How Democrats Lost The 2010 Election

Kevin Drum digs out this June 4, 2009 report by the NYTimes Stephen Labaton (when everyone was still optimistic about Dem political fortunes) that illustrates how Democrats lost the 2010 election:

President Obama took the opportunity in a bill-signing ceremony last month to remind Congress “to do what we were actually sent here to do — and that is to stand up to the special interests, and stand up for the American people.” But Mr. Obama did not mention that the measure he was signing, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, was missing its centerpiece: a change in bankruptcy law he once championed that would have given judges the power to lower the amount owed on a home loan.

It had been stripped out three weeks earlier in a showdown between Senate Democrats and the nation’s banks, including many that are getting big government bailouts. [. . .] Throughout it all, the banks took advantage of the Obama administration’s seeming ambivalence. Despite its occasional populist rhetoric, the White House was conspicuously absent from weeks of pivotal negotiations this spring.


“This would have been a much different deal if Obama had pressed it,” said Camden R. Fine, head of the Independent Community Bankers of America and one of the chief lobbyists opposing the bankruptcy change. “The fact that Obama effectively sat it out helped us a great deal.” [. . . ] Moreover, Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, did not seem to share Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm for the bankruptcy change. Mr. Geithner was lobbied by the industry early.

This is a microcosm of the past two years and the Dem cowardice, from the White House on down, in its dealings with Wall Street. Labaton quotes Senator Sheldon Whitehouse saying "This is one of the most extreme examples I have seen of a special interest wielding its power for the special interest of a few against the general benefit of millions of homeowners and thousands of communities now being devastated by foreclosure.” More examples have followed.

And this, as much as anything, is why Dems will be pummelled in November. Not because the GOP is better - indeed it is worse- but the Dems are in charge. And they will take the hit.

Speaking for me only

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    Cowardice? (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by dk on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 08:28:03 AM EST
    What evidence is there that this was a result of cowardice, rather than agreement?

    Bingo... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 08:49:38 AM EST
    I smell crooked, not cowardly...it's we the people that are cowardly.

    As usual, Taibbi breaks down the crooked...this time in the "finance reform" hustle.  Wall Street's Big Win


    Failure to help homeowners (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 06:35:14 PM EST
    ...the type of thing the "misguided" liberals are whining about (snark)

    Then it is stupidity (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 08:38:36 AM EST
    as they will be creamed in the election.

    Stupidity for whom? (none / 0) (#10)
    by dk on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:26:19 AM EST
    The ones who get kicked out will most likely get jobs with lobbyists or otherwise work for the donors who bankrolled their campaigns in the first place as a thank you for all they did in this legislative session to prop them up.  

    They could quit and do that (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:30:28 AM EST
    Losing does not help them get jobs.

    Big Money puts them in there (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by dk on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:48:29 AM EST
    to take care of the job.  Once it has been taken care of, they get rewarded.  Seems pretty simple to me.

    It's not stupid for (none / 0) (#23)
    by robotalk on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:37:57 AM EST
    their political self preservation.  As paid political hacks, they are largely interchangeable cogs.  Then in government, now in private industry.  

    But it's stupid for social preservation.  Right now the ruling elite thinks it can simply cut itself from the people, its foundation.  History tells you, no, you can't.


    It's all about timing... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM EST
    the elite can live like kings on the grift for generations before the people rise up...I'm sure they think they'll all be dead and buried by the time we get off our arse, and I bet they're right.

    Its the unborn inheritors who might be surrounded by a hungry angry mob with pitchforks.


    Good post (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by david mizner on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 08:39:04 AM EST
    I've long thought that Obama's refusal to support cram down legislation was an under-discussed (and ominous) part of his first year. This, like a lot of formative stuff including the stimulus itself, played out in the first months, when Obama's hardcore supporters were screaming at progressives who criticized him (even more so than now.) Just give him a chance!

    By the way, Obama's lameness on this issue actually preceded what the Times's piece described. It was originally in the stimulus package, but Obama had it removed.

    It appears that President Obama has asked House Dem leaders to jettison another provision sought by liberals from the stimulus bill as a way of placating Republicans.

