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Intro: "Well, lots of people spent Wednesday making fun of Tom Friedman's column pleading with Mike Bloomberg to run for president. Piling on doesn't interest me. What interests me is that Friedman and Financial Times columnist Sebastian Mallaby, whom Friedman quoted, and others in the center-left orbit they inhabit genuinely seem to believe that if Barack Obama put a bold and comprehensive tax-reform plan on the table, the Republicans would be forced to respond and negotiate in good faith. But this is pure fantasy."

Michael Tomasky says centrists are fools to think if Obama compromises with Republicans it will be 'good for the country.' (photo: Amy Sancetta/AP)
Michael Tomasky says centrists are fools to think if Obama compromises with Republicans it will be 'good for the country.' (photo: Amy Sancetta/AP)



Barack Obama and the 'Centrist' Fantasy

By Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

19 April 12

 

ell, lots of people spent Wednesday making fun of Tom Friedman's column pleading with Mike Bloomberg to run for president. Piling on doesn't interest me. What interests me is that Friedman and Financial Times columnist Sebastian Mallaby, whom Friedman quoted, and others in the center-left orbit they inhabit genuinely seem to believe that if Barack Obama put a bold and comprehensive tax-reform plan on the table, the Republicans would be forced to respond and negotiate in good faith. But this is pure fantasy. All that would happen would be that Obama would cost himself loads of political capital, and the center of gravity on the subject of taxation would again be pushed to the right. That isn't just bad for Obama, which is a second-order concern; it would be horrible for the country.

I'm sure that people like Friedman and Mallaby, and Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson and Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici, mean well and operate in good faith. They want to see a president issue big and courageous proposals, and they want Congress to rise above the blah-blah-blah. They want our system to vindicate itself. Well, who doesn't?

Unfortunately, it won't. Let's imagine a scenario. Obama comes forward with a tax-reform proposal along Bowles-Simpson lines, one that meets the GOP halfway. He comes up with three marginal rates for individuals, the highest one around 35, maybe 38 tops; or maybe he adds a fourth "LeBron James" rate, a higher rate on dollars earned above some fantastically high figure that applies to something like .2 percent of all tax filers; but that would probably be in there as a bargaining chip. He proposes the elimination of certain "tax expenditures," or deductions and loopholes like the home-mortgage-interest deduction and the deduction for employer-sponsored health care, which are the two big ones; or maybe he's more modest about this and places caps on those, not eliminating them entirely; or perhaps he sticks with something like getting rid of the state and local tax deduction. Finally, he lowers the corporate rate from the current 35 percent, but proposes closing several corporate loopholes, like energy-tax preferences for the oil and gas industry.

WWMD? That is, what would McConnell do—and Boehner, and Cantor, and the rest? Would they scratch their chins and say, "Gee, this is great. We're delighted that the president has put something serious on the table, and we will work hard with him to find common ground"? Actually, they might say that, at first, just to pull the wool over people's eyes. But in short order, the line from them and their confederates in positions of lighter responsibility would be: "This is a massive tax increase! Eliminating these deductions on middle-class people will raise their taxes, so he's breaking his promise, see, we told you! The LeBron tax is just more 'Democrat' class warfare, more punishing the job creators." "The corporate plan," they'll say, "sounds good on paper, but again, he's attacking the job creators by eliminating these important deductions, and many corporations, especially small businesses"—you know they'll throw that one in!—"are going to end up paying more."

If Obama meets Republicans halfway, and then they block a deal, the center will shift further to the right. Republicans know this. That's why obstructionism suits them just fine.

And that's just elected officials. At Heritage and Cato, they'll comb through the fine print and find an Achilles' heel, something that can be distorted to sound just hideous, which will of course be in there, because tax policy is unbelievably complex. And then, once Mr. Oxycontin and the Fox people start hooping and hollering about that, it won't be long before the whole thing can be dismissed as something Marx would be proud of.

No they wouldn't, you say? Why? Because their allegations wouldn't be true? Oh, yes, that has regularly stopped them in the past. Or because there would be too much pressure on them to behave responsibly this time? Pressure from whom? The New York Times and Washington Post editorial pages? Please. Direct me to one instance—and no, the Post and the Iraq War doesn't count, because that was the Post endorsing something Republicans were for anyway—when Eric Cantor has read a Times editorial and said, "Golly, these fellows make some very fair points, I must heed them." The only pressure they pay attention to is from Limbaugh, Fox, and the base. And that pressure will consist entirely of one message: resist, at all costs, or perish.

And that's what the Republicans will do. There's every reason to think it will be even worse in a second Obama term, because the base will be so enraged that the guy "stole" another election that the demand will be that the Republicans be even more obstructionist. And yes, there are a few honest Republicans. But Barney Frank summed up nicely in his interview with New York magazine why they can't be relied on for anything:

"People ask me, 'Why don't you guys get together?' And I say, 'Exactly how much would you expect me to cooperate with Michele Bachmann?' And they say, 'Are you saying they're all Michele Bachmann?' And my answer is, 'No, they're not all Michele Bachmann. Half of them are Michele Bachmann. The other half are afraid of losing a primary to Michele Bachmann.'"

That, alas, is the size of it. Columnists and wise men and women can afford the luxury of pretending or hoping that Republicans will behave as an American political party is supposed to behave. But Obama can't. All it would accomplish is to put himself in an extremely vulnerable position: He'll have expended an enormous amount of political capital in putting forward a big proposal, and he'll lose, and the Republicans will convince a significant portion of the country that it was Obama's fault for being "partisan.

