Obama Discusses Gates Arrest and Racial Profiling

President Obama said the police acted "stupidly" in arresting his friend, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

As for the rest of the press conference, I was not happy with Obama's answers to the questions. At least two reporters (Chip Reid and someone else) asked questions I very much wanted to hear him answer, and he rambled and deflected. Why couldn't he be as sure-footed and direct about health care as he was Professor Gates? I now have some skepticism about his health care plan I didn't have before.

< Obama Speaks To Nation On Health Care | Bin Laden's Son Reportedly Killed in U.S. Airstrike >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Not only did he not answer the health care q's (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by heineken1717 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:45:41 PM EST
    Obama also guaranteed health care is off the news for the next 4 days. Here's what's about to go down:

    First, all the major news morning shows will be talking about nothing other than Obama calling the police "stupid."

    Next, Obama will apologize.  This will be followed by the cable news, all day Thursday, discussing the ramifications. Rush and the Republicans will be all over it, all day.

    Friday, the news will be all about the reaction, and all about the Republican onslaught.

    Sunday morning talk shows, nothing but Obama calling the police "stupid" and Democrats backing away from it.

    A colossal mistake by Obama. I guarantee the airwaves in FL, OH, VA, NC, and PA will be flooded with videos of Obama calling the Cambridge police "stupid" from June 2012 to November 2012. This is one of those comments that will be remembered forever.

    My sense of it is (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:57:33 PM EST
    that most of the non-racist public probably was outraged by the professor's arrest in his own home.  

    And that Obama was right in calling out the police who arrested him.

    As for the adverse reaction from some quarters, it will be mostly those already firmly in the anti-Obama camp, and those in the media who reflexively back the police no matter what they do.  

    As for possible WH corrections, it might be in making clear that when O said "Cambridge police" he clearly didn't mean to indict the entire CPD, but was referring, in the context, obviously only to the arresting officers who acted stupidly.


    disagree (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by heineken1717 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:00:20 PM EST
    Obviously my friends are anecdotal, but I have not talked to anyone who thinks the cops did anything wrong, and all my friends are Democrats. It's not just the anti-Obama camp. Most Americans, and especially those in swing states, support the police. Obama is going out on tv and trashing them. It's really unbelievable.

    The cops are out of control (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:01:32 PM EST
    Arresting someone in their home after showing ID?

    What garbage.....


    He first screamed racism (3.50 / 2) (#11)
    by heineken1717 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:09:12 PM EST
    then showed his Harvard ID, which doesn't indicate address (instead of proving his address, Gates chose to dish out the typical Ivy-League arrogance card, "I'm a Harvard prof so don't mess with me"). And then he started flipping out and screaming at the cop, which is disorderly conduct. A proper arrest.

    The guy is in his own house (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:20:25 PM EST
    So, he yelled "racism"--and that is his offense?

    Obama Gaffe (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by SomewhatChunky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:00:48 AM EST
    The cops had a good reason to be there.  I WANT my neighbors calling the cops if they see someone they think is trying to break in.  Even if it's me!  Things were undoubtedly a bit tense.  

    Gates seemed to want to go mano a mano with the cops, even by his own account. Definitely by the cop's account.   You're dumb enough to do that, bad things happen to you.  Black or white.  Doesn't make it racist just because Gates says so.  Or just because he's black.  Or just because he's at home.  People get arrested in their own homes all the time for giving a hard time to the cops, often on dispute calls.

    Obama made an incredible gaffe tonight which will haunt him for a long time. First he says he doesn't have all the facts - he got that part right.  Then he calls the cops stupid.  Wow!  His comment looks pretty race based to me.   It certainly doesn't look "Presidential."   There's a lot of cops and cops families in America who will be talking about that comment for a long time.


    Unconditional support of the cops (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:16:04 AM EST
    How depressing that some think cops can do no wrong.

    Look, the guy was in his own home and showed ID. There was no crime.  No spousal abuse, as in the hypothetical you allude to.  After he showed ID, there was no reasonable basis, or probable cause, to assume a crime had been committed.

    The cops had no basis to arrest him--you can't arrest someone for having a bad attitude.  Or, I suppose you think having a bad attitude is a crime....

    The more inane comments like these that I read, the more and more I am motivated to actually do something to reel in the out of control cops....Arresting people in their homes???  No ones is safe from arrogant cops....


    I totally agree with you (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jjc2008 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:56:30 AM EST
    but here's the emerging problem I see.  

    Because of living the last few decades in a state of fear: fear of commies, fear of terrorists; fear of anyone and everyone thanks to 24 hour cable news and their "white girl missing/dead/raped" stories and children missing/killed stories, I think there is a psychological issue with a lot of people.  They cannot even, do not want to face the reality that there can be bad cops who misjudge/make mistakes are overzealous.  Why?  Next step is very Hitchcock like....accepting that a cop can be a rapist, a terrorist, a crazy.  I honestly think it frightens people too much...they want the fantasy of the cops are guaranteed good guys.  Just like some want the fantasy that no celebrity really would ever beat up or rape a girlfriend.  

    We are in a conundrum.  The world has some scary people but not nearly as many as cable news would lead us to believe.  The world has some scary, racist cops, maybe more than we think.  
    But these are hard pills to swallow.


    It is this attitude toward cops (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:25:39 AM EST
    that is so maddening....

    The cops can arrest people that insult them....What?  They have guns and societal permission to kill people...and it's okay if they lose their cool and arrest people that they don't like?

    You enable very bad behavior by cops....

    They need to be humble servants....Not people with guns who win arguments and settle scores by arrest ing people...


    Sadly, I agree (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by BrassTacks on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:38:43 AM EST
    I really hate to think that this gaffe will become a big issue, but the President shouldn't have called the cops ''stupid'', when all the facts are not in.  Even if they did behave stupidly, he should not have used that word.  Bad form for a President.  

    Thats just sad thinking.... (none / 0) (#107)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:59:43 AM EST
    You're dumb enough to do that, bad things happen to you

    Sticking up for your own free American arse being considered dumb is just sad.  

    Even sadder is you're right, it is dumb, because as Jack Black said "You Can't Win".


    He showed his ID (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:22:58 PM EST
    That should have ended it....Cops get lost...But, no, they were offended, so they arrested him.  Unjust tryranny.

    You have your facts wrong (2.00 / 0) (#127)
    by Slado on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:23:13 AM EST
    The cop eventually verified who he was and attempted to leave.

    Gates chased him down and continued the arguement.  That's when he was detained.

    Judgement call and we weren't there.  

    I think the cop should have jsut walked away but gates is not without blame either.   He brought his own predjudices into this and you get what you get.


    Chased him down?! (1.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:18:10 PM EST
    Even the police report claims that the officer told Gates to follow him outside.  Where the heck do you get "chased him down" from, let alone find the personal knowledge to claim it as a fact?

    Gates was arrested for being "uppity" (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:26:56 PM EST
    He said things--in his own home--that made the cops feel bad.  So, Gates was arrested for being...what, arrogant in your view?....So, it is a crime for a black man to be arrogant in his own home?

    And, of course, you believe the cops, right?  I don't.


    Friend of mine was arrested (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Coral on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 06:41:40 AM EST
    long time ago...because police (maybe undercover) car nearly ran him down when he was crossing the street (with a walk sign). He kicked the car as it was passing. Cop jumped out and arrested him.

    My friend was white (and rather small and unthreatening).

    Okay, maybe he shouldn't have kicked the car, but it wasn't a crime.

    Cops can abuse power. I have also seen them lie extensively in court. So I would tend to trust Gates's version of events more than police.

    Also, I greatly admire Gates. He is a brilliant writer and professor.



    It wasn't disorderly conduct (5.00 / 5) (#28)
    by Peter G on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:14:28 AM EST
    until the p/o tricked the prof into going outside onto his porch -- where he could claim that the "public" was "alarmed" by Gates' "tumultuous" behavior.  Great minute by minute analysis of the situation, and the strategy employed by the p/o to engineer a false arrest he thought could stick, by a Cambridge civil rights lawyer, at Reality Based Community.  Her analysis also includes an anecdote about the Cambridge police helping her and a friend (two white women) climb up onto a second-floor porch after she locked herself out of her house -- without ever asking for ID.

    DOg Bite (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:32:17 AM EST
    Once they bite it is almost impossible to stop them from biting again. Muzzle or putting them down is the prudent course of action. In this case 'putting down' Crowley would mean taking away his badge and gun, and making sure that he never works in the security sector again. Not holding my breath on that.

    Ouch--but right on the mark (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:54:26 AM EST
    A year ago I had a very favorable opinion of cops.  My brother-in-law (but someone I don't know well) is a cop.  I represented a police captain in a civil suit (unrelated to his job) and liked him very much.

    But I have had too much experience with beat cops recently that really has opened my eyes.  What happened to Gates happens all too frequently....I could go on....but I gather you know what I am talking about.  


    Cops on duty hit on women (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:18:42 AM EST
    more than one would think.....I have had my eyes opened, and have heard all sorts of things from innocent, non-criminal folks being abused by the cops.....

    Actually, if you read some other blogs, (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:31:50 AM EST
    You'll find some very compelling parts of the event missing from all the posts and comments here.

    Gates drew a small crowd with his yelling.


    So what? (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:47:21 AM EST
    He was in his own house....

    And, don't believe the cops.....The arresting cop's statement on its face is disturbing....


    Yeah (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:53:55 AM EST
    The wingnuts have a whole lot of "compelling parts".

    lol lol lol lol, leave it to you ... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:51:58 AM EST
    I was talking about liberal sites that have presented a sane description of events, but you had to go looking for anything at all that would support your judgmental viewpoint.

    lol lol lol


    This Cop Looks like an OK Guy (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by SomewhatChunky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:59:30 AM EST
    Boston Globe has some detailed background info on the cop.  He seems like a good guy.  Coaches two kids teams.   Grew up in  a racially diverse area of Cambridge, went to racially mixed schools, had/has black friends etc.... Great quote by his mother  that "Gates is not the first black person he ever met in his life.''

    Plus (and this was a huge story in Boston when it happened) he was the cop/med tech that was first on the scene and tried to save Reggie Lewis when the Celtics star collapsed and died shooting baskets in a college gym 16 years ago.  Absolutely nothing so far that shows any racist tendencies.  Everybody the Globe has found so far speaks highly of him.  And while the Boston Globe is many things, it is definitely NOT known as a conservative Republican mouthpiece.

    Let's not forget that Gates has a professional interest in making this as big a national story as possible.  It's a platform to talk about his field of expertise.  A little publicity never hurts a Harvard prof.

