Standing Applause

Obama Administration

Angry Black Lady speaks for me.

You see, on Wednesday I wrote a rant about the looming irrelevancy of the Professional Left aka firebaggers aka Obamabashbots. It was one in a series of screeds I have written about the destructive tactics of these self-appointed leaders of the left and their firebagger minions. It was also part of a collection of screeds written by liberals of all colors, each of whom views the attack dog tactics of the Professional Left (and the resulting rancor among the Professional Left Commentariat) as damaging to not only the President, but also the country. …

… Due to the growing sense that places like FireDogLake, Salon, and Daily Kos seemed more invested in endlessly criticizing the president than promoting a useful discussion about the ways in which liberals could advance their policy goals, people who were tired of surrounding themselves with nothing but negative commentary decided to branch off and form their own blogs. In these smaller communities, it is not considered a character flaw to express one’s support for the president. In these smaller communities, one does not have to qualify every expression of support for the president with “but I don’t agree with everything that he does.”

It is in these smaller communities that those of us who know how to walk and chew gum at the same time are able to support the president generally, while not supporting each of his policies specifically. It is in these smaller communities that people who, ironically, refuse to see everything in “black and white” are comfortable with infinite shades of gray.

Perhaps it is because of the smaller communities that have been formed over the last year that minorities who typically are ignored until we become convenient for political strategy have found our voice.

To be honest, I no longer feel connected to the Left Blogosphere community. Some of the rifts date back to the 2008 Dem primaries, when the “smart” people decided that only Hillary Clinton had a chance of winning the general election, and that those of us who preferred Barack Obama were “naive.” Or “emotional.” Or some such. This may provide a clue why so many of the same “smart” people morphed into Obamabashbots (love that).

These days, on some of the “big” sites, one may not say anything even mildly supportive of President Obama without being derided as an “Obamabot.” We may differ on which side the “bots” are on, however.

Angry Black Lady goes on to talk about the way some of the self-appointed spokespeople of the Left Blogosphere dismiss the concerns and opinions of us lesser folk who don’t get the ad revenue they do. I still haven’t gotten over the way financially comfortable Jane Hamsher, who has survived breast cancer because she had access to state of the art medical care, was so eager to kill the Affordable Care Act because it fell short of the ideal. If that Act hadn’t passed as it was, it’s insane to assume that Congress would have cranked out more progressive legislation before the new Congress took over. Killing the bill would have amounted to depriving millions of people of any hope of access to health care, possibly for many years.

When you’re the one who’s drowning, you really don’t appreciate the lifeguards wandering off to look for a better lifebuoy than the one they have at hand.

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  1. Gordon  •  Apr 9, 2011 @12:06 pm

    Hear! Hear!

    The business about “the base” is very irritating, particularly because a lot of the people making that claim were Hillary supporters. Yeah, they supported Obama once he had the nomination, but by that point he certainly didn’t need their support.

    To me, the most important lesson of Ted Kennedy’s life (learned the hard way) was: if all you can get is an inch, take the damn inch. I wish more people could see that.

    (Sorry if you get a partial double post – laptop kbd hell.)

  2. LillithMc  •  Apr 9, 2011 @12:22 pm

    Too true, Maha. I feel trapped between the hateful Tea Party and the Obama bashers. That is why I visit you every day.

  3. Lynne  •  Apr 9, 2011 @1:45 pm

    Brava, Barbara! It had to be said.

  4. Dayne  •  Apr 9, 2011 @2:25 pm


  5. joanr16  •  Apr 9, 2011 @3:00 pm

    Politics is a continuum, and I’ve found myself at widely different points on the continuum throughout my lifetime. Now, I’ll just second what Gordon said about Ted Kennedy.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 9, 2011 @4:50 pm

    Thanks, maha, for bringing this up. I love ABL at BJ.

    Though I’m sick to death of the capitulating Democrats, I understand what the President is going through, and has gone through for the past couple of years.

    Those of you who read my little (who am I kidding? – LONG) missives, know that I’ve tried to explain how and why Obama is and has been limited due not only to race, but to the place in history he finds himself in, with a weak, Corporatist, Democratic Party, and an insane, Fundamentalist, Corporatist Republican one.

  7. Chief  •  Apr 9, 2011 @5:36 pm

    I must say that after reading ABL and Maha, I am confused. The real and concrete is very important. In the short time that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been in effect I am sure that many people have been able to begin to get health problems under control that otherwise would have been left unattended. And the repeal of DADT is super. The implementation of DADT was a horrible mistake on many levels.

    The abstract is also important. The U.S. Constitution is important. I see not only a continuation of policies of Bush that the left decried, I see a ramping up of secrecy and prosecuting whistle blowers and a lack of transparency after he promised a more transparent administration.

