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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)(L), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) leave the weekly Senate Republican meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 26, 2013.  REUTERS/Jason Reed
It's time to take their power away.
This is just how broken our government is.
WASHINGTON — John Kerry is practically home alone at the State Department, toiling without permanent assistant secretaries of state for the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa. At the Pentagon, a temporary personnel chief is managing furloughs for 800,000 civilian employees. There has not been a director of the Internal Revenue Service since last November, and it was only on Thursday that President Obama announced a nomination for commerce secretary after the job was open for nearly a year. [...]

The White House faults an increasingly partisan confirmation process in the Senate and what officials say are over-the-top demands for information about every corner of a nominee’s life. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew received 444 questions from senators before his confirmation, more than the seven previous Treasury nominees combined, according to data compiled by the White House. Gina McCarthy, Mr. Obama’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, got 1,000 questions from the Senate, White House officials said. [...]

But members of Congress and a number of agency officials say the bottleneck is at the White House, where nominees remain unannounced as the legal and personnel offices conduct time-consuming background checks aimed at discovering the slightest potential problem that could hold up a confirmation. People who have gone through the vetting in Mr. Obama’s White House describe a grueling process, lasting weeks or months, in which lawyers and political operatives search for anything that might hint at scandal.

There's no one in the top embassy security and counterterrorism posts in the State Department right now, but what are key Republican senators obsessing about? Not making sure that there's actually someone in charge of embassy security, but creating a scandal and conspiracy theories about a Benghazi cover-up. Which was a failure of embassy security. Sigh.

It's not hard to see why President Obama has allowed Republican obstruction to grind the nomination process to a halt. An already risk-averse White House is going to try to avoid giving any ammunition to Republicans, which means a long, drawn-out vetting process for every nominee. On the judiciary front, Republicans have even stopped participating in putting forward qualified nominees. At a certain point, you can see the White House saying "why bother, why make nominations a priority?" How many nominees can you put through the frustration of a months, or even years-long wait in the Senate. How many nominees can be piled up in the Senate, waiting for action?

On the other hand, President Obama could make this a real fight. He could put forward nominations for every single vacancy and then make daily noise about how those nominees are being blocked by Republicans, and how that is making government not function. And blame it, every single day, on the Republicans. The only thing that will make Republicans stop their obstruction is if they have to pay a bigger political price for it. And the only way to make them pay that price is by shining a bright light on how destructive they are.

Well, that and real filibuster reform. And that's where a major fight over nominations could help, too, by making them a top priority and forcing the issue with the Democrats in the Senate. Because it is within their power to stop the obstruction.

Please send an email to your Democratic senator(s) telling them to re-open filibuster reform so that we can have a functioning Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He could do that, but then the (21+ / 0-)

    Republicans would haz a sad.

    "Timidity" is a very descriptive term.

  •  He Really Couldn't Do Those Kinds of Things. (30+ / 0-)

    He's not a leader; as others have pointed out, he's a consensus builder,  and he's deeply  committed to that. I don't know if he even has the skills or talents of a leader.

    Just because our nation needs something doesn't mean we get it. Many times in the past, just the leader we needed was nowhere to be found.

    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 Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:43:16 AM PDT

    •  Oh, I think he's got the skills (24+ / 0-)

      Two winning presidential campaigns in extreme and contentious circumstances suggest he's more than just a carnival barker.

      The skills are there, the desire is not.  

      I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

      by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit. Utter, pure, unadulterated bullshit. (12+ / 0-)

      As Troubador said he is not the asshole whisperer.

      Some people just like to watch the world burn and the GOP are serial arsonists.

      There is nothing Obama can do to "lead" such a group of fuck ups

      Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:09:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is precisely why Mr. Obama should give up (42+ / 0-)

        even trying to "lead" the Thugs...

        and begin to threaten them instead.

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

        by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:12:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed. (14+ / 0-)

          But it would require the President to find the courage of his convictions--along with some high-level convictions--and that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

          I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

          by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:20:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It really seems that he sees bipartisan consensus (14+ / 0-)

            as worthwhile for its own sake, not as a tactic to achieve political goals. He may well view "comity" as the highest possible good.

            The problem with that approach is that its desired endgame is a peaceful body politic, rather than a healthy one.

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

            by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:30:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's hard to believe someone that intelligent (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BroadwayBaby1, Mr Robert

              Is that determinedly stupid, but it's a possibility.

              My perspective is that the President dislikes gridlock to the extent it keeps him from trying to save corporatism from itself, but not to the extent that it keeps him from fighting corporatism, since he himself is manifestly a dedicated corporatist.

              The idea in some parts that the President is either a victim of Wall Street, etc., or their hired man, is puzzling to me.  He never needed to be intimidated or bought.  He wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the Presidency if he had.

              That's who he is.  He's not just one of them, he's the leader of the liberal faction of "them".  Apart from issues of political hygiene, gridlock is a tool to extend the interests of his and the Democratic party's patrons.

              I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

              by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:53:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  wouldn'cha just love to see his full hand? (0+ / 0-)

                "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:17:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've already seen it. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

                  by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:42:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So. You're that certain? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Deep Texan

                    You've seen all the cards?

                    What about Matthew 7:1?

                    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                    by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:52:39 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There is a difference between using your judgment (0+ / 0-)

                      And being judgmental.  I take Matthew 7:1 to be about being judgmental, not simply using one's head.

                      Is there another perspective you had in mind?  

                      I'd also like to know what significant cards you think are up the President's sleeve, which is what you seem to be implying.  

                      I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

                      by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:07:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  well, if I had actually seen ALL the cards (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Deep Texan

                        the president has been dealt, then there might be cause for judgment (even in the biblical sense)

                        but I haven't

                        and neither have you

                        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                        by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:12:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Like what? (0+ / 0-)

                          We don't know ever single "card" there is, so we can't point out what's in front of our eyes?

                          Is there, for example, some big secret "card" that changes a friend of big money into a friend of the working person?  

                          ?????

                          I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

                          by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:29:00 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  Herbert Hoover was an extremely intelligent (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ferg, ichibon, MrJayTee, PhilJD

                man of very humanitarian intentions who was intellectually hamstrung by his ideology.  PBO's ideology is less obvious because it's the intellectual ocean that almost all the Beltway and media VSP's swim in -- bipartisan neo-liberal capitalism.  (Hell, he apparently even takes Friedman & Bobo seriously.  What does THAT tell you?). As he himself has said, his policies are basically those of an old-fashioned moderate Republican.  So is his ideology.  What you get is what he sees through those ideological spectacles, even if they sometimes seem to be invisible.  

                "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

                by Oliver St John Gogarty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:59:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  oh, so then we're not questioning his courage (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              or his convictions, either/or

              afterall

              "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

              by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:15:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think that Obama (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MrJayTee

            does have the courage of his convictions.  The problem is what his convictions actually are.

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:05:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I have gotten what I want easier and quicker (10+ / 0-)

          historically, when I have pounded my fist on a table, raised my voice and become threatening ("Do this or I will come across this desk and pull out your teeth with my fingers" I told one man who promptly gave me waht was mine to begin with.)

        •  Hard to do when they are your most important (5+ / 0-)

          constituent.  I mean he wouldn't treat those in his own party badly.  (Ahem)

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

          by accumbens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:07:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Like this (10+ / 0-)
          On the other hand, President Obama could make this a real fight. He could put forward nominations for every single vacancy and then make daily noise about how those nominees are being blocked by Republicans, and how that is making government not function. And blame it, every single day, on the Republicans. The only thing that will make Republicans stop their obstruction is if they have to pay a bigger political price for it. And the only way to make them pay that price is by shining a bright light on how destructive they are.

          When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

          by msmacgyver on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:13:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Uhh.. that would be leadership (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, JVolvo

          fighting for something and threatening to win is part of leading.

          We have a president floating through history hoping he doesn't have to make any hard decisions.  See: Syria for a perfect example.

