Guest Post by Daphne Holmes
Each President marks his term with a leadership legacy that defines his administration. For Barack Obama, one of the hallmark characteristics of his time at the helm is unapologetic pursuit of policies that help the country. While this may seem like a given, under the circumstances, Obama’s tough stances on some issues has nonetheless sparked heavy resistance from the political right.
In order to set his own pace, however; the President has had to first clean up many of the lingering issues that predate his administration. In addition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama has faced a hornet’s nest of residual domestic policy that has also required strong leadership to rectify. As a result, the President has maintained an unwavering commitment to tackle tough issues – both here and abroad.
Real Issues At-Hand
Effective leadership requires proactive approaches to public policy, but it also relies on the ability to react quickly, in response to issues that arise. President Obama was thrown into the fire immediately upon securing the position, forcing him to reconcile very real issues facing the country. From domestic economic concerns to multiple foreign wars, the current administration has been elbow-deep in major policy reform since taking control of the executive branch of government.
To some; the President’s actions are off-putting, due to the decisive and unapologetic strategies he has implemented. But when held-up to the alternatives, it becomes clear that the President’s responses to some of this century’s most challenging realities have been tough, yet prudent.
Ineffective International Organizations
In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama’s administration has faced vexing foreign policy concerns elsewhere; including aggression and human rights atrocities in Syria and Russia. And while international support is put-forth by organizations like the United Nations, Obama’s policies have had to account for the fact that help from the UN and others does not always sway outcomes significantly. As a result, bold U.S. strategies and foreign policy decisions made by the Obama administration illustrate the tough stances the President has adopted to protect American interests.
The recent global recession and meltdown of important U.S. markets took its toll on the country and the world. Unemployment, home mortgage foreclosures and other important indicators illustrated never-before-seen economy turmoil that eventually reached every sector of the U.S. economy. Even so, the President understands the economic might at his disposal and operates accordingly on the world stage. Bold moves Obama made to correct the housing market downturn and Wall Street waffling show how the President’s tough policies have led to productive outcomes.
Public Support Drives Policy Decisions
While each President exhibits autonomy in his leadership role, policy outcomes are also influences by prevailing public opinion. In the case of health care reform, Obama took a tough position, which didn’t align with the beliefs of the political right. Tea Party protests and other displays of dissent followed, but the prevailing need for public health care overshadowed the misgivings of a few citizens clinging to the status quo. Though tough, the President’s initiatives would have been dead in the water, if not for the support of forward-thinking Americans lending their voices and activism to the collective cause.
Obama’s Personal Style
The President’s style has been characterized as “inflexible” and “unwavering”, so Obama has left his indelible mark on policy outcomes of the past 6 years. While ideological gains are a part of each presidential administration, Obama’s bold actions eclipse some of the cronyism seen in prior administrations. As a result, what some see as overly rigid or inflexible pursuits are actually a reflection of the President’s personal style. Whether from working within the Chicago political machine, or gleaned from years mobilizing support for grass roots issues, the current President is not afraid to adhere to his core beliefs.
Strong leadership cues from President Obama lead detractors to call him out for being too tough, at times. In reality, however; the President’s track record of decisive moves is simply a reflection of the issues he has faced and the prevailing public support for his policies.
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from www.ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m enjoying watching the reaction from Republicans to President Obama’s incredible second inaugural speech. I especially like their whining about the President not reaching out to them.
They way I see it, the Republicans are speeding towards the edge of the cliff and now they want the President to grab their outreached hands and save their tea party asses before the “momentum of their ideology” flings them into the canyon. Sorry dudes, this is your runaway mess. Enjoy the ride.
It takes a special kind of crazy to spend four years walking in lockstep against our President and slapping his outreached hand at every turn, only to cry about him not reaching out to them in the second inaugural. It has become obvious to anyone who is honest with themselves that the Republican Party is bankrupt, out of ideas and has no foundation remaining. They are a reactionary party now, and they don’t seem to be doing that very well either.
