Krugman’s Blunt Take: Obama’s Not the One

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paul krugman heritage.jpgOn the book jacket/inside flap of Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, Nobel Laureate (too) and New York Times opinion leader Paul Krugman calls Stiglitz an “insanely brilliant economist”.
On the other end of the praise spectrum, Krugman, in a stinging rebuke of President Obama’s policies and leadership, states that Obama is not “the one” we have been waiting for.
At his New York Times blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, Krugman writes:

Health care reform — which is crucial for millions of Americans — hangs in the balance. Progressives are desperately in need of leadership; more specifically, House Democrats need to be told to pass the Senate bill, which isn’t what they wanted but is vastly better than nothing. And what we get from the great progressive hope, the man [Barack Obama] who was offering hope and change, is this:

I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on. We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people. We know that we have to have some form of cost containment because if we don’t, then our budgets are going to blow up and we know that small businesses are going to need help so that they can provide health insurance to their families. Those are the core, some of the core elements of, to this bill. Now I think there’s some things in there that people don’t like and legitimately don’t like.

Krugman finishes on a powerful, foreboding note:

I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.

My sense is that most of the major pillars of progressive work in the US — on the foreign policy and domestic fronts are really distressed by President Obama’s policy and personnel choices.
I’m getting close to where Krugman is and think it may be nearing the time to “bust Obama’s brand” as one liberal Hollywood actor friend of mind recently said.
If Obama sees his “brand” in real trouble, he may correct things just in time by dumping Rahm Emanuel, Lawrence Summers and some others, confessing his decisionmaking sins to those who supported him, and inspire some confidence in the actions of changing course.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

56 comments on “Krugman’s Blunt Take: Obama’s Not the One

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    Krugman says what needs be said. Wonder if this criticism would penetrate the shell surrounding The One?
    Who would bring Obama the news that his bending over to insurance and the Frist portfolio is a bad thing outside of the beltway?
    It isn’t Obama brand. The brand picked him, it can go elsewhere, and he’ll be another beltway wallflower. See also Bill Clinton or Al Gore.

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  2. . says:

    This is an ironic commentary. Many of these decried “personnel choices” are the product of decisions to endorse the quota appointments advised by Steve (and others) at the beginning of this administration through the requisitioning of representatives of certain political “franchises”. While that quota approach to hiring offered some definite merit for tapping into reserves of institutional knowledge and the undeniable value of experience, it was also a partially anti-meritocratic approach that set aside some of the talent that was helpful in President Obama’s past successes. It is a replication of the stew of incestuous hiring practiced in too many congressional offices but with more far reaching negative consequences. Also, few have done any comparison of the results of the stewardship of the DNC by recent chairmen.

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  3. Linda says:

    Carroll,
    Two quick responses to you. First, I think it’s pitiful that I should have to vote for President just based on SCOTUS appointments, but it is in the only area in which Democratic Presidents don’t disappoint me.
    There is much more corruption in states where judges are elected. Corporate interests do use their money to buy elections of judges who favor their decisions–and after Thursday’s SCOTUS ruling that will happen more and more.
    But then I’ve believed for over 40 years–much more so in the last 20 years that 1968 was the turning point where U.S. would start its descent from being the leader in the world, the end of the American Empire–and mostly because we are in the process of proving that free markets and unregulated capitalism do not work as a model any better than communism did.
    The reason for this is now quite clear: Everything get corporatized, and a corporation’s first obligation is to make money for its shareholders not to do the right thing for the people. I’m not a lawyer and forget the much earlier landmark case, but it was in 19th century
    –just looked it up:
    “Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with taxation of railroad properties. The case is most notable for the obiter dictum statement that corporations are entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
    For anybody who is interested just google the name of the case to get to the Wiki on it.

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  4. Carroll says:

    Posted by Linda, Jan 23 2010, 7:32PM – Link
    I agreee about SCOTUS…but then I don’t think any appointments should be for life….not when they are appointed by politicans.

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  5. Carroll says:

    POA
    “feminine intuition” is code for really smart woman…didn’t you know that? LOL

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  6. Linda says:

    Carroll,
    I’m as disappointed as anyone here in where US is today as opposed to a year ago. If I were still in CA, I’d change my registration from Democratic to Independent. In GA, one doesn’t register by party–just pick which party ballot one wants in the primary.
    However, after the Supreme Court’s special ruling on Thursday, I probably would vote to re-elect Obama in 2012 or almost any other Democrat who is the nominee–if for no other reason, for Supreme Court nominations.
    Not feminine intuition at all–but even if I don’t expect anything much from a candidate, SCOTUS is important to try to stop the corporatization of everything.
    Obviously, Obama is no FDR, but right now bold action like trying to pack SCOTUS is looking pretty good to me!

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Call it feminine intuition or whatever…he struck me in the end as ‘not as advertised'”
    “Feminine intuition” has nothing to do with it. Basic powers of intelligent deduction should have done the trick.
    It was the transparent marketing and media blitz that should have set the alarm klaxons off in any and all reasonably intelligent American’s heads. From the beginning, it was painfully obvious we were being sold a media construct. Our corporate media, complicit in selling
    an epic deception, (the GWOT), all the sudden were selling “change” away from the very policies they helped make sure would be implemented? This traitorous, sold-out, and irresponsible “Fourth Estate” who just sold us an illegal, unjust, and immoral war all the sudden discovered this White Knight In Shining Armor who was going to ride to our nation’s rescue??? At no time in history has a larger sales pitch been thrust upon the American people than this choreographed con-job that propelled this done-nothin’ fake and imposter into the Oval Office.
    The ignorant idiotic propaganda swilling masses obviously didn’t have the common sense to wonder why candidates such as Paul and Kucinich were being so completely sidelined, demonized, and excluded from the process. You didn’t have to agree with anything that Kucinich or Paul stood for to have the reasonable curiousity as to why they were being so obviously and purposely sidelined by our media, while this unknown and unaccomplished smooth talker was being shoved down our throats and paraded through our living rooms like some sort of saintly rescuer of all things moral and decent.
    Like I said on another thread, Obama’s meteoric ascendency doesn’t say much for the intelligence of the average American.

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  8. Carroll says:

    Posted by Linda, Jan 22 2010, 4:27PM – Link
    I didn’t vote for Obama, I wrote in a name….may sound silly but when he started using the Bush approach, surrounding himself with “little people” on his campaign podiums and pointing out Sally and John and using all that phony down home accent and etc….it was too much “staging” for me….and importantly, the list of appointees like Rham, he was considering put me off.
    Plus I didn’t believe he raised all that money mostly from ‘small donations’.
    Call it feminine intuition or whatever…he struck me in the end as ‘not as advertised’.

