Obama Closes Iraq War: Turns Attention to Economy

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President Obama was right to give his speech punctuating the end of US combat operations in Iraq from the Oval Office as opposed to one of the military academies.
In his speech tonight, the President said:

Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office. Last February, I announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of Iraq, while redoubling our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s Security Forces and support its government and people. That is what we have done. We have removed nearly 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq. We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq.

But now the President has said we have to turn our attentions to other matters — an economy whose wobbliness is increasingly worse. We have been running these wars without paying for them — and the price tag has been huge.
Obama stated:

Today, our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.

But the President needs to realize that the 50,000 residual forces left behind in Iraq will still cost about $50 billion a year — without even considering the ongoing health and after-field deployment costs for these forces in the long term.
And of course, we are now spending more than $100 billion per year in Afghanistan in a country whose GDP is $14 billion.
The US cannot restore its health with a hemorrhaging of resources and money that large.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

65 comments on “Obama Closes Iraq War: Turns Attention to Economy

  1. hv says:

    Nadine,
    When you ask…
    “Are you claiming that defense spending never has a
    multiplier effect? that military spending never
    leads to new inventions, or the training of soldiers
    and defense workers can never improve productivity?”
    Forgive me, but I was really expecting to see a link
    to how the CBO analyzes these things, instead of a
    lot of hand-waving. That is the standard you
    proposed, right?
    CBO or go home.

    Reply

  2. Don Bacon says:

    Mission Accomplished II, now in a theater near you.

    Reply

  3. rc says:

    So Iraq has been ‘liberated’?
    Woohoo, …. How does that feel?
    They must be dancing in the streets! The one’s with legs left to dance that is.
    The modern sacking of Baghdad is over and the US has ‘cut-&-run’ (round the corner) leaving only a small contingent of 50,000 to protect the US Embassy and a huge army of private mercenaries to maintain Cheney’s oil men.
    Anyone picking up the depleted uranium?
    I guess there are a few less soft walking US targets for the Iranians to vaporize should a war break out.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Note to Nadine: please read history books. Just because you
    rightwing people and teabaggers hate The Other, that’s no
    excuse for claiming that Taliban was responsible for Katyn
    and My Lai.

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    “Paul, would you disparage the brave Norwegian resistance
    to the Germans? (back on topic — similar to the Iraqi and
    Afghan resistance)” (DonBacon)
    Speaking of Afghanistan: there is nothing immoral in
    defending your country against a foreign invasion; what is
    immoral, is treating women the way the Taliban does. As for
    staying there for years or decades to save Afghan women: I
    don’t buy that explanation. Nor do I buy the “safe haven”
    argument: Afghanistan doesn’t have a monopoly of
    providing relatively safe havens for extremists; there is
    plenty of competition in neighboring countries and on other
    continents.

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    “One type of spending clearly has no multiplier
    effect. There is no debate.” (hv)
    Are you claiming that defense spending never has a multiplier effect? that military spending never leads to new inventions, or the training of soldiers and defense workers can never improve productivity? That is a far-fetched claim, on which there is plenty of debate.
    “Another type of spending may or may not have a
    multiplier effect, depending on how wisely it is
    implemented (and your opinion of that probably
    depends on your politics).”
    By now everybody agrees that most of the stimulus went to prop up states and legislators pet pork. Spending on government workers does not have a multiplier effect because government workers don’t produce anything, generally speaking. They are an overhead cost. Maybe you could say the teachers produce, but front line teachers are such a tiny part of education spending. As for the pork projects, being chosen for short-term political effect, they are unlikely to be productive long term.

    Reply

  7. hv says:

    Nadine,
    One type of spending clearly has no multiplier
    effect. There is no debate.
    Another type of spending may or may not have a
    multiplier effect, depending on how wisely it is
    implemented (and your opinion of that probably
    depends on your politics).
    See it now? There is the first type: no chance of
    multiplier…. second type: possible but unlikely
    multiplier. See that difference between
    “impossible” and “unlikely”? To pretend that your
    belief that it is unlikely is equivalent to
    impossible merely reveals how mature you are about
    politics. You’re projecting.
    There are 2 types. Obama may fail in delivering
    the second type, sure, but he was not illiterate.
    You overreacted. The end. If you don’t get it
    yet, I probably won’t explain it again.

