The Left's Reaction to Taibbi on Obama and the Economy

Matt Taibbi's new article in Rolling Stone castigating Obama for his choice of economic advisors and handling of the economy is creating a big buzz. Here's Digby and Kevin Drum. Taibbi ends his extremely long article with:

What's most troubling is that we don't know if Obama has changed, or if the influence of Wall Street is simply a fundamental and ineradicable element of our electoral system. What we do know is that Barack Obama pulled a bait-and-switch on us. If it were any other politician, we wouldn't be surprised. Maybe it's our fault, for thinking he was different.

I don't see why anyone is surprised that Obama is a moderate -- or not progressive on many issues the left cares about most. [More...]

Obama and the left are like the Rocky Mountain farmer and the snake, a story defense lawyers have been known to tell juries in opening argument in snitch cases:

There was a Rocky Mountain farmer. He loved all God's creatures. One time, as he was out clearing the snow from his long driveway he found a mostly frozen snake. He brought him inside and put him in front of the fireplace so he'd thaw out. He and the snake developed a relationship. A few nights later, he bent down in front of the fireplace to stick another log on the fire. As he bent down, the snake jumped up and bit him in the as*. The farmer, knowing he was going to die, was crushed and said to the snake, "How could you do that to me, after all I've done for you?" To which the snake responded, "You knew what I was when you brought me in here."

Obama was a vastly superior choice to McCain/Palin in 2008. That cannot be stressed enough. For everyone who is surprised he isn't falling in line with progressive stances, the only question I have is, why? We knew who he was when we elected him.

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    I can't even remember (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Spamlet on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:04:55 PM EST
    how many times I've posted this link.

    Obama progressive? Moderate? Whatever.

    The evidence about who Obama is and what Obama would do has been out there for at least three years, freely available to anyone who chose to see it.

    Right on (none / 0) (#25)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:53:11 PM EST
    But, drop the charade that there were progressive alternatives in the field.

    I wouldn't go that far (none / 0) (#59)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:53:12 PM EST
    I would say that Kucinich was a progressive alternative- now were there electable progressive alternatives- no, no there weren't.

    Harper's didn't mention in this article (none / 0) (#52)
    by samsguy18 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:16:46 PM EST
    How the leading democrat Blair Hull in this senate primary had personal information leaked to the tribune and it tanked his campaign.....a similar leak to the LA times about the republican candidate caused him to withdraw. At one point Axelrod worked for the tribune. The press touting  his winning with 70% of the vote was a joke !!!

    Unfortunately when Sirota (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:26:23 PM EST
    attempted to point out who Obama was cozying up to at Orange during the primaries, the bots carved his blogospheric heart out with a dull spoon and tried to eat it.  I will never forget one diary.  Talk about people completely unwilling to deal with reality. I have been shocked though at how anybody who would or could possibly disagree with Rubin has been banished to the Siberian panel. These are very scary financial times and the only thing that is sure is that everything we fear can happen again only worse the next time.  I'm tired of talking about it though.  Unless the government goes bankrupt and is replaced our retirement is safe.  To even attempt to talk about economic reality and what needs to happen only invites hordes who don't want to deal with the realities and it is exhausting at best.

    Actually, I was very skeptical... (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:08:42 PM EST
    ... of Obama and the claims that were made for him by his supporters early on; I'm in the Class of 2007 in that regard (though only by a whisker; 2007-12-28), where Taibbi seems to be in the Class of 2009.

    However, I wasn't nearly cynical enough, as the 2007 post shows; I considered Obama's Wall Street connections just another lobbying group. It never occurred to me that finance was the central dynamic, and that Obama would turn the government over to Golden Sacks. I keed! But not very much.

    So, I disagree with the premise. I don't think "[We] knew what [he] was when [we] brought [him] in here." I think that retrospectively, it's comfortable for some to say that, but that doesn't make it so.

    You know why I am surprised? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:28:23 PM EST
    I knew he was a centerist and probably not a genius where it comes to economics and the economy - but I did not think that he was fool enough not to understand that if he screwed up on this front he would find himself in a crushing situation.

    I am surprised especially since he comes from Chicago that he doesn't understand that not handing out walking around money to voters when they are really hurting will greatly reduce your popularity and chances of keeping your job.

    A real political pragmatist would have understood that ignoring voters' needs where it comes to the economy would become problematic.  A real political pragmatist would have set aside his or her own ideology in favor of political survival at the ground level and taken bold action to stabilze the lives of the majority of workers - not just the accounts of a few in the financial sector.

    I am surprised that Obama doesn't get that trickle down economics doesn't work; that he doesn't understand some very basic economic principles like that tax breaks don't help people with no business or income; or that he doesn't understand that political reality outside of the Senate chamber is ultimately at least as important if not way more than that within it.

    Walking around money (none / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:38:25 PM EST
    would seem to be the equivalent of tax breaks in economic terms, and yet, as you point out, tax breaks don't help the low-income or unemployed.

    Also, I'm curious what part of Obama's (admittedly too piddly) economic efforts you think relies on "trickle down" economics.  The stimulus program is intended to fund jobs pretty directly.  The TARP and that other stuff was never intended to provide jobs or "grow" the economy or any of that other good stuff.  Its purpose pure and simple was to keep the financial system from collapsing.  Nobody ever suggested it would make the horrible economy any better, just keep it from getting massively worse very rapidly.

    I have a lot to complain about in Obama's economic programs, but to say it relies on "trickle-down" economics just isn't right.


    The TARP money was specifically (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 04:00:35 PM EST
    allocated to keep the credit markets from freezing up - which was the threat to the economy.  Now the banks are still not lending even though they are largely solvent according to them and the people in the Obama Administration.  Furthermore, the argument was made that the stimulus did not need to be so big because the jobs recovery was in part being aided by the TARP money keeping credit lines flowing.

    Main street was ignored at every turn of this economic effort.  The upper eschelons of the financial system were catered to on the premise that stabilizing them would help make sure that Main Street would be able to recover and thrive.  That is the very definition of trickle down economics.  That the Too Big To Fail would carry us all back into the black if we made sure that they themselves were in the black.

    Now, after all of these months of continued economic destruction at the Main Street level, people are once again coming to the realization that trickle down doesn't work.  That the Federal Government is going to have to go direct to "The People" here or the situation will remain unchanged or only marginally better - and then there are some who think it could get worse again because of a combination of the concentration of wealth in the hands of the same people who brought on the first collapse and the lack of regulation stopping them from continuing the irresponsible gambling practices that set up the collapse.

