Jimmy Carter

Lame ducks and turkeys: You can't tell the players w/o a scorecard; can't tell the game w/o a clue

by: Paul Rosenberg

Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 17:00

Is Obama a player? Or playee?  Let's take a look at what "some say":

Late last week, Kos told a tale of sparkling opportunity lost:

If Senate Dems had been this productive before lame duck session...
by kos
Fri Dec 24, 2010 at 09:00:05 AM PST

Let's see ... DADT was repealed, tax deal was passed, New START was ratified, the 9/11 responder bill has had GOP on the defensive, the DREAM vote reminded Latinos which party stands by them, and big food safety bill was passed. What did I forget?

While not all of this was ideal (particularly the tax bill), it's amazing what even the broken Senate can accomplish in less than three weeks once Democrats and the White House decided to tighten the screws. Rather than look lost and ineffective, Democrats looked decisive and strong. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has never looked more competent.

If this Democratic Party had showed up earlier this year, things may have turned out much differently this November. DADT and DREAM would've helped narrow the intensity gap, the tax debate could've helped better frame the difference between the two parties, and the 9-11 responder bill could've given birth to a million effective attack ads.

But digby sagely cited TPM's Brian Buetler's take, then adds a bit more:

Clearing The Decks

by digby

Brian Beutler wonders why the Republicans didn't fight harder on some of the lame duck agenda and concludes:

    Republicans must at some level have understood that some of these things weren't going away. DADT would've stayed on the agenda. 9/11 responders would have stayed on the agenda. DREAM will stay on the agenda. And I'm guessing they made the simple calculation that it would be easier and wiser to give Dems these victories now, rather than fight it out with them publicly next after the GOP takes over the House with a caucus that's divided over these things.

    Now the issues are off the table, and that creates more space for them to set the agenda.

I think this is right. And I think we know what that agenda is, don't we?

I also believe that while DADT, START and the 9/11 responders bills were hostages they would have killed if they had to, they were ok with allowing them to live if they got the tax cuts, which set the table for everything that comes next. After all, DADT was endorsed by the military, START was endorsed by every Republican statesman dead or alive, including retired Generals by the bus load, and the 9/11 responders bill was to benefit a bunch of cops and firemen. At the end of the day, the GOP has always been a sucker for a man in a uniform.

And on Sunday, she elaborated further on another angle:

Positioning The Duck

by digby
....

I think it works like this: the success of the lame duck session is being widely attributed to the President and the Village is pushing that meme very hard. From the GOP perspective this works in their favor. They get to blame all the individual items the public doesn't like on the Muslim communist usurper which is, at this point, all they care about. (Hence, "they ate our lunch.") It's very useful to have a Democratic president get credit for unpopular GOP proposals that aren't going to work, like the tax cuts.

Of course, the president gets to take credit for the popular proposals as well, but these were all issues that either the public doesn't care much about like START or are like the repeal of DADT, which despite its 77% public approval, Republicans are leery of supporting en masse because of the strong objections from part of their base. The one thing they defeated was a popular immigration bill that was very important to their base to defeat.

I think they're happy to have a Democrat sign on Bush's signature issue and especially happy to have the administration use their rationale for doing it. If the economy doesn't improve, the Democrats will own the failure and can't use it against them. If it does, it will be attributed to Republican voodoo economics working to create Morning in America. I think they now feel they have a good argument going into 2012 regardless of how it goes. They are good at using the levers of opposition to advance their own goals.

I really don't think we should hear any more talk about 11-dimensional chess.  The GOP is playing two-dimensional Chineses checkers and they're whipping Obama's butt.  Obama?  He's playing tiddlie-winks, and he still thinks he's Bobbie Fischer. But (h/t bmull) at least he's got Booman fooled:

Time To Give Props

by BooMan

Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 10:19:27 AM EST

At this point in his presidency I think it is fair to say that Obama is already in the conversation as best president since Abraham Lincoln. His only real competition is FDR and LBJ, and I think it's a safe bet that Obama will neither beat the Nazis nor start an unwinnable war in Vietnam. In other words, he's in a battle with FDR to be the best president since the Civil War.

Maybe some of you think that I am joking. I am not. Maybe some of you think I am damning with faint praise. Maybe I am. But that doesn't mean that I am wrong. I am not wrong.

