Why Conservatives Shouldn't Get the Credit For Coakley's Defeat

Peter Daou in HuffPo, Liberal Bloggers to Dems and Obama: We Told You So, explores the two most prevalent reasons for the Republican win in Massachusetts:

The first, promulgated by conservatives, is that the new administration has moved too far to the left and alienated a large swath of independent and moderate voters.

The second, pushed by progressive activists and bloggers, is that the administration hasn't been true enough to fundamental Democratic principles, has embraced some of Bush's worst excesses on civil liberties, and has ditched popular ideas (like the public option) in favor of watered down centrist policies, thus looking weak and ineffectual.

The conservative argument is unpersuasive.

I think he's got a point. But I'll take it a few steps further. [More...]

In the last year, Obama and the Dems have compromised too much, moving further away from the goals of progressives. The abandonment of the public option is just one example. On the civil liberties front, Obama has not eliminated trial by military commissions and continued many of the overbroad domestic surveillance programs of the Bush Administration. Here's the ACLU's report card on Obama's civil rights' records, out today.

On issues like spying on Americans, monitoring of activists, terrorism watchlists, the Real ID Act and DNA databases, the administration has carried out none of the ACLU's recommendations.

"Our hope a year ago was that the Obama administration would restore our nation's long tradition of respect for privacy and the rule of law by rolling back the privacy-invading domestic security policies enacted by the Bush administration," Romero said. "Unfortunately, many of those policies have not been reversed, and we now run the risk of seeing them become a permanent part of American life."

On criminal justice issues, one year has passed since Obama's inauguration and we still don't have a law equalizing crack and powder cocaine. There's been no federal law passed reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences or increasing good time for prisoners. Obama is still backing indefinite detention for some detainees, without the filing of criminal charges. He missed his one year deadline to close Guantanamo. There's been no action to legalize the millions of undocumented residents. The war on drugs is still in full force.

Rather than getting us out of the Middle East, Obama has committed more troops and money to Afghanistan. His anti-terror policies are not much different than Bush's global war on terror.

Peter says:

The case by progressives that Democrats are undermining themselves with faux-bipartisanship and tepid policies gets much closer to the heart of the problem.

How so?

....Democratic leaders and strategists, privately disdainful of the netroots, underestimated the influence of progressive bloggers.

Nothing should have been a bigger red flag to the new administration than the growing complaints by established progressive bloggers that Democrats were veering off track on the stimulus, the health care bill, civil liberties, gay rights, and more. But scoffing at the netroots is second nature in many quarters of the political establishment, even though they laid the groundwork for Obama's victory.

The single biggest reason Obama's hope bubble burst is because of the unintended convergence of left and right opinion-making. The cauldron of opinion that churns incessantly on blogs, Twitter, social networks, and in the elite media generates the storylines that filter across the national and local press, providing the fodder for public opinion. Stalwarts of the left, dedicated to principles not personalities, hammered the administration; couple that with the partisan criticisms from conservatives and libertarians, and the net effect was to alter conventional wisdom and undercut Obama's image and message.

....Progressive bloggers have been jumping up and down, yelling at their Democratic leaders that the path of compromise and pragmatism only goes so far. The limit is when you start compromising away your core values. I sincerely hope that's the lesson learned today.

Contrary to what Joe Lieberman thinks, going centrist will just be handing the reins over to Republicans. One more time:

The path of compromise and pragmatism only goes so far. The limit is when you start compromising away your core values.

The Dems are losing vast segments of us, for a variety of reasons. For some, it's health care or economic issues. For others, it's civil liberties. For some, like me, it's criminal justice reform. I wonder, had Obama shown us this year he cared about criminal justice, drug policy and immigration reform, and protecting civil liberties, would I have found Martha Coakley so objectionable? By herself, she's nothing. A crime warrior in an Administration committed to reform is a nusiance, but not a threat.

