Progressive In Their Time

Booman writes:

What I know is that we haven't had a president this progressive since Franklin Roosevelt, that we've never had one from our background who instinctively reflects our values, and that we desperately need him to succeed or we won't only lose the White House to Palinesque thugs, but we'll lose the internal battle within the Democratic Party. Are we going to be the party of tomorrow, filled with all races, religions, sexual-orientations, based in social justice and international cooperation? Or are we going to be the socially conservative, business-first, hawkish, Third-Way party that was wiped out between 1994 and 2006?

Let's consider that statement in parts. First is Obama really the most progressive President since FDR? What does that statement even mean? Clearly on civil rights issues, FDR did not exactly demonstrate governing bona fides on civil rights. On that issue, thank Gawd, every Democratic President, and most Republicans, were "more progressive" than FDR. But that makes the point -- you can not judge a President's "progressiveness" outside of the times they governed in. More.

Whatever Obama personally believes in is not relevant to judging his public policy. When you judge Obama's policy, based on his Presidential campaign policies and rhetoric - he is very much a Clintonian Third Way politician, not "the most progressive" anything. I said it then, and I say it now - on policy, there was and is not a dime's worth of difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. For the most part, that pleases me as I largely agree with both of them on the big issues.

So far, in terms of his stated positions during the campaign and his actions as President, the real grievances belong to the civil libertarians - the President has simply been awful on state secrets and habeas corpus and investigating torture. He has been good, imo, on ending the practice of torture. On the whole, he has not been very progressive in this area.

On foreign policy, it seems to me to be difficult to categorize his policies as progressive. As a "liberal hawk," that pleases me. I agree with just about every move the President has made on foreign policy. I give him an A so far. And he has been true to his campaign policy. But I can see where some progressives would be dissatisfied. They wanted and expected something different. I must say that nothing Obama actually said should have given them that impression. Again, there was not a dime's worth of difference between Clinton and Obama.

With regard to the financial crisis and the stimulus, Obama did not have detailed positions. He has betrayed no campaign promises. Indeed, one could argue that he has been true to his campaign rhetoric in that he embraced Clintonian economic policy and Rubinomics. In normal times, I would have been quite pleased to see this. But these are not normal times. We face the greatest depression and President Obama has been timid for the times. It is in this area that Obama suffers the most from comparisons to the bold leadership of FDR. But I do not think of this in terms of progressive or not progressive. I am thinking in terms of what works. But perhaps Obama is prepared for bolder steps. We will see.

Now, back to Booman's statement. This part perplexes me:

[W]e desperately need [Obama] to succeed or we won't only lose the White House to Palinesque thugs, but we'll lose the internal battle within the Democratic Party.

Who's "we" and what constitutes "los[ing] the internal battle within the Democratic Party?" Herein lies the problem - I have no idea what policies Booman is supporting. What does Booman want the Democratic Party to advocate for? How does Obama forward those policies? This is perhaps the most difficult part for me to understand from folks like Booman. I get the general sense that on a lot of policies, I am much more to the Center than Booman (like foreign policy and free trade) and on those policies I have always been confident that Obama agreed with me and will carry out policies in these areas that I will support fully. I never understood why Booman viewed Obama as "progressive" in these areas and Clinton as somehow retrograde. I repeat, there was and is not a dime's worth of difference between them on most policies.

So what is Booman talking about when he writes "are we going to be the socially conservative, business-first, hawkish, Third-Way party that was wiped out between 1994 and 2006?" What does that mean? Is there a "socially conservative" movement in the Democratic Party that is vying for preeminence in the Party (and how does embracing Rick Warren fight against it)? Does he believe Obama is any less "pro-business" than say Hillary Clinton was and is (and how does the Geithner Plan fight against it)? Does he believe Obama is less "hawkish" than Clinton was and is (and how does being "hawkish" on Afghanistan fight against it)? Does he really believe Obama has not been a Third Way politician (and how did the Post Partisan Unity Schtick fight against it)?

And what does he propose activists do to "avoid" this calamity? Shut up about Obama's movements in that direction? See, my view is this - when Obama does things I agree with (Afghanistan, free trade, ending torture, returning tax policy to Bill Clinton policies), I will full throatedly support him. When he does thing I disagree with, I will oppose his policies. When he takes positions on important issues I do not have strong opinions on, I will try and get educated on the issues (energy and health care come to mind.)

I do not know if that will help the "we" Booman is talking about, but I know of no other way I can do it.

Speaking for me only

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    And to P*ss off Clinton folks (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:24:20 AM EST
    I do not think there would have been a dime's worth of difference if Hillary Clinton was President now. The good news for you is that it does not matter - she is not President.

    So speculation about what she would have done is a meaningless strawman.

    I think there is at least (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by ChiTownMike on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:51:33 AM EST
    a million dollars worth of difference in Clinton's favor over Obama.

    To not get boring with a bunch of comparisons I'll just say that at least she told you exactly where she was coming from and where she was going, with a verifiable record to back up her talk. She was no chameleon as Obama is. For me and others that counts for a lot. She also talked about things like HOLC and others that Obama never uttered. Those two things alone count for a million dollars worth of difference.


    HOLC -- pretty big difference to me and probably (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by jawbone on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 05:50:41 PM EST
    to those who might have had a better chance to keep their houses with a president who was proposing HOLC back in the early days of the mortgage meltdown problems.

    Plus, I believed during the primary and I believe now that the Congressional Dems would have held Hillary to her promises, whereas with Obama they seem to handling him with kid gloves. 11 (or more, as necessary) dimension chess, donchaknow.

    Can you imagine the left blogosphere rage if Hillary had reneged on her promises to be open about the torture and civil liberties sins of BushCo? Who continued to Unitary Executive powers? She would be attacked by progressive Dems, the Obama supporters who believed he was farther left than she, and by the MCM. Cries of hypocrisy would ring from coast to coast.

