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"Education of a President"
October 13, 2010 8:26 PM   Subscribe

"Education of a President"
posted by Joe Beese (45 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
As they waited for David Axelrod, who was running late, someone noted the coming milestone and asked Obama what surprised him most since taking office. “The number of people who don’t pay their taxes,” he answered sardonically.

That's a pretty good line.
posted by enn at 8:33 PM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


my advice -

1 - if congress isn't playing ball, then he needs to get in touch with the people and get them fired up to confront congresspeople over it

2 - no politician ever gets anywhere by blaming his supporters

3 - if the opposition won't play ball, you can offer them things they can't refuse, or you can attempt to make the cost too high for them to continue - divide and conquer

4 - he needs to stop telling people he's 70% successful - if things are a mess, and they are, and you've done 70%, you're not going to convince anyone that the other 30% is going to make a difference

5 - governing IS campaigning

6 - don't complain about washington vaguely - say exactly what you think is wrong with it

7 - over and over and over ask the opposition - where's your proposal? - keep it up until they damn well have to come up with one
posted by pyramid termite at 8:46 PM on October 13, 2010 [17 favorites]


Obama has too much visceral discomfort with the tenor and the tactics of the Clinton Administration to be another Clinton, whatever he may claim. He also has a lot more pressure to contend with than Clinton did in 1995, including a never-ending 24/7 cable/internet news cycle that was only in its infancy when Clinton was in his second term.

The article states that he's more insulated than any president since Carter. That seems more than a bit of a reach for a grand summation on the writer's part -- Reagan, for instance, was often described as insulated at many points in his presidency, and was almost constantly described as insulated after the Iran-contra scandal. Both Bushes and Clinton were also routinely described as insulated and isolated (along with the requisite photos of them looking isolated as they took contemplative, introspective, preoccupied walks in the Rose Garden). But the little obvious evidence available -- film of him in public, anecdotes, other bits and pieces ("He is not much for chitchat") -- suggests that he is indeed not possessed with Clinton's quality of thriving on public attention. In an age when the media hangs on a president's every movement, that's a rough quality to have.

From the article: "Yet even if the White House saw it coming, this is an administration that feels shellshocked." Well, every administration feels shellshocked once it crashes into reality. The point is to deal with it and rebound from it. If the administration spends the next 2+ years feeling shellshocked and reacting from that place, they will be a painful 2 years for all of us, not just Obama and Axelrod and Plouffe.
posted by blucevalo at 9:26 PM on October 13, 2010


Politics and governing is like rock climbing right?
There must be 3 direct points of continuous contact. Or else falling, or not being able to advance upwards. It is messy, dusty, slow, risky, and mentally draining. Concentration and willingness to stretch, to leave comfort zones of instant satisfaction (directed at both representatives and citizens). If we the people aren't being heard, we need to speak up, our elected officials are not telepathic, and cannot know how deep our desires go, until we vocalize them.

We the people want and need changes, there is much inequality, much destruction in cities and across the nation with deep roots to a tradition of legislated inequality, our President knows this (and by all honest accounts, genuinely, and deeply personally desires progress), Congress knows this, but if we aren't all touching-base, then the imperative, the energy dissipates. I for one proudly count myself as standing behind our President Obama, in his struggles, and future difficulties, at the helm of this slow oh so slow democracy, as well as the progress already advanced. By the actions of his administration to date alone, my support is fully behind him towards re-election (mostly because he implemented a similar looking strategy I advocated (muttered) quietly in (the corner of) too many metafilter threads; essentially using federal transfer payments to change bigoted rules regarding health-care, or other issues (for example, giving transgendered individuals rights that begin to resemble the rights of everyone, also allowing gay couples rights in hospital visitation). Still thinking that idea has potential validity for expansion, or speeding up of the benefits of health care reform.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:56 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing to remember is that he has already accomplished much more than Clinton managed to do, policy-wise. Clinton's over-arching achievement was economic growth, of course, but he also inherited much better circumstances than Obama did on that count.

I hope Obama is truly looking at a 2.0 version of his presidency, and I hope that, if the election returns come back as I predict (i.e. bad for the dems but not nearly as bad as prognosticators are building narratives around) that he takes that as a signal to FIGHT like he did in the campaign.

