Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm with this guy.
...Obama's default mode is "endless placation." When it doesn't work, he keeps doing it. He did it nonstop on 60 Minutes tonight...

...He never called out Republican mendacity or asserted that the reason he wasn't able to work with Republicans was because they made a bad-faith decision early on to stonewall his entire agenda and malign policies that in any sane era would have been bipartisan -- stimulus, bank and auto bailout, a health insurance program that leaves the private insurance intact and flourishing.

Worse, he never defended his own record with any vigor. It's easy to ventriloquize a "liberal Reagan" defending the accomplishments of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress. We created or saved 3 million jobs and added 3 points to GDP. We saved the U.S auto industry from destruction. We saved the U.S. banking industry from destruction. We've got the states literally racing to enact meaningful, measurable education reform. We've made unprecedented investments in alternative energy. We ensured that banks could not entice and defraud consumers as was their practice last decade. We ensured that there will be no more megabank bailouts. We've ensured that every citizen will be able to afford health insurance within five years and at the same time instituted healthcare cost controls that the CBC conservatively estimated will save $1.34 trillion over twenty years. We closed the donut hole while eliminating Republican giveaways to insurance companies that balloon Medicare costs. We ended the corporate welfare system of student loans and ensured cheaper, fairer loans for all college students. We enacted the most stringent emissions controls on cars and trucks ever. We wrung $20 billion in restitution from BP. We did and we did and we did -- we accomplished more on behalf of working Americans in 2 years than our predecessors have done in the last 50...

...I retain tremendous faith in Obama's ability to craft good policy and considerable hope that he will deal with a Republican House as effectively as Clinton did with a Republican House and Senate. But his early post-election performances are not boosting my confidence.

To take a breath: as with most people, Obama's greatest strength -- his willingness to work with people of all views, his confidence that he can win over antagonists -- is his greatest weakness. I would not
want him to be a 'liberal Reagan.' Reagan had the endless certainty of the second-rate. But Obama needs once again to prove -- as he did in the healthcare reform endgame -- that he knows how to fight.

I agree with the whole thing; and I particularly like that near-last line about Reagan. But Obama is driving me nuts with his reaching out. They're Lucy, Mr. President, and they're making you look like Charlie Brown.


Anonymous said...

Whoops! that was me--Brujita! Sorry! I see your rule!

Sid Schwab said...

Sorry, Bj, I'd already rejected it, and I can't repost. On the other hand, it was pretty much the expected dredging of silly meme; I've addressed the "back seat" issue before. And it was way down the road, when it had become more than clear that Rs were never going to pitch in, and when nearly all of them were proposing the same ideas that wrecked us. Lame to bring it up.

Ryan, to his credit, makes a serious proposal. It was certainly not "suppressed." In fact, there's been plenty of discussion of it in both liberal and conservative circles. Few, if any, think it would a) pass or b) work. But it is the closest thing to a legitimate and thoughtful proposal we've gotten from anyone on the right.

And, since this post is about the 60 Minutes interview in which he was pathetically conciliatory, your point is sort of lost...

Sam Spade said...

One of Obama's greatest gaffes, as pointed out by Paul Krugman a couple of times, was the he ceded populist resentment about the bank bailouts to the tea party. Not only was this miserable strategically, it's not fair (I grant that the Dems contributed to this, but not nearly as much as the R's).

I'm confused by Obama's comparison of himself to Reagan. Reagan was often nasty to democrats: "There you go again...," for instance. Weirdly, one of the things I liked about Obama from the beginning is that he can skewer people effectively and justly when he wants to, eg "If Dick Cheney tell you it's sunny outside, you'd better get your umbrella."

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed--that Reagan was brutal! Imagine saying "there you go again" in public! I'll bet people swooned at the nastiness.

By the way--have you seen this?“hitler”-“sociopath”-two-years-later-shocking-hate-filled-rhetoric-against-the-president/


Sid Schwab said...

I agree, Bj, that that was a pretty benign comment by RR; and, as usual, well-written for him and well-rehearsed.

No, Ronnie's real brutality was in convincing America for ever more that you could cut taxes, raise defense spending, and balance budgets. He never did the latter of course, but the fantasy took hold because easy is what people like to hear.

His "walking tall" comment was pretty bad, though, after using the power of the US military to makethe world safe for mediocre med students

Anonymous said...

Well. Sid, not everyone can write their every speech and deliver them from memory, like...well, never mind.

Did the democrat Congress bear any blame for Reagan's deficits?


Sid Schwab said...

Know what, Bj? The more you repeat the Obama/teleprompter silliness, the less credible you seem. For a while there I thought I'd acquired a half-useful counter-intelligence. Silly me.

In answer to your half-good question, there's this:

The key vote, 238 to 195, gave Mr. Reagan a third upset victory over the Democratic House majority on fiscal issues. The President won by virtue of the same coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats that brought him victory in May on the budget resolution and in June on the budget reconciliation bill.

I report, you decide.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Was I not supposed to mention that? You want to snip on the Reagan was a dunce canard without acknowledging what everybody sees? Believe me, all the good lines in these debates are prepared. The difference with Reagan, though, was that he was able to memorize it! And deliver it at the right time, without his "little friend" being set up wherever he goes and to whomever he speaks.

You know, I came here from the Surgeon Blog thing, where you seem like a good writer and a reasonable man. Here you just seem bitter and, frankly, disdainful from anyone who might disagree with you? Which is the real guy?

PS--Southern democrats are democrats, I think.


Sid Schwab said...

Thanks for pointing out that democrats are democrats, Bj. It's the sort of incisive commentary I've come to expect from my critics.

I think I'm quite thoughtful and incisive. I disagree because there's so much with which to disagree. If you think Obama's non-dependence on teleprompters is a legitimate point (which, obviously, you do), there's nothing I can do about it. I can only point out the falsity of it so many times. In fact, I took the time to look up and provide links.

I'd agree it means one of us is unreasonable and closed-minded. We'll never agree about who that is.

It's of some interest to me that this particular conversation is going on in a thread following a post in which I criticized Obama. Do you ever criticize congressional conservatives? Do you really think I'm off base in my criticisms, and my view that Republicans and teabaggers (as opposed to true conservatives, whose demise I've much lamented) are anti-intellectual and base much of what they claim on lies or, at best, distortions?

I appreciate your comments about Surgeonsblog. You could hang out there instead of here, if this one causes you so much discordance. It's entirely voluntary. I like to express my opinions, because in a world gone mad, it makes me feel very slightly better. Sadly, I know only too well that I can't change teabagger/Foxobeckian insanity. Ranting about it is the best I can do. You're welcome not to listen.

Feel free.

Sid Schwab said...

P.S: it's always been a characteristic of Congressional Democrats that they don't vote in blocks. The unanimous and complete commitment to obstruction at all costs, even of programs they originally promoted, is unique to the current brand of Rs.

Well, they voted against Clinton's budget to a man/women, too, claiming it'd wreck the economy. That was the one, you recall, that was followed by the only fiscal balance in generations, a surplus, and a booming economy.

I doubt we'll ever see any Democratic proposal that'll receive unanimous congressional D support, nor any R proposal that'll receive unanimous rejection. It's a characteristic of a party that has actual ideas and accepts difference of opinion, while actually trying to accomplish things. I don't consider the fact that some Ds voted with Reagan to be all bad.

On the other hand, Southern so-called Democrats are democrats quite literally in name only on nearly every issue.

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