    I'm not condoning the cop.   I wasn't there.  None of us were.   I do think getting in a cop's face is always a dumb idea.  White guys get in trouble for it as well.  Making it a race issue is not going to fly with lots of people.  Fine for Gates --  a big political gaffe for Obama.

    Obama blew it here.  Top story on both Boston papers.  This one will have legs.


    I don't care if the cop has a dog, either (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:25:29 AM EST
    He acted horribly.  Abused his power.

    Perhaps he was not racilly motivated.  He still arrested a guy for insulting him.

    Drug pushers can be nice people, too.  Not that it does them much good.

    Cops get away with so much....

    Yes, a white guy might have been arrested too (although I doubt it)--but so what?  It was wrong to arrest someone for having a "bad attitude"....

    This cop needs to be forcibly retired.  He may have been a good cop at one point but no longer.

    And, it is refreshing to see all these civil libertarinas cautioning us that we do not know all the facts....Funny how that works for cops accused of wrongdoing but not all that many others....

    We do know enough: Gates was in his own home; Gates was unarmed; Gates gave him his ID; and after his ID was showed,  there was no probable cause that a crime had been committed.


    I hope this story has legs (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:29:09 AM EST
    and shines a light on police abuse of innocent citizens....

    So, are you saying that (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:33:14 AM EST
    the cop's good deeds in the past should be considered as mitigating factors when he is sentenced for assault and battery?

    And, you would extend such consideration to other criminal defendants?

    Cops can do no wrong.


    Not what I said (1.00 / 0) (#47)
    by SomewhatChunky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:36:44 AM EST
    I clearly said I didn't condone the cop's actions.  I wasn't there.  Neither were you.  None of us know what really happened.

    I don't think this incident was necessarily racist.  I am extremely turned off by those who try and turn every black vs white dispute into a racist incident and I know plenty of others who are too.  There are plenty of black on black or white on white incidents of a very similar nature.  I'm white and if I started yelling at a cop  I would expect that I might get arrested.  Note that I did not say I believed the cop or that Gates yelled at him.  I wasn't there.  But I certainly don't automatically not believe him.  I think it is likely that both parties deserve some credit for a mutual escalation of a situation which should have been resolved quietly and resulted in a confrontation and an unfortunate arrest.

    I'm not surprised that Gates played the race card for the reasons I stated above.  

    But Obama's a politician.  He shouldn't do things which might upset large blocs of people for no reason.  I don't think Obama should have gone where he did, especially given the lack of facts, which even Obama said he did not have.  It was a blunder for him to say the cop/cops were stupid.  I think it will hurt him and be used against him for a long time to come.  It shows a bias on his part and a willingness to jump to opinion based conclusions which is not attractive in a President.  


    You don't get it (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:53:48 AM EST
    Set aside the racial issue.  The cop had no basis to arrest Gates--given the cop's own report.....

    I don't like cops arresting white guys who have "bad attitudes," either.

    You know, I'm a lawyer and have been for very many years.  And I hear all kinds of stories about bad lawyers.  I don't automatically jump to the defense of the lawyer....but rather will have no issue of agreeing that a lawyer has messed up.

    Not so with cops.  Everyone jumps to their defense....Code of silence, etc.  And that is tragic.  These guys have guns and the societal permission to kill.  We'd better make them keep their cool and not over-react to people with "attitudes"...

    Cop lovers would gain credibility if they would not defend the indefensible....


    Gates doesn't need a media circus (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:53:51 AM EST
    He has never sought that type of media attention.  All one must do to see if Gates was in the right is to substitute yourself into the senario- I am guessing you would feel degraded and angry as well.  

    A Small Crowd of Seven (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:28:38 AM EST
    plus the woman who had made the phone call that brought the police to the scene,according to Officer Crowley's account on P2 of the police report at the site Peter linked to above.

    And they were all "looking in the direction" of Gates as he emerged from the house yelling at Crowley.

    I gotta say when I see the police interacting with a person of color in my neighborhood (which, being a street with LOTS of people of color, I see a fair amount) I, as a middle aged property/business owning white woman ALWAYS walk over and watch. And it's almost always not because it's the person of color's 'disorderliness' that distresses me. I've found that me standing there often visibly changes the PO's demeanor and aggressiveness. Not always. But more often than not.

    If I was a neighbor of a world renowned AA professor and I saw the police at his house, I would certainly be curious and walk over and watch, Gates yelling or not.


    A small crowd was probably there (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:37:21 AM EST
    because the cops were there--that tends to draw a crowd.

    Are you sure?... (5.00 / 0) (#109)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:01:23 AM EST
    a squad car on the block always brings out the nosy neighbors and rubber neckers...I'd bet it was the police presence that cause the "disturbance".

    This is the attitude that (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:08:21 PM EST
    I find truly horrific:  We support the police.  They can do no wrong--or we believe them over everyone else, ignoring their abuse of innocent people.

    My experience with cops is that they are all about power--and lie, lie, lie.  They sexually assault women in custody with inpunity....And, people like you just eat it up....


    Let us (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:11:33 PM EST
    write this prediction down and keep score, starting with this weekend.

    An iconic statement that will go down in infamy, indeed.  Let's see if it really works out that way.


    Obama will simply (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by WS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:27:11 PM EST
    call these the political games of distraction.  He's really good at this 'lamenting the culture of Washington' stuff both in the campaign and now as President.

    Also, he qualified the statement by saying he's biased for his friend.  The American people will understand that he's taking the side of his friend on this one.    

    Much ado about nothing, really.  Quit making mountains out of a molehill.  


    The thing is, Jeralyn, that it isn't (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:46:31 PM EST
    really "his" plan - he tasked Congress with putting a plan together.  Obama still seems to be moderating the legislative food fight, never really committing to anything.  And I thought he really did not explain some aspects of what is currently being worked on - and had he done that, he would have an even harder job selling "reform."

    What I found disturbing is that when you combine his idea to put together a new board, IMAC, that would be making decisions about Medicare which the president would approve and which Congress could only nix under conditions that are unlikely to happen, with some of the things he said tonight about whether old people really need all the health care they're currently getting, it's hard not to worry that he has his sights set on "reforming" Medicare and Medicaid in ways that might significantly reduce the support they provide for our older population.  

    By all accounts, the current "plan" is still going to leave millions uninsured, and with it not even being implemented until 2013, I think there is a lot to worry about.

    Cutting medicare is a BAD idea (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by BrassTacks on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:43:28 AM EST
    It seems clear that Obama wants to cut Medicare benefits to seniors, and that troubles me.  Cutting the medicare budgets just before the Boomers hit it, has to mean fewer services to seniors.  With more seniors due to come onto the medicare rolls in the coming years, there is no way that he can cut the medicare budget without seniors suffering a loss of medical care.  Cuts to the medicare budget has to mean a cut in services to many old people.  I don't like that at all.  

    Was it clear when he said the EXACT opposite (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:37:05 AM EST
    Or was it only clear when you were using your jedi powers of mind reading?

    But Cutting Medicare Waste Is Good (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:56:19 AM EST
    From the press conference last night:

    Already, we have estimated that two-thirds of the cost of reform can be paid for by reallocating money that is simply being wasted in federal health care programs. This includes over one hundred billion dollars in unwarranted subsidies that go to insurance companies as part of Medicare - subsidies that do nothing to improve care for our seniors.

    Also (5.00 / 0) (#80)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:13:51 AM EST
    Again, Obama last night:

    We also want to create an independent group of doctors and medical experts who are empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency in Medicare on an annual basis - a proposal that could save even more money and ensure the long-term financial health of Medicare. Overall, our proposals will improve the quality of care for our seniors and save them thousands of dollars on prescription drugs, which is why the AARP has endorsed our reform efforts.

    You ARE aware that AARP is a front for (none / 0) (#96)
    by allimom99 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:42:24 AM EST
    insurance sales. their endorsement gives me no comfort.

    Not Their Endorsement (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:48:52 AM EST
    I was focused on, but rather that Obama is talking in specific terms about 'reforming' Medicare through managing the system better (cutting waste) not cutting benefits.

    In any case, Pharmaceutical Co. whores or not, I don't see AARP sitting still for Medicare beneficiary cuts. But their opinion of this was not what I was getting at.


    "Cutting Waste" is a euphemism (5.00 / 3) (#113)
    by sj on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:22:24 AM EST
    One man's waste is another man's lifeline.  

    If he said specifically he would get rid of the Medicare donut hole/Part D business he would have my attention.


    of course AARP would sit still (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:44:11 PM EST
    for cuts in medicare.  They get a kick back from United Healthcare for selling medicare sups in AARP's name.  If medicare is cut, United HC can charge more for their med sup to make up for the cut in government insurance.

    Well, When They Do (none / 0) (#169)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:52:08 PM EST
    Someone entrepreneurial should be ready with an alternate organization because AARP's enrollment (and lobbying heft) is going to plummet.

    Waste can be defined in many ways (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:30:03 AM EST
    Republicans have consistently cut services under the guise of eliminating waste.

    It could be determined that something my doctor and I believe is necessary for my well being is a waste of money. Insurance companies already do that. Second or third opinions could be determined a waste of money.

    Now if Obama and Congress put something in the current legislation that allows Medicare to negotiate a high volume price discount for drugs, that would be a real cost reduction but IIRC they refuse to do that.  


    I Confess (5.00 / 0) (#98)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:44:50 AM EST
    I'm not well versed in health care reform issues and until I see the actual signed legislation for any plan, I remain skeptical about what the final one will look like, because there is so much being discussed and tossed around.

    Having said that, how about this as a start re prescription drug costs?

    Today,(6-22-09) the President announced a landmark agreement with pharmaceutical companies, who pledged $80 billion in prescription drug discounts over the next 10 years. This compromise is the latest step towards a new consensus amongst health care stakeholders to help reduce costs and provide quality care for all Americans -- last month a coalition of health care industry leaders agreed to $2 trillion in savings over 10 years.

    The agreement...will ultimately reduce the price of prescription drugs by half for millions of America's seniors. As part of the upcoming health care reform legislation, drug manufacturers that participate in Medicare Part D will either pay a rebate to Medicare or offer a substantial discount of at least 50 percent on prescription drugs to seniors who fall within the infamous "doughnut hole"-- payments between $2700 and $6153.75 not covered by Medicare. The deal will help close this unfair gap in coverage, providing relief for millions of seniors who have been burdened by these out-of-pocket expenses, making it easier for them to get the prescriptions that they need.
    In addition to providing half-price discounts, the pharmaceutical companies will offer other discounts and savings to total an $80 billion reduction in costs.

    I have not seen this as part of the (none / 0) (#110)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:04:45 AM EST
    actual legislation. Not saying that it is not included but have not seen a quote of the actual pending bills or in any of the CBO reports that spells this out.

