Distorting The Reagan Dispute

Ezra Klein writes a post that to me simply distorts what the dispute was about regarding Barack Obama's statements about Ronald Reagan and Republican ideas. Ezra writes:
As Jake Tapper argues, there's really no dispute as to whether Hillary Clinton is distorting Barack Obama's statements on Reagan. She is.
Actually there is quite a dispute over this. I know I dispute it. I know Paul Krugman disputes it. And I know that in this dispute, the only people I see actually quoting what Obama said are people like me and Paul Krugman. Those who claim there is no dispute never actually cite what Obama said. That speaks volumes. Moreover, Ezra continues distorting the dispute when he writes:

Bill Clinton's take on this was that Obama "said President Reagan was the engine of innovation and did more, had a more lasting impact on America than I did. . . .
That is not a take. That is a fact. That is what Obama said. Obama also said that the GOP has been the party of ideas for the last 10 to 15 years. That period coincides with Clinton's presidency (and also Bush's) so it clearly WAS about Bill Clinton among other Democrats. It is not surprising that people like Barney Frank felt alluded to. Ezra's post is a complete distortion, making it seem Bill Clinton was making something up here. That is false and wrong of Ezra. Bad show.
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    its not the party of ideas i have a problem with (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by sammiemorris on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:59:57 AM EST
    Look, Obama has a had a clear strategy of getting Republicans to come to open primaries and caucuses to support him. There is nothing wrong with that. He ran an ad in predominantly Republican Northern Nevada targeting Republicans and letting them know they could switch their registration for a day to participate. Again, I have no problem with that. The issue I have with Obama is the way he did it. In the Reno Editorial Board Meeting, he basically said that people were ready for Reagan because they grew tired of the excesses of the 60's and 70's and the overgrowth of government that was stifling the entreprenurial spirit. I think this is a poor choice of words because it basically appropriates Right-wing talking points.  

    While that might attract Republicans to vote you for a day, it does not attract Republicans to the Democratic Party over the long term. The correct way to attract Republicans would have been to talk about accountability and balanced budgets, and how there was no transparency or accountability with our foreign policy because both the Iraqi Government and the Musharraf Dictatorship had been given a blank check to restore Democracy and fight Al-Qaeda. There is ample evidence that establishes that our tax dollars have been wasted in both Iraq and Pakistan, which bothers all Americans, not just Republicans.

    However, when you start talking about overgrowth of government, stifling entreprenurial spirit, and the excesses of the 60's and 70's, you are not making an effective progressive case for Republicans to vote for a Democrat. You are making a case for your own personal gain at expense of the party because you are appropriating right-wing talking points.

    Thanks . Your 1st paragraph (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:07:53 AM EST
    summarizes it well.

    furthermore.. AMERICA was not ready for Reagan in (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by sammiemorris on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:18:47 AM EST
    In October 1980, opinion polls showed that voters had negative opinions of both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. They didn't like Jimmy Carter because of what was going on in Iran and the poor economy, but they didn't exactly trust Ronald Reagan with his voodoo economics. John Anderson was a legitimate third party option that year who did quite well for some time, but saw his standing crater after some poor debate performances with Ronald Reagan. Polls going into the last week of the election showed the race was close with President Carter holding a slight lead. After months of dodging, President Carter finally agreed to debate Ronald Reagan when both sides agreed John Anderson would not participate. I believe it was the most watched debate in history, and Ronald Reagan ended the debate with a simple question: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? It was a devastating question to say the least, but Jimmy Carter added to his woes when he said during the debate that he spoke to his daughter when it came to nuclear issues. He was widely ridiculed by late night comedians and media pundits for that comment, and by election day, Jimmy Carter's slight lead became a Reagan landslide.

    So I believe Obama is wrong because the country wasn't necessarily ready for Reagan and tired of the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s. If that was the case, Reagan would have led by wide margins throughout the campaign. It was President Carter's  poor debate performance days before the election that led to the landslide.        


    Actually, (none / 0) (#41)
    by HeadScratcher on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:51:17 AM EST
    President Reagan and President Clinton have one major thing in common:

    They both created Republican majorities (actually Clinton created a larger one) in the U.S.


