The Only Poll That Matters Is On Election Day

Paul Krugman writes about the topic de jour - why are Obama and Dems in political trouble? The answer is, as Krugman notes, as it always is, the economy. But Krugman repeats a point that has been made by him, by Matt Yglesias, by me and many others, that the best politics is good governance. And here is where Obama and the Democrats failed in the first hundred days of the Obama Administration - their policies were inadequate to the problem. Krugman explains:

The best way for Mr. Obama to have avoided an electoral setback this fall would have been enacting a stimulus that matched the scale of the economic crisis. Obviously, he didnít do that. Maybe he couldnít have passed an adequate-sized plan, but the fact is that he didnít even try. True, senior economic officials reportedly downplayed the need for a really big effort, in effect overruling their staff; but itís also clear that political advisers believed that a smaller package would get more friendly headlines, and that the administration would look better if it won its first big Congressional test.

In short, it looks as if the administration itself was taken in by the pundit delusion, focusing on how its policies would play in the news rather than on their actual impact on the economy.

The seeds of the Democrats' political problems next November were sown by their timid action in the first hundred days of the Obama Administration. The price will be high - probably the loss of the Congress. It may have been different if bolder economic policies had been enacted. The election day poll, the one that matters, would have been better for Dems.

Speaking for me only

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    Well (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:34:44 PM EST
    Apart from whatever major f'ups done by the current WH, the meme that 'how the economy is doing is how people vote' is not as predictable as it would seem. If voters vote by their pocketbook, how did Bush win during a good time. And the Dems lost Congress in 1994, yet Bush won a second term in an economy he trashed.

    While Clinton came into office with a Democratic majority in 1992, Republicans romped to huge political victories in '94, winning a majority in the House for the first time in 40 years. Throughout the rest of his years in office, Clinton faced a Republican congressional leadership that mistrusted and disliked him, helping to lead to his 1998 impeachment for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

    You'd think that the voters would realize that the Democrats brought them 8 years of plenty... I think that voters are more susceptible to propaganda than what is in their pocket at any given time.


    Bush lost in 2000 (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:43:36 PM EST
    But I think a better argument for your point of view is the 2006 midterms.

    Iraq trumped the economy that year.

    That happens sometimes. Especially in midterms.

    This is where voter enthusiasm becomes critical.

    Rahm Emanuel has never understood this.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:52:14 PM EST
    I really dislike Rahm Emmanuel, and agree with both Krugman and you that Obama missed a great opportunity. Of course, we can only speculate what the voters would do had that happened, or what the will do in Nov.

    The war was all propaganda. Bush milked 9/11 and kept the country in diapers for years. But we are still in two wars. Obama and the Dems do not seem to have it in them to resort to fearmongering propaganda or any effective fear based propaganda.

    The GOP on the other hand, deftly use fear as their major tool. The public seems to respond more to the potential of something bad about to happen (they will take your freedoms away) than something bad that is happening in the present.

    I think that is where the GOP have the edge, I think that the economy has an effect but less so than the way it is spun. Fear about the near future seems to win the day, imo.


    Yeah, Rahm is awful (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by lambert on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:25:31 PM EST
    Somebody should find out who hired the guy, and why he's still got a job.

    Clinton (none / 0) (#57)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:28:56 PM EST
    And, seeing that Rahm and Clinton are so close, it must be that Obama keeps him on only out of respect for Clinton...



    Your point being? (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by lambert on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:42:24 PM EST
    That you hate Bill Clinton, or that a wife is responsible for everything her husband does?

    MY Point Being (none / 0) (#93)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:50:24 PM EST

    "Hey, come on..." (none / 0) (#95)
    by lambert on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 04:31:22 PM EST
    "Where's your sense of humor"?

    Pathetic, even if we hadn't heard it all before.


    Wow (none / 0) (#96)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 04:40:22 PM EST
    Guess that the stakes are pretty high for you to stoop so low.

    "Hey, come on..."
    "Where's your sense of humor"?

