The Wrong Moment For A Moderate Conservative President

Krugman writes:

[T]he point is that if you ask what Mitt Romney would probably be doing if he were in the White House and not trying desperately to convince his party that he shares its madness, it would look a lot like what Obama is doing [on the economy.]

There are, however, two crucial points to understand. First, Obama gets no credit for his moderation, and never will. [. . .] Second, moderate conservatism isnít working as a policy matter. As Iíve tried to tell everyone from the beginning of the Lesser Depression, a deeply depressed economy in which monetary policy is up against the zero lower bound turns the normal rules of policy upside down. Weíre in a world in which conventional prudence is folly, in which playing it safe is extremely risky. And we have, alas, a conventionally prudent, play-it-safe president ó the kind of president who might have done fine in the 1990s, but not now.

(Emphasis supplied.) This. To put the point another way, Bill Clinton would likely have been a subpar President in these times. Unless he changed his policy tune. And in the end, politics follows policy success, especially on the economy. Yes, it's the economy, stupid.

Speaking for me only

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    Does it really matter? (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:21:54 PM EST
    This President and his trusted advisors are still burning the house down.  There isn't anything left to fight for other than to stop burning the house down and we have no leaders yet willing to champion that.  There isn't even a roaring lion in the Senate or a red faced screaming Murtha to indicate that maybe someone gets it, it's just a long road of silence and suffering ahead.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:03:59 PM EST
    four more years of suffering no matter who is in the Oval Office.

    But the difference would be that Dems (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:27:27 PM EST
    in Congress and in the country just might fight back against Romney.

    And that could be a big, big difference.

    (And as for Obama getting no credit blah blah blah, I could care less.  He is supposed to serve us.)

    Blah blah blah (1.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:37:06 PM EST
    More blah, blah, blah from Towanda. Does she even know whether the Democrats can win the House and Senate?

    Mmm, that's interesting. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:47:27 PM EST
     Do they know what caused it? Excessive nose picking, right? Or, was it, you know, that other thing?

    Speaking of "blah, blah, blah" (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:19:49 PM EST
    That's not her point.

    What a crummy reply (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 06:53:18 PM EST
    If that's best you have to offer I'd have to say you're trying to hit in a league that's over you head.

    I think what Towanda's (4.67 / 3) (#10)
    by smott on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:50:23 PM EST
    Too polite to say is that increasingly there's an argument to be made that we'd be less worse off now if McCain had gotten in 2 years ago.

    We had Bush for 8 yrs and a GOP Congress for 6 and nobody invented a Cat Food Commission, or was getting ready to cut SS, Medicare, Medicaid.

    In fact to Towanda's point there was huge Dem resistance to Bush's SS privatization attempt.


    True (none / 0) (#13)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:59:42 PM EST
    But what they did invent was a burst housing bubble and ensuing financial crash.

    With a big assist (none / 0) (#54)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:43:59 PM EST
    from the Clinton Administration, from the likes of Rubin and Summers.  Clinton re-appointed Alan Greenspan, signed the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act and stood by while his minions savaged Brooksley Borne who proposed a plan to regulate derivatives.  Then he signed an act that forbade regulation of derivatives.

    Obama has done nothing to change the finance industry it's structure is still intact.

    Under McCain the unemployment rate would be higher but he wouldn't have tried to set Social Security and Medicare on fire.  Democrats would have swept into big majorities in both houses in 2010, Republicans would have been blamed for everything and a Democratic resurgence would be in the offing for 2012.

    We haven't had a real Democrat in the White House in decades.


    What is your prediction re a Pres. McCain (none / 0) (#55)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:49:44 PM EST
    and U.S. military in Libya?  Egypt?  Syria?  

    Don't know about that oculus (none / 0) (#88)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 07:01:51 PM EST
    Taken at his word he may have made moves toward Iran but I believe the people and Congress would have been enraged.

    I really shouldn't speculate about what ifs.  What ifs are really pointless.

    My point is (what if again I suppose) that Bush got burned tinkering with Social Security and I don't think a GOP President directly following him would make the same mistake.


    You do not have to read (3.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:41:35 PM EST
    what you clearly do not understand, you know, fool.

    The Senate and House looked like a (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:51:18 PM EST
    lock in Jan. 2009. Why are we in a situation where both could be Republican in 2013? Hmm?

