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Pierce writes: "Anyone who was listening to Barack Obama and thought they heard FDR was tuned into his own private frequencies. Handed an economic catastrophe a month before his election, and then governing through the worst of it in the early days of his administration, he sought consensus because that's the most basic instinct in him, and, alas, consensus was that claque of Wall Street Magi whom he brought aboard."

Has Obama actually walked away from his campaign promises? (photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)
Has Obama actually walked away from his campaign promises? (photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

The Predictable Presidency

By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Magazine

23 February 12


ver this past weekend,I had some fun hosting a book salon over at the Firedoglake site with Thomas Frank on the topic of his new book, Pity The Billionaire. As you can see, the dialogue got a little spirited when the topic of the president came up. Bear in mind, I have my own problems with the way business has been done by this administration over the past three years. Rahm Emanuel never should have been let near the White House, and that passel of Wall Street people never should have been let near the nation's fiscal policy until some of their old lunch buddies had done some serious time.

This president has attached himself too closely to the Bush Administration's policies on terror. His signature health-care law is so full of compromises, duct tape, thumbtacks, and rubber bands, and chewing gum that it's vulnerable to 100 different attacks from 110 different directions. He should not have needed kids in drum circles halfway through his presidency to tell him who his real enemies were. But the fact is, I'm not surprised by any of this. To me, anyway, Barack Obama is pretty much the conciliationist Democratic centrist that I knew I was voting for back in 2008.

(There was only one person back then who looked as though he might walk the whole progressive walk on income inequality and the rising power of oligarchy in the country, and that was John Edwards, and what a field of buttercups that administration would have turned out to be. Yoicks.)

Recently, in a spate of writing on the topic of how the administration has done its business, there seems to be a rising sense that the president underrated the true monomaniacal nature of this opposition while simultaneously overrating both our desire to be together and his own ability to get us there. James Fallows wrote that, "If Obama really thought that America had moved past partisan division, then he was too innocent for the job." All I can say to those folks is, well, welcome to the boat, y'all. Beer's in the cooler.

The people I don't understand are the people who pronounce themselves "betrayed" by what has happened since the president was elected. As hard a political lesson as this is to learn, the politicians we vote for are under no obligation to be who we think they should be. Nine times out of 10, anyone who complains that "This isn't the guy I voted for" either wasn't playing close enough attention at the time they held the election, or was really voting for himself by proxy. If we're very, very lucky, circumstances will conspire with dumb luck and enable a politician to deliver unalloyed by compromise maybe 25 percent of what he promised us when he was running.

There was never any doubt that, in a great many instances, Barack Obama was going to accommodate and compromise because that's the way the man's built. He took a dive on telecom immunity in July before he was elected. That should have been a caveat emptor moment for everyone.

While running for his first term as president, on a campaign speech in Columbus, Ohio, FDR said:

"It was the heyday of promoters, sloganeers, mushroom millionaires, opportunists, adventurers of all kinds. In this mad whirl was launched Mr. Hoover's campaign. Perhaps foreseeing it, a shrewd man from New England, while in the cool detachment of the Dakota hills, on a narrow slip of paper wrote the historic words, 'I do not choose to run.'"

I can't recall Barack Obama's ever saying anything that direct or harsh in 2008, either about the incumbent, or about the situation in which the incumbent was handing over the country to him. (I don't recall him saying anything that harsh and direct about anything or anyone, ever.) The moment of that election desperately needed - hell, demanded - an FDR, but there was no FDR on offer. Anyone who was listening to Barack Obama and thought they heard FDR was tuned into his own private frequencies. Handed an economic catastrophe a month before his election, and then governing through the worst of it in the early days of his administration, he sought consensus because that's the most basic instinct in him, and, alas, consensus was that claque of Wall Street Magi whom he brought aboard. Not good, but entirely predictable.

So what now? There are some signals that the president is realizing consensus is impossible with an opposition made up primarily of Bible-banging pyromaniacs, and that, anyway, consensus is not always a desirable goal in and of itself. (His reflexive proposal to cut the corporate tax today, however, is not a good sign. He's bidding against Mitt Romney on Romney's home turf, on an issue that will not resonate with any great mass of Democratic voters at all.) His chances of being re-elected are better than they were a year ago, but it's still going to be a long pull up a dirt road to get to 270 electoral votes. Once in that dreary effort, I'd like to hear all the eloquence that made him a star edged with the faintest amount of vitriol, just a dollop of scorn to liven it up. The country deserves that. A little more consensus and we might all go down together. your social media marketing partner


