Seeking Maximum Leverage In Political Bargaining

Reading the apologias for the bad bargaining by Democrats, I've come to the point that I can see only two alternatives: (1) either Bill Clinton was the greatest political bargainer in recent memory, or (2) a lot of people do not understand bargaining. Consider this Matt Yglesias post:

I’ve been in a few conversations with various people this week citing one strategy or another that they claim could have produced a “clean” debt ceiling increase and avoided the current legislative crisis. I basically agree with all these theories. Obama could have gotten a debt ceiling increase built into the December 2010 tax deal [. . .] But I’m not sure this is a case of bad negotiating strategy or good negotiating strategy.

We’ve seen so much mockery of “11-dimensional chess” that I think people have gotten unduly reluctant to credit the idea that there’s a bit of regular old chess happening here where you have to think one or two moves ahead. [. . . R]easonable people can disagree as to whether having the fight now is better than having the fight then, but I don’t think it’s by any means crazy for the White House to suppose that the current timing is more favorable to the progressive side or crazy to believe that they did, in fact, see two moves ahead and decide they preferred this outcome.

I do not know how a reasonable person could see it Yglesias' way. Not raising the debt ceiling is the most dramatic doomsday point that could be imagined. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would be catastrophic in the short and medium term and likely the long term. Indeed, the President will end up by caving at the end, and rightly so. This is not the moment for brinksmanship. More . . .

The budget negotiations are an entirely different proposition. First, Republicans will never truly shut the government down - there will always be money going out for defense and other "essential services." Second, the President and Democrats would be able to fight on very favorable turf. Instead of the debate being about the "profligate federal government" it would be about whether Social Security checks would go out, whether people can see their doctor with the Medicare, whether rich people should pay more in taxes, whether the VA should remain open, etc.

There is a reason the debt ceiling discussions have been about nothing but spending cuts, because no one has to think about WHAT spending cuts. When the government shuts down, people see what they are not getting.

In short, the President and the Dems would have their maximum moment of leverage (short of tax cuts expiring) during the budget negotiations. Brinksmanship by the Dems at that point would be in order.

You want to negotiate a deal when your bargaining leverage is at its maximum, not at its minimum. This is basic bargaining.

It amazes me how few people understand this point.

In 1995, Bill Clinton searched for moments of maximum leverage to bargain with the Republicans. Luckily for Clinton, the GOP never played the debt ceiling card on him. But Obama should have known the GOP would with him. A good bargainer would have known not to give up his best chip (tax cuts) without making the other side take theirs (the debt ceiling) off the table.

Speaking for me only

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    Your view benefits from logic. Not sure about (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:48:22 PM EST
    the view of Mr.Yglesias, although, if the lawsuit I was defending suddenly crumpled b/4 my very eyes, settlement seemed attractive.  But, if I could have avoided it crumpling, why not do it? He really is an apologist for the admins.

    That's an interesting point. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:54:19 PM EST
    Shutdown would be much more manageable for our side than default.

    I posted this when Matt wrote it about a week ago, but here is what he expects in September:

    It's generally wise to assume that the White House isn't blind to that obvious potential political problem. Part of what they're thinking is that a 2011 agreement to long-term spending cuts is the best way to avoid the need to reduce spending during the election season. How's that? Well, it's because the fiscal consolidation plans being discussed are for trillions of dollars worth of cuts over a 10-year horizon. Since you've got that horizon, it's not strictly necessary for any of them to come between September 2011 and November 2012. On the contrary, in principle spending could go up in the short-term consistent with any long-term cuts. By contrast, what happens if the White House winds up getting a "clean" debt ceiling increase is that we then head into the September lapse in appropriations. It'll be a replay of the "government shutdown" fight in which the GOP goal has to be short-term cuts. And the White House isn't going to get away without giving something up in that fight. In other words, clean debt ceiling increase = guarantee of fiscal anti-stimulus, whereas a 10-year spending cut plan leaves open room to avoid that.

    I...guess?  Matt thinks the Dems will say, look at all the spending cuts we gave you, and the GOP's demand for short term spending cuts will be defused.

    I don't think that's going to happen at all.  Now that we're in a period of "austerity" they are just going to demand bigger, better, faster "austerity."

    Dems always think giving up something (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:03:19 PM EST
    now will defuse the GOP from asking for more later. It never works.

    Why bargain in good faith if you know it's a (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 03:59:54 PM EST

    According to the folks over at Eschaton, this is all pretend. No default, no shutdown, no crash. Nothing's going to happen - unless Obama crashes the system on purpose to get his way.

    One of the things that's become extremely clear is that this whole debt ceiling business is entirely artificial, as policy-dictating as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. As this guy says, the Treasury is not gonna be bouncing any checks.

    But the administration has embraced it, apparently as a mechanism to justify undoing the core elements of the New Deal.

    Well, I am an unreasonable person (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by me only on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:01:19 PM EST
    and I still cannot see it Yglelias' way.

    More to the point.  The last time the debt ceiling was raised the Republicans did it before the election, basically on their own.  Why didn't the Democrats do it in December and be done with it?  They didn't need to bargain, they had nothing to lose.  It would have been a throw away vote.

    I am beginning to wonder if going to DC somehow makes a person stooopid.

    So Yglesias (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:06:55 PM EST
    advances the notion that Obama planned the debt ceiling crisis to plant a bomb in the GOP's path.  Like other Obama apologists he must be in a real fever to construct this gem.  

    Seems to me Yglesias is trying to put a shine on feces.

    Only a fool would have surrendered the advantage in the belief a pony was just over the horizon if only he fatally weakened his position.

    A GOP style deal may well be what Obama wanted all along, a chance to cut Social Security, etc. with cover.

    One thing is clear; public good, sound policy or whatever else it can be called was not a consideration.

    The only (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:19:03 PM EST
    thing that I have seen that gives me some hope is that they have apparently been talking about the savings they will incur by winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    That would be something devoutly to be wished.

    But I just don't believe it.

    I wish I could.

    Somel brinkmanship... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:52:07 PM EST
    that might work to our benefit is order the treasury to cease all misery spending to pay interest until the ceiling is raised. Sh*t order the Fed to blip up the juice on the pc, declare martial law for currency if ya have to before slashing the good.  

    Brand R would raise the roof right quick, no strings.


    It's too bad Obama's end game (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:19:58 PM EST
    always comes down to what's best for him, about beating the GOP with what is essentially their own policy - and whether it is best for the country, for the people, for the economy  - it's just not part of the calculus.  Ever.

    We're seeing it in the fact that the Reid plan is almost identical to the Boehner plan - and this is yet another consequence of Obama's insufferable, cowardly, mealy-mouthed bipartisanship.

    The man needs to surrender his membership in the Democratic Party and register as a Republican; maybe if he did, the people who so relentlessly and blindly cheer for him would finally see that he does not represent traditional Democratic interests - he hasn't from the beginning - and get back to pushing back against Obama the way they pushed back against Bush.

    BHO never told us during the campaign (none / 0) (#66)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:19:56 PM EST
    that he wanted to be President because he wanted to represent "traditional Democratic interests". Long before Iowa, I remember Nancy Pelosi introducing him at the JJ dinner as a new kind of Democrat who was interested in expanding the envelope of the Democratic party into newer constituencies.

    Oh, no kidding - not only did he not say (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:11:33 PM EST
    he was going to be at all "traditional," but he said he had some rather sacred Democratic things in his sights - like the safety net.  I have no idea why anyone thought he represented the new wave of progressivism, or why anyone today still attaches the "liberal" label to him.

    Large areas of the blogosphere fell in love, and love, as we all know, is blind, so maybe that explains it.  Obama was crowned the "media darling" and common sense, critical thinking and all skepticism flew out the window.

    Some of us managed to hold onto reality, and we sit here now, no happier, no more satisfied for having been right about Obama than those who have come to realize they were wrong.  The deed was done - and now we all have to live with the consequences, even if we don't accept them.

    I'm sure Obama has some redeeming qualities, but in the area of politics, I don't know that I have ever felt someone to be as hollow or lacking in core principles.  I hope for his wife and children's sakes that he is a good husband and father - things his own father wasn't.  At this rate, though, I believe his legacy, along with the Democratic Party Platform, and the lives of the old, the poor and the sick, would be immensely improved if he withdrew from the national political stage and agreed not to run in 2012.

    He won't do that, of course, and the country will be the worse for it.


    Anne (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:02:10 PM EST
    I hope you will agree that liberalism comes in different strains. Eg: unabashed unionism is a "traditional democratic" ideal. However many liberals can also prefer to choose environmentalism over unabashed unionism (R&D spending and production retooling costs for higher efficiency and alternative energy powered cars in the auto industry can mean loss of traditional union jobs in Detroit). Liberal concerns about the environment may clash with the interests of poor coal miners in West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia. You have to understand that a large part of the blogosphere is made is made up of people from the tech industry. Their "liberalness" is not exactly your "traditional Democrat kind of liberalness". People in the tech industry suffer job losses all the time, they do not get stimulus packages to preserve jobs, nobody campaigns to increase spending so that people can keep their jobs in the way traditional democrats fight to keep teachers, firefighter and police jobs etc. The concept of free spending has therefore never been a democratic ideal for a lot of liberals in the blogosphere.
    The President has to balance the concerns and interests of a lot of people in this country. The leader of a big tent party also has to do the same.
    I hope I have been able to shed some light with these examples about why "liberalism" can have different shades.

