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Is Obama Punking Us?-By FRANK RICH

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:13 PM
Original message
Is Obama Punking Us?-By FRANK RICH
Op-Ed Columnist
Is Obama Punking Us?

By FRANK RICH
Published: August 8, 2009

..................

The making of legislative sausage is never pretty. The White House has to give to get. But the cynicism being whipped up among voters is justified. Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose chief presidential campaign strategist unapologetically did double duty as a high-powered corporate flack, Obama promised change we could actually believe in.

His first questionable post-victory step was to assemble an old boys club of Robert Rubin protgs and Goldman-Citi alumni as the White House economic team, including a Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who failed in his watchdog role at the New York Fed as Wall Streets latest bubble first inflated and then burst. The questions about Geithners role in adjudicating the subsequent bailouts arent going away, and neither is the angry public sense that the fix is still in. We just learned that nine of those bailed-out banks which in total received $175 billion of taxpayers money, but as yet have repaid only $50 billion are awarding a total of $32.6 billion in bonuses for 2009.

Its in this context that Obama cant afford a defeat on health care. A bill will pass in a Democrat-controlled Congress. What matters is whats in it. The final result will be a CAT scan of those powerful Washington interests he campaigned against, revealing which have been removed from the body politic (or at least reduced) and which continue to metastasize. The Wall Street regulatory reform package Obama pushes through, or doesnt, may render even more of a verdict on his success in changing the system he sought the White House to reform.

The best political news for the president remains the Republicans. Its a measure of how out of touch G.O.P. leaders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are that they keep trying to scare voters by calling Obama a socialist. They have it backward. The larger fear is that Obama might be just another corporatist, punking voters much as the Republicans do when they claim to be all for the common guy. If anything, the most unexpected and challenging event that could rock the White House this August would be if the opposition actually woke up.

more at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opinion/09rich.html?_...
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. 'if the opposition actually woke up'
Is Frank Rich saying the Republicans in Congress should call Obama a corporatist?

I think that would result in a look-who's-talking reaction from the public.
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SeeHopeWin Donating Member (649 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
14. No he meant if the left woke up....nt
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MISSDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #14
28. He said "if the opposition
woke up". How would that be the Democrats?
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SeeHopeWin Donating Member (649 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. That's his point. He made the point that Obama punked us (the left)
and we kinda don't know it yet? What if the left wakes up?
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WA98296 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. If the left actually woke up and realized we've been Punked is Obama's biggest worry.
He's heading for a Single Term Presidency if he doesn't get out of bed with Corporate America. But why should he? As they say, "You dance with the one who brung ya!" And Obama was brought to us by Corporate America.

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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I doubt Obama will lose in 2012
imho
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. I doubt he'll run in 2012 n/t
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. He said if his policies did not work he wouldn't run again...
He said it so early in his tenure I was wondering why he was giving political opponents free ammo...
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hileeopnyn8d Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. He didn't say he wouldn't run
He said he wouldn't be elected.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #17
36. True
And it was a strange thing to say
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
21. Can't lose if he doesn't run and I'll bet he doesn't run in 2012.
Probably never intended too and I think punk'd is an appropriate term.
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Jim Sagle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
44. His plan is to land a plush gig in finance after his time as prez.
One term is BETTER than two because he gets paid even faster.
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I'm Going to Have to Say
that if Dems got punked with Obama, they punked themselves. Obama never even pretended to be much of a progressive, people just weren't paying attention if they think otherwise. I voted for O because he was better than the alternative. He isn't all I would like him to be, but I had no reason to expect otherwise.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #5
19. For future reference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l8ZOMd468o
Hasn't the President said he wants to cut medicare/medicaid too? I likely missed out on detailed context...

More for future reference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc4qPjOWs68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OzxuFnqhSE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6vnHmAfJCY
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. you forget the depth of the shit left behing by jr*
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. "Smirk" - Junior ( aka xCommander AWOL) (R)
Edited on Sun Aug-09-09 07:14 AM by SpiralHawk
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. Don't think Pres Obama fears the left at all. He appointed Rahm, a real slap in the face to the left
After all, who will the left support?
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
31. A third party - the dems will fall on health care - if they sell us out for big insurance...