    The bottom line is that if Obama et al continue to dole out cash to centralized locations, the proabability that that cash will circulate in the economy is diminished.  The banks are holding onto their cash at the moment.  You and I wouldn't have that luxury and the money would flow through the economy - in fact the banks would get a piece of the action if it were done that way - but now it has gone into their vaults and they are hanging onto it.  That is not stimulative - and there is no other reason to hand out government money to a financial institution than to keep the cash flowing - none - so to argue that TARP money was allocated to the banks with no expectation that that would trigger commerce is disengenous at best.  Unless, of course, you think that a good reason to give money to banks is to make sure that their shareholders and executives have a good Christmas while the rest of us struggle to pay our bills.


    I never once (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:06:14 PM EST
    heard the argument made either by administration officials (both administrations) or knowledgeable analysts that the credit crisis TARP was intended to fix had anything to do with "Main Street" credit.  It had from the beginning and throughout to do with what's called "commercial paper," the short-term overnight loans banks make to each other and the short-term loans large and small businesses use to meet payroll.

    Those loans are largely being made again, which keeps the bare minimum of the financial underpinnings of the economy creaking along.  If that hadn't been done, there would be no "Main Street" to worry about anymore.

    And FWIW, there is by all accounts a reasonable amount of credit out there for small businesses right now, although it's at higher rates than it should be.  But it's there (primarily from local and regional banks, not the Big Boys, who've never been the major source of lending to small businesses), and by and large small businesses are not taking advantage of it because they don't want to expand when they don't see any customers out there ready to come back and buy.  And also because they don't know, just as we don't know, what things like the as yet unfinalized health care bill are going to require of them for their employees, among other things.

    Uncertainty is a sure business and job-killer, and we're loaded with it right now.  I suspect that's one of the reasons Obama and the Dems. wanted to at least try to rush through the health care stuff as fast as last August.

    This, of course, is spectacularly disingenuous: "Unless, of course, you think that a good reason to give money to banks is to make sure that their shareholders and executives have a good Christmas while the rest of us struggle to pay our bills."

    I'll say it again.  TARP had zippo to do with trickle-down economics.  Tax breaks to individuals in a recession feel nice, but they have been proven over and over again to do nothing to stimulate the economy. Wealthy people invest the money, middle-income folks save it or pay down debts, lower-income folks pay the landlord with it.


    "vastly superior choice" ? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Andreas on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:32:33 PM EST
    Obama defends and supports torturers, war, enrichment of the rich etc. He is a far right wing representative of US imperialism. There is no fundamental difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.

    Those who supported or support Obama share responsibility for his crimes. This includes Talkleft.

    Seriously, (none / 0) (#63)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:05:29 PM EST
    when I here this sort of schpiel I honestly wonder what you want as a solution- a revolution?

    "what you want as a solution" ? (none / 0) (#101)
    by Andreas on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:07:01 AM EST
    The answer is yes.

    The Taibbi article... (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:44:10 PM EST
    Following the links to the associated articles, I find a lot of support for Taibbi. different souces confirming, and clarification of obfuscations from the article's detractors. It's worth a good 30 minutes to an hour to peruse the links, and the links to the links, also.

    Taibbi just didn't do the research (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by esmense on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:51:25 PM EST
    Obama was the most well-financed presidential candidate EVER, before he even started his online, grass roots fundraising. Where did that early money come from? Wall Street.

    If you voted for Obama without taking that piece of information into account, you have no one to blame but yourself for any disappointment.

    Moderate? (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by Pacific John on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:18:51 PM EST
    People on our side still have not figured out that this guy is detached from ideology. Alterman, who has been respectably subdued for a couple of years, looked in Sen. Obama's eyes over dinner, and saw a liberal heart. Self-proclaimed pragmatists, cynics and realists say he was always a moderate.

    No, he is an opportunist. That's his ideology: whatever it takes to succeed, and deprive the opposition of wins. Greenwald accurately notes that the Obama Rosetta Stone is campaign cash - Obama is doing things to deprive the GOP of usual sources, and redirecting financial support to the OFA machine.

    Look. He ran Harry and Louise against a Democrat more than once in the primary. In politics, you can't make a clearer statement that you are siding with the insurance corporations who are primarily responsible for the mess. Wall St. put early money on this guy when no one knew who he was over two hometown powerhouses - I'm thinking there were some conversations that lead up to that, and sure enough, Taibbi connects the dots. His Sec. of Ed. is pushing a policy using GOP framing which consists largely of lite privatization for k-12 and requiring community service of low income college kids on grants and loans. Viewed one way, these are Republican stands. Viewed another, these are the pragmatic actions of someone who will casually dismiss Democratic ideals and traditions if he can stock a 1 or 2 billion dollar 2012 war chest.

    It's there for all to see who aren't projecting their own hopes, dreams, and sensibilities onto him.

    Say it with me, "opportunist."

    Yeah opportunist. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Salo on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:33:28 PM EST
    pretty much all he is.

    Wait the requiring (none / 0) (#62)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:03:43 PM EST
    Public Service bit is wrong now too?

    IMO it's classist (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Pacific John on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:19:33 PM EST
    When college financial aid was better funded, a package would include grants, loans and work. Students from low income families would work perhaps 10 hours per week and get paid. Getting paid for work is honorable, and certainly without stigma, and something that a lot of kids with richer families also do.

    Community service is something only kids on financial aid would be required to perform, say, along with convicted drunk drivers. If it was retooled to be a requirement at all colleges, for all students, that would be a different story.


    Better Obama apologists please! (none / 0) (#94)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:26:38 PM EST
    Good one, John. Same deal with internships, of course. Which, IIRC, were not paid at OFA, so the poor and working class were automagically shut out.

    It is not self-evident that BHO is better than McC (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Pacific John on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:46:45 PM EST
    There are some things like Sotomayor where he's clearly better, and it's a huge relief the he does not induce cringes and world hatred when he reads his teleprompter, like Bush did, but it's not at all clear that we'll end up better than we would at the end of a McCain term (or two).

