Presidential Signing Statements: What They Say And What They Do

There has been a hubbub about President Obama's recent signing statement regarding the stopgap spending bill

Despite my continued strong objection to [Sections 1112 and 1113 - regarding transfer of Gitmo detainees] these provisions, I have signed this Act because of the importance of avoiding a lapse in appropriations for the Federal Government, including our military activities, for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.

Nothing indicates an intent to violate the law there. The part of the signing statement many have focused on is the "czar" issue:

Section 2262 of the Act would prohibit the use of funds for several positions that involve providing advice directly to the President. The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority. The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it.

Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.

(Emphasis supplied.) Section 2262 provides that:

None of the funds made available by this division may be used to pay the salaries and expenses of the following positions:

(1) Director, White House Office of Health Reform.

(2) Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

(3) Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy.

(4)White House Director of Urban Affairs.

The law does not prohibit the existence of these posts, just that the funds appropriate by the bill can't be used to pay them. The President apparently will construe the law in its plain language - that he can have this personnel but not pay them with the funds from the spending bill. Maybe he'll pay them with other available funds. Maybe he'll give them additional job titles that are permitted for payment and let them keep the other titles.

Maybe he'll just flout the law and pay them with funds from the spending bill. I doubt it.

As for what Obama said on the campaign trail about signing statements, well, if you are still believing campaign promises at this stage, there is little to be done for you.

The important question is will the President violate the law (even if it is unconstitutional)? Nothing I see in the signing statement intimates that intention.

Speaking for me only

< "The Important Thing" | Monday Afternoon Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    This part: (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:07:40 AM EST
    As for what Obama said on the campaign trail about signing statements, well, if you are still believing campaign promises at this stage, there is little to be done for you.

    is so true. Obama has proven time and again that his word is no good. You have to watch what he does not what he says.

    Every pol (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:10:25 AM EST
    Not just Obama.

    Every pol (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:15:23 AM EST
    breaks promises but Obama has broken them all I think. Or at least the majority of them. I figure if they keep 50% of them we're doing good.

    Untrue (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:26:29 AM EST
    These statements make little sense because no one takes the time to actually track every promise (politifact tries to do it but even that is not perfect.

    It is all colored by your perspective.

    If you are an LGBT army vet recently sent home from Iraq for the last time who has a family member with pre-existing conditions that had prevented obtaining health insurance and wanted racial and gender diversity in the administration and on the court, then his promise track record looks good.

    If you are someone who believed that raising taxes on the rich for the period of 2011-2012 was the most important political move of the Obama presidency, then maybe not so much.


    I'm talking (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:52:44 AM EST
    big picture here. You are talking about specific groups and their interests.

    Umm (none / 0) (#53)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:57:17 AM EST
    in ABG's defense the LGBT community, veterans, and those with pre-existing conditions are a pretty broad swath of society.  

    Housing, the economy, etc. are a major disappointment for me, but these other issues also affect a lot of lives and have seen major improvements.


    You are (none / 0) (#55)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:03:02 PM EST
    simultaneously saying that you are looking at the big picture and then looking at per issues.  For example, here is a list off the top of my head of kept promises (or promises on schedule to be kept):

    • Withdrawal from Iraq
    • Repeal of DADT
    • Supreme court diversity
    • Healthcare reform
    • Infrastructure Investment/Stimulus
    • Consumer Protection legislation
    • Student loan/Pell Grant expansion
    • Reduce nuclear weapon stockpile
    • Lily Ledbetter Act (equal pay)
    • Fight against DOMA

    Now I think each of those things in and of itself is pretty huge, so the idea that you can ignore this (and ignore the fact that the above were done in 2.5 years, not the full term) and declare that Obama is not keeping his promises is silly.  He's keeping lots of promises and they are good ones.

    You just weight the promises you care about (and evaluate the promises delivered) through your own lense.

    There are more


    If (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:24:15 PM EST
    you think we have withdrawn from Iraq, or are about to do so, think again.

    We are (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:07:19 PM EST
    not getting out of Iraq so you can mark that one off.

    I already gave him credit for HCR even though the policy was overall pretty bad.

    He cut the stimulus with the negotiations with the GOP but I did give him credit for that too.

    You cannot give him credit for Lilly Ledbetter. That was already done and all he did was show up to sign it.

    Weren't the pell grants cut out recently?

    He was defending DOMA so you can mark that one off your list too.


    Disagree (none / 0) (#61)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:17:24 PM EST
    If the Iraqis do not ask for help, it ends.

    If they ask for help, a minimal troop presence similar to what we have in South Korea may remain.  If you are pointing to that and saying that Obama didn't end the war, you were going to be disappointed regardless of who won.

    There will always be a small presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    But the time frame for a renegotiation of the Iraq arrangement is closing.  The first troops start leaving next month.

    I think you will be proven wrong based on the standards of what most people think of an an end to the war.

    Now Afghanistan is a different matter.  But then again, Obama told you what his deal was there from the start.


    Minimal troop presence such as South Korea? (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:24:06 PM EST
    scuze me while a roll around on the floor giggling.  Who knew that 30,000+ troops and all those bases and posts and all the infrastructure and logistics that 30,000+ troops needs is minimal :)?  And with what South Korea costs us to pull off, who knew anybody could call any part of that commitment minimal by any stretch :)  Yer a pretty funny dude.

    I'm just (none / 0) (#69)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:28:02 PM EST
    saying they once we went to war in Iraq and Afghnanistan, the idea that there would be a Vietnam moment where the last American left Bahgdad was not possible.

    Heck, we've got 47,000 in Japan right now. 37,000 in South Korea. 56,000 in Germany.

    YOu are obviously right.  Those types of troop levels are material.  But given that both of these countries are allies, I don't necessarily know if it is strategically smart to have no American in Iraq whatsoever.  That was never what I imagined when I hoped for the end of the wars.


    What isn't possible for you at this time (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:55:22 PM EST
    is to not have a Vietnam moment in Iraq.  The country is extremely volatile if you are a U.S. soldier.  You can take your family to South Korea while you serve over there...you can't do that in Iraq.  You still receive hazard pay and combat pay serving in Iraq because it is dangerous.  I know they say it isn't combat operation anymore, but everyone there receives combat pay.  That isn't going to change for U.S. soldiers anytime soon.  The only thing you will get by attempting a long term presence in Iraq is another Beirut style barracks bombing.  That is all you will obtain.

    That is not (none / 0) (#64)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:31:13 PM EST
    what he promised. He promised to get everybody out. You're moving the goal posts for Obama once again.

    Look, I knew Obama wasn't telling the truth when he said he would get us out of Iraq but I'm just pointing out what he did say.


    Am I wrong or did he specifically (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:28:37 PM EST
    promise in some speech that we wouldn't be staying in Iraq like we did Korea, that we would go home?  And the crowd roared.  I thought he said that at least once when I was watching :)  And I knew that wouldn't happen overnight, but I could have sworn I heard that we weren't staying like we did in Korea.

    You could be right (none / 0) (#73)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:41:45 PM EST
    about him distancing himself from a Korean example. This actually sounds like I was wrong.  Our presence won't be like it is in S. Korea:

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle Eastern Affairs Colin Kahl and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Michael Corbin presented the administration plan for what they called a "transition from a military to civilian relationship" with Iraq.

    The plan involves replacing the official U.S. military presence in Iraq with a much smaller State Department-run force of private security contractors. Press reports have indicated that the force will number several thousand, and that it is seeking 29 helicopters, 60 IED-proof personnel carriers and a fleet of 1,320 armored cars.



    Do you remember the handover last year? (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:50:08 PM EST
    Do you remember when we ended Operation Iraqi Freedom at the end of August 2010 and Biden went over there for the ceremony, and Odierno made his big speech and NONE of the Iraqi leadership showed up for the ceremony.  They shunned us and snubbed us. Things were beginning to strain then.  This administration isn't pulling out and GOD knows it isn't their phucking place to put private contractors with guns in Iraq either.  God I hate private contractors in Iraq anymore.  Look at what they have done in the country in the past in our names.  How can we even try to strong arm any of that?  How do we keep a straight face doing any of it either?

    How many years have we been in Korea??? (none / 0) (#112)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:35:45 PM EST
    I sure hope that Iraq isn't like Korea! And, that is my point: Insofar as we continue to draw down methodically, I do not see any promise broken as to "getting out of Iraq" (or however else that is phrased.) I consider that you would know the most on this blog about the particulars of winding down in Iraq, MT...do you see us moving along the basic withdrawal outline?

    Since the Korean War (none / 0) (#115)
    by Zorba on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:55:56 PM EST
    began in 1950.  At that, we've had American troops in Japan even longer.  
    U.S. military strength in Japan is about 38,000 ashore and 11,000 afloat, and U.S. forces are dispersed among 85 facilities located on Honshu, Kyushu, and Okinawa.

    They don't mind us there though (none / 0) (#122)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 06:48:16 PM EST
    And I think it adds to our global awareness and perceptions when we are peacefully and respectfully present in some form.  It does cost us money though too and we need to address whether we can afford such things now.