But the worst outcome is this: if Obama makes a big proposal that meets the GOP halfway, and they block it, then the substantive center of gravity will shift to the right one more time. The same people who now wish that Obama would "show leadership" will make the same demand, except that next time, that demand will mean that he offer even lower rates in order to win Republican support. Guess what? The Republicans know this. Obstructionism suits them just fine.

That's the reality of today's GOP. What can change it? Not much. Losing lots of elections. If they're ever down to 38 senators and 153 House members like the good old days, they'll have to deal. Until then, Obama wouldn't be a leader if he tried to negotiate with them in good faith. He'd be a fool.

 

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+62 # Barbara K 2012-04-19 09:27
Republicans have proven time and again the past 3 years that they will not deal on anything. They act like spoiled brats who don't get their own way. So they should just pick up their toys and go home. They are making a lot of money for not doing the country's business and we should be in an outrage over that. VOTE STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC SO WE CAN get our economy, infrastructure and all else the Rs have blocked up and running again. It is our only hope, unless you want to buckle to their way and lose everything.
AND GET OUT AND VOTE.
 
 
-57 # isafakir 2012-04-19 09:42
since when has obama 1. had any integrity, backbone, courage of any kind at all, and 2. since when has obama been able to negotiate anything? if he offered to negotiate his own resignation he'd fail to resign. if he tried to impeach himself he'd fail.
 
 
+14 # Bill Clements 2012-04-19 10:15
As for courage and backbone, taking out OBL comes to mind, not that I condone how it actually came down (I don't). Even Republicans generally see that decision as a gutsy, courageous one.
 
 
-20 # John Locke 2012-04-19 11:48
isafakir: I agree, Obama is not a negotiator, Hillary Clinton was correct when she said he lacked experience. Not even a full term in congress before he made his deal with Wall Street to be their front man....

But as you say he lacks integrity, and his Wall Street deal fairly much shows that as a fact.

The things he has done since He has been in office have all been against our interest yet the die hard democrats give him a free pass...what is appalling to me is if a republican president had done any one of the number of evils Obama has done to us they would be screaming for his head...But not their saint Obama he gets a free pass!
 
 
+38 # JCM 2012-04-19 12:52
Try this again! If you don't vote for Obama and every Democrat you can you will get; the Paul Ryan budget plan, reducing the Pell Grant, deeper cuts in Social Security, deeper cuts in Medicare, cuts in the Department of Education, reduced regulation for the protection of the environment, reduced taxes for the very wealthy, reduced budget for clean energy, reduced regulation on the financial and petroleum industries and maybe all out war. Obama believes in a budget that would help restore the middle class, increased the Pell Grant, and believes in a budget with shared sacrificed. Believes in the environment, in education, in regulations for the protection of the working class and has tried to pass legislation to provide for that but “working” with the Republicans has made it impossible. This list can go on a long time and Obama is no neo-con for more war. There is no third choice for this election. If they try to tell you differently they are working for the Republicans. If you consider yourself a Progressive and have been paying attention to the Republicans record then anything you hate Obama for will pale in comparison to what the Republicans will do to your rights and our country. You rail against Obama, why aren’t you railing against the Republican war on the 99% and our American society? If you want to change politics prepare years before the election, otherwise get on board and fight for the Democrats. They are flawed but still our best chance to succeed.
 
 
-16 # John Locke 2012-04-19 18:40
JCM Obama will approve the same budget and the same things will happen...Sorry Obama had my vote the first time around but I am not a fool twice by the same man!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 25% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15

Ninety-two percent (92%) believe it is important to place strict limits on government so that it cannot take away individual rights and freedom.

In a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney earns 46% of the vote, while President Obama attracts support from 45%

Still close!
 
 
+16 # JCM 2012-04-19 19:53
The overriding factor for this election is not about Romney or Obama, it is whether or not the Republicans will be able to maintain their influence and power over the Government, the Democrats and so many American people. Their ideology of less regulation and less taxes on the rich has been going on for at least thirty years. It is the most profound scam that so many people, against their on good, have fallen for: making wealthy people even wealthier so they will make jobs and shower us all with their wealth. Of course if that were true our economy would be soaring because the wealthy have never been so rich. We must stop the Republicans war against the 99% and the only realistic way, just months before the election, is to vote for Obama and every Democrat we can. Unfortunately, if we don’t get a real super majority, it will be business as usual.
Some people say the Democrats are just like the Republicans, and in some ways that’s true, but when it comes to making legislation, over all, they try to protect the interests and lives of the 99% and all Americans.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-20 06:33
That's ,against their own good,
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-04-22 13:39
JCM, Now I understand why he passed NDAA, that is for our benefit! I never thought about it that way!
 
 
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 20:23
Have some long game.

I'm having trouble seeing how electing Mittens fits into a "progressive" strategic agenda.
 
 
+5 # Michael_K 2012-04-19 18:06
you are correct... seems our party is adopting the party over country attitude we so condemned
 
 
+18 # hutlee 2012-04-19 16:41
Since I'm a Green, and no big admirer of Obama, I can be more critical of the other two parties. So, it is quite clear that the GOP decided right from the beginning, to do nothing to help Obama. Their aim was to make sure that he was on e term president, and the hell with what the country wants or needs. They took on themselves the label of The Party of No, and it has worked to stall solving the country's problems.

