Process v. Substance: Passing Laws Is The Means, Not The Ends

The Hill:

In two years, the president has repeatedly shown that he is more interested in results than ideological purity, and he has never hesitated to trade Democratic ideals for passable legislation.

(Emphasis supplied.) This reflects the Beltway mentality that passing laws is the end, not the means, of governing. Consider the assertion that Obama "never hesitated to trade Democratic ideals for passable legislation." I'm prepared to trade Democratic ideals for GOOD passable legislation. But, generally speaking, I am a Democrat because I think Democratic ideals are at the heart of good legislation and governance. At the least, a little hesitation in trading off good "ideals" (read policy) in order to pass bad legislation would be in order. See The Deal.

Speaking for me only

< Obama's Regulatory Contradiction: Health And Finance Rules Exempt From Review | Ezra Klein: Joe Lieberman A Dem Hero? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    wow (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 10:45:00 AM EST
    "never hesitated to trade Democratic ideals for passable legislation".

    truer words . . . .

    I think you've identified the (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 11:13:05 AM EST
    main problem here, and that is that Obama seems not to have a relatively fixed set of identifiably Democratic ideals, so while his constant compromises look like the work of a pragmatist whose focus is on "getting things done," there isn't much angst or regret or concern that the results obtained will be more than superficially in line with the goals of what should be a solidly and proud Democratic agenda.  Or that the results will provide the platform for effective Democratic governance, and move us farther down the road we have wanted to be on for a long, long time.

    He's little more than a facilitator, and it doesn't seem to me that he much cares what he is facilitating as long as he can somehow make political hay out of it; sadly, that also seems to be the attitude of a lot of Democrats who keep insisting that if it's good for Obama, it's just plain good.  Period.

    And I call it "facilitating" instead of "leading" because Obama doesn't seem to be able to identify where it is that his facilitating should be taking us; he's transactional, checking off the items one by one, but not really incorporating it into either leadership or governance.  He's like someone who goes to the store with someone else's list, who feels free to make substitutions or deletions, and expects people to be happy with whatever can be made out of what he's brought back.  And who seems surprised and a little resentful that he is expected to make something that at least resembles what the original ingredients were intended for.  "Jeez, you want me to cook it, too?

    I truly do not know why this man identifies as a Democrat, unless it was the only way to succeed in Chicago politics and the price he would pay to abandon those who helped make him is higher than he wants to pay.  

    Tragically, (none / 0) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 11:25:21 AM EST
     it's working

    Look how his polls shot up in the lame duck; the people are clueless as to what was voted on, or what was in the bill that passed, but they leaped and hi-fived each other because the two sides were finally "working together" and "getting things done."


    Re your last paragraph: (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 11:27:20 AM EST
    remember the article, during the primaries, about the people and causes Obama has abandoned as he pursued his political goals?  

    Obama is CONSERVATIVE (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 11:33:50 AM EST
    By nature, he is a conservative personality, always more inclined to go with the pack than shake it up.  And I'll tell you right now, had he those vaunted 60 votes for everything, I have no doubt, NONE, that he would STILL lean in the conservative direction, that he would STILL capitulate to the right.  It's not about any number of votes with him, it's about a philosophy that does not work in the context of effective governance.

    He's like Alan Greenspan: his fundamental view of the world is wrong.

    BTW, I do an impression of Obama (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 11:42:26 AM EST
    In it, he is stuck between the father who abandoned him (the Republicans) and the mother who imperfectly raised him (the Democrats).  He is begging his father to come back, offering him anything and everything, while constantly snapping around to yell "Shut up, mom!" at his mother, who tries to "reason" with him.  It's mean and offensive, but sadly true in many respects I have no doubt.

    Oh, Anne, (none / 0) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 06:16:08 PM EST
    You use words so well. I'm envious. You have touched on a core problem: Obama does't care WHAT he facilitates. He strives for concensus, not for ideas.