Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bernie Speaks Truth

From (sorry) Republico:
Sanders: I won't be as naïve as Obama was with Congress

By ELIZA COLLINS 09/29/15 02:02 PM EDT

If Bernie Sanders were president, he wouldn’t be as naïve about compromise as President Barack Obama.

At least that’s what the Vermont senator told David Axelrod on the former Obama adviser’s first episode of his podcast “The Axe Files with David Axelrod.”

Sanders said that after a “brilliant campaign” Obama made a mistake by expecting that he could easily negotiate with the other party.

“He thought he could walk into Capitol Hill and the Oval Office and sit down with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and the Republicans and say, ‘I can’t get it all. You can’t get it all. Let’s work out something that’s reasonable,’ because he’s a reasonable guy. He’s a pretty rational guy,” Sanders said. “These guys never had any intention of doing [serious] negotiating and compromising … I think it took the president too long to fully appreciate that.”
I cannot overemphasis how deeply this message resonates with the Liberals base of the Democratic Party.

Almost since Day One, the most consistent and devastating failure of  the Obama Administration has been kicking Liberals to the curb so that he could court the good opinions of the likes of Charles Kraphammer and David Fucking Brooks:
Brooks first met Obama in 2005, when Obama was a freshman senator. He was impressed by Obama’s command of political philosophy, not to mention his tailoring. When Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope came out in 2006, Brooks praised it in his column and urged Obama to run for president.

Since then, Obama’s team has courted Brooks assiduously. Emanuel once arranged for Obama to swing by a meeting he and Axelrod were having with Brooks. At a dinner of conservative writers at George Will’s house, where the guests included Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol, among others, Obama jokingly asked Brooks, “What are you doing here?” At another meeting with journalists, Brooks sat next to Obama, who would periodically turn to Brooks and point out that the policy being discussed was quite Burkean. “You could tell he was really conscious of his presence,” says his Times colleague Gail Collins.

At The Week’s opinion-journalism awards dinner in 2009, where Brooks was being honored, Axelrod made the love affair explicit, praising him as a “true public thinker” amid the “insipid, instant commentary and one-hour news cycles.”
Having handed him the tools he needed to decisively confront the very real and very dangerous internal enemy which was massing right in front of him, President Obama instead chose to waste much of his first term trying desperately to appease the monsters who were trying to crucify him by selling out the people who were trying to warn him that the crucifiers were not his fucking friends.

Which is why a candidate who makes it clear that at least he knows which way to point the bazooka --

-- is music to this Dirty Hippie's ears:

From me back in 2010:
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Left

For his entire adult life, Barack Obama has succeeded by offering himself as the perfect midpoint between others. As a mathematical function, not a leader. As an averaging equation, not a true believer.

Since he showed up on the political radar, he has marketed himself relentlessly as
Half black and half white...
Half American urbanite, half world-citizen...
Half wonk, half preacher...
Half Harvard Yard, half Back o' the Yards...
Half red and half blue...
And this bone-deep reflex -- plus his formidable intellect and ability to rise to the rhetorical occasion -- would have prepared him perfectly for the Presidency...if this were 1960.

But it is not 1960 -- nor is he dealing with Harvard Conservatives pals or Springfield Republican pols -- and being a results-agnostic "process guy" when the process is utterly broken no longer works.

Instead, the ideologically-lockstepping Right led by Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers have found in Obama their perfect patsy: the Democrat who seems constitutionally incapable of counter-punching, who can only feel comfortable while suspended between two opposing positions and who will, therefor, find a compromise between opposites even when he has to invent wholly fictional opposing views to which he can cede half the playing field.

From Paul Krugman:
Lacking All Conviction

Mark Thoma directs us to an appalling story — apparently Obama held a meeting after the midterm to debate whether our unemployment problem is cyclical or structural.

What I want to know is, who was arguing for structural? I find it hard to think of anyone I know in the administration’s economic team who would make that case, who would deny that the bulk of the rise in unemployment since 2007 is cyclical. And as I and others have been trying to point out, none of the signatures of structural unemployment are visible: there are no large groups of workers with rising wages, there are no large parts of the labor force at full employment, there are no full-employment states aside from Nebraska and the Dakotas, inflation is falling, not rising.

