Last Word On the Madman Theory Of Political Bargaining

The store is in the process of being given away by a particularly inept White House. We can hope I suppose for a miracle, but the handwriting is on the wall. Ezra Klein will tell you whatever comes out will be great, no really, it is. But you know better. My series on the Madman Theory of Political Bargaining has been presented with a classic counterexample - a President we were thinking could be an FDR is quickly becoming a Jimmy Carter. Steve Benen's retelling of the Van Jones kerfuffle explains it all:

In the exchange, Jones was asked why a Republican president working with a Republican Congress can pass more of its agenda than a Democratic president working with a Democratic [Congress]. "Well, the answer to that is, they're a**holes," Jones said. He added, "Barack Obama is not an a**hole. Now, I will say this: I can be an a**hole, and some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama, are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity."

(Emphasis supplied.) That tells the tale. Our last hope is that the Progressive Block gets uppity. Obama won't do the political bargaining for us.

Speaking for me only

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    Wow BTD (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:07:08 PM EST
    this post is incredibly depressing but unfortunately very true.

    Norman Ornstein states an alternative case (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:37:01 PM EST
    ... in yesterday's WaPo.

    Not sellin' it. Not even buyin' it, but at least respect the source.


    Well frankly (none / 0) (#82)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:28:40 PM EST
    this is one of the dumbest pieces I've seen from Ornstein.  It reminds me that at bottom he's American Enterprise Institute and his 40 years in Washington began when Nixon took office.

    Eau de Vichy (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:08:09 PM EST

    Well (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:17:20 PM EST
    according to some posters in another thread they are threatening the progressive caucus and saying that it's this crappy bill or nothing. I personally vote for nothing. Nothing is better than the piece of junk I've seen so far.

    Obama as FDR... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:18:29 PM EST
    Can't speak for others, but I never believed that for a moment.

    But you're confused (4.00 / 3) (#18)
    by dissenter on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:02:00 PM EST
    He was going be Lincoln, remember lol. He is neither. He is an empty suit.

    Electible suit (M. Dowd.) (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:55:57 PM EST
    And so was any Democrat in 2008 (none / 0) (#83)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:30:52 PM EST
    We could have won with the mule as candidate.

    to paraphrase Vera Donovan (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:19:44 PM EST
    in the great Stephen King book and equally great Taylor Hackford film:

    "sometimes being an a$$hole is all a progressive has to hang on to"

    Jimmy Carter (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:36:23 PM EST
    was inept but his heart was in the right place.  Speaking only for me of course

    I think President Snowe, President Baucus and President Rahmbo have their hearts in the gutter.

    As for Obama, the reality is he doesn't have the experience-driven political muscle to be anything else but a figurehead and if one could get past that pretty face and listen to his politics, he didn't really lie about anything.  He always thought as Rahmbo thought. Well, so what does that say about him?

    Axelrod is guru (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:59:43 PM EST
    He promised change, (none / 0) (#58)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:05:05 PM EST
    but did not say how much change. Guess that is where the hope comes in.

    Well he has brought change (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:37:27 PM EST
    Winning an election is no longer actually winning.

    Yes Ezra (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:09:35 PM EST
    This is going to be as great as our stimulated jobless recovery.  And this is just the beginning of having to acknowledge how pathetic that stimulated recovery is.

    Stimulated? (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:14:52 PM EST
    Or simulated?

    Supposedly (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:23:58 PM EST
    Supposedly a protracted primary battle would divide the party beyond repair, so it was just horrible that Hillary stuck around when she should get the herck out!.

    But the divisions caused by this inept handling of healthcare are just fine. Abandoning the pub(l)ic option (Hi Cream!), something that most Americans, most Independents and most Democrats support?  Nooooooo probluuuuuum.  P*ssing off your core constituency?  All in a days work! Screwing up on an issue that affects every single American?  C'est la vie!

    A speech!  I wonder if his ratings will be lower on this than the last speech, which were lower than on the speech before.  The answer is not to over-expose yourself, get people sick of hearing you talk when you don't stand for anything they care about, when your goal seems to be to confuse them more when 67% are already confused.  It is to actually do the right thing.  The public will back you then, speech or no speech.

    It will be the greatest speech (5.00 / 9) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:33:19 PM EST
    on health care evah.

    Meanwhile back in the real world, people will continue to be without affordable health care.

    As you say, it would be much easier to sell real health care reform.


    I'm curious about that (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:15:57 PM EST
    Do you think it will be The Greatest Speech Since The Beginning Of Time, or merely The Greatest Speech In Recorded History?

    the Greatest Speech since the last time (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:19:31 PM EST
    The One made The Greatest Speech.

    that way we don't have to come up with even more hyperbole.


    Complete with leg thrills? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by prittfumes on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:52:42 PM EST
    He doesn't need a speech (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:40:29 PM EST
    He needed to draw the right line in the sand. Would have been so much easier.

    Why "inept"? (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:39:08 PM EST
    It seems to me he's been very "ept" so far, working hard for his real constituents. And delivering big time everytime they tell him to deliver.

    don't cheer me up so much, Edger. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:45:27 PM EST
    I fear you are correct. Sigh.

    Aww, cmon! (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:54:10 PM EST
    Reality is way more uplifting than fantasyland, isn't it? It saves on expending energy maintaining the fantasies of never to be fulfilled expectations, no? ;-)

    Rule # 1 in Community Organizing (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:51:23 PM EST
    ( I guess they don't need the reminder)
    Know the opposition and anticipate their moves.  Don't let them get the upper hand.  Now, all they can do is capitulate.  I guess the experience did not come in handy.  

    Look, the world is divided between creeps and a$$ holes. If you have to ask, you are a creep.  A$$ holes, we all know who they are and they are much more effective.  

    Nobody ever said (none / 0) (#89)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:44:16 PM EST
    he was any good as a community organizer.  They just said the older ladies adored him and tried to mother him.

    Seriously, though, there was never any indication, including from Himself, that he actually helped accomplish anything significant.  He ran great meetings, though, apparently.

    Just what we needed, eh, an ineffective community organizer to community organize Congress!


    Tina Fey put it best (5.00 / 6) (#57)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:02:16 PM EST
    "B*tches get stuff done."

    the pregame (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by kmblue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:05:45 PM EST
    stuff on Teh Speech from Obama's flunkies says he'll be discussing the ideas of other people, not his own ideas.

    Still not doing the leadership thang.  Why listen?

    Heh (none / 0) (#60)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:11:18 PM EST
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will seek to boost flagging support for healthcare reform next week with a rare speech to Congress after a rocky summer raised questions both about his leadership and legislative program.



    Rare speech to Congress? (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:35:11 PM EST
    I'll take mine well done. To go with toasted health care.

    IF we get real health care reform (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by s5 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:49:13 PM EST
    (And I'm saying "if" because no one knows what's going to happen.) There will be one really good outcome from all of this: Progressives in Congress will have finally learned how to stand up and flex. And that's a very good thing.

    FWIW, I haven't heard (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:48:09 PM EST
    any of them waffling yet.  Even Pelosi seems to be holding very, very firm.  Chaka Fatah on Matthews tonght was very upbeat and very certain.  Matthews hated it, I thought it was great.

    Seems like Obama would have more pride than this. (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by clio on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:09:42 PM EST
    Obviously not.

    He already has his place (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:37:09 PM EST
    in history.  That's all I can figure as to why he is not making his place in history be what he does, not what he represents just by being there.  It is a signal achievement in itself -- for the country as well as for him -- but it also is a huge burden.  So I hope that he figures out how to get through this time to get re-elected -- and then will turn out to be a great second-termer.

    Ah, perhaps here it comes . . . (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:40:38 PM EST
    Obama is going to address Congress next week re health care.  (Did I miss that in earlier posts?  If it's not news, sorry.)  Here comes his moment -- his opportunity to make another and truly historic speech.  Let's hope he carpes the day for posterity.

    Ain't no speech (none / 0) (#17)
    by kmblue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:58:01 PM EST
    that will fill the empty place in my heart where hope once resided.

    And I wasn't even an Obama fan.  I just allowed myself to believe a couple of the things he said.

    I won't make that mistake again.


    Yes, of course. (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by clio on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:35:54 PM EST
    Obama will always be the first black president.  But the country is changing and there are going to be other firsts:  The first woman, the first Hispanic, the first gay...
    In a hundred years just an accident of color, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation (if anyone's even paying attention by then) as a first will be small beer.

    If a president wants to be first tier s/he has to effect major change.  Like Washington who refused a kingship, Lincoln who preserved the vision of unity, and FDR who dragged the federal government into the urbanized world of the 20th century.  (Maybe even LBJ  with civil rights).  Just giving lots of public money to private interests and building a new federal bureaucracy, as the current healthcare "reform" seems set to do, won't cut it. Lots of presidents have done that.

    Obama has the the ability to be a transformative first-tier president.  He even has the political power.  What seems to be lacking is the will. Only Obama can change that.  It remains to be seen if he does.


    LBJ: Medicare. n/t. (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by sallywally on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:48:41 PM EST
    Almost put that in. (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by clio on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:55:23 PM EST
    Seemed to me that civil rights which not only transformed lives and laws, but changed the political equation, both in power and party character, for 50 years ( a fact of which LBJ was acutely aware) had greater impact.  But Medicare is right up there, and, heaven forbid, I could be wrong.

    Can he recover from his aimless drifting? (none / 0) (#44)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:44:07 PM EST
    Yes, I think he's drifting, listening to too many people, and attempting to make everyone happy. Look at the previous administration-- there was an agenda, and it was followed. Partly because of Cheney, partly because of Rove, and partly because of other players who might always be unnamed.

    In this admin, we have Biden, who can be an effective leader, and will state his mind, then Axelrod (sorry, I am not impressed with what he's done in the administration), Emmanuel, who is supposed to be the arm-twister... who else?

    Well, if there were an actual agenda, something might get done.

    This administration started out by giving away the initiative on taxes, then on human rights, on relief for the suffering folks in this dreadful economy, and now on healthcare.

    I've seen more mainstream Republican ideas from earlier epochs than democratic ones.

    Leadership. Real change, not hopeychangeychange.


    $22 trillion to the banksters... (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:18:09 PM EST
    ... with no transparency and no accountability was and is the agenda.

    So far, Obama has stuck to that agenda with great discipline, and done very well. It's the greatest transfer of wealth in recorded history, so Obama's place in the history books is indeed secure.


    But this began with Bush, (none / 0) (#66)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:21:26 PM EST
    and was simply escalated by Obama.

    I don't wish to downplay the numbers. In terms of policy, even this wasn't original.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:23:03 PM EST
    In financial policy -- arguably the most important area of all -- the continuities with the Bush administration are far greater than the differences. Same deal with executive power.

    Restructuring the finance industry (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:58:03 PM EST
    is the key to the kingdom.  That was the biggest blunder of all, but, a blunder only regarding the health of the nation.  From Obama's side of the street it was no blunder.

    Going back to the loot he got from Wall Street from the primaries on warned us of what was coming.  When he named Geitner, to the thunderous cheers of Wall Street, it was all over. The status quo successfully defended in the time of its greatest peril.


    Yes (none / 0) (#85)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:44:12 PM EST
    as the worst Democratic President since the 19th century.  Oughta put him down there with several Republicans.

    Not to nitpick, but... (none / 0) (#79)
    by kenosharick on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:31:26 PM EST
    we have already had the first gay president (probably)- James Buchanan. And there is good evidence that Lincoln was bisexual.

    Well, as you know as a historian (none / 0) (#81)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:15:22 PM EST
    it's debatable whether, for that matter, Obama is our first African American president. . . .

    But at least it can be said that he's the first one who is openly so. :-)


    Rahmbo (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:12:03 PM EST
    is the biggest a*shole on Capitol Hill.  And I believe Obama can be an a*shole.  

    I mean, what you say in your post seems true, but it doesn't make sense.

    The only conclusion I can draw (none / 0) (#92)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 09:37:03 AM EST
    from those facts is that Rahm and Obama don't want the same kind of health care reform most of us want. If they did, I believe they would be whatever kind of a*shole it took to get it done.

    put him (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:14:37 PM EST
    in charge

    I enjoy (none / 0) (#9)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:20:00 PM EST
    when people speak bluntly.  Maybe that's why I am the last Joe Biden fan in the world but hey.

    Anyway, people should note that this quote is 7 months old (not that BTD is claiming otherwise) so it's not something that was said in response to recent events.

    It is a quote (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:22:03 PM EST
    that explains WHY we are where we are today.

    I do not explain the van Jones kerfuffle either.

    Did I need to? I could noty give 2 sh*ts about it.

    Would not have blogged about it BUT for reading Benen's post, which of course, focuses on the part that actually does not matter.

    I hate "progressive" pundits. they stink.


    You did not need to (none / 0) (#11)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:29:19 PM EST
    I think it is on point.

    But the theory of change Obama ran on, need I remind you, was not that he was willing to knock heads to get things done!


    the Theory of Change (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:31:11 PM EST
    espoused by the idiot Mark Schmitt was that Obama would FAKE PPUs then bring the hammer down.

    I hate "progressive pundits." They stink.


