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Barack Hoover Obama or Barack Nixon Obama?
July 28, 2011 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Barack Hoover Obama or Barack Nixon Obama?
posted by ennui.bz (155 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Barack Milhous Obama.
posted by DU at 7:29 AM on July 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Nixon seems to me to be one of those individuals who was so singular and distinctive that comparing almost anyone to him is pointless.
posted by hermitosis at 7:30 AM on July 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Barack Quincy Obama.

This is fun!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:30 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I bet there's a funny name we could use if he invaded Iran, but I just can't think of one.
posted by theodolite at 7:31 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Barack Deleno Obama.
posted by humanfont at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack Hussein Obama II.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Barack Milhous Obama.

Still not a meme.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Barack Gamaliel Obama.

Warren G wasn't much of a president, but he had one of the all-time great presidential middle names.
posted by box at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hoover?
Well, that would certainly play into Republican's long-seated desire to enshrine their very own "Roosevelt" in the hive memory of Americans. They keep trying with Reagan's corpse, but he just doesn't measure-up. A post-Obama president could do it, though, seeing as how a post-Obama President will almost certainly embark on a re-write of social policy every bit as enormous as FDR's, since it would be the complete dismantling of those very same New Deal programs.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


But no post-Obama prez will ever be able to be elected to four terms, so BOOYAH IN YOUR FACE GOP!
posted by blucevalo at 7:38 AM on July 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


That Hoover article was a real eye-opener, given that he has, nowadays, such a do-nothing image. It would have been much better, however, had it identified exactly what could be done given the current Washington climate.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:40 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Barack Tiberius Obama.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 7:48 AM on July 28, 2011 [31 favorites]


See also: Barak Obama, Jr.

(Apparently Buchanan didn't have a middle name?)
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:48 AM on July 28, 2011


It would have been much better, however, had it identified exactly what could be done given the current Washington climate.

I go two ways with this:

a) I was actually sort of hopeful that Obama understood how Reagan managed to be a genuinely radical president while presenting a kindly avuncular non-threatening public face (unless you don't have to enjoy the prospect of finishing off the commies one way or another, in which case he was terrifying until he got alzheimers... but anyway.)

b) I, Claudius.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:48 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack Stalinhitlermuhammad Obama
posted by Legomancer at 7:50 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was hoping this would be a Photoshop merging of Obama's face with other presidents' faces.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:50 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe Obama isn't a conservative. Maybe he wants to get laws passed, and doesn't like proposing ideas which will inevitably get shot down by a conservative Congress. No?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:50 AM on July 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


Republican's long-seated desire to enshrine their very own "Roosevelt" in the hive memory of Americans

Umm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:51 AM on July 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was actually sort of hopeful that Obama understood how Reagan managed to be a genuinely radical president while presenting a kindly avuncular non-threatening public face

You were hopeful that Obama knew how to act the part of a doddering old fool?
posted by blucevalo at 7:53 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Hoover] has, nowadays, such a do-nothing image

Which is a shame given that prior to his presidency, he was known as "The Great Humanitarian," spearheading the relief work in Europe post WWI, and saving the lives of millions of starving Russians during the 1921 famine there. However, his work in Russia was partly a means of blunting the progress of bolshevism there, so in that respect he was more of a Herbert Milhous Hoover. If I may be so bold.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:53 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bet there's a funny name we could use if he invaded Iran, but I just can't think of one

"John McCain"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Barack J. Fox.

This is fun!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republican's long-seated desire to enshrine their very own "Roosevelt" in the hive memory of Americans

Umm.


Mea culpa...I forgot about Teddy. However, I seriously doubt our contemporary crop of Republicans would stomach him as one of their own. He'd definitely be branded as a RINO and be gerrymandered out of the party.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Teddy comes with an asterisk.
posted by raysmj at 7:56 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My name is Barack "Inigo" Obama. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
posted by Behemoth at 7:56 AM on July 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Maybe Obama isn't a conservative. Maybe he wants to get laws passed, and doesn't like proposing ideas which will inevitably get shot down by a conservative Congress. No?

Maybe. But, given everything he's done... and the Health Care reform bill goes back to Mitt Romney and the Heritage Foundation, do actually have any reason to think that he is governing to the right of his actual political beliefs.

There has been this trend in Democratic party politics to assume that because a politician is black, they have a progressive agenda i.e. Deval Patrick, Corey Booker... both of whom are really most comfortable within the ideological confines of corporate america. I mean, Patrick was head of the legal department at Coca-Cola I think. The whole conservative/liberal dialectic hasn't really made much sense since Reagan had cocktails with Tip O'Neill, but I think the larger issue is just that Obama is really only talking within the political context of corporate boardrooms and wall street... i.e. Barack Hoover Obama.

And these people aren't masters of the universe by any stretch... but they think they are... just like 1929.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:05 AM on July 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've been mentally comparing Obama to Hoover for awhile now, and I was glad to see the Harper's piece. It's a well-researched, well-presented comparison.
posted by brina at 8:09 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Christopher Barack Jorgensen.

Am I doing it right?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:15 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hoover. Because this sucks.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:16 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hoover. Because this sucks.

Funny, i think it blows.
posted by palbo at 8:23 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I say Barack Dyson Obama, you don't think of Michael Eric.
posted by box at 8:25 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why doesn't he sign whatever they send him and do a "signing statement" that says fuck your face, we're doing this.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:35 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


At this point he's some unholy amagalration of Ayn Rand, Hoover and Clinton and George the 43rd. He's taken the worst qualities of all of them and swirled them all together into a epic fail soup of disappointing and discouraging leadership.

What's worse is his brand of do-nothing, lipstick on a pig and call it done policy and "mother may I" surrender to protofacist moneymen is now considered the outer marker of let wing politics in America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:35 AM on July 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


That Nixon article is from 2 years ago.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:42 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack Wayne Obama
posted by chillmost at 8:43 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack Orin Incandenza, Jr.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:48 AM on July 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's fair to compare Obama to Nixon. I mean that it's not fair to Nixon, who was far more progressive.
posted by mullingitover at 8:52 AM on July 28, 2011 [15 favorites]


B.A. Barackus
posted by Condroidulations! at 8:52 AM on July 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Why doesn't he sign whatever they send him and do a "signing statement" that says fuck your face, we're doing this.

He's done them before.
posted by phearlez at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2011


Republican's long-seated desire to enshrine their very own "Roosevelt" in the hive memory of Americans

Umm


Not that Roosevelt. The one that held office for four consecutive terms and had approval ratings in the high 80% range the entire time. Ask any Tea Partier: that other one was a commie. (Well, so was the Democratic one, come to think of it...)