Beyond that, they are also becoming a party of whiners. Recent articles by Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and David Brooks give us the best examples of this. Krauthammer started the trend that is best summed up by Smartypants as “conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy”. Here is a piece of Krauthammer’s whine, via Smartypants…
He’s been using this, and I must say with great skill–-and ruthless skill and success–to fracture and basically shatter the Republican opposition… His objective from the very beginning was to break the will of the Republicans in the House, and to create an internal civil war. And he’s done that.
Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, came up with yet another great expression for us liberals to use, in bold.
The debt ceiling is a form of leverage they can’t responsibly use. A partial government shutdown or full implementation of the sequester are less toxic alternatives but of questionable utility. […]
Given this weak Republican position, Obama must be tempted by a shiny political object: the destruction of the congressional GOP. He knows that Republicans are forced by the momentum of their ideology to take positions on spending that he can easily demagogue.
For a noted Republican to admit that the Republican Party is out of control, careening towards the cliff, is pretty astounding. I have very little sympathy for them, since we all watched as Republican leaders let the Tea Party take the wheel of their party while they stood on the curb cheering.
It’s more likely that today’s majority party is going to adopt a different strategy, which you might call Kill the Wounded. It’s more likely that today’s Democrats are going to tell themselves something like this:
“We live at a unique moment. Our opponents, the Republicans, are divided, confused and bleeding. This is not the time to allow them to rebuild their reputation with a series of modest accomplishments. This is the time to kick them when they are down, to win back the House and end the current version of the Republican Party. […]
“Then he could invite a series of confrontations with Republicans over things like the debt ceiling — make them look like wackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. Along the way, he could highlight women’s issues, social mobility issues (student loans, community college funding) and pick fights on compassion issues, (hurricane relief) — promoting any small, popular spending programs that Republicans will oppose.
That last paragraph is just hilarious considering the reality that we all just witnessed.
I frequently ask myself who the Republicans think they are appealing to with this whining strategy. Do they think that the base of their party wants to hear them cry about those mean ole Democrats? I’m sure more than a few Republicans are calling them some choice names for that.
Do they think their whining appeals to Democrats who just worked their asses off to defeat their party? If anything, it makes us gleeful as we watch them form a circular firing squad and then argue about who gets to go first.
Maybe they think all that crying and whining will appeal to independents in the country. I suspect there are a few of those who will sympathize with them, since that swath of “independents” or “undecideds” aren’t the brightest bulbs in the bunch – see the CNN focus groups after the debates.
I probably shouldn’t get so much pleasure from seeing all this, but I do hope this Republican sideshow gets picked up for another season.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
H/T to Smartypants for the links!
There is no doubt that in the last week or more, the election has been breaking for President Obama. I don’t normally play the polling game, but as I’ve been saying for over a year, polls are only accurate when you get close to the actual election. Well folks, we’re close.
The awesome Michigander, Nate Silver, has been following all the ups and downs during the election and has developed a model that is comprehensive and relies on getting larger samples, thus more accurate results. He does what any statistician would do, adds them up and averages them. I had to laugh when I saw a quote from a Republican scoffing at the idea that he “averages” the polls.
In Ohio, where the rubber meets the road in this election, President Obama has been steadily climbing in damn near every poll taken in the last week. From Nate Silver…(emphasis mine)
Mr. Obama made gains in the FiveThirtyEight forecast on Tuesday, with his chances of winning the Electoral College increasing to 77.4 percent.
A fair amount of this boils down to Ohio, where three polls released on Tuesday gave Mr. Obama leads by margins ranging from three to five percentage points. Two of the polls, from Grove Research and the Mellman Group, generally show strong results for Democrats, which give them less impact in the forecast after applying our adjustment for pollster “house effects”. Still, the three polls taken collectively were enough to widen Mr. Obama’s projected lead in Ohio to 2.4 percentage points from 2.1 on Monday. Given how central Ohio is to each candidate’s electoral strategy — and how little time remains in the race — this was enough to improve Mr. Obama’s Electoral College chances. (The forecast does not yet account for the poll by Quinnipiac University for The New York Times and CBS News, which had Mr. Obama five points ahead in Ohio but which was released after we had run the model for the night.)