    Because we thought we elected a Democrat (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by smott on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:58:59 PM EST
    And turns out we didn't.

    Saw a funny bumper sticker last week:

    "nOpe - keep the change!"


    Very good! I need one of those. (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:00:11 PM EST
    I would have thought so (none / 0) (#26)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:21:39 PM EST
    too, but for how they kowtowed to W.

    Actually (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:59:49 PM EST
    I think Clinton probably would have done better than Obama with what is going on simply because he knew how far he could push on somethings. Heck, Obama is to the right of the Tea Party on social security. Obama has NO political compass. Clinton always knew that if you fix the economy, you are going to be fine politically. Obama doesn't seem to understand that apparently.

    No kidding (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:02:04 PM EST
    I'm with you, Bill Clinton would not have been/is not capable of being this over the top sucky if this were his Presidency.

    One thing different (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:04:07 PM EST
    Would be that Clinton knew how to beat the Republicans at their own game.  Even when he compromised, he usually won the PR war.

    And imagine how much (none / 0) (#59)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:56:47 PM EST
    better he could have been than he already was had he come to office as a 53%* majority president instead of a 43% plurality one, someone who lost out in the PV when Poppy and Perot's votes are combined.  He would have been much bolder in acting domestically and probably in getting more cong'l Dems to go along with him, given his popularity.  Iow, he would have actually used his earned political capital from the near-landslide election to get major things done, almost certainly health care in the 1st term.

    (* according to Prof Mark C. Miller, citing an election statistics expert, the actual vote for BHO should have been millions more -- thus a true landslide over McCain -- but for electoral shenanigans by his opponent)


    Bill was quoted the other day (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by hairspray on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:57:15 PM EST
    when speaking to Joe Conasen, that he would use the 14th ammendment and let the courts try to stop him!  He was always willing to risk as evidenced by the government shutdowns and all of the vetoes he put on stupid bills the GOP sent him.  I don't think they ever overwrode these vetoes either. His risky behavor also got him into trouble, but maybe that characteristic makes a good president when in troubled times like today.

    clinton also didn't start/continue (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:22:09 PM EST
    two blood & treasure sucking wars, while simultaneously dropping marginal tax rates to not pay for them. true, he benefited from the .com bubble, but bush benefited from the sub-prime mortgage bubble, without the clinton-era tax revenues accompanying it. clinton produced years of budget surpluses. bush, like every republican president since nixon, produced years of budget deficits.

    These wars--Iraq and Afghan.--are so (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:26:05 PM EST
    aggravating--to me--not to mention to the residents of those countries.  Every time I read a news article about the amount of U.S. tax dollars going down the drain due to theft and grafter, and the infrastructure U.S. tax dollars has replaced or strengthened but which is going to hell in a handbasket.  Who is in charge?  Who is watching the store?  Does anyone in the federal government even care?  Then there are the one-line notices in LAT and NYT, often not even given the names of the U.S. military members who are dying there daily.  

    Under Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 06:47:31 PM EST
    every economic class benefited, not just the wealthy

    And that (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 07:05:35 PM EST
    I believe was his greatest achievement

    All those poor souls MIA from (none / 0) (#65)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 05:30:20 PM EST
    Clinton's expansion of the drug war are not even on the radar...

    All's quiet on the Domestic front...


    He pulled a Bosnia though (none / 0) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 06:19:47 PM EST
    I think there is still a six month tour of duty to Bosnia.  Hopefully I'm wrong.  Last one I heard about was a couple of years ago.

    I Really hate (none / 0) (#89)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 07:24:45 PM EST
    to be like this, but, Clinton had one true surplus; or "on budget" surplus.  The other surplus was a total or unified budget surplus; in other words it took Social Security surplus to get the unified budget surplus.

    Clinton also seems (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:22:37 PM EST
    to care about the welfare of average folk

    Timing is everything (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:44:28 PM EST
    The difference of the Clinton today is that he isn't leading an opposition now. When he was, he was a formidable adversary. He enjoyed a good battle and won his fair share.

    There should have been no doubt in voters minds that after 8 years of GWB, we needed a hard nosed work horse to drag the country forward. We didn't need someone who was more concerned over image than policy.

    The president we have is the same as the candidate that was elected. No one should be surprised.

