The President at Hampton University

After assailing the President yesterday in a post for not talking enough about the duties and responsibilities of citizenship given the increasingly lackadaisical attitude too many Americans have towards civic involvement coupled with the open hostility that the right has towards government, the President today delivered a commencement address at Hampton University in which he addressed such concerns.

Like his address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor a week ago, this is Obama at his finest. It's more the pity that few seem to be paying attention because the Michigan address was perhaps Obama's best speech yet which is saying something since the one thing Obama excels at is giving great speeches. But no one seems to care. Cut through all the noise of the Tea Party, pull back the insidious hate therein as well and much of their core philosophy is a "leave us alone" mantra. It's the exaltation of Grover Norquist's most misbegotten creed. It's a worldview that in essence cries out "leave me alone so I can sin." It underpins everything on the right from their aversion to taxation to their contempt for a proper regulatory environment. Theirs is a view that puts the narrow interests of a few over the general good. They call it freedom couching it in terms of individualism but it is really a feudal tyranny reborn. It empowers the strong at the expense of the weak and in such a society, democracy is marked for extinction. And it is not hyperbole to suggest that we in the United States are on that path. We are well on the way to becoming a less egalitarian society and unequal societies are inherently undemocratic.

It is perhaps the saddest of commentary that so far the only news agency covering this address is Agence France-Presse. And if you want to see the ignorant delusional right's take on this try Pajamas Media which typically for the ignorant right takes a pebble of truth and turns it into a boulder of lies.

The Hampton address, as prepared for delivery, is below the fold. It's well worth the read.

Remarks of President Barack Obama--As Prepared for Delivery
Hampton University Commencement
May 9, 2010
Hampton, Virginia


Good morning, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms here today, and thank you for inviting me to share this special occasion with the Hampton community. Before we get started, I just want to say, I'm excited the Battle of the Real H.U. will be taking place in Washington this year. You all know I'm not going to pick sides. But it's been, what, 13 years since the Pirates lost. As one Hampton alum on my staff put it, the last time Howard beat Hampton, The Fugees were still together. Let me also say a word to President Harvey, a president who bleeds Hampton blue. In a single generation, Hampton has transformed from a small black college into a world-class research institution. That transformation has come through the efforts of many people, but it has come through President Harvey's efforts, in particular, and I want to commend him for his leadership.

I also want to recognize the Board of Trustees, faculty, alums, family, and friends with us today. And most importantly, I want to congratulate all of you, the Class of 2010 - I take it none of you walked across Ogden Circle.

We meet here today, as graduating classes have met for generations, not far from where it all began, near that old oak tree off Emancipation Drive. I know my University 101. There, beneath its branches, by what was then a Union garrison, about twenty students gathered on September 17, 1861. Taught by a free citizen, in defiance of Virginia law, the students were escaped slaves from nearby plantations, who had fled to the fort seeking asylum.

After the war's end, a retired Union general sought to enshrine that legacy of learning. With collections from church groups, Civil War veterans, and a choir that toured Europe, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute was founded here, by the Chesapeake - a home by the sea.

That story is no doubt familiar to many of you. But it is worth reflecting on why it happened; why so many people went to such trouble to found Hampton and all our Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The founders of these institutions knew, of course, that inequality would persist long into the future. They recognized that barriers in our laws, and in our hearts, wouldn't vanish overnight.

But they also recognized a larger truth; a distinctly American truth. They recognized that with the right education, those barriers might be overcome and our God-given potential might be fulfilled. They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that "education...means emancipation." They recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise. That recognition, that truth - that an education can fortify us to rise above any barriers, to meet any tests - is reflected, again and again, throughout our history.

In the midst of civil war, we set aside land grants for schools like Hampton to teach farmers and factory-workers the skills of an industrializing nation. At the close of World War II, we made it possible for returning GIs to attend college, building and broadening our great middle class. At the Cold War's dawn, we set up Area Studies Centers on our campuses to prepare graduates to understand and address the global threats of a nuclear age.

Education, then, is what has always allowed us to meet the challenges of a changing world. And that has never been more true than it is today. You're graduating in a time of great difficulty for America and the world. You're entering the job market, in an era of heightened international competition, with an economy that's still rebounding from the worst crisis since the Great Depression. You're accepting your degrees as America wages two wars - wars that many in your generation have been fighting.

Meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't rank all that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations; information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment. All of this is not only putting new pressures on you; it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.

It's a period of breathtaking change, like few others in our history. We can't stop these changes, but we can adapt to them. And education is what can allow us to do so. It can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time.

First and foremost, your education can fortify you against the uncertainties of a 21st century economy. In the 19th century, folks could get by with a few basic skills, whether they learned them in a school like Hampton, or picked them up along the way. For much of the 20th century, a high school diploma was a ticket to a solid middle class life. That is no longer the case.

Jobs today often require at least a bachelor's degree, and that degree is even more important in tough times like these. In fact, the unemployment rate for folks who've never gone to college is over twice as high as it is for folks with a college degree or more.

The good news is, all of you are ahead of the curve. All those checks you wrote to Hampton will pay off. You are in a strong position to outcompete workers around the world. But I don't have to tell you that too many folks back home aren't as well prepared. By any number of different yardsticks, African Americans are being outperformed by their white classmates, and so are Hispanic Americans. And students in well-off areas are outperforming students in poorer rural or urban communities, no matter what color their skin.

Globally, it's not even close. In 8th grade science and math, for example, American students are ranked about 10th overall compared to top-performing countries. African Americans, however, are ranked behind more than twenty nations, lower than nearly every other developed country.

All of us have a responsibility, as Americans, to change this; to offer every child in this country an education that will make them competitive in our knowledge economy. But all of you have a separate responsibility, as well. To be role models for your brothers and sisters. To be mentors in your communities. And, when the time comes, to pass that sense of an education's value down to your children. To pass down that sense of personal responsibility and self-respect. To pass down the work ethic that made it possible for you to be here today.

So, allowing you to compete in the global economy is the first way your education can prepare you. But it can also prepare you as citizens. With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who's telling the truth and who's not. Let's face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I've had some experience with that myself.

Fortunately, you'll be well positioned to navigate this terrain. Your education has honed your research abilities, sharpened your analytical powers, and given you a context for understanding the world. Those skills will come in handy.

But the goal was always to teach you something more. Over the past four years, you've argued both sides of a debate. You've read novels and histories that take different cuts at life. You've discovered interests you didn't know you had, and made friends who didn't grow up the same way you did. And you've tried things you'd never done before, including some things I'm sure you wish you hadn't.

All of it, I hope, has had the effect of opening your minds; of helping you understand what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes. But now that your minds have been opened, it's up to you to keep them that way. And it will be up to you to open minds that remain closed. That, after all, is the elemental test of any democracy: whether people with differing points of view can learn from each other, work with each other, and find a way forward together.

I'd also add one further observation. Just as your education can fortify you, it can also fortify our nation, as a whole. More and more, America's economic preeminence, our ability to outcompete other countries, will be shaped not just in our boardrooms and on our factory floors, but in our classrooms, our schools, and at universities like Hampton; by how well all of us, and especially us parents, educate our sons and daughters.

What's at stake is more than our ability to outcompete other nations. It's our ability to make democracy work in our own nation. Years after he left office, decades after he penned the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson sat down, a few hours' drive from here, in Monticello, to write a letter to a longtime legislator, urging him to do more on education. Jefferson gave one principal reason - the one, perhaps, he found most compelling. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free," he wrote, "it expects what never was and never will be."

What Jefferson recognized, like the rest of that gifted generation, was that in the long run, their improbable experiment - America - wouldn't work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn't have their best interests at heart. It could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged; if we held our government accountable; if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship.

The success of their experiment, they understood, depended on the participation of its people - the participation of Americans like all of you. The participation of all those who've ever sought to perfect our union. Americans like Dorothy Height.

As you probably know, Dr. Height passed away the other week at the age of 98. Having been on the firing line for every fight from lynching to desegregation to the battle for health care reform, she lived a singular life. But she started out just like you, understanding that to make something of herself, she needed a college degree.