Today, November 1, Nate Silver currently has President Obama…as of 1:47 pm EST…with a 79% chance of winning the presidency and an estimated 300 electoral votes. It has been climbing all week long as poll after poll shows the gap widening between the president and Mitt Romney. Anyone who is honest with themselves can see that the President is widening his lead in the all important swing states. Republicans are having a hard time this week.
I totally understand how the Republicans feel, we Democrats have been through the same denial in 2004 and even some of us in 2010. It sucks having to rationalize and fool yourself into believing that you have a chance when all the signs are pointing the other way. It’s when “denialists” pull out the “momentum” arguments and the “tectonic shift” memes and go searching for the one poll that goes against the grain, clinging to it as if it were their blankie. I’ve been there, it sucks.
It’s been very odd, but not surprising, to watch the media continue to say “the race is tightening”, as Chuck Todd did this morning, even though the polls say otherwise. I tweeted him, of course, to point out his inconsistency and clear bias. I have a feeling ole Chuck isn’t one of my biggest fans.
So I’m excited, but cautious, going into the final weekend before the election on Tuesday. I never get too confident considering the fact that 59 million people voted to re-elect (or elect for the first time) George W. Bush in 2004. There are still a lot of dumb people (misinformed) in this country who have been getting their daily brainwashing from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the gang. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere as a direct result of that well oiled, Republican propaganda machine is very scary.
Just imagine how far ahead President Obama would be if the Republicans dealt in truth instead of lies or if the mainstream media had done their jobs and actually sorted out the truth for the public. I know, it’s a fantasy.
The Supreme Court yesterday made an important decision that will improve the lives of millions of people and bring stability to American families across the country.
The decision was extremely close, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the liberals in what many think is an effort to salvage some respect for the court.
I posted President Obama’s speech yesterday and highly recommend it to you, if you still haven’t seen it. Here are some of the real effects of the Affordable Care Act. Talk to your friends, family and anyone who will listen about the real provisions in the law. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere is crazy, we must correct at least some of it.
- Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.
- Soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.
- Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies–including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
- By August, millions of Americans will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
- 5.3 million seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.
- Efforts to strengthen and protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse will remain in place.
- 6.6 million young adults will still be able to stay on their family’s plan until they’re 26.
The court’s decision will have an impact on 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions by bringing security to their lives and comfort in knowing that they will not be left out in the cold. These families will be saved from having to liquidate their life savings, sell their homes or go bankrupt in order to get the care they need.
The reaction from some on the right illustrates how the $210 million dollar campaign of lies against the Affordable Care Act has permeated the thinking of too many people. We all must pull together to counter that misinformation and talk to people, one on one, and inform them of what is really in the bill.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
The impact of President Obama’s support for same sex marriage will be felt for years to come and in many ways.
Prior to the interview on ABC where he affirmed his support for SSM, I honestly didn’t realize just how much impact it would have. On my drive home from work, I heard Andrew Sullivan on NPR discussing his reaction and the full impact hit me hard as I began to cry.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: I did have mixed feelings, but I thought beforehand that this is a state issue. The president’s role in this is really circumscribed. One interview doesn’t make a difference. And then I watched the interview and the tears flooded. There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don’t know what effect it has until you hear it. And I think of all those gay Americans over the centuries who never heard that, never believed it could happen. And I have to say I’m immensely proud of this president for doing what he did.
I think he let go of fear today, the fear that somehow by embracing this natural, obvious and I would say conservative development he was sometimes – somehow embracing political calamity. He wasn’t, he isn’t, he won’t. And exchanging fears for hope on this and affirming what we all know who have met him and seen him that he thinks of gay people exactly as he thinks of straight people, as human beings and Americans first. That’s a great moment. (emphasis mine)
Hearing Andrew’s words brought home to me how important this is for the LGBT community.
