Pitchforks and the Very Serious Persons

Paul Krugman has ignited a debate about whether the catastrophic decade we have lived through (and continue to suffer from) was due to "the Elites" or "the People." Kevin Drum writs:

Who's to blame for our fiscal problems of the past decade? Paul Krugman says elites deserve a lot more of the blame than the general public, but Dan Drezner disagrees: the public, he says, was in favor of tax cuts and in favor of the Iraq war, so they deserve a big chunk of the blame too. [. . .] Despite this broad support, nobody was crying out for either huge tax cuts or invading Iraq until George Bush and the rest of the GOP started talking them up. But the polling evidence is pretty clear that it was far from sufficient. Nothing about public opinion changed in 2001. The only thing that changed was the occupant of the Oval Office.

I want to provide a further example -- in 2009, the public was strongly for taking action against the financial sector. Indeed, the President famously remarked to the bankers ""My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." And indeed, so the Obama Administration remains, for reasons only Geithner can explain. Apparently on this issue, it's ok to note that Presidents are not powerless bystanders. We were Bush'd. And now we've been HAMP'd. Thanks to the VSPs.

Speaking for me only

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    The elites (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:02:05 PM EST
    Shoving everything they want done down our throats and yes, our own President did point out to them that we were on the brink of rising up and smiting them.

    Granted (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:02:07 PM EST
    I believe that Geither is horrible but why shouldn't Obama have to explain? I mean Obama rightfully gets credit for getting Osama. Right? Obama also has to take the heat for hiring Geither and keeping him on.

    It's Obama's economic policy not Geither's or anybody else's.

    Obama should have to explain (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:06:10 PM EST
    You can't take credit for your intel policy and your military decions and then not have to credit for your economic policy and decisions.

    Explain to whom? (none / 0) (#48)
    by Rojas on Mon May 09, 2011 at 09:17:50 PM EST
    Robert Rubin?
    I'm sorry that conflicts with the just one deal theme that blows so many of the dresses up around here.
    There were no architects of the $hithouse. The current landlord was beamed in from outer space.

    Explain (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 10, 2011 at 06:05:42 AM EST
    to the voters exactly what he thinks he's doing w/r/t the economy.

    Oh he will get that opportunity (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Rojas on Tue May 10, 2011 at 07:48:36 AM EST
    Madison Ave is planning a billion dollar bombshell. It will be financed largely by the East coast financial interests.

    Lets be real (none / 0) (#68)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:52:25 PM EST
    here Obama's first mistake was letting all the 2nd term Clinton folks on his economic team-- you know the "deregulate and let the market save us types", honestly, Nixon was probably the last President to actually add regulations without being prompted to by a major crisis.

    But, but, BUT ... (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:59:58 PM EST
    ... CLINTON!!!

    Lather, rinse repeat ...


    I'm gonna wash that man right outta of my hair (none / 0) (#94)
    by nycstray on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:57:25 PM EST

    They keep trying (none / 0) (#99)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:24:15 PM EST
    It's pretty funny.  :)

    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:03:05 PM EST
    has SOME of the same advisors but he doesn't have advisors like Stiglitz either.

    So you admit that who the President is DOES matter.


    The Stiglitz excuse does not wash (none / 0) (#95)
    by Politalkix on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:11:20 PM EST
    Obama also had Cristina Romer. Neither Stiglitz or Romer had much influence in their respective WHs.

    So (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:53:24 AM EST
    it's not the advisors that are the problem like you previously said. You are now saying it's Obama that's the problem. Yeah, I would agree with that.

    Of course the President matters (none / 0) (#101)
    by Rojas on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:04:48 AM EST
    And no matter what the VSP say, I'm pretty sure the order of succession was not Greenspan>Bush>Gietner


    Backing up just a bit, you talked about the sort of bipolar nature of the economic advisers to President Clinton. ... Where was Clinton on the economy? Did he step back and let you guys sort it out, or did he have a real position one way or the other?

    I'm not really sure. I think that as a, you might call it, a New Democrat, he wanted to distance himself from the excessive intervention of the New Deal. The New Deal had labeled Democrats as people who intervened in the market, and the New Democrats wanted to show that we were market-friendly. So in that sense, he was trying to distance himself from the past.

    And the public was split down the (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:05:06 PM EST
    middle on the Iraq War, huge protests in Colorado Springs with tear gas, roads that were considered main ateries blocked, police in riot gear, gimmee a break....back when they called Colorado a Red State.

    I doubt the public would have been (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 09, 2011 at 07:56:16 PM EST
    split on the Iraq war had the public been told even 1/2 the truth

    The elites! (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:11:22 PM EST
    It's not even a close run through.  The elites rigged the game.  And they still screwed it up!  Talk about incompetence.