    People (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:53:56 PM EST
    let the press pick the candidate or followed what the press was saying or rather a lot of voters did.

    There was nothing in Obama's past that showed he was up to handling the current problems. For pete's sake, this is a guy who sat in a safe seat he designed for himself in the IL Senate and he voted "present". Even in those circumstances he showed himself being hollow to the core, an empty suit if you will.

    He's been nothing short of a disaster for the party and the only way that things are going to get better is to forget about him in '12 and start working on issues and candidates down ticket IMO.


    Electable suit. Credit Maureen Dowd. (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:01:31 PM EST
    That was exactly what a lot of voters (none / 0) (#41)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:57:44 PM EST
    had in mind, actually, when they voted for a hard-nosed workhorse.  So some of those voters -- I know some, and we recently had this conversation -- are not surprised now, because they knew that image would continue to prevail over policy after the campaign.

    Myself, I do admit to being surprised, though, by just how bad Obama is for these economic times.  He was not my choice because of his economic advisers in his campaign, but I thought that he was smarter.  So I thought that he would have seen by now that they were wrong -- and that he would have gotten the hang of good governing, if only because I thought that he would want to win again in 2012.  I could not imagine that he would be so cucooned, so removed from reality.  (There is, of course, the possibility discussed here many times that he wants only one term.)


    It's a shame the taxpayers (none / 0) (#63)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 05:16:11 PM EST
    can't exert some influence over Obama, say, by pooling our money and sweetheart-dealing him a nice piece of property or a nice fence or...

    Completely Wrong (5.00 / 4) (#81)
    by pluege2 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:50:31 PM EST
    Bill Clinton would likely have been a subpar President in these times.

    this completely misunderstands Clinton. Clinton is a Chameleon, adapting perfectly to his situation - unlike obama (who's mission is to destroy progressivity).

    Clinton's triangulation was a result of his situation - republican majorities. Given the strong democratic majorities obama had in Congress in 2008, Clinton would have been a very different POTUS, actually enacting real change instead of undermining everything progress like obama does. He also would have been able to take advantage of the republican Big Insanity for progressive advantage instead of propping it up like obama does.  

    Krugman is certainly consistent (2.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:30:45 PM EST

    Krugman is consistent like a stopped clock.  In his view the present (whenever that is) is always the wrong time for any kind of conservative.

    You don't know (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:42:57 PM EST
    when the present is?

     "(whenever that is)"

    Come inside now. The heat can do that to you.


    let me clue you in my boy: (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:24:05 PM EST
    there is no such thing as the "right kind" of conservative. conservatives, by definition, are always wrong. always.

    All times are the wrong (none / 0) (#56)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:50:56 PM EST
    times for Conservatism.  Big C conservatism is death.

    You have iot the other way around (none / 0) (#90)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 07:26:30 PM EST
    Conservatives create wrong times.

    I completely agree (none / 0) (#7)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:47:19 PM EST
    That Clinton's approach would have been very similar to Obama's.

    Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:01:46 PM EST
    understood the economy was Job One. Obama spend almost a year on the ACA which now he's going to undo apparently. Even Hillary said she wouldn't attempt HCR until her second term. That seems pretty smart now in hindsight.

    And didn't Axelrod and company (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by hairspray on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:06:23 PM EST
    skewer her on that?  The mistake I see from the Obama camp is the ego driven behavior of not doing anything like Clinton.  They took in a lot of his people but most of them hated Clinton's guts. Even today when I hear Clinton speaking out very quietly about what he would do (Jon Stewart, other interviews)  I see that they are 180 degrees from what Obama is doing.  The biggest and first example was not creating the New Deal program which gave the money to the people, not the bankers (forgot the name).

    Seemed pretty smart in real time (none / 0) (#60)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:57:18 PM EST
    She knew that jobs were the first order of business.  

    I don't know how she would have fared regarding finance industry regulation, she got a very hefty piece of change from banksters but she did understand the importance of jobs and had real concerns about foolish trade pacts that are, in effect, anything but reciprocal.  


    HCR wouldn't touch hcr in her first term (none / 0) (#74)
    by BTAL on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 07:26:50 PM EST
    because she remembers all too well what happened to her and BC and hcr in his first year as POTUS.

    Some here seem to have selective memory of that time.


