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"I think the College Republicans here would say I'm a pretty liberal President but if you read the Huffington Post you think I was some right wing tool of Wall Street. Both things can't be true. - President Barack Obama

I came across that video at Hullabaloo and she points to d-day's reaction to it. I want to share my own before I react to d-day's. It is in my title - some things are true. For example, it is true that:

(1) the 2009 stimulus was inadequate for the problems in the economy; (2) HAMP was a failure; (3) the Bush tax cuts were extended in December 2010 without an agreement on the budget or the debt ceiling; (4) the debt ceiling deal Obama seems on the verge of making will not be good for the economy; (5) Democrats were walloped in the 2010 elections; (6) the 2012 election looks like it is gonna be close, much closer than the 2008 election.

Let's assume for the moment that the truths described above are not what the President intended. What is his explanation for these results? Do these truths justify his approach to politics and the Presidency? If so, why? After all, the president is basically justifying himself in that video. Perhaps he could explain why the truths I list occurred if his approach was the right one.

d-day writes:

In the whole of his public life [. . . Obama] has [. . .] defined compromise as the necessary element of the most important thing a politician can do, which is to get something done. To “do big things,” as he has been saying throughout the debt limit fight. And you cannot separate the appearance of this last lecture, produced four months ago, on the heels of his efforts to engineer a grand bargain, a compromise that would include major cuts to the social safety net.

I think that this particular criticism is off on the Grand Bargain. Here's why -- for once the President seems to be fighting for a policy he believes in "strengthening" Medicare and Social Security and reducing the deficit. I don't think that the President is fighting for compromise on this issue. Instead I think he is fighting for his viewpoint on that issue.

It so happens that I agree with him on some of this (for example, I am for making the rich pay more for Medicare and Social Security, yes at the risk of making more like "welfare.") I do not agree with the timing of this initiative at all. It's the economy, stupid. that's Obama's big challenge. He seems uninterested in tackling it. Which is strange, given its importance to his reelection chances.

And indeed, this to me is where the President went off the rails, both in terms of policy and politics - his failures in terms of economic policy have been huge.

The President does not like that "progressives" disagree with his policy and political approach on the economy. I'm not sure if the President is saying that he needed to "compromise" to achieve his economic policy, but if he is, the missing piece of the puzzle here is the President demonstrating that he in fact was compromising from what he believed was the proper economic policy.

d-day writes that:

[Obama] doesn’t just acknowledge the need for compromise. He glories in it. He sees it as “part of the process of growing up.” It’s juvenile to act on your own beliefs, to draw bright lines that cannot be crossed, to express core convictions. “Don’t set up a situation where you’re guaranteed to be disappointed,” Obama says. [. . .]

This fetish of bipartisanship and compromise would have been the elements of a very good President circa 1954, or maybe 1975. In 2011, with one party that has swore to never compromise on any principle ever again, it’s just a recipe for failure to hear this from the head of the other party. It guarantees bad outcomes. And with an economy in tatters and urgency (the fierce urgency of now, I would say) the order of the day, it has enormous consequences.

Now, some would say that Obama is just reflecting the belief system prevalent in America, where Democrats and independents favor compromise, but Republicans don’t. Is he reflecting that, or is he teaching it? This is his last lecture. A President has an enormous capacity to sway the opinions of the constituents in the party he leads. If we’re talking about which came first, the chicken or the egg, I’d say Obama has been trying to teach this for many, many years. It was evident in his 2004 DNC keynote. It was a feature of his only engagement at Daily Kos in 2005. He’s been telling this story for many years. It’s not a surprise that people predisposed to him are getting that message.

Regular readers know of my disdain for the Post Partisan Unity Schtick. It was a regular feature of my Talk Left writing for the past 5 years, indeed, from my first Talk Left post in July 2006, What Obama Needs To Learn From Richard Hofstadter, Abraham Lincoln and FDR:

Obama has learned nothing from Lincoln and nothing from Hofstadter. As wonderfully talented a politician he is, until he does, he will not best serve the interests of progressives and the Democratic Party.

[. . . .] FDR changed our philosophy of government and the FDR liberal philosophy remains that which we follow today.

How did FDR do it and can Democrats defend FDR liberalism today? Maybe not by calling it FDR liberalism but they surely can and do when they have the courage of their convictions. The most prominent of these instances was the fight to save Social Security Faced with Media hostility, Republican demagogy and flat out lies, Democrats rallied to the FDR liberalism banner and crushed the Republican attempts to roll back the clock. FDR would have been proud of Democrats in that fight. No triangulation. Good old fashioned political populism won the day.

And that is FDR's lesson for Obama. Politics is not a battle for the middle. It is a battle for defining the terms of the political debate. It is a battle to be able to say what is the middle.

Nearly 5 years later, I think my critique stands up. The President has a different conception of what works in these times. I disagree. I'll continue to say so.

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  •  Tip Jar (348+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gchaucer2, SpecialKinFlag, Garrett, bagman, tidalwave1, Susan from 29, oysterface, angry marmot, Robobagpiper, Naranjadia, Jim P, outragedinSF, Robert in WV, triv33, MKinTN, Laurence Lewis, jabney, newpioneer, implicate order, dougymi, aravir, andgarden, ColoTim, OLinda, Gooserock, JanetT in MD, aoeu, itsbenj, Keone Michaels, trinityfly, peregrine kate, foucaultspendulum, DeadHead, CT Hank, filby, joanneleon, side pocket, Dave925, stevej, HairyTrueMan, temptxan, zerelda, marina, LaFeminista, Jackson L Haveck, Bluesee, NearlyNormal, qannabbos, Ken in MN, run around, 2laneIA, aggieric, MindRayge, hopeful, eXtina, JugOPunch, House of Gin, Noor B, Corporate Dog, zbbrox, ohmyheck, Curt Matlock, Book of Hearts, DawnN, Catte Nappe, Actbriniel, Colorado is the Shiznit, shaharazade, waltmon, Timothy J, McGahee220, Cofcos, rlharry, dewtx, Ezekial 23 20, toby esterhase, SallyCat, Unbozo, Massman, psilocynic, edwardssl, robertlewiws, bronte17, gloriana, whenwego, crackpot, rivercard, kck, Joe Willy, badger, polecat, peachcreek, Edger, glitterscale, praenomen, Habitat Vic, cville townie, yowsta, lineatus, claude, cybrestrike, chuckvw, ratzo, Showman, Larry Bailey, Brooke In Seattle, ladybug53, pat bunny, Ivan, keirdubois, DSC on the Plateau, sarahdillingham, axman, Friend of the court, BobBlueMass, ord avg guy, radical simplicity, yoduuuh do or do not, sphealey, Skennet Boch, buckstop, Ajax the Greater, salmo, cassandraX, Kall, sostos, Dragon5616, CenterLeft, K S LaVida, HCKAD, emal, greengemini, jethrock, Progrocks, Jeffersonian Democrat, ciganka, SouthernLiberalinMD, rapala, Hear Our Voices, Glic, Militarytracy, Do Tell, liberte, pixxer, jbou, left my heart, Lost Left Coaster, LucyandByron, Potus2020, MrJayTee, GeorgeXVIII, jazzbuff, prfb, think blue, TAH from SLC, lulusbackintown, pgm 01, maryabein, bluescrubs, bryduck, Son of a Cat, Zaphkiel, TiaRachel, gulfgal98, Wek, Into The Woods, annetteboardman, Karl Rover, Sychotic1, ratmach, Tam in CA, Temmoku, PapaChach, Limelite, ubertar, rick, Mary Mike, awcomeon, cyncynical, Disgusted in St Louis, JVolvo, legendmn, begone, jhecht, Paper Cup, jnhobbs, Joieau, TLS66, sb, ferg, Dave the Wave, radmul, jay23, RainyDay, Russ Jarmusch, JayBat, tardis10, kat68, RichM, expatjourno, radarlady, bluesheep, Turbonerd, p gorden lippy, his panic, aerie star, Philoguy, markthshark, 3goldens, Mighty Ike, MJ via Chicago, science nerd, ZAPatty, Angie in WA State, Rhysling, Thinking Fella, esquimaux, weelzup, shenderson, Granny Doc, Dinclusin, greenbastard, Arilca Mockingbird, GreenSooner, Dyana, melvynny, vigilant meerkat, Laughing Vergil, Involuntary Exile, rhetoricus, NonnyO, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Iberian, muddy boots, Zinman, Sylv, chira2, bnasley, Seneca Doane, Oddball, 88kathy, Revy, marylrgn, Orange County Liberal, monkeybox, Nulwee, tote, no way lack of brain, unspeakable, BMarshall, TracieLynn, Shockwave, Ignacio Magaloni, plf515, profh, devtob, camlbacker, Pinko Elephant, majcmb1, CTPatriot, daveusf, byteb, DarkestHour, janinsanfran, denise b, deepsouthdoug, psnyder, Dallasdoc, New Rule, wolverinethad, Snud, poe, Hayate Yagami, high uintas, offgrid, Silverleaf, Alumbrados, Cassandra77, Chi, b3citizen, democracy inaction, TimmyB, FogCityJohn, cdreid, LeislerNYC, cas2, nolalily, bluicebank, Michael91, Lujane, copymark, tmo, dharmafarmer, JekyllnHyde, Emocrat, rage, xynz, nklein, Tommymac, catilinus, produceus, kerflooey, coolbreeze, ATFILLINOIS, blueoasis, jen, NBBooks, tarheel74, LSmith, boofdah, Dumbo, WisePiper, rasbobbo, Tillie630, Spiny, KathleenM1, nailbender, Denny in Seattle, where4art, Annalize5, DianeNYS, Seamus D, Debby, revsue, ravenwind, mattinla, fiddlingnero, abarefootboy, cpresley, Trendar, Zydekos, ER Doc, matt2525, sidnora, Meteor Blades, edrie, S M Tenneshaw, behan, dirtfarmer, MadEye, stratocasterman, TheTruthIsOutThrere, standingup, Aeolos, eaglecries, Rebecca, greenearth, msl
    •  The President is absolutely right, the Republicans (13+ / 0-)

      do see him as very Liberal, in fact, they see him as extremely Liberal.... Some members of the Left sees him as a "right wing sell out" ....Both things can't be true....

      •  Indeed (35+ / 0-)

        Since we don't really think they're right about anything else, why does anyone think the Republicans are right about this?

        (Actually, there's no need for snark here: the Republicans would call literally any Democratic President a socialist. Had Gore been allowed to take office in 2000 but had passed away while in the White House, Joe Lieberman would have undoubtedly been the second coming of Leon Trotsky according to the folks at Red State.)

        "[S]ince Obama keeps talking nonsense about economics, at what point do we stop giving him credit for actually knowing better? Maybe at some point we have to accept that he believes what he’s saying." --Paul Krugman

        by GreenSooner on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:34:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't have to think they believe what they (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Seamus D, Back In Blue, Tortmaster

          believe, I see their actions....

        •  And we on dkos would be calling him a "sellout" (0+ / 0-)

          Cause that is just the way Republicans are, and that is just the way we are.

        •  The republicans would call any dem a socialist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tortmaster

          but which Democratic presidents would progressives call one of their own and be satisfied with the policies of??

          Obama still owns some of the most progressive accomplishments and  a more liberal resume than any US president in at least 5 decades. Maybe more. So the outrage, in my opinion, is misguided and misdirected.

          We're gonna rise from these ashes like a bird aflame...

          by August West on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:10:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This apples to oranges comparison so oft (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Seamus D

            repeated here on the kos is totally meaningless.

            Obama has served thus far from 2009 to the present. Every Presidential term is unique to the socio-political realities of its OWN period of time.

            To the extent that ANY comparison CAN be made, one must speculate as to what Obama, given his particular skill set and governing philosophy, MIGHT have accomplished had he served during some other period of time. Conversely, what might FDR (or Kennedy or Clinton or whoevever) have accomplished during this CURRENT period of time.

            Please name ONE substantive progressive accomplishment of Obama's that no other previous Democratic President could have accomplished had he been serving during the current Presidential term.

