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President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards
September 5, 2011 11:25 AM   Subscribe

President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards As two weeks of protests outside the White House against a proposed oil pipeline from Alberta's tar sands through the United States ended Friday with a total of 1,252 arrests, President Obama shocked the environmental community by requesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, after repeated delays since publication of new draft ozone standards in 2010 lowering permissible levels from 85 parts per billion (introduced during the Bush administration) to 60-70 parts per billion, postpone their implementation until at least 2013.

Industry and Congressional Republicans cheered the move as a "first step" towards fulfilling GOP ambitions to reduce environmental regulation. Environmentalists, (among others), strongly disagreed.

"All last week across the street from the White House
, Bill McKibben, a founder of 350.org, a grass-roots organization that advocates limiting carbon emissions, staged demonstrations to protest the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring the tar sands oil from Canada.

As of Friday, Mr. McKibben said, more than a thousand people had been arrested in the previous days of protest, including Obama campaign staff members from 2008. Yet, he said of the White House, “we heard not one word from them.”

One of those former campaign workers who was arrested was Courtney Hight, who was the youth vote director in Florida in 2008. She offered an explicit warning: “If the president decides not to permit the pipeline, he will reignite the enthusiasm many of my friends and I felt in 2008. But if he approves it, it is just human nature that the disappointment will sap the enthusiasm that drove us to work so hard last time.”
posted by jhandey (308 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this post about the ozone standards, or the oil sands pipeline?
posted by hippybear at 11:29 AM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think it's about Obama's lack of any kind of serious commitment to environmental justice.

Surely this...
posted by mediareport at 11:39 AM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Surely this will ingratiate him to the GOP!
posted by adamrice at 11:40 AM on September 5, 2011 [30 favorites]


If this surprises anyone, I've got a bridge to sell...
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:42 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama: Yes we can, but no we won't.
posted by nola at 11:42 AM on September 5, 2011 [128 favorites]


THIS is odd! Didn't he go on national tv and give a speech why he had to do it?
posted by Postroad at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2011


A few months back I unfollowed one of the Grist writers for being a dick on Twitter to folks who suggested that a challenge from the left to Obama might help to swing public discourse in a more leftward direction on environmental issues. He said the suggestion was absurd and the folks who believed it were idiots (something like that). I wonder how he's feeling now?
posted by mediareport at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2011


After outcry from the far right on TOPIC, the Obama administration has decided to back down, despite overwhelming public support in favor of POSITION. Progressives have again cried foul, "this is not the change that we voted for!" Republican praise has been muted in the face of the President's complete capitulation, with some calling into question his support of 'widely suspect radical far-left socialist beliefs' such as the law of gravity, the curvature of the earth, and the wetness of water.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2011 [85 favorites]


"Obama backs down on"
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:45 AM on September 5, 2011 [65 favorites]




This Frontline special really fleshes out the political impossibility of the U.S. having anything close to resembling a responsible energy policy. It aired during the 2008 election campaigns.
posted by sswiller at 11:48 AM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Obama backs down on"

Wow, does anything get more blatantly damning than that Google search?

The Obameter on Environment campaign promises.

The thing about environmental issues is, anything which Politifact labels as "compromise" you can really read as "complete loss".
posted by hippybear at 11:48 AM on September 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm baffled by Obama's repeated decisions to cowardly capitulate to the GOP even in the face of all evidence that it isn't ingratiating him to dogmatic conservatives one bit. I'd understand if he is playing a subtle game of political chess to set himself up for inevitable reelection in 2012, but nothing suggests this is the case. His approval ratings show no signs of rising amongst the bloc he is trying to court. It's utterly moronic.

He seems to put his pipe-dream of bringing civility to the nation's political discourse above the interests of the nation itself.
posted by identitymap at 11:51 AM on September 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


WHERES YOUR PREZDEBT NOW!

Obama Wilderness Protection Plan Abandoned
posted by clavdivs at 11:53 AM on September 5, 2011


And guess who's still not happy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, naturally.

The Chamber heaped praise on the White House for its ozone decision. But Josten, who said he is in frequent contact with White House Chief of Staff William Daley and other top officials, said the administration “still has a heavy hand” with hundreds of regulations in the pipeline, from those affecting the environment to labor and capital markets.

Obama has bent over backwards to appease those who would have him gone, and yet he keeps going back to get smacked around again. Why is he doing this?

A broken man heading a broken government, how different could it have been if his first instinct wasn't capitulation?
posted by Max Power at 11:58 AM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I still believe in him.

Hahaha no, just kidding.
posted by gurple at 12:00 PM on September 5, 2011 [40 favorites]


Why is he doing this?

He's a stealth Republican?

What a shame there's no one else in the Democratic party who actually has some balls. I'd vote for them in the next election instead.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Obama: "It's not a can't thing, it's a won't thing"
posted by hellojed at 12:02 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Surely this will ingratiate him to the GOP!

But it sure makes fundraising a lot easier though.

I am not sure why there are so many comments about compromise or capitulation. This is Obama. This is what he believes. Is there a major issue which he has not espoused deeply Republican beliefs on. From health care reform to taxes to social services the man is Republican through and through. But thanks for throwing us a bone occasionally on issues overwhelmingly popular with the public like DADT.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:02 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]




i had a long rant started, but this says it all: "Obama’s decision to do nothing on ozone pollution is actually worse than what the Bush-Cheney Administration proposed. "

Obama, don't run as a democrat again. Ever.
posted by usagizero at 12:04 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is the sort of story that makes my left eyelid twitch. Please, President Obama, stop contributing to eyelid twitch.
posted by theredpen at 12:05 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'd vote for them in the next election instead.

As would a bunch of us. I can't believe that there is nobody out there that has been identified as a good alternative for people who don't want to destroy the country in the way the Republicans want.

Anybody have ANY names?
posted by cashman at 12:06 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Obama will respond to whoever has the most influence. As long as the corporations and lobbyists are louder than the people asking for change, expect more of the same. They win when you give up. That is their goal. If you don't agree with Obama's policies, then force his hand.
posted by euphorb at 12:07 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


If you don't agree with Obama's policies, then force his hand.

Yeah I'll just uh, round up my billions and buy some activists.

Now where did I leave those billions again...
posted by Max Power at 12:09 PM on September 5, 2011 [24 favorites]


cashman: " Anybody have ANY names?"

Spitzer / Weiner 2012. America: Lock Up Your Daughters
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


They could run against

Craig / Ashburne 2012. America: Lock Up Your Sons
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Brandon / Blatcher 2012. America: Undo Your Pants and Be Free!

As to this decision, NPR's Political Junkie explain it as short action to prevent a few more job cuts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:16 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


> The thing about environmental issues is, anything which Politifact labels as "compromise" you can really read as "complete loss".

Yeah, "compromise" in environmental issues makes for nice tidy legislation, but usually translates into measures or efforts that fall well below any meaningful threshold for actual change. Adding up what environmental scientists say is needed with what corporate lobbyists want and then splitting the difference is pretty weak.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:17 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


You know... two months ago, I was internally mocking people who said they wanted to see a primary challenge to Obama for the 2012 election.

I think I've actually changed my mind on this.

It'll never happen, but fuck. It really needs to.

I'll be the first to admit, I had projected qualities into him as an officeholder which I wanted to see: a left-wing version of Bush's The Decider, who would ram his policies through Congress and put the country back on a path which I approved of after 8 years of things going in the wrong direction.

He isn't that. He never was that. His skills as a community organizer never trained him to be that. And despite his skills with rhetoric, he doesn't have much ramming-through experience, and he has continually disappointed me on, say, 75% of everything since he took office.

I don't know who could stand as a successful primary challenger to him, but I'd welcome someone trying at this point.
posted by hippybear at 12:21 PM on September 5, 2011 [17 favorites]


"Yeah I'll just uh, round up my billions and buy some activists.

Now where did I leave those billions again...
"

Well, yeah. Citizen's United.

One of my friends, who ran Obama's operations in Michigan and Ohio, isn't working for Obama this time around, because Obama's campaign strategy has shifted in the wake of the Citizen's United decision — Obama is actively courting big donors, especially from business, and has cut back on the grassroots mode of campaign that he ran in 2008.

(Honestly, a constitutional amendment to set campaign finance limits may be the only way we ever get any mitigation of corporate money. And very few of the people who are able to change that system have an interest in changing the system.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:21 PM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


As to this decision, NPR's Political Junkie explain it as short action to prevent a few more job cuts.

In the Krugman link in the main post, he explains how new regulations are probably stimulative in a recession like ours. So this just cuts jobs more.

There's also significantly more to the ozone story than just pure cost/benefit analysis: it's a genuine betrayal of environmental groups which had been promised action in exchange for dropping lawsuits. The one upside is that the reasoning the Obama administration gave for this terrible decision is likely illegal itself, meaning the lawsuits will hopefully succeed when they resume.
posted by gerryblog at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm too angry to think rationally about this. I cancelled my schedule donations to the Obama campaign and told them to go away.
posted by humanfont at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know who could stand as a successful primary challenger to him, but I'd welcome someone trying at this point.

For curiosity sake, does anyone know if that has successfully worked on in a Presidential election?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2011


> For curiosity sake, does anyone know if that has successfully worked on in a Presidential election?

Reagan's the only one who got close since WW2.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:25 PM on September 5, 2011


Good Lord, WHY?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:26 PM on September 5, 2011


Alan Grayson? Sherrod Brown? What it will take is a complete disrespect of the Fox news/ Rush et al. noise box.

Open mocking. Offending Tea Partiers, confrontation that our career Democratic politicians can't even fathom, even though they see it done to themselves everyday.

Two different games are being played and the country loses because our feckless "representatives" don't want to owe up to the actually of the situation.
posted by Max Power at 12:27 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Along the lines of what klangklangston was saying, my utopian fantasy lately has been taking our chances on a whole new constitution. Whatever came out of that insanity, it doesn't seem like it could be much worse than what we have now.

In the meantime I'm trying to console myself with the idea that Romney really won't be so bad -- he'll be a caretaker president like Bush 41. He'll be something like a more effective version of Obama: putting forward the same sort of policies but without the crazed, scorched-earth opposition from the other side. Republicans will suddenly remember that deficits don't matter and will start spending money again, the recession will end... and maybe he'll betray his own base on a few important issues (like the environment) the way our side constantly gets betrayed right now.

Small consolation, but these are lousy times.

Perry would be a lot worse, of course, but I still think the GOP nominee will be Romney in the end. They want to win, after all, and Romney has the best chance.
posted by gerryblog at 12:27 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


For curiosity sake, does anyone know if that has successfully worked on in a Presidential election?
A primary challenger successfully knocked LBJ out of the running in 1968.

And look where that got us.
posted by Flunkie at 12:30 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, there we go. Poor ol' Chester Arthur got spanked by his party in favor of this guy (who lost).
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:30 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


it isn't ingratiating him to dogmatic conservatives one bit

This isn't aimed at dogmatic conservatives. It's aimed squarely at independents. Whether or not it buys him any credit with them is, of course, an open question.
posted by Slothrup at 12:30 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Given the choice between a Republican, and a Democrat who acts like a Republican..."

Maybe he's tired of this job?
posted by JLovebomb at 12:31 PM on September 5, 2011


I think the "primary Obama" side has to understand that historically speaking that's a decision to hand over the presidency to whoever the other side nominates. Incumbent presidents who get significant primary challenges lose.

Obama has been bad enough that it might be worth it anyway -- I'm just about there -- but that's really the cost. You're not likely to unseat Obama, and whether you do or not the GOP probably walks away with the presidency (and probably one or both houses of Congress too, the way these things tend to go).

Like I said, these are lousy times.
posted by gerryblog at 12:31 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reagan's the only one who got close since WW2.

So Obama it is. Hold your nose and vote if you have to, but do vote if for no other reason than the Supreme Court nominations.

And get more involved at the local level, where you can affect more change.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't know who could stand as a successful primary challenger to him, but I'd welcome someone trying at this point.

Honestly? I think we're just fucked. We soldered through eight years of Cheney/Bush, got a Democrat in the White House, and a strong majority in the House and Senate and . . . nothing. Not a god damned thing. I really believe that the top level Democratic party is the puppet of bigger interests than anything like the American people, and when they collectively had a shot to run the country what did we see? Dicks blowing in the wind. Fuck all, is what they even tried to get done. Health reform?! You call that reform? FUCK!
posted by nola at 12:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [34 favorites]


Perry would be a lot worse, of course, but I still think the GOP nominee will be Romney in the end. They want to win, after all, and Romney has the best chance.
I agree that Romney has a better chance of winning the general (given that he wins the primary) than Perry. But I am not so sure that the people who remain convinced that Republicans should win also believe that, so I'm not really sure how relevant it is.
posted by Flunkie at 12:33 PM on September 5, 2011


Has there ever been a bigger "old switcheroo"/bait-and-switch in American history?
posted by bleep at 12:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]




And of course, the response to what I just said is that the GOP is pretty likely to win the presidency either way. So if the choice is between noble defeat and ignoble defeat...
posted by gerryblog at 12:34 PM on September 5, 2011


Incumbent presidents who get significant primary challenges lose.

This one is going to lose anyway. He's made it really clear that he will do nothing for the Democratic Base and cave in any time the GOP challenges him, so they're not going to bother to vote for him.

No we can't indeed.

If the Dems want the white house in 2012, they need to tell Obama that he needs to pull a Johnson and announce that he will not run, and get someone who won't cave into the GOP at every turn.

Because I am *not* voting for him. I'm tired of the compromises. I'm tired of the cowardice. If my choice is the GOP or the guy who keeps caving into the GOP, then I have no choice.
posted by eriko at 12:34 PM on September 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


He's not cowardly, nor is he trying to ingratiate himself with Republicans. The guy dwarfed McCain in the industry campaign contributions he was able to attract in 2008. Those were not free gifts: he now has to pay back those debts to the various industry lobbies and business interests whose money he used to buy the presidency, while hoping that they stay onside for 2012. It's really as simple as that.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:35 PM on September 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


I agree that Romney has a better chance of winning the general (given that he wins the primary) than Perry. But I am not so sure that the people who remain convinced that Republicans should win also believe that, so I'm not really sure how relevant it is.

I'm pretty much a conspiracy theorist when it comes to the inner workings of the GOP. The Stonecutters won't let them run a beautiful failure.
posted by gerryblog at 12:35 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Stonecutters won't let them run a beautiful failure.
That was actually their strategy in picking their last VP nominee.
posted by Flunkie at 12:37 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


They win when you give up. That is their goal. If you don't agree with Obama's policies, then force his hand.

Agreed. That's why I'm going to primary Obama and, if he's the candidate anyway, vote either Green or Socialist.
posted by DU at 12:39 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's almost lime he WANTS to lose.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:40 PM on September 5, 2011


got a Democrat in the White House, and a strong majority in the House and Senate and

There was not a strong Democratic majority in the Senate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:41 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Palin was a relatively savvy pick on paper: pick a popular female governor with a relatively moderate record to try to split the Democrats over gender / lingering Clinton-Obama resentment. That she turned out to be inarticulate, kind of crazy, and completely incapable of long-term national campaigning was just bad luck...
posted by gerryblog at 12:42 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


President Obama shocked the environmental community...

Why would they be shocked?

At this point, the Administration is doing whatever they can to try and staunch the hemorrhaging of jobs in America. If unemployment remains (or is perceived to remain) around current levels in 2012, then the GOP could run a Palin/Mussolini ticket and win easily (I forsee Virginia, Ohio and Florida going red this time around, regardless of the economy. That's going to create quite a hurdle for Obama to overcome).

Obama and his administration have bought into the neo-liberal free marketism that defines the modern American experience, so they reflexively believe that cutting regulations will spur job growth and (hopefully) give the President a shot at reelection. This is one of the things that the knee-jerk Obama defenders here on MeFi and elsewhere just don't get: that Obama's economic philosophy and foreign policy philosophy is essentially the same as the GOP.

He's basically a Republican who is kinda-sorta in favor of gay rights (kinda. Not marriage, of course. But some rights) and who supports some kind of government-subsidized national insurance program, or something. But other than those two areas, he's basically a moderate Republican.

But there is no concurrent strand of moderate Republicans on the GOP side. Thanks to the Tea Party, all Republicans must either be extremists or support extremists.

