The Art Of The Deal

One of the things I wrote a lot about early in the Obama Administration was political bargaining. Another theme was the role of activists. On both issues, the liberal blogosphere, in large measure, completely missed the boat in my estimation, choosing to largely defend the ineffectual political bargaining techniques of the Obama Administration and criticizing activists for not being sufficiently supportive of feeble Obama policy initiatives. I dubbed these folks the Beltway Bloggers in an attempt to separate them from the activist blogger. Unfortunately, many of the Beltway Bloggers, Ezra Klein in particular, like to play liberal activist on TV and MSNBC, Keith Olbermann in particular, let them play that role. It was a terrible mistake for all.

Digby writes about a TV segment that illustrates why:

Sam Seder went on to [say . . .] the left has been willing to compromise for a long time, while the right hasn't. [Conservative Matt] Lewis, grinning like a jack-o-lantern, ended with this sage observation:

Well I think the real world implication here Dylan, is that if the Republican base does not want to compromise and the Democratic base is willing to compromise Republicans are going to win more public policy battles than they lose.

What can you say to that?

That he's right, that's what you can say. The question then is what do you do to try and change that? That's the question for progressive activists.

Speaking for me only

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    My only (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:06:48 AM EST
    suggestion would be to start a movement separate from the party based on issues. It's the only thing that seems to work and the party will later coopt those issues.

    Obama and his apologists have done a lot of damage. There's no question there.

    Only the Dems think there are points to be (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:22:26 AM EST
    gained for the sheer willingness to compromise. I don't know what it will take to convince them they are wrong.

    Only Dems can think that there are points (2.33 / 3) (#4)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:42:02 AM EST
    to be gained by injuring a Democratic President. Republican and conservative activism is about injuring the other side so that Republican Presidents can find the political space to move the country to the right.

    And what about the massive (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by observed on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:45:52 AM EST
    damage Obama has inflicted on Dems?

    You know what? (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:58:11 AM EST
    If the GOP hadn't rubber stamped a disaster like Bush they might not have lost in 2008. There's always something to be gained by standing up for principles.

    True... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Thanin on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:28:56 PM EST
    but modern republicans almost always rubber stamp disasters.

    You are conflicted about your demands (none / 0) (#28)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:37:17 PM EST
    You want Obama to act like Bush who you think was a disaster.

    Democrats can be separated into two groups (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:17:26 PM EST
    those who think that Bush's strategy was the problem, and those who think the policy was the problem.

    You seem to be among the former. I count myself among the latter.


    I am in the third group (none / 0) (#45)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:27:56 PM EST
    that thinks Bush's strategy and policy was the problem.
    For people who think that just Bush's policy was the problem and strategy did not matter, I would like to exhibit the Clinton Presidency between 1993-94. If you think that Clinton had the policy correct, why did Democrats lose so badly in 1994 after he tried to ram staple Dem policies down the throats of Reps?

    Because it (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:31:48 PM EST
    paid off in the long run. Sometimes you do things that are right because they are the right thing to do.

    And even Bill Clinton's "ramming" didn't cost the Dems as many seats as Obama did with his conciliatory attitude.


    Hear. Hear. (none / 0) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:30:28 PM EST
    Bush's strategy was highly effective in getting his agenda through Congress. His policies were disastrous for the country.

    I think Paul Krugman (none / 0) (#143)
    by andgarden on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 12:33:14 AM EST
    No (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:30:12 PM EST
    I want every elected official to stop rubber stamping the crap that Obama sends down the pike. If it's bad policy they should vote against it no matter who it comes from.

    My point is that the GOP always said they are against spending yet when Bush came in they rubber stamped all his spending so now no one believes them. If the Dems rubber stamp Obama's plan to decimate social security then who is ever going to believe them on that issue again?


    In that case, the Democratic (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:59:25 AM EST
    blogosphere did much the same thing. They spent large amounts of time ridiculing the other side and gave the current Democratic president the political space to continue to move the country to the right.

    Not in TL (1.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:43:55 PM EST
    where every idiotic Republican talking point was amplified to bash the President by a vast majority of commenters.
    (this does not include valid/constructive criticisms like those of BTD, Jeralyn, andgarden, ruffian and a handful of other commenters)

    TL doesn't rubber stamp (5.00 / 7) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:57:04 PM EST
    Obama, I don't have to rubber stamp him in order to post here either.  That bothers a lot of people though who feel that Obama should be worshipped over honestly assessed.  I don't know what Republican talking points are.  I don't watch Fox. I obviously watch Fox much less than Booman does.  My points are my own points, I know you would like to paint my points in that light though because you disagree with them.  Tough though, I was raised in a family of very active Democrats and I find this President extremely disingenuous while displaying horrible leadership skills.  And I also find him very dangerous for the Democratic party given the current economic circumstances affecting all of us.

    I do know (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:58:41 PM EST
    what the GOP talking points are, and trust me, the only people who copy them here are the one or two self-admitted right-wingers who come here for kicks.

    The poster is such a careful and thoughtful political observer that he/she apparently doesn't know the difference between a right-wing attack and a critique from the left.  Pathetic.


    TL also has people (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:07:31 PM EST
    who are more than willing to

    defend the ineffectual political bargaining techniques of the Obama Administration and criticizing activists for not being sufficiently supportive of feeble Obama policy initiatives.

    BTW that when criticizing activists for not being sufficiently supportive of feeble Obama policy initiatives the Obama cheerleaders have a tendency to frame any criticism of policy as using idiotic Republican talking points.


    Look, the President himself has explicitly (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by esmense on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:21:16 PM EST
    said that on health care he thought the Republicans would work with him because he only presented Republican ideas.

    Where to start on how and in how many ways this approach was wrong and doomed to create political failure? To begin with, he concedes that he did NOT ever present a plan based in a pragmatic assessment of what needed to be done to solve the actual problems created by our health system. His ONLY plan was to give the Republicans everything he THOUGHT they wanted -- and leave it to them to accept or reject it. Of course they were going to reject it, and run against it. Because there was no political upside to them doing otherwise. First of all health care reform was and is meaningless to their affluent base of supporters. Secondly, if they had wanted to pass any of the useless half measures and industry giveaways they've been proposing for 50 years in response to progressive attempts at creating universal health care, they could and would have done it when they held the Presidency and the legislature.

    All the President's strategy achieved was forcing his fellow Democrats into a position where they were left holding the bag for bad Republican ideas. And then, follow that with whining about the Republican's failure to support their own measures -- as if that would somehow win him political points.

    Have we ever seen anyone at this political level more naive? Unlike what many insisted during the campaign, Obamas political and governing inexperience has turned out to be a serious problem in these troubled times.

    After one of the primary debates I asked a friend, a pretty high powered business executive, what she thought. She said, "I think Hillary looked like a CEO and Obama looked like a Vice President."

    If only he and his supporters in the party had had the common sense and patience to encourage him to gain more experience before jumping into the presidential fray, we would all be better off. He would have, I believe, eventually ended up being President -- but a much better and more successful one.


    Now one of the prime architects (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:03:32 PM EST
    of wasting 18 months and then pushing through Republican insurance legislation is saying that it is not Republican enough. He is planning to work with his Republican colleagues to "fix" the legislation.

    Baucus told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that unpopular provisions could be on the chopping block or subject to more negotiation due to the new Congress - perhaps even the personal mandate that Baucus still believes is needed to ensure charitable care isn't shifted onto others. On Friday, he unveiled legislation to strip a tax provision in the bill small businesses complained was burdensome.
    The Republicans who seized control of the House in part by promising a repeal of health care overhaul won't be able to deliver on that promise because of the huge majority needed in the Senate to break parliamentary stalemates, Baucus said.