The President’s words also went a long way towards strengthening the institution of marriage. I know that is the opposite of what you will read today in most publications that are mining the religious community for hyperbolic quotes and trying to create some controversy. But in my mind, there is no way it can do anything but strengthen it.
News flash – Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people aren’t going away and thank god, they help make our communities rich. The idea that preventing loving, committed couples from marrying will somehow weaken the institution of marriage makes absolutely no sense. In reality, allowing same sex couples to marry can only strengthen that institution. It promotes commitment, stability and family by giving security and a sense of belonging to a group that for far too long has been forced to live on the outside of the circle.
In a world where young people are becoming more promiscuous and the role models for our youth in many instances are the cast of the Jersey Shore, the Kardashians and misogynistic musicians, having two loving adults making a commitment to each other should be welcomed, regardless of their gender.
The religious objections to this idea are rooted in centuries old biases and cultural influence. When I read the Bible years ago, the cultural influences on each writer was very apparent to me. A friend of mine who studied the Bible extensively, pointed out that many stories are repeated in the Bible and each version of the story was different, based on who was writing it and the culture that influenced him. The writers were humans – imperfect humans who brought opinions and biases to what they wrote. So when religious folks refer back to a book written thousands of years ago in a completely different age, I have to wonder why it is they feel the need to live by the biases of a long ago people. In effect, they are ignoring everything that humans have learned since then.
The idea that allowing LGBT people to marry somehow hurts heterosexual marriages is just a mystery to me. I can’t seem to connect the dots of their argument and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen anything but platitudes when it comes to this idea. There is no argument to be made other than an appeal to emotions, fear and homophobia. My wife and I spent a couple minutes trying to figure out how it has anything to do with our marriage. We basically just shook our heads back and forth and said, WTF.
President Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts where he affirmed the humanity of LGBT people was an important moment in our history. And even though the Federal government has a limited role in defining marriage, the courage of President Obama to speak honestly about his feelings and to speak up for equality for all people can not be diminished, no matter how hard people try.
I just love when our President calls out the Republicans on their stupidity. Since the media just plays along with them, it falls on the President to do it himself. And he does it sooooo well, doesn’t he?
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Common refrains from people who say it didn’t work:
- But Obama promised that unemployment would be less than 8%. Horseshit on a stick. First, he didn’t “promise” a damn thing, if everything an incoming president says is turned into a “promise”, well then there has been a whole lot of promise breaking going on in our history. Second, the cautious prediction made during the transition was based on the numbers that the outgoing Bush administration was feeding the Obama team. They were flat out wrong and completely underestimated what was going on in our economy. Hey media, that’s called context. Buy some at the local C-store.
- But soooo many people are still out of work. Yes, and that totally sucks. But that does not mean that the over 3 million people who did get jobs are insignificant or don’t matter. They do. If the measure for whether the stimulus worked is full employment, then those people will be waiting till the end of time — we’ve never had anything close to full employment. And you can damn well bet that those people still looking for work are encouraged by the fact that others are starting to find jobs, which of course increases the number of people looking and drives up the unemployment rate.
- But the stock market has been falling…..oh, wait, it’s going like gangbusters. Nevermind.
- But Fox News says we are still in a recession, the numbers are being cooked. The only thing cooking at Fox New is the meth that the anchors must be smoking during commercial breaks.
- But, but, but….let’s just all say it together, the stimulus worked. And yes, we have more to do, but don’t let the Republicans and the compliant media make you think that cutting taxes for the rich would have been much better, that is a big part of what got us into this freakin mess.
It has become known as “ObamaCare”, thanks to the media, including those on the left and of course, Republican politicians.
