Obama: year 2

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DaveW
Obama: year 2

 

The long thread on Obama Year 1 is hitting the 100-post mark soon,

and I thought the insurgency from the Left theme might top his second-year thread:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/10/obama-attack-democrats

 I like him, and he has delivered roughly what his policy book from the 2008 primaries set out (viz health care), but obviously the Democratic Party left/liberals are restless, to say the least.

 

 

 

DaveW

 

this seems to wrap up the mood here, too

Quote:

 Howard Dean, whom many thought might have been heading for political obscurity, has now re-emerged as the leading voice of Democratic discontent against Obama's healthcare reform. Though opposition has centred on Republican discontent with Obama's plans, there has also been a rising tide of liberal anger at legislation seen as a giveaway to big business which does not include a so-called "public option", or a state-run healthcare company, to drive down costs.

Dean caused a stir in the run-up to Christmas by coming out against the legislation if it contained no public option. The move angered many at the White House but struck a major chord with Democrats on the left of the party. It even spurred a whispering campaign that Dean was planning a challenge to Obama in the 2012 presidential race or could be positioning himself for a second presidential run in 2016. "The Resurrection of Howard Dean" trumpeted a headline in the influential online political newspaper Politico.

Dean has recently been reconnecting with a powerful liberal activist group called Democracy for America, which grew out of Dean's old campaign organisation. It is run by his brother Jim Dean, and has 1.2 million members. An email sent to its membership was recently headlined "Governor Dean Speaks for Me" and urged its members to contribute cash to the group, which helps back progressive candidates around America.

George Victor

It won't be long now before we see what the House is going to demand in the way of reforms...there is that anti-abortion bit for one thing.  And from that, we will see whether a further watering down of the health legislation is expected by Democratic constituents.

Any way of finding out more about Howard Dean?  You'll recall he was written off by his party as too radical - it wasn't just the "scream". Does anyone recall his policy proposals that won him that appelation?

Jingles

I'm starting to like this Obomba guy. Anyone who can hasten the complete economic, moral, and political collapse of the US empire is okay in my books, and Barrack Hussein "there's no such thing as racism" Obama is doing a heckuva job.

 

skdadl

Dean was never exactly written off by the party, not even by those centrists and right-wingers who were glad to sink his campaign in 2004. They made him chair of the Democratic National Committee for the next four years, a very powerful position that definitely doesn't come under the heading of being written off. They did that because he's a great organizer, likeable and intelligent, and people come out to work for him.

 

Lefty Dems still take Dean seriously and speculate on what he might do; centrists like Obama don't like him, I'm sure; and the Blue Dogs might as well be Republicans anyway. In Canada, he'd be a sort of Gerard Kennedy figure, no more radical than that.

Michelle

I'm horrified at what's about to pass as "universal health care" there - forcing people to buy shitty plans from private insurance companies or face a fine, without offering a public option!  Good lord.  That's worse than what they already have!

And don't get me started on the anti-choice initiatives wrapped up in the deal.  Hey, let's make it the norm for private insurers not to insure abortion!  That won't set the clock back for women or anything.

skdadl

I'm reading a lot of them who are horrified too when they work out the numbers. People are going to be forced to pay what to me sound like huge sums for their insurance, but because things like co-pays are still in place, they won't be able to afford to go ahead and get the medical care they need in spite of what they have already paid.

 

The only good thing seems to be that the working poor will be covered, but most working people (whom they tend to call "the middle class") will be handing over money to the insurance companies still with no assurance of accessible care. I just gape when I see the figures -- I couldn't afford that; through my entire career I couldn't have afforded that.

Michelle

I know.  It's just unbelievable.  It would be one thing to require everyone be insured if they were offering public health insurance - heck, that's what we have.  But to force everyone to buy crappy plans from private insurers - or face a FINE?  Good god!

