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about Obama and his Bush tax cut compromise/capitulation. Like many progressives, I was angry at Obama for leading us on with his rhetoric about the unfairness of extending the upper-tier brackets and the negligible economic effect it would have on creating jobs. I also began to lose faith in his leadership; half-believing the pundits and commentators that he didn't know how to negotiate, that he got 'rolled' by the Republicans in the Senate. Even though, at the very end of his December 7 press conference, he said to reassure liberals, he was playing the long game, I still doubted the wisdom of his approach. However,with the victory on DADT and the New Start Treaty later today, Obama DID move the liberal cause forward. Who would have thunk it?

I wanted Obama to not only lead a liberal crusade against the growing wealth gap; but to act on it. To ideologically 'call out' the unfairness of supply-side economics and be willing to confront the GOP on the issue. He ended up gaving the Republicans something they REALLY wanted; a continuation of the general narrative on tax cuts that they have won with since 1978. However with the Bush tax cut compromise, he actually helped create the legislative environment where DADT repeal and the New Start treat could get passed. Bravo!

I should have reread a portion of my latest book, in which Obama's approach is both entirely predictable, and helps underdogs:

  Obama has consistently resisted efforts to be ideologically pigeonholed., According to him, it is the precise instant in time (not literally, but perhaps a time period in between political eras) the U.S. is in that makes ideological warfare unproductive for progressives.  He claimed that the most effective way to fight for the interests and values he believes in (which tend to be liberal and help out society’s underdogs) was to deemphasize the ideological component of public policies. As he wrote in 2006, “Ultimately … I believe any attempt to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in. I am convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.”

An atmosphere of hyper-partisanship and mean and unsophisticated political discourse serves the interests of conservatives. As Obama wrote in 2006, “A polarized electorate—or one that easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate—works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government. After all, a cynical electorate is a self-centered electorate.”  A self-centered electorate is not hospitable to public policies that seek to redistribute economic resources and political power to the struggling, the suffering, the discriminated against and the people most likely to lose: the underdogs.

It is the very idea of government; that it CAN work which is a floor for progressives. Without this floor, how can one legitimize government action on behalf of the less powerful? The majority will turn away from progressive policies because they will have seen nothing come from it. Just rhetoric. Obama's compromise enticed the Party of No to participate in governing. This makes the very idea of government more palatable to many Americans (yes, Independents) and helps out the LONG TERM strategy of progressives.

Obama consistently finishes the games he plays very strongly. The Obituary of Health Care Reform was written many times. He finishes strong again.

Update: Thanks to all who have responded so far. First, let me say that I have read Daily Kos almost every day for probably four years. It's just that I don't blog much on the site. Second, on some of the substantive points...I am too very worried and disturbed about the growing wealth gap...and the fact that the extension of the Bush tax cuts does nothing to close that. It even makes it worse. However the key, in my view, is to keep pressuring Obama to reform, but not lose sight of the context; the ideological reality of the USA, the severe employment crisis we are in, and the GOP takeover of the House...

I don't disagree with many of the comments made here; it's just important to remember context and recent past (remember George Bush?). On health care, he did finish great...by actually getting it passed. That doesn't mean that it necessarily needed to be as difficult as it turned out to be...

People care about competence in their government. Ideology is critical, absolutely. It is a matter of balance.

Originally posted to Karl Trautman on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:11 AM PST.

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    •  When Obama asked Clinton to help plead with us. I (164+ / 0-)
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      knew then that he cares. These naysayers' diaries miss the point and they may never be convinced so why bother.

      I have stopped reading the anti Obama diaries anyway because they are all beginning to sound like a broken record.

    •  I'm still very, very angry with Obama. (42+ / 0-)

      I don't view his broad rhetorical and policy surrender as positive for either the country or good policy.

      However, DADT did turn out much better than I thought it would. While he is obviously not the only one who contributed, especially in the end game, it was his long-term strategy that created the environment and built a crushing consensus.

      WRT START I'm much more ambiguous.  Everyone in the national security club seems to think it's very important.  Then again, most (all?) of those same people think that Hugo Chavez is a dictator so I'm more than a little skeptical that I live in the same universe as them. I'm just not into that kind of shit, I don't think American foreign policy should be based on dominating and subjugating other countries.  Since START is part and parcel of that universe, I could not care less about START.  Politically, it was a win for the president.

      I admit I could be wrong about how the next two years will go, and I hope I am.

      If we see the slashing of the entire social safety net, which I think we will, then how could I support the midwife to that?  I could not.

      If we see a government that actually addressed the desperation of the American people, I could again become a supporter.  I just can't imagine that happening right now.

      What I think will happen is that come time for the debt ceiling and budget showdowns, Obama will have painted himself into a corner.  He has, since his candidacy, embraced the deficit hawks' concerns as his own.  He has just linked SS and the deficit while blowing a gigantic hole in the the budget.  He has shown that he cannot stand to let taxes go up in a recession (which will still be occurring all next year and the following year).  I think he wants to be the "grown up" that slashes SS, and I think he honestly thinks it's both inevitable and better to have a Democrat do that than a Republican.  I vehemently disagree with him on both counts.

      We'll know relatively soon how that will play out... I believe that fight happens this spring.

      Right now, if polled, I would answer "Disapprove" to Obama, Congress, Congressional Dems and Congressional Republicans" and "Wrong Track" just based on where I see things headed.  Hopefully in the next tow years I'll see something worth backing come out the system.  I don't see how making incremental or even huge (in the case of DADT) progress on relatively narrow tactical fights while retreating broadly and quickly strategically advances the progressive cause.

      Perhaps Obama and Congressional Democrats will show me the error of my ways.  I hope so.  I want to back this president and this party.  I want to have a government that I believe does the right thing.  But right now, I just can't.

      Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

      by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:56:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  Which he proved by capitulating, time and (22+ / 0-)

          again, to the Republican demands, all in the interest of serving the great Broderism:  Bipartisanship!

          What I did not realize, when the President talked about how he was going to bring "change" to Washington, was that he meant "change" in the process.  I should have realized, from his 2004 speech, that it was far more important to him that "things" get "done" by a "bipartisan" process, than it was to accomplish--through the nasty blood sport of the ordinary political process--actual change that would benefit the 98% of Americans who make less than $250K per year.

          For the President, how it gets done is more important than what gets done.

          The means justify the end.  But a shite sandwich still tastes like shite, even if a bipartisan group of chefs whips it up.

        •  When Obama proposes cutting Social Security (10+ / 0-)

          in his state of the union address, you are going to back him then, too, aren' t you?

          Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

          by tamandua on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:37:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, right after (20+ / 0-)

            I demand to see his birth certificate and publish a diary about his Kenyan outlook on economics.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:53:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So is this... (4+ / 0-)

              an expression of disbelief that it will happen (the announcement of cuts to the social safety net) or an expression that opposition to it should it happen is equivalent to birtherism?

              Assuming the former, I hope you are right.  I really do... and if the payroll tax holiday is somehow 'fixed' either by letting it go back or by removing the tax cap, then that would go a long way to mend fences (with me at least). If I had confidence that Obama could navigate that minefield, I would not be nearly as upset about it (the tax deal).

              Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

              by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:33:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This, IMO, is one of those (8+ / 0-)

                talking points that has emerged from the bowels of the earth, probably started in Frank Luntz's hellish nursery of great ways to push Democrats over the edge.  Too many people are on that particular bandwagon, with absolutely no facts to back up the assertions.  It's similar to the whole DADT controversy - make shit up, sell it, stir it frequently, and  neutralize the Progressive activists.

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:11:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  It looks more like he's kicking the can (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                teknofyl

                down the road on SS: Undercut it's funding now with a payroll tax break that will be difficult to allow expiry on, given a recession with no end in sight.

                Future administrations will face a louder chorus of "kill SS before it drowns us in red!" Of course his actions since election suggest he's owned in some way, so maybe he'll be the one to give it the ax.

                I feel like I've lost any vested interest at this point: my retirement's as good as truncated. It's just numb curiosity that keeps me watching for who's going to whack it back.

                Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell - Edward Abbey

                by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:53:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  REally, you need to take a deep breath and (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  StepLeftStepForward

                  think about what you're saying.  The Republicans have been trying to kill Social Security since the day it began, and they haven't managed yet.  President Obama has no interest in killing off the program, you're buying into a disinformation program that is remarkably effective.  

                  Why not get active pushing for a way to get tax money from the really wealthy to help fund our government?  Think long game - 2012 will be here very quickly, and we should be organized to ensure that the wealthy share the burden equally.  

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 03:45:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  there is no shred of intellectual honesty in (0+ / 0-)

              your comment.

              Someone who would make such a comment would follow a leader chosen for unknown attributes no matter what he does.  obama is already, in his administration, seriously abusing the constitution re: bradley manning. you will tolerate anything, and justify it without logic, just a mannerism (birth certificate, as if what i said is remotely comparable) until you personally are affected. your slavishness is what paves the way for atrocities.

              Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

              by tamandua on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 09:31:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  There's zero evidence of that (11+ / 0-)

            When Obama proposes cutting Social Security in his state of the union address, you are going to back him then, too, aren' t you?

            A Politico article with no sources mentioned is not evidence that he's actually planning on doing that.

            There's no evidence that the Politico author has any idea what will be in the SOTU address. None.

            There's no evidence that any of the SOTU address' contents have been decided at this point in time.

            It was something that enflamed some users at this site, for sure. They went off the deep end, assuming it must be true, rather than treating it as it should have been treated! Some users here did that with the allegation that Assange was going to be indicted by America. But who told us that Assange was going to be indicted? Assange and Assange's lawyers, that's who. And they wouldn't be the folks who would know if an indictment was nearly completed. They have no insider knowledge, yet some folks here bought right into that CT because it fit their preconceived notions.

            No one here knows exactly what will be in the SOTU address. I don't know of many DK users who will be happy with any cuts to Social Security benefits - a few support means-testing for the richest recipients. But we shouldn't assert, as you basically did, that it's a done deal. Nor do you have any basis upon which to insult a whole group of users here, myself included, who simply want other users here to refrain from going off the deep end and reciting things as fact that are only unsourced rumor.

            •  care to make it interesting? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              teknofyl

              I'll put $100 on the line that Obama proposes cuts to SS in the upcoming SOTU.  Any takers?

              •  I won't (3+ / 0-)

                only because it'll happen in his 2013 SOTU. He won't dare put back the payroll tax or increase the cap during an election year, so that's when this "temporary" cut becomes permanent, blowing a great big hole in SS.

                Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

                by milkbone on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:26:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The issue wasn't if he might have it in there (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OIL GUY

                The issue was

                Can we say today that he's already decided that it's going to be in the SOTU address?

                And its inclusion in the SOTU, if that happens, won't mean that it was already going to be in there today!!!

                Correlation is not causation.

                It being in the SOTU (again, if that happens) won't tell us that the Politico author was correct in saying that the determination has already been made that it'll be in there!

                Let's use this example to make it simpler for you.

                A couple gets married. Someone else says "I bet they agree to get divorced in 5 years". They end up getting divorced in 5 years. Does that mean that they intended to divorce when they got married? Of course it didn't. There's no way to correlate the prediction of some outsider with the later decision to divorce.

                Now, it is possible that, if the woman is really rich and the husband signs a pre-nup that says that if they divorce in 4 or fewer years, he gets nothing, but if they stay married for 5 or more years, he becomes wealthy, he may have that intention when they got married - just stick it out for 5 years, then flee for the hills a rich man.

                But, absent that dishonesty, there's no way that one can assert that something happening in the future was pre-planned to happen in the future!

                •  I'm not really getting the distinction here (0+ / 0-)

                  does it actually matter when Obama decided to give in to right wing framing and accept a Social Security "crisis" and their "fixes"?

                  •  Yes, it matters a lot (0+ / 0-)
                    If one is trying to claim that we should listen to someone who says that something is going to happen, whether or not they know what they're talking about matters.

                    How is it that you don't know this? I mean, really!

                    If someone says that something is going to happen, but they are simply guessing at a future event, it matters.

                    Getting lucky with a prediction ain't the same as knowing that something will happen in the future.

                    Again, how is it possible that you don't know this?

        •  Not stylish anymore (8+ / 0-)

          Attacking a genuine ideological opponent is passe.  We must now only trash our allies.  

          "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

          by Triscula on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:48:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have anger to spare. (9+ / 0-)

          Seriously, I'm not some kind of fan of McConnell.

          I just don't think Obama is winning the battle.

          I don't care how pissed off Obama is.  Let's look at it this way... I'm a Cincy Bengals fan. I'm sure Bratkowski is pissed off that out offense couldn't score on a team comprised of 11 fully decomposed corpses... that doesn't mean that I want him back as offensive coordinator.  Sure he's "on my team" but I see him as one of the reasons we suck.

          Similar (not identical) thing with Obama. I see the constant retreat as one of the reasons we can't get progressive shit passed except in isolated battles where we spend way too much energy for way too little gain, even as we just give up on really imoprtant shit, such as ensuring that there is no link between the deficit and SS, given the obvious battle about to occur with the general premise of both sides being that deficit cuts are necessary.

          Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

          by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:59:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  comparing the Republicans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teknofyl

            to  fully decomposed corpses might describe their ideology and morality but it most certainly doesn't apply to their ability to play the game in Congress.

            •  No... they are very good. (3+ / 0-)
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              Aspe4, StevenJoseph, happymisanthropy

              That was strictly a statement about how utterly awful our offense is.

              Obama has to contend with a very savvy and unified GOP caucus who has made a straight-up gangsta decision that to unseat Obama and discredit liberals in general, nothing short of a completely dysfunctional government will do. Incredible stakes with a deadly opponent.

              Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

              by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:25:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  When Your Favorite Football Team Throws an (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hyperstation, teknofyl

            interception, who do you get mad at? Your team or the opposition for getting the pick?

            My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

            by Aspe4 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:45:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  How Do You Know Obama is Pissed Off? nt. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teknofyl, bluicebank

          My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

          by Aspe4 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:40:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Obama needs to go, but he's not the devil (48+ / 0-)

        A lot of people here think Obama is either God or the devil, he of course is neither.  He's not a Republican Trojan horse, he's not in the pocket of the banks, and he's not an FDR or Harry Truman who will fight for what they believe in.  He's a compromiser who believes in accomplishing something, no matter what it is.  He wants a high score of accomplishments at the end of his term, and he's not particular about what they are.

        That's the whole problem, this isn't the 1950's or 60's where we can have a professional manager as president.  This is more like the 1850's where the very existence of our country is at stake and we need REAL LEADERSHIP that will fight for what's good for America.

        A postponement of DADT or START, would be very bad, but it wouldn't fundamentally change the nature of our country.  The tax deal did.  It means devastating cuts in needed benefits to the most vulnerable in our society, and it helps the Oligarchs tighten their death grip on the government that is suppose to be of the people, by the people, for the people.  

        This is too critical to the survival of the country, he must go.  Beware of the Ides of March, that's when Armageddon will be fought.  If he really fights, I might change my mind.

        •  How many times has Chavez been elected (7+ / 0-)

          in free, fair and open elections?  By what criteria is he a dictator?

          Refusing to forget is our first act of defiance.

          by Eric Blair on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:32:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Never. (0+ / 0-)

            He stole most of the elections he participated in.

            •  That's just a fucking lie. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy

              Which makes you a fucking liar.

              Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

              by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:09:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  we could go on about how (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                prinmemo

                his control of the media (and, by extension, the thinking in the country) dwarfs the power of FOX and other conglomerates here and how that warps any election. When your opponents are constantly demonized in the press with little recourse does that make for a fair election?

                •  What the hell are you talking about? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy, ZAP210

                  The media in Venezuela is (for the most part) rabidly anti-Chavez, since they are basically a FOX-type of structure (that is, a few wealthy people who run it for the propaganda influence as much as for a profit).

                  I've been there a few times, and the assertion that the media is strangled is a joke. There are plenty of venues to express discontent with Chavez. In fact, it is inescapable if you are in Venezuela.

                  There is a state-run TV station and Chavez does make very liberal use of the bully pulpit. He, in general, actively and successfully campaigns for his policy priorities.  That does not make him a dictator - not even close.

                  Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                  by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:22:40 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't think it is appropriate (0+ / 0-)

                    for the head of a government to use the state-run TV station as a bully pulpit.  You don't see Obama using NPR in this way, and he shouldn't.

                    The press should be 100% free.  Not 90%, not 95%, but 100%.

                    •  A Little Off-Subject But (4+ / 0-)

                      NPR isn't owned by the federal gov't. It's a private non-profit corporation that produces radio shows for public radio stations to buy. Armed Forces Radio and Voice of America would be our the closest examples of state-owned (federal) media.

                      My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                      by Aspe4 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:52:51 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Well that's fine that you think that. (4+ / 0-)

                      First off, NPR is not state run.  It's partially funded by the government, but it is not state run.

                      The fact that Chavez has publicly televised addresses is what makes him a dictator?  That's just ridiculous.

                      Venezuela had a state run television station.  Fine that you don;t agree with that, but your disagreement doesn't make Chavez into a dictator.

                      Does the fact that he won in several elections that are universally recognized as clean mean anything to you?  Does the fact that all of his reforms have been pursued through constitutional means not count for anything?  Does the fact that he has had both victories and defeats in the public arena, highly visible not secret, not give you the slightest bit of pause in declaring him a dictator?

