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Introduction: "A new account of Obama's White House alleges that the president's staff ignored his orders - and got away with it. Michael Tomasky on Obama's failed leadership, and how he can fix it."

President Barack Obama walks outside to speak with the media accompanied by members of his cabinet at the White House, 05/07/10. (photo: Getty Images)
President Barack Obama walks outside to speak with the media accompanied by members of his cabinet at the White House, 05/07/10. (photo: Getty Images)

The Scared President

By Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

19 September 11


A new account of Obama's White House alleges that the president's staff ignored his orders - and got away with it. Michael Tomasky on Obama's failed leadership, and how he can fix it.

his is just about the right time, according to recent history, for the appearance of inside-the-White-House accounts that show the president in an other-than-flattering light. For the first couple of years, while insiders are still trying to advance and curry favor, background quotes in such articles and books tend to show the POTUS as resolute, thinking of the big picture while those around him pursue their narrow agendas, and doing all those admirable things Kipling once advised.

By now, the ship is leaking, figuratively and literally. While news stories about Ron Suskind's new book "Confidence Men" have emphasized Tim Geithner's supposed betrayal of Barack Obama on the question of winding down Citigroup, we should all be more interested in what the book tells us about Obama. The early accounts suggest that we should worry what he's learned in the job so far.

I should note that I haven't read the book and will purchase it on the same schedule as regular mortals. I guess I should note also that I'm on record as taking Suskind at his word in such matters. In early 2004, when Suskind and Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill produced "The Price of Loyalty," I reviewed it for The New York Times and found it persuasive. That book was the first to confirm what everyone knew anyway: that the Bush White House was run according to politics, not policy. "Confidence Men" also confirms what we knew about Obama's White House: that the president appointed the wrong economic team from the start, failed to crack down on the banks, and was Solomonic to a fault when formulating responses to the financial crisis (oh, and news flash: Larry Summers is hard to work with!).

That would be interesting without being shocking. But the indictment goes one mortifying step deeper: Geithner and Summers and Rahm Emanuel, and perhaps others, sometimes ignored Obama, refused to carry out his orders, and, in Summers's case, mocked him, saying at one point to then-Budget Director Peter Orszag that "there's no adult in charge" in the White House. And while I don't yet know whether Suskind emphasizes this point, let's carry the critique one step further: They did so, as far as we know, without suffering any consequences at all.

That's why the concern here isn't what the book tells us about Geithner. It's not completely clear from press accounts whether Geithner directly countermanded an order about Citi. In its article from last week, the Associated Press called Obama's directive an "order to consider." I often order my 14-month-old daughter to consider making less of a mess while eating. So who knows what that even means. But it does seem clear that once he learned that Geithner ignored this option, Obama didn't do much of anything about it. And, well, Geithner does still have his job.

What now? Fire the staff, as James Carville suggested last week? Actually, that couldn't hurt.

That's the problem the book reveals. Adam Moss and Frank Rich of New York magazine did get an early copy and read it, and in an online dialogue posted over the weekend, they home in on what Rich calls Obama's "intellectual blind spot." Obama even recognized it himself, telling Suskind he was too inclined to look for "the perfect technical answer" to problems; Rich quotes Suskind as writing that Obama always favored policies that were "respectfully acknowledging opponents' positions, even those with thin evidence behind them, that then get stitched together into some pragmatic conclusion - but hollow."

That sounds awfully apt to me. Obama was afraid to be the president. He listened to a dozen viewpoints and tried to come up with something that made everyone happy. Unfortunately, "everyone" included people on his team who were looking out for the banks more than for the public (or for their own boss), and it included people on Capitol Hill whose clear agenda was Obama's political destruction. It's the central - and depending on how the next election turns out, possibly decisive - paradox of this president: In trying way too hard to look presidential in the sense of "statesmanlike," he has repeatedly ended up looking unpresidential in the sense of not being a leader.

What now? Fire the staff, as James Carville suggested last week? Actually, that couldn't hurt, especially in Geithner's case, and probably in Bill Daley's (the apparent real target of Carville's arrow). A dramatic gesture can help push the reset button. But it's important that if they be replaced, they be replaced with the right kinds of people. Obama needs people who will push him to go against his instincts toward consensus. Tell him everything he doesn't want to hear.