Whatever else is wrong with the economy, we're obviously not about to run out of kool-aide anytime soon.

p.s. Jimmy Carter was a "failed president" in many ways.  But he brokered the only peace deal worth anything to Israel, and tried to alert us to the need for an alternative energy program early enough that if we had heeded him, we'd be in really good shape today.  The same of course, applies to our failure to follow-up on the Egypt-Isreal peace deal. These came from Carter himself, not from any forces of historical inevitability.  Does Obama have anything remotely close to comparing with those two accomplishments?  No. He does not.

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Weekly Mulch: Would You Eat Bugs to Fight Climate Change?

by: The Media Consortium

Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 12:05

By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger

Maybe it's time for environmentalists prioritize do-it-yourself climate fixes instead of looking to politicians. There are all sorts of options, including, for those dedicated enough, switching to an insect-based diet, as Change.org reports.

But in the private sector, inventors, corporations, and small  businesses - farmers in particular - are finding more palatable ways to scale down their  environmental impact. In short, politicians aren't the only ones with the power to make high-profile statements and strong choices on climate change.

No solar on the White House

Environmental crusader Bill McKibben had already given up on Congress;  now the White House has disappointed, too. McKibben and other leaders in  the climate change movement are eschewing lobbying on legislation in  favor of pushing for more visible, direct action on climate issues. To  that end, McKibben, along with three students, asked the White House  last week to reinstall one of Jimmy Carter's solar panels on the roof. The answer was no.

McKibben describes the Obama administration's response to his request as "uncool...Asked to do something easy and symbolic to rekindle a little of the   joy that had turned out so many of us as volunteers for Obama in 2008,   they point blank said no," according to Truthout.

The administration officials that they met with, though, wanted to make sure that the climate activists knew something was being done to improve the country's environment. They touted the president's initiative to green the federal government-federal buildings in particular. One official, McKibben says, spoke more than once about a Portland, Ore., building that would soon have a "green curtain," likely a hanging garden.

It's not that McKibben disapproved. "Actually, it's kind of great," he wrote. "Still, I doubt many  people are going to build their own vegetated fins."

The talking cure

That's the ultimate question: What will people build on their own? Solar panels could be one answer, although they haven't quite caught on yet. There are all sorts of technologies, though, that could help us minimize our carbon footprint. Grist's Ashley Braun checks out one new idea: drawing energy from sound waves:

Using that standby found in sunscreen, zinc oxide, to turn sound waves  into electricity, these scientists have heard the bells of success  starting to ring in their ears. Similar to other technologies aimed at harvesting energy from walking or dancing,  this concept could also turn the roar of traffic into the hum of  low-carbon electrons. How sweet the sound of renewable energy.

Scientists are considering using this technology in cell phones, creating, ideally, a device that would never have be plugged in, assuming, of course, that its owner used it frequently enough, and used it as a phone, rather than an e-mail/web-surfing/GPS device.

Go private?

Another option for climate reformers could be focusing on the private sector. Corporations have gotten the message that consumers buy green products, and more are churning out sustainable, climate-friendly offerings.

Care2's Emily Logan points to Nestle, eBay, and Sunny D as three companies that have heard the green gospel. Nestle is investing in sustainable coffee; eBay is pushing out reusable shipping boxes; and Sunny D, the beverage company, met its zero-waste goal three years ahead of schedule.

"Of course, like most large corporations who are making efforts toward  sustainability, some of these companies have a long way to go," Logan writes. "But  giving credit where credit is due is increasingly important when it  comes to the environment."

You are what you eat

The farm sector is one private industry that deserves more scrutiny and pressure. Recall that agriculture interests ran one of the most successful campaigns to be exempted from the cap-and-trade bill, when it was working its way through the House. Even among liberals, the industry has its defenders: local, sustainable agriculture just won't work to feed the masses, the argument goes.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that we still haven't seen how large sustainable farms can grow. Take Joel Salatin, the crusading farmer made famous by Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. Salatin has been running a successful operation, Polyface Farm, for years while relying on organic and sustainable methods. As David E. Gumport reports at Chelsea Green, Salatin's farm has only grown:

Standing in front of a  group of about 50 romping pigs, [Salatin] proudly  revealed that Polyface has  hit the the $2 million annual sales level,  while sticking to Salatin's  policy of not shipping food outside a  100-mile radius. The effect, he  says, has been to strengthen local  businesses-everything from a local  breakfast diner serving visitors to  his farm to local feed and supply  companies.