    That's what I thought and wrote back then, and I stand by it.

    Tha's all, folks.


    And I'm sure I would probably have disappointed in (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by jawbone on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 05:53:33 PM EST
    some things Hillary would have done. I certainly was with Bill.

    And, how could I forget? Hillary was outspokenly for mandated universal healthcare -- and for a public option, plus a cap on percentage of income which people would have to spend on health insurance and promised subsidies for the poor.

    Now I will shut up.


    Meaningless strawmen (5.00 / 6) (#23)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:36:53 AM EST
    hardly are cause for being p*ssed off.

    So far, I just feel sorry for the unemployed awaiting a good jobs plan, for the foreclosed and homeless awaiting a good mortgage rescue plan, for the uninsured awaiting a health care plan, for the inmates at Guantanamo and elsewhere awaiting their rights, for the rest of us awaiting the promised repeal of FISA . . . I just feel sorry for the rest of us, period.  

    It's not a time for meaningless debates, agreed.  It's time for those who supported Obama, even if only "tepidly," to keep putting on the pressure.  Those who no longer are Dems will not be heard and just have to await what his campaign supporters will do.  



    I agree that Hillary would have done the same (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:01:50 PM EST
    and think she is very much in the driver's seat as SoS. I watched the debates and noticed the frequency of "what she said" and "I agree with Hillary" as Obama's response to most questions. I thought that's why she was most often asked to be the first to respond to the bigger policy questions.

    Obama is very dependent on his cabinet to do the work. From research to repair.


    To clarify....though (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:07:34 PM EST
    I do expect that to change as he becomes experienced. I think every first term president has this learning curve time period where they are looking to others for the best course of action on major issues.

    I'd Say About A Dollar's Worth of Difference (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by BDB on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 02:55:08 PM EST
    Not huge, but a president who supported HOLC would be an improvement to one who promised to study the issue (and hasn't even appeared to do that).  A president who voted against FISA might be moderately better on civil liberties issues.  

    Don't get me wrong, Clinton would not be perfect and Wall Street would still get its due, but she also wouldn't have the media covering for her or be able to force liberal groups to the sidelines.  Do you think MoveON would be quiet while a Clinton shoveled money to the banks?  She would be under much more pressure than Obama is, particularly from her base which was working class folks and from the leftwing of the party.  

    Clinton wouldn't be far to the left of Obama on any issue, but in these desperate times even an inch could make a big difference.  HOLC, for example, could keep a lot of people in their houses.  That may not be a huge ideological difference, but it ain't nothing either.  


    Sweet Fantasy (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Politalkix on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:13:06 PM EST
    Follow the [link]

    Maria Hinojosa talks to Elizabeth Warren about the bankruptcy bill......

    HINOJOSA: There's a--a--a story that I--I wanna share with our listeners that you actually shared when you were on Now--on our TV program and it was--it's about--a fascinating story about Hillary Clinton. You said that when the credit card companies were pushing for legislation--this is back when--to--to tighten the bankruptcy laws, and this is when--President Clinton was in--in office you were summoned by Hel--Hillary Clinton to discuss this legislation. And you sat down with her in this back room and you filter in on what this new bankruptcy law was gonna mean.

    And she at that moment said, "Oh my God. We have to stop this law. It's not gonna happen." It gets passed in Congress and Bill Clinton, because of Hillary's conversation with you more or less, vetoes that bill. Now we fast forward to Senator Hillary Clinton, bankruptcy law comes for a vote and she votes for it?

    WARREN: Yes.

    HINOJOSA: So fill us in here. What happened?

    WARREN: Well it's a reminder that when we talk about something like bankruptcy there's a very powerful industry, the consumer lending industry that makes a lot of political contributions and all those contributions get made only on the side of doing the things that are good for the lenders, not good for the debtors. There are no equivalent political action committees for people about to go bankrupt or people in financial trouble or people who--who--who crashed and burned financially last year.

    HINOJOSA: Really? There are none? There are no lobbying groups at all for--

    WARREN: No. Those people don't have any money. They're left with--with folks like me with a few academics and an occasional bankruptcy lawyer who handles some consumer cases. We're really kinda the only ones who talk about this in Washington and--and we don't have money to make political donations.

    So it was one thing for Mrs. Clinton to be First Lady and not running for office and tell President Clinton what she felt about this bill. And then very different for Senator Clinton who had to get political contributions and run her--her campaign--she voted differently. Now I wanna be fair in this story.

    Mrs. Clinton, in a much more secure position--as Senator a couple of years later--when the bill came up once again--Senator Clinton was not there--the day of the vote. It was the day that President Clinton, you may remember, had heart surgery. But she issued a very strong press release condemning the bill and I assume if she had been there that she would have voted against it. I--I tell my story not to try to thump Senator Clinton but the story is important because it's a reminder of how money talks in Washington. And as another senator, Senator Russ Feingold once said--the bankruptcy bill should be the poster child for campaign finance refor--if it hadn't been for big contributions in Washington that bankruptcy bill never would've gotten off the ground.


    Wow (none / 0) (#44)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:24:11 PM EST
    Quite an active fantasy life you have.  Hillary base leftwing of the party is especially rich. Let me see, you consider yourself leftwing and were a Hillary supporter?

    But I am sure you have some other data to back up your claim, no?


    You (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:27:54 PM EST
    weren't paying attention were you? Hillary got tons of support from the working class, hispanics and women. Obama got the academics and creative class upper income whites and African Americans.

    Leftwing Of The Party? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:36:05 PM EST
    You are not paying attention. Both Hillary and Obama were right on the center. Obama was perceived as being more to the left than Hillary but judging them by their votes they were dead equal.

