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If the "grand bargain" being put forward by President Obama were instead being promoted by a Republican president, Washington would look like Madison, WI on steroids.

But instead, we progressives have torn ourselves to shreds over questions of loyalty to President Obama, and the result is that, as far as the general public is concerned, we are largely silent. We have neutralized ourselves.

Why are any of us here? Because we care. Because we believe in the American Dream, because we believe in opportunity for all, because we believe in equal rights, and protecting our planet. Because we believe in people, in community. In dignity. In ensuring that nobody in this country goes without food, or a place to live, or essential health care.

We believe in progress. We are Progressives.

So, I'm calling the question, because everything that we believe in is being severely and imminently threatened.

I'm suggesting it's time for a new direction in our focus, and in our action. No for or against President Obama, and not focused on party. But focused on where we need to be going. Right now.

Let's start with a bit of time travel.

Many of us here are old enough to remember well the huge protests during the Viet Nam war, that led another Democratic President -- one who never shied away from a fight and who was greatly to the left of Obama and believed in the bedrock principles of the Democratic Party, who admired FDR and the New Deal, who put forth his own Great Society and passed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act and Medicare -- to decide not to seek re-election. And remember, in 1968, the mainstream press strongly supported the war.

Somehow, we have to get over this impression that progressives are bitterly divided between "Pro-Obama" and "Anti-Obama" factions. I think the vast majority of us started off as ecstatic Obama supporters, but our faith, and our patience, have been tested beyond the breaking point. Most of us have ridden an emotional roller-coaster, alternately cheering and despairing.

But I suspect that most people here are like me -- having arrived at the point where the layers have been stripped away, and we are now seeing Obama quite clearly for the determined neoliberal that he is. Yes, he has accomplished many very good things, often against determined opposition, and he deserves much credit for those things.

But on the single central issue of our time, whether this country will continue to be an enlightened democracy with a fundamental belief that our strength is our people and NOT our corporations and the elite who own and control them, Obama is a turning out to be a monumental failure.

Barack Obama is, economically, to the right of DLCer Bill Clinton, and while opposing the anti-tax trickle-down lunacy of the radical right, he continues to pursue with great determination anti-Keynesian "austerity" remedies that only benefit the plutocrats, and in our current economic disaster, may spell the end of our middle class, and the permanent impoverishment of the working class.

This is unacceptable. The implications of what is about to befall us are monumental, and the American public at this point truly doesn't have a clue what's coming. This will be a catastrophic disaster for this country, and the opportunity to avoid this disaster is rapidly disappearing.

We can wring out hands, and vent and rant. We can continue to tear each other to shreds.

Or, we can be determined to unite in opposition NOT to Obama the man, but to the neoliberal economic claptrap that is going to bring this country to ruin.

We can either believe Paul Krugman, or we can believe Milton Friedman. it's time to decide.

NOW is the time to make our voices heard, LOUDLY.



Update (8:27 pm MDT): A comment on the President's prime time address, as it applies to the theme of this diary.

Never once did President Obama say: Tax cuts do NOT create jobs, and making the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share does NOT stifle job creation. It was a given that Boehner was going to pound away on the the endless refrain that the wealthy would just love to create jobs if we only would shower them with even more tax breaks. Obama had the opportunity to preempt the recitation of this myth -- the myth used as the Tea Party's rationale to extort this nation -- and he could have cited powerful historical evidence to debunk it. But nothing, zero.

He also said nothing about drastic spending cuts in the midst of a recession making the recession worse. In fact, he left just the opposite impression -- like the good neoliberal that he is. So, of course, there was no mention at all of a clean vote on raising the debt ceiling.

So, while Obama came across as Mr. Conciliation (and Boehner came across as, well, Boehner, whining, petulant, and unreasonable -- it's not necessary to say more), this was a rather predictable speech, a grand opportunity missed. His request at the end will generate lots of email and phone calls to Congress (reportedly the servers are already crashing) and that may exert enough pressure to end the stalemate. He may get his "grand bargain" in some form after all, but clearly, this will NOT result in a clean vote on raising the debt ceiling, because he never asked for that.

And he may win some political points for his own reelection. But this will do little if anything to help the Democratic Party because it does nothing to help (and may end up greatly hurting) Main Street, and it only serves to reinforce Republican framing of economic issues.

- - - -

Personal comment: I greatly appreciate that you all thought this worthy of the Rec List, and in particular, that the discussion below has been overwhelmingly thoughtful and constructive, with lots of good ideas. Thank you.

Originally posted to flitedocnm on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone and Team DFH.

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  •  Tip Jar (293+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 10:59:31 AM PDT

  •  Breaking: There is no grand bargain (14+ / 0-)

    The republicans rejected any tax hikes...period...end of story...ain't gonna happen.

    Reid's plan today dropped tax cuts, and also dropped any reductions in entitlement BENEFITS.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:05:24 AM PDT

  •  I would love it if (5+ / 0-)

    Democrats could go "Mr. President, don't do this" with one loud clear voice.

    Unfortunately, too many Democrats on this site instead go "Mr. President, you're a traitor to our party and a Republican and Bush The Third!" leaving the rest of us to go, "Uh, they're not with us."

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:12:47 AM PDT

    •  Why not ignore the fools saying "Bush the Third" (21+ / 0-)

      altogether? Instead of spending so much of your time squabbling with them, why not spend it far more productively saying what needs to be said yourself?

      Seriously-- not picking a fight at all. Why not?

      We all need to say, loudly and clearly, that the notion of a Democratic President cutting the bedrock historic achievements of the Democratic Party is simply unthinkable.

      Not an option at all. Loudly and clearly, and so simply that even the Serious People in Washington can't help but understand.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:24:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Too many Democrats on this site (5+ / 0-)

      say "Mr. President, we support you no matter what you do, and we'll fight anyone who tries to stop you from cutting Social Security and Medicare!" leaving Obama free to do exactly that.

      •  I've yet to see (0+ / 0-)

        more than one or two. In fact, such an animal as you suggest is more the fiction of the "Bush the Third" types than representative of reality.

        Virtually every Kossack is all in favor of pushing hard against cutting Social Security or Medicare (which, by the way, aren't happening anyway).

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:58:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  this is not accurate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      many of us have said, "Clearly oppose these moves with a true progressive movement."  I wrote a diary on it which got lots of traction and was my most rec'd diary ever.

      Sure, lots of people snipe, on both sides.  People are justifiably angry and confused by all of this, but unless we stop it right now, we are going under.  

      In fact, it is probably already too late, but that doesn't mean that I will shut up about all of it.

      Whomever Obama is, whatever he really believes, I don't care.  I only care about what happens.

      Cutting SSI and Medicare, etc. is absolutely the opposite of what we should be doing.

      If we don't wake up as a group here, how can we expect that the general public will ever wake up?

      And I don't think million man marches, flooding D.C. will make a hair's worth of difference.

      We need new ideas for a new movement and it has to be decentralized.  We need leaders who are NOT leaders in the old sense.  We need distributed leadership a la Egypt.

      We need something like a general strike.  We need something that can be carried on and on and on, that cannot be ignored because it happens everywhere and over and over again.

      I like UNCUT's strategies; I like the idea of a new kind of general strike (one that hits and withdraws and hits and withdraws).  I like actions that people can take WHERE they are on a daily or weekly basis that in and of themselves educate.

      Do you guys understand that college age kids now days do not even talk to one another about anything meaningful?  They come to class wanted to do the discussions they should be having in the dorms.  This is how far our public discourse has eroded.  

