Gollum and Smeagol on the debt deal

by John Quiggin on August 1, 2011

Responding to the Mordor-inspired debt ceiling deal, I thought it was time for yet another Lord of the Rings post


G: We told you he would hurt us and lie to us! All nasty cuts and no nice revenue. Wicked, tricksy, false!
S: Master is our friend! He has tricked the hobbitses, the cuts are mostly in defense. No more bright sharp swords for the dark Pentagon.
G: No, he tricked us. He was always going to save the money when the armies came back from his wars
S: But the hobbitses want to keep fighting all the wars, and start new ones. Now they’ll have to make peace
G: No, they’ll find a way make his war. The last war that will cover all the world in shadow. They’ll call it foreign aid, or education. He doesn’t care if we starve
S: No. Not master!
G: They do not see what lies ahead, when Sun has faded and Moon is dead.

{ 119 comments }

1

rea 08.01.11 at 2:04 pm

One bipartisan commission to rule them all; one bipartisan commission to bind them . . .

2

Russell Arben Fox 08.01.11 at 2:15 pm

I get that Saruman is the Koch brothers, and the Tea Party is clearly the Wild Men of Dunland. John Boehner is likely the Witch-king of Angmar. But who is Obama? We wanted him to be Gandalf, but he’s looking more like Denethor.

3

chris y 08.01.11 at 2:28 pm

I get that Saruman is the Koch brothers

Are you sure about this? I think Obama is Saruman.

“Tell me, friend, when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?”

4

Russell Arben Fox 08.01.11 at 2:33 pm

I’m not that cynical, Chris–though I could almost accept him, sometimes, as Radagast, the wizard who left the stage sometime around March 2010 and hasn’t been scene since.

5

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.11 at 2:48 pm

Obama is Théoden with no one to wake him up. Obama is unlikely to be re-elected. White House advisor Plouffe thinks Independents like compromise, he’s not exactly Wormtongue but he seems not to have noticed that there are Independents who think it is the Republicans who should have compromised, so giving-in to them is not doing a compromise, it is simply being a weak leader — and Independents don’t like weak leaders, either. Further, Obama also probably just lost most of his support among the Democrats, because you cannot believe anything he says. The Democrats are not like the Rohirim however, they are more like the dwarves, brave but in a cave, and easily overrun. So although this cowardly deal might work as mechanical legislation, it appears as a complicated, uninspired public relations punt. In addition there will be a dozen ways to subvert it, and so it won’t even be good politics in the end… The House Dems ought to VOTE IT DOWN. The deal is bad economics and a political disaster.

6

LFC 08.01.11 at 3:07 pm

Obama also probably just lost most of his support among the Democrats

A considerable exaggeration. Anyway, where are they going to go?

[I don't catch most of these LoTR refs. I do remember Gollum though, who seems in this post to be on some serious extra-legal substance: "The last war that will cover all the world in shadow." On second thought maybe the somewhat androgynous warrior elf, whatever his name is, would be up for that.]

7

joel hanes 08.01.11 at 3:16 pm

Where then the blade that was broken ?

8

Peter Principle 08.01.11 at 3:18 pm

But who is Obama?

You need a different literary role model: T.S. Eliot, not J.R.R. Tolkien:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

9

Frank in midtown 08.01.11 at 3:18 pm

and the bankers are the Oathbreakers .

10

B. Carfree 08.01.11 at 3:36 pm

Nay Frank. The bankers are the nine kings. They have been totally seduced by evil and fight on its behalf.

11

Roger Karraker 08.01.11 at 3:41 pm

There are many of us Democrats who wish we had an alternative to Obama. What he calls leadership we call surrender.

Who would we prefer: Hillary. In a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, this shall not come to pass.

12

William Timberman 08.01.11 at 3:43 pm

Well, if we’re gonna do Eliot, I’d humbly suggest that though the tongues of flame are well in-folded, the fire and the rose are not yet one.

How ’bout the U.S. Senate as an entmoot?

13

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.11 at 3:45 pm

LFC #6: “Obama also probably just lost most of his support among the Democrats

A considerable exaggeration. Anyway, where are they going to go?”

–Mightn’t they just stay in their caves? If the comments to various threads this morning are any indication, people sympathetic to Obama are going against him in high numbers, maybe 20 to 1. Basically: “weak leader”, “can’t believe what he says”.

14

bay of arizona 08.01.11 at 3:46 pm

A considerable exaggeration. Anyway, where are they going to go?

The recent Gallup poll shows his economic approval ratings have collapsed among Dems – only half of African Americans think his actions have helped the economy. I doubt they will vote R or even Green, but they may just stay home, or not volunteer for Dem candidates. With unemployment at 9% for the foreseeable future, there will be plenty of GOTV applicants available on the cheap though.

15

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.11 at 3:47 pm

And that is in addition to all the people like Quiggin and Krugman who point out that, even if the deal works, it is horrifying economics.

16

gork platter 08.01.11 at 3:53 pm

Oh my…precious!

17

Landru 08.01.11 at 4:03 pm

The most explicit negotiation between two sides in LotR is between Gandalf and the Mouth of Sauron ["Surety you crave! Eric Cantor gives none!"] when the mini-host has ridden to the Black Gate. Now we’re living in the world where Gandalf says “All right, you can have all the lands east of Anduin for Sauron’s own; and all the lands between the river and the mountains as a disarmed tribute zone; and we will disband and swear never to take up arms against Sauron ever again. But in return we demand that … …. ”

Hmm, I’m having trouble with the allegory here; in our case, what did the President actually demand in return, if anything?

18

Matt McIrvin 08.01.11 at 4:04 pm

If the comments to various threads this morning are any indication, people sympathetic to Obama are going against him in high numbers

I think it’s important to remember that the comments in any threads any morning are no indication whatsoever. I just saw a poll the other day reporting that among Democrats, Obama’s level of support is higher for this point in his administration than any president since Truman.

This shocked me because I don’t know of anyone who supports Obama. I think among my online acquaintances who talk about politics his approval rating would be close to zero percent. The liberals all think he’s a right-wing sellout, and the conservatives all think he’s a left-wing madman. But I think this is because my impression of political opinions comes from people who talk about politics on the Internet.

19

Kringle 08.01.11 at 4:07 pm

He has captured the internal debate in the Democratic base perfectly. But the most penetrating aspect of the metaphor is that Obama’s party has been reduced to a dissipated and pitiful whipped dog-creature: cringing instead of friendly, sly instead of bold.

What has become of the party of Roosevelt and Truman?

20

Uncle Kvetch 08.01.11 at 4:16 pm

This shocked me because I don’t know of anyone who supports Obama.

I don’t “support” Obama. But I will vote* for Obama next year because however shitty a president he may be, his opponent is guaranteed to be far shittier. My sense is that this is where a lot of my fellow lefties are.

*Vote? Yes.
Knock on doors, stuff envelopes, distribute flyers, write a check? Fuck no.

21

William Timberman 08.01.11 at 4:17 pm

Matt, you’re right. I do talk to a lot of Obama-through-the-fires-of-hell supporters, but that’s only ’cause I’m involved with the Democratic Party in AZ, which is demographically similar to American audiences for classical music. I’m as old as most of them myself, but I’m a good deal more disgruntled, even though the Grim Reaper is, likely as not, going to get me before the consequences of our pusillanimous President’s negotiations do.

22

Genki Chin 08.01.11 at 4:44 pm

As a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, I must regretfully after long heartwrenching thought state that I will not vote for Obama again. Doing so would be as ethically broken as he has shown himself to be.

23

Bent Tree Friend 08.01.11 at 4:48 pm

The schizophrenia of the debt debate makes me think of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever. A very irritating hero. It all ends much better than we will.

24

Thehaymarketbomber 08.01.11 at 4:52 pm

Lee A. Arnold #11 asked “…where are they going to go?”

At this point, I would suggest the nearest bar.

25

Barry 08.01.11 at 4:52 pm

Another: “Obama also probably just lost most of his support among the Democrats”

LFC 08.01.11 at 3:07 pm
” A considerable exaggeration. Anyway, where are they going to go?”

It’s not ‘where are they going to go?’; people always have the option of not turning out to vote, not working on the campaign, etc.

26

ljm 08.01.11 at 4:56 pm

I saw on 60 Minutes last night that Brazil’s economy is growing like gangbusters with a very cozy relationship to export to China for pretty much whatever China needs. The point was also made that Brazil doesn’t expect to ever start a war. They’d prefer to go to the beach or have a beer.

27

Steve Williams 08.01.11 at 5:03 pm

Matt McIrvin@15

‘I think it’s important to remember that the comments in any threads any morning are no indication whatsoever. I just saw a poll the other day reporting that among Democrats, Obama’s level of support is higher for this point in his administration than any president since Truman.’

That’ll be this. The poll only measures up to Jul 24th, so the latest abject capitulation (3rd in just over 6 months: some kind of record?) hasn’t been factored in – nevertheless, I will admit that these are surprisingly impressive numbers. However, I don’t think it’s going to save him. As several commenters have already pointed out, while millions will of course vote for him, they’re not going to be doing all the extra getting-out, knocking-on-doors stuff that matters. Meanwhile, his overall approval rating is sinking further, to a new low of 40% in Gallup’s poll. For a point of comparison, Nate Silver’s model, which might not be perfect but it is a pretty good guide, gives a candidate with 45% approval 2-1 against being re-elected. With the economy where it is, and guaranteed to stagnate further thanks to these latest spending cuts, his overall approval is unlikely to get any better than this, so a generic Republican candidate (and Romney and Perry are both pretty generic) is now odds-on favorite.

28

Henri Vieuxtemps 08.01.11 at 5:03 pm

Politicians are orcs.