    I suppose my disappointment with President Obama can be summed up in the way he treated Dawn Johnson after he nominated her to head OLC. Didn’t fight for her, Reid was never pressured (I assume) to bring her confirmation to a vote. Fifteen months he let her twist in the wind.

    There are many more decisions that President Obama has made that I am very dissatisfied with than ones in which I am pleased.

    President Obama does not appear to be willing to fight for any position, cannot draw a line in the sand, will not work to help the people who get their hands dirty at work.

    Having said that, and not being a paid blogger, I am confused as to what ABL and Maha are trying to say. Are you happy, satisfied or ??? With President Obama’s performance?

    Please enlighten me.

  8. maha  •  Apr 9, 2011 @6:36 pm

    Having said that, and not being a paid blogger, I am confused as to what ABL and Maha are trying to say. Are you happy, satisfied or ??? With President Obama’s performance?

    Please enlighten me.

    Right now, ambivalent. Look it up.

    The point is, the guy is not liberal Jesus, but neither is he a clone of George W. Bush. I don’t agree with everything he’s doing, and I wish he had sharper political skills. But often I think he’s probably doing about as well as anyone could.

    This is what I’m complaining about.

  9. Chief  •  Apr 9, 2011 @7:20 pm

    Thanks. We are probably on different parts of the same page.

  10. Gordon  •  Apr 9, 2011 @8:12 pm

    If Obama is getting legislation passed that is to the left of the 219th rep and to the left of the 60th senator, he’s doing a good job (pretty much by definition of the position). I think he’s doing that, and I think he’s doing it fairly consistently. Olympia Snowe is somewhere around 60th senator. In the new Congress, the 219th rep makes Attila the Hun look reasonable.

    My personal peeve with Obama is on intellectual property issues, which are steadily getting worse, despite the fact that he has some understanding of the issues (and did most of his campaign stuff under a Creative Commons license). But he’s managing 7 million people who don’t turn on a dime, particularly when they might be Bush tunnelers. And since Congress has decided to snail crawl almost any nominee…

    (While I’m feeling talkative, I’ll advocate for mandatory voting as the simplest axe to cut through the Gordian knot of our political / governmental problems.)

  11. Bonnie  •  Apr 9, 2011 @8:15 pm

    I do think Obama has been picked on too much by the Professional Left Commentariat and that has weakened the left. Sure, I am disappointed in the Guantanamo issue; but, I keep my disappointment low key. He is going to run for re-election and the left needs to come together and support him to ensure we don’t get a stark-raving mad lunatic for President. I think we need to pat him on the back more when he does achieve wins such as the Affordable Care Act. To constantly criticize as the PLC seems to do day after day makes the right think their insanity isn’t insame, which is definitely bad for the country. I think what is forgotten is that there is a whole bunch of stuff that we don’t know going on in the upper echelons of politics; but, Obama knows it and has to act or react accordingly. The other forgotten item which the PLC should be pounding relentlessly is that this deficit was CREATED UNDER BUSH & THE REPUBLICANS. These dire situations we are in were CAUSED BY BUSH & THE REPUBLICANS. Any one who thinks these are the people with the solutions just haven’t been paying attention; and, the PLC has shirked their duty by not reminding the country about this everyday. Let’s stop nitpicking Obama to death and start reminding everyone (especially the Republicans) that the crisis situation he is caught up in was the direct fault of the Republicans NOT the Democrats.

  12. Doug Hughes  •  Apr 9, 2011 @8:26 pm

    Chief – I share your frustration with a lot of what the administration has and sometimes has not done. There has also been incredible progress at times. Anyone would admit Obama took office in less than ideal times. How can you rate him?

    The GOP was prepared 4 years ago to run against Clinton. They were not ready to run against Obama. Had McCain won, we would really be screwed. Had Clinton won, would HCR have passed?

    Suppose Obama decided NOT to run for a second term. Who do we have who is progressive enough to satisfy the ‘base’ at FDR – and electable. Any candidate “better” than Obama who goes down in flames (Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale ring a bell)

  13. Doug Hughes  •  Apr 9, 2011 @8:42 pm

    Or George McGovern… Sorry to be as long-winded as CUND Gulag, and btw, my previous post took off on its own and incomplete…

    My point being we have had terrific progressive candidates. They lost more often than not. Bill Clinton was a moderate democrat. Did a good job, way better than any of the progressive guys we didn’t elect. Obama is a moderate. I suspect he will commit to tackling the budget and debt in his second term – and not before. He won’t aggressively run on higher taxes. Not now. If a republican wins in 2012, it will all be spending cuts & lower taxes.

    Do we want the best candidate or the best electable candidate. The stakes could not be higher

  14. muldoon  •  Apr 9, 2011 @9:26 pm

    I’m with Gordon and Gulag on this one.

    Considering the hand Obama was dealt when he came into office–a major recession, two wars (which Bush put on a credit card), massive government/corporate fraud and malfeasance, blue dogs and the Party of No fighting him every step of the way–I find it surprising that he was able to accomplish as much as he has.

