That Was Then . . .

Kevin Drum, circa February 2008:

I still don't know whether Obama is likely to be the Democratic Ronald Reagan (my hope) or the next Democratic Jimmy Carter (my fear), but [. . .] I think he's more likely to be RR than JC. I guess I'm willing to roll the dice.

Drum on December 26, 2009:

[E]ven some very high-information voters seem to be disappointed [in Obama], and it's baffling. Obama's entire career has been one of low-key, pragmatic leadership. [. . .] This was all pretty obvious during the campaign [. . .]

Not so obvious in February 2008 I guess. To be fair, I thought it was obvious that this was Obama's inclination, but by September 2008, I thought events and crises would lead to a realization of a transformational Presidency. Instead, the Obama Presidency is run of the mill and mediocre. This is all pretty obvious now of course. Anyone surprised about it going forward has no excuse.

Speaking for me only

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    Biden was right (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by pluege on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 07:41:14 AM EST
    about obama being tested early, but it wasn't terrorists, it was potentially catastrophic economics and political opportunity that challenged obama and he failed miserably. He is a small bore thinker and a political neophyte, about as unaudacious as a pol could be.

    Just watch (none / 0) (#26)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:17:59 PM EST
    economically what he did is going to be spun as a masterstroke- remember the Greenspanesque free-market crap is at the center of the Democratic Party or at least its Presidential Admins- one would have hoped Obama would appoint Rubin disciples after seeing what they had wrought but no, he followed the previous Dem Admin to a "T"

    Just like (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:38:23 PM EST
    Republicans claim Bush will be vindicated for his foreign policy.

    The problem with Bush (none / 0) (#43)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:19:33 PM EST
    is that while his last big move in Iraq was right (the surge and the attendent buy-in of Shia factions) its still part of an overall debacle of his creation-- if Obama brings the economy back to normal he'll have averted a massive crisis he inheirited.

    Where IS Biden these days? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:09:46 PM EST
    Never hear anything from him.

    Maybe he's staying out of range (none / 0) (#47)
    by oldpro on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:08:47 PM EST
    of Tom Ricks who has NO use for Biden foreign-policywise...and says so publicly.

    obama lost the base (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by pluege on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 07:51:50 AM EST
    after inspiring hope for change, he has massively disappointed and alienated the foot soldiers that do all the hard work on the ground that elected him with his small bore insiders game mediocrity. After building big expectations, he has not delivered, and the many thousands that worked their tail off and donated every spare penny to get him elected will not go out of their way again for him (although he will surely replace the people donations with corporate donations.) The one thing that could save him in 2012 though is the republicans nominating one of their batsh*t crazy loons.

    Obama's base is black voters (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dan the Man on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:03:47 AM EST
    and those voters aren't abandoning him.  In fact, Obama could get Kerry-like numbers for white voters and still win the 2012 election so long as his base (ie black voters) votes in the same way as 2008.

    I think that probably would have been (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:05:17 AM EST
    the different in Ohio, yeah.

    Interesting point.


    I'll bet you are wrong. (none / 0) (#8)
    by cawaltz on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:12:22 AM EST
    If all it took were AAs to win an election the Dems would have won a looong time ago.

    As Progressives say, do the math (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dan the Man on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:33:42 AM EST
    Assume the exit poll numbers in Ohio for voting by race in the 2004 election are correct. Now modify the voting numbers for blacks from 86-14 for Kerry to 97-2 for Obama (which are the 2008 exit poll numbers).  Then, doing the math, Obama wins.

    On the other side of the balance sheet (none / 0) (#41)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 08:48:20 PM EST
    however, I think lots of Repubs/conservatives did not turn out to vote in 2008, but may turn out in 2012 if given the opportunity to vote for a sensible Repub ticket.

    I think that the Congressional Black (none / 0) (#10)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:32:27 AM EST
    Caucus might disagree with your assessment.

    I think Obama's problem is that he has made it clear that he has no interest in the various and sundry bases that he might have been able to really please had he taken certain actions.  He has disappointed if not out right angered a long list of folks and interests within the Democratic Party.


    Be that as it may, AAs are still going to (none / 0) (#14)
    by tigercourse on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:21:03 AM EST
    show up in very large numbers at the polls to vote for him. General Dem turnout in 2012 might be depressed, but AA turnout almost certainly won't be.