So, she applied to Barnard - and got in. Only, when she showed up, they discovered she wasn't white like they'd thought. You see, their two slots for African Americans had already been filled. But Dr. Height was not discouraged. She was not deterred. She stood up, straight-backed, and with Barnard's acceptance letter in hand, marched down to NYU, where she was admitted right away.

Think about that for a moment. A woman, a black woman, in 1929, refusing to be denied her dream of a college degree. Refusing to be denied her rights. Her dignity. Her piece of America's promise. Refusing to let any barriers of injustice or inequality stand in her way. That refusal to accept a lesser fate; that insistence on a better life is, ultimately, the secret of America's success.

So, yes, an education can fortify us to meet the tests of our economy, the tests of citizenship, and the tests of our time. But what makes us American is something that can't be taught - a stubborn insistence on pursuing a dream.

The same insistence that led a band of patriots to overthrow an empire. That fired the passions of union troops to free the slaves and union veterans to found schools like Hampton. That led foot-soldiers the same age as you to brave fire-hoses on the streets of Birmingham and billy clubs on a bridge in Selma. That led generation after generation of Americans to toil away, quietly, without complaint, in the hopes of a better life for their children and grandchildren.

That is what has makes us who we are. A dream of brighter days ahead, a faith in things unseen, a belief that here, in this country, we're the authors of our own destinies. And it now falls to you, the Class of 2010, to write the next great chapter in America's story; to meet the tests of your own time; and to take up the ongoing work of fulfilling our founding promise. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

[UPDATE] The New York Times has now added to the coverage.

Tags: President Barack Obama, Democracy in America (all tags)



So tired of Obama's speeches

I'm a life-long Democrat from four generations of Democrats, and I'm tired to death of Obama's speeches.

Because I remember previous speeches: for instance where he promised to be a "fierce advocate" for gay rights, that DADT would be repealed "this year," where he "supported" the Public Option, promised to be a defender of reproduction rights -- ah, I could go on and on and on.

Obama's pretty speeches versus his ugly inability to act on whatever he'd promised, or for that matter, his even uglier tendency to work against whatever he'd promised.

In one respect, the Republicans were right: Obama is nothing but pretty speeches.

But frankly, I'm sick and tired of being lied to by a Democratic President, no matter how pretty the lies.

I refuse to listen further, just count me as part of the dispirited base -- one way perhaps I might still be able to work for election of Democrats in the mid-term elections, or Obama's re-election is to simply shut out what he's saying.

So thanks but no thanks to covering Obama's speeches. Although I'll be happy to read and listen to the speeches of Democratic politicians who make good on their words.

Point me to those speeches, I beg you, so that I can remain a Democrat.





by judybrowni 2010-05-09 04:03PM | 1 recs
RE: So tired of Obama's speeches

I completely understand your frustration especially given the fact his pending nomination to the Court is going to set the progressive blogs aflame.

Elana Kagan is unacceptable. I will be most thoroughly put off if as many predict she is the nominee.

But you're right. Obama is facing a credibility problem. But he also has poor listeners.

by Charles Lemos 2010-05-09 04:14PM | 0 recs
Elana Kagan

Could you please elaborate on how she is unacceptable?

I confess I have not been paying attention to this scotus nomination round. But I would like to hear your opinion on the matter, even though it is a non-sequitor to your original (and imo, excellent) post.

I have heard grumblings that she is undesirable to the progressive left, but have not studied the issue more than that.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-09 05:23PM | 0 recs
RE: Elana Kagan

Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has the most complete articulation of objections.

by Charles Lemos 2010-05-09 07:20PM | 0 recs
Way to embody the same cynicism and apathy Obama derides.

I know. Obama was supposed to fix the world, and all we had to do was sit back and watch.

Being democrats our whole lives has been a lot of hard work. Going to the poll that November Day? That was a lot of hard work too, what with having to connect the dots between the proper line, or punch the right hole, or pull the right lever.

You miss the message of the very speech you criticize while taking the same dark and cynical tone the President derides: where's the social activism?

Very rarely has great change in this country been unaccompanied by social activism. Civil rights marchers, with a favorable administration, braved dogs and fire hoses and murder to achieve their objectives that we now as a society take for granted.

Meanwhile, you moan about the trivial public option hole in the HCR donut. Despite the fact that Obama finally accomplished what no other democratic president could accomplish in passing HCR (and received the same criticisms that were leveled against FDR with social security), Jane Hamsher couldn't get more than 500 people to show up in Washington and rally for the public option.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-09 05:20PM | 1 recs
RE: Way to embody the same cynicism and apathy Obama derides.

I haven't grown sick of Obama's speeches because he "hasn't fixed the world" but because he lies. And then obstructs whatever he has lied about supporting. 

Over and over and over and over again. Not just on the pitiable "public option," either. Name the issue some Democrats care about, and odds are Obama has lied about his support in some pretty speech or another, and then acted otherwise.

I'm not alone in the base who has been dispirited -- talk to any environmentalists lately? (How's that off-shore drilling going?) I can't keep track of all the issues Obama has lied about, but they include ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, closing Gitmo, and on and on and on.

I'm not alone in the dispirted base -- read any polls recently? -- and one of the reasons I'm not alone is the lies in Obama's pretty speeches.

by judybrowni 2010-05-09 06:05PM | 1 recs
Speaking of polls

This one is just out today: democrats come out ahead for the first time since the end of last year in the generic congressional ballot.

So much for your dispirited base.


by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-09 07:33PM | 2 recs
RE: Speaking of polls

Don't argue. Their minds are made up.

by spirowasright 2010-05-10 12:28AM | 0 recs
It's the lies, stupid

"Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama’s vow that his administration would launch a “relentless response effort” to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday — the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling"

Read more: the damage those lies cause, of course.
by judybrowni 2010-05-10 12:32AM | 0 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

...and here's where a rudimentary understanding of the NEPA process would help cool your jets.

by fogiv 2010-05-10 12:55AM | 1 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

I take it said drilling apps were in the pipeline well before the oil spill and just appened at a less-than-ideal time. Is that the case here?

by spirowasright 2010-05-10 01:30PM | 0 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

Yeah, and the intended implication is that Categorical Exclusions (CE) are tantamount to a Notice to Proceed.  They're not, especially with regard to these proposed actions in light of the BP spill. 

Granting a CE is just a way to bypass the lenghty and arduous EA/EIS process for proposed projects that are very similar or (apart from exact location) identical to others that have already been studied, and where the results of impact analysis can reasonably be expected to be the same.  Even then, CEs have to pass review. 

The Categorical Exclusion Review (CER) determines whether a proposal that is categorically excluded may meet extraordinary circumstances, like, oh...I don't know, a massive spill at a similar facility where causes are still under formal investigation, for example.

So, for proposed actions that have have NOT undergone EA/EIS and are already aligned in the CE queue, you can put the brakes on by granting CEs, then halting altogther the CER process, which is exactly what the Administration has done.  This sets the stage for a shake-up and re-tooling of the MMS' CE criteria (which are thought by many environmental proponents to be too broad).  Now, if the CER were actively green-lighting these 27 proposed actions, we could all go into Obamaz LIEZ mode...but that's not what's happening.

by fogiv 2010-05-10 02:55PM | 1 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

Oh yeah? Then why do the environmentalists still have questions about Obama's flip-flop (still may be flopping) on off-shore drilling:!

by judybrowni 2010-05-10 02:13PM | 0 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

See my comment above.  I am an environmental advocate who has been professionally providing support for regulatory compliance programs for energy, transportation, mineral and water resources development, telecommunications, and hazardous materials management projects for military, commercial, public utility, and state and federal agency clients for about 17 years.  It's what I do for a living.

What you've done here is link to a DKos blog post that covers the article you've already cited, as if this bolsters your assertions further.  In fact, neither the Kos post or the orignal article support your Obama is A Big Fat Liar screed. If Knee-Jerk were an Olympic Sport, you'd be a serious contender for the Gold.

by fogiv 2010-05-10 03:12PM | 2 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

How about his lie that he would be a great fat environmental advocate in his speeches, versus that big fat aboutface to supporting off-shore drilling?