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-7 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 14:11
Sorry, Mr Pierce, I find you just as wrong now as when you voted for BO in the first place. This President is not simply an inexperienced president who made poor choices. He has had so many opportunities in within his executive authority to make good choices and made the wrong ones instead. Right now, Bradley Manning, after a year of solitary in BO's prison, is facing court-martial charges. Julius Assange is being hounded by BO's dogs. BO's drones are killing civilians, and our soldiers are dying. This President is not ill adept. Barack Obama is a sharp politician and a very bad person!
+51 # propsguy 2012-02-23 14:38
i agree. he can't be that stupid or naive. all this must be deliberate and that is very bad indeed. at least you knew that cheney was a monster and bush an idiot.
BO gives a great speech and you get all hopeful and then the next day he gives away the store even before he's been asked.
something is very wrong here
+48 # ER444 2012-02-23 16:00
I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of having to choose between the lesser of two evils. BO gave me hope in the last election, but has become a "compromise". It is friggin time for a third party in this lousy two party ping pong match !!! There are also some wonderful candidates in the democratic party who are fighting for their lives. Elizabeth Warren, and Dennis Kuchinich are two who need our help. Go to their web sites and make a DONATION. If these two passionate progressives lose we are shit out of luck. We need them in Washington to keep BO's compromises leaning in the progressive direction !!!
+19 # MidwestTom 2012-02-23 17:28
I look at who9 is NOT in jail, and not even prosecuted, the bankers. Corzine 'lost' $1.2 billion, "doesn't know where it went" and he is under consideration for appoint to a position in the administration. I guess when you fund the resident, youhave nothing to worry about.
+5 # bugbuster 2012-02-23 17:30
Everybody first term POTUS is an inexperienced President.

Every new POTUS finds out that continuity of foreign policy, even bad foreign policy, is preferable to zigzagging and waffling. No POTUS would have acted any differently than the one we have now.

As for "bad person," you aren't qualified to make that judgment.

And what does "ill adept" mean?
+7 # nice2blucky 2012-02-23 18:27
So tell us, bugbuster, ... tell us all about InnocentVictim. Tell us all about his/her qualifications.

Do you know this person? If not, InnocentVictim knows more about Obama than you know of him/her to pass judgement.

InnocentVictim writes, "This President is not ill adept." And you ask what "ill adept" means. Really? You cannot possibly figure it out?

Ill at ease, ill tempered, ill will, ill spoken, ill mannered, etc.

Although it is a double negative, essentially meaning, not, not adept -- or not poorly adept. It simply means that Obama is a "sharp politician," and knows what he's doing. It is failure by design, capitulation cast as compromise, and calculated betrayals of most progressive causes interests, empowerment and protection of financial and industry interests through appointments, policies, and executive authority -- and inept, political strategy -- and whole-sale corrupt politics of the worst kind.

This is what InnocentVictim means by "bad person." A person who is distant enough and (personally) immune from the consequences of his bumbling and calculated political betrayals -- outside not being re-elected.

Reflexive apologia and willful blindness are becoming all too common.
+20 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 18:50
Hah! You are wrong from the outset. George Washington, whose birthday we just celebrated, was not only an inexperienced president, he was a president with no predecessor. Still, he came into office, selected a first-rate cabinet, organized the executive branch, honored our treaties and the Constitution. When he left office, he wrote the finest farewell address of any president's: he warned nearly 200 years before Eisenhower of the dangers of the military establishment; he emphasized the government's need to raise taxes for domestic infrastructure and education; he cautioned adherence to the Constitution.
-6 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 18:52
PS We are all not only qualified to judge whom we think is a bad person, but we are morally obligated to make such a judgment. I think Obama is a bad person, and I say it on grounds of duty to my country!
+9 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 21:25
Hey, I'm not talking about who should go to Heaven or to Hell. I'm talking about moral judgment based only on earthly considerations. I could not vote for Barack Obama because he has continued aggressive, unjustified wars. That is immoral.
+1 # tomo 2012-02-25 01:14
Innocent Victim, I'm with you. Over my half century of teaching, I've taught a good deal of American history. History is not about wallowing in the past. That can be antiquarianism, but it's not history. History is about noticing good policies, good behavior, good decisions in the past so that we can imitate them, and about noticing bad policies, bad behavior, and bad decisions in the past so we can avoid repeating them. To be too "open-minded" to make such judgments is to negate the whole purpose of history. The person who advocates this kind of open-mindedness is really an air head.
+16 # dquandle 2012-02-23 21:04
Someone who commits mass murder, and follows it up with handpicked assassinations while instituting a police state and subverting the constitution he swore to uphold is a bad person.
Anybody who sees it is qualified to make that judgement.

