Obama No FDR: Part 2

Kevin Drum:

The plain, boring fact is that Obama, like all presidents, is constrained by circumstances and by Congress, and he just hasn't had the Congress to do much more than he's done. FDR and LBJ won landslide victories and enjoyed enormous congressional majorities. By contrast, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Obama won solid victories and had sizeable congressional majorities (though only in the Senate for Reagan). That's who he should be compared to, and on that score he shapes up pretty well: clearly better than Carter and Clinton and quite possibly the equal of Reagan.

I take this to mean that Drum thinks Obama's "achievements" in the first two years (funny how they are the "President's achievements" when you want to give him credit, and it is the "Congress' fault" when you want to let the President off the hook) are as "transformative" as Reagan's and more transformative than Clinton and Carter's. A matter of opinion I suppose, but I am curious why Reagan's "achievements" are rated higher than Clinton's by Drum? Reagan's big achievement was cutting taxes for the rich and corporations. Clinton's big achievement was raising taxes on the rich and corporations and cutting them for the working poor. How is one "achievement" more transformative than the other?

Speaking for me only

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    Most progressive accomplishment (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by dk on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 11:50:02 AM EST
    since LBJ (in a Democratic administration at least):

    Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993

    Still haven't seen this assertion successfully rebutted.

    That remains my assertion (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 11:51:20 AM EST
    I keep raising it.

    I guess if you make the tax code somewhat more (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by steviez314 on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:16:43 PM EST
    progressive, it's a "progressive" achievement.  And probably the most since LBJ, but not much competition there (how about Nixon creating the EPA?)

    I just don't think that tax rate changes, in either direction, are so defining an achievement.

    Instead of focusing on Reagan's tax policy as the anti-progressive action, I think his firing of PATCO laid a greater foundation to the anti-labor, anti-worker ideas of the past 30 years.


    But taxation is one of the central tenets of (none / 0) (#123)
    by masslib on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 10:34:46 PM EST
    Constitution(article 1, section 8, and the 16th amendment).  Indeed, the federal government did not have the power to tax before the Constitutional Convention.  I mean, how can government function? By collecting revenues.  How are revenues collected?  Through taxation.  The single most important action of Congress is how it levies taxes.

    I know. I meant (none / 0) (#3)
    by dk on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 11:52:07 AM EST
    those who seem to deny it (Drum et al.) have never successfully rebutted it.

    They don't even acknowledge it (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 11:55:44 AM EST
    Even worse, eh? (none / 0) (#6)
    by dk on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 11:58:57 AM EST
    They pretend to be making comparisons of various presidential administrations, and they don't even demonstrate that they have any idea what these presidents did or did not do.

    That's my point here (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:00:19 PM EST
    Indeed (none / 0) (#21)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:18:11 PM EST
    I don't know what distinction Drum is trying to make between FDR, Reagan, and Obama.  Isn't this the legacy of Reagan as he lives on today:

    I wish he'd use his undeniable rhetorical gifts to really sell a liberal vision to the American public, the way Reagan sold a conservative one.

    Is a ludicrous claim (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:02:15 PM EST
    I'm sorry but the Healthcare act as mixed as it was is a much larger progressive accomplishment, and frankly arguing otherwise is more than a bit odd. I know, I know it might not function for long because the GOP will refuse to provide funding for its state level mandates, etc. - however if longterm impact is the criteria than surely the 1993 Budget Acts tax reforms being largely junked in 8 years is a mark against it?

    There is no health care reform right now--- (5.00 / 9) (#9)
    by observed on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:05:43 PM EST
    there is just a bill, whose implementation is murky.
    In 1993, one could argue that Clinton's tax increases were not a great Progressive achievement, but by 2000 you could not deny it.
    Pre-congratulation is ridiculous.

    Good response (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:08:28 PM EST
    Don't tell me (5.00 / 10) (#10)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:05:48 PM EST
    let me guess.  Your employer pays your medical insurance and you've had no time out in the individual insurance market.  That is the only way you can call this health insurance bill progressive.  Forcing  people to buy health insurance from private insurers without any public option is NOT progressive.  And you can think so forever, but the notion is the mythical equivalent of "economic recovery summer".  It's just not true.

    If it's such a progressive bill why was most of it written by the Heritage Foundation? (even your president says this is true).


    I was more referring (none / 0) (#15)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:09:52 PM EST
    to the massive expansion in medicaid eligibility- I realize that for many people it doesn't really matter if the poor get healthcare but for some of us that bit in the bill is really quite significant.

    Are you sure that will be funded? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:10:34 PM EST
    Counting chickens no?

    Yeah - you're right (5.00 / 7) (#68)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:50:39 PM EST
    It couldn't be that people believe all the backroom kickbacks to the insurance companies aren't worth the increased medicaid eligibility.

