What Does Obama Want?

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jacob heilbrunn twn burns.jpgNeocon chronicler Jacob Heilbrunn, who like many realist foreign policy mavens supported President Obama’s candidacy, is unsure of what President Obama actually wants to achieve at this point. What are his priorities? What is he really gambling assets to achieve?
Read the entire piece (which admittedly does quote a line of mine).
Heilbrunn starts:

What does Barack Obama want? That is the central question of his presidency that he has not answered. And he didn’t answer it last night, either, in his first official State of the Union address. Sometimes presidents have their mission forced on them, which is what happened to George W. Bush, who was floundering before September 11. Other times, as in the case of Ronald Reagan, who had the twin goals of reviving the free enterprise system and defeating communism, they’ve been preparing for it their entire life. Obama came into office championing what he was not: not George W. Bush, not Dick Cheney. He was hope personified. He would unite the warring factions inside the Beltway.
Last night he spoke before a Congress that is more divided than ever and held out the fig-leaf of monthly meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders.
Fine. But it still doesn’t really answer the question of what his program is for the next year. Consider health care. Obama said, “Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done.”
But Obama never explained what plan he endorses or how he envisions the House and Senate working together to achieve that goal. It’s incredible that Congress devoted an entire year to health care, which, by the way, forms a big–too big–chunk of the economy, and may well come up with nothing. Unlike Reagan, who barnstormed the country pushing for his economic program of tax cuts, Obama himself has been largely missing in action on health care. When he doesn’t say what he wants, then the public begins to wonder if he knows it himself, and finds him wanting as president.

The rest. . .
— Steve Clemons

Comments

63 comments on “What Does Obama Want?

  1. nadine says:

    nadine, you changed the subject from motivation to “trained and supplied” which accomplishes nothing except to prove POA’s contention. The training and supplying of these petty criminals, by the way, can be done by the internet and a drug store — it ain’t rocket science.
    Your local drug store sells plastic explosives? Really?
    I find it curious, this willful refusal to recognize the existence of ideology.
    Here we have a young Nigerian, whose own father was so alarmed by his fervent Islamic radicalization that he reported his own son to the CIA. The young Nigerian then travels to Yemen, hooks up with an active branch of Al Qaeda, receives training in how to become a suicide bomber, and boards a US plane with explosive underwear and tries to blow it up. And yet you STILL deny that jihad could be a motive. If it wasn’t jihad, then what was his motive?
    Imagine a young white supremacist in Alabama in 1938. Disappointed with his local KKK, he travels to Berlin, applies to Nazi headquarters for Nazi party membership and German citizenship, is welcomed as a volunteer, and promptly joins the Waffen SS. Would you be denying the racist ideology had some part to play in his decision? Would you be saying, oh this is just a petty criminal who could have gotten his gun from any gun store?

    Reply

  2. Steve Clemons says:

    I have just approved the deletion of a number of comments by POA, Nadine and some others.
    Stop the name-calling. Just resist. If you are riled up about something, debate the policy issues.
    I find the name-calling on all sides repugnant and offensive — and it undermines the seriousness and the reputation of this blog.
    My rules — respect them.
    You are all intelligent enough that you can resist the urge to engage in such crass behavior.
    All of your comments were deleted that went over the line.
    Thanks, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  3. GeoWahingtion's conscience says:

    “Abdulmutallab interrogated for less than an hour: White House defends handling of terrorist case”
    By: Byron York
    Chief Political Correspondent
    01/24/10 9:17 PM EST
    This Dec. 2009 photo released by the U.S. Marshal’s Service on Monday Dec. 28, 2009 shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich.
    The White House is not disputing a report that FBI agents questioned accused Northwest Airlines bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for just 50 minutes before deciding to grant him the right to remain silent and provide him with a court-appointed lawyer — a decision that led Abdulmutallab to stop talking and provide no more information.
    The news came in an Associated Press reconstruction of Abdulmutallab’s first hours in custody. The AP reported that Abdulmutallab “repeatedly made incriminating statements” to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who originally took him into custody. Then Abdulmutallab made more statements to doctors who were treating him for burns and other injuries. Only later did FBI agents interview him — a session that lasted, according to the Associated Press, for “about 50 minutes.” Before beginning the questioning, the AP continues, “the FBI agents decided not to give him his Miranda warnings informing him of his right to remain silent” — apparently relying on an exception to Miranda that allows questioning about imminent threats.
    After that, Abdulmutallab went into surgery. It was four hours before he was available for more questioning. By that time, the Justice Department in Washington had intervened. A new set of agents read Abdulmutallab the Miranda warning, telling him he had the right to remain silent — and thereafter, Abdulmutallab remained silent.
    On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs whether President Obama was informed of the decision to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights before or after it was done. Gibbs avoided the question, saying, “That decision was made by the Justice Department and the FBI, with experienced FBI interrogators.” Gibbs stressed that “Abdulmutallab was interrogated and valuable intelligence was gotten as a result of that interrogation.”
    Wallace pressed. “But we now find out he was interrogated for 50 minutes,” he said to Gibbs. “When they came back, he was read his Miranda rights and he clammed up.”
    “No,” Gibbs answered. “Again, he was interrogated. Valuable intelligence was gotten based on those interrogations. And I think the Department of Justice and the — made the right decision, as did those FBI agents.”
    “Let me just press one last question,” Wallace said. “You really don’t think that if you’d interrogated him longer that you might have gotten more information, since we now know that Al Qaeda in Yemen — ”
    “Well, FBI interrogators believe they got valuable intelligence and were able to get all that they could out of him,” Gibbs said.
    “All they could?” Wallace asked.
    “Yeah,” Gibbs said.
    Bottom line: Gibbs did not dispute that the FBI interviewed Abdulmutallab for just 50 minutes. But Gibbs maintained that agents learned everything that was possible to learn from the accused terrorist, who was trained by, and presumably knew about, the activities of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. If the agents learned everything that was possible to learn from Abdulmutallab in just 50 minutes, it was likely a world record of interrogation.
    A few days ago, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Committee asked questions that led to the disclosure that key national security officials were not consulted in the decision to treat Abdulmutallab as a civilian criminal, rather than as an enemy combatant, which would have allowed officials to interrogate him extensively without any assertion that Abdulmutallab had the right to remain silent. In light of these new revelations, it is likely that the GOP will step up its questions for Attorney General Eric Holder — and for the president himself — about why that decision was made.