    As most of us know this is the typical comeback from a racist, bigoted or sexist pig after saying something nasty.

    And as most of us know, your implying that I am a racist, sexist and bigot because I used humor, is despicable. Act of desperation, or just some good ole fun?


    He knows where the skeletons are (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:49:20 PM EST

    He probably did most of the piano wire work :) (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 10:06:09 AM EST
    yep. (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:44:09 PM EST
    voters, as a group, aren't very bright. show them sparkly lights, and they'll hurl themselves right off that cliff.

    Yep (none / 0) (#94)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:23:18 AM EST
    Wasn't that how we got Obama?  Sparkly lights and lofty speeches?  

    Let's talk about why they were timid (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:54:23 PM EST
    IMO it was the Wall Street boys who made the stimulus all about Wall Street with almost nothing for Main Street.  Larry Summers convinced Obama long ago that high unemployment had to be because to do anything would destroy the "austerity" that props up a stock industry that is based nothing tangible any longer.  The people are suffering in an attempt to prevent the stock market from correcting and nothing more!

    From the git you wrote that the banks needed to be restructured from the moment they were insolvent.  Instead what happend, the rich at the top have siphoned off all the cream there was to shore up their positions, the rest of us have been left to the wolves of winter or the lions of the colosseum.

    You're confusing stimulus (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:27:24 PM EST
    with TARP.

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CST on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:42:35 PM EST
    one of the big problems here is - everyone is.  They have been lumped together.  You say "stimulus" people think "bank bailout".

    Yes but there was hidden bank bailouts (none / 0) (#23)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:06:44 PM EST
    in the stimulus bill.

    The HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) has handed out ~$1.9B in grants to 56 organizations.

    Read their PDF of grant awardees and follow the money - see who is getting paid.  BTW, under that program, the awardees also get to keep 10% of the grant money.


    Mercy me! (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    The problem wasn't the alleged pork (none / 0) (#60)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:55:58 PM EST
    but the tax cuts....

    If the money spent on tax cuts had been used for big ticket items such as high speed rail and other infrastructure, the stimulus would have been much, much better.

    Mark Zandi, McCain's economist, says the multiplier for spending is great than on tax cuts.....


    It was smoke and mirrors (none / 0) (#64)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:09:40 PM EST
    The "Making Work Pay" tax credit for 2009 & 2010, part of the stimulus bill, ended up biting some people in the butt come tax time.  A front loaded hit with a backend downer.

    Even the IRS warns about what was coming down the pike.

    Making Work Pay Tax Credit. This credit means more take-home pay for many Americans in 2009 and 2010. Make sure enough tax is withheld from your pay with the help of the IRS withholding calculator. See Making Work Pay for more.


    Both were meant to address different (none / 0) (#78)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:19:24 PM EST
    aspects of the economic crisis.  One was fully funded with Obama's economic advisors in tow, and one was not...with Obama's economic advisors in tow.

    But aren't they really related? (5.00 / 6) (#35)
    by hookfan on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:26:53 PM EST
    Sure, they're different programs. However, didn't the rational for TARP include the idea that the stabilization of the banks would lead through trickle magic to increased lending and freeing from the credit crunch on Main Street? It was rationalized as not just a giveaway to stabilize the banking industry, but also result in stimulation of increased business activity, no?
       That freeing up of credit and lessening of the monetary crunch for Main street hasn't occurred.
       However the deficit increase from the bank "bailout" has/will occurr. And scaring people too much by a huge (but adequate) stimulus (causing even a bigger deficit) was the rationale used by Rahm, and the Princesses from Main for a smaller stimulus, no?
       'Course now people will be scared by increased unemployment, huge deficit, and calls for "austerity" and likely scenario is Dems will pay in November.But somebody took their best shot (Timmy and Larry for the O Team)and appear to have misunderestimated either the malfeascence of the banks (they do act in their own best interest ya know), the severity of the recession, or have merely acted on behalf of those they really serve, i.e., not the majority of US citizens. Take your pick.

