Poll

Our new president:

Nobama
1 (20%)
Slobama
3 (60%)
Woah-bama
1 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 5

Author Topic: Okay, let's decide  (Read 8900 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Cassander

  • Cap'n 40 Watt
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 6087
  • Simmer down now!
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2010, 12:10:22 AM »
Pretty sure Tyson reads GinAndTacos....this is lifted straight from it and I found myself nodding vigorously and even thinking twice about how I have bought into the "Bush Was the Disaster" myth.  Bolds are mine...

Quote
Lately, there has been an undeniable trend in the medium of modern discourse in which I find myself writing. I lack a better term for it, so I am forced to call it the “Self-Righteous Liberal Bitch-o-Sphere” (Actually, I take that back; that IS the best term for it). Anyway, since you’re here, reading this, you know what I’m talking about: an endless procession of what passes in the US for leftists, saying at every turn how Barack Obama is actually a secret conservative Clintonite triangulator who’d just as soon sell out his dead mother to cash in on the old Washington games; a golden-tongued huckster who sold us on a Utopian ideal and then delivered more “business as usual”. I’m not sure what’s more distressing; that so-called educated and informed people have swallowed right-wing narratives hook line and sinker, or that they’ve convinced themselves that it’s actually of their own devising.

This “movement” seems to consist of a number of readily-identifiable groups. You’ve got your standard neo-hippie cranks, for whom any economic or political event only serves to further validate their Glenn-Beck-in-hemp-underwear eschatology, to the point that they will ignore actual facts and burn heretics at the metaphorical stake for DARING to suggest that perhaps man’s hubris and disregard for Gaia may not be, at this immediate point in time, destroying civilization as we know it. You’ve got your political idealists, whose first exposure to American politics in its most unfiltered form was the Obama campaign, and who, as a result, have a view of government functionality that can only be described as wildly hallucinogenic. You’ve got your lazy liberals, who feel that if they hit FireDogLake AND the Daily Kos in one day, they’ve done their part to make the world a better place. And you have, here and there, a smattering of people who either know what the fuck they’re talking about and/or actually get off their asses and help improve the world, one small piece at a time. This last group is so tiny that they really don’t fall within the scope of this criticism.

But what all these people have in common is this: They all view George W. Bush as something approaching the purest embodiment of evil in history, and if not, then he’s a close second to Ronald Reagan. They blame everything from Katrina and Abu Ghraib, to 9/11 (in various forms) and the current Gulf disaster on the Bush Administration, sometimes shorthanded to just Bush. Either way, in their minds, Bush was personally involved in or responsible for almost all of the terrible decisions and policy disasters of the last two presidential terms.

I certainly understand the allure of this narrative; in fact, I admit that I fall prey to it with more frequency than I’d like. However, this narrative is misleading, and I’m not here to defend George W. Bush, but to show how it is distorting people’s ideas about what Obama is, or should be.

There are two fundamental errors in the Bush as Antichrist mindset:

The first mistake is assuming Bush had anything to do with the disasters attached to his name.

Bush and Ronald Reagan were very different people, with very different backgrounds and ideologies. It’s easy to forget now that Bush was a born-again and Reagan barely even WENT to church. But their administrations served remarkably similar priorities, and this stems from their most important commonality: They were both absolutely STUNNINGLY incompetent executives.

Neither of them had any idea what their various appointees were doing, or even necessarily who they were. The picture that has emerged of the Bush administration since its merciful departure has been not one of calculated malevolence, but one of almost pitiable impotence. Bush and Reagan were both quite personable campaigners who couldn’t administer a government if their life depended on it. The consequence of that is that when they took power, the people around them who actually knew the score had a very easy time doing pretty much whatever the fuck they wanted with no consequences whatsoever. Reagan had his Ollie North, Bush had his Donald Rumsfeld, and these guys are not exceptions. The Minerals Management Service was not a case of the foxes watching the henhouse; it was a case of NOBODY watching the henhouse and the foxes just walking right in and doing whatever they pleased.