    By the end of his Presidency (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:54:28 AM EST
    The Dems were positoned for a more solid;y progressive majority.

    When I read all this bemoaning of the los of the Dem majority,  wonder if people realize what TYPE of Dem was mostly wiped away.


    Usually the same kinds of people (none / 0) (#44)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:00:02 PM EST
    wringing their hands about blue dogs.

    Obama has no personal knowledge of the sixties (none / 0) (#67)
    by felizarte on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:59:24 PM EST
    or 70's to make such a sweeping general statement.  It is like condemning a whole generation.  The 70's saw the impeachment of a republican president, although Nixon gets rightfully credited with opening up China and ending the Vietnam war (more or less)
    I do not know if he is aware of it, but he may have unintentionally ignited a generational conflict in our society.  It is not going to be easy for him to paper it over or with his rhetoric.

    And how much of this did Obama (none / 0) (#89)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:47:00 PM EST
    experience while living in Jakarta?

    okay, i'll argue against what obama said: (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by cpinva on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:43:15 AM EST
    he praised a grade B actor and political flim-flam artist, because he "captured the mood of america". hitler captured the mood of germany too, he was a mesmorizing orator who proceeded to destroy a fair hunk of europe. oh, he loved dogs also, until he poisoned them to see if the cyanide capsules worked.

    reagan's soaring, meaningless oratory was also followed by destruction; he "captured the mood of the country", and proceeded to rape and pillage it. not the example anyone should be following.

    there, got it?

    New Clinton Ad in SC (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by BDB on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:49:57 AM EST
    Now Clinton is using Obama's saying "The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years" in a new radio ad in South Carolina.

    I don't believe that Obama thought a lot of the Republican ideas were good ones, but what makes it so hard for him to push back against this kind of attack is that he DIDN'T SAY THAT.  And it certainly sounds like he's speaking of them with approval.  Indeed, I think if you listen to the entire context of his remarks, it gets worse for him in many respects.

    but he said exactly that. (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by CathyinLa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:03:08 PM EST
    This is an exact quote.  And I'm sure the Clinton camp wants no argument about whether it is exactly what he said or not, but rather use the exact words.

    He said exactly that.

    He complained about the excesses of the 60s.  Obama is trying to get away with courting a conservative newspaper, hoping to reach republicans, praising their savior, and making a dig at the Clinton presidency while running against his wife and act like it was all very innocent.


    not just the exact words (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by ogo on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:14:01 PM EST
    The ad uses him saying them.

    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by BDB on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:15:03 PM EST
    He did say that.  But the Obama folks will argue that he's been taken out of context.  I don't think that works so well because just saying a party is THE party of ideas comes off as a positive thing to say (and a criticism of your own party).

    What makes it even worse for me is that the Republicans weren't the party of ideas for the last 10-15 years, good or bad.  They haven't actually had a new idea in at least a quarter century.  Every economic problem can be solved with a tax cut.  Every foreign policy problem can be solved with force or tough talk.  The neocons aren't new, they are simply acting on ideas they had in the 1970s.  The complete intellectual collapse of the Republican party, which can be seen in any debate, is the result of their inability to develop any new ideas over the last 10-20 years.  

    Democrats have been the party of ideas for the last twenty years.  They've just done a terrible job of advocating for them or pushing back against Republican obstructionism.  That's not a lack of ideas, it's a lack of will.  (On the other side, Republicans are drowning in will, but have no ideas.)  

    Obama's framing misdiagnosis the problem by making it sound like Democrats have lost because of a lack of idea instead of the truth, they've lost because they are politically weak (witness their great rush to cave on FISA, again).  By misdiagnosing the problem, it becomes less clear to me how Obama solves it.  


    The Only Ideas That Republicans Had (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    were marketing ideas. They did IMO use better marketing to promote their regressive ideas.

    Obama supporters can argue over that ad (none / 0) (#71)
    by felizarte on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:23:34 PM EST
    which use his actual voice saying those words, until they are blue in the face and it will only serve to keep this issue alive and distract Obama from the things he ought to be saying. If he is not careful, pretty soon they will be nicknaming him W for whatever. To be followed by jokes on the air after the writers strike is over.