Do you have a link to some of those numbers?  I'd be interested in checking that out!

skdadl

Michelle, the best of these discussions that I see usually go on regularly at [URL=http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/]emptywheel's[/URL] place, although this week she's focused on the auto industry. (She -- Marcy Wheeler -- is a Michigander.) 

 

Her blog is one of the firedoglake associates -- you can see their homepage link there at her place, and there's bound to be someone writing to the main page about health care every day. Jane Hamsher, who is the founder of FDL, has been one of the strongest critics of Obama's collapse on single-payer, never mind the public option -- they know who she is in the White House, and they're skeert of her. She really knows how to organize.

 

I first started reading these guys during the Plame investigation/Libby trial because, as you know, I love a good detective story, and Marcy turns out to be the smartest Sherlock around. Several of the FDL regulars were liveblogging the trial, but Marcy, who'd written a book on the case, was definitely the one with the background -- msm reporters were following her blogging because she always understood what was going on. Since then I've been a regular reader, and she can disentangle anything faster than most of the media -- she got the scoop on the number of times Abu Zubaydah and KSM had been waterboarded, eg -- she did that simply by reading the released memos, which of course the msm get paid to do but hadn't done with anything like her attention. She is brilliant on the law, torture, health care, and cars (also football), and she attracts a number of commenters who are specialists in each. Her group are part of the reason the FBI had to back off some of their nonsense about the anthrax attacks, eg.

 

Anyway, I think you'd enjoy it. I really do. It took me a year to get up the nerve to chime in occasionally, and I don't very much because most of this is 'way above my pay grade, but I do know some of it well by now, and they like their Canucks.

DaveW

will US gradually become "like Europe"?

sounds good to me, and biggest supporter of that trend, Krugman, sets out the case for the Obama era:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opinion/11krugman.html
reader comments afterwards show US liberal opinion alive and well ....

Jingles

Do you have an Obama [url=http://www.buzzfeed.com/markwmann/10-awful-obama-tattoos-e5y]tattoo[/url]? Seriously, that's the only reason I can think of that anyone would still support that dumbass, despite clear evidence that he's more neocon than even Bush dared to be.

I look forward to DaveW's lusty defense of the Obama era after he privatizes social security and nukes Yemen.

NDPP

The Recession is Over, the Depression Just Beginning

http://www.sjlendman.blogspot.com/

"...in his upcoming State of the Union address, Obama is expected to repeat his post-China trip message that fiscal austerity (many sharp social spending cuts) is necessary to cut the public debt. In other words, bankrolling Wall Street, health insurers, the drug cartel, other corporate favorites, and war profiteers will continue while working class Americans won't be helped during the greatest economic crisis in their lifetimes, a protracted one that will last for years..."

DaveW

Jingles wrote:

 that dumbass ... clear evidence that he's more neocon than even Bush dared to be.

an unhinged comment like that says more about your political judgement than mine;

if you expected a big left-winger in power, you did not read Obama's campaign materials, starting from the Democratic primaries, where even Hillary attacked him from the left;

and yes, his economic/social policies have a family resemblance to some European social democrats, I like that Cool

 

 

Jingles

Quote:
and yes, his economic/social policies have a family resemblance to some European social democrats, I like that 

Which part of his economic/social policies did you like best; the one where he gave away the keys to the treasury to Wall Street, or the one where he's forcing the poor to subsidize insurance companies? Was it the refusal to investigate the criminal actions of the big banks (A.K.A. his cabinet), or the "indefinite detention" of suspected suspects that tickles your fancy? Or maybe his bombing of the poorest countries on earth strike you as particularly enlightened and progressive. The continued torture of kidnapped farmers is very chic among the socialists in France, I understand.

The fascists count on fools like you to continue supporting their rapaciousness, because you are easily blinded by style and completely ignorant of substance. Slap a "Democrat" label on the most regressive, brutal, and destructive acts imaginable, and the blind partisan will stand ready to cheer them on.  

