The Post Mortem On The Post Partisan Unity Schtick

Ryan Lizza writes:

[T]the fact that Barack Obama now so appreciates the limits of his office and his lack of Jedi powers is rich with irony. As I’ve written about before, the premise of Obamaism— from his famous convention speech in 2004, through his primary challenge to Hillary Clinton, in 2008, right up until the later half of his first term—was that Obama was a politician uniquely suited to transform American politics by breaking through the polarization in Washington and bringing the two parties together.

[More . . .]

Obama’s theme of post-partisanship and unity as a substitute for political ideology has always had its critics. Sean Wilentz, writing in The New Republic, in 2011, noted that:

Obama had arrived on the national stage, after all, with his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 proclaiming that there was “not a liberal America and a conservative America—there’s the United States of America.”

As president, Obama would not only reach across the aisle, listen to the Republicans, and credit their good ideas, but also demonstrate that the division between the parties was exaggerated if not false, as many Americans, younger voters above all, fervently believed. Divisive and hot-tempered partisanship would give way to healing and temperate leadership, not least by means of Obama’s eloquence, rational policies, and good faith.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. In reviewing the history of the politics of post-partisanship, Wilentz argues that Presidents who have used post-partisanship as merely a rhetorical device have been more successful than those who truly believed in the idea.

Needless to say indeed. But it was said, repeatedly by me and others.

I think this post captured what I was saying pretty well:

[T]he question is do [the High Broderists] really believe a President Obama will be able to wave a magic wand and make the Republicans play nice? And if not, how exactly do they expect a President Obama to achieve change?

One of the major changes I think we have seen in President Obama since August 2011 (the debt ceiling crisis debacle) is his acceptance that the Post Partisan Unity Schtick failed. We have seen a President willing to engage in the battle of ideas instead of trying to be the referee.

Will this reap dividends in his second term? Perhaps not, but it certainly puts the ideas in a better political position in the future, be it in this term or Presidential terms to follow.

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    The idea that Obama has been promoting non stop (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:34:07 AM EST
    and continues to promote is his Grand Bargain. Obama on Obama from the Ryan link:

    This idea that somehow there's a secret formula or secret sauce to get Speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell to say, You know what, Mr. President, you're right, we should close some tax loopholes for the well-off and well-connected in exchange for some serious entitlement reform and spending cuts of programs we don't need. I think if there was a secret way to do that, I would have tried it. I would have done it.

    The chained CPI, changing Medicare to require large out of pocket expenses and allowing for the privatization of Medicaid in red states are not ideas that I would have considered the most important Democratic policies to promote.

    More Obama on his favorite idea to promote (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:03:35 PM EST
    Sounding conciliatory, President Barack Obama said he was not giving up on trying to work with Republicans to reduce the deficit.

    "I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things," he said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

    In phone calls with lawmakers at the weekend, Obama raised anew the issue of cutting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a way out of the budget cuts. Reforming the social safety net is a pet project of Republicans.

    Uh, not just the Republicans. The Republicans are worried, yet instead of kicking them when they're down, and putting the squeeze on to get additional tax revenue, Obama offers up the safety net as an enticement. I'm not surprised, of course. But I'm still furious. link

    Only Nixon could go to China (none / 0) (#59)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:06:07 AM EST
    Reforming the social safety net is a pet project of Republicans.

    It's a pet project of Obama's.  We know that.  He campaigned on it and particularly when he was in front of a young audience and could ramp up their anger at the older generation for robbing their futures.  


    A difference of opinion. (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:09:23 PM EST
    Ryan Lizza writes:

    [T]the fact that Barack Obama now so appreciates the limits of his office and his lack of Jedi powers is rich with irony. As I've written about before, the premise of Obamaism-- from his famous convention speech in 2004, through his primary challenge to Hillary Clinton, in 2008, right up until the later half of his first term--was that Obama was a politician uniquely suited to transform American politics by breaking through the polarization in Washington and bringing the two parties together.

    His "famous convention speech in 2004" was the first indication I had that Obama was being hyped way past his abilities or inclinations. Here was a man touted for his early opposition to the war in Iraq. And what did he have to say at the convention?
    Nothing about how the republicans lied and misrepresented facts to get us into a horrific series of wars. No. All he did was proclaim that everyone was patriotic. Pro or con. We're all Americans and patriotic. Right there, I knew he was, from my point of view, a big nothing.

