Something Broke

Filed in National by on August 5, 2011

I think that there has been a shift that may have broken many things.  I think that the whole debt deal and the recriminations have emboldened the detractors on both sides of the President.  And I think that the people that have trusted and continue to trust the President to do the right thing are going to hide in the shadows.

I got a call last night from OFA asking me to make a donation to the campaign to counter some campaign that Karl Rove is rolling out. I turned them down.  I didn’t tell them that it was because I was disappointed in the way the whole debt ceiling deal went down, but that was part of it.

But continuing to try to explain what is happening to tea partiers and hostile progressives alike is a disheartening battle.  I don’t know what will recover the spirit that moved me and others to tears on election night 2008, but I’m a Democrat, so I always have a little flame of hope.  Even if it’s hidden under a bushel.


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  1. anonone says:

    LG wrote“And I think that the people that have trusted and continue to trust the President to do the right thing are going to hide in the shadows.”

    hide in the shadows = bury head deeper in sand

  2. socialistic ben says:

    I had a similar experience yesterday with OFA. My response was pretty much that other than voting, i was sitting this one out unless it looked like the Repuke was winning, then I would only be volunteering against Romney.

  3. Dana says:

    Well, the Republicans and Democrats agreed to do just what everyone said was necessary, to avoid a credit downgrade.


  4. Truth Teller says:

    Want to really feel down . Get Today’s Washington Post on the front page is an article by Peter Wallsten titled Obama Partisans unsettled by talks.If what the members of congress have reported as to what took place at that May meeting is true, than there really isn’t any hope for us in the future with this President. I urge all of you to read this article and form your own judgement but be prepared to be disappointed.

  5. puck says:

    Here’s the link to the WaPo article

    he White House was knee-deep in budget negotiations with Republican lawmakers one May afternoon when Senate Democrats boarded buses for a short ride down Pennsylvania Avenue for a face-to-face session with President Obama.

    Seated in an auditorium, the senators pressed Obama on their key concern as talks heated up over raising the nation’s debt ceiling: How would he stand up to tea party Republicans?

    To the dismay of many in the audience, Obama conceded that he probably couldn’t — and probably wouldn’t — push too hard because he was unwilling to risk a U.S. government default.

    “I have no choice,” the president said, according to one participant.

    I’d like to hear that those Senators voted against the deal.

  6. phil says:

    What should he have done?

    I think it’s refreshing to have a President who can see the difference between politics and governance.

  7. puck says:

    Fought past Aug. 2 with some sort of executive action. My preference would have been a managed default – start cutting off checks to interests near and dear to Republicans. Others wanted the 14th Amendment solution, or the trillion dollar coin. Anything rather than capitulation.

    There was never any genuine pressure on Republicans to raise taxes. If Democrats knew Obama would capitulate, surely Republicans knew it too. Fighting past Aug. 2 would have provided that pressure.

    S&P just reminded us that capitulating to teabaggers is the opposite of governance.

  8. Truth Teller says:

    I had the same thought also Puck if those senators and congressman after the meeting had taken a strong stand against the president maybe just maybe they may have been able to force him to take a stand against the teabaggers and use the 14Th amendment option.

  9. phil says:

    I’m not sure NOT paying people would actually have upset the teaparty faction.

  10. puck says:

    But it would have upset the non teaparty Republicans, and the teaparty Repubs would have been exposed as the minority they are. Dem solidarity plus some frightened Republicans could have passed revenue increases. But Obama never applied enough pressure to get to that point.

    Instead, teabaggers were validated and granted authority beyond their numbers.

    And it turns out the teabagger position was wrong. The S&P report sticks it to the teabagger position by citing the lack of a balanced approach including revenue.

  11. Truth Teller says:

    And for some other bad news 31 American Troops killed today in Afghan so why are we still there Mr. President other than to cater to the GOP?

  12. puck says:

    The more I think about the Aug 2 deadline, the more I understand how it was totally stage-managed by Geithner.

    There was never enough attention paid to the distinction between a government shutdown, and default. Putting all the emphasis on “default” shows that Wall Street was in charge of this whole farce all along, with their main interest being avoiding tax increases. The bogeyman for this debate should have been “shutdown” rather than default.

    If the Administration was serious, they should have announced a July 2 deadline and then begun a managed government shutdown, cutting off payments to Republican interests, with Aug 2 being the deadline for cutoff of SS checks.

    Default on debt payments should have been the even bigger bogeyman. After a month of shutdown, then some real negotiating for tax increases should have been done.

    Just the other day, Nancy Pelosi hinted at doing exactly this for the next hostage crisis. I’m not sure how she intends to accomplish it, but I wish her well. I guess she could start by NOT VOTING for the capitulations.