      We need ways to engage public discourse so that people will feel uncomfortable NOT participating in it because they will be out of the stream of what is happening.

      That requires some massive change, but if we can't get a discussion going here amongst people who are supposedly committed, we do not have a snowball's chance in hell of being effective.

      That is one reason I am sitting around here, checking to see what goes up, but not daring to dream something can really happen until I see the kinds of discussions that need to take place here, I know we are not ready as a nation to take any sort of action at all.

      Having lived through the period this diary takes as its model, I know precisely how far we have devolved.

      Obama's election was a radical departure and demonstrated that a lot of people were ready.  The tragedy of his election is that most of those people who were so excited to move forward have now gone back to their personal lives because Obama promised far more than he ever had intention of delivering on.  

      Now it is up to US and US are not ready or willing.  The psychological effect of having a black man in the Presidency who we all want to support against racism and right wing nuttery has paralyzed us.

      But if Obama gets what he appears to want: cuts in 'entitlements' (another disgusting coinage), then the Democratic Party is fatally wounded in my opinion.

      I repeat: we need the opposite of what Obama is advocating.

      We need to:

      lower the retirement age
      extend Medicare to those younger (well, actually everyone)
      spend more, not less, to get jobs going again, no matter what the deficit

      "Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations" Dr Shoji Sawada

      by BlueDragon on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:26:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See, here's where you lost me: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "The tragedy of his election is that most of those people who were so excited to move forward have now gone back to their personal lives because Obama promised far more than he ever had intention of delivering on.  "

        You assigned motives to Obama based on nothing more than your own bias -- when none of us knows the extent, nor even the existence, of a gap between what he promised and what he intended to deliver.

        It directly contradicts your earlier statement: "Whomever Obama is, whatever he really believes, I don't care.  I only care about what happens." No, you really do care, because if you didn't, you wouldn't make these groundless claims.

        THIS is the sort of crap that gets us, for all your laudable wishes about the progressive movement, marginalized. Because you cannot focus your message on "Obama promised X and is only delivering Y, and we need X, dammit." You have to take it one step further and claim Obama's failure to deliver X is due to his malfeasance and deception rather than any of the myriad other reasons (the political realities of an absolutely petulant and scorched-earth Republican opposition, for example, or if you want to be critical of the President, focus on his poor negotating technique as Krugman did). But the minute you start saying "Obama never intended to deliver on his promises", you are easily cast (and possibly accurately) as someone who's looking for excuses to dump on the President as a person rather than to impel him to reverse course from bad policy directions. And that is someone who is quickly pushed to the margins and regarded as non-serious.

        And that hurts our movement.

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:50:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no way (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          i am not going to bother to list the things he promised or link to the quotes.

          you are hurting what you call 'our movement'

          if you had bothered to have clicked on my old diary, you would see that I agree, reluctantly, with Zinn.  Obama needed to be opposed by a strong leftist contingent whom he would have had to address.

          and it is you, not I, who are in the way of even articulating what that contingent would say.

          keep on keeping on while the vast majority of Americans are pushed to their knees.

          and I made no comments or suggestions of malfeasance.  it is you who are hung up on Obama, not I.

          i am hung up on what is happening to the majority of us.

          Obama is a blip compared to that.  Every President is a blip compared to that.

          "Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations" Dr Shoji Sawada

          by BlueDragon on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 03:49:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I QUOTED you. (0+ / 0-)

            I quoted you directly. You are the one who said he made promises he had no intention of keeping -- you accused him of lying by definition. That is very different from saying he made promises that he failed to keep (which is, obviously, true).

            If you can't even admit that, then you are not having an honest discussion with me and this discussion is ended.

            If you can admit that (or perhaps if you wish to amend or walk back your remarks) then we can talk more.

            We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

            by raptavio on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 04:47:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I participated in the Vietnam War protests (6+ / 0-)

    One major difference between then and now was the likelihood of facing death in Vietnam and the likelihood facing death due to economic hardship. The two are not comparable. The demonstrations accomplished little other than getting Richard Nixon elected and then reelected.

    What is needed is voting power, i.e. throw the bastards out. While successful the stimulus and the TARP packages were not a cure, basically all the packages did was stop the metastasis not kill the cancer. Unfortunately without further stimulus the cancer will grow again and metastasize. Austerity will only make the problem that much worse.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:21:27 AM PDT

    •  No, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timothy J, LWelsch

      stimulus also does nothing to cure the disease.  You need industrial policy for that, or at least trade policy.

      Voting changes things. That's why they don't allow it.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:53:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right! Stimulus is only a starting point (0+ / 0-)

        Industrial policy is also not enough even when combined with stimulus. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done, including regulation, industrial policy, rebuilding and building new infrastructure, education, research, development, trade policies, international currency reform, . . . Stimulus is a start, but only a start.

        Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

        by LWelsch on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:26:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you! I'm there wherever and whenever (7+ / 0-)

    we march.  This is not the United Corporation of America yet but unless we raise our voices - it will be.  

    "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

    by Sydserious on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:22:25 AM PDT

  •  Republished in Progressive Policy Zone. (7+ / 0-)

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:26:38 AM PDT

  •  Republished to (7+ / 0-)

    team DFH. Great diary.

    I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

    by triv33 on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:28:29 AM PDT

  •  How do you get the attention of main street? (5+ / 0-)

    The middle class person is largely unaware of what is about to happen to them, except where they have been hit over the head with the big Wiscinsin club.

    First we need to get their attention, and then they need to understand what happens when they vote for tea partiers. They are killing themselves because many do not comprehend the complexity of the real issues. They vote as if it were all very simple, like "these guys will stop all that wasteful spending and save social security," when in fact They will do the opposite!

    "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

    by RonK on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:28:45 AM PDT

    •  Great point on the TP....they are clueless that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they are being funded by the very people that would love to cut their throats by eliminating the social safety net.  It's all about education of the masses.    If every voter truly knew what was happening - we would be unstoppable.

      "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

      by Sydserious on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:42:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i don't think mainstreet is clueless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      people understand the vampire squid without ever hearing of it.  the middle class rightly thinks dems tend to waste their money and r's don't give a crap.

      I like this Lean Forward campaign - renaissance is around corner

      by rasfrome on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:48:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree on have no idea how many (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TAH from SLC, rasfrome, RonK

        times I've had to explain this situation to my sister, my sisters's friends, etc.  These are educated people - teachers who are really overworked and pressed for time.  I see her as mainstreet.  The majority of these people are only hearing the headlines like..."Obama is not guaranteeing SS checks go out".  They don't understand all the inner workings of this thing and even though I try to keep up - I have trouble sometimes.

        "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

        by Sydserious on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:01:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It is very difficult to get their attention and to get the point across. They have other things on their minds and they do not understand the seriousness of the situation. I expect most people in Wi get it now but look at what it cost them.

          And I agree that they are not stupid, just not attending and don't get the depth of the problem.

          "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

          by RonK on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:37:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  how hard would it be to jam the fox signal (0+ / 0-)

      for about 48 hours? or take that signal over and broadcast the truth for 48 hours?

      yeah, i know that's a huge fantasy...but a whole lot of (real) independents are lazy and consume faux gives them the ability to talk with their friends around the water cool, on the job site, at church, at jimmy and becky's little league/soccer...etc. freaking amazing how brilliant the fox news strategy is.