    I can't find the related articles (google challenged) but I know that the President stated that he had an agreement with some part of the health care infrastructure and a couple of days later, their spokesmen basically said that was not their understanding.


    Just ask yourself one question (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:11:04 AM EST
    If the health insurance and public option plan is really going to provide good quality affordable health CARE, why are they waiting until after the 2012 elections to roll it out?

    People definitely need affordable health care NOW. Seems that if it was really good, Obama and the Democrats would want to run on it in 2012.



    My understanding (5.00 / 0) (#82)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:16:30 AM EST
    is that waiting until 2013 is the only way to make the proposal deficit-neutral.

    Convenient, no? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:24:46 AM EST
    Not to me (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:27:42 AM EST
    I'm personally not a believer in the "they know this will fail, so they're putting it off till after the election" theory.

    How is a heavily restricted public option (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:48:13 AM EST
    with a market share of only 10 million people by 2017 going to make the insurance companies reduce rates? That is how it is being advertised. If that pool consists primarily of people whose premiums are highly subsidized and those with preexisting conditions, that program will not be self-sustaining and a constant drain on the budget making it easily attacked and used as ammunition to support the premise that a government program will not work.

    The proposed legislation will increase the insurance companies pool substantially. 10 million people would not even be noticed by the insurance companies.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:58:42 AM EST
    We already have a public option that is severely restricted in terms of eligibility and whose pool consists primarily of high-risk individuals.  I refer, of course, to Medicare, which I see as a good program and a great starting point towards providing guaranteed health care to every single American.

    My goal is to enact a public option into law and then expand eligibility as expeditiously as possible, until we get to the point where everyone is able to participate if they choose.  If we can have the public option AND universal eligibility all at the same time, I'm completely in favor.  But even if we can only get a limited public option, I think it's a good starting point and I'm willing to accept it as progress.

    My fellow progressives have their hearts in the right place on this issue, but too many of them seem to have convinced themselves that anything less than the optimal plan is necessarily doomed to failure.  I don't agree with that, and I think the history of Medicare - including the way Medicare eligibility has been gradually expanded over the years - backs me up on this.


    Don't need an optimal plan to (none / 0) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:25:29 AM EST
    support. Just one that has a chance of working. The best way to sell expanding the public option is to set it up initially so that it is self-sustaining (.e. pays for itself).

    I agree that Medicare is a good and necessary program but even Obama has stated that it is in trouble financially. Do we really need to set up another program that will not be cost effective just so we do not upset the insurance companies?


    This is OT somewhat... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:07:20 PM EST
    ...but this is the third or fourth time I've heard Obama enjoy referring to the White House as HIS house.  Not good or bad, just interesting he seems to have an unconscious need to keep reminding himself, and the rest of us, that yes he really is President.  

    We know. (none / 0) (#74)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:38:01 AM EST
    I'm probably more with (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:12:47 PM EST
    Jeralyn in being a little underwhelmed by Obama's performance in the healthcare portion of the presser.

    Not so much about specifically answering the questions, though she may have a point there (I'll need to go back and review the film), but in the lengthy professorial nature of his answers.  A non-soundbite, low-key and thoughtful style which may have won the applause of some perfessers out there -- e.g. Krugman -- but not all.  

    Rbt Reich for instance felt, as I did, that Obama missed an opportunity tonight.  Not enough specifics, not enough passion, not enough talking about a robust public option.

    From my initial reaction, I'd generously give him a B.  

    Problem is, at this point in the process, he needs to be bringing his A game each time out.

    Perhaps holding a wide-open presser, where he intended the major news to focus on healthcare reform, wasn't the best idea as it invited other hot topic matters to grab or dilute the attention, as with the Gates brouhaha.  

    than you are naive. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:18:45 PM EST
    I now have some skepticism about his health care plan I didn't have before.

    nothing that this administration has done so far has given me reason to have my comfort level increased. but then, i wasn't head over heels with him during the primaries either.

    the primaries are over (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:07:55 AM EST
    let's not revisit them.

    Ah Digby (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:39:58 PM EST
    Nails it as usual:
    All the gasbags can talk about is how Obama "handled" the Henry Louis Gates question, which is typical. I personally don't care if Gates was screaming at the top of his lungs, he was in his own house, presented no threat to anyone and had broken no law. The cop arrested him for failing to be properly deferential, which the last I heard, was not illegal. But let's face it ---- Gates was lucky they didn't taser him, wasn't he?

    Somehow (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:58:26 PM EST
    I fail to be captivated by the drama of how well or poorly Obama handled the Gates question.  I realize the pundits can't get enough of any issue with racial overtones, but I somehow doubt this will be the subject of the watercooler conversation tomorrow.  Maybe I am wrong.

    The year in race relations is not 1969, nor is it 1989.  Did everyone somehow fail to notice that we just concluded an election in which Jeremiah Wright, against all prognostications, actually had very little to do with the outcome?


    Your Perspective (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:10:25 AM EST
    Although I maintain that the statement, couched with correct qualifications, bias due to friendship, the fact that Obama was not there, does not know if racism had anything to do with it... May not be big talk around the water cooler, but for people of color who, on a daily basis worry about being harassed by police or are harrassed by police for nothing other than being dark skinned, it is a huge statement and an acknowledgement of something that is never talked about from high levels of government. Kudos to Obama for saying what needed to be said.

    Agreed, but ... (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Peter G on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:28:54 AM EST
    I did cringe when the Pres used the term "stupidity."  He can legitimately take that one back tomorrow, as far as I'm concerned.  Plus, I don't think "stupid" is an accurate description of how that cop was acting.

    Not Stupid? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:39:15 AM EST
    But your link suggests that Crowley acted in stupid manner.
    But for the sake of education, let's watch while Crowley makes it worse. [snip] By telling Gates to come outside, Crowley establishes that he has lost all semblance of professionalism. [snip] The only plausible question for the chief to ask about that little detail is: "Are you stupid, or do you think I'm stupid?" [snip] ..after his probable cause had evaporated, he continued to act under color of law, but without any justifiable purpose. And he covered it up with false charges. Figuring that his best defense was a criminal charge, Crowley did what bad cops do. He decided he would look better if Gates looked worse. Perhaps one day cops will figure out that trumped-up charges worsen a case of investigating something that turns out not to have been a crime. [snip] If a disorderly conduct charge follows an investigation of a non-crime, chances are pretty good that the cop handled himself badly. Pursuit of charges should be strongly disfavored.

    His "national conversation about race" (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:20:50 AM EST
    is what is happening now, not our national conversation -- and action -- about health care.

    I never am comforted when the country, and the president, are led by events and not principles.


    Huh (5.00 / 0) (#93)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:37:24 AM EST
    Led by events? Well yeah after an hour or more of a talk on health care, Lynn Sweet asked a question about the arrest of Gates.

    Led by events rather than principals? You mean your principals?

    You must love Bush:

    The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.

    Doing it again, huh? (5.00 / 0) (#111)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:13:13 AM EST
    Making up stuff that others "must" be saying.

    I'm as aware as you are, squawky, of when the Gates question came up.  The question is, if you try thinking through it, why is it that question that is dominating this discussion?

    Because media are event-oriented, led by events.  So if you need me to walk you through it:  Obama's task was to manage the media, and instead, some media, as this blog shows, are managing to make last night about Gates instead of about health care.

    Obama knows how to manage the media, so let's hope he gets that mojo back and doesn't let this happen again.  Unless, of course, you hope he does so that you can try to subvert threads again.


    Dominating The DIscussion? (5.00 / 0) (#114)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:23:43 AM EST
    What in heavens name are you talking about? Health care reform has dominated Obama's agenda and as BTD points out, it is a make or break issue, from Obama's point of view. There are many important discussions going on at the same time. Why would you have it any other way? Racism, and particularly police racism is an extremely important issue as well. It is good that Obama brought that into the sunlight. If you are talking about the Gates affair cutting into health care discussion at this blog, it would seem, this blog is particularly biased, and healthcare is not one of its major agendas:
    The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

    Now, you're smarter than that (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:32:41 AM EST
    and know the difference between Obama's agenda, what he wants discussed, and the actual media/public discussion.  Stop it.

    Huh? (5.00 / 0) (#123)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:51:55 AM EST
    The media, always goes with something that sells papers, soap.

    Your comment implied that Obama and the country are more concerned with a national dialogue on race, than a national dialogue on healthcare, because Obama responded to a question about Gates arrest.

    This was a remarkable statement by a sitting president. It does not take away from the discussion about health care. You seem to be working on a scarcity model or are just spouting nonsense rhetoric.

    The senate, house and all of america has been focused on the problem. Yes Susan Boyle sells more soap than Obama's health care reform. but what do you expect from the media.

    Guaranteed, the national dialogue on race will quickly fade into the background. Health care is on the table as the main course, the Gates incident and Obama's response to a question about it is a amuse-bouche at best.


    See, now that's a smarter response (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:02:31 AM EST
    so you do get it.

    I would just add that we still need that national conversation on race, and I hope that Obama does return to that promise -- at a point when he sees it as more manageable and less distracting to his agenda.


    Lets start it right now (none / 0) (#173)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:26:59 PM EST
    We don't need to wait for the president.  What would you like to say, comment on or ask?

    Interesting. For starters (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:01:41 PM EST
    more help, Sam, on dealing with the line that now that we have a black president, we don't need to talk about race -- all problems are solved!  This blog has pointed out the Southern states arguing with the DOJ that they no longer need oversight to ensure voting rights.  It just makes me sputter at the inaninity.  I can come up with history arguments and sociology arguments and political science arguments.  But what will the legal counter-argument be?  Or . . . is there a reasonable argument for lapsing the oversight that I'm missing?

    Terrible example (none / 0) (#115)
    by sj on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:23:53 AM EST
    Bush didn't really have principles.  Only a point of view.

    lol (none / 0) (#120)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:37:18 AM EST
    good one, although I disagree.

    Bush most certainly had principals, although ones that I, and most here would staunchly disagree with.

    Bush believed, out of principal, that government should not be in the business of health care.


    TPM (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:45:08 PM EST
    Not so bad either:
    Hopefully now Obama can appoint Gates to the Supreme Court so we can have the Republicans create a media circus when the cop who arrested Gates testifies at Gates' confirmation hearings.