    My two issues, health care and education are looking worse than what we started with. If McCain had proposed the current iteration of Romneycare, he would have been rightly mocked and ridiculed into submission by a Democratic Congress. It's not likely we would let McCain cast the private insurance market in stone like we're letting Obama. Voters want access to public insurance, an end to insurance co. shell games, and everyone knows it. But we can't say that because the party is terrified that Obama can not recover from a loss on HCR. Education? This is creeping Nixon-goes-to-China privatization we would never let a Pres. McCain get away with. The unions would take the same criticisms they've leveled at Obama, turn them up to 11, and force Congress to do something less insane like kill NCLB.

    Greenwald points out that with countless issues of civil liberties, this is the 3rd Bush administration.

    The difference with Obama is that we feel we cannot fight his endless corporatism in the open, so we enable him with our silence. We would have rightly held Hillary accountable, with improved results. But a McCain, we would have fought on the issues, in public, in front of a country that is infinitely more liberal than the last time we had both houses of Congress.

    I'm not seeing it. On key issues, we will be the same or worse than what Bush left us with. We can hope that Obama will be better in other areas than McCain, but the net result isn't the slightest bit obvious.

    Not sure the outcomes would be different (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:21:18 PM EST
    Suppose the other legacy party held the White House, and proposed the same legislation we're seeing now, and the Dems started fighting it. Even though the starting point was different (McCain) do you think the end result would be all that different? I don't.

    Now it could be that with Hillary in the White House, and proposed her own version of RomneyCare, the blogger boiz hated her so much they would have gone with single payer.

    But anything could be. None of this is knowable. I think the likeliest outcomes, no matter which of the two legacy parties are in power, are similar. Financial policies show this most clearly.


    On Taibbi's piece ... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 04:31:58 PM EST
    Sure, on can quibble with bits and pieces of it.

    But it's a compelling, well-written, journalistic polemic which will be read and re-read for years to come.

    Strangely, almost every blog to comment on it makes some snide comment about it's length.  But it's a breezier, easier read than the majority of blog posts.  And, unlike most blog posts, it's a true (although polemical) piece of journalism.

    It's a must read.  Not only for what it says.  But to remind people of what good writing and good journalism look like.

    I become (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 05:02:02 PM EST
    less and less convinced that "Obama was a vastly superior choice to McCain/Palin in 2008."

    The latest affront to my sensibilities came from Sarah Palin who, quite rightly, pointed to the similarity of substance between Obama's acceptance speech in Norway and what she wrote about war in her autobiography.

    One pundit, I don't remember who, wrote that liberals like Obama's style, but not the substance. The conservatives like the substance, but not the style. I don't like the substance or the style.

    Jeralyn once linked to this ad by the Nader organization. It presents, quite fairly imo, video clips by Obama and McCain agreeing on just about everything. At the very end of the clip, they both say with identical amounts of pride how they mostly voted in favor of bills supported by Bush.

    I know this seems far fetched, but I wonder if McCain, being the perceived hawk, would have been less likely to have escalated the war in Afghanistan. He could have withdrawn our forces and not been criticized by the right or the left. We'll never know.
    I do know that I find myself less and less interested in Obama.
    IMO his speeches sound like he is speaking in tongues.
    I'm looking forward to the next election cycles.

    Um what Obama said (none / 0) (#64)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:09:24 PM EST
    on war is basically the Democratic Party foriegn policy ethics of the last 75 years (excepting Carter) we push for Diplomacy and negotiation while never forgetting that some problems can only be solved by force, we try to work with the Global community whenever possible, etc. Its a theory that has some problems no doubt, and Obama's linkage of Neibauer and the ethics of self-responsibility make it a far more moral version (America is only exceptional because it holds itself to a higher standard not because it is America).

    Yep. On the empire... (none / 0) (#71)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:23:02 PM EST
    Clinton and Obama were a wash.

    In theory, yes (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Pacific John on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:31:38 PM EST
    In practice, no. Bubba stopped genocides in the Balkans with very little loss of life. Obama took the better part of a year to figure out that he needed a strategy in Afghanistan while KIAs clipped right along.

    There are a few things that are almost taboo to talk about, but that is changing: Obama has neither the competence nor the character to do what he said he would. The only thing he's really, really good at is keeping 2012 big donors content - and that bit provides the optics for what would otherwise drive you crazy if you used wonkish analysis to try to understand his actions.


    Then keeping big donors happy IS ... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:22:34 PM EST
    ... Obama's policy. I don't accept narratives of Democratic weakness, or incompetence. Bush, for example, was extremely competent at achieving his goals: Vastly greater executive powers, corrupting the Justice Department, infesting the government with Christianists, diverting vast sums of money to his cronies, and so forth.

    Come to think of it, Obama's been extremely competent at exactly the same set of goals.

    We really need to abandon the notion that, in a kleptocracy like ours, competence has any relation to what we would consider a sane public policy. Because the system of legacy parties has eliminated electoral accountability, there is no such relation.


    My link (none / 0) (#82)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:29:57 PM EST
    to the video shows that on most issues, it was McCain and Obama that were a wash. That was my point.



    I don't regret voting for Obama over McCain (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by esmense on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 05:14:27 PM EST
    But neither do I regret voting for Clinton over Obama. Despite all the demonizing of the Clintons, I think they both have a much deeper and more sympathetic understanding of the American working and middle class, black and white, than Obama. And that understanding and sympathy has policy consequences.

    Obama is the child of a white academic and the product of elite private schools. That he often hits the wrong note with the white working class has everything to do with class differences and nothing to do with race. He has no more natural familiarity with the black working and middle class -- and the important role unions, public investment and public sector and military affirmative action policies, etc. play in their survival and success -- than he does with white workers. His only connection to that community is academic or second hand, through Michelle.

    I think that fact explains his lack of passion for progressive economic policies better than anything else.

    Disagree (none / 0) (#45)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 05:43:10 PM EST
    Both Bill and Hillary Clinton told us what they thought was good for us. A lot of people found that very condescending. BC has a different style of talking that appeals to some people. However, that was more style than substance.
    Your kind of accusation against BO is the same kind of accusation that Republicans made against Gore and  
    Kerry, that they are from the elite class and lack empathy. Sad, very very sad into what TL is degenerating into!

