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Intro: "If every Democratic president disappoints, maybe there's something wrong with our expectations. Tough love from a fellow traveler."

Former US President Bill Clinton, circa 1993. (photo: Steve Liss/Liaison)
Former US President Bill Clinton, circa 1993. (photo: Steve Liss/Liaison)

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+141 # Richard Raznikov 2011-11-25 18:06
My best guess is that Chait isn't paying attention. Since some of us are, perhaps we can enlighten him. First, Obama had a landslide victory and workable majorities in both houses. He did not make any use of this, instead capitulating to the GOP on every issue without a fight. He backed off on closing Guantanamo. He did not end the war in Iraq. He did not end domestic surveillance –– in fact, he has increased it. He issued a death list of foreign nationals and authorized their murder by the CIA. He did not allow the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy to expire but instead acted to extend them, despite his promise. His cabinet appointments have been, without exception, corporate shills from the banks, from Monsanto, from the arms industry. Despite Fukushima, he is allocating money for more nuclear plants. His Justice Department is threatening to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries. He waged a disguised war to bring down the government of Libya, while claiming he was not doing so. He has opposed banning cluster bombs and land mines. He has made a habit of pretending that he could not accomplish anything due to GOP opposition, ignoring alternative methods available to any sitting President of getting reforms enacted. In short, he has betrayed those who supported him and everything he claimed to stand for.
 
 
+54 # MainStreetMentor 2011-11-25 19:49
While I agree with some of your assessments - the fact remains: As bad as Obama may be, he is STILL head and shoulders above ANY candidate currently on the Greed Obsessed Party's (GOP) opposition. It is indeed sad that voters must always seem to choose between the lesser of two evils. Obama will enjoy a 2nd term - not because he deserves it, but because the opposition candidates don't.
 
 
+45 # wsh 2011-11-26 06:31
Yes. I'll be holding my nose with one hand, and voting Obama with the other next year...but I'll be voting Green, or Progressive, or Independant, or whatever in 2016, if the Dem.s don't run a TRUE liberal then. This is the last time they get my vote if they nominate a conservative Dem (and that CERTAINLY means NO HILLARY in 2016!).

And this from the author of the piece, Chait: "disconsolate liberals all suffer from a failure to compare Obama with any plausible baseline"....we ll I compare him to his campaign rhetoric from 2008; isn't THAT a "plausible baseline"?
 
 
+42 # NanFan 2011-11-26 09:31
Quoting wsh:
Chait: "disconsolate liberals all suffer from a failure to compare Obama with any plausible baseline"....well I compare him to his campaign rhetoric from 2008; isn't THAT a "plausible baseline"?


Totally agree:

Closed Gitmo: NO
Ending Iraq: NO
Alternative Energy: NO (tar-sands pipeline??)
Secured SS and Medicare: NO

Biggest of all is: HE GAVE BUSH/CHENEY IMMUNITY

AND

He made the Bush-appointed DEA head permanent head.
 
 
+2 # MainStreetMentor 2011-11-29 08:13
All true - thanks for the "reminders".
 
 
-23 # beeyl 2011-11-26 08:50
Yes, Obama surely talks better than any Republican, and he's got that shiny blue D after his name, which is why the majority of Democrats still support him, even though most of them railed against the same corporatist, accountability- free governance when Bush was in office.

So let's vote Republican next year, and the crazier the better. At least then we'll unify the Democratic Party in opposition to them, and that would be an enormous improvement.
 
 
+23 # LessSaid 2011-11-26 16:24
Quoting beeyl:
Yes, Obama surely talks better than any Republican, and he's got that shiny blue D after his name, which is why the majority of Democrats still support him, even though most of them railed against the same corporatist, accountability-free governance when Bush was in office.

So let's vote Republican next year, and the crazier the better. At least then we'll unify the Democratic Party in opposition to them, and that would be an enormous improvement.


I think there would be a backlash to this strategy that we aren't willing to pay and/or many don't need to pay. Even though I think your recommendation is well meaning. The destruction would most likely to be too great.
 
 
+4 # jon 2011-11-27 22:23
"At least then we'll unify the Democratic Party in opposition to them, and that would be an enormous improvement."

I would rather do that - unify the Democratic Party in opposition to them - NOW, rather than later !!
 
 
+2 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 20:12
So let's vote Republican next year, and the crazier the better. At least then we'll unify the Democratic Party in opposition to them, and that would be an enormous improvement.

Are you nuts! In 1968 that was one of the reasons that Hubert Humphrey lost to Nixon, and see where that got us!

And in 2000 that was one of the factors (in the person of Ralph Nader) that gave us George W Bush instead of Al Gore. I can't say that the US is better off because Bush won so the Dems could be unified. In fact, I agree with Chait that I don't think the Dems ever COULD be unified, just as I don't think the Republicans get unified. We all do too much squabbling in the ranks and are loathe to compromise. But without compromise, nothing gets done.
 
 
+14 # RLF 2011-11-26 10:55
WhEn there is no price to pay when you stab you constituency in the back, there is no reason to do anything other than what you have been doing. Only when we are willing to vote third party or find someone to vote for that shows a little spine will we get a true liberal, not a corporate, corrupt Chicago schill. We most certainly take the chance of making things worse but if we can't change things now, why vote in a proxy Republican like Obama? Time we let the whole shebang go to hell or get some PROGRESS!
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-11-26 14:26
Which third party candidate to you intend to vote for?
 
 
0 # tomo 2011-11-27 14:40
MainStreetMento r: Is Obama who believes in persecuting people like Bradley Manning really "head and shoulders" above Ron Paul who believes that our unwelcomed incursion into Afghanistan is wrong-headed and should be stopped on grounds of justice as well as on the very sound premise that we can't afford it?
 
 
+35 # Okieangels 2011-11-25 21:10
Exactly, he could have changed parties after the election and been honest about it. Was he threatened? Possibly, but he might have expected that before he ever threw his name in the ring to run for the office.
 
 
+3 # tomo 2011-11-27 14:46
In fact, Okieangels, the reason the current Republican Debates look so much like a competition among knucleheads is probably because the REAL servant of the corporatocracy is in the other party (ours) and the Republican wannabees have not yet figured how to run against him.
 
 
+54 # Bluesguy 2011-11-25 23:02
Yes, Richard R. !! I , like many of us, have been chewing on this crap for years, incl. all the ostriches' bleated excuses.(sorry about the mixed metaphor)
Your list is the best one I've seen; but forgive me because
I would like to add just one thing=Obama announcing "indefinite detention" while using that "god-damned piece of paper" and the Declaration of Independence as backdrops.
Disgusting.(Indefinite detention is one of MANY things the President CAN fix without Congress-I'm SICK of that excuse)
Obama was going to win in '08, as the 0.1% real power calculated that there would be enough of his apologists to prevent holding anyone's "feet to the fire"-what a crock of shit-and he would buy time for the thieves to do it again and again; while solidifying the security apparatus; AND elevating Monsanto to the SOLE keeper of the royal granary.
He was going to win, look who they ran, and underfunded; just like now, with that...idiot roadshow of babbling fearful...what ever they are.
 