    As I noted below, anonymous House Dem staffers told Politico that Nancy Pelosi and the House Dem leadership were dropping from the bill the so-called "cram downs," which give judges the power to renegotiate mortgages on terms that are better suited to homeowners who are in trouble. House liberals wanted this, and it was unclear why the leadership had done this.

    I've just confirmed from a senior House Dem aide that the House leadership did this at the behest of Obama aides, who asked the leadership to chuck the provision. This is the second such move: It comes after the news this morning that Obama had personally appealed to Pelosi to drop family planning funds for low-income people from stim package -- also to placate Republicans.

    http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/economy/obama-asks-house-dems-to-drop-second-liberal-priority-to-m ake-gop-happy/

    and Pelosi will pay the price for going along (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:12:21 AM EST
    with Obama. Just heard Charlie Cook this morning say that all of his models show the Dems losing the House, but keeping the Senate.

    She should have stuck by her guns - it is the House that is supposed to be the most in touch with the people and know what their needs are. They all had a chance to do many things to create real economic recovery, and they blew it, plain and simple.


    kind of a shame really (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 01:46:39 PM EST
    from this entire house of fools pelosi is the one i think prob did the best job.  Most of the failures came from the senate/pres.

    I agree (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 03:13:37 PM EST
    the house did a much better job on anything than either the WH or Senate. Unfortunately they are the only ones all up for election to pay for the failures of the other two branches.

    Didn't Senators (none / 0) (#39)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 06:36:51 PM EST
    Edwards and Obama vote for the 2008 bankruptcy legislation that eliminated the relief for homeowners?

    Not Edwards (none / 0) (#47)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 13, 2010 at 11:02:05 AM EST
    Edwards wasn't in the Senate when the bill was passed.

    Hilarious (none / 0) (#48)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 13, 2010 at 11:31:03 AM EST
    In used your link and read the post.  Hilarious to read a couple of the comments from the 01/27/2009 post.

    The hopey, changey types lept to Obama's defense one going so far as to praise the brilliance of his administration in an allusion to 10 dimensional chess.

    I believe that the Obama Admin. is simply very conservative and that political calculations on some issues aren't a part of the equation.

    He and his cohorts are not the force for change that so many liberals and/or progressives (whatever) believed.  The fantasies that so many people erected to support Obama was, for me, the most memorable part of those many months.  All during the campaigns he was regularly contrary to the beliefs of his fervent supporters, but, his supporters always had an answer for the conflicting ideas making excuse after excuse and even embracing ideas they'd previously found repugnant.

    Amazing delusion.

    Hell of it is, we could have won that election running the mule.


    I went a-Googling (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 08:56:51 AM EST
    to try to find the ad Obama ran about how Bill Clinton sucked as a Democrat because he lost all these midterm seats.  I can't find it, but I did find this:

    Right now (and the maps are only a snapshot of right now), it appears a ballot headed by Barack Obama will have a positive affect on more important down ticket races than a ballot topped with Hillary Clinton. Or, as EK puts it:

    [T]here's little doubt, at this point, that [Obama] provides a bigger boost to downticket Democrats running in moderate and even conservative states. And that matters. You want a real theory of change? Have the votes to pass your legislation.

    I have to agree with dk above - how much of the incompetence and weak legislation was by design?  It's irritating to look back and see that the people who told us Obama had potential to do more than Clinton had certain reasons for that, and those reasons turned out to be wrong/delusional.

    Yeah, its like (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:14:14 AM EST
    Those horror movies, you know, where it turns out to be your own Mother who's out to kill you; "your worst nightmare," and all that.

    Who would've thought that 60 Dem. Senators wasn't enough, when its your own Party that rears its ugly head and turns out to be the folks who are trying to kill you.


    Not for nothin' (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:34:22 AM EST
    If any of us mere mortals thought the Dem party was our party, shame on us because it's been pretty clear it ain't our party for 30 years now...mere mortals have no party.

    It was all based on the ability to generate (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:17:20 AM EST
    turnout for that one 2008 election, and not a bit of it based on the ability or desire to actually fix the economy or enact other beneficial policies. Stupid to expect that the turnout gains would continue through to 2010 and beyond if the economic and policy improvements did not materialize.

