The Imperative Of Reelecting An Impotent President?

I found the impotence "defense" of President Obama strange before, it seems incomprehensible to me now that we need to make an argument for why he should be reelected. I'm not going to rehash my arguments on the subject. Suffice it to say that in his discussion with Scott LeMieux, I think Glenn Greenwald has the better of the argument.

Speaking for me only.

< Thursday Morning Open Thread | Simpson Bowles As the New "Left" >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I like (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:18:43 PM EST
    I like VastLeft's argument even better.  If the presidency is a weak, powerless office, then why are people so afraid of electing Michelle Bachman?

    Because republican presidents are more powerful (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:08:16 PM EST
    than democratic presidents?

    I don't recall Bush being unable to produce results. On the contrary, George Bush was extremely effective for eight years at getting exactly what he wanted, whenever he wanted.

    He accomplished everything he set out to accomplish, in spite of or maybe even because of a Democratic Party that for the last two years of his presidency controlled a majority in both the House and the Senate for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.


    Except for gutting Social Security (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Coral on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:26:14 PM EST
    It will take a Democratic president, even a weak one, to do that.

    Personally, I am loathe to reelect Obama. Rick Perry is the only GOP candidate that frightens me more than the prospect of 4 more years of the Obama/Geithner/Goldman-Sachs regime.


    Read the Greenwald (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:56:38 PM EST
    post BTD links to above.  He's got it all catalogued.

    So, this will, I guess, be a campaign (5.00 / 9) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:24:39 PM EST
    that rests on several important themes: (1) whatever's wrong is not his fault because he inherited it, (2) the GOP won't let him do anything to solve the problems, (3) even if he hasn't solved the country's problems - or even made much movement in the right direction - he is still better than any of the GOP's alternatives, and - drumroll! - (4) Mitt Romney is "weird."

    Maybe he needs to brand himself as the brake that is keeping the GOP from stomping its collective foot on the gas of an agenda of utter disaster - not, mind you, that he isn't driving in the same direction on multiple fronts, just that he's doing so in a responsible, adult manner.

    Otherwise, what, really, does he have to offer?  Anyone really think he will be better, more restrained from moving to the right in his last term, more likely to wield executive power for the greater good, less likely to get us more involved in wars?  What, exactly, will he expend his apparently limited energies on in Term Two?  More inroads on the social safety net?  Coming up with a top-ten list of why his historic ACA isn't working the way he envisioned it?  Oh, wait, the Republicans and the DFH's will get the blame for that, I'm sure.  More tax cuts "balanced" by spending cuts?  Rewriting history to burnish a decidedly dull legacy?  Making plans for the Obama Library?  

    At this point, I can come up with no compelling argument for Obama's re-election; and apparently - if he has to actually lay a foundation of being The Helpless, Hapless President - neither can he.

    I Have Yet to See... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:54:18 PM EST
    ... one article that makes the case for re-electing Obama w/o mentioning some version of 'republicans are worse'.

    Can't be done in my opinion, there's just nothing there beyond HC which was a flop IMO.

    His only Ace is the SCOTUS.


    Compelling Reason? (5.00 / 0) (#88)
    by norris morris on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 04:02:06 PM EST
    I too can see no reason, compelling or otherwise to vote for Obama.

    Once was more than enough.

    He is a totally unsuitable conservative posing as a Democrat.  And the Demcratic Party?  I am mortified by what has become of them.

     A fallen bunch of hollow weak politicians who have no prnciples whatever.  Any they claim to have is questionable as they do not understand how to stand up for their so called positions and are craven cowards about fighting for their principles [if they really have any].


    This is the best argument he can make, IMHO (none / 0) (#32)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:23:50 PM EST
    Maybe he needs to brand himself as the brake that is keeping the GOP from stomping its collective foot on the gas of an agenda of utter disaster - not, mind you, that he isn't driving in the same direction on multiple fronts, just that he's doing so in a responsible, adult manner.

    He can quibble about the extent to which he is going in the same direction...YMMV. But the only answer to, for example, his too-small stimulus package is that the GOP would have done nothing. And so on.

    The only reason I will consider voting for him again is to forestall complete disaster. Things are bad enough now.


    He's already tried to make that argument (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:27:20 PM EST
    Last year

    "The other side drove the economy into the ditch, and we've been down there and putting on our boots, and it's muddy, and it's hot, and there are bugs swarming, and we've been pushing and shoving and sweating, trying to get this car out of the ditch," Obama said."And the Republicans have been standing there, sipping on a Slurpee, watching us  and saying, you're not pushing hard enough, or you're not pushing the right way," the president continued to partisan laughter.