        •  Exactly,a (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert, tb mare, 3goldens, JVolvo

          We are not talking about leadership here, more like having a will to resist.  I'm not sure Obama has what it takes for that.  Too busy being nice to everyone I guess.  Unfortunately, in life there are times when one can't be nice to everyone and expect to get anything of importance done.

          Perhaps he is just biting his tongue just a little longer and letting the tension build, so that he can really whip up the fervor with a round the nation campaign in 2014.  If so, then he better hurry up and start spending his time 1) building the democratic warchest and 2) figuring out ways to block and make the life of republican politicians as difficult as possible, as time is rapidly running out.

          But honestly, with this new Justice Department Plan B request for retrial and the foot dragging on the Washington and Colorado Marijuana issues, and now the failure to make noise about the embassy security post in the face of the faux Benghazi crisis and I know longer have a clue as to what is actually behind the inertia in the White House.  Maybe a secret deal is in the works and soon we will all be sold downriver.

          If its this bad a few months into his second term, just think of what its going to be like after 2012, when the GOP smells blood in the water.

        •  Yeah, He Should Take Them Hunting And Shoot Their (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ, NedSparks

          Faces off, right?

          Seriously, what should he threaten them with?

          Politicized DOJ investigations? What?

          This belief that Obama has some magic power to issue threats that will force the GOP to do his bidding is truly infantile.

          This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music

          by Beetwasher on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:00:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Threaten with what? (0+ / 0-)

          IRS audits or the like?  They'd immediately tell Politico, the msm would bash the president for "abuse of power", and the threatened repub would vote against the president and be praised in his district or state for standing up to WH dirty tactics.  This ain't the 60s anymore.  Threats not only don't work, they actually backfire and do more harm than good.

          If the threat you have in mind is the president personally campaigning against them tm their districts, well that won't work because they come from ruby red districts that hate the President's guts.

        •  Indeed, what happened to the bully pulpit? (0+ / 0-)

          If all this timidity is due to Obama schmoozing with one group of dickhead republican senators after another and his attempt to score a grand bargain, and he doesn't want to sour relations (yeah, like none of them wouldn't cut Obama's throat in a heartbeat, politically speaking), then it's inexusable.

      •  Ministry of Truth (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, Nada Lemming, MeToo, anonevent

        Though, oddly, the expression could have come from Troubadour, too.

        I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

        by MrJayTee on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:17:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  or Booman (5+ / 0-)

        Knowing What is Broken

        summarized (my bold):

        Of all the things that are broken in our political system, the president cannot be counted as one of them. He's the one thing we've got going for us. His administration isn't perfect but it is performing as it should.  His agenda is broadly popular and reflective of the will of the people who elected him.

        You want to know what is wrong in Washington? Look elsewhere. Look at the gerrymander. Look at the state of campaign finance reform. Look at what right-wing media has done to the brains of millions of Americans. Look at Mitch McConnell's strategy of no, and John Boehner's inability to strike a deal that his own caucus will back. Look at any number of things. Presidential leadership is not the issue.

        ... too "centrist" for many, no doubt

        oh, & Booman included a good chart in that diary also

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:11:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  an agenda is meaningless if it is never (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bdop4, Mr Robert, 3goldens, JVolvo

          instituted.  Republicans are playing that game.  Use it against them.

          Oh...btw-Booman doesn't have a good track record...check the analysis of the sequester in real time after int passed on 2011.  It isn't pretty.

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

          by justmy2 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:32:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well y'know, that may be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan

            I'm not always 100% behind MoT either, but he sure smacked the nail on the head here

            goes without saying, nobody gets it right every single time - even krugman wavered early-on about c'CPI

            "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

            by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:35:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Booman makes some good points (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ, Deep Texan, Nannyberry

          But after Sen. Toomey's latest confession of the  GOP agenda,  something clicked for me the way it never clicked before.

          It isn't just  that the Repubs want to sabotage Obama's progressive ideas.  So  much policy that Obama has pushed  for had Repub  authorship on it anyway.  And it isn't that they want to prevent Obama from having another term - he can't have a third term.

          There is a dark skinned man in the White House.  There is a man in the Whiite House that wants social justice for people of color, LGBT and others.

          The Repubs HAVE to pull out all stops to shred Obama's credibility and legacy.  If history writes the dominant narrative of the Obama presidency as an intelligent man of color who not only governed as leader of the free world but did it far better than his predecessors, their bubble world implodes.  Their "natural  order of things" disappears.

          Better to destroy the country in the hopes they can retake power in the chaos than admit the fear, hate and ignorance they nurture in their hearts.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:45:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess my point is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ, Deep Texan

            We as liberals should not underestimate the forces that Obama is up against.  This is primal stuff that hasn't seen this level of expression since the period before the Civil War.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:55:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure that I ever underestimated it, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, JVolvo

              but it sure as hell looks like PBO did.  Don't ask for as large an initial stimulus as is needed to really get the job done because you can always go back and get more later if the first proves not to be sufficient?  Are you shitting me?

              "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

              by Oliver St John Gogarty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:51:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  um...with all due respect (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan, Satya1

                "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:26:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know ANYONE (0+ / 0-)

                that  predicted the extent of blocking Repubs have been willing to do or the extent of damage to this country the Repubs have been willing to inflict.  This has gone way beyond the Gingrich shutdown.  Early during Obama's administration the prevailing CW among progressive analysts seemed to me to be that the Repubs wouldn't go there again.  

                There might be some predictions on the right, after all it is something they're open to and even planned on to some extent.  One can find websites on the right that are promoting far worse.

                I know that is a popular view of the stimulus at DK, but I never bought into all the elements that led to that conclusion.  Looking at Sybil's link below it looks like I am not the only one.

                I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                by Satya1 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 03:27:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely. "black-man-in-white-house" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ, Deep Texan, Satya1

            that was never gonna fly with those people

            We pretty much knew that after the republicans
            plotted their obstructionist strategy before Obama's first inauguration ceremonies were even over.

            Nevertheless, we-the-people elected him, duly elected him, not once, but twice.

            "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

            by Sybil Liberty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:25:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh we knew it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DSPS owl

              but the depths of the amount of destruction and hardship they are willing to unleash on the American people?  The unprecedented dept ceiling hostage crisis?  The sequester?  The solid brick wall on appointments?  Nullification in some states?  The eagerness of Repub pols to turn their back on the wishes of their constituents on gun safety?  All the impact that has on people struggling to get by during the worst financial crisis in 70+ years?  

              Where does it stop and what limit will they reach before they begin to work for the country's welfare?

              I wonder if what they want is armed confrontation among citizens in the street.  They're  pushing every fear button the right has and goading them to buy more and more arms.  And it will be "Obama's fault".

              I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

              by Satya1 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 03:09:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That's right. (4+ / 0-)

          It's all the Republicans fault.  President Obama and the Democrats have absolutely zero responsibility for the debacle that passes for politics these days.

        •  Wrote a diary on their other prime tactic. (4+ / 0-)

          Don't fund it.

          Unfunded: Panel on Health Care Workforce to Meet ACA Care

          One of the biggest threats to the success of President Obama’s health care law comes from shortages of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. But a 15-member commission created to investigate the problem has never met in two and a half years because it has no money from Congress or the administration. Emphasis added
          The commission was created by the 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has requested $3 million for the panel in each of the last two years, and some Democrats, like Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on health, have supported the request.
          But, Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to provide money for anything connected with the law, which they opposed. Emphasis added
          Cuz, we all know throwin' money - AKA, Tax Payer Dollars- will not solve a problem. Only certified, for profit dollars will solve Any Problem.

          I just wish 99.14% of the billionaires would follow Zuckerman, Gates and Turner's philanthropic largesse. Maybe we could solve unemployment, health care bankruptcy, foreclosures, hunger, gun violence, climate change, teen pregnancy rates, increasing suicide rates, bullying, rape, discrimination...

