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Maureen Dowd looks as the disconnect between the Senate of the lobbyists, and the wishes of the people, and somehow concludes the fault is at the other end of the street.

How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.

It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.

Somehow I had the idea that Congress was there to represent the people, and that when 90 percent of the people want something, it's shouldn't be on the president to make it happen. I had no idea that only the president was accountable to the public.
President Obama thinks he can use emotion to bring pressure on Congress. But that’s not how adults with power respond to things. He chooses not to get down in the weeds and pretend he values the stroking and other little things that matter to lawmakers.
So, using emotion, say pointing out the families in Newtown who lost beautiful children, isn't how adults do things? Adults need their pitiful egos petted and their little things stroked? That, Mo, may be the single most idiotic paragraph I've read. Ever. Tell you what, let's see how much ego-boo these assholes get when we bench them for not doing what the voters want.

Come on in, before I say something that shouldn't be on the front page on Sunday morning.

Bill Daley delivers some blame with better aim.

I want my money back.

Last October, I gave $2,500 to support Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign to become North Dakota’s junior senator. A few weeks later, she won a surprise victory.

I have had a long career in government and politics, but I don’t donate heavily to political campaigns. When I contribute, it’s because I know the candidate well or am really impressed with the person. Heidi Heitkamp was one of the latter: She struck me as strong-willed, principled and an independent thinker.

But this week, Heitkamp betrayed those hopes. ...

Polling has shown that nine in 10 Americans and eight in 10 gun owners support a law to require every buyer to go through a background check on every gun sale. In North Dakota, the support was even higher: 94 percent. Yet in explaining her vote, Heitkamp had the gall to say that she “heard overwhelmingly from the people of North Dakota” and had to listen to them and vote no. It seems more likely that she heard from the gun lobby and chose to listen to it instead.

Carl Hiaasen touches base with the "reasonable" GOP alternative.
Marco Rubio showed his true yellow colors last week, joining 45 other cowards to defeat Senate legislation designed to stop criminals from buying firearms online and at gun shows.

The vote was nauseating. So is Rubio.

A few days earlier, he’d admitted to Fox News that he hadn’t read the complete bill that would expand federal background checks of gun buyers, but he was opposing it anyway.

Other pertinent materials that Rubio obviously didn’t read included a recent New York Times sampling of nut jobs, convicted criminals and even one fugitive who purchased assault rifles and other weapons over the Internet.

Funny how some people actually hold senators responsible for their own actions. It's almost treating them like... adults.

Ross Douthat hits one of those rare weeks when I agree with him.

...we discovered another world last week. Two, actually — both somewhat larger than Earth, circling a star with the sadly unromantic name of Kepler 62, 1,200 light-years away.

These planets are not the first Earth-like bodies astronomers have discovered, but their size and position make them particularly promising candidates to have liquid water — and with it, perhaps, some form of life.

But their promise only adds to a mystery that’s been building the further our probes and telescopes have pushed into the unknown. If Earth-like planets are relatively common, as scientists increasingly believe, then where are all the Earth-like civilizations?

Douthat's take on the Fermi Paradox (that "where is everyone" question) are all pretty bleak. I prefer a nursery analogy. The grown ups are keeping us out of the galactic mainstream until we mature a bit. Or maybe we just haven't learned to stroke their things. Moving on...

Thomas Friedman only makes it on this page about one every two Friedman units. So what's he up to today?

Rebuilding our strength has to start with healing our economy. In that regard, it feels as if our budget drama has dragged on for so long that it has not only been drained of all emotional energy but nobody even remembers the plot anymore. It’s worth recalling: What are we trying to do?

We’re trying to put America back on a sustainable growth track that will expand employment, strengthen our fiscal balance sheet to withstand future crises and generate resources to sustain the most needy and propel the next generation. That requires three things: We need to keep investing in the engines of our growth — infrastructure, government-financed research, education, immigration and regulations that incentivize risk-taking but prevent recklessness.

Friedman's column overfloweth with the kind of overwriting, self praise and calls for a "radical center" that you expect from the flatman, but there is this...
The best place to start is with a carbon tax.

A phased-in carbon tax of $20 to $25 a ton could raise around $1 trillion over 10 years, as we each pay a few more dimes and quarters for every gallon of gasoline or hour of electricity. With that new revenue stream, we’d have so many more options. One, preferred by Republicans like the statesman George Shultz and the Nobel laureate Gary Becker, is to make the carbon tax “revenue neutral.” It could be offset entirely by a rebate or by cutting tax rates for every U.S. citizen and corporation, which would increase spending. Another option, the one I’d prefer, would devote half the carbon-tax revenues to individual and corporate tax cuts, use a quarter for new investments in infrastructure, preschool education, community colleges and research — which would create jobs now and tomorrow — and then use a quarter on deficit reduction.

Doyle McManus also talks carbon tax (and does it much better).
... here's another good bipartisan idea that the tax committees should consider: a new federal tax on emissions — more frequently called a carbon tax.

We already know that we use more energy from oil, gas and coal than we really need. (America consumes the equivalent of about 48 barrels of oil per person per year; Germany, with the healthiest economy in Europe, consumes just 26.) We know that lower consumption would make us less dependent on other countries for energy, a goal every president since Richard Nixon has pursued. We know that oil and coal produce air pollution, which we'd like to reduce. And we know that those fuels emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.

Economists call the hidden costs of energy consumption — the prices of climate change, pollution and national security — "externalities." They're real costs, but they're not included in the price of the gasoline you put in your car or the electricity you use at home.

Phillip Roth praises the home room teacher he had when he was twelve. Doesn't sound like something that would catch your attention? Did I mention it was Phillip Roth?

NY Times Magazine talks with another of my favorites.

On a recent Saturday morning in February, two dozen or so scent hounds streamed through the streets of St. Buryan, a small village in Cornwall, England. Behind them drifted a loose formation of men and women perched atop well-groomed horses and wearing boots, breeches and hunting coats. As the fox hunt clopped through town, John le Carré, the pre-eminent spy writer of the 20th century, sipped from a paper cup of warm whiskey punch, doled out by a local pub to riders and spectators.

At 81, he remains an enviable specimen of humanity: tall, patrician, cleanlimbed, ruddy-complected. His white hair is floppy and well cut, so much so that the actor Ralph Fiennes, who starred in the 2005 film version of le Carré’s novel “The Constant Gardener,” badgered him for the name of his barber.

le Carré comes off as crusty, snooty, and brilliant. He comes off as le Carré.

Dana Millbank is worried about the new Tea Party fan favorite.

Is there nobody who can tell Ted Cruz to shut up?

The young senator from Texas has been on the job for about 100 days, but he has already turned the Senate’s ancient seniority system upside down and is dominating his senior Republican colleagues. He’s speaking for them on immigration, guns and any other topic that tickles his fancy; Republican leaders are seething at being outshone yet are terrified of challenging him.

...

GOP lawmakers encouraged the rise of the tea party, which now dominates Republican primaries and threatens the same leaders who nurtured it. Cruz’s fellow Texan, John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, could face a primary challenge next year and therefore can’t afford to cross Cruz, who beat an establishment Republican in the 2012 primary. Likewise, the Senate GOP leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is up for reelection and has to keep on the good side of tea party favorites such as Sen. Rand Paul, also of Kentucky, and Cruz.

Perhaps those leaders are too busy getting stroked to bother with Cruz. (No, I'm not letting that go.)

Leonard Pitts checks in on the other hand on the GOP tiller.

Rand Paul did just fine at Howard University, thank you very much. Or at least, that’s how he remembers it.

Paul, GOP senator from Kentucky, told the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday that his recent visit to Howard didn’t go so bad at all. He said any perception to the contrary was created by — all together now — the “left-wing media.”

Knowing what we do about the political right’s capacity for self-deception, we may trust that he’s telling it like it is — or at least, telling it like he believes it to be.

But reality-based Americans know it wasn’t left-wing media that insulted students at the historically black school by acting as if a visit to their campus was like a visit with headhunters. “Some have said that I’m either brave or crazy to be here,” Paul said, somehow resisting the urge to add, “Me come-um in peace.”

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 09:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (118+ / 0-)
  •  i go with (12+ / 0-)

    the prime directive theory. which is pretty much the same as the nursery analogy.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 09:40:04 PM PDT

  •  There's Probably No Way to Be Stupider Thn Douthat (14+ / 0-)

    yet being able to produce prose. I mean other than Noonan.

    We have almost no ability to discover planets less than 10x the size of earth wherever they may orbit. We discovered the first extrasolar planet 20 years ago.

    What were we doing with electricity 20 years after Franklin proved that lightning was electricity?

    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 Apr 20, 2013 at 09:42:05 PM PDT

    •  I think Friedman is a major contender (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OhioNatureMom, mkor7, agoldnyc

      for the challenged thinking yet major writing gigs prize.

      There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

      by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:07:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We've only been looking for a few years (0+ / 0-)
      If Earth-like planets are relatively common, as scientists increasingly believe, then where are all the Earth-like civilizations?
      Including the SETI efforts from before the discovery of the first exoplanets, the search is significantly younger than I am, and I'm not an old man...not yet anyway.

      The time to ask "Where is everyone?" hasn't arrived.  It won't arrive for at least the next thousand years.

      Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:03:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Assuming humanity survives that long. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, rbird
        The time to ask "Where is everyone?" hasn't arrived.  It won't arrive for at least the next thousand years.
        Which, frankly, doesn't look like anything close to a sure bet.  

        Renewable energy brings national global security.     

        by Calamity Jean on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:07:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ross Douthat on planets: Asshat & Uranus, Ross /nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, No Exit, OhioNatureMom, mkor7

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 GOP Rep. Steve Stockman (TX):"If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted"

    by annieli on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 09:51:25 PM PDT

  •  Friedman: wordbuzz rather than buzzwords (8+ / 0-)
    That requires three things: We need to keep investing in the engines of our growth — infrastructure, government-financed research, education, immigration and regulations that incentivize risk-taking but prevent recklessness.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 GOP Rep. Steve Stockman (TX):"If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted"

    by annieli on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 09:52:29 PM PDT

  •  Intelligence in the Universe (5+ / 0-)

    It's been such a short time that we've been able to detect planets that might be Earth-like, and it's not as though we expend a vast amount of energy looking for broadcasts.

    Even then, we tend to look for intentional signals rather than what Earth might show--incidental leakage, and radio output higher than one would expect from our star in certain bands.

    I don't think we can make assumptions just yet.  We aren't really looking--and they may be completely fiber-optic and, to us, invisible.

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:16:18 PM PDT

    •  Or entanglement-based... (2+ / 0-)

      ...or a bunch of technologies that we can only dimly perceive.  As I said above, the time to ask "Where is everyone?" hasn't arrived and won't arrive for at least the next thousand years.

      SF writers have featured biological constructs, living ships, orbital trees rooting in cometary nuclei, so maybe their technology is completely organic.  Perhaps they are transcendent beings, completely virtual.

      My favorite explanation for this "missing civilizations" puzzle is contained in the following story.  It's called  "They're Made out of Meat" by Terry Bisson:

      http://www.eastoftheweb.com/...

      Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:13:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  or their version of the GOP (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, dewtx, Calamity Jean

        took control over their science, research,  and education budgets.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:16:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ...shudder... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dewtx

          Yet, there was even a science fiction story a few years ago about just this sort of thing.  I've forgotten the title and the author, but basically, we come into radio contact with another civilization - it's a theocratic state.  Their only interest in communicating with us is to share their holy book.

          We receive it through the radio link, we respond with just a few questions...and their civilization collapses.

          It's a great story, read it twenty years ago.  The plot stuck with me ever since.

          Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

          by rbird on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:37:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I've read that! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, Calamity Jean

        Yeah, maybe we just disgust them.  :-)

        Possible, I suppose, but unlikely.  We're disgusted by some of our own species, it's highly probable that any aliens (including us) will be used to that idea when we meet others.  Even if they are meat.

        I find the alternate technology idea more likely, or the fact that we encode many of our data streams to the point that we'd have trouble picking them out.

        Plus the fact that even our radio telescopes would only see Earth's transmissions as intelligible for less than half a light year.

        Fermi's Paradox is an interesting idea, but at this point it isn't much of a paradox.  We don't have enough data yet.

        (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

        by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:21:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. We just have not yet built the receiver .. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        agnostic

        ...for whatever they are using to broadcast.  Once we build an 'entanglement-receiver', or whatever it will be, and turn it on then we will likely hear the chatter of a thousand civilizations.

        Either way, it appears that we are at the detection-limit of our current technological powers.  Until we dig up that Stargate.

        Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

        by Terrapin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sigh. not again. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terrapin, rbird

          It is NOT a gate, dammit.

          It is a  Rhodium-Boron-Lithium alloy clad, semi-conductive, hollow hexadecagon frame, which rotates in three dimensions simultaneously, while having a direct current of electricity applied, growing at a (x + 1) Squared  rate.

          Jeez. How many (mumble mumble) times do I (mumble) have to (mumble) repeat this? (grumble).

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:05:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Relax, Rodney! (0+ / 0-)

            I don't know if that is the appropriate reference but it seems to fit.  Wasn't there supposed to be an SG-A movie or something?

            Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

            by Terrapin on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:14:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  dunno. (0+ / 0-)

              Never really watched SG-A. Heard nothing about a celluloid version. would not be surprised, tho. Given how many poor movies and poor movie ideas are out there, banking on a product with some base, almost makes sense.

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:56:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  LBJ would have had the senators lining ... (9+ / 0-)

    ... up to vote his way, their ears bleeding from having been steered where he wanted them to go.

    "If you don't use your majorities, you lose your majorities."

    by SteinL on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:50:19 PM PDT

    •  Well it helps that LBJ (21+ / 0-)

      had J. Edgar Hoover's slimy tidbits as means of coercion.

      I sort of believe in the idea of 3 branches of government; each actually doing their fucking jobs along with communication among 2 of them.

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

      by gchaucer2 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:00:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Each President carries with them into office (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CrissieP

        a personal flaw that profoundly damages their Presidency. Call it the Shakespeare effect.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:09:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed.. MoDo is right (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lady blair, 43north, ThinkerT, PhilW

      This President thinks (naively, and in his second term yet!) that he simply needs to go to the American people and if they are on board, so too will be the Senate.  How many times is this tactic going to fail him before he catches on?

      With all of the things on the President's plate - the same things on the plate of the GOP - he couldn't find something to deal to make it happen?  

      He reminds me of the rube marked by a con-man as easy pickings.

      And, as far as Bill Daley goes.. Hahahahaha - Hey Bill!  That's what you get for thinking doling out $2500 bucks from your Chicago condo let's you decide North Dakota politics!  You'll get your money back when the President learns how to dicker - which doesn't seem anytime soon.

      •  Naively? (4+ / 0-)

        Maybe he knew it would be very difficult to rake up enough votes in the Senate we have today.
        Let's give him credit for raising this issue. It is up to the electorate, especially its activists, to get a better Congress.

        Censorship is rogue government.

        by scott5js on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:12:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The President doesn't command the Senate. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, Silverleaf, breathe67

        LBJ was from there. It was his life and his career for several terms, and as its leader, he was a very effective one. He had sway with them as President because of his former presence within the Senate structure.

        The President, as such, Obama or any other, holds no such sway. Senators are princes of the realm, independent of party if need be (except for committee assignments and some perks), and utterly beholden to their own support structure. The President, as such, is no where in that structure.

        He has some ways of influencing the Senate, not many but some. And Yes, I wish he had the presence there that Joe Biden has, that he liked the institution, that he was a political glad hander. But he doesn't and isn't.

        And on gun issues, I doubt very very much that a glad hander would have been influential when all those grieving family members and fellow colleagues were not.

        Obama goes to the people because that's his strength, not because "he simply" believes as they go, so the Senate goes. It's us who need to convince those princes of the realm where their strength is ... and isn't.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:55:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not the fault of Republicans (7+ / 0-)

          It's now a meme I guess.  Peggy Noonan said the same thing this morning.

          The translation is, as usual:

          Republicans did something stupid and/or despicable.

          Therefore

          Blame Obama.

          Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

          by NCJan on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:04:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And the meme: remind people that there were... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wintergreen8694

            ... some Democrats who voted against "gun control" bills. Ignore totally President Obama's shorthand - that 90% of the Democrats voted for background checks and 90% of the Republicans voted against.

            Ignore also that the polls on the subject - poll after poll, even the polls not said to be liberal-biased! - that well cover the public and many key sub-sets of the public.

            Yes, I blame the NRA. It's a devil we can point to and it sure deserves opprobrium. But the real devil is that the gun advocates are visible, they're noisy, they write letters and they do get out and vote. That multiples their voice way beyond their actual numbers. And they target votes in primaries - a single-issue-bundle target of utter defiance of how far out their views are, how unrepresentative of the general public, including many responsible gun owners.

            We, on the other hand, are multiple issue voters. And politically - at the ballot box - we will have to forgive those errant Democrats because we cannot afford to yield the Senate, too. In 2014, we need every Democrat who can win an election.

             So ... what can we do? [First, a moment of hand wringing and whinging. Whew. Glad that moment's over.] We can lobby those Senator-princes of the realm who believe they know what their voters want. Show them what their voters want. Marshall influential state-level citizens to call and visit their Senators and Congresspersons. Counter the one-on-one lobbying of their "friends" - the professional lobbyists from the NRA, the Gun Owners of America, and the insta-grass-roots groups funded by the special interests of the gun-rightists.

            We need to make our arguments as simple as theirs' and meet them on home turf.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:47:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Comprehensive (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TRPChicago, Calamity Jean

              I would also conclude--

              1. Make sure those Democrats who voted against the bill know that they will not "pay" if they vote for it.  In other words, promise them Blumberg money if they take a risk.

              2.  Make sure Republicans running in purple states/districts are targeted if they voted against the bill.  Put money behind it.

              One thing different now than before--we've got a greater lobbying presence and more money on our side.

              Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

              by NCJan on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:19:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Different time, very different (16+ / 0-)

      A president used to have a bully pulpit. All Americans watched the same shows on TV (3 channels + PBS). News organizations WERE news organizations, not propaganda outfits masquerading as such.

      We talk about the expanded powers of the Presidency of the last decade or so, but that is around the edges and mostly in foreign policy. On domestic policy now, the power is wholly in the Legislative, and a bought Senate can't be twisted in circles, sorry.

      This has NOTHING to do with "arm-twisting" or "schmoozing" and everything to do with money.

    •  LBJ had a two-thirds majority (10+ / 0-)

      in the Senate and a two-thirds majority in the House after the 1964 elections, which saw a net  gain of two Democratic Senators and 36 Democratic representatives.

      •  A reminder of the Oscar Wilde saying, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, madronagal

        "The saddest thing in life is not getting one's heart's desire. The second saddest thing is getting it." Had LBJ not had such huge majorities, perhaps his hubris might have been restrained to his lasting benefit.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:13:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Unlikely. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Minnesota Deb, diffrntdrummr, Ohkwai

      These guys really aren't interested in making a deal or being steered. Politics has changed since 1968. There are no moderate Republicans left.

  •  The buck stops at the Resolute Desk. (31+ / 0-)

    Yes, the Senate is a broken institution. Does Obama ever say so? Nope. Wouldn't want to offend them. Does he ever call them out for their corruption? Does he ever send the media over whenever they are having fundraisers with millionaires? Does he use the podium of the White House briefing room to call out Senators by name, releasing undisclosed information about them and digging up dirt? No. He does't lose the paperwork of their biggest preferred contractors. He doesn't abuse his power by charging a bunch of lobbyists with a RICO indictment, letting them rot in jail for a few months until an appellate judge throws the case out. He hasn't decided to re-organize a few military deployments to move a bunch of federal military facilities out of a Congressman's district.

    He doesn't USE his power to make people obey him because instead of being the kind of guy that hurts his enemies, he tries to make deals with them. That's why his enemies don't fear him and his allies don't either.

    Possibly the only people on planet earth who actually fear Obama's wrath are foreign terrorist. Because he doesn't fuck around when it comes to them. BOOM. Vaporized.

    •  Historians will long consider... (11+ / 0-)

      ...the enigma that is President Obama, and how such a brilliant candidate came to prove so disappointing in office.

      This particular defeat isn't particularly bothersome to me; more worrying is that this President seems to choose his battlegrounds poorly, and has been little more than a cheerleader on the issues that matter most of all: jobs, income inequality, and an increasingly corrupt American political system.

      •  Actually, my thinking (14+ / 0-)

        is that he hasn't been enough of a cheerleader on the economy. Except, however, on this gun bill. I thought he did an excellent job there using the bully pulpit and it definitely moved the polls.

        I'll be writing about this today.

        The problem that occurred here is president obama didn't see that forceful pressure to reform the filibuster, including threats of cutting off fundraising against DEMOCRATS, followed up by some other threats, was what was needed to end it.

        Lets not forget, the gun bill, weak and limited though it was, got 50 Democratic votes. It would have passed without the filibuster.

        But you're right about focusing on guns and deficit. He's just way off from where people are, which is jobs and wages. But the bottom line is the reason Obama isn't out burning down barns over this mess of an economy is because he's mostly satisfied with the status quo.

    •  You're dead on BBB. And so is Dowd. (9+ / 0-)

      At 76, I've seen a shitload of presidents and politicians of all stripes, and it's been clear to me that when it comes to the nuts and bolts of achieving progressive goals, BO just doesn't have the stomach for effective arm twisting.  He sings "nice-nice", is smart, plus all the other good shit we all know about him, but from the git go, he won't "scrum" and thus, throws in the towel, as he has done so many times since day one.    

      •  That's correct. But there's also two other (6+ / 0-)

        things which are that he actually is a very conservative Democrat (more cons. than Clinton) on non-social issues and that he's a lot better at campaigning than he is at governing. Barack Obama may be the first Democrat to win two majority votes in a long time, but Clinton had bigger margins of victory. I'd say I'd rather have the latter quite frankly.

        He's a legislator not an executive. Democrats should learn an important lesson in future because having experience as a governor should be prerequisite for a strong president. Democrats suffer for this president's lack of executive experience.

      •  Arm-twisting is achievable with people (0+ / 0-)

        who are generally constructive, but not with people who live in fear of a primary or who are the result of an extremist faction. Could Kerensky have arm-twisted the Bolsheviks?

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:16:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Did he apply pressure on the filibuster? No. n/t (3+ / 0-)

      There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

      by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:09:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  MoDo got this part right (4+ / 0-)

      No one is scared of the President.

      That is a truism.

      But the problem is the time to create appropriate leverage and political fear was in the first year.  The opportunity to demonstrate consequences for going against the public's will was in the first 100 days of the first term.  And at every chance, the President chose to throw Republicans a life jacket instead of an anchor.

      One could see the rationale based on history and his prior experience.   But the Republican strategy was not well disguised.  The Administration only has themselves to blame for not taking the appropriate counterstrategy.

      Now, MoDo is wrong.  The President really has no leverage.  The only thing that happened was the WH finally saw the consequences of their political decisions.

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:04:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hear hear!!! (0+ / 0-)

        ^What he said---exactly!!!!

      •  Nice thoughts, but not likely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        breathe67

        If that makes you feel better, than go ahead and feel that way.

        Let's remember that the media is telling everyone that Obama NEVER reached out to the GOP prior to the last month of 1:1 dinners, lunches and meetings.

        Now you're telling everyone that he was too nice and too accommodating early on.

        This fascination with trying to explain everything wrong with DC by analyzing Obama's every more is irritating.

        It's really very simple.

        The GOP lost its marbles with the Palin / McCain campaign against the black man from Africa who claims to be born in HI in 2008.

        Ever since then, the GOP has been owned & operated by rich white men who feel that Obama and Libs are anti-American and illigitimate.

        You can play nice if you want. You can holler and scream if you want.

        It won't make ANY DIFFERENCE.

        For you or Maureen Dowd to believe otherwise makes you simply delusional.

        Peace.

        •  Kind of late... (0+ / 0-)

          but your argument is there is no counterstrategy to intransigence.

          That is false.  My point was about the early admin.  And unless you forgot, that was when Congress was dominated by Dems.  So focusing on Republicans and lobbyists was not the only option at the time.  

          I don't have time to list them, but it is simply not true that the best approach was to accept compromise and exercise no exhibition of political principle and power.  

          We will have to simply disagree about how one leverages major political support to move policy.  There is actually a case to be made the President perfectly used his power and got what he wanted in most cases.  But the optics make it more difficult to garner support for these types of issues.  We really will never know.

          It is what it is.

          "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

          by justmy2 on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:51:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Can't have it both ways (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenotron
      Yes, the Senate is a broken institution. Does Obama ever say so? Nope. Wouldn't want to offend them
      So, if you agree with Ms. Dowd, then that statement makes no sense.

      In one instance, you & Dowd slam Obama for not calling out the GOP as unwilling legislative partners ... But her piece today says that Obama needs to negotiate more to get more votes.

      Isn't the problem really just the Senate rules and the fact that the GOP is currently owned & operated by people who see Obama and Liberals as anti-American?

  •  Bombs in Boston....Blown up factory in Texas.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, tb mare, dewtx

    Rivers rising....Kids massacred in CT.....Hey......It's only April.

  •  The GOP owns background check failure (16+ / 0-)

    And any number of other congressional failures; everyone needs to be clear about that.

    Even so, I agree with the observation about Sen. Heitkamp's vote.  What the hell?  Is she afraid of the upcoming 2018 election?

    •  The GOP owns the whole political process (6+ / 0-)

      They're calling the shots, and the President is reacting. That's not how it's supposed to work.

    •  From what I read (5+ / 0-)

      Red state senators got 5 times more calls from gun supporters than from people who supported the bill.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:35:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, if nothing else the NRA is organized to a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artebella, scott5js, dewtx

        fine degree. Was listening to a piece on NPR on just that a few days ago.

        Turns out other Lobbyists study the NRA's methods.

        They have a dedicated group in large numbers that can turn on the dime and send out emails and make phone calls.

         

        "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

        by Onomastic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:18:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At the end of the Phillip Roth piece linked above (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark Sumner, Onomastic

          is a quote that made me think immediately of the NRA:

          "Tyranny is always better organized than freedom."

          Charles Péguy

          But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, ... there are few die well that die in a battle; ... Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; — Shakespeare, ‘Henry V’

          by dewtx on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:26:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Gun supporters, that is voters who (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Minnesota Deb, scott5js, skohayes

        want no regulations on guns or gun sales at all, tend to be single issue voters, which makes them much more apt to be activists (calling their senators, sending emails, using politically threatening language in their communications with elected officials).  Even though the majority of NRA members supported universal background checks, what the NRA wants is not the most important issue being debated in Washington to most of them.

        Democrats have single issue voters too, e.g., pro-choice activists, but they have organized opposition that is also willing to campaign actively against them.  Democrats are only now trying to organize opposition to the NRA, but the NRA has a long history and very deep pockets arrayed against the new anti-gun opposition groups that haven't coalesced around their message yet.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:04:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And if you look on each FB page for each Senator (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        you will see the same in comment numbers.

