A Downside To the Post-Partisan Unity Schtick

Via Digby. Once you open the door, the Blue Dogs run right through it:

[Ben] Nelson (D-NE], a moderate Democrat, is famous for gathering lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in a so-called "Gang of 14" to avert a shutdown of the Senate over judicial nominations. He is seeking a similar bipartisan effort to improve the stimulus bill. . . . Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who was a member of the original "Gang" and a close friend of Nelson's from their time on the Senate Armed Services Committee, got an invite, as has Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Nelson's energy compromise group colleague. On the Democratic side, Nelson has reached out to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a strong ally of President Obama, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and freshman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Good luck with the unity thing President Obama.

Speaking for me only

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    Goody. I can't wait for the latest WORD (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by jes on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 12:34:55 PM EST
    WORD = What Obama's Really Doing.

    Maybe the head of the Dem party (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 12:57:07 PM EST
    ie. Obama, should get some intraparty unity going before he starts branching out. I thought the Senate Dems were happy with Obama's plan.

    If McCaskill gets involved in this I will LMAO.

    McCaskill's teen-aged daughter (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:15:22 PM EST
    must have told her (text-messaged her, no doubt) to now not be as strong a supporter of Obama as the president as she was of Obama as a candidate.

    Klobuchar also already has given me cause to pull back on initial admiration. . . .


    The plan Obama already put forth (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:51:31 PM EST
    was decidedly moderate. Moderate enough that liberals like me have been calling it too timid. This group tinkering with it will push it solidly into the zone of 'conservative' - probably much like a McCain plan would have looked.

    That HRC is more progressive than O (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:10:43 PM EST
    is not surprising at all to those of us who actually compared them on the issues and abstained from the kool-aid.  And that she also is more experienced in Congress hardly is surprising, since he actually worked there for what, 160 days. . . .

    But O's lack of experience was to be compensated by his pick of Biden as VP.  I think we can see now that Biden has been excluded from that arena -- or is not as experienced at it as had been hoped.


    I keep waiting and hoping (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by kmblue on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 12:57:11 PM EST
    that I'm wrong about Obama.

    No luck so far.

    BTW, can I have my Sen Franken now please? (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:04:16 PM EST
    I'm sure there are Minnesotans more progressive than Amy Klobuchar that would like to have some say in this.

    Coleman could keep filing lawsuits until 2010--per (none / 0) (#75)
    by jawbone on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:37:41 AM EST
    snarkish comment I came across.  As long as the Repub gov and Sec of St refuse to sign off on Franken (even with understanding an actual change in the count would result in Coleman getting the office after all), apparently if Coleman can come up with arguments for trials which satisfy some judge, he can keep the seat empty.

    I'd appreciate knowing if this is on point or just wild conjecture.


    Reaching out (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by lobary on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:12:26 PM EST
    Reaching out to the GOP is a waste of time. Obama will succeed or fail depending on the how well his policies work, not on the symbolic value of reaching across the aisle to make Republicans feel better about themselves.

    Oh please (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:14:13 PM EST
    It is not true that nobody knows what will cure a recession/depression.  And Galbraith said this last month

    First, we must fix housing. We need, as in the 1930s, a Home Owners' Loan Corporation to restructure failed mortgages on sustainable terms. The basic objective should be to keep people in their homes by all necessary means, except where borrowers committed willful fraud, so as to stop the spread of blight and decay. Government can use its power over banks to make this happen, as it has with IndyMac, the California bank that is now, as a federally owned company, revising unsustainable mortgages. But this is no small endeavor: The fdr-era holc operated for almost two decades and at its peak employed 20,000 people.

    Nothing like that is in this bill but Galbraith says this is the first thing we must do.  It's looking like this is going to be the last thing we do only after things get so bad that we have no other choices.  We lose a lot acting in that fashion as well.

    Just as untrue as saying that (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:22:19 PM EST
    "no one could have predicted" the disaster that did happen. Plenty of people did predict it, and were ignored.

