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Why the Democrats Can't Govern-Look who's killing Obama's agenda now.

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 07:57 AM
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Why the Democrats Can't Govern-Look who's killing Obama's agenda now.
Why the Democrats Can't Govern
by Jonathan Chait
Look who's killing Obama's agenda now.
Post Date Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The last Democrat who held the White House, Bill Clinton, saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin, his political support collapse, and his failure spawn a massive Republican resurgence that made progressive reform impossible for a decade to come. The Democrat who last held the White House before that, Jimmy Carter, saw the exact same thing happen to him.

At this early date, nobody can know whether or not Barack Obama will escape this fate. But the contours of failure are now clearly visible. In Obama's case, as with his predecessors, the prospective culprit is the same: Democrats in Congress, and especially the Senate. At a time when the country desperately needs a coherent response to the array of challenges it faces, the congressional arm of the Democratic Party remains mired in fecklessness, parochialism, and privilege. Obama has made mistakes, as did his predecessors. Yet the constant recurrence of legislative squabbling and drift suggests a deeper problem than any characterological or tactical failures by these presidents: a congressional party that is congenitally unable to govern.


The stimulus served as a mere precursor to the major battle over Obama's budget, which represents a once-in-a-generation chance for the Democratic Party to reshape the priorities of the federal government--to reduce America's unsustainable carbon emissions and reform its bloated, cruel health care system. Democrats have utterly failed to rise to the occasion.

The first sign of how the Senate would respond came on February 27, when Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, gave an interview to CNBC. Conrad listed three objections to Obama's budget. First, he opposed a provision to limit tax deductions for high-income earners. Second, he opposed a new cap on crop subsidies to farmers who take in more than $500,000 per year. And, third, he upbraided Obama for not doing more to reduce the budget deficit.

You might think a performance like this--demanding that Obama do more to reduce the deficit while simultaneously opposing his deficit-reducing measures--would have turned Conrad into a punch line. Instead, it launched him as a symbol of fiscal rectitude and encouraged fellow Democrats to follow in his hypocritical wake. Numerous Democrats have since stepped forward to join what news reports have accurately described as a "revolt" against Obama's budget.

What's maddening is not that Obama's budget is a perfect document--though it does a better job of setting priorities than any presidential budget in at least the last 30 years--but that the deficit-reducing measures Democrats object to are the most sensible parts of the budget.

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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:03 AM
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1. An excellent article - K & R nt
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HillbillyBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:05 AM
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2. ( * ) was a failure even before he stole the election,
Mcphail would have been and even bigger disaster so wtf?
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:07 AM
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3. Democratic Senators are their own worse enemies.
Seems that Democratic Senators shun success and power. They would rather complain from the sidelines than grasp the reins of power and implement change and progress.
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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:09 AM
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4. K & R
Democrats continually undermine the Presidents from their party. They take pride in it and then wonder why it happens - and it isn't just Congressional Dems.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:09 AM
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5. At least President Obama will get them to show their hands, then it will be up to the People
to get them out. I don't have much hope that this will happen.

President Obama is finding out that you can't get under the radar without becoming one of them. This is what happened to every last Democrat that gave BushCo the power to make WAR SLAVES of all but the richest Americans.
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:18 AM
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6. The question is who is governing us
Senators and Represent ives or corporate lobbies that eventually buy there Representatives.
Unless we stop the corporate interests we will always be on the short end of the stick.
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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 08:55 AM
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7. Thanks Babylonsister, I have said the Media(wom we attack with
vigor) see our party as unable to govern. For years they
have observed our party (House and Senate). To be honest
they see a party with no set beliefs or overarching principles
which hold them together. Instead they see a group of people
with a laundry list of issues. Yikes, they cannot even agree
on health care. You have Centrists, Blue Dogs who agree with
Republicans more than their own party. You see the real Democrats
with their own ideas which indeed are not Republican Lite.
I criticize the Media more than anyone but I took some time
out to try to look at things fairly. The Media(I believe they
lean toward Democratic Party Values) but they like many of us
do not see a strong party. They conclude Weak Parties cannot govern.

A strong Democratic Party could have just as much influence
as the GOP. The GOP (even wrongheaded on policy, comes across
as a Governing Party).

Look, people have to state the obvious to their own party sometimes. I still support Pres. Obama. I still support
the "herding cats" party. I care enough to make observations.

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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 10:42 AM
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8. "Congressional Democrats" is a broad brush.
Not all Congressional Democrats are opposing Obama.

It is the "Centrist" (DLC/Blue Dogs/New Dems) Senators who have formed a coalition to derail OBama by voting WITH the Republicans. They like to claim they are "Moderate", but they are really Hard Right Conservative Pro-WAR/Anti-LABOR Corporatists. Their political position is well to the RIGHT of Nixon.

The coalition of Democrats voting with the Republicans include:
Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh (the leaders)
Pryor & Lincoln (Arkansas)
Both Nelsons (Nebraska and Florida?)
Landrieu (Louisiana)
& several others, but the above are the WORST offenders.

Anyone who believes that we are only one or two seats away from controlling the Senate is living in a dream world. There will always be enough corrupt DLC "Democrats" to spoil the party.

"Centrist/Moderate" = Republican
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VPStoltz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 10:56 AM
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9. The difference is: when a Newt or a Rush says "March" they march whether they like it or not.
The Dems, unfortunately, don't see that as governing. Unlike, Republicans - who in essence represent interests outside that of the citizenry - Dems make an attempt to reflect what they are hearing from home. At least that what I think they think.
Don't you really think that PrezO would throw the money lenders out of the temple if he could? He is up against a cabal of the wealthy who have no compunction what-so-ever to ruin him in every possible way if he doesn't dance with them. Every President knows this. At least he TRYING to slip a few things past them.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-30-09 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Dems are divided between those work for people and those who work for GOP's employers
corporate and Wall Street interests that would make the rest of us into dog food if it would help their bottom line and they could get away with it.
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