Where's Your Core?

I remember having a conversation with a friend going off to join the Obama campaign awhile ago, and I brought up a bunch of generic criticisms.  He hasn't done anything in the Senate, he triangulates against the left, etc.  And she turned to me and said 'Matt, but don't you get it?  He's one of us.' It was an interesting comment, one that I think courses through a lot of the Obama supporting community.  He's asking for a different type of politics, therefore he's asking for my type of politics.  But is that really the case?  Here's a good example, an article on Obama's economic team.  Former Bush officials Greg Mankiw lavished praise on his crew as a group of technically excellent economists that are "left of the political center, as one would expect, but only slightly".

When someone like Mankiw praises an economic team, it means that the team fits into traditional economic orthodoxy, which is very much tilted to the right.  And the proof is plain to see.

Liebman, an expert on Social Security, isn't easily pigeon- holed either. He has supported partial privatization of the government-run retirement system, an idea that's anathema to many Democrats and bears a similarity to a proposal for personal investment accounts that Bush promoted, then dropped in 2005.

``Liebman has been to open to private accounts and most people in town would say he's a moderate supporter of them,'' said Michael Tanner, a Social Security expert at the Cato Institute in Washington, a research organization in Washington that advocates free markets and often backs Republicans.

In a 2005 policy paper Liebman, along with Andrew Samwick of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Maya MacGuineas, a former aide to Senator John McCain, advocated a mix of benefit cuts, tax increases and mandatory personal accounts to shore up the system, which will begin paying more in benefits than it takes in through taxes by 2017 under current actuarial estimates.

That's a rather stunning team player for Obama.  Perhaps Liebman is an outlier and doesn't represent Obama's thinking, but I find that unlikely.  The article continues.  

Obama has called Social Security's problems ``real but manageable'' and has pledged to preserve what he's called the ``essential character'' of the pension program.

There are serious problems with Medicare, but Social Security is fine as long as the other financial shortfalls in the budget are dealt with.  One of the key drivers of the right-wing frame in fact is the idea that 'entitlements' in general are in trouble, and so privatization ought to happen.  Obama may or may not be looking for a new type of politics, and he may be engaging on a level that draws in new entrants into the process.  Still, when combined with a team including people such as Liebman, this is very worrisome rhetoric, and gives ammunition to Clinton and Edwards backers.

And this gives rise to a question - why would Obama adopt this rhetoric and this team?  It's an important question.  It's not like the base loves the idea of privatizing Social Security, but there are groups that do, groups that have their home on Wall Street and in elite think tanks and universities (the ones Chait thinks are dispassionate).  And I'm not a cynic who thinks that politicians just do whatever is politically palatable; I believe Obama believes what he said, that Social Security has real problems that need to be managed.  Just as Clinton supports a continuing force in Iraq while telling us that she will end the war as President, Obama's campaign is wink-wink nudging the progressive base that 'he is one of us', while hiring a Cato-infused nut to help run his economic policy.  Social Security is core.  Iraq is core.  It's strange that the two leading candidates in the Democratic Party don't consider them as such, and that the base is letting them get away with this nonsense.

We need better debates to bring this out, and more criticism.  

UPDATE: Read this blog post on Clinton. She is very very strong, and we will not beat her without a compelling case. The triangulating model will only let her blur the distinctions on very clear issues, which is enough of an emotional excuse to keep her voters in line for the primaries.

Update [2007-5-10 18:21:24 by Matt Stoller]:: The Obama camp sent me this.

Audacity of Hope, pg. 179:

Take the Administration’s attempt to privatize Social Security. The Administration argues that the stock market can provide individuals a better return on investment, and in the aggregate at least they are right; historically, the market outperforms Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustments. But individual investment decisions will always produce winners and losers—those who bought Microsoft early and those who bought Enron late. What would the Ownership Society do with the losers? Unless we’re willing to see seniors starve on the street, we’re going to have to cover their retirement expenses one way or another—and since we don’t know in advance which of us will be losers, it makes sense for all of us to chip in to a pool that gives us at least some guaranteed income in our golden years. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage individuals to pursue higher-risk, higher-return investment strategies. They should. It just means that they should do so with savings other than those put into Social Security.

I didn't mean to give the impression of saying that Obama wants to privatize Social Security. It's clear he's not sold on that option, and he opposed it in 2005. There are many ways to slice and dice this issue, though, and one of them is to raise payroll taxes a la 1983, which would essentially be another unnecessary regressive tax hike. For some reason that 1983 move is venerated as a wonderful example of cooperation instead of a horrible economic move. And I'm not saying Obama would do this, either, only that there are many ways above and beyond Bush idiocy to mess this up. Starting with the frame that Social Security needs 'a fix' is a great way to move to a place where damage can happen. Obama's support of Lieberman, for instance, suggests that he's temperamentally inclined to go for a 1983 style solution, and his rhetoric here and choice of advisors suggest he could substantively move in that direction. Then again, he could go the other way and suggest replacing payroll taxes with carbon taxes. The point is, who knows?

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, president (all tags)



Re: Where's Your Core?

Maybe he believes in hiring different points of view to help develop the best policies and solutions possible.  

Out of curiosity, did you ask your Friend her thoughts on this?

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

No, but that's a great idea.  I will.

by Matt Stoller 2007-05-10 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I just think its making huge assumptions that because of one's staff, a candidate will do everything that staffer might believe in.  Now of course, HE very well might... but then as I said above he might also look for varied opinions on different issues.  Maybe he takes an opposite view of those guys along with some of his other general advisors.  Maybe the various advisors have several different opinions.

But I agree it is a valid question that should be asked and does need some clarification.  I wouldn't mind seeing it asked by Stephanopolous when Obama is on his show.  I will suggest it if I can find the website link again on Obama's website.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

This is not about "some staffer."  This is about a high-level advisor.  

by Peter from WI 2007-05-10 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I agree, but as the old saying goes, good leaders surround themselves with those that agree with them, GREAT leaders surround themselves with those that disagree with them.  Just because he is an advisor, doesn't mean Obama would follow his personal opinions to the letter or even a majority.  Again, I don't have problems with the questions being asked... they should be... but my argument is an equally valid one in this situation.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

The assumption you make there is that Obama is a GREAT leader...that's kind of subjective if you ask me.  The biggest problem with Obama's choice of advisors probably isn't that he chose this guy, it's that the pool is probably already tainted to the right as it is.  How many years of conservative economics have we seen?  Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush - that's 28 years.  I guess you can discount Clinton a little bit although NAFTA wasn't exactly a progressive ideal.  So the problem is that you have all of these guys running around Washington and they're all just preaching what the country has done for years.

We need fresh faces with experience, and I doubt we'll find any.

by Conquest 2007-05-11 06:23AM | 0 recs
Samwick called you out

I tried to leave a comment, I don't know if it took, he probably has my e-mail filtered. He and I have butted heads before

Anyway it is directed right at you and called 'Where's your brain'

http://voxbaby.blogspot.com/2007/05/wher es-your-brain.html

Essentially he is arguing that just because you get your marching orders from Cato and goose step right along you are not necessarily a 'Cato infused nut'.

Well could have fooled me.

by Bruce Webb 2007-05-13 12:54PM | 0 recs
What's weird

is that we have to speculate about Obama's beliefs on Social Security, trade, taxes, and economics in general because he hasn't told us where he stands. Say what you will about Edwards, we know where he stands on these critical issues.

Speaking of Obama's positions, can someone clarify for me what he thinks Congress should do regarding Iraq? There's a video over there in Breaking Blue in which he seems to support the strategy that Edwards supports. But some of his supporters tell me that he supports the short-leash strategy. Please help me fill in the holes here.

by david mizner 2007-05-10 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: What's weird

Actually I am pretty sure he supports both... whatever will work to end the war without giving Bush the opportunity to put more people in harms way.

As for your other statement, I think it is a valid criticism.  He does need to be more specific on his issue stances.  Since it is still a bit early, I am hoping to see him become more specific as we get closer to the primaries. This was his MO during the 2004 senate primaries, so I have little doubt he will become more specific over the next 4 months.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

One could write a similiar post about virtually every single candidate running. Indeed the mind REELS with what one could do to Mr. Edwards in said hypothetical diary.

by the green and bold 2007-05-10 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

This is the standard defense that I hear from Obama's supporters - "but the other guy is worse!'

I don't think that's necessarily true, or at least, it hasn't been proven.  It's important to have this debate and the other guy is worse argument is a bad defense.

by Matt Stoller 2007-05-10 10:49AM | 0 recs
I'm not sure it's as much...

of an "but the other guy is worse" argument as an "let's compare and contrast" argument.  It's perfectly fair to compare advisors, voting records, and so on...but let's put it in context.  It's pretty hard to look at Obama's record and say that he's not a core progressive.

by rashomon 2007-05-10 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not sure it's as much...

Voting records are not necessarily the best thing.  Being a legislator and representing constituents is very different from being an executive.  Judgments, decisions, etc are made differently.

by Peter from WI 2007-05-10 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

One thing I've always liked about you Matt...You are fearless in you attempts to explore what' what with the political aristocracy our nation is saddled with.