    I am clueless, sighing, and ambivalent (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:59:27 PM EST
    It is all on you to give a lot of us a reason to be excited enough on one day to get into the car and go vote for him.  If you should choose to accept this mission, every thing that happens after that can then be your fault :)

    Oh, I think that (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:30:05 PM EST
    most of us will get in the car and go vote in 2012 (there are many state and local electoral choices that need to be made).  I'm just not sure how many will either leave the vote for President blank, vote third party or write-in, sigh and reluctantly vote for Obama, given the Republican alternative (which is bound to be really bad), or enthusiastically vote for Obama, seeing him still as the savior who is doing the best job anyone could given the circumstances .  I'm leaning toward the second alternative, myself.  I appreciate the arguments made by many (including Mr. Z) that voting third party or write-in risks getting the Republican elected, and that a third party has no chance of getting anywhere in this country.  My counter argument to this is that, if everyone who is sick and tired of the way things are done now just keeps going along and voting only for the two major parties, then nothing will ever change.  Enough votes for a third party and eventually, the two major parties may wake up.  They also may not, given the power of corporate cash, but if we don't at least try, things will forever stay the same.  I have come to the reluctant conclusion that conditions in this country may have to go into the toilet so utterly badly (even worse than under GWB), before enough voters wake the f*ck up and take this country back from the charlatans and corporate interests that are running things now.  (And yes, I'm feeling really, really pessimistic.)

    I'll be sitting on my couch (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by nycstray on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:32:25 PM EST
    with my mail in ballot. I'm sure there are things I'll want to vote for here in my state . . . :)

    Oh, yes, indeed (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:44:00 PM EST
    We need to vote for US Senators and representatives, our State Senators and representatives, governors, local officials, judges, school board members, etc, and any initiatives that may be on the ballot.  At the end of the day, it may be that the only way we can change things nationally is by starting small and working hard to change things locally.

    That's (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:07:17 PM EST
    been ABG's argument that Obama is impotent against the GOP. Actually that seems to me to be a good argument for voting Republican. I mean if Obama has to do what the GOP wants then why not have a Republican in office in the first place?

    Another (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:59:42 PM EST
    way if looking at it is that if Obama is truly impotent in dealing with the GOP, shouldn't we be looking for someone else who would be more capable?

    Why should we reward him for his failures?


    A Democratic Candidate? (none / 0) (#89)
    by norris morris on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 04:06:50 PM EST
    There is no choice whatever. The Party is a cowering bunch.

    And the African American vote would never support any one but Obama.  The party cannot and will not run anyone against him and am sure they'd rather lose than do so as they have no guts.  And no political leadership within the Party to Primary Obama.

    Obama has the Democrats by the balls, except the Democrats haven't got any.


    i believe (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:50:21 PM EST
    in a credible primary challenge to Obama

    let's stop feeling so damned sorry for ourselves, man up, channel our inner flamebaggers, get out of our confort zone at home to meet other like-minded liberals and progressives in our own communities, then organize and fight for what we believe in

    that didn't go over so well recently in California

    what you are saying is correct - & what you are proposing takes time & commitment

    i undersand that

    meanwhile it is disheartening & frightening to watch the Democratic Party head off the cliff with Obama


    Off The Cliff (none / 0) (#90)
    by norris morris on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 04:13:48 PM EST
    Addams you're right but I believe people are drained by worry,unemployment,and fear.The climate for activism is not good, but hope I am wrong.

    I am all for a political revolt towards reorganzing the Party but this can only happen if they are defeated and in the ashes of defeat a group of true progressives arise to lead the party
    and create a new kind of Democrat and Democratic Party.  We could also expect from this defeat that a new and possibly great/good leader would emerge.


    About that grassroots thing (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:54:53 PM EST
    where your voice will be heard.

    The California Democratic Party just refused to renew the charter of the largest caucus in the party, the Progressive Caucus, after they passed a resolution calling for a primary challenge to Obama in 2012. link

    Your New Democratic Party in action.


    Been there, done that ... (5.00 / 6) (#64)
    by oldpro on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:32:38 PM EST
    for 55 years.  Now I'm out of time and patience ad out of 'my' Democratic Party whose stupidity and corruption gave us Obama.

    No thanks.  If they play hardball, as you say, time for me to play hardball and there are only 3 things they want from me...my endorsement and vote, my money and my time...in that order.

    No to all three...last election and this election.  There is no argument that will get me to vote for the Obama with a D after his name now that I know he isn't one and will never be.

    Time to take your medicine, people.


