Politicians within the beltway seem to live in a world of their own. No place is this more clear than in the results of the last two elections where voters in desperate need of solutions for big problems have been misunderstood as providing ‘overwhelming mandates’ for the two party’s special interests’ agendas. The 2008 election was a resounding no to the direction the country ushered in by Dubya and his neocons. The 2010 election was a resounding no to the continued mess of partisanship and the passage of bailouts and a health care reform that no one understood. I don’t think voters understood why this issue was put above solving the basic unemployment and recession-based problems. Polls appear to indicate that neither side gets the message these days even though it appears very loud and clear to many of us.
There’s several places that this is really clear. First, the tea party is a prime example. This movement has been a hodgepodge of people looking for ways to send a populist message to the beltway. However, the movement has funding and leadership that’s hell bent on returning the country to the excesses of Robber Baron days. Some of the electorate voted for tea party candidates thinking more on the folksy rhetoric and less of the hardcore John Bircher philosophy championed by movement organizers. Plus, they just wanted some gridlock until they could get their minds around what was going on with a flurry of laws passed that seemed less related to what they asked for than what US bankers and businesses demanded. They wanted jobs. They got bailouts of Detroit and Wall Street and forced into a health care plan that benefited big Pharma and insurance company interests. It seems like the Democratic party just looked at the election numbers, smiled, and went their merry way. Republicans aren’t doing much better since they just looked at the last election numbers, smiled, and went their merry way.
A Bloomberg national poll indicates that the Washington crowd just doesn’t get it. It has to be a deliberate misconnect. You can’t be so wrong so many times. They just don’t want to listen. People don’t like paying taxes that are then used to fund politician’s pet projects and bailouts for big businesses and banks. They don’t mind tax cuts to the middle class but they’re getting tired of footing the bill for the beneficiaries of the nation’s army of lobbyists. The Republicans have missed the mark with their current assaults on collective bargaining and programs that impact just plain folks. Why can’t both parties just shut up and listen for a change?
Americans are sending a message to congressional Republicans: Don’t shut down the federal government or slash spending on popular programs.
Almost 8 in 10 people say Republicans and Democrats should reach a compromise on a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit to keep the government running, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. At the same time, lopsided margins oppose cuts to Medicare, education, environmental protection, medical research and community-renewal programs.
While Americans say it’s important to improve the government’s fiscal situation, among the few deficit-reducing moves they back are cutting foreign aid, pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and repealing the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 a year.
The results of the March 4-7 poll underscore the hazards confronting Republicans, as well as President Barack Obama and Democrats, as they face a showdown over funding the government and seek a broader deficit-reduction plan.
The rejection of Dubya and cronies in 2008 wasn’t an invitation for further bailouts of fat cats, expansion of unpopular wars and invention of a health care program while current programs have such severe issues. The Republicans need to understand that the ‘shellacking’ in November wasn’t an invitation for a full on assault on Sesame Street, Yellowstone National Park, and women’s ability to have a menstrual cycle without fearing manslaughter charges. Here’s the message.
When given five choices for the most important issue facing the nation, unemployment and jobs ranked first with 43 percent – - down from 50 percent in Bloomberg’s December 2010 poll — with the deficit and spending cited by 29 percent, up from 25 percent. Health care was chosen by 12 percent, the war in Afghanistan by 7 percent, and immigration by 3 percent.
Asked to choose between jobs and the deficit, 56 percent called creating jobs the government’s more important priority now, while 42 percent said cutting spending was.
Why couldn’t we have gotten a decent jobs program and stimulus right off the bat during the first few months of Obama’s term? We’d have been in a much better position politically, economically, and fiscally. Instead, we got a bunch of worthless tax cuts that siphoned money off to investments abroad and just enough money to stem about 2 years of fiscal disaster in the states.
There are two follies that should haunt a few leaders for the rest of their natural born days. Blame goes first to Obama for carving out the health care reform instead of focusing laserlike on job creation. He clearly created a lot of unnecessary strife and tempests in teabots by taking his eye off the job markets. The second heap of guilt goes to Mitch McConnell and his party of no. The Republicans seem intent on pleasing their base and burying the rest of the country in joblessness and despair. Clearly, this is a man that will do anything to regain a Republican White House. This includes taking our country down with the plan.
Some one needs to tell the President that ending bipartisan strife doesn’t mean selling out to other side. That’s what brought us a health care plan that assaults women’s rights and forces every one to pay and play. The Republican strategy of petulance has been paying off big time for them in terms of policy gains. They need to pay for that petulance. Giving into Republican demands is not bipartisanship. The Republican agenda is clear now. The political moves by Republican governors to force their will no matter what is being met resistance by Democratic legislators. Polls are showing that the public is taking the side of these legislators. The President needs to take a page from their playbooks rather than doing his version of bipartisanship (i.e. giving into Republican bullying on things like tax cuts for billionaires). The leadership shown by Democrats in the heartland is being rewarded and is clearly showing the politicians in Washington the type of future the voters want. Now, if we could only get Washington to listen before the presidential campaign silly season begins.
Ed Henry just said that it’s true that President Obama apologized for failing to be bipartisan and promised to work harder to find common ground.
There was a Republican presser with a follow up column at WAPO today by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Both were a joke. They don’t want to work with their Democratic colleagues. They want a one term Democratic president and damn any Democrat that believes any differently after they’ve said it over and over again.
Here’s Johnny!! (and Closet Case Mitchie too!)
The day after the election, President Obama seemed to acknowledge that a change in course is needed when he conceded that “the overwhelming message” he heard from the voters was “we want you to focus completely on jobs and the economy.”
Despite what some Democrats in Congress have suggested, voters did not signal they wanted more cooperation on the Democrats’ big-government policies that most Americans oppose. On the contrary, they want both parties to work together on policies that will help create the conditions for private-sector job growth. They want us to stop the spending binge, cut the deficit and send a clear message on taxes and regulations so small businesses can start hiring again.
We can work together and accomplish these things, but the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress first will have to prioritize. It’s time to choose struggling middle-class families and small businesses over the demands of the liberal base. It’s time to get serious.
What isn’t clear about this? They’ve said what they want and that’s all that they want. There’s no sign of cooperation here unless it’s you do what we say. Which is frankly kind’ve weird given we’ve gotten so much Republican-style policy through Capitol Hill without them.
What’s the President apologizing for? Gee, I know you mugged me, next time I’ll be sure to carry more cash and less credit, I’m so sorry.
Still, despite all the talk of a fresh start, Obama acknowledged the elephant in the room – what he called “the current hyper-partisan climate.”
“There are always those who argue that the best strategy is simply to try to defeat your opposition, instead of working with them,” the president said.
He needed look no further than McConnell to see someone whose stated goal is to make sure Obama does not win a second term. And in a Washington Post opinion piece published Tuesday by McConnell and Boehner, the rhetoric seemed distinctly McConnell-esque.
The column – titled “Where we and Democrats can work together” – called on the White House and Democratic leaders to “prioritize.”
“It’s time to choose struggling middle-class families and small businesses over the demands of the liberal base,” the GOP leaders wrote. “It’s time to get serious.”
Okay, let’s just start from the assumption that it’s not just the liberal base that doesn’t want their social security and Medicare privatized or shut down. Let’s also assume that most of us ARE concerned about jobs and not tax cuts. What exactly do they think the demands of the liberal base are? Giving unemployed people their unemployment checks? I haven’t seen any decent demands coming out of the liberal base in forever! No demand to shut GITMO. No demand to get out of Afghanistan. No demand to stop giving preferential treatment to banks. No demand to not put American citizens on hit lists. No demand to hold Cheney and Dubya accountable for breaking the Geneva Convention. What frigging demands? We can’t even protect a Woman’s right to choose over Insurance companies’ rights to extraordinary profits! DADT should’ve been gone by now and Pay Equity should’ve passed. What FRIGGING demands?
Yet, if you read reports from the PBS Newshour, POTUS is “Encouraged”. (Videos of pressers from this link)
Encouraged about what? Giving multimillionaires tax cuts? Implementing Allan Simpson’s plans to send seniors to homeless shelters? Maybe, it’s their desire to tank START?
What fresh hell is this?
Notable tweets from the un-notable Ed Henry CNN on the “Slurpee summit”
edhenrycnn Ed Henry
(oldest to newest)
President striking conciliatory tone, saying he’s committed to “common ground” on taxes — a phrase Boehner used several times
Breaking news: Senior admin official tells CNN the President did tell Repubs behind closed doors he failed to reach out enough in 1st 2 yrs
Senior official tells CNN President told Repubs “he had to do better and the President is ready to do his part” in the days to work together
Senior admin official is confirming account from Republicans that Potus acknowledged “he had not reached out enough” in words of Cantor
That’s the sub-headline from a February 18th article on US Politics in the Brit business mag The Economist. Kinda looks promising in that non hopey changey sorta way, doesn’t it? The op-ed basically looks at the Evan Bayh retirement and accompanying hoopla. It wonders if “America’s democracy is broken, unable to fix the country’s problems and condemned to impotent partisan warfare”, then decides it’s not our system, it’s not even us, and it’s not our partisan bickering and obscure senate procedures. It’s that Obama isn’t really finding policies or ways to please Republicans. Say what silly little man with the British accent?
This piece has unnerved the village and in so many interesting ways that I just have to go there. It’s not because The Economist piece is brilliant in any way, because it isn’t at all. It’s because to prove The Economist is out on an unsupportable limb, the village has to argue against their two central arguments. First, that Obama’s captured by the left wing. Second, that he’s really not making much of an attempt to offer them any policies the could embrace. Now, that’s just REALLY, REALLY, REALLY crazy and fun to watch. The retorts basically spell out how absolutely illiberal and how Republican Obama’s really been to show how kooky the Republicans have been to just say no repeatedly. For every example in The Economist, each villager provides examples of the Obama sell-out of the democratic platform. It’s like watching the alligators go after a marshmallow.
It is not so much that America is ungovernable, as that Mr Obama has done a lousy job of winning over Republicans and independents to the causes he favours. If, instead of handing over health care to his party’s left wing, he had lived up to his promise to be a bipartisan president and courted conservatives by offering, say, reform of the tort system, he might have got health care through; by giving ground on nuclear power, he may now stand a chance of getting a climate bill. Once Mr Clinton learned the advantages of co-operating with the Republicans, the country was governed better.
First, we have Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress with a different tilt called “Economist: If Only Obama Had Done Things He’s Actually Done, Things Might Be Different.” Yglesias takes on The Economist’s argument by responding point by point on each thing Obama been yielding to the Republicans since day one. Here’s a taste on Obama and Health Insurance Reform.
Last, if you want to say that in your view the Senate’s health care bill is too left-wing then of course that’s your prerogative. But the notion that it reflects the “left-wing” approach to health care couldn’t possibly withstand contact with a single person who holds actual left-wing views on health care. The left-wing view on health care is that we should take America’s successful single-payer health care program for senior citizens, Medicare, and open it up to all Americans. Most left-wing people are willing to accept a more modest reform than that and have coalesced around the idea of a level playing-field public option that will coexist with private for-profit comprehensive insurance plans, but the president’s embrace of even that notion has been less than fulsome.
Krugman’s take is that The Economist is delusional if they think that Obama can offer any thing and get a positive response from the party of no. He’s got the Rahm talking points down to sound bite level. Just look at who is calling whom ‘the commentariat” with obvious disdain. Krugman didn’t go after the marshmallow. He’s smarter than your average alligator.
Unfortunately, the commentariat seems to be full of people who know, just know, that Obama isn’t getting Republican cooperation because he’s in the thrall of left-wingers — and just make stuff up to bolster their case. The truth, which is obvious from every day’s news, is that there is nothing, nothing at all, that Obama could offer — other than switching parties — that would get him any GOP cooperation.
Jumping over to Brad DeLong’s site is even more interesting. Just read the blog thread header and embrace the sarcasm: In Which We Conclude That the Editor of The Economist, John Micklethwait, Has No Contact with Reality Whatsoever…
We have now seen this at least three times: on health care, on climate change, and most recently on financial regulation, the word has come down from the Republican Central Committee that moderate Republicans are allowed to “cooperate” with Obama as long as it leads to delay–but that once the time comes for action, then they must go into complete and total opposition. And so far every single one of them has toed the line.
DeLong obviously agrees that the party of no is in it to score as many political points as possible during the killing season. Nope, Brad didn’t fall for the marshmallow either.
Even more gasps and aplomb from the Washington Monthly and Steven Benen. (Like Matt, he went for the marshmallow.)
I realize The Economist is on the other side of the pond, but it’s going to be reflecting on U.S. developments, it’s going to have to do better than this. The White House “handed over health care to his party’s left wing”? Of course — how could we forget the time President Obama sided with Dennis Kucinich on single-payer? Or vowed to veto reform unless it included a public option and Medicare buy-in?
As for the notion that the White House should have made concessions on nuclear power, Obama did that, too. The president actually went even further than that, and said he’d also accept Republican demands for more coastal drilling, as part of a compromise on a climate bill. In response, Republicans said what they always say, “No.” (In truth, they not only said “no,” they said, “We’re going to block Congress from even voting up or down on the legislation.”)
As you all know, I’m no Obama fan, but I’m not sure what was in the water last week in the offices at The Economist. You have to be really not paying attention to not observed that most things offered up by the Obama administration are Republican lite at best and by the time the administration compromises with its own blue dawgs, it looks more Republican that what came out of the Nixon, Ford, and Eisenhower years combined. There’s not that many Republicans left at the moment in congress or the senate, but the ones that are there would probably say no to Nixon, Ford, Eisenhower and possibly Reagan. The Economist really laid an egg with this one. I for one would not want to be one of the nameless writers there who might possibly be mistaken for elucidating the examples in that article. The fault may partially rest with Obama’s absentee leadership skills, but I have to say for some one to argue that he’s been co-opted by the left wing and hasn’t offered up enough to please Republicans you must have some serious disconnect with the facts on the ground.
Sidenote to those you who don’t live near a bayou with alligators. Marshmallows are the things you can throw into the canals and bayous to get them to come to the surface so your tourist friends can seen them. For some reason, alligators just can’t resist marshmallows and most of the time they’re pretty shy. Go figure!