When does constantly being reasonable become unreasonable?
Obama's "conciliatory" and "reasonable" approach, far from being wise and strategically far-seeing, has proven to be simply weak and vacillating. This is related to the "chess master, or pawn?" debate about Obama's strategy from earlier this summer.
To show that this remains a debate, as opposed to a settled conclusion, after the jump I offer a comparably strong indictment of the Republican opposition that so far has thwarted Obama more often than he has outmaneuvered them.
This essay is from Truthout today, and it is by a recently retired Congressional staffer named Mike Lofgren. Lofgren's name is barely known to the general public, but among people who have covered or worked in the national-security field, he is a familiar and highly esteemed figure. He spent 28 years as a Congressional staffer, mainly on budget matters, mainly in the defense-and-security realm, and mainly for Republican legislators.
3. Last night at a dinner, someone who was for Obama (but now is not)
explained to me that in Obama's book he discusses endlessly his technique of being conciliatory. I never read his book, but I wonder how true this is. Does he put friendly giving in to the enemy above anything and everything?
14. Sorry, I wasn't very clear. What *makes sense* about him, after
having read his books, is his way of acknowledging both sides of everything. Personally, I believe he's a progressive at heart who's attempted to govern from the center (I'm thinking of his blurb that *change takes a long time*), but he underestimated the absolute HATRED of the non-southern, non-white president and the repubs taking advantage of that. I think he tried to be conciliatory once too often and just runs with it now. Shitty advisors, yeah. Shitty strategy, yeah.
I wish I could remember date/interviewer, but in a one-on-one I saw (I believe it was right after the tax-cut extension debacle), he finished the response to one question with the (paraphrased) words: ... the progressives need to keep on fighting ... He seemed sincere and genuine in his body language and tone, imo.
However, I've been feeling run over by the bus, too. Oh well.
17. Well, Clinton was white and was hated even more than Obama was.
I consider Clinton to be a right wing Democrat, by the way. However, that didn't stop the Republicans from hating him and trying to destroy him every second of every day.
I saw far more hatred for Clinton than for Obama, and I don't know which gave in more to the Republicans. I'm beginning to think Obama. I don't know.
Perhaps I didn't 'read' Obama well enough. Perhaps I didn't realize he was right wing himself.
At the beginning of his presidency, I thought the Republicans would eat him alive with racial epithets because he's black, but that soon disappeared the moment Obama began giving in to everything the Republicans asked for.
I want a president that is strong, not weak, refuses to give in, maybe not all the time, but at least SOME of the time. I want a president that doesn't get energetic when it comes to campaign time only.
I don't really know what I'm going to do. I got a call from his campaign to donate money. I donated money in his first campaign, more than I could afford to, and worked tirelessly for his campaign.
This time around? It's not only that I don't have as much money. It's that I don't WANT to donate, and I don't FEEL LIKE giving my time to his campaign.
I'm demoralized by his unnecessary and constant friendliness to Republicans, and his constant giving in to them without nary a peep.
Although, at this point, I wish he was President. Anyway - his move on "welfare reform" was so sickening to me, I thought I would puke.
But, he was white, so they had to keep slamming him on a sex thing. He sort of made it too easy for them, but remember- even at the height of his impeachment, the guy's approval numbers were high, high, high. Tons of good-paying jobs. He was Teflon.
If Hillary was President, they'd be smearing her with sexist shit. It's how they work. There are enough racists around who will vote for astro-turf stupidity like the "Tea Party" b/c they really, really hate the idea that a Black man is in the highest position America has now, right under the average CEO.
This past week's latest farce - I've been doing some personal stuff, so I've not been glued to the news as per usual - I found out the Mother-May-I with Boner, the rejection and rescheduling, etc. TPers eat that shit up. Boner put Obama in his place. Like, who does some Black man who is President think he is, President or something? Yeah. It's all a fucking joke, a bad joke, to me at this point.
So, Obama was polite, and he re-scheduled his jobs' speech (and it had better be good and he need to follow up with doing it, and I hope, HOPE, he lays blame where it needs to be laid - right at the feet of Republicans)
Obama could have the majority of reasonable American behind him - and I do believe most Americans are reasonable people, by doing the simple thing of taking charge of our country's massive, massive problems and stop parroting RW taking points like they're gospel.
