The Year of Wishful Thinking

I’m not one to look back to the past. I definitely am not one to obsess on the past. It’s possible that my Buddhist training keeps me rooted in the pragmatic present. It’s likely that it had something to do with my bout with inoperable and deadly cancer.  It took me at least five years to think beyond about one month.  I completely lost my ability to project ahead during that time. While I have regained my foresight and I have an appreciation for hindsight, I’m still not one to rehash what coulda, shoulda, woulda been.  However, Ruth Marcus shoved my thoughts back to the year of wishful thinking.

It was about 3 years ago when I started to realize who the only credible Democratic candidate was for the post-Dubya years. I came to that after listening to about three primary debates and reading a lot of background material. I was tempted by the lot of them but I always found it odd that the first one I discounted as more vice presidential material than presidential material given his appalling performance in the first primary debate wound up with the top job.  The world keeps spinning on.  We now have so many crazies in the Republican party that it’s a wonder they all don’t walk through the statehouse with a set of visible knuckles dragging the floor.  The economy isn’t creating enough jobs to sustain us and we have people advocating the same kinds of policy that caused the great depression now.  One of the worst ones wants to repeat the 20’s era Fed’s mistakes and is in charge of the House oversight committee on the Fed. Then, we have irresponsible tax cuts while running two wars.  And THAT’s just a few of the economic policies ruling topsy turvy land these days.

So, again, my chagrin and thoughts were peaked by this Ruth Marcus Op Ed piece.  So, I had to look back to read now and look forward.

For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action – unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful.

Each of these instances can be explained on its own terms, as matters of legislative strategy, geopolitical calculation or political prudence.

He didn’t want to get mired in legislative details during the health-care debate for fear of repeating the Clinton administration’s prescriptive, take-ours-or-leave-it approach. He doesn’t want to go first on proposing entitlement reform because history teaches that this is not the best route to a deal. He didn’t want to say anything too tough about Libya for fear of endangering Americans trapped there. He didn’t want to weigh in on the labor battle in Wisconsin because, well, it’s a swing state.

Yet the dots connect to form an unsettling portrait of a “Where’s Waldo?” presidency: You frequently have to squint to find the White House amid the larger landscape.

This tough assessment from someone who generally shares the president’s ideological perspective may be hard to square with the conservative portrait of Obama as the rapacious perpetrator of a big-government agenda.

Then, read on, the rationalizations are still there but we finally get back to the punchline: “Where’s Obama? No matter how hard you look, sometimes he’s impossible to find.”  I’d just like to say that any one with an impressive career of voting present so many times, who was known to hide out in bathrooms during the tough votes, spent his entire senate career campaigning and not voting, and only introduced minor legislation into the Chicago legislature after it was carefully crafted by others already had shown his brand of leadership.  How a standing record that was way out of its way in proving  “he who hesitates is lost” got translated into national ‘hope and change’ by so many people will be something I will ask myself whenever books come out with themes similar to Marcus’ WAPO musings. Past performance is usually an indicator of future performance.  Next time, check your data.   That is all.  Back to the present for me.

39 Comments on “The Year of Wishful Thinking”

  1. I return to what I said at the end of one of my Egypt posts… waiting for O to lead is like waiting for Palin to become a policy wonk.

    • dakinikat says:

      lol, I missed that. Good analogy.

    • dakinikat says:

      a bigger question is why is the voting public so fascinated by people that can’t chew gum and walk at the same time? I think any one that the media falls in love with has gotta to be automatically disqualified from public office imho.

      • TheRock says:

        You have identified my current strategy on deciding what is good and/or important. If the media supports it, I don’t.


        Hillary 2012

      • paper doll says:

        Lord yes it’s a simple, yet unfailing formula

        Media + Love = BAD to the infinite power

        It’s how I knew Barry was bad for the 99.9 of us without billions…in 04

        and it makes sense. As it is now, the media exist simply to put over the bad

      • Media exists to stitch our eyes surgically shut during elections and other junctures in soliciting public opinion, then rip the stitches out to tell us it’s time for austerity, sacrifice, etc.

      • Branjor says:

        Yes, avoid media darlings like the plague.

      • madamab says:

        I remember when the Obama fans used to go on and on about how great it was that Obama was a media darling. I would ask them why they thought that was, when the media has historically hated on every other Democrat in my lifetime. They would answer with some BS like “Because he’s awesome.” Talk about wishful thinking! The real answer was “Because he’s a Republican.”

      • “I remember when the Obama fans used to go on and on about how great it was that Obama was a media darling.”

        Chief among them BTD.

      • madamab says:

        “Chief among them BTD.”

        Wonk, you have identified my reason for leaving TL long ago. The doubletalk coming from that man never ceases to amaze me. He is better at it than Obama.

    • Peggy Sue says:

      And yet, Palin supporters will argue to the death that she has more experience, that she would wipe the floor with Obama in a WH match and she’s just what the country needs.

      Yeah, I really need a dose of rat poisoning right about now.

      What I see is the same sort of deluded psychology working in the TP/Palin supporter camp that we all saw and continue to see in the Obamacrats. Deja vu all over again!

      • I wasn’t even talking experience. Just saying it’s not in his nature to lead or hers to study. So all these talking heads waiting for “Candidate Obama” or “Serious Centrist Palin” to emerge… are just shooting the shit, imho. I still stand by what I said before… “what if this is as good as Obama gets?” Same goes for Palin. Every one who “wants to believe” in either O. or P. wants to believe they’ll get better from some vague point in the future… Obamaphiles usually argue Obama will become the perfect leader after 2012 and will be at the forefront championing everything he hasn’t so far… Palinbots seem to think she first has to win the 2012 primaries and then she can reveal the wonderful sane substantive moderate she is… I’m just saying… waiting for these people to be something other than their nature’s is fool’s errand.

      • dakinikat says:

        and if the queen of England had balls she be King … I’m getting tired of wishful thinking over evidence because the media makes some one look like some kind of sensation

      • paper doll says:

        Tinkerbell has left the building

      • Joanelle says:

        Actually Palin did have more experience than O when she ran for VP – he’d been at the Fed level 143 days when he began running and spent most of his State level time in the men’s room.

        Dak – I can’t seem to get that little “like” button to work anymore.

      • joanelle, are you signed into WordPress? (if you’re signed in, A gray bar saying “My account… my blogs.. etc” will show at the top)

  2. janicen says:

    Obama only cares about being reelected. He’s sitting back and letting the conservatives run amok so that people will vote for him as the lesser of two evils, and it seems to be working. A poll just released today shows that Obama would win Virginia running against any of the current crop of GOP Presidential hopefuls.

    Virginia seems like a state Republicans almost have to win next year if they want to take back the White House but if the voting was today Barack Obama would take it again by a margin comparable to or greater than what he won in 2008.

    Obama leads Mitt Romney by 6 points in the state at 48-42. That’s identical to the size of his victory over John McCain in 2008. After that his leads increase to 8 points over Mike Huckabee at 51-43, 12 over Newt Gingrich at 51-39, and a whooping 19 over Sarah Palin at 54-35.

    • dakinikat says:

      He should be sending flowers to Scott Walker right now. That guy should be on his re-election committee.

      • janicen says:

        Yes. It doesn’t matter to Obama that the middle class is under attack, as long as he looks better than the other guys.

  3. Peggy Sue says:

    I’m right there with you, Dak. If you remember we were told [or it was suggested] that inexperience was something of a virtue, that it would usher in a new way of doing things in governance.

    Didn’t matter that common sense tells us that if we hire someone for a job, we check that said someone’s resume, past experience and accomplishments. By doing that, we get a general sense of who the prospective ‘someone’ is and what sort of job performance we can expect.

    But all that was thrown to the wind. And basically, we got what we paid for–a half-assed tinker, who loves what we have in the refrigerator and is quite willing to fill himself up, a belly full on the perks. But the job itself? Not so much.

    We needed major, major damage control after Bush and Cheney’s chainsaw years. What we got was a man who is only willing hold the position, do no harm to his own non-record and reelection prospects and effectively lead us ever-closer to the cliff edge.

    I said in an earlier post that when I hear people declare that an Obama and Clinton WH would be identical, it makes me want to barf. Doesn’t mean that I would or even do agree with Hillary Clinton 100%. But she had the goods, the resume, the experience, the knowledge and a list of accomplishments a mile long.

    We went with Hopey-Dopey. It’s not working out.

    • dakinikat says:

      The big difference I see in all this is that Obama has neutered the Democratic party. Any other person would’ve gotten some pushback on any number of things by now.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        “…neutered the Democratic party.” Exactly Dak.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        Oh, I agree. He has seriously damaged, even destroyed the Democratic brand. And so, we really have nowhere to turn.

        I’ve been a Dem all my life but I did not vote for Obama on the first round and I certainly will not vote for him in 2012. But that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for Republican crazy. It was hard enough for me to vote McCain in 2008 but the GOP has completely gone off the rails now.

        The other thing that drives me crazy is the Obama apologists saying the Obama is no different than Bill Clinton and his “triangulation.” I didn’t agree with everything Bill Clinton did but he was a man of the people. Still is. And he left office with over a 60% approval rating, even with the Lewinsky mess. The Republicans pretend to lo-o-ve BC now, after they tried their best to gut the man over all eight years. And Obama and his crew? I think they’re jealous as hell at how popular and well-loved Bill Clinton is.

        It just never ends. Most likely, I’ll go 3rd party in 2012. But it won’t make me happy.

  4. Saw this on yahoo… looks like it’s making the wingnut rounds…

    Here’s a better link than the one from yahoo:

    Rep. Hintz apologizes for ‘outburst’ on assembly floor after budget repair bill vote

  5. dakinikat says:

    Finally, one registered republican economist is saying that the republican budget plans are recessionary…Bernanke

    Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that House GOP’s 2011 spending plan would likely cost “a couple hundred thousand jobs,” a number he called “not trivial.”

    Bernanke’s testimony Wednesday was more specific than what he offered Tuesday before a Senate committee, in which he said he couldn’t put a number on the number of jobs the GOP spending package would eliminate.

    Goldman Sachs and Mark Zandi of Moody have said this too.

    Moody’s economist Mark Zandi said the bill would slash 700,000 jobs, while Goldman Sachs estimated it would cut GDP by 2 percent.

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    We now have so many crazies in the Republican party that it’s a wonder they all don’t walk through the statehouse with a set of visible knuckles dragging the floor.

    Ha, love this Dak. I actually got a visual in my head when I read it. All these Neanderthals dressed in GOP suits, knuckles dragging along the carpet of the Capital…one of them takes a authoritative stance, he is an offensive orange color in body and face. In one hand he is heaving a big gavel over his head in triumph, and in the other hand he is dragging an unconsciousness pregnant woman by the ankle.

  7. Fredster says:

    I had heard something about the Marcus article but I wanted to read it first.

    Naturally some of the chattering class have already jumped on board saying Marcus was “too hard” on Obama. Yeah rite.

    I’ve always liked this tag at John Smart’s blog:

    We knew Obama was a fraud before it was cool

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Okay so we all know Obama has been channeling Reagan, now he is channeling Nixon?

    David House: Obama Channels Nixon With New Charges Against Bradley Manning | FDL Action