We Want To Support Obama

There is always a tension for Democrats regarding how to treat Democratic politicians. Republicans are always so much worse, thus the impulse is to defend or go easy on Dem pols. The thing is, we really want to support them in the most vociferous way. But most of the time they make it hard. Commenting on the story I wrote about here, Digby writes:

This [beat up the progressive base strategy] makes perfect sense because [Obama's] problem is that he's been kow-towing to the left so much that he's lost the country, what with all the war crimes investigations, the tax hikes for the rich, the crackdown on the banks, the repeal of "don't ask don't tell" and the thumbing of his nose at the Republicans every chance he gets. Not to mention the plans for full withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan by 2012 and his full blown assault on the health care industry and insistence on a Canadian style health care system. You'd think Obama would have been far, far more cautious so as not to give the Republican freakshow any possible path to demonize them as "far left." It's not like they could just make stuff up and a lot of people in America would believe it, right?

[MORE . . ]

And let's face facts, no president ever lost the good opinion of the village once he triangulated and Sistah Soljahed and "stared down his own party." Unless you count Johnson, Carter and Clinton, of course. Running that game is such a tried and true road to either a one term presidency or an impeachment that it's hard to believe the Republicans don't do the same thing.

Digby's sarcasm comes from the bitter experience many of us more wizened Dems have lived. But I do want to give Obama a piece of advice (and provide a reminder to all the Bill Clinton haters of what he did in 1993 - hint it was more than fail to pass a health care bill). In 1993, the most progressive piece of legislation from the time LBJ was President was passed. Ezra Klein won't tell you how bold Bill Clinton was, but I will. Bill Clinton raised the income tax for the wealthiest Americans and cut taxes on the the poorest working Americans (through the Earned Income Tax Credit.) BTW, Bob Rubin was around then too.

Bill Clinton's proposal was not very popular at the time. His approval ratings were well below President Obama's. But he thought that if he governed well, he would win reelection. So he used every bit of political capital he had to pass the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993. People think nothing of it today, but it did more to reduce income inequality than any other governing act since the LBJ Administration. It was more important than fuzzy health care regulations that will be honored in the breach. It was more important than an individual health care mandate.

It was opposed by EVERY SINGLE Republican and most every Blue Dog Democrat. It passed by 218-216 in the House of Representatives. It passed with Vice President Al Gore's tiebreaking vote in the Senate.

A lot of Blue Dogs lost their seats in the House and Senate. A lot of them just switched parties like Richard Shelby and Ben Nighthorse Campbell. The Democrats lost the Congress, no doubt in part because of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It was also due to the fact that a lot of Democrats were representing Republican districts, especially in the South.

But President Clinton won reelection by 9 points over Bob Dole in 1996. Because Clinton's policy worked. And people came to understand that Democrats can govern. After getting blown out every 4 years in almost every Presidential election since LBJ, Democrats have never been blown out since Bill Clinton. In fact, they have won the popular vote in 2 of the 3, including Obama's decisive win in 2008.

Today, President Obama has a much more progressive Congress and and much more progressive country than Bill Clinton had. He also faces a discredited Republican Party. But he can throw all that away, by not governing well.

If President Obama REALLY believes that capitulating on health care constitutes good governance, then that is what he should do. I won't support him on that in any way. But he should do what he thinks is right.

But President Obama has said over and over again that he believes a robust public option is the BEST policy. If he truly believes that, then he needs to fight for it. Like President Clinton did for the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. Good policy is good politics.

President Clinton proved that. I can only hope President Obama will heed that lesson.

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    Good lesson (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:47:37 AM EST
    I would argue that Senate Dems should be prepared to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if needed. This is THE signature Democratic legislative package.

    Actually, embedded in your lesson is an argument that Americans should be able to feel the benefits of HCR ASAP.

    An interesting sidebar to 1994:  Ben Nighthorse Campbell handed us minority leader Tom Daschle by one vote just before he switched parties. The alternative: Chris Dodd.  

    Do you have a link (none / 0) (#28)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:07:19 PM EST
    to how the Democrats could overrule the parliamentarian? I never heard of such a thing but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    I had read that when several parliamentarians did not see things GW Bush's way that they kept firing and hiring new ones until they got the one that was friendly (bought and paid for) so they could pass a tax cut via reconciliation. Now if any party could overrule a parliamentarian it would certainly be the Republicans and they did not do that.