I will be studying this post and the comments for use in my diary: Obama...the New Liebermann?

And don't worry about the truckloads of b.s. you are gonna get from the Obama camp.

They are little excitable.

by Pericles 2007-05-10 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Feel free to write it.

by clarkent 2007-05-10 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I'll pass. I'm just making the point that there simply aren't any virgins running this time around. Edwards, despite some possible contradictions as it pertains to his history (from the war to hair and hedge funds, more recently), is positioning himself to the left, and bless his heart for it.

I don't blame Edwards for that. He is a politician. So is Obama.

Where I think Obama is getting somewhere (a tact that will arguably serve him better in a general election, if he gets there), is the fact that to Joe Blow, this "new politics" concept basically boils down to stuff like working agreeably with the opposing party, not taking special interest money, and an emphasis on small donors.

To the people not like us (constantly parsing every political moment), Barack Obama is indeed pretty damn inviting as something "new".

by the green and bold 2007-05-10 10:59AM | 0 recs
Definitely. The fish rots at the top... Bonior ...

... shows a lot about the nefarious direction Edwards wants to take ... fighting for the little guy, against Big Business domination of politics ... all sorts of nasty stuff you can read from that.

Of course its the campaign advisors that raise policy issues with people that will be the focus of diaries.

There's no reason for Obama to be exempt from questioning about his economic team, after Edwards was questioned for his foreign policy team.

by BruceMcF 2007-05-10 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Remember that Obama is telling us we need to use the ideas of Republicans and market-based solutions to fix some of our problems.  I just re-read his first diary on Kos the other day, and that, as it should've, stuck in my mind.  The more I read stuff like this, the less I trust him.

by jallen 2007-05-10 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I've also noticed some of his supporters on Kos saying that they agree with the fiscally centrist aspect of Obama, too.

by clarkent 2007-05-10 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

There are a lot of neoliberals and libertarians on Kos.  What I really don't like is that those types don't often compromise on economics.  They're tend to be intellectually elitist and think that people who aren't lazy fairies are dopes.

by jallen 2007-05-10 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I would say Obama is willing to consider any solution that will fix the problems we face regardless of who supports them or first mentions them.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

The problem is that Obama does appeal to have biases, economically liberal biases.  He's the same on foreign policy.  The more I find out about him, the more neoliberal he seems.

by jallen 2007-05-10 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

He's Robert Rubin's hedge against a Clinton loss.  Obama is deeply tied to the Hamilton Project, and has been pushing their ideas.

Heck, Rubin's chief negotiator for NAFTA is Obama's primary economic advisor.  Rubin's son Jaime?  One of Obama's big fundraisers.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:08AM | 0 recs

and Obama voted against CAFTA, didn't support NAFTA, etc.  There's plenty of benchmarks on both sides there.

by rashomon 2007-05-10 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes...

CAFTA was a high profile vote, that was certain to be broadcast over and over again.  Even a dog know not to take a crap on the floor while everyone is watching.

Obama was the keynote speaker at the opening of the Hamilton Project in April of 2006, in September of that year he voted for free trade with a nation known to engage in slavery.

Edwards saw the errors of his ways, and has changed.

Obama saw the millions of dollars to be raised from Robert Rubin's friends, and he changed.

I'll take the former over the latter, thank you very much.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes...

That a pretty big leap on one speech and one vote.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes...

dude, did you even listen to that speech?  i doubt it, because if you had, you would not be making these claims. he was not cheerleading, in fact, he even state his disagreement with some of their principles, but acknowledged that they were part of the democratic big tent.

by colorless green ideas 2007-05-10 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes...

He had a small criticism of them, but praised their leadership as being among the most brilliant.

by jallen 2007-05-10 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes...

Again, voting records are not the best indication of how someone will lead as an executive.  

Presidents set economic agendas and policies vastly independent of the legislative process.  Who is around a candidate for executive and what said candidate talks about (and how they talk about it) matters more than their voting history.

by Peter from WI 2007-05-10 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Actually he isn't deeply tied to the project.  He spoke once at their opening.  Not as in bed with them as you like to make it out.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Hmmm  The Wall Street Journal doesn't seem to see it that way.

With protectionist pressures growing amid manufacturing job losses, the Hamilton Project has emerged as an intellectual counterweight to organized labor and liberal groups that want to restrict trade, and a source of policy fodder for potential Democratic presidential candidates, including Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

Despite the "Hamiltonians'" differences over trade with more liberal Democrats, its policy prescriptions for adjusting to the pain of globalization have much for liberals to agree with. Early next year, for example, new papers on health and education will propose ways to strengthen the social safety net for workers and their families.

It's a question of whether we have proactive or reactive economic policy.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Wow one little small blurb... Figured you could do better than that.  Its one writers opinion.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Do you not know how to link?

Because for all the poo you throuhg about, you have a suprisingly inability to support it with sources.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Its Throw... if you are going to insult me, please do it properly.  And since I am asking you to prove your rather insulting hypothesis with more than one tiny article, I am not quite sure what you want me to link too.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

That certainly seems to be case with his foreign policy at least for me. His whole speech was couched in militaristic terms. I understand that dems need to present themselves as tough, but that seemed go further than that. It was hawkish and we don't need to get in a hawkish pissing contest like Kerry tried to do last time.

by okamichan13 2007-05-10 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Neoliberal is not necessarily pro-war, but a neoliberal are much more likely to support a war that is promoting freedom and democracy, as the spread of "freedom" (generally understood to mean economic freedom, liberalization) and democracy is their chief foreign policy concern.  However, a more assertive and militaristic foreign policy would be more conservative.

by jallen 2007-05-10 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

John Edward's career, god bless him, is a "market based solution".

War stock was rising in 2002, and he bought the stock. Soon as war stocks went south, he sold his shares.    

by the green and bold 2007-05-10 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

This is retarded.

Interestingly, Edwards boot-strapped his way to being a millionaire on his merit and work ethic, yet he's always been there when it comes to working for a social safety net, economic fairness, labor rights/prominence, etc.

by Peter from WI 2007-05-10 11:40AM | 0 recs
This statement seems to imply...

That we should NEVER use the ideas of Republicans and market-based solutions to fix problems.  Why?  Are market-based solutions inherently evil?

by rashomon 2007-05-10 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...

At times they're useful, but the fact that he says it so often, usually seeming to be derisive of Democrats who are standing for their principles, impies to me that it's part of his ideology, rather than that he's being non-ideological.  Particularly when you add in the people he surrounds himself with.
Via Jerome:

There's an interesting Gov race in KY this year, where the chief strategists/consultants for both Clinton and Obama are joining up to work for the anti-Union candidate --running as a democrat-- that voted for Fletcher last time. Money.

With Liebman, Rubin, etc., I don't trust him.

Compare to Edwards, who's campaign chairman is David Bonior, former congressman and friend of labor, and several of his upper staffers are from unions like SEIU.

by jallen 2007-05-10 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...


by Peter from WI 2007-05-10 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...


Do ya like yer market based healthcare?

Market based telecom fees?

Yer market based energy markets?

Wake up and smell the coffee. 'Market based...' means screw the consumer.


by Pericles 2007-05-10 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...

do you like your market based semi-conductors that double in speed every 18 months?

how about your market based flat panel tvs?

or carbon fiber bicycles?

or photovoltaic solar cells?

i could go on...

the market is an incredible tool for innovation.

by colorless green ideas 2007-05-10 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...

There is a lot of difference in markets for essential things like healthcare and markets for technology and consumer products. Technology is actually price competitive but healthcare is not because of the monopoly oriented system we have.

by robliberal 2007-05-10 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...


which is why pericles' comment "Wake up and smell the coffee. 'Market based...' means screw the consumer." is borderline idiotic.

by colorless green ideas 2007-05-10 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: This statement seems to imply...

Well...I disagree.

First, I don't care about Moore's law. It hasn't brought world peace, cured cancer, nor ended racism and it...

Never will.

I don't have a TV.

Your comment seems based in an emphasis on material goods...if they can even be called 'good'. Current 'market based' solutions are deeply flawed as any progressive economist will tell you as no accounting for the pollution of the environment, the squandering of our natural resources, global warming or any of the other myriad real costs the 'Free Market' blithely ignores in it's self-serving tale of how it is such a, such a, such a  great paradigm.


Fine, but can the bullshit will ya!

by Pericles 2007-05-17 04:38PM | 0 recs
I havent seen Obama support

SS privatization though. Sure, you can worry about him hiring someone like Liebman, but Obama himself has never expressed a desire for privatization and did not support it in 2005 when Bush was pushing the issue. And I think that's what your friend means by "he's one of us". In action, he has been very liberal.

by jj32 2007-05-10 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: I havent seen Obama support

Read the piece by Jeff Faux I linked to below.  That phrase, "He's one of us", is a statement of class solidarity between the global elites.  The immediate postwar period saw the rise of social democracy as the principal economic system in the democratic West.  The right has been trying to tear that down since the 1970's, and the Ivy League schools have been a breeding ground for their elitist, neo-liberal bull.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:02AM | 0 recs
This is the reason that I

won't vote for Obama, not even in the general election.