It will be the beginning of the end.

Bush exposed the Republicans.

Now, if Obama fails to stand for the left, the dems will LOSE support.

The health care battle will be the beginning of the end for the democrats, IF they continue along this corporate path.

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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #31
42. I disagree. Suppose the left leaves the party for a third party and the republicans
becomes, if not already, the party of the extremists. The moderate republicans will join the Democratic Party and create a Democratic Party run by the Blue Chickens and Arlene Specter, and elect Jeb Bush and Sarah Palin.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. Deleted message
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #18
23. no substantive difference on issues of importance...
:cry:

punk'd is the right word
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followthemoney Donating Member (745 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #18
25. The change between candidate and president:
President or, for continuation of Bush policies, Presnit?

Barack or Bunco, as confidence man and front man for casino capitalism?

Obama or bomber, for his expansion and escalation of attacks on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

So far he is Presnit Bunco Bomber to me.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. $175Billion loan to socialize the risk...$32.6Billion in bonuses to help privatize the profits...
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 10:55 PM by dysfunctional press
$100Billion per month in Iraq so that halliburton can war-profiteer...

and they decry $3Billion for the cash-for-clunkers program as evil socialism.

it's maddening
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. Fair question, but...
Just as Rich points out, there are so many in the COngress that are paid off by these people, it is difficult for the President to get together a team to do something about the problem with healthcare, even if he wanted to. He thought they had his back. They don't.
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Fair Point
However, as he had the say (I think, cause you never know) why didn't he pick a financial team that had our backs?
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Lorax7844 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Agreed, the financial team is an insult to our intelligence
I hope that Frank Rich is wrong.
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SleeplessInAlabama Donating Member (341 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:30 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. I'd settle for a Chief of Staff that had our backs. nt
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 02:27 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. There are only two answers, aren't there.
Answer One: President Obama is as naive as the intellectually gifted and well meaning Woodrow Wilson, who was used as a pawn for Big Banking Interests and thus signed off on the Federal Reserve. Ten years later, Wilson rued his dealings with those swindlers, but of course, ten years later it was too late.

Or two, Obama is in on it.

I have no idea which is the truth. But his constant buddying up to the hatchet men, like Rahm and Geithner, doesn't bode well for us middle incomed people.

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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #13
24. I think Obama 'is in on it'. nt
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #13
26. Nor Does The Recent Deal With Pharma
I guess competition only applies when the corps aren't getting what they want, which is never
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misanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 02:59 AM
Response to Reply #13
39. Occam's Razor...
...The simplest of those two solutions is likely the correct one.
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chimpymustgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
46. Oh my. You're getting warm.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
20. Haven't put a lot of stock in good old Frank since he became hysterical over Bill Clintons blow job
Thats just the way things work.

Don
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Jim Sagle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #20
45. And he saw very little difference between Bush and Gore, either.
Frank Rich helped us into this ditch.
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
27. "Punking" doesn't really carry the weight. "Betraying" might be a better fit.
Edited on Sun Aug-09-09 01:58 PM by Karmadillo
nt
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Thickasabrick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
30. Best part of the article is about Billy Tauzin. If you don't ready anything..
read that part!!
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #30
35. Wow there. that Tauzin section was very revealing and only
Adds to my angst.

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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 01:32 AM
Response to Reply #30
37. OUCH
Very interesting

In this maze of powerful moneyed interests, its not clear who any American in either party should or could root for. The bipartisan nature of the beast can be encapsulated by the remarkable progress of Billy Tauzin, the former Louisiana congressman. Tauzin was a founding member of the Blue Dog Democrats in 1994. A year later, he bolted to the Republicans. Now he is chief of PhRMA, the biggest pharmaceutical trade group. In the 2008 campaign, Obama ran a television ad pillorying Tauzin for his role in preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices. Last week The Los Angeles Times reported and The New York Times confirmed that Tauzin, an active player in White House health care negotiations, had secured a behind-closed-doors flip-flop, enlisting the administration to push for continued protection of drug prices. Now we know why the president has ducked his campaign pledge to broadcast such negotiations on C-Span.
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
32. Best to pay attention.
These are the things that people are thinking. I know that Obama doesn't have to worry about the left=wing vote. I mean who are we going to vote for. Just like the Democratic party took the black vote as a given, they feel we won't really have a choice.

