People Disagree

Yglesias writes:

[T]he US House of Representative is a fairly well-functioning legislative body. Itís a body organized around two major political parties that outline competing, somewhat coherent agendas that command large-scale support from their own members and little support from the opposition. [. . .] There are biannual elections at which the American people put either one party or the other in charge, and having won an election the winning party attempts to govern in a way that maintains the confidence of the voters.

Itís a perfectly good system. [. . . John] Boehnerís ideas are different from Nancy Pelosiís ideas, and if he wants his ideas to prevail he needs to assemble a majority prepared to support him. Thatís his responsibility as an opposition leader, whereas Pelosiís responsibility is to frame a successful governing agenda that maintainís the publicís faith in her co-partisans. Itís a system where power aligns with responsibility, and where those with power are held accountable for their use of it. The Senate, by contrast, is a mess.

(Emphasis supplied.) This is obviously true. And the Presidency, especially since the Imperial Presidency, SHOULD work in the same way. That's why Obama's post partisan unity schtick is so annoying. It is ridiculous and wrong.

Speaking for me only

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    I agree, once again, . . . (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by Doc Rock on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 05:59:37 PM EST
    . . . with BTD!

    I was hoping (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Spamlet on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:14:26 PM EST
    that Obama's PPUS was as cynical as your backing him in the primaries on the basis of his being a "media darling." I hoped that the PPUS was simply a strategy for peeling off enough Republican votes in the primaries to get him the nomination. But if he really believes in the PPUS, then he has little sense of history and government and is perhaps not as bright as advertised. And we're f^cked, btw.

    PPUS (none / 0) (#3)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:18:54 PM EST
    is just a camouflage and another method for not taking a position on which the Prez can be judged.

    PPUS is a way to pretend to (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:27:24 PM EST
    be  a Democrat, when you're not.
    I'm sorry, but the show on Friday was SOOO disappointing, no matter how many plaudits Obama received. He was showing how Republican he is, and since that goes against the Republican narrative, which paints him as a Marxist,
    the event was billed as a success.
    No question he landed some blows--- I'll be the first to admit that.
    But I think he is still pursuing the losing strategy of giving people a choice between a Republican and  a Republican.
    It seems to me that PPUS and Friday's meet give the Republicans ground to go even FURTHER to the right, now that Obama is part way in their camp.

    Oh well.

    Yeah, short hiatus, but I really can't believe the mass hypnosis phenomenon that happens whenever Obama opens his mouth. I think there should be a rule that no one writes about an Obama speech until he takes a day for the O effect to wear off, AND he reads the text.
    He was OK on the issues, Friday---not great by any means. He did not show mastery of the details, and ducked a question he didn't understand. A B+ public performance as a politician; a C performance as a Democrat.


    How is asking (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:49:07 PM EST
    for a $100 billion jobs bill showing how Republican Obama is?

    Balance that against his (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:51:34 PM EST
    enthusiasm for a SS and Medicare Gut and Cut commission. I gave him a C for being a Democrat---not an F.
    Obama's a fighting Rockefeller Republican, possibly the first ever!

    You are interpreting him wrong (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:10:05 PM EST
    Medicare will get gutted on its own and be an absolute drag on the economy unless comprehensive HCR is passed. Did you also consider the strong possibility that the Commission that Obama is enthusiastic about can recommend taxing corporations and higher income groups to balance deficits? How does that make him a Republican?

    And did you consider that (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:12:57 PM EST
    the commission will propose SS cuts?
    Which do you think is more likely in the current political climate.
    When Obama aligns himself with your lefty views, let me know; I'll have a glass of champagne.
    For now, your "strong possibility" is pure speculation.

    Care to explain this (1.00 / 1) (#31)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:11:24 PM EST
    Medicare will get gutted on its own and be an absolute drag on the economy unless comprehensive HCR is passed.

    And what kind of HCR are you talking about and how exactly does whatever HCR relate to Medicare that will somehow gut itself.  Also explain how Meicare itself will be a drag on the economy.

    Another question:  Do you get your Kool-Aid wholesale?


    Medicare will become insovent by 2017 (none / 0) (#36)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:54:52 PM EST
    if nothing is done (when the large baby-boom generation reaches old age and because of increases in life expectancies)

    Younger workers will be taxed more and more to pay benefits for a large pool of retirees. If more and more of our taxes and debt go towards supporting Medicare (and not towards investments in education, technology and jobs), it will be a drag on the economy.


    I'm aware (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:54:37 PM EST
    of the state of the Medicare Trust Fund.  The aging population, etc. I did some work locally on the Social Security debate in 2005.  But the fact is that Medicare remains on the books and will stay there unless Congress and a President are stupid enough to eliminate or gouge it.

    Medicare revenue and expenditures are part of "total" budget just as Social Security revenue and expenditures are part of "total" budget.

    Unless you're a very low tax conservative(something I'm beginning to suspect) then you must understand that tax increases are necessary.  It's the only responsible course.

    Medicare alone (or for that matter Social Security) can't and shouldn't be singled out as the sole cause of budget problems. Maintaining over 700 foreign military installations is akin to flushing tax money down the toilet not to mention the utter waste of treasure fighting pointless wars. Importing some military hardware components (thanks G H W Bush) is another useless squandering of treasure, flushing money down the toilet. The fact is that both Social Security and Medicare generate significant economic activity which generate tax revenue.