51. He owns it, and I think he's pretty good at accepting that.
Personally, I really, really believe that 3 years is NOTHING, considering the damage that's been done by Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush II. Thirty disgusting years, and it really would take two or three Obamas back-to-back to move us ever so slowly back to center and then left. If you think about it, does the grand pendulum swing ever work? I don't think it ever does. Thanks to hi-tech, everybody wants everything RIGHT NOW. We elect bullies that pound and yell and flail away, only to be demonized, and then we get whipped in the other direction.
I don't know. I think we're doomed, anyway. Climate change is going to wipe us out pretty quick here (says my MIT grad brother: "It's going to happen so fast, we're not gonna know what hit us.") So if that's the case, I'm going to whole-heartedly back the guy with principles. Advisors, strategy -- I don't think he picked them, I think he had no other choice. Needs the money to get back in ... Reminds me of the lyrics "You gotta get in to get out" ...
Just one woman's wandering, somewhat incoherent opinions ...
So we can make excuses for him? So we can feel sorry for him? I don't want a president I have to do due diligence on after he's in office. "Just who is this guy?" Kinda late for that.
I read his books and neither convinced me that he's a principled progressive at all. He's a dispassionate logician, but that doesn't even matter. He does what he does and the reasons why don't save lives or unions or the environment or the predator drone victims in Pakistan. I wish they did. Man, I sure do.
Honest here- I didn't support him in the primaries, either. I will vote for him because I will never, ever, while I have breath, vote for a Republican. And, consider the alternatives to him. I'm not writing in a third-party person as a protest, because that will split the vote and make sure whoever the fascist loser the Republicans choose will win.
Other than that, I have no clue wth is going on with this man. I had a glimmer of high hopes right after he took office and he told Congressional Republicans something like, "I won, get over it." Paraphrasing there. I thought Shit! Finally. Maybe I should have been for him from the get-go. Then, he chose Rick Warren author of the Purpose Drivel Life or something for the convocation, and I got the creeps.
But I thought, okay. Let's be nicey nice for now, bring everyone in , even the religious nuts. Let's all start over, as long as the sheriff (Obama) gets to call most of the shots, and we can start rebuilding our country back to pre-Reagan America. I mean, after 30 years of RW rule, it'll take years and years, since we are now starting off in a 50-foot hole, but you gotta start someplace, right?
So, he had a Dem majority in Congress, and, imho, sort of blew it.In his defense, the good old blue dogs also screwed him over. And, a lot of Americans don't get that much of the Prez's powers are limited, so there is not a dictatorship. Sure, Republicans seem to ram thru any insane policy they want to - but, there is a separation of power, into thirds, for good reason, and that is how the FFs set it up.
So, he should have started out with a jobs' program. First and foremost. With a HUGE stimulus, that would have worked well, and proven to the average idiot American why that's a good thing to do, why it worked in the past, and why we need to keep doing it. He fucked up with not doing that, also in mho.
Instead, we got a sort-of- okay stimulus that didn't work enuf, pissed off enuf A-moron-cans to vote in TBer types, and we are back in the toilet.
Yes, most Americans DO disapprove of his handling of the economy - he comes across as a wuss. His main failing- Mr. President, respectfully - please go on the TV, internet, radio or whatever and use your power of the bully pulpit to spell out so that a 2nd grader can "get it", why you need to do what you need to do, and how the Republicans are hurting the average person by blocking you from doing it.
But don't complain about the professional Left, whatever that is - and don't expect me to give you a penny. Which I'm not, btw. I now cannot afford it, having to move to take an okay job at way less pay.
