Let’s Take A Closer Look At Those Triggers

Filed in National by on August 2, 2011

Yesterday the messy and disgusting process of raising the nation’s debt ceiling was resolved. (Here’s a great explanation from the NYT on the convoluted process that will raise the debt ceiling.) The bill, which we all hate, passed the House and is expected to fly through the Senate today. However, not all people on the left agree that the bill is the most awful thing ever. Here’s Ezra on what it means for tax increases. TPM offers an alternative view on what the deal means. The most interesting take is from Jonathan Chait. Chait argues that the trigger mechanism is cleverly designed and has the potential to tear the Republicans apart:

I actually think the design of this plan is fascinating. You take a couple of the most powerful forces preventing major policy change — partisan gridlock and special interest influence — and turn them into forces for change by rejiggering the default setting.

It’s going to get interesting. Liberals widely assume they’ll just get rolled once again, as Republicans will insist on zero revenue, and Democrats will cave. I’m not so sure. For one thing, the trigger really is finally balanced. Last December, inaction on taxes meant an economy-crushing tax hike at a really bad time for Democrats. This summer, inaction on the debt ceiling meant economic cataclysm at an even worse time, the cost of which would mostly be born by President Obama. But the inaction trigger in the fall will be something genuinely painful to both parties.

The anti-tax movement has held absolute sway within the GOP for two decades. But it’s worth noting that the GOP has never had to choose among its constituencies in a zero-sum fiscal environment before. The policy of huge tax cuts and big defense spending hikes could coexist as long as Republicans could just run up the budget deficit. The party refused to reconcile its contradictions by refusing to acknowledge fiscal reality. Higher revenue to pay for the wars? Reagan proved deficits don’t matter. It’s easy to hold all your factions together when you refusing to acknowledge basic accounting properties (deficits equal expenditures minus revenue, not just “too much” expenditures by definition.) George W. Bush made the defense hawks happy, made the medical industry happy with a prescription drug bill designed to maximize their profits, and made rich people in general happy with a series of regressive tax cuts.

But imagine Democrats insist on higher revenue, and they decide, sensibly enough, that failure to cut a bipartisan deal is better than $1.8 trillion in cuts. (Which is probably is.) Then what? Well, then the entire defense lobby plus the entire medical and insurance lobbies turn fiercely against the very people with whom they had marched shoulder-to-shoulder under Bush. If the Democrats hold the line and insist on more revenue, the committee has the potential to split the GOP coalition wide open.

So far constituent calls, gangs of Senators and deficit commissions have not made Republicans believers in reality. Could the pressure from Washington lobbyists actually do it? I don’t know but it’s worth a shot.

I want to add – don’t just moan that Dems will cave. Start your action now. I think we’ve learned that action is much more effective when it’s done before the deal is made, not during and definitely not after. Start lobbying Congress now for a balanced approach that must include revenues. I think we should lobby to make sure Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi are on the 12-member committee. Once the committee is chosen, lobby members of that committee too.

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Comments (117)

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  1. puck says:

    “a potential to tear apart the Republican coalition”

    There has been the potential to tear apart the Republican coalition every day since 2006. They have started to actually tear several times since then but they are like the liquid metal guy from the Terminator movie. Plus Democrats have not exactly been throwing them anchors, and have been kissing their boo-boos instead.

    Having failed to win the support of their own leadership, Democrats have also failed to hold their leadership accountable and continue to support failure no matter what.

  2. Jason330 says:

    “Liberals widely assume they’ll just get rolled once again, as Republicans will insist on zero revenue, and Democrats will cave.”

    Golly Gee Jonathan! Wherever would liberals get that crazy idea!?

  3. puck says:

    “Start your action now.”

    Did you notice how Obama played the left? He was demanding revenue right up until 48 hours before he caved. No doubt the cave was being planned behind our backs even while he was demanding revenue on TV. Obama used the deadline to prevent the left from mounting an opposition.

    Why would anybody join a movement to make Obama do what he is already saying every day that he will do? Very few people understand that, when Obama says something congenial to the left, he intends to do the opposite.

    I think you understood from my posts over the last month that I had to give Obama credit for what he was saying, while I fully understood that he was likely lying. He was.

    Now that Obama has played us on every single item of the core Democratic values, yes it is time for action. Action to hold Democrats accountable for the failure of the public option, the tax cut expiration, the debt debacle, and the failure to throw Republicans an anchor every single time. Carper, Coons, and Carney are in the group of the worst offenders, so there is plenty of opportunity to start right here at home.

    And no, I do not accept some BS about having to wait for a white knight to primary these people. Just call them and tell them you are disappointed and are withdrawing all forms of support for them on account of their abandonment of Democratic values and their support of the Republican economic agenda.

  4. puck says:

    Chait: If the Democrats hold the line and insist on more revenue…

    I’d laugh, but it hurts too much right now.

    Chait argues that the trigger mechanism is cleverly designed and has the potential to tear the Republicans apart

    The tax cut expiration was a cleverly designed mechanism that blew up in our face. So let’s call the Acme Novelty company and order another cleverly designed mechanism!! One of these days we’re gonna get that Road Runner!

  5. I’m sure the brilliant strategy of taking your ball and going home will yield great progressive legislation.

  6. socialistic ben says:

    um.. if the soon-to-be elected republican president and R controlled senate want to run up defense spending and not raise revenue, they will just do it. Anyone who questions them will be called a traitor by afore mentioned R president and congress and none of their sheep-like teabag voters will question them.
    In fact, they will sell the new war as a perfect time to cut taxes on the “job creators”
    this article seems to have been written assuming conservatives are capable of memory, or cognition, or disbelief, or honesty.

  7. Jason330 says:

    Puck, You had me and you lost me. I agree that Obama used misdirection (lies) and the deadline to stop progressives from protesting. He has gotten pretty good at it. I mean, look at the numbers – still over 72% approval from liberals. (I swoon to think about what he’d have to do to get to 65% approval. Kill puppies on TV perhaps. Take a (literal) shit on Bernie Sanders? It is a thought experiment that I don’t have th stomach to undertake.)

    I disagree that any action by liberals is worth the effort. We are the last of the Mohicans. Our time is past. If you can name one thing* more useless than a liberal calling Tom Carper I’d like to know about it.

    [*Not including political blogging, which I see as just about as pointless as calling Tom Carper. Oh I'll carry on blogging I guess. Everyone needs a hobby, but I will not be doing so with some crazy misguided sense that it means anything.]

  8. anonone says:

    “Start your action now.”?

    Obama is expected to raise close to $1 billion in campaign funds. Does anybody think that money is going to be coming from small contributors, like in 2008? Hardly. Obama and the DNC have been bought and paid for already; and they’re about to get their next installment payment.

    He doesn’t care what we think. It is all about Wall Street. In the immortal words of Michael Joseph “Ozzie” Myers: “Money talks and bullshit walks.”

