Obama one year later

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DaveW
Obama one year later

 

A good job so far, esp. on economic recovery, although The Nation editor gives him a B for "could do better":

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-11-02/no-messiah-but-a-good-swimmer/?cid=bs:archive15

DaveW

but top liberal writer thrilled with the new man in charge:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-11-03/rick-hertzbergs-victory-dance/

 

Hertzberg, of course, has voted for every Democratic nominee for president since Lyndon Johnson. Most of those ballots were cast with little reservation. But Obama offered particular enticements. For one thing, there was his muscularly liberal convention address in 2004, which appealed to the old speechwriter. There was Dreams from My Father. "When I read the book," Hertzberg says, "I knew this was not just speechwriting. This was writing. I knew that this was a book that could properly be called literature." Then-more to the point-there was the age thing. Hertzberg is 66, and, he thought, If not a great, liberal president now, when? "I'm at the stage of my career where one is spending one's capital rather than accumulating new capital," he says.

With Obama in office, Hertzberg says he will turn his attention to another of his long-time obsessions: the byzantine structures of American government. Triumphant Democrats have discovered that big victories in 2008 haven't instantly led to policy outcomes like, say, health care reform. In the British system, the public option would have been a fait accompli; in what Hertzberg calls our "ridiculously undemocratic" Senate, health care can be single-handedly dynamited by a Max Baucus or a Joe Lieberman.

"Right now, we have a situation where the human occupants are about as good as we're going to get," Hertzberg says. "So my attention goes back to the structure they're trapped in. That's what Obama and the Democrats are in the grip of now. And that remains to be fixed."

 

remind remind's picture

and here I thought it was only 9 months.... ;)

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

... and still, the U.S. feds are defending challenges to DOMA in the courts and DADT is still in place.

Caissa

It's the new math. 8^)

Doug

I'd have to think that a lot of Americans are disappointed - but at the same time, the challenges faced by the American government are really enormous - more so than most politicians are willing to talk about publicly.

Caissa

One of the biggest challenges is the cumbersome governing structure.

DaveW

 

the basics of a US healthcare reform passes the House,

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125765850379236569.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFT...

 all due to the election of Mr. O; happy anniversary!

 The vote was a victory for President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), and moved them toward a goal that has eluded presidents for decades. Mr. Obama came to the Capitol on Saturday morning and assured Democrats they would remember the vote as their finest moment in politics should he sign it into law. "Opportunities like this come around maybe once in a generation," he said.

Its passage pushes Congress closer to the largest social safety net expansion since 1965, when the government created the Medicare insurance program for the elderly. The measure spends slightly more than $1 trillion over a decade to provide health insurance to an additional 36 million Americans and creates a new public insurance plan to compete with private insurers by 2013. It requires most Americans to carry insurance, creates a new exchange where they can shop for it and gives the lowest earners tax credits to help them pay for it.

Republicans described the plan as an unprecedented power grab that would raise -- not lower -- medical costs. They lambasted the legislation for creating new taxes and failing to curb frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.

"Does this bill mean the government will take over running health care? Yes," said Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

 "But what's worse, this bill replaces the American idea with a European-style social welfare state."

Laughing

Aristotleded24

DaveW wrote:

Republicans described the plan as an unprecedented power grab that would raise -- not lower -- medical costs. They lambasted the legislation for creating new taxes and failing to curb frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.

"Does this bill mean the government will take over running health care? Yes," said Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

 "But what's worse, this bill replaces the American idea with a European-style social welfare state."

Laughing

I wouldn't put any stock in that quote. The Republicans will shriek and holler about anything. If you look at moderately progressive ideas that are on the mainstream political radar of every major industrialised country, the Republicans will paint them as being far-left socialist ideals one step away from communist Russia. Obama has bent over backwards to make health care seem not "scary" to Republicans while failing to stand up for any concrete reforms. Just because the Republicans claim an idea to be far-left does not make it the case.

G. Muffin

Just curious what the "American idea" is that's too good to replace.

NDPP

African Americans Slam Obama in White House Protest:

http://blackpoliticsontheweb.com/2009/11/08/african-americans-slam-obama...

