The Argument On GOP Obstruction

Kevin Drum writes:

Just to make sure that everyone is still clear about this, here's the current trajectory of politics and the American economy stripped down to its bare essentials:

2001-2008: Republicans run economy into ditch.
2008: Obama elected.
2009-2011: Republicans respond by doing everything possible to prevent him from fixing things.

How would you argue the highlighted part? What would Obama claim he wanted to do that Republicans prevented him from doing? The only thing I can see that the President clearly enunciated was wanting to raise taxes on the rich. That's a good argument, but is that really why the economy is in tatters?

Speaking for me only

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    Obama did NOT in any meaningfull way (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 09:54:16 AM EST
    fight for the thing that really, really mattered. A bigger stimulus nearly 3 years ago now. We said it then, we said that if the stimulus wasn't larger it was just a waste of money, a drop in the bucket. And that's what it turned out to be. And that's why gaining less then the number of jobs needed to keep up with demand in considered a decent jobs report now.

    Obama came in and said - whatever Ben Nelson wants.

    The Republicans didn't force his hand that time.

    I can't (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:36:08 AM EST
    entirely agree with this. The stimulus wasn't big enough, but it was hardly a waste of money. It did put a bottom to the free-fall that the economy was experiencing. It wasn't big enough to create a climb, however.

    I wouldn't call it a drop in the bucket. It was more like filling the bucket about 1/3 full when a full bucket of water, at the very least, was necessary to put out the fire.


    That's probably a better way of putting it. (none / 0) (#28)
    by tigercourse on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:02:02 AM EST
    Pulling out of a dive into a belly flop... (none / 0) (#105)
    by lambert on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:42:06 PM EST
    ... isn't the same as pulling out of a dive and regaining altitude.

    Obama is in belly flop territory. He, and the Ds, should be punished severely, hopefully with primary challengers or third parties.


    To continue my own (none / 0) (#112)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 05:20:11 PM EST
    analogy, the fire is still burning.

    arguably (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by cpinva on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:48:22 PM EST
    (and he made this case at the time), he didn't feel confident that a larger stimulus package (at least twice as much) would pass in a congress that pretty much needed republican support to do so.

    the argument could (and was) also be made that he should have gone ahead and started out with a much larger proposal, and actually negotiated it down, if necessary. in the meantime, he (obama) could have used the republican intrasigence against them. that he did neither is testament to his complete inability to play poker. i would love to play poker with him, all my bills would be paid.


    Should have been done in the honeymoon (none / 0) (#107)
    by lambert on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:45:35 PM EST
    When he had maximum leverage. He could have taken a bigger stimulus to the people based on the whole hopey change thing Axelrod's bait-and-switchers sold. He chose not to and crucially disbanded the OFA which, if he had really wanted leverage over the Rs, he would never have done that. So, it's all been kabuki basically since the inaugural.

    I'm not upset about that (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:07:55 PM EST
    So there was a learning curve, so what....but he had other opportunities to do the next right thing. I'm insane furious that he "begged" Tim Geithner to stay.  I'm upset that he never really wanted a public option, I'm upset that he never really wanted a clean debt ceiling bill, I'm upset that he believes this "job creator" bull$h*t,  I'm upset that he sold HAMP and it is really HUMP, I'm upset that he worships Reagan and I'm more upset that he worships Reagan on the FDR shift, I'm upset that he has sold choice for women out once and can't really be trusted from here on out, I'm upset that he feels that his "Christian" beliefs are meaningful to anyone else and after selling my choice out if he prays one more time for the cameras I WILL SCREAM,  I'm upset that he invites homophobes and homohaters to important events and gives them important jobs...how dare he (as a straight woman I can't trust him as far as I can throw him...look at what he willfully does to those even "lesser" than I am).

    It is 92 degrees but with the humidity it "feels like" 101 according to the weather channel.  I washed out the garbage can and I'll never do that again, but there is a new sweet Chardonnay in town and it's happy hour.  And I bought this costume for Joshua's standard poodle that looks like the grim reaper is riding her.  Josh is calling his poodle the Steed of Death and tomorrow is a new day.


    The stimulus (none / 0) (#7)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:18:32 AM EST
    saved jobs and created some more. However, a lot of the stimulus money went to save jobs of teachers, firefighters and cops, i.e. public sector employees. That infuriated a lot of people who got laid of from the private sector. Many others, who did not get laid off think that they will be paying higher taxes because of the stimulus.
    Some of the stimulus money went to the private sector also. However, even if it saved the auto industry in this country and helped in some other sectors, most people did not see the benefits. A lot of CEOs used the stimulus money for automation (which may even have led to a net loss of jobs) or are hording the money for acquisitions and mergers which will not help anyone but a very thin layer at the top.
    I believe that we need to make massive investments in our infrastructure (though I am against the government sinking money into the housing market). However 40-50% of the country is also virulently against the stimulus and wants to cut spending. Many among the 40-50% mistakenly believe that Democrats keep making the case for more spending to promote a "liberal agenda"-that is support programs that help "illegal immigrants", minorities and constituencies like public sector unions that support them . It is difficult to debate or argue with people who have irrational fears.

    Nearly 40% (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:28:37 AM EST
    of the ARRA went to tax cuts.  Completely lame.  "Shovel Ready," the only part that sort of created jobs was short sighted.  Some of what was included in the ARRA, food stamps, unemployment, assistance to states, could have been handled in separate bills.  The ARRA was woefully inadequate and many economists as well as some of his advisers agreed with that assessment.

    Constantly accepting and praising half a$$ed measures doesn't cut it.  Obama's supporters set the bar low enough for a Republican to clear the mark.


    That story and 3$ (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:31:47 AM EST
    will get you a cup of coffee.

    It's the economy stupid. Worrying about polls in the first months of a Presidency is insane.

    The election is in November 2012. And the results matter, not the polls.


    BTD, IMO, you are schizophrenic (none / 0) (#25)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:51:32 AM EST
    when it comes to the economy. No amount of stimulus would have solved our economic woes. You have consistently refused to address the structural problems that bedevil our economy. These structural problems were created long before Obama took office. Policies that you support have also led to these structural problems.
    You are living in a fool's world if you think that our economic problems can be solved without addressing challenges of offshoring and automation. However, do we hear anything from you about these issues? Never!

    This (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:15:04 AM EST
    is hogwash. The concept of 'structural' problems is a right-wing trope designed to avoid stimulus spending and to create an excuse for allowing high unemployment to fester.

    The proper amount of stimulus spending would have solved the problem. Yes things need to be done about the insolvent banking sector and the enormous backlog of underwater mortgages, but that's not what economists mean by the term 'structural'. You even argued in another comment that the Obama stimulus saved jobs and helped the economy. More of it would have been more helpful.


