Monday Open Thread

I'll be busy the rest of the day, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    What a surprise :-( (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:10:00 PM EST
    So, Obama is the least liberal Democratic president since World War II, and presumably the least liberal since Woodrow Wilson. link

    Based on Keith Poole's Voteview which has produced estimates of presidential positions on a left-right scale since 1945.

    Funny how it's now accepted (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:36:32 PM EST
    If you had said something like this back in 2008 at the Orange, TPM, HuffPo, etc., you would have been met with howls of derision and a litany of insults.

    Now his supporters practically yawn when you state the obvious.


    Incorrect (3.00 / 1) (#8)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:40:59 PM EST
    Only fools thought he was going to be a liberal crusader.  Most of us thought he was serious about compromise.

    The problem is not that he was moderate.  The problem is that people believe that he should have given up on that campaign promise way earlier than he did.

    But a moderate platform was what he ran on.  Any other notion is revisionist history.


    Of COURSE he was a moderate (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:04:19 PM EST
    But what we kept hearing from progressive Obama supporters in 2008 was that he was just "talking-the-talk" and riding the PPUS in order to attract moderate Republicans and Independents.  He's really "one of us".  A pretty easy sell when you have almost no voting record and your campaign consists mostly of vague slogans - "Hope" "Change", and "Yes we can!", etc.

    "Don't worry about it.  What Obama really means is ..."

    Then there were the few specific promises he made that showed his progressive bona fides:

    He will veto FISA compromise.  He will repeal the Bush tax cuts (or at least let them expire).  He'll renegotiate that horrible NAFTA that Hillary claimed was a "boon to our economy".  Import drugs to make them affordable!  Any bill I sign must have a public option!  HCR negotiations will be in public, televised on CSPAN, with no more "backroom" talks (ala HC) - or throw a public plan under the bus and make backroom deals with the drug companies.  Windfall oil profits tax to fund alternative energy programs ... or not.  He'll restore Superfund money to clean up our contaminated sites ... or not.  Reel in Bush's expansion of executive authority ... or expand them further.  Close Guantanamo within one year.  Comprehensive immigration reform my first year ...

    ... etc., etc., etc.

    "Revisionist history" indeed ...


    That's not what I heard or said (none / 0) (#18)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:55:25 PM EST
    There is the myth of all of the Obama supporters who were secretly fooled.

    The reality is that the only people who promote this version of the history are folks who weren't Obama fans in the first place.

    There are thousands of Obama doubters who say that all of their Obama supporting fans believed he'd be Super Liberal but they can never point to anyone online or otherwise who was making that exact point.

    My working theory is that all of these people were talking to one delusional Obama supporter screwing it up for the rest of us.


    what is an "Obama doubter"? (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:13:25 PM EST
    the term makes no sense apart from the term "Obama believer"

    you've already said that "only fools" thought Obama was going to be a liberal crusader, but clearly those fools were not among the "Obama doubters"

    so you concede it's not a "myth" that there were Obama supporters who were "secretly" (whatever that means) fooled?


    I don't (none / 0) (#47)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:07:24 PM EST
    Concede anything other than the fact that I knew know one who believed Obama would performing the miracles people now spend every day blasting him for not pulling off.

    well, you know (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:38:29 PM EST
    it's one thing for Obama to be a "liberal crusader" & quite another for Obama to govern more like a liberal Democrat than like a moderate Republican

    better negotiating skills would be helpful, too


    Straw "miracles" - heh (none / 0) (#54)
    by Yman on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 01:33:19 PM EST
    Funny how campaign promises and slogans of "Yes we can!" suddenly changed into unrealistic expectations of "miracles" after the election.

    Congratulations, ... except ... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:25:16 PM EST
    ... I wasn't talking about you specifically, and no one said anything about "all" Obama supporters.

    But those "myths" sure are easier to knock down when you build 'em yourself out of straw, huh?  As for your "working theories", ...

    ... it's always nice to end the day with a good laugh ...


    These "myths" are of your own making, (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:09:17 PM EST
    and are designed to allow you to "win" whatever argument you're making; it's something we are quite used to getting from you.