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:52:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, but he could attack them relentlessly. Of (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boogalord, mcmom, MrJayTee, 3goldens, JVolvo

        course, then he'd lose the respect of those whose opinion he apparently values--you know, like those towering public intellectuals like Tom Friedman and Bobo.  Jaysus wept!  

        "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

        by Oliver St John Gogarty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:18:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for reminding us that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, 3goldens

        President Obama can do absolutely nothing except continue to try to negotiate with people who don't want to negotiate.

      •  kind of the point many of us have been making (0+ / 0-)

        for about 5 years now...

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

        by justmy2 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:29:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  this argument became stale years ago (7+ / 0-)

        he's been playing patty-cake with the Republicans who want nothing more than to cut his throat. instead of picking them out of the gutter in 2008, dusting them off and legitimizing their worldview as something to compromise over, he should denounce them and their actions daily and whip the Democrats into the solid voting majority that they are.

        the alternative to that, is, well, what we've got right now. adoption of conservative policies, accepting their framework of looking at things and total capitulation.

        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

        by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:31:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sadly this appears to be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert, 3goldens

          the defining characteristic of the Obama presidency, which appears to mean that that progressive and liberals will finally only get what they want from the Obama administration when they decide to abandon him and start turning their attention to building and investing in their own leaders.  Seems ironic, but evidently this is how the game must be played in order to illicit a response.

        •  He made a huge mistake at the very beginning by (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, DSPS owl

          not fighting for a larger stimulus when most of his economic advisors told him the one he eventually proposed was going to be too small to kick the economy back into a truly healthy recovery.  Instead of saying, "This is what is needed" and then laying the blame on R.'s when they refused to vote for as much as he said was needed, he started out by proposing only what he thought enough R.'s would go for without a big fight.  Then when the actual stimulus he had proposed worked only to the extent that his advisors had predicted, of course the R.'s wouldn't give him any more stimulus and stuck him with responsibility for the anemic recovery.  And the 2010 debacle came.  Maybe he should' e studied FDR and Truman more and Neville Chamberlain less.  

          "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

          by Oliver St John Gogarty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:09:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would hold a press conference every Friday (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, jds1978, 3goldens, PhilJD

        and go over the ridiculous GOP shit that transpired that week. I would outline the clear consequences of GOP obstruction and how it affects the daily lives of Americans.

        I would also take every possible unilateral action that can be performed by the POTUS to make these mofos' lives as miserable as possible.

        The media loves a good fight and I would give them one.

    •  this is really Reid's problem (8+ / 0-)

      Granted, Obama could be trying a bit harder, but the problem is the broken Senate, and the Senate is broken because Reid and the Democrats voted the rules to keep it broken.

      •  Would Reid have resisted a clear statement (8+ / 0-)

        by Mr. Obama that he expected the Senate to modify the filibuster rules?

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

        by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:34:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  he still needed the votes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          msmacgyver

          neither Obama nor Reid have that kind of power.

          -You want to change the system, run for office.

          by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:51:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, they don't have the power to *force* votes. (5+ / 0-)

            Mr. Obama however has proven to be adept at bringing Dems on board when the outcome matters to him; see for example his plane ride with Dennis Kucinich during ACA.

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

            by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:56:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Kucinich believed the legislation was better (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ferg

              than nothing.

              that's that.  it's not the same with the filibuster. there are too many Dems who do not want to change the rules.

              and that's that.

              -You want to change the system, run for office.

              by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:01:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wow! you know how each Dem Senator (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aunt Martha, bdop4, MrJayTee, 3goldens, JVolvo

                would have voted on the filibuster rules change, even if intense pressure had been exerted at the highest levels of Democratic Party leadership?

                Your mind-reading talents are wasted on this blog.

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

                by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:14:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  you are naive to think anybody (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ginny in CO

                  has enough on the leaders to make them bend on any issue.

                  some of them have been in government longer than Obama has been an adult.

                  -You want to change the system, run for office.

                  by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:19:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So let's see... We're frequently reminded (4+ / 0-)

                    that Congress not the President enacts legislation (although the President does deserve the lion's share of credit for the passage of anything we like)...

                    We're informed that the commander-in-chief of our nation's military lacks the authority to close a naval base...

                    We're reminded that there is no bully pulpit...

                    Now, apparently, Mr. Obama can't even use the weight of his office and his own considerable powers of persuasion to sway a handful of Democratic votes...

                    What exactly does this President guy do, anyway?

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

                    by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:29:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you should have learned this a long time ago (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tony Situ
                      Article II of the U.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president and charges him with the execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances.[8] Since the founding of the United States, the power of the president and the federal government have grown substantially[9] and each modern president, despite possessing no formal legislative powers beyond signing or vetoing congressionally passed bills, is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of his party and the foreign and domestic policy of the United States.
                      Since there is no formal legislative powers, it's up to congress.  Presidents have had different levels of success depending on the congress.

                      whining about government without even understanding the inner workings is not productive.

                      -You want to change the system, run for office.

                      by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:33:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  i understand the R's were beaten and deeply (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bdop4, Aunt Martha, 3goldens, JVolvo, PhilJD

                        unpopular in 2008, and then they proceeded to run roughshed over Obama for the rest of his term, endlessly shoveling shit in his face as he continually watered-down progressive policy to "bring them to the table".

                        there's no need to be condescending. we all understand the President doesn't make laws. but if you look at GWB and you look at Obama, it's pretty obvious that there's a vast difference in how the parties use the power of the office, and i'm talking outside of national security, because really, they're both pretty much the same in that respect.

                        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                        by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:43:24 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  they used the power they had (0+ / 0-)

                          we did similar during Bush iirc.  

                          just no where as bad.

                          there's no need to be condescending.
                          there is no need to be hyperbolic and spread bullshit that isn't true.  especially if you claim to know how our government works.  

                          we didn't have 60 votes in the senate long enough to get something done.  you know that.  we all know that.

                          -You want to change the system, run for office.

                          by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:51:53 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  if the Dems hadn't helped kneecap (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            3goldens, JVolvo, PhilJD

                            filibuster reform we wouldn't have needed 60 votes to get something done.

                            you know that. we all know that.

                            Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                            by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:20:55 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the filibuster reform bills (0+ / 0-)

                            wouldn't have prevented filibusters. in fact forcing republicans to filibuster live could have had the opposite effect than what we anticipated.

                            none of the proposals would have ended republican obstructionism.

                            and that's that.  you can blame Dems or you can blame the real culprits.  

                            your choice.

                            -You want to change the system, run for office.

                            by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:26:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  how do you figure? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            3goldens, JVolvo

                            forcing the R's to filibuster live, with the cameras on them for all the bills they do it to, would do so much more to paint the GOP as obstructionists and the Dems as "the adult in the room" as so many "pragmatists" insist is the true path to victory.

                            filibuster reform would not have done away with the filibuster, but would make the filibuster process more visible to the general public. so, instead of the story being being Manchin-Toomy bill was killed by turncoat ConservaDems worth nothing to any self-respecting "liberal" party, it could have been plain to see that it was filibustered by some dumbass Republican congressman talking stupid on the floor for hours.

                            i have not the faintest fucking clue how you think "it could have the opposite effect that we wanted" but it is pretty illustrative of how your knee-jerk reaction to any kind of fight on the part of Dems is "it might not work so we shouldn't do it!"

                            are you afraid that live Republican filibusters would be devastating displays of effective Republican speechmaking? or.... something?

                            Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                            by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:49:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  could have went that way (0+ / 0-)

                            or could have went the way of Rand's filibuster.

                            however, that doesn't mean we would have won the votes.

                            get my point? winning the votes for the legislation you want is all it's about.

                            -You want to change the system, run for office.