    Personally, I can’t tell any difference between the very serious Left ankle-biters and the very serious Right heel-nippers, seeing’s the message is the same in both cases: Obama is a failure/inept/corrupt/disappointment/sellout/liar. As Gabby Giffords famously said, “Words have consequences.” Repeat them often enough and they become graven in stone.

    Obama is one man; the Corporatist Republicans and Democrats are many. Who has the real power to enact great and necessary change here? The House and Senate or the President? The Corporatist Repubs and Dems have the backing of billionaires and multi-national corporations. And what backing does the president have? Public opinion. That’s all. Take it away and what does he have? Nothing.

  15. Candide  •  Apr 9, 2011 @9:26 pm

    Actually, today’s post by Maha leaves me feeling somewhat deflated. As I see it, Obama is a Blue Dog Democrat. Yeah, he talks like he’s serious about “change” but doesn’t even try to lead. HCR was a good example – Obama said he wanted to “do health care reform,” then absented himself from the debate while the lobbyists walked all over him. The “reform” we finally got is so pathetic that in any other country but the USA it would be regarded as a joke.

    Even before he became president, I was already getting nervous. First, Obama sold us out on the FISA telecom immunity issue. Then on TARP, which even the Republicans wouldn’t support despite the fact that Bush demanded it. Once in office, Obama’s been the poodle that Wall Street wanted. In regards to the economy (THE biggest issue for most people), I think the ONLY thing that Obama has done better than McCain is that he didn’t push for halving the capital gains tax (which was McCains’ “solution” to the economic crisis).

    I suppose it’s nice that Obama ended DADT. I also think that was one of the least important issues facing America. I know that it was a big issue for some of you, but I can’t see how most people benefit in any way. The fact that gays can now serve openly in the military rather than keeping quiet about their sexual preferences won’t put food on your table (which may be a cardboard box at your new home beneath the freeway overpass). Reminds me of an old Doonesbury cartoon, where a politician was running his campaign on the issue “flags for orphans.”

    After Obama threw in the towel on extending the Bush tax cuts, I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry. And what did he get in return for that latest compromise? The Republicans immediately started attacking him again.

    Maha, I do agree entirely that Obama is not another George W Bush. Obama is Bush-lite. For all his faults, Bush at least knew how to get his agenda rammed through congress, no matter what the Democrats or the general public said or did. Unfortunately, Bush’s agenda was written by the Koch Brothers and Halliburton, with the only beneficiaries being the billionaire club.

    Could you imagine if the Democrats had a leader with the ruthlessness of Bush, but an agenda that actually helped the poor and middle class?

    I have no particular candidate in mind for 2012, but I won’t vote for Obama again. I do hope that there is a primary challenge. I won’t vote for a Republican under any circumstances, so if the Dems renominate Obama, I’ll just sit out the election or “waste” my vote on a 3rd party. Well actually, I probably won’t vote at all unless I have some reason to be in the USA on election day, because voting absentee from here (in Asia) has never worked out (I usually receive a ballot when it’s too late to mail it back).

    P.S. Gordon, I agree with you on the intellectual property issue. Most people are unaware of America’s bullying on this issue. Obama is pushing hard to pass ACTA, which is angering many people in my part of the world even if Americans are oblivious:

  16. maha  •  Apr 10, 2011 @7:46 am

    Could you imagine if the Democrats had a leader with the ruthlessness of Bush, but an agenda that actually helped the poor and middle class?

    Bush got away with being ruthless because for most of his administration he had a Congress that went along with whatever he wanted, news media that fawned on his every fart, and a big chunk of the population that thought (for a time) that criticizing him amounted to supporting the terrorists. If Bush had tried to be ruthless in the same circumstances that surround Obama he would have utterly failed and been routed out of office in 2004.

    U.S. presidents actually have very little constitutional power. Their ability to get anything done hangs a lot on their political skills — I give Obama about a B minus on that — the makeup of the Congress, and the political culture in which they are functioning. The political culture in Washington is poison for progressivism. We could reconstitute FDR himself and stuff him back into the White House, and he’d look like a failure in no time.

    I’ve been saying for years that real progressivism won’t happen in Washington until the political culture changes. And that’s not going to happen as long as the “spokespeople” of the Left are doing nothing but adding to the poison.

    I’m not sure I see what the problem is with the “hard left.” Lefties criticize, and blogs were made to be forums for that kind of thing.

    Criticism is fine; pathological, hysterical hyperbole is something else entirely. If the “professional left” is going to act like a pack of rabid hyenas and attack Obama no matter what he does, then he has no reason to listen to them. In the political culture of Washington, moving as far left as the PLs want him to move would be political suicide. Instead, he’s going to take the politically safe route down the middle. Which is what he’s doing. The Obamabashbots seem to think they can move him to the Left by being a mirror reflection of the teabaggers, but as I see it, that just keeps him in the middle.