    And that is the way that he has "governed", if it can even be called that.

    Even a month ago, early on in his state of the union, he harkened to McCain and Lieberman. Phooey.

    At the time Obama was being thrust upon the scene as a newly elected senator, the person I felt had an ability, "to transform American politics" was Howard Dean. But he was shot down, and also seemed to implode. So that went nowhere.

    But I honestly can't begin to imagine how anyone could have ever thought that way about Obama.

    Howard Dean (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:15:01 AM EST
    made several mistakes.  But I think his biggest two were trusting his campaign manager...can't even remember his name, and going on MSNBC and telling Tweety that he was going to break up the giant media conglomerates. Unfortunately for Howard his greatest asset, speaking his mind, is also his weakness.  The media imploded him after that.  They just made it look like he did it himself.

    I don't know (none / 0) (#66)
    by sj on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:11:01 AM EST
    about trusting his campaign manager just because I can't recall what advice he was given.  Joe Trippi, right?  

    But I heartily agree with this:

    going on MSNBC and telling Tweety that he was going to break up the giant media conglomerates
    That was a huge mistake.  I mean, it wasn't a mistake to have that intention.  It was just a mistake to verbalize it.  The media imploded him for sure.

    I don't know if I'll be able to coherently (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:17:46 PM EST
    explain myself on this subject, but I'm going to give it a whirl; bear with me.

    Obama may have changed his approach, but he hasn't revealed himself to be the great progressive on some pretty important issues that Dems deluded themselves into thinking he was, or would eventually be after he got finished punking the GOP.  Obama's biggest problem, for me, at least, is that he is a moderate Republican with authoritarian tendencies who can't get past the GOP's front door to sell them anything because of that pesky "D" behind his name - even though what he's selling looks very Republican - he hasn't been able to overcome the hurdle of Republicans genetically hard-wired to reject anything from a Democrat, even if it is largely reflective of their own positions.

    I have to say, though, that I'm not all that upset that he hasn't been able to sell Simpson-Bowles or The Grand Bargain, even though these are unrecognizable from things Republicans have been hot to do forever.

    It saddens and angers me that his real goal seems to be in securing his legacy, and not in securing better present-day conditions for the majority of the people, or creating the conditions that will secure their futures.  He doesn't want to build on the promises of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society, because he wants something all his own to take credit for - but what he's trying to engineer seem likely to just break those promises.

    I'm very discouraged.  There have been a few bright spots, but on the whole, I just see us mired in a toxic morass of mediocrity-bordering-on-cruelty, with no one on the horizon that looks to be the kind of leader this country needs.

    First (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by me only on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:29:10 PM EST
    black President.

    Passed Health Care Reform.

    Withdrew from Iraq.

    Appointed as many women to the SC as all previous Presidents combined.

    Increased income tax rates on high earners.

    What makes people think Obama "needs to secure his legacy?"


    oy (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by sj on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:57:11 PM EST
    vey (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:05:34 PM EST
    Checklist (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by koshembos on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:45:09 PM EST
    Passed health care reform that avoids the main problem - cost.

    Completed W's leaving Iraq plan.

    Didn't support gay equality until the chief of staff forced his hand.

    Didn't even touch the foreclosure problem.

    Doubled the power and riches of the TBTF institutions.

    Huge unemployment.

    Personally, I don't care whether he is yellow, black, green, brown or white.


    what koshembos said (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:39:37 AM EST
    but I will add this, the fact that Obama passed bad healthcare reform insures that no one will tackle good healthcare reform for another generation.
    It infuriates me that he took that opportunity and threw it away just to say he got healthcare done.  

    The 'Theory of Change' Theory, R.I.P. (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by RonK Seattle on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:05:25 PM EST
    And a theory it never was. A theory has to be made explicit, and the Theory of Change Theory never was. A theory has to identify conditions under which demonstrable results do or do not obtain, which the Theory of Change Theory never did. A theory must distinguish clearly between itself and alternative models, which the Theory of Change Theory never did. And finally, a theory must stand the test of time, taking on all comers.

    For Obama believers who did not subscribe to the Theory of Change Theory, most asserted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would tip the GOP into a pattern of reflexively mindless opposition.


    And it would have (none / 0) (#31)
    by unitron on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 06:31:10 PM EST
    "...most asserted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would tip the GOP into a pattern of reflexively mindless opposition."

    Except we'd be dealing with sexism and misogyny instead of racism.