 
+11 # RLF 2011-11-26 10:59
Don't forget all of the 'free trade agreements. Obama should be knighted by the repubes...he is a shining example.
 
 
+6 # Bluesguy 2011-11-26 23:38
Let me add that my whole point in this and other comments re Obama is that we need to see this person as clearly and dispassionately as possible-I'm not dispassionate here, though :)
Here is the problem about "Obama and us"-Bush was/is SO BAD, that Obama appeared a..savior, of sorts, to many (not me)-understanda ble !
That, coupled with an apparent need of some to "fall in love" with him, or any other politician (how come the taller candidate almost always wins?, etc) makes smart and kind people excuse and defend things that cannot be so..dismissed. I know many of my fellow citizens are kinda stuck there; I have my hopes and dream, too; but "they" are well-prepared in many ways, incl dispensing with such quaint notions as honor and decency. We owe it to the next couple of generations to not help fool ourselves.
The eventual "volume" of the cognitive dissonance would shame Klipsch or Bose, for people waiting for Obama to...change, while refusing to look at him, and his ACTIONS, clearly.
FALL OUT OF LOVE WITH OBAMA; that's all, just that. It's healthier and it may save all of us very valuable time.
 
 
+2 # tomo 2011-11-27 14:54
I really love "we owe it to the next couple of generations to not help fool ourselves." It's absolutely true!

What's so terrible is that Obama is one of the ace mindscrabblers of all time. By maintaining the gulf he does between speech and action, he has made it almost impossible for ANYONE to talk clearly about anything. (If I wanted to screw America for generations to come, I couldn't think of a better way to do it than to unleash Obama upon them.)
 
 
0 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 20:17
Remember while you are looking dispassionately at Obama, to look dispassionately at the alternatives. If you are at all rational with this bunch, you will work hard for Obama.
 
 
+54 # Bluesguy 2011-11-25 23:09
I see....so, it's OUR fault , our poor perception, eh ??
Weak, really weak, and pathetic "article."
I'll say what I hate, yes, hate Clinton for: 1996 Telecomm. Act; SHAFTA, and signing off on the Gramm-Bliley (sp?) repeal of Glass-Stegall; plus he doubled War-on-Drugs (voting rights, future indefinite detainees, )
It's evidence-based REDASS, you pained little pissants; "OHHH, you're ANGRY!" Damn straight, and I know exactly why.
 
 
+34 # Erdajean 2011-11-25 23:18
Agree, agree. Since Day One, Obama seems to have wavered between a daze of denial of his capabilities to outright choice of a Bush status quo. Those of us who truly expected change have been slapped down repeatedly, when what we asked for has been not unreasonable, but simply "American" and decent -- the cessation of imprisonment without charges, and accompanying inhumanity; an accelerated withdrawal from undeclared wars -- rather than more of the same; a transfer of troops to rebuild America; fairness to Palestine; AT LEAST a sponsorship of one-payer health care; more openness in decision-making -- just as a beginning.
The most noxious cudgel now being wielded against us who expected better -- or at least visible attempts -- is that there is no possible alternative to MORE Obama -- except the loons of the GOP. This is simply not so -- unless we sit back and declare it so, at the nation's peril.
 
 
+13 # RLF 2011-11-26 11:00
Obama IS GOP! Wake up and smell the coffee!
 
 
+2 # mitchell donian 2011-11-27 12:19
Quoting Erdajean:
Agree, agree. Since Day One, Obama seems to have wavered between a daze of denial of his capabilities to outright choice of a Bush status quo. Those of us who truly expected change have been slapped down repeatedly, when what we asked for has been not unreasonable, but simply "American" and decent -- the cessation of imprisonment without charges, and accompanying inhumanity; an accelerated withdrawal from undeclared wars -- rather than more of the same; a transfer of troops to rebuild America; fairness to Palestine; AT LEAST a sponsorship of one-payer health care; more openness in decision-making -- just as a beginning.
The most noxious cudgel now being wielded against us who expected better -- or at least visible attempts -- is that there is no possible alternative to MORE Obama -- except the loons of the GOP. This is simply not so -- unless we sit back and declare it so, at the nation's peril.

A Elizabeth Warren primary challenge would lead to her being elected President in the coming election. Running for Senate is a waste of her talents. If she runs for President I will back her financially and with as much as I am capable.
 
 
+30 # Erdajean 2011-11-26 01:56
Agree,agree, Mr. R. From Day One Obama has wavered between denial of his capability to bring about change to downright protection of the Bush status quo.
There is NOTHING unreasonable about what we wanted, in voting for change. We wanted an end to political imprisonment without charges, and prisoner abuse, and withdrawal from undeclared wars, with troops brought home to work on rebuilding America. We wanted health care for all -- or at least an honest attempt, and fair taxation, and openness in government. None of it happened.
Now when we want "change" Obama apologists howl that it's him again or a loon from the GOP -- as though no other Democrat is possible. I see Ron Paul breaking off and running on his own ticket, and lots of the dissatisfied voting for him -- while the Democrats are hog-tied to Obama. The loser will be America.
 
 
0 # Karlus58 2011-11-26 11:31
..yes indeed, to our disbelief!...
 
 
+23 # geraldom 2011-11-26 11:34
Richard, I realize RSN gives us limited space here, but I want to add the following to your list:

o Chait implies that Obama couldn't override a Repub filibuster in the Senate. After Mitch McConnell's threat of making Obama a one-term pres, Obama could've done what Bush threatened the Dems with when he wanted John Roberts & Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court, repealing the filibuster by use of the nuke option. Obama & the Dems could've then passed anything they wanted & screw the Repubs. He didn't!

If Obama had killed the filibuster, he could've done the following:

o Repeal HAVA & outlaw the use of e-voting machines.

o Repeal the Patriot Act, the Mil Commissions Act, & the FISA Bill, & restore some semblance of Democracy to this country.

o His death list also included U.S. citizens as well without any due process.

o He passed Obamacare by using budget reconciliation which only required a simple majority to pass. There were enough votes in both houses of Congress based on a simple majority to pass a Single-Payer healthcare system run by our govt, but Obama refused to allow it.

o Obama must repeal the so-called payroll tax cut to restore full financial support for the Social Security System, but now he seems to want to make it permanent.

I'm sure there's more I haven't covered.
 
 
+1 # Stephanie Remington 2011-11-27 04:38
More like paying selective attention.
 
 
+7 # Onterryo 2011-11-27 21:36
Would someone explain to me how Obama had a "workable" majority in the Senate when you need 60 "supportive" senators to pass contentious legislation. Some of those "blue dog" senators were elected on his coattails and then abandoned him when their votes were needed because they were afraid of how those votes would be received by their constituents (and the same could be said of many Congressmen). Joe Leiberman is a Republican for the most part and preferred McCain over Obama. If you want real change and control over the Pentagon start a grassroots swell in the swing states and seats and give Obama a majority of twelve or more in the Senate and strong control of the House. I have no doubt you will see legislation like the US has never experienced. More importantly, and I cannot emphasize this enough, progressives and liberals have to ensure that a Democrat is President when the time comes to replace the next Supreme Court justice!!!
 