George Victor

Fascists count on sagacious types like yourself, Jingles, to make their ventures possible.

al-Qa'bong

Michelle wrote:

I know.  It's just unbelievable.  It would be one thing to require everyone be insured if they were offering public health insurance - heck, that's what we have.  But to force everyone to buy crappy plans from private insurers - or face a FINE?  Good god!

 

To be fair, Obama does have his legitimate reasons for doing this to the poor:

Quote:

A new figure...shows that President Obama received a staggering $20,175,303 from the healthcare industry during the 2008 election cycle, nearly three times the amount of his presidential rival John McCain...

 

Historian and media critic Norman Solomon, who was also an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention, called the president’s transformation on healthcare since taking office “shameful.”

“Overall it’s been a very corporate friendly healthcare approach from Obama as president,” Solomon said in an interview with Raw Story. “Corporate friendly in a way that I believe is injurious to public health.”

He underscored the subtle but substantive change in healthcare language used by Obama and the White House.

“We don’t hear so much now about ‘healthcare reform,’” Solomon said. “We’re hearing a lot more about ‘health insurance reform.’ And that is absolutely in large measure driven by the White House.”

He also concurred with Boyle’s assessment on the success of the industry’s special interests.

“The funding from the healthcare industry to the Obama campaign, in retrospect, was not misplaced,” Solomon said. “It appears, based on policy, that those funders are getting what they would’ve hoped for."

“Let me put it this way,” he added. “Single-payer advocates literally couldn’t get into the White House. And you have [chief pharmaceutical industry lobbyist and former Republican congressman] Billy Tauzin and Big Pharma and all of these in-depth strategy meetings in the White House in mid-2009 cutting deals. And I think it’s shameful.”

 

Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign

George Victor

Googling for the McCain contributions from the healthcare industry you get:

  • John McCain campaign contributions - LittleSis
    If you send them a link they can get to it. Every staff person in McCain's profile has gone onto lobby for the health care industry (for now, anyways). ...
    littlesis.org/person/13443/John_McCain/giving - Cached
  •  

    wage zombie

    al-Qa'bong wrote:

    To be fair, Obama does have his legitimate reasons for doing this to the poor:

    Quote:

    A new figure...shows that President Obama received a staggering $20,175,303 from the healthcare industry during the 2008 election cycle, nearly three times the amount of his presidential rival John McCain...

    This poster neglected to provide any context behind these numbers.  In this case "from the healthcare industry" largely means "from individual donors working in the health care industry."  So health care professionals/workers gave almost 3 times more to Obama than McCain.

    Quote:

    METHODOLOGY: The totals on these charts are calculated from PAC contributions and contributions from individuals giving more than $200, as reported to the Federal Election Commission. Individual contributions are generally categorized based on the donor's occupation/employer, although individuals may be classified instead as ideological donors if they've given more than $200 to an ideological PAC.

    Since Obama raised over $650 million from individual donors, I don't find it particularly odd that Obama raised $20 million of that from individual donors within the healthcare industry.

    Additionally, since McCain raised $200 million from individual donors, which is less than a third of what Obama raised, I don't find it particularly striking that Obama raised three times as much as McCain from individual donors in some particular industry.

    There are better criticisms to be made of Obama, and some here are making those criticisms--but this one is pretty weak.

    DaveW

    a critical but sympathetic  assessment from the left:

     www.thenation.com/doc/20100201/greider

     

    sandstone

    i'm in agreement with jingles view on obama one year out.. to quote jingles.

    "Which part of his economic/social policies did you like best; the one where he gave away the keys to the treasury to Wall Street, or the one where he's forcing the poor to subsidize insurance companies? Was it the refusal to investigate the criminal actions of the big banks (A.K.A. his cabinet), or the "indefinite detention" of suspected suspects that tickles your fancy? Or maybe his bombing of the poorest countries on earth strike you as particularly enlightened and progressive."

    obama has been a very big let down for many folks on both sides of the spectrum.. perhaps it reflects the deteriorating state of affairs that has been taking shape in the usa and by proximity - canada over the past few years...

