The Irrelevant President?

After the Democrats were trounced in the 1994 congressional elections, the Media spun a meme declaring President Clinton irrelevant. President Clinton fought to make that meme false:

President Clinton last night declared his relevance to the political debate in Washington and called on Republicans to work with him in remarks at a news conference that offered a stark reminder of how much power has shifted from the White House to Congress.

President Clinton stood up to Newt Gingrich and his zany band of Republicans intent on gutting Medicare and other government programs and in fact regained the initiative. Which brings us to today, where supporters of President Obama, on the heels of his smashing triumph in 2008 and the most Democratic Congress since LBJ, now declare Obama irrelevant:

Obviously one answer could be that some Democrats prefer to see health reform defeated, but owing to their partisan allegiance donít want to come right out and say that.

As Iíve said from the beginning of this process, the most important known unknown in health reform is nothing to do with the Obama administrationís tactics and everything to do with the actual subjective premises of the handful of moderate Democrats who control the balance of power in the Senate.

As apologias for Obama go, this is one of the more amazing ones. But suppose it is true - is Matt Yglesias really saying that President Obama does not matter? Really? Then why should we care much if he is reelected? Shouldn't we then just focus all our attention of the Congress?

Of course Yglesias' apologia is absurd. President Obama remains the most powerful player in the world and in the nation. If he is unwilling to use his political power, well that says something about him, not the power he has.

I always return to the George W. Bush example in 2001, where Bush LOST the popular vote, faced a 50-50 Senate and still got his agenda through the Congress. That the agenda was disastrous is not the point. The point is what people like Yglesias are saying is that in terms of dealing with Congress, George W. Bush was much more effective that Barack Obama can possibly be.And that is just sad.

At this point, excusing Obama's possible failures on health care reform seems the most important goal for many. If that is the new focus of progressive blogging, that speaks volumes about Obama . . . and progressive bloggers.

Speaking for me only

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  • But what can the Pres. do? He's (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:29:54 PM EST
    spending quality time w/his family.

    remember how Clinton... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:33:26 PM EST
    ...almost never went on vacation?  even if you found fault with him, the guy LOVED the job.  Didn't even go to Camp David for years.  Seems Obama is taking another page from Dubya.  At least for now.

    We shall see.


    Great photo ops though. (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:34:09 PM EST
    Bush (none / 0) (#6)
    by CST on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:38:47 PM EST
    spent 33% of his time on vacation.  He spent months in crawford and at Camp David.  Obama doesn't even come close.  And the Clintons went to the Vineyard a number of times.

    Um I don't remember that (none / 0) (#50)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:43:32 PM EST
    I remember Clinton going to Martha's Vineyard reasonably often during the summer- not at Bush level extremes (no other President skipped out that much) but he did go on vacation.

    Clinton (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 03:26:00 PM EST
    So around 20 days a year (none / 0) (#62)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:44:13 PM EST
    Okay tell me again how Obama's going way over that?

    pOOR pRESIDENT (none / 0) (#80)
    by norris morris on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 10:40:08 PM EST
    The apologies and  Pity Party excuses extended by Obamabots and others as to Obama's irrelevancy
    are not helpful to Obama or his party. Whatever is left of it.

    Covering for his lack of fortitude, poor preparation, inability to self correct? It won't work as he is entirely responsible for his performance and the perception of failure he has allowed to prevail.

    There has been a pitiful absence of messaging and leadership but Kos and other Bot sites continue to overlook Obama's detached and clueless behavior and performance. Obama's compromises essentially derive from his dislike of confrontation or from a secret set of principles he holds that we don't know about

    Democrats need a real leader and there is none.
    From Blue Dogs to center to left and right of the party there is embarrassment and disarray and considerable disagreement about policy,agenda, and execution as no one has been leading.

    Pelosi was ceded power by Obama to run things. You see where that got.

    If a healthy dose of criticism were given Obama by his inner circle as well as party leaders he might find a  way to engage.


    Makes me sad/angry. We got the (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:35:08 PM EST
    media darling but could have had a real scrapper.