    The people were just along for the ride.  In steerage.  Doing their best to keep their lunch down.

    The President (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Edger on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:18:47 PM EST
    when he famously made that remark to the bankers, then proceeded to show them and everyone else exactly what he meant.

    No wonder he wears that big grin so often. It must take nearly everything he's got to stop himself from bursting out laughing.

    We need pitchforks (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by mmc9431 on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:45:33 PM EST
    I'm becoming more and more convinced that until we experience some major civil disobedience, DC won't listen.

    Until people stand up and say "no more" politicians will follow the money.

    All we're getting is the hand wringing apologies on how they feel our pain. Then they turn around and serve their corporate masters

    Thanks... (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by lentinel on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:08:27 PM EST
    "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,"
    the president told the chief executives from 13 of the nation's biggest banks.

    It certainly is nice to be referred to as pitchfork carrying rabble by the uniquely unqualified chief executive.

    Uniquely Unqualified (none / 0) (#69)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:54:00 PM EST
    good to see we've Atwatered up the "affirmative action president" bit.

    Did (none / 0) (#81)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:08:45 PM EST
    you think that Bush Jr. was qualified?

    You have a point. (none / 0) (#82)
    by lentinel on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:17:38 PM EST
    Both Bushes were unqualified.

    I think I said "uniquely" with respect to Obama because he has his own distinctive manner in expressing his ineptitude and indifference.


    Dude (none / 0) (#84)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:57:14 PM EST
    I might not agree with all of what he did but George H W Bush was qualified by basically any set of credentials- honestly, other than Nixon and LBJ you could make the case that he was the most qualified President of the last 50 years- JFK, Carter, W- that's unqualified.

    The (none / 0) (#102)
    by lentinel on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:19:25 PM EST
    credential that I am looking for is something different.

    To me, Bush 1 was a hack.


    to the extent that (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by CST on Mon May 09, 2011 at 05:08:49 PM EST
    elections have consequences - then yes, "the people" have some responsibility there.

    But at the end of the day, the "people" are fairly split and rather powerless, where the "elites" are not really split, and they are the ones with the power and money to make those calls.  

    Let's also not forget that this isn't simply a political argument.  I'd say just about everyone who works with derivatives was complicit to some degree.  Or the boards of major corporations who routinely gave CEOs massive payouts even while they were running their companies into the ground.  Seems like a great economic incentive to f*ck up the economy.  Surely these people hold more responsibility than the general public, who for the most part have very little control over macro ecomonics.

    Krugman Schools Ezra ... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 05:10:53 PM EST
    and Paul Posner in his latest blog entry.  But almost more damning than the meat of this piece is the opener:

    What DC considers a despicable scare tactic: accurately describing a proposal to dismantle Medicare.

    What DC does not consider a scare tactic: misleadingly hyping the costs of not bringing deficits down now now now.

    "DC" may be too broad a term.  But the point is nonetheless made.

    "Paul Krugman ignited a debate about (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 09, 2011 at 05:40:41 PM EST
    whether the catastrophic decade we have lived through (and continue to suffer for) was due to the elite or the people."  With the subject of these catastrophic events being the deficits, Krugman suggests three main reasons: Bush tax cuts; wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the Great Recession resulting in reduced revenues and requiring increased expenses.

    These policies were sold to the public in each case with trickery and deceit. Certainly, offering a tax cut is an easy sell, made all the more so when a guru like Alan Greenspan expresses concern for the surplus of the Clinton years, and the distinct dangers of a too rapid pay-off the debt.

     War in Afghanistan was sold as retribution for 9/ll capitalizing on national fear,  the nasty Taliban governed the country at that time and any country that harbored al Qaeda needed to be invaded--until we didn't need to so much and Iraq had better geography and was there with WMD and all. Either we invaded and occupied or we would see mushroom clouds.  And, of course the deregulation of the markets and reduced overall oversight were sold, for those who understood it even slightly, as the best thing since sliced bread--what goes up can't go down. And, in fact, Bush wanted social security to be privatized so everyone could get in on it all.

    The blame for what lead up to the mess is on the elite (save for the election of 2000 which should have been a landslide, leaving hanging chads out of our vocabulary). However, it has been said by an unwise man: fool me once-shame on--shame on you--fool me--you can't get fooled again.  And, shame on someone, we still have troops in Iraq, increased in Afghanistan, spending about $17l billion a year, combined (not including interest on the money borrowed for financing); the Bush tax cuts continue; and we have restored Wall Street and the banksters for another day.

    There's really no debate (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by cal1942 on Mon May 09, 2011 at 09:05:34 PM EST
    It's ALWAYS the elite.

    Problems always and always come from the top not the bottom.

