Look how Grassley repays Obama's compliments (updated)

At yesterday's town-hall meeting in New Hampshire, President Barack Obama had nice things to say about Senator Chuck Grassley:

"Now, I think that there are some of my Republican friends on Capitol Hill who are sincerely trying to figure out if they can find a health care bill that works -- Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Olympia Snowe from Maine have been -- yes, I got to admit I like Olympia, too. They are diligently working to see if they can come up with a plan that could get both Republican and Democratic support."

In addition, Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register noticed that Organizing for America is not mobilizing Obama's supporters to show up at Grassley's town-hall meetings in Iowa. Instead, Organizing for America is trying to drive turnout to events hosted by Iowa's Democrats in Congress.

Grassley's holding four public events today, and @iahealthreform is helpfully liveblogging them on Twitter. Look at how Grassley talks about health care reform and tell me whether Obama should praise Grassley's efforts.

Grassley told a crowd in Afton that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world and that he won't "nationize healthcare" or "do anything that allows Washington between a doctor and you." Grassley also claimed that Obama "is pursuing a partisan bill." While in Winterset, Grassley promoted the latest bogus Republican talking point about killing Granny.

Yes, he went there. Iowa Independent has more:

"In the House bill, there is counseling for end of life," Grassley said. "You have every right to fear. You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma"

A few hours later in Panora, Grassley did it again:

I don't want the government involved in end of life decisions. I'm not going to decide to plug the plug on grandma.

Never mind that even Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia has denounced this paranoid reading of a provision that "empowers you to be able to make decisions at a difficult time rather than having the government making them for you." Never mind that the Iowa legislature has already passed (with bipartisan support) a provision to encourage people to create living wills.

Grassley's involvement in health care negotiations cannot improve whatever bill emerges. He could be negotiating in bad faith so that delays prevent Democrats from passing health care reform through budget reconciliation. (Grassley told the Panora crowd that he's in negotiations, but "things can fall apart at any time.")

Alternatively, Grassley could be negotiating in good faith to produce a bipartisan bill with no meaningful public option. An individual mandate to buy overpriced private insurance, with no public plan to compete, would be a gravy train for private insurers. I agree with Daniel De Groot that the failure of Grassley and other conservatives to oppose an individual mandate shows what an "utter sham and fraud" movement conservatism is.

It's past time for the president to stop praising the Republicans whom Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is bending over backwards to accommodate. No matter how many nice things Obama says about Grassley, Grassley will repeat Frank Luntz's talking points on health care and keep trying to move the bill to the right.

What Chris Bowers wrote two months ago is still true:

the goal of health care legislation is to reduce the cost of health care and increase access to health care. By contrast, the goal of bipartisanship is to get Democrats and Republicans to agree with each other. Those are different goals with no inherent connection. [...]

The purpose of bipartisanship is so that, in the event that you pass legislation that is unpopular and / or does not end up working, then it is impossible to take all of the blame for it.

That is the purpose of bipartisanship in health care reform legislation. Not reducing costs or increasing access.

Obama should start drawing lines in the sand. If the president wants "a health care bill that works," he should be clear about what that bill must contain. Hoping for some Republican votes isn't going to cut it.

UPDATE: At Bleeding Heartland I posted statements from Congressman Bruce Braley and the Iowa Senate Democrats on Grassley's remarks today. It turns out that Grassley's grandson, State Representative Pat Grassley, was part of the huge bipartisan majority in the Iowa legislature that approved House File 2539 in 2008. That bill included an "end-of-life care" provision that you can read here.

In this section the Iowa Department of Public Health was directed to consult with various medical and advocacy organizations to “develop educational and patient-centered information on end-of-life care for terminally ill patients and health care professionals.” It also directed the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs to develop a long-term care options public education campaign.