Someone who willingly hands the keys to the economy to the very the people and corporations (apparently no difference there) who have already shown they are hell bent on wrecking it, and creates laws to further protect them, and fake "settlements" for the people whose lives have been wrecked by these monsters, is a monster. Anyone who sees this is qualified to make that judgement. This is a criminal.
+7 # dquandle 2012-02-23 21:10
This is not inexperience. This is a flat out desire for power, and money and the ability to abuse both.
+3 # dquandle 2012-02-23 20:57
You are absolutely correct. The man is a mass murderer, who subverted the constitution he swore to uphold, in order to accrete power. He is a president of, by, and for the parasitic and criminal corporations that have wrecked this country. He is Bush III, having given W the "get out of everything free card", he has assumed the mantle of dictator. When a president demands the right to kill, imprison, torture or kidnap anyone he pleases for any reasons he chooses, he has obliterated democracy, and ushered in dictatorship. This is treason. He helped precisely those corporate criminals who engineered the devastation of our nation and economy by giving the keys to the treasury and insuring laws were passed enabling them to rape the country with impunity. This is not an accident or a mistake. It is fully thought out and fully realized policy. He continues to engage in immoral illegal mass murder and entertains plans to expand it's scope. These are the mindset and actions of a criminal.
+41 # Doctoretty 2012-02-23 14:36
I am in complete agreement! Whatever my disappointments are with this President, and I do have some, I will support his re-election fully because 1. his record is about 85% to my liking and he is moving us in the right direction in areas I feel strongly about 2. nobody is perfect, and 3. the alternative would be disastrous! 4 more years!
+10 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 15:03
If you agree 85% with BO's record, then you can smile and be confident in the future. Your agreement is so complete that the 15% difference must be on "cultural" issues where you would be comfortable with Rick Santorum. I conclude this because 85% of what BO has done that I consider wrong is on needless bloodshed and cooperation with corporate thieves. All that's left is what you do on Sunday morning. You would be 100% with Rick, a celebration for you: 85% + 15%.

Remember Ralph Nader's quote? Better to vote for a loser than for a winner who will betray you! I vote for losers with a good, clear conscience. What BO's supporters or Rick Santorum's supporters do is not on my conscience.
+24 # hulkgarita 2012-02-23 15:41
What may be on your conscience is the composition of the Supreme Court and their decisions.
+7 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 16:22
Not one bit! An election is not a horserace, though the media may have convinced you of that. No matter who is elected and no matter what are the consequence, I am under no moral obligation to "handicap" an election. My responsibility is to run for the best person, whether electable or not! By the way, you may note that Sen. Russ Feingold, voted to confirm the nomination of John Roberts to SCOTUS. Today, he appeared on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now to tell us, as does Mr Pierce, that Barack Obama is a good fellow! So was Caligula! The Roman soldiers used to love him, the dear boy!
+3 # bugbuster 2012-02-23 17:32
If you voted for Nader, then you can thank yourself for most of what you don't like about US govt policy today. You gave us George Bush Jr.
+5 # josephhill 2012-02-23 18:19
NO.....YOU gave us Dubya [TWICE...if I'm correct in assuming that you voted for BOTH Gore AND Kerry in 2000 and 2004]!!! There WERE other candidates after all. I would have been MUCH happier with a NADER presidency than I was with a Dubya presidency...or the weak, watered-down, Republican-Lite prospect of a Gore or Kerry victory.

The "Democratic" Party operates by encouraging the very same kinds of fears as does the Republican Party. Their entire "Lesser Evil" strategy depends on their instilling terror at the prospect of a Republican victory. So then, every voter to the Left of a Dubya or a Rick Santorum or ANY one of the remaining Republican contenders RUNS to the polls and votes (reluctantly or just plain defensively) for what they are told (by Dem Party hacks and wiseguys) is the ONLY candidate who "has a chance of winning"

Face it continue to be chumped every four years by the "Democratic" Party into voting for THEIR candidates....L EST the sky fall in.
+1 # futhark 2012-02-24 02:09
I'm 100% behind you on voting your conscience, not the lesser of two evils. My votes of Clinton in the 1990s were the only ones I ever cast for a winner and the two that I regret the most.
+12 # josephhill 2012-02-23 17:49
"1. his record is about 85% to my liking and he is moving us in the right direction in areas I feel strongly about 2. nobody is perfect, and 3. the alternative would be disastrous!"


There would be more than one alternative to the "disastrous alternative" you presume to be BO's ONLY competition.... IF people would wise up and have the guts to get out of this friggin' BOX we've meekly--or frustratedly!-- accepted as containing the entire universe of political options.