    •  I don't think the GOP owns this, Reid and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OhioNatureMom, Ohkwai, joeff

      his long-serving allies do.  From what I've read out of their mouths, the GOP senators are proud of their votes; they're not worried that they failed.  They are representing their rural, low-population states on this issue.  Remember that there was a majority in favor of the amendment, and it went down in defeat.  With the history of GOP obstruction of the past four years, there was no excuse for not getting rid of their ability to dam the works on every single piece of Democratic-favored legislation that would come before them.  This has to be fixed before we replace the next Supreme Court justice, or we'll have Citizens United-type decisions on every important issue, and no way to fight it.  When faced with the gradual, clear destruction of the middle class, of the rights of citizens, of the running of elections, of women's rights, etc., etc., these stupid Democratic senators have to forget their clubbiness and seize the power they were elected to hold.

      "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

      by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:02:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I gave to Heidi too (0+ / 0-)

      Probably about the same percentage of my wealth as the son of 1968s most loathsome mayor, so not much. Still, I didn't expect her votes to be in line with my wishes 100% of the time. Why are we bashing the woman here instead of the M and Ms?

  •  'But in the chaotic 21st century media environment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulibow

    viewers want quality not quantity.'....

    When the rubber hit the road CNN and Fox Nooz = FAIL.

    http://www.politico.com/...

  •  Dowd (10+ / 0-)

    I don't think it unreasonable to recognize the unfortunate reality that as a leader you need to stroke people's egos to get them to go along.  It's pathetic that would need to be done in the context of the Newtown tragedy and gun control, but that's a reality.

    Dowd isn't the only one who, I think rightly, places responsibility on Obama's lack of leadership for the failure of the gun legislation.  Delamaide at MarketWatch extends the argument it to Obama's failure to lead on the economy by focusing on jobs instead of deficit reduction.

    As to guns, Delamaide says:

    You can’t keep silent on gun control through two presidential campaigns and four years in office and then emerge as a credible leader on the issue in the wake of a crisis like the Newtown massacre.

    The time to take a stand and be vocal is when you’re running for office. You can’t run from the issue in order to get elected and then take the lead on a proposed solution when you’re president, but that’s what Obama tried to do.

    As for the economy:
    The running debate on the federal deficit and the proper balance between taxing and spending is a different kind of issue altogether, but the reason the president can’t get any traction is much the same.

    For reasons of political expediency, Obama bought into, or pretended to buy into, the homespun wisdom that a multi-trillion-dollar government budget in the 21st century should be viewed in the same terms as a household budget — we can’t live beyond our means, we can’t live indefinitely on the credit card, and so on.

    But taking this view on government budgets when economists have demonstrated that fiscal policy fulfills a completely different function in a modern economy is the same as clinging to creationism or denying climate change in the face of all scientific evidence to the contrary.

    The bottom line:
    Once again, when you’ve sacrificed conviction for expediency, you have zero credibility in leading the nation toward sensible solutions.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:56:36 AM PDT

    •  wrongly placed (34+ / 0-)

      I have worked long, hard and closely with people on this. In no way was this Obama's fault.

      The fault, if there is one, is the way the Senate favors small states over big ones. Blame the Constitution and the framers for that.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:04:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't say it's Obama's fault alone, (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        claude, bfbenn, srkp23, NearlyNormal, joeff

        but I would say he fell short.  If he was so invested in it, where was the national prime time address?  I could imagine Reagan, one of his heroes, doing that.  Where was Michelle, whose focus is on children, besides the one speech she made in Chicago?  Bullets kill kids a lot faster than does obesity.  It was not a full court press on Obama's side.  But then, when is it ever?

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:13:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Brady shot to Brady Act: 12 years (14+ / 0-)

          Maybe we get this version done in less time, but we're probably looking at many more years of "falling short."

          It doesn't mean we stop trying or expend any less effort.

          When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Egalitare on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:23:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I diagree.. he was out there.. (4+ / 0-)

          Michelle was out there..  She was here in Chicago multiple times with very emotional pleas.

          No.. it was not for lack of talking to the American people that this bill did not get done.  It was for lack of political skills.  This should have been a no-brainer.  He had prominent Republican Senators on his side and still could not make the deal - nay - refused to make a deal.

          •  I cannot believe this whole line of thinking. (26+ / 0-)

            NO President has ever had this total intransigence to deal with from the opposition party.  Yes, President Obama could spend more time glad handing the bastards, but you think it would help?  They would tell him "yes" and then vote "no."

            Any time he proposes an idea that originated with the Republican party, that same party opposes it.

            That's why he went with appeals to the public ... and now we know that Senators of both stripes do not listen to their constituents.

            Maureen Dowd is totally wrong.  I guess she and certain DKos posters would prefer the Lyndon Johnson/J Edgar Hoover approach.  I prefer to see the Republicans as they really are...it may hurt us in the short run but I still trust the Americans to throw the bastards out.  They saw through Mitt Romney, didn't they?

            If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. John F. Kennedy ( inaugural address, January 20, 1961)

            by Outraged Mom on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:53:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The problem is that short-term actions can result (0+ / 0-)

              in long-term consequences and short-term actions repeated over time become long-term.

              The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

              by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:57:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Glad handing? No.. dealing? Yes. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              accumbens, joeff

              Everyone in Congress has their own priorities besides party ideology.

              First, and foremost, is getting re-elected.  Secondly is getting bills passed and making contributors (and even the electorate!) back at home happy.

              So, a savvy president would look at each Senator individually and determine what the deal would be.  Was Keystone XL not up for dealing in exchange for a vote on background checks?  EPA regs?  Greasing the skids for a pet project?

              For cripes sakes..  This isn't rocket science, but it seems beyond the grasp of this President.

              •  So you would cave on Keystone XL? I would not. (4+ / 0-)

                I understand wheeling and dealing.  I am just saying there is NOTHING these guys WANT more than saying "no" to President Obama.

                As for your contention that

                Everyone in Congress has their own priorities besides party ideology
                I am not sure that is true, anymore, except for lining their pockets with Koch money.

                If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. John F. Kennedy ( inaugural address, January 20, 1961)

                by Outraged Mom on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:08:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes.. I would deal Keystone XL! (0+ / 0-)

                  By not dealing it, President Obama indicates gun registration is not as high a priority.

                  And, btw, there are 2.5 million miles of pipeline in the US currently... with thousands of miles of it sitting right on top of the Ogallala aquifer.  The issue of this pipeline has been expanded way beyond its meaningfulness.  I would deal away this issue in a minute for legislation I felt so compassionately about as President Obama seems to be about gun control.

            •  Absulutely right on. (4+ / 0-)

              No president in the history of this country has had to face the No No about everything he says from the minority party.

              Blaming the 5 democrats who voted against the background check ammendment and not focusing on the 45 republicans is insane.

                 The disconnect between 91% of Americans who want sensible gun laws and the Republican party who don't is where we should stay focused. Americans need to be reminded over and over that Republicans are putting guns in the hands of terrorists.

              You don't get to keep democracy unless you fight for it.

              by artebella on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:06:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  And how much coverage did she get? (0+ / 0-)

            It's not that they didn't do anything, they just didn't do enough.  Childhood obesity is not - or is barely - controversial.  Gun control is and that means that Michelle or her husband hold back.

            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

            by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:54:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  But Chicago already has the gun laws. If they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bon Temps, andalusi

            want to speak to the public shouldn't they be in Texas, Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, Montana, Kansas, Virginia etc....these are the places in which the people need to hear what has to be said and get on board.  I personally would have liked to hear way more than I knew already. Limiting speeches and such to places that already have the strictest gun laws in the nation and have a high, high majority of the public completely on board is a waste of time IMO

            I am only for background checks and nothing more...I think the bill should have been a background check bill, yes or no, kind of thing.  All the others could have waited or been tried later. I can't support a bill that has way more going on than the 90% polled question of "background checks".  

        •  I'm very tired of this false meme (8+ / 0-)
          "Reagan, one of his heroes"
          Here's what he said (emphasis mine):
          "He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into -- he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

          "I think Kennedy, 20 years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times.

          "I think we are in one of those times right now, where people feel like things as they are going, aren't working, that we’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having and they’re not useful. And the Republican approach I think has played itself out.

          I know you despise this President, and you are right that he should do things differently, and show a willingness--eagerness--to get down and dirty on important issues.  It doesn't, however, make Reagan "one of his heroes.'

          "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

          by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:09:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good quotation. Link? n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SottoVoce

            There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

            by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:13:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't despise him. Why is it the Obama defenders (0+ / 0-)

            always consider his critics as haters?  What is with that?  Should I say you are an Obama lover because you defend him?

            As to my Reagan comment, I'll stand corrected.  My larger point in bringing Reagan up is that he was a President who knew how to use the bully pulpit and was a great communicator - charts and all.  Perhaps, the difference in terms of communication is that Obama, like Reagan, is or can be inspirational, whereas Reagan, unlike Obama, was also persuasive.

            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

            by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:42:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  different world (8+ / 0-)

              Reagan today would not be so persuasive. in fact, his Alzheimer's might have been exposed much earlier.

              But it's all speculation. Arm twisting in 1965 isn't arm twisting in 2013. The tools and the environment are different.

              I don't mind criticism of Obama, he often deserves it. But the consensus opnioin, which i agree with, is that this simply could not pass, and nothing obama did different changes the dynamic. For now.

              What's really different is an organized and well funded gun responsibility movement that sprang up in 4 months, too fast for politicians to react. It'll take an election cycle for that.