    McCain is no scrapper... (none / 0) (#21)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:10:13 PM EST
    He's half as scrappy as Cheney -- although that's not a bad thing.

    That reference (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:16:30 PM EST
    was to Hillary Clinton.  Right oculus?

    Ohh goodness... (none / 0) (#30)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:28:56 PM EST
    We're still on the primary?  How about if I was in the White House?  I didn't make it to the primaries, but I'd be even scrappier.  I'd just say, "Here's the bill..."  Done -- next!

    But ya know what.  I didn't end up putting my name on the ballot, nor winning the primary, not running in the general, nor winning that.  

    I mean it would be great if they'd cure aging, we ammended the Constitution so that FDR could run again too, but this type of imagination stopped being fruitful when I was about 5 years old.  


    What you're saying (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:43:49 PM EST
    is irrelevant.  What is irrelevant is that the media managed the election of a non-fighter over a fighter in the primaries..

    Wonder why they did that.....what could it be?

    Getting over it is for sports losses.  When lives are at stake some of us don't fall for the petty "get over it" nonsense.


    What I'm saying is irrelevant? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 05:10:41 PM EST
    Talking about how life would be utopia if Hillary was president is relevant?  Lets get real.  She lost, period.  

    Sure the media and the man and everyone else hated her, so they made sure she lost.  Fine.  And all of a sudden the fact that everyone who hated her when she ran in the primary will embrace her later?  Give me a break.  The headline after Hillary wins the general election, "How Does Hillary Screw Up Health Care This Time"?  The mantra from Republicans?  "Hillar will Screw Us Like Bill Did Monica -- Don't Let Her Kill Your Mom."

    If you some how think "fighting" is sufficient, you are in a fantasyland.  When Fox News is dominates cable news, and O'Reilly beats CBS News people like Hillary (as much as I like her) aren't making much of a difference.  

    She can fight all she wants, but she'll still end up looking like Gerry Cooney -- put up a good fight, really beat up, and still lost.  Sound familar?  Kinda like the primaries...


    Scared? (none / 0) (#81)
    by norris morris on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 10:56:52 PM EST
    Your remarks about Hillary being disliked may be right, but you are frozen with  fear that Hillary might run for President?  Give us a break.

    The Media made Obama into American Idol and the young fawned and propped up this newbie still on training wheels. Obama unfortunately is still on training wheels and the Media is getting embarrassed.

    Given our sexist Media and cultural attitudes about strong women I doubt Clinton would run again and sadly doubt that she could win in the current climate of our hysterical Media and 24 hr news cycle.

    Obama will probably run and Axelrod is scurrying back to Chicago to prepare his war chest and campaign for 2012.  Hillary doesn't seem likely  to do this.

    Unless Obama can do a 360 degree turn he has poor chances of winning. But the democrats seem too divided and spineless to demand he step down at election time. I'm sure he'll run again.



    Aw darn (none / 0) (#40)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:45:16 PM EST
    What is RELEVANT is that the media managed...etc, etc. etc.

    wish we had comment editing.


    Man I had no idea (none / 0) (#52)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:50:36 PM EST
    Mark Penn's nickname was "the Media", I mean he's a big dude no doubt, but that seems pompus even for him-- make no mistake press coverage and Obama being a once in a generation speaker had a lot to due with his getting the nomination, but neither would have mattered if Hillary hadn't let her campaign be mismanaged by a group so incompetent they made Bob Shrum look like James Carville/Axelrod/Rove/whatever actually succuessful manager you want to name, let's just go down the list:

    Ignoring the small states thus allowing Obama to build momentum in February that basically ended the race for all intents and purposes (it wasn't really in doubt after Obama won 10+ in a row)

    Shifting Messages and themes in a manner reminiscent of Gore 2000 (the last won- Working Class champion was a good fit, but they didn't choose it until it was over)

    Not understanding Primary rules, e.g. races aren't winner take all etc.


    True, but you ignore that the powers (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 03:46:58 PM EST
    that be in the Dem Party pulled nonsense like taking two of the biggest states out of contention, too.  