I remember the battle for health care reform during the early 90’s when the Clinton’s took on the issue and failed miserably. It sucked all the oxygen out of Washington, along with the wonderful compromise that President Clinton made that brought us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (sarcasm)
When President Obama announced that he was going to pass a health care law early on in his presidency, I thought it was a bad idea. I couldn’t help but picture a similar outcome as the Clinton’s produced. NADA!
Since I lived through the other attempt at health care reform and followed it closely, when the Obama administration was successful at passing the Affordable Care Act, I was elated. Even with all of it’s imperfections, the fact that President Obama set the standard that America cares about the health of ALL of its citizens was incredible. It was a monumental achievement, one that will go down as one of the most amazing political wins in the history of our country.
Given the opposition from both sides of the aisle and the huge amount of misinformation that was and still is being spread about it, I thought I’d take a minute to share with you some truth about what “ObamaCare” has accomplished so far. There is much more to come in the years ahead.
More than 2.5 million young Americans under 26 now have health insurance who would otherwise not be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday morning.
Previously, the department had reported that 1 million young people were covered under the provision in the act, which also helps recent college graduates without a job but not on a parent’s plan stay insured.
I work at a university and supervise over 15 student workers. To them, the Affordable Care Act is kick-ass.
Guest Blogger: theangryliberal
The Health Care Bill, more often than not, raises the ire of both conservatives and progressives. They’ve teamed up to spread as much misinformation about the bill as possible. Why? I am not sure, because this bill goes a long way to get more people access to health care.
I think it all began with a guy named Howard Dean and some comments he made In December of 2009. Dean was very angry that the public option was eliminated from the Senate bill. The target of Dean’s rant was Joe Lieberman, ( I)CT, he was pretty pissed at Lieberman and he seemed to feel no bill would be better than this bill now. He was angry at the process. And his anger is not unfounded. This Senate has become a branch of our government that is immovable, ideologically entrenched, almost completely unable to pass any worthwhile legislation. Dr. Dean was pretty pissed about that, as we all should be. However, instead of directing his anger at the improbable 60 vote requirement to pass any legislation of substance, he decided it would be time to just let Republicans win by killing the bill. That didn’t happen of course, but that was an extreme reaction, one Republicans were relying upon, this is where they were able to begin to sow the seeds of discontent among voters, they have filled the air with misinformation, with the help of people who are otherwise quite progressive. All that discontent, and the Executive Branches unbelievable inability to fight back against the propaganda has left people with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to their thoughts about PPACA.
A number of people jumped on Dr. Dean’s bandwagon, Keith Olbermann went on the air to loudly proclaim why the Senate Bill should not be passed. Two days after Dean’s rant against the bill, a number of left leaning organizations and people banded together to help kill the bill:
There have been many lies circulated about President Obama over the last 3 years, but the one that seems to have poisoned the water from the beginning is the lie that President Obama struck a deal to keep the public option out of the final health care bill. It has formed the basis of the “caved” meme that people on the left, most of whom never supported Obama as a candidate, have used to feed their irrational hatred for our president.
The lie has taken on epic proportions as it’s morphed over the years. Recently, I’ve had liberal friends throw it in my face when I’ve shown my support for our very accomplished president. The lying has to stop!
The birth of the “public option” lie
The original source from which the lie was created, is an article that David Kirkpatrick wrote in the New York Times about the active role that President Obama was taking in crafting the health care law. There were two mentions of the “public option” in the entire article, one was in reference to what the Democrats in the house were pushing and the other contradicts the lie completely. Rep. Henry Waxman was quoted in the article.
“The president has said he wants a public option to keep everybody honest. He hasn’t said he wants a co-op as a public option.”
You really can’t get any more clear than that, can you? In the article that is the source for the public option lie, there is a quote from a respected member of the House saying that the president wants a public option. And to be fair to the author, he never even implies that the public option was part of the deal.
The New York Times article also discusses how the White House was more hands-on with the Senate Finance Committee than with other congressional committees. What is implicit in this analysis is that the White House understood that, as with every piece of legislation the administration supported, it was the Senate that posed the biggest impediment to achieving comprehensive health care reform.
