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I've been getting plenty of physical exercise lately, so I'd like to do the mental equivalent and do some heavy lifting for the benefit of the community.  So, I'm going to set aside my own reactions, and instead analyze and correct various fallacies among a minority of progressives by rationally tracing where they come from, how they develop, and what crucial logical and perceptual missteps cause them.  Of course, some of these missteps aren't accidental - some people even on our side of the spectrum simply choose to believe things they know to be false because it somehow enhances their ego to always be exporting responsibility away from themselves, but this is not about that.  I will focus exclusively on the process of faulty reasoning and application of insufficient knowledge.

1.  Sweeping statements about Democrats.

There are about 100 million Americans who support the Democratic Party (via Democrats.com), and their reasons for doing so are as diverse as they are, but we can say that most of them have little difficulty distinguishing between that party and the surreal crime syndicate / hate group that styles itself the Republican Party.  Constituencies who have very little trouble making the distinction, on the whole:

  • African Americans.
  • Latinos.
  • Jews.
  • Immigrants.
  • Children of immigrants.
  • Feminists.
  • Hourly workers.
  • Renters.
  • Mixed-race.
  • Scientists.
  • Secular / non-religious.
  • Teachers.
  • LGBT.
  • Journalists.
  • Environmentalists.
  • Diplomats.
  • Philanthropists.
  • Poor people.
  • The disabled.
  • Nurses.
  • Other hospital staff.

I'm probably missing a bunch of them, and there are a lot more who merely lean Democratic (e.g., women) although without showing a strong majority.  Meanwhile, let's examine the GOP's reliable constituencies:

  • Corporate executives.
  • Neo-Confederates / racists.
  • Christian fanatics.
  • Gun nuts.
  • Anyone in love with their own reflection but afraid of their own shadow.

What they lack in mass-appeal, reason, or decency, they make up for with money and hate.  However, most of these people see a pretty significant difference between the Republican and Democratic parties too.  The grasping, Gollum-like creatures who inhabit corporate boards, for instance, see a distinctly more profitable (and less legally accountable) outcome to Republican leadership than to the Democratic version.  Likewise, Southern race-nationalist whites definitely prefer to be represented by a party overwhelmingly consisting of people who look like them, and who pander to parochial regional sensibilities over national unity.  

Christian fundamentalists seem to have no difficulty telling apart an organization that stands for religious universalism from one that is increasingly narrow, ignorant, and violent.  People who who spend as much time stroking their firearms as their genitalia have no trouble knowing the difference between an arm of the NRA and one that stands for reasonable gun control.  And just generally speaking, folks who are totally clueless about and terrified of the Other don't seem to have any trouble knowing that the GOP is their home, and the Democratic Party is The Enemy.  At the same time, as noted above, we have all these vilified, demonized minorities and progressive servants of humanity who know with clarity that the Democratic Party stands with them.  

Furthermore, we have about a hundred million average citizens belonging to any number of overlapping groups who recognize as much about this Party, and are not confused about the difference between reason and madness, love and hate, inclusion and exclusion, intelligence and ignorance, benevolence and greed, fairness and criminality, the empathetic and the despicable, etc. etc.  As finely as you want to draw the lines between moral binaries, you find that the Dark Side is always overwhelmingly in Republican territory, and the moral / desirable / rational / beneficial is at least largely championed by Democrats.  

The morality of it isn't the least bit ambiguous unless the guiding factor is the purity of a disembodied ideal rather than the reality of a human circumstance - and people for whom that is the case are not actually progressive, because an ideologue is not progressive: Fantasies don't improve other people's lives, they exist solely for the gratification of the ones imagining them.  That, ultimately, is what separates the Democratic Party from its main ideological auxiliary, the Green Party - there are no elevators in politics: You either take the first step, or you'll always be standing on the ground floor belittling everyone walking up the stairs as "incrementalists" and "sellouts."  

The values are the same, but the differences lies in who is willing to do the work to put them in practice vs. who merely likes to bask in moral superiority.  For anyone who values their self-image over their actual utility to humanity, there is nothing much worth saying - they will take credit for the hard work and accomplishments of others who blazed the trails toward objectives they merely advocated in words, and will assign the blame for failures to those same others.  So I address this to everyone else - the people who actually intend to see a better world, and not just use the verbal articulation of one as an ornament to their egos.

Now, no one will pretend there are no moral imperatives the Party leadership won't touch - just as most individuals understand that some topics, however important, can only be usefully addressed in forums specific to them.  Disrupting a charity fundraiser for Parkinson's by ranting on about Tibet or torture wouldn't be productive - most of us with a modicum of mental health could agree on that.  Although you have the right audience (humanitarians), and the right overall purpose (focus on progress), the specific task is a higher priority than those issues - i.e., addressing Parkinson's is a much greater humanitarian imperative than liberating Tibet or ending torture.  Now imagine you're in a forum where all important issues are to be aired - you would have to prioritize them, and assign time accordingly.

This is how an elected representative body works - only the priorities involved are not based on morals, but on public opinion and public passion.  In other words, even if something is a high moral priority, it may be a low priority in public opinion; and even if it is considered a high priority in public opinion, it may be a low priority in current public passion (i.e., what has people abuzz at any given moment).  However important it is in absolute moral terms to liberate Tibet and end torture worldwide, there are quite a few much higher moral priorities - just for example, reducing nuclear weapons, getting climate change under control, eradicating malaria, ensuring access to contraception and related education, etc. etc.  In terms of public opinion, Tibet and torture are even lower priorities than they are in moral terms, and are even lower than that in terms of public passion.  So don't expect much to be done or even said about them in an elected body - especially one where single-minded business interests are disproportionately powerful, none of which care at all about either issue.

There are solutions on the horizon to the Priority Problem of a representative body - namely, directly democratic General Assemblies with manageable numbers of participants that can work in concert with elected bodies to offer oversight, guidance, and balance.  I've diaried about this possibility, and will continue to do so in the future, but I only mention it now in passing.  But the lesson should be easy enough to understand:

1.  Just because you care intensely about something does not make it a moral imperative.
2.  Just because something is a moral imperative does not make it a high priority in public opinion.
3.  Just because something is a high priority in public opinion does not make it a central focus of public passion.
4.  Even if something is a central focus of public passion, that energy must be sustained and translate into electoral results before it will have a major impact on government policy in a representative republic.