Salatin is convinced his methods can be used to feed the entire population. What's certain is that there is room for more of this sort of growth in the agricultural system.

Here, too, would-be reformers run back into politicians: Salatin's food safety practices are not exactly FDA-approved, and to reseed his methods elsewhere, the government would need to relax safety standards for smaller, alternatives operations.

But for now, this sort of effort, and others outside of Washington seem to be making the largest impact.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive   reporting about the environment by members of   The Media  Consortium.   It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of  articles on environmental issues, or follow us   on  Twitter. And for the best   progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration   issues, check out The Audit,   The Pulse,   and The   Diaspora. This is a project  of The Media Consortium, a network  of   leading independent media  outlets.

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So, what if Obama's a really great guy?

by: Paul Rosenberg

Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:00

I've been increasingly critical of Obama's politics of late, for a variety of reasons--the most important being that they seem more and more ominous in a number of ways.  But life is complicated, and there's no real way right now to know what's in his head or heart.  This came even more sharply into focus for me when I wrote a comment in response to Mike's diary yesterday, "The Heat in the Kitchen, The Buck Stopping, and All That".  I wrote as follows:

If Only...

There were someone in Obama's inner circle savvy enough to take your advice!

I know people who worked for Jimmy Carter that are still bitter about Ted Kennedy's primary challenge, and I know old LBJ hands who never forgave Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy. But these challenges from the left were a symptom of the problems those Presidents had with their base, not the cause of it, and the fact that there was a rift that never healed helped cause their Presidencies to fail.

So true!  But it wasn't only a problem with their base. It was also a problem with reality (and its well-known liberal bias).  Most infamously, Vietnam was unwinnable from the start, and the since-released tapes of LBJ talking to Russell show that even LBJ himself knew it from the get-go.

Somewhat analogously, Carter's hawkishness in office went directly contrary to what he's best known for since leaving office--arguably the greatest post-Presidential legacy since John Quincy Adams played a leading role in advancing the cause of Abolition.

In short, the absolute worst thing that a President can do is betray his own deepest instincts, and then go around blaming others for the resulting chaos and failure.

This is what haunts me:  What if Obama really is as great as his more worshipful fans think he is?  (Their seemingly mindless adulation makes it difficult for me to seriously contemplate, but what if they're right, anyway?  Would that really be stranger than The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch?) And what if a significant part of what keeps him  doing such terrible things is an internalized sense that he has a duty to do things that he doesn't believe in? (Or he could just be a robot... but I digress.)  As I indicated above, this very much seems to have been the case with both LBJ and Jimmy Carter--although in different ways, of course. With Obama, it would be yet another different way, and yet the possibility remains quite strong that this same fundamental dynamic could well be at work.

And what is that funadamental dynamic, exactly?  Simple: a basic belief that conservatives are right.  That you have to "act tough", either domestically, or in foreign affairs or both.   Because, in fact, FDR was the last Democratic President who didn't seem to feel the need to play that game.  To the contrary, when it came to WWII, he genuinely felt there was a very great threat, but he had downplay his sense of the need to fight fascism.

So what if Obama's Cairo speech is his true self, but he's doing this whole "War On Terror Done Right" routine instead because of some sort of misguided notion that he can't possibly trust his own instincts, values and beliefs?

Wouldn't that just be the most heartbreaking tragedy since this:

The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.
--Lyndon B. Johnson
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Did You See "Fake President?"

by: DaveJ

Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 11:45

Did you see Rachel Maddow doing "Fake President" yesterday?  She give the speech that she wished President Obama had given, and I have to say she nailed it.  My aunt even called me to say I should see it.

Click this link to watch it if there is a problem here.

Before the President's speech I posted a context piece, discussing President Carter's April 18, 1977 "moral equivalent of war" speech on energy and his July 15, 1979 "crisis of confidence" speech, with video of both.  Those were remarkable speeches, remembered today and I recommend reading the transcript at least of the second speech because it truly sets the stage for so much of what we are dealing with today -- not just energy but the divisions in the country.  And the reaction following the speech also set the stage for today because the brand-new infrastructure and coordination of right-wing think tanks and organizations was cranking up their propaganda machine.  We were not used to it then, and didn't see what was going on as well as we understand it today.  

I think what we saw from the President Tuesday was a defensive speech, responding to this "noise machine" instead of leading from the "bully pulpit" as Maddow captures so well.  