    Some of them, (none / 0) (#139)
    by Zorba on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:18:07 AM EST
    perhaps even the majority, don't mind us there.  I think that many of the people in Okinawa have a different opinion, though.  Link.  And Link.

    What or who is ever perfect though (none / 0) (#140)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:38:31 AM EST
    when anyone is dealing with the desires of a population?  It isn't humanly possible to be perfect or have perfect acceptance by all, but I'm fine with setting high standards for ourselves and expecting those to be met.  If the majority is happy I am under most circumstances happy as well.  The greater good is often not served by catering to a small segment, and one person's dislike seldom is the whole story for everyone who would be or is being impacted by an event.

    The last time (none / 0) (#142)
    by Zorba on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:14:12 AM EST
    a prefecture-wide referendum was held in Okinawa, the majority of those voting opposed having U.S. bases there.  Link.  Granted, this vote was taken in 1996, and the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three American service members had occurred the previous year, so feelings must have been running high.  The Okinawans seem to be extremely conflicted about the US military presence.  On the one hand, many resent it.  On the other hand, many residents make their living from the US presence, either from jobs on the base, or by selling to the Americans.  I'm not sure that I would characterize the "majority" of Okinawans as being "happy" about the US presence, though.  It's a complicated relationship.

    This particular write up though is put out (none / 0) (#143)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:33:20 AM EST
    by an organization against militarism.  It is just a little bit slanted.  Whether one can consider it a good thing or a bad thing, military bases are good for business and that is usually one reason why the locals don't want them gone and fight for them to remain.  I sort of take offense where that write up is concerned too because prostitution is widely accepted and the sex industry is a huge industry in Japan.  The miltiary bases do not "introduce" that into the area or environment.  Soldiers are often shocked in Japan and Korea at how badly women are culturally treated in both of those countries too.  I don't know about Japan, but in Korea your parents can sell you into prostitution and many women have been rescued from such a situation by a U.S. soldier.

    Prostitution is one thing (none / 0) (#144)
    by Zorba on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:48:48 AM EST
    Rape is quite another.  I clearly remember massive protests in Okinawa against the Americans after the 1995 rape of the Japanese girl.  There have been more recent protests, against the Futenma Marine base, as well.  100,000 protesters isn't a small protest.  As I said, it's a complicated relationship.  Huge numbers of Okinawans make their living, directly or indirectly, from the American presence, and I'm sure that Okinawa would suffer economically if all the Americans left.  But many there also resent the American presence.

    I'm not saying that rape is okay (none / 0) (#145)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:55:44 AM EST
    And I understand outrage about it.  But that is not the whole picture and sum total of our presence in Japan.  There are protests at all out of country military bases of some sort.  As in Korea though, that is a small segment of the population's opinion.  And a poll taken after a horrible shocking event committed by one person and not militarily related cannot be considered the sum total either of our desired presence IMO.

    And I would genuinely worry about a (none / 0) (#146)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:57:58 AM EST
    nation that would have no elements questioning our military presence :)  I really would.  Power becomes dysfunctional when it has no need to be accountable.

    And ain't it the truth? (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Zorba on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:12:15 AM EST

    I say this as someone who has (none / 0) (#147)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:02:57 AM EST
    been attempting to drive onto OSAN in the middle of a huge scheduled college protest.  It never bothered me.  It flusters some military families but never me, people have a right to protest and question.  That doesn't change what I must do until it does, and sometimes it does but usually it does not.

    The US presence (none / 0) (#150)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:33:11 PM EST
    in Korea actually has rallies in support of it during periods of high tension its a strange inversion of what many would expect the dynamic to be (likely because unlike Japan and Germany the US bases in Korea actually serve a valuable purpose not just to US interests but to Korean Interests as well).

    I think that the South Koreans (none / 0) (#154)
    by Zorba on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:07:09 PM EST
    are understandably concerned about what North Korea may do.  I can't blame them for that concern- I'd be worried, too, if I lived in South Korea.  They must see the US presence as a bulwark against a possible North Korean invasion (which I think it does act as).  

    Tends to be a generational divide (none / 0) (#155)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:24:37 PM EST
    is my understanding with the elder supporting and the younger generation not so much.

    The elders remember (none / 0) (#156)
    by Zorba on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:34:57 PM EST
    when North Korea invaded.  The younger do not.  It's not surprising that the older generation is more worried about what North Korea might do, and see the Americans as a defense against the North.

    The withdrawal timeline exists (none / 0) (#121)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 06:45:34 PM EST
    But I think we are dragging our feet because we are afraid of the current volatility of the Middle East and the region itself has always been pretty extreme in my lifetime.  We hope to have some control over the volatility.  The recent Iran exiles being killed at Camp Asharaf is not helping either.  This is not something in our power to address though IMO.  We cannot muscle our way into solving Iraq's volatility.  If there is a solution out there it will not come via police type muscle.

    Education would have helped a lot most likely and steered people toward demystification, but many of Iraq's brightest intellectuals were murdered within Bush's insane first two years.  While our military was out blowing things up, and Paul Bremmer was playing little king with a kingdom, those who hoped to take control in the long term were systematically murdering anyone who would kickoff or promote an intellectual awakening.  And we offered no protection, even though many asked us for it.  One of Bush's and Rummy's greatest accomplishments, getting all of the intellectuals in this generation born in Iraq murdered.

    We have been in Korea for what?  About sixty years now.  But it was a much different situation and their culture is much different too.  South Koreans want nonviolent solutions if they can get them.  Funny thing about that actual war though before it ended in a perpetual standoff, my husband says that MASH had more seasons than the Korean War had years.  Many soldiers who were sent were there for the whole thing.  There is a guy at the end of the street, great man...but suffering from his own brand of PTSD.  He likes to talk to my husband though because you can tell my husband how horrible it was and he can stand to hear it and he will not judge.  Our neighbor was there for the whole thing though, freezing winters, starving, being pushed back and pushing forward.  And the South Korean people are so respectful of everyone who died there.  The Korean War memorial is astonishing.  But all people are different, all situations are different, and Iraq will never be a Korea in my lifetime.


    If the Iraqis do not ask for help, it ends. (none / 0) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:55:11 PM EST
    If the Iraqis do not ask for help, it will end not because Obama chose to end it because clearly he does not wish to do so. It will happen only if the Iraqis force him to do so.

    Bottom line, regardless of the reason, Bush signed an agreement that would allow us to leave Iraq and the Obama administration is trying to renegotiate the agreement so that the troops will stay.  


    Why do you think (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:36:44 PM EST
    Obama wishes not to end the war.  Let's use the "Evil Obama" that you seem to think he is.

    If I am Evil Obama, my first thought is myself, of course, and what Iraq position gives me the best upside for me? Well it's always good to have wars and deaths going on because that helps my best friend Cheney's company and the other of my military industrial complex buddies. But the good news is that Afghanistan is still rolling so I am covered there.  So now let's turn to getting me re-elected.

    Hmm. The public supports withdrawal in huge numbers and the support is almost universal within my own party.  No brainer.

    Evil Obama's best move is to end the war in Iraq.

    But somehow, you have Evil Obama wanting the opposite.  I believe this is likely because "Evil Obama" isn't a consistent construct.  

    You just take whatever position on an issue seems evil and then declare it as Obama's default position, regardless of the facts.

    But my bet is that he'll prove you wrong and that most troops will leave Iraq at the end of the year.

    I also bet that it won't make any difference in your opinion of Obama at all.


    All of your strawmen do not change the (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:16:00 PM EST
    "fact" that Obama's administration is attempting to keep the U.S. military in Iraq beyond the 2011 withdrawal date contained in the 2008 U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. The stated reason for staying is that it is in the U.S. interest to do so citing the security problems that the Iraqi would face in the event of a complete U.S. withdrawal.

    If you CHOSE to label Obama as Evil for taking this action, that is your choice. Your little labeling gambit does not negate the fact that Obama has chosen to pursue a course to maintain the U.S. military in Iraq for the foreseeable future.


    You're (none / 0) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:47:56 PM EST
    ignoring the fact that the minute the GOP starts calling him out and surrendering he'll back off. He's already backed off his initial statements about Iraq and as far as the base, well, his attitude has always been "you have no where else to go."

    Nothing (none / 0) (#109)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:25:47 PM EST
    would change my opinion of Obama.

    That's true.

    Too late.


    About the pre-existing conditions issue (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:32:07 PM EST
    Insurance companies have already gotten around the pre-existing conditions issue to a great extent.  Yes, they will start enrolling people with pre-existing conditions...but they'll LIMIT what they cover -- for everyone!  For instance, starting this year BECAUSE of the "Affordable Care Act," my individual plan limits coverage on imaging to $1500/year and only covers imaging at 50% -- all after I meet my $2500 deductible.  That's pretty horrible coverage if I had, say, cancer.

    Pretty words are one thing.  Facts are another.


    The subject at hand is - or was - (5.00 / 0) (#82)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:59:28 PM EST
    the use of signing statements, not, as I understand it, compiling a laundry list of what Obama has and has not promised: those are "things," while signing statements are about fundamental principles.