I stridently reject the premises of this thread, since I can remember the Obama as Hoover idea first being thrown out by disgruntled Clinton Democrats within the first two months of his presidency, when there was no good reason for it at all, and I suspect this is just more of that famous circular-fire-squad effect in action, but whatever. Have your fun today, for tomorrow...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:57 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do you smell what Barak is cookin' Obama.
posted by Trochanter at 8:57 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


TD, tell us how you really feel.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:58 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Barack Pálinka Obama.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2011


You were hopeful that Obama knew how to act the part of a doddering old fool?

Reagan left office with an approval of well over 50%, maybe he was a doddering, delegating old fool, especially to most Dems, but he was politically savvy and knew how to get people to really like him. During his second term his approval even jumped to over 60%. Obama's approval has gone one direction - down.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack JESUSHCHRIST Obama
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2011


The myths of Hoover's handling of the great flood of 27 or the strength of Nixon's foreign policy are a legacy of the never ending stream of bullshit from the right. Consider objectively:
-Hoover's efforts provided covered for the mass expulsion of African Americans from the deep south. Whites received compensation, while black sharecroppers were driven out.
-The areas hardest hit by the floods remain areas of incredible poverty even 80 years later. One of the richest agricultural areas in the world, but the workers and residents receive little for their output.
-The reliance on private charities ensured that blacks got unequal compensation and had no claim for equal protection as they would have under a federally funded program.

Regarding Nixon:
-The oil crisis and shortage in 1973
-He was unable to resolve the conflict in Vietnam successfully
posted by humanfont at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2011


You were hopeful that Obama knew how to act the part of a doddering old fool?

Hell yes, if that's what it takes to get things done. Many Democrats don't like this, but I look back at the last three Dem candidates (Gore - Kerry - Obama) and try to account for why only Obama won. Factors I don't think were vital include that he is more corporate than the other two, or that the opposing ticket's V.P. candidate was dangerously uninformed. I think the key difference is that Obama gave the superficial and ignorant something to be excited about. There was Obama fever.

Presidential votes are usually pretty close these day. And I'd guess 5-10% of Americans vote for foolish emotional reasons. Stolid competence and intelligence won't clinch it for you. So if the people want to see a doddering old fool, why not show it to them?

(Of course, Obama also got a lot of people excited to vote against him, but I think most of them wouldn't have voted for him in the first place.)
posted by benito.strauss at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2011


Hi, IvoShandor!
posted by benito.strauss at 9:11 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack Danger Obama.

Danger is his... well, you know.
posted by gc at 9:19 AM on July 28, 2011


OK, coming late, but:
Barack S. Obama
... if he drops the bomb on the Republicans and gets busy fulfilling his campaign promises.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:20 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack F. Obama
posted by clavdivs at 9:21 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you guys all just see Obama as a symbol you can project your idiosyncratic fantasies onto, because we've all been conditioned by many decades of sustained niche marketing techniques to expect to get it our way, right away, all the time, and that while the man isn't perfect, he's in a damn tough spot historically and politically--arguably one of the toughest we've had in our history. And I suspect he actually, genuinely is one of the few decent men in Washington and we should be grateful for that much, just as we should have been grateful for Carter and supported him as passionately, if not as blindly, as the political right does with whatever empty suit or smirking sociopath the GOP's pay masters put in front of them. Lefties seem to forget this now, but back when Gore was a presidential candidate, the lefties spent almost as much time guffawing at water cooler jokes about his "woodenness" and lack of charisma as Republicans did--and he really was commonly perceived as kind of a joke in the court of popular opinion.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:22 AM on July 28, 2011 [34 favorites]


I don't think it's fair to compare Obama to Nixon. I mean that it's not fair to Nixon, who was far more progressive.

The political spectrum isn't a spectrum at all. It is a Möbius strip. And I see that Obama Derangement Syndrome has now completed its inevitable trek around the bending back-end, from Right to Left. Bravo.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:27 AM on July 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was hoping this would be a Photoshop merging of Obama's face with other presidents' faces.

A la Nic Cage as Everyone? I'd click it.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2011


I suspect he actually, genuinely is one of the few decent men in Washington

Based on what?
posted by Trochanter at 9:35 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Based on that time his dad wouldn't let him watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and it made him really upset.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:42 AM on July 28, 2011


Wait a minute...that Harper's article was written in 2009????

Forget it.
posted by spicynuts at 9:46 AM on July 28, 2011


Based on my ability to judge character, which is better than average, based on personal experience. And based on the fact that, in most cases, if you dig deep enough, you can see through the media noise and you'll find most of the critical things you think about him are misrepresentations or deliberate distortions that have been, in some cases, manufactured and in others, merely stoked, by political interests on the right.

And the right has made an effective, practical science out of getting the left in this country to think it comes up with its own ideas while actually feeding us poison pills.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:48 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really? No one's gone with Barack Walker Obama yet?
posted by eyeballkid at 9:50 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nah, not Nixon. He's too far to the left.
posted by charred husk at 9:52 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Barack S. Obama

Opponents (not me, but I'm naive) would agree as it doesn't stand for anything.
posted by psoas at 9:52 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really? No one's gone with Barack Walker Obama yet?

Obama, Texas Ranger.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:56 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack H. W. Obama.

His successor will be much, much worse.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:56 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Barack Bingo Gas Station Motel Cheeseburger WIth A Side Of Aircraft Noise And You'll Be Gary Indiana Obama
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:57 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack "B-Rock" Obama
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Barack Barfolomew Obama. He's his own best friend.
posted by fusinski at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack S. Obama

Opponents (not me, but I'm naive) would agree as it doesn't stand for anything.


Truman's S didn't have a period after it, because it didn't stand for anything.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:04 AM on July 28, 2011


Barack

And all week long your River City
Youth'll be frittern away,
I say your young men'll be frittern!
Frittern away their noontime, suppertime, choretime too!
Get the ball in the pocket,
Never mind gittin' dandelions pulled
Or the screen door patched or the beefsteak pounded.
Never mind pumpin' any water
'Til your parents are caught with the cistern empty
On a Saturday night and that's trouble,
Oh, yes we got lots and lots a trouble.
I'm thinkin' of the kids in the knickerbockers,
Shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool
Hall window after school, look, folks!
Right here in River City.
Trouble with a capital T
And that rhymes with P and that stands for pool!

Obama
posted by shakespeherian at 10:07 AM on July 28, 2011


With Obama a lost cause, the question is: what Republican do we want to vote for? Do we want to vote for a Huntsman to try to moderate the policies of the next two terms? Or do we want to vote for Bachmann or Perry, in the hope that their radical policies will cause an economic and social collapse, thereby spurring a revolution.