    Reply

  8. nadine says:

    It isn’t “demonizing” if it’s true and broadly representative of Taliban’s treatment of women. By your logic, the British “demonized” the Germans by taking video of Belsen concentration camp when they liberated it.
    US media has printed pictures of civilians wounded by US strikes — far more often, in fact, than they printed pictures of the jumpers from the WTC, whose pictures vanished after a couple of weeks, and whose bodies were never shown.
    The essential point is you, a self-proclaimed progressive, are ready to cheer on medieval fanatics like the Taliban, and even compare them to the anti-Nazi resistance of Norway in WWII. The Norwegian partisans were anti-fascists. If you are pro-Taliban, you are pro-fascist. This is a distinction the modern progressive can no longer make, apparently.

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    The Time magazine photo was an example of war propaganda at its best — demonizing the enemy.
    Of course Time would never publish on any page, much less its cover, a photo of anybody terribly burned by a US military white phosphorous shell, for example, would it.
    Judging from your example, nadine, it works, and that’s why they do it.

    Reply

  10. JohnH says:

    Everybody is scared of Norway, ever since Steinbeck set “The Moon is Down” in a place assumed to be Norway. The characters in the book figured out how to deal with foreign occupiers…

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, did you happen to see the Time Magazine cover of a young Afghan woman without a nose?
    That is what the “Afghan resistance” aka the Taliban is fighting for.

    Reply

  12. Don Bacon says:

    Paul, would you disparage the brave Norwegian resistance to the Germans? (back on topic — similar to the Iraqi and Afghan resistance)

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Well Don, we’ve got this answering machine on the phone in the
    Ministry of Defense office, with a message translated to a dozen
    languages: “We surrender! Repeat: We surrender!”

    Reply

  14. Don Bacon says:

    I guess Paul, the Somalia expert, has never been to Costa Rica, which has no defense force, and no need for one. It’s a pity, because it’s such a beautiful, peaceful place.
    The simple fact is that the USA has not been invaded since 1814 and faces no external military threat, so there is no need for a standing army, much less a two million person increasingly expensive force in being.
    How about Norway?

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    “Really? When did Bush push for universal health care or run a 4 Trillion dollar Federal budget?”
    The health care plan is pretty close to the plan that for years was known as “The Republican Plan”. The Democrats eschewed both single payer and even a public option, and passed the Republican Plan. I don’t know why the GOP isn’t celebrating their victory in the 20-year health care debate, instead of running the plan down.
    The stimulus package was a classic deficit-spending fiscal stimulus plan. The Republicans certainly would have passed a stimulus plan of approximately the same budgetary magnitude in the same dire economic conditions. Theirs would have been more heavily weighted with tax cuts rather than spending initiatives, but the budgetary impact would have been the same. That’s because pumping more out into the economy than you are taking in, and running a large temporary deficit, is inherent in the very nature of fiscal stimulus.
    The Republicans would have sold their own budget buster as something Reagan would have done, which would have been an easy sell, since Reagan also drove up the deficit massively.

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    Yeah, you’re right, DonS. Guess I did my calculations before the latest CHIP numbers were in. The problem is those damned programs that help the sick, disabled, elderly, and children. Why can’t those folks work like the rest of us! And what obligation does our society have to take care of the weakest among us? Aren’t we all believers in Darwin? (Except for all those fundamentalist Christians, of course, who oppose any social program because they’re not Darwinian enough!)
    The real issue is the gaping hole in the discretionary budget, blown wide open by Bush’s doubling of military expenditures and tax cuts for those who have trouble finding ways to spend their loot.

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    “Hey, JohnH, you seem to have a persistent problem with arithmetic. Defense is 20% of the budget. Social Security is 20%. Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP is 21%” — and that does not count the matching payments these programs require from the states, nor how these entitlement programs will balloon as the Baby Boom retires.”
    The salient fact is that the US defense budget is almost half of the world’s total. Get your head out of the sand and start to think like a rational person.

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    “We estimate the influence of defense spending and military labor use on economic growth in African and Latin American countries. Our model integrates disparate implications from the defense economics literature into a Barro-style model of economic growth that controls for political and economic institutional variation across countries. Our panel data analysis of 44 countries in Africa and Latin America from 1975 to 1989 also controls for cross-country variation in lost human capital and public sector production inefficiencies. We find empirical evidence that the defense burden on economic growth is non-linear, with low levels of military spending increasing economic growth but higher levels of military spending decreasing growth. We also find evidence that the influence of military labor use on growth is non-linear, and exhibits a greater drag on economic growth in those countries with relatively higher levels of adult male education attainment.”
    http://ideas.repec.org/a/cem/jaecon/v4y2001n2p329-360.html