24. I mean, I'm not interested in the psychological issues of BO now
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 11:04 AM by XanaDUer
We're on the Titanic, the water is up to our noses, and we need decisive action now. We also need to deliver BO another Congressional Majority, and hope he runs with it. I don't care if he has to pre-empt Dancing with the Hasbeens every night to deliver fireside chats to get his butt in gear-
I am now interested in pressuring BO, as much as a nobody like me, and the rest of us can, to STOP with the RW talking points to our problem. That's the first thing he needs to do. He is giving legitimacy to failed, harsh, RW "solutions" that are no solutions at all. Like this stuff about adopting "Georgia Works" so we don't pay people for not working. Um, a Dem President actually said that? We are screwed.
A comprehensive stimulus, and jobs'works program is a good place to start, with BO keeping us informed every step of the way. When the Republicans block proven solutions like that, you take them to task.
No one forced him to run for President. He ran on Hope and Change. The Hope is over, now the Change needs to start. If his fundraisers call me, I will politely tell them why he's not getting one dime from me.
33. When I saw that his birth cert was put up on his WH page
I couldn't believe it! He had to do that. Wow.
Here is how I deal with anyone who would come up to me (white racists and hardcore RWers)
The second they started in on that dumb shit, or the FEMA camps - I would start laughing at them. Shaking my head.
I would LAUGH in their faces, and shake my head like, wow, what a dumbass you are.
This is a good way to deal with teabaggers. Just laugh at them and dismiss their stupidity. Embarrass them. Just start getting a grin on your face like, "Wow, you are stupid and crazy." LOL!
Oh, and if one of them is worried about his SS coming in, remind them, again, that they are against Socialism and should not even be sucking at THAT government teat. Explain how it's a transfer of wealth from working folks to them. I mean, if you were not smart enough to save up for a long retirement, that's your personal bad choice and, in America, we all live by our choices, right? Why should someone else pay for YOU? Right? Always say, "Right?" and watch the fun begin.
Of course, I'm not a Black President in Amerikkka, but I do enjoy the moments of perplexed silence this can engender.
The number of people who identify themselves as Liberals is 17% of the voting population.
Whereas Moderate, Conservative, Disadvantaged Democrats are 44% of the voting population.
Since Liberals are probably more likely to feel betrayed by Obama's actions than Moderates, that doesn't point to a "majority of Americans" who feel like they've been "thrown under the bus".
Even if every single Liberal feels that way, and we take 10% away from the more Moderate side of it and add it to the Liberal side, that still only means 27% of Americans feel betrayed.
And that's not even including Republicans, who wouldn't feel betrayed anyway. Just pissed off about anything he does.
Anyway, if you feel like you're being thrown under the bus, then that's your right and I would never tell you NOT to feel that way. What I would take issue with is the assertion that a "majority" of Americans feel that way.
What my original question asked was how people would feel if their "enemy" tried to be conciliatory with them.
Would people appreciate that gesture, or would they call their "enemy" dirty names because he tried to be fair to as many people as he could?
That was my question.
PS...this is my country, as well. I want fairness for as many people as possible within the framework of whichever Party is in power.
"What my original question asked was how people would feel if their "enemy" tried to be conciliatory with them.
Would people appreciate that gesture, or would they call their "enemy" dirty names because he tried to be fair to as many people as he could?"
Most people, including me, would try to reason if the enemy tried to be conciliatory. We aren't dealing with normally reasoning people in dealing with Republicans. There is no such thing as being conciliatory with Republicans. There is only beating them at the polls, and THEN stopping the damage they constantly do.
The WORST thing anyone can do with Republicans, is constantly give in to them, and that's what we have been watching for years.
If it's OK for one's "enemy" to attempt reason and conciliation, then why is it not OK for one's own side to do the same?
Isn't it a double standard to say that one side can do X, but the other side can't?
Anyway, which way is better for showing how partisan and obstructionist the other side is?
Forcing things on them?
Or trying to be reasonable and being blocked at every turn?
Democrats don't like the way the Republicans act. Some Democrats don't even like the way other Democrats act. Or think. Some of them won't even try to be reasonable with others in their own party. What's the excuse there?
55. Theoretically? If the enemy gave a shit, fine. But it's this case, and Repukes NEVER do
There's absolutely no reason to deal with Repukes kindly. They don't know what kindness is, and they don't care a rat's ass. They want to do evil, and no amount of conciliatory behavior will help. In fact, it HURTS us when dealing with such psychopaths.