Obama has extensive connections with the Hamilton Project, a group funded by Robert Rubin and his Wall Street friends.  They accept the transformation of economic thinking in this country from the post war social contract that was essentialy a social democratic order to the neo-liberal economic ides that the right has pushed like the Laffer Curve, "free trade", and deregulation, and the rest.  These are the people who are destroying America.

I'm back home right now at my mother's place doing home repairs, and I went with my father to go to the local hardware store to pick up some supplies.  My father's a UAW retiree, he worked skilled trades in the carpentry shop at the local GM plant.  He was the first in his family to go to college, and he paid his way through with a trip to Vietnam.  

It seems like whenever I'm oput with him he runs into some of the old guys from the factory.  They're tearing it down now.  My father was part of a group trying to preseerve the smokestack and the carptenter's shop.  That shop has stood there since the late 1800's, it's a part of out industrial heritage.  But they're both going to be torn down.  And there will be 16 acres of poisoned land in the heart of my city.  Where thousands of men and women once earned enough to enter the middle class, there's going to be acres of blacktop to keep the poison in the ground.  

The Nazis,the Japanese, and the Soviets couldn't tear us down, but a revolt by our owne elites against the social democratic order did the trick.  And I'm sorry, Obama and his economic crew are in league with the people who've destroyed American industry through myriad tricks to evade the rules that were put in place to make them self the common good as well as their own.  They do not deserve the support of working men and women.

It's an odd coincidence what your friend said about him being "one of us."  I've been working on setting up a political economy reading circle with TGeraghty, and in the process of discussing books that would be good to use, he sent me this article written by Jeff Faux, founder and former president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

I'll start with the anecdote that inspired my book, The Global Class War. During the 1993 fight over Congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a corporate lobbyist, exasperated with my opposition to NAFTA, collared me in a corridor of the Capitol. "Don't you understand?" she sputtered. "We have to help Salinas [Carlos Salinas, then Mexico's president]. He's been to Harvard. He's one of us."

True, I once had a fellowship to the Kennedy Institute of Politics, but I hardly considered myself a "Harvard Man". She hadn't gone there at all. But despite the considerable social distance between the president of Mexico and both of us, she was appealing to a sense of class solidarity among educated elites and global movers and shakers who have more in common with each other than with ordinary people who just happen to share their nationality.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

I have to wonder who you could support in a general election?

by the green and bold 2007-05-10 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

I'd probably write in the Green party candidate.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

By the way.

I am a Democrat, I have been since the first time I voted.

I would like the person I voted for for President to be so as well.

This is the reason that I can't vote for Barack Obama.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:19AM | 0 recs

Barack Obama isn't a Democrat?  I wasn't aware of that.

by rashomon 2007-05-10 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry...

Anyone who has Obama's friends, and is willing to toy with working people's lives to get into office doesn't deserve to be called a Democrat.

You do realize that Zell Miller said he was a Democrat also, but that didn't really make it so in my mind.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry...

An argument one could have easily made for John Edwards and John Kerrys Iraq vote during the 2004 elections.  Yet I don't see you chastising them.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry...

If you try to find one commonality in the Democratic Party over history, it would not be that it is an anti-war party, but that more often than anything else, the Democratic Party has stood up for those without power, against the economic elite.  It has not always been true, but certainly more often than anything else.  So for one to equate Democrat with anti-war, when Democrats supported our entry into the War of 1812, a Democrat started the Mexican-American War, a Democrat got us into WWI, we entered both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts because of Democrats, and Clinton's interventions as well as numerous smaller conflicts we've been involved in, would be improper, but to equate Democrats with certain economic principles would make more sense.

by jallen 2007-05-10 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry...

I wasn't equating them as anti-war... I was saying that the argument could be made that they voted for Iraq because it was popular and they both had Presidential Campaigns in mind when casting their vote.  I don't know if that is true... I'm not even saying it is... but the same fallible argument ManfromMiddletown made could easily be made about the reasons Kerry and Edwards voted for the war.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry...

I don't think that's the argument he was making.

by jallen 2007-05-10 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

Wow, that may be the most ignorant statement I have ever read on MyDD.  That's actually a fairly borderline troll statement designed to simply piss off his supporters.  You do it constantly and I'm not surprised that you continue to do it though.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

I'm sorry my opinion offends you.

Your candidates support for economic policies that have destroyed America's industrial base, and his stated support for people who claim that job losses come because workers are uneducated offends me.

Ley me make it simple.  Elections are about two things.  1. Getting out your voters.  2. Persuading the people supporting the opposition to support you.  

In 1994, the Democratic party lost the white working class, this is the reason that the party was in the minority for half a generation.  

And what does this all have to do with the economy? Approximately everything. As indicated in table 1, it is precisely noncollege-educated Americans, in particular noncollege-educated men, who have suffered the largest wage declines over the last two decades. Furthermore, this miserable experience of wage (and income) decline continued apace in the first two years of the Clinton administration, providing little relief to voters who have seen their living standards erode over time. (See Lawrence Mishel, "Rising Tides, Sinking Wages," ) Finally, analysis of wage data cross-linked to the VNS data indicates that the Perot voters who voted Republican in 1994 were the ones under the most economic stress, with estimated post-1979 wage losses more than double those of Perot voters who voted Democratic.

In short, the economy matters as much or more than ever, even if how it matters is missed by traditional election forecasting models that stress overall growth. These models mistakenly presume a "rising-tide-lifts-all-boats" economy that no longer exists. In today's economy, some boats get swamped by the same tide that elevates a few. Therefore, we need to look below the surface to see what is really going on

2006 was similarly about economic insecurity, not Iraq.

From Florida to Hawaii and parts in between, pro-fair trade challengers Tuesday beat anti-fair trade incumbents, according to a major report on the 2006 midterm results conducted by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. Incumbents who had voted for the U.S. trade status quo of NAFTA, WTO and Fast Track were replaced by fair traders rejecting these failed policies and advocating improvement in 37 congressional seats (7 Senate and 30 House).

"This election changed the composition of Congress on trade to more closely represent U.S. public opinion. Congress needs a system for negotiating U.S. trade agreements - with a steering wheel and emergency brakes on negotiators - that delivers on the public's expectations for a new trade policy that wins for American workers and farmers and does not harm the environment or food safety," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division.

Trade and offshoring were wedge issues actively used in 115 congressional campaigns nationwide with more than 25 paid campaign ads run on trade and offshoring. Election exit polls conducted by CNN and The New York Times revealed that Americans' anxiety about the economy and job security trumped Iraq war concerns.

After the pet food crisis, this is only going to become a larger issue.  It isn't only about jobs now, and about public health and safety.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

Preach it brother!

by Pericles 2007-05-10 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

Yes your trollish remark saying he isn't a Democrat is greatly offensive.  He may not be your favorite Democrat and I am fine with that opinion, but saying he isn't a Democrat is pure ignorance.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

If he is such a staunch supporter of these policies you claim he is, he would have voted for CAFTA.  HE wouldn't support labor standards, human rights and fair trade accords with China.  He would support the South Korea free trade agreement.  Now I will agree the Oman vote was a mistake, but then all the candidates have mistake votes on their records.  

You may think Edwards is stronger on Fair trade than Obama, and you are certainly entitled to that opinion... In fact, I would probably agree with you that he is.  But to say Obama doesn't support Fair trade and is a strong free trade supporter ignores his senate votes on the issues and statements he has made.  

And to say he isn't a Democrat is again one of the most ignorant trollish statements I have read on MyDD.  Especially given that there are other Democratic candidates who are MUCH STRONGER and MORE PUBLIC supporters of Fair Trade agreements than Obama is or has ever been.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

My last congressman, before I moved, is very pro-free trade, and had never, I think, voted against a trade agreement before.  He voted against CAFTA, though.  There was a lot of attention on the vote, and a lot of pressure to vote against it.

by jallen 2007-05-10 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

I'm not denying that, but the point is HE VOTED AGAINST IT.  It seems like you are making the argument Obama was for CAFTA even though he voted against it.  Its a ridiculous argument to make... Its like me saying Edwards is still for the war, even though he apologized for it.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

As president, I would expect him to act differently than he has as a legislator.  Many that make that transition do.  As he has a mixed trade history (1 for, 1 against trade deals), and he hasn't discussed economic issues much, I don't know what to think.

by jallen 2007-05-10 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

Wow, that seems like quite a ridiculous leap of "logic"... You basically assume something that he hasn't given any indication he will do.  I could make that argument with any candidate... Edwards, Hillary, Richardson, Dodd.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

FDR and GWB, for two examples, were very different before and after assuming the office.  It happens to many of them.

by jallen 2007-05-10 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

Even a bad dog know not to shit on the floor while someone's watching.  The AFL-CIO was out on force on CAFTA, most trade deals don't receive this level of scrutiny.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

So then John Edward's vote against NAFTA was the same kind of "pandering" to the AFL-CIO that you insinuate Obama's CAFTA vote was.  What a ridiculous fallible argument argument.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

Edwards didn't vote on NAFTA.  He wasn't in office at the time.  Both have mixed records on trade.  The difference- Obama's last vote was for a free trade deal (Oman, he's only had two trade votes I'm aware of, CAFTA and Oman), while Edwards started opposing all trade deals in early 2003, although he had previously been involved on the issue, particularly in hte interest of protecting textile workers.

by jallen 2007-05-10 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

your concern has been noted. i think barack would, given your strong opinions, even beg you not to vote for him.

by pmb 2007-05-10 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

All I ever hear from you is yearning to go back to a social economic order that has been dead for a generation or more.  We all despise the fact that investment and wealth is now controlled by the elite, with little to no input from government.  But I do not believe that we can or should go back--it would be a mistake to try.  

by aiko 2007-05-10 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: This is the reason that I

And this is the central difference.  Thank you for putting it frankly.

