More Reasons Not To Care Who Is President

Scott Lemieux, with assists from Jon Chait and the 2008 Ezra Klein. Yes, the usual suspects.

Here's what's weird to me about this - the continued argument against a straw man - the nonexistent argument that the President can do whatever he wants - ignores the fact that the President is the least relevant person in the country on domestic policy - except for everyone else.

Can a President do it by himself? Of course not. But a President can lead the conversation where he wants the policy discussion to go. Like say, deficit reduction. And he has been known to have some political power as well.

At this point, the discussion is just plain ridiculous. In any event, since I do think that who is the President matters, I'll continue to try and explain why I think you should vote for the reelection of President Obama, despite his shortcomings, ESPECIALLY on domestic policy and the economy. The usual suspects will in due course, I imagine, drop their defensive crouch on Obama's behalf and start arguing what Obama might be able to do on domestic policy in a second term. I hope so at least.

Speaking for me only

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    Everytime (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:30:58 PM EST
    Obama and voting comes up, the first phrase into my mind is "creditability gap". Obama just really isn't credible on issues that I care about. Obama is going to say a lot of things in the next year or so to try to "sell" us on giving him a second term but the fact of the matter is, he has a record this time and we see how he operates. If he has a GOP house and a GOP senate he's going to be little more than a patsy for their policies. He'll be the first one to run from a fight.

    Saw a poll where less than half of democrats were excited about '12. Of course, only a little more than half of Republicans were excited either.

    FDR created the WPA by executive order (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by lambert on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:33:34 PM EST
    Link. At its peak, the WPA created three million jobs, and much of the infrastructure we still use today.

    That's what a Democrat looks like. Obama, on the other hand, thinks that patent reform is a jobs bill.  And pivot me no pivots. Pure kabuki for the rubes.

    Funnily enough .... (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 09:09:41 AM EST
    the rubes don't buy it.  They live in the real world.  The "creative class"* is the one that's fooled.  

    They keep trying to convince ordinary people that they're stupid.  That they just "don't understand".  Don't think that's working anymore.

    *Imagine sarcastic tone whenever I write "creative class". The term largely refers to people in business and who use the Internet a lot.  It rarely actually applies to people in actual creative profession.


    Oh cool (none / 0) (#43)
    by seabe on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:32:54 PM EST
    He created it via executive order. You forgot one part:

    While the legislation that funded the WPA sailed through the House, a vocal minority in the Senate argued against the measure -- a fact the Roosevelt administration did not forget.

    Where would the funding come from? Another executive order?


    For the rubes (none / 0) (#50)
    by klassicheart on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 02:39:45 AM EST
    It's one thing (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:34:09 PM EST
    to say that the President can't do anything, but people who say that frequently take the next moment to explain how great his achievements are (health care, repeal of DADT, etc.).  In fact, many of the "the President can't do anything" people seem to have formerly belonged to the "Obama's got this" camp.

    The ACA passed because it was Obama's priority.  Whether you like the bill or not, it does show that the President can focus the national conversation and/or accomplish something.

    Did he focus the national conversation? (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by kmblue on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:37:06 PM EST
    My recollection is that Obama let the public option die in secret and then proclaimed his helplessness to the public.  YMMV.

    I didn't want to believe that at the time (none / 0) (#22)
    by lucky leftie on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM EST
    but you're correct. It explains Rahm's angry, profane denunciation of the progressives who wanted to primary people like Blanche Lincoln. The progressives believed that Lincoln was an obstacle to meaningful HCR. In truth, Obama had already killed the public option and Lincoln was giving him cover.

    which is even worse (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by klassicheart on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 02:41:55 AM EST
    He was OK with others going down for his cowardice...but then....the left are such rubes...and they'll vote for him anyway...

    Sad . . . (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:35:48 PM EST
    I'll continue to try and explain why I think you should vote for the reelection of President Obama, despite his shortcomings,

    that we're in the position in the first place.

    Could you expand on why we need him for the economy contrasted to a (non-TP)Republican based on his record?

    It's their "analytical" way (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:40:49 PM EST
    of reinforcing their predetermined conclusion: that Obama is doing the best he can (so STFU and send him more money).

    He's doing the best that he can (none / 0) (#44)
    by Faust on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:34:19 PM EST
    And I continue to be profoundly unimpressed.