    And Let's not forget (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:20:52 PM EST
    that saying "the excesses of the '60's" is a republican dog whistle in and of itself. What were those excesses? Civil rights, womens rights, anti-Vietnam war protests, environmentalism - in other words, bread and butter progressive issues. They weren't excesses if you lived through those times, as I did. For Obama to ever - EVER - imply that they were and are tells me everything I need to know about his so-called progressivism. He just doesn't get it. If he did, he would not keep saying these things. They are inflammatory to the base of the democratic party, simply because they are base issues. You don't court democrats by dumping on their issues. He is courting republicans and kids who don't know any better simply because they love to slam baby boomers. That is NOT the way you build a progressive movement.

    The excesses (1.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:31:33 PM EST
    of the 60 which actually occurred more in the 70's were drug use, people dropping out of society to live off trust funds. people having multiple unprotected sexual partners, the Vietnam war.

    The product of that was HIV, homelessness, drug addiction.

    Lets not go into the whitewashing of the past, there were pluses and minuses.


    um, ok (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:35:23 PM EST
    Really bleak. (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:39:10 PM EST
    I still think that 26 year old chief (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:26:10 PM EST
    speech writer plays into this.

    oculus (none / 0) (#85)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 03:03:31 PM EST
    I agree--shows an astounding lack of real-time historical knowledge.  

    Of course Obama approves of Reagan! (none / 0) (#64)
    by MarkL on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:47:36 PM EST
    That's patently clear if you read everything he says about him.
    This ad in SC is devastating. Maybe Clinton has a shot to win there now.

    that link didnt work for me so in case (none / 0) (#65)
    by athyrio on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:54:21 PM EST
    someone else is like me I thought I would report that ad in South Carolina

    *I* think (none / 0) (#84)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:59:03 PM EST
    That Obama just likes the sound of his own voice, and he tends to rattle on about stuff like a college professor instead of a politician, then when it comes back to bite him in the behind, he can't fail the class. It's like when someone asks you how your day is, you say fine instead of saying, "well, I woke up and my back hurt, and then I went to turn on the coffee maker..."

    I hope that doesn't sound as trite as it reads, because I am being serious about my assessment.  I just think he isn't seasoned enough to know how to answer a question that is succinct and plays well on the news.  Same thing in the debate before last, where he REALLY answered the question about his weakness.  I am an ardent Hillary supporter, but I was cringing when he answered and saying, "edit, edit, edit" the way librarians used to say, "inside voice! inside voice!"

    But, I am also open to Mr BTD's thoughts to the contrary.


    In the past 10 - 15 years (none / 0) (#90)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:52:42 PM EST
    we have had the birth of the information highway and buget surpluses - who's ideas were they?

    According to Obama, we went straight from Reagan to Bush2 without any Democratic ideas


    Government is the problem. (4.66 / 3) (#23)
    by CathyinLa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:27:09 AM EST
    Reagan drove a steak through the heart of Democratic values with one partisan, debilitating rally cry that government was the source of all their resentments.  In addition he defined Democrats as incompetent, perhaps well-meaning, but ultimately against the best interest of thinking people everywhere.

    Obama is not employing the Reagan model.  He is hoping I suppose that you can fool some independents and republicans into suddenly liking Democratic party philosophy.

    What irony.  Bill Clinton tried this in '92 and the opposition we soon saw was not interested in any sort of post partisan progress.  

    I resent Obama's cavalier dismissal of fights of the 90s, while looking curiously at people don't remember that they despised Bill Clinton if he seemed to be being disloyal to the party.  "Running against his party" is what they called it back then.

    Yep (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:31:22 AM EST
    Is this Cathy from Dkos and MLW?

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by CathyinLa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:33:29 AM EST
    I've missed you.  Ah, a place of sanity.

    Great! (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:39:40 AM EST
    I'm trying to get A Gilas Girl to vist us here too.

    I can not be the full throttle jerk I used to be in comments but normally I do not even have the urge to.

    This is a nice place. I hope you stay and enjoy it.


    This is an amusing comment in light (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:10:03 PM EST
    of the "testy" post on the Obama exchange with the press.

