The Audacity of Anger

It’s only been two rotations ’round the sun–a gnat’s life in the grand scheme of things–since the Obama surge swept over the District beltway.  Two years represent eons in political schemes.  The election isn’t until Tuesday, but the obits have already been written. 

Can you honestly say that you’ll be happy with fewer feminist women in Washington and a Speaker of the House Boehner?  (Also implying the first woman in that position was ill-suited?)  This is a much bigger mess than even we conceived.

I read the latest issue of The Economist like one read’s an obit or the day-after-the game analysis.  It correctly identified the root source of a lot of the anger; the economy.  It also listed some good decisions  like appointing Hillary Clinton SOS and quieting some of the cowboy foreign policy swagger.  It also lists mistakes and rightly quantifies some of the major mishaps; like mismanaging expectations of economic recovery.

So what went wrong? The answer is a series of smaller things—rhetoric, details, execution, even an aloof vagueness—that have cumulatively undermined his presidency. He has made enemies of the businessmen who are needed to drive forward America’s recovery, haranguing them as fat cats and speculators. He has even, as we report here, forfeited the goodwill of America’s most dynamic and entrepreneurial asset. Silicon Valley, which once saw Mr Obama as a promising start-up, now sees him as a bad investment.

His decision to leave details to others has also cost him dearly. By choosing to subcontract the stimulus, health reform and finance reform to the Democratic leadership, he ended up with shoddy bills that Republicans could safely vote against and that many Democrats are now anxious to distance themselves from. A more accomplished president would have controlled that process better, and found ways to make the Republicans offers that they could not refuse.

Now this is where I begin to part ways.  First, the problem has not been Obama’s ‘anti-business’ stand, it’s been his selective pre-occupation with the financial sector and disinterest in other areas of commerce; including what creates jobs.  Second, it’s pretty obvious that there’s only a handful of Republicans that will go along with ANYthing.  They’ve gotten a lot of Republican policy and they’ve continually said no. 

Krugman’s last NYT op-ed ‘Divided We Lose’ did an excellent job showing exactly how little we can expect after the election.  We didn’t get change recently and we sure won’t get change now.

Another recent interview by National Journal, this one with Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, has received a lot of attention thanks to a headline-grabbing quote: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

If you read the full interview, what Mr. McConnell was saying was that, in 1995, Republicans erred by focusing too much on their policy agenda and not enough on destroying the president: “We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being re-elected, and we were hanging on for our lives.” So this time around, he implied, they’ll stay focused on bringing down Mr. Obama.

True, Mr. McConnell did say that he might be willing to work with Mr. Obama in certain circumstances — namely, if he’s willing to do a “Clintonian back flip,” taking positions that would find more support among Republicans than in his own party. Of course, this would actually hurt Mr. Obama’s chances of re-election — but that’s the point.

We might add that should any Republicans in Congress find themselves considering the possibility of acting in a statesmanlike, bipartisan manner, they’ll surely reconsider after looking over their shoulder at the Tea Party-types, who will jump on them if they show any signs of being reasonable. The role of the Tea Party is one reason smart observers expect another government shutdown, probably as early as next spring.


 Plus, and this is my third beef, there’s been no course correction or accountability demanded for many of the worst Bush Administration excesses.  There’s been no attempts to address the horrid war crimes and civil liberties abuses.  The only glimpses we’ve seen have come from Wikileaks and whistle blowers.

It’s hard to say this, but I’m even less optimistic than I was two years ago.  The economy is not good. No politician seems able to understand the issues facing the middle class. It’s just going to be more political in-fighting and I don’t see how that’s really going to move us forwards. Let’s just say I know who the losers will be already too.

52 Comments on “The Audacity of Anger”

  1. Than you. This one goes on the Ladder, in the aftermath of The Rally To Restore Hannity. At least Lenny Bruce had balls eh? I am getting sick of watching “Progressives” not play this game for what it is, to wit: for keeps. Irony is always lost on the vanquished.

  2. gxm17 says:

    “Can you honestly say that you’ll be happy with fewer feminist women in Washington and a Speaker of the House Boehner? (Also implying the first woman in that position was ill-suited?) This is a much bigger mess than even we conceived.”