    Tha rationale for the bank bailout (none / 0) (#88)
    by Lacey on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 12:24:02 PM EST
    Was to prevent a second Great Depression. That was it. Basically the argument, agreed to by most economists, was the financial system was going to collapse and that would result in a second Great Depression.
    Not only would banks collapse, but small businesses would not have the ability to make payroll (their lines of credit would be frozen).
    That didn't happen so the bailout did what is was intended to do. As well, I believe most of that money has been paid back so there is not much of a hit on the deficit as a result of that.

    Yeah! (none / 0) (#89)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    If we hadn't volunteered to give our tax dollars to fund Lloyd Blankfein's and his merry band of Patriots a 19 billion dollar bonus, they would've hoarded the money, made obscene billions of Government guaranteed, carry trade money, and millions would've lost their homes through foreclosure, and millions more would've lost their jobs, many permanently, and small business would've had their credit lines disappear, and we would've sunk into a deep, deep recession.......

    Man! Sure glad we did what we did; that would've been awful.


    Actually (none / 0) (#91)
    by Lacey on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 05:40:04 PM EST
    It would have been a depression, the kind where unemployment hovers at 30 to 50%. But you're probably right, there wouldn't have been much fallout if the world's financial system collapsed. How could that cause real big problems for the average person?

    Except that Larry Summers (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:14:25 PM EST
    wasn't going to have job creation.  Where does the bailouts that Summers wanted and the bailouts that Summers detested and would not have leave off in this economic crisis?

    Different rules seem to apply (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:12:12 PM EST
    about the economy for Republicans, according to Professor Krugman in the cited article: They (Republicans) have engaged in relentless obstruction, obviously unworried by how their actions would look or be reported.  And, its working: by blocking Democratic efforts  to alleviate the economy's woes, the GOP is helping its chances in November. ...Can Mr. Obama, he continues, do anything in the time remaining? Best hope is to close the "enthusiasm gap" by taking strong stands that motivate Democrats  to come out and vote, but I don't expect to see that happen.

    "The fact of the matter is . . . (5.00 / 9) (#29)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:50:16 PM EST
    . . . that they didn't even try."

    That's a big factor for more and more people from whom I am hearing disgruntlement with Obama, et al.  The guy had so much political capital that had he tried -- for better bills for the economy, for health care, for more on the agenda even now -- I think that he would have kept his fans just fine.

    They expected the energy level that he -- or more correctly, his handlers -- created for the campaign to continue.  They expected, I guess, harrrrd worrrrk.

    Not exactly (5.00 / 9) (#47)
    by scribe on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:44:39 PM EST
    They expected the people who formed the backbone of his campaign - the folks calling and walking door to door and doing all the grunt grassroots level work - to just sit back and applaud whatever pieces of legislative garbage they coughed up, uncritically, unthinkingly and enthusiastically.  And they turned their back not only on those people - remember the total blackout of OFA for literally months post-election - but on all their energy.  They let all those activists hang out there with literally nothing being asked of them and nothing other than "applaud" being commnicated to them.  The administration took a very vital grassroots organization and killed it with deliberate neglect.  Rather, the administration went about sucking hind teat of the DC establishment and any Republican in sight while spitting on real Democrats at every chance.  And every legislative priority was designed to enhance the DC Establishment's wealth, power and prestige.

    Or, as I said at the time, Obama's policy (on economics and just about anything else) was sold as "Nobody gets hurt."  The part they were a bit silent on was telling the Democratic base and average Americans:  "By the way, you're Nobody."  The Beltway folks they were courting knew that second part, and that it applied only to the average schlubs who weren't getting that part of the memo.

    "Nobody gets hurt.  By the way, you're Nobody."  Pretty well summarizes everything the Obama administration has or has not done.


    Remember when he said he wasn't (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by hairspray on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 11:26:54 PM EST
    going to be a "hands on" president?  That is when I knew we were in trouble.

