Labor Day Open Thread

I'm off to Charlotte today for the Democratic National Convention. I'll be on Daily Kos Radio (see this for more details), but I will also be recording some sights and sounds and writing a bit. You'll see some of that here, via J.

In the meantime, I think Ryan Lizza's account of the Bill Clinton-Barack Obama relationship believable, but who really knows?

Open Thread.

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    Funny stuff going on re a Facebook movement (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by DFLer on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:08:40 AM EST
    to get Betty White to speak at Dem. Convention.

    Check out this article at Truthdig...for best tweets etc.

    My fav so far:

    I may be "off my rocker", but at least I'm not talking to it.

    Also runner up, over a photo of Betty and the President:
    So I was thinking....maybe a sofa? There are simply too many Republican lies for just one chair, Mr. President.

    Also runner up,
    I didn't mind when Clint came over and talked to my chairs. But then I caught him with my recliner!!

    Join the FB movement!

    Well (none / 0) (#108)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 02:00:41 PM EST
    That vaunted political operative, Eva Longoria, will be speaking somtime this week.

    I would say (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:34:04 AM EST
    that Clinton/Obama article is probably right. It pretty much just confirms what we have been reading for the last four years. Kind of interesting though the sequence of events that have transpired over the last year.

    Anyway, I would also agree that Obama probably is not a "people person" and it causes him a lot of problems.

    The article not only confirms things (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by shoephone on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:37:32 AM EST
    for me, but makes even bolder parallels to a very of tension-filled sort of father-son relationship. Clinton will always be Clinton, and in Obama's view, apparently, BC's the highly skilled but arrogant scene-stealer at the cocktail party. Obama's like the shy and gifted (but deeply insecure) son, jealous of Dad's success, wanting to prove himself by cutting him off and doing it his own way.

    The whole thing is so Greek it's almost funny.


    BHO is not "insecure" in any way (none / 0) (#16)
    by Politalkix on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:50:13 AM EST
    He just sees himself as a successor to JFK, not BC. His favorite Presidents are Lincoln and JFK. Nothing wrong with that!

    You left out Reagan. (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:51:06 AM EST
    He is portrayed as insecure (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by shoephone on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:58:10 AM EST
    in Lizza's article. It comes through loud and clear.

    When I was a corporate businessman (3.67 / 3) (#66)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:13:30 PM EST
     I found that one reason for the downfall of some of the younger executives was their fear of "who got the credit" for certain achievements.  The damage they did to the organization was huge when they let their paranoia get the better of them regarding some successes their subordinates attained.

    I used to lecture them that you never show your strength more than when you give credit to those who deserve that credit. "Don't you think your superiors can see through your phony `front-running' when you try to deflect credit to yourself for the achievements of your employees? On the other hand when you selflessly lavish praise upon those who deserve it you show your strength as a leader, increase the moral and innovative juices in your team, and display your loyalty to the organization."

    In other words, "As a Leader, when you don't care who gets the credit, by definition, all credit flows to you."

    IMO, Obama would have been a much better Leader had he learned that lesson.


    If that (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:40:19 PM EST
    were true, he would refer to them more often.

    Mostly, when I've heard him extol an ex-pres - it's that decrepit fool that screwed up the country - Reagan.


    You think he might have ... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Yman on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:51:27 PM EST
    ... chosen JFK instead of BC (the most recent Dem and the POTUS with the highest EOT approval rating ever) because he was running against HC at the time?

    Did he actually name JFK? (none / 0) (#34)
    by brodie on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:43:37 PM EST
    The only prez I could find via google would be Lincoln implicitly (O cited Abe's collected writings as among his favorite books).  But I couldn't find where O has specifically listed fave presidents.  Transformational ones, yes, but that's not the same thing.

    Who knows (none / 0) (#35)
    by Yman on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:12:58 PM EST
    Good point - same goes for "seeing himself as a successor to" ...

    I suppose that's why ... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:57:16 PM EST
    shoephone: "Clinton will always be Clinton, and in Obama's view, apparently, BC's the highly skilled but arrogant scene-stealer at the cocktail party."

    ... the Obama campaign had Clinton do a campaign commercial for them, huh? To quote Dick Vitale, "Just win, baby!"


    Per the article, (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:29:13 PM EST
    The first three years of his presidency, Obama wanted nothing to do with Clinton. It was only after the horrible 2010 congressional results came the recognition by Obama's team that reelection in 2012 was going to be very tough -- and that they needed Clinton. So, yes, winning is everything, and Obama finds himself neding Clinton to help him win. Clinton doesn't need Obama -- he can get attention elsewhere (and usually does).

    The continual hard sell on how fantastic Obama is just ain't working. I have eyes and ears, I pay close attention, and I can witness for myself who Obama is. I don't consider him to be "really smart!" (he's smarter than Bush, but, who isn't?) and as for his political skills... the jury's still out on that one. Hopefully, he's getting some tutoring from Clinton in Negotiating 101. And yes, Clinton pi$$ed me off to no end when he was president, but at least when he threw liberals under the bus, he did it with a kiss and a smile.

    I find the relentless lecturing to be tiresome. I live in a solidly blue state, and unless there's any inclination polls are tightening here (and there won't be) I will feel perfectly comfortable voting for Jill Stein. Just as comfortable as I was voting for Nader -- and not Clinton -- in 1996.


    The article is interesting...yet (none / 0) (#52)
    by christinep on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:15:17 PM EST
    Since so much is a bit of facts, a few incidents, & a healthy amount of conjecture, I figure that one portrayal or conjecture is as good as another.  For me: I've always thought that the odds were strong that a close connection would occur--at some point--between the two.  So much in their background rings a similar chord...from the absent father to the strong mother (& strong women in key relationship)to the drive & ambition that it takes to go this route to the infusion (tho at different times) of an international perspective.  That their personalities may strike one as so different at the outset is only the surface.  And, frankly, the age difference eventually works mostly in their favor...especially if viewed not as father & son (too much internal conflict, potentially, for such an assignment) but as uncle/nephew.  Such a natural association allows for eventual development of trust, mutual learning without the threat seen amongst those of the same age or near same age; and, without the lifelong complexity of father-son situations.  

    Mutual political need makes for some close relationships when two adept practitioners realize it.  The history books should be fascinating!


    That's right. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:17:39 PM EST
    christinep: "Mutual political need makes for some close relationships when two adept practitioners realize it."

    See Roosevelt, Franklin and Roosevelt, Eleanor. Their marriage had been rocked to its foundations by Franklin's admitted infidelity with Lucy Mercer in 1918, and never quite recovered its moorings even though they managed to stay together.