    I disagree. (none / 0) (#33)
    by sweetthings on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:21:10 AM EST
    No amount of stimulus is going to counter the fact that productivity continues to rise at close to 3% a year. Stimulus is not going to make the American worker more competitive with his Chinese counterpart. It might help us to weather the transitional storm a little better, but a transition is still going to have to be made.

    Where do the Chinese get their money? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:28:31 AM EST
    They create it out of thin air, just like we do.

    American workers productivity isn't the problem, with most people working more hours for less money and having done so for years already.  We don't quite yet exploit labor to the ghastly degree China does, but I guess we'll just have to get there more quickly.

    Come on: It's all a friggin' game.  Only difference is that in the real life game, the rules and the game itself have to adapt and change constantly for equity to be a consistent feature of the game, and to do that the game must be tirelessly (and fairly) regulated.  We don't let football games play a half without referees, why do we let our financial system do the equivalent except for the entire game.  I should add that there's plenty of regulation of small business, the government has all the time in the world to drive mom and pop insane, because the big players who control the game can do what they please and can't be pursued for their massive crimes.

    IMO, it's corruption.  That started this, that continues to control it.  Stimulus is needed to keep ordinary people afloat in the meantime.


    It doesn't come from thin air. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by sweetthings on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:35:15 AM EST
    It comes from labor and raw materials. Both of which we have plenty of...it's just that a lot of our labor is automated these day. That means MORE wealth for us, (because automated labor is cheap) but less distribution of wealth. (because it all goes to the relatively few people with capital)

    And actually, more people working more hours for less money is very much a symptom of the problem. Their labor isn't worth as much, so they have to work more just to stand still. And because they're so afraid of losing the job they have, they'll devalue their labor even more, making the price drop further. It's quite the vicious cycle.

    To break it, we have to find a way to better distribute purchasing power. The old way isn't going to cut it when machines can do so much so cheaply.


    Money (none / 0) (#44)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    comes from thin air. It does not come from the labor of anyone, other than those people at the Federal Reserve and US Treasury typing numbers into a computer.

    And (none / 0) (#43)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:42:26 AM EST
    China pegs its currency to the US dollar to keep it lower than what it would be if it freely floated on the foreign exchanges markets. Just how competitive would Chinese workers be if the renminbi floated freely the way the USD does?

    China gives the US real goods in exchange for pieces of paper that the US government creates out of thin air. And yet people argue that's a bad thing, and that we should move to a system where they give us pieces of Chinese paper that they create out of thin air in exchange for our hard work and resources. It would be much simpler to keep our own goods and services here and exchange them amongst ourselves for our own pieces of paper that the government creates out of thin air. That's called deficit spending. Let's do it.


    Was the American worker (none / 0) (#35)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:24:30 AM EST
    more competitive than the Chinese worker in 2005?

    Or 2007 even. (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:27:55 AM EST
    Nope. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by sweetthings on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:30:08 AM EST
    But we had a couple of bubbles to help hide that fact.

    When they came crashing down in 2008, the gaps that had been present for years suddenly because unavoidably apparent. Enough stimulus could presumably paper over the gaps again, but it wouldn't fill them in...and I don't think we could even afford the paper job at this point.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not an enemy of stimulus. It's almost certainly a necessary component to getting us to a new place with minimal suffering. But it won't get us there by itself.


    Yes (none / 0) (#40)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:34:34 AM EST
    it will.

    Huh! (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:57:02 PM EST
    No amount of stimulus would have solved our economic woes.

    Based on what theory?

    Why in hell do Conservatives always miss very heavy government spending during WWII?

    Very little of the ARRA went for jobs and since "shovel ready" was the criteria no long range gains were achieved.

    ARRA was conservative oriented (tax cuts) and just wasn't enough to carry over into sustained growth and 'structural;" all of a sudden we have massive structural losses in the space of a few months.


    That makes me monomaniacal (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:27:28 AM EST
    not schizophrenic.

    Our short term economic problems are best addressed by government spending.

    Patent reform won't cut it.


    Bertrand Russell said it best (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:34:46 AM EST
    "The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history."

    Mono not mega (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:45:26 AM EST
    But I like the quote anyway.

    oop, my bad (none / 0) (#47)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:51:45 AM EST
    i'm just a maniac, myself.  no frills.  

    hmmm (none / 0) (#48)
    by NYShooter on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:58:05 AM EST
    BTD...lunatic...great man?
          great man...lunatic?

    Boy, that's a tough one.

    could I have a few more minutes?


    We cannot pass government spending (none / 0) (#67)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:46:19 PM EST
    Now what.

    Now (none / 0) (#72)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:59:52 PM EST
    Now, your president loses re-election......

    This is exactly what Wall Street (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:21:36 PM EST
    and Tim Geithner would say. My generation was told this too about Japan.  We were told we could never compete because we were willful and spoiled and not willing to make the necessary sacrifices.  We bought it for a little while too until our generation noticed that our counterparts in Japan were beginning to commit suicide in record numbers because nobody could handled what was being forced upon them and pounded into them and pounded out of them.  Look at Japan now....that is what you get when you attempt to adopt thinking and policy and ethics that is purely profit driven.

    40 hour weeks (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:30:37 PM EST
    are for wimps. Real men and women work 80, but only get paid for 40.

    Health coverage? Hey, remember Jesse Ventura's saying in "Predator:"


    I ain't got time to bleed.

    Everyone on this site needs to MAN UP.


    do tell? (none / 0) (#110)
    by cpinva on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:55:51 PM EST
    please be specific, when you claim "structural problems" are the cause of our economic difficulties. "structural problems" don't affect demand. people having jobs does. it's clear, from your nonsensical screed, that you don't know diddly about actual economics.

    you conveniently forget FDR's programs: CCC & WPA (among others) that directly hired the unemployed to work on public projects. the money they earned went right back into the economy, stimulating demand and getting the private moving again. the taxes they paid partially offset the gov't spending. it's called the "ripple effect" in macroeconomics.

    of course, the republicans would have us (again) adopt hoovernomic theory (now known as "trickle-down), that's failed every.single.time.it's.been.tried.