    The Dems have already screwed us (5.00 / 6) (#46)
    by BDB on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:44:13 PM EST
    in the next Congress.  So even as they try to scare us into saving their majority, they've lessened their power to do anything for the people in the next Congress by preventing anything from being done next year through reconciliation:

    Under the enforcement resolution, Democrats can no longer use a parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation next year -- a process Democrats had hoped might allow them to pass key pieces of legislation, such as a jobs bill, with 51 votes in the Senate, as opposed to the usual 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

    Gee, it's almost like they want to be obstructed isn't it?

    The Senate can and should (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:47:28 PM EST
    revise Rule XXII next January, and by majority vote.

    I rather doubt it will, though.


    I would love to describe the Obama (4.92 / 12) (#40)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:35:04 PM EST
    presidency as timid, because maybe then I could convince myself that he ever really wanted to do more and do it bigger...but I think that one has to look at those first hundred days through the lens of the entire 18 months, and once one does that, "timid" fails in favor of "dishonest."

    On each and every issue, Obama has paid mere lip service to the things that really matter to the people, and he has played them over and over, and in a terribly passive aggressive way.  Is he on your side or isn't he?  Does he want to help you or doesn't he?  Does he respect your intelligence, or does he regard you as too stupid to really understand the issues?

    The beneficiary of this tactic has been, over and over, whatever industry or corporate sector was integral to getting us to where we were; a bone or two was thrown to the masses, but by and large nothing was done that put more than an insignificant crimp in the corporate efforts to enrich their own coffers - at our expense.

    That he has been willing, time and again, to abandon the needs of the people and the underlying economy in favor of the policies the "savvy" businessmen he so admires want, and that he is even now working to undermine the social safety net, tells me that he never had any interest in governing and leading from a position of deep ideological commitment to bettering the lives of the average American; this thing others are willing to call "timidity," is something I call "deeply dishonest and ultimately harmful to the health and well-being of the American people."

    I can hardly wait to see what a corporation-loving, entitlement-hating president will do with a Republican Congress...why, I imagine it won't be significantly different from what we've seen these last 18 months.

    I'm with Anne (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:21:58 PM EST
    And there wasn't anything timid about the stimulus that left us with huge unemployment.  It was very very intentional!

    "The Big O" (4.67 / 3) (#53)
    by lambert on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:22:27 PM EST
    You don't bat zero for the season without a plan!

    Slump. Wait 'til the second half. (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:56:56 PM EST
    Mixed with those "seeds of timid action" (none / 0) (#1)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:24:03 PM EST
    were also just as many political payback and non-stimulus agenda items packed into the stimulus bill.  For an "emergency" bill of that size to jam it with items that they knew would eventually be exposed is just as damning.

    Irrelevant (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:53:21 PM EST
    If the stimulus had been big enough to address unemployment, nobody would have cared.

    Not when large portions are porked (none / 0) (#8)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:56:19 PM EST
    into projects and groups that have zero economic stimulus effect.

    I agree with andgarden (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:59:12 PM EST
    pork schmork....in light of all the pork on that hill under all recent administrations, it is not relevant to what was done and not done when the political will and capital was there.

    The people who vote based on "pork" (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:02:29 PM EST
    don't vote for Democrats anyway.

    Then the administration/congress deserves (none / 0) (#12)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:10:18 PM EST
    all the political fallout for spending that much money on programs that did not nor even could stimulate the economy using the 'biggest bang for the buck' concept.

    After all, it was an emergency and crisis of the highest order.  But don't hold it against them if they really didn't focus on the problem.  To then claim it wasn't large enough to be further spotlights their duplicitous actions.


    Now you're just blathering (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:15:15 PM EST
    I do not stipulate that the stimulus was packed with useless pork--except for the AMT fix.

    Am even refering to the "normal" pork (none / 0) (#14)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:24:40 PM EST
    like targeted infrastructure/construction projects directed to specific member's states/districts.

    It is the blatant pumping of money under the guise of stimulus to benefactor groups that create zero jobs or economic activity.  That is where the BS is being tossed.  If you call that type of bogus stimulus funding blathering, maybe dictionary.com might help clarify the matter.