    Statistically those who considered themselves "very liberal", which would suggest the leftwing part of the democratic party voted for Obama 52% to Hillary's 44%.

    But I am sure that you have some other data besides your opinion, no?


    BDB (none / 0) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:50:51 PM EST
    is talking about the demographic support.

    BTD has done tons of research on the demographics of the primaries right here.

    You do realize that Hillary got the support of the working class?


    Yes Demographic Support (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:25:42 PM EST
    I am only pointing out that Obama got the majority of leftwing support of the democratic party. Not sure why you are bringing up working class.

    I am going on BTD's demographic links, and have followed the primary quite closely, particularly BTD's posts. And if you had not noticed it before one of BTD's mantras was that there is not a dimes worth of difference between Hillary and Obama, irrelevant as it is now.

    BDB has corrected his poor sentence construction, ( I can relate) and evidentially never intended to state that Hillary's base included a majority of the leftwing of the democratic party.

    As far as the rest, save for style, both Obama and Hillary were interchangeable, imo. I have no illusions that we would be in any different shape policy wise had Hillary been elected. And with her late surge in popularity, exit Mark Penn, she may have even won over the press.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:30:51 PM EST
    I think having a spine and not getting rolled by the GOP is an important trait. My biggest complaint with Obama was that he had never shown any leadership on an issue and always shied away from taking a stand on things and the few times that he did take a stand he caved. I've never understood his love of the GOP and why he thinks we should cater to a bunch of people who destroyed the country. The reason I supported Hillary was that I thought she would fight for what she wanted and didn't rely on the press. If you live by the approval of the press you can also die by it.

    OK (none / 0) (#61)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:47:22 PM EST
    I get it, you have created a fantasy politician that has a spine and would fight the press, GOP and most of all fight for all your wishes. Funny how great politicians can make people hear what they want and believe. Religious leaders have it a bit easier, because their promises usually have to do with when you are dead. Politicians have to re spin with new promises, every four to six years.

    It is clearly a talent that both Hillary and Obama have no shortage of.

    I am immune, for whatever reason. They all appear to be professional liars to me, or liars within a general Democratic parameter. I am usually disappointed with my representatives, and pleasantly surprised when they represent my wishes.


    That Kyl-Lieberman (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 06:10:25 PM EST
    Iraq vote showed nothing but spine. No sir, that's a woman who wont knuckle under fer nobody; not even the Board of AIPAC.

    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:08:01 AM EST
    Typical. It doesn't matter that Obama is continuing the neocon policy but Kyl Lieberman is the end of the world.

    Is this a "data point" Squeaky? (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by cal1942 on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:00:09 PM EST
    one of BTD's mantras was that there is not a dimes worth of difference between Hillary and Obama

    No offense to BTD but I hardly recognize his opinion as a data point.

    Sometimes the Devil's in the details and too often we overlook subtleties at our own peril.

    That academics and/or "creative" class types were suckered by Obama doesn't mean that that they represent the Democratic Party's 'leftwing.'

    Some of those types are fairly conservative and elitist concerning economiccs but 'liberal' regarding social matters and were (those that I personally know) fervent Obama supporters.  IMO politics is really about one thing, economics.  For that reason I believe that many Obama supporters were little more than polite conservatives and that hardly constitutes the leftwing of the Democratic Party.  Now that's not a data point just personal experience.  To me it's interesting that if you pin people down on their positions on an issue by issue basis it can be damned awfully difficult to determine just exactly what they are, where they fall in the spectrum.

    The single fact that we should be able to agree upon is that both parties are to a varying degree captives of the finance industry.  This would not have happened if finance had been kept in its proper place.

    Getting this whole thing straightened out depends entirely on busting the finance industry.  Unfortunately Obama does not have the interest or capability to make that happen, quite the contrary.


    The problem cal1942 (none / 0) (#91)
    by Politalkix on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 12:24:16 AM EST
    lies in that word "elitist" means. [Here] is an example of one of HRC's most ardent supporters calling Obama "elitist".
    Bill Clinton's Presidency may be about Rubinomics, Hillary's strongest political and financial support could have come from the Rothschild banking family and [hedge funds], but it is Obama who is the "elitist" and HRC the "fighter for the working class"!
    Talk about the confusion of people who think other people were "suckered" during the primaries!

    Did I say (none / 0) (#101)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 05:21:59 PM EST
    anything about Hillary Clinton? Nope.  

    And elitist.  I'd say that people who hold conservative economic views are, in that context, elitist.

    Oh, in case you missed it, Obama got massive support from the finance industry.

    Anyway, Hillary Clinton didn't get nominated and elected so there's no on the job performance to judge against expectations.  Your guy got nominated and elected.  Is what you've seen so far what you expected?  It's what I expected.

    So who got suckered?


    Data Point? (none / 0) (#102)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 08:16:52 PM EST
    It is you who got suckered into thinking that another mainstream democratic candidate would have been any different from Obama. It is one thing to root for a candidate but idolizing is a big mistake. It is ironic that the much of the crowd that came to TL during the primaries acted exactly the same as the crowd that they were revolted by. Now it can only be sour grapes calling people suckers for voting Dem in the presidential election. And it is obvious that for you this is all about Hillary.

    In terms of your question about BTD's oft repeated quote/comparison being a data point, I do not follow you. My point was that BTD did link to polls during the primary that broke down the race by demographics.

    In the very liberal category Obama won 52 to 44.


    Hilarious (none / 0) (#97)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:11:00 PM EST
    You should take up fiction writing.

    Excuse me, but what (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by jondee on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 06:04:57 PM EST

    Is there another implication to take away from your study other than that blacks dont work and therefore cant be members of "the working class"?


    Good (none / 0) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:12:26 AM EST
    grief. What is wrong with you? Your argument is with how the demographics are reported. Lose the defensive attitude. Hispanics are catergorized as simply hispanics too and you seem to have no problem with that. Do you think that all hispanics aren't working class either?