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  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17161
    Government lawyers told President Bush that he did not have to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prohibits the government from spying on citizens without a warrant, thus destroying the right to privacy. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled that the President did not have to obey U.S. law prohibiting torture or the Geneva Conventions. Habeas corpus protection, a Constitutional right, was stripped from U.S. citizens. Medieval dungeons, torture, and the windowless cells of Stalin’s Lubyanka Prison reappeared under American government auspices.
    The American people’s elected representatives in Congress endorsed the executive branch’s overthrow of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Law schools and bar associations were essentially silent in the face of this overthrow of mankind’s greatest achievement. Some parts of the federal judiciary voted with the executive branch; other parts made a feeble resistance. Today in the name of “the war on terror,” the executive branch does whatever it wants. There is no accountability.
    The First Amendment has been abridged and may soon be criminalized. Protests against, and criticisms of, the U.S. government’s illegal invasions of Muslim countries and war crimes against civilian populations have been construed by executive branch officials as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” As American citizens have been imprisoned for giving aid to Muslim charities that the executive branch has decreed, without proof in a court of law, to be under the control of “terrorists,” any form of opposition to the government’s wars and criminal actions can also be construed as aiding terrorists and be cause for arrest and indefinite detention.
    One Obama appointee, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, advocates that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S. government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested.
    Sunstein defines those who criticize the government’s increasingly lawless behavior as “extremists,” which, to the general public, sounds much like “terrorists.” In essence, Sunstein wants to generalize the F.B.I.’s practice of infiltrating dissidents and organizing them around a “terrorist plot” in order to arrest them.
    That this proposal comes from a Harvard Law School professor demonstrates the collapse of respect for law among American law professors themselves, ranging from John Yoo at Berkeley, the advocate of torture, to Sunstein at Harvard, a totalitarian who advocates war on the First Amendment.
    The U.S. Department of State has taken up Sunstein’s idea. Last month Eva Golinger reported in the Swiss newspaper, Zeit-Fragen, that the State Department plans to organize youth in “Twitter Revolutions” to destabilize countries and bring about regime change in order to achieve more American puppet states, such as the ones in Egypt, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, Britain and Western and Eastern Europe.
    The First Amendment is being closed down. Its place is being taken by propaganda in behalf of whatever government does. As Stratton and I wrote in the second edition of our book documenting the destruction of law in the United States:
    “Never in its history have the American people faced such danger to their constitutional protections as they face today from those in the government who hold the reins of power and from elements of the legal profession and the federal judiciary that support ‘energy in the executive.’ An assertive executive backed by an aggressive U.S. Department of Justice (sic) and unobstructed by a supine Congress and an intimidated corporate media has demonstrated an ability to ignore statutory law and public opinion. The precedents that have been set during the opening years of the twenty-first century bode ill for the future of American liberty.”

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  10. Carroll says:

    Obama may get agressive and turn things around but I doubt it. Listening to him yesterday he sounded like he was campaigning in 2008. Same old yada yada…make rousing speeches and everything will be O.K..
    It’s true he got dealt a lousy hand but all the more reason to be bold. I think he is afraid to try “change” for fear of making things worse so he skates playing for time on the bad advice of his shadow team who are totally against any change.
    I remember saying after the dem majority elections that we would see the dems go down the same hole the repubs went down…it that happening?
    I think it is. I only wonder as I did before about the “cycles”….will the public bust out of the cycles and go for something even more different than Obama becuase of their disappointment or will they cycle back to the repubs? Will we break out of the only two choices cycle?
    Something big has to give…the SC has just about insured that our two party corp backed system will rule.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think Obama is going to surprise us by bouncing back in an aggressive fashion”
    Oh bullshit. Are you detached from reality? Check out his new policy on Isr/Pal, putting ALL the blame on the Palestinians. Nary one single day goes by that Obama does not show himself to be a political coward with a smooth and dishonest tongue.
    Any “bounce back” will simply be more eloguent and empty rhetoric. There is nothing to “bounce back” to. He has NEVER been what he claimed to be.
    I am beginning to think so many of you ignore his disdain for the law because you recognize how indefensible, traitorous, and criminal it is, and you are loath to admit that the lying sack of criminal shit is everybit the disaster, if not more so, than George Bush was.
    It is not debatable whether or not Obama and Holder have disdain for the law. The last year has PROVEN it beyond any shadow of a doubt. It is also not debatable whether or not such open and blatant disrespect for the rule of law completely erases any facade of “representative government”, or “equal protection under the law” trjhatr might exist. Any reasonably sentient citizen must surely, inside themselves, realize that such disdain for the law by the President and his Attorney General goes againbst the very essence of what this nation purports itself to be.
    So rather than accept, debate, and decry our leadership’s lawlessness, you all jerk yourselves off by making idiotic statements like “I think Obama is going to surprise us by bouncing back in an aggressive fashion”, or debating all this other fluff, which is absolutely meaningless if our leaders hold themselves above the law.

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    Bob h, and what exactly would Obama’s ‘bouncing back’ look like besides an increase in popularity? He hasn’t seemed to stand for anything that would be the object of a newly resuscitated ‘aggressive fashion’. Even those things one could argue he half heartedly stood for he was not able to accomplish with a huge election mandate. Except, of course for escalating Afghanistan; he did accomplish that.
    It’s beginning to look like the combination of factors, fleshed out by virtually all the usual suspects in comments over the last week or so, that point to empty suit syndrome may, sadly, be accurate.
    Anyway, we await an up date on the ‘bounce’

    Reply

  13. bob h says:

    I think Obama is going to surprise us by bouncing back in an aggressive fashion. I recall how many times he was knocked to the floor by Hillary but didn’t quit. The Republicans are offering rich targets for a counterattack that Axelrod, et. al. know how to conduct. Krugman has been overly harsh on Obama generally, and I think he is just trying to get a rise out of him.

    Reply

  14. Mark K says:

    I can understand Obama not pushing
    hard on getting the House to pass
    the Senate bill this week. Let the panic
    (Mr. Krugman?)settle a bit.
    Let Pelosi scout it out. However,
    should push come to shove, he must
    use every bit of cohersion that an
    LBJ would have. If necessary, they must be threatened with public denoucement for
    their cowardice. “I’m afraid I might
    not get re-elected” can not be allowed
    to be a valid excuse on this now.
    Too much has been invested.
    Nancy was on the tube last
    night announcing that she
    “just didn’t see there would be
    enough support” with an absurd smile
    on her face. Frighteningly inappropriate.
    She has considerable skills
    but I do not believe they are of
    the type that are needed to force
    the frightened into action. He must
    step in and lead.
    If he doesn’t get this done,
    he believe he will be a lame duck
    for the rest of his 4 years.
    Krugmans fears will be proved
    correct. He will be percieved as
    weak. He just doesn’t have the luxury to
    wait for consensus to emerge on
    this, nor can he afford for that
    consensus to be “Let’s quit”. The
    public (IMO) is more outraged by
    the lack of action from him than
    anything else.
    PS: Thanks Steve for the fine
    work. Much appreciated.
    MKL

    Reply

  15. k-lynn says:

    Krugman is looking ahead. I can only assume that what he sees (as a brilliant economist) is downright ugly as far as healthcare goes for the next generation of retirees, and what effect that will have on our economy.