    But worry not, they will not take on the nonsense - like the most rural state in the country leading the way for the rest of us with caucuses in rec room basements.  

    All is well.  Iowa -- 95% farmland Iowa -- will continue to rule the world.  Go back about your business now . . . and look over there!  It's bright, it's shiny, it's going to bring us all together on a hilltop neither red nor blue but purpled with transformative prose to sing in peace and harmoneeeee. . . .



    Especially (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:10:47 PM EST
    When many of those people were not from Iowa!

    Good point (none / 0) (#63)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:45:34 PM EST
    Volunteers should not be allowed to cross state lines- or wait did you have a point?

    You seem pretty sharp here (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 05:12:42 PM EST
    so I bet you really do know the difference between volunteers and voters, and I bet you even know or vaguely remember the Iowa rules for voter registration/caucus participation.  I bet you do.

    If not, the search function can bring up all sorts of edifying information, just in case you want to vote more than once next time.  It's easy in Iowa.  


    Lately I've been wonderfing if Iowa, (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 11:13:54 PM EST
    where I grew up, had candidate Obama figured out before the Iowa caucus.  Remember, Sen. Grassley represents the state of Iowa.  

    some of us still realize what we're missing (none / 0) (#43)
    by nycvoter on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:50:38 PM EST
    we thought he might not have the fight in him and that's why we didn't support him (among other reasons).  However, as I posted below "I told you so" will not make me feel better, so I am still holding out hope, he will turn around, get recalcitrant Dems in the room, push them for a public option and come up with ways to reduce costs and make the system sustainable.  (not by just raising taxes either)

    Competence? (none / 0) (#74)
    by robert72 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 08:31:29 PM EST

    Just noticed this (none / 0) (#78)
    by cal1942 on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 02:13:28 AM EST
    and no one will see it because it's six weeks ago.  Still can't resist.

    Elephant, the Constitution wasn't amended in order for FDR to run for a third and then fourth term.  The Constitution had no limit on the number of terms a President could serve until it was amended.  The 22nd amendment limited the President to two terms.  The amendment was passed by a Republican controlled Congress in 1947 and ratified by 3/4s of the states by 1951.

    Elephant, I know that conservatives have no respect for or understanding of history and congenitally lie, cherry pick and distort it, but, if you try that here you'll be called out on it every time.


    Rewriting Matt Yglesias ... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:43:32 PM EST
    comes closer to the mark:

    Obviously one answer could be that Obama prefers to see health reform defeated, but owing to his partisan allegiance won't come right out and say it.

    As I've said from the beginning of this process, the most important known unknown in health reform is nothing to do with the Congress's tactics and everything to do with the actual subjective premises of the Obama administration who control the balance of power in this country.

    That rewrites so easily one wonders if this isn't what Yglesias really thinks, but is afraid to write.

    FDR quote: (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:46:08 PM EST
    In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.

    Nowadays FDR would be ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:47:59 PM EST
    called a loony CTer for suggesting such a thing.



    Obama can and does exert pressure (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:17:39 PM EST
    to get what he wants.

    When it comes to defiant progressive members of Congress -- as opposed to supposedly defiant Blue Dogs and "centrists" -- the Obama White House has proven itself extremely adept at compelling compliance with the President's agenda.  Consider what happened when progressive House members dared to oppose the war supplemental bill which Obama wanted passed:

    The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won't get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday.

    "We're not going to help you. You'll never hear from us again," Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen Greenwald

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:49:02 PM EST
    there are a ridiculous amount of offenders on the blogs when it comes to excusing Obama's failures.  As far as I can tell, Obama's biggest failure here is being completely unable to harness the energy of the left.  A week solid of "liberals are outraged!!" news stories, and Obama doesn't shift his strategy at all.  What happened to reading about FDR and "now make me do it"?

    Seems to me newspapers are just starting (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:56:49 PM EST
    to talk about the side deals the WH made with big pharma and insurance industry and investigate amount of contributions by same.  Kind of late, but hopefully not too late.

