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Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama
April 25, 2012 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama
posted by garlic (101 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is an interesting exchange:

Given all that, what do you think the general election is going to look like, and what do you think of Mitt Romney?
/snip... I don't think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, "Everything I've said for the last six months, I didn't mean." I'm assuming that he meant it.


That's an interesting thing to say about the Etch-a-Sketch guy.

"I'm going to try and hang him with own words, and if he weasels out of them, it'll just be proof of his own party's criticism of him."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:42 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, AND interview in Rolling Stone? Obama is definitely trying hard to appeal to the 20-something voter.
posted by crunchland at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is so bizarre to me how cagey he is on marriage equality. I don't believe for one second that Barack Obama thinks gays shouldn't be allowed to marry. Is he really so afraid of losing that he isn't willing to say so? Am I that naive to think that it's ludicrous that he wouldn't get reelected if he came out in favor of it?
posted by something something at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2012


Is he really so afraid of losing that he isn't willing to say so?

I think Obama knows a divisive culture issue when he sees one and if some lip service gets rid of something that the GOP traditionally uses to motivate a dispirited Evangelical base - say, one that is unenthusiastic about its flip-flopping Mormon candidate - then so much the better.
posted by mightygodking at 1:49 PM on April 25, 2012 [15 favorites]


Appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, AND interview in Rolling Stone? Obama is definitely trying hard to appeal to the 20-something voter.

yep, just like last election.
posted by Avenger50 at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Am I that naive to think that it's ludicrous that he wouldn't get reelected if he came out in favor of it?

Have a look at the states where the election will be decided and have a look at how marriage equality polls in those states. That's where you'll find the answer as to whether the issue could lose the election for Obama.

You should also ask yourself what the downside of being cagey about the issue is vs the upside if it does, in fact secure him the election. Do you think Romney will work to get rid of DOMA? Do you think Romney will appoint Supreme Court Justices (and the next President will probably appoint two) who are sympathetic to gay rights? Do you think Obama will appoint Justices who aren't?

The downside is pretty meagre (people talk about the "bully pulpit" and suggest that Obama embracing gay marriage would help move the needle of public opinion on the issue, but there is an enormous body of political science evidence that suggests that there is no such effect). The upside is very real indeed--even with an uncooperative Congress.
posted by yoink at 1:56 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


>> ... AND interview in Rolling Stone?

The article says he's sat for an interview with them each year of his term. I agree with your general sentiment, but I don't see this is a stunt.
posted by JohnFredra at 1:59 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


He also gives blatant disinformation about federal drug laws. Obama is powerful enough to execute citizens without trial, but too feeble to reschedule marijuana.
posted by karson at 2:01 PM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wow, Jann Wenner is now definitely first in line for a bronze-plated Pulitzer Prize in Softball, perhaps only narrowly edging out Stewart.

I don't think it's possible to pitch any more softballs than what was in that awful mess. More than half of the country is cool with same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization and he issues no challenge whatsoever on answers that are the equivalent of fudging and disinformation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I just can't understand how it doesn't eat him - and all politicians, really - up inside to believe in issues that are so important, and to have the power to actually change things to make people's lives better, and to sit there and keep his mouth shut. I know he can't write laws or prevent jackass state legislatures from pushing through constitutional amendments, but having a President of the United States stand up say, "hey, we've been doing this wrong," would mean so much to so many people and to the future of the movement. I should be jaded, I guess, after the previous three years in which he has done this on many, many issues, but I still want him to be different. Different from other politicians, and also different from the President he has turned out to be.
posted by something something at 2:08 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's also not telling the whole truth on the "robo-signing" settlement. The task force he's describing as busy writing up subpoenas had not been staffed as of April 17th:

...On March 9 — 45 days after the speech and 30 days after the announcement — we met with Schneiderman in New York City and asked him for an update. He had just returned from Washington, where he had been personally looking for office space. As of that date, he had no office, no phones, no staff and no executive director. None of the 55 staff members promised by Holder had materialized. On April 2, we bumped into Schneiderman on a train leaving Washington for New York and learned that the situation was the same.

Tuesday, calls to the Justice Department’s switchboard requesting to be connected with the working group produced the answer, “I really don’t know where to send you.” After being transferred to the attorney general’s office and asking for a phone number for the working group, the answer was, “I’m not aware of one.”...

posted by de void at 2:10 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is so bizarre to me how cagey he is on marriage equality

He also gives blatant disinformation about federal drug laws. Obama is powerful enough to execute citizens without trial, but too feeble to reschedule marijuana.

I think about this stuff all the time too. I have such a hard time believing he actually feels this way about those issues and a hard time believing that campaign managers, strategists, and consultants who have worked their way up to fucking PRESIDENTIAL elections are aware of the fact that these are very likely not deal-breakers for the voting population in this day and age.

I feel like I don't even need to google around for a statistic about how a majority of the country approves of marriage equality and whatnot because there's a new one coming out every freaking month. What exactly is happening here? Who is advising the president to spout these opinions and why is it still the strategy? Serious question if anyone has any insight.
posted by windbox at 2:12 PM on April 25, 2012


Wow, Jann Wenner is now definitely first in line for a bronze-plated Pulitzer Prize in Softball, perhaps only narrowly edging out Stewart.

You must not watch a lot of talk shows. Jon Stewart can ask tough questions sometimes; being on his show is not an automatic pass.
posted by JHarris at 2:13 PM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Am I that naive to think that it's ludicrous that he wouldn't get reelected if he came out in favor of it?

One of the things that boosted Prop 8 in CA (banning gay marriage) in 2008 was the high turnout of black voters, who as a group are statistically are less supportive of gay rights. He may be concerned about alienating one of his solid bases of support. I imagine there are other statistical breakdowns that concern him there, too.

But yes, I think it's pretty lame. Sometimes you gotta step up and say what you think is right, and be willing to take a hit for it. But I've seen Obama drop that ball too many times now to have any real enthusiasm for him.

(Please, for the love of God, understand that I say this with all reasonable caveats; I'm not trying to say that all blacks are homophobes.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:16 PM on April 25, 2012


I don't believe for one second that Barack Obama thinks gays shouldn't be allowed to marry.

Based on what?
posted by chavenet at 2:26 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like I don't even need to google around for a statistic about how a majority of the country approves of marriage equality and whatnot because there's a new one coming out every freaking month. What exactly is happening here? Who is advising the president to spout these opinions and why is it still the strategy? Serious question if anyone has any insight.

I don't know, but some LGBT activists were interviewed the other day on public radio, and one remarked that if Obama really thinks that what he's doing is smart election year strategizing, the flip side is that it is already turning off younger people (straight and gay) who might otherwise have volunteered or donated to his campaign, let alone voted for him.

No one would seriously argue that Romney would do any better, but there are clear repercussions from Obama making these choices, and those choices will affect him in the fall. Furthermore, it's not the fault of Republicans or the Republican Party that Obama is choosing to pander to right-wing extremism over the needs of his core constituencies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:26 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


FTA: When executive editor Eric Bates and I joined him in the Oval Office, he began by signaling his staff to push back his schedule. "Just call Secretary Clinton's office and tell her we're going to be about 10 minutes late," he said.

That is a great trick and there's no way this is the first time he's done this. I bet there's some other journalist or appointment seeker who read that and thought, "Fuck! I thought I was the only one!"
posted by Aizkolari at 2:30 PM on April 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


I don't believe for one second that Barack Obama thinks gays shouldn't be allowed to marry.

Based on what?

I don't know man, I hope I'm not alone in saying that he just SEEMS like an educated dude who would have reasonable opinions on things like that.

The guy is a lifelong dem who worked as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer and eventually a constitutional law professor - I just have a hunch - a HUNCH - that a crosstab of some sort would show that people who do those things would also find it unreasonable that two people of the same sex can not get married.
posted by windbox at 2:31 PM on April 25, 2012


Based on what?

Wishful thinking.

I honestly don't think Obama cares either way. It's just not on the radar beyond electoral calculus. Has there been any evidence he has any convictions? About anything?
posted by codswallop at 2:33 PM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also FTA, from the interviewer: Doesn't all of that [crazy Republican right-wing radicalism] kind of talk and behavior during the primaries define the party and what they stand for?

Did he follow this up with a backrub or neck-massage? Jesus Christ, even the morons on Fox don't lob balls this soft at conservative politicians.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was surprised to see Obama endorse a notorious birther's website.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:53 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't believe for one second that Barack Obama thinks gays shouldn't be allowed to marry.
Based on what?


Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But, to speak on something something's behalf (source):
"President Obama has expressed his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples."
posted by JHarris at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, AND interview in Rolling Stone? Obama is definitely trying hard to appeal to the 20-something voter.

This assumes 20-somethings read Rolling Stone.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:57 PM on April 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


This assumes 20-somethings read Rolling Stone.

I swear I saw a full page Ameriprise ad in there a while back.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:58 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like I don't even need to google around for a statistic about how a majority of the country approves of marriage equality and whatnot because there's a new one coming out every freaking month. What exactly is happening here?