    ALL decisions are made at the top, every last one of them.

    The lame idea that the middle and bottom are at fault for supporting bad policy ignores the fact that the bad policy came from the TOP.

    This is not a pure democracy.  The ideas, policy, lies, distortions and propaganda came from the top.

    The Obama quote (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by cal1942 on Mon May 09, 2011 at 09:09:51 PM EST
    that BTD cites:

    My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.

    Is the quintessential expression of an arrogant elite that will allow the development of a dominant aristocracy that, in the end, will destroy democracy.

    what elite? (1.50 / 2) (#49)
    by diogenes on Mon May 09, 2011 at 09:57:24 PM EST
    In 2008 the top fifty percent of earners paid 97 percent of all income taxes in the US, so you can hardly say that the "rich" elite are rigging the system against the bottom half.

    And waht percentage of the income ... (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:02:36 AM EST
    ... did they have?

    BTW - You gotta love how the wingers love to cite this statistic and limit the discussion to INCOME taxes, as opposed to ALL taxes.

    Lies, d@mn lies and statistics ...


    If income taxes (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:08:56 AM EST
    were the only taxes people paid, you might have a point:

    Put simply, the rich pay a lot of taxes as a total percentage of taxes collected, but they don't pay a lot of taxes as a percentage of what they can afford to pay, or as a percentage of what the government needs to close the deficit gap.

    Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

    It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn't use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. "How can this be fair?" he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. "How can this be right?"

    Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.

    "There's class warfare, all right," Mr. Buffett said, "but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

    In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class is Winning

    And hedge fund managers can have their entire income considered capital gains, only subject to a 15% income tax rate, which is probably less then you pay on your income, Doc.


    capital gains tax (none / 0) (#91)
    by diogenes on Tue May 10, 2011 at 08:27:41 PM EST
    However, rich people pay all of the capital gains tax, I'd dare say, because poor people don't have capital to obtain gains from.
    I suspect that the Gang of Six will try to end special capital gains treatment as part of a deal to lower the general top income tax rate on earned income, thus rendering that point moot anyway.
    Those of you who think that people should "pay what they can afford" are welcome to encourage Soros, Buffett, etc to pay everything but a couple million dollars of their wealth into the treasury.  What do they need billions for anyway?

    Re: Capital Gains (none / 0) (#97)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:19:00 PM EST
    However, rich people pay all of the capital gains tax, I'd dare say, because poor people don't have capital to obtain gains from.

    Yes, so if, like a hedge fund manager, they obtain all their income from capital gains, they pay a whopping 15% on that income, "All of it" as you say.

    Those of you who think that people should "pay what they can afford" are welcome to encourage Soros, Buffett, etc to pay everything but a couple million dollars of their wealth into the treasury.  What do they need billions for anyway?

    Well, you did catch that Buffett doesn't do any tax planning like other upper-income people in his bracket do, he lets the chips fall where they may.

    Do you think Buffett is wrong in his description of class warfare, or is one of the best investment analysts on the planet wrong about this facet of the American economy?

    "The race is not always to the swift, nor victory certain to the strong, but that's the way to bet."


    Oh, absolutely! (none / 0) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:11:23 AM EST
    It's just SO unfair that poor people don't pay their fair share of taxes!  Whatever shall we do? I know!  Let's dismantle Medicare!  That'll show them!

    How do you think... (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:28:02 AM EST
    they became the top earners?  Government Assistance, Market Rigging, & Grifting.

    It is customary for one to pay their own freight...are you suggecting those least served kick in more, and give the most served a discount?  Sounds ludicrous.


    From what I understand, Christie (none / 0) (#6)
    by Buckeye on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:13:39 PM EST
    is meeting with Republican leaders this week.  They are going to beg him to run again.  That would certainly give Obama a tougher competitor in 2012 than who is currently available.

    If Obama loses, it will be for three reasons: picking Geitner and sticking with him, stripping popular reforms from the ACA, and The Deal.

    Not just (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:25:18 PM EST
    Geither but his entire economic team is abysmal.

    Except for the members of the team (none / 0) (#44)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 09, 2011 at 07:58:58 PM EST
    who were put there as "rivals" but have no power

    Like Brooksley Born? (none / 0) (#45)
    by Rojas on Mon May 09, 2011 at 08:29:40 PM EST
    carry on....

    What? (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by MO Blue on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:51:43 PM EST
    You mean they are not ecstatic that Gingrich is set to announce he is going to run for president on Wednesday. Thought that they would quit looking for a candidate once this announcement was made. :-(

    BTW, he said that his past adultery was the result of his passionate love for his country.link


    He's really a piece of work (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:00:46 AM EST
    isn't he?  He and dear Callista, who now looks an awful lot like the exquisitely respectable Pat Nixon, actually made an oh-so-pious film called "God in America," despite the fact that he was boffing her in the Capitol Hill parking lot while he was still married and orchestrating the Clinton impeachment.

