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  • salamander commented on the blog post Worst President Ever, Revisited

    2011-07-08 17:53:42View | Delete

    Right now I’m not sure who I dislike more: Republicans like Boehner and Bachman, or liberals like those who support Firedoglake. It’s simply absurd. To @Jelperman: If I had slept through the last two years and been told that, in the interim, Health Care Reform had passed, that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had been repealed, that we had the strongest financial reforms since 1940, and that in response liberals would accuse Obama of being a “republican” I would simply not believe it. And yet it’s true. People have lost their marbles. It’s not Obama’s fault that he inherited a financial mess. Many countries around the world have had varied responses to the financial crisis and the U.S. is doing better than most of them. What Obama needs is a democratic base that has his back.

    There’s a term: cutting your nose to spite your face. I can’t think of a better example. If you screw Obama then your problem won’t be a president who doesn’t put his walking shoes on to march with the unions, it will be that unions no longer exist, that Medicare is voucherized, and that capital gains taxes are cut to zero (Ryan plan). What are you thinking? Get Obama re-elected and then push hard to make the 2016 democratic candidate more liberal. But don’t forget, an adequately liberal candidate who doesn’t get elected is not an effective liberal candidate. That’s all.

  • The problem with democracy and with political power split between executive, legislative, and judicial branches is that change tends to come slowly and you tend to need majorities. Thus, ‘evolution’ tends to work better than ‘revolution’, given our system’s restraints. This fact is what I believe many posters here just ‘don’t get’. Effective change is [...]

  • Read the post again. I am not asking people to support Obama or a republican, per se, though personally I will probably vote for Obama. I’m criticizing the disingenuous game where Firedoglake snipes at the president, helps increase the odds of electing a republican, and then mocks a democratic spokesperson for daring to point out that certain left wing groups (like Firedoglake) are sniping at the president. Dan’s statement is true. I think the appropriate response is to either say “damned straight, I’ll be happy to throw Obama under the bus and elect a republican b/c our country will be better if we support Ryan’s budget plan” or what have you, or alternatively to say “I am criticizing Obama to pull him further left, but will not undermine the effort to elect a democratic president, when push comes to shove”. From reading Firedoglake, I increasingly think that the first response seems to be where most of the denizens are headed. There’s a term for that: cutting your nose to spite your face. I hope when Medicare is a voucher program, financial reforms have been repealed, Obamacare is repealed, and collective bargaining is in the history books that you comfort yourself with the thought that you were taking a principled stand b/c you couldn’t abide by the thought that Obama hadn’t regulated options (in now repealed financial reform) enough and that a public option hadn’t been included in the (now repealed) ACA.

  • Dan’s is correct that the left has been sniping at Obama, so I’m not sure why Firedoglake even bothers to deny this charge. For example, Iin the course of the last week I’ve seen articles suggesting a President Romney would be a good thing, and multiple creative ways of casting aspersions on our democratic president. Now, Firedoglake may claim it is merely principled opposition, and I won’t complain about people upholding their principles. But then stand behind those principles and admit what you are doing: infighting, backbiting, and sniping at the democratic president out of a belief that it is somehow good for the party or country. Don’t act shocked, shocked, that someone could claim you are sniping at the president (true) or aiding republicans (also true). If passing a (in your view) watered down healthcare reform bill, watered down (again, in your view) financial reform bill, and repealing don’t ask don’t tell is so piddling as to be unworthy of mention, then throw Obama under the bus, get a Romney elected, and proudly wave your flag of complicity. Don’t get snarky that Dan dares to compare you to Beck.

  • I’m not sure who mixed the Kool Aid for the republicans before they voted for the catastrophic Ryan plan. The republicans have basically taken ACA off the table as a toxic issue for democrats. And, regarding status quo, the ACA is slowly becoming the new status quo, which will slowly make it more popular. After all, what are repealers going to argue? That they want to throw your 21 to 26-year-old OFF your plan, even during a tough job market? That they want to kick people with pre-existing conditions back off their health plans? And what were the republicans thinking by taking a stable, known, popular government insurance plan and then threatening o make it less reliable and more costly? Now it’s the dems who have “Mediscare” as an option, and the republicans can no longer credibly argue otherwise.