    "That does not mean it shouldn't be changed, because it should be changed," Baucus said. "We are going to listen to the American people."  link

    BTW Baucas stood behind Bush at the signing of the 2001 tax cut bill. Proud of his ability to cut a deal with the Republicans on this great legislation. :-(


    Esmense (none / 0) (#60)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:39:30 PM EST
    A Republican idea in blue and relatively affluent Massachussetts is still very liberal in large parts of the country that are poor and conservative (say Kansas, Nebraska, etc)!

    If HRC was such a great problem solver,
    (1) Why couldn't she get the 2000000 jobs she promised to people in New York when she became a Senator?
    (2) As a SoS, why hasn't she been able to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem
    (3) As a SoS, why hasn't she been able to convince China not to engage in currency manipulation.
    (4) As a SoS, she was not even able to convince countries like Brazil and Turkey to not thwart American attempts at playing hardball with Iran.

    People like us do not get too impressed with testimonials of friends like yours (these "high powered business executives"). You have to come up with better arguments.
    You guys keep saying that it is not about HRC but everything you write proves over and over again that it is. I would also like to point out that we have not nitpicked on every small setback for HRC as SoS like your nitpicks about the performance of BHO as President.


    Ranchers and farmers in Nebraska and (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:51:47 PM EST
    Kansas are not poor.  What an elitest snob you are.  I had to go to D.C. to actually see people sleeping on sidewalks.

    Please keep the emotion (none / 0) (#67)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:57:28 PM EST
    and namecalling out. Per capita income in MA is higher than that in Kansas and Nebraska.
    And there is nothing wrong in being poor....

    Income may be higher (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:02:16 PM EST
    but so is the cost of living, enormously higher.  I have lived in Wyoming and lived very very well.  My mother's family is from Nebraska, and my Uncles all belong to the Country Club...they even have one of those.  I don't think you have one clue about what you speak of.

    I have come to the conclusion (5.00 / 6) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:52:33 PM EST
    that mostly you just talk out of your arse.

    OMG!! (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:00:57 PM EST
    Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary!  And also Hillary!

    Gyrfalcon is chanting (none / 0) (#73)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:06:41 PM EST
    Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary! once again to prepare for the Rapture
    :-) :-).

    Ah, yes .... the double smiley face (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Yman on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:48:55 PM EST
    ... as opposed to "LOL!"

    BTW - Someone is obsessed with Hillary ...

    ... and it's not gyrafalcon.


    It wasn't a testimonial, honey, it was a (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by esmense on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:06:21 PM EST
    sarcastic quip -- from someone who wasn't too fond of either candidate.

    I didn't quote it as proof of Obama's inexperience and the problems it creates. His behavior in office proves that point.


    Lousy legislation and political disaster (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by esmense on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:17:43 PM EST
    for the Democrats isn't nitpicking. Certainly not at a time when umemployment is 9.5%, people are losing their homes in droves, and the average voter can no longer tell the difference between the Republican's plutocrat supporting policies and the Democrat's plutocrat supporting policies.

    And why does even the most minimal and off hand comment about Hillary Clinton that DOESN'T paint her as the wicked witch of the West drive some people so far around the bend.

    My post was about Obama. But the only thing you took note in several paragraphs was a passing mention of Clinton.


    I am timing myself out for some time (none / 0) (#81)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:31:38 PM EST
    Some how the constructive engagement that I was hoping for in this blog is not just happening....

    A sense of entitlement once again (none / 0) (#61)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:43:54 PM EST
    Esmense writes....
    "If only he and his supporters in the party had had the common sense and patience to encourage him to gain more experience before jumping into the presidential fray, we would all be better off. He would have, I believe, eventually ended up being President -- but a much better and more successful one."

    What a sense of entitlement! LoL! Maybe you would have been better off, just stop using the royal "We".


    Fine....I'm a turd (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:50:21 PM EST
    in the Esmense pocket.

    Can't find a more to the point objection (none / 0) (#69)
    by esmense on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:00:42 PM EST
    to my post?

    What utter garbage (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:56:13 PM EST
    Really.  Utter garbage.  And factually entirely false.

    And Republican Presidents are all about catering (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:09:23 PM EST
    to their base, even if they do secretly despise them.

    Well this Democratic administration (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:14:26 PM EST
    does the "base thing" in reverse. Openly despising them without any catering.

    Yup. We should not be blamed for criticizing (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:06:11 PM EST
    them if they show no respect for our positions.

    Republicans have thought likewise.... (none / 0) (#86)
    by rhbrandon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:44:05 PM EST

    Gerald Ford.


    True. I did not go back 35 years to find the one (none / 0) (#109)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:02:46 PM EST
    example in my lifetime.

    Activists caved (5.00 / 10) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:33:18 AM EST
    What activists?  Our activists caved from the beginning.  If you did not cave you were branded numerous horrible things that scare the pants off liberals.  The Obama win was based on shutting down activists actually they were converted to cheerleaders.  

    It was the most brilliant coopting of self proclaimed activists ever, in the name of non defined change.  

    The problem is that team Obama knew how to shut down liberals, but has no clue how to confront the other side.  

    Activists are slimed by Dems (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by waldenpond on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:04:47 PM EST
    Aren't the folks at Firedoglake activists?  They actually gotv organize etc.  Then 'centrists' come along and make up new names to slime liberals... I'm particularly fond of how fast the Firebaggers insult became mainstreamed.

    Firedoglake is nothing but a (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:11:13 PM EST
    bunch of zealot firebaggers and old beaten up P-word cougars  :)

    In the meantime, Booman has written a brand new batch of sniveling drivel about how Palinism is Bushism....or something like that.  I want so badly to leave a comment that says "Who cares you simpering boot licking rubber stamping apologist"?


    You care enough to read Booman! (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:14:04 PM EST
    If I want to stick a finger into the wind (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:19:16 PM EST
    and know what the next batch of simpering sniveling boot licking photo diary apologia is going to try to mimic,  I go see what his latest hatchling is :)

    You were probably not listening (2.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:06:21 PM EST
    Obama would routinely say that he had the chops to go in front of school teachers unions and push for performance based pay, that he could go and speak to auto unions in Detroit and talk about increasing fuel efficencies in cars even if unions were against it. He got elected because people liked this message. He defined change in very specific ways.
    I am not saying that he is keeping every promise. However, he was very specific in talking about every change he wanted to implement.

    NO I was listening (5.00 / 8) (#15)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:12:14 PM EST
    His message of change was vague on purpose.  The only definite message from what I heard was slamming traditional Democratic positions.  As you point out, he was only gonna use the chops with the base, teachers and unions.  Need I say more?

    That was kind. (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:14:53 PM EST
    A lot of the stimulus money (none / 0) (#27)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:33:18 PM EST
    went to protect the jobs of teachers and public union workers. Need I say more?

    Did you really just say ... (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by Yman on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 05:04:48 PM EST
    ... that Obama was praising his ability to go in front of Democratic groups and talk about things they wouldn't like?

    Heh.  Funny definition of "chops".

    I am not saying that he is keeping every promise.

    No kidding.  The problem is the few times he did get specific, and the number of times he broke those promises.  But if you throw in a "I'm not saying he's perfect" once-in-a-while, somebody might buy that.


    Do you read your own comments? (none / 0) (#127)
    by sj on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 12:25:31 PM EST
    He was talking about union busting!!!  I know that the issue of unions is a complex one and that they are not perfect.  But I much prefer to live in a world with them than without.