  •  What about reality, though? (0+ / 0-)

    Simply put, when the government spends more money than it takes in, the money has to come from someplace.  Borrowing it has been the method of choice.  Through the Bush years, the deficits were financed mainly by the Chinese and Germans.  The last few years, however, the Fed and the FDIC have been forcing U.S. Banks to buy ever-increasing amounts of Treasury bills and bonds.  They call this "requiring the financial institutions to increase their ratios of Tier One capital". but it boils down to forcing the banks to lend most of their available money to the government.   The term "available money" is also a critical factor, because banks can't call in their good loans, only their bad ones, and they generally have to liquidate these at a loss.  So, in real estate for example, the bank liquidations drive down the values of the rest of the market, creating still more problem loans, and so on.  Does the "stimulus" of government road-building projects somewhat offset the general tightness created by the government bonds that are sold to finance them?  Sure, but here you get into the question of the burden of the debt created.  

    That's why the President has to unburden us from debt.  It has nothing to do with politics.  He dug us out the ditch with what he called "drastic measures" (i.e. the stimulus -- borrowing money from ourselves), but the dirt had to go somewhere and it's on our backs.  Until that burden is released, the economy can't go anywhere.

    •  money is printed by the fed (0+ / 0-)
    •  That's not to say that... (0+ / 0-)

      revenue is a huge part in releasing the burden...which is something the Republicans have not come to grips with.  The differance between the two parties still stands as an ideological one (as the President says) in the role of government.  

      To me, across-the-board privatization of public services is taxation without representation.  To someone like my father, it's called "free market."

      The credit-default swaps that were big factors leading to the crash of 2007-2008 were not "free market", they were gambling and theft.  The Republicans still don't get that one either.

      And those are the two big reasons why we can't put Republicans back in charge again.  

    •  This is really misguided. (5+ / 0-)

      This is precisely the time you want to run a large deficit, to stimulate the economy.  And that is really the only way to get tax revenues back up short of a rate increase.  The president seems to think for some unfathomable reason that independent voters think the debt is the problem.  Well, hellow, it is JOBS.

      Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

      by TAH from SLC on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:06:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is why he did the stimulus (0+ / 0-)

        in the first place, but will not now.  How would you get overcome this chart, then?


        I'm seriously curious.  That's a pretty stark picture.  Obviously, the stimulus (and the President) addressed jobs.  This next famous chart shows where jobs had plummeted drastically during the last year of Bush, and staged a dramatic comeback during the first year of Obama. (Yes, in large part, due to the stimulus.)


        But, can we continue down the sharp debt incline without adressing deficit spending, as well as revenues?  And, if so, how?

        •  Here's another chart, back at you - (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m00finsan, WheninRome

          No one is saying not to address the debt, but a lot are saying that now is not the time to do it.

          If you think now is the right time, you risk succumbing to the republican pincer move.

          Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

          by TAH from SLC on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:34:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well yeah, but you and I are not too far off here. (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think that is what that article is saying BTW.  To me, it's saying there should be no more tax cuts and we need revenue.  Which I absolutely agree with.

            But, don't forget, we ran surpluses under Clinton. And Bush spent twice as much as any other President in history.  No question his Presidency was the bottom of the barrel as far as economic concerns go.  

            But we are now at four times more deficit than even he did.  How far can we stretch this?  We are on whole new ground here.  It's time for corporations and the rich to pay their fair share of revenue.  That's kinda it as far as I'm concerned -- no need to find me in pincers.  I'm too old for the GOP same old story lines.

            •  I absolutely agree we need more revenue. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              flitedocnm, m00finsan, BradyB

              It is at an all-time low since WW2 as a percentage of GDP.

              But framing the debate by using the bully pulpit is the president's job, and he has been AWOL since Feb of 2009.

              The debt is high because of the wars and Bush tax cuts.  Scream it loud and high for all to hear.

              But don't cut now in the midst of what will almost certainly be called a depression with hindsight.

              Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

              by TAH from SLC on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:10:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It will NOT be the vote that gets us out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of the mess this country is in.

    Playing within the political system is a time wasting distraction and palliative that keeps us from getting up and out.

    A chat with you and somehow death loses its sting ~ Black Adder

    by trinityfly on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:49:00 AM PDT

  •  I vote for the 21st Century (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    With all due respect to others, I'm interested in how best to proceed in this century, right now, given current political and economic reality?

    I really like and respect Krugman, but he has no solutions that account for current political reality. Furthermore, he has a tremendous platform from which to help change public opinion and persuade more people to accept his solutions, but he's not interested in that kind of work.

    He's settled for being an Obama-scold from the Left and that is pretty much all he brings to the table, at least right now.

    I hope for someone new to capture the public's and politician's attention. Someone who speaks the language of this century.

    "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 25, 2011 at 11:52:42 AM PDT

    •  a leader not an organizer (0+ / 0-)

      If Obama has a compassionate economic worldview, unclear as it does look like he guys the austerity jive, and - in a slight CT - Wall St came to him in private and said "toe the austerity line ... or else ..." then retaking the House with old school Democrats determined to actually fix the country for the bottom 98% could change the direction. Hopefully this can be debated next year in every House district. Obama probably won't help, he might, but I wouldn't bet on it.

      If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

      by jgnyc on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:32:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Part of the problem here... (10+ / 0-)

    Is that dkos, one of the few places on the net with the numbers and resources to create the needed backlash to make sure they just stop the bullshit talk, whether they want to cut social safety nets or not (irrelevant point - just talking about it is bad), has a lot of people working their butts off trying to distract us from actually working together to force them all, all of them in D.C. and inside that whole idiotic beltway,  to shut the fuck up and get real.

    Nice diary. It does not take me a Friedman Unit to figure out I'll take Krugman hands down, anytime, over the suckers bet.

    And, clearly, sitting around waiting for them, all of the politicians, to to do the right thing is not a good option.

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:56:24 AM PDT

    •  unfortunately I think you're optimistic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that "the numbers and resources to create the needed backlash to make sure they just stop the bullshit talk"

      But ... it's all we've got and failure is not an option. We need actual candidates to break through the group think. Not the top of the ticket, obviously, baring a sea change that's not Obama's style and maybe not who he is, but House candidates who are willing to shout that the tax cut emperor actually has no clothes. Tax cuts never worked, we need a ... new deal.

      If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

      by jgnyc on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:35:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Minor correction: Obama slightly to the (3+ / 0-)

    right of Nixon.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:23:04 PM PDT

  •  The other option - the party platform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, liberaldemdave

    That should also provide an opportunity to put our policy goals front and center.

    Heck, on economics we have an excellent platform from the Progressive Caucus - called the best budget plan for deficit control.

  •  no man can serve two gods. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

    & the "free market" is a jealous, zero tolerance god. the market will decide who works, who eats, who gets shelter, who gets medical care. to not buy into this is heresy.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:29:47 PM PDT

  •  which Krugman to believe? (5+ / 0-)

    The one whose criticisms are accepted as if he's never been wrong? Or the one who worked on Ronald Reagan's economic team; told us NAFTA's effect would be "trivial"; sat on Enron's board of directors; said people who preferred Obama over Hillary were displaying "cultlike" behavior; claimed it was "grotesque" to suggest a dog whistle in Bill Clinton's statement that Jesse Jackson won the S. Carolina primary, too; and told us to be suspicious of the fact that, a mere ten days into his term, Obama hadn't yet mentioned health care reform? Imo every pundit is a mixed bag, including columnists who are also economists. And criticism often comes with a backstory--many former Hillary supporters have, imo, been consistently fast and ferocious with it.