Not to defend his stance or anything, but it wouldn't surprise me if-- while the majority of the country supports same-sex marriage-- the voting majority (particularly by EC vote) overwhelming does not.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't believe for one second that Barack Obama thinks gays shouldn't be allowed to marry.--something something

Based on what?--chavenet

From Lexis in an article titled FIGHTING THE NEW WARS OF RELIGION: THE NEED FOR A TOLERANT FIRST AMENDMENT, Professor Leslie Griffin (University of Houston Law Center) discusses Obama's change from supporting same-sex marriage as a state Senator to not supporting same-sex marriage as President:
Obama himself contributed to the suspicion and instability that accompany religion-based policies when it was discovered after the presidential election that as a state candidate in 1996 he unequivocally supported gay marriage and promised to "fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." 93 The report raised questions about why he changed his position. 94 "In a January 2004 interview . . . , Obama clearly stated that lack of support for full marriage equality was a matter of strategy rather than principle, but in even more recent comments, it appears he is backing off even further, saying it is more of a religious issue, and also a 'state' issue, so he favors civil unions. Both are compromises most gays do not support." 95 Religious, political, and strategic all merge into one, which leads to suspicion that religion is driving policy or being used as a political prop, and shows the inadequacy of Obama's "translation" policy.

FN93 Alex Koppelman, Revealed: Obama Used to Support Same-Sex Marriage, S a l o n . c o m , J a n . 1 3 , 2 0 0 9 , http://www.salon.com/2009/01/14/obama_marriage/. (In a response to a Windy City Times questionnaire, Obama stated, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."). "

FN94 See id. ("The most obvious answer, of course, is politics. Maybe Obama just realizes (correctly) that same-sex marriage is a political non-starter, while civil unions are relatively popular, so he chooses to publicly support the feasible position."). See also Timothy Stewart-Winter, Putting Obama's Questionnaire in Context, Jan. 14, 2009, Windy City Times, 2009, at 7, available at http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=20525 (In 1996, "Obama was an unlikely candidate, up against a progressive incumbent in a very progressive district, who needed all the help he could get.").
The Windy City Times coverage of the reversal from the quesionnaire is cited as "Tracy Baim, Obama Changed Views on Gay Marriage, Windy City Times, Jan. 14, 2009, at 6. "
posted by crush-onastick at 3:13 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am just aghast at how the Obama personality cult can continue to attract liberals in 2012, after what's been going on the last four years. We screamed for years while the mainstream press ignored Bush's crimes. Now we are silent while Obama perpetuates them. Nobody should have been surprised when ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said "I'm disgusted with this president."

too feeble to reschedule marijuana.

This doesn't bode well for my quest to get some of what people who say "Obama is a socialist" are smoking.

We're stuck with a choice between two parties: one full of corporatist centrists and one full of fucking insane people. Voting by duress is not a way to run a democracy.

But forget all that, Mr. President. What was it like to meet Mick Jagger?
posted by moammargaret at 3:27 PM on April 25, 2012 [14 favorites]


Appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, AND interview in Rolling Stone? Obama is definitely trying hard to appeal to the 20-something voter.

Rolling Stone for 20-somethings? Maybe, like, circa 1985.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:28 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the things that boosted Prop 8 in CA (banning gay marriage) in 2008 was the high turnout of black voters, who as a group are statistically are less supportive of gay rights. He may be concerned about alienating one of his solid bases of support. I imagine there are other statistical breakdowns that concern him there, too.

Ugh, I wish people would stop reporting the findings from a single telephone poll- a poll that was far too small and only sampled a few precincts to be a reliable sample. Your assertion that it was high turnout of African-American voters allowed for passage of Prop 8 has been debunked, by the way:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 — An in-depth analysis of the Proposition 8 vote released today shows that party affiliation, political ideology, frequency of attending worship services and age were the driving forces behind the measure’s passage on Nov. 4. The study finds that after taking into account the effect of church attendance, support for Proposition 8 among African Americans and Latinos was not significantly different than other groups. Through a precinct-by-precinct analysis and review of multiple other sources of data, the study also puts African-American support for Proposition 8 at no more than 59 percent, nowhere close to the 70 percent reported the night of the election. Finally, the study shows how support for marriage equality has grown substantially across almost all California demographic groups — except Republicans.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:35 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Scouring the internet to find nuggets of circumstantial evidence to support your belief that Obama supports gay marriage is precisely the point. Just fucking say it already.
posted by moammargaret at 3:38 PM on April 25, 2012


One of the dangers of Obama coming out and saying something most people already think (i.e. that gay people should be allowed to marry) is that the US is so goddamn oppositional that people may change their minds if he's seen as a strong supporter of it.

The majority of people who support marriage equality are likely "soft" supporters - they're not actively repulsed by the idea but neither will they march in a parade or call their senators or anything. Obama is actively disliked by enough of the population that if this is seen as a partisan issue - i.e. Obama and his left-wing cabal is pushing gay marriage on us - it could be enough to swing the pendulum back.

Presidents aren't merely politicians saying what they believe, they can actively shape public opinion in certain circumstances, and this is one.
posted by downing street memo at 3:38 PM on April 25, 2012


I feel like I should just start posting puff pieces about Romney for balance.
posted by delmoi at 3:41 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rolling Stone for 20-somethings? Maybe, like, circa 1985.

What? Maybe for 20-something dweebs and hooyahs.

The influentials read Spin.
posted by notyou at 3:54 PM on April 25, 2012


I am just aghast at how the Obama personality cult can continue to attract liberals in 2012, after what's been going on the last four years. We screamed for years while the mainstream press ignored Bush's crimes. Now we are silent while Obama perpetuates them. Nobody should have been surprised when ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said "I'm disgusted with this president."

Well, that's US politics for you. Two parties and two presidential terms will do that.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:55 PM on April 25, 2012


"Now we are silent while Obama perpetuates them."

... We are?
posted by kyrademon at 3:57 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, AND interview in Rolling Stone? Obama is definitely trying hard to appeal to the 20-something voter.
Have you considered selection bias? As in, like all presidential candidates, Obama is going to do a ton of stuff, but not all that stuff is going to be posted on metafilter. Only the stuff that people think MeFites would appreciate.
Well, that's US politics for you. Two parties and two presidential terms will do that.
Doesn't mean it's not annoying. Obama would be a better president then Romney, I'm sure. But why does that mean I have to also like him?
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on April 25, 2012


Alright everybody, time to pull out your cards*.

-------------------
*Your ACLU cards.
posted by notyou at 4:02 PM on April 25, 2012


Talking about nationwide polling on Gay marriage is missing the point. The US does not hold nationwide Presidential elections. It holds state-by-state elections. The likely battleground states for 2012 are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Gay marriage is a sufficiently divisive social issue that for Obama to openly embrace it could lose him any of those states and lose him the election. You only have to look at Prop 8 in California to see how large a gap there is between what people will say to a pollster in an environment where the issue is relatively off the political radar and how they will vote on the issue under the polarising stress of a political campaign.
posted by yoink at 4:07 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Obama would be a better president then Romney, I'm sure. But why does that mean I have to also like him?

It doesn't mean you have to like him. But for a lot of people, that's what it takes. And winning an election takes a lot of people, so.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:08 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like I don't even need to google around for a statistic about how a majority of the country approves of marriage equality and whatnot because there's a new one coming out every freaking month. What exactly is happening here? Who is advising the president to spout these opinions and why is it still the strategy? Serious question if anyone has any insight.

If you actually had googled around for statistics, you would have seen that the previously-mentioned electoral public, specifically those in swing states, does not actually support gay marriage by majority, and sometimes even plurality: in NC a gay marriage ban currently has a majority (although that might be shrinking, but only because it also bans civil unions); in FL, IA, OH, VA, and PA a majority oppose gay marriage but favor civil unions.

Obama would be a better president then Romney, I'm sure. But why does that mean I have to also like him?

I don't recall anyone saying you have to like him, just pointing out that the alternative is quite horrifying. That does not a good President make, but I'd rather have that than said horrifying alternative.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:17 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Would have been a hell of a lot more interesting if they'd had Matt Taibbi interviewing him.
posted by delmoi at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


You only have to look at Prop 8 in California to see how large a gap there is between what people will say to a pollster in an environment where the issue is relatively off the political radar and how they will vote on the issue under the polarising stress of a political campaign.

Not quite accurate, because polling is a random sample, whereas voters self-select.
posted by JHarris at 4:24 PM on April 25, 2012


I think I know why the interviewer was pitching him softballs.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:24 PM on April 25, 2012


I think I know why the interviewer was pitching him softballs.
AN EXAMINATION OF OBAMA’S USE OF HIDDEN HYPNOSIS TECHNIQUES IN HIS SPEECHES
Well, that explains why his speeches make me so sleepy.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I know why the interviewer was pitching him softballs.

AN EXAMINATION OF OBAMA’S USE OF HIDDEN HYPNOSIS TECHNIQUES IN HIS SPEECHES

Well, that explains why his speeches make me so sleepy.


