Republicans are in a world of hurt going into the 2012 election. You don’t hear much about it in the media, they devote the bulk of their time to pushing the Republican Party’s talking points and bringing on faux Democrats who seem to spend most of their time bashing President Obama and avoiding giving him credit for anything. What amazes me is that with 2 and 1/2 years of pounding on the President, he is sitting better than any incumbent president in my memory.
I don’t put much stock in horse-race polls this far out from an election, but non horse-race questions — when the sample is large enough — can be useful in analyzing trends. These results from an NBC/WSJ combined poll show some shocking numbers that make me know that the Republicans boneheaded move of hitching their wagons to Paul Ryan is already having an effect. From First Read…
In our combined NBC/WSJ polls for the first half of this year (so 4,800 total interviews, including 711 seniors), 44% of seniors identify themselves as Democrats, versus 35% who identify themselves as Republicans. So a nine-point spread. But in our merged NBC/WSJ polls from 2010 (12,502 interviews, including 1,931 seniors), Democrats held just a two-point edge among seniors, 42%-40%.
What is astounding to me is that in the 2010 midterms, the GOP won the senior vote by 20 percentage points. Clearly there is buyers remorse happening in the elderly voting population. I know when I first heard that the Republicans were getting behind the Ryan plan, I sat up in bed and actually said to the television, “you’re kidding?” I couldn’t believe it. In all my years obsessing over politics, that was by far, the dumbest idea I’d ever seen a political party embrace. Seniors show up to the polls and vote in their self interests. Like Richard Pryor said, “you don’t get to be old, being no fool.”
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It seems like every utterance Obama makes that might be construed as pro-business gets some people jumping up and down like lunatics. If you read further into the article to which he links, you see there was context for the statement and a very important point about executive compensation in our free market system. Not exactly how Frank Rich portrayed Obama’s thoughts on it.
President Obama: “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”…
Blankfein and Dimon took their bonuses in stock rather than cash, which Obama encouraged other corporations to do. Such compensation, he said in the interview, “requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings.” He said that’s a “fairer way of measuring CEO success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better.”…
Obama said compensation packages over the last decade haven’t always been commensurate with performance, and reiterated his call for shareholders to have a say in CEO pay.
“That serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay,” he said. “Shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs.”
As you can see, there was quite a bit more to what the President said in both interviews, if you follow the links. By cherry-picking a sentence and squeezing it into his narrative, Frank Rich reveals a hidden agenda that seems to ignore or dismiss contradictory evidence if it doesn’t fit with that agenda. One wonders what really motivates Rich to push this anti-Obama narrative.
President Obama didn’t deregulate Wall Street; that’s been happening for years. But he did pass major financial reforms prompting this headline from the New York Daily News “President Obama signs most sweeping Wall Street reform bill since Great Depression”, and he did it with no fucking help from those whining the most: folks at The Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Salon and others. I’m not linking to them, they love clicks. But instead of helping the president to sell it to the American people and push for stronger legislation, they went into preemptive whine mode, using words like caving and other very dramatic terms. And most of it centered around the guilt by association crap.
The economic disaster that was left for the President wasn’t the only problem he inherited from previous presidents. The most obvious mess and a cause of much left-wing “whinging“, was DADT, which was passed by President Clinton and was the law of the land for 17 fucking years until President Obama came along and put a bullet in its face. But of course, for the first two years of Obama’s presidency, the stain of DADT lingered around the new president as if Obama himself had signed the goddamn bill. And then after President Obama killed it, most wouldn’t give him credit and instead, immediately moved on to the next blame game.
As I was reading Frank Rich’s article, it reminded me of how many problems were left over or created by previous administrations and have been blamed on President Obama – both directly and indirectly. So much of it was hurled at him in his first year and consisted of “why haven’t you fixed my problem yet?” or “why don’t you issue an executive order?” How shitty is it to be handed a recession-heading-towards-a-depression, with all the underlying structural issues that caused it, and be told, “FIX IT NOW!”, while the people who should be helping to push your agenda through are standing on the sidelines hurling rocks at you.
