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This has been brewing in my mind so I thought I'd just write it out and see how it looks on "paper."

To be honest I think on this blog we all too often hear so much negativity about the President that sometimes I think Jonathan Chait is correct in his view that liberals just cannot be satisfied.  To be honest, I don't really think Obama is liberal and Lawrence Lessig, a man I respect greatly, shared this opinion when he was a constitutional lawyer alongside Obama.  Obama to me shares a lot of my own views: center left pragmatism, with an emphasis on pragmatism.  From my perch, his strategy in terms of how to get legislation through the most difficult of circumstances, messaging, and understanding of power imbalances explains a lot of his presidency, and to me, a lot of what people deem as his "failures" are simply a statement of a reality that could never have been.  Every time I read more, my thoughts in this regard are strengthened.

The Affordable Care Act comes first to mind, especially with this clause that health care providers need to take 80%-85% of their incoming dollars and make sure it actually goes to care as opposed to overhead, which could be sales/marketing/solid gold toilet paper.  Insuring people with pre-existing conditions and expanding insurance to cover minors until age 26 under their parents plan was one thing, but this bomb really struck me.  The health care bill was difficult to push through a Congress with blue dogs worried about the deficit.  The analysis has been that the law instigated the far right, paving the way for the Koch Bros. to lay down their astroturf for the Tea Party buses to come rolling through.  The misinformation machine of Faux News went into full spin mode with Glenn Beck the false prophet.  If only Obama had messaged it correctly, to make it clear to the American people what they were getting out of the deal and how he would've solved the problem, everyone would've left the confines of their town halls and everything would have been better is the common wisdom.  "How could the Hope and Change guy fail so hardcore at messaging?"  We then hear about liberal dissatisfaction with a public option (rightfully so), and we have the picture of a president who punches hippies while drowning in the red tide of the Tea Party.

I don't buy that.  Obama's strategy is a bit deeper.  He does things long term.  It's not perfect, don't misread me here, but I like it in that so far despite the resounding offensive against his idea, it's standing up.  He needed blue dogs to get on board and he knew that the deficit was going to be the next hot topic of debate.  The Tea Party had already been brewing.  I have little evidence it took him completely by surprise, and despite the fact that we laughed at Sharon Engle and Christine O'Donnell, the right wing wave of 2010 wasn't too difficult to predict.  Maybe not in its entirety, but Democrats were already heading for the hills.  Better to get the law through at that time then to have it drowned out once the Tea Party Express started rolling through the streets.  It's a highly corporatist bill, with many good criticisms, including the lack of sufficient existing health care infrastructure, constitutionality of the mandate, and questions on long term care and price controls.  A single payer system would most likely be the best way, but from a pragmatists perspective, it has to first get made law, then be impervious to repeal (both in that it cannot be repealed, or that repealing it is worse than leaving it in), then tested for its constitutionality, then survive the "real life" test where it has to be implemented by real, living, breathing people.  

The health care law mandates digitizing records and has started a new, burgeoning industry of Health Information Technology.  Stimulus funds went to training people by giving them 6 month certificates and retooling existing professionals to make jobs that easily make at least $20/hr for people with minimal certification.  So when it's implemented, no one will be able to say, "You didn't think this through effectively enough," or "Look at this mess!  People's records are being lost or destroyed!  You've forced a tidal wave on us and it's all your fault!"  So, we cleared this hurdle.

Then there were the waivers.  That was brilliant; one of my favorite Obama moments ever.  The look on the Republican governor's faces when he essentially said: "If you can do better, then go ahead," were beyond priceless.  Checkmate bitches.  Obama loves to net his opponent in a web of hypocrisy, and the GOP is almost always too eager to oblige.  If they do not develop public options, and many of those federal dollar-loving red states cannot or will not implement better-than-mandate options, due to the fact they loathe raising taxes, they'll easily take the exchange dollars and the grants while simultaneously declaring him a Kenyan Marxist with anti-colonial views.  More fodder for local newspapers outlining what I love to call "stimulus hypocrisy."  Plus, and this gets even better, people who CAN come up with public options will be free to do so and be given ample time to develop them to serve as models that "Hey, I know the public option smacked of spending blue dogs, but these states made it work, and will have visible results, so why don't you go ahead and copy them?"  Governor Schweitzer, master of the Democrat-sounding-like-a-Republican strategy, was able to sell it to his constituents, instead of having Obama try to connect to voters who seemed to prefer their local leaders to him.

We're now seeing a mandate at efficiency in making sure that health care providers...provide health care instead of seeking profit in ways that is not their expressed purpose.  This was the blow that was needed to kick start everything.  Again, it's the economy stupid.  Once this starts working then he can expand his support for it.  Is there a lot of compartmentalization that will happen when people benefit from a government program, but not realize that it is affecting them?  "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" guy is of course a consideration, but from Obama's perspective, this man is lost and not really worthy of calculation.  The middle is impressed with results, and the spare people he needs to pick up as a rule hate partisanship and will go for the candidate that gives them the illusion they're logical, dispassionate, centrist, middle of the road people they fashion themselves to be.  

Yes, we loathe the Bush tax cuts, and we hate that he cannot get his jobs bill.  He could've nationalized the banks, flushed them of the scum, and made stimulus three times as much.  We are suspicious of the duplicity of not going after the banksters as hard as he could when their fraud comes more and more to light with each passing day.  He goes to dinners with $10,000 plates with people we think are elitist and the 1%.  Libya concerns me as a resource based war, prepping Africa for further military adventures, but in many ways he handles each country calmly and coolly.  We can't expect for NATO to lose hundreds of soldiers and stay with us in Afghanistan for 10 years and not expect to reciprocate when their interests are under attack.  I don't really care if Ghadaffi or his mercenary band of rapists die, although I'm sure there were profiteers waiting in the wings and that perhaps our leaders sometimes work off of information that is fed or fabricated for the benefit of someone else.  Nothing is perfect, but I think Obama works in a field where he moves the center of gravity and tries to outmaneuver his opponents pieces.  His strategy was correct in Egypt, correct in Libya, and correct elsewhere even though much of what he does perpetuates Bush's wars and much of our foreign policy hypocrisy where we claim to want to spread democracy and save people in one country from their evil dictator while letting another dictator do the exact same thing elsewhere.  However he moved the needle here, and started to pursue the strategy that other countries stop outsourcing their militaries to the U.S. government and instead take part in the governance of their own regions.  As an aside, letting Bush-Maliki take effect was genius.  There was no need to press the Iraqis for a new agreement when you can just leave and point to the fact the invasion was mostly hated by the people you invaded.  Bitter medicine, but excellent use of the tools available to get a good end result.  

He crafts his legislation to follow a set course, on a set time frame, and to read out his opponent's moves as best he can to get them to cannibalize themselves and run them off a cliff of their own making.  We lament his deficit fight "centrism" and point to polls that say that even moderates wanted him to fight more, but at the same time, firing up the liberal and democratic base is not as hard as you might think, and moderates are fickle and oftentimes are partisan but just don't want to admit it.

