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NYT: What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama

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dennis4868 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:22 AM
Original message
NYT: What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama
This has been the summer that liberal discontent with Obama has finally crystallized. The frustration has been simmering for a while — through centrist appointments, bank bailouts and the defeat of the public option, to name a few examples. But it has taken the debt-ceiling standoff and the threat of a double-dip recession to create a leftist critique of the president that stuck.

Obama’s image as a weakling and sellout on domestic issues now centers on his alleged resistance, from the very first days of his presidency, to do whatever was necessary to heal the economy. “The truly decisive move that broke the arc of history,” wrote the Emory professor Drew Westen in this newspaper, “was his handling of the stimulus.” Just as the conservative repudiation of George W. Bush boiled down to “he spent too much,” the liberal repudiation of Obama has settled on “he didn’t spend enough.”

There’s truth in that. President Obama underestimated the depth of the crisis in 2009 and left himself with bad options in the event the economy failed to recover as quickly as he hoped. And yet the wave of criticism from the left over the stimulus is fundamentally flawed: it ignores the real choices Obama faced (and the progressive decisions he made) and wishes away any constraints upon his power. The most common hallmark of the left’s magical thinking is a failure to recognize that Congress is a separate, coequal branch of government consisting of members whose goals may differ from the president’s. Congressional Republicans pursued a strategy of denying Obama support for any major element of his agenda, on the correct assumption that this would make it less popular and help the party win the 2010 elections.

The rest of the article is here...http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/magazine/what-the-lef...

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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. Ah, so a New Republic editor predictably accuses "the left" of "magical thinking"
how... predictable!
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Peregrine Took Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. +1
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
38. and the name calling and finger pointing just keep coming
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mikekohr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
40. REad the article, he also accuses the Right of "magical thinking". And he is right
on every issue in this piece.
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Union Scribe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
44. I am actually a tiny bit surprised by the total lack of shame
They hop aboard the RW-left-bashing train and it doesn't even seem to register that it's such an ugly, stupid thing to do. Then they accuse the left of using RW talking points against Obama, when they're literally letting the RW speak for them about their supposed allies.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
2. Basically, the left "wishes away any constraints upon his power." nt
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dennis4868 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. my favorite part of the article...
so damn true! He is not a king!
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SkyDaddy7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
32. True...But he has a magic wand that he...
refuses to use! He should have used it to create a 1.5 Trillion dollar stimulus & the votes to pass a PO & the votes to close GITMO then maybe he would not be in as much trouble with the "left" as he is now.

Who knows?
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
56. But how so many wish he was...
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Andy823 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. Some great points here
The one that seems to be the hardest for many to understand is that "CONGRESS" is the branch that writes bills, and then has to pass those bills. They have to vote on the bill, if it gets to the floor, and contrary to what some may think, the president has NO VOTE on those bills. He can not do anything all by himself!

From day one republicans have made it their goal to make him a one term president. They blocked, and are still blocking, his appointments to various positions. They have used the filibuster in the senate to stop everything they don't like. And once the republicans took over the house, well that was their golden moment. Now they can cause all kinds of damage, and prevent any bills from being passed that they don't like, and any bill the president likes, the don't like!

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dennis4868 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. I agree with EVERYTGHING you stated except...
you said that repubs can prevent any bills from being passed that they dont like...truth is, they prevent bills from being passed that they have always liked but now that Obama is president they are against (not because they don't like the bill but because they don't like the black guy in the WH).
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Frustratedlady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
20. Amen!
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Champion Jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
25. +1,000
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golfguru Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
54. The president had both senate & house for 2 years
why did he during that time ignore jobs, immigration reform?
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Mr Deltoid Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
4. "The most common hallmark of the left’s magical thinking"
The stimulus was half tax cuts, the least stimulative thing that can be done....because the GOP demanded it. Tax cuts are a right wing poison pill.

Obama buys into failed RW economic policies. Obama is making his own bed and he will ultimately have to sleep in it.
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dennis4868 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. no...
the fucking DINOs demanded it and there would have been NO stimulus (saving terachers jobs) if tax cuts were not included...
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Mr Deltoid Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Ironic you use the word 'DINO'
N/T
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
51. So you admit that the BIGGEST problem we have...
...is INSIDE the Democratic Party,
and until we deal with THAT problem,
we are doomed to more failure.

I'm glad we agree.
Simply electing anybody with a "D" after their name will NOT solve the problem.
We have found common ground.
I will enjoy working with you to solve this problem.
:hug:


You will know them by their WORKS,
not by their excuses.

Solidarity!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
23. His stimulus was $300B MORE than what Pelosi and the Dems proposed
Did you read that part?

Where are the Democrats in the House and Senate? Why are they so silent? It's because they're happy to have the discontent thrown onto Obama so they can avoid scrutiny and save their own seats.
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dennis4868 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. The part that gets me so mad...
is that the dems in congress are weak and because ot their weakness it makes Obama look weak and of course the PL and many here simply blame Obama and not dem members of congress
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Mr Deltoid Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #28
52. Obamas deals with the republcans are what makes him look weak
The deals he negotiates with no input from the Dems in congress.
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. there may be some good points raised here... unfortunately,
... most people vote according to how they feel about a candidate, they don't sit down with a history book and painstakingly review the events of the past four years. And the facts can't really compete with the current image of Obama as someone who runs from any kind of confrontation with Republicans.