Tags: Barack Obama, Chuck Grassley, death panels, health care reform, Public Option (all tags)



Re: Look how Grassley

Is Grassley senile?  Is he aware that Isaksen put this language in the bill and has defended it?  I think sometimes Grassley is not playing with a full deck anymore.

by Bob H 2009-08-12 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

The only people demonstrating signs of senility are the Democrats, including President Obama, who could not see this one coming. I keep saying there is something pathological to all of this,a nd the Democrats keep proving me right.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

So nice that Mydd is so deferential to Republicans.

by spirowasright 2009-08-12 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

I am a really big fan of my college basketball team. They almost always lose when it comes down time to the crunch where it counts. I always say we got to be up by a lot because if it is close they will often lose more than win. Do not confuse the fact that I realize my team as a flaw with which team I am on.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

Sorry to be harsh. It's the price I pay for being an impartial observer who reads liberal blogs and finds nothing but a constant drumbeat of nagative comments,especially whenever some trieds to encourage.

by spirowasright 2009-08-12 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

Sorry we are harshing your buzz. Please tell us what we can do to make your you are happy because in all these discussions of policy and other weighty matters, your emotional state is critical.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 08:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

An occasional constructive post would be a good start.

Wait - I just realized you were being sarcastic.  Taking rhetorical and political devices at face value must be contagious.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Look how Grassley

your comment bares no relationship to reality. it would take you 10 seconds to scan my diaries to realize this.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 12:16AM | 0 recs
not senile at all

He is playing it smart by stringing Democrats along one day, bashing them the next day. He's getting lots of attention and raking in tons of money from industries with a stake in health care reform (see also here).

by desmoinesdem 2009-08-12 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

He's smart in the way that Lucy is smart with Charlie Brown.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

Obama's actions make sense if you believe that there's rhetorical value in playing nice.  If you don't, then you're not going to agree with his approach.

But you're being silly if you think Obama's somewhere going "How could he?  I trusted him.  I feel like such a fool."  Instead he's probably thinking "Okay, I've demonstrated that I'm willing to go the extra mile for bipartisanship, so when we have to force reconciliation, or we get a bill that's roundly decried by Republicans, we can say 'we tried to include you, and you stabbed us in the back'".

Maybe it will work and maybe it won't.  I don't have any stake in wanting his approach to succeed or fail because all I want is good legislation; I'm an agnostic on the tactics.  But thinking that Obama isn't engaging in political posturing is being incredibly naive.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

I don't care what Obama feels. It's irrelevant. The comparison was to how the audience perceives the behavior. Not Charlie brown.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

And does the audience root for Lucy when she pulls the ball away?  No.

So now in the next panel, Charlie Brown can say to Lucy "I'm not playing with you anymore" and have the moral highground.

Incidentally, your whole premise falls apart unless you believe Obama is sincere, so while you may not care, it's still important.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:24PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

here's the audience:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/health /policy/13health.html?_r=1

I really am not interested in debating what is handwriting on the wall. Read the article. Do just try to argue with me because you don't like what is being said. See you later.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 12:17AM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

A lot of the disagreements here center around the fact that some of us are more patient than others in terms of waiting for that next panel to be drawn.  It's still kind of an article of faith at this point.

by Steve M 2009-08-13 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

I do not understand faith in politicians.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

It's an article of faith no matter which side of the debate you're on.

by Eweiss 2009-08-13 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

That it is.  And it's a debate that sort of misses the point.

Do you want to argue goals, or tactics?  Are you interested in what you can affect, or is politics a spectator sport?  I mean, I second-guess a lot of commercials during the political campaigns too, but I would never make the mistake of thinking that it was anything other than idle conversation.

Emphasis on idle.

by Jess81 2009-08-13 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: not senile at all

There's no faith involved in taking the "show-me" position.

by Steve M 2009-08-13 04:30PM | 0 recs
And you say

there is still no way to defeat this guy next year? I find it hard to believe 50% of Iowans agree with him.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 01:05PM | 0 recs

Grassley's approval rating has rarely dipped below 60 percent ever.

I am at least hopeful that he will get far less of a crossover vote than ever before. The federal races are at the top of the ticket, and we want more Iowa Democrats voting straight ticket (which will help in the down-ballot races)--not saying to themselves, "Chuck's not a bad guy."

Amusingly, some Iowa Republicans are mad that Grassley is involved in the health care negotiations and have threatened a primary challenge. That would be my dream scenario, but I doubt the wingnuts have a candidate willing to step forward.

by desmoinesdem 2009-08-12 01:25PM | 0 recs
In a rational democracy

Grassley wouldn't stand a chance in a state that voted for Obama by nearly 10% talking the way he's talking.