    But the GOP's obsession with proving that government doesn't work would have been the same.


    Of course (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by sj on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:26:02 PM EST
    the point was, the True Believers believed that O would somehow transcend that obstacle.

    it would not have tipped them (none / 0) (#62)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:07:33 AM EST
    in to that mode since they are permanently stuck in that mode anyway.  
    However, Hillary Clinton faced plenty of sexism and misogyny from democrats and the liberal media during the 2008 primary so what else is new?  Sexism is not her biggest hurdle and racism is not Obama's.  Republicans will always oppose a democrat just for being a democrat.
      In addition, she knows how to deal with opposition.  She shows no signs of the vain-glorious failings of Obama or some one like John Edwards.

    Gopama (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by koshembos on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 03:02:23 PM EST
    A person who wants to reach a grand bargain that decimates the safety net is not a non ideologue. He/she is a right winger and a reactionary. A Democratic president who nominates Simpson and Bowles to committee to plan deficit reduction is betraying his voters.

    Those that supported Obama during the primaries were reckless, blind, irresponsible and destructive.  

    Right (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:11:19 PM EST
    The equivalent would be Romney(as president) trying to expand Social Security by raising raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.  

    Nominating Krugman to lead a committee to reduce the deficit, and when that committee can't come to a consensus, Romney would continue to push Krugman's odd belief that reducing the military by half has to be done or the country will fail.

    Not the best analogy, but the point should be clear.  Not exactly the actions of even the most moderate republican, yet Obama is still touted as some moderate while pursuing the opposing parties agenda.

    The only thing saving us right now is the R's know they can get two pounds of flesh, so this why agree to one.  


    No need to have a Republican president (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:46:33 PM EST
    when Republican policies are being passed quicker without one.

    Senate Dems to accept general spending level set in House bill

    Obama reaching out to Republican lawmakers on budget agreement

    On Tuesday, Obama phoned Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key conservative voice in the upper chamber. Graham told NBC News he was "very encouraged" by the brief conversation, a sign the president's outreach efforts to top Republicans could be gaining traction.

    Graham also told reporters that he would be open to increased revenues -- a key aspect of the president's proposal -- if it was accompanied by a significant overhaul of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

    He's (none / 0) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:13:50 PM EST
    talking about the primaries in 2008 not the 2012 elections.

    the person you are responding to (none / 0) (#63)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:11:37 AM EST
    said primaries, not general election.  

    I'm shocked (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:12:46 PM EST
    that anybody EVER bought into the PPUS crap Obama was selling. Maybe 18 year olds or people in the their early twenties who were not around to see how the GOP operates with a Dem president. I could have and probably did predict the same thing years ago. I does not take a brain surgeon....

    I've agreed with that for years (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:31:01 PM EST
    but one way in which my thinking has changed is that I no longer believe anyone else would have done much better. Half of congress does not care about governing, and many of them no longer even care about getting re-elected. One term is plenty of time to make a big enough splash to land jobs with the media, 'think' tanks, lobbyists, etc.

    Hillary? Biden? Kerry? I don't think the outcomes would have been much different.

    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:48:33 PM EST
    not but you have to admit that Hillary would have never been deluded enough to believe that she could hold hands with the GOP. I don't know what she would have or would not have gotten passed but there would have been no begging and pleading for the GOP to vote for something I'm quite sure. She would have twisted arms I would imagine.

    All true (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:00:17 PM EST
    I think the rhetoric and tactics would have been more personally satisfying, but I don't think the outcomes would have been much better.

    Hard (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:11:23 PM EST
    to say considering the GOP but Obama truly is not now nor has he ever really cared much about policy and how it can effect people's lives.

    I actually think the outcomes would have been somewhat better because Obama wasted a ton of time trying to play Jesus and mediate or "heal" Washington. When he was doing that was when teh GOP was able to regroup.


    Or they would have been just as hard in opposition (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:12:07 PM EST
    to someone that was not conciliatory. No way to know. I'm just done wasting my energy on it. We have 3 years to come up with a better Dem candidate. I am out of ideas. Maybe I am just tired!

    Well (none / 0) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:00:06 PM EST
    if you look back at the 90's, they actually do better with someone who reams them out. Obama rolled over for them time and again and just like the bullies in the playground, that only encouraged them.

    I almost feel like we have wasted 8 years with Obama. What exactly is going to go be his "great" accomplishment? The only thing I can think of is ridding the world of Osama.