The Democratic Party is not here to read your mind; it is not your mood ring; it will not kiss your booboos; and notwithstanding a shared set of humanistic/democratic/progressive values among its members and leadership, it cannot realistically ignore the priorities of public passion or pretend that public opinion (the mere abstract agreement with a principle) is equivalent to that.  This is especially true when every inch of progress has to fight a torrent of downhill forces from lobbying money that is either hostile or indifferent to the betterment of mankind.  Petitioning your Democratic leaders for a stronger focus on issues you feel have been neglected would be useful - it provides them with information about public opinion and passion, and makes their prioritizing more accurate.  The same would be true of constructively protesting on behalf of those issues, although by "constructive" I include civil disobedience.  

What is not helpful is accusing leaders of "ignoring" the issues or even somehow being "against" them for not making a point of addressing them.  It's painfully embarrassing listening to sanctimonious rants by someone insisting that Democrats don't care about fill-in-the-blank because it's been a whole six months since anyone in office has made a statement about it - six months likely occupied with bitter fights trying to get people basic healthcare and job protection in the face of a Republican Congress we allowed to take power.  It's embarrassing because it shows either a juvenile ignorance about what the job of being an elected representative actually involves, or else a malignant deliberate ignorance of same.

Before a bill comes to the floor, it has to pass a committee, and likely several committees and sub-committees.  And before it even comes before a committee or sub-committee, it has to pass a number of procedural hurdles largely controlled by two people - the Chair (of the majority party) and the Ranking Member (of the minority party), with the majority of power in the hands of the former.  The first hurdle is that the Chair has to agree to even let the matter be discussed by the committee - otherwise they can simply just not put on the schedule, and it doesn't happen.  The Chair, as you might imagine, is usually an old hand in politics who has been elected and reelected multiple times, and buddy-buddy with the lobbyists and insiders who make most of the plays on a daily basis.  Ergo, it's very hard to get progressive legislation even scheduled for a discussion, let alone a vote, in a committee.

Why?  Because (a) it's hard for leaders who don't Play Ball to get on to important committees in the first place; (b) it's hard for them to get reelected enough to end up with seniority in a committee; (c) it's hard for them, even with seniority, to have cultivated enough support with the Caucus to be chosen by the Majority/Minority leader to hold the Chairmanship or Ranking Membership on the committee; and (d) even with such authority, they still need to maintain their relationships with other committees and the wider body to get their highest-priority legislation passed through the body as a whole.

Are there rule changes that could enable this process to run better?  Of course.  But they're not going to happen because, once again, public opinion and public passion - the public doesn't know much about the inner workings of these bodies, and what's more, doesn't care.  That means there is no impetus to change: Any specific proposal would be too obscure to generate public support, too wrapped up in the hidden inner workings of politics to generate public passion, and would draw intense opposition from the lobbyists and insiders who benefit from the status quo.  And the Democratic Party can't just magically bootstrap itself into a position to change that against the net result of all the political forces (and lack of political forces) responsible for the situation.

But let's say by some trick of fate, the Republican Chairman of a sub-committee allowed a progressive bill to be debated; let's go further and pretend they allowed a vote to occur; and, by pure magic, the bill somehow passes the sub-committee.  Now the whole ordeal can repeat itself on a larger scale by needing the approval of the full committee's Chair to be debated and voted on, then the approval of the Majority leadership of the body to come to the floor of the whole Congress or Senate for debate and then schedule a vote.  And this isn't even remotely a full accounting of all the roadblocks that can be thrown up - many bills need approval from budget committees, ways and means committees, etc. etc. to even be voted on, let alone passed as legislation.

But even in the face of all these institutional hurdles, even in the face of a Republican Majority that we allowed to take hold, Democrats are still somehow making occasional progress, whenever and wherever the law provides the opportunity.  We elect these people - people, dammit, not magical storybook characters - to do what they can for us, and generally speaking that is what they do.  That is what we would do in their place, and very few of us would likely achieve even a fraction of what they do, though I'm sure some of us would do a lot more screaming and foot-stamping when reality smacked us in the face.  Most of us would merely learn through hard, embarrassing trial-and-error of the pitfalls and obstacles that elected politicians know to avoid as a matter of professional competence, and even then be thrown out at the very next election because we proved incapable of cultivating the level of public support needed in a democracy.

It's perfectly logical not to trust elected leaders to look out for your interests to the same extent you would - after all, that's not their job.  That's your job.  Their job is to make decisions as a representative, to lead on behalf of the public in general, and to safeguard what works and seek new ways when the old ones stop working.  Your issues may fall into the cracks of The Process even if it were optimal, and that is one of the unavoidable hazards of living in a republic with a large population.  But there is a reason the Democratic Party is identified as the Party of the People, and it's not as the "lesser of two evils" or as a mere straw man rejection of the GOP - it's because regardless of how shitty the inherited conditions are, we are willing to try.  

We volunteer to clean up messes, knowing we didn't create them and that we'll be blamed for whatever mess remains even if what we leave behind is better than what we received.  However slowly, and however messily it appears from the outside, we're willing to blaze trails through hellish thickets of special interest and entrenched power, so long as we end up just one iota further ahead than when we started.  Democrats are the good guys, period.  Our party puts in the time for this country - it's not here to deliver stone tablets from the mountain to the heathens, and then just stand around waiting for other people to implement our ideas.  We do the work, we build the bridges, we find the ways.  Other than the experiments in direct democracy practiced by the Occupy movement - whose evolution I hinted at above - everything else is just empty talk and backseat driving.  Within a framework of representative governance, the Democratic Party is the People's vehicle.

II.  Democrats and Republicans are the same.

This is the mother of all political fallacies, built on absolutely nothing and amounting practically to one Big Lie.  Its sole purpose is to rationalize cynicism by default, lack of participation among the unaligned, and complete ignorance of the past, present, and future of American politics.  It is a statement so sweeping in obliviousness, and so dismissive of the lives, efforts, and values of millions of people, that it's intellectually and morally on the same footing as "Jews are greedy" and "black people are lazy."  Even at the very highest levels of government, seeing things this way requires being cross-eyed, short-sighted, and hanging upside-down.

Given the arguments already made, as well as the vast differences going all the way back to the origins of the current ideological split, even placing the two parties in the same moral ballpark - let alone equating them - is basically saying that black is white, up is down, and nothing exists because everything is just a subjective illusion.  Basically, there is a level of insanity and moral obtuseness that I find difficult to forgive let alone understand, and I have never once seen such a position actually serve progressive politics or improve the lot of mankind.  Instead, people on the left making such claims in any numbers always seem to presage a surge in right-wing power and the self-inflicted collapse of any institutional hedge against it.  