    Remind (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:48:58 AM EST
    me again, why is Paul Krugman supposed to be infallible?  

    Remind me again (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:52:04 AM EST
    where I said he was infallible.

    I said he disputes it. I said he cites Obama's actual words whereaqs people who say there is no dispute NEVER do. I mean NEVER.


    They Can't Use The Actual Words (4.20 / 5) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:19:12 AM EST
    The only way they can explain away what Obama actually said is by adding what Josh Marshall calls "nuance."  IOW they are adding as "facts" meanings to his statements that aren't contained in his actual words. In some circles, this plays to Obama's advantage. The Republicans can take his words at face value and be impressed that Obama really likes Reagan and his policies. And Dems who take his words at face value and are offended by them can be attacked for distorting them or for being too stupid to understand the "nuances."

    words (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:32:06 AM EST
    lets look at his words, since i don't know who the "they" is you are referring to.

    I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not

    Lets see after Reagan gave us 12 years of republican presidential rule. Set up the republican take over of congress, and made Clinton have to triangulate to be effective.  Seems like an accurate statement to me.

    I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

    [emphasis added]
    He tapped into what people were feeling, does it say he did good things? NOPE, does it mention his policy... NOPE

    Hey guess what "morning in America" was a smart political statement, Reagan was a smart politician.  Does that mean his policies were good, NO, does Obama say they were good, NO


    First Of All You You Have To Agree With (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:57:22 AM EST
    the premise that he tapped into what people were already feeling and that they wanted clarity, optimism, a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing and they thought that Reagan could provide them.

    Had Carter been able to bring the Iran hostages home prior to the election, IMO there would never have been a Reagan presidency.

    Did he say good things? Clarity, optimism, a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship are pretty positive nouns by the definitions most people use. Did Obama say that Reagan gave people these things? No. Did Obama say that Reagan did not provide these after elected. No.

    Did he say that the Republican party was the party of ideas for the last 10 or 15 years? Yes Did he say that Republicans had good ideas? No. Did he say that the Republicans ideas were bad or didn't work? No.


    The lesson Obama ought to learn from this (none / 0) (#68)
    by felizarte on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:07:53 PM EST
    is to be precise and not make statements that are open to so many interpretations.  HE IS the candidate.  His responsibility is to communicate exactly what he means.  Because he is a lawyer, a Harvard graduate at that, I expect it of him. He made an imprecise statement; he should explain it once and move on.  To continue to whine about it only shows inexperience, refusal to take responsibility and frankly amateurish.  Politics was not invented just yesterday.

    It Is My Opinion That Obama Leaves His Statements (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:50:30 PM EST
    vague on purpose.

    Ha! (none / 0) (#81)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:47:30 PM EST
    Obama precise?  Oh, me, I long for the day.  Folks don't realize that in the general election, the news cycle (not to mention the republicans) won't give him time to parse and explain and semanticize* his way out of a paper bag.

    *(tm) Kathy


    Way To Go (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:16:05 PM EST
    Down rating my comment is a great way to get your point across.

    Ratings are meaningless (4.00 / 3) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:35:30 PM EST
    Donot sweat them.

    Oh, Lord (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:49:08 PM EST
    We get rated?  I wish I didn't know that.

    I don't (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:20:09 PM EST
    think broad assertions about "they"s are productive, intelligent or convincing ways of arguing.  So I down rated it.

    I'll (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:22:29 PM EST
    high rate your comment that i liked

    Jgarza (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by Alien Abductee on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:40:25 PM EST
    A rational parsing of what he actually said and what he actually meant isn't an answer to a post like this. Because it isn't really about that. It's meant to be a call for Obama to act more like a Democrat, to push Democratic views and ideals proudly and loudly, to use his current public platform to advance the party agenda and progressive ideals and viewpoints instead of just his own interests. What he said, parsed in the narrowest terms, may be literally true, but as a high-profile Democrat he shouldn't be saying it, because in a partisan system it undercuts his own side.

