Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Question for Liberals

What's the most important lesson that you hope Barack Obama has learned from his first term?


  1. I'm still not sure if he actually is too attached to negotiating beyond the point of hope with Republicans. But it sure has hell seemed like it the first term. This isn't the Republican party he dealt with when he was in the Senate, even. I hope that realization comes or has already come.

  2. I'm not sure how much he may have believed this initially, but by now he should have figured out that simply calling on Republicans to be bipartisan is unlikely to convince them. Doesn't mean it's not a worthy end, just that's it's a terrible means.

  3. Similarly to Jason, I'd agree that I hope he learns that bipartisanship offers no additional value outside of what it can do to pass good legislation that advances the Democratic agenda.

  4. Focus more on judicial nominations.

  5. I hope Obama has learned not to underestimate the ignorance of the American people. Regardless of how easy he thinks it is to understand a proposed policy, he needs to communicate with the public as though he were explaining the policy to his daughters when they were kindergartners.

  6. I really hope he's begun to understand that you don't achieve bipartisanship by proposing bipartisan policies, you achieve it by holding firm and forcing the other side to knuckle under. Also, the American people are COOL WITH THE FACT THAT YOU'RE BLACK, so quite worrying about that.

  7. Sorry, I mean "quit" worrying about that.

  8. I'm going to take what seems to be an unpopular position here. I think that Obama's posture of negotiating with the Republcans *as if* they were reasonable was good politics--not because it helped him with confirmed Republicans (it didn't) but because it helped convince moderate voters that Obama was reasonable and the GOP was crazy. This no doubt helped Obama to get re-elected and the Democrats to make gains in both the Senate and House last year. And virtually every agreement he eventually reached with the GOP was much less a sell-out than some progressives first labeled it. (Even Krugman admitted that the fiscal cliff deal was not that bad on the merits; he was only worried that it foreshadowed a future cave by Obama on the debt ceiling--and as Krugman has admitted, he was wrong about that.)

    1. I second your view. It might be more popular than you think.

    2. Ditto.
      I suspect that Obama sees politics as the long game, and is playing it accordingly. As did FDR.

      Maybe it is megalomania-( most presidents have that affliction)- but I think he wants to join the pantheon of Great Presidents.

  9. I hope he learned that Republicans will never agree with his agenda and must either find a way to negotiate in a way that does not compromise his goals or stick to his guns and hope he keeps backing them against the wall. Also, like Moneyball said, he needs to explain his policies to the public in a way that is broken down and understandable. I think one of the reasons why people got so confident in Obama was because of Clinton's DNC speech. He managed to dismantle the Republican platform just by translating their rhetoric into English. Obama needs to follow that lead in order to have people by his side.

  10. What most here have said, boiled down a bit: that the destination is not compromise. The destination is good policy; compromise is just a road, one that most often doesn't go where you're headed.

  11. I hope Obama will look for ways to enact his agenda outside of just trying to get bills through Congress. Passing laws and budgets is important, but so is appointing judges and staffing the government, he shouldn't do one to the detriment of the other.

  12. I'm sure Obama has learned the ropes of the presidency, but - unlike everyone above except perhaps David T - I can't think of any Big Lessons he should have learned.

    In his first two years, with a Dem congress, he racked up huge accomplishments. In the last two years, facing a very tough headwind, he set the stage to win re-election and then thump the GOP.

    In particular he was playing a terrible hand in 2011 - the GOP had won big in the midterms, and the economy was still effectively in the crapper. But the original debt limit deal turned out to be to his strategic advantage, as we are now seeing.

    Maybe it isn't 11-dimensional chess, but he has certainly played a few moves ahead of the Republicans.

  13. Don't read David Brooks editorials

  14. 1. Pay a lot of attention to executive branch and judicial nominations - select nominees and then push the Senate to confirm them.
    2. Recognize when you have leverage and use it. You can't count on the Republican Party to act in the country's interest.
    3. Use the bully pulpit. It might or might not influence Republican votes in Congress, but it can help make the public more aware of who is gumming up the works on popular initiatives.

    BTW, I am fairly confident he has learned lessons 2 and 3. Not sure about 1.

  15. He should focus on areas in which the Executive Branch can act unilaterally to advance the progressive agenda being that Congress is going to be controlled by the GOP

  16. I wish he would learn --
    1) That the deficit really is not important
    2) Reagan is a terrible role model
    3) When it comes to dealing with Republicans it is impossible to be cynical enough.

    Sorry if this looks like snark. I am deadly serious.


  17. The establishment GOP has to be made to understand that they can’t win without a strong Libertarian wing.

    Mark Willis for GOP Chair 2013!

  18. The truth is the GOP doesn't support the conservative base. It supports the industrial/military complex. Until the vast majority of American's wake up to the fact that both parties have only one agenda and that is reelection then the only view our politicians will have is that of those can finance thier campaigns. Without term limits this country is headed for disaster.

  19. Government can and does create jobs. Your stimulus worked and all the predictions that Republicans and other deficit peacocks made about soaring interest rates, hyperinflation, etc. were wrong. So stop with the austerity already.

    1. As a Republican, I really, really hope he takes your advice more.

    2. Also, +100 irony points for mentioning failed predictions and saying the stimulus worked in the same sentence without realizing the contradiction.

  20. Poem for Republicans
    You sit in darkness
    and wallow.
    Ideals too many
    else follow;
    another leads,
    you concede
    and close your door.

    Your message is a blow.
    Pushing against change
    in angry sprit.
    Confederacy well and alive
    in you
    and your

    Close your door.
    Sit in darkness.
    We will watch the winds of change
    And we will continue to
    Knock upon your door.

    You sit in darkness.
    shoving against
    the spirits rising;
    feel the mettle of
    the peaceful soldiers.
    We the people,
    for the people
    Evoke change.

    Don’t you feel it?
    Uplifting and hopeful
    Tracks vibrating
    With the essence of
    The love of
    The spirit of

    and we gain

    Shame on you
    For your resistance
    Shame on you
    For callousness
    Shame on you
    For placing
    A wedge upon
    Our tracks.

    I weep for you
    and others like you
    as you sit in darkness
    Our train of change is
    Going to pass you by
    As you sit in darkness.

  21. LOL @ all the commenters who hope that the only thing Obama's learned have been about other people's failings. Stay self-aware, chaps.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?