I know there is a ton in this diary, and I will be flamed.  So, flame me away.  I don't know everything, but I watch the news and read articles, and I am processing the political world not through idealism, but with the mindset of "What is your goal and how is it that you're going to reach your goal?"  I am not all that liberal, but I do want a lot of what OWS wants and what many on this site want. Campaign finance reform, banksters being held accountable for fraud, a fair taxation system, and end to endless foreign adventures or relegating them to simply special ops, as well as a pragmatic focus on preparing the U.S. to go toe to toe with China.  These are all things we can prepare for, but without violence, entrenched powers rarely if ever go away, so either persuasion or intricate use of "self interest" are the ways to get the results you need.

In the famous, yet modified, words of FDR: "I welcome your hatred."

Peace and love :)

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have been as big a critic of BHO........ (34+ / 0-)

    as most on here but the "85% actual health care" bomb in the ACA might be what gets him more than just my vote next year.

    Oh! and I think you meant FDR with the "hatred" thing.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 08:35:14 PM PST

    •  I just want people (20+ / 0-)

      to get a more realistic lens, but I was looking for the staunch liberals on the site to rip me a new one for this :)

      •  Here is some realism: (13+ / 0-)

        Medicare takes in excess of 95% of premiums and spends them on healthcare.  To say it "wasn't politically practical" to push Medicare for All is declaring defeat before the battle even begins.  Social Security was called "The Third Rail of Politics" for a reason; any politician who dared to suggest messing with it was (rightfully) fried.  But that never stopped Republican'ts from pushing over and over and over again to royally fuck it up.  Now look at where the "conventional wisdom" is; it is no longer a question of cutting benefits, but how much to cut and from whom to cut!  That did NOT happen by making their first negotiating position total surrender and then moving further in their opponent's direction.  That did not happen by being master strategist.  That happened because they took a position and stuck with it no matter what.  That happened because it has never been about one single politician, but because it has always been about the Agenda (just look at how fast they threw Bush the Lesser under the bus after the '06 elections.)  And even though Republican't lost the House and Senate primarily because of Bush going after Social Security and Medicare in 2005, where are we now?  How much and from whom.  Instead of wasting so much time trying to paint our own agenda on the president and "fix the facts to the intelligence", why can't people open their eyes, see his actual actions, and then act accordingly!  FDR didn't run in 1932, he ran as a technocrat, and his whole platform involved tinkering around the edges.  We didn't get the New Deal because people were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, or because they thought that was the best they were going to get, because, after all, Republican'ts were much worse.  He became who he became BECAUSE people didn't give him the benefit out the doubt or settle for "this is the best we can get."  The people made him what he became because they were willing to engage in direct action, in upsetting the apple cart, in risking FDR's political future because they had no future of their own beyond poverty, servitude and death by starvation, deprivation and disease.  Obama going along to get along and doing what was pragmatic got us the 2010 election result.  People getting into the streets, being willing to challenge the person who is supposedly sympathetic to their cause, and willing to be beaten, shot at, arrested and massively inconveniences changed the narrative away from destructive austerity for the benefit of millionaires and billionaires and to the needs of everyone else.  We definitely haven't even come close to winning that battle, but at least we were willing to show up to the field...

      •  i think i'm a staunch liberal (21+ / 0-)

        i'm even a radical, in the sense that the roots of the evils are what i want exposed and eliminated but

        i have no quarrel with this diary or mr. obama

        i continue to expect that if the voters give him a congress that wants to work and to work on behalf of the 99%, we'll see some historic legislation/programs in his second four years

    •  Yeah, if that requirement works.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....it could be a brilliant strategic move. I am holding off on judgment, one way or the other until I see the results, but the potential is definitely there and I will credit Obama where credit is due.

      •  Of course we should give him credit... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ed in Montana

        ...when credit is due!  Nobody is saying we shouldn't.  But we should also be just as willing to hold his feet to the fire when his actions call for it.  To not do so is not only a disservice to ourselves, but to him as well.  If you don't tell people that you find their actions objectionable, they won't know you find their actions objectionable, and they will continue to do whatever it is you find objectionable...

  •  no flames from me tonight....... (33+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    From my perch, his strategy in terms of how to get legislation through the most difficult of circumstances, messaging, and understanding of power imbalances explains a lot of his presidency, and to me, a lot of what people deem as his "failures" are simply a statement of a reality that could never have been.

    Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

    by princesspat on Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 08:41:59 PM PST

    •  Think: Gas Mileage (27+ / 0-)

      Obama's gas mileage increase isn't set to begin until 2017. That, IMO, represents exactly what you are talking about in terms of his long view and his strategic thinking -- and also his values.

      Obama said (and how we forget!) that he'd do things "differently."

      And guess what? NO ONE WANTS IT DONE DIFFERENTLY. Not the right, nor the left. So that leaves Obama doing it both differently AND quietly. The number on thing he is doing differently is letting US decide.

      We sat back and let "them" decide in 2010. Did we learn our lesson? To get what we want, we need to stand fast. If we want better gas mileage standards, we need to keep electing politicians who want better gas mileage standards or that 2017 date -- not the end of his second term, but the beginning of the next gal's/guy's -- is going to get erased.

      Obama sees himself as the pitcher. His opponents are the batters: he tries to throw pitches they can't hit, but that's really hard in this climate (think: economic headwind, working against ball speed and spin), so he is relying on US to catch the ball and keep the other team's runners from scoring.

      He is neither a dictator nor a dummy.

      Our President is a democrat -- the little "d" kind -- and it would behoove us to remember that.

      It is ignorance which is hopeless.

      by IdeaTipper on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 05:34:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I must agree with you here: (42+ / 0-)
    The health care law mandates digitizing records and has started a new, burgeoning industry of Health Information Technology.

    This is hugely important and meaningful both for the individual and for the health care system as a whole.

    Certainly, we are the only developed nation in the universe that has not done so -- which puts us firmly in the fourth world. (The third world has already accomplished this, for the most part.)


    Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world. Save the lives of the people. Nationalize the banks.

    by Pluto on Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 08:45:11 PM PST

  •  the fact that he agreed to extended the tax cuts (45+ / 0-)

    up to the point where he could run on them and get a voter mandate to abolish the cuts for the rich was an excellent strategy and the fact that he got a whole host of wins on top of it should have made the political world pause.

    good diary.

  •  Where is the great debate! (14+ / 0-)

    Where are the ACA people!  Flame me! :P  I wanted some late night intrigue.

    •  I'm reading Ron Suskind's "Confidence Men" (10+ / 0-)

      I'll get back to you after I compare your analysis with Suskind's. ;-)

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 09:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lol (5+ / 0-)

        I think he'll have a much closer insight :)  I read part of it.  Going up against the banksters is a rough ride.

        •  Froomkin has a synopsis! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Funkygal

          Dan Froomkin:

          But the higher he soars with his populist rhetoric, the more he calls attention to the enormous gap between the promise of hope and change that he campaigned on in 2008 and the actions he has taken as president -- especially regarding the economy, which is still stagnating, and Wall Street, which remains unpunished and unbowed even after causing the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

          As a result, voters will inevitably be asking themselves: Who is this guy, really? Does he mean what he says? Will he do what he says? And would a second-term Obama be different?

          One answer to why Obama underperformed is laid out in searing detail in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ron Suskind's latest book, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.

          In the book, Suskind describes how Obama made the conscious choice to staff his economic team with former Clinton appointees whose sympathies were with Wall Street -- and that those men were unable to see how drastically out of whack the country's financial system had gotten both because they helped create it and because it had served them so well.