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  16. MarkL says:

    Wow, the delusion of the Obama fan base still knows no bound!
    Only one week ago, I could have gone to a hundred blogs and been told that Obama was the one—the person who had ALREADY succeeded in reforming health care, where FDR, Clinton, LBJ (really? the excise tax better than LBJ’s legacy?) had failed.
    Now, after the collapse of the HCR effort, I”m told by someone else that Obama is head and shoulders above Bill Clinton in intelligence and political ability? Based on WHAT?
    Clinton was a Rhodes scholar; he’s the best extemporaneous speaker the Dems have had in decades; he’s totally on top of the issues in a way that Obama does not match. Obama ums and hms his ways through questions when he doesnt’ have a script; he’s not nearly Clinton’s equal at speaking, except possibly his speechmaking.
    I think his speeches are terrible political failures, even though they always bring adulation.
    When has he moved policy with a speech, since he was elected? Bush’s speeches, even though you ground your teeth listening to him, were effective at advancing his agenda.
    Obama just says, gosh it’s hard and complicated and I don’t have easy answers. Thanks a lot! If he doesn’t offer answers why is he President?
    Look, I’d be happy to see Obama become a great President, but all these kudos still coming after his miserable term so far are disturbing.

    Reply

  17. JohnH says:

    “Win more elections.” Wrong! As I’ve said for years, the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans just do whatever Big Money (BM) wants. Democrats agonize about it for a long time, and then end up doing whatever BM wants. Different process, same result. Electing more Democrats won’t help.
    “We are only as strong as the candidates we run.” Partially right. The problem here is getting good candidates in the general elections. The party controlled system is geared to foisting conservative, BM candidates upon the electorate. The only way around this is perverse–educating people to associate high levels of TV advertising with bad candidates (ones that BM has bought). And it has to start with primary elections, where people need to recognize that underdog status often has nothing to do with competence. It only means that BM has not anointed that particular candidate.

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  18. Tocquevillager says:

    As to the president’s performance, I voted for him because he is highly intelligent, open minded and a good listener. Because I thought the profound and complex changes America must make to keep its place in the world would require such qualities. Of course I wish he’d done more to reform the financial sector, create jobs, and use the bully pulpit. Still, I never expected this would be easy. In what he brings to the office, he stands head and shoulders above all the others in my lifetime in my opinion. Yes, Clinton. Definitely Reagan. LBJ, perhaps even Kennedy (though he confronts a very different milieu). His effectiveness as president is with me a question of how quickly and how well he learns in the office.
    To disappointed members of my own party (I’m a lifelong Democrat), I say simply, “win more elections.” We are only as strong as the candidates we run. Who speaks for us? Nobody. Who unites us? Nobody. Who excites our passions? Nobody. And yet Republicanism is – and has been since Reagan – a paper tiger. Remember ‘family values’? The flag-burning amendment? Promises that this or that change would create jobs or benefit the wider economy in some way? Who has stood to oppose these empty words with a cohesive, coherent vision? Nobody.

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  19. Linda says:

    Carroll,
    I have to totally agree that the second quarter is not starting well for Obama.
    First while I didn’t hear or watch Obama’s speech, I know he was in Lorain/Elyria, i.e., Northeast Ohio. I don’t think these get out of DC and go to a factory or community college for a speech trips are going to help. They start to all look and sound alike–especially if the message hasn’t changed–and he doesn’t deliver something new and exciting to create jobs in that community immediately.

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    Am listening to Obama’s speech right now.
    Am convinced that he really does not have any idea about how to turn this country around job wise…he knows absolutely nothing.
    One thing he said that comes straight out of the elites mouths is that “the manufacturing jobs lost will never come back”..that everything is tied to the “Global economy”…so we have to think of something else, like green jobs.
    When asked why, he said the jobs have gone to …”er”…places where “wages are lower”.
    When asked why we couldn’t have tarrifs to give US companies a better chance he .”er…er…er”…said “everything’s global” and the key was for us to export more..HUH?
    Export what Obama? Toasters, computer chips, steel, plywood, furniture,solar panels,tires,radios,cookware,textiles..what exactly? Pick up 99% of those or any consumer products and they are made outside this country.
    I don’t know what our largest export is, I am going to look it up. Wonder if Obama knows?
    Obama sounds like/is? a mouthpiece for the shadow elite he surrounded himself with..the “Global Economy” instead of the US economy.. “Wall Street” instead of Main Street.
    Another factory around here got shut down last year, they sent all the employees who wanted it to re-training for IT and etc at the local college.
    According to the local paper today out of 103 who enrolled only one got a job out of it.

    Reply

  21. S Brennan says:

    “And so many are so excited about calling the final score at only the end of the first quarter of Obama presidency?”
    You are so right, back in 1934, the same problem. Thank God we waited until his term ended to judge him. Unfortunately he was dead, he had shot himself whilst chewing on cyanide. But again, it’s most important to withhold judgment until AFTER a leader leaves office, that way you don’t get a sore throat yelling and stuff.
    First they came for…ah, let’s just see how it all works out!

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  22. Linda says:

    So much excitement about one Paul Krugman column as if even 25% of the people in America ever heard of him.
    And so many are so excited about calling the final score at only the end of the first quarter of Obama presidency?
    I pay full subsciption price to get NYT and really find Krugman too boring and predictable even though I often agree with him. I think it’s time for NYT to replace him with someone more interesting. I don’t think he’s Presidential material or even a serious replacement for Summers. Stiglitz is.
    I’m saving my energy and voice and going to watch the rest of the game. If I yell too loud in the first quarter, I end up hoarse with a sore throat.

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  23. ehughes says:

    Krugman for president. Obama has lost the support of my politically active family who contributed the maximum allowed to his campaign. He is not GWB but he has failed on every front – although he does make good speeches most of the time.

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  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    We are now well into a third presidential term that is underscored by a wanton and deliberate effort to conceal criminal acts, act above and beyond the rule of law, and put in place Attorney Generals whose sole role is to PROTECT criminals in the highest offices of our government, including and most especially, the President Of The United states.
    Do we think that this is just going to correct itself? Do we think that these abuses, crimes, and cover-ups are not setting the precedent for future administrations?
    If this presidency continues in the lawless tradition of the last one, then you can kiss your freedoms, your vote, and your rights goodbye. Obamas needs to get his fucking mitts off our Justice Department, Holder needs to be fired, and these fucking cowards on the hill need to DEMAND that the letter of the law is executed faithfully, immediately, and equally.
    If this is not done, and the citizens remain passive and unconcerned, we no longer live in a democratic or “free” nation.

    Reply

  25. samuelburke says:

    “The Other Scott Horton (no relation), international human rights
    lawyer, professor and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine,
    discusses the evidence in his article that the June 2006
    Guantanamo inmate suicides were in fact homicides, the Seton
    Hall report that debunks the government cover-up story, Gitmo
    prison guards who saw the three inmates removed from their cells
    and transported toward infamous Camp “No” on the night they
    supposed hung themselves, the Camp America commander’s
    threatening reminder to Guantanamo servicemen to adhere to the
    official narrative and the involvement of the DOJ and FBI in the
    cover-up and in stifling Congressional investigations.”
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/01/19/scott-horton-26/

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, they can now lie to us with impunity, and ignore the rule of law. To what avail do we discuss the rest of this? Is there really so much trust for our government that we can give them “exceptions” and “special circumstances” that cause us to accept their complete and utter disdain for their duties, obligations, and oaths of office? When allowed such leeway, do we really think that the next step won’t be incarceration, rendition, or torture of American citizens whose political leanings are deemed a “threat”? All other issues, policies, and arguments pale in the face of our Justice Department’s rejection of the rule of law, and the ability of our President to exact justice, or ignore justice, on a whim. Without an equal and fair scale of justice that wieghs ALL crimes, from ALL social strata, we have nothing.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/soldz01192010.html
    An excerpt…….
    No fair reader of Horton’s account can end reading it without serious questions regarding what happened that June night three and a half years ago. The testimony of the guards, along with evidence of inconsistencies in the official account, make the account of a triple suicide extremely unlikely. The only other alternative is that these men were killed, possibly as a result of “enhanced interrogation” torture gone awry. But even that explanation has problems. How could three “accidental” deaths occur in the same night using the same techniques? If the deaths were unintentional, why didn’t the torturers stop after one, or even two, deaths? Given this question, the possibility that the three men were deliberately murdered cannot be ruled out.
    As Horton tells it, immediately after the murders, our government went into high gear, controlling the press, concocting the suicide cover story, and acting to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses in order to destroy doubts about the official account. The FBI raided the home of a Guantanamo Colonel whose ego apparently led him to allow a press team to report on the rags stuffed down the dead men’s throat. NCIS conducted its sham investigation, while intimidating the detainees and guards into silence, including by seizing every piece of paper, including confidential attorney-client communications, from the prisoners. When Justice Department lawyers defended this seizure in court, they relied upon press accounts of the “suicides,” thus potentially avoiding making false statements under oath about the deaths
    Horton also reveals that the Obama administration has been aware of the cover-up since February, 2010, when a Military Intelligence Staff Sergeant who witnessed suspicious events the night of the murders went to them. The Obama Justice Department “investigated” and then dismissed the report, despite confirmation from several military police ion duty that night. Only then did this Sergeant seek out the press.
    Horton’s revelations place our country at an important crossroads. There have certainly been a number of other deaths previously attributed to detainee abuse. However, the June 9, 2006 deaths are especially notable both in that they occurred far from the battlefield and in the extent of potential high-level cover-up involved.
    This report that there is credible evidence of murder by our government, and that many government agencies may have participated in a cover-up constitutes a grave moral crisis for the nation. Will we demand an independent investigation, and accountability if justified? Or is the possibility of government murder just something we will accept? Does President Obama’s vaunted desire to “look forward and not backward” includes possible homicide?
    As Horton quotes retired Rear Admiral John Hutson
    “Filing false reports and making false statements is bad enough, but if a homicide occurs and officials up the chain of command attempt to cover it up, they face serious criminal liability. They may even be viewed as accessories after the fact in the original crime.” With command authority comes command responsibility, he said. “If the heart of the military is obeying orders down the chain of command, then its soul is accountability up the chain. You can’t demand the former without the latter.”
    In our system of government, the President is the Commander in Chief. As the one at the top of the command structure, he bears ultimate responsibility “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”It is his duty to guarantee a truly independent investigation of these charges.
    Unfortunately, given the possible involvement of numerous government agencies, including the NCIS, FBI and Justice Department, no investigation through the ordinary channels can possible be credible. We need an investigation truly independent of all government agencies that may have participated in a possible cover-up.
    However, the responsibility does not rest with the President alone. As citizens it is our duty to insist that he acts. Only through a thorough independent investigation of these charges, and of the entire spectrum of abuses that occurred during the “War on Terror,” can my military friends’ honor be restored. They, and we, need to know that the words in the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention Against Torture, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not to mention the US Constitution, are more than words cynically taught to new recruits. These new accusations will provide a test of what type of people we are.

    Reply

  27. Outraged American says:

    Because of our tax status we weren’t allowed to cover candidates
    on our show, just issues. We could have candidates who talked
    about issues though, so we had on Paul, Gravel, Kucinich and
    Barr and invited the rest.
    However, in talking privately to people who were in the know
    about the candidates, almost to a person they thought that
    Hillary was more hawkish on Iran than Obama on a real level.
    That is, while Hillary probably wants an attack on Iran about as
    much as I do, she knows what brings in the AIPAC dollars and is
    to the core now a political animal. This does not excuse
    Obama’s escalation of the war into this new country called
    “AfPak”. I have no excuses for Obama, and frankly I didn’t
    bother tuning into the presidential debates. I knew, having lived
    through Yahweh knows how many presidents, that no CHANGE
    would be in the offing.
    And to S Brennan: it is impossible to discuss US foreign policy
    without discussing Israel’s supporters influence. From Georgia
    to Pakistan to Venezuela, “what’s good for Israel” influences, in
    an extremely negative way, our foreign policy.
    And our domestic policy. Would we have a “War on Terror” were
    it not for our carte blanche support of Israel and her never-
    ending aggression? NO. Would we, according to Stiglitz, be
    spending trillions on war? NO. Sure we’d have our little
    excursions like Grenada and GW I, but we wouldn’t be at war
    with the entire Muslim world.
    We would have our damn Bill of Rights back. And S Brennan,
    people I care for and I, myself, have been directly affected by
    the “War on Terror.” Ex-students and friends have done
    repeated tours of duty, some coming back with mental and
    physical injuries.
    I myself am on some special screening list, despite not even
    being close to having a criminal past. When my mother had a
    massive stroke I had to drive hours to see her because I can’t get
    on a plane. Or I can if I want to inevitably start quoting the
    Fourth Amendment to some TSA goon and be charged with a
    felony. No joke, this almost happened to me on the Big Island of
    Hawai’i, a real hotbed of “Radical Islam”, which is the last time I
    flew.
    Take Israel and shove her up her own a*ss. I was going to go to
    the Middle East last year but was told that most likely I would
    not be allowed into Israel if I had been to the West Bank or the
    Gaza Strip. We’re all Palestinians now.
    POA, lots of seismic activity. Very troubling that the Ring of Fire
    is on fire. Looks like your part of Cali is getting some action. It’s
    only a matter of time so I hope that you’re prepared.
    That’s what’s so weird about us here in the “Land of the Free/
    Home of the Brave.” Real threats, like two continental plates
    shifting under California, the world’s 5th or 6th largest economy,
    most probably in the next 30 years, are ignored and barely
    prepared for.
    Yet some guy lights up his undies at the most with the potential
    to kill 300 or so and the entire world grinds to a halt.
    Like yesterday, there was a tornado watch for Phoenix. Big
    whoop, it would have been a little bit bigger than a dirt devil at
    the most. My brother said that he was terrified and that he had
    problems sleeping all his life (and he’s spent his entire life in
    Phoenix) because of his fear of tornados. Now, it’s not as if
    Phoenix is in Tornado Alley and yet my brother (a Republican)
    lives in fear of a truly imagined threat.
    As does my Mean Sister, also a Republican, who doesn’t mind
    throwing out her $250 face cream at the airport if she forgets to
    take it out of her purse ( and she needs it — my dad calls her an
    “emaciated prune” — guess you get the face you deserve…), and
    is in favor of body scanners.
    What is wrong with us, people? We lose our freedom because of
    one obvious loon with fertilizer or whatever it was in his undies
    and another in his shoes, MIGHT have taken down an airliner?
    Don’t they teach kids statistics in school anymore? (rhetorical
    question)
    POA, my nickname used to be Clairavoyant because I predicted
    the Landers/ Big Bear quakes the night before and the
    Northridge quake about four hours before it happened (I was
    talking to my sister in AZ and told her that there was going to
    be a big quake) Animals seem to be able to sense quakes, so
    what does that make me? Don’t answer.
    Anyway, my prediction is that a major quake under SF or LA/ SD
    metro will send our economy into its death spiral, or what’s left
    of it, and it will be our own F-ing fault.
    What people, especially our “law-makers” don’t seem to
    understand is that we do not have the resources that we had for
    Northridge, so the death toll could be…?
    Not that even CA’s building codes could save it, but aid could
    arrive faster were a large % of our National Guard not overseas.
    One of those bozos (geologists, who, if they’re govt. employed,
    downplay the threat– can’t have panic on the streets of LA now,
    can we?) have in a rare moment of honesty, admitted that
    buildings in downtown LA could snap.
    The threat of a major quake in California is real, and yet we’re
    worried about being killed by a few stray and obviously
    delusional pansies. Do the math:
    * Underwear guy could have taken out around 300, I’ll give him
    some on the ground, so let’s say 400.
    * Shoe bomber lit-up over the Atlantic, did he not? So maybe
    around the same, plus a few fish.
    * 9/11 was 3000 a good % of whom were not Americans.
    So out of a total of 300,000,000 Americans, a total of about
    4000 deaths and potential deaths have resulted in the deaths of
    millions? Kind-of enraging them and exacerbating our little
    “terror” problem.
    And then I read somewhere that released inmates from US
    prisons were shipping off to join the jihad. I didn’t read the
    article but I would guess that many of these would be Americans
    who could pass for Americans, and thus we’re going to be
    having shoe/ panty/ facial cream bombers galore in the near
    future. Then nitwits like my siblings will willingly opt to fly
    naked after having their nostrils and every other orifice
    examined.
    We, as a country, are an embarrassment to our antecedents. Not
    all, but the ones who wouldn’t live their lives ruled by fear, like
    the ninnies we’ve become.