    Gee, don't hesitate to get personal (none / 0) (#48)
    by esmense on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:06:14 PM EST
    I made no "accusations" against anyone. All politicians, Obama certainly included, tell us what they think is good for us. Obama is the child of an academic and the product of an elite private education. There is nothing "wrong" with that; but there is something wrong with making assumptions about a politicians -- or anyone's -- class experience, sympathy and understanding based on skin color.

    awe crap (none / 0) (#56)
    by The Last Whimzy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:34:50 PM EST
    well if you think this comment represents talkleft, that's your problem.  it reflects my view on this issue.  and yes.  i do think republicans are sometimes right about the whole elitism thing.

    i have no doubt that kerry would have a been a vastly better president than 4 more years of Bush, and i have nothing in common with bush either, but don't make me pretend i have really anything in common with John Kerry.

    If he understands my daily concerns it's an academic sort of thing.


    What a hoot (none / 0) (#73)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:30:27 PM EST
    A "lot of people," perhaps, especially in the "creative class," but, alas for Obama's perceived legitimacy, not a majority of the Democratic Party (as it was then constituted). As for "condescension, please read this from Mayhill Fowler:

    The night before Haverford, I was fidgeting in a Pennsylvania school gymnasium while waiting for Hillary Clinton and weeping over a dog. Senator Clinton, of all the candidates, brought out the pet-mania in a supporter. Canine attendance at her events was a phenomenon of the trail, and I had begun to take photographs of the various dogs, all wearing Hillary regalia, many squeezed into little Hillary costumes. On the evening of Monday, April 14, however, I realized that this penchant signaled more than enthusiasm. It was a sign that here sat a room full of losers--their loss magnified by their obliviousness to the reality that their candidate also was a loser. By April, despite Clinton victories in Texas and Ohio and a likely upcoming win in Pennsylvania, no one in the press, except for those prone to Super Delegate conspiracy theories, believed that Clinton would get the Democratic nomination.

    But this was the time when Hillary Clinton, nourished perhaps by the respect she had received in the poor Hispanic communities of Texas, began to get her voice and a receptive audience--always now in a town's meaner streets and not, as only a season before, in the nation's professional enclaves [the "creative class"], which had begun to drift into the Obama camp. Here filling the gym risers at the Bristol Borough Junior-Senior High School, listening to John Mellencamp's "Small Town" and chanting Hillary-Hillary-Hillary! were the working class folk who would stick with her until the end in South Dakota because she, more than any other candidate in decades, was finding a way to speak to the many and varied losses in these Americans' lives.

    This is retrospect.

    NOTE I love the crododile tears of "sad, very sad."


    I thought the meme was (none / 0) (#46)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 05:48:02 PM EST
    that the Clintons weren't a monolithic entity?

    I think it's more likely that the system is gamed to filter out not only those with "a deeper understanding" but those who threaten to act on that understanding in a substantially progressive fashion; which goes beyond expressing the rhetoric     of understanding to certain target audiences.  


    I would argue that Bill Clinton's (none / 0) (#54)
    by esmense on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:33:29 PM EST
    actions, not rhetoric, and the demonstrated results arising from those actions (increases in employment and the first income growth in decades among those at the bottom, etc), argue for his deeper understanding (compared to the presidents, Democrats and Republicans, who served in the decades immediately before and after him) and more direct experience of the realities of working and lower middle class life, black and white. That understanding had consequences in terms of policy and in the lives of those constituencies. It didn't, of course, create a progressive paradise.

    As for suggesting that the Clintons are monolithic, I don't. But I do believe they share important political experiences that would have had consequences in terms of policy in a Hillary Clinton administration.


    Question (none / 0) (#60)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:57:48 PM EST
    How does signing the welfare reform bill and growing the financial sector at the expense of the manufacturing sector and presiding over the huge offshoring of jobs indicate the deeper understanding of Bill Clinton? In my mind his actions showed that he agreed with Reagan on the philosophy but thought that the Republicans had carried their philosophy too far and a little needed to be pulled back.

    Well, like the truck driver in PA asked... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:40:34 PM EST
    What part of the Clinton Administration don't they like?

    The peace? Or the prosperity?

    * * *

    I certainly don't deny that the Clinton administration was part of the neo-liberal consensus of the last thirty years (as was the Bush administration and is the Obama administration). That said, for many, life was materially better under Clinton than any time since, and that includes life under Obama. The proof is in the pudding: Billions to the banksters NOW NOW NOW in October 2008, and only now, more than a year later is Obama getting around to having a pissant, hastily organized jobs summit that took about one news cycle to drop without a trace. Say what you will about the very imperfect Clintons, but their performance for WHAT USED TO BE the base constituency of the Democratic party would never have been so poor. Ditto housing. Hillary proposed HOLC in February 2008, and a year after his inaugural, Obama hasn't done anything about foreclosures other than jawbone the banks to make sure WHAT USED TO BE the base constituency of the Democratic Party doesn't lose their homes. And don't get me started on the farce that is health insurance "reform." I think the SNL skit had the right of it: Obama's performance, for WHAT USED TO BE the base constituency of the Democratic Party can be summed up in two words: "Jack" and "Squat." The Dems need to go the way of the Whigs, and I hope they do so as rapidly as possible.


    Wasn't his dad a car dealship owner? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Salo on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:34:39 PM EST
    And his stepdad a traveling salesman? The clintons did okay IMHO. Clinton to his credit did his job while fighting a rear guard action against the rightward drift of Anerican politics. Obama is there because of a resurrgence of leftist sentiment.

    I expect a bit more (none / 0) (#57)
    by Salo on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:36:38 PM EST
    From a pol who got a majority. Clinton exploited a three way split.  He did us a favour sparing us from a goverment dominated by the Fallwells and Robertsons for 8 years.

    Esmense, you have got it backwards (none / 0) (#74)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:31:59 PM EST
    AFAIK, HRC's dad was a travelling salesman and she grew up in a Republican family. She was a Goldwater Republican in her early life. link
    Actually Obama grew up in a family that was more leftist, he was influenced by a very independent minded mom in his formative years. HRC learned her leftism in College and through academia, Obama grew up in it.

    Wrong on HRC's dad (none / 0) (#77)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:49:56 PM EST
    See here for his complete career.

    Dr. Dunham's biography is impressive. I'm having a hard time fitting Golden Sacks into the "leftist" microlending bag, though. Oh well. I suppose anybody can betray the ideals they grew up with...


    Staunch supporter (none / 0) (#98)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:47:51 PM EST
    of Ayn Rand's cabana boy Barry Goldwater, I got that part.

