A Historic Day Tomorrow . . .

some kvetching tonight. What in the world is Bob Shrum talking about?

[Obama] knows that an inquisition into Bush & Co.’s alleged crimes would divide the public square, suck up political oxygen and constrict his potential base of support in Congress. If there’s a specific allegation that must be pursued, so be it. But better to close Guantanamo, ban torture, and reinvigorate Constitutional guarantees—and yes, move on—than to engage in psychic satisfaction at the price of America’s future.

(Emphasis supplied.) Is Shrum even paying attention? Dick Cheney has bragged about waterboarding. Susan Crawford has told us we can not try Mohammed Al-Qatani because he was tortured. CIA Director Hayden has threatened to stop torturing if a wink and a nod is not given. Newsweek is advocating for continuing torture. Let's face it -- Bob Shrum does not give a sh*t about torture. That makes him pretty despicable frankly, imo, but he would do well to just shut up about it. More. . . .

Shrum continues:

He wants a victory that crosses party lines, not a reprise of Bill Clinton’s 1993 economic plan, which passed the Congress without a single Republican vote. Obama views his recovery plan as the start of his legislative success, not the end. Krugman and others have a fair point about the greater efficiency of spending versus tax cuts; but it’s a classic case of the perfect as enemy of the good. Obama wants the best stimulus he can muster. But he won’t put it through the eye of an ideological needle.

(Emphasis supplied.) That does not even make sense. Shrum is telling us that instead of getting "the best stimulus he can muster," he will allow political considerations give us a lesser stimulus in order to get more than 59 votes in the Senate. Obama, Shrum tells us, will give us a lesser stimulus by putting the stimulus plan through the eye of a political needle. I happen to think it is stupid politics myself, but my beef here is with that lack of baci logic from Shrum.

Shrum continues:

That same pragmatism will guide each successive stage of what will prove to be a bold agenda. Obama will not duplicate Clinton’s mistake of delaying health care. He will move to enact it before the summer is out. He will listen to business as well as progressives, Republicans as well as Democrats; his transition team and Ted Kennedy’s staff have been doing so for months now.

(Emphasis supplied.) Shrum tells us Obama will sacrifice boldness and efficacy for Republican votes and then promises this "pragmatism" will leads us to the promised land of health care reform. Um, ok. You go with that one Shrum. Sheesh. I mean, does this make any sense?

The final product may not be everybody’s ideal; but this President is less interested in making a point than in taking the historic step of establishing health care as a right rather than a privilege.

What the hell does that even mean? Shrum continues:

Of course, not every Republican—or Democrat—will vote for the legislation; but it will pass precisely because Obama is casting beyond his own party for support.

Last I Looked, Dems were going to have 59 Senatorsand 260 House members. Legislation on healrh care or any other issue will pass because - let me state the obvious - Democrats control both houses of Congress. My gawd Shrum writes some stupid stuff here. And after all that, Shrum ends the column completely contradicting himself and ignoring that Obama draws his mandate from his and Democrats having won the election:

Listening has its limits. When it comes to energy and global warming, for example, there’s not much to be learned from climate change deniers like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. So Obama will advance legislation without the faintest Inhofe imprint.

. . . . [M]aybe there is a chance we’ll see change here, too—that the political clashes of the future will be more respectful, less angry, more open to finding common ground. For the moment, the incoming president has marginalized fevered agitators like Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. Today, Obama speaks for America in part because he respects and responds to voices across the American spectrum. At times, this may discomfort progressives. The end result, however, may be a cure for Battered Liberal Syndrome. It may also usher in a new, if imperfect, progressive era.

Sheesh. It seems to me that the only person suffering from Battered Liberal Syndrome here is Shrum. And let's face it, he took more than his share of political beatings. He does not even seem to know that Democrats have swept the Republicans out of office. And the one sure way to get the Democrats swept out of office is by not solving the problems the country faces. Keep him away from the political wheel please.

Speaking for me only

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    I dunno (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:07:00 PM EST
    Still 15 hours till the inauguration.  Is it too late for Bob Shrum to blow it for us?

    heh (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:11:35 PM EST
    My money's on Jill Biden (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:39:15 PM EST
    It's noon somewhere (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:09:46 PM EST
    I don't see any mention of time zones in the Constitution. Can we do this thing now?