    And this Democratic candidate was essentially talking about union busting!


    It's (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:00:27 PM EST
    Chicago politics I guess. They only know how to deal with squashing their own while having a complete inability to deal with the opposition.

    Would like to see some examples of (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:12:59 PM EST
    a complete inability to deal with the opposition.

    I will take Chicago politics anyday (none / 0) (#35)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:51:38 PM EST
    over Georgia and Alabama politics where Democrats are slapped left and right everyday but learn to throw out words and phrases like "Taxachussetts", "Chicago politics",  "San Francisco liberals", "elitists", etc.

    Democrats get slapped left and right in (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:02:19 PM EST
    Alabama?  Buwhahahahahahaha....only when it comes to sending them to D.C.  Since Civil War reconstruction the Alabama state legislature has been Democratic until this past midterm election.  The people may be very conservative minded but they remind me so much of Wyoming in that they elect Democrats to try to keep the Conservatives in power from destroying their lives.  The Democrats though have become so corrupt that I guess we will go Republican and see if we can blow everything into oblivion.  Once again, the current brand of Democrats is causing all voters to abandon ship....even in Alabama.

    You really want to talk about George Wallace (none / 0) (#53)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:41:21 PM EST
    while slamming Obama for being a disaster for liberals?

    George (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:48:54 PM EST
    Wallace was a dixiecrat which is now a Republican so what does that have to do with Obama? Wallace died years ago and admitted that he was wrong. Obama has said that he was "too liberal". What do you think about that?

    SF Liberals (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:09:28 PM EST
    Well, it seems that we did not cave.  The SF Democratic machine seemed to do a much better job at sustaining the Democratic coalition.  It was Burton and company with the Democratic base that demolished eMeg and eCarly.  

    What did the Chicago machine do? Oh, they did not even elect a Democratic Senator.  


    Please read carefully before commenting (none / 0) (#49)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:32:33 PM EST
    I did not say that I would pick Chicago politics over SF liberal politics. I did say that I take it over Southern politics exemplified by Georgia and Alabama.
    But in all fairness, SF got a lot of help from LA in demolishing eMeg and eCarly in California. If Illinois had another liberal stronghold like Chicago, Dems would have won the Senate.

    Read again (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:45:51 PM EST
    I was slamming the Chicago machine.  They told us they would single handedly save the Democratic Party, yet all they have done is sell it out.  

    Brown and Boxer energized the old California Democratic machine, a statewide operation.

    They took all the credit for 2008, they should take the blame for 2010, fair is fair.    


    And if (1.00 / 0) (#51)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:37:29 PM EST
    you feel that way you should be slamming the Obama administration for calling people like you retards.

    What the heck is going on? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:13:29 PM EST
    Seriously, Ga6thDem, you are too good for this kind of namecalling. You use that horrendous term "retards", and then you cast it off flippantly to another commenter. BTW, I read your material. It doesn't use read like this.

    Something else--and, I ask this honestly--what is happening on this site? There are a few people who seem to have turned angrier and angrier. I think that you are approachable. So, tell me, for those of us who don't line up in the chorus lines of boos and hisses for President Obama, where is the room for discussion??? Or does discussion matter? Are we all now to vent, scream, and holler...and, all of us (myself included) say the same thing over and over in more escalation? In rank conformity? Where is there room for talk here where we don't have to name call or tell each other what we certainly must be thinking?

    People used to talk about Kos being an echo-chamber. (And, it was.) But, here: Where do we go?


    Here's (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:40:32 PM EST
    the problem I have with Obama: he's an empty suit. There seems to be nothing there other than him desperately wanting approval from crazy people while the country goes down the drain. What's to like about that? I really don't see much to approve of where he's concerned. And as someone who is dealing directly with his policy decisions--load modification--I can tell you his policy decisions have been pretty poor so far.

    That being said, Obama CAN turn it around but judging from what he's said he doesn't want to.

    Then there's that other theory that he's doing what he really wants to do but that would be even worse. That is admitting that a lot of people were completely fooled.


    At this date, I'm looking for him (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:19:44 PM EST
    to fill that suit. Because of the lack of experience, my original expectations were quite low. That combined with the concentrated determination of the Repubs to destroy not just the policy but the person--in my view-- AND the economic inheritance combined to make this a slow uphill struggle for anyone.

    We have gone through the first cycle with the mid-terms behind us. We all know the inventory of legislative gains--and can discuss individually if you would like. I'm guessing, tho, that the potholes and slow march of the past 18 months make it harder for many initial supporters to hold on. I'm human; sometimes I wonder too.

    The matter of the tax cuts, and the ultimate approach to the deficit commission report (when it comes) could be a turning point. People, I believe, are looking for a show of strength; and, for that (after "the shellacking") he has to dig deep. The funny part of this whole thing is that he will have to be the singular, strong, dominant figure that doesn't really comport with the small-d democratic from-the-ground-up model. The model he follows, I believe, is the consensus-builder...at least by philosophy. The compounded crises of the last several years certainly showed us all the holes in the swaggering, I'll-do-it-my-way-and-my-cronies-way model. Ironically, it may be that our situation--in crisis mode--requires a top-down, "strong executive model" to push us forward. (Clinton's statement that sometimes people prefer even "strong, but wrong" to "weak, but right.") I think that President Obama is actually astute enough ffrom the on-the-job-training today to merge the strong executive with the correct direction. We'll know soon enough.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:39:22 PM EST
    as far as the economic inheritance, that was all known and not a big secret so I don't really feel too sorry for him on that account. If he didn't want to fix the problems or know how to fix them, he shouldn't have run for office.

    The fact that the Repubs are out for blood should surprise no one and the fact that Obama wants to work with them makes him look even more foolish. I guess he really believed his own rhetoric that he could heal "the partisan divide".

    People are looking for leadership not consensus and just because Bush was a bad leader doesn't make leadership a bad thing.

    Well, he's already caving on the tax cuts for the wealthy and is beginning bargaining from a point of weakness so no, there will be no change on that for Obama. You can keep "hoping" but the evidence is all to the contrary. Obama gives away the store hoping for some crumbs to be thrown his way.


    The bipartisanship for bipartisanship (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:52:45 PM EST
    stuff was and is crap...to the point where it has been carried, which is no point at all. I suspect that you are correct in the WH believing its own spin. That tends to happen in the WH.

    I would like to note that there are different types of leadership. JFK specifically addressed when leadership should be the servant leader (following and serving the public's call) and when the situation requires the command and control, directive model. I was trying to suggest that--only my speculation--that Obama comes from the servant-leader model and may have had to grow into the going-first leader model. That may have been something that the campaign obscured from everyone, including himself. Again, I do believe that he can take up the more traditional leadership model that does seem to be called for in these turbulent times.


    No (none / 0) (#110)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:03:21 PM EST
    Obama comes from no leadership model. He doesn't have the servant leadership either.

    He wants to community organize the whole country and that is a fatal flaw for a President to have.


    umm, what exactly were (5.00 / 3) (#113)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:34:46 PM EST
    his accomplishments as community organizer? I mean, have we ever heard much about what he did aside from register voters?

    He never did the hands on work to understand the/any leadership model for his current position. I have hands on experience with the type. More than once . . . . surrounding oneself with smart people is not the answer for lack of experience when running a country. When on 60 minutes, he joked about his management (or serious lack of) experience when asked. . . .