    Reply

  28. Lurking says:

    Looks as though far too many worship Krugman…he’s not god people, and he’s far from having an accurate track record. Krugman covets the spotlight way too much for my taste.
    And speaking of loving the power: Hillary no less…please, put your starry eyed woo woo hat away. With Hillary President, we’d have 6 wars going at once and she’d be biting at the bit to start two more. Let her do the SoS thing, she’s smart but not trustworthy. Too many corporate ties, her campaign shenanigans, her connections with C Street, best let her step out of the spotlight. Why draw attention to the darkness.
    Obama’s making course corrects from a huge mess of Republican idiocy and disfunction, the likes this nation has never experienced in its history…No one person could have taken on this mess and got it right the first time…no excuse just pure reality. He’ll do fine.

    Reply

  29. S Brennan says:

    Steve,
    As you know all too well, we have disagreed on much in the past decade, but I always like the fact that you are willing to reverse yourself [even if comes after trying everything else].
    With respect,
    S Brennan
    PS When Steve started this blog, the comment section was the best, but you “same guys” REPEATEDLY going off subject has made it impossible to stay/come back. Not every discussion has to include Israel…eh?
    PSS Steve, you have my facebook, you have my permission to use the wall for this post.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    January 21, 2010
    Dear C4L Member,
    Our country’s economic future is in Ben Bernanke’s hands on a daily basis.
    Now his job security is in ours.
    I need you to immediately call your senators with a simple message: “No vote on Bernanke until we get a vote on Audit the Fed.”
    Senator Barbara Boxer: 202-224-3553
    Senator Dianne Feinstein: 202-224-3841
    Here’s what’s going on and why you need to act immediately. It’s a little complex, so bear with me.
    Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has led the charge to place a “hold” on Bernanke’s nomination to a second term as Fed chairman until the Senate votes on Audit the Fed. This means to get a vote on Bernanke, Harry Reid has to have a vote on “cloture” (just like in the health care battle), and that requires a super-majority of 60 votes.
    Insiders now tell me that Harry Reid is threatening to ram through a cloture vote as early as next week.
    Senator DeMint is joined by David Vitter, Jim Bunning, and Bernie Sanders in his efforts, but these senators cannot succeed alone. But right now, Republicans should stop caving in to Harry Reid’s muscle on behalf of Ben Bernanke and the out of control Federal Reserve, and Democrats are cowering in fear of the popular revolt against out of control spending and the economic wreck it has helped create.
    A strong message from Campaign for Liberty activists like you could start a stampede in the Senate that will make Harry Reid back off of Bernanke and give us a vote on Audit the Fed.
    After all, Harry Reid is already the most vulnerable Democrat up for reelection next year, according to the polls.
    Call your senators at the following numbers:
    Senator Barbara Boxer: 202-224-3553
    Senator Dianne Feinstein: 202-224-3841
    Make sure you let them know that:
    1.) If they are not cosponsoring Audit the Fed, you expect them to sign on in support of finding out what the Fed has done with trillions of our dollars. Tell them you will make sure their constituents know of their action or inaction on this issue.
    2.) They must vote “no” on cloture until after there is a vote on Audit the Fed. No vote should be taken on Ben Bernanke’s confirmation, or the nomination of anyone else for Fed Chairman, until Audit the Fed has received a public, up or down vote. The real issue here is not the Fed chairman himself. It is the need for complete transparency.
    Ben Bernanke’s term as Fed chairman expires on January 31, so Harry Reid is under pressure from Barack Obama to act quickly.
    Which means we must act even faster.
    The Senate has enough on its plate with the fight over health care, so they can ill afford to face yet another tough fight over the leadership’s agenda.
    Time to turn up the pressure.
    Take action today to push for a vote on Audit the Fed, S. 604!
    In Liberty,
    John Tate
    President
    P.S. Senator DeMint and his colleagues are counting on your support as they fight for Audit the Fed. Call your senators today and urge them to delay any action on Ben Bernanke’s confirmation until Audit the Fed receives a public, up or down vote!

    Reply

  31. WinstonW says:

    America simply is center, even center-right politically. Bill Clinton realized this the hard way in ’94, will Obama? I apologize for the repost but thought this was very correct,
    Posted by kotzabasis, Jan 21 2010, 7:40PM – Link
    The Massachusetts result showed pellucidly that the American electorate-whites in large numbers-has turned into a shoal of piranhas threatening to tear the flesh of Obama and the Democrats. What it craves for is economic and political stability, the preservation of conservative values, not the ostensibly unstable progressive left-wing policies of a picaresque president. In this context, any implementation of progressive economic policies by the Obama administration will solely employ the diggers that will dig its grave.