As long as we "go along" with this monumentally flawed (corporate-appr oved)"two"-part y system, we have no business calling ourselves a 'democracy'. I'm hopeful that the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement can shake the defeatism out of our progressive electorate. Until then...we will apparently continue to vote against ourselves.
0 # bugbuster 2012-02-23 18:10
Some people who just fell of the truck in 2008 have their panties all in a bunch now because Obama didn't perform all the miracles they expected. Those folks need to stay tuned and observe a few more presidential election cycles, watch the pendulum swing a few times, and see how things really work.

Against extraordinary odds, Barack Obama has done as good a job as President as anyone in the world could have.
+6 # Gryzelda 2012-02-24 11:37
I agree. I am far less enthusiastic about the Pres now, because of the above noted issues. But,Thom Hartman stresses the most important issue to consider is the Supreme Court. There will be 2 likely resignations in the next 4 years -- 1 will be Justice Ginsberg, who is frail & in fragile health. The other, he thinks may be Kennedy. (I don't know why).
Would you rather have Obama, or the republican choosing these 2 new judges? Consider what the Supreme Court has been doing lately, and how corrupt Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts are. What would it be like with 2 new right-wing justices? And this would affect the country for the next 20 years and beyond.
+2 # Smiley 2012-02-24 18:38
And you're telling me you would trust who Obama would appoint and get approved?
+44 # Saberoff 2012-02-23 15:19
"..(There was only one person back then who looked as though he might walk the whole progressive walk on income inequality and the rising power of oligarchy in the country, and that was..."

I think you're overlooking Dennis Kucinich.

Why do we always do that?
+19 # DaveHOz 2012-02-23 16:56
Quoting Saberoff:

I think you're overlooking Dennis Kucinich.

Why do we always do that?

Because the corporate media did such a masterful job (in both 2004 and 2008) of vilifying him, until many people, even some progressives, thought he was just some kook who saw UFOs.
+16 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-23 15:36
Obama was not very transparent: I looked at his web site to find his positions on issues, and found next to nothing but blather, and that was my first tipoff that I didn't want to vote for him.

But FDR? FDR wasn't FDR when first elected: he was forced into his social programs (which saved capitalism for our subsequent grief) by an active collection of string unions, socialists, and communists. No such strong left now exists, and this has been our downfall so far.
+10 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 16:47
FDR was a friend of his class, but they did not appreciate him. Obama, like FDR, knew how to talk to most Americans. Unlike FDR, Obama has no compassion for anyone, not even for colored people whose fate he never really shared, except - I suspect - for privileged admission to Columbia and to Harvard Law. (We'll never know those details nor his standings, because he sealed his academic records.)
-2 # Gord84 2012-02-23 15:41
In retrospect, Hillary had the backbone to stand up against the right-wing nuts - she was/is not naive! Too bad she was not the elected one!
+13 # Nominae 2012-02-23 16:21

Unfortunately, Hillary was too busy hobnobbing with the very right-wing nuts you mention.

Before her campaign, when she was showing up at Washington evening events on the arm of such local luminaries as Newt Gingrich, it was hard *not* to recognize that all these politicos sup from the same trough.

But, no question. Backbone is neither the forte of this President, nor of any but a single handful of the entire Democratic Party either. Even the Republicans are shocked at how quickly and easily the Dems "lay down" for them.
+6 # dquandle 2012-02-23 21:08
It ain't lack of backbone. Its desire to be Bush III himself.
Hlillary is the same brand of vile and vicious, just wrapped up in XX, like Margaret Thatcher. They are all literally murderous kleptocrats, bent on accreting and abusing as much power as they can, for themselves and their parasitic friends.
-18 # Barbara N Shabo RN 2012-02-23 16:59
I agree. Hillary would have been a much better President. Not only does she have a backbone, she has integrity and wisdom. Obama reminds me of Jimmy Carter. What is that saying? "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
-17 # 2012-02-23 17:14
I'm with you, Gord84!
+9 # davidzah 2012-02-23 16:13
It has become so easy to accurately judge the character of these politicians. The bar is now so low that they don't even have to have any true skill to deceive. The common voter has become so shallow that they are easily appeased by third rate car salesman. In that light, there really are no suprises to what we end up getting in our politicians. So many voters have lost the interest to even apply just good ol common sense. Barack has a look in his eyes and it is different than the obvious corrupt or inept vibe that we get from many of the alternatives. This guy does mean well. Yes he is filthy rich and thus has his greed but still, I believe Mr. Pierce has analyzed him spot on. Barack surely has some shallowness still, like we all do, but I think the bigger issue is that he is yet to realize that ruthlessness has its place too. He has had many opportunities, in my opinion, to make better calls. But I think he believes in diplomacy to his core. That's the let down. His convictions still seem sincere to me at least. It's a character assessment and I could be duped even by this guy. Regardless, my common sense tends to agree with Mr. Pierce. Barack has yet to find the true grit to rip some throats and find that level to his integrity. But there is no escaping that life demands that one make a stand. Being a wuss is no excuse at some point. I have become disgusted with this president. But not from his lack of integrity. It's from his lack of courage.
-1 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 17:57
davidzah: You started so encouragingly that, as if I were a former Obama supporter, I had my hopes raised. Then they came crashing down when I read on, "...Barack has a look in his eyes...." This is your analysis? This is "good ol (sic) common sense"? Where did you study calculus, in charm school?

