• comment on a post Bill Halter Takes the Plunge into AR-Sen over 4 years ago

    there's nothing wrong with a hard contested primary...

  • on a comment on The Conciliator-in-Chief over 4 years ago

    was the biggest surprise (for me)...

  • comment on a post The Conciliator-in-Chief over 4 years ago

     

    further. it does amuse me (let's call it that since i've gone way past frustration) at the complete and utter lack of discipline on the part of democrats when we hold the levers of (elected) power.  but, yeah, let's keep the guns aimed at the left, because the right has real firepower and it's much easier to attack the weaker opponent. the president pursues bipartisanship (i assume) because that's what he ran on.  the ability to appeal to broad spectrums of americans was what differentiated him from hillary.  that's who he is.  so this critique that the president is too bipartisan may make (some) people feel better, but it is both counterproductive (likely to alienate the president) and never going to produce any positive results.

     

    further.

    it does amuse me (let's call it that since i've gone way past frustration) at the complete and utter lack of discipline on the part of democrats when we hold the levers of (elected) power.  but, yeah, let's keep the guns aimed at the left, because the right has real firepower and it's much easier to attack the weaker opponent.

    the president pursues bipartisanship (i assume) because that's what he ran on.  the ability to appeal to broad spectrums of americans was what differentiated him from hillary.  that's who he is.  so this critique that the president is too bipartisan may make (some) people feel better, but it is both counterproductive (likely to alienate the president) and never going to produce any positive results.

    voters still seem to prefer bipartisan efforts, especially in enacting major reform legislation:

     

    ABC News/Washington Post Poll. Feb. 4-8, 2010. N=1,004 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.5.

    "Do you think Obama is doing too much, too little or about the right amount to compromise with the Republican leaders in Congress on important issues?"

    TooMuch TooLitt AbtRight Unsure  

    9 44 45 2

     

    the president has been pursuing bipartisan support for his (major) change agenda not simply because americans prefer that but because democrats in congress don't agree.  we can bitch all we want about the public option but until i see the votes in the senate, it's still a pipe dream.  complaining about the president -- who comes out of the senate, understands the senate and is probably far more realistic about what can be voted out of the senate than any of us -- is meaningless in that context.

    more to the point, we aren't doing our job either.  republicans have an advantage not only is their ability to stay on message and stick together over long periods of time, but their message apparently resonates with voters.  this was made apparent during the massachusetts campaign that was largely over health care reform.  this graphic appeared in the economist following support for health care reform in massachusetts:

    that's great.  the republican meme is right(???) -- the more we talk about health care reform, the worse it does???  if that isn't an indictment of our inability to properly frame a message that resonates with the public, and then stick to our guns, i don't know what is.  of course, the administration shares the blame with us; their communication strategy has clearly failed, but it's failure is, in part, due to the relentless criticism that it has received from the left.

    it's not that far-fetched to conclude that progressives would prefer to attack then to enact.

    what you should be talking about is the president's decision to stick to *his* guns and his announced agenda.  the public has every right to be pissed about the perception that the federal government isn't doing enough to bring back jobs.  the recent cbs/nytimes poll shows the frustration in america:

    CBS News/New York Times Poll. Feb. 5-10, 2010. N=1,084 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

    "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" Open-ended

    Economy/Jobs 52%

    Health care 13%

    Budget deficit/National debt 4%

    War/Iraq/Afghanistan 3%

    Big government/Bureaucracy 3%

    Defense/Military 2%

    Other 19%

    Unsure 4%

    i agree with the assessment that republicans aren't going to come together and work for the betterment of america.  from my pov, republicans focused on defeating hillary clinton, nominated the person they believed could do that, and then never switched gears after it became clear the barack would be our leader.  it took them until march or so of 2009 to finally come to terms with how to deal with the result.  now they aren't going to back down (because, you know, they are actually a disciplined force that can united behind a single cause or principle) until they've had a chance to defeat this president (at the ballot box).  we have three more years of this crap.

    i disagree with this particular complaint because we don't know if the president's inclination will produce results.  the public clearly understands that the president is doing more to reach out to republicans than they are to compromise in return.  how will voters react to that?  we don't know yet.  and this president isn't likely to back down until there are real facts on the table.

    so the question becomes, how do we, as people who support a progressive agenda, react to these facts on the ground?  criticizing our allies (the administration) isn't likely to result in anything other than temporary euphoria.  and if that's what we want, then why do we need to talk about a progressive agenda anyway?  if we're just looking for some thrill (talking truth to power), do we really need to con people into thinking that we're all for social change and action?

    we need to be honest.  the government isn't likely to get any more conducive to a progressive agenda than it is now.  for democrats to stay in power, we will always have conservative and moderate representatives in congress who don't buy into our cause of the day.  if we can't build a proper frame around that (specific) cause, if we can't make it safe for these conservative and moderate democrats to vote for our issues, then we failed.

    we have failed because we haven't done that.  anybody who thinks that politicians (especially politicians who've made it to congress) are brave souls who are willing to risk their careers to do the right thing for this country has not been paying attention.  it's time to start...

