Political Realities


“[Obama] wants a jobs bill, we get a jobs bill,” the [House] official said. “He wanted health care, we got health care. Then the answer is, ‘You just need to twist enough arms to pass the Senate bill.’ You can twist arms if you’ve got a handful of them to twist. You can’t twist over 100 arms. There needs to be some reality check there.”

(Emphasis supplied.) Did you hear that Jon Chait?

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    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:25:04 PM EST
    One Democratic official went further, saying some Democratic House members actually believe that the White House "wouldn't mind having a foil, and that foil is a Republican [House] majority -- that would serve their political purposes going into 2012."

    These House Democrats say privately that veterans of Bill Clinton's administration working in Obama's White House may think having a Republican majority in Congress will help Obama win reelection, as it did Clinton in 1996. House Democrats know that Obama will do whatever it takes to win reelection, whether or not it helps members keep their seats this year.

    Dear God. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:31:49 PM EST
    what ever happened to husbanding one's forces? What ever happened to twisting recaltricant senators' arms?

    AAAAAAARRRRRRGH! Do these not-so-intelligent people think Clinton WANTED a Republican congress? These had to be some d*ckheaded Clinton WH folks.Including Rahm.


    The DLC folks don't have a very (none / 0) (#10)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 03:01:28 PM EST
    good understanding of the American democratic system as it was supposed to operate.  They would have encouraged George Washington to accept the coronation as King that was offered to him - and that he turned down in favor of our great experiement in creating a popular democracy, just for the record.

    This scenario raises a potential (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:41:20 PM EST
    paradox if you have CDS. Suppose the Republicans win Congress, thus ensuring Obama's reelection: you can't "blame" Clinton for Obama losing Congress unless you give him credit for Obama's reelection.

    Obama is obviously a Democrat (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:52:43 PM EST
    of convenience, born of his decision to live in Chicago; he has  only the slimmest ties to
    mainstream Democratic ideals, such as they are.

    It's always.... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by trillian on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:04:44 PM EST
    ....all about him, isn't it?

    It has more authority when an anonymous (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:30:11 PM EST
    Democratic official says the obvious than when you or I say it.
    Except.. if the Obama administration wanted a foil, they'd hope for more Democrats in Congress.

    Or former Clinton Admin official is the foil (none / 0) (#5)
    by goldberry on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:36:17 PM EST
    When he's really just the firewall.  
    Maybe the anonymous congressperson wants it both ways.  

    I should have added a (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:38:07 PM EST
    snark tag to my last comment, btw.
    Now that my political guru (BTD) says that Obama stinks, I'm really depressed

    You only have to twist 100 arms in (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:48:36 PM EST
    the Senate if you're going for 100% agreement on every bill.  In most cases, all you have to get is 60 and in some all you need is 51.

    But if you are a bipartisan over-achiever type, I guess, you think you need 100.  Rolling eyes.

    I think the quote (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:32:58 PM EST
    was saying there's no way to twist arms in the House because they are not just a few votes short of 218 for the Senate bill. They are way short. Not practical to twist that many arms.

    I gathered that, but I was thinking (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:10:46 PM EST
    about how they dealt with the Senate on this bill.  The truth is that the Obama Administration took for granted and ignored their own coalition and focused far too much on getting GOP votes for HCR - above all else it seems they felt that President Snowe's endorsement was the most critical element of getting HCR passed.  It was completely stupid on numerous levels.

    Now they are left trying to twist arms in the House after kissing up to Grassley, Snowe and the others who so skillfully baited and hooked them into creating a terrible bill?  And now they are even raising the prospect of twisting arms in the only part of the Dem coalition that actually compromised and worked to pass a bill no less?

    The phrase "political malpractice" has been used many times along the way during this fiasco and it is couldn't be more on target in describing what has gone on.  It is frightening to think that this crowd is going to be in the White House even for just three more years.  The damage they are doing to the policies, the coalition, themselves is simply mind blowing to me.  All because they decided that there was a bipartisan unicorn akin to the mythical holy grail that they should pursue above all else.  These people are something to behold.