    You have it exactly right (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by Bornagaindem on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 01:18:04 PM EST
    Every time the DNC or any democratic organization calls me I lay into them and tell them never again. And I hear but, but the republicans are worse. No way. Not any more.

    At least if we are going to get all republican policies, all the time lets have a republican president. If Obama is re-elected we lose social security and medicare - it is a as simple as that. Lets make sure he loses because at least then the democrats left in congress will start fighting  for those programs again.


    Yes....I give them a lecture, too. (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by oldpro on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 01:57:42 AM EST
    And it's  not only the DNC now...it's my state and local Dem orgs, my governor and one of my state legislators who have gone over the line with me.  I'm not initiating but when they call or write...they get it back.  No yelling...just clear and to the point with a few key words.  I never want to hear the words 'social security' come out of Obama's mouth unless he's announcing a raise to the recipients.

    I've had the same experience (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 06:26:29 PM EST
    with our state and county party.

    Just incredible.


    My point (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:35:03 PM EST
    being there's nothing that we can do about '12 but hopefully you're right about locally.

    I happen to think that everybody should just forget about the presidential race and work for local candidates.


    This veers too close to victimizing (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Towanda on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:19:19 PM EST
    Obama -- who is feeding that meme by presenting himself as victimized.

    And that is not only lousy political posturing but also, in the context of the self-agency for which those in the civil rights movement fought, truly deplorable of him.

    I agree, Towanda (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:31:46 PM EST
    I don't want an impotent victim.  I want a truly visionary leader.

    Or at the very least a fighting Dem (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by oldpro on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:34:08 PM EST
    you can recognize by his actions matching his words.

    Visionary, no; principled, yes (none / 0) (#48)
    by Coral on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:36:34 PM EST
    As long as they are in accord with my own principles (more or less).

    Excellent commet (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:03:34 PM EST
    Off the charts bite of reality

    The One Point From the Article... (5.00 / 6) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:32:50 PM EST
    ... that pretty much wraps everything up:
    The critique is that he doesn't try

    I would be in line if he had tried to enact policies I believe in and been defeated.  But he doesn't even try, if anything he is going to of his way not to try.  Which only leads me to believe he isn't interested in what I am, which is traditional liberal policy.

    I think that (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:39:55 PM EST
    he has made it perfectly clear that he is not interested in "traditional liberal policy."  He (usually through his minions) is willing to excoriate actual liberals (would that he was willing to act this way towards the Republican opposition).  I have long since come to the conclusion that he is, in fact, a neoliberal economically and a neoconservative when it comes to foreign policy.  This is not what I want the Democratic Party to stand for, not by a long shot.  

    Yup, that is my main complaint also (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:27:47 PM EST
    I don't try to get into his head too much - the end result is the same whether the chicken is his dislike of liberal policy and the egg is the very steep resistance to it in Congress, or the other way around. Bottom line is he won't fight for something unless it has around a  75% chance of success right from the get-go.

    What (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:49:25 PM EST
    I wonder about is how he had so many people believing that he would be a transformational president. He would end wars. He would spread the wealth. He would champion the downtrodden.

    Everything he did in public life, since his god-awful speech to the democratic convention in 2004 showed him to be a hack.

    And yet there were tears of joy upon his election.

    Some of it was of course the joy of having seen the last of W.

    But psychically, so many people were hypnotized into seeing something that was not there. True legerdemain. Conjuring.

    Even now, people who have been truly disillusioned preface any confrontation with Obama with assurances that they will vote for him.

    I think it is worth investigating the factors that make us so susceptible to manipulation.

    Actually, I think that our very lives may depend on not going down that road again.



    I'm not sure (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:53:59 PM EST
    that I would go for the "impotent" description.

    It assumes that he is trying to achieve something but is just not capable of doing so.

    I believe that he is actually an enabler.
    He identifies with Bush's foreign and domestic policies.

    He has been successful in extending Bush's dreadful presence lurking over us.

    And he may be reelected.

    So, no. "impotent" does not describe it.

    I would choose a word like, "lousy".

    Meh (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:04:29 PM EST
    you can't blame Congress for everything.  Geithner has done a pretty poor job with the housing market.  

    It's not like the economic team is pushing Congress and failing.  They're not really trying.

    People are not happy with (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:31:40 PM EST
    economic policy.

    OAKLAND -- They lined up dozens deep to tell of their economic struggles and to plead for help from the four Democrats lawmakers on the stage.

    ...The meeting's purpose was to record stories for entry into the Congressional Record, but some clearly had come to vent their anger at Pelosi for what they see as Democratic inertia in the face of Republican aggression.