The "let down", you write, is Obama's diplomacy. Do you mean when he lectured his guest, the V-P of China, in public about human rights, rights which we violate all over the globe? You write that Obama's convictions "seem sincere to me at least". Is this also part of your analysis? In other words for you analysis is not fact, argument, logic, it's a "look in (the) eyes", how things "seem" to you? If the bar is so low now, as your second sentence states, shouldn't you take care not to trip on it?
+4 # davidzah 2012-02-23 19:17
I think you intentionally or not make my point. It's hard to explain and I fumbled a bit. But I work with many very intelligent people daily. I am around very strong analysis all the time. I feel that much of the 'intellectualiz ing' that goes on in our current political climate, on both sides, so often is a dead end. No one can convince anyone of anything because many times each of their brains are in the way. Extreme intelligence and mastery of facts often comes at the expense of a solid gut to see the obvious. There is absolutely validity to just knowing things. Most things can be justified through subjective interpretation of the same objective facts.

We get the politicians we get today because people have stopped looking more at character. Just slick talk and analysis. Analysis to death. You and me and all of us should have the ability to see someone for who they are. Not what they say or we think they say or mean. They are not always the same.

We should not analyze a good judge of character out of the debate. Obama is sincere to me. George W. for example was dishonest the first few seconds I say him. It was obvious.

Don't you see the difference? Do you ever trust your gut over logic. Math is easy. Judgement is a whole different thing.
+8 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 20:58
Bertrand Russell wrote, in essence, that people are always sure that their intuitions are correct, but they do not grant that any other person's intuition may be trusted. Our need for fact and analysis derives from the perils of relying on intuition, visions, dreams and hopes - as should have been made clear by the past three years if never before.

You are very fortunate, Sir, I am a graduate physicist, and I find mathematics not "easy" but quite difficult. I take comfort in that Albert Einstein reported a like difficulty.
0 # tomo 2012-02-25 01:30
I dunno, davidzah. Jesus was a pretty good judge of character, I'd hazard. But he said: "By their FRUITS ye shall know them"--i.e., know what brand of animal you're dealing with. Jesus seems to imply that some people can be very good at deceiving others by the words they say.

Looking at deeds, I've come reluctantly to believe Obama is much better at deceiving progressives than Bush ever was--and that Obama is, therefore, more dangerous than Bush.
+8 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-23 18:26
Obama, from what I've read, is old CIA oriented, and a true beleiver in Manifest Destiny, American imperialism and hegemony, and capitalism -- and that sets him against the interest of the people even if not the common beliefs of many who have likewise been indoctrinated since childhood.

Even many 'liberals' are well into that mythology -- and it is difficult to shake free from it. It will take time, but in the meantime the 'machine' still controls who gets a chance to be elected to major offices.

Obama appears to be the designated puppet of the rich and the military-indust rial, congressional, financial etc. oligarchy, and 'destined' to be re-elected. Surely the Republicans could come up with candidates besides extremists and nut cases if the powers that be directed them too, but the good cop bad cop and fear games would not work then. Once they got the two-party duopoly system well established it is easy to control who will be the winner -- just as in a fixed horse race or prize fight where one contestant throws the fight. Think the oligarchy (who owns the media) can't control this? Of course they can -- until many more people catch on (and it isn't easy for them considering they mostly have to make it through the day or month).
0 # Saberoff 2012-02-23 19:08
Ya, he's just too darn nice!
+13 # GeneRitchings 2012-02-23 16:34
Barack Obama is the perfect representative (and if we're lucky, the last)of a Democratic Party that long ago sold out its traditional constituencies, and with them its soul, for corporate cash. Looked at without sentiment, it's clear they stand for nothing, and he stands for nothing but cynical, pragmatic careerism. I voted for him in 2008 because the alternatives were inconceivable, but I will not do that again.
The real pity is that a progressive challenger to his reelection never emerged to throw his craven pandering into sharp contrast.
+3 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 19:00
Bugbuster, above, blames GWB on me for voting for Ralph Nader. Did my vote for Nader elect GWB, or did 5/4 on the Supreme Monkeys do it? Did the millions of Americans who voted for GWB do it? Did the Green Party do it?