    I read Krugman's letter to Obama (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:15:57 PM EST
    that was published, I think, in Rolling Stone; holy mother of God, it made so much sense, and all I could think was, it's going to get watered down into something wholly swallowable and namby-pamby, bi-partisan, kumbayah, oh-I'm-so-glad-we're-all-friends, by people like Bob Shrum - and it isn't going to work.

    We need a LEADER.  Someone to LEAD, to kick a$$ and take some names, to convince the people who play with people's lives in the Congress that it's time to get down to the real business of fixing this financial crisis, putting people back to work and getting universal health care up and running.

    Bob Shrum makes my teeth ache.  Why is someone who hasn't been able to get anyone elected in years offering advice that is any more substantive than what to have for breakfast?  Or what color shirt to wear?

    Heck, if Shrum told me to have Wheaties for breakfast and to wear the white shirt, I would have a muffin and wear pink - that's how much I trust his advice.

    Here's Krugman's RS open letter to Obama (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:08:57 PM EST
    Anne, perhaps this has already been LINKED at TL, even so, it's still worth revisiting imo: What Obama Must Do; A Letter to the New President, Paul Krugman, Rolling Stone, 01/14/09.

    Oh my! (none / 0) (#59)
    by sj on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:36:48 AM EST
    So much sense packed into that letter.  Thank you for the link.

    Ain't that the truth... (none / 0) (#61)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:48:04 PM EST
    Krugman has always struck me as a person with an abundance of humility. I trust that receiving the Nobel Peace Prize has boosted his confidence in his authority to advise and inform the President in addition to the public.

    And Obama did promise [LINK]:

    "If Paul Krugman has a good idea, in terms of how to spend money efficiently and effectively to jump-start the economy, then we're going to do it."

    I really hope Obama intends to keep that PROMISE! P.S. In a subsequent column, Krugman clarified that the economy needs a lot more sustained support than the "jump-start" that Obama favors.


    Correction, duh... (none / 0) (#62)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:50:58 PM EST
    Krugman received the Nobel Prize for Economics.

    I believe (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:30:54 AM EST
    that Shrum is a consumate Villager. His Village wisdom helped lose two consecutive Presidential elections we should have won.

    Great letter (none / 0) (#57)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 02:50:57 AM EST
    Krugman is excellent, as usual. Thanks Anne.

    Ok, I've read this twice. I can imagine (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Teresa on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:24:36 PM EST
    Obama writing the same thing. I disagree with what Shrum says, but I think what he says is what will happen.

    I hope that Obama is trying to pull some kind of misdirection where he makes the public think he is in the center when he isn't but I'm scared that's not what it is.

    I'm starting to get excited and I really don't want to blow it by being nice to people who've crammed their policies down our throats.

    Puhleeeze (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:38:01 PM EST
    Listening has its limits. When it comes to energy and global warming, for example, there's not much to be learned from climate change deniers like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe.

    But Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have something to teach us about economic policy? I don't think so.

    It's After Midnight (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:06:54 PM EST
    on the East Coast. The official day for the end of an error has arrived. A day I wasn't sure would ever get here when I first installed my backwards bush clock.

    Heh. My backwards Bush keychain (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:22:55 PM EST
    clock ran out of battery strength months ago and it still shows some wacky number of days, hours, minutes and seconds til he's gone.

    Can't be soon enough.


    I bought one of those a few years ago (none / 0) (#47)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:26:08 PM EST
    but I trashed it after reading that the batter would only last until like 2007.

    Now see (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:33:49 PM EST
    I used my oftentimes wrong but in this case right financial acumen and downloaded the free backwards desktop clock which is still working.

    Well, I bought it from a guy (none / 0) (#53)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:36:20 PM EST
    who [seemed to be running on a shoestring https:/www.backwardsbush.com]. This was early 2005, and I was in a bad mood.

    Got mine for Xmas (none / 0) (#60)
    by oldpro on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 10:09:12 AM EST
    the year Bush was reelected...

    Schrum. Gore campaign (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:25:17 PM EST
    advisor, Kerry campaign strategist.

    'Nuf said.