Here is Carter's April 18, 1977 "moral equivalent of war" speech:

And the July 15, 1979 "crisis of confidence" speech:

Your thoughts?

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Mother Earth to Millions, We Have a Problem

by: Betsy L. Angert

Sun Jun 06, 2010 at 12:15


Oil Booms & Bird Habitat - NWF visits important bird rookery

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Americans acknowledge there is a problem.  Petroleum pours out from a broken pipe.  Thousands of barrels of fuel flow freely through the Gulf of Mexico, just as they have for more than a month.  Plants, animals, and people are affected.  People express distress.  Millions are dismayed. What can BP do. Indeed what can any company or citizens do? Most call upon the President. Mister Obama, the electorate pleads, please, protect us.  These same citizens ignore that the protection we need is from ourselves.  Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past.  Many Americans have forgotten an earlier time, when another of this country's Chief Executives attempted to avoid the nightmare we experience today.

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The One About Book Club: The 48 Laws Of Power: Laws 9 and 10

by: Toriach

Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 20:35

Hello again. Well yesterday we took a look at laws seven and eight, of The 48 Laws Of Power. Today we look at the next two laws, one of which is incredibly important for Progressives to start following.
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Conservative condescension: Projection and conservative victomology on parade--Part 4

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:00

In Part I, I dealt with the introduction and transition of  Gerard Alexander's WaPo commissioned editorial, "Why are liberals so condescending".  In Part 2 and Part 3 I dealt with the first two of the four liberal narratives Alexander cites as manifestations of so-called "liberal condescension."  This diary deals with the third such narrative.


If Alexander's second narrative has a germ of truth to it, he more than makes up for that with his third purported liberal narrative of condescension:  conservative exploitation of racial prejudice.  It should be obvious that overt racism of the kind that was commonplace until the 60s and 70s is no longer socially acceptable in most places, and plays a relatively insignificant role in mainstream politics.  But that hardly means that race no longer matters, or that more subtle forms of racial politics are not powerfully at work.  One can see this quite clearly in the composition of the two parties, as measured by Gallup in June of last year ("Republican Base Heavily White, Conservative, Religious"):

With figure like these--a Republican base that's 89% white--it boggles the mind to hear anyone pretend that race has no impact on politics.  Examples of racial messages in political campaigns are both abundant and notorious, as well.  But above all, for the purpose of refuting contrary claims by conservatives such as Alexander, we have the testimony of one of the GOP's most influential party operatives, Lee Atwater.  From Wikipedia:

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Why Obama lies about race

by: OpenLeft

Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 16:00

We at Open Left are taking the New Year's weekend off.  Golden Oldies will run in their place.  Regularly Scheduled programming will resume on January 4th--Chris Bowers

A Paul Rosenberg Golden Oldie

From Sat Sep 26, 2009. Original HERE.


Jimmy Carter was a terrible President, but as a former President he's second only to John Quincy Adams, who was the foremost anti-slavery voice in the House of Representatives at a time when the South had virtually shut down all mention of slavery as a topic of discussion in Versailles. Carter has excelled at assuming the role of elder--a role found in human societies across time and around the world. It's the role of one who has made their mark in day-to-day world of material and status concerns, and has nothing more to prove. Their concern now is with the welfare of the whole and taking care for the future.  And that's what Carter has done to a degree that's not been equaled by other ex-Presidents since the time of John Qunicy Adams. That was the context in which he spoke out about the role of racism in fueling that attacks on Obama.

It was the kind of thing that no one still bound up in the day-to-day world of material and status concerns could say--even though it was as obvious as the nose on your face.  But President Obama responded by denying the obvious truth that Carter spoke.  And, to be honest, very few people could be surprised that Obama lied the way he did.  Lying about race has always been at the center of the racial bargain that Obama has struck:  You pretend that I'm not black, and I'll pretend that racism doesn't exist.  That's not it exactly, but it gets us in the right ballpark, sitting in our favorite seats, hot dogs and cold beer in hand.

Remember this exchange between Keith Olberman and Melissa Harris-Lacewell?

OLBERMANN:  Previously, on many topics, this president has taken a minor controversy and turned it into something worth contemplating, worth analyzing, particularly on the issue of race itself.  Is he missing an opportunity to take what seems like a central controversy and turn it into the same kind of thing by reacting the way he did to President Carter?  To say through a spokesman that the White House doesn't believe racism is a significant factor here?