    I don't think it reflects blind allegiance to Obama--or worse, allegiance to some inimical viewpoint like Friedman's--when longtime activists argue there's strategic wisdom in supporting the leader of this party. The other party wreaks havoc, and third party votes are thrown away (mathematically speaking, regardless of whether they offer emotional satisfaction). That means our party is the only horse riding forward, for better or worse. It's not retrograde or uncommitted to question things that seem to hobble it, even if they're done in the name of getting someplace better or getting there faster. I don't agree with it, but either way, where's the advantage to accepting the rightwing-aiding frame that Obama is a "monumental failure"?

    "Oh, well, of course, everything looks bad if you remember it." Homer Simpson.

    by scilicet on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:30:57 PM PDT

    •  Tsk-tsk! You question St. Krugman? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been down this road, too, saying that perhaps Paul Krugman isn't infallible. The "true progressives" on this site don't like to hear this, but it's good to know I'm not alone.

      Mr. Krugman got turned down by Bill Clinton but was sure that Hillary was going to win and that he was finally going to get a presidential appointment.

      Didn't happen, of course, and now he has an ax to grind, which he does, ad nauseum.

      And too many people here lap it up like kittens with a bowl of milk.

      How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

      by BenderRodriguez on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:03:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm . . . (0+ / 0-)

      lots of claims, but no links.  Why is that?

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 10:59:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The first diary I ever wrote (7+ / 0-)

    It's right here:

    Was about the future of DK in the post-Bush era. You see, in my opinion, this site rose to popularlity not as a liberal site but as a coalition - primarily of anti-Bush lefties and centrists and then uring the campaign Obama supporters. Why does this matter?

    Because when you ask a question like "Krugman or Friedman" you are assuming that the answer will automatically be the progressive one. That is not the case. There are numerous centrists who had a problem with Bush but not necessarily center to right-leaning economic policy. Likewise for a dedicated Obama supporter the answer is "which one does Obama support?"

    I really think the lefties on this site (far left as they are comically called) need to realise this is the dynamic at play and it is a WASTE of time trying to convince people to agree on something they have a fundamental disagreement on.

    Its better to work with like-minded people, mobilise, get out in the streets, as this diary points out. Remember, it is ok for those in support of the administration's position to spen the afternoon arguing on DK, because there is an enormous national apparatus dedicated to making those positions reality. If WE want to advance our cause, nobody will do it but us.

    Tipped and Rec'd.

    The cave, the Matrix, America.

    by Grassee on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:32:09 PM PDT

  •  Great diary. Well done. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm, liberaldemdave

    Wish I'd written it.  Tipped and rec'd.

    The heart is a bloom, shoots up through stony ground/But there's no room, no space to rent in this town

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:43:02 PM PDT

  •  Faling To Learn From History (0+ / 0-)

    For me that is fundamental. Obama has caved too often, and is close to caving again, as if he and the nation are debating the best shade of red to use in the flag. But the issues the nation is facing in the debt ceiling, the federal deficit, and reversing the recession can be addressed with facts.

    The nation learned over the course of the Great Depression what works and what doesn't in countering an economic reversal. Government spending, even if financed through debt, works. Cutting government spending does not. So Congress and the administration should just do it! And no compromises need be taken. Just push until it gets done. The Republican no-nothings need to beaten over the head with a two by four until they agree.

    The debt ceiling is nothing more than a legislated artifice to fool Congress into thinking it's controlling the debt. Sadly it's working so well that the new members of Congress think it gives them license to stiff the nation's creditors and ignore our national legal obligations. The truth is that they have no voice in the debts and obligations the nation has already incurred. Raising the ceiling will not cause the sky to fall—the debt at the end of WWII exceeded GDP and we survived—but not raising it will push the nation to the edge of an abyss, the depth of which is unknown, but the cost of which will be high!

    And as for whether the annual federal budget is in balance. It really doesn't matter. Given federal cash accounting—unlike anything used in the private sector—the federal budget should never be in balance. And, if it is, then the nation is short changing the annual investment we need in infrastructure and capital goods just to maintain the status quo.

    •  here are the numbers for FDR's congresses (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In order for FDR to make Congress "just do it," it took big Dem majorities in both houses (majorities which did not decline until his last few years in office):

      73rd Congress
      Senate Dem 63% Rep 39%; House D 72% R 26%

      74th/75th/76th Congresses
      Senate D 76%; House D 74% (varying slightly in each term)

      77th Congress
      Senate D 68%; House 62%

      78th Congress (FDR's last 2 years)
      Senate D 6O%; House 51%

      "Oh, well, of course, everything looks bad if you remember it." Homer Simpson.

      by scilicet on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:32:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, many of those 'Ds' were from the (0+ / 0-)

        South, who were truly Dems in name only.  Interesting omission.

        •  There are no Democrats (0+ / 0-)

          from the South Now?

        •  Southern Dems overwhelmingly voted FOR New Deal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Al Fondy

          Only a few voted against. So I don't see how the omission is "interesting"--it isn't in terms of the numbers.

          Roosevelt had a very close relationship with Southern Dems--he had an estate in GA, they helped put him in office, and later he helped them block anti-lynching legislation. Wiki points out that

          Roosevelt's program for alleviating the Great Depression, collectively known as the New Deal, emphasized only economic issues, and thus was compatible with the views of those who supported the New Deal programs but were otherwise conservative. This included the Southern Democrats, who were an important part of FDR's New Deal coalition.

          "Oh, well, of course, everything looks bad if you remember it." Homer Simpson.

          by scilicet on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 03:19:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Many Obama supporters here are not progressives (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J, aliasalias, WheninRome

    That's just a fact--at least unless you define progressives in a weird way. You cannot, for example, be for austerity when we are in a recession and you cannot be for imperial wars even if you believe it helps the people in the areas you are killing people. As someone said, "it's that simple."

    To be blunt if you support most of Obama's policies you cannot be a progressive. You can support those policies simply on the basis that you are scared of the alternatives--then you are still a progressive but you have to admit you are a scared progressive or as Alex Cockburn likes to put it "pwogwessive."

    BTW, I never thought Obama was a progressive--I was happy to vote for him as a centrist--sadly he turned into a center-right President.

    •  progressive defined (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princess k, TFinSF

      I believe Obama fits with ease into this standard definition--and I think that's supported by any web site listing his accomplishments, and also by his books, which offer a glimpse into what he'd do if he had a better congress. I know I certainly fit within the definition, despite anyone's blanket statements to the contrary. To modify the old saying, everyone's entitled to his/her opinions but not to his/her own definitions:


      favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters: a progressive mayor.
      making progress  toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.
      characterized by such progress,  or by continuous improvement.

      a person who is progressive or who favors progress or reform, especially in political matters.

      "Oh, well, of course, everything looks bad if you remember it." Homer Simpson.

      by scilicet on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can't agree... (3+ / 0-)

        In terms of the first definition listed: sure he favors change more war, more austerity. Reform? Health Care may be an interesting bit of legislation but it doesn't come even close to reforming the system--it perpetuates it in a slightly different form. Look around the world. There are two vital areas, for example, where we spend twice the amount of money than other developed countries--those two areas are public education and health care--and the results are a good deal worse. Why? Because we as a political culture ignore science and scholarship about every major issue whether it is conflict resolution (we love war), economics (you can't have austerity and economic growth) or anything else. Why? Because the finance oligarchs and petty interest groups completely control both political parties and progressivism, sans a militant left is impossible.

        The critical issues we face are a) the environment; b) imperial wars and the national security state; c) the economy; d) education; and e) health-care. Obama has not supported what I would define as progressive solutions to any of those things except a mild and inadequate stimulus. In all the other areas he just is carrying out the policies of Bush 2006. Because of the Supreme Court and cultural issues, we'll have to vote for him--there's no alternative.