    I apologize in advance for my cynicism and despair.

  9. puck says:

    Carper, Coons, and Carney are conservadems because they think that’s what you want.

  10. Jason330 says:

    bullshit.

  11. anonone says:

    Carper, Coons, and Carney are conservadems because they know where their big campaign contributions are coming from.

  12. cassandra m says:

    Why would anybody join a movement to make Obama do what he is already saying every day that he will do?

    Are you starting one?

    Right, I didn’t think so.

    I agree that Obama used misdirection (lies) and the deadline to stop progressives from protesting.

    And this is victimization worthy of wingnuts. NO ONE stopped you from protesting. And Van Jones with MoveOn got people out to the Capitol Bldg last week and you could have been a part of *that*. 2.5 hours away.

    You cannot be here claiming that someone actually stopped an action that you never would have done in the first place. Right?

  13. puck says:

    So you’re not going to make the call?

  14. anonone says:

    I already have enough of Carper’s and Biden’s “your opinion is important” form letter responses to wallpaper my office, thankyouverymuch.

    Instead, I am working to become a billionaire so I can buy me some influence.

  15. Jason330 says:

    nope

  16. anonone says:

    Now I understand. It’s all Jason’s fault.

    Thanks for straightening me out, cm

  17. puck says:

    Cassandra, a movement is like a storm made up of raindrops, every drop coalescing around a speck of dust until it becomes a downpour, while you are resolutely refusing to be one of those specks of dust. No raindrop looks around to see if any other raindrops are forming.

    There are no white knights. Democrats and the economy are not going to be saved by Van Jones or some mythical Carper primary opponent.

    I do know that continuing to support and empower conservadems is the definition of insanity.

    No, I probably won’t be starting a blog with a five-year loyal readership that includes most Dem elected officials. I’ll just make my phone calls – anybody care to join me?

    Any other contributors care to step up and be a speck? The message for that phone call could use some refinement, although disappointment and withdrawal of support should be the core, along with some constructive anger. What do Democrats expect from Democratic representatives?

  18. cassandra_m says:

    All you needed to say was No. The rationalization doesn’t hide that.

    But we already knew that doing anything about your complaints was not forthcoming.

  19. Jason330 says:

    There is no fucking way Obama can be moved to the left. That ship has sailed. What’s next? For me it is feeling like a victim for the foreseeable future.

    I’ve never argued with CM’s observations about me. Only her observations about Obama and his willingness to be a good president if only we’d stop making him be shitty through our sloth.

  20. puck says:

    “. And Van Jones with MoveOn got people out to the Capitol Bldg last week and you could have been a part of *that*. 2.5 hours away.”

    Our delegates are going to be in Delaware during August. Compare how many drinking events have been organized here, vs. how many “visit your Congressman” events.

    If only we could combine the two…

  21. puck says:

    “That ship has sailed. What’s next? ”

    Move Senators to the left. Or at least give them reason not to ignore you.

  22. puck says:

    “All you needed to say was No. The rationalization doesn’t hide that.”

    And you aren’t going to make the phone call. Silence equals consent. They are conservadems because they think that’s what you want.

  23. Jason330 says:

    “Compare how many drinking events have been organized here, vs. how many “visit your Congressman” events.”

    That kinda crosses a line – because if you think there is a point to a “visit your congressman” event what is fucking stopping you from organizing one?

    I would not go of course. My voice is so much useless garbage.

  24. Geezer says:

    Seriously, Cass. We voted for Obama so we wouldn’t have to march in Washington to make our points. If we wanted to march in Washington we could have just elected a Republican.

    That’s the whole point of elections: You vote for someone who represents you so you don’t have to spell out every single issue for him or her. If I had realized I was going to have to explain the liberal position on every issue for Obama, I wouldn’t have voted for him.

    One further point: It’s not as if the public’s position on these issues is some big mystery. They poll every issue out the wazoo. They are well aware of precisely how many people are in favor of increasing taxes on the top 2%. If they ignore that evidence, which is far stronger than any number of phone calls, phone calls and rallies aren’t going to make any difference.

  25. Jason330 says:

    Me too.

  26. puck says:

    “Are you starting one? Right, I didn’t think so.”

    “what is fucking stopping you from organizing one?”

    That is like telling the unemployed to “just start your own business.” It has the ring of truthiness that makes it hard to argue with.

  27. anonone says:

    puck, do you think that the Democrats don’t realize that the majority of Americans care more about jobs than deficits? Do you think that they didn’t understand that the public option was overwhelmingly popular? Do you think that they don’t realize that the tax code is unfair and that the government needs revenues?

    Of course they realize all those things, and more. But those things are not important to the big corporate campaign financiers who want returns on their investments and immunity for their crimes.

    And ditto, geezer.

    You can make all the calls you want, but I have given up, for today anyway.

  28. Jason330 says:

    It is nothing like telling the unemployed to “just start your own business.”

    DL is at your disposal, and you know the numbers to the Wilmo offices. The only thing that is stopping you is that you know in your gut hat it is pointless.

  29. socialistic ben says:

    cassandra,
    is your point “obama has caved to the Tbaggers on every single fight because his base didn’t tell him loud enough what they wanted?” I hope not, because that is a pretty weak argument.
    I have desperately tried to find ANY kind of reason every single time to explain why he HAD to cave to them. When the GOP held unemployment hostage in order to get tax cuts to their rich friends, I understood. When they held help for 9/11 first responders after using them to win elections, i understood. Every single time i realoze that Obama’s surrendering has been because the GOP was ready and willing to hurt the country more if he didnt.

    They are horrible people. I get it, I believe it, i tell as many people in as many forms as I can on a daily basis. MY point is, Obama, myself, Organizing for America, YOU…. were wrong in assuming that he could “change the tone” in washington. I thought these monsters could be reasoned with and they cannot. now Obama is STILLL FUCKING TRYING to be “bipartisan” and “cooperative” with a band of fucking traitors who will drive the country in depression in order to gain back the power to get more and more money. We are in a fight for our society and if he isn’t willing to call them out and say what they are, than he is enabling them and should be considered an enemy.
    The only reason i have left to vote for Obama is Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s probably retirement in the next presidential term. That’s it. retaining a balanced SCOTUS. there is no reason i can see to keep this guy in charge. It wasnt the right time for a pragmatist. It wasnt the right time for a reasonable person. We needed someone as ruthless as DeMint to beat these guys (thadis) into the ground.

  30. puck says:

    Yeah, I’m not making a lot of phone calls today myself.

    One sticking point is – what do you ask for? It’s not enough to say “Don’t be such a stinking DINO” although that would be slightly better than nothing.