    Cutting Social Security would not only incease old age poverty it would also present families of the elderly with increased financial burden. Ditching Medicare is akin to a kill 'em early program, something out of Logan's Run and again a burden on families. Serious economic problems can be averted by insuring that Social Security and Medicare are retained intact.

    Beyond that here's something that many of today's technocratic types just don't get.  Programs like Social Security and Medicare are a social compact between generations that are a vital ingredient of the social fabric.  Tear it, destroy it at great risk to the nation.

    It's a symptom of our continuing decline that so many younger people lack the intellect and foresight to understand that they too will grow old.  I see that in your comments.

    HCR is a vital ingredient in reigning in medical costs but the HCR as proposed (both House and Senate) will do little or nothing to contain costs and one of its provisions (both houses)could very well hamper the economy.

    You're riding the Obama train without any sign of critical thinking.  Thoughtlessly supporting a President who puts either program at risk is irresponsible.


    OK (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:45:49 PM EST
    I appreciate this post (# 41) and also respect the social compact between generations. I am not a very low tax conservative, neither am I a liberal who believes that deficits do not matter. I frankly do not buy into the paranoia that Obama is out to "cut" social security and "ditch" Medicare, if I had an iota of doubt in that regard I would not be supporting Obama's policies in that regard.
    I agree with your point regarding cutting expenditure through closing many of the 700 foreign military bases. I believe that if the Democrats continue to retain the Presidency and majorities in Congress, that option will always remain in the table. However, you should also understand that a very high percentage of the military expenditure goes towards paying the salaries of our servicemen and women. If you start closing military bases right away, many of our soldiers will also have to join the unemployment line or displace some other people to the unemployment line at a time of high unemployment in the country.
    Obama is bringing the Iraq war to a close. I do not think that he will drag the AfPak war more than is necessary. There are already some reports that the Karzai government (supported by the UN) is holding discussions with lower level Taliban to reintegrate them into society.

    I hope (none / 0) (#47)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 11:49:04 PM EST
    you're not falling into the trap that goes 'we have to keep these guys overseas because otherwise they might be unemployed, etc. and involving ourselves in foreign adventures helps our economy'

    There's no reason that military personnel can't be based at home and improving employment should bring about opportunity for those wishing to leave the services.

    Extension beyond our grasp is a very serious issue that's not now on the radar.  That, along with the failure to collect taxes, is how great nations die.

    Avoid thinking of everything as static.

    My impression is that you wish to maintain the status quo or aren't looking beyond the status quo.  

    This nation has many deep serious problems and actual, real change is needed to slow down or halt our decline.  History is a remorseless process and we are not an exception to the rule.

    IMO we probably don't have the political will to do what's necessary.  We're really in a bad position.  To do what's needed takes real leadership and at this stage in our "development" we just don't produce leaders.  


    so you bought the scarey (none / 0) (#60)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:36:11 AM EST
    republican arguments that Obama has been using to wage generational warfare since the primaries started.  No surprise.
    I am 53 and I have been hearing the same scare tactics since I was a kid.  

    Funny I remember Gore Vidal (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jondee on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:13:37 PM EST
    talking about how it was a choice between a republican and a Republican back when Clinton was President. Which would suggest that some of these triangulations are nothing new.

    Of course, you'd know better than him.


    Obama enjoys a 53% mandate. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Salo on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:29:52 PM EST
    Bill never nudged above 50%. Obama had a popular mandate. Obamas bipartisanship is mystifying under the circumstances of his vote.

    But he was a great "leader" (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jondee on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:16:27 PM EST
    leading people with his leadership. How come he could never get above 50%?

    Wow ... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:08:20 AM EST
    Maybe because a significant portion of the vote in the '92 (19%) and '96 (8.5%) elections went to Ross Perot?

    Of course, after his two terms as POTUS, and despite the impeachment fiasco, the American people gave him the highest approval rating of any POTUS ....... ever.

    Guess you're just part of the much smaller minority.


    He just couldnt inspire (none / 0) (#72)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 12:59:56 PM EST
    the electorate to vote in any MORE Democrats, other than two terms for a triangulating, lethel injecting  son-of-the-South.

    Now that's progressive leadership.

    Yes, I already knew I was in the minority here.

    Btw, does any one here actually believe Hillary would pull us out of Afghanistan any time soon?


    You must have him confused ... (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:39:46 PM EST
    ... with someone else.  Clinton was never (and never claimed to be) a death penalty opponent, so if that was part of the disillusionment you went through in the nineties, I guess that's on you.

    As far as his leadership, that's an interesting tactic ... when confronted with the rather obvious reason (Perot's votes) for Clinton receiving a plurality of the votes in '92 and '96, you change standards and measure his leadership by Congressional seats.  Nice try, but kinda transparent, no?  The RR in '94 was due in large part to the fact that Clinton pushed progressive initiatives (repeal on military homosexual ban, HCR, Omnibus Budget Act of '93, etc.) early in his first term and he paid a heavy political price for it.  Of course, after the RR in '94, Democrats did pick up more seats in the House in each of the following three elections, and more seats in the Senate in the '98 and 2000 elections, so I guess he was able to inspire the electorate to vote in more Democrats, huh?

    BTW - Did anyone actually claim that Hillary would "pull us out of Afghanistan anytime soon"?

    BBTW - Clinton left office with a 66% approval rating, so when I said you were in the much smaller minority, I was referring to the country as a whole, not just here at TL.


    According to your link (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 02:02:58 PM EST
    that's the main reason Vidal gave for for thinking Hill would be an improvement over Obama: that there was more of a chance she'd get us out of Afghanistan.