              Mandatory seat belt laws took 19 years.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:27:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I made that assumption because you (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Minnesota Deb, accumbens, askew

              seem to be in the forefront of criticism of him on every subject, blame him for all failures, but give him no credit for any successes, and seem to hold him to an unmeetable standard.  If I'm mistaken in that assumption, I apologize.

              Reagan was an actor (as am I).  He had only one skill, and that was communication--although I personally found him repulsive and unconvincing.  We don't need another actor as a leader, but rather someone who has more than just speaker's chops.  

              My beef with Obama--in addition to his embrace of the drone program--is his repeated eagerness to bargain with the Republicans, who have proven beyond any doubt their malevolent intentions toward him.  I think he's smart and tough, but he seems to believe he can change them when it's clear he can't.  They care more about defeating him than they do about the country's good, and he just won't believe that about them.  His inspirational speeches may move the needle somewhat with the public, as in the gun debate, but not with those who are apoplectic that he's black and in power, and who have been given the keys to the Senate by the filibuster rules.

              This gun defeat lays in Harry Reid's hands, along with his long-serving Senate cronies, who let the GOP win with a minority of votes.  What kind of democracy is that?

              "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

              by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:37:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  But what about the filibuster? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        accumbens, wintergreen8694, PhilW

        Without filibuster reform the uneven distribution of power in the Senate (small states, more representation) is amplified. Where was POTUS on filibuster reform?

        There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

        by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:12:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. What Dowd and others fail to mention.. (5+ / 0-)

        ...is that the vote still would have "failed", 59-41, even with Democratic unanimity.

        Fact of the matter is that over 90% of Senate Democrats voted for the bill, and over 90% of Senate Republicans voted against it.

        So which party best represents the American people's will, and which party does not?  The math is very simple.

        The GOP owns this failure, like so many others.  Maybe Dowd's point is that Obama needs to make them own it...very publicly and very harshly.  And he doesn't need to "stroke" them, as Dowd stupidly suggested; he needs to publicly pummel them and shame them, by name.  Repeatedly.  It is beyond pointless for him to show the GOP any more good will, because the GOP has made it a political strategy from Day 1 to show him and, by extension, the American people, none at all.

        The GOP needs to be branded the pariah party that it is. It is truly a party that could give a shit about doing what's best for most Americans.

      •  Agree entirely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Sumner, wintergreen8694

        I saw somewhere that Senators representing roughly 75% of the population voted for background checks. Forty or so Senators represent a total population less than the two from California. It's a pretty depressing situation when Republicans blame Democrats for everything that's wrong, and Democrats agree.  

    •  I think it is idiotic for dowd to argue that gun (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drummergirl

      Control legislation failed because Obama failed to stroke egos...  All he does is stroke their f@cking egos.

      His lack of leadership on anything on the progressive agenda stems from the fact;

      1. He disagrees with the progressive position

      2. He's too f@ckin concerned with the egos of republiscum to play hardball.

      Of course the Democratic Party in general feels the same way.  Although, perhaps, the trend of democratic subservience to repuglicans comes from their investment in a system of govt that guarantees their relevance and the fact that they are just as subservient to the 1% and recognize that the pukes are more like their partner in duping the American people into believing we have any form of democracy or representative govt as opposed to a plutocracy for the rich and kabuki for the rest.

      This is the stupidest thing I have heard (always second hand) from dowd in a long time.

      Yes, yes I know he eventually came around and acted on immigration and same sex marriage after his refusal to do so placed his reelection in jeopardy.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I put more blame for the failure (8+ / 0-)

      on Harry Reid than President Obama. None of the no voters were forced to take a public stand against something 90% of the people wanted to see happen and they have since blended back into the crowd.

      Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

      by hulibow on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:34:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dowd -- he lost too soon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      accumbens

      The time to lose on this would have been in the House for the necessary wedge issue eventually leading to a bill with teeth after 2014.

      "Have I shocked you by the dirty things I wrote to you?" --James Joyce,To Nora, Dublin 6, December 1909 Oops. Wrong inspirational quote!

      by Roger Burke on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:35:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a banana republic strong man? (10+ / 0-)

      Dowd's argument is ridiculous. who is this bully that she wants to slap around congress? name a name of someone who could do that.

      Reagan? please..... his big accomplishment was lowering marginal rates, the easiest political lift in the world. LBJ? LBJ would be a creepy Texas oil politico today.

      Dowd is channeling her right-wing brother again.... republicans are pissed they have one more reason to be unpopular.

      We are headed toward the political system we see in California, which always leads the way. The tax revolt started there and they had stalemate for a generation, but the people have broken the republicans at last..... one party rule.

      •  I will be adding "He's not a dictator" to my list (0+ / 0-)

        of excuses for Obama.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:52:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, let's think about this.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          accumbens

          Maureen Dowd is on to something, I think.  Obama is not a fighter...he's a conciliator.  LBJ was a down and dirty fighter and he got stuff passed that would never have happened....you know, like Medicare?  There is something to being able to get nasty behind the scenes and twist arms in politics.  Oh, yes, we Dems love to think that reason and being sensible and not "getting down to their level" is going to get us somewhere because we'll be seen as the "good guy."  But let's face it....in Washington politics, and with a bunch of bastards who are ruthless and unprincipled, a leader needs to be able to win....fight them and win.  Obama is way too nice to them...it's a personal trait he has and it's nice on a personal level, but in Washington, it's undeniably a weakness.  Read Dr. Justin Fran's "Obama on the Couch."  He also wrote "Bush on the Couch" and it's enlightening reading.  He needs to somehow scare the shit out of those assholes.....the country needs help....oh, and take a cue from Senator Warren, get tough on the bankers and criminals of Wall St.  I'm done for now....  

          Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

          by lutznancy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:54:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You do that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rooe, askew

          And then take a look at all of the articles claiming that Obama is a dictator by issuing executive actions around Congress for gay rights, recess appointments and "czars".

          If when the Repubs are in majority in Congress with a Repub president and the Dems don't block all legislative efforts, then I'm sure you'll blame Obama for that too.

          But until you fully understand WHY legislation like this one & Cap and Trade failed, then you are just blowing smoke.

          They nearly got to 60 votes in both instances. With today's Congress, that's a sucess, not a failure.

          Peace, my friend.

  •  this Yankee fan says: go Boston (12+ / 0-)

    sorry for the ad. best version I could find from MLB

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:59:03 AM PDT

  •  Hey, Bill Daley, we all want our money back (7+ / 0-)
    "It’s shameful when politicians put what they perceive is their own interest or that of some lobbying group ahead of what the great mass of the American people want"
    Where do we start, Bill? Health care reform by and for the insurance companies, hospitals and Big Pharma, or do we get paid back first for letting Wall Street direct the country's finances?

    How about torture, Bill? Surely looking forward and not backwards when it comes to the nation's honor is worth refunding money to all those supporters who decided McCain & Romney wouldn't be up to the task of defending it.  

    "The philosophy of conservatism is inevitably doomed by its adherents' willingness to accept bluster as a sign of character and thick-headed devotion to meaningless symbols as sign of moral fiber." (Albert Einstein)

    by Jim R on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:00:51 AM PDT

  •  Mark, allow ME to "say something that shouldn't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, Bon Temps, bfbenn

    be on the front page on Sunday morning:

    President Obama is either an enabler or a wimp.

    Disappointing - I voted for him twice and would do so again against any republican - but true.

    A president and leader of his party should deal with congress, especially the senate, with toughness and a "take-no-prisoners" attitude. Either his heart is in it or it isn't.

    But when the president proactively offers massive social security benefit cuts before even opening negotiation, for example, that gives an indication to the self-serving assholes in the senate that he can be easily rolled on any issue.

    "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

    by blue in NC on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:04:03 AM PDT

    •  Oh, bullshit (9+ / 0-)

      First of all, the president doesn't run the Congress, nor is his party in charge of both branches. The reality is with a Republican led House, there isn't much he can get through Congress, so he has to negotiate with Republicans to get anything done.
      Secondly, he was "dealing" with Congress in that he had many meetings with Senators, and both he and Michelle were out across the country telling people to call their Senators. I even called my two Republican Senators, for all the good I knew it was going to do.
      Secondly the chained CPI is not a "massive benefits cut", and was put on the table to entice Republicans to deal.
      You forgot to mention that there was almost $600 billion in new revenues attached to it, and if you think there is one Republican in the Senate who is going to vote for higher taxes and for Obama's budget, I have a bridge to sell you.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:46:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  CPI is Huge to Populations Incapable of Adjusting. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue in NC, sunny skies, PhilW

        Change the tax rates for working people and they can do things to compensate. Once you're disabled or elderly it's outright theft, there's no ability to replace lost income.

        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 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:35:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's my take about President Obama (7+ / 0-)

        and the current governmental/legislative mess...

        The President is neither a wimp nor a shill, what he is, I believe, from listening to what he says and watching what he does is an idealist (in the most technical sense of that term) about government.

        He wants a functioning Senate with a working opposition, not an obstructive mob determined to monkey wrench the entire process. I think, even more than any individual piece of legislation or any singular political issue he sees as his greatest legacy trying to get back the government that was the inheritance the founders left us: a democracy with three branches that accounts for both the majority and the minority party the purpose of which is to govern in the interest of the general welfare.