Where are all the moderate Republicans? They're in the Democratic party. They're in the White House. They're in Congress with "D's" in front of their names. Thats why this country's political class keeps going rightward, rightward and more rightward. Because our leaders have largely accepted the GOP's philosophy as being true, so there isn't anything more to discuss.
posted by Avenger at 12:43 PM on September 5, 2011 [54 favorites]


There was not a strong Democratic majority in the Senate.

I'm sorry: 60 senators is a large majority, especially for the Democrats, which are extremely disadvantaged by Senate malapportionment. If they'd killed the fillibuster in January 2009 like all the progressives were telling them to they could have passed just about any legislation they wanted before January 2010. The outcomes we got are far worse than the size of the majority in both houses would have suggested.
posted by gerryblog at 12:44 PM on September 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm no president, but if I committed to a huge compromise of my standards, and the other party declared it a wonderful "first step," I wouldn't compromise for those people ever again.
posted by hermitosis at 12:44 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


bleep: "Has there ever been a bigger "old switcheroo"/bait-and-switch in American history?"

President Warren Harding and the Ohio Gang. I'm eagerly awaiting the next season of Boardwalk Empire in the hope that they'll tell some of his story. We already met Harding (prior to the convention) last season.
posted by zarq at 12:45 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


It wasn't bad luck, except in the sense that they actively decided to rely upon luck instead of doing a minimal amount of due diligence. Palin's absurdities began to be revealed almost immediately upon her being chosen.

A few months before, McCain was asked how he would go about choosing his running mate. "Basically," he said, "it's a google." He wasn't kidding.
posted by Flunkie at 12:45 PM on September 5, 2011


I meant January 2011 above of course.
posted by gerryblog at 12:46 PM on September 5, 2011


I am thinking that a combination of recently established mpg standards (54.5?), oil price uncertainty (supply, middle east chaos), and a generally stagnant economy with no easy recovery in sight will accomplish similarly reduced emissions levels as desired.

I mean, I do live next to a historic factory that closed in the past year. It won't be polluting any more. Pretty sure there are other people that can say the same thing in other small factory towns...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Frankly, I agreed with metaman in 2008, when he was metapanning the Obama run against Hillary. Metaman was right about Obama, sorry to say. Maybe we've learned a lesson, and will start to see the truth about the politicians that get to the "finals" every four years - i.e. they are bought and sold by corporate interests - no matter their race, gender, creed, or political interests.

There is a difference between politicians on the right and left, but it's only enough of a difference to get them elected, and keep them elected, while they make ever-so-incremental changes that get bought off by "your next favorite politician"

klangklangston mentions this, above. I have mentioned it, prior - and so - now, and in the past, have legions of others, but progress always get interrupted.

The thing is, there are an increasing number of former Obama supporters and a (decreasing) number of True Believers (all voters) that are fed up with Obama's "flavor of the day game plan". Sure, he will get some right of center and far right support from this, and maybe make it through the next election, but will he have a supermajority? I don't think he will, not in the current cacophony of political happenings today, in America.

We're going through the shits, and bleeding confidence, as the middle class gets sold off to the highest bidders.

No matter your political leaning, Obama, not even Bush, are traitors;; they are bought off politicians who have been bred in a system that is guaranteed to keep favoring the people who put politicians in office. That's the way politicians play the game. Again, there are exceptions, but what chance do they have? (e.g. Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader, Jim Hightower, and a few others I personally like - there are others). There is simply no way that the two major parties are going to let people like this into the game.

Look at what the Democrats did to Ralph Nader, in 2000. It was shameful; they would not let his voice be heard in national debate, even though he qualified; they were afraid of the truth - in this case, the truth as spoken (and still spoken) by Nader as America being owned by corporate interests (and then they had the gall to suggest the Nader cost them the election, when it was their own "making a debate stooge" out of Gore that turned just enough people off to him. I'm not sure how effective Nader would have been as a President, but he sure as hell would have been (form where I stand) a better President than Bush, but he had no corporate support.

Anyway, this is not "I told you so" from someone who never believed Obama; it's a sad day in America when an entire population can be bought off with rhetoric that is paid for by the likes of Goldman Sachs, and friends.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


~There was not a strong Democratic majority in the Senate.

~I'm sorry: 60 senators is a large majority, especially for the Democrats...


Yes, but key term is "strong", not "large". This generation of Dems could have 99 seats in the Senate and still fail to govern.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [16 favorites]


Al Franken for president.
posted by dibblda at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [23 favorites]


I should also add that, to my knowledge, there are no national GOP figures who are really moderate Democrats in disguise like Obama is a moderate Republican in disguise. There are really no serious Republican potential candidates who are basically liberals except for a few minor GOP talking-points which they subscribe to. That's why our next President is going to be a conservative, no matter what.
posted by Avenger at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's good enough and smart enough.
posted by dibblda at 12:50 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry: 60 senators is a large majority, especially for the Democrats, which are extremely disadvantaged by Senate malapportionment.

No, it was the absolute bar minimum to avoid filibuster, requiring all 60 to agree. That was never going to work out well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:51 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, it was the absolute bar minimum to avoid filibuster, requiring all 60 to agree. That was never going to work out well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:51 PM on September 5 [+] [!]


I would be much more comfortable with this if Democrats ever successfully filibustered (or even threatened to do so) a Republican bill during the Bush administration. At this point, filibustering is basically just a weapon that Dems have handed the GOP but which they themselves refuse to use.
posted by Avenger at 12:53 PM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


historically speaking that's a decision to hand over the presidency to whoever the other side nominates. Incumbent presidents who get significant primary challenges lose

If an incumbent president is unpopular enough in his own party to draw a significant primary challenge, seems to me he's probably unpopular enough generally to lose whether or not somebody challenges him in a primary.
posted by zjacreman at 12:56 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll be the first to admit, I had projected qualities into him as an officeholder which I wanted to see: a left-wing version of Bush's The Decider, who would ram his policies through Congress...He isn't that. He never was that.

And he never claimed to be that. This is a guy whose speech saying there's not a red America or a blue America but a United States of America put him on the map and is a big reason many people--me included--wanted him to be president. I'm really tired of people projecting things onto Obama and then complaining about how he didn't do things he never said he would do.

60 senators is a large majority, especially for the Democrats

The Democrats didn't have 60 senators for most of the last Congress. They had 60 from July 7-August 25, 2009, and from September 25, 2009-February 4, 2010, and they only got to 60 by counting Blue Dogs and two independents, one of whom is Joe Liebermann.

Sometimes people say Obama should ram things through like LBJ did. LBJ had large majorities in the House (68% of the vote) and Senate (67%). By comparison at best Obama's had 58.8% of the House vote and 58% of the Senate. He's never had a large majority.

At this point, filibustering is basically just a weapon that Dems have handed the GOP but which they themselves refuse to use.

Correct. Which is why Obama has never had a strong majority.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on September 5, 2011 [17 favorites]


The Waif of Persephone saw this coming. (though it's 12:00 long and slightly NSFW animation)
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:57 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama: Campaigning big, Governing small
Obama: Maybe now the Republicans will like me work with me
Obama: No thanks, I'll fuck it up on my own
Obama: Biggest. Disappointment. Ever.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:00 PM on September 5, 2011


The best thing would be for him to not run.

I don't think he wants to be president anymore but will the people around him who put him there (WH) and are holding him up allow him to step down? That is the question.

A primary challenge would be a disaster and split the party racially for decades.

He has to leave of his own accord.

What reason he would give I don't know - maybe he "loves the country so much" he thinks a fresh set of eyes looking at the problems might be better, his family needs him, health - anything - just go!!
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 1:00 PM on September 5, 2011


I'm really tired of people projecting things onto Obama and then complaining about how he didn't do things he never said he would do.

But that's why a lot of people voted for him. So you can't really object when people say "you know, you're exactly right. Therefore, maybe I shouldn't vote for him this time around".
posted by jhandey at 1:02 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Odd passing fantasy -- Obama declines to run in 2012, supports Hillary for that election.

(Not that I really want Hillary as President, but I think she could win.)
posted by hippybear at 1:03 PM on September 5, 2011


Different topic, same result.

The Seattle Times' Jerry Large put it well today: "... President Obama is just now getting around to announcing a plan for increasing employment. He'll do that Thursday evening. I read somewhere that it is going to be a bold plan.

I kind of doubt that, but even if it is, you can bet the Republicans will denounce it, and the president will do what passes for compromise, meaning he'll let them have their way." ...

posted by Carol Anne at 1:04 PM on September 5, 2011


Correct. Which is why Obama has never had a strong majority.

Yeah. I understand that, but, really, so what? He's always owned the bully pulpit - and yet he hasn't stood up forcefully for one fucking thing. It's always "You guys work it out."

No fire. No guts. No glory.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:04 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


The best thing would be for him to not run.

No, the best thing would be for him to run and win. Quitting at this point won't do much except hand the national and international level to the currently crazy GOP.

If you're really not happy with Obama, then chalk up 2012, no matter what happens, as a loss. Work on 2014 and 2016. Work on your state and local levels.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on September 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


A supermajority is a big deal, regardless of how it is composed. This is pure goalpost shifting. There will not be a time when Democrats have that much power again any time soon, if they can't work with that much, they are broken and the party needs to go back to the drawing board.

You don't get my support if you can't accomplish liberal goals short of 75 Senate seats or whatever.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:06 PM on September 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


It seems to me that Obama's almost begging for a challenge from the Left, or at the very least actively trying to offend his supporters in the quest for the Mythical Independent Vote, as if, Friday, millions of independents across the country suddenly said to themselves "wow, Obama is so reasonable since he's going out of his way to spite his base. Let me make a note of his disapproval of an EPA rule and post it on the fridge so it can guide me during next year's election".

Or maybe he's geting ready to announce his candidacy for president on the Republican ticket. Honestly, though, he could reintroduce racial segregation and the usual suspects would still be saying "not enough".
posted by jhandey at 1:08 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This isn't aimed at dogmatic conservatives. It's aimed squarely at independents. Whether or not it buys him any credit with them is, of course, an open question.

This is not aimed at independents or conservatives or any voter. Voters are irrelevant now. This is aimed at the large corporate interests who were just handed giant checks by the administration. That in turn means big checks handed from the corporations back to Obama. And with that messily 500 million (the amount spent by Obama in '08) Obama can paint himself however he likes and a majority of voters will buy it.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:08 PM on September 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


After popping a few Ativan and visiting the re-education center for a little while. These particular regs were particularly difficult ground for the re-election campaign. The pipeline is a big construction project, we have other ways to deal with ozone. The James Hoffa Jr speech in Detroit was pretty strong.
posted by humanfont at 1:12 PM on September 5, 2011


This is aimed at the large corporate interests who were just handed giant checks by the administration.

Surely you mean "this is aimed at the large corporate interests who were just handed giant political influence by the Supreme Court"...
posted by hippybear at 1:14 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


kirkaracha: "I'm really tired of people projecting things onto Obama and then complaining about how he didn't do things he never said he would do."

There's no need to project. There are plenty of things he claimed he would do and didn't.

Quite a few promises to his supporters have been broken, or compromises reached that are often just as bad.

145 campaign promises kept. 88 compromised on or broken entirely. 70 stalled, for a variety of reasons, often because his administration stopped fighting for them, such as the promised restrictions on warrantless wiretaps.

Of his Top 25 Promises, Politifact lists just 5 that have been kept. A few thankfully still in the works.
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Truth
posted by Vibrissae at 1:16 PM on September 5, 2011


we have other ways to deal with ozone

We have other ways to deal with ozone other than having the Environmental Protection Agency oversee the level of ozone?

It seems like the governmental agency which is charge of monitoring and maintaining the quality of the environment is the ONLY way we have to deal with things like ozone.

What did you have in mind?
posted by hippybear at 1:17 PM on September 5, 2011


But what are they protesting for? I was told that there's nothing to worry about with our clean, clean oil sands. The people that work on it love children, forests, and animals.
posted by Hoopo at 1:17 PM on September 5, 2011


Perhaps too many Democrats took the "Chocolate Jesus" jokes literally?

Republicans are masters of the "stop hitting yourself" school of politics, and Democrats always seem to get fooled into blaming themselves for the self-inflicted wounds they are forced to deliver upon themselves by Republicans.

In some of the aforementioned instances you will note that the GOP house cut off funding for the administration to implement a given policy. Obama's fault!

For decades Republicans have successfully portrayed environmental regulations as "job killers". And for decades Democratic support for environmental policy legislation has been tepid at best*.

Environmental policies are a tough sell in a good economy. They're a non-starter in a weak economy, yet alone the worst economy since the Great Depression. On top of that, Obama is looking to start a major initiative on job creation. Environmental legislation is going nowhere for now - that's just political reality 101. Anybody who isn't aware of that has spent too much time in their party's echo chamber.

Speaking of which, liberals and progressives may dominate the Left's media outlets (e.g. Huffington Post, Salon, MSNBC, etc.) but they are a minority in their own party, accounting for only about 31% of Democrats. I'm in the choir, but now is not the time to be preaching to us; doing so risks alienating not only the 69% of the wider (more conservative) Democratic congregation, but also Independents and liberal/moderate Republicans.

Progressive and Liberal voters need to reconcile their world-views with the hard, cold, economic and political realities, and quickly, or risk being played by the GOP's divide-and-conquer tactics into tearing their own party apart.

Recall that even when the Democrats controlled the house and senate in 2009 and 2010, they had trouble passing progressive legislation due to Republican intransigence, lies, and bullying tactics. Democratic voters effectively rewarded the GOP's strategy by failing to show up to vote in the 2010 midterms! And now Democrats are now shocked! shocked! to find that Republicans have become even bigger bullies and Democrats have become even less effective?!? Worse: Democrats blame Obama!

Don't get me wrong, I would love the Democratic party to become far more progressive. However such a movement necessarily needs to be concerted (not a unilateral executive effort), and the rhetorical heavy lifting needs to be done first and primarily by Democratic leaders. Politicians actually need to campaign and win on more progressive policies; instead, Democrats suffered huge losses in 2010.

Expecting Obama to be a front-runner for policies he doesn't have the support (funds or votes) to pass, especially policies that jeopardize his jobs initiative, aren't just non-starters, they are a recipe for Democrats to lose the White House and the senate (and for Republicans to make even further gains in the house).

Again, Democrats aren't even capable of defending moderate policies from being labeled "Socialist". Outside of Obama, the Democratic party has few leaders, no real voice, and absolutely no spine. The DNC seems content to let the GOP brand Obama as "Socialist" rather than risk getting its own hands dirty by fighting to defend these policies.

By contrast, Republican voters are so cultishly devout that the will slavishly support any candidate who isn't caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy. (and I'm not so sure about the 'live boy' anymore). Republicans can be shameless and arrogant enough to advocate even the most extreme and delusional rhetoric (like Tea Partiers chanting in support of downgrading America's credit rating).

That kind of Republican extremism needs to be stopped. But the way to do it under the current circumstances is not to undermine the president but support him and to win seats in the house and senate by playing to the middle. Of course, Democrats also need to show up for the next election, but the rampant criticism of Obama in the major liberal outlets doesn't bode well. Like herding cats... :)

________________
* Call me crazy, but I suspect the explanation for tepid Democratic support for envinomental legislation may also have something to do with the fact that the GOP and Democratic parties are funded by more or less the same corporations (48 of the top 50), just at slightly different ratios. If you want Democrats to stop acting like Republicans, you need serious campaign finance reform. Asking Obama to be a front-runner on policies he can't pass will just result in increasing the perception of his ineffectiveness and make Republicans appear more moderate by comparison than they really are.
posted by Davenhill at 1:20 PM on September 5, 2011 [17 favorites]


Democratic voters effectively rewarded the GOP's strategy by failing to show up to vote in the 2010 midterms

Again with this?
posted by Trurl at 1:24 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm reading The Shock Doctrine, and there is a case to be made that the current administration has been a bait & switch from the get-go. One of the chapters in the book talks about how in Poland after the break from the Soviet Union, the people had high hopes that Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity Party would mean greater freedom and quality of life for all. He came from austere beginnings and was a dissident for a while. Ultimately, he did the opposite, privatized Poland's most lucrative industries and made life much harder for the working class*.

*I am summing up what is obviously a complex history that I just scraped the surface of, but I think the analogy holds true.
posted by sswiller at 1:27 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not that I really want Hillary as President, but I think she could win.

umm... no.