    See gyrfalcon's comment (none / 0) (#17)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:29:33 PM EST
    Even the most nepotistic pork is stimulative for these purposes.

    You have to hire people to build the 500th Robert C. Byrd highway.


    and if they have their way (none / 0) (#21)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:46:15 PM EST
    reprinting and installing road signs changing Mt Diablo to Mt Ronnie . . .  :-P

    which begs the question, if the name of a Mt changes, do all the other things containing the name/ref also? (think Mt Diablo Unified School dist etc)


    Not getting the concept (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:25:30 PM EST
    This is quite silly.  It's one thing to disagree with the Keynesian approach, but you gotta have a basic grasp of the principle first.  Almost anything has stimulative effect.

    In this situation almost anything does (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:27:47 PM EST
    but when you put money directly into consumers hands that is a huge stimulus multiplier that anything via Wall Street can never ever get us to.  And if you have no jobs, tax cuts don't do phuck (Dadler spelling) cuz you have nothing to tax to begin with.  When consumers have some money in hand and a middle class job that is the biggest economic multiplier.  Those are all the things that will be further vaporized in this next downturn.

    Just a couple examples (none / 0) (#22)
    by BTAL on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:54:14 PM EST
    $7B for two govt run energy "marketers" so they could increase their borrowing authorities.  Jobs?

    Yes, even the smaller amounts could be "deemed stimulative" like the undetermined amount for DHS to purchase 100,000 new uniforms using textiles from a NC plant.  Only problem is that the material was shipped to Mexico for the uniforms to be sewn then sold back to DHS.

    The Filipino veterans' compensation, paid to many Filipino's who don't reside in the U.S.

    Again, I am not quibbling about serious projects that produced legitimate jobs (to include all the supply chain impact), but when analyzed, the stimulus bill was ended up looking like a christmas tree with baubles of no stimulative value.


    The economic multiplier value in this (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:37:33 PM EST
    climate is not what could be considered a  sustainable value. The economy is so crippled by the banks sitting on massive insolvency so must also sit on massive piles of fed money because hard times are here, and they are all reluctant to lend.

    And I ask myself if any of them can even analyze basic loan risk and get excited by common folk like me where your benefit only comes from the interest paid on the loan.  They have made so much more money simply by generating fraudulent loans that they bundled and sliced and bundled and sliced, settling for 5.5 on my 30 year mortgage sounds like a season in hell.  The whole system has been living on credit crack for so long.  And it isn't even sober yet, and nobody is willing to send them to treatment to dry out.


    But Larry Summers would have none that (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 01:56:30 PM EST
    Lots and lots of highway construction work (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:25:56 PM EST
    in CO last week.  And lots and lots of homes for sale at greatly reduced prices.  

    Evidently the East Coast is bad for memories. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:41:01 PM EST
    At the end of the President's 100 days the media was touting stories built on the incredible amount this WH achieved in 100 days.

    Jonathan Alter in Newsweek, 04/24/09: "[the stimulus is] the biggest tax cut in American history, the biggest infrastructure investment since the interstate highway in the 1950s, the biggest investment in education in a generation and lots more. His budget, which was approved with no Republican votes, shifts a whole range of priorities in a progressive direction and sets in motion a process that will likely lead to major health-care reform this year. Add the other bills and executive orders that seem to get signed practically every week, and the One is moving into Roosevelt's range."

    Timidity in the first 100 days? Only if you were asleep.

    On the stimulus? (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 03:44:42 PM EST
    Completely timid.

    Did you sleep through that debate?


    The debate between the pundits and the (none / 0) (#30)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:04:58 PM EST
    bloggers wasn't the same one taking place in the halls of gov't.  The huge stimulus amounts proposed by the pundit class were not passable by this Congress. Insistence on greater amounts would have meant no stimulus at all.

    The stimulus that was passed, "timid" as it is, still has all the features and characteristics Alter listed. That's fact, not opinion (unless Newsweek is lying, which I have no control over).

    So no, I wasn't sleeping. To mangle a metaphor, I was watching the sausage get made rather than complaining that we weren't getting unicorn steak.