Yeah I know. If he were using some Illuminati elitist chemtrail hypnosis on us, wouldn't we be more excited what he has to say?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:37 PM on April 25, 2012


Someone up-thread mentioned something about Obama being aware of how he could sway public opinion negatively if he came out too strongly on various issues.

I totally agree with that. His work is a very slow process. He can't just start hammering down on various things because the repercussions would be entirely destructive.

I believe in Obama and while I'm disappointed with his incredibly slow progress and some of his decisions, I think that he's incredibly intelligent and doing the best that he can while walking a tight-rope.
posted by snsranch at 4:57 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jon Stewart can ask tough questions sometimes; being on his show is not an automatic pass.

True, but when Steward had Obama on his show he definitely lobbed softballs (discussed previously.)

The gay marriage thing is a wedge issue and Obama can't possibly touch it while he's running for reelection. He doesn't want anyone to give him a wedgie. But after he's reelected? Watch out, conservatives! It's mandatory gay marriage for everyone! It's legalized pot in elementary schools! The government will take over every private business and turn America into an atheistic socialist republic governed by Sharia law!

There are really people who think that way. Romney panders to them. Obama ignores them. I know who I'm voting for.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:17 PM on April 25, 2012


Not to defend his stance or anything, but it wouldn't surprise me if-- while the majority of the country supports same-sex marriage-- the voting majority (particularly by EC vote) overwhelming does not.

Just a few years ago, voters in wisconsin voted to change the state constitution to disallow gay marriage. By 60% voting in favor of banning gay marriage.

In fact, if you go and get gay married and return to Wisconsin, you can be jailed and fined.

Where is the groundswell of support change even that much ?

My son is gay, so don't think I'm not sensitive on this issue. But, really, it's exceedingly naive if you think it makes any sort of electoral sense for Obama to take a strong stance on this.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:23 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


The gay marriage thing is a wedge issue and Obama can't possibly touch it while he's running for reelection. He doesn't want anyone to give him a wedgie. But after he's reelected? Watch out, conservatives! It's mandatory gay marriage for everyone!

You jest, of course, but I'd be willing to bet a fairly large sum of money that if Obama wins re-election that his "evolving" position on gay marriage will complete it's evolutionary process pretty rapidly. In other words, he'll publicly endorse gay marriage--at least at the state level. This will, of course, have zero political consequences, but I guess it will placate some of his critics on the left for a week or two. I can't actually think what Obama could do to signal more clearly "I'm on your side, I just can't hand my opponent a club to beat me with before the election."

On gay rights, Obama has done everything and more that he promised during the campaign. His has been, by far, the most gay-positive administration in history. DADT has been repealed, the Obama administration is trying to kill DOMA (and if the left hadn't sat out the 2010 election and allowed the House to be taken over by the Troglodyte party it might well have been repealed by now), has declared it to be unconstitutional and is refusing to defend it in court. Obama has extended benefits to gay partners of all federal employees, and he has mandated that almost all hospitals in the US be required to extend visitation rights to partners of lesbian and gay patients and to respect patients' choices about who should have the power to make care and end-of-life decisions on their behalf. Under Romney, as under McCain, it is very hard to imagine any of these things happening. But, you know, the two parties are indistinguishable and it doesn't matter who you vote for because Obama isn't actively coming out and declaring himself in favor of gay marriage. And when he does openly declare himself to be in favor of gay marriage, there'll be some new litmus test that he's failing to meet which will prove that the two parties are exactly the same and that it doesn't make any difference who you vote for--because all the very real, substantial differences somehow vanish into thin air in the light of whatever the latest "outrageous thing Obama isn't doing" du jour happens to be.
posted by yoink at 5:37 PM on April 25, 2012 [19 favorites]


Is he really so afraid of losing that he isn't willing to say so?

As a politician, he's more likely to say what will help him win, and I think he's got the LGBT & LGBT-compassionate states already in his pocket.
posted by Lukenlogs at 5:37 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My son is gay, so don't think I'm not sensitive on this issue. But, really, it's exceedingly naive if you think it makes any sort of electoral sense for Obama to take a strong stance on this.

The person you're responding to seems to be making the same point as you.
posted by yoink at 5:38 PM on April 25, 2012


As he always has, Mr Obama strikes me here as a fiercely intelligent, eminently reasonable, and relentlessly pragmatic fellow.

He may not be the best president you folks have had in the last 50 years (history will decide that), but he may well be the best man who's held the office.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:59 PM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Gag, what sort of political interview starts with the interviewer giving the interviewee a gift?!

Many of you are arguing that Mr. Obama is correct not to actually come out in favor on issues that are popular with his base, like gay marriage and the drug war.

Why does this calculus never seem to apply to the Republicans? I mean, take gay marriage - every potential Republican candidate is definitively against it in the most offensive terms, and yet, as all the arguments above show, it's an issue in many states that might be borderline one way or the other.

Why can the Republicans always support issues popular with their base, and the Democrats never?

For almost two decades, the Republicans have more or less given up trying to attract any new supporters - instead, they've concentrated on getting the best results out of the supporters they have, using two very strong tools - galvanizing the base, and voter suppression.

This is a very strong strategy, since pretty well every study of "independents" shows that they in fact nearly always vote consistently one way or the other and simply claim to be undecided in polls.

Voter suppression is a very cheap and easy way to give you a decided edge in every contest you undertake, particularly since you seem to have no risk whatsoever of any blowback no matter how blatant you are.

And galvanizing the base is easy and a lot of fun. You don't have to worry about being fair, telling the truth or even giving the appearance of being rational - you can just scream death panels, communists, secret Muslim and the base laps it up.

It's been twenty years and the Democrats don't seem to understand this at all. Their last big win was when they were able to get out the base with a bold new figure who did speak up on issues that were popular with "the Left" - but they seemed to have learned nothing from this, and that bold new figure is no longer bold enough speak his own mind.

The people who believe that Mr. Obama should stand up for his side's core values are not the "naïve" ones - what is naïve is believing that the strategy of appealing to the non-existent independents and alienating your base by repudiating your side's core values is either optimal or ethical.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:04 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why can the Republicans always support issues popular with their base, and the Democrats never?

Because there's a lot less win-value for supporting issues popular with the Democratic base.

Let's take LGBT rights, since we're discussing that again. In the past four years Obama has ended DADT, refused to defend DOMA, extended same-sex partner benefits to federal employees, ended trans-discrimination in federal employment, restored sexual orientation to the UN's list of protected human rights, done an It Gets Better video, and much much more besides. There simply hasn't been a single President ever who has been better on gay rights than Obama.

What has Obama's thanks been for that? For the most part it has been scorn. Not just for refusing to support gay marriage openly (which, as previous posted have noted, could well be counterproductive since whenever Obama supports anything the right wing in America goes apeshit attacking that thing). No, Obama has gotten scorn for doing the things he did but not in the way that people wanted - DADT is an excellent example, because Obama handled that with a clear game plan and ended it, and there were whole heaps of people right here on MeFi who were bitching and moaning that he didn't issue an executive order earlier or get DADT ended according to the made-up script in their heads, because too many liberals in this world have decided that they know how things should be, and it's not enough to agree with them; you have to agree with them for their reasons and if you don't then fuck you.

This is not to say that Obama isn't overly centrist (he often is) or that he is excellent on all liberal issues (he clearly is not) or that he has not made strategic mistakes (oh my yes). But when Republicans get their own into office, this type of scorn basically doesn't happen. Because their base, for whatever else you might say about it, is basically loyal to people. And liberals basically aren't - they're loyal to ideals. Which isn't a bad thing, but you don't elect ideals.
posted by mightygodking at 6:16 PM on April 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


> But when Republicans get their own into office, this type of scorn basically doesn't happen. Because their base, for whatever else you might say about it, is basically loyal to people.

[....]

> And liberals basically aren't - they're loyal to ideals. Which isn't a bad thing, but you don't elect ideals.

Do you have any evidence for this crazy talk?

The Republicans are overwhelmingly issue-oriented. Consider how often it happens that a personally-popular Republican gets dumped for being off-message on just a single key issue.

Can you give an example of a Republican going off-message on any "ideal" - gay rights, gun control, no tax increases - and surviving politically?

And can you give an example of a Democrat dumping some cherished "ideal" and being instantly crushed for it in the classic Republican way?

Heroes to the Republicans are people like George W. Bush or Cheney, people who never went even a fraction of an inch off-message.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has there been any evidence he has any convictions? About anything?

Sure.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:29 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does this calculus never seem to apply to the Republicans?

I'll say what I usually say. The good guys always have constraints. The bad guys can do whatever crazy shit they want. In movies, in real life, in politics. When you're doing some dastardly shit like rolling back child labor laws, eliminating workers ability to sue, and eliminating funding for rape crisis centers, you clearly don't give a fuck what anybody who doesn't like it, thinks.

