Someone posted a link in another diary that explains it better than I ever could.

    Of all the pundits, I am most disappointed in Rachel Maddow on this tax cut  issue. She basically implied that the president had become a laughing stock.  That was a cheap shot. Olbermann and Schultz have basically talked themselves into irrelevancy with their hyperbole. See the link above for a typically ridiculous Ed Shultz. Don't get me wrong they are both good guys, but at this point they are more hindrance than help.

    Pres. Obama will unfortunately have to cut more deals like this because, as will become patently obvious to all over the next two years, the vast majority of the progressive critics/pundits and a significant number of the Dems in congress have become like a useless appendage.

  •  To build progressive muscle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Look at 2011 local elections:cumulative policy makes national policy, and local progressive activists become national ones

    While we should, justifiably, focus a lot of attention on the biggest 2011 elections coming up, we should also give equal attention to the smaller municipal, town and county elections (not to mention the often overlooked but surprisingly important homeowners and condo association elections) that will happen throughout the country this year.

    The first, and most obvious one is that cumulative local change equals large national change. The more elections from condo board to county board that produce actual policies, such as buying renewable energy, recycling, donating to food banks, et cetera, the more we affect real conditions. Local policy creates momentum for state and federal policy.

    Which leads to the next point: those who become civic-minded stay civic minded. The condo owner who votes for a recycling bin today supports county-wide energy savings tomorrow, votes for green state legislators next week, and supports progressive Congressional candidates down the line. Maybe the voter becomes a candidate her/himself.

    Social psychology provides ample proof of this phenomenon. Persuasion psychology pioneer Robert Cialdini conducted a fascinating and much-cited study in which people ramped up their level of commitment for a cause after taking a small action:

    This paper describes part of the study (emphasis added by TGW):

    Consider, for example, the "drive carefully" study. Researchers randomly assigned homeowners in a residential neighborhood to either a control group or an experimental group. A researcher, posing as a "volunteer," asked the homeowners in both groups if they would allow the volunteer to post a gigantic "Drive Carefully" billboard in their front yards. Each homeowner viewed a photo of the billboard demonstrating it was so large it would almost completely obscure the view of the house from the street.

    The only difference between the two groups was that two weeks earlier another "volunteer" had asked the homeowners in the experimental group display a three inch by three inch sign that read "Be a Safe Driver." The subjects in the experimental group, who complied with this seemingly innocuous request, were much more likely to agree to the gigantic billboards in their front yards: seventy-six percent of those in the experimental group versus a mere seventeen percent in the control group agreed to do so."Because they had innocently complied with a trivial safe-driving request a couple of weeks before, those homeowners became remarkably willing to comply with another such request that was massive in size.

    This site adds more information about the experiment:

    Moreover, in a further variant, the residents were first asked to sign a "Keep California Beautiful" petition. Two weeks later, they are asked about placement of the large billboard, and 50% agreed, even though the first request differed in subject (beauty) and action (signing)! The researchers theorized that the first action actually changed way the participants viewed themselves, e.g., "public-spirited citizens" in a way that influenced them to act in accordance with that view in the future .

    Key takeaway: small victories will lead to larger ones, and local elections are not anywhere near as heavy a lift as state or national elections.

    These victories can be on any number of issues, both substantive and symbolic (that is, publicity generating). Policies and attitudes can be changed: town councils can pass resolutions condemning or praising national initiatives; while these do not have the force of law, they have force in the court of public opinion . Every reported resolution against war or bigotry lets other know that there are progressive constituencies to tap.

    You can find local municipal elections by state and county easily enough through Google (I haven't found a comprehensive list yet, sorry

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:00:40 PM PST

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