Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Losing Proposition

The headline for today seems to be: America Loses The Olympic Games: Conservatives Cheer because it gives the president a mark in the loss column.

The Little question here:how deep does your hatred of Obama have to be for you to cheer America’s elimination from contention for the Olympics?

This shows how Obama-obsessed these people are, and how clueless. This was a disappointment for America, but because it's a loss for Obama, they're happy.

Let me tell you a little secret guys: I mourn that Bush wasn't a better president. I didn't want Iraq to go bad. I didn't want this country to lose one good thing, just so Bush could be embarrassed. It wasn't as simple as a political peeing match between my party's glory and his. When America benefited, I benefited, too.

I could have handled having Bush, as objectionable as he was, be a good president. More than anything else, I didn't care how things looked, I cared how things worked. If Bush had saved folks better from Katrina, I wouldn't have mourned. If he had turned around the war in Iraq earlier, I would have been happy. If he had captured Bin Laden, or killed him, I would have been a happy man. And sure enough, when Saddam Hussein's statue fell, I was happy to see it happen. When we won that initial invasion, I was happy. I was happy to see Saddam captured.

If Bush could have been a better spoken president, I wouldn't miss laughing at his misunderestimations of the right words to say at a given moment.

I disliked Bush as much as I did because he kept screwing things up for us. When a crisis or something like that came up, his responses were often ill-prepared, and convention bound to the Republican's dogma. Over and over, this had disastrous results. That the Republicans won't face the serious trouble we're in, just so they can focus on winning 2010, and 2012, seems to me just more arrogance, more political nihilism in the face of this country's needs. This latest thing with the Olympics? Just the most obvious symptom of a party-wide unwillingness to let good be done for the rest of this country, if it means that Obama's chances for re-election or Democrat's chances for retaining the Congress improve.

What more do we have to lose before the Republicans are satisfied? How many more crisises do we have to let get out of control so the Republicans can satisfy their greed for the power they once had, that they abused, and that they lost for good reason?

The chief, and strongest reason I have to oppose Republican's attempt to regain their power is that I have no sense whatsoever that this party is ready or willing to reform itself, to repent of its errors. I don't care if the Republicans don't become liberals. I care if they don't retrieve some trace of pragmatism, some iota of willingness to put aside their needs as a party to address our needs as a nation.

Let me make something plain to the Republicans out there: you aren't defeating socialism until you can demonstrate that Capitalism can function properly, even if it means departing from the dogmas of free market fundamentalism. Until people can be confident that the brokers and financiers of the world aren't gambling us back towards a new bursting bubble of lost wealth, then we can't confidently say we've put this crisis behind us.

Until we get healthcare costs under control, there is no point in arguing to people that the system should be left as it is, because obviously, the market is failing to do what the Republicans said it would do if we left it to itself. The Republicans can adhere to dogma, or they can work to create a better system than we have now. But the gains have to be made in substance. Just standing around pretending that we've got a solution is no solution.

Unless and until Washington becomes part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, America will suffer. Not Blue State America or Red, but America as a whole. The culture war, the war against Obama's approval ratings are worthless, self-indulgent distractions from the real job that the Republicans in Washington are supposed to be seeing to. The constitution has very little to say about what school of thought would be proper to employ in governing our nation.

The Republicans failed their responsibility to their citizens. That's how they got to be the minority. Their solution seems to be cause even more failures, so that the current president and the current administration takes the blame. But the collateral casualty of that campaign has been America's good fortunes, and America will continue to suffer as long as the Republicans believe that their job is to engineer through political blockade and rashly adversarial tactics what they have not earned through good works. America needs a useful opposition party back, rather than this spoiled brat minority that has taken up residence. The Republicans in Washington need to remember who they work for, and the Republicans beyond Washington need to remember what we work for, and stop hoping that inflicting bad fortunes on this country will somehow add up to good fortunes when they win their political fight. The rest of America already has lost its patience with the GOP. Why is now the good time to try testing that patience again? Is the distant prospect of a political comeback worth dragging the country through more misfortune?