And the timing for that was just precious, wasn't it?

Don't think Obama did damage to the voting enthusiasm of those in the Democratic party who care about the environment?

Other than you, apparently.


by judybrowni 2010-05-10 03:26PM | 0 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

See, here's the problem.  Being an environmental advocate doesn't necessarily equate with blind opposition to offshore drilling.  You make the leap that Obama secretly supports unfettered drill, baby, drill practices a la Palin, and do so by soaring over his actual position, which is that there are some credible arguments that some limited and well-regulated offshore drilling may be a necessary part of the solution to our energy needs and fossil fuels energy crisis.  There are other socio-political factors that come to bear, but I doubt you'd take a moment to consider them.

That you're seemingly incapable of understanding even the most apparant shade of nuance, and haven't the slightest idea how NEPA works, tells me all I need to know about your form of ignorant advocacy.

Don't think Obama did damage to the voting enthusiasm of those in the Democratic party who care about the environment?

Only if they're as uninformed as you are.  Either way, you should consider getting your sackcloth and ashes ready.

by fogiv 2010-05-10 03:47PM | 2 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

"Limited and regulated"?

How many off-shore drilling rigs now off how many coastlines?

As for regulation, let's see how well <i>that's</i> worked out:

by judybrowni 2010-05-10 04:00PM | 0 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

Let's focus here, and get back to where we started.  How many of the 27 proposed offshore actions granted CEs are in operation?  How many are about to be given Notice to Proceed as the result of the CER process?

The answer is ZERO.  I assume you can tell the difference between 27 and zero?

As I said before, which is somehow too hard for you to understand, if these 27 projects were on the move, we'd have reason to call the Adminstration to the carpet -- but they aren't.  The Obama administration has suspended the only process by which these proposed actions could proceed to implementation.

Now, if you think we won't see any changes to the MMS CE review criteria, or other regulatory fixes in the aftermath of what may be the worst environmental catastrophe in US history, then you've reached a level of cynicism I'm not interested in exploring.  Should this come to pass, you should bitch incessantly, and I'll be right there along side you.  Until then, you're just flapping your gums about something you clearly don't well understand.

by fogiv 2010-05-10 04:18PM | 2 recs
RE: It's the lies, stupid

Why no answer to my question: how many off-shore oil drilling rigs are already up and running? Too many to count?

Also: Obama's about face for opening up new drilling: oops, not popular with the voters now either. (Way to dispirit the base, Mr. President!)

"A new poll (pdf), commissioned by Clean Energy Works, and conducted by President Obama's chief pollster, Joel Benenson, finds strong public support for a strong new energy bill. As broken down by Greg Sargent:

  • * Overall, 61% of 2010 voters support and just 31% oppose a bill "that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil."
  • * 54% would be more likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted for the bill (just 30% would be less likely to re-elect).
  • * 51% would be less likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted against the bill (just 30% would be more likely).
  • * 39% of voters now say they are more likely to support it in the wake of the oil spill.

    Offshore Drilling Myths

    1. New technologies will prevent oil spills.

    Try telling the Australians that. In August 2009 a state-of-the-art rig using “new technology” spilled 2000 barrels of oil a day for 10 weeks into the fragile East Timor Sea.

    2. Offshore drilling is good for the economy and will create jobs!

    Our beaches are economic engines. One oil spill would devastate the local coastal tourism industry and the livelihood of people working in the fishing industry.

    3. We won’t be reliant on foreign oil.

    We’ll still have to import at least 40% of our oil to meet our daily consumption needs.

    4. We’ll have a long-term supply of oil.

    It won’t be enough. Offshore drilling will only give us about 18 months of supply at our current rate of consumption."

    Not only that, but the U.S. currently exports 2 million barrels of oil per day.

    So we're endangering our coastlines, ruining the fishing and tourist industries, killing off wildlife, contanimating the ocean and a thousand other evils so the oil companies can make a profit by selling that oil in other countries?

    Yes, more of that, please, Mr. Obama! Just what the Democrat base wants!

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 05:01PM | 0 recs
    RE: It's the lies, stupid

    I can see tangents are your thing.  How many rigs are there?  Lots.  Offhand, I'd guess upwards of 3,700 offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico alone.  Tell me, how many of these were approved and implemented since January of 2009? 

    Look, are you wanting to blame the POTUS for all the oil rigs that lie off our coasts?  If you are, and it sure sounds that way, then I don't know how to sugar coat this:  you're a moron.  He's not responsible for putting those there, you know?  I guess your next step will be to blame the POTUS or his agents of evil for intentionally sabotaging the rig, creating the spill for political gain?  You're only a few steps left of Limbaugh at this point anyway, might as well go whole hog.

    Obama hasn't opened up more drilling, he allowed exploration and feasibility / environmental studies to continue because he believes that domestic oil production is an important part of an overall strategy for energy security.  Lots of people agree, though I'm not necessarily one of them. 

    Since the big mess in the gulf, the administration has stated explicitly that there will be no new domestic offshore oil drilling pending a review of the rig disaster.  They've also dispatched teams to the Gulf to inspect all deepwater rigs.  You're not interesting in hearing it beacuse in harshes your poutrage, but the Administration has responded pretty aggresively to this, and if you think nothing good will come from a suspension and review, then you're really beyond reach.  As I said before, if once the investigation and review processes are complete, and we fail to see new and improved regulations and a reconsideration of offshore drilling in general, then we'll have a legitimate reason to gripe.  Until then, you're just a baseball manager charging the Ump to argue a bad call at the plate...before the game has even started.

    Oh, and thanks for the Surfrider link, though it's unecessary as I'm an active member of that Organization, and have worked on a number of studies that contribute to their findings.  You're preaching to the choir when you start trying to school me on the perils of offshore drilling.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 06:05PM | 1 recs
    It ain't a baseball game, honey

    I'll bet the fisherman and tourist industry of several states wish this were just a game.

    Few baseball games make major dents in the economy (of two, three? Do we even have a clue how many?) states, or for that matter, create environmental disasters of this magnitude.

    As for the "game not starting yet," this game has been afoot my lad long before Obama did his aboutface.

    Long enough that if you read the Pdf of the organization you claim to belong to, you'll see they detailed the environmental problems of off-shore drilling, long before the current disaster.

    3,700 or so off shore drilling rigs in the Gulf alone, 2 million barrels a day of oil exported from the United States -- so tell me, how does increasing those numbers benefit the American people, or the environment?

    They don't! But they could be of benefit to the oil companies, of whom the former fierce advocate of the environment of is apparently more concerned.

    And it's that kind of aboutface (or call it a lie) that eats away at the Democratic base, who also aren't enthused by the danger to the environment and economy.



    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 08:00PM | 0 recs
    RE: It ain't a baseball game, honey

    Ok, seriously, what is wrong with you?  Which part of 'preaching to the choir' do you not understand? You can post links from here to enternity about how bad offshore drilling is, and every single time, I'd agree.  Odds are, I know it better than you do.  You've gone on a nice rant here, but it has absolutely no bearing on the discussion.  Am I arguing the offshore drilling is a good thing?  No.  Have I ever?  No. 

    At issue here is your claim that the Obama administration is now allowing 27 new rigs into the gulf.  This is demonstrably false.  Again, you can link whatever you like, you can go ape-shit with exclamation points, and you can attempt to insult me until your toes curl in a blissful rage, but not one bit of that will change the fact that you are completely wrong.

    This may be hard for you to wrap your head around, but some progressive folks in my industry (environmental protection consulting) think that lifting the offshore moratorium on analysis and exploration was a relatively small concession for politcal cover in the run-up to a strong energy bill.  At the time, lifting the ban wasn't likely to increase any drilling anywhere in the near future, and now that disaster struck the gulf (not the result of any Obama action, but rather the deterioriation of sensible federal agency regulation under eight years of Bush), there will be no new drilling anywhere until everything gets a hard look.  Would the ban lifting have worked in getting a better energy bill?  I seriously doubted it, and was critical of the move, but now that it's halted everywhere for the time being, it doen't much matter because the political landscape has shifted pretty dramatically as a result of the BP spill.