    His bio is impressive no doubt, but we all emphasize
    the parts the parts we want to emphasize, no?


    We all know she was a Goldwater supporter (none / 0) (#104)
    by esmense on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 12:30:38 PM EST
    as a teenager. And a social lefty in college. Her background is not one that would provide passion about working class issues based on personal experience. But, one shouldn't discount the impact of the many years she spent in Arkansas -- one of the poorest states in the union -- as her husband dealt with issues that profoundly affected that state's striving poor and lower middle class (those people who "work hard and play by the rules" who Bill Clinton had a genuine connection to and passion for).  

    A long time acquaintance of mine was Obama's mother's best friend in high school on Mercer Island. Certainly she was an idealistic young woman -- but that does not mean she was in anyway an economic progressive in the sense that someone like me, the daughter of a working class man who was a union organizer during the Great Depression, would recognize. (Neither, by the way, is either Clinton.) Obama's mother was a social liberal, a feminist and an internationalist. She was concerned about global poverty, but, not in anyway personally familiar with the realities and issues of the American working class, black or white.


    Obama hasn't changed and Obama (none / 0) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 12:52:36 PM EST
    didn't pull a bait and switch. Taibbi is either self deceptive or just lazy.

    Taibbi: brokenhearted 'Bot (n/t) (none / 0) (#3)
    by Spamlet on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:06:19 PM EST
    He is isn't he :) ? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:39:48 PM EST
    Well I say GOOD!  Grow up boy wonder!  Man he took the hatchet to Hillary and Clark.  Wonder if he's ready to grow up yet?

    My take on this is that (none / 0) (#4)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:19:36 PM EST
    Obama will attempt to grow the economy by reducing the deficit.  That't the key to Taibbi's article if you accept that Bob Rubin is the puppet master and Bob Rubin convinced Bill Clinton that reducing the deficit would grow the economy.  Clinton's economy did grow, btw.

    The Fed chairman wants to reduce (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:37:32 PM EST
    the deficit too......but all these people in charge of our economic problems only experience our economy in financial sector terms, and over the past two decades they've destroyed the working middle class.  There isn't much of anybody in this country who has money to invest in their financial services now.....they ripped off our savings already and our jobs too.  Bill Clinton didn't have any of these factors to this degree to deal with and the deregulation that has made all this theft of wealth possible is only 10 years old.....and the Fed wasn't part of the scam yet either like it is now.  What worked for Clinton cannot work for Obama.

    Offthread... (none / 0) (#31)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:31:51 PM EST
    Well this has been an interesting day.  In as many weeks, there have been 2 highrise fires in downtown Chicago.  The second was today, in my building!  The fire was (now extinguished) on 28; I'm on 23.  We were told to stay in our units.  I called a friend of mine on 25 who had opened her windows.  I told her to close all the windows, put towels and a blanket at the bottom of her door to the corridor, go in the bedroom, close that door and open that window (we have the same units so I know the layout).  I told her to call 911 to let them know she was still in her unit, which I then promptly did.
    What a day!

    Ah, now I see what was going on: (none / 0) (#36)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:43:38 PM EST
    Good Lord (none / 0) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:14:07 PM EST
    I went Christmas shopping.  Take care of yourself, sorry about your building.....that's a bummer!

    Money (none / 0) (#9)
    by Publius on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:02:10 PM EST
    It is true that the choices before us at the election were two bad choices.  It is also true this is each election.  This alone ought to alert
    people to the obvious: both political parties are puppets of the super rich and the militarists entrenched by the endless war.

    Frankly, even in totalitarian nations you have choice and change.

    At this point, the wars and the bailouts bankrupt the nation and the theory of the Just War evidently is a warm blanket of hope.  Hope that maybe it will be time to build the nation at home.

    Jeralyn, this is really low! (none / 0) (#10)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:02:35 PM EST
    You just compared Obama to a snake! Obama did not commit any bait-and-switch. He had repeatedly told us what he would do. Either Taibbi is an idiot or he is being very deceptive.

    Obama told us he did not see a red and blue America but a United States of America, he told us he was not anti-war but against dumb wars, he told us that he believed in a capitalist economy and free trade but only wanted to negotiate trade deals better so that American workers were not left out in the cold. Throughout the primaries he was attacked only for not having mandates in his health care plan, not for anything else. Now the people who attacked him for not having mandates in his health care do not seem to like the mandates.

    Your analogy is wrong. Obama has not bitten anyone in the as*. Some people who thought that they could manipulate him are just somewhat disappointed that they have not been successful.

    The issues where Obama did not keep his word are FISA and public financing of campaigns (somewhat). These were done well in advance of the GE. I will cut him some slack on FISA because he reneged after he was the Democratic nominee (and not just a Senator anymore)and had some responsibilities towards the party. Had a domestic terrorism incident occurred between the nomination and the GE, the Democratic nominee would have been a stillborn. Almost all his most ardent supporters (Dodd, Kerry) led the fight against FISA and politics is a team game.
    I would also have liked to see Howard Dean somewhere in the administration. However, the Obama administration is not even 1 year old, it is really bizarre to see how some parts of the left are acting.

    I think this is great (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:09:54 PM EST
    "I will cut him some slack on FISA because he reneged after he was the Democratic nominee..."

    Just... Wow.


    That was really big of him (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Steve M on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:13:26 PM EST
    to break his promise like that. Very selfless.

    According to the Taibbi article (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:11:42 PM EST
    Obama USED the minds of two prominent economic advisors to write standing ovation producing campaign speeches.  Those same economic voices do not agree in any way with the solutions that Obama has chosen to apply to our economic problems after he was finally elected using their speeches.  And he banished those same voices to his economics in Siberia panel.  

    Taibbi is not Cronkite (none / 0) (#16)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:24:43 PM EST
    I would recommend a wait and see attitude.

    Great to see the "Wait ... (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:35:26 PM EST
    ... 'til he does something" talking point still in action!

    You guys are going to keep pushing that all the way through 2012, aren't you?

    NOTE Nice use -- "I would recommend" -- of the Beltway Subjunctive. I like that in a commenter.


    "What I am saying is . . ." (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:39:31 PM EST
    11 months in, (none / 0) (#23)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:47:31 PM EST
    Leura Canary is still USA for the middle district of Alabama.