    That is why I am asking for a link. If what you say is possible I'd like to read about it.


    Not only can they overrule him (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:08:15 PM EST
    They can fire him.

    Yes I know (none / 0) (#45)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:31:28 PM EST
    they can fire him. I said that in my post and gave an example of that happening.

    That doesn't explain the overruling comment though. Unless of course overruling was supposed to mean firing. And if that was the case just come out and say what it is - firing - just like Bush did.


    Parliamentarian is an advisor (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:32:53 PM EST
    He has no legal standing in the Senate at all.

    Your question is based on a faulty premise. They would not be overruling him, they would be ignoring him.


    I don't think you are correct (none / 0) (#55)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:47:11 PM EST
    If you are then you must have read some linked evidence to support your argument.

    Like I said in a post below, if the parliamentarian was just an adviser then Bush would have ignored him instead of going the firing route that he did. The fact that Bush fired several before finding his guy speaks volumes to me. But if you have evidence supporting your argument I'd be happy to read it.


    Like I said before (none / 0) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:51:26 PM EST
    Bush never received any counsel from the Parliamentarian.

    I'll provide you a link (none / 0) (#69)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:08:37 PM EST
    showing that he did in the 2003 Tax cut which was pushed through by reconciliation when I relocate the article I read.

    In the meantime for those who say the parliamentarians ruling have no clout I'll submit this from wiki:

    In order to bypass a filibuster, Senate rules allow for a process known as Reconciliation to pass budget-related matters, with a simple majority vote. Issues tangential to the budget may not be reconciled. The Parliamentarian has broad authority to decide which portions of a bill are relevant to the budget and to delete provisions he considers unrelated. The Parliamentarian's decision may only be overridden by a 60-vote supermajority

    So Bush not being able to get 60 votes to override the Parliamentarian fired at least one until he found one that would approve of his tax cut that didn't fit the budget rules of reconciliation.


    Hmm (none / 0) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:13:59 PM EST
    I missed the part where Bush was advised by the Parliamentarian.

    Well okay (none / 0) (#72)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:22:37 PM EST
    But I will take the actual rules and statutes over wiki.  I can't find a single thing that says the presiding officer is even obligated to ask the parliamentarian for his opinion.

    I cannot find (none / 0) (#64)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:57:00 PM EST
    anything to substantiate your recollection that several parliamentarians were fired, although my memory is imprecise.  This link suggests that Robert Dove, who served as Parliamentarian from the Republican ascendancy in 1995 through his firing in 2001, was immediately succeeded by Alan Frumin, who remains the parliamentarian today.

    Of course I understand that you did not literally mean the parliamentarian was fired by Bush, as they aren't even in the same branch of government.


    Well I will dig up the (none / 0) (#71)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:14:00 PM EST
    article if I can find it today (I'm busy at work). But for now it is really a moot point because since I brought up the ability to fire the Parliamentarian everyone here seems to be in agreement that is what they would like to see done if necessary and we all now know that it can be done.

    But I doubt the Democrats would do it.


    The post was about Parlimentarians? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:12:17 PM EST

    As BTD says, they can fire him (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:16:36 PM EST
    But they can also interpret the Senate rules themselves through a point of order. (Incidentally,  the rule requiring a 2/3 majority to change the rules of the Senate has been interpreted to not be in effect at the beginning of a session. My own opinion is that it's never enforceable, and a majority can always have its will if it's willing to blow up the club).

    I said they could (none / 0) (#50)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:35:58 PM EST
    fire him in my post. So you are not telling me anything I already didn't state.

    The rest of your argument is one you are making but I doubt the Democrats would go there. Certainly their behavior both recent and past has not shown that they will.


    If you already know, then there is nothing (none / 0) (#53)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:40:48 PM EST
    else to say. They need no specific authorization.

    To make clear (none / 0) (#63)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:55:40 PM EST
    my original response to your post was in regards to you saying that the Democrats could "overrule" the parliamentarian.

    "Overrule" is a lot different than 'firing' someone. Words do have meanings. But if you are now saying that you meant 'fire' the parliamentarian then I am glad I brought up the proper terminology.


    Pedantic nonsense (none / 0) (#67)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:07:08 PM EST
    As a threshold matter, you would first have to demonstrate that the Senate is bound to consider anything the parliamentarian says. Any "rule" he lays down is necessarily informal, as are my comments here.