I'm not trying to say democrats are all good people. I'm saying if you've lived on this earth for a while, you know it's a hell of a lot easier to be bad than it is to be good. There are a lot more constraints on you when you try to do things the right way, and there are people waiting to twist the shit you're doing into something bad.
posted by cashman at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your assertion that it was high turnout of African-American voters allowed for passage of Prop 8 has been debunked, by the way:

Glad to see that. It's not like I was happy to hear that original correlation.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:33 PM on April 25, 2012


> The good guys always have constraints.

Are you claiming that because Mr. Obama is a good guy, he's unable to come out in favor of issues that are popular with the Democratic party base?

That makes no sense to me - can you elaborate on that?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:36 PM on April 25, 2012


What has Obama's thanks been for that? For the most part it has been scorn. Not just for refusing to support gay marriage openly (which, as previous posted have noted, could well be counterproductive since whenever Obama supports anything the right wing in America goes apeshit attacking that thing).

What good is it to have an advocate who only stands with you when no one else is looking?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:37 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's much harder to appeal to the base as
posted by honestcoyote at 6:38 PM on April 25, 2012


belong to us?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:41 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oops.. cats on keyboards...

It's much harder to appeal to the base as a Democrat. Republicans will pour out in their 27% lockstep when you begin the assault on Planned Parenthood. If Obama embraced marriage equality and pot legalization tomorrow, he'd get hell from the independents and from the media and his own base would say "Whatever. That's something you should have done already. Now what about all these other things we'd like you to do. If you don't do them, we'll consider you a sellout who's no better than Romney."

And that ties into another key reason: Republicans can win with their base + a smattering of independents. Democrats can't. Hence one side is forced to play to the middle for national elections. I don't think this country is particularly conservative, as a whole, but their base definitely outnumbers our base and by enough that they can win low turnout elections without catering to the middle.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:43 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you give an example of a Republican going off-message on any "ideal" - gay rights, gun control, no tax increases - and surviving politically?

Hello, let me introduce you to the current presumptive GOP nominee, who has gone off-message more than any other GOP candidate in history and yet still won the nomination. His main rivals for that nomination were a disgraced former Senator whose entire career gave lie to more than half of what passes for GOP ideology (and who will now almost certainly be a competitive candidate in 2016 if he so chooses to be) and a disgraced former Congressman who openly questioned several serious tenets of it during the campaign and both of whom still managed to be competitive for a good portion of the campaign regardless.

The modern GOP betrays their supposed ideals on a nigh-routine basis - even the tea partiers who came in to Change Things are now looking covetously at earmarks so they can bring home pork to their districts.

And can you give an example of a Democrat dumping some cherished "ideal" and being instantly crushed for it in the classic Republican way?

I think you need to read every MeFi thread about Obama ever.
posted by mightygodking at 6:45 PM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


That makes no sense to me - can you elaborate on that?

What's to explain, sir. You tell me what happens if he does that. Wait. I'm doing what I hate, which is assuming we're on the same wavelength. Here is what I think happens. Obama: "Gay marriage rocks, let's do it!" The vast, vast majority of christian churches, black and white, recoil and say he is in league with the devil. "Civilization will be destroyed!" "You will go to hell if you vote for him". "He is in league with the devil".

I'll tell you right now that almost every church I have attended (typically black churches in poor to middle class ares) will turn on Obama so quick his head will spin. And the other churches I attended that were presbyterian or white dominated - same thing. I went to a church a few years ago and they were actually having an extended discussion about Obama and whether or not he was evil, or some nonsense. This was in the south. It took everything I had not to go hog wild, but I was a guest and did not want to embarrass my host.

The people in power in this country would not be down with it for the most part, due to pressure from churches and family. People, lots of people are still on that don't talk about it stuff. Confront them with it like that and while some will perform admirably, most will synonymize Obama with Gay Marriage, and people will get fired, and a lot of people will turn against him for fear of hell/losing their job.

Maybe a lot of us here think he should just throw caution to the wind and declare that gay marriage should take place starting yesterday, but in real life land, we know it would be a holy fucking shitstorm and Mittens would ride that shit into office like Tony Hawk.

The problem is not Obama.

I repeat, the problem is not Obama.

The problem is your damn neighbor. Don't get mad at Obama, get mad at your ignorant ass neighbor who thinks evolution is a tool of the devil. Get mad at your ignorant ass line mate in the mall who thinks gay marriage is evil. I was in the grocery store and some dude just kept going on and on about anchor babies and how immigrants were going to come in and take over and that they should be kept out. I couldn't take it. I turned to him and asked him how many of his ancestors were here a couple thousand years ago. I asked him if his ancestors were originally from here. He was bigger than me but he was old, so I wasn't going to physically confront him because it wouldn't be a fair fight (not that I would do that anyway, but just saying). He stuttered some nonsense out that didn't address anything and my associate yanked me into the next aisle out of embarrassment.

These are the people that are supporting the Santorums and the Romneys and the like. Cut them off and the Romneys and Santorums disappear, and then the Obama-like people have room to help our society progress.

Ironmouth loves to make the point that Obama couldn't close Gitmo because all of our dumb ass neighbors are supporting that shit! Why? Out of fear. Out of a feeling of holy righteousness that Americans are great and most other people are backwards and not chosen. I have family members that shut down when you hit them with facts, so I am sharing in the blame.

But when things will change is when we turn to our neighbors and start changing them, instead of walking away from the confrontations.
posted by cashman at 6:53 PM on April 25, 2012 [20 favorites]


Well, that's US politics for you. Two parties and two presidential terms will do that.

This is only true if you think that Federal elections are the only ones worth voting in. I understand that, being a general-interest place, US Federal elections have the greatest amount of resonance with the greatest number of members here, but they aren't the only ones.

For example, political parties in Florida.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:25 PM on April 25, 2012


He also gives blatant disinformation about federal drug laws. Obama is powerful enough to execute citizens without trial, but too feeble to reschedule marijuana.

If I am not mistaken, that federal law mentions cannabis specifically as one of the drugs that IS illegal. The Executive can add to the list, and can presumably take away things that they had previously added, but they cannot take away things that are specifically named.
posted by gjc at 7:42 PM on April 25, 2012


> The problem is your damn neighbor. Don't get mad at Obama, get mad at your ignorant ass neighbor who thinks evolution is a tool of the devil.

[...]

> These are the people that are supporting the Santorums and the Romneys and the like. Cut them off and the Romneys and Santorums disappear, and then the Obama-like people have room to help our society progress.

So let met get this straight - you're proposing we kill all the Republican voters?

Or, what do you mean by "cut them off"? What could be possibly, possibly done to prevent them from supporting their evil causes? Do you really think "sitting down and logically explaining why they are wrong" is going to work? Do you think that ostracizing them (the only other possible meaning to "cut them off") is going to have any effect on them?

It's disconcerting, but not a single person has addressed my main argument:

We aren't going to covert any Republicans, and they aren't going to convert any Democrats. The way to win is by galvanizing our base, and by preventing voter suppression, not by selling out the base in the vain hope that this will somehow appeal to the non-existent "swing voters".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:47 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]



Are you claiming that because Mr. Obama is a good guy, he's unable to come out in favor of issues that are popular with the Democratic party base?

That makes no sense to me - can you elaborate on that?


To crib a quote from LBJ, the job of the president isn't just to be the president of his party. His job is to be the president of the whole united states. The "bad guys" who get elected will use their power to further their agenda. The "good guys" who get elected will use their power to further the nation. Everyone. Rising tide floating all ships and whatnot.

The nation is divided enough on this issue that getting to the goal of fairness for everyone, we need to work in steps. Just like he did with DADT, and like he says in the article, the best way to get people to support something they might not naturally support is to get buy-in from them. Or at least to get the to stop opposing it. By working slowly and deliberately, the people who oppose gay marriage are softening. Or at least their numbers are diminishing. It may take another term, or even another decade, but it will happen, because a clear majority will support it. It won't be a wedge issue and it will just happen. Because of the work Obama is doing and will hopefully continue to do.
posted by gjc at 7:54 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does this calculus never seem to apply to the Republicans? I mean, take gay marriage - every potential Republican candidate is definitively against it in the most offensive terms, and yet, as all the arguments above show, it's an issue in many states that might be borderline one way or the other.

Why can the Republicans always support issues popular with their base, and the Democrats never?


For the same reason why ultra-liberal Congressmen lost in the 2010 hastings, why belief in anthropogenic global warming is diminishing, why people confuse NRA's political viewpoints with support for Second Amendment, and why Rick Santorum didn't see it fit to keep his mouth shut on not just issues such as contraception which are long settled for most of the American populace, but also non-support for Puerto Rico's statehood despite twenty-odd years of Republican support for this. The right-wing has a stranglehold on popular discourse in the United States.

And given the tax-cut shenanigans, the rise of anti-abortion groups in the UK and the precipitous drop in support for AGW in UK and Australia in the wake of the Climategate kerfuffle without a comparative rise when the implications there were thoroughly debunked, sadly what goes in the US has a bearing (albeit diminishing, but significant nevertheless) on what gets talked about in the rest of the Anglophone world as well.
posted by the cydonian at 8:31 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


So let met get this straight - you're proposing we kill all the Republican voters?

Yeah, yeah that's what I'm saying.