    Dems are still afraid of being called liberals. I think in general Dems in Congress need to know that it’s OK to vote against the President in the service of Democratic values. They don’t understand that right now. They think we will turn on them if they vote for taxes on the rich – because those are the kinds of phone calls they are getting. The right does not fall into a pit of depression like we do.

    Our reps need to know we’ve got their backs if they vote for the traditional Democratic agenda, even if that means challenging the President.

    Also – our delegation WILL be in town this month. If you hear of an appearance they are making, please post it.

  31. cassandra_m says:

    We voted for Obama so we wouldn’t have to march in Washington to make our points.

    In which case, this is spectacularly clueless. And all you have to do is look at the teajadis to see how clueless this is. If you are taking your ball and going home while other people — teajadis and corporate types combined — then you really have given up. I’ve been watching and involved in politics for a long time — and it has always been true that the world belongs to those who show up.

    And hey, you don’t even need to go to DC to make your point. Get out and do something to move Tom Carper off of his conservative butt.

    It’s funny how everybody (except puck apparently) gets this until someone asks you for your blood sweat and tears.

    That is like telling the unemployed to “just start your own business.”

    And this is just another rationalization. You might as well tell us that you leave the politics to the politicians.

  32. socialistic ben says:

    “And hey, you don’t even need to go to DC to make your point. Get out and do something to move Tom Carper off of his conservative butt.”

    like give him more money than Delmarva does? because that is the only thing he understands.

  33. puck says:

    “In which case, this is spectacularly clueless. And all you have to do is look at the teajadis to see how clueless this is.”

    The teajadis didn’t exist until Obama was elected. They didn’t need to – they had a leader in the White House.

    Bush is responsible for more debt than Obama. The debt debate proves teajadis don’t really care about spending – they just use it as a stick to beat Obama with to assure tax cuts for the rich.

    And it works – because our Congress thinks that’s what you want.

    Let me put it this way – if you WANTED to support Dems who favor tax cuts for the rich, what would you do differently from what you are already doing?

  34. socialistic ben says:

    we gave our blood sweat and tears to put Obama in office. Now i get ya cant just say “ok, now go fix everything” but on many occasions, the very people who helped him beat HIllary were scolded by him for making noise and trying to remind him who he had to thank for his job.
    Hillary DID accurately predict that the treasonous GOp would never go along with a cooperative plan. She did say they would try everything they could to destroy the democratic president no matter the cost the the nation and that an adult approach would not work with them.

  35. cassandra_m says:

    is your point “obama has caved to the Tbaggers on every single fight because his base didn’t tell him loud enough what they wanted?” I hope not, because that is a pretty weak argument.

    This would be a weak argument if you could show me that progressives matched the political work of the teahadis and still lost the argument. So until you can demonstrate that to me, you don’t have much of an argument.

    My point here isn’t about Obama. It is about politics and how it is done. So when the usual denizens of the fainting couch start with their pining for miracle movements or other efforts that are supposed to miraculously create other outcomes, I’m here asking them what they are doing to get their *miracles*. Because there aren’t any miracles without working your butt off for them. But being here pining for other people to do something isn’t exactly taking the bull by the horns. And I’m just here reminding people of that.

  36. pandora says:

    Dems are still afraid of being called liberals.

    Most Dems aren’t liberals. And there’s the rub. I realized long ago that my opinion was far left of my D friends and family. That’s been my reality since my twenties.

    And if you really want to know what brought the Tea Party to power you have to look further back that 2008. Go back 15 – 20 years and watch how they infiltrated school boards – and then launched from there into local government. This was a long term (effective) strategy.

  37. cassandra_m says:

    The teajadis didn’t exist until Obama was elected. They didn’t need to – they had a leader in the White House.

    And this is really revisionist. The teajadis did not exist, certainly, but it isn’t as though the Christianists and others who wanted their agendas dealt with weren’t working overtime to make sure their *leader* knew they were still there. You could certainly see their fingerprints were in plain sight in terms of judges. These people did not just go home and trust that it all gets done their way. You could see their fingerprints in plain sight over the immigration business. And that crazy faith-based bullshit they kept pushing.

    So keep it up. I expect by now that you have spent more time rationalizing away why you shouldn’t be part of holding anyone accountable than you would have spent in actually doing just that.

  38. Jason330 says:

    If getting a President elected does not show some political energy (some recognition of how politics are done) I don’t know what does. The central fact is that Obama has failed the people who worked to get him in office. Now we are groping for excuses for that failure.

    Some here are anyway.

  39. cassandra_m says:

    And you would have a genuine argument if the US Government ONLY had a President. Sheesh.

  40. Geezer says:

    Shorter Cass: Let’s blame the victims. They didn’t fight hard enough.

  41. Geezer says:

    C’mon, Cass. Bill Clinton fought for us without us having to rally in Washington for him. These excuses are just lame. The guy doesn’t represent the poor and downtrodden. No further excuses needed.

  42. pandora says:

    I loved Bill Clinton, but after he lost the chance for HCR it was never mentioned again; it was almost as if it never existed. He also swung right after HCR failed, which I didn’t like but it helped him in his re-election. His economic policies were great. He prioritized his economic plan – some would say, and still say, at the expense of HCR.

    Personally, I think there’s only so many big things a President can get done, so I’m not blaming Clinton for walking away from HCR.

  43. cassandra_m says:

    Now *that* is revisionist.

    Bill Clinton, the architect of Ending Welfare as We Know it and all kinds of DLC-centered BS — who was widely and loudly vilified by the left for all of the DLC BS he was attached to — is now someone who represented the poor and downtrodden.

    Shorter Fainting Couch Caucus — we’re doing everything we can to not sully ourselves with the political process. Including re-writing history.

  44. Geezer says:

    And yet, he fought Republicans instead of kissing their asses. With Obama, we get the same DLC programs, but only after Obama makes a big fuss about folding his hand.

    You can always tell what Republicans value by what they claim others value. You know how they always claim that our foreign enemies respect only strength, not compromise? They’re projecting again. That’s the only thing they value.

    For all his shitty DLC triangulating, Clinton at least put these radical Republicans in their place. Obama is elevating them.

  45. cassandra_m says:

    OK. So hitting the Republicans on the nose is more important for trying to change policy.

    Good to know what’s important, I guess.

  46. pandora says:

    Hmmm… I wasn’t outraged with Clinton, and I’m not outraged with Obama. Perhaps I just don’t do outrage very well – which seems to be my biggest sin with certain people. :-)

  47. Geezer says:

    Cass: Wrong again. It’s more that if I”m going to be forced to eat this crap, I want to see someone punch the chef in the nose.

    As for “changing policy,” let me know how that works out. Perhaps you weren’t around for the ’60s. We didn’t start changing any policy until several years after they shot and killed some of us.

  48. puck says:

    “Bill Clinton, the architect of Ending Welfare as We Know it and all kinds of DLC-centered BS — who was widely and loudly vilified by the left for all of the DLC BS he was attached to — is now someone who represented the poor and downtrodden.”