He's a college professor at heart, and I love that he has the capacity to understand all sides of an issue and wants to explain those to people. What he needs to learn to do now is to persuade, on the specifics rather than the grandiose level.

I think he's got it in him. I'm pretty sure that, no matter what happens in November, he wins re-election in two years. He's just got to become a fighter now to make it worthwhile.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:15 PM on October 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Today Mr. Obama announced the resumption of new offshore drilling in the Gulf - nothing has been revamped since the Gulf Spill, no enquiries or government workers fired or even disciplined, no reason given for it.

The election is a few weeks away, but Mr. Obama goes out of his way to yet again slap his supporters in the face. Even if this needed to be done, was it so urgent that it couldn't wait three weeks? (And I personally think it's a terrible, terrible decision, short-sighted and pandering to the oil companies - we need to get rid of our dependency on oil and making decisions that result in cheap oil today continuous are very poor decisions... and, given that nothing significant has changed in the industry since the last spill, doesn't each new rig expose us for further risk of another one great spill?)

It's really hard to understand why he keeps doing things like this. It's as if he's trying to throw the election...

Oh, and we saw Kagan's first two decisions - in both cases, she sided with the Conservative faction (though in what would have been a majority decision anyway...) This is not a surprise as her record before she was made a Supreme Court justice was sharply to the right.

It's looking as if 2010 will be a major rout for the Democrats which is... astonishing. That Americans apparently don't remember the havoc wrought by Bush, and will vote for this current crop, who are apparently far more extreme.

I'm no longer an Obama fan - but the Republicans are ten times worse.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:28 PM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, honestly, it's progressives' fault. We didn't do enough. We don't have a unified front, and we need one in order to take on the absolute clusterfuck of money behind the opposition. FOX if heavily funded, and what do we have? George Soros can only help us so much. We had an awesome grassroots movement for the election then just sort of lost steam (for many reasons -- obviously it's taxing to help with a campaign, and when you have a family and job to deal with, there's only so much you can do for the cause).

The biggest problem on the administration's part is an utter failure to mobilize people, specifically young people. From the absolute beginning, the White House should have started a PR blitz about how to get real health reform. We should have attacked early and with vigor, but we didn't -- and I don't mean to put down people who were doing what they could, but we really lacked the overall numbers. We should have learned from Jimmy Carter's presidency.

On top of that, we've allowed the tea party -- a mean-spirited, confused, and often racist group of people -- to yell so loudly that people actually take them seriously.

“We’re all a lot more cynical now,” one aide told me.

This is the most depressing part of the article. Obama's appeal was that he was the anti-cynic, and it's shitty that this is the result.
posted by spiderskull at 11:50 PM on October 13, 2010


no politician ever gets anywhere by blaming his supporters

Are you serious? See: Reagan and the Rev. Falwell after the nomination of O'Connor to the Supreme Court, Clinton about 80,000 times (see welfare reform, NAFTA, blah blah, ad infinitum), etc. I'm disappointed in Obama re the Gates thing and dadt today, etc., but c'mon.
posted by raysmj at 12:36 AM on October 14, 2010


Obama's appeal was that he was the anti-cynic,

Hmm.. Yes, that was his appeal. A very cynical manipulation that was too. Or as I put it soon after the inauguration: Obamania is just a way for the American people to forgive themselves.
posted by Chuckles at 12:48 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nah. A bit of cynicism is good for you. I'll vote Democratic this cycle same as all the others though. He needs to be as mean as the Republicans and do it with facts. Seriously we need the left-wing equivalent to Fox News. 24-hour keep people angry channel. Only way people will pay attention long enough to do anything I think.
posted by Peztopiary at 1:39 AM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Eventually, the peasants give up on sorting out the details and just start taking heads. Just sayin'.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:55 AM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


That said, I enjoyed the article in much the same way as I enjoyed Richard Wolffe's book "Renegade". A nice inside look at how the administration views itself. What I meant by the last comment was that in a society so filled with misinformation and distrust it eventually becomes dysfunctional. One result of that dysfunction could very well be the normalization of political violence (not that this is a good thing by any means).
posted by IvoShandor at 2:33 AM on October 14, 2010


The election is a few weeks away, but Mr. Obama goes out of his way to yet again slap his supporters in the face.