    cpinva (none / 0) (#118)
    by Politalkix on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 08:20:36 PM EST
    If you go back and read my posts, you will find out that I have always advocated stimulus spending for development and maintainence of our infrastructure (road, bridges, energy engineering, biotechnology, medical science, transportation, space technology, etc).
    Having said that, I would also like to add the following
    (1) Inherent structural problems present in our economy did prevent quite a bit of stimulus spending getting absorbed into our economy in 2009 and 2010. FDR did not have to worry about a large portion of American stimulus money helping economies in Asia instead of the home economy, he knew that all the spending would get utilized in our country. At that time we made our own steel, construction materials, etc for public works projects, wages paid to workers would also get absorbed in our economy because everything workers purchased (clothes, appliances, etc) were made in America. To develop our infrastructure now, we have to buy steel, communications equipment, wind turbines, solar panels, etc from Asia. Wages that workers will get paid from stimulus spending will once again be used to purchase things made in Asia. This is a drawback of being too dependent on a consumer based economy to raise demand. It is for this reason that even if I support stimulus spending for infrastructure, I feel that such spending will have diminishing returns (given the structural flaws in our economy). The structural flaw of being a non manufacturing economy will need to get fixed quickly.
    (2) The political difficulties of getting support for stimulus spending are many orders of magnitude higher now than they were during FDR's times. In my mind, the reasons are as follows
    (i) The America of the 2010s has a lot more racial and ethnic diversity than it had during FDR's times. It is much easier for politicians to stoke resentment to spending by playing "the other card". (2)Even though he was a creator of one of the most successful entitlement programs, FDR's presidency predated the advent of other entitlement programs. In this context, it may be useful to remember that even LBJ did not garner enough gratitude to get a lock on the nomination and presidency after passing some of the most landmark domestic legislations ever passed.



    I read this and the posts following.... (none / 0) (#119)
    by Madeline on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 08:33:14 PM EST
    and I agree with you.  

    Yes both are big challenges. However, the reality of addressing both now, maybe time wasted and hope that something will happen to suddenly put jobs out there...and wages.

    It will take creative thinking, determination, planning and years  to substitute for these losses to the American economy and American pride. In the meantime, as for time wasted,  I think that in the present, we are fighting for some footing to just make it from day to day. Just a little stabilization would help.

    I can't think of one suggestion made by leadership, on both sides, to even acknowledge that offshoring was a crippling hit to this country. There have been discussions on this site about automation and the effect on employment.
    Working America has numbers on this:

    Catch up?  Look what bills the right intends to pass. Look at the education cutting, and job training cuts, union busting, class warfare, stereotyping the unemployed.

    But you are right, it's one 'dirty little secret' of the falling economy. That and last decade of acts of moral turpitude.


    If Obama wins (none / 0) (#71)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:59:44 PM EST
    with a bad economy, new slogans to be had by all I'd think.

    That's why Obama needs to lose... (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by lambert on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:49:51 PM EST
    ... since otherwise we're rewarding bad behavior. I'm doing my little bit!

    yesterday, I would have agreed with you. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Madeline on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 09:07:29 PM EST
    Last night I stayed up late (don't work Fridays) and read about the Republican's who profess to be running in 2012. Read everything I could Google and links attached. Oh Lord. If we do not at least elect a Democratic House and Senate we are doomed.

    It's difficult to believe that in the 21st century grown adults think the way they do and encourage others to follow.

    I don't want to vote for Obama either. I will admit that I thought Sarah Palin the most sane.  What does that tell you?


    I still dont know why (none / 0) (#79)
    by PatHat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:16:20 PM EST
    I would want Obama to win re-election. At least with a GOP President, the Democrats would fight together. Right now, the conservative Dems combined with the GOP and the milquetoast President simply pass right-wing Legislation.

    Probably a bit off-topic.


    and what makes you think (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by cpinva on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:58:40 PM EST
    the blue-dog dems would suddenly join forces with their liberal/progressive comrades, to fight the right-wingnut policies of a republican president?
    what, the blue-dogs will suddenly become simply "blue"?

    Right, like they did in the Bush admin? (none / 0) (#123)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 07:06:46 PM EST
    Dems don't roll that way.

    Luckily for the president, (none / 0) (#87)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:28:18 PM EST
    the election's a loooong way away, in terms of the economy. Perhaps there will be some... for lack of a better term... semi-miraculous recovery beginning in q3.

    I don't think re-election is either a given or hopeful if the economy continues as it's going. Certainly not if it gets worse.

    ABG, IMO, Geithner's mis-handling of the entire economic side of the Obama presidency sets the foundation for further problems. But Geithner's incompetence remains Obama's fault for hiring the bum in the first place.

    Slightly off topic-- coastal economists, for some reason, have diametrically opposed views from heartland economists (I know, Chigago's on a coast, Lake Michigan, but bear with the analogy for a moment).

    Even in Alabama, at Auburn University, the Ludwig von Mises Institute exists (yes, this state hits the Gulf of Mexico, so maybe I need to come up with a better description). The Mises economists have even more extreme views than the Chicago School economists. Neo Classical Friedman followers, or batsh!t crazy Mises followers... they just don't get it.

    Ultimately the buck stops at Obama's desk for not firing Geithner and his band of cronies. Perhaps because Obama doesn't think or feel empowered in economic theory and policy, he's a lawyer, after all, and a constitutional lawyer, not a corporate lawyer. I have no doubt you, ABG, even with youth and inexperience (compared to the Washington bigwigs now) could have done a better job from the onset... unless you're secretly a worshipper of Milton Friedman and/or Arthur Laffer. I don't think you are... just a joke. If you said that to me and meant it, I'd be insulted.

    I think that Geithner, and Bernanke also have ignored Stiglitz' main point of monetarism, that the relationship between money supply and inflation is weak when there is low inflation... in other words, was there even a need to consider Quantitative Easing?

    As a matter of fact, in a Bloomberg interview, Stiglitz said that whoever designed the Obama administration's bank rescue plan is "either in the pocket of the banks or they're incompetent."

    The carry over effects on the economy have created a lost two years, soon to be three... I hope we don't live through a japanese-style lost decade because of the Friedman economic policies the president has chosen to employ.

    Caveat: I'm not an economist. I do, however, 'get' the math, and I understand the philosophical starting points. But as I saw in a post from Cal just yesterday, I can find paragraphs that I can read top-to-bottom, then backwards, and not understand at all.

    Yep, it goes back to Carville's pithy statement, "It's the economy, stupid." I'm not directing this at anyone, except the president and his economic Marx Brothers team.

    Why does the economic team keep doing what it does? because to them, they are "Winning!" I guess they also have tiger blood...

    and the Captain Insano thoughts and actions that go along with tiger blood. Sigh.


    Here's a link to (none / 0) (#97)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:56:30 PM EST
    a cartoon that perhaps you can relate to:

    On the Record.

    You were the first person who came to mind when I read it.


    Perfect fit (none / 0) (#98)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 03:15:52 PM EST
    Slogan like: (none / 0) (#101)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 03:35:19 PM EST
    My Social Security and Medicare paid for more Freedom Bombs.

    I may eat Cat Food but at least we can bomb more brown people.

    Americans sacrifice food and shelter for Freedom Bombs.

    Support your President and Congress. Donate your Social Security and Medicare.

