26
   

Do you regret voting for Obama in 2008?

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:42 am
@Thomas,
I think you have a unique situation in the United States. Conservative politicians can at the least partially appeal to reactionary elements without sacrificing any political capital with the thoughtful conservative voter, who will ignore the more extreme rhetoric and focus on the apparent political program of the candidate.

A liberal candidate, however, cannot do that, thanks to the success of conservative rhetoric over the last 30 years or so. Any liberal candidate who attmped to throw rhetorical sops to the extremist wing of the liberal movement could be certain that he or she would be subject to attack based on conservative hysteria.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 07:50 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

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.


Yet Hillary managed to muff her chance rather spectacularly.

However, if you're saying he didn't do much to become president, that puts your saying that he didn't do much re: healthcare in perspective.

Quote:
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.


He does that though. He can't do too much because then the impact is diluted and it's easier to tune him out. But he does it when it counts, and it seems to help. (Health care reform PASSED.)

But more importantly -- the subtle stuff counts if it means things get done. That's what is most important to me. He's done a lot already, and has at least two years and hopefully six years left.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 08:06 am
@snood,
Have to think on that one.. off hand, F. Roosevelt. (edit - Hadn't read Thomas's post related to FDR's speech when I first posted this.)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 08:09 am
@georgeob1,
I don't fault him for not pursuing a very left wing agenda: I fault him for not pursuing harder - or not giving ground so fast about - one towards the middle which he already was at when elected.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 08:21 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
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?

It's true that Obama's positions weren't very different from those of his competitors, but then just because Obama's promises were a lot like theirs doesn't mean that he didn't make promises.

In any event, we all know about Obama's promises -- the ones he has kept as well as the ones he has broken. But we can't ignore that much of his campaign was about the implicit message of his candidacy. For instance, when he promised to close Guantanamo, it wasn't just a campaign promise. Implicit in that promise was the message that "I'm not the same kind of guy as George W. Bush: my administration won't lock up people without due process, won't torture prisoners, won't launch unprovoked attacks against Mideast countries." I think people were entitled not only to rely on the explicit promise (which Obama broke), but also on the implicit message about the kind of president he'd become (which Obama betrayed).

It's also true that Obama said that he'd be a conciliator, that he'd end the partisan divide in Washington. I'm not sure if anyone fully realized how incompatible that was to the specific policy statements he made on the campaign trail. There was always this divide between policy and process, and maybe Obama was deluded into thinking that he could bridge that divide -- and maybe, in the end, he managed to delude his supporters as well. But it was only after he took office that it became clear that, for Obama, process was policy, and that, faced with the choice, he'd sacrifice policy for process every time.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 08:25 am
@sozobe,
Thanks, all these posts of yours are helpful.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 08:33 am
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:
Give the ribbon to me! I like ribbons! White Sox rule!

(how's that?)

Too needy.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 08:36 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I think you have a unique situation in the United States. Conservative politicians can at the least partially appeal to reactionary elements without sacrificing any political capital with the thoughtful conservative voter, who will ignore the more extreme rhetoric and focus on the apparent political program of the candidate.

A liberal candidate, however, cannot do that, thanks to the success of conservative rhetoric over the last 30 years or so. Any liberal candidate who attmped to throw rhetorical sops to the extremist wing of the liberal movement could be certain that he or she would be subject to attack based on conservative hysteria.

Very good point.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:20 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Any liberal candidate who attmped to throw rhetorical sops to the extremist wing of the liberal movement could be certain that he or she would be subject to attack based on conservative hysteria.

And what did Obama get for keeping his speeches thoughtful and not throwing raw meat to the Democrat's left wing? He got attacked based on conservative hysteria. I read this as a case for a Rooseveltian fire-and-brimstone approach. Hung for a lamb, hung for a sheep.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:26 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Yet Hillary managed to muff her chance rather spectacularly.

True, but that only explains why one Democratic candidate won against another. It doesn't explain why the Democratic candidate won against the Republican candidate. If Clinton had run against McCain, and had done as well as the average Democratic candidate for Congress, or for State office, or whatever, then she would have won by a landslide, too.

sozobe wrote:
He's done a lot already, and has at least two years and hopefully six years left.

I hope you're right.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:46 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
I think people were entitled not only to rely on the explicit promise (which Obama broke), but also on the implicit message about the kind of president he'd become (which Obama betrayed).

That's a fair point.

joefromchicago wrote:
But it was only after he took office that it became clear that, for Obama, process was policy, and that, faced with the choice, he'd sacrifice policy for process every time.

You know how shy I am about showing off my political proficiency. But the point you brought up here became clear to me when I read about his approach to helping the working poor in The Audacity of Hope. Obama brought up raising the minimum wage and expanding the earned income tax credit as possible remedies. It was a topic of great interest to me; as you may remember, I spent a good deal of my A2K time attacking the minimum wage and advertising the EITC or a negative income tax bracket as alternatives. So where did Obama come down? In short, he didn't. He merely said there were good people behind both proposals, and the solution was that everyone come together, talk about it, and find a workable compromise. He never expressed an opinion which approach was actually going to work and which wasn't.

That's why I was frustrated, but not the least bit surprised, when I heard his latest budget speech on the radio. First he blasted the Ryan plan and its supporters as cruel and incompetent---correctly on both counts! But then came the interesting part of the speech: what was he going going to do about it? Have Republicans and Democrats come together, talk, and compromise, that's what! His treatment of the disease made absolutely no sense in terms of his stated diagnosis. And that's not a new thing. Obama has always been thinking that way.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:55 am
@joefromchicago,
PS: Thanks for this Politifact page. Very neat!
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 09:59 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
That's why I was frustrated, but not the least bit surprised, when I heard his latest budget speech on the radio. First he blasted the Ryan plan and its supporters as cruel and incompetent---correctly on both counts! But then came the interesting part of the speech: what was he going going to do about it? Have Republicans and Democrats come together, talk, and compromise, that's what! His treatment of the disease made absolutely no sense in terms of his stated diagnosis. And that's not a new thing. Obama has always been thinking that way.


To be fair, he did outline something of a different vision in his speech. And it had a lot of the intended effect - the media pivoted almost instantly to a discussion of how his plans were more reasonable than Ryan's.

The problem, as someone posted earlier, is that Obama negotiates from the middle. He starts off with reasonable and ends up with center-right.

Cycloptichorn
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:09 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
The problem, as someone posted earlier, is that Obama negotiates from the middle. He starts off with reasonable and ends up with center-right.

In the case of the budget, he started center-right (though still reasonable). I expect him to end up with something half-crazy. You know things have gone too far when even David Stockman, the libertarian-on-steroids Reagan staffer, complains that the president isn't contemplating enough tax hikes.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:12 am
@Thomas,
Did you read the Krugman piece yesterday, discussing the Progressive Caucus' budget and how it's the only one out there that actually makes sense?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/opinion/25krugman.html?_r=2

This is what the prez should have been starting from. And then compromise from there.

Cycloptichorn
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:20 am
@Cycloptichorn,
[david] So stipulated [/david]
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:21 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

[david] So stipulated [/david]


Hah! That's twice you've made me laugh out loud on this thread. Laughing

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 11:21 am
@Thomas,
That's why we need Dennis Kucinich in the White House. He'll take no prisoners.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 11:35 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

That's why we need Dennis Kucinich in the White House. He'll take no prisoners.


The Daily Show interviewed Kucinich recently:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-april-14-2011/dennis-kucinich-s-improbable-success
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 11:39 am
Thanks, Boss . . .
0 Replies
 
 

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