This video of President Obama talking to the college students in Massachusetts back in March is showing up all over the internet. There is one passage that I particularly liked that will hopefully help to educate some of the people who bristle at every compromise with Republicans…(emphasis mine)
“And so, one of the challenges of this generation is, I think, to understand that the nature of our democracy and the nature of our politics is to marry principle to a political process. That means you don’t get a 100% of what you want. You don’t get it if you are the majority; you don’t get it if you are in the minority.And you can be an honorable in politics understanding that you are not going to get 100% of what you want.
“And that’s been our history. You think about our greatest presidents — Abraham Lincoln, here is a guy who didn’t believe in slavery, but his first priority was keeping the Union. I’ve got the Emancipation Proclamation hanging up in my office, and if you read through, it turns out that most of the document is: those states and areas where the Emancipation doesn’t apply because those folks were allies with the Union so they can keep their slaves. Think about that. That’s the Emancipation Proclamation.
“So, here you’ve got a war time president who is making a compromise around probably the greatest moral issue the country ever faced because he understood that, ‘Right now my job is to win the war and to maintain the Union.
The Tea Party on the right and the Firebaggers on the left have both staked out intransigent positions. In my many years of obsessing over politics, I’ve never seen anything like it.
It’s astounding that this unprecedented polarization has effectively changed the way our government functions. It’s been perpetuated primarily from the Republican side of the aisle where the President has been thwarted at every turn. Watch our very wise President in explaining this to a politically mixed group of college students, it once again proves that we elected the right man for the job and need to reelect him in 2012.
In a press conference last week, President Obama referred to this craziness and how it puzzles him that Republicans can oppose ideas they once supported, just because he now supports them. Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly picked up on that line and wrote a great post about it. Here are some of Steve’s thoughts on this puzzling situation…
It is, to be sure, quite a pattern. For two-and-a-half years, Obama has run into congressional Republicans who not only refuse to take “yes” for an answer, but routinely oppose their own ideas when the president is willing to accept them.
This seems especially relevant in the context of the current debt-reduction talks. At a certain level, it’s almost comical — here we have a Democratic president agreeing with a conservative Republican House Speaker on a massive deal that would lower the debt by over $4 trillion over the next decade. It would tilt heavily in the GOP’s direction, and address the problem Republicans pretend to care about most. Obama is even willing to consider significant entitlement “reforms,” which should be music to the ears of the right.
And yet, in the latest example that “puzzles” the president, Republicans aren’t interested.
I think the President has adapted to this strategy and is exploiting the Republican intransigence by making offers that help to reveal this stupidity and also help him politically by making him seem like the reasonable one. The debt ceiling debate is a perfect example how he has adapted. The President’s position from the beginning has been to get a clean raising of the debt ceiling and after his masterful negotiating, it looks like that is exactly what he is going to get. Go back and watch Lawrence O’Donnell’s great rant on this from last week, he nails it to the wall.
The truly amazing thing is that President Obama has accomplished a ton in this atmosphere, can you imagine how much more he could have accomplished if the congress had just operated the way it has for the last….well, how about since our country’s founding.
I have a busy day today, but for now I want to steer you to this great piece from Eclectablog that seems appropriate with everyone getting their panties in a bunch about the compromise that is coming down the pike on the debt ceiling. Once again, we will see and hear the immaturity of some on the “professional left” because you know, what is this thing everyone calls compromise and why is it getting in the way of what I want…a pony! The piece is from April, but is timeless. From Eclectablog…
And when they don’t have anything to get upset about, that’s no problem. They just invent something. Here’s the playbook for your reference:
- Read the day’s headlines.
- Determine a spin that characterizes the President and his administration in the worst possible light.
- If such a spin does not exist, postulate what the President and his administration’s response will be. Make sure that it is as negative as possible, even if it contradicts his past behavior.
- Write endless blogs on how the President has once again sold his “base” down the river and kicked hippies in the teeth (after punching them, of course.) It is not necessary for him to actually have done this. Your prediction that he WILL do this is sufficient.
- When what you predicted turns out to be quite wrong, ignore that and focus on the next day’s news item. No point in issuing a mea culpa. Just raise a fuss about something new and nobody will notice.
- Lather, rinse and repeat.