    Nope. I can’t say I’ll be happy after Democratic disaster that will be November 2nd. But I can honestly say that I gave up on happy at least 2 years ago. Those of us with a modicum of foresight saw this coming. Too bad we were ignored and demonized.

  3. Zaladonis says:

    Thanks for posting that piece from The Economist; I think it’s well done.

    I’m not less optimistic than I was a year ago. But that’s only because I understood full well what an Obama presidency with this Congress and his supporters too eager to protect him would mean. And sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but it’s going to get worse. I don’t know exactly how but I do know that when people like Obama and his loyalists gain the kind of power they have, and their most powerful opponents are as smarmy as Republicans are today, the result is disaster. Right now it’s only really bad – we have far, still, to fall.

    The elements that might help steer us in a better direction are just not powerful enough to overcome the bullying destructiveness we see from Washington to the school yard. The selection of George Bush followed by the election of Barack Obama wasn’t just about those two men, it reveals what Americans give power to the past ten years — and there’s no improvement on the horizon.

    But the positive side of this grim coin is the motivation to appreciate every good hour and every good person we run into.

    • Moko Jono says:

      we can start by stressing the reality to those we connect with and are connected to. we starve the vampire corporations, go local or go without, and rely on our family and community more. love your vendor, and if you do not love your vendor, why give them your money. You are right about appreciating the good, but it is not so bleak, at least not yet, but then again, the credit has not dried up just yet.

      • dakinikat says:

        one of my big lessons from Katrina was to do, go and think local. I’m learning to except the boundaries of my spheres of influence and try to push and change them being fully aware

        • newdealdem1 says:

          I think that’s really smart, Dak. Focusing on the local and “learning to accept the boundaries of my sphere’s of influence…”. That is my plan as well.

          In terms of who I’m going to vote for, there are 10 seats up for election/re-election. Four local and six State-wide. Alll my local candidates are good people and they just happen to be all Dems. Saves me lots of agita in making the best choice.

          State-wide, I’m not voting for Schumer, I just can’t for a variety of reasons even if he wasn’t one of Hillary’s backstabbers (which I have to say kind of shocked me a bit until I remembered just what a self-promoting fucktard this guy is. I dislike Reid a whole lot and I never understood how this personality-free mope could be Majority Leader: a mystery within a enigma inside a riddle not even Einstein if he was alive could go figure. That said, (and this is a ginormous that said) but I would rather Reid (to say nothing of not wanting nutzoid and congenital liar Angle) the milk toast no where man remain Leader rather than have craptastic Schumer in that role. He’s unwatchable as it is already. If he becomes leader, god help us all with this HAM fucked fool. I feel much better for saying that. heh.

          So, it’s the Green Party for Schumer’s seat.

          I’m voting for Senator Gillibrand. I supported her from the start over Caroline Kennedy and she’s done a good job as the person who took over Hillary’s Senate seat. She was browbeaten twice in public by S Senator Patrick (pompous ass over the cow chips out to pasture grump) Leahy. I never forget anything, it’s a curse, really. lol And, I’ll never forget this

          She went on to sponsor some farm legislation (NY State is a big aggie state for those who may not know) with him. She’s a lot like Hillary and especially in that regard. But, also work ethic-wise and smart-wise. Hillary met with some hostility on the GOP’er side when she arrived in the Senate but was able to charm her way via her scary smarts and by keeping a relatively low profile and learning her stuff especially on the Armed Services Committee. It’s why so many military people respect her knowledge and her. And, Hillary sponsored some legislation with people who once saw her as an enemy and treated her as such especially when she was First Lady but Hillary knew just how to handle them. As does Gillibrand. And, on the issues, she’s been really good. Yes, she voted for the Healthcare bill and as much as I disdain that bill and disagree with that vote, I’m not punishing her or sacrificing her on the alter of political purism or for one vote. I recall the same was done to Hillary by some Dems as well. She’s a good and decent liberal woman. So, she’s got my vote.