More generally, I can’t think of any Democratic-leaning economists who think the problem is largely structural.
In order to avoid wasting his presidency, squandering the opportunity we have given him, and letting the country spiral into a permanent corporate feudal pest-hole, Barack Obama must do the hardest thing of all: he must exceed his design specifications. This is not unprecedented, but like Franklin Roosevelt the capitalist-turned-social-Democrat or Abraham Lincoln the compromiser-turned-Emancipator, Obama must let go of a central pillar of his identity and embrace the brutal fact that our modern house divided against itself cannot stand.

That we cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free.

That we will become all one thing, or all the other.

And that this is your fight, President Obama.

This burden has fallen to you: it cannot be shirked and cannot be delegate.

If you take up this challenge, millions of us will have your back, Mr. President.

But if you cannot summon the inner strength to evolve past your reflexive need to compromise with people who want to destroy you, then we are all well and truly fucked.


keith gargus said...

There's your job, Driftglass. Short term for sure, but great for the CV. Drop the NSFW part, and write speeches for Obama. This post is eloquent.

bluicebank said...

Man. I can't remember a time when I didn't HAVE to place trust in a politician ... as opposed to seeing one (Sanders) with such Liberal street cred and savvy.

waldo said...

Sanders has also repeatedly said that 'Let me tell you something that no other [presidential]candidate will tell you. No President can't do it [initiate the changes so badly needed by the US] by himself. No President can take on the power of Wall St., the power of corporate America, the power of the the media and the billionaire class'.

I wrote something similar to you several months ago.

Obama had his best shot when he had Congressional and Senate majorities. He might achieve some minor successes in the rundown of his presidency but for real, substantive change, Sanders is the man.
His plan for a 'political revolution' involving the people of the US being involved in assisting him to achieve change through 'bottom up' advocacy is where every clever liberal blogger should be looking for a position.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

I think that a case can be made that Obama was a progressive President, and this article outlines reasons why:


This quotation from the article addresses at a macro level your criticisms, which I think are unfair:

All of Obama’s domestic reforms involved compromises and imperfections, a quality they have in common with every major accomplishment in history. Also like the major accomplishments of the past, Obama’s will undergo future revision.

It's one thing to talk a good game. It's another to actually accomplish an agenda, particularly in the face of the virulent, unprecedented hatred, disrespect and opposition he faced from the media and the Rethuglicans, as well as "liberals". No, he is not perfect. And yes he made mistakes. But he also made some very gutsy decisions (auto bailout, anyone) while trying to prevent a total economic meltdown and depression.

Yeah it sucks that he courted David Brooks. It sucked that my former Democratic congressman opposed abortion. It sucked that my Demoratic senator accused him of sexism for referring Elizabeth Warren by her first name in a news conference when in fact PBO had referred to my Democratic senator by his first name in a news conference. So what. PBO, my congressman, and my senator are smart, principled, hard working people who know how to get things done. They are not perfect. I'm not perfect either.

And if anyone wants to call me an Obot go right ahead.

MCPlanck said...

A rare miss for you, Driftglass. The idea that anyone who is not black could dare to lecture a black man on just how much defiance he is allowed to show is... bizarre.

Obama threaded the needle of a uncaring and essentially racist electorate to achieve more policy than anyone thought possible. Now that the electorate has finally noticed the racism, he is being more confrontational; we have no idea how fiery he would be in a society that allowed black men to speak fiercely. Perhaps, one day, we may find out. But until then Obama has demonstrated more than courage and conviction; he has settled for what was available and thus demonstrated maturity.

Pinkybum said...

@MCPlanck I think what you are trying to say is Obama is no Martin Luther King and neither was he a Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is rather pitiful how low you set the bar.

Robt said...

There is always room for criticism.

Somewhere appreciation for what did get accomplished requires notice.

Obama;s SCOTUS appointments have turned out very decent and in time shall reflect well on Obama.
Perhaps if Obama;s opponents were set up with projected policies instead of Obama. It could have been very precarious. McCain and Palin? Romney and his 1% vice President?
It surprises me at the shock of others that Obama has Imperfections.