    There is no question there were, and are, Obama supporters who, when Obama kept playing to the center-right, talked themselves into believing that Obama was a master chessman, playing a multi-dimensional game where "checkmate" would be the revelation of a truly progressive agenda.  

    They are still waiting, and still, somewhat desperately, reading implied progressive motives where it really is clear no such motives exist.

    Now, you keep insisting that Obama never explicitly declared himself to be any kind of liberal, but is closing Guantanamo a progressive goal or a conservative one?  Is rolling back the Bush executive power grab a progressive goal or a conservative one?  Is declaring himself to be a proponent of single-payer, and later, a public option, a progressive goal or a conservative one?  Is promising transparency a progressive goal or a conservative one?

    Do you see how easy it is to draw people into believing something, without ever labeling one's self as one thing or another?

    Your "working theory" is, really, to laugh; you must be having an off day.


    It's easy to see (none / 0) (#48)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:10:17 PM EST
    I think you have bought into a certain narrative as deeply as anyone.

    There is nothing Obama could ever do to gain your support and it has been that way for some time.

    The question is why you think that is so much different than the most stubborn Obama fan?

    You and they are two sides of the same coin.


    Poor choice of words perhaps (none / 0) (#49)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:14:53 PM EST
    But I think the people who believed Obama was going to usher in some liberal utopia (or even wanted that) were far smaller than Anne portrays.  The profile  of the average Obama voter was so diverse that focusing your every consideration of an Obama supporter in one small subset is just wrong.

    When you have numbers that big you are getting people voting for hundreds of different  reasons and with hundreds of different expectations.

    I am reminding Anne that just like liberals, libertarians and conservatives can oppose Obama for completely unrelated reasons, those that approve can do so for just as many reasons themselves.

    it would be as if I called her a conservative just because she and Rush think Obama is a failure.


    Or, he's the most conservative Democratic (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:43:22 PM EST
    president of the modern era...

    Is there a difference between "least liberal" and "most conservative?"  For me, yes - I haven't found a whole lot in Obama that I would be comfortable calling "liberal" at all, much less "least liberal!"

    The point is that Obama's done nothing to move us left - and he'd have had to move quite a bit to the left to counter the greater move to the right that the GOP has made, just to keep us where we were three years ago.

    Two parties, same destination, different speed.


    The semantics (none / 0) (#10)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:59:58 PM EST
    1. Don't matter, which is the beauty of the chart in the original story.  It draws a line and on one side of the line are conservative policies and on the other side are liberal policies, and no matter how you cut it, Obama is on the liberal side of that line.  

    2. Have you noted how little distance there is between Obama and our most liberal presidents?  This is a chart which really is key to the battles we've been having over the past 12 months about whether Obama is some kind of a closeted conservative.  The chart clearly shows that he is not.  He's liberal. Just slightly less liberal than Clinton for example when you look at all of the policies and the big picture.

    This study takes the argument we've been having and tries to answer the question and the answer is not what you believe it to be.

    3. I don't think Obama vowed to move the country left and I never expected him to.  


    Perspective (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:06:32 PM EST
    This really is a very helpful chart the more I look at it.  Good example of something the chart visually highlights:

    The distance between Obama and Clinton is roughly the same as the gap between Reagan and Bush I.

    Given that gap, do we view Bush I as a liberal?

    Of course not because the gap is, when you take a step back, very small.

    As is the gap between Obama, LBJ, Truman and JFK.  They are all within spitting distance of one another when it comes to Liberal policies.

    If we had asked TL to predict where Obama would end up on this chart given the last 3 years, I think people like Anne would have said "much closer to Bush and Reagan than to Carter or JFK.

    As the chart shows, that perspective is just wrong.


    Exactly right (none / 0) (#26)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:34:21 PM EST
    According to the chart, you have to get out a magnifying glass to tell the differences among the Democrats.

    The differences between the Democrats as a group, or even just Obama, and the Republicans, is bigger than the Grand Canyon.

    The chart shows why Progressives would do well to vote for Obama.


    If semantics don't matter, then Mitt (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Towanda on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:40:00 PM EST
    did not deserve the uproar last week about his stupid statement about the poor.


    Recommended is review of the "Just Words" speech by Obama (or by Deval Patrick, whichever).