You voted for BO, you wrote, because "the alternatives were inconceivable." Are they more conceivable now? You are stuck with the same wrong idea you had back in 2008, but you "will not do that again." Why not? Where's the difference?
-4 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 19:32
Correction: It was not SCOTUS that elected GWB, but it was not me either! :)
+6 # Misterioso 2012-02-23 17:08
What does it really matter given the Republican Freak Show? Unfortunately, sane Americans have no choice other than to vote for Obama.
+11 # josephhill 2012-02-23 18:40
Quoting Misterioso:
What does it really matter given the Republican Freak Show? Unfortunately, sane Americans have no choice other than to vote for Obama.


"NO CHOICE?!!!" If progressive voters had voted their HOPES, rather than the FEARS the DNC spin-meisters encouraged, we might have had a progressive administration.

The "two"-party system is tragically flawed!
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-23 23:12
I am quite sane, and I'm voting for Jerry White and Phyllis Scherrer, running in the Socialist Equality Party. I've been reading White on WSWS for years, and what he says is knowledgeable, wise, good sense and ethical.
I most certainly have a choice who I will vote for! And so does everyone else, including, Socialist, Green, Libertarian, and any independent.

Do Americans yet have someone with a gun to their heads in the voting booth? Or just the fears and boogymen manufactured by the media and propagandists who no one MUST believe? As long as people continue to fall for the election scams and lies of the oligarchy things will only continue to get worse. (Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me 3 times, fool me forever??)
-2 # MidwestTom 2012-02-23 17:22
Wall Street knew that Hillary had the courage to not follow their orders, so they teamed up behind Obama and funded him. His two biggest backers right now are trial lawyers and Wall Street. He is getting a lot more from them than his potential opponents.
-2 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 18:02
When some look towards Hillary Clinton as would-have-been a better President, more courageous, than Barack Obama, I wonder how easily thoughtlessness and impetuosity are mistaken for courage! An empty head under a changing hairstyle!
+3 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-24 00:38
What you describe isn't Hillary Clinton, but neither does she give any indication at all that she wouldn't have been in Wall St.'s pocket. Her positions are generally to the right of Obama's, and as such, I doubt that she would have achieved any more than Obama has.
-2 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-24 10:00
I see! Hillary would not have been in Wall Street's pocket, but her positions are generally to the right of Obama's! I didn't think there was more room over there. To the right of BO? So she would not have listened to Paul Krugman instead of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner? Maybe she could have persuaded Alan Greenspan to stay on. "Be a good soldier, Alan! Die with your boots on", she might have said convincingly. So she would not have followed the course recommended by Col. Bacevich or by Rep. Ron Paul. She would have appointed Gen. McChrystal to be Secretary of Defense, you think? Surely, we would have had clear victory in Af-stan by now and be celebrating with the Afghan blue-dogs in the Jirgas in Kabul! Ah, if only we could turn the clocks back and bring Hillary Clinton to the White House. How much better all would now be!
+11 # Arte Possible 2012-02-23 18:34
I am with Misterioso. Sane people have no other choice. We must vote for Obama. Sane Republicans may see that they also have no other choice than Obama! If you are lukewarm about the president, put your passion and your money toward electing a Congress that will support the president and assuring that people who are potentially disinfranchised get to vote.
+2 # ganymede 2012-02-23 19:06
I really get a kick out of you purists who won't support Obama because he's not lived up to your standards. At the same time we're looking at Santorum, who as it turns out is even a more foul person than Joseph McCarthy, and just a little worse than all the other Republican knaves and fools.

It really does look like the country will support Obama for a second term, simply because there is no alternative. To have some left liberal types sit on their hands because Obama is no FDR is flat out dumb, and we on the left, whatever our faults, are not dumb! I hope that all you Obama critics will keep up your criticism while actively supporting this guy. He may turn out to be one of our greatest presidents, especially if we continue to hold his feet to the fire during his second term.
+5 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-23 23:20
Hold a fascist war criminal's feet to the fire? Yeah -- good luck with that...

How's that worked out so far? Maybe if you had a few hundred thousand to give you might have a voice -- otherwise all you get is pepper spray, or maybe indefinite detention without habeas corpus, or just killed on the president's say so alone (on orders from HIS bosses most likely).