  • The pollsters give good advice and I hope Obama takes it.

    I disagree with Jon Walker that following the strategy requires Obama to “admit he has made mistakes and fallen short of his goals”. The whole point of the pollsters is to STOP arguing about the past and to concentrate on the future and fight for a squeezed middle class. The debt ceiling battle can be useful for democrats in painting the budget cuts as an axe against the middle class being used to fund future tax increases for corporate interests. In this narrative, conservative ideology is imperiling the middle class and this can be a useful bludgeon for Obama and the democrats in congress.

  • salamander commented on the blog post A Brief Note on Birtherism

    2011-04-28 02:05:24View | Delete

    It’s a sad day for the US that we have regressed to this. A postracial country we are not. Regarding some comments:
    1. Why so long? You gotta be kidding me. First, it was a nuts charge that shouldn’t have even been taken seriously, and revealed more about the questioner than the questioned. Second, he DID release the documentation, years ago- the normal ‘short form’ that is legally accepted to apply for passports.
    2. Why does it matter, if he’s a citizen through mom, either way? Because a US president is required, by the constitution, to be born on US soil.
    3. How do we know it’s racist? That’s an inference. There no rational or sane reason this has legs, other than that people just want to believe it. But it’s fascinating that the birthers, generally, don’t consider themselves racist, even though they clearly are. People sometimes deceive themselves by using ‘logic’ selectively in service of their base emotions and prejudices. Personally, I think that is some of the reason that people defy logic to call Obama a Marxist on the right, even as he is reviled as a quasi Newt Gingrich on the left.

  • Yes, stay classy ‘transparait’.

    Yes, yes, even if a few tens of millions more people now have insurance than did before, I understand it is not an improvement at all. Tell that to someone with a pre-existing condition who will no longer be afraid of not getting insurance. Or are real people’s lives not as important to you as making sure things are done exactly your way in congress.

    Besides, I agree with you about the public option, Einstein. I’m not saying ACA is perfect. Hence my comparison of ACA to DADT, which I also didn’t like, but which paved the way for the legalization of homosexuality in the military.

  • I agree that ACA is nearly identical to conservative Healthcare reform ideas of the 1990′s. The more important question, though, is whether ACA is better than what preceded it and also if it will make it easier to achieve a left wing solution–which is basically ACA but with a public option. I think the answer to both is yes. 1. ACA is better than what preceded it. Just ask the people with pre-existing conditions who can get coverage, people with children between 21 and 26, and the tens of millions of additional individuals who will have coverage.

    Now ACA is not liberal enough for many democrats’ liking. But getting a public option tacked on to ACA will be relatively easy in the future. The hard lift was on agreeing to make coverage available for everyone, and it took a year of work to get there. Getting a public option when the democrats control congress again won’t be nearly so hard.

    A final point is that the fact that ACA is basically conservative for the 1990s but now the middle to left today is that we have moved way to the right over the past twenty years. It makes it clear that democrats would’ve been in a better position accepting the basically ACA alternative offered to Bill Clinton in 1990s, and then adding ACA by the end of Clinton’s term, or by the time a new democrat came in.

  • salamander commented on the blog post Warren Shoots to Top of Short List for CFPB Job

    2011-04-26 11:41:34View | Delete

    Thanks, now Obama is Gadaffi. You prove my point.

    @wirerat1- Sure, hold democrats to account. We agree with each other there. But also use a consistent and fair standard. If the things that you hate Obama for failing to achieve also weren’t achieved by Clinton, Carter, Johnson, and Kennedy, then I’d posit you aren’t being fair, unless you equally hate those pols. If the problem is you don’t like ACA or bank reform isn’t strong enough, then, other than Johnson (who gave us Medicare) you should despise all those presidents, too. So do you?

  • salamander commented on the blog post Warren Shoots to Top of Short List for CFPB Job

    2011-04-26 10:29:09View | Delete

    I am a strong democrat, but am feeling somewhat despondent reading these FDL boards. The realization is dawning on me that the craziness evident on the Tea Party right has been seeping into the left wing of the party, as well. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the generalized polarization of the US, with its attendant ‘my way or the highway’ and take-no-prisoners attitude.