    Well, I think (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:23:56 AM EST
    our thoughts and energies should now be focused on who to primary him with.

    as it stands now the choices for 2012 are simply untenable.


    I think hindsight (none / 0) (#40)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 06:40:57 PM EST
    may be 20-20 here.  I supported Hillary in the primaries, but I think her appointment as Sec'y of State by Obama -- with the ancillary "hands off" message to the media, and her performance, have greatly enhanced her image.  Isn't her approval rating in around 70%?  As a result, she now would be able to move mountains....

    Results of stripping legislation (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:41:42 AM EST
    How? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 10:16:37 AM EST
    Who would it hurt, other than the banksters? Cram-downs are not some new exotic thing the left cooked up in their anarchist laboratories, it's a regular feature of most bankruptcy courts and is generally at the discretion of a bankruptcy judge.

    Personally I think people are better off just jingle-mailing their loan servicers. Stop looking to the useless Obama admin for help. Just stop paying the mortgage and you can live in your house for free for several months, and then walk away (yeah, you should have your stuff packed up and a place picked out to live in -- but you can easily afford to pay first and security for a rental with the money you're not sending the bank). And tell the morality police to bl** themselves. Businesses walk away from bad investments all the time, why shouldn't individuals?

    (And yes I know there are tax implications depending on the state you live in. As in all such decisions, consult a lawyer first!)

    Could of Should of (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:01:59 AM EST
    At the very least, Democrats should have insisted that judges could have the power to work with the bank on reducing the interest rate for a period of time (5 yrs and then reviewed).

    Until the housing market is stabilized, there's no hope of an economic recovery. Every new wave of foreclosures just adds to our economic deflation.

    I don't know one person that isn't afraid of the future right now. If that's the hope and change that Obama promised, Democrats deserve November.

    And the housing market doesn't (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:27:23 AM EST
    stabilize until people have jobs that will allow them to stop defaulting, and allow first-timers to, you know, buy a house.

    You could reduce the interest rate to zero, but if you have no income with which to pay the monthly principal, it doesn't help.

    People need jobs.  Jobs aren't going to appear out of thin air if the demand for product is flat or declining.

    The only way to break this chicken-or-the-egg condition is for the government to step in, and either through targeted spending, or the creation of a jobs guarantee program, create the conditions where jobs and demand are once again on an upward trajectory.

    Tax breaks for the wealthy, pitiful one-time checks for everyone, cuts to social safety-net programs are not going to do it.

    [and for the grammarians/wordsmiths among us, your comment title should be "could have, should have" - sorry - I intend no insult, I just can't help myself  :-) ]


    Jobs and more (none / 0) (#24)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:42:43 AM EST
    Definitely jobs are paramount. But there are a lot of people that have jobs that are being forced into bankruptcy for a variety of reasons. Also, many may have jobs but their salaries and hours have been cut.

    Allowing the judge to determine the feasibility of success would help. It certainly couldn't hurt.

    As bad as the economy is we need a multi-faceted approach to getting out of this.

    We need to try and keep as many people in their homes as possible in order to stop the spiraling decline of property values for all.


    Oh, I agree completely - (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 12:28:16 PM EST
    there are far too many people who are only one or two paychecks away from going under, and many who have had that unexpected expense of one kind or another, who just cannot get ahead of it.

    Salaries went flat, as employers withheld raises, but insurance premiums went up, and a host of other items increased in price, so people were not even able to hold the line - they were going backward economically.

    State and local governments laid off some workers, and instituted unpaid furlough days for those who stayed on; same thing - regression not progession.

    All of this screamed for REAL health reform, not this gift to the insurance industry.  And it screamed for REAL stimulus, not the weak "compromise" that was eventually passed.  It screamed for REAL bankruptcy reform and REAL finreg reform, not legislation that primarily benefits those who already hold most of the power.  Banks and other financial institutions are already gaming the most recent legislation - gee, somehow I'm not at all surprised by that.

    For all the bragging about the accomplishments of the Obama administration and Democrats, I see very little that has enough oomph to stop the downward spiral and start things moving up again.  We've all but crushed what was left of the middle class, and consigned millions to lives of poverty because of some made-up fear of deficits, and that other fear - that bold action would threaten the corporate campaign cash pipeline.