But with an Administration that has shown no inclination to push reform issues, given her strong law enforcement background, as a Senator, she posed a threat in a way that Scott Brown, whose positions are even worse, didn't. Consider: Joe Biden telling Coakley what crime bill to author, the same way prior presidents prompted him. He brags he wrote everything from Title III to FISA and AEDPA. These bills passed, because the various Administrations wanted them. Other possibilities: Coakley teaming up with DiFi and Lieberman to pass more victims rights bills. Coakley and Orrin Hatch, Coakley and Jeff Sessions. Coakley and Janet Napolitano getting together on anti-terror bills. Had Obama shown leadership and commitment to reform this year, those possibilities would not be anywhere near as worrisome.

Obama and the Dems, as demonstrated so clearly by the health care bill -- but it's only one example -- have pushed more than a few progressives over the edge. They have compromised our values past the point of no return. They've lost our trust. And if they don't turn around, and head back our way, and instead continue to run center and right in the name of bi-partisanship, I think they risk losing us altogether.

We won't support the Right or Republicans, but we may stop actively advocating for Dems. If we stop fighting for Dems, there's only one voice left out there, and it's the voice of the Right. If we jump ship and no longer have their back, whether out of a sense of futility or apathy, the Right will win, like they did tonight. It won't be because more people agree with them than us -- but because they just happen to be standing in the right place at the right time. Yes, they have finally figured out how to use new media and social media to spread their message, but by itself, that would not be enough. We are still the champs at that -- but only if we choose to use them.

I may not have been one of those filled with hope and visions of change when Obama got elected, but I did expect progress. What we've seen so far falls far short of even that modest expectation.

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    Hope this is a wake up call (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by WS on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:59:26 AM EST
    Obama has to start fighting for the things he and the Democrats believe in.  He has to get rid of his fixation on the "win", start taking risks, and not be afraid to lose on legislative matters.  

    Daou is right that Dems lose by courting the RW (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Ellie on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:23:10 AM EST
    And your succinct analysis in this quote pretty much sums up all of my disappointments.

    The Dems are losing vast segments of us, for a variety of reasons. For some, it's health care or economic issues. For others, it's civil liberties. For some, like me, it's criminal justice reform.

    There's absolutely no reason to keep chasing the hard right markers. Dems should be fighting for their constituencies, not expecting that the opposite's magically going to happen -- independently of performance -- because it has in the past.

    Yes - they seem to continue to assume (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:59:37 AM EST
    that everybody's minds are totally made up and no one is open to persuasion about Dem core values about all of those things J mentions. So they do not even try making the persuasive arguments, and continue to give up on those values, and move to the right.  

    Chasing the left-most fringe of the right is a losing battle. They have to move the window to the left through persuasion and implementation of good policy. In this whole year, they have barely tried.


    D's and R's are SUPPOSED to be different (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:06:11 AM EST
    Opposition is a necessity in making sure all angles of a solution are brought out and examined.

    It is unfortunate that the gov't has lost their ability to even work together or consider the people who hired them. Making them all centrists sounds like something only Obama would feel is the best thing to do.


    Obama Cannot Fight Hard Enough (none / 0) (#65)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:07:46 PM EST
    It isn't in Obama's makeup to shift to warrior mode, and besides he's made so many compromises and made such a tangle with weakling Democrats along with the sycophants that allowed this patchwork HC bill, that it cannot mean anything.

    Obama is currently buried by the result of his deceptive behavior. Speaking out of two sides of his mouth and giving away favors for votes on a bill that was nothing like what was expected and promised has angered everyone in and out of the Democratic party.

    He gave us the same old strong armed politics
    and the same old DC that made us cringe enough to elect him.

    But we've watched a man with no clothes on. And he was brought out so often on photo ops and Copenhagen double headers that it got to be like Muzak.

    You know there's music in the elevator but you don't hear it


    Post-election quotes roundup from Boston.com (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Ellie on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:30:42 AM EST
    Here's a variety of reactions to accompany Daou's and your analyses; the last paragraph should throw cold water on any Dem thinking (yet again) that they need to try harder on this "post"-partisanship nonsense.