I am so worried that the PR people who are currently responsible for presenting the president to the public right now are going to be involved in his re-election campaign.
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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #6
24. I've been worried about his PR people for a while now...
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 01:33 PM by housewolf
They seem to be doing a terrible job of "selling" the president and his accomplishments, or even trying to. Remember HCR? Most people don't even know what its positive points are and what good it contains. As much of a disappointment as it was/is to those of us who really wanted a public option, there ARE some good aspects to it.



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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
10. Shows the moving goalpost, no matter what is accomplished by this Pres!
Last November, Reich pleaded for an extension of unemployment benefits, calling the plight of the jobless our “single newest and biggest social problem.” When Obama made his bargain, Reich called it “an abomination,” complaining that “the bits and pieces the president got in return” — including the unemployment benefits previously deemed vital — amounted to “peanuts.”

And then, this summer, Obama let the G.O.P. hold the debt-ceiling vote hostage to extract spending cuts. I think he should have called the Republicans’ bluff and let them accept the risk of a financial meltdown. But the reason Obama chose to cut a deal is that calling their bluff might have resulted in catastrophe. And Obama made a point of back-loading the G.O.P.’s budget cuts so as not to contract the economy. He may have chosen wrongly, but he chose exactly the priorities liberals now insist he ignored — favoring economic recovery over long-term goals.

Liberal critics of Obama, just like conservative critics of Republican presidents, generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. Hence the allure of magical thinking.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/magazine/what-the-lef...


Personally, I just don't think that folks give a shit what he does, it will always be "less than".....

Which is why, when there's a new President-elect come November 7th, I hope that folks don't shit in their pants.....when they realize exactly how their world will change pronto, starting with the new President naming his new cabinet!


How will you feel when the new President nominates partisan cabinet members like Phil Gramm for Treasury, Jeb Bush for the Justice Department, John Kasich for the Office of Management and Budget, Scott Walker for Labor Secretary, Paul Ryan for Health and Human Services, Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State, John McCain as Secretary of Defense, and Newt Gingrich as UN Ambassador? Sure, it may not be those particular ideologues in those exact positions; in fact, it could be worse still. Keep that in mind.
http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2011/09/03/we-all-h... /

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JoePhilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #10
36. +10000
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Mr Deltoid Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #10
53. The events you cite
Can hardly be called, 'accomplishments.' Extending benefits to less than 1% of the population for a few extra months was hardly worth extending the recession for 350 million people for two additional years.

Calling the debt ceiling 'deal' 'favoring economic recovery' buys into RW economics. The deal devastates the elderly, children, the poor, the sick and the middle class. It has nothing to do whatsoever with economic recovery and everything to do with wiping out 75 years of hard won Democratic gains.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
11. K&R
For whatever has gone wrong, for whatever mistakes ANYONE has made, it does absolutely NO GOOD, it IN FACT increases the harms to either pretend, or lie, that the situation is other than what it is: presidents are not kings & our pathological Kleptocratic financial sector is what it is.
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JNinWB Donating Member (190 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
13. There are 100 members of the US Senate
All of whom believe they are more qualified to be President than the person currently occupying the Oval Office.

We forget this at our peril. US Senators are similar to Castro----wait a while and the current Pres will be off writing his memoirs, but the Senator governs on.

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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Not just 100 members of the US Senate, but also practically all of his critics too.
It's a difficult point to make that whatever authentic points are to be made, those validities ARE DAMAGED BY HOW the critique is made. If it's not grounded in rational reality, it does more damage than good, so one must ask "What is the point?" The truth? Or power?
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Akoto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
14. "... wishes away any constraints upon his power." Bingo. n/t
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Nancy Waterman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
15. The NYT gets it
From the article:

And yet the wave of criticism from the left over the stimulus is fundamentally flawed: it ignores the real choices Obama faced (and the progressive decisions he made) and wishes away any constraints upon his power. The most common hallmark of the left’s magical thinking is a failure to recognize that Congress is a separate, coequal branch of government consisting of members whose goals may differ from the president’s. Congressional Republicans pursued a strategy of denying Obama support for any major element of his agenda, on the correct assumption that this would make it less popular and help the party win the 2010 elections.


Bravo!!! It can't be said enough. One of the Right's goals for defeating Obama is to weaken our support of him by dividing us. Note Cheney now talking of how it might have been better if Hillary were president. This is another way to get us bickering and second guessing the last election. It is another stealth GOP attack. Making Obama look weak when he is forced to compromise so as not to kill the hostage is another.
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dennis4868 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. right...
that the repub plan; obstruct = makes Obama look weak = PL and many libs blame Obama so many of you are being fooled and it may lead to a president perry :-(
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
35. Exactly, Nancy
Note Cheney now talking of how it might have been better if Hillary were president.