    I've said before, and I'll say again for the last time (though you're obviously not listening):  If the Obama Administration fails to significantly reduce or eliminate offshire drilling and/or fails to overhaul the environmental review process (particularly for CatEx actions), then we'll have something to bash him for.  Until then, you're just blowing smoke, you're blowing it early, and much of it in entirely the wrong direction.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 09:00PM | 1 recs
    RE: It ain't a baseball game, honey

    I've never claimed "that the Obama administration is now allowing 27 new rigs into the gulf."

    I qouted from the piece about the 27 waivers, and okay, I'll take your word on the inside baseball view of what seemed in March, to those of us not as well-informed, as Obama's support of new off-shore drilling.

    I'll also believe, based on what you've written, that the Obama administration won't push for more off-shore drilling.

    Based on my experience on the issues I am familiar with, it seemed Obama was backtracking -- yet again -- on being the fierce advocate of whatever he'd claimed to support.

    However, I doubt that I'm alone in that perception, if we go by the enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters.

    So perhaps you can answer this question: why the hell would Obama want to give the impression that he was advocating more offshore drilling in March?

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 10:21PM | 0 recs
    RE: It ain't a baseball game, honey

    I've never claimed "that the Obama administration is now allowing 27 new rigs into the gulf."

    I qouted from the piece about the 27 waivers...

    ...and why did you do that?  Because you seemed to think it supported your "Obama is lying about offshore drilling" shtick.  It doesn't, as I've explained.

    I'll also believe, based on what you've written, that the Obama administration won't push for more off-shore drilling.

    I can't say that they won't, but I'll say unequivocally that it would be stupid on a number of levels if they do.  After recent events, I can't imagine that there won't be more vigorous regulations enacted (by order at the federal lead agency level) and/or as part of the pending energy bill agenda.

    ...I doubt that I'm alone in that perception, if we go by the enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters.

    I tend to think that much of the enthusiasm gap (which really isn't as bad as the MSM would have us believe and is already showing sings of ebbing) has more to do with the economy than it does other issues.  Despite all the criticism, the economy is improving on many fronts and so long as that trend continues into the mid-terms, we won't be facing the "OMG SLAUGHTER" that pundits are predicting.  Not to say we won't see losses; they should be expected as part of the same old 'punish the party in power' cycle.

    why the hell would Obama want to give the impression that he was advocating more offshore drilling in March?

    I can't speak for the Adminsitration, but if I had to guess, I think it was an effort to pull the rug out from under the drill, baby, drill crowd w/out actually allowing any drilling.  Remember, lifting the moratorium didn't greenlight drilling/extraction, it simply allowed exploration and environmental analysis thereof.  Suppose exploration finds nothing, or reserves so paltry that it's not economically viable to extract them.  In that scenario, Republicans can't reasonably argue that we should absolutely be drilling offshore.  Drill for what?

    Or, now that all is stalled as a result of the BP spill, let's assume they find something the mega-oil tycoons want to pursue.  In this eventuallity, they'll have to undergo environmental review under NEPA. 

    As it stands now, the Adminstration, environmental advocates, and progressives are in a pretty good position to enact some serious regulatory reform, with broad public support, and I hope to hell they do it. 

    Now is the time to push for better regulation and call to limit or eliminate drilling.  Honestly, I'd like to see it ended altogether as of now, but I don't see that outcome as likely.  Realistically, I think the best we can hope for is a new moratorium on NEW drilling and far more vigorous regulation of those rigs already in place / in process.

    Pissing in Obama's shoe and calling him a liar on this particular issue isn't really the kind of advocacy that's needed.  If we get zero out of the investigation, and zero in the way of more strenuous environmental review, and the Obama Administration lets drilling go on like it has over the last eight years, sure, I'll be banging on my keyboard same as you.  Until then, I'd rather advocate in a way that makes sense while things play out.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 11:37PM | 2 recs
    RE: It ain't a baseball game, honey

    And environmental activists wonder why they're blown off as delusional tree-huggers.

    I guess you had to engage judy forgiv, but arguing with her was an exercise in futility.

    by spirowasright 2010-05-11 12:11AM | 2 recs
    Has someone

    forced you to listen? Are you being held hostage?


    Do you need a Waaaaabulance


    by jsfox 2010-05-09 07:01PM | 2 recs
    More like...

    ...the pumambulance.


    Obama "lies" blah blah blah. You'd have to be pretty pumatarded to believe Obama hasn't done fairly well with his promises.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-09 07:37PM | 4 recs
    RE: More like...

    Yep.  Life-long Democrat and Obamabot have come to be common parlance among the PUMA and Neo-PUMAesque left.  Lots of 'quackin' like a duck' in them there posts.

    by fogiv 2010-05-09 07:57PM | 3 recs
    RE: More like...

    You can always tell an Obamabot -- they throw around Puma as though it's an insult or something (sorry, never a Hillary fan.)

    There's still that 10 percent enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats in the polls for the midterm -- some part thanks to the lies.

    Here's another: the biggest rollback in reproductive rights in thirty years, encouraging the red states enact even more (In case you're not aware, abortion restrictions always result in more dead and maimed women and girls, thanks Obama! But hey, to Obambots that's just whining, not lives.)

    And no matter the careers ruined by DADT and Obama's inaction (hey, it's not you, so those careers don't matter, and it's not like the gay community works to elect Democrats or anything), the long-term couples denied basic civil rights by Obama's DOJ fight for DOMA (and it's another lie that he's forced to pursue this case), but not your civil rights, or your family affected, so fuck that shit, right?

    Oh and tell me again how Obama's off-shore drilling about-face support is working out, that particular lie. Billions of dollars lost, more careers ruined, how many thousands of animals killed, coastlines ruined in no one knows yet how many states -- yeah, nothing but a buncha whiners who care about that.

    Or more money poured down the rat hole of Iraq -- sorry, but I don't have the time to keep track of all Obama's pretty speech lies, but here's another that comes to mind about "transparency in his administration," meanwhile a secret commission is meeting about gutting Social Security.

    Yes, cutting the social safety net during the worst recession since the Great Depression, what a good idea -- increase suffering, while despiriting the base, a double header!

    I'd rather have Democrats in office than Republicans, especially as Republicans get crazier and crazier, but to close our eyes and ignore the lies of the President we elected does nothing to elect more Democrats, or make the people of this country safe and secure.

    And school kid taunts don't change that.


    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 12:02AM | 1 recs
    RE: More like...

    Didn't exactly say that's what you were, but rather that you were employing common PUMA code words. Well, that and hyperbole, so thanks for another heavy dose. 

    Look, I'm sorry that you're disappointed, nay distressed, over the massive pile of {spittle}Obama lies{spittle} accumulated in less than a year and a half of his first term.  Since you're a Dem "Lifer", maybe you're just tired and need a little rest.  Kick back, enjoy your tax break, and let an activist who won't fold like a lawn chair take the wheel for a spell.

    FWIW, I'd respond more substantively had you actually said something that wasn't tenuous, wildly exaggerated, or some combination of both.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 12:24AM | 2 recs
    RE: More like...

    Judi, Jerome, Charles, et al, are still looking for that perfect leader and that leader is still a few years away.

    What will that leader look like? Who will they resemble?


    Picture Obama's most recent predecessor as a person of the left--and hope like crazy that the .com left will actually be halfway satisfied with them!

    by spirowasright 2010-05-10 12:32AM | 3 recs
    RE: More like...

    Hardly asking for perfection, in the simple wish for a Democratic president who doesn't lie over and over again.

    One who wouldn't make it his mission to drive large segments of the base away.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 02:58AM | 0 recs
    RE: More like...