        The point where I believe his assessments may be off are in the degree to which he reckons he can get this train of government back onto the tracks.  But it is important enough to him that he is willing to sacrifice a great deal for it.  For many progressives, who may not be as deeply invested in government qua government that may be too far.  

        He is very clearly a centrist Democrat in terms of policy goals and positions, and those who are expecting progressive paths from a Centrist are bound to be disappointed, unless they understand, as I long have, that progressivism always entails struggling with the forces of the status quo in all points across the political spectrum where they are located. But as a politician, a political leader and a statesman, he is most clearly an idealist about the structure and operation of government.  

        But it seems to me, this is the real difference, and I suspect it is one that many critics of Obama miss, in their push to attribute his failures to betrayal, or lack of "courage", or identification with the 1%.  

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:48:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The chained CPI debacle is failure...period. I (4+ / 0-)

        don't care why he did it or to what premise they were addressing it to even if some kind of crazy chess game that they thought they could win.

        Sure the Republicans are going to say no....but now they can run ad after ad in 2014 saying they voted no to stop the SS package Obama brought to the table with a big shiny bow.

        It should have never, ever, ever been offered.  We are the party that opposes all cuts to the big 3....all cuts, all the time.  That changed the day Obama brought it to the table with scissors.  We can no longer credibly say "we never would".  That is the real harm in what he did and millions of us know this.

        •  Not if the Democrats (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wintergreen8694

          in the Senate and the House stand against it, as many are promising to do- remember that the progressive caucus outnumbers the Blue Dogs in the House by a large margin.
          And then the Democrats can say that they stood up against their own president to "save" Social Security.
          Republicans will be left railing against Obama, who is not running for reelection.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:07:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's hope they do but when you even have Pelosi (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue in NC

            cheer leading for it, and others....it's kind of hard to say "oh well it was really all their fault".

            It should have never, ever been done...and no matter how many times we say "well he did it because...." changes that fact.

    •  LOL! Are you a troll? (0+ / 0-)
      before even opening negotiation
      Yeah! They JUST start budget negotiations, lol!

      You either were just born yesterday or slept through 2011/2012.

  •  MYT Magazine article on le Carré (12+ / 0-)

    One thing that struck me from the le Carré piece was this quote:

    ... Mussolini said that the definition of fascism was when you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between corporate power and government power.
    What does that say about the US now? What does it say about the Supreme Court justices who voted for Citizens United?

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:05:33 AM PDT

  •  Lucky Roth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx

    It looks like Roth had a better luck of the draw than I had at twelve with "Evil Evilson" Evensen and "Batso" Ballentyne....

    Imagine the creativity and individuality being bullied out of a kid who was just trying to invent what would be now called "Steam Punk" back during the Watergate Era by an old bat junior high home room teacher who had been coddled by tenture since everything was steam powered the first time around.

    If you're going to beat the creativity out of a kid, you better do a much more thorough job because I'm basing an evil alien overlord character on Ol' Batso.... >:)

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:10:31 AM PDT

  •  There may be civilizations all over the galaxy but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bfbenn

    we just can't 'see' them. We dont have the technology to detect a society like ours on another world, except indirectly and even then only if its very very close by indeed.
    Fermi's paradox is a problem if you think theres a UFP waiting out there, or the galaxy is set up like in a Heinlein novel or with Dyson spheres floating thru the ether. If FTL travel really isnt possible, or only for civilizations that survive a heck of a lot longer than any on Earth have managed, then there could be intelligent life everywhere and species still wouldnt bump into each  other very often.
    On a side note, sure would make for an interesting history if both planets in KEPLER 62 evolved intelligent technological life. Theyd certainly become aware of each other easily enough, and could visit each other just with old fashioned rockets. "HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL", as Heinlein would say.

    •  It's very, very rarely noted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catfood

      that with the universe around 14 billion years old, while the chances of there having been life on other planets is exceedingly high verging on near certainty, the chances that life advanced enough to be able to transmit and receive radio signals strong enough to travel the light years necessary to reach the next such life form, would not only emerge, but be able to transmit and receive long enough to be able to send and detect signals to and from a similar life form elsewhere, are exceedingly small. The relatively low odds of such an advanced life form developing, plus the vast distances and age of the universe, make our detecting such signals exceedingly small, verging on zero IMO.

      In fact, I'd argue that were we to ever detect such transmissions, we'd have detected them years ago. Either we have, and they're not telling us, or we likely never will. It's not that there isn't life elsewhere, but simply that the chances of detecting it via radio are next to nil.

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

      by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:44:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bon Temps, kovie, NearlyNormal

    this article makes crystal clear  Obama clearly had no idea how to "work the senate" three years ago, and seems to have learned nothing along those lines in the interim.

    So, in this case, Ms. Dowd * is * on to something with her comments

    •  I'd say that it's both (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694

      The NRA has a very tight lock on the senate, the house was likely to never go along anyway, AND Obama has never shown much interest or skill in working the senate. He governs through speeches, appointments and delegation, not hands-on. Getting his hands dirty is simply not his thing. He probably would have been a wonderful president during a time of relative peace, prosperity and bipartisanship (when frankly a 2x4 would have been a great president).

      E.g. during the 1820's. But the 2nd Era of Good Feelings this ain't. And the first one didn't come about until the Jeffersonians utterly crush the Federalists, a lesson Obama refuses to learn or acknowledge. Because it would be too risky, er, mean. Damn, there I go, with the hate again!

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

      by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:50:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the carbon tax should rebated back. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thea lake

    It is more important to get a carbon tax people support than to reduce the deficit.

    So take the carbon tax and rebate it back to citizens as a 2x check.

    They see the value of keeping the tax and it has some stimulus value as well.

    And the good guys who use less carbon are rewarded.

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:15:41 AM PDT

    •  Luckily, there won't be a carbon tax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lenzy1000, BlueEyed In NC

      The economy needs a carbon tax like a hole in the head.

      And the environmental conditions in the US seem to be doing better than expected, with emissions dropping to 20 year lows.

      You want a carbon tax?  Put a carbon tax on all goods from China (and India too)!  China accounts for 65% of increases in carbon emissions.  But us Americans loves us some cheap electronics, don't we?

      •  Nonsense (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles, Minnesota Deb, Laconic Lib

        We desperately need and could benefit from a carbon tax. What regurgitated CfG and ATR talking points are you smoking? We're the most undertaxed country on earth. Anyone doesn't like taxes, there's the border--use it.

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

        by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:35:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  one could say the same about liking taxes. (0+ / 0-)

          Like taxes?  I'll give you the names of any number of countries that will gladly tax you at the 50% level.

          But, you are wrong about carbon taxes.  We are already doing almost as much as we can in reducing emissions.  It would be extremely difficult to move away from carbon any faster without tanking the economy.

          And, at the expense of repeating myself - we are at 20 year lows in emissions.

          •  And why are we at these lows? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Minnesota Deb, Laconic Lib

            Gas taxes, gas prices, the economy, and regulations. It's not exactly rocket science economics to realize that punishing bad behavior tends to work, and that making offenders pay for external costs up front is a wonderful idea. If you have a beef with taxes, then you're on the wrong site.

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

            by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:59:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  only partly... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BvueDem

              Natural Gas prices have plummeted.

              It is now much more economical to convert coal plants to natural gas, rather than modifying those plants to meet emissions standards.  And why is that?  Fracking.

              So, it proves no tax is needed. Reward good behavior - i.e. tax credits for renewables.  And regulate coal emissions to the point where moving to natural gas is a sound economic decision.  No tax needed - no tax punishments - only tax rewards.

    •  Or maybe perhaps spend it on green energy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Minnesota Deb, Laconic Lib

      initiatives to give people an economically and practically viable alternative to carbon-based energy? The whole point of a carbon tax is to discourage the latter AND build up the former, not engage in supply-side economics.

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

      by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:37:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wouldn't get the non-green votes. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not talking about optimal, I'm talking practical.

        The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

        by NCJim on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:22:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are non-green votes? (0+ / 0-)

          Who is against green energy? Coal miners and oil workers? How many of those are there and do they really think that their line of work will exist forever and that they aren't killing people through it--including themselves?

          We need to stop playing defense and worrying about every special interest that might be upset with us. Politics is like making omelets.

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

          by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:36:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  An interesting hypothesis re: Fermi paradox (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, tardis10, dewtx

    was made by Cook in the July 1986 issue of Analog in an essay entitled, "The Long, Stern Chase."

    Cook speculates that there may be countless intelligent species out there, but 1) they may have evolved on cloud-cloaked planets and have not concept of an "out there" and 2) our species' evolutionary history as group trackers and hunters may have made us more inclined to go "out there," in our minds or however we can.