Go read the whole thing and learn what the term “whinging” means.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
“Compromise” is one of the foundations of democrazy (that was originally a typo, but I like it). Somehow, since the election of President Obama, the word is being redefined by some on both sides of the isle, with the help of the media who just follow along like lemmings. It’s a word that is often said with disdain, as if the mere act of compromising is somehow wrong. This is a very disturbing trend because it basically increases polarization, hatred and gives people a reason to throw up their hands in disgust. It is part of the scorched earth strategy being employed by like I said, both the right and some on the left.
I can almost understand the right’s obsession with not compromising, it’s politics man. But for those on the left who claim to be progressive and care about changing things for the better, it flies in the face of reason to oppose it on principle. The Republican’s don’t want to compromise because they perceive any bills passed and signed by President Obama as a win. And we can’t have that now. And we all know that from day one of President Obama’s first term, they have tried to thwart any success for the White House, even if it means screwing citizens or exposing their hypocrisy. And because of the very successful brainwashing of their base by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing noise machine, it really won’t have much impact on those voters. We can only hope that it does have an impact on moderates, who are the folks that swing elections one way or the other.
The people on the left wing who have spit on the word compromise and staked out unrealistic positions, their reasons are a bit more complicated and in my opinion, just plain stupid. I expect stupid from Republicans, but in the last 2.5 years, many on the left have shown how stupid they are too. They may have been that way all along, but were hiding it well.
In the 8 years of President Bush’s term, a cottage industry sprung up that was fueled by anger, hatred and indignation towards the Bush Administration and the many rights and liberties that were taken from us or trampled on. Blogs became all the rage during this time and the idea of the internet as a way to organize and mobilize people around a cause became very real. But a lot of it was rooted in and fueled by anger towards Bush. I joined in the craze and loved seeing the Bush Administration challenged and attacked. Good times! But the transition from the anger based foundation to where we are now, after President Obama took office, didn’t go very well for these people. A lot of that anger just shifted towards the new administration, the path of least resistance, I suppose.
Many of the “progressive” bloggers that came to prominence during the Bush years, who clearly played to the anger towards Bush and gang, were actually Republicans turned angry. In their disgust towards Bush, they built a following of people who didn’t necessarily agree with them very much, besides hating Bush. Here is a brief list of some of those folks.
Arianna Huffington, worked for Newt Gingrich and is the former wife to Republican candidate Michael Huffington. We all know how she has cashed in and is turning back towards her true party, the GOP.
John Aravosis, former staffer to Sen. Ted (bridge to nowhere) Stevens.
Cenk Uygur, who has apparently admitted that he “used to be” a Republican on his show, he sure keeps attempting to play to the left but his roots help explain his attacks on the President.
Dylan Ratigan has landed a couple of different time slots on MSNBC and is trying to play to the left, although he clearly has a hard time of it. He built his brand on the back of populist rhetoric.
And I would add Glenn Greenwald to the mix too, although he claims to be an independent. He supports Gary Johnson, a Republican, as a third party candidate. He still gets trotted out as a left-leaning blogger or as a representative of the left blogosphere, when he clearly is not. Many volumes have been written about that man and his tactics.
The other group of bloggers and pundits that are fighting against the President and don’t seem to understand the nature of compromise are rooted on the liberal end of the spectrum. It is sad to see this group let their entrenched principles and ideals influence their perceptions of the progress that has been made with President Obama at the helm. They can’t even give the President credit when it is due. My short list of these folks include Michael Moore, Adam Green, Bill Maher, David Sirota, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Markos Moulitsas, Jane Hamsher and Keith Olbermann. We expect the right to have crazy notions about our President and suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome, but it isn’t just a right-wing disease. From The Hand That Feeds You…
The thing is, these folks aren’t the real threat. That’s what unnerves me, lately. What really bothers me, and I mean really gets my goat, are the basically forward thinking, well educated and Progressive Americans who also wallow in self-indulgent and conspiratorial whining. It is smug. It serves no purpose but to excuse inaction and it is more dangerous.
This is about the other “Obama Derangement Syndrome.” It is high time we address it.
Barack Obama’s Presidency had barely begun when some on the Left started selling us the “betrayal meme.” In March of 2009, Dave Lindorff famously excoriated the new President in a piece called “The Obama Betrayal.” He was apoplectic over capitulation to Republicans regarding the ‘Employee Free Choice Act.’ He makes no mention of the fact that Progressives did not flood the congress and the White House with calls supporting the President’s fight. He omits the huge and organized campaign enlisting our citizen-opponents which went a long way towards torpedoing the legislation. Why should we on the Left have been expected to do anything? Wasn’t Obama supposed to single-handedly crush our foes?