You can certainly argue that Bush bears MORAL responsibility for what happened on his watch, but that doesn’t really mean jack shit at this point. He had no idea what people were actually up to underneath him. They simply gave him some marginal decisions to make, he would Decide them, then kick back feeling good about himself while they kept doing whatever the fuck they wanted. Just look at the financial crisis. When the shitstorm hit in September of 08, if you listen to the people that were there, Bush had literally no idea AT ALL what was happening. Not only did he not expect it, he didn’t even understand it. And when it came time for him to be The Decider, who was it presenting him with the decision? The former head of Goldman Sachs, a man that I guarantee you Bush did not personally select to be Treasury Secretary, but rather was a name selected for him by some Undersecretary of Buttfucking the Taxpayer, which he signed off on and gave a nice speech and then kicked back with a nice run and an evening of reflecting on how history will validate his Leadership. So Mr. Paulson shows him a plan to give tons of money to banks and Bush says “OK, whatever you think, Mr. Smart Suit-Wearing Guy”.

The point I really want to be stressing here is that at no point is one person in charge of all these terrible fucking decisions. It’s a bunch of different people, all of them assholes, most of them on the take, doing whatever the fuck they please. There’s nobody at the top, not even Cheney, and CERTAINLY not Bush. The second mistake is thinking that if Bush could get what he wanted, and Obama can’t, then Barack Obama must either be a worse executive than Bush or he must be a secret conservative.

This is a well-worn tale: “Bush got trillion-dollar tax cuts with only fifty votes in the Senate! He got the Patriot Act and gutted regulations, etc. He knew how to bring the hammer down to get what he wanted, and so if Obama can’t get (the public option/financial reform/energy bill/whatever) passed, he must not actually want it”.

This is a steaming crock of bullshit and it should be obvious why by now. At no point during his presidency did Bush ever get a single thing he wanted. The closest thing I can think of to an actual idea that started with Bush would be either No Child Left Behind or possibly the Mars program, and he actually got neither; neither was funded, neither has had any noticeable impact, both were basically DOA. Recently Bush claimed that he believed that oil should be phased out and wind energy is the wave of the future and, call me crazy, I think he’s telling the truth. If so, then it should be pretty fucking obvious that W was not the one calling the shots in his administration.

No, what Bush got was what OTHER PEOPLE wanted. Massive tax cuts for the ridiculously wealthy were, I promise you, not Bush’s intellectual baby. It was an idea that one of his advisors said would be a good thing, and a bunch of Congressmen agreed, and Bush signed off on it. Every major piece of legislation Bush signed was something he AGREED to, not something he specifically TRIED to get. In other words, the 8 years of Bush’s presidency, that long national nightmare, was really nothing more than bland acquiescence to an murderous and insane status quo. I expect that the outcome would have been identical if there had been no President at all.

A note about the Sympathetic Fallacy.*

The sympathetic fallacy is the very human tendency to attribute human characteristics to non-human things. It is the source of our unshakable belief that our computers can understand us when we curse at them. It is (probably) the source of belief in God (but let’s not go there today). But, most relevant to our topic, it is the reason that we insist upon attributing human characteristics to governments, which may be made up of people but absolutely do not make decisions or in any way operate in the way that a person does. We like to say that the government “wants” this or that, but a government cannot “want” anything, because it is not a person. Unfortunately, this fallacy is really more on the level of a basic psychological illusion: even if we know about it, it won’t go away. And because it is so pernicious, it even demands a face to go along with that personality, and today, the face of the Government is none other than Barack Obama.

And so we come back to our Criticism-From-The-Left Obama haters. I have culled just a few comments from a comment section at Unnamed Liberal Blog (see if you can recognize it!), which I have deemed to be representative (of course, the reader is free to make their own judgments):

"I've sadly come to regard Obama as a Rockefeller Republican, but maybe he's further to the right than that"

“It seemed clear to me during the campaign that Obama was more conservative than most of my acquaintances thought, and I think his actions since the election demonstrate that. He talks nicely, but he's just not comfortable with radical solutions to anything (with 'radical' defined in terms of "sudden, dramatic changes of course")”

“News flash folks — Obama is to the right of Clinton, and HE was to the right of Eisenhower.”

I could do this all night, but you get my point. It started very early on, grew to an absolute fever pitch during the health care deba(cle)te, and has stuck around like a 4pm wine-and-Jagermeister hangover. If Obama is synonymous with “socialist” on the right, on the left it’s synonymous with “sellout”. On everything from Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to immigration, Obama is seen as, at best, a total pussy, and at worst, a JAP (Just Another Politician).

But let’s be brutally honest with ourselves: Our last President showed us what the status quo is. Bush, by being essentially a rubber stamp (don’t let anyone get it backwards; in the 2000s, Congress did the pushing, Bush did the rolling over), demonstrated what our modern Federal government, left to its own devices, will get up to. And yet, whenever the CURRENT Federal government comes up with something that looks unpalatably familiar, the blame is instantly and unthinkingly heaped at the feet of Obama, invariably with some intolerably clever comment involving either “hope” or “change”.

Now I’m not here to be an Obama ballboy, but I do know this: Barack Obama is not a king. Barack Obama does not occupy 535 Congressional seats. Barack Obama’s opinions and beliefs about the way this country should be going, how we should be handling gay rights and global warming and Social Security, these count for EXTRAORDINARILY little when it comes to the governing process. Forget that tripe you learned as a kid about “the most powerful person in the world”; the President has got very little power beyond the ability to nominate judges and pray that he can get the head of the Ways and Means Committee to go along with his budget priorities. Our eight years of Bushanoia have given us an incredibly distorted view of what a President can actually accomplish; we just assumed that it was Bush at the wheel, when in reality he was passed out drunk in the trunk of the car. And so insofar as our government has accomplished anything even REMOTELY progressive or positive (and, in case you’ve forgotten, it has) in the past year and a half, the credit belongs to the incredible energy and discipline Obama has instilled in his administration, both directly and through his appointees.

Of course, I can already hear the (and I borrow humbly the term of the excellent Al Giordiano) poutrage machine beginning to stir from its slumber. “Fucking Obamabot” it will begin, its wit as sharp as ever. “You’re so stupid as to believe that Obama actually wants to change things. In reality, he WANTS offshore drilling, and he doesn’t want to help out gays. He wants a weak energy bill, and a crippled healthcare bill, and watered down token ‘progressive’ legislation while he bails out the bankers and screws over the working guy. He’s just another, differently colored cog in The Machine”.

To which I say: You could certainly be right. I mean, given all the layers of abstraction and sausage-making machinery between Obama and the rest of us, there’s really no way for us to tell. But if you make that argument, you have to make one conceit. If you actually believe that Barack Obama personally supports everything the Congress and Federal government have done so far in his presidency, you really have no choice but to admit that Barack Obama is the most talented political leader to ever walk the Earth. Because for an executive to always get what they “really want” on every single issue would be an absolutely unprecedented miracle of governance. If that is the case, then Barack Obama is playing some 11th-dimensional chess on a scale that has never before been witnessed.

Or, if you’re like me and you prefer the more likely explanation, Barack Obama is probably a fairly progressive person (if you pay attention to what actually comes out of his mouth, especially before he ran for president, this seems reasonably probable) and, more than anything, a highly talented executive who has managed to wrangle an mind-bogglingly huge bureaucracy, based on a frail and nearly-obsolete Constitution, chock-full of ideological opponents, massive egos, fabulously wealthy interests, and just plain antagonistic assholes and backwoods idiots, and managed to do more good with it in eighteen months than anyone in the past forty years. And on that point, the record is mercifully clear.

