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He actually made us believe that after four years of unrelenting Republican dickishness he had finally become inured. No more Mr. cave-before-he-even-got-to-the-negotiations-table; goodbye to negotiating terms with himself and a big hello to drawing lines in the sand that wouldn't be crossed.

This was a new, reformed president who recognized that with the support of the majority of Americans firmly behind him, and unequivocal evidence that if the "fiscal cliff" talks tanked, they would blame the Republicans, he could confidently stand firm and keep his campaign promises. He would not touch Social Security, he would not cut benefits for MediCare recipients, and if push came to shove, he would let the Bush tax cuts expire and wait to negotiate with the new congress.

Unfortunately, it appears that his new-found grit turned out to be so much sand in an hour-glass. It began running out on November 6th and it looks like it hit bottom on December 17th. We now learn through the press, that the president is willing to give Republicans concessions that will do exactly what he promised he wouldn't do; enact smaller tax hikes on the rich at the expense of the middle-class and make cuts to  Medicare and Social Security. Way to hold your ground, Mr. President!

I'm trying to remember if there has ever been another leader who was so inexplicably committed to making a sow's ear out of a silk purse in every negotiation he enters into with Congress, but none come to mind. Only President Obama, who is holding all the cards in these fiscal talks with an embattled John Boehner, could look at his three aces and two kings and then fold his hand.

It was exactly this kind of leadership from Obama and the Democrats that led the country to throw up its hands in disgust and sweep Republicans back into Congress in 2010. It does not bode well for 2014.

I thought I had gotten over being disappointed with Mr. Obama a long time ago, but like the idiot I am, I allowed myself to believe once again that this time was different. He was older, wiser, didn't have to think about re-election and had finally gotten the Republicans' number. Ah well, I think it was probably former President George W. Bush who said it best: "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah, I have to admit I was sitting here (7+ / 0-)

    thinking "how many years does he have to play this game before he figures it out."

    For a smart guy, he's really dumb at reading Republicans.

    He's got every poll on his side, and he's not running for reelection. At one point does it occur to him that he has the advantage.

    Refuge Watch -- news from America's national wildlife refuges

    by Naturegal on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:31:59 PM PST

  •  my suggestion -- make him reject this deal (7+ / 0-)

    I've already sent my emails to my congress people/the WH. This is a shady deal Mr. President!

  •  The new congress still has a Republican (5+ / 0-)

    House.

    It's easy to say go over the cliff. What happens when that causes a recession in early 2013, and Obama has no capital to get immigration reform and gun control legislation.

    •  You don't get people to move (5+ / 0-)

      in our direction by moving towards them. You lead them to better places by giving them WHY these are better places. He has all of us on his frickin' list he could ENlist to take his message to congress. Where is that? What happened to his barnstorming?

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:46:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He only needed YOU to get re-elected. Obama (4+ / 0-)

        in 2008 used the rhetoric of MLK and in 2012 he used the rhetoric of OWS.

        Obama is still the capitulator-in-chief that he has always been.  

        Also - just look at the GOP he has and wants in his cabinet. Bernanke GOP appointed by Bush.  Gueitner - GOP.  Peter Orzog (who knows what party) but left budget for CITI. and now Obama is talking to Kenneth Chenault, AmEx CEO for an appointment to treasury or a budget advisor, and former Sen Chuck Hagel - R who Obama wants as Sec of Defense.  Just a few.

        I say that if you want that many GOP in prominent positions and as advisors - OBAMA IS GOP IN DEM CLOTHING.  But that is what we call Blue Dogs, New Democrats, Third Way Democrats better known with the title of CORPORATISTS.

        Remember actions speak louder than words.  His actions are all GOP.

    •  Without economic equity, we are nothing but serfs. (5+ / 0-)

      Frankly gun control and immigration reform are far less important than fixing the economy. And Mr. Obama appears to be one of the Bad Guys in that regard. I wish I could ask for the time and money I spent supporting his campaign back. I was afraid this might happen and yet I still trusted him. Shame on me. I guess. It doesn't matter since there is now NOBODY that represents us 99%ers anymore.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:49:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're not going over any "cliff." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheGreatLeapForward, theboz, corvo

      There is no cliff.

    •  But (4+ / 0-)

      I just don't think he has to do the Social Security cuts at all. Republicans really need immigration reform and gun control really will be driven by other elements.