    Old-school welfare programs are what got our asses kicked time and time again. Liberals might long for them but progressives acknowledge the problem of dependency.

    Clinton delivered JOBS and rising real wages, which is a hell of a lot better than welfare.

    “I wasn’t outraged with Clinton, and I’m not outraged with Obama. ”

    Let them tread on reproductive rights or gay rights and unless I miss my guess, you will be scrawling out your very own “Obama Sucks” sign.

    Everyone has their own special interest. Mine happens to be US economic prosperity.

  49. anonone says:

    cassandra_m, how wrong can you be on so many points?

    We didn’t just elect a President in 2008. He also had an overwhelming majority in the House as well as the biggest Senate Majority any party had had in decades. The R’s were on the run and he had tremendous goodwill at home and around the world.

    Now, look at where we are two years later.

    He clearly lied to get elected. He has lied repeatedly while in office. Not only has he cast scorn on the liberal base of the Democratic party, he has consistently worked against or ignored some of the most fundamental core principles of the Democratic party. And don’t tell me about what he says; just look at what he has and has not done. And the results.

    But you just continue to be the village scold, and it is an act that is getting very very old.

  50. anonone says:

    geezer wrote, “We didn’t start changing any policy until several years after they shot and killed some of us.

    Amen, geezer, amen. The world could have been so different.

  51. cassandra_m says:

    We didn’t start changing any policy until several years after they shot and killed some of us.

    Which was when people started really hitting the streets and doing other stuff to create some genuine political pain. Enough pain that LBJ couldn’t run again.

  52. Geezer says:

    No, it wasn’t. LBJ had already decided not to run again by the time of the Chicago convention, let alone Kent State.

    If you want to bolster your pro-Obama argument, you might point out that getting rid of LBJ brought us Nixon.

  53. cassandra_m says:

    Everyone has their own special interest. Mine happens to be US economic prosperity.

    Actually no, it isn’t. Because Ending Welfare As We Know it certainly did nothing to end poverty or the need to help people work. The internet bubble lifted a bunch of boats, but certainly did nothing to address the long-term issues. Which include the fact that wages have been fundamentally flat, that jobs at the low-skill end of the scale are disappearing from the US, and that these folks have little opportunity for health care. Clinton addressed none of that, certainly, which tells me AGAIN that you were not paying any attention to anyone objecting to this policy when he was implementing it. Because the conditions that existed when he did implement it are still those conditions. Except that there is a potential of getting some better access to health care in 2014.

    This hind-sight lionizing of Clinton is hysterical. I voted for the guy twice, but was mad as a hatter at him pretty much after DODT. I’d bet most of you were too. But apparently the fact that he gave good theater vis the Republicans forgives alot.

  54. cassandra_m says:

    If you want to bolster your pro-Obama argument, you might point out that getting rid of LBJ brought us Nixon.

    I’m not making a pro-Obama argument, but I understand that you need to think this to continue on this line. So thanks for playing. Especially since I responded specifically to what my point here was a number of points upthread.

    And yes, LBJ leaving the field did bring us Nixon. And it is true that Kent State and the Chicago Conventions were after LBJ. Which rather makes my point, I think. There was plenty of political pressure on LBJ *before* people started shooting at protesters for him to leave the field.

  55. Geezer says:

    No. Having a good economy to work with — and a method for making Republicans take the blame — forgives a lot. Because now we have all the disadvantages of Clinton, with none of the advantages.

  56. Geezer says:

    “There was plenty of political pressure on LBJ *before* people started shooting at protesters”

    And yet policy did not change. Your point was about policy, I believe. LBJ’s resignation changed nothing but the person in office.

  57. anonone says:

    LBJ resigned after Eugene McCarthy primaried him in NH, and he saw the writing on the wall.(hint, hint) Bobby Kennedy would have handily beat Nixon in ’68 if he hadn’t been killed.

    In light of the Kennedy assassination, blaming LBJ for Nixon is utterly preposterous.

  58. MJ says:

    LBJ did not resign. He decided against running for another term after McCarthy took 42% of the vote to LBJ’s 49% in the NH Primary.

  59. puck says:

    “The internet bubble lifted a bunch of boats, but certainly did nothing to address the long-term issues.”

    It is a Republican article of faith that the success of the Clinton economy was solely based on the Internet bubble. I suppose next you will tell me Newt Gingrich was responsible for all those jobs.

    The equities bubble did not form until 98-99. Before then economic growth was steady and healthy, consistent with Clinton’s 1992 economic plan requiring more contribution from the rich, and the development of new technology.

    In fact it was a Republican policy, the 1998 capital gains tax cut (caved on by Clinton), that turned the 1990s boom into an equities bubble.

    That tax cut (cutting to 20%) should have been a warning that taxes were changing investment behavior for the worse, and were starting to go below the optimum level for good economic performance. And we followed up by crashing through those optimum levels across all other types of taxes in 2001 and 2010, both times enabled by Dems.

  60. socialistic ben says:

    Here is the reality. Obama has faced a constant birrage of “suicide bomber mentality” from the right wing, willing to destroy anything to get their way.
    In light of that he cant be blamed for “compromising” in progressive agenda vs the nation’s economy i side with the nation’s economy.
    my outrage comes from his apparent unwillingness to call them out on their wicked ways.

  61. Truth Teller says:

    Well here I am no one to blame but myself . You folks pushed this WEAKLING in an empty suit and me I caved and voted for him. He is the biggest failure since the Edsel

  62. cassandra_m says:

    And yet policy did not change. Your point was about policy, I believe. LBJ’s resignation changed nothing but the person in office.

    My point is less about policy than it is about political action. There was enough heat on LBJ that he could not run again. Nixon certainly did not change Vietnam policy. It took a Congress (feeling the heat, but also elected for stopping the war) to start cutting back the funding for the war for that policy to fundamentally change.

  63. cassandra_m says:

    It is a Republican article of faith that the success of the Clinton economy was solely based on the Internet bubble. I suppose next you will tell me Newt Gingrich was responsible for all those jobs.

    The majority of the Clinton success comes from the Internet Bubble. What you don’t know is that a bubble economy has genuine trickle down effects. But what you don’t know is fairly epic so we would go too far there. The economy when Clinton inherited it was recovering but no where near it’s second term heights. What everyone remembers about the Clinton economy is the second term heights.

    But then you haven’t addressed all of the structural poverty issues that Clinton never paid attention too, either, so you aren’t helping your *economic issues* cred.

  64. Geezer says:

    OK, then this should be your takeaway on political action: Most people don’t go to rallies unless their own asses are on the line. You can get ‘em out there once or twice, just like the Tea Parties did, but it doesn’t turn into political force unless and until the media magnify it. In this case, Fox pretended it was a true movement and the rest of the media, scared of being scooped, followed along.