    And here I thought (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:09:14 PM EST
    Cristina Romer was part of the Obama Administration.

    You really DID sleep through the debate.


    Christina Romer? (none / 0) (#36)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:27:26 PM EST
    The expert in the Obama Administration who said in January 2009 that this stimulus package would save or create 3 million jobs by the end of 2010? The same stimulus package that is now touted by the CBO as having saved or created 3 million jobs by mid-2010?

    Yeah, I've heard of her. And I remember your side in the debate: "Purposefully Passing a Stimulus Plan that will Fail"

    Achieving a major economic goal six months early? Not considered failure by anybody outside of the pundit class.


    Just another process Democrat (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by lambert on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:26:54 PM EST
    Pass a bill, any bill, declare victory, collect campaign cash from corporate donors. Rinse, repeat.

    That was a hell of a post I wrote (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:12:00 PM EST
    Right in every particular.

    But it is not about Cristina Romer who recommended a 1.3 trillion dollar stimulus.


    Also (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:10:22 PM EST
    enjoy watching the Dems get put through the sausage grinder in November.

    Your type of thinking is why the Dems will get creamed this November.


    If the Dems have to admit (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:24:05 PM EST
    that they couldn't do any better, then the people have fair reason to turn them out. What's aggravating is that it will be from the frying pan into the fire for most voters.

    Like you, I believe that Obama could have (and needed to) sell a bigger stimulus.


    Well Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:30:56 PM EST
    That is the people who have lost their memory have a fair reason to turn out the failed Dems....

    Why is it that no one seems to remember that the GOP wants to destroy the economy as part of their agenda to gut social security, medicare, and all social services except fighting wars.


    Maybe because (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by hookfan on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:37:08 PM EST
    Obama has set up a Commission studying how to do similar things? No? Erskine! Oh, Erskine what do you have to say about this and "austerity"?

    It's the Ds who set up the catfood commission (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by lambert on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:28:11 PM EST
    Both legacy parties want to gut SS and Medicare. It's just that the Rs are out front about it.

    You've apparently confused me (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:34:33 PM EST
    with someone who isn't going to vote a straight Democratic ticket in November.

    Good To Hear (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:38:40 PM EST
    It is unlikely that NY is going to turn red. And no I did not confuse you with anybody.

    The topic, and likely results of the mid-term elections is that the Democrats are going to sustain heavy losses for two reasons. One, it is historical, and two the Democrats suck.

    But those who pull the lever for the GOP, are voting for what caused the mess to begin with. That, is the part I have trouble with.


    Can't have (5.00 / 5) (#82)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:23:35 PM EST
    it both ways.

    So, the Democrats suck, and the Republicans want to gut all social programs. What, is that supposed to be a revelation? Something new? The Democrats have sucked for over 30 years, and the Republicans have been tricking voters into self immolation forever.

    What was new, or was supposed to be, and what an entire country placed their hopes on, was Barack Obama.  He did sell himself as our savior, and we bought it. And don't tell me the "Blue Dogs" wouldn't let him, or the Republicans were just too mean. Had he invested a fraction of the energy he so ably deployed in cremating H. Clinton, he could have rolled those other losers like a NYC hustler rolls a 3-card Monte tourist.

    The wind at his back after the election was unmatched by any President in my memory.

    I hate bullies with all my heart and soul, and that Obama wouldn't even make a feeble effort to protect those that needed protecting the most is a stain that will not wash out.....no matter how many excuses he, or his blindfolded supporters make.

    No, no sane person would want the Republicans to win, but pardon our schedenfreud at the thought of O getting his butt kicked for once.