    Reply

  32. easy e says:

    MarkL, Hillary is certainly no less hawkish than Barak.
    CLINTON SAYS U.S. COULD “TOTALLY OBLITERATE” IRAN
    Tue, Apr 22 2008
    “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran (if it attacks Israel),” Clinton said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
    “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she said.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2224332720080422
    Both parties (Dems & GOP) are controlled by the same W string-pullers (Wall Street & War Profiteers).
    And the Supremes have just added fuel to the fire……
    CORPORATE PERSONHOOD SHOULD BE BANNED, ONCE AND FOR ALL
    Outrageous SCOTUS Decision Should Reignite Most Necessary of Debates
    January 21, 2010
    by Ralph Nader
    Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission shreds the fabric of our already weakened democracy by allowing corporations to more completely dominate our corrupted electoral process.
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/01/21-10
    No change in sight.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    OA, check out the west coast for this last week.
    http://www.iris.edu/dms/seismon.htm

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Without the rule of law, the rest of the debate is nothing more than intellectual pud pounding.
    It appears that NONE of you get it.
    Our government is telling us to go fuck ourselves, and you all act as though they are doing it by accident.

    Reply

  35. MarkL says:

    Outraged American,
    The part of Carroll’s article on the 1994
    Nuclear Posture Review is interesting.
    The end of your comment is ludicrous though.
    Edwards,Obama and Hillary were roughly equally hawkish, with Obama having a slight edge, IMO.
    Many forget that Hillary was the ONLY major candidate to propose taking preemptive war off the table—something Obama refused to do.
    Obama’s careless comments about violating Pakistan’s borders showed a lack of experience as well.
    Remember, Obama is the Democratic candidate who ran on a platform of expanding war in Asia.
    He also was quite clear about being open to bombing Iran preemptively.
    Before anyone brings up the tired “obliterate” quote, remember that Hillary was taking about a response to a hypothetical NUCLEAR attack by Iran.
    Every candidate would have had the same response.
    As I already said, she is the only candidate who took preemptive war off the table, with her nuclear umbrella for the MidEast proposal.
    Good or bad policy, I can’t possibly say, but on its face it was less hawkish than Obama’s.

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    “”But it looks like Obama, unlike Krugman, is at least attempting to learn from experience, and is looking to zero in on those elements that their polling shows solid majorities strongly support.” (Dan Kervick)
    It does? What evidence do you have for that? Bank taxes? The bailouts are unpopular, but he’s misreading his polls if he thinks more demonizing and nationalization of banking will be popular.

    Reply

  37. kotzabasis says:

    The Massachusetts result showed pellucidly that the American electorate-whites in large numbers-has turned into a shoal of piranhas threatening to tear the flesh of Obama and the Democrats. What it craves for is economic and political stability, the preservation of conservative values, not the ostensibly unstable progressive left-wing policies of a picaresque president. In this context, any implementation of progressive economic policies by the Obama administration will solely employ the diggers that will dig its grave.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    I wouldn’t obsess about the message of Scott Brown’s win. Massachusetts may or may not be sending one. Let’s give some credit to Brown. He’s an extremely likable candidate, unlike–say–John Kerry. Obama of all people should appreciate the power of a likable candidate.
    In football, teams often say they can’t worry about the other team. They have to worry about themselves. If they perform well, they’ll be all right. Problem is, Obama has not given enough attention to his own performance or to those who once supported him.

    Reply

  39. Outraged American says:

    In 2007 I interviewed James Carroll, author of a great book
    about the Pentagon, “House of War.”
    We talked about Hillary Clinton and her warlike tendencies,
    because Carroll (not to be confused with Carroll Carroll of TWN)
    had just written a commentary about HR Clinton for the Boston
    Globe.
    Here are two of Carroll’s articles on the Clintons.
    Breaking the cord with the Clintons
    8/25/08
    I SAW an ad that offered a “free Obama button,” and I thought –
    now there’s a slogan: “Free Obama.” This week, what Barack
    Obama must be freed from are the Clintons.
    The most obvious problem is the wild-card character of the
    Hillary Clinton faction in Denver, but there are ways in which
    both Clinton and her husband embody and prolong the deep
    dysfunction of the Democratic Party.
    It was inevitable that each Clinton be spotlighted at the
    convention, but the prime-time focus on Hillary on Tuesday and
    Bill on Wednesday, with the Hillary Clinton roll call assuring an
    unpredictable outburst, threatens to derail the Obama campaign
    before it leaves the station. The Clinton-driven political
    extortion that made the vice-presidential selection so tortuous
    is just the beginning. The November election hangs on the
    Clinton hangover, the die-hard alienation of so many Clinton
    supporters, half of whom still decline to back Obama.
    But the problem begins with Bill Clinton. Democrats never
    reckoned with the corrupting effects of his presidency. In policy
    terms, the Clinton administration’s failures led directly to today’s
    simmering crises with Iran and Russia. Clinton’s Nuclear Posture
    Review of 1994 kept the nuclear arms race going when it could
    have stopped – and generated the proliferation current that runs
    in Tehran.
    Clinton provided start-up funds for the National Missile Defense
    program that is now deploying in Poland and the Czech
    Republic, and he initiated the eastward expansion of NATO that
    is key to Russia’s paranoia about Georgia’s alliance with the
    West. Not all such problems begin with the United States, but if
    Cold War II is here, it is in large part because Clinton declined to
    end Cold War I, when he had the chance.
    ENTIRE ARTICLE
    http://tinyurl.com/6n9c3p
    Questions for Hillary Clinton
    By James Carroll | August 20, 2007
    THE LARGEST surprise in Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign for
    president, so far, is her success in establishing herself as a
    viable commander-in-chief.
    As the Globe reported last week, polls suggest that Clinton is
    widely regarded as “tough enough” to protect national security.
    Her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee; her early
    vote in support of the war in Iraq, and her ongoing refusal to
    renounce that vote; the aggressiveness of her rhetoric after Sept.
    11, 2001, including her embrace of the “war on terrorism”; her
    support, however ambivalent, for missile defense, and her
    proposals to expand the Army; even her somewhat prickly
    personality — all of this combines, apparently, to create an
    image that nervous voters find reassuring. Given the depth of
    anti-female stereotyping, this is a remarkable political
    achievement.
    As a first-time candidate for president, Bill Clinton had a
    toughness problem, too. Fighting off his image as a peacenik, he
    ran a campaign in 1992 that emphasized what he called “a new
    covenant for American security.”
    But after the victorious Gulf War and the Soviet collapse, the
    nation had turned its attention inward, and Clinton could aim his
    laser at the economy. Yet he slyly portrayed himself as more
    militant than George H.W. Bush. “Saddam Hussein still has his
    job,” ran one Clinton ad, “Do you?”
    The final meaning of “It’s the economy, stupid” is that it was
    stupid to think that economic questions were more important
    than national security issues in the pivotal eight years of the
    Clinton presidency. The national security decisions that Clinton
    made have turned out to be more epoch-shaping than anyone
    imagined at the time. One needn’t look back on those decisions
    from a moral high horse to realize how flawed they were.
    ENTIRE ARTICLE
    http://tinyurl.com/29gkep
    I have no doubt that if Hillary had been elected she’d have been
    standing under a “Victory” banner on the deck of an aircraft
    carrier in the Straits of Hormuz eight months ago, wearing a
    codpiece under a tight fitting camouflage outfit that made her
    look like a tranny version of GW in the stage version of “Bedtime
    for Bonzo.”
    The fact that Tehran is rubble-free means something, doesn’t it?
    Pick-up the red phone Obama, the world is calling.