A Democratic Party that promises the working and middle class nothing much better than the Republican Party does (there's NOTHING to be done about jobs moving overseas, accept the race to the bottom, it's good for your soul) is a party that has ceded what SHOULD BE its primary rationale for existing.  It is left to fight a bunch of rearguard losing battles on social issues.  It's no surprise that America was most liberal on social issues when the Democratic Party was liberal on economic issues too.

But your type of Democrat looks at the working class as "icky" and is far too sensitive in noticing that many of these people are your opponents on some of the social issues such as abortion, school prayer, whatever.  You thus write them off, with disastrous consequences.  

This argument you're making depends too heavily on conventional wisdom.  You're buying into the conventional wisdom that "it's a totally new era" without thinking about what that means - without thinking about the galloping increase in inegalitarian thoughts and policies.  These policies have political effects.  "Conventional wisdom" politicians like Barack Obama may not see them.    

When pressed, leftish Obama supporters have little to offer but "he's one of us, he's just doing this to get elected."  But what if he isn't?

by sTiVo 2007-05-17 03:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Obama is a wild card; we don't have a good idea where he'd take us as president. I'm partly assured by his background, ex. community organizer, progressive state senator but not certain he'd govern the same way as president.

I have no problem with Democratic candidates mouthing centrist themes in a run for the presidency but off camera telling the base what his real agenda is. After all, the majority of the population is not liberal (sad, but true; we need to reach out & make a much higher percent liberal as a long term goal). After all, W ran as a centrist, ie. compassionate conservative, leave no child behind, noninterventionist foreign policy. Behind the scenes, he assured Wall Street & the fundamentalists that he would be their president.

by carter1 2007-05-10 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Just a small quibble.  A majority of people in this country don't self-identify as liberal.  But that's thanks to 30+ years of a concerted effort to demonize the word 'liberal' and move the political spectrum of discourse thoroughly to the right.  Nothing a good movement on our side can't change.  Because when people are asked about individual liberal ideas and values, they definitely identify that way, even if they don't describe themselves as liberal.

by Peter from WI 2007-05-10 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

In my opinion Clinton is the most liberal followed by Obama and then by Edwards of the top 3.

by robliberal 2007-05-10 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?


I have a question.

What does "liberal" mean?

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I would define it as embracing progress, reform, protection of civil liberties, etc.

by robliberal 2007-05-10 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

That's a pretty funny statement.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

What concerns me about so many think tanks proposing market based solutions (and all of the top 3 dabble to some extent with those) is that it creates the perception that corporations somehow have a "right" to be a part of anything that is ever done with Social Security, Medicare, prescription drug reform, etc.

When Hillary Clinton was successful in implementing UHC for children under the CHIPS program they made it a part of Medicaid and avoided going the market based route through the insurance companies. VA is operated in a similar way. The problem with market based solutions for Social Security, Medicare, etc. is corporations will milk every dollar they can to the deteriment of the beneficiaries.  

by robliberal 2007-05-10 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?


I think that it is getting pretty clear that a contracting-based hybrid between socialism and capitalism is the worst of both worlds in terms of delivering services at a reasonable cost.  It's why our health care and utlities are a disaster, and is part of why the Iraq war is making so little progress at so great of a cost.  

Notice how even the craziest right wingers never, ever advocate the end of the TVA...

by Valatan 2007-05-10 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I dont have a problem with corporate involvement in some types of government services but just think it is disgraceful that we have a system where corporations make so much profit from the sick and elderly.

by robliberal 2007-05-10 12:22PM | 0 recs
Disgraces - Corps profit on war, sickness, prisons

it is disgraceful that we have a system where corporations make so much profit from the sick and elderly.

Absolutely. But the disgrace goes beyond that. In our system corporations also make obscene profits from war and from imprisoning an increasing number of Americans.

We've given corporations a huge incentive to see our country led into war.

We've given corporations an incentive to agitate for laws that will expand the drug war and imprison more Americans.

Add those to your point that corporations have a profit motive to see Americans denied health care and to have their good jobs shipped overseas.

That is not the description of a healthy society.

by Curt Matlock 2007-05-10 01:15PM | 0 recs
I think he's SAID what his Core Principles are


I think it is fine to criticize Obama for hiring people you don't like, but he's outlined his economic positions pretty clearly in "The Audacity of Hope," so I don't think it's actually fair to imply he's supportive of privatizing social security.  

Now, if your criticism here is intended to flag the fact that Obama is open to supporting some of the policies advocated for by Rubin and the Hamilton project, that's true.  He's not a pure economic populist by any stretch, so if that's what you're looking for it probably is a good idea to look somewhere else.  But it's worth noting that (1) many of the policy proposals the Hamilton project has made actually enjoy broad support accross the caucus; and (2) Obama's record on economic issues really is as good as any other candidate with a real chance of winning the nomination.  

Finally, I'd love to understand how accepting the fact that entitlements are currently problematic plays into a right wing frame.  I agree that the problems with SS and Medicare are manageable, but we obviously do need to make sure the programs are sustainable going forward.  Personally, I'd like to see a progressive take those actions, so that the changes don't gut the programs and screw over people in need.  Are you arguing against that view?  

by HSTruman 2007-05-10 11:24AM | 0 recs
the problem is that matt knows nothing about liebm


Matt, if he had done the slightest of research on liebman , would not have made this post this bland.

it's pathetic too that he thinks 'entitlements' critique should be left to the right wing.

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: the problem is that

People should be entitled to certain things, like clean water, an education, food enough to survive, etc.  Now, we can disagree about how to deliver those, but do you really think it's acceptable for people on the left to disagree that people are entitled to certain things?

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: the problem is that

I'm curious for the link where Obama says he doesn't support these things.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: the problem is that

This has nothing to do with Obama, just pmb's personal opinions.

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: the problem is that

Ah my mistake... it sounded like you were saying Obama was against these things, which is of course ridiculous.  I misunderstood your post.  Mea Culpe.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: the problem is that

welfare reform is what i'm talking about.

by pmb 2007-05-10 02:10PM | 0 recs
I'm no expert on SS, and call me crazy, but...

...this just doesn't bother me that much. In fact, I'm not sure I quite get why SS is so popular. From my perspective, the idea of "personal accounts" seems at least worth considering (but is of course to be greeted with a high degree of skepticism given its proponents).

I'm only 25 years old, and my long term plans assume that there won't be any SS benefits for me when I retire. If there are, then I will consider that a bonus. Now, given the following two choices:

1. Continue paying SS taxes to cover current benefits, possibly at an increased rate and some degree of uncertainty as to whether the benefits will be available when I reach retirement age,

or 2. Have the option to invest some portion of my erstwhile SS taxes to grow for the next 40 years or so in an account that I own,

I can't see why #2 is automatically terrible.

Now obviously for such a plan to work, the allowed investment vehicles for the personal accounts would have to be both flexible to accommodate people with different risk tolerances vs. growth goals, but with limits on the risks one can take. For example, those seeking completely risk-free growth of savings could invest in govt debt, i.e. US treasury bonds/notes/etc, many of which are inflation-indexed to provide a real return above inflation, or high-quality corporate bonds. People  with a higher risk tolerance would be allowed (but not required) to invest in very low-cost stock index funds, and the asset mix between stocks and bonds would be required to become gradually more conservative as the retirement age approaches. The government should pay the operating expenses of the "personal accounts" funds, and will be able to keep these expenses down by regulation and its collective bargaining power (admittedly I see the potential for abuse here). Finally, more risky derivative-type investments or individual stock bets would be out of the question as far as said personal accounts are concerned.

Now it seems to me like if you could phase something like this in gradually, minimizing the impact to today's retirees, that (possibly) everybody wins, and though there are a lot of details to be hammered out, as long as said details are arrived at in good faith, I don't see the knee-jerk opposition to this from a lot of Democrats as productive.

All that being said, I think it is more than likely that the alarm bells being sounded about SS's impending doom and insolvency are exaggerated to push part of a radical privatization agenda. Again, I'm no SS expert.