 
+61 # MidwestTom 2011-11-25 23:09
Maybe we should realize that that the recent Democratic Presidents are disappointing us because they are telling us what they think we want to hear while campaigning, then doing what they please once in office. In the non-political world such action is called lying.
 
 
+48 # bub 2011-11-25 23:38
Single Payer Health Care .... He did NOT have to "Take it off the Table" and for the first time in US history pass a law that requires everyone to purchase "for profit" health insurance that , when you need it , the "for profit" insurance corporation will "deny" your claim , after you've paid premiums for years . Now we are supposed to think that he and the Supreme Court are not working for the "for profit" private insurance corporations . The Supreme Court will , I believe , uphold the "affordable" Health Care Act and , with Obama , decree that we are indeed legally required to purchase our health care from a private , for profit , insurance corporation whose first legal responsibility is to corporate profits , not their individual claimant needs .... Only one example of why I'm thinking that Obama may be the best candidate the Republican/Demo crat/Corporate Party has to offer . Obama is no liberal . I'm starting to wonder if he is even a "centrist" . His every move seems to be geared to "compromise" to the right wing , conservative , greedy , nut-jobs .... as if that is what "Democrats" are supposed to do .
 
 
+19 # tomr 2011-11-25 23:40
I am going to write in either Dennis Kucinich or Elizabeth Warren for president in 2012. Obama is a good guy, but he and the Dems in general are always dragged (sometimes all too willingly) to the right by several factors.

We need to face a hard reality - Obama and the Dems have us on the scenic route to hell, as opposed to the Republican greased-water-s lide to hell. But we're still headed the same way. The only answer is to SHOW UP AT THE POLLS and vote for a real progressive.

If it makes Obama lose, the next four years could be truly awful, but that will alert the Dems (and even the Reps that are actually paying attention) that progressives are here and dissatisfied - badly. Then, things COULD change as of 2016. Otherwise, we will soon have no power at all as the Reps unify all media messages to their own expedience.

Whatever happens, we cannot be disenchanted so as to stay home on election day. That will just put everything back on the same old (40 years now) track. We have to show up and be willing to take a risk. When your ship is sinking in freezing waters, you swim no matter how much it hurts and no matter what the odds. It has to be done.
 
 
+17 # warrior woman 2011-11-26 05:51
Here's the very most important issue we face today: Climate Change. We can't have a Republican president for 4 years if they are all in denial of climate change. There was a recent article that explains the urgent nature of our situation: World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/09/fossil-fuel-infrastructure-climate-change?newsfeed=true
 
 
+27 # Stephanie Remington 2011-11-26 08:44
What's the difference between someone who denies climate change and someone who acknowledges, but ignores it?
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2011-11-26 16:36
A big R vs. a big D.
 
 
+2 # Cambridgemac 2011-11-27 19:39
Two words: Tar Sands. Obama supports the project that climate scientists say will end it all. This isn't a knife in the back. It's a cannon.
 
 
+18 # lobdillj 2011-11-26 07:01
Quoting tomr:
If it makes Obama lose, the next four years could be truly awful, but that will alert the Dems (and even the Reps that are actually paying attention) that progressives are here and dissatisfied - badly. Then, things COULD change as of 2016.


What makes you think there will be a meaningful election in 2016 if this one is another set-up? It is not at all clear that this empire is not now doomed to collapse within the next 4 years. Reality intrudes, no matter what the spinmeisters say. Bankruptcy cannot be spun away.
 
 
+6 # Scotti 2011-11-26 10:27
[quote name="tomr"]I am going to write in either Dennis Kucinich or Elizabeth Warren for president in 2012. Obama is a good guy, but he and the Dems in general are always dragged (sometimes all too willingly) to the right by several factors.

There is a basic problem with this. If you write in a progressive who has no chance of winning, instead of voting for Obama who has a chance of winning, you will dilute the vote and hand the country over to whatever Republican has been anointed. You do not want to do that. Believe me!!
 
 
+4 # AMLLLLL 2011-11-26 14:11
The whole Obama thing sucks, but as he said, we have to MAKE him do the right thing by pressure. Jonathan Chait makes a valid point illustrating the difference between the right and the left: Liberals in general will put the shoe on the other foot when calculating a move legislation, amendments,etc. Conservatives think of that as idiotic. It's about that simple. It's what keeps conservatives in lock-step and makes liberals so infuriating.

Democracy is messy, noisy, convoluted and when you mix in re-election, appears to be a disastrous experiment in what is construed to be government. But the truth is that if all of us vote, (who was it that said the most important role in government is that of the citizen?) and beyond that, be vocal about what we want our representatives to do after the elections take place. Like parenting, there's no day off when you're keeping your government in line. Liberals think of the government as the child; conservatives think of the government as the adult, which is why they keep trying to shrink it. Let's just make it work right.
 
 
+1 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 20:30
Well, TomR, if you vote for Kucinich or Warren (both great people) you might feel good about yourself for a bit, but then you might be kicking yourself when Romney (or whoever) starts a war with Iran, starts a war with Pakistan, kills Medicare, takes away a lot of Social Security benefits, and give Homeland Security more unquestioned authority than it now has.
 
 
-32 # anarchteacher 2011-11-26 00:25
Sadly it all began with that haughty, self-righteous Woodrow Wilson (a proto-fascist masquerading as a liberal crusader), continuing onward with the patrician power broker FDR and the mass murdering Missouri haberdasher and boor Harry Truman, the puerile pretender-to-th rone JFK and Texas lout LBJ, the unctuous peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, the feckless frat boy Bill Clinton, up to the mysterious Manchurian President Barack Obama. All categorized and sold to the naïve electorate as progressives and reformers, yet in reality shills for their corporatist masters of Wall Street and the Harold Pratt House in NYC. The boogie men of the GOP, from TR to W, fare no better as housebroken canines attuned to their masters' voice.

Want the proof for these scurrilous charges?

Google - anarchteacher Amazon Listmania!

Then consult the book lists for "The American Presidency" and "Politically Incorrect American History"
 
 
+25 # Jimmy 2011-11-26 00:32
What an unadulterated piece of garbage Chait has produced.

Perhaps the only thing worse than a sellout is an apologist for a sellout.

It hardly seems worth wasting my breath to spell it out for Chait and those like him, but he is obviously a moron or a sycophant who can't see that the Emperor has no clothes. But here it is:

The national Democratic Party has long ago sold its soul for corporate cash.

Our only hope remains with the real liberal and progressive left, popular movements like OWS, and perhaps some Democrats at the local and state levels.

Obama's GOP opponents must have him ROFL and saying LMFAO on his FB page. But their extreme unfitness does not excuse his extreme cravnness, timidity, and lack of true compassion.

He is an invertebrate.
 
 
+32 # davidhp 2011-11-26 00:52
Liberals assumed they were electing a liberal - I thought he was bought and owned by corporate America and supported Kucinich. I don't consider wanting a progressive as president unreasonable, a president who would not cave on every issue import to restoring power to the people in the country. This article is a load of crap.
 