I fault the Democrats for preferring to "go forward", rather than putting into play an investigation of GWB's "shock & awe" of Iraq. Neither party is without fault in that costly blunder, and neither is willing to risk exposing their own party to the faulty "evidence" that gave Junior the ok to invade Iraq. But, this is not going to go away.
 
 
-1 # Michael_K 2012-04-19 18:05
we quite rightly berated the Rethuglicans for putting their Party and personal ambitions way ahead of the interests of the Nation... But look at us now... this knee-jerk defense of Obama, an indefensible and treasonous fascist, is quite horrifying to me. It's also completely illogical since the knave has continued or even expanded upon all the most heinous policies for which we severely condemned Bush/Cheney! It seems to me that this country has had it. The American Experiment is over.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-20 12:55
Any fact to back this up?
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:09
"It seems to me that this country has had it. The American Experiment is over."

An attitude like that never accomplishes anything.
 
 
-1 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 16:05
Look at the Democrats on this site, stridently defending Obama! Then, try to tell me we have a snowball's chance in hell of changing things.
 
 
+2 # kyzipster 2012-04-21 05:42
Nobody can negotiate when the GOP has decided that obstruction is their primary objective no matter how centrist or even conservative a proposal is.

Obama could use some backbone to point out this fact over and over again but it has nothing to do with some inability to negotiate.
 
 
-59 # Martintfre 2012-04-19 09:44
Dear CONgress,

Its the spending Stupid!
 
 
+15 # LiberalRN 2012-04-19 16:59
Quoting Martintfre:
Dear CONgress,

Its the spending Stupid!


Yup... the spending on unprovoked wars, corporate giveaways, and gigantic tax cuts ("The Bush Tax Cuts") to those who need help lease.
 
 
-7 # Martintfre 2012-04-20 05:54
The Stupid wars - that the Democrats have Fooly endorsed with their votes and our money - IS PART of the problem, but by no means all of it.
 
 
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:10
It's the OVERWHELMINGLY BIGGEST part of it, but that's only if you think mathematically rather than emotionally.

You're right though. The Democrats NEVER should have cooperated with bush jr. about this.
 
 
-82 # Martintfre 2012-04-19 09:51
This whole debate of who are we going to skin and how much from them is theater for fools -

Just about every one of those Liberals calling for more tax revenue refuse to open their own wallet and lead by example by writing bigger checks then necessary -- they want to pretend like they care, and they do care enough to promise to pick some one elses wallet so stupid people will vote for them.

The real problem is the massive federal spending. Every tax payer is presently on the hook for $1.044 MILLION dollars once funded and UNfunded liabilities are factored in -- there is not enough money on the planet to satisfy the endless promises politicians make with other peoples money to get elected.
 
 
+55 # pbbrodie 2012-04-19 10:35
You are so right. The problem is massive federal spending but you are attacking the wrong [portion of that spending.

We can't afford to continue spending what we don't have on our incredibly bloated, wasteful, and unnecessary defense budget. There is no excuse in the world to justify the USA spending more than all other countries combined on so-called defense and decimating our safety net for those in need in order to do so.

So, we need to work on the problem you have identified and get the politicians to stop promising all of the endless defense contractors that they will continue funding the absurd defense budget, and then adding to it as well, with other people's money, because you are exactly correct, we CAN'T afford it!!!
 
 
+39 # John Locke 2012-04-19 11:50
Actually the 1% should pay for the war and leave us alone...after all its for their benefit!
 
 
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 20:26
We shouldn't even allow that. That's what's ALREADY happening in Iraq. Think the "war" in Iraq is over? Think again. The 1% are paying for the mercenaries to keep it active in perpetuity. Of course it's not a "war" at all. It's the securing of the 1%'s resources.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-22 13:42
Billy the Iraq war is coming out of taxes the 1% aren't paying for it directly and they should, let them donate the 100'S of millions they are throwing at the election to instead pay for their wars...and let the people wise up and stay out of their wars!
 
 
-23 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-19 18:58
pbbrodie, the defense budget is why government exists to protect your butt from the bad guys. Giving away tax dollars to the poor or indigent is not government's role, that is the role of charity.
 
 
+13 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 20:26
The defense budget is primarily for the PROFIT of the bad guys.
 
 
+11 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-19 21:28
You claim to be a small business owner and yet you can't make basic calculations? Who is going to invade us? The Afghans on their flying carpets? Iraqis in their crop dusters? Yemenites on their camels? Why do we need a military designed to repel modern armies?

Terrorists are the main problem we need to have any concern about and it doesn't take more than a couple synapses to figure out that the military is useless against them. The only thing that has been successful anywhere in the world against terrorism has been police work, not Apache attack helicopters.

We spend as much as the rest of the world combined on the military, and at least some of those countries, NATO, India, all the countries of Latin America, S. Korea, are no threat to us militarily. That means that countries that wish us poorly, Iran, N. Korea, Burma, Pakistan, China, spend a piddly fraction of what we do. You can whine about the military threat of China all you want, but it is in the economic arena that they are going to eat our lunch. And the more we spend on our military instead of investments in our infrastructure, the less able we are to compete with them economically.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:11
AWESOME COMMENT!
 
 
+47 # MEBrowning 2012-04-19 10:44
Martintfre, where was your outrage when George W. Bush destroyed Bill Clinton's budget surplus and allowed billions of dollars to go unaccounted for in Iraq? Oh, that must be the fault of liberals, too.
 
 
-10 # Martintfre 2012-04-20 06:00
MEB .. Government WAS too big then. While Clinton 'surplus' years were running the federal debt grew from 5.5 to 5.8 trillion.

