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Archive for the ‘Obama Administration’ Category

It’s about time

Posted by Greg on January 4, 2012

Recess appointments?  An actual legislative victory despite GOP brinkmanship?

It appears the president has found his balls.

And not a moment too soon.  It’s time to remind people why the GOP can’t be trusted with governance.

Posted in Election 2012, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

Better than I’d thought?

Posted by Greg on January 27, 2011

I’m sufficiently disheartened I skipped the SOTU address, catching a few snippets in subtitles on the gym monitors.  Based on what I saw, I’d have given it a high D+ or low C-.

Rachel Maddow review it, and suggests there may be more substance than I realized at first blush.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Posted in Obama Administration, Progressive Agenda | Leave a Comment »

Harry Reid stands strong on Social Security

Posted by Greg on January 11, 2011

Harry Reid stands strong on Social Security.

Posted in Congress, Economics, Obama Administration, Politics in General | Leave a Comment »

Federal worker pay freeze is unjustified and ineffective

Posted by Greg on November 29, 2010

Federal worker pay freeze is unjustified and ineffective.

Posted in Economics, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

Two anecdotes

Posted by Greg on November 3, 2010

I’ve had so many things on my mind relating to cluster known as the 2010 midterms, but today two independent things, small and insignificant, really brought home to me what happened to the Democrats this year.

First off, coming home from work I had an envelope in the mail addressed to me.  It lists “President Barack Obama” and “Democratic Headquarters” as the sender and has in big letters, “Deadline: October 29”  Note, today is November 3, the day after the election.

Naturally it’s asking me for money to help with the final days of the election.

“A day late and a dollar short” goes a long way toward how the Obama administration has governed, and particularly in how it is managing its relations with the base.

Next anecdote, I was sitting in the jacuzzi at the gym after working out this evening and there were several elderly gentlemen speaking about yesterday’s election and a couple of them were just droolingly upset about Obamacare, knowing their pensions and health care are being taken away from them, etc.  I tried to engage them for a few minutes, but it really was futile.  They have been fed a lot of nonsense by opportunists trying to scare them and sell them stuff.  It didn’t matter what the facts were, they were scared and livid and by damn, they voted.

It’s easy to talk about how the Democrats have squandered Howard Dean’s work with the Fifty State Strategy.  It’s easy to talk about how independent thinkers and donors and doers have been discouraged in an attempt to centralize and micromanage.  It’s easy to talk about how the White House strategy is too timid, too aloof, and too willing to compromise.  It’s been done before, and how it’s not speculation, we know the result.

A day late, a millions of dollars short, and the agenda up for grabs for the next two years.  Why were the Republicans allowed to control terms of debate?  A dispirited base has consequences, letting the teabaggers lie through their teeth and outright make things up without challenge has consequences.

  1. The 2008 electorate was 74% white, plus 13% black and 9% Latino. The 2010 numbers were 78, 10 and 8. So it was a considerably whiter electorate.
  2. In 2008, 18-to-29-year-olds made up 18% and those 65-plus made up 16%. Young people actually outvoted old people. This year, the young cohort was down to 11%, and the seniors were up to a whopping 23% of the electorate. That’s a 24-point flip.
  3. The liberal-moderate-conservative numbers in 2008 were 22%, 44% and 34%. Those numbers for yesterday were 20%, 39% and 41%. A big conservative jump, but in all likelihood because liberals didn’t vote in big numbers.

The fall of in young and minority voters can’t be understated.  Yes, Sharon Angle is a moron, but Harry Reid will remain a US Senator because he got 90% of the Latino vote.  Nearly comparable  numbers have been reported in California and Colorado which were also relative bright spots for Democrats.

Polls showed before and after the vote that people like Republicans less than Democrats.  They voted for them anyway.  The election was the Democrats’ to lose, and lose they did.

But there are some bright spots.  Yes we had help from the Tea Party, but the Senate held.  Many of the worst of the worst Tea Party candidates lost.  Sarah Palin’s endorsements turned out to be less than golden.

Better still, the remaining House Democrats are, in fact, better Democrats overall.  And Senate Democrats, being farther from the “magical” sixty, are less dependent on individual senators to allow things to get done, perhaps making it more difficult for individual troublemakers to hold legislation hostage.  Time will tell, but there is cause to be cautiously optimistic for the next couple years.

Of course, there’s the down side….election 2012 is now underway.

Posted in Election 2010, Obama Administration, The Left | 2 Comments »

Presidential Imposter

Posted by Greg on September 28, 2010

From satirist Andy Borowitz:

Democrats to Employ Man Who Played Obama During 2008 Campaign

Would Hit Campaign Trail in Place of President

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – With just a month remaining until the crucial midterm elections, worried Democrats have decided to reach out to the man who played Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, Democratic Party officials confirmed today.

“We were sitting around thinking of who we could put out there on the campaign trail to get people energized again,” said party chairman Tim Kaine.  “And then I was like, what about that guy who played Obama in ’08?  He was amazing!”

