An Unrequited Love

In December 2012, the country will be ruminating its recent election of the first woman president: a polarizing survivor. President Obama will welcome Steve Scully, C-SPAN political editor and occasional host of Washington Journal, to the Oval Office for a wistful interview. Mr. Scully may invite the president to admit any mistakes.

That is where Cynthia Tucker’s op-ed, “Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans,” in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes in. Tucker’s piece helpfully captures establishment thought. Undue emphasis on the lack of bipartisanship is an almost complimentary critique and will be articulately embraced by a reflective 44th president in his exit interview with Mr. Scully. Of course it is ridiculous, but Steve Scully is too classy to prod. In his 2008 interview with President Bush, Mr. Scully graciously allowed Bush to incredulously ponder how anyone could think of him as mendacious.

Boasts of bipartisanship are a fatuous but necessary aspect of campaigning. In handling Republican opposition, President Obama struck an appropriate tone in the early days of his administration. Bipartisanship for the Obama administration has meant peeling off one or two Republican votes and maybe hailing such as unprecedented unity. And that’s perfectly fine. Generally speaking, Republicans are nihilistic and unserious. For his part, the president is plagued by the failed substance of his policies. That’s the fundamental part that escapes the logic of Cynthia Tucker et al. Various exceptions to his tone, lack of emotional attachment, and his futile attempts to reach across the aisle are ultimately mild critiques.

Paul Krugman was exactly right regarding the size of the stimulus. To be sure, the Recovery Act was a measure worthy of support. I have seen reports in TIME on the Recovery Act’s administrative success and they are impressive. (One program to hit a few snags is the weatherization program, but it isn’t devastating.) This is good, but there was never any reason to believe the other hype; specifically the White House’s claim of keeping unemployment below 8% as a result of the Act.

ObamaCare is a more famous example. The Affordable Care Act is bipartisan in terms of policy, if not in the final vote tally. The linchpin of the Affordable Care Act is the unconstitutional individual mandate. A few years ago, most progressives may have opposed government compelling people to purchase a private product as a condition of citizenship. Of course this policy has roots in a Republican administration. We have to forgive the amnesiac sanctimony of conservatives, like Virginia’s attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, and applaud them for their robust opposition to this corporatism on much of the same ground progressives would have. Contrary to what many ask us to believe, ObamaCare’s unpopularity is mainly due to its incompetent and unconstitutional policy.

It’s also true that unsavory deals necessary to make ObamaCare a legislative reality hurt the Democrats’ image. In an honest appraisal of political loyalty, it was breathtaking to watch so many Democrats bite the bullet even after the shock triumph of Scott Brown—who drives a truck!—and what it meant politically.  It was wonderful of the president to show gratitude. It’s a shame their sacrifice came in service of bills written by the insurance lobby; the same industry Obama bashed ceaselessly because he’s a demagogue. From jump street the administration removed single payer from consideration. In the Roosevelt Room, the Obama administration cut a deal with PhRMA. To undercut North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan, the administration ordered its FDA commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, to “oppose Senate drug importation amendment offered to health care bill.” Talk about ruthless, Bush-like maneuvering. “PhRMA doesn't need to lobby. The industry is in the White House already,” then-Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said of the executive branch in 2001 and it applies today. Fruitless attempts to secure stray Republican votes explain nothing.

Another meme found in Ms. Tucker’s piece: “The president [did not] tamp down the huge expectations generated by his historic election. That has proved costly, as was clear during the president’s encounter with the ‘exhausted’ Velma Hart, a supporter who questioned him during a recent town hall-style meeting.” This is another relatively mild criticism that nurtures Barack Obama’s healthy ego. To be sure, Obama made this sweltering appeal in June 2008: “This [is] the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” It is for readers to determine whether Obama’s rhetoric was a hyperbolic embarrassment or a Kennedy-esque civic exultation: “We in this country, in this generation are—by destiny rather than choice—the watchmen on the walls of freedom.” At any rate, it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. People should have known what Barack Obama was about from reading The Nation in June 2006. Disillusionment about unfulfilled “huge expectations” is not even his fault.

Mr. President: Mr. Scully and Ms. Tucker, who is lovely, won’t give you the unvarnished truth, but your realistic admirers will—pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Tags: Barack Obama, Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, stimulus, obamacare (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

Keep dreaming!

Sarah Palin won't win the presidency.  If Obama loses in 2012, it won't be to Palin.  Look at her unfavorables!  Look at the hypothetical matchup polling between Obama and Palin!

In all seriousness, a Palin primary victory would be a huge short term gift to the Democrats, though I fear it would be a disasterous omen for the collective wisdom of the right half of the country.  MyDD has gotten so bitter and silly :)

by minnesotaryan 2010-10-16 01:48PM | 1 recs
RE: Keep dreaming!

...bitterly polarizing, survivalist woman.

Hillary?

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-16 01:52PM | 1 recs
You are a waste of time.

You are either a Republican, or ignorant and bitter, or just plain dumb.

Seriously.

Anyone who wants to knock Obama for not being out on point and attacking Republican obstructionists earlier will get no arguement from me.

But to excuse the Republicans, especially with the Senate, where you need 60 votes to do anything, and to simply heap blame on Obama makes you either Republican, ignorant and bitter, or just plain dumb.

by RichardFlatts 2010-10-16 02:09PM | 1 recs
RE: You are a waste of time.

Obama's legislative difficulties are largely of his own making.  For example, it's easy to criticize the Republicans as the Party of No, but because of this administration's negotiating strategy of preemptive capitulation, the GOP has absolutely no incentive to say yes to anything.  Why should they, when every NO results in more concessions from the White House? Similarly, we hear a lot about how difficult it is to muster a majority in the Senate on any issue. However, this problem is largely attributable to the White House's bizarre policy of empowering and supporting Blue Dogs (e.g., Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln) who consistently oppose and undermine the Democratic agenda.  Add to this Obama's attitude of aggressive passivity and disengagement from the legislative process, his preference for secret back-room deals, his near-neurotic obsession with bipartisanship (reaffirmed in a recent interview), his refusal to engage in anything resembling confrontation, and his tendency to begin all negotiations by loudly proclaiming his willingness to accept half a loaf, and one is amazed that the White House has been able to achieve anything at all.

by fradiavolo 2010-10-16 03:12PM | 1 recs
I can't do it anymore.