    Reply

  4. Don Bacon says:

    nadine, you changed the subject from motivation to “trained and supplied” which accomplishes nothing except to prove POA’s contention. The training and supplying of these petty criminals, by the way, can be done by the internet and a drug store — it ain’t rocket science.
    Same with box cutters. Conducting a ten or twenty year nation-building war in Afghanistan because that’s where some Saudis were “trained” to use box cutters? The US is real stupid, bankrupting itself by doing exactly what OBL wants us to do. Real stupid, eh?
    So the bogus war on terror, now being continued by that genius in the White House, is merely a racket to enrich war profiteers and politicians, as Smedley Butler said years ago. “War is a racket . . .the only on in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”

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  5. nadine says:

    Don, the Undie Bomber was trained and supplied with explosive underpants by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He told this to the FBI. He told them there were more bombers coming. Then we Mirandized him and he clammed up. These are the reported facts. Nobody contests them.
    Getting arms and a suicide bomb from AL QAEDA is not evidence for taking part in jihad? If it isn’t what would be?

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “There is no evidence to support what nadine writes”
    Of course not. This is news to the blog community here?
    More and more, it just seems like our responses to Nadine are counterproductive, as it just provides her with a forum. Perhaps we are better served by just allowing Kotz and her to swap intellectual spittle, without joining in their absurd interactions and warped musings. I am sure that Wig-wag’s occassional endorsement of Nadine’s amazing flights of fantasy will provide ample entertainment, enabling us to survive the withdrawal symptoms of our seeming addiction to engaging in debate with an unmitigated and unabashed horse’s ass.

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    There is no evidence to support what nadine writes.
    nadine: “Don, the undie bomber was motivated by jihad agains the infidel, which started before the war on terror.”
    WaPo, Dec 29, 2010
    The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner apparently turned to the Internet for counseling and companionship, writing in an online forum that he was “lonely” and had “never found a true Muslim friend. . .”I have no one to speak too [sic],” read a posting from January 2005, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was attending boarding school. “No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems.”
    Fabrizio Cavallo Marincola, 22, who studied with Abdulmutallab at University College London, said Abdulmutallab graduated in May 2008 and showed no signs of radicalization or of links to al-Qaeda.

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    POA, I’ve already read the email exchange, and I interpreted the replies you got as
    another way to say that they lack the resources to make serious attempts to change the
    narrative. And to answer your last question (which by implication also answers the
    first question): I seriously doubt it.
    I guess the Goldstone report could have helped changing the narrative. But the White
    House and Congress knew this and blocked it.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Breaking the Silence – Israelis who care / Shai Lahav 29/7/2009
    http://www.shovrimshtika.org/oferet/press_item_e.asp?id=13&page=1
    In current Israeli discourse – which lost its sanity quite a while ago – to label ‘Breaking the Silence’ “traitors” has become almost self-evident. Trivial. High-profile publicists are making this accusation casually, as a matter of course. Popular radio commentators blurt it with a smile, and the radio station (military, of course) that broadcasts them loudly endorses them.
    I don’t wish to enter a moral (and highly important) polemic here, about outing such testimonies in times of war, nor discuss the way – problematic, I find – in which they were expressed and distributed internationally. In a world that no doubt laps them up thirstily, with open pleasure.
    But there is one small detail, esoteric really, in the equation “‘Breaking the Silence’ = traitors”, which has escaped public discussion – if indeed the repulsive diatribe that broke out here merits the term. It is the simple fact that in order to be involved in the cases they exposed, those ‘traitors’, those lowly creatures who stab the nation in its back need to be combatants. Namely: spend three precious years of their lives in rigorous service of their country, in constant physical and emotional danger. Moreover: those repulsive ‘Judases’ were involved as soldiers in real war inside Gaza. They risked their lives most directly in a military operation that was meant to defend the Israeli home-front.
    IT IS MUCH SIMPLER TO KEEP SILENT
    And I say, speaking of treason, one could think of less hazardous and rigorous ways. Why not dodge military service, for instance, like many of our patriotic sons? Why not abstain from paying taxes, or extort money from the welfare authorities out of sheer laziness? These are all typically-Israeli actions that do not merit such loud name-calling.
    As I said, one might content the way in which those anonymous combatants chose to air their grievances. But it is hard to argue with the fact that these are people who care, unlike the silent Israeli majority – rightists and leftists both, who have simply lost interest in the goings-on here for quite some time. These are combatants untainted with self-hatred, that permanent demagogy, but rather acting in sincere concern for the fate of the country which they truly love. And they are, primarily, brave. I say with from experience.
    As one who fought in Gaza in the First Intifada, written a book about it and eventually a play, too, I can say it is much easier to keep silent. Most people around would rather you didn’t jolt them with unpleasant stories about problematic army conduct. And they respond accordingly. After all, a huge part of the rage unleashed against ‘Breaking the Silence’ stems from the embarrassment that their discourse has been causing all of us. From the unsettling suspicion that it is founded. Thus, as far as I’m concerned, ‘Breaking the Silence’ are heroes. Even if tragic ones.
    Kobi Arieli, whom I still like although he declared that he detests my kind of people, talked on his radio program about a fellow named Hizki, who as a boy would beat traitors to a pulp, and wished for Hizki to appear right now and take care of the guys who break the silence.
    Well, my dear Kobi, in case of a future confrontation, I bet your Hizki will turn around and speed away to the nearest restaurant. After all, the traitors he now has to ‘take care of’ are sturdy, brave combatants who underwent the hardships of infantry training, while Hizki himself, considering your shared background, is a slack Yeshiva-boy whose latest armed confrontation with an enemy took place at his Friday night dinner table. And may the State of Israel be praised.
    Translated from http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/922/906.html

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Even on the battlefield, you can find the distinction. If soldiers are ordered to massacre civilians, they are committing a war crime”
    http://www.shovrimshtika.org/oferet/testimonies_category_e.asp
    “Beyond me too, POA. And this back and forth seems to be the engine that currently creates the dynamics of almost all the threads at TWN. It’s pointless and distracting”
    Paul, check out the email exchange I had with Sama Adnan………
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/01/the_no_false_ch/#comment-150780
    I’m curious, do you think his PAC’s approach has any hope of succeeding? Why will the average citizen contribute to his PAC if they are not informed in an unbiased and honest manner by the American media?