        •  "not supported what I would define as progressive" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There's the nub. You are characterizing some actions--health care reform is "interesting" but doesn't seek to improve or makes progress toward better conditions?--discounting or ignoring others, or presenting results that barely overcame congressional obstruction as if they were the preferred objectives. Fine. However you look at it is however you look at it. In this regard, it doesn't matter how I look at it, either. What rises above individual POV is commonly accepted definitions: We have dictionaries to tell us what others understand by the words we use.

          "Oh, well, of course, everything looks bad if you remember it." Homer Simpson.

          by scilicet on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 03:04:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, they may be "progressives" (0+ / 0-)

      What they aren't is liberal.

      The cave, the Matrix, America.

      by Grassee on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:20:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd just like to point out one thing .. (3+ / 0-)

    For the most part I think this is a very reasonable, well thought out diary, but I think the assertion that Obama's economic policies (any policies for that matter really) are to the right of Clinton and/or the DLC is really missing the greater contextual realities.

    I know it is very much in vogue here at dKos to celebrate the greatness of Bill Clinton, and I'm largely on board, but can we not ignore the facts that Clinton was president during a period of robust economic growth, with a nascent housing bubble and full bore dotcom bubble helping feed the beast that is the US.  Jobs were plentiful, economic outlook was rosy, and the Republicans, while still mildly deranged were nonetheless a fucking bastion of sanity and responsibility compared to what we have now.

    To compare the policies that Clinton was able to implement, or hell, that he needed to implement with what President Obama has had to implement/contend with is being more than a little historically disingenuous  Massive (to most of the country) stimulus packages in the face of much more massive Republican driven debts,  decisions on Bushes tax policy in which he was going to get hammered either way,  this ENTIRELY constructed and HUGELY fraught bullshit with the debt ceiling, and that doesn't even deal with healthcare, climate change, dueling wars in the Middle East, fallout from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and on and on ..

    I really have no interest in making this some full-throated defense of the President, sparking yet another ridiculous flame-war that this diary seems to be trying to steer clear of, but even while we express our displeasure and frustrations at what the President hasn't done, can we at least keep in the back of our mind (the front would be better) that the circumstances today, both in terms of socioeconomic and political realities are unlike ANYTHING Clinton experienced, and that includes his impeachment process  ... which is fucking insane to conclude, that's how bad the current environment is!

    •  Thanks, thoughtful comment. Agree entirely on (0+ / 0-)

      the current environment, and the challenges faced. Given all that, where does that leave us? Is accepting shock-doctrine austerity that is likely to have far-ranging effects that will be enormously damaging to this country, the only alternative?

      My answer: no, there are other, far better, choices. The politics are indeed immensely challenging, but that's exactly why we voted for Barack Obama: because we believed he was up to the challenge.

      Do you disagree?

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

      by flitedocnm on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:24:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree at all ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just think very few people here are entirely cognizant of those "immensely challenging" political problems, and my really one complaint of this President is that he has not been up to the challenge of fighting back against ALL the intransigence and lunacy that has infected Washington.

        Unlike the lunatics here, I do not think for a second that the President is without principle or liberal leaning ideological preferences, but I do think he has conditioned himself to operate in a modality better described as compromising than confrontational, and even though he musters up some good old fashioned anger and frustration at times, I think his greatest failing is how quickly he snaps back and wants to extend the full faith of the Presidency to the Republicans.

        That being the case, and accepting the basic principle that for him to get anything, and I mean anything even slightly left of center passed through congress he's going to have to pull out every little dirty trick he and his advisers know and wage war on the right  ... I'm just not sure what exactly is going to get done, though I am holding out hope that he recognizes AND accepts into his operational paradigm that he will get NO support from the right ever, and takes that message to the American people.

    •  Surpluses are for Saving (0+ / 0-)

      Deficits are for Spending Debt.

      Simple equation that even Republicans should be able to understand.

      Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2 (thats 20years worth folks) violated Econ 101. Surpluses are for saving Deficits are for Debt Spending. This counterbalances the natural wild swings in modern capitalist economies. Its very simple.

      We have 20 years of Spending, no saving, no preparing for the Down Cycles,  during Up Cycles under the Republicans. They crashed the economy by violating the first rule of Econ 101. Save during Surplus, Debt Spend during Deficit Times.

      Now, Obama is faced with Spending during the worst Down Time we have ever had, in dollar amounts and numbers of unemployed. There is nothing to spend. The Republicans spent it. The Government must ask for more debt. In the event we cannot get more debt from the Surplus Countries, we are sunk. Sunk. Titanic Sunk.

      And the Republicans now want to default. Declare Bankruptcy. Go the way of Argentina. What a bunch of aholes. All of them should be impeached, starting with Boehner and ending with Tom Coburn. Gross mismanagement. Gross incompetence. Gross. Sickening.
      And they know it. They are the culprits.

      We NEED this to be said at the highest levels. Use it. If we dont, we are sunk. The Republican Agenda must be destroyed at the level of ideology and practical outcome. The President must designate someone to play real hardball now. Or he must. Someone must.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:11:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I read the title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

    Of this article I thought I would have to make a choice between Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman and I was confused since I don't think of them as diametrically different.  However, that would be almost as easy a choice as Krugman or good ole Milty Friedman.    

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

    by dankester on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:22:57 PM PDT

  •  Budgetary Deceit (4+ / 0-)
    Obama could have cut hundreds of billions of dollars in spending that has been wasted on America's disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, but here too it's been all bait and switch. Obama is either afraid to stand up to the Pentagon or is part of the same neoconservative outlook as his predecessor. The real cause hardly matters since the outcome is the same: America is more militarily engaged under Obama than even under Bush. Amazing but true.

    " I’d say we all better get used to eating beans and rice, taking a beating on pitted roadways, and getting felt up by security personnel at the airports as Obama uses terrorism scares to keep us all in line." Roger D Hodge

    by Muggsy on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:23:42 PM PDT

  •  Rejection of Reaganism should be a core belief (11+ / 0-)

    of the Democratic Party.  Milton friedman, supply-side,'s all BS.

    It doesn't make sense logically

    No self respecting economist believes it (at least to the extreme point that Republicans do)

    There is NO evidence of it's effectiveness at reducing deficit or growing the economy faster in the past 30 years since this experiment began.

    And yet listening to all repubs and about half the Dems you would think its infallible gospel.

    no tax cuts for the wealthy. period.

    by The Clevelander on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:34:00 PM PDT

    •  Agreed overall but would only point out that the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flitedocnm, aliasalias, WheninRome

      Majority of Dems - more than half anyway - would never go for this 'austerity-for-everyone-but-the-rich' nonsense, were it for the uncomfortable fact that the guy with the biggest megaphone is not only one of the biggest chearleaders for the cause, but also the leader of their party.  

  •  I think the non confrontational approach here wont (0+ / 0-)

    We need to purposefully repudiate what the democratic party has become to differentiate where we are now form where we want to get to (or get back to).

    I think we need to frame it as:

    We want to be the 2008 Democratic party, and move forward from there--not the 2011 democratic party.

  •  Obama is waiting (0+ / 0-)

    for us to Make him Do It. Make him do it. That was his phrase.

    A politician NEEDS cover. Unless we give him the cover with our minds, ideas. enthusiasm, creativity and bodies, he WILL NOT move.

    He will play it as.. "Oh, those funny progressives. Always being naughty, irreverent, silly and disorganized." And he will have to take steps to make us LOOK silly to appease his much beloved Independents and Wall Streeters.

