Democrats & Liberals Archives

Obama's World of Cooperation

President Barack Obama has been misunderstood by both the Right and the Left. The Right blows a gasket when it screams that Obama is a radical “socialist.” The Left shakes with rage every time Obama compromises with conservatives. Both Lefties and Righties believe they are playing a competitive zero-sum game: If the other side wins your side loses. Obama believes that, where possible, cooperation produces good results for everyone.

I can't say I blame politicians for being so competitive. This is the way politics has been practiced for as long as I remember. Build yourself up, tear the other guy down. Find fault; hire people to dig up the dirt; destroy your opponent's reputation. Call opponents names, the worse the name the better: "communist" is better than "socialist," "nazi" is better than "extremist."

President Obama has inherited a country where politicians have taken this mode of political action to its absurd conclusion: Both sides are destroying each other's reputation while producing gridlock that is rapidly making the U.S. a third-world country. Instead of helping us maintain our world leadership, this extreme emphasis on competition in the international sphere ("you are either with us or with the terrorists") has severely reduced our influence with other nations.

One of the first things Obama did after being inaugurated president was to visit Cairo and proclaim the need for world cooperation. In a powerful speech, President Obama promised to lead the way toward a world where all nations live together in peace and prosperity.

Many thought that this speech was as far as President Obama would go. They don't understand Obama. On Tuesday, President Obama convened a Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, where he spoke about achievements and entrepreneurial possibilities in Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, West Bank, Jordan, U.S. and other Muslim countries. Here is a brief excerpt:

So this is the incredible potential that you represent; the future we can seize together. So tonight I'm proud to announce a series of new partnerships and initiatives that will do just that.

The United States is launching several new exchange programs. We will bring business and social entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries to the United States and send their American counterparts to learn from your countries. (Applause.) So women in technology fields will have the opportunity to come to the United States for internships and professional development. And since innovation is central to entrepreneurship, we’re creating new exchanges for science teachers.

We’re forging new partnerships in which high-tech leaders from Silicon Valley will share their expertise -- in venture capital, mentorship, and technology incubators -- with partners in the Middle East and in Turkey and in Southeast Asia.

And tonight, I can report that the Global Technology and Innovation Fund that I announced in Cairo will potentially mobilize more than $2 billion in investments. This is private capital, and it will unlock new opportunities for people across our countries in sectors like telecommunications, health care, education, and infrastructure.

President Obama also announced that Turkey will follow through next year with an Entrepreneurial Summit in Instanbul.

President Obama is different from all other presidents who have preceeded him. His primary emphasis is on cooperation. If you want to compete with him he will do it. But it is much more to your advantage to cooperate with him. Many governments are finding this out. They are happy with Obama's leadership and are eager to have the U.S. lead the way toward a better world.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 28, 2010 10:48 PM
Comments
Comment #299773

Paul
Frustrating is right. Compromise has an inherant drawback. When one policy is the best way forward and the opposite method is the wrong way forward,compromise puts forth a less than optimal solution and sometimes solutions less likely to succeed than either positions strategy.
HCR is a prime example. The best way forward was to change about two senrences in the Medicare act and allow everyone eligibility, coupled with increased authority to negotiate prices. This was compromised away before it was even discussed. Instead we got got a “step in the right direction” bill,without even a public option, instead of a solution.
Much praise gets automatically heaped on
“moderates”. Being moderate is not a political position. Its a stance,a pose. “All you find in the middle of the road is a white line and dead armidillos.”

Posted by: bills at April 28, 2010 11:47 PM
Comment #299781

bills,

There wouldn’t be as many dead armadillos on most highways if Texas would quit sending their DOT dump-trucks around the country dropping the darned things out onto the road…see compromise is good sometimes. When it becomes obvious nothing will be accomplished, compromise can work toward the least of two evils, and the evil that has been selected can be, and many times is improved upon, to the point it ends up better than it might have been if the original had come into being. I’m hoping such will be the case for Health Care Reform. Paul has posted a good one here. Many have given short shrift to President Obama’s dogged determination to inspire cooperation.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 29, 2010 3:24 AM
Comment #299797


IMO, Health Care Reform benefited the large health insurance corps. more than anyone else.

We are about to see another great example of compromise in financial reform. I have little doubt about who is going to come out of that smelling like a rose.

When it comes to getting things done, for the good or the bad, Obama can’t compete with Bush II. The Democrats were practically grovelling at his feet. A large portion of the legislation signed by Bush was passed with huge majorities of both parties.

What I see from Obama and the Congress is a slight rearrangement of the established status quo of corpocracy.

We have gotten corpocracy health care reform. Next is corpocracy financial reform followed by corpocracy immigration reform and then corpocracy energy reform.

The money changers aren’t just in the temple, they own it.

Posted by: jlw at April 29, 2010 2:22 PM
Comment #299810

Marysdude,

Armadillo death panels?

Posted by: gergle at April 29, 2010 6:03 PM
Comment #299827

Why did the cost of my health insurance just go up? I thought Obamacare was supposed to take care of this. Those greedy insurance companies are still shafting people in spite of obamacare. Don’t they realize Obama (bless his holy name) has issued a fatwah.

Posted by: Beretta9 at April 29, 2010 10:12 PM
Comment #299831

Beretta9,

Why would you think that? Glad though you can finally admit who the problem is.