    My worry about Obama, given that he's this bad (5.00 / 11) (#15)
    by jawbone on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:52:21 PM EST
    when he knows he will need votes to get reelected, is that, once freed of having to show any concern for the non-Uberwealthy and non-powerful, he will have no contraints on what he does.

    I mean, I was prepared for a disappointing, pretty bad Obama presidency, but had no idea, even in my worst nightmares, that Obama would be as bad as he has been.  

    He's going to move to the left in a second term?

    Riiiiiiight. Oh, yeah. That's the ticket. /snark

    That's (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:59:54 PM EST
    my fear too. He's shown us what he'll do when he has to run for reelection. With no reelection looming, it could literally be a nightmare.

    I couldn't agree with you more (none / 0) (#52)
    by klassicheart on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 02:46:24 AM EST
    I hated Obama in the primaries but voted for him in the general because of Palin.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that those pushing for him so passionately were as stupid as I originally believed....there must be something I'm missing I thought...for all those academic elites  and PR shills to be so sure...But this is far worse than I could have imagined.  I should have voted for McCain...at the least all of these policies would have been characterized as Republican and wrong...

    Hope lil' Ezra doesn't pull a hammy with (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by BTAL on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:01:57 PM EST
    today's stretch.

    What could Obama have done?


    But I've never been able to come up with a realistic scenario in which a lot more got done, the economy is in much better shape, and the president is dramatically more popular today. Anything that even comes close is really a counterfactual of what the chairman of the Federal Reserve could have done, and I'm not confident that I understand Bernanke's constraints nor that a more massive intervention on the part of the Fed would have been the cure-all some suggest.

    Indeed, if you had taken me aside in 2008 and sketched out the first three years of Obama's presidency, I would have thought you were being overoptimistic: an $800 billion stimulus package -- recall that people were only talking in the $200-$300 billion range back then -- followed by near-universal health-care reform, followed by financial regulation, followed by another stimulus (in the 2010 tax deal), followed by the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," followed by the killing of Osama bin Laden and the apparent ousting of Moammar Gaddafi? There was no way. And yet all that did get done. But the administration hasn't able to get unemployment under control -- perhaps it couldn't have gotten unemployment under control -- and so all of that has not been nearly enough.



    Laughable regardless which side of the aisle one sits.

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:15:38 PM EST
    I will have to agree with you on that one.

    Obama's biggest mistake has been the economy. I feel like I'm back in the 80's again with high unemployment being called the "new normal".

    Talking about Libya and OBL reminds of Bush Sr. constantly yammering on about the Gulf War back in '92.

    Ezra is just too young and gullible politically to realize what is going on I think.


    Just looked at Ezra's bio - (none / 0) (#20)
    by seabos84 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:28:30 PM EST
    so he stumbles into the Dean whirl wind vortex 8 years ago at the ripe 'ol age of 19,

    and REALLY REALLY learns how to rub elbows and kiss powerful butt with the best of the best Grima Wormtongues of the east coast.

    ta da! here he is, being a big cheese rah rah for 0sterity, drawing fat paychecks AND ... AND ... AND...

    living a 7 figure a year lifestyle jetting around to big important things with big important people, all on someone else's dime!

    this ain't some complicated 7000 page analysis of Marbury Vs. Madison & the Magna Carta & Descartes & Mao -

    it is REAL simple:

    Be A Great Catchfart = Live A Great Life!

    Ezra is a suck up. Period. Got it?



    I think I just pulled a hammy (none / 0) (#19)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:20:56 PM EST
    trying to read that . . .

    The so-called presidency. (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by lentinel on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:08:50 PM EST
    In the mid-term elections of 2006 everyone agreed that the issues were Iraq, Iraq and Iraq.

    W. admitted he had taken a whuppin' - or some such folksy snippet.

    The Democrats now had majorities in both Houses of Congress.
    The issue was Iraq.
    The people had voted to end it, and had elected the Democrats to carry out their wishes.

    In what seemed like a few seconds, Bush sent 20,000 more troops to Iraq while the Dems looked on like so many deer in the headlights.

    They still look that way.

    In Bush's case, apparently, it mattered who was President.

    In Obama's case, it matters not.