    As I posted above (none / 0) (#73)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:24:08 PM EST
    according to wiki:

    "The Parliamentarian's decision may only be overridden by a 60-vote supermajority[1]."

    Demonstrate how (none / 0) (#74)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:28:42 PM EST
    the determination of the parliamentarian is relevant to what happens on the Senate floor. (Hint, the presiding officer is relevant).

    Hah (none / 0) (#75)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:03:03 PM EST
    So now you want to move the goalposts off the playing field do you? Or should I say you want to expand the playing field to a point that you no longer want to discuss the context that yu were discussing. OK but you lose that game too:

    From Wki:

    The Parliamentarian of the United States Senate is the official advisor to the United States Senate on the interpretation of Standing Rules of the United States Senate and parliamentary procedure.

    As the Presiding Officer of the Senate may not be fully aware of the parliamentary situation currently facing the Senate, staff from the Senate Parliamentarian's office sit on the Senate dais to advise the Presiding Officer on how to respond to inquiries and motions from Senators.

    Of course how the Parliamentarian interfaces with the Presiding Officer is different in how he interfaces with the reconciliation process.

    It might have occurred to you that the Parliamentarian and his staff actually had an important role in the Senate. If not why have one? It's not a ceremonial office. This is not England you know.


    The "hah" is on you (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:10:50 PM EST
    What does "advisor" mean? The presiding officer may take the advice--or not. It is entirely within his or her discretion, subject to a point of order from the floor.

    All of which has (none / 0) (#81)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:27:57 PM EST
    nothing to do with the reconciliation rules which was the topic until you tried to change the playing field. It didn't work.

    We are still back at getting the Parliamentarian to approve of ramming an apparently non-budgetary item into a reconciliation bill. And those rules are the rules which the presiding officer has nothing to do with other that to say they are the rules. Hah.

    Of course the entire thing is even more complicated but I will stay on topic and not muddy the conversation like you did.


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#82)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:34:54 PM EST
    You can't get past the fact that the parliamentarian's determination is not binding on anyone.

    You can't get past (none / 0) (#88)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:21:06 PM EST
    the fact that the parliamentarian's determination is adopted a very very very high majority of the time. So saying it is not binding is a very subjective view when history and tradition objectively says whatever he says does end up being the binding ruling.

    So now you are arguing technicalities instead of real world stuff. What next? You are so far away from your original post that you are lost and there is no way home.


    You would argue history and tradition (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:27:30 PM EST
    to the presiding officer, but he would not have to accept it. That is obviously so. There is no objective view of how the Senate is supposed to operate.

    Real people decide what happens in the real world, and it is not preordained that either the Senate majority party must accept the determination of a staff member. Which is why I suggest that they be prepared not to do so. The Senate determines its own rules, not the parliamentarian.


    Good luck with that (none / 0) (#90)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:34:45 PM EST
    And even if the parliamentarian was ignored on the bill submitted you then have the Byrd Rule in which any senator may raise a procedural objection of the entire bill or a portion of it. Then it takes 60 Senators votes to waive the objection.

    Got 60 votes?

    So you see this entire argument of yours is moot because even if a parliamentarian ruled in our favor there is another BIG hurdle 6 inches down the track.

    So just how do you propose overcoming the Byrd Rule? I read some advocating to rescind that rule which would clear the path. But that procedural vote also takes 60 Senators according to what I read.

    So then what?


    You are confused (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:23:54 PM EST
    the Byrd Rule is not a separate issue, it is the same issue.  The Byrd Rule permits any Senator to raise a point of order, but the presiding officer gets to rule on that point of order.  It is the presiding officer's ruling that cannot be overcome without 60 votes.

    That is (none / 0) (#94)
    by SGITR on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 10:37:47 AM EST
    what I was saying.

    Actually (none / 0) (#43)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:29:11 PM EST
    I haven't been able to find any rule or statute that gives the Senate Parliamentarian any official rule whatsoever.  As far as I can see, his role is purely advisory.

    My understanding of the process is this.  Some Senator offers a point of order that such-and-such provision should not be in the budget.  The Presiding Officer of the Senate (whichever member of the majority party that might be on a given day) has to make a ruling, and then it takes 60 votes to overturn that ruling.

    The Presiding Officer can, and is probably expected to, confer with the Parliamentarian before making a ruling, but I can't find anything that requires him or her to do so.  I would be happy to stand corrected if anyone knows of a rule or statute to the contrary.


    Roberts Rules? (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:29:45 PM EST
    From Robert's Rules: (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:38:05 PM EST
    A Question of Order takes precedence of the pending question out of which it arises; is in order when another has the floor, even interrupting a speech or the reading of a report; does not require a second; cannot be amended or have any other subsidiary motion applied to it; yields to privileged motions and the motion to lay on the table; and must be decided by the presiding officer without debate, unless in doubtful cases he submits the question to the assembly for decision, in which case it is debatable whenever an appeal would be. Before rendering his decision he may request the advice of persons of experience, which advice or opinion should usually be given sitting to avoid the appearance of debate.

    Emphasis added, naturally.  To be clear, what I meant is that I couldn't find anything in the Standing Rules of the Senate that gives the Parliamentarian an official role, nor did I see anything pertinent in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 where reconciliation is defined.


    You are right (none / 0) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:50:45 PM EST
    Parliamentarian has no role other than as advisor.

    The pay is nice though (none / 0) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:32:00 PM EST
    "The Parliamentarian's current salary is $166,810.79 per year"

    What does he have to do for that? Well nothing really.


    I think that you are correct (none / 0) (#49)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:35:22 PM EST
    under Roberts' Rules of Order, which I understand are applicable (i.e., already adopted) in the absence of superseding rules, statutes, etc., which do not seem to exist, as you note.

    That is, and I say this as the past president of a senate (by that name, but in academic politics:-), that the parliamentarian is advisory to the president of a senate, to its members, etc.  And a  parliamentarian actually does not even do so  independently but only when called upon for advice.  I sure learned, though, to ask for such advice at almost every turn -- academic politics being the cauldron of h*ll that they are.  


    Well the last part of (none / 0) (#52)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:40:11 PM EST
    you post is the Byrd rule it appears which is different from the parliamentarian.

    I doubt that the parliamentarian's role is purely advisory because if it was then Bush would have just ignored his advice. I doubt that any here would disagree that he would have. Signing statements or whatever it took, maybe just thumbing his nose?


    Not sure what you are trying to say.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#86)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:10:52 PM EST
    Cheney was his parliamentarian, as it were.

    Nuclear option (Duhhhhh!) (none / 0) (#54)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:41:38 PM EST
    The Byrd Rule (none / 0) (#60)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:52:23 PM EST
    is codified at 2 U.S.C. 644.  I couldn't find anything in there conferring actual power on the Parliamentarian.

    As I recall, the Republicans got rid of the Parliamentarian because they were unhappy with some rulings he made, but that doesn't establish that they were forbidden from moving forward on something until they got a more favorable ruling.  It's just that as a matter of practice, the Parliamentarian is generally consulted and his rulings are accorded great weight, and thus the majority wanted someone in that chair who would put a thumb on the scale in the majority's favor.


    Daschle vs. Dodd...to TV viewers (none / 0) (#37)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:15:57 PM EST
    and the Democratic Party it was a parting gift.

    If you think Joe Biden is hard to listen to, try Chris Dodd.  As the face of the senate, he would have been a political disaster as his run for the Democratic nomination made all too clear in '08.  A low-key talker like Daschle was much more reassuring and palatable to the public.

    Of course, both had other problems which made them lousy choices for leadership...and both leaped on the Obama bandwagon, Daschle before there even was one.

    Klein should write "Primary Colors Goes to Chicago."  Oh, wait...two other reporters just did!


    Daschle was always politically more vulnerable (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:17:38 PM EST
    But that's just the start of why he was a worse choice.

    Two wrongs...which in this rare (none / 0) (#42)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:28:48 PM EST
    case, made a right.

    If you know what I mean.

    OK...it's a stretch...but I just couldn't resist it.


    I agree with your adivice (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:47:49 AM EST
    to Obama. He should reaffirm his commitment to the public option, not capitulate to Republicans (and  Dems who are Dems in name only.)

    Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by waldenpond on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:59:45 AM EST
    I don't know if they are twisting this, but Republicans might come out and celebrate the death of the public option, make it look like they had a big win and make Obama look weak.  I don't expect the Republicans to be that twisted.

