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Flip Flopping on Obama: Democrats are Wimps

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dr. Jeff Schweitzer


We fully expect rats to abandon a sinking ship, but even those readily disloyal rodents wait for a leak to spring before contemplating a swim. In contrast, Democrats scramble frantically to jump overboard at the first whiff of a moist towel.

Nowhere was this unpleasant characteristic more glaringly evident than during the health care debate. Because Obama did not deliver the perfect bill instantly, the punditry immediately labeled the president “ineffective” and “passive” and “drifting” and “lost” and horror-of-horrors, “another Jimmy Carter.” Obama was criticized repeatedly because he “leads more from the head than the heart” and “relies more on listening than preaching,” as if those qualities were actually somehow negative. And those were the liberal talking heads. Obama was written off as a loser by his own team simply because he could not change 50 years of social inertia in his first year in office.

George Packer of The New Yorker loudly proclaimed “Obama’s Lost Year.” Robert Parry of The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel lamented “How Obama Lost His Way.” Piling on were House Democrats who snidely disparaged the health care bill in February, but who now bask in the glory of its passage. These House members quickly toweled off after a premature dunk then tried to pretend they never panicked.

To place this cowardly behavior in context, remember that Republicans stuck stubbornly and loyally to George Bush for eight years in the face of illegal wire taps, disastrous wars, huge deficits, torture, economic collapse, environmental calamity and a terrible butchering of the English language. Democrats did not last eight months before whipping out the chains of self-flagellation because the president did not perform miracles or give us the public option (yet). That easy disloyalty is even more discouraging given that Democrats held the largest majority that either party has held in the Senate since Watergate and a 40-seat majority in the House.

Tackling legislation that has eluded every president for the last five decades is a delicate, tricky, complicated dance of nuance, strategy and hard-ball politics. The best analogy for what Obama has done, and how he achieved victory, is Dwight Eisenhower’s civil rights battle. In fact the recently-passed health care reform bill will likely prove to be similar to early civil rights legislation in many ways — breaking old barriers, creating significant social change, remapping political alliances and creating a better world with legislation that was initially deeply flawed or ineffective. Old Ike fired the first shot of civil rights legislation across the bow of a nation largely hostile to the idea. He faced fierce, nasty and sometimes violent opposition from southern Senators who wielded power far greater than anything we see today.

Consequently the resulting Civil Rights Act of 1957 was weak, flawed and largely impotent but miraculous in its passage nevertheless. The bill became law only after enduring the longest single-senator filibuster in our history. That paragon of racial intolerance, Strom Thurmond, read non-stop for more than 24 hours in a final but ultimately futile attempt to thwart passage. Ironically he read from the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, desecrating both in doing so. As with Obama and health care, what Ike did was important beyond the specific bill that passed; he breached a barrier that seemed impenetrable; he set the stage for progress.

He laid the foundation on which Lyndon Johnson built the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without Eisenhower’s pioneering legislation, no matter how weak, Johnson would have never passed his landmark bill. Likewise, the public option, which is the end-game of true reform, will eventually become law because of the foundation created with this first attempt at health care reform.

In this light, and with this history, we should be embarrassed by our impatience with Obama as he marshaled health care legislation through a reluctant legislature and a populace confused by a vitriolic misinformation campaign. We lost temporal perspective, focusing on the moment to the exclusion of the future. Obama deserved our support and instead we bickered and told tales of woe because the bill was imperfect and not implemented quickly enough for our taste for the immediate. And the opposition nearly slaughtered us because we were unable to unite.

We argued passionately about the minutiae of specific language while the GOP was plotting a grand strategy of our destruction. Our impatience and immaturity aided and abetted that effort. Many Democrats I know and respect simply gave up on the president because he did not produce fast enough or give them everything they wanted. In the euphoria of electing one of our own, we forgot that ideological purity is not a recipe for pragmatic governance. We once again almost let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and were only saved from ourselves by strong leadership which ignored our plaintive and pathetic cries. Thankfully Obama was playing chess while we were trying to figuring out how to go from one to square to another in checkers.

