Fight For Policies, Not The Pols

Writing about the America's Future Now! conference going on in DC this week, David Dayen writes:

Surly is about the best word to describe this conference in Washington after the first day. Speaker after speaker excoriated the trajectory from the political sphere as too accommodating, too solicitous, and not enough. [. . .] Attendees expressed that they can no longer – if they ever could have – expect this Administration to do the right thing, and that they must be pushed aggressively from the outside. “Uncomfortable” was a word I heard a lot. “When you treat Chris Dodd and Barney Frank like they’re your buddies, you’re doing it wrong,” said Rob Johnson, economist with the Roosevelt Institute. “You have to get under their skin. They are part of that resilient structure in DC.”

Dayen complains that no real "solutions" have been offered. Perhaps so. But in my view it is important that this message - that pols are pols and do what they do - be absorbed and accepted. If this conference is spreading that message, it is doing a good thing. Yes, 'then what?' is an obvious question. But the first step to solving a problem is recognizing that it exists.

Comments closed. Please continue the discussion in the new open thread.

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  • It was such a struggle for me (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:15:53 AM EST
    to get this.  You know why I kept reading you?  Because no matter what I was upset about or how badly betrayed I may have felt by those I talked up and gave money to and believed in (Oh how I can believe too when I believe), instead of coming away from your writings full of depression and despair....I had a path to take then.  It may not have been the path that I wanted to be on and I wasn't astride my pony, but there was a way that could lead me where I wanted to go.  I don't know if I can ever return to dating pols or kissing frogs again, but I'm probably kidding myself.  It's probably like heroin and I can relapse any time for the next pretty face :)  But I've learned much from your lectures.  One that is front and center is that when I'm not bawling about some pol and I'm working on the issues that I care about, my arguments get so much better and my chances of actually getting politicians to listen to me because I'm starting to scare them a little gets a bit rewarding at times.

    I was a cultist once (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:20:46 AM EST
    It's not easy to let go of the tendency.

    Thank goodness (none / 0) (#5)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:22:27 AM EST
    for sports.

    Politics are not sports.  There is no "home team".


    Though... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:50:57 AM EST
    we do seem to treat politics a lot like sports...specifically professional wrestling, with staged good guy/bad guy Team R/Team D schtick.

    I had always wanted to be a cultist (none / 0) (#100)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:18:29 PM EST
    Maybe a bit of an overstatement on my part. But, I always wondered why--when working for someone's election earlier on-- I never could feel that the sun rose and set on him (one exception: Bobby Kennedy, who certainly was no saint.) That is not to say that I don't expect the Democrats who get my vote to deliver. I do expect improvement over the election cycles. Incremental improvement (and, sometimes, a specific promise to be fulfilled.)
    Political scientists have studied the "rising expectations" dilemma from time to time. So have marriage counselors, job counselors. The old "how high do you aim" can be positive & negative reinforcement all at once. Maybe more important is the preparation or contingency for how to act/how to feel when you have aimed high and come up short. In my limited experience, "surly" can follow the lack of a fall-back plan. Surly is the downside of a boom & bust approach. From last winter's adjective "sour" to "surly" and then to ???

    You mean (none / 0) (#154)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:00:16 PM EST
    like calling Obama a "Rock Star"?

    BTD, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:35:17 AM EST
    have you considered having t-shirts printed with this message, and handing them out as door prizes? maybe bumper stickers too.

    fortunately, i've never been a cultist. say what you will, but there are certain advantages to being extremely lazy, and joining a cult just always seemed like way too much work.

    I was fortunate to have been raised by a skeptic (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by kempis on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:38:51 AM EST
    who drilled into me the reality that "politicians is a buncha con artists" (Dad's grammar preserved.) Unfortunately, dementia struck him just as Reagan rose to power, and he became an ardent member of the cult of St. Ronnie. We didn't discuss politics in Dad's later years....

    Obama's problem is not simply that he is letting down his base. It's that his campaign in 08 positioned him as the heir to the Kennedys and MLK. As the gulf between that rhetoric and the reality of Obama as just another politician sinks in, people get particularly angry. They feel they've been swindled. The disenchantment is therefore stronger and more bitter. Folks who adored him have farther to fall.

    All that said, I intend to vote for him in 12, and I hope he wins because the GOP is stark raving mad. It's going to be interesting to see what on earth he runs on in '12. What will his slogan be? "Change, no seriously!"

    Really, he's going to have a terrible credibility problem heading in 12--and his White House PR folks seem incapable of putting together a narrative to counter the GOP's relentless questioning of his competence and his leadership.
    If Axelrod pulls off an Obama comeback in 12, he will indeed be something.

    "Change! (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:47:55 AM EST
    I really mean it this time!"

    Something a little more "transformative" (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Yman on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:23:50 PM EST
    "It's mourning in America"?

    more appropriately: (none / 0) (#49)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:43:58 PM EST
    "it's morons in America"

    He will run on "where else are you (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:36:13 PM EST
    going to go." Your post is pretty indicative of how well that approach will work.

    All that said, I intend to vote for him in 12, and I hope he wins because the GOP is stark raving mad.

    I have one suggestion (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:49:27 AM EST
    but it is a 'don't do' rather than a 'do'. If a primary challenger that supports your views on policies emerges in 2012, don't shout them down in the name of unity. Let them ride as long as possible. Here's a do: find such a challenger sooner rather than later so the debate can help shape policy in the next 2 years.

    I like this idea (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:54:49 AM EST
    Especially if such a candidate keeps it positive and on the issues.

    No need to directly attack Obama.

    Debate the policies.


    I (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:20:17 PM EST
    rarely see anyone attacking Obama.

    What I read is people talking about his actions and inactions.

    I think it is healthy.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:00:13 PM EST
    There is plenty to debate on policy.

    If I could get my daily (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:06:16 PM EST
    'bash the media' comment in here...it is a crime that they will only cover policy debates if they are wrapped in a personality contest.

    Wouldn't a debate ... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Yman on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:07:44 PM EST
    ... "on the issues" involve attacking the other candidate, directly and otherwise?  I think I see what you're getting at, but anytime candidate A runs against candidate B, they're going to have to be critical of candidate B (on the issues and perhaps otherwise), and they're going to have to contrast their positions with those of the other candidate.  Supporters of candidate B will characterize those criticisms as direct, unfair, personal attacks, whether they are or not.

    I would like then to stick to the issues (none / 0) (#63)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:09:35 PM EST
    and leave the "perhaps otherwise" out of it. Let Obama defend his policies, not his personality.

    Not going to be easy (none / 0) (#71)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:20:10 PM EST
    Nancy Pelosi was heckled today  - at a liberal activist conference here in DC.  This, after Obama has been heckled a couple of times this year.

    People are angry and personalities are definitely going to play a part.


    No doubt (none / 0) (#86)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:47:56 PM EST
    I forgot to add that I rarely get what I would like!

    That's sort of what ... (none / 0) (#158)
    by Yman on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:07:18 PM EST
    ... I was getting at.  It would be nice if campaigns were strictly about the issues, but it's never going to happen.  Opposing candidates and many in the electorate will always try to help themselves or their candidate by bringing the opposing candidate's personality, "character", etc. into it.

    Human nature, I guess.


    I'll add I'm not talking about a direct (none / 0) (#69)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:19:10 PM EST
    face to face debate like the debates that will eventually happen in the primaries. I'm talking about starting soon with articles, TV appearances, speeches, etc. about the issues. No need to even mention Obama. The MSM won't pay attention, but maybe 'new media' will.

    and who might this (none / 0) (#52)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:49:37 PM EST
    "positive" and "on the issues" candidate be, he asked?

    it can't be clinton because, you know, she's a mass murderer, and the "village people" hate her, mostly because she's smarter than they are.

    perhaps a grayson? except, he seems a tad too honest and snarky for dems.

    aside from those two, i see no one coming down the pipeline for the dems in 2012.


    Dem pipeline (none / 0) (#61)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    i see no one coming down the pipeline for the dems in 2012

    who, really, but Obama saw Obama coming down the pipeline for Dems in 2008?

    when he spoke at the convention in 2004 the pundits anointed him as possible future presidential material but they were not thinking 2008 or even 2012

    so somebody could still appear

    personally i would love to see cory booker go national - i might even become a cultist! ;)


    Trick is to find them before (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:14:13 PM EST
    Rahm gives them a job!

    who saw Obama coming? (1.00 / 1) (#98)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:14:47 PM EST
    the corporate interests who gave him most of his money and all of his early money when they determined he was the candidate most likely to do what they wanted.  They knew Bush had destroyed the republican brand for the 2008 elections and they needed a psuedo democrat they could control with money.  
    In 2012, should Obama look like he is losing you can bet that there will be a real republican in the wings all ready to take his place.  Our next president will be a republican if the democrats do not find a way to get Obama off the ticket.  and if they republican running is a moderate women, I will vote for her.  Why not, she would be as far left as Obama.  She couldn't be more corporate and elitist and she would probably be more populist which women tend to be.
    And this time, the republican will be the chosen candidate of the media and not a sexist or race baiting article or report will be found in their coverage of her.

    Around six months (none / 0) (#193)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:38:18 PM EST
    Into Obama's Presidency, I got this morbid premonition:  Obama would be vulnerable to a primary in `12; Kind of how your head kicks back when you put your nose down close to a piece of meat to see if it's fresh...and it's not. Definitely not!

    Of course BTD called me a lunatic (or some other similar compliment), and that's when I knew a one term Presidency was definitely a possibility.

    We, in the "D" party have our own T-party mutants too. So many of the "new" followers Obama brought into the election voted on one issue only, The glory of BHO.

    and after the horrific pain & suffering endured by so many millions, pain & suffering that only a President Obama could have mitigated....and he didn't. He chose to soothe Dimon & Blankfein's
    egos instead.

    There will be payback.


    I had lost (none / 0) (#159)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:09:39 PM EST
    saw Obama coming.