Some of his supporters should learn to stop taking things so personally.
posted by nomadicink at 2:52 AM on October 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


"When Obama secured the Democratic nomination in June 2008, he told an admiring crowd that someday “we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

I read that line to Obama and asked how his high-flying rhetoric sounded in these days of low-flying governance. “It sounds ambitious,” he agreed. “But you know what? We’ve made progress on each of those fronts.” He quoted Mario Cuomo’s line about campaigning in poetry and governing in prose. “But the prose and the poetry match up,” he said."
This part is fascinating. The writer, Peter Baker, presents us with this reminder from 2008. Then shares with us Obama's reaction to being presented the same, but framed as cognitively dissonant with reality (high-flying rhetoric in contrast to low-flying governance). Obama, somewhat on the defensive, reframes it with a reference to Mario Cuomo's oft-used quote "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose." Baker only alludes to Obama's use of the quote (doesn't actually cite it), but that doesn't matter, because the focus of the sentiment here is in what Obama does with it, which is to say that the two are complementary; they match up. Baker highlights and shares Obama's viewpoint with us in saying that there is no cognitive dissonance between the "high-flying rhetoric" (poetry) of his campaign and the "low-flying governance" (prose) of his, well, governance. This statement that "the prose and poetry match up" furthermore takes the sentiment of the original quote itself and situates it relevant to the here and now. It's a nod of respect to Cuomo and his message then, reappropriated and updated, carried forward.

But it's so much more than that. Because the Cuomo quote is not his alone. It's been used many times, by many different people and means different things to each of them. It's also been reappropriated several times in different ways. From The Quote Verifier:
“You CAMPAIGN in poetry, you govern in prose.” This political adage is most often attributed to former New York governor Mario Cuomo. Beginning in the early 1980s, Cuomo used ti often, in speeches, conversation, and writing. The saying has also been credited to Richard Nixon, though far less often than to Cuomo. (A journalist who attributed the line to Nixon later noted that in the 1000 campaign “George Bush campaigned in nursery rhymes.") In an episode of NBC’s West Wing, President Jed Bartlet’s chief of staff used the poetry-prose line without attribution. Wherever it originated, this saying owes an unacknowledged debt to an observation credited to British writer Beverley Nichols (1898-1983): “Marriage is a book in which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.”
Verdict: Credit Mario Cuomo, with a nod to Beverley Nichols for source material.

In an article that both directly and indirectly compares Obama to Bush and others, it would not surprise me if Baker is very aware of all these possible associations. And in turn, crafts this piece accordingly. He is making a choice to attribute Obama's use of the quote as an allusion to Cuomo. Or at the very least, how he gives reference to Cuomo. As well as to Beverley Nichols. And if you look back through this article, I think you will see the marriage and book metaphors quite prevalent as well.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:21 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Peztopiary: "Seriously we need the left-wing equivalent to Fox News. 24-hour keep people angry channel."

Hell, for me that's Facebook comments by idiot friends of friends. Or, since the voluntary separation from FB, it's called "reality". Jesus some people are just proudly, brutally stupid.
posted by notsnot at 4:07 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


He heads into the final stretch of the midterm campaign season facing likely repudiation, with voters preparing to give him a Congress that, even if Democrats maintain control, will almost certainly be less friendly to the president than the one he has spent the last two years mud wrestling.
He spent the last two years doing what, now? Did someone make up the Blue Dogs and their complete freedom from any White House pressure to get with the program? Is this writer cultivating his continued access, is that why the article is such a mass of pandering?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes some people are. We need them voting as well. Fuck it, get everyone invested and paying attention to the world. Get rid of that sense of despair some people feel when they talk about big government. Have it be something they pay attention to because if they don't, if the people who don't vote keep not voting? We're fucked.
posted by Peztopiary at 4:43 AM on October 14, 2010


The biggest problem on the administration's part is an utter failure to mobilize people, specifically young people. From the absolute beginning, the White House should have started a PR blitz about how to get real health reform. We should have attacked early and with vigor, but we didn't -- and I don't mean to put down people who were doing what they could, but we really lacked the overall numbers. We should have learned from Jimmy Carter's presidency.
Why would young people be interested in supporting the democrats when they can't even get a job (or know people who can't). The problem is that Obama hasn't governed well. The stimulus was way to small. At the time it seemed like Obama was more interested in bipartisan comity then governing properly. That's a choice he made at the time and the result has been a disaster. (And the stimulus was obviously a budget vote, he could have passed a larger one via reconciliation)

The bottom line is that Obama has been incredibly naïve. He seemed to think that the republicans would just join hands and sing kumbya with him instead of actually try to beat him. He seems shocked that they are. And not only that, he's letting them kick his ass with a minority in the house and barely (or not even) enough seats to filibuster in the senate.