    "Sellout!" someone shouted as Pelosi began addressing the crowd of about 900; shouts of "Tax the rich!" and "End the war!" punctuated her speech on job creation. Although her castigation of House Republicans -- for trying to gut the National Labor Relations Board, for delaying the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, and more -- drew some cheers, her critics remained focused. When she cited the recent deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling and cut the budget without raising any new revenues, a man angrily shouted, "Why did you vote for it?" link

    Fox news (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:10:33 PM EST
    You know what's really funny?  Fox News presented a clip of this last night, along with a clip of Maxine Waters at a similar meeting in Detroit, as Democrats getting blasted by their constituents for the deficit/economy.

    I'm missing the funny part . . . (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by nycstray on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:28:38 PM EST
    Why do we need to do that? (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by vastleft on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:52:12 PM EST
    Re: "we need to make an argument for why [Obama] should be reelected."

    If one is (quite reasonably) hard-pressed to find such an argument, why not argue for the election of someone else?

    Wondering if Mr. Greenwald (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:31:01 PM EST
    has revealed for whom he voted in '08 and also whether he has indicated he supports Pres. Obama for reelection.

    With respect, even people like BTD (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by observed on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:33:51 PM EST
    don't seem to have good bargaining positions wrt re-electing Obama.
    If the Democratic Party heard a loud chorus of prominent people who pledge not to cast a vote for Obama, MAYBE we could have another candidate.
    As it is, with everyone already resigned to re-electing Obama, there's no chance.
    At best, we will have a complete catastrophe for our next President. Woohoo.

    Glenn's a Dem (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by waldenpond on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:48:53 PM EST
    I always thought Glenn voted for Obama.  Dem bloggers that rely on hits have to time their approach... it's the ebb and flow with election seasons.  The criticism will continue until the point at which those that are disinterested bow out and the Dem loyalists come forward to maximize hits.

    He'll pivot and so will his audience.


    So they're All-Smoke- (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Towanda on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:07:51 PM EST

    Glenn's argument (none / 0) (#5)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:38:59 PM EST
    is funny because most of the accomplishments listed are related to security of the nation and the military - both of which, neither party, in the post 9/11-world, wanted to appear weak on.  Of course these would pass Congress.  Context is extremely important here.

    Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do, try to unite the country, i.e. "no blue states, no red states."  People liked that rhetoric and elected him into power.  Now that he's using that approach, people are pissed because he's not morphing into "my way or the highway."  Fine, you don't like the consensus approach, that's OK.  However, don't screw the rest of the party that doesn't have as much an issue w/it.

    So (5.00 / 7) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:48:25 PM EST
    the President isn't impotent EXCEPT on the economy is your funny argument?

    Now THAT is a winner for 2012.

    My gawd, some of you die hards are Obama's worst enemies.



    Yuck it up chuckles (none / 0) (#13)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:11:16 PM EST
    that's obviously not what I'm saying.

    I was merely making a point about comparing apples to apples.  That comparison in consideration of the context gives a clearer picture of the facts of the overall legislative agenda the president is able to pass.

    The context for this president w/r/t to an economic agenda is entirely different from that of Bush's.  The genesis for you is letting the Bush Tax Cuts lapse, thus all your arguments are made in the context that the president would've derived strength from that.  I do not agree that we should've let the cuts lapse, and the reality is they didn't. So now dealing w/a Republican house, yeah, the president is kinda limited, other than using the bully pulpit - which he's doing.

    You think it's a winner to say the American people that hey we raised taxes on you right after Christmas to have leverage against the Republicans in future budget negotiations?  I'm sure they would've liked to hear that.


    Wait up (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:25:50 PM EST
    You're arguing that you were providing a fair assessment of Greenwald's argument?

    Pull my other leg.

    You can't come and distort an argument and then whine when it comes back ion your direction.



    What distortion? (none / 0) (#26)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:57:29 PM EST
    Lemieux's strangely selective focus on Bush's second rather than first term is worth a brief comment.  After all, the current President in question is in his first term, which would seem to make that period (when Bush dictated to a submissive Congress at will, including when Democrats controlled the Senate) the better point of comparison; moreover, by his second term, Bush was plagued by a deeply unpopular war, fatigue over his voice after so many years, and collapsed approval ratings, which explains his weakness relative to his first term.  None of that has been true of Obama over the last two years.  And Bush never enjoyed Congressional majorities as large as Obama had for his first two years

    so, per the bolded portion, the context in which Bush tried to do things in the second term was terrible, which means he was stronger in his first, because of what? Good looks?  Or imagined fears over another terrorist attack?  Hence his ability to push a largely security & military laden agenda thru a scared to look weak on security & military congress.