          Gov: I’m still debating whether or not to vote for Cuomo. He’s nothing like his father who is one of my hero’s. He’s too middle of the road for me (liked that he went after WS bonuses and some of the banks like Merrill Lynch and BOA) but he’s another deficit hawk when imo that is not what is needed now and wants to cut lots of social services that the poor, working and middle classes also need to get by in this fucked up economy. So, I’m voting Green Party.

          AG: Dem, imo he has the goods and is one of the good guys.

          • Pips says:

            Thanks newdealdem for your view on Gillibrand. Not living there myself (but at heart a New Yorker, sigh) it’s hard to follow all the “ins and outs”, and when people say “Oh, but she voted for the healthcare bill”, I must admit I go hmm, yeah, well … not really knowing what to think. I’ll go with your assesment!

            Btw I seem to remember you mentioning that wordpress wouldn’t let you change your name/moniker, right? I had the same problem at one time, but mailing them about it I got this (very fast and very friendly) reply: “Gravatars match based on email addresses, not usernames. You can comment as any name you wish.” Which in my case turned out to be true.

            Love your gr/avatar! Such beautiful colours.

          • Ann says:

            IF (and it is a big if) I go to the polls I will be voting for Schumer. He (his office actually) did a good turn for my family, stepping in for my sister 4-5 years back so she could get the disability the feds owed her. Want to nightmare? Become disabled due to a work related injury while working for the IRS.

            I’m still on the fence about Gillibrand. The most compelling reason I see to vote for her is to stick my finger in Obama’s eye. First because he wanted Caroline K, second because he ginned up a “scandal” against Paterson whom I really like.

            No way I’ll vote for Cuomo regardless of Bill C’s coming to campaign for him. How anyone could vote for Cuomo is a mystery. Maybe I’ll vote the “Rent is too damn high” guy. He makes me laugh which is a whole lot better than the rest of NYS government, which makes me cry.

        • Ellis says:

          I agree. It’s vital to be aware of the global impact of one’s actions but it’s only at the local level that most of us can influence change. I’ve been encouraging my city’s newspaper to report on local and state governance and politics with the same enthusiasm and depth of detail that it devotes to the sports, from Little League to the World Cup. There are some small town newspapers in the area that are much better with this effort and they’ve made the governing process alive and relevant to their readers.

        • Moko Jono says:

          DK – the work that consumes me now, is directly the result of your reaching out to us, and appealing for help in getting the word out, as the oil was hitting the marches and nothing, not a peep of that, was surfacing on the mainstream… your heart was breaking and yet, you did not sit in silent suffering, as it seems an entire nation is wont to do. So most of what you see scroll past from me anymore, is a result of your reaching out to your ‘local’ connections.

          • dakinikat says:

            Thx, good to know. I had a bunch of AC 360 contact numbers leftover from Katrina and I was bothering them to no end. I couldn’t figure out why this wasn’t a big story every one was following. And it’s still a big story, another huge blob of oil hit the marshes again. Plus, the studies seemed to indicate the seafood life cycles will be impacted for a long time. Anything any one can do is really necessary.

  4. alibe says:

    The obits of the obots….. I like the look of that. If sanity would really rein?

  5. Sima says:

    I, too, am less optimistic for the short term. Even though I knew, in my heart of hearts, Obama would be awful, I hoped I was wrong, I hoped that all those other people who told me I was stupid and a r&cist were right, somehow.

    However, I have that unbeatable thread of American optimism running through the fabric of my life. No matter how bad it gets, it gets better. And I really believe that. Leaders arise as the occasion demands. So we got Hoover in Obama. We’ll get FDR in…? It will take time and suffering, hence the short term pessimism.

    Today was a wonderful day. I got to show my best friends my family patrimony, my parents’ ranch in the forest. And my partner made me a birthday dinner to be proud of. And my sickly mother was up and about and laughing and smiling. And my little puppy dog did great, her first time off leash in the forest! And my autistic sister was simply lovely, and sang me happy birthday. Good times, good day. There will be more.

    • Zaladonis says:

      Today was a wonderful day. I got to show my best friends my family patrimony, my parents’ ranch in the forest. And my partner made me a birthday dinner to be proud of. And my sickly mother was up and about and laughing and smiling. And my little puppy dog did great, her first time off leash in the forest! And my autistic sister was simply lovely, and sang me happy birthday. Good times, good day. There will be more.

      That’s the ticket!

      • dakinikat says:

        Wow! A shower of blessings day.

      • HT says:

        Zal, that is as close to perfect as one can be. Inquiring minds want to know, what did you eventually get to eat – okay I’m a food freak.
        It sounds like you had a terrific day, and most of us all know that family gatherings are always a little touchy. I’m glad that memorable experience. In latter years, memories are so important.

        • Sima says:

          My partner made us roast beef, yorkshire puddings (I love them), 3 kinds of vegetables (my Dad’s diabetic, this makes it so he can eat some of the sweets): squash, broccoli and asparagus, mashed homegrown potatoes, two kinds of chutney for the meat and, of course, birthday cake! Partner loves to cook. He cooks at least half of the meals at home. In this case, Mom invited him to cook at her house, because she has been so debilitated by lumbar stenosis that she can’t stand up long enough to cook.

          It was raining and grey here at home, but 30 miles away, in the rain forest at my parents, it was sunny and beautiful. The mountains were just soaring… anyway a good day. I hope everyone has jewel-like days from time to time to comfort us when things are bad.

      • HT says:

        Happy birthday Zal – glad your day was amazing.

    • dakinikat says:

      Surprise! There are no banned words or people here!

      • newdealdem1 says:

        I will never forget Eco 101 when I first learned what it meant that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Comes in handy these days for all sorts of reasons. 😉

      • Sima says:

        Good to know. I didn’t want to have to moderate myself 🙂

      • Pips says:

        There are no banned words or people here!

        Lol! (And actually no surprise. 😉 )

    • NWLuna says:

      Thank you for writing about your good day! We need thoughts and images like that.

    • Pips says:

      That sounds just wonderful Sima. Thanks for sharing … and making me wish I was there too, lol!

  6. fiscalliberal says:

    I have the feeling that the House did its job in initiating bills. In short Pelosi got the job done. Running the House is like herding cats.

    It was realy the Senate where things failed. The Repulicans would demand concessions and still not vote for the bills. Not one Republican had to really filibuster a bill.

    More over Enron people went to jail and we passed SARBOX. Arther Anderson was killed because of complicity. Despite the rampant fraud in the financial industry, no one is going to jail. Where are the auditors in light of the SARBOX rules

    Under Bush and Obama the government is dysfunctional. Corruption is evident. Leadership does not seem to come out of

  7. HT says:

    I appreciate that you have decided not to ban anyone, however I posted a response to Zaladonis at 9:32 my time and not only is it stuck in oblivion, but I think I’ve lost my puppy dog look. Not you fault I know. It will work out in time

    • dakinikat says:

      Hi… Sorry was on phone. Did you change email?

    • Pips says:

      HT as Kat says, your gravatar changes if you change your e-mail. Happened to me a couple of times when I got annoyed or excited and couldnt comment fast enough – then in the hurry mis-typed my mail-address, heh!

      • HT says:

        Nope, I never change my email Pips, but as I mentioned, it will all work out. BTW, love your ladybug – and thankfully, it’s not one of those nasty orangie ones that are systematically wiping out the beautiful red aphid eaters. My rose bushes thank you too.

        • Pips says:

          We call them “Mariehøns” (Mary hens), Marie being the virgin Mary. As children we learned, and later taught our own, to let a mariehøne onto your index finger, chanting:

          Marie, Marie, Marolle, fly [up] to the Lord
          and ask for nice weather.

          Then we gave it a gentle puff, to help it get started. 🙂

  8. NWLuna says:

    There’s a New Yorker piece comparing Obama & FDR in view of the economy? Warning, barf bag needed. Lots of “Leave Bawaaaack alone!”

    President Obama and the Democrats kept the Great Recession from becoming a second Great Depression.

    Every once in a while I try to pick up the New Yorker again but it’s still full of KoolAid.

    • Sima says:

      Actually, from where I sit, it looks like a Great Depression to me, no matter what the New Yorker wants. Many forget that during the Depression life went on. This is one of the things that gives me hope. Life went on, babies were born, children grew, people celebrated as they could, work was found. It was HARD of course. My father spent his first 8 years or so living in a tent while his Daddy raised money to get housing. My grandmother fed my mother soda crackers and jam for weeks on end, as they were too poor to buy food. But life went on.

      I’m seeing this same hardship start to appear amongst my friends and acquaintances. I hope it doesn’t get worse. I’m sure the stock holders are happy, but the people who make this country what it is are suffering.

    • dakinikat says:

      Eeps! Good share

  9. Pips says:

    What I see as/becoming a big loss, for all of us when viewed in a more global perspective, is that the election of the first black US president wont become a “ok now we’ve broken that barrier once and for all” but more likely a “ok now we tried that. Didn’t work, won’t happen again”.

    I don’t blame Obama for this, but those who put him where he is. They should have known that for that barrier to be broken permanently, what was needed was an accomplished person/politician. Had Hillary Clinton won I honestly believe that the glass ceiling would have been broken once and for all. Not that it would be any easier for a woman to get elected in the future, sadly, but the novelty wouldn’t be a hindrance.

    We all missed out on a great opportunity to have either the first black or the first female US president, and more to come eventually! I predict it will be white, male Dem. or white, male Rep. in the foreseeable future … and beyond.

    • dakinikat says:

      I wish I could disagree but I don’tm

    • HT says:

      Hey Pips, I’m handing you a virtual red rose and a hot cup of tea. Your comment is so close to my own feelings that I had to look around to make sure you weren’t in my house.

    • Branjor says:

      Totally agree – Obama is an embarrassment as the first black president, but Hillary would have done women proud had she been given the nomination she earned. Two birds killed with one stone – race barrier not broken down nor sex barrier either. Score yet another one for the white males. It’s only been about 5000 years of that.

      • HT says:

        Bran, I think you’ve hit on what has been bothering me for the last two years – neither barrier has been broken – quite the contrary, both have been reinforced. – witness the quality of female candidates like Angle and O’Donnell – well meaning of course, however where did they come from, why are they running and how do these two hold a candle to Hillary or Condi. (yeah I know, as a liberal it pains me to bring up Condi’s name, however although her ideas are totally different from mine, she is brilliant and quite frankly, Condi versus O’Donnell and Angle – Whitman, Fiorini – I’ll take Condi any day of the week)

  10. cwaltz says:

    I guess I didn’t view a lot of the females in Congress as feminists that I could relate to. I was appalled that female Democrats caved on the conscience clause and on birth control in the stimulus. I was upset that accountability and debate were taken off the table by a female no less. For that reason I’m not going to be sorry to see some of them go.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m hoping that just having viable and strong challengers this year gives some of them a wake up call. I believe they can expect more of the same in two years.

  11. HT says:

    cwaltz, I understand where you are coming from – on the other hand I have been in meetings – of a global nature – datacommunications and all – and I have been left to hand out and dry by not only ye olde white conglomerate, but the new coalition of minorities joined by other women. In one instance if the gearheads of the company had only given my issues a hearing, they would have saved hundreds of millions of dollars and their own credibility. All that to say that women in positions of perceived power really have very little power at all. They are pawns – they just haven’r realized it yet. Sometimes women are manipulated into voting against their own self interests because the big boys pressure them. I don’t blame the women (although I find cowardice less than appealing) I do blame the patriarchal system, where men take the lead regardless of this capabilities.

  12. newdealdem1 says:

    Voting is as personal as it gets. Everyone has to follow their own heart and mind. We all have to do what we feel is best for our own little hamlets or states given the choices we have within which to do that.

    Ann, I’m glad Schumer was there for your sister, I truly am. It’s good to hear this about someone about whom someone like me and others have a different idea. I know Hillary used to help her constituents as well on a personal level as Schumer helped your sister. From what I understand, Gillibrand it following in Hillary’s footsteps and has also helped her constituents. But, that hasn’t changed my mind about him especially after what he did with the other Senators who backstabbed Hillary to make sure she wasn’t nominated. And, since they served as partners from the New York delegation, it just makes Schumer’s deceit of Hillary more pronounced because in public he made it so abundantly clear how much he had her back while he was sticking the knife in it. It’s hard for me to vote for him because of that and to a much lessor extent because of his never-ending self-promotion (yes, lots of them self-promote, Gillibrand has a bit of that as well, but Schumer has taken it to heights I’ve never seen before, perhaps I’m being naive but that is what I’ve seen in him. But, that’s me.)

    Also, I am not voting for my Congressman because he voted for the Health Bill which I disdain (and for a variety of reasons but with a big reason being the Stupak amendment) and he was so far up Pelosi’s backside, there was not a breath of independence in him at all. As a matter of fact, I’m not voting for anyone for Congress because his only opponent is a Republican who is much worse than my Congressman. So, I’m leaving that blank.

    I see Gillibrand differently. Although she voted for the Health care bill (yes, I am not being consistent: holding one accountable while not holding another accountable) she is not like my congressman because she does have more of an independent streak to her (she didn’t vote for TARP for the reasons I wouldn’t have voted for it because there weren’t enough strings attached so the Bankers could give out those offensive bonuses using our money to do it) and because overall she does have a good liberal voting record. She’s also been a great leader on gay issues. And, I’m a gay woman so that is one personal reason she has my vote. (Given how Obama has not lead on these issues and has basically delegated them to the Congress and given that the Dems may loose too many seats to repeal the draconian DADT and DOMA laws, Gillibrand’s vote may come to naught. But, that’s because Obama failed again to lead.)

    As far as Cuomo goes, he’s done some good things like going after Wall Street for those bonuses and going after Merrill Lynch and BOA but he’s another austerity pol who is looking to cut vital social services which will have an inordinate effect on the poor as well as the working and middle classes in this State. Being a deficit hawk right now is not what is needed,imo, it will only make things worse. So, he’s lost my vote and he had it up until that point.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m voting based on local conditions on the ground. The only person I’m supporting wholeheartedly is a Democratic Woman running for Lt. Governor. I’m voting for ethical candidates in the other two races over their unethical counterparts. Charlie Melancon (D) is too blue dawg for me but he beats Diaper David Vitter any day. I’m glad Josephy Cao (R) is at least somewhat independent and has show the ability to work for the community here. I’d rather return some one different by as I’ve said before, Cedric Richmond has had ethics violations in the past and I’m totally gun shy about that anymore.

      • newdealdem1 says:

        O, boy, David Vitter. Anyone but Vitter. I would vote for Melencon, too, for ethical reasons as well. I don’t understand how Vitter can be so ahead in the polls. Vitter has to be one of the most loathsome, sickening people representing people in this country and he’s got quite a bit of competition in that regard. What has he done for LA that he is so ahead? Given that Melencon is not a Liberal, why do you think he hasn’t done better? I have been somewhat sympathetic towards Melencon the first time I saw him trying to hold back tears after the BP oil disaster. I had to look away it was so heartbreaking watching him so shaken up about what had happened knowing how so many people (once again) in your great State would suffer because of BP’s negligence. So, even though he is a Blue Dog, I would have voted for him, too. Vitter is just a yucky human being.

    • Ann says:

      Actually they contacted Hillary’s office at the same time and got complete silence. I’m not certain if that meant that the two offices coordinate and Schumer’s office took the lead or what.

      I also have a different take on the wall street bonuses, but then my husband was an investment banker for years and got out of the biz 6 years ago before everything exploded. I know the pay structure ( a secretary got $60K + end of year bonus, a janitor got $60K + end of year bonus, $125K base pay for working 80 hours a week as a VP, $250K as a MD for same hours, all the pay came as bonuses). In the upper-upper level, the pay got “real” and the bonuses “realer”. I also realize how much tax money NYS gets directly due to wall street. The rest of the country can hate wall street, but in NYS it is biting off your nose to spite your face.

      • Ann says:

        Hmmm nesting did not work… the above was a reply to newdealdem1 at October 31, 2010 at 1:32 pm