    What makes you think... (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by ek hornbeck on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:18:06 PM EST
    The second verse will be different from the first?

    There is absolutely no indication that this administration intends to change its failed policies even in the face of cratering polls.

    And you think as a lame duck it will be more responsive?


    This Presidential election will (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by my opinion on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:55:57 PM EST
    simply be a Republican Party Primary runoff.

    I think digby gets it right: (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:02:09 PM EST
    The administration maintains the same attitude so widely admired in the campaign -- it refuses to let whatever's happening in the moment change their strategy. They make a plan and never deviate regardless of the circumstances unless it is entirely obstructed and they are forced to veer from their course.

    The administration's overarching strategy for governance has always been conciliation. I think it is a surprise that it is conciliation at all costs, but they have never been shy about saying they are conciliators by nature and intent. And there should be nothing surprising about deficit hysteria ---it was the plan since before the inauguration in January 2009 [...]

    There's been no pivot. It's been a straight line from the very beginning. The rhetoric's exactly the same as it was the week before the inauguration. And to the extent they've changed it's only in some snall details -- carbon pricing, for instance, has been jettisoned in return for asking for a tax on corporate jets.


    And Brad DeLong gets it, too:

    Back at the end of 2008, our questions (at least my questions) were: "What if the downturn is bigger than we currently think it will be? What if worries about a jobless recovery and the absence of labor-market mean-reversion turn out to be true? What if--as has happened in the past--this financial crisis turns into sovereign crises and the world economy gets hit by additional shocks? Then your polices will not be bold enough. What is Plan B?" And the answers were all along the lines of:

    You are a pessimist. We are already doing unprecedented things to stabilize the economy--and odds are that in a year we will be worrying about inflation and unwinding the stimulus rather than about unemployment.

    Obama is genuinely post-partisan, and won't have anything like the trouble Clinton had negotiating with Republicans: our policies will evolve as the situation evolves.

    Back in the late summer of 2009, our questions (or at least my questions) were: "You aren't getting any cooperation from Republicans--they appear to have doubled down on the Gingrich-Dole strategy that you win the next election by making the Democratic President a failure. The economy really needs more stimulus. What are you going to do? Isn't it time to use the President's powers more aggressively--to use Fed appointment powers and the Treasury's TARP authority and Reconciliation to do major stimulus?" And the answers were:

    We are doing all that we can.

    This is really hard.

    Things will probably still work out all right.

    If worst comes to worst, we will trade long-run budget balance via a spending cut-heavy package of long-run spending cuts and tax increases for short-term stimulus to get us out of the short-term unemployment mess.

    Hippie punching.

    By the late summer of 2010, our questions (or at least my questions) were: "You are in a total war with the Republican Party. They aren't giving you anything. It is time to seriously push the envelope of executive authority to put policies in place that will reduce unemployment." And the answers were:

    The best policy is to achieve long-run fiscal discipline so that the confidence fairy will show up.

    Hippie punching.

    And now it is the late summer of 2011. Our big question still is: how is Obama going to use executive branch authority to reduce unemployment? There are lots of options: adjourn congress and do some recess appointments to get the Federal Reserve more engaged in actually pursuing its dual mandate, quantitative easing via the Treasury Department, shifting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from their do-nothing position by giving them a microeconomic stabilization mission, talking about how a weak dollar is in America's interest.

    And this time what I am hearing back is only:

    Hippie punching.

    Until people face up to who Obama is, "hoping" he's going to have an epiphany and realize that, yes, he does want to be a Democrat, he does care about average people, he is capable of adjusting his strategy, we are just looking at more of the same, trending worse and worse and worse.

    Yeah, Republicans are even worse than that, but when our choices are bad on one side and worse on the other, we really have no choices that will result in the good governance we deserve.

    It's going to be what it's going to be, but please, can we stop pretending that one of these days, everything's going to be okay?  

    Agreed. But, (none / 0) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:40:26 PM EST
    perhaps, the notable exception to their preformed  expressway was the DADT by-pass.    The administration was successful at keeping the gay leadership, especially HRC, at bay with its "fierce word advocacy" and White House wine and wiener parties.  But, the larger gay and lesbian community was not having it and deployed old-fashioned noise-making: pressure was put on HRC as well as the White House--both in funding threats and organized grumpiness.