  13. puck says:

    I now think Obama’s pretending to hold out for revenue was a Plouffe-inspired tactic to hold on to as much of the Dem base as possible before the capitulation. In other words, Obama thinks you are stupid.

  14. anonone says:

    “Obama thinks you are stupid.”

    Unless some Dem of national stature steps up to the plate to primary Obama, then he is pretty much right. Or it shows that Dems, in general, are as gutless as Obama.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Look folks, there are No More Ponies.

    And somebody has to muck out the stalls.

    S&P has just reminded us that US debt is unsustainable at current levels and the projections are mind-bending for the future. Those are the facts and Obama chose not to lie to the caucuses. I admit, as a politician he sucks right now. As a realist he’s managing things to inflict as little damage as possible. It could have been so much worse. We got Social Security and Medicaid protected for the time being.

    But the whole point of the health care struggle was that Medicare is totally out of control and will bankrupt us if we don’t do something to change it. It has to be on the table.

    Many of you know that my parents live here with me. On a daily basis I get to see and hear about Medicare, and it is being abused. When the wrinklies get a hang-nail it’s off to the doctor. I love my parents dearly and we do talk about the necessity for treatment and they usually are realistic, but they have friends whose entire social calendar is made up of doctor visits. And, realistically, at their age they are afraid of dying so every ailment needs treatment, no matter how small. And I can’t be the one who makes that call. There need to be more standards and best practices put into place. If an oldster wants treatment that doesn’t fit those standards then they should pay for it. I’m not advocating the destruction of Medicare but it has to be made sustainable.

    Yes, universal healthcare for all American would solve the problem but we know that isn’t going to happen as long as voters are scared that somebody is going to get more than their fair share of the pie and the Insurance Companies are able to buy Congress. And the current Supreme Court is going to reinforce that. So it seems to me that Obama was just being truthful when he talked to Bernie and the other progressives.

  16. puck says:

    Medicare WAS on the table. Republicans refused to fully fund it.

    I just took a look at my paystub. My Social Security deduction is about three times my Medicare deduction. Guess which program is fully funded, and guess which program is in trouble. Let’s get some perspective on Medicare funding:

    1. Workers are currently paying about one hour’s wages out of each biweekly paycheck to fund Medicare.

    2. If your income is investment income rather than wages, you are paying zero into Medicare.

    I would gladly pay two hours wages out of each paycheck to make Medicare secure for our seniors and for myself. I would gladly pay even more for Medicare for Everyone. How many hours pay would that take – three? four? And to make it fair, we have to capture some investment income as well to fund Medicare.

    We need to double Medicare tax, and offer Medicare buy-in to everyone.

  17. Rebecca says:

    Oh and, thanks to George W. Bush for killing the ponies.

  18. Rebecca says:


    You are totally right and it will not happen in this political climate. Politics is the art of the possible. Obama acknowledges that.

  19. puck says:

    “Politics is the art of the possible. Obama acknowledges that.”

    No, Obama is all about avoiding the possible. That is what his Democratic critics are so inflamed about.

    “it will not happen in this political climate”

    I hold Obama responsible for the political climate. He has validated and empowered the most extreme Republicans at every turn.

  20. anonone says:

    Investment, jobs, and growing the GDP are what we need right now, not austerity and domestic spending cuts. Interest rates are at rock-bottom low, and we should be borrowing and raising taxes to grow GDP, jobs, and tax revenues.

    What Obama and the repubs have done is to start us on the path to an economic death spiral.

    At least Clinton had the guts enough to stand up to Newt and the GOP, even if it meant shutting down the government. Bill Clinton said he would have used the 14th amendment.

    Obama and Biden are gutless.

  21. puck says:

    One last point – because gee it really is nice outside:

    Not only has Obama taken revenue off the table, he has taken the veto threat off the table. An Obama veto threat will not be taken seriously until he actually vetoes something. A president without a credible veto threat is a eunuch.

  22. Dana says:

    Remember when President Obama was asking for a “clean” debt ceiling increase, one not incumbered by anything else? If the Congress had given him that — and even Democrats rejected that silly notion — instead of an insufficient $2.1 to $2.4 trillion projected deficit cut over ten years, we’d have a projected $0 deficit cut over ten years . . . and by the criteria they stated, Standard & Poors would still have downgraded our credit rating.

    Of course, they might not have stopped at Aa+, but gone down to Aa-.

    Had President Obama tried to exercise the “14th Amendment option” — something I don’t think he actually had — the result would have been the same.

  23. puck says:

    Now Obama’s Grand Deal makes more sense. We needed to cut spending more AND raise taxes. Obama likely knew this downgrade was coming and why, thus the Grand Deal.

