Democrats & Liberals Archives

Weak or Strong, Mr. President?

The loss of Ted Kennedy’s former seat, a seat solidly Democratic for as long as anyone can remember, is the only chance President Obama may have of showing conviction in his beliefs. While many pundits will promote the notion that the loss of this long standing Democratic bastion signals a shift away from the Democrats, it is too early to jump to conclusions. While health care was a major contributing factor in the loss of the late Kennedy’s seat, I believe it is a sign that the President has been too weak, and people are starting to get fed up.

President Obama talks the good talk, but so far his actions haven’t spoken any louder than his words. His words, it turns out, are empty hot air. There have been several opportunities for the president to show America that he indeed has the courage to stand up for his convictions, but the utter dissection and sell-out of health care reform has exposed him terribly. If he does indeed want true change then he certainly hasn’t shown himself capable of getting it done. Rather, he stood by and allowed our so-called representatives to consult with the insurance industry on what best would suit our corporate masters, not help the American people and make their lives better.

And to be fair, perhaps this is a symptom of the President’s naiveté. He ran for office with an admirable goal of bridging the gap between the party divide, but this has proven to be an impossible challenge to meet. Partisanship is so engrained in the American political psyche that I am fairly certain there is no way back from the dark path it has been leading us down. We are lost. America is a cesspool of ideologues from two opposing sides, and it seems the President really believed the horrendous state of our country would be enough to get these sand-box-bully partisans to set aside their differences and work together. That is his most tragic mistake to date.

There is no way to bring America’s extreme poles closer, ideologically, policy-wise, or even civilly in the same room. It is a vicious dogfight where neither side cares the least for the suffering of those involved. President Obama had a noble goal of trying to rally our government around the pursuit of fixing the country, but he sorely underestimated the vice grip strangling all opportunities for progress.

He has had a full year to acclimate to his office. He still has three years left, three years in which he can make great strides, but only if he has the gumption to enact real change in spite of the forces profiting from the status quo. Until he shows some willingness to throw our problems back in the face of those who created them America will continue to deteriorate, and President Obama will go down as one of the most lily-livered presidents in America history. Sorry Carter…

Posted by Michael Falino at January 20, 2010 5:07 PM
Comment #294233


The president outsourced health care to Reid & Pelosi. They proved too far left and too incompetent to carry the ball. He also outsourced the stimulus to these same clowns. Obama should indeed step up. But if he follows the same lefty path, he will do no better.

You are right that when Obama pushed non-liberal issues, he gets Republican support, such as in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Christine at January 20, 2010 9:22 PM
Comment #294234

Christine, do you really think that the liberals in Massachusetts were telling the Democrats that they are to liberal? I think they were sending the opposite message to Obama and the Democrats. Stop acting like Republicans and get back to your progressive roots.

The people of Massachusetts are unhappy with their health care plan and the Democrats were trying to pass something worse.

Posted by: jlw at January 20, 2010 9:35 PM
Comment #294241


I think the LIBERALS of Massachusetts voted for the Democrats. I think the MAJORITY of the people were indeed telling us that they are unhappy with the direction the Democrats are taking the country.

Liberals make up only around 20% of the American people. They are a higher number in Mass, but evidently not a majority and they could not convince independents to go along with the leftist views.

Posted by: Christine at January 20, 2010 10:45 PM
Comment #294243

Christine, Obama did not get support for Afghanistan from Republicans. He got silence, mostly. A few pundits and Congressional Republicans said anything in the way of support for Obama’s Afghanistan troop increase proposal.

Still, your point is well made. Democrats, between now and Nov., need to pass items of legislation which Republicans dare not oppose, like a simplified and bare bones health care reform package which goes after the insurance industry to insure pre-existing conditions, stop them from cancelling policies in the middle of medical treatments due to limits reached, and eliminates the monopolies and oligoplies currently operating in many states, and not a dime added to the deficit. That should get insurance companies and their lobbyists wishing for the former health care reform bill which they helped kill.

They should pass a similar bare bones bill that begins to address global warming gasses offering tax incentives to the research labs working on alternative.

They should pass another middle class tax cut, one time only, to stimulate consumption and help recover some jobs for Americans.

These btw, are Ed Rendell’s prescriptions as enunciated on MSNBC this evening on one of the political talk shows.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 20, 2010 11:03 PM
Comment #294248

Christine, I don’t doubt in the least that only 20% claim to be liberals. Liberal stands for can’t we all get along and we can’t do that. I have never considered myself to be a liberal.

On the other hand, conservative means preserve the statis quo, I’m afraid, I don’t want change.