    It couldn't be that people are smart enough to realize that a big part of Medicaid is funded through state budgets, and that neither the federal or state governments, facing heeee-YOOOOGE budget cuts for years to come, will be able to provide funding for the newly eligible.

    It must be that people - particularly at a liberal blog - just don't care about the poor.



    I think yours is the ludicrous claim (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:08:07 PM EST
    One simple reason - you can not say for sure that Medicaid expansion - the one unvarnished progressive part of the health bill, will remain intact or be funded.

    We know the tax policies of the 1993 Tax bill went into effect.

    We do not know what will go into effect in the health bill.

    It is ludicrous to claim the health bill is ANYTHING yet.


    Went into (none / 0) (#17)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:13:41 PM EST
    effect for 8 years, I'm sorry but I have a hard time regarding anything as a serious legacy item when every single person alive knew it had no chance of lasting until the next opposition part administration. Healthcare Reform on the other hand has a good chance of surviving if only because piecemeal repeal of its unpopular portions (the mandates) would greatly harm important contributors, in effect requiring any such repeal also include the removal of things such as guarenteed issuance and/or recission which are all but politically untouchable.

    Fine (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:14:50 PM EST
    Let me know when you get the 1 year of medicaid expansion.

    2014 is a long time from now.


    Gee, that's funny, because (5.00 / 7) (#20)
    by dk on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:17:33 PM EST
    what may really be Obama's most progressive accomplishment, if he maintains the will, is letting the Bush tax cuts on the rich expire, restoring the Clinton tax increases on the rich.  

    yes - and all he has to do is nothing (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:55:06 PM EST
    You would think it would be easy

    or use his veto (5.00 / 5) (#44)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:27:27 PM EST
    should a GOP-Blue Dog coalition present him with an extension of the GWB deficit creating tax cuts.

    that would be better yet (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:39:49 PM EST
    I'd love to see a veto of a Blue Dog/Repub Coalition bill about anything.

    Yep (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:18:35 PM EST
    BTW (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:18:15 PM EST
    Piecemeal  repeal is a piece of cake with the health bill - leave  in the mandates and the exchanges - take out the funding for Medicaid expansion and cut the taxes imposed.

    I do not understand this argument about how hard it is to pull the health bill apart. It's easy as can be.

    That's why they would have been better off enacting the GOOD PARTS now (Medicaid expansion), so voters could see results, and leaving the less good parts, that the insurance industry would support - the mandates, for negotiation on the regulations.

    The health bill is a mess and was from the beginning.


    Piecemeal parts that have the best (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:21:06 PM EST
    chance of survival are:

    Cuts to Medicare budget, raising the exclusion level for tax deductions on medical expenses from 7.5% to 10% and excise tax on employer provided insurance.


    We must fight for it to be expanded (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:05:12 PM EST
    and funded.  I think the horrible condition of our economy will require us to do that, and many of us saw this coming....but it wasn't how we wanted a healthcare system serving human beings to come about.....through great suffering and total failure of Obamacare and all that Matt and Ezra were so thrilled with :)

    Also would that not also apply (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:09:16 PM EST
    to the Reagan tax cuts, junked by Clinton 12 years later?

    It would to a degree (none / 0) (#24)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:19:59 PM EST
    though the 1993 Clinton Budget fully restore the pre-Reagan Tax Structure- I would argue that Reagan's true legacy (other than possibly permanently altering the CW on economics to the detriment of America- seriously, if the Clinton boom  of the 90s was credited by most Americans to the tax structure changes he implemented rather than to- "the internet" or "deregulation" then I would agree with you wholeheartedly- but given the degree to which both the public and the punditry snapped up Bush's 'Tax Cuts for the Wealthy = Job Creation' pablum I find that argument lacking) is his insane push for total and complete deregulation- something that every president since then has largely aided and abetted with some notable exceptions but no breaking in the general trend.

    edit to first sentence (none / 0) (#25)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:20:39 PM EST
    didn't fully restore that is

    I was under the impression that (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by hairspray on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:11:47 PM EST
    the 1993 tax bill was junked in 8 years because there was so much prosperity and the GOP was in charge in the 2 houses making it hard to put the surplus into infrastructure.  Had Clinton enjoyed a Democratic Congress throughout the late 1990's I believe our bridges, roads, trains, electricity grids, etc would all have been upgraded and indeed we would have begun a solar/alternative energy project.  Pity the populace in their wisdom gave us the GOP with their dumb ideas.  Thats where we are today.

    Really? Junked? (none / 0) (#124)
    by masslib on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 10:37:25 PM EST
    Why are the Bush tax cuts set to expire?  Because even the Republicans could not figure out how to mange the deficit going forward without allowing the tax cuts to sunset.  To construct believable budgets when they controlled Congress, they had to allow Clinton-era tax policy to prevail.