After all, we elected him.
To me, these people are extremely deluded. They’ve built a false narrative within their own minds and in the process have abandoned any pretense that people matter in the equation. Their ideals, reinforced with denial, lies, exaggerations and populist outrage, have overcome their common sense, if they had any to begin with. Whenever I get into a Twitter fight with any of them, I usually shut them up pretty quickly when I ask questions like “how does that help real people” or I start giving them real examples of how it affects people, like those with pre-existing conditions who can now get health insurance, like my niece. They seem to live in a world of generalities, ideals and have created their own echo chamber to reinforce it.
I also think that many of these so-called progressive bloggers, who seem to be fighting progress, have fallen victim to the “right wing paid troll program” where the GOP and their supporters pay people to comment on progressive blogs, either posing as liberals dissatisfied with the President or simply attacking liberal ideas with right-wing talking points. It’s a copy and paste operation that I think has overtaken many of the comment sections of these blogs. I think a lot of these bloggers are naive and think that there is a lot more dissatisfaction with the President and the Democratic Party than there actually is. And they drive out people who disagree with the anti-Obama memes. I know very well about that, having been banned by Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, Firedoglake and Americablog. And it wasn’t for being abusive at all, unless calling them “whiners” is somehow abusive or giving a different opinion than the consensus (group think) in the room.
The most often heard refrain from these folks is that President Obama gives up too much in the beginning of negotiations. They claim he gives in before the negotiations even begin. But these pundits who say this have no idea what the behind the scenes vote counting is or what preconditions may have been talked about in advance. But a lot of their criticism is because they think the President should start where they would, way to the left, whether it pollutes negotiations or gives the right-wing the fuel they need to either walk away, or try to paint the left as extreme. And of course, most of these people did absolutely nothing to help the president. More from The Hand That Feeds You…(emphasis mine)
Throughout Obama’s first two years, we the people who did elect him largely sat on our hands expecting to be saved. Perhaps we had become so inured to the imperial nature of the Presidency within the Bush years that we forgot that there are other requirements of citizenship between ballots. As we continued to do nothing and the opposition used slick, manipulative marketing to energize hundreds of thousand of idiots, the Washington Post asked “Is Obama Betraying The Left?” The New Statesman published “Obama: The Betrayal?” It goes on and on and on.
The “betrayal meme” is picking up steam again. This is frankly getting out of hand. Most recently, Cornel West, a great man whom I adore, has had a full blown freak-out. Chris Hedges is loving every minute of it. It’s nifty copy. It’s also representative of a dangerous and elitist abdication of citizen responsibility. It’s becoming the bread and butter of the establishment Left to accuse President Obama of essentially not rescuing us while we wait like little children.
The President has had to attempt to stand his ground in a position of weakness the base helped create. When the rabble on the right was out-calling our Representatives at a ratio of four or five to one to oppose the AFA, where were we? When Tea Partiers were being duped by their masters into showing up by the busload, where were our counter-protests? By the way, much as I do love Colbert and Stewart, they can suck it on that count. Like Bill Maher said at the time, rallies should really “be about something.”
This liberal group of pundits often make grandiose claims that President Obama is abandoning his base and losing support from them, yet every single poll that breaks it down, shows solid support for the President. The small amount who are unsatisfied are more than likely people who have not fared well in the economy and have only heard the media’s filtered version of who is to blame for it. Some are extreme pacifists who expected a Democratic president to just pull our troops out of every conflict that Bush handed to President Obama, immediately. People like Glenn Greenwald, David Sirota, Jane Hamsher and others try hard to further that perception as some sort of betrayal, even though candidate Obama made clear what he was going to do when he took office. I read recently, I wish I could find it, one of those folks basically say that nothing has changed in Iraq, the President isn’t getting us out of there. Except the facts are much different. Unfortunately, the following is from the Huffington Post on August 10, 2010…
In Massachusetts, where the president was on vacation, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan called the drawdown in U.S. troops a “truly remarkable achievement.” He noted that the milestone had been reached a week ahead of schedule and represented a drop of 94,000 troops on Obama’s watch.