                      Dictator does not mean "person whose policies I disagree with."

                      Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                      by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:55:41 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I see you're incredibly civil. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CalliopeIrjaPearl

                You must be part of Chavez's little mafia.

                There are other extremists in Latin America, like Ortega in Nicaragua.  As a Nicaraguan, I know plenty about the situation there, so don't dare tell me you know more.  I know for a fact that in my hometown the Sandinistas sent thugs out to beat up folks they knew would vote for Ortega's opponents.  Those folks went home not having voted because they risked their bodily integrity if they dared to vote their conscious.  That's not democracy.  That's voter intimidation.  And it's wrong.  Those tactics were copied from the Chavez regime in Venezuela.

                •  You are fucking nuts. (0+ / 0-)

                  First off, I'm not talking about Nicaragua.  I'm talking about Venezuela. I've not claimed any special knowledge of Nicaragua, just what I've read in the papers here (which are incrdibly anti-Ortega).

                  And you are full of shit. No one has been beat up in Venezuela for not voting for Chavez. I'm not sure where you are getting that from, maybe just pulling it out of your ass... but it's just insanity. The last several elections have been internationally monitored, including by Jimmy Carter's group... and declared clean.

                  Am I saying that there is nothing improper happening in the entire nation of Venezuela? No. But systemic, violent oppression like you describe... is just not happening.

                  You are a fucking liar. Sorry if that's not civil, but you are not acting civilly by just tossing random lies out there.

                  Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                  by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:09:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have plenty of Venezuelan friends. (0+ / 0-)

                    And I have made visits to Venezuela, too.  I know what I am talking about.  You are an asshole.  We can agree to disagree, but you've taken it way too far.  Chill the fuck out.  Or perhaps get some sense of happiness in your life so you don't resort to just jumping all over people that disagree with you.  Fucking asshole.

          •  Legally?..chavez was elected (0+ / 0-)

            only the first time--the rest have been like Karzai!

        •  That's just stupid. (3+ / 0-)

          But thanks for illustrating my point.

          Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

          by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:39:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  He was elected fair and square more than once. (4+ / 0-)

          When did he become a dictator, according to your view?

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

          by lotlizard on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:51:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I understand your anger and disappointment (14+ / 0-)

        but change is usually slow and incremental.
        Today's Medicare and Social Security have changed significantly from their original legislation decades ago, thanks to Democrats/Progressives that pushed step-by-step to include more of us.
        Democratic boomers have been pushing for national healthcare for decades. We didn't get entirely what we wanted and believe we need with Obamacare, but at least it moves us forward and provides a framework to build on.
        The next generations will continue moving us toward single payer/public option. But unfortunately many of those we're relying on to fight and push for better healthcare, didn't even vote in the midterms, or have given up on the Democrats.

        •  Wrong (13+ / 0-)

          The bill that was passed strengthens the health insurance industries, big Pharma and the health provision industries.  They have an enormous vested interest in preventing us from having a single payer system.  The bill will consequently make it more difficult for us to transit to a single payer system.

          Refusing to forget is our first act of defiance.

          by Eric Blair on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:36:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are mixing truth with falsehood, (11+ / 0-)

            The bill that was passed strengthens the health insurance industries, big Pharma and the health provision industries.

            No, it doesn't. Why do you think these interests were spending millions and millions of dollars to try to prevent the healthcare bill from passing?
            Why do you think they continue to fund legal and political challenges against the passed legislation?

            They have an enormous vested interest in preventing us from having a single payer system.

            Yes, they do.

            The bill will consequently make it more difficult for us to transit to a single payer system.

            No, it won't. It is a step towards universal health care in that the worst abuses of the industry are specifically limited or made illegal.  Perhaps not the huge step you wanted, but a step in that direction nevertheless.

            faith is no substitute for empirical evidence

            by Rudyard on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:56:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There were some good things in there. (12+ / 0-)

              That's why they fought it.

              Things like the pre-existing exemption exclusion.  This was a huge problem, and this law addressed that... partially already, and fully much later.  That's fantastic. The clinics B. Sanders got in were great too, as was the Medicaid expansion.  Children getting to stay on their parents insurance as well.  All of these are fantastic. I really do appreciate these strides forward.

              None of these move the ball forward in terms of establishing single-payer, however. Now I happen to be of the firm opinion, established before Obama, that single-payer is the only fair and comprehensive way to go long-term.  So that's where I'm coming from. If you get all of that (which Obama did) but you moved single-payer back... then I don't think it was a net gain. I just think that it's that big of an issue long-term.

              And if there had been a public option, however weak, or an expansion of Medicare, however tiny, then you could say that he had moved the ball forward on single-payer.  Giant subsidies and an individual madate do the opposite. They give the insurance companies more resources to wage the next battle.

              I'm not trivializing the gains made, but I honestly think that the cost we paid was too high. We helped a lot of people, did a lot of good... but to do it, we left them in the hands of the same people who put them in this situation and we gave those bad people even more weapons to use next time.

              The president was right... the tax cut furor was a lot like the PO fight.  It really boils down to whether you view that kind of tactical victory as a strategic defeat.  He and his supporters do not, and I do. It's as basic as that.

              Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

              by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:19:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  single payer is not the only model (4+ / 0-)

                that can and does provide substantially better health care than what we have now. Demanding it as the only valid endpoint really does limit your view and strategy.

                •  It does limit you when... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aspe4, happymisanthropy, ZAP210

                  you think you know what the result is supposed to look like.  Anything that doesn't move you toward that goal is not progress under your definition.

                  And it's not the only way that's better than what we have, that's true. I think it's the only way that is universally just and economically viable in the long term.  I was OK with a compromise, though... like the PO.  I am not OK with just saying fuck it all together, which was how the law turned out.

                  The clinics and the Medicaid expansion were good steps in this direction though.  The fact that they were done under the radar and that in the public debate the president completely abandoned public sector remedies is what I'm talking about.  Overton Window... you know what I'm saying, I hope.

                  Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                  by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:15:19 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I was thinking of countries (3+ / 0-)

                    that have no public option - the ones with non-profits regulated within a hair of their lives. I honestly think that that path is far more likely to be palatable to the american public. There's no single payer but the system provides equivalent care.

                    •  There are many viable systems. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      hyperstation, HCKAD, nickrud

                      I happen to have had very positive experiences with the Canadian and Venezuelan systems. My history with the American system (I'm from here and have many more experiences with it) have been more mixed.  I've had great doctors and terrible doctors, but the constant has been the fact that the system is absolutely driven by your ability to pay (of course if you have coverage, then your company's willingness to pay).

                      You may be right about highly-regulated non-profits. Such a system is fine... but the new health law does nothing to bring that about either, so for the purposes of that discussion I'd lump that in with single-payer as shit that is not even on the table.

                      We are so far away from a workable system that specifics like the distinction between a highly regulated non-profit delivery system and single payer don;t even come into play. But I get your point... they are two different ways of addressing the massive leaking of health care funds into profits. Either approach would have a long way to go, from a public support standpoint.

                      I'm just disappointed that the ball was moved backward in terms of building popular support on this goal. Feeding the profit machine is not going to solve the long term issue.

                      Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                      by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:11:38 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I personally (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Rudyard

                        see this statement that the Feds do have the right to regulate medical care for other than the indigent and the elderly, while not as extensive as I'd like, is a first step along the path towards that non-profit regulatory system. The major players in many states are already non-profits (at least nominally) which makes us much closer than one might think.

                        But that first step is an absolute doozy. Which is why I think that why,  with mandated customers and all, the medical industry is fighting tooth and nail against it.

                  •  The Medicaid expansion (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    HCKAD

                    was NOT a good step. Medicaid is a disaster. It's third-rate care for poor people that's in deep financial trouble, and now we're dumping tens of millions more people into it. No one want to treat these patients. The states can't afford their share. It's a mess.

                    I was open to more than one solution, but not to strengthening the current payment system, where providers get vastly different payments for different classes of patients - a big incentive to giving them different levels of care, a perpetuation of the cost-shifting that distorts the prices of all health care services, and an unnecessary constant political battle over allocating limited funds to different public systems for different constituencies.

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

                    by denise b on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:52:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  It's Easier for Health Insurance Companies (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                teknofyl, happymisanthropy

                to tell Joe Six Pack that we need to repeal "Obamacare" as a whole than it is to only state the specific pieces of the bill the industry hates that it really wants gone. In essence, they would rather have things the way they were before health insurance reform passed rather than have both the provisions that help and hurt their industry.  

                My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                by Aspe4 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:59:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well my goodness. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rudyard

                Do you honestly think that single payer would even be a discussion point without forward progress on health care reform at some level?  

                Do you really believe that the health care reform act was a step backwards?  Do you understand how this sounds to a casual reader???

                This is my frustration.  The insistance that anything not being done in the way you see it from your prospective is not moving in the right direction.  In what world?

                If any form of single payer could have passed, it would have, but it couldn't and it didn't, but this is a START. Instead of looking at it from a POV that it could have been done better by your way, how about viewing this as the foundation that can lead to what you ultimately want?

                Damn!  This is how government works, people.

                "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

                by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:45:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  The health care bill was written by industry (11+ / 0-)

              It's, in fact, based largely upon the Republican health care bill of the 90's.

              They got what they wanted.  The biggest things they didn't want: single-payer was killed in the crib, while the PO and drug reimportaion were knifed behind the scenes by the Administration itself.  Ironically/tragically, two of the strongest options to actually control costs in favor of the consumer.  Insurance co's and pharma are ecstatic with the bill, which is fitting as their flacks wrote it.

              The few bitter pills they had to swallow are dwarfed by what they got.  Ultimately, the bill was a ratification and entrenchment of the for-profit insurance system as the ONLY model we're allowed.  Which is an inherently immoral model.

              In essence, you're sacrificing a dozen steps backward for a couple steps forward.  That's regression, not progression.

              We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. -FDR

              by gila on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:59:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Not necessarily wrong (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teknofyl, happymisanthropy, ZAP210

            I predict that HCR will be such a failure (and its supporters will blame the Republicans for defunding it) that states (with Democratic asssemblies and governors) will be forced to use the Sandeers Ammendment and go to single payer.

            •  Interesting possibility. (3+ / 0-)

              That involves a lot of human suffering on the way.

              Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

              by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:21:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  that was going to happen regardless (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                teknofyl, FiredUpInCA

                i think Obama managed to do less harm than all the other viable possibilities.

                •  That's what I don't agree with. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy

                  A president can make things viable, and I think he could have made that a possibility if he had backed it.  Looking at what he did, I would say tepid support is the most charitable thing I could say about how he handled the PO. I think he decided very early on that it was not viable (and you seem to agree with him).

                  But that cuts both ways... now that Obama has decided it's not viable, it isn't.  I'll probably hold that against him for the rest of my life.

                  Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                  by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:10:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  not without some help from Congress (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    teknofyl, FiredUpInCA

                    A president can make things viable

                    you're not providing a solution here.  just more cynicism.

                    •  No I'm not providing a solution. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      hyperstation, Deep Texan

                      I wasn't aware that the president was surveying random comments on DKos for strategy tips.  I'll try to have something more useful for him next time.

                      I was not pretending to provide a strategy going forward, I was simply expressing my thoughts on the subject at hand.

                      Presumably a president has the support of his party in Congress.  So yes, by deciding to throw his weight behind it, a president can, more or less single-handedly, make something viable.  Not get it passed, but make it a possibility.

                      I assume that if the president had strongly backed the public option, he would have has some not-insignificant support in Congress.  That's not even an assumption... he did have it.  Were there enough votes at the start? No. Could it have been enough had he fought for it? I think so, he obviously did not... we'll never know. That moment has passed and he didn't fight for it.  We've seen what it looks like when he fights for something, and that is not what his support looked like in the case of the PO.

                      And yes, at this particular moment I am very, very cynical. I'm not hiding that, nor do I apologize for it. If you want enthusiasm, there's a BWD photodiary somewhere. If you want strategy proposals, why you would look in this comment thread is beyond me.

                      Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                      by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:04:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  venting frustrations is fine (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        teknofyl

                        my point re: solutions is you claim to think it was possible.

                        i say then how? exactly how did you think it could have been done better, that was an option.  prove your case.  i would love to debate the finer details of passing legislation in our crappy congress.

                        otherwise you are just venting, i understand that, but don't tell me there was another way.  

                        •  It's a general point, not a plan. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Deep Texan

                          The general point is that presidents can make otherwise non-starters viable by virtue of their unique position as both PotUS and de facto head of their party.

                          How could I prove my case about what I think was possible had Obama behaved differently? I'm having trouble even thinking of what that evidence would look like.

                          One of two things happened with the public option: either Obama never really wanted it or thought it was viable (because I think in his case, his wanting it is predicated on its viability - whatever it happens to be) and it was tossed out at the beginning as a bargaining chip. The more generous (from my perspective) interpretation is that he quickly came to the conclusion that it was not a fight he could win, so he got what he could from it. Either way, it wound up being a bargaining chip... he bought something from the Pharma and Insurance industries by killing it, though they may have double crossed him since he sure as hell got a lot of blowback on the whole process. He then duplicitously pretended to support it after he had decided to kill it to not bleed support from people for whom this was a key part of reform (such as me).

                          Those are (what I see as) the facts of the case. I realize that many, probably most, Obama supporters don't think he made that deal... that the source for that story was unreliable, and the White House denied making it. Looking at the whole of the debate, I don't reach that same conclusion but I'm not going to pretend that mine is the only reasonable conclusion.

                          So what would have changed if he had decided at teh beginning that the Public option was as far as he was willing to go... that it was not a bargaining chip? Looking at how much he wins when he really backs something, I think it he would have gotten the votes... he could have watered it down quite a bit to get in in there and it would have been something we could have built upon.

                          I concede though, that I could be wrong. I'm not always right... I base my opinions and my political support on the best information I can give myself and the conclusions that I come to after carefully looking over what I have available.

                          Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                          by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:25:00 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  thanks for the polite conversation (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        teknofyl

                        we're on the same team...  i don't think we have called each other names but it happens..

                        so what forget about it.  we're still working towards the same goals.  even if we disagree on the trajectory, strategy or progress made.

                        ;)

                        •  True dat. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Deep Texan

                          And by the way... I agree that Obama has faced a tough road and implaccable opposition. It's been an unprecedented political environment and I don't think anyone was ready for how toxic it has become.

                          I have been extremely pissed over the last two months or so... I'm slowly calming down.  Looking at things in the fresh light of the DADT repeal, which I honestly gave zero chance of passing once the commission was made.

                          So much of it boils down to whether and how much you trust Obama, especially since there are two factions of the Democratic party vying for really different policies. That was kind of my point... when conservative and liberal Democrats in Congress disagree, then it will likely come down to which policy the PotUS backs.

                          Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

                          by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:29:27 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  As soon as states come up with the money. (0+ / 0-)

              Unlike the federal government states have to borrow to create deficits. Kind of tricky when Goldman Sachs has you by the balls a la Greece.

              Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell - Edward Abbey

              by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:13:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  RE your tag line. . . (14+ / 0-)

        for someone who's a "chump", he keeps gettin' stuff done.  A lot of stuff.  Maybe not to your precise liking, but it is forward progess, which is more important than languishing in ideological fights that help no one.

        An Obama presidency can't make up for over 30 years of conservative rule.

        by Dailyfare on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:16:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I don't see a lot of forward progress. (8+ / 0-)

          Obviously you do... we are almost certainly looking at different aspects of this Congress in addition to evaluating some of the same things differently.

          A lot of people, including nearly all of Obama's supporters but even some who aren't as happy with him, see the HIR law as a step forward. While it had some good aspects, I don't see it that way.  It's a lot like the tax cut deal (where you basically introduced a poison pill establishing for the first time a link between social security and the deficit)... a short-term 'victory' that you can put on your 'list' that was achieved by surrendering vast ideological ground while simultaneously working against progress in the long term (in that case, you handed a bunch of money over to the very people that will fight any efforts a reform, at the same time Obama's complete dismissal of both single-payer and the public option has likely maimed them as viable policies, politically speaking, for a while. The argument writes itself, "Even socialist Barack Hussein Obama admits that the public option is trivial and unnecessary!" - fade to Obama's vitriolic speech to liberals dismissing the public option as stupid and trivial).

          My beef is NOT with small steps.  It is with full-scale retreat in the ideological and policy arenas. I just don't see subsidizing the health insurance industry, cutting taxes, poisoning social security and buying into the deficit chickenhawks' bullshit as progress. The stimulus and FineReg were too unambitious from the start, and we went backwards from there... they were better than nothing, but again... to gain that little bit of practical ground he ceded the argument completely.

          I know that many don;t see it that way, but to characterize my position as not happy because I didn't get as much as I wanted is just not true. I am looking at the overall package and I don't see a lot of progress, but I see a lot of philosophical ground - vital to making the case for suture progress - completely abandoned.

          Like I said... I could be wrong.  I hope I'm wrong.  If the last two years is what you are holding up as success, though, then I am not wrong.

          Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

          by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:52:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's your problem. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teknofyl, OIL GUY, Gay CA Democrat

            My beef is NOT with small steps.  It is with full-scale retreat in the ideological and policy arenas.