No, of course I'm not saying I have to kill my family and neighbors.

Or, what do you mean by "cut them off"?

Confront them and educate them. At least get the ideas in their heads. Plant the seed. You can't always educate people, but to quote Ra, "I guess somebody told you - a little knowledge is dangerous." Get them out of their filter bubble. Give them some different ideas to think about. Don't rest easy in the non-confrontational peace that allows ignorance and stupidity to prosper. My grocery store approach is obviously not the best way. But sometimes that happens. Really the best way is to plant those seeds. It isn't easy.

We aren't going to covert any Republicans

None? I'm 99% sure I didn't convert that guy, but I bet you he thinks about me and what I was saying, and doesn't immediately discount viewpoints he may have previously. You gotta start somewhere.

But you gotta start. Whining about Obama behind our screens is weak. Get out there and confront your neighbors. Pissed that the church takes people's money and keeps them in fear? Figure out a way to educate those people.

What's that saying - each one teach one. Pick 1 person. One. Somebody you know holds some horrible viewpoint, or that you've heard say things like women should be in the kitchen making a sandwich, or that watch Fox and believe Obama is a Kenyan Socialist Muslim. It isn't nearly as fun as talking shit on a message board, I'll just suggest that in advance. I'm not even saying anything anybody doesn't know. We (me included) would rather just sit on here in the company of those we feel are enlightened, and chat it up, waiting for the ignorant to die off or dwindle down.

Isn't that it?Aren't we all just watching the Republicans saying and doing stupid things, and hoping they just dribble themselves right off the court and out of sight? I have close family and friends that watch Fox. I don't confront them about some pretty ridiculous stuff they believe because who wants that drama, right?

Anyway, I don't mean to come at you like a knowitall, because I'm just trying to figure things out like we all are. Good luck to you, and maybe we'll get lucky and Obama will be the president we know he could be if the country wasn't filled with a bunch of people who will go ape if he comes out and says gay marriage is right.
posted by cashman at 8:40 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


>What's that saying - each one teach one. Pick 1 person. One. Somebody you know holds some horrible viewpoint, or that you've heard say things like women should be in the kitchen making a sandwich, or that watch Fox and believe Obama is a Kenyan Socialist Muslim.

Do you honestly believe this will work? Honestly? Because I do not. More to the point, there's no objective evidence that it will work. Your anecdote where you talked to one reasonable guy notwithstanding (and did you follow up? Who did he vote for?) there's no evidence that people change who they vote for in anything other than tiny percentages. I have, in fact, met many of these people and as a "New York liberal" there is literally nothing I could say that would alter the complete contempt the people I met had for me and everything about me and my life. These people should be no mystery to you if you look at the letters columns on most American papers.

I've also had chats with less vehement people - people were willing to have a polite discussion with me, even concede some points - but there is still no chance that they will ever actually support a Democrat, no matter how convincing I am.

Again, I fail to understand why people aren't even mentioning my prime argument - it's much more important to work on mobilizing the base than it is to attempt to convert Republicans.

The Republicans win by getting their own vote out, and by suppressing the legitimate votes of others. This is why they keep winning.

We won't win by converting them - there's no evidence that either side can convert the other and plenty of evidence that they can't. We'll win by getting out the base, and defending American's voting rights.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:01 PM on April 25, 2012


I heard you liked the TV show Homeland.
I did, it was a great show.

In the show, a drone strike destroys a madrassa and provokes an assassination attempt on the vice president of the United States. What did you enjoy about it?
What I liked was just real complicated characters. Obviously, there's a lot of overdramatization of what our days are like around here day to day, and how our national security apparatus works. But the characters involved are not simple, black-and-white characters. It's a terrific psychological study, and that's what I enjoy about it.
Ennh, if the interviewer wanted a comment drones, he should have referenced this recent Rolling Stone piece: Rise of the Killer Drones: Inside Obama's secret war
posted by homunculus at 9:33 PM on April 25, 2012


Can you give an example of a Republican going off-message on any "ideal" - gay rights, gun control, no tax increases - and surviving politically?

For God's sake, you live in New York.

Alesi. Grisanti. McDonald. Saland.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 PM on April 25, 2012


The more I read this interview, the more sour I get.

Q: ... In regard to Wall Street, people are watching how the Justice Department has treated big players in the financial crisis, like Goldman Sachs, and saying, "Nobody's been put on trial."...

A: First of all, we're a nation of laws. So in some cases, really irresponsible practices that hurt a lot of people might not have been technically against the law [...]

There are several things wrong with that answer, and it's not conceivable that Mr. Obama doesn't know them.

First, many firms have in fact pled guilty to breaking laws that would be felonies if a person were the one breaking the laws - but have always gotten off with fines that were a small percentage of the profits they made through their illegal actions. It is inconceivable that management did these things by accident.

Second, they really don't know whether or not firms in general were breaking laws, because no substantial investigation was really made. Since the global financial crisis, the SEC has been operating at a serious budget crisis (and let me tell you that it isn't like the SEC was rolling in cash before that happened.) They simply don't have the resources to look at more than a tiny fraction of cases - they can really only hit the grossest and most obvious of crimes, and even then can't actually charge any managers criminally because they don't have the money to litigate, while the firms have deep pockets.

And he damn well knows this. He can't say, "The alleged crimes were investigated, and the firms exonerated," because it knows it didn't happen - the best he can say is that they decided not to prosecute.

Again, it's the Republicans who supposedly killed the SEC - but we heard nothing from the Democrats or Mr. Obama on this matter at the time, and again, he's not mentioning who the real culprits are here.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:01 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gag, what sort of political interview starts with the interviewer giving the interviewee a gift?!

A pity you're not able to appreciate the significance of that exchange.

Why can the Republicans always support issues popular with their base, and the Democrats never?

Nonsense. If you watched the primary campaign, it was full of missteps by candidates who misjudged what their base would tolerate. As for the Democrats never supporting issues popular with the base, equally BS. Show me a Democrat that has criticized organized labor or grasped the nettle of public sector pensions, for example (FX: dons flameproof suit, and prepares to be told off about how this isn't even an issue worthy of discussion).

For almost two decades, the Republicans have more or less given up trying to attract any new supporters - instead, they've concentrated on getting the best results out of the supporters they have, using two very strong tools - galvanizing the base, and voter suppression.

Yes, and now it's a truism among political scientists that the GOP's electoral base is shrinking like a Greenland glacier. Perhaps you haven't noticed the bitter conflict between the Tea Partiers and the GOP Establishment?

This is a very strong strategy, since pretty well every study of "independents" shows that they in fact nearly always vote consistently one way or the other and simply claim to be undecided in polls.

Voter suppression is a very cheap and easy way to give you a decided edge in every contest you undertake, particularly since you seem to have no risk whatsoever of any blowback no matter how blatant you are.

Talk is cheap. Like voter and count fraud, I think the actual effect this has on the outcome of elections is marginal at best.

And galvanizing the base is easy and a lot of fun. You don't have to worry about being fair, telling the truth or even giving the appearance of being rational - you can just scream death panels, communists, secret Muslim and the base laps it up.

And you think this is something worth emulating? It's the political equivalent of a heroin habit, and equally unsustainable over the long term.

It's been twenty years and the Democrats don't seem to understand this at all. Their last big win was when they were able to get out the base with a bold new figure who did speak up on issues that were popular with "the Left" - but they seemed to have learned nothing from this, and that bold new figure is no longer bold enough speak his own mind.

Riiiiight. Aren't rose-colored glasses great? I'm guessing that in the mid-90s you were just as bitterly denouncing Clinton as a sellout over workfare and so forth, and blaming him for the Democrats losing control of Congress to the GOP in the 1994 midterms, since when the Democrats have controlled it for all of two (2) years.

The people who believe that Mr. Obama should stand up for his side's core values are not the "naïve" ones - what is naïve is believing that the strategy of appealing to the non-existent independents and alienating your base by repudiating your side's core values is either optimal or ethical.

It's disconcerting, but not a single person has addressed my main argument:

We aren't going to covert any Republicans, and they aren't going to convert any Democrats. The way to win is by galvanizing our base, and by preventing voter suppression, not by selling out the base in the vain hope that this will somehow appeal to the non-existent "swing voters".


I'll address it, although it's nothing I've not said before: you're not the base, you're the fringe. You're ideological, uninterested in compromise, and you're only happy when it rains. The reason you don't feel you have any political power is because you're not willing to make trades of any kind, so it's not really worth politicians' time to deal with you more than is minimally necessary, because the net return is going to be zero.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:58 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Do you honestly believe this will work? Honestly? Because I do not. More to the point, there's no objective evidence that it will work. Your anecdote where you talked to one reasonable guy notwithstanding (and did you follow up? Who did he vote for?) there's no evidence that people change who they vote for in anything other than tiny percentages. I have, in fact, met many of these people and as a "New York liberal" there is literally nothing I could say that would alter the complete contempt the people I met had for me and everything about me and my life. These people should be no mystery to you if you look at the letters columns on most American papers.