I look forward to hearing how many MeFites will be leaving the country when primary-ing and/or third party votes gets us Perry/Bachmann in the White House.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:28 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


While doing the dishes the other day and listening to a NPR story about this topic it occurred to me that maybe Obama doesn't want another term as president. He can't really say "I quit" but his actions seem really self defeating. It seems like self sabotage. I was an ardent (but disappointed) supporter of him until the whole debt ceiling fiasco. Now? I don't know. I have to vote for a Democrat so do I hold my nose and do it? Yes, I probably will. The thing is that I feel so beaten down by my disappointment in Obama that I may not vote at all. I know what the consequences of my apathy may be but I don't care right now. Maybe we need some crazies in office before people wake up to what this bodes for our country. Right now it is just words that the Right is spewing. Once those words are policy maybe people will wake up and realize how insane things have become.

One thing that I don't get about the Right and their "bathtub size government" is that these congress people have families and I know that some of those family members benefit in some way from government services so they are effectively voting against their own.

The disconnect is astonishing. The logic is flawed and appalling. That my fellow Americans are so ignorant is nauseating. It has come to the point that if I find out that someone is a Republican I think that they are mentally deficient in an evil way and I dismiss them as not worthy any further communication.
posted by futz at 1:30 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh please, not one of you is going to stay home after the GOP nominates Perry or Bachmann.
posted by empath at 1:31 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Davenhill: " That kind of Republican extremism needs to be stopped. But the way to do it under the current circumstances is not to undermine the president but support him and to win seats in the house and senate by playing to the middle. Of course, Democrats also need to show up for the next election, but the rampant criticism of Obama in the major liberal outlets doesn't bode well. Like herding cats... :)"

Bull.

We Democrats who mostly kept our mouths shut and swallowed our criticism for the good of the team are now getting shafted left and right by a Presidential administration and Democratic party who might very well have thought twice about doing so if we'd spoken up more loudly earlier.

If the Democrats' grip on the Presidency and political power is so tenuous that they can't handle hearing reasonable, accurate criticism from the people they represent, then perhaps they're doing something wrong.
posted by zarq at 1:32 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


Democratic voters effectively rewarded the GOP's strategy by failing to show up to vote in the 2010 midterms

Again with this?


Again and again and again, really. The left needs to learn that some is always preferable to none, because the right has figured that out and spent the last 30 years dragging the Overton window all over hell and gone.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


> maybe Obama doesn't want another term as president.

I'm not so sure this is really the case. It's easy for us to call out this crap on the outside, but Obama is in the presidential bubble, and the ozone standards issue is one of dozens and dozens of Very Important Things that he tries to cope with. I'm not making excuses for this, but I don't think that his compromises and about-faces are tantamount to saying "please, please let me out of here!". It's more that he and his advisors are just getting by.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has there ever been a bigger "old switcheroo"/bait-and-switch in American history?

This is a complete misreading of the actual campaign. Obama was always very transparent about exactly where he stood during the campaign and that hasn't changed. However, people pretended to hear things he didn't say and dismiss things he said but they didn't believe.

For example he hammered Clinton with his health care plan that was even to the right of what the Republicans proposed 10 years ago. He pledged that his plan wouldn't even have an insurance mandate. Why are people surprised that he didn't support a public option? He campaigned that he would not.

Internationally, he promised to pull out of Iraq and dramatically ramp up military action in Afghanistan. That is exactly what he has done to the extent that he is now killing more American soldiers than Bush did in Iraq. It is not bait and switch. It is what he promised.

In his campaign, Obama promised to govern in the manner of Reagan who he greatly admired. Where is the bait and switch?

During the primary caucuses, the Obama supporters aggressively intimidated and even physically bullied the Dean and Clinton delegates. They were deluding themselves when they imagined Obama to be to the left of Dean and Clinton when the opposite was true as he made clear in his speeches. It wasn't bait and switch. It was mass delusion.
posted by JackFlash at 1:34 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Right now it is just words that the Right is spewing. Once those words are policy maybe people will wake up and realize how insane things have become.

Haven't you been paying attention?

The Republican wishes for the debt ceiling vote are policy.

The Republican wishes for environmental issues are becoming policy.

They've won with health care (no public option) and may find that they win overall (as the public option was replaced by the individual mandate which may be unconstitutional -- legal thought is that the individual mandate won't survive court challenges, while the public option would have).

There is issue after issue on which the Right is spewing more than just words and they're getting their policy enacted.
posted by hippybear at 1:35 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


2N2222: " I look forward to hearing how many MeFites will be leaving the country when primary-ing and/or third party votes gets us Perry/Bachmann in the White House."

As we saw with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during the Democratic primaries, a third party challenger is not automatically going to be a Naderesque spoiler.
posted by zarq at 1:36 PM on September 5, 2011


I look forward to hearing how many MeFites will be leaving the country when primary-ing and/or third party votes gets us Perry/Bachmann in the White House.

If Bachmann is on the ticket, Obama will win by a landslide despite himself.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:36 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama was always very transparent about exactly where he stood during the campaign... He pledged that his plan wouldn't even have an insurance mandate

You don't see what you did there.
posted by Trurl at 1:43 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Haven't you been paying attention?

Yes I have hippybear. My comment was directed more towards the crazy crap that the Republican contenders are spewing and not what already has happened. What already has happened is the reason for the dispirited tone of my post.
posted by futz at 1:45 PM on September 5, 2011


Again with this?

Belittle the semantics of it all you want, but the GOP's strategy of intransigence, bullying, bigotry, and lies works. It fires up their base while at the same further dividing the already fractious coalition that is the Democratic party. As a result, some frustrated Democratic voters don't show up to the polls (Democratic turnout in 2010 was lower than 2008), others turn on their own party, like we're seeing here.

I certainly don't want Democrats to become a monolithic voting block of extremists like the GOP, and welcome the push for a more progressive agenda, but progressives and liberals need not be their party's own worst enemy either.

What is seldom seen in many of the liberal attacks on Obama (like the Salon article linked above) is a realistic acknowledgment of how wildly successful GOP's tactics are at frustrating Democrats. Or how advocating more progressive policies will somehow magically result in more votes in the house and senate than can otherwise be mustered for moderate policies.
posted by Davenhill at 1:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Not having a fight is not a winning strategy. Making concessions before they are asked for is not a winning strategy. Not laying out a public plan is not a winning strategy.

I am not nearly as tired of losing as I am of losing without ever having the fight.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:50 PM on September 5, 2011 [18 favorites]


Holy fuck you people, nobody in the Senate made Obama do this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:50 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bold a word?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:51 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


JackFlash: " Obama was always very transparent about exactly where he stood during the campaign and that hasn't changed.

It has absolutely changed.

However, people pretended to hear things he didn't say and dismiss things he said but they didn't believe."

Look, there are many possible reasons why he broke dozens of promises and came to an additional dozens of compromises that usually gutted his original stated intent. Among them that the realities of governing are simply much harder than he anticipated while campaigning.

But him going back repeatedly on his word is not ourfault, mistake or misinterpretation. And no amount of Kool Aid is going to convince me otherwise. ;)
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you seen the kerning on Romney's website?
posted by Edogy at 1:54 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


He pledged that his plan wouldn't even have an insurance mandate

Yes, and he apologized later for its inclusion saying that he was forced to include it by Democrats in Congress. But he was always transparent about the fact that he wanted a more conservative health plan. People seem to forget this. If he had his way, the health plan would be even more conservative than it is. Pelosi forced his hand.
posted by JackFlash at 1:55 PM on September 5, 2011


Pelosi forced his hand.

Umm, what?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:56 PM on September 5, 2011


More than once, the idea that Obama would switch parties as a way to "unite the country" has popped in my otherwise unremembered dreams.
posted by etaoin at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2011


Pelosi forced his hand.

Umm, what?


Have you forgotten that Obama essentially gave up on the entire health care reform bill but it was single-handedly rescued by Pelosi? The bill given him was more liberal than what he preferred and campaigned on.

Obama was very transparent in the campaign that he was the most conservative of the major Democratic candidates. Why are people surprised that he governs as the most conservative Democrat?
posted by JackFlash at 2:01 PM on September 5, 2011


Umm, what?

The more conversational, non-adversarial way to do this is:

"What do you mean?"
posted by Mikey-San at 2:01 PM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Sorry Jack, I got what you were saying backwards.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:02 PM on September 5, 2011


sswiller: I'm reading The Shock Doctrine, and there is a case to be made that the current administration has been a bait & switch from the get-go. One of the chapters in the book talks about how in Poland after the break from the Soviet Union, the people had high hopes that Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity Party would mean greater freedom and quality of life for all. He came from austere beginnings and was a dissident for a while. Ultimately, he did the opposite, privatized Poland's most lucrative industries and made life much harder for the working class*.

*I am summing up what is obviously a complex history that I just scraped the surface of, but I think the analogy holds true.
You calling Obama one of the "Chicago Boys"? :)

I would argue that the Shock Doctrine doesn't implicate Obama specifically so much as our political system in general, which is basically bought and paid for by big corporations.

I sincerely believe that the single most important issue, the sine qua non of functioning representative democracy in our republic, is campaign finance reform.

A lot of the bickering between Republicans and Democrats seems about as laughably absurd as the "Taste Great!" "Less Filling" shouting matches over the same brand of crappy beer. They're all bought and paid for by the same corporate interests (literally something like 47 of the top 49 corporate contributors contribute to both parties, and most within a 60-40 band (the that skew outside that range coincidentally tend to be the entities that are most vilified by the party on the short end of that stick).

Offhand the biggest difference between the two parties is tone (the GOP is off the deep end with bigotry, lies, jingoism, Christian fundamentalism, etc.) and that the Democrats have not yet purged all of their moderates like the Republicans have.

In a dozen years, those differences may not even exist any longer.
posted by Davenhill at 2:03 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I expected better -- a lot better -- when he was elected, but at this point I'm not even surprised to read about yet another preemptive backing down on a core issue. The Republicans' policies are reprehensible, but at least if you voted for them you'd be getting politicians who can kick some ass and get something done. The contemporary Democratic Party is worse than a bad joke. We will be paying the price of this shit for generations.
posted by Forktine at 2:05 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


A lot of the bickering between Republicans and Democrats seems about as laughably absurd as the "Taste Great!" "Less Filling" shouting matches over the same brand of crappy beer. They're all bought and paid for by the same corporate interests...

Yet you're blaming the 2010 voters for not supporting "Less Filling" and saying how important it is that they do so in 2012.
posted by Trurl at 2:09 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Davenhill: " I sincerely believe that the single most important issue, the sine qua non of functioning representative democracy in our republic, is campaign finance reform. "

Amen.
posted by theredpen at 2:12 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I certainly don't want Democrats to become a monolithic voting block of extremists like the GOP, and welcome the push for a more progressive agenda, but progressives and liberals need not be their party's own worst enemy either.

At this point, the Democratic Party is neither progressive nor liberal. Why should Progressives and Liberals keep being blindly loyal to an increasingly conservative party?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:14 PM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


I sincerely believe that the single most important issue, the sine qua non of functioning representative democracy in our republic, is campaign finance reform.

Nope. It's funny how people latch onto things that will never happen, are almost by their definition quixotic to avoid dealing with actual political/economic/philosophical problems.

Politically: the New Deal coalition has been dead since LBJ freed the slaves (again)

Economic: the post-WWII compromise between business and labor: dead since Reagan/McGovern.

Philosophical: the New Deal compromise between government regulation/taxation and private trusts (reconstituted since the 30's): broken since Clinton.

I really wonder where Markos Moulitsas (i.e. Dailykos.com) is going to go in 2012. Obama was his candidate from the start: non-ideological pragamatist who understands TV and future US demography. I think Obama has shown that you actually have to have something beyond "pragmatism."
posted by ennui.bz at 2:20 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"obama backs down" = 247,000 results
"bush backs down" = 24,700 results
posted by sramsey at 2:22 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Honestly, a constitutional amendment to set campaign finance limits may be the only way we ever get any mitigation of corporate money.
How will this amendment be phrased? The details are important for deciding what it should be titled. If the phrasing limits it to campaign finance only, shutting out groups who can afford to buy commercials but not groups who can afford to buy whole publishers, then I suggest calling it the "News Corporation and General Electric Incumbency Protection Act."
posted by roystgnr at 2:26 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Davenhill: "A lot of the bickering between Republicans and Democrats seems about as laughably absurd as the "Taste Great!" "Less Filling" shouting matches over the same brand of crappy beer. They're all bought and paid for by the same corporate interests..."

Trurl : Yet you're blaming the 2010 voters for not supporting "Less Filling" and saying how important it is that they do so in 2012.
No. First, I said "a lot" not "all". Secnd, the "a lot" specifically addressed voters of one party complaining about the opposing party selling out to corporate interests, when both parties are culpable. That should be clear from the very next sentence of the same paragraph. Unless I somewhere said that the primary complaint of Democratic voters in 2010 was about corporate corruption, I don't see how you could have reasonably drawn that conclusion.

I also made specific distinctions in the following paragraph about the parties themselves regarding tone and the existence of more moderate politicians in the Democratic party.

Furthermore I suspect most readers will correctly infer that the other topics I discussed would be specifically excluded from the generalization "a lot", if only because that's how normal people talk.
posted by Davenhill at 2:32 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really wonder where Markos Moulitsas (i.e. Dailykos.com) is going to go in 2012

Back on his words.

If Democrats can’t deliver on good policy with strong popular support and dominant congressional majorities, then they’re too incompetent to be in power.
posted by Trurl at 2:33 PM on September 5, 2011


"obama backs down" = 247,000 results
"bush backs down" = 24,700 results


Because a president that governs like Bush is exactly what we needed.
posted by empath at 2:35 PM on September 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Davenhill: Shock Doctrine doesn't implicate Obama specifically so much as our political system in general

Yes, but I would say it extends to our economic system as well. I don't think the divisiveness in the U.S. is about Democrats versus Republicans. It is and always has been about the ultra-rich versus the unwashed masses. Everyone in between chooses a side.

If, in fifty years, every scary prediction about climate change happens, resulting in countries disappearing, poisoned land/air/water, extreme weather, tropical disease and wars over resources, the people at the top of the economic spectrum will be fine, most likely better than fine, as they profit from every new tragedy.
posted by sswiller at 2:37 PM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Back on his words:
If Democrats can’t deliver on good policy with strong popular support and dominant congressional majorities, then they’re too incompetent to be in power.
I don't think so. He's as unhappy with Obama as anybody. What I really meant is after the 2012 election. I don't think anybody is going to be able to govern after 2012, Republic or Democrat. Especially, after a Obama vs. Romney election. It *will* be a contest over who is liked least worst.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:43 PM on September 5, 2011


At this point, the Democratic Party is neither progressive nor liberal. Why should Progressives and Liberals keep being blindly loyal to an increasingly conservative party?

Do you have a plan to create a viable third party? Does anyone? Is it possible within the framework of the American political system? Not even T.R. really managed to pull it off. It's the missing element in all of these weekly threads. The "step 2: ???" if you like.

Unless there is some way to do this, working to increase your power within the party seems more practical. Maybe elect some local officials before trying to make a grab for the presidency.
posted by Winnemac at 2:47 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


What I really meant is after the 2012 election. I don't think anybody is going to be able to govern after 2012, Republic or Democrat. Especially, after a Obama vs. Romney election. It *will* be a contest over who is liked least worst.

If the Repubs gain control they will do just fine ignoring their constituents and democrats without batting an eye.

They will aided by our corporate controlled media and we will all breath a sigh of relief as "real Americans" lead us into prosperity for our new Aristocracy.

Perhaps we just haven't been "trickled down" on yet. If we implement their policies in full a new day will rise!
posted by Max Power at 2:50 PM on September 5, 2011


If you're really not happy with Obama, then chalk up 2012, no matter what happens, as a loss. Work on 2014 and 2016. Work on your state and local levels.

Word. Look at the absolute horror show that has happened with radical governors who are on a mass campaign to union bust, disenfranchise, strip women's rights and healthcare, privatize public concerns and lands and appoint judges as fast as they can.

So much bad can happen at the state level - it's a mistake to only keep an eye on the national events.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:51 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


It's bad when you are seriously considering voting for Kodos.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:53 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"obama backs down" = 247,000 results
"bush backs down" = 24,700 results

Because a president that governs like Bush is exactly what we needed.


Yes, he should govern in the style of Bush if the opposite policy is backing down into the policy of Bush.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:54 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Davenhill: I sincerely believe that the single most important issue, the sine qua non of functioning representative democracy in our republic, is campaign finance reform.

ennui.bz: Nope. It's funny how people latch onto things that will never happen, are almost by their definition quixotic to avoid dealing with actual political/economic/philosophical problems.
It's also funny how people latch on to things that aren't said, then condescend to their own strawmen.