    Your Data (none / 0) (#96)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:09:04 PM EST
    Are you suggesting that working class are white only from your demographic sources?

    No (none / 0) (#98)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:52:12 PM EST
    I said working class, hispanics and women. Does it mean that such a thing as working class women don't exist either? No, it's simply how things have been classified. I'm sure there's some overlap but that's the way things have been broadly classified mostly I guess because for some reason hispanics and African Americans are simply classified by race and then women are classified by sex. Whatever.

    Really? (none / 0) (#99)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03:04:03 PM EST
    Do you have links? Seems to me any serious demographic study would break down working class into groups. All the reference to working class voters in the primary that I have seen break it down to white working class.

    Do you actually have statistics or are you going by your gut?


    You're talking (none / 0) (#100)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03:14:33 PM EST
    specifics. I'm talking broadly. If you want to get into very detailed analysis they DO break it down by income level.

    CNN has everything broken down by race and sex and age. It also has it broken down by church attendance. I looked at CA since it's the most racially diverse state in the nation.


    The Problem Squeaky (none / 0) (#86)
    by cal1942 on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:15:23 PM EST
    is the pollee's self-description.

    In other words your "data" is worthless.


    My Data? (none / 0) (#92)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 12:57:09 AM EST

    Sorry that you have it so bad.


    That's Not What I Said (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by BDB on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:00:59 PM EST
    or at least intended to say, sorry about the confusing sentence construction.  I meant base to modify working class (not leftwing).  No, the leftwing went in the tank for the guy who ran to the right on domestic issues of the entire rest of the Democratic field, Barack Obama.

    OK (none / 0) (#59)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:27:09 PM EST
    My sentence construction is often misleading as well, I can relate.

    You really want to know what I think (4.25 / 4) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:03:24 AM EST
    is a difference? Obama offers "faith based" discussions of policy. It's more that you have to have "faith" that his policies are going to work. I mean, that's how he seems to operate himself putting his "faith" in people like Geither.

    Hillary was more the type that would tell you WHY the policy was good and HOW it was going to work and what BENEFIT it has to you as an American citizen.


    Obama is a pol (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:13:41 AM EST
    They do what they do.

    Sure (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:24:10 AM EST
    but you can't lead if you can't explain. Maybe I could get behind the Geither plan IF he could tell me how it's going to work and why it is going to work instead of just telling me to have "faith" imo.

    A bit off subject, but (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by cal1942 on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:42:35 PM EST
    (it's late and no one will ever read this so ..)

    Your comment brought to mind Will Roger's comment after FDR's Fireside Chat concerning banking.

    Rogers said (paraphrase) '... he explained it so well that even bankers understood it.'

    One of Roger's best IMO.


    Some can do what they do (none / 0) (#24)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:42:18 AM EST
    better than others.  That's your point, I think -- that he can do better, but probably only if the fan bloggers and their like put on the pressure.  There are pols, and then there are pols -- he and Feingold, for example, both are pols.  

    But the point is that Obama is the type of pol who is guided less by principles, like Feingold, than to practicalities of politics?  So he really looks to public pressure, especially from his base, so that is the role abdicated by some bloggers?


    Except for UHC you mean. (none / 0) (#8)
    by Radix on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:53:07 AM EST
    As I understand it (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:55:53 AM EST
    President Obama now favors the Clinton health care plan.

    folks can correct me on this if I am wrong.


    The scuttlebutt is that (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:17:29 PM EST
    a public alternative equivalent to Medicare (for all) - which was the key to meaningful reform that Clinton adopted from the Edward's plan - is about to fall off the table.  I read that there are a band of progressive Congresscritters who have stepped forward saying that it is a non-negotiable item.  

    If a public alternative is not sacrificed to the great gods of postpartisan politics, the next battle will be whether the public plan cost structure is pegged to the private plans (which would again yield a meaningless reform and none of the benefits of cost savings that Medicare does) or if the premiums and payouts are pegged to the established Medicare and Medicaid plans.  That is the next big battle and a potential area for bait and switch - a public plan that is pegged to and no different from the private insurers (except maybe that the government is a more reliable and consistent about paying) does not create the competition that would have pressured the private insurers to clean up their act if they want to stay in the business.

    And as for the content of your essay - LBJ was imo more progressive than Obama probably would ever want to be - and  Medicare and Medicaid - part of his Great Society - was what LBJ hoped to be within a decade of their passage - now 40 years ago - the first step towards universal healthcare in this country.  


    Agree re LBJ...but (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:10:54 PM EST
    not that Hillary "adopted from the Edwards plan" the "key to meaningful reform."  He went public first but I don't think we have any evidence that she changed anything in her approach because of anything Edwards did.  

    That line from Edwards' supporteres never even made sense to me other than as a campaign tactic to give him muscle on healthcare.  Given Hillary's long-standing investment in the subject, I doubt she had to be schooled by Edwards...on healthcare or anything else.

    Agree with BTD...measure presidents' progressiveness by the time, tenor and legislature he had to deal with. LBJ and Bill Clinton paid high prices as did the Democratic Party but not for their politics alone.  Vietnam and Rwanda aside, they both did better than I expect Obama to do.

    I hope I'm wrong and that he can rise to the occasion.  He has Hil and Bill and the boomers for backup but he's off to a bad start with me re the banks (HOLC, you idiots!) and DOJ and personal freedom...both in the doghouse with me.

    And speaking of HOLC...that's ONE difference worth more than a dime, BTD.  Hillary stood up for it and early on...


    It wasn't "a line" from Edwards (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:35:29 PM EST

    Here's an article reviewing her plan when it came out:

    Heath Care Hopes

    Note her plan was released in Sept '07 - Edwards announced his in Feb of the same year - and shocked a lot of his key supporters by not pursuing single-payer universal - and a lot of people looking at the debate who hadn't really thought about this approach IIRC.