I imagine that some of us try to be a bit more hopeful and optimistic about our fellow citizens' capacity for change.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:24 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Especially considering that some 15-20% of the population are independents (about half the number of those who are registered as independent but many of whom consistently vote with one party or the other), and that there are quite a few voters that don't vote a straight ticket.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:06 AM on April 26, 2012


America could be perfect if only it could manage to elect exactly the right person.
posted by srboisvert at 4:28 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, a co-worker and I are installing cable for this rich couple really late at night, and really big job. She made made pizza and margaritas for us and the margaritas were really freakin good! The husband has a wind turbine business, and plays the bongos, she's a drinker. I think they are limousine liberals. Really nice people, but, not one hour into the job, they decide they like me so much that they start talking about Obama. They voted for him the first time around, but won't this time because he hadn't changed anything. I asked the lady what her expectations were, and she said 'he was supposed to change the world!' She was on her third margarita. She went on to say how they're going for the 'scorched earth' policy, where they may just vote for the guy they absolutely don't want so that things get so bad that it'll all be over and real revolution will come, and they'd move to South America somewhere. I really wanted to spit in the nice lady's face right then and there. What snobs!:) Lots of people would die for her eventual American renaissance. And, they have the resources to watch it all from the sidelines. But they were cool people though, other than that dumb shit.

Also, I don't know why so many of us (African-Americans) are homophobes, it's so damn stupid. All minorities should be on the same side, and it hurts to see us fight to take the others rights away. I have no doubt in my heart that Obama supports the LGBT community, but he has to deal with a ton of beltway bullshit, and get the climate right. He is not some super-being. And, the same goes with weed. Poverty, war, misinformation bad cops, hate, and the one person who's touched by all these is going to happily, legally, smoke weed and listen to Steely Dan, and just chill? I don't think this country's ready for that, and I smoked bud for twenty years, and I fuckin love Steely Dan.

It's early, and I'm not a good writer, but I just had to get my word in, once again. Obama is playing the long game, and I love the man. The only way I could love him more is if he had heat vision, or a power ring. Let him run his course and we're one giant step closer to where this country should be. I'm waiting for the day when poverty and our justice system are seriously addressed. But what happens if he says the incarceration rate of African-Americans is off the chart, or that we need to act now to take every single child out of poverty?
posted by Flex1970 at 6:14 AM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


> I'll address it, although it's nothing I've not said before: you're not the base, you're the fringe. You're ideological, uninterested in compromise, and you're only happy when it rains.

That's bullshit - and a pointless personal attack that shows your lack of ability to formulate an actual argument.

I'm perfectly fine with compromise. We don't get "compromise" - something where both sides give something up - we get capitulation, where the left gives up everything they value and get only sops in return.

Again, no one has addressed my core argument - that the correct strategy should be about getting the base out and making sure your votes are not suppressed, rather than converting voters, that that is what the Republicans have been doing consistently for decades and that is why they are winning.

The reason that I'm so incensed about the Wall Street crimes is that I was on Wall Street for many years, working for a "fascist" investment bank a lot of the time - and I do remember that time fondly. I'm hardly a wild-eyed radical - but back in the day we actually took the law seriously, the first first talk I had with my boss was that it was important not just to follow the letter of the law but to avoid things that looked illegal, and people went to jail all the time for minor technical violations of the law.

Oh, and here's what I came to write - a very interesting analysis by Glenn Greenwald about why Mr. Obama's comments on marijuana are objectively false.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:59 AM on April 26, 2012


Oh, and saying that "lupus_yonderboy is the fringe, therefore appealing to the base is wrong" is not any sort of argument at all.

Gay marriage, not increasing the War on Drugs, preserving the Rule of Law, enforcing securities laws, acting to avert climate change and cutting back on endless foreign wars aren't "fringe" positions for the left - or if they are, what real difference is there then between the "left" and the "right" here, if they agree on all matters of substance except reproductive rights? (and even there - we had eight years of Republican rule and yet the changes in women's reproductive rights have been minimal - and we've had three years of Democrats and a similar lack of change).

The Republicans appeal to their base with their rhetoric. The Democrats scorn theirs and tell us that everything we might want is impossible now and will be impossible forever. Why do they expect to get good results from such a bad tactic?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:06 AM on April 26, 2012


I'm disappointed with Obama too, and with our system. But I decided back in 2000 or so that I'm a single issue voter, with that issue being the appointment of Supreme Court justices (which flows from my core belief that all meaningful social progress in the US begins in the courts). So I have no choice. The Republicans are loons, and any other electoral choice just enables them. So I hold my nose and semi-cheerfully vote (D). The Bolshevik hipsters who vote for Nader or whichever other meaningless protest candidate are hugely short sighted.
posted by norm at 10:06 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


> She went on to say how they're going for the 'scorched earth' policy, where they may just vote for the guy they absolutely don't want so that things get so bad that it'll all be over and real revolution will come, and they'd move to South America somewhere. I really wanted to spit in the nice lady's face right then and there.

Perhaps instead of spitting in this person's face you might stop and think - why are so many nice people so disillusioned?

Breaking it all so people understand that government was useful would result in millions of deaths - an obviously stupid plan. But I think it's at least somewhat more doable than "converting the Republican base".

> But I decided back in 2000 or so that I'm a single issue voter, with that issue being the appointment of Supreme Court justices (which flows from my core belief that all meaningful social progress in the US begins in the courts). So I have no choice.

And that argument's good for the rest of time! So you never have to made a decision in any election. The Democrats know that you're hooked, so there's zero incentive to give you anything whatsoever - you have to support the Democrats no matter how badly they treat you, so you have no leverage whatsoever and you never will.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:17 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm perfectly fine with compromise. We don't get "compromise" - something where both sides give something up - we get capitulation, where the left gives up everything they value and get only sops in return.

Only if you ignore the multiple stimulus packages (yes, it was well over $1b unless you only count ARRA as), DOMA non-enforcement, Dodd-Frank, and a host of other actions. IIRC, 80%+ of Democrats intend to vote for Obama. Obviously they don't agree with you. Capitulation from your viewpoint does not reflect the views of the base as a whole, nor does it seem to take into account stuff like state actions (where the vast majority of anti-choice push has been made in the last decade) or how the various branches of the Federal government work.

Again, no one has addressed my core argument - that the correct strategy should be about getting the base out and making sure your votes are not suppressed, rather than converting voters, that that is what the Republicans have been doing consistently for decades and that is why they are winning.

They're winning because they've gamed the system. They know to pack everything from school boards to county councils to state houses to Federal positions. And despite your multiple protestations to the contrary, a lot of people including the Obama administration are pushing back on voter suppression and the like, but they had all of 4 years to try and do that, whereas at worst the GOP had 8, and they didn't have to deal with jackasses like Lieberman and Nelson at every.single.turn. The Democrats can do that, but with people advocating that only the top matters at the top of their lungs, that can be kind of hard.

The reason that I'm so incensed about the Wall Street crimes is that I was on Wall Street for many years, working for a "fascist" investment bank a lot of the time - and I do remember that time fondly. I'm hardly a wild-eyed radical - but back in the day we actually took the law seriously, the first first talk I had with my boss was that it was important not just to follow the letter of the law but to avoid things that looked illegal, and people went to jail all the time for minor technical violations of the law.

To be honest, that seems like a rather naive and rosy-eyed view of what was happening around you at the time. Most of this was reaching its peak in both the financial industries and the government in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.

Gay marriage, not increasing the War on Drugs, preserving the Rule of Law, enforcing securities laws, acting to avert climate change and cutting back on endless foreign wars aren't "fringe" positions for the left - or if they are, what real difference is there then between the "left" and the "right" here, if they agree on all matters of substance except reproductive rights? (and even there - we had eight years of Republican rule and yet the changes in women's reproductive rights have been minimal - and we've had three years of Democrats and a similar lack of change).

And again, you've chosen to ignore every single thing that actually has been done (or tried, for that matter) to manufacture this argument.

And that argument's good for the rest of time! So you never have to made a decision in any election. The Democrats know that you're hooked, so there's zero incentive to give you anything whatsoever - you have to support the Democrats no matter how badly they treat you, so you have no leverage whatsoever and you never will.

Only if you're a top-of-the-ticket voter (as it appears you advocate for) that refuses to get involved at any level but Federal. Change comes from the bottom up, which the Republicans have learned very well. Why you choose to ignore that is baffling.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2012


As he always has, Mr Obama strikes me here as a fiercely intelligent, eminently reasonable, and relentlessly pragmatic fellow.

He may not be the best president you folks have had in the last 50 years (history will decide that), but he may well be the best man who's held the office.
It's interesting how "pragmatic" and "expedient" have such a similar meaning, but such a different connotation.

"Pragmatism" can be used to justify anything, so long as it appears that you're trying to achieve some goal. It would be nice if the goal were anything other then winning re-election, but that doesn't seem to be the case really. He doesn't seem passionate about anything in particular.