    I agree with you about this (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 09:01:15 AM EST
    Just watching CNN right now, and hate groups have increased 69% since 2000.  It exploded in 2008 though I guess according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Between the demographic change and our first black President, some white people are really getting their freak on.  I don't think Obama could really go after them aggressively without experiencing some sort of possible feeding of homegrown homeland terrorism.

    I think that is one of the realities that he has to face in discussions behind closed doors.  I am unwilling to give up the move forward that having a black President has granted us socially either.

    I read many items in the past about how Obama needed to avoid appearing the angry black man.  Part of my problem in embracing that reality or even questioning it is that I am not considered a minority, I honestly don't know what the many different realities are out there for minorities that they must confront and manuever around socially every day.  The Southern Poverty Law Center study is disturbing though, really disturbing.

    I am a woman and understand that just because my country's leadership says it is working to make the playing field level and fair it really isn't at the moment and there are many out there intolerant of that becoming a reality.  I do have some concept that the rhetoric about equality does not match the social realities.


    He's not (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 10:11:13 AM EST
    doing anything and the hate groups exploded. I can understand not want to be the "militant" black man but expressing anger when anger is called for I really don't think would have hurt him. And then with all this stuff i get back to who thought the PPUS crap was a good idea when the opposition has been coddling these nut bags for decades? I mean did they really think that he was going to get a bunch of aging segregationist to do along with anything he does? The reality is that a lot of the house and senate cannot see past his skin color. Even though he's actually proposing conservative policy prescriptions they are voting against it because they don't wnat to be seen as agreeing with the "black guy"

    They are really exploding now with the gun (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:15:37 AM EST
    stuff.  Starting a militia and joining a militia has entertwined with the doomsday preppers and it is exploding.  You can't join a militia while being a US soldier, but I know two who track them and converse with them in a very friendly manner.  The minute they are out of uniform, unless the political climate changes, they will be in local militias.  This is what happens to you when you graduate from Glenn Beck University.

    I know (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:36:58 PM EST
    I saw a story on CNN about this. They are going to be committing more violence, murders and mayhem before they are done.

    I seem to remember anger (none / 0) (#45)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 01:22:37 PM EST
    being expressed by another black man working pretty well for a certain Supreme Court nominee not that long ago. The tough white guys fell all over themselves to be his buddy, that is, except those who ran away crying like 9 year old little school girls.

    That "angry black man" was always a canard, imo.


    That particular black man is a conservative. (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 02:19:25 PM EST
    And, really, Congressional Democrats, with few exceptions, have proven easy to buffalo and intimidate. The GOP, on the other hand, not so much.

    And, please, do not cast aspersions on 9 year old school girls. The ones that I have known were pretty damn tough.


    No kidding, Casey (none / 0) (#48)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 02:32:56 PM EST
    Zorba Daughter, at age nine, would have been handing Thomas his @ss.  Served up on a plate, perhaps surrounded by parsley, but still....

    I knew it, I just knew it (none / 0) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 04:01:37 PM EST
    When writing that post I agonized over what analogy I should use. I knew that no matter what I chose somebody would find fault with it. But, in the end, I chose 9 year old girls because it just seems to express a certain visceral, instant, stereotypical reaction that everyone would recognize. I hope everyone knows what I meant, and I profusely apologize to all 9 year old girls (and boys) and kids of all ages for using them to make a point. Like I said, I love young boys and girls; I love them so much I even had a couple of my own:)

    Please don't hate me (too much)

    p.s does anyone know why certain words or phrases pop up as links with my not meaning to? (visceral, above?)


    Rats! (none / 0) (#50)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 04:03:17 PM EST
    it just disappeared on its own.

    Nobody hates you, (none / 0) (#51)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 04:23:29 PM EST
    Shooter.  We know what you were trying to get across.  ;-)

    Words (none / 0) (#56)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:05:44 AM EST
    Happen to me a month ago, somehow software got installed.  Go to your task manger and programs list, you should be about to figure what got installed.  For me it was the box I didn't unchecked when updating java so it installed some toolbar with the hotlink garbage.

    I hate when you have to uncheck instead of check to install, and software piggybacking.

    And for the record, quit using large swaths of people as comparisons to whinny weaklings and you won't have to worry about anyone getting their feathers ruffled.  Probably not as effective, but then again you wouldn't offend little girls or their parents.


