26
   

Do you regret voting for Obama in 2008?

 
 
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 05:44 pm
@joefromchicago,
Not at all and I'll vote for him again.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 06:22 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Although I don't regret voting for Obama, I regret that he has not become the president that he promised he'd become.

I'm surprised how often I hear this complaint from disappointed Democrats. But what kind of president did he promise to become? During the 2008 campaign, when you compared his concrete policy proposals with Clinton's and Edwards's, two points emerged quickly and clearly: First, there wasn't that much difference between the three of them. Second, to the extent that there were differences, Obama's proposed policies were consistently the mellowest, most compromising of the three. Why did you believe that "change you can believe in" wasn't a bumper-sticker slogan, but a credible prediction?
ossobuco
 
  4  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 06:56 pm
@sozobe,
I'm fine with checks and balances but see him compromising before anyone asked him to (well, that's an exaggeration) - rather too ready to be the middle between the middle he already was and the absurd ends of the right.

My answer remains no.
Below viewing threshold (view)
snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 08:58 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I'm fine with checks and balances but see him compromising before anyone asked him to (well, that's an exaggeration) - rather too ready to be the middle between the middle he already was and the absurd ends of the right.

My answer remains no.


Just out of curiosity, what Democratic politician- past or present - do you think would be doing a better job of wrestling liberal agenda items to fruition than has Obama so far?
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 10:05 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what Democratic politician- past or present - do you think would be doing a better job of wrestling liberal agenda items to fruition than has Obama so far?

Interesting question. I'm not inclined to comment with respect to past leaders, but with respect to current Democrat leaders, Hillary Clinton in particular, who was after all his chief oppponent, both in fact and in terms of the idealogical focii of the Democrat party , I believe the answer to your question is clearly. .. no one.

It is indeed ironic that those among Democrats, who are inclined to fault him, appear to do so because of his perceived failures to more energetically pursue a very left wing agenda, while the Republicans who oppose him largely do so because he is seen as inappropriately pursuing left wing objectiven in a situation that, in their view, called for exactly the opposite.

History will be the judge of which side was right.
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 05:35 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what Democratic politician- past or present - do you think would be doing a better job of wrestling liberal agenda items to fruition than has Obama so far?

You didn't ask me, but I think Pelosi would. Indeed, I'm pretty sure she's the reason Obama's healthcare reform plan did become law. (We'll see if it comes to fruition.) Obama was dragging his feet about it even though Democrats controlled both houses of congress at the time. Pelosi, by contrast, dared to be a bitch, put up a fight, got stuff done, and made things happen. She shouldn't be minority leader in the House, she should be president.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 05:59 am
@Thomas,
I don't think he's working in a vacuum though -- the impression I have was that what you describe was her specific role. As in, it's not that she was working in opposition to him; that's what she was supposed to be doing, what he wanted her to do, as part of a multi-part approach. She does that, Biden does something else, Obama himself does something else, etc. (with many more people involved).
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 06:04 am
@sozobe,
I guess I see the difference as Chief Negotiator vs Chief Bitch. Hillary and Nancy were both qualified to be Chief Bitch. I wouldn't vote for anyone with that as their main selling point.

I do, however, think Olympia Snowe would make a good Chief Negotiator.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 06:07 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
C'mon. The Republicans proved that anything less than 60+ in the Senate isn't a 'solid majority' anymore.

There is always the "nuclear option": End the requirement for a supermajority on cloture votes, which you can with a simple majority. After that, whoever has the majority in the Senate gets to make the laws. That Mr. Reid didn't go there, didn't even threaten to go there, was his choice, not the Republicans'.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 06:43 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Obama himself does something else, etc. (with many more people involved).

Oh yeah? Then what did Obama do during the fight for healthcare reform? To me it seemed he was largely AWOL. Evidently you disagree. So what did he do?

***

Since Snood also asked about leaders of the past who might have done a better job, I thought I'd link to FDR's 1936 speech in Madison Square Garden, defending his newly-enacted Social-Security and Unemployment-Insurance programs. It's most famous for the following passage culminating in a sentence you will never hear Obama say:

FDR, in 1936, wrote:
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

Source

Obama, like FDR, is facing opposition that cannot be reasoned with because they aren't reasonably disagreeing with him, they hate him. Obama, like FDR, should welcome their hatred---but he won't, and America will be worse off for it.