    Don't agree, Jeralyn et al, re poor Obama answers (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Verdigris56 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:58:50 PM EST
    I think the level of detail on healthcare was OK. President Obama was smart to deflect-- he needs to be flexible so he can privately cajole/charm/threaten/etc. all the lobbyists, congressional allies and opponents, etc that he has to rope together in order to get a bill on his desk. I think it's the best approach and tactically essential-- the NECESSARY result is to get something reasonable on the books this year and trigger the reform mechanism into motion, and then go from there in future years. There's a decades-long logjam in health care governance which ABSOLUTELY needs to be broken. Who else is going to do it? Exactly: no one else is in a position to push this through. I think he would be unwise to put all his 'bottom lines' into the public domain at this point, or to outline his precise strategy reconciling contradictory features in the various plans and proposals that are working their way to the House and Senate votes and the conference committee.

    Ah (nods wisely) (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by sj on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:24:08 AM EST
    An excellent move in 11 dimensional chess.

    The express (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by JamesTX on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:51:39 AM EST
    criticism of police behavior from a sitting president is refreshing. It dovetails nicely with the recent rebirth of journalism and the willingness of the press (for some yet unexplained reason) to report police brutality and abuse of official authority, even if only when minorities are the victims.

    I wonder how long -- in Taser administration years -- it has been since a sitting president had any derogatory words for police in any form or fashion. Let's see. No chance during either Bush administration. The Badge equals definition of virtue for them (under the assumption the application of police authority was limited to lower socio-economic strata, a criterion quietly handled behind closed doors). Being the go-along-to-get-along type of Democrat he was, I suspect Willy Jeff never dared say anything remotely critical of law enforcement. In fact, this may qualify as an historic event. We may be looking at more than 25...maybe 30...years.

    But I don't know that it is really a sign of reform so much as deflection and the typical trickery. The tendency to interpret any misbehavior involving an African American person as racially motivated appears to be operating. That is bad for real reform because, in case anyone hasn't noticed, abuse of police authority is not limited to African Americans. They'll kick or shock or whip the living snot out of anyone, anytime, for any reason -- and they will laugh and brag openly about it. They have enough statutory authority and case law behind them now that they can come out of the gates shooting and whipping *ss every morning just for fun.

    For a sitting president to suggest, if only through omission, that the only police problem we have is race related doesn't bode well for real reform. Yes, the police abuse their authority with African Americans. But a large part of that is simply because they abuse their authority with everybody below about the 85th percentile in income. Some of those people are African Americans, but to hear our current reformers talk, you would think there are no Whites among the victims. Abuse of poor Whites by police appears to be being scripted by the faux reformers as a non-existent problem. That is, if the police beat you senseless for fun and then electrocute you into cardiac arrest, you only have a case if you are not straight and White. If you have been beaten or shocked senseless by the police for no reason, and you can't produce some kind of minority identity, then you might as well not complain. There is no public interest in your case unless the motive can be understood as bigotry (rather than just plain old authoritarianism and power drunkenness gone stark raving mad). Police abuse of Whites is therefore being completely ignored (and thus denied) by the reformers. It is therefore an invisible injustice - the same way abuse of minorities was invisible for so long. The message seems to be, if a person of color is not involved, then police brutality, excessive force, cutting probable cause corners, denial of Constitutional rights, etc., can simply be presumed justified in the manner it has been presumed justified for everybody for thirty years.

    Sorry. I just don't like half truths and half measures. I am not interested in half reform. This approach looks like a recipe for failure to me. The wingnut approach to addressing ethnic disparity in abuse of any kind has traditionally been fairly consistent and predictable. Their solution is not to stop the abuse. Their solution is to apply the abuse to everyone equally. I think they may be setting us up for that. They are going to "correct" this by publicly abusing more Whites. Then we will have an equal opportunity police state. Everyone will be happy. Problem solved.

    I love this country!

    I'm somewhere in between ... (5.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:00:47 AM EST
    BTD's rave and Jeralyn's pan.

    I thought the President made a good argument for the necessity of reform. And painted an attractive picture of what life would be life with these reforms.

    But he was not clear enough on specifics.  And he did deflect on certain answers. He also seemed disengaged from the process, as if there weren't that interested in fighting for his positions on certain issues.  

    I'm still concerned about the subsidies.  In the House plan they weren't subsidies, but rather a cap on prices based on income.  And the caps weren't good.

    No one in the press asked about this.  None seemed to have read any of the plans.

    I'm worried that this plan, when all is said and done, may just be a big giveaway to insurance companies rather than anything remotely resembling UHC.

    No specifics, no wash. (2.00 / 0) (#58)
    by lentinel on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 06:24:48 AM EST
    No argument needed to made on the necessity of reform, imo. But having spent time doing so, the only thing that mattered was to give us specifics about his plan. Who it would cover, what kind of coverage would it provide, when would coverage begin, and how much would it cost us?

    I tuned into the press conference with anticipation.
    But I soon was feeling a sense that I was watching some strange half-cyborg rattling off hypnotic gibberish.

    The best the BTD could say was that it was a performance by a politician at the "top of his game". And he hit it out of the ballpark.
    I will admit that when people resort to sports analogies (eg: Powell hit a "homerun" at the UN) I run for the door.

    But I am not only not interested in witnessing a politician at the top of his/her game, I am sickened by it. I am annoyed by it.

    We have settled, once again, for a politician based on performance skills. These qualities are better suited to a toastmaster or after-dinner speaker or a carnival barker.


    Not sure I agree with ... (none / 0) (#69)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:14:39 AM EST
    your final comments.  Other than the sports analogy bit ... that's so tired.  But I do agree with this:

    the only thing that mattered was to give us specifics about his plan. Who it would cover, what kind of coverage would it provide, when would coverage begin, and how much would it cost us?

    Had he answered all those questions it would have been a true FDR moment.

    Presidents these days seem more interested in playing to the press than playing to the people.


    Cmon! (none / 0) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:15:52 AM EST
    There is no plan yet.  There are very different versions in House and Senate that are still works in progress.  Which unfinished version would you have had him give the specifics of?

    If it's that vague, then what (5.00 / 4) (#103)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:51:00 AM EST
     was Obama selling for 60 minutes last night?  More ideas, more gauzy, slow-motion wonderfulness pitched to appeal to people who desperately want to believe because they need health CARE?

    And if the plan as it is now configured is so fluid that Obama cannot talk about the details, then either he should have come before the American people with a status report that was honest: "we have no agreed-upon legislation, but this is what it looks like at the moment."  He led a lot of people to believe that we were in this rush to get legislation because people need help now, but he didn't mention the small detail that as it currently stands, there won't be a plan in effect until 2013, and it is estimated to take another 5-10 years to get it fully operational - that's not much help "now" for people, is it?

    It was a dishonest and disingenuous sales job, targeted at people who don't know the details; if ever there was a time to follow the lessons of caveat emptor, this is it.


    How about HR 3200, the House bill? (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by allimom99 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:00:50 AM EST
    I would have him be VERY specific about what HE wants in the bill, and then have him actually willing to fight for it. Right now, I'm seeing him willing to negotiate the so-called public option into irrelevance, for one thing.

    His demeanor says to me that he's NOT willing to fight for universal coverage, or anything else. Recommend you check out Bruce Dixon's article at Black Agenda Report.

    I found his responses to be mostly really vague and disingenuous, not really worth the hour. If he's so passionate about reform, he should lose the scolding professor persona - it's getting really old.  


    Easy (none / 0) (#200)
    by lentinel on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:25:46 PM EST
    I want specifics from Obama on what HE would like to see in a bill.

    Nobody is saying the police can do no wrong (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 05:13:12 AM EST
    and Gates was not "innocent." He was confrontational and insulting to police officers. I think they were wrong to arrest him for it rather than walking away and letting him yell, but he was not "innocent," and showing his ID is irrelevant to what he was arrested for. Being a Harvard professor does not give anyone the right to try to diminish the power of police officers.

    Police officers are arrogant and intimidating, they have to be in order to have the upper hand in keeping peace and enforcing the law. They have a dangerous and important job and one of their most vital tools is psychological power.  It's essential.

    I don't like having to shut up because a cop tells me to but I do it because if we want to have an orderly law abiding society we need police officers to have the power to control behavior in that way.

    And Gates turning this into a race issue, with Al Sharpton chiming in, is understandable but very unfortunate.  It's really too bad Obama didn't use the opportunity to evenhandedly diffuse the emotional impact of this rather than equating the police officer's actions with stupidity and giving Gates' actions a pass.

    I've seen no corroborated evidence that Gates (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:28:45 AM EST
    was bullied.

    But it's clear that Dr. Gates acted belligerently.

    The cops received a call from a citizen who said she saw two men trying to force open the door of the house of a neighbor who'd been out of town.  The cops responded and asked for ID from the man inside the house that the neighbor said was being broken into. There is no indication, even from Gates, that the cops said anything racist; the worst he says the cops did was ignore his question -- which is rude but not bullying. When Gates followed the cops out of his house, ranting, there were apparently several witnesses and nobody has said the cops bullied him.  He apparently wouldn't stop and the cops arrested him for disorderly conduct.

    It is appropriate for police officers to arrest a citizen for disorderly conduct. I think in this case it was the wrong choice, and the Cambridge Police Dept seems to have said as much in their statement. But Gates' behavior was wrong as well. No heroes in this story, and it would have been best if it ended with everybody acknowledging it wasn't their best moment. But Gates, and some others, won't leave it at that and that's very unfortunate. And Obama has worsened it by giving his friend Gates a pass while saying the cops behaved stupidly.

    Showing respect for authority figures is not slavish.  And with police officers it's incumbent on citizens to give them extra leeway.  Not to abuse us, not to harass us, but to exert power of dominance during an event like a possible break-in.


    Hm? (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:07:48 AM EST
    Even the police have not claimed that he "followed them out of the house ranting," but instead that he came out of the house because the cops instructed him to follow them out of the house.

    No, Gates apparently refused to come out (none / 0) (#137)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:49:18 AM EST
    when cops asked him to, then finally opened the door and eventually showed his ID was.  After the cops were satisfied that the house was Gates' house, they walked out of the house and Gates followed them with what they describe as "loud and tumultuous behavior."

    "Gates asked the officer several times for his name and badge number to file a complaint as the officer left the house. The police report said that when Crowley walked out of the home, Gates followed and continued to accuse the officer of racism. Crowley then handcuffed him."
    http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2009/07/21/racial_talk_swirls_with_gates_arrest /?page=2

    "The police report said Gates initially refused to provide identification and after the officer's explained he was investigating a reported break-in, shouted "this is what happens to black men in America." The report said Gates leveled threats against the policeman, then followed the officer outside and yelled at him. Officers then arrested him."

    "Gates refused to step outside to speak with the officer, the police report said, and when Crowley told Gates that he was investigating a possible break-in, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?" the report said. ...

    "The report said Gates initially refused to show the officer identification, but eventually produced a Harvard identification card, prompting Crowley to radio for Harvard University Police.