    It's looking like this is going to be the last thing we do only after things get so bad that we have no other choices.  We lose a lot acting in that fashion as well.

    Exactly - wasting a lot of money in the meantime, and digging the hole deeper.


    weren't republicans predicting (none / 0) (#67)
    by diogenes on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 07:06:40 PM EST
    Didn't republicans try to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the fiasco?

    No (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Steve M on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 08:27:47 PM EST
    They proposed to transfer regulatory control of Fannie and Freddie to the Bush Administration.

    It is amazing that anyone on the planet would buy the argument that the Bush Administration was in the business of exercising tough oversight over anyone at all.  They did nothing to get tough on derivatives, they did nothing to get tough on credit default swaps, they did nothing to get tough on CDOs... but oh, if only we had let them oversee Fannie and Freddie, they would have gotten tough and fixed everything!  What an absolute fairy tale.


    Relevance? (none / 0) (#68)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 07:10:37 PM EST
    Fannie and Freddie were not the problem.

    All right (none / 0) (#18)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:22:13 PM EST
    I concede. EVERYBODY knows what will cure this mess.

    You know it.

    I know it.

    The Heritage people know it.

    The Kossacks know it.

    Jeb Hensarling and Jim DeMint know it.

    BTD know it...

    get the drift????


    Look, if you want go around (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:26:13 PM EST
    saying that an economist says this or that please read everything they've said recently and don't just pick through the pieces/parts you want to strum to.  We know what has worked before when we faced this and we know that that is not what is happening now.  We know exactly what is going to happen further to our economy if property values continue to slide willy nilly, but we continue to do nothing about that exactly why?

    I have heard that sort of thing (none / 0) (#25)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:32:28 PM EST
    maybe not from Galbraith. But it does bring up a troubling concept--contract law. Do you think everyone with an "unaffordable" mortgage should be able to renegotiate their contract? Do you know what kind of legal implications this has to our notions of property rights in this country? Would the lawyers who run this site like to discuss this, maybe?

    BTW, what kind of economics background do you have? I don't work in the field--but I have some background in it. Two college degrees.

    It's a notoriously unreliable, messy field when it comes to a real-world problem. Sorry to break that egg for you.


    OMG please (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:36:48 PM EST
    Breaking messy hard work eggs for me?  I've done plenty of that all by myself while people called my family supported by "baby killers" right to my face.  Don't tell me that when things are difficult it is just best that we don't do them because they are too hard.  On second thought, it's a free country so go ahead and whine while I continue to push for hard things to get done when need getting done for a change.

    Yes, they should (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by ricosuave on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:21:13 AM EST
    Everyone with any kind of contract, mortgage or otherwise, has the right to renegotiate it at any time.  The other guy doesn't have to accept the new terms, but if it is more advantageous to both parties they will amend the agreement.  

    Right now, homeowners whose houses are underwater have a good negotiating position with the bank.  They can effectively offer the bank a choice of changing the terms to be more favorable to the lender or of taking the item that they accepted as collateral for the loan (but is not worth nearly as much as the outstanding loan).

    It is no different than buying out any other kind of contract except for the (fading) social stigma of defaulting on a loan.  But at some point it is financially better for the borrower to drop the keys on the mat and walk away, and the banks have to decide how much money they will lose if someone does this.


    I suppose you mean Jamie Galbraith (none / 0) (#50)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 03:02:19 PM EST
    he gave the House bill very high marks last night on the News Hour. THAT Galbraith?

    My head hurts.


    OMG please again (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:08:36 PM EST
    No, James K Galbraith link

    Yes, (none / 0) (#53)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:13:46 PM EST
    That guy was on the NewsHour last night.


    I know a little about economists, too.


    And I can click links (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:27:50 PM EST
    Galbreath seems unimpressed with the stimulus plan.

    JAMES GALBRAITH: . . . But I completely agree that this is only a start. We are not going to fill the entire fiscal gap with a program which amounts to about between 2 percent and 3 percent of GDP at most. And what Professor Feldstein said about the relative ineffectiveness of the tax portions in the short run, I think, is also entirely correct.

