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View Diary: What JFK Would Have Done with Today's Senate (155 comments)

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  •  Except that the New Frontier remained (44+ / 0-)

    stuck with no sign of improvement until the very day Kennedy was assassinated.

    While Lyndon Johnson's legislative and political acumen certainly played an enormous part in getting enacted all the programs Kennedy could not - civil rights legislation, a massive tax cut, Medicare - the reality is that Kennedy's assassination itself, the national outpouring of grief and self-reflection that followed, and the desire to fulfill Kennedy's legacy, not to mention the hard work, power, and sheer will of the civil rights movement, created the political climate for such reforms to become law.

    And we know that LBJ's genius was not a guarantor of success, for the legislation that made up the Great Society came about in just two years, 1964 and 1965.  LBJ was unable to pass any more significant legislation for the remainder of his term, and not only because of Vietnam but also because of the political backlash among the white working and middle class against the Great Society, a backlash that would eventually rupture the New Deal Coalition.  

    I think people need to stop kidding themselves in believing that if only we had JFK or if only we had LBJ or if only we FDR, then everything would've worked out brilliantly.  Because the reality is that JFK did not get much done in his three years in office, LBJ did not get much done in his last three years in office, and the New Deal reform period of FDR's presidence lasted for less than half of his total presidency.  Truman's Fair Deal was completely killed despite having sizable Democratic majorities in Congress for most of his presidency.  Reform ceased or was killed not because these presidents were weak or not strong-willed enough.  It was because of political reality.

    In fact from the end of the New Deal in 1939 until the beginning of the Great Society in 1964, pretty much all progressive reforms were killed by the Conservative Coalition of southern Democrats and Republicans.  And reform was stifled from the end of the Great Society in 1965 until 2009.  Reform periods are few and far between, and they are as brief as they are rare.

    Having the right kind of leader in place is important to pass reforms, but more important by far are public passions and/or having adequate numbers in Congress.  I write "and/or" because the most recent reform period in our political history, 2009-2010, came about because the Democrats had the numbers in Congress but the political passions and energy at the time did not come from the pro-reform side but from those opposed to it.  In large measure, the 2009-2010 reform period occurred in spite of public sentiment.

    “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

    by puakev on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:04:59 PM PDT

    •  Also, I'm Imagining Reps and Senators (6+ / 0-)

      receiving pressure from their leaders with a Koch representative on each side, responding to their leader: "Who the hell are YOU?" like today.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:31:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think the point of the essay is "Will" (10+ / 0-)

      You cannot say, whatever shortcomings of JFK or FDR, that they did not clearly stand on the side of the people and clearly stand against the Financial Elites.

      And they certainly did not pre-compromise their positions to the point of ineffectiveness.

      In 1964, had JFK seen it, it is still likely that Goldwater, given his party's climate in that day, would have been chosen to run, and he and the Greedy Old Pinheads would have been crushed.

      Shortly before JFK died 58% of Americans approved of his work in office, while only 30% did not. (Approval of him over his entire term averaged at over 70%.)

      He was immensely popular, was understood to be on the "little people"'s side; and his agenda was well-known to the public.

      To talk about 2009-2010 "reform" as if it were anything near the quality and degree and seriousness of intent of what FDR and JFK set in motion is belied by actual history.

      The Bankers are not only bigger, but more invested in lunatic gambles than before; the Insurance Companies and Big Pharma had their positions and income secured and enhanced, the Eternal War has spread to several other countries....

      It's not even remotely in the same league as meaningful reform. As to the absurd claim that opposition to reform was the political passion of the day, one need only point to the candidate, and thus the Party, who won 2008 under the promise -- and full hope and expectation -- of "Change."

      The political passion of the day was to end the terror of Health Insurance Companies, Massive Stimulus for Jobs,  jail the Bankers, among a number of things which were ignored and bargained away, or whittled down, in secret.

      No, JFK and FDR are different than President Obama in ways that go beyond their immediate political situation.

      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 08:28:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, JFK and FDR WERE the 1% (8+ / 0-)

        they weren't a black kid raised by his white mother and grandparents who worked his ass off to rise above his beginnings to become President

        and they weren't the physical embodiment of the final battle of the culture wars

        one day, people will have some distance and will see just how much President Obama stood on the side of the people and how much will he exerted.  

        i tell ya, do a poll and you'll see who vast majority are feels like Obama hasn't done anything for 'the people' of this country.

        white straight middle class men

        the usual self entitled self centered whiny suspects

        (i'm white straight middle class and a man and yes, i am a traitor to my class)

        •  I care about results. (8+ / 0-)

          If I didn't I wouldn't care about politics.

          We've seen, according to the Census bureau, 13 million new fallen into poverty and from decent wages to low-wage work since 2009. 9,000 a day for four years.

          A third of the nation. They have a new calculation method, which reflects real life better, which puts 1/2 the nation in that class. (links are in the beginning paragraphs here)

          Do you have the link handy of where this President has spoken about the plight of the people, especially of the poor, and the deterioration of the economy?

          Whatever the background, what matters intent and will in carrying out policy. JFK & FDR had the intent of furthering the common person and against established interests. As proven by word and deed.

          I don't see how you can say this President has the same willingness to challenge the establishment. If anything, and at best, accommodating them is the hallmark of his deeds.

          The difference between neoliberalism and conservatism is that, while both see the Financial World as the only true driver of all that happens, the neoliberal takes some care for the populace; the conservative would just as soon smash them in the face with their boots. But both agree that kow-towing to Big Money is the priority.

          These are different things: pushing for the people's interests and taking away from the Oligarchs; appeasing the Oligarchs, hoping to get some concession for the advancement for the people, if possible.

          Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

          by Jim P on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:52:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  life isnt all about being comfortably middle class (4+ / 0-)

            just ask all of the comfortably middle women, gays and lesbians, religious and ethnic minorities in the country

            sure, for white guys, the country sucks when they aren't happy

            for everyone else, it sucks when they aren't free

            but, yeah, what really matters is material prosperity

            •  are you kidding? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Angie in WA State, MeToo

              how do you NOT realize that race, gender, ethnicity, etc. means absolutely NOTHING as long as you're an honorary member of the elites through your material possessions?

              maybe you should cut the trash-talking against white guys? this isn't the 19th century, we're all equally marginalized by the elites.

              MLK realized that true freedom was economic (or as you childishly refer to it as "material" prosperity) equality/opportunity:

              Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now, that it isn't enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't have enough money to buy a hamburger? What does it profit a man to be able to eat at the swankest integrated restaurant when he doesn't even earn enough money to take his wife out to dine? What does it profit one to have access to the hotels of our cities, and the hotels of our highways, when we don't earn enough money to take our family on a vacation? What does it profit one to be able to attend an integrated school, when he doesn't earn enough money to buy his children school clothes?
              Honestly this white guilt trip is so 50 years ago.

              Look at Condi, look at Obama, Powell -- how on earth can you suggest that middle or upper income people are unhappy because they aren't "free" -- totally nonsensical.

              Women, minorities (religious, ethnic) -- they don't face any real obstacles these days.  In fact they get preferential treatment in a lot of college admissions and job application processes. And while you're crying about marriage equality or some racial-ethnic profiling, the middle class has been dismantled and people of all races and genders are affected by that, while the elites rise up without regard to their gender or ethnicity!

              So frankly you should cut the shit about it being about "whining white people" because it all comes down to economic prosperity and ALL people in the country have the same opportunities to reach it. And it doesn't matter what your gender, sexuality, or ethnicity is as long as you got money you're given respect.

              Life isn't easily compartmentalized by race and ethnicity and gender like it was 50 years ago, it's about time you realized that.

              Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

              by aguadito on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 11:55:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  1/3 to 1/2 the population in poverty or (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ignacio Magaloni

              low-wage. Think it through.

              Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

              by Jim P on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:34:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  and who is primarily responsible for that? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                artmartin, wadingo

                i think that if you look at exactly who is poor in those statistics that you'll find that much of it is caused by sexist, racist and generally stupid decisions by white guys

                which is why ultimately, the more power in this country is diffused to women and minorities the better off the economy will be in the long run


          •  i'll quote (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Cornel West here regarding Obama's total avoidance of addressing poverty or the faltering middle class:

            I think that it’s morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion—poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people. So we end up with such a narrow, truncated political discourse, as the major problems—ecological catastrophe, climate change, global warming. So it’s very sad. I mean, I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies.
            There's no way to get any real change while we have a president who is merely a Republican in blackface.

            Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

            by aguadito on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:00:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Obama is not a Republican in blackface, aquadito (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tony Situ, artmartin
              •  not my words (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but Cornel West's.

                And I think he has good reason for saying so, Antone Bursh.

                Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

                by aguadito on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:03:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Playing the Cornel West card, eh? lol (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  99% of people don't care what he says (he lost credibility when he pushed the "Gore =Bush" lie when campaigning for Nader), and hiding behind him so you can put forward language that would normally draw many HRs is weak.

                  •  oh wow (0+ / 0-)

                    "99% of people don't care" -- what a swift way to discredit one of the nation's top intellectuals.

                    The Gore=Bush wasn't a lie, it was right on. and principled people supported Nader.

                    if anything, Obama's first term is actually confirmation of West's hypothesis that both parties are far too similar on issues of inequality, foreign policy, and civil liberties.

                    the only differences are superficial social issues.

                    people don't "lose credibility" for supporting a candidate who you don't support.

                    only amongst hopeless partisan foodfighters has anyone in any third party lost "credibility".

                    in fact, an intellectual who has written volumes of valuable work has WAY more credibility than some guy on the internet crying about third parties.

                    Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

                    by aguadito on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:27:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  See what JFK did (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Angie in WA State, JerryNA, Willinois

            to the top marginal tax rate?

            Yeah, they hated him all right...

            •  See what he did with the Oil Depletion (0+ / 0-)

              Allowance and his effort to pull out of the Cold War?

              Yeah, they hated him all right.

              The history is out there. Anyone can read how Big Bankers, Big Oil, the military-industrial complex hated JFK.

              Tearing down JFK and LBJ, by the way, doesn't make President Obama stand taller.

              Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

              by Jim P on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:32:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And the constant harping (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tony Situ, artmartin, wadingo, KayCeSF

                on this President, who's facing opposition like I've never seen in my lifetime, doesn't do anything positive.

                JFK...Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, dropping the top marginal rate 20%...and hey, he's one of my favorites (from Mass)...

                FDR...imprisoning the Japanese Americans, trying to stack the Supreme Court...ran on Austerity...and he's the best ever, in my book.

                It's always a mixed bag. Always.

                •  None of them took Republican positions, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  No Exit

                  in fact, Republican lies, as their starting point. That's the difference.

                  There'd be no harping on the President if he had loosed the Justice Department on the Bankers instead of taking their key people on as his Cabinet and Top Advisors on Economy.

                  There'd be no harping on the President if he had said "Don't touch the Safety Net, period" instead of offering the Republicans their wet dream.

                  There'd be no harping on the President if he had not based his conversation on the Republican/1% lie that deficits are the priority and instead insisted, based on reality, that Federal Job Stimulus is what the people need, and the deficits for such a purpose can rise without severe damage for a number of years.

                  There'd be no harping on the President if, when knowing that a $1.5T stimulus was objectively needed, he asked for $2T or $2.5T, instead of pre-compromising himself down to $800B, which everyone knew would not only fail to turn things around, but would disable the "More Stimulus" position.

                  There'd be no harping on the President if he was hyping a fictional recovery when the jobless increases every day.

                  There'd be no harping on the President if, after being elected and massively popular, he had chosen actual Democratic advisors and officers instead of Republican and Clinton/DLC holdovers, all of whom work against the people.

                  etc etc.

                  He uses Republican assumptions, and not Democratic ones, from which to wage his battles with Republicans.

                  That's the complaint. Look at his picks; his policies; what he offers to give away; his choices on Economy and Foreign Policy; the Surveillance State... all Republican-flavored.

                  Without dealing with that reality, there's no way to grasp the discontent with him. Now if you like Republican agendas and personnel as long as they are presented by a Democrat, well, that's a different thing.

                  Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

                  by Jim P on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:00:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Obama (0+ / 0-)

          is the 1%.

          don't delude yourself, he's worth millions and is a 1%er.

          You're blinded by his little story as a black kid, and thus your white guilt has totally stunted your ability to criticize him objectively.

          That's what the elites wanted when they chose Obama, to be blinded by social issues to confuse us from actually taking action on Wall Street, monopoly, and inequality (tax/regulatory) reform.

          Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

          by aguadito on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 11:46:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Except for some minor things (0+ / 0-)

          My lower income household is not able to see any of these many times that Obama stood with us poorer people that you seemingly speak of. Please point out ONE example where Obama  stood with my household., regarding health matters, or financial matters

          Only thing I  can see is that we are probably making about
          $ 50 too much for help with mandated health insurance, and might end up paying some $ 700 a year on account of not being able to qualify for help.

          If he had twisted Geithner's arm and forced him to loan out  monies to individual states that were hurting, that action  would have kept libraries open, fire districts open (And there is a drought on in Calif. as I type this) and many other state employees fully employed, but Geithner would rather that the money got spent on the military. (The Fed Govenrment's shameful little secret.)

          And in addition to the above, Obama's DOJ rounds up people  without even getting warrants, as if you live in California you can be presumed guilty of growing pot! Also w lost 6,000 well paying jobs when his DOJ came after the bigger medical marijuana dispensaries. That same DOJ ignores the executives at HSBC whose policies allow for billions of dollars of drug cartel monies to be laundered, and give those banks billions in profits. Some Democrat he is- that , Mr Obama!

          FDR and JFK are spinning n their graves.

          Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

          by Truedelphi on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:37:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So is Obama (0+ / 0-)

          so what?

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 05:19:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "Will" and a dollar gets you a cup of coffee. (4+ / 0-)

        The diarist is historically inaccurate. JFK would have gotten next to nothing done with this Congress, just like he got next to nothing done with the Congress he had while in office.

        The netroots need to wake up to the reality that another New Deal or Great Society won't happen by looking for a Presidential savior to do it for us. We have to elect a decent President, give them a better Congress than Obama ever had, and then continue to put pressure on them all. No wizard is going to run for President and make Congress magically disappear.

        •  He has to earn a better Congress, as (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          No Exit

          JFK was on the route to doing. He couldn't get his social legislation to pass; he stuck by his social legislation; he was going to go into his 2nd term with the majorities he needed as a consequence.

          FDR and JFK had the same Dixiecrats (now Republicans) to deal with, and by insisting on what the voters wanted and needed engineered their majorities in subsequent terms.

          Obama had majorities in 2009 and 2010, had the public will, and frittered it all away making senseless concessions to Republicans. This is history.

          Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

          by Jim P on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:39:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow (4+ / 0-)

            If you're going to bring up Dixiecrats then at least acknowledge there was a white voting block from the south who would occasionally vote for with JFK, LBJ, and FDR that today will NEVER vote with Obama. The fact that Dixiecrats still existed gave previous Presidents the advantage of getting southern conservatives to vote with them at least once in a while. Obama has zero chance at getting a single conservative southern vote today because they're all part of the solid Republican tea party block.

            Imagining that the '64 landslide would have happened without the assassination is pretty fantastical thinking. History is that Obama never had the Congress of FDR or LBJ in '64. Obama had the Congress of Truman and the Congress of JFK, which resulted in very little getting done legislatively for any of them.

            And guess what, all of those Presidents made compromises that you would probably call "senseless concessions" as well.

            •  but they will yell 'you lie' at a SOTU (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
            •  JFK had a 58%-30% approve/disapprove (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              No Exit

              rating two weeks before he was killed.

              Goldwater, the GOP nominee regardless of JFK's death, presented himself as in favor of nuclear war first-strike.

              The Republican excuse that they lost in a landslide because of a sympathy vote is a complete load of shit, and I would hope people would stop repeating that Republican falsification of history.

              I'm using "complete load of shit" in the most technical sense. You have to know, literally, almost nothing about the political climate of the day to repeat the Republican lie. I understand the new pragmatism, properly named astigmatism, assumes that repeating Republican lies are a good basis for discussion, but be certain it's not good for Democrats. Nor the people.

              (The other Republican lie, btw, was that JFK won because the mob stole the election for him in Chicago. Chicago which had voted about 2-1 Democratic for decades. Try not to repeat that one, too.)

              Why was JFK popular? Civil Rights, Care for the Elderly, and Peace.

              Why did Democrats get a majority in 1964? Contrasted to Goldwater, the Dems represented Civil Rights, Care for the Elderly, and Peace.

              There's a difference between compromise and pre-compromise. Yes, FDR, HST, JFK, LBJ, and Jimmy Carter compromised.

              They did not negotiate with themselves in advance of offering their position.

              For instance, a pragmatist, seeing that practically every Economist said we needed a stimulus of $1.5T or more, would say "Okay, that's what the nation really needs." And propose -- not that -- but $2T or even $2.5T. Expecting to get negotiated down.

              A "DC Bubble pragmatist" says, "oh heck we'll never get what we actually need, so ask for about half."

              On the advice of Geithner, Summers, and other elements of the Organized Crime outfits we call Big Banks.

              So what happened? We needed $1.5T, minimum. We got half of what was needed. We didn't get the argument "well, Republicans stopped us from getting what was needed, vote Dem in 2010." Nor did we get $1.2T nor $1T which would have been closer to the mark.

              Instead we got an objectively inadequate stimulus (though it actually did help people get income for a while) and the Republicans got to say "See? Stimulus didn't work." Because, practically speaking, it couldn't.

              And when have you heard stimulus raised again? Why... never.

              Oh wait, there's the one exception: 72% of the American people, including 56% of Republicans, and 76% of Independents want a Federal Jobs Stimulus, regardless of it's effect on the deficit. (And let us remember, "deficit is our biggest problem" is a lie of the Republicans. Swallowed whole, without opposition or rejection by the Administration.)

              Only one of the differences between "Compromises" and "Pre-compromise" aka "selling oneself short."

              That's just history. This President, unlike previous Democratic Presidents in living memory, takes Republican positions as his starting point. That's a huge difference, and not fantastical, nor ahistorical, nor meaningless. That's been shown time and time again.

              One has to bend over backwards to make that reality go away. Or repeat Republican lies.

              Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

              by Jim P on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:15:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  wasn't there a booming economy at the time? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                artmartin, wadingo

                That might account for JFK's approval ratings, as well as the whole "Camelot" stuff pushed by the MSM.

              •  Obama is more aggressive than JFK was. (0+ / 0-)

                Did JFK propose a strong civil rights bill? No, he proposed a weak one full of pre-concessions and didn't pass it. Johnson had to. JFK took the Republican position of cutting tax rates for the wealthy, while Obama increased them. Your criticisms of Obama can easily be made against JFK if you view him with the same critical lens.
                I'm glad you support Obama's call for another jobs bill. It's a shame the progressive netroots ignore it, like nearly everything else progressive Obama advocates.

                •  Calling for a bill, and pushing for a bill, and (0+ / 0-)

                  forcing the public conversation to be about the bill; these are different things.

                  When you hear him give more than lip service to the bill, pushing that as hard as he does c-CPI and "reforming" the safety-net, as hard as he pushes the Republican lie that the deficit is our major problem, then we'll all have something to celebrate.

                  Until then, kabuki is as kabuki does.

                  JFK's Bill was pretty strong, and Johnson's contained nothing new but, a needed, stronger enforcement. JFK made enemies of the Banking, Oil, and Military-Industrial complexes. His lowering tax rates was in response to the general prosperity of the time, and, yes, a concession. It DID NOT win him the love of the power-brokers.

                  Obama has cultivated Banking, Oil, and the MIC. Obama did not raise the rates of the wealthy, he allowed a provision to expire, but only on the very very richest, after claiming he'd drawn a line in the sand at $250K. Which line, apparently, he later interpreted to mean "step over me."

                  Of course, JFK worked to enhance rights; Obama has banished trial by jury, claimed a right to execute even American Citizens by decree, fought for and expanded every domestic spy initiative of George W Bush, and placed the first two entirely at the discretion of a President. Whether it be himself or a President Palin down the road.

                  If you want to talk about rights.

                  btw, during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations I lived in Bed-Stuy. In every friend's home, all of them, in the living room there was a picture of Jesus in the center and on then, about six inches down, a picture of Dr King on one side and of JFK on the other. I think people at that time understood JFK's legislation better than you do.

                  Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

                  by Jim P on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:41:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Amazing that you worship one hero (0+ / 0-)

                    who did very little but stick to a narrative about Obama that's completely out of ouch with reality. You seem invested in twisting the facts to fit your prejudices about Obama.

                    You wrote: "pushing that as hard as he does c-CPI"
                    False. He hasn't personally pushed for SS cuts at all. The most spokespersons have said is that he doesn't it like the cuts but it's an attempt at compromise. Only in the imaginations of the outrage-peddlers is he pushing hard for major cuts to the safety net. In fact, he expanded the safety net before Republicans took Congress, but I know you like to pretend Congress doesn't matter.

                    Obama has done more to reduce oil consumption than any other President in history X10. No, he hasn't gained oil industry support after finally moving the country away from oil dependence. Seriously, learn about something other than the talking points about BP and Keystone.

                    You wrote: "Obama did not raise the rates of the wealthy, he allowed a provision to expire"

                    And this difference in wording matters because...? This line suggests you're desperate to deny Obama credit for anything positive. Taxes on the rich went up. End of story. I bet you supported that before Obama did it.

                    You wrote: "fought for and expanded every domestic spy initiative of George W Bush"

                    That is absolutely false. I also notice that trials by jury are still happening so Obama must not have "banished" them very well.

                    JFK had charisma but did very little. Obama's progressive record is much more impressive. Maybe further down the road your hate will have dulled enough to see both the good and bad of Obama's accomplishments.

                    Why is seeing the absolute worst in everything Obama does so important to you?

                    •  Oh, fuck, look, talk to me after you've figured (0+ / 0-)

                      out what "must compete in the global marketplace" means, really means. (Hint: China uses "_" labor; India uses "_" labor)

                      And then take a look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership and tell me what that means.

                      And then take a look at the current childhood poverty at a rate not present since the early 1960s, its increasing rate, and how poverty hasn't even been mentioned by this President, and tell me what that means.

                      And then take a look at how the Justice Department hasn't put one person in jail in any one of several frauds and drug- and terror-money laundering outfits at the Banks: the Banks which have literally defrauded tens of millions; and then they get a 1 or 2% fine for all their crimes, and then invited to the White House to give him counsel.

                      I don't hate Obama. Bush was the last politician I hated. I have no emotion about the President.

                      YOU have the emotion about him. That's why you're so confused on the topic you misconstrue plain English to be nonsense.

                      If you think Obama has not pushed the surveillance state, go read what the ACLU, and hundreds of journalists, says about it and then talk to them about how they're wrong.

                      If you think Obama has not claimed the power to detain and kill solely on a President's own desecration then go read the fucking NDAA and work that out.

                      Get real. Goodbye.

                      PS: Tearing down taller buildings doesn't make the shorter building taller.

                      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

                      by Jim P on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:17:20 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Obama talked about poverty today. (0+ / 0-)

                        He talks about poverty often, but you think he "never" does. Remember that phrase "narrative trumps reality?" You should ask yourself why your perception of Obama is so far removed from reality. Just because Cornel West accuses Obama of never talking about poverty doesn't mean it's true.

                        Here's Obama talking about poverty today, as he very often does.


                        And things have stabilized since the crisis in 2008, but for a lot of folks, they’re still just barely keeping their heads above water.  There are millions of kids across this country who are still poorly educated or malnourished, or don't have any place to go outside of school.  And for them, college is just a distant dream.  They can't even imagine the prospect of actually creating a life for themselves that's similar to what they see on television, or maybe just walking down the streets of Dallas.  It’s like looking through a pane of glass.

                             We have made enormous strides when it comes to broadening equality in this country.  And I could not be prouder of the work that we've done under my administration to make sure that we have a strong civil rights division, that we ended "don't ask, don't tell," that we're championing the rights of the LGBT community, that we're making sure that women are getting paid the same as men for the work that they do.  But we all know that in all kinds of interactions, large and small, there are people out there who aren't getting a fair shot, still aren't getting a fair deal, still aren't being treated the way we would want ourselves to be treated.  And government has something to say about that.

                        Yes, Obama has made some bad decisions about civil liberties. So write that. Claiming he has expanded ALL of Bush's spy programs is a lie. In fact, he has put restrictions and safegaurds on many Bush policies related to domestic spying. Wild exaggeration doesn't lead to a realistic worldview.
                      •  And look (0+ / 0-)

                        FDR didn't jail bankers. He invited a Wall Street trader to be his first Treasury Secretary. So what? Does that mean the New Deal was bad? You can cherry-pick actions and turn them into whatever narrative you want, good or bad. Using your tactics, it's easy to make JFK and FDR look far more conservative than you're making Obama out to be. You choose to see things the way you do.
                        Getting back to the original topic, I think a better Congress would have resulted in Obama being a hell of a lot better President than what we've seen. A lot more would get done if the netroots spent more time pressuring Congress and stopped expecting ANY President to do that job for us.

      •  well (0+ / 0-)

        where were the townhall meetings by "our"side during the HCR debate?

        Why weren't we organizing and pushing Democrats from the left?

        Why were the right-wing townhalls dominating?

        "our" side made a lot of mistakes in activism. That has been building for years and tranferred to obama's term. We did not understand "We have to MAKE them do it".

        LGBT activists got what they wanted several times. DREAM act activists got what they wanted. Keystone XL activists got what they wanted in 2012.

        Pelosi passed Obama's "hope and change agenda"  (400 bills). There were a lot of complicated realities limiting Obama like the Senate's filibuster and little left pressure.

        Even then, Obama has done so much for the "little" people

        Check out what HCR really does.

        Read some past diaries with facts and links

    •  DAAAAAAMMMMMNNNN that was a kick ass comment! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citylights, cherish0708, artmartin

      i know it's frustrating that we can't do more quickly, because we see the needs in this country and want to address them now, but the truth is that the progress we work for today is really for our children and grandchildren.  that's always been the truth of progress in the US and the world.  

    •  This is an oversimplification, and misleading (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, puakev, salmo, JerryNA, dfarrah, MeToo, J M F

      LBJ's entire term was an avalanche of legislative activity, some of it quite huge and coming quite late in his Presidency.  Medicare, OSHA, Dept of Transportation, consumer product safety, auto safety, fire safety, the beginnings of environmental legislation, space exploration...much much more, but probably no legislation more important than the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (fair housing).  

      Second, while JFK's death provided a moral climate that made the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts possible, they didn't just happen, and never could have happened without the enormous pressure (and outright threats) Johnson brought to bear on recalcitrant Senators.  He held tremendous influence over the budget process because of his control and ability to manipulate the legislative process. Neither did he have any scruples about the importance of what he was doing;  it was pretty well-known that before a member of Congress met with LBJ in the Oval Office, that member's FBI file would be sitting prominently on the President's desk.  

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:47:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right, I glossed over (4+ / 0-)

        and failed to give due credit to the legislative accomplishments of the 1966-68 period of LBJ's presidency.

        However, it is also the case that this period did not see anything on the scale of Medicare, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, or the War on Poverty.  In fact for most of 1966-68 the War on Poverty was stuck in a defensive crouch against conservatives in Congress emboldened by the growing backlash amongst the white working and middle class against the Great Society.

        In addition there were budgetary pressures from the enormous deficits (at least for the time) created by spending on Vietnam, which gave conservatives further justification to cut spending, and the result was that spending on many War on Poverty programs slowed or were cut, in some cases significantly as with the Teacher Corps, a prized program of LBJ's, which was cut by 2/3 in 1967.  The Office of Economic Opportunity, the central antipoverty agency, requested $3.5 billion for its operations in 1967, but in the end got just $1.77 billion (Dallek, Flawed Giant, 405).

        And lest anyone think Johnson's legislative skills were irresistible, the reason for these cuts was that Congress refused to act on his request for a temporary surcharge on income and corporate taxes.  Despite all of LBJ's efforts, both public a private, to get the surcharge passed, he "made little headway in convincing reluctant House members or the mass of Americans that he was right."  (Dallek, 396)  When Johnson eventually did get a tax surcharge, it came in exchange for a significant cut in discretionary spending.

        There were many significant things that got done from 1966-68 as pointed out.  There were also amendments to Social Security that greatly increased benefits.  The last half of 1968 was a flurry of legislative activity that saw  increases in food stamps and a program providing handicapped vocational eduction, among many other items.

        But by and large Johnson did not propose any really big, bold legislation along the lines of a Medicare or Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the political will was not there.  The years 1966-68 were spent mostly on protecting and building on previous gains, and playing defense against those seeking to exploit budgetary shortfalls caused by Vietnam to cut and dismantle the War on Poverty programs.  

        “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

        by puakev on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:22:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Shorter puakev (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev, Willinois, FG, Tony Situ

      "Remember: JFK didn't actually accomplish much legislatively. It was all LBJ."

    •  Thank you. Enough of the fantasy thinking! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lovepolitics2008, puakev, artmartin

      If people want another LBJ or FDR legislative agenda then they'll have to elect a super-majority in Congress like FDR had and LBJ had in '64.
      Expecting any President to run over Congress by pounding on the podium is naive and destructive.

    •  Thank you for this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  I wish we had President Jed Bartlet! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev, artmartin

      Your post reminds me of progressives that have said, "If only we had a president like Jed Bartlet!"  Lawrence O'Donnell, one of The West Wing writers/creators/producers/whatever laughed at that and said that Obama blows Bartlet away when it comes to being an effective president that did significant things.

        Lawrence said that some progressives had romanticized the fictional Bartlet presidency, remembering it as better than it really was.  Well it appears that the same goes for how folks remember JFK's presidency (and even LBJ's, to a lesser extent).

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