Well, now that the first health care bill has passed we at least learned our lesson, right? One would think, but one would be wrong. The cycle begins anew with Obama’s announcement that he will allow off-shore oil drilling. Oh the humanity!

As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “There you go again.” And we’re off and running, so predictably. Here is a typical response to Obama’s announcement, this from Frank Tursi from the North Carolina Coastal Federation: “To garner support for a bill that is intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the administration is willing to expand the very substance that causes those emissions in the first place. Pandering for votes that rely on a polluting fuel of the past is not the kind of change many of us expected.”

Sound eerily familiar to the dialogue on health care before the bill passed? Once again we fail to see the big picture and instead focus narrowly on our immediate interests and concerns. Passing meaningful climate change legislation will be every bit as difficult as health care reform, and will require the same type of unpleasant and disconcerting compromise. We must again choose between the easy comfort of ideological purity and the pragmatic necessity of governing if we actually want to do something about global warming. Saving the planet is probably the better option, even if less satisfying emotionally.

Obama did not choose drilling in a vacuum; the decision is part of his broader energy strategy. Yes, we must emphasize conservation and efficiency, and we must do everything possible to promote renewable and clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. We must cut greenhouse gas emissions. But as we transition to a green economy, we have to keep the lights on and refrigerator running. That is the reality. The energy must come from somewhere, and even as we promote renewables many conservation groups are opposing wind energy, one of the most viable alternatives. Wind turbines disrupt migratory patterns, kill birds and bats and threaten certain species like the sage grouse. So should we support or oppose wind energy?

Something has to give, some compromise must be reached; we live in an imperfect world. Demanding perfection leads to paralysis — and victory for the opposition. Withdrawing support from Obama because he proposes a solution that does not meet our every wish makes little sense, particularly in light of what the other Party has to offer.

By no means do I propose that we blindly accept Obama’s proposed solutions or draft legislation. Debate, modify, argue, disagree: all of that is healthy. But do so knowing that ugly compromise is necessary, and that in a messy democracy no result will be perfectly satisfactory. Democrats need to learn from their Republican colleagues, who seem to know when to argue among themselves and when to coalesce into a unified bloc.

Whenever you feel disappointed or angry at Obama, just close your eyes and think of George W. Bush. Then, rally around, because no matter how imperfect Obama is, he’s better than the alternative.

Dr. Jeff Schweitzer served at the White House during the Clinton Administration as Assistant Director for International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Schweitzer was responsible for providing scientific and technological policy advice and analysis for Al Gore, President Clinton and President Clinton’s Science Advisor, and to coordinate the U.S. government’s international science and technology cooperation. He worked with the president’s cabinet and 22 U.S. Government technical agencies, and with countries throughout the world, in a broad range of fields including biology, physics, chemistry, geophysics, agriculture, oceanography and marine sciences. He was instrumental in establishing the permanent Global Forum on Science and Technology at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to promote greater international scientific collaboration.

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Why Do People Often Vote Against Their Own Interests?

Posted by: Buellboy

Americans voicing their anger at the healthcare proposals at a town hall meeting


The Republicans’ shock victory in the election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts meant the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. This makes it even harder for the Obama administration to get healthcare reform passed in the US.

Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

Last year, in a series of “town-hall meetings” across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

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Jon Stewart Destroys Fox News For Reveling In Scott Brown Win (VIDEO)

Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts has made for a variety of moods and responses coming from cable news. Jon Stewart mocked the atmosphere of Fox News last night, comparing the network to someone trying really hard to hide an erection and intercutting their reaction with clips of the phallic Shake Weight.

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The Good Wife: Tattoo You

Posted by: Audiegrl

Actors Jessica Hecht and Julianna Margulies in an episode of CBS' "The Good Wife"I’ve been wanting to write about The Good Wife for a while, but must confess that I’m a few episodes behind, due to the holidays. Thank God for DVR’s. 🙂 But this article caught my eye…and might interest you. Spoilers alert.