HARRIS-LACEWELL:  Yes, I mean, I guess I understand that the president is trying to pass health care.  But there are these moments-you know, I've heard people say maybe what President Obama is doing is the rope-a-dope strategy of Muhammad Ali, laying back and taking the body blows to tire out the opposition so he can come out with a knockout.

But one of the things that was true about Muhammad Ali, is that when he saw racism, he always spoke to it.  He always said it.  It was part of what we loved about his brashness.  I wish it was a little bit more Muhammad Ali in Barack Obama today.

Sorry, Melissa, you must be thinking about the anti-Obama.  Because Barack Obama would never go there.  He accidentally stumbled vaguely in that direction when he called the arrst of Henry Louis Gates "stupid" (not "racist") and that's as close as he's ever going to get.

But why?

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Self-Correction in American Elections

by: Inoljt

Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 20:52

One thing I've recently observed is the degree to which America self-corrects when selecting its leaders. It's very interesting to compare successive presidents; the new president nearly always lacks the weakness the previous president had. Though of course he comes with his own flaws.

I'll start with Jimmy Carter. Carter was known for being honest and a bit naive, in stark contrast to his predecessor Richard Nixon.

Carter, however, had a negative reputation for being an obsessive micromanager. He was replaced by Ronald Reagan - who was famous for leaving the details (and sometimes the whole plan itself) to his aides.

Reagan and the elder Bush were criticized as too old for the job. So along came Bill Clinton and Al Gore, the youngest presidential team in history, as the next presidential group.

Of course, Bill Clinton is remembered for his sexual indiscretion and the Monica Lewinsky affair. His replacement - George W. Bush - was widely characterized as morally upright and religious.

He was also characterized as stupid. Which is a criticism nobody would level at his successor Barack Obama - one of the most intellectual persons who has ever graced the high office.

And so the cycle continues onwards.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

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Congress needs to assert itself on Treaty abrogation and withdrawal

by: Daniel De Groot

Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 16:00

There was a bit of good news this week, in that the Obama administration is still reviewing whether the US should join the Ottawa Treaty (a lifesaving treaty banning anti-personnel mines).  This refuted an earlier report that they had decided against it, and would continue the Bush Administration policy.  Ok, well enough as these things go, but before the Obama administration signs any new treaties, and the Senate ratifies them, Congress needs to act to correct the Bush Administration's assertion of Executive authority to have the United States withdraw or abrogate duly ratified treaties without Congressional input.  There is no point to the Obama Administration expending any political capital to ratify Ottawa, or a climate change treaty coming out of Copenhagen, or the Rome treaty and many others if the next Republican President can just withdraw unilaterally on the Federalist Society style theory of sole Executive control of American foreign policy.

Back in December 2001, President Bush gave Russia notice of the US intention to withdraw from the Anti-ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, in order for the US to more actively pursue National Missile Defense.  Congress' input was not sought, despite that this was a formal, Constitutional treaty that had been ratified by a 2/3 affirmative vote of the Senate in 1972.  Does it make any kind of Constitutional sense that it would take the Executive plus a super-majority of the Senate to enter a treaty, but sole Executive discretion to leave one?  How much faith can the world put in the word of the United States if treaty obligations are so easily nullified?  This is not just an issue of Executive/Legislative balance of powers, but one of the many factors that contributes toward the US being a rogue actor on the world stage.  

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Why Obama Lies About Race

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 17:30

Jimmy Carter was a terrible President, but as a former President he's second only to John Quincy Adams, who was the foremost anti-slavery voice in the House of Representatives at a time when the South had virtually shut down all mention of slavery as a topic of discussion in Versailles. Carter has excelled at assuming the role of elder--a role found in human societies across time and around the world. It's the role of one who has made their mark in day-to-day world of material and status concerns, and has nothing more to prove. Their concern now is with the welfare of the whole and taking care for the future.  And that's what Carter has done to a degree that's not been equaled by other ex-Presidents since the time of John Qunicy Adams. That was the context in which he spoke out about the role of racism in fueling that attacks on Obama.