I've never read of a single job created, poverty leavened, environment protected, rights defended, or liberty expanded by undermining the Democratic Party or blurring the perceived lines between it and the GOP.  Frankly, it's always been the opposite: The more starkly the perceived difference, the more support the Party has, the more progress is made.  This country made more progress in two years of a Blue Dog Congress resisting a liberal Democratic President's agenda than it had made in eight years of largely Republican domination, and yet some people remain convinced it was a total waste of time - and that just has me shaking my head in disbelief.  I just don't know what these people are thinking, that they actually seem happier with the GOP in control of Congress after 2010 - I guess they just feel more comfortable when reality matches their cynicism than when they feel challenged.

III.  President Obama

I have no reservations in saying that Barack Obama is the best President of my lifetime.  I'm 28, so that's not an especially sweeping statement - at most I can say he's better than Clinton, Bush Sr., or Reagan, and obviously better than the vile, sub-human dictator Bush Jr.  However, based entirely on historical retrospect, I feel comfortable also saying that he's a better President than Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy, and at least comparable to Ike, Truman, and FDR.  I have a hard time imagining any of those three doing a better job if they were confronted by a Republican Party this psychotic, criminal, and supported by a bottomless international well of corporate funding and hostile foreign regimes.  

Even they, in their day, were ridiculed by the same type of paranoid, misanthropic characters on the left who belittled every progressive move they made as some kind of phony token, and they took plenty of actions that were legitimately reprehensible - albeit logical in context.  The surveillance apparatus employed by the Roosevelt administration during the War was as petty as it was comprehensive, and history tells us he wasn't above abusing it to spy on political opponents - armies of homefront volunteers, mostly women, were employed reading every piece of mail, listening to every phone call, busybodying around their communities looking for "suspicious activity" to report, etc.  Speech could be, and was, legally punished.  He made no attempt to integrate the armed forces, let alone the rest of the country.  And there was the slight matter of interning Japanese-Americans, which even FDR's liberal-stacked Supreme Court refused to block.  

But most of us still look up to FDR, because in most cases, he made the right decisions for the country he inherited - he didn't pretend things were other than they were, even while doing everything he could to bring them closer to the state America wanted to become and believed it could be.  We owe quite a lot to him for that.  And the same could be said of his successor, although for different reasons.  Truman made plenty of decisions that have proven troublesome, or less clear-cut than they may have seemed at the time - dropping the atomic bomb would be one, although I still see no way around the argument that far more people on both sides would have died without it.  I've seen documentaries of the plans for the invasion of Honshu, and the projected numbers were a lot more horrifying than occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

But he made a lot of right calls at great political cost to himself: Defending South Korea when the North invaded was the right decision - it was an utterly clear-cut battle between two conventional armies, unlike the later issue in Vietnam that was more of a civil war.  The public knew nothing about Korea, had no particular opinion about it, and certainly lacked the passion to put their sons on the line for it, but it was still right to defend it, and right to use the UN in doing so - the first-ever United Nations intervention against aggression.  

Firing MacArthur was also the right decision, despite his enormous popularity, because he had begun to act like Caesar in the Korean peninsula and make arbitrary, dangerous geopolitical decisions with respect to China without consulting Washington.  Adopting the Marshall Plan for Europe was the most far-sighted post-war plan in history, as it turned the parts of ravaged Europe under US and British control into a thriving, prosperous region just a few short years after the end of the war, while the Soviet side remained an impoverished post-apocalyptic wasteland.  This set the stage for the moral triumph of the West over totalitarian Communism.  Next, vetoing the Taft-Hartley Act was the right decision, even though the veto was ultimately overridden, because it eviscerated collective-bargaining.  And, of course, ordering the racial integration of the Armed Forces was one of the boldest and rightest steps Truman took as President - a step that society in general had not yet reached consensus about, and occurred well before Brown v. Board of Education.

Ike has more to answer for in the negative column - he was, after all, a direct conspirator in the overthrow of the democratic Iranian government, set the stage for the Vietnam War by supporting Diem's boycott of previously agreed upon elections that would have favored Ho Chi Minh, and either authorized or turned a blind eye to most of the CIA's undemocratic actions in the 1950s as well as domestic McCarthyism.  But all of these decisions, however bloody-minded, actually made sense in the context of the Cold War as it was then understood - the Soviet Union at the time was not an equal, it vastly exceeded the West in military power and industrial capacity.  Eisenhower had just helped lead his country on the battlefield through the most trying epoch since the Civil War, defeating two empires the likes of which had never been seen, and yet here we were confronted by a third empire that dwarfed both of them put together and only seemed to be getting more powerful with time.  Here we were, confronted by weapons that could obliterate all life on Earth, in the hands of people who seemed to have no respect for life.  

To a military mind like Dwight Eisenhower's, Iran = checkmate on the geopolitical map - direct access to and control of Asia Minor and the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and so on.  It wasn't "domino theory," but simple geography.  Perhaps he was deluded by the CIA about the nature of the democracy in Iran - they may have (with some small amount of justice) characterized the government as more of a faction than a popular leadership, and portrayed its socialist-leanings in the starkest possible frames as some kind of insidious Soviet tentacle rather than a normal leftward tide in domestic politics.  There may even have been kernels of truth to the claim, as there often are in the most dangerous lies.  Nonetheless, whether the decision was right or wrong for the time, we're still cleaning up the shit from it today in the form of the theocracy that replaced the CIA-backed monarchy.

Still, Ike was a great President - he made decisions that made sense in context, and were usually far-sighted.  He ended the Korean War without conceding the South, made the first uses of the National Guard to enforce Supreme Court orders with respect to desegregation (although he personally opposed it - which just shows he was a principled President who enforced the law), instituted NASA, created the Interstate Highway system, and presided as a statesman rather than a politician during a period of tremendous global change and danger.  

I consider him an honorary Democrat, because he most certainly would not today be a part of the pack of thugs, criminals, and raving lunatics who now comprise the Republican Party, regardless of his conservative leanings.  The funny thing is, he was a Christian fundamentalist - but was so decent a person and reasonable a leader, that you would never have known it listening to his speeches or reading about his decisions.  That's when it was possible to be both an American and a conservative - I'm sorry to say today's conservatives are no longer capable of patriotism.