29

Kevin 08.01.11 at 5:07 pm

I am a blue blooded democrat who wouldn’t vote for his best friend if he ran as a republican. Saying that I have resigned myself to sit the next election out. I have the choice between a center right republican and a far right republican. That is no choice I am willing to make. Obama had made a huge mistake in assuming that dems will vote for him because they have no better option. Four more crappy years under him or four crappy years under Romney, its the same option. You don’t win elections be “winning over” the independents. You win elections by getting the base to turn out to vote. Obama didn’t win in 2008 because he won over the independents, he won because the left was inspired to get out and vote. Think about who the independents are anyway. The only reason they are “independent” is because they know so little about politics that they can’t make an informed decision. The democrats are informed, independents are uninformed, and republicans are misinformed.

30

Arun 08.01.11 at 5:08 pm

I don’t have to go anywhere else in order to withdraw support to Obama.

31

John Kauten 08.01.11 at 5:12 pm

I don’t think the issue for Obama in 2012 will be his Democratic base. They’re either going to vote for Obama because he’s a Democrat or vote for him because they’re well-informed enough to see that a Republican President would be a disaster. However, the rest of America increasingly see’s both parties as equals and I’m not sure how Obama is going to convince the ordinary American voter that he’s looking out for their best interests, and if he can’t then I think that they may just sit at home.

32

P O'Neill 08.01.11 at 5:19 pm

It’s more like –

(Knock Knock)
Sauron opens door to see Frodo.

Frodo: I believe this is yours, Sauron.
Sauron: I’ve been looking for that thing everywhere!
Frodo: Any chance of a lift back to the Shire?

33

Bruce Wilder 08.01.11 at 5:30 pm

@28

Exactly.

34

eglantine 08.01.11 at 5:36 pm

As to #25, referring to Romney and Rick Perry as “both pretty generic,” you can’t be from Texas or you would know that Rick Perry is a far from generic type. He is pattern-card Tea Party, a tub-thumping Bible-belter who would be thrilled to take the country back to a pre-New Deal society. His vaunted “Texas miracle” has created 200,000 jobs – that involve paper hats. To achieve this, he has decimated the education system of Texas, which was in the toilet even before he started slashing it. What he did in his 10 years with Texas is a model in some ways of what all the far-right Republicans (and there isn’t any other kind, is there?) want to do to the whole country: Sap all strength from every public service organ, let the Robber Barons roar, turn out dumb, angry citizens fit only for minimum wage jobs, and feed them to an industrial sector that ruins what’s left of the environment. Sound good to you guys? But don’t underestimate him. He could actually beat Michelle Bachman and Mitt Romney, so I’d start practising that drawl if I were you.

35

Barry 08.01.11 at 5:42 pm

Kevin: “You don’t win elections be “winning over” the independents. You win elections by getting the base to turn out to vote. “

And even if one does win elections by winning over independents, as far as I can see for the past year and a half or so the right has been setting the tone and wining the public debate. In 2012, for most independents the economy will have been bad for the entire first term, and what they’ll remember from Obama’s public speeches is pretty much conceding priorities and methods to the GOP.

36

Castorp 08.01.11 at 5:43 pm

P O’Neill,

Sources tell me it went down like this,

Frodo: Look, the people of Middle Earth are tired of this bickering, so I will give you back your ring if you promise not to use it for evil.
Sauron: No
Frodo: How about not using very often?
Sauron: No, and give me that armor you are wearing.
Frodo: Okay, it’s a deal. Here you are.
Sauron: The armor…
Frodo: Here.

37

dilbert dogbert 08.01.11 at 5:51 pm

Kringle @ 18
Made me think of an over bred Cocker Spaniel who rolls on his back and pisses on himself as a negotiating position.

38

DavConn1 08.01.11 at 6:04 pm

I, too, am beginning to see Obama as Denethor. But the true shadow or Mordor remains firmly fixed in the Repub camp. Not for nothing, but this might serve as an appropriate reminder: The Two Towers: The Banishment of Grover Wormquist.

http://youtu.be/w65menUWLIY.

I made it a few weeks ago and it seems more salient than ever now.

39

LFC 08.01.11 at 6:18 pm

Obama’s performance to date has been disappointing in several respects but not terrible. I will certainly vote for him, might even knock on some doors if I continue to read comments to the effect that he is becoming the underdog according to poli sci models (see e.g. J. Sides the other day at The Monkey Cage). Also, remember that in a second term Obama may turn a bit to the left, freed of worries about appealing to the (perhaps mythical) center.

40

Victor Matheson 08.01.11 at 6:23 pm

I am not terribly thrilled with Obama right now either, but this whole idea that there’s no difference between Obama and whoever the Republicans run (i.e. ” I have resigned myself to sit the next election out. I have the choice between a center right republican and a far right republican. That is no choice I am willing to make.”) is exactly the argument that Nader made back in 2000, that there was no difference between Gore and Bush. It was as crazy then as it is now, and that sort of thinking directly led to 8 years of GW Bush. How did that work out for you?

Sure Obama cut a bad deal with some crazy people, but don’t forget that it’s the crazy people who are the real problem. Don’t blame the firefighter for failing to rescue the kids from the burning building (even if the firefighter did a pretty pathetic job attempting the rescue). Blame the arsonist who started the fire in the first place.

41

Uncle Kvetch 08.01.11 at 6:28 pm

Also, remember that in a second term Obama may turn a bit to the left, freed of worries about appealing to the (perhaps mythical) center.

If you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama would want to “turn to the left,” LFC, assuming he could, I’m all ears.

42

Andrew F. 08.01.11 at 6:29 pm

Well, Plouffe is correct though. A greater proportion of independents (and Democrats for that matter) wanted the Dems to compromise in comparison to the proportion of independents (and, separately, Republicans) who wanted the Republicans to compromise.

Obama’s numbers against a generic GOP candidate have been shrinking, with the greatest loss from independents.

Finally, remember that this deal is basically a gap measure to get us beyond the 2012 elections. Obama had more to lose than the Republicans from a lack of a deal, and he needed the Republicans for any deal.

Making the deal was the smart move for Obama, and in the 2012 election the country will have a chance to weigh in on the issues that were pushed down the road – like higher taxes on the wealthy.

43

R.Mutt 08.01.11 at 6:49 pm

If Obama is Saruman, is Krugman Gandalf?

44

CP Norris 08.01.11 at 7:02 pm

Sure Obama cut a bad deal with some crazy people, but don’t forget that it’s the crazy people who are the real problem. Don’t blame the firefighter for failing to rescue the kids from the burning building (even if the firefighter did a pretty pathetic job attempting the rescue). Blame the arsonist who started the fire in the first place.

Every town has crazy people. Not every town has a fire commissioner offering fuel to the crazy people to help them burn it down.

Making the deal was the smart move for Obama, and in the 2012 election the country will have a chance to weigh in on the issues that were pushed down the road – like higher taxes on the wealthy.

Care to make a bet?

45

erik.se 08.01.11 at 7:10 pm

These comments make me smile.

Oh, and my outside perspective: the single largest reason your country is so shitty is the prevalence of people like Victor Matheson above. The tea partiers ain’t nothing compared to the retards who continue to vote for people based on the (D) next to their name but give their actual ideologies no thought.

Enjoy your continuing descent! If you wish to halt it, I have one word for you:

ORGANIZE.

46

LFC 08.01.11 at 7:33 pm

Uncle Kvetch @40
I have no hard evidence, more like a hunch about where his ‘real’ position is. Now Bill Clinton, by possible contrast, was always more of a centrist by conviction; he wouldn’t have turned esp. left in his second term even if he hadn’t gotten mired in the impeachment thing.

47

David 08.01.11 at 7:48 pm

@ Uncle Kvetch: his opponent would be “much shitier.” Really? Marginally, perhaps. It’s time we admitted that up to your nose in shit is not really substantively different from up to your eyebrows. I may vote down ticket, depending, but I won’t vote for Obama.

48

Uncle Kvetch 08.01.11 at 8:21 pm

I have no hard evidence, more like a hunch about where his ‘real’ position is. Now Bill Clinton, by possible contrast, was always more of a centrist by conviction; he wouldn’t have turned esp. left in his second term even if he hadn’t gotten mired in the impeachment thing.

I had Obama pegged as Clinton Redux before he took office, and nothing he’s done or said in the intervening time has led me to reconsider that.

@ Uncle Kvetch: his opponent would be “much shitier.” Really? Marginally, perhaps.

I get where you’re coming from, David, but when I feel pulled in that direction I remind myself that there’s this thing called the US Supreme Court. Put another way: “How shitty? Tony Scalia shitty.” That’s enough to keep me voting for the least worst alternative.

49

Kevin 08.01.11 at 9:01 pm

R.Mutt: If Obama is Saruman, is Krugman Gandalf?

No, people listened to Gandalf. Doesn’t matter how many times Krugman is proven right by history (housing bubble, “expansionary austerity”, the Euro crisis, etc) or ho wmany nobel prizes he wins, people just ignore Krugman. Krugman is more of a Tom Bombadil type character.

How do I get on one of those boats off Middle Earth?

50

Zephyrus 08.01.11 at 9:01 pm

Mundanely, right now the new media tizzy is Biden saying Tea Partiers acted like terrorists in the debt negotiations. Whatever–I’d take issue with the terrorist point of view, I’d liken them more to hostage takers or hijackers than terrorists, but that’s marginalia.

More interestingly, in the same speech Biden said that Obama was prepared to use the 14th Amendment to cut through the impasse. This is huge, and I can’t help but think it might be a hint from Biden to the House Democrats: screw this shit, if you can make this deal fail then do it. Obama has the willingness to use the 14th; force him to be a leader.

I’m holding out for Pelosi to do the right thing. Luckily I have more faith in her will and principles than any other part of the Democratic leadership, so even if it’s a lost cause we’ve at least got one of our best in the driver’s seat.