I have always wondered who should be given the most credit for forcing the government to legislate civil rights reform, MLK and the civil rights movement or the conservatives with their hit squads, assassins, attack dogs and water hoses.

When I here people say that our population is getting older and more conservative I consider that bad news for our country.

If you are talking fiscal conservative I can relate to that but, lets get real, neither the political party’s nor the majority of the American people are fiscally responsible. This country’s national debt and personal debt makes that fact undeniable.

Posted by: jlw at January 21, 2010 12:23 AM
Comment #294254


All the guys with hose and dogs were Democrats.

One problem with liberals is that they scapegoat conservatives for everything.

The politician most interested in change is Newt Gingrich. And the “changes” proposed by Reid and Pelosi harken back to the 1960s.

In the U.S. “conservative” has come to include people who would have been liberals 100 years ago, while “liberal” has come to encompass what would be social democrat in Europe.

Posted by: Christine at January 21, 2010 7:23 AM
Comment #294259


Obama did not get support for Afghanistan from Republicans. He got silence, mostly. A few pundits and Congressional Republicans said anything in the way of support for Obama’s Afghanistan troop increase proposal.

Here’s a USA Today/Gallup poll that differs with you on this.

“The point is that it’s a good, strong strategy. It’s a good policy. I think it will succeed,” McCain said.

Posted by: George at January 21, 2010 10:37 AM
Comment #294261

Micahel Falino,
You seem to be saying that if he wrote his own health care bill and didn’t include industry or congress in the process then everyone would be happy and the votes would be there. Wow - What a stretch. That more than backfired when the Clinton’s tried it.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 21, 2010 11:02 AM
Comment #294263


No, what he should have done was said “we are going to go after the low hanging fruit and fix the two or three obvious issues that need addressed right now INSTEAD of trying to create a 1000+ new beauracracy that was going to achieve almost none of their stated goals.”

I think he would have gotten those bills through within weeks, have had a success and now be working on expaning those things.

Instead we have huge governmental takeovers of private industry, unconstitutional law concerning the purchasing of health insurance and a clear failure on the part of the President and his party on this issue specifically.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 21, 2010 11:13 AM
Comment #294264

George, that poll does not disagree with my comments. That poll reflects support of the policy by the public, both Republican and Democrat. My comment referred to the silence of Republicans in government and on the GOP pundits in the media.

The public is usually more common sensical than partisan politicians blinded by their greed for power.

As for McCain as the exception, that is in keeping with my comment, and I quote: “A few pundits and Congressional Republicans said anything in the way of support for Obama’s Afghanistan troop increase proposal.”

My point was, most didn’t. They were silent.

As to whether or not McCain and Obama are correct about our Afghanistan policy,. remains to be seen. Estimates of American casualties this coming summer have balooned. If that occurs, the public is going to begin to adopt a different view as to the success of the escalation. To some extent, success is defined by public opinion after the fact.

In this case, however, Afghanistan is not where the real threat is. The real threat is Pakistan. Unfortunately, the closest base of operations we have the check what happens in Pakistan is Afghanistan. And, should we vacate Afghanistan before the Karzai government is capable of defending its own borders and government, the terrorist organizations will return to Afghanistan and psoe a threat to that regime as well.

The longest most screwed up war America has ever engaged in, thanks to the Bush administration.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 21, 2010 11:15 AM
Comment #294278

If you are talking fiscal conservative I can relate to that but, lets get real, neither the political party’s nor the majority of the American people are fiscally responsible. This country’s national debt and personal debt makes that fact undeniable.
Posted by: jlw at January 21, 2010 12:23 AM

I heard on the news last night that congress will soon be asking to raise the national debt limit by $1.9 trillion. And this will be considered while most American’s are cutting up their own credit cards and trying to live within their means.

A new wind is blowing and it is coming from the vast majority of American’s of both parties. We want fiscal responsibility. We will not tolerate an even bigger and more bloated federal government. Just as our states have discovered, there is little appetite among our population for increased taxes to fund new spending, much less continue with past spending habits.

Government must learn to live within their budgets by eliminating what is not essential. I recall the governor of California not long ago stating that all “non-essential” government jobs and programs would be eliminated. Well DUH…if they aren’t essential they shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Government, as our founders understood it, should be charged with carrying out what is essential for our country and leave the rest to our people to handle for themselves.

Politicians must remember that it is not their money that is being squandered (in many cases) but our money. We have billions allocated for pork that is not essential. We spend billions to employ unnecessary government employees.