    So while I'm sympathetic to your attempt to defend your candidate, I think you're missing the larger point. And you're not going to stop postings like this with this type of answer. Better spend your energies pushing your candidate to stand up for an unambiguously progressive and Democratic agenda. He obviously wasn't doing that in this case because he needed a conservative newspaper's endorsement for his own advantage.

    His supporters should be encouraging him to try to keep the larger goal in mind as he goes forward - they should be demanding that he does...that all of them do. Because if his post-partisanship doesn't actually help produce a more progressive result, just a half-conservative middle way, none of us win. He needs to be trying to change minds and hearts while he has this very public platform available. It's part of what he's got to be judged on as a Democratic candidate.


    Yep (none / 0) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:07:53 PM EST
    In my first post on this issue (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:35:29 AM EST
    I stated that I would take the assumption you just laid out aqnd explained why it weas good politics.

    But let's be clear, at the least, Clinton's interpretation is AT LEAST as reasonable as yours. Truth be told, it is much more reasonable.


    Short View of History (none / 0) (#60)
    by BDB on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:36:57 PM EST
    I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not

    Lets see after Reagan gave us 12 years of republican presidential rule. Set up the republican take over of congress, and made Clinton have to triangulate to be effective.  Seems like an accurate statement to me.

    I'd argue that Reagan was actually bringing to fruition the ideas of Barry Goldwater, with a few tweaks of his own.  He didn't change the trajectory of America, Barry Goldwater did.  He laid the intellectual groundwork in the 1960s that served as the basis of the Reagan era.  It was largely his criticisms of liberalism that worked into the mainstream and were there for Reagan to tap into.  It took almost 20 years, but Goldwater eventually won the day.  

    But, if you had looked at Goldwater's influence on national politics right after his 1964 loss, you would have called him a failure.  The Johnson administration expanded the Great Society, so much so that even Richard Nixon supported price controls.  

    I think you could also argue that the progressive battles of the 1990s could lead to huge victories in the next administration.  Folks talk about the Clinton healthcare failure, but it was the first time anyone had seriously attempted healthcare reform and by simply putting it out there and trying, the idea seemed more possible.  Similarly, for all the losses on gay rights under Clinton, just the idea that you had a President who tried to put gays in the military, who had open gays serving on the White House staff, pushed the culture, even if it resulted in political losses.  I'd say the same thing about the Family Medical Leave Act and other "half measures."  

    A lot of the fights of the 1990s, as Obama likes to call them, were disappointing and political losses at the time.  But I don't think we can judge them losses by historical standards just because Bush reversed a lot of them.  I think by introducing and advocating ideas - that you get time off from work when you have a child, that the Government should be looking at solving the healthcare crisis, that gays should be considered for military service - you make it more possible that those ideas eventually succeed, even if you lose on them in the immediate future.  

    Indeed, I'd argue that you can see the seeds of the Republican collapse and the liberals rise in the fights of the 1990s, just as you could see the potential Reagan era coming in the writings and politics of Barry Goldwater.  If the next president succeeds in getting healthcare or strengthening environmental controls, he or she is going to owe a debt to those fights of the 1990s.


    Should've Added (none / 0) (#62)
    by BDB on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:40:08 PM EST
    That this is why the Right fought so hard against the Clintons in the 1990s.  They didn't fight that hard to destroy them personally and politically for kicks and giggles.  They fought because they saw what a political threat they were, not just to the short-term electoral wins, but to the intellectual underpinnings of the Reagan movement.

    Yeah i read (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:09:17 AM EST
    his actual words and have seen the video.  No explanation of what is wrong with them.  Just the same you mentioned Reagan, and didn't call him the devil line.

    And somehow many people believe that Candidate A is the true progressive

    He says Obama isn't a true progressive, go find the legislation, find me the part of his biography that says he isn't a progressive.

    If you/he can't point to something of substance, aside from that you/he think he needs to be more negative about Reagan, then the assertion (and I know you aren't making it, but you certainly link to people that do) is flat out character assassination, it is a distraction from the issues, and it is disingenuous.

    I guess in Paul Krugman's brilliant mind voting for bad bankruptcy bills, and authorizing war with Iraq, is the "true Progressive" thing to do.  


