Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Question for Liberals

Oh, why not: we're six months away from 2012 Election Day now, and the first 100 days of Barack Obama's second term are long gone. How does everything so far compare to your expectations? Disappointed? About what you expected? Worse? If worse: who do you blame?


  1. Pretty much as I expected. GOP holding the House is the biggest reason, followed by the Senate's failure -- so far -- to reign in the filibuster.

  2. much as I expected. I keep hoping the Republicans will really work for the good of the country but not much Obama can do to make that happen. They have to see they won't win elections if they don't put the people before the PACs and corporations.

  3. I am pretty happy the the Republicans have been letting Obama roll them as often as they have. So on the debt limit and taxes I have been pleasantly surprised. I am disappointed that Obama has not really increased his rate of submitting nominees. I mostly blame Obama for that, but I do think the Senate has to make being a nominee less painful to ensure a steady supply of qualified candidates.

  4. As a foreigner, maybe I'm misunderstanding how things work in US politics, but I cannot understand why after all this time in power, Obama and the Dems don't have better messaging on GOP obstructionism, radicalism and sheer recklessness.

    I can't help thinking that if the Dems behaved like this when they held one branch - actually threatening to make the country default on its debts if they didn't get their way - the GOP would successfully cast them as a bunch of commie domestic terrorists.

    Instead, the GOP and conservative media seem to have successfully cast the Obama administration as way left of centre. It's bizarre.

    I realise much of this comes from pathological centrism in the press, but surely some blame lies with the Democrats?

    1. Believe it or not, radical and reckless have a large constituency among the American voting populace.

    2. I think you answered your own question. The media just aren't very reliable or even interested in that type of story. It's a problem even in local races.

    3. I think the point is not what kind of story the media is interested in, it's how do you make the media interested in that kind of story. I think the observation that the Republicans would get the media to cover Democratic obstructionism is correct. The question is why can't the Democratics? My guess is that the media is not that liberal. Look at the ABC response to the leaked benghazi memos. It seems like they are part of the right wing noise machine now.

    4. I suppose you could be right. Democrats maybe aren't very good at working a story the way Republicans are. But getting one reporter to cover a story is relatively easy if another reporter covers it. With FoxNews being around, the Republicans already have somebody they can count on.

      Also, obstructionism is boring, as far as reporters are concerned. There's a cynicism that starts in J-School and keeps on going. "Politicians playing politics, yawn." Now a scandal! That's juicy. Bringing down a President is a real feather in somebody's cap. It's very easy to get anybody to bite on that one.

  5. Not really sure. I am somewhat pleased that immigration reform is on track and has a decent chance of passing. I'm also happy to see some things like the medium term deficit picture improving, some bending of the health care inflation curve, and continued steady growth in the economy. A little bummed about scandalgate but as JB observed the other day it doesn't seem to have 'mattered' so far. I believe Obama has always been about the long game, so some of these evaluations will just have to wait. But overall I'm relatively optimistic about the prospects for his second term.

  6. Dr. B (and the rest of the comments crew),

    Is the turnover rate of high ranking WH officials about on par for a second term? Is there a correlation between high turnover in a second term and expectations that government will remain divided for the remainder of the president's term (meaning less opportunity for major legislation, perhaps)?


  7. I said in November that I would be fine if the second term was only about implementing the big reforms of the first term (ACA & Dodd-Frank). So far, so good.

  8. Pro: We haven't invaded Syria yet. Much of the Bush tax cuts expired although Obama and the Dems had the leverage to get more or all of them to expire. Obama actually stood firm on round 1 of the debt ceiling fight. Obama fortunately hasn't managed to get the GOP to agree to any of the terrible grand bargains including chained CPI etc. that he wants.

    Con: There are still multiple rounds of debt ceiling and budget hostage negotiations to get through. Obama sucks at nominations. Democrats suck at running the Senate. Too much austerity which neither the GOP, the press, or the public gives Obama credit for.

    Overall I'd give him something like a B-. Based on 2010 through 2012 there was reason to fear a lot worse outcomes on the Bush tax cuts and debt ceiling. Stuff like gun control, climate change, and immigration are virtually impossible with the current House and Senate GOP. Compared to my ideal of what public policy should be, he still isn't on the right track with all the austerity. But at least there hasn't been a global economy killing debt default. (Talk about low standards....)

  9. Increasingly unhappy.

    -Nominations are something he actually can do something about and hasn't even tried to.
    -The AP thing really bothers me (today we learned that they played Keystone Spies with a Faux News reporter a few years ago).
    -When I think about what has happened and what hasn't, then ask myself whether Obama has more or less power in that arena, it bothers me. Gitmo and nominations: squarely in his camp. Immigration and health care progress: the action is in Congress--Obama has little formal role. Things more in the middle like deficit brinksmanship and the overall budget: Obama has been held hostage by a bunch of insane people, yes. But, he's given in too much.

    In the end, when the ball has been in Obama's court, it's not gone particularly well. Don't get me wrong: having a D 16 blocks away from Congress has been a VERY good thing. But, in all the areas where the particular identity of that D might have mattered, I'm usually disappointed.

    Am I wrong here?


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