    As far (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:48:49 PM EST
    as I know he had none as a community organizer. I asked and asked two years ago and no one seemed to know. It's kind of like Bush and his businesses. No one seemed to know that all his businesses had failed.

    Funny, you should (5.00 / 3) (#115)
    by NYShooter on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:50:47 PM EST
    mention that.

    I asked a similar question. Did anyone notice during the campaign that in all his advertisements never once was there a testimonial by any of his constituents. Wasn't it strange for a guy who  "gave up all the big bucks" he could have had as a big shot corporate, or Wall Street lawyer, supposedly to help the "little people in the inner city," not one of his beneficiaries had a good word to say for him in public?


    According to Alinsky (none / 0) (#121)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:20:47 PM EST
    growing a community organization involves servant leadership. Actually, it is as old-as-the-hills and as basic as DeToqueville.

    While I personally believe that the servant-leadership model may not work until the economic crisis situation has been resolved, there is no evidentiary reason for me to question the President's basic philosophic belief. That would be mere supposition on my part.


    It's comments like this--- (none / 0) (#132)
    by observed on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 06:09:02 PM EST
    absolute nonsense which is nonetheless fluent and keeps the ball rolling (away from criticism of Obama) which makes me go "hmmm..". The 2nd paragraph is really a masterpiece, of a sort.  
    While I personally believe that the servant-leadership model may not work until the economic crisis situation has been resolved
    . Read that again--- I dare you to make sense of it.

    observed, what I'm seeing more and (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by Anne on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 07:52:03 PM EST
    more is reliance on theory in order to pretty much avoid the reality of what's actually happening; people can talk all they want about leadership models, and drop names of prominent theorists into their arguments, but so what?  What does it really accomplish, other than to serve notice on the collective audience that he or she is smarter than everyone else.

    Maybe this explains the affinity for someone like Obama, who always seems to be above it all, removed from the nitty-gritty realities of the consequences of policy.

    Some of us are talking about reality, and some are talking about theory; I happen to think we need to have more reality-based conversations if we are ever to get what we want out of all of this.

    But, who knows?  I could be wrong; I guess we'll see soon enough.


    Yes, but why are people (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by observed on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 12:31:52 AM EST
    resorting to theory? Obviously, because Obama's performance cannot be  justified on the merits .  Note, the commenter never answers the questions about Obama's actual community organizing, either.

    I think that I understand & live reality, Anne (none / 0) (#135)
    by christinep on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 08:15:20 PM EST
    Y'know, people do disagree. It doesn't make them idiots or unrealistic or name-droppers (when referring to relevant studies as shorthand) or whatever.... It just means that there are different approaches to our government and to the Democratic Party in this blog and in the country. What could really be a move forward: The synthesis of positions that--on the surface--are quite different, but--after a layer or two--contain some similarities. There is a thin line between theory and reality at times. One thing I do know: Recognizing that we are not the first generation to feel alienation and other frustrations with government helps. So does learning about cause/effect studies presented in studies and even models. No need to reinvent the wheel.
    The leadership model approach, for one, can lead to an understanding about why certain "leaders" or officials act one way or another; thereby saving time in terms of getting us beyond the frustration of "why can't he see" to the steps useful in persuasion for different types. Looking at empirical research can be an aid in saving time and in adopting useful techiques to further the interests of your group.
    Thats for starters.

    You know that all might be great in (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by MO Blue on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 09:02:23 PM EST
    an analytical study or some thesis but the actions of the President and the Congress have real world consequences. Those real world issues are not being addressed adequately by our president or the politicians in Congress. Instead of looking for ways to really help the economy, create jobs, help people keep their homes and provide real health care now and not insurance some time in the future, these people are looking at ways to f*ck over the poor and middle class adding to their insecurity so that they can get bigger and better tax cuts for rich individuals and corporations. People are suffering and you are spouting abstract theories.

    So yes, I do think your rhetoric is unrealistic and rather inane under the circumstances.  


    Not all or nothing (none / 0) (#137)
    by christinep on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 09:38:13 PM EST
    Studies and academics are useful/helpful/time saving as supplements and to provide extra insight. The fact that I have referred to studies of types is meant only for the purpose of supplenentation. You are so right: Studies can not be anything near the be-all-&-end-all. Nor can emotion. In too many cases, people on one side or the other feel, feel some more, act on feeling (sound like the tea party?) and, then, theres a storm. What comes after the storm? Usually, the group gets torn because the original emphasis was only on the realization of the first feeling. The long & short: The emotional and well-meaning component can only take a movement so far before it runs into a wall.

    What I'm trying to say is that we need an amalgam or a blend of feeling and action and a strategic component that can be strengthened by knowledge of what works and what doesn't. The latter usually is documented somewhere in written work. It is not theory; it is the actualization of theory and what has worked (or not worked) in earlier political struggles.

    And, I'm aware that we may be talking about two different things...it has an apples/oranges flavor to it. All I know is: If you want someone to change and that person doesn't seem to be doing so or doing so speedily enough--and it is politics--you either roll them, swamp them politically or ascertain what factors persuade them to move more quickly. If the latter is the avenue, references to leader type or other works on what can shape that change are quicker than trial & error.


    I know that you preach being totally (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 08:46:55 AM EST
    unemotional. Stay calm, cool and let President Obama gives away everything that the average citizen needs to live a decent life. Smile, clap harder and believe and all will be well.  

    Of course when a person's opinion is labeled "emotional" or 'hysterical' it is only an manipulate attempt to discount someone's viewpoint. Just as telling someone that they are better than that is really an insult that in disguise so that you can still pretend to remain civil and above the fray.  But then you know that, because that is your stock and trade.  


    It's a method of deflecting (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by observed on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 08:52:55 AM EST
    discussion from the concrete and into the realm of wishful thinking.

    One more add=on (none / 0) (#138)
    by christinep on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 09:52:49 PM EST
    People are suffereing. That status won't be alleviated by a group of angry people. Sheer anger often produces counter-productive behavior. That is what would be "inane." Wouldn't knowledge of what works be more likely to ease societal sufferings than undifferentiated emotion without more?

    Are you afraid of anger, christine? (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by Anne on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 10:42:09 PM EST
    Because you have, on more than one occasion, attempted to make anger the reason why someone's point of view isn't as valid as those you view as more polite and less emotional.

    Which, I have to say, also puts you more in line with the Obama model: he rejects the anger of liberals, seeks to soothe the anger of conservatives, and almost never, ever, allows passion of any kind to color his rhetoric.

    Do you think the American Revolution was built by people who prized minding one's manners over the principles they believed were right?  There's a reason we say people "fight" for the things they believe in, and not that they "discuss in reasoned tones and measured voices a few items of disagreement in an effort to reach common ground acceptable to all."  We aren't discussing whether it is better for the toilet paper to go over or under the roll, or whether boxers are preferable to briefs - we are staking out positions we have decided matter to us, and that we aren't willing to give up on just so we can pat ourselves on the back later that we did it without ever having to raise our voices beyond the acceptable "indoor" level.

    Do you think the anger people expressed during the Vietnam war made a difference?  Do you think the anger expressed during the era of segregation made a difference?  Do you think women taking to the streets in anger for the right to vote made a difference?

    Where you and I disagree is that I believe we have allowed the course of this nation to be determined by people who are so disconnected from the real suffering that is being experienced that they place more importance on what is an acceptable level of emotion than they do on what it is that is at issue.

    Anger has its place, christine, and people need to be allowed to express that anger, even if it makes people like you uncomfortable; in fact, allowing that anger to reach through the bubble so that those in power are made to feel uncomfortable is probably exactly what we need to make happen.  