    Muldoon is right that the only backing presidents have is public opinion. Most of the Congress critters are going to take whatever positions they think will make them most electable and get them more money for the next campaign. They have no reason to go along with a president who has little apparent public support. And there’s very little of substance a president can accomplish that doesn’t involve Congress voting for it.

    Please be clear that I’m not talking about adopting the fawning, ask-no-questions attitude that Bush enjoyed for most of his administration. I’m saying, pick your fights. Also, it would be far more productive to try to sway public opinion on our issues than to simply perpetually bash Obama.

  17. Diana  •  Apr 9, 2011 @10:42 pm

    Obama’s not left-wing enough for me, but I’m pretty sure I agree most of the left, including people who criticize him, when I say I prefer him to the alternative.

    I’m not sure I see what the problem is with the “hard left.” Lefties criticize, and blogs were made to be forums for that kind of thing. What disappoints me is that Obama doesn’t seem to understand how weak his opposition really is. Who seriously thinks that Palin, Trump, Pawlenty or Romney is going to beat him? He should’ve let the House shut down the government. It would have angered a lot of people who usually don’t pay much attention to politics, and everyone would have known that the “anti-government” party would be responsible.

    As for the hard left supporting Clinton, I haven’t seen them rally to her intervention in the Libyan civil war. I think we all just want Obama to stop campaigning and start acting like he owns the place.

  18. Theo  •  Apr 10, 2011 @8:14 am

    I agree with Candide and Chief. Before Obama began his run for the presidency, I sometimes saw him being interviewed on TV and he always came off as wishy-washy. Later, as a former Hillary fan, I was appalled by her tactics against Obama and I wholeheartedly voted (with my eyes open) for Obama and celebrated his election.

    As President, however, he’s bent over backwards, sideways, and upside down to placate the Republicans in the minority (and now in the majority in the House). He caves before he even begins negotiating. Yes, times were very bad when he came into office, but by setting the bar so low for Obama, things have gotten even worse. And I would wish for a stronger Senate leader than Reid, whom I personally admire, but who has always had a tenuous grip on his seat and constantly bows to the Republicans in order to increase his reelection chances. Instead of kow-towing to the getting-crazier-by-the-minute GOP, I wish Obama and Reid would stand up to them and call their bluff – but it hasn’t and isn’t going to happen. (And don’t get me started on accountability for why things went wrong in so many different areas pre-Obama – accountability was tossed aside in the interest of “going forward”.)

    Regarding ABL, I read Firedoglake every now and then and I enjoy it. I never got the impression from them of being self-appointed anything; they do excellent reporting and commentary on issues, e.g., emptywheel. And has ABL ever read DailyKos? Up until recently, maybe (I visit Mahablog more often than FDL and DK!), anyone who had the timidity to utter even a minor complaint about Obama would be piled upon by Kossacks. I can’t think of any more pro-Obama site than DailyKos.

  19. erinyes  •  Apr 10, 2011 @8:20 am

    My thoughts and emotions are all over the map on this issue.
    The first and foremost thing to realize is the difference between the Bush 43
    and Obama administrations. Bush was (like) the son of a mafia don; he’d just dream up what he wanted, then tell the “boys” to “make it happen”.
    Obama had a plan, but the landscape keeps changing, so the plan gets modified, which makes it look like he is weak and ineffective.
    Obama is the president, NOT an emperor. I think a lot of people don’t get that, and it appears a lot of people would prefer an emperor.
    Bush was a thug who enjoyed being a thug, and his fans loved it that he was a thug.

    I’m upset that the “embassy” in Iraq is still growing.
    Angry that the war in Afghanistan / Pakistan has escalated, and that Karzai is now demonized in the American press.
    I’m pissed about GITMO, and that KSM will be tried by the military in GITMO.
    I’m pissed that the big banks got bailed out and the home owners got thrown out, while nobody is sure who owns the “paper”.
    I’m pissed that the govt of Israel tells Obama to stuff it, and he does.
    I’m not happy about a new war in Libya.
    I’m awestruck that the opposition consists of people like Mike Pense, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, and Michelle Bachmann; and that these people actually have traction / contrast that with Obama’s intellect, voice and speaking skills.
    So much makes no sense.
    Sometimes I wonder if Obama just puts the opposition up for all to see how rediculous they are, but nobody recognizes how silly they look.

    When you stand back and regard the past 9 years, it is quite a stark picture.
    Now we are challenged with a still foundering economy, nuclear melt downs in Japan, even more wars, extreme partisanship, and infighting within the parties, and the health care mess.