    I also find this funny (5.00 / 8) (#29)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:33:59 PM EST
    and he just hasn't had the Congress to do much more than he's done.

    Criticism of the administration from the Left is described as being demoralizing, but isn't this just as (if not more) demoralizing?  Not only is it politically impossible to get more done, but it's actually politically impossible to ever get more done, because we sure as hell aren't going to be getting 70 Dem Senators in office.  So, why bother?  Why bother making phone calls and knocking on doors?

    If the political climate is truly that difficult, then we need to resort to either new tactics (aggressively embracing reconciliation, for example) or a leadership style that sells the liberal vision.  If neither of these things happen history isn't going to look back and be blown away by President Obama.

    Drum is downplaying and/or (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Mike Pridmore on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:39:37 PM EST
    ignoring what Clinton really did.  Some smart fellow wrote about the scope of Clinton's accomplishments here. 27 million people were lifted out of poverty by Clinton's policies.

    1 out of every seven isn't good enough (none / 0) (#40)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:11:40 PM EST

    And, while we're at it, lets not forget all those new service sector jobs..

    He wasn't FDR either. Not even close.


    No one was FDR (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:38:36 PM EST
    The only truly transformative President of the last 100 years.

    I would like to see you (none / 0) (#50)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:49:07 PM EST
    expand upon this in a comment or story.  It seems many people (including the President) believe Reagan was transformative.  At least in selling a narrative.

    Reagan was transformative (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:58:25 PM EST
    in convincing people that selling a narrative is the same as being transformative..

    As someone else said, the clothes had no emperor..


    Reagan was (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 01:37:00 AM EST
    not really transformative.  He did not establish an institution of lasting value.  He only made it possible for other right-wing shmucks to advance and unleashed nascent greed.  Reagan was a destructor not a builder and the only remotely transformative effect he left is negative; derailing a civilized society.  One of our 5 worst Presidents and a good candidate for last place.

    The New Deal as a set of necessary reforms is still, in part, intact.  The concept of a safety net and regulatory structure in a society where most people have limited control over their own destiny is still a part of public life.  Not as strong as it was before Reagan but still hanging on.


    I plan to (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:50:32 PM EST
    Looking (none / 0) (#62)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:32:16 PM EST
    forward to it!

    not even (none / 0) (#53)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:59:13 PM EST



    dont get all zen on me now :) (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:06:30 PM EST
    I never said Clinton was FDR. (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by Mike Pridmore on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:05:51 PM EST
    I was simply saying he does not get credit for what he did.  Like lifting 27.5 million out of poverty from the total of 57 million that were below the poverty line.  That's more than half, not 1 in 7.

    lifting.. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:07:58 PM EST
    I keep picturing a guy with wings and very big hands.

    With one foot in Mexico and one in China..


    "Not good enough"? (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:16:03 PM EST
    For you?

    No kidding.

    Let's ask those 27 million.


    I've actually (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:34:30 PM EST
    had discussions with some of them. They love him. Why do you think he still has such high approval numbers?

    why do they count (none / 0) (#85)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:48:26 PM EST
    the watery soup days till stale grilled sandwich day in prison?

    Nope, ... his approval numbers (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:20:02 PM EST
    ... among lower income people are hee-YOOGE ...

    ... but you'll have to do your own research if you want to limit the numbers to the prison populace.


    Again (none / 0) (#94)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:29:45 PM EST
    moving tentatively in the right direction, after the Gypper and the wasp from Langley, doesn't make him FDR.

    And again, who's claiming he was FDR ... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:32:26 PM EST
    ... besides you?

    I was responding to the person's (none / 0) (#98)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:37:24 PM EST
    "FDR wasn't good enough" remark..

    That's strange (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:43:30 PM EST
    It showed up as a response to my comment.

    BTW - "The person" was pointing out that (according to some here) neither FDR or Clinton were good enough, not that Clinton = FDR.

    Big difference.


    I don't see ANYONE saying (none / 0) (#101)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:49:33 PM EST
    FDR wasn't good enough, do you?

    I don't know, but then again ... (none / 0) (#103)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:02:05 PM EST
    ... it's not something I've claimed, but  Socraticsilence is pretty critical of FDR (refusal to back anti-lynching legislation, internment of Japanese-Americans, etc.).

    Maybe you should ask him.

    BTW - Nice try at deflection.


    Yep me (none / 0) (#104)
    by hookfan on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:06:52 PM EST
    and I believe BTD= the implication that no one's program is good enough until all are lifted out of poverty. Or did I misunderstand BTD? But some measure up better than others. Will Obama leave me any food stamps since he has no wings?

    you can still get food stamps (none / 0) (#108)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:29:26 PM EST
    and if you work for Hillary's favorite chain store - as more people than ever do these days - you'll definatly qualify.

    really? (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by hookfan on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 07:18:29 PM EST
    That's good cause then I won't have to follow MO's dieting plans, tho I'll still likely lose more food stamps so she can starve kids instead. . .