    Have fun waiting. Last time I checked, Democratic leades were human and as such, can be counted on to fiddle with the truth at least once in a while.


    As for driving large segments of the base away, amy I join in the fun and ask for some statistical back-up, please? You and a few other ticked-off Blog Birchers don't count, especially since the .com left wanted a pony and would have been ticked off if they got it.

    by spirowasright 2010-05-10 01:35PM | 1 recs
    It's the enthusiasm gap, stupid

    "While voters are about evenly split about whether they support the Democrat or Republican in this year's congressional elections, the Republicans have opened up a 20 point "enthusiasm gap" when it comes to how eager they are to go to the polls, according to Gallup's daily tracking polls conducted between April 1-25.

    But 57 percent of Republicans describe themselves "very enthusiastic" about voting compared to 37 percent of Democrats, a significant figure since the poll involves registered rather than likely voters

    The gap had ranged from 15 to 18 points in Gallup samplings dating back to early March."

    Those who have been following the news, have been aware of this enthusiasm gap for months -- and that it has been cited as a primary reason for the prediction that Dems will lose Congress at the midterms.

    And the lies, broken promises, and the Obama administration's refusal to act, or ugly pushback against stated positions have also been cited, for months, as dispiriting the Democratic base and creating that enthusiasm gap.

    I'd be thrilled to be wrong about the mid-terms (oh, if only!), but my Democratic President is working damn hard to drive all but the Obamabots away from the polls.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 02:22PM | 0 recs
    RE: It's the enthusiasm gap, stupid

    According to the most recent polling, the enthusiasm gap has been halved and the trendlines are in the Dems favor.

    judy, if you detest Obama so much, who's your alternative?

    by spirowasright 2010-05-11 12:16AM | 3 recs
    he's a talker not a walker

    Same here, long time ago: "this is Obama at his finest". If you can subsit on a change of nothingness you'll love it for the long run.

    by Jerome Armstrong 2010-05-09 08:28PM | 2 recs
    RE: he's a talker not a walker

    Sounds a little like what Frederick Douglass said after hearing one of Abe Lincoln's speeches.

    by fogiv 2010-05-09 11:31PM | 2 recs
    RE: he's a talker not a walker

    And how does history treat Lincoln? ACTUAL, ACCEPTED HISTORY, not you ideologically treated stuff.

    by spirowasright 2010-05-10 12:34AM | 1 recs
    Comparing Obama with Lincoln

    Sounds like something I've heard before... btw, have you read "Re-electing Lincoln"? Great book.

    by Jerome Armstrong 2010-05-10 12:25PM | 0 recs
    RE: Comparing Obama with Lincoln Waugh?  I have it on my nightstand, but haven't gotten to it yet.  I'll move it ahead in the queue on your recommendation.  Lately, I've been re-reading Team of Rivals, which reminded be of the early Douglass criticisms.

    Apart from the trivia, I don't think it's wholly appropriate to compare Obama and Lincoln.  Not only is it wildly premature but the nation and the world today are such different places that the ones Lincoln trod.  That said, I think perspective is important.  I'm an archaeologist by trade, so the 'long view' is an occupational habit.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 01:21PM | 1 recs
    Obama's speeches: Not even particularly effective

    Not even particularly effective, either.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 05:17PM | 0 recs
    Expectation too great, participation too tepid

    Everyone seems to think Obama is something he is not...he is NOT a progressive in practice.  I think he is at heart though.  He is a center-left politician who, because of the current landscape AND the "uncomfortable" nature of his heritage being a challenge, is painted and "accepted" as a screaming leftie...with real "Screaming lefties" being ignored as not really existing. 

    Why?  Because wer are lazy.  We expect our leaders to not only point the direction, but to also do all the heavy lifting.  You want Obama to repeal DADT, pound the pavement.  Get others in this country involved...and there-in lies the problem...noone cares.  I do not see a big push to expand DADT, but there is also a feeling of not wanting to care about wether or not DADT should even be discussed.  Obama's problem is that he gets it (at least he says he gets it in his speaches and I believe him)...but "we" as a country are indolent.  We have better things to sit on the couch and watch "Dancing with the Stars".  Or talk about it...yeesh, the irony of that kills me.

    There is a old joke from my military days...what do you call a leader with no followers...a man taking a walk in the woods.  If we find a leader who is willing to go in the right direction, but we do not get off our fat asses to actually follow him, and then piss and moan about how things are not going the way we want...we deserve what we get.  Until "WE", being the progressives of not only the .net but also out in the real world, go out and energize the country (neighbors, freinds, communities) to start doing what is needed to step forward, then WE have nothing to bitch about.  Just calling, or e-mailing your Senator is not enough.  Just voting is not enough.  That is the START.  You have to engage your communities and get them to start paying attention.  You know, the HARD work. 

    WE have to show leadership from the BOTTOM so that the leaders are the top know that we are serious and not just moaning and groaning.  Maybe if we started doing something like, say, CITY ordinances on pollution, or community oversight of fair tax distribution, or maybe building good, usefull and respected govt at the County/City/Township level by voting in people who are willing to do the really hard work, then we can show others how things can be better instead of just TELLING them.

    I'm running for City Council this fall (I have a wife with a full time job, I have a full time job, and we have three kids...but this is important to start showing how to run an effective govt, so I am giving it a shot)...what the hell are you doing?  Pissing and moaning on the .net?

    by Hammer1001 2010-05-09 04:49PM | 4 recs
    Pretty much sums it up

    Even as an ardent Obama supporter from the very beginning, I will be the first to admit that Obama was complicit in setting expectations high.

    But the demands exacted upon him by the Lazy Left are a sad and ugly commentary on our society.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-09 06:07PM | 3 recs
    RE: Expectation too great, participation too tepid

    Reader's Digest version:

    It's a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead, and find no one there.

    -Franklin Roosevelt

    by fogiv 2010-05-09 06:37PM | 2 recs
    Oh if only Obama would lead!

    Oh if only Obama would lead!

    We'd forgive his lies, if only he would lead, like Roosevelt.

    Instead we've got Barack Hoover Obama.

    Saw a poll recently, and 70% of the American public feel they or someone in their family is negatively affected financially by this recession -- and neither Obama or the Democratic congress has a stomach to extend Unemployment benefits, pass an real jobs bill, or a real stimulus.

    And then there's that secret commission meeting rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of paring back Social Security, and -- what a good idea! -- Privatizing part of it into the stock market.

    It's the economy, stupid. And the lies don't help.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 12:20AM | 0 recs
    RE: Oh if only Obama would lead!

    lol.  You're a card.  Honestly, this is good stuff.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 12:45AM | 2 recs
    RE: Oh if only Obama would lead!

    The pumas, firebaggers, whatever are one of the best things about this place!

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 09:18AM | 2 recs
    RE: Oh if only Obama would lead!

    Can you get past your nauseating namecalling here?  It violates the rules and the repition of them every other post is getting to be beyond boring.

    by Jerome Armstrong 2010-05-10 12:27PM | 0 recs
    But Obot is okay

    See, below. Also, PUMA was used upthread, before me, without criticism. We touched on this very same issue a few days ago, where it was OK for a PUMA to call someone a f***ing idiot, but not okay for others to use the same language.

    I appreciate your effort to moderate, but it rerally requires very little effort to do it without prejudice.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 12:42PM | 2 recs
    RE: But Obot is okay

    You can't call a PUMA a PUMA, or a Blog Bircher a Blog Bircher, but Kent and judybrown can whine and cry doom to their heart's content (even though the term "contented libeal blogger" is an oxymoron)


    Don't you just love MyDD?

    by spirowasright 2010-05-11 12:20AM | 2 recs
    Check out this exchange

    This one is a classic. I have to make sure I save it.

    It started by Steve M, joking that Jane Hamsher is going to call for Dennis Kucinich to be primaried after he changed his position to support HCR.

    My only question: Is Grover Norquist inside the tent too?

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-11 07:32PM | 2 recs
    Cat Food Commission cutting Social Security, in secret

    As usual, the Obamabots are not following the issues, ignoring the facts, or don't give a damn about the constituency involved.