    While I don't argue that these have some relationship to each other, it would be nice if someone in comments other than me could address the substance of this signing statement, and what it says about where Obama is now with these statements, what he has used them for, and how that contrasts with his views on signing statements when he was running for office as Not George Bush.

    [apologies for the perhaps exceptionally cranky tone - we have to have our 17 yr old cat put down later today and I am not having a very good day; doesn't mean I don't have a valid point, just that I have little patience to express it more diplomatically]


    Very sorry, Anne (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:47:48 PM EST
    Age of cats (and dogs) does not matter. It hurts when we lose them, when it is time to go.

    What I did when we had to take that ride to the vet for Lucy, our 17 year old dog, all those years ago: Cried, cried, closed my eyes and pictured the too many to count happy times, and hugged her always from my insides.

    Cats & dogs, all God's creatures...truly wonderful.


    Thanks, christine - appreciate your (none / 0) (#158)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:01:56 PM EST
    kind thoughts.

    He had a good, long life, doing all the things cats love to do; lived in the country with an abundance of things to chase and catch, his favorite spots for sunbathing and snoozing, dogs who would love on him, and sometimes more affection from his humans than he could stand, lol.

    It was hard in some respects, but it was time.

    It never gets any easier to do this for our furry family members, but today I am thinking about better times.


    An Army vet would not (none / 0) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:24:58 PM EST
    be going back to Iraq if he/she leaves the military. If Obama administration has its way, active duty military may well be sent to Iraq for many more years.

    Some American troops could stay in Iraq for years, well beyond the scheduled withdrawal of all United States forces at the end of 2011, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Friday.

    In remarks to American soldiers in Mosul, north of Baghdad, Mr. Gates said that the United States and Iraq would have to negotiate the terms of any American presence in the country beyond this year. But he held out the possibility that it could happen, or at least that he had been thinking of several situations that might keep American forces in Iraq, perhaps indefinitely.

    Still, Mr. Gates's message on a three-day trip here is that the Iraqis need American troops beyond 2011, but politics in both countries require the Iraqis to ask first. Mr. Gates tried to drive that point home after a meeting on Friday with Massoud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, and other Kurdish leaders.

    Obama's health insurance legislation does not require health insurance plans to cover adults until 2014. So basically that is a promise for something to occur in the future. The last I read the emergency high risk pool was not a successful alternative.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, as of 9/23/2010, children under age 19 cannot be denied for preexisting conditions when applying for individual coverage. This provision is extended to adults as of 1/1/2014 when individual health insurance plans must be offered on a guaranteed issue basis in all markets throughout the country

    MO Blue (none / 0) (#76)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:49:30 PM EST
    1. Gates is not the president.  We are posturing to give the Iraqis on last chance to make a request for troops to stay.  Negotiating a deal takes time and we'd have to know now.  This is laying the ground work  for our exit (and a CYA if things blow up after we leave).  Because the first time there is a huge issue in Iraq after we leave, the world (and conservatives) will point to Obama's decision.  The only way to protect against that to the extent we can is to give the Iraqis a clear chance to ask for help.

    Which is what is happening.

    2. OK. Make the person in my hypo a college freshman who through an unfortunate series of events is diagnosed with HIV.

    I think that person is very happy with the preexisting condition riders. And come 2014, the rest of us will be as well.

    It's simply impossible for you to acknowledge th good in even the part of ACA everyone seems to like.  

    Your hatred of him is that strong, huh?


    Are you saying that Gates is in Iraq (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:36:43 PM EST
    trying to negotiate staying in Iraq beyond 2011 against the wishes of President Obama?

    Are you trying to imply that after the Obama initiated negotiates to stay in Iraq, if the Iraqis asked us to stay Obama would remove the troops because it was only a CYA ploy?

    I am very up front about my disagreement with many of Obama's policies.

    Regarding Obama's health insurance legislation. I personally agree with the premise that if you make a pizza that has great cheese but the main ingredients are ground glass and Drano, the ground glass and Drano make it something few people would want to eat even if the cheese is great.

    It would IMO be much better if you were more accurate in you arguments rather than falling back on your "hater" and "Evil Obama" memes. Is that is all you have to fall back on, huh?


    yes (none / 0) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:55:57 PM EST
    Gates is not the President but why did the president hide behind him for DADT then? Things are going to blow up when we leave and everybody knows that. There are some long simmering hostilities over there that are going to come to the surface and that's why I believe that Obama WILL NOT get out of there because he would rather take the hit from people in the base than listen to the GOP call him a surrender.

    A few Democratic Presidents (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:39:00 PM EST
    have actually thrown me a bone or two, along the way of keeping their promises to their REAL consituency.  Obama hasn't.  In fact, he's done just the opposite, and has HARMED me in a very personal way.

    HCR is a fiasco.
    I worry more than I ever have about Social Security and Medicare.  A Republican president would never have gotten away with putting SS on the table.

    That's the difference between what Obama has done and what other D's and even other R's have done.


    No different than any other (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:17:49 AM EST
    You simply hold Obama to a different standard.

    Imo of course.


    Different standard (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by star on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:25:50 AM EST
    And why not BTD? When I voted for Obama ,he had very little to show for himself as far as records or experience goes. What I went with was my gut feeling that he is a different breed of politician based on his words and his promises. I do not expect him to keep all of his promises. even I am not that naive.

     But to have Gitmo still open, no change in the situation of inmates, to have our civil liberties eroded instead of restored from Bush era, to have boots still on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, to have indiscriminate drone attacks continue at a mush faster and harsher pace than before 2008, to interfere in Libya as if our hands are not full already and to shamefully pander to Republicans in the name or Bipartisanship..it goes on and on... i am not sure any other pol will throw his own base under the ever spacious bus as this one has done.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:33:43 AM EST
    unfortunately one of the promises that he did try to keep was the worst one: bipartisanship.

    :) Good one.. (none / 0) (#18)
    by star on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:34:42 AM EST
    Social Security is definitely on the table (none / 0) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:40:53 AM EST
    Chalk up another Obama campaign promise kept.

    But he also promised to preserve (none / 0) (#22)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:43:31 AM EST
    SS. Is that  a strike, or not?

    Guess that depends on how you parse (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:56:25 AM EST
    his words. Social Security will still exist when he leaves office. It will just be weakened to the point where there won't be as much out cry when it is eliminated further down the road. He and his supporters will claim that these changes were needed to "strengthen and preserve" Social Security. Of course, the Republicans are also claiming that the steps they are taking are to strengthen and preserve the programs.

    Social Security is too popular to dismantle in one step. It will die the death of a thousand cuts until most people do not receive much benefit and no longer support it. Like Nixon and China, Obama is the one who can and will get this ball going.



    Let's see what happens??? (none / 0) (#114)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:50:56 PM EST
    We'll (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:27:02 AM EST
    just have to agree to disagree but the only promise Obama seems to have kept were on the stimulus and HCR which while they were technically promises he kept it doesn't mean that the legislation was good. I think on issues of civil liberties, he has broken all those promises.

    I wouldn't even count HCR ... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:20:37 AM EST
    ... as a "promise kept", given:  1) his failure to lead on the issue at critical points, to the point where the Dem Congress was begging for some kind of leadership, and 2)  his numerous broken promises on HCR (open hearings on C-SPAN - as opposed to backroom deals with pharma/insurance lobbies, allowing the importation of prescription drugs, individual mandates, a public option, etc.).



    Well (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:38:32 AM EST
    I was talking big picture. I mean he did get HCR passed but it wasn't the policy that he proposed for sure. He was against mandates then he was for them. He was for the public option then he was against it. He was for no deals with the pharmaceutical industry before he was against deals with the pharmaceutical industry. On and on the list goes. Every group Obama went before during the primaries he promised them something different. It's been a long time since I've seen such.

    HCR (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:35:05 PM EST
    The HCR is the reason I'll NEVER vote for a Democrat at the presidential level again.  I think once the reality hits the fan, others -- maybe even ABG, who knows -- will have reason to hate Democrats worst than Republicans.

    I wouldn't put HCR out as an accomplishment....


    Yman (none / 0) (#78)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:53:36 PM EST
    If ACA isn't a promise kept, I don't think we have any common ground on which to discuss the issue.

    That stinks, but I think that's accurate as well. Even his critics give him credit for ACA for the most part. Is it perfect? No. But is it a huge step and a fulfillment of his basic promise.  Almost certainly.

    If ACA isn't the fulfillment of a campaign promise, then it is not possible to fulfill campaign promises about complex issues and we should stop even trying to hold politicians accountable.

    It's the same nonsense as when people argue that the repeal of DADT wasn't the fulfillment of a promise because it didn't happen with an executive order.

    That's just hater-aid speaking right there.

    haters never prosper people.


    Wrong - as usual (none / 0) (#87)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:13:15 PM EST
    Do I really need to list all the broken promises Obama made just when speaking about HCR?  It's just silly to say Obamacare is a "promise kept".

    If your car dealer promises that they're going to deliver your new Prius tonight, and you wake up to find a rusted piece of crap in your driveway in the morning, is that going to be your response?

    Just a hint ... Obama lied.

    About open HCR hearings rather than backroom deals ...

    ... and about allowing importation of prescription drugs to make them more affordable.