            Maikeru Ronin has been banned in defense of an unprincipled principle.

            by WisePiper on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:44:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The question is not just about what they "could" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tortmaster

              but whether they "would". And whether they would have succeeded. Despite an extremely contentious political climate and economic downturn, Obama was able to succeed progress on many issues including health care reform, civil rights, nuclear weapon treaties, environmental initiatives and more. Most other presidents were not able to or not interested in pursuing such endeavors even during more complementary political and economic times. I welcome any direct comparison of both the accomplishments as well as the contextual environment they occurred within.

              We're gonna rise from these ashes like a bird aflame...

              by August West on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 09:06:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Would you argue that FDR's rescue of the economy (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc, S M Tenneshaw

                was accomplished during "more complementary economic times"?

                Would you argue that LBJ's landmark civil rights achievement was accomplished during "more complementary political times"?

                Of course you wouldn't. That would be silly.

                You've yet to make a case for a particular unique quality of Obama's that supports your belief that he has accomplished things that other Democratic Presidents could not (or would not) have accomplished had they been serving NOW.

                Absent such a case, your declaration sounds like so much vapid boosterism.

                Maikeru Ronin has been banned in defense of an unprincipled principle.

                by WisePiper on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 09:54:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                  I said MOST presidents. I would gladly put Obama up there with those that you've mentioned at this point in their respective presidency's. But the vast majority of presidents in my lifetime must be considered absolute failures to all of you hand-wringing "progressives", when comparing their resumes to that of the current administration.

                  We're gonna rise from these ashes like a bird aflame...

                  by August West on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 02:49:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  But (8+ / 0-)

        both can be wrong. The President puts ideology at the bottom. He is not an extremist liberal socialist, nor he is a Republican mole adept to conservative principles.

        The problem is that he is fighting extremist ideologues, or trying to mak'em behave or to convince them ....

      •  4 hours, 9 minutes, and 36 seconds (11+ / 0-)

        after the diary is posted you show up with comment #231, attached prominently to the tip jar, gainsaying the point of the diary based on -- well, just gainsaying it.  Location, location, location.

        P.S.  You have the right to do this, but that doesn't make it good for anyone.

        In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

        by Seneca Doane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:04:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I attach my comment to the diarist, now if it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          whatev, Kiamichi

          falls 4, 5, 6, or 7 hours and 9 minutes after the diary is posted, so be it. My comment would still be directed to the diarist and wherever it falls on the thread it falls.... This is out of my control.... He writes a diary, he invites comments, I register a comment, and a pretty civil one too as comments go.... I agree with the President and I felt it should be stated....

          •  You Always Agree with the President (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, blueoasis, Seamus D, revsue

            ad nauseum

            •  Well, I must say, if it's a choice between (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hooper, Kiamichi, BarackStarObama

              agreeing with a pretty brilliant President, who has done a lot for this nation in the short time he has been in office and agreeing with you and many of your cohorts, I think I will have to dissapoint you and say I agree with this President. And I have no shame regarding that.... This is true....

          •  You should not jump the tip jar (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Seamus D

            Yes, there's no site rule against it.

            But common courtesy says that you can't do it, just like you can't reasonably expect to be able to cut in a line either!

            You don't deserve to get extra special attention to your diary by jumping the tip jar.

            It is NOT "out of your control" where you comment falls! It's entirely within your control if you choose to reply to the tip jar!

            Really, did you think that no one would notice your bogus claim that you have no control what comment you clicked on to reply, instead of simply posting a comment? Really?

            •  Not so, usually applying to a tip jar sometime (0+ / 0-)

              after a diary is published, your comment will not be at the top of the pile.... This is a problem for the administrators of this site, not me. If you want to start a crusade about people ending up at the top of the line, then contact the site administrators and have them change it.... As a member of this site, and a Democrat, I am more curious about the day to day drumbeat of crticism that the President receives and whether or not it is fair.  If I disagree with a diarist I will register my comment to the diarist pro or con. My ego won't be boosted by being at the top or bottom of the so called line.... The comment is more important....

              •  Yes "so" (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Seamus D, revsue, Rebecca

                When you hit "reply" to the tip jar, you're saying that you disrespect all the other people who replied to the diary before you ever got here. You're saying that your comment is more important and too valuable to simply fall into the normal place it would fall.

                And that's wrong. Your comment doesn't deserve that, just like no one gets the right to cut into a line and claim that they deserve that place in the line!

            •  This isn't "jumping the tip jar" (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis, ruscle, Seamus D, revsue, Rebecca

              You can find many discussions of what that used to be elsewhere.  It meant something else, in the pre-auto-tip days.

              This is just his deciding that his comment deserved prominent placement when what it had to say really didn't -- and was sure to start a big meta fight up here that pushes down more on-topic discussion.  Sometimes it bothers me; sometimes it doesn't.  When it's "here, let me shit on your head for you" four hours and more than 200 comments after the posting, it usually does.

              In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

              by Seneca Doane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:49:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is too 'jumping the tip jar' (0+ / 0-)

                What we're talking about is what it means today, with Daily Kos in its present format.

                Even if you have what you think is a good reason, it's not okay to cut in line.

                •  No, that's not what it means today (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rebecca

                  That's what some people erroneously think it means.

                  This is more like threadjacking, if you need to put it in a traditional category.

                  In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

                  by Seneca Doane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:46:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  You chose to seek out the extra attention (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rebecca

            that posting your comment here provided.  You got what you wanted.

            You have the right to do that.  That doesn't make it a good idea when all you have to say is what you said.  What's in your control is where you say it and whether you have a compelling reason to seek out this most prominent position.

            In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

            by Seneca Doane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:45:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You know, I honestly don't see why you continue (0+ / 0-)

              to moan over this tip jar thing, I mean, it is not as if you and your fellow anti-Obama critics would even read what I wrote.... Once you realize I was agreeing with the President you all would have moved right along.... In any case, I hope you don't lose sleep over it. This too will pass, trust me....

          •  Lame (0+ / 0-)

            The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats

            by deepsouthdoug on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:09:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  5 hours, 11 minutes and 23 seconds later (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          August West

          and you STILL need to get a life.

          And that goes double for all of your little HR'ing buddies.  I don't see you or any of your friends on the wreck list so now you resort to attacking someone else.

          You and your ilk have ruined this place.

          Cinnamon donuts, please.

          Never confuse kindness and patience with stupidity and weakness!!

          by Joes Steven on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:05:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did I HR someone? Do I have HR'ing buddies? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, WisePiper, Seamus D, Rebecca

            I know you can't tell the players without a scorecard, but you whiffed on that one.

            I present my reasons for my reaction above.  By the way, I don't really care about not being on the Rec List when I haven't written a diary today.  It'd be weird.

            In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

            by Seneca Doane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:52:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Neither are True (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mike101

        Obama is not particularly Liberal, nor is a complete tool for Wall Street. He really is dead center of today's Politics which historical places him slightly to the right of Nixon, Ford, Bush I, and Clinton. He seems to take great pride in occupying the center and appears to have no interest in moving the center to the left as one would have expected from a Democratic President.

        The problem is that very few voters are actually part of the center. Most people are clearly on one side of the great divide. Obama keeps chasing all of those mythical Centrist, who no longer exist, due to the Center having been yanked hard to the Right. Predictably he is pissing everybody off and seems to be proud to do so, as if this was some an indicator that he is the most reasonable person in the room.

      •  Actually, both can be true. (5+ / 0-)

        If you assume the definition of the far Right on what constitutes a Liberal (anyone who isn't them, or who is but is not sufficiently teahdist), and the definition of the Left (hewing to traditional liberal positions), then both are true.

        And therein Obama makes the mistake. There is simply nothing in the world that he, especially he, can do that would make him a conservative in the eyes of the Right. Not. One. Thing. But he can by action change how liberals view him. The proof is that liberals loved him in 2008. The proof is that conservatives hated him then and now, despite quite conservative positions/actions.

        I would think a supposed Zen mind would get that.

        •  Excellent comment. Obama's comment is only (5+ / 0-)

          correct if the two things that couldn't exist together truly existed as opposites. It's more accurate to say:

          It is true that Obama is not a far-right, radical, theocratic, insane, willing-to-destroy-the-economy-to-win-at-all-costs wingnut.

          It is equally true that he is not in any sense of the word a progressive, or someone who believes in liberal principles. In fact, he has quite clearly rejected many of those principles, and comes right out and says as much. Especially this one:

          That Keynesian economics not only works, but is the most democratic and most fair to the overwhelming number of ordinary people, i.e. people other than multi-millionaires.

          Obama's huge problem is that he is a neo-liberal, and spouts the neo-liberal ideology of his alma mater, and the free-traders (notwithstanding his campaign rhetoric about NAFTA, which clearly he never believed), and essentially puts his faith in the market and Wall Street.

          And in this fundamentally critical aspect of his politics, he is a disaster, because it was neo-liberal nonsense that got us into this mess, and this mess is going to define his presidency, and very likely whether or not he gets re-elected.

          It really is the economy, stupid.

          "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

          by flitedocnm on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:07:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Good grief. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tacet

        You've fallen into the fallacy of assuming that the opinions of the GOP have any legitimacy or basis in reality. Today's GOP would see Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford as dangerous socialists flirting with outright Bolshevism. Given that, yes, I do think that both can be true.

    •  Who are the rich who should pay more (4+ / 0-)

      for Social Security?

      Are you for means testing?  Or do you just mean that the ceiling on contributions should be lifted?  That's not really one of Obama's ideas, inasmuch as I can make out, and I certainly don't object to it.  SS is not really the problem, although Obama has shown multiple times he wants to screw it.  Raising the contribution limit would indeed strengthen the program, which is likely why he hasn't backed that approach.

      In any case, for me, rich people are those who fly business class at their own expense, without giving a second thought.  I am not included in that category.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:11:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course the Bush tax cut extension traded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dcotler

      for UI extension, DADT repeal, START, tax deductions for the poor and middle class, and wind tax rebates was not worth it because unemployed people, gay soldiers, the survival of the earth, working people's finances, and green energy are all minor issues compared with the failure of the president to obey the Progressive Thought Police. It's a matter of fucking principle, I say.

    •  What works in these times or 'for' these times? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee

      I don't think FDR was a conformist. And I don't think Barack Obama married the rich white niece of a sitting president.

      I'll give you 2 3 and 5 as truths.

    •  What really jars me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seamus D

      is that Obama drew a parallel between the deals he is making and emancipation proclamation by Lincoln. Let me be very, very clear to me that is the most sleight of hand argument that he could make to a group of teens/tweens who would not have the audacity to call him for this nonsensical crap.

      Lincoln was fighting a civil war. A CIVIL FUCKING WAR because he did not budge on his beliefs. He signed the emancipation proclamation against the wishes of many people, including several within his party and several among his troops, to give some meaning to what was then a prolonged and costly carnage. General McClellan, the erstwhile Union commander was howling for the President's head.

      Would this President go to war against his opponents to defend his convictions? No. He makes deals, and then makes excuses for making those deals. I shudder to think what the state of the Union would be like if Obama was the President instead of Lincoln, or Roosevelt, or Johnson.

      •  Lincoln shredded the constitution (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA

        I don't know that you're taking such an objective view.

        Lincoln stands out to Obama, presumably because Lincoln governed the ungovernable nation. FDR had a nation firmly in his corner; Lincoln didn't.

        A reminder on grammar: even Shakespeare used "more better."

        by Nulwee on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:06:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Having just spent two days (73+ / 1-)

    as a guest of my favorite "Marxist" (80 years old) and my former domestic partner (current dear friend) who is also one whom I would deem a genius (G.B. Shaw scholar) I have had the most enriching discussion re: politics in general and Obama in particular.

    Bottom line -- from the Marxist -- he knew what to expect from an Obama administration, ergo, is not disappointed (but happily surprised at certain unexpected events).  He approaches all things within the context of swaths of history rather than outrage at particular current actions or proclamations.  He is the most level-headed, non-excitable person I know -- because he believes that "expectations" and failures to meet them -- by the left or right is what drive folks off the rails rather than thinking critically and presenting reasoned objections and/or alternatives.

    Perhaps part of it is age -- and even though I am 20 years younger -- I think I've learned the lesson finally.  Political ideology which becomes a kind of religion only leads to a sense of despair and makes one somewhat impotent to act where one actually can act -- locally.

    If I am totally off your topic -- I apologize.  And did I mention I heard the most astounding Sibelius concert at Tanglewood in the midst of all of this intellectual stimulation?  Someone today needs to compose something comparable to Finlandia to rally the middle class and poor.