    Obama plays by the rules, which makes him look weak ; in this context, Bush is a hard act to follow.
    The “conservatives” hammer on crap like “how long are you going to blame Bush?”, and “where’s the birth certificate?”. Go fast trains are “socialist”, tax increases for the rich “communist plots”. Destruction of unions “patriotic”.
    I guess that is my long winded way to say I agree with Bonnie.

  20. Doug Hughes  •  Apr 10, 2011 @9:18 am

    While I admit it’s a matter of perception, I note the following.

    When Obama ‘caved’ on the public option AHC passed with nothing to spare. 30 million will have access to health care.

    When Obama cut a deal to extend tax cuts, he got unemployment benefits extended to the benefit if how many million?

    When he cut this deal, temporary layoffs of 800K were averted and the services those people provide will continue. (A shutdown would have been a win for Obama but a loss for the country. )

    Obama is showing in decisions that people are ahead of politics.

  21. Swami  •  Apr 10, 2011 @12:36 pm

    My complaint about Obama is that I saw in him the rare ability to articulate a vision and tap into the true source of power. Since being elected he disconnected from that power to wrestle in the political arena with a diminished ability to take America where it needs to go. Maybe I’m trying to put Obama in shoes that aren’t his to fill,but it’s a rare quality to inspire and unite men to a common cause…and Obama has shown that gift. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”..except we need a voice to articulate and be steadfast in delivering that vision.

    I guess I’m making sense only in my own mind, but if any body can grasp what I am trying to say please add your thoughts. Chief mentioned the concrete and the abstract which is in the vein of what I’m trying to convey… it a battle for justice or for vengeance? And what would it cost Obama to defend the principle of justice even if Congress won’t allow him the funds to act… I might suggest reading “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” to better understand the dynamics of truth and power and the possibilities open to Obama to lead our nation forward in spite of entrenched political obstacles.

  22. Felicity  •  Apr 10, 2011 @1:07 pm

    I’m on Bonnie’s page on this one. And, I have yet to hear Obama explain to the American people, without directly mentioning Bush, that if a country launches and wages two wars and at the same time lowers taxes, the country’s budget will be depleted. Historically, income taxes or variations of same, have always been levied on the people when the ruling monarch, emperor, tsar, chief… wages wars. (In fact, Bush’s first treasury secretary quit/was fired over this very issue.)

    And, there are times when Obama stands behind a policy, at times even seeming to advocate it, like lowering home-heating subsidies to the elderly poor. It was that measure which finally made me question his integrity.

  23. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 10, 2011 @2:32 pm

    My sense is that Obama’s a better politician than he is a leader. If you look at the record, his presidency has accomplished a lot already. But mainly because he’s willing to negotiate and take what he can get.

    My feeling right now is that we need someone to lead, to explain to people what a Democratic/Liberal/Progressive future would look like. He’s not the person to do that. But, then, I’m not sure there’s anyone out there right now who could, or could do so effectively.
    After the progress in this country and around the world since the end of WWII, we seem to be going through some sort of a Conservative regression. A “Conservative Unenlightenment.” And not just here, but everywhere around the globe. The era of “The Shock Doctrine.”
    Liberalism has become either discredited, maligned, forgotten, or ignored. And, outside of come cataclysmic economic (maybe ecological?) event, I don’t see much that will bring it back. And even then, remember that after WWI and susbsequent recessions/depression, economic upheavals didn’t lead to liberal solutions, but instead to Fascism. We dodged a bullet in the US with FDR. Japan, Italy, Germany and Spain didn’t. And Russia, under Lenin/Stalin style Communism, didn’t fare any better – in fact, it may have suffered the most – between man-made famines due to forced collectivization, political terror to keep people in line, and war(s).
    Maybe I’m just overly pessimistic.

  24. facethemusic  •  Apr 10, 2011 @3:19 pm

    I have not read much gratuitous 0bama-bashing. His great campaign and rhetorical power raised the expectation of those who were in despair after 8 years of Bush. But please. What happened to the fierce urgency of now? He has pre-compromised every key issue he campaigned on.

    When you step back and look at current events through the lens of classic Democratic values, it is clear that 0bama does not care about upholding those values. He has not been a shrewd negotiator – he has been rolled time after time by his Republican colleagues. Far too many campaign promises have been reversed or ignored. And now, for Obama to trumpet this budget “compromise” as an accomplishment is, sorry to say, a pathetic joke.

    Who is standing up for the values that gave the middle class programs like Social Security & Medicare, Pell grants, etc? Who is saying that we should indeed tax the wealthy appropriately in order to support programs for the poor? Who on the Democratic side is questioning the social Darwinism that the Republican policies imply?

    0bama fancies himself as post-partisan and above the fray. That means that no one is standing up for core Democratic values. 0bama merely plays referee between a strong dogmatic republican juggernaut on the one hand, and a dispirited leaderless disenfranchised democratic left with no spokesman. He’ll go with the winner everytime.