51

CP Norris 08.01.11 at 9:07 pm

I get where you’re coming from, David, but when I feel pulled in that direction I remind myself that there’s this thing called the US Supreme Court. Put another way: “How shitty? Tony Scalia shitty.” That’s enough to keep me voting for the least worst alternative.

I guess you live in one of the handful of states where your vote counts. Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, maybe Pennsylvania but probably not…

The rest of us live in states that are going to be either solid Obama or solid anyone-but-Obama in in 2012 and don’t feel such a burden on our shoulders.

52

Uncle Kvetch 08.01.11 at 9:16 pm

I guess you live in one of the handful of states where your vote counts. Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, maybe Pennsylvania but probably not…

Good point. I live in New York state. Either (1) Obama will have a lock on the state to the extent that my vote will be meaningless, or (2) Obama will be competitive in the state, in which case he’s doomed to lose in a landslide, thus rendering my vote meaningless.

This is what democracy looks like?

53

piglet 08.01.11 at 9:17 pm

DavConn1 38, that’s precious!

On the question of supporting Obama, I have to say that I don’t know of any evidence that we would have been worse off with McCain winning. Such a win would have been demoralizing, to be sure. Obama’s victory made us feel good and we really couldn’t stand to see the better candidate lose again. But psychology apart, from the point of view of Realpolitik, what we got was an opening for the right-wingers to blame a Democrat for everything bad. With a Republican in the White House, we might have gotten the opposite what we have now – a weak GOP president and more progressive Congress. Perhaps something like a lesser Nixon instead of a lesser Clinton (and Nixon was economically much more progressive than any president after him).

Sure this is speculation. But I’m tired of getting reminded of GWB 2000 every time somebody challenges the “vote D no matter what” meme. 2000 notwithstanding, most of the time the lesser evil theory fails.

54

shah8 08.01.11 at 10:05 pm

You know, I wonder what part of Lord of the Rings we get to mock up, when election season starts and Republican candidates have to appeal to their bases?

I think *piglet* starts envisioning being roasted on a spit, and hurries to vote Obama, because seriously, do any of you guys think about what those election ads are going to be like? Many of them are going to be some variant or other of “How To Eat A Librul”.

55

noen 08.01.11 at 10:06 pm

I fail to see how retreating into a fantasy world with no connection to reality helps. Fantasy does not help to explain reality, just the opposite. It papers over the real with gauzy dreams the give the illusion of substance but have none.

The Left is as big a failure as the Right.

56

MarkusR 08.01.11 at 11:32 pm

shah8: Obama’s copy of “To serve liberals” is a COOKBOOK!

57

EWI 08.01.11 at 11:40 pm

@ Joel Hanes

Where then the blade that was broken ?

Labour Unions?

@ Noen

I fail to see how retreating into a fantasy world with no connection to reality helps.

It ‘helps’ by blowing off steam.

58

Tony Lynch 08.01.11 at 11:43 pm

“I don’t “support” Obama. But I will vote* for Obama next year because however shitty a president he may be, his opponent is guaranteed to be far shittier. “

Youy can read the future?

It seems clear to me that there is – already – countewr evidence: Obama is WORSE than Bush on many things (assaulting whistel-blowers, drone killing innocents &c.)

59

piglet 08.01.11 at 11:44 pm

“I fail to see how retreating into a fantasy world with no connection to reality helps.”

Of course it helps. Look how successful the right has become by retreating into a fantasy world with no connection to reality. If only we could copy that!

And please, go watch the video at 38. This is how we will win!

60

Glen Tomkins 08.02.11 at 12:26 am

Perhaps Obama should switch parties. The Rs may not particularly want him, but they look like they need a credible candidate, so might go for it out of desperation. Obama, on the other hand, is much more flexible, and should have no trouble switch hitting. That would clear the field for a D to get the D nomination.

At the time Nixon was our president, I always thought that he would have been happier as chief of state in the USSR or the PRC. Both those countries needed a leadership transfusion, and their systems seemed more in line with Nixon’s style. He never seemed to have gotten the hang of small d democracy.

Obama seems not to get the basics of big D Democracy.

61

Andrew F. 08.02.11 at 12:52 am

The GOP controls the House.

The Democrats control a majority in the Senate but less than the 60 needed to invoke cloture. The Democrats control the White House.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans wanted a default. Neither wanted to lose on this fight. Neither had the time to fully hash out the issues in the public. Neither had the strength to impose its view on the other side.

So they pushed things off until after 2012, when – perhaps – the balance of power will have shifted more decisively in one direction or the other.

The budget cuts largely come into play after 2012. They can be modified. And there is always opportunity to “enhance revenue” after 2012.

But several commentators in here are talking about walking away from the Democrats in disgust – as though somehow the game has ended and it’s time to sulk away. And that’s nonsense. You should be motivated, not discouraged.

The issues are now crystallized for the 2012 election. And at this critical moment – you want to walk away.

2012 is the hard election. 2008 was the easy one. 2012 is about crystallized differences of policy. 2008 was hazy by contrast. In 2012 you’re working for gritty policies that must be wrought in a democracy. In 2008 you worked for a fuzzy thing called hope. In 2012 you’re fighting with the understanding that in a large democracy electoral victory frequently means only partial legislative victory; that winning the White House does not mean the fulfillment of your policy wish list. In 2008 you were drunk on the impression that the election was a tidal wave and your kind of change was inexorable.

So if you want to walk away, form a disastrous third party, sit on the sidelines, and otherwise chop off your leg just as we go into extra innings, go for it. But do not wonder afterward why the Democrats so often lose the game. Do not wonder, when you have hope but lack faith, when you have impulse but lack patience, when you have strength but lack endurance, at why you can’t get beyond Round 8. You are the hobbits that cannot leave the Shire.

62

Steve Williams 08.02.11 at 1:24 am

Some responses to commenters:

Kevin@29

‘You don’t win elections be “winning over” the independents. You win elections by getting the base to turn out to vote.’

While I agree with the thrust of your argument re Obama, I don’t think this is right. Clearly elections are won by appealing to some combination of both your base and independent voters (this is after all why politicians say one thing in the run up to the primaries and then suddenly ‘change their minds’ on key issues before the generals). On the one hand, if independent voters believed the same as your base, well, then they’d be your base, and on the other, Democrats don’t have anywhere near a big enough base to win elections without appealing to independents too.

However, what is remarkable about this latest capitulation is that Obama appeared to have positioned himself reasonably close to the centre of public opinion on the debt ceiling, and yet has ended up agreeing to a deal considerably to the right of the wishes of even independent voters (and even some moderate Republicans

(http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/07/21/rel11b.pdf) (page 9)

This is why this failure is so noteworthy, and why he’s now looking so likely to go down in history as an ineffectual one-term president – he’s pissed off his base, and failed to give independents what they want, while looking like a weak leader and a hopeless negotiator at the same time.

63

Steve Williams 08.02.11 at 1:25 am

eglantine@34

‘As to #25, referring to Romney and Rick Perry as “both pretty generic,” you can’t be from Texas or you would know that Rick Perry is a far from generic type. He is pattern-card Tea Party, a tub-thumping Bible-belter who would be thrilled to take the country back to a pre-New Deal society . . . What he did in his 10 years with Texas is a model in some ways of what all the far-right Republicans (and there isn’t any other kind, is there?) want to do to the whole country.’

The second part of this quote doesn’t follow from the first part. Perhaps I should be clearer about what I mean by a ‘generic Republican’. You need to imagine a literal empty suit, without a person in it, no history, no personality, no individuality, but this suit represents all of the opinions and beliefs of the centre of the Republican party. That’s what is meant by a ‘generic’ candidate. If you were to position the three Republican front-runners from “left” to right, you would probably come up with Romney-Perry-Bachmann, with Bachmann a little further to the right than Romney is to the “left”. Perry is probably pretty close to the center of the modern Republican party – that is all I meant by saying he is ‘quite generic’. No approval of any of his policies or personality was intended, and you shouldn’t read any into it. I’m quite prepared to believe everything you say about what a rotten person he is. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a Republican though; quite the opposite in fact.

Victor Matheson@40

‘Sure Obama cut a bad deal with some crazy people, but don’t forget that it’s the crazy people who are the real problem. Don’t blame the firefighter for failing to rescue the kids from the burning building (even if the firefighter did a pretty pathetic job attempting the rescue). Blame the arsonist who started the fire in the first place.’

This is a good analogy, though not for the reason you think. See, in this situation, I think everybody would put quite a lot of blame on the useless firefighter who had barely tried to extinguish the house, and they would be absolutely right to – it’s his job, after all. There will always be arsonists the way there will always be Republicans – that’s why we need firefighters who know how to put flames out, and don’t play with accelerants near the scene of the fire.

Andrew F@42

‘Making the deal was the smart move for Obama, and in the 2012 election the country will have a chance to weigh in on the issues that were pushed down the road – like higher taxes on the wealthy.’

That won’t happen.

64

joel hanes 08.02.11 at 1:44 am

FDR as Beren Erchamion the One Handed, who long ago wrested the Silmarils of the New Deal from the crown of Prescott Bush. (I admit Eleanor is unlikely as Luthien).

Nancy Pelosi as Galadriel, a living relic of a dimly legendary Liberal Age, somehow maintained into the present, in the enchanted forest of San Francisco. Few who venture there emerge unchanged.

LBJ as Isildur – a powerful leader and warrior, doomed by his flaws, the last to wield the sword of Organized Labor.

JFK as Gil-Galad – of him the harpers sadly sing.

Rahm as Boromir.

Elizabeth Warren as Faramir, banished for giving right counsel and leal service.