John F. Kennedy, meanwhile, is often lionized because of his youthful contemporary persona and subsequent martyrdom, but the truth of his Presidency was nowhere near as progressive as his ongoing reputation.  The fact is, he was something of a warmonger - he first became competitive with Nixon in large measure by attacking him from the right, playing up the Soviet threat and claiming that there were various types of armament "gaps" (e.g., bomber gap, missile gap, etc.) that the incumbant party had allowed to take hold.  He won in a razor-thin election made possible only with the support of Mafia-affiliated groups, in a process we would consider crooked - although largely by virtue of votes being bought rather than defrauded or thrown away.  He was totally at a loss with how to handle government bureaucracies, and appointed his brother Attorney General - a move that, regardless of RFK's personal qualities, looks very bad - because he didn't feel like he could trust anyone else.  And meanwhile, he filled the Pentagon and foreign policy apparatus with bloodless, Eichmann-like technocrats who would architect the eventual Vietnam War.

On the domestic front, his brother launched McCarthyist crusades to purge media, labor, and academia of leftist political influences;  J. Edgar Hoover continued to have free reign to spy on and slander these segments of society as well as Civil Rights activists; he seemingly had no control over, or else was complicit, in the shenanigans of the CIA throughout the world; and he instituted the first in an ongoing half-century landslide of upper-income tax cuts.  On the positive side, he neither capitulated nor allowed the world to blow up in the Cuban Missile Crisis (although the resolution of the crisis resulted from a "back room deal," as so many left-wing conspiracy theorists love to condemn), committed the nation to landing on the Moon (although documents indicate he would have backed away from the pledge if he'd lived), and solidly committed the federal government to enforcing desegregation - one of his few totally independent and unblemished actions as President.

So I'll tell you why Barack Obama is a better President than John F. Kennedy - because, unlike Kennedy, we're not seeing double-digit cuts in upper-income taxes; he isn't conducting a military buildup; he is an effective administrator of the federal agencies; he hasn't attempted to appoint close family members to high office; he hasn't demagogued the threat from any other country and, in fact, has been quite successful at empowering global diplomacy; tens of millions of people now have healthcare who did not when he took office; he won election in a free and fair landslide; his foreign policies are based on reality, not any kind of "theory" pioneered by economists who view warfare as just another business; we have two more women on the Supreme Court; he opened the military to gays and lesbians; tens of billions of dollars have already been invested in new technology and economic growth; started the ARPA-E program to put America's best minds to work on energy technology; put a Nobel Prize-winning physicist in charge of the Energy Department; fired Gen. McChrystal for insubordination; has winked at allowing the Occupy movement to conduct its affairs on federal land; and has proven himself more than the equal of the entire Republican Congress, even though we rank and file Democrats so often fail to have his back.

That's off the top of my head.  I won't even bother being comprehensive, because frankly it's been done so many times that it shouldn't have to be done again - rational adults don't need a daily reminder that the things they were congratulating yesterday are still worthy of congratulation today.  Diaries have been posted that run on, and on, and on about the accomplishments of this administration to such a degree that it's almost boring listening to all the great things they've done - and I have to imagine that boredom with success is perhaps one of the reasons why some people are so resistant to giving due credit.  It's so much easier and more fun to pretend reality is just the sum total of the holes in our gratification - all the things we wish we had that we don't, all the things we expected that didn't come to fruition, and so on.  The problem with being a negative person is that ultimately that's all you are - you serve nobody and nothing being like that, and there has certainly never been an instance in history where disappointment, cynicism, and personal demonization of "establishment" leaders has brought about positive developments.  

We adore Gandhi, and we forget the names of all the militant firebrands who thought him a collaborationist for not wielding a gun.  We lionize Martin Luther King Jr., while we study Malcolm X more for his personality and the drama of his individual experiences than anything he accomplished.  Does anyone know or care the names of principled left-wing activists who were jailed for expressing dissent under FDR?  You've heard of Howard Zinn's explorations of social injustice, but how many people can you name whose lives were tangibly improved by his work vs. the "compromised" work of political leaders who muck around day in and day out in the sausage-making of a democratic process?  Since his crusade against the Corvair in the '60s, I don't know of a single person whose life is better because of Ralph Nader other than Ralph Nader.  The same goes for Dennis Kucinich, or any other morally spotless darling of the left with nary a passed bill to his name.

What would FDR, Truman, Ike, or Kennedy have done with this Republican Party in this climate of ultra-corruption and corporate power?  In fact, would they not be doing pretty much what President Obama is doing, if not being far more timid?  These Presidents had Democratic Congresses that bent over backwards to push a progressive agenda, and Republican Congresses that bent over backwards to pretend they wanted to pass a progressive agenda.  Now, being honest, what do you think President Obama would accomplish with one of FDR's Congresses - any of them?  Give him the most conservative Congress FDR, Truman, Ike, or Kennedy ever had to face, and do you doubt that we would have a return to rational tax policies, a rigorous social safety net, real education, and universal health care?  But see, that isn't the Congress we have given him - it wasn't the Congress we gave him 2008, and it certainly isn't the Congress we gave him in 2010.  The fact is, no matter how strong your laborer, if you give them shitty tools, the job will be less satisfactory and take longer than you want.    

But for some reason, every once in a while someone will post a quote from one of these earlier Presidents as a rationalization for saying Obama doesn't measure up.   Basically, they cut and paste words from the past in place of facts, and then dismiss equally fiery, populistic speeches from Obama as "mere rhetoric" or phony attempts to satisfy the base - and I think they have a serious problem understanding that the past is not a fundamentally different universe from the present.  Reality is reality, then and now, even though circumstances change.  You could not pass the New Deal through this Congress whether it presided in 1932 or 2932, no matter who is President, and you would get considerable social programs through a progressive Congress even if you had a (now largely mythical) moderate Republican in the White House.  That doesn't mean it doesn't matter who is President - quite the opposite.  But as an adult citizen of a republic, you have to have some kind of rational appreciation of the fact that our government has three coequal branches, and most of the detailed legislative work arises in Congress.