    "Gates followed the officer outside and continued to accuse him of racial bias, the report said. After Crowley warned the professor twice that he was becoming disorderly, the officer wrote he arrested Gates for "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space."


    Not exactly (none / 0) (#157)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:47:09 PM EST
    The cop said in his report that he asked Gates to go outside becasue the acoustics were bad inside the house....

    And, that is the cop's version....


    Isn't that (none / 0) (#139)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:56:35 AM EST
    standard protocol in this kind of situation?  Go outside to get things straightened out?  I would think this would normally happen so the cop doesn't get accused of stealing something, or committing vandalism, or assault, right?

    Why is everyone so put out by the fact that Mr. Gates MAY have been told to go outside?


    Wow Naive To the Max (none / 0) (#141)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:03:32 PM EST
    From our very own Peter G
    It wasn't disorderly conduct until the p/o tricked the prof into going outside onto his porch -- where he could claim that the "public" was "alarmed" by Gates' "tumultuous" behavior.  Great minute by minute analysis of the situation, and the strategy employed by the p/o to engineer a false arrest he thought could stick, by a Cambridge civil rights lawyer, at Reality Based Community.  

    Educate yourself, if you care to.


    Respect is a two-way street.... (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:18:44 AM EST
    ya got to give it to get it...and its not often given by authorities...at least in my experience.

    I give no man no leeway to exert dominance over me...this is America jack, not a dictatorship....we don't bow down for nobody. It is, or used to be, the American way not to bow down, but to stand tall and be free.


    Although it would be lovely (none / 0) (#148)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:16:30 PM EST
    if police officers always behaved with us in the way that each of us individually  defines "respectfully" for ourselves, that's not a requirement.  And it's not even possible.  There's just too many chips on too many shoulders to accomodate everyone the way they'd like.

    A police officer's job is a dangerous job, they're not selling flower arrangements, they're responding to potential trouble, putting themselves at risk and their attitude has to be one of confidence, concern for innocent citizens and self protection.

    I agree that oftentimes interaction with police officers is not pleasant, even for the innocent, but those interactions are not cocktail parties, it's law enforcement doing its job, and some cops are brusque.  In my view, innocent citizens have a responsibility to make that job easier, help them do their job, not place demands on officers to attend to our feelings.


    Fine, cops should be allowed to be jerks too (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:56:17 PM EST
    I would not have faulted the cop if he were merely a jerk and told Gates to eff off.

    The issue is the cop arrested Gates.  To humiliate and terrify him.  

    Being arrested is not just a slap on the hand.  Talk to someone who has been arrested for the first time.  It is very scary.  The reality is that once someone is arrested, the cops can do whatever they want, usually with impunity.  All you folks just say, ah well, being a cop is a thankless task.

    It is because society gives cops the power to arrest and kill that they must not exercise such power in a fit of ego-driven rage.

    And comments like yours excuse and enable abuse of power by the cops....



    Facts not in evidence, counselor (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:59:34 PM EST
    The issue is the cop arrested Gates.  To humiliate and terrify him.  

    You have no idea if this is the case or not. This isn't your closing argument.

    C'mon - you know better than that.


    Well, Gates (5.00 / 0) (#172)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:22:26 PM EST
    was arrested when he was unarmed and there were many armed cops, Gates was not physically threatening anyone, and the cop went on and on about how Gates was insulting him.

    That's a lot of evidence....No other conclusion really fits....

    So much love for the cops.  We have a famous scholar on the other side...and he gets short shrift....  


    Not really (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:19:52 PM EST
    His yelling and ranting was heard all over an open police radio.

    He got the charges dismissed in a way most people don't - a nolle pros without having to go to court - according to news sources, slmost unheard of in the jurisdiction.  Maybe because he is politically connected or maybe because he's a "famous scholar"?

    And you still don't know that the cop was thinking, "Gee, here's a black guy.  I'm going to humiliate him by arresting him."


    IMO, it is to the credit of the police department (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:23:54 PM EST
    that the department did not send the report to the prosecutor's office, with or without a recommendation to issue a complaint.

    Really? (5.00 / 0) (#190)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:52:59 PM EST
    And I certainly hope that you would not embarrass yourself and waste taxpayers money if you recieved such a complaint from the police.

    The salient problem for the Cambridge Police Department is contempt of cop is simply not a crime, even if profanity is directed at the officer, a situation escalator not even present in Gates' case. In fact, there is a case I have argued with success many times, Duran v. City of Douglas, 904 F.2d 1372 (9th Cir. 1990) which, in an opinion written by now 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kosinski, provides:


    Based on the caselaw, emptywheel opines:

    Sounds pretty much on point doesn't it? It is. The City of Cambridge, Sergeant Crowley, and the other individual officers actively participating in the wrongful arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates are in a world of hurt legally. They may want to rethink the company line of no official apology.[emphasis added

    Obviously either the arresting officer or (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:56:41 PM EST
    his supervisor, who would have needed to sign off on the referral, decided not to refer the arrest report to the prosecutor's office.  I've seen lots of arrest reports referred that never should have been referred.  Hence, my kudo.  Could have been because Prof. Gates went public.  Could have been good exercise of law enforcement discretion.  Either way, charges would not have stuck.

    Yes (none / 0) (#196)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:05:22 PM EST
    An answer I had hoped for.

    Which has been my position from the (2.00 / 1) (#198)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:09:06 PM EST

    Maybe damage control to avoid (none / 0) (#178)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:21:38 PM EST
    a lawsuit....

    Or maybe (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:24:39 PM EST
    the converse? Gates was mad and saw an opportunity for another documentary and more speaking engagements?

    Again - you have no idea.


    Won't be effective. Gates was arrested. (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:33:05 PM EST
    What say you about Busby's (none / 0) (#185)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:37:28 PM EST
    little party when the San Diego Sheriff's barged in?

    That's your neck of the woods, right?

    And I agree with on Gates:  1983 and false arrest for sure.....

    You know Yagman, right?  


    I've never met Steve Yagman. Re Busby (none / 0) (#188)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:40:46 PM EST
    incident, the homeowner hosting the fundraiser apparently refused to identify herself to the responding SDSO deputy.  Some attending the fundraiser then started trying to shield the homeowner from the deputy, who was entitled to arrest her since she wouldn't agree to identified herself for purpose of citation.  Deputy then called for backup--a reasonable decision given the deputy was surrounded by hostile people.  Francine shouldn't make a "federal case" out this.  

    And arresting attendees (5.00 / 0) (#189)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:49:26 PM EST
    for taking cell phone photos of the deputy?

    It seems like a giant overreaction to me....People should be safe from the police in their own homes.


    I gathered the sole deputy present ordered (none / 0) (#197)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:07:09 PM EST
    the guests to back away.  That is a safety issue and within the deputy's purview.  

    I disagree... (none / 0) (#163)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:25:32 PM EST
    police work is difficult, but that is by design...the more free a society is, the tougher it is to be a cop.  Making police work easier is a road to greater tyranny.

    You know what?  A lot of this hatred and distrust of police by the citizenry goes away if we clean up the law books...way too many things are illegal, good decent people are left with no choice but to distrust and despise police.
    Legalize drugs and gambling and I no longer have a reason to despise badges...because I ain't a criminal no more.  But as long as drugs are illegal, you've got millions of otherwise law-abiding people left with no choice but to view cops as dangerous adversaries.


    Not sure legalizing drugs would make (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:25:04 PM EST
    any difference re the Gates incident.

    Maybe if everyone involved (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:28:48 PM EST
    was high - they'd all be peaceful and friendly and loving towards one another?  </snark>  :)

    No, the idea would be (none / 0) (#186)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:39:26 PM EST
    to focus the cops on more important issues--and cut their ranks by a lot.....Give them less time to get into a pis*ing match and then arrest someone.

    Oh please. (none / 0) (#187)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:40:13 PM EST
    I'm so sick and tired of this knight in armor crud people like you spout about law enforcement in this country. It's job. A job they chose. If they don't like, or can't take a little verbal abuse, find another line of work. These guys are no one special. I agree with Kdog. You get from me what give. You treat me with contempt, you get it back in spades. I kiss no one's ass. No American should be expected to either.

    At what point prior to handcuffing Prof. Gates (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:58:12 PM EST
    did the sgt. treat Gates with contempt?

    Doesn't this work both ways? (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by vml68 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:00:02 PM EST
    You treat me with contempt, you get it back in spades.

    I see it as a police officer responding to a call about a possible break-in, there to protect you/your property and then getting accused of racism because he doesn't recognise you and wants to see ID. To me it is the prestigious Harvard prof showing contempt for a lowly cop and getting it back in spades. Looks like there was too much testostorone flowing from both parties involved.

    My interactions with police officers have always been good ones, the only bad cops I know about are the ones I read/hear about in the news. OTOH, I have plenty of experience with arrogant professors... :-)


    Not showing "respect for authority" (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:45:09 AM EST
    is NOT a crime.  Get it?  

    We are Americans for Pete sake.

    Assault, battery, etc.  Those are crimes.  Saying mean things to cops is NOT A CRIME.  You give the cops the leeway of abusing their authority.  They must be held to a very high standard because they are licensed to kill.


    I've said I think the cop was wrong (none / 0) (#152)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:27:47 PM EST
    to arrest Dr. Gates. IMO it would have been better to walk away while Dr. Gates yelled himself out.  Although, I wasn't there and who knows - in the state Gates was in, maybe it was best to restrain him until he cooled down.

    My point is that Dr. Gates also was wrong in the way he behaved.

    The cops were there to help the resident of the house, and apparently in trying to determine whether or not the man inside the house was the resident or an intruder, the cops were confronted with a defensive and verbally abusive Gates. There's no call for that.

    A summation of what happened according to the police report:

    "Officer James Crowley wrote that the July 16 incident began with his response to a call from a neighbor regarding two black males who appeared to be breaking into a house. He arrived on scene, and saw Gates standing inside his house, watching the officer from behind the front door. Crowley wrote that when he asked Gates to step outside, Gates refused, and that when Crowley told Gates he was investigating a possible break-in at the residence, Gates responded, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?"

    The report goes on to say that Gates soon began shouting at Crowley, calling him a racist. Crowley wrote that when asked for ID, Gates initially refused, but eventually provided a Harvard University ID badge.

    Crowley said he eventually went outside, where a small crowd had assembled. He wrote that Gates followed him outside and "continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias." Crowley wrote that Gates repeatedly told Crowley that he was messing with the wrong man.

    Crowley wrote that, once outside, he twice warned Gates to calm down or he would be arrested for disorderly conduct.

