Obama: Delivering What I Expected

The teeth gnashing about Obama (and I am all for it, we need a Left Flank) continues - this time from Paul Rosenberg:

Nate [Silver]'s general point that Obama's agenda is more liberal than centrist is certainly true. This is hardly surprising in light of Obama's record in the Senate, where he and Clinton had virtually identical records, both as moderate liberals. Given that both are Democrats from solid blue states, there is nothing surprising about this at all. . . . [The Obama] agenda is top-heavy with playing catch-up. For the most part, it's all about enacting ideas that have been around for a long, long time. It's not much about new ideas.

Indeed. I am quite pleased with this. I remember the 90s. With a Democratic/Obama mandate for Bill Clinton's more ambitious agenda (and with a Depression looming, Obama can do as he pleases), we have a great opportunity. This is good news from where I sit - the "Center-Right" (this is meant as a joke, though some may think it is a fair description.)

Speaking for me only

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    Yesterday I was sitting here (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by lilburro on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:51:27 PM EST
    a bit confused by the article he links to in the post you excerpt - Digby, Hegemony and the Policy-Personnel Debate.  

    While there's certainly some truth to this, I believe it's clearly overdrawn, since a good many people were convinced that Obama's policies were already quite progressive--he was against the Iraq War, remember?--and it wasn't just cultural signifiers they were depending on.


    Put simply, progressives need an attitude adjustment.  Politicians are not our friends, any more than tv characters are.  They are not going to bring killer pasta salad to our BBQ, go to the beach with us,

    How many politicians did progressives think this way about?  Is this an Obama phenomenon?  Or were people falling all over themselves to progressiveize other politicians the way they did Obama in previous campaigns?

    I think it is the celebrity culture (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jjc2008 on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 01:14:20 PM EST
    that has been growing since the 90s.

    In the 60s, liberals, hippies, protestors against the war, as far as I recall, looked at all politicians warily.  And we were in sync with the news class at that time. While many of us thought McCarthy was our best choice, I really do not remember the kind of hero worship juxtaposed with elections the way it is now.

    We looked to and at the journalists as regular folks doing a hard, but most important job....keeping their eye on government for US, the people...because they were a part of us.  Now, whether right or left, there is a celebrity mentality that permeates us.  We talk about celebrities and their relationships as if they were our friends.  I was enamoured of Paul Newman, Robert Redford.   They were my "hunks...." in my young adulthood.  
    But I knew next to nothing about their private lives, nor did I want to.  I knew Paul was married to Joanne Woodward, another outstanding actor but that was all (yes there were teeny bopper mags and as a 14 year old I cared but beyond that...no, I outgrew that).

    THEN somehow in the 80s we starting mixing up celebrity and politics.  Celebrities became politicians and politicians became celebrities.
    While there were hints about the Kennedys and celebrity for the most part those stories were low key, and barely water cooler talk.  But when Reagan was elected, when the the news and entertainment divisions began to mix together, it all changed.
    We now have a pundit class, supposedly journalists who socialize with the people they cover. And their coverage has become personal.  Their biases are clear and that is NOT journalism.

    I believe this has trickled down to the electorate.  Some (often younger) voters have personalized politics.  The hero worship on the left is becoming as scary as it is on the right. Charisma is a good tool but we all must be aware of that power.....
    and because of their worship/admiration they project on to candidates what they want to see, from values that are not there to superpowers that can't be there.

    It's scary and we, progressives/liberals, really need to have voices on the blogs reminding us constantly that it is OUR government and no one else's government; that there are no superheroes, no magic bullets to solve problems.
    We really have allowed the messianic mentality to get played too much.


    that may be true (none / 0) (#18)
    by lilburro on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 01:39:54 PM EST
    culturally but Rosenberg seems to be discovering this as a general attitude by progressives, when to me it really seems to be an Obama problem.  And if you're going to set it up that way it seems dishonest and a way to continue keeping Obama on a pedestal.  

    CDS is proof positive progressives don't hold a general belief that politicians are our friends.  


    But in the cultural celebrity, hero worship (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jjc2008 on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 02:09:09 PM EST
    world, one can only hold ONE as THE ONE, at a time.
    It can change but never be polytheistic.  
    Serial Monotheism seems to work on both sides of the aisle.

    "The Left" undercut not just Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by esmense on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 05:20:19 PM EST
    but more important the people they claimed to represent and serve. Most especially in terms of health care. The ego, kiss my ring elitism and intentional obstruction of health care reform indulged in by Daniel Patrick Moynihan,for instance, the outright lies about the Clinton health care plan published in The New Republic, etc.,the refusal of the party's single payer players to brook any compromise... Too many prominent "liberals" seemed to care less about Americans getting health care than they cared about who might get the credit...

    Just a tad left of center from my point of view (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 07:33:40 AM EST
    but seeing as I am out here hiking over the port side of the boat it sometimes looks a bit right of center.

    Glad to hear you appreciate the Left Flank because the past eight years have taught me NOT to keep my opinions to myself.  I hope others with my views will continue to press the Administration & Congress to the left.  Theoretically that should balance out and generate the optimal result.  

    My understanding is Silver is an (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:02:18 PM EST
    baseball statistics guy morphed into a political statistics guy.  Why is Rosenberg spending his time critiquing Silver's opinions on anything else?

    Silver wants to be (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:03:31 PM EST
    a general purpose A lister. The rest of the crew are playing along.

    Oh I use him for my own purposes too (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:10:56 PM EST
    Confessions? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:13:23 PM EST
    Hang on, I gotta my cheetos to snack on while you tell all!