 
+33 # coberly 2011-11-26 00:55
Let's see...

Obama has been trying to sell Social Security down the river, and may in fact have already given it it's death blow with the "payroll tax holiday."

No, us "liberals" have good reason to despise him.
 
 
+4 # jsheats 2011-11-26 01:18
Despite the barrage of predictable negative comments, this article is extraordinarily insightful, and the point about mentality on either side gets right to the core; this has been true since ancient Greece.

My only complaint would be that Chait does a disservice to Lyndon Johnson's record; Johnson, unquestionably a political wheeler-dealer who enjoyed (one might say was addicted to) the exercise of power, nevertheless did more for liberal causes than any other president in that history besides FDR. The Vietnam war was not, for him, a "bloodthirsty quest", but pretty much normal continuation of American ideas of hegemony going back to the founders of the country (then it was the conquest of native Americans). We won't get rid of that in this country until someone gets more powerful (which is of course about to happen...).

Liberals need to maintain their ideals, and continue the pressure from the outside. But they need to understand what is realistic in a two-party system in a basically conservative, non-intellectua l electorate, and remember what happened when they dismissed LBJ.
 
 
+9 # Alcuin 2011-11-26 06:32
Of all the comments here, yours makes the most sense. I read a very interesting article by David Graeber who wrote about how Republicans and Democrats have very different approaches to dealing with the conflict between altruism and egoism. Graeber, if you aren't aware of it, is an anarchist who teaches at Goldsmith's, in England and is a big player in OWS. Do a
Wikipedia search on Graeber and then read the article - it's entitled "Army of Altruists". Fascinating article - you'll have to read it a couple of times to absorb it all.
 
 
+11 # Billy Bob 2011-11-26 13:48
But, the electorate is NOT "basically conservative".

Sorry, but it isn't.

Ask the electorate what it thinks about health care, the multi-trillion dollar wars for profit, torturing people, the conservative "social agenda", ending Social Security, ending Medicare, ending Medicaid.

Go ahead and ask them. I'll wait.....

Not conservative, are they?

No, they aren't, but sometimes they're led to THINK they're conservative. Do you know why? Because of the POWER of a bully pulpit used to further conservative goals. Obama is yet another conservative furthering the conservative agenda. He just happens to be more insidious, in that he (like the Clintons) ran as a Democrat.

Conservatives hold their candidates' feet to the fire much more consistently than we do, and guess what happens? They get results.
 
 
+10 # BettyFaas 2011-11-26 01:37
I appreciated the article. The list of Obama's accomplishments was a good reminder. Though it appears to us lefties that he has been pulled way too far right on too many issues (after running into "buzz-saws"), if he is reelected and chooses new, progressive cabinet members, and we throw out as many obstructing Congresspersons and Senators as possible, we just might see some movement toward economic and social justice. There isn't a chance in hell if we vote in Republicans!
 
 
+3 # beeyl 2011-11-26 08:23
If you're liberal or progressive and truly disappointed with Obama's corporatism, his ironically abysmal record on civil rights, or the absence of rule of law accountability for corporate and military criminals under his administration, then you should be disgusted by tribalistic (majority of) Democrats who have accepted and supported all these failures under Obama - especially after eight years of chastising Bush for much of the same behavior.
My suggestion is to vote for a Republican next year, and the crazier the better. Imagine a President Bachmann, and how completely unified the Democratic Party would be against her every regressive word or action. I can't see this as anything but an improvement over the current situation, and it's certainly a hell of a lot more mature than sitting on Santa's lap and blindly wishing for a 2nd term Obama who's magically found a progressive and principled conscience.
 
 
+2 # Bluesguy 2011-11-27 00:00
I think you might be right, but it is just a little too scary, possibly hastening the martial law, etc.
The latest problem is that the Congress has joined the wrong side;look out for the new Senate bill secretly written (Levin & McCain)and about to be voted on: the entire USA now will be the "battlefield."
Check it out; I think it's called NDA Act.
As Oat Willie said in Zap:"Onward, through the fog!"
"Decay is inherent in all compounded things...Strive on with diligence"-Budd ha's last...advice.
 
 
+1 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 20:48
The trouble with that kind of "unification" is two-fold.

One, you get a guy in the Presidency that can really wreck things up. We still haven't recovered from Reagan's crushing of the air controller's union, his cutting of aid to mental institutions that put a lot of crazies on the street without care, we haven't recovered from George W Bush's two wars coupled with tax cuts for the rich, leaving the country's finances in a shambles, nor have we recovered from his interpretation of constitutional rights, nor from his (and Reagan's) massive relaxation of regulatory requirements that led to our financial meltdown... and I could go on and on.

Two, it's a false "unification". We THINK that because we are all unified against, say Bush or Buchanan, that we are unified. But we aren't. We all have different views on what SHOULD be done, and unless we learn to compromise, we will never be unified.
 
 
+37 # James Marcus 2011-11-26 02:30
Wake up everyone! MOST ALL ..presidential Candidates from BOTH parties (& ,then, their Supreme Court Appointees), and Congressional Reps & Senators, WORK FOR THE SAME FOLKS.
Most all the 'differences', are a charade you can believe in!
 
 
+26 # Glen 2011-11-26 07:06
Thank you James. I'm glad I read the entire thread before posting. You said it for me: there is no two party system. We have a shameless stage show.
 
 
+21 # RickShur 2011-11-26 02:37
BO is no FDR. FDR put the Republicans in their place from the moment he took office. The American people loved his honesty and cojones, and they gave FDR a Democratic Congress, realizing that there was no compromising with the Hooverites, who werely declared clueless. Maybe Obama, being neither rich nor a member of the ruling class, is afraid to come off too "uppity."
 
 
+17 # jwb110 2011-11-26 02:51
How can something that no longer exists be unreasonable? The rhetoric and debate has been pushed so far to the Radical Right by the Fox News Lunatic Fringe, that all that exists is some odd Centrism.
The Republican Party looks like a Convention for Ritz Brother's Wannabes... Where would a liberal position or idea begin in response to what those candidates claim will "fixt it".
I noticed the mention of the Conservative Party always back their candidate and officer holder. Never criticize him to his face in or out of the public eye.
A Friend of mine who managed to escaped the camps in Germany but once the war was over, she returned. Then quickly fouind herself on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. She had seen Germany under both Nazism and Communism. She said that the DDR was the most successful of all Soviet Satellite Countries because Germans, Nazi or Communist, line up like ants and do what they are told and never question what they are asked to do. Hence, "I was only following orders."
Something else to take into account it takes a long time to bring down the monolith financial industry that got us where we are today. The celebrations for those successes don't come along very often.
Where as Financial sector is smashing people's live and taking their property at such an alarming rate that the fun just never stops for GOP/TP Money Boys.
 
 
+8 # kyzipster 2011-11-26 17:42
Great post. The fact that conservatives never question their politicians is part of what got us in this mess and we're supposed to emulate that cult?
 
