Monday, January 25, 2010

Do Elections Have Consequences?

Obama has been in the White House for one year, and look how far we have gotten on his agenda!

President Obama, this is all much too much to hear: you have one of your unnamed spokespersons say,
We face the dual challenges of a massive GDP gap and also very substantial budget deficits out over time. As we move forward to FY2011 that's a transition year in which we need to be shifting our focus, making sure we're getting as much as we can from each dollar that the federal government has. And this is not the end-all-be-all, but it is an important category of restoring discipline to an important component of the budget.
The freeze is not going to effect the boiling off-the-books spending squandering on Afghanistan, but practically everything else is to be iced? You are fulfilling one of John McCain's campaign promises?

I campaigned for you because I thought you were an anti-Bush. I thought you were not going to let the warfare state squelch the welfare state. But you are on the path of drowning our government in the bathtub. It looks like Afghanistan is going to be defining your presidency after all, but not in the way we first anticipated. Instead of failure on the ground over there, it's ineptitude in domestic policy over here.

I don't think I'm going to watch the SotU speech tomorrow night. I don't think I could possibly get all the way through it without going through one or two barf bags. (Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!)

And now, with my credulity already strained to the breaking point, I hear that you have told Diane Sawyer,

You know, I -- I would say that when I -- the one thing I'm clear about is that I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. And I -- and I believe that.

You know, there's a tendency in Washington to think that our job description of elected officials is to get re-elected. That's not our job description. Our job description is to solve problems and to help people. And, you know, that's not just the view of elected officials themselves. That's also the filter through which the media reads things.
Barry, who are you kidding? If you are announcing one year into your first term that you are already lame duck president, that's what your going to have: a lame presidency.

You are taking me back to an angry conversation I had in a bar in 2004. Larry asked me,

Who would you rather have as President, John Kerry or George Bush? You don't know what John Kerry stands for, but you're damned sure what Bush stands for!
So, we're really not that far more advanced down that Progressive path than John Kerry, huh? Bush was the Great Decider and you, Obama, are the Great Explainer. God knows, Bush couldn't explain a god damned thing, but you can freaking explain everything, even - marginally - better than Kerry.

Well, the only reason I can think of for watching teevee tonight, is to look around the room for someone who's not in the Corporate Wing of the Democratic Party who's worth nominating in your place in 2012. That is, if you last that long.

Barry, you're embarrassing.



    Even Keith Olberman didn't sound too happy about the Obama team last night.

  2. Being president is a lot harder than running for president, as Obama is finding out, but I will give him more time. If he doesn't change his financial team I will be disappointed, being loyal is one thing, being blind is another. It's a sad thing to say with two wars going on, his success depends on jobs.

  3. In that first quote, here's what the government source should have said just to be clear: "The economy isn't growing fast enough and government debt is growing quickly. We need to restore efficiency and discipline in government spending."

    Instead, he/she just babbles jargon.

    I'll bet there was a former high school jock around feeling the urge to give that dweeb an atomic wedgie.

  4. I also want to give him more time. He's young, he's trying, he's flexible. Vigilante, I agree that it's embarrassing, but I think it's also a reflection of his genuine humility (clearly, he's not thinking ahead in a politically strategic way!!). We do have the anti-Bush in that regard. My biggest problem with him is Afghanistan.

  5. Good one, Stimpson!

    If Readers think Obama just needs a little more time, vote with your feet. But I don't think voting counts for anything any more.

  6. I feel sure that the vote for The Lion's seat will shake things up a bit, which hopefully will have a more positive impact in getting the President to wield a big stick and get his agenda's done. He has the unfortunate task of having to do everything all at once, health care, economy, terrorism, etc, and that is not easy when dealing with a bunch of lazy politicians who have been there since the dawn of time, so I think we need to be patient. The President knew this would happen, hence the reason he said that we have to hold him accountable when he falters, that voice of dissent, our dissent, is the ammo he will then take to his party and use that, in order to make changes...or else those lazy bastards will not get up off their asses.

  7. He's capitulating to the tea baggers and right wingers once again. ASnd to think a few days ago, right after his Ohio speech I thought there was hope.

    My patience is close to the end.

  8. One year is a blink of an eye. He is just learning that it is harder to keep promises than it is to make them. Things will get worse before they get better. We should not lose sight of the nightmare that he inherited. I don't think we know that half.

  9. the "one term" crack is one that Chimpy quite often made, which is why it chilled me to the bone to see it.

    The President is, more or less, what I suspected he was-I wrote him off in 2007 with a post titled "Barack Is Written Off."