But privatization isn't always necessarily a bad thing, IMHO(just almost always, especially as practiced by the Bush admin). The question I have is, can we come up with a "personal accounts" scheme in which lower-wage workers don't get shafted compared to the current SS system? And if we can't, then we shouldn't do it, and we should concentrate on things like higher retirement age or higher limits on the income subject to the SS tax. Yet again, I'm no expert on this subject.

by ajpuckett 2007-05-10 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm no expert on SS, and call me crazy, but...

You do realize that when the boomers start retiring, Social Secuirty and Medicare will become a national religion.  They aren't going anywhere.

by Valatan 2007-05-10 12:20PM | 0 recs
Good point.

by ajpuckett 2007-05-10 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm no expert on SS, and call me crazy, but...

You really, really need to educate yourself on this. There are good solid reasons why 'private accounts' are not the way to go.

Try Angry Bear's blog...

And be prepared to take some time to understand. Social Security is a complex issue and you can't get it all down in a day.

One thing is clear....George W. Bush and the oligarchy he comes from hate it and want to destroy it.

Something to keep in mind.

by Pericles 2007-05-10 12:25PM | 0 recs
Bad Argument

I have to say that your argument that Barack Obama would privatize Social Security because:    

<blockquote)Obama has called Social Security's problems ``real but manageable'' and has pledged to preserve what he's called the ``essential character'' of the pension program.</blockquote>

Is a bad argument. <sarcasm> Obviously if they are essentially AARP talking points it must be for privatization. </sarcasm>  Many liberal groups agree that Social Security is broken, they don't argue that it requires a fundamental overhaul, just a tune up.

Until he starts spouting rhetoric about market based solutions for Social Security I'm not going to be worried.  "Real but manageable," is not the saying it is falling apart.  If it were falling apart there would be a reason to rebuild it from the ground up.


by Obama08 2007-05-10 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Bad Argument

He's not slamming Obama here. He's just saying that he should be questioned on it.

by clarkent 2007-05-10 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Bad Argument

And Matt is right... I agree he isn't attacking Obama.  I don't agree with his interpretation but his questions are very valid ones and should be addressed.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I'm only 25 years old, and my long term plans assume that there won't be any SS benefits for me when I retire.

Why? Because conservatives keep saying that SS is going bankrupt?

by clarkent 2007-05-10 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Good question.

I'd rather die standing, than live on my knees.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 11:40AM | 0 recs
What does that even mean?

How is taking responsibility for one's financial future "living on my knees", as you seem to suggest? More confusing yet, how is assuming SS benefits will be available in 40 years and then relying on that for survival "standing" for anything?

Look, I think that by all means, Democrats should fight to protect the benefits of SS for future generations, in whatever form they may take. But if there are good ideas that could improve SS for all (two big ifs, of course) it seems ridiculous to oppose an idea strictly for ideological reasons.

All I was saying is that this is one issue I haven't made up my mind about yet. So you could say SS isn't one of my "core" reasons for being a Democrat, although I am proud never to have supported or voted for a Republican for any office and I certainly never will after the Bush years.

by ajpuckett 2007-05-10 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: What does that even mean?

You shouldn't assume it's for ideological reasons.  Bush's proposed plan was pretty awful.

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:05PM | 0 recs
Nothing Bush proposes should even be considered

of course. But I'm certainly not writing off Obama because one of his economic policy advisors is open to the idea of personal accounts.

I like Obama, Edwards, and Clinton and I think each of their candidacies has its pros and cons.

by ajpuckett 2007-05-10 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: What does that even mean?

We've had 25 years of RW propaganda that SS is going bankrupt & it has effectively become conventional wisdom. SS is slightly out of balance over the next 30-40 years. Payments into the system stop around a salary of $90,000.

If the upper income level were raised to say around $115,000, SS would be solvent till at least the end of the 21st Century. Once we get past the current baby boomer generation, those receiving benefits will be a much smaller portion of the population relative to the workforce.

by carter1 2007-05-10 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: What does that even mean?

Gore was saying it was going bankrupt as well in 2000.... I remember it very well because I supported his idea of using the budget surplus to shore up social security instead of passing taxcuts, sending out $300 refund checks and pissing it all away.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: What does that even mean?

No, not really. What Gore was saying was that we needed to put some more money into it to shore it up. This is in contrast to many SS analysts' suggestion to raise the cap from currently around $90,000 of wages.

Bankrupcy is far different from saying you're spending $1000 a week & only making $950 & thus need to do slight changes to balance your books.

by carter1 2007-05-10 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Why? Because conservatives keep saying that SS is going bankrupt?

No. Because I'd rather not let my family's financial security rest on an assumption that it will be there, if I can help it. And you'll notice I'm not buying into the argument that it will go bankrupt. Did you read my whole comment?

All that being said, I think it is more than likely that the alarm bells being sounded about SS's impending doom and insolvency are exaggerated to push part of a radical privatization agenda. Again, I'm no SS expert.

by ajpuckett 2007-05-10 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Not a good definition.  That's common usage, but not a good definition.

by jallen 2007-05-10 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Don't be sorry, that's how most people understand it.  Wiki's intro lays it out pretty well:

Liberalism refers to a broad array of related doctrines, ideologies, philosophical views, and political traditions which advocate individual liberty.[1] Liberalism has its roots in the Western Age of Enlightenment, but the term has taken on different meanings in different time periods.

Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights. It seeks a society characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power (especially of government and religion), the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy that supports free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected.[2] In modern society, liberals favor a liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law and an equal opportunity to succeed.[3]

Many new liberals advocate a greater degree of government influence in the free market to protect individual rights (in a broad sense), often in the form of anti-discrimination laws, universal education, and progressive taxation. This philosophy frequently extends to a belief that the government should provide for a degree of general welfare, including benefits for the unemployed, housing for the homeless, and medical care for the sick. Such publicly-funded initiatives in the market are rejected as interference by modern advocates of classical liberalism, which emphasizes free private enterprise, individual property rights and freedom of contract; classical liberals hold that economic inequality, as arising naturally from competition in the free market, does not justify the violation of private property rights.

Liberalism rejected many foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the Divine Right of Kings, hereditary status, and established religion. Fundamental human rights that all liberals support include the right to life, liberty, and property.

A broader use of the term liberalism is in the context of liberal democracy (see also constitutionalism). In this sense of the word, it refers to a democracy in which the powers of government are limited and the rights of citizens are legally defined; this applies to nearly all Western democracies, and therefore is not solely associated with liberal parties.

Personally, I'm only like 45% liberal.  I don't think property is all that fundamental a right.  I'm not ideologically bound to markets.  I find individualism immoral.  I'm not all that liberal.  My core has a more social ideology.

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

You say:  "Perhaps Liebman is an outlier and doesn't represent Obama's thinking, but I find that unlikely."  It's not highly unlikely but in fact extremely likely.  Obama's style dating back to his days at Harvard is to listen to a wide spectrum of opinions.  Many who know him or meet him remark how comfortable he is in his own skin, how self-assured.  As well as intelligent.  This is a guy who can surround himself with various opinions and yet not be a weed bending with the wind.  To elect Obama Presidency is a vote for intelligence and a return to self-confident leaders who can bring people together and learn and grow from various opinions and ideas across the political spectrum.  

by dougdilg 2007-05-10 11:52AM | 0 recs
I have been on the leary side of some of

your post Matt, but this one I concur with 100%.

You have hit it on the nail for me. The "Obama is one of us" is the mime that I have had a problem with. The middle of the road stance, while many others exhort all the time that he isn't, "he is one of us".

Are they not listening to him.  To me Obama is with the run in the middle pack (blue dogs), his term a new kind of politics seems to me crying out for a new blended methology that cries of one party not two. Reading his book, I get that same feeling as he describes bipartisanship as the way to get anything done.

I can not except that, I think the 2 parties should be very different and should stand for those differences rather then blending in the middle - just to say " oh well, after all we got this or that done" and all the while this or that is a blending.

I don't want Koolaid or mixed views, I want a solid position on the issues and one that is worth fighting for, the one that is for the majority rather then the few.

by dk2 2007-05-10 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

Not sure what you are advocating for in this.  Of course the two parties should be very different and I'd love to see where Obama speaks otherwise.  That has nothing to do with getting things done.  We have just experienced more than 6 years on the losing side of a winner takes all philosphy of government and I can't see how anyone who has experienced that would endorse it as the model of how to run the country.  Bi-Partisanship is the realization and respect that there is more than one way to look at an issue and that the country is made up of a host of opinions which deserve to be listened to, and a self-confidence to use good ideas wherever they may come from.  

by dougdilg 2007-05-10 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

Bipartisanship is working together when you agree.  Insisting that we can solve our problems in a bipartisan manner is insisting that the parties agree.

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

Not at all.  Bipartisanship is working together.  Period.  In its worst form it is simply finding watered down common ground.  In its best form it takes the most important concerns of both parties and solves them with the smartest ideas from both.  Bipartisanship has gotten a bad rep precisely by those who have distorted it to mean we work together by you becoming me.

by dougdilg 2007-05-10 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

At least it assumes that you agree on what the problems are.  That's tough to do when Republicans don't believe that global warming and economic inequality are problems.