    Thanks for the diary -- and if I have de-railed it -- HR at will.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:30:44 AM PDT

  •  And, (24+ / 0-)

    I do disagree with the opening quote from the President. The college Republicans are likely to call anything he does socialist no matter where the origins of any particular policy he supports lies.

  •  The problem is (31+ / 0-)

    it appears Obama's middle more reflects traditional right wing perspectives--particularly on the economy--than FDR's ever did.  One truth seems certain:  Obama is not FDR.

    Ironically, following right wings memes on the economy has and will hurt this country--and Obama's chances at reelection.  Even if the capitalists create jobs (though why should they, if they can make money on money?  Making products and having employees may well be an unnecessary expense for many capitalists these days), it most likely won't be in this country and not without substantial compromises on wages.

    Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:33:44 AM PDT

    •  I've said this before (3+ / 0-)

      I'm sort of a neoliberal.

      Neoliberals believe in Keynesianism.

      Obama's domestic economic policies are not really neoliberal.

    •  he appears at different times (22+ / 0-)

      to buy into any number of things. what BBB has described as a lack of ideology on his part I think is just a kinder way of describing a basic, corrosive passivity that has been the hallmark of this administration.

      the rhetoric against the left and against liberals is just sucking up to 'what's popular'. as long as more people chuckle than don't, he'll do it. the whole philosophy he's governed with is "the easiest thing to do is necessarily the most moral". ergo, standing up for principles in a fight where they can't be victorious isn't just bad politics, it becomes bizarrely immoral. better to subvert one's own desires and reasoning just to be able to say you sided with the thing that was more popular.

      "doing big things" is itself supposed to be sage wisdom, the most important of all goals. what those things actually are doesn't appear to matter much, as long as they are currently slightly more popular than their alternatives among the beltway machers of such things.

      this silly POV has masqueraded as wisdom long enough to be paying out some terrible dividends now, and will keep doing so throughout the election season. we see a slight uptick in unemployment. get ready for more. if things had been put into place a year, year and a half ago, there might be some hope of those numbers turning around. instead they went with what was popular, the 'confidence fairy' theory, and went all-in. now they are hoping for miraculous jobs numbers that will never come because embracing the confidence fairy was just wrong, popular or not. etc, etc.

      •  The way I think of this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CT Hank, 3goldens, Chi

        is thinking of MLK and what he had to suffer for his beliefs or what might be called ideology.

        It is hard to believe that given what he suffered, MLK would ever dream of making compromises like Obama's.

        Obama's principles, to the extent he has them, aren't died in wool because he never suffered to have them?

        Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

        by Publius2008 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:06:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          I don't know how comparable their situations are to begin with. Obama and MLK are in vastly different roles (elected official vs populist leader) and had different goals (preserve the social and economic order vs shatter the economic and social order). I'm just not sure what Mr. Obama's goals actually are, other than "doing big things" which may or may not be useful, good things.

          •  There might be the rub: many people (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            itsbenj, 3goldens, TracieLynn, Seamus D

            like to view Obama as a populist leader--both those who adore, er, support him, and those who have felt disappointment in his actions.
            I tend to think that he brought this on himself; he appropriated Edwards's more populist approach during the primary and then abandoned it soon after nomination, if not before. Is it the left grasping at the Obama straw? We've certainly been bereft of political heroes for a looong time, and definitely haven't had the ear of any political leaders for decades. Finding out we don't have the ear of this one too stings more than a little.

            •  while he certainly presented himself (6+ / 0-)

              as someone in tune with the arguments of populism, it must be remembered that no matter what he promised (and he absolutely did over-promise on almost every issue) he was running for President of the US. there's power in that role, but only the power explicitly given to it. the President of the US can't, however, act in the role of a socially conscious agitator ala MLK whether he borrowed rhetoric from him or not. what he can do is forcefully lay out an agenda, make his case to the American people, and use his political strength and alliances to keep his caucus in line until victories start lining up, creating momentum, and becoming self-reinforcing.

              that's where he's dropped the ball. and frankly, where a lot of Dems dropped it on their own when he though they'd be there for him. he proposes closing Guantanamo - a whole bunch of Dem Senators who were standing next to him on the campaign trail, saying "this guy is great, I'm going to do what he says!" all suddenly wet their pants and ran away crying and whimpering about how those scary prisoners couldn't be contained by mere US prisons, and the like.

              he assumed office, and found out quite quickly that few in his own party would have his back. but for some reason, instead of trying to bring those people (like Evan Bayh) into line, he feted them, caved in to them, and took his anger out on those further to the left. why - I have no idea, other than what I said above. popularity of making fun of one group vs the other. you can always go after lefties - you'll always get a laugh and a wink though you may be totally wrong. go after Evan Bayh, Jim Webb and you're "extreme". sucks, but that's how it is. I was looking for someone a little stronger than that, personally. keeping the caucus in line is all-important. scoring those early victories is all-important. you achieve those things and the rest flows from there. you don't achieve them, and things aren't just going to magically fall into place. one failure makes the next more likely.

              •  I agree with most of what you say here, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chi, Seamus D

                but I have a hard time remembering any time when he proposed something that was truly liberal-minded, and if it only happened one or two times (closing Gitmo and ?), then it really shows a complete and utter failure of those vaunted community-building skills we have all heard so much about. Because the community he would/should have built first was in his own party. In any case, I guess he would have had to be a different person entirely to have taken on all comers--although that is kinda what the President is supposed to do, being a Constitutionally Separate Power and all.

          •  And, "big" for whom, we might ask? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Seamus D

            Furthermore, he is too risk-averse to do "big" things, unless it is for the bad guys (messing with social security, etc.) - the whole "big" things talk seems to me to be just more talk from a very eloquent but insincere talker.

            ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
            "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

            by Chi on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:20:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  silly, uninformed, offensive, or all three? (3+ / 0-)

          MLK dealt with intractable people also and he was a master of compromise.

          Some people here would have called MLK a sellout because he did not demand full integration of the public buses during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

          "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
          I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:00:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He was also a master of the grand statement (4+ / 0-)

            when given the spotlight--he didn't back down from confrontation when the eyes of the nation were upon him. Goading Bull Connor into being inflammatory might have been easy, but no one else did it, and MLK made sure that the newscasters caught Connor (and his ilk)'s goons in full horrifying action.
            The compromises he made were out of sight, I would say.
            (By the way, MLK did not compromise at all during the Montgomery bus boycott--he kept it alive even after the SC ruling declaring it unconstitutional, waiting until the local ordinance was passed instituting complete desegregation. What compromise? He won a complete victory.)

            •  the initial demand was only (0+ / 0-)

              for blacks to have their own section of the bus and not to have to stand for white passengers when the white section became full.

              the boycotters were not demanding full desegregation with everyone sitting next to everyone else on the bus, which is what purists would have been advocating at the time.

              MLK picked a goal that was more likely to be achieved rather than the hardline full desegregation goal.

              in another era, Obama's compromises would also be out of sight.

              "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
              I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

              by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:07:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Why compare pols with activists? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seamus D

          And why is President Obama, more than any previous president, so frequently compared with MLK in particular?

    •  Absolutely neo-liberal..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seamus D

      ...also evident in his staffing decisions & advisors.

  •  "I-deal-ology" seems to be the ideology (40+ / 0-)

    of this supposedly non-ideological President. That he holds unto "a deal is automatically the best thing" shows an insensitivity to context.

    You'll remember his first statement after the 2010 electoral defeat was that he would seek common ground with the Republicans. The only common ground you could possibly find is with the people in their grave, and the Republicans dancing on it. But his I-deal-ology seems to be blind to the reality.

    What I find especially frustrating is that all that's required to position the Party for landslide victories all around, including along his coattails, is one strong and credible Jobs Plan. "Here's our Plan, we will do it if you give us the votes!" wins everything.

    As brooklynbadboy's diary points out, the polls show that "elusive" swing vote isn't in some fictional center. The "Independents" go our way if you fire up people with Democratic agendas which address the needs of the demos.

    There's absolutely no need to worry about Republicans, or their legislative power, or even the purity of Democratic-voting critics, if you simply come out strong with a "Plan to Get Us Working Again."

    Reform -- and everyone knows by now reform means "less money and fewer rights for ordinary Americans" -- of the safety net will suppress the democratic turnout, not grow it.

    I-deal-ology makes a person as blind as any other ideology.


    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:42:30 AM PDT

    •  Goddamn, I wish I could rec this twice. (7+ / 0-)

      We should have a "rec twice" button, I swear.

    •  The myth of the "independent voter." (6+ / 0-)

      The myth isn't so much that there aren't independent voters, because there clearly are. It's also not that they aren't "moderate" on certain issues.

      The myth of the independent voter in contemporary politics is the idea that there is a zero-sum game between catering to the Democratic political base and catering to the independent voter.

      This leads nervous Democratic pols to automatically favor austerity measures, deficit cutting, or especially axing progressive social programs to achieve deficit cutting.

      But this assumes that, on every issue, there is a neat continuum of ideological attitudes, and that the secret is to find the middle (or more often, middle-right) of that continuum on all issues in order to garner the independents' favor.

      So they map it all out: halfway between no gay marriage and gay marriage is civil unions; halfway between universal single-payer and private, deregulated health care is a slightly regulated private system; halfway between private, devil-take-the-hindmost education and public education is private vouchers, etc. etc. etc.

      But things don't really work like that. The reality is probably closer to the idea that, despite the immense popularity of Democratic social programs in poll after poll -- even among independents -- those same independents won't register as Democrats or self-define as Democrats because of the historical ickiness of the "liberal" label. They like Democratic policies, but they have some mental image that being a Democrat is the same as being a McGovernite or something.

      In reality, some independents are fiscal libertarians who are also social libertarians on the issues liberals care about; some independents are state interventionists who love social programs and who are also all about government interventionism in "moral" issues as well. But Democrats continue to behave as if all independents must be placated by a veneer of fiscally prudent bean-counting.

      The idea that every last one is some kind of Michael Bloomberg clone is probably what drives Obama's views on going after independents, and there is likely nothing more wrongheaded than that assumption.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:04:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  First, read the linked diary on Independents. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pgm 01, tardis10, 3goldens, Seamus D

        The one by brooklynbadboy. Many myths are dispelled there.

        And you are right: there's a fictional, media/DC political spectrum, which posits ideological poles, from which an imagined center is calculated. But among the populace, neither poll has much sway, and nobody is in that imaginary center.

        The falsified political spectrum is both a cause and an effect of the phenomena we suffer: the politicians are completely out of touch with the people. Completely.


        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:26:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Party Leadership Does Not Relate to Factuality (9+ / 0-)

    Obama in particular.

    There simply don't exist objective facts for him in almost all cases. For the party leadership, where they do exist, they aren't adequately actionable at any foreseeable time.

    More than anything else, what now defines the once looney left is sticking up for factuality. Trade, the path of the middle class, climate change, you name it, all the tie-dyed unicorns have been traded in for scientists and mathematicians, and that's now the looney left.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:45:44 AM PDT

  •  Shout it from the rooftops! (4+ / 0-)
    Now, some would say that Obama is just reflecting the belief system prevalent in America, where Democrats and independents favor compromise, but Republicans don’t...

    It’s not a surprise that people predisposed to him are getting that message.

    Most of us held that belief before B.O. could vote.
    If he is spreading the word, more power to him.

    In case you missed it, the takeaway should be

    Democrats and independents favor compromise, but Republicans don’t

    Statesmanship  requires a willingness to compromise,  Refusal to do so means you are something else... and unworthy of serving this country.

    "As God is my witness, I thought wingnuts could fly."

    by Niniane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:46:24 AM PDT

  •  A grimmer reality may be that (8+ / 0-)

    the whole that decades of consumerism and debtonomics left us with such an ugly hangover that there were no good answers.

    How much stimulus could have turned around the evaporation of $7 trillion in lost home values?  What housing program could have staved off the fact that housing prices were inflated, especially with such high unemployment?

    Ironically, one thing that's holding back the recovery is that people have learned their lesson and are replenishing their savings.

    The problem is that we have to transition from a consumer economy into an investment economy.  

    Obama will have failed on much that was before him.  It's a fair question to ask whether success was possible.  