    [culled from] With 60th vote gone, a search for a new strategy By Lisa Wangsness Boston Globe  / January 20, 2010

    [Barney Frank]: "It would be wrong substantively and politically for Democrats to try to pass the bill despite the election." ... "I think we now have to begin some negotiations over a different bill.'' He said the next step should be to see whether Republicans will make good on their persistent offers to start anew on a bipartisan deal. ...

    "Members will feel there is no political upside for dealing with it,'' said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA and a leading proponent of the overhaul effort. "I think it is now or one or more decades from now.''
    Democratic leaders showed little interest in trying to hurry up and pass a compromise bill based on the House-Senate negotiations of this month before Brown is formally seated. ...

    Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, the son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, said he thought this was the best way forward. "We've got to get it done,'' he said. "To start from scratch and try to cobble something together is politically a very difficult thing to do.''

    House majority leader Steny Hoyer would not comment on the postelection strategy yesterday, but he told reporters, "I think the Senate bill is clearly better than nothing.'' But the difficulties of engineering such a strategy would be great because House members disagree with the Senate on so many fronts. ...

    Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan and the leader of the antiabortion Democratic contingent in the House, said: "I wouldn't consider it. Promises don't make it.''

    Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have to both reassure members the party will bolster their reelection bids and discipline recalcitrant members. "She's got to lean on people,'' he said.

    But some members rejected all of those approaches, arguing the party should take a step back. [Barney] Frank said, "Any suggestion that Democrats try to get cute with this is a terrible idea.''

    Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, said: "When you have large numbers of citizens in the United States of America who believe this is going in the wrong direction, there's a limit to which you can keep saying that OK, they just don't get it, if we just pass a bill, they'll get it,'' he said.

    Len Nichols, a health economist with the New America Foundation, said he still thinks the best way forward for Democrats would be to return to Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, and possibly her fellow moderate Maine Republican, Susan Collins, and strike a compromise. "I know just from interacting with staff on both sides of the aisle that she and Collins engaged in various amendments right up until the end,'' he said. "I don't think they are beyond the pale.''

    But others doubted that strategy would work. After Brown's victory, Republicans would put almost inconceivable pressure on any member of the GOP who would offer political smelling salts to their adversaries.

    What is 'A dumb loss of a Senate Seat' Alex? (5.00 / 7) (#10)
    by Ellie on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:38:40 AM EST
    Drew Westen:

    What happens if you refuse to lay the blame for the destruction of our economy on anyone--particularly the party, leaders, and ideology that were in power for the last 8 years and were responsible for it?

    What happens if you fail to "brand" what has happened as the Bush Depression or the Republican Depression or the natural result of the ideology of unregulated greed, the way FDR branded the Great Depression as Hoover's Depression and created a Democratic majority for 50 years and a new vision of what effective government can do?

    What happens when you fail to offer and continually reinforce a narrative about what has happened, who caused it, and how you're going to fix it that Americans understand, that makes them angry, that makes them hopeful, and that makes them committed to you and your policies during the tough times that will inevitably lie ahead?

    The answer was obvious a year ago, and it is even more obvious today:

    Voters will come to blame you for not having solved a problem you didn't create, and you will allow the other side to create an alternative narrative for what's happened (government spending , deficits, big government, socialism) that will stick. And it will particularly stick if you make no efforts to prevent it from starting or sticking.

    (I'm way past my bed-time but I can't tear away from rubbernecking the post-mortems pouring in. Interesting elections are like poli-meth. I've already written off the next 20 hrs.)

    Additionally from Weston, his last graf resonates: (5.00 / 6) (#22)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:06:09 AM EST
    With all its efforts to tack to the center, the White House missed the point. The issue isn't about right or left. It's about whose side you're on. In Massachusetts, the voters believe they know. It's now up to the President and his party to convince the American people otherwise.

    And (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by lentinel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:14:01 AM EST
    there is also the omnipresent fact that we are continuing Bush's wars. So there is no criticism of him. He lied to us. How many Iraqis and Americans have been needlessly killed.

    Obama and the Democrats can't confront Bush's wars, because now they are his. And ours.