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    “”Defense” has become the largest single category of government spending, exceeding even Social Security. Yet conservatives refuse to push for a GAO audit of DOD or any rethinking of strategic priorities or of America’s position in the world. ”
    Hey, JohnH, you seem to have a persistent problem with arithmetic. Defense is 20% of the budget. Social Security is 20%. Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP is 21%” — and that does not count the matching payments these programs require from the states, nor how these entitlement programs will balloon as the Baby Boom retires.
    ” * Defense and security: In 2010, some 20 percent of the budget, or $715 billion, will pay for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Department of Defense and other security-related activities. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is expected to total $172 billion in 2010.
    * Social Security: Another 20 percent of the budget, or $708 billion, will pay for Social Security, which provided retirement benefits averaging $1,117 per month to 36 million retired workers (and their eligible dependents) in December 2009. Social Security also provided survivors

    Reply

  20. questions says:

    “The HASC bill includes funding for the development of the alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, for example, which the military has repeatedly stated it does not need or want and cannot afford. The markup also orders the Pentagon to budget for the engine in 2012. Secretary Gates has advised the president to veto any bill that includes funding for the second engine.
    The HASC bill also includes $65 billion for Navy and Marine Corps procurement despite Secretary Gates

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    “Thursday, November 12, 2009
    Guest Post: Confirmed

    Reply

  22. DonS says:

    ‘”Defense” has become the largest single category of government spending, exceeding even Social Security.’ (JohnH)
    What are you, some kind of surrender monkey?
    Interesting graphic. Click on “US versus rest of the world”. Close to half the world’s defense spending.
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending
    Hard to deny the US economy exists to service a bloated ‘defense’ posture. Or maybe offense? If it were truly defense one could legitimately ask why the US is so paranoid (and/or shouldering the burden for the rest of the so called free world)

    Reply

  23. JohnH says:

    I agree with all those conservatives who complain about bloated government. However, conservatives never acknowledge the causes of that bloat.
    “Defense” has become the largest single category of government spending, exceeding even Social Security. Yet conservatives refuse to push for a GAO audit of DOD or any rethinking of strategic priorities or of America’s position in the world. For conservatives, the mantra is to give DOD whatever it wants, and then some, without ever checking to see if the monies were wisely spent or even went to the projects Congress funded.
    The Republiscum Party is not a party of fiscal conservatives. Rather, with one or two exceptions it champions the looting of the Treasury for all its worth, as long as the waste can someone be attributed to “security.”
    To make it appear that they are fiscally conservative, Republiscum hatch all sorts of schemes to destroy the security of the unemployed, the poor, the elderly, the infirm, as well as education for school age children.
    Democraps are clearly the lesser of two evils in this regard, but barely, almost imperceptibly.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    “However, at least we now both agree that there is a
    difference in the types of spending” (hv)
    No, there is very little difference. You claim that the money for the Afghanistan War is removed from the American economy, while I pointed out that the vast majority of money spent on military expenditures goes to soldiers and defense contractors, and is a boost to the US economy. Did WWII help or hurt the American economy?

    Reply

  25. hv says:

    Nadine,
    You are welcome to debate the multiplier effect with
    Obama all you like, and whether his stimulus
    projects will qualify for that effect. You probably
    will have a very strong case.
    However, at least we now both agree that there is a
    difference in the types of spending, and your
    initial attack which was so shrill about his
    inconsistency and “economic illiteracy” really was
    inaccurate.

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    “Thereby voting for officials who will return government back
    to just providing simple administrative tasks, such as coast
    guard, embassies, post office, infrastructure, etc.”
    Warren Metzler, as far as I know, your libertarian vision of a
    small and powerless government is more or less implemented
    in Somalia. You may try setting up a business in their capital,
    Mogadishu?
    Here is from an article in Time:
    “Downtown Mogadishu is a tropical Stalingrad, a bullet-raked,
    mortar-pounded, artillery-shelled canvas of Roman arches and
    Italian colonnades that that testifies to man’s capacity for
    creation and also for destruction. Not the sort of place, in other
    words, that you’d expect to find a $30 million
    telecommunications concern doing a roaring trade in an ultra-
    competitive market.
    Yet, as Mustafa Sheikh, deputy managing director of Telcom
    Somalia says, the absence of a functioning government for 16
    years has been a boon for private enterprise. His firm is one of
    three in Somalia that provides fixed-line and mobile phones,
    creating competition so fierce that rates are among the lowest
    in the world.
    And business is excellent. Telcom boasts an annual average
    return of 35% on investment since its founding in the midst of
    the civil war in 1994. Last December, Sheikh secured $14
    million from his Chinese partners, Shenzhen-based Huawei, to
    upgrade his service. In total, the Somalian telecoms industry
    employs 65,000 people. “No taxes, no regulation, no
    bureaucrats

    Reply

  27. Maw of America says:

    Warren – Interesting description of US governance as “democratic, free enterprise communism”. Would you describe China as just “free enterprise communism” – without the democratic part? I think the primary difference is how the government purse strings are controlled. In China, it’s a few who have near-total control. In the US, it’s a many who are also accountable to the electorate – an electorate that is maddeningly susceptible to advertising and dissembling.