The fact that he's a shoe-in for reelection shows just how dysfunctional and nonexistent our democracy is.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: In a rational democracy

Conversely, in a rational democracy Obama wouldn't stand a chance in a state that gives Chuck Grassley 65% approval ratings.

by Steve M 2009-08-12 02:03PM | 0 recs

but I'm assuming the people of Iowa are more in tune with Obama and the Democrats on this issue (and other issues) than Grassley

But if that's not the case, then progressives are toast anyway.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: In a rational democracy

The only way that someone like the Senator can exist is that we create system, including President Obama by calling the senator "biparisan" when the senator is clearly not. Thus, creating a situation in which the senator can say crazy things without any fear that he will be marginalized.  By not calling a duck, a duck, it propectuates the situation in which voters can vote for an extremist and a centrist, not realizing that one is an extremist and the other a centrist rather than "liberal."

by bruh3 2009-08-12 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: In a rational democracy

Yeah, Grassley is all Obama's fault.  Retroactively.

Look, we kind of had this debate during the primaries.  Hillary Clinton's approach was going to highlight the differences between the two sides and use the bully pulpit to gain a political edge.  Obama's was going to be to constantly appear to take the high road and let the opposition play the bad guys.  Again, whichever approach you prefer, you have to recognize that first of all, we did have an election on which one to take and one side won and the other lost, and two, they're different approaches to the same problem.

You're taking what's essentially political rhetoric at face value and it's just completely wrong.  Do you think Charles Grassley really believes in death panels?  Of course not - he's getting ready for next year's primary.  Do you really think that Obama thinks that Grassley is a neat guy and golly, he sure got played?  No - first of all, he has to work with Grassley because Baucus wants to, and secondly there's value in letting the other side publicly act like assholes.

If the majority of US citizens believe in death panels, then health care reform is dead, and it always was.  If instead it's only a loud, ugly minority that Grassley is playing to, he looks like someone who's putting politics in front of good legislation.  There's value for Democrats in that.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:11PM | 0 recs
I think it comes down to this

Grassley has great constituent service (better than Harkin's, everyone knows that). He visits all 99 counties in Iowa every year and has since 1980. He sends out tons of press releases and editorials, and therefore is frequently published in local media. He has a folksy, reassuring manner. In three decades you can build up a lot of goodwill with those things. Democrats can't remake Grassley's image in the middle of his fifth Senate term.

by desmoinesdem 2009-08-12 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: I think it comes down to this

I am not worried about present Grassely. I am worried about future Grasselys. My comment is not about this particular Senator and despite Jesse's obsession about President Obama either. It is about addressing a set of systemic behaviors that produce the results we see again and again. I placing President Obama's behavior in the context of how its exactly like every other Democrat for the last decade and half who has come before him and how that allows new Grasselys to come onto the scene or creates a force like the blue dogs. My point is to achieve that end you have to have the Democrats completing the circuit- the GOP does x, and then we do the expected y in response that yields the expected outcome z. z being policy shaped by not changing up the game.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 09:32AM | 0 recs

Obama actually said that Grassley and Enzi are interested in bipartisan reform!! I guess some people never learn. It is so easy for Gibbs to vilify Palin who is not in office but I would like to hear him say something about this irresponsible and inflammatory statement. But I never really thought that the Senate Finance Committee bill will be anything but a white wash and I fear that I will be proved right.

by tarheel74 2009-08-12 01:15PM | 0 recs
A check list of how to torpedo one's policies:

Endorse the opposition: CHECK. By propping up Grassley as a beacon of rational, bipartisan constructive criticism.
Provide talking points: CHECK. 'The post office is the one that's always having problems, not FedEx or UPS.
Change the focus: CHECK. See: Gates/Cambridge Police.
Begin the debate process on one's heels: CHECK. Single pay immediately taken off the table. Did this with the stimulus as well. Negotiations 101.