    I don't know if that made her a follower or not - don't care - I had tremendous respect for her decision to include it rather than just going with the public access to Congress' private insurance plans which would have been considered politically safer given the beating Edwards was taking from certain corners for his stated desire to force the private insurers to get out of the business.  Obama, imo, was always the least committed out of all of the candidates to making meaningful changes in the healthcare arena for anyone except children.


    It certainly was a "line" (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:52:07 PM EST
    from the Edwards' supporters I know and love.  "She stole his plan!" they wailed over and over.  Some, of course, had CDS to begin with and were easy marks for that line.

    Krugman wasn't, and isn't, one of them.

    I did think, at the time, that their disappointment in Edwards' plan and in him for not supporting single-payer shifted their anger to their candidate's opponent...Hillary Clinton.


    I found that whole (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:09:56 PM EST
    "S/he stole" stuff during the primaries really juvenile.  If it is a good policy and other candidates start adopting it, to me that signals that our democracy is actually working.

    I was an Edwards supporter partly because of that healthcare plan and so when she adopted it, I was really happy - and liked her better for it I might add.  I felt that that it represented important progress for the Democratic Party on this issue.  

    Of course, the main reason that I supported Edwards overall was that he had the most comprehensive policy statements (she caught up eventually) and his aligned most closely with my particular values and interests.  But she really impressed me as the campaign wore on and I felt more closely aligned with her than Obama on many issues - I also loved the fact that she had the insight and skill to get into the nitty gritty on issues.


    Yes, I heard that, too (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:13:47 PM EST
    from many Edwards supporters I know.  It was interesting to see how well-versed they thought that they were in health care -- but not in the history of it, not only from attempts from Truman forward but also from the attempts as recently as the '90s.  A few who knew anything of the Clinton plan blamed her for its loss, rather than Repubs, thus buying into the Repub line (and entirely exonerating her husband and the hubris of such Dems in thinking that they could push it through D.C. politics).  I fear that until more supporters of a serious health care plan get serious about learning why it has not succeeded for more than 60 years, they will not learn from the past, and it will not happen.

    Don't think so, Cream... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 05:08:39 PM EST
    if we have to wait for people to learn from the past, we'll never get there.  Not.  Gonna.  Hoppen.

    What it will take is leadership and discipline in the ranks.  FDR- and LBJ-style leadership.

    Whatever happened to "Yes we can!" ?


    Hasn't "Yes We Can!" been moved... (none / 0) (#63)
    by EL seattle on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 05:23:09 PM EST
    ... over to the European franchise?  The election's over, after all.

    Maybe the UFW took it back. (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:22:44 PM EST
    Si, se puede!

    There were two LBJs (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:23:42 PM EST
    The Vietnam LBJ and the Everything Else LBJ.  I hated him with a passion at the time because of Vietnam and cheered when he announced he wouldn't run again.  But silly me, I thought progress on social and economic issues was going to be relentless and unstoppable from then on.

    That would be great. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Radix on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:13:37 AM EST
    Although I haven't seen those sentiments expressed by the Administration. It would be a welcome position though.

    +1000 (none / 0) (#71)
    by lambert on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:11:52 PM EST
    I'm a speculative fiction fan -- but not on a political blog.

    There's more than a bit of presentism (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:25:38 AM EST
    and chronological snobbery inherent in Booman's "most progressive President ever" statement.

    In any case, what you write here is far more interesting that the back and forth between Bowers and Booman, which, as you imply, doesn't really seem to be about much of anything substantive.  

    The internal battle for the Dem party (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:42:37 AM EST
    was over on May 31.  (Well, really before that, but that's when the peace treaty negotiations failed.)  Booman didn't notice?

    The war for the party will resume, of course.  It's what parties do.

    Yes, I remember it well (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by lambert on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:14:04 PM EST
    RBC meeting, to save people from checking...

    Actually (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:48:36 AM EST
    so far Obama seems to the right of Clinton. I haven't seen him really do anything "daring" so far.

    The main difference as I see it is that Obama has chosen to be the right of Clinton when the times call for a President that is to the left of Clinton.

    In a sense, a pointless discussion (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:54:03 AM EST
    But I use it as a frame of reference because of Booman's visceral and irrational, not to say insane, hatred of Hillary Clinton.

    My point is , and I disagree with your assessment by the way, from a guy who hated Hillary Clinton, supposedly on policy grounds, I find it hard to accept telling folks to shut up about Obama.


    Well (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:00:31 AM EST
    I wasn't referring to Hillary in the comment. I was referring to Bill.

    You mean tax policy then? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:06:12 AM EST
    Other than that, he is to the left of Bill clinton, but I think the entire country has moved left since that time.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:08:17 AM EST
    and economic policy. There's no doubt that's he's a bigger adherent to the Chicago School of Economics than Clinton ever was. He's certainly to the right on civil liberties. And on foreign policy who knows?

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:13:15 AM EST
    Bob Rubin was a great Treasury secretary imo.

    And if we were back in 1995, Tim Geithner probably would be great at the job.

    It's not 1995.


    Well (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:26:48 AM EST
    you and I are 100% on agreement on that issue. I think Rubinomics were fine in their time. But their time is past. It's the same argument I have with Republicans. I tell them that just because things worked within the framework of the Cold War doesn't mean they are operational now.

    Bush is a better comparison (none / 0) (#73)
    by lambert on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:17:13 PM EST
    The comparison to Hillary is at bottom speculative. We just can't know.

    But we know Bush very well. So differences and continuities between Bush and Obama will be far more revealing.

    On the finance stuff, it's continuity -- TARP was the Bush + Reid + Pelosi + Obama + Paulson bill.