    Obama's Backroom Deals (none / 0) (#84)
    by norris morris on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:40:46 PM EST
    Are no secret. Have been writing blogs about his cavein to Big Pharma and Insurnace Co's in his deals before he threw it to Nancy and Congress "to fight it out".

    The press have been protecting Obama from day one.His agenda? Do we know it?  Obama's compromises started before anything could be done by Congress. Since he offered no leadership and let Nancy run things you see what we got.

    His lack of honesty is more than disheartening.
    Obama's disengagement and inability or unwillingness to message and explain is malpractice.


    Well it was never (5.00 / 7) (#27)
    by cal1942 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:20:49 PM EST
    Obama's intention to harness the energy of the left.  On that subject it's clear to me that his intention was to blunt the energy of the left.

    IMO he has conservative leaning tendencies and it showed during the primaries. Criminy he said it outloud.


    thank you (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:21:59 PM EST
    how right you are, as his continuing (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by suzieg on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:02:36 PM EST
    actions prove it, see following:


    Obama and Duncan's Education Policy:
    Like Bush's, Only Worse


    Yes, it is just sad. (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    But c'mon, so many clearly saw that this was coming.  And now many can see what is coming next.

    So the goal has to be not restricted to Obama in 2012.  It has to not be all about Obama again.  

    The goal has to be a Dem -- or to be absolutely clear, a liberal -- in the White House in 2013.

    No. Not sad. It's pathetic. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:02:49 PM EST
    I know it not PC to speculate (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:13:44 PM EST
    water under the damn and all that, but I cant help but wonder where we would be with this if Hillary was in the white house.

    Or if she were in the Senate..... (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by sallywally on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 05:00:09 PM EST
    with health care her big issue.....

    I wonder if (none / 0) (#36)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:41:41 PM EST
    the gang of 6 will primary challenge Obama in 2012?

    Really? (none / 0) (#20)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:09:24 PM EST
    What's coming next?

    Yes, really. Were you distracted (none / 0) (#35)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:39:39 PM EST
    by all the nonsense on the big stage and not watching what was going on in committees. . . ?

    What's coming next, we do not know, but we will not know if we are not watchful.


    Entitlement reform up next (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:37:45 PM EST
    Social Security meet the Obama Admin . . .  

    Oh man (none / 0) (#77)
    by sj on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 09:47:49 AM EST
    That just made my gut clench.

    Other than, to be clear (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:44:03 PM EST
    what I meant that we could predict from this that what is coming next is a heckuva midterm mess.  As for 2012, we can't see yet what is planned to be pulled in committees.  But it could be messy, too, as more in the party catch on to the precedent of suspending rules.  Dems who care -- I'm not a Dem anymore, but just interested -- might want to be wary of what that could mean for the great rules changes of 40 years ago.  

    Not going to happen if (none / 0) (#24)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:15:24 PM EST
    Obama has anything to say about it.  

    Well, an incumbent has great power (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:37:27 PM EST
    of course, but that's again thinking that is all about Obama all the time.

    It is about the people behind the power who decide who will have the White House for them.  Watch them, watch out for them.  Based on every d*mn election in this millennium, they're up to something again.  They mucked up both parties the last time around.  Wise liberals would stay alert and not be distracted by the shiny things or styrofoam things or whatever things are next.


    Great Idea (none / 0) (#53)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:52:24 PM EST
    that worked so well in 1980.

    Last week (none / 0) (#73)
    by Spamlet on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 08:01:34 PM EST
    when a pugnacious commenter charged that some here are hoping to replace Obama with Hillary in 2012, I thought she was just making $h!t up again. Was I wrong?

    One of the funny/annoying things during (5.00 / 6) (#33)
    by tigercourse on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:35:50 PM EST
    the primary was the lobbyist issue. Even as he and his supporters were calling Clinton corrupt for accepting lobbyist money, Obama was taking tons of it from "former" lobbyists, spouses of lobbyists, business partners of lobbyists, etc. and no one made a peep about it.

    They aren't "lobbyists" (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by cawaltz on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:26:45 PM EST
    They're "consultants." Democrats seem to have semantics down pretty well.