I've read MyDD for over seven years.  It used to be a home for smart, intelligent analysis of politics.  At this point, it's become a shrill, vacuous place for garbage posts like this.  I'm done.

And it's not because there's criticism of Obama.  I have plenty of it, and have no problem contributing to sites that take part (AmericaBlog has been rightfully harsh on him for gay rights).  But I'm not seeing anything here that's worth reading.  Jerome's analysis is not far from what I think is going to wind up happening on Election Day, but it's wrapped in such bitterness that it quickly becomes useful.

And how this guy's writing is on the front page- that's what's beyond me.  You take a valid argument how Obama's missteps and preface it with a "Palin's totally gonna win and you're gonna be sorry" paragraphs that negates any points you make in the rest of the post. Seriously? Palin has a 22% approval rating in this country.  Republicans don't think she's qualified to be president.  Everyone on this planet with a modicum of reality knows there's nothing but the slimmest chance she can get the nomination, and there's zero chance she gets elected.  Want to energize the Dems, nominate her.  Will never happen.

Of course you don't care that I'm leaving, my three views a day won't impact whatever ad dollars are left here, and I haven't had the stomach or interest to contribute to the conversation in years.  But I spent so much time on these boards from 2005-2009 that I'll take these five minutes to say goodbye with the hopes that someone reading questions exactly what has happened to this site, and goes elsewhere with their political website time.  Or better, Jerome, who I do have respect for despite our political disagreements, realizes what's happened here and makes some changes for the positive.

But that won't happen.  Lemon out.

by ihaveSTILLseenenough 2010-10-16 03:13PM | 1 recs
RE: I can't do it anymore.

...polarizing, survivalist woman.

Sarah? Hillary?

 

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-16 04:41PM | 0 recs
Naw----It's not the WOMAN--Surprise it another Bush!!!! JEB

Come on!  With Karl Rove and the Bush's out there spending millions already on GOP races (and creating a ton of good will/and future primary election friends for 2012) then MY money is on JEBBIE BUSH. I think he was planning on 2016 figuring that right after 2008  Obama would be in control and impossible to beat. Well, Obama is so weak now that I am sure that the Bush crew are elated. Rove just gave over $4 million to the GOP (he could have raised $100 million from the Texas oil buddies of Bush Senior).  He is building on a really great strategy:  Jeb will be the Mr. Nice Bush to the rescue of a wrecked America.

Now for the competition. I would give  Ms. Palin should she decide to run in 2012 some advice. If she is leading Jeb by the 3rd primary, then she should really want to avoid flying in small airplanes....in fact if I were running against a Bush family member like Jeb, she would probably want to go by TRAIN!!!!! to do otherwise is very dangerous............the Bush's like to rule the USA and in fact they think its their given right to do so.......no matter what it takes --- Just ask Al Gore.......

by hddun2008 2010-10-17 08:29PM | 0 recs
Naw----It's not the WOMAN--Surprise it another Bush!!!! JEB

Come on!  With Karl Rove and the Bush's out there spending millions already on GOP races (and creating a ton of good will/and future primary election friends for 2012) then MY money is on JEBBIE BUSH. I think he was planning on 2016 figuring that right after 2008  Obama would be in control and impossible to beat. Well, Obama is so weak now that I am sure that the Bush crew are elated. Rove just gave over $4 million to the GOP (he could have raised $100 million from the Texas oil buddies of Bush Senior).  He is building on a really great strategy:  Jeb will be the Mr. Nice Bush to the rescue of a wrecked America.

Now for the competition. I would give  Ms. Palin should she decide to run in 2012 some advice. If she is leading Jeb by the 3rd primary, then she should really want to avoid flying in small airplanes....in fact if I were running against a Bush family member like Jeb, she would probably want to go by TRAIN!!!!! to do otherwise is very dangerous............the Bush's like to rule the USA and in fact they think its their given right to do so.......no matter what it takes --- Just ask Al Gore.......

by hddun2008 2010-10-17 08:29PM | 0 recs
RE: Naw----It's not the WOMAN--Surprise it another Bush!!!! JEB

I find it regrettable President Bush is enjoying a nascent rehabilitation of his reputation. As much as I am opposed to President Obama, he doesn't make Bush desirable. He's not in demand now, but by 2012, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bush campaigning, a la Bill Clinton, except in safe districts. But a Jeb Bush presidential campaign seems a bit much. The GOP nomination is Sarah Palin's to lose.

Something's going on with Hillary, too.

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-17 09:05PM | 0 recs
Just pure, idiotic propoganda.....

Yes, yes, i know you're black.  And also a liberal and also critical of Obama.  Which in your adled mind somehow equates to being more objective and having your oppinion being taken more seriously then another black writer who isn't a complete moron.  At least that seems to be the attitude of the people that own this site.  Let's hire the black, liberal, Clarence Thomas.  Doesn't matter if he knows anything, is capable of intelligent analysis or is good at anything but snark, he's black,he's liberal and he hates Obama!  Hire him before he gets away!

But he's stupid as fuck!

Who cares?  He's black, he's liberal and he hates Obama! 

True, that's a combination we can't pass up, no matter what a stupid fuck he is.