    So this is -- we are not going to return to normal on the basis of this first step. What I hope we will do is buy some time and begin to focus the attention of the Congress on the true scale of the problem.

    Hope is not a plan.


    Whew (none / 0) (#73)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 11:16:30 PM EST
    Galbraith (and Krugman) may be right that this is too little--but it's definitely a start.

    I was looking into what people say about Keynes these days--and I came up with this, which I thought was pretty good on several counts, including an estimate on the size of what stimulus is needed around 8:50:

    npr on keynes .


    that is soooo wrong (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:16:01 PM EST
    We so hope he succeeds that we are nervous about any little thing that looks like it could derail that success, like giving concessions to Republicans who will never vote with him anyway.

    If he fails he takes me with him (5.00 / 9) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:18:56 PM EST
    I don't want to fail, that is why I study what is going on around me and the various options and choices available, this is why I'm not all that happy with the desire for Unity being ahead of a desire for all us not to take this big flush that the Republicans set us up for.

    I desperately want Obama to succeed (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by kmblue on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:21:43 PM EST
    but he is not acting like a leader or a winner.

    What do you want? (none / 0) (#47)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 02:36:48 PM EST
    Chariots and triumphal processions?



    I want him to convince me that (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 02:53:22 PM EST
    he cares about the quality of the stimulus bill.
    Where is his passion on the subject?

    I want Obama (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by kmblue on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:58:33 PM EST
    to go for broke.  I want him to dump the Unity nonsense, and act like a leader for these desperate times.

    No more cocktail parties with Republicans.

    Rather, Mister President, grab some airtime, use your eloquence, and get the public on your side.

    In case you haven't noticed, public support for the stimulus bill is slipping.  


    If Obama were to use the bully pulpit to keep (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by jawbone on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:51:06 AM EST
    public support for his plan -- he'd have to be able to actually explain his plan to support his plan, of course; very important point -- I don't care if he has Repubs over for supper every night.

    Altho' it would be nice if he tried to communicate with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party as well....

    It's almost as if he believes the hype, that somehow by simply being elected, he's accomplished everything necessary to govern. Governing is hard work--and he's never had to govern previously. In the IL state senate, he was being groomed by the real pols with power, given bills which others had worked hard on for years to be his to give him something for his press releases and future campaigns. In the US Senate, he was working on getting himself up the political food chain.

    Now, he's got to learn how to be an executive and to stand for things. Not just words, but really principles.

    I wish him the best at this since, as Tracy put it so well, if he doesn't succeed and goes down, we all go down. Including the Democratic Party.

    If he truly is not only somewhat cautious by nature, but center right at heart...well, we're probably not going to come out of this well.


    Are you my boss? (none / 0) (#61)
    by sj on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:52:17 PM EST
    Are you sure you liked this site a lot (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by magster on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:30:45 PM EST
    before today's criticism of Obama?  This site has rolled its eyes at Obama's kumbaya since forever.

    Yes, I did (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:33:52 PM EST
    I was skeptical of Obama in the primaries. I think he's doing a good job now.

    Sorry you think he sucks so bad. I'm sure you could do much better.


    See mags (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:36:50 PM EST
    Even you are classified as an Obama hater now.

    Oh no (none / 0) (#35)
    by magster on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:44:44 PM EST
    I supported (support) Obama because I thought he would expand Democratic majorites and bring in new voters who would be Dems for life.  And I didn't mind his kumbaya because I think people voted for him for that.

    And I'd give him a solid B so far.

    And I haven't ruled out that his kumbaya efforts haven't further exposed the GOP for the frauds they are with their zero votes to spite kumbaya, 355 electoral votes, 53% of the vote, and 2 million + on the mall less than two weeks ago.

    I just think it's funny that he said he liked this site historically because it is criticizing Obama today.


    I know that mags (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:46:59 PM EST
    you have been hard on me about my dislike for the unity schtick in the past.

    I was just chuckling how you were labelled an Obama hater just now.