    If we can get over the fact that no one is going to thank us, no one is going to give us a medal, no one is going to give us a promotion, no one is going to say, "Wow, those progressives are AWESOME," we can go ahead and make Obama live up to remaking the republic into a real democracy, not the shell democracy we have today.

    Do Progressives have the cojones? Can we be right AND politically effective at the same time? Let's bring it and see what happens. It couldnt be worse than what is coming down at the moment.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:01:40 PM PDT

  •  Team Obama will NOT permit it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They enter freely, disrupt gleefully, and prohibit all opportunity to discuss tactics and options.   Obama makes Clinton look good.

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

    by dkmich on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:20:33 PM PDT

  •  points for style (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, FogCityJohn, WheninRome

    but you're missing the fundamental disconnect between those who are willing to support Obama no matter what and those of us only willing to support him when he supports our priorities.  

    Here's the real problem, the 80% of Democrats who still support Obama (including many, if not most, at this site) don't really understand this:

    But on the single central issue of our time, whether this country will continue to be an enlightened democracy with a fundamental belief that our strength is our people and NOT our corporations and the elite who own and control them, Obama is a turning out to be a monumental failure.

    Oh, don't get me wrong, I know they understand what the words mean, but they have trouble bridging the gap between the abstract concepts you're throwing around there and practical realities.  This isn't a failing on their part, it's just human nature.  

    Human beings are social animals, which means they are primarily build to understand other human beings.  Abstractions (like politics, philosophy, economics, etc.) are hard for most people to grasp (which is why those are specialist subjects requiring years of study).  Many may have a superficial understanding of those topics; they may know the key memes (preserve the environment, tax the rich, save Social Security, etc.) but that's usually because someone they know and trust presented those memes to them.  

    That's where Obama comes in.  They think they know him.  They think they can trust him.  So when he says "we have to be pragmatic", they accept that meme too and resign themselves to cutting Medicare or whatever.  Obama, as a person, is more real to them than the abstract ideals of the Democratic party.  As someone whose face and name they know he is more real to them than the people who will be harmed by his policies.

    I give you credit for trying to paint this as a conflict between Krugman and Friedman, hence "points for style"  making this about people is the way to persuade most humans, but you lost them when you invoked abstractions.  All they really heard was "blah blah blah Obama is a monumental failure"  And since they believe in him more then they believe in abstract ideals like "our strength is our people" they tuned you out.

    When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force my friends is violence. The supreme authority...

    by Thought Crime on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:24:01 PM PDT

    •  Great comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FogCityJohn, WheninRome

      Maybe you should turn this into a diary? In my experience most people can't or won't take the time to process these admitedly complex issues to arrive at their own, informed and thoughtful opinions on them. And so they rely on the people they most like and trust to "explain" them to them. Obama, through his incredible communications skills and charisma, has become such a person to lots of Dems. Notwithstanding the fact that some Dems who ARE informed and thoughtful actually agree with Obama substantively, I'm guessing that for most Dems, he's more of a salesman or wise uncle whom they like and trust even if they don't necessarily understand the undelying issues, than a professor who requires that they be more knowledgeable about the issues than just blindly believe him because he's an "expert". I can't tell you how many people I've come across here and in the real world who say that they like Obama, and therefore trust him to do the right thing, even if they can't explain or justify his policy stances substantively. To them, it comes down to emotion, not reason.

      And he knows it, as do his political aides, and they exploit it politically (and why shouldn't they since it works). He won and has such a devoted following to a large extent due to psychology, far more than due to substance. Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to like a politician, but it's really irrelevant to the question of where he stands on the issues and how effective a politician he is in advancing them. But that's just not how most people view politics.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 05:56:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  um... i'm here because i'm a democrat. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lrhoke, TFinSF

    i did NOT sign up to be a "progressive" - although my beliefs are profoundly so - but i signed up to be a democrat who is working to defeat republicans.

    i agree that this site has neutralized it's voice by screeching about an individual and childish emotions like "betrayal" and "caving" and other personalized slings and arrows.

    we have lost sight of the bigger picture - we are fighting a political battle against a very shrewd opponent who has the the power of disinformation and dishonest "journalism" behind it.

    we are the counter forces to fight back.  it isn't just up to obama and the dems in congress - it is up to US to be heard - and when what is heard by the opposition is our own evisceration of democrats, we are our own worst enemy!

    It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

    by edrie on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:27:33 PM PDT

    •  But if you're a progressive Dem (4+ / 0-)

      Doesn't it make sense that you would be pushing for progressive solutions over ones that are not, to the extent possible in today's political climate? And does that preclude fighting for progressive solutions within our party, as much as with the other side? Why do progressives have to lay down for Dems to win? I don't buy that logic at all. And it's not just about principle. I believe that Dems as a party are most successful when they govern most progressively, because it's where the country wants to be, even if more Americans label themselves as conservative than liberal, which is due more to propaganda than how they stand on the issues, many more of which they are liberal on than conservative. If a majority of Americans are now ok with gay marriage, gays in the military, and getting out of these wars, isn't it time to admit that a majority of Americans are with us progressives on the issues, and stop trying to accomodate neoliberals let alone conservatives?

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 05:45:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well said. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I particularly liked this


    I think of our government as a open, learning complex system. Stable systems make use of feedback, particularly negative feedback.

    "Negative feedback" doesn't mean just criticism, although it can include that. An easy example of negative feedback is a household thermostat; when the temperature goes too low, the system is triggered to produce heat. When the heat then goes above the preferred temperature, the system shuts off the heat. It is negative feedback because higher heat caused the system to stop producing heat. Stability is therefore maintained. If the increased heat caused the thermostat to produce even more heat, that would be positive feedback. Obviously, positive feedback is not generally part of a stable system.

    The Republicans advocate a positive reinforcement system for economics; tax cuts, lack of regulatory oversight of the financial sector and wars have lead to lower employment and a stagnant economy. So what do they want to do? More of the same. Like turning the heat even higher when it gets hot, or turning the thermostat down when it gets cold. That would not lead to a stable temperature, and what these maniacs want will not lead to a stable country, government or economy. It cannot.

    Our entire society, as a system, has effectively allowed its feedback mechanisms to be manipulated so that false positive feedback is input into the system, through FoxNews, for example. Since our education system has failed to teach a suitable percentage of the population how to think critically, the false feedback as too often accepted. The acceptance of this false, positive feedback destabilizes the system. It must.

    The Republicans themselves, with their faith-based beliefs in supply-side "economics" are closed systems; that is, they don't really accept feedback into their input at all, and closed systems are the most unstable.

    What we here need to remember is that our country is an open complex system, and even if you believe your president is a sell-out, or a supply-sider in Keynesian clothing, we can still "disturb" the system to cause it to behave in ways more consistent with what we want. With some embarrassment, I'm going to quote myself below, from a different comment thread:


    I generally have two competing narratives competing to establish my political landscape.

        The first is that our entire system is inherently and institutionally corrupt. Sometimes brilliant people with greatness in them try to accomplish good things within that system. However, that inherent and institutionalized corruption absolutely requires that you play by the systemic rules, or you accomplish nothing. So, the idealistic, brilliant hero makes a choice; play by rules and try to accomplish something, or at least slow the injuries inflicted by those who benefit from corruption.

        This kind of compromise is seen by the ideological base as a character flaw and abandonment of the ethics and principles of the party or movement.

        Arguably, it may be unfair that this kind of personality gets such a bad rap as a narcissistic opportunist without principles. The person may indeed have principles, and may be the only kind of person capable of accomplishing anything in the system.