    I wish I'd been wrong, but I don't think I was. He's decided to follow Rahm down the corporatist/anti-American people path.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Dammit, Blogger ate my comment for some reason. I need a drink!

  12. Vigil,
    I'll be not watching with you. His big hope is delivering F.I.R.E friendly healthcare reform and financial regulation packages to keep the lobbyist $ coming in. If the economy rebounds before 2012 he can point to lackluster achievements and blame the shortcomings on the Republicans. Oh and hope they run Palin.

  13. Oso, I'm with you, Bro! (R U rooting 4 the Saints?)

  14. Look at the banner photograph of Obama shooting hoops! You see what I see? The faces of the two other players are flushed with exertion. Their mouths are open. But the guy shooting, our guy, his face is composed. It's a jump shot: maximum exertion. Yet he's composed. How do you explain that?

  15. That last comment made me look. Right...composed. But that doesn't say 'competent' with it all. I'm disappointed and confused... and I'm thinking for my own blood pressure to just watch Rachel's recap. It's really bleak out there politically. I understand your position Vig. Vig... you have been saying for months now what most of us are turning towards simply because there is no way to turn aside from all this political / economic calamity. While he has accomplished a good deal of positive work, it is diminished into minor by the course he is cutting on the largest issues. No step back here... this is a major fuck up. One after another after's hard to hold on at all.

  16. It's gotten so hard to turn away from one screw up after then other and another and another... Vig, you have been pointing it out turn by turn and most of us have been agreeing with the truth of it while acquiescing to our hopes that Obama 'come around' (for want of better words).... Beach! Ate my 1st one too! I'll wait for Rachel's recap. My stomach can't take much more.

  17. I have every intention of watching the speech. I am not about to give up on this president so early in the game. As to the comment about the picture I guess that is in the eye of the beholder. I don't see anyone panting that hard and I know when I make a jump shot, which I haven't in a million years, I keep my mouth closed. Better protection against someone's elbow.

  18. Wow! Took four tries to publish the above comment. I am liking Word Press more and more...

  19. If it ever comes down to Obama vs. Olbermann, I'll take Obama for a fortnight.....The guy is trying damn hard and he's finally realizing that, yes, unless we get this frigging budget under control, the Chinese are going to own us WELL before the decade is over. You go, Mr. President!

  20. WTF, Hart???

    "unless we get this frigging budget under control, the Chinese are going to own us WELL before the decade is over" ???

    You're drinking the same kind of crappy snake oil that Psychotic-Mike is drinking.

    The Chinese already own us. You want cut back our borrowing from the Chinks, get the bleep out of Afghanistan. What the fux are you guys derinking. What a dysfunctional gang of dumb, blue-dog MFSOB's! What part of your anatomies are you thinking through? God You sappy guys make me sick to my stomach. Sick, sick, sick.

  21. Hey Boris, I don't think you're ramped up enough. Go listen to Obama give his State-of-the-Corporations speech and come back to us and share your trues feelings.

  22. Sorry. I meant State of the Union Speech.

  23. Vigil hell yes ! go saints ! Saints D march on in and all over Mannings Republican ass!

  24. Uh, Boris, I happen to oppose the President's Afghan policy. FYI.

  25. The Saints? Oh, you better believe it, baby!!

  26. Pound that MF like they did Favre.

  27. In the process of researching an upcoming column I ran across one of my earlier columns, Re-Thinking Afghanistan (7-Aug-08) which I thought I would excerpt in response to Ms Barry's kind words and Boris' not so kind words. I wrote,

    Barack Obama has been consistently right in maintaining that since 911, Afghanistan has always been the central front on terrorism. However, after seven years of desultory and half-hearted effort by the Busheney presidency, the Afghanistan theater has morphed from its original concept of the pursuit of bin Laden and his merry band of outlaws. Mission creep has acquired the goals of re-defeating the Taliban and destroying the opium poppy industry.

    I am thinking it's too late in the day to think about surging in Afghanistan. According to U.S. counter insurgency doctrine, however, Afghanistan would require at least 400,000 troops to even have a chance of "winning" the war. Adding another 10,000 U.S. troops will have virtually no effect.

    I hate to see Barack Obama making campaign promises he can't keep as President. Expanding the war into Pakistan seems like a repeat of the attempt to rescue the Vietnamese war with invasions/bombings of Laos and Cambodia. Remember the deeper disasters those desperate gambits produced?

    As Frederick the Great says, we can't defend everything. Our window of opportunity to fix Afghanistan has passed. There are simply not enough dollars and boots left to put on the ground. My concern is that Obama not be blamed in 2012 for the inevitable negotiated conclusion with the Taliban.

    The Obama-Clark administration should make it clear to all Americans from the start that the Busheney era has been the Humpty-Dumpty Presidency:

    Busheney sat on the wall,
    Busheney had a great fall.
    All of NATO's horses
    All of NATO's men
    Couldn't put Busheney's mess
    Back together again.

    Not to toot my horn or anything, but I was against Obamastan before it was "in".

  28. So, what's this nonsense about cutting the clause in the Health Care bill that states patients with preexisting conditions will receive medical insurance?

    I'm trying to stay neutral like Bro Mike, and I find myself feeling like I'm making more and more of an effort. Yes, one year IS only the blink of an eye—but it's more than just Obama. The entire Democratic party has fallen apart through too much internal bickering.

    Lately, I am increasingly inclined towards many of No. 44's and Skip's ideas that are more proactive for the citizens of this nation. I am far beyond embarrassed.

    Can anyone spare two plane tickets to Norway? No LOL...

  29. Great speech by the president. He will do what he says he will do and he will be reelected unless the "progressives" decide they like Sarah Palin. Sorry Sis there was no mention of cutting the Pre-Exist Con in the speech. On the contrary it was an emphasis on it remaining.

  30. I used to be a true believer in Barack Obama who has taught me one thing: Howard Zinn (who passed on today) was right when he said,

    ...we cannot depend on people in the White House. We can depend on people picketing the White House.

  31. So Vigil..When can we expect to see you picketing? The way you are going I think you may end up on Fox News. You are getting just like those nuts over there. They also hate the president.

  32. I love the President, Mike. I love him so much, I would want to give him the truth, were I be able to communicate with him; not like the some bloggers who are yes-men.....

    This crap you dish out that if you're going to support the troops, you have to support the mission - that swill would make anyone with the ability to think for himself go out and puke.

    If you want to cheer-lead or hero-worship, go have a super bowl party; it has no place in politics.

  33. I feel a lot like Vig does, and I guarantee you'll never see me on FOX "News."

    I am sitting on the fence after last night; we'll see if the President can take his words and make some action with them. Capitulating to the people who got us into this mess will not accomplish this, and I hope he's finally figured that out.

  34. Thank you, J.R.! I'm feeling really lonely of late!

  35. Vigilante - I appreciate your sentiments, and was feeling a little let down myself. But my disappointment had less to do with expectations that Obama would somehow live up to the hype and more to do with he's just been MIA in the public debate. Until last night he was not using his greatest asset - his ability to inspire people.

    One telling moment in his speech came when he said health care reform needed to get done. The GOP stood up and clapped - they had to. You can't be seen as supporting the status quo. He's got to scale that out to other areas of policy. Although admittedly re: AfPak, there's not much I can tell you to give you any hope in that area....

  36. We are still in a recession right? This isn't the time to tighten the purse strings for christ's sake.

    If The Big O wants to save some money, get us the fuck out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Pandering to the rightwing nutters, aka the Repubes, doesn' impress me one iota.

  37. @ Sshmog:
    "One telling moment in his speech came when he said health care reform needed to get done. The GOP stood up and clapped - they had to. You can't be seen as supporting the status quo. He's got to scale that out to other areas of policy."

    That is a point I don't hear made often and its a very important one you've made.

    This administration and the Democratic majority also need to stop talking like Bipartisan efforts are their own failure: You can't cooperate with someone committed to your demise.

    The Democrats should utilize the official procedures of "Reconciliation" to get every single bill passed from now on. Obama tried to play ball, the Republicans kept screaming "the ball is mine."

    Fuck them.

    The Republicans have been quite blunt and upfront about their refusal to take part in anything authored or endorsed by this administration and the President. Only two men uttered the words bipartisanship frequently during the last 20 years; Senators Feingold and McCain. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are full of shit.

    Democrats have to make Republicans pay for their blanket obstruction and stonewalling politically and humiliate them in front of their constituents. The GOP is getting a pass on siding with Wall Street and fighting reform whether its healthcare, or banking practices. The GOP doesn't even want the worst of the banks to be taxed, even though they were bailed out by the tax payers with practically no interest charged... while they turn around and now refuse to lend to small business.

  38. Right on, SJ. I think of the Dem "bipartisanship" fetishists as slow learners. The GOP couldn't make it any clearer that they're just gonna say no; how is this so difficult for so many Dems to see?

  39. @Stimpson,
    Exactly. They've never said or done anything to the contrary since January 2009.

  40. Dusty Kicks ass! Yes! Get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. It's wasteful and immoral and we need to leave them the hell alone and spend the $ here.

    You go Dusty!