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Fri Feb 15, 2013, 11:33 AM

Eugene Robinson: Obama, winning the argument

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-obama-winning-the-argument/2013/02/14/31f7bf32-76e9-11e2-aa12-e6cf1d31106b_story.html


Obama, winning the argument
By Eugene Robinson, Published: February 14


In his bid to be remembered as a transformational leader, President Obama is following the playbook of an ideological opposite, Margaret Thatcher. First you win the argument, she used to say, then you win the vote.

Obama is gradually winning the argument about what government can and should do. His State of the Union address was an announcement of that fact — and a warning to conservatives that, to remain relevant, they will have to move beyond the premise that government is always the problem and never the solution.

It’s ridiculous for critics to charge that Tuesday night’s speech was not sufficiently bipartisan. Repairing the nation’s infrastructure is not a partisan issue; bridges rust at the same rate in Republican-held congressional districts as in Democratic ones. The benefits of universal preschool will accrue in red states as well as blue. Climate change is not deterred by the fact that a majority of the Republican caucus in the House doesn’t believe in it.

There is no bipartisan compromise between “do something” and “do nothing.” Obama’s reelection reflected the progress he has made in convincing Americans that “do something” is the only option — and that “do nothing” leads inexorably to decline.

snip//

Obama assumed leadership of a country in which inequality was growing and economic mobility declining, with the result that the American dream was becoming less attainable. It was a country whose primary and secondary schools lagged far behind international norms; whose airports, roads and bridges were showing their age; and, most important, whose path to continued prosperity, in the age of globalization and information technology, was not entirely clear.

Obama’s State of the Union speech was a detailed reiteration of his position that we can and must act to secure our future — and that government can and must be one of our principal instruments.

snip//

Margaret Thatcher never won the hearts of her many opponents. But by winning her argument, she shaped a nation’s future. There’s an increasing chance that historians will say the same of Barack Obama.

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Reply Eugene Robinson: Obama, winning the argument (Original post)
babylonsister Feb 2013 OP
Tarheel_Dem Feb 2013 #1
loudsue Feb 2013 #2
SCVDem Feb 2013 #3
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2013 #5
babylonsister Feb 2013 #6
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2013 #4
calimary Feb 2013 #7
Mr.Bill Feb 2013 #8

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:03 PM

1. Rec #5

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:57 PM

2. I wish this was true, but I'm watching our state become more and more red.

Republicans are not becoming irrelevant in North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, ..... you name it. Citizens United has the next 30 years sewn up if we don't do something about it.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 01:53 PM

3. CU did not work as planned.

Repubs lost big!

Still, repeal it asap!

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Response to SCVDem (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 03:18 PM

5. Civil Union? Consumers Union? C___ Underground? Copper? Credit Union? Colgate University?

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 03:25 PM

6. Citizens United aka Koch bros. nt

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 02:31 PM

4. In a country led by the nose to the right, Obama is leading it with brains to the left. Kudos. nt

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 03:33 PM

7. Frankly, I'm not interested in bipartisanship anymore.

SCREW 'em. My husband frequently argues that we need both sides. But then again, he's old enough to remember when "gentlemen's agreements" were exactly that. When there was more civil discourse. When people could get along better and agree to disagree but where one side (the CONS) wasn't trying to napalm the other (the Dems). Where things could indeed actually get done. Where, at 6pm, the reagans and the tip o'neills could drop their guard and go have highballs or martinis or beers together. When NO ONE hollered out "YOU LIE!!!" at the President DURING the State of the Union speech.

Btw - for those who bray "both sides do it" "both sides-both sides-both sides" "they're all the same" - please think back to the bush/cheney days and how much material in dubya's State of the Union speeches was a flat-out lie or based on lies, especially when they were all jonesing for war in Iraq and trying to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11. WHO ON OUR SIDE HOLLERED OUT AT HIM? Mind you, at that very time, OUR side actually DID have so many more legitimate, fact-based reasons for doing so???