In my state of Texas we have a governor’s race which has the current governor and two others running for the office on the Republican ticket. I listened to their debate on local TV a few days ago. Senator Hutchinson, a candidate, stated that Texas had added 1300 new jobs to the government payroll in the past year. Since Governor Perry did not deny that statement I will assume it is true. It was also stated that next year Texas will face a $17 billion shortfall in its budget. We have had surpluses for years in this state and now we face red ink and in spite of this knowledge we have added to government payroll. That is outrageous and Texas voters are mad as hell.

I believe it is not only Texan’s that are angry with poor management, but the entire nation.

The new political wind blowing is going to sweep out the big spenders of both parties. I say…AMEN.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 21, 2010 12:13 PM
Comment #294280

We have the same problem in Ohio with piss poor management. For an example we used to have some some time to renew Drivers Licenses but now the governor threw in a late fee that no one knew about until you get to the renewal site a $20.00 late fee even if only one day late. This is because the State Police are running in the red.

Posted by: KAP at January 21, 2010 12:28 PM
Comment #294281

Well at least my Republican Rep supported it:

“You Lie” Wilson

As I’ve stated before I have pretty much supported all of the decisions that the CinC makes. Some of them, like Carter’s visit in Iran and Reagan’s entry/hasty withdraw in Lebanon, didn’t work out so well. But that’s the hardest part of the job. Obama was willing to go against his own base and make the tough call for what he thinks is right. And if he says tomorrow that it’s time to bring the troops home then it’s time. He’s the President; it’s his call.

Posted by: George at January 21, 2010 12:31 PM
Comment #294292

Michael, I think he’s stronger than you think.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 21, 2010 1:46 PM
Comment #294304

It’s about time he grew some nards Stephen.

Posted by: KAP at January 21, 2010 6:17 PM
Comment #294314

I’ve never seen him as lacking them. He just doesn’t flinging them around trying to draw attention to them. You don’t get into a ****ing contest with the Clintons and win without some kind of guts.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 21, 2010 8:54 PM
Comment #294315

Let me be more blunt here. Some folks are thinking of what they don’t like in their current choice, treating them as disposable, without considering the alternative, what the alternative will do to them. Very likely, everything that those liberals in Massachussetts disliked about the goings on in Washington will now get even worse.

Three years from now, after all the embarrassment that’s going on, what will they think? Will they even care? The problem isn’t that the politicians or the incumbents aren’t serving the public interests, it’s that the public isn’t serving their own interests.

Not because they’re stupid, or incapable of looking after their own affairs. But because they’re looking at this from the wrong scale. Politics is all too often reduced to merely being a rated TV show, with things like likeability, rather than competence emphasized. This is why I never really supported anti-incumbency for its own sake, because I care which candidate wins.

Our principles have to stop being applied so myopically. We have to start looking at the bigger picture, and move beyond a flat sense of what politics is about.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 21, 2010 9:04 PM
Comment #294318

He’s going to fight the banks and lose. He just made things worse especially for small business. Lately he has been drawing attention but in the wrong way. I guess you haven’t got the message that people are tired of politics as usual in DC. Especially those behind closed doors deal that have been going on. Even your own party is backtracking because of their ignoring what their constituents want. I think Brown is the best thing that happened to your party. Yea BHO showed a little bit of having some nards but I think they’re going to get cut off.

Posted by: KAP at January 21, 2010 9:24 PM
Comment #294333

Fight the banks and lose? Perhaps. But I don’t know whether you’ve cottoned on to this, but even just fighting the banks is a political win for him, and those who fight on behalf of the banks are making themselves targets.

Besides, somebody once threatened to cut his nuts off. That was Jesse Jackson, and Obama still became President. All those who underestimated Barack Obama in the last election were defeated.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 22, 2010 12:44 AM
Comment #294363

Your ideaology is great, but sooner or later reality has to set in.

Posted by: KAP at January 22, 2010 12:23 PM
Comment #294368

Stephen D. said: “Politics is all too often reduced to merely being a rated TV show, with things like likeability, rather than competence emphasized.”

And that, Stephen, is the reality, that must be worked with. The anti-incumbent strategy takes that reality into account and works around it. Educating voters to be objective assessors of competence in political candidates may be possible theoretically, but, not for any elections in the foreseeable future. This is one of the main principled reasons the founding fathers would not consider universal suffrage at the outset of our nation. Though we are a more literate nation today, as a people, we are a long way from becoming objectively assessing voters.

The anti-incumbent strategy works in concert with people’s passions and their disapproval of government results, harnessing them to effect the kinds of changes the voters require of their government. Embracing reality and making it work for the objectives is far more productive than rejecting reality and charting a course based on an unrealistic expectation.