    Oh, for the love of God... (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:43:23 PM EST
    the Republican caucus must be wetting their pants with laughter at how easily they are playing the Democrats.  

    Whatever improvements the stimulus bill needs, it for sure is not going to come out of anything cooked up by this Gang.

    [now, where did I put the Zantac?]

    I have a different take.. (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:50:18 PM EST
    well, actuality it's more that I think  the hypothesis I expressed yesterday is correct.
    PPUS is a cover for Obama's right-leaning political leanings, where they exist.
    Obama seems to have no problem firmly espousing liberal values in some areas---the labor ruling today, the ruling on the military commissions, Gitmo; while in other areas, he is working hard to accommodate Republicans. Is it the difference between executive orders and bills of Congress? Possibly, but I'm skeptical.

    Never will happen (none / 0) (#1)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 12:28:21 PM EST
    And yet there's those out there that are all excited about Judd Gregg being appointed so we can get that mythical 60 majority.

    I don't disagree with your unity disdain, but (none / 0) (#5)
    by magster on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:02:22 PM EST
    do you really think Nelson wouldn't be a turncoat if Obama was approaching this differently?  He's been a turncoat for years.

    Obama set him up (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:10:00 PM EST
    on a silver platter.

    Hell, it would have been impossible for Nelson NOT to do this now.


    Thankfully (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:12:14 PM EST

    I'm surprised by (none / 0) (#30)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:39:01 PM EST
    how abruptly you have decided that every move he makes is wrong.

    Obama Derangement Syndrome? I'm still trying to figure this out. It's not like you.

    Puzzle me this (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by DFLer on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 03:26:19 PM EST
    I'm puzzled by your (zyx) change of view from this previously posted position:

    with the constant carping to the effect that I must never say anything that is the slightest bit non-adulatory about the chosen Democratic candidate.

    I try to be careful and prudent about what I do say, and make it clear that I am an issues voter and that I so support the Democratic TICKET, as does Hillary Clinton. But I keep getting crap thrown at me, like I'm some kind of idiot, and like I have to be a cheerleader, and "if there is nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all".

    Is that what it means to be a Good Democrat?

    Now you read any criticism fo the President's politics and positions as "hate" or ODS" ?

    heal thyself


    LOL! (none / 0) (#54)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:21:24 PM EST
    Looks like it's whack-a-mole, wherever I am, if I take an unpopular stance. Guess I had better think "thick skin, thick skin". Did you see the name-calling--the guy/woman who said I was a ignoramus or whatever it was, here? What's that about?

    I happen to think that it's weird that people are shocked, shocked, that Obama is trying to be reasonable with Republicans, and are in a tizzy about it already.

    Boehner looks like a little puke, and Obama looks pretty good, and there will be other bills for the things you are so worried about.


    Shocked? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    Well, you can make crap up, that's clear.

    I think (none / 0) (#57)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:30:05 PM EST
    you may have deleted the post.

    There was a personal attack.

    Now another, if you are accusing me of lying. Why not just tell me to leave, instead of that.


    My reference is to (none / 0) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:36:55 PM EST
    this - "I happen to think that it's weird that people are shocked, shocked, that Obama is trying to be reasonable with Republicans, and are in a tizzy about it already."

    You made up the shocked part.

    You can leave if you like. If you require that your misstatements not be corrected, then you will have to go to another site for that.


    LOL (none / 0) (#59)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:40:23 PM EST
    Okay--I guess I meant that you are SHOCKED that Obama would go against YOUR BETTER JUDGMENT and try to play nice with Republicans.

    I find this too amusing to leave--yet.



    Yet again (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 04:45:39 PM EST
    you misstate. I am not shocked in the least.

    Why do you persist in this? I think you gave your answer - you enjoy trolling.


    Ow (none / 0) (#63)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:22:44 PM EST
    I've never been called a troll. That hurts.

    I guess I'll watch and wait and see what you think. I am doing that with Obama. I like what I see so far. Maybe you folks will like him better too, with time.