    Very thought-provoking piece.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:17:11 AM PDT

  •  le Carre (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    srkp23, NearlyNormal

    thank you for that link.  I've read everything he's written several times over.  My life has become wading through a slough of books looking for anything to entertain until le Carre gets his next one finished.  His only competition is Len Deighton.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:29:12 AM PDT

  •  Carnaki doing the senate no-votes one by one. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulibow, Heart of the Rockies
  •  Likes spaghetti, I don't know? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Gooserock, OhioNatureMom

    I used to read Maureen, seemed to be intelligent. Then a few years ago, maybe longer, who knows, she went on this extended trip to Italy. It was this endless blathering. I see someone quote an article, ever once in a while she's on topic but ever since that trip to Italy, it's just been endless blathering. I think journalists main problem are their "bosses" & instead of connecting to the new reality are wringing their hands, wringing their hands, wringing their hands, TYPE!
    I will forever LOVE Obama. I start with there has not been a President that has had more to deal with than this President. I'm sensitive so my heart & soul is going to be with Boston for the next few weeks out of a few years for Newton. I'm proud that this President is ON.
    I myself am going to remind people for however long it takes that the days after the Boston terrorist attack the repukes voted down background checks. The ABSURDITY! That the repukes are not going to have the uncertainty to twist & spin is a huge relief.
    The public is not as stupid as the stupid repukes. One of those weird things, stupid people think everyone else is stupid.
    We as Americans are stronger than they realize.

  •  Um, Maureen ... (10+ / 0-)

    911, 911, 911, Iraq war resolution, 911, 911, 911. Using emotion to push through legislation is not new. Bush's willingness to exploit the raw emotion of 911 to march us into an unnecessary war is possibly the best example ever of how effect that strategy can be. The difference here is Bush had the defense lobby in his corner. There was lots of money to be made. Mr. Obama did not have that advantage. The will of the people has been supplanted by the demands of the corporate state. That is what Dowd fails to see.

  •  How does MoDo keep her job? (8+ / 0-)

    The NRA owns the Senate. And no other outside force would ever sway them on gun-control. She must have written that shit on 4/20. Put the bong down!

    Welcome To The Disinformation Age!

    by kitebro on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:08:50 AM PDT

    •  By Doing What She's Hired to Do nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, catfood

      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 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:31:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The same way (6+ / 0-)

      Wolf Blitzer

      John King

      Tom Friedman

      David Brooks

      David Gregory

      Luke Russert

      Andrea Mitchell

      do.  They aren't really expected to be smart, or even accurate, they are simply expected to be read and/or listened to.

      And we do keep reading them, watching them, listening to them and quoting them.  If only to point out how stupid or how wrong they are.

      Before blogs and social media what they had to say defined the beginning and the end of public discourse.  Now they just define the beginning.  They are backdrop to a broader (not necessarily a better, but certainly a broader) public discourse.  So that's their job: giving us something to blather on about.  

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:19:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Roth (4+ / 0-)

    As a former teacher, this Roth mention has significance;

    Phillip Roth praises the home room teacher he had when he was twelve. Doesn't sound like something that would catch your attention? Did I mention it was Phillip Roth?
    My homeroom teacher at Lincoln High School in Bklyn was Arthur Miller's biology teacher-- and she never tired of telling stories about him.  In a small way, she felt as if she was connected to his greatness.  Successful students are the best accomplishment a teacher can have--should have--will have.  The accomplishment can be teaching a blind child to talk--a deaf one to sign--a shy child to interact.  My best success, that I know of, was coaxing a speech handicapped child to narrate a play to a large audience.  One of the best days in my life-- a great reason to be a teacher.  Why would anyone want to do anything else?

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:20:11 AM PDT

  •  On Fox, Peter King just advocated (7+ / 0-)

    limiting immigration to countries that don't have a terrorist presence.  I wonder if he's figured out he just excluded the Irish from immigrating.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:20:52 AM PDT

  •  "Maureen Dowd Had a Deeply Stupid Column" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Theston, indie17, Mark Sumner

    --Joan Walsh on MSNBC just now.

    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 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:30:51 AM PDT

    •  The raw idea (0+ / 0-)

      That the congress can not be motivated to defend citizens, or by the overwhelming opinion of the electorate, but must instead operate entirely as if "what's in it for me" includes no public accountability...

      If that's the system, the only thing that should concern us is how quickly we can burn it down.

    •  Keeps letting the GOP off the hook (0+ / 0-)

      The media just pushes blame on Obama and the GOP just keeps blocking, winning and laughing their heads off.

      BTW, this is the same mistake many readers and commenters here @ DK make, too.

      Everything is Obama's fault, it would seem.

  •  Coupled with rebates for investing in green energy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Miggles, Minnesota Deb

    that would offset it, couldn't we call it a "Green Energy Incentive" instead of a "Carbon Tax", to forestall the inevitable Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform attack ads? Americans hate taxes even though they love the things they pay for, but they like incentives. In any case, there was never a country in the history of the world that didn't tax its way to prosperity and health, nor was there ever a country that tax cut itself to either.

    Can we kill this anti-tax zombie already? It's eating our moran's braynes.

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

    by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:32:39 AM PDT

  •  The assholes resurface (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, indie17

    not that it that it takes much for these creeps to  poke their heads out of the muck. McCain, Graham, the new stooge who replaces the happily departed Lieberman, what's her name from New Hampshire and of course the man who loves a microphone more that his mom, Peter King.

    Speaking of assholes...
    A more important story about brothers this morning, on page one of the NYT, features the Koch Brothers now trying to buy the Chicago Trib, LA Times Hartford Courant, et al.

    Is President Obama the last moderate Republican?

    by al23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:37:43 AM PDT

  •  MoDo's an idiot, but..... (0+ / 0-)

    .....I think more big legislation moved when Rahm was COS.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:38:06 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Mark (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ditch Mitch KY, indie17, askew

    Ms. Dowd, like far too many pundits, has apparently missed the Republican record of the last few years.

    It's impossible to get someone to do anything when their default position is to say "No" to anything and everything even half way reasonable.

    The Republicans are not interested in the public good, only their own. I'd think that would be obvious by now. Apparently not.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:38:58 AM PDT

  •  Maureen Dowd's broken record (7+ / 0-)

    his a new low this morning. She has been harping on the theme that Obama doesn't know how to govern ad infinatum, ad nauseum. It is a theme she returns to repeatedly, whether or not it fits the facts.
    Her latest foray really boils down to this:
    The proposed back-ground check bill was extremely important to America's health and safety and should have passed. The President used his bully pulpit strongly but - she knows this- did not apply back room arm-twisting and horse-swapping to get recalcitrant legislators to fall in line. If the President would have only privately promised them something they wanted in return for their vote, background checks would have won.
    In otherwords, the President should sell out some other goal he wants (immigration reform? funding the Affordable Care Act?) in return for a vote that any simpleton in America would have known was the right one, as the 90% approval rating for the background check provision showed.
    Ms. Dowd has passed her expiration date as an insightful columnist and the Times should take her off the shelf.

    •  Maybe Obama should cast the Senate votes himself (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madronagal, Matt Z, Rooe
    •  Nah, she's absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe it will sink in eventually to all of the president's ardent supporters. When he doesn't want something all that badly, he doesn't pull out all the stops. It's beginning to look like he doesn't want a whole hell of a lot of anything really badly. Which is good because lame ducks usually aren't afforded many opportunities. He won't have too much to worry about.

      The President is a good man at heart. He's also good at giving speeches. He talks a good game. But when it's time for actual "doing" he comes up short. That's not hate. That's reality and figuring out how to set expectations for the next few years.

  •  Bill Daley said that? (0+ / 0-)

    Wonder what he's up to?

    When is Mark Kirk up for reelection?

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:42:34 AM PDT

  •  Start with expanding employment. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, Minnesota Deb, Paper Cup

    Then let's see how that affects everything else

    We’re trying to put America back on a sustainable growth track that will expand employment,
    That is among the most pathetic, dishonest pieces of shit that has ever come from Friedman.

    How about preventing Friedman from ever publishing anything again, or talking. That would radically reduce atmospheric carbon right there.

    Start with putting people back to work. Then figure out something for them to do that will help save our civilization for future generations. I. E. clean energy, 21st century infrastructure.

    How to prevent the radicalization of potential future terrorists? Hope for the future, AKA "Jobs.

    How to reduce the murder rate? Jobs.

    Deficit? Jobs.

    Jobs, jobs, jobs.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:46:35 AM PDT

  •  Wow. Thanks for the Roth link. (0+ / 0-)

    What a beautiful eulogy.  And 105...what a long life.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:47:54 AM PDT

  •  If Friedman has to quote George Shultz.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner, catfood

    ...he should realize his idea of republican realism is woefully out of date.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:47:59 AM PDT

  •  Maureen Dowd (0+ / 0-)

    is voicing the mainstream equivalent of McCain's "That one!", or Blazing Saddles' 'townspeople's "The ni- harrumph, I  mean sheriff."

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:49:07 AM PDT

  •  Dowd should blame Mitch McConnell (3+ / 0-)

    McConnell, Cruz, Paul, and all the other GOP Senate Asshats stopped the vote.

    NOTHING will get through Mitch's 60 vote threshold in the Senate.

    NOTHING.  

    Of course, I'm pissed that the Dems did not reform McC's Filibuster.
    But Dowd's NYT column today is a travesty.  

  •  heartbreaking... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    voicemail, wintergreen8694

    CBS Sunday morning, in closing a profile about the young Chinese graduate student who was killed said simply:

    She looked forward to falling in love
    To have your life taken before you ever have that experience...

    that's a hell of a metric, hmm?

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:24:00 AM PDT

  •  Too funny (0+ / 0-)

    Given all the problems touched on in your summary, the commenters focus their wisdom and wit on the discovery of two planets that could support life. I guess it is hard to focus on the one we know about that used to support intelligent life?