If he'd threatened to promote replacement candidates in the democratic primary against dem senators who went up against him, I don't think he'd be having so many problems getting his vote.
Some of his supporters should learn to stop taking things so personally.
The best way to do that is to stop being a supporter. Which seems to be what a lot of people are doing.
posted by delmoi at 4:47 AM on October 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


The best way to do that is to stop being a supporter.

A lot of people I know are feeling about the same as myself. We're not running off to vote for the GOP, but at the same time we're feeling pretty disengaged from and disappointed with the Obama administration. It's not quite the same as stopping being a supporter entirely, but it sure isn't going to translate into eager support and donations just by Obama giving a few campaign-style speeches, either.

The bottom line is that Obama has been incredibly naïve.

I couldn't agree more, and it has been incredibly frustrating to watch. That article presents an either/or of blaming policies or communication -- I'd say the problem is neither, and instead the naivete and missteps were largely political. Misjudgments of who to trust, who to pressure, and how to do it. This administration just hasn't been effective at either working with or fucking over the GOP, and pretty much you have to do one or the other.
posted by Forktine at 5:42 AM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


The bottom line is that Obama has been incredibly naïve.

I couldn't agree more, and it has been incredibly frustrating to watch.


I'm not sure I'd completely call it naive. To me the way he's governed so far is pretty much what he campaigned on and what all his supporters supposedly wanted, that emphasis on long term gain instead of short term politics, of being a statesman and not so much a politician. Now we're pissy because that didn't work out, employment is still high and one man really wasn't able to change the system in short time span. That's sort of weak of people, IMO, that they're so willing to toss Obama under the bus when Republicans were collectively acting like giant assholes at pretty much every turn.

Obama isn't perfect and looking back there are certainly things he could have done differently and better, no question. Presidents losing at their first midterm has been the standard in American politics except for two occasions, so the losses coming for the Democrats aren't surprising. Here's hoping he learns from his mistakes and does better over the next two years.
posted by nomadicink at 6:31 AM on October 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


> that emphasis on long term gain instead of short term politics,

And yet in each and every case we see short-term thinking. What's allowing more drilling in the Gulf without any changes to the whole process if it isn't "short-term thinking"? Wouldn't long-term thinking keep the lid on offshore oil because we will definitely need it later and instead pushing hard toward non-fossil fuels?

If he's a long-term thinker, what, exactly, is going to happen in Afghanistan? The plan now seems to be that we'll be there for a decade - is that really a good long-term plan? Surely if we counted up the costs of a decade or two of occupation, the better plan would be to aggressively move toward winding it up in the foreseeable future?

Is dismantling the Constitution to deal with the current supposed emergency really a good long-term plan? Mr. Obama is supposed to be a Constitutional lawyer and yet he's using the supposed emergency as a chance to solidify the suspension of the Bill of Rights started by Bush.

Mr. Obama seems to be claiming that there are no limits on the power of the Presidency in warfare - and since he's committed us to eternal warfare, it means there are no limits, forever. Is this really a good idea in the long term? Is Mr. Obama unable to understand that there will eventually be another Republican administration, a Palin or Beck or Jeb Bush presidency even, and that person will suddenly have unlimited power - is this really long-term thinking?

Ditto with financial regulation (which doesn't touch the underlying causes of the collapse) or with health reform (ditto).

I'm hard-pressed to see anything he's done that isn't a short-term bandage.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:38 AM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


At the time it seemed like Obama was more interested in bipartisan comity then governing properly.

"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America." From the speech that put Obama on the map. Maybe he meant it.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:51 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's allowing more drilling in the Gulf without any changes to the whole process if it isn't "short-term thinking"?

I suspect it's tackling one issue at a time, the ones he can make gains on, before coming back to other issues. His list of accomplishments is the past two years have been astonishing, and it's exactly through this process. "He hasn't changed everything yet," is not the same thing as "he's not changing anything and thinking in the short term."