    I think Obama is a progressive (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:21:04 AM EST
    Mostly because Obama's voting record is pretty much in step with Hillary's.  :-)

    I have to say, having watched the original film on YouTube, and his explanation of the remarks during the debate, I still don't buy it.  (And I am a Hillary reporter, but I'm also not a fool).  Invoking Reagan's name is like invoking Hitler's.  Yeah, he was a vegetarian and he loved dogs, but-but-but...

    Here is the thing: Obama keeps making comments that are so easily misconstrued that it's almost like a drinking game.  You have got to be on point in the Big World.  You don't get to parse and philosophize and change meaning and...well, debate yourself, basically.  You have got to be on point all the time.  He is not.  

    Rezko is going to keep biting him in the behind, too.


    woops (none / 0) (#22)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:23:25 AM EST
    "reporter" meant "supporter." Haha!  What a slip!

    all true, and i just can't get (none / 0) (#24)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:31:19 AM EST
    my head around all these so called misunderstood statements by obama by us. obama is intelligent with a good grasp of language and it's use, no doubt. so these comments are not a mistake just like his appeal to evangelicals to vote for him in the last debate. he intends to say what he says. in his mind, he thinks (in my humble opinion)he is the new campaigner. naw, obama, sad to say it is the same old campaign and you are using very old campaign tricks. nothing new there.

    it is hard to let go of a dream! obama is also pitting the young against the older. please tell me just how this helps him, his campaign, and the democratic party. i don't get it.


    there are more statments? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:25:07 PM EST
    all these misunderstandings?

    ok, you asked. (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:53:16 PM EST
    what is obama's plan about social security?
    why is obama talking about the 60s and 70s in the manner he is?
    why does obama make the comments he does about reagan? i listened to all his comments there and read the blog here with all comments regarding that.
    why is it ok for obama to comment on mlk and not hillary? i listened to that also and her comment was not racist though some in the obama camp implied it.
    some of the comments by the jackson co chair also turn me off regarding her so called meltdown.
    and to be honest that comment he made about religeon during the debate threw me. i want separation of church and state. when i see a politican appear to appeal to the evangelicals like the repubs do really turns me off.
    obama is a politican just like the rest and yet in my opinion tries to be holier than thou. that does not sit well with me either. i agree that is my personal take on him, but there it is. now i have issues with edwards and hillary on other things as well. obama truly worries me. i write that here in as honest a manner as i can. i hope to see him really shine if he were to be the vp candidate and also as the presidential candidate if that is how it goes.

    To me, Obama's statements (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:59:11 PM EST
    about religion during the most recent debate (in light of his previous statements during this campaign on this subject) are much more pertinent than his statements on Reagan.  Waiting for the blogs or at least Talk Left to address his statements.

    yup, i hope they do also. (none / 0) (#76)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:27:26 PM EST
    i hate to even evoke this comparison but do so strictly to bring home that religeon and government need to be separated.

    i remember when bush evoked jesus during a debate.


    That's an aspect. . . (none / 0) (#38)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:48:48 AM EST
    Rezko is going to keep biting him in the behind, too.

    of their relationship I hadn't yet heard about.  Do you have a link?


    Check out Chicago Sun-Times. (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:49:59 AM EST
    Many articles if you search for Obama Rezko.

    the perspective you take (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:13:12 PM EST
    proves my point:

    Invoking Reagan's name is like invoking Hitler's.

    please see Goodwins law


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:11:23 AM EST
    If you mean IN THIS POST, there was no explanation, of course that is true.

    The pont of THIS POST is to expose Ezra Klein's distortions.

    The posts you are looking for happened last week.


    I was refering to (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:14:14 AM EST
    your hero Krugmans quote

    Krugman believes (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:16:35 AM EST
    that those words speak for themselves.

    They (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:20:38 AM EST
    seem like a pretty accurate description of Reagan, people actually felt that way about him, Obama never says that he substantively did anything, just that he captured a mood, and transformed the political field.

    This is all true.


    I disagree (4.50 / 2) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:37:43 AM EST
    but I tell you, as always happens with Obama, the lack of a clear statement of what he believes allows for the interpretations you are protesting.