    You’ll notice the last Tea Party Express rally attracted 15 people on the Mall last week. Do you think 15 of us would have the same effect?

  65. puck says:

    By raising taxes on the rich, Clinton’s 1992 economic plan DID address a structural problem in the economy – taxes on the wealthy were too low for conditions at the time. Markets were concerned about deficits, just as they are today, and the tax increase addressed their concerns by showing we were serious about the deficit. It wasn’t necessary to fix the whole deficit right then; just starting the arrow going in the right direction was enough to reassure markets and start healthy growth.

    As a result of that one action. most major poverty indexes improved across the whole decade, not just the “bubble” portion which began in 1998.

    Clinton’s 1992 economic plan is the proof that cutting spending is not the only way to cut a deficit, and is certainly not the best way.

  66. cassandra_m says:

    Most people don’t go to rallies unless their own asses are on the line.

    And political action is quite abit *more* than rallies. I’ve been posting over and over again reports on places where the teajadis engage Congresspeople with some effect and few of those include rallies. My example to Jason about the Van Jones thing last week was specifically in response to his claim that somehow progressives were lied to enough to not be able to pressure the White House or Congress.

    People calling for *movements* and the like for whatever miracles they want to deliver whatever miracles they didn’t get on election day need to come to terms with the fact that voting and going home isn’t exactly how political change happens in this country.

  67. Geezer says:

    “voting and going home isn’t exactly how political change happens in this country.”

    It is if you’re a conservative. I don’t recall Reagan supporters having to rally in the streets, or do anything else for that matter, to get what they thought they were voting for.

    Give up, Cass. Obama is an uninspiring figure because he doesn’t want to fight for the hard stuff. Don’t act surprised that, as a result, I’ll be damned if I fight for him.

  68. cassandra_m says:

    It is if you’re a conservative. I don’t recall Reagan supporters having to rally in the streets, or do anything else for that matter, to get what they thought they were voting for.

    Uh no, it isn’t. It is why their people listen to them. Seriously, you have on about how the teajadis have all of this infrastructure to get heard and NOW you want to say that conservatives don’t have to play the political game.

    Give up, Geezer. I don’t give a damn whether you are fighting for him or not. But if you aren’t out there fighting for something that you want, don’t be at all surprised that you don’t get it. Because there isn’t one single thing about political achievements in this country that does not happen without the right incentives. And incentives do not include rationalizing why you or anyone else shouldn’t have to work for the outcomes you want.

  69. anonone says:

    If Tinkerbell dies (Obama fails) it is because we didn’t clap (fight) hard enough.

    No matter what, it is our fault.

    Thus sayeth the scold.

  70. Jason330 says:

    I’m in an odd spot. I don’t like Obama, but I like Obama supporters more than I like Obama haters. Similarly, I don’t like smoking, but I like smokers better than anti-smokers.

  71. puck says:

    you have on about how the teajadis have all of this infrastructure to get heard

    The Presidency and Senate is one hell of a piece of infrastructure.

  72. pandora says:

    So are the American people – who I don’t begin to understand, but this is what we are up against.

    internals of the new CNN poll:

    As you may know, the agreement would cut about one trillion dollars in government spending over the next ten years with provisions to make additional spending cuts in the future. Regardless of how you feel about the overall agreement, do you approve or disapprove of the cuts in government spending included in the debt ceiling agreement?

    Approve 65

    Disapprove 30

    Sixty five percent approve of deal’s spending cuts. But it gets worse. Of the 30 percent who disapprove, 13 percent think the cuts haven’t gotten far enough, and only 15 percent think the cuts go too far. One sixth of Americans agree with the liberal argument about the deal.

    [...]

    “We will only find success when a majority of Americans agrees with us that government is something worth fighting for,” wrote Jared Bernstein. When looking at the above numbers, it’s hard not to agree. And it’s easy to understand why the White House ultimately decided — right or wrong — that it had to fight this battle almost entirely on the GOP’s turf. Liberals who still hope to shift the playing field have tons of work to do.

    I don’t get where the public is coming from, but this is a big problem.

  73. puck says:

    Everybody thinks somebody else’s check is going to get cut. Like all of Obama’s deals, this deal doesn’t spill any blood on the floor until later. It gives Dems their chance to make a clean getaway.

    I don’t think the left should be categorically against spending cuts of any kind. I’m all for making government smarter and more efficient. Drug price negotiation and elimination of Medicare Part D should be on the table.

    But even as we trim core government, we still need to defend increases to temporary relief spending during times of sucky economy.

    The thing is, it is hard to defend increased safety net spending as “temporary” when there is no jobs plan on the table.

  74. Truth Teller says:

    I have received E-Mails from all the senators and congressman I contacted before the vote urging them to vote No they include Nancy, Reid, our three guys, Biden and others. All of whom admit that it’s a bad bill but had to support it to save the country. What a bunch of crap

  75. pandora says:

    Sheesh, looks like we couldn’t even make phone calls.

    Some 66% of the two groups followed news on the issue closely versus only 34% of those who had different views or did not offer a political opinion. Nor were they passive observers: some 66% of Republicans and Tea Partiers contacted an elected official during the standoff while only 5% of the rest did the same. This despite a direct appeal from President Obama to do exactly that.

    Sad.

  76. Well pandora, we learned today that apparently we just have to vote and that’s the end of our civic duty. Things change all by themselves, as long as you the most perfect and pure politician in office.

  77. puck says:

    Sheesh, looks like we couldn’t even make phone calls.

    It’s not too late. Why not call them now and tell them you are a Democrat but you are disappointed you are with their vote and you intend to hold them accountable for it, and you can no longer support them if they continue to vote against the nation’s economic interests? Unless you are OK with the way they voted.

    Carper, Coons, Carney – call them tomorrow. And when the next hostage/cave situation comes up, call them early and often, no matter how much it looks like Obama has it under control.

    I rarely do this (repeat a question I have already asked) so I apologize in advance:

    If you WANTED to support Dems who favor tax cuts for the rich, what would you do differently from what you are already doing?

  78. jason330 says:

    Obama enablers are misguided and at this point, a bit sad. David Plouffe, though, that guy is a fucking idiot.

  79. anonone says:

    Yes, it is all our fault. We should have called Carper, Coons, and Carney and told them that we supported Obama’s super-secret “balanced approach,” even though he never specified what it was and even though it probably included SS and Medicare cuts.

    Tomorrow, I am going to call Carper, Coons, and Carney to tell them I support “hope and change,” the “balanced approach,” and saying “Yes we can” repeatedly.

    That should do it, dontchathink?

  80. puck says:

    Throw in a “Hands off my Medicare” and I think you’ve got it.