"White Power in Black Face.."

George Victor

The political climate, as observed by Paul Krugman in the NYTimes today:Paranoia Strikes Deep By PAUL KRUGMAN

 

Last Thursday there was a rally outside the U.S. Capitol to protest pending health care legislation, featuring the kinds of things we've grown accustomed to, including large signs showing piles of bodies at Dachau with the caption "National Socialist Healthcare." It was grotesque - and it was also ominous. For what we may be seeing is America starting to be Californiafied.

 

The key thing to understand about that rally is that it wasn't a fringe event. It was sponsored by the House Republican leadership - in fact, it was officially billed as a G.O.P. press conference. Senior lawmakers were in attendance, and apparently had no problem with the tone of the proceedings.

True, Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican, offered some mild criticism after the fact. But the operative word is "mild." The signs were "inappropriate," said his spokesman, and the use of Hitler comparisons by such people as Rush Limbaugh, said Mr. Cantor, "conjures up images that frankly are not, I think, very helpful."

 

What all this shows is that the G.O.P. has been taken over by the people it used to exploit.

NDPP

Talking Blues: Gitmo Gets Worse under 'Progressive' Rule:

http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1874-...

conditions deteriorate under Obama. innocent Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, a child at the time of his apprehension, remains there with no help from either his government or the people they represent

al-Qa'bong

Yeah, that Obama is a fresh change all right.  This is Dick Cheney/Bibi Netanyahu territory:

 

Quote:

Federal investigators moved to seize four mosques in the US and a skyscraper in Manhattan yesterday over their alleged financial aid to Iran, in an extraordinary step likely to worsen relations between Washington and Tehran.

 

US mosques and New York skyscraper seized over Iran links

Doug

It would have been the best ventriloquism act ever, except the New York Times noticed lips at a biotechnology company moving.
Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world's largest biotechnology companies. E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.
That really says a lot about what's wrong in American politics. The companies aren't merely having their interests catered to by the politicians, they're writing the speeches!

George Victor

From the article: "It is depressing for a columnist who had great hopes for Obama to be forced by the facts to credit editors at the right-wing Washington Times for getting it right when they opined: "Revolving doors between industry and the administration and fat-cat political contributors getting bailed out at taxpayer expense sound like business as usual. This certainly isn't change we can believe in." Please, Mr. President, say it ain't so."

 

I thought he was elected just as it was recognized that economies throughout the world were falling like dominoes. Did the author think that this community organizer from Chicago's south side would be able to correct this by choosing only the enemies of Wall Street as lieutenants, even as his political enemies began organizing lynch mobs? He's now in China trying to make sure that the world's next greatest power does not pull the rug out from under him. I don't believe folks understand the immensity of the changes occurring in the first months of his watch.

Tigana Tigana's picture

This article asks*, What happened to the community organizer Amercans elected President?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24008.htm

*edit

Tigana Tigana's picture

I never thought of Obama as an American; I recognized him as a "Third Culture Kid" right away.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Culture_Kids

His experiences in other cultures may give him ambassadorial insignts and strenghts. But after he handed America to Wall Street, is there much left to save?

George Victor

America was never his to give - anywhere. If you look carefully at our total dependency on the markets functioning, Monday to Friday, every last one of us, capped by the depth of ignorance of "they who must be appeased", your take on old Hussein is a bit beyond unfair. He was given the job of undoing the Republican mess only because the mess was so bad it hurt Republicans and what is left of middle class America. Otherwise it would be John and (may his heart hold up)  Sarah. That's not a lot of voter intelligence to count on in the crunch of Congress.  That "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" guy is dead ...some say he never existed. Count us lucky. So far.

Tigana Tigana's picture

GV wrote,

"America was never his to give - anywhere."

Correct - America has been owned by bankers and holding off this crisis since, erm, President Wilson. 

Undoing the Republican mess: Celente, Max Kaiser and Peter Schiff say much worse is yet to come. 