                            by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:06:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Rand Paul filibustered Obama's drone policy (0+ / 0-)

                            way to leave out all of the context. i'm going to assume you're deathly afraid of the cutting Republican filibuster oration we would have had to endure on the Manchin-Toomey bill. surely it would have all blown up in our faces.

                            you really aren't in favor of the Dems taking any political risks, ever, are you? why are you so obsessed with the idea of complete conservative dominance over liberal ideas? because Fox News says mean things so that makes it "reality"? it's sad.

                            Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                            by Boogalord on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:47:10 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  I've heard (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      3goldens

                      the dinners are nice and there's always Camp David.

                  •  The length of time was very evident in (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Deep Texan, 3goldens, JVolvo

                    that charade. It was the old timers that could not deal with the reality of the 21st Century bringing evil CHANGE to their beloved Senate Chamber. Uppity young dude would get schooled even if he was white. Oh, yeah, like Clinton was.

                    Which is part of the reason we do not need Hilary in '16. I am about to explode over the glorification of ANOTHER DLC CENTRIST to be the nominee for some of the most critical years this country has ahead.

                    If Obama doesn't stop the Fossil Fuel Train, HRC sure isn't likely to go there - nor as far and fast in a different direction we will need to.

                    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                    by Ginny in CO on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:04:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i know but i would like to elect Hillary (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ginny in CO

                      just to stick it to the republicans.  they got three terms of Bush.

                      -You want to change the system, run for office.

                      by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:36:07 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Heh, one way of looking at it. (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm OK with making  them sweat and pee the pants. Then get someone really awesome out there. True revenge for the Bushes would be any kind of legal action for the crimes. (If that happens, I will pass out.)

                        Electing a less than effective and minimally progressive person is the 90's mentality. The 21st century is much different. If we don't deal with that, the generations being born are going to have ugly lives.

                        I was impressed with Hilary taking on health care, until I found out how poorly she did it. I chalked it up to a learning experience, also had to watch my patients (and now me) pay for it over 2 decades. There are good things, definitely. She's strongest in wonk aspects, not exceptional. Not enough vision. Way too embedded with the DLC support for an economic structure that won't seriously address the flaws generated and maintained by the 1%. The fight to return wealth distribution that promotes the general welfare and national security is going to be dirty and brutal.  She won't go there.

                        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                        by Ginny in CO on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:14:26 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  No but they do have the power (0+ / 0-)

              to make life absolutely miserable for republicans to continue with the obstructionism they are now engaged in.  Its not as if two can't play that game, especially when one controls the Senate and the White House.

              Use the sequestration to start mucking up the comfort of the Senators and you will begin to see progress.  You saw the results when they were inconvenienced by the aspects of sequestration when the FAA was going to cut air traffic controllers that would keep their planes delayed on the tarmack.  

              My sense is that the democratic leadership isn't so much interested in leadership as it is in its own comfort and convenience as well.   We need a wholesale revolution at the base of the party apparatus to get their attention.  New party rules on creature comforts permissible for leaders in the party.

          •  Well, how about trying? (6+ / 0-)

            I'm not one to give an "A" just for trying, but failing without trying is unforgivable.

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

            by accumbens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:10:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  they did try (0+ / 0-)

              they couldn't get the votes.

              and that was that.

              -You want to change the system, run for office.

              by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:13:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "and that was that" (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                accumbens, bdop4, JVolvo, MrJayTee, PhilJD

                my that's a quaint phrase you've got there.

                could have prosecuted the bankers and made sure Dodd-Frank had teeth, but there was opposition. and that was that.

                could have pushed the public option on ConservaDems the way he's pushing CCPI on progressives, but he shot it in the backroom instead. And that was that.

                could have not pivoted to the deficit like the R's wanted.... but he did. and that was that.

                Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:40:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  It never ceases to amaze me (0+ / 0-)

            how Obama's defenders like to argue that Obama is all-powerful (11 dimension chess) but also has no power (it's all Congress' fault!), depending, of course, on which argument suits their interests at the time.

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:10:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Reid needs to be replaced by a (6+ / 0-)

          Blue State senator who doesn't have to continually look at the polls back home.

          When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

          by msmacgyver on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:16:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'd really like to know the back-story (6+ / 0-)

        on that one.  Do Reid and Obama work together---or is it "every one for him-/herself"?  I find the opaqueness of their working relationship rather odd.  In most administrations, and given the amount of time they've had to work together, the relationship between these two men would be well-known.  I have no idea if they ever talk one-on-one; if they ever strategize together on how to deal with the Republicans in the Senate.  I would think that would be a priority for both men.  Surely both of them had to realize that if they wanted to have any legislative victories, they HAD to revise the filibuster rules.  By not doing so, Reid essentially doomed anything Obama wanted to get accomplished.  That just seems very strange to me.  They are in the same Party, after all.  All I can think is WTF?!  What's the barrier(s) between the two of them?

        "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

        by 3goldens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:58:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This has always puzzled me as well (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, ferg, Mr Robert, JVolvo

          There seems to be no relationship at all.

          Perhaps learning politics in Chicago and Illinois is to blame.  Winning and losing is preordained.  So you only fight fake battles you know you will win.  There is almost no give and take in Illinois politics, especially in Chicago and Cook County.

        •  One I saw was that when Harry couldn't (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, JVolvo, MeToo

          get a deal on the December financial crisis, Biden started working the Senate and came up with it. Whether Harry just didn't put enough effort into the filibuster change because of that, or because of his age, devotion to the Senate TRADITION, plus long friendships with other senior members of the club, we won't be able to guess until different versions of it come out in tell all books.

          Mostly, I just want Harry to chose his golden retirement, soon.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:14:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep---I'm with you about Harry. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MeToo, Ginny in CO

            He's just no longer effective as Majority Leader.  We need new blood in that role.  And good point about Biden working towards a deal last December on the financial crisis.  Something's just "off" about the Dems in the Senate.

            "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

            by 3goldens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:26:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Reid famously said "I don't work for Obama" (3+ / 0-)

          in January 2009.

          •  Ah! I forgot that! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MeToo

            Hmmm . . . . again, though, makes me wonder what brought that on.  I recall being so shocked at the way Reid delivered that comment and thought it was such a mean, uncalled for thing to say when the President was just getting started.  Makes me wonder if those two had crossed swords at some point during Obama's stint as a Senator.

            "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

            by 3goldens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 02:11:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  bc I'm too busy to post a diary: and most won't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg

        Ya Know, I think we can come up with a few names and start our own refinement of the process: push for a firebrand.
        have time to read them anyway   : )

        Let's poll DKos for a new Senate Majority Leader

        Sherrod Brown

        Al Franken

        Kristen Gillibrand

        Patty Murray

        Mark Udall

        Bernard Sanders

        Amy Klobuchar

        So, here's my 8... maybe there's someone ppl here are thinking would fit the bill more... We make up the list and Jed runs a new contest for Senate Leadership.

        http://www.senate.gov/....

        The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

        by MeToo on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:24:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have to agree.. the WH internal vetting process (5+ / 0-)

      is a really good example.

      He has people assigned to vet the potential candidates, and if those people have a consensus that there is nothing he will have to fight for, the nominee gets the nod.

      Where's the fight?  There is none.. there's only the slow path of least resistance.  He will not take a stand as a leader.. he will only campaign and hope the American people force a change.  But he will not do it on his own.

      And reforming the filibuster will not affect the WH's need for detailed vetting, nor committee member's burdensome questions.

      •  yep (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bdop4, Bon Temps, JVolvo

        it's becoming quite the obvious pattern. The R's have a needlessly detailed and obsessive vetting process for Dem nominations, so now the Dems are just adopting that process for themselves, and if they don't think someone can skate through it without a fight, they just won't bother putting that person forth.

        it's okay though, all these positions will be filled once an R gets in.

        And That Will Be That! haha.

        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

        by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:46:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Add to that Reid's refusal to allow majority rule (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, MeToo

      ...and obstructionism and the minority party wins the day.