So we get "treated" to posts like this:

"ObamaCare is a more famous example. The Affordable Care Act is bipartisan in terms of policy, if not in the final vote tally. The linchpin of the Affordable Care Act is the unconstitutional individual mandate. A few years ago, most progressives may have opposed government compelling people to purchase a private product as a condition of citizenship. Of course this policy has roots in a Republican administration. We have to forgive the amnesiac sanctimony of conservatives, like Virginia’s attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, and applaud them for their robust opposition to this corporatism on much of the same ground progressives would have. Contrary to what many ask us to believe, ObamaCare’s unpopularity is mainly due to its incompetent and unconstitutional policy."

The way in which the government "compells" people to buy health insurance is through TAX BREAKS.  NOT through the force of law.  It certainly doesn't deny citizenship to people who don't have it.  It's "unpopularity" such as it is, is due to people like you either lying about it, or not knowing about it and talking out of your ass.  There is no one going to jail, or losing his citizenship over not buying health care.  They just won't get a tax break.  It is COMPLETELY constitutional and there's no way it's going to be overturned in regards to the mandate.  The mandate isn't even in effect yet.  Are you so moronic that you actually believe that people are outraged over a policy that doesn't even come into place until 2014?  A policy that will be offset through subsidies anyways?

When people look at the details of the policy they like it.  It's only when they hear the name Obama care they don't like it.  Who's fault is that?  It's people like you who spread misinformation, either through ignorance or malice.

Single payer was taken off the table- by the voters.  The health care plan that was passed is almost the exact plan he campaigned upon.  While it's too bad that there's no public option, it's GREAT that we got the free preventive care added to the bill, it's GREAT that we got 100 million for community clinics, it's GREAT that we got an 85% loss ratio added to the bill.  Anyone one of those will make as much difference to the lives of ordinary Americans as even the most robust form of the Public Option would of.

Only it's NOT great.  Why? Not because of the bill itself, but because irresponsible people such as you are following a meme.  An agenda to downgrade all legislation as "corporatist"  (i'm sure they're going to LOVE having their profits restricted and no longer being able to charge us for preventive care). 

You pretend to be objective because you can desparage your own.  But you're not objective because you and Arianna and company were going to do that NO MATTER WHAT.  You, in fact, get a perverse pleasure from eating your own.  You think it somehow gives you an air of objectivity.  The fact that you're black and liberal and eat your own gives you a 24/7 hard on.   It makes you the hottest shit in the pile. 

And of course the people that truly ARE objective are dismissed as Obama appologists simply because they are capable of reading what he campaigned on and comparing it to what we actually got.  Which is essentially the same thing. 

I know you think that in order to be objective you MUST be critical, but that's not the case.  You must be honest.  And you ain't it.

Obama is by no means perfect.  But he has been a very, very good President.   And that is an honest assessment that can be backed up by actual facts. 

And you Obama deniers are going to destroy ANY chance of progressive legislation for a generation.  Perhaps generations.  Do you think that ANY  Democratic President ever again will try to make any bold changes?  No.  After Obama passed health care, banking reform and a slew of other legislative accomplishments liberals have been clammoring for for decades and they STILL abandon him?   It's not happening.

No the story that wil be told is not the one you pseudo liberals dream:  that Obama turned his back on his base and that he should of pushed for "real" reform.  No the story that will be told is that the country doesn't want reform and that it's insane for any President to try it who hopes to get re-elected or stay in power.  And unfortunately, that last story is the correct one, thanks to useful idiots like you.

 

by insipid 2010-10-17 08:47PM | 0 recs
RE: Just pure, idiotic propoganda.....

First of all: I’m hoping and praying—in Jesus name!—that you calm down. It is not that serious. I only make my racial identity clear to avoid being race-baited. If I had to pick, I could live with the “Clarence Thomas” Uncle Tom denunciations. But racism is too sordid.

Timothy Noah is an ObamaCare supporter, but he wrote an informative article on the individual mandate and IRS enforcement. “The new law says that if you don't buy health insurance, you'll have to pay a fine of either $695 or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is higher. People who don't earn enough to pay income tax or who, if forced to purchase health insurance, would end up spending more than 8 percent of their annual income, are exempt.” Since the law mercifully forbade criminal prosecution for the criminally uninsured, what this means is the IRS will withhold your tax refund. The penalty seems steep and aggravating enough. And the entire exercise is unconstitutional. But if I’m a good citizen—30, single and self-employed—I’m mandated to pay a tithe to Aetna and, in my case, I wouldn’t get any tax credits.

The individual mandate is deservedly unpopular despite its future implementation. Since when are we precluded from opposing a provision if it doesn’t take immediate effect? Numerous sections of the Patriot Act came with actual sunset provisions and it still wasn’t worthy of support.  

This Democratic administration undermines progressive legislation, not us. It was no surprise to learn it was the White House that directed Harry Reid to capitulate to Sen. Lieberman on the Medicare buy-in. Later the administration had its FDA commissioner release a statement in the hopes of killing a pesky drug re-importation amendment in the Senate (It sounds like something the great Molly Ivins would have maligned W. for). It worked assiduously behind the scenes to undermine (the probably insincere) Blanche Lincoln’s Section 106 in the finreg ordeal.

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-17 10:54PM | 1 recs
RE: Just pure, idiotic propoganda.....

"I only make my racial identity clear to avoid being race-baited."

 So, let me get this right. A country elects a Black guy president with 53% of the vote, he then institutes the most sweeping (and controversial) financial and healthcare changes since FDR, and you feel that you must tell everyone that you are Black because if not, then they won't take you seriously because obviously you must be a racist? Did I get that right?

Are you serious? First off, members of a Party who intellecually and factually criticize thier sitting President usually gets a pass, and are well-respected because it goes against the traditional wisdom of not breaking party ranks. (Especially, in light of Reagan's "Never speak ill of a fellow Republican" mantra which the GOP still follows in step today. ) Whether you love him or hate him, everyone agrees that his policies are sweeping, large-scale, far-reaching, still unproven , and thereby controversial. Some of Obama's changes are not scheduled to reap benefits until 2017. That being said, NOBODY thinks that a critic of the president is racist if he disagrees with the policies: there is a lot to disagree with. Republicans/conservatives disagree with the policies all the time and it is considered the course of the discussion. (Scarborough, Krugman and others come to mind). Democrats slam him on both sides because he remains a moderate. Bush caught heat the same way, though not as much.