Do you folks really think that nobody will notice how much the Right is cheering against this country's good fortune?

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 2, 2009 5:41 PM
Comments
Comment #288837

As I said in a different post, the smart move would have been to send Bill Clinton. The choice was not about the president or about this country. It was time for SA to host. No one should be cheering or booing in this country.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 2, 2009 7:29 PM
Comment #288842

S.D
Here we go now, “IT’S THE REPUBLICAN’S FAULT WE LOST THE 2016 OLYMPICS” IMO I don’t think Chicago desereved to have the Olympics, with all the corruption in that city, to be honest I would not want them held in my own home town. Besides that, S.America never held Olympics events. I give the Olympic committe credit for picking Rio

Posted by: KAP at October 2, 2009 8:27 PM
Comment #288843

I don’t think conservatives are happy that Chicago didn’t get the Olimpics. The Republicans might be though.
It is however a loss for Obama as he went over to Copenhagen to try to get the games here. And from what I’ve seen and heard he blew it.
The US has also lost specially Chicago because of the boost the games bring to the economy.
However I do have to agree with KAP. Chicago doesn’t deserve to host the Olimpics becasue of the coruption it’s leadership is involved in.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 2, 2009 8:42 PM
Comment #288847

Stephen:

Obama was simply stupid. He should not have gone. Of course it’s nice to see the arrogant fall and the underdog win. It’s only human nature.

I think you should lighten up a bit. He and his crew are the ones that blew it by going and creating high expepctations, and it was only the Olympics. Would you rather have Obama royally step in it on health care? (ouch I think he has already done stepped in it with health care).

A more humble Obama, and Democratic Party and Stephen and things will look different.

Arrogance is one of the reasons why the Republicans were kicked out, and now you guys are doing the same thing.

He did royally step in it.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 2, 2009 9:18 PM
Comment #288851

I usually don’t write the same thing twice, but this needs it.

It is not Obama’s fault Chicago lost. This just goes to show that popularity and charm do not make much difference in these sorts of things. Obama embarrassed himself by putting his personal prestige on the line w/o knowing in advance that it would work. This shows his youth and inexperience.

I don’t take any pleasure in our president being made a fool. But I don’t believe it is necessarily a good thing for Chicago to win the Olympics anyway. These things are usually money-losers for the venue. So I don’t really mind the outcome, but I wish Obama had been a little more mature. Obama made all of us look stupid. He is not experienced enough to understand the world.

As for blaming Bush, that is just silly. I would think it was a joke except I know some people really believe such things.

Posted by: Christine at October 2, 2009 9:32 PM
Comment #288857

It gets worse. I just saw Obama in a commercial pimping for George Lopez on late night. What kind of guy did we elected as the leader of our country? Is he just a showman, a paper president? Is there nothing behind his “cool” image?

Posted by: Christine at October 2, 2009 10:17 PM
Comment #288858

Christine,

Obama embarrassed himself by putting his personal prestige on the line w/o knowing in advance that it would work. This shows his youth and inexperience.

I don’t understand why this is so. Zapatero and Juan Carlos went to Copenhagen, but were unable to persuade the IOC to designate Madrid ad the host city. Japan’s PM Yukio Hatoyama went to Copenhagen as well and he returned without the Olympics. Did you feel that these leaders displayed youth and inexperience by doing what they did? Especially considering that East Asia just hosted the Olympics and Europe is set to host them in 2012, there was practically no chance that either Tokyo or Madrid would win.