What political/economic/philosophical problems, exactly, do you think I'm avoiding by virtue of raising campaign finance reform? Listing things that weren't previously addressed doesn't mean they are unknown.

Granted, comprehensive campaign finance reform is a longshot, and I suspect the window of opportunity is fast closing, if not already closed. But nor does that mean CFR isn't of primary importance to the integrity of our representative democracy.
posted by Davenhill at 2:55 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


*opposite style.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:55 PM on September 5, 2011


If he were truly Republican he'd be reelected on the whole Osama Bin Laden mission alone. He wouldn't even need the Quadafi cherry to top off that reelection campaign. But since he's a Democrat he's failing to take that victory lap.

He should have been able to sidestep any issue he wanted to for months. But he bagged the bogeyman and the best he can do is deny the GOP a bad guy to point at.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:55 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you have a plan to create a viable third party? Does anyone? Is it possible within the framework of the American political system?

Does anyone have a plan to pass liberal policy? Is it possible within the framework of the current system?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:57 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


unless circumstances warrant themselves, no.
posted by clavdivs at 2:59 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Environmental policies are a tough sell in a good economy. They're a non-starter in a weak economy, yet alone the worst economy since the Great Depression. On top of that, Obama is looking to start a major initiative on job creation. Environmental legislation is going nowhere for now - that's just political reality 101. Anybody who isn't aware of that has spent too much time in their party's echo chamber.

You speak of "environmental policies" as if they are simple political issues -- like farm subsidies or funding for highway maintenance.

In reality, protecting our environment and developing a sustainable human community is a pre-condition to our continued survival as a species. If we don't have a functioning ecosystem, we have nothing. Literally nothing.

We should push for a sustainable global community whether or not it's politically popular or even feasible. It's the right thing to do for the future of the human race.

If you disagree with this -- if you think that "environmentalism" is some kind of boutique luxury that can be set aside when times are hard, then that means you must agree with the GOP that climate change isn't a threat and humanity will never be endangered by our use of the biosphere. If so, great. But just say so next time.
posted by Avenger at 3:00 PM on September 5, 2011 [23 favorites]


Frankly, I agreed with metaman in 2008, when he was metapanning the Obama run against Hillary. Metaman was right about Obama, sorry to say.

MetaMan argued that Obama couldn't win because he was black and too liberal (LOL) and then accused anyone who pointed out the disgraceful antics of the Clinton campaign as a misogynist. We can Monday-morning Obama's ineffectiveness but let's not rewrite history here, either of this site or how inept and pathetic the Clinton campaign was.

If the Clinton White House would have been run as well as her campaign was Rahm Emmanuel would look like Ghandi at this point.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:02 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you're really not happy with Obama, then you're not paying attention. His failings are just the perfect expression of the more fundamental problems with the American left. If instead you're unhappy with the multi-decade march towards market fascism, the structural capture of democracy by capital, then you should be thinking slightly more long-term.

There's only so much time left to mitigate the complete environmental disaster of the next 75 years.

You should be trying to accelerate the march towards immediate economic disaster, so that we can avoid the more problematic environmental disaster to come.

Which means you should be voting FOR Perry/Bachmann in the Republican primary and the general. That is, if you are a REAL leftist. I'm not being perverse. I'm no kidding.

We don't need an America that only very slowly begins to understand what a disaster an anti-science, anti-environment, pro-Christian, nation would be. We need an America that understands it quickly, has a civil war/major violent episode, and then moves on to confront the real problems.

Because compared to what's coming, a second American civil war will look like a day in the park.
posted by macross city flaneur at 3:02 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


What political/economic/philosophical problems, exactly, do you think I'm avoiding by virtue of raising campaign finance reform? Listing things that weren't previously addressed doesn't mean they are unknown.

Granted, comprehensive campaign finance reform is a longshot, and I suspect the window of opportunity is fast closing, if not already closed. But nor does that mean CFR isn't of primary importance to the integrity of our representative democracy.


You have this construct: if only we achieved policy goal X then our political goals are possible, which is self-contradictory. If you had the political will/power to achieve CFR, then CFR wouldn't be necessary.

If you had a economic and political philosophy and a real political coalition to support it, then arguing that comaping finance is standing in the way of your goals... that would be one thing. But the political coalition behind the Democratic party is fragmented, weakening in traditional parts and really at odds, internally, on economic and political philsophy...
posted by ennui.bz at 3:06 PM on September 5, 2011


If the Clinton White House would have been run as well as her campaign was Rahm Emmanuel would look like Ghandi at this point.

Doing a pretty good job at State you know. He campaign wasn't run that poorly, she was just a victim of running into an invincible Obama wave.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:06 PM on September 5, 2011


We don't need an America that only very slowly begins to understand what a disaster an anti-science, anti-environment, pro-Christian, nation would be. We need an America that understands it quickly, has a civil war/major violent episode, and then moves on to confront the real problems.

I'm glad you're optimistic about this option. I hope you're right, because it does seem like we're headed that way. My thought on this is that we'd probably barely be able to feed ourselves if we go through another civil war, much less be able to organize against environmental catastrophes, which, if you haven't noticed, we're already shit at.
posted by odinsdream at 3:08 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doing a pretty good job at State you know.

Is Mark Penn working at the State Department? No? That has a hell of a lot to do with it.
posted by mightygodking at 3:09 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


We don't need an America that only very slowly begins to understand what a disaster an anti-science, anti-environment, pro-Christian, nation would be. We need an America that understands it quickly, has a civil war/major violent episode, and then moves on to confront the real problems.

To the barricades!!!

This is one of the persistently silly fantasies of the left in the US: that the left would have any chance in an actual radical collapse of our political culture. The only groups that can do radical politics in the US are all on the right.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:09 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Interestingly, Metaman was pretty much right that Obama was a centrist wimp who could not go toe to toe with the Republicans and that they would destroy him, he was just wrong about it happening before the election.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:10 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is one of the persistently silly fantasies of the left in the US: that the left would have any chance in an actual radical collapse of our political culture. The only groups that can do radical politics in the US are all on the right.

I assume that what few "leftists" are around will all be killed initially. But the earth has a well-known liberal bias, and in the end, politics will be shaped by reality.
posted by macross city flaneur at 3:11 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Direct from Democrat re-education camp some key deliveries from Obama on the environment:
1-High Speed Rail and mass transit funding
2-Big subsidies and loans to the wind and solar industry. More Solar PV has been produced under Obama than in the last 30 years combined
3-New wilderness legislation in 2009 adding 2 million acres and increasing protections for exisiting wild areas.
4-54 MPG CAFE and pushing the auto makers to build small cars and plugin hybrids for bailout.
5-CAFE standards apply to trucks for the first time.

There is a big mess out there. Don't ignore the progress made when we lose one issue. The regs come up again in 2013.
posted by humanfont at 3:12 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is one of the persistently silly fantasies of the left in the US: that the left would have any chance in an actual radical collapse of our political culture. The only groups that can do radical politics in the US are all on the right.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:09 PM on September 5 [+] [!]


I agree with Macross that a violent civil-war type event is probably in our future, but it won't be like the last Civil War. There won't be any armies doing set-piece Napoleonic battles.

It'll be more like Yugoslavia in the early 90's. Bands of armed Tea Partyists scouring the cities and countryside, raping and murdering undesirables with the tacit, unspoken support of the government. Burned out, bombed out universities, burned books, mass graves, mass executions, bodies rotting in the street and so forth.

And you are also correct. There won't be any real "liberal" resistance. African Americans will put up a fight. Latinos too. The conflict might even take on racial overtones.

But in the end, the well-armed, disciplined and hateful Tea Party militias will sweep across the land, and people will die by the hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions. When it's all over, America will resemble Francoist Spain or Pinochet's Chile. And we'll wonder where we all went wrong.
posted by Avenger at 3:16 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


"President Obama backs down"? This has literally never happened before.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:18 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


He campaign wasn't run that poorly, she was just a victim of running into an invincible Obama wave.

Yes a wave that, for example, actually knew California had proportioned delegates. And had winning campaign slogans slightly better than "Well, Jesse Jackson won South Carolina too."

And I really don't understand how people are retconning the Clinton era as one where there was massive defiance of the Republican majority. The administration that gave us NAFTA, the DCMA and some of the strongest attacks on welfare in my lifetime. Clinton was a sellout in the eyes of liberals too; he just managed to not make the front page article about how he caved.

Hillary Clinton would have likely picked a milquetoast moderate like Tom Vilsack as her running mate and everything about "Death Panels" would have been amplified with "HillaryCare 2.0" and the bonus of Vilsack causing the Senate to start 59-41 to begin with. Again, it's really easy to Monday QB the idea that she'd have had a better health care bill. I don't think she would have passed one. At all.

The greatest thing Obama did better than Hillary Clinton was campaign far better and achieve astronomical popularity at the start of his term thanks to a massive landslide. That "wave" was the biggest piece of political capital Obama came in with and he flushed it down the toilet. That is the great disappointment of his administration; not that he's a moderate.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:19 PM on September 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


when we lose one issue

I think the criticism here is that it's an own goal.
posted by mediareport at 3:25 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The left needs to learn that some is always preferable to none, because the right has figured that out and spent the last 30 years dragging the Overton window all over hell and gone."


"He whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious."
--Sun Tzu

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win"
— Sun Tzu

GOP voters look like they're voting against their own interests. What they're doing is trading on unity and conceding different elements of what they want for things they can get.
This is not to say that this is an ideal situation or that voters genuinely will get something that is in their own interest in exchange for presenting a united front.
This is merely the strategy being used.

And too, the difference with Obama was not ideological unity in the disparate elements that supported him, but that they were united in voting for him in the election.

The criticisms from those elements (we didn't get what we wanted out of Obama/ he didn't do what he said/ etc.) are valid.
But so too are the observations that the Dems are fractious in certain regards and refuse to unite ideologically to achieve political wins.

It's not merely criticism. The cause seems to vary from one minute to another whether anything is achieved or not.
Indeed, I remember reading how poor Obama's stance on DADT was. Then he certified the repeal. Gay troops can serve openly starting Sept. 20. It's a reality now. But that's not the issue anymore, it's Iraq. Well he's removing combat brigaWHAT ABOUT GUANTANIMO?
Etc. etc.

It's not that criticisms of this administration aren't warranted, it's the inability of Dem voters to summon the unity at will to address a given issue, engage it, and put it to bed or support candidates to that end.
No patience, I guess, would be the problem. Or too short of an attention span.
And, really go figure. I've read a great deal of criticism of unity in and of itself as some sort of mindless automaton thinking. Well, it's tough to build a bridge by yourself.
And I like that Obama compromises. It indicates he's actually trying to accomplish something beyond pointless grandstanding.

Now this particular thing? Yeah, I like clean air. I tend to be pretty serious about environmentalism. I understand the demands of the economy. I understand the need for business to have clarity in the law....

More importantly I completely agree that this is a sound and intelligent move from a political strategy standpoint because the EPA initiated a review of the 2008 ozone standards and even though the scientific data is in, there's a full review of the ozone standard scheduled for 2013.
Only makes sense to move on it then, yeah, I can see that.
That I understand doesn't mean I don't strongly disagree with it.
Being from the midwest, I think our standards should be as strong as possible.
And even if it did end some jobs I still think working to reduce emissions is worth it.
But at that, I'm not convinced it would kill too many jobs. There's plenty of work to be done in compliance with the EPA not to mention lots of new jobs to be had in clean energy sectors.

Maybe Obama is right (politically) making this move, and it will be worth it. I don't know. Pisses me off though.
But either way my ire is directed at the forces in opposition to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. Not Obama.

It's a poor workman that blames his tools.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


"This one is going to lose anyway. He's made it really clear that he will do nothing for the Democratic Base and cave in any time the GOP challenges him, so they're not going to bother to vote for him.

No we can't indeed.
"

That's not fait accompli, no matter how nihilistic liberals want to be about their indie rock politics ("I voted for Obama before he sold out") and not only my life, but the lives of many others who I care about, will be better under an Obama second term than they will be under whomever the Republicans end up nominating.

I very much agree that Obama has been disappointing, and that he deserves a lot of criticism. What I do disagree with is this defeatist Weimar despair and the false dichotomy of pretending that our only options are impotent protest votes or backing Obama to the hilt.

This election should be a chance for progressives to do a couple things: Show the next Democrat candidate for office that progressives and leftists can motivate a whole bunch of people, and simultaneously actually campaign for issues (especially local issues) that are the disagreements with Obama. We need to do this so that the 2016 Dem candidate can see the efficacy of progressives (something that was overshadowed by the level of integration that happened with Obama's campaign; a lot of progressives were taken as Obama supporters first, in part because his organizational structure was amazing and ended up eating a lot of littler groups), and so that those issues will be adequately communicated to the public in a way that lets us set that as the default language on them.

If you want local solar, if you want bike planning, if you want gay rights, it's a lot more effective to fight for those things primarily and vote grudgingly for Obama than it is to campaign seriously for whomever the Greens are running nationally (locally, go for it, depending on where you are).
posted by klangklangston at 3:40 PM on September 5, 2011 [19 favorites]


If you're really not happy with Obama, then chalk up 2012, no matter what happens, as a loss. Work on 2014 and 2016. Work on your state and local levels.

I'd like to tweak this slightly - however you feel about Obama at this point, 2012 as a whole is not something to give up on. Remember when the Democrats took the Senate back in 2006? All the seats we won then are up for reelection next year (along with a couple dozen more. Plus the House, as always). If you can't stomach helping Obama, fine, but don't forget about Sherrod Brown and Amy Klobuchar and anyone else who may need (and deserve) help hanging on, and on the other hand all the Tea Party twits in the House who need to be booted out before they get any more entrenched in the power of incumbency. Also, come to Massachusetts and help us get rid of Scott Brown, because really, wtf.
posted by naoko at 3:41 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I disagree, Smedleyman. It has nothing to do with unity. Or compromise. You think that as soon as the Republicans achieve some sort of legislative victory they then spend a lot of time patting each other on the back? No, they immediately move on to the next thing. That's not disunity. It's focus.

The problem with the Democrats now is almost entirely a matter of execution, not ideology, and it amazes me at this point that anyone would fail to see it.

The Republicans have, over the last 15 years set about constructing a complete and integrated agenda of manipulation, intimidation, and media capture that is modern, well-integrated with core political goals, and effective. And it involves every kind of media, including broadcast and web.

The Democrats still think Joe Trippi will save them when they have no coherent message and right-wing operatives are on TV every night repeating the same talking points again and again.

At this point, even most "leftists" think things the Republican message machine has put in their heads.

Yet again and again we see denial of the importance of marketing and message control as an element of strategy.

The strategic and marketing prowess of the GOP is simply light years ahead of the Democrats. Disunity has NOTHING to do with it.
posted by macross city flaneur at 3:41 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not that criticisms of this administration aren't warranted, it's the inability of Dem voters to summon the unity at will to address a given issue

OKAY OKAY, let's all unite now for Ozone standards.


Oops, too late! SOMEBODY in the party broke ranks. Don't they know anything about the value of unity?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:43 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


All this bitching and wringing of hands; face it, the left has not got the power in this current environment. This is not Obama's fault. If we want to hold him to our standards we need work to get our ideas back into the mainstream. 'Liberal' is a bad word and crazy rules the day. The Republicans have poor and middle class people agreeing to slice their own throat. This is a war and we are not fighting it little alone winning it.
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:44 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Avenger: You speak of "environmental policies" as if they are simple political issues -- like farm subsidies or funding for highway maintenance.

In reality, protecting our environment and developing a sustainable human community is a pre-condition to our continued survival as a species. If we don't have a functioning ecosystem, we have nothing. Literally nothing.

We should push for a sustainable global community whether or not it's politically popular or even feasible. It's the right thing to do for the future of the human race.

If you disagree with this -- if you think that "environmentalism" is some kind of boutique luxury that can be set aside when times are hard, then that means you must agree with the GOP that climate change isn't a threat and humanity will never be endangered by our use of the biosphere. If so, great. But just say so next time.
This comment illustrates why the Democratic party is so dysfunctional.

I happen to agree with you entirely on the importance of environmental policy. So why are you lecturing me?

It would seem that you're confusing the certainty of your political beliefs with the entirely distinct issue of the political reality in congress.