    And as an adamant opponent of the death penalty, Im not impressed one iota by your often-reiterated Carvillism about Clinton never claiming to be anything but a proponent of the death penalty. Bush appealed to the yahoo, hang-em-high voters, too.

    Look, I voted for Clinton. And if he ran again as a center-right bulwark against the end-timers and neocons, I'd probably vote for him again. Im just not buying for one second the revisionist, hagiography of Clinton that folks like you constantly push here as a false contrast to the absolute horror that is Obama.


    Actually, Vidal cites ... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 03:03:49 PM EST
    ... Afghanistan as the primary reason for criticisms of Obama (I disagree) and believes Hillary would be a better POTUS and better at handling military matters in general (no pun intended), but doesn't claim she would "pull us out of Afghanistan anytime soon".  As for whether he believes that, you'd have to ask him.  After all, he's your standard-bearer of progressivity, .....

    .... not mine.

    "Oft reiterated Carvillism"?  No, .... just basic facts.  You attack Clinton for not living up to your standard of Progressivism, despite the fact that he was trying (and often succeeding) in accomplishing precisely what he said he would do if he was elected.  I mean, I could understand being pissed off if Clinton had run on an anti-death penalty promise and then flipped, like say, ... Obama and FISA, or Obama and publicly televised HCR hearings, or Obama and NAFTA (and CAFTA), or Obama and pushing states to give same sex couples equal rights, Obama and ....

    well, .... you get the idea.

    BTW - The only "revisionist hagiography" around here the one the CDSers try to write about the Clintons, but it's funny how they continue to lapse into religious terminology like their Obama-worshiping brethren.  Actually, come to think of it, ...

    .... even the Worshipers aren't doing that anymore.


    Time to look in the dictionary: (none / 0) (#85)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 03:32:44 PM EST
    hagiographer would be like the person who gets more defensive than one of Frank Sinatra's attack dogs and starts crowing about "hate" and "CDS" every time a Clinton --  or any other revered and beyond-criticism figure -- is publicly shown to be flawed or compromised in any way. Not that Im saying YOU respond that way..

    So, the standard is not what a President DOES, it's whether he does what he says he's going to do that is (all?) that matters..

    You're so caught in your rote, binary thinking, that immediately seems to assume that if someone disagrees that Clinton is beyond criticism -- as you obviously think he is -- than they must think Obama is. Hence the "CDS" variant "Obots" etc I dont see why that should logically follow, unless some of us are still in primary, Im-in-love-with-my-candidate mode.


    To clarify further (none / 0) (#86)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 03:56:38 PM EST
    I have no problem with a lot of the critques of the current administration; I DO have a problem with the ad nauseum if-only-Bill-were-here refrain so common around here.

    That, to me, amounts to a backhanded way of saying leave the K Street status quo and the Pentagon revolving door in place, just give us a "leader" we can believe in. Which I think is a form of naivete about the possibility of real, meaningful change        
    under the current system that borders on delusional.


    No need (none / 0) (#87)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:54:26 PM EST
    I know what a hagiography is .... but it is funny when the CDSers drag out their thesaurus in an attempt to lend credibility to an otherwise weak argument, particularly when they lapse into religious vocabulary.  What can I say ... it cracks me up.

    As far as Clinton, no one said he's beyond criticism, but he's waaaaay beyond the revisionist, fairytale criticisms leveled by the fringe, be they Dittoheads or disillusioned "True Progressives".

    Not that I'm saying that YOU fall in that category ...

    BTW - Of course it matters what a candidate does, but some people are a little more upset with a candidate (Obama) who sold himself as a progressive with vague/broken promises, than a candidate who ran as a moderate and actually did what he said he would do.

    BBTW - I don't see why any of your statements should logically follow, unless some of us still in the primary I-hate-all-things-Clinton-and-want-a "True Prog"-candidate mode.


    O.k I'll make it short for you (none / 0) (#88)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 05:08:17 PM EST
    I HATED NAFTA and the WTO and I loathe lethally injecting the deranged to prove how tough on crime you are..There's a couple of other things..that you probably think pale the wisdom of Solomon..but Im not going to get into it.

    Again with the "CDS" (it's only because Im an Obot lol)

    But dont worry, Mommy and Daddy are safe, I dont "hate" them; I just hate some of the things they do.


    Thanks, ... (none / 0) (#89)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 05:51:24 PM EST
    ... for making it short.  Ah, yes .... the old  "hate the sin, not the sinner argument".  Sounds just like Donnie McClurkin ...

    Don't like NAFTA and WTO?  Bummer.  Personally, I have no problem with them, but you must have been thrilled when Obama got the nomination, despite his false claims about Hillary's support for NAFTA.  Oh wait, .... did you actually believe his campaign promise to renegotiate NAFTA, or were you just in all-out ABC mode?  Guess Goolsbee's assurances to the Canadians were more than just a "misunderstanding".

    So Clinton told you why he refused to grant clemency to Ricky Rae Rector, or is that just your interpretation of his motives?  Funny how the CDS crowd is so good at reading the mind(s) of anyone named Clinton.  I personally have some issues with the death penalty (i.e. risk of mistake, disparity in application, jury selection, etc.), but I can understand how others disagree, and Clinton has never even suggested he opposes the death penalty.  Plus, I'm not going to cry over RRR, who's mental capacity was the result of a failed suicide attempt after he shot three people (killing one), then agreed to turn himself in to a police officer he had known since childhood, only to murder the officer in cold blood.