    Yeah ... he delivered a car.  It's just a broken-down, '83 Yugo instead of the 2010 Prius he promised, and you're okay with that.

    It's just too bad the rest of us get stuck with your POS car.


    There you go again (none / 0) (#92)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:17:49 PM EST
    "Is it perfect?"



    LOL (none / 0) (#96)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:34:56 PM EST
    haters never prosper people.

    In what world do you live?


    The haters argument (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:40:02 PM EST
    is all he has to discount and distract people from what is actually happening.  

    You think every pol breaks every (none / 0) (#9)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:51:18 AM EST
    promise? Most of them are too smart to do that, IMO.

    "Every" promise? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:11:01 AM EST
    Come now.

    But keep thinking Obama is worse than the rest if you like.


    Perhaps they all do break their promises (none / 0) (#14)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:26:03 AM EST
    and are equal in that, but maybe the perception Obama's worse is because of the promises he's breaking/the store he is giving away and the fact he is supposedly a Democrat . . . ?

    It's because of what he is doing (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:45:46 AM EST
    Not what promises he broke.

    And that's how it should be.

    The sanctimony in this thread is absurd.

    Grow the F up people.


    CLINTON!!! (none / 0) (#85)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:04:32 PM EST
    Just saving someone the trouble because I think it is instructive to understand the promises Clinton. But let's hope into the way back machine and look at the promises broken and how we perceive his presidency.  Here is what Clinton ran on in 1992:

    Healthcare: Promised healthcare for all and by the time his term was up 3 million FEWER people had healthcare

    Abortion: Promised to roll back Bush attacks on abortion and then (and this should sound familiar) didn't push the Freedom of Choice Act despite controlling both houses of congress.

    Gay Rights: Campaigned hard on it and then caved to give us DOMA and DADT, the two most hated federal policies on the issue.

    Then to boot, he cut welfare, limited appeals for those facing the death penalty, de-regulated the radio market, pushed through NAFTA and loosened the deportation rules. All promises broken.

    Yet somehow, when Obama does it, it's COMPLETELY different and not just the reality of governing?

    But don't stop at Clinton. Look at Carter. H*ll, look at the Bushes and Reagan too.

    You don't here conservatives talking about all of the promises Reagan broke because they like the guy and his policies.  At the end of the day, Obama will be judged the same way.  I am betting that people are going to have an overall positive impression of him and "Obama the promise breaker" won't be the narrative.  He'll go down as a moderate president who was able to get a lot done via compromise and occasional gamesmanship.

    And that's probably all I ask of him.


    BS - Quote the promises (none / 0) (#162)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 05:33:37 PM EST
    Then to boot, he cut welfare, limited appeals for those facing the death penalty, de-regulated the radio market, pushed through NAFTA and loosened the deportation rules. All promises broken.

    ... or you're just making it up ...

    ... as usual.


    Who broke more campaign promises out (none / 0) (#15)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:31:46 AM EST
    of Obama, Bush, Clinton and GHW Bush?
    I can easily think of 5 that Obama broke.
    I'm not sure I can come up with 5 major promises that the other four broke. Come on, yourself.

    I just gave you a bunch of Clinton promises broken (1.00 / 0) (#86)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:05:09 PM EST
    Maybe you forgot.

    You just made up a list (5.00 / 0) (#163)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 05:41:10 PM EST
    Big difference between outlining the things you will work to achieve (and either compromising or failing) and telling people what you will do, and then not doing it - or doing just the opposite.

    BTW - Your list of "broken promises" includes things that Clinton actually did promise to do - and actually did.  Maybe you're confused about what constitutes "breaking a promise".

    Here's a hint.


    You can't? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:44:56 AM EST
    Here's one - Bill Clinton promise a "middle class tax cut" and instead increased taxes.

    Here's another - Bill Clinton promised to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

    This is a farce from some of you.


    Your second is a farce. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:02:57 AM EST
    Clinton immediatetly tried to keep his campaign promise and he failed. You can't fault him for that.
    What's a farce is to say "pols will be pols" as if that is some universal law that both applies equally to all politicians, and also means that their words never be taken at face value.

    I can't? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:26:52 AM EST
    He "broke" his promise didn't he?

    This entire exercise is a farce.

    That's my point.


    It is a farce & then some (none / 0) (#117)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:33:29 PM EST
    IMHO, some are engaging in foot-stomping, breath-holding, "I'll always believe" or "feel" "be mad about," "I'll never give an inch," etc.

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Where the heck is there room for any discussion...only smart a## rejoinders. Oooh so smart. (Scusi. My vent.)


    by that standard (none / 0) (#91)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:17:40 PM EST
    Obama didn't break his promises on Gitmo and military tribunals- congress blocked action in much the same way as it constrained Clinton on gays in the military.

    And much the same as Clinton (none / 0) (#94)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:29:15 PM EST
    the opposition was bipartisan.

    Not sure that DADT belongs (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:36:52 AM EST
    in the broken promise category. President Clinton attempted to keep his promise to permit gay women and men to serve openly in the military by proposing an executive order to that effect shortly after his inauguration.  DADT was enacted, as a compromise, after an ersatz coup by right wing legislators and the military brass.

    The JCS, with a starring role by its chair (seriously bordering on insubordination, in my view) and the anti-gay Senator Sam Nunn (D.GA), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, undermined the president's plan and hobbled the administration of the new president to the point of near paralysis. Nunn was still steaming over being passed over for Secretary of State owing to accusations of anti-gay hiring practices in his senate office.

    Finally, President Clinton announced the legislative compromise before a military assembly.  If President Obama went to the mat on a promise with unsuccessful results, I would not consider it a broken promise either.


    DADT (none / 0) (#47)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:46:51 AM EST
    is an example of starting your negotiating point from the left.

    By accident (none / 0) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:48:40 AM EST
    I doubt Clinton wanted to start his administration on that issue.

    He even (none / 0) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:58:38 AM EST
    said he didn't but you have to admit that is an example of starting from the leftmost point of negotiating. Right?

    No doubt underestimated (none / 0) (#59)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:11:32 PM EST
    the situation, but still attempted to meet a promise.  A better example might be Clinton's reversal (after a flight from Chile with Hastert) on supplying needles to addicts--left poor Donna Shalala hanging in the wind at her press conference.

    He didn't want that issue altogether (none / 0) (#116)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:01:53 PM EST
    I remember it well, and they had many heated discussions in the WH about it. But, since he promised, they calculated to do it first, take the heat, and get it out of the way. Nobody was going to remember four years later.

    except ABG, that is.


    If you don't want it to (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:47:46 AM EST
    I don't care about "promises."

    Did Clinton do as well as he could have with the policy? I think so.

    But it is not what he promised.

    Do you care about the broken promise? I don't.


    We care about the exact same things BTD (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:15:32 PM EST
    Promises mean little to me. You hit it exactly with this:

    "Did Clinton do as well as he could have with the policy? I think so."

    The problem, of course, is how you evaluate the strengths and obstructionist abilities of his opposition. That determines how well he could have done.  No evaluation of a president can start without a good evaluation of his enemies.

    There is a contradiction here sometimes because on one hand, everyone here acknowledges the insanity of the right in today's age, and yet people fully expect a game theory/negotiating strategy that assumes a rational opposing party.  In other words, a tough, unbending approach makes sense for a tough enemy responding to all the normal rules of engagement, but when the opposition is (a) suicidal/insane (see their tax cut/debt ceiling positions) and (b) considers the worst case scenario to be a good outcome, the president has to also balance the interests of the nation for both parties.

    I think most people get that.


    1993 was not 2009 (none / 0) (#101)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:57:21 PM EST
    Obama simply had a much better position than Clinton.

    In 93 (none / 0) (#105)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:09:05 PM EST
    we had a manufacturing base, banking was still decentralized and Goldman did not own the place....
    Not so much by 2000.

    Ok (none / 0) (#111)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:33:06 PM EST
    Nonsequitor of the day.

    I like a lot of Clinton's policies (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:37:28 PM EST
    but its hard not to conclude looking back that many of his administrations economic decisions had awesome short-term benefits but crippled us in the long-run: NAFTA (without labor or environmental protections); massive deregulation, rolling over on Health Care, etc- they passed the buck and now we're paying for it.

    When you grow up (none / 0) (#125)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:32:05 PM EST
    You will understand that the building will rest on the foundation you built.

    There is a clear lack of understanding (none / 0) (#127)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:57:06 PM EST
    in this blog about the harmful effects of offshoring of the manufacturing base and exponential growth of the financial sector to middle class life in America. Rojas, thanks for emphasizing this point.
    You cannot rebuild an economy if the foundation is damaged. Does not matter how much stimulus or spending is sanctioned if the foundation is in bad shape. The stimulus would be absorbed differently if we had a manufacturing base, we would not have to worry so much about our stimulus growing the economy of China.

    Okay (none / 0) (#133)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 06:31:29 AM EST
    So doing a stimulus wasn't worthwhile and it was a waste of money. All right.

    A lot of people were advocating for a jobs program.


    There you go again (reply to post # 133) (none / 0) (#134)
    by Politalkix on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 06:42:03 AM EST
    Misrepresenting (those who do not share your POV)what other people said.