    No big secret (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:27:11 PM EST
    I actually used the article Paul uses - but to point out that there was not dime's worth of difference between the Clinton agenda and the Obama agenda.

    Well in a lot of ways (none / 0) (#23)
    by Pepe on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 09:33:45 PM EST
    that is not a good thing.

    Well sure (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:13:56 PM EST
    but you didn't adopt the "point at the genius" attitude that most of the others have.

    I use that attitutde to my own ends (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:26:03 PM EST

    He has played ball with them too (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:11:50 PM EST
    there were a few times he told them what they wanted to hear verses reality.  He didn't get away with it on this blog but he did elsewhere.

    He's pretty smart. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:48:35 PM EST
    Before long, hell have the background.

    Hey! What's wrong with baseball stats? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Manuel on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:51:07 PM EST
    There is "data" and there is "DATA" but having some data is generally preferable to having no data.  A corollary of the fifty state strategy is that the center of the party moves to the right.  This in turn pushes people like Obama and Clinton further to the left.  I was listening to the new Democratic congressman from Alabama on NPR the other night and he sounded like he would need some convincing on the fiscal stimulus package.

    I figure if Silver correctly predicted (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:56:03 PM EST
    the White Sox win-loss record his predictions on the GE might be worth reading (although I didn't).  

    There's a hilarious diary at MYDD (none / 0) (#8)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:26:52 PM EST
    suggesting that the Democratic party had a secret plan to "cage" Obama with "Clintonistas" after the election.
    That's an effective whine!

    I like it (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12:27:39 PM EST
    What's the big secret? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Pepe on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 09:38:12 PM EST
    Obama is actually appointing those Clintonistas. And if they are true Clintonistas who served under Clinton he is appointing clones of them. Or haven't you noticed? You don't see him appointing Progressives to high posts do you? At least not Liberal Progressives.

    I'm getting what I expected (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 01:14:53 PM EST
    No surprises. I'll always be a little chapped at him for riding the sexist media wave.  He said something about the sexism for the record and that was it. After dealing with my chappedness about that and getting to where I could vote beyond that canker in reality, no surprises.  It is no fun though having whiners to the LEFT of me and whiners to the RIGHT at the moment.  It's been a long eight years and I'm just not in the mood.  Especially if you were one who went to lengths to justify the last round of the Dems funding the Iraq War.  NO whining for you guys, talk to this girl's hand.

    Don't Know Who Paul Rosenberg is but... (none / 0) (#17)
    by pluege on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 01:27:53 PM EST
    use of the term "moderate Liberal" is truly breakthrough if he is anyone that anybody listens to. For the past 28 years anyone even the slightest left of center-right has automatically been labeled a crazy fanatic liberal socialist communist and their input denigrated, ridiculed, and ignored. If center-left or moderate liberal actually became functioning usable terms in American political discourse, that would be quite an improvement.

    Obama (none / 0) (#21)
    by allilucero on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 07:22:14 PM EST
    i agree with you. I think obama is what we need.  What i like about him and his agenda is that it is liberal but not so extreme.  I think we definitely need a change in the way our world is right now.  Not to be rude but look were e got with bush. Our economy has fallen apart and i think Obama will help fix this.

    If you are "all for it" (none / 0) (#22)
    by joanneleon on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 07:41:52 PM EST
    why do you use the mocking tone by calling it a "teeth gnashing"?

    Except (none / 0) (#25)
    by kaleidescope on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 10:52:01 PM EST
    Obama hasn't delivered anything yet.  He isn't even president yet.  What he does with the (mainly Clinton retreads) he appoints remains to be seen, and I put little stock in what he said on the campaign trail.  Anyone who believes what a politician says on the campaign trail is just stupid.

    Something to keep in mind:  Obama can make bold moves and he is very ambitious.  Deciding to run for president after giving one good speech at the 2004 convention is one example of both Obama's ambition and his willingness to make bold moves. I don't think his ambition stops at being elected, getting re-elected and then limping through his second term.    

    So we don't really know what Obama will deliver once he has a chance to do so.  As was repeated ad nauseum during the campaign, Obama doesn't have much of a track record to go by (and I know that both Nate Silver and Paul Rosenburg have pointed to Obama's votes in the Senate, but there haven't really been very many of those).  Given what has happened to the economy, and what could happen still, there will be openings for bold moves.

    I think Obama is very very ambitious in wanting to be a great president.  He is smart enough to understand that this will take more than doing what Bill Clinton did -- enact the Republicans' agenda of NAFTA, WTO and Welfare Reform.

    It's hard to tell how Obama will make his mark, but it is a mistake to think he'll be nothing more than warmed over Clinton.

    Or maybe all Obama's ambition runs to is delivering a dot com bubble -- a phony "New Economy" -- that pops just as he's leaving office.  

    "Greatness" is overrated (none / 0) (#27)
    by BrianJ on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 08:11:17 PM EST
    Which presidency would you rather have lived through-  Bill Clinton's or FDR's?

    Bill Clinton went as far left as the public would allow, and broke Newt Gingrich like a twig when Newt balked him.  There are no monuments to him, but monuments are not the true sign of greatness.  He handled the problems we had as they came.  FDR is considered "great" because he had bigger problems to confront, and he succeeded-  but it was painful waiting for success to take hold.

    Go further than the public will allow without a workable plan, and you're... the guy now slinking out of Washington, or Jimmy Carter.  An Obama who attempts big things just to be considered "great" might as well hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner in front of the White House.