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    DonS, nothing is “arcane” here. I am just trying to figure out whether you think every soldier that ever served in any army is a criminal, or not.
    If you do, then naturally you would consider terrorists criminals as well. If you don’t, then we can try to find how you draw the line between soldiers who aren’t criminals and soldiers (combatants? militants? terrorists? criminals?) who are.
    Going off on a rant about Bush/Cheney may satisfy you emotionally, but it evades the point of the discussion.

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    Nadine, it’s pretty arcane to be pushing to label every jihadi as an “enemy combatant” when the criminal attack on a sovereign nation — certainly as measured by dead civilians — was perpetrated by war criminals who you probably think are heroes. Or maybe you think all of those dead Iraqis were enemy combatants? Or maybe you think there is no relevance to criminal acts by the US.
    My point? The Cheney/Bush/neocon legacy leaves not that much daylight to claim the moral high ground. They’re not “morally justified” just because they say they were. And don’t bother answering by throwing around jihadi this, jihadi that, Islamist this, 3000 innocent civilians, blah blah blah.
    The moral blindness that sees only the log in the other’s eye might satisfy your wish to exterminate the other — and a couple of hundred thousand incidental innocents — but that’s why it is blind.

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    Don, the undie bomber was motivated by jihad agains the infidel, which started before the war on terror. If B comes after A, B didn’t happen because of A. When it comes to lists of grievances, jihadis have a long list to justify themselves with. But it’s not a new phenomenon. It’s been on and off again as long as there has been Islam.
    Do you regard every soldier that ever was simply as a criminal? Can’t you see the difference between knocking over a 7-11 and going out to die for a cause because your country or your priest told you it was your duty? The Axis and Allies were all criminals? Napoleon’s soldiers were criminals? The Crusaders were criminals? Is that how you think?

    Reply

  14. Don Bacon says:

    nadine, you’re exactly right to compare the undies bomber to a murderer, and murder is a crime not an act of war.
    The undies bomber, like others of his ilk, who slipped through the porous US security web was motivated by the US war on terror — US military killings in Muslim countries, plus US-financed I/P oppression of Palestinians. How do we know this? They tell us. OBL told us.
    So that’s the sort of wrongful marketing (propaganda) I was speaking of that a strong and smart politician could counter, if we had any.

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    Nadine,
    “Pandemic” is defined by spread of infection I think, not by number of cases.
    H1N1 was/is considered a serious problem not just because of spread, but more because of who was/is dying from it. Younger people, generally healthy to start with don’t generally die from the flu. In this case they were/are.
    Likely, the vaccine eased the spread and it’s possible that it would not have spread a whole lot more anyway.
    Preventive care works this way. If we act in advance we can never know how effective our actions will have been. Unless, that is, we create an alternative universe so that we can do double-blind studies, I guess. But that’s actually considered immoral.
    The real problem is that healthy skepticism of large institutions that stand to “profit” from a certain course of action bumps right into the fact that many many institutions actually do work for human good even as they profit from their work.
    Kant hits this distinction when he discusses the 4 cases in the _Groundwork_. You can act against duty. You can act in accordance with duty with either a mediate or immediate inclination. OR you can FROM duty AND AGAINST inclination. It’s only in this last case that we can be sure that you’re actually acting from duty, from morality, and not from desire/profit.
    So vaccine makers may well be doing the right thing, but since they are also doing the thing they want (making money) we have to question the action. If, however, we question it to the point of getting no vaccines, we may well win some really great Darwin Awards — posthumously, of course.
    There is a fundamental epistemological problem here. We simply cannot know. A little trust and trustworthiness goes a long way towards helping institutions work.
    (By the way, speaking of all of this paranoia stuff, saw a book yesterday at a bookstore — by one of the 9/11 Commission people on ‘the real story’ — the takeaway seems to be that the institutional fuck ups were glossed over in the regular report. Something about how “reinventing government” was something of a problem, how the basic structures of our bureaucracy are even more of a problem than we seem willing to admit. I only glanced and did not buy. But this book seems to undermine some of the more paranoid readings while still saying that the “official” version isn’t quite there either.)
    BOOK NOTE–
    _Fixing Failed States_ by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockart
    Looks really good. All sorts of criticisms of international organizations, foreign aid that’s misdirected and that cannot be spent by the recipient nation because of a lack of institutional ability to spend, criticisms of imposed rather than arising solutions. Localism over imposition, giving people stakes in the construction.
    Interesting factoid — Sierra Leone requires renewal of the main citizenship document every three MONTHS. Imagine having to run down to DMV/MVA every three months to renew your drivers license! Not online, not over the phone. In person. Bribing people along the way…. So much for any action for which you have to show proof of identity. This kind of structure makes it impossible for the poor in a nation to function at citizens.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    Who is AEI/NAM? I’ve never heard of them.

    Reply

  17. JohnH says:

    Nadine, in case you’re curious, it’s not just me. The Council of Europe launched an investigation into whether the World Health Organization (WHO) “faked” the swine flu pandemic to boost profits for vaccine manufacturers. So the WHO is suspected of being in on the fraud.
    This is serious stuff. Constantly crying “wolf” about every last virus will lead to people not getting vaccinated when the real thing comes along. The WHO should reserve its pandemic status for viruses that are proven to be really serious. This one was phony from the outset. The media was already hyping it when there were only a handful of deaths in Mexico. That meant that no scientific analysis had been done–there wasn’t time. It was just fear mongering. And Rumsfeld’s Gilead Sciences stood to profit.
    It’s like Bush constantly posting “terrorist alert levels,” changing to red whenever politically expedient. When the real threat comes along, chances are that people will ignore it.
    Or when Israel howls about “existential threats.” Why would anyone take them seriously, since every last rock thrower is painted as an existential threat?
    OK, your turn. Post some AEI/NAM or AIPAC “conventional wisdom.” It’s expected.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    JohnH, a “pandemic” is defined by how many people become infected, not how many die of the infection. H1N1 was declared a pandemic by the WHO.
    It is not possible, even with modern medicine, to know ahead of time how a new flu virus will mutate or how many people it will kill.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    Don, lots more people die of natural causes than get murdered. That doesn’t mean we accept the murders and do nothing to punish or try to prevent them. Also, we weren’t rampaging anywhere in 1995, we were trying to negotiate Mideast peace. But that’s when OBL and KSM started planning 9/11. Your theory that if we make ourselves small and innocuous, professed jihadis will forget about jihad is not supported by anybody who knows anything about Al Qaeda.
    Criminals want money. Criminals don’t become suicide bombers for Allah. There’s no profit in that unless you believe in the 72 dark eyed virgins of paradise. We’ve seen thousands of suicide bombers, yet you will believe absolutely anything but that they really are religious fanatics.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    nadine, Yes, I would in any case call the war on terror bogus, because the rampaging US military is creating terrorists, and that’s according to various studies of various groups including Rand.
    Terrorist acts are criminal acts, and terrorists are criminals. Their acts are of course much less injurious to innocents than the acts of state terrorists.
    The statistical threat of injury by terrorism to the average American is less than that of bath-tub slips — you can look it up.
    So your promotion of scary terrorist threats is an example of the king of marketing I’m talking about.