          Then, rather than forcefully impose his campaign's populist vision on these men, Obama again consciously chose to defer to them repeatedly -- and tolerated it even when they slow-walked, pushed back against, or simply ignored his instructions.

          The whole piece is sitting by my phone waiting for OFA to call....

    •  how the mandate leads to the public option: (13+ / 0-)

      The individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional.  Never before has government had the power to compel individuals to purchase products from private companies under penalty of law, as a condition of their mere existence as citizens.  Or to put it differently, never before has government had the power to compel contracts between individual persons in their role as private citizens.  

      Any "originalist" interpretation of the constitution has to recognize this point: thus lining up Scalia and anyone else who hangs with him on the Court, to rule against the personal mandate.  But not only originalists: any civil libertarian also has to recognize the danger of creating a new government power that can be set upon by every special interest to enact their own "personal mandates" for their own vested interests.  It would become a feeding frenzy for every special interest under the sun.

      What government does have the power to do, with little or no controversy, is create a tax break from a normal level of taxation, for citizens to engage in whatever transactions: for example buying hybrid automobiles, putting solar panels on their roofs, etc.  

      Thus where we will necessarily end up, is:

      A small progressive tax being levied to cover the public option.

      A tax break for an equivalent amount for those who purchase private insurance.  

      This will put the private insurers into competition with a public option system that has the inherent advantage of not having to return a profit for shareholders (much less provide gold-embroidered toilet paper for pampered executives' bottoms).  So the private insurers will have to tighten up considerably and offer better service for lower cost, otherwise go the way of horse-drawn carriage wheel makers.  

      And since Obama was a Constitutional scholar, he can't have not-known that this was the inevitable course.  

      "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:32:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you a constitutional scholar? (8+ / 0-)

        I kind of doubt it, because if you consult at length with any actual constitutional scholar you will find that most agree that the mandate is constitutional under the Commerce Clause as it has been understood for decades. Now it is always possible that the present SCt may decide to overturn decades of  precedent and go with a new interpretation...it wouldn't be the first time...but it is not true that Obama "knows" the ACA mandate is unconstitutional, because it's not.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 07:21:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and they're just dead wrong. (0+ / 0-)

          First of all, I will not indulge in the straw-man game of credentialism that in the end translates to "arguement from authority."  This is not "offering legal advice" so it doesn't even require the usual "IANAL" disclaimer.

          Second, I've read those constitutional scholars' articles and the bottom line is they're wrong.

          They're engaged in a logical fallacy of translating the power of government to regulate actual transactions, to the power of government to require transactions that would not otherwise occur.  In effect they are attempting to change the paradigm from one in which "commerce" consists of voluntary transactions between commercial entities, to one in which "commerce" has expanded to include the mere fact of one's existence for all citizens as a condition of their birth.

          Under that definition, "commerce" can trump all else, including the Bill of Rights.    

          This is also directly equivalent to moving from "something that is not prohibited is allowed" to "something that is not prohibited is required."  Along the way they've skipped the stage where "something that is not allowed is prohibited."  And yes, those are the three steps on the spectrum from a free society to a totalitarian society.

          In a free society, everything that is not prohibited is allowed.

          In a partial dictatorship, everything that is not allowed is prohibited.

          In a total dictatorship, everything that is not prohibited is required.  

          Between "something" and "everything" is only a matter of degree.  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 08:06:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  and speaking of flat overt blunt falsehoods... (0+ / 0-)

          ... is has NOT been "understood for decades" that the Commerce Clause gives government the ability to compel private parties to enter into transactions against the consent of one or the other of the parties.  

          That power has never before existed anywhere in the law.

          Asserting otherwise is a flaming whopperoo that ought to set their pants on fire the moment they say it.  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:17:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The mandate is constitutional (5+ / 0-)

        The mandate is that everyone must show that they have health insurance.  If not, then they are taxed for not having health insurance.  We compel everyone to pay social security and medicare taxes.  This is not qualitatively different.

        Economic Left/Right: -6.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

        by Democratic Hawk on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 07:49:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It most certainly is qualitatively different (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m00finsan, G2geek

          Social Security and Medicare are GOVERNMENT programs. The mandate forces you to give money to PRIVATE corporations. Differences don't get more qualitative than that.

        •  the Moon is made of green cheese! (0+ / 0-)

          There, I've made an assertion too, so it must be true!

          And the legislative history of that "tax" plainly shows that it's actually a penalty disguised as a tax.

          Or are you now supporting a grossly regressive tax increase?

          And if you don't see the difference between SS & Medicare, which are government programs, and private health insurance companies, then you've got a "low-information" problem that's beyond my expertise to solve.  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 10:55:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Good god (0+ / 0-)

        The eleven-dimensional chess argument needs to die.

    •  ... don't worry ... its coming lol nt (0+ / 0-)

      I love me peektures and that is that! Cheerleaders till 2016

      by matrix on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 06:17:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Party He Led Took the Greatest Defeat (19+ / 0-)

    in a midterm election since the 1800's.

    Now he and his party alike are talking cuts to all the signature civilization programs they introduced.

    You were saying?

    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 Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 09:44:44 PM PST

  •  Sujigu, I really appreciate the conversation this (21+ / 0-)

    diary provides.  A big part of that is your engagement with the comments.  Thanks, its great food for thought.  Write more diaries, please.

  •  like (12+ / 0-)

    Bravo Diarist! I feel as you do and just don't post my thoughts because it feels almost like posting on an anti-Obama site... even though that may not be the intention, it is the reality IMHO...still can't quit you though, DKOS...must be nostalgia

  •  More (32+ / 0-)

    There is even more, much more, to what you say. There are places to find information that you won't always see here or on any one site. Tons goes un- or under-reported, many things that would define Obama as a "true liberal" and a pragmatist at the same time ("A half tomato in the hand is better than a whole tomato in the head). One BFD example (out of hundreds/thousands) is from this article: Native American Relations With Administration At Turning Point: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... - settlement of the class-action Cobell lawsuit. There are "Obama Achievements" links that are nothing less than mind-boggling. Anyone who truly wants to find/know about them can.

    Just last month I heard Amy Goodman criticize Obama for sending "100 troops to Africa." And that's all she said about the issue! Not a word about the LRA. Now that's some shit.

    To go on further with these thoughts would require a separate diary/book with specifics and details. One recent article I like relating to strategy is: "The Great Rope-A-Dope Trick" - http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/... Also, The People's View is very good. You have to piece it all together from different sources to get the big picture.

  •  Digitizing health records (15+ / 0-)

    I remember one study that found that, on rounds, half of the doctors' time was spent trying to read the notes by other doctors.

    And there have been several studies showing that the number of errors - some of them fatal - involving misreading handwritten notes is staggering.

    Follow me on Twitter @PeterFlom

    by plf515 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 05:56:54 AM PST

    •  I'd be curious to know more about (5+ / 0-)

      what effects (size of cost reduction?) digitization alone will have.