        The second narrative is that the political system is inherently and institutionally corrupt, that it's design evolves to weed out the decent people early in the process. In this narrative, anyone at the highest level of power is completely corrupt, and that when we see these millionaires battle over how much to cut the safety net, we are being distracted from the real trick, (taking everything) in the same way that a magician uses distraction to obscure the mechanics of his illusion.

        Neither scenario is very comforting. What I realized while writing this is that the first narrative could be perceived as the naive one, while the second one is the cynical one. Perhaps I am the cynical one, as even my naive narrative assumes a totally corrupted system.

        In the end, I still have to lean towards the first one, as I find it unlikely that every political figure is really Snidely Whiplash, twirling his mustache and laughing evilly while the default train bears down on the economy he has tied to the tracks.

        You are certainly right that there are grounds to defend the president, and I have done it myself in comments over the last few days. I also found Elizabeth Drew's perspective unsettling.

        What you may be missing is that the president desperately needs his left flank, found here and elsewhere (you can pretty damn sure David Plouffe's people monitor DKOS closely) to be a loud voice and influence dragging him left when he veers right.

        Widespread attention to a piece like Drew's might be exactly what Obama needs right now; to know that there is a well-informed segment of voters he requires to win in 2012 that are developing a cynical and apathy-inspiring view of him. If that becomes a threat to his re-election, he might modify his behavior to be more consistent with what his supporters want.

        Complex, learning systems are never controlled solely from the top down; they are also influenced by disturbances from the bottom up. Since we can't force the system to behave how we want, we instead disturb it in a manner to nudge it closer to the behavior we want to see.

    No matter what happens here, we all continue to deliberately disturb the system to behave as we wish it to.  It is our moral and ethical obligation to do so.

    Take some comfort that when the right distorts its own feedback, the laws of systems dynamics will always catch up to them. Consider the example of NewsCorp, a system now unstable because it ignored or twisted the negative feedback it was receiving.

  •  Give me Krugman or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    demgem, drnononono

    give me ????? no thanks on the ???? who gives a fuck at this point. The deal from every angle sucks so bad that unless this administration actually fights for the people it really irrelevant who wins or loses any of this horseshit, including the 'election'.

  •  And here I thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, absolute beginner

    the Friedman in question was Tom. I still pick Krugman.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    by sidnora on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 04:43:15 PM PDT

  •  Some examples of effective write-in campaigns.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Presidential primaries

        In 1928, Herbert Hoover won the Republican Massachusetts presidential primary on write-ins, polling 100,279.

        In 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt won the Democratic New Jersey presidential primary with 34,278 write-ins.

        In 1944, Thomas Dewey won the Republican Pennsylvania presidential primary with 146,706 write-ins. He also won the Oregon Republican presidential primary with 50,001 write-ins.

        In 1948, Harold Stassen won the Republican Pennsylvania presidential primary with 81,242 write-ins.

        In 1952, Robert Taft won the Republican Nebraska presidential primary with 79,357 write-ins.

        Also in 1952, Estes Kefauver won the Democratic Pennsylvania presidential primary with 93,160 write-ins.

        Also in 1952, Dwight Eisenhower won the Republican Massachusetts presidential primary with 254,898 write-ins.

        In 1956, Dwight Eisenhower won the Republican Massachusetts presidential primary with 51,951 write-ins.

        In 1960, Richard Nixon won the Republican Massachusetts presidential primary with 53,164 write-ins.

        Also in 1960, John F. Kennedy won the Democratic Pennsylvania presidential primary with 183,073 write-ins, and he won the Democratic Massachusetts presidential primary with 91,607 write-ins.

        In 1964, a write-in campaign organized by supporters of former U.S. Senator and vice presidential nominee Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. won Republican primaries for President in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, defeating declared candidates Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and Margaret Chase Smith.

        In 1968 in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire, incumbent President Lyndon Johnson did not file, but received write-ins totaling 50% of all Democratic votes cast. Senator Eugene McCarthy, who campaigned actively against Johnson’s Vietnam war policies, was on the ballot. He received an impressive 41% of the vote and gained more delegates than the President. Johnson was so stunned that he did not run for reelection.[2]

    •  Instead of primary'ing BO, we could write in... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flitedocnm, WheninRome

      ideals, such as from the diary:

      Because we care. Because we believe in the American Dream, because we believe in opportunity for all, because we believe in equal rights, and protecting our planet. Because we believe in people, in community. In dignity. In ensuring that nobody in this country goes without food, or a place to live, or essential health care.

      - Opportunity For All
      - Equal Rights
      - Protect Our Planet
      - Social Safety Net
      - Single Payer

  •  This is not and never was about being (5+ / 0-)

    pro or anti-Obama, but about being pro or anti liberal progressive policies and how to best advance them, and to the extent that it's been about Obama, it's been about how effective and committed or not he's been in advancing these policies. If another Dem was president, it would no different. Obama is a Dem and president, which is why so much focus is on him, but only as it pertains to the advancement of liberal progressive policies.

    To the extent that it's also become personal, it's because we're human, and tend to personalize things that matter to us that involve other people. How can only criticize Obama's policies and politics without also criticizing the man himself? It's impossible, as they are inseparable. But it's ultimately not about him, but about the policies and his role in advancing them or not.

    I don't know about others here but I've been a liberal progressive Democrat since the 70's, way before I heard of Obama or Clinton or neoliberalism or started paying serious attention to conservatism. I came to it because it felt right to me, the idea of putting society and others before oneself, and thinking of ourselves as a society and not just a collection of individuals, who need good governance (among other things) to thrive.

    And I react to all Dems based entirely on how effective and sincere I perceive their actions are in furtherance of what I believe to be good liberal progressive policy, within the realm of political reality. When they do good, or as good as I believe possible at the time, I cheer them. And when they do bad, worse than reality makes unavoidable, I criticize them. This is as true of other Dems as it is of Obama. And I suspect this is the case for the vast majority of Obama critics.

    It's not about Obama. It's about our agenda, values and goals. Sheesh.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 05:39:44 PM PDT

  •  The bottom line (5+ / 0-)

    Multi National Corporations are now more powerfull than the Federal Goverment. They have more money. They own the media. They control domestic policy. They control foreign policy. They finance our elections.
    Almost every tangible social or economic advancement that the middle clas has made in 60 years can be directly traced to the influence of organized labor. Today most Americans demonize Unions. The Democratic Party has even distanced itself from Labor. With deminished numbers, our influence has atrophed.
    So have our pensions. Our benefits. Our Pay. Our safety in the workplace.
    Now we find ourselves in a bed of our own making, in a represenative democracy, realizing that we are not the one's being represented.

  •  Krugman!!! WOOOO! I'd have his baby (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Moonlit Knight

    If I were female. Or, if he had a baby and left it in a bus station somewhere, or if he had a baby and was suddenly absorbed into a void or monsters swooped out of the sky as he miraculously gave birth. There are plenty of scenarios which could lead to me having (or caring for ) his baby.