 
+20 # pres 2011-11-26 03:04
Jeez, the US president is really just a front-end to those that really run the country. The election of a US president is primarily just a pacifier to the US population.
If Obama actually tried to enforce his campain promises he would leave the White House about the same way JFK & Lincoln did!
Democracy is for other countries.. not the US!
 
 
+22 # J. Glenn Evans 2011-11-26 03:18
Obama lost his chance for greatness when he caved in to the Republicans without even putting up a fight. I would have admired him more if he had fought for what he promised to even if he lost. For he he created a new word, Obamaised, tell them what they want to hear and once in do what he damn pleases. I've had it with the Democrats and the Republicans. We need a new people's party that will make that changes in our laws to bring us back to the ideals first envisioned by our founding fathers and the soldiers who have lost their lives for that dream
J. Glenn Evans
 
 
+12 # sandyboy 2011-11-26 03:52
Thank you bub! I know a fellow writer who lives in the USA, has his name on lots of books etc, yet can't make a living wage and has to pay $588 a month in health insurance. Obama: yes you CAN! Start DOING things. But he won't cos he's like all the rest. Normal political channels will NEVER fix things. Hence Occupy.
 
 
+21 # head out the window 2011-11-26 06:04
The problem is the two party system. Consistently Dems promise a progressive agenda during the campaing only to take up their corporate role as the liberal corporate party when elected. Until we have proportional representatatio n, Dems will always sell out their voters in favor of their corporate masters. They are just the liberal management team for corporate america, they are not progressive politicians.
 
 
+15 # stonecutter 2011-11-26 06:17
What's avoided in this belabored apology for Obama's tone-deafness is the vital role SYMBOLISM plays in the president's words and behavior as an individual, a role model most of us have chosen as our leader. Lakoff calls it "framing", but whatever you call it, it's THE most powerful weapon in the president's persuasion arsenal, the awesome "bully pulpit" at his disposal like no one else. How he effectively uses or avoids that weapon makes all the difference in whether he's seen as tough champion or wuss; since he's black, that difference increases by an order of magnitude. In recent serial public capitulations to the other side, he betrayed, true or not, an indelible image of the nerdy kid who hands over his lunch money to bullies, and then lauds the morally superior virtues of non-violent "cooperation" (read: surrender). A "loser", "anti-American" image that feeds his detractors.

When Billy Crystal hosts the Oscars, we expect him to be funny. When MacArthur waded ashore in 1944 at Leyte, we expected final victory in WWII. In a president, we want what we expect, we want a champion, especially when the world seems to be falling apart. Obama just isn't cuttin' it. We know it when we see it. He's giving Carter a run for his money. The real dilemma is whether we will, despite it all, throw him out for the likes of Mitt Romney? Or Newt???
 
 
+20 # mwd870 2011-11-26 09:17
In all fairness, Obama has had to deal with the worst Congress in history. The Republicans, with their government jobs, are worthless.

Though there is plenty to be disappointed with in the policies of the Obama administration, we should also be thinking about how little Congress has accomplished. Electing liberal candidates at all levels of government is essential.

Never Vote Republican
 
 
0 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 20:54
And We The People voted in this lousy Congress. Sigh...
 
 
+4 # rsstein 2011-11-26 06:38
Obama has been in the unfortunate position of dealing with an unreasonable Congress and rules of operation such as the use of the filibuster that restricts ability to make major changes. He had to deal with GOP members who took the "no new taxes" pledge from which they refused to budge, no matter how strong the arguments to do otherwise. I argued with my Congressman, criticizing his not supporting efforts to impeach Bush. He responded that if he did, Congress would be engaged in endless discussions making less controversial but progressive legislation (some of which he accomplished) impossible. I think that Obama suffered the same problem, and tried to do what was possible under these conditions. We need to work at the congressional level and elect representatives who will give a President, the necessary support to carry out the measures that he really wanted. Let's work at the local level to achieve the support necessary to enable a liberal P{resident to accomplish his goals.
 
 
+7 # Scotti 2011-11-26 10:33
I agree with you completely. Granted, he probably should have taken more advantage of the Democratic edge in Congress that he had when elected, but a whole lot of bad stuff went down shortly after (does anyone recall the financial crisis?) that probably didn't help him do that. I do think he picked too many of the same-old-same-o ld entrenched folks who were less than helpful.
 
 
0 # Bluesguy 2011-11-27 00:06
Quoting rsstein:
Obama has been in the unfortunate position of dealing with an unreasonable Congress and rules of operation such as the use of the filibuster that restricts ability to make major changes. He had to deal with GOP members who took the "no new taxes" pledge from which they refused to budge, no matter how strong the arguments to do otherwise. I argued with my Congressman, criticizing his not supporting efforts to impeach Bush. He responded that if he did, Congress would be engaged in endless discussions making less controversial but progressive legislation (some of which he accomplished) impossible. I think that Obama suffered the same problem, and tried to do what was possible under these conditions. We need to work at the congressional level and elect representatives who will give a President, the necessary support to carry out the measures that he really wanted. Let's work at the local level to achieve the support necessary to enable a liberal P{resident to accomplish his goals.

Please tell your Congressman he's full of crap=Bush impeachment would be uplifting, informative, open, right and proper, educational, transformative, and not a distraction; but the very best thing that we could have done-look what we/Pelosi/Reid, then Obama, let him do to us and the world. Shame on your Rep and all of us.
 
 
+20 # beeyl 2011-11-26 07:46
Mr Chait is a liberal/progres sive in Orwellian name only, and he and his fellow neocon gasbags at The New Republic get taken to school regularly by Glenn Greenwald at Salon. To keep sane, an actual, accountability- , evidence-, and reality-based liberal should read Greenwald daily, and dismiss Chait as either a halfwit or a liar, because he is certainly at least one of those.
 
 
+7 # Pufferly 2011-11-26 08:54
I wrote Obama off BEFORE the election, believing that he would not be able to survive the entrenched Right Wing steamroller once the gloss wore off; so I voted for Nader. Somehow I don't feel vindicated because my own pride does not stack up well with the survival of all life on planet Earth, something we are facing if reality still has any meaning in our psychotic political/econo mic system.
 
 
+6 # walt 2011-11-26 08:56
Very interesting and well-written article. The thoughts and observations are very accurate and shed good light on the liberal/conserv ative agendas from an historical perspective.

However, the one thing I note is that our problems lie with our system and not with the parties. The changes Americans seek are long over-due such as health care, equal rights, education, no wars,living wage jobs, etc. Our constitution should have insured these years ago. So why are Americans still fighting for them?

The answer is that we have too many powers and special interests that work against the people such as corporate money, arms manufacturers, insurance companies, religious fanatics, etc.

A complete revamping of our election and campaign processes to eliminate lobby money would be a good start. We might be able to elect candidates for their leadership abilities and not the money they spend in the marketing of a president that we politely refer to as a "campaign."

"Liberals" now are just trying to achieve what should have already been achieved! Who stopped them over all these years?
 