      "However small your audience is, however frustrating it is to get your version of the world or what you want to talk about out there, it’s part of the conversation. And if you shut up, the conversation is one-sided" -- John Sayles

      by Nulwee on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 05:58:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Throwing Single Payer under the bus (0+ / 0-)

      Is more to the real strategy.
      Just twenty minutes North of my house, a single person making over 30k pays $60/mo for health care, a couple pay $109/mo, and a family of 3 or more just $121/mo.  Drugs cost 1/4 to 1/3 of US cost.  Canadian single payer rocks while we got a pos ACA that only buys more time for the oligarchy.  That's a strategy for 1% control.

    •  Not just trying to read the horrid scrawl, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dvalkure, plf515

      but trying to get other doctor's offices to send them.  We used to have to make repeated calls begging for the records.  We used to have patient's having to wait longer in the office because the records failed to show up before the patient despite repeated calls.  Why?  Because the doctor who employs the people who actually pull the paper records and fax them doesn't really directly watch that activity - s/he is busy seeing patients.  The doctor is more aware of his/her employees' activities that directly serve him/her during office visits.  The faxing of records is a behind the scenes function.  Unless the doctor trying to receive the records actually calls the sending doctor's office, the doc doesn't even know the records haven't been sent.  Making such phone calls is problematic because when I call another doctor, s/he is likely in the middle of an exam so we end up just playing phone tag.  
      Plus there is a certain percentage of faxed documents that simply disappear into fax limbo.
      Now, with our county wide EHR, all the other doctor's notes and lab and imaging reports (with the actual images) are simply right there.  And legible.  
      And, if I need to contact another doctor about some question about a patient, I can send a flag attached to that patient's record.  The other doc can get to it between patients easily.  Therefore we communicate more than in the paper, fax and phone world.  

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 10:21:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You owe me (14+ / 0-)

    a keyboard.  Coffee spewed all over it from just this line:

    "Checkmate bitches"!

  •  I think you've got it just about right. (9+ / 0-)

    A very careful, well-thought out diary. Excellent work.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 06:05:39 AM PST

  •  A lot of thought in this diary (7+ / 0-)

    well written, well done, even if one doesn't agree.

  •  A very well written diary. Thx nt (7+ / 0-)

    I love me peektures and that is that! Cheerleaders till 2016

    by matrix on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 06:19:08 AM PST

  •  Nothing ever prevented him from starting with... (9+ / 0-)

    A stronger, more logical and thus better bargaining position than the ones he actually went with.

    Too often, I think there's an (infuriating) false equivalence drawn between the xenophobic, misinformed mania on the right and things like single payer health care or economic justice on the left. There was a lot of that during the health care debates. I'm not saying you implied that here, but it comes out in the context of the false choice of "pragmatism" and statements like "a reality that never could have been."

    OWS gave Republicans enough of a scare that income inequality is now forcing them to reconsider their zealotry regarding benefits and tax cuts. Is that a reality that never could have been? I'll never be able to buy that argument. Proposing what is right can never hurt Obama. They're going to crawl up his bottom regardless, and I think you draw quite a few conclusions here that can very easily be refuted, and have been, repeatedly. At a minimum parallel negatives can e demonstrated, and a lot of them.

    I'll be voting for him and I want him to win, but all you have to do us look around you to know he's not doing enough. Above the fray is one thing, actively avoiding it is another entirely.

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 06:43:08 AM PST

    •  Actually something really did prevent (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Halandri, Kathy S, Supavash, Dvalkure

      him from starting with a stronger position.

      You just can't have it both ways.  Either there really is no well entrenched powerful plutocratic elite manipulating our economy and politics with money and lobbyists - in which case one really wouldn't need to push very hard to get progressive stuff passed.

      Or

      There really is the above mentioned monster - in which case coming off with a brave aggressive zeal would simply end in the rapid and thorough crushing of our hero.

      It is my working hypothesis that there really is a shadow plutocracy running the place.  And it's not so well shadowed anymore.  Evidence is mounting confirming that hypothesis.  Which leaves me amazed that Obama could get anything done at all.  Plus he did say he needed us to push him.  Enter OWS.  Not beholden to Obama, but beholden to progressive ideals, some of which Obama shares.  Now the chatter in DC has changed and progressivism has a chance to make some real progress.  Unless we prefer to hold grudges against Obama for not being Superman and split our votes with some purist candidate allowing Gingrich to win.  

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 10:33:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not being superman (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        averageyoungman

        This is a straw man.

        People do not want Obama to be Superman.

        What diary can you cite where people make unreasonably high demands of Obama?

        Bloomberg has violated the rights of protesters. I will change this signature once he is in jail

        by GideonAB on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:14:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  all the diaries (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kathy S, fayea, Supavash

          saying that he could push single payer through the Senate, for one. That would have required a superman.

          •  Obama could have done (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            averageyoungman, nickrud

            more to push for the public option though

            Bloomberg has violated the rights of protesters. I will change this signature once he is in jail

            by GideonAB on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:25:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's true. What none of us know (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nickrud, Supavash, askew

              is what the result of that harder push would have been.  You apparently think it might have been successful.  I think it could have derailed the whole bill into failure.  We well never know which is closer to being right.  

              I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

              by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:36:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  that is a council of despair (0+ / 0-)

                You can, of course, always look at every decision Obama, Bush and Clinton made and say "well they must have done the best they could".

                However, if you take that approach, there is no incentive for ever punishing the leader at the ballot box.

                I take the Jon Stewart approach which says it is quite valid to criticise.

                I put the onus on Obama to explain his decisions

                Bloomberg has violated the rights of protesters. I will change this signature once he is in jail

                by GideonAB on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:21:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  First of all, I don't believe (0+ / 0-)

                  in punishment as a motivator.  The blame and shame method of trying to control others' behavior is rarely effective.
                  And it wouldn't be Obama who would be punished at the ballot box if folks avoiding voting for him.  It would put Romney or Gingrich in the White House and that would punish me.  
                  I certainly hope Obama will do the best he can.  Nevertheless, I write to him frequently and let his peeps know what I want.  And I give him criticism directly on his website.  A lot.
                  However, I do not think it is a good idea to be overly critical publicly of the only electable alternative to a plutocractically controlled Republican POTUS candidate.  And I only mean "overly" when such drastic criticism pulls the wind out of the sails of progressive voters such that they are so disheartened that they actually let Gingrich in the White House.  
                  It hurt us a lot when Bush got elected.  It hurt us a lot when the Repubs took over the House in 2010.  You can blame the wimpy Dems for not being stalwart enough for you to be enthusiastic about.  Or you could blame yourself for not participating in rallying your fellow citizens to get to the polls and vote against the Repub plutocrats. Obama may be terribly flawed in your estimation but your choices are Obama or Gingrich/Romney.  And they are not the same.  Not even close.  

                  I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

                  by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 02:47:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I agree that he could have pushed harder (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Supavash, fayea

              but it would still have been nothing but kabuki. Nelson and Landrieu (for just two) were never going to vote for it.

          •  What diaries have said this? (0+ / 0-)

            Show us a few.

            •  here's a couple (0+ / 0-)

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              not explicit but implicit.

              I have a tendency to conflate diaries and comments in my head (since I value both equally). Here's a couple comments.

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              •  None of those diaries or comments (0+ / 0-)

                are saying that Obama "could have pushed single-payer through the Senate." They are saying--correctly--that he didn't even try; that he took single-payer off the table before the debate even began. And they are saying that we could have had a public option, or at least a better bill than the one we got, if he hadn't done that. All of this is true.