    That's (none / 0) (#135)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:05:11 AM EST
    certainly what you were implying with your post. You were implying that stimulus was really not worthwhile because of the kind of problems that exist in this country.

    LOL (none / 0) (#141)
    by Politalkix on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:58:45 AM EST
    Now we have to learn from you what I was "implying"! Can it get more ridiculous?
    My comment was a reply to the non sequitur comment of btd.can you show any posts where I have said that I was against the stimulus?

    Of course (none / 0) (#137)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:42:42 AM EST
    We should just built more Walmarts.

    Nope. (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:07:15 AM EST
    I thought we should build green energy plants but Obama said it couldn't be done and that we just have to rely on Reaganomics to solve our problems.

    I'd actually like to hear your (none / 0) (#152)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:40:09 PM EST
    real response to the belief that NAFTA and financial deregulation set the stage for a lot of the problems we now face- I believe you criticized Obama's financial regulation bill as being to lenient so I can only assume that regulation is one of the few areas where you rightly denounced Clinton as he sold out oversight to Gramm.

    Actually (none / 0) (#164)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 06:23:00 PM EST
    Obama promised regulation and didn't deliver is what I said.

    I really don't think regulation is going to work unless there's some teeth in it and even then it is left up to the fact of whether it is enforced or not. If you believe that it is the answer then you really should be mad at Obama.

    I personally have no problem with financial deregulation because my bank didn't rob people. So I'm an example of it working because now I can have my bank handle my investments and they don't charge me a fortune to do it because their people don't work on commission.

    BTD has written numerous times about how Glass Stegall was not the problem. And I have said numerous times that greed was the problem. What the banks and the mortgage companies were doing was illegal whether or not Glass Stegall was there.

    A friend of mine was a mortgage banker and he said that they were falsifying information out the ying yang and that's always been illegal.


    If compromise (none / 0) (#98)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:39:56 PM EST
    because of an unreasonable opposition isn't breaking a promise, then I think lots of criticisms of him are unfair.

    He went to the mat on healthcare. I think he's going to go to the mat on the tax cuts.

    In hindsight, The Deal and the latest budget battle seem trivial. If they provide Obama the credibility needed to extract tax increases on the rich, they will likely have been worth it.


    Sure he went to the mat on tax cuts (4.00 / 1) (#100)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:45:27 PM EST
    He took Bush's tax cuts and made them even more generous to the rich while raising the taxes on people making less than $20,000.

    We don't have to speculate on what Obama "going to mat" on taxes cuts means because he personally negotiated the tax policy that he wanted and signed it into law.



    We seem to be using (none / 0) (#102)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:58:28 PM EST
    two different versions of negotiating.

    When you negotiate, you don't just take what the other guy gives you.  You go into a room and he makes and offer, you make a counter offer and off you go.

    The problem now (as it was when the Deal happened) is that Obama announced the compromise without taking weeks or months of wrangling to do it.  I'll always think that was a huge mistake. Because in th later retelling, there were no discussions or negotiations with the GOP.  

    Obama just offered up the tax cuts and the GOP accepted it.

    That's not how it happened of course, but the fact that Obama handled the deal behind closed doors allows the myth to persist.


    Negotiating the Obama way (5.00 / 0) (#103)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 03:07:10 PM EST
    you don't just take what the other guy gives you, you offer them more than what they've asked for as the opening gambit and continue to give them more until you have exceeded even their wildest dreams.  

    Ways of negotiation-using sports analogies (none / 0) (#130)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:24:24 PM EST
    (1) Negotiation can be a game of tennis or football
    Tennis: Opponents stand on baselines at opposite ends of court with a net at the center. Play starts from one end with a serve.
    Football: Play starts from one end of the field.

    (2) Negotiation can be a game of basketball or soccer.
    In basketball or soccer the game starts at the center of the court/field.

    The important thing is playing the game to win (not just the first set/quarter/half but the whole game). Where you start the game depends on the game you are playing.

    It is possible that some people are more comfortable imagining negotiations to be a game of tennis while Obama imagines negotiations to be a game of soccer/basketball. Hence the disagreement about where the game should start.

    This does not mean that I am defending every negotiating position of the President. However, it is possible that folks in this blog are imagining the negotiations to be a different game than what the President thinks it to be.


    I (none / 0) (#28)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:49:35 AM EST
    do hold Obama to a higher standard because he fostered an illusion that he would hold himself to a higher standard.

    I also hold him to a higher standard because he is the president - and all of his moves have the potential to influence our lives for the better or for the worse. A representative or senator can betray their constituents without inflicting quite so much damage.

    They all can go to the moon - the far side - and stay there as far as I am concerned.

    I do believe that there are honest people who could do something for us were we to empower them. Ralph Nader would be at least a beginning, for example.


    He was a bettter pol then (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:58:32 AM EST
    I had no illusions.

    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:29:56 PM EST
    think he was a better pol.

    It's just that he had no real record, so he could get away with his glib patter relatively easily.

    Now, however, he has a record.
    It can be compared to his rhetoric.

    He doesn't come out so well.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#171)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:49:25 PM EST
    I agree.  A lot of his "great political skills" was a lack of record coupled with the media love.

    And why do you suppose the "media" loved him?


    Ralph Nader (none / 0) (#40)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:27:53 AM EST
    Would get nothing done.

    Ralph (none / 0) (#106)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:22:47 PM EST
    Nader has more integrity in his left toe than Obama has in his entire carcass.

    Nader is at times (none / 0) (#118)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:35:40 PM EST
    pompous, at other times arrogant, and--after the early years when he accomplished so much as an individual with obvious integrity--at all times, now, a fraud.

    A fraud says the coal miners daughter (none / 0) (#126)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:40:42 PM EST
    bat shit crazy or simply acting in her own best interest?
    I know which way I'd bet....

    There are coal miners in my family (none / 0) (#129)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:22:58 PM EST
    My dad had to quit school at a very young age to work in the mines of PA...guess that makes me a coal-miner's daughter (tho he was blessed enough to get out & move away.) That said, I haven't any idea what your comment means....

    A sample of the "Fraud's" critique from (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:31:18 AM EST
    The risk of insolvency is "becoming inseparable from the health of the 25 largest banking organizations which control 54.5 percent of the assets," the FDIC researchers found. These are the very institutions that will be combined with insurance companies and securities firms in the new, too-big-to-be-allowed-to-fail conglomerates.

    Thanks for the reminder (none / 0) (#149)
    by christinep on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:36:00 PM EST
    of the integrity with which he began (and, may hold close still.) Yet, I consider Nader to have morphed publicly in that it seems he has confused his positions necessarily with what must be done via too many runs, too much campaigning, and maybe getting lost in himself to the detriment of the rest of others who also wanted change.

    As I said, (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by lentinel on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:37:31 PM EST
    however you consider Nader, he is head and shoulders above Obama in every respect. If he were empowered, I believe he would actually do something to improve our lives - or die in the attempt to do so.

    with which be began??? (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 05:08:38 PM EST
    He was only in about his 40th year of activism when that was written in 99.

    I was being gracious (none / 0) (#168)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:12:09 AM EST
    And, in my view, considering his contributions to the American consumer--most notably in the '60s & '70s. It is sad to see so much of that forgotten as the years pass; forgotten and replaced by the image of a man who exhibits now something akin to narcissism. IMO.

    I totally (none / 0) (#160)
    by lentinel on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:41:21 PM EST
    disagree with you.

    I saw an interview with him on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!".

    He was speaking about the nuclear power industry.
    He made sense.
    He was not grinding an axe.
    There was nothing fraudulent about him.

    He sounds like a Democrat.
    I like it.


    He's the real deal (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Rojas on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:11:05 AM EST
    But a small d democrat and I suspect thats what really sticks in her craw.

    It's kind (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by lentinel on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:13:37 AM EST
    of sad that Democrats don't like to be reminded of what it felt like to be in the presence of a democrat.

    Truth be told (none / 0) (#169)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:19:38 AM EST
    What sticks in the "craw" (or wherever it sticks) is that any voting analysis of Florida shows why anyone could even consider that Bush won Florida...according to the system, Bush became President because of the "political thicket" into which the Supremes so inappropriately dove; in a very pragmatic way, Bush became President because one person--Nader--was so self-absorbed that he could not envision any compromise other than himself and the consequence (with the demonstrable & open 2% of the vote)is that Gore lost. The environment, the workers lost; the ravages in Iraw & here came for 8 years. Notwithstanding the slippery argument that if Gore would have run a better campaign, etc. etc.  Whatever the "what ifs," this I know in my whole insides...Nader gave us Bush, he allowed Bush to prevail.

    bull crap (5.00 / 0) (#172)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:50:01 PM EST
    There was no ONE reason.  It was a confluence of events and Gore nearly pulled it off anyway.

    There was Nader, there was the butterfly ballot, there was the voter intimidation primarily in AA precincts, there was the lack of proper voting facilities in primarily AA precincts, there was the scrubbing of the voter rolls, there was the fraudulent or flawed (take your pick) electronic voting results.  And lastly there was the SCOTUS.