George Victor

Worse to come? That I believe. Thing is, if we go into reductionist mode and lay it all at the feet of the pres., the popular rant at the moment, we'll hardly be able to explain what is really hapening, or suggest a way out. That's what happened to Jimmy Carter  when the star of Bedtime for Bonzo rode on stage, changed working class allegiance and affirmed corporate rule.

We have to understand what he can be expected to do without a media that tells it like it is, or an electorate able to read. If he's not in a position to work the economic levers and create jobs, they'll go for John and Sarah, and it can't get worse than that. It's not just a matter of funding a Tennessee Valley Authority any more.

Tigana Tigana's picture
Unionist

Faux News is thrilled over Obama's latest U.N. move:

[url=Tough">http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/18/human-rights-council-nominee-... U.N. Critic Tapped to Represent U.S. on Human Rights Council[/url]

Quote:

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe has called the U.N. policy and record toward human rights abuses erratic, inhumane and dysfunctional. U.N. critics are cautiously optimistic she'll bring that hard-nosed attitude to the Human Rights Council as its U.S. ambassador.

The California scholar and Obama donor tapped to be the first U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council is a fierce critic of the United Nations' human rights record who some watchdogs say they hope will roll some heads on the controversial panel boycotted during the Bush administration. [...]

In what would be a drastic shift from current policy, she recommended in her 2006 Ph.D. dissertation that the United Nations condition a country's sovereignty on its human rights record. In other words, she argued that human rights abuses can justify invasion.

Good pick, Obama!

 

 

Unionist

[url=Why">http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20091124.YAKABUSKI24ART2... the Catholic hierarchy pushes political buttons in Washington[/url]

Quote:
When the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill this month that included a watertight prohibition on federal funding for elective abortions, outraged American feminists wondered just how one of their own - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - could have countenanced such a concession.

The answer many came up with lay in a brief encounter between President Barack Obama and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, at the funeral of the patriarch of America's first family of Catholics, Ted Kennedy - who, incidentally, was a strident crusader for abortion rights.

Beantown's Catholic primate boasted later on his blog that he warned Mr. Obama that "the bishops of the Catholic Church are anxious to support a plan for universal health care, but we will not support a plan that will include a provision for abortion or could open the way to abortions in the future."

George Victor

And Congress gave him just exactly the number of votes to prevent a Republican filibuster. Not bad in dumbed down and paid off 'Merica.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Obama will soon announce an expansion of the bloodshed and terror in AfPak.

Doug

Secret Muslim Obama Pardons Avian Terrorist!

Just thought I'd get there before Fox News did.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
We have to understand what he can be expected to do without a media that tells it like it is, or an electorate able to read.

 

I can't help thinking about the NDP in Ontario. Bob Rae had made all sorts of lofty promises, then got elected and inherited a bee's nest of troubles, and when he failed, everyone across the board lined up to kick his corpse a few times.

 

Then we got Mike Harris and Ernie Eves as a replacement. And in all likelihood, it'll be another decade, at least, before the NDP stops wearing it over what Rae wasn't able to do.

 

So ya, let's really wail on Obama. Let's make sure that he goes down in history as the most promise-breaking, lie-telling, half-assing flop of a President that the U.S. ever had. Mind you, that's not going to lead to a leftist revolution to install someone more committed, it's going to lead to a decade or two of uninterrupted White Republican Man rule. But that's gotta be better than a guy who wasn't even able to do a year's worth of miracles in nine months, right?

George Victor

That seems to be the thinking, hereabouts...although I'm damned if I know why.  Frustrated revolutionaries perhaps?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

It has been announced the Obama administration will not sign the international treaty banning land mines. They will however commit 30,000 more troops to killing subsistence farmers and propping up war lords while sinking Pakistan into hell on earth complete with remote control mass killings.

It's so much more acceptable when "our guy" is the bastard is it not?

Everyone with me, "Obama my lord ... Obama. Obama my lord ... Obama. Oh, lord, Obama."

George Victor

Of course it's not "acceptable" FM. And of course he obviously relishes what he's doing.

Sarah for pres.

Unionist

I guess if Sarah is the alternative, almost any crime is acceptable. Quite the scam they have going in that country.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Do you see the position you put yourself in, George? "I must sin for God lest the devil get me!" Hmmmm. What else would you accept from Obama in fear of the devil from Wasilla?

George Victor

There is no denying the integrity of your position peoples.  And it can never fail to be "holier than thou". But I don't know how that reverses the situation - particularly if you don't understand that the situation was created by folks to the right of Vlad the Impaler and your putative enemy can't fold the deck without guaranteeing even worse will prevail. What a wondrously impossible  moral world you dwell in. Possitively  Biblical.

Unionist

You just don't get it, George. The question isn't one of "principle". It's whether Obama has done, or will do, one single solitary thing to distinguish himself from George Bush. In real life. Not the nauseating ephemeral bullshit of rhetoric.

George Victor

Sorry U, but you ignore his attempts to put throug bills in Congress that are adultarated or destroyed by the Republican enemy and gutless Democrats. Perhaps we are reading different news accounts. That, plus the inflated idea that he could possibly achieve it all. He had to get elected, and he used the best marketing devices as Naomi Klein pointed out (in the Globe the other day) in a new edition of No Logo. But I can't believe that you bought into it completely - just as I can't believe he holds the power of a dictator, that there is no intervening Congress with all its "bought" politicos. Remember Mr. Smith goes to Washington? Course you do. And of course people like myself live in hope that the people I must not "demean" in your eyes, will finally awaken to reality and give him and progressive Democrats th votes to beat down the bastards in Congress. It took some bloody awful conditions in the 30s but by God FDR could tell the opposition to pee up a stump.

No, it will just get worse, chaps, until the vast pall of ignorance that has descended over that country (and pretty big acreages up thisaway) is lifted. And in the meantime, you don't have a corner on the pain department, believe me - just different ideas about causality.

Unionist

George, sorry to be a nuisance, but I posted here for one year before Obama's election predicting that he would not do one single solitary thing that was different from Bush. Not one. I bought into nothing. I was not disappointed. I would have loved to be. I don't appreciate any of the bills that he "tried" to push through Congress. They all count as neo-conservaitve in my book. And if he can't do anything with Democratic control of both houses, then he should pack his bags, apologize, and slink away. Those babblers who said we shouldn't write him off, and who defended him vociferously during the election campaign, are perhaps the ones who should reflect, take stock, and explain what terrible horrible thing changed that turned Obama into a useless - no, I wish he were just useless - a dangerous warmongering cynical enemy of the world's people.

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Oh, puuuuhhhhhleeeeze, George. By your telling of it he has no power nor authority to maintain a single commitment he has made, such as, for example, no secret meetings at the White House. That is something his administration, and ultimately he alone, has authority over. And that is but one little and painless example. Signing statements are another. You want us to believe the great Obama has no authority at all. And if that is true, then two things: One, no point voting as, Obama/Palin? Don't matter. They have no real authority so the bogeyman factor is moot. Two, he knowingly raised false hopes just to get elected and collect a pay cheque. What do you really think George?

George Victor

It is you that don't get it, U.  I have read your postings in 08, and you hve indeed not changed. But are you truly ready to throw in the towel and expose us all to the mercies of the "alternative", now building?  To what possible end?  To call him a "dangerous warmongering cynical enemyof the world's people" is simply a ridiculous, corrupted caricature of reality. There is clearly no room for his redemption in your eyes, and no room for discourse between you and me. 

George Victor

Canada's PMO has more power than the office of the U.S.pres., FM. Check it out (and wish us all luck).   Oh, and come down off the chandelier to read it, eh?  :D

al-Qa'bong

Your heart's in the right place, George, but Obama is no more significant a part of the American Hologram than is Paris Hilton.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

George, I love ya man, but I fear you're a consumer of fantasies. No one expected nor demanded any miracles from Obama. What was expected was the same man who campaigned for president to be president. Instead, we have a pale imitation without so much as a fighting word for the fighting words he espoused during the marketing stage. It isn't that Obama can't advance the agenda of his election campaign, George. It's that he's not even trying.