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

Of course they do...at least most of them.  Bush has taken the Republican party of into some bizarro universe but they are not all that way.  There are many Republicans worried about global warming but they may have a more pro-business slant to their concerns.  Well dealing with the Automotive & Oil Industries is something the next President is going to need to figure out if he is to suceed in bringing about real immediate change.  This is precisely an area where bi-partisanship can effect change quicker.

by dougdilg 2007-05-10 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

Among their elected officials, very few seem to care enough to vote for solutions.  Haven't you heard?  Global warming will have both negative and positive affects.  Although that's just the line of some of the ones who actually believe it exists.

by jallen 2007-05-10 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

okay- don't absolve republicans who voted for the GOP leadership - not just bush but the Republicans in office- of their responsibility for doing so. To do so, is to say that being a citizen doesn't mean you must see your actions as having consequences. That's a pretty dangerous view to have of a democracy.

by bruh21 2007-05-10 02:16PM | 0 recs
It is the watering down and the consession

stance that I don't agree with most of the time.

Yea there has to be some give and take, but that is not to say it is done that way all the time or even most of the time. There flat out are some issues that are worth the fight.

I don't get any fight stance out of Obama, his book is full of what seems to me "let's all be happy and blend together to get something done."

Have you read his book, "The Audacity of Hope"?

by dk2 2007-05-10 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I have been on the leary side of some of

Mimes do suck... creapy clown looking things

Wait did you mean meme?  ;-)

Sorry couldn't resist... the mime thing made me laugh.

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-10 12:56PM | 0 recs
I guess we communicated,

You did understand what I meant!

Meme will work!  

by dk2 2007-05-10 02:18PM | 0 recs
When poeple want to believe

Once someone becomes psychologicially vested in a candidate, they will project on to that candidate what they want to see. Obama has become that for a great many Democrats.

That said, Obama does have one very important piece of legislation - S.453, which would make voter suppression in a federal election a federal offense. I think this, along with Dodd's legislation restoring habeas corpus, are the most important pieces of legislation in this session.

Clinton is a co-sponsor of S.453, the anti-voter suppression legislaiton, but not a cosponsor of Dodd's legislation restoring habeas corpus.

by Alice Marshall 2007-05-10 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: When poeple want to believe

pretty balanced view. but barack has always said that he believes in both/and and either/or.

but you're right. he is a progressive who is nuanced about how he convinces people to do what he wants to get done.

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: When poeple want to believe

That's exactly right. I see this here all too often. The other day it was 'unfair' to Edwards day. When there is a post on Clinton, then it is 'bashing' Clinton. Because this post is about Obama, it's hating Obama. All of which is to say, "I like this person," and I don't want to see anything wrong that will interrupt my emotional needs. I like Edwards. In fact, I will be volunteering for his campaign soon. BUT, I don't think he walks on water. I wish- more than anything- that the voters including those here would start to expect more of their candidates, not less. That they would keep their feet to the fire. Instead, we get cognitive dissonance and sychophantic adoration. It angers me because the most dangerous thing to democracy isn't the lose of rights, it's the lose of the ability to dissern by the electorate- because we are the mahcine that drives the vehicle. If we are gone- what's left.

by bruh21 2007-05-10 02:14PM | 0 recs
liebman on race and social security

ocial Security Meets Race
Jeffrey Liebman*

President Bush has appealed to African-American voters by arguing that they would benefit from the replacement of part of the traditional Social Security retirement income system with private retirement accounts. The argument goes like this: The average 50-year-old African American has a life expectancy of 27.3 years, as compared to an average of 30.5 years for Caucasians. This means that African Americans receive retirement benefits for fewer years and are more likely to die before receiving any benefits at all. In a system of private retirement accounts, African Americans could bequeath their accounts to their heirs, thereby closing some of the "black-white" wealth gap and ensuring that blacks no longer get a bad deal from Social Security.

There are good reasons for introducing private retirement accounts, such as increasing national savings and improving labor supply incentives. But achieving racial parity in Social Security benefits is not one of them. Blacks benefit disproportionately from other features of Social Security. Because they have below-average lifetime earnings, they are helped by the Social Security benefit formula that replaces a larger fraction of pre-retirement earnings for low earners than for high earners. For the retirement portion of Social Security, these two effects almost exactly cancel, meaning that blacks receive rates of return on their Social Security payroll tax payments at least equal to those for whites. When benefits for disability and young survivors are included, blacks clearly receive an above-average return from the current Social Security system. Because Social Security benefits are protected from inflation and last as long as you live, they are especially valuable to low-income groups that count on them for a large portion of retirement income. Thus, changing Social Security may in fact harm, rather than help, blacks.

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:04PM | 0 recs
by pmb 2007-05-10 12:05PM | 0 recs
Liebman is good for Barack and all who care about

source: washingtonpost

a sustainable social security for poor and rich.

Is Social Security Unfair to the Poor?

By Jeffrey Liebman

Sunday, July 29, 2001; Page B07

The interim report of President Bush's Social Security Commission argues that the current system is unfair to low-income beneficiaries, particularly minorities, whose shorter lifespans mean that they receive benefits for fewer years. The true effect of Social Security on low-income groups is more complex, and the implications for Social Security reform are quite different from those drawn in the report.

The Social Security benefit formula is progressive, providing a higher level of retirement income relative to lifetime earnings for low earners than for high earners. But low-income people tend to have shorter life expectancies, offsetting some of this redistribution. Nearly all research on this issue, including a paper I wrote that was cited by the Bush commission, suggests that the system still accomplishes some redistribution from upper-income to lower-income households, but not nearly as much as would occur if everyone had identical life expectancies. For blacks, high mortality rates offset essentially all of the redistribution implicit in the benefit formula, so that blacks receive the same rate of return on their Social Security payroll taxes as whites, even though blacks, on average, have much lower earnings.

But rates of return are only part of the story. More than 15 percent of Social Security dollars pay for benefits for young survivors of participants and disabled people; minority families benefit disproportionately from these features. Moreover, the protections offered by Social Security against outliving one's resources and against inflation risk are particularly valuable to low-income beneficiaries, who often have no other retirement income.

How do we strengthen the progressive features of Social Security while addressing its long-term financial imbalance? First, because low-income households depend on Social Security for retirement income, it is critical that we add money to the system. Otherwise, the long-run gap will have to be closed entirely by cutting benefits, placing at risk the low-income elderly who depend most heavily on Social Security.

Second, Congress and the president should consider additional redistribution to groups with high mortality rates. This could be accomplished by making the benefit formula more progressive or by introducing a provision entitling the heirs of a retiree to benefits if the retiree does not live long enough to collect benefits for at least 10 years.

Both adding money and increasing redistribution could be accomplished without fundamentally changing the structure of Social Security. But in the current political climate, the only likely way to provide more money to Social Security is to introduce it through individual accounts. This raises the question of whether it is possible to design individual accounts that are fair to the poor. Recent research shows that the answer is yes, but only if five conditions are met:

* The accounts need to be funded out of resources beyond the 12.4 percent payroll tax. Simply diverting existing payroll tax revenue from debt reduction to individual accounts does nothing to boost national savings, and therefore does nothing to increase our ability to pay future retirement benefits.

* The accounts must be funded in a way that preserves redistribution to the poor. Since any sensible individual account plan will require workers to convert their account balances into annuities upon retirement, the same reverse redistribution from groups with short life expectancies to groups with long life expectancies will occur in a system with individual accounts. But it is simple to offset this with larger deposits, relative to earnings, into the accounts of low-earners.

* Investment options need to be limited to a few large index funds, and administrative costs should be assessed in proportion to account size. Otherwise, most of the investment returns of low-earners would go to pay these fees.

* The new system must provide protections for widows and divorcees similar to those in the current system.

* Disability and young survivors' benefits should be exempt from any cuts to the traditional system, because their beneficiaries typically will not have accumulated enough in individual accounts to make up for benefit cuts.

If the Bush commission recommends individual accounts with these features, we will know the president is serious about strengthening Social Security in a way that protects its most vulnerable beneficiaries. If not, it will be clear that the commission's discussions of blacks and low-income groups are simply a cover for an attempt to dismantle America's social insurance system.

The writer, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School, was special assistant to President Clinton for economic policy in 1998-99 and coordinated the administration's Social Security reform working group.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:08PM | 0 recs
Do you think the prespective should be

re-evaluated since the souce you posted was written 6 years ago, and at the time of writing it probably was written on even older data and facts?

by dk2 2007-05-10 12:13PM | 0 recs
his perspective is very clear

he wants 5 conditions on which to amend social security to make it both sustainable, equitable and solvent.

those five emphasise the most vulnerable. you can read on him on his website and see if you think he's changed in any way.

http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/jeffreyliebma n/

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Liebman is good for Barack


It looks like you've posted a full article here.  Three things.