The bottom line of course if with the liberals fighting each other any chance they get, and the Republicans staying on message, the country if going to be shifting ever more to the right over the next several generations. So we might as well join the winners and see if we can get a piece of the pie.
posted by happyroach at 10:09 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Based on my ability to judge character

Well, good for you. See, I can't do that through a TV set, so I've got to go on what the man has done. I see drones killing peasants in three countries, I see zero DOJ action taken against financial institutions, I see a health care plan that sent insurance company stock soaring, I still see people held without trial at Guantanamo, I saw a really weird, secretive, narrative building handling of the Bin Laden killing. Over and over and over.

Where's the decency? In the cut of his suit? In the presidential way he reads from a teleprompter?

Decent is as decent does.
posted by Trochanter at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


And the right has made an effective, practical science out of getting the left in this country to think it comes up with its own ideas while actually feeding us poison pills.

I think you just see Obama's critics as a symbol you can project your idiosyncratic fantasies onto, because you've been conditioned by many decades of sustained triangulation techniques to expect to get some crappy imitation-republican measures all the time, and that while the man isn't actually doing much, he's got an unprecedented opportunity historically and politically--arguably one of the biggest we've had in our history. And I suspect he actually, genuinely is one of corporatist elite and we should be very suspicious of that, just as we should have been suspicious of Clinton and opposed his corporatist agenda as passionately, if not as blindly, as the political right does with whatever fantasy of socialism the GOP's pay masters put in front of them. Democratic Party faithful seem to forget this now, but back when Gore was a presidential candidate, the mainstream media spent almost as much time inventing jokes about his "woodenness" and lack of charisma as Republicans did--and he really was commonly perceived as kind of a joke in your image of the court of popular opinion.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:15 AM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


happyroach: "With Obama a lost cause, the question is: what Republican do we want to vote for?"

Holy false dichotomy, Batman!
posted by mullingitover at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


The intractable positions of the right are pulling Obama, if anything to the right of center. As the debt debate continues, Obama's negotiation skills fail as he again brings his end game out in round 1 of the discussions. As I'm sure you've read, any Republican of the past would accept democratic proposals that include cutting entitlements and in essence leaving taxes alone in a second. The only feel good, had he saved it for the 11th hour, would have been the closing of loopholes such as corporate jets and hedge fund capital gains rates. Had this been saved, perhaps the right would have conceded these. Don't mean to veer off course here, but this loggerjam illustrates much.
posted by msamsel at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2011


Dwayne "The Rock" Obama

he is Hawaiian, after all...
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2011


zero DOJ action taken against financial institutions

That is total BS. The DoJ has so many actions going on against banks and individuals that I have difficulty keeping up. Within the next few weeks the 5 largest banks are expected to agree to a settlement for mortgage abuses that's worth at least $20 billion. Half of Wall Street thinks Holder's a terrorist.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


The political spectrum isn't a spectrum at all. It is a Möbius strip. And I see that Obama Derangement Syndrome has now completed its inevitable trek around the bending back-end, from Right to Left. Bravo.

There is a song about that you know.

Oh no, here we go again
Putting all our faith into one human

posted by SirOmega at 10:37 AM on July 28, 2011


Not that Roosevelt. The one that held office for four consecutive terms and had approval ratings in the high 80% range the entire time.

You just made that up. FDR had an approval rating over 80% once, in January of '42.
posted by Roman Graves at 10:40 AM on July 28, 2011


As I'm sure you've read, any Republican of the past would accept democratic proposals that include cutting entitlements and in essence leaving taxes alone in a second.

Yes, but now the GOP is practically held hostage by a bunch of Goldwater conservatives with such a tenuous of reality that the WSJ (and John McCain) yesterday derided them as 'Tea Party hobbits'. Boehner barely has control of his own majority in the House. How is this Obama's fault? Are you saying that if he'd been more left the Tea Partiers would have seen the light and decided to become mild centrists instead? We're only one short step away from having an Anders B. Brievik incident in this country, there have been numerous abortive attempts at domestic terrorism already. The President's executive powers are constitutionally limited, especially in financial matters. What do you think he should do, put the House of Representatives on timeout or something?
posted by anigbrowl at 10:50 AM on July 28, 2011


tenuous GRIP on reality...EDIT BOX
posted by anigbrowl at 10:51 AM on July 28, 2011


Well, anigbrowl, that's great to hear (DOJ action against banks). I'll look them up.
posted by Trochanter at 10:53 AM on July 28, 2011


Well, good for you. See, I can't do that through a TV set, so I've got to go on what the man has done. I see drones killing peasants in three countries, I see zero DOJ action taken against financial institutions, I see a health care plan that sent insurance company stock soaring, I still see people held without trial at Guantanamo, I saw a really weird, secretive, narrative building handling of the Bin Laden killing. Over and over and over.


That's cool. You can't help but see what you see, and the same goes for me. I do my best to pay close attention and to understand things in a real-world context, grounded by my personal experiences dealing with people and organizations, and I'm sure you do the same. There's lots of room for difference.

But I've tried to dig pretty deep into most of the stories I see people getting hot and bothered about around here and in other such public forums, and in most cases, I see a picture emerge of a good man, doing his best, with limited options and tepid popular political support, in a tank full of sharks, with many of the folks who should be his natural supporters willing to buy into the idea of his corruptibility given only the slightest claims of evidence, with absolutely no regard for the original sources of the claims. It's amazing. Printed accounts based only on the word of representatives from the lobbying arm of the health care industry and dyed in the wool, paid opposition operatives suddenly become cast-iron, irrefutable truth when they get thrown around in the kinds of shallow, gut-driven discussions people have about these issues on the internet.

But that's all good. It's a rich tapestry, etc. I do see that the man has flaws (he trusts in the process too much, defers to the popular opinion too much, perhaps doesn't realize just how dangerous the movement conservatives are, and arguably, delegates his authority in trying to get the system running like an efficient technocracy the way it's supposed to again too much--but then, those are all things I personally criticized the last president for not doing, so I'd feel like kind of an asshole for painting Obama out to be the spawn of Satan for these tendencies that might be more universally recognizable as virtues in better times.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:01 AM on July 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Barack Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dangle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kürstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-eine-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mit-zweimache-luber-hundsfut -gumberaber-shönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-raucher von Obama of Ulm
posted by baf at 11:02 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Within the next few weeks the 5 largest banks are expected to agree to a settlement for mortgage abuses that's worth at least $20 billion.