            Let's revisit the premise of this diary for a minute:

            Obama has consistently resisted efforts to be ideologically pigeonholed., According to him, it is the precise instant in time... the U.S. is in that makes ideological warfare unproductive for progressives.  He claimed that the most effective way to fight for the interests and values he believes in (which tend to be liberal and help out society’s underdogs) was to deemphasize the ideological component of public policies. As he wrote in 2006, "Ultimately ... I believe any attempt to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in. I am convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose."

            Obama has not abandon his ideology.  It's that he will not allow his ideology to influence his greater responsibility of governing.  He has to govern over numerous ideologies -- many of which conflict with one another.

            I don't have any problems with your ideology.  We need to have purists because it keeps us all honest in the long run.  However governing this country will always be from the center -- whatever form that center takes.

            I respect your sense of disappointment, but I also don't agree with it.  In my version of a utopic world, I would have no wars and everyone would be prosperous and healthy and happy.  But in the world of which I have to operate in, everyone doesn't share my view of the world so I have to work to make it the best place that it can be for me.  That means on a larger scale, I get some of what I want.  

            That's how I process things.

            With respect to the President, there is no way I can view passing some form of health care reform as a step backward because it didn't include some measure of single payer.  The way I see this is that the measure opens the door for the first time in this country to progress towards universal health care for all.

            "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

            by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:05:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was pretty clear with what my problem is. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buckhorn okie

              I don't think you can divorce making a public case for your ideology from good governance. That's how you make progress... by convincing the public that the next step is A instead of B because of C, where A is your preferred policy, B is the oppositional policy and C is the ideological underpinning of that choice from your perspective.

              The way Obama is doing it, I think you wind up with a bunch of actions taken in isolation. Actions which can and will be reversed... as we may see as soon as next year with defunding of the new law. If the case for it was tepid, then crippling it will have very little political cost for the GOP.

              I get that you think it was a step forward. I don't see it as being that clean. It was a step forward that ensured two steps back, since he made a very weak case for based on a lot of technical points predicated on long term estimates - there is no "demand" for the new law out there. In addition, he has subsidized the people who will be fighting the next round of reforms. So he paid for his bullets today by selling advanced weaponry to his opponents or tomorrow.

              I get the idea of compromise, I'm fine with it. Everyone keeps acting like people who aren't happy with the tax cut deal or the health insurance reform law are upset at the generic idea of compromise. The devil is in the details, as they say. I am disappointed with the details of the HCR law. I could be wrong about how those will play out. I am upset about the details of the tax compromise. I could be wrong about how those paly out. I am absolutely, viscerally upset about the rhetorical retreat from this administration. I don;t see how your policies can endure when they are both half-ass/watered-down and no strong philosophical case has been made from them. You either need a very good argument or a very strong,visible effect. The health care law has neither, which is why I don't see it as a step forward. It's too brittle to build on.

              But, hey... I could be wrong. I look at this stuff every single day. I can admit when I'm wrong. I hope to admit that about both the SS cuts I see coming and the HCR law being weak and fragile.

              Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

              by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:01:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Lost generation? (3+ / 0-)

        No, they've been cast away with the tax bill and coming "austerity." George Carlin would enjoy that word.

      •  You don't sound angry. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teknofyl, DollyMadison

        You sound worried.

        You sound worried that the President either doesn't have a good plan to accomplish his stated goals, or doesn't know how to execute his plan.  

        It's like riding shotgun in a car and hitting an imaginary brake pedal when a child runs into the road. If you warn the driver repeatedly about upcoming obstacles, you'll eventually annoy him and other passengers.   It's less stressful to trust that the driver saw the child and will react properly.

        Our President is teh awesome!

        by GMFORD on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:55:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've got to agree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie, teknofyl, milkbone, ZAP210

        on the view of how Obama has been setting up his "long game."  He has scheduled at least two major confrontations over taxes, deficit, and inequality by virtue of the tax deal expiration date and the debt ceiling problem.

        Further, the tax cut deals furthers what I'll call Reich's Consumer Economy Coping Mechanism #2: Shaking out any semblance of asset value or savings away from the middle and lower classes and feeding them to the furnance of our financier-owned economy.  It started with credit cards, went into home equity, and with this "tax holiday" will proceed with hollowing out Social Security.  People will retire poorer for a few quarters that stocks stay a couple of points higher.

        All DADT illustrates is the meme that passes around here in that the Democrats are Republicans that happen to breathe through their noses (that is, not requiring the nation to live with 12th Century ideas on social order, women in the kitchen, queers on the streets, etc.).  You got moderate Republicans and Democrats together on an issue that is very important from the negative freedom point of view (the small-minded can't stop you from doing what you want) but allows them to remain very antagonistic to positive freedom (all your rights down mean much if your stomach is growling 24/7; anyone with a half-eaten soup bone can make you a slave).

        As commented on this level along, New START doesn't change much in the game except making Russia a little less nervous about us and securing a few more loose nukes.  It's patently stupid that this was an issue in the first place, so it's not a huge victory except in how our expectations have been lowered such that any Senate legislation is a reason to cheer.

        But, we still have a fundamental problem that leads to our disappointment.  We're waiting for Obama's Race Speech on the government.  About how taxes aren't a burden to be shouldered but are the price for a functional government.  And how a non-functional government doesn't mean more freedom, just that a less beneficent force will step into the power vacuum.  And how government is about empowering the citizen and the consumer against the abuses of unchecked power by those who aspire to be the New American Royalty.

        So, that's how all that goes together.

        •  unfh . . . body blows . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buckhorn okie, teknofyl

          . . . Shaking out any semblance of asset value or savings away from the middle and lower classes and feeding them to the furnance of our financier-owned economy.  It started with credit cards, went into home equity, and with this "tax holiday" will proceed with hollowing out Social Security.  People will retire poorer for a few quarters that stocks stay a couple of points higher.

          . . . About how taxes aren't a burden to be shouldered but are the price for a functional government.  And how a non-functional government doesn't mean more freedom, just that a less beneficent force will step into the power vacuum.  And how government is about empowering the citizen and the consumer against the abuses of unchecked power by those who aspire to be the New American Royalty.

          Sometimes truth wants complexity. Seldom do voters. Can those be condensed into twelve words or less? Do I hear a "drill baby drill"?

          Maybe, "Government of the people, for the people, and by the people . . . "

          Maybe, "Let's take back what was stolen . . ."

          Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell - Edward Abbey

          by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:23:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The top one (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buckhorn okie

            should be easy.  "Reaganism was about the Republicans holding the arms of the middle class behind their backs while the rich beat them and took their life savings."

            For the bottom one, I'm trying to combine Lakoff's "untellable truths" (a good brand there itself for the conspiratorially-minded) about the power vacuum left by a retreating Federal government, his "government exists to empower citizens" and some stuff from the Government is Good website.  But maybe the choice between an Involved Democracy and where the 9-5 Corporate Tyranny extends to after-hours as well?

            Or maybe moving from one job "paying to life free" to two or three jobs "living to pay" or something ...

          •  Or perhaps simply... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buckhorn okie

            you have been robbed and people like the Koch brothers spent millions to make you invite the robbers to your home for coffee.

        •  Obama's Race Speech on the Government (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teknofyl

          To OdinsEye2k:

          Thank you for your comments. You write "We're waiting for Obama's Race Speech on the government.  About how taxes aren't a burden to be shouldered but are the price for a functional government.  And how a non-functional government doesn't mean more freedom, just that a less beneficent force will step into the power vacuum.  And how government is about empowering the citizen and the consumer against the abuses of unchecked power by those who aspire to be the New American Royalty."

          Well said! I am waiting for that too. That type of speech would be only used if Obama needs to. He may make such a speech in the next two years in a showdown moment (or moments) with the GOP. Remember that the speech on Rev. Wright was made when his campaign was in real danger of imploding.

          Moreover, the majority of Americans, at least since 1984, don't view themselves as liberal. And I believe the speech you describe he should make would be, interpreted as liberal (even though it may actually be more nuanced)by the mainstream media...

      •  You could not be more wrong IMHO (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teknofyl, Gay CA Democrat

        If you really think the President is out to slash social security on some clandestine mission, it's just laughable.  It's like the comments here yesterday saying that the President wouldn't sign the repeal of DADT.  Really?  

        •  I didn't say it was clandestine. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hyperstation

          I said explicitly that the reason I thought that is his public comments. Specifically, his repeated buy-in of deficit concerns, his unwillingness to cut taxes and his numerous statement to the effect of "sacrifices are coming."

          I never thought that he wouldn't sign it, but I did think it would die on the vine of the Senate and be abandoned by the PotUS. I gladly eat crow on that prediction!

          I'm a little more open to seeing how his 'plan' plays out WRT to the Payroll Tax Holiday because of DADT. If he can navigate it w/o cutting the social safety net, then I'll gladly eat crow on that, too.

          I am not hoping for Obama to fail at achieving good things, I am worried that he will achieve bad things.

          We'll see... I think at lot of issues will come toa head in the next year. The 2012 situation (from my perspective) will look much less muddy, in terms of whether progressives (again from my point of view, I don;t claim that all progressives /liberals haveto agree with me) have an honest-to-Thor champion, a decent negotiator who's more of a caretaker than a game-changer, an ineffective piss-ant or an effective Democratic President whose agenda is so different from ours that it's insane to call it the same party.

          Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

          by teknofyl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:44:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Obama specifically declared SS and Medicare (0+ / 0-)

          cuts as "on the table" for his catfood commission, even though they do not affect the deficit.  When a Democratic President puts SS and Medicare cuts on the table, and agrees to continue tax cuts for the ultra rich, it's time to question his strategy, tactics, ideology, and party loyalty.

          Oh, and political parties have ideologies and they can be found in their platforms.  I hope the President has at least read the Democratic Party Platform, I know I have.

    •  I have believed in his strategy from Day One but (23+ / 0-)

      then I'm a pragmatist and a little cynical.  I don't live in absolutes and don't like the "purity" rhetoric coming now from some on the left which makes us no better than Republicans.  He needed to compromise on the tax deal, in order to get people like me, middle class, continued relief from taxes; to get people who are unemployed an extension of their benefits so they would not go through Christmas without any money at all. I understand his thinking, he had no choice because the Democratic leadership in Congress were too afraid to act before the election; too many Democrats stayed home Nov 2 and we lost the House, and Republicans hate helping those making under 2 million dollars a year, so this was his way out.

      Way to Go President Obama!

      •  I would be OK (9+ / 0-)

        with compromise on the tax deal only AFTER they made republicans vote against extending just the middle class tax cuts over and over and over again.  We needed to hang this around the republicans neck and fight the fight so that americans who generally don't pay attention started to pay attention.

        What a wasted oportunity to show the difference between republicans and democrats.  

        "I want you to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable." -- Barack Obama.

        by ScienceMom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:22:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OH Enough Already (10+ / 0-)

          What part of we didn't have time to play these political battles do you people not understand.  If you have republicans in the minority who are willing to say no to everything when Democrats are in power and with firm public support behind democratic proposals, what makes you think any kind of public flogging would make them change pace?  I just don't get some of the thought processes that happen on this site.  The deal happened because there was likely no way in hell anything better would be achieved come next congress.  Now you may like to play games with people living on UI.  But I know too many people that depend on that extension.  It's amazing how the party of the people are so quick to sacrifice the neediest amongst us in order to wet themselves with moral superiority.

          •  Oh how Charming (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hyperstation, buckhorn okie

            No one wants to play games with people living on UI and no one wants to sacrifice the neediest amoung us.  You have read way too much into my comment.

            "I want you to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable." -- Barack Obama.

            by ScienceMom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:17:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Plenty of time (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hyperstation, buckhorn okie

            Your conclusion that we did not have time to fight the fight (and highlighting the difference between the two parties)is unfounded.

            This WAS a winning issue for Dems. They knew the Bush tax cuts were set to expire at the end of this year, but they did nothing until the last minute.  Progressives were screaming for them to force a vote before the election.  This vote could have and should have been done before the elections.  Heck... at that time even Boehner admitted that if it was their only option the GOP would vote to extend only the middle-class tax cuts. Why didn’t the Dems put the GOP on the spot or talk about the tax cuts during the 2010 campaigns?  The 2010 midterms was turned into a discussion about the deficit with little to no discussion about how the upper tax bracket Bush tax cuts contributed to that deficit.  The vote would have highlighted a core distinction between the two parties and there would still be plenty of time to compromise down the line.  

            Why did they wait to vote on only the middle-class tax cuts until after the election? Furthermore, while Congress was voting on the Dem plan to extend only the middle-class tax cuts, Obama was signaling to the GOP that he would compromise, giving the GOP no incentive to side with Dems.

            "I want you to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable." -- Barack Obama.

            by ScienceMom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:49:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  From my understanding.. (0+ / 0-)

              Senators Finegold and some other members of congress asked the president to punt the issue until after the election.  My point is that the president has been getting a lot of blame for the scheduling and voting of these issues, when the blame should be at Congress.  If this is not true, then someone please correct me.  However, maybe now you can understand why the deal was made in the fashion it was.  Either let the tax cuts go up next year for all income earners, and potentially lose out on the progressive parts of the agreement, or you make a deal now with a more favorable Congress.  I can understand why the President chose the latter.  It's not perfect, but I can understand why.

          •  You're the one playing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ScienceMom

            "moral superiority" with your "you people" tone. Why don't you take a look in the mirror?

            Whatever point you think you're making, you're actually just lashing out at people who frustrate you. Understandable (I'm certainly jumping in here because your comment irritated me), but don't expect some kind of rational debate response.

            The UI situation is terrible, and there's a lot of blame to go around. But there are also many, many more people well beyond that UI extension. I know, I've been unemployed and underemployed for the better part of a decade. I'm now working three part-time jobs in my "field(s)" that don't really add up to one full-time position in terms of money, though it certainly does in time.

            We need jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Real jobs. There's no jobs program in all this crap for the past two years, just BS supply-side crap. This UI extension is so short term it's almost laughable compared to the big picture. And those tax breaks? If they create any jobs, they'll be overseas.

            The millions of people using their UI, I really feel for them. I'm very happy for the meager extension. I think UI shouldn't run out, really, we need a system such as Germany has. But if you're going to go out and compare suffering, you better start adding in the long-term pain of the American poor, working and lower-middle classes who are wayyy overstretched and include millions of people who long ago stopped being counted by unemployment figures.

            Stop using your acquaintances on UI as a moral prop for your poor rhetoric.

            •  come on.. (0+ / 0-)

              you call me out on using my acquaintances as a moral prop and you come back with "i've been unemployed and working three jobs?" Pot calling kettle black in my book.  And I don't recall saying that taxes were going to add jobs.  If your concern is for the poor, then I would sense that saving a little per pay check goes a long way in helping those same people to pay for food, clothing, and shelter.  It's temporary and is meant to have a stimulative effect.  And last time I checked, the tax cuts for the rich are temporary too.  As for looking myself in the mirror.  I do that everyday after I shower, and each time I thank the heavens that I think outside the box and with reason and not with emotion.  Trust me...I'm far from frustrated, I just find it sad that misdirected anger is all that some on this site know.

              •  I called you out because (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ScienceMom

                I think using them as a bolster for your argument is weak, and ignores the larger economic picture and the long term. I think since I'm part of that bigger picture, I see it better than you, and was trying to provide perspective, though with similar irritation. (I'm sorry, I don't buy your statement that your comment was without emotion and simply "outside the box.")

                You sounded pretty frustrated to me, so I sincerely beg your pardon if I misunderstood your tone.

                I have a hard time believing the tax cuts are really temporary, and I think that's bad. But I can understand your position a little more if you really believe that. If I were a Republican though, I'd be very happy to have been given a tremendous cudgel with which to beat my Democratic opponents in 2012: "Democrats want to raise your taxes after they agreed lowering them was good for the economy."

                The little bit back in our pockets will not go as far as a big jobs program would toward really getting things moving and giving people something long-term. (Rebuild the middle class, for gods' sake.) I am not saying "screw UI extensions" but this has been really poorly played (and it's not all the president's fault, I know, I'm not just swinging at him). We need a lot more than this to get out of the hole. After these crumbs, I predict we're going to be hearing a lot about "austerity," and you can bet the 2% won't be feeling any of it.

      •  ne better than the Republicans? (3+ / 0-)

        don't like the "purity" rhetoric coming now from some on the left which makes us no better than Republicans

        Umm, what makes us better than the Republicans is not our attitude toward process.  It is our ideas and policies.

        If you think being nice and moderate is the mark of good leadership or good ideas... well, you're wrong.

    •  Nope...sorry...can't give him a pass on tax cuts. (34+ / 0-)

      I can accept, BARELY, that the president opted for a different course on DADT. I may not agree, but in the end our brothers and sisters will have the equality they deserve.

      Obama's decision to embrace tax cuts for the wealthy will stick to him like super glue from now until Election Day 2012. Here's how it'll play out:

      We already know that tax cuts given to the wealthy result in, at minimum, three things: budget deficits,record corporate profits, and increasing wage disparity.

      We also know that, as of now, Obama OWNS these tax cuts. He can no longer play the Bush card every time there is a discussion about how pitiful the American economy is. His "compromise" meant a de facto enbrace of these cuts (regardless of the useless rhetoric saying he really didn't support them).

      The bottom-line is, signing them into law means they belong to him. When these tax cuts for the wealthy have the same miserable, predictable negative effect on the economy, the fact that Obama owns the overall policy will be stapled to every GOP campaign ad across the nation.