    You're counting on stay-at-home Repubs (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:36:15 AM EST
    again, which is what won for Dems in 2008.  Conservative older whites stayed home.

    Midterm elections are won by the base, and if the Repub base comes out in 2010, your AA factor for the Dems -- not that a lot of those AAs, as first-time voters, are the base, and do you think that they will come out when Obama is not on the ballot? -- will be cancelled out.


    No Dog in This Fight and No Fight in This Dog ... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Ellie on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:29:52 PM EST
    The Boss of the D=machine flipped off Liberals in the WSJ, or as Digby nailed it: Rahm says, f*ck the liberals, they don't vote for us anyway. Oh wait ...

    D's did worse than SFA with their trifecta: they willingly got punked on a marquee issue by the likes of Nelson, Lieberman, Snowe and Grassley.


    Let all those loyal AA voters and Donna Brazile's army of brand spanking new Dumpling Dems power this clunker. At this point, I wouldn't even mail it in.


    Yep (none / 0) (#18)
    by cawaltz on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:50:53 AM EST
    He needs all of the people who supported him in 2008 and I doubt he gets them at the rate he is ticking off groups within the base. Unions, women, heck even some of those AAs have been been rhetorically peed on by this administration. Not that I think he'll care overmuch if he loses. After all he'll get a cushy pension and health care at taxpayer expense. Oh and it also free him up to do what he loves- give speeches.

    The base on the other hand is screwed. All that work flushed down the toilet because everyone wanted the "easier to push" candidate and didn't want any sort of arguing to get in the way of the feel good moment(banging head against desk).


    I was mainly thinking of the 2012 elections. (none / 0) (#22)
    by tigercourse on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 12:05:56 PM EST
    I agree that the 2010 midterms aren't going to be pretty.

    Oh, by 2012, the Repub base (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 12:45:07 PM EST
    will be even more energized by what they win back in 2010.  Midterms can motivate the base; see Dems, 2006.

    I don't know. (none / 0) (#20)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 11:14:27 AM EST
    The black population is being disproportionately affected by high unemployment - some places are in the high 20's which is stunning.  I come from a region where many, many black folks hold office and I've seen quite a few be punished for failing to pay attention to the black community's needs - it ain't pretty either because expectations are high and when people come to the conclusion that they've been ignored, the resentment and payback can be very intense.

    I find it hard to believe that the (none / 0) (#25)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:06:36 PM EST
    base could have such a major impact state to state. POTUS is elected by the electoral college and I don't think one minority group could handle dominating that.

    I'm guessing the AAs who declared their joy that they would never again have to worry about paying their mortgages will be voting again.


    The base is not the same (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:15:32 PM EST
    as what you're talking about.  The base is the reliable voters.  

    Actually, I was responding to the (none / 0) (#40)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:10:48 PM EST
    claim that as long as he keeps the AA vote, he's in for a second term.

    As Obama himself said (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 08:23:25 AM EST
    His supporters saw in him what they wanted to see.

    Now they are starting to see what is there.

    Whatever he is (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 12:31:25 PM EST
    will continue to float to the surface.

    Fool me once shame on you... fool me twice shame on me, etc., etc.


    What baffles me is that people like (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:07:11 AM EST
    Kevin Drum are so invested in their pre-election assessment of Obama that they refuse to take the measure of his actual performance in office; I cannot imagine Kevin being quite so sanguine if, for example, John McCain had been elected and McCain and Palin had managed, in their first year, to make George Bush look like a piker.

    I also think Kevin needs to reassess his definition of "high-information voter," since I think it does not mean "members of a fan club who thought they knew it all."

    I talked to a woman yesterday who canvassed (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:39:35 AM EST
    for Obama in MA and pd. a bunch of money to go to D.C. for the inauguration and attended an inaugural ball.  She has no quarrel with anything Obama has done or not done as Pres.  She sd. "any" HCR is better than nothing.  No problem with secret WH deals with insurance industry and/or big Pharma.  No dog in this fight re public option.

    That would be different though (none / 0) (#27)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:19:18 PM EST
    I mean Obama's clearly an improvement on Bush, he's just not as a dramatic an improvement as some had hoped- its like BTD said he's Clinton not FDR.

    Very interesting article (none / 0) (#31)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:58:37 PM EST
    Ah the American Thinker (2.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:24:20 PM EST
    truly a source of pertinent information: http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/02/vince_foster_and_dick_cheney.html

    Man- did you know that the Media help cover up the mysterious Death of Vince Foster!?