 
+14 # pernsey 2011-11-26 08:59
Anyone we vote for is corporation owned and operated. The GOP cant jump through the corporate hoop fast enough making them look like a bunch of dopes, because they stand for one thing one day and another thing the next day. The right wingers basically have A.D.D. when it comes to their candidates. I think what this author is eluding to is, the liberals/progre ssives dont just follow their candidate into whatever it is they are doing, we question things and express dissatisfaction if our candidate isnt doing what they said they will do. We dont like our parties candidate to be a corporate puppet, where the right wingers are perfectly satisfied trying to agree with whatever their cadidate pukes up at them. I think the liberal/progres sives are too smart for the corporate puppet double speak. Just my opinion. We have brains and opinions we arent just Fox News Sheeple!

GOP stands for Greedy One Percent!

NEVER EVER VOTE REPUBLICAN!!
 
 
+4 # mtravis 2011-11-27 00:06
greedy one percent~ GOP! Brilliant
 
 
+22 # pernsey 2011-11-26 09:00
If being ureasonable means questioning our candidates when they dont do what they said they would do! Im proud to be unreasonable.
 
 
+16 # LessSaid 2011-11-26 10:15
Quoting pernsey:
If being ureasonable means questioning our candidates when they dont do what they said they would do! Im proud to be unreasonable.


I couldn't agree more!
 
 
+23 # kyzipster 2011-11-26 09:00
The article lost me in the first paragraph by suggesting that liberal complaints about Rick Warren were unreasonable without explaining that Warren has a history of equating gay relationships to bestiality, pedophilia and incest. Many of us understand that this was the equivalent of inviting David Duke to give a prayer at the Inauguration.

I think to understand the disappointment with the Democrats a person should consider the anger that is fueling OWS. The Democratic Party IS the lesser of two evils, it's not possible to hope for change in such a corrupt political system and Obama's first 3 years has only validated that truth. He lacks leadership, he needs to display more courage, he should disregard the status quo and speak truth to corruption regardless of the political consequences. This moment in history demands it and had he taken that path he might be serving with the same energy and passion behind him that got him elected.

Protest is the only option left at the moment and it is changing the debate, exposing the Democrats and the Republicans as corrupt, bought and paid for by corporate America. Washington has left workers to deal with the fallout from this trickle down disaster while bailing out the perpetrators, of course liberals are angry, everybody is angry. I'd be more worried if people were not.
 
 
+18 # peterjkraus 2011-11-26 09:21
Why are we liberals expected to be content with second best? Why not go for the throat on issues that are important to us? Republican candidates are pretty straightforward in their campaigns: they´ll vilify social programs and progressive foreign policies, and often over half the voters will vote for them regardless -- while our guys paint rosy scenarios and then forget all about their nice progressive plans. I for one will not stand for it anymore -- without rising up and making clear that compromise rarely benefits voters and the nation, we´ll only continue the loop of promises and backtracking.
 
 
+18 # Inspired Citizen 2011-11-26 09:32
Chait misses a central reason that I've turned away from Obama: he campaigned against the Bush foreign policy and war on terror, but as president he has proven far more capable of carrying out Bush's policies, even doing Bush one better. The targeting and executing of an American citizen crossed a line that even Bush did not cross. Indeed, if we're going to be principled about this, we should be calling for the impeachment of Obama.

Obama ran a campaign on false pretenses, and genuine progressives figured that out very early in his Administration. Where as blowhards like Beck point at Obama's "socialist" appointees, we on the left point toward his Wall Street appointees.

We voted for a progressive; we got a corporate, moderate liberal with a major conservative bent.
 
 
+14 # charsjcca 2011-11-26 09:45
The Obama era ended for me when it was announced that Robert Gates would be retained as Secretary of Defense. That let me know that it would be business as usual.
 
 
+22 # Billy Bob 2011-11-26 10:02
When I clicked on this article I assumed the title was a dead giveaway that the author was just being facetious. How could this have been taken seriously?

Yes, I too am unreasonable, in my belief that a President has a bully pulpit and can atleast petition Congress. I'm also unreasonable in thinking that a clear majority (including one that is filibuster proof in the Senate) means you can actually get somehting done. It's also unreasonable of me to assume that the President is the commander and chief and actually has some say over things like whether or not we invade a country or torture people. It's also unreasonable of me to think a President's Supreme Court picks would actually represent the values of the people who elected him.

It's funny how repugs can get things done with NO liberal support, but Democrats can't tie their own shoes unless a conservative "think" tank has pre-approved the action.

I thought the final touch to the article was HILLARIOUS: saying the only other choice for President would be someone like Clinton.

Has the author ever heard of Warren? Feingold? or Dean? Ssshh! Don't tell these people that there really are liberal candidates out there. It might spoil their narrative.

By the way, what are liberals who want to be called "progressives" going to do when glenn beck makes fun of that word?
 
 
-18 # ABen 2011-11-26 10:28
Hmmm, so much petulance in response to a well written and researched article. Perhaps a nerve was struck. Many of the persons posting outraged comments would be well served by taking a more realistical look at the past decade in US politics and contemplate the phrase, "Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good."
 
 
+15 # lorenbliss 2011-11-26 10:30
When we realize the labels "Republican" and "Democrat" are Big Lies - that both parties serve only the capitalist One Percent (and the entire U.S. political system is thus a predatory scam) -- we see Mr.Chait's essay for what it is, a new expression of capitalism's oldest and most vicious tactic of self-protection : blame the victim.
 
 
+19 # LessSaid 2011-11-26 10:31
When Did Liberals Become So Unreasonable? Because they don't like candidates who run as Liberals and Progressives and they are secret Blue Dogs Democrats. In other words closet Republicans.
 
 
+1 # Dale 2011-11-26 10:38
Hey, Democratic presidents since Truman, have been slick servants of corporate power. Truman started the Cold War and fought it tenaciously, Kennedy brought the world to the edge of nuclear destruction with the Cuban Missle Crisis and he started the CIA torture program, not Bush, Johnson waged the war in Vietnam, Carter did nothing about anything but perpetuate the system with its vested interests, Clinton got Wall Street firmly in the saddle and laid the groundwork for the Iraq invasion. Now Obama appoints Wall Streeters to the Fed, Treasury, and his economic advisors and the tainted warriors to Defense and CIA. So what´s new? Dump Obama and the the rest of the Servants of Power.
 
 
+3 # Richard Raznikov 2011-11-27 13:13
"Kennedy brought the world to the edge of nuclear destruction with the Cuban Missle Crisis and he started the CIA torture program, not Bush..."

Dale, I agree with much of what you write, however your comments about JFK are not quite correct. In fact, the history of his presidency is one of personal transformation, so much so that he was killed because of it. Please read James W. Douglass' "JFK and the Unspeakable" and discover why the man was perhaps America's greatest President. He learned from the Cuban disaster and was charting a course toward peace. He was 'back-channelin g' deals with Khrushchev and had begun to withdraw from Viet Nam. He had moved to, in his own words, 'smash the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.' They got him before he could finish the job and we've been paying for it ever since.
Obama, like the rest of them, understands who owns the country, however that does not excuse his complete capitulation. If he did not have the character or the courage to do the right thing, he should not have promised it.
 