    Just like when I asked the woman who was running for my State rep why they didn't make an argument for paying "taxes"(as in citizenry are exchanging money for goods and services) and she said that was OUT, instead we will be paying "fees."


    Then again wasn't "progressive" substituted after "liberal" became a dirty word to many?


    Also (5.00 / 6) (#57)
    by Trickster on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 03:48:11 PM EST
    His pledge was not to take money from federal lobbyists.  It did not apply to state lobbyists, which of course is a hole you could drive whatever humongous thing you can think of through.

    it makes me want to cry (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by nycvoter on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:43:07 PM EST
    I don't like Obama, but I'm a Democrat and I want to work on getting health care right, not only to insure people, but to reduce costs by reducing waste, unburden emergency rooms by offering people alternatives to urgent care needs, etc.  After 8 years of GWB and getting Roberts and Alito on the court and outlawing a medical procedure because of a political agenda instead of science (late term abortion)and on and on...I KNOW that "I told you so" doesn't make me feel any better.  So PLEASE let Obama stand up and do what's right and FIGHT for something.  It's all up to him.  He thought he could charm the Republicans, can he at least get what he needs from the dems!  

    Well I'll give them consistency (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by cawaltz on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:49:04 PM EST
    Some of them were saying his positions before the election were irrelevant so this kinda makes sense.

    I still remember being told I should vote for him because having a black man as President would be transformational.

    I'm not quite certain how voting for someone because of their skin color is transformational in a meaningful way. Skin color is less consequential then actual opinion in my opinion(and one can argue that for years people were making opinions on people as a basis of it, so nothing really knew there). What do I know though I'm just a bitter, uneducated woman located in the heart of Appalachia.  

    That whole "transformational" meme (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:19:27 PM EST
    was b.s. to begin with.

    Who told you that? (none / 0) (#68)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 05:13:37 PM EST
    Anyone who tells you to vote on someone because of race is an a**hole.  Yes, tell them I said that.  

    And being uneducated is no crime.  Living in the heart of Appalachia -- that I have no sympathy for, as you can move, but I do get that it is a handicap.


    What shocking developments that . . . (5.00 / 7) (#55)
    by Trickster on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 03:40:57 PM EST
    (1) The Democratic Congress can be counted on for nothing whatsoever; and

    (2) Obama, who explicitly ran on a platform of accommodating Republicans (even though those who said so were branded as liars by his campaign), is accommodating Republicans.

    pre-emptive apologists (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by pluege on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:51:04 PM EST
    Since its clear as a bell Obama has no interest in even a moderately progressive health care reform bill, which assures none will be enacted, the Obamafans need to ramp up into excuse mode as to why some piece of garbage bill Obama calls health care reform is what gets passed.

    Interesting take on history (4.00 / 1) (#13)
    by bocajeff on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:56:55 PM EST
    If you think that Bill Clinton ran in 1992 on the following platform:

    "The era of big government is over,"
    Welfare Reform
    DOMA and DADT
    No universal health care reform, etc...

    The Bill Clinton of 1992 was far different than the Bill Clinton of 1994 onward...

    Sure (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:58:50 PM EST
    But in 1993, he passed a tax reform bill.

    And in 1995, he fought off the Gingrich Revolution.

    And in 1997, he passed S-Chip.

    And in 1998, he saved social security first.

    All without a Dem Congress.


    1994 Omnibus Crime Control Act (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:29:44 PM EST
    rolling back habeus corpus, expanding federal death Penalty,

    1995 Terrorism bill, expanding surveillance of political groups and creating statutory authority for "Free Speech Zones"


    With a Republican Congress (5.00 / 9) (#41)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:47:47 PM EST
    all is Clinton's fault.

    Of course, with a Democratic congress, none is Obama's fault....

    The logic of "progressives" escapes me.


    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:58:03 PM EST
    The bad with the good. Not sure that that refutes my comment though.

    1993 (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by talesoftwokitties on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:50:00 PM EST
    Family Medical Leave Act

    Heh. Good try but no... (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:01:46 PM EST
    ...Bill Clinton didn't run on that platform.