    Oh, I do. (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:03:38 PM EST
    It's what any party and pol would do.  And the GOP does that so well.  

    Yup, they kept us all warm and safe (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:10:24 PM EST
    from an evil government not seen since Hitler that would kill us off to save money.  If they didn't say that outright, it could and would be heard in every dog whistle.

    And this is why (none / 0) (#17)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:23:11 PM EST
    we have to hope that Obama, the Dems, etc., do expect the GOP to do again what it does so well -- and be ready to counter it.  The last half-year has been unbelievably frustrating, but that is better than the previous eight years of disbelief that so few in this country, and in Congress, rose up in revolt against the regime.

    You have to go toe to toe with them though (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:32:43 PM EST
    when they begin talking that sort of talk.  You have to call them out and so few Democrats take the time or make the effort to do that.  They view it as petty and losing focus of all the things in their own beautiful minds...which are usually quite beautiful. Republicans sit at the back of the room and whisper things that prey on the Alfred Hitchcock in all of us and when no public option was ever passed we have no evidence to prove that that was not what the Republicans saved us all from.  I despise it, and don't know how to fight that insanity....that keeps all of this nation enslaved to a second world social system.  It is the life blood that keeps Fox News up and running too.  And it's nuts.

    all I can (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:49:26 AM EST
    say is that I hope you are right and that he will fight. That being said he doesn't have a history of it and would be surprised if he does.

    As far as the blue dogs go, they will respond to leadership but Obama has ceded leadership so they are going to go about things their various way.

    That's one of the things (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by lilburro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:54:21 AM EST
    I've had the hardest time wrapping my head around - Sebelius or Obama will say "the public option is good policy and works" and then in the next breath say "but we could try something else."  They are slowly punching away all the support for an idea they think is good.  It reminds me of middle school - "well, we can hang out here, which is what I really want to do, but we don't have to, I don't care."  The only message - "please like me."

    Dude, I will never ever forget (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:59:16 AM EST
    that when my daughter was a toddler and I was paying for childcare through the nose....after all my deductions I qualified for some earned income credit.  I bought a new washing machine that spring.  Ever try to keep up with toddler laundry, work full time, pay tons for sitters, and have no working washing machine and can't scrape enough together at the end of the month to replace it?

    Single moms with a (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:49:52 PM EST
    qualifying adjusted gross income often receive more in their refund than they paid in taxes.

    I want to support (5.00 / 9) (#7)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:02:10 PM EST
    liberal values and principles.  I do not support personalities, celebrities -- or parties, anymore, unless they uphold their own values, principles, and platforms.

    So I want to see Obama support liberal values and principles, too.  That would make my day now -- and on election day in 2012.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:03:07 PM EST
    Is that supposed to be in contrast to what I wrote?

    I know that headline writing (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:04:32 PM EST
    can oversimplify.  

    Don't you want to support Obama (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:54:14 PM EST
    because he is fighting for liberal values?

    I know you will not until he does, but it seems to you want what I want - to support Obama -- in his fight for liberal values.

    That of course requires that he actually fight for those values.


    Not that you asked me, but (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:12:09 PM EST
    I want a reason to give my support; it seems like every day he's hedging a little here and a little there on something else he claimed to be definite about only days before, and I'm not hearing leadership in what he says.  [He reminds me of me, in line at the grocery store: "I'd prefer paper, but if all you have is plastic, it's not a problem."  I'm just so agreeable, and then the cashier likes me and doesn't think I'm a controlling beeyotch who has to have her own way.  Ugh.]

    It's not just health care, either; I feel like he's pulled back on a lot of other issues, too.

    I guess you could say, it's about me, not him: I need to see him advocating and leading on the issues that matter to me, in ways that I agree with, and when he does, I will support his efforts.


    I think I just wrote that (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:14:13 PM EST
    I do get a bit frustrated with people's willingness to simply not read what I write.

    I share your frustration, since nothing (none / 0) (#46)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:31:46 PM EST
    I wrote was in opposition to what you wrote, merely an expansion of it and an explanation of what I think; I did emphasize that I would support his efforts to advance issues I believe in, as opposed to supporting "him," but that is a rhetorical distinction that is, for most people, largely without a difference.

    Obama will fight til the last dog dies to save his political life, but without ever seeming to care whether that victory represents a victory for the people.  What good is he to me if his "wins" get us something I don't support?