    Reply

  21. JohnH says:

    Nadine, maybe you should read the article before you post. The H1N1 pandemic that never was. It killed far fewer than standard influenza, which was never declared a pandemic. In fact, H1N1 is estimated to have killed only about 14,000 people worldwide, which is nothing compared to the genuine pandemics of the past.
    However, Donald Rumsfeld’s Gilead Sciences, which owns the rights to Tamiflu has profited mightily from all the fear mongering.
    http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_bird_flu.htm

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    JohnH, you’re heading into murky waters here
    “Yes indeed, major corporations do have contempt for the people they market to. Here’s a classic example–the creation of the H1N1 pandemic.”
    So the World Health Organization is in league with “major corproations”? Which are you denying, the existence of the pandemic or its natural causes?
    Did the modern age repeal the ability of viruses to mutate, or what? This is tinfoil hat stuff.

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  23. DonS says:

    OT — the emerging scandal at DOJ, and elsewhere, to whitewash Yoo and the torture memos:
    “the wider question becomes whether the entire government is standing in the way of accountability for the crime of torture”
    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/27321
    “question”? I would say travesty. And continuing criminal cover up.

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    “War on terror”. “War on terror”, Nadine, you are showing yourself to be not just biased, but hackneyed.
    No matter how many planes come down, it will still not justify the hyperventilating and warmongering your ilk. It just makes things worse, which you never will get.
    You are showing yourself to be shallow and ignorant. Who, it escapes me, do you possibly think you are influencing here at TWN with your formulaic neocon rants??? Foreigners who don’t really follow all the language?

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  25. JohnH says:

    Yes indeed, major corporations do have contempt for the people they market to. Here’s a classic example–the creation of the H1N1 pandemic. Like SARS, bird flu, West Nile, it never materialized. But government gladly bought the fear mongering hook, line and sinker. Some people were forced into being vaccinated, some manipulated by the highly publicized fear mongering.
    http://www.truthout.org/swine-flu-didnt-fly56431
    Nadine would have us believe that these gigantic corporations are merely responding to people’s ordinary wants and needs. In fact, they are skilled manipulators.
    The war on terror has killed fewer Americans than even H1N1. But to hear all the hype, which Nadine gladly thrives on, you would think that the bogeyman was going to eat our children tomorrow. Sadly, it’s just more marketing. The question is: who’s coordinating the campaign? Israeli hasbara? And who else?

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  26. nadine says:

    DonS, trying to make my point for me?

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, would you still be calling the war on terror “bogus” if the Undie Bomber had brought down the plane on Christmas Day?
    I’m afraid that with Obama’s total mishandling of the war on terror, we will soon find out the hard way how much threat is really out there. For God’s sake, the Undie Bomber told us there were more bombers coming and we didn’t even interrogate him. We got every single break on that one and we still blew it.
    I think this is a case where GW Bush was punished for successfully preventing attacks. If there had been a couple more 9/11’s would you still call the GWOT bogus? You might, but you wouldn’t find many friends.

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  28. DonS says:

    “BTW, DonS, GW Bush DID win reelection as Governor of Texas AND President, so somebody liked his job performance” (Nadine)
    You really do leave yourself open for so many good one liners:
    H L Menken: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”

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  29. nadine says:

    “Unfortunately peoples’ wants have been shaped by marketing experts, just like with any product or service, into something they may not actually need.”
    I keep hearing this refrain. Sometimes it’s called “false consciousness” Sometimes it’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas.” A few days ago Obama said he’d be okay with being a “very good” one term President. Um, wouldn’t “very good” Presidents be likely to win reelection? (BTW, DonS, GW Bush DID win reelection as Governor of Texas AND President, so somebody liked his job performance). Joe Klein said much the same in Time Magazine.
    The common theme here is contempt for those dumb rubes, the American people, who aren’t enlightened enough to appreciate the awesomeness of Obama and the progressive program. If the Dems have any sense left, they will stifle this refrain before the next election. It’s not a good idea to openly display your contempt for the voter while on campaign. But the Dems seem emotionally unbalanced by extreme frustration right now.

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  30. Don Bacon says:

    nadine, neither the Dems nor the Repubs have a high standing in the polls because they are both beholden to corporate interests and the people know it. Now if one of those parties, most likely the Dems, had broken their corporate bonds, listened to what people want and taken action to represent the voters instead of corporations then they would be more successful.
    So it’s not a case of being belligerent or ideological, it’s a case of realigning political policies to match what people actually want. Unfortunately peoples’ wants have been shaped by marketing experts, just like with any product or service, into something they may not actually need. But even that could be overcome by smart and strong politicians, a type we had some of in, say, the sixties, but we no longer seem to have.
    A smart and strong politician, for examp0le, could take the bogus global war on terror and transform it into the policy midget that it should be. She could also take health care and make something sensible out of it, and same with the obscene Pentagon budget and the stupid wars.
    But we don’t have those giants any more, and so we have people in Massachusetts who have voted Democratic all their electoral lives now voting for a Scott Brown nobody, just to show the Democratic Party that they have been wrong to take the voters for granted. Good for them. Democracy in action, in a negative sense, because it isn’t that they liked Brown that much, although he did run a smart campaign and Coakley ran a dumb one.