    Talk about an "interesting take on history!"

    Don't make things up.  Some of us were there.


    So you see Obama learning (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:00:22 PM EST
    and changing and becoming far different?

    No, not really (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:14:44 PM EST
    It's Obama's personality that is the problem. He has no desire to learn and change and without that it won't happen.  

    I hope that I am wrong and he matures in the job but I've seen nothing in his personality that would indicate a willingness to listen to other people, accept responsibility, and change when needed.  


    Odd... (none / 0) (#69)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 05:18:57 PM EST
    The one thing I've heard from people who have worked closely with Obama is that he is very willing to listen to other people, and to change positions.  

    In fact I've heard that the big knock against him internally is that he is too content to change his opinion when the evidence appears to warrant it.  Unfortunately in Washington it is a bigger sin to admit you're wrong, and change positions, than to actually be wrong.  

    And I should be clear, this is actually a fault of the US population.  Insightful and subtle discourse is not respected in this country.  People just don't get it.  What works is saying the same thing over and over, truth be damned.  "Death panels, death panels, death panels".  That will be the hard lesson for Obama to learn.  

    The sad thing is that he will be a much better politician when he becomes a better and more forceful liar.  That is his fault.  Not listening and changing.


    There certainly is good discourse (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 05:27:01 PM EST
    in this country to be found.  Maybe you just need to do what you suggest above to others:  Move.

    Where is the discourse? (none / 0) (#71)
    by BigElephant on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 06:47:21 PM EST
    And I don't mean small blogs that get less than a 500k unique views per day.  I mean where is the quality discourse that is taken place with, lets say a small portion of the population -- say 10% of the adult population?  

    Won't find it.  Doesn't exist.  Most people just aren't interested.  As any late night talk show host will tell you, most people can't tell you the Bill of Rights or even six of our Supreme Court justices.  But they can tell you the name of all of Jon's new girlfriends since leaving Kate.

    This isn't about pockets of discourse.  My milieu is very involved in politics and such, but it's rare that in events I've gone to that I've been able to have deep conversations with most people, Democratic or Republican -- the depth of knowledge falls off a cliff real fast after you get past the CNN soundbites.


    Well, with those constraints (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 07:41:27 PM EST
    I can't help you.  I don't go anywhere that would have 10 percent of the adult population!

    Poor baby. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 11:31:33 PM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:32:29 PM EST
    I think you hit the nail on the head with "unwilling" or maybe it's just plain wimpiness.

    That being said, maybe it would be better to focus on congress since Obama obviously isnt interested in fighting for any issue.

    Ironically (none / 0) (#7)
    by CST on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:41:39 PM EST
    Bush was incredibly effective despite having spent so much time on vacation.  I wonder how much of it was Bush, and how much of it was Cheney.

    can you choose (none / 0) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:07:57 PM EST
    to be irrelevant ( like Newt)?  or does that not count.

    I don't think Newt chose his (none / 0) (#47)
    by cawaltz on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:22:27 PM EST
    position per se. I'd be inclined to believe "little Newt" and the hypocrisy that could no longer be overlooked made him less relevant.

    Poor Newt still sometimes seems to believe that if he tries hard enough people will forget that he was philandering right around the same time he was wagging his finger at Bill for doing the same(with an intern no less).


    Um (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:56:28 PM EST
    How could Obama;s tactics be irrelevant if Obama himself is relevant?

    BTW, no offense, but did you post here under another name previously?  

    Your first comment made no sense (none / 0) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 03:54:43 PM EST
    Obama (none / 0) (#79)
    by lentinel on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 05:04:21 AM EST
    is not behaving as if he is relevant.

    The sense I get is that others are making decisions, and then telling him what to say.

    Considering how effective he has been said to be as a communicator, he is a flop. Perhaps that is the reason.

    Nobody yet knows what he wants in a healthcare bill.
    Nobody yet knows what he wants to achieve in Afghanistan.

    If he is relevant to anything, I have yet to experience it.