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Nobody listens to hippies

Especially Shrill ones:

My sinking feeling that the administration plan is to rearrange the deck chairs and hope the iceberg melts just keeps getting stronger.

Only 135 characters. You'd think the Villlage would get the message, but apparently they still think that hope is the same thing as a plan.

And now to RL.

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Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Obama doesn't understand the economy, and is surrounded by people who consider what happens to the Dow as indicative of the state/prospects of the economy. We already know the judgment of those who control the financial sector is grossly inadequate, and while Obama hinted at what needed to be said (that there is a massive disconnect between the stock market and the real economy -- and that the steps needed to achieve economic stability and recovery cannot be judged based on how "the stock market" responds) he needs to come right out and say it.
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Obama's "plan" for the finance industry appears to be similar to his economic "plan" -- there is no actual plan, just a bunch of defined goals and number of components that he wants included. How all those components fit together to achieve those goals remains a mystery -- and as a result the plan will be held hostage by a small contingent of congresscritters.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... thought he "hit it out of the park" last night, I was looking for two things and didn't get them:

1. A sense that he "got it" about the fundamental economic, y'know, state of the nation
2. A sense that it resonated with him, that he wouldn't fiddle around incrementally

"Day of reckoning" sounded serious, but the agenda still seemed a little squishy.

Some issues are excellent litmus tests, such as single-payer and gay marriage. It's simply obvious what the "right" choice is, and the degree to which one won't "go for it" is a barometer of one's lack of courage and vision. Sure, one can argue that gay marriage isn't important, because who cares about some discriminated-against minority -- we're progressives after all, and we have more urgent fish to fry than human equality. But to fuck around on single-payer while Rome is burning is an excellent metric of political acuity and bravery, or lack thereof. Maybe he'll tear open his shirt and will prove to be SuperProgressive when he puts "health care reform" in play, but he sure seems to be signaling a plan to deliver a fractional loaf with a recipe blessed by moneyed interests.

And to those who would point out that Obama is now espousing Hillary's 2008 plan, the simple answer is that Hillary's plan was never satisfactory. She showed more commitment to UHC (and an expressed desire for single-payer), but her MA-style would have needed a lot of 'splaining about the details -- or replacement with a single-payer plan -- before it was going to deserve full support from progressives.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I'd like to be able to say that Obama's plan now sounds like Clintons...except that I don't see any plan. His rhetoric on health care is now more compatible with the Clinton plan, but Obama's rhetoric was compatible with opposition to telecom immunity, and look what happened there.
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Re-reading the speech, it comes off as pure post-1994 Bill Clinton -- the Bill Clinton who became the essence of triangulation, incrementalism, and high-symbolism/low impact proposals. The difference is that Clinton became that person out of necessity -- he was much more ambitious when he took office.
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What is most bothersome about Obama's Clintonianism is that its so egregiously wrong for the times. Clinton never had a real mandate to accomplish much of anything but be someone other that Bush I. (Clinton got only 43% of the vote, and the GOP picked up 9 seats in the House in 1992.)
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Obama, on the other hand, represents a broad repudiation of not just Bush II, but the entire Republican party (Dems picked up 21 seats in the house last year). He has the opportunity to achieve fundamental change now that Clinton never had, but that window of opportunity shrinks over time, as people start focussing on the inadequacies of the people currently in power (despite the fact that the problems were created by others, the expectation is that those in power will fix things, and not doing so is seen as failure.)
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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

This is what's bothered me all along:

What is most bothersome about Obama's Clintonianism is that its so egregiously wrong for the times. Clinton never had a real mandate to accomplish much of anything but be someone other tha[n] Bush I.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

See here for greater detail.

We talked before about Obama's tendencies. He will nibble around he edges, look for half-measures he can sell with general agreement even if something bolder but less popular would be better, and you had better brace yourselves for incrementalism because that's what will be coming on all fronts. Elections, as we like to say, have consequences.

I am relieved to see that there is a gathering consensus around the similarities between Obama and the Clintons, both B & H. Politically they are all Centrist Conservatives, and so perhaps we can put aside the Obama-Be-All-Bad thrashing around and focus instead on figuring out how to move Obama in our direction.