    There were lots of reasons why Florida happened so your insides are flatly wrong on this one.  


    Nope. There are several reasons, BUT (none / 0) (#174)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:20:42 PM EST
    there is one obvious reason in pure numbers. The 2% that Nader pulled. All the other issues are arguable. The % of votes that Nader took--undboutedly, mostly from Gore--is a number that made a difference. Why? Because the other issues would not have even mattered if the 2% (or even 1%) were added to Gore's Florida total. You see, the other issues don't matter if the difference is in the 15 or more neighborhood. I stand by my position/feelings (and insides.)

    Note: "15" should read "1%." (none / 0) (#175)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:22:08 PM EST
    SO not true (none / 0) (#177)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:58:20 PM EST
    If any one of those things (including Nader) had NOT happened then the result is different.

    If Gore (none / 0) (#176)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:37:29 PM EST
    had carried his own home state of Tennessee, he would have won, even without Florida.  The number of Nader voters in Tennessee did not make any difference in that electoral outcome.  I don't know why everyone focuses on Florida (and Nader) all the time.  Gore couldn't carry his own state.

    Tennessee's politics had changed (none / 0) (#178)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:11:40 PM EST
    a lot by the time 2000 arrived. I am happy that the Democratic Party is moving away from states like Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas to states such as Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina at the Presidential level. Clean energy will never be a priority for the Democratic party if we have to depend on votes from states like Tennessee and West Virginia.

    Little truth in that (none / 0) (#179)
    by Rojas on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:52:43 AM EST
    Why don't we place accountability with those who had the authority? If any single issue plowed the road for Bush on Iraq it was Clinton's decision to pull the weapons inspectors out while maintaining that Saddam maintained his WMD capability. A policy both insane on it's face and disastrous in it's consequences. He was handed a compliant Saddam on a platter and for eight years he failed miserably to address the WMD and humanitarian issues.

    As to the environment, along with everything else, we simply shipped the poisonous processes overseas and out of the country. Out of sight out of mind or another version of don't ask don't tell. And by the way, while Walmart corporate has dressed up it's web site with a bunch of ecco-friendly propaganda, I just got back and can tell you for a fact that those aren't Tier 1 diesels hauling the freight to the ports in China. Nor are their injection molding machines that pump out all that plastic crap tied to a grid powered by clean coal plants.

    As to the workers, hell I need not go there when the human wreckage is all around us, but I trust you did not see much of that inside your cubicle at EPA. Who were the frauds and who really had the workers interests at heart, those ole' yellow dogs you keep pitching who were trippin' over each other to fellate Greenspan and the rest of the wreaking crew or the narcissistic fraud (your words) who called bullshit before the legislation was signed?



    Well (none / 0) (#170)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:31:03 PM EST
    at least he hasn't lost his passion.

    1960s (none / 0) (#153)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:42:18 PM EST
    Nader would have struggled to get anything at all done and likely come off like a worse version of Carter, 2000s Nader would have accomplished a great deal unfortunately since it would have all been Republican crap to "heighten the contrasts" it would have been epically bad.

    Seriously (none / 0) (#31)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:57:35 AM EST
    I'm not 100% behind everything Obama's done but I am not under the illusion that he's "broken every promise."  Here's a list of promises kept/delayed/compromised/broken etc... Politifact.

    I hold him (none / 0) (#56)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:03:59 PM EST
    to a realistic standard.  The same standard I held Clinton to.  The same standard I held Bush to.  The same standard I'd hold Hillary or Edwards to.

    Actually (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:09:30 PM EST
    your standard seems to be getting Obama reelected and whatever does that in your mind seems to be okay.

    Ga6thDem (none / 0) (#93)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:29:03 PM EST
    Let me say this one last time so that every other time you make the same point, I'll just point to this post.

    Obama getting reelected is not the only point for me.  I have two goals (in order):

    1. Preventing the GOP from taking power (note, not have Obama win, but give the dems the best chance of winning generally)

    2. Pushing middle of the road domestic and foreign liberalism.

    I believe the biggest threat facing this country is the election of a republican president backed by a republican congress.  It is a threat much greater than any benefit we would obtain by having Obama press for far left policies and lost the white house.  For me a status quo world is magnitudes superior to what would occur under a GOP regime.  I mean Alito and Roberts were the "moderate" justices. What the heck do we get if they control all three branches?!?!?!?

    So yes, my first priority is to maintain control and keep the bad guys from taking over. Obama is (by any objective evaluation) our best chance of doing that in 2012). But that does not mean it is my only concern or that the other concerns I have in #2 above are not material.

    As ridiculous as it is to even think about this, after the disasters brought by Reagan, Bush and Bush II, people still believe that making sure we've got the progressive agenda pressed as far as possible is our number 1 concern.

    No knuckleheads.  Keeping Bush III out of office is our primary mission.  If the goal is minimizing damage and pain to the country, that is obvious.

    A bad Obama is 1,000 times better than a good Romney, and we're stupid if we forget that.

    So feel free to throw the "your standard seems to be getting Obama elected" barb at me all you'd like.  We'd be in much better shape if everyone was on that page.

    We can work with Obama. We can't work with President Pawlety.


    I think that as long as you refuse to (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 03:10:13 PM EST
    look at the threats coming from within the Democratic party - and those threats are quite real - you are likely to be blindsided one day in the not-too-distant future, and be left wondering how you could not have realized what was going on right under your nose.

    You worry about the Supreme Court and the danger of letting more of the Alito and Roberts types on the bench, but have you looked at some of the things the Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow?  Have you looked at some of the matters the Obama administration has decided to argue before the Court?  Remove the names and you would swear you were looking at the actions of a Republican/conservative, not even a middle-of-the-road Democrat.  For the life of me, I do not know why that doesn't concern you, and how you can think that we are ever going to get more center-left policy when Obama and Holder are taking, not the center-right position, but one that is inside that circle.

    You can no longer tell the good guys from the bad guys anymore just by looking to see if they are Republicans or Democrats; all this bipartisanship crap has so blurred the lines that even with a program, it's hard to tell who, if anyone, is really on our side.  And this has not been helped by having a president whose immediate move in the face of any confrontation or ripple of opposition, is to go right.

    Obama is not working with us; aside from seeing you as a source of campaign contributions, I don't believe Obama gives a flying fig about you - or me - or about working with "us," unless we have highly-paid lobbyists on call, or the ability to round up hundreds of thousands of dollars of contributions.  We simply do not matter.

    Keeping Bush III out of office is a little like closing the barn door after the horse has left - we already have him.  And before you go ranting about whether Bush II would have worked for health whatever reform, I will just say that putting forth legislation that skews wildly to the advantage of the industry that helped bring us to the edge of the cliff pales in comparison to Obama's policies on habeas, Gitmo, indefinite detention, state secrets, erosion of the Fourth Amendment, illegal surveillance, going after whistleblowers - all of which are continuations and extensions of Bush/Cheney policies.  Sure Lily Ledbetter - a bill Obama did little more than sign - was a good thing, but it doesn't negate the threat to our rights and to  core prinicples of democracy the way so many of the Obama policies do.

    So, you'll have to pardon me if I don't get too excited about another Obama term differing from a GOP term only in the speed with which we get closer to a police state.

    If we don't make liberal - not "progressive," please, as that term means nothing - policy and movement to the left a priority, there will be nothing stopping the steady march to the right; what will be our rationale for electing a Democrat in 2016?  That we have to slow the rightward movement that Obama maintained?

    Oh, that will be fun.

    We get it: you like Obama.  I don't care one whit about him, only about the direction he is moving us, and how far from the left we have gotten is such a short time.  You may think you are advocating for the middle, but trust me when I tell you that you are now advocating for what traditional Republicans stood for not so many years ago.  And the more Obama moves to the right, the more the middle will move there, too.

    More time spent on an objective analysis of policy, and whether that policy is getting us where we need to be, would be ever so much more useful for you - and ultimately for the counrty - than working from the position that if Obama's - or any Democrat's - name is attached, it's automatically good, and automatically the best thing out there.


    To the righteous in TL (none / 0) (#132)
    by Politalkix on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:45:31 PM EST
    Please follow links provided below
    Where was the "moral outrage" before? Are some of you just playing a game of sanctimony in this blog?

    link 1
    link 2

    link 3

    From link 1
    "On the national stage, something happened that would cement Clinton's support for the death penalty for years to come. Asked during the 1988 debates if Michael Dukakis would support the death penalty if his wife Kitty were raped and murdered, Dukakis stared into the camera, squinted into the lights above, and then said, "I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime." The answer ruined Dukakis. Bush relentlessly charged Dukakis with being soft on crime, and his loss changed the landscape of what Democrats could say about the death penalty.

    Clinton had learned his lesson. By 1992 the presidential candidate was insisting that Democrats "should no longer feel guilty about protecting the innocent." To make his point, he flew home to Arkansas mid-campaign to watch the execution of Rickey Ray Rector, a 40-year-old black man convicted of killing a black police officer. After shooting the cop, Rector shot himself in the head and damaged his brain.