  •  We aren't that important to them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm, drnononono

    Looking back we thought we had an effect.  We went to demonstrations, huge demonstrations, against a war that wasn't sanitized for TV.  We marched to end that war but it wouldn't end for years.  We marched to protest the Kent State killings, we marched to support farm workers and it helped, it was therapeutic we were solid with our fellow demonstrators and we got on the news.  As college students we staged a strike, burned draft cards, got tear gassed, some were beaten, some were prosecuted but after Johnson we got Nixon who ran against a great Liberal, Hubert Humphrey and a Southern bigot, George Wallace.  
    It was country divided as it is today, Nixon got 43.4% of the vote, Humphrey 42.7% and the repugnant Wallace got 13.5%.
    Today we're fighting 2 wars that aren't even on the news anymore,  Unions have been decimated almost to the point of irrelevancy, the middle class is disappearing and guess what?  Nobody in Washington gives a shit about our issues.  
    As many of us would learn, you can't beat the establishment and since those days the establishment has become a whole lot more powerful.  The rich and powerful wouldn't care if a million of us held a demonstration; we aren't that important to them.  We took our best shot in the 60's and still a republican and a bigot were able  to garner 57% of the vote.  In 2008 the republicans were given up for dead and look what happened a mere 2 years later.  The evil overlords are not concerned with us, their money, their friends, their corrupt shills in Washington can do what they want, they don't fear us.

    •  So, do we just give up? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike RinRI

      Everything you say has validity. The corporatocracy is incredibly powerful, and wealthy. And yes, they own just about everything -- including our homes, when you consider mortgages.

      But I would argue that we still have power, if we choose to organize, and educate, and use our power wisely.

      There are still many millions more of us. Several hundred million more of us. And until the ballot boxes are completely rigged (and yes, with voter suppression well under way, the effect is the same -- so that too needs to be vigorously fought), we can still vote them out of office. There are still good politicians in the world, people who truly care -- like Franken, Gillibrand, Sanders, Kucinich, Grayson, and Feingold, and others.

      What's your solution?

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

      by flitedocnm on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 07:07:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Never give up (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drnononono, flitedocnm

        I'll never give up, I'm just saying that it will take something a lot bolder than fractured demonstrations.  The "conservative" movement now controls unions, the financial industry, the educational system, the media and on and on.  I put "conservative" in quotes because they aren't conservatives in the traditional political sense they are sociopaths pure and simple.  They hate their fellow human beings and yes they are a minority but they're exactly what the republican party needed.  They're crazy, they have no limits and they do as they're told.  The press loves them and no idea is too crazy.
        If we organize we can win but we're not organized.  We have no group to rally around, our party has joined the madness.  Every day I get e-mails from a dozen or more Progressive organizations looking for money or to sign a petition, I get 30 or 40 emails from candidates looking for money, many of them deserving but this isn't organization, this is chaos.
        The only way, as I see it is to fight fire with fire, take a few tips from the opposition; centralize the effort, speak loudly and forcefully and insist that our elected officials represent our point of view.  Become a force to be reckoned with.  Leading up to 2008 we were almost there, we had good candidates, we had Howard Dean who tirelessly went on the offensive in all 50 states and we won the White House, the Senate and the House, but all failed to deliver on their promises so here we are.  I'm not an organizer but show me the right leader and I'll work my ass off to make things happen.  By a large number of Washington Democrats no longer acting like Democrats we are so weakened and marginalized that right now we pose no threat to the corporatocracy.
        I'll also say that I am represented by 3 of the finest Progessives in Washington; Jack Reed, Sheldon Whitehouse and David Cicciline who I can trust in to do the right thing.

        •  Great reply. I agree. Thanks. (And, (0+ / 0-)

          regards to your state. I lived there when I was in college, many moons ago. It's great to see who's representing you now.)

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

          by flitedocnm on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 08:02:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If Eugene McCarthy had won POTUS in 1968 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm, Great Lakes Liberal

    "Would it have taken him this long to get the troops out of Vietnam?"

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 07:19:25 PM PDT

  •  Our studio audience SAYS...Friedman!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


  •  And the winner is....... *drum roll* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics!

    Obama worked hard to get in The Big Club, and he's not about to fuck things up now!

    The Patriot Act: IOKIYAD!

    by Beelzebud on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 08:44:54 PM PDT

  •  Perfectly said (0+ / 0-)

    A lot of us have realized it for a while now... it isn't about left vs right, Democrats vs Repuglicans, etc.  Its about the very top everyone else.  This is class warfare and, like it or not, Obama's economic policies have been against 90%+ of the country's interests.  

    I'll support Obama in the next election, as will nearly everyone on this site and others like it... if ONLY for the supreme court appointments in the next 6 years.  
    But its time to stop taking "sides" like we have been and unite around supporting the rest of the country.  That means being honest about what is NOT being done, even by a Democratic President and not being afraid to speak out loudly.  

    We're still well over a YEAR away from the next election.  NOW is the time to speak out and push Obama and his neoliberal policies to the left.  In a good 9-12 months, it will be time to swallow your pride and advocate for the man, whether you're happy about it or not.  
    For NOW though, its time to come together, put aside silly political party labels and ACTUALLY work towards helping and restoring the working class folks in America.  

    And if that means bringing the heat down on Barack Obama as bad as the loons on the right have brought it, SO BE IT.  
    ...the guy obviously folds like a broken card table when you pressure him anyway.  May as well take advantage of that.

    My style is impetuous.
    My defense is impregnable.

    by samfish on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 08:57:12 PM PDT

  •  I partook in a huge demonstration against the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm, Just Bob, DRo

    Bush administration probably sometime around 2007 in New York City - the organizers got a permit from the city to shut down all of lower Broadway on a Saturday afternoon.

    There must have been at LEAST 40,000 people (maybe a lot more)  who attended - as far as I could see the street was filled with people.

    I will never know how many people were there though - because went I came home and looked for crowd estimates on the 'net, there was NOTHING. The New York Times, the NY Post, NPR, none of the TV networks, NOBODY covered this story..

    If it had been the 60's, a march like this would have been the leading story on the network news, but by the late 2000's there was NOTHING, and I fear this situation today is just as bad if not maybe even worse.

    The lesson is - you can't necessarily look to the past for blueprints on how to effect change in America - demonstrations will not work if the media landscape is not significantly altered, say a  non-corporatist media outlet gains a major foothold in the country.

  •  Flite you're right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, flitedocnm

    at 55 I'm ready to hit the streets. In 2008 I never though it would come to this.  The president is a decent man but he's an awful negotiator. His team's lack of political skill here is breathtaking. He's also clearly forgotten about us. This is sad and I'm really angry.

    is Obama the only sane Republican running for president in 2012?

    by al23 on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:10:44 PM PDT

  •  His "Mr Conciliation" title comes at the cost of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, flitedocnm

    our brand and our principles.  What a disaster.

    Why do Democrats still persecute gays? Is a vote for Democrats a wasted vote? I voted for change. Where is my vote?

    by SGWM on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 11:30:06 PM PDT

  •  You may have unestimated the impact (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's an element within our power structure that would like to see American labor compete with Chinese labor by taking us down to the level of Chinese peasants.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 01:56:46 AM PDT

  •  Greenwald has been hammering this point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Opening bars of this diary:

    If the "grand bargain" being put forward by President Obama were instead being promoted by a Republican president, Washington would look like Madison, WI on steroids.


    Therein lies one of the most enduring attributes of Obama's legacy: in many crucial areas, he has done more to subvert and weaken the left's political agenda than a GOP president could have dreamed of achieving.

    This is why we're all torn up. In some specific ways, perhaps many specific ways, it's easier to be effective as a unified opposition.

    What do we want? Compromise! When do we want it? Now!

    by itswhatson on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:47:48 AM PDT

  •  In short (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahdillingham, flitedocnm

    The President may well win this battle, but it's the American people that lose this war.  

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

    by dankester on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:15:49 AM PDT

  •  I say No to permits puts them onguard (0+ / 0-)

    The constitution grants the right to peaceful assembly.
    Nowhere did it say buy a permit to protest.
    Just show up.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:49:24 AM PDT

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