    Another suggestion! (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:20:11 PM EST
    They wouldn't have to twist as many arms if they'd quit backing all these Republican "want to be's" in the elections!

    If a candidate doesn't believe in the parties principles, then cut off his campaign funds and support and let them run as an independant or Republican.

    The ineffectiveness of the Democrats this session can't be blamed on the Republicans. The opposition has come from within.


    I have yet another suggestion which is (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:31:33 PM EST
    that they could have crafted a bill in the House that was so damn popular amongst the public that it would be very difficult for the Senate to veer off into poison pill land as they did.  But that would have meant that they would have had to craft a really GOOD bill that a lot of people would have liked rather than making so many concessions to those who said that the Senate would be an obstacle that what came out of the House was only considered a "not bad" bill.  Now the choices are between "not bad" and "bad".  Now everyone has something to loathe in these bills and little that they really LOVE.  No politician commits political suicide over a bill they kind of hate and are getting heat from the public for.

    You see, the Obama Administration focused on pleasing the least representative body of public opinion which was a HUGE mistake with a bill like this one.  This bill is not one of those arcane policy pieces that only small or medium sized segments of the population would follow.  Just like the Postal Service's performance - EVERYBODY in America has an opinion about healthcare and the Senate in its current make up simply doesn't represent accurately the depth, breadth or tone of opinion amongst the public.  It is hard to imagine that they really reflect much of the political reality outside of Washington on most subjects at this point given how screwed up the Senate is these days, but really you're playing with fire when you try to follow the Senate on something as widely affecting as the healthcare issue is.  They are just too removed and rarified to be trusted to guide an initiative such as this one - because they are so COMPLETELY out of touch.


    Our (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by sas on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:12:20 PM EST
    prez is pathetically weak.  He exhibits little leadership skill.  And he suffers from a peculiar need to be bi-partisan to the point of rendering himself and the Democratic party  utterly ineffective.

    Turns out that when Obama said (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 06:46:29 PM EST
    "bipartisan", he meant the same thing as Bush: whatever the Republicans want.

    The problem is that the House acted like (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:45:15 PM EST
    the independent body that it is and crafted health care and jobs legislation that was not what Obama wanted - with maybe the exception of Stupak, but Obama couldn't praise that without revealing himself to be the trending-to-anti-choice president many of us suspected he always was; unless I missed something, I didn't hear a peep of praise from Obama for what the House put together, no exhortations to the Senate to pattern their own bill on what the House had done.

    The Senate - thank you, Max Baucus - did exactly as it was instructed to do; on both health care and jobs, this is what Obama wanted.

    I hope the House continues to flip Obama the bird; if the Senate was smart, it would get reacquainted with its middle digit, wave it at Baucus and Obama and act independently as well.

    The House isn't perfect, but it's miles ahead of the Senate in hewing to its responsibility as an independent entity.

    political realities: me (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:22:01 PM EST
    when the parties in the legislature are more beholden to the corporations than to the people who actually voted them into office, you get legislation favorable to those corporations, not the voters.

    Even worse (none / 0) (#11)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:26:37 PM EST
    I would even go a step further. I really don't think Obama would care if he lost reelection. He's shown no passion for the position. He can lose and still have the limelight. That would suit him fine.

    And shame on the Democrats if they allow his grand plan to remake the party succeed.

    He already opened the door (none / 0) (#13)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:37:03 PM EST
    to that recently, saying he's considering be a 1 term President, if that's what it takes to get his agenda passed snort.
    Personally, I'd be delighted if he pulled a Palin.

    link? (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 02:47:15 PM EST
    Granted I haven't been glued to my computer lately, but this is the first I've heard that.

    If it meant he wouldn't run for re-election I'd cheer, but I think he means that he wouldn't mind losing.  I understand that he didn't care for the nuts and bolts of being a legislator, which seems to be the primary theme of his professional life.  He likes pursuing positions, not performing them.