Even limiting the scope to the Executive branch, you probably have plenty of negatives you can identify, but I want to ask you this: Do any of them - any of them - even compare to the ones I noted in talking about FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy?  Do any of them make sense to an informed person who knows what a government does and how it works?  You want to complain that this administration "hasn't moved" on some issue of yours, but don't want to hear about how Obama's appointees are being obstructed from confirmation en masse, leaving huge numbers of vacancies thanks to the Congress you allowed into power?  Are you putting as much or more effort into changing the composition of Congress than you are into bitching that Barack Obama isn't ignoring its current composition and trying to force through legislation by the magic of wishful thinking?  Do you sift through his comments and statements for word choices and memes that you find unpalatable, like some kind of Outrage Whale sifting plankton through baleen?  If so, can you please name the President whose entire history of comments and speeches you've likewise and sifted and found nothing to object to?

Or perhaps you're one of those people who sincerely believes Barack Obama is on the right on something - my question is, compared to what?  What the hell President of the United States are you using as your basis?  Was there a four years of American history I missed when Eugene Debs was President?  All around, he's the most liberal President we've ever had.  EVER.  The most transparent ever.  The most accountable ever.  The most inclusive ever.  The most democratic ever.  The most committed to the environment ever.  The most committed to civil rights ever.  To find even an anecdote of a more benign attitude in a President, you would have to go back to before our country was even a military power, let alone a superpower, and then you'd find they held slaves, opposed women's suffrage, or thought other races were inferior.  You think Jimmy Carter was more benign?  Tell that to the victims of Savak, and other beneficiaries of Zbigniew Brzezinski's machinations.      

It's okay to want more than this, and it's okay to work for more than this, but it's not okay to sit around bitching about how little other people are doing to make it happen for you - especially when that other person is as great an American, a leader, and a human being as Barack Obama.  This Presidency is a gift to the American republic, and it's a tragedy that we've already wasted part of it allowing Republicans to control Congress.  I frankly pity anyone who doesn't recognize that, because they're never going to look at the present and feel like anything has been accomplished - whether they're living in the 1930s, the 1960s, or today, they're going to look around and only see enemies, problems, threats, everything wrong with the world and with their fellow human beings.  They can wish they had FDR all day, but the truth is if they had him, they'd just be sitting around wishing for Lincoln; and if they had Lincoln, they'd want Washington; and if they had Washington, they'd be daydreaming about the Gracchi or Pericles.  Leadership in a democratic society is a two-way street - it's wasted on people who don't know what to do with it.    

6:03 PM PT: Almost forgot to mention that he killed Bin Laden, who had evaded two presidents and regionwide decade-long man-hunt before him.  Yes, this President is something extraordinary.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, Troubadour, you knocked this out of the (19+ / 0-)

    park.  Reads like a well researched term paper.  Well done!  And I totally, 100% agree with every one of your statements.  I'm 61 and President Obama is, by far, the best president of my lifetime, against unimaginable obstruction and challenges that no other president has had to face.  Bar none.

    Thanks for proving beyond a shadow of doubt that PBO is the:

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 05:16:44 PM PST

    •  Perhaps we should coordinate a diary (9+ / 0-)

      about it.  Gets eveyryone together who agrees and have their simlutaneously-published diaries all titled: Obama is the Best President Ever."

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 05:46:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Brilliantly written diary. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Troubadour, OnlyWords, DEQ54

      Well done. I am really impressed.

      •  I don't come here much anymore. The brain drain (0+ / 0-)

        of so many good diarists when they left, and the negative tone has put me off.  Another blog site referred me to this diary. I spend hours daily reading other blogs, and this diary is the BEST I have read since 2008.  

        I am 57 and can remember Ike as my first president.  I refuse to let those who will someday admit PBO has served them well, to steal my joy in having a president who gets it!  Who has lived without, and works for Americans who are there now.  

        Thank you for this diary, history lesson, call to arms for those who seek a more perfect union.  If people who say they want a better USA would only work for it, and give this president a democrat controlled congress we wouldn't recognize this country in 4 more years.  We are so very close and so much is at stake.  Supreme court appointments, energy strategy, tax codes, and we may not get this chance again.

        "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." -Plutarch

        by DEQ54 on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 07:14:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (6+ / 0-)

      I'll be 50 soon and can easily say President Obama (the whole package) form character, accomplishment and leadership is the best president I've seen.  Just with the ACA alone Obama has made my life much better.

      No president since Lincoln including FDR has faced these many challenges at the same time.  At least FDR did not have to deal with the Great Depression and WWII at the same time.  Not to mention the GOP obstruction and right wing media the FDR never had to confront.

    •  I definitely agree (0+ / 0-)

      that it looks like some high school kid's term paper.

      The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

      "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

      by Punditus Maximus on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 10:13:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  your first mistake... (4+ / 0-)
    So, I'm going to set aside my own reactions

    It's an interesting op-ed piece but don't for a second believe that you've "corrected" anything.

    Here's something you should look into, historically-speaking. If you excuse President Obama's legislative lack of success on Republican obstructionism (which I can accept) then you should understand the climate in Kennedy's time.

    I suggest you find a New York Times archive if you can (I don't know if it's available) and go through it day by day. Read the front page, from Jan. 20, 1961 until Nov. 22, 1963. Maybe that would give you some perspective.

    The reason Johnson was able to get civil rights legislation passed is because it was Kennedy's plan and the country, for the most part, wanted to honor his memory.

    •  Yes, I'm vaguely aware of Kennedy's (12+ / 0-)

      troubles getting civil rights through Congress.  And that, in my mind, only strengthens my point - if he couldn't get signature legislation through a Congress that was a lot more reasonable than this one, perhaps we exaggerate his talents in that department.  He had to die to get it passed - same with the Apollo Program.  The fact that his sacrifice was so beneficial to the public doesn't make him a hero, it just makes his tragedy a very fortunate thing on balance.  Still, I think Obama would do much better with Kennedy's Congress.

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 05:50:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama would have been killed long before... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Radical def

        taking office or even getting the nomination. Kennedy had to give a speech about why he'd be ok, even though he was Catholic!

      •  Kennedy's Congress was NOT a lot more reasonable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        it was terrible.  He couldn't get a single thing done.  There were right wing Minutemen and anticommunist fanatics not only all over the country, but in Congress.

        The space program, the great society, and the civil rights legislation have FDR New Dealer LBJ to thank for passage, not Kennedy. The Great Society was LBJ's baby, his dream, his legislation, not the Kennedy's.  LBJ passed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1959 as Senate Majority leader so it wasn't like it was a new thing for him.  JFK put him as head of the President's Commission for Equal Opportunity for a reason.  