There was another quote from earlier in the article that many used as the basis for the lie. It is an explanation of the deal that caps the costs for hospitals.
Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem. House staff members were present, including for at least one White House meeting, but their role was peripheral, the lobbyists said.
Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private sector rates — or controlled by the secretary of health and human services.
There is nothing in those two paragraphs that says anything about a deal on the public option, it is talking very specifically about costs to hospitals and reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare. The sentence “would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private rates…” is poorly worded and could easily be misinterpreted, especially by people searching for a reason to hate the President.
If you read David Kirkpatrick’s words carefully, you see that the deal was on reimbursement rates and how they wouldn’t be the 80% that Medicare generally pays, which was a sore spot for hospitals.
Here is another example of that same idea, worded slightly better, but with selective placement of quotation marks. Tom Daschle wasn’t happy with the authors characterization of his words and corrected it in an update.
Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.
Once again, if you were to stop reading after the words “health plan”, you wouldn’t have gotten the entire meaning of the sentence. Experience tells me that the Obama-haters aren’t interested in the truth, only that which fits with their preconceived memes.
Tom Daschle sent a note to the author clarifying his comments and making it very clear that there was no deal on the public option.
“In describing some of the challenges to passage of the public option in the health reform bill, I did not mean to suggest in any way that the President was not committed to it. The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House. While I was disappointed that the public option was not included in the final legislation, the Affordable Care Act remains a tremendous achievement for the President and the nation.” (emphasis mine)
Wow, this is an amazing dialogue by Jake Lamar. Share it far and wide!
Hat Tip to @cindyloveseric
The Democratic Party is clearly on the side of the 99%’ers and no amount of denial and blame shifting can change that. And yes, the Democratic Party has their share of elected representatives that act more like conservatives than liberals, but that fact shouldn’t diminish the hard working liberals in the party who are fighting for all of us in this country who don’t have lobbyists. When I hear or read people generalize and group all Democrats in with big business, they are ignoring reality and perpetuating false memes.
I had an exchange on Twitter the other day with a person who exemplifies much of that “head-in-the-sand” thinking. Here are a few of his tweets, with my responses.
Tweeter: The difference between a Democrat and Republican is the difference between a man and his mirrored reflection.
Extreme Liberal: How does the mirror reflect the repeal of DADT? Or health care for children? Or Lily Ledbetter? Or the Matthew Shepard law?
Extreme Liberal: Or who’s reflection is opposite Sotomayor or Kagan? Do you want a Republican picking the next nominee to the SUPREME COURT!
The Tweeter in question then sent a tweet that he has since deleted, probably had second thoughts about it, but he basically said that the issues I raised were “petty”, to which I replied…
Extreme Liberal: Tell my niece who now has health care that she is petty or over 60,000 LGBT people now serving openly in our military.
Extreme Liberal: And if you have any females in your family, are you willing to give up their rights to their own bodies? Supreme Court matters!
Tweeter: Bush might as well have been a Democrat, Obama a Republican for the similar aims and interests re: domestic/foreign policy.
When I read something from one of the usual suspects that makes no acknowledgment of either the Republicans lockstep opposition or the accomplishments of President Obama considering that opposition, I know that they have other motivations.
When I hear Michael Moore on damn near any show he can get on, say that President Obama hasn’t done anything, I have to wonder if it’s because he is just ignorant and hasn’t paid attention for the last 2 & 3/4 years or if he is just blatantly lying for his own gain. There has to be a reason why he wants to push false memes and help Republicans get back in control of the White House.
What’s most annoying and indicative of his lack of perspective and basic common sense, is the same old same old arguments and talking points and the inevitable comparison with FDR.
Obama could have done this. Obama could have done that. He’s caved on everything financial. He gives in to the Republicans. In the words of another well-known liberal scribe, !Yada yada yada yada.”
I want to SCREAM.