    Reply

  28. nadine says:

    “And Nadine, to call Obama left is absurd. In most of his decisions he acts exactly as George Bush.” (Warren Metzler)
    Really? When did Bush push for universal health care or run a 4 Trillion dollar Federal budget?
    Though Bush did pass Medicare Part D, so you have a point there — but it’s not that Obama isn’t to the left, it’s that Bush was not really to the right. Spending was too high under Bush; but it’s risen exponentially under Obama.

    Reply

  29. Dan Kervick says:

    “I wouldn’t call them “militant feminists” as Paul did.”
    Yes, I wouldn’t use that phrase either. I think they were just a bunch of people who, for one reason or another, were very strong supporters of Hillary Clinton and were very resentful of Barack Obama for running against her and beating her.

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    DonS,
    According to Gallup, in 2008 40% of Independents thought the Democrats were too liberal. In 2010, 52% think so. They are breaking heavily for the Republicans this year.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/139877/near-record-say-democratic-party-liberal.aspx
    “How do you account for the almost total disaffection with Obama among progressives? ”
    Their unrealistic expectations have met his incompetence. Though drew makes a good point; Obama’s strategy is better appreciated by his enemies than his allies. It is far easier to grow government than to shrink it again; as Reagan observed, once created, any bureaucracy’s chief mission is its own survival and growth.

    Reply

  31. Warren Metzler says:

    I think many of the comments on this issue were informative. But I still don’t understand why people believe the problem is Obama. The problem is us. We have over 140 years moved the definition of government closer and closer to democratic, free enterprise communism (I recognize that is an oxymoron). Which cannot work. And because it can’t work, only attracts people who have no moral fiber at all, but are willing to lie through their teeth to get attention. And having no moral fiber, once in office they are structurally incapable of making a single rational, morally sound, practical (has common sense) decision.
    This will continue and get progressively worse, until we as citizens radically change our view of government, going back to the Declaration of Independence, where by exercising our inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuing happiness, we begin to consider ourselves responsible for all of our own needs. Thereby voting for officials who will return government back to just providing simple administrative tasks, such as coast guard, embassies, post office, infrastructure, etc.
    I still don’t understand how people aren’t clear Clinton and Bush were just like Obama. But maybe short term memory loss comes from wanting the government to be a nanny state.
    And Nadine, to call Obama left is absurd. In most of his decisions he acts exactly as George Bush.

    Reply

  32. DonS says:

    Just a further note on 1) why progressives are disgusted with Obama and 2) another reminder, because we cant have enough, of the unmitigated fiscal, strategic, moral, human disaster the US perpetrated by the invasion of Iraq
    Or, in the final line of the linked post, “And I didn

    Reply

  33. questions says:

    Drew,
    PUMA stands for “Party Unity, My Ass” which was the rallying cry of a group of pro-Hillary, anti-Obmama voters. It came out of the call for, of course, unity under Obama.
    I wouldn’t call them “militant feminists” as Paul did. My memory is that there was some suspicion that there were a number of Republicans pushing the PUMA line, and then there were a lot of women who thought that it was a woman’s turn to be president or who felt that they had waited all their lives to vote for a woman and were once again seeing opportunity slip by. This latter is actually pretty understandable.

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    So when are we getting out of Afghanistan?
    So Afghanistan can go back to being to being Afghanistan just like Iraq has gone back to being Iraq. Told you so.

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    “Obama Closes Iraq War”
    How can the US unilaterally declare that combat is over without checking with the enemy or at least its puppet local army?
    from guardian.co.uk, 12 August 2010:
    Iraqi army not ready to take over until 2020, says country’s top general
    Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari calls for US army to stay beyond Obama’s 2011 deadline for complete withdrawal
    The Iraqi army is not ready to take over responsibility from the Americans, its most senior general has warned, as the White House insists the US army is on course to end its combat role in the country by the end of this month.
    Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari told a defence conference in Baghdad that the Iraqi army would be unable to cope without backing from US forces.
    He suggested the Iraqi army would be incapable of assuming control for another decade.
    “If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the US army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020,” he said. (end of guardian report)
    —————
    Consider the current situation in Iraq: a continuing pattern of violent attacks, the failure of the Iraqis to decide on a president since the March election, the continuing unresolved Kurdish independence question and the fact that the new Iraq parliament has met only once since March, for 18 minutes on June 14th, plus the looming presence of Iran-backed Sadr and the ever-present possibility of a military coup.
    “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”– Yogi Berra

    Reply

  36. JohnH says:

    The problem with Obama?
    “An essential problem remains with US diplomacy: We cannot trust a word they say…We should learn that the expressions of US diplomacy are utterly vacuous.”
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&article_id=118836&categ_id=17#axzz0yHztMccs
    Instead of showing leadership and using his bully pulpit to engage and educate the American people, Obama is interested in little more than putting lipstick on whatever pig that powerful interests plop down on his desk.