    Freddy Mercury said (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:55:28 PM EST
    What the h*ll we fighting for?
    Just surrender and it won't hurt at all
    You just got time to say your prayers
    While you're waiting for the hammer to fall

    But Obama is an a**hole (none / 0) (#19)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:03:22 PM EST
    or at least i know he can be because he has been in the past.

    just a trojan horse (none / 0) (#20)
    by diogenes on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:07:57 PM EST
    If the public option were only about competition and not a trojan horse to bring in universal single payer, why would all you libs be ready to block the health bill and turn Obama into a rerun of Clinton 1994?

    i suppose (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:12:59 PM EST
    if the public option so outperformed the insurance companies and then even the people who had insurance also wanted the public option, then you'd be right.

    let's see what happens.

    insurances companies are chicken.


    this is possibly a poor bill with public option, (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:13:23 PM EST
    especially if each state has to come up with its own not for profit public option. however WITHOUT a public option, the bill is odious. giveaways to the insurance complex, mandates to the populace, and no competition.

    I want to see single-payer as the public option, not 50 different not for profits.


    In fact (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:19:02 PM EST
    the public option IS a trojan horse!

    but only if people really do find the public option to be a better choice than all the private plans out there.  If the Republicans are correct and the government can't possibly do anything right, well then fine, everyone can stick with the coverage they have now.

    If the public option leads to single-payer, it will do so through a market-based process.  The whole point is to tell the insurance companies, if you really can offer people something better than that crappy old government over there, time to put up or shut up.


    Safety net (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:29:52 PM EST
    To me, the public option is a safety net under the individual mandate.  If I'm going to be required to purchase health insurance, I want an option that's constructed with my wellbeing uppermost, not profits.  

    "Uppity"? (none / 0) (#22)
    by diogenes on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:09:57 PM EST
    Coded racism?  Next people will be using the N word.

    You better (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by kmblue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:13:01 PM EST
    light that lamp.  I believe you are stumbling about in darkness.

    Here, I have the fire :) (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:13:53 PM EST
    You go, (none / 0) (#29)
    by kmblue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:14:46 PM EST

    Uppity is for any minority (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:13:28 PM EST
    who speaks out and does not know their place.  I've used it to describe how I'm received as a woman who knows what I want in the South and not afraid to say so.  I am considered Uppity and White Trash at the same time I think, yet so spoiled I can't keep my damned mouth shut.  I'm confused by the slurs that are applicable to me.

    i never get referred to as 'uppity.' (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:16:16 PM EST
    Strange, yes. Crazy, yes.  "liberal" also... although to me that's not insulting.

    white male privilege... I'm not able to be classified as uppity, just a pain in the rear!


    Have you cultivated that (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:45:26 PM EST
    sweet southern voice and softly big stick demeanor that some men do here?  My lawyer has it, Bill Clinton uses it too.  I don't know how my lawyer pulls off being a charming a$$hole but he does.  My dog did the very uncharming thing of eating a cat once here, it went to court, my lawyer won who helped us purchase this house.

    Heh, growing up here, (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:49:28 PM EST
    it's a pretense I wear daily. And when I DO raise my voice, it's so out of character, people make sure to listen! My family always told me I should study law or at least read for the bar, but I had to go in another direction.

    I kind of like being the short, fat, balding, quiet man who interjects softly with, "Well, that isn't actually so, sir/ma'am, please let me explain why..."


    I would say at this point that everyone here (none / 0) (#27)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:13:29 PM EST
    is now very invested in the meme of Obama as Carter, to the extent that there is absolutely no health care plan, even with a "public option", that will cause anyone to change their minds.

    This reminds me of the bank insolvency meme of 6 months ago.  Now that that is not the case (even Roubini does not mention the insolvency word anymore), I don't remember seeing any bank solvency related comments at all.

    I hope I'm wrong--that when a plan is passed, there will be critical thinking about its pluses and minuses, instead of the reflexive "it's not good enough" response.

    I would say (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by kmblue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:16:22 PM EST
    you're invested in your theory, but applying a theory to everyone who posts here is dangerous.

    the plusses and minusses (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:18:19 PM EST
    of mandates without competition has been assessed.

    Well gosh . . . (5.00 / 7) (#36)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:32:33 PM EST
    can we talk about the pluses and minuses and then say it's not good enough? Reality check here . . . Oh goodie, the insurance companies have to take me even with my pre-existing condition! Oh SH*T! I still can't afford the premium and it's high deductable, yet I'm mandated to buy it!