They're negotiating a $20bil settlement to settle some unknown number north of a trillion dollars in potential liabilities (not even counting the trillions moved onto the public balance sheet already), heckuva deal for the taxpayers, that.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:06 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's one little piece of evidence on my side:

The Obama administration is moving toward a deal with automakers on a new fuel economy standard, which will likely boost the current standard by 80 percent

He ended DADT, too, but then that was a cake walk.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:10 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why there is so much disappointment in Obama. He is, for the most part, exactly the president he said he would be, and has an exceptional record of either producing what he promised or at least producing a compromised version. And this includes ending Don't Ask Don't Tell. Heck, just his "promises kept" shows a remarkable record of accomplishment.

I wonder what thi9s liberal urge is, when we get a Democrat in the office, to drive him out. Perhaps it is because his accomplishments have been achieved through compromise and diplomacy, which is how he said he would do it, rather than pure bullying, which is how the other team does it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:11 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Most people can walk and chew gum, can't they? Most people can also support Obama as the best person for the job and appropriately criticize him. (Although neither of the two linked articles appear to do so.)

saulgoodman: He ended DADT, too, but then that was a cake walk.

I see that as an effort that included thousands of people, including activists and legislators who kept the issue alive and negotiated the votes necessary for passage. At his best, he actively endorses and encourages that form of activism as part of the change process.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:17 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


At his best, he actively endorses and encourages that form of activism as part of the change process.

In fairness, if we refuse to give him full credit for accomplishments during his term, we should be cautious not to heap on him full blame for failures.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:19 AM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


T.D. Strange, the trillion dollars in potential liabilities you're talking about happens to be the same trillion dollars that investors lost during the financial crisis. You have no idea what you're talking about, and your suggestion above that Obama somehow combines the worst of Ayn Rand, Herbert Hoover, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush is the ranting of a delusional crank. Have a nice day.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:21 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder what this liberal urge is, when we get a Democrat in the office, to drive him out. Perhaps it is because his accomplishments have been achieved through compromise and diplomacy, which is how he said he would do it, rather than pure bullying, which is how the other team does it.

Its because most liberals I know aren't all that extreme. So when Obama compromises we feel like we didn't get what we wanted. Meanwhile, Bachmann and other Tea Partiers want to abolish the EPA, Dept of Education, etc. I don't know of anyone advocating the liberal equivalent (shutting down coal power plants and living in the dark). So we lose because we aren't extreme (aka the Overton Window wins again).
posted by SirOmega at 11:23 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: In fairness, if we refuse to give him full credit for accomplishments during his term, we should be cautious not to heap on him full blame for failures.

In the sausage-making of real-world politics, of which metafilter discussions are a distorted echo, liberals are well aware of the complexities of the political process.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:25 AM on July 28, 2011


Its because most liberals I know aren't all that extreme.

This is understandable. On the other hand, the Republican's extremism seems to have cost them dearly, and they're not backing down from it, which may mean even bigger losses for them in the next election cycle. I think Obama has likely done the very best he can, perusing a manner of governance he sees as ethical, and, if there are big Dem gains in the next election, we'll may see him build on these accomplishments.

It's important to realize that Obama seems to genuinely believe in the perfectability of government -- that is is always imperfect, but can always be made more perfect, and that is the job of people who are in office. He's said so many times, along with the admonishment to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Knowing that he's playing a long game, and against an especially vicious opponent, I think it is best to be cautious to judge him as though we have the perspective of history.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:29 AM on July 28, 2011


Meanwhile, Bachmann and other Tea Partiers want to abolish the EPA, Dept of Education, etc. I don't know of anyone advocating the liberal equivalent (shutting down coal power plants and living in the dark). So we lose because we aren't extreme (aka the Overton Window wins again).

Not true. You'll get tons of favorites if you propose shutting down all nuclear plants right now; upthread someone is saying we should nationalize all the banks; people on the left are constantly waxing nostalgic about how great things were when the top tax rate was 90% (despite the fact that everyone circumvented this by granting executives numerous untaxable-at-the-time benefits in kind). I don't want to hear such stupidity from Congressional Democrats. You don't deal with the crazyness of the Tea Party by going to the opposite extreme, for the same reason that you don't staff mental hospitals with witch doctors.

One party of certifiable loons is enough already.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:35 AM on July 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


You'll get tons of favorites if you propose shutting down all nuclear plants right now...

Show us where that has ever happened.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:38 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


T.D. Strange, the trillion dollars in potential liabilities you're talking about happens to be the same trillion dollars that investors lost during the financial crisis. You have no idea what you're talking about

Really?

Let's see some proof of these alleged hard hitting DOJ prosecutions of which you speak. Name three. Go on, I'll wait.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:43 AM on July 28, 2011


Man, we need to shut down nuclear plants RIGHT NOW!
posted by symbioid at 11:47 AM on July 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


I see a picture emerge of a good man, doing his best, with limited options and tepid popular political support, in a tank full of sharks...

...which is exactly the image he is working his hardest NOT to display. When he is forced to make a significant moral compromise, he'll tell you it's the best thing anybody could have done. And that's a big reason he is not getting the sympathy he may deserves. Sadly, maybe we need a good man to be devoured by the sharks to shock many of us into realizing the dangers. And Barack Obama will never be that man.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:07 PM on July 28, 2011


When I say Barack Dyson Obama, you don't think of Michael Eric.
posted by box at 11:25 AM on July 28 [1 favorite +] [!]


Actually, I think of a wounded Obama heroically holding up the debt ceiling saying "*gasp* I-I don't know how- how much longer I can h-h-hold this!"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:09 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Barack Bombadil Obama, derry do da derry yo.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:11 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I for one will enthusiastically vote to reelect Obama in 2012. His appeal to me is actually kind of like Bush's appeal to a lot of people, I think; at the end of the day, I just trust him. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite or a simpleton, but there's no politician I've encountered in my relatively short life who I'd rather have making important decisions on my behalf.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 12:11 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


symbioid, your lack of fervor makes me literally sick to my stomach.

I propose shutting down all nuclear power plants RIGHT FREAKING NOW!
posted by box at 12:18 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not true. You'll get tons of favorites if you propose shutting down all nuclear plants right now; upthread someone is saying we should nationalize all the banks;

When it comes to nationalizing the banks, anigbrowl, I'm not ready to tip the table over on account of that position, so please don't go characterizing me as some nutjob fire-breathing radical. As someone old enough to remember when most of us were still pretty comfortable with the idea of public utilities sometimes being necessary and even better than private sector alternatives, the idea of banking system nationalization isn't as bat-shit insane as you portray it.