 
+16 # reiverpacific 2011-11-26 11:06
Much of the confusion it seems to me, is in the titles given to Ob' by the owner-media, the likes of "FIX" news and the hysterical right, ranging from "Liberal" to "Socialist" and even "Communist" (I once heard "He's a Socialist-Fasci st" by a pundit in a local blue-collar bar; go-figure!)
Ob's "campaign for change" notwithstanding , even by US standards, he was NEVER A LIBERAL. He always has been a center-rightist (perhaps Liberal compared to what went immediately before him). In real terms, from a global socio-political view, I tend to put him on a level with Nicolai Sarkozy of France, who is distinctly right wing by European standards, but not extremely so.
This is only a personal evaluation and of course open to debate ad nauseum, which all these posts affirm,
I am Scottish, long time activist and European, US and Global socio-political history buff. Y'all are entitled and welcome to shoot me down as y'see fit providing it's not one of the knee-jerk, falsely-quoting incursions we tend to get on RSN from rightist provocateurs. I enjoy informed and informative debate.
And PLEASE don't kid y'rselves into Clinton nostalgia; remember his pro-NAFTA, GATT etc. activism and the strictures he put on the truly needy.
BERNIE SANDERS is a TRUE lefty and not afraid to say so -that's where the bar should be set for all comparisons!
 
 
+6 # epcraig 2011-11-26 11:13
Obama is proud of the support he gets from the nuclear power industry. I could not vote for him in 2008. I do not want to see him lose in 2012 but he cannot have my vote.
 
 
+1 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 21:08
Well, epcraig, if you don't want to see Obama lose in 2012, but you cannot vote for him, it looks like you're in a no-win fix.
 
 
-5 # sfkeith 2011-11-26 11:26
I would agree with Noam Chomsky that Nixon was our last liberal POTUS. If there are any Obama supporters still standing please explain how support for endless expansion of war powers, an attack on civil rights at home and abroad greater than GW Bush from a president that's taken more Wall st (& other corporate) money than any other(during the unfolding of the greatest financial crisis in our history) is liberal? http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/04/28/is-ron-paul-more-progressive-than-obama/
It seems we (the US) are at a crossroads. We can pretend the status quo is sustainable with an even greater blowback than we currently face or we make drastic, meaningful change a soon as we can. For once - the path is truly up to us - right now. Ron Paul is far from perfect but his low points could fit in one of your pockets vs. the alternatives. Just quit with the Democrat/Republ ican baiting, it's a yawn to prove their both terrible. Just quit.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/25-6
 
 
+16 # kyzipster 2011-11-26 12:40
Ron Paul inspires because he speaks some truth on a few issues but he's to the right of Bush. I will never understand liberals who suggest that we should vote for him. There are plenty of liberals out there speaking truth to power, Ron Paul just happens to be blessed by the media.
 
 
+8 # fredboy 2011-11-26 12:40
I taught at a major university for 16 years, and the irony was I experienced the most vicious resistance to open thinking from my liberal students. I recall three who shared constant anger and ridicule. It didn't make sense, as liberal used to imply an open mind.
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2011-11-26 17:00
Quoting fredboy:
I taught at a major university for 16 years, and the irony was I experienced the most vicious resistance to open thinking from my liberal students. I recall three who shared constant anger and ridicule. It didn't make sense, as liberal used to imply an open mind.

I know what you mean but be comforted -there are malcontents and dilettantes of all descriptions and positions. Some people would re-crucify Jesus, re-hang, draw and quarter Wallace, re-assassinate Crazy Horse, King, Ghandi, the Kennedys and so on just to prove nothing that they could really understand or offer a satisfactory platform for significant change; just tear it all down.
 
 
+11 # wfalco 2011-11-26 12:59
As a pragmatic radical I always vote Democrat. I do not "hold my nose" and vote for the "lesser of two evils" as some on these sites like to write- ad nauseum.
I do so because there is no choice. It seems to me many on these sites seem to think enough people out there in "middle America" think like us. The idea being that if we finally had a strong, populist, progressive we would somehow rally the masses and great progressive change would follow-like during the FDR era. This is where my "pragmatism" comes in to play. This country has already been "taken over" by the corporatists. The working middle classes no longer have a "class consciousness" that existed in the 30's-50's. People took pride in being a hard worker-perhaps as recent as my youth- back in the 70's.

Today,sadly, is a different story as portrayed so clearly in the "Occupy" movement. It is an oligarchical society.
A true progressive,lib eral, or radical could never win the Presidency. If the majority of the country was populated by the mind-set of say, Vermont, then sure-it could be pulled off. By my calculations, perhaps there are 15-20% with a purely leftist philosophy.Just ain't enough like us-it is a relatively conservative county and will remain so for decases to come.
 
 
+12 # Billy Bob 2011-11-26 15:10
How did bush, other bush, and reagan get into office. Hint: It wasn't because of an overwhelming majority of right wing lunatics bigger than the 15-20% who you claim are liberal.

By the way, how many people wanted single payer? Didn't get it though, did we?

How many wanted to end the multiple wars for profit? Didn't get it though, did we?

The majority espouse liberal beliefs, even if they don't call themselves liberal. The only reason they don't call themselves liberal, by the way, is that limb-blow considers it a naughty word. How many people actually like limb-blow?

Caving in and being unwilling to put up a fight you're capable of winning is not pragmatic.
 
 
+5 # wfalco 2011-11-27 16:48
Caving in and being unwilling to put up a fight you're capable of winning is not pragmatic.

I have not caved in and I hope no one does. What I am trying to say, Billy Bob, is that I know what I (we) are up against. Seems to me the odds are stacked aginst us-"they" own the corporations and control the military.

That is where my pragmatism ends, however. It can be heroic for all of us to continue to rebel in any way we see fit. I do not believe in violence and the change in this nation will be...incrementa l-perhaps not to the extend I would like until a few decades after my death. In other words my pragmatism permits me to rebel-not to be a revoluionary.
As heroic rebels we will suffer numerous defeats. Mass media and a mass culture promoting the concept of unbridled individualism will not be easily changed. But I am open to ideas.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-11-27 19:37
I'm the first one to give you thumbs up for that response. You're not caving in at all. I agree with you. I guess my problem is with the people who are unwilling to accept that there's more the President could do, but hasn't. I voted for him the first time, and I'll probably vote for him again. The reason that doesn't let him off the hook is that he's angered enough of us that our support for him is pretty soft at best. I'd vote for just about any serious challenger from the left.

CONT.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2011-11-27 19:38
CONT.

I do disagree with your earlier statement that a real liberal wouldn't stand a chance. I think it's a myth that this country is "moderate" and a huge lie that it's conservative. The country was ALWAYS a lot more liberal than the policies of any repuglican candidate for the past few decades (including reagan even though reagan won in '84 by a landslide). What conservatives understand that liberals can't seem to get their heads around is the idea that, like it or not, most political agendas really are directed from the top down. Waiting for a majority to be on your side before you act is a recipe for defeat. repugs don't suffer from that problem. They say, "here it is. This is what I stand for. Deal with it." Voters who like the idea show up to vote. Voters who don't get discouraged and put up a half-hearted fight. Those "in the middle" are impressed with convictions, if they even bother to vote.
 
