A Place for Cafe Refugees and Others Like Them

On Pipe Dreams

I stumbled upon two good pieces today at Washington Monthly’s “Political Animal” that I’d like to share. In a way, they are related, and in a broader sense they both touch upon some recent discussions we’ve had here at Once Upon a TPM and elsewhere.

Seems to me that many far-left progressives have been threatening to stay home in November, or vote Green Party (which, much as they hate to hear it, are one and the same thing). Steve Benen addresses this concern in his first piece, here:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_09/025740.php

In fact, a lot of the Obama administration’s accomplishments were pipe dreams.

A near-universal health-care system? Why would Obama and the Democrats succeed when Truman, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton had all failed, and politicians as adept as FDR and LBJ refused to even make the attempt? They’ve seen the numbers, right? The health-care industry is bigger now, and richer, and there are no more liberal Republicans. There’s no way.

A $787 billion stimulus? Yes, it was too small. But everything Washington does is always too small. And within the confines of that stimulus, the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress managed to make a host of long-term investments that would’ve been considered huge accomplishments in any other context, but are largely unknown inside this one. Huge investments in green energy, in health information technology, in high-speed rail, in universal broadband, in medical research, in infrastructure. The Making Work Pay tax cut. The Race to the Top education reform program. No recent president has invested in the country on anything like that level.

As to what Obama is continuing to try to accomplish, again Steve Benen writes a great piece, here:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_09/025739.php

Colin Powell on Meet the Press said, this morning, if I may sum up, that all of Obama’s accomplishments are too much – a big bag of heavy rocks, is what he likened them to. I find this hilarious seeing as how the far-left feels Obama hasn’t done enough!  Anyway, Powell feels that Obama should stop doing so much and simply concentrate on job creation.

Steve Benen answers this ridiculous statement of Powell’s beautifully:

Obama should “go right after” unemployment. Great idea. How should he do that? The president has called for a major investment in infrastructure, which would create jobs, and which Republicans have already vowed to kill. The president called for a small-business-incentives bill, which would create jobs, and which Republicans deliberately delayed for months as part of a campaign strategy. The president has called for a major overhaul in U.S. energy policy, which would create a lot of jobs, and which Republicans have already successfully killed.

Notice the pattern here? Obama is taking an active approach to job creation, and offering ideas with merit, but it’s running into a brick wall of knee-jerk Republican opposition, which, despite being in the minority, has the tools to bring the policymaking process to a halt.

Indeed, the GOP is instead offering an alternative — a Bush-era tax policy that already failed to create jobs.

Powell’s advice isn’t wrong, it’s just misdirected. Instead of urging President Obama to focus more heavily on job creation, perhaps Powell could use his credibility and stature to publicly call on his Republican Party to stop standing in the way of economic progress.

Well said, Mr. Benen. But even Powell, one of the sanest Republicans these days (Chuch Hagel notwithstanding), apparently won’t do such a thing as to publicly call out his own party.

Perhaps those on the left who plan on staying home, or voting Green party in November, will decide to publicly call on the Republican Pary to stop standing in the way of economic progress by coming out with us to the polls and voting Dem this November.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

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Comments on: "On Pipe Dreams" (91)

  1. another trope said:

    And so many on the left keep focusing on all the “insiders” that Obama utilizes, how he plays the game in the beltway in the same way others have. Yet is there any other way to get things done? Should he be like Carter who just brought in outsiders, who didn’t know how D.C. worked, and ended up getting nothing done because they stepped on too many toes?

    Some people (who will remain unnamed) will say that expecting radical change and a successful progressive agenda implemented are not people who were expecting Obama to be a magical leader but rather a result of him being a sell-out BECAUSE any president who really wanted to have such an agenda implemented could have implemented it.

    I’m not going to say that Obama is a frustrated Uber Progressive, but he has achieved the closest thing possible of a progressive agenda in D.C. without suffering loss after loss, and all those upset with him for not being successful for implementing that agenda still upset with him.

    • Which is why I titled my post the way I did. Alas.

      I’ll still dream, and I’ll still vote and try to convince others to do the same. It’s easy to get discouraged when those on our own side aren’t willing to help, but I simply can’t let their pointless arguments stop me. All I can do is hope they’ll see reason when it’s staring them in the face.

    • they got in a tizzy about fisa, acamus, and then the bank bailout sent them over the cliff and they’ve never picked themselves out of the depths since then, no matter what happens, no matter what gets passed, it’s not good enough.

      i think the issues surrounding obama’s fisa stand contain debatable aspects, and i’d say the same thing about the bailout as well. the economy still hasn’t recovered. well now it hasn’t, but perhaps we would be worse off if the country’s investment banks went belly up and credit dwindled to nothing. just maybe?

      it’s a moot argument because who can say what would have been. but since the rest of the world’s still in the toilet with us (slightly less so, but eu’s hardly standing on top of its collective economic health and cheering), i hardly think it’s as cut and dry as some would have it.