        You need to do a little more research.  Compare the Great Society legislation to what Barack Obama has accomplished.  

        1963: Clean Air Act of 1963
        1963: Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963
        1963: Vocational Education Act of 1963
        1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964
        1964: Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964
        1964: Wilderness Act
        1964: Nurse Training Act of 1964
        1964: Food Stamp Act of 1964
        1964: Economic Opportunity Act
        1964: Housing Act of 1964
        1965: Higher Education Act of 1965
        1965: Older Americans Act
        1965: Social Security Act of 1965
        1965: Voting Rights Act
        1965: Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965
        1966: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
        1967: Age Discrimination in Employment Act
        1967: Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
        1968: Architectural Barriers Act of 1968
        1968: Bilingual Education Act
        1968: Civil Rights Act of 1968
        1968: Gun Control Act of 1968

        courtesy wikipedia

        It's fine to have an opinion.  You like this President, I get it. But LBJ would have handled this Congress just like he did as Senate Majority Leader - he'd have given them the Johnson treatment instead of giving in.

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:25:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I appreciate your view, but... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JoanMar

          Lyndon Johnson only approached social programs as a popular bribe to wage unlimited war in Vietnam, waged federal campaigns against student antiwar movements that would make today's response to Occupy look like a joke, and completely abandoned the Great Society et al when it came down to a fiscal choice between having it and staying in the war he started and lied to justify.  He was a liar without a shame.

          A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

          by Troubadour on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 01:44:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please consider that you may be wrong on LBJ (0+ / 0-)

            The Great Society was his dream, and was consistent with his entire life in politics.  This is the guy who wanted to do another TVA-type rural electrification project in the Mekong Delta, just like he had for farmers in the South, because he was sure that by helping modernize Vietnam he would be able to keep the communists at bay.  Well, his Ivy League advisors McBundy, McNamara, and Rostow took care of that cornpone dream.

            I encourage you to learn more about LBJ because you really have the wrong idea. Yes, he was a manipulative and insecure man, but he also cared about the poor, the elderly, the sick, and the victims of racism.  Katzenbach gives him kudos, as do Schlesinger and Sorensen, Kennedy loyalists all, and they would know and have no reason to pump him up.  

            It's horrifying to learn that Robert Kennedy as Attorney General, then Nicholas Katzenbach his loyal follower, and then even Ramsey Clark for crying out loud, were also pursuing student antiwar movements, through Hoover.  Hoover was convinced both the students and the AA civil rights leaders all had to be communists, and manufactured evidence, and then used that evidence to convince Johnson, RFK, Katzenbach, and Clark.

            The scholarship that was done on LBJ in the 1970s and 1980s is pretty slanted and was based on incomplete information.  Today's scholarship on the Vietnam War does not support your thesis that LBJ started it and lied about it. I recommend "The War Council" and "Lessons in Disaster", two recent scholarly books by English professors (more neutral) that take advantage of the declassification of documents in recent years.  The full Pentagon Papers weren't even declassified until just last fall of 2010, so the complete story on Vietnam, and thus the full story on LBJ hasn't been written yet.  But his programs live on, for now.

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 03:19:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  LBJ passed progressive legislation through 1968. (0+ / 0-)

            I don't know why you think he abandoned the Great Society.  Those programs are still in place or have been expanded.

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 03:22:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Compare LBJ's Congress to Obama's (0+ / 0-)

          Not only did the Democratic Party DOMINATE both Houses during LBJ's tenure (there was never less than 64 Democratic Senators during this time), the Republic Party had yet to degenerate into the current bat-$hit crazy klan that occupies the House.

          Many Repubs during LBJ's tenure were LIBERAL, many even more liberal than the Dixiecrats who opposed LBJ's Great Society programs. If not for these Liberal Repubs, that list of accomplishments which you credit only LBJ for, that list would have been a lot shorter.

          Faced with fewer Democrats in Congress, and a level of "NO" from the opposition party unprecedented in modern American history, it is a wonder that Obama has gotten anything done.

          Sometimes I wonder which side, left or "right", is more obsessed with having an Imperial President...

          I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.

          60% of White-Americans voted for the TeaBigots in 2010. Yet, some Kossacks think Obama is the problem. I guess it's easier to blame Obama than it is to blame your momma

          by OnlyWords on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 06:48:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And how exactly did Goldwater get the nomination? (0+ / 0-)

            if there were that many liberal Republicans in 1964?

            Johnson needed to get everyone on board to get the Great Society legislation passed, and he did get them on board.  Some he asked, some he cajoled, and I'm sure he threatened a few, too.  But he did it.  HE did it.   Don't try to take away from that great accomplishment - it looks petty.

            It's true that this President has faced enormous obstacles that are unique.  I actually like him, respect his accomplishments, and I think he and his PERFECT family have been excellent role models.  I do not and cannot understand the cozying up to banksters and the MIC, particularly given his campaign rhetoric.  It's just so baffling, and a betrayal as well.

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 02:54:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  By any measure Obama has passed more (4+ / 0-)

      liberal legislation than any president since LBJ.

      Kennedy was a cowboy foreign policy wise and let the FBI spy on Americans at will.  Just look at the Bay of Pigs.

      In fact the left today would call any president since FDR a war criminal.

      As the extremes of the right have moved further right the extremes of the left has moved further left.

      There is hypocrisy on both ends of the spectrum.  Just like we complain the far right wound not accept Reagan today, the far left would not accept any Democratic president of the 20th century either.

  •  Re: Deconstructing Anti-Democratic / Anti-Obama... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    Has it crossed your mind that the duopoly has occupied the White House since March 4, 1853? Is it not clear to you that a half-sentence bookkeeping requirement in the Constitution was benign in a society that believed in retiring its debts? However, Democrat and Republican alike debated the merits of creating a Private Reserve (something known as the Federal Reserve but 100% owned by private member banks) with blinders on, and cooked books still prevail. With President Wilson and his party leading the way, the Treasury handed over most of its powers with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

    First, President Wilson's mea culpa in 1916: "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world - no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominent men."

    Soon thereafter, unlike all previous wars, those "few men" instructed the best Government money can buy to roll over the World War I debt. Rather than paying it down prudently, the banks were happy to hold the bonds and use them for leverage. On top of this, they goosed the money supply and the good times rolled until the Great Depression.