    They run crying more like the (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 04:59:17 PM EST
    59-79 year old spoiled brats they believe their elite status entitles them to be.

    Complete with foot-stamping and harumphing.

    Makes me wish they would take their bats and go home (they can't take their balls because you're not allowed to take home what you didn't bring with you).

    Nine-year old girls would be embarrassed by the petulance these so-called men resort to.


    Maybe that's what we should do (none / 0) (#54)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:44:48 AM EST
    Have the Mean Girls follow these guys around and shame them like this.

    Biden, Kerry no (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:20:46 AM EST
    Hillary absolutely.  There are a whole list of ways she would have done things differently based on what she said, her past history and her lack of need to fool people about who she is/was.  Did you listen to the primary debates?  She made Obama look like a poorly prepared school boy.  You don't remember why he so petulantly refused to debate anymore?
    As my ex-husband so non-politically correctly stated it....he voted for her because she was the toughest guy in the democratic race.

    As roger miller discovered (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by john horse on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:35:05 AM EST
    As roger miller discovered you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd.  Obama is finding out that it doesn't work for elephant herds either.

    Obama is not smart enough... (3.67 / 3) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:02:41 AM EST
    ...to realize that creativity and imagination are the keys to this nation's success. He believes exactly the opposite: that the constant and unending surrender of one's passionate beliefs will result in success. That is the belief of a fool.

    You have better ideas, you pitch them in a more entertaining and enlightening fashion, and then you fight and hard.

    That, to Obama, is anathema.

    As a result, he is, in a word, a failure.

    And if he really believed his PPUS failed... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Dadler on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:46:22 AM EST
    ...and THIS is his answer to that failure, and THIS is supposed to be better, I'm sorry my good BTD, but then THIS is even bigger failure than the initial failure of PPUS. This is the equivalent of a coach who really cannot make halftime adjustments to his game because he lacks the necessary creative vision.

    And Obama lacks even the slightest bit of creative or imaginative instinct or drive, the ONLY things that have ever advanced the "change" agenda he supposedly is all about in any civilization. That would require him to abandon the mommy and daddy issues that SO obviously rule his psyche and be willing, basically, to die for his country, like he has sent others to do, like he expects all of us to do, while he is protected.

    Look, we argue these things on such a superficial level it's almost comical. The depth of human dysfunction in modern society is limitless, and we are usually to timid to face it.

    We need a sane Howard Beale, and what we have is a deluded Howard  


    "mommy and daddy issues" (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jtaylorr on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:29:18 PM EST
    LOL. Amateur psychoanalysts of Obama never cease to amuse. Mostly because the amateur in question always fails to see just how obviously are just projecting their own issues onto Obama.

    You didn't address (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sj on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:52:53 PM EST
    the substance of the comment, I see, only a peripheral thought.

    If Obama doesn't have mommy and (none / 0) (#17)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:21:07 PM EST
    daddy issues, he'd be the first human in history to have escaped that burden.

    We ALL have those issues, whether we realize it or not - even those in boring, two-parent, families.

    I know it's all so amateurish, but there's a reason Obama has such a driving need to prove to people who keep rejecting him that he is deserving of attention and respect; that's the kind of thing that can happen when your father abandons you and your mother hands you off to her mother so she can go off and pursue her own goals.  

    Look at the list of presidents we've had and see how many you can find that weren't dysfunctional to some significant degree and/or who don't have complex family backgrounds.



    I (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:26:57 PM EST
    have never seen any evidence that Obama had passionate beliefs about anything.

    It appears to me that (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by sj on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:53:44 PM EST
    his one passionate belief is in the undoing of the safety net.

    Even (none / 0) (#20)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:29:27 PM EST

    I don't think he's passionate about it.

    He'll just bury his head in the sand until the people that pull his strings tell him to come out and say something about something or other... and then he'll disappear again.

    More and more time on the golf course is my projection...


    He clearly believes in Obama (none / 0) (#18)
    by Trickster on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:25:49 PM EST
    There are many examples, but here's one: perhaps the thing that rankled me the most about this past Presidential campaign was when Obama agreed to allow the Affordable Care Act to be Obamacare.

    Health care for Americans is a bigger issue than any single individual, and no individual's name should ever be confused with or substituted for it. Can you imagine if SSI was called Roosevelt Insurance? I can't.