So next time you start to go on a tear about how Obama wants this, or Obama did that, or Obama is ignoring the netroots, or Obama is defending this or that Bush policy, please remember the sympathetic fallacy. The government is not a person, and Barack Obama is not your personal fucking Santa Claus.
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline Matt

  • working through the 1st 10,000
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 7670
  • tourist
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2010, 09:53:03 AM »
Except LBJ managed to muster through Medicare despite stern opposition. Lincoln pushed through the Emancipation Proclamation. Jackson stole the Cherokee nation.

Presidents have plenty of power, and they've accumulated so much more in the past few years. In fact, almost everything wrong with this article is that it's long and a strawman argumentation about Bush. Who cares about Bush? I don't give a fuck about Bush. What I care about is Obama backtracking on pretty much every single thing of consequence during his campaign, and actively supporting what Other People Want (as pointed out in this article), in the financial crisis or the health care crisis or the oil crisis. This shit essay is shouting past people, even as there's little hints of it being absolutely stupid, my favorite being the end, "Barack Obama is probably a fairly progressive person (if you pay attention to what actually comes out of his mouth, especially before he ran for president, this seems reasonably probably)"... What? Past all the waffling, I think there was an admittance that Obama has utterly failed to hold himself to his own standards.

Fuck the Cult of Obama, you're not worth my time.

Offline Matt

  • working through the 1st 10,000
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 7670
  • tourist
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2010, 09:01:40 PM »
As an addendum and final nail in the coffin for this strawman argument, I present Glenn Greenwald:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/21/obama/index.html

Quote
As I noted earlier today, there is a newly minted Obama apologist meme that has been created and is being disseminated by Obama-defending pundits far and wide:  namely, liberals are blaming Obama for too much because the Presidency is actually quite a weak and powerless office, and he's powerless to do most of what liberals advocate.  This claim was articulated by Jonathan Bernstein in response to my post documenting how Barack Obama -- by supporting Blanche Lincoln rather than remaining neutral or supporting her primary challenger -- likely swung the election in her favor.  I argued that the central role Obama played in Lincoln's race illustrates that Presidents possess substantial means for influencing members of Congress.  In describing my argument as "ignorant nonsense that betrays a deep lack of understanding of how the government of the United States works," Bernstein did not bother to address, let alone refute, that extremely formidable presidential leverage that Obama just used to help Lincoln win in Arkansas. 

Instead, he broadly asserted that "the idea of an 'Impotent, Helpless President' . . . [is] basic American politics," that "the presidency is a very weak office," and that Obama has no real leverage to influence Democratic members of Congress to support legislation he wants.  Since then, a whole slew of Obama defenders have cited Bernstein's "Impotent Helpless Presidency" excuse to argue that progressives expect too much of Obama and that their criticisms of him are unfair, irrational and unwarranted.  Today, Jonathan Chait complains that I have only derided and mocked but not responded in detail to this argument.  That's basically true, as I find the argument self-refuting, but permit me to change that by responding in detail now.

Initially, this issue arose in the context of the health care debate, when progressive critics were complaining that the Obama White House was doing nothing to ensure passage of the public option.  In response, Obama defenders insisted that the fault lay not with Obama, but with Democratic members of Congress over whom Obama had no leverage.  All year long, they told their readers not to blame Obama for the lack of a public option because there was just nothing the helpless, powerless leader could do.  Except now it is conclusively clear that Obama never wanted the public option from the start -- Russ Feingold said as much, and The New York Times revealed that Obama secretly negotiated away the public option in deals with industry representatives very early on in the process.  Thus, critics who were complaining that Obama was publicly claiming to want to the public option while ensuring it would not be enacted were correct, while those who kept telling their readers that the fault lay with Democratic members of Congress -- not Obama -- were engaged in pure apologia. 