  81. Geezer says:

    I admire your persistence, Cass, but I really don’t get this attitude. Are you really of the opinion that the only way for good things to happen politically is for people to rally for them? You really think that our politicians, instead of handling issues rationally, should gauge their response by how many people complain? Or that such “petitioning of the government” is a cause rather than an ex-post-facto explanation for how they vote?

    Because if you do, you have a very, very different idea of representative democracy than I do. In my view, the better ideas should win out — not because more people subscribe to those ideas, but because analysis shows they are the best ideas. And it’s not as if government never worked that way. Nobody had to rally in the streets to get Social Security enacted. There were no “Enact Medicare Now” rallies in the ’60s. And, contrary to Republican claims, those programs weren’t enacted with the thought of votes to come.

    As I noted earlier, public polling is a far more accurate measure of the public’s views than flooding a Congressional office with phone calls will ever be. If they want to ignore the public will, it’s because they want to ignore the public will, not because they don’t know what it is.

  82. puck says:

    “Because if you do, you have a very, very different idea of representative democracy than I do. ”

    It is a very common viewpoint – that the default policies are Republican, and Democratic policies are an abberation that can be implemented only with some kind of Velvet Revolution.

    That view point fails to take into account that traditional Democratic policies on kitchen-table issues poll very well – it’s just that our Dem leaders tend to resist the polls on those issues.

    Obama even specializes in dragging out a negotiation until the Republican viewpoint starts rising in the polls – a spike that reverts to historic norms after the fake crisis is over.

    Not to mention, no matter what crappy hand Republicans are dealt, they play it very well, against our wide-eyed suckers in Dem leadership.

  83. Geezer says:

    “we learned today that apparently we just have to vote and that’s the end of our civic duty.”

    Really? That’s your takeaway? That not only do we have to vote, we then have to ride herd on our representatives on every issue to make sure they don’t do the wrong thing? That’s how the founders intended this system to work? See, I don’t think so, because in the time of the Founders, there was no way to get a message anywhere in time to affect a vote. I’m pretty sure this system — rather than a direct democracy — was set up with the idea that you voted for a like-minded person and then trusted him to do the right thing.

    “Things change all by themselves, as long as you the most perfect and pure politician in office.”

    You seldom construct straw men, UI, but when you do it’s a thing of beauty. Perfect and pure? Doing what you said you would do is now a sign of perfection and purity, rather than the term most people would use — honesty?

    Believe it or not, most people are too busy living their lives to take part in such demands for redress of grievances. It’s no accident that so many Tea Party rallies were full of retirees and the self-employed. Most people take to the streets when a situation becomes unbearable (or, like Vietnam Era students, face a life-threatening situation).

    Don’t worry, people will take to the streets. But it’s going to be after they find out what the new Catfood Commission dictates.

  84. anonone says:

    geezer, you’re on a roll…

    The bottom line (literally) is that money rules American politics and dictates policy. The political powers throw a few crumbs to the poor and middle class, but the table is still slanted toward the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and the middle class being squeezed. Even our criminal justice system prosecutes the poor but mostly lets the rich and powerful walk.

    As far as voting goes, there is no way to determine that voting in America is fair and honest, and nobody should trust that it is because there is no way to prove that it is.

    Until we have some kind of public campaign financing and federal election standards, including audit trails for ballots, our discussions about common citizen influence in politics are basically rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic.

  85. ” In my view, the better ideas should win out — not because more people subscribe to those ideas, but because analysis shows they are the best ideas.”

    AGREED. That was why observation of the sausage-making around the health care reform in the Senate was so exhaustively nauseating. The people rallied on either end of the issue but the legislation seemed hell bent on becoming anything but common sense – best practice. It was, in the end, a ridiculously opaque deliberative process with a hugely expensive pricetag which served the corporate interests of the beltway.

  86. cassandra_m says:

    Oh goodie. Now we’re at The System Should Work In The High-Minded Way I’ve Imaged phase of the conversation.

    Maybe there is a poll someplace of the vast army of lobbyists who have been asked if they think that this is the way the system works. That there are all of these reasonable and rational and high-minded politicians that we routinely vote into office who will always and everywhere work to make sure that the best ideas win the day. Which is why, I’m sure, that the FAA is currently not funded and not working, right? Which is why, I’m sure, that the Delaware deepening project is moving forward — because it *is* the best idea out there. And hey! LBJ made the Civil Rights Act happen *only* because it was the best idea out there. Or that those crazy backscatter machines are the best idea out there for security. Or the Patriot Act! Why there was a best idea out there if I ever saw one.

    Everyone thinks that the government should work better than it does. But until it does, you get what you want using the current rules of the game. There has been little accomplished in this country otherwise. Even Benjamin Franklin was a lobbyist for PA for awhile.

    But when we get to the *how it should all work* part of the conversation, we’ve gotten to the part of the rationalization that communicates that “I should never have to get my hands dirty.” Which is OK. It is not OK to pretend to be victimized by some idealized version of how this country works though, just to justify not getting your hands dirty.

  87. Jason330 says:

    No poll of lobbyists that I know of, but there was a big poll of Americans in 2008 and America voted for a man who said that he wanted “to change the way Washington works.”

    That was 2008 though. I think that guy is now running against Bachmann for the GOP nomination.

  88. Jason330 says:

    I guess it may come down asking how to best support the President. I think he needs to hear the criticism, as the enabling does not seem to be getting very good results.

  89. puck says:

    I think we can all agree Obama did change the way Washington works. We used to have an opposition.

    Does anybody remember how much Republicans were sweating after they all voted for the Ryan budget ending Medicare and ending taxation of the rich, and they were afraid Dems were going to clean their clocks over it? They needn’t have worried.

  90. puck says:

    I think it is time for Dem rank and file to up the anger level with their Congressmen. Every time I call or write I am too damn polite. I have to start practicing my angry face.

    Coons, Carper, Carney. Find them and show them your angry face.

    Caveat: If you aren’t really angry, don’t bother.

  91. anonone says:

    cassandra_m, why don’t you try coming down from your high horse and recognize and acknowledge the fact that there are many many people besides yourself who “get their hands dirty,” and have been trying for decades to bring about changes “using the current rules of the game.”

    Using your vernacular, the fact is that “the current rules of the game” are incredibly stacked against citizens influencing the government in all the traditional ways. One cannot ever win “a game” when the opposition is automatically awarded 10 points every time you score 1 or every 15 minutes, whichever comes first. One cannot win a game when the opponent constantly makes up their own rules, and the system is designed to cover-up cheating.

    If you think that the Teabaggers are a good example of citizen influence, think again. The only reason that they got the over-blown media attention that they did is because their message (“Taxed Enough Already”) served the interest of the big money and big media. Similar movements on the left are ignored because they don’t serve the interests of big money or big media.

    Really, if you like Obama and you like what he is doing, fine. I guess that you’re getting what you want. But being the village scold to everybody who disagrees with you and writing like you’re the only one who has ever done any activism is a pretty conceited and arrogant posture to recline in.