    "Gates again ignored my warning and continued to yell at me," he wrote. "It was at this time that I informed Gates that he was under arrest."


    You left out the part where the cop (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:58:42 PM EST
    asked Gates to go outside because the acoustics were bad inside the house....

    How absurdly comic and ridiculous that statement is....


    The statement is neither absurd nor comic (none / 0) (#175)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:07:34 PM EST
    Just this past weekend I was in my living room with a teenager being loud and that sound bounced off the walls and ceiling so that there was no way I could hear the person on the other end of my phone, so I left the room and finished my call outside.

    The conclusions you're reaching reveal more about preconceived prejudices than what's been reported.

    I suspect the truth is, as usual, somewhere between the officer's and Dr. Gates' accounts.  And in there, as I've said, it's nobody's best moment.  But there is nothing to indicate the officer said or did anything racist to ignite Gates' claims, and none of the witnesses has disputed the officer's claim that Gates was behaving belligerantly.


    The cop should have just left. Period. (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:09:44 PM EST
    Yep (1.00 / 0) (#199)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:22:45 PM EST
    and Gates should have kept his chip-on-the-shoulder racist accusations to himself.  During the incident and since.

    There is no indication the officer said or did anything racist.


    I've been on both sides (none / 0) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:28:38 AM EST
    of this kind of incident (white girl here, just for the record).  As a potential victim, I was very relieved to have cops arrive with their adrenaline up, ready to deal quickly and effectively with a possible bad guy.

    When I was the possible bad guy in a scenario somewhat different than Prof. Gates, it was certainly intimidating to be the object of all that adrenaline and focus.  Although I had actually done nothing wrong, it took a few minutes to explain myself and establish I was no wrongdoer before the (yes, Cambridge, Mass.) cops were able to step down from defcon 3.  I didn't have a problem with that then, and I still don't.  I was ordered to step out with my hands up.

    If we want cops to go after bad guys with intensity and purpose, we have to accept that that's what they're going to do.


    No--this is so disheartening to (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:42:06 AM EST
    to see this post.

    This acceptance of cops who can arrest people they don't like is frightening.

    My experience with cops is that they arrest people they don't like.  They arrested a female and took her back to the substation and sexaully assaulted here--to get even.

    And, posts like yours, that re-inforce or excuse bad behavior, are indicative of the carte blance police have.



    Not all cops are good cops (2.00 / 0) (#125)
    by Slado on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:15:38 AM EST
    but we as a society must assume they are for the system to work.

    In this case Gates felt he should have been treated differntly.  He brought his own prejudices (however justified) into a certain situation and didn't cooperate with the officer who was called to be there.   He wasn't cruising past in his cop car.  He was responding to a call for all he could have known might have been dangerous.  How quickly we forget that reality.

    When Gates ultimately was verefied that he was who he was that wasn't enough.  He chased the cop down and shouted and yelled at him and was eventually detained.   That was a judgement call by the officer and he may have been better off just driving away but we're not police officers and we don't have to put up with crazy people on a day to day basis so I'm not going to pick apart his judgement.

    Always co-operate with the cops.  End of story.  If you're right you will get your day in court.  Nothing is accomplished by being a horses ass (even when you're right).   Yes sir, no sir, this is who I am sir, have a nice day.

    This is 1st grade stuff.  Leave the political/racial issues at the door.  

    Yes some cops are bad and are even criminals but that reality isn't a reason to take it out on the one that showed up today to do his job.  


    Did you read my post? (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:11:35 PM EST
    I know a person who was arrested and then taken to the substation and sexually assualted.  All by the cops to show who was boss.

    It sounds as if you have never been arrested.  It is a humiliating and terrifying experience for most people--and especially for the non-criminal.  That is the point.  The cop arrested Gates to get even--to prove a point, to win the argument.  To humiliate and terrify.  A classic abuse of power.

    It is not a crime to be rude to a cop.  You sound as if you think it is.  

    Take another story about police misconduct.  In San Diego County a couple of months ago, Democratic Congressional candidate Francine Busby was holding a fundraiser at a private residence.  She used an amplified microphone for her formal remarks but stopped speaking at about 8:00 p.m.  While she was speaking, a neighbor was yelling anti-gay slurs--the host was apparently gay. The neighbor then called the San Diego County Sheriff's complaining of noise. A deputy showed up at a gathering of middle aged folks who were apparently incredulous.  The Deputy then threw the host to the ground and called for back-up, and a SWAT team and helicopter were there in no time....All without provocation.  No one assaulted or threatened the officer.  The host, in her own home, apparently was not sufficiently deferential to the cop....  

    How about the man who was repeatedly tasered in the back of an Orange County Sheriff's squad car while handcuffed--because he would not answer the deputies' questions.  The Fifth Amendment is a fairy tale most of the time.  An Internal Affairs investigation obtained sworn statments of various deputies establishing the abuse/torture of the handcuffed suspect.  The statements revealed that the offending deputies later recounted the story with great glee, re-enacting the tasering and mocking of the victim as he writhed in pain.

    The Orange County DA tried to prosecute the deputies.  But the deputies who had signed sworn statements--recanted. The Deputies were acquitted.  The Orange County DA, Tony Rackaukus, publicly stated there is a code of silence which makes prosecuting Orange County Deputies all but impossible.

    And this just a couple of recent stories here in SoCal.

    So it's okay if the cops have an attitude but not if law abiding citizens do?


    Yes sir, no sir... (none / 0) (#128)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:27:19 AM EST
    thats what I do, but I'm haunted by the thought that the "yes sir no sir" song and dance enables the further expansion of the police state.

    It's why we're at where we are at with people getting arrested (aka placed in chains) for monkeying with their own front doors and over seasoning fast-food burgers, pick your daily arrest horror story.  And it will continue to get worse until more of us start getting angry like Gates, and stop eating this crap from our employees.


    I know I know (none / 0) (#129)
    by Slado on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:31:53 AM EST
    I'm as anti big brother as the next guy but come on.

    Most cops are good guys/gals just doing there job.  If you don't act like an ass neither will they.

    If we want them all to be perfect then we should pay them more.  

    I would never be a cop.  It's the most thankless job in the world.


    I couldn't either... (none / 0) (#133)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:42:24 AM EST
    not because its thankless, but because its a dirty f8ckin' business.  

    "Saying its your job don't make it right, Boss.", as Cool Hand Luke would say.

    Being an arse is being an arse, but it is an inalienable right...arresting people for simply being an arse isn't.



    Pay has nothing to do with it (none / 0) (#151)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:19:35 PM EST
    The average Orange County Sheriff's Deputy makes over 100k--and they still abuse their power.....

    It is about power.  If the cop who arrested Gates had been making 250k--he would have probably been even quicker to arrest Gates--because he would have felt even more entitled to exercise his authority and more offended by Gates's comments.  The cop didn't like being called a racist and so he arrested Gates to show him who was boss.

    The way to deal with authoritarian folks like the cops is to keep them too busy dealing with real crime to engage in this ego nonsense.  So, we need to cut in half most police departments, along with de-criminalizing vice crimes, e.g., drug offenses and prostitution.  Decrease the cops' sphere of influence.


    Orange County Sheriff (none / 0) (#155)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:37:55 PM EST

    Deputy Sheriff Trainee (Academy)
    $25.72/hour $53,498

    Deputy Sheriff I (Entry Level)
    $29.36 to $39.90/hour $61,069 to $82,992 annually

    Deputy Sheriff II (Maximum)
    $42.16/hour $87,693 annually  

    Wrong (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:04:12 PM EST
    Look at this link.

    From that liberal paper the Orange County Register:

    More than half of sheriff's deputies made more than $100,000 in 2007, pay propelled in large part by overtime and premium pay packages.

    And many made more than 150k.


    It's interesting the filter you see things through (none / 0) (#154)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:35:29 PM EST
    That post didn't re-inforce or excuse bad behavior.  She merely said the cops arrived pumped up to contront a situation (which we're glad of when we need their protection) and took a few minutes to determine she was innocent.

    Obviously sexually assaulting anybody for any reason is wrong no matter who does it, and IMO cops who abuse their authority that way should be punished twice as severely.

    But that is not what happened with Dr. Gates, and conflating examples of rape or race-abuse with discussion of police authority is exactly why Gates' public statements and Obama's response last night are not helpful.


    My point was not responded to (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:05:45 PM EST
    It was ignored....

    People want to look away when it comes to police miscondut.


    Ignored out of respect for you because (none / 0) (#164)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:25:59 PM EST
    I didn't (and don't) believe your characterization that:

    "The Deputy then threw the host to the ground and called for back-up, and a SWAT team and helicopter were there in no time....All without provocation."

    Why don't you provide a link to a credible report of the event, or post names or other identifying aspects of the case?

    Speaking for myself, I don't look away when it comes to police misconduct, it infuriates me and, as I said, I believe cops should be punished twice as severely when abusing their authority.  But that has nothing to do with police officers who are doing their job and making choices they believe are in the best interests of public order and maintaining police authority in the community.


    Okay--but TPM covered this extensively (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:53:45 PM EST
    Here is the Francine Busby link.  An excerpt:

    After Abbott called for backup, police cars, a fire truck, a helicopter and a K-9 unit arrived, the women said. Seven guests were arrested for taking photos with a cell phone camera and talking back to an officer; most were released at the scene, they said.

    I forgot about the dogs and firetruck.  "Talking back to an officer...."???

    And here is a link to a photo of the crazed deputy at the scene.

    And a link to the Orange County DA calling out the Orange County Sheriff's for having a code of silence.  And an excerpt:

    District attorney spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder said that "inconsistencies" in the testimonies of Hibbs' fellow deputies prevented the case from succeeding in court and alluded to a "code of silence" between the lawmen.

    On Tuesday, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas made his case, saying several deputies at the scene "softened" their version of events between the time they testified before a grand jury in 2008 and when they took the stand in the assault trial.

    "The deputy sheriffs in this case were not truthful," he said, referring to the events on Sept 13, 2007, when Hibbs fired a Taser at Ignacio Lares, a convicted felon with outstanding warrants. Lares was handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car at the time.

    Yes, I am not surprised that you did not believe me.  Cops always are believed.  That is why they are to be feared--there is no accountability.

    And, as to my comment about a woman who was sexually assaulted while in custody--you'll just have to believe me on that one; it comes from personal experience, and that was my comment to "falcon" that I was referring to when I said I was not responded to.


    As for the health care portion, (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 05:34:32 AM EST
    I wouldn't even give Obama a "C."

    He avoided answering questions directly and even when he did answer questions he was sometimes disingenuous or misleading.

    He was not being fully forthright when he talked about how he plans to reduce costs of Medicare or how this new plan will be paid for.