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  31. DonS says:

    “Obama has never been expected to perform well in any job he held”. (Nadine) So he and Junior do have something in common. But I don’t know how Obama has performed in other jobs; maybe research it. And I don’t know what frustrates him , as you seem to. And I don’t know that “big policy changes get made near the center”. You know so many things that I’m just not so certain of. Must be nice.

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  32. nadine says:

    Hey, you asked, DonS.
    This is a representative democracy. That means big policy changes get made somewhere near the center. Obama can’t rule by decree like Hugo Chavez. This seems to really frustrate him. We must remember that until now, Obama has never been expected to perform well in any job he held; he could always run for the next job instead. Different rules apply now.

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  33. DonS says:

    Hey, Nadine, I’m really not interested in debating the who shot John’s, or trying to defend dems. Their all a bunch of pathetic goobers for the most part. Thug or dem. We need honesty and change, not what we usually get. Policy is important, not politics.

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  34. nadine says:

    DonS, the Republicans had proposals last summer, June I think. You are confusing “no reporting” (because the media is pro-Democrat and Republican bills didn’t matter anyway because Pelosi wouldn’t give them a hearing) with “no bills”.
    They also tried to negotiate on health care but were shut out of the room. Literally.

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  35. DonS says:

    That’s correct, Don. The patriotic posture has been distinctly supine, if your a dem. For a repub it’s been the chickenhawk strut.
    Nadine, how long did it take for the repubs to quit stalling and phoney up a their health care “bill”? Still don’t have one. And if you are trying to get me to ooh and aaah over Bush’s bipartisan strategy with NCLB, that was one miserable law. And if noting that the dems were a bunch of cowered and cowardly pols when they were in the minority — artfully, but shamefully, played like a violin by the necon Bus/Cheney criminals — you betcha they were.

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  36. nadine says:

    So what’s your prescription, Don? Dems have to be even more belligerent and ideological? Never mind what the polls say, or what the voters of Massachusetts say? If we’re going to go down in November, grab everything we can right now? Obama seems to be agreeing with you. But to me (& I’m not alone) it looks like a recipe for a political bloodbath in November.
    Peggy Noonan wrote a column about a week ago where she said voters think of the two parties as the Nuts and the Creeps. They voted for Obama because he promised he wasn’t a Nut and would end the partisan bickering. Now they are saying, “Uh oh, he’s a Nut after all. Time to vote in the Creeps again.” I think there is a considerable amount of truth in this view. Sometimes American voters decide gridlock is better than the other available options.

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  37. Don Bacon says:

    It wasn’t hard to steamroll the Dems in the last administration. They were already prone, unlike now when they stand up to the president. oooops

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    DonS, that is simply not true. One of Bush’s first bills was No Child Left Behind, which was co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy. He didn’t negotiate all his bills in the Repubican caucus with the Democrats shut out of the room the way Obama has.
    Name me the Obama bill that was co-sponsored by Republicans. The Republicans have put bills and ideas forward – lots of them. Pelosi and Reid wouldn’t give them a hearing.
    Remember, Bush never had a supermajority. He had to get some Democratic votes to pass anything.
    Bush had a realistic idea of how to play the cards he held. Obama doesn’t, that’s all you can say.

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  39. DonS says:

    “Obama has a dysfunctional model of bipartisanship. He thinks it has two steps. Step 1: Obama is civil to Republicans. Step 2: Republicans adopt left-wing Democratic positions.”
    I know politicians and politics repeats itself. Your step 1 and 2 is exactly how the repubs ran Washington for 8 years, steamrolling any minority viewpoint.
    Whether dems would steam roll repubs we’ll never know. Your premise is wrong however. Republicans want (and have clearly stated) Obama to fail. Their straight party line votes couldn’t make it more clear. As far as ‘change’, why would repubs want that? The previous 8 years cemented oligarchy into law; now it’s just defend the status quo.
    I’m not even going to dispute your characterization of dem positions as ‘left wing’. Why bother jousting with a robotic talking point.

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  40. nadine says:

    “Obama is getting a rep for being a softy; he calls it civility. It’s not going to work. How to get the message through??? Maybe Obama/Emmanuel is a fatal combination?” (DonS)
    Obama has a dysfunctional model of bipartisanship. He thinks it has two steps. Step 1: Obama is civil to Republicans. Step 2: Republicans adopt left-wing Democratic positions.
    That doesn’t work, of course. Republicans are glad of the civility but not about to jettison their own opinions.
    Interestingly, Carol Platt Liebau, who was on the Harvard Law Review when Obama was the head of it, say that Obama’s method was exactly the same back then. Of course it worked back then because at Harvard, the liberal/conservative split is about 80/20, and that may overestimate conservatives.
    If the Congress were similar, Obama’s method would have worked there too. Obama seems unable to adjust to the realities of Congress – remember that he didn’t even need any Republicans, it was the Democrat caucus that he failed to bring on board. Now he must actually persuade at least one Republican. That will take real compromise, not just civility.

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  41. nadine says:

    “I don’t like Obama but he’s not stupid.
    He showed some chops in Baltimore yesterday with the Republicans.” (MarkL)
    You raise an interesting point. Obama is certainly not stupid, but neither is he able to put together an coherent argument. What smarts he has all go to charm or evasion (why you shouldn’t mind that he sat under a racist preacher for 20 years; why the deficits he just quadrupled are Bush’s fault, etc).
    “…Obama doesn’t have a wonkish bone in his body. It’s all “my experts this” or “My experts that”. He’ll never be able to distill policy disputes into simple language, the way Bill Clinton did, because he really doesn’t get it. And it’s not because Obama’s stupid: it’s because it takes years of immersion in the issues to be a wonk, and Obama didn’t have time for that.” (MarkL)
    There is more than one kind of smart and more than one kind of stupid. I don’t believe that Bill Clinton had immersed himself in health care issues for years and years prior to 1993; I think that Clinton is extremely bright and can absorb issues and arguments quickly and bring them forth again fluently and in a logical fashion.
    Obama can’t. We have seen that he can’t because he has tried over and over on health care and failed. He repeats talking points without deeper understanding. As most people go through life, they develop a knack for telling who really knows his stuff and who doesn’t. So Obama’s speeches don’t sell.
    Obama has the manner of a logical professor, but in his speeches he rarely maintains logic for three paragraphs running. You can go through his texts and pick out the non sequiturs. They only work (when they do) on an emotional level; to charm, to divert, to inspire. When he needs to convey the idea that he knows what he is talking about, they flop.