Most of all, remind him, and impolitely if need be, that there are millions and millions of Americans who invested great hope in him, and he has let them down. Let them down terribly. I wonder if anyone has ever uttered this deeply sad and plainly true sentence to the president's face. If not, it's high time. your social media marketing partner


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+60 # msleepyhead 2011-09-19 22:32
Lawd. I'm a depressed babyboomer that can't get a job anywhere, not even a $9.00/week job at a convent as a receptionist and I'D be a better White House staffer!!!
+20 # Billy Bob 2011-09-20 09:07
If you'd stand for something on principle, you'd be over-qualified.
+5 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-20 20:20
Go to Amazon Sweatshop in Allentown Pa they pay $12.25 an hour, got paramedics at site and are allowed to work people in freezing with no heat and in temps of 115 with lil fans going. OSHA reprimanded them.
Allentown the All American City of Sweatshops
-101 # Malcolm12 2011-09-19 22:50
Let them down terrible? Really? Can you please be specific? I am so tired of liberals who do NOTHING but complain and do not support!
+70 # cadan 2011-09-19 23:17
Well, it could be those who thought we "weren't going to study war no more".

It could be lovers of justice, who were concerned about Bradley Manning or Julian Assange.

Or --- it could be lovers of justice who were concrned about Cheney.

It could be environmentalis ts arrested for protesting Keystone --- why is it even under consideration?

It could be somebody just needing a job.

And finally, it could be somebody who resents very much being manipulated in an election of Obama versus some fringe character from the GOP.

Is Obama the only one letting folks down?

Of course not.

The Democratic leadership refuses to work half as hard for its base as the Tea Party works for its. The Democrats after all held power for two years and claimed they couldn't do anything about the war, etc.

But since Obama is so smart it is just really disappointing how it's unfolding.

But it is NOT too late for him to do something.

Let's encourage him to.
+42 # nice2blucky 2011-09-19 23:38
Maybe you should say something intelligent, and address liberal's criticisms (complaints) about Obama's failures.
Can you make it honest and true, without rationalization s or excuses or complaints about how hard it is for Obama to lead?
Can you explain why Obama is not using recess appointments to fill vacancies with people liberal really like and trust? Can you explain, in all earnestness, why so many of Obama's appointments are so far to the right, and evidently don't listen to him? Can you address, without complaining and blaming, why Obama gave on Single Payer and the Public Option the way he did? Can you explain how under the Obama Administration left the Bush cornies in place at the MMS, the very well that blew up was approved and the EIR waived, and the dead-man's switch was not required by the MMS for the off-shore wells because of the excessive $500,000 dollar cost? Can you explain Obama's position on the Keystone XL project and how that will impact global warming, the evironment (farms and rivers in the pipline's path), and how it is consistent with liberal or progressive ideals? Tell me, us all, what does Obama stand for? And please, some examples of his exemplary leadership? When you finished, I have more questions, and depending upon your responses, I may want to get into the details of your responses.

You don't mind a little scrutiny, do you?
+43 # pbbrodie 2011-09-19 23:50
You can go take a flying leap! Support what? All we've seen is sellout after sellout. We have given him every chance possible to right this ship, and, if he would even do something right at this late date, as evidenced by all of the kind words he has received about his jobs bill, plenty of us would still support him now. You can't ask us to support someone who enables the enemy. Yes, the Republicans have literally become the enemy that is waging war on the middle class and winning big time.
+9 # nice2blucky 2011-09-20 10:33
I cannot say which I find more astounding.

The mentality that of those like Malcom12, who are sill clinging to Obama. or the ones who would again support Obama over a few election-time crumbs, or worse, ploys and empty gestures -- more hollow rhetoric.

In a relpy to this Malcom, above, I ask him a few questions, but they are rhetorical. I have zero interest in his answers, and no respect for what his opinions may be.

He's already said everything.

I know his rationale without his saying.

I know which side he's on.

Unfortunately, he doesn't.

And neither do you, if you are just waiting for a few crumby reasons to fall back in line.

You'll find them, reasons, and you and Malcom will be together again, kvetching to and from the ballot box; one certain he's doing the right thing, hoping others are so smart as he, and the other delusionally optimistic.
+21 # JohnMayer 2011-09-20 04:31
Quoting Malcolm12:
Let them down terrible? Really? Can you please be specific? I am so tired of liberals who do NOTHING but complain and do not support!

Loyalty has to be earned. Obviously Obama has not earned the loyalty of his own staff, let alone that of the nation’s progressives.