    You gotta admire the chutzpah at least, I guess, but really!


    Also too (none / 0) (#70)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:57:41 PM EST
    Pat Nixon- not crosseyed.

    The "dead girl/live boy" scenario ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:28:10 PM EST
    is the only thing that could bring Obama down.  

    His combination of support from Wall Street, the press, and the (now private) support of a good percentage of institutional Republican party, means any opponent will be fighting a Sisyphean battle.

    Absent the aforementioned career killers, any other critiques or opponents or even scandals will be batted away handily.


    I strongly disagree. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Buckeye on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:38:29 PM EST
    With incumbent elections, the general public will look at the current President and decide whether or not they think the country is heading in the right direction, if the President has done a good job in the last 4 years, and whether or not the President is doing the right things.  If the answer is yes, he wins easily.  If the answer is no, then they will look at the alternative.  If that person is reasonable, the challenger will win.  If not, the incumbent will win in spite of his governing.

    1980 and 1992 serve as examples of the public wanting to move on and accepting the alternative.  2004 is an example of the public wanting to move on but finding the challenger unacceptable.

    It is hard to see how the country will be happy by next November.  This is all on the GOP IMO.  Can that party nominate an acceptable candidate.  If the candidate is Romney, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Daniels, or Christie, Obama loses IMO unless we see a drastic change in economic performance.  If their nominee is anyone else, Obama wins in spite of the economy.

    Anyone that thinks Obama is a shoe in is being foolish IMO.  He is at best 50/50.


    Time will tell ... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:54:27 PM EST
    but, really, you know I'm right.

    The multi-graph overcompensation response tells me that.



    LOL... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Buckeye on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:01:37 PM EST
    you are the first poster I have encountered that thinks providing support to back up your arguments actually constitutes support for the opposing argument.

    The things is, I do not think Palin, Trump, Gingrich, etc. have any chance of winning the republican nomination.  Therefore, one of what I think are elected republicans will go up against Obama.  And the economy will not improve much if not go backwards.  Therefore, we will not have to theorize...we will find out who is right.


    Yes time will tell (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by mmc9431 on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:08:35 PM EST
    I don't believe Obama has a lock on the next election. But I also believe that the tea baggers will insist on a hardliner. If they get their way, Obama will win.

    If the GOP does not elect (none / 0) (#27)
    by Buckeye on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:23:03 PM EST
    Romney, Pawlenty, Daniels, Huntsman, or Christie, then yes, the GOP has zero chance of winning.

    If one of the above win, I think Obama is 50/50.


    Julie Christie, (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:40:39 PM EST
    even a little past her prime, might have a chance against Obama.

    Lou "Lightning Strikes" Christie, possibly, if he's still alive.

    Doug Christie, maybe, with his good D and decent J.

    But Chris Christie?

    Too much the bully in attitude.  Too Taft.

    Actually, in some style ways he reminds me of Mussolini.  


    Huntsman (none / 0) (#71)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:59:47 PM EST
    is by far the best canidate (and frankly person) or that motley crew- pro-Civil Union, Ambassador to China, etc.- he's the man Mitt Romney wishes he was.

    The TP could always insist (none / 0) (#29)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:37:06 PM EST
    that if they can't get their nominee, then they want the VP slot + Two (first avail SupCt picks) + a player to be named later (to SoS, Defense).

    Essentially Obama's running ... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:12:20 PM EST
    unopposed.  The most powerful parts of the Republican party know they already have their Republican president:  Obama.

    But it should be a very entertaining election.  Since the Republicans have a freebie.  They can run some fun schtick.  Clear out the dead wood.  And set themselves up nicely for '16.  


    So basically (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:00:53 PM EST
    its the 90s all over again?

    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:07:09 PM EST
    Clinton ran and governed as a moderate Democrat.

    Obama allowed himself to be sold as a progressive", then backtracked as soon as he no longer needed their votes.  FISA, NAFTA, the Bush tax cuts, etc., etc.   Hell, Obama's signature achievement is getting the Republican HCR plan of '94 passed ...

    ... after promising to deliver a public option, of course.


    Clinton ran as a NEW DEMOCRAT (5.00 / 0) (#92)
    by Rojas on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:01:41 PM EST
    He governed as a conservative southern democrat to extreme republican depending on the issue. By any historical measure the one point Greenspan had right was his statement that clinton was "the best Republican president we've had in a while."

    If you loved clinton and are disappointed in obama you've got issues.....