Posted by: gergle at April 29, 2010 10:57 PM
Comment #299857

We can be thankful that more people will have access to mental health services after the HCR law goes into full effect.
Beretta has a point. If we had not had to compromise and gone to an immediate single payer system that works so well several G7 countries, insurance company price increases would not be an issue. Hell,if a good public option had not been compromised away, providers and carriers would think twice about increases.
Apparently Lyndsy Graham is the current Republican Lucy.He is in charge of holding the football of bi-partisan hope just long enough to get senate Dems and BHO to offer some compromises before he yanks the football away. Up his and up theirs. Its time for Dems to put forward the best policy options and if there is any Reps with the balls left to sign on ,more power to them. A few are comming around.

Posted by: bills at April 30, 2010 11:02 AM
Comment #299862


Bills, I agree with what you said but, remember that the Democrats passed health care without a Republican vote. It wasn’t the Republicans that prevented the Democrats from passing true reform. It was corporate dollars that passed this bill and corporate dollars will prevent them from truely addressing financial regulation.

Posted by: jlw at April 30, 2010 12:38 PM
Comment #299884

jlw,

I think the Democrats gave away the meat and potatoes before they found out how entrenched in bloc voting Republicans really were. That type of non-compromise was not the norm, and surprised everyone. I’m certain there was a limited amount of graft involved, as there almost always is on a large issue, but mostly I think you exaggerate.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 1, 2010 12:15 AM
Comment #299888

jlw
There is not question that the Dems need to clean house also but the HCR bill started out as a compromise bill from the start in hopes of gainning at least some Rep support. A rather pointless endeavor.
Maybe the Dem leadership has finally figured it out. Every time the Reps try and block a measure make it stronger and send it back until their corporate masters cry uncle.

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 4:15 AM
Comment #299997


Marysdude and Bills, There is one big problem with what both of you are saying, it is not accurate.

The Whitehouse and the liberals negotiated the HC bill for what, a year? Very little of that time was spent negotiating with Republicans. Nearly all negotiations were conducted between liberals and blue dogs who were representing the health insurers.

All the corpocracy had to do was make sure that there wasn’t enough votes amoung the Democrats to pass single payer. The corpocracy did that effectively.

Posted by: jlw at May 2, 2010 2:09 AM
Comment #300003

jlw
Max Baucus spents months and months negotiating with Republicans with the administrations approval.Corporations did have some successes,but they had to give some too. For example they won’t be able to exclude pre-existing conditions but they did manage to to keep a public option out.The HCR bill should be better and we need to get to work moving the Blue Dogs back amongst the righteous or back amongst the trash cans.
The Republicans were reason the public option was not voted on. It would have passed both houses were it not for reconcilliation rules the Reps forced into play.

Posted by: bills at May 2, 2010 5:24 AM
Comment #300004

jlw,

It is you who is not being accurate. That ‘almost’ year was spent in what, at the time, was referred to as bi-partisan committee meetings. The Blue Dog problem was a separate issue entirely. HCR was a rocky road, but cooperation by Democrats with Republicans was the smallest of those bumps.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 2, 2010 5:26 AM
Comment #300026

Marysdude,

I hate to tell you, but jiw is correct. The Democratic game plan was always to accept the “Romney” plan as the political end game solution. Single payer was taken off the table by the Democratic leadership from the very beginning. The “public option” was dropped with hardly a fight, despite widespread public support. The Democrats felt that it would be too dificult to take on both the Republicans and the insurance industry at the same time. Better a complicated subsidized private sector plan than no plan toward universal coverage. Paul Krugman and Robin Wells in a pre-electon 2006 New York Review of Books article, (www.nybooks.com/articles/18802/) accurately predicted what the Democrats would ultimately propose and accept if they returned to power. It was not a surprise.

Posted by: Rich at May 2, 2010 8:34 PM
Comment #300112

Krugman is pretty smart and his guesses and prognostications fairly on target…so was Nostradamus. But you have to consider also the times they were wrong. The turn of events may not have surprised Krugman, and it may not have surprised you, but it did surprise the Democrats and most of the rest of us. The lock-step action of Republicans, since November 2008, has been unprecedented in the annals of policy politics. While en bloc political activity has reared a time of few, the cases are rare and never to the extent of our current crop. To say that Krugman’s predictions were based on anything but fancy, is to say a divided Democratic party conspired on the health care reform package, and held the deception throughout being a minority right into being the majority, and no Blue Dog squealed on the conspiracy…and, President Obama was born in Kenya, and is a closet Muslim who straps a vest bomb on before going to work every day, just waiting to pulls the cord and visit with his 72 virgins.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 4, 2010 11:39 PM
Comment #300121

Marysdude,

“To say that Krugman’s predictions were based on anything but fancy, is to say a divided Democratic party conspired on the health care reform package,”

I was not suggesting a conspiracy. Just that the Democrats had long prepared for a less than optimal outcome on health care reform. From the very beginning, the Democratic proposal was a conservative, Heritage Foundation type plan with a “public option” twist. It was never a liberal progressive plan. It wasn’t an idealistic plan. It was a pragmatic approach incorporating the existing power structures, i.e., insurance industry, Big Pharma, etc. In retrospect, the fact that it was so vehemently opposed by the Republicans justifies the rather cautious approach taken by the Democrats. The Democrats took what they thought they could get politically. An incremental change was better than the status quo. Obama said essentially the same thing during the signing ceremony.

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