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:51:12 AM PDT

  •  Cypher (15+ / 0-)

    I'd be okay with a kind of opinionless dealmaker president if I felt that the other folks in the room were representing me.  But he picked a whole lot of people that are not holding my positions.

    There's tremendous psychological freight to this presidency.  Obviously, there are both racists and lovers of social justice who are, in various ways, touched by the significance of President Obama.  But there is also freight to the "reasonableness" quotient.  After all, we have just emerged from a period where reason was submerged in blind faith, greed, pride, fear, etc.  I know I've been comforted by the president's measured tone.

    What I don't quite get:  You can take on the petulance of politics without standing at the centerpoint between two opinions.  Sometimes the grown up is the one who knows that compromise between a reasonable position and an unreasonable one yields something unreasonable.  If you're going to be a reasonableness cypher, it makes sense to stand someone else up with a clear position to counter the insane and untenable right flank.  Even if you believe that center position most desirable.

  •  Why are you such an Obama hater? (/snark) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Colorado is the Shiznit

    Your tone is soooo reasonable, it's almost infuriating!

    Umm, that's PRESIDENT Obama and SENATOR Franken, mr. o'reilly.

    by filby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:58:31 AM PDT

  •  I keep bringing it up (9+ / 0-)

    everytime someone brings up FDR and I'll do it again...

    Yours is an incomplete reading of FDR and his administration...  FDR was very much battling for the middle, and in his time and context, one hell of a lot more a 'compromiser' than you seem to think.

    Nearly a million people -- out of less than 40 million total -- voted against FDR from the left in 1932... ditto '36.  Plenty of the 'democratic wing' of the Democratic party who loudly supported FDR until he was elected turned against him with a fury -- Long, Lemke, just to name a couple.  

    It's not the disagreements over policy or tactics that bother me - you say the stimulus was inadequate, I could respond that even adjusted, it was still the single largest expenditure in a single stimulus bill ever and we can both be right.

    What ticks me off, though, is when people try to do a little revisionist history and claim FDR (or Lincoln) as something other than moderates among their contemporaries who very much DID seek out the middle ground.

    FDR wasn't the liberal champion of the 30s -- certainly not the populist liberal champion... that would have been Huey Long... or William Lemke... or LaFollette Jr...

    Ditto Lincoln...

    In fact - I think it's frankly, a rather unseemly slap in the face to those who WERE the leading voices of the ideologically 'pure' liberal ideas -- the Sumners, the Lemkes, LaFollettes, Stevens, and the like -- that their advocacy and work is ignored so that a historically inaccurate story can be woven that fits the needed narrative.

    I mean - I, quite frankly, have precious little love for Huey Long (I tend to agree with FDR on his assessment of Long) - but others like Lemke or Sumner?

    Criminal that so many modern progressives have basically taken the causes and beliefs they lived for and sort of just handed them over to Lincoln/FDR.

    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

    by zonk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:03:54 AM PDT

    •  So where is our Huey Long? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Colorado is the Shiznit

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:08:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  FDR battled to DEFINE the Middle (14+ / 0-)

      I feel that you did not capture a central point of my diary.

      •  Well, I reject that thesis, too... (9+ / 0-)

        FDR was a master at pulling any and every lever in attempt to lift the US out of the Depression, but he was a lot more political expediency than he was ideological definer.

        His first budget and finance team was a lot more 'bankster' than not -- had there been a progressive 'blogosphere' in the 30s, I can only imagine what the howls that would have gone up over Woodin leading Treasury... or Morgenthau, who was no friend of then nascent Keynesian theory, for that matter.  Top it off with a budget hawk like Lewis Douglas.

        Too many people seem to think that the roof-raising speech FDR gave at MSG, just a few days before his first reelection (where the famous "I welcome their hatred" line came from) was standard FDR...  Anyone that's listened to firesides knows otherwise - they were a lot more measured, a lot more centrist, a lot more "the foundation of America is strong" than they were revolutionary or redefining.

        Just to be clear, I don't hold FDR's political acumen against him by any stretch of the imagination -- in fact, to the contrary -- it's one of the reasons I think he, like Lincoln, was a great President... Both FDR and Lincoln had only broad visions of a direction, they were both willing to navigate a sometimes circuitous path to get there.

        To me - that's the hallmark of a great American leader.... someone who sees direction as binary, but sees routes as infinite and changeable.

        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

        by zonk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:34:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  who knows about either Obama or FDR (0+ / 0-)

        or anyone elses motives. Maybe FDR hated selling out his class, the rich, to help the unwashed masses. But he had to or face a legit revolution threat. Big country named Russia had recently gone down so it was a real worry. Russia had screwed over it's peasants and the lesson was to stop doing that.

        Well FDR had liberals pushing him to the left, Obama doesn't, but maybe Obama should be that harvard scholar that he is and learn from history. Do what FDR did even if no one is primarying you and making you do it. Maybe this is an unrealistic expectation?

        •  FDR had libs pushing him (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, Seamus D

          leftward, and some of them -- crucially -- were inside the tent to vie with the forces of orthodoxy and laissez-faire.  Hopkins, Ickes, and Eccles (Fed Reserve Chmn).

          Obama -- no such forceful and smart liberals inside his admin that I'm aware of.  And a little more than FDR apparently, O has much more the cautious instincts of a split-the-difference moderate, whereas Roosevelt was willing to go bold in a comparatively radical direction when it was (finally) necessary.  As in 1938.

          Agree, the Harvard-/Ivy-educated Obama should be educating himself on these matters, particularly in the time period referenced above.  But to date I'm unaware if he's read much about it.  Perhaps second hand from a NYT piece from Krugman.  But Krugman, perhaps because he's been blunt and rude-seeming about O and his presidency so far, doesn't appear to have much influence with O.

          •  FDR had the right to (0+ / 0-)

            pick his own cabinet members like any president, again just guessing on motives, but maybe he picked Hopkins just because he needed someone who cared about the poor, he didn't but he needed someone who did, because he had to do something or face revolution. So he was being pragmatic. Is it crazy if I suggest Obama is making a grave mistake? That a revolution is possible again if the economy does not imrpove? Am I crazy for not wanting to make the same mistakes already made in history? Maybe but who wants to find out for sure?

            •  Who a president picks (3+ / 0-)

              as advisers usually does give an indication of the type of person he is and what values he holds.  In FDR's interesting case, I see it as a mix -- as with his mixed group of advisers -- of both liberal and conservative instincts, almost in equal measures, to go with a pragmatic and flexible nature.

              Obama, especially after the recent departures of several economic aides, has in his current advisers mostly the same view he holds being constantly reflected back at him.  Makes things easier wrt maintaining the status quo, but not for making needed major course corrections, as FDR needed in '38.

              And as for Roosevelt fearing revolution, indeed I think he and some top advisers feared the rise of Fascism in this country.  They could see its popular appeal and emergence in Europe by '37-8 (it would have been hard not to notice), and the inside admin evidence suggests FDR & Co were worried about such influences being whipped up over here by monopolistic capitalist forces, the ones he suspected were trying to run the economy into the ditch in his 2d term.

              Again, we're not far off in some reasonable scenarios from such an outcome today, if Obama fails to act as FDR did and make the major course correction.  Imagine what would be left of our democracy if a Pres Bachmann, or even a Tea Party-driven Pres Romney, gets in combined with a GOP majority in both houses.  I'd say that would come dangerously close to game over.

          •  He also had a party apparatus (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            R Rhino from CT4, qm1pooh

            at his disposal (or the other way around, depending on one's POV).

            One thing that I think too often gets ignored in these contextual/historical discussions is the death of the party 'machines'...

            FDR had Big Jim Farley (or Farley had FDR) who could wield enormous influence in getting whatever it was that was decided to be needed... Ditto LBJ - most of the Dem party machines - at least in the industrial north, setting aside the fractures of the Dixiecrats down south - were still running.

            A lot of the differences in being able to "push things through" then vs now have, I think, a lot more to do with the fact that there are no longer favor-drenched machines around to call upon for the legwork (be it threats, patronage, or promises) when the votes or just the support was needed.

            I'm not saying that's a good or a bad thing; I think cases can be made for both - but viewing the past strictly through the ideologies at the table leaves out the huge role having bosses around who truly could threaten their way into getting whatever they wanted isn't something we should just ignore.

            Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

            by zonk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:10:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  BTW, just for point of reference (4+ / 0-)

      I'll plug UVA's exceptional online resource of Presidential speeches --- all of FDR's Firesides are there, many of them including original audio.   The big 1936 barn burner days before the election (audio as well) is there, too -- it really is one hell of a speech.

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't support means testing social security (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Deep Texan, TrueBlueMajority

    and medicare. Once you do that it becomes "welfare" and people won't support it. At the very most I could support means testing it for people making more than maybe $1 million per year or so. But that's where I'd draw the line.

    Raising the age seems reasonable if it is done in a way that protects current people who are working. I could support a proposal where, for example, everyone born after December 31, 1993 would face the higher age. People under 18 are likely to not have really worked much yet beyond minor part-time jobs and haven't been putting in money for years. That would subject people under 18 to the new policy, while grandfathering those who have already been working.

    •  how is that fair (7+ / 0-)
      Raising the age seems reasonable if it is done in a way that protects current people who are working

      Just to bribe old people into supporting cuts?

    •  Social Security is already "means tested"... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clem Yeobright, Clues, Sychotic1, pgm 01

      the bend points in the benefit calculation ensure that the monthly benefit for higher earners is less (per dollar paid in) than for lower earners.

      For an individual who first becomes eligible for old-age insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits in 2011, or who dies in 2011 before becoming eligible for benefits, his/her PIA will be the sum of:
      (a) 90 percent of the first $749 of his/her AIME, plus
      (b) 32 percent of his/her AIME over $749 and through $4,517, plus
      (c) 15 percent of his/her AIME over $4,517.

      AIME = average indexed monthly earnings

       

    •  Simply remove the cap. (7+ / 0-)

      You don't need to 'means test' to strengthen it.  Just take the same percentage on ALL income, not merely the first 100k.

      •  Isn't that just backdoor means testing? (0+ / 0-)

        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

        by zonk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:17:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi

          Means testing means you 'test' to see who gets benefits.  Removing the cap has nothing to do with saying some people get benefits and others don't.  It just says everybody pays the same percentage in.  As it stands right now, the richer you are, the smaller a percentage you pay in.  But either way, you still get benefits out when you're old enough.

    •  That is not a good idea (9+ / 0-)

      For one thing, raising the age for people who are under 18 today does nothing at all to add money into the program for at least 50 years, so it's useless for the current situation.

      For another thing, we HAVE raised both the age and the amount of the deduction to cover the baby boomers.  You can't just keep raising the age forever.  There are many jobs that people simply cannot do past a certain age and we're already at that point now.

      Finally, there is no good reason to divide the working class into age groups and pit them against each other when we should be working together to protect ourselves.

    •  you and i usually agree (0+ / 0-)

      so i will gently point out that your first paragraph contradicts itself.

      you do support means testing for SS and medicare, as most people do.  they just want the income level to be very very high before the means testing kicks in.  

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
      I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:04:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wholeheartedly oppose (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, Seamus D, R Rhino from CT4

      No matter how much our economy veers into a service economy, we're always going to have people who build our homes, schools, hospitals and such.

      Sitting here tapping away at my PC waiting for an error log to generate, sure -- I could probably do this well into my 60s... but my dad was a pipefitter, one grandfather an electrician, and the other a farmer -- and the body just cannot do those jobs even to age 65, much less 67 or worse.   40 years of physical labor, in all sorts of weather and conditions, just takes a toll.  The body will not comply with the demands into its 60s.

      Absent some sort of protection for those folks - raising the eligibility age is the one area that I will wholeheartedly agree with the loyal opposition or whatever you want to call it... it's a non-starter to me.

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:17:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama's skills (6+ / 0-)

    would be put to good use if he would use them to establish a negotiatied consensus within the Democratic Party.  The Democrats could then use their consensus postions--which are generally supported by a solid majority of Americans--to bludgeon the GOP.

    "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

    by Old Left Good Left on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:11:10 AM PDT

    •  Unless the Congressional Dems (6+ / 0-)

      consciously create a separation from the President, the President will always define the left flank of what is possible.

      •  Probably (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson, OLinda

        But the situation I envision is where negotiation over policy occurs within the party, and the party then presents a unified policy agenda to voters.