    On other issues, there are differences, sometimes large. And (I grant) it's nice to have people who are not insane in office.


    What Disturbs Me Most (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Blue Jean on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:52:30 AM EST
    is how Booman seems to think "Palinque thugs" inhabit the Democratic party.  Hello?  Democrats range from far left to right center, but I've yet to see anyone close to Palin anywhere near the Dems, unless he thinks that anyone who voted for Hillary automatically agrees with Palin too, because hey, they're both chicks, right?  He must think women share one collective hive mind

    He was referencing the White house (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:55:05 AM EST
    not the Democratic Party. I think there he refers implicitly to "Clintonesque thugs."

    Good Heavens (none / 0) (#26)
    by Blue Jean on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:54:31 AM EST
    That's even worse than I thought.  So Obama's "the most progressive President in history"--or he would be if that eeevil Hillary wasn't always holding him back. /snark

    Still, it would be nice if Booman could manage to tell the difference between Hillary and Palin; just because they're both women doesn't mean they both agree on everything.


    I don't agree (none / 0) (#76)
    by lambert on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:33:46 PM EST
    No love lost between me and BooMan, but I don't think he's saying that. I read this way (formatting mine):
    ... we desperately need him to succeed or we won't only lose the White House to Palinesque thugs[1], but we'll lose the internal battle within the Democratic Party[2]. Are we going to be the party of tomorrow, filled with all races, religions, sexual-orientations, based in social justice and international cooperation? Or are we going to be the socially conservative, business-first, hawkish, Third-Way party that was wiped out between 1994 and 2006[3]?

    [1] I read this as referring to the Republican right-wing populist run that Palin IMNSHO was designed to pave the way for (if not lead), not as referring to Clintonist thugs.

    [2] It's not clear who BooMan thinks he's going to lose the internal battle to, at least here. However,

    [3] I think this is who BooMan regards as the enemy within -- and whether that's Clintonists, Blue Dogs, the New Democrats [haw].

    Of course, it's pretty rich that BooMan doesn't see Obama as "business friendly." I'd call handing trillions to the banksters with no accountability and no transparency about as business friendly as you can get. Ditto making sure the insurance companies keep getting their piece of the health care action, and so on down the line.

    What really interested me in that post was BooMan's rather slippery use of the word "we" -- as in, "What you mean, 'we'?" It's not clear if he even understands that there might be a difference between the sort of "creative [cough] class" person that BooMan identifies as, the Democrat Party as a whole, or the faction within the Democratic Party that BooMan has joined. The nature and extent of that "we" was really what the primaries were all about, and it's not clear to me that the issue was ever completely solved -- though power, money, and constituent servives have a wonderful way of bringing people together.

    Anyhow, it's really just another in a long line of posts that seem judicious but net out to STFU by the time you get to the end.


    Obama's "from our background" (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:11:10 PM EST
    dontchaknow.  Me, I don't know what the heck that means.  Booman was born in Hawaii, raised in Kansas, educated in the East, and moved to Chicago?  Booman was a community organizer?

    Maybe I missed something... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by EL seattle on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:54:33 PM EST
    ... but I can't remember specific acts of anything that I'd honestly call "thuggery" by Palin or her team.  Petty corruption, maybe; inexperience and incompentence, sure.  But thuggery?

    Not Palin personally (none / 0) (#77)
    by lambert on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:35:11 PM EST
    Palin-esque, he says. My reading is a nasty form of right wing populism.

    Booman (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:06:29 AM EST
    got what he wanted so why is he so miserable? This reminds me exactly of the GOP in 2005.

    To say nothing of LBJ.... (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by JoeCHI on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:09:20 AM EST
    ...and his Great Society legislation, including civil rights laws, Medicare, Medicaid, and the War on Poverty.  

    Hell, even Nixon has a more progressive record, including establishing the EPA, OSHA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Further, Nixon expanded civil rights through affirmative action, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and Title IX.  Of course, the pinnacle of Nixon's foreign policy successes remains our detent with China.

    To state unconditionally that Obama is the most progressive President since FDR has no basis in reality, and is not supported by the public record.  In fact, one can reasonably argue that his short time office has been the opposite of progressive, especially if you consider his bankster bailout, as well as his continuation of Bush's NSA policies.

    Sadly, Obots like Booman fail to grasp that being an unchallenging sycophant to The One, as emotionally satisfying as it may be for Booman, will only result in Obama being even less progressive than he has shown the spine to be, and, ultimately, less successful a Presidency that the times require.

    Second that, JoeChi - Can you imagine no Medicare? (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by jawbone on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 06:03:05 PM EST
    No Medicaid? No civil rights legislation? No voting rights?

    If not done when LBJ had the country behind him and in memory of the slain young president, when would these things have been legislated? I'm not sure.

    D*mn these illogical, unnecessary wars our country gets into. I seem to notice we're not really getting out of the one our current president was against before he bacame a senator, but voted to fund when he was. And he's going to make his bones in Af/Pak -- which may have some of those nasty unintended consequences which attended Nixon's bombing and invasion of Cambodia??

    What's that aphorism about those who not study history are doomed to repeat it? Or at least do something similarly mistaken....


    Nixon also gave us the Endangered Species Act (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by JoeCHI on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 06:49:54 PM EST
    Nixon was too far (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:40:51 PM EST
    to the left to be nominated by the Democratic Party these days.  And we thought at the time he was a right-wing thug.  (OK, he was a thug, and a demonstrably mentally disturbed thug, but hardly right-wing.)

    Yes, he was paranoid... (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by JoeCHI on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:35:50 PM EST
    ...and he paid a terrible price for it.

    That said, he left a legacy of smart, practical, effective and, dare we say, progressive policies!  