    Help Wanted: Massachusetts Attorney General (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:50:18 AM EST
    Decent pay, Great benefits.
    Applicant must defeat an incumbent in the Democratic Primary, shouldn't be difficult, as she hates to campaign. Application (Declaration of Canndidacy) due by Feb. 4th, 2010.

    Applicant must LIKE meeting people, be willing to shake hands in front of Fenway Park.

    Massachusetts Law License required, Criminal Defense and or Constitutional Law background preferred.

    Qualifications will be reviewed by the State Democratic Convention, where applicant must receive support from 15% of Delegates in attendance. Afterwards, Applicant must receive a plurality of support in the Democratic Primary, and again in the November 2010 General Election.

    FDR, or . . . ? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Spamlet on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:03:00 AM EST
    Jay Cost:

    Obama is a mystery, though he has written two autobiographies about himself. . . Politico reports one senior advisor as saying, "This is not a moment that causes the president or anybody who works for him to express any doubt. It more reinforces the conviction to fight hard" . . . If the President really thinks this, they are going to be in a mess of trouble for the rest of his term, for it would mean that he's too stubborn or arrogant to make needed adjustments . . . It would mean that a comparison to Jimmy Carter is more apt than a comparison to Franklin Roosevelt.

    fight night (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by lentinel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:11:16 AM EST
    Obama is being encouraged to "fight hard".

    But what is he being encourage to fight for?


    Cost is behind the curve (none / 0) (#59)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:34:51 PM EST
    Obama was knowable from the start.  A personality devoid any conviction other than a commitment to Village comity, peace among the elites and that meant preserving the status quo.

    The results were in when he nominated Geitner.  Not quite up to Carter standards.


    here's hoping (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by souvarine on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:27:28 AM EST
    On the plain evidence it is hard to make your case. People are saying they voted for Obama, and yesterday voted for Brown, fed up with deficit spending. Polls are showing Obama loosing the support of conservatives while still solid with liberals.

    Daou's argument is pretty good, but convoluted. Democratic Congressmen, and Obama, considering their political future are most likely to do in 2010 what they did in 1994, stretch to the right, show they have no principles, and lose.

    I hope I'm wrong.

    If Dems decide to listen to (5.00 / 10) (#25)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:36:01 AM EST
    conservatives' opinions on what's wrong with Democrats - that Dems moved too far to the left - instead of listening to actual liberal/progressive Democrats and independents, the bloodletting is just getting started.

    I would love to have the Dems' backs, but they have not shown me that they're much interested in having mine; calls, letters, and e-mails have either failed to get their attention, or they have made a conscious decision to reject our pleas about the current course.  This leaves us with the decision whether to walk away, or swallow our dignity and self-respect, and keep supporting people who do not support us.

    I can't do that anymore.  Will I support Republicans?  Not likely, because they don't represent my views, either - so we may be poised to have an electorate that is so disaffected that the next several election cycles will see participation at all-time lows.

    I don't give a rat's a$$ about Obama's precious image, or saving him from the embarrassment of failure; I'm tired of the most critical issues of our time coming down to that, rather than to the needs of the country and the people.

    Rahm Emanuel needs to be run out of town on a rail, and liberal members of Congress have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with Obama ASAP, and instruct him in the reality that America does not need a President Kumbayah, they need a President I'm-a-Democrat-and-we-fight-for-the-people-and-I-will-be-super-partisan-if-that's-what-it-takes.  We don't need a President Republicans-have-such-good-ideas, we need a President Republicans-suck-at-what-matters-to-you.

    This isn't going to happen, though; Obama doesn't get it.  He doesn't get me, or you, or the rest of the Democratic base - he still thinks this is all about us getting him, propping up his image.

    I think the people have some news for him and for the rest of the centrist crowd; they wrote the headline last night.

    Questionable (none / 0) (#44)
    by jen on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:04:52 AM EST
    to me if Obama doesn't get it, or if it's all by design. Put a cool, 1/2 black, corporate tool, who can talk pretty in the WH with a D after his name, and a whole lot of people who would have fought him tooth and nail if he had an R after his name, will happily go along, and even defend him. For a while.