      And what's more, when Republicans cry to make the Obama tax cuts permanent during the 2012 campaign, what will be his justification for campaiging against his own fuckin tax policy?

      This deal was a turd in a bag...PERIOD.

      If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

      by APA Guy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:51:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you Karl! (3+ / 0-)

      imo - Pres. Obama has to go the Smurf route to move things forward, incrementally and behind the scenes.

    •  I'm glad that you have (8+ / 0-)

      seen the light so to speak. There were, of course, many of us who saw what he was doing and felt that it was the best approach. Hopefully this will help Progressives keep the proper perspective. We need to do everything we can to make sure that Obama wins in 2012 and try to win back a majority in the House and re-solidify our majority in the Senate. Those are now the most important tasks at hand.

      "Opulence! I has it. I like the best!"

      by HartfordTycoon on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:29:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heartily tipped. (5+ / 0-)

      For a minor tweak at those who are blind to both any paths that aren't straight , and to the obstacles in the middle of the paths they do see.

      People are fungible. You can have them here or there. - Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding

      by peterborocanuck on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:33:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And in the end.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nance, happymisanthropy

      .....by far the least job-creating and budget-busting legislation was created. I get what you're saying, but what Obama and the Republicans compromised on....the actual legislation....is unforgivable.

      And I'm not so sure that "the environment" for DADT repeal was created by the tax plan. Possibly the START treaty. If someone can comment as to how the Republican senators who voted with Democrats on those two issues decided to do that because Obama "cooperated" on another huge giveaway for the rich, and that this was actually the deliberate strategy by the administration, then please enlighten.

      No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

      by Doug in SF on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:41:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  what you missed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy
      Was that the "finish line" wasn't  when the current Congress ajourns for the last time it was Election Day past.

      http://dumpjoe.com/

      by ctkeith on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:55:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank You!!! (0+ / 0-)

      At last someone spells this out!!

      According to my sources in the White House, President Obama is a closet Republican.

      by bluefaction on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:10:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama ends strong -- in the eyes of the beholder (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie

      Obama consistently finishes the games he plays very strongly. The Obituary of Health Care Reform was written many times. He finishes strong again.

      No public option; no teetth holding down costs

      Starting next year every time a health plan proposes a premium hike of 10% or more for individual or small-group plans they must submit them for review to the federal agency with actuarial justification. The federal government, along with state regulators, will look at whether the rate increase is justified by underlying health spending. If not, federal regulators will advise the state to block the increase. If the state does not have that power to block, HHS will post its review online to publicly pressure the HMO to back down. Right now only 21 states have any review power over insurance rates, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      The federal agency is flirting with assuming control that it lacks legally. Sebelius acknowledged that her department has no power to block an increase itself.

      Will these proposed rules accomplish anything? WellPoint could raise rates tomorrow in many states by 100% if it wanted to, Secretary Sebelius be damned. The Administration is banking that public shaming will help publicize the bill’s eventual power to do something.

      First of all, a 9.9% hike/year is too high, and even this is flexible, depending on whether the area is a high or low-cost area -- so it could be much higher in any metropolitan area of the country..

      Second, since arrogant monopolistic health insurance companies have no shame , I don't think that they will be intimidated in the least if the HHS Secretary, attemps to shame a health-insurance cos. for exorbitant price hikes.

    •  man! you're easy. nt (0+ / 0-)

      blink-- pale cold

      by zedaker on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:05:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You were right initially (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie

      The tax deal has terrible LONG TERM consequences....terrible.

      It will result in continuing draconian cuts to every domestic program that sustains the middle class and the poor.  EVERTYTHING.

      The tax deal will mark the end of Social Security as we know it. The payroll tax reduction will actually harm Social Security both in terms of money and in terms of its unwavering political support from the American people.  And Pres. Obama will further drag his party into political disaster and oblivion  and this country into economic harm, when he comes out for cuts to Social Security because the tax deal he caved in on will "necessitate" cuts in domestic programs as he endorses the recommendation of the Catfood Commission.  

      (See Robert Kuttner)
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      just wait a few weeks until Obama caves on Social Security.

      How will this occur? The deficit commission appointed by the President has called for an increase in the retirement age, as well as other cuts in benefits over time. And the deal that Obama made with the Republicans just gave deficit hawks new ammunition by increasing the projected deficit by nearly $900 billion over a decade. Social Security will be in the cross-hairs.

      Certainly these outcomes are so very, very  bad  that trading the tax cut deal for even these worthwhile bills START,DADT and the 9/11 Health Bill would not have been worth it.

      BUT THAT TRADE WAS SOMPLETELY UNNECESSARY

      But what passing these bills proves is that they couLD be passed. Obama didn't pass DADT for instance, Congress did and he LET THEM.  He didn't pass Zadroga, Congress passed it.  He just got out of the way.  Start he wanted and worked for. It was always going to pass.  The people sponsoring these deals should be grateful he didn't decide to include their bills to get his tax cut deal.

      So the trade was completely, totally unnecessary.

      These all are morally imperative bills. Enormous political and social pressure has overcome Republican resisitance on these above bills.  The same enormous moral prossure would have overwhelmed them on the issue of the Unemployment Insurance Extension and it would have passed on its own. There was no need to destroy the economic base of the welfare state and Social Security in particular to pass a bill that would have passed by itslef...

      He wasn't playing 11 dimensional chess and winning. He played checkers and lost. These outHr bills would have passed no matter.  Remember he undercut both Pelosi and Reid when he treated the fact that the House passed the middle class tax cuts alone as irrelelvant.  He gave Harry Reid nothing to work with.  With these other bills he didn't get in the way.  And if he had let them do what was needed we would had gotten unemployment insurance and even middle class tax cuts.

      Debra "But what I have concluded over the years is that talent is universal, but opportunity is not." SOS Clinton

      by debcoop on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:55:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie

      If the collapse of our financial system, a Great Recession, a subsequent skyrocketing budget deficit and a further  lack of income to reduce the deficit isn't the time to fight economic ideological warfare for progressives, there will never be a time.

      The rich love people like you and Obama: They fight class warfare every day in every way to protect their hold on wealth, and expand their influence on our society. You and Obama whimper away, rationalizing defeat as pragmatism, and explaining why it is necessary to retreat again and again and again.

      Income and wealth has continuously been redistributed up to the few. It happened because the wealthy don't temporize and dissemble. They use every dishonest and nasty tactic they can.

  •  no, you were right... (16+ / 0-)

    And the reason why lies in why DADT and not the DREAM Act?

    Well, enough people figured that they didn't want to drive the youth vote away. They were playing to the constituency that put Obama in the oval office.

    On both sides.

    DADT also had some very high profile support, which the DREAM Act did not.

    2012: Obama must go.

    by papicek on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:21:44 AM PST

  •  I believe there is a lot of truth in this (50+ / 0-)

    I'm not convinced he's entirely right but I do believe he's acutely aware that cynicism and blind anger always serve the right wing eventually.  People here sneer about '12 dimensional chess' and such when anyone tries to talk long game strategies.  But this simple fact, that Obama genuinely wishes to change the tone of our politics, really does explain a lot of what he does.  

    Wiretaps, rendition, torture? eh. Just don't touch us in the airport.

    by Sun dog on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:23:41 AM PST

    •  Swell. "Obama genuinely wishes to change the tone (27+ / 0-)

      of our politics." If so, he's an incompetent idiot.
      The best way to change the tone of our politics is to beat the living shit out of Republicans at the polls. Losing a landslide election to the right wing is one hell of a strategy "to change the tone of our politics."

      If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

      by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:33:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well he certainly has changed the tone... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Big River Bandido, output, Tentwenty

      His "above the fray" approach has resulted (I suppose ironically) the most hyper-partisan political environment in modern times.

      •  Bullshit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smoothnmellow

        It's like the Bush years didn't happen around here.  Obama caused the 'hyper-partisan' environment that has been cultivated meticulously and aggressively for years by professional GOPer bastards who run half of the supposed 'news' media.  But on teh kos, it's Obama's fault.  Seriously, what the fuck?  

        Wiretaps, rendition, torture? eh. Just don't touch us in the airport.

        by Sun dog on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:54:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rec'd for this comment: (9+ / 0-)

      I do believe he's acutely aware that cynicism and blind anger always serve the right wing eventually.

      That's absolutely spot on -- because cynicism demotivates voters and reduces turnout at elections.  And, generally speaking, anything that lowers voter turnout tends to make it easier for the wingnuts to win.

      It's the reason why I get frustrated whenever I see progressives going on about how the moneyed interests control everything so there's not point in even trying to change things...or that the two parties are the same.  And I can't help but think..."Well, that's what the conservatives want us to believe, so why are we giving them what they want?"

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:32:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly what Obama misunderstood about "change" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbad1, happymisanthropy

      Obama thinks "change" meant "change the tone".

      The people who elected him, Democrats, independents and swing voters meant:

      Change the financial, economic and insurance systems ripping everyone off.
      Change the systems allowing open-ended wars of occupation.
      Change the systems allowing torture.
      Change from the Bush-era corruption and abuses of power.

      It's not even that he's tried and failed.  Or that he's made overal incremental progress.  He has, in fact, protected and reinforced every single one of those systems.  Hell, if he had tried and failed it would of been an overall positive, as he would of forced Republicans into protecting the things a majority of the populace hates and elected Obama to fight against.  Instead, he's been protecting those things while petulantly lashing out at those on the left pushing him to fight for what got him elected in the first place.

      Obama fundamentally misunderstands what his supporters wanted.  Which is why independents and swing voters have already abandoned him, and why the Democratic base is dangerously deflated.

      We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. -FDR

      by gila on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:09:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He didn't misunderstand it.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gay CA Democrat

        And I didn't misunderstand him.  Obama is putting the government back to actually governing.  It's not sexy.  It's not dramatic.  But the collective effect over time will be.

        By changing the 'tone' of governing, you open the door to making the changes that you so most desparately want.  

        Obama is governing with individuals who are unreasonable and unprincipled.  They are being elected by Americans who either have forgotten or maybe never learned what true governing looks like.

        He is having to push forward through a Supreme Court who is more activist in nature than Constitutionalist.

        Even your signature gets it right.  It is dangerous to govern by organized mob action and that is what has been happening for the last 8 years before Obama took office and that policy is deeply entrenched in government.  It's gonna take more than an Obama 8 year term to turn all that around.

        You guys all knew this when Bush was busy fucking things up.  

        It's amazing how some folk have forgotten this now.

        "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

        by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:04:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you need to reread my sig (0+ / 0-)

          Because it says as dangerous as mob action is (the Tea Party), organized money is just as dangerous (DLC/corporatism/triangulation).

          President Obama has effectively moved the terms of the debate (hot-button word for old concept: The Overton Window) to the right.

          Obama is governing with individuals who are unreasonable and unprincipled.  They are being elected by Americans who either have forgotten or maybe never learned what true governing looks like.

          Indeed.  And President Obama has taken up the very language and policies of those unreasonable and unprincipled individuals.  That is an utter failure to actually reach, speak to, and educate those ill-informed Americans that are electing those unreasonable and unprincipled individuals.

          We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. -FDR

          by gila on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 09:54:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  No, you weren't wrong. (45+ / 0-)

    Obama gave away, for the duration of his presidency whether it's two years or six, the ability to attack Republicans for their overall view of our economy and our society.  He didn't get anything in return.

    "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

    by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:26:14 AM PST

    •  But Obama didn't run on attacking the GOP. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Gay CA Democrat

      Obama ran on changing the 'tone' in Washington by working in a bipartisan matter and we all voted for him knowing this was part of his platform.

      Let's not start moving and reshaping the goal posts on that platform.  In November after the elections, Obama felt that he had not done enough on that score.  Personally I disagree with him because it was the GOP who decided early on that they would block any efforts of reconcilation or compromise or consensus by calling him a 'socialist' and blocking everything he put on the table without offering up anything to have a reasoned discussion on.

      Also Obama didn't run to call the GOP out for their overall view of the economy or our society.  We already know what that looks like.  He ran to actually govern our country and that is what he has been trying to do, even what he has to work with.

      It may make you feel good to hear him slam the GOP and I'm not going to lie -- I would love for him to gut punch them.  But then again, I don't think I would make a better President by engaging in the games the GOP plays.  

      Lastly, it is simply untrue to say that 'we' haven't gotten anything in return.  Many things are getting done and Obama has done a great deal of things in his first 2 years in office.

      If you are waiting for him to pull out the pom poms and go into a some rant against the GOP, you may be waiting a very long time for that.

      I rather for him to sign some bills, personally.

      "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

      by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:23:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  yup, glad he is President (30+ / 0-)

    "Ultimately ... I believe any attempt to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in. I am convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose."

    •  Did you notice he's obviously wrong? (19+ / 0-)

      The epublicans just "pursued a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy" and beat the living daylights out of him. And they will again.

      He's "convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose."

      Then he's an idiot. People are stupid, and it's impossible to dumb down the message too much. Republicans just dumbed down the debate and beat the living daylights out of him. And will do it again.

      If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

      by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:36:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sadly this is where you follow the path (29+ / 0-)

        of Republicans and I follow the path of Obama.

        I agree with him and also believe the Republicans method, while successful in the short term (think real estate bubble) will eventually come crashing down on them.

        so envy their strategy all you want.

        you'll just get marginalized. then how you gonna get your agenda through congress?

        oh that's right you think revolution is a good idea right..  

        •  The other path won't work for us (20+ / 0-)

          We cannot simply adopt the same tactics as the GOP and beat them with it.  it is an approach that is doomed to fail.

          Their pattern of scorched earth obstruction and scapegoating the weak tears at the very belief in government and American values themselves.  The extent to which we indulge in the same, we only strengthen their argument.    

          Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

          by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:22:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Doomed to fail?" When has it EVER failed? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            khereva, happymisanthropy, output

            Hey, genius. Negative campaigning works. Beating the other side works. Losing elections defines failure. Gaining power is what works. handing it back fails. Jesus, it's like talking to an infant!

            If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

            by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:07:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I imagine most of your conversations... (8+ / 0-)

              ...must seem that way to you.  It probably has something to do with the infantile way you express yourself.

              As for the substance of your argument - you seem to be missing the point.  Sure negative advertising works in the short term.  We can use it to get people elected.  but then we end up in the same loop - unable to actually forward progressive causes.  Doing that requires more than simply taking power.  You have to persuade people that change is possible, and that it is desirable. Absent that, you may have won an election, but good luck implementing anything worthwhile.

                 

              Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

              by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:17:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  "forward progressive causes"... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy, output

                ...and Obama has been just peachy on that front, hasn't he?

                Oh. Wait. No. He hasn't.

                Obama won the election in his "surrender your way to victory" style-- and it has produced little in the way of "implementing anything worthwhile."

                neca politicos omnes; deus nullos agnoscet.

                by khereva on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:23:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  "Short term" wins. "The same loop." You're making (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy

                this up. It's crap. Winning is winning. After you've won, you can effect change. If you can't gain and maintain power, you're effecting nothing. How you win doesn't matter at all. You really think Obama is going to change human nature? He's not. Buth through rhetoric and po;licy, he could have changed the landscape enough to bury the Republicans enough for a generation. Instead, he handed them back the keys to the kingdom.

                If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

                by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:16:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You will never "forward progressive causes" (0+ / 0-)

                without power. Period. If negative campaigning works to beat the right, then let's go! Thinking like yours is a far greater obstacle to "forward progressive causes" than any amount of negative campaigning by Democrats could ever be.

                If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

                by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:40:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  you just keep talking about the high road (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmo, happymisanthropy, output

            when Obama agrees to SS benefit cuts and raising the retirement age.

            big badda boom : GRB 080913

            by squarewheel on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:26:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It isn't a matter of "high road" (6+ / 0-)

              It is a matter of not reinforcing Republican frames.  Cynicism about government is the mother of all Republican frames.

              Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

              by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:41:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Stop with the Obama and SS cuts meme (4+ / 0-)

              There's no evidence that he's going to do that.

              That's the kneejerk conspiracy theories that we complain about!

              •  I'll stop when he stops saying everything (0+ / 0-)

                is on the table, and that SS is part of the budget deficit.

                kneejerk conspiracy to you, legitimate concern to me.

                I sincerely hope I'm not the dispenser of a big fat "I told you so" next year.

                big badda boom : GRB 080913

                by squarewheel on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:10:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Him saying that everything's on the table (0+ / 0-)

                  Doesn't say that he'll advocate for it, dummy.

                  I swear, this ain't rocket science!

                  Do people like you not understand what is involved in compromise? Obama sure doesn't understand why this confuses you so much, and neither do I!

                  And nope, it's a kneejerk conspiracy theory to any sane person to suggest that Obama is considering SS cuts without any evidence that he's going to do so.

                  It's a kneejerk conspiracy theory to believe anything without evidence. CT's require extraordinary evidence, yet you have none whatsoever to tell you that Obama would ever advocate for cuts to Social Security.

                  And that was the issue - that he would advocate for those cuts. Without extraordinary evidence, without evidence at all, you shouldn't be allowed to push that CT here.

        •  Republican political beliefs (13+ / 0-)

          have dominated DC for the past 30 years, continue to do (see, eg, tax cuts for the rich), and show no signs of slowing.  Is this how you define short term?  