    There was a buzz about his upcoming speech at the 2004 convention. A new star on the horizon.

    I had heard that he had opposed the war and I was looking forward to hearing him speak.

    What I heard with pablum. Bromides. Platitutes. Flag waving.
    Nothing of substance. Just crap. And recycled crap at that.

    It was heralded as being "electrifying".  

    I knew we were facing a democratic-machine-corporate steamroller.


    I (none / 0) (#160)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:10:22 PM EST
    saw Obama coming.

    There was a buzz about his upcoming speech at the 2004 convention. A new star on the horizon.

    I had heard that he had opposed the war and I was looking forward to hearing him speak.

    What I heard with pablum. Bromides. Platitutes. Flag waving.
    Nothing of substance. Just crap. And recycled crap at that.

    It was heralded as being "electrifying".  

    I knew we were facing a democratic-machine-corporate steamroller.


    debate doesn't (none / 0) (#93)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:06:28 PM EST
    shape policy.  Policy is what ever the administration wants it to be despite what they said in the campaign.
    Is any of Obama's policy what he said it would be?

    So there is no way to influence decisions? (none / 0) (#95)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:10:59 PM EST
    No wonder the activists at the meeting are so depressed.

    tell me a time where it happened (none / 0) (#99)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:18:06 PM EST
    in the last 40 years.  
    We have to hope we chose a candidate based on character and that they will be who they say they are.
    nader only helped give us bush and kucinich had NO effect on the party platform no matter how long he stayed in the race.  There is not party platform anymore and Obama's administration stated that they do not plan, they play it by ear.

    Platform is worthless, I agree with that (none / 0) (#107)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:31:29 PM EST
    They all play it by ear, based on their own self-interest and job security. That's why you have to get their ear. It is a lot harder to do than it should be.

    The Sestak primary challenge pushed Specter to the left. Blanche Lincoln not so much, and she may pay the price today.


    Well it is very (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by lilburro on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:54:53 AM EST
    ironic (although that doesn't seem to be the best word) that Obama was able to campaign on the idea of transformation and a belief in grassroots effectiveness, and has governed in an exact opposite manner, as an utter technocrat.  Meaning he doesn't need you to achieve his goals, and his goals are coming from that entrenched community of "experts."  But then again, he's not just a technocrat, because if he wanted to listen to the experts, why not enlist Paul Krugman who is mainstream, widely respected and...oh, that's right, liberal.

    So IMO someone needs to call him out on his approach.  This for example is ridiculous:

    "I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose @ss to kick," he told The Today Show's Matt Lauer.

    His experts are not experts because so far they haven't delivered the goods on the economy.  And they're not experts, they're just well-educated political moderates.  Call out the political nature of this dumb game.  

    Nutshell right here (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:20:10 PM EST
    This perfectly summarizes why the Democratic Party will continue to screw you over, over and over and over:

    All that said, I intend to vote for him in 12, and I hope he wins

    IOW: "I know he keeps beating me and he cheated on me with my best friend when I was 9 months pregnant...but..but I really really think he means it this time! And anyway my last boyfriend was so much worse!!!"

    that's an obsurd (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:42:33 PM EST

    It has nothing to do with "your last boyfriend"

    It has everything to do with "your future president could be soooooo much worse"

    And frankly, in that "scenario" there are 100 million choices out there.  In the real world, there will be 2 come november.

    The way to influence the process is through primaries, midterm elections, and that nice little thing we call seperation of powers.  The president is not "all powerfull" and will have to respond to and deal with these things.  But to pretend like Republicans are a real alternative, or that the system currently allows another alternative in 2012 is living in a fantasy world.


    As long as the metric is that the (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:19:23 PM EST
    other guys are worse, the quality of our choices will continue on its downward spiral.

    I'm more inclined to want people to start thinking along the lines of, "we should be able to do so much better than this" and stop acting as if they have to settle for mediocre coporate-lapdog candidates.

    Truth is, as long as political offices get sold to the highest bidder, we're probably never going get candidates who aren't beholden to the deep pockets of corporate America, but that doesn't mean we should quietly resign ourselves to having to choose between the lesser of two evils.


    the metric (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:25:33 PM EST
    is what it is.

    The point is, that doesn't mean you have to sit back and take it, or quietly resign yourself.  There are other ways to influence the process.  Recruit better primary candidates.  Use midterm elections to send a message.  Influence public opinion which in turn influences political process.

    The lesser of two evils only exists because we allow two evils to get that far in the process.  And because public opinion generally supports evil.

    Don't wait until it's time to choose between two candidates to make your voice heard.  Because at that point, it's too late.


    or (none / 0) (#50)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:46:09 PM EST
    in the words of Bill Maher

    "he's the president, not your boyfriend"

    and you should never fall in love with a president.


    he's also not your (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:09:36 PM EST
    double-dealing first husband or that boy friend who screwed you over two years ago.

    yeah (none / 0) (#104)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:25:01 PM EST
    because republicans are crazy...but when democrats act just like republicans, like passing republican healthcare with out one republican vote, that is somehow different because democrats aren't crazy?

    Vote Green. (none / 0) (#74)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:26:37 PM EST
    why? (none / 0) (#106)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:27:01 PM EST
    You would be better off encouraging moderate republicans to run by voting for them.  the Green party will never win.

    Not until people stop saying (none / 0) (#115)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:39:04 PM EST
    'the green party will never win'.

    By continuing to vote for republicans-lite (democrats), you're only ever going to get republicans-lite.

    At least I look myself in the mirror now. Yeah, I know the narrative is that voting third party is a throw away vote and enables republican victories, but.....  same result when voting for democrats.


    Moderate Republicans (none / 0) (#147)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:40:15 PM EST
    support Big Oil....Don't kid yourself.....

    You hurt your credibility by saying you want moderate Republicans in office.  You mean like John McCain?  He was supposedly moderate on the environment.  Or you mean people like his running mate Sarah Palin.  Drill, Baby, Drill!  Were you one of her defenders here?  That ticket would have been horrid for the environment--McCain abandons all principle for politics at every turn and would have bowed to big oil like no other....

      Do you really care about the issues of oil drilling and the oceans?  Or is it about something else?


    what else (none / 0) (#149)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:44:22 PM EST
    could it possibly be?

    I don't think that's what (none / 0) (#152)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:55:42 PM EST
    she was saying in her challenge to me. I think it was about strategies. Why don't you stop attacking other commenters for a little while? That would be a nice break for some of us.

    Twos (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:06:40 PM EST
    as in your 2s, and it's a two-way street.

    Yes, because (4.00 / 3) (#161)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:10:39 PM EST
    rating comments that attack and insult other commenters with 2's is equivalent to attacking other commenters.

    Whatever. These petty attack threads get so stupid, it really detracts from the site.


    I agree that substance is important (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:28:28 PM EST
    Instead we have the usual suspects taking shots at Obama when they don't have the foggiest idea what to do differently about the spill.   This criticism is so repetitive it grates.  Mindless, knee-jerk, applies across-the-board to everything.

    I usually tune out the Obama bashing here because it is so vapid and repetitive and pointless.  However, the issue of the spill is important--and I wonder how much it really matters to the critics, as opposed to being just the most recent opportunity to say the same thing again, again and again.

    The issue is of great importance and instead the solution advocated here is: elect someone with more experience next time?  How much more one could trivialize the issue is beyond me.....

    What about another source of energy?


    You seem to have the answers (none / 0) (#175)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:43:09 PM EST
    So what do you suggest?

    I would ask Carol Browner or (none / 0) (#178)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:57:15 PM EST
    christinep--who have real expertise.

    Browner and Lisa Jackson are good on the environment.  As Clinton people, I would hope you would have some confidence in them....


    Well (none / 0) (#181)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:08:10 PM EST
    The last comment I can find from Carol Browner is this from last week:

    A top adviser to President Barack Obama says she doesn't want to guess the prospects for success when BP PLC again tries to use a containment cap to control the Gulf Coast oil spill.

    Interviewed Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," White House energy and global warming czar Carol Browner said, "I dont want to put odds on it. ... We want to get this thing contained."

    BP could attempt another temporary fix -- an effort to saw through the pipe leaking the oil and cap it -- as soon as Wednesday.

    Browner said "everyone, I think, is hoping for the best, but we continue to plan for the worst." She said she's concerned about the impact the hurricane season could have on ending the environmental crisis.

    Lisa Jackson said this on NPR a few days ago when she was talking about the environmental impact:

    The most important thing here is to realize the president's personal commitment. He said again today that, you know, we are here and we're not going anywhere. That we realize that even if and when the flow of oil is finally stopped, this recovery, this response and recovery is going to be a long-term thing and requires a long-term commitment. He said that over and over.

    I do think that, you know, just in terms of the psyche of this region being from here, part of the anger that is so palpable - and I have it myself - is that that frustration of watching something this catastrophic that we cannot -none of us can do anything about.

    Perfectly fine statements for the environment, but nothing that tells me that they have answers either about energy policy, which, oh by the way, is Browner's bailiwick.


    You're not going to do better than (none / 0) (#189)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:33:55 PM EST
    Browner on spills.  She is from Florida....and smart and knowledgeable....

    Then (none / 0) (#194)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:40:47 PM EST
    I'd love to hear her ideas - more than "Everyone, I think, is hoping for the best, but we continue to plan for the worst."

    We don't need hope - we need action.


    excoriated the trajectory from the what now? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by RonK Seattle on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:29:25 PM EST
    Maybe these messages fail to resonate because the indigenously networked denizens of Future Earth lost the power of overt communication somewhere around the singularity.

    comment of the week! (none / 0) (#80)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:34:57 PM EST
    Thank you, thank you RonK (none / 0) (#123)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:51:49 PM EST
    Does the title of your post (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:41:48 PM EST
    extend to: Fight for Policies, Not for the Political Parties?

    If (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:02:10 PM EST
    pols are pols and do what they do, what is the point of voting for any of them?