More broadly, after 8 years of Bush/Cheney, the very idea that the Presidency is a weak and largely powerless office is laughable on its face.  It's Barack Obama -- not the U.S. Congress -- who is detaining innocent people without trials, targeting U.S. citizens for due-process-free assassinations, secretly ordering covert wars via Special Operations Forces, ordering a "surge" in the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan, and launching cruise missile strikes with cluster bombs in Yemen.  The more honest commentators who are invoking this "weak presidency" defense on behalf of Obama -- such as Matt Ygleisas, Ezra Klein, and Scott Lemieux -- acknowledge its basic inapplicability to Terrorism and foreign policy, which accounts for a substantial part of the liberal critique of the Obama presidency.  And, for that matter, many of the positive steps Obama has taken -- changes in drug policy, an improvement in tone with the Muslim world, release of the OLC torture memos -- were also actions taken unilaterally using the power of the Presidency.

Apparently -- to hear Bernstein, Chait and their "weak presidency" excuse-makers tell it -- the country, once every four years, spends twenty-four straight months completely fixated on who is going to be elected to a weak and powerless office.  What a strange thing to do.  And we probably all owe George Bush and Dick Cheney a huge apology for blaming so many of America's problems on them when -- as it turns out -- they really had very little power over our political system (and were Bernstein, Chait and friends chiding Democrats during the Bush presidency for excessively blaming Bush and Cheney for problems that they couldn't possibly solve [or cause] given their powerless positions?).  And all Democratic anger at Ralph Nader for helping to elect Bush and defeat Al Gore surely must be misplaced, since the presidency is just a weak and impotent office without much influence anyway.  And I guess all that stuff about the "imperial presidency" we heard so much about over the last decade was pure fantasy; it turns out the office is so weak it barely has any purpose beyond the purely symbolic.  Who knew?

This "weak presidency" excuse-making rests on an incredibly naïve, Schoolhouse-Rock-level understanding of our political system.  Yes, it's theoretically true -- just like we learn in the Sixth Grade -- that the Congress is the body that introduces and enacts laws, while the President has no vote in that process.  But the reality is that the President has vast and unfettered control over a sprawling Executive Branch.  More important, he presides over the Democratic Party and exerts extreme influence over its fund-raising infrastructure on which virtually every Democratic incumbent relies.  The means he has to exert influence over members of Congress when it's important to him -- as he just demonstrated in the Blanche Lincoln race and in other instances -- are numerous and formidable, as set forth below.

None of this is to say that the President is omnipotent.  It's certainly possible that he could truly devote himself to inducing the Congress to do something he wants, but fail.  The fact that the President fails to get something he wants is not proof that he failed to try.  The complaints have never been that the Obama White House failed to force Congress to enact progressive legislation it claimed it wanted, but rather, that they never really tried using the substantial leverage and influence they have, thus illustrating that they never really wanted it in the first place.  To claim that they have no such leverage is to ignore reality:

(1) The Obama White House has proven empirically that they have leverage over recalcitrant members of Congress.  When progressive House Members were refusing to vote for Obama's unconditional war-funding bill, this is what happened (though the White House, unsurprisingly, denied it):

The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won't get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday. "We're not going to help you. You'll never hear from us again," Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen.

Though it seemed very unlikely at the beginning of the process, the White House succeeded in whipping enough progressive votes to secure approval for this war package.  That's what the President can do when he actually cares about a particular bill, such as war-funding.

(2) As Obama just proved in the Arkansas race, his endorsement carries significant sway with large numbers of Democratic voters, including in conservative states.  As The Washington Post documented, Obama's endorsement of Lincoln is likely what enabled her victory.  In 2006, the Democratic establishment's actual neutrality in the Connecticut Senate race -- paying mere lip service to supporting Democratic nominee Ned Lamont but doing nothing meaningful to help him win -- is what helped Joe Lieberman to win that race.

Lieberman and Ben Nelson are up for re-election in 2012, and Lincoln is this year.  Does anyone actually doubt that an Obama threat to support a primary challenge against any Democratic incumbent, to encourage Democratic fund-raisers to send their money elsewhere, or to refrain from playing any role in their re-election, would influence their votes on matters important to the White House?  Again, that's not to say it would guarantee compliance, but the fact that the White House did exactly that on the war-funding vote, but not on the public option, reflected their priorities.