There are only two groups that feel a need to insulate themselves from the racist charge:

1. Beck, Rush, Gingrich, etc. People who were  regarded as racists prior to 2008, and feel that they need a disclaimer to get their point across. Also, people that don't really have the intellecutual aptitude to dissect his policies, so they hide behind thier thinly veiled xenophobia. (Tea Party, Birthers, etc.)

2. Then there is the last group, Jack. Democrats who for whatever reason, did not want him to win in the first place, even after the primary. I suspect that  Jerome Armstrong told you that we were a bunch of Obamatrons, so he hired you to spew his propaganda, thinking that your color would give you credibility/cover. You should ask yourself why.  The reason is that Jerome needs a seperate mouthpiece  because besides being a HUGE  Hillary shill, his hatred of Obama was blinding his objectivevity. So bad in fact, 2 weeks prior to the election he actually said that Barack Obama was the weakest candidate that we have had in decades. This was during the time that he was destroying McCain in debates and NO major poll had him losing.

Look around you man. Nobody cares what your skin color is. At least no Democrat. Obama critics in the Party are a dime a dozen. Some are legitimate, and others are not. You want to be considered credible, then print things that provoke thought instead of being some type of new 'token' "Hey world, look at me, I'm Black, Liberal and I don't like President Big-Ears".

 

By the way, if you were really plugged into mainstream Black Media,  you would know that there is a growing, restless community who are impatient with the President as well. So sorry pal, your  'identity ' is really that unique.

 

You are a a pretty unique person on this page, though. Congrats!

by xodus1914 2010-10-18 11:26AM | 0 recs
Oh, give me a break.

First off, yes, it is that serious.  I recognize that you come from the Dowd school of journalism.  That you think that flippancy is the same thing as analysis and that ostentation is the same thing as deep thought.  But it's not true.  This shit DOES matter.  It matters to the people such as myself who are using unemployment to go through school thanks to the Democrats being in power.  It matters to my co-worker at my clinical assignment who will, in January, be able to get health care thanks to the Democrats being in power.  It matters to the millions of seniors who will be getting the donut hole closed thanks to the Democrats being in power.  It matters to the parents of children with pre-existing conditions who can NOW finally get their kids insured thanks to the Democrats being in power.  It matters to all the people, who, starting next year  will be able to have increased health coverage thanks to the 85% loss ratio thanks to the Democrats being in power.  It matters to the millions of people who will now be able to get the mammogram, colonoscopy, and simple check up that they've been avoiding because it formally cost something.  It matters to the millions of people living in rural districts who now have access to health care thanks to the increased aid to community health clinics put forth in the bill.

It matters to the people who no longer have to worry about unregulated over-limit fees and unfair late fees, to a Parkinson patient counting on stem cell research, to a woman wanting to sue for unfair pay.  It all matters.  All these things have been improved thanks to the Democrats being in power.  And all of these things you and your ilk are all incapable of reporting or celebrating or even mentioning because you are married to the meme of Barack selling us out.  It is the story your selling and you were going to sell it no matter the reality.

This IS serious, people lives and futures are at stake and I'm tired of you and your ilk controlling the debate amongst progressives.  We've tried it your way for 24 months and it's brought nothing but grief.

Furthermore, your "fear" of being "race baited" is a tacit admission that you know your criticisms are unfair and unfounded.  Who the hell would "race-bait" you?  No one with LEGITIMATE criticisms of Barack Obama ever get race baited.  Do you see Krugman getting "race baited"?  No.  Why?  Because his criticisms of Barack Obama are legitimate based on policy and substance.  Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are accused of race baiting because his criticisms are without substance and based on name calling.  The only reason why you might be accused of race baiting is because your criticisms of barack Obama are without substance and based on name calling.  That has nothing to do with the color of your skin, but the way you write and your notion that snark= analysis. 

In your original "article" you stated that buying health insurance would be a "condition of citizenship" now you're saying the truth, that it's simply a manipulation of the tax code (i also notice that you "left out" the fact that the 695 doesn't even take place until 2017).  While you might not like it, it's certainly without any doubt constitutional.  I didn't like it that people used to get tax breaks for buying SUV's.  I'm sure apartment dwellers don't care for the fact that homeowners get tax breaks, and i'm sure the childless don't care for people with kids getting tax breaks but NONE of that makes it unconstitutional.  The "mandate" is certainly constitutional.  You are not entitled to a tax refund.  Nor should you get a tax refund if you are irresponsible and refuse to get insurance despite generous supplements that would make it virtually free for many people.

I reiterate, if it's unpopular it's because of fear-mongering from folks such as yourself who like to use words like "condition of citizenship" to describe a simple change in the tax code.  IF it's unpopular it's because people such as yourself fail utterly in explaining to people the importance of EVERYONE being insured.  Without the mandate people will game the system.  They'll wait until they get sick to buy insurance.  Why not?  They can't be denied for pre-existing conditions anymore.  The mandate is a necessary part of the bill that should save the average consumer a thousand dollars a year (we still pay for all those uninsured folks, you know).  You claimed to support Hillary but she hammered Obama repeatedly on this (and rightfully so).

Yes there were compromises in the bill.  But compromises to BOTH sides.  Do you think Lieberman or Nelson WANTED to force their beloved insurance companies to have to pay  for preventive care? or be limited to 15% overhead?  And if you were honest you'd celebrate those victories.  But you're incapable of that because you're bound and determined to feed the meme of Democrat betrayal.  The fact that the bill exists is a major legislative achievement rivaling anything that FDR or LBJ did (the first had 80 Democrats and the second had 70).  If you were honest you'd celebrate these successes and push harder to make the bill better.