On the other hand, there was at least a chance Chicago would win. North America had a gap of 20 years without hosting the Summer Olympics and there were concerns that Rio de Janeiro did not have enough infrastructure to host the Olympics, it actually scored below Doha, Qatar during the first selection round. Also, the IOC did reject a Buenos Aries’ bid in 2004, which means any South American city to place a bid was not a shoe in.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 2, 2009 10:28 PM
Comment #288861

Warped

American presidents just don’t play that game. It is too bad that we lost the first time out. Obama thought his charm would win the day. He has been mugged by reality. There are limit to what a showman can do. We need a president.

Look at our president pimp for a late night comic. Please tell me that this is some kind of mistake - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIpXHWIdnds.

Posted by: Christine at October 2, 2009 10:39 PM
Comment #288864

I will agree that it is not appropriate for the President to participate in a television advertisement of that sort, but the topic we are discussing is hosting the Olympics, a topic of national prestige. It is entirely appropriate for the President to advocate for the US to bring the Olympics back to the US after twenty years without hosting the summer games.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 2, 2009 11:25 PM
Comment #288867

Maybe Obama can sell slap chop, super sponges, cable tv or mighty mendit. Now the Billy Mays has passed along, Obama can be the pitchman in chief. He is good at talking and making promises.

Posted by: Christine at October 2, 2009 11:42 PM
Comment #288872

KAP-I think you make that argument about corruption in Chicago just because it’s become customary to bash anything Obama related.

Also, read the article. There’s no mention of who’s to blame for the loss.

Ron Brown-
Share with us what you saw and heard that indicated he blew it.

Craig Holmes-
Arrogance. Can you explain to me what’s arrogant about Barack Obama in terms I could agree with? I don’t see what’s so bloody arrogant about joining a bunch of other heads of state to lobby on behalf of your nation and your home city.

I’m sick of being told that this is all a result of our arrogance when your soon to be former party is still maintaining a blockade of the senate as a deliberate political manuever. It just seems like a setup for deliberate failure of promises, rather than Obama failing those promises because he didn’t try to do what he was a elected to do. Your soon to be former party isn’t done yet screwing over the country’s good fortunes for the sake of it’s political future.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 3, 2009 12:42 AM
Comment #288882

S.D.
I also mentioned that I wouldn’t want the Olympics held in my own home town which has nothing to do with Chicago and BHO. So I am not bashing BHO but bashing Chicago and my home town.

Posted by: KAP at October 3, 2009 9:07 AM
Comment #288885

Sorry for the confusion, KAP, it’s just that two things are true: one, Rio’s probably more corrupt, and two, I guess with the way conservatives are villify “Chicago Politics” I generalized that you probably were doing so, too.

Much as politics gets characterized as “sports for nerds”, we do need to realize that the score that really counts is the good that the government does for its people. Big or small, right-wing or left-wing, it’s no use for us to indulge one style of government or another if it doesn’t get results.

If I am short with Republicans, conservatives and others on the right these days, it’s because it seems like policy is less important to them than adolescent contests and ruthless political brinksmanship. That’s what it looks like to me.

It mystifies and scares me how oblivious the Republicans have become to their circumstances and ours, but how much power they still hold at the same time. It’s like getting on a bus only to realize that the driver is blind, and unwilling to let you off.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 3, 2009 10:47 AM
Comment #288886

Stephen

Speaking of blocking, the Democrats enjoy a bigger majority than Republicans have for around eighty years. Democrats blocked plenty when they were in the minority from 2003-2007.

But back in 2005, Senator Obama joined a Filibuster, led by Senator Dodd, that blocked reform of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. That turned out well, didn’t it? Maybe from the Dem point of view it was okay. They got to blame the Republicans when it all went south. I know you like to blame the Republicans, but Democratic obstructionism was directly responsible for one of the biggest factors in the economic meltdown.

Posted by: Christine at October 3, 2009 11:57 AM
Comment #288891

Stephen:

Arrogance in terms you would agree with?

I understand your frustration with the Republicans. They are not giving you what you want. In addition, it is normal and predictable in American politics to impune movtives of all who disagree with us. So if Republicans are not supporting because they think the bill is nonsense, I understand that you must impune motive of the other side because that is what we do in America these days.