Alan Greenspan as Saruman, once powerful and accounted one of the Wise,
later the creator of a new and stronger breed of Orc,
but now much reduced, and his staff broken.

Ayn Rand as Smaug, who knows only greed.

Pam Oshry Geller as Shelob, with Michelle Malkin and Debby Schluessel and Ann Althouse her lesser spawn, spinning their own Webs for the unwary.

Bill O’Reilly as Bill Ferny.

I see no Aragorn nor Arwen nor Gandalf.

If the Wisconsin recalls succeed, perhaps we can call that state The Shire,
and look for some unlikely hero.

65

Gandalf 08.02.11 at 2:00 am

“This is what democracy looks like?”
.
Yes. Individuals in democracies of 300 million people really don’t have a huge amount of psephological influence. Sorry, but that’s why we call it a democracy, not a “maximizing personal entitlement and political leverage for the individual” system.
.
Abandoning the Dems and bringing on GOP-sponsored Ragnarok isn’t the smart move. Stick with the Dems for now, organize for something better in the future. Or you can be pouty and throw up your hands. Just don’t look for any help or sympathy when the Norquist Urukhai are burning down the Shire around you. Don’t even ask what they might do to the family pets and Granny Ethel.

66

noen 08.02.11 at 2:08 am

piglet said “And please, go watch the video at 38. This is how we will win!”

Ok, that was kinda funny. I’m not in a laughing mood though nor is anyone I know. Everyone in my building would have been directly harmed by default. For some, those with HIV, diabetes etc. would suffer a lot if the gov could no longer function. I have no resources to fall back on, no one to turn to, no where to go but back on the street if the government fails.

You all are better educated than I am, you are intellectual elites. I am not. I don’t know what the solution is but I do think it is imperative to correctly understand the facts. If one only sees the political landscape as filtered through some fantasy narrative then I highly doubt one will find an effective solution.

I am not interested in trying to divine what goes on in Obama’s or any other pol’s mind. I don’t care if he or anyone is a true democrat. All I want to know is if his policies benefit me or not. Or, failing that, if the strategy being pursued will be effective. So… being poor and having time I have looked around. To the best of my knowledge Obama is pursuing which he believes will yield results in the long run. He is not seeking temporary victories.

His strategy is one of slow, incremental, pragmatic change. One argument in favor of this is, I think, that if Obama and the Dems had taken advantage of their success in 2008 and passed sweeping changes along the lines that Liberals like me and Leftists like y’all….. if they had lorded it over on the GOP there would have been tremendous blowback. Which is better? Sweeping radical change followed by an equally radical response from the right in which you lose those gains. Or one small step in the right direction?

I listen to right wing radio on occasion. They’re insane. But imagine how much more insane they’d be if we had passed universal healthcare along with the rest of the things progressives wanted. Say hello to president Michelle Bachmann. I don’t think that’s a win.

Most people I know pay little attention to politics, except for times like this. They usually believe in one conspiracy theory or another, more or less. All they care about is their immediate needs. But, they all (mostly) have very negative views of republicans and especially the tea party. Maybe it’s wishful thinking but I feel the tea party has permanently damaged the GOP brand. That’s a win, I think.

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Third Party 08.02.11 at 3:10 am

The only hope for progressives at this point is to form a third party. Historically the U.S. has had several such turnovers – that’s why we don’t have Whigs any more. When one or both of the major parties in the U.S. completely abandons large segments of the voter base, the time is ripe for a split or a new party. A new progressive party would find massive support right now.

Obama is to the right of Ronald Reagan in his politics. I’m not voting for that and you shouldn’t either. Tell me, quite honestly, HOW a Republican nutjob would be any worse? Would the Republican nutjob be trying to cut Social Security? Even George W. Bush backed away from that. Would he be starting wars? The U.S. is in six wars right now, SIX WARS. There are SIX COUNTRIES which the U.S. is using military force against right now, several of them started by the Nobel laureate in office. I would be willing to bet that John McCain would actually be fighting fewer wars than Barack Obama is. Transparency in government? Due process in law?

Almost any way you grade presidents, McCain would not, in fact, have been any worse than Obama has turned out to be. That’s just a fact. Obama has operated as a right-wing President who hates progressives. If it were Barack Obama-R in office, he wouldn’t have had to operate any differently.

Fissure, split, and destroy the right-wing Democratic Party. In two years you’ll be up and winning elections again with a progressive party. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.

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ScentOfViolets 08.02.11 at 4:01 am

Obama is definitely “The Traitor in the Camp” in the literary sense. But not Boromir, succumbing in a moment of weakness; his LotR analogue is Saruman. The guy who behind closed doors says the fix is in, there’s nothing he can do about it, and why not grab a piece of the action for himself – and, say, would you like to be on the winning team?

As for the 2010 results interpreted for 2012? I’ve long since concluded that pretending to misinterpret them had as part of it’s purpose a coldly vicious punch in the teeth to the “liberals” who “defied” him. You do this at your own peril, he is saying, and that he – and not you – control the message. Iow, the message is, if “liberals” don’t turn out next year, don’t vote for him, don’t campaign for him, don’t serve as a source of cheap labor for him, and he still manages to win, well, he will exact his revenge.

Imho, he gives every public indication of not being a man of good character in private. He is vain, unwholesomely proud, petty, prideful, spiteful, holds grudges . . . and doesn’t think twice about telling a lie if he thinks it will help him.

Now, please, don’t ask me how I feel about him.

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David 08.02.11 at 4:24 am

Thank you Scent of Violets. As to the Supreme Court, should have been thinking of that elections ago. We would need two appointments in the next 12 months (realistically, Ginsberg with someone much younger and replacing probably Kennedy) and that’s not going to happen. As to those counseling that now we’re setting up to present a stark choice in 2012, so let’s not despair, get on board and fight, fight, fight!, what dream planet are you living on. Obama has given no indication that he is willing to present (or even believes in) issues in such terms. Much less go to the mat. He could have ended this weeks ago by announcing that he could and would invoke the 14th amendment and screw you. Or, of course, he and the Dems could have avoided all this by getting the job done last December. I’ve come around to the Greenwald view that dismantling the New Deal is just fine with him. No skin off his ass. Shit floats.

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Britta 08.02.11 at 4:28 am

I am with Kevin @49. I think it’s approaching time for the Elves to leave Middle Earth.

I am slowly coming to a realization that I live in a country where a large proportion of my fellow citizens and I have radically different conceptions of how we want to live and what we want our country to look like. I think part of the problem is that, as liberals, we assume that deep down most people agree with us, or would be if they weren’t deluded. Honestly though, I’m not so sure if that’s actually the case. I think there are people who would rather live close to poverty and in constant insecurity to be able to do things like shop cheaply at Walmart, drive a big car, worship in a megachurch, live far away from neighbors, or own lots of guns, rather than than have things like universal healthcare and free decent education but have to live more densely and take public transportation, have abortion widely available, etc. As far as I can tell, those people seem to be winning, and people who think like me seem to be losing. At a certain point, it just comes time to concede that in a democracy, if a majority wants something very different from you, there’s little one can do about it. It might be time to stop viewing Reaganomics and the Christian right as a temporary phase but rather as a fundamental shift in the framework. The age of elves has ended; the age of men has begun.

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Matt 08.02.11 at 4:52 am

Don’t you see? Obama is Gandalf the grey, aftet being dragged by the balrog down into fire. Soon he will emerge as Gandalf the White and rid the world of evil.

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Thomas Jørgensen 08.02.11 at 6:16 am

You know what? Dont stay home. That is what the republicans want, as their winning strategy is “depress D turnout”. Dont vote D, because their strategy is that they can serve their base any amount of shit they want and still have it vote for them, which. Yhea, they deserve to be wiped from the face of the earth.

Vote socialist. Write in a candidate if you dont get a third option on the ballot. Wasted vote? Not when the alternative is staying home drunk, or enabling Obama to spend another 4 years tearing down the american middle class. Do a GoTV effort for a party that actually intends to do something about 10% unemployment.

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Scott 08.02.11 at 7:06 am

“I will vote* for Obama next year because however shitty a president he may be, his opponent is guaranteed to be far shittier”

This means that if Ron Paul is the nominee, you have decided that peace is far shittier than war… and that civil liberty is far shittier than the Patriot Act.

When are people going to start voting for ideals and stop voting for parties. Oh, that’s right… never.

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Jason Brown 08.02.11 at 8:18 am

Bernie Sanders as Gandalf.

I have lost all confidence in Obama. As a leader he has failed to act decisively or with moral authority when confronted with crisis he should have anticipated. I think his Presidency is in danger for that reason… and that reason alone. Most Americans care less about a candidates political strips than what they perceive as the candidates integrity, leadership, if they just plain like him, or how the economy is doing if they are an incumbent.

I care about the stripes – and frankly am tired of so called conservative Democrats throwing progressive values out and throwing the grass-roots base under the bus. To me the dept deal is the third poison knife in the back of the people on behalf of the multi-national corporate hegemony (Sauron). So instead of the “new deal” President we needed we have a deal maker selling-off our social institutions along with our hopes of reforming a corrupted system.

Despite protests to the contrary I think moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats and Obama all got what they wanted out of the dept “deal” – while tea baggers, liberals and the American people all got thrown under the bus.

At this point I will not vote for Obama in the primary.

The general election is likely to be a harder choice. I instinctively mistrust Republican politicians and my instincts have invariably been right… but Obama has proven less than trustworthy also. A Republican President might actually have a harder time selling out our social institutions since Democrats wouldn’t feel compelled to cooperate. The Republican might also have better leadership skills and be able to act more decisively in a crisis – which might be good if they aren’t one of those Republican hawks.

If it was someone like Ron Paul who I can agree with on a couple issues (who, however wrong he may be on others issues is still a hobbit and might be willing to take a knife to Sauron)… I might have to vote Republican for President for the first time in my life.