    Here's your balance (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by smott on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:50:17 PM EST
    From NY Times:

    In their newly released study, the Northeastern economists found that since the recovery began in June 2009 following a deep 18-month recession , "corporate profits captured 88 percent of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent" of that growth.

    The study, "The `Jobless and Wageless Recovery' From the Great Recession of 2007-2009 ," said it was "unprecedented" for American workers to receive such a tiny share of national income growth during a recovery.

    According to the study, between the second quarter of 2009, when the recovery began, and the fourth quarter of 2010, national income rose by $528 billion, with $464 billion of that growth going to pretax corporate profits, while just $7 billion went to aggregate wages and salaries, after accounting for inflation.


    That is more typical of how the president (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:35:53 AM EST
    does his balancing act.

    The President has to balance the concerns and interests of a lot of people in this country.

    By the time he is done with his balancing act and passes the elements of the "Grand Bargain," the score will be:

    Wall Street  100
    Main Street -99.9

    Of course, the president's "balancing act" is scheduled to bring in $1 billion in campaign funds. Fancy that.


    What a patronizing bunch of broad brush BS (5.00 / 3) (#131)
    by sj on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:09:22 AM EST
    You have to understand that a large part of the blogosphere is made is made up of people from the tech industry. Their "liberalness" is not exactly your "traditional Democrat kind of liberalness".

    I am one of those people in the tech industry.  And yes, I suffer job loss regularly since the only way to maintain my income (at a plateau, mind you) is by working on a contract basis.  Consequently, I have come to know a large number of IT engineers. And while management is often conservative of the money grubbing kind, the "tech people" cover a broad range of political views.  I have encountered a great many others how fall solidly in the Socialist category, as I do, and even admit it.  You don't have to be blue collar working class to be solidly liberal as opposed to neo-liberal.

    So do me a favor and stop acting as if you speak for all of us IT folks, and just admit that it's your opinion.

    And by the way those "poor coal miners" are likely to know what is endangering their health and life and limb.

    Who do you think you're lecturing to?  7th graders?  The "light" you're shedding is about as bright as candlelight and not half as flattering.


    There is no logical connection (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:21:09 PM EST
    between Obama gaining tax increases in December and Obama having any kind of an upper hand here.

    BTD has used this meme a great deal and I have tried to read others taking the position for and against this approach and none of the pro arguments make any sense.

    They only make sense in a scenario where we are dealing with rational actors who respond logically to motivations.  We are not.  

    Now this is a very different question than the other positions BTD takes about The Deal being bad.  If Obama doesn't allow the tax cuts on the rich to expire in 2012, he will have been proven right.

    But this argument of indicating that Obama "lost" this debate in December makes no sense IMHO.

    Now if you were to argue that Obama lost it by not taking a harder approach with a more liberal position in March, I can't argue very hard against that.  That is very plausible.

    Anyway, we have no deal so no one has won or lost anything yet.

    Tax cuts (5.00 / 6) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:47:49 PM EST
    You really don't get it.

    Not worth discussing it with you really.


    Right (none / 0) (#40)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:34:21 PM EST
    You ignore everyone who disagrees with you on this topic.


    Please.  Talk big to someone who can be bullied.  You are just wrong on your emphasis of this point but so tied to it that any counter argument is dismissed as ignorant.

    I get it. I'd be invested in it if I said it in every post about almost every topic related to economic issues too.  If someone disproved you in a logical and supportable way, where would you be?

    Better to ignore and keep it moving.


    Seriously, "Winning!!!!!!!!!!!" ?? (5.00 / 2) (#130)
    by sj on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:09:04 AM EST
    You are making as much sense as poor Mr. Sheen, anyway.

    the argument is (none / 0) (#21)
    by CST on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:30:12 PM EST
    Obama should have gotten them to raise the debt ceiling at the time that the deal was made, since then he had a bargaining chip (tax increases).  Now he doesn't.

    Is the person to whom you reply (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:04:40 PM EST
    willfully unknowing of your premise?

    And we think Obama could have (none / 0) (#38)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:28:36 PM EST
    worked that magic how exactly?

    OK first off:

    1.  All of the dems, including Reid and Pelosi were united in not fighting over this in December. Reid was asked about it directly:

    ""Let the Republicans have some buy-in on the debt. They're going to have a majority in the House," said Harry Reid. "I don't think it should be when we have a heavily Democratic Senate, heavily Democratic House and a Democratic president."

    This idea that Obama on an island made this call ignores what actually happened and always has.

    2. There is no way that we would have received a debt ceiling increase until 2012. None. The tea party was even more powerful then than now and we somehow believe they were going to agree to a 3-4 trillion ceiling raise before the tea party folks actually took office and had a chance to have their say?

    Heck no. There is no way in hell the GOP would have infuriated the base that gave them the house by doing exactly what the new house freshman had pledged never to do.

    Dems would have lost, looked ugly doing it and gained nothing from it.


    Imagine (none / 0) (#39)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:31:32 PM EST
    the GOP explaining to their base that they helped the dems increase the debt by 2-3 trillion just before the tea party members took control with the mandate to stop that exact thing from happening.

    Mr. Roarke and Tattoo could have pulled that off. Not Pelosi, Obama and Reid.


    None of them (none / 0) (#41)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:37:36 PM EST
    knew what the debt ceiling was until April.  Seriously.

    Show me a quote from Pelosi in Dec. on the debt ceiling.

    There was some mistaken political calculus by the Dems here, by both Reid and Obama.


    OK (none / 0) (#46)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:58:19 PM EST
    Here is a link showing that the dems were fighting to raise the debt ceiling as part of tax talks at the start of December:


    Look. The BTD theory is that somehow no dem was smart enough to even consider the fact that this could happen. He's said it a number of times and I've finally gotten tired enough of it to call him o it.  The bottom line is that there was a strategy.  This is the strategy as laid out by Reid and told to Klein in December:

    "It's that they simply don't want to. "Let the Republicans have some buy-in on the debt. They're going to have a majority in the House," said Harry Reid. "I don't think it should be when we have a heavily Democratic Senate, heavily Democratic House and a Democratic president."

    The theory goes something like this: Republicans will demand sharp spending cuts in return for lifting the debt ceiling. Let them. "Boehner et al have had the luxury of proposing all sorts of ideas that bear no relation to reality," says Jim Manley, Reid's spokesman. "Next year, they'll have to lay it all out. No more magic asterisks, no more `we'll get back to you.' "

    In this telling, the debt ceiling vote represents a trap for Republicans more than an opportunity for Democrats. If Republicans want to cut spending, now's their chance. But that means passing a package of spending cuts, which they may find less enjoyable than simply saying that Democrats should stop spending so much."

    Now I get that people don't think it was a good strategy, but the reality is that this is actually working exactly the way as predicted from a congrssional point of view. The GOP did indeed go nuts and the public has sided with the dems.

    The only issue is that Obama has offered up some pretty serious goodies to get a deal.  If a deal is done with entitlement cuts then Reid was wrong.  But if that doesn't happen, everything Reid said was right.  Dems will be able to campaign hard on the fact that the GOP voted for a crazy plan that would have cut all sorts of crazy things. Obama will be able to say that he was only cutting stuff because the GOP was crazy and then we'll get a Bachmann type saying things that prove them all right.

    Success.  Debt ceiling raised. No entitlement cuts. Cuts that force us to wind down the wars and other non-crucial cuts.


    The funny thing is that in two weeks we could be talking about the fact that the dems come out looking decent and the GOP looks terrible, and people are so full of anger at the wrong folks that they can't imagine it's even possible.

    Who knows where we end up but people claiming to know the winners and losers right now deserve to have their sh*t called out.


    Here's the thing (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:34:09 PM EST
    I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Reid is a political genius.  In your WSJ link, it is suggested that including the debt ceiling would be controversial.  Sure.  BUT it is also acknowledged that if it is not included, "a contentious political fight" would unfold in 2011.

    Nooooooo shhhh*t.

    Part of my resentment about this is that progressives in whipping supporters for a possible Deal in Nov/Dec included the debt ceiling.  When it wasn't there I was kind of surprised.

    Reid may want the GOP to lay out their ideas.  That was going to happen with the budget anyway.  Not the debt ceiling, THE BUDGET.  The most harmful thing laid out by the GOP was the Ryan budget, the impact of which Obama almost defused by proposing entitlement cuts of his own.  Dems aren't going to win elections campaigning against the Balanced Budget Amendment - people like that because it matches their self image (not reality) about how their household works.