And the DEMOCRATS lined up behind Bush and voted for those wars as well - Had there been a shred of Honesty with Obomya we would of left Iraq and Afghanistan several years ago- yet we are still there, And we would not have bombed Libya or keep funding the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as we are about to do again.
 
 
+29 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-19 11:11
Martintfre,

This ain't Church or a school picnic where everyone chips in what they can afford. How do you know who is or is not paying more than they owe? When one does that they are under no obligation to reveal that, so if you know you are likely breaking the law.

Just about every one of those Conservatives seem to think that they can explain exactly what ever Liberal is doing and what they are thinking. How did the Conservatives get such unimaginable power?

The facts are (WAKE UP! FACTS ALERT!) that fiscally the country has had worse debt problems in the past, like right after WW2. We recovered. We invested in America and Americans. We built infrastructure and expanded educational opportunities. We reached out and invested in other parts of the world at the same time. This all culminated in the first human to step foot on an alien world. It all ended when we stopped improving and updating our infrastructure, handed our education system over to banks, and stopped investing in other countries and started to reward employers using foreign slave conditions to benefit and improve the lives of virtually no one.

Throw out the big numbers, but get those older numbers recalculated to account for inflation. (WAKE UP! FACTS OVER!)
 
 
+15 # LiberalRN 2012-04-19 17:01
Quoting Martintfre:
This whole debate of who are we going to skin and how much from them is theater for fools -

Just about every one of those Liberals calling for more tax revenue refuse to open their own wallet and lead by example by writing bigger checks then necessary -- they want to pretend like they care, and they do care enough to promise to pick some one elses wallet so stupid people will vote for them.

The real problem is the massive federal spending. Every tax payer is presently on the hook for $1.044 MILLION dollars once funded and UNfunded liabilities are factored in -- there is not enough money on the planet to satisfy the endless promises politicians make with other peoples money to get elected.


Don't I recall something about a surplus prior to the Bush years, with the wars, corporate giveaways, and tax cuts to those who need help least?
 
 
-14 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-19 18:57
Martinfire, perfectly said, thank you!
 
 
-14 # Martintfre 2012-04-20 06:25
-68 and falling.

Apparently there are at least 68 people who think that it is ok to elect politicians who make endless promises with other peoples money. 68 people at least who think that it is ok to enslave children being born today with over a million dollars of debt to satisfy their own selfish wants.

I guess these little kiddies are the 1% so it is ok to economically enslave them
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:12
The 1% seems to be the only thing you're interested in preserving.
 
 
+43 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-19 10:06
Republicans cannot allow a "victory" for Obama at all, ever. Their entire assault on his Presidency is based entirely on the apparent incompetence of President Obama. This is the story they have created for the Independent voters, the ones that voted for Obama instead McCain, the ones that always voted Republican because the Republicans are for Business.

And they have created a certain air of truth to the story. Many of those same independents proclaim that Obama had 2 years with a complete Democratic Majority and he was incapable of getting any of his agenda through. Except of course for Health Care, the successful rescue of Detroit and forestalling the collapse of the entire economy into total chaos.

But "where are the jobs" the independents ask. Explain that the Republicans blocked every real attempt to create jobs programs, and his majority is again brought up. They show that they have been brainwashed into Republican thinking by ignoring that Democrats are allowed to act independently. The nearly 100% compliance of the Republicans, especially in the Senate, is without precedent in modern American politics. I don't claim to have the answer, but I do know negotiating with the Republicans is an exercise in absurdity.
 
 
-19 # John Locke 2012-04-19 11:59
LiberalLibertar ian: Let me ask you this. When Obama took office the econoimy was in bad shape, now its on life support. Don't you believe that if he had made an attempt to create Jobs first instead of a payback to the Insurance industry for their losses due to the foreclosures and the billions they have been paying to the banks we would be in much better shape now?

also do you really believe he actually forstalled an economic collapse?

You shoule read more, your opinion would change dramatically... perhaps you are not aware that the entire financial system is now also on life support and is being propped up by phony financial statements...Th e nearly 10 million homes that have really been foreclosed are still being carried on their books at the full loan value! if they actually showed these properties at the rate they were foreclosed at, they would all be taken over by the FDIC...they are all technically insolvent! All Obama has done is try to save his financial backers...Not Us!
 
 
+16 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-19 16:21
John,

President Obama cannot act as a dictator. So to say he should have done X Y or Z is merely your opinion based on what you believe to be true. However, there are forces in play that we are not aware of; forces that go beyond financially backing one candidate over another. They money changers care not a bit over who is President, they have been manipulating many things since the Nixon and then the Reagan administrations began handing them control.
They are entrenched beyond the capacity for a single man to control in a mere two years. And while I have no idea whether Obama forstalled an economic collapse, I do know it hasn't happened.

My question to you is still, how is your relentless attack on Obama going to move the country forward and finally reset our economy and our Democracy. Sometimes when I read what you are saying I get the feeling that you believed all the baloney that the Right Wing claimed we believed back in 2008. Talk about setting up someone to fail, their Obama setup was a masterpiece. And very scary, since maybe not you, but others like you were taken in by the Right Wing misinformation machine.
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-04-19 18:59
LiberalLibertar ian With all due respect... I have not been taken in by propaganda from either side...and we get alot of that right here... especially about Gun control!

I look at the facts and what I see I don't like...such as Obama attacking OWS. with Homeland Security, NDAA, and so forth...