    Bacchus

    Michelle wrote:

    I know.  It's just unbelievable.  It would be one thing to require everyone be insured if they were offering public health insurance - heck, that's what we have.  But to force everyone to buy crappy plans from private insurers - or face a FINE?  Good god!

    Do you have a link to some of those numbers?  I'd be interested in checking that out!

     

    When the company I worked for moved to Florida in 2006, my boss was to move down there with his wife and toddler son. It was going to cost between 1-2k a month for decent healthcare from the insurance companies there.

     

    At present my sister in law in PA pays 400/month for healthcare for her and her husband and 19yr old son. She said if they get his by a bus, its all covered but if they develop diabetes, heart disease, etc they are on their own.

     

    NDPP

    Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right Wing Doors

    http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1907-crit...

    "And what is Barack Obama's agenda? What is his political program? It boils down to 3 main elements: unwinnable wars, unconscionable bailouts, and unworkable, unwanted health care 'reform' that forces people to further enrich some of the most despised conglomerates in the land.

    Now it is obvious to all that Obama's core agenda is the same as Bush's: maintaining the elitest, militarist, corporatist system in all its essential elements.."

    al-Qa'bong

    Quote:
     

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

     

    Paul Krugman

    Michelle

    Hey skdadl, thanks for that link.  I'm not sure why I haven't been back to this thread until now, but I'll go check it out.

    al-Qa'bong

    Quote:
    I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president--which means, in our time, a dangerous president--unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.

     

    Howard Zinn

    George Victor

    Probably far more dangerous to the big banks than anything the GOP can offer from their Heartland headquarters.  :D  Krugman:  "At this point Mr. Obama probably can't do much about job creation. He can, however, push hard on financial reform, and seek to put himself back on the right side of public anger by portraying Republicans as the enemies of reform - which they are."  (But we must not mention those folk hereabouts...just Obama, the failed president).

    al-Qa'bong

    Krugman, Krugman...

     

    Where have I seen that name before?

     

    Oh yeah; three posts ago.

     

    Quote:
     

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

     

     

    sandstone

    from the washington note

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

    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/01/krugmans_blunt/#comments

    Noah_Scape

    Ya, and how about the removing the limits for campaign contributions from corporations!! WOWZER, that was a stinger and a stunner for a "leftist Prez".{does this news deserve it's own thread?}

     

    I suppose this means I have to admit that Obama is as hard right as any other American President, he was just keeping it hidden until now.

    And he did this now because it is time to start collecting donations for the next election?

    Doug

    Nobody can blame that on Obama, it's a Supreme Court decision and Obama's single appointee so far was in the minority, for whatever that's worth.

    George Victor

    "Nobody can blame that on Obama, Doug?   Have you heard of anything happening south of the 49th blamed on anyone else, hereabouts? 

    Sven Sven's picture

    Obama's biggest challenge?  The vast middle in America (i.e., [url=the">http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcmanus24-2010jan24... independent voters[/url]).

    That is where the real power resides.

     

     

    Unionist

    Excellent piece by Robert Scheer (remember him?):

    [url=http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_massachusetts_got_right_2010012... Massachusetts got right[/url]

    Quote:
    The president got creamed in Massachusetts. No amount of blaming this disastrous outcome on the weaknesses of the local Democratic candidate or her Republican opponent’s strengths can gainsay that fact. Obama’s opportunistic search for win-win solutions to our health care concerns and our larger economic problems is leading to a lose-lose outcome for the president and the country. [...]

    It is significant that it was the voters of Massachusetts who have now derailed the Democrats’ efforts to revamp the country’s health care system by denying them the necessary 60th vote in the Senate, for these voters know the subject well.

    The federal proposal is based on their own state’s model requiring people to obtain health insurance without the state doing anything to effectively control costs through an alternative to the private insurance corporations. Lacking a public option, the cost of health care in Massachusetts, already the highest in the nation at the time of the plan’s implementation, has spiraled upward. Services have been curtailed, and many, particularly younger people, feel they are being forced to sacrifice to pay for a system that doesn’t work.