(3) There is a huge and critical Democratic Party fund-raising apparatus that relies on the White House for access, influence, jobs and a whole variety of other benefits over which the President exerts great influence.  Is there anyone in D.C. who doubts that the most important priority of virtually every progressive and liberal political group -- to say nothing of major corporate donors -- is to stay in good standing with the White House?  If the White House subtly directs the major Party fund-raisers and its money apparatus to refrain from supporting a particular incumbent who impedes Obama's agenda, that would be a serious impediment to that incumbent's re-election bid.

(4) Using his control over his Party, the President exerts substantial influence over the various perquisites which Senators have.  It was Obama's decree that Lieberman should retain his Homeland Security Chairmanship despite his support for John McCain which led to his keeping that important position.  In 2004, after Arlen Specter suggested he might impede Bush's anti-abortion nominees to the Supreme Court, he had to beg and plead to keep his position as Judiciary Committee Chairman.  There are countless ways for a Party -- and its leader, the President -- to severely diminish the influence and power a recalcitrant member wields.

(5) One of the principal aspects that make the "weak presidency" claim so laughable is that the post-World-War II presidency has done virtually nothing but expand in power.  The President controls virtually the entire Pentagon and intelligence industry, and all administrative agencies, with very few limits.  That includes a massive amount of jobs, contracts, access, and projects the White House single-handedly directs, and the President can expand or cancel a whole slew of pet projects for various members of Congress and their home states or districts.

(6) It is extremely common for the White House to horse-trade with members of its own party to secure support for legislation it wants.  It can and does trade appointments, concessions on other bills, pork projects in the Executive Branch's discretion, and favors for political allies in exchange for a certain vote; conversely, it can threaten to impose all sorts of political costs on incumbents using those same measures.  Again, anyone whose understanding of the political process has advanced beyond Saturday morning cartoons recognizes this is the case.

(7) With regard to matters such as the BP spill, which many Obama defenders have cited to argue that liberals are unfairly criticizing the weak and impotent President, it is the Executive Branch which exerted full control over the approval of BP's off-shore leases and which has serious statutory authority to exert real control over the response to the spill.

(8) Because the President is far and away the dominant political actor, he can exert far more influence on our political debates than anyone else using the proverbial "bully pulpit," and can bring substantial pressure to bear on incumbent members of Congress through that advocacy and public pressure.

Let's repeat:  to argue that the President has substantial leverage over members of his own Party is not to claim that he can exert total control.  Even when he tries his hardest, he's likely to lose in some instances (although you can count on one hand the instances when Bush/Cheney failed to control members of their Party).  But this debate first arose in the context of the stimulus package (when the White House never tried to secure a greater amount of funds), and then reached its peak in the health care debate (when the President not only failed to try to win support for the public option, but actively worked against it from the start).  Whatever else is true, to posit that the Presidency is some sort of weak, powerless, impotent office -- all as a means of claiming that no problems can be laid at Obama's feet, because his office is barely above that of a functionary when it comes to Congress -- is patently absurd, and it's Obama himself who, when actually motivated, has proven that to be the case.

* * * * *

Note the revealing irony that Chait, while complaining that I failed to address the "substance" of this "weak presidency" excuse, completely ignored -- as in:  pretended it did not exist -- the argument I made:  that cases such as Obama's knowing imprisonment of innocent detainees is purely his own doing, and reveals the moral and political bankruptcy of the claim that progressive criticisms of Obama are grounded in unrealistic views of his power.  Obama defenders like Chait studiously ignore abuses like this one because they do not want to defend such things (who would?) but also do not want to acknowledge the profound flaws of this President and the vast power he asserts.
I highly recommend reading the original link for his back-and-forth with Jonathan Chait of The New Republic.