    Which means the Repubs knew too. Which makes Republicans treasonous bastards for their refusal to raise taxes. There is no scenario by which trickle-down effects of lower taxes will counter-act this downgrade.

    As Hunter at dKos asks, Where was the credit downgrade when the Bush administration was running around cutting taxes for the rich and saying “Deficits don’t matter?”

    Not to mention, these are the same agencies who told us the investment banks were AAA – right up until we had to bail them out.

    I guess we all need to start tracking the Misery Index again.

  24. Miscreant says:

    ‘Oh and, thanks to George W. Bush for killing the ponies.’

    A terrible waste. I can’t wait until the unicorns are slaughtered. They taste like chicken.

  25. puck says:

    We’ll see who gets pulpified in the election.

    Agreed though that a primary is useless. It is far too late to move Obama to the left (if such a thing were ever possible). He has already done too much damage from the right.

  26. anonone says:

    Mr. Manifold, I don’t care about horse race like Mr. Alterman and you. What I care about is our planet and the freedom, health, and happiness of the sentient beings who inhabit it.

    By those standards, Obama has been a disaster and a disgrace for America and the world. There are many many like me who would gladly give our time and our treasure to support a liberal alternative candidate to Obama.

  27. Truth Teller says:

    Obama style seems to be to give up all his options at the beginning of the talks so that when they get down to the nitty gritty he has no position left. He has done this even when the public was on his side by large margins 75
    % wanted a public option or universal health care he took both off the table before talks began. Over 805 of the country wanted him to raise taxes on the wealthiest and he caved on that also without a fight.
    Are we sure this guy has the stomach to lead this country any fool can sit at a table and give the other side all it wants without getting a large concession on their part.

    SO SAD

  28. Truth Teller says:

    Nice try John but the results just don’t add up he will be the first President to have are credit lowered even though he doesn’t bear all the blame. Maybe he caved to prevent this and default but it occurred anyway might as well for him to Tell the Repuks to go fly a kite I am the president i will use anything in my quiver to prevent default even the 14Th amendment and the courts be damned.That’s What Leaders do the take charge

  29. anonone says:

    Herbert Hoover had his supporters, too.

  30. John Manifold says:

    Lincoln was called “the slave hound of Illinois” by A1’s forbears:

    T-Teller shouldn’t be duped so easily:

  31. Truth teller says:

    John convince me that i am not being duped. Unlike some folks i am willing to listen ,However you are entitled to your opinion but not your facts.

  32. anonone says:

    Lincoln defeated the Confederate Army. Obama was defeated by Tea baggers (or maybe he is one). Comparing Abraham Lincoln to Obama is one of the more ridiculous things I have ever read here.

  33. Corrupt and Stupid says:

    Unemployment, debt, deficit, downgrade of rating. Way to go Obama and other fool democrats.
    Obama lost to the tea party you say, then the boy must be a huge fool.
    The tea party is unorganized and leaderless yet they beat up BO?

    Admit it Obama is a chump.

  34. Rusty Dils says:

    Most of you know I am a huge Romney Supporter(you might wonder what I am doing on this website, answer, I like you guys). But even from me, a huge Mitt Romney supporter, Obama is making this pretty easy for Romney to get elected.

  35. Avagadro says:

    “If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.” – Dave Ramsey

  36. socialistic ben says:

    that family should eat less, let any kids with medical issues die, wear heavier cloths in the winter and stop heating their house and put any remaining children to work. …. the republican philosophy put in a way we can all understand.

  37. puck says:

    That’s right. Run that family like a business. Get rid of the deadwood. Each year get rid of the lowest performers.

    I just put the cat down because he was costing too much money, and I think my kids got the message.

    Gotta reduce my debt. Only then can we be truly happy.

  38. kavips says:

    Geek was right.

    A shift has occurred.

    Through most of our lives, post WWII, we were a nation of people. In fact, Reagan’s message, was that we had to improve the lot of business so it could revive the economy to help us.

    The shift is now, that people come secondary to corporations (or wealth). If a policy benefits the people, but hurts the corporations (wealth), it fails.

    It is not so much Bush, but a sickness throughout America. The Supreme Court knocking down McCain and Feingold. The 1.8 trillion in American’s corporate profits (extra money one has that can’t be spent) and unemployment still rises…

    Policy is made according how it affects the market, not how people live…

    We’ve all heard the economic arguments of how European companies aren’t healthy because of all the taxes they must pay out…. Economic slowdowns are always trotted out by the investors, to say, see, our way is better. But, compare their people’s lives to ours. They live much better than we do. On less…

    They decided that people were more important in the large scheme of things, than a piece of paper sitting in some Delaware Courts Filing cabinet.. (That is essentially what a corporation is)…

    Our nation chose to worship those pieces of paper…