    And he was being disingenuous by saying he's pushing this through so fast because Americans need this help immediately (although it's true we do). If Obama signs  health care reform this fall, the uninsured won't be covered until 2013 -- after the next presidential election, and up to 10 years for some elements to kick in. Why is that?  Eleven months after President Johnson signed the Medicare law in 1965, seniors were receiving coverage. If he could do that in less than a year in the 1960s before computers why will it take 3 1/2 years in the 21st Century?

    Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hiiWnivT__38YVG-emF9zy6xVW_AD99ICP600

    There's something wrong here.

    Obammmmanamina (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by lentinel on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 06:13:30 AM EST
    When he is talking, it seems as if you are listening to someone who is highly intelligent and knowledgeable.

    But I found myself asking, during and after almost every sentence, "wha'd he say?"

    He was like a sublime master of double talk.

    The one thing that was perfectly clear to me was Obama's description of single-payer. This is the plan that would cover everybody. My eyes opened. My ears opened. Then he dismissed it. He said some nonsense about us having to pay for someone who was hit by a truck.

    The dismissal of single-payer - the plan that everyone wants - was loud and clear. The rest was gobbledegook.


    I did notice that there was room in this presser to talk about Prof. Gates - but nary a thought by the president or the press corps about the daily slaughter in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    He lacks the linguistic ... (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:24:13 AM EST
    fluidity of Bill Clinton.  Even if you didn't agree with Bill, you knew what he was talking about, and why he believed it.  

    Obama is great at the aria side of oratory.  But he's terrible at explaining complex ideas in a clear and interesting manner.

    The phrase "bottle the answer" always springs to mind when I see him answering questions.

    Of course, the press was even worse.  Asking stupid questions that didn't force him to give the answers he should have given.


    I agree with you and love the way you put it: (5.00 / 3) (#97)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:43:02 AM EST
    "Obama is great at the aria side of oratory."

    That's teleprompter Obama.

    And, as he showed when talking about Gates, he's capable of it on a subject that draws his passion. I didn't like what he said on that subject but it was engaging and interesting and he came alive while talking.

    But the truth is he doesn't really care about heath care reform because Obama's a narcissist, rather than a visionary, and health care will never be a problem for him.

    What showed again last night is that Obama's not an organized thinker.  He has lots of information and the intelligence to understand it, which is a monumental improvement over Bush.  But he rambles and interruptes himself with this abundance of information rather than presenting organized and concise responses to direct questions.

    Like all seducers and narcissists, he's so accustomed to being deceitful, it frequently gets in the way of a forthright reply.


    I thought (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:06:10 AM EST
    it was highly inappropriate for the President of the United States to comment on the Gates issue, ESPECIALLY as it is a friend of his.  If Obama wants to have a policy discussion about racial profiling or police abuse or whatever, then he is free to do so, and he certainly has the bully pulpit to do so.  But to make an editorial comment like this was ludicrous.

    Guess which story ran first on the morning news? (Ok, well, it was Michael Jackson's doctor). Certainly not about health care and the press conference - that story came after the first commercial break - and was led in with "Obama says Cambridge police acted stupidly."  

    Can't imagine that's the spin they want to be played all day.

    Health care (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:24:33 AM EST
    I think every Democrat should be concerned about Obama and health care. He's shown repeatedly that he's more than willing to sell progressive's out. I realize talking out of both sides of one's mouth is part of being a politician. What concerns me is that, as an Illinois resident, I have never seen any issue that Obama was passionate about to the point of standing his ground. With all his anti war rant during the primaries, he still voted for every funding bill. He was adament about FISA until the vote came down.

    I'm more than a little concerned that when the final health care plan is announced, Obama will have given in to the Republican's on too many issues. And big business will continue to win at the expense of the American people.

    As Paul Krugman wrote (5.00 / 0) (#105)
    by JThomas on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:58:16 AM EST
    in his blog the President has a great understanding of this issue and absolutely knocked it out of the park last nite.

    I agree. Nothing could make it clearer that we need reform when he asked '' if someone offered you a plan that is guaranteed to double in cost in ten years  and leave you less healthy, would you buy it? That is the plan you get if we do nothing..that is the status quo''

    The President did a good job of explaining the costs of doing nothing...which is the easy path that has been taken for the last 60 years. Heavy lifting time,gang. Krugman had it right.

    I don't agree he knocked it out of the park (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by zaladonis on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:16:34 AM EST
    because it isn't necessary to convince Americans we need health care reform.

    A majority of Americans agree about that, and it's one reason he's in the WH and Democrats control Congress.

    Last night he sounded like he's still on the campaign trail.  The campaign's over, election's over, he's President, Democrats are solidly in power, health care reform is going to happen.

    What the President needs to do is LEAD the reform.  The Democratic Congress is floundering with it and what's needed is leadership, which Obama is always reticent about.  Obama loves to be in the spotlight, loves to be adored, but when it comes to policy and legislation it becomes clear he's utterly unprincipled.  There is no principled vision guiding this health care reform.  It isn't enough to say it's broken we have to fix it, you have to have a vision of what it will be, it has to be a big vision and there has to be a cohesive plan.  That's why Medicare worked.


    JThomas, you said: (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:42:21 AM EST
    the President has a great understanding of this issue and absolutely knocked it out of the park last nite.

    We know Obama can speak well - rhetoric is usually his strong suit - but I think it's possible to mistake the ability to string whole sentences and paragraphs together with an ability to really explain an issue so that others come away knowing more and understanding it better then they did before.  And there also comes a time when, because great rhetoric is expected, one thinks it has been delivered; I'm not sure Obama really delivered what was expected of him.

    Nothing could make it clearer that we need reform when he asked, "if someone offered you a plan that is guaranteed to double in cost in ten years  and leave you less healthy, would you buy it? That is the plan you get if we do nothing..that is the status quo"

    But what if Obama had followed that with, "The House and Senate are working on legislation that won't go into effect for another 3 1/2 years, won't be fully operational for another 5 to ten years after that, will restrict access to a public plan if such a plan makes it into the final legislation, that public plan will be so small that it will not provide incentives to the private insurance companies to improve coverage, access and costs, will protect elements of the status quo that are in large part the reasons we needed reform to being with, but by the time this all becomes clear in practice, I will be out of office or ineligible to run again, so it will be someone else's problem to fix - probably a Republican, who will take the IMAC board and use it to kill Medicare and Medicaid once and for all?"  Think he could still sell what is being cooked up in Congress?

    The President did a good job of explaining the costs of doing nothing...which is the easy path that has been taken for the last 60 years. Heavy lifting time,gang. Krugman had it right.

    But he told you nothing about the costs of doing what is being crafted in the Congress, and he told you nothing about the costs of making millions of people wait until 2013 to have any hope of the help they desperately need, and he didn't tell you how many people will likely die in the nothing-happening-doughnut-hole between passing legislation and implementing it, or whether there will be any regulation or restraint on insurance companies in that same time period.

    The legislation may require insurance companies to write policies for people with pre-existing and chronic conditions, and not drop people when they become ill, but what is being done to make sure that insurance companies do not accelerate that practice between now and 2013?  And what restraints will be in place to prevent insurance companies from accepting and not dropping sick people, but setting or raising premiums, deductibles and co-pays such that the plans are not affordable?  What regulations will prevent the insurance companies from dramatically raising premiums on everyone who currently has insurance?

    Kind of surprised Mr. Krugman hasn't had any of these kinds of questions, and just as surprised that more people who will be directly affected by this - and we will all be affected - are allowing themselves to be sold something without requiring that these questions be answered.


    Look, the plan is not (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by JThomas on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:15:13 PM EST
    fleshed out completely by Congress yet so getting a lot more specific would just open him up to questions that are not answered yet.
    As for him not pointing out all the FLAWS in the proposed plans in congress....not really the best way to advance the concept of healthcare reform,ya think?

    We have had zero progress on this issue for 60 plus years and now we are going to expect a pony in every stable?

    As E.Edwards said last nite after the presser, true productive healthcare systems are constantly evolving as they go..and that will have to be a feature of this also. Getting everything we want or everything exactly right on the first pass in over half a century is not realistic or helpful. The President's job last nite was to point out in stark terms the price of doing nothing and allying fears of the worst of the rightwing talking points. He did that. He will continue to do that..and as this moves on, sell harder and harder when the final product is fleshed out.


    Are you kidding? (5.00 / 2) (#166)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:43:45 PM EST
    Why would you want Obama to sell a plan that has those kinds of flaws?  Do you think that's the best kind of "reform" to bring to the system?

    And what does it say that he is willing to even foist this mess on us?

    The least he could do is stop stressing the NOW! NOW! NOW! part of this as being out of his great concern for those who need care, when the plan isn't even going to be implemented for another almost-4 years.


    IMO his selling points on the (none / 0) (#182)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:28:08 PM EST
    public plan as proposed in the current bills is not honest. Per Obama:

    Now one of the plans that we've talked about is a public option, and part of the reason we want to have a public option is just to help keep the insurance companies honest.
    How can -- how can you ensure that those costs aren't being passed on to employers or passed on to employees, the American people, ordinary middle-class families, in a way that over time is going to make them broke? Well, part of the way is to make sure that there's some competition out there.

    The public plan in the proposed legislation has been purposely designed so that it can in no way compete with the private insurance industry. The insurance industry said that they didn't want to compete and Congress said O.K. we will design our legislation to make it impossible for the public plan to compete.


    Bill Clinton also made the costs of doing nothing (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:43:46 AM EST
    quite clear in 1994.

    Unfortunately that's not enough if people do not like the plan. The president can't sell the plan when it has not been written, and is not his plan.

    I understand they have the 'do the opposite of the Clintons' mentality, but the Clintons',mistake was not the part where they came up with the plan in the first place and presented it to Congress.


    The Repubs are laughing. (4.25 / 4) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:50:42 PM EST
    I can not ever remember a President making such a comment. The facts are unclear and a prudent President would never have commented.

    But then Obama is proving himself to be remarkably able to stick his foot in his mouth.

    Not stupid, malicious (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:00:20 PM EST
    Only Republicans could support cops arresting a Harvard Professor in his own home after he showed them ID.

    Disgusting.  I hope he sues those cops into oblivion.  False Arrest.  A sure fire 1983 claim too.


    you must be an Ivy Leaguer (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by heineken1717 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:10:58 PM EST
    classic Ivy League arrogance. What does being a Harvard professor have to do with it? So it would be OK to arrest him if he were a BU professor, or god forbid, a bartender?

    Well, because they were near Harvard (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:17:35 PM EST
    and he was a professor.