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  42. DonS says:

    What does Obama want? Well, here is another indication that he definitely wants to look forward and not backward, particular when it come to malfeasance by the Bush administration (much of which he has found useful to continue):
    ” . . . an upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the “torture” memos of professional misconduct allegations. . . .”:
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/01/29/opr-report-altered-to-cover-bush-doj-malfeasance/
    It seems clear that Obama is not interested in the messier aspects of the rule of law. Not interested in much of a progressive agenda. Not interested in treating the Republicans in Congress as the venal obstructionists they are. Not interested in rocking too many boats to get things moving.
    What we can say, or which seems to be Obama’s main interest is the vacuous wish to “change the tone in Washington”. This supposedly will help Americans feels so much better about the lack of significant substantive work being done in domestic or foreign affairs (except war and the military; always have to remember that’s a growth industry. A real change agent for America in the world). Changing the tome is a nice thought. Actually accomplishing something is a more meaningful one.
    Obama may change the tone in Washington, but only by acquiescing continually to what repubs and blue dogs don’t want. And since they don’t seem to want any change that benefits most Americans, the prescription is for nothing significant to happen.
    Obama is getting a rep for being a softy; he calls it civility. It’s not going to work. How to get the message through??? Maybe Obama/Emmanuel is a fatal combination?
    But there is no way to address the nation’s problems without breaking a bunch of eggs. All we are getting is the optics. Like the Buddhist saying goes: “painted cakes do not satisfy hunger”.
    I’m ready for some broken eggs.

    Reply

  43. Don Bacon says:

    One of my hobbies is promoting tourism. I have five tourism websites now, and one of them is on medical tourism — a rapidly growing field. Here’s why:
    According to the US-based Medical Tourism Association, these are some representative overseas costs.
    *Heart bypass: $8,500 in India; in the U.S., $144,000
    *Liver transplant: $75,000 in Latin America; in the U.S., up to $315,000
    *Dental implant: $1,000 in Costa Rica; in the U.S., $2,000-$10,000
    *Face-lift: $4,000 in Singapore; in the U.S., $15,000
    *Knee replacement: $10,650 in Mexico; in the U.S., $50,000
    This is why US medical providers are signing contracts to out-source medical care. They can save money. Or, a person can go overseas, have a procedure done, and enjoy a recuperating vacation with the money saved. Personally, I get my dental work done in Mexico.

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  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    All of this debate seems so pointless. I don’t mean just the topic on this thread. I mean ALL of it.
    Look, our leaders lie to us unabashedly. We are the ultimate arms dealers, the largest purveyors of death on the planet. We destroy and take over whole countries. We murder hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians without batting an eye. And on top of it all, our leaders are held above the law, accountable to no one, not even the people or the Constitution they are sworn to serve. And through it all, the corporatization of our media has created the very system, the machine, that lubricates the destruction of everything we purport ourselves to be.
    Yet we natter on as if none of these facts matter, as if there really is a system in place to staunch the march to facism and the dictator-like powers we now bestow upon our Presidents, who appoint AGs whose sole purpose is to circumvent the rule of law.
    If we are what we claim to be, why is Alberto Gonzalez a free man? Condileeza Rice? Dick Cheney? Donald Rumsfeld? Yoo? The list goes on and on. Known perjurers. Torturers. Columns of “public servants” that completely and undeniably violated their oaths of offices.
    Even now, we have an AG that refuses to recognize, much less act upon, the letter of the law, merely on the whim of his President.
    And the rest of this matters? Hardly. Its a play that none if us have a part in writing, and all we can do is watch helplessly as each act unfolds.
    What an embarrassment that the UK is showing a national integrity that we haven’t realized for decades.
    Greenwald……..
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/01/29/iraq/index.html
    A few months ago, I did an MSNBC segment with Dan Senor, who is currently a Fox News contributor, author of a new book hailing the greatness of Israeli innovations, a recent addition to the Council on Foreign Relations, and husband of CNN anchor Campbell Brown. But back in 2003 and 2004, he was Chief Spokesman for the “Coalition Provisional Authority” in Iraq — the U.S. occupying force in that country. Sitting in the green room with him before the segment, I was really disgusted by the paradox that one is supposed to treat him as just some random political adversary deserving of standard civility, respect and respectability — in other words, a Decent Person is supposed to forget that he was an official who enabled and lied about some of the most monstrous acts of the last many years and is wholly unrepentent. And, of course, he was going on MSNBC that day to opine about our current foreign policy options: direct involvement in this horrific crime is no disqualifying factor; it’s not even a black mark against someone’s credibility and reputation.
    At least Robert McNamara had the decency to write a deeply humble mea culpa and spend the last couple decades of his life under a cloud of deep shame and disgrace until he died. Do you think any of that will happen to any of the people responsible — in politics, the media and our Foriegn Policy think tanks — for the unimaginable crimes of the last decade, particularly what was done in Iraq: Shock and Awe and the Fallujah massacres and Blackwater slaughters and Abu Ghraibs and all the rest?
    Of course it won’t. They continue to thrive unabated even as Iraq tries to rebuild itself from the devastation they unleashed. As toothless as the British investigation appears to be, at least there’s some public reckoning, compelled answers from their leaders, and an attempt to determine the precise nature of their crimes. And the Dutch have formally declared the war in which they were involved to be a crime. By contrast, we treat it all as a pointless relic of the irrelevant and distant past, all because the people who did it have banded together to decree that the worst possible crime is not what they did, but instead, would be if the rest of us examined what they did and insisted on meaningful accountability.