    Shared sacrifice: We sacrifice so they can take our share.


    "Vote for Obama, he's powerless!" (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by lambert on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:53:57 PM EST
    That's basically the case the Obama enablers are making. Can't do the 14th amendment... Done everything he can on jobs.... Id it weren't for Harry Reid... If it weren't for those meanie Republicans... If only the left would do more... And on and on and on, excuse after excuse after excuse.

    Powerless presidents are more fun :( (none / 0) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 06:11:13 PM EST
    I do photo ops not job creation.

    Hey, I'm only the president. Do you actually expect me to do something?

    Send me your money now or wait until I take it later.

    New game show with fifth grade contestants:

    Are you more powerful than the president?


    It's also difficult to debate ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:03:50 AM EST
    ... or argue with people who have irrational bitterness about stimulus money being used to save the jobs of public sector employees.  In fact, most (63%) of the the stimulus outlays have been provided in the form of the increased Medicaid funding and education money.  Medicaid needed the additional money to service a large increase in the number of medicaid recipients and state revenue shortages, while the education money was necessary to stave off massive teacher layoffs, although many school districts have since begun to do so anyway.

    I haven't seen any statistics about "lots" of people being angry that money was spent on healthcare for the poor or public education, but I have no doubt that many Tea Partiers were angry about it - maybe even a few others who feel like they didn't get something that their neighbor got - but that's how public spending works.  sometimes you receive a direct benefit and sometimes you don't.  Funny, though, that all of those bitter people complaining about public employees never thought to become a public employee themselves when the economy was in better shape.


    Since Obama can't go after the CORRUPTION... (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:10:53 AM EST
    ...that is the root cause of our financial woes, because he has accepted record amounts of money from those same corrupt players, it is going to be next to impossible for him to argue that Republicans obstructed him from doing much of anything.  

    After all, Obama is the one who yaps constantly about compromise, so all the Right has to do if he bellyaches about obstructionism is say, "Listen, we fight for what we believe in, and we fought hard for low taxes, yap yap yap, and Obama did his arguing and we came to a compromise, just like the President said we all needed to.  But it didn't work, the Obama compromise philosophy has failed the economy."

    Also, since Obama's economic "beliefs" are more in line with the right than the left anyway, he's doubly screwed.

    Current trajectory of politics (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:12:05 AM EST
    The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor DID NOT call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal.  THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLED FOR THAT,"  declared US Representative John Conyers in a press conference held by members of the House "Out of Poverty' Caucus on 07/27/11." link

    BTW, the tea party did not exist when Obama first put SS on the table and the Democratic Party had majorities in both houses of Congress.

    The Republican Party was in tatters when Obama took office in 2009. IMO by adopting their rhetoric and their agenda, he did more to rehabilitate them then they could have ever accomplished by themselves.

    What you get for electing a naif. (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by FreakyBeaky on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:17:52 AM EST

    2001-2008: Republicans run economy into ditch.

    2008: Obama elected.

    2009-2011: Hey, the Republicans are being mean! No fair!

    Missing (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:24:47 AM EST
    2006-2010 Democrats control Congress.

    Too bad (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:19:57 PM EST
    It's too bad that the Democrats never fight like that.

    ...so if we take your post and replace "Republicans did" with "Democrats didn't" and then insert the dates when Dems were in the minority, we can still blame Democrats ;-).


    Waaa! (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:51:21 PM EST
    The Dems didn't have 90 votes in the Senate, so we can't possibly hold them responsible.  It's still all the Republicans' fault.

    Seriously - if the Dems had all 100 votes they'd still claim they couldn't get things done.  What is the incentive to vote for these people then?


    Waaa II (none / 0) (#103)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:33:46 PM EST
    Even if we had every seat in the Senate, there would wrangling on every vote and they would invariably end with 99 people courting and granting Lieberman any concession he could dream of.  And after all that, they would still need Biden on occasion to break the tie.

    Someone once wrote that organizing democrats is harder than herding cats and nothing could be truer, take out the opponent, and they will still find a way to lose.


    The role of the "Whip" (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:42:38 PM EST
    May need to be medeivalized.

    Since I have little respect for a member of the house or senate in general-- specific ones? yes, but the position itself?

    Why not let them elect someone to beat them until morale improves or votes become more predictable.


    Funny... (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 05:41:50 PM EST
    I Have a Plaque from some pirate fest that reads "The Beatings Will Continue Until Moral Improves".  It's especially funny because... never mind.

    The Whip is in the House, and they delivered on just about everything when they had a majority.  How many bills did they approve only to sit in limbo, get stripped of all teeth, or get filibustered by the Senate.  Steny is one of the few politicians that I like and respect, ditto for Nancy.

    Not sure if there is a Senate position of motivator, that might explain a lot. If beatings are needed, and they are, they would be in the Senate, and they should continue until voter morale improves, because frankly, their morale should be dependent on ours.


    What do they call the same position in the (none / 0) (#121)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 09:30:24 PM EST
    Senate? The Quisling?

    Donald (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 03:24:14 PM EST
    The filibuster arguement IMO is weak tea.

    They wouldn't have dared something so brazen had we had any sort of message discipline.  Ditto for the Bush years, legislation that should have been filibustered or voted against wasn't because of message discipline.

    The health care debate was run by the opposing party who was in the minority by record numbers, and the people wanted Health Care.  They controlled the entire debate.  They had people believing the party that wanted everyone to have access to affordable Health Care was going to kill panels deciding who lived and died and our inept party can't even manage to convince people we weren't.

    I'm not suggesting we play that game, but would it kill the party to get some sort of organization, to say craft a resounding message that the whole party can back ?  

    Taxing rich people is a gimme, so is Health Care, it's like giving away ice cream in a heat wave.  But here are the D's explaining why free ice cream is good for families and farmers instead of doing what any idiot, namely the R's, would do, scream 'free ice cream'.

    Not the same, but similar, what do you think voters would have thought about D's pulling filibuster mania during the Bush years ? I think blaming the opponent for your own failures is weak, and pretty much defines our party right now.  It everyone's fault, but our own.  "Vote for us because we aren't as bad as them."

    we might be the party of ideas, but if we can't promote them we might as well have none.

    It's not rocket science, it's marketing, the biggest business blow off class ever, if it required any sort of brain power, the R's would suck at it.


    Yup, Obama had it all, (4.00 / 4) (#69)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:49:35 PM EST
    Both houses of Congress and he did precious little.  How is that the republican's fault?  He had it all and he blew it.

    Thanks, glad someone decided to mention that (none / 0) (#14)
    by BTAL on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:31:14 AM EST
    missing element.

    The buck (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:21:58 AM EST
    stops with the president unless you want to blame our current downturn on the Republicans in congress.