    Reply

  37. JohnH says:

    Why are progressives so dissatisfied with Obama?
    1) Excalating a pointless and futile war in Afghanistan.
    2) Failure to close Guantanamo.
    3) Failing the sincerity test about ending the war in Iraq, instead preparing to send in State Department mercenaries to replace the military.
    4) Failure to apply any pressure on Israel to foster peace.
    5) Endorsing domestic spying by intelligence agencies and their private contractors.
    6) Failure to deal convincingly with the health care disaster.
    7) Failure to reign in Wall Street or the oligopoly that dominates banking.
    8) Failure to put together an economic stimulus of a size needed to actually stimulate the economy.
    9) Continuing to fund the “Defense” Department lavishly while depriving health, education and job creation.
    10) Failure to negotiate seriously with Iran, and spurning a deal done by others (Turkey and Brazil).
    11) Letting BP do whatever it wanted, destroying the Gulf of Mexico.
    Need I go on? Instead of showing leadership, Obama has simply chosen to go with the flow of powerful interests, bobbing along on a current created by the Pentagon, military contractors, health insurance companies, and the financial industry.

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    Thanks for the reply Drew. I understand the argument that emphasizes secular change over the long term. Some of which, if we get there, is imperative, as in the destruction of the middle class’ ability to afford health care. Other of which, as I see it, e.g., allowing the economy to drift while the middle class, again, is eroded, should not be a matter of left or right. But it is.
    In the foreign policy realm, I see Obama, by conviction, or deference, acquiescing to the post 911 fear-based template, with all sorts of negative consequences for privacy and evolution of a surveillance apparatus. That’s not long term secular change. That’s jumping whole hog into the ‘be very afraid’ camp.
    I’m not attributing the countervailing interpretations to you, either. Just that some of what I see as deficiencies may not have the luxury of time to await long term secular change.

    Reply

  39. drew says:

    DonS: “How do you account for the almost total disaffection
    with Obama among progressives? There is a disconnect in you
    logic that requires the whole progressive wing of the dems to be
    nonexistent.”
    I think people in the center and right are evaluating BHO on the
    basis of what they believe he is doing over a far longer time
    horizon than the progressives are, and as a result see each of his
    major legislative and policy moves in the context of his strategic,
    secular transformation of the American idea. That’s why Gibbs
    blew a gasket: his core constituency on the left doesn’t realize
    he’s fighting a long war on their behalf. They want instanteous,
    not secular change.
    Example: they don’t appreciate the sheer brilliance of his health
    plan, because it backdoors what they really want: the mandatory,
    public takeover of primary care; they don’t appreciate the
    brilliant, tactical legerdemain of the administration.
    Conservatives and centrists correctly understand that he is
    pushing the country toward a point of no return. In this regard
    Obama is better appreciated by his enemies than his own voters.
    None of this may apply to you, of course, so I hope you won’t
    take it as a personal comment.

    Reply

  40. drew says:

    Thanks, Paul. If that’s a PUMA, we haven’t heard the last of
    them, for sure. While skating on the edge of sexist caricature,
    perhaps, I think that that cohort may prefer to have the last
    word.
    DonS, my opinion is that any intelligent policy-maker going
    forward will shudder at the cost and near-catastrophe that was
    Iraq, and that the potential strategic benefits of any future such
    exercise will be drowned in cries of “are you effing nuts?” IOW,
    the risk assessment will be very, very different next time. The
    surge was the military equivalent of going for it when you’re
    backed up on your own 10 yard-line and it’s 4th-and-20.
    I do think that there remain profound strategic benefits to be
    gained from a democratic Iraq, and I do not believe it is our
    place to attempt to impose them on the world for a long, long
    time.
    Obama has an enormous challenge now convincing the world
    that he was for it, after he was against it, in Iraq. And convincing
    us, if he wearies of Afghanistan, that he is against it, after he was
    for it.
    The torpor that suffused his speech last night is the depression
    of a personality that is increasingly encircled by his own words.