No longer can Democratic politicians focus on maximizing their own fortunes at the cost of the nation, knowing liberals will not vote for Republicans. We may just not vote for either.
+30 # BradFromSalem 2011-09-20 07:54
Recent studies have shown that Conservatives are less likely to question those in authority. Liberals on the other hand question everything.

As Progressive Liberals we take it one step further. We look to our leaders to do more than they promise. Sometimes, as in Obama's case, we expect them to join us. That is actually not unreasonable as Progressive's in a large part put him in the White House, and last I checked we at least pretend that we have a Democracy. So we keep pushing him when he does not perform how we would like him to.

In short we will continue to criticize ANYONE we do not agree with.

What did 8 years of ditto head thinking about the previous president do for America? As I recall, you were not impressed that we criticized him either, only then it was treasonous. Funny that when we complain about Obama, its not treason anymore.

Bottom line, after 3 years we are cynical about Obama's Populist awakening. Why shouldn't we be?
+65 # angelfish 2011-09-19 22:51
I grieve for the Promise that has slipped through this President's fingers, but, I don't think ALL is lost, YET. Sadly, he made poor decisions in appointing many of the previous Administration' s people to his staff and gave them Critical positions in his Administration. I HOPE he has learned SOMETHING over the past 2 1/2 years and maybe taking James Carville's advice isn't such a bad idea. While it's been said that it's good to keep your friends close and your enemies CLOSER, it looks like he had NO friends to speak candidly and truthfully to him. I KNOW he is sadder, I HOPE he is wiser. Mr. President, there IS time to turn this Administration around and get it back on track to fulfill your Campaign promises and aspirations. I am encouraged that you are FINALLY getting tough with these Cretinous Fascists who have over-run the, once Great, Party of Lincoln. THAT Party is long gone but it WILL eventually return to be lead by the sane and thoughtful Republicans who have been muzzled by the THUGs. I KNOW they don't want to be associated with THIS travesty that has morphed into the Koch/Norquist Fascist Party! I will continue to support you, Sir, for NOW. Continue to FIGHT these Treasonous Me FIRSTers, and you will reignite the support of the hundreds of thousands who BELIEVE in the Change we all voted for in 2008.
+8 # JaneAnneJ 2011-09-20 02:33
Thanks, Angelfish. My sentiments exactly.
+12 # RLF 2011-09-20 05:35
He had his wife who is no dummy! Obama is crying aligator tears in these articles but he has willfully gone right wing and it is only now that 'its not his fault'. Out with the dish water...there is no baby here...there is a Harvard trained lawyer and last time I looked, Harvard didn't train no pussies! (Pardon the slur but it really is the best expression!)
+12 # racp 2011-09-20 07:53
And Obama has one friend: Biden. He may not say the right thing or make the best decision, but has his heart in the right place. Obama should start building from there.
+35 # susienoodle 2011-09-19 23:05
Let's start a petition to oust these disrespectful brats and replace them with Stiglitz, Krugman, and Dean Baker. Wall St already hates this president, so what does he have to lose?!!!!! He ought to hire Howie Dean while he's at it. It's not too late to change teams and increase his chances for re-election. Otherwise, good by Supreme Court for a generation, unions, social security, medicare......n eed I go on? This might be his worst blunder, starting with Robt Rubin, who should be in jail IMHO along with Lloyd Blankfein, who might actually get there. I really hate how Obama allowed these arrogant brats to do so much harm to the country and to his presidency.
+13 # wwway 2011-09-19 23:52
It was a rather odd decision to appoint the very people who helped create the financial crisis in the first place. Those who worked for Greenspan who purposfully ignored his obigation as Fed Chairman to investigage financial schemes that assisted in our financial crisis. A Fed team that should have raised interest rates because of Bush's extensive borrowing are still making decisions. If Obama fired them, who would take those possitions? Names please?
+12 # noitall 2011-09-19 23:53
Kick me, hurt me,,,well, I think you learned your lesson, I'll vote for you but, but next time...
I saw Barack change immediately after signing on Hillary. It's like Obama laid off all of his people and took on her people. Decisions I heard being made, caused me to wonder back then and now they are bared but after they had come to roost, many times over to our harm. If you're just a facade, at least put the people behind you who can achieve SOME of your promises. You're the only option. Unless you pass the slot over to someone you know who can REALLY schweeze this off. Its legacy time.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-20 20:27
I am wondering what after Office engagements he will have. Clinton;s life reminds me of Revenge on America. I once had admiration for them until the NAFTA & other bills he gladly signed.