Global Warming may be a scientific fact, or very nearly. But what does that have to do with the price of Tea Party votes in Congress?
posted by Davenhill at 3:55 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


All this bitching and wringing of hands; face it, the left has not got the power in this current environment. This is not Obama's fault.

Jonathan Chait agrees with you: What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama
posted by homunculus at 4:08 PM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Obama would be a perfect peacetime president. Smart, well spoken, builds consensus, gets things done, doesn't make a lot of noise. Unfortunately, the US is at war -- with itself. He was elected as if by some miracle a peacetime president could somehow make peace. But it doesn't work that way. You don't have some sweetheart step into a bar fight and make some noise about "aww, guys, we're all friends here, shake hands and make up." You grab them by the belt and throw them out into the street.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" doesn't just speak to issues of the thin red line. Once the enemy have taken over the battlefield, the rough men are necessary in order to regain it.

So, yeah. Fucked.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:12 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Of his Top 25 Promises, Politifact lists just 5 that have been kept. A few thankfully still in the works.

How are we counting "top"?

Possibly worth noting on the Politifact Obamameter environmental issues page that yeloson linked, there are 20 some odd kept, probably at least half again as many still in the works, and the number that are flat out stalled, compromised, or broken looks smaller to me.
posted by weston at 4:13 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe the problem is that the White House thinks the left is stupid and hold views no one has ever actually stated?

“My view is that the Republican claim that ‘job-killing regulation’ is a redundancy is as ridiculous as the left-wing view that ‘job-killing regulation’ is an oxymoron,” said Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “Both are silly political claims that have no place in a serious discussion.”

posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:15 PM on September 5, 2011


Also, unserious!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:16 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone with strong opinions on the matter have any quantitative idea of what the costs and benefits of changing this regulatory ozone level would actually be? Just wondering. I've seen a whole lot of talk about this, not the slightest hint of any substantial argument about the issue supposedly at hand. It's all just "good for the environment", "bad for business". Which industries would it affect? What would they have to do, and how much would it cost? Would product P cost $Q more per unit, or what? Would N fewer people suffer from horrible disease Z due to the cleaner air? Does everyone in America already know these things? How else can they have made up their minds? It's even worse than the pipeline thing.
posted by sfenders at 4:17 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


HuffPo: Friday's announcement comes in the wake of four prior delays by the EPA on revising national air quality standards for the main ingredient in smog. The agency's scientific advisers have recommended reducing the ground-level ozone standard to between 60 and 70 parts per billion, from the current 84 parts per billion standard set in 1997. EPA estimates that this would save up to 12,000 American lives, 58,000 asthma attacks and 2.5 million missed days of school or work each year.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:19 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]




You think that as soon as the Republicans achieve some sort of legislative victory they then spend a lot of time patting each other on the back? No, they immediately move on to the next thing. That's not disunity.

Actually, I was talking about GOP unity vs. Dem disunity.

The strategic and marketing prowess of the GOP is simply light years ahead of the Democrats.

Which is why they lost the presidential election when there was unity to elect Obama?
Which is why the GOP mopped the floor with the Dems in Nov. only after people were disaffected?

OKAY OKAY, let's all unite now for Ozone standards.
But first, let's unite now for health care. No, wait, the Iraq war. No, no, wait, gays in the military. No, wait, black issues. I'm not going to help anyone if I don't get my own magic pancake pooping pony first.

C'mon. The Democrats aren't fractious? If Obama hadn't gotten elected I can see an argument made for the superior strategy of the GOP or a shift in ideology or something. But as far as I can tell the big difference is in team playing. Working together.
The Dems have shown they don't want to play ball with each other.

The GOP, far from imploding, have surprised me so far by co-opting the tea party and expanding the big tent to such a point that you'd be hard pressed to find a coherent philosophy.
The Dems on the other hand do have coherent philosophies. Many of them.

When one group presents a united front and the other doesn't, the united group wins. A minority group can make gains against majorities if they're united and the majority isn't. The history shows this.

"Yes, he should govern in the style of Bush if the opposite (style) is backing down into the policy of Bush."

The problem with dictators is that they're not benevolent?
I'd like to see a systemic change. Part of the problem seems to be that people don't want to change the system, they want their guy (or their policies) being dictator.
If he doesn't rule with an iron hand, suddenly he's a wimp.
Uh huh.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:27 PM on September 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


It is a difficult standard to meet. DC doesn't even comply with current regs as we hbe to many code Yellow and Code red days in summer.
posted by humanfont at 4:29 PM on September 5, 2011


Bush was not a dictator.

The problem with the unity framing is that, as I've pointed out, the disunity is often caused by the leadership not going along with the base. There is nothing we can do about that if not voting for them is off the table in the name of that same unity.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:30 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why are people surprised that he didn't support a public option? He campaigned that he would not.

He did no such thing:
NY Times, May 2007: Mr. Obama would create a public plan for individuals who cannot obtain group coverage through their employers or the existing government programs, like Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
. . .
Wash. Post, February 2008: Both Obama and Clinton propose "option to buy into a public plan."
. . .
Chicago Tribune, October 2008: Obama's proposal "[c]reates a new public plan as another option."
I'm getting really tired of people claiming that we're imagining Obama presenting himself in the way he absolutely did.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:54 PM on September 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


Sun Tzu and the overtron window really? What's next a Tarot reading? Sorry for the derail, but the last thing Obama needs is more business world Kung Fu nonsense. Sun Tzu if he ever existed died about 2500 years ago.
posted by humanfont at 4:56 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me...

I saw a video where Obama was chatting college Democrats. One piece of advice he gave them was not to premise their participation, or notion of success, with achieving 100% of their goals. He said that was a recipe for frustration and disappointment. /Obama

When you have an evenly split political environment, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect victories only about half the time, with plenty of compromise to boot?

Similarly, even when you have no chance of winning the day (like the Republicans in 2009 and 2010), you can still play to minimize your losses by frustrating your opponent or by slowing down their advances. Republicans are very good at this. Democrats, not so much.

Democrats have been outmaneuvered and frustrated by Republicans time and time again, and they have no real answer. And now the Democrats are turning on themselves.

This reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", except substitute Karl Rove and Roger Ailes for the two aliens who are trying to destroy humanity.

One might even waggishly suggest that the reason Democrats are taking out their frustrations on Obama is because they are too dysfunctional or incompetent to know how to fight back against Republicans.

Democratic factionalism is why a loud, bullying Tea Party (maybe 30% of the population) can run roughshod over political discourse. And instead of punching back, Democrats are turning on themselves.
posted by Davenhill at 4:58 PM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I for one will be continuing to abstain from voting from Republican or Democrat candidates in the general election. You can throw words like 'unelectability' around, but I would genuinely rather see the not-particularly-bright kid from down the street with her heart in the right place as president than any professional politician. Never even mind an intelligent and accomplished person like Ralph Nader or someone like Cynthia McKinney, who is a bit loopy and perhaps not one of the great thinkers of our time, but seriously -- it is so fucking indicative of the triumph of corporate interests that being gaffe-prone is seen as a greater sin than supporting an entire slate of policies that are based on destroying people for money. That is, of course, the sun that every tenet of the Republican and Democratic parties' platforms revolves around: the primacy of profit for the tiny ruling class over anything else, including-- especially including-- people's health, lives, and livelihoods.

George Bush is a not particularly smart man; Barack Obama is an exceptionally intelligent man. It doesn't matter a whit how smart the chief is if the strings are all pulled by the same people.

An upthread poster is correct: the momentum does not currently exist to put a third party candidate who is not otherwise a billionaire in the Oval Office. (That won't stop me from voting for one.) If you are a progressive, find your local Green Party. There probably is one. It's a hard fight. In Massachusetts we put an incredible amount of effort into the gubernatorial election to poll at 1% in the final count. Governor's office is still too high. Find the progressive candidates who reject the major parties and support the movement starting at the very most insignificant office. To give another example from my home state, a few Green candidates for the Massachusetts legislature seem poised to put up an extremely tough fight in the next election. When third-party politicians at the lowest level have become normal, then we can move up. It's movement-building and we can't do it from the top down.

That said-- please fucking excuse me if, in the next general election, I don't vote for either of the candidates whose policies almost unerringly would see the people you and I love live unhappy, unhealthy lives, or even die, to make a buck for someone already rich.
posted by threeants at 5:04 PM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


The Overtron Window: something something de-rezzing something.
posted by hippybear at 5:07 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, what's the big cataclysm that's supposed to happen if someone 'unelectable' is put in power? We'll end up pumping lives and money into endless overseas wars? We'll find ourselves in a financial crisis and lose our credibility on the world stage? Unemployment will reach new highs? We'll hurtle head-first into large-scale environmental disaster with absolutely no continegency plan?

wait a second i
posted by threeants at 5:16 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm considering voting Republican for the first time in my life, with the hope that getting them elected to every possible office will finally push America over the cliff, and we'll be able to start from scratch in a few years.

It's bound to happen eventually. We might as well not drag it out.
posted by secondhand pho at 5:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Democratic factionalism is why a loud, bullying Tea Party (maybe 30% of the population) can run roughshod over political discourse. And instead of punching back, Democrats are turning on themselves.

The Tea Party's less than 30%, easily. But you're right, they're far more influential than their numbers merit. Part of it is the media's relentless pumping up of the Teabagger movement. Their rallies at this point get literally dozens of people, while over a thousand environmentalists arrested at the White House gets no attention whatsoever.

And the Democrats are doing a lot of turning on themselves, but it's disingenuous at best to imagine that St. Obama sits their like a martyr as the fearsome forces of MoveOn, 350.org and DailyKos relentlessly pummel someone who only wants to help. There's a hell of a lot of hippie punching coming out of the Democratic leadership. Hell, that's what this whole post is about. Mass arrests without a word from Obama followed by a fuck-you to his base with timing that couldn't be more insulting - and it's the hippies who aren't giving our Dear Leader a chance?

This is the first time I've actually considered not voting for Obama, because the environment isn't just another issue - it's about the survival of civilization, possibly the entire fucking human species. It makes most everything pale into insignificance. Centuries from now - if we still have historians - they won't give two shits about 95% of the issues that consume so much ink and bandwidth. They will care about how how the icecaps melted and who fiddled while the world burned. Obama's signalling to the Teabaggers that everything is up for negotiation - everything. And the Teabaggers don't want to negotiate. They want it all. This is extremely, extremely bad for the precedent it's already set.

I'll vote for Congress and local elections, and I'll work like hell for it. But Obama? I don't know if I'm that much of a masochist.
posted by jhandey at 5:33 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Tea Party's less than 30%, easily. But you're right, they're far more influential than their numbers merit.

Brand new Gallup polls put the Tea Party numbers at 22%, basically equal with the 21% who call themselves liberals.
posted by hippybear at 5:37 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess I don't understand, if people who consider themselves to be Obama's base are willing to not vote for him are they really his base? His base are people who will vote for him no matter what. Face it,you think you are his base, to Obama you are fringe, fair weather friends who are not worth appeasing, he is worried about appeasing the other 70% of Americans.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:48 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


There was a thread today on Sun Tzu and playing Starcraft and game theory on the Hacker News that the smedleyman might have seen. The take was "if you have a tiny advantage you don't dig in your heels to do or die on that hill; you try and get a little more tiny advantage."

Obama got Osama. I think he's in like Flint unless the economy tanks a whole lot worse.
posted by bukvich at 5:53 PM on September 5, 2011


I guess I don't understand, if people who consider themselves to be Obama's base are willing to not vote for him are they really his base? His base are people who will vote for him no matter what. Face it,you think you are his base, to Obama you are fringe, fair weather friends who are not worth appeasing, he is worried about appeasing the other 70% of Americans.

Good, that means he doesn't need our votes. This works out nicely for everyone.

Democratic voters effectively rewarded the GOP's strategy by failing to show up to vote in the 2010 midterms! And now Democrats are now shocked! shocked! to find that Republicans have become even bigger bullies and Democrats have become even less effective?!? Worse: Democrats blame Obama!

That's one theory for how we got here, some people think this might have played a bit of role though:

After Citizens United, conservative undisclosed donors outspent liberal ones in 2010 election by $100 million

In the interest of unity, maybe we should focus on that problem instead of how unserious and annoying the hippies are.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:58 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why are people surprised that he didn't support a public option? He campaigned that he would not.

He did no such thing


All of your examples are of people interpreting what they think Obama was proposing, not his own words. They were as deluded as everyone else and in the bag for Obama.

Obama proposed a public option only for those who could not get insurance from any other private insurer, much like the high-risk pools that states make available to the uninsurable. This was not a public option available to everyone.

This was not news to anyone paying attention and not star struck by the Obama charisma. For example here is Paul Krugman writing almost two years before the election about Obama beating up on Clinton for her insurance mandate:

... by echoing the talking points of those who oppose any form of universal health care, he’s making the task of any future president who tries to deliver universal care considerably more difficult.

I’d add, however, a further concern: the debate over mandates has reinforced the uncomfortable sense among some health reformers that Mr. Obama just isn’t that serious about achieving universal care — that he introduced a plan because he had to, but that every time there’s a hard choice to be made he comes down on the side of doing less.


(Note that this complaint is familiar. By echoing Republican talking points about deficits, Obama has made future economic stimulus considerably more difficult. His adoption of Republican talking points is nothing new, for those paying attention. He was doing it long before he was elected.)

You can also look at what Obama did in the state of Illinois in 2003 when the state tried to expand state health care coverage. In Obama's own words he said: ""We radically changed [the health care bill] in response to concerns that were raised by the insurance industry." One of those radical changes was that universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy.
posted by JackFlash at 5:59 PM on September 5, 2011


It's the job of Obama's political office to balance the needs of his base with the fight over independents. If the base is this unhappy, it doesn't mean they're babies who need a(nother) lecture about unrealistic expectations -- it means Obama's political office has massively screwed up its only job.
posted by gerryblog at 5:59 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


(by the way, liberals are the most reliable Democratic voters, the centrists are the ones who switch back and forth since Republicans aren't that far from their position to start with)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:59 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the derail, but the last thing Obama needs is more business world Kung Fu nonsense.
Man, it's true. I don't know how many times I've gotten my ass kicked by cowboys throwing haymakers because I tried to use that crazy chop sockey b.s.
Training. Strategy. Discipline. Pfft. Nonsense.

Bush was not a dictator.
Except his style was dictatorial. Can we dispense with the nitpicking bullshit or when I use a "Superman" reference to illustrate a generalized concept about heroism are we going to be contending that it's invalid because Superman was fictional?
Ok, Thomas Jefferson. Well he owned slaves. Ok, Gandhi. Mystic pacifism nonsense. Etc. etc.
No, Bush wasn't a dictator. His style was secretive, oppressive and ran end runs around the Constitution and played games with established law. You can't violate the law while expecting to maintain a lawful society no matter the ends.

There is nothing we can do about that if not voting for them is off the table in the name of that same unity.
I'll cede that. I'm not arguing in favor of lockstepping.
But a lot of voters tend to vote the man and not the issue. We can be on different pages and still not scrap the entire program.
Hell, I'm a Green for the most part. Illinois it's hard to vote for Democrats without voting for corruption. It's hard to vote GOP anymore without voting for madmen. So I vote the issue.
And for the most part that works because I realize there are Congress that balance executive power.
Apparently a lot of people don't know that however and in Congress parties from both sides have been essentially using Obama as their shield.

Democrats said at the beginning of this month that they would have no problem killing GOP legislation to restrict U.S. EPA's air quality rules. (Barbara Boxer is the chair of Environment and Public Works)
And it's not like the GOP hasn't been trying. The House has already approved the Energy Tax Prevention Act H.R. 910 (reduces the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gasses).
The EPA has won some court cases on reducing smokestack emissions.
So the real fight is over the Clean Air Act and pollution limits in 2012/13.
Because it's a fucking piece of legislation not a regulation.

So, if I'm the Dems and I can K.O. anything the GOP sends up until the rules get changed in 2013 I let Obama take the heat until then.
If I'm the GOP and I don't think I can push anything through I can posture and make Obama look weak until then.

Additionally, one can't refute an argument that the base is fractious by saying leadership doesn't go along with the base. Particularly if one is positing refusal to compromise as a virtue.
Part of the political struggle is compromise with the opposition. Eliminating or overthrowing political opposition is dictatorial in nature. I don't want an executive doing that.