Now, granted, it's awfully easy to look back and sigh about "good old days," but that's not true, either. Those "good old days" also had witch hunts and joe mccarthy and Korea and Khrushchev and the Cold War and the racist mess in the South and - weren't such "good old days" for many non-whites and women of any color. And the one thing this band of teabaggers and ayn rand worshippers HASN'T done that has happened in the past is when they've actually taken canes to each other.

All I can say is I turn 60 this year, I started becoming aware of things as of President Kennedy and his family, and then more aware of things during the Vietnam and Watergate era. The first campaign activity in which I participated was when Tom Bradley ran for L.A. Mayor the first time (and lost), and the Student Coalition for Humphrey/Muskie. I can remember ten Presidents. My husband is a little older and remembers as far back as Eisenhower.

When I look back, it just seems to me that there's never been this much rancor as we see now, every day. I think the GOP started feeling its oats at the start of the reagan era, because not only did reagan come in, people like newt gingrich came in, and started remaking the attitude of his party into a belligerent, bullying mob. Being in-yer-face and stirring things up became cool. gingrich used to boast openly - "I'm a back-bench bomb-thrower!" Playing fair was wussy stuff. And that's when they aggressively began courting and mixing in, the radical evangelicals with their TV/radio empires and big bucks.

It felt to me that the political climate deteriorated completely when Bill Clinton had the gall to defeat george h.w. bush and deny him a second term. The second term to which his side just assumed he was ENTITLED, mind you. That outcome was in a large part thanks to the spoiler campaign of Ross Perot's. He got enough votes to cost bush1 enough states to seal it for Clinton who had the most votes out of the three. But nobody in the GOP ever seemed to care about that much. They laser-focused on Clinton from the moment he took office, trying to dig up dirt on him and get him out of there, or at least hobble his presidency. They spent the following six years trying to dig up dirt. Something. Anything. Finally found a stained blue dress. It was just nuts. Utterly ridiculous. What did they spend - 60 million dollars on Congressional investigations of ANYTHING Clinton-related, and that included Hillary too. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, they thought she personally had somebody murdered. The last time people tried to impeach a President was more than a century earlier! (Sheesh - I remember seeing the occasional "Impeach Johnson Centennial" buttons on someone's label back in the LBJ days.)

But I don't remember it EVER being this bad. I do NOT remember things ever being THIS bad. Where they've raised "NO" to a frickin' sacrament - even turning their noses up at ideas President Obama adopts that were originally their own! Shouting rudely at him in public during events of great decorum. Yowling loudly and all over everywhere about him being foreign, illegitimate, and alien. Being rude and disrespectful in large and organized and "legitimized" numbers. It's AWFUL!!!

And you know something else? It's NEVER been reciprocated - to that degree and that mass and volume. YES we marched against Vietnam (some of us just as much against a Democratic President - LBJ) as against Nixon. We raged against Nixon. Those of us who did were, by-n-large, dismissed as hippies and tree-huggers and other not-to-be-taken-seriously fringe groups. We weren't elevated to near celebrity status as a group, the way the teabaggers have been. Or as the televangelists and their followers were. They were all taken VERY seriously and given wide berth, plus lots of air and face time in the media. Our side and our leaders were basically laughed at. But our side has NEVER mounted the kind of aggressive hostility-based torch-and-burn assaults on the power structure as these assholes do now. There simply is NO "both sides do it" or "they're all the same" argument to be offered here. Our side is only starting to stiffen its spine - NOW. Criminy! It's taken DECADES.

I, for one, am glad to see it happen. FINALLY. Where OUR side rises up. And I think that's how it needs to be for at least a few election cycles to come. None of this bipartisanship crap. WE have to take COMPLETE charge and fix things. Set things straight. Clean up their messes with very few of them to insist on standing in the way. Because at this point, in this day and age, that's all they're interested in doing. I think they need to be minimized and sent to the corner and told to sit down and shut up for several election cycles - while WE fix things and get rid of their crap.

No bipartisanship for ME!

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 04:44 PM

8. I always wondered why elected Republican leaders

want to take a leadership role in "the problem".

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