But you won't do that because it's not part of your agenda.  Which is to depress and lie to the base.  Because if feeds your ego.  Well, i'm sorry, the country is more important than your ego.

by insipid 2010-10-18 01:10AM | 0 recs
RE: Oh, give me a break.

You have to calm down. The caps and racial smears aren’t a good look. For the record, yours was the first and only reference to my race. What’s that about? You’re unhinged.

Everything I have said about the individual mandate is consistent. I’ll recap: The linchpin of the Affordable Care Act is the unconstitutional individual mandate. A few years ago, most progressives may have opposed government compelling people to purchase a private product as a condition of citizenship. Since the law mercifully forbade criminal prosecution for the criminally uninsured, what this means is the IRS will withhold your tax refund. “The new law says that if you don't buy health insurance, you'll have to pay a fine of either $695 or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is higher. People who don't earn enough to pay income tax or who, if forced to purchase health insurance, would end up spending more than 8 percent of their annual income, are exempt.” The penalty seems steep and aggravating enough. And the entire exercise is unconstitutional. But if I’m a good citizen—say, 30, single and self-employed—I’m mandated to pay a tithe to Aetna and, in my case, I wouldn’t get any tax credits.

Obama brilliantly articulated his opposition to the mandate back in 2008, and he was right. Obviously we have no way of truly knowing if these politicians are sincere, but on paper at least Obama was superlative. I’ve said so since then. You’ve accused me of peddling right-wing talking points, and you’ve proven yourself a good repeater of DNC ones. You made some foolish point about the date of the law’s implementation, and I’m quite sure I addressed it. I’m not surprised you skirted broach the issue of the individual mandate’s constitutional validity. (Even though that was the original point…) But you’re obviously here to shout talking points, while accusing me of repeating talking points.

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-18 11:07PM | 0 recs
Where did i make a racial smear?

Where did I make a racial smear?  And you certainly have, in the past, trotted out the fact that you're black whenever someone calls you on your misinformation and outright smears of Obama.  You pretty much admitted above that the reason why you mention it is because you think it gives you license to say whatever you want about the man (chocolate Carter, no better than Palin, etc.) and not have to answer for it.

Also, "Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1st 1939 precipitating WWII" is a talking point.  It also happens to be true and factual.  Accusing me of following talking points would be more impressive if you could actually refute what they are.  Which you haven't and can't.  I have not accused you of talking points, I've accused you of following a meme, which is different then following a talking point.  A talking point can, and often is, a factual statement.

What you guys do on this site is look for and follow evidence that advances a certain meme.  So you have two facts, 1. That Obama abandoned the Public Option to court favor with the Blue Dogs and 2. Obama added preventive care, community clinic funding and loss ratio to the bill- over and above what he campaigned upon.  Both of these statements are undeniably true, but you guys only highlighted one of those statements in order to paint a picture of Obama (and Democrats in general) as sellouts.  You guys highlight the "backroom" deal Obama made with Lincoln to get the bill passed but completely ignore the deal he made with Bernie Sanders to get the bill passed.  You have an agenda that you are advancing and it is no more honest then Fox News.

But, unlike Fox News, you're completely nonsensical.  You say you want progressive legislation, but you refuse to tout any progressive legislation or even acknowledge its success.  And you're manipulating reality to damage a President who has, without doubt, brought us the most progressive legislation since LBJ (and did it with 10 less Senators).  I repeat, if the Democrats in 2 weeks and Obama in 2 years receive the beating both you and Jerome seem to be salivating for, it will kill all hopes for progressive legislation for generations.  And, i do believe, it will be more the fault of blogs such as this and the Huffington Post that advance these memes then Fox news.  Progressives count on Fox to lie.  For whatever foolish reason, they expect you guys to be truthful.

The "linchpin" of the affordable care act is NOT, nor has it ever been, the individual mandate.  It is an important component, but the lynch pin has always been the exchange and subsidies allowing people to afford insurance.  If it's true that you make enough to not qualify for tax credits then what's your beef?  That means you can afford it, you should buy it as your not buying it adds considerable cost to all our premiums.  Nor do you have to pay it to Aetna, you can buy anything on the exchange and you can also purchase the same HMO that your Senator/Congressperson has.  It's a fair deal, the insurers must, by law, cover everyone regardless of past health history, but we must also all buy insurance and if you don't decide to buy insurance there's a penalty commiserate with what it costs society at large.

As i say again, much of that stuff you're simply making up.  The ONLY source that you listed that said it was unconstitutional was an Op ed by Orin Hatch, Ken Blackwell and some guy from the Cato institute.   Never mind the absurdity of someone from MyDD siting Orin Hatch as an authority on ANYTHING, The power of Congress to tax is well-established.  You have listed nothing other than taxation as a mechanism for enforcing the mandate.  In fact even the article that you keep trotting out- the one with the blue quote- admits that it will almost certainly pass Constitutional muster.  What seems to make you mad is that you enjoy the idea of not buying it, waiting to get sick or get or in an accident and then pawning the cost off on everyone else.  I'm sorry, there's no constitutional right to be a selfish bastard.  Though I'm sure the GOP would like to make it one.

And no, you have not been "consistent" you first said, and repeated above, that the bill makes it a "condition of citizenship" to buy health insurance.  Then after I called you on it you told the truth and admitted it's simply a tax provision.  Where in the bill does it say buying insurance is a "condition of citizenship"?  Are you claiming that you didn't just pull that out of your derriere?  Because I'm pretty sure that a provision revoking peoples citizenship who refuse to buy health insurance would probably of made the news somewhere.  Helpful hint- rather than trying to defend the idiot remark, or conveniently forgetting that you made the idiot remark (like you did above) just admit it was an idiot remark.  You might save a little bit of credibility.

by insipid 2010-10-19 03:18AM | 1 recs
RE: Where did i make a racial smear?