    How's that workin' for ya?


    And what if the insurance company cannot charge (none / 0) (#41)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:38:11 PM EST
    you more because of your pre-existing condition?  And what if you are able, though a health exchange, to get insurance from any company in the 50 states, not just your state, and you can join up with others and get a group rate, or get community rated?

    And what if instead of a public option that starts in 2013, there's one that would trigger in 2013 if the insurance companies premiums rise faster than the CPI?

    Maybe we can discuss pluses and minuses when there's an actual bill passed that we can discuss.  That was my point--you're prepared now to be upset about anything; I'm not.


    Earth here . . . (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:49:40 PM EST
    the premiums are already too high, pre-existing condition or not. PO trigger, 2029. NOTHING will happen with anything until after 2012. Must. Worry. About. Reelection. IAAO.*

    I would be more open minded if Obama and his buddies had sent signals they were actually doing real health care reform. Instead, we are getting compromised (not in our favor) health insurance reform per his spokespeople. I prefer to be upset NOW and fight for real reform. I'm not willing to roll over and wait for the bus. Been around too long with eyes wide open to play that game.

    *It's All About Obama


    But of course (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:34:06 PM EST
    the banks are all giving us a "15% return" on our investment....uhhhh, maybe.

    Naked Capitalism


    Who said the banks were solvent? (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:21:12 PM EST
    If I had $22 trillion of taxpayer's money to draw on, I'd be solvent too.

    Trillion? (none / 0) (#67)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:22:34 PM EST
    certain about the T?

    Trillion with a T, yes (none / 0) (#70)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:32:03 PM EST
    TARP is in billions, but it's one of the less important programs.

    See Big Picture for a handy chart. That estimate (March 2008 -  March 2009) is a mere $15 trillion, but the number has since grown.


    thanks for the link, I'll read it. (none / 0) (#71)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:33:38 PM EST

    Axelrod should meet Carville. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Cards In 4 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:46:39 PM EST
    He could learn a lot.

    Big Tent - 2009 isn't 1933 (none / 0) (#69)
    by Rashomon66 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:28:49 PM EST
    FDR actually had an easier Congress to deal with because the composition was much more in his favor. 59 to 36 vs 59 to 40. Also the Republicans seemed much more willing to play ball then than they are today.
    It is a different political world.
    Note too that Obama has gotten these proposals further than any Democratic president in our history. Sure, he is not far left of center. And he should have pushed for a public option harder. But who could possibly win the White House that is further left and not have the same [or more] opposition?
    If you think Obama and the Democrats should dare the GOP to filibuster then I am with you. But it seems to be something that few have a stomach for. I think you would be best to blame a lot more Democrats than just Obama for not being where you want them to be.

    BFD (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:43:17 PM EST
    Obama has gotten these proposals further than any Democratic president in our history.

    Anybody can talk a good game. What counts is actually moving the ball down the field--you know, Teh Leadership.

    And whose history is "our" history? The good things FDR got done are still good, and they got done in living memory. Quite a few people who were alive during his time in office are still around now.


    Rashomon is (none / 0) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:46:07 PM EST
    quite a good name, don't you think?

    Voters got these proposals this far (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by NealB on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:24:45 PM EST
    Obama has compromised the effort since day one.

    Your argument (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:41:52 PM EST
    is ridiculous.  You are, in fact, putting forth the wrong argument.  This isn't a discussion about whether the political environment was different in 1933.  That's basically a dodge, it has no bearing on the discussion.  We've heard this all too many times from Obama deadenders who want to distract.  Major legislation, legislation that brings about significant comes from the White House as it has with major initiatives in the past.  That's leadership 101.

    The discussion is about Obama's total lack of leadership on this issue.  Obama never even bothered to submit health care legislation and has in fact pressured Progressives to accept drek without laying a glove on the blue dogs.  It's clear that real health care reform is not his priority.  Of course maintaining the status quo in the finance industry was an Obama priority so he achieved that end by punting on first down.


    What the hey (none / 0) (#75)
    by kmblue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:43:43 PM EST
    Obama has gotten nothing nowhere--for us.
    For Big Pharma, he's gotten some stuff done all right.
    What on earth do you mean?

    Agreed - (none / 0) (#77)
    by s5 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:53:51 PM EST
    If something like the House bill passes with a public option, it will be historic, and an accomplishment that no president has been able to deliver. America will finally have universal health care. The system will be excessively complex, but it will be universal. That's nothing to sneeze at.