    When are we discussing?  Now or prior to republican control of the house?  Seems to me Obama did push/cajole/pick ur term reluctant members of his party when they had control of the house and it's agenda.


    Read on - learn something: (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:10:32 PM EST
    But more to the point, to claim that there was a "near-total lack of major legislation passed during George W. Bush's second term" means Lemieux has either forgotten about numerous events during that period or has a very narrow definition of the word "major."  There was, for instance, this: [screen grab: Senate Bows to Bush, approves surveillance bill]

    That bill -- passed with substantial Democratic support -- basically legalized Bush's previously illegal warrantless domestic spying program and bestowed retroactive immunity on the entire telecom industry, which seems pretty "major" to me.  So does this: [screen grab: Bush signs tougher bankruptcy bill into law]

    That bill, a huge boon to the credit card industry, strangled the ability of ordinary Americans to work their way out of debt, which also strikes me as quite "major."  Then there's this: [screen grab: President Bush signs Un-American Military Commissions Act]

    That's referring to the Military Commissions Act, enacted upon the demands of the Bush administration with substantial Democratic support; I trust I don't need to explain how "major" that was.  There was also this: [screen grab: Bush signs renewal of Patriot Act into law]

    Democrats babbled about the evils of the Patriot Act for years and then meekly submitted to Bush's demands that its key and most controversial provisions be renewed; that also seems "major."  Just as significant was the legislation Bush prevented the Congress from passing, even when both houses were controlled by Democrats, such as this: [screen grab: Senate Rejects Iraq bill tied to deadline]

    Given that the Democrats in the 2006 midterm election convinced the American people to hand them control of the Senate and House by promising to end the deeply unpopular war in Iraq, Bush's repeated success in blocking any such efforts -- accomplished by things such as steadfast, serious veto threats -- strikes me as a very "major" victory.

    Granted, Bush's success on Iraq falls into the foreign rather than domestic realm, and some of the other examples are hybrids (Patriot Act and domestic spying), but they illustrate the real power Presidents can exert over Congress.  Moreover, this presidency-is-weak excuse is often invoked to justify Obama's failures in all contexts beyond purely domestic policy (e.g., closing Guantanamo and the war in Libya).  And all this is to say nothing of the panoply of domestic legislation -- including Bush tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, and the Medicare D prescription drug entitlement -- that Bush pushed through Congress in his first term, or his virtually unrestrained ability to force Congress to confirm even his most controversial nominees, including when Democrats were in control of Congress.

    "Obama is Helpless" is a terrible argument for re-electing him, and Lemieux's comparison to Bush's second term is as disingenuous as your citing it in support of the argument.


    yes (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:30:26 PM EST
    Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do, try to unite the country, i.e. "no blue states, no red states."

    that is why many Democrats didn't trust him or vote for him

    the reality is that the country is sharply divided, for a variety of reasons including 30 years of intransigence & corruption on the part of the GOP that Obama is so eager to appease in the name of an imaginary "bipartisanship"

    but the sharp division isn't 50/50 - it's more like 1/99, with the super-rich gaining ever more power & influence in addition to the vast majority of the nation's wealth

    chasing after a will-o'-the-wisp like "bipartisanship" in such a context is idiocy at best (that is, leaving out the fact that the vast majority of Obama's presidential campaign funds have always come from Wall Street, & glossing over the corruption that generally comes with such arrangements)

    if Obama really believes in his "bipartisanship" B.S. & is determined to hold the economy & the future of the country hostage to this delusion, then he is a rigid ideologue

    the powerless Obama to his OFA minions:

    Help! I've bent over backwards, and I can't stand up!

    So then why should he listen to you? (none / 0) (#35)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:43:12 PM EST
    that is why many Democrats didn't trust him or vote for him

    I say this with tongue in cheek, but, the irony of people who didn't/don't support the president asking him to support their idea that he shouldn't listen to people who don't support him is kinda rich.


    Because (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:46:40 PM EST
    If there are enough who feel that way, and are strong enough to not pull the lever for Obama, he d@mn well BETTER listen if he wants to keep his job.

    You are right (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:59:45 PM EST
    He should continue to listen to Tim Geithner. 26% approval on how he is handling the economy is something that should make him extremely proud.

    Also, I think it would be extremely beneficial for him to put all of the details of his economic plan, the changes to domestic programs and safety net programs he is proposing in writing for the world to see. That is bound to work wonders for him.  