  92. Geezer says:

    There is no way to make a point to someone whose self-image depends on her not getting the point.

    You can talk all you want about the way the system works. What I’m saying is that it did not always work that way. Or are you claiming that civil rights legislation was a response to people in the streets? Because for the most part, it wasn’t. That’s not what they were in the streets for.

    Now I want you to point out for me which liberal positions, since the ’60s, were won by taking to the streets. I’d like you to point out what your activity has accomplished — not on the local level, where such input DOES stand a chance of making a difference, but on the national level.

    I can think of only one example: The nomination of Barack Obama. We were having Hillary forced on us and tens of thousands of people said no, we’re backing this guy — and their presence on the streets proved it.

    Anti-war protests during Bush’s presidency accomplished nothing — and those protests have disappeared under Obama, lending credence to criticism that it was about Bush rather than about the war. It didn’t surprise me — it took seven years of protests to make the point about Viet Nam.

    Oh, about Ben Franklin: He spent 20 years in London and got nothing for his efforts. Money talks, and bullshit walks.

    My activity boils down to making rational points about the best policy ends to pursue. If your point is that we have to be just as angry as the Tea Party to win anything, include me out. Or am I misreading what you mean by “getting your hands dirty”? Because if you mean helping to elect Democrats, again, include me out.

  93. cassandra m says:

    2008 and America voted for a man who said that he wanted “to change the way Washington works.

    Oh yes.

    America voted for a guy who said “I believe in the people — Al Gore believes in Washington”.

    And you could probably win a bar bet on which of the GOP field *isn’t* running on the “Washington is broken” theme.

    No need for me to keep this up when Slate has already inventoried just how standard that bit of rhetoric is.

  94. donviti says:

    If your point is that we have to be just as angry as the Tea Party to win anything, include me out.

    which is why we are where we are at and the rich are where they are at. We don’t want to fight hard enough…

    Look what their anger got them

  95. Jason330 says:

    If we got a fraction of the red meat from the Dem leadership that the tea party gets from republicans leadership, progressives would be an unstoppable force in American politics. Everyone is willing to get their hands dirty, it is just tough to get up for a fight when you are fighting against people who keep claiming to be on your side.

    I think the path forward for me is to sign up with, and give money and time to, whoever looks like the most vocal progressive critics of Obama’s center right policies.

  96. Geezer says:

    Their anger got them nothing. Their money funded all those “grassroots” Tea PArtiers on the streets.

    If someone wants to pay poor people to stage rallies, I’m sure they’ll be up for it.

    So now Cassandra is admitting that Obama just said what he said to get elected? Finally we’re on the same page.

  97. cassandra m says:

    You get to talk about folks not getting your point when you’ve demonstrated that you are actually dealing with the points made to you. Which you have persistently NOT DONE just so you can have the argument you want. Apparently the calling card of the Fainting Couch Caucus.

    Being in the streets is not my point. Or certainly not an especially large part of it. Which I *have* pointed out at least once. But I think folks reading this get why you need to focus in on this little bit at the expense of what I am arguing.

    So you should go pay attention to what you should be paying attention to this morning, because you certainly aren’t paying attention to this argument.

  98. puck says:

    Teabaggers’ greatest strength is their willingness and ability to hold their own Republican representatives accountable for following the perverted teabagger economic ideology. For a teabagger, any Republican who does not toe their line is expendable. This is something Dems should learn from.

    Republicans held firm on taxes because they were afraid of their base. Democrats caved because they were not afraid of theirs.

    In defense of purity purges – Teabaggers do not spend their time dithering over purity purges – they just do it. True, they lost a Senate seat over Christine O’Donnell, but the same technique brought them Senator Rubio. (an aside: How the f**k do you win office in Florida promising to cut Medicare?)

    And they won a greater victory. Watching Castle fall was a shot across the bow to every other Republican to follow the teabagger line. Castle was a pawn to be gladly sacrificed to send an enforcement message to all Republicans – and it worked.

    If teabaggers had failed to defeat Castle, teabaggers would be perceived as weak and maybe some Republicans could have been peeled off for the December tax vote or the debt vote. Not that anybody was trying that hard to peel them off.

  99. Jason330 says:

    Oh Jesus Cassandra, now you are arguing that we shouldn’t expect anything from Obama because he is just another craven politician? It is truly sad to see how threadbare your justifications and excuses have become.

  100. anonone says:

    cassandra_m wrote, “America voted for a guy who said “I believe in the people — Al Gore believes in Washington”.

    Um, no they didn’t. The majority voted for Al Gore – the Presidency was given to George W. Bush by the SCOTUS when vote counting was stopped in Florida.

    Another example of the game being totally fixed that cassndra_m chooses to ignore or, worse, rewrite.

  101. Geezer says:

    I’m sorry I’m missing your point. What is that point, if it’s not that we can’t elect people who will do what we desire without constant monitoring and pressure on our part?

    And I NEED to do what? YOU’RE the one making the unsupportable point — that it’s impossible to trust a politician who claims to be left of center.

  102. Yes, the system sucks. There are multiple ways to protect the status quo. Republicans have exploited this loophole effectively.

    The big social change successes have come from popular movements. The Civil Rights Act came from a long social movement. The successes in civil rights for LGBT have come from long movements. Yes, it’s hard work. I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.

    Pandora is right that presidents really have one big thing to accomplish. Obama’s done more – hcr (imperfect as it is), stimulus (ditto) and DADT repeal. So yes, I believe he’s doing what he said he would do. I would hope that one thing this debacle hammers home is that Congress has a lot of power. That’s why the compromises come about. Remember Obama only had a 60 vote Senate for about 6 months (that includes a Nelson and a Lieberman).

    I’m not sure why it makes me naive to recognize how hard change is to accomplish and he’s doing the best he can. I thought his movement was Yes WE Can not Yes I Can. So many people forgot the “we” part.

  103. Geezer says:

    Just as I don’t appreciate commenters who misdirect their anger at Obama to posters on this site, I don’t appreciate posters on this site who think that because they work for the Democratic Party and others don’t, it gives them leeway to insult those people as insufficiently liberal.

    My job precludes me actually work for any candidate, but I (my wife, really) supported Obama to the tune of four figures in 2008. Never did it before, and after the results, never will again. But I sure resent some loyalty enforcer telling me how involved I have to be before I’m allowed to support liberal positions.

    Let’s put it this way: I no longer wonder why people like anonone take Cassandra’s crap personally and respond in kind. She invites it, because she’s the one throwing around the personal insults.

    You reap what you sow, Cassandra, and this exchange has shown me that what you sow is a crop that’s won’t bring you much return.

  104. cassandra_m says:

    Oh dear. It’s the Cassandra’s Fault part of our program. Even though it is my argument that has been routinely mischaracterized.