    It's unbelievably depressing.


    What's depressing to me in addition (none / 0) (#42)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 06:49:48 PM EST
    (i) when businesses file for Chapter 11, their loans can be restructured; and

    (ii) if not for the fact that this year, banks were given the nod to carry defaulting loans/ mortgages on their books at face value, rather than adusting the loan values to market, the banks would also be hurt by foreclosures.  It seems to me this accounting sham is also keeping housing prices artificially high, because banks don't have as much an impetus to 'dump' non-performing loans/underlying real estate collateral as they would if they had to show these assets at true market value. If they did, they would want to lower interest rates to allow home owners to stay, thus preventing home values from falling due to foreclosures, etc. in given neighborhoods, while at the same time maintaining cash flow -- even if somewhat lower, but still cash flow, OR sell the assets for what they could get to improve balance sheets.  Now we all live under the fiction that the banks with non-performing mortgage loans are doing just fine.  Or have I missed something?  


    Cuts to social safety net programs (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 01:00:06 PM EST
    will make things worse, Krugman has said as much too awhile back.  In fact, any direct cut into the sum going into the households of the middle class or the poor will make things worse.

    This is what happens when a party is not united (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Saul on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:20:09 AM EST
    Yeah of course Obama had trouble getting bipartisanship support from Rep. Obama was in dream world with that one.    That was predictable but most of his losses or water down bills  are due to a fractured Dem party and some cabinet members who are not fully on board with his agenda.

    When you become president you got to rule with an iron hand and ram rod your agenda and threaten those  of your own party and cabinet  who are not on your side and point out that not being faithful has consequences for them.

    The reason why Johnson was such a powerful president was because his own party feared him.

    Day of reckoning (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 02:31:19 PM EST
    Home ownership is expected to fall to the levels of 1960. That's 50 years of progress and the American dream wiped out for millions of people.

    The ripples of this fiasco are going to haunt us for years to come. This was to be the safety net for the aged. This was their retirement. As Democrats now ponder cuts to Social Security, this is even more critical.

    The apathy of Obama and DC won't be forgotten. Washington made sure they protected the banks, the insurers, and all their big business cronies while they allowed the American public and the economy to sink.

    This seems to be the 'let 'em eat cake' (none / 0) (#43)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 06:54:05 PM EST
    era.  Is there even any pretense any more to caring about all Americans? elderly? poor? unfortunate?

    Remember Bill Clinton's "Put social security first" -- the one-time holy grail of U.S. politics?  I'll bet college kids today don't even know what the phrase means or why is was ever coined.  


    What do you suppose the Dems were/are (none / 0) (#11)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 09:29:04 AM EST
    afraid of?  Certainly not liberals or progressives.  Not Obama's citizen supporters - he closed the door on them almost as soon as the deal was sealed.  

    That leaves Republicans and the special interests, and my money - the little I have - is on special interests.  The kow-towing to Republicans is part and parcel of making sure the special interests stay happy - Republicans are just happily reaping the benefit.  Sad to say, Obama has been quite active in courting those interests, intervening with critical pieces of legislation, twisting arms to make sure things didn't get too uncomfortable for the savvy businessmen, paving the way for an exceedingly lucrative post-presidential life - which may come sooner than most people believe- and so, here we are.

    Getting the corporate money out of the election process, it seems to a lot of us, is the only way to make sure the people are truly represented; what I didn't know and hadn't heard anything about - that I recall - was the Fair Elections Now Act.  Looking at the Google results, I see that Ezra has written about it a little, and there was something at HuffPo over a year ago - but I don't see much else in over a year.

    From an op-ed in Tuesday's Baltimore Sun, by Michael Barnes and Connie Morella, two former members of Congress:

    The time has come for Congress to take bold and decisive action to eliminate the pernicious and potentially corrupting influence that special interest money has on our political system. And there is legislation making its way through Congress right now that could make this happen.

    Supported by more than 180 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, the Fair Elections Now Act would replace money from special interests with small donations from constituents matched by federal funds.