    I thought (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:27:39 PM EST
    about that...

    but even that...

    the first debate, where he didn't bother to show up...


    Hey, I think even Paul Krugman (none / 0) (#21)
    by brodie on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:51:02 PM EST
    failed to show up for his first one (with Joe Scar).

    But point taken.

    And even the turn-the-other-cheek Jackie Robinson of his first few years became a fierce on-field competitor the rest of his career.


    Brodie (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:04:31 PM EST
    I love ya,

    but Obama ain't no Jackie Robinson.

    No way.

    NO way.


    Well in terms of historic (none / 0) (#41)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:06:48 AM EST
    firsts, he is.  But yes, I was suggesting that as far as the key second chapter, so far he is not.

    I guess (none / 0) (#42)
    by lentinel on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:35:58 AM EST
    I just have a visceral reaction to Obama and Robinson being mentioned in the same breath.

    Authoritarians are not generally (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 03:28:56 PM EST
    known for their creativity and imagination, are they?  

    I don't think being rigid and judgmental do much to foster creativity and imagination.

    It's weird, though; Obama has resisted serious mortgage reform because people who don't "deserve" it might get relief, and yet he doesn't seem to bat an eye over all the undeserving masterminds of our financial near-collapse who got off scot-free and are raking in more money than ever.  Maybe because he identifies more with the masters of the financial universe than he does with Joe Schmo, who wasn't smart - savvy! - enough to avoid falling into a deep financial hole.


    He's an average or even above-average (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by observed on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:16:59 PM EST
    politician who is still not good enough to deal with some really exceptional circumstances.
    The fact we are discussing whether Obama can work with Republicans, rather than having serious discussions about the most pressing issues of the days---global warming, anyone?---is the measure of his poor performance.

    Thanks for linking to the old post (none / 0) (#2)
    by vicndabx on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:15:46 AM EST
    as it reveals what the so-called "post-partisan unity shtick" was really about.  It was not about bringing together Democrats and Republicans in Washington, it was about bringing Democratic and Republican citizens together and pressuring Washington.

    Pundits and many others in the Washington class wanted to (and still do) ascribe their own agenda to something that was never about them.

    It was about both (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:42:32 PM EST
    you may remember the abandonment of his mailing list/OFA's organizing power after 2008 to achieve the bringing together of Dem and Rep Congressional officials, as opposed to citizens.  2008-11 were very "inside baseball" years.  

    That is something they have corrected this time around, also.  They seem to be more serious about using OFA to push policy.

    I couldn't find the one article I thought was good on the subject, but I did find this one from The New Republic that addresses the same thing.


    Definitely corrected to be very SERIOUS (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:54:29 PM EST
    about using OFA to push policy.

    For a mere $500,000 you too can sit OFA's "national advisory board" and get face time with the president four times a year.

    Somehow I don't believe that the policies promoted by the "national advisory board" will be geared to the needs of average people.


    Hahaha, yeah (none / 0) (#16)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:15:40 PM EST
    believe me.  I don't necessarily think OFA is reflecting my needs.  It is definitely a far different animal today, though.

    Flashback: July 24, 2007 (none / 0) (#46)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 01:37:40 PM EST
    Reminder: The post-partisan pipedream extended far beyond the boundaries of the US and its political culture.

    ... would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
    OBAMA: I would. ...
    CLINTON: Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort ...

    To date, IIRC, no such meetings have taken place. 2 of the 5 principals are deceased, and one retired in ill health.

    Even Dibgy's (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 04:47:32 PM EST
    eyes have cleared a bit....

    But if Ezra is right and the president really is aloof and hostile to the political process then he was guilty of more magical thinking about "hope and change" than even I previously believed. And regardless of the personal psychology, it's political malpractice to believe that the mere force of his own personality would be enough to change a political culture. I'm not sure what would have done it, but then I thought it was a ridiculous thing to promise in the first place. You deal with the political culture you have, not the one you wish you had. You certainly can't change it by simply saying "make it so" --- it changes by virtue of the success or failure of government to address the needs of the people.

    when asked about the 2010 midterms (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:42:12 AM EST
    and why he thought they might turn out better than 1994 did Obama said the difference between the two elections would be that in 2010 democrats would have HIM in the White House.....

    oh that worked so well did it not?  Yes Obama thinks that by shear force of his wonderfulness he can transform political culture in DC.  Or he used to think that.  He must know by now that he must do the job, not just occupy the office.