Democratic Party better find their Stand of lose it for good
+19 # BVA 2011-09-20 00:36
It's not just Obama's 'deals' or lack of a credible counter-threat to Republican hostage threats. His failed 'bipartisanship ' strategy is the biggest problem! For a great public speaker, writer he failed to communicate a counter-narrati ve. The American people are skeptical of the Republican narrative. Unfortunately, "If you hear something repeated over and over and it goes unchallenged, you begin to believe uncritically that it is true; if you hear something repeated over and over and it goes unchallenged, you begin to believe uncritically that it is true!" There's no Counter-Narrative!

There's lots more he could have proposed to 'jolt' the economy, such as (off the top of my head) a combat (50%), hazardous-duty (25%), and regular (5%) military pay increase RETROACTIVE to 9/11/2001. How could Republicans vote against that? And it would all be spent (probably within 12 months) by current and past enlisted military members and families, and the surviving families of war dead and disabled. Nobody can say they don't deserve it.

I like Obama's pragmatism, but he keeps playing the useful "bipartisan fool". I think maybe President Obama has 'jumped the shark'. I hope not! One recent 2 sentence blog comment summed up his unfortunate situation: "There are many different leadership styles. The President has embraced none of them!"
+4 # X Dane 2011-09-20 13:08
You are right about hearing lies being touted as truth. IF it is done enough times, people start believing them.



I think Obama is over trying to be by-partisan. I believe he HAD to try, for many independants voted for him WANTING that. I am sure they now realize that he gave it a mighty try. Still there is NO way the repubs want to do anything but destroy him
+10 # Larkrise 2011-09-20 01:03
If there are no real changes made in this administration now, do not expect them in the future.
+9 # X Dane 2011-09-20 01:06
Was it Clinton who said: "If you want a friend in Washinton...... ...get a dog"
Well he's got the dog, now he needs to find some smarter and more LOYAL staffers.

We know Summers is a class A jerk, and conceited ass, who was fired as
president of..was it Harward for saying that women were no good at math.

It would seem that HE is not very good at math.He didn't do a god job for his boss or the country.

At such a dangerous time he proved a failure. The President is not an economist, he had to rely on the people he hired.......The y sure let him and us down.
i hope he finds some good people fsst.
I am glad that he has decided: NO MORE MR. NICE GUY. He had found his inner TOUGH OBAMA. .. BRAVO....GIVE'M HELL.
+5 # Jane Gilgun 2011-09-20 07:59
I'm hoping you're right that the president is saying no more Mr. Nice Guy. His last speech bordered on great. He stood up to the radicals, finally. I believe Hillary Clinton would have stood up them from the beginning of her presidency because they tried to destroy her for so many years. She was ready for them. That's one reason I favored her over Obama. I still hope Obama has developed the skills to deal with them, now, after his years in office. I imagine Hillary Clinton was not too good at dealing with them for her first few years of the ordeals they put her through. We should all be calling them out for the cruel, dangerous soul murderers they are. Let's all stand with Mr. Obama against the radical and their smears and character assasinations.
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-20 12:05
Hillary Clinton was too busy agreeing with repugs to put up much of a fight. That was apparent during her campaign. If they attacked her personally she'd fight back, but about actual policy she'd have to disagree with them first.
0 # Billy Bob 2011-09-20 12:01
It was Johnson.
+15 # Virginia 2011-09-20 04:49
First Obama has to give up the tits of the Federal Reserve and set an example. Geithner and Bernanke must go. Hire some actual economists with lesser personal agendas and push Congress to regulate derivatives.

However, Obama's problem is much deeper. These treaties like the recent Korean trade agreement mandating and allowing banks to grow and continue to be "too big to fail" must not pass. Obama needs to make that determination publicly - otherwise nothing he or Congress says or does will make much of difference.
+11 # Barbara K 2011-09-20 05:41
I hope he gets all the Republicans out of his administration. I hope he realizes that they've done him much harm with their back-stabbing and get some true and loyal staff members in there. I hope he has learned how they are led by the Koch Bastards, and that they had set out to take him down from every direction, even from inside. The Presidents needs our support, not our criticism, he already gets enough of that from the Republicans who also want to take down our government. NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN if you want to keep your rights, SS, Medicare and Medicaid, etc. They are busy taking care of the devils they serve and are willing to drown us in the process.