LATimes/Meredith Blake~~For political junkies, especially those with a liberal streak, there’s probably not a better show on TV than “The Good Wife.” The series was back with a vengeance last night, introducing the loathsome Duke Roscoe (Craig Bierko), host of a charming TV show called “Gimme Truth” and a commentator who combines the relentless bullying of Bill O’Reilly with the paranoid histrionics of Glenn Beck. It’s truly an inimitable combination, folks! As ridiculous as Duke is — and as cheesy as his flag-waving, dangling noose graphics are — he’s only slightly less so than his real-life counterparts. Don’t believe me? Just watch this. Or this.

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Want to see the character Duke Roscoe in action?..Go to the 1:58 mark in the clip

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Daily Show Ridicules Hume On Tiger And Jesus (VIDEO)

Last night The Daily Show turned its attention to Brit Hume’s comments from this past Sunday, and reiterated Monday night, that Tiger Woods should convert to Christianity in order to find redemption.

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Federal Stimulus Program is Not Working… Except That It Is

Posted by LibbyShaw

VP Joseph Biden greets construction workers after delivering a speech in Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Republicans and their water carrying blustering blowhards in the conventional wisdom alternative universe bubble have been frantically working 24/7 to fabricate the perception that the federal stimulus program is not working.

Those Americans who reside outside the Republican and conventional “wisdom” bubble, i.e. Joe, Jose, Jane, Yolanda, Chen, Hui, Omar and Laqueesha (to name a handful) have a far different view of the federal stimulus program.

It seems that Republicans and the Party’s blowhards ignored the recently released Congressional Budget Office report. Or perhaps the Republicans and its tools did not like what they read. Yikes, this stimulus can’t work or we are dead. Change the message! If the government works we lose! No matter what, kill off any good news about the stimulus program! Who cares what happens to the average Jane and Joe Americans? WTF are they?! This is all about us and our ability to stockpile as much money for ourselves as we can! Heaven help us! Change the bleeping bleepity bleep message! Jeeze oh Pete – gin up a freaking war if need be!

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the $787 billion stimulus package approved in February lowered the nation’s unemployment rate by between 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points while boosting the economy by between 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent. The analysis also found that three-quarters of the money provided in the stimulus had yet to be funneled into the economy by the end of September.

The report is a boost for the administration, which faced renewed questions last month over how many jobs the stimulus has produced after the Government Accountability Office said it found “significant” problems with the White House’s tally. The administration has estimated the stimulus created or saved 640,329 jobs through October.

The report released yesterday “leaves no doubt that the economy would be in much worse shape if the recovery act had not been implemented,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, a California Democrat. “As the Obama administration and Congress continue to explore additional strategies to create jobs and build a foundation for long-term economic growth, it is critical to acknowledge the progress that has already been made.”

But Republicans, especially Texas Republicans and their propagandists at FOX seem to have a problem with facts that the party and its spin meisters do not manufacture.

Sigh. Oh, how we tragically know all about the GOP and its fiscal irresponsibility with its tax cuts for the 1 or 2% of the wealthy, the deregulation of the financial and energy sectors, while waging war on two fronts. Tell us about a war of choice vs. one of necessity. Tell us why we took our eye off of Afghanistan to go looking for Al-Qaeda and WMD’s that did not exist in Iraq? Thanks, too, Louie and Sean, for leaving both wars on the back of a new Administration. And please do accept our deep and heartfelt thanks for your leaving both wars on the backs of the American people, our children, grandchildren and generations of our great grandchildren to come.

Reality check on the federal stimulus program.

Where Texas is concerned we have been awarded $10,680,470,000 in stimulus funding. So far we have received $1,826,240,000.

Jobs created so far: 19,572.

Check out the facts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The so-called conventional wisdom sounds like a bunch of conventional self-serving lying and hysterical stupidity to me.

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Talking to Folks in Line at a Sarah Palin Book Signing

This video was produced by the talented folks at NewLeftMedia. They catch up with Sarah Palin fans standing outside of Borders Books & Music in Columbus, OH. The reporters asks them why they like Sarah Palin, how they feel about her policies, and what they think about the country under President Obama. Lets just say the interviews are very interesting….and that these fans have the Fox News soundbites down cold.

Robin Williams Takes On Sarah Palin

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