    These matching funds, paid for by a fee on large-scale government contracts, would go to serious, hardworking candidates who demonstrate a broad base of public support and who say no to large donations from special interests. Because the system is voluntary, it is consistent with the First Amendment and is constitutional.

    Enactment of the Fair Elections Now Act could drastically change the status quo in Washington. Americans could run for federal office even if they are not independently wealthy or do not have access to massive amounts of campaign cash. Once in office, they could devote virtually all of their time to doing the work that we elected them to do. Most important, they would be free to represent their constituents, not large corporations or unions seeking influence over the congressional agenda.

    A summary of the bill can be found here.

    Does it have a chance?  Seems like if it did, it wouldn't be languishing in the Congress, and there would be more talk about it; I'm way too cynical about all of this to be particularly hopeful.  

    Dems and Republicans have become little more than self-interested yes-men/women for the entities that make sure they have the money to keep winning elections.  Sure, we have the power at the ballot box to reject them, but the alternatives are just more of the same; the "replacements" we have to choose from are as interchangeable and indistinguishable as parts coming off an assembly line - which means they are no choice at all.

    Perhaps in this election, the real winner will be "None Of The Above."

    Cram down legislation would be as risky (none / 0) (#17)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 10:02:27 AM EST
    as lighting a match in the dynamite storage shed to help you find the exit door.  If you're lucky, it might work, if not the current bad situation get exponentially worse.

    There are two other dirty secrets/bomb shells sitting on the horizon.  I commented on the Commercial RE issue last week.  The other is the huge Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit debts.  A $30B dirty secret.

    Lenders wrote off as uncollectible $11.1 billion in home equity loans and $19.9 billion in home equity lines of credit in 2009, more than they wrote off on primary mortgages, government data shows. So far this year, the trend is the same, with combined write-offs of $7.88 billion in the first quarter.


    So? (none / 0) (#34)
    by PatHat on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 02:41:19 PM EST
    Holders of bank stocks would take a temporary hit. They made a fortune on the way up, why shouldn't they take losses on the way down. How much did Wall Street pay out in bonuses last year? Eliminating those back would probably pay for the write-offs.

    IMHO, we would see the number of (none / 0) (#36)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 04:00:52 PM EST
    bankruptcies exceed those of 2005 that were filed before the changes in BK laws.

    With the massive number of people who are on the verge and are already underwater this would impact more than just the banks.  It would hit all the existing homeowners who are paying their mortgages (whether underwater or not).  That $30B HEL/HELC overhang will mushroom.  

    With that significant, we are probably looking at hundreds of billions or more, amount wiped out of the system the 2008 crisis will look like a walk in the park.  Even after TARP and the new FinReg capitalization requirements the is not a bank in the world that can take that kind of asset hit.  I seriously doubt that even the Fed could sustain that level of hit, especially with all its current purchases of mortgage assets.  Fanny and Freddie would completely crater.

    Even if they did not fail, the massive crack down on any kind of lending will push us right back into a deeper recession or worse.

    The majority (homeowners who are paying) will take an equity/valuation beating even worse than now, all for the sake of a minority group.


    Over 60% of individual bankruptcies (none / 0) (#44)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 07:02:42 PM EST
    are attributable to medical costs; many people who are facing serious illness in the family and shrinking medical insurance coverage have been forced to file bankruptcy.  Link

    They were certain they could get (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 10:30:49 AM EST
    away with all this.  They did not see what was up ahead because they didn't want to see it.  The economy was never supposed to get this bad.  The pockets of the people were supposed to be as deep as all the make believe leveraging that Wall Street could apply to us.  Everything was so limitless for George W. Bush, and now it was their turn :)

    Sounds nice, but in (none / 0) (#25)
    by brodie on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:43:04 AM EST
    reality Dem presidents, by definition working with a larger tent of interest groups, can only rule with an iron hand and ramrod through bills using fear and threats if they're in a position to do so.

    Johnson found himself sitting real pretty with the electorate immediately following his sudden ascension to power, then again following the massive 1964 Dem landslide.  In both instances, he had a considerable gale-force wind at his back in getting what he wanted.  But not such a powerful and effective president once the public turned against him starting in 1966, and things only got worse as his presidency finished out in the last 2 yrs.  So, half his presidency, he was on the defensive with the public and couldn't get the Dem Congress to snap to attention, the way he once could.