Otherwise I think I’ll just write Aragorn in, although there is that Supreme Court thing – so it is likely to be a hard decision.

75

Roger 08.02.11 at 10:15 am

Scott@ 73

Tell that to the idealists who voted Nader in Florida in 2000 and gave the world 8 years of Bush II.

Obama or Perry?

You really can’t see that as a real lesser of two evils choice?

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Andrew F. 08.02.11 at 10:28 am

Bizarre. The deal lifts the debt ceiling, preserves entitlement programs, and forestalls any serious cuts – other than to defense – until post-2012.

The sense I get here is that if Obama didn’t somehow magically produce a debt-ceiling deal that provided a single-payer system, 90% marginal rates, and whatever else is on the far left wish list, he would be declared a sell-out.

Really, the rhetoric is almost surreal.

One example:

David @67: He could have ended this weeks ago by announcing that he could and would invoke the 14th amendment and screw you.

That would have extended uncertainty indefinitely and, if it meant no Congressional deal, caused serious financial problems.

I’ve come around to the Greenwald view that dismantling the New Deal is just fine with him.

Yeah, because this deal somehow dismantles the New Deal.

Thomas @69: …enabling Obama to spend another 4 years tearing down the american middle class.

Yeah, Obama, who inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression, has been “tearing down the american middle class” for the last three years. How is he doing that exactly? By failing to magically get far-left policies enacted in a country, and with a Congress, that is anything but far left?

Let’s be clear. I don’t like the cuts in this deal – I’m probably one of the few here who think cutting defense spending is an enormous mistake – and I think cuts in the short-term generally are a huge mistake.

Average estimates have the cuts shaving .1-.2% off GDP, with others claiming .3-.4%. That’s not great.

We don’t have revenue enhancements, but given the GOP position and their control of the House, that’s very hard to get. You’d need clear support from the public, and that wasn’t there in this debate. It CAN be there in a broader election though. So this is an issue to win in 2012.

We’re cutting defense spending at a terrible time. Tensions are growing worse, not better, in East Asia; the Pakistani government just pressured its central bank into a surprise rate cut (Pakistan already has the second-highest inflation in Asia); the direction of Egypt, and increasingly Syria, is uncertain; the direction of Iran is uncertain; and the problem of failed states in Africa continues.

77

Jeff Thompson 08.02.11 at 10:58 am

I’ve voted a straight Democratic ticket since I was old enough to vote (Carter’s re-election.) But now I’ve come to fully understand that the “New Democrats” Clinton and Obama are just Republicans wearing liberal masks.

Clinton, wildly popular with most Democrats to the end of his term (except for the Lewinsky affair,) gutted the New Deal banking regulations by signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and deregulated derivatives by signing the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. The Republicans may have been trying to accomplish this for decades, but it took a “New Democrat” to sell us out. Obama, who used the very same slogan as Clinton during his election campaign (“Hope”) showed that he wasn’t just an incompetent negotiator when he put Social Security and Medicare up on the chopping block. He’s just another Republican wearing a liberal mask.

Matthew wrote: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Martin Luther King said “…they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

A lot of Democratic voters judge their candidates, congressmen and president through the rose colored filter of their words and promises, not by what they’ve done. That’s what allows the Democratic party to take us for granted, and do the business of Wall Street at great hazard to Main Street with such impunity. “Where are liberals going to go?” they say. There is only one way to stop that from happening; withdraw our support until they listen to our needs and heed us, the People. THEY NEED US more than we need a thoroughly corrupt government, which is what we have.

The dream of Obama turning progressive in a second term is utterly wishful thinking. He’s proved that he’s not progressive, and will never be one. His own deficit reduction plan was worse than the Republican’s in many respects, and don’t forget that the Simpson-Bowles “bipartisan” cat food committee was HIS idea. So why keep doing the same thing, voting for him again, expecting a different result. That’s the definition of insanity, as we know.

78

Jeff Thompson 08.02.11 at 11:13 am

@ Roger:

The myth that Nader was a spoiler in the 2000 election has been debunked statistically. Nader didn’t give us Bush, Republican operatives managed to get the vote count halted, and the Supreme Court voted Bush in 5 to 4. Nader didn’t have enough votes to make up the difference.

79

Don A in Pennsyltucky 08.02.11 at 12:50 pm

If you’re trying to find the President’s character, try looking in Bored of the Rings where the ring bearing “Master” is a bumbling sap.

80

Walt 08.02.11 at 1:09 pm

Reading Andrew F’s last comment has helped me appreciate the extent to which “moderation” is a personality trait rather than a policy position. I’m a pretty moderate guy, and all I want is incremental change. Objectively, Obama handled the debt ceiling crisis poorly, and the best we can say at the moment is “maybe it’s not as bad as it looks”. Now the Republicans have established that they can use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip, even though the implicit threat that they’ll default on the debt is at most barely believable. Back when Simpson and Bowles floated their joint plan, it was clearly on the right-hand side of the debate. Now it’s probably to the left of whatever the Super-committee comes up with. If that deal is unpalatable, we have to believe that the Democrats — who wouldn’t call the bluff of the Republicans on the debt ceiling — are going to call the bluff of the Republicans and let automatic cuts to defense happen. The Republican attack ads on how the Democrats “cut defense in a time of war” are probably already sitting on the shelf ready to air come November 2011.

But of course there are far leftists out there in the world, and they’re wrong on the Internet, so Andrew F can beat them up and feel better.

81

shah8 08.02.11 at 2:03 pm

The Lord of the Rings just doesn’t have the sort of set-pieces I need.

From my digesting perspective, Obama lost well. In fact, he lost about as well as anyone could have, giving his structural disadvantages. There is just no storyline in LotR about retreats in good order with the bulk of your allies and your material when someone got the drop on you. I mean, are Republicans looting the baggage train, politically speaking? No? (Remember, most of those cuts are backloaded, and the deal can be undone at any time) Are the Republicans united in sentiment? I don’t think so. Obama has managed to open serious rifts between factions of his adversaries. I mean, just how good is the working relationship between Cantor and Boehner, let alone any of the other faction heads? The hawks have to be apoplectic right now, given that Obama has driven Republican forced requisitions from Defense. And Defense? The Pentagon can’t fuck with Obama now, and cannot come to (or want to) aid Congressional Republicans or pursue departmental politics at Obama’s expense. I bet Wall Street has similar issues. Have the Republicans not spent huge gobs of public credibility, with the public at large and even in their own camp?

They’ll get more money, and they’ll buy more ad time, and place more sophisticated web ads that encourages people to create a personal narrative about why Obama is a loser. I just don’t see how they haven’t demonstrated to all rational people concerned that they probably cannot expect Republicans to govern wisely or even just non-disastrously. GWB is toxic to the brand, and Obama seems to have smeared that toxicity on a wider canvass. I mean, the Republicans did just defy (or wildly confirmed) expectations about just how rational they would be if it came to important stuff.

Eeeehh, carry on. It’s only cheese-eating surrender monkey cacophony. I just think Austerlitz, man…better than Cold Harbor, that’s for sure…

82

noen 08.02.11 at 3:13 pm

scentofviolets said — “he gives every public indication of not being a man of good character in private.”

It is interesting how even intellectual elites can fall back on magical thinking and mind reading when their own ideology is challenged.

Walt said – “But of course there are far leftists out there in the world, and they’re wrong on the Internet, so Andrew F can beat them up and feel better.”

And passive aggressive despair is no improvement

Get Over It: This Is Who Obama Is
http://www.nationaljournal.com/whitehouse/get-over-it-this-is-who-obama-is-20110727

Many Obama allies thought he’d sold them out on the death penalty. In retrospect, he had not. Perhaps more than any participant, he cold-bloodedly believed that his interrogation law would alter police behavior, while also protecting them from unfair charges of coercion in extracting confessions. Many participants did not see that long-term result as he did. All these years later, he’s been proven correct. You don’t hear grousing about it these days. It’s worked.

Obama is a pragmatist and his strategy apparently worked in Illinois. I guess we will see if it works on the national stage also.

But, for Obama, it also meant a strategic set of notions about finding mutual agreement among people with the most divergent of motivations

The reason this is necessary is because finding mutual agreement works, forcing others to agree against their will through political or other forms of domination does not work. Unfortunately those on both the Left and the Right feel their particular ideology is so important they are tempted to use force to get their way. (Force is anytime you do not have full agreement from the other side.)

Then, as now, he was also about seeking resolutions, not just bashing the rich. It was intellectual empiricism and streetwise practicality all at play. It was about doing a deal and moving on.

The horror.

83

mds 08.02.11 at 3:23 pm

The Republican attack ads on how the Democrats “cut defense in a time of war” are probably already sitting on the shelf ready to air come November 2011.

Well, fortunately they might not need to air. First, those automatic cuts will likely take place only if all Supercongress Dems insist on revenue increases, which will be opposed by all the Supercongress Republicans. Such a deadlock is unlikely because at least one of the Supercongress Dems will be one of the Hooverian DINOs we’ve all grown to know and love. For similar reasons, cuts to entitlements will not deadlock the Supercongress either. Second, House Republicans almost immediately signaled that they won’t actually allow cuts to defense, and they have a long tradition of off-budget supplementals to draw upon. So the supposed defense cuts will probably turn out to be another red herring. Which means Republicans can stick to running on “Democrats cut your Medicare” again.

When John Kerry said that the automatic triggers needed to include tax increases to induce Republican Supercongress cooperation, he had the right idea. Shame that it was jettisoned, just as with every other revenue-increasing measure in this whole process.