    What do you think? What do you expect? (none / 0) (#169)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:33:32 PM EST
    policy or pols? (5.00 / 3) (#180)
    by ZtoA on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:01:58 PM EST
    Can't really be separated IMO. Actual human beings need to introduce, advocate for, develop, and actualize policy. Our system is set up for electing people and we don't get to vote for policy directly.

    this is the same kind of bs race baiting (4.20 / 5) (#134)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:08:18 PM EST
    that Obama's campaign and supporters indulged in during the primaries and GE.  It is pathetic and childish and hateful and it should be deleted by admin.
    What is racist is to believe that a Black person should hide behind their race and use it to deflect criticism because it is all they have to use.
    Shame on you.  This kind of crap from people like you and from Obama himself is why I could not vote for him, for time in my life I did not vote for a democrat.  Race baiting and sexism and professional victimhood (they are going to tell you I do not look like those men on the dollar bills...or whatever it was he said to claim racism where it did not happen) are sickening.

    agree w/this part of your comment (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:36:37 PM EST
    It is pathetic and childish and hateful and it should be deleted by admin

    Phew! (4.20 / 5) (#172)
    by Yman on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:39:24 PM EST
    Geez - I thought Ga6thdem was just criticizing Obama for his inaction.  That message was so well hidden, I almost missed it!

    Fortunately, we have you to translate the dogwhistle memes of all of those closet racists here at TL!

    Thanks, Squeaky!

    There is only one solution- turn over the congress (3.50 / 2) (#113)
    by Bornagaindem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:38:39 PM EST
    in every election. In every House and Senate race vote against the incumbent unless they have DONE something spectacular. Not talk -actually done. If we turn over the house for the next few election cycles the pundits won't know who to back and we might finally get public funding for campaigns. If we don't eliminate the money, democracy in the US is dead. They can't own the politicians if they can't stay in office. Seniority gone, corporate masters gone, policies back in charge.  

    Oh and Obama was as predictable as rain. You didn't bother to look at what he had actually done for his constituents as a state senator for all those years. Nothing, nada, zilch. I  can only laugh at you when you are disappointed that he would be this way now. He has never met a policy he couldn't  pre-compromise on. The emperor has no clothes and you act surprised.

    Well (3.00 / 2) (#177)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:56:47 PM EST
    According to the ABCNews poll, only 28% of those polled believe that Obama and his govt have done all they can do regarding the Gulf spill.

    So congratulations, defenders.  If you believe polls, ou are members of the dead-enders, just like Bush dead-enders.  

    Here in reality Obama could do more. Here in reality, the relief wells may not be completed until December -- or later.  Thus, cleanup should be a huge priority, an attempt to stay on top of what's being puked out of the ground.  According to acquaintances who've visited beaches in Louisiana, there are huge stretches of beach that have seen NO cleanup.

    The project needs a Czar, someone unlike Allen who has dinner with BP execs, someone from the environmental realm who understands what needs to be done.

    And I'll say it.  McCain or Clinton would have handled the situation better if for no other reason that either of them would have had huge criticism from the media and their own party early on about not doing enough.  Obama, on the other hand, gets handled with kidd gloves.  IMHO, he is dangerous because of people's fear of being accused of racism if they criticize him. Well I'll say it.  The man is incompetent. The emperor has no clothes. And that has nothing to do with his race.  And I'm not concerned about being called a racist for saying so, because the accusations of racism are just the last refuge of people who have no argument against my point -- and who may be racist themselves, loaded with white guilt, proud that they voted for the black person to appease that guilt.

    And yeah, I'm talking to you, Squeaky.  "Lazy negro, indeed".  You obviously think so, else that idea would never have come to you.

    Hurray for Hillary! (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:49:04 PM EST
    Gee, and I thought it was never about Hillary anymore....

    At least you are being honest here....

    The polls are not the way to determine how to stop the spill.  

    Of course, the politics are bad for Obama on this.  Because he is President while this is happening....

    But the politics is apparently your main concern here, not the spill.


    Good One (3.00 / 2) (#191)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:35:08 PM EST
    McCain or Clinton would have handled the situation better if for no other reason that either of them would have had huge criticism from the media and their own party early on about not doing enough.

    Do you also do lottery number predictions. And as for the lazy negro meme, to say that Obama is doing nothing but sitting on his a$$ and thinking of Chicago barbecue, well that is at best a racist dogwhistle.

    You who have been on it calling out blatant sexist and dogwhistle sexism regarding Hillary seem to have gone blind and deaf when it comes to racism. Wonder why, does your progressive/liberal ideology stop at Obama's doorstep, or is it something else?


    I don't think Obama's lazy because he's black (3.00 / 2) (#199)
    by Ellie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 06:16:10 PM EST
    ... but because he's male.

    From now on, I'm riding with the more acceptable bigotry (mostly affecting the unimportant b00by'n'cooties 51% of the population!!!) just to decrease the expected effort to explain why criticizing this collosal screw-up of a Prez can be about something other than his skin color.


    It's not (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:17:11 AM EST
    a pretty sight to see the cultists lose their belief in Obama.

    I understand pols are pols but isn't that kind of letting them off the hook? I mean is it okay that Obama has completely botched the oil spill because he's a pol?

    Nothing's ok (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:19:58 AM EST
    Knowing what their goals are (to wit, not to "do good", but to get elected and reelected) is important for devising a way to fight for the policies you prefer.

    I think this is the opposite of letting someone off the hook.

    Unless you are a Dem operative, do not fight for the Dem Party, fight for the policies you prefer.


    Actually (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:25:40 AM EST
    your posting on having an allegiance to issues has been a real help to me. It's made things a lot clearer and easier to see. Of course, I was never attached to Obama so it has been easier for me I think to have an allegiance to issues.

    Ther's such a thing as (3.50 / 2) (#15)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:47:55 AM EST
    a negative attachment-fixation.

    Whatever (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:19:15 PM EST
    I've never had someone as obsessed with me on the web as you are.

    Well, just to be (3.50 / 2) (#67)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:15:54 PM EST
    part of the long, charmed list of benighted souls who've fallen under your spell is satisfaction enough in itself..

    Listen to the man (none / 0) (#23)
    by Yman on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:57:03 AM EST
    He knows of what he speaks ...

    My press agent.. (none / 0) (#25)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:58:23 AM EST
    More Like Ga6thDem's Agent (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:04:39 PM EST
    Markos made an interesting point (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:53:34 AM EST
    awhile ago.  He said that liberals and progressives should support Democrats over Republicans--even when Republicans supposedly support their issues.  He complained that Democrats had become too much of a coalition of single issue voters.....

    He said that any Democrat would overall be miles better than any Republican.  With regard to choice and the environment, he said the endorsement of Republicans who appeared good on these issues was counterproductive.  In the end, the votes for Democratic leader and Democratic legislation would lead to a better over-all result.

    Casey from Pennsylvania tends to support that idea.  He is pro-life. But he voted to confirm Sotomayor.  And he was not the problem with respect to choice in the health care legislation--which he voted for.  That was Ben Nelson....It would have been better to have had an overtly pro-choice Senator, but Casey has been better than a Republican.

    I agree the issues matter more.  But when compared to Republicans, the Democrat is almost always better on liberal/progressive issues...Now, with respect to Primaries and other forms of support or withholding of same, then of course the Democratic politicians should feel pushback or pressure...


    This is not a new point (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by sj on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:56:10 PM EST
    And it's something that I believed for most of my life (not just my adult life, my whole life).  

    But lesser of two evils still leaves me with evil.  And I keep having this horrible thought creeping up on me that Nixon was more "progressive" than the Democratic party of today.  Nixon!  That leaves me feeling icky all over.  

    And specifically

    With regard to choice and the environment...

    My disappointment in the Dems has been the most palpable.  Also worker issues.

    So it's issues now for my pro-labor, pro-environment, pro-regulation, pro-equality for all, pro-safety net, pro-choice liberal self.  Period.  I'm not voting against my own interests ever again.  And if that leaves blank spots on my ballot, then so be it.  That may be the best I can do with the choices offered.  

    And I'm someone who worked my behind off for the Dems for many years, so I'm really, really sad, in addition to being really, really angry.


    Take some time (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:07:05 PM EST
    Sometimes, sj, we can't push ourselves to a firm position when we have been hurt or disappointed by persons or political party. But, please think about the phrase "the lesser of two evils." I have come to think that the real loss in letting that phrase guide us is that we put our own identity in a no-win situation.
    While not wanting to begin a discussion of "what is evil," nonetheless I will say that most pairings (or groupings) of candidates do not involve "evil." George Bush saw "evil" everywhere. But, I leave that evaluation to eschatalogical writings. If we convince ourselves that either choice is "evil," then we feel used...which leads to resentment...which leads to surly or disappointed...which leads to anger. And, it all leads to loss.
    Maybe a chart of issues and votes/positions to see before you/to compare would help. Put the sadness aside, and ask what your own expectations are and write that on the chart as well. It may not be satisfactory and it may not replace the emotional high of committed support; but, I think it will erase the mind-trap of equating politics with spiritual evil.

    Oh, for heaven's sake - it's (5.00 / 3) (#151)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:52:50 PM EST
    an expression - which could just as easily be "the lesser of two bad choices," or "the least mediocre of the bunch," or "the choice between doo-doo and poo-poo."

    The POINT is that in election after election - and not just at the presidential level - the choices are becoming not about which candidate is the better one, but which is the least bad; we are being invited to the buffet, only to find that the only dishes being served are cold crap and hot crap - and some of us don't see ourselves as obligated to pick one or the other: we have come to the point where we refuse to hold our noses and pretend that we like what's being served.

    It's a problem of campaign finance, of the cocktail-weenie-eating media, the concerted effort to blur the lines between the parties in a misguided effort to please everyone; "the center" is where every single good idea that liberals and progressives wanted in the last - at least - four years has gone to die, smothered by "bipartisanship."  It is a haven for cowards who don't have the courage to fight for the policies they believe are right.