13. Here is my loving and concerned critique of the Obama administration, in light
of the Lofgren article: Mr. President, we in America (except for a nutty few who can't be reasoned with) all know by now that you are not a radical commie muslim socialist uber-liberal gun grabbing terra pal. We know that you are not prone to sudden rash decisions and radical changes. We know that you are cooperative, thoughtful, and reasonable. We know that you prefer to find solutions that can actually be passed, rather than fight time- and capital-wasting political fights for their own sake.
WE KNOW THIS. You don't have to prove it anymore. It is beyond time to pivot, become partisan, show anger, fight for the sake of fighting, throw punches, get people riled up--elections are won and lost on EMOTION, it is what helped sweep you into office. And it's really the only option you have available to you now, because you will NOT be permitted to have meaningful legislative achievements for the foreseeable future. If you were looking to the Clinton playbook for triangulation tips, well...the Republicans have a copy of that playbook, and they won't let you triangulate. They'll refuse even things they support to deny you any victories.
23. He and his advisors simply need to find their footing and realize that
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 11:00 AM by TwilightGardener
what worked in the past for Obama isn't working now, and isn't going to work--both in terms of governing (since the midterms) and in the upcoming election. We are in a new era, with anti-American enemies in power against him. (Yes, I truly believe the Republicans are anti-American--I sound like a teabagger of the left, and I don't care.) He needs take a stance of PROTECTING us from them rather than continuing to behave as if they also have our best interests at heart and it's all just a difference of opinion and priorities in governing. He does have it in him to kick people in the balls when he wants to--I've seen it. He is NOT soft or wimpy. He just needs to find that impulse and capitalize on it now.
31. We will know in the next week or so whether he and his advisors have seen the light--
maybe that's one good thing that will come out of the debt ceiling hostage-taking and the Boner-speech date disrespect. I don't think he's unaware that they are bent on destruction, especially HIS destruction--I just think he hasn't come up with a better strategy for dealing with them yet. If his advisors are as competent as they seemed in 2008, they're seeing his poll numbers and will watch the GOP debate this week and find out where they're going to hit him, and plan accordingly. If he continues to be conciliatory and "reasonable", as you say, he is going to become a caricature of himself and will not be able to shake that--and his GOP opponent will come off as a tough guy--and the tough guy will win.
Republicans are evil people at this point. The Party of Lincoln is no more.
Jesus, there was a time when there was such a thing as a liberal Republican? Does anyone remember that time? John Lindsay.
Republicans who wanted the gov out of your private life. Who were concerned about overreach of powers?
Look at the police state America has become in the last 11 years, and it was pretty bad before that, too.
They hate him, and will always hate him. He will never be a member of the Club, and I really hope he doesn't want to be.
FDR was the president of the Club, rich, influential, the right religion and, of course, white, so it was easy for him to welcome the hatred of his fellow Brahmins. Obama needs to go for it, and get off this let's-all-just-get-along shtick. There are people whose lives, around the world, now rely on BO to get it right this time. Literally, death if he does not get his act in gear.
32. Thanks. I think he's a good guy, and does have faith that people from
all political stripes love their country but show it in different ways--he is sincere in that--BUT what we're seeing from Republicans is open contempt for anyone who isn't wealthy. He needs to show us that he recognizes this frightening contempt for us. The election really hinges on it.
37. I am hoping he and his advisors realize that he is at a critical point in his Presidency, and
make the most of it. He is going to have an audience of Republican anti-American enemies sitting before him, and while I certainly don't think he can call them anti-American per se, I hope he alludes to their obstruction and destruction, and calls on them to put that aside and work for the people this time. He doesn't have to be overt, the media will run with anything that looks like a "dis" or a poke in the chest.
he's got half of those who hate his guts for his mere existence, glaring at him. I am even waiting for a shout-out from one of the freaks, since the tea-bagging (I LOVE calling them that) constituents eat that up - yeah! Put him in his place! Rah!
I truly believe the RW is willing to take us all down with them just to prove they hate a Black Man enough who became POTUS.
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