Apart from the passage I just quoted, FDR's speech contains interesting points about campaign finance. lies about the effects of social insurance, and the rights of workers. I find it fascinating how current the speech's themes are.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 06:47 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
I find it fascinating how current the speech's themes are.


If you think about it, it's not that odd. The most reactionary Americans still resent social security (unless they depend upon it themselves) and medicare (unless they're old and ill themselves). Many reactionaries are opposed to all government regulation. On the squeaky wheel principle, they have a far louder voice than their numbers would suggest, too.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  6  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 06:56 am
No, I'm happy with my vote, and not just as the lesser of two evils. I never thought Obama was this super progressive lefty - I thought his positions were fairly moderate and I thought that is how he portrayed himself so I'm always amazed that those farther left feel betrayed. I'm mostly happy with the Obama administration, especially the first year and a half. The last Congress was very productive despite the Republican plan of refusing to engage. DADT was a big issue for me from my military days and I never thought Obama would take it on. There is a healthcare law. I approve of the stimulus program and I credit both Bush and Obama for taking the incredibly painful steps to pass it even if I don't agree with how every dollar was spent. I approve of extending unemployment benefits, killing programs the military did not want, aid to Japan, etc. I had h0ped for better on Gitmo, Gulf oil spill and investigating Bush era war crimes, but I'm not surprised on where we are today. Not so happy on Afganistan and the 2011 budget. I'm not happy at all with Libya or extending the Bush era tax cuts. I'm taking a wait and see on how negotiations work out on the 2012 budget, continued upheaval in the Middle East, future military spending. It's not a bad record overall and I think substantially better than what Clinton had after two years especially given that Obama was handed a disaster from Bush II while Clinton was given a decently managed situation from Bush I. I do feel that Obama doesn't govern from a strong core vision of where the country should be going and that was something I thought he would bring to office. (I don't think any recent president really had a strong vision for where he wanted to take the country and we are worse off for it.) I don't see an alternative out there that would make me shy away from Obama and even if I was tempted to vote third party, I'd cast my vote wherever I thought necessary to protect against any of the current crop of Republicans getting anywhere near the White House.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 06:58 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
She does that, Biden does something else, Obama himself does something else, etc. (with many more people involved).

In the spirit of Obaman compromise, how about making Pelosi president and appointing Obama to a more junior position, where he can play Good Cop under her? Deal?
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:01 am
@JGoldman10,
JGoldman10 wrote:
No-it if anyone thinks it's a HUGE MISTAKE you are a RACIST and a RELIGIOUS BIGOT.


well they could just be a republican Wink
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:05 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
I do, however, think Olympia Snowe would make a good Chief Negotiator.

Good luck getting the Republican Party to let her run for them!

***

Setanta, that's exactly what puzzles me. Back in Germany, people take it for granted that they will always have Social Security, universal healthcare, unemployment insurance, and workplace accident insurance. Even German libertarians say they support them. A movement that sought to abolish them would come across as quaint as a movement abolishing democracy and re-establishing the Hohenzollerns as our monarchs.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:11 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

sozobe wrote:
Obama himself does something else, etc. (with many more people involved).

Oh yeah? Then what did Obama do during the fight for healthcare reform? To me it seemed he was largely AWOL. Evidently you disagree. So what did he do?


Gah. Seriously? Shall I answer what he did to win the presidency in the first place, too?

As in, it's kind of a long answer that comes down to "he did a hell of a lot."

I could do the long boring post but it'd be long and boring and take time that I really should be spending on other things.

Although I just realized that there must be long and less-boring articles out there already. So I looked for some.

This one is just what I'm looking for but I can't find a free version anywhere. If you have a subscription to TNR or if you can find it where I didn't, have at it. The visible parts do give a bit of a clue, for example:

Quote:
Barack Obama, the law professor, was acting like a prosecutor. He’d invited Grassley to the Oval Office, to talk about the senator’s concerns. But he was using the occasion to confront Grassley about his latest statements. “Tell me what amendment you want, tell me what language you want,” one administration official recalls the president saying. And then, when Grassley couldn’t point to anything, the official says the president reminded Grassley that the amendment on end-of-life counseling had come from a Republican, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and simply paid for professional advice when people wanted it.