Not everyone emotes to the same extent - but he also never even seems to talk about his feelings. Or I guess when he does he uses the same bland monotone he uses to describe student loan interest rates or mortgage cram downs. He hardly ever talked about the moral need for health reform during that debate, instead constantly blathering on about cost containment (or not even containment, rather "bending costs curves")

The guys is really boring. That was an asset in '08, when people wanted someone calm and sensible. But now people are pissed.

Fortunately Romney seems even more aloof and detached - he constantly sounds like a bad actor playing the role of a presidential candidate on a crappy TV show. I feel kind of bad for the guy, he probably doesn't realize how fake he sounds.
To crib a quote from LBJ, the job of the president isn't just to be the president of his party. His job is to be the president of the whole united states. The "bad guys" who get elected will use their power to further their agenda. The "good guys" who get elected will use their power to further the nation. Everyone. Rising tide floating all ships and whatnot.
Another excuse, like "pragmatism" to excuse any and all policies.

As far as I can tell, Obama has been pretty good on Gay Issues. But one think to keep in mind is that the gay rights movement didn't give him an inch on it. They absolutely did not just sit back and trust that he would do the right thing on DADT and other issues. The guy was getting heckled at fundraisers. over it.

He didn't move forward on gay rights issues because it was "politically pragmatic", he did it because his campaign funding was at risk. That's the key difference. Gay rights were supported by major party donors. A lot of the other stuff, like raising taxes on the rich, regulating wallstreet? Not so much.
Your assertion that it was high turnout of African-American voters allowed for passage of Prop 8 has been debunked, by the way:
Glad to see that. It's not like I was happy to hear that original correlation.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:33 PM on April 25 [+] [!]
… eponysterical?
posted by delmoi at 12:17 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Jann Wenner is now definitely first in line for a bronze-plated Pulitzer Prize in Softball, perhaps only narrowly edging out Stewart.

Blazecock Pileon, Stewart is also famously (and rightfully) lauded for playing bareknuckles in interviews. Frankly, you can only award him that "trophy" if you exempt Fox News employees on principal, first. That being said, yes, this particular interview was softballed.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:42 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What good is it to have an advocate who only stands with you when no one else is looking?

RonButNotStupid, you seem to want the POTUS to be some sort of flag bearer, or older brother. That'd be cool, but frankly: I'll take a sonofabitch grade-A asshole like Johnson shoving, tricking, and blackmailing Civil Rights issues through, over a friendly smile from Carter, any day.

Make no mistake about it: Obama plays long-game. He doesn't care who takes this hand; he has his eye on the pot. And if he has to let someone else take the lead, or stay out off the topic until Dec 2012 (or later), he will.

I often said in the past that I wasn't sure if O was the luckiest, or the slyest, POTUS I'd ever seen, because so many of his campaign issues succeeded without apparent support from him (or even apparent feints of resistance). The odds have risen too high: he's doing it intentionally. And he's winning. Slowly. In many important battles. Not on every issue (and BTW, I really, really hate his support of Patriot Act/govt intrusion issues). But overall, a lot of his campaign promises are getting advanced.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:48 PM on April 26, 2012


A: First of all, we're a nation of laws. So in some cases, really irresponsible practices that hurt a lot of people might not have been technically against the law [...]

There are several things wrong with that answer, and it's not conceivable that Mr. Obama doesn't know them.

First, many firms have in fact pled guilty to breaking laws that would be felonies if a person were the one breaking the laws - but have always gotten off with fines that were a small percentage of the profits they made through their illegal actions...


lupus_yonderboy, when you say "wrong with that answer"... were you actually hoping the POTUS would say, IN AN ELECTION YEAR, "Boy, howdy, you got me there! I totally dropped the ball!"

Nope, he shifted the topic, made factual statements (that apparently weren't confessional enough for you), and basically said "it was tough, and we took the path that was possible." He was honest, if not forthcoming.

I agree there should have been individuals indicted. I don't agree the POTUS answered that question incorrectly. He knows how to get elected, and it's not by satisfying any voter's urge to hear him "come clean", or admit failings in his policies.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:01 PM on April 26, 2012


I fail to understand why each and every time we discuss the Presidential election, I get lectured about local candidates being much more important - even though each time I mention, yes, I've worked for these candidates in the past, yes, this is important, but this is not so relevant to a discussion of the President's electoral chances.

> And again, you've chosen to ignore every single thing that actually has been done (or tried, for that matter) to manufacture this argument.

I'm sorry, what has happened on the War on Drugs? It's increased - increased, after five Administrations in a row where the President has been an admitted drug user, it's increased even though pretty well everyone knows that it's reduced to a war on black teenagers. What's happened to the Rule of Law? We now have bipartisan agreement that the Rule of Law is not important, that if you pay a lawyer to tell you something is legal you are immune from any repercussions, that the President can simply say that you're a terrorist, have you killed, and never have to present any facts or arguments, before, during, or after. What happened to climate change? The US has systematically stonewalled any possible changes there - the planned changes won't go into effect until after Mr. Obama has finished any second term he might get.

I haven't "ignored" anything - on my core issues, Mr. Obama has been a complete disappointment, except on health care, where he's simply been inept and nearly entirely a disappointment. (The fact that he pissed away a full year of majorities in both houses trying to get a bipartisan agreement on health care after almost every top Republican went on record as saying that they would never agree to any health care bill ever - and were as good as their word - is breathtakingly inept, as is the fact that he started with an extremely weak offer, literally having proponents of single payer health care arrested rather than allowing them to even speak on the subject, and then proceeded to backtrack from even that weak offer... disappointing! But at least he got something, so he's not completely disappointing in this area...)

IAmABroom: of course I don't expect him to say, "I fucked up" in an election year - though I might expect him to point to the Republicans and say, "They fucked up, they prevented these investigations, ask them."

The point is that Mr. Obama has dropped the ball on this issue from start to finish. At no time has he made public the fact that almost no investigations really happened, that the Republicans crippled the already lamed SEC, that the reason that there are no criminal charges is that the SEC simply doesn't have the resources to make any, or that the Dodd-Frank rules, limited as they are, haven't gone into effect because they still haven't built the organization that's supposed to do it.

The global financial crisis was the most important single issue in the last election. If you'd told me that Mr. Obama was going to win, but that essentially nothing would be accomplished on this matter and it would be brushed off, I'd have laughed at you.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:36 PM on April 26, 2012


"At no time has he made public..."

I should add that I'm not claiming these facts aren't public - I'm saying that he just acquiesced to the fact that nothing was going to happen instead of raising a stink about it, and now he's implying it's all OK and no crimes were committed when in fact we know nothing of the sort.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:39 PM on April 26, 2012


> I'll address it, although it's nothing I've not said before: you're not the base, you're the fringe. You're ideological, uninterested in compromise, and you're only happy when it rains.

That's bullshit - and a pointless personal attack that shows your lack of ability to formulate an actual argument.


Well, I really do think you're the fringe. You're one of the most ideological people I've ever encountered.

I'm perfectly fine with compromise. We don't get "compromise" - something where both sides give something up - we get capitulation, where the left gives up everything they value and get only sops in return.

Hyperbole much?

Again, no one has addressed my core argument - that the correct strategy should be about getting the base out and making sure your votes are not suppressed, rather than converting voters, that that is what the Republicans have been doing consistently for decades and that is why they are winning.

But nobody is arguing that converting Republicans is the real goal. And as for getting the base out, Democrats are excellent at doing this. You seem not to think so, but I submit that this is because you are not in fact part of the base, you've just convinced yourself that you are. The base, by which I mean people who reliably vote Democratic, is (IMO) more moderate and pragmatic than you.

The Democrats scorn theirs and tell us that everything we might want is impossible now and will be impossible forever.

again, hyperbole much? To take just one issue, that of alternative energy for climate change: the administration has invested quite a lot of money and political capital in this. Renewables are a growth market with very healthy numbers right now. There have been some failures; perhaps you noticed how the administration wound up with egg on its face after Solyndra burned through $500 million in loan guarantees in only 2 years and then declared bankruptcy, fired everyone, and closed its doors? The administration took the hit for that and Stephen Chu is still energy secretary. Renewables have doubled in energy output since the President took office, and there has been extensive funding for everything from emissions monitoring to a network of electric vehicle charging stations (per this document). And yet all I hear from folks like yourself is about Obama's record of selling out and breaking promises.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:03 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not everyone emotes to the same extent - but [Obama] also never even seems to talk about his feelings.

That's exactly what I like about him. People who talk about and appeal to emotions as a primary political strategy scare me, because that way of thinking is irrational. Call me a vulcan sociopath if you want, but most of the time when people are making arguments around the concept of 'morality' or 'justice' they're dropping those words in as rhetorical shorthand for what their audience wants to hear, instead ofa logical progression from A to B. Different people have different conceptions of what is moral or just, so if your argument depends on such abstractions it means you're appealing to to bias rather than to reason.

...