    See comment #12 (none / 0) (#29)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:08:03 PM EST
    which puts it better.

    As for this comment, I apparently have more concerns about the predicative structure of your sentence.  That is, I want to support Obama if he supports liberal values and principles.  (Of course, he does support some -- so then it comes down to the voter's prioritizing of values.)

    Context matters, and admittedly, my comment was in part engendered by an interesting subthread in a previous post today.  But in larger contextual terms, consider the context today and in the late 19th century of the outright greed of the Republican Party that led to the rise then of a revolt -- the Progressives . . . but it so often is forgotten that they were Republican Progressives.  Imagine what happens today if there is such a rise again in that party.  After all, the problem in the Dem Party is Democratic Conservatives, so it is not unimaginable that we then could see again Republican Progressives. . . .

    Not that they ever had a majority -- but those Republicans were amazingly astute at forming coalitions with, heavens, Socialists and Populists, whose ideological descendants also are seeking a home -- at least a temporary home in effective coalitions -- today.  Then what happens to allegiance to the Dem Party, if a rump of the Republicans actually hew more to one's values and principles?  (I pray that does not happen, but. . . .)

    Then we eventually could end up considering the context as well of the late 1920s and 1930s, after that great Republican Progressive/Socialist/Populist coalition had collapsed, and the parallels as well to today.  The brilliance of FDR was actually in coopting and claiming as his own many of the values, principles, and actual programs of the earlier Republican Progressives, who actually had coopted many of those programs from Socialists and Populists.  And there is more that is fascinating about this, but I fear I'm out of time -- school starts today, so it is time to go inflict such confusing thoughts upon paying customers who already are amid confusion about so much in life, as their lives change rapidly today.

    In all this, my main hope is that they have better lives tomorrow than they -- and we -- have today, no matter the name that may be put to the group that may be out there and ready to get to support us.  


    Btw, I ought to have added (none / 0) (#32)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:10:20 PM EST
    that I do support Obama now, because he is my president.  That is, I support him in general (and I could not support the alternative offered us last November).

    The question is whether he supports me now, because he is my president . . . and then we will see who supports whom in 2012.  Much is yet to be seen, and the guy does have great ability to surprise.


    I don't think Obama needs our support (none / 0) (#38)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:16:30 PM EST
    He has certainly shown that is how he looks at it.

    At this point Obama does not have my support on health care, now or in the future. The right policies have my support with or without him.

    Obama is not bigger than HCR. And he has shown that he feels he is not bigger than congress. Why offer him support for doing the right thing? If he does the right thing it is only because he was pushed into it. That doesn't deserve support. That would deserve celebration that the little guys collective voice finally won out.


    I think he does (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:26:40 PM EST
    If he thinks he does not, he will lose his next election imo.

    He is very (none / 0) (#76)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:09:28 PM EST
    clearly and very purposely walking that path isn't he?

    Here is my question (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:03:31 PM EST
    How can a post start with "We want" and end with "Speaking for me only"? :)

    The royal "we," of course! (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:10:57 PM EST
    I mulled that issue (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:52:46 PM EST
    And frankly, "I Want . . ." just sounded bad. Like a 5 year old.

    So I went with We.


    The editorial 'we'...good choice. n/t (none / 0) (#25)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:55:02 PM EST
    It's BTD's opinion of what we want (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:07:11 PM EST
    Or what his opinion leads us to want :)

    I want (5.00 / 7) (#12)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:06:12 PM EST
    Obama to support us....that's what the headline should read.

    speaking for me only.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by cawaltz on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:32:22 PM EST
    It's the whole "public servant" thing isn't it? Ahhh for the good ol' days when the paradigm was that it was the politicians responsibility to serve the interests of the constituency it was elected to represent.

    Nowadays without AT&T, Cigna or Exxon Mobil as your name you appear to have two chances(pretty apt since there are two parties: slim and none.


    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:37:39 PM EST
    and as such, I don't support politicians. That's just enabling behavior.

    They support me, and if they don't, they are toast.

    But my point in saying what I said is that the body of the post was about "supporting us," not about supporting Obama.  So, in order to reflect what the text was really about, the headline should have read as I suggested.


    You do support politicians (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:55:49 PM EST
    I saw you supporting Hillary Clinton all through the primaries.

    You did so for good reasons - you thought she was the pols most likely to fight for your values.