People need to stop listening to what these guys say and start watching what they do.
+2 # wfalco 2012-02-24 07:24
Quoting ganymede:
I really get a kick out of you purists who won't support Obama because he's not lived up to your standards. At the same time we're looking at Santorum, who as it turns out is even a more foul person than Joseph McCarthy, and just a little worse than all the other Republican knaves and fools.

It really does look like the country will support Obama for a second term, simply because there is no alternative. To have some left liberal types sit on their hands because Obama is no FDR is flat out dumb, and we on the left, whatever our faults, are not dumb! I hope that all you Obama critics will keep up your criticism while actively supporting this guy. He may turn out to be one of our greatest presidents, especially if we continue to hold his feet to the fire during his second term.

Exactly, ganymede. The purists will always ruthlessly complain when a Democrat does not pass their progressive litmus test.
All the while failing to realize the precarious postion our first Black President is in.
Of course I would prefer a move to the left-Scandinavi an style social Democracy. But as a pragmatic radical I realize the overwhelming majority of my fellow Americans just don't bend in that direction. It is the country we live in. I have come to the realization that the "purists" revel in their opposition.
A pragmatic approach is too much work for them, I suppose.
+7 # HowardMH 2012-02-23 19:39
Obama the Wimp. Wall Street Banks Investigation
How can we find out how many FBI Agents have been assigned to investigate the Wall Street Banks disaster on mortgages? I heard only 10 were assigned.
During the Savings and Loan mess 15 or so years ago there were over 1000 agents assigned to investigate, and over 1000 bankers went to jail. The Wall Street Mess is (I was told 40 times larger) so doing the math, there should be 40,000 Agents assigned, not 10.
The NY State AG is the one handling it, but looks like his hands have been tied behind his back and he has been blindfolded.
+5 # wleming 2012-02-23 19:44
you heard it here first; the country, since clinton- is ungovernable. the republicans have made it clear... the country will remain ungovernable so long as there is a republican majority in either house. clinton went down to it.... bush was simply evidence that it makes now no difference who occupys the throne. obama does not govern- that would take is now republican policy---- the country will remain ungovernable.
+8 # JCM 2012-02-23 20:13
There is no third part candidate capable of winning. Your choice is either a Democrat or Republican. All it takes is a decent history lesson to see that the Republicans ideology of less regulation and fewer taxes for the wealthiest are destroying the country. Any more conservative Supreme Court justices will send our country back generations. If you are realistic and can think for yourself there is only one choice to give our country a chance to regain its health. You must vote Democrat!
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-23 23:23
Any of them can win if people vote for them. The problem is that people continue to vote for crooks, just as the oligarchy planned. I've been watching this game for over 40 years, and it's always the same, and people always get fooled by it.
0 # amye 2012-02-23 20:21
Obama sold us down the road during the 2008 campaign and the minute he was in office!! His Cabinet appointments told me everything I needed to know about this man! Unfortunately, I foolishly fell for him during the campaign as he lied and hes still lying now! in 2012! He is only a bit saner than the insane republicans that are trying to beat him. However, he can't fool me again!! Like that dumb Bush that couldn't get the old saying right... fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me! Lets hope Americanelect.c om have someone who has a chance!!
+2 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-23 21:12
How can we, Americans, support a person who has continued the aggressive wars of his predecessor, when his very election gave him the votes and the opportunity to end the shedding of blood of foreigners and of some many of our own armed forces? Aggressive wars are unnecessary wars. Those who start them or continue them are war criminals. A President who commits such crimes does so in the name of the American people, your name and mine. It is morally wrong to vote for such a person.

That there is no Republican likely to get the nomination who would be less a criminal if elected is true and a terrible consideration. But that is another matter. There is nothing that can be done about that. Re-electing a war criminal only gives him a stamp of approval from the American people. We are not responsible for whom we do not vote. That is on the heads of others. The American system is broken. An election in which there is no morally acceptable choice is not an election. IT IS SHAM DEMOCRACY! Don't be a part of it! Stay home, vote an independent, write-in a movie star, but don't vote for a man who prolonged unjustified war for three years and now executes Americans as did the Xing emperor of China, by decree! This is not democracy! This is not the rule of law!
+4 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-24 00:35
While it is certainly true that having to chose between the lesser of two evils is a bad choice, it's the only one we've got. That's reality, and denying reality is what the dark side does. So we're kind of stuck with what we've got and our best option is to elect legislators who can push him in the direction that he needs to go. That can be done, and it is necessary even if he were as decent a person as Elizabeth Warren is. We need the legislature to be on our side even more than we need the president. So get out and vote, and even better, work for people who will bring about change.
+2 # RMDC 2012-02-24 03:15
I don't by the argument about Obama's inexperience. GW Bush was more inexperienced. Obama knew all along that he's be the puppet of Wall Street, the Pentagon, AIPAC, and the Neo-cons. He's satisfied with that role. His true mentor is Bill Clinton, who played the same role and it was personally rewarding for him. When he's out of the white house, he will be a senior statesman and get to do the same kinds of things Clinton now does. And he'll get richer every day.