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    “Biden were vociferous and unyielding critics of the surge, shows
    me that the administration retains contempt for the memory and
    cognitive ability of the electorate,” (drew)
    I’ll take your point, Drew, but wonder if you agree that’s it’s equally offensive to the memory of all, electorate, and particularly the dead on all sides, that the misbegotten, contrived, lied about Iraq “war” is now just down the memory hole. Just another war, a trillion bucks or so, for no good reason, and no good consequences. Ho hum. Let’s just move on.

    Reply

  42. DonS says:

    ” . . .Obama has moved the definition of ‘left-wing’ so far to the left that it’s left a lot of former Democrats behind. These former moderate Democrats have become independent voters who are bolting en masse to the Republicans to counter-balance Obama’s lurch to the left.” (nadine)
    Nadine, you really ought not to spew this right wing talk garbage here. It’s so offensively ignorant to anyone with two brain cells to rub together. How do you account for the almost total disaffection with Obama among progressives? There is a disconnect in you logic that requires the whole progressive wing of the dems to be nonexistent. The other possibility is that you are so far to the right that you actually believe Obama is on the left. And of course that’s the take you prefer to see as “mainstream”. Maybe you’ll get your wish.

    Reply

  43. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by drew, Sep 01 2010, 7:27AM – Link
    What’s a PUMA?
    —————-
    Not your cup of tea, I guess…. They were a group of militant
    feminists who organized against Obama, and in favor of
    Hillary C. during the election, arguing that Obama was an
    obnoxious sexist who drank cafe latte. WigWag supported
    them, and their leader was one of Steve Clemons’ many
    friends.

    Reply

  44. Neo Controll says:

    “Why would I possibly “align” myself with people I don’t even know?”, Wig Wag says.
    Because your’re a sneaky creep. Now your trolling to ally yourself with Tahoe Editor who hasn’t been seen in these comments for ages.
    And your love affair with Hillary was legion. Your dissembling is amusing to those who see through you.

    Reply

  45. Renee says:

    Source:
    North Bay Bohemian, January 24, 2007
    Title:

    Reply

  46. drew says:

    What’s a PUMA?
    ***
    I think Zuckerman’s apostasy sums up the election and future
    prospects of BHO. They won’t get fooled again. Given how his
    administration now takes credit for success in Iraq, when he and
    Biden were vociferous and unyielding critics of the surge, shows
    me that the administration retains contempt for the memory and
    cognitive ability of the electorate, however, so we shouldn’t
    expect any mid-course, Clinton-1994-style, correction. The
    country is merely the reflecting pool for the glory that is BHO.
    I also think he’s tired of the job, considers it beneath him, and
    won’t run again. As far as I can tell the only thing he enjoys in
    the job are the photo ops with visiting jocks. He is arms-length
    from policy and politicking, and he has no new friendships or
    relationships with foreign leaders, who see him as a self-loving
    poodle.

    Reply

  47. WigWag says:

    “It’s interesting. But now that you have obviously moved so far over to the far right, WigWag, routinely aligning yourself with and supporting people like Nadine, Tahoe Editor and Kotzabasis…” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, I haven’t allied myself with anyone. I don’t view the comment section of the Washington Note as a new media version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. To be fair, given how dimwitted many of my comments are, and many of the other comments from others, I wouldn’t be surprised if our host, Steve Clemons, thought Abbot and Costello was a better metaphor.
    I enjoy reading Nadine’s Kotz’s and TE’s comments just like I enjoy reading yours and Paul Norheim’s.
    I write what I think; sometimes I even write what I don’t think, because putting things in writing helps me clarify things in my own mind.
    To some people, Steve’s comment section might be akin to a school yard rumble, but not to me.
    Why would I possibly “align” myself with people I don’t even know?

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    I can’t say I envy Obama the job of trying to put together a ruling coalition while pleasing the likes of you, Tony.
    Still, he’s done a remarkably poor job of it. He might as well have pleased you more, he has pleased everyone else so little.