    Enough already.


    Leo McGarry (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:57:10 PM EST
    "Because I'm tired of it. Year, after year, after year, after year, having to choose between the lesser of who cares. Of trying to get myself excited about a candidate who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low I can hardly look at it. They say a good man can't get elected. Well, I don't believe that."

    It is more than an expression (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:04:29 PM EST
    I have not counted the number of times that the would-be "expression" has been used in this venue over the past few months. A lot; and, from the tenor of some, in all seriousness. We may disagree. "The lesser of two evils" as a springboard to circular bemoaning can serve a useful purpose; and, at some point, it definitely traps the bemoaner. O tempora, o mores.

    I meant it as an expression (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by sj on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:28:37 PM EST
    But now that you raise the point you may want to give thought to Hannah Arendt's observation that there is a strange interdependence between thoughtlessness and evil (from her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.

    And now that I've recalled it, I think I stand by my statement in both contexts.  As an expression, and as a description.

    And you can bemoan my lack of manners all you wish, but in the political arena I think I'll take passion and commitment over manners every time.

    And are you kidding me?  A chart of issues and votes?  Real people (including me) are affected by those polite "we don't have votes" surrenders.  And I'll put the sadness aside when I can also put the outrage aside.  Which isn't right now, thank you very much.  Uh-uh.  I'll support the pol when s/he supports my issue(s).

    I. will. not. vote. against. my. own. interests.  Exclamation mark.


    No, I'm not kidding you, sj (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:56:03 PM EST
    I took you at your word. Perhaps, that was wrong. That aside, I too believe that passion for living is the center of life (as Slavic and Slovenian how could I feel otherwise.) When it comes to politics, my experience has taught me to weigh positions and to realize the obvious: There ain't no perfect politician. At least, I've never seen one. When I have gone door-to-door or made calls, I suggest the chart or written/visual projection because it allows people to focus beyond the raging feelings in their entrails. okay?

    i find this (none / 0) (#188)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:33:28 PM EST
    a thoughtful comment from someone who has long experience rolling that rock up the hill

    actually (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:36:44 PM EST
    the democrats have been lousy on choice and the environment.  
    the only statistically proven way to move the country left is to elect women of either party.  We got a democratic super majority and a dem in the white house and we still moved right these last few years.
    Yah, I am not voting for anymore anti-choice pandering males no matter what party. I am going to follow the proven method of moving left and towards the rights and needs of the people and that is to make the congress AT LEAST 30 percent women....either party.

    Coathanger Dems are Coathanger Dems (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Ellie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:05:40 PM EST
    They exercise their particular choice and want others to suffer and die for it.

    Enough is enough. Anyone who can't treat women like full human beings is unfit to serve in a secular democracy.

    Shame on enablers who dismiss this revolting medievalism with diminishing labels ("single issue") or caution the pathetic hollow shell of a party from moving left if they dare to speak of women as anything more than fertility pods.


    This is true BUUUUT (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:56:10 AM EST
    this view MUST be coupled with the idea that primaries are the norm, not the exception.

    Seems right (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:30:09 PM EST
    I think dumping Lincoln is a good thing.  The Democrats were going to lose that seat anyway.  Might as well use the situation (it is pretty much risk free) to teach some pols a lesson.

    Except (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:03:07 PM EST
    Democrats have always been single issue voters - they are just a coalition of many "single issue voters" whereas the Republicans vote in lockstep to abortion - no, tax cuts - yes.  Democrats have have the environmentalists, who many times are at odds with unions (think about the spotted owl vs. logging and other associated jobs - and we saw lots of Democrats who would never buy an American car because the foreign cars are "better" [even though they aren't]).  Some are strictly pro-choice and don't care about education (or not as much to vote one way or the other). Some have their issue as health care, some had as their issue the Dems' policies on affirmative action and social programs.

    As a general rule, I tend to agree (none / 0) (#89)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:56:47 PM EST
    When it comes down to picking between the D and the R, I'm not single issue - I pick the one that is the best on my most important issues. Maybe in my life I have picked an R at some point for local office, but that is about it - it is usually a Dem.

    I switch party registration depending on which primary I want to vote in, if where I'm living has closed primaries.


    I want to be a full Human TODAY, right now ... (none / 0) (#148)
    by Ellie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:43:07 PM EST
    ... and not when it's politically more convenient for Lord Cheetoh, Casey, Nelson or other party fanboiz sporting the latest jerseys and ballcaps.

    Let them and theirs die for the logo.


    except (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:32:00 PM EST
    the only way to do that is to help elect candidates who say they will support that policy.  then when they get in office and tell you that a veto proof majority is not enough for them to support that policy so "swallow it", then what?
    No, instead support candidates who tell you what they think whether you like it or not and hope that their level of character and courage also moves them to do the right thing, the thing that is best for people and that people want rather than what is easy and ordered from their great corporate gods above.

    I can't let the gulf coast off that easily (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:32:21 AM EST
    Last week Gulf Shores was stomping around b*tching about the ban like a large group of complete idiots and fools.  If the gulf coast states were as concerned about their beaches as either of the East or West coastlines are, and if their pols had had to answer to one smidge of concern about the environment, this thing would never have been able to spin this far out of toxic control.  The Red States did nothing but fight the Fed about keeping them safe.  They've sneered and jeered and been as impossible to work with as they could make themselves, and they've been very proud of that too until just lately.  Now they'd like for all of us to develop selective memory, but they now reap the crops they planted.  They took no accountability for themselves even though they are always blathering their fool heads off that that is what they are all about, accountability of self.  They spent all their time and energy hunting for "bad guys" to fight against and complain about and knee jerk vote against.  I guess Jesus wasn't going to visit any plagues upon their Christian way of life, but he seems to have taken the day off or something.

    In one breath castigating the Feds for not (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:41:28 AM EST
    being helpful enough in cleaning up the mess, and in the next castigating them for not allowing more drilling. They really should make up their minds. If the state is not prepared for the disaster, they better think twice about basing so much of their economy on drilling.

    Hear Hear (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:50:29 AM EST
    I swear, I'm not making this up.  Two weeks ago when I was grocery shopping there was a Southern Belle freshly tanned and peroxided....looking her gorgeous Southern girl self and shopping away.  And she was sporting a cute fresh BP polo too as part of her day wear.  I saw the insignia and for a moment couldn't help it, I visibly bristled.  She'd been looking for folks like me, she saw me though I wasn't obvious and she seemed delighted.  She was looking for a fight.  I immediately changed my demeanor because fighting about what she wants to fight about was just flat stupid, the wreckage was a done deal even if she couldn't even begin to comprehend that.  This isn't an issue on the same wavelength though as the Auburn/Bama dispute you idiots.  And it is pointless to argue with them, they will have to experience this for themselves.

    Amazing BP thinks there is even (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:57:30 AM EST
    an argument to be had. I hope they have to make their case in criminal court.

    yes (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:56:57 PM EST
    And it is pointless to argue with them, they will have to experience this for themselves.

    and as they do, this would be a time for the "tree huggers" to make common cause

    don't know if the "tree huggers" are up to the job though - more satisfying to gloat and ask "what's the matter with LA and AL" (not you MT - see earlier comment about "why should we care")


    It is not gloating (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:07:43 PM EST
    Good lord, not gloating.....

    Look at Carol Browner's face.....I see despair....


    I might have (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:39:01 PM EST
    told her she looked mighty oily that day.

    Or (none / 0) (#163)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:16:17 PM EST
    that she must have gotten up oily that morning.

    The GOP mantra (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:42:52 AM EST
    "Government isn't the solution, Government is the problem" has been internalized....."Regulation" is bad.

    That combined with "Drill, Baby, Drill" makes for a potent cocktail of destruction.....

    The religious wackos have been anticipating Armageddon.  Little did they know it would come in the form of self-inflicted environmental disaster....

    But, if anything, perhaps people will wake up to the fact that the oceans are dying and there may not be many fish left in 50 years....Well, no, they probably won't.  The reason the oceans can suffer so in silence without much recognition is that people don't see below the surface.....Isn't that emblematic of how people view things....


    The GOP mantra against government applies (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:18:52 PM EST
    only to the "problem" of it interfering with the accumulation of cold, hard cash; the GOP loves the government when it makes it harder for people to conduct the most personal and private aspects of their lives.

    The problem I am having with the New Democrats is that they have become a little too enamored of the "government is the problem" philosophy, have become unnecessarily fearful of deficit spending, have enshrined the defense budget behind shatterproof glass, rejected government as a means of reforming health care, and are drawing a big, fat bull's eye on entitlements.  

    The morphing/blending has been underway for some time now, and is far enough along that on issue after issue, I sometimes have to stop and make sure I am reading/listening to/watching Democrats and not Republicans - and it doesn't help when I realize it's coming from Democrats because I can't bring myself to accept bad policy just because it's from Democrats.  

    But, while we are agitating and getting under these pols' skin, what is the media doing?  Well, read Glenn's post on the little beach party bash the VP and his wife had for the press.  Read the ridiculous tweets from the media elite.  Watch the videos - if you can stand it.  Seriously, it's enough to make one throw up a little.  We all know that if the media doesn't cover something, it's like it isn't happening, so one wonders what the chances are they will cover the agitation and unrest, lest they be left off the next invite for Fun `n' Games at Joe and Jill's.


    "There's a war on.." (none / 0) (#81)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:38:53 PM EST
    and "this country is under attack"..

    That's the big blanket that the Right has used to consolidate it's gains, sneak in the rest of it's agenda, completely cow and intimidate "traitorous" progressives, and further the movement toward one party rule..

    When a country isn't in a garrison state frame of mind, it can "afford" to seriously address all those issues that many of us have been concerned about for so long.  


    Probably won't wake up (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:03:53 PM EST
    Ironic that maybe if the giant floating plastic island in the Pacific was costing fisherman and hotels some money, it would get some press. Same for climate change being a slow moving disaster for the ocean instead of a fast moving oil slick.