VOTE STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC; the alternative is devastating to us. Get out and vote, for every Dem who stays home is a vote for the Koch Bastard gang of thugs.
0 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2011-09-22 14:46
Quoting Barbara K:
I hope he gets all the Republicans out of his administration. I hope he realizes that they've done him much harm with their back-stabbing and get some true and loyal staff members in there. I hope he has learned how they are led by the Koch Bastards, and that they had set out to take him down from every direction, even from inside. The Presidents needs our support, not our criticism, he already gets enough of that from the Republicans who also want to take down our government. NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN if you want to keep your rights, SS, Medicare and Medicaid, etc. They are busy taking care of the devils they serve and are willing to drown us in the process.

VOTE STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC; the alternative is devastating to us. Get out and vote, for every Dem who stays home is a vote for the Koch Bastard gang of thugs.

You hit the nail on the head once again, Barbara K. Everybody NEEDS to focus on taking the necessary ACTION to VOTE THESE VERMIN OUT OF OFFICE! "We The People," STILL HAVE the greatest number at the ballot box; THAT IS WHY so many rethuglican controlled state houses are attacking voters with bogus legislation! VOTE ABSENTEE, VOTE EARLY, VOTE 2012!! DEFEAT THESE EVIL GOP GUTTER-RATS!!!!
+12 # lobdillj 2011-09-20 06:04

Did it ever occur to you that Obama intended to appoint the slate of right wing advisors that he did?

Anyone who has paid attention knows better than to HOPE he has learned from his "mistakes". They weren't mistakes. The fascists have taken over both political parties.

What Obama is doing now is a tap dance to get reelected. He thinks we are stupid. Some of us are.
+6 # Lulie 2011-09-20 09:01
Exactly! I no longer believe Obama is weak or naive. It has been made perfectly obvious that his moves to mollify the corporate Right were intentional. He's now trying to backpedal only because he sees he might not get re-elected.
0 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-20 20:30
Stupidity could cost us more if we do not vote not gettin born again rethug here
0 # nice2blucky 2011-09-22 23:49
Interesting that you mention the word stupidity.
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-09-20 09:03
I guess it's time to make an account of his priorities. Who does he want to please? The people who hired him? Or the people he hired?

I don't know what's more pathetic: him for being an under-achieving excuse maker, or the system for making it so easy for a trojan horse to be elected.

It's as if he didn't realize he'd have to run for re-election at some point, and now he's trying to do last minute cramming for a test. Since it's too late to change the minds of some people who he's already let down too many times (I'm not one of them, by the way), he's making excuses rather than actually fixing the cause of their disappointment.

His JOB is to LEAD. That's what he was HIRED to DO. He really could make me like him again (for the first time in 2 1/2 years). He'd have to do something dramatic though: stop torturing people, pull out of Iraq, etc. - you know, his ACTUAL CAMPAIGN PROMISES.

It's comical that, after hiring people he knew disagreed with all of his campaign promises, he has the nerve to be "surprised" that they try to sabotage him carrying them out.

I actually plan to vote for this loser. What's he willing to do to win back voters who are sick of compromising their principles?

A parade of pathetic excuses ain't gonna cut it.
+3 # Peacedragon 2011-09-20 09:20
OK Obama is a disappointment but so are most presidents. We have to write letters to the editor and take to the streets. Nothing new3 about that.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-20 20:35
Most presidents with Repub Congress and Senate has lost issues but they didnot go down without a fight. Democrats, even others were at least noticed.
I notice nothing except NY Pa is asleep at the Wheel, Ohio too many other intelligent States.
In fact most bills are usually give and take with another one down the road. I see no fighting for work we all did for decades with Democrats, they seem to lay down and be dormats. Lot of money spent to pass Laws and now we will undo good decision budget wise. Too much stupidity, too little intelligence
+7 # croc1 2011-09-20 10:45
We need a raging bull in the body of the President. So far we have not had more than a lamb following a Judas goat. How do we truly reach Obama, and if we do, is he capable of change? No elected person is ready for the presidency and the leadership it calls for. The job is a crucible that creates the person in its fires. Some have the resources to rise to the challenge. Others do not. Unfortunately, the destructionists in congress and their puppeteers are relentless and there is no time to lose or squander on weaknesses. The weakness of the president must harden to become become the raging bull. He must surround himself with tough people who have the people and the country behind them.
+1 # jwb110 2011-09-20 11:32
How about if he fires the offending staff and hires on James Carville, Warren Buffet and Torquemada?
0 # Billy Bob 2011-09-20 12:13
Torquemada has already promised to be part of president perry's transition team.