    BTW - I think "Mommy and Daddy" are "safe" ... no real danger in the CDSers tantrums, it's just fun to poke holes in their arguments.

    "Obot"?  Naaaahhhh ....


    Oh yeah ....


    "CDS" and "hate" again (none / 0) (#90)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 06:21:38 PM EST
    a little Stalinist to always want to attribute irrational, destructive motives to those dare question fearless leader, dont you think? In the USSR they used to put those people in asylums for extended periods till they 'came to their senses'. Something tells me you would've been all-on-board with that had you been there and felt some commissars pristine legacy was at stake.

    All of Obama's deficits -- which I acknowledge -- still dont make me a convert to the Church of L. Ron Clinton (I know that's a hateful thing to say) because Im still holding out hopes that in this diverse, stimulating brew we can come up with something better. Like Brown in 90 and Nader in 2000
    (I know they lost which somehow makes me hateful again, but there it is..)

    Btw If you you're appalled and shocked by my CDS and Clinton-hate, dont read when I get into my BDS and Bush-hate.


    "Stalinist"??? (none / 0) (#92)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:18:39 PM EST
    "Fearless leader"?  Now that's funny ....  Unless, of course, ...

    ... you weren't trying to be.  I do appreciate the irony in your introduction of asy;ums in to a discussion of the CDSers, though.

    A "convert to the Church of L. Ron Clinton"?

    No such church.  I just prefer facts and reality to the fairytales sold in the Church of Clinton-Haters.

    Hey, .... does hating Bush make you multi-denominational?


    The CDSers (none / 0) (#93)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:39:32 PM EST
    Can you give even ONE example of a justified criticism of the conduct of Clinton's adminisration that you WOULDNT categorize as "CDS" or "Clinton hate"?

    Hate the sinner, deprive the children of his country of adequate medical care and clean drinking water?

    Of course, these things are not for mere mortals to question.


    Sure (none / 0) (#95)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:07:46 PM EST
    Failing to address the sentencing disparity between powder/crack cocaine sentencing, DOMA, ....

    There's more, but it's pretty easy to come up with legitimate criticisms of ANY pol, without resorting to revisionist fairy tales, so I'm not sure what your point is.

    "Deprive the children of his country of adequate medical care and clean drinking water"?

    Seriously funny stuff ....


    Gore Vidal has been saying (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Spamlet on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 12:57:06 AM EST
    for more than forty years that the country has one political party with two wings,  conservative and reactionary. Try again.

    That's supposed to be somehow (none / 0) (#73)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:02:33 PM EST
    significantly different than two republican parties?



    If Gore Vidal said it (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:43:22 AM EST
    it must be true.
    John Anderson said it in 1980 too and some bought it then.  Another phrase for triangulation is problem solving.  It is something you have no choice but to do when you are one party and the house and senate are another.  Clinton generally agreed to one policy to stop a worse one from being enacted.  Of course he gets no credit from the rage droids on line.  But that is immaterial since Obama has huge majorities of democrats in both houses.  There is no reason for him to be governing from the right except one, he has to to keep his major donors happy.

    Hey, I voted for (none / 0) (#64)
    by brodie on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:24:11 AM EST
    John Anderson in 1980!  Only time I've ever gone 3d party in a presidential.  But then, I was quite a youngster.  Still, it's important to recall how jimmy carter disappointed so many of us libs compared to the great anticipation following his 76 victory.

    As for Gore Vidal, he's a professional contrarian who tends to shoot from the lip.  Never satisfied, no one today or even in the past quite measures up to his lofty standards.  Quite the Bobby Kennedy hater, too.  


    Yeah, (none / 0) (#65)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:28:56 AM EST
    The money is, of course, a big consideration, but its more than that. You know the term, "skater?" ....like, " Tommie skated his way through high school?" Well, Obama has skated his way through most of his life. The list of his "accomplishments" that most people wouldn't consider being "accomplishments" at all is a mile long and covers almost every step on his long road to the White House.

    From the noxious way he "won"  his State Senate seat to the way he just happened to be "present" when the Harvard Law Review position was being decided, this guy always had an angle.

    Never having to do anything substantive for anybody, nor run an operation where his constituents benefited, it's no surprise now that he won the big Cahunah, he's lost. Fighting for a just cause, taking risks to help people, or just "doing the right thing" is just not in his M.O.

    A lot of people compare Obama to G.W.B for many different reasons. "Skating" through the Presidency is my choice for their blood brother-ness.


    And why are so many (none / 0) (#75)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:10:00 PM EST
    from the House and Senate governing from the right? For the same reason.

    Amazing that there's so little talk about campaign finance reform here.

    Talk about 800 lb gorillas in the room.


    So you're happy about (none / 0) (#15)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:16:05 PM EST
    Obama's triangulation? Nice strategy for a President coming in with a DEMOCRATIC mandate, eh?

    Unhappy (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jondee on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:10:37 PM EST
    but sadder and wiser from my experience in the ninties ..and seventies and sixties.

    Democratic and Democratic mandate dosnt mean what it meant in bygone days, obviously.


    Even funnier, I remember ... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:16:56 AM EST
    ... Gore Vidal supporting and defending Bill Clinton, and later supporting Hillary's candidacy.  He then decided to support Obama, acknowledging it was due in great part to his desire to see an AA as POTUS.  Of course, since that time, he has seen the error of his ways, admitting that Obama's performance has been "dreadful", and that Hillary would have been a better POTUS.

    Of course, ...

    ... you'd know better than him.