    Gates was really arrested for "Contempt of Cop."  If the cops don't like you, they arrest and humiliate you.  And, you just think it is dandy.....

    God help us all.  I am sick of this constant excusing of the police for their malicious arrogance.....


    Agreed (4.00 / 3) (#5)
    by heineken1717 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:57:43 PM EST
    I was truly shocked by it. One of the most appalling comments by a President ever. The cops are "stupid"? Wow, just wow.

    "The cops are stupid" (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by dws3665 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:31:20 AM EST
    Find me that quote. When you do, I'll agree that that's a dumb thing to say.

    Since that's, you know, not what he said, I wonder why you bring it up?


    What he said (none / 0) (#48)
    by SomewhatChunky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:43:16 AM EST
    Obama actually said  "the Cambridge Police acted stupidly....."

    An accurate description ... (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:33:33 AM EST
    I think.  The cops could easily have made a simple radio call to establish who owned the home.

    Gates is a small, 58 year-old man, who looks 60+, and needs a cane a walk. Hardly a threat to anyone.

    Cops are trained to diffuse situations, establish the facts, and take the appropriate action.

    A smart cop would have explained his presence, kept Gates calm while he determined that he was indeed the residence of the home, apologized for the inconvenience and went on his way.

    The cops appears to have done none of these things.  Seems like they acted pretty stupidly to me.


    And I'll add ... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:56:43 AM EST
    if this becomes the story and not the important issue of health care, I'll blame the press, not the President.

    His answer began with these two caveats:

    Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts.

    And then he went on to react to the story as reported which is all any of us can do.  His answer was measured and reasonable.


    "any of us" (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:36:11 AM EST
    are not President. Obama is.

    He represents the DOJ. The government is supposed to be fair and impartial. If Gates sues the police, how can the police get a fair trial after this public attack on them?

    This is third world leader stuff.


    Sues the police (none / 0) (#75)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:43:10 AM EST
    the public is make of folks like yourself who believe the cops acted properly yes?

    "make of" should be (none / 0) (#83)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:18:26 AM EST
    made up of

    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:31:57 AM EST
    I have no facts to base a "belief" on.

    My point is that the President should never interject himself into something like this. And historically President's have not.


    Oh of course not (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:41:56 AM EST
    Nixon and Reagan NEVER inserted themselves on the side of the cops in incidents involving minorities.  Never, ever, ever.  Your memory is exceptional.

    Well Yes (5.00 / 0) (#100)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:45:34 AM EST
    A southern gentleman would never overtly talk about racism. Dogwhistles are how it is done.

    Is that your logic, ppj?


    The tail follows the cat home (none / 0) (#168)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:47:24 PM EST
    My logic is that you call every political opponent a racist, and truth matters not. As you said.

    Posted by Squeaky at September 19, 2005 11:19 PM
    Rove never needed proof for his smear machine, why should I.

    ppj does as ppj does (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 03, 2007 at 09:58:35 PM EST

    I have no problem with alleging that Rove's grandparents were Nazi's. Even if they were not, he uses Goebbels' propaganda techniques as a bible and may as well be a born and bred Nazi.

    True (none / 0) (#174)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 02:29:34 PM EST
    I have no problem with that.

    But what does that have to do with the fact that Southern Gentelmen do not talk about race overtly but are quite comfortable with dogwhistles.

    Sessions, isn't he a Southern Gentleman? Is it wrong to generalize that Sessions is emblematic of a southern gentleman?

    Ok, I did not mean to imply that southern gentleman refrain from making racist comments, just that they refrain from discussing racism.


    Historically, (none / 0) (#104)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:56:27 AM EST
    There's never been a president who would have the life experiences similar to Gates'.

    heh (none / 0) (#165)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:43:26 PM EST
    1. Provide some links.

    2. Gate is not President.

    Obama went to a private school and to an Ivy League school..... He has been severely disadvantaged.

    heh (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:56:28 PM EST
    whats amazing is that an obvious bigot and hysteria-monger who talks about how Obama REALLY IS A MUSLIM! at his own website, thinks he's going troll here and be taken seriously by anytone.

    FWIW, Fox (none / 0) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:03:28 AM EST
    was beside itself tonight -- with glee -- about Obama's admission he hadn't read the bills under discussion and his incoherence in answering some of the questions.  I heard no mention of Gates, but I sure didn't watch Fox all night, so I may have missed that.  I wasn't able to watch the presser itself, but if he did actually say he hadn't read the bills, the right wing is just going to go to town on that, and very effectively.

    Obama looked exhausted (none / 0) (#61)
    by Coral on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 06:58:34 AM EST
    I thought his prepared statement was good. A bit wordy, but good.

    His responses to questions seemed to go on too long. He speaks so smoothly and grammatically (after the Idiot Prince who couldn't finish a sentence) that it's usually a pleasure for me to listen to him, even if I disagree with what he is saying.

    However as the night wore on, his answers grew longer and more groping, as if he was trying to circle back to specific talking points.

    And then at some point exhaustion seemed to kick in.

    I've been in that position myself. Just so tired that automatic pilot begins to take over and you're not entirely in control of your message. I felt for him last night.

    Health care/insurance reform is enormously complicated, with huge forces arrayed against change. As he went on about cost control and the deficit, I saw why he was putting such an emphasis on that aspect. But I also began to realize that single-payer is the only way to rein in expenses and provide universal care to all Americans. I've never been a big advocate of trying to enact single-payer (although I think they shouldn't have taken it off the table before starting the process). It seemed impossible to get through the gauntlet of congress, lobbyists, GOP crazies, etc.

    But I finally begin to understand that the patched-together fixes that fall short of single-payer are going to be hopelessly complex.

    Still, I'd like to see Obama enact some overarching reform regardless. Single-payer can't get through without some catastrophe too horrible to contemplate. This is our only chance, and too many people are suffering. Those of us with decent health and/or good health insurance are too lucky to realize just how bad this system is.

    Doubt Gates cop(s) is(are) racist (none / 0) (#72)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 08:31:31 AM EST
    Here's what happened:

    Older black man who's dealt w/all kinds of overt and subtle racism his entire life is profiled by a neighbor while standing on the porch of his home in a predominately white community.  Frustrated at yet another instance of being reminded of the different set of rules that sometimes apply to black folk (and here I am a Harvard professor, supposedly beyond this crap,) he lashes out at the police.  Folks who haven't been there can't understand it.  I can, the cops should've also.  Here's where training comes in - an irate old person, who, justifiably or not, has a chip on his shoulder, should be allowed to rant a bit if he's not posing a danger to anyone.  As a cop, a public servant, I should sometimes STFU, choose my battles, and walk away.  Just imagine if the cop simply said, "Sir, I understand you're upset, I can't imagine how you feel, and apologize for troubling you.  If you're OK, we're going to leave now, please call us back if there are any other problems."  This wasn't some gun-battle moment where the police had to think/act quickly.

    Invasion of civil liberties (none / 0) (#119)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:36:59 AM EST
    The Gate incident would have been a great opportunity for Obama to open a dialogue on civil liberties and what has gone wrong with them in this country in recent years.

    After being bombarded with fear for the last eight years, too many American's are more than willing to give up their rights for a false sense of security. Laws have been passed, and things have been done, that I never would have thought possible in this country.

    Civil liberties include more than the right to bear arms! Yet that seems to be the only piece left of the Constitution that politicians remember.

    Here's a second chance for Obama... (none / 0) (#122)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:51:44 AM EST
    maybe he will discuss why people are getting arrested for acidentally putting too much salt on an authority figures burger.


    Authoritarian madness abounds....


    That happened in 2007 (none / 0) (#126)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:22:21 AM EST
    We can still discuss it... (none / 0) (#131)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:36:22 AM EST
    it wasn't 1957...but ya got me again jb, missed the date:)

    No prob! :) (none / 0) (#132)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:42:02 AM EST
    Maybe Bush can have that discussion....?

    You mean... (5.00 / 0) (#135)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:45:07 AM EST
    Bush ain't the big cheese no more?  Coulda fooled me when it comes to civil liberty:)

    Though I must say the much deserved "stupid" remark woulda never came outta Bush's mouth, I guess thats a 'lil something.


    Here's the police report on Gates (none / 0) (#130)
    by Slado on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:32:46 AM EST
    And Sgt. Crowely (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:46:02 AM EST
    And You Show Naivite (none / 0) (#138)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:54:43 AM EST
    At Best.

    "I think it is regrettable that anybody on either side of this issue would make comments.....


    This morning on WEEI, Crowley spoke for 22 minutes and offered his most detailed public explanation of why he handcuffed the renowned professor of African-American studies.

    But hey you agree with our wingers, no surprise there.


    Boring (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:57:59 AM EST
    Of course, because a cop could never be right.

    But since you're spewing the same old stuff, I once again yawn at your junior high comments.


    Cop was wrong here (none / 0) (#142)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:03:37 PM EST
    without a shadow of a doubt, based on his own words.

    At one point, you accepted that. You backsliding on that?


    My point was (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:08:33 PM EST
    that of all the people involved here (and whoinserted themselves in here), he was the only one acting with class.  He had a forum to criticize Gates and Obama and he didn't take it.

    And my original stand here was that BOTH parties are wrong.  Gates has overplayed his hand here - his 15 minutes are up.


    Sounds dishonest to me (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:33:06 PM EST
    Sorry, from personal experience, cops lie all the time....

    The cop was recently defiant saying he would never apologize.  The cop made two mistakes:  one innocent, one malicious.

    The first mistake was accosting Gates in his onw home.  Understandable.  But the cop should have apologized and gone on his way--regardless of what Gates was saying.

    The second mistake was arresting Gates.  Gates had committed no crime and there was no probable cause to believe Gates had committed a crime.  


    Hardly (none / 0) (#143)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:06:17 PM EST
    You called Crowley a class act, for what?

    Keeping his mouth shut?

    He blathered on for 22 minutes today. What a fraud, and embarassment to honest police in the US.


    Huh (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:09:09 PM EST
    Surprising - I didn't think you thought there WERE any honest police.

    Why's That? (none / 0) (#149)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:16:39 PM EST
    Some of us can easily distinguish between stupid acts and one's that are not only justified but show intelligence, sensitivity and encourage good will.

    B.S. on its face (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:40:26 PM EST
    The cop asked Gates to go outside because the acoustics were bad inside the house?????

    A set-up all the way.

    The cop asked Gates to go outside where he knew there were other cops--and then arrested Gates because he was saying mean things to the cop????  When the cop was armed, and backed up by other armed cops, and Gates was unarmed?  

    When the cop found out that Gates was a Harvard Professor, he called the Harvard police?  How about going home at that point?

    The cop's statement is ridiculous on its face.