    Where'd that 'c' come from? (none / 0) (#48)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:26:48 PM EST
    You're making that sound in the back (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:30:16 PM EST
    of your throat, as if to cough up his name. ;-)

    Birds of a Feather (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by kaleidescope on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:43:31 AM EST
    Bob Shrum's affinity for torture may be because, like him, it is ineffective.

    I can think of a different cure (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:00:12 PM EST
    for BLS, but it would not occur to those suffering.

    I agree that Shurmmy should define his terms. WTF does he mean by "pragmatism?"

    It is called (none / 0) (#3)
    by maddog on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:09:32 PM EST
    negotiation.  Barry wants a new kind of Washington, not a one party system.  Do you want a redo of what the republicans pulled for the last 8 years.  Inclusion is what he is aiming for.  

    Remember he is governing the whole US, not just the 54% that voted for him.

    We can have faux unity (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:12:06 PM EST
    or good policies, not both.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#23)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:48:51 PM EST
    If you stand for something, there will always be those who oppose you.

    My secret hope is that Obama is creating a 1960s-type love fest over him so he can do what he wants (what is right) while potential critics remain blinded by the love.

    BTW, Andgarden, Politico is reporting it's Caroline for NY Senator.  Any other info?


    The Politico quoting the NY Post? (none / 0) (#25)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:51:04 PM EST
    I wouldn't bet the farm if I were you.

    I'm not a betting person (none / 0) (#27)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:55:12 PM EST
    but is there another source of info?  Anyone seen Carolyn Maloney around NY lately -- or is she in D.C., along with everyone but me, or so it seems!

    The NY Post (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:21:49 PM EST
    heh (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:25:30 PM EST
    I remember that.

    Info is scarce (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:58:34 PM EST
    because there's one guy making the decision. Personally, I think CK is the wrong call politically for Patterson. There's one caveat to that: the Obama team may have promised him extra recovery money if she is appointed. If it's enough to make up the budget shortfall, then I think Patterson would be right to choose her. Otherwise, he's better to pick someone who hasn't been dragged through the mud recently.

    I really cannot imagine (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:05:15 PM EST
    Obama being so joined at the hip with Caroline Kennedy as to do some kind of pay for play deal with Paterson over her with recovery money.  Cannot imagine it.

    I don't think that would be (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:09:33 PM EST
    "pay for play," though there might be some prosecutor who would disagree with me. More like the political horse trading that happens in every state capitol in America.

    In any case, I can't imagine that CK is worth so much to the Obama admin that they would over anything close to what I suggested. It might have been a good starting point if Patterson wanted to negotiate, though.


    I agree with gyrfalcon (none / 0) (#44)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:23:24 PM EST
    Legally, you are correct.  In the real world, it would be insane to even go there.  You're just begging for the presidency to suddenly be hijacked with a bunch of nuanced discussion about whether the Senate seat was sold.  No way would the Obama team make any kind of explicit promise like that, particularly in the current news cycle.

    I don't actually think there's any such (none / 0) (#49)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:27:22 PM EST
    arrangement. I just think that it would be, to my mind, one really good political reason for Patterson to make that appointment. He and CK get to stand before the press in Albany with one of those big checks, you know.

    One T, Andgarden (none / 0) (#63)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 07:41:05 PM EST
    Paterson, as in New Jersey.  Just FYI.

    Don't. Go. There. (none / 0) (#35)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:11:46 PM EST
    The Intrade (none / 0) (#29)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:03:39 PM EST
    price on Kennedy went up 17 points today. Sounds like the inside action has her being appointed as soon as Hillary is voted in tomorrow or Wednesday morning at the latest.

    Intrade knows the conventional wisdom, (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:07:35 PM EST
    and nothing more IMO.

    I just don't see the politics of CK anymore. Well, I do, but there's a lot more to overcome then there was when her name was first floated.


    Hope It Is Not Cuomo (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:08:05 PM EST
    I'm thinking Maloney (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:12:45 PM EST
    or Steve Israel. But really, who knows? Brian Higgins would be an interesting choice, but I think he might be iffy on choice (don't quote me on that) and nobody's ever hear of him in "the City."

    He has helpfully (none / 0) (#37)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:16:19 PM EST
    filled out an issue survey. In New York, being opposed to free trade can hurt, especially when it comes to fundraising. And the abortion section doesn't inspire much confidence, though I think his voting record is fine.