    Few know of the Garbage Patch (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:24:56 PM EST
    We have actually regressed in the public's overall concern for and knowledge of the oceans....

    Jacques Cousteau used to have a television series.....(His grandson Philippe has been on television recently and he is so American and young and hip--I guess I was expecting more of a French nerd.)

    Even popular culture gives less attention to the oceans.  Every James Bond movie used to have a scuba sequence--that was part of the formula....We had novels like Day of the Dolphin....Although we did have Abyss, Sphere and a couple of others a decade ago....We used to have Save the Whales advocates chasing Japanese trawlers in inflatables.


    Old rhetoric (none / 0) (#144)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:33:35 PM EST
    not to live by, but to die by.  The South has got to begin to think for themselves....or not I suppose.  Tradition sure is overrated though when it does nothing but destroy everything you love and hold dear.

    Not (3.50 / 2) (#43)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:36:54 PM EST
    letting them off either b/c they share the same ideology as Obama on this issue: in BP we trust.

    Their ideology made corporate lover (2.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:38:38 PM EST
    Obama's brief drill baby drill gig all that it could be with blinding speed.  Obama managed to overturn drilling bans that Bush couldn't even dream of.  It sure wasn't his effing base that was going to carry water for him while he spewed that swill.  At least not the base that I identify with.  There were of course the Orange Satan sell outs who defended him with a hand on their heart.  That damned internet, it has a very long memory too.  Sure glad my drill baby drill emperor simpering isn't preserved there for posterity :)

    Completely botched the oil spill (4.00 / 3) (#7)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:26:40 AM EST
    This may be conventional wisdom but I'd be hard pressed to say what else he should do at this point--aside from cosmetic PR grandstanding....

    I've only heard three concrete things:  nuke the spill; get a flotilla of tankers to scoop up the spill, as featured on Tweety; and build sand berms in Louisianna.  None of those is really feasible and the berms may not only be unsuccessful but also damaging in the long run.

    GA6thDem, your vitriol and condescension at us "cultists" has become a stale cliche.  But, really, what concrete steps would you suggest that Obama and his administration take that they are not taking right now?  I would really like to know...as it seems there is nothing to do but wait and hope the relief wells hit that 2 foot pipe.  


    Some of what he should be doing (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Kimberley on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    is cosmetic, but vital to people in the Gulf region regardless. Act like Honoré, skeptical of BP because of the motive disparity. Hell, appoint Honoré to oversee Unified Command if you can't project that kind of protectionist vibe.

    Some of the stuff he could be doing is decidedly not cosmetic: Park a Navy task force nearby to intercept electronic data and start sampling the Gulf. First priority is to make sure you're not being lied to, second priority is to make sure BP's not lying to us.

    This isn't rocket science.


    Honore' has no deep sea expertise (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:09:19 PM EST
    And with respect to sampling, that has already been done by multiple independent labs.....confirming the underwater oil plumes are from the Deep Water Horizon....

    People want to feel better.  And Obama is not appearing to be in charge.  That is bad politics....But, I care more about stopping the spill and preventing further harm to the oceans.....

    The real answer is the government has virtually no capacity in this area.  Everything years ago was ceded to the oil companies--government being deemed the problem and not the solution, and "Drill, Baby, Drill" winning the day.  The American people have supported this folly of oil energy--they will now rue the day and pay the piper.

    More Carol Browner would be good.  That would look better, and she is very smart and effective.  But she really can't do much, either.  She did say on MTP that the Feds insisted that BP drill two relief wells simultaneously instead of the one BP wanted--and that decision came early on.  And the Feds told BP to back off the Top Kill pumping of mud because it was not working and could have further ruptured the pipes creating an even greater flow of oil.

    People want an answer and a solution.  There isn't one.  You reap what you sow and now we will choke on that oil we insistend on, and went to war in the MidEast to have.  Today is the day we can say that those who laughed at mass transit were wrong, those who laughed at tree huggers were wrong, those who laughed at fuel efficiency standards and smaller cars were wrong.  For all the religious wackos, why wouldn't you think this is God's punishment for fouling your environment.  


    Looking at Browner, I know (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:33:45 PM EST
    how futile and doomed any short term efforts to stop this spill are....She is very good....but looks thoroughly depressed and defeated to me....

    Just a thought, MKS (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:21:29 PM EST
    'Agree very much that C. Browner knows the issues connected with spills more than about anyone I can name. My take on the message of her appearance: She looks tired (because the Administration team really is working), but not defeated. A sober, thoughtful approach--as she carried when she led us at EPA--doesn't mean ceding defeat. She has known from the beginning what we are all up against here; and, she has to maintain that calm laser approach to resolution in the Gulf even as critics of every stripe instantly become scientists. BTW, good comments.

    Glad to hear your optimism (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:41:57 PM EST
    I gave it up regarding the oceans long ago....

    I am a part-time scuba instructor and the literature I would get was just worse and worse....coral reefs, cod gone from New England, Garbage Patch, sea lions gone from Fisherman's wharf in San Francisco to cooler waters North....

    And then we had the stranded whale in the local harbor that we just saw by accident--ghastly color--a reddish brown....A big hoopla that it was freed from fishing line and was saved.  But then it came back and died on a local beach two days later.

    It just gets worse and worse....and the whole exercise is about how bad Obama is?

    If you have any ideas on this spill (if that were your area of expertise) I can only assume you have passed them on.....


    Me & my optimism (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:52:42 PM EST
    For many years at EPA, I worked with a real veteran...a veteran of the Korean War, a black man who was greeted with a billy-club when he returned (after having a cross burned on his lawn when he was a child), and a man who became a chemist & then a lawyer after working for EPA on the Cuyahoga River when it burned.
    This wonderful man--an experienced mentor in many ways--was a coordinator in the clean-up situation on the Cuyahoga. That river, which became the face of & impetus for the Clean Water Act, is now fishable and maybe even swimmable. This man worked his whole career in the service of the environment. And, when he retired after 37 years of determination, he smiled and proclaimed his optimism.

    Involving Scripps (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:15:15 PM EST
    could be helpful.  They have deep sea robots and more knowledge than anyone about the ocean depths....

    But, they do not have expertise in capping oil wells....only the oil companies do.....I expect Scripps is in deep mourning....


    give the 'success' of BP (none / 0) (#44)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:38:56 PM EST
    et al in capping this one, I'd say Scripps has as good a knowledge base as anyone.

    Easy to say (none / 0) (#51)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:47:12 PM EST
    But, no Scripps can't bring up drilling rigs and pipes and engineers who have knowledge of how oil acts underwater and under pressure and geologists with knowledge of oil formations.....The oil companies have that knowledge and equipment....not that I like it, but there it is....

    Scripps could be helpful--maybe--on containment, or on the issue of disbursements and use thereof....

    The answers are prospective only.....


    Not to mention the liability issue (none / 0) (#91)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:02:26 PM EST
    Can we hold BP liable for the cleanup if we kick them out and give it to Scripps? BP would claim they were doing the best that could be done and Scripps messed it up. Scripps is not going to sign up for that.

    My solution: (2.00 / 1) (#45)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:39:35 PM EST
    Every load of oil we clean up off the beaches should be deposited in the front yards, in order, of: Cheney, Bush, Palin and the oil patch Dems starting with Landrieu.

    And with respect to the coasts of Louisianna and Alabama.....You really want us to care?  You, who sold your soul for a mess of (oil) pottage?  You, who banged the drums of patriotic fervor that sent our kids to die in Iraq?  And, yes, it was for oil--why else would we care, why else are the Gulf States strategic.


    So... the people (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:41:56 PM EST
    get punished because the idiots in Baton Rouge  Montgomery did what they did?

    there's more to Louisiana and Alabama than the folks you see on television.


    the people (none / 0) (#55)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:52:36 PM EST
    are punished - because they did what they did.

    It's not a matter of whether you want them to be or not.  It's what happened as a direct result of those policies.

    On a personal note, I wish it hadn't happened.  And the "drill baby drill" chanters had been right.  But it did, and they weren't.

    And yes, we should try to clean it up.  Because the results of it will affect everyone on this earth.  Including those in LA and Alabama.


    Can't be helped now (none / 0) (#57)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:56:14 PM EST
    It will happen anyway.....And, yes, those who most advocated this oil policy will reap the dividends because more oil wells were there....We should help as much as we can but most help will be futile and mere cosmetic hand-holding....

    As far as I can tell, this oil spill is not a factor of being a deep well.  The explosion and everything else resulting in the spill were caused by cutting corners, not that it was in deep water....It could have happened anywhere.  The more wells you have, the greater the odds of this happening.

    The 1979 Ixtoc spill off of Campeche, Mexico in the Gulf was only 100 feet deep or so.  Very shallow.  And yet it went on and on for months.  And the relief efforts tried now--which are so hard to do in deep water--were tried on Ixtoc in shallow water and failed there to.


    wow (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:51:39 PM EST
    And with respect to the coasts of Louisianna and Alabama.....You really want us to care?  You, who sold your soul for a mess of (oil) pottage?  You, who banged the drums of patriotic fervor that sent our kids to die in Iraq?  And, yes, it was for oil--why else would we care, why else are the Gulf States strategic.

    just wow


    it is sad (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:48:36 PM EST
    that you expect so little.  Are you too young to remmeber when we had effective presidents?
    There is plenty that he could do. For one, I would like to know why BP is allowed to poo poo all ideas about how to clean up the oil.  I think they are doing it because they don't want to pay for methods that do not depend on equipment and supplies they already own or can get cheap. Obama could start there.
    It is amazing to me that some of you really believe that anuie and a lack of leadership is the best we can do.  If that is so them America is over.

    BTW, are you aware that for the first time in history our debt is about to outstrip our GDP?  Do you know what comes for regular Americans with that?
    Do you know that the prediction is that most Americans will no longer be full time empoyees of any compay but rather temp workers?  And with this we decide we can pass up a public option (against the wishes of the majority of all americans) because they made special deals with insurance companies and the hospital lobby?
    But this is the "best they can do"...why?  I am starting to feel nostalgic for Nixon!!!