    Obama is a smart guy (none / 0) (#48)
    by Spamlet on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:39:01 AM EST
    I am, in a sense, one degree of separation from Obama, in several directions. People I know who used to know Obama say that he really does get it (or used to).

    Why he is apparently willing to pretend that he doesn't--that, for me, is the question. Maybe it's a matter of getting it on the issues but not getting it when it comes to bad political advice.

    I'm not quite willing to believe that Obama is an absolute, irredeemable opportunist. But I might think he was if I had never heard otherwise from people who used to know him.


    This is the first sign (none / 0) (#60)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:44:20 PM EST
    we may be poised to have an electorate that is so disaffected that the next several election cycles will see participation at all-time lows

    This is what happens when people feel unrepresented, they simply don't show up, they don't think it's worth the effort.

    I've been saying this for some time and by 2010 we may see the start of the long slide, the decline in participation.  If we all thought turnout was abysmal in 1996 just wait a little while.


    see! (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:24:33 AM EST
    I told you she would lose.
    (from the Harold Ford school of commenting)

    If a jobs bill had come first (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:28:34 AM EST
    after the banks and big businesses bill. . . .

    We would not have to be having this discussion.

    Remember, FDR did jobs first.  Then Social Security, when the country was resoundingly with him.

    Absolutely 1000 % right (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:54:12 PM EST
    I tried to make exactly this point last night to a kool-aidaholic after the party meeting.

    HCR shouldn't have been attemmpted until the finance industry was straightened out and an all out effort to create jobs (my any means) was under way and showing unmistakable, tangible progress.

    2011 or 2012 would have been soon enough.


    A jobs bill did come first (none / 0) (#41)
    by FreakyBeaky on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:21:03 AM EST
    It was too small.  There will not be a second one.

    Polls (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:56:22 PM EST
    in Mass. indicated that some people conflated the recovery act with aid to the finance industry.

    If the Pres. had not emphatically stated (none / 0) (#54)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:19:23 PM EST
    HCR would not increase the fed. deficit by a dime, and then ssent more U.S. troops to Afghanistan w/o the same limitation, maybe the Dems. in Congress could have created a meaningful HCR bill.  Meanwhile, yesterday the Pres. was touting increased spending for "Race to the Top," which seems to favor charter schools, and which does not seem to require financial accountability re fed. deficit.

    Core values? (3.66 / 3) (#3)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:13:24 AM EST
    Does our leader in the White House have core values?  If so, what are they are?  When might they be revealed to us?  

    of course he does (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:18:17 AM EST
    and he's told us what they are. He's just not acting on them. Which should not be too much of a surprise since he campaigned on a "there is no red states, no blue states, just the United States" platform, which shouts bi-partisan compromise, but my point is enough already with the compromise. Progressives are getting fed up.

    CredoAction, in calling for reconciliation tonight, put it well:

    As the election neared, it became increasingly likely that a disappointed and unmotivated progressive base of Democrats and progressive-minded Independents would not turn out to vote in numbers large enough to counter the smaller but more committed conservative base.

    Now that Democratic candidate Martha Coakley has conceded the race, this appears to be what happened.

    Have (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:42:28 AM EST
    you thought that he doesn't act on these values because he really doesnt have them. And frankly his word is no good. He's said a lot of thing only to weasel out of them later. It's a character flaw that can't be fixed.

    re: Character flaw. (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by bobbski on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:59:13 AM EST
    You nailed it, yet the apologists are still playing defense... and poorly I might add.

    Someone (Jim Hightower I think) once said that all you find in the middle of the road are dead armadillos and other road kill.  A lesson Obama better learn real soon or he will share the same fate as Jimmy Carter.


    Right now (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:03:37 PM EST
    I think a comparison with Jimmy Carter is setting the bar too high for Obama.

    If it's a character flaw, (none / 0) (#49)
    by Spamlet on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:41:22 AM EST
    it's one he shares with virtually every other politician.