To quote Mel Brooks, "The Inquisition's here and it's here to stay!"
+7 # fredboy 2011-09-20 13:42
I have never understood why any U.S. President would cower instead of facing off with and firing any insubordinate, inept or corrupt appointee. For each position there is a long line of brilliant, well educated and experienced candidates, all hungering to serve as a member of the White House staff. It's as if they had something on this guy.
-15 # Todd Williams 2011-09-20 13:54
I have a great idea: Why don't all you wannabee liberals got out and vote for Perry? He'll make a great president. Go ahead. I dare you. Vote for a simple minded Rethuglican and see where that'll get our country. Any liberal who doesn't vote for Obama, (as flawed as he is) is a traitor to the progressive movement! All you people know how to do is bitch and whine at Obama. I'm sick and tired of listening to turn-coat liberals knock our president. You ought to thank your lucky stars we have a man of such integrity running. Y'all make me sick to my stomach. And please give me the thumbs down you wimps. I'm proud of my vote!!!!
+7 # Billy Bob 2011-09-20 18:52
You're right. Anyone who hasn't been let down by Obama is obviously NOT a liberal. The problem is that the "turn-coat liberals" are the very people who elected him in the first place!

Remember that? That was right before he turned against us during his first week in office. Of course, he had a different name for us. He called us, "the professional left". It was enlightening to WORK to get him elected, only to be insulted by him once in office for having the kind of passion that landed him the job.

If you're proud of bush lite, then I'm proud to give you thumbs down as well.

Don't worry. If no one runs to the left of Obama, I'll be voting for him. Don't expect everyone else to make the same pathetic compromise against their own self-interest. Some people would rather let repugs destroy this country wholesale, than help Obama do it piecemeal. I'm not willing to sacrifice the whole country to make my point. I hope a challenger comes up really soon, so it doesn't come to that.

A serious primary challenger would force the Democratic Party to take notice of it's own voters - something Obama hasn't done since November, 2008.
0 # nice2blucky 2011-09-22 23:37
You two and the one below make manny, moe and curly.

I'm making you one of the Pep-Boys.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-20 20:49
I voted for him because i hoped he held Promise for Poor, Middle Class, Seniors.
Instead he kept on a crew that wasn't worth salary given.
If I came into a Company, I would look at the Roster, look at the departments good and bad reviews, than I would start weeding out. There are ways to know who should be kept and who shouldn't.
His advisors were Clintons? I would have reviewed that Presidency and where those bills got us. I would have looked for people who would want to grow with America, offer new outlooks.
Instead I see no Democratic Leadership. No Democratic Advisors. I see nothing, hard to vote for nothing. On the other Hand I am not gonna Help America commit Suicide.
I March 50 years now. I get petitions out and signed 25 years now. I boycott...45 years now. I do not bs myself and others because no one knows me. I have battled Politicians, Partys , disease, Poverty, Home Problems.
So if I bitch and whine, I have every right to. But at least I get up off this Computer and do something. Can anyone else say the same
0 # nice2blucky 2011-09-22 23:33
A lot of good things in here, but there is one thing wrong.

"On the other Hand I am not gonna Help America commit Suicide."

It sounds to me like you've been helping for quite some time.

That one sentence is what defines you as a Democrat, which is part of the problem.

Of course, nobody can fault you for getting out there, ... feet walking, distributing, etc.. the hard work, and the difficult stuff, gathering petitions -- the most basic -- definitely underappreciate d, and virtually useless for Incumbent re-elections... They are virtually all part of the problem ... virtually %100... even the supposed best have consistently failed the task -- if you want no bs -- and it's not that people don't fall for the bs... it's common knowledge that they all suck and do nothing well, or truly right, ... without proper compensation, ... but even the big talkers vote the wrong way when theirs is the deciding vote -- which should say everything -- but they hide behind hollow words and dishonest excuses ... and they do it with their legions of Republican-fear ing lemmings, with fall-into-line diligence of a true believer -- of political Satan... and the followers talk through blind eyes-wide-open (strategic ineptness or delusion)... with rationalized certainty that what they are doing and holding firm to, is good, not harm.
+3 # tomo 2011-09-20 19:31
So many of the comments above utterly disgust me. They are written in fervent denial of reality. There is absolutely no reason to believe Obama has any gift for governance. It's a moot point whether it's a matter of deliberate betrayal or of uncanny incompetence. The appointment of Geithner was totally contrary to the programs we who voted for him were given to expect. But it was typical of his appointments in general. Why appoint Summers? Why appoint Gates? Why appoint McChrystal?
Why appoint Salazar?