          •  see this is what the diary is about (7+ / 0-)

            republican political beliefs have not dominated DC for 30 years.  example one that refutes your thesis, Reagon raised taxes.

            the point is it's not as simple as you put it.  politics, business, government and modern society is complicated. Obama's quote applies to your comment as well.

            exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case

            •  Yeah, that Reagan was a real godsend! nt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              output

              If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

              by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:04:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Simple? (3+ / 0-)

              You're the one being simple here.  The fact that Reagan raised taxes does nothing to refute the argument that republican beliefs have dominated politics for 30 years.  That's like saying the right wing has not been successful simply because they have not outlawed abortion.  It's reductio ad absurdum.  How about Reaganomics.  That has just been reinforced by the president with the giveaways to the rich and the attendant rhetoric.  

              You should heed the words of the president you support, not I.  I reject that approach as empty rhetoric, like a lot of the speaker's campagin promises.  

              •  see i think it's debatable (0+ / 0-)

                this is where i think we can logically and reasonably go back and forth.  it's not an either or.  it's more like different shades of grey.

                •  OK (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy

                  That's a different tack than the one you started with.  And that's cool.  However, I think there is little debate about the prominence of trickle down economics for the past 30 years.  Would you agree with this point?

                  •  well that's the reason i pulled that quote (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gay CA Democrat

                    from Obama.

                    i think rational discourse using the available and agreed upon facts is the way to go.

                    i don't think starting a war or revolution is going to yield the results we want.  i don't think we can fix the system by destroying it.  i agree with Obama.  we need change but it likely will need to be incremental.

                    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                      you tried to refute a commenter's claim with the statement that republican tactics only work in the short run and playing like them would lead to marginalization.  When challenged on the short term claim, you appear to have conceded you were wrong.  That undermines your original argument.  More importantly, it demonstrates that you have failed to live up to your ideal of rational discourse- using available and agreed upon facts.  Do you see the inconsistency in your various statements?

                      Furthermore, you have now wrongly reframed the original argument you countered by asserting the commenter was arguing for war or revolution.  Again, this is inconsistent with your desire to rely upon available facts.  The original commenter made no such claim.  

                      I am sure you can appreciate how this would frustrate your debating partner, as you do not appear to argue with facts, but rather grand claims which, when successfully challenged, eviscerate your argument.

        •  agree, deep tex (9+ / 0-)

          with the passage of the recent legislation, many nonideological voters are noticing that government is working once again;

          these are the people who value the benefits they and those they love are getting, such as ui benefits, no tax increase while their income remains static or worse, under 26'ers on their parents health insurance, the increasing recognition of lgbt's rights, etc.

          if we can keep this up, or clearly demonstrate the face of the repub refusal to allow government to function properly, they'll reward the dems in '12

          •  agreed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angeleyes, isabelle hayes

            i may not agree with extending the tax cuts for various reasons but i support the President.

            we don't agree on this issue but i understand it.  sure i may think that those tax cuts are kicking the can down the road but i also know Americans love them some tax cuts.  politically it is the smart thing to do even if we end up losing the argument over taxes.  

            winning is more important than being right and i will tell you why.  however that does not mean the ends justify the means.  it just means we cannot enact our agenda, even a watered down one, if we don't hold onto power.

        •  Well, that's just preposterous. Imagine if (4+ / 0-)

          Eisenhower had said, "We're not going to use tanks and artillery against the Wehrmacht. That's Nazi tactics. We're going to charge them on horseback with swords."

          Politics, like war, is about power. Gaining power. When you lose an election, you lose everything. Without power, you got jackshit. Which is where Obama is leading the Democrats.

          The reason Democrats will be more successful at holding power is that MORE PEOPLE AGREE WITH THEIR POLICIES, AND THEIR POLICIES WILL BE MORE OR LESS SUCCESSFUL.

          Republican success has been "short-term?" Since 1968--42 years--Democrats have held the White House for 14 years, Repubs for 28. That's a big reason why the US is in such sorry shape right now.

          Telling the truth about Republicans isn't demonizing them anyway. They've demonized themselves by playing a demonic role.

          If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

          by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:04:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Follow the path of Obama" into a sinkhole. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          output

          Imagine if Eisenhower had said, "We're not going to use tanks and field artillery, counter intelligence, and deception, or the decoding device that we got from the Nazis. That would be using Nazi tactics. We're going to charge them honorably, on horseback with swords."

          Tactics and strategy are there to win elections. Nothing else matters. If you lose, you have nothing.

          If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

          by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:10:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Republicans = Nazis? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z, Deep Texan

            Seems a bit much, not counting David Duke or Rich Iott.

            •  yup and is why the Bush = Hitler stuff (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matt Z

              marginalized whoever was saying it.

              you'll get nowhere with your agenda but maybe you feel better.  to me that's trolling but hey to each his own.

            •  It's an analogy, literal-minded moron. (0+ / 0-)

              The point is, using tanks, counter-intelligence, and civilian bombing didn't make the Allies "no different from the Nazis." Just as using attack politics would not make Democrats "no different from Republicans." Get it?

              Besides, Republicans definitely are the party of the far right. I don't know how you can listen to their rhetoric and be sanguine about the future of this country in their hands. They hate art, they hate science, they love war, they are religious fanatics, they're xenophobic, and their party is permeated by racists.

              If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

              by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:29:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Yet... (15+ / 0-)

        ...We just rolled DADT, the START Treaty, Unemployment insurance, Permanent Middle Class Tax cuts without Permanent Upper Class tax cuts over them, and over most Republican's objections.

        Meaning is more than just information.  Low complexity does not always mean high clarity.  Part of the reason why I like Obama is that I noticed that he could bring new ideas and new approaches into the political discussion, even as other politicians simply repeated Conventional Wisdom.

        If you think of all the things he's managed to do, that ability has come in handy.  He's not perfect, and he needs to do still more, but he has not so utterly disappointed me as he has others, who were looking less for a political innovator to kickstart the process, and more for an anti-Bush to force things back left the way Bush did towards the right.

        The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

        by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:56:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see that too and I love that about President (11+ / 0-)

          Obama because I see how he's changing the dialogue and discourse. For example, we are now seeing so much more of what the Senate and the House are doing because the President is sticking to the Executive Branch's responsiblities and leaving it to Congress to do their jobs; Now we are seeing just who they are and it ain't pretty.  I think that's awesome.

        •  Wait --- (4+ / 0-)

          were the middle-class tax cuts really made permanent?  I thought they were all treated the same and extended for two years.   I hope you are right, but can you  back that up?

          •  Nope, it's just part of the popular kneejerk here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan

            They want to assert that the tax cuts can't ever be undone now that Obama has extended them for two years, so although it was done temporarily for 2 years, they're saying that, in effect, they are going to be permanent.

            Of course, at this point in time, they couldn't combat the argument that the economy didn't need some help. In two years, we'll be able to do that.

          •  I can't find it in the bill text... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan

            ... which is here: http://thomas.loc.gov/...

            SEC. 101. TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF 2001 TAX RELIEF.

                 (a) Temporary Extension-

                       (1) IN GENERAL- Section 901 of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 is amended by striking `December 31, 2010' both places it appears and inserting `December 31, 2012'.

            SEC. 102. TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF 2003 TAX RELIEF.

                 (a) In General- Section 303 of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 is amended by striking `December 31, 2010' and inserting `December 31, 2012'.

            I don't see anything in the bill to separate lower-income from higher-income tax breaks, though perhaps it's hiding.  But on the face of it, it looks like we're going to have the whole debate again in 2012 ... when we'll still have the same Congress we have now.  I can't see Speaker Boehner being in any hurry to separate the tax cuts for the rich.

          •  They were. That or a million news agencies... (0+ / 0-)

            ...misread the law.

            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

            by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 04:53:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Simply untrue. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, output

          DADT: not certified, not implemented.
          Unemployment Insurance: small sop that leaves out the worst sufferers.
          Upper Class Tax Cuts: without the stones to let these die in a midterm election year, he kicks the can down the road to his reelection year? And you actually believe he will fight then when he didn't fight now?

          Please.

          neca politicos omnes; deus nullos agnoscet.

          by khereva on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:26:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That argument relies on a hidden assumption: (0+ / 0-)

            That he didn't allow it to die out of cowardice.

            The Tax Cuts for the Middle Class, though, are permanent.  Set those aside.  Those are the ones he had to get as per his campaign promise.

            He has no such obligation to re-extend the tax cuts for the rich.

            On DADT: It's signed into law.  You're kind of getting ahead of yourself on it not being certified or implemented.  It's passed the hurdle it had to in order to become the law of the land.

            As for the Unemployment Insurance?  You call that a sop?  We certainly could do better under ideal circumstances, but show me ideal circumstances.  If you want somebody to hate, show some enlightened self interest and hate the Republicans who are politicizing this issue in an unprecedented way, preventing the extension of benefits because it hurts Obama's re-election chances.

            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

            by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 04:51:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Spot on comment! (0+ / 0-)

          "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

          by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:38:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize .... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        khereva, happymisanthropy

        oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose."

        hmmmm... seems the Republicans can use this exact strategy to great affect!

        •  strawman alert! (0+ / 0-)

          since you're trotting out this errant nonsense once again, would you mind citing specific examples of exaggeration, demonization, oversimplification and overstatement of "our" case, made by specific people, with references and/or links?

          "I'm all for pragmatism just as long as it's not just a slight pitstop on the road to hell." - TJ, 11.30.10

          by output on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:36:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  it's right here in this thread (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DollyMadison

            upthread a commenter says republicans have dominated DC for 30 years.  that is exaggeration.  sure it can be argued but it wouldn't be roundly approved as fact.

            it would be debated and a probably a split decision factually.  republicans have controlled the executive and thus controlled many levers of power.  however the Dems have controlled congress for much of that time and had their hands on much of the levers.

            now if you want to say that Republicans dominated DC 51% of the time the past 30 years, i wouldn't disagree.  i think it would still be debatable though.

            •  he is wrong of course. it's more like FORTY years (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy

              that they've held the white house for all but 14 years (if you count obama as a democrat), enjoyed majorities in both houses of congress for six of those years, had their way with the u.s. treasury, and dominated the debate in all popular media. and, of course, they have controlled the legislative agenda for the past two even though they are in the minority.

              "I'm all for pragmatism just as long as it's not just a slight pitstop on the road to hell." - TJ, 11.30.10

              by output on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:15:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  i would argue the Dems have been right there with (0+ / 0-)

                them.

                the notion that republicans are all about tax cuts, always are and have been over the past 30 years was easily disproved.

                things aren't so black and white.  things can't be simplified into simple statements like Republicans have dominated DC for 30 years.  that's certainly debatable.  now if you say conservative policies have increased within each party the last 30 years then i might agree but would also say it's still debatable.  i might want to know how you determine conservative policies and may ask you define a few more things for perspective.

                •  for example (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FiredUpInCA

                  how old are you?  if you happened to live during the Great Depression when many great things (from our perspective) were enacted then you certainly may think things have gotten more conservative all around.  i don't know.  that person may also say some things got more conservative some didn't.  which is truth here?  no one can hold the only truth, we simply don't have the power to see into everybody's mind or know every detail.  it comes down to personal experiences, perspective and ideology.  

                  •  If the conservatives haven't been in control, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    output

                    why is the economy FUBAR?

                    You sound like a kid trying to explain that the cookie jar isn't really shattered all over the kitchen floor.  The evidence is all around you.

                    Candidate Obama was right: When both parties serve the same side in the class war, voters may as well cling to guns and religion. Bitter since 2010.

                    by happymisanthropy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:50:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  ummm, yeah STRAWMAN!! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            wasn't that word banned? soooo boring.

            But my point was that republicans are experts in exaggeration, demonization, oversimplification, overstatement and dumbing down politics. The routinely use these tactics to get what they want, and they succeed.

            and, christ, no, no specific examples are needed to point out the painfully obvious.

      •  Wizard's First Rule! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Whimsical Rapscallion

        Obama doesn't want to believe it applies, but it does.

        I don't want to believe it applies, but I know it to be the truth.

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

        by Inspector Javert on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:14:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, but I noticed (0+ / 0-)

        that you are obviously wrong...

        "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

        by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:30:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And yet Fox News does that (3+ / 0-)

      and wins all the time...

      Three democrats handed the internet to the corporations. Two Republicans didn't. Thanks FCC.

      by The Dead Man on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:18:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ya dayum skippy! n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy

      Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

      by fou on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:23:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He might be both thoughtful and firm. (0+ / 0-)

      Without demonizing, oversimplifying or overstating the case, it's really fucking important to:

      correct the tax scale

      invest in infrastructure

      apply justice to torturers

      adequately regulate finance

      provide medicine for the sick.

      These are reasonable steps (among many) that arise from a nuanced appraisal of where we are as a country and where we desperately need to be.

      When the arguments against those policies are shrill and unreasonable the proper response is to be respectful and steadfast, to calmly isnsist on substantial sacrifice from the people who are profiting from bad policies. Compromising with teh stupid is what dumbs down the political debate, and it's precisely what this administration has done.

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell - Edward Abbey

      by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:07:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  as economic policy goes, it remains hideous. (39+ / 0-)

    A multi billion dollar gift to a few of the richest 5000 families in the country. Insane. Unforgivable.

    We've had 10 years of failure based on this tax policy. Why would we celebrate two more?

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:29:47 AM PST

    •  ...and what's more, in 2012 the GOP... (8+ / 0-)

      will hang these tax cuts on Obama...and for good reason. They are no longer the "Bush" tax cuts...they are the Obama tax cuts.

      When they have the same predictable economic result, we'll be in real trouble come election time. But hey, at least he "compromised".

      If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

      by APA Guy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:42:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe it's just the framing (0+ / 0-)

        but the bill he signed to extend the tax cuts originated in Congress. As will any future bill that may extend some or all of them. If Dems in Congress fight hard enough, they ought to be able to keep such a bad bill from ever reaching his desk.

        That being said, I think it was a mistake for the WH to negotiate directly with the Republicans without including the House Dems. They had already passed their versions of these bills, and it was bad form to leave them outside the room. Hell, why wouldn't you want to bring your allies to a fight like that?

        •  Doesn't matter...they're HIS tax cuts now... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, output, Aranfell

          If memory serves, the original Bush tax package originated in congress as well. No one associates them with congress now.

          The GOP set this trap for him and he walked right into it. Think about this: Imagine the tax deal the GOP might have authored on their own subsequent to January 2011. It probably would have wanted to make the tax cuts permanant. It would have died in the senate, and the president could have justifiably sold to the American people that the working class tax cuts weren't extended because the GOP refused to support them without the gravy passed to their wealthy buddies in the banking industry and Wall Street.

          Ultimately, we would have gotten the UI extension AND working class tax cuts only...and in the process we would have made the GOP look like the greedy turds they are. Instead, we own the same tax policy that preceded the worst economic downturn in recent history.

          The whole thing stinks...and you could see it coming a mile away.

          If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

          by APA Guy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:58:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i really dont get comments like this.. (0+ / 0-)
            It really is not hard to see that obama only agreed to the tax cuts for the rich only to get everything else he wanted. That's is how everyone I know sees it even people not politically inclined. It will not be hard to come back two years from now and say the same thing. He didn't concede any argument to the republicans.

            "Love the life you live. Live the life you love."- Bob Marley

            by sillycilla on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:58:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  However much they try to blame us... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nalepoc, Deep Texan, DollyMadison

        ...They've given us factual arguments to use against them, and the President has shrewdly put them in a position of forcing the tax cuts for the wealthy as a condition of getting them for the Middle Class.  He got those permanent, though, and forced them to accept temporary tax cuts for the rich.

        That means Republicans must defend the wealthy tax cuts on their own, after having voted against making the tax cuts for the middle class alone.

        These arguments don't make themselves.  We have to go out there and make them.  But really, this shouldn't be hard.  We argue that the true Obama tax cuts are the ones he negotiated, and that the rest belong to the Republicans.  The way the Republicans voted becomes the basis for a wedge issue we use against them.

        The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

        by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:03:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Won't play that way, Stephen... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raincrow, output, orestes1963

          The Bush Sr. tax increases weren't his to begin with either, but they sank him nevertheless. These belong to Obama - and when they help hold the economy down, the country will blame Obama just as they blamed Democrats in 2010.

          This was a bad move for Obama and the party. There is a reason the GOP threw this "deal" to Obama without hesitation. They know exactly what the policy will do to the country's economy and who voters will blame for it.

          If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

          by APA Guy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:07:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's actually close (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, Time Waits for no Woman

      to 6600 families, no need to shave off 20% to make a point.  

      •  still, kind of a stunning statistic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        That is a lot of money going to a very small pool of people. I am not very happy with this deal either.

        But being upset is one thing. Giving up is another. That I have not yet done.

        Keep your objectivity: masturbate early and often!

        by rexymeteorite on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:03:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a big number (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          Someone broke it down the other day on the radio.  4 million per family.  When you continue to break it down the impact of the amount really goes down a significant amount.

          If you start really thinking about families and the size and all that it gives us a better perspective.  Not to mention the people actually have to die.  

          I try not to get riled up about things that only scratch the surface and this 6000 families to me does just that.  

          The number is just a potential number.  There is no way to tell who that money is going to go to.  Some of it will go to charities, churches, schools, that's just how people are, whether they vote GOP or democratic.

          I don't think this is a strong attack point, when you get into the details.  