    And if the economy did not improve (none / 0) (#75)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 07:33:57 PM EST
    in her first term, there would be no second term or no HCR in the 2nd term.
    It is naive to think that the Republicans would just roll over if she went for a bigger stimulus  or HOLC.

    She probably (none / 0) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 07:44:49 PM EST
    would have been smart enough to do the HOLC before the midterm elections.

    And Obama is getting ready to get rid of his HCR so what was the point?


    Guess it's a good thing ... (none / 0) (#77)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:00:14 PM EST
    It is naive to think that the Republicans would just roll over if she went for a bigger stimulus  or HOLC.

    ... no one actually thinks that.


    Nonetheless (none / 0) (#91)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 07:34:40 PM EST
    she wouldn't have blown the time. Had she been nominated she would have had the Lesser Depression to deal with and the concentration would have been jobs.  During the primaries she proposed an HOLC. Obama made no such proposal.

    Whatever fairy tales it takes ... (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:24:31 PM EST
    ... to make you feel better ...

    That's about as useful as saying (none / 0) (#9)
    by observed on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:50:18 PM EST
    I am completely certain Obama would have enthusiastically voted for the AUMF, had he been in the Senate in 2002.
    Fantasy politics is useless.

    Clinton's approach then, but (none / 0) (#15)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 02:59:50 PM EST
    do you know what his policy would be in these times?

    He, at least, did show ability to adapt -- and especially ability to face realities faced by the people.  I wish that I would see more such abilities on the part of the current administration (and please note, ABG, that I do not single out only the current president but also his cabinet, other advisors, etc.).


    But now former Pres. Clinton is (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:06:24 PM EST
    speaking publicly in Obama-speak.  Cut deficit, reform SS, Medicare, etc.  Did Hilarly's "agreement" with Obama require Bill Clinton to spout this stuff?  

    Good question. I think the answer is (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by observed on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:11:41 PM EST
    probably yes: one of the majors concerns bruited about by WH flacks was that Clinton would be need to be controlled.

    If true (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:13:28 PM EST
    Then imagine the bile BC must be swallowing to think, "This tool has so screwed up the country and I have to go defend him!"

    I think BC (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:25:14 PM EST
    might have different ideas in mind as to what it means to reform SS etc., but I think it's time for him to stop giving support to bad policies of the Administration by mouthing words he could, if pressed, explain to mean something different....

    What would his choices be (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:47:10 PM EST
    though if this was his watch and the reputation and legacy of his Presidency?

    BUT (none / 0) (#61)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:59:48 PM EST
    the buck stops at the top.  He chose or approved his advisers.  

    Yes. I meant to add, but (none / 0) (#66)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 05:47:03 PM EST
    was interrupted; sorry:  Clinton's ability to adapt would, I think, have meant dumping bad advisers or overruling them (as I recall that he did in several cases), if they were not advising of a need for job creation in this economy, a need for HAMP, a need to be re-electable. . . .

    SUperb (none / 0) (#24)
    by smott on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:17:13 PM EST
    ms. marcotte is a nice person, (none / 0) (#33)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:31:01 PM EST
    and no doubt means well, and is fairly well versed in some areas (notably, social policy). that said, and i've noted this on her site in the comments section, she is by no stretch of anyone's imagination educated or trained in the financial arts, with or without a side dish of tax law.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#34)
    by masslib on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:32:51 PM EST

    Who was the last true liberal president? (none / 0) (#36)
    by sweetthings on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:45:53 PM EST
    Obviously not Clinton. How liberal was Carter?

    LBJ (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 03:54:28 PM EST
    Cue Brodie to come and lecture me on this.

    The correct answer of course (none / 0) (#48)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:14:38 PM EST
    is JFK, both in his DP and his FP and overall temperament.  Liberal who acted with bold strokes, too.

    And I think we've been over the ridiculous johnson answer before, whether it was with Ga6th or others.

    Am I the only johnson skeptic on this board?  


    Was the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:21:48 PM EST
    one of the JFK administration's liberal acts?

    No, that was one of Ike's (none / 0) (#51)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:25:36 PM EST
    liberal acts, or Ike's CIA.

    No president is perfect, and Kennedy was not God.  But he learned from this early mistake, and it taught him a valuable lesson about the incompetence and dishonesty of our Pentagon and intel agency.