Am I missing anything here?

by McGahee220 2009-08-12 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: A check list of how to torpedo one's policies:

It does bring up the question of how Democrats can repeatedly make the same mistake over and over again. I guess my hope that it is just a pathological urge to repeat the same mistake is perhaps my wishful thinking as to motivation.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: A check list of how to torpedo one's policies:

My family is entirely Republican, and I was essentially indoctrinated into conservatism before beginning to acquire a post-secondary education, so I guess this sort of thing is new to me. This sort of thing being total ineptitude regarding effecting one's policies. If one cannot implement anything, they're going to earn the cheap stereotype of being spineless wanks. Even worse is the symbolism of self-sabotage. Beit Reid attacking ads against Senate conservadems or attacking Obama's lobbyist policy, or the White House chief of staff hand-waving on health care reform versus health insurance and calling progressives effing stupid. What a bunch of strokes.

by McGahee220 2009-08-12 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: A check list of how to torpedo one's policies:

My friend and I discuss what you describe often because of our interest in politics, business negotiation, management and poker. In fact, he's an organizational management type so all of this is up his alley of expertise.

The reality is that Democrats lack basic management and negotiation skills,a nd those that do not are often coming from the conservative rather than progressive side of the party.

President Obama comes from the wing of the party that confuses process with policy. This is why I jokingly refer to his behavior as pathological because I have to hope he simply does not understand how much ground he gives up just by trying for the touchy feely community activist crap. The other choice- that knows his approach is ineffectual- is worse to consider. So, I choose to believe it is the community activist instinct that gets in the way.

That community organizer approach is at his detriment here because community organization requires the desire to build a community rather than say burn it down. When he was in Harvard, one of his fellow class mates made that very point to him as he was saying "I have met the enemy, and they seem just like us except they differ on policy."

The problem being that they are not just like us. They aren't trying to save the community. They are working out of self interest. Worki ng in business, self interest is the norm, so you come to understand this mind set. Working in community activism I guess maybe you don't. Again, that's what I hope is mucking up his instinct rather than something worse.

Of course, the response of his acolytes online is that he is some kind of brilliant  chess master playing a Machivellian strategy that is beyond my comprehension. This maybe true as far as his own political survival is concerned, but not so much as you say with regard to effecting policy outcomes.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: A check list of how to torpedo one's policies:

I never understand why people are so hung up on bipartisanship. There was never any bipartisanship going back all the way back to the founding of this country. People accused each other of being born out of wedlock, Alexander Hamilton died in a duel and during the civil war era another senator got his head bashed in while he was in his office in the legislature. By those standards we live in civilized times.

However this entire notion of Obama playing n-dimensional chess is ludicrous. If he is, then right now he is getting stymied in all dimensions, but what is evident is that he severely underestimated the organized and well-financed opposition to his flagship legislation. The honeymoon is over.

by tarheel74 2009-08-12 02:54PM | 0 recs
You really don't know much

about American political history, do you? Alexander Hamilton died in a duel that was started because of personal feelings between him and Burr...Preston Brooks beat the crap out of Charles Sumner over an issue that took a Civil War to solve. This was not the norm of American politics in the 19th Century, nor was it helpful in trying to find solutions to problems.

When it came to actually legislating, much of the legislation has been compromises between the two groups or compromises between small parts of the other party. Early in the country's history, the political parties were not strong, and for a time in the 19th Century, there was only one political party with two wings...such major pieces of legislation dealing with issues like tariffs, slavery, expansion of the country, etc were done across party lines.

For example, the creation of the First Bank of the US, which Hamilton supported...even though he didn't need to, he struck a deal with the Democratic-Republicans (of whom Burr was a member) to move the capital of the US from Philadelphia to the Potomac to get it passed. They opposed it anyway...but did not seek to get rid of it when they came into power in 1800.  

Other major pieces of legislation that were bipartisan;

Creation of the National Park system
Sherman Anti-Trust
Creation of the Federal Reserve
Women's Sufferage
Civil Rights Act of 1964

While not bipartisan, FDR gave in to racists in the south and kept blacks out of Social Security.

So, yes, there are plenty of examples of bipartisanship when it actually came to legislating.