Some other random stuff:

Quote:
Passage appeared to be assured only after Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak announced in the late afternoon that he and a group of antiabortion Democrats, who had pushed for more restrictive language in the original House bill, had been satisfied that the Senate version would not allow the use of federal funds to pay for the procedure. That only came after President Obama promised to sign an executive order reaffirming that the bill would maintain a "consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion." In reality, that executive order was more a symbolic move than an actual concession; the bill's supporters have insisted all along that it does nothing to change the current federal policy, known as the Hyde Amendment, which has been in effect since 1976.


http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1973989,00.html#ixzz1KdMjPH5E

Quote:
On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the President and his team were waiting and working the phones to make sure the final votes were nailed down.


Same article.

Quote:
And so, from Obama’s perspective, passing a health care plan this fall isn’t primarily a question of whether to include an “individual mandate” requiring every American to have insurance or how fully to regulate providers or even how to hit back against “Harry and Louise”–type attack ads, although his aides spend time contemplating all of those things. It’s more about navigating the dueling personalities and complex agendas within his own party’s Congress. Rather than laying out an intricate plan and then trying to sell it on the Hill, as Clinton did, Obama’s strategy seems to be exactly the opposite — to sell himself to Congress first and worry about the details later. As Emanuel likes to tell his West Wing staff: “The only nonnegotiable principle here is success. Everything else is negotiable.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/magazine/07congress-t.html

Quote:
Obama hardly knew Baucus during his abbreviated Senate term; Baucus remarked to me offhandedly that Obama “didn’t really serve in the Senate,” which seems to be the prevailing sentiment among senators who saw him for only a brief time before he took off to run for president. But Obama’s White House has been trying mightily, in ways both overt and indirect, to make up for lost time. Since the inauguration, Baucus has been to the White House twice for personal meetings with the president and once for a dinner at which he was seated next to the first lady. (They talked about Sidwell Friends, the school from which Baucus’s son graduated and where the Obama girls are now.)

On a flight to Trinidad aboard Air Force One in April, Obama called Baucus to his cabin — along with Charles Rangel, Baucus’s counterpart in the House — to talk health care for a half-hour or so. “He just turned to me and said, ‘This is my No. 1 issue,’ ” Baucus recalled. “He wants meaningful, comprehensive health care. He doesn’t want to pass something where everybody gets flu shots.”

Perhaps most significant, Rahm Emanuel hired Jim Messina, who was Baucus’s longtime chief of staff and who worked last year on the Obama campaign, as a deputy chief of staff at the White House — a move that seems not entirely coincidental. Messina wasn’t just another aide to Baucus; when Messina informed the senator, on the eve of Baucus’s son’s wedding last summer, that he was leaving the Senate to go work for Obama’s campaign, Baucus amended his dinner toast to say that he was losing not one son but two. The two men talk more or less constantly, giving Baucus a close ally in the White House and the president an influential advocate.


(Same article -- previous part of the article mentions how important Baucus was to the whole endeavor.)

OK this is getting long and boring and taking time I don't have. So the short version is -- Obama did a shitload of stuff, much of it subtle and not-obvious, to get health care reform passed. And the fact that he's OK with that -- if he doesn't get as much credit as he should because a lot of what he does is subtle and not-obvious, so long as it gets DONE -- is part of what I like about him.
snood
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:15 am
Really some interesting answers. Especially the ones from Thomas about Pelosi being President, and from Sozobe about everyone playing their orchestrated parts. I gained a lot of respect for Pelosi from how she ran things as Speaker.

I'm not sure what point of view is most accurate. I'm not sure that her bold tendency to ram things through would effectively transfer, unchanged, over into the office of POTUS. Neither am I sure that Obama was the mastermind of a strategy, during the Healthcare 'negotiations', that entailed dictating a role for all his administration's players.

That's the rub about trying to predict what someone will do as president based on what you can glean from their record and their campaign rhetoric. The combination of the unparallelled high profile and power of the presidency, together with the influences coming from all those who have a stake in what he(she) does creates what I believe is a unique "job" situation.

From what I can tell, Obama is still operating out of motivation to do the most good he can. I don't believe he's sold out the principles that inform what his idea of 'good' for the most Americans is, or that he's become blinded by personal failings like self-aggrandizement or some type of God complex.

But I admit that I am enough removed from what actually goes on in and around that office that, short of occurances of egregious and manifest malfeasance on the president's part, some of what shapes my (or anyone else's)opinion of how a president is doing is faith that is blind by definition, and not untouched by predisposition.