    The White House would have, in my view, been quite happy to put the issue off until a second term; even repeal in December was put on the agenda at Harry Reid's insistence ahead of the White House preference for the Strategic Arms Treaty.   And, the DOMA developments and evolution  were facilitated by federal cases (brought by Log Cabin Republicans).   Taking hippie punching on the chin only leaves a reddened face.


    You are right. HRC's so-called (none / 0) (#45)
    by caseyOR on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 10:23:18 PM EST
    leaders totally fell for Obama's fierce cocktail advocacy. Much like NARAL, HRC gave away any power it might have had when it endorsed Obama during the primary. Both organizations could have stayed out of the primary (smart choice) or they could have endorsed the candidate with a decades long record of working with them to advance their respective agendas (Clinton, but still better to stay out of it). Instead, they sold out their constituencies for a big fat nothing.

    Fortunately, the LGBT community has shown that it understands that cocktails in the East Room is not an acceptable substitute for real action on important issues.


    What will Obama do in his second term? (5.00 / 7) (#28)
    by observed on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:05:56 PM EST
    Cut taxes for the rich more, cut Medicare, cut SS, fight more wars.
    I think it's offensively dishonest to argue to vote for Obama based on the possibility he will "change" in his second term.
    His political views---except on some social issues---are very hard right. In a second term, except absolutely no sops to the left.
    Oh yeah, he'll save abortion rights.

    It's important that Democrats NOT... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Romberry on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:05:00 PM EST
    ...re-elect Obama. The most important thing that anyone who believes in actual Democratic values can do is assist in throwing this guy out of office. A second Obama term will just be a term that enacts more Republican policies and makes those policies bipartisan consensus. Obama has to go. The future of liberalism and the future of the Democratic Party depend on it.

    If you want a de-facto Republican, he's you're guy. If you don't, then he isn't. Change is hard, but ya gotta start somewhere.

    And the first place to start change is with my (none / 0) (#54)
    by Bornagaindem on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 06:50:00 AM EST
    vote - AGAINST Obama- could't agree more.

    If you want to lose social security and medicare vote for Obama if you do not - make sure he loses. It is as simple as that.


    At this stage, I think we need to ask (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 10:27:40 PM EST
    ourselves which is more likely to happen: Dems push back against the conservative, Reagan/Norquist policies of a Democratic president, or they push back against the conservative, Reagan/Norquist/Tea Party policies of a Republican president?

    I'll go with...Door No. 2; I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Democrats assert any independence against a Democratic president.  No way.  No how.

    Will I vote for the Republican nominee? Hell, no.  But I'm also not going to vote for the Democrat who wants to be a better Republican than the Republicans, either.

    For the life of me I do not understand why Democrats can't recognize Republican policy when it comes from one of their own, so, as I see it, the only hope we have of slowing down and/or stopping the imposition of Republican policies is if a Republican with an actual (R) after his or her name wins the WH.

    Obama is re-elected at our peril; I think people will be shocked at how suddenly powerful the president is, and how little of that power will accrue to our benefit.

    I think you underestimate (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 01:32:47 AM EST
    what havoc a Republican President could wreak in this environment.

    Yes, it can and would get a lot worse....


    Havoc is everywhere, I think, and (5.00 / 5) (#55)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 07:12:37 AM EST
    so the question for me becomes, which outcome gives Democrats the chance to legislate like Democrats, and push left?  After almost three years of a Democratic president who has moved us to the right, and a Democratic caucus that has only managed to talk about their disagreements with Obama, instead of acting on them, I think there's a greater chance of returning to the ideological tension we actually need between the parties, and Democrats actually acting on their opposition to Republicans, if there is a Republican president.

    I see the danger, I do.  A lot of the things Obama has left undone, or left to languish or just given up on - like the tons of judicial nominations that have gone nowhere - the Republicans would act on with all deliberate speed.  Things Obama has chosen not to use executive power to do, I'm sure a Republican president would make haste to take advantage of, and not to our benefit.

    I get all of that - but you know and I know that another four years of this kind of Democratic presidency all but ensures Republican takeover in 2016 - and probably another bloodbath in 2014 - at which point I'm not sure there will be a recognizable Democratic party left to put up much resistance - which is why, if there is going to be a change, I think it needs to happen now.