    But with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 and after Franklin became a paraplegic upon contracting polio in 1921, Eleanor -- under the quiet tutelage of her husband's friend and political advisor Louis Howe -- soon became a very serious political player in her own right in Democratic Party circles, and not just as "[her] husband's legs." Theirs became the ultimate symbiotic political relationship of giants and equals.

    More than anyone else at the time, Eleanor convinced African Americans to switch their political allegiance from the GOP to the Democrats, and she also mobilized the women's vote on her husband's behalf. And it was her last-minute personal appearance and speech at the 1940 Democratic Convention that united the party behind her husband's unprecedented quest for a third presidential term.


    I agree for the most part (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Jane in CA on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:35:58 PM EST
    except for this bizarre continuing narrative of Clinton being a racist for calling Obama's proposed Iraq strategy a 'fairytale.' Clinton was very specific about what he was referring to, and there was nothing at all racist about it.

    I'm also finding these tales that Kennedy endorsed Obama because of racism expressed by Clinton utterly ridiculous. In the first version, both parties are conveniently dead by the time the story makes the rounds, in the second version there are zero named sources.

    I would add that I have also read that Kennedy had decided very early on, before any conversations with Clinton at all, to endorse Obama. Not sourced, so that story is likely about as believable as the ones about Clinton making racist comments. Yet only one of these stories got traction.

    Clinton's record on civil rights is flawless. The fact that his character can be impugned, and his reputation permanently damaged over nothing more than gossip and innuendo makes me question why we even have mass media.

    And I really wish that people would stop pulling Hillary into the 2016 election. She's already said she's not running. Leave the woman alone, already.

    Rant over :)


    I'd agree that the article is probably right (none / 0) (#7)
    by Farmboy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:54:10 AM EST
    in the broad strokes regarding the apparent relationship between the two presidents. It does seem to me though, that an awful lot of the supporting anecdotes are based on projection and folks' mind reading skills. "you can imagine the President was thinking this, therefore..."

    BTW, I haven't known many community organizers who weren't people persons - being friendly and personable seems like a prerequisite for the job. Also, by all accounts his friends from Illinois describe him that way. Adopting a more CYA attitude in regards to other politicians in the DC scene just seems appropriate, especially after the 2008 campaign.


    There (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:17:45 AM EST
    are a lot of people who can appear one way to their friends and another way to the general public. I say this because Obama comes off cold and detached in town hall meetings. He does not emotionally connect with the voters but neither does Romney so neither candidate has the advantage in that area.

    I agree. (3.00 / 2) (#45)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:47:22 PM EST
    with you, Ga6thDem, that Obama does not emotionally connect with the voters. I believe that is because, at heart, he is an elitist and an authoritarian.

    I don't know about Romney - except to say that he just sounds dumb to me. He can't be that dumb. But about his ability to connect I'll have to take a pass. I couldn't imagine a more boring time than hanging out with him.


    According (1.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:04:21 PM EST
    to political compass, both Romney and Obama are authoritarians. Romeny just...i dont know. it seems like he is trying to make one of those commercials for the hair club for men and i expect him to also say something like I'm not only running for President I'm also a voter. He kind of skirts on the edge of being authentic for a few seconds and then he stiffens up or something. It's kind of strange.

    Strange (1.00 / 1) (#54)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:34:30 PM EST
    is the operative word.

    There you go again (none / 0) (#12)
    by Politalkix on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:33:54 AM EST
    Don't project your own feelings on other people. Obama has very high likeability (something that you refuse to believe despite all data indicating otherwise). His "likeability" comes from the fact that people are able to connect with him emotionally and see him as a good person. Your perceptions may be skewed because you live in a bubble of your own in Georgia. If you talk to people in blue and purple states, you will get a completely different viewpoint!

    I'm not sure (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:01:01 PM EST
    how likability translates into what I was saying. Have you seen him in town hall settings? He talks to the people like they are aliens or something. He talks at them not to them.

    I remember (1.00 / 1) (#46)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:54:28 PM EST
    when Jesse Jackson was overheard saying that Obama talks down to people - I believe he said that he talked down to Black people in particular. I agree with him. But he was roundly condemned - and eventually whimpered and apologized.

    What a weird campaign that was.

    A campaign of deflection and obfuscation.


    Or talks past or above them. (none / 0) (#23)
    by brodie on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:15:49 PM EST
    Doesn't nearly connect with people on a deep emotional level the way Bill did.

    Yet he has likable qualities.  And paradoxically doesnt have many close friends.  Reminds me of Reagan.


    I think (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:26:52 PM EST
    the likability depends on the setting too. No problem generally with press conferences but person to person he comes off as detached.

    How can we possibly determine this unless (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:30:21 PM EST
    the opinion-giver has been one-on-one with Mr. Obama?

    I'm just saying (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:52:06 PM EST
    the way he comes across in town halls. I'm going by what's on You Tube w/r/t this. I guess I was not clear.

    I don't think that's accurate at all (none / 0) (#14)
    by shoephone on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:39:48 AM EST
    Obama has been frequently described as a loner.

    I met Obama personally in Dec. 2003, when ... (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:43:07 PM EST
    ... he was an Illinois state senator and was visiting his grandmother and sister in Honolulu. My wife and I had organized a fundraiser for the Hawaii State House Democratic caucus, and his sister -- who's lives in my district and is active in local Democratic politics -- brought him and Michele to the event.

    Michele Obama was much more gregarious and engaging than was he, and I found her personally to be delightful, but I would describe Barack Obama as initially very reserved around people he really doesn't know. But once he warned up to you, he was actually quite open and conversive.

    And Lord, was he smart. He was surprisingly up-to-date on local politics (we had just elected Republican Linda Lingle as governor), and we talked about state legislative issues, as I was working for the Speaker of the State House at the time.

    Oh, and he also smoked like a chimney, to the point where I'd offer that he sort of smelled like an ashtray. I had quit smoking five years prior, and was still very sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke. I do hope that he's since quit.



    Being a loner and 'coming off cold' (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:51:57 AM EST
    are two different things. 'Coming off cold' is a subjective opinion of a viewer.

    Technically (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:03:22 PM EST
    yes but loners often appear detached in settings too  because a lot of times they are uncomfortable in that setting.

    I don't like the word "loner." (3.00 / 1) (#96)
    by sallywally on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 11:14:00 AM EST
    It's the word they always use for mass and serial killers!

    I prefer "introvert" because introverts generally don't like to schmooze, etc. You know, he might be an INTJ, if you like that shorthand.

    There's a great book about this called "Party of One" - great snarky humor, too. I forget the author's name. She calls extroverts "the herd." And the book cover says she lives "near the xx parallel."

    If Obama is as smart as he seems, he also would tend to talk "above" others, because that's where his thinking is; he's not really the same as most of us.

    Clinton's gift is incredibly rare. Too bad he needs that approval, center of attention thing.