    Was JFK administration the first to (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:30:54 PM EST
    deploy "advisors" to Vietnam?

    No, he wasn't. (none / 0) (#57)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:51:15 PM EST
    But johnson was the first to send in combat units to VN.

    Ummm (none / 0) (#95)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 08:20:56 PM EST
    Brodie.  What's your definition of advisers?

    The hard on you have for LBJ destroys your credibility.


    Bold, eh (none / 0) (#92)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 07:59:54 PM EST
    JFK couldn't get dick through Congress.  LBJ got JFK's programs through Congress and then added considerable progressive legislation of his own.

    Hook LBJ with Vietnam if you like but JFK stepped up our presence there; he's anything but innocent re Vietnam.

    In saying this I'm not knocking JFK, I'm reciting the record.

    I was 21 when JFK was assassinated and looking forward to casting my first vote the next year for JFK.  I was devastated by the assassination and near paralyzed with grief.  I was unable to eat for two days.  I still remember with absolute clarity not just hearing the news that afternoon but the evening before, the morning of the day, the unbelievable news that afternoon, the evening and much about the following day.

    If your criteria for judgement is war I have to tell you that liberal and progressive Presidents in our past have vigorously prosecuted wars.  When I was a kid I remember hearing adults say: I ya vote for a Republican you'll lose yer job.  If ya vote for a Democrat there'll be a war.

    Unfair of course and a matter of circumstance but it's the record.


    JFK actually had a pretty good (none / 0) (#97)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:24:48 AM EST
    track record of getting his bills, or those he endorsed, through Congress, according to objective studies done of his presidency.  His successor's early record was a little better, but anyone in his position would have done better in the wake of Dallas and the sympathy for passing JFK bills, then following the 64 Dem landslide (which just about any Dem would have also enjoyed up against extremist Goldwater) and the emergence of a now progressive working majority for johnson.

    As for VN, johnson actively, consciously sought to enlarge our previously rather minor military presence there under Kennedy (whose advisers were just that, and were under instructions not to themselves engage the enemy nor seek them out in combat mode).  Johnson crossed the line on sending in combat units -- a key moment in the War -- following his earlier decision to begin bombing.  His own VP, Humphrey, along with the Majority Leader Mansfield, as well as probably a majority of his party, were either advising him not to escalate but to seek a negotiated way out and just leave, but macho Lyndon was apparently too insecure and so went along with the political RW in this country and we went to war.  Completely unnecessary, and completely irrelevant little country.  But ignoramus LYndon believed in the domino theory and so on.

    Sorry, we have had liberal or even moderate Dem presidents in the past and none of them have started up unnecessary wars -- including FDR, JFK, Carter and Clinton.  The latter 3 sought assertively to avoid them in fact, except for Bill and the Balkans, which was probably the right thing to do morally.

    Sorry also I don't find your johnson revisionism and worship very compelling, and it certainly doesn't add to your credibility to whitewash his record as you try to explain away his appalling warmongering.  I don't buy it when the Righties try to re-write Reagan's presidency, and I don't buy it when liberals try to do the same with cowboy lyndon.  Both were failures as president, both did enormous damage to our country, both deserve to be ranked well into the bottom half of all presidents for what they did, REagan with the economy, johnson with his war and domestic turbulence.


    What do you mean by liberal? (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by hairspray on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:13:34 PM EST
    I'd settle for left of center any day.  And while there were things Clinton did that I did not like, at the end of the day I always felt that on balance he represented the Democratic Party as good as one could with the ascendency of the right wing in the form or Newt Gingrich and company.

    I think left of the current center makes (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 05:11:06 PM EST
    one a moderate conservative - and I may be being generous by using the label "moderate."  

    I know what "liberal" is and what it means, and it isn't how these New Democrats are defining it.

    I see Boehner has walked out on the debt talks, so I guess Obama will have to give them more than they - and he - would already be getting.


    E-mail Alert (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:20:58 PM EST
    From NY Times said Boehner walked because Obama wouldn't touch Medicare. If that's true, there's still hope.

    Haven't Congressional Dems (none / 0) (#70)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 06:54:54 PM EST
    also been pushing back? Please, I pray....

    How about wrt DP basically (none / 0) (#49)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:19:52 PM EST
    governing in New Deal ways, protecting that legacy and adding to it.  As with JFK going for Medicare in 1962 and civil rights in 1963.