  25. MandT  •  Apr 10, 2011 @5:58 pm

    “I have little patience for liberal fainting couch-dwellers.” So, progressives who actually supported Obama and now find every single one of his ‘policies’ echo rather loudly the Bush era are now bashers? Wake up you bloody blue dogs, the avatar will dump you like so much used up fodder. We are removing you from our blogroll….thanks for the insult.

  26. maha  •  Apr 10, 2011 @10:24 pm

    We are removing you from our blogroll….thanks for the insult.

    Does anyone know who MandT are and what they are insulted about?

  27. Swami  •  Apr 10, 2011 @7:56 pm

    I’m awestruck that the opposition consists of people like Mike Pense, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, and Michelle Bachmann; and that these people actually have traction / contrast that with Obama’s intellect, voice and speaking skills.

    That’s why I think Obama will be a shoo-in for 2012. One look at the competition is all it takes.

  28. Gordon  •  Apr 10, 2011 @7:58 pm

    Anyone who says Obama is like Bush should review Hugh’s List. There is no comparison.

    When Obama is on the campaign trail, he is remarkable (and I don’t think it’s phony). When Obama is inside DC, he seems to fall back to being Senator Obama. He’s also pretty good at that, but it’s sometimes not what we want or need from our President, because a lot of it is deliberately invisible. That’s how things get done in the land of rampant egos.

  29. Steve from Canuckistan  •  Apr 10, 2011 @10:17 pm

    As a Canadian I certainly have no right to complain about the leadership of your contury. Obama is a massively huge improvement over Bush2. The entire world can see that.

    Having said that however I have two beefs with him: the primary one been that he chose to place climate change and clean energy on the back burner behind health care. Yes, the federal stimulus helped with clean energy but it was only a down payment. The Republicans are continuing to provide billions in subsidies for dirty energy while attempting to eliminate further subsidy for clean energy which are set to run out anyway.

    What happens in the USA carries a huge risk for the rest of the planet. It now looks like an agreement to price carbon is not possible for the remainder of this decade and by time it may be too late to avert the worst impact. It is even possible that no agreement will ever be reached unless we experience several environmental 911s or a climatic black swan. While health care reform is laudable, especially for those who suffer with no coverage, it won’t be of much help if large segments of the population are starving because the price of food places it out of reach for many, even for those who live in first world nations.

    Peak oil will help as would major unrest in Saudi Arabia but that is a poor way to formulate energy policy. 97 % of climate scientists are in agreement that if we stay on our present status quo course, disaster lies ahead. If Dr James Hensen is right future generations will harshly judge today’s leaders including the President.

    Canadians have been worse on this file with our tar sands (please don’t call them oil sands) and what we are doing to our Boreal forest, the Amazon of North America. In fact Canadians are one of the world’s biggest carbon hypocrites. We tie with the US and Australia. Many Canadians were hoping that if we got an agreement in the States to at least put a price on carbon it would have forced Harpers hand to do something and provided the way for the remainder of the world to follow.

    Another beef with Obama is that he has surrounded himself with wall street types from the beginning and letting the big banks off the hook and not forcing them to write down their debt which would have helped home owners and placed the economy on a firmer footing than it is currently. Reform has been passed but I don’t think its enough and the US economy is still ripe for speculative bubbles. The fear is with all this cutting of government spending during a severe recession that a double dip is a real possibility as happened in 1937. The lost decade in Japan is harbinger of what is possible when a major economy becomes stuck in a liquidity trap.

    Dr. Joe Romm’s “Climate Progress” blog is a good way to keep up with what’s happening on the climate change front in the USA. “Climate Progress” is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

  30. Doug Hughes  •  Apr 10, 2011 @10:18 pm

    I don’t think anyone has counted votes yet in the House but…

    There will be two groups next week who join forces to vote AGAINST the Friday compromise.

    Tea Party conservatives and progressive liberals. Talk about your strange bedfellows. I do hope Planned Parenthood provides contraception.

    We will find out if that coalition is large enough to derail the agreement… I’m not saying it is but it ain’t over till the BBW sings.

  31. Swami  •  Apr 10, 2011 @10:31 pm

    Does anyone know who MandT are and what they are insulted about?

    I think they are a couple…but I can’t understand what the insult is..And I don’t have a blog, so those harsh measures taken can’t be imposed on me.

  32. Chief  •  Apr 10, 2011 @10:48 pm

    When it comes to politicians that get elected, how many of their campaign promises should they keep, or how many are they allowed to break, before their supporters are allowed to speak up, expressing some kind of disappointment?

    We certainly should know that they will not keep all of their promises. As sentient beings we have to realize that there will be practical political constraints.

    But, after eight years of a doofus who could not even get into the U. of Texas law school and only got an MBA b/c his parents donated big bucks to Harvard, we finally had a president who could inspire.