    Filibuster (none / 0) (#81)
    by PatHat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:18:33 PM EST
    The Dems, backed by the President, could have changed the filibuster rules. They could have used reconciliation at every opportunity. They just didn't care enough to do what was necessary for their constituents. Unless we really aren't the constituents they are working for....hmmm.

    And you can rob old ladies (none / 0) (#89)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:31:52 PM EST
    when your cash runs low.

    Just because something's an option doesn't mean it should be done.


    Dont get the analogy (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by PatHat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:39:34 PM EST
    Are the Senate rules the old lady?

    All of my suggestions were options available. If the Democrats don't know how to govern, why reelect them?


    That is precisely what the President and Congress (none / 0) (#94)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:42:10 PM EST
    plans to do.

    rob old ladies (and old men too)

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday of dire consequences if the Pentagon is forced to make cuts to its budget beyond the $400 billion in savings planned for the next decade.

    Senior Pentagon officials have launched an offensive over the past two days to convince lawmakers that further reductions in Pentagon spending would imperil the country's security. Instead of slashing defense, Panetta said, the bipartisan panel should rely on tax increases and cuts to nondiscretionary spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, to provide the necessary savings. link

    Robbing Old Ladies is an Option... (none / 0) (#116)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 06:09:37 PM EST
    ... when you are broke ?  Illegal for you and me, a viable option for Obama.

    I think a more accurate description is the old ladies robbing us (presumably used by you because they old ladies are weaker). The people in a weaker got what they wanted.

    We were outmaneuvered by a legal tactic, not illegality, like say robbery.  We aren't voting kids to run a lemonade stand, there are professional politicians that got outplayed using established rules.

    I wish the entire "It's not fair" crown would quit making excuses, it's why we have this band of losers representing us, happy to give the farm away and blame everyone else.  

    The mindless voters that buying this garbage, that they were mean, they did something they shouldn't have, they simply aren't responsible.  And these same voters are pretty much guaranteeing Obama will be the candidate and probably the win.

    I used to laugh at the idiot brigade that propped up Bush's second term, mindless fools who are fine with ineptitude and failure, so long as the failure had an R behind his name.  But here we are, in the same position, and I find my party making every excuse in the book for ineptitude and failure, ready for 4 more, because this idiot and his idiot cohorts have D's behind their names.

    And then when he repeats his performance, are we going to be subjugated to the endless mantra that Obama wasn't a real liberal, like the Bush cheerleaders tried to pull or more "it's their fault our leadership failed "?


    We can only hope (none / 0) (#46)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:49:31 AM EST
    that the Republicans don't nominate anyone who is TOO crazy...because whoever he is, he will be our next president (and yes, I used sexist language on purpose).

    I think 2012-2016 will be lather, rinse, repeat.


    In my humble opinion (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Buckeye on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:22:43 AM EST
    the Obama administration's mistakes that greatly impact why our economy is not recovering better are the following 5 reasons:

    1. Inadequate and poorly structured stimulus
    2. Appointment of Geitner rendering all help from the Treasury department going to banks and nothing to main street
    3. Dedicated his first two years to ramming through a health care bill that was stripped of all the reforms that would actually work (and were very popular with voters).  This did not hurt the economy much IMO but it helped hand congress over to the GOP that is hurting the economy now.
    4. The Deal
    5. No focus at all on job growth after stimulus

    To blame the GOP for the above, you would have to make the following arguments:

    1. The lack of support from the GOP put constraints on how big the stimulus could be.  Obama needed unanimous support from his party (always difficult) and still needed 3 votes from republicans in the senate.  Could he have gotten this if the stimulus was structured differently and/or larger?  Who knows?  But post mortem reports I have read stated that Obama/Summers got the stimulus they wanted so that does not hold water.
    2. Not sure why he was selected (the thought process).  Geitner had the funds needed to have an adequate program in place to help main street with housing problems.  It is inexcusable how he has done his job or that Obama has not replaced him.  GOP deserves no blame for this.
    3. Again, failure to get any GOP support meant Obama had to run the table with his caucus (Specter is now a Democrat).  You could argue this put constraints on what Obama could pass in the senate.  He could not get a public option passed Leiberman, Nelson, etc.  But again, post mortem reports show Obama always planned to drop the PO (and other things).  Some GOP support would have made things easier, but it appears Obama got the bill he wanted.
    4. Inexcusable.  The Deal sealed Obama's fate for his last two years.  He is going to dilute time every 3-6 months fighting with the GOP over how much we should cut spending.  GOP may be wrong on their policy beliefs and are to blame for what they are doing, but Obama should have anticipated this last December and used his leverage removing the GOP's ability to do this so he could spend his last 2 years focused on job growth.
    5. Inexcusable that Obama did not put any plans forward nor use the bully pulpit to push for them.

    The GOP is to blame for what they are doing (and the fact that they are wrong).  However, Obama is ultimately at fault for what is happening as he pushed/focused on the wrong things, made bad staffing decisions, and has done a very poor job negotiating with the GOP.

    Reconciliation of stimulus (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:29:30 AM EST
    was available, a la the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

    But (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:30:01 AM EST
    3.Dedicated his first two years to ramming through a health care bill that was stripped of all the reforms that would actually work (and were very popular with voters).  This did not hurt the economy much IMO but it helped hand congress over to the GOP that is hurting the economy now.

    It DID indeed hurt the economy, because it was opportunity to fix the economy that was lost.

    In addition, once enacted, people who couldn't afford health insurance are going to use their health care money to pay premiums...which won't actually provide any health care, but will suck much of their disposable income into one industry -- health INSURANCE, and will do nothing for the economy, except for that of health insurance execs.

    So yes, the awful health insurance bill DID hurt the economy and will continue to do so.


    I agree with your thoughts on the HC bill (none / 0) (#18)
    by Buckeye on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:35:13 AM EST
    but most of the problems you cite are in the future.  What has happened over the last 2.5 years (and especially this year) I do not think we can put it on the ACA.  A missed opportunity to fix a current problem?  Yes.  A problem for people down the road once this kicks in?  Yes.  But I do not think it has really done anything to our economy over the last two years other than put more republicans in congress and in charge of state legislatures than what they would have gained otherwise.

    Yes we can (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:45:11 AM EST
    put some of it on ACA.  What people who aren't in the individual insurance market don't realize is that parts of ACA have already been enacted -- and they are costing us.

    Because of those parts, my premiums have gone up, my care has gone down because my deductible has also been raised in tandem...I don't go to the doctor (I'm using my coverage only for catastrophic care) and I've dropped some of my prescription drugs because of the higher deductible..and the explanation given by insurance and my commissioner was the ACA measures they've already had to address.  I'm not alone in this, because premiums have gone up for people in the individual insurance market AND thru employers.  It's true, people aren't forced to buy insurance or pay the tax Yet, but don't think the unACA hasn't already had an impact.