    In FP, how about, first and foremost, avoid starting unnecessary wars?  That eliminates johnson, who also operated with friend J Edgar at the FBI to infiltrate and destroy the antiwar opposition.

    Again, JFK avoided getting us mired in SEAsia, first in Laos (advocated by Ike) then in VN (advocated by the Repub RW and Nixon and Rocky but very few Dems, except possibly VP johnson).

    How about working hard to put a stop to the Cold War?  JFK tried to do that and would have succeeded but for his assass'n; johnson made the CW worse.  Today wrt the bogus WOT, Obama has been slow and timid.


    Un effing believable (none / 0) (#93)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 08:05:57 PM EST
    Again, JFK avoided getting us mired in SEAsia, first in Laos (advocated by Ike) then in VN (advocated by the Repub RW and Nixon and Rocky but very few Dems, except possibly VP johnson).

    For crissakes will you stop re-writing history.


    Lyndon Johnson (none / 0) (#43)
    by BDB on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:05:03 PM EST
    or, by today's definition of "liberal", Richard Nixon.  Heck, I long for the days of f'ing Richard Nixon.  Obama's is well to his right, but then he's well to the right of every president since Nixon with the possible (and sadly possibly not) exception of George W. Bush.  

    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 08:09:04 PM EST
    Johnson was, especially by today's standards, very liberal and Nixon was indeed more liberal by any standards than Obama.  Hell, Nixon even put in wage and price controls, that ol' closet Socialist.

    Ack! (none / 0) (#44)
    by BDB on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:05:33 PM EST
    It should say "Obama is well to the right of Nixon, but then..."

    Also (none / 0) (#46)
    by BDB on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:06:32 PM EST
    By historical standards or even the standards of the last forty years, Obama is not a moderate conservative.  He's a right-wing conservative.  Although I guess baby steps on accepting even the conservative part after all that hopey-changey BS campaign crap.

    In terms of temperament (none / 0) (#52)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:30:24 PM EST
    and character both Nixon and johnson were about the least liberal of all the presidents.  Both personally corrupt, both paranoid, both surrounded themselves with Yes Men only -- no dissent allowed -- both abusive to aides and even family.  

    Nixon was abrasive to those around him, johnson was just an obnoxious bully who threatened to run over anyone in his path.  Hardly characteristics of people we normally regard as liberal.



    The label, Liberal, is meaningless. (none / 0) (#64)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 05:27:11 PM EST
    We have too many positions on way too many policy dimensions to describe with a one dimensional measure.  

    I don't think (none / 0) (#71)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 06:56:56 PM EST
    politicians' personal style is part of the definition of political liberal.  Political liberals often embody contradictory was of handling personal matters, but that's another story.

    Define the terms objectively. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:55:37 PM EST

    By any objective measure the last three presidents have been to the right of Reagan.

    "Any objective measure" (none / 0) (#99)
    by Yman on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:15:12 PM EST

    What are the cuts proposed (none / 0) (#58)
    by lilburro on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 04:55:34 PM EST
    supposed to do?  Regardless of what happens, Obama clearly believes trillions in cuts are going to have some positive effect.  I assume the positive effect is more concrete than "increased cooperation in Washington!"

    strangely quite around here (none / 0) (#68)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 06:42:19 PM EST
    compared to the rest of the blogosfear at the moment


    What do you (none / 0) (#72)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 06:57:26 PM EST

    I want to go on record as saying right now (none / 0) (#79)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:22:52 PM EST
    That Obama's gambit just paid off. He gave a speech where he said (and no one here can disagree) that he was willing to infuriate his entire party to be the big man in the room.  And thatnhis fellow dems were furious but they were at least willing to try.

    And when he had given the GOP almost everything, they walked away.

    The dems will come out of this looking superior. He will come out looking superior. And we will not get the entitlement cuts that everyone feared and a cleaner bill is now the most likely option.

    I could be completely wrong (and lord knows I will hear about it if I am) but I think what happened today just changed the entire dynamic.

    And I think if you are a liberal, today was a very good day.

    I don't think a good day for liberals (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 09:07:36 PM EST
    includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs.