    Per the interview with Lauer (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:46:55 PM EST
    "I deserve a second term, but we're not done," President Obama said to NBC's Matt Lauer during the network's coverage of the Super Bowl.


    Does any politician "deserve" reelection - especially in their own words?  Hubris.


    well, what else is a campaign (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:05:23 PM EST
    except an effort to convince the electorate that you deserve to be (re)elected?

    IMHO (none / 0) (#21)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:13:43 PM EST
    A little humility and "asking" for the opportunity to server vs one "deserves" from a personal perspective as was stated in the interview.

    BTW, that personal standard applies regardless of party affiliation.


    Matt Lauer asked him (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:31:00 PM EST
    "Do you deserve a second term?"  Obama was answering the question the way it was posed.  

    He did not impromptu choose the word "deserved."

    Looks like an effort to find something new to attack Obama on.....as the old attacks are not working...


    For the "smartest" president (none / 0) (#28)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:49:22 PM EST
    he could easily have answered the question with his own words.  For example, "I believe I can do (or even continue to) much for the country..."

    Prior to making the initial comment, I was curious if there was any record of other pols/presidents making similar statements.  Found nothing similar.

    As to the old attacks, you apparently missed the statement that my position is applicable to a pol in any party.


    Give it a break (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:34:24 PM EST
    The phrase about "deserve(ing)" to be re-elected is often used in politics.  We all know that. A phrase that comes to mind about how you are pushing the parsing:  Digging a deep hole.

    I'll keep that in mind (none / 0) (#39)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:44:19 PM EST
    when you start parsing phrases of republicans that are well known and commonly used.

    Goose & Gander.


    Good ... now see if you can find ... (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:51:12 PM EST
    Prior to making the initial comment, I was curious if there was any record of other pols/presidents making similar statements.  Found nothing similar.

    ... any examples of any Republican politicians being specifically asked if they "deserve" reelection.

    Taking offense because a politician says they "deserve to be reelected", when they are specifically asked if they "deserve to be reelected" is just silly.


    Much ado about nothing (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:01:43 PM EST
    Yep (none / 0) (#52)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 08:55:06 AM EST
    I have to say, if this is all it is going to take to get the manufactured outrage machine cranked up, it is going to be a very long year.

    He deserves the opportunity to make (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:08:25 PM EST
    his case for why the voters should give him a second term - and to lay out what it is he wants to do in that second term.  As an incumbent, he runs on his record, as well as his vision for that second term.

    "We're not done" is kind of a vapid response - I mean, here's Matt Lauer giving him free air time, and it seems like a waste of a question to choose to answer it that way.

    "Not done" what?  The problem with an answer like that is that Republicans will easily and gleefully finish that sentence with all manner of things that give conservatives the vapors - even if, in all likelihood, a second Obama term could be a bonanza for conservatives,

    Does anyone just outright "deserve" another term?  I don't think so.


    I thought (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by lentinel on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:13:11 PM EST
    the same thing.

    Not done with what exactly?

    Personally, I've had enough of this fellow and am quite done.
    Well done.


    That's an "ask" (none / 0) (#22)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:18:35 PM EST
    Every politician who wants a second term says that they deserve a second term.

    What politician says "I don't deserve to win this election based on my record"?

    Answer: A politician who is going to lose.

    And yeah, he definitely deserves a second term.  If that unemployment number keeps falling it will be undeniable that he's done well.


    No (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:51:24 PM EST
    what you say is that it for the American people to decide in the voting booth whether he gets another four years and then you go into why they should vote for you. Of course, the message I'm getting from Obama Central is that there is NO reason to vote for him only to vote AGAINST the GOP.

    Honestly this was a gimme, the GOP is imploding and this is the best Obama can do? As much as the GOP is doing to help him, he's doing a lot to undo whatever help they are giving him.


    And (none / 0) (#34)
    by lentinel on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:11:09 PM EST
    if the unemployment level doesn't fall, you'll still say he's done well.

    If pols don't deserve to be elected - (none / 0) (#23)
    by Farmboy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:20:03 PM EST
    or reelected - then don't vote for them. Vote for somebody who deserves your vote.

    If a pol doesn't think they deserve your vote, then don't vote for them. Not only that, but a pol's statement of, "I don't deserve this job" should be a preface to their resignation.