It seems to me that maybe it wouldn't hurt to have some decent metaphorical plumbing in this place. And I do very strongly believe that now all but extinct concepts like public spaces, the public sector, and public infrastructure have a horribly under-appreciated status in the contemporary American political scheme of things. Go back and read first-person accounts of how transformative and important early federal infrastructure and other public development efforts were to the people who lived through them, like Mark Twain writing in "Life on the Mississippi." We are an incredibly ungrateful lot these days when it comes to appreciating the role the federal government and public institutions have played in bringing us to a much higher standard of living.

Is it really coincidence things have gotten so much worse since we started first de-prioritizing, neglecting, and then finally, vilifying the development of public services as public goods in themselves? Maybe, but my money's on that being one of our big problems. We need--our economic system needs--decent, reliable plumbing, not a bunch of flim-flam. And if banks weren't for-profit enterprises, while they might still be as corruptible as ever in the hands of the wrong political leadership (that's true of any undertaking public or private, so I'm not sure why this particular tautology always pops up as a counterargument), the economic costs of banking would be lower immediately, because profit-taking requires markup. The extra money that the banking industry extracts from the system to create accounting profits is skimmed off the top for no purpose other than profit-making.

Now of course, profit making isn't inherently bad, but to me it seems if we're so concerned with the efficient movement of capital, we shouldn't be pumping all or even most of it through pipes we know are designed to leak.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:27 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let's see some proof of these alleged hard hitting DOJ prosecutions of which you speak. Name three. Go on, I'll wait.

Investment Advisor, Race Team Owner, Admits Operating $10 Million Fraud Scheme

Five Employees of A&O Entities Sentenced to Prison for $100 Million Fraud Scheme

Former Sky Capital CEO and Senior Broker Found Guilty in New York for Committing Massive Investment Fraud and Stock Manipulation Scheme

More Federal Charges Filed in Minnesota against Frank Vennes in Petters' Ponzi Scheme; Another Hedge Fund Manager also Indicted

Richmond, Virginia, Businessman Sentenced to 97 Months in Prison for Role in Investment Fraud Scheme Causing Millions in Losses

Former Principal of Wextrust Capital Sentenced in New York to 262 Months in Prison for Real Estate Investment Fraud Scheme

JPMorgan Chase Admits to Anticompetitive Conduct by Former Employees in the Municipal Bond Investments Market and Agrees to Pay $228 Million to Federal and State Agencies

Recidivist Fraudster Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Multi-million Dollar Investment Scheme

Coinciding with One-Year Anniversary of "Operation Stolen Dreams," Three Loan Officers and a Title Agent Charged in $2.5 Million Reverse Mortgage and Loan Modification Scheme

Technology Company Insider Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Insider Trading Charges

That's just in July. There's a lot more where that came from. That doesn't include information about a lot of ongoing investigations, because releasing it might weaken the case. I have some inside knowledge of one such investigation and the sheer scope of it is staggering, with millions of documents which have to be scrutinized and categorized. Complex financial trials often take several years to arrive in court.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:33 PM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


FYI the "Recidivist Fraudster Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Multi-million Dollar Investment Scheme" link goes nowhere, alas.
posted by elizardbits at 12:51 PM on July 28, 2011


Oops. Well just go to the last link, and you'll find it in the list. They're all on the same DoJ website anyway.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:07 PM on July 28, 2011


his accomplishments have been achieved through compromise

Compromise? What have the GOP given up in exchange for getting what they want? I think the answer is nothing.
posted by wowbobwow at 1:25 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


barack buchanan obama, i think - a man who vainly tried to reunite what could not be reunited and failed, through little fault of his own
posted by pyramid termite at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2011


Also, both those articles were fascinating. And very, very depressing.
posted by wowbobwow at 1:35 PM on July 28, 2011


Egon Spengler Obama
Tesco Vee Obama
Emperor Zizzy Obama of Swizzle Firma
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2011


The lack of political understanding in this thread is astounding. Have you never heard the saying that "politics is the art of the possible"?

I really don't get why people are blaming Obama when he's clearly trying to do his best in the face of Republican obstrctionism. He's trying to get the best deal he can, for chrissakes, and those of us on the left should be offering support as well as constructive criticism.

If you guys keep this up I hope you enjoy the bachmann presidency. More stuff to complain about, I guess. Cold comfort in that apocalypse.
posted by lackutrol at 1:39 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, is like half of this tread green greenwald sock puppets? Jesus.
posted by lackutrol at 1:41 PM on July 28, 2011


Excuse the tyos, please.
posted by lackutrol at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't get why people are blaming Obama when he's clearly trying to do his best in the face of Republican obstrctionism.

Well, they're frustrated. More or less rightly so, but still.

Political power derives from two things - Votes or Dollars. Liberal causes and candidates have neither.

And it's funny, because individual liberal ideals are all held in high regard amongst voters, but taken as a bunch... well people vote in opposition to them time and again.

Anyway - yeah, the left would love to have more leverage over Obama - but they have none. They haven't got the votes and they haven't got the dollars.

They could work on changing those things - but, it's easier to hypercritically bitch and moan on internet forums.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:46 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


perhaps
B.H. "Edgar" Obama
posted by clavdivs at 2:21 PM on July 28, 2011


Also, is like half of this tread green greenwald sock puppets? Jesus.

hypercritically bitch and moan on internet forums

Jesus yourself. The US is at war in three places! Killing people. Every day. Hypercritical my ass. Those DOJ cases anigbrowl presents are small bloody potatoes. We bailed out banks that were too big to fail and have since (forget about nationalizing them) let them get bigger.

The scale, the pervasiveness, the audacity of these things boggles my mind. And it boggles my mind that more people don't see it.
posted by Trochanter at 2:22 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


lackutrol: If you guys keep this up I hope you enjoy the bachmann presidency.

W00T! Let's get the circular firing squad started!

Pogo_FuzzyButt: They could work on changing those things - but, it's easier to hypercritically bitch and moan on internet forums.

Nah, I think I'd much rather throw some money at one of the many political groups doing good work here. Actually, I think I'd rather bang my head against a brick wall, which at least has the potential for leaving an artistic stain.

Quite thankfully, the metafilter chorus that liberal Democrats destroy liberalism by advocating it and Democrats by voting for them is equally irrelevant.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stopped at "Catastrophic Climate Change" *rolls eyes*
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:15 PM on July 28, 2011



Nah, I think I'd much rather throw some money at one of the many political groups doing good work here. Actually, I think I'd rather bang my head against a brick wall, which at least has the potential for leaving an artistic stain.


Well, that's just it. For the past 40 years, liberals have been bitching about the not-liberal-enough liberalness of so called liberal politicians.