        "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

        by Old Left Good Left on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:22:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not in this instance. From the video: "You don't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade

        get 100% [of your agenda] whether you're in a majority or a minority".
        I realize he was over simplifiying a larger point as a teaching method of sorts, but this comes across politically as capitulation to his opponents (and his own party in some eyes), which would be avoided if the terms (reaching a consensus) of any engagement  with Republican were decided amongst Democrats first. - Not bounced off of or worked out with Republicans as a part of policy making.

        A consensus/plan developed with Republicans will more likely than not have less bludgeoning  force if is is crafted in part by the smarter of the Gop (and  ALEC input) and is more likely to contain escape mechanisms for the Gop  as well.

        The progressive caucus doesn't seem to get first rights or attention in the negotiation process. It would be a better strategy if they were imo

    •  I don't think he wants to bludgeon the GOP. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Back In Blue

      I think he wants to shake their hand in celebration of a "big deal", the contents of which scarcely matter.  He seems to have no interest in showing the American people how brand-Democrat is better than brand-Republican.

      •  The GOP is reeling right now. (0+ / 0-)

        They've lost control of themselves and are internally combusting, having been pushed to their own edge.

        They got bludgeoned. Not as hard as we'd like, I'll grant you that, but they just took a HUGE hit.

        And today's polls show the Dem brand is looking pretty damn good next to the GOP brand, which is in the pits.

        If you want to argue that that is an accident, have at it. I'll leave you be with it.

        "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

        by Unduna on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:16:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Extremely good idea. nt (0+ / 0-)

      "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

      by Unduna on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:11:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama on stimulus (14+ / 0-)

    Whether he's right or wrong, Obama seems to believe the reason we didn't get a bigger stimulus was because he couldn't get a bigger stimulus through the Senate (remember, this was pre-60):

       And I’ll give you one last example because I know this is a famous example in the blogosphere, is the stimulus.  I mean, if folks think that we could have gotten Ben Nelson, Arlen Specter and Susan Collins to vote for additional stimulus beyond the $700 billion that we got, then I would just suggest you weren’t in the meetings.

        This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis.  We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible.  We had to act quickly.

        And getting 60 votes for what was an unprecedented stimulus was really hard.  And we didn’t have the luxury of saying -- first of all, we didn’t have 60 votes at the time.  We had 58.  And we didn’t have the luxury to say to the Senate, our way or the highway on this one.

        So we did what we could in an emergency situation, anticipating that we were going to have to do more and hoping that we could continue to do more as time went on.

    That's a variation on the compromise theory, I think. But he's not arguing for compromise for compromise's sake, I don't think. I think he's saying he'd rather inch the ball down the field than take one step backwards in order to take two steps forward. (And yes, I've just mixed my cliched metaphors.)

    IIRC, Obama seemed to think it would be possible to go bad to the well and ask for more stimulus, which was a miscalculation. In that sense his mistake wasn't compromise so much as believing that more would be possible, if it were needed. And even then it was only a mistake if he could have gotten more to begin with.

    If I had my way, Obama would have made a massive energy program the signature achievement of his first two years, passing the stimulus pretty much as he did, and then passing a massive sustainable energy infrastructure program, one that was so expensive that it would require a carbon tax to fund it. (Start with the benefit, not the cost.) I don't think that was ever seriously considered, but I'd have preferred it over getting health care done. But, on the other hand, it's often more pleasing to imagine an alternate reality than to confront the one we've got.

    •  I like your post today (8+ / 0-)

      Thanks.

      I think the problem with this defense is the President's own January 7, 2009 statement in which he talked about starting at "the lower end."

      If he knew what he says in that post then, then how could he justify his bargaining strategy?

      I think it is clear the President made a mistake in negotiating the stimulus.

      •  You know what I'd love to see... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, Eric Nelson, shaharazade, Unduna

        ...and I really doubt we'll see it, but I'd love to see him say he'll veto this bullshit that McConnell and Reid are concocting. However, I just don't expect it. And even if they end up agreeing to a squishy set of cuts that won't really amount to as much as they claim, the debt limit presented an opportunity to break the GOP's back -- either by getting them to fuck Norquist or publicly own up to their debt limit lies.

        •  I think he can't really (4+ / 0-)

          I think the debt ceiling is truly a hostage we have to save at all costs.

          I disagree with the Grand Bargain stuff (unless it got McConnell into the room with some juice (he has to get the House to pass something), but otherwise, I just don't think he has much in the way of options.

          I thought he needed to insist on debt ceiling stuff in December with the tax stuff.

          •  That's a good point (0+ / 0-)

            And I guess the question is whether he kept it around because he thought he could get something useful out of it. If so, that was a clear miscalculation. And if not, it's something he could and should have gotten--especially since GOPers would have been happy to have Democrats "taking the hit" for raising the limit.

      •  if obama thought he could go back and ask for more (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade

        He had to know that if he did later ask for more, it would have to involve admitting a mistake. Since at the time in 2009 he said this is what was needed and unemployment wouldn't go above 8% if the stimulus passed. Making mistakes is fine, I make them all the time, full disclosure! But you have to admit them and learn from them and move on. Obviously the stimulus didn't work so why now does Obama refuse to admit he made a mistake and ask for more? Pointless because house is full of repubs? Ok well say that. Bludgeon them with it as a campaign issue. But we don't hear anything about a jobs bill or more stimulus. Just cuts.

    •  Obama on FDR? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cslewis, shaharazade, mightymouse

      "We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible.  We had to act quickly."

      Umm, that doesn't sound right to me. And I believe that has been well debunked since Obama said it.

    •  i think you know perfectly well, Jed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      artmartin, FiredUpInCA, Unduna

      that a massive sustainable energy infrastructure program, so expensive that it would require a carbon tax to fund it, would have been a really tough sell to get to 60, and that is why it was not ever seriously considered.

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
      I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:09:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's entirely possible... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, shaharazade

      The President couldn't have gotten a bigger stimulus but he still should have made an issue of the repiblicans' unwillingness to put Americans to work. Why not put them on blast, particularly when his mandate was fresh and his popularity was at its peak?
      This, of course, would've required playing hardball with the republicans, something President Obama seems utterly unwilling to do.
      And if he really wants a second round of stimulus then why doesn't he call for one and dare the republicans in the House to vote against it?
      Even now?

      “Sometimes, the most reasonable thing in the legislative process is to be unreasonable.” Mike Pence, R-Ind., on negotiating with the democrats.

      by dclawyer06 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:42:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, and am also confounded as to why (0+ / 0-)

        he doesn't blast them a lot more for going directly against the interests of their own constituents.

        All the rest seems possibly doable, but only if he had been willing to hit harder.

        "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

        by Unduna on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:27:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  With hindsight, a lot of things change. (0+ / 0-)
    •  That might be true (0+ / 0-)

      But it's also true that the case for much bigger stimulus was never made. You can google "Christina Romer + Rahm Emanuel + stimulus" and you will get plenty of hits from very reliable sources that say that either the administration purposely low-balled their recession forecast, or decided to keep the stimulus package below a trillion to prevent a "sticker shock". That and the fact that more that half of stimulus was worthless tax-cuts made it less of a stimulus and more of a band-aid. Or as Krugman recently put it, Keynesian economics did not work because it was never tried.

  •  What story does a leader tell? (12+ / 0-)

    Obama's story, particularly in this debt/hostage negotiation, is a conservative story.

    Apropos of your Talk Left diary about how FDR changed the conversation (which Reagan also did, for the worse), I like to offer (as I have on many occasions here because I think it's a telling masterpiece of rhetoric and narrative) an excerpt from FDR's speech to the 1936 Democratic National Convention accepting his nomination to run for re-election:

    Philadelphia is a good city in which to write American history. This is fitting ground on which to reaffirm the faith of our fathers; to pledge ourselves to restore to the people a wider freedom; to give to 1936 as the founders gave to 1776 - an American way of life.

    That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power. In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy - from the eighteenth-century royalists who held special privileges from the crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man's property and the average man's life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented the people.

    And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

    Since that struggle, however, man's inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution - all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

    For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

    There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

    It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

    The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor - these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age - other people's money - these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

    Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.

    Throughout the nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.

    An old English judge once said: "Necessitous men are not free men." Liberty requires opportunity to make a living - a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

    For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

    Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

    The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

    Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

    These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

    The brave and clear platform adopted by this convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.

    But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.

    For more than three years we have fought for them. This convention, in every word and deed, has pledged that the fight will go on.

    Now that's a story! And--with appropriate updating--it could still be told today if there was a Democratic leader willing to do it. Unfortunately, much as I hoped otherwise, Obama seems unwilling to tell that story.

  •  This is great (16+ / 0-)

    This is exactly the kind of discussion that I can support, whether I agree or not. It's constructive, it's not destructive and it's supported by facts.

    Thanks for adding to a sane conversation.

    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
    -- Dr. Peter Venkman

    by Eclectablog on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:16:03 AM PDT

  •  The middle for many is defined... (11+ / 0-)

    .. by growling stomachs - it's that bad for many families and at real risk of getting worse with heinous cuts to real-time safety net functions of the government.

    Far too much focus is on programs for people who aren't old yet and not on Social Security or Medicare yet...and not nearly enough on people who are starving or at risk of being homeless and hungry, right fracking now.

    Which makes me shake my head in disbelief that Medicaid is on the table, too... which makes no sense to me whatsoever (even from an MBA Government by Spreadsheet perspective).

    But on that topic, I know empircally what is driving the proposals (because I did some of this last night): they're taking macroeconomic time series data and crunching it to see what cuts or increases correlate best (in real time and on a time lag) with real GDP growth.

    If you do that, you come up with ... well... the answers the Dems in DC are floating.

    But you know what? Health insurer actuaries do that with morbidity and mortality data and nyceve has a nickname for that: murder by spreadsheet.

    Sometimes - and this is hard to say because I'm a quant - quant doesn't form a good basis for good public policy.

    Sometimes you actually have to think - ok, people just might go hungry, get sick, get homeless and get dead if I advise this. Maybe I should do more than re-run the numbers with different cuts at the data. Maybe... I should just not ask people to get hungry, sick, homeless and dead.

    So that's where I am. I think I know why the DC peeps are coming up with the policies they are (because the numbers line up).

    But that doesn't make it right. Far from it. It just makes for a lot of willful blindness and I am saddened that the empirical epistemology I hold in such high regard just doesn't cover the amelioration of human suffering.

    But a good modeler knows when his or her model is out of scope...and reaches for something else of just raises their hands and says - sorry, this is no good here.

    And maybe, for data from 1981-2010 there is a -0.30 correlation between change in nondefense Federal spending and real GDP growth a year later but the same data says there's 0.65 correlation between change in personal consumption and that same GDP growth and - darn it, if you kill off people's jobs and their support services (shocking) they die off too.

    Sorry, having a bit of crisis in mathematical belief system, here. I'll be ok.

    •  The staggering loss of wealth & earnings (5+ / 0-)

      of the middle class is at the root of the stagnation. All of the benefits of economic growth have gone to the elites.

      When the bubble burst the middle class was left with huge debts and lower wealth & income. How's that going to work out if we continue policies that benefit the elites?

      There is no fixing this economy without govenrment investment in jobs that lead to a brighter future such as teaching jobs.

      But Obama is allowing budgetary pressures to slam state and local education budgets. Likewise, federally funded scientific research is getting cut.

      I see the austerity in Europe and deficit focus in the U.S. as vehicles taking us back to depression.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:03:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The original depression had a precursor (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, shaharazade, mightymouse

        recession. A bad one. Really bad.

        Very similar in depth and duration to this one.

        The rich then as now just weren't that into pitching in. Not their problem. "Besides, that sort of thing is Communist and we're just not with that."

        The experience informed the well-meaning Hoover administration of what was and certainly was not acceptable to elites....and hamstrung any chance of that being the presidency people remember fondly.

        All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.... (Battlestar Galactica mantra)

  •  President Obama needs to stop (2+ / 0-)

    trying to have it both ways.

    On the one hand, his resume says that he was a community organizer, and he's claimed that label at different times.

    On the other, he insists that he's a consensus builder.

