Democrats assail Obama for failure to shed "elect"

"At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time," Frank said. "I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He's got to remedy that situation."

Don't get me wrong, Barney Frank et al. are some of my favorite congressfolk. But such emboldened, titanium-spined Democrats were a sparse commodity when the Republicans decided to strip us of our civil liberties, send our troops into an illegal war, gut critical government agencies, yada...yada...yada...now we're completely screwed and our economy is in shambles too.

So here they are, some of Washington DC's best, lamenting to the press that the President-Elect has not exercised his power of the coup by stepping into the executive role immediately. Granted, the current person in that office is about as useful as a warm bucket of spit, and Obama's clearly got the stuff to be steward, but this is usually the moment when President-Elects are measuring the proverbial drapes. Instead, these Democrats are wondering why Obama has yet to fix the economy.

That's not the standard protocol. As the AP reports:

Presidents-elect typically spend the transition period assembling their cabinets, their White House staff and preparing to take the reins of power.

"Typically" is understating things a bit. The inauguration has always preceded the presidency. This type of peaceful, constitutional transfer of power is one of our democracy's most trumpeted virtues.

And Presidents don't act alone. With the exception of the current one, they enjoy a bottomless well of experts, gurus and support at their disposal. And, as President, Obama will receive all the genius advice his prodigious brain can handle. Without these tools and his Executive powers, which are the output of a completed transition, Obama is pretty much just another President-Elect.

Frustration with the sitting President and the impotence of their own reflections should evoke the disdain of Obama's former Congressional colleagues. Instead, they lash out at the President-Elect in an act reminiscent of the circularly firing McCain campaign. Perhaps they should hold their fire at least until January 21. By then, Joe Lieberman will probably have their backs.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, President-Elect (all tags)

Comments

40 Comments

Re: Democrats assail Obama

I agree that we only have 1 president at a time, as much as it stresses us out with Bush's policies crumbling down around our ears. Obama has a tricky and delicate balancing act to maintain until Jan. 20. It would be detrimental to his policies after he's sworn in as president to be labled presumptuous now. He's doing all he can in the meantime, sending strong signals of what to expect in terms of assembling a crack administrative team, which in and of itself is doing alot to hold things together until he takes over.

by phoenixdreamz 2008-12-05 01:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats assail Obama

What do these retards want?   We didn't elect him king.  He has no power at this point.  He can't sign a damn thing.  He can't appoint, annoint, decree, nothing.  

Seriously, what do they think he can do?

If I am not mistaken, he has already resigned his Senate seat, so he has no ability in that Chamber to effect things at this point either.

We have to wait just a little over a month.   Simmer down and wait.

by RichardFlatts 2008-12-05 04:12AM | 0 recs
Barney Frank is looking to deflect

He should be run out of Congress on a rail in the next election.  He was one of the guys who was supposed to have the power of oversight and the ability to effect the banking industry.   He has been looking the other way the whole time in the lead up to this mess, doing the bidding of his puppet masters on Wall St.

Barney, you suck.   You "fix" it.

by RichardFlatts 2008-12-05 04:15AM | 0 recs
I know why *I* voted Obama

The man is a Constitutional scholar, and anyone who was paying attention during the excessively long campaign season knew it.  Does anyone really expect a man who reveres and studies the highest law of the land to act in an effective coup before he's even given the power officially by practiced tradition?  Wouldn't that be, you know, high treason?

He's done a pretty good job so far of mitigating the damage with the tools he has available... which aren't that many yet.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-05 04:27AM | 0 recs
Dear Congressional Democrats

Obama is not yet president. If this statement baffles you, do back to high school civics class. Until January 20th at noon, you will need to TAKE INITIATIVE and do things yourselves.

Trying to take charge early would not only be outside the boundary of law, it would diminish Obama's well-earned reputation of being calm, rational, deliberate, and focussed - remember, these qualities have been in very short supply at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for the past 8 years.

So, Barney and pals, either pipe-down until Obama is sworn in, or grow a spine and take care of business yourselves. Last time I checked, the congress could still pass laws without asking permission from the president.

by Daryl Northrop 2008-12-05 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats assail Obama

Barney Frank proves he's a tool.

by obama4presidente 2008-12-05 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats assail Obama for failure to sh

Obviously, the Democrats are a deeply divided party. Obama will have a very difficult task in pulling the party together when he gives his acceptance speech in Denver. This is good news for McCain.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-12-05 05:50AM | 0 recs
"his acceptance speech in Denver." ?????

by Daryl Northrop 2008-12-05 05:54AM | 0 recs
Re:

...obvious snark.

by devilrays 2008-12-05 06:59AM | 0 recs
Or bad trolls

by iohs2008 2008-12-05 08:48AM | 0 recs
We're DOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMEEEDD

Again!

by Bob Miller 2008-12-05 08:13AM | 0 recs
Barney always talks too much

In a sane world, his coffee cup would say "I should STFU". I'm baffled as to how he gets elected.