I have been trying to move people to wake up and back a real party that is not controlled by Wall Street... and when you say the economy hasn't collapsed. wow.. I have nothing to say except what do you call business failures daily and 1,410,653 Bankruptcy filings last year? Can a business borrow money today? are the banks solvent? are Foreclosures rising again? Would you like to take a guess as to how many people are homeless in the US this very Minute? If you beleive this economy is sound...Can I sell you a slightly used bridge in New York?
 
 
+9 # soularddave 2012-04-19 20:16
Quoting John Locke:
I have been trying to move people to wake up and back a real party that is not controlled by Wall Street..


What "real party" is that which can get more votes that the 2nd place candidate? I AGREE WITH YOU, but the election we're talking about is six months from NOW. OWS is the only progressive thing happening on a wide scale, but they're not putting anyone in place for elective office.

BTW, Obama as a dictator is a truly ridiculous notion.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 20:30
Please elaborate about the gun control propaganda.
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-04-22 13:47
That it has reduced crime anywhere... it has done the exact opposite, research it for your self...there is plenty of facts on the net and I have placed it on the comments to the articles...the problem is the liberal establishment want gun control they actually want the guns out of our hands and our reach... I agree with the conservatives on that issue...not all but with respect to Gun control
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-04-22 13:57
I have put it up on several articles, Gun Control does NOT reduce Crime it has the opposite affect...Every country that has taken the guns away from the people has witnessed a large increase of crime
 
 
+9 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-20 04:58
John,

I specifically stated that I did NOT think you had been taken in by the Right Wing propaganda. I just noted that your comments echo in tone, not content, the complaints of the Right Wing.

I agree 100% about the anti-democratic activities of this administration. In my mind, however, it is a moot point since any Republican and most (not all) Democrats running in 2008 (including Hillary, especially Hillary) would have done at least the same or may be worse.

While YOU may not think Obama is even marginally better than Romney at restoring our economy, the record shows otherwise. Wait until Gov. Deval Patrick goes on the campaign trail to let everyone know about 2 things. First, the state of MA was in tatters after Romney left; and second, the only success Romney had is the Healthcare plan, where MA is now the only state where Insurance Premiums are dropping. Please do sell me that slightly used bridge, prices are down right now and the value is sure to rise; once the Republican Obstructionists get out of the way.

Romney would be a disaster, Obama at least we tread water and we all work together to get candidates for 2014 and 2016 that will either sign on to Progessive ideas and true democracy.

The Righties have been destroying the country for nearly 40 years, one guy cannot fix that in 2, 4, or even 8 years.

You have to play it long.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-22 13:55
LiberalLibertar ian: My concern is what rights will remain in 4 years?
Obama scares me, after what he has already done...

I do see your point, Romney would certainly be worse for everything but Human and Civil rights..there I believe they are equally bad...

I like your point about the bridge and the prices being at their low point, Maybe I should hold on to it and see if the prices rise soon!

I understand also that we don't have time now to organize for a real candidate and the Democrats really screwed us up by having no one challenge Obama...as I see the problem there are too many appologists for him here and very few willing to hold his feet to the fire...I do understand very well your points...I just wish there was now some viable alternative!
 
 
-17 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-19 19:01
LiberalL, if Obama gets re-elected into the White House he surely will act as a dictator, but I do believe he would prefer to be called Emperor Obama.
 
 
+5 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-20 04:58
Please justify your accusations.
 
 
-2 # Martintfre 2012-04-20 06:08
//President Obama cannot act as a dictator.//

Really?

Then explain the constitutionali ty of attacking Libya?

Not a dictator...Expl ain why we the 'free people' can't film police abusing citizens but the government can grope us at will?
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:14
Who would you vote for that would not have attacked Libya? Remember, Paul's not running in the general elections, so get over it. Also remember that if he was, he'd be happy as a dictator about domestic issues.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-20 15:04
LiberalLibertar ian - Nicely said!
 
 
0 # iggypops 2012-04-21 17:01
uuhhmm – as go the bankers, so goes us. no man is an island entire of himself . . . saving one saved the other. the real work is in how we needed to deal with the bankers for bringing the tsunami on our shores. and we, the 99% are working on that. see you in streets . . .
 
 
-3 # Martintfre 2012-04-20 06:06
//Republicans cannot allow a "victory" for Obama at all, ever. Their entire assault on his Presidency is based entirely on the apparent incompetence of President Obama. //

LOL

ORomney is almost a clone of Obama - the republican hierarchy is committing suicide by pushing ORomney - he does not have enough money to run against his past record.

Obama's only incompetent if you actually care about holding his feet to the fire for things like we would be out of the wars within x months if not by his inauguration, the economy would be better bla bla.
But If you standard is a cult of personality and that is your sole measure of value then Obama is great.
 
 
+2 # JCM 2012-04-20 17:07
I prefer to think of it this way: If Romney wins and the Republicans take over Congress they will: pass the Ryan budget destroying Medicare as we know it and probably will crashed Social Security as well, will decreased regulation on the petroleum and financial industries, add another two conservative judges on the Supreme Court and then repeal Roe v Wade and countless other beneficial rulings for the working class, will repeal health care so that people could still be denied insurance when they get sick and the people with pre existing conditions will be out of luck, will continue to lower taxes for the rich and create larger deficits, will reduce funding for food stamps, for clean energy, for science, for global warming, for Pell Grants, will try to destroy unions, etc,etc,etc. Some of you hate Obama but anything he has done will pale in comparison to what the Republicans will do.
 