    President Clinton (none / 0) (#93)
    by Politalkix on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:47:20 PM EST
    governed as a conservative southern democrat. GHWB governed as a moderate Yankee republican (except throwing a bone to the base with the Clarence Thomas pick).
    Who was the more conservative of the two on issues?  

    Uhhhhhmmmmm, .... GHWB (none / 0) (#98)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:20:36 PM EST
    Anything else?

    By YOUR standards? (none / 0) (#96)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:17:13 PM EST
    He governed as a conservative southern democrat to extreme republican depending on the issue. By any historical measure the one point Greenspan had right was his statement that clinton was "the best Republican president we've had in a while."

    If you loved clinton and are disappointed in obama you've got issues.....

    Hate to break it to you, but Greenspan made that comment while on a tour promoting his book.  When asked about it later on MSNBC, Greenspan acknowledged it was a joke.

    Of course, Clinton also left office with the highest approval rating of any POTUS ever, and over 90% of Dems approved of his performance as POTUS.  Pretty strange, huh?  Given your opinion that he was anywhere from a "conservative southern Democrat to extreme Republican".  Guess that puts you in a very small minority.

    BTW - If you take Greenspan's joke seriously and even expand on it by calling Clinton an "extreme Republican", ...

    ...you've got issues.


    I agree it will be hard for the GOP (none / 0) (#26)
    by Buckeye on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:22:03 PM EST
    to create contrast with Obama from the right.

    The interesting election would be a primary challenge to Obama from the left.  That will never happen and she/he would fail if tried.

    I still think most voters that actually determine the winner/loser in general elections will reject Obama if the economy does not improve and the GOP candidate is not a nut.


    They're already redefining ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:53:45 PM EST
    recovery down.  They'll push that harder. Cook the books a bit.  And they'll be fine.

    A weak economy and high unemployment is the most likely state of things at election time.  So this is what they'll plan for.  

    They'll figure out their version of "Morning in America" and the peanut gallery (Orange and otherwise) will buy it and shout it from the rooftops.


    You forget (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:49:00 PM EST
    what a fabulous campaigner Obama is.  It would take a heck of a lot more than a Daniels or a Pawlenty to beat him, even if people are holding their noses when they vote.  Romney maybe as a long shot, but I don't think he would wear very well in a long campaign.

    Yes (none / 0) (#56)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 10, 2011 at 06:15:39 AM EST
    but he is going to have to do what he has never had to do before: run with a record to defend. He didn't do such a good job of defending that record in 2010 and in 2012 I don't think that OBL is going to be enough to get him reelected unless two things happen: the GOP nominates someone like Bachmann or the economy turns around.

    He's made some (none / 0) (#75)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:08:00 PM EST
    mistakes but considering how much stuff he had to repair from the last two Presidents I'm cutting him some slack, even so:

    Got Bin Laden, passed HCR (yes, yes I get it, its the "GOP 93" plan only you know said play was never intended as anything other than a stalling tactic- kind of like how Clinton's Health Care plan in 93 was more conservative than Richard Nixon's plan); repealed DADT (erasing a past Democratic betrayal); drew down in Iraq; saved the American Auto Industry; started to reverse the unabated deregulatory trend (yet another Clinton sell out); appointed two quality SC justices; prevented the complete collapse of the American economy-- Is his record perfect, by no means is it better than basically every President since Nixon, sadly yes.


    "Started to reverse" ... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:22:32 PM EST
    ... the unabated deregulatory trend ...

    Heh, heh - Yeah, like any POTUS wouldn't have "started" by at least slightly increasing government regulation after the 2008 meltdown.  But I like the use of the word "started", suggesting more to come ... just like with HCR.  Heh ...

    DADT - Were you even around in '92?  If so, you wanna explain how DADT is a "Democratic betrayal"?  DADT was a compromise forced at a time when the Congress, DOD and American public all strongly opposed repeal of the ban.  Clinton pushed for repeal despite paying a heavy political price.  Obama sat and waited for Congress to repeal DADT, despite the fact that the DOD, Congress and the public all strongly favored repeal.

    Obama "prevented the complete collapse of the American economy"?!?

    Now you're just trying to be funny ...

    But it's always nice to throw in the obligatory "He's not perfect".


    I doubt even an alleged (none / 0) (#79)
    by jondee on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:56:38 PM EST
    "moderate", (with any knowledge of U.S economic history), would've handed the keys to the kingdom over to Alan the bug-eyed monster, Rubin, Summers & Co the way Clinton did..

    So, when did moderate Democrat start meaning Reagan-Lite (with a little lethal injection action thrown in for the crackers in Arkansas?) Answer: Not sometime in 2008..


    The race card is so 2008 (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:19:10 PM EST
    But, for some, those fairytales never get old.