1. No link?

2. You need to either italicize, put in quotations, or blockquote the material.

3. Generally, 3 paragraphs is considered fair use. Anything more invites copyright litigation.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-10 01:00PM | 0 recs

http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/jeffreyliebma n/mypostoped.htm

also, i can't edit comment so next time i'll keep copyright concerns in mind.

by pmb 2007-05-10 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Liebman is good for Barack and all who care ab

sounds a little bit like dean baker's solution in the conservative nanny state.

by colorless green ideas 2007-05-10 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

This post paid for by Edwards for President 2008  (You forgot the disclaimer)

by jalby 2007-05-10 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?


by pmb 2007-05-10 12:19PM | 0 recs
Mydd is fast becoming like the MSM

Matt, I'm sorry but i expected more from you. At least you could have read more about Liebman before jumping into conclusion. liebman is one of those who believe that social security should be most secure for low income folks but flexible for high income people(who mostly already have individual accounts).

his research seeks to balance the need to secure the elderly, especially the poor, and also make social security solvent.

at least you could've done a background reading on liebman's research before jumping to conclusions.

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Mydd is fast becoming like the MSM

Thanks for the information and the links!

by aiko 2007-05-10 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Mydd is fast becoming like the MSM

i'm always happy to share info.

"the best defense is the truth" -Barack Obama(January 2007)

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:47PM | 0 recs
This Is Fearmongering

Honest questions, fine.

But the leading tone here is "I can't easily plug Obama into the received definition of 'progressive,'
therefore it sure looks like there's something strange, mysterious, and maybe even a little nefarious
going on in the Obama shop."

Not only is this a fallacy. It is reactionary. And it cues readers that they should be wary and distrustful
of Obama re an economic policy he hasn't even rolled out yet but that you think might, perhaps, you've
heard, you read, somebody told you, could be objectionable. And this...

Social Security is core. Iraq is core. It's strange that the two leading candidates in
the Democratic Party don't consider them as such, and that the base is letting them
get away with this nonsense.

I happen to agree with you about Clinton and Iraq. But Obama doesn't consider Social Security to
be "core," just because he's talking to who you consider to be "the wrong people" or hasn't yet
delivered the Social Security solution that conforms to what you already believe? And you
call yourself a progressive?

Obviously, conservatives don't have a corner on the arrogance market.

Questions? Ask away. But please -- please -- ask honestly. Leave the questions open. Do not
embed the questions with your own prejudiced assumptions about the answer.

It's not helpful.

by horizonr 2007-05-10 12:27PM | 0 recs
Max Sawicky on Obama Advisor


I'm glad University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee is helping Democrats. He's a very smart guy. He's reported to be advising Obama. Now he is also a Senior Economist for the Progressive Policy Institute and the Democratic Leadership Council. They are flogging a new paper of his called "Why Deficits Still Matter."

We have some quibbles.

. . . As for other popular doctrines espoused vociferously by the best and brightest of the profession, time has not been kind. Investment has had its rocky moments, but interest rates have been historically low, more or less through thick and thin.

Like our neo-con Middle East experts, however, the deficit hawks are not discouraged. Nor is any embarrassment evident. They are back with new reasons to support what they have always thought, not unlike the changing rationales for the Bush tax cuts.

by tgeraghty 2007-05-10 12:38PM | 0 recs
I bet Jeffery Liebman has always anticipated this

reactionaries like Mr. Stoller who will make sweeping acusations about his work without taking a second to read on him.

i challenge matt to read liebman's recent works on social security reform, earned-income tax, others and tell us more about barack's very able advisor in another more informed post.

by pmb 2007-05-10 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Well, as we all know Obama is the MAN. He can do no wrong.

The level of naivete and outright ignorance expressed by his 'followers' here and elsewhere in Left Blogistan is a real turnoff.

Obama is a politician of a particular stripe. To imagine he is other than that: Centrist, machine oriented, liberal not progressive, accommodating....is to be drinking the left wing version of the richly derided Kool-Aid the ReichWing love so much.

The nation needs real change not triangulating folks who ask us to rely on hope. What an insult that is.

None of our great American leaders ask the people to just HOPE things will get better.

Nope, they led the way. They spoke out  against slavery, economic injustice, and told the people that their actions could solve any problem, overcome any obstacle.

They didn't surround themselves with people who have a vested interest in the continuation of the status quo.

The status quo leads us to economic and ecological disaster.

We need to change or our nation, our society, will die.

I see no sign of any significant change happening if Obama or The Hill become president.

by Pericles 2007-05-10 12:59PM | 0 recs
your own naivete is nauseating

as is the naivete of too many reactionaries to this story.

refer to my responses(informed unlike yours) to the diarist's assertions.

Liebman is good for barack, he is looking, as are many americans for REAL(not imaginary) change and a return to problem-solving politics.

if you truly care about who Liebman is, read about him as directed in my comments above. and tell him he's not good for real(not imaginary) change.

by pmb 2007-05-10 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Assertion after assertion with no information or analysis to back it up.  This is yypical of many self-righteous, lefty critiques of Obama.  

Your style of argumentation is logically flawed, unpersuaive, and shows a brilliant ignorance of the political realities in our country.

by upper left 2007-05-11 05:37AM | 0 recs
Front Page Blogging 101

do a background search

know what you're talking about

make disclaimers if you don't know what you
re talking about

by pmb 2007-05-10 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?
I think you are being pissy because Edwards is mired in 3rd and are taking it out on Obama because you see him as a spoiler.
He is saying the same things he has always said and in his speech.
He does not triangulate.  He looks for common ground because he sees what the politics of the past 20 years have gotten us.  A broken country where everything is left to get worse because everyone is too busy playing one ups manship.
Edwards is no prize.  he was part of the intellegence committee and still voted yes to war, he is snotty and thinks he is better than anyone else, is obsessive of his looks and I really think the man will not be able to accomplish very much if president.
he postures and changes his image to which way the wind is blowing.
Who is the real man?
This is why he is mired in 3rd.
obama uses his community activist roots to do politics.  As a former social services worker I am very well aware of what he is doing because we know from experience that to accomplish anything you have to have everyone pulling in the same direction.  It is so stupid to think being snotty and polarizing is going to solve shit.
If you want to sit and watch this country keep spiraling downward because you want someone to be a pissant than fine.  I don't.  I want things addressed and fixed and I am sick of poltics of the past 25 years that got us in this mess in the first place.
It did not start with Bush.  he just pumped it up.  It's been going on throughout my adult life and I want problems solved.  Your precious Edwards cannot do this as he is weak and too busy playing image makeover for all seasons.
by vwcat 2007-05-10 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Can you try and focus on real and substansitive critisisms of candidates please? I always try to do so and I think that most others (Obama, Edwards and even most Hillary supports) do so on the most part. Richardson being over-weight, Edwards being attractive, and Obama being tall, lanky and with big ears are all representitive of a sillyness that we shouldn't be giving an iota of attention too.

Edwards doesn't seem snotty to me, he comes accross as very down to earth, genuine, comfortable in his own skin, comfortable with being around you and talking to you. I've met him and talked to him and I got no hint of any of the sort of behavior you keep on trying to ascribe to him, nor have I gotten that vibe in any of the video I've seen of him at the debate, during town halls, rallys, press interviews and campaign released video.

I don't think that Edwards is 'mired' in anything. He went from third in NH, to tied with Obama, to several points up on Obama leaving him in second place and with the mo to keep on making gains. He's got a solid lead in Iowa, even if you look at the latest ARG poll which has him in first place with a single digit lead while all other polls have him with a signifigantly higher lead. In general election match ups he's the strongest of the candidates. He defeats the republican candidates in more states than the others and by stronger margins. He's going to raise plenty of money to be very competitive. There's deminishing returns in spending that is reached at a certain point.

$30 million can get your message out, $60 million is better, but not twice as good as $30 million and $120 million would be better still, but not twice as good either. As long as a certain core amount of resources are raised you can get your message out and be competitive. Additional monies beyond that are benefical, but not subject to deminishing returns after that. It's reasonable to think that Obama could have raised around $100 million by the end of the this year and that Hillary could have around $75 million or so and Edwards could pull in $60 million or there abouts. That's plenty of money to get a message out. Especially when it's likely that Edwards will be getting a lot of labor and activist love. Labor and environmental endorsements are coming down the pike as we head towards summer. Edwards is likely to garner quite a few of these and that's going to have an impact.

You're right. Edwards was on the intelligence committee and also voted to give the president authorization for miltary action as a last resort. That authority was badly abused by the president who did not properly utilize the UN process or allow the arms inspectors to do their job before using force as a last resort. Edwards had concerns about trusting Bush and Rumsfield with the authority, but at the same time felt that the (what we now know to be falsified) intelligence provided to them showed that there was cause for concern and that the US should get involved to take action to deal with it. The authorization bill that Edwards co-sponsored was actually designed to give the president a narrower scope of authorization compared to the initial and competing bill that was put forward by the leadership of of both parties the Daschle-Lott bill. Edwards advocated for narrowing the scope of authorization being given and was sucessful in bringing people around to voting for his bill as compared to the leadership backed bill which would have given Bush and Rumsfield greater authority.