 
-1 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 16:09
Fearmongering. Democrats in both chambers will block most of your doomsday scenario, if it's proposed by a Rethuglican. They only go fascist when the purportedly Democratic President is a fascist.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:15
A liberal, a conservative, and a "moderate" walked into a bar...

The bartender said, "Hi Mitt!"
 
 
+36 # GAH65 2012-04-19 10:19
Tomasky is exactly right. The Republicans in Congress would prefer to see the government come to a complete standstill and the economy collapse than cooperate with the president and give him any kind of victory. This is all about take down America to get the White House back. It's not just obstructionism, it's destructionism, and it is clearly class warfare with the rich controlling congress for their own benefit.
 
 
+19 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 10:26
Say what you will about Obama, but you'll notice that repugs and Mittens have already kissed and made up. Mittens is now their candidate and they WILL vote for him regardless of ANYTHING they said before to the contrary.

They WILL vote for Mittens.

Many on the left WILL NOT vote for Obama.

Do the math.
 
 
+4 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-20 05:03
I know, and they base it on stuff he can only tangentially correct. In addition, Obama is not and never has been a Progressive. He was a compromise candidate between Hillary on the Right and Dennis Kucinich on the Left. Hillary was electable but the shadow of Bill was too large and she never indicated that she would be substantially different, Dennis of course, was too leftist for the MSM to take seriously. Just like they never take people on the far Right serious. (sic)
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 17:16
Well said.
 
 
-24 # HowardMH 2012-04-19 10:28
Obama the Wimp.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Support the 99ers, the only chance we have left. Go 99ers Go!

Obama the Wimp.
 
 
+12 # LiberalRN 2012-04-19 17:04
I was not aware that "The 99ers" were candidates for office. That limits my choices somewhat.
 
 
+19 # janetjan 2012-04-19 10:38
So should Obama go the other way, not trying to "meet the Republicans halfway", but shift everything away from the right and the right-of-middle towards caring for people and make the Republicans argue against jobs, food, education, and safety outright?
 
 
+17 # DaveHOz 2012-04-19 11:16
Well, yes, that would be nice.
 
 
+13 # cadan 2012-04-19 13:24
DaveHOz, i think nearly everybody here must agree with you (i sure do), but i do wonder why we don't hear of President Obama making lots of statements about clean air and water (maybe he is, but the Main Stream Media [MSM] won't cover it)?

It seems like it should be a no-brainer: who wants to drink polluted water or breathe bad air?

(And of course Tomasky is right: compromise makes absolutely no sense with opponents who are willing to wreck the country to do you in.)
 
 
-9 # John Locke 2012-04-19 12:03
janetjan: if Obama had any guts YES! But unfortunately he has been bought and paid for by Wall Street...DHe as the members of Congress will never bite the hand that is feeding them...they WILL never raise taxes on their wealthy doners...as long as we play this two party insanity we're done!
 
 
+14 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-19 12:10
Obama has to stay away from tax reform while endorsing the Progressive Caucus Budget For All. By endorsing their budget and not creating his own, he can stand on the concepts of the Budget without being caught up in quicksand buried in the details of any budget. Tax reform will never be done by any legislature during an election season, note that most major changes to the tax code occur early in a President's term.
 
 
-3 # John Locke 2012-04-19 19:04
I see so he has to stay away from Tax reform, I suppose that means trashing SS and Medicare and Medicaid so he can get the republicans to approve another Budget...come on... all he has to do is stand his ground! which he has never done...he is too week! So you are accepting tax breaks for the wealthy and more taxes for us!...sorry if I am going to be nailed I would rather it be done by a real republican and not one who is a latent republican...
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2012-04-19 20:30
Tax bills, like spending bills, originate in the House; as per the Constitution. The president can say what he needs to, but he doesn't get a vote until after everyone else (Senate & House) has their say and sends him a bill that he signs or doesn't sign.
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-04-22 16:15
THe President is supposed to be the leader of his party...he recommends legislation he wants...and Biden If I recall..has the breaking vote in the House!
 
 
+6 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-19 21:34
You haven't been paying attention to what has been happening, have you? Right now the republicans are trying to go back on their deal reached last year on spending. Obama is resisting and we'll see how that plays out.
 
 
+2 # JCM 2012-04-21 03:44
“sorry if I am going to be nailed I would rather it be done by a real republican and not one who is a latent republican...”
So let’s let the Republicans totally destroy SS, Medicare and Medicaid instead. While we're at it let’s let them gut the Department of Education, and Pell Grants, lets lower taxes on the wealthiest and raise taxes on the poor. Hell just for spite because we don't like Obama, let’s let the Republicans add another two conservative judges on the Supreme Court and then repeal Roe v Wade and countless other beneficial rulings for the working class, let them repeal health care so that people could still be denied insurance when they get sick and the people with pre existing conditions will be out of luck, let them create larger deficits, and reduce funding for food stamps, for clean energy, for science, for global warming, don’t forget we can let them destroy unions too. Sounds like a great plan, John Locke, Karl Rove would be proud.
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2012-04-19 20:23
Well that's what HAS been happening, and they HAVE been arguing against jobs, food, education, and safety outright. The Rethuglicans have painted all of us as lazy, shiftless bums that are sucking the treasury dry.
 
 
+28 # szq5777 2012-04-19 10:48
I hate republicans! I will proudly vote for Obama and every other Democrat in November!
 