    Though courts decided Rector was mentally competent to be put to death by lethal injection, evidence suggests otherwise. Rector's prison guards called him "the Chickman" because he thought the guards were throwing alligators and chickens into his cell. He would grip the bars and jump up and down like an ape. On the night of his execution, Rector saved the slice of pecan pie to be eaten before bedtime, not realizing his death would come first. He also told his attorney that he would like to vote for Clinton in the fall.

    Also executed during the campaign was Steven Douglas Hill, who was convicted of shooting a state police investigator after he and an accomplice escaped from a state prison. Hill confessed to the crime, but his partner Michael Cox has insisted for years that it was he, not Hill, who pulled the trigger. In all, Arkansas executed four people on Clinton's watch.

    The executions made Clinton's wish come true. Never again would anyone seriously accuse him of being soft on crime. Never again would anyone challenge his status as a New Democrat.

    As president, Clinton continued to endorse the death penalty. In 1994 he pushed a crime bill through Congress that allows prosecutors to seek the federal death penalty in 60 more crimes than they could previously. Later, in his campaign against Bob Dole, Clinton ran a TV ad in which he recommended that in addition to putting more cops on the streets, "expand the death penalty. That's how we'll protect America."

    From link 3The Clinton administration's anti-terrorism law efforts evoked the following December 1996 comment by conservative James Bovard, policy advisor for the Future of Freedom Foundation.

    The President is "continuing to agitate for new powers to suppress terrorists" and "demanding more powers for wiretaps, more powers to prevent people from using encryption for their e-mail, more powers to classify normal crimes as terrorist offenses, and so forth."
    "As usual," the President's "solution to every problem is more power for himself and his cronies" and he has "scorned opponents of his terrorist proposals, claiming that they want to 'turn America into a safe house for terrorists.'"


    To the obsessed CDSers (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:21:23 PM EST
     ... on TL.  It's not about Clinton ... it's about Obama and his growing list of lies and broken promises.

    1.  I have no idea whether Clinton was/is personally anti-death penalty - neither do you.  But some opinion piece citing Rector's lawyer as evidence that Clinton was against the death penalty but supported it for political reasons is laughable.  Clinton supported the death penalty, and said so repeatedly during the campaign.  He never "waffled", "flip-flopped", "back-tracked" or outright lied about what he was going to do as governor or POTUS.

    2.  The IIRIRA?  So what?  What does that have to do with anything?  Did Clinton say he wouldn't sign it, or campaign on a promise to do something else?  Did he promise to introduce a comprehensive immigration policy in his first year in office and then break that promise?  Nope.

    That was Obama.

    3)  An opinion piece by James Bovard?!?  Now you're just trying to be funny.


    Please.. (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by lentinel on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:19:29 AM EST
    We can work with Obama.

    That's worked out real great, hasn't it.
    It is to laugh.


    And, since I'm in a righteous mood today (none / 0) (#119)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:38:55 PM EST
    Is your standard: Disagreeing with and disliking any and everything that President Obama does or even thinks of doing? That is what it reads like, IMO. Give & take has a genuineness; total opposition sends a very different message about what  and/or whom you might be supporting.

    Somehow I doubt that you were (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 06:13:02 PM EST
    quite that "genuine" in your give and take on Bush's policies. How much time and effort did you spend being "genuine" defending his policies?

    Of course, I wasn't "genuine" about Bush (none / 0) (#124)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:01:42 PM EST
    I never pretended to do other than support the Democratic position in opposition. I did not pretend in a morality sense. Straight politics, for the most part. Two exceptions: (1) I genuinely was apoplectic/disgusted/beside myself about the sheer gall of his Iraq invasion, and (2) His crowing about spending his "capital" shortly after being reelected offended me as it was coupled with something my dad always warned me about==i.e., the irresistible urge for Repubs to dismantle Social Security. Over & over...I did not expect his broadside, nonetheless.  But, in general, his governance was as bad as I had expected from my years of being steeped in organizational Democratic politics.

    Simply stated, MO Blue, I find that there are some that press further & further with making the Obama presidency a morality play or a fear-mongering situation. I expect that from the Repubs, no matter how far-flung (tho, admittedly, some of the birther nonsense & outright appeal to racism via "otherness" causes me to take an occasional Pepcid.) What surprises me--even now--is the vitriol, bitterness that seems to emanate periodically from some on a blog that I took to be initially partial to Democrats. That is just my read.  I expected more give & take from all of us...myself included.


    Your "morality play" tends towards (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:13:01 PM EST
    rejecting Bush's policies and cheering on the same policies when they become Obama's policies.

    I have always been partial to what I considered Democratic policies and objected to Republican policies. I still object to Republican policies whether they are promoted by people with a R after their name or a D. My stance on issues does not change based on which party is in power. I was appalled by these policies when they were Bush policies and I am appalled by them now.

    But the crux of Bush/Cheney radicalism -- the mindset and policies that caused much of the controversy -- continues and has even been strengthened.  Gen. Hayden put it best, as quoted by The Washington Times:

       "You've got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram [in Afghanistan]," Mr. Hayden said, listing the continuities. "And although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action."

    And that list, impressive though it is, doesn't even include the due-process-free assassination hit lists of American citizens, the sweeping executive power and secrecy theories used to justify it, the multi-tiered, "state-always-wins" justice system the Obama DOJ concocted for detainees, the vastly more aggressive war on whistleblowers and press freedoms, or the new presidential immunity doctrines his DOJ has invented.  Critically, this continuity extends beyond specific policies into the underlying sloganeering mentality in which they're based:  we're in a Global War; the whole Earth is the Battlefield; the Terrorists want to kill us because they're intrinsically Evil (not in reaction to anything we do); we're justified in doing anything and everything to eradicate Them; the President's overarching obligation (contrary to his Constitutional oath) is to keep us Safe; this should all be kept secret from us; we can't be bothered with obsolete dogma like Due Process and Warrants, etc. etc.

    The irresistible urge for Repubs to dismantle Social Security has now become a Democratic position. Of course, the Dems are claiming that they are cutting benefits to preserve it.


    They are not the same. (none / 0) (#131)
    by christinep on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:26:44 PM EST
    Forgive me, but the day was a busy one...and, I'm too tired to play that word game.

    In other words (none / 0) (#173)
    by sj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:50:35 PM EST
    you got nuthin'

    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 07:32:42 PM EST
    dislike everything but frankly I'm about policy and he's made some pretty poor policy decisions. I'm never going to agree with any President 100% and I'm half a loaf person but Obama doesn't even merit a half a loaf. If I wanted conservative policy, I would have voted for McCain.

    Better let Glenn know. (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:49:11 AM EST
    Bush 2 was the master of this practice (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Saul on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:11:44 AM EST
    If I am not mistaken, he did not just object to bills in his signing statements he blatantly said he would not impose the law he just signed into law and that is a big difference.  Many scholars thought he should have been impeached for this practice.  Funny that the right is accusing Obama of not following his oath to uphold the Constitution when Bush 2 exceled in this practice.

    Okay, so politicians do what they do, (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:43:42 AM EST
    and when they do what they said they wouldn't, and don't do what they said they would, they have eliminated any reason I have to do what I get to do: choose whom to vote for.  

    Not that I ever voted for Obama - I didn't - but he sure has not done anything that has made me regret that decision, nor has he done anything that would inspire me to vote for him in 2012.

    Not to worry, though - there are still enough people who, between now and 2012, will ignore what they have witnessed over his term (he really was powerless to do more and had to play to the other side to look reasonable), will get suckered in by more pretty words (this time, he means it!), and be guilted and scared into voting for him again (it will be your fault if you don't vote, and - the Supreme Court!).

    Politicians do what they do, but if more of us stopped rewarding it at the voting booth, maybe more of them would start doing what we want them to.

    The promises (none / 0) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:11:58 AM EST
    to Obama's savvy friends have been kept or are in the process of being kept which will allow him to raise the desired billion dollars in campaign funds and provide generous financial opportunities after he leaves office.



    If you just assume all pols are lying ... (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:32:29 AM EST
    As for what Obama said on the campaign trail about signing statements, well, if you are still believing campaign promises at this stage, there is little to be done for you.

    ... when they make a campaign promise, and then excuse it as "pols being pols", what's the point of even having a campaign?  I know the cynical approach to pols is easy, but that approach gives candidate carte blanche to promise everything to everyone with no accountability.

    Yes, all pols break campaign promises, but Obama's made it into an art form.

    I'm pretty sure that campaigns are not (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:43:17 AM EST
    conducted solely for my benefit.

    My gawd, what's the matter with you people?

    You think politics is some rational enterprise?



    So which media-type or which (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:10:18 AM EST
    voter will be the one to stand up at a presser or a town hall meeting and ask, "So, given that you said X, Y and Z during your last campaign, and did just the opposite, and now you're saying you're going to do A, B and C, the question is, were you lying then, or are you lying now?  And why should we believe you either way?"

    Honestly, I would love to see how Obama would handle that, but I'm sure it won't ever happen.

    Republican voters seem to have no problem saying, in no uncertain terms, "if you don't do this, we will see to it that you don't get re-elected;" Democrats say, "We don't like what you're doing, but we'll vote for you anyway," and then wonder why they keep looking at the underside of the bus.