    You can wear pearls to the revolution, christine.


    Bait (none / 0) (#149)
    by christinep on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 11:33:04 AM EST
    No, Anee et al, I by no means am afraid of anger. (It used to be my stock in trade.) It is that: My style of argument is to eschew anger, because--other than short term gain--it really gets nowhere. If I don't really give a darn about something, then it is ok to get angry.

    What I am reacting to here is a host of undifferentiated anger. If you don't want to read what I have to say, fine. But, belittling me is rather fookish (unless, of course, it makes you feel better.) Anger does have its place--to push, pull, initiate.  But, it seems to me, we all know that everyone in our political world is itching for something different...and, angy about it. So, now what? If the blog is meant for cutesy, cutting comments or outburst of exasperated rage, well...again, I say, what is the plan? Spitballs from the back of the room?

    Do not misunderstand my reaction to emotion. I love emotion and am not at all troubled by it. But...in political PLANNING? Sorry, repeated demonstrations of anger are like the little-boy-who-cried-wolf. My career combo of law and, later, strategist/strategic planner hamper me in blog emotional flows. But, for those willing to give & take beyond their own echo chamber, I am very willing to be part of that exchange.

    We both face dilemmas. Anne et al can continue to play stampede for those who don't agree and, then, you can all agree with each other without disruption. You make too many assumptions, methinks, and that is unfortunate. For example: Yes, I remember the anger at the height of Vietnam...having marched against it from the beginning and living the Chicago reality...and, guess what, it was more than the anger that brought it all down; it was the sheer number of deaths, the passage of time, the reality of the costs, etc. (and there wasn't anything particularly progressive about the way my friends & I treated returning vets...as anger got the best of both sides of those confrontations.)

    I wonder if we could forgive each others' excesses a bit. If I come across as too cold/unnaturally aloof, chalk some of that up to my approach to problem-solving.  If you come across to this reader as high decibel/overly emotional, I'll step back and view it as your way of moving toward resolution. We could actually "tolerate"--in the fullest sense of the word--each others' style. (BTW, that is why I keep mentioning Alinsky concepts...especially, the one that cautions people who wish to change the status quo to know in what part of the movement/waves of the movement they fit...not everyone is a catalyst or a banner-carrier; some are the negotiators, etc....but, they have the same goal-sets. We can supplement each other if we don't decimate each other.)



    Excuse me for mistyping the name (none / 0) (#150)
    by christinep on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 11:34:06 AM EST
    I should follow my own advice re: Haste makes waste.

    wha?? (none / 0) (#148)
    by sj on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 09:18:04 AM EST
    Sheer anger often produces counter-productive behavior.

    This isn't an interpersonal relationship!  At a societal level, sheer anger produces results.  The idea is to use those powers for good.  


    What can I say (none / 0) (#133)
    by christinep on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 06:55:01 PM EST
    to continuing insult from you--namecalling and slinging mud, without more: Thank you too!
    Let me just add: You might want to study a bit the leaderhip models before the next assault for assault's sake.

    And yet the sentence (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by observed on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 12:27:58 AM EST
    I highlighted is still gibberish. No amount of referencing can add meaning which was not imbued in the first place. In my opinion, the exceptionally tendentious nature of your discourse suggests a remunerative basis for your teleology.

    Don't stamp your feet now. (none / 0) (#144)
    by observed on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 12:38:33 AM EST
    What is going on is that after (5.00 / 10) (#92)
    by Anne on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:30:57 PM EST
    two years of watching Obama and the Dems play ping-pong with things that matter to us, use things that matter to us as bargaining chips, cave in to non-existent pressure, and side first, last and always with the savvy businessmen, some of us are having a hard time understanding why anyone who calls him- or herself a Democrat is still willing to give them a pass, or the benefit of the doubt, and still thinks this is all a game of infinitely dimensional chess that we are, quite simply, just not smart enough or politically brilliant enough to appreciate, so best that we just trust that there is a bigger plan here that is going to work out just fine.

    In other words, we're tired of the BS, and no longer have the patience to tolerate it; that's what's going on.

    We don't see how we are served by not pushing back, by not speaking up, by not expressing our anger with how we are being represented; that's what's going on.

    "Don't rock the boat" is what co-dependent, enabling, dysfunctional people say and do to avoid conflict to try and maintain the illusion that things are really quite fine; they're not - and that's what's going on.

    And under it all is the growing realization that our options are limited, our power almost nonexistent, and some of us have no intention of going gently into that good night; that's what's going on.

    Snap out of it, christine; wake the hell up, for crying out loud.


    What to say at this point, Anne (1.00 / 1) (#95)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:43:02 PM EST
    There are a lot of people that feel as I do, Anne. Maybe not on this blog...but, the vast majority of those calling themselves Democrats continue to feel, believe as I do about President Obama. Check it out.

    It is everyone's choice about--as you say--"going gently into that good night." I believe that you are quite wrong. Yet, I'm not about to suggest what your mental state might be (as you have done with me) or to be so dictatorial as to say "wake the hell up" (as you have also said to me.)

    You have every right to yell in writing or in your house or in many other places. Go ahead. I have every right to refuse to take the bait. Yet, it would still be good to have a discussion without the foot stomping here or there.


    I don't spend any time checking out (5.00 / 8) (#100)
    by Anne on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 05:09:39 PM EST
    the blogs to see if what I feel is being felt by others; I get that you think it's important to feel that your approach has some sort of Beltway Blogger Seal of Approval, but pardon me if I don't regard that as meaning a whole lot.

    If you had grown up in any kind of dysfunctional household, or had any co-dependent relationships in your past or present, you would understand that continuing to function from, "he means well, and if we all just rally 'round, he'll see soon enough what the best course of action is," is pretty much textbook co-dependent behavior.  He zigs, and you zag to maintain the illusion; he drops back a step and you drop with him to maintain the illusion.

    You asked what was going on, why, seemingly all of a sudden, discussion isn't what it used to be; I responded, and you didn't like the answer. Here's a suggestion: maybe you shouldn't ask the question if you don't want an answer you don't like.

    I feel exactly as I did when George Bush and Dick Cheney and Condi Rice and Colin Powell were all pretending the plan wasn't to feed us enough BS so we could get behind another war.  Exactly as I did when the media was dutifully disseminating the message the Bush administration wanted to us to hear.  Exactly as I did when the media failed to ask the questions, demand the proof, do their own research, educate and inform the public.

    You have every right to believe the fix isn't in, that Obama's good intentions are about us, and not about Wall Street and the banks.  You have every right to think that suddenly, Obama will sign onto progressive ideas and lead from a position grounded in solid Democratic principles.

    I have every right to think you're kidding yourself, and the difference is that I have two years of evidence that supports my position; you still have wishes and hope.

    Good luck with that.


    Correction (none / 0) (#102)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:18:42 PM EST
    I don't check out the other blogs for approval, Anne. Specifically, I do read the underpinnings of polls--Pew, AP, CBS/NYTimes, ABC/WashPost, etc.--in a few areas such as %of Democrats supporting Obama, what people think about the direction of the country, whether people believe things will improve economically. Not poll driven; but, I do try to ascertain where people are in their positions (Democrats & Independents, particularly.) I trust anecdotal info from friends, neighbors, old colleagues, cousins, occasional discussions with others walking their dogs, etc. My dad always told me to consider where others are coming from...so....

    As for evidence, I start with legislation and go from there. Yep, I understand evidence...some exists on both sides; still like the balance.