    According to this definition, the two not at all the same thing:

    Community organizing is a process through which people living in proximity to each other are brought together into an organization that acts in their shared self-interest. Unlike those who promote more-consensual "community building," community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless.

    "If we learn from history that the struggle goes on, eventually we will win and all the President has to do, or the Governor, is just turn the pages of history a little faster" - Harvey Milk

    by aggieric on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:32:00 AM PDT

    •  Yes and no (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA

      The wiki definition seems to simplify the definition, and forces it into one style of organizing.  Actually, much community organizing is consensus building. It includes guiding members of the community to a consensus on what the needs are, and what steps they can endorse and act on together to achieve those needs. A very common situtation might be a neighborhood, with different agendas from low income residents, police, merchants, etc. It's not to say all those stake holders come together in an instant kumbaya fest. Some don't expect much from the process. Most don't trust the others initially, if ever. But it would be very rare for a significant number to cohere around the goal of deliberately making the whole process fail.

      Obama has what it takes to do that kind of community organizing if he were working with a rational "community" that recognizes some common ground, and a shared desire for improvement.  Many Republican politicians have, however, adopted the goal of making the whole process fail. And note that I say Republican politicians - because far from all Republican voters fit that mold; and Obama is trying to appeal to them, also.

      •  You make a fair point. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, shaharazade

        The three basic types of community organizing are grassroots organizing, faith-based community organizing, and coalition building.  So, yes, consensus building is a portion of that.

        Here's another excerpt from that same wiki definition:

        Organized community groups attempt to influence government, corporations and institutions, seek to increase direct representation within decision-making bodies, and foster social reform more generally. Where negotiations fail, these organizations seek to inform others outside of the organization of the issues being addressed and expose or pressure the decision-makers through a variety of means, including picketing, boycotting, sit-ins, petitioning, and electoral politics.

        One should read there "community groups which have been organized by community organizers"

        We saw a bare hint of that from our President last week - the first time ever, really, when he said "I'll take this to the American people".

        But, a second, and more immediately relevant issue for me is  that I believe, and I think people in the profession believe, that the underlying philosophy of community organizing is one of social justice.  I am having a very difficult time reconciling that concept to the way the President has approached his job.  Where is the social justice in the extension of the Bush tax cuts?  Of the FISA proceedings?  Of the ongoing wars where we kill civilians?  Of the unmitigated greed of the Banksters?  Of trillions of dollars in budget cuts, when, as has been repeatedly said, "we'll be better off if we just do nothing, and allow the Bush Tax Cuts to expire"?

        "If we learn from history that the struggle goes on, eventually we will win and all the President has to do, or the Governor, is just turn the pages of history a little faster" - Harvey Milk

        by aggieric on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:08:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  according to that definition (0+ / 0-)

      (where did it come from) they aren't the same thing.

      but according to reality, a political leader needs a little bit of both.

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
      I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:11:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Liberals believe in democracy (5+ / 0-)

    in making democratic government work.

    Conservatives are suspicious of democracy.  If you take them at their word, they don't want government to work.

    To make the government work there needs to be some level of compromise or cooperation.  Liberals accept that, conservatives do not.

    Fishgrease says "GBCW," Senilebiker says "Kudos to Mike for rattling the cage."

    by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:39:38 AM PDT

  •  He is more concerned with what College Republicans (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, Philoguy, Chi, shaharazade

    think than the base of his own party is telling.

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:42:21 AM PDT

    •  You didn't watch the video, or you missed the... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA, jj32

      ....2/3 of the groups around him. College Democrats and College Republicans were also at the table talking with President Obama. He had more to say than was has been quoted here.

      He's trying to reach out to young voters as he should be doing. There is nothing wrong with meeting those students. I know his predecessor sure as heck wouldn't have met with students who weren't Republicans.

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:29:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He's an economic conservative (8+ / 0-)

    He is not compromising despite the attempts of  the Administration to spin things that way.  Hey, we all gave him the benefit of a doubt the first few times, but his actions, particularly on the debt ceiling show that he personally wants to cut SS and Medicare benefits/eligibility.  

    Armando you are right in that he is fighting for what he wants.  And what he wants is Right of center.

    It's no surprise that he shows disdain for progressives.  They are in the way of his corporate, supply siding agenda.  Let's keep the pressure on.

    If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:43:29 AM PDT

    •  This sums it up. (0+ / 0-)

      Let us be honest with ourselves, people.  The only way to solve a problem is to see it.

      Continued pressure.

      ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
      "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

      by Chi on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:39:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  dday is exactly right about this (3+ / 0-)
    I’d say Obama has been trying to teach this for many, many years. It was evident in his 2004 DNC keynote. It was a feature of his only engagement at Daily Kos in 2005. He’s been telling this story for many years.

    Its something I saw in him from the beginning and is part of the reason why I support him. It goes MUCH deeper than a simple commitment to bipartisanship. Its easy to dismiss if you stay that shallow.

    But its core to who Obama is and what he believes. The sooner folks get that and figure out some ways to work with it - the better.

    •  That's a weird reason to support (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Chi

      him and a thoroughly frivolous and unrealistic understanding of the political reality we live in.  You can't compromise with people who refuse to compromise with you.  He's playing around with silly fantasies about negotiation while the country is burning.  Had I understood that he really believed these things I would have never supported him during the primaries.  Between the environment and economy we are facing problems so massive that we can't afford decadant game playing such as this.

      •  Its not game playing (0+ / 0-)

        and its not frivolous.

        I understand that's what you think and believe.

        But the last thing we need in this environment is to lower ourselves to the very childish strategies that Republicans employ.

        •  It's absolutely not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mike101

          lowering ourselves to the level of republicans.  It's the basic reality of the situation the country is in.  Anyone who does notnrecognize this obvious reality is both frivolous and playing games with the welfare of Americans and the planet.  The point is to find ways to do things despite the refusal of republicans to participate.  For example, usingnreconciliation to pass things.  Instead we get this frivolous and decadent fetish for bipartisanship based on idiotic idealism.  I understand people like you have this childish fantasy that everyone can just get along, but giventhe fundamentally conflicting economic interests that our polititians are enmeshed in, that's not happening.  Quit dicking around with the lives of Americans by pursuing frivilous fantasies.  Grow up.

          •  I have no illusions (0+ / 0-)

            that you will see this my way. And the reverse is true...I see it differently and am not likely to change my mind.

            So feel free to denigrate my position as childish and frivolous. Its not getting us anywhere.

            So I'll opt for a question on specifics...reconciliation might work for some non-budgetary items in the Senate. But how do we get legislation through the House?

            •  You might have (0+ / 0-)

              noticed that my insults merely repeat the way apologists have spoken of progressives for the last couple years.  It's odd that you would implicitly suggest that I somehow have an unrealistic position through your reference to getting things through congress, when you're advocating the pipe dream of bipartisan compromise.  Who's the real purist and idealist here?  To answer your question, however, you pass legislation by building strong public cknsensus by defending policy that benefits average Americans.  That consensus, in turn, places pressure on elected officials making it more difficult for them to behave in obstructionist ways lest they lose reelection.  Those of you screwing with the welfare of the American people with your bipartisan unicorn fantasies always seem to suggest that the equation is one of a relation between the president and congress.  You forget that the public is a huge part of the equation and process.

  •  some things are true (8+ / 0-)

    some things can be blamed on Obama and some can be blamed on other people.

    the stimulus was inadequate?  fine.  but that was what we could get the votes for from folks that would rather see the economy go down in flames than make this president look good.

    what I do not see is willingness to look beyond Obama for blame.  he is such a convenient target.

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:45:44 AM PDT

    •  It was an arbitrary number. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryduck, Philoguy, OLinda, TimmyB

      He got the lowest of the three 'options'.

      Would he have gotten 1 fewer vote if the package was $100 higher?  $10000?  $1M?

      Had his three 'options' started out 25% higher, he probably still would have gotten the votes for the lowest of the 3.

      •  probably, maybe, imagine, etc. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin

        "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
        I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

        by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:12:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You know (0+ / 0-)

        You're never going to be privy to all the conversations and arm twisting that went on before he made public his intention for a starting point.  How in the hell do you know that the Administration didn't go into backroom talks testing out much higher figures first, was given a resounding "hell no", spent days bloodied and sweaty hammering things out, and THEN came out and said where the figures were beginning.

        Seems like everyone around here somehow magically believes that what the White House Press Secretary spits out is all there is to know.  Are we that naive to believe there aren't both public and private components to political negotiations?  Imagine if we'd heard Lyndon Johnson's behind the scenes talks regarding civil rights legislation as negotiations were on with the other side.  There are "off the record" things in politics some of which are heated and testy and even the most compromising of pols are tough as nails or they'd never be in the positions they're in.  

        To presume what was or wasn't possible in that atmosphere is simply laughable.  Would I like it better if our politicians could be more open about the challenges they face?  Sure, but I also realize that you're dealing with human beings in those meetings and just to add flavor add on huge egos and massive insecurities.  Failure because of perceived overreach has political consequences as well.  The Republicans had him over a barrel and had made very clear their line in the sand.  That he got anything at all is pretty amazing when you think of the cast of characters he faced.

        "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

        by artmartin on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:09:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aren't you doing the same thing? (0+ / 0-)
          To presume what was or wasn't possible in that atmosphere is simply laughable.

          You're saying 'you can't know anything', so you're saying the people who claim no higher number was possible also are blowing hot air.

          I can live with that.  Everyone is indeed making guesses, some to defend what was done, some to suppose that it wasn't the best possible outcome.

    •  We now know that's not true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philoguy, mightymouse

      He didn't push for a bigger stimulus.

      Battleground Wisconsin: Fascism has come to America

      by jhecht on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:39:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The missing piece from this diary (6+ / 0-)

    is the simple fact that we have not given the President a Congress that would pass the agenda we demand.  Until we do, there isn't much foundation to criticisms of compromise.

    The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

    by Troubadour on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:45:46 AM PDT

  •  What works in these times (4+ / 0-)

    I'd say you've got it right there.  The Village is in complete and total denial on the scale of what they're facing, on climate change, wars, energy, infrastructure, and the rotten financial system.  And they won't try anything different until they're forced to.

  •  This is a very good diary that begins with an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Rule, Chi, shaharazade

    good title, and followed with a telling point regarding Obama and the college republicans and Huffpop.  

    I like your engaging style, and find you to be calm, cool, and collective here.  Also engaging are the many different opinions and comments.  The best diaries bring many interesting perspectives, and that is seen here thus far.  Thank you for sharing, and yes indeed, some things are true, like you say about how Obama could have been a great President, but sold himself short-- so very true while also very disappointing.

  •  Can someone tell me the last time (7+ / 0-)

    a Republican was on tv outwardly attempting to garner favor with the middle?

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:10:57 PM PDT

    •  The McConnell debt ceiling proposal comes to mind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson
      Can someone tell me the last time a Republican was on tv outwardly attempting to garner favor with the middle?

      “The only thing that happens in an instant is destruction... but everything else requires time." - First Lady Michelle Obama

      by FiredUpInCA on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:53:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't come to my mind (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        justmy2

        n/t

        If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much stupid costs

        by Sychotic1 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:30:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is going for the middle? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade

        In what way?  The middle isn't for doing nothing?  Did I miss something?  Progressives, maybe.  But the middle?

        "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

        by justmy2 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:41:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's a parlor trick. (0+ / 0-)

        Designed to convince the baggers that the GOP voted it down and the Dems voted it in three times.  

        Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

        by Back In Blue on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:06:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That why I think we should run Kucinich! (0+ / 0-)

    I agree.  As much as this President has done to further progressive policy and interest over the past few years (that 3-page long OFA list, while truthful, is so fucking annoying), he has not done exactly as we Kossaks demand.  I therefore say we primary his ass and run Kucinich.  I am convinced Dennis will do exactly what we ask and I'm confident we can get him elected.  Problem solved and I see no downside to my plan.

    Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

    by JCPOK on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:14:09 PM PDT

  •  The most interesting quote from his meeting... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, jj32

    ...with College Republicans, College Democrats, and College Independents:

    ...the nature of our democracy, the nature of our politics is to marry principle to a political process where you don't get 100% of what you want. You don't get it when you are the majority. You don't get it when you are the minority.You can be honorable in politics understanding you're not going to get 100%....