 
+2 # GeeRob 2011-11-26 20:04
wfalco, you hit the bullseye.
 
 
+6 # Patrice Ayme 2011-11-26 13:23
No analysis of the plutocratic phenomenon, whatsoever.
What the author seems to forget is that, in many fascist and abominable regimes, most of the population agreed with the craze of the land. So the fact that Obama is viewed as very wrong by a minority does not mean that this minority is wrong. It may mean that Obama and some of those who approve of him are very wrong.
http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/
 
 
+9 # Dave in NC 2011-11-26 14:48
Of course, a large part of Obama's problem is that, during much of the 2008 campaign, he functioned as a blank screen onto which all sorts of hopes -- some of them mutually exclusive -- were projected. I remember hearing the man himself wisecracking during the transition that, contrary to rumor, he hadn't actually been born in a manger.

In other words, in addition to any customary liberal "love-hate" relationship with any Democrat in the White House, Obama has had to carry the additional burdens of being "The Great Black Hope;" the Man Who Will Save Us All From the Big, Bad Bush-Nazis and their Neo-Fascist Neo-Con Agenda; and The Only Adult in the Room. Could ANYONE succeed under the weight of that much baggage?

Does Obama cave in to the Republican lock step far too much? Yes. Would Hillary (or, to be more honest about it, "Billary") have managed the debt negotiation more adroitly? Probably. Does that mean that we should let the same wacky Reaganomic cult that drove the economy over the cliff in 2008 have another turn at the steering wheel next year?

*#@! NO!
 
 
+3 # Progressive Patriot 2011-11-26 15:39
Note the sidebar link to the article "How the GOP went mad".

Is _anybody_ happy?
 
 
+2 # I Love My PIRG! 2011-11-26 20:39
Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?!!?
 
 
+6 # mitchell donian 2011-11-26 22:15
Elizabeth Warren/Russ Feingold/Howard Dean/Dennis Kucinich should make a primary challenge to Obama. Elizabeth Warren would sweep into office with the power of the women of America behind her. Obama, Clinton and all the men have had control too long. Let the women...Elizabe th Warren be our champion. SHE WILL WIN THE PRESIDENCY. Chait's article is jusr a distraction...a nd like Obama does not make any sense.
 
 
0 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 21:35
Are you joking???! If you think Warren could win with this electorate, you must be certifiable!
 
 
+2 # bugbuster 2011-11-26 22:27
Huh? What's this? Whoever wrote this is just making up stuff in his head.
 
 
+1 # WLawpsh 2011-11-27 08:00
Liberals became hypocritical fraudsters when they went along with the first federal imperial statute, the Appropriations Act of 1871, that inaugurated the era of the American Empire unconstitutiona lly by ignoring and abrogating the territorial sovereignty of the Indian tribes, a treasonable revolution that for practical purposes repealed the anti-imperialis t policy established by the Constitution's commerce, defence and treaty clauses. Since then it has been downhill all the way. See, website "Might Is Not Right" at http://mightisnotright.org/.
 
 
+1 # tomo 2011-11-27 15:08
This is the worst article I have ever seen posted on RSN. It seems, though, to have lanced the pus from the wounds of progressives and liberals everywhere --which has to be something helpful.

What strikes me as a fatal defect is that Chait has not looked to those acts in which Obama HAS had discretionary power--his appointments and his conduct of the executive branch. (Or is it ultimately Chait's contention that Obama has NO discretionary power?--in which case there's hardly any point in caring about him or anyone else who has recently been President or who might soon become President.)
 
 
+1 # Josippie 2011-11-27 16:00
Why does the author of this article think all of us "disappointeds" are all liberals? Some of us feel that way about both parties - neither truly has the people's welfare at heart. Most are on the take. Some of us believe that if money were out of politics, we'd have a better chance at electing leaders we could be proud of. I voted for Obama because there was no better choice.
 
 
+2 # HerbR 2011-11-27 17:09
Of course it is true that the expectations of partisans on all sides exceed by far the capacity of the political system's capacity or willingness to produce hoped for results. In the U.S., at least, the "system" is carefully arranged against the accomplishments of partisan "solutions" , however "reasonable". Separation of power, checks and balances, presidential vetoes, and legislative power divided into two, often colliding chambers, unrepresentativ e sources of power in the Senate, non-constitutio nal assumption of power to overrule the "democratic branches" on part of the Judiciary -are all exercised as anti-majoritari an and work that way.
Only a fundamentally aroused public opinion and electorate can overcome even temporarily all of those obstacles.
And that lesson in Pol.Sci. 101 does not even consider the wide disparities in social and economic power that discourages popular participation in local and national voter participation, skewing the entire process against so-called "popular" will. The outcome of presidential elections and its capacity to overcome all the hurdles mentioned above, ought not to be singled out for failing to fulfill the partisan's expectation, if only for the reason that the tactic undermines the very power claimed by the occupant.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in ourselves, but in our stars !"
 
 
+4 # pernsey 2011-11-27 18:16
Why are republicans so content with whatever bile their candidates spew forth?
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-11-27 21:48
They complain when there isn't enough bile.
 
 
0 # Martha Luehrmann 2011-11-30 21:36
Well, the consolation is that they are NOT so content. They fight among themselves much as we do, thank heavens.
 
 
0 # jsgammato 2011-11-27 22:26
"...general feeling that Obama is not Ronald Reagan"
The problem is tht liberals want a leader of the caliber of Reagan (or JFK). We want to be inspired to do our best for the common good, not managed or ignored. A few speeches to articulate our feelings would help a lot.
 
 
+2 # pernsey 2011-11-28 01:00
Quoting jsgammato:
"...general feeling that Obama is not Ronald Reagan"
The problem is tht liberals want a leader of the caliber of Reagan (or JFK). We want to be inspired to do our best for the common good, not managed or ignored. A few speeches to articulate our feelings would help a lot.


I know what your saying but...Just my opinion Ronald Reagan was terrible. The Right wingers prop him up like he was great...he was the beginning of the end for the middle class. He was one rich cat that knew trickle down would only trickle up!
 
 
-1 # jimsenter 2011-11-29 06:19
The question is not: is Obama better than the GOP candidates? The answer to that is obviously, YES>

THE PROPER QUESTION TO ASK IS: Is the Democratic Party doing the job that MUST be done? Defend the Constitution, address the grave environmental and economic challenges we face, bring corporate criminals to justice?

To that question the obvious answer is FUCK NO.

Given that, I say

NOBODY FOR PRESIDENT 2012.

because NOBODY will get the job done.
 
 
-1 # jimsenter 2011-11-29 06:32
The question is not: IS obama better than the GOP candidates? The answer to that is yes, sort of.

The question we need to be asking is: Is President Obama and the Democratic Party doing the job that MUST be done-- defending the Constitution, addressing the dire economic and ecologic challenges we face, bringing corporate criminals to justice?

The answer to THAT question is BLEEP NO!

Given that I say

NOBODY FOR PRESIDENT, 2012

because NOBODY will get the job done.
 

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