    Well (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:01:55 PM EST
    There are many here who can honestly question what Obama is for.  During the election, I could tell you what John Edwards was for (elimiating poverty), what Hillary Clinton was for (health care reform), Dennis Kucinich was for (pulling out of Iraq), and all the Republicans were for staying the course in our two wars and building up the military.  But beyond, "yes, we can" I never knew what Obama was for.

    So, while all politicians do share that character flaw, his was definitely more pronounced than most.


    Obama's (none / 0) (#56)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:32:03 PM EST
    character flaw is kumbaya. I dont think ALL politicans have that one nor do they all weasel out of things at the rate Obama has. Do they all weasel out? Yeah, they do.

    If he's not acting on them, (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:09:01 AM EST
    they are just words, not core values.

    Reconciliation doesn't sound likely (none / 0) (#9)
    by Manuel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:51:20 AM EST
    Barney Frank (Barney Frank?) is calling the health care approach "no longer approprate".  The usual "centrsts" are making similar noises. Ramming through a health care package that is deeply unpopular with progressives and conservatives may be good policy but is terrible politics after today's election.  I don't think they will do it.  Remember, these aren't fighting Democrats.

    I thought the Dems and Indy's (none / 0) (#28)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:08:23 AM EST
    came out in much bigger numbers than expected?

    As the election neared, it became increasingly likely that a disappointed and unmotivated progressive base of Democrats and progressive-minded Independents would not turn out to vote in numbers large enough

    And, that something like 20% of the dems voted for Brown.


    Not quite the same as in (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:58:41 AM EST
    some other states, the Mass. Dems.  There's a large number of "Reagan Dems."  The Mass. GOP is so pathetic and the old party ties still so strong in many blue-collar "white ethnics" that folks retain their Dem. registration even though they're pretty conservative.  A large percentage of elections are pretty well decided by the results of the Dem. primary, so there's little point in trying to maintain a GOP or unafilliated registration.

    20 percent voting for Brown seems about right for that.


    this progressive is not getting (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:40:53 AM EST
    he is fed up.  if they dont do something damn quick Im done.  let the republicans eat them in november.

    Im done.


    Obama's only core value is to promote obama (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Bornagaindem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:28:47 AM EST
    I agree with you Brass Tacks- there are no core values and never were and anyone who keeps thinking there are are just delusional. Coakley's loss  was about Obama and what he is making or enabling the worst of the democrats to do. The DNC made a horrible calculation when they "selected" Obama in 2008. I won't hold my breath that they will recognize that though.

    Daou is trying to push his round peg (3.50 / 2) (#8)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:37:24 AM EST
    of observation into the square hole of democratic activist rhetoric.

    i'll cut right to the chase.

    how big of a joke is someone who blamed clinton for future elections lost by other dems, but who will refuse to the same with Obama?

    i think of such a person and if i NEEDED to be their friends to make by blogging busineess work, well, sure, i'd be their friends.

    but i'd have no real respect for such a person.

    none at all.

    Ignorant comment (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:47:40 AM EST
    As in uninformed.

    waaaaaa (none / 0) (#66)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:37:51 AM EST
    you didn't understand the comment.

    just wanted to say (none / 0) (#68)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:50:29 AM EST
    yeah you probably get it.  i've seen your comments enough to know you get it, there's just a line you can't cross that i just crossed.

    i get it too.

    it's all so inconvenient when someone mutters the truth so i TOTALLY understand why your response to my comment was necessary.

    i don't take it personally.

    peace, man.


    You do not know (none / 0) (#35)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:24:28 AM EST
    who Peter Daou is.

    Apparently. (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:56:16 AM EST
    i do (none / 0) (#67)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:38:35 AM EST
    and i wasn't criticizing peter.

    i was criticizing the poor saps peter is trying to reach out to.