    That is keeping it real. He admits that he is not an ideologue. That is an honesty that is missing from too many of his archcritics.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:20:37 PM PDT

    •  Nonsense. This (0+ / 0-)

      is pure blinkered ideology on both your part and his.  If the other side is not negotiating what you describe is not taking place and there's nothing realistic about holding to such a position.  We really need less purist idealism from the administration and his supporters and more pragmatic realism.

  •  I appreciate your thoughtful diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, CupofTea

    I disagree in some areas with your analysis.

    First of all, comparing Obama to Lincoln and/or FDR seems silly. Yes, we are trying to overcome a bad recession, but it is nowhere near the scale of the Civil War or the Great Depression, and, tattered as they are, there are at least some safety nets still intact that were non-existent in the 1930s.

    Obama had a Democratic Congress for two years but he didn't have anywhere near the numbers FDR had. Obama certainly hasn't had a progressive Congress or one even close to it.

    As you say, Monday morning quarterbacking doesn't seem too productive. Could Obama have gotten $2T instead of $789B in the stimulus. Highly unlikely. Could he have gotten $1T? Maybe, but he doesn't think so.

    I do think that progressives generally far overestimate the importance of the "bully pulpit."Carter tried to use it for energy independence; Clinton tried to use it for health care. Didn't work.

    Personally, I think he's done pretty well, given his circumstances. As to how history will judge him, no one knows what will happen in the future, but based on his first two and a half years, I think he will be judged very favorably, especially from the left.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

    by Dragon5616 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:23:57 PM PDT

  •  Wow. So much to say... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, shaharazade, Chi, MrWebster

    First of all, that quote from Obama at the start is worthy of all kinds of criticism.  He makes a comparison and then basically says, "Both can't be true so both sides must be wrong".   Uhmmm...no.  This is the sort of false equivalency I expect from toothless beltway media.  

    It is very possible that one side is right and representing the facts/truth and the other is full of crap.  Especially when President Obama is talking about "college republicans".  When was the last time we have heard college republicans talking about an issue/policy and actually been RIGHT about it?  Or even had any idea what they were talking about?  I can't remember any.

    And then that second last article mentions "the belief system prevalent in America, where Democrats and independents favor compromise"?  I hope they are referring only to politicians.  Because what I see, and am part of, is the left who DOES very much want compromise but that compromise HAS TO COME FROM THE RIGHT.  Continually going out of our way to make Republicans/right happy isn't compromise or bipartisanship or negotiation...it is weakness.  It is surrendering.  It is cowardly, to be honest.

    I agree that some things are true.  And what I see is that, going back to Obama's first comment, the HuffingtonPost is telling the truth.  

    •  WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF (0+ / 0-)

      A HUGE FIGHT.  You are basically telling the Republicans that "they win."  "Our guy can't cut it."  Before it's over!

      Where is your teeth?  Do you honestly care at all?  How do we -- we here at Kos -- fight the Republicans?  Us.  As a group.  As citizens of the United States.  How do WE do it?

      I'm so sick and tired of comment after comment making the same points over and over without any rock solid ideas on what we can do.  Are any of us hounding the republican's phone lines and emails?  No.

      We sit around to outdo each other on how much we can bash one another and type on our keyboards about how bad one guy is.  Everything under the sun is the fault of one man.  And we sit on our asses and point fingers and do nothing.

      And the Republicans laugh all the way to the bank again.  While we all play ring around the rosey.

      •  Is that our job? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade

        Is the whole point of Daily Kos solely about fighting the Republicans?  If it is, and I missed that disclaimer, then fine.  Please continue and I will not comment any more of Democratic Party shortcomings.

        But I will leave the discussion with this one warning.  Are you really going to get, no just "change you can believe in", but the change we want and deserve, if we are more worried about "winning" than we are whether or not we get what we voted for?

        Is winning all we are supposed to care about and cheer for, and not results or progressive change/outcomes?  If so, then I really don't see what motivation the Democratic party will EVER have to listen to their liberal/progressive base.

  •  The rich paying more for Social Security and (5+ / 0-)

    Medicare is NOT the same as means testing.    Eliminate the cap on Social Security, and increase medicare premiums.  Just don't mean's test it.  

    Big whoop!  Obama is impressed that some Republicans think he's a liberal.   Other's think he's a Muslim and not a citizen.  Ask me how much I care what Republicans, Blue Dogs, and Obama think.    If I had a clue who he thinks, I would never have voted for him.

    If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

    by dkmich on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:40:15 PM PDT

  •  The right is COUNTING on Obama's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Chi

    incredible approach to governing, and they will continue to push because they know that Obama will fold like a cheap suit.  

    We saw it in the health care bill, and now we are seeing it again.  

    It is his way of claiming achievement instead of standing up and fighting for what is right.

    Obama loves to give away the store, followed by complaints that progressives are unreasonable and just don't get it.

    We are losing our asses here, and I could respect him if he actually went down fighting when he gives in to them instead of shaking his finger at us and blaming us.  

    •  I'm just not seeing this. (0+ / 0-)

      Help me out here.  How does anything you say help us in our fight the Republicans?  Ideas?

      •  When our Democratic president (0+ / 0-)

        thinks that his role is to compromise instead of lead, then your guess is as good as mine.  

        I thought we elected someone who would help in that fight, but instead we have someone who is more interested in appeasing the middle than keeping his campaign promises.  

        Don't tell me you still believe  "Change we can believe in"?

        No need to fight Republicans when Obama refuses to fight them.  

        But, hey, we are the loony internet folks who will vote for him anyway, as we have no other choice, right?

  •  Obama has not proposed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CupofTea

    increasing the tax cap on Social Security and Medicare in the midst of this that I know of.  Everything he seems to be arguing for and negotiating for would have a negative affect on aggregate demand.  It is difficult to predict how cuts will iron out though if the cuts are off in the distance, anything in the near future hurts demand and further damages the economy and little people though while the rich are still at the trough.

  •  Nobody thinks your (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Do Tell, Philoguy, Chi

    going to get 100% out of what you want out of politics's that's absurd. This video really was revealing. His process sucks and mainly that's because his ideology sucks. what he is trying to implement id nothing but theory/ideology and it's not democratic or liberal in principle, it's an extreme  ideology not at all moderate. He is an ideologue regardless of what he says. He preaches the middle road, the Third Way, which has an extreme ideology. It's not the  established political breakdowns of liberal moderate conservative. It is everybody roll over and unite behind the inevitable undemocratic supremacy of the global free market according to the descendants of Uncle Milton and the Rubanites.  

    It's the Democratic version of the PNAC or the Heritage Foundation and there is no way in hell he's going to be able to pass this off as a Grand Deal for the people cause it's not. Waxman is right he should be a Democrat and fight for us and for the common good. btw the only people not disappointed by his deals are the ones he works for the too big to fails and their global New World Order. they seem to get 100% +bonus's from his by-partisan bamboozle.

    Here's his ideology....and it's not Democratic

       

    •  Uh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jj32

      How can being in the middle be extreme?

      "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

      by lcj98 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:04:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well how can the extreme (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Philoguy, Chi

        be the middle? Who say's he in the middle? Where is the middle between Alan Simpson and  Paul Ryan? The sliding scale is tweaked and the center does not hold. As I said how can this be the middle of anything when you have no ideology or principles other the the market. The third way is the DLC reincarnated on steroids, How global markets are going to rule the world because they are inevitable and good and everybody grow up and unite over this not extreme it's not in the middle of our political or democratic values and breakdowns it's off the whole chart.    

        •  Ohh.. (0+ / 0-)

          So you're basing this solely on your opinion and not on any fact.  Ok then...  nevermind.

          "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

          by lcj98 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:44:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is any belief (0+ / 0-)

            or ideology a fact? Are they not opinions? Are principles facts? I don't think so but then again that is just my opinion. Your opinion is this is the middle but direction depends on where your facing or standing. Actions that have occurred are facts, speech's are not necessarily facts at all and open for interpretation by the listeners. Even polls which are numbers are interpreted facts, analyzed by the tea readers to find out how to manipulate and gauge public opinion.  Critical thinking is using facts to form an opinion. Politics are not facts they are coalitions of people who come together as they have mutual interests, common grounds and beliefs in governance that will fight for their principles and implement policy that they support and believe in.  

        •  The timing on this is amazing. (0+ / 0-)

          Just when the workings of DC needs us to stand fast in our beliefs, we all through our hands up, give up, and say that we really don't mean it.

          Why are you playing the victim here?  Are you afraid to fight the Republicans?  And so now you can only fight fellow Democrats because they are easier prey to you?

          Just when the going gets tough, you throw up your hands and stop fighting Republicans and instead lash out at us, fellow Democrats, for being weak, stupid, etc.

          You feed into the Republican memes like a cat licking milk and stymie all our efforts.

          What do you suggest we do against the Republicans?  All of us?  Can't you come up with something instead of attacking us?  Must we always back down and stop fighting the Republicans just when the country is on our side?

          •  Are you addressing me? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse

            My memes are not Republican they are Democratic. It's Obama who is spouting Republican memes. Did I say you or fellow Democrat's were week or stupid, no. Have we got to the point where we consider debating  policy, ideology, or the  direction of our own party is being taken by this administration is stymieing our efforts to fight Republican's. The video in question is a good example of not fighting so don't look at me. I am not afraid of Republican's and I want the Democrat's to fight for we the people. So you think it helps us beat the Republicans to cave and 'compromise' and deal with them over things like tax cut or our social programs. How is this going to win anything that the people need and want? Even politically it's a wash as if the Democrat's will not fight for us why vote for them.        

  •  Here is what really pisses me off. (6+ / 0-)

    Obama goes out and in his final lecture, which we only get a tiny quote from, says that people can't expect to get 100% they want.  That those kind of expectations lead to disappointment.

    The problem is that this is only true on the surface.  I agree that you can't always get what you want.  But you have no idea what you CAN get if you never bother to try.  Since the day he took office, President Obama has INSTANTLY dropped his campaign promises and instead started in a position of pre-emptive compromise.

    So how can he then come out and say that people shouldn't criticize him?  He ran on certain issues and the second he got elected, dropped those issues.  Any "progress" he made on those issues STARTED by giving things up immediately.  He didn't start at his campaign promise and then give things up for something in return.  He gave things up FIRST without ever being asked too and without Republicans ever bothing to state their begining position...and then moves RIGHT from there without Republicans ever offering anything up in the process.

    So sure, you can't get everything you want all the time...but you will never FOR SURE never get what you want if you give up without ever even trying.

    Sorry, but this only proves all the Obama critics right all along.  Obama is PROUD of pre-emptive compromise.  He is happy that he is giving up on his campaign promises time after time despite Republicans never once budging or supporting his final product.  This is just sad.   I would rather he put up a serious fight, lose and then have to make SOME compromises.  Because at least that way Republicans can be exposed for their lack of fair play, lack of ideas, lack of integrity, etc.  Fighting would force Republicans to have to take a stand or provide some answers of their own.  

    Instead, by pre-emptively compromising, Republicans don't have to do anything but keep obstructing.  And then Obama look like he believes Republicans have a point, or their position has some merit or value and he agrees with them.  That neither helps the AMerican people, and it doesn't make Obama look strong or principled either.

    •  Like what? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not following you.  You offer no specifics.  And please don't give me the generic list.  But back up your opinion with reasoning please!  Pretty please!

      I honestly don't know what you are talking about.

      •  For example (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, mike101, Back In Blue

        Obama campaigned on the public option.  But the second he got elected he said it just wasn't doable and instead put together a bipartisan commission (ranging from center-right to far right) to propose mandatory health insurance.

        There was never so much as the slightest attempt to fight or TRY for a public option.  And what was proposed was an old Republican policy that was first enacted by Republicans.  That isn't a Democratic party "win" in my books.  

        Obama campaigned on closing guantanamo, ending the wars, putting main street before wall street, fighting for unionized workers, ending Bush's tax cuts, etc.  That doesn't even address the way he has continued many of Bush's worst policies.

        If you look at all of Obama's appointments including his staff and closest advisors, to the people he asks for advice, they are ALL right leaning.  He doesn't have a single progressive or liberal voice anywhere near him.  All beltway or wall street insiders.  

        And considering Obama also campaigned on the need to end business as usual in washington, he has done nothing but.

  •  In Order to Be Re-elected is It More Important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    to be liked (compromise) than to have led (principles)?