What’s that thing Hillary said? “I don’t what to do with people obsessed with me.” Yes, mang. I have already explained this on numerous occasions, and it completely unrelated to the present discussion: Divulging my racial identity is no different than you sharing your unemployment situation. It’s simply to let people know, in part, where I’m coming from. You have your interpretation and that’s fine. I couldn’t possibly care less about any of this.

“It is COMPLETELY constitutional and there's no way it's going to be overturned in regards to the mandate.” This is an example of a talking point that is neither true, nor factual. And you’re a faithful follower of a certain meme. Unable to argue the mandate’s constitutionality in terms of interstate commerce, you have cynically shifted to the area of the power to tax. Except everyone, including the president, are on record insisting the opposite was true. Your fixation with the “condition of citizenship” business is frankly odd. (Who’s smoking here?) No one suggested uninsured individuals would be stripped of citizenship. I specifically acknowledged Congress even forbade criminal prosecution and seizure of property, the normal workings of tax collection. However, coverage is obviously expected of everyone as citizens. As citizens we expected to abide laws, pay taxes, a tithe to an insurance company, so on and so forth.  

The White House tabled the public option at the behest of the insurance lobby, not sacrificial Blue Dog politicians destined to lose either way. And sure enough, the same insurance companies that so desired the linchpin of ObamaCare, the individual mandate, is working to pervert one of the Affordable Act’s desirable aspects: the 85% medical loss ratio mandate you keep alluding to. None of it is surprising.

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-19 12:58PM | 0 recs
RE: An Unrequited Love

"This is an example of a talking point that is neither true, nor factual. And you’re a faithful follower of a certain meme. 

So your debating technique is to simply take anything i accuse you of and then turn around and say I'm guilty of it ? I accuse you of blindly following a meme, you accuse me of blindly following a meme. The problem with that is that in your case you are blindly following a meme and i'm not. The people commonly accused of being "Barack apologists" generally don't have the luxury of being able to follow a meme. You can be a "Bush apologist" easily because you have sources of news that would filter out all the bad and leave you with only what little good there was. You can't do that with Barack because there's a barrage of negativism wherever you go whether it's from the left or the right. In order to find the positive you have to dig past the headlines and read a newspaper. So no, i'm not blindly following a meme. I did not ignore all the negatives and only write about the positives the way you did. 

I'm "fixated" on the condition of Citizenship line because you used it in your very first post in describing the health care bill. Do you even know what you write? Or do you just wake up in the morning with the mother-of-all-hangovers and vomit any old thing on the paper? 

“Unable to argue the mandate’s constitutionality in terms of interstate commerce, you have cynically shifted to the area of the power to tax."

 So the rule is that I can't argue the Constitutionality based on 200 year old established tax law, I have to argue the constitutionality based on whatever YOU say? The reason why I argued the Constitutionality of the bill based on tax law is because that's the simplest most direct argument to be made. Because that is what the "mandate" is. It's a tax. A tax that you don't have to pay if you buy health insurance, but it's still a tax. Only Obama doesn't want to call it that because it's a pretty clear violation of his no taxes for anyone under 250k pledge (see? I just accused Barack of being a weaselly politician! Happy?). So instead he calls it a penalty or a mandate and the Republicans don't want to call it that because 1. they think that they've FINALLY found a word that's more scary then Tax and 2. They think they'll convince more of the gullible public that this is something really revolutionary and never done in the history of mankind. Admitting its a tax gets in the way of that because everyone knows THAT'S been done.

 But whether you call it a mandate, penalty or rutabega it's still a tax. And as a tax Congress has power to levy and collect it. Or to decide on what conditions they won't collect it. It's very established law. If you're unsure go ahead and read article one of the Constitution.

 Except everyone, including the president, are on record insisting the opposite was true.

 Please, show me the part of his campaign where Obama said the mandate was unconstitutional. He didn't, you're just making shit up. I remember his arguments well, i hated them then (I was a Hillary supporter too). But i'm sure he never argued the mandate was unconstitutional, just unnecessary.

 “The White House tabled the public option at the behest of the insurance lobby, not sacrificial Blue Dog politicians destined to lose either way.”

Thank you so much for employing the Rush Limbaugh technique of making up motivations. 1. Neither the White House nor the Blue dogs felt they were “destined to lose either way”. Maybe they are now, who knows. But you have to argue the reality at the time, not now. 2. I was kind of there when Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson were on Meet the Press, killing the public option. I remember wanting to put an ax to my screen and then being glad I don't have an ax.

 And sure enough, the same insurance companies that so desired the linchpin of ObamaCare, the individual mandate,.

 Will you please point to ANYPLACE where Obama or his administration, or anyone in Congress supporting the bill called the mandate the linchpin? If you're going to debate effectively you can't just make up your own rules and debate from that. You have to base your criticism on what the bill and its creators actually say, not what you want it to say. The linchpin is the exchange, not the mandate. It's always been this way. The reason why you're calling the mandate the linchpin is that you have an agenda to make the bill and Obama look bad and the mandate can be picked at easier. So you're making up your own reality in order to bash the bill. The very definition of blindly following a meme.

 “….is working to pervert one of the Affordable Act’s desirable aspects: the 85% medical loss ratio mandate you keep alluding to. None of it is surprising”

 I keep “alluding” to it because you refuse to since it doesn't fit in your meme of Obama being in bed with the insurance lobby. It's not surprising. But did you think they wouldn't try and weaken whatever law that was passed? Did you think they'd just go gently into that good night if single payer was passed? Do you think that they wouldn't try and weaken a public option? Of course they would. 