    The late Ted Kennedy gets (1.33 / 3) (#16)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:45:22 AM EST
    credit for the defeat.  Had he retired when he found he had his non-operable brain cancer.  should have, his seat would have went dem during the election.  
    He had no idea Obama,a person who is a total creation of the media, a person who had been seated in the senate for one measly month before his presidential work started.  A person who has never, ever worked a real job in his life, a person who's cabinet members have never worked a real job in their life.  A person who thinks gov't employees and Academia are the end all be all of answers.  A man who sees gov't as THE answer.  A man whose doesn't understand the pride that comes with a job, not the being on the gov't dole.  A man with a cabinet who thinks nothing of running up debts on grandchildren so mind boggling that it makes Bush's outrageous spending look normal.  A man being dragged into the abyss by dems so intent on keeping power they would sell their grandchildren.  

    But the libs can help by keep hammering the meme that he lost because Gitmo is still open?  And Military commissions are still a possibility?  Hammer away.  

    I'm not sure what you're saying. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:39:37 AM EST
    However, you're just flat wrong about Obama seeing government action as the answer to problems. His stated political philosophy is very  friendly to private solutions.
    He doesn't like burdensome government regulation much, either.

    I think Obama's problem is lack of guts---he gives the clear impression of not caring, not willing to be able to take a stand on some principle, when it comes to domestic policy.
    A good politician at least convinces the public that he is firm and unwavering in support for his ideals---even if he isn't.
    Obama could learn a lot from Bush in this regard.
    You should always SAY you're not going to compromise, at first. Republicans understand this.
    If you compromise later, then say that you got what you wanted, and the other side bent.


    Hahahahahaha (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:01:48 AM EST
    Oh please.  Let me know what jobs are "real" in your book to see if I qualify for existence by Republican measures.

    Have fun in 'Murca! Peace!


    I suspect a gun and a pickup truck (none / 0) (#38)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:47:48 AM EST
    are requirements.

    I'm left to assume (none / 0) (#39)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:52:45 AM EST
    that our wonderful host Jeralyn doesn't have a "real job" either, because working at a law firm doesn't count.  Oy.

    No a prius and (none / 0) (#51)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:53:40 AM EST
    a keyboard with a sense of smugness.

    Well (none / 0) (#50)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:53:09 AM EST
    I am willing to bet I am the only hourly paid, union employee regularly on this site.
    Does that mean you are leaving?

    Dump Geithner and listen to Axelrod. (none / 0) (#2)
    by AX10 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:06:11 AM EST

    In my opinion there was a better middle path! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:23:12 AM EST
    We saw Bush get his tail whipped when he was at his strongest on Social Security Reform.  Now all of us are happy that happened.  My SS and Pension are doing much better than my Mutual Funds (IRA, 401).

    I believe they were counting 31 Million more people would have been covered by the new Health Care Plan.
    BUT they decided to change EVERYTHING at once.  They could have just covered the 31 Million and that would have been a great start and a great success but no they had to go for broke.
    Call it Medicaid, Medicare, "Last Stop Insurance", what ever.   The costs for the 31 million would have been covered by the Federal Government and a Tax on the current Health System.

    In a few more years (maybe 5, but certainly 10) when the cost of the US Health System goes to 20 or 25 percent GDP we could have reworked the cost structure.

    But in the meanwhile the Democrats with their twisted dealing with Senators, Hospitals, and Pharma  and other groups and their pretended cost savings and pushing at any cost this bill have not only disillusioned the Independents but scared the crap out of them.

    And the Independents are the true Swing vote.

    Still to answer Jeralyn's point.
    If this bill had been written by say you or someone you chose in the truest progressive form the Independents would still revolt.

    You could come back and say well we could have pushed this bill through so quickly or with the nuclear option before they woke up.  Yes I agree to that.  But as Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

    We need more agreement on something so sweeping as changes to social security and health care.  This isn't Europe.  Americans don't like being force fed big changes.

    Iraq (none / 0) (#15)
    by lentinel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:08:00 AM EST
    All of the issues mentioned above are extremely important.

    For me, the most important is the issue of the never-ending wars in which we are engaged.

    In 2006, when the democrats were given control of the house and senate, they were given a mandate to end the war in Iraq.
    They didn't. They let Bush increase the number of troops in Iraq instead.

    Because these wars - especially the war in Iraq - reflects on our moral character. Many of the evils which we endure today have been caused by this senseless invasion which has resulted in the displacement, killing and wounding of millions.