    These cuts are not going to "force us to wind down the wars."  Get real.  Those wars are going to go on as long as anybody wants them to - cuts aren't going to constrain them.

    How about I call out your sh*t - you claimed a win had to include some level of revenues.  The GOP is getting their original spending cuts handed to them, AND they aren't giving on revenue.  I haven't gotten so distracted through this dumb process to not see that THAT IS A GOP WIN.  And the GOP won by your standards (from two/three weeks ago) as well.

    Now if you want to say that a win means that we survived, that's fine.  I'm relieved that there are no entitlement cuts.  But I never thought being gouged for trillions just to raise the damn debt ceiling was a victory.  And not only are there no revenues, there are no stimulus measures!  Austerity ALL. THE. WAY.

    I'm glad Obama is popular - but it's not October 2012.  It's July 2011.  

    It boggles the mind that after the Tea Party successfully convinced millions of people that the ACA would include death panels that the Dem establishment though, "eh, we'll handle them."  

    No entitlement cuts this time.  But the budget battle comes up in less than 3 months.  Do you think Dems will have their sh*t together this time around?  I'm not sure.


    I guess I should add (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:48:10 PM EST

    So (none / 0) (#114)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:44:01 PM EST
    What should happen. On one hand we should have known that the GOP would stoop as low as they could.  Conversely we were supposed to stop that same party from crashing the same train in December.

    Again, I don't see a way that we could have won if we take your assumptions as fact.

    An answer may be that we could not have.  I think that is a logical conclusion but one that you don't seem to acknowledge in your outcomes.


    Well Dec. (none / 0) (#126)
    by lilburro on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:45:26 AM EST
    we had our majorities, and it was pre-Tea Party invasion.

    If you go back in time and see an urgency on the part of Dems in Dec. to incorporate the Debt ceiling, I think that happens.  The Bush tax cuts were no little chip.  Yes, it's useless now, but...what did we learn from the negotiations about the GOP?  No revenue ever, tax cuts forever.  That chip meant a lot to them.  

    Basically, much of the evidence points to the Dems thinking this is a political battle they could win.  (WSJ link you provided, for ex.)  Other than boosting Obama's popularity, marginally, on this issue (haven't seen overall approval tick much) it hasn't.  Everyone still thinks Congress sucks...the Dems in Congress less so.  Race to the bottom.

    And I'm not happy to sacrifice 2 trillion in cuts to the easily evaporating approval ratings of a President.  I don't think Obama is dumb enough to think this will float him into 2012 but I don't see that this helps him in the budget either.

    I do believe the Dems were willing to play dumb because they wanted to pass cuts.  And be seen passing them.  It's Beltway Dem logic.

    Reid is worse than Obama here - he wouldn't be so craven had he fought for some other position instead of immediately negotiating for cuts.

    The one thing I would do at the start of Obama's term is exchange Reid for Schumer.  I think things would have worked out better.  

    What's done is done (and done means more than 2 trillion in tax cuts, I think that's what we get, at least).  I just want to know that Dems will try to produce something closer to a win (as defined at the beginning of the process) vis-a-vis the budget.  

    The GOP has made themselves abundantly clear on the issue of the budget.  When you break that budget down, it is massively unpopular.  I don't want to see any Grand Compromises there.

    To be clear I a) don't daydream that HRC is President and b) will never vote GOP.  

    But I struggle to see a path in which the budget works out in our favor, after this.  Obama's got the bully pulpit down now, but there will have to be a major tactical switch.

    Nancy's sold out.  Reid sold out.  Obama sold out.  What magic is going to happen to the economy now?  

    However we got there, no branch of the Democratic Party dares whisper "stimulus."  And that is just absolutely horrible.


    ABG why a smart guy like you fails to (none / 0) (#33)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:17:08 PM EST
    understand this is really staggering.  The GOP will do anything...ANYTHING...to keep taxes from going up.  The is the holy grail to them.  Look at what they are willing to do NOW for Christ Sakes to keep them from going up.  Obama could have gotten the budget and debt ceiling nailed down so he would not have to deal with it when the Tea Party was seated in the 112th congress in exchange for not raising taxes.  Instead, he left himself wide open to spend his last two years in his 1st term fighting with the GOP over how much we are going to cut spending.  And don't call this Monday morning qb'ing, people were making this call last December.

    Easy counter (none / 0) (#42)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:41:26 PM EST
    "The GOP will do anything...ANYTHING...to keep taxes from going up."

    Correct. But we had a situation where taxes going up on the middle class could have been catastrophic and things like screwing with mortgage interest deductions built into the Bush tax cuts would have absolutely destroyed the housing market further.

    There really wasn't a choice given where the economy was.  The gamble that Obama made was that he can let the cuts expire on everyone in 2012 because (a) the economy will be better and (b) he doesn't have to worry about reelection at that point.

    Makes sense.

    The issue with BTD is that he never agreed to the thinking behind that gamble and never acknowledged that it was even a legitimate option.  He also simultaneously believes that increasing taxes wouldn't hurt families at all which seems a little crazy.  raising middle class taxes would have been devastating for millions and that's in essence what BTD wanted to have happen.

    That was just the wrong move.  Sorry he or anyone else has to rely on "you are ignorant" to disagree but that doesn't mean I am.  

    It just means that some folks suck at countering direct arguments.



    I think (none / 0) (#45)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:48:21 PM EST
    catastrophic overstates your case.  And obviously at the time, Obama had his middle class tax cuts to play around with.

    Or do you mean politically catastrophic.


    ABG argues like a (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by observed on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:01:49 PM EST
    salesman, showing no memory or commitment to his earlier statements, nor caring about consistency.

    From (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:28:19 PM EST
    The time things went haywire a month agoi have consistenly argued that I have no idea what will happen. When the McConnell plan came out and seemed like a win, a still said it was too early.  

    My only real point here for the past few weeks is that we spend too much time bashing the wrong people.

    And that people claiming failure can't see the future.


    Don't be modest. (none / 0) (#133)
    by observed on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:15:09 AM EST
    You've said a  lot more than that.

    All those comments can be reduced (none / 0) (#152)
    by observed on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:15:17 AM EST
    to this short statement? Man, you need an editor!

    No I mean real world catastrpophic (none / 0) (#47)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:01:27 PM EST
    The irony is this:

    When we argue that the middle class is going to be devastated by entitlement cuts, everyone agrees and nods approvingly.

    When we argue that thay same middle class is going to be devastated by paying $3-$7K more in taxes, then suddenly it's not a big deal.

    Same middle class. Same budgets. Same devastating impact.


    Where do you come up ... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:41:11 PM EST
    When we argue that thay same middle class is going to be devastated by paying $3-$7K more in taxes, then suddenly it's not a big deal.

    ... with these numbers?

    Who benefited from the Bush tax cuts?:  Families in the middle fifth of annual earnings, who had average incomes of $56,200 in 2004, saw their average effective tax rate edge down to 2.9 percent in 2004 from 5 percent in 2000. That translated to an average tax cut of $1,180 per household.


    Mortgage insurance deduct (none / 0) (#95)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:06:16 PM EST
    Lots of folks will get hit with an extra 2-3k each year if that goes away.  And that is a benefit just trot folks making under 56k or 100k.

    That combined with the tax breaks gives you a household making 60k that could lose 5k a year under the right facts.

    The middle class would be hurt. Bad.


    How would the repeal of the ... (none / 0) (#110)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:51:06 PM EST
    ... Bush tax cuts result in a repeal of the mortgage interest deduction?  Obama has proposed limiting the deduction for families making $250,000+, but:  1) that's a separate issue from the Bush tax deductions, and 2) it's hardly a proposal that would hurt the "middle class".

    A married couple (none / 0) (#100)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:40:06 PM EST
    bringing in 160,000 combined pays 5,500 extra.  Single girl like me pays 300 extra.  Not the same as someone on a fixed income or someone who has to pay the medical bills of a senior citizen.  Let the tax cuts expire in Dec 2010, then come into 2011 roaring about GOP intransigence and the need for middle class tax cuts.

    There was just no political will for that.  Dems see that as a political catastrophe.  

    The issue is more political will than anything else, IMHO.


    The mortgage insurance deduction (none / 0) (#115)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:46:06 PM EST
    That helps only those making below a certain threshold, not above it. It is part of the bush tax cut package I believe.

    The mortgage (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:28:53 AM EST
    insurance deduction is ONLY available to those homeowner's who have bought a house after 2008. So it is helping almost no one.

    The mortgage INSURANCE deduction? (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 08:02:04 AM EST
    "Lots of folks will get hit with an extra 2,000 -3,000 a year"?


    The mortgage insurance deduction only applies if:  1) you have mortgage insurance (most people don't) 2) you closed on a loan after 2007 3) you meet the income limits, and 4) you itemize deductions.  Even if you meet all of those qualifications, there is no way the repeal of this deduction is going to cost people between $2-3,000/year.  A homeowner with a mortgage of @ $180,000 will save about $351.  If your mortgage was larger the deduction would be greater, but the income limits between $100,000 and $200,000 would kick in loooooong before anyone approached your imagined number.