    Doubt it (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 09:48:57 PM EST
    Particularly after another $8 Billion in cuts to Food Stamps to pay for MO's "Let's Move" program, on top of the 13.6% slashing Obama signed last week.  Hey! - Maybe that's the plan!  "Let's move" all the money out of the food-stamp program!

    BTW - I think it's Michelle's "favorite chain store", too.


    Ask them what? (none / 0) (#61)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:27:41 PM EST
    Would you rather have Bush, Obama or Clinton, as if those are going to be the only possible options ever?

    Btw, did you save me and the rest of "the people" a piece of that 3k wedding cake?


    No - ask them ... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:38:59 PM EST
    ... whether Clinton did a good job as POTUS, including the fact that his policies helped lift @ half of those beneath the poverty line above it.

    BTW - Now you have some issue with Chelsea's wedding cake?

    pfffffffttt ...

    Toooooooo funny ...


    I think he did o.k (none / 0) (#72)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:03:17 PM EST
    with what he had to work with..

    Im just not ready to make him the be-all-and-end-all.

    We're a work in progress here, right?


    Indeed we are, ... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:12:46 PM EST
    ... although no one was claiming he was the "be-all-and-end-all", merely crediting his policies (and him) with helping many poor people during his administration.

    But if only he had donated the money used for Chelsea's wedding cake to charity ...


    How many are being "lifted" (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by hookfan on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:02:13 PM EST
    out of poverty under Obama? If FDR wasn't good enough, and Clinton didn't cut it, seems tome that Obama doesn't even have any wings to clip.

    Too early for figures (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:12:47 PM EST
     ... but, suffice it to say, Obama's "wings" are more like large anchors.

    Who said FDR (none / 0) (#88)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:04:54 PM EST
    wasn't good enough?

    Because not everybody (none / 0) (#97)
    by hookfan on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:35:00 PM EST
    was lifted out of poverty under FDR. So where does Obama fit on the measuring scale? You didn't answer. . .

    And quit breaking away from the wedding (none / 0) (#83)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:45:27 PM EST
    to make quick trips to Seven Eleven to hit on that girl from the trailer park manning the register..

    I don't (5.00 / 3) (#127)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 01:56:16 AM EST
    believe anyone here said that Clinton was the 'do all ... end all'

    The fact is, we haven't had a liberal President since LBJ.

    But, given the same circumstances entering office I would chose Bill Clinton over Barrack Obama without hesitation.

    Several decades ago a Barrack Obama would have run as a Republican.


    Well, we haven't had (none / 0) (#129)
    by brodie on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 10:32:22 AM EST
    a true liberal president since JFK (great economy, liberal policies, US and its president respected abroad, no unnecessary war; and no siccing the FBI and IRS on his political opponents, as non-liberal Johnson did).

    Agree that I'd choose the much smarter and more experienced Bill Clinton of 1992 over the fresh-faced neophyte Obama any day.

    But Obama is no more Republican than Jimmy Carter was, which is to say there's some there there in a certain anti-liberal attitude that occasionally flares up, but not sufficient to make him a GOPer.  

    And decades ago Obama wouldn't have run -- the fact of his meager 2-yr experience in important political office plus his race and odd name would have kept him out of the competition.  But in recent times, the experience bar has been lowered considerably.


    So far as a (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 01:25:04 PM EST
    Barrack Obama is concerned I'm not looking at race, I'm considering philosophy and if you don't think Obama is a throwback Republican then you're not familiar with the era I'm talking about.

    Further; JFK a liberal?  I beg to differ and since when is it appropriate to ignore LBJ's incredible liberal legislative accomplishments.

    Inasmuch as war is concerned I'm afraid you're again revealing how little you know of the past seven plus decades regarding liberals and the willingness to go to war.

    Don't apply today's standards to the past.  Liberals were a  different breed those many years ago.


    I'm with you (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:36:03 PM EST
    Until it is zero, it is never enough.

    The povery levels... (none / 0) (#60)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:25:35 PM EST
    were approx. 8 grand per single and 16.5 grand for a family of four in 1998, linkage...such unrealistically low poverty levels make that stat utterly worthless, imo.

    Not meaningless (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:35:30 PM EST
    The numbers weren't adjusted to fluff Clinton.

    They were what they were.


    No doubt... (none / 0) (#69)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:00:28 PM EST
    didn't mean to imply that they were fudging numbers...just saying "lifting" a family of 4 over 16.5k doesn't mean sh*t because 16.5k for a family of 4 should be well below any "poverty level" worth a damn in the real world...of the top of my dome I'd say you'd need at least 30k for a family of 4 in '98 to not be totally piss poor.