    This particular narrative approaches Nancy Willing territory. But I understand how people need to hang on to their narratives. I don’t work for the Democratic Party here (but have worked for the occasional friend AND I’ve discussed why I don’t work for the party here too, so thanks for remembering that)and this particular argument I’ve been making isn’t (nor the previous ones) about loyalty, either. Frankly, I think that it is hard to look at the totality of my writing here and even think that loyalty to Democrats is even my interest.

    And I don’t much care about who or what you supported — that isn’t especially germaine to my point, either. If anything, I’m the one who has been insulted here — spending alot of time and energy trying to explain a position to a bunch of people who have put their fingers in their ears and screaming LALALALALALALA.

    Grow up.

  105. anonone says:

    UI, in regards to your post at 10:49, times have changed since the Civil Rights fights 50 years ago. The government routinely infiltrates and spies on dissident groups, big media has consolidated to become big business with vested corporate interests to protect, and big money drives politics.

    LGBT rights and DADT are important, but they are marginal wins in the sense that they really don’t impact the the big fight for economic justice in any meaningful way.

    I think citizens had much more influence back then, but they can’t compete against big money campaign contributions, big media, and corporate lobbyists today.

  106. anonone says:

    cassandra_m, either no one understands you or no one agrees with you. Take your pick.

  107. Geezer says:

    Sorry, but I still don’t get what you’re on about. You’ve told me many of the things you aren’t talking about, but refuse to explain what you are talking about. Apparently you have to do all the work around here, or something.

    At this stage my point has been reduced to, “Go fuck yourself.” I don’t care for your attitude and tone, and I wouldn’t work with you to bail out my own boat if it were sinking. In short, now I see why all these other people consider you an asshole.

  108. kavips says:

    Quote of the day… “You know you are in legislative hell, when your co- patriots vote for legislation based on who is or isn’t for it, … instead of what it actually does or doesn’t do…” —– :)

  109. John Young says:

    funny new site, maybe worth a CR:

    http://slowclapforcongress.com/

  110. ldl says:

    “Obama is an uninspiring figure because he doesn’t want to fight for the hard stuff”

    I like him but he is not a leader. He is a great speaker but not a great leader. Like all of the others in Washington it just seems that he wants to get re-elected and that is sad. Given the alternative, I truly hope that he gets re-elected. However, if he doesn’t win, he will have wasted the opportunity to stand for something (other than compromise) during his presidency.

    Why focus on debt and not jobs? Because no one in Washington has any real ideas about how to or the ability to turn this economy around. They have rhetoric but no ideas. They just don’t know what to do.

  111. kavips says:

    George Washington was an uninspiring figure as a president… too.. Read his biographies, they all point that out.

    His genius was he sat quietly, and listened.. First to Jefferson, a socialist and a fellow Virginian, and then Hamilton…. a capitalist of extreme proportion, and a replanted New Yorker…

    The decisions he subsequently made, are one of the reasons our nation survived as long as it did…

    He was cautious, circumspect, and worked hard to not make waves. He was an “advocate for nothing”, it was once uttered of him…….. The things we take for granted today, were hard forged compromises between two opposites.. Today they are dogma, the basis of our nations financial system and our political process…..

    He knew, as the first president of the first democracy since Caesar took over Rome, he COULD NOT fail. If he did, the nation would fall upon itself in it’s criticism and so divided… it would fall. Imagine if we’d had the Civil War just years after the Revolutionary One.. Some country we’d have now, huh?

    The first black president is under the same scrutiny. If he fails, there will be no other.. Similar to Reagan, who had to prove a comic actor could be president, Obama has to prove an African American can govern civilly, that having a person who is non white does not collapse the country as did Mugabe, that the president is a position, not a privilege, one that comes with responsibility…

    I question the above comment (12:36am).. How does one define a leader? In Obama historians will see someone who grew more jobs in his first 2 years than the previous Republican did his whole 8. Historians will see that Health Care, an issue on the burner since 1947, was finally passed.. (through the ART OF COMPROMISE) over the objection of the most powerful lobby in Washington. Historians will see that Wall Street, now required to have reserves on hand (again), is now a much safer spot to place one’s money and has to answer to regulatory agencies whose job is solely to protect the investor… Historians will see this week’s action, as a very important first step, in pulling back a free-fall deficit tracked to saddle America with a debt amount greater than it’s yearly GDP by 2050. Historians will mention, that even though the debt was discussed for our lifetimes, it took an African American President to actually get the first step accomplished and signed.. Anyone who has listened to Dave Walker, former GAO, knows how bad this financial crises is. You liberals, who yelled at Bush for 8 years, pulling out all the facts, all the charts, all the economic realities.. know.. It hasn’t changed. and spineless Republicans couldn’t even pass the hat to their own supporters for their own programs, much less cut down the debt caused by their predecessors…

    Historians will say Republicans had no spine.. It took a Democrat, an Afro American Democrat, to step up to the plate and hit not just one, but three home runs for America…

    You can argue traits of leadership, you can make up criteria so narrow, no one can fit within and then expound to all that person is not a leader.. You can do the same forpolar bear experts..(lol Del Lib inside joke..).

    But excuse me if I choose to judge by who gets results….

    By that criteria, he’s a pretty damn good leader, so far.

    :)

  112. puck says:

    Well I’ll be damned, kavips. I never realized Obama couldn’t raise taxes on the rich because he’s black. Bring me a white guy!!

    It is some cosmic joke that we finally elect a black President and he’s a conservative.

    Wanda Sykes:

    ” The first black President… unless you screw up…. Then it’s gonna be, “What’s up with the half white guy?”

  113. kavips says:

    The proper response, is… if you’d wanted a liberal, you shouldn’t have sat on your hands the first two years.

    Imagine a military mission going into an enemy village, setting up camp, and taking a siesta…..

    We did. He’s doing the best he can with what we gave him…

    Seriously, (.. don’t take this personally, it is addressed to the majority of voters) did you laugh and spend your energy deriding a fake witch running for local office, or was 100% of your energy targeted against the real witchcraft…. the hocus pocus of voodoo economics…?

    That message, that the Bush Tax Cuts destroyed this nation, has to get out there, and not stay cooped up here on these and like minded blogs. When we get to the point where everyone laughs hysterically, falling on the floor at Eric Cantor when he says “tax cuts create jobs”, then this nation gets back on track…

    Why are you here, and not on Delaware Politics today? That is where you need to be… pointing their ideas don’t work? :)

    Again, no offense… it is addressed to a majority of voters.

  114. anonone says:

    The perpetually perplexed kavips blames the voters for Obama’s dishonesty and incompetency.

    I suppose he would have rained accolades on Herbert Hoover, back in the day.

  115. puck says:

    I think kavips is just noodling around and working both sides of the argument. Because he can. He’s that good.