     

     

     

     

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  • comment on a post The Pivot from Stimulus to Deficit Reduction over 4 years ago

    as long as the administration is realistic about how much help they can get from congress.

    the biggest way that a bipartisan commission could help ease deficit spending would be to provide a counterweight to the republican charge that obama is raising our taxes.  the expiration of bush's tax cuts (put through by reconciliation, so they EXPIRE after a decade -- imagine health care reform expiring, because that's what will happen if we even get that far) will be framed as obama raising taxes by republicans, and the atmospherics of a bipartisan commission can take the steam out of that charge.

    for me, the real test is whether the administration can pivot from the atmospherics to real leadership that pushes stuff through congress.  it would help if democrats agreed enough within their own caucuses (and between the two bodies) to not need presidential intervention every single step of the way, but that's the world we live in.  even in normal or good times, presidents flee their domestic agenda for the much more satisfying international arena, because at least there they have a sense of being able to influence events, but that's not what bush left us.

    a bipartisan commission shows that this president is open to all ideas, even bad ones.  what it cannot show is whether the president has the political savvy and intelligence to navigate between the good ideas, what is possible with this congress and what is necessary for the nation at this time.  that's what leadership requires and i agree with the onion, that job can't be much fun...

  • comment on a post IN-Sen: Bayh retiring over 4 years ago

    a much narrower, ideologically pure democratic party...

  • comment on a post DE-Sen: Beau Biden rules out run over 4 years ago

    when republicans start doing well in the northeast, we're really in trouble...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    i'm confident i argued that obama *promised* he would work with both sides of the aisle during the campaign, so your attack on his willingness to do so can reasonably be seen as an attack on him...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    i'd love to see your list of 51 senators who would go along with your ideas through reconciliation...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    i'm not really interested in discussing the policy implications and you're not (iirc) not really interested in discussing the politics.  i'm not the least bit surprised that you glossed over my observation that the purists (wonks might be less insulting, since you seem to have decided that being called a purist was some form of insult) have yet to develop a message that reaches the voter.  that little fact has always been evidence to me that people like yourself isn't really interested in reform but interested in talking about reform.  my interest is more in enacting change -- you know like ending the right to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, expanding coverage to those who can't afford it, etc -- then talking the thing to death.


    i can't speak for you (or anyone else), but i've done my part.  that's why i know that the purists have been more interested in killing the bill then enacting reform since this summer.  we started to see the purists peal off in supporting the president's agenda early on.  doesn't really matter to me whether individual wonkish idealist 1 waited until the fall or individual wonkish idealist 2 waited until leiberman's threat.  what has been clear (to those of us in the trenches of this battle) is that people have been looking for an excuse to give up, blame the president (or congress) and repeat the conservative frame, "we need to start over."

    and i'm sorry that i've been unable to communicate effectively for you.  i'm not threatened by the purists or the ideologues.  this is politics (for me), there are no permanent allies or permanent enemies.  there are only people who will vote with you or against you on any specific issue.  feel free to stand up or fight for your principles.  but until you can come up with a better message and frame than republicans (government takeover of medicine!), then you really shouldn't expect those who don't think exactly like you do to join you tilting at the windmill.  democrats, liberals, and especially progressives don't have a powerful brand like conservatives do, so we don't get to simply assert that something is good policy and expect others to follow.  we have to explain why that is, and our effectiveness -- as witnessed by the president's speech on this issue -- is fleeting at best.  we elected barack obama to take on a lot of battles and sacred cows.  i don't know about you, but i'm moving on to the next one, because this one is done.  we can't even convince those who claim to think like us on how to reform health care, so it's hard to believe that we can convince a skeptical electorate...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    i said: "i can't remember seeing anything written in support of the president, let alone his position."

    the words "kill the bill" weren't in that sentence.  i get the bait and switch thingie, but i'm only willing to defend what i write, not what you do...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    the fire doggers jumped ship from the beginning.  i can't remember seeing anything written in support of the president, let alone his position.  but you probably think that ed shultz supported the president, too.  i understand the need to reinvent history, but it only works when other people believe it...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    your comment doesn't reflect what average voters think about, so how was i to know???

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    for another 3 to 4 decades.  that's how old i am.

    look, the purist vs power argument is older than i am, but the one thing i've learned is that the purists are never happy.  so chasing the approval of the fire doggers is pointless.

    since the school doors are open, whatever inherent interest there was in fixing health care or insurance just got up-ended by the supreme court's ruling on citizens united v fec.  unless, of course, there is some billionaire fire dogger who's willing to drop a few billion on it.  btw, that would be great!

    your suggestion that facing reality is defeatist is just silly.  it has been clear for months that those who are really interested in far-ranging health care reform had neither a message nor an interest in getting that message across to regular americans.  otoh, just mention health care reform and conservatives go absolutely nuts.

    so i'd be impressed if you choose to make that rough climb, but it would be a lonely one, and i suspect the boulder would keep falling down the mountain on you.

    the real question is, do you want reforms that help people NOW or must it be all or nothing?  personally, i love the fact that health care reform that could actually pass congress wouldn't satisfy people.  that means that they won't stop pushing for more and better reforms.  that is the kind of reform process that barack obama always talked about engaging in when he ran for president.  but the purists would rather have a rallying point (and you can't blame them when so few voters are really moved by health care reform as a decisive issue) than reform.  i think we all knew that they wouldn't deal well with an obama presidency.  i'm just waiting to see which one of them opposes the president in 2012 primaries, filfilling the jimmy carter comparison that tea baggers so love...

  • on a comment on What's the Point? over 4 years ago

    let alone the "average voter."  you'd be hard pressed to find an average voter who knows much about this stuff, let alone the specifics that you think people should fight for.

    i know, i know, you didn't really mean the average voter, but some mythical average voter that thinks exactly like you do.  because the average voter is more concerned about all the bickering coming out of congress, not the specifics of some unknown bill they hardly know anything about...

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