    When one can't stack up (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Mike Pridmore on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:42:11 PM EST
    in comparisons, there are a few options.  First, you can give others their due praise.  Second, you can inflate your accomplishments to look better in comparisons.  A third option is to minimize the accomplishments of others.  All of us probably do two and three from time to time.  But the first option is probably healthier.

    To clarify... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:04:35 PM EST
    I'm not knockin' Clinton to make Obama look good...in my book Clinton sucked and Obama sucks so far....two corporate friendly Dem peas in a pod.

    That being said...the EIC thing was a decent bone for working people, but lets not pretend it put a dent in poverty when that 27.5 million number is based on poverty levels that are in reality useless as a measure of poverty in this country.


    Those numbers were very (none / 0) (#76)
    by Mike Pridmore on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:25:29 PM EST
    useful in the late nineties.  What makes you think they are unrealistically low?

    Cuz the one time... (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:34:12 PM EST
    in my life when I asked my government for help was 1999...I could not qualify for Medicaid because they said I made too much money, which I found kinda funny cuz I damn sure didn't have any money left after the bills were paid:)

    That and common sense...could you survive on 9 grand a year in 1998?  Or on 17k with 3 other mouths to feed, house, cloth?  They are bizarro world poverty levels.


    good point (none / 0) (#63)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:32:36 PM EST
    though don't discount that transcendental lifting experience..

    It's like center-Right pcp without the after effects.


    set the stage for the current recession I have a hard time giving him more credit- I'd place above Carter and JFK by a ways, but behind LBJ in the post-WW2 Dem presidents scale- (Obama is too early to fairly judge).

    Bush (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:36:20 PM EST
    apologists never cease to amaze me.

    seriously, you're on drugs (none / 0) (#91)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:17:51 PM EST
    specifically, high grade Hillary bud smuggled in from Mexico..How is that in any way "apologizing" for Bush OR Obama?

    Because (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:48:45 PM EST
    blaming Clinton for the economic problems we have today is the standard operating procedure for all Bush apologists.

    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Romberry on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 06:01:22 PM EST
    ...Clinton himself says that some of what he did as president became part of the problem, and he's right.

    Folks that want to lay all of the problems we face at the feet of GW Bush are glossing over the fact that the push for deregulation has been a bipartsian affair dating back to at least Carter. A Democratic House and Senate rolled over for Reagan. And even the Bush program would have essentially not been possible without Dem support.

    Heck, look at the way Dems can't even find a way to stand united for the expiration (not repeal, scheduled expiration) of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. All they have to do is nothing, and it's looking at least possible that they may not be able to do even that.


    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 07:14:51 PM EST
    have a problem with what you are saying but this complete omission of all the other events is what I have a problem with.

    I understand. (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Romberry on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 07:20:23 PM EST
    My point isn't that the Republicans aren't awful, 'cause they are. It's just that all kabuki aside, the mess we're in was created as a bi-partisan affair and what passes for the Democratic Party elite these days when it comes to the issues facing "regular folk" is not far from being just as awful.

    you don't think (none / 0) (#102)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:56:21 PM EST
    Wall St deregulation had anything to do with the economic problems we have today?

    Pointing that out doesn't in any way salvage the reputation of the clown show which was the Bush Administration. Not from where I sit.


    don't take this the wrong (none / 0) (#81)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:34:38 PM EST
    way I still blame Bush far more than Clinton- but the 90s did a lot to validate the deregulate, offshore and privatize trend that Reagan put in place. The repeal of Glass-Steagall, Greenspan's chairmanship of the Fed and NAFTA are all now at best muddled achievements, add in the reform of Welfare (not something felt harshly in boom times) and the slate is more mixed than it was on 1-21-2001.

    And.. (none / 0) (#96)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:34:18 PM EST
    would Clinton still go with Bob Rubin, Summers and the equivalent of a Greenspan today?

    And would he even have a choice in the matter?


    No. (none / 0) (#109)
    by Romberry on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:50:04 PM EST
    Clinton has said that he regrets following some of the advice he got from the Summers/Rubin/Greenspan triumvirate and that with hindsight, he'd not have followed the same path in several areas:

    Whereas former presidents typically devote their retirement to history-revising legacy preservation, Clinton is laudably doing the opposite -- and the nation will, hopefully, benefit.

    It began with his congressional testimony last month. Discussing his administration's trade policy, Clinton admitted that it "has not worked" to alleviate poverty, as promised.

    "It was a mistake," he said of his agribusiness-backed initiatives forcing impoverished countries to eliminate tariffs. "It was a mistake that I was a party to ... I had to live every day with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did."

    Clinton didn't stop there. In a subsequent ABC News interview, he said that when it came to 1990s-era financial deregulation that so harmed today's economy, "I think [my advisors] were wrong, and I think I was wrong."