    I hope he does a great job and wins people over on both sides.


    Never trust any politician (none / 0) (#32)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:42:17 PM EST
    The Republican concept of post partisanship is: Go along with me or shut up and we'll get along just fine. When was the last time you can remember the Republican's conceding any ground on a major bill. It isn't going to happen. What interest do they or their financial backers have in a Democratic success?

    I certainly am not stupid enough to wish that Obama would fail. I'm much too old to rebuild again. But it's because of my concerns that I object when I think he's wrong.

    Keep you comments on topic please (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 02:36:50 PM EST
    I deleted all the reviews of Talk Left, which are not germane or remotely interesting.

    Ok, Nelson (none / 0) (#64)
    by JThomas on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 05:45:11 PM EST
    wants more infrastructure spending in the bill at the expense of some STD funding along with anti-smoking funding....and Obama is going to be upset with that? This is what Obama wants to have happen anyway. This is what Rachel maddow wants, what liberal congressman DeFazio wants..
    and...I bet what Claire McCaskill wants.

    Hello!!! This is the sausage making process and Obama is working it just fine. Sure, maybe a  few dem congresscritters will have hurt feelings but the whole Senate marking up of the bill is all about making it better and you can bet that Obama expected it to be refined in this process..

    More infrastructure spending a bad thing? Some on here  did not bother to read the FOXNews report that I guess is now a popular source for news on TALKLEFT? Strange bedfellows,I guess.

    More infrastructure spending (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 06:30:39 PM EST
    is what will come you think?

    You are silly.

    Try more business tax cuts.


    Look, you cite (none / 0) (#70)
    by JThomas on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 08:35:22 PM EST
    this article as evidence of eroding support from dems or something nefarious by Nelson..but in this article it specifically quotes Nelson as wanting more infrastructure spending in the bill.
    That is the only item discussed in this article you have used as a basis for questioning the bill.

    So,why cite the article at all if you are going to ignore what it actually says that Nelson wants changed about the stimulus package?
    Please indicate where they talk about increasing business tax cuts in this article?
    Why not just opine that you know all the machinations behind closed doors already without any sources?


    I cannot imagine (none / 0) (#71)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 08:48:45 PM EST
    a $2-3-4 trillion dollar stimulus bill being rushed through Congress to in haste to get the country back to work soon, and seem like things are being done in a workmanlike, timely manner. But the fact that Galbraith said last night that this current stimulus bill isn't enough spending--oh DOOM. Obama, FAIL.

    Seriously, can you imagine a multi-trillion-dollar bill by President's day? (With no flaws and nothing to criticize?)


    I'm agreeing about the sausage-making (none / 0) (#72)
    by zyx on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 08:52:15 PM EST
    and the process being messy. Also, the Bush $700 billion bank rescue blew my poor little mind. These numbers are HARD. I think the size of the current rescue package may not be big enough, but if the economy still plummets, then there will be opportunities to work up more stimulus legislation.

    I'll have to study my New Deal (and so will the people who are actually in the trenches, I suppose), but I don't think all the spending programs were passed in the first four weeks.


    I thot DeFazio types wanted more infrastructure (none / 0) (#77)
    by jawbone on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:04:17 AM EST
    funding, some more for mass transit in particular, more funding for programs which would result in spending into the economy, and definitely less in tax cuts.

    The family planning funding, which the Repubs so delighted in tittering about, was meant to make more monies available to state Medicaid programs and would permit the states to include family planning.

    I'm still concerned that Obama is not handling the roll out of the Obama Stimulus bill very well--and he's had his econ types on board for a long time. Whassup with the seemingly hands off approach? This is going to be the main legacy of his administration -- why not more, well, effort on it? I'm not sure he's going to get as many blank checks as BushBoy did, from the pubic or the Congress.

    Maybe it's all behind the scenes so there's no drama....


    Let's be more hopeful (none / 0) (#78)
    by knappster on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:49:45 PM EST
    unity and postpartisanship is possible, but not if we all deem it dead on arrival.