His praising of Hillary and coy little suggestions that Obama may need a primary challenge should give ANYONE who considers themselves a Democrat, a liberal, a progressive or what the hell ever and has been touting the same thing pause.
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #15
48. It's working better than they expected...
the biggest effect seems to be on Obama's self-appointed "base". The whiny wing of the Left, never satisfied under any conditions, is given vast amounts of ammo for the circular firing squad.

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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
16. neocon neolib new repub informs the left about its 'problem'
*yawn*

p.s. we get it about congress. What we don't get is why Obama keeps treating the opposition party as honorable and reasonable people, rather than a bunch of thugs out to sabotage him at every opportunity, and why he keeps starting the negotiations from way over on their side of the table, and then finds himself having to settle for halfway between 96% of what they demanded and 100% of what they demanded. It is almost as if he really doesn't want to win.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. ....
I will not allow myself to be used as a corporate media tool by making it my responsibility to generate negative messaging against our current President, as well as Democrats seeking office. I will leave that job as the focus of the Republican opposition. They have more than enough monied interest and media assistance behind them to do their job without my help.

I will be a passionate partisan through and through, come hell or high water, even as this President pushes bi-partisanship--because I am not the President of all of the people. I respect Pres. Obama's right to call for civility, but I will not follow suit, since I don't see the other side doing the same. I won't judge him harshly for this shortcoming nor his attempt to find common ground, even if I don't like it. I don't have to govern, so I will accept that he believes that he can get very little done unless Congress works together to better our nation at our time of crisis. Therefore, I will not spend my precious energy trying to change him today, since uniting this country was a message he was elected on, even though Republicans have fought this message every step of the way. As a volunteer activist, I simply have bigger fish to fry than to rag on the President for being who he said he was all along.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. 1+++
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JNinWB Donating Member (190 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. I absolutely agree and support your position.
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
22. Chait nails it, in a cogent, even-handed manner.
Not surprisingly, many here choose to simply ignore the truth and continue their reactionary rantings.
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MessiahRp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
26. Imagine how the apologists would swarm and attack if we used a New Republic editor's commentary
on Obama against him.

I would bet the attacks would be concentrated, constant and on message (as they always are... wonder where they get their coordinated talking points from?).

Rp
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Union Scribe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #26
43. But at least it's now proven beyond doubt
that they hate the left so much they'll side with RWers, and join them in their left-bashing.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
27. I wish critical thinking was a mandatory high school course.
Then articles such as this one would not cheered and posted nearly as often.
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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #27
46. Well, then they wouldn't *have* to be posted and cheered as often.
A large number of people seem to confuse "criticism" with critical thinking. The net effect is a whole lot of misinformed opinions, and not a lot of information.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #46
47. I agree a lot of criticism is based on fallacious thinking. nt
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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 04:39 AM
Response to Reply #47
50. Holy crap I love your sig line.
Especially the pro/anti sites.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #50
55. The Sexy Sax Man link is my favorite, but the pro/anti sites are fun too. nt
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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
30.  Many still underestimate the depth of the crisis to this day.
We are no where near out of it. It will probably take years and in fact we may never fully recover. In my opinion, this was more a correction than a recession. Our economy has been built on bogus wealth for at least two decades. This country peaked many years ago.. we are now in a slow decline with many nations around the world catching up to us. We could recover but it will be very difficult with the teabagger/Republicans blocking any new legislation that might help.
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
31. So, to sum up the article:
Obama has failed in ways that Bush did not, but it's OK because you are liberals and you shouldn't have expected him to succeed in the first place? Yeah that really helps us all understand.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
33. LOL
what a pantload :rofl:
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:11 PM
Response to Original message
34. Rec'd. THIS is how you try to inform the uninformable
Even though I fear it is all for naught.

"Liberal critics of Obama, just like conservative critics of Republican presidents, generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. Hence the allure of magical thinking."
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #34
49. With fallacious argumentation?
I have seen much better pro-Obama arguments written by our fellow DUers than the article in the OP.
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hulka38 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
37. What the NYT understands and doesn't seem to want to acknowledge
about the left is that we've been right about another major issue way before they were yet again.
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mikekohr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
39. There is not a single issue in this article I disagree with
and those on this board that dismiss this article are making an enormous mistake.
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soryang Donating Member (642 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
41. The Budget Reform Act has a "Magic Wand"
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 08:52 PM by soryang
Why are the rules of the Senate which were used to block meaningful change set aside when it comes to the Super Commmittee recommendations? Because Friedmanite austerity and draconian cuts in the social safety net are what Obama and Wall Street have been seeking all along.

Obama isn't a king when is comes to his constituenies' goals and needs but when it comes to what Wall Street Chicago School ideologues want, Diaster Capitalism gets put on greased skids. Obama and his "helpless party" are about to cram austerity down our throats.
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
42. Great points. Chaite nails it
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stranger81 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
45. Shorter Chait:: All the Serious People are Centrists.
That applies to this piece and just about every other damn thing he writes.
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