    The definition of insanity (5.00 / 4) (#101)
    by kmblue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:06:46 PM EST
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over
    and expecting different results.

    christine, you are putting your faith in Obama over and over despite repeated instances of Obama hitting "FAIL"!

    Obama won't change his behavior unless he really really wants to.  He not only doesn't want to, he doesn't see why he should.



    About faith (none / 0) (#104)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:33:33 PM EST
    Well, kmblue, I don't put my faith in other persons. About the only thing that Reagan ever said with which I agree: Trust, but verify.

    As for whether someone succeeds or not, I like the progress of this Administration (especially with Pelosi's House leadership) on a number of pieces of legislation. Some do; some don't. Based on my understanding of political history, one could hardly call that insanity. (Hyperbole, perhaps.)

    I do agree that officials behavior can be directly influenced by constituents, and should be. In that sense, the strong statement of disillusion by the more progressive segment of the Democratic base will prove healthy for many reasons (including the reasons so often set out by BTD.) The right is pushing; the left needs to push...its not merely the dialectic, its what works. To clarify, my personal sentiments tend to run center-left (or whatever it is called these days) and so my temperament is one that really gets engaged during the negotiation phase of any project or case or issue. Despite my tone, you guys need to know that I appreciate very much the strong positioning on the left; it is just that I presume most clashes in any area will be thrashed out eventually with some give & take. And, I tend to jump to that point quickly. (But, I'll be there when the time comes.)


    There's a big difference (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by NYShooter on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:58:31 PM EST
    Between "empathy" and "experience"

    When you see someone's home being foreclosed upon I'm sure you feel empathy towards them. But, until you hear the sheriff nailing an eviction notice on your door, you can't know what that experience feels like.


    When I was 10, it was the depths of a (none / 0) (#118)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:14:09 PM EST
    major recession in the 1950s. My dad, a laborer, was raising his two girls after losing his wife (my mother) to cancer. He was laid off during that recession. He talked to me, the oldest of the two, as an adult...would we be able to pay the rent, what if we had to go into foster care, what was going to happen next...and, finally, he bravely promised we would all be alright. We were. (What a wonderful dad!)

    Yes, I know. It can hurt a lot; and, it did--at different times--for other members of my family. Never forget where you came from.  Hey, I do understand...more than you could know.  (BTW, my dad was more of a believer in the Democratic Party than even me.)


    I was a .... (none / 0) (#128)
    by sj on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 12:25:48 PM EST
    ... a believer in that Democratic party as well (the party of your father).  But it isn't that Democratic party anymore.

    ain't that the truth (none / 0) (#153)
    by NYShooter on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 05:14:43 PM EST
    and that's the saddest part, a betrayal that words just can't do justice to.

    Thank you Obama, you're the poater boy for "when bad things happen to good people."


    I appreciate your reply (none / 0) (#105)
    by kmblue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:49:51 PM EST
    but I still think you're expecting Obama to change his behavior, when I think he absolutely will not.

    Didn't you say something about his "growing into the office?"  


    I'm not (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:35:57 PM EST
    calling him names just merely pointing out his inconsistency. I mean the Obama Administration called people like him retards. Why is he not angry about that but mad about things like Taxachussetts? S/he makes no sense at all and I'm merely pointing it out.

    Ga6thDem (none / 0) (#83)
    by kmblue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:39:05 PM EST
    was quoting Rahm who said liberal critics of the Prez are "effing retards".  Seriously, christine, I would have thought you would know that.

    Thanks, kmblue (none / 0) (#87)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:56:23 PM EST
    Rahm did use that term, and later apologized (as he definitely should have.)

    And, I appreciate both you and GathDem responding. You are correct that I put the infamous comment by Rahm out of my mind.

    I would like to renew the point about areas of effective disagreement. Another person mentioned elsewhere that people on blogs should be aware that the give & take is not all pretty (or words to that effect.) Personally, I have no problem with a strong argument--loud or quiet--its in the genes. There is a stage, tho, where ongoing issues and responses can begin to take on the "Your mother" level. My concern above stems from a growing sense that a few threads are going in circles...with the same mud. Not prissy, nor shrinking on my part. Just the sense that the noise level keeps going up without more. My sense of frustration with the dynamics is all.  

    To clear my head, going for a swim.


    Right, and when a commenter (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by observed on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:12:37 PM EST
    says her interlocutors are so naive they think Obama should be able to wave a magic wand, said commenter is FAR past "effective disagreement"

    Baawaa (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:35:06 PM EST
    Max Cleland? Zell has been sent off to the loony bin and nobody even wants him anymore.

    Dems here are completely drowned out by the GOP so what the heck are you talking about? And "taxachussetts" comes from Bush Sr.


    I don't know about that (none / 0) (#111)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:05:05 PM EST
    I think people are getting an odd view of Chicago politics based on Obama and Axelrod.

    Numerous articles have been posted (none / 0) (#120)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:18:34 PM EST
    saying that the administration is not going to draw down troops in Afghanistan in 2011 as promised but will indicate that he will begin (key word) drawing down in 2014.

    It will be interesting to see if this announcement will make some of anti-war people become active once again.


    Democratic idea for a compromise (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:44:57 AM EST
    Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is offering a new compromise take on the Bush tax cuts. In a nutshell, the moderate Senator says Congress should hew to the President's plan to end tax cuts for the top 2% of earners -- but instead of using the new revenue to pay down the deficit as President Obama has suggested, Warner says it should be used to pay for new tax cuts aimed at boosting the economic activity of businesses.
    First, more on the plan. "The logic of this proposal is clear," Warner writes. Basically, Warner would take the new revenue created by extending the cuts on the rich for two years -- that's the $65 billion -- and turn them into new cuts aimed at business. The new cuts wouldn't end after two years like the proposed temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy would, Warner's office told TPMDC today. Instead, the new cuts for businesses would remain in place permanently -- paid for, Warner's spokesperson told me, solely by the economic growth they would create.
    Notably, the Congressional Budget Office determines the cost of the tax cuts, often based on a 10 year time frame -- and they would not count potential economic growth in the score. So if Warner's proposal became law, the final tally would look more like the deficit-widening tax cut extensions he proposes to replace (nearly $700 billion worth of tax cuts) than the $65 billion he suggests in his article. link

    Let's be honest about this. Neither party gives a rat's a$$ about the deficit. They just want to transfer large amounts of Social Security and Medicare money from the people who paid into the systems and into the coffers of the rich (corporate and individual).

    Warner's proposal is BS (none / 0) (#8)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:54:07 AM EST
    They should take the $65 billion and create an infrastructure bank managed by the Federal Govt.
    I thought private capital was not being invested because of lack of demand, not because there was a lack of private capital sitting on the sidelines.

    Warner was one of the major supporters (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:31:12 PM EST
    of the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action. One of those very serious people who says we must deal with the deficit. Giving away $700 billion (10 yr costs )in permanent tax breaks to corporations does not reduce the deficit. But hey,  as long as sacrifices are made by those who can least afford it, fixing the deficit is really, really necessary.  

    What's this got to do with SS? (none / 0) (#74)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:06:41 PM EST
    SS is separately funded.  You cannot "transfer money out of Social Security."

    Social Security surpluses go into (none / 0) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:04:00 PM EST
    the general funds. The larger the surpluses the more money the government has available to offset tax cuts.

    If Social Security always runs a generous surplus, those funds are then available fund tax cuts for the wealthy and finance our never ending wars.