84

Frank in midtown 08.02.11 at 4:16 pm

Don’t you just love the marketplace of ideas! As in all marketplaces, the failure of a competitor allows the remaining participants to modify their offering. Capitalists win, commies lose! While this is true, it remains to be seen if the public will buy the fully de-contented capitalist offering, or demand remnants of the old offering. I argue we are seeing the high water mark of Reganomics/trickle down. After 30 years the evidence is clear that the average voter is not better off and the country is portrayed as broke. How can you argue this is a success? The pendulum will swing.

85

Anderson 08.02.11 at 4:54 pm

Obama got rolled. He doesn’t know how to play this game. Look at his incomprehension back in 12/2010 at the notion that the debt ceiling might be a problem later.

I keep waiting for him to smarten up, but every time, he’s the guy bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Does that mean I want Romney appointing Supreme Court justices? Hell no. But I wish we had a better president than Obama.

86

kevin 08.02.11 at 5:10 pm

our president is obviously frodo baggins. the ring is a terrible weight on his shoulders and he is trying to stay alive to destroy it. in the end…. he will… but the road ahead is fraught with trouble. at least medicare is safe and he will let the evil bush tax cuts go. but… he, being rational expects others to be rational. when they arent, its a surprise to him. the tea klux klan has finally exposed itself to be the enemy of reason and the enemy of the people…. i fully believe things will be better…….. and i will support president obama in the next election.

87

kevin 08.02.11 at 5:21 pm

had he pushed the public option, the nightmare “low information voters” who were whipped up by the tea thugs and the republicans who funded them…. screaming “socialist” and breaking up the town hall meetings with their bile….the ones who were carrying loaded guns to rallys…… would have mounted an assassination attempt….. the man doesnt want to be killed… (there is history)
the bush tax cuts were only extended because president obama wanted to protect the unemployed and the money they receive….the poor and unemployed and the money they receive from the us govt, were held hostage by the tea klux klan and in the end… he did what was necessary to protect US… he sacrificed part of his presidency and thereby, himself there…. to protect us… people say.. why hasnt he been more aggressive… because if he were, he would be shot. …. in the instance of the debt crisis.. a crisis CREATED BY THE TEA KLUX KLAN…. they were now holding the WHOLE WORLD ECONOMY HOSTAGE…. again…. he sacrificed parts of his presidency to protect US……………. he is a great man and a good president. you people need to effing grow up.

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David 08.02.11 at 5:35 pm

@Andrew F: You’re simply making up your sense you get of what quite a few people here want(ed).
No one is talking about single payer, we’re talking about abject capitulation on the debt ceiling (which is only the latest in a long line, unless you are a True Believer, of failures to stand for anything). You may well believe that putting lipstick on a turd is transformative. I do not.

This deal does not leave social programs intact. It will all but kill medicare as providers drop it in droves. Social Security will be next in line. Already, Mitch McConnell has stated that this deal is the template for further negotiations. Nice work.

I fail to see how actually invoking the constitution would create uncertainty. Rather, it would be a significant step in acknowledging that the whole debt ceiling BS is, and always has been, unconstitutional.

Others of you: get over these silly Ron Paul fantasies. My god, the man is a loon. I intend to vote third party or write-in.

89

Ed Marshall 08.02.11 at 5:49 pm

Wow, they did a 2% cut in medicare payouts to providers per year. I know I was supposed to be aghast at this, but now that the deal is done, big fucking deal. Providers are not going to leave the medicare system over this, and I don’t see it as doing harm to anyone outside the health industry. The tedious whining and “God has truely shat upon us all, curse you, Obama!” is just over the top and makes me wish my political allies were made of stronger stuff.

Seriously, you know that a majority of Americans didn’t want the debt ceiling raised *in any event*. This means the majority of Americans are incredibly stupid, but you have to work with the voters you have not the voters you wish for.

90

ScentOfViolets 08.02.11 at 6:01 pm

Does that mean I want Romney appointing Supreme Court justices? Hell no. But I wish we had a better president than Obama.

Nah. Obama doesn’t appoint SCJ’s. Remember, he would have appointed someone with a much better record than his last pick[1] . . . but the votes just weren’t there ;-)

[1]Funny how that never came up when Bush the Lesser gave us treasonous liars like John Roberts.

91

Anderson 08.02.11 at 6:31 pm

Nah. Obama doesn’t appoint SCJ’s.

Not following you there, though I suppose that this is some dig at Kagan, who seems to be doing just fine (and who is 10 years younger than her leading rival, Diane Wood).

But if you think Roberts is “treasonous,” I infer you don’t care to be taken seriously anyway.

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ScentOfViolets 08.02.11 at 6:38 pm

Sigh. The fact that you are unwilling to admit that Roberts blatantly lied during his confirmation hearings, Anderson, marks you as something less than serious.

I’ve never understood people like you who a) want to win every battle, and b) want to be considered serious.

93

Anderson 08.02.11 at 7:13 pm

SoV, I don’t find the part about lying in the U.S. Constitution’s treason clause; what country’s constitution are you looking at?

94

Jason Brown 08.02.11 at 8:55 pm

Perhaps Obama is Frodo as Kevin says… but I see him standing at mouth of Mt. Doom claiming it for his own… but is there a Gollum to tear it from his finger (perhaps Ron Paul… who, while having the courage of his convictions is still a nutter and would hopefully throw himself into fire as did Smeagol).

Whatever cards the President was handed I have not seen him call a bluff or demonstrate the moral fortitude to stand up for core democratic principles when it counted… at least since he became President. While the administration may have a pretty good list of accomplishments, many have come at a very high cost to the future of America. His advisers appear to be telling him he can get re-elected using the magic power of triangulation and he seems more interested in that than leading the country out of crisis. But the President has failed to show the American people that he is willing to risk his Presidency for the good of the country… so triangulation just makes him a compromised compromiser and self-serving politician instead of a pragmatic leader.

Obama supporters can make all the excuses for him they want, but the American people are not looking for excuses. If Obama is Frodo he needs to caste off the influence of the ring. If he is Theoden Obama supporters need to send Gandalf to wake him and break Sarumans spell. Obama needs to become “Presidential” and start leading the country if he whats to win back my vote… and if he does that he will win a lot more than my vote. He could even become a great President instead of either a footnote or historical embarrassment.

Unfortunately, he has locked in the right of the Health Insurance and Banking industries to suck the economic blood of the nation. With this bad dept deal he has also guaranteed we will be taking austerity measures to flog our faltering economy and dismantle the waning middle class (elvish settlements)… so it would take truly heroic action to turn things around.

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kevin 08.02.11 at 9:09 pm

the truly heroic actions have to come after he doesnt have to worry about being re-elected. everyone knows… when you are elected president.. you have, if you are lucky, 18 months to govern… he did great things in that first 18 months…those things took up most of the mojo….. then .. in 2010…the tea klux klan was ushered in by the low information voters… and the rethuglicans have control of most of the governorships and almost every statehouse in the country. I have ultimate faith…… that the second term will be far and away the most significant years. for now though……. he has morons, malcontents and obstructionists. for god’s sake.. he cant even get the senate to have a vote on half the staff that a president needs. he has been forestalled and blocked at every turn…. we need to give back a democratic majority in BOTH houses with MORE than 60 votes in the senate… so we can lose one or two like the DINO’S from nebraska and west virginia… who are actually republicans in disguise. he has gotten what he can….. if he had called the bluff of the tea klux klan…….. he and we all would have learned ………. it wasnt a bluff they are that fucking crazy and would crash the world for their petty views and to end the presidency of the first black president at one term………. that is their mission… that is the senate minority leaders mission…….. that is what we have to keep from happening.

they would have crashed the world…. the republican party isnt one that william f. buckley would recognize…. they are the “tea shirts” ……. and we must purge them before they gain even more power. you want your priorities to survive?…. if you DONT vote for obama………. it will automatically be a vote FOR the tea klux klan brown shirt moron brigade. just like when people voted for nader.
503 votes in florida… and NONE of this shit would have happened………. NONE. people say thats bullshit……….. they are imbeciles.

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phosphorious 08.02.11 at 9:37 pm

Perhaps I’m just an Obama-worshipper looking for a reason to support my idol, but here goes:

After the disaster of the Bush Presidency, many a conservative persuaded themselves that they didn’t “really” support Bush. They “held their nose” when they voted for him, because the alternative, Kerry, was worse. Kerry being, after all, a baby-killing traitor who wanted to destroy America.

This is how conservatives “reason.” And I have every desire to avoid this insanity, so when I hear myself saying “I will reluctantly vote for Obama, because the alternative is worse,” I shudder. Vote principle, not party, I think, so to be as different from a Bush voter as possible. BUT. . .

Isn’t it simply true that Obama is better than any republican, just as it was simply false that Kerry was a baby-killer? Isn’t the current crop of GOP hopefuls simply the WORST collection of politicians. . . of people. . . ever? Worse even than Bush?

When a conservative says that “anybody is better than a lib” they are responding to the voices in their head. When liberals say that “Anybody would be better than a conservative” they are responding to the facts on the ground, no?

Obama is a MAJOR disappointment in many, many ways. and perhaps a third party is what’s in order here.

But when I vote for Obama as the lesser of two evils. . . as I still intend to do. . . I’m not sure I’m being a party stooge, or an Obama worshiper. I’m just someone who doesn’t want to be ruled by a creationist, or an objectivist, or a neo-confederate. . . or by some combination thereof.

I agree we need a much better president than Obama. But surely the only real alternatives are MUCH worse.

Feel free to tell me I am wrong, and that I should stay home or vote for a third party. I am genuinely open to persuasion here.

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Jason Brown 08.02.11 at 10:48 pm

Do you count turning on progressives by taking single payer off the table while Rahm Emanuel derided them as irrelevant as one of his great accomplishments? The way I see it he demoralized and effectively de-mobilized the progressive movement he helped set into motion – allowing Republicans to sweep the House.