    If a pol deserves my vote (none / 0) (#27)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:42:40 PM EST
    I'll give my vote based on my decision on their deserving another term, not their opinion on what they think they deserve.

    Well (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:46:39 PM EST
    the hubris crap bugs me too. Instead of saying that he "deserves" to be reelected he should be telling us WHY we should vote for him.

    That being said, one of the few pleasures I have had in the politics these last few years is that conservatives are finally getting a taste of their own medicine. I have never seen anybody as full of himself as George W. Bush and he called himself the "decider" and you idiots out there in 'Murica don't need to worry your stupid heads about what I'm doing 'cause I'll decide what is right for the 'Murican people.


    Saw That (none / 0) (#4)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:16:19 PM EST
    I think it is about right. The pull right is universal.  W was the most conservative POTUS in decades as well.  

    Unrelated: Obama's numbers continue to creep up.  Two polls have him at 50% now.



    here is the money quote (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:14:32 PM EST
    (pun intended)

    The point . . . is that this very moderate Democrat is portrayed by the right . . . as a radical redistributionist -- when the real radicals are on the other side. And now we have numbers.

    & from your link in another comment:

    A second term for President Barack Obama would allow him to expand his replacement of Republican-appointed majorities with Democratic ones on the nation's appeals courts.


    elsewhere in this thread, Yman says that if Obama had been described in 2008 as likely to become the most conservative Democratic president of the modern era, that description "would have been met with howls of derision and a litany of insults" on the A-list left blogs

    i think that's true

    but i miss the days when we were unified in righteous outrage at George W. Bush's federal court appointments - those won't continue to be reversed under a Romney administration


    The graph shows (none / 0) (#5)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:28:50 PM EST
    very slight differences among the Democratic Presidents and huge differences between the Republican and Democratic Presidents.

    This graph shows why a progressive would want to vote for Obama.


    I think that is right as well (none / 0) (#7)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:37:41 PM EST
    The distance between Obama and JFK and others is relatively small.

    He has been more conservative (which was what his bipartisan approach was about but also results from the nature of the opposition forcing him into that position) but not so conservative as to show now difference with conservatives.

    The two parties are different.  There is a distinct difference between their leaders. This election matters:

    "WASHINGTON--A second term for President Barack Obama would allow him to expand his replacement of Republican-appointed majorities with Democratic ones on the nation's appeals courts, the final stop for almost all challenged federal court rulings.

    Despite his slow start in nominating judges and Republican delays in Senate confirmations, Obama has still managed to alter the balance of power on four of the nation's 13 circuit courts of appeals. Given a second term, Obama could have the chance to install Democratic majorities on several others.

    Fourteen of the 25 appeals court judges nominated by Obama replaced Republican appointees."



    Boston Globe--good source (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:27:16 PM EST
    Well, all I have to say (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:01:22 PM EST
    about the Republicans is that they have made garnering the racist vote almost into a science.  Without saying anything overtly racist or using racial epithets. Ugh!  What a revolting ad!

    Yes, I hear what you're saying (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:42:06 PM EST
    But it doesn't have the outright racial epithets and denigrations.  Although it's not subtle at all.  Interesting that even a GOP consultant called it "really, really dumb."

    They have managed to defy (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 07:58:23 AM EST
    evolution, that's for God Damned sure.  Very odd, how being oppositional defiant about the science of evolution and social sciences turns you into a pig.  God works in mysterious ways

    Lest anyone forget how the republicans... (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by desertswine on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:44:40 PM EST
    like to treat minorities:
    Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, a heavily Democratic group, are getting only six days for early voting in the presidential primary election, while the rest of the state gets 46. Their lawsuit is described in a story published Monday by 100Reporters, a new investigative reporting group.

    The man they are suing is Jason Gant, who is not only the secretary of state, which means he oversees elections in South Dakota, but also the treasurer of a Republican Party political action committee

    South Dakota Indians Sue For Early Voting

    That's the GOP (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:09:14 PM EST
    I wonder how many Republicans have a problem with this....

    Mark Zuckerberg will pay (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 09:13:05 AM EST
    2 billion in taxes?  Ummmm....okay....and General Electric will be paying?  Exxon Mobile will be paying?