    Reply

  49. TonyForesta says:

    Obama betrayed his base! Defending or applauding
    the fascist in the bushgov is the death knell to
    his future political life. The fascists in the
    bushgov wanton profiteering in Iraq is
    unforgivable. Mind you, that the bushgov falsely
    and deceptively bruted the LIE that Saddam was
    involved in 9/11, and that there were WMD in Iraq,
    ghoulisly exploiting the dead and horror of 9/11
    to hurl America into a war of choice in Iraq.
    There is no excusing or condoning this crime!
    When everyone who questioned the reasons and
    justification for attacking Iraq, were ruthlessly
    slimed as antiAmericans giving aid
    andcomforttotheenemy, – the fascist in the bushgov
    were profiteering wantonly from oil, energy,
    military, private military, intelligence, and
    private intelligence industrial complex
    oligarchs!!!
    Obama excusing and cloaking the bushgov for the
    crimes, abuses, and wanton profiteering in Iraq is
    a grotesque insult to the people who fought and
    supported Obama’s election.
    Obama is toast, because all of us, who fought and
    defended him know now, his is nothing more than a
    spaniel and parrot for the bushcrimefamilycabals,
    an deep in the pockets of the oligarchs who profit
    wantonly from the illicit horrorshows in Iraq and
    Afghanistan.
    You are a oneterm president O, because you
    betrayed the people who fought for, and defended
    you!

    Reply

  50. Don Bacon says:

    I love you, man.
    Obama, August 2010: “No one can doubt President Bush’s support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security.”
    Obama, July 2004: “There’s not much of a difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who’s in a position to execute.” [Chicago Tribune, 07/27/04]

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    It’s not that PUMAs were right-wing all along, Dan, but rather that Obama has moved the definition of ‘left-wing’ so far to the left that it’s left a lot of former Democrats behind. These former moderate Democrats have become independent voters who are bolting en masse to the Republicans to counter-balance Obama’s lurch to the left.

    Reply

  52. Dan Kervick says:

    It’s interesting. But now that you have obviously moved so far over to the far right, WigWag, routinely aligning yourself with and supporting people like Nadine, Tahoe Editor and Kotzabasis, it’s increasingly career that a good portion of the PUMAs were right-wingers all along. It was worth electing Obama if only to stop Hillary, especially given what we have seen from Clinton as Secretary of State.

    Reply

  53. Don Bacon says:

    The US defeated Germany (with a lot of Russian help) and Japan simultaneously in 3 1/2 years, but it took 7 1/2 years to defeat a country, Iraq, which was already on its knees due to bombing and sanctions. The US military is the General Motors of military affairs. (The Navy does have a good bluegrass band, however.)
    This is what we get for $700 billion a year, almost what the rest of the rest of the world spends on military affairs? Plus the damn thing was dead against the United Nations Charter, which says that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
    Hey, it took Obama only eighteen months to end it. Course he couldn’t have ended it if it weren’t for that other fiasco in Afghanistan that he’s poured the troops into, some of them now dead: Patrick K. Durham, 24, of Chattanooga, Tenn., Andrew J. Castro, 20, of Westlake Village, Calif., Floyd E. C. Holley, 36, of Casselberry, Fla., Floyd E. C. Holley, 36, of Casselberry, Fla., Ellery R. Wallace, 33, of Utah, Bryn T. Raver, 20, of Harrison, Ark., Chad D. Coleman, 20, of Moreland, Ga., Adam J. Novak, 20, of Prairie du Sac, Wis., James C. Robinson, 27, of Lebanon, Ohio, James R. Ide, 32, of Festus, Mo., Daniel L. Fedder, 34, of Pine City, Minn., and James M. Swink, 20, of Yucca Valley, Calif., just to name a few.
    What a waste. Tears me up, damn it.

    Reply

  54. nadine says:

    You’ve got a good point there, Wigwag, but I still think she’ll try. The Presidency bug is a terminal disease; once you get it, you don’t recover.

    Reply

  55. WigWag says:

    Nope. Hillary Clinton has tarnished herself by working for Barack Obama. I think she would have made a far better President than Obama but Obama’s foreign policy is a disaster and Clinton is Secretary of State. While almost all of the fault for the foreign policy failures of the current Administration belong to Obama and not Clinton, she can’t run away from the failures that she shares in just by being a member of the Obama team.
    Clinton should have stayed in the Senate where she would have been well positioned to mount a primary challenge to Obama. She chose to leave the Senate.
    She has no one to blame but herself.

    Reply

  56. nadine says:

    “Those who supported Barack Obama’s aspirations to win the Democratic nomination are now reaping what they sowed.” (Wigwag)
    Yup. The enduring mystery for me is how Obama managed to fool so many really bright people into thinking he was truly an extraordinary figure, not just an “off the rack Chicago pol” as Bill Clinton called him, with an extraordinary gift for snow jobs. For example, Mort Zuckerman just wrote a column where he called Obama “the most fiscally reckless President in history.” Um, so why did you support him, Mort? To the point of writing speeches for him?
    For me, 2008 felt like staying sober in a room full of party-goers getting drunk as fast as they can. Obama ran as some kind of semi-divine hero — and people believed it. It was scary to me. It still is, that this demagogue with no resume and a shadowy background could become President. Fouad Ajami compared it to Nasser’s campaigns in Egypt: The charismatic leader who inspires belief in himself as the solution for everything.
    Since one thing Barack Obama has managed to do is make the Presidency of Bill Clinton look moderate and successful by contrast, I would not be a bit surprised if Hillary leaves the administration after the election and begins laying the groundwork for another run. What do you think of that idea, Wigwag?