    Then-Senator Obama did not get those millions of small donations b/c he was a nice guy. No, he got people to donate because he made them believe. After being in a mental wasteland for eight years, many people were inspired to donate both money and time to get him elected and showed up on election day to see it done. And he had the 18 – 30 year old vote. Young people, college students worked for him to get out the vote.

    But, when President Obama seems to agree with the Catfood Commission, when he does not stand up for heating assistance for the elderly poor, he begins to create a group of people that are not inspired and come November 6, 2012 are going to stay home.

    Main Street is dying. The foreclosure problem has not abated. Everything that the Repugs do is designed to make the last pargraph come true. The Repugs want to discourage as many Dems a possible so the turn-out will be small and make it more difficult with voter ID rules on the ones that do show up at the polls.

    I am not so much ambivalent as I am just flat out disappointed. In my 70 + years, I have seen a lot, but I have never felt so discouraged, so depressed about the future. If you think Walker & Kasich are outliers, you ain’t paying attention. They (the Koch Bros) want to win at all costs. President Obama wants to be post partisan. It’s like bringing a table knife to a gun battle.

    Erinyes had a lot of good points. I have a long and growing list of the things POTUS has done that I can’t figure out why.

  33. maha  •  Apr 11, 2011 @9:22 am

    But, when President Obama seems to agree with the Catfood Commission, when he does not stand up for heating assistance for the elderly poor, he begins to create a group of people that are not inspired and come November 6, 2012 are going to stay home.

    I don’t get the impression that he agrees with the Catfood Commission; in any event he seems to have mostly ignored it. I agree that he needs to do a better job of communicating, though.

  34. MandT  •  Apr 10, 2011 @11:01 pm

    Insult Number 1: “It was one in a series of screeds I have written about the destructive tactics of these self-appointed leaders of the left and their firebagger minions. It was also part of a collection of screeds written by liberals of all colors, each of whom views the attack dog tactics of the Professional Left (and the resulting rancor among the Professional Left Commentariat) (SP). as damaging to not only the President, but also the country. ”
    Insult number 2: “I still haven’t gotten over the way financially comfortable Jane Hamsher, who has survived breast cancer because she had access to state of the art medical care, was so eager to kill the Affordable Care Act because it fell short of the ideal. ”
    This politically correct refusal to recognize Obama’s true colors is going to divide the party. Secondly, that bitchy, nasty attack on friend Jane Hampsher is outrageous. She has done more to effect political progressiveness than you seem willing to grant. So fine. This blog seems to have degenerated into a Maha version of Shakespeare’s Sister.

  35. maha  •  Apr 11, 2011 @9:13 am

    MandT — You do realize that was a quote, right? And not something I wrote? Although I do agree with it.

    This politically correct refusal to recognize Obama’s true colors is going to divide the party.

    It’s already divided, and you are dividing it.

    Secondly, that bitchy, nasty attack on friend Jane Hampsher is outrageous.

    No, it’s the truth. I’ve met Jane a few times, btw, and have defended her once or twice, but her behavior during the health care reform debate was stunningly wrong headed, IMO.

    She has done more to effect political progressiveness than you seem willing to grant.

    She’s helped to accomplish some things, but she’s not above criticism.

    This blog seems to have degenerated into a Maha version of Shakespeare’s Sister.

    Thank you. Now, please go away. I prefer to have discussions with thinking people, not knee-jerking, programmed bots.

  36. Bonnie  •  Apr 10, 2011 @11:26 pm

    I don’t know who they are either; and, don’t care who they are.

  37. erinyes  •  Apr 11, 2011 @5:27 am

    I have no Idea what Mand T are insulted about.

  38. Chief  •  Apr 11, 2011 @8:30 am

    A continuation of my previous comment:

    The list does not only contain campaign promises – broken. It contains disappointments created after he was inaugurated.

    Closing Gitmo, trials in federal courts and Dawn Johnson can serve as representative examples.

    FDR is given credit with the following, “I agree. Now go out and make me do it.” Which I interpret to mean that FDR wanted advocates to get the public to pressure him.

    Is this the challenge that progressives face?

  39. Chief  •  Apr 11, 2011 @9:38 am

    A thought has occurred.

    This blog, Mahablog, has an intelligent ‘owner’ with a lot of common sense and a large hand full of commenters with similar attributes. All are progressive, not shrill in their comments, thoughtful and respectful of other commenters. Yeah, I understand that the moderator screens comments.

    My thought is – would there be a way to harness this much passion into a larger voice?

    Is that even desirable?

  40. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 11, 2011 @9:57 am

    It’s desirable.
    But, people who are thoughtful and respectful, and not shrill tend not to get much, if any, attention.
    How would we market ourselves vs. the Teabaggers?
    ‘Hi, we’re Cottage Cheese Democrats. We’re white, we’re lumpy, but we’re nutritious and good for you!’ 🙂

  41. Chief  •  Apr 11, 2011 @11:02 am

    c u n d gulag,

    I said I had a ‘thought.’ I do not claim to have any answers, but I am willing to brainstorm. Is there a venue where that could happen? Perhaps a little more private than a well known blog?