    * Since 1982, Social Security has had surpluses ranging from $89 million to $190 billion per year.[72] By law, these surpluses must be loaned to the federal government, which is obligated to pay the money back with interest.[73]  [74]  [75] This is referred to as the "Social Security Trust Fund" and at the close of 2007 it had a balance of $2.2 trillion.[76]

    link? :) (none / 0) (#123)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:19:17 PM EST
    Ahem (none / 0) (#125)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:51:39 AM EST
    "which is obligated to pay the money back with interest"

    They never have to pay it back with (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by MO Blue on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    or without interest as long as they rig the system in such a way that the Social Security surpluses exceed the benefits paid out. Good article by William Greider

    Actually, the government has already spent their money. Every year the Treasury has borrowed the surplus revenue collected by Social Security and spent the money on other purposes--whatever presidents and Congress decide, including more tax cuts for monied interests. The Social Security surplus thus makes the federal deficits seem smaller than they are--around $200 billion a year smaller. Each time the government dipped into the Social Security trust fund this way, it issued a legal obligation to pay back the money with interest whenever Social Security needed it to pay benefits.

    That moment of reckoning is approaching. Uncle Sam owes these trillions to Social Security retirees and has to pay it back or look like just another deadbeat. That risk is the only "crisis" facing Social Security. It is the real reason powerful interests are so anxious to cut benefits. Social Security is not broke--not even close. It can sustain its obligations for roughly forty years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, even if nothing is changed. Even reports by the system's conservative trustees say it has no problem until 2041 (that report is signed by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the guy who bailed out the bankers). During the coming decade, however, the system will need to start drawing on its reserve surpluses to pay for benefits as boomers retire in greater numbers.

    But if the government cuts the benefits first, it can push off repayment far into the future, and possibly forever. Otherwise, government has to borrow the money by selling government bonds or extend the Social Security tax to cover incomes above the current $107,000 ceiling. Obama endorses the latter option.

    Mark who? Where has he been? (none / 0) (#117)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:13:02 PM EST
    Biding time until his day dawned I guess. It just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?

    Maybe we could become (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 11:49:47 AM EST
    activists again instead of boot licking apologists?  Reading at Orange right now is often like checking in at Red State in 2007.  A whole bunch of sniveling simpering drivel, but not much accountability for rubber stamping BushCo right over the cliff :)

    Might there be more activists if there (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:16:43 PM EST
    were fewer blogs to read and comment on endlessly?  Just asking.

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:42:44 PM EST
    I stick with blogs mostly that are in line with my goals and my concerns.  I stick with blogs that educate verses preach too.  I think that most of the people that get deeply immersed in the blog culture and social structure probably aren't activists, but fairly loyal voters most likely.  We have a big plus when compared to the Republican party, we encourage discussion as much as cheerleading and we have fewer zealots that will swear to die for the current Democrat in power :)  That leaves us open for debate and the chance of avoiding what Republicans do to themselves these days...becoming a suicide bomber :).  But it takes courage.  You have to be okay with disagreeing and being called names, and others downrating you....oh my :)  We are the kinder gentler happier party, we are very uncomfortable with arguing and anger in general...well most of us :)

    LAT review of Vol. I of Mark Twain's (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:40:36 PM EST
    autobiography labels him "the first blogger."  

    Good Lord (none / 0) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:09:07 PM EST
    He is my favorite author and personality.  I'm certain I will die this way too.  Born to blog I guess

    He said he was saving some of his (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:11:37 PM EST
    truth-telling for the great beyond, so don't believe everything in his autobiography.  Great photo of him standing in front of his boyhood home in Hannibal MO in LAT.  

    William Greider, from The Nation(dot)com (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Harry Saxon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:17:35 PM EST
    Obama Without Tears

    Only Obama can decide this about himself, but others can influence the outcome by surrounding him with tough love and new circumstances created by their own direct actions. It does not help Obama to keep telling him he did great but the people misunderstood him. He did lousy, not great, and in many governing dimensions people understood his failures clearly enough. They knew he gave tons of money to bankers and demanded nothing in return. They knew he thought the economy was in recovery. They couldn't believe this intelligent man was that clueless.

    Popular forces can blow away the fuzziness. They can mobilize to demonstrate visible support for the president's loftier goals and to warn him off the temptation to pursue a Clintonesque appeasement of the right. Given the fragile status of his presidency, Obama needs to know that caving in is sure to encourage enemies and drive off disheartened supporters. People should, likewise, call out the president's enemies and attack them with the harshness that's out of character for him. The racial McCarthyism of the GOP establishment is a good place to start.

    People who still have great hope for Obama can help revive his presidency, but only if they toughen up themselves. Stop holding his hand (he's an adult) and start building a people's agenda that compels the president to change his. Obama won't like this at first--his own supporters talking back--but he can learn to draw strength from their courage. If people fail to step up with their own message, the president will likely fail with his.

    Click Me

    Is it just me or was that (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by waldenpond on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:21:38 PM EST
    emo?  Came across as a wishy-washy description of a wishy-washy Pres.

    "Stop holding his hand" oy.

    Still, I don't view him as wishy-washy.  He's a conservative doing his conservative thing.


    Wishy-washy? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Harry Saxon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:31:36 PM EST

    It does not help Obama to keep telling him he did great but the people misunderstood him. He did lousy, not great, and in many governing dimensions people understood his failures clearly enough.

    This is an interesting article by Greider (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:30:30 PM EST
    Leadership (none / 0) (#23)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:23:25 PM EST
    The premise in this is that Obama wants to lead.  That Obama has an inner core of values that he is willing to risk everything for.  Alas, he is just like all our politicians, it's about them and staying in power.  Power and ego are the only core values of our politicians.  When he did those speeches to revive his voters each speech was " I need you to..." I did not here we must for the good of......

    Leadership by focus group and consensus is not what we need right now.  


    This reads like a longer version of (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:32:27 PM EST
    "Pols are pols and do what they do."  

    It does, and both versions (none / 0) (#39)
    by brodie on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:03:35 PM EST
    are a little too cynical and simplistic for moi.  

    All pols are not made from the same cookie cutter and are not just out for themselves.  I think Johnson and Nixon probably were largely self-centered to a huge fault.  Power and ego there, with disastrous results for the country.

    I'd like to think FDR had some core values of basic decency and concern for the less well off and for protecting fundamental democratic values.  JFK, RFK and Ted all strike me as principled liberal pols out to help make the country better for all, not just the rich and powerful.

    So, I suspect Greider may not be on the wrong track here.  In fact I briefly noted something similar here a while back -- how Obama, unlike other presidents stuck in their stupid stubbornness and/or corruption and/or personal demons, is probably capable of changing attitude and course with the right persuasive approach or major event which knocks him on the head.  

    I would though agree that O is like all other pols in this sense -- he wants a second term as president and so is likely to eventually wise up sufficiently to make that a more likely possibility.


    I dunno... (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Thanin on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:52:41 PM EST
    I think FDR was a clear-eyed pragmatist that threw everything at the depression in a desperate attempt to save capitalism.  It just so happens that the only stuff that could work is what's deemed as Liberal economic policy.

    What's scary is how much things are following the same path that brought us the 1937-38 double dip depression.  It's almost like we don't know our own history or something.  Better cut more education spending I guess.