                I don't think there's anyone here who believes that single-payer was ever in the cards. But by taking our strongest position off the table before the debate even started, Obama and the other Democratic leaders basically guaranteed that we were going to end up with a crappy, industry-friendly bill. This is the problem that I (and many others) have with what happened.

                •  I could say (0+ / 0-)

                  that socializing the means of production is a starting point for negotiating corporate regulation. Single payer had as much a chance of flying.

                  Beginning your negotiation with an unattainable goal is not sane. Single payer was not the strongest starting point. I was a non starter. Period. And starting with that would simply cause the other side to get up and walk away from the table until we came back with something that was even remotely plausible. Which was the public option, even though that wasn't possible due to blue doggie Senators.

                  •  Your comment shows ignorance of negotiation (0+ / 0-)

                    practices. In negotiation, people routinely start out asking for more than they know they can get. It allows you to bargain down to a reasonable position. The Dems could have done this with single-payer, and bargained down to the public option. By starting out with a public option (and a crappy one at that), we got "bargained down" to the Heritage Foundation's bill.

                    •  of course you start with (0+ / 0-)

                      more than you want. But having done a bit of negotiation I know that simply getting up from the table when I know the other side's starting position is simply posturing will get me a better offer. It's an utter waste of time and credibility.

                •  oh, and even though they never mentioned (0+ / 0-)

                  the Senate, those diaries and comments said it should be done, and was possible. The presumption is that somehow Obama could get it through the Senate.

                  Unless they're using the underpants gnome technique.

      •  I can't "handicap" the President WRT his job... (0+ / 0-)

        Performance. Even if what you asserted were the case, the last thing I'm going to judge him based on is some handicap you, and presumably he, would tell us he has no choice but to play with.

        And honestly I respect the fact that you're making your point heard but the monster part of this is genuinely insulting to my intelligence. If  the "illuminati" are pulling his strings, he's just as complicit as he ever was. And risking that I will sound like I'm telling instead of asserting, there's no monster.

        There are pressures to be sure, but the idea that he is actively prevented from swinging the pendulum a strong effective position by people tying his hands isn't something I am willing to accept.

        Slap happy is a platform.

        by averageyoungman on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:30:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think what I am suggesting (0+ / 0-)

          is "handicapping" the POTUS.  What I am trying to do is give a fair assessment of the strength of the enemy (for lack of better word).  Apparently I think the plutocratic elements in this world are stronger than you do.  I wish you were right and that the only problem is that Obama is too wishy-washy.  Unfortunately, the more I pay attention to events in the world (as reflected on the Internet and TV) I am beginning to think I'm not paranoid about the strength of the plutocracy enough.  
          I don't think his hands are tied.  I think that he recognizes what he/we are up against and is doing his best in the face of very wealthy powerful forces.  His best might not be good enough.  
          Certainly he is better than a pres Gingrich.  

          I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

          by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:44:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In which case his duty was to... (0+ / 0-)

        point his finger at it and bring it to light with demands for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate influence in our government.  Once again, a failure to lead.

        Please quite trying to justify his silence.  While I abhor the Republican agenda, I will not sit quit and excuse a failed presidency.

  •  President 1%: "A Wasted, Lost Year" (14+ / 0-)

    Mike Konzcal:

    Lost years for the economy have major consequences. Beyond the human misery that results, they put the entire project of liberal governance at risk. Choices made early by this administration resulted in no advancement on three fronts that could bolster the struggling economy: fiscal policy (increasing the deficit through spending on investment and temporary tax cuts), monetary policy (increasing the money supply to stimulate growth), and dealing with the problems in the housing market.

    Starting in late 2009, the Obama administration started framing our economic crisis as a “dual deficit problem.” In other words, the administration wouldn’t push for a larger short-term deficit—spending more money to stimulate the weak economy, a key tenet of Keynesian economics—without also cutting the long-term deficit. Treasury officials told a reporter at The New Republic that the administration needed to show “some signal to US bondholders that it takes the deficit seriously” and that “spending more money now [on stimulus] could actually raise long-term [government] rates, thereby offsetting its stimulative effect.”

    This was a victory for the network of elites that The Nation’s Ari Berman refers to as the “austerity class.” By buying into the now-conventional wisdom that it was economically unsound to grow short-term deficits without simultaneously decreasing long-term deficits, long-term deficit reduction was turned into a co-equal problem of economic woes. This is like a doctor telling a patient suffering from multiple gunshot wounds that he should have a healthier diet—it might be true, but there’s a much more pressing problem.

    Yes there is a strategy, for the 1%.  Dan Froomkin has more:

    One answer to why Obama underperformed is laid out in searing detail in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ron Suskind's latest book, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.

    In the book, Suskind describes how Obama made the conscious choice to staff his economic team with former Clinton appointees whose sympathies were with Wall Street -- and that those men were unable to see how drastically out of whack the country's financial system had gotten both because they helped create it and because it had served them so well.

    Then, rather than forcefully impose his campaign's populist vision on these men, Obama again consciously chose to defer to them repeatedly -- and tolerated it even when they slow-walked, pushed back against, or simply ignored his instructions.

    •  More from Mike Konzcal (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tarheelblue, makettle, m00finsan, Funkygal

      Live at the Nation:

      It is also a response to Jonathan Chait’s argument that liberals are unreasonable when it comes to Obama and the economy.  The piece covers the range of economic ideas motivating the government this year – from “Win the Future” to the failed Grand Bargains behind the debt-ceiling fight.  A sample:

      …So the administration spent much of 2011 engaging in the wrong analysis of the economy, one that looked like that of the far right. Early in the year the administration brought in new advisors, notably Bill Daley as chief of staff, in order to repair relationships with business in the wake of financial reform. This incorrectly diagnosed the problem as a liberal government beating up on unappreciated job creators, instead of weak income and mass unemployment among workers. In his 2011 State of the Union, Obama argued that we needed to “win the future” by investing in education and bringing “discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.” Recent college graduates are suffering from high unemployment and there’s no real reason to worry about government debt levels, but you wouldn’t understand that from that speech.

      During the debt ceiling showdown this past summer, when the administration was trying to drum up support for long-term deficit reduction, economic advisors like Gene Sperling argued that new confidence in deficit reduction itself would help the economy, ignoring the fact that the markets, with negative real interest rates, were screaming for the government to run a bigger deficit. Meanwhile, President Obama made references to “structural” issues in the labor market, as if the pain of unemployment wasn’t shared broadly across all occupation, industries and types of workers.

      Thus the Democrats spent 2011 – which could have been a crucial year for the recovery – in a futile debate with the Republicans over the budget.

  •  Whenever I get mad at President Obama (15+ / 0-)

    , I remember what my main issue was in the 2008 election.
    Iraq. I wanted that war ended, and that is what he did.

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 07:17:56 AM PST

  •  We could list lots of achievements- (14+ / 0-)

    maybe we should! Ending DADT after so much dithering was a big one for me. It was slower than we wanted, but it got done and now even the head of the Marine Corps (sorry not sure what he is called) said it is working well and he was dead set against it.