    Oh, also back to my first point which is time wasted on the stupid health insurance giveaway, was time not spent -- while Democrats had congressional control!!!! -- on fixing the economy, creating a meaningful number of jobs.

    So, it's there and had a humungous impact.  In addition, it does create more uncertainty in the job market.  Employers have thrashed about how it will affect them, and no doubt that thrashing has impacted hiring.


    Well, if that is true then I agree with you (none / 0) (#31)
    by Buckeye on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:09:12 AM EST
    it had a near term and long term negative impact.  I am on a pretty strong employer provided health care plan which was not really impacted by the ACA (so I am not as sensitive to its changes as others).

    Health Insurance legislation (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:34:47 AM EST
    did harm the economy IMO because it allowed insurance companies no limits on what they can charge for private health insurance, very high percentage increases in annual private health insurance, and fewer dollars to spend on other goods and services that would contribute to job creation.  

    The DEAL (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:31:47 AM EST
    has to go down as one of Obama's biggest blunders.  He wasn't obstructed by anyone.  Not by Republicans, not by Ben Nelson, not by anyone.  The mid-terms were already over.

    All he had to do was nothing.

    Inexcusable, unforgivable.

    Agree, but would rank it 3rd (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Buckeye on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:46:41 AM EST
    The top two (and I am not sure which I would put first) was the ACA and stimulus.  

    Prioritizing health care reform during a serious economic crisis I think was dumb.  But if you are going to do it because you have a historic opportunity with a filibuster proof senate and big house majorities, ramming through a bill that was stripped of popular reforms and was fantastically unpopular with voters was just insane.  Pelosi, Reid, Obama basically told democratic congresspeople to walk the plank thinking the bill would get more popular as time passed.  It didn't.  I realize Repubs would have done well in 2010 regardless.  But if Obama would have spent his first two years focused on job growth (which might have lowered the unemployment rate) and not force feeding an unpopular 2,500+ page bill down the throats of the American people, there would not have been such a wipeout in 2010 and the Tea Party would not control the house.

    The stimulus being so inadequate meant higher unemployment and more sluggish GDP growth creating economic headwinds worst than necessary.  It is tough to govern in a bad economy.


    I certainly agree (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:46:54 PM EST
    that putting so much into ACA was a huge mistake for the reasons you cited and the tepid and wrongheaded approach to the economy was, IMO, the worst of the worst.  An obviously improving economy would have kept Democrats in control of the House.

    We actually agree in order of importance.

    My comment on the DEAL was about policy that in no way could have been interpreted as Republican obstructionism.

    His lack of action regarding the finance industry isn't necessarily a case of Republican obstruction since he made no effort at real reform at a time when the public, justifiably, wanted blood.  Failure to act chiseled away another block of people's faith in government and that's a victory for movement Conservatives.


    Agree - good points (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Buckeye on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 03:32:07 PM EST
    Well, to be fair (none / 0) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:06:33 PM EST
    the ACA, had it been passed in the structure we all thought it could have been, would have helped contain costs and been a plus for the economy, not to mention a big boost for actual health care to millions of forgotten Americans.

    But, by the time Obama caved on one key ingredient after another, the final stripped down version of the bill bore no resemblence to the bill we all felt we were getting.


    Pretty early (none / 0) (#52)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:31:05 PM EST
    Pretty early in the process we figured out we were getting nothing....it should have been dumped at that point.

    ...and then it gradually grew into the atrocity it now is, worse than nothing.

    At the end, I thought, they can't possibly pass this horrifying thing....but they did.

    Even the Medicaid increase was just a shiny object to distract us....they just cut Medicaid elsewhere, sneakily....and they will be continuing to cut it as well as the subsidies via the latest "deal".  You can count on that.  That, I'm finding, is Obama's ploy...see these amazing wonderful things I'm doing over here, while I'm sneakily SNAFUing them over there...it's like Ms. Obama's Fit campaign I made a big deal about yesterday...a big huge marketing campaign, that directs public dollars toward augmenting some marketing firm's bottom line, paid for with foodstamp dollars -- if she got her way, I can't even find out if she finally convinced the house to pass the cut --   Shiny objects to distract while we sneakily get screwed.

    It was all a pride thing for Obama -- he had to one-up Clinton...showed HIM, didn't he ;-).  So we'll all hurt, but he'll move on to even bigger money.

    LOL, laughing so I don't cry as we continue to fall victim of our corrupt government.


    Yup, agree with all you said (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by NYShooter on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:55:18 PM EST
    I remember watching and listening every day as this wonderful idea, piece by piece, was morphing right before our eyes into this unrecognizable horror, into a piece of crap so completely opposite of what it started out being that you had to give a grudging nod of congratulations to the evil scum that Obama "reached out" his hand to, and, like a chipper/shredder got yanked in and ripped to shreds.  

    Right then I knew this bill, like his presidency, were finished.


    Blaming Republicans for our current predicament (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by davnee on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:38:01 AM EST
    is like blaming a dog for barking when you wave a biscuit in its face.  After 2008 the dog was in its cage.  Nobody but Obama is to blame for unlocking that cage and leaving the box of biscuits out for the dog to enjoy.  Any kind of decent leader would have at least made the dog perform some tricks first.

    Bush didn't just run us into a ditch, he ran us (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by esmense on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:38:16 AM EST
    off a cliff and then ejected. The economy was still falling (and is still falling), with a long long way to go before bottom, but none of the financial advisors to either President, nor either President, understood that. Everyone (at the top, in Obama's administraton as well as Bush's, thought the economy had just run out of gas and as soon as we filled the banker's tank with Premium we'd be on the road again.

    As hard as it is to believe, I don't think our elites -- and that means all the people who advise Presidents and other members of government on economic policy -- with the exception of a few contrarians (who never have any President's ear) had a glimmer of what our real situation was until, maybe, just the last week. And I'm not certain they are comprehending it yet.

    This is the reality of our 10% economy. Ever more extreme income inequality means that those in that top 10% are living in an alternate economic reality (and a much more globalized reality) that for decades has been basically untouched by whatever bad consequences are being experienced by the bottom 90%, especially those who labor in or sell to people who labor in the domestic economy. Elite disconnect affects how they interpret data, deforms their expectations, leads to bad decision making.

    I think yesterday's drop in the market may indicate the first glimmer of fear that what is happening on Main Street MAY negatively affect what is happening on Wall Street. But I'm not convinced, yet, that they really believe it. Or really understand what is happening on Main Street.

    I'd like to think that all those money guys in Chicago with Obama, handing out the checks, are saying "Holy Cow did we misread that! We need some new thinking around here. This is serious! Let's get serious!"