    Im still having trouble (none / 0) (#77)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:22:00 PM EST
    finding anything really "funny" about a the choices being whittled down to a center-right and a reactionary-right candidate.

    This scenario is going to take us in the right direction how exactly?


    Not the point (none / 0) (#80)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:53:14 PM EST
    The point was that Gore Vidal (a former chairman of the People's Party) is pretty far left in terms of his politics, and even he was a defender/supporter of both of the Clintons, despite their relatively moderate policy positions.  Furthermore, Vidal had been saying the same thing for more than 40 years, rather than merely "back when Clinton was President" i.e. the quote was not a comment on Clinton, but a comment on the state of American politics and parties in general, in Vidal's opinion.

    BTW - I'd hardly characterize Obama as a "reactionary right" pol, but if you say so ....


    I know in your world (none / 0) (#91)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 06:49:50 PM EST
    "supporter" means support your clients every word, thought and deed (anything else would be hateful), so maybe you should go back and read some of the pieces Vidal wrote back in the ninties for some examples of thinking that dosnt revolve around the kind of breathless, all-or-none fan club "support" that you seem to be caught up in.

    You wouldn't know ... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:09:38 PM EST
    ... anything about my world.  It's a place we refer to as "reality".

    But nice fairy tale.


    honest to God..... (none / 0) (#59)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:30:42 AM EST
    ... it is a republican like jobs bill.  Republicans have jobs bills too.  They think unemployment figures should be lower too.  It is a matter of how you attack the problem.  Obama's bill is republican in nature.

    I understand (none / 0) (#45)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:30:17 PM EST
    what you are saying but it really kind of works out in a way. Obama proposes GOP legislation and the GOP votes it down because they don't want to be seen with having anything to do with him. So while nothing good is probably going to get passed he idiots in the GOP are going to stop conservative legislation from going through too.

    Just wondering... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:24:11 PM EST
    John Boehner's ideas are different from Nancy Pelosi's ideas

    How does Yglesias or anybody actually know that for sure?

    Boehner (none / 0) (#34)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:26:28 PM EST
    IMO is obvious.  He seems to me to be one of today's cookie cutter right-wingers.

    For Boehner, it's cut out all government programs, except for defense, outlaw labor unions, repeal laws protecting workers, eliminate regulatory functions entirely, bomb the hell out of everyone who's not us and levy a flat tax on income OR replace the income tax with a sales tax or some other ridiculous gimmick.

    That about covers it.


    Boehner's (none / 0) (#98)
    by lentinel on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 08:37:52 AM EST
    ideas are not the issue.

    The issue was whether or not his views are substantially different from those of Pelosi. (I am asking based on Pelosi's actions - not on what she says from time to time.)


    Obama is stridently defending (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:30:16 PM EST
    the PPUS, including in his "confrontation" with House Republicans last week.

    FWIW (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:48:04 PM EST
    I did not hear him offer to compromise on Friday.  I think it's a mistake to assume that his Republican-lite policy positions are some kind of compromise or effort at bipartisanship.  They're not even based on any particular ideology, as far as I can tell.  They're what his chosen "experts," the ones he invoked over and over and over again Friday, tell him will "work."

    What I heard him do repeatedly on Friday was to try to convince GOPers to sign on and vote for the stuff he wants to do that aligns with their own principles.  IOW, he's looking for cooperation across party lines, not compromise.

    I also heard him repeatedly invite them to suggest approaches, and then I heard him repeatedly say that many of the things they've suggested in the past "won't work."

    IOW, I don't think it's "shtick," it's something he thinks is critical if he wants to get stuff done.  He's actually right about that.

    I think he's wrong that his efforts to overcome that hyper-partisanism will be any fruit whatsoever with the Republicans, but who knows.  All he needs is a handful now, but obviously he'll need a lot more than a handful after the mid-terms decimate the ranks of the Dems.

    His lousy policy choices are not a result of an attempt at bipartisanship.  They're just lousy policy choices he's convinced are the right ones.

    SOME of us have been saying from the get-go the guy's not only not a progressive, he's not even a wimpy liberal.  He doesn't have to, and he mostly hasn't been, "compromising" with the GOPers to end up with crappy policy.


    Where ideology comes in is when (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:54:53 PM EST
    you explain why this choice and not that.
    I don't think Obama gets  that pragmatism is not a political philosophy. One could be a pragmatic socialist or Bircher: there just are not "right" choices which everyone can agree on.
    That's BTD's point, I know.

    No, people don't agree (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:25:17 AM EST
    That's quite true.  But first off, Obama's a centrist, if he's anything at all, and believes I think it's clear that the basic system we've got is generally a good one in almost all areas, just needing fixes to make it work better.  That limits the range of options right off the bat.  Far as I can tell, almost all of his advisers and experts are centrists, leaning somewhat left or somewhat right.

    And secondly, as to "right choices everyone can agree on," that's exactly the point, I think, of his yapping about "Republican ideas."  If you can get to pretty much the same place via X or Y, he doesn't much care whether he does X or Y as long as the basic structure of the system isn't grossly violated.

    That's why he's not interested in single-payer anymore.  I suspect he would say, if pressed, that as president, he's now responsible for the country as a whole, including all its industries, so wiping out the health insurance industry ain't on the table.

    Mind you, I'm not endorsing or praising any of this, just trying to get a fix on where he's coming from.


    I think your analysis is good, (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by observed on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 08:01:13 AM EST
    by the way. It's certainly depressing.