    I disagree with this: (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:40:03 PM EST
    If Obama is as smart as he seems, he also would tend to talk "above" others, because that's where his thinking is; he's not really the same as most of us.

    I've known some truly brilliant people in my life, and they don't look down their noses and talk down to me. The reason is that they are secure in themselves, they like people, and they like engaging with people.


    Clearly, a mild case of Aspergers. [snk.] (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:17:12 PM EST
    I'm trying to avoid making my professional (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:08:37 PM EST
    analysis :)  I suspect they have very similar personalities and are very competitive or they wouldn't be who they are or accomplished any of the things they have accomplished.  Clinton has always been addicted to being a part of getting good things done and getting noticed for it.  I will have to wait until Obama is out of office to see if he is equally addicted to such things.

    Obama will always look "cold" though when compared to Clinton because nobody knows how to connect and get all freaky with a large group of people like Clinton.  If I were Obama I'd say, "Bill, please sell my recovery plan.  You can sell igloo plans to eskimos, you always could." I may even beg him, and in that light what is a golf game or twenty.  The begging is less noticeable that way.


    It is a good thing (none / 0) (#8)
    by Politalkix on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:02:36 AM EST
    to not be a "people's person" when it comes to schmoozing with power brokers in DC as the article indicates.

    I start classes wednesday (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CST on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:41:41 AM EST
    Haven't been to the mainland since I landed on this island.  I've only had three days off since I started working over a month ago.  Today we are closed - every day but Fri and Sat. I'm not quite ready to face the real world again.  Glad I have a few days of rest in the most beautiful place I know before I have to go back to the city.  Fitting somehow that it all starts on labor day.  My body is exhausted, but at the same time I hate leaving.  There are a lot of seasonal "lifers" here - work summers here, winters at a ski resort, or in Miami, etc...  I can't do that, I have too many other ambitions, but I definitely understand the appeal right now.

    Our on scene reporter. Thanks. And (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:20:01 AM EST
    best wishes for your new adventure.  

    I bet (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:19:30 AM EST
    sooner or later the "lifers" even get tired of it all.

    It does not seem unusual (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:37:43 PM EST
    to me that an ex-president and president, even from (or particularly from) the same party would exhibit some personalized tensions.  What is unusual, is that given the fact that Hillary Clinton was a primary rival,  the relationships between Bill Clinton and the president are as cordial and business-like as they are.  But, then, both are professional politicians with common interests and goals for the country.

    Bill Clinton knows the stakes and will provide heft to the Convention and campaign (I trust he will take a tip on" how not to it" from Chris Christie), but the contribution of the Clinton's that would help most in this tight race with dire consequences for the country if R n R should win, is to draft Hillary Clinton as running mate.  No particular animus for Biden in my thought, but Secretary Clinton would bring much more to the ticket.  Moreover,  the media, being what it is, will equate Ryan's ingrained lying with Biden's appropriation of Neil Kinnock's speech years ago.  

    Turmoil in Blade Runnerville (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:17:24 PM EST
    In the Paralympics, BladerunnerI Oscar Pistorius gets run down in the 200 meter final by BladerunnerII Alan Oliveira. Pistorius immediately cries foul over unfair blade advantage. I guess those blades are no advantage whatsoever unless the other guy's blades beat you.


    My feeling about this (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Zorba on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:36:36 PM EST
    is that if Pistorius wants to run in the "regular" Olympics, then more power to him, since the "powers that be" had decided that his "blades" did not give him an unfair advantage, despite the complaints from some of the "abled" runners that they might give him a technological advantage.
    Having said that, I also think that, if he wants to continue competing in the Paralympics, he needs to STFU about  someone else whom he thinks has better blades than he does.
    In other words, suck it up, Oscar.

    And I feel (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by kmblue on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:57:58 PM EST
    neither Romney or Obama connects with people.
    Shame for Obama, shame for us if Romney manages to win.

    Was discussing this Obama cold topic with (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:09:02 PM EST
    family.  Josh cries foul on most of us.  Says Obama has good boundaries.  He's been a superior husband to Bill Clinton :)

    The grown up in the room. (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:05:20 PM EST
    The only one (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:31:36 PM EST
    mouths of babes

    Tis a Puzzlement (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by christinep on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:52:11 PM EST
    The puzzler to me has always been Joe Biden.

    Years ago--especially after the speech-lifting incident--my back turned on the then-Senator.  When he was named as the VP partner in the 2008 campaign, my mouth dropped & stayed that way for awhile.  Then, I realized the pragmatics of Pennsylvania & similar populaces...and thought "Okay" (sorta.) Gradually, I've seen the down-to-earth connection with blue collar workers that either developed or was always there...and further thought "Hmmmm, good; gets the job done; loyal."  Sure, the gaffes...but, were most of them really gaffes or "Just being Joe, saying what I feel (and all that" & kind of available to talk with the workers in the union halls, etc.  When I heard a growing clamor from the Rightwing Bunch about how bad he surely must be, my appreciation for ol' Joe Biden began to climb.

    Today, I remembered how he has a prize knack for meaningful distillation. First example: "Bin Laden's dead; GM is back."  That Rightwing Bunch was flummoxed with the catchy phrase that reminds everyone of WH strength in defense & foreign policy and points out how an astute bailout action in the upper Midwest not only worked but started the movement back from the Great Recession We Inherited.   Second example: "We're for Medicare; They're for Vouchercare."  After reading that pithy statement that he confidently announced in Detroit at the big Labor Rally today (the traditional most watched labor rally) and after sharing it with some friends, the three of us happily realized that someone found a way to say it, to deliver a to-the-point message that is true & memorable.  Ol' Joe Biden does know how to deliver (with verve & a smile.)

    Note: In 2016...if Hillary Clinton, one of the best Secretaries of State in our history, decides to go for the WH, I'll be among the first to sign on to a magnificent run.

    Have had my head less in politics than (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by Anne on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:08:05 PM EST
    family these last couple days - my younger daughter and her fiance settled on their new house on Friday and the last three days have been all about priming and painting...since they've been with us these last couple years, most of their stuff has been in storage with two of fiance's siblings and fiance's uncle - and that stuff has been making its way to the new house.

    Anyway...as to the Lizza article, I suppose there are numerous ways it could be interpreted, but here's my armchair analysis:

    Both of these men have family baggage, and I believe in both cases it has marked and shaped them and scripted how they respond and react in certain situations.

    Both of these men are politicians, and right now, one of them is trying to be re-elected.  What I see from Obama is more strategy in service to that end than commitment to whatever policy and ideology that strategy seems to be reflecting.  It would be nice to think the rhetoric of the campaign foretells Obama's plan for the next four years, but this is about getting elected - period.  Once that happens, we will see a return to "Grand Bargain" and "fixing entitlements" and so on, and many who thought electing Obama was going to save those from the evil Republicans will watch as Obama takes on many of the things Paul Ryan wanted to.