    Now he does this on purpose in oder to attract Republicans. But this is the flip side of the same coin.


    BTD (if I may call you that) (none / 0) (#83)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:53:42 PM EST
    Could you expound upon this?  Because you've said this is not a mistake a few times now, and I wonder what you think Obama's plan is by purposely being unclear?  Does it somehow tie back to his "present" votes, meaning he leaves everything ambiguous so that later he can backtrack and say, "no, you misunderstood/misconstrued/stole my toys, etc."?  Or, do you think it's to keep his name out there?  Not sure how it helps him, but then again I was cringing last week when Bill was getting all that bad press and now I am saying he is crazy like a fox!

    err post (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:14:35 AM EST
    Krugman's post

    You are HRC's "truth squad." (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:49:45 AM EST
    Keep up the good work.  

    Paul Krugman (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by athyrio on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:53:19 AM EST
    I love Paul Krugman and he is right on target...Unless you are willing to ignore Obama's words and pretend that he didnt really say that or spin it to mean what you want it to....If you go back and look at what he said, he is most flattering to the republicans and there is no doubt about it...I am amazed that Hillarys team hasnt put out a you tube piece on it...would be easy to do .....

    I have heard a lot of (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:52:58 AM EST
    arguments about why Reagan was bad, I haven't heard anyone argue against what Obama actually said.

    Yes you have (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:55:39 AM EST
    Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are two people that did.

    They (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:10:15 AM EST
    interpreted what he said, they argued against what they wanted him to say not what he actually said.

    that is not true (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:12:20 AM EST
    Clinton in particular QUOTED Obama's words.

    I think there is no point in pursuing this with you.


    yes she quoted a sentence (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:17:59 AM EST
    out of context, and then interpreted to mean something it was clear it did not.

    The classic (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Warren Terrer on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:20:24 AM EST
    Obama fanboy defence.

    None of that Warren (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:33:03 AM EST
    jgarza has been a good citizen here.

    No more comments like that please.


    Wake me up (none / 0) (#32)
    by Warren Terrer on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:38:38 AM EST
    when the primaries are over. Thanks.

    I feel you (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:41:10 AM EST
    But we are really developing a good place for reasonable discussion here.

    jgarza is being a good citizen even though I mostly disagree with him.

    I know you and know you are great at that.


    The classic (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:33:50 AM EST
    substance free sarcastic insult.

    What he said actually said (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by ogo on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:42:40 AM EST
    The Republicans have been calling themselves the party of ideas to indicate that the Democrats had no ideas.  When Obama agrees - even if he later says that they were bad ideas - he has already insulted Democrats, buying the line that they had no ideas.  Obama said that the Republicans were the party of ideas.  Its a Republican construct and they (the Republicans) mean for it to infer good ideas they also mean for it to belittle the Democrats.

    I think Barney Frank did a great job of explaining many of the ideas of the Democratic party over the last decade. Ideas which I think are good and worth fighting for.


    Why Obama even had to make such a statement (none / 0) (#70)
    by felizarte on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:19:31 PM EST
    is beyond me.  He could have attacted republicans to vote democratic by criticizing Bush on the illegal wiretaps; the deficit, the Iraq War, not able to capture Bin Laden, the justice dept. scandals, the tax breaks for the super rich.  And if he wanted to go after Bill Clinton, he could have brought up unfortunate things that happened during his eight years in office including his impeachment for lying.

    If you haven't, (none / 0) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:10:54 PM EST
    it is because you aren't listening.  

    What was the phrase HRC (none / 0) (#37)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:47:53 AM EST
    used during the South Carolina debate:  well, you can infer?  Not an exact quote.

    BTD I disagree . . . (none / 0) (#72)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:45:48 PM EST
    I think it's fair for the Clinton's to criticize Obama for not attacking the Reagan record and for minimizing the Clinton administration's accomplishments. But they are clearly distoring what Obama actually said.

    Senator Clinton said:

    I have to say, you know, my leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years."

    President Clinton then asserted the following characterization of Obama's statement:

    'In the 90s the good ideas came out from the Republicans. Which it'll be costly maybe down the road for him because it's factually not accurate."

    Here is Obama's statement in context.