    Which is stupid, of course, because the constituency that hates the idea of cutting Social Security is, oh, just about everyone (except the uber-wealthy crazy conservatives and Blue Dogs like Obama.)

    "President Obama has packed the Debt Commission (also known as the cat food commission) with members who have an overwhelming history of support for both benefit cuts and privatization of Social Security.

    The “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform” is operating in secret over the objections of both parties."

    And now instead of dealing with the facts,reading the links... wait for it, an Obamabot chorus of "Jane Hamsher is..." (fill in the blank with an empty taunt the equivalent of the right wing nut's "Michael Moore is fat!")

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 01:48PM | 0 recs
    RE: Cat Food Commission cutting Social Security, in secret

    Heh.  You're half-cocked.  Ready, Fire, Aim!

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 03:17PM | 2 recs
    Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    Like I said, Obamabot insists on links, facts! and when supplied with 'em, responds -- not with links to facts that would support his argument, but with another round of what he believes to be a slur.

    Oh and by the by, I didn't use the term "Obamabot" until I'd been accused of being a "Puma." (That's soooo '09, and in my case, not even inaccurate.)

    Whereas "Obamabot" fits like a glove.



    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 03:40PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    Ooops, typo.

    Again, although I made it clear waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up the thread, I never supported Hillary for the Presidency (although, more and more, it appears there was nothing wrong with that.)

    However, it's apparently what Obamabots consider a slur to be applied to any woman with an opinion above a certain age.


    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 03:47PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    To be frank, I don't even know what the hell you're talking about here.  Sorry.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 04:34PM | 1 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    I said you were half-cocked, and well, you plainly are.  It's not a slur, it's simply an observation of the obvious.

    I'm not anymore an 'Obamabot' than the next average Dem.  He's done plenty I don't much care for, done some things differently than I'd like, is moving too slow for me on some fronts, and holds some positions that I disagree with vehemently.  That said, he's doing pretty much exactly what I expected he'd do as a center-left conciliator and pragmatist POTUS.

    Anyone who thought Obama was going to be some kind of super-aggressive progressive dynamo must've had their head in a barrel for the duration of the Presidential primaries and general.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 04:00PM | 1 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    Obama espoused a mix of lefty and centrist positions during the campaign.

    the problem isn't that he has some centrist positions - it's that those centrist ones are the only ones he's willing to twist arms for.

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 04:12PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    I tend to think that the 'arm twisting' claims as to whether he does too much or too little on various issues along the ideological spectrum are far too subjective to substantiate.  Besides, arm twisting isn't the go-to tool of a conciliator.  Again, my expectations in this regard have not been upended.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 04:25PM | 1 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    in other words: "i'm going to ignore evidence I don't like" *sticks fingers in ears*


    ok, lets try this: if we colelctively list issues/policies where Obama is governing to the left of where he campaigned, and ones where he is governing to the right of where he campaigned, which column would you think is bigger?

    If you understand that, you will understand the problem some of us progressives have with him. We knew he wasn't reflecting what we wanted on every issue.

    But he seems to be fighting the hardest for, and moving toward the more rightward part of the spectrum of what he campaigned on. 

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 06:02PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    in other words: "i'm going to ignore evidence I don't like" *sticks fingers in ears*

    I've no idea how you got that out of what I said.  Point is, we can debate strategy, optics, and tactical maneuvers all you like but it's the results and how they affect the grand scheme for the overall future that I care most about.  At this level, he's doing about what I expected when I pulled the lever for him.

    I've got my share of disappointments too, but the difference between me and many of the 'us progressives' you allude to is that I expected some disappointment along the way.  I'm a progressive who recognizes that we're not an especially large or powerful part of our own party, let alone the electorate.

    But he seems to be fighting the hardest for, and moving toward the more rightward part of the spectrum of what he campaigned on.

    Seems, or is?  This is what I meant when I said it was often subjective.  Seems that way to you, a lot apparantly.  Seems that way to me too, but maybe less often than you.  He seems like a pinko commie to the redneck dipshits I went to high school with.  It's a matter of perspective.

    Listen, I don't intend to dissuade advocacy for issues that progressives care about, I just think we ought to know what the fuck we're talking about when we do it.  I'm not saying 'Trust Obama implicitly' on everything he does, I'm saying it's counter-productive to embody the caricature of a tree-hugging numbskull who jumps to wild and premature conclusions without even a basic understanding of the reality.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 06:40PM | 1 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    you basically said that you were not going to entertain arguments that Obama had mostly been arm-twisting progressives instead of cnetrists/conservaves, because it is too "subjective".

    yes, declaring that the evidence is no good before being presented with the evidence is sticking your fingers in your ears.


    again, you are setting up and knocking down a big 'ole strawman. you are trying to frame the issue of whether any dissapointment is enough to stop supporting Obama. I've made it pretty darn clear that my problem is not that he has broken some promises or changed stances on some things; instead, the problem is that it has been in (almost) all in one direction - to the right.

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 07:15PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    you basically said that you were not going to entertain arguments that Obama had mostly been arm-twisting progressives instead of cnetrists/conservaves, because it is too "subjective".

    No, basically, that's wrong.  I've entertained many of these arguments, and as I alluded to before, agree with some of them.  I'd have liked to have seen him exert more pressure during the Healthcare storm.  I'd also like to see him beat the shit out of Karl Rove on Pay-Per-View, I'm just not as convinced as you are that either would've produce tanglible enough results to significantly advance progressive causes.

    yes, declaring that the evidence is no good before being presented with the evidence is sticking your fingers in your ears.

    Awesome.  Except that's not what I did.  I didn't declare any evidence 'no good', I just don't place as much stock in all of it as you do.  I've considered most reasonable criticism, and much has merit.  It's the unreasonable criticism I can do without.  Suggesting that Obama hates gay people because DADT hasn't been squashed yet, for example, is one I see a lot.

    In some cases, what you see as the arm-twisting of progressives is what I'd call a concensus building President exerting pressure where he can (i.e. where it can actually work) to move things along, however incrementally or potentially disappointing it may be to us progressives.  That's his job.  I expected it.

    you are trying to frame the issue of whether any dissapointment is enough to stop supporting Obama.

    Uh, what?  I support some of Obama's actions, others I criticize, others I keep mum on because I don't know enough about them.  You don't want to support Obama?  Want to join the Green Party, or form a new party?  You or anyone else are welcome to have at it.  At this point, It's just not for me.

    the problem is that it has been in (almost) all in one direction - to the right.

    Sure, some has been to the right...of you and me.  Two tiny little people in a smallish, realtively weak faction of the Democratic party.  Maybe we can form our own little progressive country, and together we can impeach him.  Or better, we could work together to help elect more progressives and/or advocate for progressive issues in a way that doesn't completely freakin' alienate people who would otherwise be happy to help us out. Saying that Obama is a lair 'cuz he's puttin' in 27 new oil rigs in the gulf is demonstrably false, and I fail to see how it's helpful.


    by fogiv 2010-05-10 08:12PM | 1 recs
    oh please

    "Maybe we can form our own little progressive country, and together we can impeach him."

    If you are going to say things like that, then I'm pretty sure you are not intersted in a real discussion. You are positioning yourself against an absurd argument I never made, to try to make yourself look sensible by comparison. 

    My argument has been that where Obama has deviated from where he was during the campaign, it has almost all been to the right. How you twist that into "Sure, some has been to the right...of you and me.", I do not know.

    I hope you are not willfully missing the distinction between Obama going rightward from himself during the campaign and him just being to the right of us.

    Again, the discussion was about the legitimacy of progressive dissapointment and whether those of us upset with the president are legitimately upset or have some sort of "PUMA, Obama-derrangement syndrome (as NoFortunateSon likes to say).

    To be clear, I don't want to start a new party, and I don't want to leave the Dems. I simply want the Dems to start feeling pressure from the left because I believe that politicians respond more to pressure than to no pressure.