      •  the difference between .000033 and .00003299 (0+ / 0-)

        must be the kind of gross "exaggeration" or "overstatement of our case" that Honest Ob, our humble and peaceable president was talking about.

        "I'm all for pragmatism just as long as it's not just a slight pitstop on the road to hell." - TJ, 11.30.10

        by output on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:47:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  36,000,000,000 by 6000 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          6,000 families 6M per family
          6,600 families 5.5M per family
          25,000,000,000
          6,600 families 3.8M per family
          6,000 families 4.2M per family

          Those are the scenarios that could happen under the most extreme and unlikely circumstances.  That is if every single one of the people benefitting from this new tax were to die and gave none of their money to any person or organization other than their family.

          I have not seen the defenition of families in this context, but the reality is that in a good percentage of those cases the money is going to insure the retirement for someone like myself.

          Some of those families are going to have one person and some are going to have ten.  Some families are going to use that money for firewood and others will pay for their kids college and allow themselve to retire.  

          These are just the realities of how it works.  You can't just look at a number and make a "sound" decision.  It's never that simple.  

  •  more 11 d chess? (16+ / 0-)

    It is the very idea of government; that it CAN work which is a floor for progressives. Without this floor, how can one legitimize government action on behalf of the less powerful? The majority will turn away from progressive policies because they will have seen nothing come from it. Just rhetoric. Obama's compromise enticed the Party of No to participate in governing. This makes the very idea of government more palatable to many Americans (yes, Independents) and helps out the LONG TERM strategy of progressives.

    Sorry, debunked.

    •  Debunked? (8+ / 0-)

      Where did you debunk anything in your comment?

    •  Debunked how? (5+ / 0-)

      If you only went by the last election, perhaps, but we're talking about the lame duck session here, which I think holds a pretty significant series of successes.  Americans are seeing what happens when Obama successfully negotiates, and the Party of No is forced or cajoled into relenting.

      And now?  They'll either see the Republicans continuing to cooperate, and see Obama's principles working, or they'll see the Republicans put an end to the progress, and hunger will become the best spice for the dish of anti-Republican discontent.

      The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

      by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:08:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Validated Wei Qi! (0+ / 0-)

      Which might as well be 11d chess to some.

      Sarcasm and witty analogies aside, I'll state my case such as it is...

      1. The Legislative Branch is polarized with no idealogical overlap in either the House or Senate. Analysis of roll call voting demonstrates this fact quite clearly for the 111th.
      1. The trend since 1992 is highly correlated with recent increases in congessional gridlock, most obviously in the number of filibusters.
      1. Gridlock stymies the construction of progressive legislation and promotes the erosion of hard won social safety net centerpieces.
      1. Thus it should come as no surprise that income inequality has risen dramatically with simultaneously decreases in educational parity between income levels.
      1. The public, despite lowering educational quality and less balanced news accurately senses this trend.
      1. Obama's willingness to negotiate with Republicans is seen as alleviating gridlock. Not surprisingly his favorable number jumped up a notch.
      1. Obama is framing progressive values as those of the center, thereby increasing progressive market share and activating progressive neurons in the minds of the all important mushy middle of unaffiliated voters.
      1. Thus we have incremental progress such as is available that is vectoring towards our desired ideal state.
      1. Validated in both practical and rhetorical senses.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:59:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  bunch of nonsense to fog the issue (0+ / 0-)

        Obama probably wins reelection in 2012 but him acting like a repub will cause more dems to get defeated in elections and your 9 points actually shows that.

        •  He's acting like a progressive... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gay CA Democrat

          ...by achieving progressive ends towards progressive means while simultaneously minimizing substantial downside risks.

          If Obama swaggered into the arena of ideas acting like a Republican douchebag, he will encourage the electorate to choose between douchebags. He will validate douchebag as the status quo and that will only reinforce the Republican's strength.

          Being the good guy means doing things the hard way and for the right reasons. With a fragile economy in his hands Obama had no choice but to accede to the GOPs sociopathic demands...temporarily. There is risk involved but not nearly as large as the risks involved in satisfying confrontaion of uncertain resolution.

          In the aggregate the electorate quite correctly identifies gridlock as the proximal source of government dysfunction. Unfortunately, this sense does not extend to who's truly responsible. Obama is now able to begin telling this truth while still making incremental progress and avoiding the majority of risk.

          If one looks at voter behavior and self-identification in the 2008 election, one finds that Obama was more successful in reaching into the moderate conservative spectrum than McCain was able to do with moderate Liberals. Certainly, you aren't saying the Obama of the general election was a republicany back then? He is increasing market share with his progressive rhetoric as well as his willingness to alleviate gridlock.

          Non-voters are much more heavily skewed towards the moderate liberal range of the scale, precisely to whom the recent legislation is appealing. Why don't theses people vote? Perceived gridlock is one of the main reasons.

          But let's address your non sequitar on Democratic Candidate prospects for (re)election. How do you figure it will precipitate defeat and how do any of my points support your thesis?

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:49:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  we have a jobs crisis (0+ / 0-)

            only direct govt hiring will solve that. With record unemployment, voters will toss the bums out, no shocker here. Don't have to build a thesis, just point towards every election, ever.

            •  Want a bigger one? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gay CA Democrat

              What is your alternative?

              You want people dumped off of Unemployment Insurance in the middle of winter?

              You want struggling peoples taxes to go up?

              This tax deal has thing in it that will put money in the hands of people who need it right now. This will spur their demand out of necessity and reasonable economists predict GDP growth to approach 3% as a consequence.

              I think this tax deal was a sub-optimal deal with the Republican devil. I believe that they sociopathically do not bargain in good faith, but one can rest unassured in their willingness to wield what power they have towards regressive ends.

              Yes, we have a jobs crisis, the question overall is one of risk, and yet again I will quote Anatoly Karpov to describe Obama's style...

              "Let us say the game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don't yield to precise calculation; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory.... I would choose the latter without thinking twice."

              ...I for one, do not want a risk taker as POTUS, the damage that might have been done is far far worse than what was obtained.

              Be realistic, you may not Republican and they be immoral and wrong, but they do have power and must be reckoned with, but not recklessly so.

              Your plan, such as it is, while hypothetically sound, is practically impossible. I'd like to see you propose a way forward that doesn't involve Republicans?

              Back on topic, the Keys to the Presidency algorithm demonstrates that the two economic factors that matter are...

              Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.

              Long term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.

              (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

              by Enterik on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:10:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  don't care about the excuses (0+ / 0-)

                I prefer to deal with reality. We're in a depression caused by the plutonomy turning into a kleptocracy, and it won't become a plutonomy again until there's nothing left to steal.

                •  Says a guy on a website... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...you are not "dealing with" reality. You promote no sensible plan of action at least none that doesn't worsen all that you decry. Yours is a tin foil sutra of dispair and apathy. Divorced from practical reality, you chant your litany of pessimism replete with the vocabulary of of self-rigtheous inaction.

                  Perhaps, the world is as bad as you say. I ask, "Is that what is really important"? The truth is in how you respond to that challenge. You can persist as the herald of resignation, play at Cassandra.

                  Or you find some small incremental way to actually contribute positively to the real world or even positively to this world of illusion we call dkos. It is precisely this seemingly plodding incremental style through which the Democratic Congress and Executive have made progress in the face of entrenched regressive interests in order to vector towards the progessive ends we all seek.

                  Thus I bring us back to my initial analogy, that in dealing with McConnell, Obama has been playing Wei Qi (aka Go), consider that there very well may have been far more pieces on the board than is generally considered, we'll never know. But consider again, the remarkable success of the lame duck session. Is it possible that tax cuts and the DREAM act for the wealthy were traded for DADT, New START, 9/11 Responders and enxtension of unemployment insurance?

                  Is this my very own self-satisfying conspiracy theory? I think of it as a possibility, a hypothesis that fits the pattern that lies before me. However, it is not a call to dispair or inaction. The truth of why the lame duck happened as it did has little bearing on how I proceed as I cleave to my progressive imperative to help establish justice and promote the general welfare.

                  (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                  by Enterik on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 07:53:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  But Obama HASN'T pushed back against the idea (23+ / 0-)

    that government is bad. And so far the majority of Americans are turning away from progressive policies mainly because Obama hasn't implemented any that have worked very well. The foreclosure relief programs are miserable failures, if you even want to call jawboning banks into rewriting home loans a "progressive program." The stimulus was too small to lower unemployment enough to matter politically. HCR so far is just a few insurance reforms and higher premiums.

    Of course Obama's biggest failure is rhetorical. By failing to devalue the opposition, he has empowered them. Americans say in polls they want bipartisanship. They don't. They want LEADERSHIP. Direction. Somebody who says this is where we need to be and here's how we're going to get there. Clarity. Obama supplies none of this.

    This quote shows Obama's essential political idiocy: "A polarized electorate—or one that easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate—works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government. After all, a cynical electorate is a self-centered electorate."

    A "polarized electorate" works fine if you have the majority of voters on your side, which, as we know, Democrats do on virtually all the issues. Besides, when is the electorate NOT going to be polarized? When hasn't it been in the past? The answer to both is NEVER. It only takes one party to polarize the electorate.

    People are naturally skeptical of government. Has Obama even once attempted to define the proper role of government in our society, as opposed to the Republican "all government is bad" meme? He has not.

    If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

    by LongTom on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:30:43 AM PST

  •  DADT signing happening now (46+ / 0-)

    and President Obama is heaping accolades on the Military Leadership for helping bring this about.  'The military personnel are committed to implementing the changes to make this happen' paraphrasing the President.  Right wingers must be choking on their bile right now.

    I appreciate Obama's long term solution agenda, and think he is exhibiting fine examples of true leadership.  We did not vote for another "I am the Decider."

  •  Do you know what the START treaty cost? (14+ / 0-)

    Cost of START Treaty

    WASHINGTON - December 21 - Alice Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and is on the coordinating committee of Abolition 2000, a disarmament coalition. She said today: "The Obama administration will pay a heavy price to ratify the modest START treaty should it receive the required 67 Senate votes this week to enact it into law. The president originally promised the weapons labs $80 billion over ten years for building three new bomb factories in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Kansas City to modernize our nuclear arsenals as well as an additional $100 billion for new delivery systems -- missiles, bombers and submarines. He then sweetened the pot with an offer of another $4 billion to the nuclear weapons establishment to [try to] buy the support of Senator Kyl. Additionally, he is assuring the Senate hawks that missile development in the U.S. will proceed full speed ahead, even though Russia and China have proposed negotiations on a draft treaty they submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to ban space weaponization. Every country at that conference voted in favor of preventing an arms race in outer space except the United States, still caught in the grip of the military-industrial-academic-congressional complex which President Eisenhower took great pains to warn us against in his farewell address to the nation.

    DADT is great, congratulations to Obama for that. And congratulations to all those who fought so hard and so long for it, who risked their jobs for it.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:36:13 AM PST

  •  can you provide (9+ / 0-)

    a link to where you were wrong please.

    Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

    by stevej on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:41:46 AM PST

  •  Obama has created the biggest (23+ / 0-)

    group of newly minted cynics in HISTORY.

    end. of. discussion.

    Gaia is heartbroken.

    by BlueDragon on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 06:50:47 AM PST

  •  I'm not convinced (12+ / 0-)

    neither of those things negate the flawed tax cut deal or even HIR which will have a direct impact on many of our lives. To my mind both decisions were more politically expedient than a genuine attempt to address our economic problems.

    DADT had majority support and it was obvious that the time had arrived for it to be repealed. START was a matter of national security and it was doubtful that it would fail despite the bellicosity of some Republicans.

  •  Karl -- You forgot what your OWN book? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    < insert ad here >

    I should have reread a portion of my latest book,

    Pity of the poor McCainologist -- all his trowels and little brushes smell like poop.

    by Murphoney on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:03:55 AM PST

  •  DADT does nothing to mitigate the economic (27+ / 0-)

    damage we're staring at. And I say this as someone who is ecstatic about DADT repeal.

    The fact is that the tax "compromise" is not going to help us economically and that was by design. The republicans know that if the economy still sucks in 2012 then Obama will have a much harder fight on his hands to keep the White House.

    I can applaud him for DADT repeal, I will and I have, but that doesn't mean that I am now blind to other policies that, quite plainly, suck.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:09:04 AM PST

  •  Patience is a Virtue (7+ / 0-)

    Its tough to see the big picture when things look bleak but as you can see much is being accomplished even after losing 60+ seats in a mid-term election. What this lameduck Congress under the Presidents direction has done this year is unprecedented.

    "No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Maria Robinson

    by skindig55 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:14:15 AM PST

  •  This is the most concise and true sentence... (34+ / 0-)

    ...I've seen on DKos in months:

    An atmosphere of hyper-partisanship and mean and unsophisticated political discourse serves the interests of conservatives.

    I wish everybody here would take a few minutes to just meditate on that thought.

    Good diary.  Thank you for it.

    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

    by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:15:12 AM PST

    •  Always start (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilK, Marie, mrblifil, caul, output

      with "the man in the mirror" when you start with that sort of lecturing.

      Laws and government may be considered in this and indeed in every case as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor ~Adam Smith

      by ActivistGuy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:23:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not interested in lecturing anyone. (11+ / 0-)

        And certainly not on a personal level.

        I think that sentence points to something more crucial than good or bad behavior.  It challenges us to ask ourselves whether our tone and our tactics are reinforcing the kind of world view that would support our goals taking hold.  Can we inspire people to believe in a better America by being more ruthless than the GOP?  Do you really think we can?

        Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

        by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:32:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Standing up for principle is not, and does (6+ / 0-)

          not require, being "ruthless". It's about being strong, not mean. Stop with the straw men.

          "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

          by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:43:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That isn't what we are diiscussing. (4+ / 0-)

            The quote in question is about hyperpartisanship.

            What discussion do you believe we are having?

            Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

            by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:46:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "hyperpartisanship", whatever that means (9+ / 0-)

              is basically another way of calling someone a ranting purist with no connection to reality. I see very little of that in the mainstream left. By equating princpled people who refuse to back down on their beliefs with nutjobs on the right who ARE disconnected from reality, one seriously undermines one's credibility. There is no such actual equivalence.

              "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

              by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:57:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Now THAT'S a comment (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kovie, output, Aranfell

                I wish I could recommend more than once.

              •  I didn't offer any defintion. (4+ / 0-)

                What I AM talking about is the belief system around here that says that we can and should adopt the same ruthlessness and tactics as the GOP in order to advance good aims.  My argument is, that such an approach will never work as it reinforces the GOP world view on a basic level.

                You are free to argue that nobody is making that argument, but clearly some folks are.  Some on this thread in fact.

                As for the rest of your comment - I am all for principle.  Who wouldn't be?  But I think the focus this community puts on "better democrats" is an incredibly wrongheaded approach.  On its face it is an approach seeking to advance to goals of a minority part of the Democratic party (the base - that is what we tell ourselves that we are) by using the primary system to insert true believers into the system.  This approach abdicates our responsibility to sell the rest of the party (and the country) on our aims - and instead seeks to impose them on all without building consent or consensus.  it is an approach that is not only doomed to fail, but doomed to never get off of the ground.  Those who indulge in the fantast will be fighting the boogeyman of "establishment dems" for the rest of time.        

                Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

                by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:29:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Funny, the "better Repubs" approach (0+ / 0-)

                  seems to be working for the other side, meaning they're able to elect every more RW pols, and yet it would never work for us, meaning, in your view, that we're forever consigned to be led by unprincipled, cowardly and dishonest corporatist centrists at best.

                  Which is, of course, rediculous.

                  Also, I completely reject your assertion that there are prominent voices here calling for tactics just as ruthless as those employed by the right. That is a lie. Just because a handful of extremists do post such suggestions doesn't mean that they speak for the vast majority of this site's regular members, let alone the left.

                  Who here that has any credibility is calling for these sorts of GOP tactics:

                  --Blatant dishonesty, repeated endlessly

                  --Smearing Repubs with made-up accusations

                  --Getting the DoJ to wrongfully go after Repubs

                  --Attacking the family members of Repubs

                  --Distorting the GOP's policies, beliefs and goals

                  Seriously, this "both sides do it" meme is asinine, lame and dishonest.

                  "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

                  by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:27:46 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Is it working for the GOP? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gay CA Democrat

                    They would likely have on the Senate were it not for the "better Republicans" approach.  And look at what they are getting for their troubles - the folks who went to tea party rallies wanted less spending, deficit control and no more earmarks.  So far they've gotten none of that. Meanwhile their part is showing signs of splitting at the seams.

                    But that is neither here nor there.  I reject the notion that we could pull of the same template.  But even if we could, we shouldn't.  It is no less than an attempt at minority rule on our part as much as it is theirs.  You wNt better dems, sell progressive idea to the mainstream. Anything else is undemocratic and wrong.

                    As for the "both sides do it' meme - I don't think I advanced anyargument about parity.  I am addressing the shortcomngs I see on our side of the aisle.  I take it for granted that we are not as bad as the GOP.  Not a huge bar to clear.

                    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

                    by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:51:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  It only appears to be working. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gay CA Democrat

                    The only reason why the GOP continues on the surface, to be a 'formidable' force is because their message has been institutionalized thru the work they put forth building the conservative movement from the ground up and thru corporate media, where the conservative monied interest resides.  Also to this point, they have managed to keep up an united front.