    One would have to be VERY (none / 0) (#53)
    by observed on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:54:04 AM EST
    poorly read in history, politics and economics to imagine that the political center of this country is likely to produce good policy.

    Did you think he was able to (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:01:47 PM EST
    explain why the Republican ideas wouldn't work?
    All I heard was "my experts this" and "my experts that".

    Your ideology is dated (none / 0) (#16)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:28:05 PM EST
    Lots of countries in Asia are prospering by being pragmatic technocracies while you want to argue about socialism and John Birch societies. These countries are handling the challenges of a global recession much better than Europe or America are doing. The countries that lead in technological innovation and commercialization of technology and science and math education are going to be the prosperous countries of the future, this is an honest fact. We have to compete with many countries in Asia and Europe, the President has to renew the foundation for us to succeed. Most of Obama's policy priorities hinge on making America more competitive for us to have a better standard of living.

    Most of your comments hinge on (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:33:31 PM EST
    making Obama something you want him to be.
    You have a sweeping vision of where Obama is headed that isn't matched by anything I've seen.
    What is Obama's grand plan to make America more competitive?
    Where's the big push for technological innovation.
    Research funds are still low under Obama, I've read.
    When it comes to education, Obama is in favor of charter schools, which I don't believe exist in Asia, although I could be wrong.

    By the way, "pragmatic technocracy" are two words I can guarantee you will never hear uttered by Obama.


    Is pitifulkix talking about Singapore? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Salo on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:40:21 PM EST
    China, for example is a charnel house of terrible working conditions. Pragmatic involves slave labor camps. Or japan? In the doldrums for decades with one of the mist compliant pragmatic worker bee populations I've ever seen. Germany and France have got it about right. Italy and the UK also did a reasonable job too.

    France (none / 0) (#28)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:05:24 PM EST
    has 10% unemployment right now. Germany is doing a little better because they retained their exporting base (unlike the crazy financial and housing sector stuff that we did during the Clinton and Republican years). France, Germany and Italy are all being led by Conservative Parties right now because people got fed up with high unemployment rates during their socialist years. The Tories are about to make a comeback in Britain.

    The US has 15% (none / 0) (#66)
    by Salo on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:29:56 AM EST
    If you factor in the real story. France has none of the debt though. Americans are truly wage slaves indentured to banks. French life seems more idyllic. I'm well travelled btw.

    Research funds (none / 0) (#26)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:49:07 PM EST
    are at an all time high since the 1960s (when we had the Cold War). Significant increases will be made to research funds for the DOE, NIH and NSF in the proposed budget. The administration is completely revamping the priorities of NASA so that some its breakthroughs can be commercialized in the private sector.
    Since the Cold War ended, we dropped the ball on investing in technology in a way that should have allowed us to stay ahead. We have to do that now.

    If that's Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:45:53 PM EST
    vision (which I don't believe for a second) then why is he not doing what the Asians have done.  Specifically assist in building manufacturing capability, funding a revival of America's ability to innovate by granting manufacturers in autos, electronics (including consumer electronics)and other basic fields what is needed to once again become an innovative industrial colossus.

    No innovation can occur unless we're actively making stuff.

    We don't even see any sign that he's actively trying to enforce trade policy using real teeth.

    Your President has no vision.


    He bailed out the American (none / 0) (#38)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:16:02 PM EST
    auto industry to retain our manufacturing capability. He is asking NASA to work with defense contractors to commercialize aerospace and energy technology. There will be a big investment in nuclear reactors (it is clean technology, countries like France and Japan are heavily dependent on nuclear power for their energy needs), specialty steel companies are receiving a lot of the stimulus money. Lots of labs and companies are getting lots of grants from the Department of Energy for various technologies.
    I believe that some of freebies that pharmaceutical companies have received in the HCR bill is because the President wants to retain pharmaceutical and biomedical intellectual property to remain in this country. There is a lot of talk regarding this century being the bio century.
    I think there will be a serious effort to increase our export base in the coming years.

    The "bailouts" (none / 0) (#42)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:07:06 PM EST
    were LOANS.  If we're really serious grants will be necessary and not just in autos.

    None of that will (none / 0) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:33:31 AM EST
    change the fact that the actual manufacturing is so vastly cheaper in China that no U.S. consumer goods company can even begin to compete if it has its manufacuring done here.  Fostering innovation is good, but it ain't gonna bring U.S. manufacturing jobs back, and that's just a fact.

    We cannot (none / 0) (#56)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:04:57 AM EST
    innovate if we don't make.

    Losing manufacturing will cost us the nation itself.


    If so, we lose (none / 0) (#69)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:56:28 AM EST
    OTOH, if you can suggest a way to revive manufacturing in this country with the disparities in wages (never mind environmental issues, etc.) between the U.S. and China, you might just get a Nobel of some kind.

    There's actually a reason why stuff isn't manufactured here much anymore, and it has nothing to do with innovation.

    And you'll have to explain to me why we can't innovate if we don't manufacture because we've been doing exactly that for quite a while now.


    Because (none / 0) (#74)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:02:34 PM EST
    it takes experience along with education.

    A lot of it depends on innovation in what fields.

    You may be referring to innovation in computer technology.  The problem is that once this generation is gone so will innovation in computer technology.  The stuff is now built overseas and even software development is drifting overseas.

    But even innovation emerging from science would be short lived and would, economically, directly benefit a only a small number of people.  

    Even our great universities can't exist for long if we become a retail only nation.