    I just (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:50:00 AM EST
    read the whole Booman treatise and I'm sorry it's almost to the point of comical. Caving into the GOP is "liberal". Yes, Obama is urban and academic but I don't know that I would agree with the other descriptions. He seems to be making the point that we just have to have "faith" in Obama because of who he is not any of the policy he has put forth.

    And he's totally ignoring the fact that most of the people in Obama's Administration are Clinton people from the 90's.

    And I'm tired of hearing we have to get behind the Geither plan since it's the only thing available. This sounds like Bush with his "you have to get behind my Iraq policy". No, no one has to support any policy that they don't agree with. It's a free country isn't it? And frankly, trying the same old totalitarian tactics really does nothing but make me dig my heels in either further.

    I don't even have the words (5.00 / 6) (#37)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 02:13:35 PM EST
    to describe how much this kind of language disgusts me:

    Obama is urban and academic

    It represents everything I hated during the primaries from Booman and all these guys.

    Just gag me.


    Yes, but Obama is more academic (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 02:35:49 PM EST
    than any president before, I think -- the first whose parents both were academics, that I can find, and the first whose parents both were Ph.D.'s.

    From what I've seen, that can influence children in interesting ways in terms of how they perceive their potential -- and how they act (or don't and just discuss, discuss, discuss).  It is an aspect of Obama that I have not seen, uh, discussed. :-)


    Woodrow Wilson (none / 0) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:54:11 PM EST
    would probably be the closest to Obama I think but his father was a minister I believe.

    Yes. Southern Presbyterian (none / 0) (#54)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:09:16 PM EST
    preacher, as I recall (thus Wilson's racism in turning Jim Crow into law in Washington).  

    He came to mind to me, too -- but Wilson was an actual academic, a fulltime full professor and then a college president.  And a First Lady who was quite the scholar (and would have been a prof in a different time, I bet) was Lou Henry Hoover (the first First Lady born west of the Mississippi, like her husband as the first president born west of it, for more that they have in common with Obama).

    But again, I can't think of any president born to two academics.  And again, I think it can (but certainly not always) make a difference in the way they approach the world as well as the worldview.


    I don't know - (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:46:34 PM EST
    I'm just taking this Presidency one issue at a time.

    A lot of people are struggling with liking or disliking Obama, but as much as I think I might enjoy sitting down to dinner and having a few cocktails with him and his wife, I really don't care whether or not I like him or any other President for that matter.  

    I like these politicians policies or I don't.  It isn't particularly personal - unless they try to make it personal and then that's an entirely different level of discussion usually involving Republican politicians calling Americans "traitors" for participating in the democratic process.  

    In any case, it seems from my reading of various blog posts and comments on a variety of issues a lot of people are very personally invested in these personalities and they are having a really hard time reconciling those instances where the President (and other "champions" in Congress) let them down.  

    A lot of these folks it seems are better suited for election politics where most everything is essentially theoretical and delivered in short sweet sounding soundbites than they are for the much more reality-based, nuanced and multi-faceted politics of governing.  

    I read a comment by one poster - one who seems to hunt for any Obama criticism no matter how benign or even true to shout it down - and that poster said that they can't seem to get out of election mode.  They said that they still worried that every negative comment or story could cost Obama the election - the one past - not the one in 2012 - although I am pretty sure that will become an obsession soon enough too.  Anyway, that struck me as totally bizarre really.  A lot of people really don't understand that the next election will be based on Obama's record - on what he is able to deliver - not another exercise in philosophical debates about "what could be".  The policies will matter.

    Those who control the past... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by lambert on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:18:46 PM EST
    ... control the future, so that commenter was actually doing important work, truthy though they no doubt were.

    Same old same old.. (5.00 / 5) (#39)
    by daria g on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 02:37:46 PM EST
    Are we going to be the party of tomorrow, filled with all races, religions, sexual-orientations, based in social justice and international cooperation? Or are we going to be the socially conservative, business-first, hawkish, Third-Way party that was wiped out between 1994 and 2006?

    ^^^ Concise statement of the false, misleading, black-and-white thinking that led the majority of the Netroots to develop extreme CDS. Who, precisely, in the Democratic party thinks it shouldn't be filled with all races, religions, and sexual orientations? Who, precisely, in the leadership of the party from 94-06 was against social justice and international cooperation? Name names and cite evidence, Booman. I fail to understand how a person who's been blogging about politics for what, over half a decade, can think this way after all this time.  This kind of cheap analysis is just insulting to your readers IMHO.

    "I Am a New Democrat" (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by BDB on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 02:56:42 PM EST
    Knew it (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by cal1942 on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:45:29 PM EST
    when he was running in the primaries.  It was blatantly obvious.

    Well said and (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:39:02 PM EST
    nice conclusion.  Final paragraph reminds us of what leadership can be and what differences it can make.

    Has Booman or any of the "we" (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by kempis on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 03:52:15 PM EST
    he speaks of explained the distinction between "triangulation" and "post-partisanship"?

    I think it would be fascinating to see how he and other Obama-boosters would draw those distinctions. I'm curiuos because it seems to me that there are none beyond the difference in labeling--the Clinton brand (DLC) vs. the Obama brand (amorphous "change you can count on").

    Some of us see Obama defining himself by his actions, with naturally mixed results. However, some of his most ardent supporters seem to want not to pay too close attention to his actions and get right testy with those who do scrutinize them.

    Still, I do give Booman credit for being unhappy about the Obama DOJ's "state secrets" argument. But I wonder how he can voice his profound displeasure with Obama a few days ago and now return to full-throated Obama hagiography....Obama is the most progressive president since FDR, our only hope, etc.

    It's as though these people prefer to continue to believe that when Obama said "change" he meant exactly what they would mean; when he said "yes, we can," he meant we could do exactly what they wanted us to do. Close, prolonged scrutiny might threaten the bliss of thinking that Obama has somehow already proven to be perhaps the greatest American president ever.