    So, Obama's approach is more along (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:11:57 PM EST
    the lines of, "You want something to cry about?  I'll give you something to cry about!"  Or, "nothing I do is ever good enough, so why should I bother?"

    As opposed to considering that the negative feedback he is getting from the FDR liberals has some merit, and addressing that feedback with something other than slurs might have the effect of helping the country, which - because good policy is good politics - translates into helping him get another term.

    But sure, why not take the approach favored by bullies and the thin-skinned?  I'm sure he believes that his bankroll gives him the luxury of believing he can afford not to listen to us.


    he isn't listening to me (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:20:27 PM EST
    & i am not asking him to

    i am pointing out that there has always been a significant portion of the traditional Democratic base who didn't buy Obama's "bipartisan" bullsh!t, for a number of very good reasons

    that portion of the traditional Democratic base is now being joined by an increasingly significant, disillusioned portion of the 2008 Obama fan base

    that is starting to add up to a lot of voters who won't vote for the GOP in 2012 but also won't vote for Obama

    & that puts Obama at high risk of becoming a one-termer

    hence the strategy of punching the DFHs, a strategy not limited to the guy in New Mexico, who just happens to have embarrassed OFA by making the strategy so indisputably clear


    The problem is that you see it as bullsh!t (none / 0) (#56)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:01:42 PM EST
    attempting to build consensus in the face of republican intransigence is, IMO a wise move as part of making an argument to a broader electorate that repeatedly calls for the parties to work together.  Poll after poll shows this.

    This should not be about punishing Obama.  It should be about who, at this point in history, is the best bet for you and your fellow citizens.  Obama's gonna be alright, regardless of what happens.  It's you and I that need to be looked out for.


    that's "the problem"? (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:45:12 PM EST

    Yeah that is the problem (none / 0) (#61)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:15:01 PM EST
    in spite of your jr high response.  Everyone knows it's BS.  Your strategy's been tried and it don't work.  We get blamed when sh!t doesn't happen.

    WTF are you talking about? (none / 0) (#62)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:24:37 PM EST
    what do you imagine my "strategy" is?

    please show me where i outlined my "strategy"


    This: (none / 0) (#70)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 08:00:52 PM EST
    chasing after a will-o'-the-wisp like "bipartisanship" in such a context is idiocy at best

    So then you are talking about a more belligerent "they did it, so we can too!" approach yes?  Which results in the same gridlock but w/blame placed solely at the Democrats feet.  

    and this:

    that is starting to add up to a lot of voters who won't vote for the GOP in 2012 but also won't vote for Obama

    which in the past has led to Republican presidents who get key policy changes implemented that stay w/us for generations.


    sheesh (none / 0) (#74)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 09:58:52 PM EST
    you are talking about a more belligerent "they did it, so we can too!" approach yes?

    um, no

    seriously, no

    [not voting for Obama] has led to Republican presidents who get key policy changes implemented that stay w/us for generations

    well, apart from the fact that Obama himself is making key Republican policy changes that are going to wreck the country for generations (& the Democratic Party for a generation), it's not such a smart strategy for a failing politician to blame the voters

    i second BTD's comment earlier - that you diehard Obama fans are some of Obama's worst enemies

    & now maybe it's time for you & your Shepard Fairey poster to get a room


    I didn't rise to the bait of BTD's comment (none / 0) (#76)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 09:15:07 AM EST
    because it was silly and is not who I am at all.  

    I am no diehard Obama fan.  I supported Hillary throughout the primary.  I came to this site years ago because I could find no other w/intelligent Hillary supporters.  A review of my comment history will reveal this support.

    Respectfully, your reply typifies what is wrong w/our party.  We want to have a big tent, but too many w/in the party are intolerant and use assumptions to ridicule those w/different opinions.

    I am a die-hard democrat, that is all.  We have two choices in this country.  Until something better comes along, I choose to pick a side and support that side no matter what.  Wihtholding that support w/o significant buy-in from others and a credible alternative is, IMO, a futile exercise and puts all of us at risk.


    I guess you are referring to Obama, (none / 0) (#78)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 10:07:54 AM EST
    his spokespersons and the OFA, who never miss an opportunity to kick a DFH, in this assessment.

    but too many w/in the party are intolerant and use assumptions to ridicule those w/different opinions  

    Well, that was stupid also (none / 0) (#80)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 10:35:28 AM EST

    I would add to clarify (none / 0) (#71)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 08:17:20 PM EST
    the "BS" is the selling of the "we are the mature party" angle. Those that follow politics know it's BS, but it is, IMO, better than the "let's be rigid idealogues in spite of polls that tell us we should work w/our opposition" approach.