To speak plainly, that task is ours to own and how well it gets done will be a measure of our skill and determination, not Obama's. We have an opportunity, bigger than we had with WJC by a long shot, and the tide of fortune is swinging in our direction. In the midst of this travail, we can if we are clever and diligent build up a new construction that is far better than anything we as a nation have had before. I say "we" because Progressives will have to be the ones to set out our goals and sell them.

It is absolutely true that Obama will not do it for us, out of his own volition. It is up to us to find a persuasive voice and make ourselves heard.

Submitted by lambert on

... would be for "some" to stop classifying all criticism of Obama as "Obama-Be-All-Bad" (though I would have written "Obama-Is-All-Bad). I certainly don't engage in it, so it's hard to know, from the Broder-like vagueness of this comment, whose actions are meant to be affected.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Like atheists, at some deep down level, all Obama skeptics and critics are wrong.

They just don't act the way the best people do, and their motives are base and hateful.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

nice to find myself included in a group at Corrente.

Not snark.

I made a couple of points in earlier comments about parts of last night's speech on which I hold reservations, or even skepticism.

One's the line about a conversation on Social Security.
One's the line about continuing the commitment to charter schools.

But, both of those were 'embedded' comments in the speech. In point of fact there is an actual funding problem with Medicare (NOT Social Security). Obama rightly identified the need to address rising health care costs to strengthen the program for years to come; he then segued into the line on a conversation about Social Security.

It would be very easy to simply write off the entire paragraph as a lie, knowing that there is no funding crisis in Social Security. It would be much less of an elision to note that while there is no problem in Social Security funding, cutting health care costs will help alleviate the related problem of the Medicare budget shortfall.

I don't have a problem with criticizing Obama's speeches, actions, ideas or policies, or his nominated Cabinet candidates. What I do have a problem with is criticism without evidence except "because it's Obama."

The problem with the line in the speech on Social Security isn't that Obama said it, it's that it's inaccurate.

But just because Obama said it isn't why it's inaccurate -- and isn't the reason to call out the miscue.

The problem with the commitment to charter schools isn't that Obama said it; it's that charter schools, by their very nature, discriminate and exclude as many students (primarily students who have serious disabilities either physically, mentally or financially) as their charters allow. This is not how we take America back to the forefront of an educated and progressive society; this is how we slam more doors in more kids' faces.
Deaf kids, blind kids, wheelchair-bound kids, kids with autism/Asperger's, poor kids, ESL kids, kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia or dysgrafia -- they all suffer when we use "charter schools" as an excuse to further gut public education.

But that's not a problem because Obama mentioned it; it's a problem because charter schools are designed to refuse services based on the charter.

That said, I recognize something else: I can't live in a perfect world according to my whimsy (and I don't run the world we do live in, which I suspect should be a great relief to many people). So I recognize the need to do the best I can with what I've got where I'm at; it's a citizen's duty to recognize and support the good ideas as well as to call out and object to the bad ones, in a democracy, isn't it?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The notion that Obama's regularly criticized around here for being Obama is almost always raised out of context of any actual occurrence of same, because it's certainly not the way Lambert and I, among most others who contribute here, roll.

If the rest of the leftysphere would verify, along with hope, we wouldn't have to be the lone -- and oh-so-gauche -- voice of progressive critique of the gentleman. If only....

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Think that would be helpful? I don't.

Couple of things:

I have certainly not been classifying all criticism of Obama as "Obama-Be-All-Bad" either here or elsewhere. That charge is simply a strawman, and not a step in the right direction.

I certainly don't engage in it, so it's hard to know...whose actions are meant to be affected. If the shoe fits. Aimed at those who engage in the practice, and there are plenty of them around. Not aimed at those who do not engage in the practice. See? Not so difficult to sort.