The conservatives have been organizing and creating a network of organizations and think tanks to generate votes and money - actual political power.

They own the media, they direct the discussion and the agenda and they control - to a large extent - where our society is headed. Liberal causes used to do much of that, but they've stopped (or well, stopped being effective) and so, here we are.

They've been able to create political power and then deliver on it. Liberals.... well, haven't. People in the streets don't matter. Drum circles don't matter. Logic, reason, and facts don't matter.

Votes do. And Liberals don't have them.

So, yeah, I agree, it sucks that Barack Obama isn't the Great Black Liberal Hope. But he was never going to be, and your keyboard full of tears won't change the political reality we now find ourselves in.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:32 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would love for you folks to put forward an alternative strategy that gives the left all it wants, I'd likely support it. I'm at least as left as most of you but I can't see my way to change in the real political climate, further than the President and the Senate have gone. He's managed to pass the repeal of DADT and the best we could get in terms of healthcare reform.
posted by lackutrol at 3:36 PM on July 28, 2011


DADT is nice, but he's still opposed to gay marriage... although his supporters will say that he was for it before he was against it in the 2008 elections.

So basically one of his centerpieces in your eyes is a fairly limited area of the gay rights platform, and he's still opposed to gay marriage because he's either
a) intellectually shallow,
b) hyper religious and hyper conservative, or
c) is the kind of mealy mouth, spineless, lacks-the-courage-of-his-convictions Democrat that are useless and endlessly frustrating.
If I wanted a President with no balls, I'd vote for Michelle Bachmann.

I also dispute your notion that we got the best we could get in terms of healthcare reform: he came to the table capitulating with a warmed over, HMO-friendly plan and then let even that anemic mess get picked apart by obstructionist Republicans. He was a spineless conciliatory weakling who couldn't even keep his own party members in line... or didn't want to.

It's this repeated pattern of "Concede from the outset to opponents who've shown they won't play nice or compromise" that suggests strongly that I and other enthusiastic 2008 voters were hoodwinked by a Manchurian Democrat.
posted by hincandenza at 3:55 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Barack "Scapegoat" Obama.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:30 PM on July 28, 2011


They've been able to create political power and then deliver on it. Liberals.... well, haven't.

is that why gay marriages exist in several states right now?

is that why some kind of health care reform, however flawed it is, exists right now?

i'm not at all satisfied with what has been done, but the record is clear - liberals have some political power and they have managed to deliver on some things

to me, the savageness of the opposition is an indication that liberalism has had some success and its opponents are getting desperate

now what needs to be done is to move away from the social issues and start pressing on the economic stuff
posted by pyramid termite at 4:32 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pogo: So, yeah, I agree, it sucks that Barack Obama isn't the Great Black Liberal Hope.

Um, WTF?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:01 PM on July 28, 2011


Just don't call him Biggus Dickus. [NOT RACIST]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:12 PM on July 28, 2011


lackutrol: I would love for you folks to put forward an alternative strategy that gives the left all it wants, I'd likely support it.

Ok you'll probably need to write this down:
1) Close the metafilter window.
2) Open a window to Google.
3) Search for any liberal political organization.
4) Give them some money.
5) Call them up and ask how you can help locally.

Will that give you everything you want? Probably not. But what does bitching about liberals here on metafilter do?

Absolutely nothing.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:12 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


3) Search for any liberal political organization.

Probably not liberal per se but I am a big fan of Common Cause and Just Detention International. CeaseFire Chicago is another group I actively support. These groups can push political change and you really don't have to do much but support them financially. I always, always send out Christmas greetings to prison rape victims though, and that is something that JDI.

Personally, in addition to the above, I suggest finding a candidate you can get behind, state level, national level, whatever, and volunteer. There are never enough volunteers, never. I do it every cycle.

I also think complaining has its place. This is a democracy, we should be able to complain and disagree without people who mostly agree with our viewpoints telling us all how stupid it is to complain. That's some high-horse bullshit and frankly, I am sick and tired of being told I don't have a right to do it because it won't accomplish anything. Does everything you do or say accomplish something? No? OK then. Shut it.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:32 PM on July 28, 2011


I forgot local. Volunteer in local elections too. They matter so, so much. In April my candidate for city council lost by only 127 votes, a few more volunteers might have made the difference.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:35 PM on July 28, 2011


Jebus. The Christmas greetings, it's something that JDI coordinates.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:36 PM on July 28, 2011


Another article about how Obama isn't liberal enough for its author?

K.
posted by Alcibiades. at 5:51 PM on July 28, 2011


It's fine to complain. In fact, it's one of my favorite pastimes lately. But it's also fine to speak up about how you see things, no?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:19 PM on July 28, 2011


Barack Wong Hau Pepulu Tivruskii Obama IV.
posted by Foosnark at 6:26 PM on July 28, 2011


But it's also fine to speak up about how you see things, no?

I do agree. But man, people just gotta lay off their allies. It's just part of being an ally. And they can be called firebaggers or moderates, whatever side of the equation you want, but we on the left, we are the all-encompassing. We have room for all. Even complainers. Even the naysayers. Even the complainers about the complainers.

But we all have a right to complain, and the implication that by complaining on MeFi we're not doing our part to help progress, well, it's just insulting. I work my arse off, and complain to boot.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:47 PM on July 28, 2011


Based on my ability to judge character, which is better than average, based on personal experience. And based on the fact that, in most cases, if you dig deep enough, you can see through the media noise and you'll find most of the critical things you think about him are misrepresentations or deliberate distortions that have been, in some cases, manufactured and in others, merely stoked, by political interests on the right.
Ridiculous. How can you judge someone's character without knowing them? It's all marketing. The positives things you know about him are just as susceptible to manipulation and misrepresentations from 'the center'. Most of his biggest critics have unassailable liberal credentials (Krugman, Greenwald, etc) and aren't people who are confused by republican talking points.
And the right has made an effective, practical science out of getting the left in this country to think it comes up with its own ideas while actually feeding us poison pills.
This is pretty damn paranoid.
Within the next few weeks the 5 largest banks are expected to agree to a settlement for mortgage abuses that's worth at least $20 billion. Half of Wall Street thinks Holder's a terrorist.
A settlement with States Attorneys general, I believe.
If you guys keep this up I hope you enjoy the bachmann presidency.
Six months ago it was Palin who would be president if we didn't all get on our knees and sing the praises of Obama, now it's Bachmann. Make up your minds.