    You're straining (again) to try to claim Obama had no choice.

    It's silly.


    Mortgage insurance deduction (none / 0) (#129)
    by sj on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:08:43 AM EST
    is peanuts compared to the mortgage interest deduction.  I haven't had to pay PMI in years, because I, fortunately, bought my house before the housing "boom" and it's a straight up fixed mortgage and I have real equity in my home.

    I have no idea when it became a deduction.  But that wouldn't hurt people nearly as much as when  the deduction for all interest (CC included) was removed and we lived through that.

    Having said that, loss of the mortgage interest deduction, which has apparently been discussed, would probably get the whole lot of Washington kicked out of their jobs.  Even faster than following the recommendations of the Catfood Commission(s).  Because that would hit those middle class Independents hard.


    Yglesias was 10 years old, so I see (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Towanda on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:46:00 PM EST
    when Bill Clinton went to the White House.  So perhaps we can forgive Yglesias for being a bit distracted by puberty until this millennium.

    However, why is it so hard to do research to find out how The Showdown, She Was Done in the '90s?

    Jeesh, Yglesias at least could buy the DVD of the West Wing series and see how Josiah Bartett did it.  (One of my favorite episodes, of so many. . . .)

    My take- Obama took the debt ceiling off the table (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by jawbone on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:28:16 PM EST
    in December because he wanted a crisis in which to use Shock Doctrine techniques to force the Dems into a no win situation of having to deal with SocSec/MM in order to keep the nation on an even keel financially.

    I think he didn't count on the intransigence of the bat guano wacko House Republicans -- had they a been a bit more accommodating, Obama could have maneuvered the Dems into having to vote against their party's greatest achievements, SocSec and Medicare/Medicaid.

    As it is, it looks like he'll get a Super Congress of 12 Caesars which, unless he botches things big time, will be populated with ConservaDems and Conservative Repubs. Then the Dems can be forced into voting against FDR and LBJ.

    He will then truly be a Tranformational President, besting St. Ronnie. One who destroys the great social safety net programs and the Democratic Party!

    More 11d chess? (none / 0) (#103)
    by Erehwon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:54:28 PM EST
    Naah, I prefer the simpler explanation here: it was mere incompetence, which might lead to the nice side-effect that "destroys the great social safety net programs and the Democratic Party!"

    Why can't Democrats be like Bernie Sanders? Of course, he is not a Democrat. I should have known! :-(


    the problem with (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:19:51 PM EST
    37.5 dimensional chess is that, at some point, you get sucked into a black hole, to never be seen or heard from again, until your remains are spewed out the other side, as pure energy.

    the obama administration is only at the "being sucked into the black hole" stage.

    I suppose there is a big big (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:58:17 PM EST
    difference between book smart and street smart.  Most of the dem pundits have become smarmy to me in their attempts to avoid talking about Obama's lack of street smarts, because most of them have no street smarts either.  They had all better hope there isn't a huge economic crash, none of them has what it takes to make it out of something like that alive if civil society crashes for awhile.

    Both are correct (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by jedimom on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:12:19 AM EST
    I know Bill  clinton , and Obama is no Bill Clinton. Also Obama is an inexperienced naïf who wants to be Reagan and was selected to do something no R could do, gut SS and Medicare. And he can't even do that well. He is the worst of both worlds . Embrace Ryan plan Gen X, we r the fall guys let's take the pain and try to save our parents and kids.

    Face it. Obama just does not know (none / 0) (#5)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:05:53 PM EST
    what the hell he is doing.  Bill Clinton was not the "greatest __ of all time" he was just a competent governor.  He knew how to politic, how to lead, how to negotiate, how to manuever around congress, how to navigate around bugeting, etc.  Obama just doesn't, and he is not learning on the job.

    Look...I like Obama and certainly perfer him to anyone the GOP nominates.  I will vote for him.  He is a smart guy.  Very knowledgeable, well read, very pleasant with terrific speaking ability and I believe has the country's best interest at heart.  But Obama is just not a good President and is not going to be.  

    I am going to say that thing we are not supposed to say.  We had a shot at putting the Clintons back in the White House but opted for a flash in the pan.  Someone with a lot of upside opportunity, but a lot of downside risk.  Unfortunately, the risk is what materialized.  And the damage of that decision is going to last for a generation.

    Magic words (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:09:41 PM EST
    "a competent governor", "...how to politic, how to lead, how to negotiate, how to manuever around congress, how to navigate around bugeting". You don't get that from less than 2 years in the Senate.

    I could be wrong, but that comes with (wait for it), experience, doesn't it?

    Of course, there are those who told us experience doesn't matter.  Wonder what they think now?


    Tthat is always what I meant by (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:06:14 PM EST
    'experience' too. It is not items on a resume. It is knowledge of how things work and how to make things happen in a given environment. Obama had not demonstrated one iota of that.

    markers (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by dandelion on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:17:03 PM EST
    It's also a matter of having been around long enough to hold some markers.  Nobody in DC owes Obama anything; instead he's the one who's got markers out everywhere.  

    In addition to markers, after 8 years (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:30:58 PM EST
    of the Clinton administration, Hillary knew who had done their job and who didn't...whose expertise could be counted on and whose couldn't in a wide variety of situations.  Because she could rely on Bill for honest input and valuable experience, the Clinton presidency would have truly been a twofer in the very best sense. (Of course, many were afraid of that very scenario!)

    Nevertheless, my view was that when the 3 am call came, Hillary could always roll over and say, "Bill...it's for you!"  Obama?  When his 3am call comes...it's from Hillary.

    Oh, well....


    Did you really mean that the way it sounds? (none / 0) (#151)
    by huzzlewhat on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:14:47 AM EST
    Nevertheless, my view was that when the 3 am call came, Hillary could always roll over and say, "Bill...it's for you!"  

    So... in your view, President H. Clinton would have been basically Bill's receptionist? ::headdesk:: And while Bill was taking that call, maybe she could have gotten him some coffee.


    Uh, no...it was a joke... (none / 0) (#159)
    by oldpro on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 02:57:33 AM EST
    ...a silly/shorthand way of emphasizing that experience matters and who you can turn to and trust in times of crisis (the 3 am call) matters.  It's that simple.  A president needs experienced and honest counselors...Hillary as much as any other would have...and she would have had good and trustworthy counsel from Bill.

    The contrast is this:  who does Obama turn to for trustworthy counsel?  Hillary?  The Chicago mafia?  Who?


    Yes, experience does matter and I won't (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:02:04 PM EST
    be talked out of that as a condition precedent again.  Well, maybe, for SCOTUS appointments.  

    Yes, experience in negotiating (none / 0) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:41:46 PM EST
    and experience with the limits of personality.  A golf game and some nineteenth hole comradery with Boehner should not have been expected to yield an unalloyed success in the Grand Bargain.  The president seemed surprised that, after all their bonding,  Boehner would not return his phone calls and expressed his sorrow at being left at the altar.

    Perhaps, if starting small with membership in a service organization like the Rotary, he would find the limits of comradeship---all is fine at the Tuesday luncheons where savvy businessmen lock elbows and harmonize, the shopkeepers,  restaurant owners and the car dealers.   But, afterward, business is business, especially with two competing car dealers.


    It also comes from (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:13:43 PM EST
    intelligence, character and habit of mind.  Bill Clinton is a born executive.  Obama ain't and wouldn't be no matter how many years experience he had.

    Has he gotten even marginally, fractionally, infinitesimally better at it in the last two years?  Don't think so.

    Bill Clinton also knows how to talk to the general public as if they were older than kindergartners.  Obama doesn't.  He does soaring rhetoric, and then crabbed, simplistic, patronizing non-explanations of what he's up to or what the issues are.  Drives me nuts.


    OMG (none / 0) (#59)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:03:34 PM EST
    To Gyrfalcon and others who posted on this thread, Did not know how much you yearned to be talked to as a little kid by a President. No, thank you! A lot of us wished for someone who would engage with people as a President should with educated and well informed adults. The thing that appealed to you about BC and made you dislike BHO is exactly what made a lot of very smart people in the tech industry like BHO and dislike the people that you seem to adore.
    The little cliques of some lawyers and government employees and union people is not the entire world. Grow up! Irresepective of how much some of us disagree with BC and HRC, we do not show them the kind of disrespect that some of you routinely show BHO. It tells us something about people like you and some others in this blog; it tells me about your narrowmindedness and the small world you live in. I am really sorry that I have to sound so harsh.
    I personally feel that Bill Clinton used to BS a lot. I will give you one example. I remember seeing him engage a group of people who were swooning on him. He was telling them stories about his childhood. He was saying things like  how great he was in physics and how much he loved the subject but decided not to pursue it because he was not good in maths. When I heard that, I kept thinking that "there he goes with more BS again.." Anyone who is bad in maths cannot be good in physics, but the people he was talking to were lapping every every part of his story without questioning a single fact.
    Try to understand that different personalites appeal to different people, please show some maturity.