    They All Seem Fine (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:19:15 PM EST
    Paterson will do the right thing for us. If he f's up he loses in 2010. So far he is my favorite pol in a while.

    I like Cuomo the least. For me he is going on name recognition, mostly. I do not think Paterson will choose him and will be disappointed if he does.


    Higgins would make (none / 0) (#40)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:21:15 PM EST
    a lot of sense from the perspective of helping Paterson with the upstate vote in 2010.

    The only thing Paterson could do (none / 0) (#38)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:17:47 PM EST
    that would anger the Kennedys more than picking someone other than CK would be picking Cuomo.

    I Do Not Think (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:22:59 PM EST
    That Paterson is under the thumb of Kennedy. If Paterson picked Cuomo, Caroline Kennedy would still be backing Paterson because she is on the same page with him on many issues.

    Bob, is that you?? (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:16:17 PM EST
    Please, your vision bears no relation to reality.
    Republicans' core aims are diametrically opposed to Democrats'. Among their top goals for the last 70 years has been to abolish Social Security entirely. Another goal is to get the top 1%'s tax rate even lower. Another goal is unbridled exploitation of natural resources without regard to long term consequences.
    Face it, the Republican party's only virtue---and that only sometimes---has been in the area of foreign and military policy.
    The reality is that Republicans win votes only by fooling the public, so your very premise that 46% of the country agress with the GOP's aims is one I reject.

    I want policies that work (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:17:21 PM EST
    The problem with Bush was not that he would not negotiate. The problem is his policies were sh*t.

    If they were good, the GOP would still be in control of government. The policies were perceived a s good through the 2004 election. It's why the GOP won those elections.


    God yes (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:26:09 PM EST
    The way to build consensus around the right policy is to enact the right policy, no matter whos toes get stepped on, and show that it works.

     People didn't repudiate Bush because they all of a sudden realized he didn't talk to Democrats. They repudiated him because it became impossible to ignore that his policies were a miserable failure.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:30:08 PM EST
    It should be obvious to the most naive among us but hey, Dems are supposed to capitulate. Or so say the Beltway Dems like Shrum.

    Maybe they truly just don't believe in the (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:34:07 PM EST
    policies. I guess if I  thought deep down that tax cuts were the answer I'd go along with Boehner too.

    oh heck, no I wouldn't. The man's an a**.


    He's too rich to care (none / 0) (#18)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:38:56 PM EST
    I dunno (none / 0) (#58)
    by sj on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:12:44 AM EST
    I think the problem with Bush was that he would not negotiate AND his policies were sh*t.

    I want the right policies to get us through (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:20:57 PM EST
    this economic crisis. I want us out of Iraq and an end to torture.

    I want these things even if they pass by the bare minimum.


    Well (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:25:02 PM EST
    that's not really an issue for people who don't believe in anything but the man himself.

    I feel like I want him to succeed (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:30:38 PM EST
    even more than they do! If they enact the watered down Boehner approved version of the stimulus package, it simply will not work and Obama will fail. I guess they count it as success if they can blame Boehner too?  I'd rather have a good economy!

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:33:59 PM EST
    Same is true of watered down (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:53:31 PM EST
    healthcare policy.  If any major group has right to opt in, healthcare probably won't work, & then it will be another century before there's any chance of putting healthcare back on the national agenda.

    You might (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:20:55 AM EST
    benefit from reading a transcript of FDR's first innaugural address.

    It would be hard to find a more partisan speech.  

    No compromise, no prisoners.

    It's because Obama is President of all the people that he must act in a strident partisan fashion.

    Crappy, watered down, bipartisan policy benefits few if any.

    Efficacious, no compromise policy benefits everyone.


    BTD I have a bone to pick (none / 0) (#24)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:50:42 PM EST
    This column was so apt, I've been doubled over laughing instead of getting a paper done.

    Shrum last worked for the winner of what national election?

    Why is Shrum still around? (none / 0) (#50)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:28:59 PM EST
    It's like a never-ending Democratic Party nightmare with some of these advisors/losers. I keep trying to wake up to a new and better Democratic Party, but the nightmare continues.