Making massive changes all at once, without a mechanism for putting those changes in place, without broad support, and against an opposition that won't budge one iota is short-term thinking.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:57 AM on October 14, 2010


You also do not know what pressure, if any, was being made against the WH that without [X] amount of offshore oil, we would be looking at [Y] in terms of future commodoities in the very real term. I forget the exact quote, but it's something to the affect of you can't always discern the nature of a duck by looking at it swim from above water.
posted by cavalier at 8:15 AM on October 14, 2010


"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America." From the speech that put Obama on the map. Maybe he meant it.
What the hell does that have to do with The Republicans? There may not be a liberal America and a conservative America, but there is certainly a conservative party that has to be delt with. There is a big difference between "America" and "Washington D.C."

The other thing: People keep talking about how Obama promised to be "bi-partisan" in the campaign. But I actually don't remember that at all, I certainly remember his rhetoric about bringing people together, bla, bla, bla but he never the word "bi-partisan" Maybe the implication is the same but he certainly didn't talk about it during the primary and I don't remember hearing much about it during the primary. Not that word specifically. I just assumed he meant trying to reach out to conservative voters, not just
I suspect it's tackling one issue at a time, the ones he can make gains on, before coming back to other issues.
Before the BP disaster, he was making progress: By announcing an expansion of offshore drilling all along the eastern seaboard. A lot of Obama defenders use the "he can't solve every problem at once" thing but the fact is Obama was making progress on offshore drilling - in the wrong direction. And once again the issue was about trying to bring republican senators on board for climate change regulation.

But it's important to point out that Obama does not need congressional support. He opened up the east coast for drilling all on his own (again, pre-spill), without congressional approval. He instituted the moratorium on his own, no congressional action took place and the moratorium was lifted without congress getting involved.
Making massive changes all at once, without a mechanism for putting those changes in place, without broad support, and against an opposition that won't budge one iota is short-term thinking.
Again, when it comes to offshore drilling, three massive changes have already taken place Opening the east coast to drilling, putting in a moratorium, and not renewing the moratorium. All of those things Obama and the administration could, and did do without dealing with congress.
posted by delmoi at 8:44 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


You also do not know what pressure, if any, was being made against the WH that without [X] amount of offshore oil, we would be looking at [Y] in terms of future commodoities in the very real term. I forget the exact quote, but it's something to the affect of you can't always discern the nature of a duck by looking at it swim from above water.
Please, the amount of oil coming from offshore is tiny, and the price of oil has already collapsed due to the economy. And besides, high prices for oil is exactly what we want to fight global warming. No one said it would be free. (and it will take years before new drilling even has an effect on price)
posted by delmoi at 8:46 AM on October 14, 2010


There's a fairly interesting interview with Obama in the latest Rolling Stone. (See also the - at times kind of defensive - overview given by Tim Dickinson.) Some of the same points brought up in the NYT article come up there too, and he speaks a bit heatedly at the end on the question of disappointment and lack of interest among progressives in the present midterm elections, too.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:46 AM on October 14, 2010


If he's a long-term thinker, what, exactly, is going to happen in Afghanistan? The plan now seems to be that we'll be there for a decade - is that really a good long-term plan? Surely if we counted up the costs of a decade or two of occupation, the better plan would be to aggressively move toward winding it up in the foreseeable future?

The consensus coming out of Woodward's new book and the appointment of Tom Donilon for the departing Jim Jones doesn't indicate that, but rather Obama felt pinned in and doesn't want this to be another Vietnam, explicitly referring to it at such. He gave the generals what they wanted in the short term but seems to have little appetite for long term commitment.

We'll find out in July I suppose when it's time to draw down.
posted by dig_duggler at 8:53 AM on October 14, 2010


"But I keep a checklist of what we committed to doing, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we talked about during the campaign."

So does PolitiFace: The Obameter

506 Promises Made
Promise Kept 122
Compromise 41
Promise Broken 22
Stalled 82
In the Works 236
Not yet rated 3

Seems like a pretty good record to me.
posted by daHIFI at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always find it weird that liberals are all over Obama about Afghanistan. To me, attempting to sort things out before getting out (for the most part) makes sense, especially if we never should have taken our attention away from there.