    •  @ OhioNatueMom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kkbDIA, OhioNatureMom

      First of all, I HATE the term "dithering" since it was popularized by Dick Cheney, of all people. Secondly, if you think DADT was delayed, (& I don't want to get into a back-and-forth where supporters turn on each other arguing something that they both essentially agree with) but consider the way he gathered support from military personel (I think this boxed-in the John McCains of Congress), and the study in anticipation of those who would disagree on the basis that it would disrupt the armed forces at a time of war, and the methodical way they developed training proceedures for the troops to address any remaining concerns & provide safeguards for those serving openly.  Even though I first questioned why he refrained from using a signing statement, I do think this was a better way - but it takes time.

  •  Enjoyed Your Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matrix, artmartin

    Like to read contending voices here and today DK delivers.

    Pragmatic, academic, and negotiator are all adjectives that describe the president.

    Liberal, decisive, and executive are not.

    Which set of qualities more befit a president is the question.  How capable Obama is of learning the lessons from his mistakes is less in question. Disappointingly, IMO.

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

    by Limelite on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 07:37:37 AM PST

  •  I'm all for "pragmatism..." (8+ / 0-)

    ....if it proves effective in advancing a progressive agenda and electing more progressive politicians. But, if it leads to more professional election losers (people like Mark Penn, for instance) and "compromise" bills that were essentially the Republican wish list from 15 years ago, well, that's not the sort of "pragmatism" we need. I don't need my politicians to be 100% pure, because I understand how politics works. But too much surrender and compromise for the sake of compromise is not pragmatism and it hurts us with both liberals AND independents. Makes us look weak and unprincipled. I'll leave that pragmatism at the door, thank you.

    •  The overton window (0+ / 0-)

      doesn't move in big chunks.

      Sure, the policies that are being advocated by Democrats are ones that would have been supported by Republicans 20 years ago but since it is more liberal than what is 'common perception' today it is a move that opens space for more liberal legislation.

      We're not going to roll back that 20 years and even more in one fell swoop. Push the window left a bit, then do it again. It's not pleasant, it's not satisfying, it's not my heartfelt desire but it's a strategy that I think is necessary to win over the long haul.

    •  to expand a bit (0+ / 0-)

      And finally, for the first time in over a generation, there's an actual movement that's not tied to the Democratic party that both provides a more progressive voice and, by it's very existence, moves that window to the left independently of the party. Sort of like (but not exactly like) the various social movements of the late '20's and early 30's.

  •  Cogent analysis (15+ / 0-)

    I always that the people on the left  who are mad at Obama for not doing more (at least to the point of acting like he's never done anything good and say they will not or might not vote for him) just can't accept the political reality of how this country is right now. I think the Democratic Party has become so useless in communicating a message and representing it's base that it's almost impossible to ask our candidates to stand against the assembled forces of AM talk radio/cable news/Koch Bros. think tanks, etc. This seems especially true of liberals in "blue" areas who didn't see the HUGE rightward shift the second American saw a black man in the White House. It's bad enough that, as we saw with Clinton, in the modern era there is a huge swath of the GOP electorate who will always act like they are ready for revolution whenever a Democrat occupies the White House.

    We need to quit being so focused on the guy at the top of the ticket and start Occupying our precinct delegate seats, county parties, etc. (the way the religious right did and now the Ron Paul/Tea Partiers) We also need to be finding a way to combat the 24/7 lies coming from an army of paid right wing commentators. I'd have hoped that after all this time DailyKos would have more of an impact in the greater discussion but I'm not seeing as much as I'd hoped.

    •  Best post on this entire diary. Thanks Joe Willy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fayea, Halandri, doroma, Supavash

      Your's is truly a cogent analysis.   What bothers me about many liberals are the "one-issue" voters (like the people crying over Bradley Manning or Guantanomo or any single issue as a reason to stay home or vote third party so the Republicans - their sworn enemies - can regain the White House.  It is not logical.  It makes no sense whatsoever.  Forget all the good stuff the POTUS has done.  "He didn't succeed at MY issue, so I won't support him!"

      People deserve to be perpetual agony with that attitude.   No human being will get elected POTUS based on one single issue.  There will be issues to like and some not to like.  You have to look at the body of work and the forces stacked up against the POTUS. That's what a normal, non-fanatic, thinking person does anyway.

    •  the top of the ticket is important (0+ / 0-)

      Obama is the leader of the party.

      If the Senate Democrats are not taking the right action, he should push them.

      Bloomberg has violated the rights of protesters. I will change this signature once he is in jail

      by GideonAB on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:35:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is a means to an end... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tarheelblue, m00finsan

      ...and since the end always seems to be 90% of what Republican'ts wanted, is it not logical to conclude that what Republican'ts want is substantially what the president wants?

      •  No, that's not logical (0+ / 0-)

        That makes assumptions that would need evidence backing before it can be concluded to be logical.

        First, that the president has equal opportunity to get what he wants to republicans that effectively control congress (particularly now) and that have the ability to shut down the senate (true before the midterms), all while having no qualms about killing people with cuts and destroying government to achieve their ends.

        Second, that the president is as good at getting what he wants, and I think a number of people in his cabinet are less capable at helping him get what he wants (i.e. fault him for picking people to support him poorly, not for actually wanting the results they produce). If he's bad at it, then he doesn't necessarily want the outcomes.

        Third, that the 90% of what Republicans wanted figure is really accurate. I don't buy that, I think people are trying to project strength to the republicans (or trying to support their argument that Obama is too conservative).

        This doesn't necessarily mean you're happy with Obama, his execution of a strategy seems to leave much to be desired.

    •  and enacting much of the gop agenda (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m00finsan, Funkygal

      on the economy, the national security state, and foreign interventionism, then getting drubbed in the midterms by a gop that just two years earlier was going the way of the whigs is not pragmatism...

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:44:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The drubbing (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doroma, Supavash, Halandri, askew, Jeff Simpson

        is the right wing noise machine.  That's not changing.  It's too well funded, too well organized, and completely against the president.  Logic doesn't reach certain people and what you have to do is erode their influence, not try and destroy it.  I put up a diary awhile ago talking about people who used to be conservatives and are now DKOS people.  It took a major life change for that to happen.  The President is not going to change that.

        •  um (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m00finsan

          that machine was there in 2008. and its reach is relatively small. 2010 was about the economy, as many of us said it would be. and the problem was that the stimulus was too small, the president never fought for a larger one, and he even tried to sell the one that passed as turning the economy around when it really only prevented things from getting worse, which was far from enough. and then he pivoted to debt and deficits and austerity, when he should have been pushing for a second stimulus. he should have focued on jobs over a year ago. he should have focused on jobs all along.

          48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:00:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You fail to acknowledge that (0+ / 0-)

            they did not know the breadth of the situation back in 2009. They really underestimated things.  Ezra Klein wrote an article that we did not know how bad things were back then and only are realizing it now. Our worse case scenario of what we thought back then is nowhere close to how bad it actually was.

            The stimulus was definitely not enough but you cannot call 800 billion small. It's definitely small in comparison to the actual problem but it was not some paltry attempt. We barely got that passed. He did try and push for a second stimulus when the were started to realize it wasn't enough but to no avail. There was no way another one would pass Congress.

            •  The Right Wing Machine (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Supavash

              went into @#$@#$ing overdrive for 2010.  And one more thing, the Republicans fielded a weak candidate like Sarah Palin, and most people were voting against Bush.  In my view, 2008 was a frigging cakewalk for any Democrat.  Obama had great messaging, got the young vote (who don't vote for republicans) and many of the older, more seasoned voters would vote against Palin.  