But to this specific issue, I'd say the solution is simple: Barney Frank should assume the Presidency.

Why not? At least he's an elected official, Obama isn't even a Senator at this point. Since we're proposing a coup, lets at least give the power to someone who thinks the old, democratic way of changing the guard is outmoded. Someone who understands the bold new consensus-free style of government Frank seems to espouse.

Moreover, Congressman Frank should also assume the 2012 Presidency, because if we can't wait 2 months god knows we can't wait 4 years.

by Neef 2008-12-05 05:53AM | 0 recs
Funniest comment I've read in ages n/t

by Bob Sackamento 2008-12-05 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Barney always talks too much

I don't see what is stopping these Democratic senators with a lot of experience from taking their own initiative, come up with a proposal and submit it to Obama's team for his benefit. Why not make Obama's transition easier on him.  Barney Frank and Dodd need to stop their whining and get to work.

by Pravin 2008-12-05 08:54AM | 0 recs
Because that would require

initiative and accountability.

Bush has trained our people to cringe on demand.

by Neef 2008-12-05 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats assail Obama

We don't need two presidents.

We need one Senate Majority Leader.

by Bush Bites 2008-12-05 08:29AM | 0 recs
Ouch

Painful but so true.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-05 08:34AM | 0 recs
Carl Levin and Dodd are quoted in that article too

Well, there is nothing in the constitution PREVENTING Obama and his people from weighing in. You would think he would jump at the chance of being kept in the loop earlier than normal. These times require people to think outside the box.

Having said that, I actually agree with most of the people here that the senators remarks need more discretion. It's one thing for an insignificant blogger like I do put up a diary. It's another for Democratic senators to make comments negative of  their President Elect .

Levin at least kept his comments to a minimum.
While I have expressed similar sentiments too in my diary, I do think it is in bad taste for Barney Frank and Dodd to speak out in public like this. These guys have access to Obama. if they had problems, these guys should make their concerns known to Obama in private. Dodd blindly supported Lieberman, yet has the courage to criticize Obama. Why not freaking talk to him in private? These senators are a funny lot.

by Pravin 2008-12-05 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Carl Levin and Dodd

I do not think it was disrespectful, except maybe of Bush.  My interpretation of the comments goes something like "look, we see your point with this one president at a time thing, but that assumes the outgoing president is doing his job which he isn't."

The goal right now is to have a stimulus bill for Obama to sign on day one, which means there needs to be some work done ahead of time to make sure Congress and the White House are on the same page.  Having said that, it seems to me that Obama has moved very rapidly to put together his leadership team, particularly the economic advisors.  So I'm not sure it's fair to expect Obama to have done much more by this point.

Time genuinely is of the essence right now, but Obama seems to understand that.  He's not hanging out at the ranch, sipping umbrella drinks.

by Steve M 2008-12-05 09:27AM | 0 recs
or clearing brush...

or playing golf...or eating birthday cake with McCain...

by Bob Sackamento 2008-12-05 09:36AM | 0 recs
The problem is

that the outgoing President's job performance is kind of irrelevant. There is a method for transfer of power, and that method should not bow to circumstance.

How would it look if Dick Cheney were to suddenly decide he was in charge, and start making policy? Certainly in any situation where the President is unable to fulfill his duty, Cheney has a better claim than Obama (at this point).

If Bush is just THAT bad, Frank should be pushing for impeachment, not suggesting that the President's authority be shared by someone else.

by Neef 2008-12-05 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The problem is

Who's making policy?  Clearly Barney Frank is not saying that Obama needs to start issuing executive orders or giving commands to the troops in Iraq.

I thought I was pretty fair towards Obama in my comment, and I have no idea why people are erecting such massive strawmen.  Upthread, someone claimed that Frank is encouraging Obama to commit "high treason."

by Steve M 2008-12-05 11:18AM | 0 recs
Sigh

I don't know what anyone's asking in their heart of hearts, but Obama acting as president before the transition is completed is a violation of the law of the land; not only that but it's a coup of sorts.  Thus, "high treason."

I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole to make my point.  Sheesh.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-05 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh

Could you explain to me what exactly you think Barney Frank is asking Obama to do that would violate the Constitution?  I'm looking for details, not just "act as President."  Because I'm pretty sure he's not expecting Obama to walk into the White House tomorrow and start giving orders.

by Steve M 2008-12-05 11:39AM | 0 recs
That's the point

It's not clear WHAT Senator Frank wants President-Elect Obama to do.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-05 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: That's the point

Well, if that's the case we should probably err on the side of assuming that Frank wants Obama to do something that is actually constitutional.