    What appealed and appeals about (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:14:18 PM EST
    BC is his ability to a)empathize, and b) spend the next 30 minutes explaining complex concepts in a way understandable to the voters.

    Obama, on the other hand, reads his lecture, extremely scripted, and still gets thrown by off-message questions, possibly the reason he give so many speeches from the hall. Too bad he doesn't have Powerpoint. He could put them on the screen, then read them to us.


    After passing out the syllabus. (none / 0) (#120)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:05:15 AM EST
    Empathy is in the eyes of the beholder (none / 0) (#128)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:03:23 AM EST
    Also BC would often make questionable simplifications and leave out all caveats to explain a point. Such simplifications appealed to some, I was not overly impressed by it (once again that is my preference, I will understand if someone disagrees). There was an element of salesmanship in him that I was never comfortable with.
    Ofcourse BC was intelligent, well read and informed. So is BHO.

    Wait .... so you're saying ... (none / 0) (#143)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 08:05:48 AM EST
    ... you didn't like the fact that BC would make "questionable simplifications" and "leave out important caveats", which left you uncomfortable with his "element of salesmanship", ...

    ... but you liked Obama?!?!?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha ....


    speaking of showing some maturity . . . (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:25:03 PM EST

    LOL (none / 0) (#122)
    by sj on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:26:17 AM EST
    My reaction, too!  My thought was "OMG, how immature, duh!"

    That's a truly pathetic response (5.00 / 3) (#124)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:42:26 AM EST
    I think you really probably do know the difference between telling stories about your childhood at a campaign event and explaining policy choices in a formal interview or a press conference or a speech.

    I'm sure you do.

    I've never, not once, in any circumstance, heard Obama talk with as much detail and depth about any policy issue.  Not once.  It's all bromides and oversimplification-- actually, very much the way you describe Clinton telling little stories about his childhood.

    Project much?


    Bromides....exactly (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:18:09 AM EST
    If you really understood policy (none / 0) (#132)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:14:09 AM EST
    you would have understood that many of the economic problems that the country is facing have their origins in the Clinton years. Focussing on policies that put the financial sector on steroids and encouraged manufacturing to leave the country were policy decisions. We are still paying the price (ofcourse GWB increased the damage many time s more). Many decisions that BC took has wrecked middle class life in this country.

    Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 02:08:52 AM EST
    By this non-response response, I take it you know exactly what I'm talking about and can't defend your silly rant above.

    I said nothing about Clinton's policies, only about his ability -- and more to the point willingness -- to explain them in detail as if his listeners had more than half a brain.

    Don't know where your rather extreme CDS comes from, but you might want to seek treatment for it.


    Not surprising (none / 0) (#140)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:59:36 AM EST
    that you have come back to this silly and tired habit of ascribing "CDS" even at the mildest criticism of Clinton's policies.
    If you said "nothing about Bill C's policies" and would like to walk away from the "bromides" that he narrates about his personal life,you are left with "his ability -- and more to the point willingness -- to explain them in detail" questionable policies to listeners that had "more than half a brain". This is from paraphrasing what you wrote in the last few posts. Not exactly a great defense of BC, it only supports a point I made that I thought that the former President could BS a lot.
    I have a more sophisticated view of BC (than the fawning and swooning kind of opinions that you seem to have). I can say very complimentary things about him on certain things and can critique him on other matters. I can do the same with BHO.



    Yeah .... THAT'S the problem (none / 0) (#144)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 08:08:19 AM EST
    People just aren't as "sophisticated" as you.



    If you understood policy, you wouldn't (none / 0) (#150)
    by observed on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:14:30 AM EST
    be arguing by citing an anecdote.
    By the way, do you think Obama knows physics or math?
    Do you think he's at the level of college algebra?

    The problem with you is that you ONLY discuss Clinton's role in some areas, while neglecting his positive contributions, and completely ignoring the elephants in the room who are mostly responsible.


    Pretty much true. (none / 0) (#68)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:24:36 PM EST
    Obama has never shown leadership in any job he has done. It is a flaw that going to doom him in the presidency.

    I still think he missed his calling. He should have been an African American evangelical minister. His personality and skill sets would be ideal for that job.


    Beg to disagree vehemently (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:44:53 AM EST
    Ministers, especially in AA churches, have to have empathy and passion.  Even BO's biggest cheerleaders would be hard put to argue that he possesses either of those things.

    You know what pisses me off? (none / 0) (#127)
    by lilburro on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:53:17 AM EST
    I have TWO Obama t-shirts in the dresser.  I have one Hillary shirt.  I worked weekend after weekend to deliver votes for Obama in North Carolina.  I donated money.  And I spent an entire summer canvassing for the DNC in 2006.

    I could get mad at the GOP more, but guess what, that's what my donating/volunteering was about.  NOT MAKING THEIR SH*T HAPPEN.  I know the GOP is a goddamn trainwreck - that's why I didn't invest in them.

    If I was intending to watch someone endlessly chase after something, as Obama is independents, I could at least let it be me, and be chasing after a Wii Tennis Ball.

    How many independents donated?  How many knocked on strangers' doors for Obama?  

    I argued with people for 45 minutes at a time to go out and vote.  

    Guess I should've casually sat around my house and yakked about how the government should be like my own household budget, etc.


    Profound sympathies (none / 0) (#136)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 02:06:00 AM EST
    I don't want to say "I told you so," I just feel so very awful for the folks like you who believed and have been let down so terribly.  There are an awful lot of you.

    And I hasten to add that even I never anticipated he would go as far as he has.

    Bruce Barlett, an advisor to Reagan and Treasury guy under George H.W., said in a fox interview tonight that Obama is "obviously a moderate conservative."  As a Republican, he was a bit amused, but as a decent human being, he was also sympathetic to the horror of Dems. who thought they were going to get a liberal president.


    Obama was the classic (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 04:17:25 PM EST
    pig in a poke.

    How anyone could support a pig in a poke for the nomination was and is still beyond me.


    do remember reading the DNC and (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:01:48 PM EST
    super delegates went for Obama over others in the primaries because they thought he would be more malleable to what they wanted.

    Those delegates were stupid (none / 0) (#20)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:23:33 PM EST
    Why? Because he isn't malleable (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:00:34 PM EST
    to their wishes?

    Because (1.20 / 5) (#35)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:22:16 PM EST
    Obama never told them he was going to be a subservient slave who bows down to his massah.

    In any event, I don't remember anyone saying this other than former bitter Hillary supporters.

    A quote would be helpful.  Otherwise, I'll assume this is made up like Obama playing 99 Problems before an event and the Michelle Obama/whitey tapes that hillary supporters had seen with their own two eyes.


    The lunacy you display (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:31:22 PM EST
     is exceeded only by the hypocrisy of what really happened.

     Let's see, Ted Kennedy, "the Lion" of the Senate throws Hillary under the bus and goes for the Chicago slickster. Now, there is no doubt in my mine, none at all, that ole Ted made his choice with the good of the country utmost in his mind. The fact that Hillary had a mind of her own while Obama's only qualifications were treachery and blind ambition I'm sure had nothing to do with Ted's insulting whistle to the panting newcomer.

     Kennedy couldn't have made his intentions more obvious if he asked Obama to stand on his front lawn wearing a jockey uniform.


    Personally, I don't agree that Teddy (5.00 / 6) (#83)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:39:49 PM EST
    made his choice with the good of the country utmost in mind.  The Kennedy legacy was utmost in mind from where I sit.  The 'passing the torch' extravaganza was the most transparent political deal I've ever watched live.  Sickening in every way.

    That's quite a cynical (2.00 / 1) (#147)
    by brodie on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:20:09 AM EST
    take on Teddy's endorsement -- so much so that it reminds me of how many in the GOP used to get so worked up in their anti-Teddy rhetoric when he was alive -- and a very extreme overreaction to the public appearance with Obama.

    The real reason TK endorsed, when he was initially inclined to stay out of the contest, was apparently because of a few phone calls from Bill seeking his endorsement for Hillary which turned bad and, allegedly from some news reports, had Teddy angry that Bill seemed to be making demeaning comments about O based on race (that was the report published anyway).  There might have been some grain of truth to the story, or TK might have misinterpreted a subtle or well-intended political argument from Bill.  

    Whatever, BC's lobbying for his wife seems to have backfired.  That was the most likely reason for the TK endorsement -- a very personal one which had nothing to do with the Kennedy legacy.  That torch passing touch -- which so "sickened" the poster above -- was added later as a plausible way to justify the pick and to memorably highlight the event.

    But, wow, what a strange overreaction -- and probably the most unworthy post for high rating that I've seen here in a long time, yet people are lining up to high-five it.  I must have underestimated the extent of the weird Kennedy hatred on this liberal blog.


    and what sort of high-minded (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:57:04 PM EST
    goal did T. Kennedy have in mind when he ripped into an incumbent  Democratic President, Jimmie Carter, in the most vicious & savage way imaginable? Instead of helping the President, he decided to Primary him, instead of using the mighty Kennedy assets to help this President fight off the ugly onslaught of Reagan's Right wing assault on middle class America, Ole Teddy decided to "Pile On."