    Obama had his time, immediately in the months after taking office, to insist upon bolder progressive legislation given his historic electoral victory premised clearly on bold Change.  But as we know, he chose the soft easy route of pre-compromise and lovey-dovey bipartisanship with a GOP that didn't want any major reform.

    Now that he's dipped in the polls and doesn't have the palpable glow of a wildly popular winning pol surrounding his head, he's left with fewer options -- some exec orders, some recess appointments that could energize the base, some bully pulpitting with a little more gusto à la FDR and HST.  

    Johnson (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 11:55:35 AM EST
    Also had the experience (there's that word again!) and realtionships in working across the aisle.  He could twist their arms because they knew he was serious and there would be a consequence to not going along with him.   He and Sam Rayburn used to have dinner and smokes all the time.   He would laugh at what's going on today.

    Nowadays, there's no actual talking to each other - they all flap their jaws for the best soundbite.


    Johnson could (none / 0) (#28)
    by brodie on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 12:24:12 PM EST
    only twist arms successfully when the arms were twistable.  Once he lost favor with the public, much of his power waned, despite the experience, despite the reputation for getting things done with the so-called Johnson Treatment.  From 1966 until the end, he was mostly ineffective as president, and the pols in Congress were no longer susceptible to his "charms".  

    Johnson in the end was left trying to instill fear by siccing his friend J. Edgar and his FBI or the IRS on reluctant pols, but mostly this didn't achieve its intended effect.

    Re LBJ and Rayburn, they were both TX Dems either in leadership or on the way to leadership positions, and so both had much in common and getting together for those two professional pols was a natural.  Of course, the GOP was a more diverse group back then, and Congress was far more of a men's drinking club after hours -- two key things which made getting together across the aisle after hours more common then.  


    Oh, c'mon (none / 0) (#37)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 04:26:48 PM EST
    "Johnson lost favor with the public"  for one reason only: Viet Nam! Certainly, he handled it poorly, an ill conceived "sense of honor" did him in. Now, Obama may enjoy being a "war President" but Afghanistan doesn't quite match up to Viet Nam. If it wasn't for the war Johnson would've gone down as one of our greatest, and most progressive Presidents.

    Obama simply doesn't have any valid excuse for his pi$$-poor performance....other than sheer incompetence


    That "one reason only" (none / 0) (#45)
    by brodie on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 08:13:48 PM EST
    as you put it, was a pretty darn big one, and involved a tad more than an "ill conceived sense of honor" you quaintly offer.  The lives lost, the treasure spent, the lies getting us in, the lies over staying there year after year in the quagmire, the way the war split our party and the country apart, the way Johnson stubbornly refused to hear voices of dissent, the way he refused to allow his VP to take a different stance, etc etc.  

    Of course, Afghan isn't quite VN, but there are sure plenty of parallels.  And I don't excuse Obama for his very disappointing performance so far -- as I've indicated in a number of posts so far this year.  He's primarily responsible for the shortcomings in legislation, nominations not made or made and forgotten, and the rest.  

    But unlike LBJ, he is neither corrupt nor incapable of telling the truth nor certifiably paranoid about political enemies nor wedded stubbornly to the prosecution of an unnecessary war just to prove his manhood.  So, there's still time, still hope for this president.


    My two terms (none / 0) (#46)
    by NYShooter on Fri Aug 13, 2010 at 02:58:19 AM EST
    permit me to describe it in my own words....."quaintly" even.

    I moved on, suggest you do the same.


    Hey, he could try free food (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 01:13:14 PM EST
    for the masses on this side of the ocean this time.  Maybe turn a few loaves of bread into enough for thousands?  With a rock band for accompaniment, of course.

    Nope.  Not gonna work this time.  


    absentee POTUS - obamadmin in a nutshell (none / 0) (#41)
    by pluege2 on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 06:42:29 PM EST
    the White House was conspicuously absent from weeks of pivotal negotiations this spring.

    public option
    expanded medicare
    scaling back patriot act
    closing gitmo
    the list is endless