 
+24 # angelfish 2012-04-19 11:12
You're RIGHT, Mr. Tomasky! The ReTHUGlicans REFUSE to bargain in good faith and will NEVER work with this President on ANYTHING. Their stated Primary goal of his first term, they have flatly stated, is to make it his ONLY term. Hopefully, they will NOT succeed! They are overtaken by their Greed and obedience to their Mega-Millionair e Masters and will NEVER stoop to helping the common man! A POX on them and ALL they stand for! Remember and vote the Bast**ds OUT in November! The People, UNITED, will NEVER be defeated!
 
 
+20 # Doctoretty 2012-04-19 11:12
Since when is Tom Friedman "center left?" I consider myself center left, and I rarely agree with him on anything! I do agree that Obama needs to quit trying to appease Republicans in the name of bi-partisanship , and hold his ground more in his second term!
 
 
+4 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-19 21:36
I was wondering that myself. Frankly I would put Friedman at about the same level as Brooks.
 
 
+6 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-04-19 11:13
"Losing lots of elections." How about we take off the blinders, and recognize that right to vote, then have that vote honestly counted, has gone bye bye.

Sorry, but voting a straight Dem. ticket ain't gonna solve the problem. Reality Check: The lines wrapped around the block in 2008 at the El Paso County Dem. County Convention, in the bitter cold, with no admittance for no reason. Then came #1 proof certain that Dems. ain't really Dems. anymore: the then head of the local ACLU, an N.S.A. operative, intimidated and turned away elected delegates and alternets, which I accidentally overheard. #2 proof: within a few days, all those elected by the delegates and alternets that day to go onto the platform committee, a justice and peace oriented group that was elected that day, were told by the Dem. County chair that he had dissovled their committee. #3 proof: massive disenfranchisem ent and intimidation of voters happened, following arrests of peaceful peace and justice activists at both the Dem. state convention and Dem. national convention in Denver. Did local/state Dem. party officials yell like hell re. any of the aforementioned? No way, Jose.

We should not vote for anyone on the ballot, until we've researched his/her prior actions vs. words. Yes, Greedy Old Partiers are guilty as hell of destroying our constitutional rights, rule of law, etc. evil etc.. But, tragic and then some, so are far too many Dems. in the pockets of the 1%ers.
 
 
+5 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-19 16:26
Rita,

For now we must get Dems runnimg for Congress to endorse the Budget For All. I have written my Congressman asking for it and when he responded without even mentioning it, I posted the question on his facebook page. It so happens he is in a tight race this year, but he is also a member of the Progressive Caucus. I will vote for him, but without an endorsement, I will support a Green or a Democratic challenger that will stand up and be counted as a Progressive.
 
 
0 # dick 2012-04-19 11:27
IF Obama had pegged the $timulus where economists said he should, at $2T+, instead of capitulating to those who sought to destroy him (WHY WOULD one compromise with those who sought one's destruction? To agree on only getting 1/2 destroyed? I want to steal ALL your money, but I'll compromise.) we would be enjoying new education, transportation, energy, security infrastructure, re-constructed foreclosed McMansions, near full employment, & a mandate to continue. IF the traitor Obama had planted the $$ & flag to the left, for Main St. recovery, as he had every chance to do, Tom Friedman would now be the center-right, or right wing. Obama tricked US, then betrayed US, SUCKED up to Goldman Sachs. He wants to be the richest half white ex-President, yachting away his post presidency. We were dupes, chumps, suckers. Fool me once.....
 
 
+1 # Michael_K 2012-04-19 18:08
sentient analysis
 
 
+1 # Phlippinout 2012-04-20 07:17
Which President in your life time has not been a disappointment? Which President in your lifetime has put the people first? The only Pres i was proud to vote for was Jimmy carter because I was a farm worker. Any body have a president that they voted for that kept their promise or put us first?
 
 
+14 # PaineRad 2012-04-19 11:32
Anything and everything Obama would propose will be attacked.

The question is, should he then propose nothing? Or should he propose something that the public largely supports but the GOP leadership opposes? Either way he will be attacked, not just lightly but savagely. The problem here is that the public seems not to hold any of its beliefs very strongly, and the right's media blitz will likely peel off very large portions of that support.

The alternative is to let the GOP squawkers put their feet in their mouths with another major screw up. The problem here is that you are constantly playing just another sort of defense and not proposing anything positive. You are just hoping the clowns own hubris will do them in.
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2012-04-19 20:44
Quoting PaineRad:
Anything and everything Obama would propose will be attacked. You are just hoping the clowns own hubris will do them in.


The clowns THRIVE on their own hubris. It makes for good theater. Unfortunately, many good people are confused by the sheer mass of counterpoint to the good ideas. You see what we're up against; just imagine what the Democratic senators and representatives are up against - and that includes, obviously, the President.
It's mind boggling, and in the end, we voters ARE the only hope for restoring anything - and we still have the actual election machines to worry about.
 
 
+14 # PaineRad 2012-04-19 11:36
My own preference is to first line up the PR offensive; line up the advertising capacity/money to counter-attack. Line up the slogans; line up the bloggers and columnists.

But most importantly, start the conversation with talking about the symptoms that all can see. Then start talking about what the symptoms reflect -- what the disease is. Then go big to the left of the public at large with a major education campaign, a reminder of American virtues of honesty and fair play alongside a direct repudiation of all the misinformation coming from the right.

A major campaign is not a potshot here and one there, demonstration on one topic this month and another one two months later. A major campaign is an ongoing, in your face effort that appeals to the deepest heartstrings and moral principles of people using every honest tool available.

If we want change, we'd better get serious about it.

Anything less is dilettante games playing and doomed to futility.
 