    As far as what defines a liberal? Why not come up with an ideal type? I'd put in a lot of FDR, some Kennedy, but not as much as FDR... certainly Truman on military desegregation, Johnson for a good portion of his domestic policy, Nixon for Clean Air and Water Acts and the EPA... some Humphrey and Mondale, a surprising amount of RFK, given his early career. Obama for ending DADT, and Clinton for peace and prosperity.

    I'd even include a lot of Teddy Roosevelt. National parks and monuments...

    Liberal isn't meaningless. The meaning needs to be clarified.

    Caring for the least of us, offering free education that can change the social class and life chances one has irrespective of appearance or religion.

    Believing in, and supporting the first two of those freedoms, freedom of speech and expression, and freedom of worship, then working, concentrating on the last two-- freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

    Take the best qualities we have seen, disregard the bad policies, and create the Liberal Ideal. No one single person, president or otherwise, could attain it. But it would give us a metric on which to judge or evaluate candidates and presidents and also-rans.

    So-- how about that idea? an ideal type to create a metric of distance between the goals (the ideals), and the reality (the policy and direction of the specific president.

    It will never be an absolute, but it can be created.


    JFK governed far more (none / 0) (#98)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:42:38 AM EST
    consistently, both in DP and FP, as a liberal than did FDR, a president I think is vastly overrated by the left and mainstream historians, and whose many flaws and blunders in his 12 yrs seem to go unmentioned (not that he didn't do good with his ND and 2d ND programs).

    Kennedy is about as close to a liberal ideal as we're likely to see in our lifetimes, both in the substance and the rhetoric.  Especially considering the domestic enemies -- many of them systemic -- he had to constantly battle and overcome, many of his accomplishments could be put in the Heroic category.

    Re some of your other comments, on Nixon and signing those bills, that's a different matter, having to do with a pragmatic not-always 24/7 insane president knowing he would have to do certain things to acknowledge political reality, but he didn't do those things out of any inner liberalism.  A true liberal would act on those because he believed in them and they were the right thing to do.  Nixon was no liberal, neither in FP nor in DP.  He just did domestically what he had to do with a solidly mod-lib Dem Congress, and concentrated on his area of interest, FP.

    And a courageous true liberal (JFK being my model) would do them even knowing he was taking a political risk.  Whereas some true liberals -- HHH comes to mind -- might shirk from doing them if it would cost votes or was calculated as too risky.  A true liberal also usually doesn't need to be prodded by advisers or the public to do the right thing (unless it's an unavoidable matter of building necessary public support for a highly dicey proposal).  FDR in 1938 had to be reminded by a top aide that he was acting like Hoover with his recent budget-balancing obsession.  A true liberal (or, in Roosevelt's case, someone with less conservative-orthodox in him) would never have blundered that way in the first place, let alone dilly-dallied for an entire year as the economy went back into the dumpster.


    The gambit paid off? So, there's a deal (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Anne on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 08:21:15 PM EST
    and it's the clean debt increase bill that "Obama wanted all along?"

    No?  Oh.

    So, where's the payoff?

    You do realize that it's always when things break down that you award Obama points as a master negotiator, don't you?  

    I don't give a rat's tiny a$$ about who comes out of this looking superior; I care about policy that will reverse the downward spiral of the economy (and, in case you didn't notice, all of this master kabuki is already hurting the economy), preserve safety net benefits, help people get back to work - if that happens, and there's a political benefit, great.  But, it has to be about the people, not the politicians.

    And, please - stop pretending you know the first thing about what liberals think; you don't know diddly.


    Ahhhhhhhhhh !!! (none / 0) (#80)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:41:07 PM EST
    I see your strategy, now.  Take every possible position, and you can eventually claim you were right!

    Why does this seem so strangely familiar ...?


    ABG speaks to mere earthlings (none / 0) (#84)
    by shoephone on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 09:11:24 PM EST
    from way out there in his parallel universe...Shhh, you can almost hear the crackling of otherwordly static behind his radio waves now...

    My words seem otherworldy (none / 0) (#85)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 01:46:58 PM EST
    To any inhabitant of Planet MoonBatia.

    Can someone send me a link to the signed deal again?


    Well alrighty then.


    You went over the edge awhile ago, dearie (none / 0) (#86)
    by shoephone on Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 02:11:57 PM EST
    You have zero credibility here. Maybe you should go back to trying to stir up trouble on the feminist blogs.