So I support my members of Congress who support the Clean Air Act. I urge others to do the same.
This doesn't invalidate the criticism of Obama. But criticism of the President isn't as useful as communicating with your congressman.
And communicating with your congressman is even more useful if you round up a lot of people and do it.
And even moreso if you focus on one issue. Like not tar sands and air quality standards lumped together with 20 other issues, but a specific bill.

Ah, but what use is wisdom from a guy who's commentaries have survived thousands of years and is still required reading for modern military officers?
Focused strategy. United effort. Pfft. You just gotta talk tough. Not like that pussy Obama. Or ... what'shisname....my congressman?
Ah, whatever. Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers...

SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!
posted by Smedleyman at 6:01 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here are Obama's words, even after the election:

President Obama: I think one of the options should be a public insurance option. (Loud cheers) Let me clear. It would only be an option, nobody would be forced to choose it. No one with insurance affected by it. But what it would do is provide more choice and more competition. It would keep pressure on private insurers to keep the policies affordable, to treat their customers better. I mean think about it. It's the same way the public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students. That doesn't inhibit private colleges and universities from thriving out there. The same should be true on the health care front. Minnesota I have said I'm open to different ideas on how to set this up we're going to set this up but I'm not going to back down on the basic principle that if Americans can't find affordable coverage we're going to provide you a choice.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:02 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Part of the political struggle is compromise with the opposition.

No one said it wasn't *part*. The problem is Obama seems to think it's the whole thing.
posted by gerryblog at 6:04 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jonathan Chait agrees with you: What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama

Liked the summary at the end:

"In the real world, maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement are often at odds."

I agree with this, though I still think there could be significant improvement in terms of staking out starting points which are more progressive and better sold if not more confrontational.
posted by weston at 6:06 PM on September 5, 2011


Bush was not a dictator.
Except his style was dictatorial. Can we dispense with the nitpicking bullshit


No, not when you are making the false implication/strawman that I am asking for a benevolent dictator. Bush passed his most noxious policies, like the Patriot Act and Iraq with Democratic party votes in accordance with the law.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:06 PM on September 5, 2011


It is a difficult standard to meet. DC doesn't even comply with current regs as we hbe to many code Yellow and Code red days in summer.

More difficult in some places than others, so I gather. I really had no idea where ozone came from. Depends on natural atmospheric levels of volatile organic compounds, apparently. Oak trees and stuff. More of them there are, the more the oxides of nitrogen from coal plants will react with them to form ozone. Not much more they can do to the already strict standards for automobiles I think, so looks like it'd be mainly coal power plants that'd have to suffer if there's to be less ozone. So assuming I got that right, I'd be on the environmentalist side this time since my own irrational prejudice is firmly against coal.
posted by sfenders at 6:09 PM on September 5, 2011


jhandy: This is the first time I've actually considered not voting for Obama, because the environment isn't just another issue - it's about the survival of civilization, possibly the entire fucking human species.
I agree. And these two stories are very disappointing. Here's Politifact's three page summary of Obama's overall record on the environment. IMO it's better than I expected, and certainly better than the comments here would suggest.

What's your take?
posted by Davenhill at 6:09 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I no longer even pretend to understand what's going on in America.

But I do know it ain't good.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:12 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]




I understand the Overton Window derision, but the simple fact is it is true. If you can't see the rightward shift the entire conversation has taken in the last 40 years, you're blind.

Tell me with a straight face that Reagan, god himself, would even qualify as a Republican today. Tell me that it's not entirely fucking ridiculous that Democrats today can't hold the line on a program instituted by Nixon.

The left exists, and it exists in larger numbers than anyone claims. But it exists entirely outside the conversation anymore - going to the very left of what passes for "possibility" anymore barely gets you to the middle.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:26 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Davenhill: This is why I said "considering", not jumping over to the Kucinich 2012 juggernaut just yet. He's done quite a bit of good, and Politifact doesn't include everything. The problem is that he seems to be ready to throw a lot of that good under the bus because of horrifically mistaken (to be extremely generous to Obama) political calculations. The Teabaggers have shown themselves to be far less amenable to Obama's apparent preference for reasonable discussion than even John Boehner, and Obama either doesn't see this, doesn't want to see this, or doesn't see this as a problem. I never regretted that Hillary didn't get the nomination, but I'm starting to wonder just what the hell happened since the 2010 midterm elections. Democrats lost. It happens. Obama, though, seems to have undergone some sort of a personality transplant. It's as if he's handing the government on a silver plate to Eric Cantor.

Combine that with the drastically-intensified hippie punching, and I'm losing faith in Obama's good intentions. He's not entitled by divine right to my vote, just as Al Gore wasn't. That's the thing about Nader (and before him, Ted Kennedy's primary run against Jimmy Carter) - it's not all unreasonable scruffy hippies. Republicans throw their base bones from the table. Democrats seem to delight in laughing at theirs. Republicans fear their base. Democrats despise theirs.

It's a really, really bad strategy. Ask Al Gore.
posted by jhandey at 6:28 PM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bush passed his most noxious policies, like the Patriot Act and Iraq with Democratic party votes in accordance with the law.
Bush passed his most noxious policies by getting lawyers at the OLC to write statements claiming that he had power, and then denying anyone, including Congress, the ability to read those statements or even to learn that they existed.
posted by Flunkie at 6:28 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think he's in like Flint

Their prospects look equally bright.
posted by Trurl at 6:45 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm getting really tired of people claiming that we're imagining Obama presenting himself in the way he absolutely did.

Count me in, too. He supported a public option — it was in his own campaign materials and posted online, ffs — and the historical revisions by Obama boosters on this site is really fucking tiresome. Why these people cannot just admit he caved into Republican and special interests on healthcare reform (so that we can at least try to move on) beggars belief.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:52 PM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Man, it's true. I don't know how many times I've gotten my ass kicked by cowboys throwing haymakers because I tried to use that crazy chop sockey b.s.
Training. Strategy. Discipline. Pfft. Nonsense.


Confidence don't substitute for sense, a bar ain't a dojo.
posted by humanfont at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2011


I think he's in like Flint unless the economy tanks a whole lot worse.
Flint: An actor? As president?
posted by unliteral at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2011


In Like Flynn

Flint is in Michigan, and hasn't been "in" for decades.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I understand why so many people are upset, and I don't even disagree.

However, before you state your intentions to not vote or vote for a third party, please allow me the impudence to suggest a question you ask yourself as Election Day, 2012 approaches: Which one of these two assholes do I want to have the nuclear launch codes?
posted by ob1quixote at 7:14 PM on September 5, 2011


I suspect neither will launch a nuclear war.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:15 PM on September 5, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "I suspect neither will launch a nuclear war."

Well, if we're talking Romney, probably not. Perry or Bachmann though…
posted by ob1quixote at 7:21 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:21 PM on September 5, 2011


weston: " How are we counting "top"? "

The top 25 was originally the Top 10. It's made up of campaign promises that Politifact judged "most sweeping and significant — the most change from the new president who made change his signature." Over time the number has increased to what they feel would have been most impactful. From what I can see, they are promises that he repeated quite frequently on the campaign trail.

Background on the Obameter. Some interesting statistics there.
posted by zarq at 7:22 PM on September 5, 2011


The greatest thing Obama did better than Hillary Clinton was campaign far better and achieve astronomical popularity at the start of his term thanks to a massive landslide. That "wave" was the biggest piece of political capital Obama came in with and he flushed it down the toilet. That is the great disappointment of his administration; not that he's a moderate

This is the biggest memory-of-the-press reality distortion I have yet read in this thread. Obama achieved his landslide because of a press that wouldn't properly vet him, and at the same time finding ways to make him look like the "Jesus will save us" politician that everyone north of the center-right was craving for after 8 years of Mad George Bush.

He came in and campaigned as a progressive livberal to naiil the nomination. Stop trying to rewrite history. The sheer, blatant degree of confirmation bias by so many in this thread re: Obama is stunning.

Bottom line: anyone who believed that "yes, he can" was hoodwinked by the empty-headed liberal pundits in the press, and the corporate bosses who, in fact, run things in America.

Earlier someone said that campaign finance reform isn't "job #1" in America. Seriously, that is even more stunning a misjudgment than anything I've seen here. Every single tax loophole; every single piece of legislation in health care, transportation, trade, environmental regulation, taxation, social safety nets, yadda, yadda is *directly* impacted by high flying money! There are very good websites that show the direct correlations that money has on policy *in real time*.

Here's a challenge for those who think it's policy or political spectrum arguments that make the difference. You tell me why neither party has worked to get the money out of politics. I want to hear the answer to that question in a way that makes transparent sense, including a damned good reason why corporate money should stay in politics, instead of very rigid public financing laws for ALL American elections - Federal, State, and Local - *including* a demand that all specific blocks of time be given away, free to qualifying candidates who want to use radio, TV, or any other modality that uses public spectrum. Anything else is pure BS.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:25 PM on September 5, 2011


Well, if we're talking Romney, probably not. Perry or Bachmann though…

Bachmann specifically. I watched her again being interviewed yesterday and she is scary as shit. I completely see her finding some rationale for why we had to attack some other country with nukes. Probably Perry too.
posted by cashman at 7:26 PM on September 5, 2011


There's nothing Obama won't won't fight for.
posted by bardic at 7:26 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "No."

Okay then. I'm still not ashamed to admit that the True Believers™ frighten me and I don't want any of them given command authority over our strategic arsenal under any circumstances.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:27 PM on September 5, 2011


Bottom line: anyone who believed that "yes, he can" was hoodwinked by the empty-headed liberal pundits in the press

What, both of them?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:29 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's be honest here, if you think your political opponents are insane people who are going to launch the nukes...that is what being unserious is about, not being angry about smog regulations that could prevent unnecessary deaths.

You won't ever hear the White House advisors calling that kind of thing unserious though, the more fear of the Republicans the better regardless of the cause of it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:29 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


So Obama it is. Hold your nose and vote if you have to, but do vote if for no other reason than the Supreme Court nominations.

Why do we think he'll do any better with this than he has with anything else? I no longer trust that he won't try to "compromise" or "be bipartisan" and put an anti-choice, pro-corporate dyed-in-the-wool Republican on the high court.
posted by bryon at 7:41 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the biggest memory-of-the-press reality distortion I have yet read in this thread. Obama achieved his landslide because of a press that wouldn't properly vet him, and at the same time finding ways to make him look like the "Jesus will save us" politician that everyone north of the center-right was craving for after 8 years of Mad George Bush.

He came in and campaigned as a progressive livberal to naiil the nomination. Stop trying to rewrite history. The sheer, blatant degree of confirmation bias by so many in this thread re: Obama is stunning.


I've been struggling to figure out why this outburst had the tone it did because of my comment and I'm failing. Did I imply that Obama didn't run as a liberal? I certainly did not. I said that Obama being a moderate as opposed to the liberal he was perceived as is not as much the problem with his base's frustration (case in point: Bill Clinton) as it is the general failure to show any signs of actually supporting any policy agenda--liberal, moderate or otherwise. My entire point was that he rode in on a landslide and wasted that political capital and whatever press bias you seem to feel he had. "Rewriting history?" Seriously, WTF?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:50 PM on September 5, 2011


So Obama it is. Hold your nose and vote if you have to, but do vote if for no other reason than the Supreme Court nominations.
Why do we think he'll do any better with this than he has with anything else?
He's already done it twice, you know. Maybe you could look at the type of people that he actually has nominated.
I no longer trust that he won't try to "compromise" or "be bipartisan" and put an anti-choice, pro-corporate dyed-in-the-wool Republican on the high court.
Well OK then.
posted by Flunkie at 7:54 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Confidence don't substitute for sense, a bar ain't a dojo."
Except that I fight in the real world. I bounced when I was younger. Easiest money I ever made. I grew up learning martial arts and learned to fight even better with LINE and modern combatives. Strangely, the comments on strategy and mindset and focus made even more sense. I'm alive today and the many of enemies I fought are not or in jail. So I would say there's something to Sun Tzu, yeah.

"No, not when you are making the false implication/strawman that I am asking for a benevolent dictator."

Ok ceded. Can we now get past it?

"Bush passed his most noxious policies, like the Patriot Act and Iraq with Democratic party votes in accordance with the law."
Of course he did. You can't pass a policy without the legal system. WHat you can do is arbitrarially imprison foreign nationals, hold
American prisoners indefinately without habeus corpus, and torture prisoners in violation of the Geneva conventions by arguing the laws
don't apply to you as President. Do we want an indefinate expansion of the theory of the imperial presidency?
Would actions in a similar vein ultimately help or harm the United States if Obama were to continue to assert vast sweeping and unconstitutional
presidential powers, even if he does get 'X.' The next GOP president gets, what even less limitation and check on the encroachment?
posted by Smedleyman at 7:57 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Here's a challenge for those who think it's policy or political spectrum arguments that make the difference. You tell me why neither party has worked to get the money out of politics. I want to hear the answer to that question in a way that makes transparent sense, including a damned good reason why corporate money should stay in politics, instead of very rigid public financing laws for ALL American elections - Federal, State, and Local - *including* a demand that all specific blocks of time be given away, free to qualifying candidates who want to use radio, TV, or any other modality that uses public spectrum. Anything else is pure BS.

You act as if we are just ignoring this or, even worse, support it. I don't support it. I didn't ask the Supreme Court to protect it. It is corrupt. How do you propose to fix it? Per your above post, you want us to 'demand' it. That is part of the problem. The voting public cannot even get outraged about those ridiculous wars, or the rising unemployment class, or even the absolute attack on the middle class. And you think we can 'demand' that money be taken out of politics? See, its politics. You have to win with your ideas. The left sucks bad at that. Lets fix that first. I find if unhelpful to attack Obama. That will not fix these problems! It will make it worse.
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:04 PM on September 5, 2011


This Congress won't give Obama the money to create government jobs, nor the ability to cherry pick subsidies for private sector jobs liberals regard as virtuous. The only way he creates jobs before the election is to use his regulatory power, and to work with Congress on laws, that create broad-based improvements to the private sector employment environment.

This act was an excellent way for him signal that he knows he's in a hole and that he has to stop digging before anyone believes he's serious about climbing out. Will be interesting to see what's next; while I think this week's speech will have plenty of platitudinous (and DOA) stuff about traditional Democratic jobs programs, I think we could get at least a little bit serious talk about how to unleash domestic corporate investment in ways that can create jobs.
posted by MattD at 8:04 PM on September 5, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "You won't ever hear the White House advisors calling that kind of thing unserious though, the more fear of the Republicans the better regardless of the cause of it."

You're right, of course, that I wasn't being entirely serious, but I'm sure you knew that.

I just can't get that excited about this, even though ozone triggers my allergies. I was pissed about no single-payer, but on this one though, I don't see that it's worth scuttling the party over. I understand well that this delay only looks like a good idea if we presume that Obama is reelected along with a more Democratic congress and they get a chance to implement those 2013 standards. I think talk that Obama is a DINO is disingenuous at best.

Look, I don't want a right-wing America, Republican, Democratic, or otherwise, but what serious alternative to the Democratic party is there for a Solid Liberal?
posted by ob1quixote at 8:07 PM on September 5, 2011


Meanwhile, it appears MI6 and the CIA were closely cooperating with Libyan intelligence agencies in rendition programs, knowing that their intelligence services engaged in torture.

Obama claimed that we dropped torture as an official policy. But if we're still sending gifts of people to countries that we know engage in torture, that sure seems to me like actively supporting torture.

Cameron has already said they're opening an investigation into it.
posted by formless at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Accuse me of Godwining, disagree with me, ban me, whatever, but I have to say that Obama is turning into the Neville Chamberlain of American presidential history, in front of our eyes.
posted by Danf at 9:07 PM on September 5, 2011


uhhh doesn't it come down to people

i mean it's fine to say that we are "owned by corporate interests" or "owned by the super-rich" but like who are we talking about in terms of names

is there like a list online you can look at
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:34 PM on September 5, 2011


Thank fucking God national elections are not decided by favorite counts at MetaFilter.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:46 PM on September 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


That would indeed by a very strange system of government.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:49 PM on September 5, 2011


The best thing would be for him to not run.

You guys have lost your fucking minds. See you in December 2012.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:49 PM on September 5, 2011


Oh please, not one of you is going to stay home after the GOP nominates Perry or Bachmann.

If sanity prevailed you would be right, but I would not fucking tempt this crowd.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:52 PM on September 5, 2011


They're all foreign agitators anyway.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:55 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're all foreign agitators anyway.

A-hahaha, good one.