     

    wage zombie

    From a recent Washington Post poll of Massachusetts:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/hp/ssi/wpc/mass-poll22.html

    Health Care Poll

    This poll has a majority of MA voters, even Brown voters, supporting MA's health reform.

    Noah_Scape

    "Barack Obama is rich, powerfull, respected... and definately not a revolutionary" - I saw that quote the other day, I like it! now me:

    -----------

    Over the past year he has proven himself to be part of "the establishment".

      Warmongering, forcing every American to buy insurance even though there is no public option, and now this "no more limits on campaign donations from corporations", and Obama participated in the H1N1 vaccine scare /farce too.  Yup, establishment right down the line. I had such hopes...

     

    Doug
    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    Noah_Scape wrote:
     and now this "no more limits on campaign donations from corporations",  

     

    I believe that was a SCOTUS decision, and Obama has already said he opposes this. Don't know if he is moving to change it, but these things take time.

    George Victor

    Time and a couple of new Surpreme Court Appointments (one would have done it on this one).  That's about all he can do, Boomer.  Noah scaping that.  : D

    al-Qa'bong

    Quote:

    President Barack Obama does have a foreign policy. It's called war.

    The President has not defined any real difference between his hawkish approach to international issues and that of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

    Where's the change we can believe in?

     

    Helen Thomas, who shouldn't be confused with Sarah Palin, who asked "How's that hopey changey thing workin' for ya?"

    Did anyone catch Stephen Colbert call Palin a "f***ing retard" last night?

     

    kropotkin1951

    al-Qa'bong wrote:

    Did anyone catch Stephen Colbert call Palin a "f***ing retard" last night?

     

    The most distressing thing is to see someone like Palin advocating on behalf of something you believe in.  But then they showed her response to Rush's use of the term.  That proved her advocacy was born from political partisanship and again she was using her daughter to score political points.

    So according to Palin a Dem. should be fired for using the "r" word and Rush was merely being himself.

    Quote:

     On Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, she said his comments calling liberal groups "f-ing retards" was "indecent and insensitive" and cause for his dismissal.

    But the former governor went to great and sometimes awkward lengths to insist that when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the same exact term to describe the same exact group, it was simply in the role of political humorist.

     

    al-Qa'bong

    I believe the qualification Palin used was that Limbaugh was using "satire."

    kropotkin1951

    That was the qualification and if you believe that Rush is not a political commentator but merely a comedian like Colbert then it has some validity.  I can't make that first leap. I heard the clip and Rush was using the term in the nastiest way possible and there was no satire. 

    Doug

    Obama administration tries to quickly turn around the worst schools in America

     

    It would be interesting to try to unbundle what's going on here - that is, what are the effects of the extra money versus moving schools out of the normal public school administration versus the higher standards expected in staff performance and student achievement.

    al-Qa'bong

    kropotkin1951 wrote:

    I heard the clip and Rush was using the term in the nastiest way possible and there was no satire. 

    Well, of course he was...and obviously it wasn't.

    George Victor

    And clearly the fascist, racist bastard is not a "comedian like Colbert." 

    DaveW

    Unionist wrote:

    Excellent piece by Robert Scheer (remember him?):

    [url=http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_massachusetts_got_right_2010012... Massachusetts got right[/url]

    Quote:
    The president got creamed in Massachusetts. No amount of blaming this disastrous outcome on the weaknesses of the local Democratic candidate or her Republican opponent’s strengths can gainsay that fact. Obama’s opportunistic search for win-win solutions to our health care concerns and our larger economic problems is leading to a lose-lose outcome for the president and the country. [...]

    It is significant that it was the voters of Massachusetts who have now derailed the Democrats’ efforts to revamp the country’s health care system by denying them the necessary 60th vote in the Senate, for these voters know the subject well.