Let’s address FDR and the fabled Hundred Days. FDR was working in a time when the Republican party consisted of most of your scions of financial and industrial behemoths in the US. Really, Roosevelt should have been part of that set-up, but he was the exception to the rule. Apart from those guys dotted about the place, the rest of the country was B-L-U-E.
In the Senate alone, which then had 96 members, the Democrats had a majority of 71. And it’s true what Gov Granholme kept shouting. From the very beginning, the President simply didn’t have the votes. In fact, there was only a period of about four months – from the time Al Franken was belatedly sworn in as Senator until Ted Kennedy’s death in August 2009 – that the Democrats had the fabled 60-vote majority, and two of those votes were Independents who caucused with the Democrats, and one of those Democrats was Joe Lieberman.
Do you understand that? Does Bill?
In the beginning, with the stimulus, there were 57 Democrats (Franken awaiting confirmation) and two Independents, lacking one vote from the magic sixty. But both Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were ill. That made 55 Democrats and 2 Independents. To pass the stimulus, 3 Republican votes were needed, which was why the stimulus amount was reduced – in order to entice Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter to cross the aisle.
Even afterward, with all the healthcare debate, as well as the Republicans, the President was fighting the Blue Dog likes of Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln.
Do you understand that? Does Bill?
As for the fact that the President “caved” on extending the Bush tax cuts, Bill needs to cop this truth: At the end of July 2010, before the August recess, the President summoned Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to the White House to tell them he wanted Congress to vote on repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in September before Congress adjourned for the Midterm hustings. He felt that this would be a good campaign point. Reid and Pelosi refused.
That’s right. They refused. Reid was in a tight race, you recall, with Sharron Angle, and didn’t want to anger wealthy fence-sitters in Nevada. If that weren’t enough, Reid enlisted Russ Feingold – yes, Heavenly Father Progressively Pure Saint Russ Feingold – to plead his case. Feingold, reportedly, lobbied the President to leave off voting on the repeal of the tax cuts until after the Midterms, during the Lame Duck session.
That worked so well, didn’t it? If you recall, the Republicans, high on scoring a major victory in the House and reducing their minority in the Senate, wrote a letter telling the President that they would refuse to consider any legislation during Lame Duck until the tax cuts were done and dusted – meaning extended.
The ensuing negotiations, with the Republicans simply refusing to budge, were anything but a cave on the President’s part. Even ueber Rightwing sage and intellectual, Charles Krauthammer, despairingly admitted that. In fact, he called Obama’s “caving”, the Swindle of the Year, and berated the Republican party for allowing it.
I give credit to few Republicans, but Krauthammer’s a real intellectual, and he’s certainly smarter than Bill Maher for recognising that.
Not to mention a slew of legislation in that compromise, which helped the poor, about whom Bill Maher says he cares so much, Congress also managed to repeal DADT and pass the First Responders Health bill and the START treaty. Besides, the tax cuts were only extended for two years – until 2012 – making them fodder for the campaign cannon next year, if not sooner.
As far as the debt ceiling crisis is concerned, maybe Bill should realise that voting on raising the debt ceiling was part of the Lame Duck proposals too – getting that out of the way in the last days of a Democratic Congress – but Harry Reid pooh-pooed that idea, wanting to bring the vote to a head when it was due to be heard, originally in March 2011. That way, he reckoned, the Republican House could own part of the responsibility.
And how well did that work out?
I remember all of that, but isn’t it amazing how many have forgotten?
I decided to go back in time with the help of Google and find out if he ever REALLY supported Barack Obama and exactly when it was that Dr. West and his sidekick, Tavis Smiley, began their assault on our first black president.
I typed into the search bar the words “Cornel West Supports Obama” and then proceeded to weed through hundreds of hits about Cornel’s criticism of President Obama, page after page after page of links to stories about “black mascots” and “oligarchs and plutocrats” and “fear of free black men”. There were articles by conservatives and liberals, all using Cornel West to justify their own hatred and dislike for our President.