    Thank you for calling me young (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:05:21 PM EST
    as I have a recent birthday.

    On the clean up you may have a point ....But not on stopping the spill.  

    We always expect the Apollo Moon program.  But remember that took a little less than 10 years....We would need to invent a new technology in short order to stop the spill differently.

    On the clean up, there may be more that can be done....But that is hard to tell.  Beach clean-up will depend on where and when the spill comes ashore.  There are thousands of miles of shoreline....and shoreline fixes are not really that effective....

    Offshore collection could be better.  Always could be better.  But Tweety's idea of having a bunch of tankers scoop it all up pre-supposes it is all in a concentrated area....This spill is spread out over many many miles in ribbons of crude.  Not so easy.  But better clean up is a possibility....

    America does mean having magic wand.....You guys are sounding nostalgic for Reagan.  He would asume command and take action and everything would feel better--but be no better in reality.   Are we really there again?

    Politically, Obama should do things a lot differently but I see nothing on substance that really is an easy fix.


    I was reminded today of a quote (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    attributed to the recently deceased John Wooden:

    Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

    Seems appropriate as we look at the actions and non-actions of all the participants in this disaster.


    Clean up. (5.00 / 2) (#168)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:30:08 PM EST
    If you can say that TeresaInPa has a point regarding the cleanup, that should be enough to make you fighting mad, imo.

    As for Reagan, you are bringing up one of Obama's heros, alas.
    Reagan got away with it. Obama keeps trying it, but I think people are weary of this approach and it isn't flying.

    As for the Apollo Moon program - that is the kind of effort we need to develop alternate sources of energy. We could do it, I believe, if we wanted to. Going to the moon required a lot of work, thought and innovation and daring. And they did it.

    We don't need a moon program to develop ways of containing oil spills. We need a moon program to do away with drilling and dependence on oil as a fuel.


    So, the whole point is that (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:52:07 PM EST
    I should become fighting mad at Obama?  That is what you and others here want?  

    I thought the issue was the oil spill--cleaning it up, stopping it--not cheap political points.....The Republicans who care not one whit about the oil spill sound just like some of you....because if it is about politics, then it is too easy to see what the course of conduct should be.....


    MKS (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by ZtoA on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:58:18 PM EST
    First, the BP disaster happened on Obama's watch. It is much more the fault of Bush/Cheney's 'let industry regulate itself' , but that's the tough luck of the draw and he has to deal with it - directly. There are multiple ways to work the problem, and you keep talking about long term solutions not being short term solutions. Well, of course. For long term solutions Obama and Congress, the states and whoever else, need to develop green sources of energy. This can't be yanked in the economy we have. It should be sustained effort.

    This is going to be an ongoing disaster. It is not a spill and clean up happens along with killing the well. What government did one month ago counts today and what they do today will count in the near future.

    Robert Reich had a post that outlined several good ideas for RIGHT NOW. You are correct that there is no EASY FIX - but, sheesh, who is expecting that? Here's some of his ideas:

    If the President were to put BP into temporary receivership, he'd have the power to get BP to:

    1. Stop releasing dispersants......

    2. Mobilize every possible tanker to siphon up crude from as close to the leak points as possible. .....

    3. Restart work on the second pressure relief well.


    Q: But why should we expect government to do any better job than BP?

    A: BP would still be at the job -- and its expertise, equipment, and other assets would continue to be utilized. But the federal government would be in overall control of the operation -- weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public.

    Q: Why should we trust the government?

    A: This isn't an ideological contest about how little you trust a giant oil company versus the federal government. It's a matter of accountability. BP's primary responsibility is to its shareholders. And it will cut corners -- as it has before -- if that's the best way to maximize the value of their shares. But only the government, through the President, is directly accountable to the American public, and responsible for protecting it.  

    Q: Under what legal authority could the President take control of BP's North American operations?

    A: Obama has implicit authority through laws and regulations dealing with offshore drilling, especially the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. By analogy, if a nuclear reactor were melting down, the President would use his regulatory authority over nuclear energy to take temporary control over the plant and the relevant parts of the corporation that ran it. President Truman seized the nation's steel mills in 1952, arguing that the emergency of the Korean War necessitated it. (The Supreme Court ultimately blocked him but according to Justice Jackson, whose opinion was essentially the majority's, that was because Truman had no statutory basis for the seizure, not even an implicit one. That isn't the case here.)

    There (4.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:35:03 PM EST
    is no condescension toward Obama supporters. The fact that Obama has been a disapointment is something you are going to have to look inward to solve not outwards blaming me. All of Obama's shortcomings have been there from the beginning for all to see if you or many others were willing to be honest and take a hard look at him.

    What Obama could have done is stepped forward and shown leadership. He could have said that he will command the full force of the federal government towards solving this problem. He could at least wokred on keeping the public infomred instead of hiding out


    All the "leadership" (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:49:56 PM EST
    in the world wont serve as a magic wand to make all that somnambulistic American sense of entitlement, the oil dependence, the suvs and Hummers, the completely-unregulated-market meme, the war chest-lining lobbyists go away overnight..

    There's no emotional, feel-good fix forthcoming from any American pols, or their chronically distressed acolytes that's going to reverse overnight the inertia that went into creating this nightmare.


    keep (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:03:34 PM EST
    making excuses for him and blaming everybody else if you want. Obama as the leader of the country is accountable too. He's the one selling drill baby drill still. Obama had the chance to convince voters that those ideas and values are wrong but he chose not to. He chose to play PPUS and legitimize bad conservative ideology so he is reaping what he has sown.

    Yes, that is true (none / 0) (#66)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:15:20 PM EST
    And Obama was very, very wrong on that score....I made no excuses for him at the time pre-spill, and I was very adamant here on that issue.

    But that has only tangential relevence to the current spill.  The dye had been cast well before Obama took office.  The MMS was a mess of cronies.  Perhaps Salazar should have acted sooner on MMS.  But the pro-drilling bias would and will take a long time to root out of Interior and MMS....This spill would probably have happened even if Al Gore were President....

    With respect to stopping and cleaning up the current spill, there is little else that can be done....


    The MMS head (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:18:49 PM EST
    was appointed by Obama.  Ken Salazar was appointed by Obama.  Their jobs were to go through the policies and people when they took office over a year ago. Maybe then at least we wouldn't have had several different contradictory messages coming out of the administration at the same time.

    Birnbaum took over in July 2009 (none / 0) (#75)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:28:14 PM EST
    after significant permits had been issued....

    Perhaps a different head of MMS and different Interior Secretary could have prevented the spill--but that seems unlikely.  The MMS was rife with oil cronies and cleaning it all up in a few short months is a nice idea but not sure it could ever have happened.

    The problem is the lax regulatory environment that had built up over years....


    It's not like (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:33:49 PM EST
    Birnbaum was a political appointee who had no knowledge of how it operated or what was going on - she worked in the Solicitor's Office during the Clinton administration.

    Birnbaum took over the Interior Department's embattled Minerals Management Service (MMS) after it was stung by scandal involving sex, drugs and bribery. Savage, Charlie, New York Times, "Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department," September 10, 2008(1)Savage, Charlie, New York Times, "Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department," September 10, 2008

    The agency was in charge of not only selling leases for energy companies to search for oil and gas on federal lands but also overseeing the safety of those operations.

    In late 2008, Interior's Inspector General Earl E. Devaney discovered that MMS officials had accepted extravagant gifts from oil and gas company representatives and also did drugs and had sexual relationships with them. Kravitz, Derek and Mary Pat Flaherty, The Washington Post, "Report Says Oil Agency Ran Amok," September 11, 2008(2)Kravitz, Derek and Mary Pat Flaherty, The Washington Post, "Report Says Oil Agency Ran Amok," September 11, 2008

    Birnbaum took over MMS early the following year, charged with cleaning up the agency and its reputation. She led the agency of 1,600 employees and oversaw the annual budget of $323 million. The MMS manages more than $13 billion in annual revenues from federal offshore and on shore mineral leases.Press Release: "S. Elizabeth Birnbaum Sworn as MMS Director," Interior Department Minerals Management Service, July 15, 2009(3)Press Release: "S. Elizabeth Birnbaum Sworn as MMS Director," Interior Department Minerals Management Service, July 15, 2009

    It was Birnbaum's second stint at the Interior Department. She worked in the solicitor's office at the end of Clinton administration, ending up as associate solicitor for minerals management. During the George W. Bush administration she directed advocacy programs at American Rivers, a top conservation group, and returned to Interior after Barack Obama took office. Interior Department biography "S. Elizabeth Birnbaum: Director--Minerals Management Service," undated(4)

    So, she was brought in specifically to clean up the mess. Could she have prevented the spill?  Maybe not, but apparently she didn't do much of her job.  That's the fault of the administration.


    Could be (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:39:21 PM EST
    The chips will fall where they may....in time.  We don't know for sure yet.

    The better argument against Obama is his considered and announced oil drilling policy just prior to the spill.  That is clearly all on him.  

    So, if you want to score points against Obama, that is much greater fertile ground.

    If you want to stop the spill, I would still like to know from those of you like to criticize Obama what he should do now differently.  Not PR.  Not feel good politics.  But specifics on how to stop the spill.....


    For starters, (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:55:58 PM EST
     Demand that a third relief well be drilled. Assure that BP proprietary secrets, public relations or liability concerns do not override engineering decisions. Ensure that BP's oil collection capabilities are adequate to that captured by the containment cap ( As the NYT editorial says, BP failed to plan for the blowout, and now we find that they did not plan for success, such as it is). For efficiency, consider capturing the oil/water mix, as is, take it to shore for processing.  Do not rely on BP for data on size of the spill. Without reasonably accurate data, it is difficult to evaluate efforts of all sorts.  If BP and the Obama administration were as successful at stopping the flow of oil as it is stopping the flow of information, that would be a good start.  And, if the shallow water off-shore drilling were included in the six-month moratorium that would indicate that safety is not bifurcated.   If Jane Lubchenco and Thad Allen would assume a modicum of independence it would to re-assuring (I sometimes think that some of these "experts" could be replaced with a fire plug, and we would be none the worse for it). Contenders for the "kick a--", if not kick- out- the- door are legion and a fresh start is needed, without fear of setting us back one iota.   The membership of the presidential commission to investigate should be completed with dispatch--it was announced on May 17, after all.  