To be clear, Obama did have a very seasoned Vice President who was well aware of the GOP. Biden, I think his name is.
Fault him for appealing to a brighter side of men. That is fair.
It is obvious in the GOP battle cry of repeal and replace when they have no replace. The replace or the :make it better: is so much realistic.
Obama said something to the effect, make me do it.
Instead of forcing Obama to move the country faster. We did not turn out in the mid terms to have Congress, our elected lawmakers provide the laws for the President to sign.
Most stayed home, victims to FOX lying. Not moving fast enough. So I will stay home and let the Geomerts have their Asparagus impugned.

I think the presidents accomplishments are superior to his predecessor (Bush).
Did Obama meet all of my expectations? No. Did he meet some of them? Yes.
Are you better off than if McCain or Romney would have been president.

Think about the state of the GOP. Obama;s presence has caused the GOP to openly show their racism, claim their fascism and recently deny the God and religion they claimed .
Let us weigh Obama on the next election. Because the next Democratic party president may just tip the 5/4 conservative SCOTUS to a 4/5 Liberal SCOTUS,
This can right many things.
Sanders has a SCOTUS test of over turning Citizens United. I applaud and support.
Would Hillary make that appointment? I think so.
Why Obama and the Dems did not appoint a special prosecutor and let the chips fall where they may on Bush and Cheney I will never understand or I do not want to understand.
Continuing the Bush tax cuts in time of horrendous economic strife for everyone those tax cuts did not effect. It was wrong and it doesn't seem that he continued tax cuts generated positive economics nor employment as advertised.
There is a philosophical dilemma, As unacceptable the GOP rule has been, I do not think imposing liberal ideals on conservatives is automatically just either.
But the idea (if actually liberal) of legal abortion. If you do not like to have one--chose not to. But if they are not available, there is no choice.
But selling weapons to nits in other countries for profit no matter who dies and put that on the stock exchange for folks to profit from, isn't that immoral and should be banned?
I do know from long experience watching Sanders and his actual actions.
I have more historic information of why and where he stands. He is not just talking to me from a TV. Hillary is another story and would take to long.

bluicebank said...

@Pinkybum and MCPlank

There is no bar higher for Democrats than FDR. Obama talked the talk, and took the Overton Window at face value. Sanders walks the walk. As Drift said, at least Sanders knows where to point the M60. OK, Drifty said bazooka, but I'm opting for a repeating firearm here, because goddamn it, Walter White done wasted the white supremacists with a way cool setup in the trunk of a Caddy. (Refuse to post the gun porn that proves Heisenberg's plan would have worked, but still, Drift, a bazooka?)

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

@Pinkybum: Planck, and O'Neill, and Mulderglass himself, Want To Believe--want to believe the glorious myth that Obama is somehow the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream. Hence, the plain mundane truth, that Obama is a reasonably intelligent high-ranking servant of the oligarchy, who is too smart to ruin his retirement by challenging that oligarchy, gets explained away.

If the Malefactors Of Great Wealth thought Obama were any threat to their domestic oligarchy and its foreign empire, would they have engineered his nomination in 2008? Especially when the previous favorite had proven her loyalty to the oligarchy and its empire time and time again (and would later prove it yet again in the Obama Administration)? I assume that the MOGW passing her over for him indicates that the MOGW are more sexist than racist.

The oligarchy will not allow anyone who might actually challenge it to become president.

"Everybody knows the fight is fixed/The poor stay poor/The rich get rich/That's how it goes/Everybody knows"

Pinkybum said...

@Ivory I absolutely don't believe that Obama is the fulfillment of Dr King or FDR's dreams. However, you can't make the claim that Obama didn't challenge power because he was a black man in a racist society or that he couldn't stand up to the upper class. Those two people are practical examples of how one could rally the country for the causes of good. He didn't have to be as effective as them but he could have tried that he didn't is justifiable cause for criticism.

Chan Kobun said...


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Fear not, good citizens! Chan The Faithful Sheepdog will round up all those doubleplusungood crimethinkers! xD

Chan Kobun said...

IBW, you have nothing to add to the discussion but misery and despair. LEAVE. NOW.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

If you want to be a successful authoritarian, Chan-chan, as apparently you do, you must first acquire some genuine authority.

However, thanks for confirming, yet again, my suspicions about the anti-individualist mentality of faithful members of any political party or movement.

Also, thanks for amusing me.