At some point, in the far distant future, when you are not so emotionally involved, it might occur to you that it might just be a bit of your approach from the left that is a tiny part of the blame in the Republican response.

Not letting the Republicans off the hook for anything. I wish they would be the grownups in this preschool, but they are just as bad as you democrats.

Pelosi and Reid are not the types of Democrats that encourage cooperation across party lines. If you really want cooperation from Republicans seriously you would need to look at replacing your leadership. That isn’t going to happen so this is the road we will be on for a while.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 3, 2009 3:20 PM
Comment #288953

Christine-
It’s not the same. Our filibusters were an incidental strategy. Yours are generalized. Our filibusters were aimed at specific laws and specific candidates.

The Republicans are using obstruction as a generalized tactic, and to a higher degree than Democrats who in the middle of this decade, were threatened with the Nuclear Option, because they filibustered a handful of judges. Republicans, having blocked hundreds under their watch, found this to be a galling display of undemocratic behavior, thus the threat.

Tables turn, and oh golly gee, they’re saving Democracy this time.

As for factors in the Meltdown?
Republican legislation, which Democrats signed onto, shifted the regulations that governed accounting, finance, derivatives towards a laissez faire position. That is how the Democrats share the blame.

Going after Fannie and Freddie is just a sick, twisted way to make this all about fearing the poor minorities who took advantage of the lender’s generosity, and were allowed to run amok.

That’s why the CRA is attacked, even though fewer of those covered by it’s regulation (which forbid discrimination against minorities in lending) defaulted on their loans than the average.

That’s why Fannie and Freddie were attacked, even though their collapse, however catastrophic, only came after a year of more hazardous lenders going under.

Why? Because they want to make all about people having tried to make homeownership easier. That wasn’t the problem. If the Market had been configured right, it would have been constructed so that market signals could get through to the right people to get them to stop doing things wrong.

Credit Ratings, had they reflected the true risk of their product, would have kept low-risk buyers from being deceived into buying high-risk securities and funds. That would have in turned reduced the market for high-risk loans. Reducing that would have brought the housing bubble down easier.

Predatory Lending, had it been kept to a minimum by strong laws and strong enforcement, would not have helped put so many people, so many folks who were not experts, and not always rational about their choices, into a position of facing loans they could not pay back.

Derivatives, had they been more strictly regulated, and their issuance more tied to real collateral and financial relationships, would not have been issued with such abandon, and because of that, would not have been there to hedge the market risks of bad loans and other credit conniving. That means financial companies would have seen more financial exposure in hyping up some markets, and cut it short.

If non-bank mortgage lenders had been forced to operate like the banks they essentially were, they would have been less of a source of these endlessly traded away, endless hedged securities. They might have been so profitable, and the GOP might have cried “Oh what of the free market? Where has it gone?”, but surely that would have been better than facing the monster of all recessions.

If Mortgage securities had been more transparent, we could have seen through to the crappy worth of many of these bad securities. People wouldn’t buy investments they couldn’t count on.

If Accounting rules were set up to where real money was prioritized over fantasy profits, predicted somewhere in the future based on credit accounts issued to bad or gullible debtors, then we wouldn’t have seen credit-issuing companies giving credit to those who could not pay it back. It would not be in their financial interest.

Don’t you see how this works? You have to understand the economy as a system, where results can emerge from simple rule changes that are not obvious from the outset. If everything is about scapegoats, which the Republicans love to offer, in order to distract people, then we never get to that level of analysis.

Not all emergent, natural, or market-born outcomes are good or desireable. We must realize that while we need to take advantage of society’s ability to self-organize, we must never delude ourselves into believing that people always choose right and economically healthy things, or that they are always rational decision makers. Hell, if people were or tended to be rational decision makers, we couldn’t have got into this mess.