    Reply

  40. Dan Kervick says:

    I posted a comment on Krugman’s column earlier this morning. But since it is the topic of a separate post, please indulge me in re-posting the comment here:
    “Krugman’s column doesn’t make much sense. Voters in the bluest state in the Union just gave Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat to a Republican, apparently in large part because they disagree with the current state of the health care reform legislation. Does Krugman think that people hate the House bill, but love the Senate bill? Doesn’t he understand what the reaction would be if Obama simply attempts to ram through the current legislation, unchanged, in the face of this repudiation from, not Oklahoma or Texas, but Massachusetts? He has to change *something*, or else he will be charged, fairly, with being arrogant and obtuse, and will be seen as stubbornly unwilling to learn from experience or respond to the people’s desires.
    “But it looks like Obama, unlike Krugman, is at least attempting to learn from experience, and is looking to zero in on those elements that their polling shows solid majorities strongly support.
    “What Obama needs to do is rebuild the very broad coalition that elected him. Clearly his job is not to satisfy all of the people who voted for Scott Brown, or who admired Brown from afar. A lot of those people are right-wing Republicans who don’t want any positive change or government activism of any kind, and will continue to work to destroy Obama’s presidency no matter what he does. But there are many independents and Democrats who voted for Obama and other Democrats in 2008 who defected from Coakley. Post-election polling shows that the actions that have alienated them made them mad are not at all the same things that drive right-wing Republicans.”

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    Realclearpolitics poll average on Obamacare: 40.2% for, 49.7% against.
    Rasmussen, who polls likely voters, not just adults, gets 38% for, 56% against.
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/obama_and_democrats_health_care_plan-1130.html
    That is an unpopular bill.
    Republicans don’t oppose “everything”, they oppose far-left bills from which their input has been totally excluded.
    See, the thing about bipartisanship is that bill actually has to be centrist enough to garner bipartisan support. George W. Bush knew this. One of his first bills was No Child Left Behind, which was co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy.
    But then GW Bush was an “idiot.” Obama is too “brilliant” to understand that the bipartisanship he prated about constantly on campaign requires compromise.

    Reply

  42. Neo Controll says:

    The zionist/necons appear; tearing Obama down from the right. Interpretation based solely on advancing Israeli cause and in the case of Nadine, the right wing repubs. Repubs, fainting couch please, so ‘repulsed’ by dems ‘liberal bill’ and pushing ‘unpopular legislation’. What crapola. Like the repubs don’t oppose everything simply because they want Obama to fail, want to carry out their corporatist crusade.
    — NCHQ

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    “With all due respect, is our President an idiot? Is he as dimwitted as George W. Bush?
    He’s just figuring out that crafting a solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute is really hard; give me a break. Did he really expect it to be a cake walk?
    But Obama’s line that really cracked me up is where he told the “Time” interviewer that the conflict was as “intractable as any he’s ever encountered.” (WigWag)
    Obama is more dimwitted than George W. Bush, by your own evidence. GW Bush never entertained the notion that solving the Mideast conflict was easy, or that the Arabs would leap forward when invited to make “bold gestures” for peace.

    Reply

  44. nadine says:

    “It simply does not matter that Obama seems cautious. He has been dealt an impossible hand. He’s playing it adequately. Is it perfect? Who is perfect? How about blaming Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman, Baucus, Snowe, etc. ” (David Mercanus)
    David, on health care Obama has the hand he dealt himself. It was strictly his own choice to put it forward and make it his top priority. He could have stuck to working on the economy and in retrospect it’s clear he would have been far wiser to have done so.
    It was Obama’s choice to allow Pelosi and Reid to jam through the most liberal bill they thought they could get, one that required massive bribes to get the Democratic caucus on board and was so repulsive to Republicans (who were completely excluded from negotiations) that Boehner and McConnell held the Republican caucus firm in opposition. That’s very rare; usually a few moderate Republicans defect. This was a product of the circumstances that Obama, Pelosi & Reid created. If Obama had even insisted on a bill that could get support from Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, it would have been an entirely different story.
    What’s really dragging this down is that Obamacare is unpopular. Reid and Pelosi can’t pass unpopular legislation on a party line vote. Scott Brown just won in Massachusetts by promising to be the 41st Senate vote against it. If that works in Massachusetts, it will work nearly everywhere.

    Reply

  45. WigWag says:

    “I’m getting close to where Krugman is and think it may be nearing the time to “bust Obama’s brand” as one liberal Hollywood actor friend of mind recently said.” (Steve Clemons)
    Not only has Obama’s health care strategy turned into a major debacle, Obama is now admitting the obvious; his Middle East strategy was also poorly thought out and poorly executed. In short, it was a disaster that made things worse not better.
    Here’s what Haaretz had to say about Obama’s ambitions for the Middle East (quoting an Obama interview with Time Magazine)
    —-
    Obama: U.S. expectations for Middle East peace too high By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press
    “President Barack Obama says his administration overestimated its ability to persuade the Israelis and Palestinians to resume meaningful peace talks.
    Obama says both parties have been unwilling to make the bold gestures needed to move the process forward. If the U.S. had anticipated that earlier, Obama says he might not have raised his expectations so high…
    During the interview, which the president granted on the occasion of one year since his inauguration, Obama said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “as intractable” an issue as he has ever encountered.”
    —-
    With all due respect, is our President an idiot? Is he as dimwitted as George W. Bush?
    He’s just figuring out that crafting a solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute is really hard; give me a break. Did he really expect it to be a cake walk?
    But Obama’s line that really cracked me up is where he told the “Time” interviewer that the conflict was as “intractable as any he’s ever encountered.”
    Excuse me, but with all that vast experience of his how many intractable problems has he actually encountered in his career?
    Maybe he was referring to the intractable problem of facing all of those votes in the Illinois legislature that he couldn’t make up his mind about; his solution-vote “present.”
    Or maybe he was referring to the intractable problem he confronted when his Reverend made some troubling remarks; his solution-make a speech about race and wait for the fawning press corps to declare that “all is forgiven.”
    Maybe the intractable problem he was referring to was the fact that Hillary Clinton actually got more votes from rank and file democrats during the primary campaign than he did; his solution-rely on party bigwigs to steal the nomination for him.
    The man never faced an intractable problem in his life because prior to becoming President he never actually did anything of consequence (you can’t count his Senate years or should I say “year”; he started plotting his way out as soon as he got there).
    Maybe if the man had some real life experience he wouldn’t be so startled to find that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is more intractable than he thought.
    As bad as he was, it took George W. Bush more than one year in office to turn himself into a laughing stock. To use a sports analogy, it’s looking more and more like the Obama-Saga is a repeat of the 1969 Chicago Cubs or the 2008 New England Patriots. Like them, he had an enormous lead that he is, almost unbelievably, in the process of squandering.
    Isn’t there anyone in this Administration who can help Obama get this figured out?