You can imagine my disbelief upon reading the characterization that nothing has changed in Iraq. Combat operations were declared over on August 31, 2010 and the last combat troops drove out of Iraq and into Kuwait. Now a lot of people just denied that it was true, poo pooed it and said we will never leave Iraq. And you can’t play with my ball, either. I’m taking it home. So nah! The reality is that President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do and ahead of schedule. That has to piss of the people most intent on making sure our president doesn’t get credit for a damn thing.
As a Democrat and supporter of President Obama, it pisses me off that so many people who claim to be progressive or liberal have decided that attacking and weakening our Democratic President is somehow going to help their cause. It is the stupidest fucking reasoning I’ve ever seen in politics. On what fucking planet does weakening your party’s leader somehow help the party? Considering the lock-step discipline of the Senate Republicans and their unprecedented use of the filibuster, it was clear that the President was going to have to compromise. The other alternative was to let the Republicans win and basically defund the entire government. I’m often reminded of what Jane Hamsher’s friend Grover Norquist said which spells out the GOP philosophy of government, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
It seems that both the hard right and the hard left have determined that compromising is horrible, it’s giving in, it’s bowing to the other side, it’s just plain wrong damn it. No one has made it more clear than ole’ Boner himself. This exchange on 60 Minutes with Leslie Stahl shows it better than anything I’ve read. You have to give Boner credit for being totally honest that it’s the word, people, not the actions. Courtesy of Steve Benen…
Most notably, Lesley Stahl brought up the notion of a conservative Republican Speaker cooperating with a Democratic president. It led to this back and forth:
Boehner: We have to govern. That’s what we were elected to do.
Stahl: But governing means compromising.
Boehner: It means working together.
Stahl: It also means compromising.
Boehner: It means finding common ground.
Stahl: Okay, is that compromising?
Boehner: I made it clear I am not gonna compromise on my principles, nor am I gonna compromise…
Stahl: What are you saying?
Boehner: …the will of the American people.
Stahl: You’re saying, “I want common ground, but I’m not gonna compromise.” I don’t understand that. I really don’t.
Boehner: When you say the word “compromise,” a lot of Americans look up and go, “Uh-oh, they’re gonna sell me out.” And so finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.
When Stahl noted the tax deal, and the fact that Boehner had to make concessions when dealing with the White House, she said Boehner did, in fact, “compromise.” Boehner replied, “We found common ground.”
Stahl responded that Boehner seemed “afraid of the word.” The incoming Speaker replied, “I reject the word.”
Like I said, you have to give him credit for coming right out and saying it. Common ground good, compromise bad. Got it! It’s not just the crazy right wingers that feel this way, but those crazy left wingers too, except I don’t think these assholes are left wingers, they are populist, teabagger wanna be’s. A rare link to Firedoglake here, I hate giving them fuckers any traffic but this is a perfect example of what they’ve become over at that piece of shit blog. Character assassination and guilt by association on steroids. Who said Fox News was the only outlet for this crap. The firebagger brigade went over the cliff long ago.
The Huffington Post wasted no time in spinning the deal as a cave-in, portraying it as the GOP calling all the shots on the deal. Here is a piece from just one of the posts they have up slanting things as only they can do…(no link to that piece of shit blog)
Republicans control neither the House nor the Senate – and certainly not the White House. But they largely dictated the terms of President Barack Obama’s proposed tax-cut compromise, which disgruntled congressional Democrats want to discuss in closed meetings that are likely to be rowdy.
But of course, when many people who aren’t so angry and still have the capacity for rational thought looked at it, they came up with the reality of the deal which is that it was clearly a compromise that many argue favored the left more than the right. This graph shoes it pretty well…
Now I know many on the left have a rabid hatred for rich people so much that they are willing to say “fuck you” to the unemployed, to the working poor and to all those people who might actually get one of those jobs that will come out of this deal. They apparently would rather see a blood letting of rich people than help for people who really need it. That is why I can’t call these people progressives or liberals, they are opportunistic, populist fucks in my opinion.
Now I hate the idea of giving in at all to the Republicans, but I also live in reality, where the GOP now writes the bills, appropriates money and has forced a new reality where “compromise” is about the best we can do on the left, if and until we gain back the House of Representatives. And of course with the assholes like Hamsher and the gang, I’m sure that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. They seem intent on destroying the Democratic Party from within and that is why I think we need to purge them motherfuckers now. THEY ARE NOT THE BASE THEY KEEP CLAIMING TO BE!