    Both of these men are users - triangulating and parlaying and manipulating people as needed to get where they want to be; I think Clinton's better at that than Obama, only because Clinton never seems uncomfortable or ill-at-ease - he just slides right into wherever or whoever he needs to be.

    They're using each other - whether that ends up working to our benefit remains to be seen.

    This whole business (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:52:12 PM EST
    of trying to figure out what Obama's real goals are, and/or "who Obama really is"  is better suited for a team of psychiatrists than some blog commenters.

    I know that some people subscribe to the idea that if you p*ss off both your supporters and your adversaries you must be doing something right. I'm not one of them. To me, it just means you screwed up, period. Going into the final days of this campaign his team can't be heartened by the fact that he's dead even in the polls against one of the worst opponents one can imagine, an opponent even most Republicans don't even want. And, having converted an Army of rabid true believers into a rag-tag bunch of reluctant, disillusioned tag-alongs.

    So, I'm as perplexed as anyone regarding what he'll do in a second term, should he be so fortunate. I know his polls bump up whenever he hints at throwing a bone to the middle class, and yet, he does it only reluctantly. I also know that the public hates the banksters and most of the 1% but he strangely doesn't exploit that resentment. And, even though the Republicans have treated him with more disdain, disrespect, even hatred, and an intransigence that even surprised me, he still hints that he might be able to "work with them" in a second term.  

    We don't need a Gallop; we need a Freud.


    I think (none / 0) (#90)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 08:48:31 AM EST
    This is a more illustrative article to delve into Mr. Obama's personality.

    But even those loyal to Mr. Obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and that he tends to overestimate his capabilities. The cloistered nature of the White House amplifies those tendencies, said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, adding that the same thing happened to his former boss. "There's a reinforcing quality," he said, a tendency for presidents to think, I'm the best at this.

    And though Mr. Obama craves high grades from the electorate and from history, he is in a virtual dead heat with Mr. Romney in national polls, the political equivalent of school progress reports.

    For someone dealing with the world's weightiest matters, Mr. Obama spends surprising energy perfecting even less consequential pursuits. He has played golf 104 times since becoming president, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who monitors his outings, and he asks superior players for tips that have helped lower his scores. He decompresses with card games on Air Force One, but players who do not concentrate risk a reprimand ("You're not playing, you're just gambling," he once told Arun Chaudhary, his former videographer).

    His idea of birthday relaxation is competing in an Olympic-style athletic tournament with friends, keeping close score. The 2009 version ended with a bowling event. Guess who won, despite his history of embarrassingly low scores? The president, it turned out, had been practicing in the White House alley.

    And while there's nothing wrong with being a perfectionist, and expecting the people around you to always work harder and to acheive more, there is something kind of sad and desperate in someone who always "knows better" (even when they don't). There's also nothing wrong with a president letting off some steam and having some time to relax, but this article certainly makes it sound like Mr. Obama has a lot of free time on his hands.

    And then you get the feeling that he has a tremendous ego - not shocking considering his job, and everyone who has had or wanted the job - but I don't see him as a shy little wallflower.

    For another, he may not always be as good at everything as he thinks, including politics. While Mr. Obama has given himself high grades for his tenure in the White House -- including a "solid B-plus" for his first year -- many voters don't agree, citing everything from his handling of the economy to his unfulfilled pledge that he would be able to unite Washington to his claim that he would achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.  

    Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.

    "I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters," Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm going to think I'm a better political director than my political director."

    Though he never ran a large organization before becoming president, he initially dismissed internal concerns about management and ended up with a factionalized White House and a fuzzier decision-making process than many top aides wanted.

    Although it's kind of shocking it comes from the NYT....


    Is anyone watching Lisa Kudrow's (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:11:10 PM EST
    show 'Web Therapy' on Showtime? It has its ups and downs, but the highlight is Lily Tomlin as her mother. It is the funniest I have seen her in a long time.

    Also, Breaking Bad - wow!

    Bruce Dixon weighs in with (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Anne on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:09:41 PM EST
    15 disturbing ways in which Obama and Romney are alike:

    15. Although unemployment is the highest it's been since the Great Depression, the federal government should NOT enact any sort of WPA-style program to put millions of people back to work.

    1. Medicare, Medicaid and social security need to be cut to relieve the "deficit".

    2. Climate change treaties and negotiations are to be avoided at all costs.

    3. NAFTA was such a great thing it really should be extended to Central and South America and the entire Pacific rim..

    4. Banks and Wall Street speculators deserve bailouts and protection from criminal liability. Underwater and foreclosed homeowners deserve no moratoriums or help.

    5. Palestinians should be occupied, dispossessed and ignored. Iran should be starved and threatened from all sides. Cuba should be embargoed, and Americans prohibited from going there to see what its people have done in a half century free of Yankee rule. Black and brown babies and their parents, relatives and neighbors should be bombed with drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and similar places.

    6. Africa should be militarized, destabilized, plundered, invaded by proxy armies or Western power aggression under the guise of "humanitarianism".

    7. US Presidents can kidnap citizens of their own or any nation on earth from anyplace on the planet for torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial or murder them and neighboring family and bystanders at will.

    8. Oil and energy companies, and other mega-polluters must be freed to drill offshore almost everywhere, and permitted to poison land and watersheds with fracking to achieve "energy independence.

    9. The FCC should not regulate telecoms to ensure access to the poor or to guarantee network neutrality.

    10. Of course there really ARE such things as "clean coal" and "safe nuclear energy.

    11. Immigrants must be jailed and deported in record numbers, or locked up with little or no due process in atrocious privatized immigration prisons.

    12. No Medicare For All. Forget about it eliminating the Medicare age requirement so that all Americans would qualify.

    13. No minimum wage increases for you, no right to form a union, no right to negotiate or strike if you already have a union, and no enforcement or reform of existing labor laws.

    14. The 40 year war on drugs must continue, and even mention of the prison state is unthinkable.

    More than a little sobering.

    I (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 04:31:11 AM EST
    find it disturbing.

    There are many, however, who feel that we must make a choice.
    That it is our duty in a democracy to choose between these two.

    I think a "debate" will be intriguing.

    My guess at a scenario:

    Q. Would you support Israel bombing Iran as a preemptive measure?

    A. Romney: Yes.

    A. Obama; First, let's see if the sanctions work.
    Q. And if they "don't work"?
    A. Obama: Well, uh, I don't think we should speculate about a hypothetical situation that uh might or might not occur.

    I think that will be the nature of the distinction between these two.


    That sounds (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by sj on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:47:49 PM EST
    a little too realistic for comfort.