                    But here is where is going to derail.  The Bush Administration is responsible, wholly and totally for the economic mess we find ourselves in today, as well as the rule by fear mongering state we are in today.  This has allowed for certain sectors of the American populace to vote in conservative 'purists', if you will into the 112th Congress.  

                    Governing with a purist attitude doesn't and won't work and you will find out soon enough how it is not going to work for the teabagging Congressional reps and the Senator-elect from Tennessee.  If they try to marginalize the GOP, the GOP will go down in flames.  If the GOP adopts the attitude of teabagging 'purity', nothing will get done in Washington.  If the GOP is split down the middle, then nothing they want will get done.

                    The narrative is writing itself with this lame duck Congress.  The message that Americans sent loud and clear this past November, 2010 is that they want SOMETHING TO GET DONE.  And that is happening as we speak.

                    If the 112 doesn't get anything done, it won't be on just the Dems shoulders to bear or on the President's.

                    The bottom line is that extremist viewpoints or measures, no matter how pure or well meaning they are, will cause the majority to default to the middle every time.

                    "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

                    by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:13:59 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  where to begin? (0+ / 0-)

                  I am all for principle.  Who wouldn't be?  

                  the people who shout, "purist!" and speak derisively of "getting your way" with talk of unicorns and ponies.

                  But I think the focus this community puts on "better democrats" is an incredibly wrongheaded approach.  

                  so you'd rather see efforts to find . . . worse Dems?

                  On its face it is an approach seeking to advance to goals of a minority part of the Democratic party (the base - that is what we tell ourselves that we are)  

                   

                  sorry, but the data says that you're wrong. we're in the majority; not only in the party, but in the nation as a whole on a range of critical issues; getting out of afghanastan and iraq, bringing wall street malfeasors to justice, adopting single payer, and raising taxes on the the super-rich, to name just a few.

                  and what do you mean "we", Keemosabe? my sense is that you and i do not share the same progressive ideology.

                  . . . using the primary system to insert true believers into the system.

                  the true believers otherwise known as . . . the voters? as in, everything would be great if it weren't for those pesky citizens! who ARE you?

                  This approach abdicates our responsibility to sell the rest of the party (and the country) on our aims - and instead seeks to impose them on all without building consent or consensus

                  .

                  yeah, you're working a lot of overtime on the selling, aren't you? here's where the part about principles becomes important. what we're seeking to impose are the principles that gave rise to the middle class, and gave democrats the white house during fdr and truman.

                  it is an approach that is not only doomed to fail, but doomed to never get off of the ground.  Those who indulge in the fantast will be fighting the boogeyman of "establishment dems" for the rest of time.

                     

                  i have met the establishment dems, and based on the unprincipled, authoritarian, technocratic unabashedly undemocratic sentiments you express,  i think that you are they.  

                  but thanks for tipping your hand, snout. i might otherwise have mistaken you for someone who is here to engage in earnest discussion and an open exchange of ideas.

                  "I'm all for pragmatism just as long as it's not just a slight pitstop on the road to hell." - TJ, 11.30.10

                  by output on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:03:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I won't even try to untangle that mess (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    smoothnmellow

                    My favorite part was where you tell me that WE are ithe majority, only to turn around and argue that you and I are not even in the same tent.

                    Can't have it both ways....keemosabe.

                    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

                    by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:58:19 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I wish I could rec this comment a million times. (0+ / 0-)

                  Dead on.  You should write a diary about this because you have raised some key points.

                  "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

                  by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:56:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

                some Progressives are acting like ranting purists with no connection to reality and I have read a LOT of that here and that is not mainstream leftist, btw.  That is being left of left.  

                'Principled people who refuse to back down on their beliefs' -- no matter what those beliefs are -- whether it's on the teabagging right or the extremist left are idealogical purists.

                All day long kovie.

                There's nothing wrong with that.  However it also doesn't mean that everyone will agree with it, either.

                When you fail to see what you really are, it's you who undermine your own credibility because you are operating on a false premise.

                "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

                by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:51:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                  The sooner that fake progressives who are content with the status quo or glacially slow incrementalist "reform" because it suits THEM or they're scared shitless of conflict leave this site and stop pretending to be real progressives, the better. What you denigrate as delusional far left purity, the rest of us call progress and fighting for real reform. If it were up to people like you, we'd never have Social Security or civil rights, because it was to hard and "unrealistic". You are basically endorsing the fallacy of Xeno's Paradox.

                  My credibility is based on proven results, not a failed legacy of cowardly triangulation. The majority of Americans want what the "far left" wants, and yet you call it unrealistic, which is code for "It would be too painful for the corporatist center, so I'm against it".

                  Sorry, I think I'll keep on being out of touch with reality. I'm in good company.

                  "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

                  by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:36:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  But that's exactly how some (0+ / 0-)

            progressives have been behaving...

            "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

            by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:44:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The corollary argument to that, however, (12+ / 0-)

      is that an absence of hyperpartisanship cedes the field to conservatives because their energy level inevitably carries the day over attempts at "reasoned discourse," and as a result we get bad policy being made.  The tax cut for millionaires is monumentally bad policy and it is destructive to the country.

      I have yet to see any real "hyperpartisanship" on a national level from the left.  What I see are loud denunciations of what are objectively monumentally bad policy initiatives.

      •  To quote the President (13+ / 0-)

        "Our job is harder"

        It always will be.  It is easy to tear down.  Easy to say "no".  Easy to find fault with potential solutions.

        We are the party of progress, so we must:

        a) Come up with ideas that move us forward.
        b) Agree on the exact approach to take.
        c) Mollify those whose approaches are not taken.
        d) Convince America to adopt our solutions.
        e) Get them enacted legislatively with full-time opposition.
        f) Defend them once their imperfections are exposed.

        A much harder row to hoe.  And impossible to pull off if trojan horse liberalism is our only strategy.        

        Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

        by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:42:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Saying NO (4+ / 0-)

          to Wall Street is easy.

          Saying NO to crooked accounting practices that allow companies (particularly banks) to look more solvent is easy.

          Saying NO to allowing the practices that caused the collapse is easy.

          Your argument is simplistic.  First, the republicans do not merely say NO.  They are quite active (and, sadly, effective) at promoting their views.  Second, it is not as simple as merely saying NO, although, as the examples above point out, sometimes saying NO is all that is required.  

          It is not harder to enact laws and policies which help the great majority of American citizens.  You have public opinion behind you and will create a loyal, large voting bloc.  See FDR if you need an example.

          •  What structures do the GOP.. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sagittarius, Deep Texan

            ..seek to erect?

            Name a few.

            Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

            by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:33:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you mad? (4+ / 0-)

              How about privatization of public services- including the military, education, social security.  Or a host of measures to allow business to function unimpeded by regulations, etc.  

              If by structures you mean government agencies or programs, I would have to think about it.  But the fact is that they promote their agenda while also saying no to those things important to Democrats.  GWB did not change the government so dramatically merely by saying no.

              •  Those are examples of structures they.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                smoothnmellow

                ...seek to tear down and hand over to the private sector.

                Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

                by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:39:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                  The structures that buy and sell governments by the gross. Corporations.

                  Candidate Obama was right: When both parties serve the same side in the class war, voters may as well cling to guns and religion. Bitter since 2010.

                  by happymisanthropy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 12:05:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, and... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brooke In Seattle

                  If you claim that these actions don't count, then I assume our problem is definitional.  To my view, these actions reflect an active campaign, an agenda.  That is not the same as saying no.  Saying no implies that you merely oppose the actions of your opponent.  No, we won't agree to [     ].  The actions I cited above are pro-active.  They require building support, drafting legislation, taking votes, etc., which is much more than merely saying no.

          •  Excuse me, but I do think (0+ / 0-)

            That the Obama Administration actually has enacted some Wall Street reforms.

            No.  It's not to the level of repealing TARP, but to say that nothing was done is just not true.

            Also, the Republicans have the 3 M's.  I'mma keep saying this:

            MONEY

            MEDIA

            MESSAGE

            And they speak (generally) with ONE VOICE.

            We... on the other hand, do not have the money, we certainly don't have the media, and our message is all over the place.

            We do not speak with one voice and that's a good thing.

            But what we do best is that we vote and it's more of us who have left of center values than that on the right.

            Yet because we do not speak with one voice is exactly why we need to understand the true purpose of governing.  It is not a one voice dictatorship.  It's governing to develop the best policies when one is dealing with wildly competing idealogies.

            "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

            by smoothnmellow on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:28:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  A description that applies almost entirely (7+ / 0-)

      to the right, not left, so I reject this false equivalence straw man put out by principle-challenged mushy centrists interested in cutting deals that mostly benefit THEM.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:42:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Puh..lease/ (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawnguylander, Deep Texan

        You are not new here.  You've never read any of the diaries here perhaps?

        Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

        by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:48:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This site is not a mirror of the political (4+ / 0-)

          spectrum in the "real world". The pie fights here over how great or awful Obama is not representative of the left-right war of the past 40 years, in which the ruthlessness, idiocy and incivility has come almost entirely from the right. And whatever hyperbole and nastiness does exist here or in the left in general is directed towards the Democratic center, i.e. neoliberal enablers of all that's wrong with this country, not the right.

          Anyone who says "Both sides do it" is either a liar or an idiot. Both sides do NOT do it, in any comparable manner, either in nature or degree. It's a total lie.

          "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

          by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:54:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  On this we agree, but... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lawnguylander, Deep Texan

            ...I'm not sure why you are telling me this given the post you originally commented on.  I was quite clear about the fact that I was talking about the views of this community.  I have no problem separating them out from the larger context.

            Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

            by snout on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:35:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Acquiescence means going center Right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbad1, happymisanthropy

      like Obama and pretending to like it.  (Actually, I think a lot of Obama supporters do like it.  Pragmatism is right of center.)

      For myself, I don't think so.  Put me down as oppositional to the conservative majority including the parts (still) inside the Democratic Party.  F--k acquiescence- it gets us nowhere and voters don't (re)elect Democrats who propose to do nothing these days.

      Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure. -Reinhold Niebuhr

      by killjoy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:22:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hyper-partisanship was pretty awful for CA Dems (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, that kind of hyper-partisanship was really awful for the Democrats in California. And by "really awful" I mean "really successful". :) The Democratic politicians in California are proud to call themselves Democrats and fight for Democratic principles. Everyone here knows the Republicans are mean and stupid. Friends don't let friends vote Republican, as they say out here. Maybe California is a huge exception but if so then we should figure out what makes CA different. In any case, I would strongly disagree that hyper-partisanship serves conservatives the most well.

      Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for changing the 2/3 budget rule and for ending Prop 8. Go!

      by tmo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:44:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "I was wrong" are 3 words you'll never see on (6+ / 0-)
    any rightwing blog.  Though I vehemently defended the President on the "Compromise", I also realize that the vocal opposition to it from this site may have fired up these lame duck Dems in Congress.  We're seeing the results of that now.  

    "It's every American's right and duty to question their President."  -Theodore Roosevelt, 1912(I think)

    _"George, when I want your opinion I'll give it to you!" -Dick Cheney 2002_

    by oopsaDaisy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:17:22 AM PST

  •  Thank you Karl. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    "I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." Daniel Hillel

    by Onomastic on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:17:55 AM PST

  •  If you don't contest ideology (13+ / 0-)

    then you tacitly submit to and accept the hegemonic ideology, and nothing substantive "changes", as hegemonic power remains unchallenged, not even contradicted.  The idea that there's such a thing as "non-ideological politics" is a rabbit hole, and like going down most rabbit holes, you end up with Tea Parties when you go there.

    Laws and government may be considered in this and indeed in every case as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor ~Adam Smith

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:21:56 AM PST

  •  your theory is entirely correct... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    output

    unfortunately, with these tax cuts Obama was/is playing with matches, and now the house is well on the way to burning down.

    On some political fights there is absolute certainty that negotiating, compromise, seeking a long-term strategy is the best, most enduring approach.

    And on others it is better to grab the matches away ... fast.

    •  Uh huh, and some day I'm sure you'll explain (6+ / 0-)

      exactly HOW he was supposed to do that given the array of Republican opposition he faced in the Senate.  It ALWAYS boils down to that - the Senate, the filibuster, the united Republican opposition.  Explain to me, please, how he was going to make that go away without making the deal he made.  It's obvious he saw an opening next to that block and he went around it and scored some impressive wins.  He COULD NOT have done it without this so-called cave on the tax cuts.  

  •  I still don't like the compromise (8+ / 0-)

    At some point he will have to act like the leader of a partisan party.

    But I have to ask myself what I would have done in his shoes. The simple fact is that being right is not enough.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:32:46 AM PST

    •  "Being right is not enough" (6+ / 0-)

      Being a recently married man I often think I am right.  However often being right isn't enough you have to get things done.

      "being right isn't enough" couldn't be more true.  I think Obama felt that the tax cuts to the rich was wrong....very wrong.   But to get help to the unemployed and low-middle income tax pays it was a necessary evil.  

      I might also add that to stonewall on taxes would have also stopped the food safety bill DADT and the 9/11 responders bill.....I think Republicans would have eventually passed the START treaty but the rest as well as judicial appointments could have been in Limbo.

      When you ad those things to the math the tax compromise looks less bad.

      Canadian amazed by and addicted to US politics.

      by Mikecan1978 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:38:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's easy to compromis and make (4+ / 0-)

        "hard decisions" when it's someone else's lunch that's at stake.

        Besides, if the conservatives' (those that aren't anti-social predators) problem is that they are insecure, compromise and conciliation are precisely the wrong approaches in that they make credible what are surely irrational fears.
        It is not reassuring to someone who's afraid of the wolf under the bed to suggest, "look, I'll give him your favorite doll, so he won't eat you."

        Why has the Senate buckled down to do some work?  Because Harry Reid finally said, "you can't go out to play and party until your homework is done."

        The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

        by hannah on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:05:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's a two way street. Where was the party (7+ / 0-)

      behind him in HCR, finreg, or even the friggin'tax-cuts ? I don't blame him a bit.

      Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. Boy, did that greek geek nail it.

      by amk for obama on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:38:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not a liberal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mikecan1978, raincrow

    I've been telling people since mid-2008 that I do not think Mr. Obama is a liberal and we shouldn't expect him to be.  There will be times that I expect to vehemently disagree with him.  But it doesn't take a lot of effort for me to estimate the nation's conditions given the alternatives we have.

    "On Fox News they address her as Governor Palin. Which is like calling me a Dairy Queen employee. I was once. But I quit." - Tina Fey, Nov 2010

    by GrogInOhio on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:34:59 AM PST

    •  Obama's an authoritarian; he's not a (0+ / 0-)

      humanitarian.  

      The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

      by hannah on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:06:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What? You don't even know what an authoritarian (10+ / 0-)

        is, do you?  Obama's no authoritarian - that's one reason why he has been so reluctant to use the executive order to accomplish things and keeps insisting on legislative remedies.  

      •  It rhymes, shiny! (5+ / 0-)

        good god

        "Look..." -- President Barack H. Obama

        by lizardbox on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:42:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Uhm... no (5+ / 0-)

        As someone has already noted, you clearly do not know what authoritarian means.  Seriously, Obama could have used an Executive Order to kill DADT, but went with legislation instead.  That's not an authoritarian move.  It's clear you don't know what the word means.

        "On Fox News they address her as Governor Palin. Which is like calling me a Dairy Queen employee. I was once. But I quit." - Tina Fey, Nov 2010

        by GrogInOhio on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:50:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  An executive order would have been (0+ / 0-)

          aimed towards the behavior of agents of government under the direction of the executive.  If the executive in chief determines that certain behaviors are abusive of the personnel with his jurisdiction, it's his obligation to correct the behaviors.
          Pushing the responsibility off on the Congress was an abdication of responsibility.  Appealing the court rulings was an abdication of responsibility.
          Authoritarians are primarily motivated to exercise power without accepting responsibility.

          An authoritarian is not someone who tells others what to do.  An authoritarian is someone who tells others what to do and refuses to take responsibility for the results. In telling the military hierarchy to persecute homosexuals while blaming it on the Congress, Obama was behaving as an authoritarian.  There's a difference between authority based on experience and expertise and authority based on power or brute force. The persecution of homosexuals was based on the latter.  One may argue that in signing up (voluntarily) for military service, individuals surrendered their human rights, but that's a bogus argument.  Human rights aren't defined by whether or not someone claims them.  Human rights exist as independent moral principles, whether or not they are asserted or respected.

          The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

          by hannah on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:22:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, this country can afford another $800 billion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      in tax cuts.  That's a signal that it can afford Republican rule again.

      Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure. -Reinhold Niebuhr

      by killjoy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 10:25:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting concept (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    I was thinking that by not dumbing down the message to the electorate you might lead people to being wiser consumers of information.  

    The benefit of a more informed populace would all be for the Democrats.  

    Intentional?  No, I don't think so.

    Just a thought.

    It would take a lot more time than we might be willing to invest in increasing the savvy of the electorate, but it seemed interesting to me when I thought about it.

    "Obama is a failure." Rush Limbaugh

    by otto on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:35:11 AM PST

  •  How does enabling RW ideology and policy (13+ / 0-)

    by refusing to denounce it in words AND oppose it in action help the liberal/progressive "long game"? This sounds to me like yet another variation of "I trust him, he's got this covered", i.e. 11D Chess. DADT repeal was a way to buy off liberals in a policy area that has minimal economic impact. But on the big economic issues today, he has consistently favored powerful special interests over the American people.