    The federal proposal is based on their own state’s model requiring people to obtain health insurance without the state doing anything to effectively control costs through an alternative to the private insurance corporations. Lacking a public option, the cost of health care in Massachusetts, already the highest in the nation at the time of the plan’s implementation, has spiraled upward. Services have been curtailed, and many, particularly younger people, feel they are being forced to sacrifice to pay for a system that doesn’t work.

     

    Nobel-winner Paul Krugman disagrees:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/opinion/19krugman.html?em

     

    What would work? By all means, let's ban discrimination on the basis of medical history - but we also have to keep healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that people purchase insurance. This, in turn, requires substantial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can afford coverage.

    And if you put all of that together, you end up with something very much like the health reform bills that have already passed both the House and the Senate.

    What about claims [esp. at Canada's influential Babble site -ed.]  that these bills would force Americans into the clutches of greedy insurance companies? Well, the main answer is stronger regulation; but it would also be a very good idea, politically as well as substantively, for the Senate to use reconciliation to put the public option back into its bill.

    But the main point is this: California's death spiral is a reminder that our health care system is unraveling, and that inaction isn't an option. Congress and the president need to make reform happen - now.

     

     

     

     

     

    Unionist

    Let me grasp this U.S. style logic:

    Krugman wants to force healthy people to pay insurance companies so that they can remain profitable and keep premiums down and heal the sick.

    Krugman hasn't thought of forcing people to pay more taxes on a progressive basis so that the society can look after everyone's health and to hell with the insurance companies.

    Krugman is (as DaveW says) a "Nobel winner". He's a loser in my book.

    Where do I pick up my Nobel prize?

     

    DaveW

     

    I agree with this guy, too, also a Nobel winner Surprised, along w. Unionist and Krugman:

     http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/weekly-address-president-obama-says-it-time-move-forward-health-care-reform

     The bottom line is that the status quo is good for the insurance industry and bad for America. Over the past year, as families and small business owners have struggled to pay soaring health care costs, and as millions of Americans lost their coverage, the five largest insurers made record profits of over $12 billion.

    And as bad as things are today, they'll only get worse if we fail to act. We'll see more and more Americans go without the coverage they need. We'll see exploding premiums and out-of-pocket costs burn through more and more family budgets. We'll see more and more small businesses scale back benefits, drop coverage, or close down because they can't keep up with rising rates. And in time, we'll see these skyrocketing health care costs become the single largest driver of our federal deficits.

    That's what the future is on track to look like. But it's not what the future has to look like. The question, then, is whether we will do what it takes, all of us - Democrats and Republicans - to build a better future for ourselves, our children, and our country.

    That's why, next week, I am inviting members of both parties to take part in a bipartisan health care meeting, and I hope they come in a spirit of good faith. I don't want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points. Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that's been with us for generations.

     

     

    Unionist

    Empty rhetoric, after being elected on a promise of reforming the system and a year of retreating from that promise. Now he's ready to adopt revolutionary Republican ideas of allowing people to buy out-of-state insurance and small employers to pool their efforts. What a diplomat! I think he should be in line for some kind of Peace Prize.

     

     

    George Victor

    Yeah, in the absence of any discussion about the GOP and Sarah and teabags and any possibility of a bipartisan Congress on this or any other issue, he sure looks bad.  I'm reminded of the story of LIttle Red Riding Hood.  Same depth of analysis.

    skdadl

    The long-promised, oft-delayed OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) report on the behaviour of Justice Dep't lawyers was released in redacted form yesterday. Friday afternoon -- imagine that. You're shocked, I know.

     

    I'm just catching up with it now, but it is of course an investigation that's been given several coats of whitewash, and a lot of that under Holder/Obama's direction. Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury, the three OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) lawyers who wrote the infamous torture memos and conspired with the White House (as well as general counsel at the CIA and DoD) to make the facts fit the policy, as it were, have been let off the hook. I know: you're shocked again.

     

    Well, they're looking forward, y'know. Can't let a little thing like a torture regime still not accounted for spoil things, can we. I'll be back with more when I know more.

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