    But I fear that they really just think, or are at least hoping, that some brilliant new financial ploy is just around the corner, some new angle they haven't thought of yet, some frothy bubble that will raise their yachts even while it swamps the rest of us, that will provide all the excuse they need to continue to doing nothing more than look after their own interest.  

    asdf (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Addison on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:57:02 AM EST
    Obama is too afraid of "losing", or fronting a losing plan, so the highlighted part was never tested. Compromise is a way to always "win".

    I think one of the biggest mistakes (5.00 / 5) (#64)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:44:55 PM EST
    Democrats make is to keep clinging to the deeply-rooted belief that, when something doesn't go the way they want, it's always those damn Republicans who are to blame.  

    We've already seen that it was Dems who, in 2009, wanted a deficit commission whose main focus would be on entitlements, and who threatened to hold the coming debt ceiling increase hostage if they didn't get it.  Well, Congress didn't pass the Deficit Commission bill, but the door was opened to hostage-taking for purely political purposes.

    We know it was Obama who kept it all going, convening his own commission, naming two known entitlement-haters to chair it.  That commission failed to vote out recommendations, only issuing a report, but Democrats vowed to incorporate as much of the report's findings into legislation as they could.  

    Let's remember that the Gang of Six wasn't six Republicans, but three Republicans and three - yes - Democrats.

    The debt ceiling debacle saw Democrats in leadership positions take up the debt/deficit cudgel, and beat up on entitlements, creating provisions for a SuperCongress to be charged with finding trillions more to cut, with everything - especially the social safety net - on the table.

    Is Leon Panetta a Democrat?  Well, here - via Glenn - is what's going on with him (emphasis in the original):

    Yesterday, President Obama's Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, donned his Dr. Strangelove hat and decried these prospective cuts as a "doomsday mechanism" -- doomsday! -- warning that these would be "very dangerous cuts" that "would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military's ability to protect the nation."  Then, this morning, we have this from The Washington Post:

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday of dire consequences if the Pentagon is forced to make cuts to its budget beyond the $400 billion in savings planned for the next decade.

    Senior Pentagon officials have launched an offensive over the past two days to convince lawmakers that further reductions in Pentagon spending would imperil the country's security. Instead of slashing defense, Panetta said, the bipartisan panel should rely on tax increases and cuts to nondiscretionary spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, to provide the necessary savings.

    Just think about that for a minute.  We have a Democratic administration installed in power after millions of liberals donated large amounts of their time and money to help elect them.  Yet here we have a top official in the President's cabinet demanding cuts to Medicare and Social Security in order to protect the military budget from further reductions.  That's the position of the Democratic administration.  While it's true that Pentagon officials reflexively protect the Pentagon budget, there is zero question that Panetta -- the career-long supremely loyal Democratic Party functionary -- is speaking here on behalf of and with the authorization of the White House; indeed, he said exactly that in the written message he sent about these cuts to the Pentagon's staff ("this outcome would be completely unacceptable to me as Secretary of Defense, the President, and to our nation's leaders").

    So, excuse me, Kevin Drum, but you need to STFU, and put away the magic fairy glitter.  Have a little come-to-Jesus meeting with yourself, review the real history of Democrats and the economy that you have so neatly re-written just so you can lay the blame at Republicans' feet.  Not that the GOP doesn't share in the blame, but what has transpired since Bush left office  - and even before he left - has occurred with a lot of Democratic help.  

    Snap out of it, Kevin - try raising the bar for Dems instead of lowering it - that's what you used to do when Bush was president, and if you really want better policy, you can't stop just because the Dems are in charge.

    It's not "caving" when you do... (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by lambert on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:39:01 PM EST
    ... what you believe in. Obama's doing what be believes in.

    as BTD presciently noted, (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by cpinva on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 05:51:54 PM EST
    during the primaries & general campaign, the core weakness of obama's whole approach to sausage making is his "post-partisan" crap.

    if i start out with majorities in both houses (as obama did in 2009), i really don't need to give two nanny-goat sh*ts what the republicans think. oh sure, i can pat them on the head, tell them i'll give all due consideration to their expressed concerns, and then go ahead and do what i planned to do in the first place.

    sure, they'll howl and bay at the moon, so what? remember, elections do have consequences. had obama done this, and forced his guys in the house & senate to grow a backbone, we'd now be commissioning a sculptor, for the celebratory statue of him, to be erected on the mall, after his second term was completed. clearly, such is not the case.

    it's nice to liked, it's better to be accomplished. you leave a much better trail behind you.

    Jan 23rd 2009 (none / 0) (#115)
    by BTAL on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 05:59:00 PM EST
    President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

    The exchange arose as top House and Senate Republicans expressed concern to the president about the amount of spending in the package. They also raised red flags about a refundable tax credit that returns money to those who don't pay income taxes, the sources said.

    The Republicans stressed that they want to include more middle class tax cuts in the package, citing their proposal to cut the two lowest tax rates -- 15 percent and 10 percent -- to ten percent and five percent, rather than issue the refundable credit Obama wants.


    But perhaps taking a cue from Obama's "I won" line when Democrats were asked if they were concerned about Republicans blocking the package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a swift one-word answer: "No."

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill was on track for passage by February 16, while Republicans continued to voice their opposition.


    Sort of dispels much of the folklore on early PPUS, Stimulus size and Rs only wanting to give tax breaks to the wealthy.


    If anything (none / 0) (#2)
    by CST on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 09:58:32 AM EST
    '09-'10 was all about "Democrats and Lieberman in the senate doing everything possible to prevent him from fixing things"

    Although that's certainly giving Obama some serious benefit of the doubt on that one that I'm not sure he deserves.

    From the public option, to a real stimulus plan, the Democrats (and Lieberman) were the worst enemy in the beginning, the republicans were irrelevant.

    Since the 2010 elections it's been the republicans.  And in some slight measure of fairness to the democrats, things have gotten worse since then, both politically and economically.  But we all know Republicans are terrible.  The fact remains that the Democrats had a golden opportunity that they squandered due to a couple of petty (ahem Lieberman) and poor decisions on their part.

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:07:28 AM EST
    Obama didn't appear to be strident enough in his dealings with Congress.  He left it to Congress.  He should have insisted the Senate use reconciliation at every opportunity.  The Nelsons of the Senate were allowed to wield power when they could have been circumvented.

    Obama underachieved the first two years.


    IOW (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Amiss on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:57:41 AM EST
    Obama was and is lazy!

    Well (none / 0) (#74)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:01:07 PM EST
    [insert the expected ABG response to that nonsense here.]