    Or - and here's something that (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 08:43:41 PM EST
    we haven't seen much of - how about, instead of being a rigid ideologue, Obama tries choosing to lead on the better policy, to a public that, by and large, wants the kinds of policies that Democrats have traditionally been behind?  How about a bus tour selling that, how about some speeches to the nation talking about that, how about some sit-down interviews with the media, some high-level summits, some come-to-Jesus meetings working that - you know, kind of like when Obama twisted arms and went all Godfather in order to get the war funding - instead of conceding defeat over and over and over again and calling it "working together" or "cooperating to get things done" in an attempt to appear reasonable and mature?

    I mean, wasn't that - isn't that - an option?

    Why do you think it's never been "on the table" for Obama?  That's the easiest question to answer: Obama apparently doesn't actually support or believe in that better policy - and that's the real problem.  

    Voting for it is just enabling it.


    Better policy (none / 0) (#77)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 10:00:04 AM EST
    like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    rigid idealogy? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 10:17:52 AM EST
    I choose to pick a side and support that side no matter what.

    Your comment above IMO seems the very definition of a rigid ideology.

    Hopefully you really don't mean that since it is very reminiscent of the Bush 29percenters who supported him no matter how harmful his policies were to the citizens of this country.


    I'm no fanatic (none / 0) (#81)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 11:08:31 AM EST
    I have yet to see anything truly harmful come out of this administration.  Of course, YMMV.  Do I trend towards brand D? Yes.  However I don't blindly support everything they do.  The cave-ins on FISA and civil liberties, bankruptcy and credit card changes concern me.  Are these things that can be rolled back? Yes.  How and when requires we keep our foot in the door.

    I know you have concerns about SS and Medicare, but I honestly don't believe your generation (and forgive my assumption, but I believe from your comments you're in the neighborhood of 65) or baby boomers will have any changes made that significantly impact these benefits.

    My generation however (I'm 40) and my kids are a different matter.  I'm sure there will be changes that affect me.  Am I willing to withold judgement and see what legislation is put forth?  Yes.


    The changes on the table (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 11:45:46 AM EST
    especially on Medicare would in fact drastically impact people 65 years or older.

    Medicare: Raising the eligibility age, imposing higher premiums for upper income beneficiaries, changing the cost-sharing structure, and shifting Medigap insurance in ways that would likely reduce first-dollar coverage.

    Reducing Medigap first-dollar coverage would seriously reduce the income of the majority of seniors who are on Medicare right now. The rational for doing this is that it will make seniors think twice about actually getting health care. IOW please choose between food or medical care and we hope you don't choose to get care.

    Raising the eligibility age would negatively impact everyone whether they are approaching 65, in the individual market or a young person in an employee sponsored plan. If IIRC you are part of the insurance industry and know this to be true more than just someone on the street.  

    The changes to shift more costs to the States that are proposed on Medicaid would mean that rather than expand Medicaid many people would be thrown out of the system.

    You think that you are keeping your foot in the door by supporting the people who are shifting more of the wealth of this country from the poor and the middle class to the uber-rich when in fact you are saying go right ahead and do this or anything else because I will support you regardless of how much you harm people now and in the future. The fact that the administration has scheduled most of the most draconian cuts to domestic programs to after the 2012 election does not mean that they will not inflict a great deal of harm when they kick in.

    BTW, you don't think that anything harmful has come out of Obama's assaults on civil liberties, or support of bankruptcy and credit card changes? Nothing harmful in deciding to do the stimulus on the cheap or the decision to their policies to help the banks rather than people in the housing crisis.



    There (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 11:40:33 AM EST
    are sins of commission like FISA but there are also sins of omission by Obama like letting the GOP rule the debate. You seem to be willing to let Obama's sins of omission pass while only talking about the sins of commission. Sins of omission end up with the same result as sins of commission is the problem.

    Obama builds a consensus (none / 0) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:08:32 PM EST
    to pass Republicans legislation whether or not the Dems are in the majority in both house of Congress or just one.

    Obama starts out giving the Republicans everything they ask for and then compromises by giving more than they originally requested.

    Boehner says he got 98% of what he wanted on raising the debt ceiling. Obama is on record as saying that he only gave them 90% but he wanted to get at least 10% out of the deal.

    So yes Obama is very successful on achieving a consensus to pass Republican legislation no matter how many Democratic politicians he has to throw under the bus to get to that point.    


    why should he listen to you? (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 07:34:55 PM EST
    He knows you will vote for him no matter what, so why listen to you when your vote is already locked up?