    It is sobering. (none / 0) (#115)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:51:08 PM EST
    Sobering that Dixon is pulling a Ryan, and you chose to post it.

    Saying that Obama and Romney hold the same opinion on each of those issues falls under the category of "not intended to be a factual statement."


    Maybe you can be more specific (5.00 / 4) (#116)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:57:36 PM EST
    about how they differ on these issues.

    He just said so (none / 0) (#117)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:58:15 PM EST
    So it must be true.

    Looks like the TL RSS feed is no longer full text (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:02:52 AM EST
    Is that intentional?

    Insane In the Mom Brain (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:02:53 AM EST
    Says that she may possibly Eastwood!

    Even halfway around the world, some (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by observed on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:43:22 AM EST
    of my students had heard of "Eastwooding" this morning.

    "Former Representative Anthony Weiner": (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 11:48:49 AM EST
    Former Representative Anthony Weiner, whose wife, Huma Abedin, is a top aide to Hillary Clinton, expressed surprise that the G.O.P. has conceded this ground.

    Will he soon be a political analyst on a cable news program?  

    Why not. Plenty of (none / 0) (#22)
    by brodie on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:07:00 PM EST
    tarnished RWers have been given cushy pundit jobs by the MSM.  How many years was antisemite Pat Buchanan employed by CNN and NBC?

    AW is smart, articulate and well familiar with the succinct segment system used on the chat shows.  Dude deserves a chance to redeem himself.


    I was thinking of Spitzer. (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:18:32 PM EST
    When the "Ministry of Truth" show (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 12:21:18 PM EST
    premiered on DK Radio, I thought Armando using the phrase "it just came in over the transom" was an anachronism.  Guess not:

    "We've had conversations with several dozen companies and we're doing work for a number of these," said Peter Frank, who advises corporate treasurers as a principal at Pricewaterhouse. "Almost all of that has come in over the transom in the last 90 days."
     {NYT article on U.S. companies preparing for possibility of Greece and maybe other countries going off the Euro.]

    nine more days (none / 0) (#33)
    by fishcamp on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:18:53 PM EST
    until we can order but not get the new iPhone 5.  My old trustworthy 3gS is on it's last legs. While waiting  guess I better read "The Fountainhead" since I don't think I did back when I was supposed to, way before you doo wop fans.

    Mine Has Been... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:29:33 AM EST
    ...demoted to iPod duty.  

    Did a factory reset and it seemed to get new life now that it's not being used every day.  I unlocked it so when I travel I just buy a local SIM card and leave my real phone at home.

    3Gs is still the best designed, fits in my hand/pocket far better than any other phone.


    I've had a cracked screen for a few months now, (none / 0) (#77)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:45:11 PM EST
    waiting for replacement!

    Obama and Clinton (none / 0) (#37)
    by Dadler on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:27:42 PM EST
    Broken families, single mothers, stepfathers, race, class, Ivy League, Rhodes Scholar, POTUS.

    Sibling rivalry of the political sort.

    They remind me of my brother and I. My brother, that is, from my mother and first stepfather, who was black. Not the brother from my father and second stepmother. As Louis Armstrong said of Jazz, if you don't get it, I can't explain it to you.

    We all need a visit to the planet Lovetron. Hat tip to Chocolate Thunder himself, Darryl Dawkins.


    There's an interesting article (none / 0) (#38)
    by kmblue on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:56:47 PM EST
    in the New York Times today re Obama's personality:


    My reaction to the article is that O is insecure.
    Why else would someone feel he has to beat everyone at everything?

    Sounds (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:36:34 PM EST
    like a crock to me.

    Since he has been pres, he hasn't beaten anyone at anything.
    Public option pffft. Stupak amendment. Everybody under the bus.
    30,000 to Afghanistan. Pure capitulation to the republican conservatives and their doppleganger, the blue dog democrats who are, after all, just plain democrats.

    So who, exactly has he beaten lately? That "suspect" Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son? Bradley Manning?

    I don't get the impression that he is the least insecure.
    He thinks he's swell. I think he might even believe the crappola that people were saying about him in 2007-8. The new Kennedy, the new Roosevelt, the new Lincoln.. the flocks and the flockettes.

    He's so secure that he can tell us that he is a big fan of Eastwood who just said that he should be "let go" and followed it by a gesture of throat-slashing.

    He's as in the bubble as his model, W.


    Obama didn't just let Eastwood go. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:53:13 PM EST
    His contemporaneous tweet, which was posted while Eastwood was still haranguing that chair onstage, has since gone viral as the most re-tweeted tweet of the Republican National Convention.

    You can't say the president doesn't have a sense of humor. Game, set, match.


    I'll (none / 0) (#62)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:37:41 PM EST
    be sure to invite him to my next party.

    You do that. (none / 0) (#73)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:16:19 PM EST
    And I'll bring the bong and primo herb.

    I have no doubt he has a sense of humor (none / 0) (#70)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:01:58 PM EST
    However I have hude doubts that he does his own tweeting.

    Can you prove otherwise? (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:13:58 PM EST
    And even if that were the case, no decent politician worth his or her salt would ever allow something to go out directly under their own name, without first approving personally.

    That's why Paul Ryan's initial denials about those letters on his House stationary seeking stimulus funding proved so phony. It was no robo-signature on those letters; he signed each one of them personally. And when you sign a letter personally, you take personal ownership of its contents.

    Same thing applies to e-mails, Facebook entries and tweets. For better or worse, if it's sent from your personal account, you own it. The tweet in question went out under the president's personal account, and not under an account belonging to a campaign spokesperson like Stephanie Cutter. No staff underling would dare send out something on his or her own from that account, without first getting prior approval from the guy in the big sombrero.


    Yes, I am sure anything that gets posts (none / 0) (#75)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:37:48 PM EST
    under that account gets cleared by the communications office, even if Obama does come up with the ideas himself . I am just assuming he has writers for his tweets like he does for his speeches. stpehn Colbert, for example , has tweets under his name but has said his writers do it, not him. I don't think there is anything wrong with that - part of the brand in both cases.

    Also, anyone can get a twitter account under any (none / 0) (#76)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:39:56 PM EST
    name. There is no legal significance or accountability to tweets at I am aware of.

    Only (4.20 / 5) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:09:48 PM EST
    read the first page but honestly where has that Obama been? The competitive one that likes a challenge? It was like they were talking about some other President. It sure isn't the Obama that we've seen in action over the last 3 and 1/2 years-- the Obama that likes to take the easy way out and cut deals.