    Nothing like personal ambition trumping doing what's right. I don't know which was worse, Ted's helping put this disaster, Obama, into the White House, or, almost single handedly putting Reagan there.


    wow (3.50 / 2) (#149)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:01:37 AM EST

    reading oldpro's mind

    reading Teddy Kennedy's mind


    with all your mindreading prowess, i wonder why you can't read Bill Clinton's mind, too, so you wouldn't have to rely on some unspecified "published report":

    Bill seemed to be making demeaning comments about O based on race (that was the report published anyway).  There might have been some grain of truth to the story, or TK might have misinterpreted a subtle or well-intended political argument from Bill.

    maybe i'm just having a "very extreme overreaction" to your comment


    Yes it would appear (none / 0) (#153)
    by brodie on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 10:51:36 AM EST
    you had an extreme overreaction to what I wrote -- a problem perhaps starting with your assertion that I possess some supernatural mindreading power.  Though it would be a handy thing to have, I cannot claim such powers, nor in my post above did I suggest any such psychic ability.  In fact the previous post is fairly loaded with qualifiers and allegeds and according tos, enough to at least suggest I'm not boldly asserting anything as definitive fact.  

    On the contrary, when we try to delve into the motivations or real reasons behind a pol's important decision, we're almost always by definition going to be dealing in speculation and serious guess work, not to mention the inevitable unsourced published reports about the matter.

    Btw, beyond the negative Bill-Ted chats I mentioned, I'd forgotten about the prior HRC remarks about how the 1964 CR bill had passed, and how she seemed to pass rather too lightly over the role played by JFK -- which (again, my speculation) probably was something which began to turn Ted away from Hillary, though by itself likely wasn't decisive.


    Wow Hope you aren't calling Ted Kennedy (none / 0) (#121)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:06:40 AM EST
    a racist.  

    I hope that was <snark> (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 01:39:53 AM EST
    No one could be that stupid.

    Could they?


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:25:55 PM EST
    he has been proven to be very malleable at least to the wishes of Geither.

    I am hurt you doubt my recollections. (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:26:34 PM EST
    andgarden calls these "airquotes."

    I am asked (none / 0) (#74)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:30:52 PM EST
    To back up my statements often.

    When asked I do.

    I don't respond with air quotes. I respond with real ones.


    I recall there being delegates (none / 0) (#104)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:55:11 PM EST
    who thought that HRC represented a certain more rigid frame of mind and Obama did not.  DLC and whatnot.  Which is legitimate.  People wanted something new.  Many delegates did too.

    I don't think that was part of the PUMA bs, but there is plenty of it, no doubt.

    I will try to find a source for this and let you know.


    I think this article (none / 0) (#148)
    by lilburro on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:49:15 AM EST
    about Daschle is to the point:

    There have been suggestions that Mr. Daschle's advocacy of Mr. Obama is driven by lingering resentment that his cooperation with the Clintons over the years contributed to his own defeat in conservative South Dakota. Mr. Daschle and close associates say that idea is without merit and that Mr. Daschle simply sees Mr. Obama -- and his relatively short Washington résumé -- as a chance for the party to start anew. Mr. Daschle also dismisses any talk of interest in securing a top spot in any Obama administration.

    Nothing really surprising about that.  Starting anew was obviously part of the appeal.

    Looking for this article reminds me of how stupid the superdelegate process is.


    Yup (none / 0) (#93)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:55:58 PM EST
    I remember. It was funny then and now it's a tragedy.

    Couple of things: (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:35:24 PM EST
    First, I don't believe Obama has the country's best interests at heart - I don't think he's a "greater good" kind of politician.  He hasn't grasped that he could be a true man of the people, in the Democratic tradition, and still, at the end of his run, be the beneficiary of enormous wealth through the kinds of opportunities that are always available to former presidents.  For whatever reason, I think he's trying to secure a legacy as The Greatest President Ever, and at the same time secure a post-presidential life as The Best Friend Wall Street Ever Had.

    Jimmy Carter was a president who was an example of someone whose heart was in the right place, but who couldn't translate it to good governance.  Obama is a president who is playing out the psychodrama of childhood abandonment on the national stage; yes, Bill Clinton had family issues, too, but at least he had his mother - Obama didn't even have that.  When both your parents abandon you, and leave you with people who love you but don't even look like you, it's possible to rise above it, but it's not always possible to get over it.

    Second, I don't understand voting to keep a bad president in office just to keep a worse one from getting there, but that's a discussion we've had to death, so I won't belabor it.

    Finally, there are a lot of smart people in this world - there are a lot of smart people right here on this blog; it's not enough to be smart and well-spoken and personable if the thing that drives you is coming from a very damaged place.

    I'm sure he'd be a great guy to have a beer with, play a pick-up game of b-ball with, discuss the latest books we've read, and I'm sure he's a good husband and father.  But - call me crazy - it's just not enough to put someone in the most powerful position in the country.


    I'm not so comfortable (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:02:27 PM EST
    psychoanalyzing the President, and, I guess, I'm not so sure at this juncture it is important to me why he is the way he is.  

    On the other hand, the President may have a high IQ, but, as we have learned from psychology research, there are many different types of intelligence, with standard "IQ" measuring only some aspects of intelligence.  More important to me, however, are a person's values and ability to be flexible and change course when a particular way of doing things does not work.  President Clinton was not skilled in the ways of Washington when he came to office, but he had an abiding interest in being able to govern for the benefit of all of the people and an ability to change course when whatever course he was following was not working.  In addition, I have read from many different sources that Pres. Clinton also had a remarkable capacity to listen.  All of these things were evidenced when he hired David Gergen, &, following Gergen's advice, cleaned house, and charted a new course to get done what Pres. Clinton had wanted to do all along.  

    In contrast, I have seen little evidence of this Administration's or this President's willingness to change its or his way of thinking on issues or ways of doing things; I have seen little evidence of their willingness to listen to anyone who does not share their views, particularly those in their own party; and I have seen little evidence of their interest in working for the good of all strata in this country.  These are the qualities I look for in a national leader rather than mere high IQ points.  All in all, I come to the same conclusions you and many others on this blog have reached.  

    I also think that the same mindset that supported the comments Pres. Obama made as a candidate about individuals in PA not knowing what's best for them operating to support his view of the liberals in his own party and anyone else who does not agree with him -- the President knows best, and those who disagree have yet to be enlightened. Unfortunately, it seems it will take the verdict of a lost Presidential election or perhaps history to shake the Administration from its conviction that it is on the "right" course and the rest of us have yet to see the light.  

    I wonder why a 39% approval rating on handling of economic issues, a serious loss of support even among African Americans (down to mere majority from 77%), and polls showing real potential to lose the bell weather state of Ohio in the 2012 presidential election have not been read as calling for a change of course.  The only response seems to be the drive for ever large amounts of campaign funds.  But many a candidate has lost an election after outspending the opposition.  


    neither am i (none / 0) (#56)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:54:13 PM EST
    I'm not comfortable psychoanalyzing the President

    it gets old & goes nowhere

    especially when we can address the problems on the basis of policy alone


    I do think trying to understand why (none / 0) (#158)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:41:21 PM EST
    the Pres. sees the world as he sees it or reflects a certain style of doing things or values, etc. is a valid line of inquiry, I'm just personally not comfortable that I know enough about his personal psycho-dynamics, and I think the minute Dems start psychoanalyzing, we open ourselves up to attacks on the basis that we impute evil motives, we're attacking the President's character, etc., and we allow the arguments to become personal rather than policy.  

    [Raising hand] (none / 0) (#19)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:23:05 PM EST
    I thought we were opting to put Hillary back in the white house and that hillary and bill were two distinct people who shouldn't be lumped together in that way.



    True. But maybe Buckeye didn't (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:02:53 PM EST
    sign The Pledge.  

    I don't believe any grand strategy was in play (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:09:13 PM EST
    I really think Obama thought the GOP would have to act like grownups once they had power, ie. the House. I think it was just a total mis-read of the playing field.

    Right. In fact, there (none / 0) (#18)
    by observed on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:21:34 PM EST
    is no grownup in the room.

    Then again (none / 0) (#24)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 05:41:59 PM EST
    he's certainly rallied to the idea that he is the "adult" in the room.  In a way that suggests this strategy has been mapped out for a long time.

    Look at where Obama was before he offered SS, Medicare eligibility age, etc. in the negotiations with Boehner.  He was offering a pretty Republican package.  People obviously want to believe that at some point Obama started negotiating in bad faith with Boehner (esp. when you get to the point where he's offering SS, Medicare eligibility, etc.).  If it was the whole time, that's pretty craven.  If it was only part of the time, well the policy on the table was not that good to begin with.

    I don't really know what to think about the whole thing.