    Still waiting...


    Wait and see if Taibbi sourced (none / 0) (#84)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:07:57 PM EST
    and triple checked the facts improperly?  I may not like the facts that Taibbi has chosen to focus a laser beam on in a few of his past articles but he does bring facts to the table when he spouts things that he says are fact.  And considering that the global economy and the blowing up of the global economy is what is at risk here and not whether or not he likes people who have tainted their souls engaging in anything military or were married to the Clenis,  I don't need to wait and see if he fact checked what he wrote.  I already know he fact checked it probably three separate and distinct times.  Talk about attempting to create your own reality here Politalkix.  Hey, Walter Cronkite liked Bill Clinton by the way and Hillary too......he liked them a lot before, during, and after the Clinton presidency!

    Huh! (none / 0) (#87)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:47:27 PM EST
    Clinton supporters hated Austan Goolsbee during the primaries, now if Goolsbee is not (reportedly) in Obama's innermost economic circle, then it means that Obama has sold out. Clinton supporters loved the health care mandates during the primaries, now they hate the mandates. Clinton supporters blasted Obama for being too dovish during the primaries, now they are blasting him for being too hawkish. Clinton supporters hated Howard Dean in 2004, now a lot of them think that he was ahead of his time. You almost had a meltdown after Gen McChrystal was given the job, now you can't praise him enough.
    It is difficult to keep up with you guys! And you think that I live in my own reality!
    Hey, I like HRC too (actually, I have a love and hate relationship with her :-), sometimes the people you like, disappoint you the most), so I am not surprised that Cronkite liked them. Now if only, all of you like Obama we can all be friends :-).

    Weird logic (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:32:20 PM EST
    A is bad, so not-A must be good? Why not A is bad, and not A could be worse?

    In other words -- breaking it down for you -- just because I don't think a lot of Goolsbee doens't mean I can't think even less of Bob Rubin. See?

    And what's this about Clinton supporters -- all of them, apparently -- hating Dean in 2004? That's just bizarre (and no link, either). I gave money to Dean in 2004, and I voted for Clinton in 2008.


    Why don't you read the article? (none / 0) (#88)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:08:57 PM EST
    Obviously you haven't but you can't wait to comment on it.  Goolsbee has been sent to political Siberia.....Goolsbee not included in any innermost economic circle and not wanted there ever so ummmmmm..........Doh!

    and what do Clinton (none / 0) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:12:21 PM EST
    supporters and whether or not you perceived that they liked mandates have to do with the economy stupid?

    That's so weird. I have a love/hate ... (none / 0) (#102)
    by Yman on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 08:31:34 AM EST
    ... relationship with Obama.  I love what he says, ...

    ... and hate what he does.


    You lost (none / 0) (#29)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:19:55 PM EST
    me at the very notion that any politician is not a snake.  They're all snakes, albeit some are garden snakes while others have rattlers.

    But you really don't get far in politics without a predatory and low-sliding nature.


    He is a snake as far as the metaphor goes. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Salo on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:38:32 PM EST
    No real track record of legislation and a huge mysterious war chest that bounced every other candidate out of the primary.   That ought to have been a red flag.

    Nader (none / 0) (#38)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:46:49 PM EST
    Has only been running this down for forty years, but he's a pariah because he supposedly singlehandedly kept one of the smaller, big-warchest-laden snakes from ascending to higher office some years back.

    Reasonable is unreasonable (none / 0) (#14)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:18:09 PM EST
    or s/he really believed that Obama was the Messiah!
    (The Obama administration is not even 1 year old!)

    you only get four (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Dadler on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:47:24 PM EST
    so when i hear people talk about "it's only been a year", i also think it's a quarter of a presidential term. So then what, after two years will you claim it's only been 730 days? we are finite creatures, who get very little time to start with. he has been a poor leader. period. in fact, i'd suggest he hasn't led very much at all, but has been largely a follower.

    if any other president had appointed such discredited folks to be his economic team, folks who bear much responsibility for the economy's collapse (and who STILL don't want to effectively regulate OTC derivatives), i seriously doubt he'd be getting the pass he is, not from dems certainly.

    i remember you claiming you were all for reasoned criticism of obama. well, IMO, the "it's only been a year" argument is as weak as you get. obama is what he is, a fairly conservative democrat, corporate to the core still, and unlikely to do anything to rock the boat enough that he might get kicked out of the clique he worked so long and hard to get into.

    FYI, until Obama, Clinton was easily the most dissapointing president of my lifetime. Though, obviously, Obama still has time to change that. Do I think he will? Based on what I see and hear from him, based on my take on his personality, no, I don't think he will ever be the bold and imaginative and transformative leader so many people believed deeply he would be.


    I gave him six months (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Lora on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:13:23 PM EST
    Then, I opened my eyes.

    Me (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:22:21 PM EST
    I just wanted the worst of the neocon slime away from the switch for four years and the faith healers away from the science and healthcare advisory boards.

    You're really surprised by any of this, Dadler?


    well (none / 0) (#44)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 05:29:33 PM EST
    you didnt get the neocon slime away did you? Nor did you get rid of the faith healers. How that conscience rule that Obama caved on workign out for you?

    No (2.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 05:53:10 PM EST
    Some of the ones who voted for the Iraq invasion got in, but at least they've temporarily stopped grandstanding about "obliterating" Iran. Now Georgia, that I might be in favor of.

    People were frightened! (none / 0) (#51)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:15:33 PM EST
    Even McCain sang only about bombing Iran, not of "obliterating" it!

    Ah yes (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Steve M on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:25:04 PM EST
    Let's gin up the old faux outrage machine, pretend that nuclear deterrence and warmongering are the same thing, and desperately try to persuade everyone that Obama's response to Iran dropping a nuclear bomb on Israel would somehow be different from Hillary's. If you close your eyes and imagine real hard you can almost transport yourself back to the silly season.  

    Ah yes (none / 0) (#91)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:12:09 PM EST
    Lets keep pretending (by all means), that Israel dosnt already have more than enough nukes to obliterate Iran a couple of times over all by itself without Hillary needing to grandstand and play hawk by answering neocon pleasing rhetorical questions that have no business being asked in the first place.

    "Frightened"? Really? (none / 0) (#79)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:13:17 PM EST
    You mean HC's warning about responding to a nuclear strike by Iran?  Were those same people equally frightened by Obama's threats to invade Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons?