    He didn't even try, and for that there is no forgiveness.



    the Obama butt (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:03:38 PM EST
    got a swift kick once before, from Bobby Rush

    & not only did many (former) Dems decline to buy what Obama was selling, quite a few conservative indies and Repubs who voted for him suspected he did not believe his own sales pitch & would likely turn out to be a "moderate" (i.e., center-right) - & those voters were correct

    Dems who never bought the Obama goods in the 1st place are less likely to feel bitter about the (imo) debacle of his 1st 18 months - nothing surprising about it so why would that be a reason for those Dems to "defect" to the GOP (not that you are the one pushing that notion)

    but yeah - "he didn't even try" & for that he does deserve to get his butt kicked - too bad though that it probably won't be his butt that feels the boot - just the whole country's as Obama continues his dithering only this time w/a GOP House & Senate

    after November it will be that much easier for his blind apologists to whine about the mean Republicans & blame Obama's weak leadership on them

    but the GOP is so crazy that Obama just might skate thru 2012 scot free

    he deserves a strong primary challenge imo


    Of course, (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:33:16 PM EST
    You make legitimate points.  But my anger is not that of a jaded Obama booster; I shouted from any soap box I could find for a full year before his election as to Obama's unpreparedness, both practically, and emotionally.

    But, as they say, "you only get one President at a time." So, after his election I fell behind our new President and rooted for his success in any way I could.

    Unfortunately, he's been worse, far worse, than even I warned he would be.

    And btw; I called for a Primary challenge a year ago if, for no other reason, than to throw a good scare into B.O. Naturally, our resident host, and political genius, BTD, called me a lunatic (paraphrase) for suggesting such a ridiculous thing. lol  


    heh (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 01:14:06 AM EST
    i wonder if anybody is rethinking "media darling" as a criterion for supporting a candidate

    especially in a year when any Dem would have been elected (although Obama was actually losing until Lehman Bros crashed & burned), & especially w/a rightwing media that trashes the Dems no matter what

    i am glad of course that McCain/Palin did not win

    & honestly i'm sorry that Hillary didn't

    but that was then

    any Dem would have disappointed the likes of us but Obama has been so much worse than he had to be


    I'm voting in PA (none / 0) (#44)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:40:18 PM EST
    for the foreseeable future.

    Oh (none / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:42:49 PM EST
    Forgot, you are not a NYer.... yet.

    Well Biden Disagrees... (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:25:42 PM EST

    WASHINGTON - Vice President Biden insisted Sunday that it's not all doom-and-gloom for his fellow Democrats in this fall's midterm elections.

    "I don't think the [Democratic] losses are going to be bad at all. I think we're going to shock the heck out of everybody," Biden told ABC's "This Week."



    The new Dem Party (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 07:52:05 PM EST
    meme; many are singing the same theme, trying to reduce the negativity.  Good luck.

    In what world (none / 0) (#41)
    by Left of the Left on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:35:25 PM EST
    does this:

    Insistence on greater amounts would have meant no stimulus at all.

    Make sense?


    In the world were the WH felt the Congress (none / 0) (#48)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:45:36 PM EST
    would pass a stimulus package of N billion dollars, but not a stimulus package of more than N billion dollars.

    Pundits wanted a stimulus package of 2 or even 3 N, because they felt anything less than that would not save or create any jobs. Well, and for a number of personal reasons, like Obama is too far left, or too far right, or not Hillary, or too much like Hillary, or, or, or, ad nauseum.


    It turns out that the people (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 04:50:56 PM EST
    who wanted a "3 N" package were right about the substance, so it just makes you look like a fool to claim that it was personal.

    Heck, at this point the better argument is that this is personal FOR YOU. You are the one spinning indefensible policy judgements.


    If it's foolish to believe (none / 0) (#51)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:06:56 PM EST
    that pundits and bloggers interject personal feelings into their posts, then I'm a fool. You're right.

    Is the economy still sucky? Sure. Never said it wasn't. Would a larger stimulus have been better? No argument there either. Would a larger stimulus have passed the Congress? Snowball's chance in July.

    But as to spinning indefensible policy judgements... BTD pointed me to Christina Romer. She said in January of 2009 that the proposed WH stimulus package would save/create 3 million by the end of 2010. As of mid 2010 the CBO said that the stimulus has saved/created 3 million jobs. There's some spin.