    It is still costing us almost eight hundred million dollars and day. And we are building an opulent embassy.

    Until it ends, there can be no joy for us.

    Yes, I was wondering how (none / 0) (#19)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:34:47 AM EST
    Obama's AfPak policy is playing with the public.
    If I were Joe Schmoe on the right, who thought we went into Iraq to take care of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, I would be puzzled by this change of direction.
    I'm Larry Lefty, and I don't like it because I see no clear goals, a massive investment and huge risks.

    And (none / 0) (#45)
    by lentinel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:09:00 AM EST
    there is also the reality of our daily killing of innocent people who happen to be in the vicinity of whatever "suspects" we are dropping bombs on.

    I'm sick of it.


    What the campaigns have stated though Jeralyn (none / 0) (#17)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:08:31 AM EST
    is that it was Obama's treatment of detainees - not as enemy combatants but as civilians that won the election for Brown.  Coakley's prosecutorial record and Obamacare were distant issues.  That cuts against your argument.

    It also killed Coakley when she said there are no (none / 0) (#18)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:14:08 AM EST
    terrorists in Afganistan and we should not be sending in troops.

    I agree with you about what Obama should be fighting for, but Brown's win had as much to do independents view of the democratic party's national security left leaning views (the very few they have) than anything else.


    If the HCR bill were Medicare for all (none / 0) (#34)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:19:19 AM EST
    does Brown win in Mass promising to be the 41st vote against it?


    I had a thought (none / 0) (#37)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:44:42 AM EST
    President Snowe might be replaced with President Brown.

    Here's why - he is up for re-election in 2012.  He ran as an independent minded republican.  He voted for HCR in MA.

    If they play their cards right (BIG IF), and break this bill down to it's critical parts (no ban on pre-existing conditions, etc...), if he filibusters he will pay the price.

    Yeah (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:04:04 AM EST
    As someone (here, I think) said:

    4-term (?)State senator
    2 years in US Senate

    Perfect candidate for POTUS.


    That's already (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:03:47 PM EST
    being mentioned by the pundit class. Incredible.

    Why not? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:23:43 PM EST
    It's not like there isn't precedent for a Senator only a 3rd of the way through his first term to consider runnning....

    I vote (none / 0) (#57)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:33:17 PM EST
    no more candidates from MA for at least a decade or two.

    Ted Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, and Romney were all terrible candidates.

    The idea of Scott Brown being added to that group makes me want to throw up.


    Subtle Smears (none / 0) (#42)
    by JPB on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:34:32 AM EST
    I know this comment wasn't yours, but I want to address it anyway:

    Stalwarts of the left, dedicated to principles not personalities, hammered the administration; couple that with the partisan criticisms from conservatives and libertarians, and the net effect was to alter conventional wisdom and undercut Obama's image and message.

    Look, of course Republicans play partisan politics--just like the Democrats do. Indeed, it is the very nature of political parties.

    But lumping the libertarians with the conservatives with the not-so-subtle jab assuming we aren't dedicated to principles is unfair as it is unfounded. As a principled libertarian, I can assure you my complaints were just as adamant when Bush was in office AND that this repeated assumption of ill-intent on the part of the opposition is arrogant and grating.

    I do not mean to imply that you, Jeralyn, are guilty of this--but this is a resentment I sure I am not alone in feeling and do, in fact, feel acutely when I read other contributors to this website.

    Civil and economic libertarians often overlap and very often have the same goals as the Left, we just earnestly and respectfully differ in the ways to go about it.

    I hold (none / 0) (#58)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:41:14 PM EST
    libertarian views on many issues, e.g. gun rights. Libertarians have been the allies on criminal justice reform on many issues, from forfeiture to protesting warrantless searches based on good faith. I haven't criticized libertarians.

    Why did Brown win, then? (none / 0) (#64)
    by diogenes on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:39:25 PM EST
    Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's seat in the only state that voted for George McGovern.  He campaigned on a conservative platform and had great momentum.  The reason he won, however, is that Obama and the Dems have not governed as far to the LEFT as they should have???