I for one pledge not to vote for him in 2012. If enough would take this pledge, the Democratic party regulars might see that "business as usual--the incumbent gets to run again" won't do it this time 'round. Obama himself frequently said in 2008: "It is the height of folly to expect a different result from doing the same thing over." He's right. It is the height of folly for all those commentators above to think somehow by voting for Obama again they are going to get something different from the sorry presence now haunting the White House.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-20 20:53
I wish you could all just do something...go to a March instead of saying how unfair the Media is at blocking it out.
There were marches all over America were any of you at one of them? If not why not?
Because you are no different than Republicans when everyone else has to March for you. Want a hundred thousand in Washington, NY, Phila, Dallas...then get there, I have given you names of groups and what they were doing...All I see is words. That is why we are in the position we are in...You think everyone will do it for you. Contributions are nice, but physical attendance is how we get Recognition. So maybe you all should do what you expect OB to do...Walk the Walk
-1 # Todd Williams 2011-09-20 21:07
Billy Bob, I don't know you, but I've voted progressive since 1969, so don't give me that crap. Where's your lib creds, dude?
Who are you voting for? Perry? Give me a freaking break. Again, there are some real wimpy progressives on this site. You voted for O the first time, and now you're turning against a man who is trying like hell to fix our country and has to fight Dem wimps and Rethuglicans every step. Cry babys! Get some guts!
+3 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 14:30
Wimpy is refusing to even challenge a repug simply because he calls himself a Democrat. The wimps are the ones caving in to repug demands. Could you please give me some examples of Obama "fighting" repugs about anything - before the tough talk that's suddenly appeared out of nowhere this week?
0 # Todd Williams 2011-09-20 21:13
And by the way, I marched in DC against the Vietnam War, protested at Ohio U., was shot by wooden knee knockers by the pigs, was arrested, burned my frigging draft card and next month I'm going to the Peace and Justice Rally in DC. So don't accuse me of not being Liberal enough. Don't like to hear that? Then give me more thumbs down you pathetic excuses for Liberals. Tom Hayden would puke at these comments on this thread.
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 14:37
Did you only protest Vietnam when nixon was in office, or did you try to do something about while Johnson was still in office? As I recall, another Democrat, trying to appease repugs, named Lyndon Johnson had to do with the fact that we were even there in the first place. Don't like to hear that? It's a fact. Johnson was forced to step down, and if Robert Kennedy hadn't been murdered, nixon would have lost in '68.

That was then. This is now. Back then, the overwhelming majority of Americans thought the Democratic Party and liberals in general were going too far, and wanted nixon in to "restore law and order".

Well, the "law and order" repugs have been in charge ever since. Now, the overwhelming majority of the country is sick of what they've caused and wants Democrats to do MORE, not less. Getting upset about the fact that Obama needs a primary challenger is a vote for doing less.

As I've said many times, if the choice is between Obama and perry, I'll vote for Obama.

I hope it doesn't come to that, if possible.
+1 # nice2blucky 2011-09-23 00:25
Nobody is questioning your liberal creds... but it sounds like your passionate defense of liberalism over the past 40 years hasn't held the line: with the boogie-man routine... your choke-on-winnin g solutions... It's the delusion of representation you are selling... It's the blind parroting of, and adherience to, establishment mantra... It's the, it's the only way farce, you've bought and are desperately trying to unload.

How is it possible that Obama is so great that not even another Democrat will do? And you will likely respond, that Primarying a sitting President will (weaken, guarantee)? ... which is it, weaken or guarantee ... his/her re-election chances? However, if I, progressives and liberals do not vote for Obama... Two Points: Will it be Independents who are responsible for Obama's circumstance -- or does that only apply if he wins? And the second point is, if liberals and progressives -- and I'd argue Independents too, but not for this -- do not vote for Obama (which by the way, in many cases, that could effect turnout, which could snowball into House, Senate, and local race losses) wouldn't it be better for you to take a chance on a Democratic Primary challenger, and sooner than later?