  42. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 11, 2011 @11:31 am

    I don’t know, short of exchanging e-mail addresses and phone numbers – which I don’t recommend in an open forum like this. Too many nasty, stupid trolls may get that info.
    Maybe have maha be point person for the exchange of information?

    I dodn’t know, I’m open to suggestions.

  43. Chief  •  Apr 11, 2011 @11:53 am


    Any thoughts?

  44. maha  •  Apr 11, 2011 @12:18 pm

    Any thoughts?

    I’m running low on thoughts at the moment, but do go ahead and brainstorm.

  45. bruce k  •  Apr 11, 2011 @12:53 pm

    Funny, I read Kos every morning right before you, Maha, and I was thinking as I was reading him that I’m getting tired of only whining. I too wish the Prez would grow a pair in his negotiating style, and I live in perpetual hope that the NEXT fight will be the one where he acts proactively to fight for progressive policies. But he has clearly demonstrated that lefty carping and whining doesn’t move him; those with the megaphones should advocate and organize for positive change, not just throw vitriol from the sidelines because it’s never enough.

    Polling consistently shows that progressive policies have majority support; the President should stop being afraid of making the 25% tea partiers even madder and start leading for the over 75%. So many progressives would still like to support him, but he has to articulate and fight for progressive policies.

  46. Swami  •  Apr 11, 2011 @2:43 pm

    bruce k…Don’t forget that all of Obama’s negotiating sessions come to him in the form of hostage situations…“Lower the taxes on the wealthy and corporations, or the unemployed and most needy get it”.

  47. Chief  •  Apr 11, 2011 @3:40 pm

    If anyone would like to get together ‘off-line’ and brainstorm or whatever, I can be contacted at

  48. Craig Pennington  •  Apr 11, 2011 @8:18 pm

    At the risk of false “both sides do it” equivalence, I view generalized complaints (as opposed to specific complaints) against Obama bashers as unsympathetically as I view the generalized complaints against Obama. Yes, I will vote for him in 2012. I can point to one thing that I can cheer for without qualification — the ending of DADT. All other positives are of the “not unreasonable given the circumstances” sort, and I can’t shake the feeling that he could have gotten something that I would have liked better with some effort, but that he didn’t really want that much better. But at the end of the day, my bumpersticker was the ACLU’s “I’m a Constitution Voter.” And from closing Gitmo, to the abuse of the State Secrets Privilege, I feel that he has fallen way short of what I expected. I do thank goodness for the fact that a moderate rather than a “conservative” was in the White House for the last two appointments, however. At the end of the day, though, his administration has given us nothing to point to when Vice President David Addington and whatever bobble-head the GOP runs at the “top” of the ticket starts up the fourth branch again. Yeah, I’ll vote for him because I fear the alternative. But I’m a bit more sympathetic to the Nader voters than I was from 2004-2008.

    So I guess the point I’m trying to make with this incoherent ramble is that while I too am ambivalent, I think that there are serious and deep criticisms of this administration that make me more tolerant of the “hard left” than you appear to be. Maybe that’s just because I haven’t been called an obot yet.

    In conclusion, we aren’t bombing Iran. So we’ve got that going for us.

  49. cripes  •  Apr 14, 2011 @12:09 am

    [Usual tiresome Obamabashbot screeching replaced by the words of Hendrik Hertzberg:

    One of the mysteries of the Obama Presidency has been Obama’s inability—or disinclination, I’m not sure which—to give sustained emotional sustenance to a certain slice of his supporters. I don’t mean the “Democratic base,” especially the institutional “interest group” base. And I don’t mean the disillusioned left, which is easily, almost perpetually disillusioned because it has such an ample supply of illusions. (A lot of lefties, notwithstanding their scorn for “the system,” seem to have an implicit naive faith in the workability of the mechanisms of American governance. Hence their readiness to blame the disappointments of the Administration’s first two years mainly on Obama’s alleged moral or character failings—cowardice, spinelessness, insincerity, duplicity, what have you.) Mainly, I guess, the slice I’m talking about is of people like me: liberals who continue to respect and admire Obama; who fully appreciate the disaster he inherited and the horrendous difficulty of enacting a coherent agenda even when your own party “controls” both Houses of Congress; who think his substantive record is pretty good under the circumstances; who dislike some of the distasteful compromises he has made but aren’t sure we wouldn’t have done the same in his shoes (etc.—you get the idea); but who are puzzled that our eloquent, writerly President seems to have done so little to educate the public about his own vision and to contrast it with that of the Republican right—which is to say, the Republicans.

    Really, dude, we’re tired of it. Go get a brain. — maha]

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