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15487
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2010, 10:31:28 AM »
Except LBJ managed to muster through Medicare despite stern opposition. Lincoln pushed through the Emancipation Proclamation. Jackson stole the Cherokee nation.

Presidents have plenty of power, and they've accumulated so much more in the past few years. In fact, almost everything wrong with this article is that it's long and a strawman argumentation about Bush. Who cares about Bush? I don't give a fuck about Bush. What I care about is Obama backtracking on pretty much every single thing of consequence during his campaign, and actively supporting what Other People Want (as pointed out in this article), in the financial crisis or the health care crisis or the oil crisis. This shit essay is shouting past people, even as there's little hints of it being absolutely stupid, my favorite being the end, "Barack Obama is probably a fairly progressive person (if you pay attention to what actually comes out of his mouth, especially before he ran for president, this seems reasonably probably)"... What? Past all the waffling, I think there was an admittance that Obama has utterly failed to hold himself to his own standards.

Fuck the Cult of Obama, you're not worth my time.

Maybe if you weren't such an insulting, self-righteous twat I would take the time to read your article.  But, as it stands, you are... So I pretty much ignore everything you have to say.
8=o tation

Offline Cassander

  • Cap'n 40 Watt
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 6087
  • Simmer down now!
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2010, 11:30:30 AM »
Matt, that article makes some good points, but it doesn't really address the same thesis as the one I posted.  I believe the White House and whoever is in it has plenty of leverage, but when the power of the President comes up against the power of the legislature, the old checks and balances kick in--albeit in a mutated freakazoid way.  Yeah, the pres can preach and pull the party levers when it comes to favors, trading appointments, etc.  But the stakes have apparently become so high in all the representative districts that any Congressman can just take up one issue or storyline like a full-time job, slam the president or his rivals with it, and practically "force" the media to pick up the ball and run with it.  That situation also works in reverse.  So when the collective bargaining power of a 500 egomaniacs in the HR and 100 dick-sucking whores in the Senate all want to get their way, the President is forced to jump through a lot of hoops.  That's the weakness people are talking about when they're considering things like the Health Care and Financial Reform debates.  Issues like the Oil Spill are even further out from under the President's thumb.  He can't call in party favors or lean on congressmen to get more boats out there to skim the surface or just yell through the phone until "results" happen.  So when people start grumbling about why Obama hasn't "solved" these complex issues because he's the strongest man in the world, well...it's just peurile.
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline Matt

  • working through the 1st 10,000
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 7670
  • tourist
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2010, 01:10:17 PM »
Maybe if you weren't such an insulting, self-righteous twat I would take the time to read your article.  But, as it stands, you are... So I pretty much ignore everything you have to say.
That doesn't matter because I'm right, and eventually you'll come around. It may not be in the foreseeable future, but likely into Obama's second term, after y'all buckle down and go, "Okay, he can do whatever he wants now, he doesn't have to campaign for re-election again!" the slow, cold realization that Obama really is as bad as journalists like Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, and Jeremy Scahill have pointed out will sink in. Or it won't, because the excuse will become, "Well, he's a lame-duck president so he can't get what he wants done." I guarantee that excuse will hit in probably 2013, and maybe 2014 in the latest.