Which means you should be voting FOR Perry/Bachmann in the Republican primary and the general. That is, if you are a REAL leftist. I'm not being perverse. I'm no kidding.

Fuck me, I hope you are right about that.

I'm no kidding.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:08 PM on September 5, 2011


The I hope you are right about that is directed at Horselover Phattie.
The I'm no kidding is directed at the political illiterate who first uttered it.

I'm no kidding.

posted by joe lisboa at 11:10 PM on September 5, 2011


One day the man will grow a pair.

Of eyebrows.
posted by flabdablet at 1:23 AM on September 6, 2011


I've been struggling to figure out why this outburst had the tone it did because of my comment and I'm failing. Did I imply that Obama didn't run as a liberal? I certainly did not. I said that Obama being a moderate as opposed to the liberal he was perceived as is not as much the problem with his base's frustration (case in point: Bill Clinton) as it is the general failure to show any signs of actually supporting any policy agenda--liberal, moderate or otherwise. My entire point was that he rode in on a landslide and wasted that political capital and whatever press bias you seem to feel he had. "Rewriting history?" Seriously, WTF?

This is what you wrote: "The greatest thing Obama did better than Hillary Clinton was campaign far better and achieve astronomical popularity at the start of his term thanks to a massive landslide. That "wave" was the biggest piece of political capital Obama came in with and he flushed it down the toilet. That is the great disappointment of his administration; not that he's a moderate.

Go back and look at the press reporting of the 2008 Democratic Party runoff. The mainstream media was all over Hillary and lapping up every Obama speech. They didn't vet Obama; they wanted him elected; they got what they wanted. Obama was the mainstream media's "made man". In many years of watching politics I've never seen anything like it. Basically, the press folded.

Yes, Obama came in with a big wave of liberal support. He sold the American public using the rhetoric of progressive politics, peppered with "tough talk" about the war to appease the right.

posted by Vibrissae at 2:44 AM on September 6, 2011


"Here's a challenge for those who think it's policy or political spectrum arguments that make the difference. You tell me why neither party has worked to get the money out of politics. I want to hear the answer to that question in a way that makes transparent sense, including a damned good reason why corporate money should stay in politics, instead of very rigid public financing laws for ALL American elections - Federal, State, and Local - *including* a demand that all specific blocks of time be given away, free to qualifying candidates who want to use radio, TV, or any other modality that uses public spectrum. Anything else is pure BS.

Userbrain: You act as if we are just ignoring this or, even worse, support it. I don't support it. I didn't ask the Supreme Court to protect it. It is corrupt. How do you propose to fix it? Per your above post, you want us to 'demand' it. That is part of the problem. The voting public cannot even get outraged about those ridiculous wars, or the rising unemployment class, or even the absolute attack on the middle class. And you think we can 'demand' that money be taken out of politics? See, its politics. You have to win with your ideas. The left sucks bad at that. Lets fix that first. I find if unhelpful to attack Obama. That will not fix these problems! It will make it worse.

"See, it's politics". Basically, you appear to be confirming your own bias about politics being seedy, and bought out. And you say that "you have to win with your ideas". Baloney! What ideas? You mean the BS rhetoric we get from these people every four years, so they can make it into office.

Obama, McCain, Bush, Clinton - all of them, are beholden to corporate interests. And, yes, you're right about the American public and outrage, because corporate interests have found a way to corner the American voter by buying politicians who essentially, mostly, end up acting with a strong propensity to help those that have greased their palm.

Thus, the need to start pounding on the meme of "let's get the money out of politics" and keep it up until something is done. For instance, why isn't "Move On" doing this. They know the score. Sorry, the money in politics issue is THE reason we are where we are in this country; our problems have far more to do with "legal corruption" (legal contributions to politicians) than it does with whether the left sucks.

how to fix it? Don't vote for any politician who refuses to vote on a bill that would remove ALL outside financing from political campaigns at the federal level. Don't vote for any politician who refuses to vote on a bill that would create a constitutional amendment to do the same.

Left? Right? - they're all bought, largely by the SAME corporate interests.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:56 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


i mean it's fine to say that we are "owned by corporate interests" or "owned by the super-rich" but like who are we talking about in terms of names

is there like a list online you can look at


Sunlight Foundation

Researching Your Politicians

History of Campaign Finance Reform in the United States
from the above Wikipedia page
Public response

Senator McCain, one of the two original sponsors of campaign finance reform, noted after the decisions that "campaign finance reform is dead" - but predicted a voter backlash once it became obvious how much money corporations and unions now could and would pour into campaigns.[25]

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll in early February 2010 it was found that roughly 80% of Americans were opposed to the January 2010 Supreme court's ruling. The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).[26]


The American people are fed up with their policy makers being on the corporate tit, but nothing is done. We are currently missing a catalyst to juice this up. Instead, we're right back to "fear" and "hope" (depending on your candidate), as covers for getting people to the polls, while the corporate giants go on their merry way, and as the American middle class becomes more and more marginalized.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:03 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank fucking God national elections are not decided by favorite counts at MetaFilter

Right. Thank god they're decided by well-informed Americans.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:06 AM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


When you're fighting a madman, you must back down.

The GOP is like a rat-faced junkie on the train. You can't pick a fight with him because he has nothing to lose. He'll stab you for a dollar. You can't "win" a fight like that because you can't sink to his level.

All Obama is doing is trying to get the best outcome in an ongoing negotiation with the insane. Sorry that doesn't feel like a win for you.
posted by dave99 at 5:26 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


But this rat-faced, crazed junkie may very well end up driving the whole train you are on, dave99. So what then?
posted by Danf at 6:23 AM on September 6, 2011


[re: killing bin Ladin] He should have been able to sidestep any issue he wanted to for months. But he bagged the bogeyman and the best he can do is deny the GOP a bad guy to point at.

You want to know what’s going on “out there”? What the level of understanding is, even of the basics of Mideast or domestic activities?

While I was visiting my hometown area recently my conservative bro-in-law took me to his auto mechanic. We’re in the waiting area, they’re all BSing. Bro mentions what’s going on in Iran. (He meant Libya.) Someone else asks who was that guy in Iraq. Someone else asks did we ever get the other one (bin Laden).

And this after my bro-in-law’s brief foray into domestic policy, to wit: He – a guy who’s “retired” (i.e., been living off my sister since they married in the late 90s) - declared that some local striking university faculty “should all be pink-slipped.” (He probably approves of the fact that I’m among the few workers at my college who aren’t in a union – and are treated accordingly.)

To her credit, the female owner of the shop seemed to be somewhat sympathetic to the teachers, and also not a fan of the Iraq war. But whether anyone in that shop aside from me knew Iraq was a verkokte mistake way back in ’03? Doubt it.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:54 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being a liberal in the U.S. is like being the Kansas City Royals. Liberals/the Royals have to meticulously plan for years if not decades to achieve success. The window of opportunity is typically vanishingly small and everything has to go perfectly according to plan in order for any significant positive outcomes (like, say, winning the World Series or health care reform) to occur.

Meanwhile, The Yankees/conservatives buy what and whoever the fuck they want and just win, baby.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:59 AM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


A primary challenger successfully knocked LBJ out of the running in 1968.

And look where that got us


A Republican president with actually reasonable policy?
posted by Deathalicious at 6:59 AM on September 6, 2011


dave99: "When you're fighting a madman, you must back down.

No. You can still fight a madman indirectly. You don't ever capitulate entirely or you get run over. Conceding the battlefield on the things that are important is a bad idea. It empowers your opponent, proves there's value in their unorthodox tactics and shows weakness.

Plus, in this case you're talking about extremists who are still beholden to their constituents and swayed by public opinion. They usually can't go too extreme for too long on many issues. People tend to get pissed off by that and vote 'em out of office. The GOP is making calculated decisions and taking analyzed risks. That's quite different than facing a desperate madman with nothing to lose.

The GOP is like a rat-faced junkie on the train. You can't pick a fight with him because he has nothing to lose. He'll stab you for a dollar. You can't "win" a fight like that because you can't sink to his level.

You can if you change the playing field. You can if you muster more of a threat. If Mr. Rat Faced Junkie suddenly sees the barrels of a shotgun in his face and realizes he's brought a knife to a gun fight, self preservation will kick in.

The GOP is doing whatever it can to force their agenda through. If the Dems were to figure out a way to make it too costly for them to do so, they'd more than likely back down. The issues they're fighting over aren't new.

You can do this by changing tactics. By distracting them with recall elections where possible. By attacking them in their home districts with ad blitzes and raising local discontent. By using some of their own tactics against them. Pushing them off balance, so they're unable to focus. In an economic climate like this, that should be easier than usual.

The GOP has only been able to oppose Obama and present a united front because the Dems have allowed them to do so. But there are quite a few factions in their party. Exploit them and they'd be as legislatively ineffective as the Dems.
posted by zarq at 7:04 AM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why do we think he'll do any better with this than he has with anything else? I no longer trust that he won't try to "compromise" or "be bipartisan" and put an anti-choice, pro-corporate dyed-in-the-wool Republican on the high court.

Unlike other areas of Presidential control, Obama's SC picks have been very solid indeed. Neither Kagan nor Sotomayor is as civil libertarian as one could hope - to say the least - but in most other respects both justices have shown themselves to be very solid liberals. Sotomayor has criticized the very concept of corporate personhood from the bench, for crissake!
posted by mightygodking at 7:06 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Matt Taibbi on Obama and Jobs: Why I Don't Believe Him Anymore
posted by homunculus at 9:19 AM on September 6, 2011


I supported and voted for Obama because he was a centrist. And I'm as liberal as they come. I knew he would compromise a number of his promises away. I knew healthcare reform would be ugly and unsatisfying. Hell, I even felt a little betrayed by the loss of the public option because I really fucking need health insurance and that was about my only hope. But so it goes.

This isn't some short game where sweeping results appear in four short years. This is a long game. Patience is essential. You don't steer a ship by picking it up out of the water and pointing it in the direction you want to go. For all those who want to give up on Obama because of his perceived failings in your eyes, I'd advise taking a deep breath. Then really consider what you're giving up on. Baby steps.

Overall, I am happy with what Obama has been able to do.
posted by effwerd at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I voted for Obama based on his personality. He charms the pants off of me! As long as he campaigns with charisma, his vote is definitely mine.

this is more true than i'd like it to be.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not much to say in President O's defense here. This is really disappointing because of the underlying principle it compromises, which is the notion that the EPA does have the full legal authority and independence to regulate according to the science in the public interest in accordance with its mission.

I just hope he doesn't give in on the oil pipeline deal, too. That other issue might not redeem him, if he doesn't somehow mitigate or qualify this ozone reg capitulation down the line, but at least it would be one less capitulation--just to exercise that flabby political muscle of his that's supposed to be used for maintaining a steadfast resolve--and he could use some more practice at not capitulating.

We all tend to avoid unfamiliar territory, so could be Obama's just sticking with what he knows, and due to his legal background, that isn't necessarily sticking to your guns, but if I had his ear, I'd advise him to consider carefully the possibility that a lot of what he thinks he knows about the dynamics of the political situation and his electoral prospects on the ground are profoundly distorted by the reality-warping field of the Beltway Bubble. What passes for common sense in Washington these days doesn't necessarily qualify as such down on main street.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:30 AM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who do liberals vote for in America? Are there any liberals left?
posted by dazed_one at 9:50 AM on September 6, 2011


> Are there any liberals left?

There's a theme.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:53 AM on September 6, 2011


Who do liberals vote for in America? Are there any liberals left?

Well, there certainly don't seem to be that many of them left in the media.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on September 6, 2011


Tricky Dick is looking better every day.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:16 AM on September 6, 2011


Tricky Dick is looking better every day.

Funny how that works, considering how one of the most conspicuous things to have changed since Nixon's disgrace is that the US broadcast airwaves are now dominated by a cable news network that (we now know) was originally conceived as a political tool by Nixon administration political operatives who hoped to establish a news network that could be used to undermine Nixon's critics and to promote/legitimize far right wing ideas in the mainstream news markets.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:41 AM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


And yet, Nixon proposed UHC (opposed by Ted Kennedy, ironically enough), signed the EPA, and nationalized the railroads.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:36 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yessir--and he was the first President to establish favorable trade relations with "Red China," post communism, despite all his fervent, anti-communist political bluster.

Nixon was so obviously a communist sleeper-agent, looking back on it.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:55 PM on September 6, 2011


All Obama is doing is trying to get the best outcome in an ongoing negotiation with the insane. Sorry that doesn't feel like a win for you.

I disagree, he (and by extension his agency) could call them out on the crazy; he could foster a spirit of communications discipline similar to the rights talking points, where a coherent message was available to the people on the left.

He could encourage people to consider what things like Science have done for them, and to push back when they hear a blatantly anti-science message. Same with unions, and civil rights.

I agree that he's in a tough spot when dealing with his opponents, but it seems more and more, his actions push him into a position where his opponents include the people who voted for him.
posted by quin at 1:14 PM on September 6, 2011 [5 favorites]




> Rick Perry: The EPA ‘Won’t Know What Hit ‘Em’

There's really nothing I could say about that that wouldn't have the FBI asking me questions about later. What an asshole.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:02 PM on September 6, 2011


Is President Obama Bad For The Environment? - Time, Sept. 6

From Treehugger's summary:

...When it comes down to it, however, how much of a failure you believe Obama has been on the green front depends largely on how urgent you understand the climate problem to be -- and what you think Obama could reasonably accomplished given his unprecedentedly fierce opposition. Could he have gotten a climate and clean energy bill through Congress if he pushed it first, instead of health care reform (or alongside it even)? We'll never know. Is Obama's refusal to attempt a more robust public dialogue about global warming another mark of failure, another capitulation to a zealous opposition? It surely seems to be, considering that he ran -- and was elected -- on promises to address climate change, which he claimed was a threat to the nation.

As such, it's possible to claim that Obama is "bad for the environment" -- despite the positive strides he's taken -- if you agree with climate scientists that we've got to start drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions ASAP. Then Obama hasn't delivered. By all other counts, he's done a lot, even considering the recent (disgraceful) decision to forego smog rules. Unfortunately, millions of green voters championed Obama because he vowed to address global warming. They were convinced he'd put the massive task of mitigating the climate crisis ahead of politics. This, of course, was a fantasy. But the lack of any meaningful headway in climate policy is a very real failure.


From Bruce Bartlett in the New York Times, Sept. 6:

...Just last week, the House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, posted a memo to House Republicans detailing specific regulations whose repeal would create jobs.

Mr. Cantor offered no analysis or evidence that abolishing these regulations would do anything to raise real growth of the gross domestic product or to reduce unemployment. The Republicans to whom the memo was addressed don’t need any evidence, because they are predisposed to believe that government regulation always holds back economic growth and job creation. That’s why they became Republicans in the first place.

So overwhelming is the Republican view that on Friday President Obama withdrew an Environmental Protection Agency regulation, widely supported by scientists as essential to air quality, because its economic burden is deemed to be unaffordable at this time.

Of course, we can’t be sure whether the regulation would have reduced jobs or if its withdrawal will lead to illnesses by people who would have otherwise remained in good health. All we know is that in the cost-benefit calculation, Mr. Obama considered the costs to be decisive.

His supporters will argue that Mr. Obama made the right call based on the facts of the case, but no doubt political factors also weighed on his decision. And those factors have been heavily shaped by the reality that much of the public has been swayed by the oft-repeated Republican charge that government is the enemy of progress.

In a courtroom, justice requires that both sides be equally well represented. If one doesn’t do its job properly, the jury cannot be blamed for a wrong result. If Democrats are going to accept Republican premises, they shouldn’t be surprised if a majority of people eventually conclude that Republicans ought to be in charge of government policy.

posted by jhandey at 3:03 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where's that Feingold/Dorgan Green Party ticket when you need it?
posted by Twang at 5:33 PM on September 6, 2011


After Obama's goon squad water boarded me for a few minutes my "teacher" and I agreed that ground level ozone levels were not a significant impediment to breathing and in fact made the air smell sweeter. I now believe that only thing Obama should talk about is creating jobs.
posted by humanfont at 6:53 PM on September 6, 2011




Obama has betrayed us progressive voters so many times, so patience was lost and forgotten long ago, but I overheard Kucinich on CNN tonight, and he rightly notes that Obama will only get re-elected if he can somehow get people - wherever they are on the political spectrum - jobs.