Though Edwards has said he did have concerns about giving the president even the narrower authority he decided it was necessary to do so and up until that point Bush had honestly acted appropiately and within normal bounds in regards to activities in Afganistan so it was reasonable to believe he would do the same with Iraq and to expect such. It's since obvious that Bush didn't act reasonably and had presented faulty intellience and that the administrations management of the military action in Iraq has been totally incompetant. I think that Edwards had a genunine change of heart about the reasonableness of continuing action in Iraq and after having found out that the intellience provided to the intelligence committee democrats was flawed and faulty and that Bush and Rumsfield proved incompetant he now regrets his vote to give the president authority - even the lesser limited authority that he was able to push the senate towards in co-sponsoring his own bill.

by Quinton 2007-05-11 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I'll also add that it seems that the single greatest get out of jail free card for just about any action or stance politically is to have been a community organizer.

No matter what concern is raised invariably an Obama supporter falls back on 'hey, he was a community organizer' as the penultimate defense that settles things. Far too friendly with free traders like Rubin and the Hamiliton Project? "He was a community organizer so you know he's really on the side of the little guy!" You get the idea.

Does this work for everyone that has been a community organizer or can only Obama play this card?

by Quinton 2007-05-11 10:35AM | 0 recs
Can we wait with the fingerpointing

until he has actually laid out his plans?

Until then nobody knows what Obama's economic policies will be. Judging from his past record it will be pretty damn good.

And is it too much to ask for a little balancing with criticism of the Republican candidates?

by Populism2008 2007-05-10 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Can we wait with the fingerpointing

ratings abuse, bsavage.

by jallen 2007-05-10 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

You Obama supporters are very defensive. The post itself was a very short but the Obama supporters are so paranoid. Stoller attacks Hillary Clinton all the time, I for one have learned to ignore those bonehead attacks. There's nothing wrong with having advisers who have a different point of view and are neoliberals. IF you have people who agree with you all the time you end up like Bush and Co.  

by bsavage 2007-05-10 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

it's a long campaign season and barack needs all the fierce defense he can get.

hey, i am heavily invested my junior senator's politics. what can i say?

by pmb 2007-05-10 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Me, I'm still waiting for my junior Senator to remember that he's the Senator from Illinois.  Has he said anything about the mess at Cook County Hospital, led by the awful Todd Stroger who he endorsed, has he tried to procure Federal Funds for the county's health care system.  No, that would spoil his carefully calibrated centrist image.

At bottom, he's too tied to conventional wisdom.  That's a problem.  Not to say I wouldn't vote for him, but we can't keep putting our heads in the sand.

by sTiVo 2007-05-17 03:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

I guess you say it prudent to ignore Hillary's neonliberal advisors that Clinton listened to with her war vote?  Yeah... it's convenient to have tunnel vision.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-05-10 03:02PM | 0 recs
the name is liebman, mr. matt, not lieberman.

by pmb 2007-05-10 02:39PM | 0 recs
The new ideology...

...is competence.

Welcome to the world of Obama's new kind of politics.

by Vermonter 2007-05-10 04:18PM | 0 recs
Not an Obama supporter

but I think the diarist Matt Stoller relied too much on the characterization of Bloomberg when discussing Liebman.

I did a brief google search of Liebman's name a few weeks ago and came across his article on setting up separate private accounts along with regular social security benefits. However, when I googled Liebman's name, I realized that he isn't a renown economist for his beliefs on that subject. His main economic research is on providing vouchers for low income families so that they can move to section 8 housing in middle class/upper class areas. He's done quite a bit of research on the HUD program Moving to Opportunity.

http://nber.org/~kling/mto/bullets042601 .PDF

According to the abstract of the research paper that Liebman submitted to the University of Chicago about the program:

MTO randomly assigned housing vouchers to applicants living in high-poverty public housing
projects. The vouchers allowed families to move to private apartments, typically in lower poverty


This HUD program was instituted in Chicago, along with Boston, Baltimore, LA and New York.

Given Obama's background as a community organizer and if I understand it correctly, the fact that he represented low-income constituents when he was a state senator in Illinois, he probably came into contact with this Liebman guy during Liebman's research of the Chicago HUD program. That's just a guess on my part, but it would seem logical given his history that perhaps his connection with Liebman is for something in which Liebman is most known for--studying the behavioral differences b/w impoverished people who live in high-poverty areas as opposed to impoverished people who live in low-poverty areas...

Just a thought....  

by ademption 2007-05-10 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

thank you. as i said mydd sometimes reads like my high school blog. little research, just plain msm-type sensationalism.

by pmb 2007-05-10 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Have you a link to your high school blog?

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-05-10 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?


It seems to me you are doing the same thing Sirota and other lefty critics of Obama do.  You approach him with an almost paranoid level of scepticism. You examine every statement and every relationship with a microscope looking for signs of "insufficient progressiveness." You nit-pick individual statements, individual votes, individual policy proposals, and even individual advisors.

This entire approach results in a case of missing the forrest for the trees.  Try looking at the big picture.  

Look at Obama's life choices, what values and world view do they reflect?  He chose to embrace his "blackness" and work on behalf of poor, urban blacks. He chose to join a small law firm doing civil rights and public interst law.  He choose to teach Constitutional law. He chose to emphasize ethics reform and campaign finance reform.

Look at his overall voting record, whose side is he on?  He has a 96% lifetime voting record from the AFL-CIO.  He has the highest ADA rating of any of the Senate candidates, including Edwards. He has a very strong voting record on environmental issues.

Instead of looking at the big picture, you focus on the minutia.  When you can't find enough amunition in his statements and voting record, you resort to ad hominem and "guilt by association" attacks, like the one you tried here.  This entire approach seems based on a set of false assumptions and pre-judgements. I am going to try to flush out my criticism in a new diary.

by upper left 2007-05-11 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

If Obama is so great on the environment then why is he backing liquid coal conversion for use in cars and calling it 'clean' when it's most certainly not clean at all? Myriad environmental groups are already calling him out on the issue.

Also, why is he calling for such a weak increase to the cafe standards? He's calling for reaching 40 mpg by 2020 when we're able to reach that level and above already with existing technology. Hybrids get around and above that level already and if they were converted to plug-in hybrids they'd get substansially above that and with cutting edge battery technology in development many people would be able to charge and never switch over off the battery to gasoline or bio-disiel during their typical daily drive.

Obama is at best fiddling around the edges and not really trying to promote real change and at worst he's showing quite a bit of leg to the coal industry by pushing a dirty, polluting, non-renewable fuel as a good alturnative fuel.

by Quinton 2007-05-11 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Your Core?

Your making my point for me.  Your criticizing Obama's effort to change our approach to the CAFE standards debate.  No one has been able to cut through the gordian knot of politics around this issue for twenty years.  

Obama goes to Detroit, generates attention and discussion on this issue, proposes a politically innovative approach to the problem, and all you can do is criticize the proposal.  Proposals don't exist in a vacuumn.  A perfect proposal will not save a single gallon of gas.  What matters is not what you propose; what matters is what you can get passed.

Obama is a pragmatist, if being pragmatic bothers you, then maybe he isn't your cup of tea.  What bothers me is proposals that have no chance of passing being promoted as more progressive than one that actually has a chance of doing something.  Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This doesn't mean that individual policies can't be criticized or that the left can push for proposals to be improved, it does mean that those criticisms should be connected to the real world, political context.  I am not focused on this particular, or any particular policy, I am talking about an general approach to solving political problems.

by upper left 2007-05-12 05:14AM | 0 recs
A Truly Idiotic Post!

You make clear only one thing with this post--you know absolutely nothing about Jeff Liebman.  I wonder what this says about the rest of your posts.

Liebman was a Special Assistant to Bill Clinton, whose own SS fix was going to include similarly-sized (i.e., small) private accounts.  I guess we should thank heaven that he was impeached, because this was the only thing that stopped the plan from being introduced to Congress.

Liebman's plan does the following: It only cuts traditional SS benefits by 25%, to the amount that current tax levels can support.  Also, it does so in a way that is progessive (i.e., rich people's are cut much more than poor people's).

You can look at Liebman's plan, therefore, as a glass 1/10 empty since there is a small privatization, or you can look at it as 9/10 full, since not only does it maintain a lot of the benefits, but he also gets Andrew Samwick, not exactly a bastion of left-wing support, to sign on.  Oh my God!  Liebman thinks we should compromise and doesn't think leaders should just railroad stuff they like through Congress?!  He must want the terrorists to win!!!

Seriously, though, the question is, "What is the alternative to a Liebman-esque plan?"  All alternatives being proposed basically call for raising taxes on the rich (by a lot).  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but then what do we do in 10-15 years when the real economic problem facing us (how to fund Medicare--a problem that makes the SS deficit look like pocket change) comes to a head?  Tax the rich even more (by a lot)?  Even the rich only have so much money.  LIEBMAN SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR OFFERING SUCH A SMART, COURAGEOUS PLAN that leaves the option of raising taxes on the rich to fund Medicare on the table.

by dsf 2007-05-19 11:28AM | 0 recs


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