    Reply

  45. MarkL says:

    Oh bullshit, Cheap SD.
    I don’t like Obama but he’s not stupid.
    He showed some chops in Baltimore yesterday with the Republicans.
    He got a lot of praise for besting the Republicans in their own home ground, but reading through the text, I wasn’t moved.
    It’s depressing reading, for a Democrat.
    There can’t be any doubt now that Obama really means it when he talks that sappy, bipartisan talk, and that being a community organizer really was the most important of his resume. Just kill me now. In fact, I’d say what Obama really wants is to be a Republican.
    Depressingly, yesterday’s session made it more clear than ever that Obama doesn’t have a wonkish bone in his body. It’s all “my experts this” or “My experts that”. He’ll never be able to distill policy disputes into simple language, the way Bill Clinton did, because he really doesn’t get it. And it’s not because Obama’s stupid: it’s because it takes years of immersion in the issues to be a wonk, and Obama didn’t have time for that.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    “The correct price is whatever price is achieved as a result of bargaining between the vendor and the customer.”
    That’s the most market-oriented thing I’ve heard you say…which you use to propose a new government near-monopoly.
    “But rather than go all in for single payer in one fell swoop, I’m all for setting up a substantial public insurance plan to compete with many competing private insurance plans, and then letting those private insurers *prove* in head-to-head competition that they can deliver better prices or better service for their subscribers than the public option.”
    Rather than the one fell swoop, the piece-by-piece plan. Will the private insurers get a level playing field to “prove” themselves? Your wording gives the game away.
    When you play ball with the government, the government owns the field, the equipment, and most importantly, the rule book. This means that the final score is likely to go the way they want.

    Reply

  47. Dan Kervick says:

    “Central planners cannot order “correct” prices.”
    The correct price is whatever price is achieved as a result of bargaining between the vendor and the customer. If there is only one very big customer, its power to set the market price is very substantial. It is not a matter of “planning” the correct price; its a matter of the customers actualizing their potential market power to bargain in an organized and disciplined way to force the best prices they can receive.
    But rather than go all in for single payer in one fell swoop, I’m all for setting up a substantial public insurance plan to compete with many competing private insurance plans, and then letting those private insurers *prove* in head-to-head competition that they can deliver better prices or better service for their subscribers than the public option.

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  48. nadine says:

    Dan, most of the byzantineness is caused by the Medicare rules now in place; more government rules will only make it worse. The way to squeeze excess costs out of a system is by competition; which is prevented by the same rules and by the way that those who receive the service never see the prices. In markets not covered by insurance, such as cosmetic surgery, prices are known, and eh voila! much more reasonable.
    While it is true that nobody price shops while having a heart attack, the vast majority of health care services are not provided on such an emergency basis. If they had a working market, all health care services would be cheaper.
    Central planners cannot order “correct” prices. They cannot do it. They don’t have enough information even if they were all impartial angels of great genius.

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    “Where Medicare pays below provider cost, they must shift the costs somewhere to stay in business.”
    In my view, provider costs are now grossly inflated by the extravagantly wasteful profits and salaries that are extracted from the system throughout the long, byzantine and redundant provider supply chain; by weak incentives for provider efficiency; and by the tightly managed practitioner supply run by the doctors’ cartel. So before I accept that Medicare is paying too little, I want to see a more serious effort to bring those costs down.
    Health care is a special kind of industry, and will never be efficient when market forces alone rule, because people’s ability to make economically rational decisions on the expenditure of their limited resources is severely impaired when they are in the extreme states of pain and distress caused by illness and threatened mortality. It is also impaired by their lack of the specialist knowledge necessary to make informed decisions, which is why they have to turn the business over to their companies and insurers in the first place. Every person with gout or chest pains is a panicked pigeon waiting to be plucked, and pluck, pluck, pluck it goes.
    I agree that the present reform proposals don’t do nearly enough to take on costs. To really control costs, we need the patients as a collective body, the American people, to play national-scale hardball and empower their government to negotiate the overall price and payment conditions for care with the providers and their suppliers. The government should also be a player in the provision arena to exert additional downward cost pressure on the system.
    When we have bad boo-boos, we are ready to throw our personal fortunes up against the rocks in response to the siren calls of a systematically exploitative industry. We need to stop up our ears with wax and employ a single, representative, politically responsive crew to steer us through the rocky shallows.

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    Don, Hugh Hewitt is a talk show host, one of the best imo. He interviews lots of smart people, and not just conservatives either.
    “The only specific objections to “Obamacare” he ever mentions, besides the government taking over a large chunk of the domestic economy, are tort reform and Medicare reductions.”
    Aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Licoln? Those are the biggies, but there are others, like the unconstitutionality of requiring people to buy products as a condition of citizenship, or go to jail.
    Hugh hits on those because of the obvious absurdities. E.g.”saving” Medicare by cutting half a trillion dollars in funding during a period when the rolls will increase by 30%. E.g. claiming we MUST have a massive overhaul of everything because everything is inter-connected….but if you like your current policy nothing will change. E.g. Everything is interconnected but the trial lawyers, they get left alone.

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  51. nadine says:

    Dan, the Republicans aren’t Social Darwinists at all; they just a) believe in the power of markets to lower costs, which you don’t, and b) do NOT believe it the power of the Government to mandate utopias. Or in the case of something as massive as health care reform, to mandate improvements. They expect a massive cascade of unexpected consequences, worse care for all, and cost overruns in the trillions.
    The Republicans are not in principle against all regulation of the health care markets. But they think that the chief problem is that costs are out of control. They diagnose the cause for this not as “insurance company greed” (which is absurd, the insurance companies’ margin is quite low) but as a market that is over controlled by government already and therefore cannot respond to patient needs.
    Where most things are paid by third parties, the pressure to keep prices doesn’t exist. Where Medicare pays below provider cost, they must shift the costs somewhere to stay in business. Where insurance companies are not allowed to sell basic policies but must load every policy with all kinds of bells and whistles, every policy will be expensive, etc. Where malpractice suits stalk threaten every doctor, even the best, with millions and millions of dollars in penalties because slip’n’fall lawyers convince juries that somebody must be to blame for every bad outcome, all doctors will perform twice as many tests as needed and still pay $50,000-$100,000 in malpractice insurance a year.
    It’s estimated that the current malpractice system costs American medicine $200 billion a year, mostly in costs on providers. Tort reform was left out for only one reason: the Dems are in the pocket of the trial lawyers.

    Reply

  52. Don Bacon says:

    I read Hugh Hewitt often. He’s one of the top Repub bloggers. The only specific objections to “Obamacare” he ever mentions, besides the government taking over a large chunk of the domestic economy, are tort reform and Medicare reductions. Disregard Medicare for the moment.
    Hewitt’s a lawyer, so I guess that it’s natural he’d focus on tort reform. He feels strongly about it. But I wonder, what is the Dem objection to tort reform? Besides lawyers’ campaign funding, I mean. Do the Dems have any objection to tort reform on principle? Or is it only the money? Why don’t they go there, at least some of them, in spite of the money?