    I don't understand why it is so controversial here to want to hold leaders accountable for taking positions we disagree with. As a voter/donor/volunteer, the way I can do that is threaten to (and actually do, if I must) withold my vote, money, and time. I simply don't see how calling people who want better policies "PUMA's, derranged, Obama-haters" or whatever, helps us entice our leaders to pursue better policies.

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 08:51PM | 0 recs
    RE: oh please

    You are positioning yourself against an absurd argument I never made, to try to make yourself look sensible by comparison.

    Actually, that's a fair assessment.  I'm being attacked rather insensibly on another front, and I let my frustration flow into my reply to you.  For that, I apologize.

    I hope you are not willfully missing the distinction between Obama going rightward from himself during the campaign and him just being to the right of us.

    No, I'm not.  I'll put this in bold, so nobody can miss it this time:  I've been disappointed when then that's happened too.  Every time Obama talks about 'clean coal', I punch a pillow.  Healthcare was a huge disappointment for me, though I still applaud passage as movement in the overall correct direction.  Lots of little things have me plenty pissed off.

    ...the discussion was about the legitimacy of progressive dissapointment and whether those of us upset with the president are legitimately upset or have some sort of "PUMA, Obama-derrangement syndrome.

    Honestly, I think it's a mixed bag.  When I see criticisms that aren't reality based (i.e. Obama is letting 27 new rigs drill or Obama hates gay people), it's hard to not see some derangement there.  There's plenty of room for criticism, but let's face it:  Politifact has Obama keeping 110 of his campaign promises, compromising on 34, and breaking 19.  82 are rated as stalled, and 256 are in the works.  Less than a year and a half in, that's a record I can live with big picture-wise.  Living with it doesn't mean we shouldn't be critical, and it doesn't mean we shouldn't advocate for our causes, but still that's not too shabby.  At the end of the day, I think its far better to view Obama as an ally who needs our smart activism than it is to declare him an enemy.

    To be clear, I don't want to start a new party, and I don't want to leave the Dems. I simply want the Dems to start feeling pressure from the left because I believe that politicians respond more to pressure than to no pressure.

    Then we are 100% in agreement.  I think pressure is best when it's informed, guided, and properly placed.  Like you say, we should hold our leaders accountable.  I just think we have to know what we're talking about when we do it.  Spouting tenuous crap, or outright lies like the left-wing version of a teabagger isn't helpful in the long run.  I'm not accusing you of this, just saying generally.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 09:44PM | 1 recs
    RE: oh please

    ok, I can agree with what you say above. I think we have figured out that our views on the matters are closer than it may have seemed at first.

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 09:59PM | 2 recs
    RE: oh please


    by fogiv 2010-05-10 10:22PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    Like I said, no facts, no reasonable argument, nothing concrete to link to, just slur.


    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 05:24PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    Yep.  Like you said.  Except now it's twice as stupid, as there is no slur, and despite my having explained the reality of the situation to you, you remain as vacant as before.  One cannot draw blood from a stone, and while I appreciate your being on my team, you're obviously the stone.  At best, much of your criticisms are premature and counter-productive.  At worst, their just ignorant.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 06:47PM | 1 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    what's with people in this thread?

    "twice as stupid, as there is no slur" is right up there with Judy's "how dare you Obots slur me?!"

    Come on people. lets try to keep this civil.

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 07:17PM | 0 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    Mind you, this is a response to her repeated 'slur' claims, which now appear to be veering into 'disagreement with me equals misogyny' territory.  Further, I'm not saying she's stupid, just that what she said was stupid.  Sure, it's a fine line, but there's a distinction there nonetheless.

    by fogiv 2010-05-10 07:25PM | 1 recs
    RE: Got no facts, no reasonable argument, reply with slur.

    I offer facts, with links to those facts.

    "President Obama has packed the Debt Commission (also known as the cat food commission) with members who have an overwhelming history of support for both benefit cuts and privatization of Social Security.

    The “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform” is operating in secret over the objections of both parties."

    And you respond with "half-cocked" instead of responding with, for instance, a viable refutation that the members of this commission have a history of support for both benefit cuts and privatization of Social Security --and yes, to be taken seriously you must show your work, the links, etc.

    Members of Congress -- from both parties --protest the secrecy of the Commission, and you respond with only "half-cocked."

    If you have evidence otherwise that the Commission isn't secret, we'd need to see it. Or, if you were you referring to the penis size of the Congressmen protesting the secrecy, we'd also love to see that evidence.

    This has been a basic lesson in reasoned argument, wasted, I'm sure, on an Obamabot.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 08:33PM | 0 recs
    If it's "lazy" to expect the truth from the President

    then up is down, and black is white.

    Obama didn't just "set expectations high" -- he has lied. On multiple issues, over and over and over.

    And how the hell does any Obamabot know how hard another Democrat has worked?

    He doesn't, but apparently, we're not allowed to notice when the Commander in Chief lied, that's somehow "lazy."

    Obama got voted in on his lies, so that's better than having a Republican as president -- but the lies are catching up with him in the mid-terms with a base dispirited by their expectation that their President would have told the truth.

    Attack the dispirited base, if you like, for being dispirited, but that won't turn them out at the polls.

    I'll probably be doing what I've been doing for decades: working to get Democrats into office, who then sell us out.

    But that's just me, you've got to worry about the other Democratic voters dispirited by lies and lack of performance on promises made, who are already telling pollsters they're going to sit on their hands when it comes time to vote.


    by judybrowni 2010-05-09 06:30PM | 0 recs
    Didn't Samuel Clemens say something about arguing with a puma?

    Anyhow, I will try to explain this to you. As much as you wish Obama had lied to you, when he promisses to repeal DADT by the end of the year, and you are still 7+ months away from the end of the year, it's not a lie.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-09 10:43PM | 0 recs
    It's the lies, stupid

    WH Deputy Chief of Staff Messina shut down DADT repeal in February at secret mtg, days after President promised repeal this year in SOTU

    'disturbed by multiple reports' that Obama admin. is urging congress not to vote on DADT this year, asks Obama to keep his promise

    Pelosi calls for Obama to stop discharging gay servicemembers immediately

    Dick Cheney today said it's time to end DADT. Obama admin officials today said let's wait a few years.

    It's the lies, stupid -- and the damage they cause, of course.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 01:01AM | 0 recs
    RE: It's the lies, stupid

    Let me try and explain this very simple concept to you one more time: if the President says he's going to do something by the end of the year, and it's not the end of the year yet (not even close), then it's not a lie -- it's an unfulfilled promise.

    So why don't you calm down, double your dosage, and stop reading such invective nonsense based on hearsay, speculation, and multiple unnamed sources, and wait for, you know, the end of the year.

    Then, if Obama had indeed broken his promise, come back here with all your rage.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 09:15AM | 2 recs
    RE: It's the lies, stupid
    Let me make it simple for you: "WH Deputy Chief of Staff Messina shut down DADT repeal in February at secret mtg, days after President promised repeal this year in SOTU" "Dick Cheney today said it's time to end DADT. Obama admin officials today said let's wait a few years." Is it new glasses needed, or reading comprehension? I suspect "There are none so blind as those who will not see." It's the lies, stupid, and in this case the stupid lies, when the majority of this country favors repeal. Poll: No political risk in 'don't ask' repeal

    Read more: "By a 2-to-1 margin, voters said that in a time of war it was important to include every possible person in the military, whether or not they are gay. In contrast, fewer voters expressed support for holding back a change because it might affect morale.  “Voters do think this is a national security issue and think that the military will be stronger” by including gays, Greenberg said."

    Read more:'t like that messenger? "Democrats favor repeal 72-23, and independents back repeal 56-37." Even 40% of Republicans favor repeal.
    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 02:43PM | 0 recs
    You believe everything you read on the Internet?

    I think we've found the source of your profound problems. Drudgeico? secret meetings? multiple unnamed sources? You are believing all the speculation you read on the internet.

    In the mean time, Obama has until the end of the year. You can't construct some fantasy where you string together nonsense to prove that Obama isn't going to do something well before he promised to do it by.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 04:41PM | 1 recs
    RE: You believe everything you read on the Internet? HA HA!