    More at the link...


    Good for him (none / 0) (#111)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 06:00:59 PM EST
    Not the repeal of Glass Steagall though (none / 0) (#122)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 10:29:05 PM EST
    The repeal of Glass Steagall (none / 0) (#107)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:19:40 PM EST
    had nothing to do with the crisis.

    You are simply wrong on this.

    OR do you wonder why Obama never ever considered reinstating Glass Steagall?


    A great many people... (none / 0) (#110)
    by Romberry on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:52:23 PM EST
    ...don't agree with you, BTD. Glass-Steagall kept investment banking and retail banking separate for a very good reason. You can assert that people who point to the repeal of Glass-Steagall as part of the problem as "simply wrong" a thousand times over, but that doesn't make it so.

    A great many people (none / 0) (#121)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 10:28:17 PM EST
    like who?

    A great many people think muslims (none / 0) (#125)
    by masslib on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 10:45:59 PM EST
    are insensitive for wanting to build a community center in lower Manhattan.  A great many people are misinformed about lots of things.  What's the point?

    On economic issues, (none / 0) (#93)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:20:56 PM EST
    JFK was ahead of Clinton -- robust economy after a mild Ike recession, but no repeal of important financial laws like G-S, while also seeking tax reform, plus no policy that led to outsourcing of US jobs of course as with Nafta.

    LBJ has to be faulted significantly for his stubborn and unwise guns and butter approach in failing to get a surtax soon enough to help pay for his war, which led to inflationary pressures in the economy later in the 60s and 70s.


    JFK cut taxes for the wealthy (none / 0) (#106)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 05:18:20 PM EST
    ... and for the other (none / 0) (#117)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 07:47:20 PM EST
    income groups below -- across the board reduction, demand-side plan that was intended as much to eliminate tax loop holes (favoring the rich overwhelmingly) as anything else.  Opposed by Big Business, interestingly.  But with so many frequent recessions just prior to his taking office, and with unemployment still a tad too high, Kennedy sought to act aggressively to prevent another downturn.

    By that measure (none / 0) (#120)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 10:27:10 PM EST
    Reagan and Bush were progressive.

    I wasn't aware Bush (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by brodie on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 10:09:02 AM EST
    and RR were seeking to eliminate tax loopholes for the rich, as Kennedy sought.  JFK's plan was to avoid another immediate recession as they seemed to come along every few yrs.  He wasn't unreasonable in the demand-side approach he finally signed on to offered by his center-left advisors, and had it not been for conservatives in Congress the final bill would have contained more of the reform measures against tax avoidance by the rich that JFK wanted.  

    1964 and 65 were boom years for the economy and the middle class, unlike what happened to the non-rich during the Reagan and Bush years.  And had it not been for Johnson's very unwise and unnecessary war, the economy would probably have hummed along fairly nicely for a good while with only a little gov't-spending tweaking needed.


    It has been Reagan's system since 1981 (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:13:59 PM EST
    even when Clinton was in he worked within and was constrained by Reaganism.  It is a failed system, politcally and economically.  Why Obama has chosen reform intended to revive it rather than stick a stake through its heart is a beyond me.  

    The time was ripe in 2009 to put an end to Reaganism for a good long time and establish a modern New Deal.  Obama has, though his actions, given new life to Ronald Reagan's failed vision of unfettered capitalism.  That won't make the failure Reaganism has been shown to be right, it will prolong the agony and delay the inevitable course correction by at least a decade.

    I strongly disagree (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:37:56 PM EST
    To this day we are living in the government FDR created.

    Maybe the question people need to ask (5.00 / 8) (#71)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:02:00 PM EST
    is whether they believe that there is more positive effect on the economy by instituting polices that lift up those who have the least, than there is in policies that ensure that those with the most get to keep more of what they have.

    Do you believe in trickle-up or trickle-down?

    I thought it had been pretty conclusively demonstrated that the trickle-down economics of Reagan did not work as advertised - and yet, that seems to be what is once again driving much of the policy.

    "A rising tide lifts all boats" was the philosophy of the Clinton administration, and that's what his policies were designed to achieve.

    What is the Obama administration going for?  It's hard to argue the "rising tides" approach when everything from Social Security to Medicare and Medicaid have targets on them - programs specifically designed to provide a safety net for those who have the least.  What does it say about Obama and his administration that they are comfortable even thinking about cutting benefits at a time when the economy has pushed more and more people to the brink - and some have gone over the cliff?

    To me, it seems not just a huge stretch to utter "FDR" and "Obama" in the same sentence, but a trivialization of what FDR was able to do.

    It's clear to me that Obama wants to be at the same level as FDR, but he doesn't share the same philosphy, so it's apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned.