However, I think it actually is clear what Frank wants Obama to do.  He wants Obama to weigh in on the issue that is currently being debated between Congress and the White House: whether the money being requested by the auto companies can come from the money already allocated to the TARP program, or whether Congress needs to pass a new bill that allocates additional money.

Obama could certainly weigh in on this as a matter of principle, and state his intentions assuming there's any money left in the TARP program on January 20, even before taking office.  However, my impression is that he is in fact getting involved in this process, he's just doing it somewhat quietly rather than employing the bully pulpit, which is fine with me.

by Steve M 2008-12-05 12:20PM | 0 recs
I just don't see what he has to gain from that

Say he does make a stand, with no actual authority to back it up.  It would be then easy for his rivals (being the people now in power in the White House) to do something else, thereby handing him a defeat before he's even taken the Oath of Office.

I'm just fine with Obama not making a principled stand before he's president: not if doing so would sacrifice any iota of his ability or public mandate to take care of business after he's president for real.

You are probably right, though, that he's twisting some arms behind the scenes.  I bet he's good at that.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-05 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: I just don't see what he has to gain from that

What he has to gain is that maybe the auto companies won't fail and put a couple million more unemployed people out on the streets.

I mean, maybe this all depends on whether you really think there's an emergency situation here.

by Steve M 2008-12-05 12:56PM | 0 recs
As you point out

he's probably doing this already.

Which makes it all the more baffling what Frank is excoriating him for not doing, and why such a very public opinion wasn't expressed on a phone call.

by Neef 2008-12-05 01:02PM | 0 recs
I don't know.

Reads to me like he wants Obama to fill the void left by Bush, which would require him to assume the role of President:

"At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time," Frank said. "I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He's got to remedy that situation."

I want Obama to fill Bush's void too, starting eight years ago. But, as they say back home: "if ifs were fifths, we'd all be drunk."

by Bob Sackamento 2008-12-05 12:21PM | 0 recs
I don't know what Barney is asking for

But I know that even Barney thinks it steps on our current President's toes. The quote is pretty obviously saying "Bush is not being a President, you do it". Even you thought it was somewhat disrespectful to Bush.

Now this is all well and good when "Yay Obama" is next at bat, and "Boo Bush" is on the way out. But the precedent is awful, and yes the implications are damn near treasonous.

If Bush is so bad impeach the sumbitch. I can't stand him, I'd back that action 100%. But until you impeach the current President, stop asking other people to usurp any portion or fraction of his authority in any way. I like my government orderly. I do not at all like the version of government Barney Frank seems to believe in, where you do things because it seems like a good idea at the time.

by Neef 2008-12-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't know what Barney is asking for

Well, that's two votes for treason, this one apparently not hyperbolic.  Come on, you guys, be realistic.

by Steve M 2008-12-05 12:22PM | 0 recs
Well, to be fair

I said "damn near". I had a gun go off once, damn near killed me... =)

As far as realism, geez, what do you want? Some Congressman asks the President elect to, you know, sort of take over and it's all cherry? If it were Obama going out and some hated GOPer coming in, the boards would be lit up over such a comment.

by Neef 2008-12-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats assail Obama
The repubs are already trying to put the blame on Obama for the situation.  Two weeks ago, Limbaugh was calling this the "Obama Recession."  Yesterday, John Gibson said loudly and clearly that "nothing is happening in Washington with out Obhama's approval."  He also said that, "Bush has even conceeded that point."
They are doing everything they can to try and tie this junk on our Pres-Elect.  
We just need to follow his "no-drama" lead (as hard as it is for me.
by lqbruin 2008-12-05 10:26AM | 0 recs
If you think Limbaugh's absurd

Wait till you hear his minions, running about claiming that the reason Dubya couldn't "fix things" (over a period of  8 freakin' years) was because the Clintons "screwed things up" so badly. Where does one even begin to correct a dipsh*t of this sort?

For someone that indulges in lies, distortions, rabble-rousing, character assassinations, etc. with such regularity and over so long a period of time, you'd think karma would have buried his worthless hide a few hundred times over by now.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-05 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats assail Obama

What a foll Frank and some of the Democrats are.  Why don't they do their job?  Obama isn't the President yet.  What, are they babies?  Do they need Obama to tell them what to do?

What a joke.

by RussTC3 2008-12-05 11:55AM | 0 recs
fool, I meant fool

by RussTC3 2008-12-05 11:55AM | 0 recs
I agree.

He was never elected by the people.He stole the nomination away from Hillary.For the first time in a long time I agree with Mr.Frank.He should shed the elect label because it never belonged to him in the first place.

by KnoxVow 2008-12-05 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree.

KnowVox?

Really?

Wow.

by spacemanspiff 2008-12-05 04:06PM | 0 recs
I do love me some crazy

it's the spice of the Internet!

by Neef 2008-12-05 11:14PM | 0 recs

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