    It is classic spin (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:18:06 PM EST
    because it's not responsive to the issue: the stimulus was supposed to keep the unemployment rate below 8%. It did not--to say the least.

    Outcomes matter.... (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by lambert on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:32:30 PM EST
    ... more than process.

    I certainly hope that the Ds run on the platform that it's those mean Rs that are stopping them from doing anything, when they've got the Greatest Orator In The History Of The Known Universe as President, and control of both houses of Congress.


    I completely agree that outcomes matter (none / 0) (#65)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:10:09 PM EST
    As I tried to point above, my position is that it's better to have some sausage in my stomach than to go hungry. The prevailing sentiment, however, seems to be that since Obama didn't give us unicorn steak, then he's a total failure.

    You just don't get it (none / 0) (#90)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 05:13:54 PM EST
    If there was steak to be had, and if he tried to distribute it fairly & equitably, and if, after giving it all he had, sausage was the only option, then.......

    Unfortunately, he grabbed all the steaks there were first, handed them out to the richest & fattest friends and cronies he so idolized, Unsolicited, then, after asking them if they wanted the sausage too and them replying "no, thanks, we'll take all their money instead" then, and only then, he told the maid, as he scurried after his idols, "throw the rabble some of that scrapple crap. And if any complain, call the cops."

    See? kinda a different message there, see?


    Unemployment is too high, I know (none / 0) (#59)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:53:33 PM EST
    However, that's not the topic under discussion (your post above is the only place the unemployment rate is mentioned in this entire thread).

    What I was pointing out is a fulfilled prediction from the stimulus to counter the argument that it was a complete failure (due to it being too small). In my mind some progress is better than no progress. I also believe that having an economy that is slowly improving is better than an economy that has collapsed or failing.

    If that qualifies as spin, then I'll settle for being a spinner.


    The stimulus was unrelated to unemployment? (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 05:56:17 PM EST
    That is spin of the highest order. The very highest.

    Of course the stimulus is related to (none / 0) (#62)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:05:17 PM EST
    unemployment. That's what I've been talking about through this thread. For you to suggest that they aren't related doesn't make sense.

    The risk of spin (none / 0) (#67)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:13:16 PM EST
    is that you will confuse yourself with it.

    I went back and reviewed (none / 0) (#69)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:23:59 PM EST
    I was citing job numbers. You interjected unemployment percentages. While related, they aren't the same thing. I can see where you got confused.

    . . .right round like a record, baby (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:28:48 PM EST
    didnt really add much (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Left of the Left on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:05:25 PM EST
    Even republicans to a certain extent said we needed stimulus. It's completely illogical to conclude that working for more would have resulted in nothing at all.

    Want to make the argument that working for more would have resulted in the same amount (especially if you truly believe that what we got was all that was possible), ok, that would make some sense. But nothing? That's either willful dishonesty, or straight idiocy.


    Only would have resulted in (4.67 / 3) (#76)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 07:57:54 PM EST
    nothing at all if no real effort was invested in pushing for it.  Need PR campaign, etc. Bush admin sold WMD, and Dems can't sell badly needed jobs-promoting stimulus during one of the worst economic downturns in our history?

    Working for as much as you can get is (none / 0) (#68)
    by Farmboy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:21:52 PM EST
    completely different than working for what you can't get. We ended up with a stimulus of N as a result of work, not because that was the original number. (Obama wanted 850b - we got 787b).

    My point on this was that refusing to compromise on a 1.7 or 2.5 trillion stimulus would have resulted in no package. Or do you know how they could have passed a 2.5 trillion package?


    850b (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Left of the Left on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:43:43 PM EST
    was already a compromise. No one says he should have refused to compromise. The criticism is in asking for less to begin with. Or in other words, not working harder to get more.

    I dont see how this can be made any clearer. Maybe if there's an internet equivalent for flash cards. Lets try this:

    working for more / refuse to compromise


    oy (none / 0) (#72)
    by Left of the Left on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 06:46:07 PM EST
    that should read as "does not equal", it was autoformated into a "/"