  •  Dowd acts like a dumbass (part MCCLXI). (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rini6

    But is she enough of a dumbass actually to believe what she wrote?  Can anyone possibly be that stupid?  Is Dowd also in the pay of the NRA, or did she choose to have a hate-on for the president?

    No, no one who can type complete sentences is that idiotic.  I'm forced to conclude that dishonesty is driving the stoopid.

    •  As if the senate and congress could be swayed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zizi

      by anything other than threats to their reelection or huge amounts of $$$$$..

      Obama appeals directly to the American public because we have the power to vote these scumbags out of office. They have huge special interest donors and have gerrymandered their districts so that they do not think that they are accountable to their constituents anymore. Let's prove them wrong.

      An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

      by rini6 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:45:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with her (0+ / 0-)

      She's not hating on the president. Merely pointing out that this was a situation where he could have done a lot more to further his agenda, and he didn't bother to do that for reasons only he knows. And after 4+ years it's a pattern.

  •  Dowd is an idiot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rini6, Rooe

    The quickest way to get republicans to vote on anything is to get Obama to call them personally for support. I really doubt Dowd believes her BS.

  •  If the Republicans can't win elections by limiting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    voter access, they will win elections by tying the govt. in so many knots that people will not give a damn about voting.

  •  Reflex (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minnesota Deb, wintergreen8694

    Dowd complains that Obama failed to work the Senate.
    Reminder to Maureen:
    1. What ever Obama supports the Repugnicans oppose.
    2.  Harry Reid has decided that a 60 vote super majority will be necessary to pass anything.

    "The skeleton in the closet is coming home to roost!" Tom Stoppard

    by Apotropoxy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:56:22 AM PDT

  •  To MoDo: (0+ / 0-)

    Incredibly, I think you are right. Tis is not a risk taking on the president. The GOP knows if they stand up to him, he will cave. Unfortunately, the Dems in both houses know that, too.

    To Ross Douthat: Your science is correct. we are finding billions of planets, many of which may be able to support life.  The problem with your query is simple. Intelligent life out there is certain to be searching for intelligent life elsewhere. As is seen in Senate, House, teaBugger, and all too often, within out White House, such life does not exist on earth.

    To Dana: your sound regretful. Yet, I recall how early on, you were cheering the teaBuggered bowel movement as something cleansing, unique, ground-breaking, even welcome. Unless you decided to change your mind. . .

    To Leonard: Actually, Rand DID do well, from his perspective. He even brought his written plan for decreasing unemployment among minorities. He labeled  it "To Serve Howard Grads"

    On page three, for example, there's a lovely dish with garlic and onion sauce . . . .

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:04:31 AM PDT

  •  President is not a Fuehrer (0+ / 0-)

    The Senate is not a place where all senators salute One Man at the front of the Room.
    This is going to be a struggle over several election cycles. Voters will have judge their members of Congress in primaries.
    As for North Dakota, it must be a state where private ownership of guns is popular, at least among politically active people there. How many voters in ND will be mad at Heidi Heitkamp in 2018 when she is up for re-election?

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:06:39 AM PDT

    •  A president eedn't be a fuehrer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrississippi, PhilW, Paper Cup

      there are well-established means within the American political system for a president to have his way with Congress. It remains within recent memory that a president could get not only from his own party, but half the opposition party as well, free rein and support for a policy of illegal, immoral and unnecessary invasion and occupation of  another nation.  The skillful use of ideological propaganda as by the Bush admin is one way.  The individualized attention to senators that the Johnson administration used is another.  There are yet more ways, the point remains the same.  Presidents can and do impose their sentiments on Congress.  

      Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:49:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the opposite end of the spectrum (0+ / 0-)

        we had the spectacle of George W. Bush ramming his evil agenda through the Congress again and again and again. Senate Democrats wrung their hands and bemoaned the fact that they didn't have a 2/3 majority to stop any of it. But now they've got a president from their own party, the nominal opposition doesn't have a 2/3 majority and they STILL can't get anything done.

        As far as I'm concerned, fillibuster reform is no substitute for having a spine.

  •  90% have the power (0+ / 0-)

    If 90% of the American voting public believe in background checks for gun sales, then those 90% need to remember, come election day, that they have the power to elect Senators and Members of Congress who will vote the correct way on this issue. It doesn't take a President sucking up to Congress to get it done.

  •  Thankyou (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you thank you for commentary on some subjects not including Boston or gun legislation!

    You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

    by mstep on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:38:55 AM PDT

  •  Methinks MoDo has been (0+ / 0-)

    eating lunch with Friedman and Brooks again. Never turns out good.

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:23:41 AM PDT

  •  Bravo to Mr. Pitts for being the only columnist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner, wintergreen8694

    to call out Rand Paul for his ridiculous premise of being either "brave and crazy" to speechify at Howard U.

    No one else has had the guts to reject that insulting opening statement. I'm surprised the kids didn't get up and walk out right then.

  •  Haha! Wait...really? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrississippi, Paper Cup
    Somehow I had the idea that Congress was there to represent the people, and that when 90 percent of the people want something, it's shouldn't be on the president to make it happen. I had no idea that only the president was accountable to the public.
    You actually really believe that the US federal government works like they taught you in 9th grade civics class?  You genuinely really believe that?  And you're how old?

    Let me point something out to you.  FDR didn't believe that.  JFK and certainly LBJ didn't believe that.  Ronald Reagan and Dick Cheney knew better than that.  Harry Truman said "the buck stops here."  And yet, as a front-pager for DailyKos, you reptresent the leading voices of American "progressivism" today.  If you tru;ly believe that nonsense, and aren't just spewing smokescreens for the failures of the Obama administration, then it suddenly becomes crystal clear why American progressives always lose on everything.  Totally clueless on how things really work is not a formula for getting your ends accomplished.  (That is, of course, to the degree that advancing "progressive causes" are the ends of American progressives, which is an entirely separate topic.)

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:52:21 AM PDT

    •  I wouldn't have said it quite the same (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilW, Paper Cup

      but I agree with you. The idea that the President can't or doesn't have the political capacity to bend Congress is ridiculous. Doing so has a COST politically, i.e., there is a limited capability to do so on the President's part, but that's not to say it doesn't exist.

      Obama has acted thus far as the only use of this power on his part is to introduce difficult ideas---health care reform, gun control. And then he promptly starts showing his cards in an effort to pass something.

      I'm convinced Obama could have been a truly great President in a different time with a different form of opposition. But he's been hamstrung from the beginning as a conciliator in an age of hatemongers.

  •  LBJ lost the South and knew it (0+ / 0-)

    For all his superior skills at legislative sausage making, when LBJ signed the Civil Rights act in 1964, he said this means that the Democrats would lose the South for 50 years. He was spot on, and we are only now--because of demographic changes--beginning to get it back.

    Obama may recognize this, and be playing a long game, knowing that no gun control, and, maybe, no immigration reform, are poison to the Republican brand when it comes to the voters.

    Arguably, Obama is the greatest president since FDR--if not greater-- and greater than LBJ. I know this is a contrarian view, but both FDR and LBJ (to a lesser extent) had large compliant majorities.

    Neither of these great legislative meisters could pass health care reform.

    But Obama got it passed dragging it across the finish line with the legislature kicking and screaming and trying to hold it back.

    History will be the judge of this transformative president who has helped finish the business of the New Deal, and put the Republicans in the wilderness for years to come.

    (I wonder what mean thing BHO had said to thin-skinned Maureen to hurt her feelings so badly.)

    •  LBJ got unpopular laws passed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilW

      LBJ got civil rights and school integration done when people were still saying that got hates racial intermarriage.

      Let's see Obama get a real gun bill passed before we start making comparisons.

      "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

      by agoldnyc on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:17:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding Maureen... (0+ / 0-)

    We just need to keep in mind that everything looks different from Maureen's perspective.

    Y'know, head up her ass and all.

  •  deficit reduction based on false research (0+ / 0-)
    Reinhart and Rogoff (R&R) are the authors of the widely acclaimed book on the history of financial crises, This Time is Different. .... The moral is to make sure the debt-to-GDP ratio does not get above 90%.
    But they got their numbers wrong.
    This is a big deal because politicians around the world have used this finding from R&R to justify austerity measures that have slowed growth and raised unemployment.
    If facts mattered in economic policy debates, this should be the cause for a major reassessment of the deficit reduction policies being pursued in the United States and elsewhere.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:14:16 AM PDT

  •  Everything is Obama's Fault (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, greenotron

    As soon as Obama took office in 2009, pundits, Lefties, the MSM, has suddenly decided that everything wrong in Washington is Obama's fault.

    This latest bit of ridiculousness from MoDo is just more of the same.

    Obama has no control of the filibuster and the actions of a political party that has no interest in legislating and thinks that Obama is an illigimate POTUS and citizen.

    To let the Congress and GOP off the hook like the way that she has is complete hackery.

  •  Maureen Dowd is spot on (0+ / 0-)

    You're the President. You've got the public on your side and the bully pulpit. You've got a 2nd term mandate. It's up to you to figure out how to get your agenda through a recalictrant Senate where your party holds the majority.

    The president bears a large share (not all) of the blame here. Maureen Dowd has it exactly right.

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