    I don't doubt for a minute that President Obama (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:02:38 PM EST
    Is crazy competitive.  Sorry, he's just too damned successful where he has had the control to be successful.  He may be a little too arrogant.  To arrogant to stroke all those who work their butts off, but he could have worse character flaws.  Perhaps this is where BTD saw who he really was early on...only he thought it was a schtick until we all had to realize it wasn't a schtick.  He really did dream of doing this bipartisan miracle and for awhile actually thought he'd pull it off.  I can't help it.  I think this term I get the best Obama has to offer without the unicorn dreams.  And he doesn't have to worry about getting elected again.  He's addicted to being adored.  I think we are primed to get some reasons to adore him forever if he ever gets a Congress he can hold a bit hostage now : )  I'll give it to him if I can.

    All politicians are addicted to being adored (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by shoephone on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:09:19 PM EST
    I've never known one that wasn't both egotistical and competitive. I admired some of them, I've even grudgingly respected some of them. But I can't think of one I have ever adored.

    Maybe he'll surprise you (none / 0) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 08:36:29 AM EST
    I have zero qualms about fully blowout supporting an Obama re-election bid.  The Republican raping wands of ultrasound cured me of easily seeing Bush and Obama, or Romney and Obama in any kind of similar light.

    He won't surprise me (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:36:23 PM EST
    What president has turned out to be totally different in his second term from his first? Not one I can think of. The idea that we eleected Obama in 2008 so that we could finally get some evidence of serious change in 2012 is silliness, in my view. He needed to prove himself in his first four years so that I would want to vote for him a second time.

    You live in a red state and will do what you feel best to ward off the crazies in the GOP. I live in a solidly blue state and have more options.


    How can red-staters ward off (none / 0) (#118)
    by the capstan on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 09:53:53 PM EST
    the hoodlums?  I know my vote would not count here--not even for dog-catcher (if we had one, which we do not.)    No real liberals on any ticket around here.

    (Well, I used to vote to counteract my husband, who had decided liberalism was for the young.  You usually need to be alive to vote--except maybe in Chicago-- so that is no longer an issue.)


    I think he's (4.00 / 4) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:40:54 PM EST
    competitive and driven when it comes to elections. It's ironic but I see him and George W. Bush in very much the same way when it comes to this. Both like to campaign but neither are very good at governance and I really don't think you're going to see a different Obama in 2013 if he's reelected. You're likely to hear more excuses about how the GOP is blocking what he "really" wants to do. One serious flaw Obama has is lack of leadership skills. He just waits for things to happen, for people to bring him problems etc and thinks he can sit on the sideline and "observe" and "mediate" the problem. I think one of the best analysis of Obama came from Shelby Steele back in 2008. He's also bi-racial and he talked a lot about growing up in that environment. He said that Obama had learned to be a "bargainer" in order to gain what he wanted and the status that he wanted whereas someone like Jesse Jackson would be called a "challenger" because he challenged the status quo.

    But Ga6thDem my friend (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:58:44 PM EST
    The Republicans have blocked him.  He would have been like Bush if he'd issued a bunch of Presidential directives, but he didn't.  Be mad at him for squandering the first two years, for pi$$ing everyone off and losing his majorities.  But please don't be mad at him for being like Dubya, cuz he's not.

    He got us out of Iraq.  I will always love him for that.  He has clarified extremely well who is friend and foe now when it comes to fundy Islamic terrorist supporters.  He got Bin Laden, he has done what he can to attempt to rescue Afghanistan from failed state but that isn't attainable probably.  We made on hell of a honest effort though, in the terms of my faith we had an obligation to do what we could.  We have and we are free to go home now.  Everything else he attained was done too though.  We have serious CIA assets now.  We don't have some crazy rightwing a-hole as our only intel on what is going on on the Af/Pak border.  We know now firsthand.

    Dubya would appoint a judge to the Supreme Court ASA that overturn Roe, Obama is not cut of that cloth.  Bush left office with directives in place to destroy the social safety net, and Obama had to immediately deal with them.  He is not George W Bush.


    When I'm talking about (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:28:36 PM EST
    governance, I'm saying they both suck at it but that doesn't mean they suck at it for the same reasons. Obama sucks at governance because he really doesn't have a policy mooring that I can see and Bush sucked at governance because he did not understand that you don't operate like a dictator when you're president.

    I wish we were out of Iraq but we aren't. There's still 50K there isn't there?

    I understand that the GOP is blocking him now but like you I think he created a lot of the problems we have now by his lack of leadership when HE HAD THE VOTES.

    I will grant you that the Foreign Policy is about 1000x better than what we got out of the GOP and actually I think their foreign policy is one of the things that is holding back Romney's numbers.


    Sorry for typos (none / 0) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 04:07:02 AM EST
    I have new nails

    Obama's executive orders (none / 0) (#65)
    by Towanda on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:10:56 PM EST
    -- if that's what you mean by directives as means of end-arounds opposition roadblocks in Congress? -- are on track to match, even surpass Bush's.  

    Obama has issued more than 130 executive orders in three and a half years; Bush issued 288 in eight years.


    In the same manner? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 04:16:02 AM EST
    Bush was going to destroy your social safety net.  Obama just got a VA expansion to attempt to deal with the suicides in the military.

    If Obama has a problem, it is that he isn't letting anyone know what he IS doing.  And maybe he does that because he is afraid of what Fox News is going to do with it.

    But you want me to be upset with this guy because he found a way to get more VA funding to try to save stricken soldiers lives?


    Nonsense. I'm a vet's spouse, too (none / 0) (#121)
    by Towanda on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:07:48 PM EST
    so stop with the pity party.

    Address the many other executive orders, such as the one supporting the Stupak amendment.


    Josh and I watched this on TED (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:15:04 PM EST
    It was pretty funny really.  Until he gets to the part where he talks about how overachievers are probably that way because of their ummmm....personality disorders.  We are a family of overachievers and a family of personality disorders, we make fun of it, but it's true too.  Secure people don't try to change the world and they don't crave to have others like them or be of service to them, everything is mostly okay with them as is for the most part, a little tweaking here or there sometimes but nothing major.

    RIP, Michael Clarke Duncan (1958-2012). (none / 0) (#61)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:27:22 PM EST
    The Oscar-nominated actor finally succumbed to complications from the heart attack he suffered two months ago. He was 54, and best known for his critically-acclaimed performance opposite Tom Hanks as the psychic Death Row inmate John Coffey in the 1999 film "The Green Mile."

    Aw, I've always liked him (none / 0) (#84)
    by sj on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:53:00 PM EST
    I'm surprised that none of the bios I've read mention his most recent role in "The Finder".



    There's (none / 0) (#69)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:54:57 PM EST
    that look - the down-turned mouth look. Spitzer had it. Weiner had it. That look when they're been caught, there was no escape, and they had to face the music.

    Ryan has that same mouth.