    "I think that we're shifting the political paradigm here. And if I'm the nominee, I think I can bring a lot of folks along on my coattails. You know, there's a reason why in 2006, I made the most appearances for members of Congress. I was the most requested surrogate to come in and campaign for people in districts that were swing districts, Republican districts where they wouldn't have any other Democrat.

    "That was based on their read of the fact that, you know what, this is somebody who can reach out to independents and Republicans in a way that doesn't offend people...I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what's different are the times.

    "I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I mean, I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. They felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60's and the 70's and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating and he tapped into what people were already feeling. Which is, people wanted clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamic and entrepreneurship that had been missing, alright? I think Kennedy, twenty years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times.

    "I think we're in one of those times right now. Where people feel like things as they are going aren't working. We're bogged down in the same arguments that we've been having, and they're not useful. And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the Presidential candidates and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it. That's not really going to solve our energy problems, for example. So, some of it's the times. And some of it's, I think, there's maybe a generation element to this, partly. In the sense that there's a, I didn't did come of age in the battles of the 60's. I'm not as invested in them.

    "And so I think I talk differently about issues. And I think I talk differently about values. And that's why, I think we've been resonating with the American people."

    From the highlighted portions it is clear that Obama is saying that Reagan brought a dynamism to the table that, under the circumstances at the time, allowed his to make a fundamental change in our political dialect.  He doesn't say the Republicans were the "party of ideas" because they were bringing good ideas to the table . . . he very clearly qualifies his statement adding:

    ...in the sense that they were challenging the conventional wisdom"

    He also adds that (admittedly not forcefully enough) the Reagan "revolution" has played itself out and the Republican Party is bereft of ideas beyond the failed policies of the last three Republican administrations.  

    you make some interesting points. (none / 0) (#77)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:32:20 PM EST
    what bothers is the fact that a person as intelligent and well spoken as obama keeps making these statements that then saying that is not what i meant. one time maybe, but look at the debate over a number of comments he has made.

    if he said it, he owns it. to speak to the american people without using code words is simple enough.


    I agree (none / 0) (#79)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:44:19 PM EST
    That he needs to speak more clearly and with a better sense of what the media and his opponents will pick up on as sound bytes.  But the Clintons are distorting what he said and IMO making themselves look bad in the process.

    i can't say i totally agree. (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 03:11:08 PM EST
    i think obama is speaking clearly. in my opinion he is using code talk to appeal to reagan democrats and the religeous right. if that is not what he is doing, then yes obama really needs to be more on target with his choice of language and topics.

    i for one did not appreciate the comment about the 60s and 70s. i also don't trust his position of social security. he seemed to me to be pitting the older and younger americans against each other.


    Apples and oranges (none / 0) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:42:13 PM EST
    This is about the Reagan remarks.

    Hardly (none / 0) (#80)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:46:18 PM EST
    all a part of the same thoughts.  Unless one wants to divorce from context.

    I wonder how many of us here actually lived throug (none / 0) (#87)
    by felizarte on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:01:50 PM EST
    the sixties; but I do have very fond memories of the times; the anti-vietnam war protests; challenging some of the strict constraints of society in dress and assembly; Haight-Asbury in San Francisco; the Sunset strip; the anti-segregation sit ins; the exuberance of the people feeling that they were being heard; Martin Luther King giving his "I have a dream . . . speech/the Beatles/Bob Dylan, "blowin' in the wind/Joan Baez/BB King/Gordon Lightfoot/Peter Paul and Mary with their "the times they are a-changing,' in the wind, Where have all the flowers gone "/Civil Rights Act/Voting Rights act.

    One must acknowledge the kind of movement that needed to budge the country from the inertia of the status quo.

    Obama is the one who is making statements about the 60's and 70's that are unfair and out of historical context. He deserves to be criticized for his remarks. He can wiggle out of the statements by saying that he didn't mean what others have understood them to be, and his supporters will believe him; but not necessarily the others.

    I lived it as well (none / 0) (#88)
    by athyrio on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:11:52 PM EST
    and I loved it and am proud of it for our taking a stand for human rights....noone should ever put that down....and I mean EVER.......