But as Rich points out. There are a lot of the novice voters who flocked to his stirring everyman speeches who are feeling let down.

And though they can probably count on the black vote and the progressive vote, they could lose the women vote if they don't do something real and tangible about the war, the economy, and health care. We can't expect the republicans to stay stone cold stupid. Sooner or later they will figure out what Rich referred to. They can make headway with the populous stuff. People will forget (trust me) that the republicans started the war and blocked health care legislation and screwed the economy. If they republicans can find a puppy-eyed puppet who will pledge to care for the people, they will win if we haven't changed things.

I believe Obama wanted to change these things, but he picked the wrong helpers, and those who helped him get elected are doing a lousy job of helping him succeed as president and be reelected. People I worked with during the election, people who were rabid supporters, are starting to say how hie is just another politician.

A humble suggestion. Veto the crap bill that the congress is fabricating. Tell the American people that congress can't get it's act together - they are too beholden to lobbyists and too partisan. Write a bill that measures up and send ti to congress. Then hit the road and the airwaves. Make the bill simple, comprehensive, and comprehensible. Figure out in advance what lies the blockers will throw up and shoot them down as the fly. Full court press.

If that doesn't work, then this country truly deserves 8 years of a bush/cheney twin.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. +1 -- I disagree however, that "Obama doesn't have to worry about the left-wing vote"
I, for one, am done with voting except for local matters.

As long as our federal government is so obviously under the control of the wealthy elite, the mega-corporations, the "defense" industry, the financial sector, etc. -- the Owner Class -- there's simply no point in voting. It's a sham designed to fool the People into thinking that they have a say -- when clearly they don't.
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misanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 03:03 AM
Response to Reply #33
40. At least you've got the local stuff to turn to...
...I live in Jeff Sessions' hometown. You can guess what the local politicians around here are like. I feel entirely disenfranchised on every level.
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #33
41. I can feel that way too.
But I know that come the election if there is any chance that Obama might lose to something like a Gingrich/Palin ticket or a Cornyn/Inhofe ticket, I would have to swallow my bile and vote D again. I've voted straight D for forty years. Haven't even considered a third party since my yellow dog Democrat father showed me the math where I would be aiding the enemy with my tantrum vote. But you and I aren't what they should be worried about.

That said. If we continue to kneel to the neocon dream, I can foresee a third party that could win. Times change. So can I.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
34. Candidate Obama came out of almost nowhere like a rocket and captured our votes and our
imaginations with this soaring rhetoric about Hope and Change We Can Believe In. He was a marketing miracle. But when you consider the competition-John McCain-it really wasn't such a difficult task. Especially following in the aftermath of BushCo.

We knew that Bill Clinton was a DLC Democrat--a centrist. We knew that Hillary is a centrist, DLC Dem. We ignored the fact that Obama would not have gotten as far as he did without being willing to be another centrist Dem.

The last President who decided to buck the Military-Industrial-Corporate Complex paid for it with his life. Barack Obama is a very smart man who most likely wants to enjoy watching his daughters grow up and grow old. Let's just hope that during his tenure in the White House he is able to undo at least some of the damage BushCo did--for his own sense of accomplishment and for posterity.

It's been said before but here's a reminder that there's really only one political party in America. It's the Corporatist Party and it has two wings--the right Republican wing; and the not quite as far right Democratic wing.


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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
38. I stopped reading at "Democrat-controlled Congress"
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #38
43. That was in the second to last paragraph.
As an aside, I love how "Democrat-as-adjective" is the one issue that the Party will not compromise on! Foreign wars of aggression? Not a problem. Trillions to Wall Street? But of course!

But "Democrat Party"? No sir. No sirree bob! :silly:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 10:48 PM
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