    First, we have the villification of those who disagree with us, or even, god forbid, those who merely 85% agree with us. In the right wing this manifests as total disdain and questioning legitimacy of democrats (hence, Obama is a Marxist from Kenya who is an illegal president bringing us down the fast lane to a Soviet America).

    Then we also have the villification of those who merely 85% agree with us. On the right this manifests as the anti-RINO hordes (i.e. republican in name only) where a moderate republican will get primaried and where there is disdain for non-pure republicanism. Good luck seeing a moderate republican get the nomination with that Tea Party. On the FDL left this manifests as a “I’d rather vote for Bachman or the Green Party” attitude in relation to Obama, who, gasp, while achieving more liberal bullet points than any other president in their first two years, did not do it purely enough, and is thus a traitor who must be hanged. Sure a few tens of millions of people will get access to healthcare, but damned it, I don’t care if we didn’t get the public option and really stick it to private insurance companies. Sure, it will be 100% easier to get a public option a few years from now, now that all the ACA groundwork is laid, but I’d rather cut my nose to spite my face and get a Paul Ryan budget in 2012.

    Oh well, I won’t make much of a dent on this board. But this is what one 100% democrat has to say here.

  • There’s a psychological term, called “projection” which I think we have here.

    If people are concerned about ‘back stabbing’ in the democratic party, where they don’t want democrats being taken down a notch, they don’t have to look for indirect clues with Pelosi, they can look at our current president. Let’s see, apparently people comfortably say Obama is a sleaze ball, liar, sellout, etc… Tell me, what’s bigger back stabbing then that? In comparison, the ‘evidence’ that Pelosi is getting a ‘hit job’ on her includes a Washington Post article that says Pelosi remains beloved by democrats, but is now less powerful because she is in the minority party. And that’s a hit job? Personally, I like Pelosi and think she’s done great; saying being head of the minority is a step down from head of the majority is a step down in power is stating the obvious, and not an insult.

    I am feeling like the FDL wing is almost approaching a liberal version of the Tea Party, with some Obama-derangement syndrome setting in. Obama is apparently such an effective republican that the republicans despise him for turning the US into a communist country, and such an effective democrat, that people here say voting for him is the same as voting for Bachman. It saddens me.

  • @frmripirsn- Last I checked, ACA passed with 60 votes in senate. Then Scott Brown was elected. House held its nose and passed the bill.

    Either way, I think ACA is in the right direction. If you truly, honestly think the US would be better off without ACA, with people with pre existing conditions being denied, with kids not kept on parents’ insurance, with tens of millions more people with the security of coverage who before couldn’t afford it, then, sure, vote republican, or vote for Nader.

  • @Oldfatguy – We both agree you aren’t entitled to your own facts. Hence you may reconsider your statement that democrats “never” have to have 60 votes to pass anything. Heard of the filibuster? And, yes, only democrats voted for this, so it’s a democratic bill. So, tell me, is it Obama’s fault that there are blue dog democrats? Is that a reason to criticize him? Senator Nelson wasn’t going to accept a public option. Does that make Obama a sellout? If you have $100 of political capital, you can get a $100 gift, and not a $1000 gift. The democrats didn’t have a strong enough caucus to pass the legislation you wanted, so it’s unreasonable to expect the president to give you the bill you precisely wanted. And what’s wrong with incremental change in the right direction? That’s what the bill is. Several important steps in the right direction. Support it, and then point out the next steps, rather than decrying the fact that it passed.

  • @bmull– You don’t think ACA helps the middle class? I’m supposing that some middle class people have kids between 21 and 26 years old, in which case they can include their kids on insurance. Is that not helpful? I’m sure some middle class people have pre-existing conditions and now will be able to get coverage. Is that not helpful? I’m sure some middle class people are at risk for losing their jobs and suddenly being stuck with expensive health insurance. Are the subsidies to cover them not helpful? And would you throw 30 to 40 million people off insurance coverage because you don’t like helping ‘poor people’. If that’s the case, sure, vote republican.