    For more than 100 years, the two-party syndicate; a 'divide and conquer device' has relied on partisans like you who aim to stay anchored in a broken down system. I won't go into the long list of benefits the few have gained over the years with no regard for party label. But the joke was on us when a Keynesian stimulus, without the conditions requisite (a well-managed and fiscally strong government in times of surplus is the most important) was foisted on the public. Equivalent to prescribing quicksand to someone neck deep already. Wall Street backed Obama '08, expected a reward, and the payoff was at breakneck speed. Once again they will be installing him as our next President because a day of reckoning has been delayed to the extent that it will be far worse than had we faced the music in '09.

    What I find here is no different than Fox News. It's nothing but political theater taking place in a hall of mirrors. Partisan sheep as a whole are mistakenly led by their deeply ingrained fundamental attribution errors. Look past your "knows" and root out the real context and the real situation.

    When Treasury Secretary Geithner signed off on his recent annual report the General Accounting Office objected strenuously to what is a pack of lies.  Our debt is at least $132.3 trillion and not the $15 trillion you hear from both parties.

    We're all star stuff as Carl Sagan once said and it sickens me to see all the faulty labeling here. You're completing missing the point with your partisan bickering.    

    •  Where did you get the $132.3 trillion number? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, regster

      I must have missed the GAO testimony of a "pack of lies" but the criticism the GAO makes annually are pretty boiler plate by now. The gov't has no clue about the financial status.

      The government's overall finances cannot be evaluated properly "because of widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties and other limitations" on agency audit statements, the Government Accountability Office said recently.

      Just as it has for the past 15 years, GAO's audit of the fiscal 2011 consolidated financial statements of 24 major agencies stated that it could not prepare an overall opinion. The annual "Financial Report of the United States Government" released in late December 2011 by the Treasury Department cited, "serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that made its financial statements unsuitable" as well as "the federal government's inability to adequately account for and reconcile intergovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies." It called the government's overall process for preparing consolidated financial statements ineffective.

      In addition to slapping the Pentagon with a "disclaimer" for its long-standing struggles with auditability, GAO assigned the undesirable "qualified" rating to the Homeland Security and State departments. Homeland Security was commended, however, for earning a qualified opinion solely on its Balance Sheet and Statement of Custodial Activity for the first time since 2003. State also earned a split verdict, receiving an unqualified opinion but only on its Statement of Budgetary Resources and Consolidated Statement of Net Cost.

      GAO was unable to render an opinion on the 2011 Statement of Social Insurance and the 2011 Statement of Changes in Social Insurance Amounts because of "significant uncertainties, primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in Medicare cost growth."

      Auditors also cited "material weaknesses" involving an estimated $115.3 billion in improper payments, information security governmentwide and tax collection....

      Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

      by kck on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 06:41:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Doesn't change a thing I said. (7+ / 0-)

      All the Larouchie anti-Fed rants on the planet haven't put a single dollar back into the hands of the American people, and don't change the power of Congress institute alternative policies once the proper leaders are elected.

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 07:07:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here we go with nutty Ron Paulesque conspiracies (7+ / 0-)

      $132.3 trillion debt is just a lie Paulbots spout.

  •  If the best president of your lifetime can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, PhilK

    imprison and assassinate Americans with impunity, I don't want to know what the worse one will do in the future.

  •  Verbose and obtuse. No xtian fanatics and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    gun nuts among the Dems, etc. Either pure, blistering and blindingly flase propaganda or truly without a clue. There are some of every allegdly Democratic supporting group alsomamont the GOP. That is typical of the quality of this analysis, the entire screed is bullshit.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 07:13:54 PM PST

    •  Review and retype in English. (9+ / 0-)

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 07:26:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The post is nothing but a (0+ / 0-)

        long winded, afactual, propaganda piece.  There are some of every allegedly Democratic supporting group also among the GOP supporters and vice-versa. That is typical of the quality of this analysis, the entire screed is bullshit.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 07:53:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's certainly English. Just not substantive (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Whimsical, JoanMar, kalmoth

          or responsive in any way.  You've made your unleavened, unexamined opinion known, but it would have been nice to accompany some form of enlightening argument or supporting evidence with it.

          A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

          by Troubadour on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 01:48:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't get it, do you? (0+ / 0-)
            There are some of every allegedly Democratic supporting group also among the GOP supporters and vice-versa. That is typical of the quality of this analysis, the entire screed is bullshit.

            I have met and/or know Dem gun nuts and xtian extremists. I have met many Repubs who are not of the categories you list for GOP, but instead of those you list for Dems.

            You throw random afactual assertions made purely for rhetorical effect upon the page and demand disproof? Bullshit, that actually is a fallacy, argumentum ad ignorantum.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 07:00:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You have not refuted one claim in the piece in any (5+ / 0-)

      logical way.

      Where is you logical argument against the piece besides just vapid negative claims about it?

      The only undocumented and illogical propaganda I read hear are you baseless claims.

      In fact Troubadour described your type of vapid cynicism quite well indeed.

    •  notably, in comparison with... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, JoanMar, DEQ54

      the diary you thus "criticize," your remark not just looks underwhelming, but actually serves to reinforce the points made by the diary.

  •  Well, I'll tell you what. (5+ / 0-)

    While I don't exactly agree with every single example you used, I'd say you worked very hard at your diary. Overall, an interesting post. Perhaps you too find it curious that President Obama is so vilified on this Democratic site. I've read that FDR experienced the same thing during his administrations; outlandish, vile opposition, rumors and attacks.

  •  Brilliant, Troubadour (11+ / 0-)

    I'm 63 and became aware of politics when Kennedy ran and I think President Obama is the best President in my lifetime, too.

    I look at a lot of articles and can't give a link on this, but one of them I read in the last couple of days was talking about how much more informed voters were in Truman's day.  I'm in Indiana and when I was in college in the late 60's this was a Democratic state.  Two liberal senators, Birch Bayh and Vance Hartke.  Hartke was opposed to the Vietnam war and still won the election here.  My grandfather-in-law and their family lived on farms and didn't go to the big city, but they could tell Nixon was a charlatan.  People were very involved in politics, lots of signs in yards and discussion.

    I've been living out of state since 1971 and moved back about 5 years ago.  I can't believe how it's changed -- the state seems docile and depressed and so many voters are Fox News watching, low-information voters. Obama has done A LOT for this state beginning with saving the auto industry for one thing, but I get arguments to the contrary all the time.