If you want a good example of where partisanship worked...look at the creation of the income tax in 1913...Wilson spoke directly to the public and demanded they stand up for "tariff reform" (but wasn't specific as to what type of reform he meant) and the public pressured Congress strongly until something was passed...it was, however, still compromised slightly in the Senate...but passed by a partisan vote.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

Krugman's most recent book, however, made a persuasive case that never before in history have the two parties been so polarized from an ideological standpoint.  Congressmen and Senators crossed party lines back in the day not because they thought bipartisanship was awesome, but because they were actually sympathetic to the ideological goals of whatever they were voting for.

by Steve M 2009-08-12 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

I can not imagine either the New Deal or Great Society happening today.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 04:49PM | 0 recs
For as much as I tend to disagree with him

Krugman is 10000% right...this is unprecedented in American history...the partisanship is known during campaign season, but never before as it entered the halls of the Capital in the way it does today.

In today's world, you oppose something just because the other party supports it. You bend over backwards to find some excuse to say the other side's plan does not work.

Except for slavery, never before can I think of a situation where the opposition party made up egregious lies and stoked tremendous fear over a piece of legislation. Even during the Civil Rights era, the lies and fear mongering from the Southern Democrats (and Goldwater Republicans) never really riled up anyone except the Southern Democrats and Goldwater Republicans...and because they were so disgusting, some Republicans, people like Jacob Javitz, Everett Dirksen, Bob Packwood felt the patriotic duty of helping LBJ, even if it meant giving him a victory..

We don't have that today...we have Jim DeMint looking for ways to fuck over the country because of his own personal hatred of the President...even Hamilton and Burr, who HATED each other, learned to work together when it came to legislating. We are more interested in making or breaking your political opponent(s) then finding common ground and making things work.

This is also a fault in our democracy...I mentioned above that it is remarkable that even though Grassley is going out spreading lies in his home state, where Obama won by 9.5%, Democrats control both houses of the state legislature, the Governorship, 3 of 5 House seats and Tom Harkin is the other Senator, Grassley is in no risk next year. In any other democracy and at any other time in American history, Grassley would be forced into bipartisanship because his seat would be serious jeopardy next year if he didn't...but since it's not, he can do whatever he wants and say whatever he wants and even people who still support Obama and want healthcare reform with a public option will vote for him anyway.

This is a sign our democracy is not working.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: For as much as I tend to disagree with him

The problem with your argument is that it has no relationship to how the two parties act. It has a relationship to only one fo the two parties. And that in a nutshell is why Obama's policies will always end up like bot the stimulus,a nd now, it seems the healthcare debate. He negotiates from a positon of weakness.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 04:55PM | 0 recs
What's wrong with the stimulus?

If you look through our political history, a lot of pieces of legislation end up like the stimulus...even the New Deal reforms were watered down before FDR sent them to Congress, on top of being watered down IN Congress, anti-trust laws, civil rights, medicare was a universal heath care bill that LBJ desperately tried to salvage. In many situations, Presidents went in with legislation that they had ALREADY compromised on before submitting it to Congress. (Lincoln didn't back up anti-slavery amendment with civil rights protection, FDR with blacks and Social Security, Truman concerning the UN and international organizations, JFK also with civil rights, in the cases of police treatment and DOJ oversight)

We are not comparing the current legislative situation to past ones, because history tends to forget the debates and compromises (or pre-compromises) that led up to landmark legislation. No one remembers what JFK left out of the Civil Rights Act when he submitted it to Congress, no one remembers how FDR initially left blacks out of Social Security.

If the stimulus works, then no one is going to sit around in 20 years and ask if President Obama could have started from a more progressive position or more conservative position. What we will learn is "President Obama successfully passed a stimulus that got the economy on the right track!"

My point is, if you want to criticize the position the Democrats put themselves in here, that's fine, but understand that if you placed yourself in February 1964 and we were talking about the CVA or went back to 1935 and were talking about Social Security or the New Deal, you might find yourself saying the same thing about FDR and LBJ.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: What's wrong with the stimulus?

My background outside of being a lawyer is that I have a degree in  Government. I am extremely familar with history even if it was not my major as along with economics and philosophy it was one of those areas we had to understand as a requisite at my school.