I came across one transcript from an interview he did with Amy Goodman about 2 weeks after the election where Dr. West very cautiously applauds the election of President Obama, but you can already begin to see the formulation of his strategy to undermine him.
I looked at hundreds of results from my Google search and that one transcript was about the extent of the “support” I found for President Obama. I challenge any defenders of West to provide more, besides people saying he supported the president.
If you haven’t gone to iTunes and subscribed to the Bubble Genius Bob and Chez Show podcast, you are missing out on the best political analysis around and a lot of great laughs. You can find them at their respective blogs, Bob Cesca’s Aweseome Blog! Go! and Deus Ex Malcontent where they consistently tell it like it is.
I personally look forward to the show like a little kid looks forward to candy.
A few weeks ago, they did a show called “Stop Whining”, which I highly recommend you listen to, after you subscribe to them on iTunes. But in case you prefer reading or are at work and can’t really listen, I took the time to transcribe a large portion of that show for your reading pleasure. I think it exposes the true motivations and agenda of those who have become known as the “Professional Left” or the name I prefer, “Firebaggers”.
As with anyone, I don’t agree with everything they say, but damn near everything in this portion of the show. The one thing I disagree on is the characterization of the blog post by Deaniac83 from The People’s View that was the impetus for a lot of the discussion. Deaniac83’s post about the debt ceiling deal, as I saw it, was about how that deal wasn’t as bad as it was being portrayed by many on the left. I didn’t perceive it as approving of the deal, but rather that the President made the best of a bad situation. Contrary to John Boehner’s characterization that he got 98% of what he wanted, when you look at the deal from a wider perspective, President Obama “ate his lunch”. They quickly move away from that subject and on to an incredibly insightful analysis of the “firebaggers” — who seem intent on helping the Republicans take down our Democratic President Barack Obama. Enjoy and share widely!
Bob Cesca (B)- I don’t watch Morning Joe anymore, but I can guarantee you that they were talking about this, concern trolling about it on Morning Joe over the last couple of days, because they love to do that. Oh look, the president’s losing his base…when, we’ve talked about here, it’s not really the base. The liberal blogosphere is not the base of the Democratic Party, certainly not the Obama campaign. And it never has been…we’ve always been fickle, we were divided during the primaries in 2008. A lot of people were very hesitant to jump onboard, once President Obama became the nominee. But regardless, here’s the story. Backing up on this..”The Obama administrations point person”…this if from the Huffinton Post, “The Obama campaign’s point person in New Mexico recently sent an email to supporters defending the President’s position on the debt deal and bashing the Nobel prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the quote
Chez Pazienza (C)- interject for a moment, the vital, vital outpost of New Mexico
B- That’s exactly right, ah…columnist Paul Krugman..
C – Defending the frontier
B- Right, the quote unquote “firebagger lefty blogosphere”, On the evening of August 1st. dunt, dunt, duh duh…cue the dubious music for this. “On the evening of Aug. 1, just after Congress passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling, Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval sent an email to supporters with the subject line, “Please take 5 minutes to read this, Please.” He used the magic word twice. “”I know many of you have raised frustrations, but please, I implore you, please take 5 minutes and read the article below. It does a great job of explaining the Debt Ceiling deal,” Sandoval wrote in bold text.” Now, that was all he wrote and then it proceeded to include this blog post from a blog called The People’s View and the blog post went on to, ah, criticize Paul Krugman as being a political rookie, it used the word firebagger, you know, which is sort of the colloquialism combining Firedoglake and teabaggers, which I use that a lot, It’s, I think it’s appropriate.
C – It is actually.
B – He even used the ah…
C- I try really hard, actually, not to do too much of the adjusting names because I’ve always thought that it’s kind of childish when you do like the, you know, the Rethuglicans….(crosstalk)….but firebagger admittedly works and of course I can’t let myself off the hook for calling them teabaggers so uh..
B – Well you have to…
C – That’s a joke that makes it’s own gravy