Btw, the position of hardcore Obama supporters is logically untenable. On the one hand The republicans are totally evil and we have to do everything we can to keep them out of the whitehouse, so we have to support Obama. On the other hand, the republican's ideas are fine and it's OK that Obama gives them most of what they want.
Well, that's just it. For the past 40 years, liberals have been bitching about the not-liberal-enough liberalness of so called liberal politicians.

The conservatives have been organizing and creating a network of organizations and think tanks to generate votes and money - actual political power.
Yes, but they've also been organizing against conservatives they don't think are conservative enough. The Tea Party and republicans are much less tolerant of heterodoxy among their ranks as liberals are. And the fact that they are as well organized in pursuit of conservative victories is the reason that they are so successful in terms of getting those policies innacted

The fact that the republicans are being 'unreasonable' in these debt ceiling negotiations is giving them a lot of what they wanted: massive spending cuts.

In fact, I would say that conservatives bitch about people not being conservative enough just as much as liberals do. The difference is that they act on it.
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear Leader the Most Merciful Barack the LightBringer (and Worker) ObaMaossiahmmunist of Mass Hopiates and Commander in Thief
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:36 PM on July 28, 2011


Btw, the position of hardcore Obama supporters is logically untenable. On the one hand The republicans are totally evil and we have to do everything we can to keep them out of the whitehouse, so we have to support Obama. On the other hand, the republican's ideas are fine and it's OK that Obama gives them most of what they want.

You've misstated the position.

On the one hand, The republicans are totally evil and we have to do everything we can to keep them out of the whitehouse, so we have to support Obama. On the other hand, the democrats are feckless and even when running good and well qualified candidates (Feingold) continue to get outgunned and outspent an Obama actually has a shot at getting re-elected.

So, you know. I mean, I've gone on before about how feckless and terrible the Democratic party is. We delivered thousands of people on the streets in the dead of a Wisconsin winter and they were falling all over themselves to avoid taking too strong a position. They continue to lose because they are stupid, mismanaged, and too busy sending dick pictures across the internet to actually formulate a coherent message and then deliver on it.

And liberals don't have the votes or the money to make them listen.

But, they're what we've got. That's what stands between us and 1890 take 2.

I weep for the future
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:40 PM on July 28, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: I didn't mis-state the position, I explained the contradiction in it. If the republicans are 'evil' then isn't it partly evil to compromise with them? I mean, if Hitler says "let's kill the jews" isn't it evil to push for a "compromise" of just killing half of them? Or sterilizing them to prevent them from breeding?
posted by delmoi at 9:12 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


What exactly are the Democrats supposed to do differently in Wisconsin? Iirc they are the minority party.
posted by humanfont at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2011


Ridiculous. How can you judge someone's character without knowing them?

By his words and actions. I don't "know" anyone beyond what I hear them say and see them do; there's nothing ridiculous about it. Granted, I haven't seen everything he's done or said, but I try to pay close attention without listening to the received wisdom I get from people like you who consider it "paranoid" to suggest there have been Republican think-tanks and similar conservative organizations relentlessly positioning themselves as thought-leaders in nearly every sphere of public life for over 30 years now, whose calculated conservative political talking points and messaging I hear constantly repeated by self-professed "liberals" as evidence against their own.

Yes, once we get even the slightest bit of actual consensus around a left agenda, we can start being critical of our own. But as far as I can tell, if you get 20 non-republicans in a room these days to organize a platform, you'll end up with 20 different platforms when you walk out. Sure, we all agree on what we don't want--but what plurality on the left has any ideas about what we do?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:35 PM on July 28, 2011


Obama has no choice but to compromise: in the absence of a unified popular movement with momentum within the political establishment that controls the processes of governance, that's the only way the system functions. It was designed to work that way and it does.

Bush didn't seem to have to compromise that much because he was riding a wave of 9-11 backlash and anti-terror furor that was all too welcome to the lobbying interests and legislators that stood to profit from it (hell--remember that PNAC report concluding the US desperately needed something like 9-11 to happen to jolt the nation out of its complacency? The people that wrote that report were the people who were governing then--all the way down to the state level in Florida, where even Jeb Bush was a signatory to that PNAC report).

Face it: our system was expressly designed to require compromise if there isn't broad consensus. It just functions that way. Step through it like it's a process flow diagram and you'll see that.

As a result, Obama has no choice but to compromise sometimes. That's part of why I say he's in such a tough spot.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:46 PM on July 28, 2011


Barack Chamberlain Obama.

NOT to say that Boner is a brown shirt. (Those guys knew what they wanted.)
posted by Twang at 12:12 AM on July 29, 2011


How can you judge someone's character without knowing them?

By his words and actions.


I'm at the point where I ignore his words; they have too often claimed to support things that he then throws away in pursuit of "compromise."

Obama has no choice but to compromise: in the absence of a unified popular movement with momentum within the political establishment that controls the processes of governance, that's the only way the system functions.

His version of compromise looks a lot like capitulation. Instead of taking a liberal position and then negotiating from there, he "compromises" to a Republican position at the outset, then lets himself be pushed even further to the right. As far as the popular movement that's supposedly missing, lots of the liberal agenda that Obama concedes away at the beginning of negotiations enjoys broad popular support: single-payer health-care, taxing the wealthy, cutting defense spending, etc. Instead of strongly espousing those things and leading more people to support them, he consistently criticizes the left wing for not falling in behind his crypto-Republican measures, thus undermining the support that does exist.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:40 AM on July 29, 2011


lots of the liberal agenda that Obama concedes away at the beginning of negotiations enjoys broad popular support: single-payer health-care, taxing the wealthy, cutting defense spending,

And that broad popular support was demonstrated in 2010 when Democrats got handed a historic defeat. They got their ass handed to them.

I think there is a fair amount denial regarding just how profoundly the dems got beat.

Now, granted, Obama is sort of high minded in that he wants to be the president for all Americans, not just the left. He sees himself as a statesman, not an idealogue. You can argue whether that's good or bad, and I can see both sides there.

And despite that, he's managed to accomplish more than I thought possible given the usual Dem incompetence and intransigence.

At the end of the day, however, the fact is that the left does not have the votes. Because if they had the votes, we wouldn't be here.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:34 AM on July 29, 2011


His version of compromise looks a lot like capitulation. Instead of taking a liberal position and then negotiating from there, he "compromises" to a Republican position at the outset

I dont think it's necessarily Obama that's negotiating that stuff away though, in a lot of cases, so much as Dem congressional leadership telling him what they're willing to fight for and what they aren't, and unfortunately that usually isn't much. The public option is a prime example. The Democratic leadership at the start of the health care debate went out of its way to make it clear that no version of single-payer plan was on the table, and that they weren't too committed to a public option either. There were lots of statements coming out at the time from key Dems to that effect, before any compromise on the issue was ever proposed.