I haven't "ignored" anything - on my core issues, Mr. Obama has been a complete disappointment, except on health care, where he's simply been inept and nearly entirely a disappointment. (The fact that he pissed away a full year of majorities in both houses trying to get a bipartisan agreement on health care after almost every top Republican went on record as saying that they would never agree to any health care bill ever - and were as good as their word - is breathtakingly inept, as is the fact that he started with an extremely weak offer, literally having proponents of single payer health care arrested rather than allowing them to even speak on the subject, and then proceeded to backtrack from even that weak offer... disappointing! But at least he got something, so he's not completely disappointing in this area...)

I can't help observing that the story you link to describes people getting thrown out of a Senate haring, and doesn't even mention Obama, but somehow it's his fault even though Congress has its own police force which is entirely independent of the executive branch.

The point is that Mr. Obama has dropped the ball on this issue from start to finish. At no time has he made public the fact that almost no investigations really happened, that the Republicans crippled the already lamed SEC, that the reason that there are no criminal charges is that the SEC simply doesn't have the resources to make any, or that the Dodd-Frank rules, limited as they are, haven't gone into effect because they still haven't built the organization that's supposed to do it.

How many times has it been pointed out on MetaFilter that the SEC does not have the statutory power to undertake criminal prosecutions, and never has had? I mean, why should anyone take you seriously when you consistently have your facts wrong? You're terribly passionate, but a great deal of what you say about politics simply does not stand up to basic fact checking. I think this has a great deal to do with your stated inability to convert people to your viewpoint.

this is how these conversations look from my perspective:

Undecided voter: I'm not sure how to vote in the upcoming election.

Me: I think Obama has done a good job - X, Y, and Z have all improved, and I think that improvement will continue and accelerate if he is re-elected.

You: No! Obama is made of fail and everything is just as bad or even worse! We might as well vote for Romney!

the only upside I can see to this line of argument is that the Tea Party types now seem to think Romney's a Marxist as well and are having a monumental sulk about their inability to nominate a hard-core conservative. They think they're the base too, funnily enough.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:30 PM on April 26, 2012


> Well, I really do think you're the fringe. You're one of the most ideological people I've ever encountered.

You really need to get out more - I know a hell of a lot of people who are far more "ideological" than I am and a lot of them aren't political at all.

Tell me - what are these ideological positions?

I believe that the laws on financial crimes should be aggressively enforced, because lack of this enforcement cost the taxpayer a couple of trillion dollars recently. I believe that this is a very popular opinion in the United States. What's your opinion on this matter?

I believe that the Drug War is a huge waste of time and money (and also particularly destructive to black youth) and should be wound down and not increased. I believe that this is a very popular opinion right now. What do you think here?

I believe that the President should obey the rule of law. In particular, at this time the President can point to any American, anywhere in the world, announce he is a terrorist, and have him killed - and never provide any evidence before or after - and in fact has already done this.

I know this is not a particularly popular opinion in the US - but polls still show tens of millions of Americans who agree with me. Where do you stand on this issue?

What opinion have I expressed above - or at any time here - that isn't shared by tens of millions of Americans?


> How many times has it been pointed out on MetaFilter that the SEC does not have the statutory power to undertake criminal prosecutions, and never has had?

The SEC investigates financial crimes, and when it has evidence, hands that evidence to the Justice Department or local DAs (usually in Manhattan, that's how Giuliani got his start!) for prosecution - then the SEC investigators actually testify in the case.

The Justice Department/DA's involvement isn't a formality, but the SEC is the one who does the detective work and prepares the case. If the SEC doesn't investigate, there is no prosecution. If the SEC doesn't have the manpower to show up in court, the prosecution fails.

Or if you believe the Justice Department should be doing the investigating too, well, who's ultimately in control of them?

> You: No! Obama is made of fail and everything is just as bad or even worse! We might as well vote for Romney!

I've never said anything like that. Mr. Obama is clearly a better choice than Mr. Romney.

My point is that the Democrats' tactic of trying to woo "swing" voters by repudiating their core positions is a bad one; that Mr. Obama convinces no one at all by hedging on issues like gay marriage; that they should be instead spending their effort trying to excite their base to get good voter turn-out, and working aggressively to prevent voter suppression.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:13 PM on April 26, 2012


Laws on financial crime are being enforced - just not as swiftly as you would like. I"ve pointed this out repeatedly (see almost any Matt Taibbi-related MeFi thread for examples). But no matter how often the ins and outs are explained, its never good enough. Meanwhile you keep saying tjings like 'why doesn't the SEC prosecute' even though you seem to know this is not how it works. All this does is confuse people.

Two of my in-laws are employed doing document management for the SEC's inbestigation of Goldman Sachs. There are literally tens of millions of documents that need reviewing. There have been people working on that investigation since October 2009. What should they be doing differently, pray tell?
posted by anigbrowl at 5:47 PM on April 26, 2012


There have been people working on that investigation since October 2009. What should they be doing differently, pray tell?

How many people? With what powers?

Perhaps making resources and political backing available to prosecutors that are proportional to the magnitude of the crime being investigated?
posted by lalochezia at 8:30 PM on April 26, 2012


So let me get this straight. I have a list of what would appear to be very serious issues. Of all these, you select just one, the global financial crisis, select just one culprit, and tell me that your friend tells you that after three years they're still working on that one culprit - you don't even promise us that there will be indictments or criminal charges - and this is all hearsay, the government has said nothing officially...

...and then you ask me what else could be done!

I just have to conclude that if this is best the government can do, that they simply aren't serious. We absolutely know that the government can be serious about law enforcement - look at the fate of any whistleblower.

By your own admission, they didn't even start investigating until a year after the collapse happened. Years have gone by, and we have nothing. We don't even have a prominent discovery phase, a perp walk, or anything to discourage the criminals from continuing their criminal activity, or really anything except one person's unsupported word on the internet that they were told that an investigation is ongoing into one firm - and if Mr. Obama doesn't get re-election, do you really believe that the investigation will lead to charges, even if they find any information?

Not good enough. Not close to good enough.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:17 PM on April 26, 2012


Perhaps making resources and political backing available to prosecutors that are proportional to the magnitude of the crime being investigated?

Congress has the power of the purse in the US government. Executive branch departments don't just get a big pot of money they can allocate as they see fit, they have to submit budgets and let Congress tweak the line items.

So let me get this straight. I have a list of what would appear to be very serious issues. Of all these, you select just one, the global financial crisis, select just one culprit, and tell me that your friend tells you that after three years they're still working on that one culprit - you don't even promise us that there will be indictments or criminal charges - and this is all hearsay, the government has said nothing officially...

I picked one issue because I was using a phone at the laundrette. Iobserved that the DoJ has been a lot more active than you give it credit for (see here, which I have posted many, many times before), and then gave you one specific example I was personally familiar with, about which you managed to make two factual misrepresentations in a single sentence.

By your own admission, they didn't even start investigating until a year after the collapse happened. Years have gone by, and we have nothing. We don't even have a prominent discovery phase, a perp walk, or anything to discourage the criminals from continuing their criminal activity, or really anything except one person's unsupported word on the internet that they were told that an investigation is ongoing into one firm - and if Mr. Obama doesn't get re-election, do you really believe that the investigation will lead to charges, even if they find any information?

This is the discovery phase. Discovery in financial fraud cases tends to last years. There are multiple investigations of GS; they just got fined another $22 million two weeks ago, for example. That's on top of the $550m fine they paid in 2010 and the ongoing DoJ investigation that started last year, the upcoming criminal trial of former Goldman Board member Rajat Gupta. You want more information on what the SEC does all day? well they're pretty busy by my reckoning.

Not good enough. Not close to good enough.

Quod erat demonstrandum...
posted by anigbrowl at 12:32 AM on April 27, 2012


Congress has the power of the purse in the US government. Executive branch departments don't just get a big pot of money they can allocate as they see fit, they have to submit budgets and let Congress tweak the line items.
So I assume you agree Obama deserves no credit on HCR, since it was congress that actually did it, right? They actually passed the bill, all he did was sign it.

If Obama doesn't deserve blame for stuff that "congress" did then he doesn't deserve credit for stuff that congress did either.

Or you can look at the reality, where the president and congress actually negotiate on the issues, and Obama's ability to veto, plus is status as party leader (when the Dems were in charge) gave, or should have given him a ton of leverage in those negotiates.

Really, if you want to be technical, during the first two years his legislative failures were not in his role as president, but really in his role as party leader. He couldn't get the democrats to do shit - other then pass a watered down healthcare bill larded up with pork.
posted by delmoi at 2:33 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really, if you want to be technical, during the first two years his legislative failures were not in his role as president, but really in his role as party leader. He couldn't get the democrats to do shit - other then pass a watered down healthcare bill larded up with pork.

Just to make sure I'm reading this right: You actually believe HCR is the only major thing that got done in 2009 and 2010, and there wasn't really any good stuff in it?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:23 PM on April 27, 2012


or that the Dodd-Frank rules, limited as they are, haven't gone into effect because they still haven't built the organization that's supposed to do it.

Speaking of which, Matt Taibbi has a new piece about Dodd-Frank in Rolling Stone:

How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform: It's bad enough that the banks strangled the Dodd-Frank law. Even worse is the way they did it - with a big assist from Congress and the White House.
posted by homunculus at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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