 
+17 # uglysexy 2012-04-19 11:53
Tom Friedman is a kook....and Bloomberg is a Class Purging
Billionaire Demagogue
I will vote straight Dem
 
 
+1 # walthe310 2012-04-19 12:54
Reform the Senate or merge it with the House or abolish it.
 
 
+4 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-19 21:39
Barney Frank made the statement that the only structural change that had to be made to get the government working again was to abolish the filibuster. There is a lot of sense in that statement.
 
 
-6 # Mainiac 2012-04-19 17:09
ONE POINT THAT HAS NOT BEEN MADE ABOUT OBAMA AND HIS ADMINISTRATION IS THAT THE LEGACY FROM BUSH IS STILL WITH US. WE HAD EIGHT YEARS OF BUSH RESTOCKING THE BUREAUCRACY WITH PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO WRECK THE AGENCIES AND OFFICES THAT THEY WERE APPOINTED TO. MANY LONG-TERM CIVIL SERVANTS RESIGNED RATHER THAN BE PART OF GIVING AWAY THE STORE TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR. WHEN OBAMA CAME IN, HE APPOINTED PEOPLE THAT WERE BASICALLY TO THE RIGHT OF CENTER AND THEY DID NOT CHANGE BACK TO CARRYING OUT THE MISSIONS OR PURPOSES THAT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO CARRY OUT.

SINCE HILARY WAS CORRECT - OBAMA LACKED EXPERIENCE - LITTLE HAS BEEN DONE TO RECTIFY THE DAMAGE DONE DURING THE BUSH YEARS. PLUS, IF YOU READ CONFIDENCE MEN YOU WILL FIND THAT OBAMA WANTS OTHERS TO PROPOSE THE SOLUTIONS FOR OUR PROBLEMS. SO WE HAVE A BUREAUCRACY THAT IS OUT OF CONTROL, EVEN DISREGARDING WHAT THE PRESIDENT MAY SAY HE WANTS FROM TIME TO TIME AND JUST DOING WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. LARRY SUMMERS AND ERIC HOLDER BEING CASES IN POINT.
THE MAJOR, MAJOR PROBLEM IS THAT OBAMA IS INCOMPETENT, HAVING NO EXPERIENCE AT BEING AN EXECUTIVE.
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2012-04-19 20:52
We have 30 years of shifting the Peoples' money to the Military side, away from the Peoples' interests to undo, not just 8. We now see where the Conservative agenda was headed, and it ain't pretty, is it?
 
 
+3 # Rick Levy 2012-04-19 19:27
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Just how many times is Obama going run up to kick the Centrist football before the Rethuglicans jerk it away?
 
 
+8 # michellewey 2012-04-19 20:32
Below is the opening sentence of an article I read on this site 2 days ago. Has collective amnesia set in? Is there no such thing as the truth? "Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a move to open debate on the so-called Buffett Rule, ensuring that a measure pressed for months by President Obama and Senate Democrats to ensure that the superrich pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent will not come to a decisive vote." It won't even come to a vote! They won't even talk about it! There is no dealing with Republicans. I strongly agree with Tomasky's assessment that any kind of compromise by Obama will be rejected and will only serve to move the debate further to the right. I think Obama should make proposals without trying to win Republican support because he won't get it. When the Republicans roundly reject reasonable proposals, they are exposed as the obstructionists (as someone mentioned here earlier, the destructionists ) they are. I strongly agree that although the Democratic party is flawed and complicit, they must be supported. I disagree with the far left position. I worry about rigged vote counting and unfair redistricting and all the other ways the Republicans have worked in direct opposition to the concept of democracy in their shameless decimation of our constitution.
 
 
-2 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-21 15:36
Mr Tomasky writes that what's bad for Obama is a "secondary concern". How wrong! What's bad for Obama is no concern at all; it's a plus. Obama should not be re-elected under any circumstance. His re-election is an endorsement by the American electorate, an endorsement of first and foremost, a war-criminal. It would by a disgrace for Americans to put their names behind the wars of aggression ( the worst war crime of all, according to the Nuremburg judges who tried the NAZIS) of Barack Obama. Americans of conscience should vote for a third party or an independent candidate or stay home. Yes, other voters would elect a Republican, but that is their moral responsibility. We are responsible, each of us, only for our own vote. A vote for Obama is a vote for a war criminal.

In addition, re-electing a violator of his oath to support and defend the Constitution is more destruction to that already tattered document which gave our government the legitimacy it no longer has. Obama with congress have punched holes in our Bill of Rights. Together, they are ignoring our laws against torture and privacy. They have cut the legs from under our republic.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-21 16:35
Just in case you missed this above:
If Romney wins and the Republicans take over Congress they will: pass the Ryan budget destroying Medicare as we know it and probably will crash Social Security as well, will decrease regulation on the petroleum and financial industries, leading to more catastrophe, add another two conservative judges on the Supreme Court and then repeal Roe v Wade and countless other beneficial rulings for the working class, will repeal health care so that people could still be denied insurance when they get sick and the people with pre existing conditions will be out of luck, will continue to lower taxes for the rich and create larger deficits, will reduce funding for food stamps, for clean energy, for science, for global warming, for Pell Grants, will try to destroy unions, and will probably come up with some excuse to go to war. The list of destructive Republican policies goes on a long time but I can guarantee that they favor the very wealthiest. Their platform is now,” Donate to my campaign and I will make you wealthier.”
Some of you hate Obama but anything he has done will pale in comparison to what the Republicans will do.
 

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