But the question is will they be able to? Since the Secretary of Health and Human services has the ultimate power to determine what is and isn't an expense the answer is, probably not. Former insurance executive turned whistle blower, Wendell Potter, discussed this on Kieth Olberman's show and Mr. Potter was impressed at how firm the SHHS was holding the insurance companies feet to the fire. And they'll continue to be able to, providing folks like you stop pretending that there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans.

by insipid 2010-10-20 07:32AM | 0 recs
RE: An Unrequited Love

Despite your claims, you are a purveyor of talking points and a follower of memes, which you accuse me of. It isn’t surprising. You began by saying Jack Landsman was fucking stupid. You’re not a normal discussant. But that’s cool.

I’m well aware of what I write. My use of “condition of citizenship” was fine all those times before and it is now. That’s why your fixation was odd. Their motives may have been political but President Obama and people in the Democratic congressional leadership were factual in their previous assertions that the mandate was not a tax. What has occurred is a cynical shift from arguing Congress’ ability to regulate interstate commerce to its power to tax. Except the individual mandate is not a tax: it’s a mandate, specifically a fine. Congress could have very well passed a new tax for the purposes of financing the program and ensuring participation of necessary individuals. Instead it passed a mandate—that exceeds its constitutional authority—for individuals to have coverage. Generally uninsured individuals will be penalized with a fine of whichever is higher: $700 or 2.5% of income. Thank goodness there’s really no constitutional basis for it because it makes it possible for the federal government to mandate the purchase of anything.

“So you're making up your own reality in order to bash the bill. The very definition of blindly following a meme.” I really shouldn’t investigate your insanity too deeply but how is “making up one’s own reality” “following a meme”? Following a meme means forwarding a shared perspective, not originally making up anything; factual or not.

I said the individual mandate is the linchpin of ObamaCare because of the integral part it played in White House negotiations with PhRMA. If you think the linchpin is the exchange, that’s fine. I should note the White House hasn’t weighed in one way or the other on what qualifies as the law’s “linchpin.”

The national insurance commissioners are responsible for the initial medical loss ratio regulations and their plans are submitted for ultimate approval to the secretary of Health and Human Services. I don’t know what you’re referring to but the regulations haven’t even been released yet. Wendell Potter, I like. I agree with him most the time he talks about health care reform and he was precisely right on Keith Olbermann last year explaining how manipulation of the medical loss ratio number has been a problem since time immemorial.

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-20 09:49AM | 0 recs
RE: An Unrequited Love

"...promulgator of talking points..."

Purp.

by Jack Landsman 2010-10-20 08:20PM | 0 recs
RE: An Unrequited Love

"Despite your claims, you are a purveyor of talking points and a follower of memes, which you accuse me of. It isn’t surprising. You began by saying Jack Landsman was fucking stupid. You’re not a normal discussant. But that’s cool." 

You proclaim that Obama is the "Chocolate Carter" and that he's no more intelligent then Sarah Palin and are then shocked that you get an extreme reaction.  Ok. 

I see you haven't given up on the "I know you are, but what am I?" comeback.  In order for you to make the case that I'm a follower of memes, you have to show where I've simply ignored some negatives in order to paint a false positive of Obama.  You haven't done that.  But i have shown on a number of occasions you ignoring positives in order to paint a falsely negative image of Obama.  Thus you are a follower of memes and I am not.  Before you come up with your inevitable retort, "No, YOU are!" please keep in mind the standard for who is and is not a meme follower. 

"I’m well aware of what I write. My use of “condition of citizenship” was fine all those times before and it is now. That’s why your fixation was odd."

Ok, fine.  Apparently in Jack Landsman speak, "Condition of citizenship" means something a good deal less malignant then the revocation of citizenship for those who don't buy health insurance.  Forgive me I only speak English and not Jack Landsman.

"Except the individual mandate is not a tax: it’s a mandate, specifically a fine. Congress could have very well passed a new tax for the purposes of financing the program and ensuring participation of necessary individuals. Instead it passed a mandate—that exceeds its constitutional authority—for individuals to have coverage. Generally uninsured individuals will be penalized with a fine of whichever is higher: $700 or 2.5% of income. Thank goodness there’s really no constitutional basis for it because it makes it possible for the federal government to mandate the purchase of anything."

Again, it's not really a "mandate".  If it were then the bill would be a universal coverage bill in that everyone would be required by law to have health insurance.  It's not, it is a tax.  You can insist it's not, Barack Obama could insist it's not, Nelson Mandela can insist it's not, it's still a tax. Taxes don't just take the form of transactional taxes they also take the form of excise taxes or penalty taxes.  Taxes for failing to do things you're supposed to do. Taxes are allowed to take the form of fines.  If you don't believe me, try not submitting your tax returns next year.  You'll find out the hard way that  Congress can impose fines to force you to do things you don't want to do.

The way the Senate bill works is that you get an excise tax or fine for each month you fail to pay health insurance.  It is completely constitutional under the general welfare clause which is is the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.”  It also works under the  Commerce Clause, which is the power “to regulate commerce . . . among the several states.”

So, the question isn't whether it's a tax (it is) but whether it serves the general welfare or whether it can be argued that Congress can reasonably conclude its taxing and spending programs benefit the country.    That's no problem.  The new health care reform bill insures more people and prevents them from being denied insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions. Successful reform requires that uninsured persons — most of whom are younger and healthier than average — join the national risk pool; this will help to lower the costs of health insurance premiums nationally (whether YOU believe this will happen or not is immaterial to whether or not it's constitutional, the Congress did and that's the test.)

Taxing uninsured people helps to pay for the costs of the new regulations. You have a choice (again, not a mandate).  If you stay out of the risk pool, you effectively raise other people's insurance costs, and Congress taxes you to recoup some of the costs. If you join the risk pool, you do not have to pay the tax.  No different then taxing polluters who fail to install pollution-control equipment: they can pay the tax or install the equipment.  But I assume you think Cap and trade is unconstitutional.

Since you're inevitably going to whine about the Commerce Clause I'll answer that too (though it's not necessary since the above already establishes they have the power to do it).