While Democratic incumbents have been shying away from appearing with President Obama at rallies in recent weeks, they are “totally jazzed” about making joint appearances with the man who portrayed Obama in 2008, Kaine said.

“When we put the word out that we were reaching out to the guy who used to play Obama, the reaction was phenomenal,” he said.  “People were like, I loved that guy.”

Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold echoed the sentiment of many Democratic officeholders when he heard that the man who played Obama during the 2008 race might be hitting the road again soon: “I was leery about appearing with the President onstage, but that other guy, come on, he was unbelievable.”

According to preliminary plans, the guy who played Obama in 2008 would be used to fire up huge crowds in key races, while the actual President Obama would remain behind in Washington giving boring speeches about electronic medical records.

Fox News offered scant coverage of the Democrats’ plans, other than to report that neither President Obama nor the man who played him in 2008 was born in the US.

Posted in Election 2010, Humor, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

About Obama’s base problem

Posted by Greg on September 3, 2010

My friend Mike recently posted about Obama’s gay problem.  Some good thoughts, but a little extension is necessary to get things in full perspective..

Obama does not have a problem with gays, he has a problem with the base across the board and that is largely because he is under performing across the board.  That under performing has a real cost in the enthusiasm gap.

If people turned out in 2010 at 2008 levels, the democrats would be outright winning in NC and very, very competitive in half a dozen other close races.  As it stands we will probably hold the senate, but just barely.

Obama has not played hardball with Conservadems, let alone the GOP.  He negotiates away the store before even coming to the table.  He has not made proper use of reconciliation in the Senate, and has not been forceful about electoral consequences for the party of NO.  He has not been active in shaping policy and in selling policy in Congress.

He has not used his executive powers.  He could order a stop loss on DADT, he does not.  He could choose to not defend anti gay legislation in court, he does not.  HAMP is under *administrative* control and could work well if Obama choose to make it so.  Congress voted down the idea of a Social Security panel, Obama convened one anyway then stacked it with conservatives.  He could restore habeas corpus, he does not.

Obama has direct control of TARP funds, and there are about $500 billion to play with.  That’s a lot of stimulus IF he were to use it.  He could use it to relieve distressed debt and turn a profit for the government while doing so.  He could go after banks gouging customers by skirting credit card rules.    He can be actively involved and up front in pushing an agenda.

Another thing to consider wrt civil rights, as many people have noted recently, it’s embarrassing when many prominent GOP leaders are to the left of Obama on gay rights.  It’s embarrassing when in debates such as Fiorina/Boxer the other night the GOP candidate justifies their opposition to equal rights by quoting the sitting Democratic president.

And gays have started to notice.  You see, preferring one’s own gender does lead one toward certain conclusions on civil rights but does little to inform one’s opinions on taxation, protecting the environment, energy policy, immigration, etc.  I think it’s fair to say that a lot of gays lean democratic not because they are innately liberal so much as they see few options as the GOP has been so gawd awful hostile toward gays the last couple decades.

In a recent column Dan Savage observes that for all the rhetoric and chest beating over the past electoral cycles, the Democrats have done very little good, and the Republicans have done relatively little harm, at least in terms of revoking such advances as have been made.  Bush got a blank check from Congress, yet we have no federal marriage amendment, and DADT and DOMA were Democratic inventions.  Savage asks:

Say the GOP went to gay voters and promised to do no harm—no FMA, no more culture war nonsense, no efforts to block gay people from becoming parents—while at the same time pointing out that the Dems haven’t done much good. That argument won’t peel lefty and progressive gays and lesbians, a.k.a. the majority of gay and lesbian voters, off the Democrats. But it might convince conservative homos that they can safely vote Republican, blunting the Democrats’ advantage with small-but-significant chunk of the electorate. (There are more gay and lesbian voters than Jewish voters.)

It’s something the Democrats need to be considering.

The base is demoralized, feeling neglected and abused if not outright mislead.  That’s not good.  Obama got people out because they felt they had something to vote for.  That’s not the case this year for Democrats.  And they will pay in November if something doesn’t change, and change soon.

Posted in Election 2010, Obama Administration, Progressive Agenda | Leave a Comment »

Republican vs Republican

Posted by Greg on August 7, 2010

Rachel Maddow had an amusing riff on a dynamic that has repeated itself over and over again since Obama took office: Republicans call for policy X. Democrats propose policy X in Congress. Republicans suddenly think policy X is not just…

via Republican vs Republican.

Posted in Obama Administration, The Right | Leave a Comment »

In honor of the GOP on the occasion of health care reform’s first step

Posted by Greg on March 21, 2010

Posted in Congress, Obama Administration, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Not just about race

Posted by Greg on March 1, 2010

A good article that looks into the teabaggers and shows persuasively that Olbermann, et. al. are oversimplifying things.  Race is an element, but not uniquely so.

Posted in Obama Administration, Politics in General, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Republicans — Not Obama — More Often on Wrong Side of Public Opinion

Posted by Greg on February 9, 2010

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via Republicans — Not Obama — More Often on Wrong Side of Public Opinion.

Good analysis by Nate Silver.

Posted in Obama Administration, Politics in General | Leave a Comment »

Mr. President, I want my vote back please

Posted by Greg on December 22, 2009

Mr. President, I want my vote back please.

No, I’m not thinking about last November.  Really, there was no choice between Obama and McCain.  The deal was done long before then.

Rather, I’m thinking of a frigid February night in 2008 when I, along with several friends, joined the crowds swarming the Minnesota Democratic Cacuses where I chose Barack Obama as my preferred candidate as Democratic nominee for President of the United States.
By that time the field had narrowed considerably. Neither Hillary nor Obama were my top tier candidates – I favored both Richardson and Edwards who was at that time, still pre bimbo eruption – but it was clear that neither of them would make it.  It was two horse race, and both candidates had arguments for and against them.
The excitement was palpable, thousands of people gathered to caucus that night, attendance up by factors of three to five from years previous.  Such was both the eagerness to prune the Bushes from the White House, and the opportunity to nominate either the first woman or the first African American to head a major party ticket.  I was decidedly undecided and really had no idea myself which way I’d lean until I arrived at the room assigned my precinct.
Attendance was so high they ran out of formal ballots and were handing out sheets of scratch paper for people to write their votes on.  And at that moment I took pen in hand and made up my mind, writing “Barack Obama” and dropping my paper through the slot to be counted.
It’s been almost two years since then, and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have stuck with my gut, which was screaming, “Not ready for prime time!” and voted for Hillary.
My friend Lewis Grossberger has a posting entitled, “It’s a wonderful presidency, sort of, though not really,” which shows a despondent Obama being shown a vision of an alternative future with President Palin and imagining what could be if Obama hadn’t been elected president. It’s a cute piece and I recommend it.
And really, consider how things might be without Obama in the White House.  Gays might still be second class citizens, we might still be embroiled in futile Middle Eastern wars, illegal spying and the ironically named “Patriot” Act might still be the law of the land, we might be ceding leadership on climate issues, reproductive freedom might be facing the biggest threats in a generation, and so forth.  But instead, with Obama running the show…oh, um…nevermind.
It’s unfortunate.  We’ve gone from “Yes, we can!” and “”Change” to a resounding chorus of, “whatever is possible”.  Perhaps we expect too much, but as David Mixner observes, “He created those expectations,”
No, Obama never was particularly liberal, but there was an expectation that he would be engaged and competent in ways that would allow a lot of progress to be made in a lot of issues.  Now, on many issues, the best we can hope for is a few baby steps here, and to block regression there.
Robert Merry compares Obama to James K. Polk, a one term wonder who was a successful president who didn’t seek reelection.  The comparison is interesting and I hope and pray Obama is as successful as Polk, but I’m beginning to have reservations.  Hillary’s looking better all the time.

Tomorrow, my comments on the health care fuster cluck and why the bill as coming forth from the Senate must be defeated.

Posted in Obama Administration | 1 Comment »

Relief for air travelers

Posted by Greg on December 22, 2009

The Obama Administration has announced guidelines for airlines on the treatment of passengers trapped on planes, with stiff new penalties for violations.  It’s welcome news.

The federal government will impose stiff penalties starting this spring on airlines that keep passengers waiting too long on the tarmac without feeding them or letting them off the plane — a remedy that will relieve many travelers but mean longer delays for a few.

The Obama administration took the strict new approach in response to several highly publicized events in recent years, and in the face of likely Congressional action if airline regulators did not respond to the consumer outcry that ensued. […]

Under the rule, airlines that do not provide food and water after two hours or a chance to disembark after three hours will face penalties of $27,500 a passenger, the secretary of transportation announced on Monday.

Steve Benen asks:

This isn’t my area of expertise, but I can’t help but wonder — given all of the years of awful incidents, why didn’t previous administrations do something similar sooner?

Hm…  Perhaps they didn’t think they could do anything without Congress acting first?

Does this mean the Obama administration is about to start taking civil rights seriously?  Don’t hold your breath.  It’s too easy to throw gays, women, etc. under the bus for perceived political advantage.

Posted in Business, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

Explaining the plan

Posted by Greg on September 21, 2009

Posted in Health Care, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

And you’re surprised, why?

Posted by Greg on July 10, 2009

Musings from Sean, at Hiding in the Backwaters:

The White House on Obama’s promise to lift the ban on needle exchange programs:

We have not removed the ban in our budget proposal because we want to work with Congress and the American public to build support for this change.”

And from America Blog:

Let’s see…

  1. The candidate promised to lift the ban.
  2. The White House Web site reaffirmed the president’s commitment to lifting the ban.
  3. The White House Web site no longer reaffirms his commitment to lifting the ban.
  4. The president now refuses to lift the ban.
  5. The president actually affirmatively makes things worse by administratively supporting defending the ban.
  6. The spokesman reiterates the president’s support for lifting the ban, some day, once Congress gets around to it.

Sound familiar?

I hate to say, “I told you so,” but “I told you so.”

HT: Joe.My.God

Posted in Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »