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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up (229 comments)

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  •  Dowd (10+ / 0-)

    I don't think it unreasonable to recognize the unfortunate reality that as a leader you need to stroke people's egos to get them to go along.  It's pathetic that would need to be done in the context of the Newtown tragedy and gun control, but that's a reality.

    Dowd isn't the only one who, I think rightly, places responsibility on Obama's lack of leadership for the failure of the gun legislation.  Delamaide at MarketWatch extends the argument it to Obama's failure to lead on the economy by focusing on jobs instead of deficit reduction.

    As to guns, Delamaide says:

    You can’t keep silent on gun control through two presidential campaigns and four years in office and then emerge as a credible leader on the issue in the wake of a crisis like the Newtown massacre.

    The time to take a stand and be vocal is when you’re running for office. You can’t run from the issue in order to get elected and then take the lead on a proposed solution when you’re president, but that’s what Obama tried to do.

    As for the economy:
    The running debate on the federal deficit and the proper balance between taxing and spending is a different kind of issue altogether, but the reason the president can’t get any traction is much the same.

    For reasons of political expediency, Obama bought into, or pretended to buy into, the homespun wisdom that a multi-trillion-dollar government budget in the 21st century should be viewed in the same terms as a household budget — we can’t live beyond our means, we can’t live indefinitely on the credit card, and so on.

    But taking this view on government budgets when economists have demonstrated that fiscal policy fulfills a completely different function in a modern economy is the same as clinging to creationism or denying climate change in the face of all scientific evidence to the contrary.

    The bottom line:
    Once again, when you’ve sacrificed conviction for expediency, you have zero credibility in leading the nation toward sensible solutions.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:56:36 AM PDT

    •  wrongly placed (34+ / 0-)

      I have worked long, hard and closely with people on this. In no way was this Obama's fault.

      The fault, if there is one, is the way the Senate favors small states over big ones. Blame the Constitution and the framers for that.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:04:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't say it's Obama's fault alone, (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        claude, bfbenn, srkp23, NearlyNormal, joeff

        but I would say he fell short.  If he was so invested in it, where was the national prime time address?  I could imagine Reagan, one of his heroes, doing that.  Where was Michelle, whose focus is on children, besides the one speech she made in Chicago?  Bullets kill kids a lot faster than does obesity.  It was not a full court press on Obama's side.  But then, when is it ever?

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:13:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Brady shot to Brady Act: 12 years (14+ / 0-)

          Maybe we get this version done in less time, but we're probably looking at many more years of "falling short."

          It doesn't mean we stop trying or expend any less effort.

          When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Egalitare on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:23:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I diagree.. he was out there.. (4+ / 0-)

          Michelle was out there..  She was here in Chicago multiple times with very emotional pleas.

          No.. it was not for lack of talking to the American people that this bill did not get done.  It was for lack of political skills.  This should have been a no-brainer.  He had prominent Republican Senators on his side and still could not make the deal - nay - refused to make a deal.

          •  I cannot believe this whole line of thinking. (26+ / 0-)

            NO President has ever had this total intransigence to deal with from the opposition party.  Yes, President Obama could spend more time glad handing the bastards, but you think it would help?  They would tell him "yes" and then vote "no."

            Any time he proposes an idea that originated with the Republican party, that same party opposes it.

            That's why he went with appeals to the public ... and now we know that Senators of both stripes do not listen to their constituents.

            Maureen Dowd is totally wrong.  I guess she and certain DKos posters would prefer the Lyndon Johnson/J Edgar Hoover approach.  I prefer to see the Republicans as they really are...it may hurt us in the short run but I still trust the Americans to throw the bastards out.  They saw through Mitt Romney, didn't they?

            If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. John F. Kennedy ( inaugural address, January 20, 1961)

            by Outraged Mom on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:53:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The problem is that short-term actions can result (0+ / 0-)

              in long-term consequences and short-term actions repeated over time become long-term.

              The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

              by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:57:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Glad handing? No.. dealing? Yes. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              accumbens, joeff

              Everyone in Congress has their own priorities besides party ideology.

              First, and foremost, is getting re-elected.  Secondly is getting bills passed and making contributors (and even the electorate!) back at home happy.

              So, a savvy president would look at each Senator individually and determine what the deal would be.  Was Keystone XL not up for dealing in exchange for a vote on background checks?  EPA regs?  Greasing the skids for a pet project?

              For cripes sakes..  This isn't rocket science, but it seems beyond the grasp of this President.

              •  So you would cave on Keystone XL? I would not. (4+ / 0-)

                I understand wheeling and dealing.  I am just saying there is NOTHING these guys WANT more than saying "no" to President Obama.

                As for your contention that

                Everyone in Congress has their own priorities besides party ideology
                I am not sure that is true, anymore, except for lining their pockets with Koch money.

                If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. John F. Kennedy ( inaugural address, January 20, 1961)

                by Outraged Mom on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:08:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes.. I would deal Keystone XL! (0+ / 0-)

                  By not dealing it, President Obama indicates gun registration is not as high a priority.

                  And, btw, there are 2.5 million miles of pipeline in the US currently... with thousands of miles of it sitting right on top of the Ogallala aquifer.  The issue of this pipeline has been expanded way beyond its meaningfulness.  I would deal away this issue in a minute for legislation I felt so compassionately about as President Obama seems to be about gun control.

            •  Absulutely right on. (4+ / 0-)

              No president in the history of this country has had to face the No No about everything he says from the minority party.

              Blaming the 5 democrats who voted against the background check ammendment and not focusing on the 45 republicans is insane.

                 The disconnect between 91% of Americans who want sensible gun laws and the Republican party who don't is where we should stay focused. Americans need to be reminded over and over that Republicans are putting guns in the hands of terrorists.

              You don't get to keep democracy unless you fight for it.

              by artebella on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:06:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  And how much coverage did she get? (0+ / 0-)

            It's not that they didn't do anything, they just didn't do enough.  Childhood obesity is not - or is barely - controversial.  Gun control is and that means that Michelle or her husband hold back.

            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

            by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:54:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  But Chicago already has the gun laws. If they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bon Temps, andalusi

            want to speak to the public shouldn't they be in Texas, Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, Montana, Kansas, Virginia etc....these are the places in which the people need to hear what has to be said and get on board.  I personally would have liked to hear way more than I knew already. Limiting speeches and such to places that already have the strictest gun laws in the nation and have a high, high majority of the public completely on board is a waste of time IMO

            I am only for background checks and nothing more...I think the bill should have been a background check bill, yes or no, kind of thing.  All the others could have waited or been tried later. I can't support a bill that has way more going on than the 90% polled question of "background checks".  

        •  I'm very tired of this false meme (8+ / 0-)
          "Reagan, one of his heroes"
          Here's what he said (emphasis mine):
          "He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into -- he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

          "I think Kennedy, 20 years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times.

          "I think we are in one of those times right now, where people feel like things as they are going, aren't working, that we’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having and they’re not useful. And the Republican approach I think has played itself out.

          I know you despise this President, and you are right that he should do things differently, and show a willingness--eagerness--to get down and dirty on important issues.  It doesn't, however, make Reagan "one of his heroes.'

          "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

          by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:09:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good quotation. Link? n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SottoVoce

            There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

            by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:13:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't despise him. Why is it the Obama defenders (0+ / 0-)

            always consider his critics as haters?  What is with that?  Should I say you are an Obama lover because you defend him?

            As to my Reagan comment, I'll stand corrected.  My larger point in bringing Reagan up is that he was a President who knew how to use the bully pulpit and was a great communicator - charts and all.  Perhaps, the difference in terms of communication is that Obama, like Reagan, is or can be inspirational, whereas Reagan, unlike Obama, was also persuasive.

            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

            by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:42:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  different world (8+ / 0-)

              Reagan today would not be so persuasive. in fact, his Alzheimer's might have been exposed much earlier.

              But it's all speculation. Arm twisting in 1965 isn't arm twisting in 2013. The tools and the environment are different.

              I don't mind criticism of Obama, he often deserves it. But the consensus opnioin, which i agree with, is that this simply could not pass, and nothing obama did different changes the dynamic. For now.

              What's really different is an organized and well funded gun responsibility movement that sprang up in 4 months, too fast for politicians to react. It'll take an election cycle for that.

              Mandatory seat belt laws took 19 years.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:27:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I made that assumption because you (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Minnesota Deb, accumbens, askew

              seem to be in the forefront of criticism of him on every subject, blame him for all failures, but give him no credit for any successes, and seem to hold him to an unmeetable standard.  If I'm mistaken in that assumption, I apologize.

              Reagan was an actor (as am I).  He had only one skill, and that was communication--although I personally found him repulsive and unconvincing.  We don't need another actor as a leader, but rather someone who has more than just speaker's chops.  

              My beef with Obama--in addition to his embrace of the drone program--is his repeated eagerness to bargain with the Republicans, who have proven beyond any doubt their malevolent intentions toward him.  I think he's smart and tough, but he seems to believe he can change them when it's clear he can't.  They care more about defeating him than they do about the country's good, and he just won't believe that about them.  His inspirational speeches may move the needle somewhat with the public, as in the gun debate, but not with those who are apoplectic that he's black and in power, and who have been given the keys to the Senate by the filibuster rules.

              This gun defeat lays in Harry Reid's hands, along with his long-serving Senate cronies, who let the GOP win with a minority of votes.  What kind of democracy is that?

              "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

              by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:37:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  But what about the filibuster? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        accumbens, wintergreen8694, PhilW

        Without filibuster reform the uneven distribution of power in the Senate (small states, more representation) is amplified. Where was POTUS on filibuster reform?

        There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

        by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:12:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. What Dowd and others fail to mention.. (5+ / 0-)

        ...is that the vote still would have "failed", 59-41, even with Democratic unanimity.

        Fact of the matter is that over 90% of Senate Democrats voted for the bill, and over 90% of Senate Republicans voted against it.

        So which party best represents the American people's will, and which party does not?  The math is very simple.

        The GOP owns this failure, like so many others.  Maybe Dowd's point is that Obama needs to make them own it...very publicly and very harshly.  And he doesn't need to "stroke" them, as Dowd stupidly suggested; he needs to publicly pummel them and shame them, by name.  Repeatedly.  It is beyond pointless for him to show the GOP any more good will, because the GOP has made it a political strategy from Day 1 to show him and, by extension, the American people, none at all.

        The GOP needs to be branded the pariah party that it is. It is truly a party that could give a shit about doing what's best for most Americans.

      •  Agree entirely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Sumner, wintergreen8694

        I saw somewhere that Senators representing roughly 75% of the population voted for background checks. Forty or so Senators represent a total population less than the two from California. It's a pretty depressing situation when Republicans blame Democrats for everything that's wrong, and Democrats agree.  

    •  I think it is idiotic for dowd to argue that gun (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drummergirl

      Control legislation failed because Obama failed to stroke egos...  All he does is stroke their f@cking egos.

      His lack of leadership on anything on the progressive agenda stems from the fact;

      1. He disagrees with the progressive position

      2. He's too f@ckin concerned with the egos of republiscum to play hardball.

      Of course the Democratic Party in general feels the same way.  Although, perhaps, the trend of democratic subservience to repuglicans comes from their investment in a system of govt that guarantees their relevance and the fact that they are just as subservient to the 1% and recognize that the pukes are more like their partner in duping the American people into believing we have any form of democracy or representative govt as opposed to a plutocracy for the rich and kabuki for the rest.

      This is the stupidest thing I have heard (always second hand) from dowd in a long time.

      Yes, yes I know he eventually came around and acted on immigration and same sex marriage after his refusal to do so placed his reelection in jeopardy.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I put more blame for the failure (8+ / 0-)

      on Harry Reid than President Obama. None of the no voters were forced to take a public stand against something 90% of the people wanted to see happen and they have since blended back into the crowd.

      Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

      by hulibow on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:34:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dowd -- he lost too soon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      accumbens

      The time to lose on this would have been in the House for the necessary wedge issue eventually leading to a bill with teeth after 2014.

      "Have I shocked you by the dirty things I wrote to you?" --James Joyce,To Nora, Dublin 6, December 1909 Oops. Wrong inspirational quote!

      by Roger Burke on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:35:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a banana republic strong man? (10+ / 0-)

      Dowd's argument is ridiculous. who is this bully that she wants to slap around congress? name a name of someone who could do that.

      Reagan? please..... his big accomplishment was lowering marginal rates, the easiest political lift in the world. LBJ? LBJ would be a creepy Texas oil politico today.

      Dowd is channeling her right-wing brother again.... republicans are pissed they have one more reason to be unpopular.

      We are headed toward the political system we see in California, which always leads the way. The tax revolt started there and they had stalemate for a generation, but the people have broken the republicans at last..... one party rule.

      •  I will be adding "He's not a dictator" to my list (0+ / 0-)

        of excuses for Obama.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:52:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, let's think about this.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          accumbens

          Maureen Dowd is on to something, I think.  Obama is not a fighter...he's a conciliator.  LBJ was a down and dirty fighter and he got stuff passed that would never have happened....you know, like Medicare?  There is something to being able to get nasty behind the scenes and twist arms in politics.  Oh, yes, we Dems love to think that reason and being sensible and not "getting down to their level" is going to get us somewhere because we'll be seen as the "good guy."  But let's face it....in Washington politics, and with a bunch of bastards who are ruthless and unprincipled, a leader needs to be able to win....fight them and win.  Obama is way too nice to them...it's a personal trait he has and it's nice on a personal level, but in Washington, it's undeniably a weakness.  Read Dr. Justin Fran's "Obama on the Couch."  He also wrote "Bush on the Couch" and it's enlightening reading.  He needs to somehow scare the shit out of those assholes.....the country needs help....oh, and take a cue from Senator Warren, get tough on the bankers and criminals of Wall St.  I'm done for now....  

          Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

          by lutznancy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:54:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You do that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rooe, askew

          And then take a look at all of the articles claiming that Obama is a dictator by issuing executive actions around Congress for gay rights, recess appointments and "czars".

          If when the Repubs are in majority in Congress with a Repub president and the Dems don't block all legislative efforts, then I'm sure you'll blame Obama for that too.

          But until you fully understand WHY legislation like this one & Cap and Trade failed, then you are just blowing smoke.

          They nearly got to 60 votes in both instances. With today's Congress, that's a sucess, not a failure.

          Peace, my friend.

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