    The Tea Party bargaining position: (none / 0) (#32)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:14:03 PM EST
    If we can't have America, nobody can. We'll kill it before we let anyone fix it. Because we love it so much.

    I think that's the point (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:17:59 PM EST
    of this post.  That is their position, but was the GOP's position so different in the 90s pre-government shutdown?  I don't think so.  But the government shutdown is a better playing field for Dems than the debt ceiling.

    Gingrich in the 90s simply threatened to hold (none / 0) (#37)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:27:41 PM EST
    his breath until the country turned blue. As anyone who has witnessed a child make this threat knows, you simply wait because they can't hold their breath long enough to harm themselves.

    These sociopaths are holding a grenade and standing next to the crib. And they're willing to pull the pin if they don't get a unicorn. Now.

    Negotiate with that.


    Again. (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:42:35 PM EST
    That is the point of this post.  Both BTD and MY think the debt ceiling raise could've been part of The Deal.  MY thinks not doing so was potentially a good strategy.  BTD thinks it was a bad strategy.  

    The debt ceiling raise only would have happened (none / 0) (#49)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:06:37 PM EST
    last year if they thought what's going on now was going to happen.  But nobody was making that call back then. We didn't see this problem as a high probability scenario.

    For example, it's easy to look back and say, man, I wish I hadn't dated that person. It didn't turn out well at all. But you don't know that's going to happen when you ask for a phone number. It's the rabbit in the pot six months later that's the give away.

    The GOP last winter, TPers and all, looked no crazier than they have since Reagan, just louder and more single issue. Folks laughed at them, they were so ridiculous. Who would have thought?

    So I don't see evidence of any real strategy, because you only plan for the things you see coming. But yeah, it would have been nice. Right now, however, we need to find a unicorn dealer. Or get a vet, a narwhal horn, and some super glue.


    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:47:28 PM EST
    progressives at the time thought it was smart to include the debt ceiling in exchange for extending the Bush tax cuts.  Ezra, for instance.  He foresaw the issue.

    Were you not worried about insane Tea Party congressmen and women last fall?

    Because I kind of thought that they were going to be batsh*t crazy.  

    When did this moment of enlightenment fall upon the Democratic Party?  Death panels didn't do it?  

    I think the Dem establishment saw the debt ceiling as a potential political liability, and wanted to seem responsible, in terms of not only raising the debt ceiling but also in terms of cutting spending.  Remember, Reid jumped all over McConnell's clean bill with trillions of cuts.

    Both parties are in a cutting mood.  There will be no new stimulus in this bill.

    Two austerity parties.  That is simply sad, I am sorry.


    Sorry to say, but no, I didn't think at the time (none / 0) (#156)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:50:08 AM EST
    that they were crazy enough to burn down the house. Mea culpa.

    In my defense, I live in a state that keeps reelecting Steve King. He's crazy as an outhouse rat, and bigoted against, well, everyone that isn't part of his ideology, religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.

    But he's been ineffectual. I pictured that at worst, this batch of freshmen congress critters to be like a yard full of Steve Kings, barking at their own shadows. At best they'd do what generations of GOPers have done: follow orders from their leaders.

    I was wrong.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#64)
    by me only on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:18:27 PM EST
    It is really hard to look and see that the girl had cheated on every guy she had ever been with.  That she was cheating on her husband when you was burning up your sheets.  Man, how could you see it coming that she would cheat on you.


    The Republicans have been screaming "No more taxes," at least since they dumped H.W. Bush off at the old folks home.

    Your argument is akin to the GOP party members saying "we had no idea that the Dems were going to try to pass health care legislation."

    The only people who didn't take the Tea Party seriously after the Dems lost the House were people who can't leave their own sound bubble.  Those people actually think the Tea Party is some corporate astroturf.  It isn't.  The anger on the right is real.


    I didn't mention cheating - sorry if my analogy (none / 0) (#155)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 11:42:02 AM EST
    brought up bad memories for you.

    The GOPers have carried water for lots of ideas for the last couple decades, but the record shows that their noise doesn't correlate well with their actions. The best tell for the GOP is to look to Rush. Unfortunately, he doesn't give long range forecasts. Last Dec. his focus wan't on the debt ceiling, it was on the sekrit mooslum kenyan usurper and his fascist-communist followers.

    As to the Tea Party movement, that is well documented corporate astroturf. It's members were angry, sure. They were told to be angry, because income taxes are at an all time high, the government was trying to interfere with their medicare, and other bits of wisdom. My concern in this thread isn't with them, it's with the congess critter ideologues who are willing to crash the economy because they think that's the best thing to do. They're the dangerous ones, because they hold office.


    There.Are.60.Members. (none / 0) (#44)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 06:47:37 PM EST

    The.Blue.Dogs.Had.54. (none / 0) (#67)
    by me only on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:20:57 PM EST



    Obama traded it away in a back (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:29:50 PM EST
    room deal with the medical industry.

    Admittedly we had one conservative too many.


    Failure to communicate. (none / 0) (#80)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:38:16 PM EST
    Here is the problem, BTD (none / 0) (#50)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:10:08 PM EST
    The moment of maximum leverage is debatable. (Yes, it is.) Of course, Obama knew about the "debt ceiling" probable showdown in December. Everyone did; the Repubs told everyone. There are many of us that knew that & believe the maximum impact is a matter of estimate about when the Repubs would overplay their hand. That means: I have never bought "The Deal" routine as you describe it because--fresh off an election biggie win--the Repubs had maximum leverage, the all-important political psychological leverage translated into public perception last winter into early spring. You get to believe what you believer; but, others--reasonable people--differ.

    Again, I agree with your assertion that the moment to seize is the maximum leverage time. That makes sense in every negotiation that I participated in for well over 30 years.  Its just that...the dimensions of high stakes political & Presidential election politics have a number of angles. Who knows? But, it is clear from all anecdotal & so-called professional polls these days that the brouhaha is giving the Dems a leg up in that all-important "who do you trust" "who has your interests at heart" "who is the most willing to compromise (a positive for the American polity!)" categories. From the political science perspective, that may well have the traction that both parties have been struggling for.

    Just my two or five cents.

    If the moment of maximum leverage is (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:49:59 PM EST
    open for debate, why then, since BTD, myself, and plenty of others who were looking at the incoming congress and said, more or less collectively, "damn..." saw an opportunity?

    An opportunity, a small window of time in which democrats controlled all houses of congress, but The Deal happened, instead of a last-ditch effort by the congress?

    Leadership, or lack thereof. A leader would have appealed to fix these impending problems AS WELL AS continuing unemployment AND an end to the tax breaks that caused a big part of the problem. Would "real Americans" have earned less in each paycheck? Yes. But the debt/deficit nonissue could have remained the tempest in a teapot that it OUGHT TO BE now, except for no proposals from the White House.

    What the heck do people do there? Anything? They screwed the pooch on this one. They screwed the pooch on Libya. They screwed the pooch on Egypt. they screwed the pooch on the surge in Afghanistan. they screwed the pooch on releasing reserves of oil.

    Talk about walking in scene three and shouting your soliloquy from scene two... that's the Obama administration. A day late, a dollar short, and a horse that's lame because the shoe fell off.


    IMO, there was no way that the Crazies (none / 0) (#62)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:14:13 PM EST
    (aka Tea Pot types pulling on the Repub leadership) would have allowed a negotiated-debt deal at the psychological height of their perceived power in the winter. Of course, we could think that they would have; but, think about it, the Crazies are willing to take the government to the perceived edge. The Crazies would not deal when they felt the strongest...that is a mirage. As time marches on, they are getting beat upon a bit...softened up, perhaps.

    Sorry guys, the power of the House Crazies has been waning. I stand by my claim that the strongest moment for the Dems in terms of the obvious "debt ceiling" high-noon could only come after the Crazies were seen more for what they were by the American public. Think about it.


    They took office in (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:34:59 PM EST
    January, I'm talking about November, december.

    The president has a mighty veto pen. If it gets used.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#81)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:38:29 PM EST
    I have said since the deal that the fundamental premise of the BTD Deal Critique is false.

    BTDs critique only makes sense in a world where blue dogs weren't moving further right out of fear over the 2010 elections and conservatives didn't have max power due to the same elections, none of which was true. That's the real delusion.

    And it was a crazy delusion because it was talked about repeatedly at the time.  BTD Strategy was impossible to implement.

    In fact, many critiques here rest on the idea that there was a solution that resulted in our preferred outcome.  I don't think there was any way we "win" under any scenario, including the one BTD advocates.  Sometimes there is no win.  There is only less damaging loss.

    If that is your perspective, BTD makes far less sense.


    IF there had been (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:44:29 PM EST
    LEADERSHIP, presidential style, instead of acquiescence...

    Obama's weaknesses are on record. These underlie what I'm saying now and what BTD has said since before The Deal. Hell, I don't need to defend BTD or myself, just go back and search the threads and/or posted articles.

    This crisis came from a lack of leadership. In the white house. Doesn't matter whether it was lack of character, experience, or wanting to be Mr. PPUS.