    Odd (none / 0) (#37)
    by sj on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:59:47 PM EST
    You can see the perspective of this writer based on this statement, if nothing else:

    He promised the end of partisanship, but he has stoked it to a roaring blaze with his refusal to work with Republicans.

    I mean, seriously?

    And yet... there is much in there that resonates with me.  


    Yes, that one line stood out for me, too (none / 0) (#38)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:09:15 PM EST
    But, the rest was pretty accurate.

    Well yeah (none / 0) (#9)
    by DancingOpossum on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:13:56 AM EST
    But they didn't and wouldn't vote for him anyway. Obama needs to worry about losing the support of Dems and independents, not Republicans, although as Dan the Man noted, he probably figures he can afford to lose them as long as he holds onto the black vote.

    In 2010? First-time AA voters? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 10:37:13 AM EST
    When Obama is not on the ballot?  

    IMO They will turn out at the same rate in 2010 (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 11:02:44 AM EST
    as they did in VA and NJ this year.

    Kevin Drum: "...entire career (none / 0) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:53:50 AM EST
    has been one of low-key, pragmatic leadership".   I wonder what Drum means by that--low-key, for example, abstain from state senate votes as a "winning strategy'?  Give an anti-war speech, that was not against all wars, just dumb ones (a speech that was unrecorded)? Pragmatic--accomodate those who are opposed to your position and vote against you despite this foregone conclusion?   My support for Mr, Obama was based on competence, transparency, and change, particularly from Bush/Cheney and their corrupt band of liars and criminals.   Yes, it was clear that Obama's leadership career was low-level and untested in that he held neither senate leadership positions nor did he have a record of major legislative accomplishments. But,  there was that hope, after all.

    This illustrates (none / 0) (#21)
    by lilburro on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 11:21:32 AM EST
    the problem nicely among the people running cover for the Admin's health care attempt.  Obama didn't drive more than half of the blogosphere batsh*t crazy because they perceived his intent to be middle of the road.  It's self evident that people expected a lot more.  And if people like Drum aren't going to admit they have been wrong, then they look like they're just blind.  Kevin jumps the shark with this one.

    Um, (none / 0) (#28)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:21:01 PM EST
    the problem with you Afghanistan example is that pulling out would make him appear much weaker-- if you don't see that I don't know what to tell you. Oh, and given how Iraq has changed over the past 3-4 years I wouldn't write Afghanistan off just yet.

    Hertzberg(er?) has piece in New Yorker (none / 0) (#42)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 08:53:35 PM EST
    with the main theme being that there are no good options in Afghanistan and haven't been for quite some time now.  Author makes same point you did -- but claims there would be a revolt of the military if Prez had decided to withdraw from Afghanistan, along with many p o'd Nato members whose soldiers have lost their lives their.  It is an interesting study in how the Prez chose to avoid the options that would have been most disastrous choices for him and then picked from the remaining "options."

    Its way, way too (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:23:40 PM EST
    early to think one-term- Both Reagan and Clinton were in deep at this point (both lost substantially in their off-year elections as well), I see no reason to think- especially given the recent economic forecasts, and the progress in Iraq as well as the possibility of such in Afghanistan, that Obama doesn't turn it around much like they did.

    Somehow (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 02:33:44 PM EST
    "Somehow this will be overlooked on Balloon Juice, et al in favor of something that makes Obama look good. All bow before my awesome psychic abilities."

    Weak sh*t my friend.


    BTD I respect the hell out of you (none / 0) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:27:34 PM EST
    but a virtually every positive story for Obama is ignored over here, I understand that you don't believe in clapping for things you think should occur, but its hard to argue that only pointing out the negative presents an even picture.

    Wow... (none / 0) (#36)
    by DancingOpossum on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:45:10 PM EST
    given how Iraq has changed over the past 3-4 years I wouldn't write Afghanistan off just yet.

    Definitely rose-colored glasses. Yes, we just can't wait until Afghanistan looks as wonderful as Iraq does. It's like Eden and Disney World all rolled into one!

    Nice to see somebody still chuffing the Kool-Aid.

    Iraq's not great (none / 0) (#46)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 09:29:30 PM EST
    but its also not at the brink of Civil War as it once appeared to be- mass killings are now egregious rather than the norm and even the Sadr's faction has taken up electoral politics in the place of non-traditional methods.