    I'm not sure (none / 0) (#8)
    by CST on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    how this disagrees with what I said.  I think it could go in tandem.  There is certainly a lot of truth to that.

    But I am not letting Dems in the senate get off the hook either.  Or Lieberman.  No one forced him to be such an @ss.

    My main point was that it was the Democrats obstructing themselves for the first 2 years.  Whether you want to blame congress or Obama is kind of a wash to me.  They are all responsible.


    My point (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by cal1942 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:38:49 AM EST
    is that he didn't do what good, effective  Presidents do.

    He allowed Congress to flounder about.  His inaction was a part of who Obama is.


    OK you lost me (none / 0) (#30)
    by smott on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:05:27 AM EST
    What specific plans did Obama lay out for "fixing things"?

    And how did Senate Dems/Leiberman do "everything possible" to prevent said fixes?

    Details please?


    Wait (none / 0) (#50)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:20:39 PM EST
    "The only thing I can see that the President clearly enunciated was wanting to raise taxes on the rich. That's a good argument, but is that really why the economy is in tatters?"

    It is if you think the Tax Deal was important.

    ABG - Then why (none / 0) (#54)
    by PatHat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:48:36 PM EST
    didn't Obama veto the Bush Tax Cut extension? A veto would have ended the tax cuts for all and gone along with his new interest in the deficit?

    Obama's signing pen is why much of what has happened since 2008 is Obama's fault.


    Because (none / 0) (#59)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:26:25 PM EST
    Raising taxes on the middle class and eliminating benefits from things like the mortgage insurance deduction at a time when people were getting put out of their homes would not have been helpful.

    Home Mortgage Deduction (none / 0) (#66)
    by PatHat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:45:45 PM EST
    Not signing the Bush Tax Cut extension would not have changed the home mortgage deduction rules.

    I guess I would have liked the President to let the cuts expire and then perhaps have the Dems propose a middle class tax cut.

    Or better, Obama could have had Reid and Pelosi send the middle class only bill thru prior to losing the House.

    To not even try is the worst thing. For the transparent Administration to do all the work behind closed doors is maddening, and deceitful.


    He's tried this before (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:07:52 PM EST
    ABG's talking about the home mortgage insurance deduction (PMI), which was part of the Bush tax cuts.  It only affects a small segment of homeowner that meet the requirements, and it's capped based on income.  For those that qualify, the average deduction is between $300-$350 a year.  

    Oh. (none / 0) (#83)
    by PatHat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:20:10 PM EST
    that could have been made up with one day's payment of FAA taxes.

    Yep (none / 0) (#85)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:21:27 PM EST
    There's another giveaway to industry from our pocketbooks....very sneaky, but genius on the part of our Congress.

    You keep raising the bogeyman ... (none / 0) (#73)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:00:52 PM EST
    ... of the elimination of the mortgage insurance deduction as though it would have some sort of major impact.  Last time you did this, you also conflated it with the mortgage interest deduction.

    You were wrong then, and it was clearly explained why you were wrong, yet you persist.  Your flat-out false reasons for Obama's failure to let the Bush tax cuts expire are nothing more than an attempt to rationalize Obama's failure, and it's incredibly transparent.


    I did (none / 0) (#75)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:02:22 PM EST
    no such thing.  I made an accurate statement that was right.  You called it wrong based on nothing. I disagreed and here we are.



    BTW - I didn't 'call it wrong" ... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:27:58 PM EST
    ... "based on nothing".  I called you wrong because you're wrong.

    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.


    Really? Maybe you should ... (none / 0) (#80)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:17:37 PM EST
    ... look again:

    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.

    Then, you switch to discussing the mortgage insurance deduction (which actually was part of the Bush tax cuts), and claim it could cost people thousands, when in reality the deduction (for the small minority of people that qualify) would average $300-$350:

    Lots of folks will get hit with an extra 2-3k each year if that goes away.

    Then, when confronted with reality, you run along and ignore the actual facts.

    SOP with you - on many subjects.


    It was important (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:29:42 PM EST
    not because I wanted taxes to go up in December 2010, it was important to provide space for government spending.

    The President could have let the tax cuts expire and then negotiated a mix of stimulus spending and lower tax rates.

    We just disagree on The Deal.


    I understand more clearly now (none / 0) (#76)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:04:24 PM EST
    you actually believe that spending increases was a possibility with a GOP controlled house.

    I see why we don't agree,


    Obama (none / 0) (#93)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:41:36 PM EST
    gave away the store before the GOP even took over congress.

    And the GOP caved when Clinton went after then. You don't try to appease bullies. You call them out and go the American people with what you want.

    We went over this all the other day. Bill Clinton showed everyone how to do it. It's not rocket science.


    the highlighted part: (none / 0) (#55)
    by cpinva on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:53:30 PM EST
    of course, so what else is new? that said, when you unload your weapon, and hand it over to your enemy, without having fired a shot in self-defense, it begs the question of just how determined you were to begin with.

    obama is either:

    1. a semi-moderate republican (assuming there is such a thing), masquerading as a democrat., or

    2. a complete political naif.

    either way, he's nearly as dangerous as having an admitted republican in the oval office, something i feared from the start.

    You forgot (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:08:32 PM EST
    the third option.

    3.  Powerless

    That's the one my family uses to defend him.

    As I say, time and again, it's funny to me how politicians take the time to raise $1B to fund a campaign for a job where they're powerless.  I guess Airforce One and that nice big house are worth it to them?


    Hindsight (none / 0) (#58)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:14:05 PM EST
    The problem was that Obama allowed the very people who created the problem to determine the solution.

    He came into office knowing the economy was in the tank. He had months to prepare and put together a capable team to deal with it.

    He had one shot at the start to get it right and instead he chose to be "bipartisan". Evidently he didn't believe that the Republicans would do everything in their power to make him look bad regardless of what the damage to the country would be.

    Everybody knows that the economy is in tatters (none / 0) (#62)
    by Farmboy on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:34:20 PM EST
    because of Obama's hip-hop BBQ.

    And Tom Hanks.

    Everyone (none / 0) (#65)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:45:12 PM EST
    knows that Obama is powerless...but he's still "The One"

    Hard to tell where the pre-caving starts (none / 0) (#95)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 02:45:53 PM EST
    and the GOP blocking begins when Obama consistently tries to be 'realistic' about what he will even pt forward.  He blocks himself.

    (big assumption there - that he even wanted a bigger stimulus himself)

    Oh Really? (none / 0) (#122)
    by pluege2 on Sat Aug 06, 2011 at 12:21:45 AM EST
    The only thing I can see that the President clearly enunciated was wanting to raise taxes on the rich.

    see "The Deal"

    obama had the opportunity to raise taxes on the rich and took a pass...just like he will next time.

    obama is 100% invested in the plutocrats agenda.