    Im ftightened by the complete (none / 0) (#95)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:26:58 PM EST
    lack of guts, and the willful desire to keep the public in the dark on the part of all of them, in refusing to publicly acknowledge that Israel already has a nuclear deterrent.

    There's a good reason it is kept (none / 0) (#99)
    by Salo on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 12:43:28 AM EST
    Ambiguous. A very good one.

    Which is? (none / 0) (#106)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 02:35:02 PM EST
    "Grandstanding" and .... (none / 0) (#103)
    by Yman on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 08:44:38 AM EST
    ... "playing hawk"?  Anyone who's minimally informed is already aware of the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons, but the question posed to her was about the response of the US to a nuclear first strike by Iran.  Agree or disagree, the rationale behind such a strong warning could well be to dissuade Iran from the idea that it might be able to destroy Israel's capacity to respond by launching a nuclear first strike.

    BTW - Interesting theory about HC's motivations behind her answer, but it only begs the question for those who criticize her for her response:  Was Obama "grandstanding" and "playing hawk" when he threatened to invade Pakistan?


    Yes (none / 0) (#105)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 02:32:32 PM EST
    Now drop the romantic revisionism of all-things-Clinton. You really think there's a possibility that the Iranians are THAT astronomically in the dark that they weren't already aware that there would be a devasting responce to a "first strike", if they were ever completely deranged enough to attempt one?

    That little impromptu question and answer session was 100% pre-choreographed, "Im tough too" sabre rattling for a select audience.


    "Romantic revisionism"? (none / 0) (#107)
    by Yman on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 03:55:26 PM EST
    What are you talking about?

    The Clinton-haters and their never-ending, evidence-free theories about the Clintons' motivations - not to mention conspiracy theories about "pre-choreographed sabre rattling" - sure are funny.

    BTW - Was Obama's (repeated) threat to invade Pakistan "grandstanding", "playing hawk", "saber rattling" and "pre-choreographed" too, ...

    .....or does the mind-reading only work if your last name is Clinton?


    Which mean (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:18:01 PM EST
    He's way, way, behind, since presidents tend to be the most powerful in their first 100 days....and since Congress tends to shift toward the non-presidential party in mid-term elections.

    Of course, when he loses some Democratic Congresscritters in the Midterms, you'll say he can't get anything done because he lost Congresscritters.

    And what if he loses re-election.  Who will you blame for that?  


    I am not in the blame game business (none / 0) (#41)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 04:49:13 PM EST
    and I am not unhappy with the President's job performance so far. AFAIK, he is working on all the issues he promised during his campaign. He never promised anyone that he would be a FDR or LBJ Democrat; he repeatedly said that he was the kind of Democrat who could go to Detroit and demand that automakers increase fuel efficiency in their cars and aim for higher environmental standards, he said that he would demand higher education standards and performance based compensation while speaking to teachers unions, he said that he was a new kind of democrat who would steer his party and the nation to compete better in a 21st century economy and if he liked a republican/independent idea, he would adopt it. I understand that a lot of people need immediate relief, I can also see some efforts made by the government in that regard. It is possible that the relief is not enough for a lot of people and it may also be too slow in coming; some people may also want more ideological purity (that never appealed to me)! If such people comprise the majority in the nation, Obama may not get re-elected. There is nothing I can do in that case and I will not blame anyone for it (and I am squarely in the middle class and live from paycheck to paycheck).
    Obama and Dean were the only Presidential candidates I liked in a very long time, I am very happy that Obama became President and will hope that he keeps plugging away at all the changes he promised. It is incorrect to say that Presidents tend to be the most powerful in the 1st hundred days. Bill Clinton actually became more powerful after he lost Congress, Reagan also lost Congress.

    Bill Clinton became more powerful after (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by magnetics on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:35:39 PM EST
    losing the Congress ....but! only LBJ (in our lifetimes) surpassed  Bill Clinton's political skills in the arena of congressional dealings.  Furthermore, Clinton had Bob Dole in the senate, who was committed to obstruction on healthcare, but not across the board on every issue.

    Today's Rethuglicans are interested in nothing but obstruction.  If Obama can't deliver with his current majorities, he's through, and may be a one term president.  Furthermore, if he passes a useless health care reform bill, the Democrats will own it, just as they will own the broken economy if that doesn't recover very much.  The stimulus business is a far cry from a national industrial policy, which is what in fact is needed.

    Well, what did people expect from a self-professed admirer of Ronald Reagan?  I bailed from Big Orange back during the primaries, when people were recycling  anti-Hillary Rethuglican talking points from the 90's.  

    Look, Hill ain't perfect, but she knows DC much better than O, and wouldn't need Rahm to hold her hand and whisper sweet policy nothings in her ear.

    Blood under the bridge, I know; but many of us saw it coming.


    Schizophrenic argument (none / 0) (#90)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:22:03 PM EST
    If HRC knows DC so much better, why couldn't she even get the majority of Senators and House members to support her nomination? If they were spooked to associate with her during the primaries, what makes you think that they wouldn't be spooked to associate with her during HCR bill passage?
    If DC is the problem, why do we even need someone who knows "DC much better than O". This is the problem with you guys. Whenever an outsider like Carter or Dean shows up, whose integrity cannot be questioned (but who is an outsider to DC), you don't like them. But then you will also blame the lobby and political culture that is pervasive in DC for all the nations ills!
    Obama repeatedly said that he did not agree with Reagan's policies but it is a fact that Reagan transformed America more than Clinton did. That transformation did cause a lot of harm, there is no doubt about it, a fact which Obama acknowldeged. Reagan was proud to say that he was a conservative, he made liberalism a dirty word. Even a generation later,  Republicans swear by Reagan's conservatism. When HRC was asked in a debate whether she considered herself to be a liberal she could not even say "yes". She said that she was not a liberal but a progressive. Gore was almost spooked to let BC campaign for him. If Clinton could make people proud to be liberals and turn conservatism into a dirt word, I would agree that he transformed America more than Reagan did.