I mean really, "You're so smug so I won't listen to you"? What sort of anti-intellectual whiny bullshit is that?
Matt, that article makes some good points, but it doesn't really address the same thesis as the one I posted.  I believe the White House and whoever is in it has plenty of leverage, but when the power of the President comes up against the power of the legislature, the old checks and balances kick in--albeit in a mutated freakazoid way.  Yeah, the pres can preach and pull the party levers when it comes to favors, trading appointments, etc.  But the stakes have apparently become so high in all the representative districts that any Congressman can just take up one issue or storyline like a full-time job, slam the president or his rivals with it, and practically "force" the media to pick up the ball and run with it.  That situation also works in reverse.  So when the collective bargaining power of a 500 egomaniacs in the HR and 100 dick-sucking whores in the Senate all want to get their way, the President is forced to jump through a lot of hoops.  That's the weakness people are talking about when they're considering things like the Health Care and Financial Reform debates.  Issues like the Oil Spill are even further out from under the President's thumb.  He can't call in party favors or lean on congressmen to get more boats out there to skim the surface or just yell through the phone until "results" happen.  So when people start grumbling about why Obama hasn't "solved" these complex issues because he's the strongest man in the world, well...it's just peurile.
The house is remarkably more progressive than the Senate, and the health care reform politicking should've been your major clue to that. There's a significant difference between the Senate and House operations. Can you give me one example of the situation that you're hypothetically describing? If we want to take the oil spill issue, for example, you're right that Obama cannot do anything immediately about the oil spill. But he can plan for the future, which begs several questions. Why didn't the federal government clearly raise the issue regarding the presiding judge's investments and stakes in off-shore drilling (where the judge struck down the moratorium)? Why hasn't MMS been reviewing permits more closely? Why is there only 62 regulators from MMS in the Gulf, when there's over 4,000 offshore oil rigs? Why wasn't the moratorium Obama supposedly put in place even been followed? (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/us/24moratorium.html?ref=science)

MMS is under the president's control, and that could be a huge place where we could start working towards future progress to prevent disasters like this from happening again. But Obama isn't. It's a fantastic and remarkable bit of sleight-of-hand propaganda that pins critics of Obama as the real assholes instead of pointing out that the Obama administration's modus operandi when it comes to actual, really existing change is to make a feint at an effort, not accomplish anything, then throw their hands up in the air and say, "well, we tried, but So-and-So got in the way".

Regarding your other points, I present http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/12697/64819, take note of Steps 1 and 4, and http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/26/guantanamo
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 01:15:14 PM by Matt »

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2010, 02:17:51 PM »
Well I, for one, think Obama's betrayed us and is, at best, another Carter.

Offline RottingCorpse

  • Old Timer
  • You're a kitty!
  • ***
  • Posts: 23874
  • We got this by the ass!
    • http://www.lonniemartin.com
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2010, 02:51:45 PM »
Well I, for one, think Obama's betrayed us and is, at best, another Carter.

Seconded, though without the betrayal part. Don't get an ineffectual leader confused with one that acts with malice.

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2010, 03:43:04 PM »
Or have we just become numbed to how our politicians consistently promise something and then fail to deliver?  Just because the story's as old as Caesar doesn't mean that a man we elected for "change" who then became a limp dick didn't betray us by being ineffectual.

Offline Matt

  • working through the 1st 10,000
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 7670
  • tourist
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2010, 06:17:15 PM »
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/nyt-pulls-back-the-curtain-on-obamas-transparency-and-anti-lobbyist-talk-97170919.html

Commentary on the latest article from Eric Lichtblau regarding the Obama administration's evasion of their own accountability and transparency efforts. NYT article is linked from the link above so you can read it yourself. Lichtblau has been a long-time reporter on federal wiretapping story, he's a solid fucking journalist.

Offline Tatertots

  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 10038
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2010, 09:51:24 PM »
Let's all vote for Palin!

Then I'll finally have enough motivation to move to Iceland and swallow a shotgun barrel when I'm 40.

Offline monkey!

  • Monkey
  • You're a kitty!
  • *********
  • Posts: 16986
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2010, 12:24:32 AM »
Let's all vote for Palin!

Then I'll finally have enough motivation to move to Iceland and swallow a shotgun barrel when I'm 40.

Move to Paris and have fun with me.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline Tatertots

  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 10038
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2010, 02:00:49 AM »
Bonjour! Je voudrais une croissant!

Offline monkey!

  • Monkey
  • You're a kitty!
  • *********
  • Posts: 16986
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2010, 09:15:50 AM »
Un croissant.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline Matt

  • working through the 1st 10,000
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 7670
  • tourist
Re: Okay, let's decide
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2010, 10:02:44 AM »
and Tom Tomorrow backs up my point beautifully...