    Reply

  46. Maw of America says:

    When it comes to sweeping health care reform, Obama’s ship has sailed. His tepid approach using congress to lead the way has left him with a majority that has little confidence in his wherewithal and tenacity. LBJ may have had his doubts about everything from Vietnam to civil rights and Medicare, but he kept them hidden behind his willingness to crack some heads to get what he wanted. Obama showed his hand from day one and left the conservatives in both parties that he was unwilling to do more than make persuasive, but ultimately unsuccessful, speeches.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    Listen…it’s not like anyone is asking Obama to be the first solider to charge on shore at D-Day and actually DIE for a cause.
    He’s being ask to LIVE UP TO HIS WORDS.
    In the comfort of the WH, Secret Service and the bully pulpit, and win or lose retire on a lifetime stipend from the taxpayers.
    That’s all.
    Judging by what he’s done and hasn’t done. He’s too insecure in his own ability to make decisions so tossed them off to the Shadow Elite or he was a liar for the get-go…i.e… your typical jive and chuck politican.
    Take your pick. The results are the same.

    Reply

  48. JohnH says:

    Yes, Obama was dealt a terrible hand. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. They don’t just sit passively, like Obama.
    All those trying to rationalize Obama’s lack of leadership cannot explain why he never organized popular support or actively campaigned for health care reform.
    I’ve been around this republic for more than a quarter of its history. I’ve watched more than 10 presidents. This situation is virtually unprecedented. Presidents just don’t make a policy their top priority and then do lmost nothing to get it passed.
    Obama’s lack of support for his priorities is a path for losers, not leaders. A total waste of his impressive skill set. The man has no fire in the belly, except for self promotion.

    Reply

  49. DonS says:

    Can we say it all together: ‘everything’s relative’.
    Including ‘the one’.
    Relativity is an explanation for the imperfect. It’s not an excuse to suboptimize the MOST POWERFUL POSITION IN THE WORLD for godsakes.
    No reason to save Obama’s feelings here. What are we supposed to believe, that Obama’s really pulling out all the stops, trying as hard as he can but, you know, it’s all just too secret, need to know, eyes only and all that crap that none of us, no one, looking from the outside (of what, his cabal, his bedroom???) can judge or has a right to an informed opinion? BS. Many of us are experts (e.g., Steve) whose job it is to have understanding. Others are just ‘laymen’ who have only learned by observation, say 40 or 50 years of presidents.
    Being ‘better than Bush’. Wow, what an inspiring thought.

    Reply

  50. Outraged American says:

    If HR Clinton were president, Haiti would look like the French
    Riviera compared to Iran.

    Reply

  51. susan says:

    I just keep saying to myself over and over:
    “Obama is not as bad as GWB.” not by a long shot. But it’s cold
    comfort of those of us who are certain that Hillary Clinton
    Presidency would have looked VASTLY different.

    Reply

  52. Outraged American says:

    This reliance on one person to turn the world around smacks of
    the idiots who believe that a Messiah or Madhi or whatever, will
    save us.
    As longtime posters on this blog might remember, I never
    bought the “Change” spiel. Rahm Emanuel is the Wizard, but
    we’re not and never have been in OZ and we won’t get any real
    change until ballot access is changed, so no more Uni-Party, and
    Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunications Act goes bye-bye and we
    get back a relatively free press.
    And to David M: never underestimate the power of propaganda
    to affect the way Joe Schmo votes. I am literally surrounded by
    people who vote against their best interests.
    Beyond that, why should CA have the same amount of senators
    as SD? Representative government? Change that — make the
    government truly representative — each state gets a number of
    Senators based on its population only — and then yahoos out in
    ND will have power proportionate to their numbers, and not
    disproportionate to their numbers and smug sophisticates like
    me and POA will actually get the clout we deserve.

    Reply

  53. Brian B says:

    Obama’s fault came in his inability to effectively use the fillabuster proof majority. When you have this majority as a president, you rule. You direct your party to get things done you crush the oppositions ability to have a voice in the matter. Even if it is a bad policy, which I don’t think health care reform is, the voters will make that determination once the policy becomes domestically implemented. Instead, Presidnet Obama became deceived by the notion that bipartisanship would work in the 111th Congress. He, and Rham Emanuel, failed to read the writing on the wall the the GOP, as well as their constituency, has become an ideological organization hell bent on preventing a progressive agenda taking shape in this country. If anything, they (Obama and Rham) should have made this realization after the Clinton debacle in 1994. The WH, through their pursuit of bipartisanship, allowed the opposition to define what healthcare was and allowed the opposition to infiltrate blue dog members of the Democratic Party. Thereby, making the proponents of this legislation play defense. For all the criticism that the Administration gets for playing “CHicago Politics” they should show that they, in fact, can play this hardball political style. The Administration needs to devise a tact to get the opposition on the record and to make them prove why thier [opposition] policy or obstructionism better serves the American public. I’m not about to give up on the Administration, there is plenty of time to recover. After a brutal year of getting nothing, substantively, done I think that the Administration should do a full court press on the opposition, especially on Scott Brown, who comes from a progressive state. Go on TV, or in the SOU, and tell the bankers/Wall Street that they are in for a world of hurt and let them know why. The American public, those who do not regularly follow politics, have a short term memory. They need to be constantly reminded why these policies need to be implemented and then let the GOP go out and defend the status quo. PERIOD. I’m not going to give up. I think Rham has to have, what alcoholics refer to as, “a moment of clarity,” and realize that bipartisanship does not exist in a country that overwhelmingly voted to bring change.

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  54. DonS says:

    “Busting the Obama brand”, eh?
    Sound like a path. Just this morning I was pulling a number out of the air. 12? 15? How many need to be dumped, and the price goes up daily, to indicate a change in direction and begin to affect same? I hadn’t attached names to those numbers but certainly the big 4 or 5 are in there.
    I hasten to add, that I’m not sure Obama has it in him. Largely, I am beginning to believe, that even if Obama 1) is on ‘our’ side (you know, saving the republic) 2) recognizes the big shakeups, in personnel and personal mindset that is needed, he lacks the personality traits and is hampered by unresolved ‘efficacy’ issues to pull it off. (efficacy issues = sort of like getting past seeing himself as either more special or more inferior because he is, well you know . . .)
    Note: I recognize much of the Kabuki in government, but as a gesture of hope, I withhold capitulating entirely to the ultimate conspiritorial theory of government. At least most of the time . . .

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  55. scott says:

    How can anyone be the ONE? A president can only do so much. Especially following the one many feels is the worst in USA history. Health reform? You have to reform your own health, the government will always be more concerned with Sunday morning talk shows and popularity than with the people

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  56. David Mercanus says:

    Aside from the argument for stability in the financial crisis, and the retention of Geithner and Summers for that first period, I think it wasn’t so bad to have them for 2009. But they can go now.
    But fundamentally this seems to be an argument for style. It must be style, because no style of no human is going to persuade constituents and electeds in states like NE, ND, SD, MT, etc., to do what more progressive voters want to do.
    It simply does not matter that Obama seems cautious. He has been dealt an impossible hand. He’s playing it adequately. Is it perfect? Who is perfect? How about blaming Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman, Baucus, Snowe, etc.
    How about blaming American citizens for not being wise enough to not elect such atrocious representatives?
    Is Obama “the one?” Of course not. But NOBODY is the one. Or ever will be. Krugman is as much of a dreamer on this front as any web junkie. Until campaign finance is changed. Look at SCOTUS today. Oh, and changing small-state overrepresentation in the US Senate would be nice, too.

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