    As for his trashing of ideology, well, ideology doesn't bind you. It guides you. Bernie Sanders is an ideologue who's willing to cut deals when necessary, which puts the lie to the canard that ideology is for purists. No, it's for people who believe in something and are willing to fight AND compromise for it, as necessary.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:40:33 AM PST

    •  TY (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, Aranfell, orestes1963

      one of my pet peeves is this demonization of ideology..in much the same way that the Right demonizes
      the word Liberal. Why is it okay, then to embrace conservative ideology or for our legislators to pass bad legislation in fear of the teabaggers or right wing extremists? I feel like we're the odd guys out.

      No, it's for people who believe in something and are willing to fight AND compromise for it, as necessary.

      •  It's a time-"honored" way (6+ / 0-)

        of trashing someone while appearing to sympathize with them. It's a way of saying "I really respect your conviction, but I live in the real world where shit gets done", which itself is code for "I don't really believe in anything but what's good for me, which is why I invariably go for quick and easy results that benefit ME, sucker".

        People who have and operate out of core convictions are not purists who can't and won't compromise, and prefer being "right" to being effective. Bernie Sanders puts the lie to that straw man. And the question is and always has been whether the deals that Obama & Dems have cut were the best ones possible, and sufficiently better than the status quo to be worth cutting, and NOT whether they were merely "better" in some ways (but worse in others) than the status quo. And the argument from the left has always been "no".

        E.g. HCR. Yes, it improves things on the whole. But no, it was not anywhere near the best deal possible had Obama & Dems actually fought for a better one, with the key words being "possible" (as opposed to "wished for") and "fought" (as opposed to "said some pretty words in favor of to please their base"). They caved or sold out, we got a far worse (but still somewhat better than the status quo) bill than we could and should have, and then sent out a bunch of shills to claim that it was the best deal possible and a vast improvement on the status quo. We have been and are being OFAed.

        "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

        by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:10:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Funny how quickly (9+ / 0-)

      DADT repeal is now viewed as trivial and crumbs for liberals when not that long ago, people on this site were excoriating the president for not having done away with it when he first got into office and citing his perceived lack of leadership on this issue to not support him.

      I guess there is always something new to complain about.

    •  DADT repeal trivial? (0+ / 0-)

      EGADS

      •  Where did I call it trivial? (0+ / 0-)

        I did not. I said that it had minimal economic impact, which it does. It's on the economic issues that he's disappointed. Don't put words in my mouth, please.

        "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

        by kovie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:39:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wanna believe in the "magic" (6+ / 0-)

    this diary touts--I really do. I wanna believe Obama has the best interests of the progressives at heart, and is shrewdly playing along with Republicans to secure those interests. I'm just not sure. Makes me think of the kid with the absent alcoholic parent who doesn't keep promises, thinking "Oh, I know mommy/daddy really loves me. Eventually, he/she will settle down and be a real parent. I just have to wait and be patient..."

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:41:08 AM PST

  •  you know what obama could do (7+ / 0-)

    to burnish his post partisan cred?

    privatize social security.

    only then will he will be able to dodge the smears that tag him as a socialist.

    nah, they'll still call him a commie.

    obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

    by stolen water on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:41:29 AM PST

  •  i have been profoundly undecided (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, CoExistNow

    about whether to negotiate for the tax compromise.  I'm STILL undecided.  This is one piece of legislation that only time will tell if it is the camel's nose under the tent or if it will buy the necessary time and provide adequate stimulus to dig us that much further out of the Great Recession.  However, when he has had Republican cooperation, progressive legislation and good laws have gotten passed.  We've just seen two in as many days.  I'm sticking with our President, rhetoric on this site notwithstanding.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:42:18 AM PST

  •  ...at what cost? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, Deep Texan

    It's easy to measure the financial/economic cost - wasteful tax cuts in the amount of around $125 billion (or more).  Just to put that in perspective, it would take 100,000 people 25 years, earning the median household income ($50,000/yr), to make $125 billion.

    I agree with the point that Obama's "frog eating" opened the door and made the Republicans look stupid.  They didn't make any principled stand.  They didn't hold the line on spending.  They didn't do anything to rein in deficits.  And they no longer have any reason to hold the nation hostage.  And America saw clearly that the Republicans are political terrorists acting in the interests of people who make a million dollars (or more) a year.

    I just wish it didn't cost $125 billion to "teach people a lesson".

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:45:49 AM PST

    •  The quantity of dollars is unimportant. (0+ / 0-)

      What's important is that our currency has been hoarded and sequestered and siphoned out of the economy in an effort to control it.  While we can continue to refresh the supply by printing more, sequestration is an artificial downer and ought not to be permitted.
      Imagine someone hoarding the letters of the alphabet.

      The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

      by hannah on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:25:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, it costed a lot more than that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      They put the Party that crashed our economy back into a position of power and made that deal necessary.  If we had kept The House we might not have needed to make that tax deal but, since the new House is coming soon, we had to act fast.  Therefore, I'd say the people learned very little from the entire economic fallout.  They're mad but no smarter.

      "Put on your high-heeled sneakers/it's Party time" - Steely Dan.

      by rainmanjr on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:11:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You see, Obama, when he wants to fight (18+ / 0-)

    he DOES fight for what he wants. Most of the time, they aren't progressive priorities.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:46:26 AM PST

  •  He's attacking social security (11+ / 0-)

    He did it with the tax compromise and he's doing it again with his cost savings proposal. He set up the cat food commission for just this purpose. NOTHING compares to that. I might have 'gotten' the need to compromise extending the tax cuts for the wealthy (indefinately IMHO) but not messing with SSN.

    What I'd like to know is.. who proposed that bit of the compromise?

    President Obama is the best moderate Republican president in my lifetime. kasandra.us

    by KS Rose on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:49:15 AM PST

  •  Thanks for having the class and intellectual (4+ / 0-)

    honesty to write this diary.

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:49:19 AM PST

  •  this assumes... (7+ / 0-)

    “Ultimately … I believe any attempt to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in. I am convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.”

    [...]

    An atmosphere of hyper-partisanship and mean and unsophisticated political discourse serves the interests of conservatives.

    that dems are equally as evil and vicious as the republicans.

    are you kidding me?? when has that ever been true. the ones peddling this lie are villager pundits in their attempt to excuse rightwing excesses. the same ones that obama favors, promotes and plays to in trying to win their favor.

    who in their right mind thinks frank rich is as bad as rush limbaugh?

    obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

    by stolen water on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:51:51 AM PST

    •  We have the potential to be the same (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stephen Daugherty
      •  we have the potential to be as bad (3+ / 0-)

        as the republicans. so since the potential is there, we have to be punished preemptively? is that it?

        republicans get away with so much vile and disgusting behavior and they get away with it with impunity.

        but lets ignore that and pretend democrats have to be denigrated too. just because.

        this "they're all the same" posture allows republicans to get away with murder.

        obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

        by stolen water on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:46:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Democrats once supported Segregation. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sagittarius, mallyroyal, Deep Texan

      Democrats once supported Slavery.
      Democrats once supported Secession and Civil War.

      To deny the capacity to do wrong is to be blind to the moral character of one's own actions.

      The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

      by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:18:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  dixiecrats who then converted to be republicans. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StevenJoseph, happymisanthropy

        when have democrats as a party questioned whether a republican was a closet muslim? when have democrats fearmongered that a republican wasn't even an american citizen. when have democrats been willing to throw a treaty that holds loose nukes accountable under the bus? when have democrats worked to block to extend unemployment benefits in an environment of high unemployment? when have democrats been willing to deny 9/11 first responders healthcare? when have democrats vowed to see a republican fail and blocked policies that benefit the economic growth of the country?

        obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

        by stolen water on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:40:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I said we can be bad. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mallyroyal, Deep Texan

          I never said we were the worst party at the moment.  Republicans fought the winning and good side of the Civil War.  They opposed slavery.  They were early supporters of Civil Rights.

          So on and so forth.  It's not like good and bad are encoded in the DNA of the parties.  Republicans, if they break their addiction to teabagging and their need to justify Bush and obstruct Democrats, could go back to being a good party.

          And we?  If we get too partisan if we choose to get stuck in an echo chamber rather than allowing our wisdom to be put to the test, we could go the same direction.  So we need to watch the choices we make, and not just make those that are expedient to winning elections.

          The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

          by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 09:44:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, you seem to be one of the persons the above (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adept2u, Deep Texan

      sentences talk about. So it is not astonishing that it would be hard for you to see their truth.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:51:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's mean partisanship that objects to (0+ / 0-)

        being compared to republicans?

        really? you think we are as bad a republicans?

        let's go over this again:

        “Ultimately … I believe any attempt to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in. I am convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.”

        obama refuses to hold republicans accountable for the economic mess they've made. he refuses to hold corporations accountable for the economic mess they've made. as a result of his failure to craft a narrative that defends a progressive agenda, he's ceded ground to the republicans and left a vacuum that the right has filled. the right blames obama for the economic mess we are mired in.

        An atmosphere of hyper-partisanship and mean and unsophisticated political discourse serves the interests of conservatives.

        since when has the truth become hyper-partisan? any attempt that paints a false moral equivalency that equates democrats as being equally as bad as republicans --- benefits republicans in the end. look at the results of the midterms.

        obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

        by stolen water on Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 01:55:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  somebody... (10+ / 0-)

    Obama has consistently resisted efforts to be ideologically pigeonholed.

    who lacks faith in this party's ideals shouldn't have run to be the head of it.

    obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

    by stolen water on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:53:25 AM PST

  •  "The Obituary of Health Care Reform" (16+ / 0-)

    Gawd this is irritating.

    He spent a year of prime time (Democrats controlling everything) and much of his capital to ram a Republican plan through Congress over Republican objections.

    In the course of this entrenching the skimmers who have caused all the problems all along, for all of eternity now that we have "achieved Health Care Reform".

    Jesus.

    What do we want? Compromise! When do we want it? Now!

    by itswhatson on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:53:26 AM PST

  •  Very interesting post. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, Deep Texan

    And Obama's words from 2006 are certainly food for thought. They make sense to me. He's very lucid about the electorate becoming self-centered.

    •  "the electorate becoming self-centered."? (5+ / 0-)

      You mean we, the people?  shame on us.

      Actually, that quote from Obama strikes me as a glib tautology.  It's self-serving for a government office holder to dismiss a reasonable cynicism in government, for a party's candidate to decry people's desire not to kowtow uncritically to every party position.

      Pity of the poor McCainologist -- all his trowels and little brushes smell like poop.

      by Murphoney on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:05:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  BS. n/t (6+ / 0-)

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

    by bigchin on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:57:45 AM PST

  •  It's not a matter of social intervention on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Matt Z, happymisanthropy

    behalf of the "less powerful;" it's a matter of social intervention in opposition to abusers, predators and deprivators of individual rights.  In negotiating and compromising with such people, the agents of government, whose obligation it is to counter such anti-social behavior, become complicit.

    A half a loaf is better than none.  But, when all the loaves have been stolen, the right and proper thing to demand is that they be given back.

    In this case, it's our money that's being stolen and sequestered and kept out of the stream of commerce.  And, while it is true that our agents of government can have more printed, the systematic sequestration of our currency has to be stopped, if only because of the real, albeit temporary, hardship the deprivation of currency results in.

    Why should anyone in the richest, most productive continent on the earth have to beg for food?  To satisfy the dictum that those who don't work (do what they are told) don't deserve to eat?  To affirm for all to see that

    Freedom is obedience to the law

    -- i.e. conditional?

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:57:59 AM PST

  •  that's the problem (4+ / 0-)

    I am convinced whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.

    The Administration has engaged precisely in exaggerations and demonizations and oversimplifications and overstating cases and dumbing down debates. I mean, what a great description of our inability to address the fundamental challenges in our country.

    help out society’s underdogs

    If only our narrative and policy of the past few years had been to do that.

    Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

    by washunate on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:58:11 AM PST

  •  Is this a hit-and-run diary? (7+ / 0-)

    Why is the author not responding to any of the comments? I do not know for sure, but this diary is starting to "feel" like an ad for his book, currently selling for $85 on Amazon.

    Lisa

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 07:59:57 AM PST

  •  Why is it always either/or around here? (7+ / 0-)

    Why is it so hard to take the view that he's going to get some things right and screw up others?

    Why must we instead draw caricatures of the man making him either complete evil or heroic? And then do cartwheels and backflips and triple axles trying to cram reality into that narrative?

    Weren't we supposed to be the adults?

  •  Sorry (4+ / 0-)

    I just don't feel like patting him on the back because Republicans understood that objecting to nuclear arms reduction was politically stupid.

    There was no doubt START would be passed, the question was would the administration have to waste a lot of time and effort against the most protracted obstruction effort that Republicans could come up with. The answer was "yes, they would have to waste a lot of time and effort" and, funny me, I'd like to think there might have been a way for the relatively popular, avuncular guy with the attractive family to have made Republicans insistence on obstruction that much harder. But apparently it doesn't play politically to call out obstructionists for obstructing because that's not "centrist" enough or something.

    I don't remember the START treaty coming up during the campaign. And frankly, if START ratification had not been achieved we'd be talking about one of the greatest failures of political will in our history. So OK, I'm guess I'm glad that didn't happen.

  •  The DADT victory in no way mitigates (19+ / 0-)

    the absolute disastrous economy road Obama is taking us down. This tax "deal" he cut with the rethugs opens the floodgates to dismantling social security, in no way will help create jobs, states will be forced to continue slashing causing even more economic decline overall, and the big push for "austerity" will be on. In case anyone doesn't understand the code word "austerity", what it means is that the people least responsible for our economic crisis have to make the biggest sacrifice in what supposedly will "fix" it (but won't, except for the super rich).

    Sure, we can be happy about DADT, but leading us off a cliff economically is not playing for the "long game"...unless the goal really is to lead us off a cliff.

    And don't for a minute buy into the tax "deal" being any sort of stimulus whatsoever.

    Homer: "Marge - I'm going to a hardcore gay club and I won't be back 'til three in the morning". Marge: "Have fun!"

    by Oaktown Girl on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:06:26 AM PST

  •  Yes. More than one way to skin a cat they say. (0+ / 0-)

    No offense to the cat people here!

    Got Social Security? Thank a Democrat!

    by Fury on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:11:22 AM PST

  •  Give me a break (7+ / 0-)

    What on earth do DADT and the Start treaty have to with tax cuts in particular and economic policy in general.  

    "when you do well, America does well." Obama to CEOs. Tell that to the unemployed and outsourced

    by Paleo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:16:46 AM PST

  •  What complete bullcrap: (10+ / 0-)

    I should have reread a portion of my latest book, in which Obama's approach is both entirely predictable, and helps underdogs

    Just how does a HUGE continued tax break for the superwealthy while raising taxes on those making less than $20K/$40K help out the underdog?  Some days I wonder what alternative universe a lot of people are living in . . .

  •  Look at the last few weeks. . . (5+ / 0-)

    if he had engaged in a "purist" fight over the tax cuts, the likely outcome would have sacrified DADT repeal and the START Treaty, two signature pieces of the President's agenda.

    Strategy, not tactics, is what Pres. Obama focuses on.  

    Instead of continually screeching about what he hasn't done, maybe The Left would do well to pause, listen and pay attention to "strategy" vs "process" or how things look on the surface.

    An Obama presidency can't make up for over 30 years of conservative rule.

    by Dailyfare on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:24:54 AM PST

  •  Yeah as long as the massive give-away (7+ / 0-)

    for big-business and the wealthy is put in at the very beginning of his legislative initiatives--Obama usually finishes pretty "strong".

    Health care

    Tax deal

    Awesome.This guy really knows how to govern.

    Obama consistently finishes the games he plays very strongly. The Obituary of Health Care Reform was written many times. He finishes strong again.

  •  I completely agree (5+ / 0-)

    ...with your assessment of Obama's approach to legislation and policy crafting.  When he said he wanted to change the way Washington works I think that he was talking about this.

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

    by Triscula on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:26:41 AM PST

  •  one thing is for sure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Matt Z

    in 2012 when/if the tax cuts have NOT created jobs (which they likely won't) Obama will be in a position to say "see? look. we cut the taxes for rich people and it didnt create jobs".

    Most of US know that already because of the BUsh years but most Americans really don't know that.

    This tine the issue was really front and center. And there are actually huge swaths of americans who actually believe that tax cuts stimulate the economy and create jobs - many of those people are rank and file democrats who haven't quite seen the connection between reagan policy and what's happened to the middle class.

    The will though.

    The fact is that in the two first years of Obama's term the economy stabilized and then started to show signs of growth. That will be indisputable in 2012 when comparing it with what happened in the last two years. And god love the GOP, they appear to be high primed to act utterly ridiculous beginning in January. These actions will also be front and centre and Obama will benefit from the spotlight being shined on the crazy congress.  In fact, the legislation that I expect to see coming ot of the house and possibly the senate will place Obama in a position to be the ONLY thing between people's fears of losing, say, medicare or food stamps, and the crazy GOP.

    I have been disappointed but I havent written the whole thing off yet.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

    by mdmslle on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 08:27:13 AM PST

  •  Yeaaaahhhhhh... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph, Matt Z, lisastar

    Thinking it's just a little too early to be writing post-game postmortems.

  •  The real game in the end is about the economic <