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:11:52 PM PDT

  •  Many Can Legitimately Dispute (0+ / 0-)

    that item #6 is a fact.  It's a prediction/speculation based on "looks like."

    The other 5 are not arguable and will be supported by history.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:14:36 PM PDT

  •  My observation for some time (10+ / 0-)

    is that Obama is more interested in the process than the product.  He seems to fundamentally believe that having what he defines as a good process will produce the best product.  This thinking is so flawed when his (and our) political opponents are engaged in a take no prisoners war on the middle and lower classes.

    Every human being should have a core set of values from which they would never consider deviation.  For Democrats, that core set of values should be our social safety net and human/civil rights.  That is the foundation of the Democratic Party.

    When the President was willing to put the social safety net on the negotiation table in return for closing a few tax loopholes, that action spoke to my questioning his core values.  He was willing to trade 85% to 87% in programs that protect numerous poor and elderly for a return of 13% to 15% in revenue increases.  That is not even good negotiation.

    I do not give a shit about who ate whose political lunch over these negotiations.  But I do give a big shit over the people whose lives will be adversely affected by these program cuts.  

    More tax cuts would be gluttony in a time of starvation. That is not America. That is a nation about to be plundered, and a people laid to waste. - Charles Blow

    by gulfgal98 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:22:20 PM PDT

  •  I guess I'm confused... (0+ / 0-)

    What are specific suggestions?  Is it a choice of language?  So you are saying that we should indeed call the GOP bluff and let things tumble?  That they won't take it that far?  You think they'll blink, honestly?

    I'm not saying that I have the answer either, but until you are more specific, you are just another kvetcher blowing in the wind.  And we've got plenty of those.  This discourse without solid ideas seems to stymie the very progress you advocate rather than move them forward.

    IMO.

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      which issue are we discussing?

      This diary is over 1100 words.

      To discuss each issue properly, I would need a lot more.

      This is a general critique with references to 2 specific points in time, now and during the stimulus discussions.

      They are not even necessarily about "message," per se.

  •  the Party that chose Obama agrees with him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32

    And he them. Obama is working from the mainstream of Democratic thought which is why the party chose him as their standard bearer. After Reagan beat the democrats like a drum they began to elect members who thought more and more like Reagan and accepted a more conservative model of governance. Liberals were purged and the DLC became the leading voice within the powerstructure and in DC it tenants still hold sway.

    That's what so many liberals can't come to grips with, the party itself is where Obama is on most issues. Until that changes no President chosen by this party will be anything but a middle of the roader like Obama. He's following in Clintons footsteps on most issues and thinks it's the right course. And in the main his party is close behind him on those issue.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 01:42:06 PM PDT

    •  I don't know if that is true frankly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade

      I'm pretty sure that, like myself, Obama is to the right of the median Democratic voter.

      But to me that is really not the point. In the video Obama describes himself as compromising on the issues - to wit, not getting the policy he would want.

      In some respects, I'm critiquing that as much as anything else.

      But there is more to it than that. In my link to my 2006 TalkLEft post, I went on and on and on. More detail there.  

      •  most liberals think that, no matter what (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Rule

        but there are very few liberals left in government. When I lobbied in the 70's liberals manned most congressional staffs and appointed posts within the bureaucracy. Now they're rare and DLC types have taken over even in democratic administrations. This ain't you daddy's party anymore.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:26:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Some historical perspective, please ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32
    And that is FDR's lesson for Obama. Politics is not a battle for the middle. It is a battle for defining the terms of the political debate. It is a battle to be able to say what is the middle.

    And it's a battle that is a lot easier to win when your party holds a 3/4 majority in both houses of Congress.

  •  recommended for supplying the ammo needed.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..against Republican drift farther to extreme right.  

    And indeed, this to me is where the President went off the rails, both in terms of policy and politics - his failures in terms of economic policy have been huge.
    The Presidents needs a base as a counter when negotiating.
     He can hold up as example to the Gop that he is being held accountable by his base and this strengthens the Liberal position

    Thx Armando. It works

  •  Obama has always seemed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, mightymouse

    more about affectation than effectiveness.

    and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

    by le sequoit on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:25:14 PM PDT

  •  depending on how yuo feel about civil liberties, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrWebster

    war and the environment; there are plenty of other reasons to find fault with the current administration.

  •  Another Excellent Diary, Armando! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, shaharazade, Chi, MrWebster, Annalize5

    See, the President is bringing together people who used to disagree about politics.

    As someone who used to get into regular shouting matches with Armando back in the day, I can honestly say that I have begun actively looking forward to his contributions.  Smart, incisive, with an unusually high light-to-heat ratio.

    "[S]ince Obama keeps talking nonsense about economics, at what point do we stop giving him credit for actually knowing better? Maybe at some point we have to accept that he believes what he’s saying." --Paul Krugman

    by GreenSooner on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:32:36 PM PDT

    •  And your signature line makes the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrWebster

      of this diary nicely, incidentally.

      ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
      "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

      by Chi on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:49:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sucker (0+ / 0-)

    This "sucker" is going down.  The Republicans are the bad kids in elementary school--either the teacher takes control, or shit hits the fan.  We will default, it won't be his fault, but it will be his responsibility.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:41:38 PM PDT

  •  Dammit, Armando, nothing is Obama's fault. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Cthulhu, mightymouse
    (1) the 2009 stimulus was inadequate for the problems in the economy; (2) HAMP was a failure; (3) the Bush tax cuts were extended in December 2010 without an agreement on the budget or the debt ceiling; (4) the debt ceiling deal Obama seems on the verge of making will not be good for the economy; (5) Democrats were walloped in the 2010 elections; (6) the 2012 election looks like it is gonna be close, much closer than the 2008 election.

    Way, way over the line.

    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

    by expatjourno on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:44:40 PM PDT

  •  If this diary actually TALKED about core beliefs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Escamillo

    instead of engaging in a meta whine about how Obama doesn't have the strength of someone else's convictions..

    Another bloggy mess.

    It’s juvenile to act on your own beliefs, to draw bright lines that cannot be crossed, to express core convictions.

    No, but it's possible to skip right past core beliefs into a childish meta whine about how you aren't getting praised and petted merely for having stands you won't compromise on, as if merely refusing to compromise means you're better than anyone else.   Remember how Ryan's plan was so bold and brave and serious?  That's what you all want, to be judged on your ability to believe something regardless of merit.  IT's a teabagger political ethic.  

    I ain't playing.  

    If it sucks, no points for believing strongly.  

    If it aint possible, no points for "imagine".

    If you have core beliefs, fucking let's hear them.

    Avg. Medicaid cost to New Jersey: $1936 per child per year. Avg cost of helicopter commute for Governor: $2300 per hour. Guess which one Christie wants to cut back on?

    by Inland on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:47:31 PM PDT

    •  I guess you don't like the post (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cthulhu, Unduna

      Fair enough.

      •  And I had good reasons why, too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Escamillo

        That's what makes it more than fair enough, unlike other criticisms.

        I don't understand why a president is knocked for not having core beliefs, when in fact he is but one actor whose personal beliefs aren't the be all in end all.  He's not writing a diary or a manifesto.  On the other hand, if there's a diary or manifesto that manages to gloss over beliefs, well, that's a puzzlement.

        Avg. Medicaid cost to New Jersey: $1936 per child per year. Avg cost of helicopter commute for Governor: $2300 per hour. Guess which one Christie wants to cut back on?

        by Inland on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:54:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's funny and indeed proof of an interesting (0+ / 0-)

        change - oh, the things you coulda and woulda said....  thinking about that is funny, too.

        I'm not sure the nation is clear on What the President's core beliefs about policy are; governing, maybe, but policy, no, I'm not sure that we are clear on that, so, yes, it might be hard to say that he is compromising beliefs we don't even quite grasp or have yet to really define and accept.

        "Compromise" may not  be your issue here, although "offensive strategy" might. On defense, he may not be even half as bad as we think.

        "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

        by Unduna on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:40:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm tired of "right" and "left" (5+ / 0-)

    and "conservative" (which really isn't) and "liberal" (which isn't either).  All are relative to where one is standing at the moment of observation.  And, when the people making the observation keep changing their positions, it's dizzying.

    Whereas terms like "populist" and "corporatist" nail things down a little.

  •  More true things (0+ / 0-)

    In 1932, FDR got 57% of the vote, Hoover got 40.  A difference of 17 points.  FDR got electoral votes. Hoover got 59. FDR won every state except for New England and Pennsylvania, many with over 90% of the popular vote

    In 2008 Obama got 53% of the vote, McCain got 46%. A difference of 7 points. Obama got 365 electoral votes, McCain got 173.

    Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

    by plf515 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:36:04 PM PDT

  •  I'm tired of FDR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mebby, Escamillo, snout

    The only comparison progressives seem to be able to make about President Obama is with FDR. Clearly, President Obama is not FDR and never will be, so does that mean we have to label him naive and reject him or should we value him for what he brings to the table? I think that's the difference between supporters and critics. Supporters are happy we have possession of the ball and are moving it slowly toward the goal. Critics wish the ball was run upfield by the 1971 Dallas Cowboys and won't be happy until it is.

    In all this, let's try to keep in mind that President Obama's "flawed" belief in bi-partisanship and compromise has produced a number of legislative wins not seen since LBJ. Must be doing something right.

  •  Nothing is True. Everything is permitted. (0+ / 0-)

    -- Hassan-i Sabbah.

    Just sayin.  

  •  I did not vote in the 2008 primaries (0+ / 0-)

    because I thought that there was little difference between Clinton and Obama in ideological terms. I wasn't far off. I was delighted, of course, with the President's election. It was a watershed in American politics. But, so would have been election of the first woman President. I sometimes wonder who would be the better tactician today but I guess we will never know.

    One thing I fear, though, is that the Presidency just swallows up individuals and whatever they thought they were going to do in power is crushed by the cognitively over-powering complexity of the governance problem. The USA has, I fear, reached a size that has made it ungovernable by anyone. Problems have solutions but they don't arrive on time. Perhaps we are really facing, not so much a set of choices by a President, but further evidence that the political system is not workable and we need a new one. Is that new one going to be characterized by chaos, decay, dissolution? No one can say. But perhaps the fault lies not so much with the oval office as with the creature that the government itself has become. If the country changes Presidents in 2012, it may enter yet another period of presidential failure and further decline with its own set of talking points, and so on.  

  •  Well said, then and now. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
    "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

    by Chi on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:04:14 PM PDT

  •  Please continue to criticize the President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kiamichi

    But please don't assume you're one of the only people who knows what is true, and that your version of it is without error.

    I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

    by kenlac on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:20:01 PM PDT

  •  For Obama bipartisanship is a fetish (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, Spiny

    A few days ago I commented that Obama will cave. And I reiterate this again. I am not saying this based on my beliefs, I am saying this based on his track record as Armando highlights.

    I will address two points here. The Republicans are poised to get the best deal which means even the McConnell plan is a better deal than what rank and file Democrats would want. But like everything else we are being asked to be obedient and swallow. So here are my predictions: there will be NO TAX INCREASES on the upper tax bracket. Take that to the bank. This people is now officially the OBAMA TAX CUT. We will have huge cuts to all entitlement programs that Democrats hold dear, take that to the bank as well.

    My second point largely has to do with the rhetoric of the President. His speeches are like Rorschach tests, they mean everything to the impressionable. But like my headline says, his belief in maintaining his image as the so-called adult in the room, the bipartisan President, is now more of a self-deluded fetish. I say self-deluded because his opponents, including large chunks of the Republican electorate, do not consider him to be their elected leader. As for this bit:

    I think the College Republicans here would say I'm a pretty liberal President but if you read the Huffington Post you think I was some right wing tool of Wall Street. Both things can't be true.

    Actually, both are true. The Republicans/Tea-party have moved the goal-posts so far to the right that this President is now dealing in the same turf as his political hero Ronald Reagan. That is damn far right from where we stand. But it is the state of the Republican party that today Reagan himself would have been an unelectable California liberal. Needless to say that is why Obama is now proposing policies that are so far to the right that they are now on Tea-party's turf. In the end it's just a very sad time to be a Democrat.
  •  well spoken and well written! (0+ / 0-)

    kudos - and thank you!

    It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

    by edrie on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:55:59 PM PDT

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