The long and short of it is- you are not going to convince me on many of your reinterpretations of history.

Oh,a nd by the way, here's something that I looked up just to make sure I am not going crazy about that history fo the debate of medicare:

"The passage of Medicare would be one of the lasting achievements of Lyndon Johnson's presidency and a key enduring pillar of the Great Society. While the general outline of Medicare's legislative history had been well-known for some time, the recent releases of Lyndon Johnson's secretly recorded White House phone conversations throws some new light, and adds some additional nuances, to this broad story. We see, for example, more clearly than previously appreciated the key role that Wilbur Cohen played in the successful campaign for Medicare's passage through Congress. We hear Lyndon Johnson express the populist sentiments which inform his commitment to programs like Medicare. We see some of the ups and downs and uncertainties of the legislative process with a clarity that is lost in a simple listing of key dates of the passage of bills through the various stages of the legislative process."

http://www.larrydewitt.net/Essays/Medica reDaddy.htm

The key element was that in those 13 months LBJ was unwaring in his commitment to the creation of medicare along with a change of staffing in the White House.

And please don't lecture to me about Roosovelt when as I remember you were the one who became angry when I pointed out that I believed that the outcomes of policies under Roosovelt were bigotted towards blacks just as I believe the policies under Obama is bigotted toward gays.

It was you who felt the need to tell me that somehow looking at that complexity- that we can appreciate the New Deal while admitting to the flaws- was wrong. Now, for you to use that complexity as an excuse to avoid overall trendlines is unacceptable.

Here's the deeper point: Those men, FDR and LBJ, proved their willness to navigate their times for polices in which they believed. We have yet to discern, and this is something you can not address, whether Presidetn Obama is committed to much of anything.  

The issue you keep seeing repeated again and again is whether President Obama has skin in the game. I do not know whether he does or not yet. I won't know that until reconcilliation happens to see what he does.

His lack of passion for everything except being perceived of as "bipartisan" certainly has caused some missteps.

This thing with this Iowa Senator is not that big of a deal outside of the fact it shows a pattern. This literaly is Lucy telling Charlie she's not going to pull the football away at hte last moment. At what moment do we start to look at Charlie (President Obama) and asked him when will he simply put his own judgement into the game to put something ont he line?

Again, if he does it at the right time- all is forgiven. But right now, at this moment, as things slip away, people tend to notice things like Rahm Emaneul call progressives names while propping upt he enemies of reform as his favor sons. They know the kabuki of the on again, off again, on again, whatever it is today deals like the drug deal that would have done nothign to adddress cost containment. Those are small picture moments that add up to the big picture.

We shall see. but right now, I am not encouraged by things like the sitmulus, which despite what you claim was a product of poor negotiation. When you have the 'centrists" come out to say they choose the number because President obama said that was his number- that should tell you something about yoru own negotiation style.

Or, as I once again remind you- President bush's Sec of Treas stated the reason they choose the amount for the bailout was its psychological impact. A number so big that everyting else seemed smaller. The same is true here. President Obama wants to be an incrementalist. That's fine. But he's not negotiated in a smart way. that's my problem with him. Yesterday was clearly a mistep. He needs to show he can pull the trigger. I have not yet seen that in him except with the reconcilliation arragnment. That was his one smart move so far. He just needs to do much more to shape the narrative with his popularity.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: What's wrong with the stimulus?

a shorter version of my post:

a) People still question whether President Obam has skin in the game. this goes back to the line in the sand that LBJ was willing to have, bu tPresident has yet to push.

b) They question his negotiation style because the other side operates in bad faith. Due to theri acting in bad faith, he should adapt accordingly rather than repeating the same mantra of bipartisanship.

Even the Blue Dogs, who again are the favorite sons, operate in bad faith. When they claim they are worried about fiscal responsibility, but then only suceed in delaying and producing a billt hat actually raises rather than reduces the cost of the bill.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: What's wrong with the stimulus?

Again, you're assuming that everyone is operating in bad faith except for poor, naive, Saint Obama.  It's absolutely ridiculous.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: What's wrong with the stimulus?