Obama lied to us in his campaign. He did not believe in change or hope. He believed in the status quo.

I think he will beat all the republicans running against him, and, for sure, they are worse. The election in November will be a real choice between two evils -- and both will be very, very evil.
+2 # JohnWayne 2012-02-24 05:50
Sorry, children! Looks like you will have to choose between the lesser of two weevils once again. Truth is: a Republican president will walk into the White House with the Tea Party right behind him. That's called reality. Deal with it. Yes, Hillary has more balls than Barry, but the Republicans in 2008 were salivating over how they were going to pillory Hillary by savaging her the way they are savaging themselves - and on TV no less - these days. It's time to grow up kids. You idealists want so much for the world to be idyllic and everybody to play nice with each other, like Barry. The truth is this: there is something seriously, seriously wrong in the head with many of us. I'm talking Homo sapiens here. I am thinking that many of the hysterics who have already posted on this thread have made my point. Time to grow up kids. Your life so far has always consisted of keeping the barbarians at bay, right down to locking your doors before you go to bed at night. This presidential election is no different. Time to grow up.
-2 # Innocent Victim 2012-02-24 09:41
Replying to two Texas icons:
Texas Aggie: I suggest you are missing a realistic choice. You could be demonstrating to the Democrats, if you are a progressive, that you will not be discounted, that you will show your presence by voting but not for a candidate they force on you or for a clown from the other party. If they lose, you may get the credit for it, and a credit it will be because enough of us, voting, but for a Green or a write-in will show that you have someplace to go. The consequences? A Republican would be elected. Could a Republican have killed more people than Obama or given away more money to corporate thieves? I don't think so!
John Wayne: Leading our country is not a matter of showing oneself to be daring. It is having the right preparation and experience to formulate effective policies for our country's future and the savvy to get those policies effected. This requires a good knowledge of history (not just the Civil War!), economics, and people. More than all, it requires a public morality directed towards improving the lives of most Americans - not just wealthy supporters. I know that is a lot more than "balls", as you wrote, but there are such good people in our country.
+6 # walt 2012-02-24 09:16
Very interesting perspectives about President Obama and his administration.

We know a president can never deliver all he promises, but he could always accept being a one-term president and go for broke. We never saw that in these four years although BO said he would do so.

Yesterday's poll shows Obama with a low approval rating and this is an indicator.

Maybe it's time for some strong stands and guts?

-Stand firm against Israel on invading Iran
-Get rid of the Wall Street crowd in the cabinet
-Be a real CINC and end the war in Afghanistan now
-Stop the drone attacks around the world
-Give real and direct help to mortgage holders affected by the Wall Street crimes
-Stand firmly with the Occupy Movement and the 99%

Oh, well, it's fun to dream!

But then again, just imagine having a President Romney, Santorum or Gingrich! Now that's a nightmare!
0 # RMDC 2012-02-25 07:43
Walt -- your dreams are good. And they would be pretty easy for Obama to do. He would gain huge support from Americans. Even a lot of moderate republicans would support the measures you propose. The teapatry hate his and would never say anything good about him.

But Obama will choose not to do any of the things you propose because that is not where he is politically. He's a protoge of Bill Clinton and Clinton is a product of the Bush family president factory. Think about it -- Since 1980, the Bush family and their coterie has held the white house. All US policy has been Bush dynasty policy.

NEVER AGAIN vote for Obama. He's betrayed you and will always betray you. If you vote for a traitor, you get what you deserve.
+1 # Patriot 2012-02-25 14:04
If you keep the annual instruction booklets that come with your tax forms - which we now have to hunt up for ourselves - you will find toward the back of each a pair of pie charts illustrating federal revenue and outlays.

The share that business contributes to revenue has dropped and dropped and dropped, yet big-corporate profits continue to soar. The question is not the RATE at which corporations are taxed, but the PERCENT of their gross income that they actually pay into the Treasury.

The economic middle class is footing the bills, including the national debt. Poor BIG business is practically getting a free ride!

I paid taxes as a sole proprietor, and I have my doubts that SMALL business is suffering as much as they claim. My taxes were a miniscule percent of my GROSS earnings.

The problem with business taxes, like taxes on enormous incomes, is not that the rate is too high, but that it is applied, after all allowable deductions and exemptions, on much too small a percentage of GROSS income.

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