It was the kind of thing that no one still bound up in the day-to-day world of material and status concerns could say--even though it was as obvious as the nose on your face.  But President Obama responded by denying the obvious truth that Carter spoke.  And, to be honest, very few people could be surprised that Obama lied the way he did.  Lying about race has always been at the center of the racial bargain that Obama has struck:  You pretend that I'm not black, and I'll pretend that racism doesn't exist.  That's not it exactly, but it gets us in the right ballpark, sitting in our favorite seats, hot dogs and cold beer in hand.

Remember this exchange between Keith Olberman and Melissa Harris-Lacewell?

OLBERMANN:  Previously, on many topics, this president has taken a minor controversy and turned it into something worth contemplating, worth analyzing, particularly on the issue of race itself.  Is he missing an opportunity to take what seems like a central controversy and turn it into the same kind of thing by reacting the way he did to President Carter?  To say through a spokesman that the White House doesn't believe racism is a significant factor here?

HARRIS-LACEWELL:  Yes, I mean, I guess I understand that the president is trying to pass health care.  But there are these moments-you know, I've heard people say maybe what President Obama is doing is the rope-a-dope strategy of Muhammad Ali, laying back and taking the body blows to tire out the opposition so he can come out with a knockout.

But one of the things that was true about Muhammad Ali, is that when he saw racism, he always spoke to it.  He always said it.  It was part of what we loved about his brashness.  I wish it was a little bit more Muhammad Ali in Barack Obama today.

Sorry, Melissa, you must be thinking about the anti-Obama.  Because Barack Obama would never go there.  He accidentally stumbled vaguely in that direction when he called the arrst of Henry Louis Gates "stupid" (not "racist") and that's as close as he's ever going to get.

But why?

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Jimmy Carter's Latest Sanctimonious Publicity-Stunt

by: Jacob Freeze

Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 19:55

Historians consistently rank "Jimmy" Earl Carter as one of the worst US Presidents of the Twentieth Century, worse even than George W. Bush on the three polls which included both of them, and the consensus attitude is that Carter was a chump whose legacy is national humiliation in Iran and runaway inflation at home.

Now this chump of a President and self-appointed Sunday-School Teacher to the World (TM) has added mind-reading to the list of his bogus "talents" and pronounced that...

"...an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American."

This all-purpose cover for Obama's selling out everybody except a few billionaire bankers was quickly echoed by sleazy proponents of "identity" politics like the despicable M.J. Rosenberg of TalkingPointsMemo, who announced that "in Obama's case, 99% of the criticism is race based."

99%!

So all you progressive or liberal "racists" who were even thinking about criticizing our Dear Leader should just shut the fuck up and drink the koolaid!

And that includes you, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, with your crazy racist claims that Obama once pledged to "dump" the Patriot Act... and it gets even worse!

Obama justifies keeping nearly all of Bush's terror war provisions in place with the standard rationale that the government must have all the weapons needed to deal with the threat of terrorism, even legally and constitutionally dubious weapons. That, of course, was the Bush and Cheney stock line.

Racist! (But isn't this great photo anyway? I love that guy!)

And that also includes those Ku Klux Klan vipers at Black Agenda Report, which is featuring this screaming "racist" headline...

Distracting, Dissembling, Disappointing; Barack is Back!

Why don't they just call him "uppity," and quit trying to find excuses to hate him?

Other prominent "racist" scumbags who pretended to be progressives but finally showed their real bigotry by criticizing Barack Obama include David Sirota at OpenLeft, and Matt Taibbi, with his foaming-at-the-mouth "racist" claim that Obama and Rahm Emanuel accepted a "Big Bribe" from Big Pharma, and Robert Scheer, just another loony crypto-racist who pretends that...

Obama "has blundered into a deepening quagmire in Afghanistan, has continued the Bush policy of buying off Wall Street hustlers instead of confronting them and is now on the cusp of bargaining away the so-called public option..."

Racist!

Racists everywhere!

...except for Jimmy Carter, M.J. Rosenberg, Barack Obama, and Eric Holder, who "told it like it ain't" about this "nation of cowards," where hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers once sacrificed their lives to abolish slavery.

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Presidential Disconnects

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 12:30

In the diary "Obama, Progressives, and the Question of A Successful Presidency", Robert in Monterey (a historian by training) wrote a comment that I responded to immediately, but felt deserved a good deal more attention than that.  Apparently others agreed as well, since it now has 25 "4"s.