(though I would have written "Obama-Is-All-Bad) And so you would have. But I am not you, and you are not me, and I'm assuming you are as pleased by that actuality as am I. So you write as you wish and I'll tend my own verbal garden, each of us free of this sort of petty criticism from the other unless you'd really like me to start following you around with my little red editing pencil. "Obama-Is-Bad" is so very WASPish, all correct grammar and all that, perfect for afternoon tea. "Obama-Be-All-Bad" is street, alliterative, catchy, with those little mental fish hooks that make a phrase stick in the reader's mind. YM, of course, MV.

the Broder-like vagueness of this comment That's it? That's all you've got? "Broder-like"? Cut me to the quick, that did. Not. Kee-rist.

Submitted by lambert on

When I see a strategy of attempting to seize the rhetorical high ground with a combination of generic finger wagging and lofty pronouncements about proper decorum, Broder-esque is the word that comes to my mind. Maybe I'm wrong, though. Who writes the editorials at Pravda, these days? Fred Hiatt? One of his interns?

NOTE As far as the stylistics go, I just didn't want you to be smeared as racist for your apparent use of aspect marking (yes, WikiPedia, but time presses). Do a favor, lose a friend.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I am relieved to see that there is a gathering consensus around the similarities between Obama and the Clintons, both B & H. Politically they are all Centrist Conservatives
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sorry, I don't buy it. Both of them are left of center by nature, but as politicians practice the art of the possible. As I noted earlier, Bill Clinton's original agenda was much more ambitious than what he was able to follow through on. And Hillary's "centrism" as a Senator was eight years of positioning herself to win a general election.

But I think that if Hillary were president, she'd have seized the opportunity to enact a more progressive agenda than Obama is doing. I strongly doubt that she would have included the tax cuts in the "recovery" package, for instance. And both Clintons are far more grounded in "Main Street" populism than Obama is -- Bill comes by that naturally, while Hillary has spent her career learning that from Bill.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I have always been amazed at the heroic ability to froget about what transpired during Bills first two years. He raised taxes on the wealthy, tried to allow full integration of gays in the military, pushed through an assault weapons ban, and tried to at least get health *insure* for every American. How much did this "conservative agenda" account for the House losses? To this day the NRA and Club for Growthers claim a lot of credit for Dems losses...because of the issues above.

Unlike with Obama and SCHiP and Ledbetter, Clinton couldn't rely on legislation that had been seriously pused (and passed)for some time before he took office to sign and take credit for with zero effort. Clinton wasted political capital on liberal policy and got betrayed by progressives and his own Party. And I never see proggers admitting that Clinton prevented extremely draconian shit from happening in 1995 when he shut down government on his own.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

was to expand the Earned Income Credit. I was a struggling single parent at the time and can still recall the shock I got when I opened my tax refund check and it was an order of magnitude higher than what I had been expecting.

I was very unhappy with other things he did, but I'll never forget that - and his facing down the Contract On America bunch, as you mention, in 1995.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Sorry, I can't copy/paste links on my fancy iPhone, but you may want to blog about Glenn's latest. Rather promising developments from Speaker Pelosi.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

So we're speaking. Good news; I never know.

Someone else will pick it up, hopefully. I'm in major crunch and will be heading out on the road for a couple of weeks, internet may or may not be possible.

But thanks for thinking of me. Expect a lot more of this sort of thing in the future. The last couple of months have been spent trying to beat the BlueDogs into submission [I suggested hiring Michael Vick but nobody laughed] and it appears that in the House they've been cowed. The pitch, a little talk out of school, is that the next Congress will be even more heavily Democratic and the BlueDogs will lose power, not gain it. If they want to be supported next election, and if re-elected not kicked to the curb like Jane Harman, then they need to get with the program now. It appears to be working.

The Senate is another story; the BlueDogs there are especially dense in the head, so that remains a big problematic area for legislation. Obama is doing some arm-twisting but it really isn't his style, Biden is designated Senatorial Attack Dog and he's been chewing pretty good, but with the need for 60 votes there is only so much pressure that can be brought to bear.

You know I like Nancy; she is a good, decent person. I so hope this trend will last long enough for her to get done some of what she has wanted to do since she first ran for office. For our sake, and hers.