The test in this case is whether Congress could reasonably conclude that the economic activity it regulates has a substantial effect on interstate commerce when all individual instances of the regulated activity are added together.  These economic activities include buying and selling, borrowing money, agriculture, services, manufacturing, and consumption.

Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to make all regulations that are “necessary and proper” for carrying out its enumerated powers.  When a person refuses to buy health insurance they're really self insuring through other means.  When the uninsured get sick, they rely on their families for financial support, go to emergency rooms (often passing costs on to others), or purchase over-the-counter remedies. They substitute these activities for paying premiums to health insurance companies. All these activities are economic, and they have a cumulative effect on interstate commerce. The cumulative effect of uninsured people's behavior undermines Congress's regulation — in this case, its regulation of health insurance markets. Because Congress believes that national health care reform won't succeed unless these people are brought into national risk pools, it can regulate their activities in order to make its general regulation of health insurance effective.

"I said the individual mandate is the linchpin of ObamaCare because of the integral part it played in White House negotiations with PhRMA. If you think the linchpin is the exchange, that’s fine. I should note the White House hasn’t weighed in one way or the other on what qualifies as the law’s “linchpin.”

I like the way you give everything Obama does this Snidely Whiplash twirling of the evil mustache quality to it.  He had an EVIL deal with Pharma to get it passed!  Of course you were there for these meetings so you can make this scurilous charge?  No, as always you pulled this conspiracy theory out of your derriere.

It cannot possibly be because he simply changed his mind?  As I knew he would.  Obama's oppinion on the mandate was ALWAYS nonsensical and i suspect he was only against it because Hillary was for it and he wanted to set himself apart.  I remember him fumbling badly during the debate where he tried to argue that children should have a mandate but not adults (which is why i KNEW you basically lied when you said Obama thought the Mandate unconstitutional- he ALWAYS wanted it for kids).  You simply cannot force insurance companies to accept everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions without having some kind of provision like this.  Because i don't care how low you make the premiums, there are people who won't buy it.  Anyone with any kind of common sense knows this.  Which i guess does not include you.

And to be fair to you they never called the exchange their linchpin.  But it's always been plainly the centerpiece of the bill.  The main selling point.

 

by insipid 2010-10-20 10:12PM | 0 recs
RE: An Unrequited Love

Obama's oppinion on the mandate was ALWAYS nonsensical and i suspect he was only against it because Hillary was for it and he wanted to set himself apart.

Its much more simple, and cynical, that even that excuse. They polled (everything was polled for Obama) and found a majority against it, and decided to lie and decieve for their political advantage. One of many cynical moves.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-10-22 10:25AM | 0 recs
Post-Partisanship DOESN'T WORK in a RIGH

Allow me to first state this.....POST-PARTISANSHIP DOESN'T WORK!!!!

What's going on right now in America is the result of several factors. First and foremost, the Republican Party from day one decided to be POLITICAL OBSTRUCTIONIST of the Obama Agenda. Why? If they had worked with Obama, in earnest, it would have discredited and damaged them as a party (remember, as much as the 2008 election was a referendum on Bush, it was also one on Republicans). The only way to make themselves relevant in such a political climate that demanded change and put them in smaller numbers, was to take a hard turn to the RIGHT (hence, the home the Tea Party has found in the Republican Party) and block the "radical" agenda of the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE US.

Secondly, due to Obama's neo-liberal inclination (big-business, conservative sensitivity - a political form of triangulation to stave off criticism from angry white Americans that he is a crazed black-liberal nationalist) he has developed an unhealthy want for bipartisanship, which in theory appeals to independents and should work if all sides decide to work with each other, but in reality posed trouble only because the Republican party made a commitment to deny President Obama any form of public victory and utilized right-wing talk radio as a tool to paint him as a crazed black-liberal nationalist. BUT OBAMA DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THAT! That means when it came down to taking the PROGRESSIVE AND NECESSARY measures get this country out of the rut it was in, he compromised. He didn't put up the fight that the progressive community wanted out of ,what has become signature bills of his presidency thus far, Heath-Care Bill (no single-payer, no public option), Financial Reform Bill (not going far enough to regulate/eliminate the very practices that caused the crisis) the Stimulus (not being as big as it should of been to really jump the economy, and filling it with a large portion tax cuts to appease Republicans) and the list goes on and  on (I'm probably missing some other bills), but you get the point.

Finally, the right-wing noise machine that is FOX News, CNN, the Politico (the number one news organization in this country) and all of talk-radio have been doubling down and ginning up resistance to CHANGE thanks to their corporate allies (foreign and domestic). What has resulted has been an irrational fear of the Obama Administration, one where working with Obama is the equivalent to treason. This undermines the post-partisanship that the Obama Administration thought possible. Thanks to the Republican Party, the country's information outlets have taken a hard turn to the RIGHT. With all that misinformation clouding the minds and thoughts of Americans nation-wide it becomes increasingly difficult to implement any policy without the public screaming and hollering like children receiving their flu shots.

This increased hyper-politicization of today, makes moderates and Democrats who've followed Obama's lead and taken a turn for the center, look like RADICALS THAT NEED TO BE EXPUNGED OF THEIR POWER. If you go down the list of ALL the initiatives that Obama has put in place, they are ALL CENTRIST and BIPARTISAN, in terms of policy, but unfortunately has received negative press all the way around. 

RIGHT NOW OBAMA NEEDS TO DOUBLE-DOWN AND GIN UP HIS PROGRESSIVE BASE AND STOP COMPROMISING WITH THE RECALCITRANT REPUBLICAN PARTY, IF HE IS TO GAIN A SECOND TERM IN OFFICE.

Anybody who thinks the Republican Party has been reasonable and moderate.....IS CRAZY!!!!!

by ✔ Gaza Alcius 2010-10-22 04:27PM | 0 recs

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