First he wrote about the current administration misreading the political landscape, then he wrote about other recent examples of other administrations doing the same, albeit in somewhat different ways.  I'm going to reproduce what Robert wrote, and tie it back to my argument in the previous diary about the anomalous nature of the Sixth Party System--but with a bit of a twist, because the origins of this pattern of disconnects starts even earlier.  Here's the beginning of Robert's excellent comment:

They've misread the last 8 years

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that Obama and Emanuel have quite fundamentally misread what has happened to American politics the last 8 years (and going back even further, of course). Obama's basic view was that Bush was an irritant - remove him and you remove the cause of the infection in US politics. Without Bush out there sowing division Obama believed he could build a stable center.

Rahm Emanuel's role was to be the force behind that work. For Emanuel, the Obama Administration was an outright restoration. He would pick up right where he left off in 2000, cutting deals of a center-right variety and browbeating a weak progressive bloc into accepting it.

Neither of them have understood how much has changed between 2000 and 2008.

Bush was a symptom, not a cause. The right-wing under Bush became even more entrenched and hostile to anything not conservative and not Republican. They deepened their level of crazy. Obama's belief that he can reach out to these people is stunningly, tragically naive.

Similarly, Emanuel and Obama have not quite grasped how progressives have been changed by 8 years of Bush. We learned that the right-wing is to never be trusted on anything, ever, for any reason.

But we also learned to be extremely sensitive to Democratic efforts to sell us out. The Democratic decision to support the Iraq War initiated dramatic change in the Democratic Party and the progressive movement. We learned to never again let our values be abandoned by our party, and we began 6+ years of organizing work to ensure it would never happen again.

Both Obama and Emanuel seem to believe that we will just quietly fall in line when we are asked to support a compromise that has been drawn up along Republican lines. In doing so they are revealing their immense disconnection from the basic political realities of the day.

That pretty much hits all the high points in the Obama disconnnect.  While this precise articulation of the Whitehouse failure is invaluable, I want to boil it down to something simpler in order to stress what I believe it shares in common with other Democratic disconnects: First, it is Washington-centric.  Second, it is concerned with governance in the now. It does not comprehend how Washington appears to the public at large, nor does it grasp the nature of organized rightwing opposition, which quite unlike it conceives of politics as an unceasing battle--a battle without rules, except as they may be used as weapons, shields, or instruments of deception.

There's More... :: (32 Comments, 1485 words in story)

Obama: Reagan Shrank Government After Democrats Got Lazy

by: Matt Stoller

Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 16:33

Ben Smith reports that Obama is talking up Reagan again (h/t David Mizner in Quick Hits).

"What happened was Democrats had gotten complacent, had gotten fat and happy. they thought there was a government program to solve every problem. Ronald Reagan came in and said we need to break out of the old ways of doing things and create a leaner, more effective government," he said. "That was the right message then. I think that right now we went too far in the wrong direction. We can't go back to the old liberalism of the past, but [when] you are on your own economic philosophy [of] Bush and McCain doesn't work either. Let's try a new way where we apply common sense, have government do what it does well."

Let's look at the data.  Did Reagan shrink government?  Well, as economist Angry Bear notes, he did not.  He actually increased the size of government by .2% Federal executive employees per thousand population, versus 1.17% shrinkage under Jimmy Carter and 2.80 shrinkage under Bill Clinton, both of which outpaced George W's -1.09%.  In fact, the last Presidency to increase the government's size is JFK/LBJ, who under their (combined) eight year term increased government size by 2.02% a year.  Even George HW Bush shrank government more than Reagan did.  So why is Reagan considered a true fiscal conservative?  My theory is that what he did that Clinton and Bush I did not do is reward Republican interest groups.  And the data bears this out.

There's More... :: (24 Comments, 321 words in story)

Goodbye Good Times, Hello Waltons?

by: Living Liberally

Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 15:59

Eating Liberally Food For Thought
by Kerry Trueman

How will you dress for the Bush Depression this winter? Me, I'm counting on my slightly tattered but super-toasty flannel-lined OshKosh overalls--so old they were actually made in OshKosh. That, and the sweaters I'll be wearing à la Jimmy Carter, since our thermostat and our bank balance will both be chillingly low.

President Carter tried, and failed, to make cardigans and conservation cool during the seventies energy crisis. He warned of "the serious consequences of our long delay in creating a comprehensive national energy policy" in a speech announcing the Emergency Natural Gas Act of 1977, and called on us all to buckle down and bundle up:

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 656 words in story)
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