The whole "we'll still have troops there" thing doesn't bother me so much, as that's something the US just does. Getting upset with Obama over that really doesn't seem reasonable. If we still have troops in Japan and Germany after all these years, I'm not sure why people were expecting we'd totally leave Iraq or Afghanistan.
posted by nomadicink at 9:00 AM on October 14, 2010


These problems are going to be resolved when the US goes bankrupt. The nation can not continue to spend more on it's military than all the rest of the world combined. It simply is not sustainable.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:55 PM on October 14, 2010


No problem, we'll just move over to Canada.

Howdy neighbor!
posted by nomadicink at 4:45 PM on October 14, 2010


So does PolitiFace: The Obameter

506 Promises Made
Promise Kept 122
Compromise 41
Promise Broken 22
Stalled 82
In the Works 236
Not yet rated 3

Seems like a pretty good record to me.
Seriously? First of all he's kept 122 of 506 promises, that's 24%. And he's been president for nearly two years. And if the republicans come into power, the window will be pretty much closed.

But the idea you can quantify the effectiveness of a president like that is completely absurd One of the promises kept was:

Change standards for determining broadband access

Will direct the Federal Communications Commission to "provide an accurate map of broadband availability using a true definition of broadband instead of the current 200 kbs standard and an assessment of obstacles to fuller broadband penetration.
While one of the promises broken was:
Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials

"No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration."
And
Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN

To achieve health care reform, "I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies -- they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process."

And
Create a public option health plan for a new National Health Insurance Exchange.

"The exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency."
--

Plus, "Closing Gitmo" rates as "stalled". according to this (despite the fact he promised to end it in one year). And the ~10% unemployment rate doesn't count, even though it's an obvious failure.
posted by delmoi at 4:59 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously? First of all he's kept 122 of 506 promises, that's 24%. And he's been president for nearly two years. And if the republicans come into power, the window will be pretty much closed.

I love how you ignore the "In the Works" stat, which is 236, while trotting out the "He's been president for two years and has only kept 122 of 506 promises" and then finish it all up with "Oh, but you can't really rate Presidents that way", cheerfully ignoring that you brought up the stast to mock that he was only at 24% of promises kept, before sliding back to "Stats like this don't really matter!"

Haters gotta hate.
posted by nomadicink at 5:10 PM on October 14, 2010


Obama's failed in my eyes by refusing to drop the radically-strong-executive stance taken by the Bush administration. I know it must be incredibly tempting, but this is one I can't forgive him for. Continuing extraordinary rendition? Or at least keeping the option open? Fighting to keep the ability to arrest and "render" U.S. citizens without trial? Unamerican. Refusing to actually open Gitmo to honest trials, and to cherry-pick the ones that will go to trial? Cowardly and Unamerican.

Good riddance to him and his lot, I won't be voting Democrat in the next elections, except in rare, case-by-case circumstances. They will lose because they deserve it.
posted by Invoke at 8:05 PM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


So.... representatives elected from one party assumed a bunch of powers and policies which you don't like, and when the elected representatives from the other party don't immediately drop all those things they inherited when they came into office, you'd rather go back to the party which you already know will try to assume powers and policies, possibly extralegal ones.

Okay, that's logic, of a sort, I guess.

(This is why I thought Bush & Co should have been impeached before they left office -- to pull these toys that Bush assumed back out of the Executive toolchest. Sadly, that time is passed. And while I'm not happy that Obama has kept them, I hardly blame him specifically for not shedding them immediately. I'd like to have seen some other actions from this administration, but I'll be damned if I'll vote for the other side again just out of spite. To me, that's like saying you agree with the actions they took when they were in power.)
posted by hippybear at 8:59 PM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love how you ignore the "In the Works" stat, which is 236, while trotting out the "He's been president for two years and has only kept 122 of 506 promises" and then finish it all up with "Oh, but you can't really rate Presidents that way", cheerfully ignoring that you brought up the stast to mock that he was only at 24% of promises kept, before sliding back to "Stats like this don't really matter!"
Right. You can't measure presidents that way, but even if you did, he looks bad. I don't know why that's so hard for you to comprehend. The "in the works" section might as well be labeled the "pipe dream" section, especially given the potential for a republican sweep in November.