    Reply

  57. WigWag says:

    The amazing thing Nadine, is that all of this was so predictable. In fact, many of us (including Tahoe Editor) predicted the implosion of Obama in the comment section of Steve’s website long before the Democratic nomination was stolen by Obama.
    Those who supported Barack Obama’s aspirations to win the Democratic nomination are now reaping what they sowed.
    It’s too bad that the entire country has to pay the price for their foolishness.

    Reply

  58. nadine says:

    “Obama has accomplished something that no President has ever done before, or at least in a very long time. He’s become a lame duck before reaching even the two year mark in his first term. Given the hype surrounding his election, it’s really quite extraordinary. As amazing as it is to contemplate, even Jimmy Carter had a better first 22 months than Obama.
    What’s even more incredible is the fact that none of it means that Obama won’t be reelected. In fact, if the Democrats lose one or both Houses of Congress, it probably helps Obama’s reelection prospects.
    But the bloom sure is off the rose.” (Wigwag)
    Next up: killer rabbits.
    If Obama loses both houses, it will give him an obvious campaign theme, but won’t guarantee election. At the rate he’s going, a majority of Americans may simply have decided they don’t like this guy by 2012. My bet would be that he has a strong primary challenge from a Democratic Party deeply resentful of having been trashed by this narcissist.
    Gallup has the generic congressional vote as 51% Rep to 41% Dem. That’s the biggest margin for Republicans ever — and this poll always favors Democrats because of their concentration problem; the election results always are MORE Republican than this poll says. Dick Morris fwiw says the Republicans will win the Senate and 60-80 seats in the House.

    Reply

  59. nadine says:

    “Unlike when we spend on jobs at home at so
    people have disposable income to spend here”
    Ah, yes, the mythical multiplier effect. I believe the CBO has already put paid to that particular claim. In short, you get the first dollar for paying someone’s salary to make something, whether that something is bullets for Afghanistan (it’s not like all the money is going to Afghans) or mag-lev trains for Nevada. You get multiplier-effect dollars for making something useful which improves the health of the economy. That, I’m afraid, does not describe the vast majority of the pork-barrel spending of the stimulus. There is no multiplier effect for keeping overpaid government workers at their jobs another year in bankrupt states.

    Reply

  60. The Pessimist says:

    And what about the thousands of tax payer enabled
    mercenaries still undertaking combat operations
    Barack? What about them?

    Reply

  61. WigWag says:

    It will be interesting to see what the ratings are for Obama’s speech; my guess is that no one watched.
    Obama has accomplished something that no President has ever done before, or at least in a very long time. He’s become a lame duck before reaching even the two year mark in his first term. Given the hype surrounding his election, it’s really quite extraordinary. As amazing as it is to contemplate, even Jimmy Carter had a better first 22 months than Obama.
    What’s even more incredible is the fact that none of it means that Obama won’t be reelected. In fact, if the Democrats lose one or both Houses of Congress, it probably helps Obama’s reelection prospects.
    But the bloom sure is off the rose.

    Reply

  62. hv says:

    Nadine,
    You understand when we spend on bullets that are
    fired in Iraq, those bullets can’t buy things in
    America? Unlike when we spend on jobs at home at so
    people have disposable income to spend here.
    Can you see a difference there?
    Just a little tiny one?
    Can you?

    Reply

  63. nadine says:

    Out of one side of his mouth, Obama says we cannot afford war spending; out of the other other he says spending is good because it’s stimulus and we need more of it, deficits be damned. He spent more on one stimulus bill than the entire cost of the Iraq War.
    So which is it? Is spending good, or is it bad?
    Obama cannot give a single speech where he does not display his economic illiteracy.
    And he still can’t sound like a President, though he tried tonight. This is not about your campaign promises, Mr.President. It’s not about using America’s support for the troops to whip up support for a domestic policy which is widely seen as a failure. It’s about America and Iraq and Afghanistan and the world, which are slightly larger subjects.
    At least he mentioned the name of George W. Bush (until now, Bush has been He Who Must Not Be Named, like Voldemort). But Obama still cannot admit that Bush was right about the surge, or give him any credit for a policy which handed Obama a success in Iraq. That just makes Obama look petty and graceless.

    Reply

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