    I supported healthcare (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:53:39 PM EST
    and I thought Hillary Clinton was the best person to fight for reform.

    I am truly jaded, a much different person than I was in the primaries.  Anything I did during that time has no bearing on now.

    If BTW, if President Hillary Clinton behaved as Obama is behaving she'd lose me.


    I agree wholeheartedly (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:07:38 PM EST
    Heath care is my main issue. It is the issue that is important to me and not the politician.

    Any Democratic president, regardless of name, would lose my support by the actions currently taken on this issue.


    Perfectly put (none / 0) (#87)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:16:03 PM EST
    in terms of my thinking then -- and what my thinking would be now if any other candidate who won also then backtracked so much (and with such clumsiness, especially after such an adroit campaign).

    Except that I picked my candidate more on the larger issue of the economy, as I expected it to tank.  Real health care reform, of course, would greatly help the tankees in the millions now.  (Health insurance reform, not so much.)


    I don't think he has it in him. (5.00 / 7) (#16)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:16:18 PM EST
    I wish I thought otherwise, but I just don't see it.  

    Anyone who could say that single payer is the best plan, but that it would be too disruptive, and would not be uniquely American enough, who has only said he is for a public option, but has not contributed any leadership on how such an option should be defined if it is to carry the label "public," who has made back-room deals with the corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical industry, who once railed about lobbyists and industry writing legislation during the Bush years, but has embraced the industry and failed to say one word about the presence of lobbyists in the reform effort, who is now getting irritated that the progressive bloc is holding up the balloon-drop and confetti-fest planned for the Who-Cares-If-It-Sucks Reform Bill celebration is NOT going to fight for the kind of PUBLIC option the people of this country need.  

    Not now, not ever.

    Speaking of "disruptive" (none / 0) (#36)
    by Fabian on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:15:52 PM EST
    The Columbus Disgrace/Dispatch's editorial today opined that torture investigations would be "too disruptive".

    Also today, after over a decade of investigations, warrants for torture, assassinations and disappearances under Chile's Pinochet regime have been issued. [NPR link]

    Disruptive or politically inconvenient?


    Gore broke the tie vote in the Senate (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:23:26 PM EST
    Bill got the tax increase passed without many Democrats....It was good policy.  

    The Democrats lost Congress in 1994 due to a number of factors including gun issues and the natural loss of the Boll weevil Democrats in the South to the Republican Party.  There are not as many Southern Democrats to worry about now.

    Not to mention the numerous (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:53:45 PM EST
    Dem scandals in congress and Speaker Foley's mismanagment of the House Postal mess.  They just handed it over to Gingrich's revolution on Contract on America.

    Two great posts: yours & Digby's. (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:04:06 PM EST
    Thank gawd for those with a memory who can distinguish between the petty and the vitally important and actually write simply and clearly so that anyone can understand...if they will take off the blinders.

    This column is a treasure and among your best.  Talk about a teachable moment!

    Someone should send Axelrod a copy.  Or two.  In fact, flood the damn White House with copies.

    Good policy is good politics (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:57:31 PM EST
    Exactly right.

    Congresspeople or Obama should not support a bill that is not good policy. Mandates minus public option would be horrible policy, and horrible politics.

    If they believe otherwise, they sure need to explain why.

    It seems more difficult to support (5.00 / 4) (#77)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:10:36 PM EST
    this democratic administration than others before it. Probably because they don't seem to care what we learn is really going on. Let's see, I know we all have heard about the secret deal Obama made with Big Pharma. And, we have known for decades that the price of prescription drugs is ridiculous. So, during this exceptionally important time with healthcare reform being discussed seriously, I am experiencing the lowest level of trust I have EVER felt from our government. As a lifelong democrat, that's a really horrible place to be. I sure don't fit in with the R's.

    "Like President Clinton did . . . (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:09:02 PM EST
    . . . for the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993"

    lets hope without some of the more unfortunate consequences like losing congress even though they did the right thing and put the economy on track for the longest peacetime expansion ever.


    They would have lost the Congress anyway (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:13:19 PM EST
    The South is Republican.

    I think this is a great post (none / 0) (#61)
    by Maryb2004 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:52:52 PM EST

    well now that it's been brought up (none / 0) (#65)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:57:19 PM EST
    has obama reinstated the same tax structure bill did and if not, why not?