    Let me get this straight: you're making a "kill the messenger argument"? HA HA HA HA!

    Really? You're that clean out of anything resembling a reasonable argument?

    Well, I certainly don't believe you, there's no basis for that, and you are on the internet.

    But a multiplicity of polls, done by established, reliable pollsters, which happen to have been reported on the internet (as well as in print, tv, radio, etc.)

    Yeah, sure, they've got my attention.

    Whereas your weak ploy has simply earned my contempt, on the internet.

    As for fantasies, yeah you've got 'em, and nothing upon nothing to back 'em up, so yeah, I'm going to go with the facts.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 05:35PM | 0 recs
    I'd love to believe in your fantasy

    Let me be clear: I'd love to believe in your fantasy that Obama will make a repeal of DADT happen this year.

    Love it, but then again, everybody loves fairy tales because they always have a happy ending.

    But nobody actually believes in fairy tales beyond a certain age.

    Because after childhood, we're better off assessing the evidence, and there's much evidence Obama makes noises to loop in voters, and then backs off acting on what he's said, or actively works against what he's promised.

    I'm grateful his lies elected a Democratic President and helped elect a Democratic majority in Congress -- although I would have been much happier if they'd been the truth, not the least because following through would have improved the lives of the American people and because those lies are losing major segments the Democratic base in the midterms.


    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 06:06PM | 0 recs
    Please give me evidence Obama is working on DADT repeal

    I beg you, any evidence, please.

    Other than what he said five months ago.

    Any evidence whatsoever that he's working for, and toward, repeal of DADT since then.

    I'd love to believe, also.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 07:07PM | 0 recs
    RE: It's the lies, stupid

    Hey Judi-

    Just how long have you and Kent been dating?

    by spirowasright 2010-05-10 01:38PM | 1 recs
    RE: It's the lies, stupid

    No sure who Kent is, but like I said elsewhere, Obamabots without facts or a reasonable argument on their side, substitute with what they believe to be a slur.

    Especially, if that slur can be directed to a woman.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 05:22PM | 0 recs
    It's the lack of facts, stupid

    No offense, but you are the one without facts.

    You claim Obama is not going to repeal DADT by the end of the year, based on Drudgeico reporting from "multiple unnamed sources".

    Of course, you could wait until the end of the year for the WH to not act, or for the WH to make a statement. But it's so much easier to just be angry at the world!

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 07:18PM | 1 recs
    Still waiting for evidence Obama is working for DADT repeal

    Where are your links, of some evidence, any evidence that Obama is working for the repeal of DADT, other than empty words in a speech.

    Something? Anything? I'm waiting..........................

    About right now, I suppose you want to ask me again about my dating life with some complete stranger.

    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 08:16PM | 0 recs
    Yes, a lie

    You're apparently not following this issue at all, are you?

    The White House has made it clear they will not, are not in support of working to repeal DADT this year.

    Any work in the House on the repeal of DADT this year has received a pushback from the White House against just that.

    Everyone in Washington is aware of that, anyone who follows this issue is aware of that, anyone who reads the news on this issue, it's been made clear by the White House in press conference after press conference in recent months.

    I'd be thrilled if Obama followed through on that promise, but he's made it damn clear he won't.

    Great move to dispirit yet another section of the base, not only gays themselves, but their friends and relatives.

    Who are aware, if you're not, that if we lose just about any seats in the midterms at all, then DADT also won't be repealed in the coming years, either.

    It's a twofer: spitting in the face of a Democrat constituency, and losing the House!

    Well played, Mr. President!



    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 12:12AM | 0 recs
    RE: The President at Hampton University

    I'm glad I'm an independent.

    On one side, you've got a Republcina party that's in the process of degenerating from a political organization to a cult, and on the side, you've got a Democratic party that has to rally a base represented by a bunch of internet junkies who wouldn't be pleased if everything they wanted were handed to them on a silver platter.


    I'm not an Obama fan, but I like blackwaterdog's posts at dkos as much as the most ardent Obamabot, especially after seeing him constantly hung out for target practice here.

    by spirowasright 2010-05-10 12:44AM | 1 recs
    It's the enthusiasm gap, stupid

    So that 20 percent enthusiasm gap between Republican voters and Democratic voters is composed of "internet junkies."

    Yeah, insulting the Democratic base who are fed up with lies, inaction, or push back against the issues that affect their very lives -- yeah, that'll turn out the midterm vote!

    About as effective as the President's lies have been this year.

    The progressive "frustration" at Obama's lies have as much to do with the harm they cause in American's lives, as the damage they're doing to the Democratic party.

    A twofer: increase suffering, and drive the voters away from the polls!


    by judybrowni 2010-05-10 02:54PM | 0 recs
    Why is it so hard for some of you

    to believe that many of us are upset with the President because of his substantive actions instead of some irrational anti-Obama hatred?

    some of us were among his biggest supporters and have just simply become upset at Obama's lack of fighting for progressive issues that we thought he would champion.

    Others were never big supporters, but still don't like many of the things he's done/not done based on real, substantive objections.

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 02:17PM | 0 recs
    That's all true.

    You know that there were many times where I expressed disappointment and have been critical. And I admire many who have made substantive objections.

    Accusing Obama of lying about doing something before he said he would do it isn't substantive. It's hysterical.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 04:44PM | 1 recs
    RE: That's all true.

    There are those who feel that they have been misled and I think those feelings are valid. Perhaps you weren't among those but there are a number of Obama supporters who supported him early on in the primaries who feel betrayed.

    I'm not one of those since I was an Edwards then Clinton supporter but I know plenty of people who are having buyer's remorse.


    by Charles Lemos 2010-05-10 04:59PM | 0 recs
    I believe they are all valid, too.

    I worked for the Obama campaign. If I was to have chosen a person in the primary based on proximity to my political beliefs, it would have been Dennis Kucinich.

    For the record, I never disliked Edwards. There was always something offputting about him that I could never put my finger on. Was that a disaster averted!

    Anyhow, I believe feelings of being misled are completely valid. And I say this as someone who worked on the campaign.

    To a lesser extent, people did project their own wishes and beliefs on to Obama. However, to a greater extent, Obama did nothing to tamp down many of those expectations. Listening carefully to his opinions, I never doubted that Obama wasn't outside of mainstream in the United States, yet I can fully understand why so many believed he was a true progressive.

    And this is why silly things like the public option exploded into blogosphere armageddon. The public option was one very clear example of Obama being a pragmatist instead of a progressive.

    I've been let down by politicians on the left all my life. Vote Democrat and get angry, vote Republican and get f***ed, right? My expectations for Obama were never much greater.

    I understand that when people become angry, over feelings of profound disappointment, they can become irrational. Ralph Nader is a classic example. I remember working on the Gore campaign in 2000 with respondants telling me, and I quote, that they "see no difference between Al Gore and George Bush". So easily we lose perspective. These days, those same people wouldchampion Al Gore as a hero of the left.

    We are evaluating a President 1 year and 4 months into a 4 (and hopefully 8) year term. If Obama is one thing, he is someone who sees the long term approach. I have never seen a President held to a higher and more stringent standard by the left, despite accomplishing so much.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 07:14PM | 2 recs
    RE: I believe they are all valid, too.

    Again with the "[you people] believed he was a true progressive" and calling people "irrational".

    Stop it. Just stop it please.

    Again, Obama espoused a mix of centrist and progressive ideals during the campaign. Many of us just feel like the centrist parts are getting undue focus and vigor compared to the more progressive ideals. You are mischaracterizing many of our positions when you suggest that we thought he was a "true progressive".

    by jeopardy 2010-05-10 08:59PM | 0 recs

    I think you need to re-read the post I made.

    However you interpreted my reply, the real intent of my response was to agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments espoused above by you and Charles, here and elsewhere.

    yet I can fully understand why so many believed he was a true progressive.

    by NoFortunateSon 2010-05-10 09:07PM | 0 recs


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