At the end of the day, lots of people's lives are worse off then when Obama took office. People are now unemployed and lots are working crappier jobs. Those people aren't going to want to know how Obama is doing on reclassifying broadband internet access rates.
posted by delmoi at 11:41 PM on October 14, 2010


You can't measure presidents that way, but even if you did, he looks bad.

Not really, you've failed to compare him to past presidents, failed to include stuff being worked on. You've through out 24%, decided it was terrible based on some other scale, then proceed to rate Presidential ability on that scale without establishing how other Presidents do with that scale. That's just weak thinking.

*dusts of deputy badge*

You, sir, are on the internet and you're wrong. Again.
posted by nomadicink at 5:34 AM on October 15, 2010


So.... representatives elected from one party assumed a bunch of powers and policies which you don't like, and when the elected representatives from the other party don't immediately drop all those things they inherited when they came into office, you'd rather go back to the party which you already know will try to assume powers and policies, possibly extralegal ones.

Nice phrasing, "immediately drop". Two years is not immediate. Not dropping is not the same things as actively defending the right to use these powers, and in some cases exercising those rights. Nice try though.

Look, I don't expect you to agree. But I'm tired of the lesser-of-two-evils choice. Every election, this sort of black-or-white thinking comes up. "This is not the election to support third-party candidates, it is so important that 'we' don't lose this one." And so, the forced Democrat or Republican reign continues. Any vote not for a Democrat is necessarily a vote for a Republican, at least in this thinking. I understand it, I just refuse to accept it any longer. I'll vote my conscience, instead of holding my nose and voting for the slightly lesser of two evils. If I can't vote my conscience, I won't vote.
posted by Invoke at 5:55 AM on October 15, 2010


Look, I don't expect you to agree. But I'm tired of the lesser-of-two-evils choice. Every election, this sort of black-or-white thinking comes up.

Not to be glib, that is reality. Third party candidates are not viable at this time on the Presidential level.

If I can't vote my conscience, I won't vote.

But doesn't this reduce you conscience to black and white thinking? Do you really think that both parties are exactly that same, that voting for one or the other will do nothing to improve things?
posted by nomadicink at 6:19 AM on October 15, 2010


Third party candidates are not viable at this time on the Presidential level.

True enough. The upcoming election is not a Presidential election, however.

As far as the "viable at this time" argument goes, so how exactly is a third/fourth/fifth party supposed to become viable with this sort of thinking? Oh right, it cant. Nice logical bind. So it is always going to be a choice between a turd and a shit sandwich? Thanks, I'll skip that false choice.

The way out of a logical bind is to change the question.
posted by Invoke at 6:28 AM on October 15, 2010


As far as the "viable at this time" argument goes, so how exactly is a third/fourth/fifth party supposed to become viable with this sort of thinking?

Start small, on local levels and then build up. I see that as totally reasonable

So it is always going to be a choice between a turd and a shit sandwich? Thanks, I'll skip that false choice.

I suppose it's a matter of who has realistic numbers. If the choice is between a great candidate who doesn't have the numbers or a not so shitty candidate who does running against a truly shitty candidate, the choice is obvious, the less shitty one. Others may see it differently, but I really don't understand why.
posted by nomadicink at 6:34 AM on October 15, 2010


If I can't vote my conscience, I won't vote.

Too bad you're still voting.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:18 AM on October 15, 2010


Too bad you're still voting.

I understand the argument, I simply reject it as a valid path to any change in the future. If anything is ever going to change, we must stop giving that argument any weight.

I didn't say I wouldn't vote, or rather what I meant to say is "I won't vote for one of the two turds offered as 'the only viable candidates'"

Seriously, 99% wrong vs 95% wrong is hardly a choice I care to give any support to. A system that demands such a choice is a system that is fundamentally wrong.
posted by Invoke at 8:32 AM on October 15, 2010


Really? Democrats are 95% wrong?
To quote; Thanks, I'll skip that false choice.

The Fair elections now act seems pretty reasonable; without the middle and left getting out (I don't just mean voting, I mean congregating in peace) as much as people on the right have been this last year... it will fail. Same for all incremental changes that we desire (and I know many on the left/center raised many of the same issues in previous years (congress is not listening, professional politicians are ruining legislation etc.,) that the right is now raising [besides the racist elements]).
It will take some pride swallowing to accept that left and right share issues, worries and fears and to enact the change that is needed.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:42 AM on October 15, 2010


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