[edit] I just read Soz' last post, and my opinion moved a wee bit towards "Obama orchestrated the parts".
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:29 am
@sozobe,
Sozobe wrote:
Gah. Seriously? Shall I answer what he did to win the presidency in the first place, too?

There is nothing unusual about a Democrat winning the presidency in 2008. The country saw a wave of disgust for the Bushies and popular support for the Democrats. Obama did little more than ride it. His numbers at the voting booth were just about the same as those of the average Democratic candidate in that election cycle.

Sozobe wrote:
So the short version is -- Obama did a shitload of stuff, much of it subtle and not-obvious, to get health care reform passed.

I agree it's non-obvious what he did to get health-care reform passed. Twisted Evil

Seriously though, the subtle stuff doesn't count. That's the chief-of-staff's role, not the presidents role. When a party proposes a major extension to its county's social contract, the party's leader and the country's president can't be subtle about his support for the reform. Rather than hide behind his lieutenants, he has to campaign for his reforms vigorously and publicly.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:36 am
More from the nyt article:

Quote:
Obama is not the schmoozer that Clinton was, nor does he bestow nicknames like Bush. Rather, he has impressed lawmakers with a direct, businesslike manner and an outward deference to the legislative branch. As Obama mulled whether to nominate Sonia Sotomayor or some other jurist to the Supreme Court last month, he called every member of the Judiciary Committee personally, taking the “advise” part of “advise and consent” to a level that impressed some longtime senators. “This is the first time I’ve ever been called by a president on a Supreme Court nomination, be it a Republican or a Democrat,” Charles Grassley, the Republican senator from Iowa, told Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney of The Times after Sotomayor’s nomination was announced. A hallmark of Obama’s style, in these early months, has been to meet with key senators alone, without the phalanx of aides who almost always attend Oval Office meetings. Three senators with whom I spoke, including Baucus, had been impressed by this tactic; it implies equality between the branches of government and enables Obama to establish personal relationships more quickly than he otherwise might.


Quote:
ALTHOUGH WASHINGTON DEMOCRATS, in their euphoria over winning back total control of the capital, often overlook this fact, Clinton’s Congressional landscape during the health care debate in 1993 was, in terms of sheer numbers, strikingly similar to the one Obama has now inherited. At this time in 1993, Clinton’s party controlled 56 seats in the Senate and 258 seats in the House. Obama can claim a slightly higher margin than that in the Senate — he’ll have 60 seats, including independents, if the Minnesota courts release Al Franken from his purgatory — and his party has 256 House seats, or two fewer than Clinton’s. In other words, if Obama is to succeed where Clinton did not, it will have to be a triumph of circumstance and political salesmanship rather than a reflection of simple math.


(And that was before Scott Brown.)

Quote:
The Clintons, fresh from their shared experience with a small-state legislature, at first chose to commandeer the legislative process, simply delivering their bill to Congress for ratification. This is, incidentally, precisely the same tactic that George W. Bush tried when he virtually demanded that a Republican Congress pass his prepackaged Social Security plan in 2005. The lesson, according to members of Obama’s team, is that professional legislators consider it their business to legislate. “One of the mistakes of the past is that when presidents arrive on Capitol Hill with legislation chiseled into stone, it’s not well received,” says David Axelrod, one of Obama’s most influential advisers. “You have to give people a sense of ownership.


Quote:
The lesson Obama’s team took from [the stimulus package experience], and one that will no doubt inform its approach to health care, is that it’s fine for a president to stand back from the process — but not so far back that Congress thinks he’s trying to duck the consequences or that the public comes to see the whole enterprise as just another Congressional spending spree. If Obama is going to sign a transformative health care law this year, it will, at some point soon, have to become his plan, no matter how much autonomy he wants to confer on his allies in Congress.


Quote:
That’s why the House forced Senate leaders to accept a provision in the budget that allows health care to pass by “reconciliation” — an arcane budgeting maneuver that would enable Senate Democrats to force through a bill with a simple majority, rather than with the 60 votes needed to forestall a filibuster. But in the Senate, Baucus remains determined to send to the floor a bill with bipartisan support; passing health care reform by reconciliation, he says, would make the new law unsustainable in the long term.


Quote:
It seems likely that Obama, who has to this point focused on a sophisticated legislative strategy for achieving health care reform, will at some point soon have to take his case to the public instead — this time asking Americans not just to support an ambitious expansion of government but to accept the sacrifices necessary to do it. Only a president will make that case, and only a president can.


(This did happen.)
 

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