    After a major defeat, Democrats (none / 0) (#62)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 10:05:19 AM EST
    will move Left or grow a spine?

    That is not the way it has worked in the past.....


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 10:43:20 AM EST
    we were told they wouldn't move to the right if Obama was president because he wouldn't lose the house and everything was going to just be peachy keen.

    You're going to get Republican policy whether the GOP or Obama wins in '12.


    You overstate the case (none / 0) (#64)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 12:00:34 PM EST
    It would be a lot different under a Republican President.....

    The easiest thing to do (none / 0) (#1)
    by MKS on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:24:55 PM EST
    from a practical standpoint is to let the Bush tax cuts expire across the board or extract significant concessions....

    This could work even with a Republican Senate.

    This would be a significant second term victory--one which should be acheivable....

    He's not (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:32:36 PM EST
    going to do it though. He could have done that last December and he didn't do it. He's less likely to do it even with a Republican senate if that happens.

    there are political reasons (none / 0) (#10)
    by CST on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:42:44 PM EST
    why he would wait to raise taxes until his second term.

    That is by no means a guarantee, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    The Republican senate is irrelevant with regard to his actual capability to raise taxes, unless they manage to pass the tax cut with a veto proof margin.


    I love their new "hostage" (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:44:47 PM EST
    That is, the payroll tax cut (which isn't even a great idea anyway). If I were Boehner, I would offer to trade it for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts.

    please do not give him (none / 0) (#13)
    by CST on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:47:21 PM EST
    anymore ideas.

    I half expect the Administration to leak (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:52:15 PM EST
    an idea like this one as a trial balloon.

    "Except for everyone (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:42:04 PM EST
    else.". Good one. And Maureen Dowd agrees.

    Via recess appointments (none / 0) (#11)
    by Makarov on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 03:43:57 PM EST
    to the Federal Reserve, Obama could stack the FED with people actually interesting in pursuing both aspects of their dual mandate - price stability AND unemployment.

    If Bernanke can drop sacks of cash from a helicopter to business, banks, and the wealthy elite, he could do the same to create jobs.

    The FED's power, which includes the ability to print and spend money, is near limitless in this regard.

    Digby sez... (none / 0) (#21)
    by trillian on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:31:46 PM EST
    Romney's electibility argument petering out (none / 0) (#25)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:45:54 PM EST
    Apart from him, Perry, Paul and Bachmann are all competitive against BHO.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:37:21 PM EST
    Romney's argument is running out but so is Obama's. I mean if Bachmann is cutting it close, what does that say about Obama?

    Does not say anything about Obama (none / 0) (#32)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:37:51 PM EST
    It says that almost 50% of the people want what Bachmann is promising them-austerity and religious fundamentalism. At some point, people have to take responsibility for their own actions.
    I have never expected any help from the government, I will vote for Obama and the Democrats because their way of looking at the world is closer to mine when compared to those of Republicans. The values of the President are also more aligned to mine than any other politician who will run against him. However, if people that need help keep voting for Bachmann and the Republicans, it will only prove that Bachmann and the Republicans are providing them what they need or want.

    So you take responsibility for the current (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by observed on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:04:34 PM EST
    lemon in the White House?
    How could you have used your all powerful vote to differently? Would you have voted for McCain?
    Write in someone?
    You want to play the blame the voter game? Then I blame YOU.

    Of COURSE it says something about Obama (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by Yman on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:11:52 PM EST
    It says that a POTUS that came in to office promising "Hope" and "Change" with near-record approval numbers has cratered to the point of potentially losing to almost any Republican, including a certifiable nutcase like Bachmann.  It says you have to do more than give a nice speech if you want to get re-elected.

    No it doesn't (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:21:53 PM EST
    It says that almost 50% of the people want what Bachmann is promising them-austerity and religious fundamentalism.

    I honestly don't think she's had enough exposure/people are paying that close of attention for you to draw that conclusion. What it does say is, Obama better step up his game and start doing something that the majority of "folks" are interested in seeing him do, aka "it's the economy, stupid."


    It will be a nasty, race-based campaign, if (none / 0) (#37)
    by observed on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:25:34 PM EST
    need be---on BOTH sides.