Your comment also suggests that, unless Tom Hayden is shielded from liberal sentiment, due to projectile vomiting, he won't make it to election day.
+2 # BVA 2011-09-21 11:31
Why did Obama say anything about the 1967 borders of Israel? Why did he mention Medicare in his "jobs speech"? Why did he continue to play the "bipartisan fool" long after that strategy became a detriment even in the eyes of independent voters? Why would he hire Larry Summers for an important and semi-high profile job in his administration? This is a guy who always looks like a stereotype of evil right out of central casting and, more importantly, is presented as such in almost every documentary and book about the origin of the economic crisis!

Why didn't he nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Fin. Protection Bureau with instructions to put as much Senatorial political blood on the hearing room carpet as possible? She could have begun the process of creating a public counter-narrati ve to Republican narratives that are starting to take hold with a vengeance. Obama should recruit tough nominees for all positions and give them instructions to go for the jugular. He should recruit and equip those tough nominees with a crack staff of political researchers that would provide ammunition against every possible opposition Senator that would directly imperil their reelection no matter how far in the future that election is, even Democratic Senators. Even the independent voters are turned off by a 'wimpy' Dukakis image.
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 14:42
I agree with everything you said, except the bit about Dukakis. Dukakis was ready to fight and had a record of doing it. He wasn't elected because of a very effective bit of slander.
+3 # BVA 2011-09-21 11:32
And whose idea was it for an administration official to publicly predict at the beginning of 2009 that the 'stimulus' would keep unemployment from rising any higher than 8%?

I don't think that question and the ones above in my other post are cheap shots. I might make all these political mistakes and many more, but these are professional politicians!

I fully intend to vote for Obama next year. He gave a great speech. But there's not enough substance in the total proposal. He should have gone much bigger, and then campaigned against the Republican congress. There's lots more he could have proposed to 'jolt' the economy, such as a combat (50%), hazardous-duty (25%), and regular (10%) military pay increase retroactive to 9/11/2001. How could Republicans vote against that? And it would all be spent by current and past members and their families, and the surviving families of war dead and disabled. Nobody can say they don't deserve it.

It's pretty clear from reading books by Drew Westen, George Lakoff, Frank Luntz, and others that the Dem Party professionals just don't understand how to run a modern political campaign against a savvy, scientific enemy like the Republicans. That's the reason for so much frustration among today's Progressives!

I apologize for the recycle of comments but I didn't think I could rewrite it any better.
0 # Derek Duffy 2011-09-22 10:26
It is not really that hard to run a country from a comment column even if that country was scammed,bankrup ted,commited acts that the world reviled,and waged a war costing trillions in order to serve on a plate the war profits to the government representitives that advised to wage it.It is even easier to point out the wrong decisions made by our leaders,from a comment post.But to wade upstream through the Molasses of a wealthy pool of naysayers scared to lose their entitlements and forge ahead with a long term policy that begins by first unravelling the twisted failures of the bush administration, who left the U.S in the worst condition it has ever been in,whilst still giving respectful consideration to extremist opinions{just in case they might have a point}seems to me like a leadrship that this country should applaud not denegrate,Obama is by far the best thing that has happende to this country in a very long time.Give him time to clear the crap up left by his predecessor first and watch how fair life will become for all
+2 # 2011-09-22 15:21
in 2008 Obama promised his daughters a dog as their reward for enduring the election. After he won, Obama said in a television interview, "I don't want a girly dog." Instead of letting his girls pick out a puppy, he instead got a dog so large his daughters couldn't handle it on a leash; he named the dog 'BO', which are his initials.
Nobody can trust Obama.
We need a new Democratic candidate for president.
-2 # Robt Eagle 2011-09-22 17:06
This is great! Not Progressive enough...libera l commies fighting against each other. Haven't you figured it out yet that the only way to make this country solvent again is to go back to the hard work methodology of everyone taking personal responsibility for their actions, or inaction? Our Federal government has put too much restrictions on small businessman/wom en, taxed us too much to compete globally, given away too much to the dead beats of our society, and destroyed the values of religion and family. So what has it gotten us? Why do you think Obama is setting policies and Executive Orders to destroy this great country? Name one thing he has done that has had a positive effect on jobs? Name one thing he has done that has helped small businesses to grow and create jobs? All he has done has been to hurt America, including appologizing for helping the rest of the world in times of strife. Get rid of Obama at all costs, and give business the ability to creat and grow, everything else will take care of itself.
0 # 8LEA 2011-09-22 19:53
A caller on C-Span summed things up beautifully: "We thought we were voting for John Shaft...instead we got Steve Urkel."
I'm a little less charitable re: Fauxbama, the sell-out.

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