    Most people (including moderates) have no problem with Ricky Ray Rector getting the death penalty for shooting and killing several people, including the police officer who negotiated his surrender and knew him since he was a child.  You, OTOH, apparently have a major issue with it.  Guess I won't be using your definition of a "moderate".

    BTW - Really?!?  You doubt it?



    "Most people" (3.50 / 2) (#85)
    by jondee on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:57:32 PM EST
    in Arkansas, whose grandfathers, up until recently,would've castrated and burned Rector and made souvenirs out of what was left over..

    Meanwhile the hillbilly "moderate" let Greenspan do to the economy what a deranged person with an IQ of 60 did to his victims. Though I suppose if Rector had had friends who could pay Bill's 200 k a pop speaker fee after he left office, he woud've gone easier on him too.


    There it is (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 07:34:13 PM EST
    Yes - Rector's death penalty must have been based on his race, despite a complete lack of evidence and the fact that Rector shot and killed a man in cold blood (while shooting two other men), then shot and killed a police officer he had known since childhood in front of his mother and sister (also African-American, since you seem to think that's relevant).

    The "hillbilly moderate" babbling is just more inane rambling from a CDSer.

    FYI - Rector didn't have an IQ if 60 when he shot his four victims - his "IQ of 60" came later, when he shot himself in the head.


    You (none / 0) (#86)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:58:59 PM EST
    forgot to add the part about the man leaving pie for later as he walked to the Death Chamber.

    So sad (none / 0) (#89)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 07:25:59 PM EST
    You forgot to add the part where Arthur Criswell and Officer Robert Martin never had a chance to eat pie again, after Rector shot them both in the head.

    Wait you (none / 0) (#87)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 06:02:42 PM EST
    really think it was a coincidence that the DoD came out en masse in support of repealing DADT, you honestly don't think the Administration had anything to do with that? Seriously, just wow. As for DADT your essentially saying it was like closing Gitmo or trying 911 conspirators in federal court something the Administration backed but that congress stopped, which okay I get but not many people on here seem to buy that explanation for the aforementioned WoT related issues so why is DADT so different.

    "Just wow"? (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 07:20:44 PM EST
    That's supposed to be some kind of evidence that the administration played some kind of critical role in garnering DOD support for the repeal?


    "Just wow".

    I have no idea whether Obama exerted any quiet pressure on DOD to repeal DADT - of course, neither do you.  That being said, he didn't go out on a limb to exert any public pressure on DOD or Congress, even though 70-80% of the public (including a majority of Republicans) supported repeal.  He also refused to issue an EO repealing DADT immediately, which the blue ribbon military law panel concluded he had authority to do.  But that, of course, would require leadership from someone willing to fight for what he believed in.


    BTW - As far as closing Gitmo/trials.  Obama made a promise to close Gitmo within a year of taking office.  If he didn't have the authority to do so on his own, maybe he should learn to stop writing checks his @ss can't cash.  Or, if he really believed all of his statements about Gitmo (or Article III trials), he could have gone around Section 1032 by asserting executive authority in the form of a signing statement, or by using Homeland Security, DOJ or State Department funds.  But we're back to the "fighting for what he believes in" thing again, sooooooooooo ...



    Christie could actually get me to (none / 0) (#30)
    by nycstray on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:39:40 PM EST
    get off my a** and vote for O  :P

    Not just vote for O, (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:44:29 PM EST
    but a Chris Christie opponent would maybe get me off my own bum and do GOTV for him.  Maybe send him a few bucks.  Maybe more than a few.

    Republican do have a response: (none / 0) (#42)
    by NYShooter on Mon May 09, 2011 at 07:44:30 PM EST
    CEO pay exceeds pre-recession level

    CEOs at the nation's largest companies were paid better last year than they were in 2007.Executives were showered with more pay of all types -- salaries, bonuses, stock, options and perks. The biggest gains came in cash bonuses: Two-thirds of executives got a bigger one than they had in 2009, some more than three times as big.

    Sure, you and I know the R's are all for the Corporatocracy, but we also know that the R's know how to control the message, and all they have to do is show the amount of money Goldman Sachs "contributed" to B.O.

    Just one sentence (ala Willie Horton):

    Wall St. owns Obama==One Billion Dollars Worth


    Chris Christie? (none / 0) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:46:28 PM EST
    Oh, please.  He's just another one of the pack of idiots in the GOP field.  No chance in h***.

    I wouldn't write him off (none / 0) (#59)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:08:35 AM EST
    Personally, I can't stand him, but he's managed to keep a net positive approval rating at a time of severe budget cuts and high unemployment in a pretty blue state.