    Trickle down (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by NYShooter on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:45:37 PM EST
    Wasn't a philosophy, it was a bogus pretext, a flim-flam for the uneducated. Nobody, especially those promoting it, believed it. The rich simply wanted more of the American pie, and then concocted this flimsy "reasoning" as it's justification.

    Sort of like, "lowering taxes actually increases tax revenues."

    BTD MIssing 2 BIG pieces (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by pluege2 on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 06:34:05 PM EST
    reagan not only put in the plutocratic tax cuts in place, he also put in motion the union busting wave and the untouchable endless buildup of the defense budget. In short, reagan is the architect of the 3 point attack that destoryed AMerica in 30 years:

    1. steal the nation's wealth to enrich the obscenely wealthy

    2. destroy workers rights and every ability of average American to make a decent living.

    3. cripple any ability of the government to provide a social safety net by indebting the nation with endless war.  

    Clinton was a very good President if you were (none / 0) (#4)
    by observed on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 11:54:18 AM EST
    lower middle class, compared to any of those (except FDR, of course).

    LBJ (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:07:32 PM EST
    sorry, but its a bit of a pet peeve of mine, how LBJ s domestic achievements are basically given to JFK while things like the American involvement in Vietnam (which started largely under Eisenhower) are used to tear down Johnson- the mans domestic legacy is nearly the equal of FDRs (and far, far superior in terms of actual equality- contrast Medicare and Medicaid with the carefully crafted racism of the early Social Security system, much less LBJs willingness to back the Civil Rights Act knowing its political cost juxtaposed with FDRs internment policies and refusal to back anti-lynching legislation).  

    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#18)
    by observed on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:13:43 PM EST
    I was thinking of post-Nixon Presidents, actually. With the exception of Clinton, they have been horrible for the lower classes.

    I think Clinton was short-term very good (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:22:42 PM EST
    medium to long-term I do wonder if the embrace of NAFTA and the rest of the free-trade without limits agenda was a death-blow to the non-white collar middle and lower class.

    Dropped the bottom out of the labor market (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    Did the increased power to buy cheap stuff make up for it? Probably not if you are unemployed.

    One could argue that the (none / 0) (#75)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:20:26 PM EST
    phenomena non-college educated middle class (fed by $20+ /hr manufacturing jobs) was an aberration bound to fade, but its hard to see how NAFTA et al didn't accelerate its demise.

    No it's not (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:04:43 PM EST
    "NAFTA had little or no impact on aggregate employment."

    Certainly not based on the four major studies of NAFTA.


    FDR had enormous pressure (none / 0) (#28)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:32:52 PM EST
    from "the bottom" that he could afford to ignore only at his own peril, with the workforce being close to 50% unionized..

    Apocryphal story probably, but very apropos, FDR supposedly said to group of over-stuffed, pink faced, anti-New Deal financier types "the only thing standing between you and the pitch forks is me".

    There are NO Democrats who are going to be "like FDR" anytime soon..It's a totally different country now.


    Ok (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:37:47 PM EST
    sort of my point below...are we really such a "totally different country now" that we are just not going to do anything more about the recession?  That we are not and will not take big government action?  If so, that didn't just happen by accident, that is a pretty big Republican win.

    Socratic, you're forgetting that (none / 0) (#34)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:50:28 PM EST
    1) Johnson chose to escalate the war, massively, and 2) that war's cost cut into the funding for his new domestic programs, which 3) were regardless of funding, in some areas not being competently and effectively implemented and administered -- i.e., LBJ seemed to care only that the program was passed, and didn't take adequate care to follow through even apart from the issue of funding cuts.

    As for the CR Act, compared to FDR's time in the 30s, early 1964 was politically a better atmosphere for its passage in the months following JFK's assassination with the RW extremists in increasing disfavor and the bill being seen favorably, for the most part, as a central piece of the late president's unfinished program.  Johnson wasn't about to toss it aside, so had no choice but to go forward, and with the great help of Sens Humphrey and Mansfield along with RFK acting as point man for the bill, it got done.

    FDR can definitely be faulted, considerably, for the 1942 internment -- an unnecessary and bigoted move that wasn't even supported initially by the majority of his top military advisors and which didn't seem to have any rational evidentiary basis as to the disloyalty issue.  As for the refusal to back anti-lynching legislation, less blame, but still there was a president who had a chance to do the right thing but chose instead to preserve his good political standing with the southern Dems.  Not exactly a profile in courage, for sure, but neither was Johnson in '64 quite the courageous pol as some would have it.


    Unlike FDR, Clinton or Reagan (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:25:13 PM EST
    millions upon millions of citizens born and unborn will continue to benefit & take for granted what was made possible by the Civil Rights and Voting Acts.   These are ingrained now in society in a way SS or Medicare never will be.  Those programs will always be at risk of repeal or destructive "reform" by the GOP and Dem enablers.  