    Third relief well (none / 0) (#187)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:31:17 PM EST
    Could be....but if we mess up the first and move to the second, would it not be better to retrofit the first at that point?....There is limited room at the site....But more relief wells could be good.

    The other items you mention include things that I think are being considered or are hard to know about...but at least we do have something to look at....I agree with the shallow water moratorium--but it will never happen.

    I assume by "fresh start" that you do not mean we kick BP off and start with someone else.  It does seem that you agree with the general approach that is being taken....

    In the end, we will need to wait for the relief wells and hope the interim fix sucks up more oil.  That is where we all are at.  We can try to nibble around the edges to improve on that, but this basic plan is all we have and we have no real means of accelerating it.


    Nertz (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:34:26 PM EST
    Who kept all those Bush-Cheney cronies on at the MMS?

    Who appointed foxy Salazar to mind the chicken coop?

    Some people were screaming about it, but had no effect on our "centrist" leader.


    Well (3.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:34:27 PM EST
    I agree that things were a mess before Obama took office but that's why I didn't think he should run for President. Didn't we learn anything from the 8 years of Bush that you don't put a wet behind the ears naif in office because you never know what is around the corner do you? And the difference this time is that we KNEW what a mess everything was.

    I don't think Al Gore---or Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:43:39 PM EST
    could have prevented the spill.  The wheels were in motion on this well when Obama took office.   Many of the errors were at the lower regulatory levels.....Permits like these are issued all the time....

    If you can tell me that Hillary would have stopped all permits for deep water drilling in the Gulf, then you may have a point.  But I don't think anyone would have done that....

    The root problem is drilling in the first place.


    This is the avenue to pursue MKS (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:08:57 PM EST
    Look at the structure and staffing of Interior since 1981. Look at those who "burrow in." Look at presumptions build into regs about permit issueance, and the meshing of functions. (A good article on MMS this past Sunday in the Denver Post starts to unpeel the onion in this stew.) Keep at it.

    I'm not (3.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:31:52 PM EST
    sure what either one of them would have done but I'm sure they both would have done more than sit around and delegate everything to BP.

    such as.... (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:24:35 PM EST
    Please, this time some specifics....not just general "do something more."  And specifics that are not just PR politics....

    What (1.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:23:32 PM EST
    has Obama done that's made you happy? As far as I can see he's just delegated everything to BP who can't seem to handle it while he did what? Go to Chicago for a barbeque?

    Not sure (1.00 / 1) (#88)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:54:01 PM EST
    Why you are taking up the ridiculous squeaky talking point of Hillary.  I don't know how she would have done, nor do I know how Joe Biden, John McCain, John Edwards, Mitt Romney,or Fred Thompson would have done.  We can speculate all we want, but it really doesn't matter - I can speculate what it's like to live on the moon, but it's meaningless.

    I'm also not naive enough to think that we can stop all drilling.  The world runs on oil. Period.  We can like it or not, but that's reality.  Should we work to finding and using alternative fuels? Absolutely - but that's for 50 years down the road and not next week.

    Things don't move quickly in government - I get that.  But Obama issued an order to streamline the federal hiring process that will be fully implemented in 6 months, which is a huge undertaking as far as processes go - why weren't all his agencies looking at all their policies and processes from January 20, 2009?


    I raised Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:18:53 PM EST
    because of this comment of Ga6thDem:

    I agree that things were a mess before Obama took office but that's why I didn't think he should run for President. Didn't we learn anything from the 8 years of Bush that you don't put a wet behind the ears naif in office because you never know what is around the corner do you? And the difference this time is that we KNEW what a mess everything was.

    So, we should have chosen the candidate instead who was experienced?  And who would that be?  You guys are the ones who keep bringing it up--more obliquely than before but the reference is unmistakeable....

    It is your answer to everything:  We should have elected someone else (but gosh I have no idea who that would have been, and I don't remember who I supported in the Primary) aside from Obama.  That is the answer to the question of what the weather is like outside.


    OIC (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:02:52 PM EST
    I remmember the last 4 years of bush 2 when repubicans kept arguing that Gore would not have been any better.  You sound like them.

    So, all this harping on Obama (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:20:49 PM EST
    but you agree we have to drill (at about the same rate?)  So, this is about finding an excuse to criticize Obama and not about the spill or oil drilling.....

    You sound like you support oil drilling.....Sheesh....


    50 years?? (none / 0) (#92)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:04:31 PM EST
    I have more faith in humans than that.

    It is ABSOLUTELY for next week.  In fact, it's for weeks and weeks ago but I'll take next week.

    Technology does not take that long to develop.  Think about how far the computer has come in the last 10 years.  And we need to start planning the future and living in it NOW.

    We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here.  Electric cars exist.  There are other ways to produce electricity.  Do we have the efficiency needed to cut out oil today?  No.  Will it take 50 YEARS???  I sure hope not, because if that's the case, we're SCREWED.


    You realize (none / 0) (#97)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:12:49 PM EST
    It's not just cars, right?

    you realize (none / 0) (#102)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:19:04 PM EST
    oil is not the only possible fuel available right?

    it's just the one we're currently hooked on.

    Electric cars was just an example.

    50 years ago we didn't have personal computers.  Now we have them the size of your hand.

    Who knows what the next 50 years will bring.


    just to clarify (none / 0) (#96)
    by CST on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:12:16 PM EST
    the reason I am harping on that point is I feel like that's the mentality that means we never make progress.

    Oh gee, we have to keep drilling, and making lower standards, we can't live without oil.

    Just because we don't currently live without oil does not mean that we as a people can't figure out how to live without it.  And if we keep putting it off, it will never get done.


    when bush was not elected (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:54:11 PM EST
    but took office anyway, he said that we did not have to worry about his lack of experience because he knew how to chose good advisors who would tell him what to do.
    obama said almost exactly the same thing.

    in addition (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:55:10 PM EST
    it matters who the advisor advises.  

    Isn't (none / 0) (#174)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:42:54 PM EST
    it strange that the advisee picks the advisors?

    In this instance, it seems particularly ridiculous.


    actually (none / 0) (#85)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:44:19 PM EST
    when the 2008 campaign began, things were a mess but we did not know just how much of a mess everything would become

    but the list of existing & incipient disasters was such that any new president, imo, would have been a "wet behind the ears naif" - maybe even any veteran president too

    this is not to excuse Obama's shortcomings in the BP disaster, or the PPUS nonsense (& Wall St/big pharma patronage) that botched the stimulus & health care


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:35:04 PM EST
    we have one who has literally accomplished very little in his political life other than getting himself elected. The times called for more than that and we are all suffering probably more than we would be under someone who had some good leadership skills and core beliefs.

    "Good leadership skills (3.00 / 2) (#146)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:39:55 PM EST
    and core beliefs"

    Perusual, long on vague, nebulous, bumpersticker sentiments -- from the Hillary Shoulda' Been 44 quarter -- and short on reality-based specifics.

    We need a few million "leaders" and a few million new ideas in this country. People USED to know how to organize here. And they didn't sit around waiting for some political sugar daddy or mama to just "knock some heads together" and make it all go away -- and then go into a prolonged hissy fit because it wasn't happening quickly enough.      


    So you (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:27:49 PM EST
    think it's okay for leaders to sit around and do nothing? I guess so since you're making excuses once again. Why aren't you out organizing instead of posting on a blog since that's what you believe will be the answer.

    You (none / 0) (#184)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:25:35 PM EST
    tell me what Obama believe in besides complete total corporate welfare? You can make all the excuses for him you want.

    barf (none / 0) (#124)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:52:00 PM EST
    "This spill would probably have happened even if Al Gore were President...."

    you have got to be kidding?  And so would 9/11 have happened because Gore would not have read his, GORE REPORT, I suppose.

    Maybe obama should not have appointed Salazar.  and if he were experienced he would know how to get things done from day one.


    "Experienced" is code for Hillary? (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:31:53 PM EST
    Look, I care about the oceans and have a track record here of criticizing Obama's new drilling policy....

    You are just reflexively critical--as you always have been.

    You just say things like "barf" and expect that to pass for a substantive idea on how to stop the spill?


    There you (5.00 / 4) (#171)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:39:14 PM EST
    go with the Hillary ploy again.

    It's like on Huffpo. If you have a criticism of Obama, you are branded a rethug or a Palin-lover.

    Substantive ideas about stopping the spill have been given by James Carville. I even read interesting ideas from James Cameron.
    None have been pursued. This will be done BP's way. That's it.

    But containing the spill is not the issue, imo.

    Preventing it was within our grasp, and a combination of malfeasance and ineptitude allowed it to happen. And it will happen again.


    Maybe in YOUR mind (5.00 / 4) (#195)
    by sj on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:41:01 PM EST
    "experienced" is code for Hillary, but as I look at all the Dems who either ran for the nomination or decided against, I see a whole lot of experience in a number of them.  So stop bringing HRC into every discussion.

    If people can blame someone (none / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:58:48 PM EST
    else, then they can escape making the hard decisions....

    Ga6thDem: Funny how the same set of facts (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:26:32 PM EST
    can be perceived differently by different people. I looked at your last paragraph, and thought: Obama has already done what the paragraph says you want...but then, the paragraph's words are the classic subjective ones which we all interpret differently. Time will tell.

    Just cosmetic politics (3.50 / 2) (#46)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:41:17 PM EST
    There are no magic solutions out there....

    I don't need to look inward....Your condescension continues....