    If it is starting to look like 1937=38 (none / 0) (#80)
    by christinep on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:24:42 PM EST
    Do you see an international situation calling for money, arms & equipment, and related jobs as a fall-out? I wonder about the occasional tough talk about Iran. OTOH, a major distinguishing factor from a historical repeat could be our recent Iraq mess and our enmeshment in Afghanistan now?

    do you honestly think (none / 0) (#85)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:42:01 PM EST
    2 botched wars would make them stop and think? history . . . . rinse and repeat. and this presidency is all about "historic"  ;)

    According to the shrinks (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:46:10 PM EST
    power and ego are the core of all of us :)  Even charity and giving are ego based :)  That damned Obama though, he told me to make him do it...and then when I do he sobs like a baby :)

    And everything is my fault (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:46:38 PM EST
    A very thoughtful minister once (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:09:30 PM EST
    said to me, "Guilt is just another manifestation of pride."  I think he was right.

    This guy who owes me $700 (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 03:19:17 PM EST
    Has on his facebook page this motto, "Get down off the cross honey, someone else needs the wood".  He had this motto before he ripped off my $700.

    I had to secure a Mexican judges room at Embassy Suites for a dog show.  The judge didn't call his credit card company before crossing the border and the company shut his credit card off when he tried to charge something in the U.S.  He was paid for his services by check, he cashed the check at the bank on his way to the airport and gave it to "the ride" (who is also an AKC club member) to give to me.  Whether I'm on that cross or not, this guy is about to find out that the wood is mine!  He isn't answering his emails now.  Not smart


    Do you have his (none / 0) (#126)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:54:06 AM EST
    street address?  Send him a demand letter with a big CC at the bottom to your attorney.  (Don't even need to actually send a copy to the attorney, just let him know you have one and you're prepared to use him/her.)

    I was angling for some social pressure first (none / 0) (#131)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 05:34:55 PM EST
    If he spent the money, okay...so what...I'm willing to work with him at this point and take payments or something and not make any formal complaints to the AKC about a lack of ethics.  If no joy there though, I was heading to the lawyer but this is a good warning.

    The Republicans are nihilists and don't care if (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by steviez314 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:38:17 PM EST
    the government and country burn down as long as they have power.  So what's for them to negotiate?

    The Democrats want to try and make government work, even if just marginally more than it currently does.  Of course, that means they have to compromise.

    One side keeps score by policy improvements, the other by election results.  What kind of deal do you think can be worked out there?

    See very revealing graph: (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:42:55 PM EST
    And I bet you the Republicans will be more than (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by steviez314 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 12:52:03 PM EST
    happy to filibuster a middle class tax cut bill without a without a wealthy tax cut attached.  They will then rely on Fox, etc to blare out 24/7 "Obama raised your taxes."

    They were rewarded for saying "NO" over the last 2 years, so whats another 2?

    Remember, these are the people who wouldn't let unemployment benefits pass.  They'll let it all burn down.


    Someone brave (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:08:34 PM EST
    like Bill Clinton could call their bluff :)  And then when people were losing their damned minds we could see how quickly the Republicans changed theirs.  People will not notice what is in the Republicans hand though if nobody ever calls them.

    My point is I don't think they're bluffing. They (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by steviez314 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:00:52 PM EST
    are totally willing to vote no on the middle class tax cuts.  They are totally willing to let the economy go into the crapper, just like they are toally willing to let people's unemployment insurance run out.

    They feel they will pay no electoral price for that stand, and I think they are unfortunately correct.


    Yes, they are willing to vote no middle (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 02:47:49 PM EST
    class tax cuts.  But if you want the middle class to understand what they really are and if you want there to be consequences for their actions...you are going to have to stop covering for them and get yourself out of the way and let the people experience them exactly how they are.

    Republicans are much better at negotiating than you are, and because you constantly keep trying to keep "disaster" at bay they play you like drunks running the family.  Seriously, this whole deal reminds me so much of my own mother's family and how my grandfather never had to be ultimately responsible or divorced or directly confronted or sent to dry out.....because it would have disrupted the already strained barely balanced family who had already lost its damned mind, dysfunctional, everyone miserable and held hostage.


    Just drop the idea that Republicans are (none / 0) (#93)
    by steviez314 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:32:34 PM EST
    "negotiating" at all, and it all becomes clearer.

    Sure, they might get a little thrill to play the other side, but at the end, they just want to blow everything up and see if that gets them back into power.

    I think we are doomed to a cycle dynamic just like that--Republicans get power, really screw things up. Democrats get into power, are obstructed enough so that they can only make marginal improvments (because they value marginal improvements over power), and thus Republicans come back because things havn't improved fast enough and there is disappointment amongst the base and independents.

    Voters expect Democrats to do a lot and Republicans to do nothing (except airport bathroom stall action).  It's asymmetrical warfare.

    I don't think we have the media or populace to break out of this cycle.  Santayana was wrong--voters remember the past AND are condemned to repeat it anyway.


    I think we will break out of the cycle (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:53:24 PM EST
    on certain issues when something causes an implosion, issue by issue.  But Republicans right now are going to push us right up against the wall on everything because it is working for them.  When it comes to posturing for a fight, I learned something profound when I was about 14.  As long as bullies know that they won't be hurt at all in any way by pushing you up against the wall they will keep it up.  My dad made me so mad because he refused to go to school and raise a stink about me being bullied by another girl.  My dad insisted that if I fought back and I bloodied her nose just once she would leave me alone for good.  He told me that I didn't even need to win the fight, she just needed to understand that she could get hurt too.  I couldn't imagine girls physically fighting though (I'm certain my mother was rolling over in her grave too) so I took it for two years, finally one day I had had enough but I was so mad I licked her good.  Nobody ever bullied me again either, and I obtained some goofy kind of legend status which I used to laugh about privately because I was the same person.  I had not become Wondergirl, just I'll-bloody-your-nose-right-back girl.

    Of course, if that girl was a psychopath like the (none / 0) (#103)
    by steviez314 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:31:37 PM EST
    Republicans are, your dad's advice would not have worked.

    In 2008, the pushed against the wall public gave the Republicans that bloody nose.  They've done every thing they could the past 2 years to make that public suffer more.


    And that same public (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by oldpro on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:53:53 PM EST
    rewarded them for it.

    I think (none / 0) (#108)
    by NYShooter on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 07:01:26 PM EST
    they more wanted to punish the Democrats than go running to the Republicans.

    The result was the same though.


    And in Illinois they ran to (none / 0) (#130)
    by oldpro on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 02:41:43 PM EST
    the Greens, giving Obama's old senate seat to the Rs.  Except for the under-29s who disappeared...as usual.

    oh my! (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by NYShooter on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 10:51:29 PM EST
    Do I detect a tad of cynicism towards our "yewts?"

    Maybe they were camped out in front of the telephone store; I hear Steve Jobs has a new $500 piece of gotta-have, usless, piece-o-crap coming out next Spring.


    The I'll pay you Tuesday (none / 0) (#145)
    by Rojas on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 06:13:36 AM EST
    for a cheeseburger today generation weighs in on the sad state of todays youth.



    Wimpy! (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by oldpro on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 12:55:04 PM EST
    Or am I misremembering?  Could be another senior moment!

    It also helped (none / 0) (#152)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 02:09:57 PM EST
    That the handpicked Democratic candidate, Alexi Giannoulias, was the VP of his family's bank that was put into receivership and was constantly in the news for making bad loans.  And some of those loans were to the WH's favorite "person they wish would go away" - Tony Rezko.

    There ya go.... (none / 0) (#154)
    by oldpro on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 11:15:11 AM EST
    great hand-picked choice, huh?

    I don't believe that (none / 0) (#124)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:22:05 PM EST
    the Republicans are psychopaths to the point that they don't want to get reelected or cringe at being exposed or never want to be in power again.  There are consequences that go with being exposed ina fight for exactly who and what you are, just as there are consequences for people who will not stop enabling abusers.