      Recession is a possibility with the cliff but we had an election and it was clear what the President's programs were and he had a clear majority. Now is not the time to abandon those promises.

      That is not why I voted and contributed in 2012.

      •  txdoubledd, i totally agree with this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marty marty

        'I just don't think he has to do the Social Security cuts at all. Republicans really need immigration reform and gun control really will be driven by other elements.'

        the push for meaningful gun control is not being driven just by the president now. thankfully, that genie is way out out of the bottle. to expand their base, the R's need to address immigration reform.

        cuts to SS and Medicare is a redline for me. it's not necessary and it's immoral. throughout the entire campaign we heard about the unfairness of the rich paying a lower percentage of tax than the middle class. that logic and morality applies also to SS and Medicare cuts, in my view.

        few things are worse than making the same mistake twice.......especially when so much is at stake for so many.

        it boggles the mind.

        America...where we fight over who can be allowed to have a marriage license but don't give a shit about who can have an assault rifle.

        by dear occupant on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:53:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  About that political capital thingie (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      Obama's political capital is in public support.  I believe his public support will crater IF social security is cut.  Then what?

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:49:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, but it's really 99th Dimensional Fizzbin! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, corvo

    Obviously we're all just too stupid to realize the incredibly complex and perfect game that he's playing by keeping his powder dry!

    We'll all feel like morons when he springs the ultimate trap!

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:44:43 PM PST

  •  Nope. He promised at the DNC not (6+ / 0-)

    To trade tax CUTS for the rich for cuts in the social safety net.  He very carefully never said he wouldn't trade cuts in the social safety net for tax HIKES on the rich?  As I pointed out at the time, and was to.d to quit raining on the parade.

    •  Obama has consistenly (0+ / 0-)

      stated (for the past 6 years at least) that SS and entitlements in general needed to be "tweaked" to strengthen the programs  When he said this, people were not hearing him say "cuts in benefits" or "increase in eligibility age" or "hike in FICA taxes."   "Tweaking" must mean something else, some of us told ourselves, but what else would Obama have meant?

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:19:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He said NO cuts to social security (0+ / 0-)

        Stop spinning for him.  The President really is lying now.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

        by noofsh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:51:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

          Obama never said that.  Biden did -- but not Obama.  Show me where Obama promised not to touch SS and I'll stand corrected.  I'm not defending anyone -- we weren't listening and heard what we wanted to hear.

          Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

          by winsock on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:33:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The thing that pisses me off the most is that this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    Sought of leadership will make dems stay home in 2014 and we'll get crushed again. Many dems, will say at least the white-house is not at stake. Lets show Obama and the dems once more as they did in 2010. AAARRRGH!!!!

  •  polls don't matter... (0+ / 0-)

    what matters is how many votes he has in the congress to push his agenda thru. in 2012, he's short. in 2008, he had enough to do a lot but it cost the party in 2010. if u wanna blame anyone, blame the electorate for not voting enough dems in. it's actually the voters' fault that both senate & congress are out-of-balance. obama just gotta try to make the best of it..    

    •  You can blame the dems for not realizing how (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, dear occupant

      important state elections were.  The GOP took over so many GOP statewide elections slots that they had in the "0" census years the ability to gerimander the districts for Congress.  thus controlling the vote.

      Tte democrats had more votes overall in congressional elections in '12 but because of the gerimandering the GOP was able to overcompensate and win more house seats.  You just gerimander your congressional districts to fall in your favor so GOP will win more seats.  Why do you think some GOP states want to change the electoral college to correspond to their gerimandering?

    •  We voted to put the Dems in charge in 2008 (0+ / 0-)

      and they soon showed us that they were not only not going to enact "change we could believe in", they weren't going to enact change at all. Look back at the healthcare debate. There were almost as many Democrats giving Obama grief as there were Republicans - Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, Max Baucas, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh - to name a few. Their greed and self-interest combined with Obama's obsession with striking a bi-partisan agreement on every bill quickly showed the voters that having the Democrats in charge made no difference at all.

      If we hadn't had such faith in Obama's being an agent of change, 2010 might not have turned out so badly.  However there is nothing more vengeful than a voter who has been led to believe in hope and then left dangling in the wind. The independents who had switched to the Dems in 2008 made a beeline back to the Republican party in 2010.  If this horrible fiscal deal goes through (although it doesn't look like the Republicans are capable of allowing themselves to accept victory) then we can kiss the small gains we made in this past election goodbye in 2014.

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