    So... (none / 0) (#73)
    by sj on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 09:40:01 PM EST
    We should only expect him to listen to sycophants?  
    I say this with tongue in cheek, but, the irony of people who didn't/don't support the president asking him to support their idea that he shouldn't listen to people who don't support him is kinda rich.

    "the consensus approach" (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:02:57 PM EST
    to what, would be the key question here.

    And congratulations, btw, for pulling out the hoary old "My way or the highway" straw man yet again.


    BTD's argument for (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:42:09 PM EST
    relecting Pres. Obama is apparently: SCOTUS nominations. That'sa one reason I voted for Obama in '08. The other reason:  I didn't think he would be a warmonger in comparison to McCain. That one doesn't seem valid this time around.

    Here I come to defend him :) (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:56:07 PM EST
    His choice in Afghanistan was the more humane way to address the danger.  Did you want the Biden plan instead? Did you really want more bombs delivered via drone attacks with much less on the ground intelligence gathering?

    What do we do now? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:19:20 PM EST
    I really wonder.....

    There seems to be little opposition among the GOP candidates to a withdrawal.



    I don't see any withdrawal argument either (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:40:41 PM EST
    And that is not a good thing.  There must always be the questioning, the challenging, or the reason for being there and doing what we will do will become corrupted.  It is what always happens with power.

    I hope that Code Pink and others keep questioning.  And I think I can rely on you hooligans over here too if anything ever smells funny.  You will jump on that, you will point fingers, you will demand answers....it is the only thing that will address the danger and the dangers.


    The best thing Obama has going for him (none / 0) (#10)
    by esmense on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 12:56:20 PM EST
    is the fact that the GOP are so consumed with hatred for him. The rest of the electorate is very concerned about the economy today, and critical of Obama's performance; just as the electorate was concerned about and critical of the wars we were engaged in and the encumbants in '72 and 2004. But, just as in those earlier elections, they don't and won't as vehemently and totally lay blame at the incumbent President's door as the President haters in the opposition party do. The general electorate will be looking for a credible alternative, not, like the haters, a radical one. (Kerry wasn't radical, but the Republicans did a good enough job making him appear less than credible. Even in bad times, incumbency matters.)

    Fortunately for Obama, the GOP base's over-the-top hatred is likely to end up with the Republicans nominating an over-the-top radical (now they are getting excited about Ryan, who is probably even less electable than Perry). As unhappy as the country is with Obama, that kind of candidate -- a Ryan, Bachmann, Perry, etc. -- isn't going to fly.

    For those of us hoping for someone with vision, that does look like Ayn Rand or Radical Christian Dominist pipedreams, there's not much hope on the horizon.

    honestly, after Reagan (none / 0) (#14)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 01:13:12 PM EST
    was elected the FIRST time, i learned that the U.S. electorate will not automatically deem any far-right-winger "unelectable," whether an amiable dunce like the Gipper or a Christofascist like Bachmann or Perry

    Reagan v. Perry (none / 0) (#31)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:23:02 PM EST
    Reagan seemed sunny....not Perry....

    Perry is like Nixon.....that is who he really emulates....Nixon climbed the ladder with red-baiting....and was ruthless....and the original practitioner of the "Southern Strategy."

    But Perry is not as smart even if he is as devious.....


    Perry (none / 0) (#47)
    by Coral on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 03:33:59 PM EST
    I find him dangerous. If he gets within striking distance of the GOP nomination, I will be extremely worried. The guy is unscrupulous and relies on violent rhetoric and bullying.

    MT: it seems to me (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 02:43:50 PM EST
    US military need not be in Afghanistan, whose own government is willing to negotiate w/Taliban. In addition, as suspected bin Laden wasn't in Afghanistan when we took him down. What's the jusification for being there now?

    Taliban is what? (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 04:43:49 PM EST
    Taliban is different tribes, and all the complexity that goes with that.  Not all Taliban are that loyal to Al Qaeda or the Haqqani network, some are and are very dangerous.  Unfortunately the word Taliban does not describe an exact science :)

    Ed Rendell on C-Span's (none / 0) (#67)
    by oldpro on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:51:36 PM EST
    Washington Journal this morning (just google it) had a lot to say about how to move forward on the jobs issue with an anfrastructure bank leverging dollars available.

    Will Obama listen and learn?

    We'll see.

    Ed Rendell...last of the fighting Dems?

    The Impotence Defense (none / 0) (#86)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 06:11:31 PM EST
    is probably the stupidest argument in the history of American politics.

    This must be what his supporters meant when they implied he'd be so 'special.'