    Bingo (none / 0) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:56:15 PM EST
    The guy's a major, major a***ole on a personal level.  Can you see a guy running for president berate people in a town hall the way he loves to do, can't resist doing, and surviving?

    He's also, I'm sorry, just physically absolutely repulsive.  Maybe that's unfair, but that's my reaction before he even opens his very large mouth.  I don't require svelte in my political leaders, but grossly obese simply doesn't inspire confidence.


    I just don't really understand (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:19:13 PM EST
    what the argument is as to how public opinion polls correlate with specific policies.  The polling on the deficit has been all over the place, for example.  When does polling count and when doesn't it?

    And also (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by lilburro on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:25:25 PM EST
    IIRC, the people have been supportive of ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich for a long time now.  And that hasn't happened.  So I guess "the people" don't determine policy after all?

    They also supported a PO but... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Buckeye on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:40:56 PM EST
    What matters is what monied interests want, not the public.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by lilburro on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:44:20 PM EST
    I don't really understand why "the public" is only responsible for the bad things that happen.  God knows "the public" has wanted a lot of stuff that didn't happen.  

    Maybe (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:31:23 PM EST
    it's not that they don't determine policy so much as NO ONE listens to us in DC.

    This is silly (none / 0) (#62)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:44:06 AM EST
    People listen.  The idea that the left ideology is completely unheard of is silly.  Plenty of people are promoting the policies you favor as there are people promoting opposing policies.

    We don't need to create this magical "us against them" mythos to explain why things happen.  


    Come on (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by lilburro on Tue May 10, 2011 at 11:01:18 AM EST
    for a month people were extolling Brilliant Thinker Paul Ryan's budget "plan."  It was a completely ridiculous but it was taken seriously by the media on some level.  Ryan failed this time but I'm sure the GOP will give it another go.  Meanwhile when was the last time the media talked about single payer healthcare?  When has the media ever taken that seriously?

    People listen to the left...they just listen to the GOP more.  

    ...the ratio of Bush officials to Obama officials on the Sunday shows this morning is 6 - 1.

    Rising Hegemon

    6 - 1?  That's insane!


    Ending the Bush tax cuts ... (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 11:07:25 AM EST
    ... isn't the "left ideology" - it's 91% of Dems, 68% of Independents and even 54% of Republicans.

    No one's trying to create a magical '"us against them" mythos' - but knocking down silly arguments is easier when you make them up yourself.


    The problem isn't that the (5.00 / 0) (#67)
    by Anne on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:12:15 PM EST
    left's ideology is unheard of, it's that the media seem to be content with letting those who don't represent the left define what that ideolgy is; it's why you hear everyone from John Boehner to Mitch McConnell to conservative pundits to former Republican politicians like Dick Cheney sitting around tables and writing op-eds defining what "the left" want, or what they think, or what their plans mean.

    When is the last time you saw anyone with solid liberal credentials participating in a Sunday talk show roundtable?  The last time a liberal got to write and op-ed for a major newspaper?  The last time a liberal was sought out on camera to explain the left's position?

    And how many times have you heard some reporter or talking head say, "Democrats in Washington say ____; what do you think about that John Boehner/Mitch McConnell/Newt Gingrich?"  At which point that conservative gets time to put his - or sometimes, her - spin on something he or she should not be considered competent to explain.

    Yes, the left has an ideology, but it is the right that has, for the most part, defined what that is; it's not unlike allowing the prosecutor to put on the defense's case, even though the defense attorney is right there in the room.

    The real problem is, of course, the inability of the left to stand up and object with enough oomph to get anyone's attention.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#65)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:03:18 PM EST
    Maybe the us against them mythos isn't a mythos for you, but I am guessing you weren't raised poor or even lower middle class.

    The us against them mythos definitely exists...it just exists outside of your world.


    I think anyone who is even ... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Yman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:25:20 PM EST
    ... remotely aware of reality would acknowledge this - I just object to his labeling it the "creation of a magical mythos", as if to suggest it's a fairytale.  Coming from an Obama supporter, that's particularly funny.

    OTOH - Some people actually believe in the PPUS schtick, without realizing it's just a campaign slogan.


    There was a texting poll on some news (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:31:44 PM EST
    channel recently.  Should the Obama admins. release photos of OBL's corpse?  Don't know how the poll turned out and haven't seen (or wanted to see) the photos.  

    I think that it has been proven (none / 0) (#16)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:43:10 PM EST
    time and again that asking people if they want lower taxes without any real explanation of what lower taxes would mean and asking them if they would want lower taxes and have to worry about a bridge or two crumbling beneath them as they drove across it do yield very different results.