    Tell me one concrete thing--other than PR--that should be done.


    Do you not (3.67 / 3) (#64)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:09:45 PM EST
    think that he could have not trusted BP to do the job?

    I think you are projecting the condescension. Your statement about the people who lived in the gulf states was pretty condescending wasnt' it? Anyway, you seem to think that they could have done something but Obama who has command of the full force of the federal govenment couldnt do a thing?

    You don't think that his behavior has been a disaster? Not even showing up to look at the damage until weeks later? Barbecuing in Chicago while the pelicans are covered in oil in LA?

    This is beginning to be eerily like the Carter Iran Hostage Crisis. He looks completely out of depth for the job.


    On political appearances (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:21:28 PM EST
    you have a point....

    On substance, I would like to know what--specifically--should be done now.

    As to "trusting" BP--that is unclear. Browner did tell BP very early on to drill two relief wells instead of one. Unfortunately, we have to use BP to stop the spill because no one else can--not the military, not the research institutes.  It is not a good position to be in but we do not have a choice right now.   If you disagree, let me know what you would do differently to cap the well.....


    I think (1.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:29:14 PM EST
    that if he had made sure everybody was doing their damn jobs it would have really helped but he believes too much in delegating and letting everybody else do the work for him.

    I was taught that if you want something done right you do it yourself and don't wait around for someone else to get back to you. You get off your duff and make sure things are done and if they're not you start gettting rid of people and find someone who can do the job.

    He could have had another oil company come in and try to cap it could he not? You keep trying to excuse him by saying what he personally could have done. That's kind of like saying we should excuse the CEO of BP because after all we shouldnt expect him to do down there and cap the well himself should he?

    Leadership is what was required of Obama and he is not capable of that and that is why he is failing. It's like Bush. I never expected him to personally go down and save lives in New Orleans but darn it he could have at least made sure people were doing their jobs couldn't he?


    Okay--one idea (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:52:12 PM EST
    Using another oil company.  Maybe.  Who would want to do that?  Which oil company would be willing to take that responsibility?  Would that really help?

    Don't you just double the trouble?  Still using same techniques but with two oil behemoths doing the work....

    I think Federal oversight of BP is only practical way to go.

    Obama should do it himself?  Well, I suppose you mean he should be more hands on....This is just about political optics.....

    I am not asking what Obama personally should do differently.  I have been asking a broader question--what in general should be done differently by anyone to cap this well....Trust me, I would like know the answer....You just respond with different versions of the generic show more leadership.....

    You are the ones making this all about Obama....I want to know how to stop the spill.....I don't see any way out except what is being done....I had hoped there was something else....But there appears not to be.....Unless you know of something...


    Doesn't (1.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:40:30 PM EST
    Obama as President have the power to knock some heads together to get a solution to the problem? And if those two heads can't come up with a solution you find some other heads? You keep going and not sit around on your duff. Obama has sat around on his duff and that is the most annoying part of it all. I agree that he should either take over the oil companies or at least THREATEN them with it but they know his word is a joke just like the Wall Street CEO's and their bonuses.

    Just pressuring people to perform (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:54:32 PM EST
    has its limits.....Just scream at people and they will perform.  That would work if people didn't already care.  They do.  It is not about motivating people.  It is about the lack of ideas.....

    You assume there is another answer.....There really isn't.....And we know this from past spills....especially the shallow water Ixtoc spill in 1979 that went on for months.....And we haven't invented any new technology in the interim--because as Sarah "Drill, Baby, Drill" Palin tells us, drilling is so safe.

    I suppose if you yell at scientists enough they could invent in short order a new technology on the order of the Apollo Moon program....But I doubt it.

    I don't think Obama has just sat on his duff.  He did assemble a think tank of smart scientists as an outside the box response....

    He did ask the military about their abilities--they don't have any for this type of issue.

    He has Browner and the head of the Coast Guard on this all the time....

    We are too used to having quick answers for everything.....Here we have no quick answers for a wholly man-made problem.....How ironic....The lesson is to get off of the oil....


    Assemble (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:17:33 PM EST
    a committe? This is the problem that constantly wrecks liberal values is when someone puts a committee together that's supposed to solve an immediate problem.

    Several other posters here like KeysDan and Theresa in PA have made excellent suggestions that can be done so I won't repeat them.


    Not really (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:20:30 PM EST
    All cosmetic PR type stuff.....

    So (none / 0) (#142)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:31:22 PM EST
    you're basically buying the Obama line that we all should just throw up our hands and say there's nothing that can be done?

    No, for political effect (none / 0) (#150)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:52:18 PM EST
    the Obama administration should throw up its hands and put out a sound and fury signifying nothing.  People demand the illusion of action and fixes and daddy coming to the rescue.  Reagan and commentators here prove that....Give the people the opiate they must have.

    But, yes, I am very fatalistic about this spill....

    There has been little inclination to pull out of our addiction to oil.  It is all Obama's fault.  If he were more experienced, or if we had elected someone with more experience (whoever that might have been), this whole thing would be better.  That is the lesson.  Great.  Just political cheap shots.  No real answers.

    Few are willing to look at the root problem.  Those who do, already were doing so.  Few have changed their views on energy.  We have learned nothing.  And deserve the Armageddon we create for ourselves all by our lonesome....


    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:34:38 PM EST
    has done a very poor job here. People have put up suggestions and you have shot them down but yet we don't actually know whether they will work or not because we haven't tried them. It seems to me that if the current strategy isn't working you try somethign different and you keet going until you find something that works. BP and Obama seem to think that nobody can fix it when nobody else has tried.

    People have given suggestions (none / 0) (#90)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:58:24 PM EST
    Yes, you use other oil companies - those who have the experienced professionals and the institutional know-how of how these things work and how they can be fixed.  Apparently you don't like that answer, but I don't see it being feasible to rely on your policy wonks, a friendly media, and an urge to keep blaming the last guy as a good way to solve the problem.

    What you don't do:  You don'twait around for BP to fix the problem for a couple of weeks while you act like it's more of a nuisance than a problem.


    Use other oil companies is your answer? (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:25:48 PM EST

    I think a new oil drilling policy is in order.  Do you agree?  Or are you doing a Liz Cheney and just blaming Obama and not the oil drilling policy.

    From your earlier comments it does not seem like you find any fault in our current energy policy.    The basic idea--not the execution of the regulatory scheme....


    I think (1.00 / 1) (#110)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:32:22 PM EST
    You need to fix your glasses because you are just making stuff up now.

    Yes, we need to use other oil companies to help plug the d@mn hole.  Would you rather we use someone who doesn't know the technology?

    And I think we need better long-range energ policy that doesn't rely so much on oil, but I also live in the land of reality, where we are not going to stop drilling tomorrow - and it would be a disaster if we tried.  I also think public financing of campaigns would help, since Obama and the Democrats were the largest recipients of campaign donations from BP.


    Sour Grapes (3.00 / 2) (#117)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:41:12 PM EST
    Just because you bet on McSame, does not mean that BP et al. were stupid enough to think anyone but Obama was going to win.

    Had BP been as sure McSame would have won, as you were, they would have donated more to GOP McSame than Dem Obama.

    And Congress 2008:
    Dems:    $195,415
    Repubs:        $190,949
    Others:        $300
    Incumbents:        $351,100
    Non-Incumbents:        $35,564

    Anyway another good GOP talking point that given the BP disaster Obama got more money than McSame. Amazing what an extra $35,000 will buy.


    Hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:43:16 PM EST
    You seem so sure you know what you're talking about - too bad you don't. I bet on McSame?

    More delusions, as usual.  'Bout that time of day for you to go full-fledged.


    Delusional (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:56:16 PM EST
    You usually beat out ppj with the GOP talking points. Certainly this time you did.

    Obama and the Democrats were the largest recipients of campaign donations from BP.

    And of course it would tarnish your GOP talking point to mention that the Dems got less than 3% more $$ than the GOP got from BP.


    I know you don't like facts (none / 0) (#135)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:13:13 PM EST
    But yes, this president got more in donations from BP.  I don't care if it was $1 more - you don't think that has an influence on politics and policies?

    Come to the light side - facts are a bad thing - even if it tarnishes your superhero.


    Facts are NOT a bad thing (none / 0) (#136)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:13:47 PM EST
    I doubt any other oil companies (none / 0) (#120)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:44:36 PM EST
    would take the job.  We would have to pay them billions right now.....to do what, takeover the drilling?  No oil company in their right mind would do that....Too much downside....

    Should we pay another oil company billions just to monitor the site?  We can monitor now without bringing in another company....

    Other oil companies would just prefer to stay out of the limelight while they watch a competitor fail--and while they convince everyone else how it will take 50 years to get another energy source and how we still need to drill (hopefully without much further federal restrictions)....

    Actually, BP engineers have the most knowledge of this particular well and geologic formation.  They are the experts....like it or not.  Exxon would have qualified people--but people who know this well and who could step in and take over?

    Do you take BP off of the job?  That would cost U.S. taxpayers billions.  Right now, it is not costing us anything to dig the two relief wells, etc...BP could try to escape all liability by saying it was all Exxon's fault--BP could have done it better....

    As to capping the well, it will be BP.....


    Maybe you don't understand (none / 0) (#122)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:48:43 PM EST
    This isn't BP's rig.  This is a rig that belongs to TransOcean.  TO leases out rigs to BP, Exxon, Marathon, etc., so yes, other oil companies, and TO, should be lending or (drafted into lending) their expertise on this matter.

    You would be just replacing (none / 0) (#138)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:19:18 PM EST
    one oil company with another that had less actual knowledge of this particular situation....and that would improve things?  

    It would take BP off the hook financially.  Want to see Tony Hayward turn cartwheels?  Just tell him his company is being replaced by Exxon.  

    How much a delay would it take to get the Exxon people up to speed?  Would it be worth it?  I doubt that they would do it....You are going to commandeer other rigs and draft other engineers and other companies?  For what gain?