Where else do the have to go? Candada, Norway, Independent, off-the-grid, Green, Libertarian, Nader… does it matter?

When you betray people and twist the knife in their backs how easily do you think it will be for them to support you?

Because it is the right thing to do?

Because triangulating, moderate, conservative to heck with our core values Democrats tell them they need to do it because it’s expedient?

Does the compromise and gradual abandonment of core values for the sake of expedience have anything to do with our republic being dysfunctional?

Should we expect things will get better after another 30 year value free cultural tailspin?

Do we have 30 years?

Can we really blame the people who voted for Nader, even if their votes would have made the difference?

Kevin, it is a pretty hard sell to tell people who are motivated by their values to betray their values and vote for the lesser evil because it’s somehow expedient. In the long run, the greater good may be more expedient. But let’s assume Obama being too clever by half actually will heroically fight wraiths of Sauron if he gets re-elected and I can vote for him on that basis.

People will still vote for a “hero” whose values they can tolerate over a wimp whose values they love. So Obama still needs to do a better job of demonstrating leadership or he will have a hard time getting re-elected given what the economy is likely to be like and how that effects people’s voting behavior. This means taking some risks and asserting his values in a way that will inspire more confidence in his leadership than currently exists.

Democrats should run a creditable challenger against him in the primary if they want to keep the White House.

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Jason Brown 08.02.11 at 11:11 pm

In short. A vote for a President, Senator or Congressperson who can’t stand up to hostage takers isn’t a vote for some lessor evil — it is a vote for the hostage takers because it will be the hostage takers that will rule.

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David 08.02.11 at 11:53 pm

Kevin, it is pretty hard to convince people for the nth time that the lesser of two evils is still somehow preferable when that lesser routinely, reflexively trashes your values and motives. I’ve been making that lesser choice for some 20 years now. At least. I’m tired of it. You haven’t a shred of evidence that a reelected Obama would govern any better. Not a shred.

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kidneystones 08.03.11 at 12:03 am

It seems clear that a large number of liberal/progressive/dems are unaware of the rich irony of the moment. Not only do we have many active opponents of the Bush-Cheney wars now staying silent or offering excuses for a similar program of regime change in Libya under O. We are also seeing right now, in real time, the appropriation of their most odious rationale: “if you don’t vote for O, the (tea-party) terrorists will win.”

This is the politics of fear at the crudest level. And not even original. Odious stuff.

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noen 08.03.11 at 6:46 am

“if you don’t vote for O, the (tea-party) terrorists will win.” — Which is a perfectly rational justification for voting for O. Not voting for the politician who is closest to your position and allowing someone many times worse to win, all because you got some but not all you wanted is irrational. Spite, cutting off one’s nose to spite your face, is not a wining political strategy.

I want to win, I don’t want to lose. So I am willing to set aside my personal feelings and take the lesser good. It sucks but I see no other way. Many of the responses here seem to assume that there is a better more successful path to a better outcome. I don’t see it.

And do people really believe that Obama doesn’t know how crazy the tea party is? Really?

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Andrew F. 08.03.11 at 10:21 am

Walt @80: Now the Republicans have established that they can use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip, even though the implicit threat that they’ll default on the debt is at most barely believable.

It’s been used this way before. In the future, hopefully, the debt ceiling will be addressed at the same time as the budget – or better yet, will be repealed.

If that deal is unpalatable, we have to believe that the Democrats—who wouldn’t call the bluff of the Republicans on the debt ceiling—are going to call the bluff of the Republicans and let automatic cuts to defense happen. The Republican attack ads on how the Democrats “cut defense in a time of war” are probably already sitting on the shelf ready to air come November 2011.

The GOP isn’t that stupid. 2012 is going to be about the economy, absent a second 9/11 or a major international war involving the US.

But of course there are far leftists out there in the world, and they’re wrong on the Internet, so Andrew F can beat them up and feel better.

Not my intention, and apologies if my tone conveyed that impression.

David @88: we’re talking about abject capitulation on the debt ceiling

Yeah, but it wasn’t. Very little actually changed.

This deal does not leave social programs intact. It will all but kill medicare as providers drop it in droves. Social Security will be next in line. Already, Mitch McConnell has stated that this deal is the template for further negotiations. Nice work.

“All but kill Medicare.” This is based on what?

I fail to see how actually invoking the constitution would create uncertainty. Rather, it would be a significant step in acknowledging that the whole debt ceiling BS is, and always has been, unconstitutional.

The 14th is shaky constitutional justification for the President to unilaterally ignore the debt ceiling. Relying on the 14th means that the US debt payments are themselves legally uncertain – and rather than getting a clear Congressional resolution, we get a long litigation with an uncertain outcome.

Noen @82, imho, has this exactly right.

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kidneystones 08.03.11 at 5:22 pm

Noen writes…

Nobody, I suspect, objects to the argument that the perfect is often the enemy of the good, even those pesky tea party people. I don’t know about the path forward, but I don’t see how you can argue that voting for a man who is promoting the agenda of your/our political opponents is the path to victory. That seems to be the path to self-defeat. That’s that conundrum. If you vote for O, you’re going to get more wars for regime change, attacks on the New Deal, massive unemployment, greater disparity between the rich and poor, crippling cuts in the standard of living for many African-Americans, and progressive apathy and outrage. That’s based on the evidence to date.

Electing a candidate committed to advancing the agenda of the other side makes no sense at all. If this individual is re-elected, the left will be forced to fight their own president. And as we saw repeatedly during the last two years, the left always folds in when dealing with the WH. If there’s a Republican in the WH, there’s a slim chance that Dems will be able to mobilize and force an agenda on a Rick Perry/Romney that preserves the best parts of the New Deal. Everyone can see clearly now exactly what America will get if the current President is re-elected: a continuation of George Bush’s policies and a completely neutered progressive left.

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noen 08.03.11 at 6:29 pm

kidneystones said – I don’t see how you can argue that voting for a man who is promoting the agenda of your/our political opponents is the path to victory.

I don’t see Obama’s agenda as antithetical to mine. I’m a liberal, not a Leftist. You have absolutely no evidence that Obama is advancing the conservative agenda.

If you vote for O, you’re going to get more wars for regime change – We are ending the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Our actions against Libya are just and humane.

attacks on the New Deal — Saving medicare and SS is attacking the New Deal? Putting them on a firm foundation is necessary to ensure their future. Medicare recipients (and I am one) withdraw more than they put in. How can that possibly continue?

massive unemployment — Obma is already calling for measures to increase employment. You can criticize them as ineffective but you can’t say he wants higher unemployment. That’s Alex Jones level crazy.

greater disparity between the rich and poor — On what evidence do you base your claim that Obama desires an increased disparity between the rich and poor? I know of none.

crippling cuts in the standard of living for many African-Americans — This can be laid firmly at the feet of the previous administration. It was the financial collapse of 2008 which harmed the AA and Hispanic communities. Obama bears no responsibility for that. He saved the economy from even further collapse and a 2nd great depression. I see that as a positive.

and progressive apathy and outrage — Other people are not responsible for your feelings.

the left always folds in when dealing with the WH — I don’t know what you mean by left, to me it means those who desire a Marxist socialist economy, a command economy, rather than a free market. I don’t want that. I’d like a mixed economy. But as far as I know there is no Left in the US. If you mean that the progressive caucus should put more pressure on the WH I don’t see how they can. They simply do not have the votes in either the Senate or the congress to have much influence. You should change that. I fail to understand how destroying pres Obama and not re-electing him would help the progressive caucus or the movement. Could you explain to me how that works?

Starting a third party is unwise. Even the Tea Party isn’t dumb enough to try that. The US is *not* a parliamentary system. It’s a two party system. So until we throw away our constitution and adopt a new one (good luck with that) intelligent rational people will work within the current system for what they want. It is irrational to employ a strategy that has no hope of success.

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Seth Gordon 08.03.11 at 7:07 pm

kidneystones, above, says: If there’s a Republican in the WH, there’s a slim chance that Dems will be able to mobilize and force an agenda on a Rick Perry/Romney that preserves the best parts of the New Deal.

How well did this strategy work the last time a Republican was in the White House?

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Henri Vieuxtemps 08.03.11 at 7:16 pm

I agree with Kidneystones. The party that loses the WH becomes, to an extent, anti-establishment. I like anti-establishment. It’s healthy to be anti-establishment. I sympathize with anti-establishment. And I don’t like to sympathize with wingnuts.

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kidneystones 08.03.11 at 11:47 pm

noen writes….

With respect, you are not responding to the arguments I’m making and I won’t be replying point by point for that reason.

Seth Gordon writes…

This is the question of the day, isn’t it, and one that will occupy the full attention of a generation of scholars at least. I loathed Bush, but find myself facing compelling evidence that he was a much better and certainly more predictable president than the current one.

I stand by my original post. There is no point in electing an individual committed to extending Bush policies as the ostensible opposition to these policies. Perry, btw, is a former Democrat and I certainly don’t think the world as we know it will end should he or Romney be elected. I suspected throughout the Bush years, btw, that Bush served as a convenient scapegoat for many Dems. If Bush didn’t exist, Dems would have to invent him. And it looks to me as though they have. Elect him four times, if you like.

Henri Viextemps writes…

I agree. That’s the beauty of the US system. All authority does not rest in the executive. As we have seen in a few select elections since 2010, a good Dem candidate can beat back the tea party opponent. If there’s a silver lining to 2012, that’s it.

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piglet 08.04.11 at 12:58 am

What are the odds that Obama will think better of running again? Unless the economy is miraculously improving, he might figure his chances negligible. I didn’t think I would be saying this but now it doesn’t appear unlikely any more. At this point the only good thing is that the Reps don’t have a credible alternative. Maybe there is a chance for a progressive candidate after all. Of course, I hasten to add, only when the victims of the recession finally wake up and start organizing.