I assuming I can read what people are doing and pay attention to what they then do next:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/health /policy/13health.html?_r=1

You can keep saying they are not or what you believe. I am paying attention to what they are actually doing and what is being reported. You can dispute this with "well I don't believe it' but that's not an argument. It's a belief. I can't respond to that no more than I can to christian conservatives who want to believe what they believe.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 12:18AM | 0 recs
Re: What's wrong with the stimulus?

Your continuing obsession with Barack Obama and your absurd belief in your own powers of seeing everyone's motives and predicting the future are borderline mystical.

I argue with you the same way some liberals listen to Rush Limbaugh.  But I would never attempt to work with you or involve you in anything political I was doing.  You're not a serious person.

by Jess81 2009-08-13 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: For as much as I tend to disagree with him

What, successful?  I remember you yowling about how the stimulus was going to be a colossal failure.  Now both the fed and Krugman say the worst of the recession is over.

I hope the health care reform bill is as much a "failure" as the stimulus.  I also think you're just as ass-backward now as you were a few months ago.

keep on being concerned, though.  It's great theater.

by lojasmo 2009-08-13 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: For as much as I tend to disagree with him

Your inablity to understand complexity is why conversations are difficult here. You mischaracterize the position of multiple parties here so I am not exactly sure what to tell you other than learn to understand what people are saying.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: For as much as I tend to disagree with him


by Jess81 2009-08-13 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: For as much as I tend to disagree with him

You again reinforce my point about rove like tactics.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: For as much as I tend to disagree with him

Oh,a nd by the way, I note on anotehr blog, you try to blame the american people for this by saying that if anyone listens to the conservative extremists that its the amercian people fault. To some degree that is correct, but that only serves to illustrate why if there is an electric circuit some element, whether it is President Obama, Congress or the american people must break that circuit. Instead, the GOP is able to play all these piece according to predictable behavior just like Lucy plays Charlie brown.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

That and the steward of the legislations were very strong willed men who sometimes shoved their agenda down the throat of the senate (LBJ being a prime example). In other cases especially post-Great Depression the enormity of the disaster forced people to cross party lines and do the right thing. However today's partisan politics is more rooted in financial interests than just ideology and that is the major difference. It is easier to organize a well financed campaign against a legislation and gin up support by spreading rumors and innuendos by the new media. As Lawrence O'Donell pointed out today that many of the legislations that passed previously would have failed if the technology for such an organized opposition existed then.

Worse one of the things that the reformers were counting on was that the pictures of town-hall gone wild would alienate some Republicans and right leaning independents. Unfortunately as Gallup/USA Today reports today the converse is becoming true, the attitudes among republicans and right leaning independents are getting hardened against reform because of all these crazy town-hall protests.

by tarheel74 2009-08-12 05:00PM | 0 recs
Oh my God

LBJ did NOT shove legislation down people's throats...CVR took 13 months to pass and only did when he compromised with the GOP to get enough votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Medicare took six months to pass and he let a Republican write the whole damn thing.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

One side wants to win at all cost. The other side wants a good process. The one side that wants to win at all cost will always have an advantage when it comes to lying over good government types because the later can be manipulated.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

History notwithstanding.  See above.

by lojasmo 2009-08-13 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

For someone who acts erudite, you do not even know the background of the Burr-Hamilton feud had its seeds in political differences and it overflowed into personal acrimony. As did the Sumner incident (he called Andrew Butler stuff in the Senate that I don't think anyone will even dare to utter today). Which just highlights my point that partisan fighting was even more acrimonious in the past.

As far as the examples you cite:

Reconstruction failed in one of its goals, offering security and suffrage to free slaves? Why because the president was weak, Washington did not have the appetite to fight for the black slaves anymore.