    •  This is complete utter BS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ, Deep Texan

      and I am really getting sick of it.

      The prez is not an Asshole whisperer, and he needs a team of Dems who have his back. More often than not hes out there on his own, where is Reid, Pelosi and the other senate Dems?  When he confronts the repubs, they whine and scream to the press, call him a Chicago thug. Do u remember Halperin calling him a "dick" on national TV?

      The GOP and their minions in the MSM taunted the prez and Dems about not passing a budget for 3 years and the need to get serious about entitlement reform,  now that the Dems passed a budget, prez offered CPI, the GOP are running away as fast as they can from the negotiating table.

      Reid is asking for a conference committee, Mitch et al are blocking it, Ryan is now bitching about a "framework", the MSM? now crickets. Dems should be on cable everyday screaming about GOP obstruction and their refusal to negotiate on the budget. Why aren't Reid and the senate Dems making an issue of this?

      When he tries to cajole and negotiate, GOP laughs at him, gives him the middle finger and the press follows suit.  Bush had an entire conservative news complex who would bully Dems into submission, who/what does the prez have that is similar? Fox would accuse any Dem of treason if they dared to oppose Bush and his policies, couple that with Dem timidity and u have a prez who can easily bend the will of congress. Will MSNBC and CNN call out the GOP on their obstruction? , other than Maddow who would?

       

  •  but... (29+ / 0-)
    On the other hand, President Obama could make this a real fight. He could put forward nominations for every single vacancy and then make daily noise about how those nominees are being blocked by Republicans, and how that is making government not function. And blame it, every single day, on the Republicans. The only thing that will make Republicans stop their obstruction is if they have to pay a bigger political price for it. And the only way to make them pay that price is by shining a bright light on how destructive they are.
    if he did that, the republicans would get mad at him, and stop playing nicely. or something.

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:48:47 AM PDT

  •  Follow Joans link and send that email NOW ! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skod, tardis10, 3goldens, JVolvo

    TnR

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:49:06 AM PDT

  •  The tools and the opportunity... (14+ / 0-)

    Are there to completely destroy the GOP.  The problem is, if that happens, then the Democrats actually have to, you know, govern.  It's really easy to keep your job when you have a convenient scape-goat to blame all your problems on.

    'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

    by RichM on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:57:10 AM PDT

  •  and if he waits much longer, (10+ / 0-)

    every one of those positions will go to a Republican.  Which will really hurt - especially in the judiciary.

    For many, many years to come.

    GOP obstructionism works.

    •  I am having a wait problem. (5+ / 0-)
    •  Not making it a major political issue -- (7+ / 0-)

      after all, they are literally crippling the functions of the Executive and Judiciary with this, actually threatening the well-being of the nation -- doesn't help either.

      On the true bipartisan issues held dear by both Party's leaderships: trade agreements which hand over even more power to Corporations; the Eternal War on Everywhere; the primacy of Wall Street, there's no threat to that kind of unity if the President were to attack the Republicans on their appointment obstruction.

      This "blame the republicans for fighting, when we don't" thing is getting a bit old. Why Reid hasn't been read the riot act for letting the filibuster go on, by the President and the House and Senate Dem caucus.... there's no convincing, and honorable, explanation for that.

      You don't bring a chessboard to a gunfight.


      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:50:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And, if/when the Republicans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo

      retake the presidency, which they will at some point, the backlog of judicial openings all get filled with Republican judges and the Democrats will rubber stamp all the nominations is my guess.

      The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

      by Mr Robert on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:04:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yep, rubber stamp. Cuz Dems wouldn't want to (0+ / 0-)

        appear difficult, or unhelpful - RePugs would say mean things about them (tremble)

        Fugh

        The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

        by JVolvo on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:31:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  dems won't have the chance to rubber stamp (0+ / 0-)

        if the GOP gets the presidency, they'll get the senate too - and even a 50-50 senate with a GOP VP as tie breaker will eliminate the filibuster and do whatever they want.

        a la MI, WI, FL, TX and a few other GOP states in the past few years.

        Bullies & Thugs - or, as stated in another post I just read, Fascists.

  •  This is so obvious that it's fair to wonder (13+ / 0-)

    if the President wants to make the GOP pay any political price at all.

    President Obama could make this a real fight. He could put forward nominations for every single vacancy and then make daily noise about how those nominees are being blocked by Republicans, and how that is making government not function. And blame it, every single day, on the Republicans. The only thing that will make Republicans stop their obstruction is if they have to pay a bigger political price for it.

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

    by PhilJD on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:05:53 AM PDT

    •  Listen to PBO himself: He IS a Republican (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      when it comes to economic interests.  Just because he's not a new style Randian radical Republican doesn't mean he's a Democrat.  Hell, look at the "Democrat" that he appointed to head his debt/deficit commission.  If Bowles is a real Democrat, then I'm a Bolshevik.

              IMO, a continuing error progressives make is that many of them assume that, because Obama is black and calls himself a Democrat and occasionally uses progressive rhetoric when it suits his electoral purposes, that he really gives a shit about traditional progressive economic causes and the Democratic party.  Almost all the evidence -- his actual behavior -- suggests otherwise.  I challenge the PBO defenders here to name ONE progressive ECONOMIC goal for which he has actually FOUGHT rather than just using as a bargaining chip to be sacrificed readily in his compulsive desire to be the Grand Bargainer -- a.k.a., the only adult in the room who brings together the squabbling adolescents of the left and the right.  

      "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

      by Oliver St John Gogarty on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:42:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The opposite is true (0+ / 0-)

      Based on Obama's actions and not his words, he wants to shield the GOP from reprisal for their obstruction, not hold them accountable.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:22:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does any party pay a price for blocking (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Deep Texan, Tony Situ

    executive nominees? It seems like Obama has done a lot of what you are saying. He set up a fight with the GOP on several nominations(Caitlin Halligan,  Richard Cordray, etc). He even recess appointed several "controversial" nominees only to see a court rule against him. He has repeatedly called out GOP obstruction as well.

    I'm not saying there isnt criticism of his handling of nominations. I think especially on judicial nominations, the WH has been way to slow to make nominations. State Department nominations might be different since you have a new SOS.

    But I dont know that any party pay any political price for blocking nominations. Not Dems during the Bush admin nor GOP now.

    •  The Democrats did when they (8+ / 0-)

      were slow-walking Bush's judiciary appointees.  Bush went to the public and suddenly the Democrats folded and started to move the process along.

      It helped to put the Democrats in a defensive position when John Roberts was nominated to SCOTUS, too.  By that time, they were afraid to challenge Bush nominees and honestly really didn't do their due diligence in the process of the Robert's nomination.  In fact, they fell all over themselves to praise him at every opportunity.

      •  I dont know about that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, Tony Situ

        They blocked Estrada to the point he withdrew. Even after the Gang of 14, they blocked nominees.

        GOP had a 55-45 majority in the Senate, so Roberts was going to be confirmed anyway. Same with Sotomayor and Kagan being confirmed in a Dem controlled Senate.

        I think where you could blame Obama is not going Senate get rid of the filibuster.

        But I dont know that making it a public issue helps. And it certainly doesnt work with executive nominations like assistant secretaries or agency chairs.

        •  How about a filibuster? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, JVolvo

          The Democrats could have filibustered Roberts.  But that wouldn't have been playing nice and we all see how this has worked out.  

          It's not like the GOP is the only party who can filibuster.  

          •  Except the GOP didnt filibuster (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ, Deep Texan

            Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan or Sotomayor.

            And how would it have worked out? Say Roberts withdrew. With a GOP Senate, Bush would have put a nominee just as conservative if not more so.

            •  I have no idea (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JVolvo

              I have no idea how it would have worked out and neither does anyone else.  