Here is a brief summary of some of the issues President Obama inherited from the previous presidents with my ranting coloring it.
- DADT – I covered that injustice towards the President above, it was the single most idiotic “nontroversy” created by a small group of impatient, politically immature pundits (and people elevated to that status undeservedly). I’m looking at you, Lt. Dan Choi.
- Bush’s legacy of torture – Once again, Bush ordered his lawyers and justice department to justify his atrocities and thus cover his ass. And I have to say, I was hoping at least some of them would pay a price, but I understand not wanting to mire the country down in endless prosecutions. Fuck the unemployed, fuck the poor, fuck students AND the economy…I want to see some heads roll baby. Greenwald and his gang wanted Holder’s justice department to re-litigate Bush’s entire 8 years and waste the next 8 with endless made-for-TV trials. The media obsession would drown out any other issues. Not a good plan.
- Guantanamo Bay – Anyone who is honest with themselves and their readers, knows that Congress punted on that one. The spineless wimps took the Republican bait — hook, line and sinker — with their “terrorists in your backyard “ scare tactics. Most of them-there terrorists have dark skin, you know? Congress cut off funding for closing Gitmo, but still President Obama gets to have that funk follow him around too. And like the others, he didn’t create the fucking mess at Gitmo either. When I hear someone blame the President for Gitmo still being open, I know they either have their heads up their ass or they know the truth, but lie about it anyway.
- DOMA – (Defense of Marriage Act) This was signed by President Clinton (the Teflon Democrat) in 1996. The Obama administration has taken several steps towards undoing it. The Administration will no longer defend the constitutionality of the discriminatory statute and recently the President and the Attorney General have concluded that, as a general matter, anti-gay discrimination is preemptively unconstitutional and state and federal laws have to apply a heightened constitutional scrutiny. Go read this excellent piece at The People’s View to find out why this “nontroversy” shouldn’t be dogging the President either. I know the “tantrum crowd” freaked out when, early in the Obama administration, the justice department continued the longstanding practice of defending all federal laws challenged in court, including DOMA. President Obama has already done a lot to keep his promise.
- Bush Tax Cuts – This was the largest of all the “political time-bombs” and probably the most damaging idea of the 20th century. The timer on the bomb was set to go off on December 31, 2010 and in the lame-duck session of congress, 42 Republican Senators threatened to block all legislation until something was done. Congressional Democrats, with prodding from the White House, attempted to pass two bills extending the tax cuts to only those making under $250K and 200K respectively. They only received 53 votes, not clearing the new super majority needed for damn near everything in the Senate now. Notice that even some Democrats didn’t vote for the fucking bills. But when the President makes a deal where he extends unemployment insurance, gets more stimulus and other goodies, guess who is to blamed for having to deal with those Republicans, the “Fall-guy-in-chief”. The Bush tax cuts were set to expire for everyone and certainly the incoming Congress would have extended them anyway, without the above goodies. President Obama made the most of that bad situation as spelled out by Ezra Klein. And it cleared the schedule for them to repeal DADT, fucking aye!
So much of the poutrage from this group is rooted in ignorance. When reading some of the stuff from the usual suspects, I really wonder if they know that Congress writes the bills (with the help of lobbyists) and appropriates money. The President has a pretty limited roll in how laws are made, when it really comes down to it. Especially in such a politically charged environment where we have an ultimatum a day from the Republicans and a Democratic Party that spans the range from Maxine Waters to Ben Nelson. And I would add that the Democratic Party, unlike the Republicans, allow their members to think freely and express themselves, which just gives fodder to both sides with which to attack the Obama administration.
But you know what, President Obama just keeps plugging along while the media and the faux left chases phantom narratives, waiting for the President with his cloak of invincibility and his magic wand to suddenly fix everything with a few waves of his hand.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles