Tag Archives: Markos Moulitsas

My problem with President Obama

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At the end of July, I wrote a post about President Obama’s video address to Netroots Nation – a group of liberal bloggers and Internet users. I complained that Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress were not using their Congressional majority to pass laws that would actually help regular Americans. They had compromised too much with the GOP. It seems more people in the Netroots are coming around to my feelings.

I wrote:

The pundits have been complaining the President hasn’t been out banging the pots and pans about his agenda being passed and I think I know why. I think they know the bills – like Health Care reform (HCR) and financial reform – don’t mean anything to regular people outside of DC. HCR won’t really take effect until 2013 (one of the compromises that watered the bill down) and the financial reform didn’t punish the bankers that screwed our economy. You would think that any “victory” would have a ticker tape parade with a band and party favors but nope.

It’s as if the administration wasn’t surprised at getting limpy bills passed.

That’s what’s so sad. The Democrats pissed away their power these past two years. They had such great potential.

I am also mad because I have no alternative. I will have to hold my nose and keep these losers in office because the alternative – the GOP – is much worse. And the White House knows it.

Netroots, President Obama, and the Democrats – a sad rocky relationship

Ian Welsh, on Crooks and Liars, wrote an excellent essay that describes my problem with the President better than I did in my July post:

If Obama had wanted a $1.2 trillion stimulus, say, he should have asked for a $1.6 trillion stimulus. Then “moderate” Republicans and Dems could have negotiated him down $400K. This is basic negotiation, which anyone who has ever negotiated in a third world bazaar knows—you start off with an offer far higher (or lower) than what you’re willing to accept, and leave room for the inevitable haggling.

The same is true of health care reform. If you’re negotiating for a public option—if you actually want one, then you don’t throw single payer advocates out. You act as if that’s something you’re seriously considering, you talk about polls showing it has majority support, and you then “compromise” to a public option.

This sort of self-defeating, pre-negotation concession has been a repeated pattern for the Obama administration (assuming that Obama does seek Liberal ends).

Obama has a huge slush fund with hundreds of billions of dollars and all the executive authority he needs to turn things around.

If Obama is not using that money and authority, the bottom line is it’s because he doesn’t want to.

Putting aside the question of what Obama could have accomplished already, if he wants to help everyday Americans, turn around Democratic approval ratings in time for the midterm elections, and leave behind him a legacy of achievement, he can still do it. If he wants to.

What Can Obama Really Do?

It also seems Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos and one of the founders of the Netroots agrees:

This goes beyond “doing something”, and into the realm of actually doing something to excite the base. The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. Half measures and compromises with Republicans who voted against final legislation certainly doesn’t count. Failing to follow through on promises on everything from comprehensive immigration reform to DADT doesn’t help. Fighting to open up more shoreline to drilling doesn’t help. Lilly Ledbetter was a step forward, then the Stupak Amendment was two steps back.

In fact, from the beginning, this administration and Democratic congress seemed more concerned with “bipartisanship” for the sake of bipartisanship, than they were in passing the best possible legislation possible. Harry Reid came off the gate in 2008 by immediately whining about “60 votes” — something I don’t recall ever hearing from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The Obama Administration indulged Max Baucus’ “negotiations” with Republicans Mike Enzi and company, even as those Republicans publicly bragged that their entire strategy was to delay and obstruct.

People may whine about cable hosts and bloggers who point out these failings, and try to shoot the messenger. But we don’t have a noise machine like Fox’s. Rush Limbaugh reaches a third of the conservative base on a weekly base. There is nothing even remotely close to that on the Left. Limbaugh’s weekly audience is 20 million. Keith Olbermann’s is maybe a tenth of that.

No, this mess is the administration’s making, with a healthy assist from Harry Reid’s Senate. The shame is that Nancy Pelosi’s House, which did its job, will bear the brunt of the voter backlash. But the White House won’t be spared.

The impending November of Doom

I admit I live in a sort of bubble since I read and participate in the Netroots. Someone who isn’t as super-informed like me might have a different view but my fear is since the mainstream media has failed in their job to report the facts, then it might be very bad for the Democrats in November.

I really don’t see a wave of incumbents being thrown out. In fact most of the incumbents who have lost lately were Republicans who didn’t fall into the Tea Party line.

I hope I am wrong and while there are some losses, the Democrats can try to pass their agenda but this time without sniffing the ass of the Republicans. The Democrats pissed away their opportunity to reform all the shit we put up with under President Bush.

The President knows what the issues are, as he said during his speech announcing the end of combat in Iraq:

Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. But we have also understood that our nation’s strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.

Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.

And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. They have met every test that they faced. Now, it is our turn. Now, it is our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for –the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.

Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.

President Obama address to the nation 8/31/2010

Speeches are nice but people want to see results – real results. They need jobs, they want the people who screwed the economy to go to jail, they want at least a public option in health care, and they want help to keep their homes.

If the Democrats don’t deliver then they better be ready for if not giving up Congress more obstruction from the GOP and that might hurt them going into the 2012 Presidential elections.

I wonder if the administration is even listening to what is happening outside of DC.

Why the facts are bad for Republicans

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It amazes me some of the crap people believe even when facts and the truth prove them wrong on a regular basis. I’m use to such “thinking” having been involved in the atheist/humanism/freethought movement for more than 15 years. I’m use to religious believers being stubborn but I have to slap my head when usually smart people believe stupid crap. Republicans seem to have a corner on that freaky behavior.

Markos at Daily Kos posts samples of the hate mail he gets being the founder of a major liberal blog. Here is a comment sent to him and his response:

just a comment

I just recently discovered all this “interesting” information on your website and I have concluded one thing……..it is YOU and people like you that are responsible for my ripping up my DEMO-NUT card and becoming a PROUD REPUBLICAN! There is nothing more dangerous to America than a rabid left wing liberal. Well maybe a crazy jihadist with a bomb strapped to his chest; but you haven’t figured that out yet and probably you never will. Idiot.”

Dude, where have you been? A crazy jihadist might be able to kill some people, but liberals would provide (true) universal single-payer healthcare, work toward peace on earth, spread tolerance and equality of opportunity, hold greedy corporations accountable for their looting of America, work to replace fossil fuels with clean renewal energy, create a fair and sane immigration policy, and even the negotiating playing field between workers and big business.

Saturday Hate Mail-a-palooza

Some Republicans get spoon fed the wacko idea that LIBERALS are destroying the country when the facts and the truth show that we would be so much better off as a nation if the liberals ran the government. Those pesky facts would also show that it was the work of the GOP in Congress and their corporate lords that brought us the 2008 economic collapse and helped make the Gulf oil spill worse that it needed to be.

Just look at the actual history of this country and you will see liberals and progressives leading the country forward and conservatives bring us down.

“I’m speaking totally for myself and I’m not speaking for the Republican Party and I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it’s a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown. In this case, a $20 billion shakedown with the Attorney General of the United States who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history that’s got no legal standing and what I think sets a terrible precedent for the future,” said Barton.

“I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong and is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize,” he said.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on June 17th 2010 hearing about BP Oil spill

And it isn’t just Joe Barton saying this about the escrow fund:

The fact is BP didn’t have to set the money aside. They could’ve waited until any legal cases were resolved or any other foot dragging methods a large company employs to keep from having to pay damages.

The GOP also ignores polling showing they are on the wrong team on this issue:

68 percent of respondents want more regulation of the oil industry;

72 percent favor “Barack Obama’s proposals to develop alternative sources of energy and reduce the amount of oil and other fossil fuels that are produced and used in this country”;

69 percent believe such plans will increase jobs.

According to the poll, opposition to increased offshore drilling has grown 10 points since May and is now twice as high as it was in 2008. Fifty-eight percent of those questioned support a six-month moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf and other offshore sites; 68 percent favor increased regulation of the oil industry in this country.

“There is a gender and generation gap on offshore oil drilling – women and younger Americans are less likely to support drilling offshore and more likely to support a moratorium,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Measures that directly target BP are also popular – 63 percent favor lifting the liability cap on BP and 53 percent would support criminal charges against some BP employees or executives.

CNN Poll: Half say Gulf will never recover

Then we have the deficit hawks who show up around election time to whine about money being spent. It’s different this time because we are still in financial trouble and if these hawks get their way we might end up in another economic collapse. As Economist Paul Krugman wrote recently:

Many economists, myself included, regard this turn to austerity as a huge mistake. It raises memories of 1937, when F.D.R.’s premature attempt to balance the budget helped plunge a recovering economy back into severe recession.

In America, many self-described deficit hawks are hypocrites, pure and simple: They’re eager to slash benefits for those in need, but their concerns about red ink vanish when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthy. Thus, Senator Ben Nelson, who sanctimoniously declared that we can’t afford $77 billion in aid to the unemployed, was instrumental in passing the first Bush tax cut, which cost a cool $1.3 trillion.

That ’30s Feeling

The major drag on the economy is still health care costs since the reform that was passed was only a start and the major parts haven’t taken effect yet. Blogger digby wrote:

Any deficit scold who doesn’t put reducing health care costs at the very top of the agenda is just a demagogic crank doing the dirty work for the aristocratic overlords.

Basic Arithmetic

The GOP want to kiss corporate ass, cut the social safety net, and lie about it all.

I hope the bruise on my head goes away before November so I can party during another Democratic election victory.

Even those on the left can be a douche

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The other day it was reported that Congressman Dennis Kucinich had said he would vote no on the Senate version of the Health Care Reform bill. It’s the version that more than likely will be passed if a vote is taken. On the MSNBC show “Countdown” the founder of the Daily Kos blog Markos Moulitsas called out Kucinich for his principled stand and even suggested he be challenged in the next election for suggesting the bad Senate bill be killed. One can not like the man, disagree with his views, but don’t be a dick about it. Markos is being a dick about it.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The attack continued on Moulitsas’ twitter feed calling Kucinich ineffective and his supporters – robots. He asked for one piece of legislation Kucinich had sponsored that passed and when one was pointed out (H.J. 26) Markos dismissed it out of hand.

Then today in his regular posting on Daily Kos he wrote:

No ambiguity — MoveOn members want to pass the bill. We spent the last several months fighting to make it better, and we did. It’s not great, but it’s better. And as Howard Dean wrote yesterday, the fight for better health care reform isn’t over.

Dennis Kucinich may rather make common cause with the GOP and Rush Limbaugh, but sane progressives have to realize that this is a step forward. And once the foot is in the door, tweaks can always be made. But our foot must be in the door, and that’s why the GOP and insurance companies are fighting this with all their might.

Midday open thread

He basically is calling anyone who shares Kucinich view on the bill insane including progressives who agree with the congressman – like me.

What is ironic is that as late as December Moulitsas held the same view of the Senate bill and also called for it to be killed.

My take is that it’s unconscionable to force people to buy a product from a private insurer that enjoys sanctioned monopoly status. It’d be like forcing everyone to attend baseball games, but instead of watching the Yankees, they were forced to watch the Kansas City Royals. Or Washington Nationals. It would effectively be a tax — and a huge one — paid directly to a private industry.

Without any mechanisms to control costs, this is yet another bailout for yet another reviled industry. Subsidies? Insurance companies are free to raise their rates to absorb that cash. More money for subsidies? More rate increases, as well as more national debt. Don’t expect Lieberman and his ilk to care. They’re in it for their industry pals.

Strip out the mandate, and the rest of the bill is palatable.

Remove mandate, or kill this bill

The mandate is still in the bill and Markos now is towing the party line that the bill has to be passed since it is better for the party than nothing.

Normally I agree 90% with the views of Markos and Daily Kos but the people who gave up on getting a better bill to pass the crap Senate version just so they can claim “victory” leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I understand that Moulitsas personally doesn’t like Dennis Kucinich but he doesn’t need to be a douche about it and let it cloud his public comments about the man especially someone who hasn’t changed their mind all of a sudden like Markos seemed to have done.