    Not even a "Dead Mitt Bounce"? (none / 0) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:24:49 PM EST
    Gallup polling data released today shows no sign of a GOP post-convention bounce, while Romney's acceptance sppech received the lowest public marks of any major party candidate since Bob Dole in 1996.

    What do you think about (none / 0) (#78)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:08:24 PM EST
    The GOP making the 'are you better off than you were 4 years ago' question such a centerpiece? As much as I wish things had improved more, I don't know anyone who is not better off now than they were four years ago. some of them it took longer to get there than others, but several people I know that were unemployed for a period are employed now, and the housing market seems to have bottomed out in this area.

    I just don't think it will be hard to answer that question at the convention.


    There's (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:54:12 PM EST
    a lot of us that are worse off than we were 4 years ago--my family is for one. A lot of people are even more upside down in their houses than they were four years ago. I mean there are people who will answer that question I am not better off than I was four years ago and vote for Romney but how many is the question.

    I'm sorry to hear that (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:03:59 PM EST
    I think the real answer is a mixed one, which of course will be hard to say in a sound bite. It will be I retesting to see how they handle it at the convention. They certainly can't paint a too-rosy picture or it will be demonstrably false. But the GOP portrayal  that it is a slam dunk that things have gotten worse is also wrong,



    Those who are still lucky enough to (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Anne on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:13:40 PM EST
    have jobs are, to some extent, feeling like they are treading water - and they're getting tired; they've become adept at compensating, but they're impatient with having to keep doing it.  When the price of X goes up, they buy less or cut back on something else.  They are constantly examining the elements of their lives and making adjustments.  Job security?  What's that? It's a concept people would like to trust, but don't - we know too many people who thought they were safe, who ended up on the unemployment line.  Those of us in the 50+ age range are the most worried - we know that if we lose our jobs, the chances are not great that we will find comparable work at comparable pay - there are just too many younger people out there.  And we all know that the longer we are out of work, the less employable we are considered to be.

    So, are we better off?  Some are, some aren't.  Is "hanging on" the same thing as "better off?"  Because that's where I think a lot of people are.


    I'm one of those treading water also (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 06:58:35 AM EST
    1% raises in the last few consecutive years, still underwater on my  mortgage.  Just glad not to be drowning - and drowning was a real imminent possibility 4 years ago. At least the fall in home prices here has finally stopped.

    Very mixed bag. But regardless of my stagnant personal situation, I see fewer empty houses in the neighborhood, and lower unemployment in the area. Last year there was panic over the loss of space shuttle jobs, but other companies have absorbed a lot of those workers (perhaps leading to wage stagnation for the rest of us tech workers, but that's ok).

    People don't just answer that question for themselves - they take their community into account. anyway, I just think the answer for more people the GOP realizes is going to be a thoughtful 'yes, we are a little better off.'


    I'm not treading water (none / 0) (#102)
    by sj on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:39:20 PM EST
    Although I was back when I was doing consulting.  Now as a permanent employee I am making less than I was 6 years ago.

    But it's a relief to have PTO and not to have to save every penny for the lean time between jobs.

    At least I'm not underwater in my mortgage.  I don't think so anyway.


    I'm not treading water either (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:54:02 PM EST
    I'm simply going broke. I am much worse off than I was four years ago, for a few different reasons, one of which is aggressive age discrimination in hiring. And the jobs being created are at a very low wage, with no benefits.

    I'm struggling, too (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by sj on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 01:45:08 PM EST
    I make a good salary, but my expenses and obligations are not small.  And COL is much higher than when I made this much before.  I've had to dip into that much vaunted 401K to meet some of those obligations.  Everyone says "LEAVE IT ALOOOOONNNNEE!" but frankly I'd rather hang on to my house.

    The problem (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:12:34 PM EST
    is that things got worse before they started getting better. So you can point to the high point and maybe point to more current numbers to help make your case. But there are still a lot of states like GA that have never gone below the national UE numbers. right now I think we're at 9.2. Who gets the blame for this? Nathan Deal or Obama? I would probably say both but since Deal is not on the ballot this year and Obama is, they are going to whack Obama with the votes this year. They can whack Deal with them in '14 if he's not in jail by then.

    So better? Worse? I would put it by states.


    I think (none / 0) (#91)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 09:01:56 AM EST
    Martin O"Malley was smoking something when he said "No, and that isn't what this election is about."  Whaaat??  Of course that's what this election is about.  It's what every election is about.  [Actually, I think he answered the question honestly - no, many people could not say they are better off than they were 4 years ago - but then realized his mistake, so he had to say "...but that's not what this election is about."]

    I noticed the backpedaling began almost as soon as O'Malley gave his answer and Plouffe and Axelrod flubbed around and couldn't answer the question. Criminy - if they didn't know that question was coming, then they need to be fired and other people who would have a good answer to that question need to be put in their places.

    This election is going to be ALL about that question.  It's not going to be about Guantanamo, or foreign policy, or abortion, or the Supreme Court, or gay marriage.  It's going to be about the economy and jobs and how people feel about their own situations.  If they feel that things are bad, but are improving, and that Obama has a real plan, then they will re-elect him.  If they feel they are worse off than 4 years ago and things don't appear to be getting better, then he is a one-term president.  It's as simple as that.

    All the other stuff - tax returns, how many times someone has been golfing (or accusing someone of killing a woman with cancer), etc. is jsut background noise and won't make a bit of difference to someone in the voting booth who was just told they are about to lose their job.


    You should get O'Malley's quote right: (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 11:19:49 AM EST
    he didn't say "No, and that isn't what this election is about;" he said: "No, but that's not the question of this election. The question -- without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were, before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars, charged for the first time to the national credit card."

    I'm sure you see that as a distinction without a difference, but as I read/heard that, O'Malley was harking back to where we were at the end of the Clinton administration and before 8 years of Bush established the conditions for the most recent president.  

    Conditions Obama willingly took on when he ran for and won the office; it would be nice if he and his surrogates could own that instead of making excuses, but whatever.  We've been over and over what Obama could have done and should have done - or at least expressed some belief or interest in - but the GOP isn't going to be running against Obama on the basis that he wasn't Democratic or liberal enough, which is really the only way they can crticize the Democratic president who was too Republican in his approach.  

    Not everyone is a single-issue voter, so I disagree that none of the other issues will matter - for some people, they absolutely will.

    Some people are better off; some are hanging in there, not making progress, but not slipping further behind.  There are a lot of people who are much worse off, and see no light at the end of the tunnel from either political party.

    The problem for Obama is that he will have to convince voters that Romney/Ryan's approach isn't the answer - that the tired old ideas that didn't work under Reagan or Bush are not going to magically work now.  


    Thank you for the correction (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 11:49:19 AM EST
    You're right - I was trying to do it from memory.