Party leadership is not just an empty honor. The senior legislators who sit on key committees have more lawmaking power than other legislators. If you ask me, that runs afoul of certain core principles of equal representation, since in fact, not all our representatives have the same amount of power in the process (allowing senior representatives to hole more sway over the process despite representing only their own district), but it's fact. All it takes is one key committee chair whispering in the president's ear that they're not willing to fight for one of his priorities, then whatever alternative approach Obama seeks just in order to make any progress on the issue can look like capitulation.

If his own party doesn't have his back, he's got nothing to work with, and to me, they've made it pretty clear from the beginning that they don't have his back. A majority of his own party voted not to fund closing Gitmo, even knowing it would give him a massive black eye because it was a key campaign pledge and because he had issued an Executive Order--the strongest legal tool available to a President--ordering the closure. The Democrats in congress have been undermining the authority of Obama's presidency from the beginning. That's what I see.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:50 AM on July 29, 2011


And that broad popular support was demonstrated in 2010 when Democrats got handed a historic defeat. They got their ass handed to them.

Apparently, you don't think that was an expression of disappointment that Obama and the Dem-controlled legislature did so little to enact the liberal agenda. In other words, that the promised change so many had voted for in 2008 turned out to be a whole lot of more of the same. I don't see it the way you do, but I'd welcome any evidence either way.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:15 AM on July 29, 2011


Plus there was a pretty historic recession going on. Never a good thing for incumbents.

Not that I wouldn't believe that Dems would use that defeat as an excuse to snuggle up closer to the source of their campaign money.
posted by Trochanter at 7:27 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]



Apparently, you don't think that was an expression of disappointment that Obama and the Dem-controlled legislature did so little to enact the liberal agenda. In other words, that the promised change so many had voted for in 2008 turned out to be a whole lot of more of the same. I don't see it the way you do, but I'd welcome any evidence either way.

Sure. OK. Seems more like nose cutting and less like face spiting, given the results.

What I'm saying is that I'm not sure the dems got that message. And even if they did - I'm not sure that it was the greatest strategy for obtaining political goals, based on whats gotten passed.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:28 AM on July 29, 2011


The Dems clearly did not get, or did not value, that message. As for it being a deficient strategy - maybe so, but I doubt it was conceived by most as a strategy. I would suppose it was more of a throwing-up-of-hands, "I'm sitting this one out" response.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:50 AM on July 29, 2011


Within the next few weeks the 5 largest banks are expected to agree to a settlement for mortgage abuses that's worth at least $20 billion. [...]
A settlement with States Attorneys general, I believe.


You believe wrong, it's a joint action with the DoJ, as every news story mentions but most of the political blogs like to omit because they can't bring themselves to admit the Obama administration might be actually succeeding at anything.

In fact, I would say that conservatives bitch about people not being conservative enough just as much as liberals do. The difference is that they act on it.

Yes, and look how well that's working out. Ideologues should not guide policy for the same reason that religious zealots should not guide scientific research.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2011


Apparently, you don't think that was an expression of disappointment that Obama and the Dem-controlled legislature did so little to enact the liberal agenda.

Oh come on. The Republicans fought tooth and nail against healthcare reform, financial reform, ending DADT, and everything else - just look at all the opposition to Obama's Supreme Court appointments, the endless delays in confirming his other judicial nominees, the difficulty of getting the CFTC launched and so on. The GOP has made historic overuse of the filibuster, and it's a sad fact that a 1/3+1 minority in the Senate can block a lot of legislation if said minority is determined to do so.

The reason that centrists like myself grumble so much about ponies and hippies is because there seems to be some sort of magical thinking out on the left of the party that just wishing really hard will make something happen. The reality is that we didn't have all the votes in Congress that we'd like for everything we want to do, and the right is rabidly opposed to the Obama presidency, with its crazy birth certificate campaigns, talk of death panels, and what-all else.

Clinton was able to do more in the teeth of a hostile Republican Congress, but Clinton had 3 things going for him: the USSR had just collapsed, the world wide web was revolutionizing communication and commerce, and the US wasn't fighting any major wars because Bush41 had the good sense to stay out of Iraq after driving that country's forces back over the Kuwaiti border. And Clinton had a rather bumpy first term as well, I seem to recall.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:21 PM on July 29, 2011


Kirth Girson: Apparently, you don't think that was an expression of disappointment that Obama and the Dem-controlled legislature did so little to enact the liberal agenda. In other words, that the promised change so many had voted for in 2008 turned out to be a whole lot of more of the same. I don't see it the way you do, but I'd welcome any evidence either way.

The liberal vote in 2010 was practically the same as it was in 2008, 2006, and 2004. The votes of conservatives and moderates, however, swung dramatically toward Democrats in 2006 and 2008, and back to Republicans in 2010.

anigbrowl: The reason that centrists like myself grumble so much about ponies and hippies is because there seems to be some sort of magical thinking out on the left of the party that just wishing really hard will make something happen.

Liberals overwhelmingly vote for Democrats (more consistently than "centrists"), give money to liberal political causes, and volunteer in accord to their politics. The perpetual habit here on metafilter of blaming the liberals rather than building winning coalitions is honestly baffling, and I'm only resigned to it after realizing that your absurd prejudices are largely irrelevant to real-world politics where a dollar is a dollar and a vote is a vote.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:07 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The votes of conservatives and moderates, however, swung dramatically toward Democrats in 2006 and 2008, and back to Republicans in 2010.

I still think that 2010 vote could be a repudiation of the failure to implement change, rather than an endorsement of the new crop of Republican candidates. Those moderates and conservatives voted for Change-O-Rama like the rest of us, and like many of us, were disappointed when the changes were minuscule. We have nobody else we can accept voting for, but they are less worried by the Republican agenda.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:46 PM on July 29, 2011


So when the Republicans controlled the Senate, they could threaten a "nuclear option" to end the filibuster, and ram through whatever they wanted. But when the Dems have a supermajority they can't do jack. If the Republicans can threaten a "nuclear option", why can't the Dems?
posted by moorooka at 9:14 PM on July 29, 2011


Because there are 30-40 liberal members of senate, even with Democratic gains. You don't have the party discipline in the ranks of the Democrats because they represent a much more diverse and inclusive set of views. Where as the Reoublicans are just psychopaths.
posted by humanfont at 9:33 PM on July 29, 2011


psychopaths who get results
posted by moorooka at 3:33 AM on July 30, 2011


Barack "from 'hope' in 2008 to a rank fear-mongering campaign in 2012" Obama.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:56 PM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition
posted by homunculus at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2011


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