    Even if Coca-Cola had tried to market "New Coke" at a lower price point, they could not have sold it.  If people really understood what they were going to get for less money, in most cases, the majority would opt to pay a bit more...  There are always folks who are in denial - who will convince themselves that a bridge or two collapsing and killing people - and a bad tasting drink - are tolerable - but most folks are inclined to take the better deal - when they understand it.

    I don't think that either party has been that great about protecting The People in recent years or perhaps even decades now.


    But they could probably sell it (none / 0) (#20)
    by lilburro on Mon May 09, 2011 at 03:59:57 PM EST
    if the President said "if we don't throw billions at New Coke we're all gonna die because Coca-Cola has WMDs!!!!"  The Iraq War of all things as Drezner's polling example?  Come on.

    They did sell the Iraq War - heavily. (none / 0) (#25)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:21:27 PM EST
    I think my point was that people were grossly misled about that and many other things - prior to actually "tasting" what was being sold to them.

    As a representative democracy, we do place our faith in the people we elect - we put some trust into them - we "defer" because we employ our representatives to know more than we do - and we put stock in their opinion.  

    I grew up in DC - and had a front row seat for Watergate - plenty of skepticism running through my little brain where it comes to claims made by politicians - but even I was pretty stunned that Bush et al would so blatantly LIE about Iraq.  As I recall, I was part of a very small minority in this country who did not support the invasion of Iraq on the eve of the first assault.  Between the people who were otherwise fairly rational people who reacted irrationally to 9/11 and the people who didn't really understand the relationships within the Middle East and Central Asia and were inclined to believe any President - just like they'd take a policeman's word over that of a criminal - the stars were aligned for the sinister characters in the Bush Administration.

    I always come back to this contrast in American stories of heartbreak and tragedy:  LBJ capitalized on JFK's assassination to get the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act passed.  Bush took 9/11 and used it to enrich his elite group of friends and business associates around the world - and took rights away from the people of this country.  Think about that for a moment or an hour or a day...

    The reality is that public opinion and support is easily manipulated.  Whether that technique of manipulation is used for "good" or "evil" is the only variable - and that variable is determined by leadership - not often by "The People".


    LBJ also capitalized (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:54:59 PM EST
    on the political cover on the left certain things like the assassination and the CR/VR bills created for him as he suddenly decided to go whole hog into Vietnam -- and, btw, enriching a few of his big $ TX friends along the way (Brown & Root for one) while taking lives away from hundreds of thousands of young Americans -- the dead, the wounded, the ones having to decide whether to break the draft law.  

    Not many protested in 1965 either -- some college profs and a few students.  Most of the public went along, if somewhat unenthusiastically, and the major protest marches didn't get underway until probably 1967 (UWisconsin, Pentagon).

    Public opinion can be easily manipulated, and who are leaders are, and what their character is, and whether they are prone to start unnecessary wars and lie about them -- as both Johnson and Bush similarly did -- are mighty important things to consider.


    Eisenhower and Kennedy cannot (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon May 09, 2011 at 05:31:05 PM EST
    be held harmless in Vietnam.

    I would contend that Bush's initiation of Iraq was different fromLBJ' escalation of Vietnam.  Not that I believe that LBJ made the right choices, but when he took over, we were already in Vietnam.  Bush took us into Iraq and Afghanistan.  And Bush probably would have gone into Iran had "The People" not been experiencing war fatigue when they tried to introduce that initiative.


    Well we already had some (none / 0) (#41)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 07:05:02 PM EST
    pre-Bush Jr military involvement in Iraq (first, backing SH against Iran, then the no-fly zone under Clinton) so there are actually the low-key, pre-war similarities present as with VN.  And in that one, JFK firmly drew the line against sending in combat troops while also by the end of his presidency officially signing off on a withdrawal policy (NSAM 263, Oct 1963).  

    Likely LBJ was fully aware of this policy (see. e.g., his phone chat with McNamara on Feb 25, 1964), and chose to do a 180 on it (to prove his manhood or something).  Reversal of previous admin's carefully limited involvement in both cases, both times the TXan president chose a full-out war, and lied about it all before, during and after in order to manipulate public and cong'l opinion.

    (if any further on this, let's take it to another thread ...)


    Ugh (none / 0) (#77)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:13:21 PM EST
    look I get the Vietnam bit- but its just so odd- outside of it he was a far, far superior President to Kennedy and its JFK who gets lionized.

    LBJ is a complex guy (none / 0) (#76)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:11:38 PM EST
    Domestically he's quite possibly the greatest President since TR (sorry, indefintely detaining tens of thousands of ones fellow citizens is unforgivable, it makes Gitmo look like a Sunday Brunch in terms of its immorality).

    Polls only counts when they can be used (none / 0) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:58:44 PM EST
    to support tax cuts, reduce domestic programs or weaken regulations. IOW when it can be used to support a corporate centric agenda.