Federal Reserve, medicare and civil rights acts were passed by very strong willed presidents. The jury is still out on whether Obama will measure up to LBJ in the next 4 years (I seriously doubt that) or to Woodrow Wilson.

by tarheel74 2009-08-12 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

In fairness, this is not simply a matter of President Obama, but his leadership style in combination with a lack of strength in Congress amongst progressives. For example, the house has a power hand regarding the progressive wing, and yet they refuse to play hardball enough to get what they want. We can blame President obama for his part, but should say this issue is systemic, not specific to just him.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

In fairness, this is not simply a matter of President Obama, but his leadership style in combination with a lack of strength in Congress amongst progressives. For example, the house has a power hand regarding the progressive wing, and yet they refuse to play hardball enough to get what they want. We can blame President obama for his part, but should say this issue is systemic, not specific to just him.

by bruh3 2009-08-12 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

Well, let's just get straight who to blame, since that's obviously the important part.

I'm personally more concerned with the total lack of organization on the progressive grass roots.  First of all, I can directly affect that, and second of all, the fact that the right is totally outorganizing us is a goddamn scandal.  And me and you and everyone else shares responsibility for this.  Blaming Obama for everything doesn't make me feel even the slightest bit better about it.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

It is a systemic issue,a nd I am not interested in your attempts to pretend any part of the system is not in fact part of the system. So I look at each part and say yes they have their part. Where we disagree is where you wan to play pretend that President Obama is not a part of that system. You keep pretending I am sayin one thing, and the reality is you are responding to a post in which I quite clearly say another. Rather than responding to that complexity you once again try to shfit the narrative in ways that fit the strawman of either you have a problem with what President obam ais doing or you have a problem with some other aspect of the system, but not both. Complexity requires me to admit to it all, but you would have us reduced to those parts that fits your support of president obama. I am not interested in that or that kind of analysis. Until you get that I am not focused on him, but him as he relates to a system, you won't get my arguments.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

I get your arguments completely.  They're ad hominem, and when challenged you retreat into vague language about the gestalt.

Look, I have yet to see you in an argument where you haven't told several people that they're not smart enough to understand you, or that you won't engage them because they're beneath you in some way or another.  Either the problem is with you or you're the unluckiest guy on the planet the way you keep running into intellectually dishonest simpletons who have no problem communicating with each other and everyone EXCEPT you.

by Jess81 2009-08-13 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

The funny thing is that you say this in the context of several post in which I link a) to an article pointing out actual action by President Obama since the spring and in b) in which I discuss criticism all leadership involved. You do so by saying that I am engaged in ad honinems, and you follow up by spending most of you post calling me names. In a nutshell, you are calling me what you are acting, but use the Rovian technique of attacking me for what you are aboout to do.

by bruh3 2009-08-13 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

You do realize that the Burr-Hamilton feud was an exception to the rule and not the norm and Hamilton regularly compromised with the Democratic-Republicans when he was Treasury Secretary, right?

His problem was with Burr personally and not with Burr's party.

Whether or not Obama will measure up to LBJ in the next four years should depend on how much legislation he got through.

And since LBJ got his major pieces of legislation through by getting REPUBLICAN votes...well, you get the point, don't ya?

LBJ overcame the Democratic filibuster on the CRA and VRA by agreeing to a compromise with Republicans...LBJ had a REPUBLICAN write Medicare.

Maybe LBJ couldn't measure up to LBJ today.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

You really do not know much of the history of John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. Please read up.

by tarheel74 2009-08-12 05:05PM | 0 recs
My BA in American History

speaks for itself, thank you.

by DTOzone 2009-08-12 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: You really don't know much

The point has never been more missed.

by lojasmo 2009-08-13 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: A check list of how to torpedo one's policies:

Well, the stimulus passed by a single vote, so I'd say yeah, you are.

by Jess81 2009-08-12 08:25PM | 0 recs
Obama should walk up and bitch slap the dumbass


F-you Grassley, you sniveling piece of sh*t, doing your fake howl for the idiot mob.

I have taken all kinds of crap on these boards, for calling them Republics, for labeling them all wingnuts.

Well, I take back ever sembalance of civility to any of these M-Fers.

I FUCKING HATE Republicans, I hate every FUCKING one of them.

I hate their Mothers, their Fathers, I hate their Fucking Children.

If a fucking tornado of fire turned them all into a pile of ash, I would buy the god of destruction a round at the nearest bar.

Jesus, I hate those fuckers.

by WashStateBlue 2009-08-12 02:55PM | 0 recs


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