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noen 08.04.11 at 2:56 am

Kidneystones said – “With respect, you are not responding to the arguments”

I did respond to your argument. I did so by denying your premise. Your argument: “There is no point in electing an individual committed to extending Bush policies as the ostensible opposition to these policies” or previously: “promoting the agenda of your/our political opponents” is false. There are several reasons why:

1. Obama has kept some policies and rejected or worked to modify others. This is consistent with his approach of pragmatic, incremental change. What he did not do is engage in radical change and pursue a Leftist socialist agenda. I don’t know why anyone would have expected that of him.

2. You do not in fact know that Obama is “committed to extending Bush policies”. This is mind reading and I’m pretty sure you cannot divine intent from world events. That is the basic fallacy that all conspiracy theorists make. That they can know the private intent of powerful people through their public words and deeds.

3. It is a false equivocation to claim that Obama is just like Bush. That’s just childish and silly.

4. It is not true that there is no point in voting for some hypothetical person who does not share your values, with whom you strongly disagree, but who is better than available alternatives, instead of those who would do you real permanent harm. On the contrary, I think that the rational thing to do is in fact to vote for the person who most reflects your values. Failing that you vote for the least unfavorable candidate. If you find yourself so far on the extreme Left that Obama appears no different to you than George Bush then I think you should re-evaluate your position.

Barack Obama is a progressive Democrat.

Bush “was a much better and certainly more predictable president than the current one.”

Obama derangement syndrome of the professional Left. Spare me.

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Henri Vieuxtemps 08.04.11 at 7:02 am

Yes. 89 says:
Seriously, you know that a majority of Americans didn’t want the debt ceiling raised in any event. This means the majority of Americans are incredibly stupid, but you have to work with the voters you have not the voters you wish for

But the purpose of political parties is not to do what ‘the voters’ want, but to represent a segment of the population, including the un-serious and dirty hippies. If a party stands for something other than getting more power, then, when ‘the voters’ want something else, it better be in opposition as a minority. But it seems that ‘getting elected’ is the main (and uncontroversial) goal of each party and each politician. Oh well. So much for ‘democracy’.

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kidneystones 08.04.11 at 8:33 am

neon writes….

Well, I’d have preferred to respond to an argument, but I suppose this really is your best effort. Where to start? We could go back, I suppose, to his record as the senator for Illinois, when he voted with the majority 97% of the time. Or to his non-existent ranking as a liberal member of the senate.

Or we could cite his support for the Bush plan to offer virtually unlimited US nuclear technologies to rogue nuclear state India. Biden, McCain, and Clinton also supported the Bush attempt to start a new nuclear arms race in Asia. Feingold and a handful of other Dem senators, notably, did not.

We could invent new definitions and parameters of what it means to be a progressive democrat. We could discuss O’s opposition to gay marriage. Or we could discuss his own personal war of regime change in Libya. That’s his own personal war of regime change, thanks. No Congressional approval required for O’s non-kinetic attempt to kill Libya’s leader. We could go on – progressive wars of regime change, progressive Gitmo, progressive extraordinary rendition, progressive military tribunals, progressive surges into Afghanistan, progressive means testing for social security, etc. etc. etc.

According to you, all the above policies of a progressive democrat. Your reasoning doesn’t stand up. 5 is not 3, true. But 5 is certainly a lot closer to 3 than it is to 9 or 15.

That’s only part of the problem with your poorly structured argument. For now, the facts will have to suffice. Income disparity between rich and poor is growing. African-Americans are bearing the brunt of the policies of this “progressive Democrat” and a far greater number of US service people have died in the progressive president’s non-wars than died in Bush’s. That’s the compelling evidence facing the reality-based community. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that you’d regard the compilation of such a list as evidence of “derangement syndrome.”

I doubt, however, that many self-identifying progressives find anything progressive at all in opposition to gay marriage, multiple never-ending wars of aggression in oil-rich states, and the creation of a permanent class of under and unemployed among America’s most oppressed minorities. But, hey, forget the evidence. The label says non-fattening, so non-fattening it must be. Maybe we just need to buy a new scale.

All that remains is to blame Trig.

112

ChrisB 08.04.11 at 8:53 am

Just to put the opposing view, here’s what Charles James Fox said in his History of the Early Years of the Reign of James II:

“Add to Argyle’s problems that where spirit was not wanting among his supporters, it was accompanied with a degree and species of perversity wholly inexplicable, and which can hardly gain belief from any one whose experience has not made him acquainted with the extreme difficulty of persuading men who pride themselves upon an extravagant love of liberty, rather to compromise upon some points with those who have in the main the same views with themselves, than to give power (a power which will infallibly be used for their own destruction) to an adversary of principles diametrically opposite; in other words, rather to concede something to a friend, than everything to an enemy.”

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ChrisB 08.04.11 at 9:04 am

Actually, though, the basic flaw in the anti-Obama analysis does seem to be rooted in a belief that the American people are at base good, smart, ethical, and sensible, and that Obama is letting them down, when from most non-American perspectives the American people taken in the mass are vicious and sadistic lunatics with risk management policies modelled on the Heavens Gate cult. Just as a thought exercise, what would the commentators on this blog conclude if they did in fact believe that the vote in 2010 actually represented the will of the American people? It is mathematically impossible for a politician to be stupider (or more vicious) than the people who voted for him or her.

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Henri Vieuxtemps 08.04.11 at 9:27 am

@113, again, parties (and O is a member of one) don’t represent “the American people”, they are supposed to represent their constituency, which is only a segment of the whole thing. To represent the whole people you need a king.

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chris y 08.04.11 at 1:11 pm

Henri, the US constitution is strikingly reticent about the dignified (in Bagehot’s sense) aspects of government, but it has clearly been expected in practice since Washington that the President should represent the whole people, or at least try to.

116

Henri Vieuxtemps 08.04.11 at 1:29 pm

Nah, that’s not what I hear, at least when a Republican is elected. Then they (the media) are usually talking about him having a ‘mandate’, and that no one should be surprised that he will pursue ‘conservative’ policies.

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noen 08.04.11 at 4:05 pm

kidneystanes said – “Well, I’d have preferred to respond to an argument, but I suppose this really is your best effort.” — False. I have made claims and given reasons to support them which is all argumentation is.

“We could go back, I suppose, to his record as the senator for Illinois, when he voted with the majority 97% of the time.” — I am surprised to learn that voting with the majority disqualifies one from belonging to your club. Your strategy of keeping your minority status through ideological purity has never resulted in greater political success, ever, in all of human history. I doubt it will suddenly begin working now. It certainly didn’t work for Feingold, but at least he remains pure.

I for one do not value political conformity over achieving my goals. It seems to me given the above that you prefer to stay in the minority as long as you can claim to be a member in good standing. This only works in undemocratic regimes where party loyalty can be enforced through extra political means. Even then it fails fairly quickly.

“Or we could cite his support for the Bush plan to offer virtually unlimited US nuclear technologies to rogue nuclear state India.” — You could but all you can conclude from that is Obama is unwilling to destroy our relationship with a strategically significant ally and thereby lose our bases in the area or to face a tidal wave of opposition from the GOP, the Pentagon, the media, virtually all of Washington, his own party and a large chunk of the electorate. But at least he could have comforted himself with Feingold’s continued support in the Senate. Oh wait, no he couldn’t.

“Your reasoning doesn’t stand up. 5 is not 3, true. But 5 is certainly a lot closer to 3 than it is to 9 or 15.” — The only way politically to get from 3 to 9 is by passing through 5. Your strategy of leaping directly to 9 backfires, it has always backfired. There is always a counterrevolution. There are a lot of people at 3, they like 3 and will resist if 9 is forced on them. Obama’s bet is that there are enough people willing to move to 4 then to 5 and that this strategy will prove more successful than imposing 9 by force.

“For now, the facts will have to suffice. Income disparity between rich and poor is growing. “ — As a direct result of the former administration’s failed economic policies. So… while greater economic disparity is a fact, it is not true that Obama is to blame and it’s outrageous to claim he desires it. Those who actively do desire that and much much more thank you for your continued support of their cause. They can always count on you.

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kidneystones 08.04.11 at 5:27 pm

neon writes…

This is my last response to you and after that you’re welcome to consider the field, such as it is, yours. You sidestep your own fundamental claim: that O is a progressive democrat. His record in the Senate demolishes that fiction.

As for your response to me, you’re not arguing, you’re making stuff up. At no point did I employ the term “desire” in regards to any of O’s policies. I don’t believe Bush or O desires income inequality or the death of US service people. Desire doesn’t factor into the decision, or at least I hope it doesn’t. Politicians pursue policies and those policies have consequences. O is committed to a set of policies that have had the effect of destroying the African-American middle-class. The HAMP debacle is his. Refusing to hire directly, unlike FDR, is his decision. The decision to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan was his alone. Congress provided funds at the President’s request. Gitmo is open, not closed. You flat out ignore your progressive president’s pet war in Libya, which he continues to argue isn’t really a war.

Intentions don’t matter a fig to most people, I’m afraid. It isn’t about the intentions or the “desires,” it’s about the results. O is committed to policies that have made life much, much worse for the unemployed and the poorest in America. As for your remarks about O’s India policy, I suggest you do a little more reading. You couldn’t be farther from the mark.

If you’re not prepared to even acknowledge the progressive president’s pet regime change project in Libya, paid for by the US taxpayers, I don’t really see how you can claim to be addressing my argument at all.

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Bart 08.05.11 at 8:20 pm

@LFC — Anyway, where are they going to go?, speaking of the Dems…

They might just sit the next one out and say to hell with it…

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