            •  You know, sometimes you put nominees (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BroadwayBaby1

              through the paces so as to expose exactly who they are to the public - not as a way of necessarily trying to scuttle the nomination.  The American public actually does deserve to be informed about people who are going to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  That is part and parcel of why the process exists in the first place.  Journalists and politicians who claim that Senate consent is some sort of ridiculous waste of time have no understanding of or respect for the concept of what a free and open democratic process is supposed to be.  Remember that the Founding Fathers designed our system in reaction to a monarchy where edicts were the standing process - whatever the king said was what was done - didn't matter what the subjects of the king or colonists thought about the edicts - or the judges that were appointed.

              The Democrats were so cowed by the time Roberts came along that they couldn't even manage to do their basic duty in showing America what they were getting.

        •  Dude the Democrats are now (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, JVolvo

          in the majority in the Senate - excuses that the GOP held a majority at any point during Bush's term given what we are seeing right now don't hold water.

          And the Democrats did control the Senate during portions of Bush's tenure and during one of those times, the Democrats were holding up judicial appointments and Bush called them out on it.  They folded like cheap suits.

    •  Only the nation pays a price. There's a reason (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, MeToo, maryabein, JVolvo

      half the people don't register as being of either Party; that about half of each Party's members poll as wishing they had another choice.


      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:52:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama should be hitting them on every (10+ / 0-)

    front - starting with the things that are most obvious to the public that the Congress isn't getting done.  

    While we understand how difficult the vacancies are and how they impede a good working government, a lot of people don't.  

    I'd go for the stuff that people see first hand and then say, "Oh and by the way, there are all of these appointments, too that are in a total gridlock - which wastes money, blah, blah, blah."

    Obama has a real opportunity to ally the Administration and the Party with the people...

    ...but for some reason they are content to simply cry uncle.

    •  I've been maintaining that he should produce (5+ / 0-)

      regular Perot-style issue commercials, 15-30 minutes a piece.  Obama is a professor.  He should profess.  Every time he articulates issues, the GOP will have nothing substantial to return with.  Cumulatively, the effect would be devastating.

      "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

      by Mogolori on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:51:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What you said here: (4+ / 0-)
      Obama has a real opportunity to ally the Administration and the Party with the people...

      ...but for some reason they are content to simply cry uncle.

      is what absolutely confounds me.  Why is there this "disconnect" between the Administration and the Party and both of those from the people?!  I can't figure out (nor can anybody else from what I can tell) WHY they are simply content to cry uncle.  I can't see where the benefit to this is.  

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:19:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it really comes down to personal comfort (0+ / 0-)

        If you are comfortable, there is no reason to change.  Only when you are forced into an uncomfortable position do you see the need to change and then one often looks for the path of least resistance, so as to not to be too uncomfortable in the process of changing.  Its probably innate at the cellular level, the only real difference comes from variation in what aspects of life and the internal workings of the body become more uncomfortable first as a result of differential thresholds.

        Ironically the amgydala is the key here.  Its far more hyperactive in republicans so they respond to anxiety and fear at a lower threshold shunting less neuronal activity to the forebrain than do democrats.  Consequently, democrats think more about things, and this leads to a loss of clarity that comes from second guessing everything to the point of being unable to make hard decisions at all.  Obviously, there are gradations and other factors of variation, but this is the basic human mechanism for coping with threats, perceived or real.

    •  Its not as if (0+ / 0-)

      a little political imagination couldn't nicely tie other issues with the nominating process, particularly with respect to the courts.

      We currently have an epidemic of emergency judicial vacancies and there just isn't enough griping on Obama's part to move the log jam.  Its not as if the public doesn't deserve justice and that is precisely what they are being denied when so many vacancies go unfilled.  Lets face it politicians only move or change positions when its too uncomfortable for them not to.

      The reality is that if we want to see anything done, we have to make life very uncomfortable.  Its one of the reasons the GOP has been so incredibly effective given their otherwise weak standing in people's opinions of them.

      Admittedly, to do that requires conviction rather than pretense, since your own life is going to get uncomfortable as well.  It comes down to how much you value your comfort versus theirs.  For people at the edge, comfort no longer becomes an issue as they don't have any to forego.  Sadly, we have allowed the comfortable to stay comfortable, while so many go without even the basics.  Its enough to feel shame just for being part of humanity.

  •  Or (5+ / 0-)
    It's not hard to see why President Obama has allowed Republican obstruction to grind the nomination process to a halt. An already risk-averse White House is going to try to avoid giving any ammunition to Republicans, which means a long, drawn-out vetting process for every nominee.
    Another interpretation is that the WH is not too unhappy about the whole thing.

    I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between the two.

    •  I'm with you on this one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, JVolvo

      I think Obama is very comfortable with the way Washington is working.  No matter the rhetoric that comes out of the White House.  

    •  Obama did multiple recess appointments (0+ / 0-)

      But a court invalidated them.  And the big, bad, tough, untamed progressive Obama critics did next to NOTHING to show that they had the president's back on those appointments.  They were not in the Windows streets protesting the court's invalidating the recess appointments, instead they returned to their favorite pastime, bashing the president for not being tough.

  •  Yep. Make them publically own obstructionsim. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, 3goldens, JVolvo

    Make them demonstrate every day how they are the Party of No.

    •  But who will do that? (0+ / 0-)

      Obama won't, which he has demonstrated numerous times by helping the GOP pull their fat out of the fire.  It can be done, but it requires the desire to do so, which I don't believe Obama has.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:26:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  who would cover it? (0+ / 0-)

    who would be listening...

    On the other hand, President Obama could make this a real fight.
    and finally would republicans care at all...

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 09:49:41 AM PDT

    •  exactly. what's the point? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo

      why try?

      there's never any cameras around when the POTUS speaks. no one pays any attention to what he says. we should just let this continue cause there's nothing we can do.

      And That's That.

      Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

      by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:53:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  less than 5% are even watching the tv (0+ / 0-)

        probably almost half of them get pissed when the president interrupts their program.

        pointing out the issues with this approach isn't giving up.

        that's just your flippant way of dealing with hard to resolve problems.  

        there is a way.  unfortunately its one that means compromise. that's the reality of our government.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:59:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes cause TV is how everyone gets the news (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo

          these days. if they don't see it on the TV in real time it might as well have never happened. for someone who claims to have such a strong hold on "reality" that sounds like a pretty limp excuse for not using the bully pulpit.

          when the POTUS speaks, especially consistently on a single issue, the media takes note. TV. the internet. shit, old people still read newspapers and magazines, or watch cable news. do they never talk about what the POTUS is doing on there? your next excuse will be that Fox will distort everything the President says, so there's no point in opening his mouth.

          i recognize the need for compromise in government. it's just very suspect that all of our big compromises are skewed to the right from the very start.

          i believe you are content with the current "pragmatic triangulation" leadership the President has been giving for years now. you will make excuses for him till the end and bemoan the "political reality" of a discredited R party revitalized and legitimized by a Dem who just wanted to play nice, and now holds total control over the liberal agenda by default. the Dems will become increasingly corporate and you will continue defend their actions in spite of clear liberal policy alternatives because you believe liberal policy never, ever works because the conservatives are just so mean that we have to play along with them.

          and the rest of us liberals will either eventually split off to a new party and leave you behind, or we will all stay and rot with the Dems.

          Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

          by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:35:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you are naive to believe this (0+ / 0-)
            when the POTUS speaks, especially consistently on a single issue, the media takes note.
            Fox News doesn't even broadcast it. That's the reality we are living in. My solutions are based on the reality around me. Rather than what i think it should be.  

            If you have no path to your solution, then it's pretty much Don Quixote terroritory.

            That's why you and others are naive about this. You are free to start your own party.  The Democrats are the big tent party, we will reflect the nation moreso than republicans or any party you can come up with.

            But i wish you luck in any case.  We need more people getting actively involved.

            -You want to change the system, run for office.

            by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:41:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, i can't say i didn't call it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JVolvo
              your next excuse will be that Fox will distort everything the President says, so there's no point in opening his mouth.
              the "political reality" of the world we live in is determined by Fox News. no wonder you're not in favor of the Dems putting up a fight.

              Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

              by Boogalord on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:50:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  dealing with the political reality (0+ / 0-)

                rather than the fairy tale is how we get things done.

                the art of the possible.  which means compromise. which means shit sandwich legislation.  this isn't what i want.

                it's reality.

                -You want to change the system, run for office.

                by Deep Texan on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:09:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yeah a fairy tale (0+ / 0-)

                  cause the broad public support for things like the public option, prosecuting bankers, rejection of austerity and the protection of the safety net are fucking "fairy tales". so is the leverage that gives the president to publicly pressure members of his own party to "get something done" that ISN'T a shit sandwich.

                  "it's reality". the reality is that whenever the President gives us one of the shit sandwiches you're so fond of eating up, there's always a clear, popular left-wing alternative. be it the deficit, healthcare, or anything else. Obama just never attempts it, and you make up excuses for him while he negotiates (poorly) with people who have no interest in negotation and have been perfectly frank about it since day one.

                  what's the point of calling yourself a liberal if you buy into all the conservative talking points? This Is A Center-Right Country, Progressive Policy Never Works So There's No Reason To Try, Fox News Is Mean So The Bully Pulpit Means Nothing.

                  what ever. i think it's sad.

                  Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

                  by Boogalord on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:54:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  What's your point? (0+ / 0-)

      Obama shouldn't actually fight GOP obstruction because it wouldn't get coverage?  Or because Republicans wouldn't care?  How about he should do it because it's the right thing to do both for the Democratic Party and for the country?  Where does that fit into your calculus?

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:30:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes lets tell everyone Govt is not functioning (0+ / 0-)

    why dont we just say to everyone what a bunch of losers we are and blame it on the republicans.

    On the other hand, President Obama could make this a real fight. He could put forward nominations for every single vacancy and then make daily noise about how those nominees are being blocked by Republicans, and how that is making government not function. And blame it, every single day, on the Republicans.
    •  As republicans but not democrats have learned (0+ / 0-)

      "why dont we just say to everyone what a bunch of losers we are "

      As republicans but not democrats have learned you just leave that part out and then blame the other guy to be politically effective.  Most people are just looking for the most comfortable path through life.  Most will not invest in the highly uncomfortable activity of thinking to make that a key ingredient of their decision making.

      In Washington everyone knows that they are in part responsible for the dysfunction and failure of government.  What differentiates the political winners and losers is the differential ability to blame it all on someone else and get away with it to your advantage with the broader public at large.

      Obama thought that he could change this, but the reality is that the current situation is just is a reflection of how human minds work and if you don't take into account how brains actually work you don't realize that trying to change that is a fool's errand.

  •  Might as well (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Mr Robert, JVolvo
    On the other hand, President Obama could make this a real fight.
    What's he got to lose?  OTOH, Obama is not a fighter.  He can give a good speech.  He can throw a great line.  However, I get the feeling he doesn't like to get his hands dirty and may not like politics at all.  

    I hate to use the hackneyed phrase "the perfect storm" but that's what we have in Washington.  A president who isn't a fighter up against a party who wants to bury him (figuratively).  

    And the country suffers.  

  •  Bwahahahahahahaha ..... (5+ / 0-)
    People who have gone through the vetting in Mr. Obama’s White House describe a grueling process, lasting weeks or months, in which lawyers and political operatives search for anything that might hint at scandal.
    Like Penny Pritzker who was Chairwoman of a slimy subprime mortgage lender.  But I guess that would qualify her for the Repubs, Obama's main constituent group.

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

    by accumbens on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:04:13 AM PDT

  •  2016 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, enhydra lutris

    I gave up on this White House administration when the tax cuts for the ultra rich were accepted.  I decided to no longer care when Social Security was put on the table.  No more caring.  Looking forward to the next administration.

    Pam Bennett -6.95 -7.50

    by Pam Bennett on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:05:31 AM PDT

  •  Good article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo

    except for the use of 'timidity' in the title.

    Really?  That's how you would describe the White House?

    I think it should have been used to describe Harry Reid.

  •  the obsession (6+ / 0-)

    With only forwarding nominees who should be acceptable to teabaggers is counterintuitive and counterproductive.  Penny Pritzger?   Why not Leona Helmsly?  Hey, let's nominate Rumsfeld for the next circuit Court opening!  

    Demoralizes us plebes and the republicans still hate him.  He would have a much easier time being popular if he decided being liked by the 99% was important.  

    Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

    by Nada Lemming on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:08:32 AM PDT

  •  Good luck finding nominees who want to be pawns (0+ / 0-)

    in this political fight.  It's a real Catch 22 for the president.

    West. No further west. All sea. --Robert Grenier

    by Nicolas Fouquet on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:11:37 AM PDT

  •  Congress is not broken (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats' timidity, in the White House and the Senate, is partially to blame.  Even now, they're not systematically making 'pub intransigence on everything an issue to hammer the 'pubs as a party with.  Earlier in the year, coming on the heels of the "fiscal cliff" win, Obama showed an uncharacteristic willingness to take a confrontational approach to dealing with the 'pubs.  His favorables rose and everyone began talking about an effective Presidency.  Then, he went back into his fetal position; his numbers have fallen and we're talking about a wasted second term and an ineffective presidency.

    The only battles you're sure to lose are the ones you fail to fight.  He has yet to learn that.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:14:57 AM PDT

  •  Obama is "risk averse" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    as evidenced by racking health care when political experts said it was too risky, invading a sovereign country to take down bin laden, helping take down Kaddafi, taking on the NRA, saving the auto industry when polling at the time said "let them fail", etc.

    •  The problem of course (0+ / 0-)

      is that life is not risk free and consequently if one doesn't accept some level of risk the risk of eventual failure becomes even greater.  In sports and military terms its called being cornered by one's past unwillingness to be sufficiently bold and aggressive.

      If there even is a legacy to the Obama presidency it will be that this is it.  He hoped for change but was unwilling to take the risks, when they were required of actually changing.  Complacency and being so comfortable in being risk adverse are too easily interpreted as "cool under pressure".

      Mr. Obama's lame answer with regard to the question of "is he still relevant [does he have the juice]" only hastened his lame duck status, as even his most ardent supporters now realize they have no choice but to look past him for leadership.  When I heard that answer, I felt as if I was reliving his first debate performance.

  •  cynicism (0+ / 0-)

    The R plan is to force Obama to nominate only sitting Senators, opening up opportunities for them to win special elections.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:21:22 AM PDT

    •  Looks as if (0+ / 0-)

      they are off to a good start.  If progressives want change they are going to have to quickly start fielding alternatives to get the administration's attention and the attention of the current crop of democrats.

  •  Here is our Senate Leader at work (11+ / 0-)

    Yes, because Dems had to do what Republicans insisted on.

    Unreal...

    What is behind the strategy of essentially saying "we are letting the minority run the place?"

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

    by justmy2 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:21:47 AM PDT

  •  I wonder what FDR or HST or LBJ would have (3+ / 0-)

    done? I think there would be a war going on and it would be loud and bitter.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:36:08 AM PDT

  •  How to fight back... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    One phone call:

    Marco, stop the filibuster now or I invite you to join me next Monday as I have lunch in Havana with Fidel & Raul.  

    Afterwards, we'll do a joint inspection of Guantanamo.  

  •  Oh my God! (0+ / 0-)

    It's Roy "asshat" Blunt, my fucking senator, one of the biggest pieces of shit in the senate. Constantly looking out for big business, doesn't give a damn about the people in MO anymore. The rubes in this state vote for him even though he was screwing around while married and then dumped his, I have no idea why Carnahan didn't bring that up in the senate race, I would have pounded him daily about that.