Unionist

FM, what do you recall about his campaign agenda that I've forgotten? Other than closing Guantanamo by January? This is an extremely serious question. I heard him deny racism was endemic to America (and throw his preacher under the bus and then flamboyantly resign from his church over this point of principle); swear allegiance to Israel and AIPAC; and threaten to chase Al-Qaeda into Pakistan. I never heard him promise public health care. I don't recall him promising to get back to Kyoto or sign any landmine treaty or stop threatening Iran and North Korea. Which part of his agenda has he violated. I repeat - I'm serious.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

He promised a public option (vowed it actually). He promised to renegotiate NAFTA. He promised no secret meetings. He promised an end to indefinite detentions. He promised "sunlight before signing" whereby a bill would be public 5 days before it was signed. He promised to reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax. He promised no administration jobs for lobbyists. He promised to support the labour Free Choice Act. And those are just the ones I remember. There are a lot more.

 

Unionist

Ok, you're right FM. Though some of these promises (NAFTA, capital gains) can hardly be described as progressive. As for the others - yes, he has not done one single useful thing. Gotta agree.

 

George Victor

Chaps, if he caves and blesses the "election" in Honduras I will join your merry band of chuckleheads.  But I will never, never stop fearing his alternative waiting in the wings. (Which thought leads me to ask...can you name anyone in the Democratic Party that you might back?  The senior senator from Vermont, perhaps?)

Unionist

George Victor wrote:

Which thought leads me to ask...can you name anyone in the Democratic Party that you might back?

Definitely, but out of deference, please first name anyone in the Liberal Party whom you might back as head of a Liberal majority government.

 

George Victor

I getcha. Obdurate fella, eh!  I'll disown Barack Hussein if need be but I'm not ready to fly the black flag yet. There are some very progressive voices down that way. (Not sure I could find that flag under the detritus of entervening years anyway).

And your question is like that we dealt with once in philosophy 101.  "When the judge says, his/her hands are tied, and it is necessary to sentence the guilty to....."  you say, "nonsense, the judge can resign from the case and the bench."  Always felt good in that period at the end of the 60s to retire from such scinitillating discussion and toke up on that note.  Didn't bother (then) to search my mind for real life instances of such paragons of virtue. They tended to disappear from the limelight...or any mention at all.

Anyway, up democratic socialismo in this "Fair Country", where a "real" alternative stands more than a chance of a snowman in hell.

Unionist

Thanks, George. I don't blame you for not answering my question. There is no answer. In Canada, as in the U.S., we must measure our politicians by our principles. Not the other way around.

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
But I will never, never stop fearing his alternative waiting in the wings.

 

So that's it? Obama's best qualification is his not being Sarah Palin or George Bush?  Shouldn't one hope for better?

DaveW

Mr O.'s record looks darn good to me, and to many people not as far Left as Babble:

 http://www.slate.com/id/2236708/

The case for Obama's successful freshman year rests above all on the health care legislation now awaiting action in the Senate. Democrats have been trying to pass national health insurance for 60 years. Past presidents who tried to make it happen and failed include Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Through the summer, Obama caught flak for letting Congress lead the process, as opposed to setting out his own proposal. Now his political strategy is being vindicated. The bill he signs may be flawed in any number of ways-weak on cost control, too tied to the employer-based system, and inadequate in terms of consumer choice. But given the vastness of the enterprise and the political obstacles, passing an imperfect behemoth and improving it later is probably the only way to succeed where his predecessors failed.

 [...]

Obama's claim to a fertile first year doesn't rest on health care alone. There's mounting evidence that the $787 billion economic stimulus he signed in February-combined with the bank bailout package-prevented an economic depression. Should the stimulus have been larger? Should it have been more weighted to short-term spending, as opposed to long-term tax cuts? Would a second round be a good idea? Pundits and policymakers will argue these questions for years to come. But few mainstream economists seriously dispute that Obama's decisive action prevented a much deeper downturn and restored economic growth in the third quarter. The New York Times recently quoted Mark Zandi, who was one of candidate John McCain's economic advisers, on this point: "The stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do-it is contributing to ending the recession," he said. "In my view, without the stimulus, G.D.P would still be negative and unemployment would be firmly over 11 percent."

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