    Not referring only to computer (none / 0) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 03:21:11 PM EST
    technology, although that does drive a lot of stuff these days.

    This is true: "But even innovation emerging from science would be short lived and would, economically, directly benefit a only a small number of people."  Or at least a small number in comparison to the number if whatever product it was was manufactured here.

    But the truth of that observation doesn't tell me how manufacturing comes back.

    I think your view is unnecessarily apocalyptic.  I fail to see how great universities cease to exist, and I also fail to see how experience in U.S. manufacturing is in itself essential to innovation in anything other than -- perhaps -- U.S. manufacturing.

    But all that's beside the point.  We agree that the loss of U.S. manufacturing is a big problem.  We disagree that there's anything anybody can realistically do that will bring it back in large scale.

    I'm still curious to know what you think would do that because I sure can't see any way.


    Some of the differences, (none / 0) (#94)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:56:06 PM EST
    the price disparity is from artificially keeping the dollar high against a competing nation's currency. Other nations subsidize in one form or another as well, putting American manufacturers at a disadvantge.

    In other words there's some cheating going on that should be met head on.  It's not and it won't but it should be.

    Some trade policy is set based on foreign policy.  Japanese and German access to our economy was a foreign policy decision following WWII.  

    Inasmuch as any nation is concerned there are only a handful of reasons to ever import.  What can't be grown or grown in enough quantity.  What can't be extracted or extracted in enough quantity.  What can't be made or made in enough quantity.

    Price, unless there is a truly exhorbitant difference, shouldn't be a factor.  Unfortunately, price and increased profits are the chosen road.  We're literally screwing ourselves by impoverishing ever larger segments of the population.

    Long term, unchecked, apocalypse is our destiny.


    This is supposed to be where the (none / 0) (#70)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 12:13:55 PM EST
    "green jobs" come in.....

    And if only the consumers in China would act just a little like U.S. consumers and buy more....That would be a huge market...


    Already (none / 0) (#76)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:12:00 PM EST
    GE is considering moving all wind turbine manufacturing overseas.

    The problem with green jobs is that again few would benefit economically.  Manufacturing green products doesn't match the volume and value of other consumable manufactured goods.

    It comes down to this.  If we're going to continue to be policemen for the world, giving away public goods to the rest of the world, we're headed for a very big fall.  General widespread poverty at the least.


    I suppose (none / 0) (#78)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:27:44 PM EST
    equilibrium will be achieved when other countries' wages increase sufficiently--not to equality--but to a level that lessens the disparity and creates a consumer demand overseas....

    That happened long ago in Germany and Japan, more recently in South Korea, and is in process in China and India....

    We can sell so many things to the Chinese--we are still the movie capital.  American culture sells--and we have done well with software....

    Our ability to build and sell things?....only the more high tech, complicated stuff--airplanes etc....


    How many people (none / 0) (#97)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:09:57 PM EST
    benefit from American cultural exports.  I'll answer that; damned few and even now Microsoft, as an example, is farming out a lot of its software development overseas.  And the question still remains; how many people benefit.

    We can sell lots of stuff to the Chinese but that's done with Amwerican companies located in China with Chinese partners.

    The whole idea behind China PNTR was to gain entry into China for American companies.  But it was American companies locating plants, etc. in China.  How many people here does that benefit?

    I remember that China PNTR was touted as a huge economic coup.  The coup was for American business not American workers.


    the one thing (none / 0) (#81)
    by CST on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:58:47 PM EST
    I can think of that might be able to bring manufacturing back to the States is $10/gallon for gas.

    If transportation costs become prohibitive than it might be better for companies to manufacture goods nearer to their destination.

    We actually saw a little shift back here when gas prices were over $4.00 a gallon - mostly from European manufacturers who were also taking considering the cheaper dollar.

    Of course no one wants $10/gallon gas.  And it might not be worth it for the average manufacturer either.


    Plenty of natural resources (none / 0) (#19)
    by Salo on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:35:54 PM EST
    A robust military a large population and a reasonable social contract between the individual and the state that includes healthcare. That's all required to do well. China may very well disolve under various ethnic pressures also. China resembles a large slave labor camp right now, and it's simply amazing to see the ugly side of the exploitation there.  

    Oh come now, Salo--- (none / 0) (#21)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:38:25 PM EST
    I know you have a crazy "cuckoo" explanation for Obama.

    I think you need to read more (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:30:32 AM EST
    widely about China as it actually is these days.

    I've seen some pretty horrific (none / 0) (#67)
    by Salo on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:32:06 AM EST
    Contemporary stuff. Factory life, slums, waste tips etc. Gulags. I don't think
    China is a place to emulate. They are doing well because of virtual slavery.

    That's nonsense (none / 0) (#68)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 11:52:19 AM EST
    And nobody was suggesting emulating China anyway, so it's a total strawman of your own invention.

    By the way, the point of (none / 0) (#20)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:37:02 PM EST
    contrasting socialists and Birchers was that they are so far apart on the political spectrum, yet each could be pragmatic in their approach.
    Sorry I had to explain that.

    You think a pragmatic approach of letting experts decide is the way to go.  Good luck implementing that change in US politics. Expertise is a degraded commodity in our political culture: real experts have little influence, and complete know-nothings are shown the highest deference.


    A socialist (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by Salo on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:43:23 PM EST
    Might simply suggest that different economic classes have antithetical economic and political interests. There's nothing old fashioned about that observation.

    No (none / 0) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:27:22 AM EST
    I think there were one or two places where he ventured about a half-inch deep into the whys, but no more than that.  I'm sure he could go as far as an inch deep, given the time and opportunity, but it's always been obvious he's no policy wonk.

    DODT Scam Works One More Time (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by kidneystones on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:42:13 PM EST
    My old friend Turkana gave President Lie To Your Face credit (I can't actually believe I'm writing this again), credit for promising again to end DODT.

    Just like closing Gitmo. And the Dem gay left (some of them) lapped it up one more time.

    Think again. It appears all that's going to happen is the launching of another years long investigation into how the 'goal' might be best reached.

    And don't doubt for a moment that Dems will be making exactly the same promise in 2012, 2014, 2016...

    The cynicism of these f$ckers truly knows no bounds.

    Hey, I'm not surprised by (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by observed on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:47:22 PM EST
    cynical politicians. What amazes me is the "fool me 5 times" mentality of the left towards Obama.

    Given the open (none / 0) (#27)
    by kidneystones on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 07:59:46 PM EST
    hostility of the religious right (and I'm not talking about just Christians) I can kind of understand why some lesbian and gay folks trend Dem.

    You make an excellent point about the persistent delusion that Obama is anything but a self-serving hack committed only to advancing his own cause.

    Problem is, he seems to believe his own bs, hence all the grand transformational plans. What was it they said would happen: after the first few wins, Republicans would flock to the tide of change, creating an enormous wave of Obama-loving people around the entire globe all thrilled to be part of the New Jerusalem.

    Put in that context, I'm kind of glad he failed.

    I'd be content right now, simply to see the unemployment numbers drop back to the no longer operative upper threshold of 8%.

    Duncan Black is ripping out his hair as Dems one by one drop out or come right out and state the obvious: Americans don't want big, stupid, history-making programs, or the goofy politicians that sold this pile-o-crap.


    DADT--NYT update by Elisabeth Bumiller (none / 0) (#55)
    by KeysDan on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 09:46:03 AM EST
    "A participant" in  one of repeated meetings over the past year with Gates and Mullen recounted how Mr. Obama said that the law was "just wrong".  Mr. Obama only delayed acting on repeal because the military was stretched  in two wars (seems counterintuitive to me), and he did not want another polarizing debate in 2009 to distract from his health care fight (how is that working out, I wonder). But--get ready for this--2010 would be a priority.  So here goes--Gates and Mullen will unveil initial plans at Congressional hearings tomorrow:  no action taken against service members revealed to be gay by third parties or jilted partners. This unattributed, heart-in-right-place, but I am powerless leak is almost better than the wine and wiener WH parties, with photo ops, to keep the gay leadership at bay.  Indeed, the article states that "gay rights groups are calling the hearings historic (they must have forgot the Sam Nunn hearings of 1993) even as they question how quickly the administration is prepared to act."  In the SOTU, the commitment was, actually, "this year, I will work with congress and our military...."  Not to be confused with any presidential timetable.

    he is such a simpleton sometimes (none / 0) (#62)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:56:29 AM EST
    Mr. Obama said that the law was "just wrong".

    It did not work the way it was supposed to because people in the military did not abide by the law.  It wasn't "just wrong".  It was a choice between that and no gays in the military.

    When are the adults coming back?  Obama seems so completely juvenile to me.


    Wrong now, and now is not 1993. (none / 0) (#71)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 12:16:59 PM EST
    the PPUS is a ruse (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by pluege on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:09:22 PM EST
    to not implement a progressive agenda, instead implementing a corportist agenda.

    Ridiculous and wrong! Wrong, wrong, (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by oldpro on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:55:43 PM EST
    wrong wrong wrong and also...wrong.

    Did I mention it's wrong?

    Only in America! (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:30:24 PM EST
    I'd also like to ask Obama why the Republicans didn't put any of their great ideas to use during the disasterous 8 yrs when GWB was president.

    Look at the mess they left. And these are the people you are concerned about!


    They did. Those great ideas resulted (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by oldpro on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:25:24 PM EST
    in the mess they left.  Now they have a bunch more 'great ideas' which only a fool would listen to.

    Whistling in the wind (4.00 / 4) (#32)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:16:23 PM EST
    The definition of compromise to the Republicans is:

    My way or the highway.

    When was the last Democratic idea that the Republicans endorsed?

    It's totally irresponsible of Obama to waste the majority that the party has, trying to appease a party that has no intention of compromising.

    but (none / 0) (#63)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:58:53 AM EST
    his over arching political ideology is about him being a Uniter not a divider.  He HAS to compromise with republicans or in his eyes he is a failure.  IMO

    As bad as things look now (none / 0) (#40)
    by kidneystones on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:36:14 PM EST
    No way unemployment returns to levels approaching 'normal' until after 2014. That's the hysterically right-wing NYT analysis cited by Duncan Black.

    So suck on this. You'll take your HCR and your Cap and trade and consider yourselves lucky, dammit.

    Voters and their stupid concerns with 'finding a job'. Sheesh.

    The responsibility (none / 0) (#43)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:07:20 PM EST
    of a President is to improve the lives of all our citizens. Positions are staked out in a campaign and a majority of the electorate decide, by voting, which position they want for the country.  If a plurality of the citizens don't want what the majority elected a President to do, that's their choice.

    A President is duty bound to lead the country in the direction the majority mandated. If bi-partisanship (or PPUS) helps in that endeavor, fine. If not, smash''em in the face and roll over'em.  
    We're not interested in Professor Obama's demented Don Quihota impressions.

    In other words, Lead, Damm't!