    ACA is several steps in the right direction. It’s not all the way there yet, but it’s a heck of a lot closer. Getting the public option is just one more step in the same direction, whereas the republicans want to go in the opposite direction and pretty much kill (or fatally wound) Medicare. Sometimes we hold the most anger towards the people who are similar to us, like between religious sects, rather than against those who are truly against your beliefs.

  • Yeah, I take it back. Bachman would meet progressive desires better than Obama. She would have even passed ACA, finance reform, repealed DADT, and federalized student loans while she was at it. Right? Of course. And when she could actually pass the Ryan plan, you’d say, sure they just repealed ACA, and medicare doesn’t exist, but cutting my nose to spite my face just feels so good I don’t regret it.

  • @Jon Walker–I don’t get it, you seem to be using rhetoric to be a little deceptive about the differences between Obama’s and Ryan’s plans. I’d expect that from the WSJ editorial page, but not here.

    Specifically, Obama has mechanisms for cost control in his healthcare plan, and Ryan doesn’t. Reading your post, if I didn’t already know about this topic, I wouldn’t even realize it. That’s a big difference between the two plans, and you don’t mention it. I can tell you we physicians are quite aware of it and some are concerned it will harm their bottom lines, so it’s there.

    Second, you state that “most” of the cost savings in the CBO come from cost shifting. I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but the CBO doesn’t give ACA credit from many of its cost-cutting components, because the CBO is conservative in its estimates, so doesn’t give credit for potential savings. Things like ‘bundling’ payments.

    As an aside, I’m trying to understand the FDL angle. Do people actually want a Bachman to win and be president, and that’s why they slam Obama here? Is this the Hillary fight raised from the dead? What gives?

  • @PJEvans-You argue that democrats losing seats was because Obama didn’t keep his ‘campaign promises’. I’d strongly disagree, both that the democrats could have avoided losing lots of seats, and that Obama kept less promises than prior democratic presidents.

    Regarding losing seats: 1. Unemployment is the most predictive variable in how parties do in elections, and even though Bush was responsible for the financial collapse, since democrats were at the helm in 2010 the democrats were going to get hammered; and, more generally, 2. It’s pretty much a rule that the president’s party loses seats in the midterm of their first term (interestingly, Bush was a rare exception, b/c popularity went up with Iraq war, ironically).

    Regarding keeping promises: I just can’t hammer this point enough–by any fair standard, Obama is easily way above average in keeping promises. As passover approaches, I would joke, if Obama had only passed ACA, it would have been enough. Again, for comparison, all Clinton did in his first year was fail to pass healthcare reform, but I’m willing to guess you didn’t think that he was a horrible sleaze ball as a result. If financial reform had happened, only, it would have been enough. GM, DADT repeal, federalizing student loans, etc., etc..

    Now, is Gitmo open? Yes. And there are other things I’m disappointed in. But I’m saying use fair standards. He got some major major legislation through. Give him a break. If you are going to demanding perfection, then at least admit there hasn’t been a good enough president since Lincoln. And even Lincoln was hated by abolitionists at the time for compromising too much (Lincoln started out his presidency saying he would allow the southern states to maintain slavery in perpetuity, and that his only demand was that it not be allowed in the new states).

    I feel like this infighting is so harmful to the democratic party. Take yes for an answer.

  • salamander commented on the diary post Obama Hits An Easy One, Rachel Maddow Cheers by Scarecrow.

    2011-04-14 15:41:52View | Delete

    Neither am I. I just wonder if being a purist is really helping your country, though. Did the Floridians who voted for Nader rather than Gore, out of purism, really help their country, if it resulted in Bush being president? Obama is closer to what you believe than any republican alternative, so maybe you shouldn’t [...]

  • salamander commented on the diary post Obama Hits An Easy One, Rachel Maddow Cheers by Scarecrow.

    2011-04-14 11:09:29View | Delete

    Your reply is appreciated. I don’t think that giving Obama credit for strategically waiting for republicans to present their own budget first is equivalent, as you suggest, to saying Obama ‘tricked” the republicans into doing anything, nor the equivalent of linking this strategy to the catastrophic 2010 electoral losses. To address these points separately. 1. [...]

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