Much like Clinton circa-1996, it's going to be the economy that makes or breaks him. If he kowtows some more to Big Business, maybe the people whose pockets he is lining will help him out by throwing the public a bread crumb or two come election time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 AM on September 7, 2011


Oh, I agree that he won't get reelected if he can't get people jobs. But capitulating not only on issues but even their very framing is going to make that damn near impossible. Look at this quote:

“My view is that the Republican claim that ‘job-killing regulation’ is a redundancy is as ridiculous as the left-wing view that ‘job-killing regulation’ is an oxymoron,” said Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “Both are silly political claims that have no place in a serious discussion.”

So how does Obama intend to get these jobs? He's basically trying to out-Republican Republicans on tax cuts, on regulation, on deficit reduction - but the problem is that it doesn't work. Look at Britain's economy under austerity. John Ralston Saul once wrote that this sort of cut-cut-cut austerity bears a striking resemblance to the medieval Catholic notion of mortification (i.e., self-inflicted pain) for one's sins. The problem is that there is no evidence that a country can cut its way to prosperity, and ample evidence that it can cut its way to destitution.

Obama also is gutting the argument for any sort of regulation in the future. He's pretty much forfeited the entire game.
posted by jhandey at 4:37 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have a plan to pass liberal policy? Is it possible within the framework of the current system?

Yes. It happens occasionally.
posted by Winnemac at 7:16 AM on September 7, 2011


What Obama should do, if he were a decent poker player and willing to make a stand now, would be to go all in and propose a massive, immediate Federal jobs program that would directly create hundreds of thousands of new low-skill, temporary jobs and get money back into the pockets of the real job creators: the consumers/workers that generate the economic demand that in the end is the sole legitimate justification for the existence of any market or any job.

Make the proposal big, bold and breathtaking--a real game changer no one is expecting--and then explain how it will be paid for by closing the capital gains loopholes for hedge fund managers, restoring the upper income tax brackets to something resembling historical norms, eliminating wasteful corporate subsidies, and imposing some kind of windfall tax on investment banks and various other financial sector entities who benefited directly from all that sweet, sweet Bush admin bailout cash that was supposed to get more money circulating back into main street, but ended up getting spent on executive bonuses and on booking record profits instead.

Make it absolutely clear how this plan would directly and immediately create lots of decent jobs, improve the US's economic outlook and avoid slipping into a double-dip crisis, and point out how insulting to our intelligence we should find it that every Republican jobs plan proposed to date has provided only specific mechanisms for eliminating good public sector jobs that already exist while offering only vague, unsupported conjecture about how deliberately sacrificing hundreds of thousands of actual jobs now to the gods of the free market will miraculously cause more, better jobs to spring forth fully-formed from the brow of Zeus at some point down the road.

Then tell the American people as bluntly and directly as possible that he's asking congress to immediately begin focusing on implementing his emergency jobs creation plan, according to the bold requirements he's outlined, and that he needs us to hold both the Democrats and Republicans in congress accountable for their failure if they can't look out for the interests of the American people and get his plan to a vote ASAP. And he should go out of his way to own the terms of this specific plan for himself, reject any attempts to water it down on either side, and demand that congress give the plan a simple up or down vote as soon as possible.

The plan itself has to be clear and easy to understand and it should directly address unemployment by creating jobs according to a relatively predictable process. The president should make it clear from the very beginning he's not open to compromise on any of the key elements of the proposal and he should explain in explicit terms that we have to expect that Republicans, true to their character, will try to shift the debate and substitute a completely different kind of job's plan that just cuts more public jobs, regulations and taxes. The president should then stay out front the entire time explaining and repeating on every media channel available to him that the Republicans are behaving exactly as expected and attempting to over-complicate or otherwise derail what anyone can see is a simple and relatively fail-proof plan to create real jobs now--not potential, speculative new jobs that we might see one day on the basis of vague supply-side economic theoretic mumbo jumbo and faith in the Gods of the Free Market, but real, concrete jobs now.

We actually have a pretty significant tactical advantage over the Republicans, if we use it, due to the almost robotic predictability of their behaviors.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:33 AM on September 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


unfortunately, if initial reports are to believed, it looks like this is not going to be the administration's approach.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 AM on September 7, 2011


If he REALLY wanted to make a big bet, break up Walmart for anti-trust violations and unfair business practices and beg and plead with all the companies that Walmart forced to move operations in china to bring them back to the US.
posted by empath at 8:10 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where did the idea that tax cuts have anything to do with job creation get started?
posted by odinsdream at 8:24 AM on September 7, 2011


Where did the idea that tax cuts have anything to do with job creation get started?

Republican thinktanks.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 AM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The laffer curve.
posted by empath at 8:31 AM on September 7, 2011


Obama's Inner Truman
posted by homunculus at 9:03 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Laffer curve has nothing to do with it. All the Laffer curve illustrates is that the more you tax an individual, the less money they have. Well, duh.

Supply-side economists (read: corporate libertariansines) have been misapplying this to businesses since the seventies. Thing is, it's all well and good when applied to individuals, but that's just not how businesses operate. More to the point, supplying widgets is not why businesses operate. Businesses operate to generate revenue for the owners, period. Lowering taxes frees up revenue, but never in a million years will it be spent on something so expensive as labour. It will always go straight into the mucky-mucks' pockets, because that's the entire purpose of business.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:13 AM on September 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ha.
The term "Laffer curve" was reportedly coined by Jude Wanniski (a writer for The Wall Street Journal) after a 1974 afternoon meeting between Laffer, Wanniski, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and his deputy press secretary Grace-Marie Arnett. In this meeting, Laffer, arguing against President Gerald Ford's tax increase, reportedly sketched the curve on a napkin to illustrate the concept.[6] Cheney did not buy the idea immediately, but it caught the imaginations of those present.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:13 AM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Laffer curve has nothing to do with it. All the Laffer curve illustrates is that the more you tax an individual, the less money they have. Well, duh.

That's the GOP's philosophical basis for cutting taxes as a solution to every problem.
posted by empath at 9:20 AM on September 7, 2011


The Laffer curve also shows that you can set taxes too low. It really just says that at some point revenues increase with taxation until they start to decline because the taxation is punitive. Laffer just picked a spot on the curve and said we were at the point where taxation became punitive (without much proof).
posted by humanfont at 10:07 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


While he fails at protecting the environment, I think we can all agree that Obama has seriously impacted Miley Cyrus fandom.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:30 AM on September 7, 2011 [4 favorites]




Nobel Winners Call on Obama to Reject Keystone XL

I notice that Obama has taken up golf.

Now watch this drive.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:20 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading the advanced notes of the big jobs speech is disappointing. It is just the same crap as before. Payroll tax cut, unemployment extension, some aid to the states for public employee hiring. It is a big disappointment. They need new ideas to sell, such as a new civilian conservation Corp to put people to work immediately.
posted by humanfont at 4:57 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm with you, humanfont. These wishy-washy theoretical "job creation" programs lack something concrete: actually fucking creating jobs.

We need clear, direct creation of jobs, as in, the government actually hiring real actual people, right away.
posted by odinsdream at 8:20 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


He should nationalize all current mortgages. Set the rate on the notes to zero percent. Eliminate the home interst tax deduction. A national foreclosure process will be established with Internet based bidding. Unclaimed foreclosed properties will be available for a national homesteading law that enables you to claim the house if you live in it for 5 years, pay taxes and maintain the property. You may attempt to sell the house before 5 years but you only get a prorated equity share + costs of improvements + 12%. If you rent the house you get a scaled rental fee based on your share of the property.
posted by humanfont at 9:00 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bachmann is having a press conference after Obama's speech. She is such a parasite.
posted by futz at 2:25 PM on September 8, 2011


Where's the radical socialist boogyman Glenn Beck warned us about when we need him?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:11 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


mccarty.tim . . . extremely well said.
posted by theredpen at 4:30 PM on September 8, 2011


This is a he'll of a campaign speech.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 PM on September 8, 2011


I liked the little powerpoint on youtube.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:36 PM on September 8, 2011


Hell get a bounce for sure.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:37 PM on September 8, 2011


Yeah, but we're always in for a disappointment when he asks the congresspeople to act like adults.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:40 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


But he was so manly and virile up there, telling Congress what it should do. Such a decider!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:50 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]






Obama realized he'll have to stand before Crom one day and explain the riddle of Senate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:32 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I came for the meh, but actually I'm surprisingly pleased with the plan that has been put forth. I just wish he'd done this about 2 years ago.
posted by humanfont at 8:37 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama realized he'll have to stand before Crom one day and explain the riddle of Senate.

It will take more than answering a riddle to appease Crom. Obama has insulted him by publicly denying any knowledge of Crom. I doubt anything short of actually crushing the GOP in battle will appease Crom, and I just don't see Obama wielding a broadsword. He's no Lincoln.
posted by homunculus at 9:23 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crom laughs at your pathetic comment and bans you from feeding at the earmark trough.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:08 AM on September 9, 2011


Bah. You do not speak for Crom.

In Cantor Territory, Obama Delivers Call to Action on Jobs Plan

Taking the fight to the adversary. I think Crom will be pleased.
posted by homunculus at 2:26 PM on September 9, 2011


Republicanism As Religion, Andrew Sullivan, The Dish, Sep. 12th, 2011
If your view of conservatism is one rooted in an instinctual, but agile, defense of tradition, in a belief in practical wisdom that alters constantly with circumstance, in moderation and the defense of the middle class as the stabilizing ballast of democracy, in limited but strong government ... then the GOP is no longer your party (or mine).

Religion has replaced all of this, reordered it, and imbued the entire political-economic-religious package with zeal. And the zealous never compromise. They don't even listen.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:02 PM on September 12, 2011


If they defeat him, I fear we will no longer be participating in a civil conversation, however fraught, but in a civil war.

I know I have a grudge about Andy Sullivan, but I really hope that he will one day acknowledge his past in significantly reducing the civility of political discussion, which continues unabated to this day. If anyone remembers Betsy "Death Panels" McCaughey, it was Sullivan who, as former editor of New Republic, used his position to promote her dishonest agenda:

Although she was then working at a conservative think tank in Manhattan, McCaughey posed as a kind of intellectual ingénue, the only independent analyst with the grit and moxie to read the whole damn plan. She had found the damning details that proved Clintoncare would mean the end of fee-for-service medical care in America and the mandatory enrollment of every citizen in managed care plans -- with criminal penalties for those who disobeyed. Her wild accusations were not only publicized by the New Republic (whose then-editor Andrew Sullivan still claimed to be proud of publishing her essay as recently as two years ago), and in the right-wing media, but quickly gained traction in the mainstream thanks to George Will and other conservative pundits.

Outright lying is not civil, and it really wasn't that long ago (going only as far back as the last year of the Bush administration) that he supported the same kind of right-wing propaganda we have been seeing against Obama's policies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2011


Andrew Sullivan is a conservative. He loved Thatcher, and even supported Bush. He only crossed over with Obama.
posted by humanfont at 2:47 PM on September 12, 2011


White House regulation shift is a political bet - Wall Street Journal, Sept. 12

"...On Aug. 16, Mr. Daley met with environmental, public-health and other groups to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency rule that would tighten air-quality standards. At one point he lamented that the issue couldn't be worked out by consensus with industry, as the White House did with the auto industry on fuel-economy rules.

When the American Lung Association mentioned a poll showing public support for EPA standards, Mr. Daley appeared uninterested, according to one person in the room. "He literally cut the person off and said 'I don't give a [expletive] about the poll'," this person said. A senior White House official said Mr. Daley wanted to hear arguments about the substance of the regulation and its impact, not political arguments, and he was uninterested in all polls on this topic.

The same day, Mr. Daley met with industry groups, who gave the White House a map showing counties that would be out of compliance with the Clean Air Act if the stricter standards were put in place. The map showed that the rule would affect areas in the politically important 2012 election states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio...."


The stupid politics behind Obama's ozone cave - Grist.org, Sept, 12.

"...There's a kind of implicit conventional wisdom in U.S. politics, which even lots of liberals seem to accept, that conflates caving to conservatives and industry with political "realism." You saw a lot of that when Obama announced his ozone decision -- liberals scolding other liberals not to be such dippy idealists, to get with the program and realize that Obama has to make tough decisions and pick his battles, etc. etc.

But if you ask me, the kind of reflexive pro-business-lobby attitude that Bill Daley brings to the White House is as naive and politically clueless as anything you'll ever find in the blogosphere. I mean, he regrets that the ozone rule couldn't be worked out "by consensus with industry"? Anyone who would think that must be spectacularly ignorant of the power industry's unbroken 40-year record of hostility toward regulatory restraints of any kind. Has he not noticed the massive, coordinated PR effort against EPA in the last year? They sure sound ready to find "consensus," huh?

More to the point, though, the notion that this individual sop to industry can meaningfully affect the electoral dynamics of swing states demonstrates an almost pathological ignorance of post-truth politics.

The logic seems to go like this: If the ozone regs had passed, several swing states would be put into noncompliance. That would have involved some fines and prompted the need for aggressive state implementation policies (SIPs). That might have upset voters, who would then be less likely to vote for Obama and, e.g., Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (D). It might have upset businesses, who would then be less likely to give money to those candidates. Now that the White House has delayed the rule, those voters won't be upset, so they'll be more likely to vote the right way, and businesses won't be upset, so they'll be more likely to give money.

I hope it's obvious, just from laying it out, how absurd this kind of reasoning is, especially when it comes to voters. It relies on the presumption that there is a neutral media which will report to voters in those states that something was going to happen, but now isn't, and that those voters will be attentive enough to understand that, and that the knowledge will meaningfully affect their voting behavior...."

posted by jhandey at 4:08 PM on September 12, 2011


TLDR; The air quality regulations are broadly popular until they are implemented, at which point Industry freaks out and throws a shit load of money at Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, etc to let every voter know that the evil government is going to take away their snow and leaf blowers, jobs and guns with evil regulations that go too far.
posted by humanfont at 5:19 PM on September 12, 2011


Only one problem - does anyone believe Industry isn't going to throw a shitload of money at Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, etc. anyway, especially after Citizens United? Let's imagine that Obama guts every one of Eric Cantor's top 10 regulations to attack. Do you think Fox News or Rush Limbaugh will say "gee, good job, Obama"? The very existence of the EPA is offensive enough, just like the very existence of Barack Obama. No compromise, no cave, no negotiation will ever be sufficient.

It's like that crappy movie "Independence Day", when the President offers unconditional surrender to the aliens, but the aliens reject it, and when the President asks what humanity can do, the aliens simply say "Die".
posted by jhandey at 5:32 PM on September 12, 2011


The money equation in politics is more complicated. When your business faces life or death; or the issue is clear then the board will approve some big advertising budgets. N
Most businesses want to be efficient about where they spend their money. Buoy can buy issue ads, or sell your product.
posted by humanfont at 6:09 PM on September 12, 2011




And speaking of the risks of oil production: BP Oil Spill Not Breaking Down On Gulf Of Mexico Floor, Study Finds

Well, at least Tony Hayward got his life back.
posted by homunculus at 5:01 PM on September 20, 2011


Re-reading the thread is enlightening.

GOP - let's attack the EPA and fuck over the system to make execution of standards politically harder.

EPA - Damn. This sucks.

Electorate - Fuckin' Obama!

Obama - legislatively we're defending the Clean Air Act and I'm going to veto the GOP bill to

Electorate - Aw, whatever. Blah blah blah.


I mean I strongly oppose Obama's move to let the ozone standard slide for a few years, but what's the beef here? He's too moderate? You feel betrayed? Over what? This? Because a news headline politically spins what's a sock puppet argument in the f'ing first place?

Don't tell me you actually give a shit about the EPA standards when 1/2 the thread is about how Obama fucked up this that or the other.
Maybe we should decide to actually give a shit about achieving a goal rather than talking about our feelings and fixating on one government official who doesn't seem to be fufilling all our wishes for us.
I like clean air. Obama's not on board with that? F'em. I'll support legislators and legislation that is.
As it is, he does seem on board with it (given he uses the veto), just not to the level I'd like. Ok, well, I'll take any help I can get in advancing that goal.
Because it's about clean air, clean water, the environment, yeah? Or supposed to be.

I always thought it was Congress that introduced legislation. Perhaps it would be nice if the Dems could somehow vote against anti-EPA bills the GOP introduces? Could always protest their offices.

But I thought having a majority meant you had a strategic advantage in numbers.
Been reading too much Sun Tzu maybe.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:08 AM on September 21, 2011


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