The Republicans are the main architects of the system as it stands today, it’s emphasis on profits and economic growth over any number of other priorities, over responsible conduct in those industries, finance included. It was more important to the Republicans to prove the Democrats wrong (or make it sound like the Democrats were wrong, at least) than it was to make sure things added up.

That priority continues. It’s more important to reinstitute generalized Republican rule, than to deal with any number of crisis level issues now at hand.

It’s the thinking that caught the GOP up short the last two times: ignoring or downplaying crisises for the sake of political gain and maintenance of existing power.

Craig Holmes-
There motives may not be bad, in most cases, but Republicans have been caught up in a web of lies so dense that until they reject the whole mess and start from the ground up, they have no way of gaining proper perspective until they step outside of the conservative media.

Of course, that is what the pundits and the politicians keep on telling people is all lies and bias. The rest of the media is out to get us!

How can you have a debate with people who won’t even recognize or agree on basic facts?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 5, 2009 10:54 PM
Comment #288955

Stephen

The Dems filibustered reforms that would have reformed the mortgages and changed the big mess up of Fannie and Freddy. That is just part of history. Your speculations about what might have happened if mortgages had been more transparent didn’t happen because of Democratic filibusters.

SO, I don’t mean to sound like a kid on a playground but your arguments literally bounce off Republicans and stick to Dems.

Question - how many filibusters have Republicans done in the last two years. compared with what the Dems did the last two years of Republican power?

Posted by: Christine at October 5, 2009 11:12 PM
Comment #288970

Christine-
Let me answer your question: 52 times between 2005 and 2007 for us. before then, it was 49 filibuster threats for 2003-2005.

In the two years between 2007 and 2009, The Republicans obstructed more in the 110th Congress than in the 108th and 109th combined. This during the worst, most contentious years of our recent political history. You’d still have 11 cloture votes that you would have to borrow from the Congress befor that. Put another way, when the Democrats set the record for obstruction themselves, last time, it was during the 106th and 107th Congress, at 58 each. That comes to 116. That’s only 4 more than the Republicans employed in one Congressional term, obstructing the Democrats.

You can’t compare what the Republicans did in the last two years to the two years before it. You have to go back four years. Four years during the Presidency of a man who many Democrats absolutely despised. The four years that ultimately led to 2006.

Democrats aren’t perfect. But they are better.

As for what was filibustered? The trick is, Republican reforms have a bad habit of being the cure that is worse than the disease. We reform accounting to a more laissez faire standard, we get Enron. We reform banking to their liking, we get the current collapse. We modernize the market for derivatives as they want it, and guess what we get?

Republicans may mean well, but their theory hasn’t aged well in my lifetime. When I was seven, there was a market crash over the bond market. When I was a bit older, there was the S+L crisis. Yay deregulation.

The Republicans got their way on healthcare. Did things get better as time went on? No. Did letting e-business and finance just do anything they wanted work out? By the end of the decade, no.

Did letting companies increase the cleverness of their accounting help us, letting accounting companies consult with the companies they’re auditing? No.

Overseas, such free market frivolity, such a financial bubble helped ditch the far east into an economic collapse that we certainly felt. Japan fell into a funk, and they tried what the Republicans wanted us to try on stimulus, small and centered on a few industries. The result was that they’re economic recovery was long and slow. Is that what Republicans want for us?

Did letting Derivatives run wild in the market do us good? No. In the end, the funny money expansion of the economy collapsed under its own weight.

We deregulated energy in many states. Result? huge strains on the infrastructure, greater financial burdens on customers, rather than lower prices and greater efficiency.

Again and again, we’ve tried things the Republican’s way, tried marketizing and privatizing things. Results? Failures. A long line of failures. What could be justly argued is that the Republican’s policies are naive in their application to a modern economy. They’re still living in the economy of the 1920’s. Is it any shock they’ve recapitulated the outcome of that game?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 6, 2009 2:41 PM
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