    With the exception of the Civil War amendments, I can think of no other legislation that has and will continue to do more for freedom than the civil rights and voting acts signed into law by LBJ.  They will live not just in the statute books but in the lives of people long after those of us alive during the Vietnam war are dead & gone.

    LBJ knew and said the South was lost so you can;t say politics was the sole driver behind his decision to not just sign, but work those bills through Congress.  I am sure he had his political objectives but the fact is he got it done and the changes in society in my lifetime have been remarkable as a result.  

    I am not a huge Obama fan. However, if his only accomplishment is that he was the first African American to be elected President, I am glad I supported him in 2008.  Without the laws LBJ worked through COngress and signed I doubt it would have happened.


    And I don't disagree that (none / 0) (#70)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:00:35 PM EST
    those two bills were and are important.  I meant though to compare and contrast some of the political climate in the time of LBJ and FDR and argue that the period '64-5 was a more favorable terrain for the prez to act in the civil rights area -- Johnson acting with a fair-sized wind at his back in '64, then a gale-force wind at his back in '65 for the VR Act.  FDR at best had a gentle intermittent breeze for anti-lynching, imo, but acted assertively to create the political wind on internment, to his great discredit.

    As for the politics -- party and personal -- of the '64 bill, while it's true that LBJ seems to have expressed those concerns (apparently to Moyers) about the Dem party losing the South, he also had to know that being a Southerner himself and with a prior track record of largely mod-conservative politics, he was going to suffer less politically for the bills than, say, a northern liberal Dem.  And frankly, it was a remark that gets overblown, because LBJ famously was not exactly a Party-oriented pol.  He was a Lyndon-oriented pol, period.

    Re your final comment about Obama maybe having only his election as the sole positive for his entire presidency, let's hope not.  I think a failed one-term Obama presidency -- economy still in deep recession, an Afghan War that isn't being substantially disengaged -- would do tremendous damage to the future prospects for African-Americans seeking that position.  Too early to tell though, right now, whether he's going the way of Jimmy Carter or will sneak through for another term like Bill.


    But if ones going to (none / 0) (#77)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 03:27:41 PM EST
    equivocate on the magnitude of the CRA couldn't one do the same with the New Deal after all the 1929 Crash and resultant chaos was as least as a catalyst for change as JFK's death, furthermore while I can and have excused Social Security's initially racist construction as a byproduct of its time- the same cannot be said for FDRs refusal to push through anti-lynching legislation- I'm sorry but it wasn't some sort of proto-CRA it was a federal statute against the legalized, public torture and murder of American citizens.

    Again, I don't dispute (none / 0) (#89)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 04:09:08 PM EST
    the magnitude of the CR Act per se, just the magnitude of Johnson's alleged political savvy and courage in overseeing its enactment, for the reasons I suggested above.  

    Similarly, in his first few years, with significant winds at his back to do just about anything to get the country back to work again after 3 brutal yrs of Depression, FDR didn't have to be a political genius or profile in courage to get done what he did -- which, it turns out, was a little less than expected.  Which is why I credit him less for the '33-34 legislation, good as it was but not as bold as it could have been, and more for the more robust legislation of the so-called Second New Deal of 1935.

    I have already faulted FDR for not pushing harder, and using the bully pulpit, for the anti-lynching bill, but he was worried about his bills for economic relief getting through the southern Dem-controlled committees, and so politics and concerns about the economy prevailed.  But it also didn't seem to hurt his or his party's standing with blacks in the country -- to the contrary, in fact.


    It's given to JFK... (none / 0) (#131)
    by NealB on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 07:18:31 PM EST
    ...because he took the bullets.

    Not sure why you (none / 0) (#30)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:36:34 PM EST
    limit Clinton's achievements to only the "lower middle class."   Iirc, his policies brought more people out of poverty than at any time since the 60s, and his economic program grew and strengthened the middle class as a whole.

    Because he was so much better (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by observed on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:09:30 PM EST
    with the lower income brackets and poor than the middle class, compared with other Presidents.
    Does Obama even talk about the poor and the lower middle class workers?

    27 million lifted out of poverty. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mike Pridmore on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 12:41:15 PM EST
    Only if... (none / 0) (#58)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 02:14:34 PM EST
    your lower middle class arse managed to stay out handcuffs.

    I think we are entering (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:01:28 PM EST
    Millard Fillmore/Calvin Coolidge territory.

    Oh dear lord (none / 0) (#39)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:07:18 PM EST
    I hope not...are you serious?

    hyperbole (none / 0) (#45)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:37:35 PM EST
    its friday

    Ah (none / 0) (#49)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 01:47:06 PM EST
    I was like, hmm, Capt Howdy's really taken a plunge...