    I read at the whole article for while (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by Jake Left on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 05:45:20 PM EST
    but just got tired of the lack of reality.

    Statements about Obama being more progressive than any Dem since Roosevelt sort of invalidate anything else he might say in the article. The premise shows a lack of knowledge or a willful lapse in judgement.

    I think that those who believe Obama more progressive despite his campaign promises and his tepid action for health care and economic reform are working with their own set of preconditioned beliefs. They want to believe that a black man must be a progressive, not a moderate, simply because he is black. It is a form of prejudice that is rife within the party.

    Well (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:51:08 AM EST
    on foreign policy I don't see him as a hawk. I really don't know what his stances are on foreign policy. He's been all over the map on that one.

    In an ode to Obama, (none / 0) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:55:15 AM EST
    in his New Yorker 'Talk of the Town' article, George Packer claims that what underlies much of Obama's decisions is an attachment to the institutions that hold up American society and a desire to make them function better rather than remake them altogether--even if he could. Moreover, Mr. Obama's background as a community organizer gets credit, apparently feeling that the role of 'outside facilitator' is needed for the times rather than leadership.  Now, governance of this large country is difficult at any time, but pragmatic tinkering may not answer the call of these times.  The NYTimes, in an article by John Broder, notes the cautious, even passive role, in addressing global climate change, in contrast to the earlier promises of swift action. The administration looks forward to working with the Congress to transition to a greener economy, but, once again, it seems that the governance of facilitation is the mode of action so as not to upset the equilibrium of economic forces. However, President Obama has made a nuanced change that has gone relatively unnoticed, and it is, in my view, a welcome one, namely: he wore a dark business suit on his visit to Iraq (not even Paul Bremer work boots); no fatigues, flight jacket or other military costuming displayed by some previous presidents. Hope he maintains that more conservative commander-in-chief look.  

    The New Yorker (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:02:40 PM EST
    has been one long ode to Obama, hasn't it?  It really has been disappointing to see it abdicate its usual level of critiques, since even before the start of the primaries.  Ah well, at least there still are the cartoons. :-)

    The cartoons are great, (none / 0) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:34:47 PM EST
    and we even get to participate, if we want, in the caption contest. Also, please don't give up entirely on the New Yorker, this week's celebratory article on Marian Anderson, and the 1939 Easter performance arranged by Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt at the Lincoln Memorial, makes it still worthwhile.

    Just got that issue (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:46:15 PM EST
    and look forward to that article.  I love teaching about that incredible moment in women's -- American -- history.  I have great visuals from that concert that I put on PowerPoint, and I play for students a Youtube of Marian Anderson singing (not from that concert, as the sound is too scratchy, but from a later concert in Carnegie Hall).  I've read a lot about it but anticipate learning even more this week.  Nah, I can't give up my New Yorker.  I just regret the demise of part of the reason I liked it.

    If that's (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 01:43:09 PM EST
    true and we have an outside facilitator and not a leader we are in a heap of trouble.

    "Organizing" the U.S. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:46:25 PM EST
    I've been saying since halfway through the campaign that that's exactly what Obama thinks he's doing, he's "community organizing" the U.S. and especially Congress.  He's trying to combine Alinsky and non-Alinsky organizing-- guide the people (or Congress) but let them make their own decisions, with the big Alinsky no-no, "charismatic leadership," pasted onto it.

    I could go on into some amateur psychologizing about that, but I'll spare you.


    Don't spare me. (none / 0) (#95)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:25:52 AM EST
    I'm really kind of interested in what you have to say since you picked up on some traits.

    Community organizer?? Piffle! (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:41:59 PM EST
    I have just about had it with all the talk about Obama as a community organizer and how that experience informs his actions to this day.

    Yes, Obama worked as a community organizer, but he didn't do it for very long. And he accomplished exactly nothing during that time. He found the entire process frustrating and not to his liking. So, off he went to Harvard Law.

    Back when Barack was in middle school I worked for a time with an Alinsky group in Chicago. Community organizing is a lot of hard work. You are involved with people who do not have much, if any, power in our society. They don't know how to fight City Hall or the big developer or the major employer who is screwing them over.

    Community organizing is tedious. You are teaching and guiding and exhorting, all without becoming the "leader." You are never the person who has the last word. Victories are hard to come by, and it takes a whole lot of work.

    Based on what I have seen of Obama, he is incredibly unsuited for this line of work. He likes the limelight. And he is more interested in becoming part of the status quo, as opposed to changing the status quo. He made the right personal decision when he left community organizing in favor of Harvard.

    Nothing he has done so far has the mark of a community organizer. It seems clear to me that he rejected that model years ago.


    Heh. Indeed. (none / 0) (#83)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:54:10 PM EST
    See my comment above.

    Personally, I think the community organizing experience and his frustration with it is absolutely key to understanding where Obama's coming from and what he's trying to do.

    As for rejecting the model-- I think you're 100 percent wrong on that.  The community organizing model is precisely what he's following when he announces he wants health care reform (or action on climate or even the budget) but declines to provide the specifics of what he wants and leaves it up to Congress to work out the details.

    As for models of community organizing, there's the the Alinsky bottom-up facilitation model and there's non-Alinsky charismatic leadership model.  He's trying to do both at the same time.


    Ouch. Well put. No wonder (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:48:18 PM EST
    we're in trouble.

    It all strikes me as just (none / 0) (#85)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:01:50 PM EST
    as conveeenient as little Georgie Bush deciding he should govern from his "gut" rather than actually studying up or thinking very hard about anything.

    I have hopes that Obama will be pull off at least some good stuff before he's done, but I've always felt he was no psychologically healthier than Georgie (including big daddy issues, always incredibly dangerous in any politician), just better at smoothing it all over on the surface so it isn't so obvious.