    Same with the Blue Dogs. They needed leadership, a little bit of cover or concealment, to pass a bill in December.

    When they saw they were marching in formation and Obama was on a hill behind them out of range, since they weren't sworn to do what he ordered, they began looking for cover and concealment.


    Thanks ABG for the statement.... (none / 0) (#88)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:47:17 PM EST
    BTD's premise about the "moment of maximum impact" cannot be faulted. For me, tho, it has always been more than a leap to consider that that moment was when the Dems were being written as losers after the election.

    Lame duck (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:50:29 PM EST
    is a free pass!

    That's dreamin' Jeff (none / 0) (#107)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:15:51 PM EST
    A good leader--civic or military--knows when to press, when to fall back, when to circle, when to allow the opposition to walk into a trap, and when to come back again. Frankly, in Nov. & Dec., the Repubs were high on what was coming (& the Dem Congress was a bit in disarray until Obama maneuvered legislation during that interim that observers did not expect at the time.) No Repub was going to give up the "debt ceiling" at that time, because they had too many visions of a bigger victory later. They were deep into their visions of victory; and, it would be dreaming for us to think that we could extract their precious "debt ceiling"/deficit hostage scenario last winter when they were openly saving it for summer.

    Being a good leader (none / 0) (#117)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:51:09 PM EST
    Doesn't make unreasonable people more reasonable.

    That's really the point.  If Obama had been arguing from day 1 as loudly as possible, I don't think it softens one GOP hold out to his position.  And it likely changes no blue dog position either.

    That's just a guess but a good one based on what we have seen this past year.

    We are not dealing with hostage takers that can be reasoned with.


    Oh really? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:50:56 PM EST
    But, it is clear from all anecdotal & so-called professional polls these days that the brouhaha is giving the Dems a leg up in that all-important "who do you trust" "who has your interests at heart" "who is the most willing to compromise (a positive for the American polity!)" categories.

    hmmm . . . . I guess Dems in congress are doing ok, but it seems your man Obama, not so much.


    It's called (5.00 / 0) (#58)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:58:34 PM EST

    Read the internals of every major poll (none / 0) (#60)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:06:11 PM EST
    and . . . ? (none / 0) (#65)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:19:08 PM EST
    perhaps you would like to point out which internals of this poll I should be looking at that shows Obama is handling the situation well . . .

    The trust issues (none / 0) (#71)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:28:10 PM EST
    The issues at the heart of how people eventually vote. In the past week, see the ABC & NBC polls. As a matter of fact, the accompanying narrative at the time highlights said findings.

    This is refreshing to read (none / 0) (#52)
    by Towanda on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:43:44 PM EST
    at least, that the debt ceiling showdown was able to be anticipated in December.  I thought so . . . but after reading through comments by some here who are stunned, I say stunned that Obama ought to have seen it coming as did we mere mortals, well, I had to wonder if I was remembering some other deal in some other country or century.

    House, M.D. rules. (none / 0) (#57)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 07:56:44 PM EST
    "Obama's an idiot."  

    I think Pelosi and Reid decided that sometime last year, but have tried to provide him some cover. They've let him pull the reins and pull the reins until we've reached this point:"Well how did I get here?"

    Same as it ever was. same as it ever was.
    Same as it ever was. same as it ever was.
    Same as it ever was. same as it ever was.


    Now, now--think what you like about why he (none / 0) (#61)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:08:42 PM EST
    is there. Without being born with a silver spoon, there is something to be said for the adage that, in political heights, you make your own luck.



    I don't care if he had a silver spoon or not... (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:31:27 PM EST
    Roosevelt didn't.

    Obama has never stopped denying his past. Not psychoanalysis-- I'm a sociologist. I can speak objectively and state he has not encouraged, enforced, or advocated for core Democratic principles.

    If he actually demonstrated even an academic understanding of empathy I would be pleasantly surprised.

    Obama feels pressure, yes, but he feels no pain, no shared loss, and he has no apparent understanding of such things. He's had more handed to him for ascribed status and grandparents than from his own work.

    I no longer respect him, and I think he dirties the office he currently holds.

    He is without shame, and without honor.


    Roosevelt didn't suck his spoon (none / 0) (#77)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:33:47 PM EST
    and say "heh, I got mine." Roosevelt and his people came up with the four freedoms, including freedom from want.

    Obama has developed the freedom for a rich man to sleep under a bridge (by choice, of course) is the same way a poor man can.

    This was missing from the above for some reason.


    Oh...FDR stands at the heights IMO (none / 0) (#86)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:42:07 PM EST
    But, there definitely was a "silver spoon" in that family; just as in the Kennedy family.

    The real question we have to ask ourselves, at this time, is the moving forward question. I would love to see an emulation of FDR's magnificent response to the 1930s Depression. Now, we are less than a generation ffrom the 2030s...how do we build that for the future...without falling into the Conservative trap of always looking backward while ruing the present? I'm quite serious, BTW, in that question.


    First, no more head of the party and nation (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:49:46 PM EST
    speaking of austerity, but of jobs. Second, spending proposals similar to, but 21st Century, to give jobs to people. They could be rural teaching, using an engineering degree with NASA, you name it.

    Never proposed, so no idea what would have happened.

    Add government temporary jobs... but oh, my, the debt ceiling... even though the 14th Amendment trumps the debt ceiling.

    Not trying to be glib. I'm tired, and I feel sick. Not from our discussion. Hoping for more energy and more ability to micturate tomorrow. Developing some infections that make me less than cordial.


    Good suggestions (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:07:15 PM EST
    When you have a better day, Jeff, consider expanding the first & third paragraphs.

    Rest well.


    Deep end.... (none / 0) (#79)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:37:59 PM EST
    Explain (none / 0) (#82)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:39:00 PM EST
    You are (none / 0) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:56:26 PM EST
    on fire tonight. How are you feeling?

    sick, anuseous, pain in the (none / 0) (#96)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:09:08 PM EST
    stomach and guts. I can hardly pee. So I'm channeling my intellectual Voldemort, I suppose.

    Nauseus, not what I wrote... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:12:52 PM EST
    I feel bad, but I'm going tomorrow for my three hour workout. lose weight, get in shape, fight.

    I wish Obama would fight the R's like I'm fighting to progress before surgery.

    Oh, I'm highly likely to get kidney/bladder infections until this surgery. I try to be calm and nice, but... so little time, so much to say before next Tuesday's biopsy!


    Hang in there, kiddo... (5.00 / 5) (#123)
    by oldpro on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:39:10 AM EST
    "so little time, so much to say..."  I hear you and recognize the symptom which pain and worry cannot completely erase.  We need outlets to distract us from our personal difficulties, so back to the familiar:  words!  politics!

    Now for my meds...sheesh, ten is a lot...see my oncologist tomorrow to add or subtract and perhaps move ahead with more extended chemo.

    It's always something.


    Sorry to (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:40:14 AM EST
    hear how you are feeling. Get all your "venom" out here on these boards! Take care of yourself!

    Even one of Obama's biggest (none / 0) (#73)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:29:31 PM EST
    fans Bill Mahrer is making fun of Obama. He said of course Obama is going to cave. Even he has completely given up on Obama. The other night he was on Lawrence O'Donnell's show and he was saying that surely he won't cave this time or that time but then lo and behold Obama would cave. So now everybody just expects that he will cave even the GOP knows that he will cave and give them what they want. It's why they keep asking for more and more.

    Of course he will cave (none / 0) (#84)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:40:08 PM EST
    I want him too as opposed to default.

    I think any deal, even the worse deal, is better than default because it can, possibly be reversed.  Default cannot in many ways.


    Do (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:53:34 PM EST
    you realize exactly how pitiful you sound? Why did it even have to  come to this? It came to this because Obama couldn't lead on any issue and let the GOP roll him yet again where he has been put in the position of either caving to the GOP or letting the country default. It's beyond pathetic and going into reprehensible behavior.

    Dear, dear (none / 0) (#108)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:19:42 PM EST
    So sorry that you feel the need to toss out derogatory terms because you disagree with me. Nonetheless, it is clear to most now that our summer conflict & stagnation over the "debt ceiling" argument stems directly from the November 2010 elections-have-consequences election.

    I do realize how pitiful that sounds (none / 0) (#118)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:52:53 PM EST
    I also think it smells of flowery sweet truthiness.

    The two aren't mutually exclusive. Some times you will lose no matter how hard you fight or how right you are.  How can you disagree with that?


    You're 100% right on this (none / 0) (#145)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 08:12:33 AM EST
    "Truthiness" - a "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

    your statment assumes clairvoyance (none / 0) (#146)
    by Dadler on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:19:15 AM EST
    And is absurdly bereft of anything resembling thought or logic.  Being flip is not a skill.

    "You say corn, we say maize...." (none / 0) (#89)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:49:27 PM EST
    Cave? Compromise? Given political reality & background, it is all in how you look at it.

    And, for GA6thDem: I'm guessing that at this point, your "cave" might be the public's desired "compromise."