    Sure it's all a love affair, esp. (none / 0) (#23)
    by observed on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:44:33 AM EST
    at the Presidential level, but even so, some lovers are more attentive than others, and don't let you down as much.

    Watch what they do (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:47:00 AM EST
    Not what they say.

    I for one have a clear conscience on all of this.

    I always said this.


    You did say candidate Obama was a (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:53:42 AM EST
    consumate politican.

    Is there any candidate (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:09:21 AM EST
    in the history of political elections in the history of the planet that has come into office, been confronted with the realities of governing, and still proceeded to fulfill every single campaign promise made without condition or caveat.

    I think not.

    But for some reason, we treat it like it is something newly created by the current target of our ire.

    Whether we care about the promise breaking depends on how we see the politician as a whole.  If we generally like what he/she has done, the promise breaking is a minor demerit.  If we don't like the person, the promise breaking is the most important thing in the world.


    Possible corollary: (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:42:39 AM EST
    there is no politician who could not use some pressure from the left.

    Precisely (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:45:13 AM EST
    I'm (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:48:30 AM EST
    a half a loaf person and I realize that no one can get everything done but you do expect to get something that you like.

    I think there's a difference between (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:12:05 PM EST
    promising a chicken in every pot, and completely reversing himself on fundamental principles; Glenn says it better than I do:

    No minimally honest or rational person can reconcile the President's Friday signing statement with the vow he gave during that campaign event, nor can any such person reconcile his claimed war powers regarding Libya with the view he emphatically expressed during the campaign. And, of course, the list of similar departures from his own claimed views during the campaign is depressingly long: from railing against the evils of habeas corpus denial to fighting to deny habeas review to Bagram detainees; from vowing to protect whistleblowers to waging the most aggressive war in American history against them; from condemning the evils of writing bills via secret meetings with industry lobbyists to writing his health care bill using exactly that process; from insisting that Presidents have no power to detain or even eavesdrop on Americans without due process to asserting the power to assassinate Americans without due process, etc. etc. etc.

    It would be one thing if these full-scale reversals were on ancillary issues. But these are fundamental. They're about the powers of that office and the nature of our government. And Obama made these issues the centerpiece of his campaign.  These campaign statements are nothing less than vows made to voters about how he would exercise the power he was seeking if they voted for him.  To insist during the campaign that Presidents have no power to start wars without Congress or to ignore laws the President believes are unconstitutional -- and then do exactly that once he's been vested with that power -- is a form of fraud. And, ironically, it's exactly this behavior that breeds the cynicism that he has repeatedly identified as the central poison in our political culture.  Whatever one thinks about the policies in question on the merits, it should be impossible to defend or justify the radical inconsistency between what he pretended to believe and what he's doing.

    I have - and had - no illusions that Obama was going to be able to accomplish all - or even close to all - of the items on my or anyone ele's list; the difference for me is not that he broke or kept promises about "things" he was going to do, but that he embraced fundamental policies that he said he opposed.


    Precisely (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:25:59 AM EST
    Shorter - Obama's not perfect (none / 0) (#74)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:44:26 PM EST
    Thanks for that insightful observation.

    BTW - No one expected Obama to "to fulfill every single campaign promise made without condition or caveat."  That's a silly, straw argument that no one is making except you.  In fact, some of use knew better than to believe all the vague and/or contradictory promises he made during his campaign.  That being said, reneging on a promise to offer a public option rather than the POS Obamacare is not a "minor demerit".  Neither is negotiating backroom deal with the pharma/insurance lobbies while promising open, public hearings on HCR.  The same for measures designed to make health care more affordable, like importing drugs ...

    ... and these are just some of the broken promises on a single issue - (according to you,) Obama's signature achievement.

    BBTW - Maybe other pols weren't making unqualified promises about what they would deliver because they already knew the realities of governing, and it didn't have to be explained to them once they found themselves in the Oval Office.

    But whatever it takes to get elected, I guess ..


    Here's the part I missed: (none / 0) (#107)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:23:34 PM EST
    In fact, some of use knew better than to believe all the vague and/or contradictory promises he made during his campaign.  

    "Watch what they do" (none / 0) (#43)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:37:25 AM EST
    What did O do, that you watched, that made you vote for him?  Because from what I could see he had done nothing.  His whole career was based on moving up the food chain.  He's at the top of it now.  What did he do on the way up that made you support him?

    As far as I can recall your support was based on his "political skills" and the fact that the media had Obama-love.  Which is outside of the "watch what they do, not what they say" arena.

    As far as the "conscience is clear" comment, one might almost think you were referring to the primaries.  Because it sure took me back there.


    I watched McCain too (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:44:55 AM EST
    That's not what I asked (5.00 / 0) (#51)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:52:20 AM EST
    That's the "lesser of two evils" argument.  And I've said before that you believe in that argument you should go with it (FTR I no longer do, though I did once).  

    But that's still not "Watch what they do, not what they say" (WWTD-NWTS) based.  So what did O do that you gave him your support?

    Seriously?  Was it just that he got the nomination?  Was that enough "do" for you.  (Yes, I'm feeling a little bitter today.  Another friend lost a job, and one became a 99er.  But I'm trying to not hurl accusations because these are serious questions to me.)


    General Elections are a choice (none / 0) (#81)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:57:06 PM EST
    between two parties.

    You want to scold me? Scold me for my primary vote for Obama.


    Except that, increasingly, we don't really (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:01:28 PM EST
    have two parties anymore - just two shades of the same color.

    And no one should scold you for your vote: it's yours to do with as you see fit and not for others to judge whether your reasons were good enough.


    Bad BTD! (none / 0) (#83)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:00:58 PM EST
    Cuz Hillary would have been so different and Edwards couldn't keep it in his britches and was making Clinton look like a philandering rookie :)  Who could I have voted for that would have made all this all better?

    Sorry, I don't mean to scold you ... (none / 0) (#95)
    by sj on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:29:49 PM EST
    ... for either vote.  A vote is in large part an act of conscience.  And belongs wholly to the voter.  

    I was just trying to understand, and I just couldn't square WWTD-NWTS with support for O.  It didn't compute.  So I think I have my answer which I didn't glean from your previous message -- even though you stated it outright.  WWTD-NWTS was of necessity applied to McCain.  If I've misunderstood again, please feel free to set me straight.

    In any case, I think it is the only lens I will hencefore apply to any elected office with a sphere of influence larger than dog catcher.  

    Come to think of it, I'll apply it to dog catcher, too.  I really like dogs.


    Power + Patriotism + Big Money = Pols (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Dadler on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:06:46 AM EST
    The thing that corrupts absolutely ultimately + the last bastion of scoundrels + the thing that gets more evil the more we love it = Why pols should be watched infinitely more than they are listened to.

    FAQ on bill signing statements (none / 0) (#7)
    by Saul on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 09:32:52 AM EST
    Here is a link on bill signing statements.

    If someone commits a crime, (none / 0) (#41)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 11:32:06 AM EST
    let's say, murder, is there a law that states that the authorities must try to investigate, apprehend, try, and punish the perpetrator? In other words, what if the murderer is the brother of the police chief/mayor/D.A. and they simply choose to look the other way?
    I would imagine that if that happened, the answer would be that an appropriate person, or body, would bring impeachment, or removal, proceedings against the stonewalling executive.

    I know the answer as to what should happen, but what I'm asking is what law (s) mandates/compels/orders it to happen?

    And, finally, if there are such laws, what authority permits the President from ignoring what so many legal experts say were crimes committed by Wall Street, and their co-conspirators?
    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Here's a question for you, BTD: (none / 0) (#72)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 01:41:27 PM EST
    in spite of Obama's vigorous objections to Sections 1112 and 1113 of the bill:

    Section 1112 of the Act bars the use of funds for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States, and section 1113 bars the use of funds for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries unless specified conditions are met.  Section 1112 represents the continuation of a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests.  

    Obama decides to allow those provisions to stand even though they

    interfere with the authority of the executive branch to make important and consequential foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances such transfers should occur in the context of an ongoing armed conflict.

    He's letting that stand because it's too important to keep the government funded.

    He does, however, decide he will ignore the provision of the bill that removes funding for his "czars," so where does "the importance of avoiding a lapse in appropriations to the Federal government" enter into that decision?

    Both involve Congress' authority and power  to fund or de-fund, both involve, according to Obama, an encroachment on executive authority, so why let one stand - the Gitmo provisions - and override the other - funding for czar positions that are not even occupied?  We're supposed to believe that he has to overturn the will of Congress because it restricts his ability to get advice, but that he's okay with restricting his authority to make "important and consequential foreign and national security determinations?"

    This makes no sense to me.  I know everyone else wants to talk about the laundry list of broken promises, instead of looking at how Obama's views on the exercise of executive authority have changed since 2008, the effect this is having on fundamental principles of that authority, and the inconsistencies that exist within this particular statement, but I'd really like this latest reversal to get some discussion.

    Not BTD, but I think it's fairly obvious (none / 0) (#90)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 02:16:02 PM EST
    Powerful Democrats oppose the former and no one really cares about the latter.