              Tell me, did they have buses and robo calls for Tea Party Express buses in 2008?  Did they have Glenn Beck, the websites, the paraphernalia, and the millions upon millions poured into mass marketing?  No, they didn't, and so Obama's message was a tidal wave against a much weaker opponent.  2008 != 2010.  

              •  historical revisionism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Funkygal

                obama took office with soaring approval ratings, a democratic congress, gop approval ratings in the toilet, and the nation ready for transformational change. and then he didn't even try for a larger stimulus, and he compromised health reform before negotiations even began. and i suggest you revisit the right wing noise machine of 2008. it didn't suddenly go silent, then reawaken after obama took office.

                48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

                by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:02:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't say it was silent (0+ / 0-)

                  I said it was ineffectual, highly ineffectual and to many people irrelevant.  The landslide result for obama is proof of that.  I would need more information to see if he could've gotten a larger stimulus or public option, but if you voted Tea Part in 2010, you most certainly were not going to get that from them.  

                  •  most people didn't vote tea party (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Funkygal

                    they voted for something different. you need to take a look at the exit polls, and figure out which voters didn't show up, which switched votes, and why. and i'll give you two clues- liberals turned out and voted for democrats, other demographics didn't. and the economy was the number one issue in the election.

                    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

                    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:11:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If they voted for something different (0+ / 0-)

                      and really wanted a public option/larger stimulus then putting Republicans in by the boatload was not the strategy to accomplish that.  I think most people just wanted to problem solved and didn't see it was getting done; what they thought was the prescription to that problem varies.  

                      •  the electorate is volatile (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Funkygal

                        they elected obama to fix the economy. they didn't want excuses they wanted results. he didn't get results, and they turned. the gop won't get results, and the electorate might turn right back to the dems. had obama fought for a larger stimulus he'd either have won or he'd have made a clear case that the still staggering economy is the gop's fault. he played lousy policy and lousy politics, and we're all paying for it.

                        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

                        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:21:54 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  bunk (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Funkygal

              we knew how bad it was. many of us wrote about it at the time. citing ezra is not the way to make a credible case. plenty of us knew. the same economists who had predicted the meltdown in the first place were writing that the stimulus was too small, and then they warned that obama's pivot to deficits would be economic and political disasters. we knew, even if the white house and beltway analysts didn't.

              48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:56:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  At the same time (0+ / 0-)

                there were plenty of people blaming it on different things already.  Many of the same economists that "foresaw" the crash were the ones perpetuating the "Fannie and Freddie" disaster, and they're libertarians who align themselves with the Repubs.  There were also some leftist ones who wanted to nationalize the banks.  I think we get on Obama too much for using Bank of America, Goldman Sachs alumni because I think in some ways you have to work with them.  They have information you don't.  

                I'd be surprised if many people in the Obama constituency in 2008 had any idea of the severity of the depression or really understood it to the finest detail.  I know I didn't and other people I knew didn't.  We just knew there was something wrong and someone should fix it.  

                •  try again (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Funkygal

                  krugman, stiglitz, and roubini all said the stimulus was too small. so did many of us bloggers. that you didn't know it is exactly the point. obama pushed for an inadequate stimulus, people like you thought he was doing enough, many of us said he wasn't and were criticized for it, we were proved right, the election turned out exactly as we predicted, and yet people like you continue to think obama did all he could have.

                  48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:17:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  no, you try again (0+ / 0-)

                    You don't vote republican if you want bigger stimulus, if you truly think that is the solution to the problem.  The voters were just looking at results, not the true cause of those results, and went Republican.  In many cases I don't think they went too deep into what they'd be getting.  Scott Walker and Snyder are excellent examples (How anyone can win in a state when he answers "no comment" to questions is beyond me).  I heard the argument stimulus wasn't big enough plenty of times and many other people did.  So what?  There was no one offering that, so that wasn't the impetus for people voting.  

                    •  you're contradicting yourself (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Funkygal

                      yes, they want results. no, they don't look too closely at policy details. they had no clue about the necessary size of the stimulus. but smart economists did. had obama listened to them, the results would have been what the voters wanted- a genuine economic recovery.

                      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

                      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:24:44 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No because (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't think he would've got a larger stimulus. The tea party was brewing from when he got elected, so I think the 2010 midterms result would've been the same regardless if he pushed hard enough for a larger stimulus.

                        •  oh yes (0+ / 0-)

                          let's not even bother trying, and then say we couldn't have done it anyway. how inspiring.

                          as for the politics, to have tried and failed would have put the blame squarely on the gop. rather than cheerleading something that people knew from their own lives wasn't working, he could have used the economy as a political weapon against the gop rather than suffering politically from it.

                          48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

                          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 12:41:44 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

  •  Great Mature Diary. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sarea, isabelle hayes, doroma, fou, Halandri

      What's up. What's down. What's all? Around.

  •  I like this... (8+ / 0-)

    I have said before that Obama will be looked on quite favorably by history... but mostly people here just laugh at that notion.  Oh well.

    Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 08:42:15 AM PST

  •  No hatred from me. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sarea, doroma, We Won, bewareofme, askew

    Tipped and rec'd.

    "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

    by smoothnmellow on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 08:49:17 AM PST

  •  Shotgun blasts of talking points doesn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NyteByrd1954

    make a good starting point for a mature, rational discussion of the issues.

    That's the crux of the problem with your diary: it's basically a verbose version of that giant "what the fuck has obama done" list that's been floating around. To me it reads like you're trying to set up a scenario whereby you can hop from one issue to another ("yeah, you say this about X, but what about Y"). It also reads like somebody not very sincerely looking for a discussion because, as you know, the effort you put into your shotgun blasting of points in this diary cannot be reasonably expected to be duplicated in a counter-argument in comments. On the other hand, counterpoint diaries aren't unreasonable to expect. In fact, just about every item you bring up in your diary has also been addressed in other diaries, counter and pro, so it further reads, to me, like simply another diary on the pile, so to speak.

  •  The problem with the "long term" focus (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, ruscle, NyteByrd1954

    is that there is some short term business that needs tending to, also.

  •  he broke the democratic congress. He refused (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NyteByrd1954, Keone Michaels

    to recognize the need for "playing well with others" to wit your own people before he started playing with the 1%.  It's not a question of little pieces of policy he got enacted. OK, I'll give you that.  But he turned on the left, on us.  You can't do anything without a gang.  It was pure arrogance.
    No.  It's not that he wasn't a liberal.  It's that he never understood what a president has to do.  

    WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

    by ruthhmiller on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:04:59 AM PST

  •  I recall (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keone Michaels

    Bushies saying that George Bush would be admired for his forward-thinking plans After he was out of office.  

    I think they are still waiting for that recognition.

  •  i hate this mindset (4+ / 0-)

    if you kid is getting bullied in school ,do you simply tell him to give the lunch money over since that is simply the pragmatic thing to do?

    Yes, we all have to rationalize so we dont go insane, but the key to this is to UNDERSTAND you are rationalizing and why you do it.  It doesnt mean rationalization is a good thing.