    If you have no expectations from government (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 08:48:59 AM EST
    You get what you ask for: the result of low expectations, IOW crap.  That is the problem with progressives right now -- we have absolutely no plan out there.  And that is all we need right now, a specific progressive plan, and it needs to be pitched and sold relentlessly.

    That such a plan isn't even CLOSE to existing is fairly pitiful and inexcusable.


    As far as I can tell, Obama is almost (none / 0) (#59)
    by observed on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 09:18:25 AM EST
    a single issue politician for the left now.
    Except for possibly protecting abortion rights, he offers NOTHING.

    And the fact that you have to use the (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 09:29:26 AM EST
    word "possibly" says it all.

    It's just not enough - nor should it even be close to being enough.

    The bar goes lower and lower and lower, the excuses get more creative, the logic more tortured.

    The fact that they - the professional left, the creative class, the Fan Boyz - have to engage in it to this degree ought to be the equivalent of a giant neon sign blinking, "Primary Obama!" but I guess if their eyes are closed, they're never going to see it.

    Dems have truly become the party of "please, sir, may I have another?"


    It's a referendum (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:26:23 PM EST
    on the incumbent and the job that the incumbent has done. To think that Obama has done such a poor job that people are thinking about voting for Bachmann should tell you something.

    Calling the voters names is not going to get you anywhere. I mean people at red state called you an idiot back in '08. Does that mean they were right?


    I have not said people who vote for Bachmann (none / 0) (#39)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:30:19 PM EST
    are "idiots". I have only said that people who vote for her most likely need or want what she offers. There was no name calling on my part.

    Okay. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:34:08 PM EST
    I apologize for that name calling episode.

    No problem (none / 0) (#41)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:37:22 PM EST
    please note (none / 0) (#31)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:45:59 PM EST
    Gallup research shows that these types of election measures at this stage in the campaign are not highly stable, and one can expect changes in the relative positioning of Obama and various GOP candidates in the months ahead.

    that's from your link

    why do you think that this one poll is exhausting Romney's electability argument?


    is there a middle point? (none / 0) (#42)
    by seabe on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:23:08 PM EST
    While I don't believe the bully puplit to be useless, in that it can drive the DIRECTION the country goes, most evidence in polysci shows that it has very little sway on how people in Congress vote :\  

    I mean, I remember the question on one of my tests in college when I took "US Government and Politics": "Political science research suggests that the presidential tactic of "going public" to influence Congress _seldom if ever works_."

    But (none / 0) (#47)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 11:02:31 PM EST
    But it sure would be a worth a try tho, don'tcha think?

    Delong again (none / 0) (#57)
    by TJBuff on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 09:03:45 AM EST

    1. Use Reconciliation to get a second stimulus through Congress in the fall of 2009.
    2. Expand the PPIP to do $3 trillion of quantitative easing through the Treasury Department.
    3. Have a real HAMP to refinance mortgages.
    4. Use Fannie and Freddie to (temporarily) nationalize mortgage finance, refinance mortgages, and rebalance the housing market.
    5. Announce that a weaker dollar is in America's interest.
    6. Nominate a Fed Chair who takes the Fed's dual mandate seriously and pursues policies to stabilize the growth of nominal GDP.
    7. Appoint Fed governors who take the Fed's dual mandate seriously and support policies to stabilize the growth of nominal GDP.
    8. Take equity in the banks in January-March of 2009 and keep them from lobbying against financial reform.
    9. Use Reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bank.
    10. Use TARP money as a mezzanine tranche to fund large-scale additional aid to states and localities to reduce their fiscal contractions.

    I think Ezra is simply wrong. There were a large number of things that Obama could have done--there are even things he could do now, if he wanted to.

    Klein is just trying to justify Obama's inaction by claiming nothing would have worked.  And it appears Obama is so inflexible not much will change in a second term.

    We will never know how much (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 09:27:43 AM EST
    bold action could have turned the economy around since it was never tried.

    The fierce urgency of now turned into small ball, risk adverse conservative policies. Basically a continuation of failed Republican trickle down economic policies.

    We are still playing protect the banks and the rich no matter the costs to the lower 98%. Don't have any reason to think that will change any time soon since both parties are using the same play book.