  •  Obama's Part of the Problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boogalord, JVolvo

    As in every other point of conflict with a radicalized Republican opposition, Obama continues to lean on normal processes that Republicans are subverting in every way possible. Not only is Obama losing these conflicts with his reliance on norms of governance, he contributes to the appearance that the norms themselves are the problem, that government is broken because government is big to be managed competently, that Republicans are proved right ideologically in the very act of providing the spectacle of actual failure.

    Obama is not the change we have needed. He's the ultra-competent stooge against which Republican obstruction all the more successfully plays itself out. Gerrymandering already has the Republicans' backs in the House; so mounting frustration among 'low information' voters will eventually get guided (CNN, Fox, NYT-Dowd, etc.) into the opinion that Obama is too weak to govern.

    And perhaps that ultimately is true. Obama is too weak in his commitment to change to use the enormous power of his electoral mandate and personal popularity to play the power politics needed to counter Republican obstruction.

    Why would voters come out to vote against Republicans in 2014 without the clear example of Obama fighting hard against the wall put up against accomplishing the policy goals of the mandate voters gave him? If he's not willing to fight hard just to have his full team in the game then how can he begin to fight hard on any policy issue that requires all his political might to guide through a currently broken government? The bully pulpit is all the guy has; he knows how to use it; but he doesn't use it nearly as relentlessly as he must.

    Therefore Obama really is weak? Just as the appearance of weakness can create weakness, the appearance of strong leadership can turn up the heat on opponents and so actually strengthen the ability to lead. Obama has never seen it that way.

    Is it that he's afraid and from the beginning has been afraid of being cast and dismissed as the angry black man out of touch with the mainstream? His enemies cast him that way anyway, against all evidence. And he certainly seems to have shown appropriate righteous indignation about the recent filibuster of the background check legislation. I see his electoral majority as ready to see appropriate indignation in many other areas would Obama just lead in expressing it.

    This is a government willfully sabotaged by political opponents. It will shape up in the historical record as a coup through obstruction if Obama lets it.

    "The Republican Party is obstructing your will in electing me by obstructing the processes of governance in every way possible. [Insert a list of top 5 ways.] I will stand for the President Obama you elected as a radical minority uses tricks in bad faith that block what you sent me to the White House to accomplish."

    He can write and deliver something much more effectively confrontational as that. Why doesn't he? If he's being forced not to accomplish his policy goals then why not use the constant access to media as an ongoing opportunity to frame what is at stake in 2014?

  •  Filibuster has to go ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    Problems won't get fixed until the filibuster is gone or at least radically reformed.  I used to worry about killing off the filibuster because it's something the Dems might need need in the future.  But I've come to believe that thinking is bogus, for 2 reasons:

    (1) D's will never abuse the filibuster the way R's do because at the end of the day, they/we believe in the ability of government to act in positive ways.  Even with 49 senators, it's very hard to imagine D's filibustering Medicare Part D in 2003 (flawed as it was) just to prevent Bush from getting credit. For R's on the other hand, the filibuster is a win-win: they can use the filibuster to stop anything from happening, grind the government to a complete halt, and then point and say "See, we were right, government doesn't work!"

    (b) D's have never had and never will have the sort of party discipline needed to use the filibuster very consistently or effectively (Will Rogers had it right in 1935). Our equivalents to Collins, Ayotte, Kirk and the like have no qualms about going rogue, whereas theirs typically line up like good little soldiers when the party demands it.

  •  Deadly consequences? (0+ / 0-)

    Federal judge John Rolle showed up at a congressional town hall a few years back to complain about the too many judicial vacancies and the need for congress to get off their lazy fucking asses and do their job.  

    He never got to speak to the congresswoman to express his - and other judges - frustration over this gridlock, this partisan hatred that was damaging America's institutions, rendering them incapable of doing what they were intended to.

    The congresswoman's name he wanted to speak to is Gabby Giffords.  I think we all know why Judge Rolle never got to speak to her.  She survived, he didn't.

    I realize this may be over the top, but his blood is on the hands of those who intentionally think their job is to do nothing but say "no", and fuck this country and it's institutions.  You pick who that is - I say it's the Republicans who, to this day, don't give a flying fuck about Judge Rolle and his death.

    This abdication of their duties borders on treason.

  •  thats (0+ / 0-)

    dem timidity, to put it bluntly and accurately.

  •  No better time to end the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

    No, we should not be urging them to "re-open filibuster reform".

    No debate.  The issues, the pros and cons, have already been fully and openly debated.  The more time there is between raising the question and voting to end the filibuster, the more time there is for folks on our side to get cold feet again.

    No reform.  The filibuster is a privilege the majority grants the minority.  Our side had the privilege effectively withdrawn last time we were the minority.  We weren't allowed to use the privilege under threat of having it revoked, but we went along with the pretext that this wasn't the effective end of the filibuster, we cooperated with keeping the filibuster de jure as a pretext, because we don't like confrontation.  Now the other party is the minority, and they have abused the privilege to the hilt and then some.  

    There is zero reason to believe they wouldn't abuse any substitute, reformed, privilege we put in its place.  The problem isn't any strucutural undsoundness in the filibuster, some change in the priviliege we could design to make it non-abusive.  The problem is the abusers.  No privilege we extend them will fail to be abused, to the hilt and beyond.

    All it would take is 50 dems in the chamber to uphold Biden's ruling that a particular attempt to use of the filibuster is not allowed by the rules of the Senate, and the filibuster is dead, forever.

    Of course there will be a hue and there will be a cry.  The Right will rant about this being worse than the Third Reich.  The Villagers will use up all the fainitng couches in a 100 mile radius of DC.

    Big deal.

    It's a year and a half and more until the next election.  The crazies and their useful idiots can yammer all they want about the horrible consequences of getting rid of this sacred check and balance on the Senate majority, that surely it will reduce us to a despotism.  And then -- 18 months of exactly nothing happening.  We'll still have divided govt, the Rs will still hold the House and block any meaningful change for way longer than people will remember befre they have to vote again in the 2014 midterms.

    No, it's not quite right to say that nothing will happen right away.  Right away, a flurry of Obama nominees will be unblocked.  That will be a big part of the story.  It will be the whole story outside of mouth-foaming from the other side.  Blocked nominations will be the only substantive part of the story.  

    Try to get the mainstream media to pay any attention now to the backlog of blocked nominees, judicial and otherwise.  But in the aftermath of the end of the filibuster, with the Right whipping up the whole issue of filibuster good vs filibuster bad into the ultimate contest of Good vs Evil, Armageddon itself, and most voters will hear for the first time about the huge mass of blocked nominations the filibuster has caused.  Those of them who are not already hopelessly committed to the other side, will actually be moved more towards our corner, towards viewing the Rs as the power-grabbers.

    Don't get me wrong.  If we win the House in 2014, while retaining the Senate, that also would be a good time to end the filibuster, should it still exist.  We actually would face concern from middle of the road voters about power-grabbing.  But in that scenario, we control the trifecta, with an unblocked Senate, and we make new law with such immediate and beneficial effect, that the voters aren't worried by 2016 about our side having too much power.  My point is that the lack of ability to get new law passed, the fact that the R House still obstructs and retains the power of blackmail, even in a post-filibuster environment, doesn't mean there's no reason to not do in the filibuster now.  Precisely because our side can't go to town even after the filibuster is dead, will dull the effect of voter worry that it's a power grab.  Now is the exact best time to do the deed.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Fri May 03, 2013 at 01:33:45 PM PDT

  •  The White House is risk averse and the Senate is (0+ / 0-)

    tied up in Harry Reid's incompetence.  5 progressive members of the Senate Democratic caucus (including the 2 independents) should just get up and leave the caucus.  That would trigger Reid's fall from power.  He is incompetent, and his inability to save the president's agenda and his (in-)actions border on criminal.  LEAVE THE CAUCUS AND MAKE THEM VOTE ON SOMEONE NEW.

    At this point Schumer and Feinstein are part of the problem.

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