    Reply

  53. Dan Kervick says:

    “Take the same bills, and add tort reform and the ability to sell insurance across state lines, don’t you think you could have gone for that?”
    Maybe. But while tort reform is at least a reasonable proposal that could held reduce costs somewhat, the other proposal of allowing a balkanized state-based system of health care, with insurance companies free to cherry pick the most backward states who offer their citizens the least protection, and then pass on more of the costs of care to the sick and to more progressive and moderate states, would undermine 90% of what the rest of health care reform is attempting to do and is therefore a very bad and self-defeating idea.
    Nadine, are modern Republicans really all the in Social Darwinists camp now? They weren’t always that way. Or do they think illness is God’s way of telling a person that he is a sinner, or that he has been called to contribute a higher share of his income to the health industry? Why is the modern Republican party seemingly so committed to the idea that the sick should be responsible for their own sickness? I’m willing to chip in more to pay for your health care when you get sick and are laid off, even though I don’t like you much. Why are Republicans so freaking selfish?

    Reply

  54. LIz says:

    The ability of insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines seems to be the Republican answer for making health care premiums competitive. I can’t help but remember what happened when the credit card companies were given the freedom to set up shop in any state that was favorable to their business and to sell to consumers across state lines. That worked out as a huge benefit for consumers didn’t it ? Not so much. I would be very suspicious of this type of “solution” providing any competitive pricing benefits for consumers. I haven’t even touched on the likelihood that this could result in widespread cherry picking of the healthy consumers across the U.S. leaving those in need of chronic care out in the cold.

    Reply

  55. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    President Obama’s emphasis on revitalizing the bipartisan approach-cementing understanding between Republicans and Democrats( as has been mentioned by him in his State of the Union Address)_shows his political acumen in terms of constructive political activism-an emerging need born out of the present crisis.

    Reply

  56. JohnH says:

    “Obama still thinks too much like a Senator, and needs to start acting more like a President.” Or it could explain why so few Senators have ever been elected President…

    Reply

  57. nadine says:

    Dan, even if the Dems had retained 60 seats, there were sufficient differences between the two bills as to make the conference very tricky indeed. And they had not one vote to spare in either house.
    “It’s a very difficult thing to get the votes of 60 US Senators for even relatively small things, much less the overhaul of such a massive sector of the economy.”
    Then maybe it was a bad idea to attempt a party-line jam-down of the overhaul of such a massive sector of the economy? Just asking. There were many only slightly more moderate bills that they could have passed. Take the same bills, and add tort reform and the ability to sell insurance across state lines, don’t you think you could have gone for that? But they wouldn’t even listen to any Republican ideas. “I won.” said Obama. Pelosi, Reid, and Obama decided to go for double or nought. Now they’ve got nothing.

    Reply

  58. Dan Kervick says:

    “It’s incredible that Congress devoted an entire year to health care, which, by the way, forms a big–too big–chunk of the economy, and may well come up with nothing.”
    Disappointing, but not incredible. It’s a very difficult thing to get the votes of 60 US Senators for even relatively small things, much less the overhaul of such a massive sector of the economy.
    Obama gambled that if he let the Congress bargain their way through the process, with only a few episodic enunciations of broad principles from the President, the job would get done. It almost worked – and may yet still work. But Obama still thinks too much like a Senator, and needs to start acting more like a President.
    Let’s remember that before the Massachusetts election, the two chambers had both passed a bill, and were on their way to negotiating the final package. The game-changing miscalculation, which even the most canny prognosticators didn’t see coming until a week of two before it actually happened, was that Democrats would suddenly lose a Senate seat in one of the bluest states in America. Had that not happened, the bill would be done and Obama would now be feted as The Hero Who Passed Comprehensive Health Reform
    I don’t like this bill a whole lot, but if Democrats fail to pass it now after working on it for many moons and getting the requisite votes in two houses of Congress, the Democratic Party will dig its own grave as a gang of shivering, lily-livered cowards with no capacity to govern. Surely they have more spunk than to let the failure of one ill-chosen, brain-dead candidate running in an off-year against a pretty boy hunk-of-the-month take all the wind out of their sails.

    Reply

  59. nadine says:

    You want action from Obama, JohnH? I don’t think Obama does ‘action’. Obama talks. And talks. And talks.
    The most amazing thing is, he has never given a speech yet that reads well the morning after. You could call it a kind of performance art. It still seems to hypnotize the left, but the rest of the country is not impressed, as demonstrated by Obama’s total inability to sell health care reform…whatever it was he wanted, which as Heilbrunn correctly points out, he never said exactly.

    Reply

  60. JohnH says:

    What Obama wanted–to become the first Black President, a figure of historical significance. As the old saying goes, “be careful of what you wish for. You might get it.”
    As someone noted recently, Obama is acting like the dog that finally caught the car. Now what does the dog do with it?
    Contrary to those who voted for him, Obama seems to think that his noble rhetoric is good only for marketing purposes. It’s time for him to internalize his words and start acting accordingly.

    Reply

  61. Ben Rosengart says:

    Noted without comment:
    Interestingly, no one is paying much attention to foreign affairs
    at the moment: “Obama’s Sole Mission: The Economy” reads
    today’s Washington Post headline. But what about the cost of
    America’s foreign wars? And why, by the way, is the Defense
    Department exempted from any freeze in spending?
    […]
    Other Articles by Jacob Heilbrunn:
    01.20.10
    Brownout
    Scott Brown’s victory is an early warning for Democrats. If
    Obama focuses on job creation and the deficit, he can save his
    party from imploding.

    Reply

  62. DCStarHunter says:

    Hello Washington Note fans:
    I am a fan too and am watching (and hearing) Steve Clemmons
    this very moment at Caribou Coffee near Logan Circle in DC. He
    is clearly talking about Afghanistan to someone in the White
    House, though he is trying to be discreet.
    LOL. There are so many people here with computers that he will
    never know who I am when this is posted.
    But spying aside, I think Steve Clemons is the bomb. So many
    people say hello to him even in this little coffee shop. And you
    should hear him talk about Afghanistan and Rahm Emmanuel.
    How does he know all this stuff?
    Very interesting. Thanks Steve!!

    Reply

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