    There has certainly been yellow journalism and biased media coverage in the past, but it's shocking to me now that people will believe what they see on television or read in a post without checking it to see if it's true and that's for the far left as well as the right.  There's such an emotional reaction and facts don't seem to make a difference.

    I think we are at a crossroads in many ways -- population growth and shifts, income inequality that the GOP has been working on since at least Reagan's time, maybe before.  Changes in the media, consolidation of owners.  TV programs that present a problem and solve it in 30 or 60 minutes.  Climate change that is swept under the rug.  It can seem overwhelming and difficult to get at the people who are really orchestrating this -- the Koch Brothers, Murdoch, Ailes and their ilk through the GOP.  

    But why the left would want to take down the one guy that is capable of confronting these people at all is beyond me.  Russ Feingold couldn't even hold his senate seat in this atmosphere.   Obama is building an incredible election structure that is benefiting Democrats and will in the future.   If they don't like Obama then why obstruct people who do? Why not work to register Democrats, build on what is here now and build for a more Progressive candidate they would like in 2016?

    Sorry for such a long comment, I just really appreciated your thoughtful diary.  One thing I wanted to add, I believe someone was referring to the NDAA in comments.  Have you read the Politicus USA piece about the Brietbarting of the Levin tape?

    How America And The Mainstream Media Got Breitbarted On NDAA

    Great diary.  I really appreciated it!

    “The only thing that happens in an instant is destruction … everything else requires time.” ~ First Lady, Michelle Obama

    by ParkRanger on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:22:28 PM PST

    •  Thanks for the link, and I certainly agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ParkRanger

      And I had totally forgotten about the little matter of President Obama rescuing the American auto industry!

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 01:53:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  long comment very appreciable (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, ParkRanger

      even without reading the entire diary yet (have to go to work) i applaud the 28 year old troubador

      and parkranger put the finger on what is behind the support of the non-rich for the right:  emotion

      the manipulation of the populace began after wwii was won (with glory that attached to the (drafted) soldiers, and the armament workers i.e. the masses, also after  labor had won significant gains, when the people felt good

      good emotions feed the brain, increase its capacity

      thus the effort since the 50's has been to mold the voters, and it's been done by now, when almost half of them would have elected mc cain/palin

      they've been exploited by their education, their religion, and the media, to remain emotionally immature their entire lives

      not to mention the real "drug" problem, which is the medically prescribed and sanctioned, legally purchased substances that promote a zombie-like response to the depredations being practiced upon them

      what to say about those on the left who won't vote? that they love their pain?

  •  Dude! (5+ / 0-)

    Way to go. I enjoyed it. What can I say in comment? You've already said most everything I've ever thought. Too bad you're so far away. I'd like to invite you to dinner.

    You know what I want? I want to know how it all turned out in the end for the Israeli housing demonstrations. I've looked and looked, but news coverage just stops, I think on August 5. Something like that. I guess a committee was appointed and somehow the wind no longer lifted their sails. And I wonder if there are lessons there for OWS, admittedly a much smaller demonstration of unrest with a much wider range of interests.

    There's another project that interests me. When W. invaded Afghanistan, he chose to commit as few troops as possible to the effort, instead opting for a weak central government/strong warlord model, giving the warlords guns, money, and the poppy. Thus he used the warlords and their troops instead of American troops to keep the peace and didn't have to pay them much since they had the poppy. Yah, didn't work out that well.

    So the interesting thing to me is how Bush's methodology there is similar to the weak central government/strong corporation model that the Republicans are pushing here. Instead of the poppy, they have fossil fuels and drugs. The corporates use city police to keep the peace and don't even have to pay for protection, so they can use their money to affect politics. There may be an analogue in Afghanistan, but I don't know enough about their politics. I'm not sure where the banksters figure in there, but I'm sure they're in it. They're sort of an upper class of warlord to whom the oil barons etc. (Mitt Romney) must pay homage. Anyway, I think that'd make an interesting paper.

    Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:12:50 PM PST

    •  Re; Israeli housing demonstrations (0+ / 0-)

      you're thinking of another Kossack named The Troubadour who diaries about I/P issues and some Occupy news.  I diary mainly about Occupy in the context of new ideas they bring to the table, science and technology, history, and meta-analysis - philosophical and intellectual stuff, as well as some humor.

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 01:55:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Troubadour, thank you (7+ / 0-)

    for such an interesting, and moving, piece.

    This should go viral on the blogosphere...

    •  It probably won't. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frankzappatista

      I've built up kind of a "fan-base" of people who hate my guts based on past diaries, so there's a huge hurdle to anything I write being widely recognized.  Not blaming anyone else, just the way it goes.

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 01:57:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo & Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mll, Larsstephens, Troubadour

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:33:40 PM PST

  •  Brilliant piece (6+ / 0-)

    I don't read DailyKOS as much as I did before because there are too many obtuse people that don't understand logic or reasonable thinking.

    The biggest fallacy on the left is indeed thinking moving right somehow moves left eventually even though it's never happened.  Every iteration of healthcare reform for example was started in a more and more conservative environment thanks to people thinking Gore = Bush etc.

    It's simply if you don't want to move right vote for the most liberal choice in every election and VOTE in every election.  But like you implied their are cynics on the left who get some kind of sick gratification from enabling the right.

  •  Tipped and recced... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, frankzappatista, DEQ54

    I normally don't do that with diaries that may contribute to the rox/sux dynamic, but let me make an exception for the diarist's effort and quality of writing.

  •  If I had only one choice of a quality that.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frankzappatista, Troubadour

    ..is most unique in this President, it would be his honesty.
    And that one quality is more important than any other taken alone imo

    •  I agree - he is extraordinarily honest. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      The fact that he manages to be both honest and politic is testament to his cleverness.  I couldn't do what he does - I'd either turn into an equivocating blob of jelly, or start dishing out F bombs at my enemies.

      A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

      by Troubadour on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 05:48:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You actually write with a straight face (0+ / 0-)
    bloodless, Eichmann-like technocrats

    after saying

    addressing Parkinson's is a much greater humanitarian imperative than...ending torture.

    Pot, meet kettle.

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

    by milkbone on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 07:06:20 AM PST

  •  If Bush 43 is vile, subhuman, and a dictator, (0+ / 0-)

    why did Obama keep so much of his high-level staff and increase Bush's policies on indefinite detention and assassination of American citizens.

    This diary is about "Team D."  Facts need not apply.

    The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

    "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

    by Punditus Maximus on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 10:13:24 AM PST

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