    Not schizophrenic, but mis-read. (none / 0) (#100)
    by magnetics on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 02:59:38 AM EST
    DC per se is not the problem.  Carter was fine as far as he went (I voted for him) --- his human rights program was really an historic reversal of US policy in Latin America, and Reagan instituted the Contra war for the sole purpose of showing that Carter and human rights were so over-- his synfuels project would've freed us from Saudi oil, at the cost of destroying the Rockies, and we'd still be stuck with greenhouse warming -- but he was a stone-headed cold warrior, or at least he put himself in the hands of one (Breszhinksi, if I spelled it right)  who led us into the Afghan debacle - support of the anti-Soviet rebels, who eventually become the Taliban.  

    Hillary knows DC and she knows policy, and she knows what she wants/wanted to get done.  As far as getting senators to sign on, don't get me started about the duplicity in the DNC to create a victory narrative for Obama.  Remember the FL and MI primaries?  Senators will back a perceived winner.

    And she did much more in the Senate than O, who did little except run for president during his tenure there.  I stand by my point, which is that she knew (knows) what she wants accomplished and how.  Obama knew only that he wanted to be president.  

    As far as BIll Clinton making it cool to be a progressive, my belief is that the whole impeachment effort was predicated on the Rethuglican fear that he could be the one to upset the Reaganite apple cart, and the resulting smear campaign was kept up hot and heavy to tarnish his brand and prevent that outcome.

    Just sayin'.  That said, he did some terrible things -- NAFTA, GATT, repeal of Glass Steagle -- but also some very good things.  He made Gingrich look like a monkey day after day (not hard, admittedly) -- but mainly, by good luck and good management, he accomplished the entirely unexpected and un-looked for feat of running a budget surplus.  That was an amazing accomplishment, and one we're not likely to see again in 50 years, I'd guess.


    I date Obama's term from Lehman (none / 0) (#65)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:10:33 PM EST
    (That is from September 2008.)

    That was when it was clear he would win no matter what.

    And shortly thereafter, Obama whipped for TARP, ratifying in the public mind what the Bush administration had already done for the banks.

    So, Obama's been President, functionally, for over a year, and two of his most important acts (FISA, TARP) took place before he was in office.


    Awesome (none / 0) (#67)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:13:34 PM EST
    hey out of curiousity did Obama's amazing non-elected President power enable him to declare war, write pardons etc.

    Er, no? (none / 0) (#93)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:24:44 PM EST
    But the major policy call at that time was how to handle the bank bailout. Obama made that call. I think you're confusing the President's Constitutional functions with his actual functions. The two overlap, but are not the same. But of course, you know that.

    Should have nominated (none / 0) (#15)
    by domer5000 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:21:29 PM EST

    Indeed (none / 0) (#53)
    by Lora on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:17:06 PM EST
    How about an independent Feingold/Kucinich ticket for 2012???

    Elizabeth Warren for President! (none / 0) (#68)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:15:35 PM EST
    That is all...

    I could do that (none / 0) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:15:13 PM EST
    I could easily do that

    I believe that the Bush presidency ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 03:41:43 PM EST
    put people into an kind of psychosis.  It made them trick themselves into believing things that they otherwise wouldn't.

    This is the only explanation I can muster for why many of my cynical, progressive friends believed things about Obama that they would never have believed about any other pol.  Even believing things that were contradicted by the evidence and direct statements by Obama himself.

    But it's a mistake to overstate the direness of such a situation.  The conditions are still good for progressive causes.  The Republican Party is in a shambles, and they're further exacerbating it every day.  And progressive issues are getting a fairer hearing than they have in at least a decade.

    Sure, we'll have to work harder than some have hoped.  But real progressives are used to that.

    I don't agree (none / 0) (#58)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:51:48 PM EST
    Gitmo is on its way out.  Slowly.

    We're getting out of Iraq on schedule, so far.  I recall  no one saying it could be done in less than 18 months to 2  years.

    DADT - Don't recall the promise, but it was evident that GLBT was a very low priority for Obama, so if I'd heard it I'd never have believed it.

    Fixing the DOJ could reasonably take more than 1 year.  At least he isn't hiring any more boot-licking Christo-fascists like Monica Goodling.

    I'm pretty sure some kind of HCR will pass congress.  It will be, like Obama himself, necessary but not sufficient, but I knew that going in.

    He is what he is, and he always was.  He represented a relatively weak Democratic agenda, and that's why he was beloved by the Ben Nelsons and Claire McCaskills. I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who didn't see it.  Tabibi, in particular, strikes me as one of the people who foisted Obama off on us as The One - and it really pisses me off that guys like him are now abandoning Obama when he needs them the most.  It's partly your fault we're stuck with this guy, Matt.  Man up already.

    Nice job (none / 0) (#61)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 06:59:25 PM EST
    Out of curiousity-

    Where did Obama (or anyone outside of Richardson and Kucinich) promise immediate withdrawl from Iraq.

    Hasn't Healthcare Reform been attempted?

    Hasn't Obama actually moved to close Gitmo- I mean it'd be closed right now if some supposedly progressive members of congress didn't become NIMBY spouting cowards as soon as the possibility of detainees arriving in their states was broached.

    He's moving too slow on DADT i'll admit, while it does require an act of congress to repeal the President could and possibly should move to suspend discharges on DADT related grounds (the problem with this of course is that a president advising what crimes should and should not be prosecuted seems creepy).

    Oh and as for your last point- American's like Rockefeller Republican-type President's Clinton was the very model of one.

    Let's play Obama limbo? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:12:02 PM EST
    How low can you go? How low can you set the baseline?

    Seriously, "attempted"?


    Clinton was the "very model... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:23:43 PM EST
    ... of a Rockefeller Republican"???

    In what alternate reality is that?

    BTW - Clinton never claimed to be anything but a moderate Democrat.  Obama claimed to be a centrist when it was advantageous to do so, then dangled vague, ambiguously phrased promises to Progressives who were foolish enough to try to superimpose their hopes and dreams on his blank record.

    Not workin' out so well for them ....


    So I have to ask at what point did Bob Rubin (none / 0) (#70)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:21:59 PM EST
    become FDR- if you take Taibbi at his word Greenspan and Rubin have basically dictated Democratic Economic Policy over the last two presidencies.

    What prompted this odd question? (none / 0) (#78)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 07:51:33 PM EST
    I think we, and Taibbi, are talking systems, not personalities. If you bring matters down to personalities, that sounds like CT. No doubt, as this threads designated Obama apologist, that was your intent?

    This and every thread's (none / 0) (#97)
    by Spamlet on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:44:45 PM EST
    this thread's designated Obama apologist