    But it still doesn't matter. He was absolutely wrong. And he knew it, which is why it took fewer than 24 hours for him to start walking the quote back, as he tweeted:

    We are clearly better off as a country because we're now creating jobs rather than losing them. #DNC2012 #Forward

    and then continued to walk back his words on CNN:

    "We are clearly better off as a country because we're now creating jobs rather than losing them," O'Malley, a Democrat, said on CNN's Starting Point. "But we have not recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession. That's why we need to continue to move forward."

    And frankly, if I'm about to lose my job (which I am, this week, by the way, since I work on contract), I really could give a rat's a$$ of what Obama inherited.  Did he inherit a mess?  Yes.  Did anyone with half a brain expect him to clean it all up in one term? No. Did he ask for the job despite those conditions, which were known to him?  You bet.  But that is not going to matter to those people who, in the here and now, are worried about how they are going to pay their bills next month.  It may not be rational, but that's the way it goes.

    Social issues mean a lot to a lot of people. I think they prompt more people to get to the polls who are single issue voters, but when times are bad, those are not the deciding factors when it comes to voting for most people. The economy touches so many other issues (including the social ones) that that will be the focus to many voters.

    Can Obama make the case?  I don't know.  I guess since we have three more months' worth of job numbers to come before election day, the Obama team is doing everything including sacrificing live chickens to make sure they are not bad.


    Well... (none / 0) (#94)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:47:35 AM EST
    ...the problem is no one remembers where they were at 4 years ago.  No a soul with a 401k or any Wall Street investment was better off then than now.  Not a soul with a house was better off than then now.  But those are the same people claiming they aren't.  Not sure why, it's abstract, humans remember the past with glossy eyes, who knows.  If we could actually remember the past, Obama couldn't lose.  We were is a bad spot and as far as I can tell, Romney wants to implement those same policies that failed us once.

    The come back should be how are Mitt Romney's policies any different than George W Bush's.  Why they haven't been banging this drum is beyond me.  I hope this is a theme of the convention, or at least a sizable note.


    Yeah, and remember when it was so cool (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by sallywally on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 12:47:44 PM EST
    not to be with one company all your life? The big job freedom (ha ha) was so trendy. Change careers several times? Have a 401K, watch it grow, so much better than a pension?

    Now so many people who bought into(or were forced into) that are screwed and they're pissed at those of us who put our heads down and slogged to get our fabulous, huge (again, ha ha)state employee pensions.They didn't want the low salaries.

    Who got that idea through? And Republicans blame Dems for that.  


    I guess the question is (none / 0) (#95)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:53:13 AM EST
    If Obama comes out on Thursday night and says "I have this great plan that will help the economy," many people's first reaction will be, "Great.  Where has this plan been all this time?  And since you keep telling us how hard it is to get things done, what makes you so confident you can get it done now?"

    If he can convince people that he actually does have a plan, he stands a good chance, but if people don't feel he's sincere, or is just blowing more smoke, it won't really matter what Romney's plan is because many people will think that the status quo isn't working, so it's time to give something else a try.


    Yup... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 11:18:58 AM EST
    ...and all he really had to do was concentrate on jobs before the election cycle and he could be at home drinking and walking away with an easy V.

    Jobs to me is the the thing that all politicians should concentrate on.  Everything else, at least with the economy will either fall into place or be easier to resolve so long as people are working and generating income and taxes.  

    There is no excuse for not doing everything humanly possible to ensure any American who wants to transform their abilities into cash, has the avenues to do so.


    Think back to last spring (none / 0) (#110)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 02:31:54 PM EST
    And how we Dems were wanting & looking for ways to set up the contrast with Repubs and the previous Bush administration...think about how the press reported that the Repubs would avoid that comparison because it would be an advantage for Romney to have a vote only about how people feel now about the economy.

    Clearly, the Romney track seems to have been derailed for a number of reasons...not the least of which is a comparison approach on a number of matters.  IMO, I think the Md Governor's referring to the "are you better off" aspect right before the convention is either fortuitous or planned...whatever it is, it puts the desired comparison front & center just in time to be addressed in primetime at the Convention.  The question was out there anyway; now, the full-throated response probably gets to be made when a big audience is paying attention.  I'm thinking that might be most pronounced when former President Bill Clinton addresses it full camera...thus setting the stage for President Obama to describe his plan for moving Forward.

    What a coincidence, indeed, that the set up question for comparison-- better or not-- happens right before the Convention (and coming from the nearby Washington savvy from Md at that!). Anecdotally & based upon the give & take from canvassing this weekend, the comparison question is very helpful for Dems once the discussion begins.

    Enjoy the First Lady's speech tonight.


    Really? (none / 0) (#111)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 02:50:52 PM EST
    Clearly, the Romney track seems to have been derailed for a number of reasons...not the least of which is a comparison approach on a number of matters

    And yet, Obama can't pull away, and in fact, is losing ground in many states.

    Seems like the Dems' ship is listing, not the Republicans.  Can they right it?  We shall see.


    Romney's train may have derailed (none / 0) (#114)
    by sj on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:28:01 PM EST
    but Obama's train has hit some very bad track as well.   I still think he'll win, but a teeny bit of legit populism could have made this a slam-dunk.

    I'm thinking (none / 0) (#109)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 02:30:57 PM EST
    That it's a message that seems to be resonating with a lot of people.

    I wish (none / 0) (#120)
    by Jane in CA on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:14:02 PM EST
    I knew one single person or household doing better now than they were four years ago.

    I'm terribly worried about most of my close friends and family.

    And it seems that the only reason the rate of foreclosures have slowed is because so many people have already lost already lost their home, either through foreclosure or from walking away because they were ridiculously underwater.


    It depends (none / 0) (#113)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:27:46 PM EST
    If you look at all the polls.

    And if you look at the trend:

    But do you notice a pattern here? The three smallest bounces for the challenging candidates came in the last three elections. Bounces aren't what they used to be, perhaps because voters are saturated with information months in advance of an election, increased partisanship and sterilized conventions that may have become too polished for their own good.

    The catch is that each of these things is a structural factor, and therefore might predict that Mr. Obama won't get much of a bounce either. Maybe this is just the new normal; the assumption that our forecast model had made in advance of the convention was that Mr. Romney would get only a four-point bounce.

    And yet: the incumbent party did itself some good in each of the last three conventions. In 2000, Al Gore pulled ahead of George W. Bush after having trailed him for most of the year. The lead went back and forth in the stretch run of that race, eventually leading to an essentially tied result.

    Holy Shisha! (none / 0) (#93)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:35:51 AM EST
    Lebanon banning smoking in all closed public spaces?  Lebanon?!?

    No shisha for you...smoker's paradise lost.

    used to love those (none / 0) (#112)
    by fishcamp on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:06:48 PM EST
    blond Lebo fingers and temple balls.