    WHat we are witnessing is Stockholm syndrome on a national level.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:21:42 AM PST

    •  there are times when giving the (5+ / 0-)

      lunch money over is the wisest course - times when if you don't you'll get so pommeled you won't be eating lunch for a month.  However, even in that situation, you don't let it end there.  You regroup, find some buddies who will stand with you (that's been particularly hard for Obama with the DINO's like Ben Nelson) and next time you face the bullies, you are better prepared.  
      The gang of bullies is not just the Repubs in Congress.  It includes the Kochs, Rush, Rupert Murdoch, Rove, armies of lobbyists working for Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Agriculture, Big etc.  

      When evaluating Obama's performance, please give fair recognition to the size and strength of the opposing force.  

      What gives me hope re Obama is his attitude of not quitting.  Slow and steady.  Long term strategic planning.  Let the enemy's own strength and bravado make it land on its ass.  With the enemy we are facing, direct force is a doomed strategy.  Watch some kung fu.  That's how it is done.

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 10:52:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A few holdouts (0+ / 0-)

    A few holdouts who still believe in "Obama's eleventy dimensional chess game".  

    Dedicated to the GOP debates: When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Hunter Thompson

    by NyteByrd1954 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:37:52 AM PST

  •  Thank you for this well thought out diary. (12+ / 0-)

    Yesterday, I was having a discussion with a Democrat who is very angry that "Obama just doesn't FIGHT.  I'm tired of him just standing on the sidelines while Congress does nothing.  He needs to get in there and MAKE them do what he wants!  If this keeps up, I won't be voting for him in 2012."  I proceeded to quote the president's message yesterday, clearly blaming Republicans for standing in the way of the payroll tax cut and exhorting Americans to go to the White House website to calculate how much their TAXES WILL GO UP if Republicans have their way and to CALL CONGRESS to make them do what WE want.  That made my friend happy, although he'd heard nothing about this on the "news."  I also pointed out that if the president went to Congress during the Super Congress negotiations, demanding ANYTHING and all the Rethugs did was raise their middle fingers at him, which they do all the time, the story would be "president FAILS" and "weak, ineffectual president slinks away from Congress" and nothing would get done anyway.  So it would have just been humiliation combined with loss - what's the point of that?

    Nope.  For me, this president is giving the opposition plenty of heavy duty rope to hang 'em high come November 2012.  I.  Can't.  Wait.

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:47:57 AM PST

  •  Please correct you article: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Amber6541

    It was not the health care "providers" who are mandated to use 85% of insurance premiums taken in for health care.  It is the health care "insurers".

    "Providers" are doctors, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, etc.  These people are not under any 85% constraint, nor do they accept insurance premiums.

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 09:54:04 AM PST

  •  No flame; just no recommend! (0+ / 0-)

    Apologies for Obama are so 2009.  

  •  Thank you! nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Dvalkure

    You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. Anne Lamott

    by zooecium on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 10:32:09 AM PST

  •  I remember during the health care fight I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, Amber6541

    tried to get groups together to go to DC. Didn't work, was told it wasn't practical, it would cost too much, etc.  We got the health care bill we 'worked' for. If OWS had started then, we'd have medicare for all.

    I am thankful OWS exists but I am also thankful Obama exists at this time.

    I am probably way more liberal than you, but that's OK. President Obama actually has succeeded more than what folks give him credit for. We must work to reelect him because the alternative is unthinkable.

    If folk don't think health care, medicare, social security, etc. won't disappear under Romney or whatever the flavor of the month is, then they just aren't paying attention.

  •  this diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, Kathy S, Amber6541, kkbDIA

    resonates for me.

    when you look at obama's foreign policy -- especially compared to the previous president's dung-booted adventurism -- it's pragmatically competent. i don't like being involved in afghanistan, but what alternatives were available? there are no good options. when they are available, we will take them.

    appointing hilary as state was a master stroke. here's our 1a candidate... i would have voted for her without question if she would have been nominated. so use her competence to get work done in a vital area.

    and for independents, gingrich is not the perfect candidate. who knows what he'll do or say in the next 6 months? he'll rally the conservatives, without doubt. but the moderates in suburban bucks county will contrast his peccadilloes with obama's wholesomeness.

    i hope, anyway.

  •  The health care law likely would have passed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    with or without Obama. All of the elements you described were devised before he was elected and the bill would have been much the same under a Hillary Clinton administration.

    That's not to say he didn't play some role in shaping the final bill and getting it passed. But let's not fall into the trap of giving Obama total credit or blame for the bill itself.

  •  If Obama has a 2nd term we will see. We'll see. (0+ / 0-)

    Indeed, the proof of his long term planning will bear out when the pudding gets cooked.  I admire your admiration for the man, but don't share your opinion.

    Civil rights, footsie games with Little Timmy and his ilk aside, we will see.  I hope you are right.  My opinion is that he is just "too cool for school!"  

    We'll see.

  •  Diary is logical and very well written! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    Thank you for both!

    Strategy has been panned @ DK, but it is precisely what will endure in '12.

    Keep writing, please. Your style is awesome!

  •  Good diary. eom (0+ / 0-)

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. -FDR

    by SoCalSal on Sun Dec 04, 2011 at 11:56:27 AM PST

Joe Willy, fcvaguy, dragonlady, hester, lowkell, samizdat, mwm341, askew, daninoah, Jeff Simpson, dengre, TX Unmuzzled, frisco, exNYinTX, Kevvboy, oceanview, interguru, Iberian, Cedwyn, Janeo, Quege, lexnliv, Lawrence, flatford39, BlogDog, Sembtex, Curt Matlock, tomjones, Sybil Liberty, sebastianguy99, Limelite, Gowrie Gal, v2aggie2, Sam I Am, caliberal2001, Beetwasher, Little Lulu, Mid10Dem, Steve in Urbana, Isara, kkjohnson, kathny, debedb, MeMeMeMeMe, raptavio, Dvalkure, fou, wild hair, plf515, antboy, kkbDIA, Ian Reifowitz, Nulwee, dotsright, leftyguitarist, joedemocrat, OIL GUY, Beomoose, Sarea, GideonAB, Argyrios, Therapy, pamelabrown, envwq, noddem, Kathy S, qm1pooh, toom, lissablack, fayea, maggiejean, artmartin, litoralis, eltee, pvlb, kat68, petral, elziax, TobyRocksSoHard, MKSinSA, metro50, Lefty Ladig, hatecloudsyourthoughts, smileycreek, TFinSF, gramofsam1, stunzeed, cazcee, BoxNDox, Yasuragi, ladasue, jim283, ericlewis0, USHomeopath, Oh Mary Oh, mallyroyal, upaithric, Onomastic, zooecium, RedlandsDem, iowacaucus, THirt, itzik shpitzik, OhioNatureMom, stonedoubt, princesspat, boophus, Haf2Read, BarackStarObama, smoothnmellow, SueM1121, floridablue, worldlotus, mimi2three, TRPChicago, SoCalSal, rscopes, truthhurtsaz, AnnetteK, brown and blue all over, RhodaA, isabelle hayes, We Won, SidKr, IdeaTipper, Halandri, jan4insight, readerwriter, hardart, bewareofme, doroma, cuphalffull, arizonablue, Adam AZ, Captain Chaos, onceasgt, Dancun74, Illinois IRV, Setsuna Mudo, mic check oakland, SanFernandoValleyMom

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