Choosing candidates based on your objective assessment of their competence may work for you. But, that is not how a significant number of the electorate decide their vote, and elections are determined in large part by those who use other criteria than yours. That is an inescapable reality. Though cognitive dissonance will dictate that almost all voters will say their process is objective and based on candidate competence. The reality is something else, again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 22, 2010 12:50 PM
Comment #294377

From Rasmussen today…

“Sixty-one percent (61%) of U.S. voters say Congress should drop health care reform and focus on more immediate ways to improve the economy and create jobs. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 30% of voters nationwide disagree and think Congress should press ahead with health care.”

I sure hope obama and congress get the message.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 22, 2010 3:00 PM
Comment #294381

From AP…

“Some Democrats said Obama must lead his dispirited party to a resolution.

“He has got to bring the Senate and the House together,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. “He has got to help all of us pave a way to get it done.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama thinks the best path is “giving this some time, by letting the dust settle, if you will, and looking for the best path forward.” He said Obama does not believe a major health care revision is dead.

Asked what is next for the legislation, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., shaped her hand like a gun and pointed to her head. “We’re looking to see what there’s support to do,” she said.”

I believe obama made a huge error in giving congressional dems the green light to fashion the HC bill within just his minimal requirements. It has gotten out of hand with the tail wagging the top dog. Their grasp exceeded their reach and a smart president with his party in control of congress, and a better reading of popular opinion, could have done much better.

He sat in many of the congressional meetings and could have displayed more control…unless this God-awful bill was to his liking.

I know obama has a lot on his plate, and it’s a tough job, but he certainly knew this going into the job. Now, in my opinion, he has wasted most of the political capital he started with and will have great difficulty getting back to where he once was.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 22, 2010 3:59 PM
Comment #294388

Wow…what a headline. This doesn’t bode well for liberals and progressives.

“Air America Radio Closing, Filing for Bankruptcy”

I wonder why libs and progressives didn’t give AA more support…it was one of their most powerful voices.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 22, 2010 4:21 PM
Comment #294396

Fox News, Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity and Savage continue to grow in popularity while the libs can’t keep AA on the air. What’s going on here?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 22, 2010 6:28 PM
Comment #294399

This is to easy, liberals and progressives don’t wast time listening to demagoguery and lies. Conservatives eat it up.

Posted by: jlw at January 22, 2010 9:05 PM
Comment #294434

jlw…I’m confused by what you wrote. Are you telling us that Air America went bankrupt because liberals and dems didn’t want to listen to demagoguery and lies?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 23, 2010 11:49 AM
Comment #294590

I am pretty disapointed too. Its only been a year and I pray he grows some. I am starting to think H,Clinton would have been a better choice,oh well. BHO’s big drawback was said to be inexperience. It was my hope that that was a good thing,that he was not already cought up on DC politics. Unfortunately, his inexperience still leaves him with the mistaken belief that the right will compromise. That if a policy makes enough sense then they will come around. They won’t. The HC bill is an example. Congress wasted months trying to reach compromise with the Administrations approval and got zero Rep support,even for a watered down,very modest HC proposal,one that ironically is very similar to the one Mitt Rohmney crafted for Mass.
Apparently BHO still labors under the illusion that the right wants what is best for the country. I hope he is starting to smell the coffee. Most of the rights leadership merely represent corporate interest while most of the rank and file are fearful,rascist and less than cerebral.
There are three things he must do if he wants his presidency to succeed. The first is to stop bending over to compromise. Do what is right and necessary. Second,explain why it is right and necessary again and again and again. That is the only way to fight the lies and distortions.Third is to get rid of those advisors that tell him he can’t succeed, that Washington won’t let him. That we cannot really reform HC because the insurance and medical industries are too powerful. That we cannot really reform military procurment because the MIC is too powerful. That we cannot improve relations with Cuba because the sugar lobby is too powerful etc.etc.
I recall during the campaigne that BHO said that he would rather be an effective president that a two term one. OK,then it is time to put that first. If he does not shape up and start playing hardball, I,for one will consider voting for someone else in the primary.

Posted by: bills at January 26, 2010 7:54 AM
Comment #294603

Russ…that was quite an analysis. Wrong, but interesting.

But, you are correct in stating that liberals who voted for obama are angry as they are disappointed by what he has not accomplished and independents are angry because of what he has accomplished.

This hardly bodes well for either obama or the current crop of liberals occupying seats in congress.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 26, 2010 1:40 PM
Comment #294605

not to worry about obama, losing kennedy’s seat and ending health care reform isnt a feather in republicans hats, it’s just another nail in their coffin. The history republicans have made since bush / Cheney hasn’t been good and your republican cheerleaders, hannity, Limbaugh, not so good for you either. The Independents you created will dictate future elections, the day of republican incompetence is slowly coming to an end.

Posted by: jeff at January 26, 2010 2:21 PM
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