      • That’s a false choice. You seriously believe that the only two options in the whole universe were what Geithner and his GS crew did or letting all the investment banks go belly up? That’s it? No other possibility?

        Did you miss Stiglitz … Kwak … Johnson … even Krugman? ALL of them recommended viable, and seemingly more appropriate, courses of action. You are getting into a very republican frame of argument – that’s like saying the only two options were to waterboard people or to just sit back and let the terrorists attack NYC at will.

        BTW. You are pretty far off base about the deepest sources of anger among those who worked hard to elect Obama and are now dissatisfied and demoralized. I can tell you this for certain, we anti-torture/police state folks couldn’t get liberals upset about any of that FISA/AFM/Detainee stuff – that criticism NEVER got wings. And even the bank bailouts aren’t the real point of contention. In that regard, it was the lack of equivalent investment helping out the little guys and then watching those fuckholes who took us all into the dumper paying themselves tens of millions on taxpayer-backed record profits while the rest of us got kicked out of our homes and lost our jobs. Obama’s whole solution thus far boils down to Reganomics on steroids. The poor stay poor and the rich get rich. It has been a shitty response and by no means the only one possible.

        But. A-#1 on the list of why everyone is hating on Obama is how he played HCR. Period. Nobody is buying the legislative impossibility bullshit … because it is demonstrative bullshit. All of the rest hangs on that framework. Democrats should have gone big or gone home – passing it without a public option was a political mistake of epic proportions.

        • You know, KGB, it’s very difficult for some of us to know WHAT to be angry about the most, seeing as how you and others keep harping on different things you think went wrong. I think that’s why I finally threw my hands up in the air and decided you all wanted Kucinich. A wrong assumption, but seeing as how you all lack the ability to clearly state just what is so wrong with Obama’s Administration in a nutshell, but consistently insist on bringing up all sorts of points instead, I can only wish you the best of luck in finding a presidential candidate you can believe in by 2016.

        • I don’t claim to know what the biggest gripe is among you professional grousers and I don’t actually care to know since the last two years have proven nothing other than that grousing is your one and only game and all you have to contribute. You’ve come up with nothing constructive in the past two years, absolute zip, not even any candidates for this November, or a totally piss poor showing that features nothing beyond a couple of destined to be losers you’ve managed to pull out from under some rock.

          And I was speaking chronologically, not comparatively anyway. I said the disillusionment STARTED with FISA. Certainly someone who tries to make points by picking on grammatical errors (as you do below) knows the difference the difference between chronology and comparison. Or do you?

          Or do you bother to read what you then go on to bloviate about?

          And by the way, you can just shove your false choice/binary opposition comment. Where’d you get that one, champ? The bailout as an infusion of immediate cash is what I was talking about, not the myriad progressive musings on how to restructure the US financial services and banking industries as if we had all the time in the world. That’s your game. Let’s just hold out and agree on only perfect progressive choices, and just see if the world economy implodes while we’re considering.

          No fella. I was coming from, I’m sure to you, naive and babe in the woods perspective that we were in what was most probably a crisis situation, even Krugman and his cronies at Princeton concluded in one of the panels they had at the time that there was (1) a real credit crisis and (2) a real threat of global collapse.

          So if you want to talk about “false” either or choices, let’s talk about what I was actually talking about. And you tell me how to come up with an immediate infusion of cash in some other way.

          • I guess we know where the butthurt crowd ended up. Nice to see you too.

            You realize Obama wasn’t president when the bailout event you now seem to be referencing happened, right? AIG, Bear Sterns, and TARP round one were all on W … chronologically speaking.

            I can’t think of an immediate crisis that required instant action or the economy would self-destruct during Obama’s administration. When exactly did that happen? Obama’s role has been to ask for round two to shore up the bailout and set medium/long term policy.

            • KGB, can you just do me a favor and keep your new arguments at the bottom of the post instead of replying back to older comments? I’m having a hard time following you here.

              Thanks.

            • you know what, champ? thanks for reminding me. you professional grousers grouse about obama on his knees to wall street so much i had forgotten myself that he wasn’t in the the driver’s seat for the unveiling of the bailout plan and TARP. Only for stuff like this
              http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aFNFjktU8O_c
              But of course you also have to be right that this had nothing to do with the kind of crisis thinking that engendered the original 11th hour TARP bill. Hey, the economy was in smooth sail mode by December 2009, and Obama really did only have to bother his head with “medium/long term policy” going forward. And he made all the wrong choices. We know that. You’ve told us before. But one thing you say up above here confused me, champ. When you say there was a second bailout, I kinda scratch my head. Now just when was that? I mean, I remember the stress tests. But wasn’t the conclusion there that no more money was needed? And even according to the NY Times just this past week, what it seems mostly happened under the Obama administration is the banks paid most of the money back. But, hey, we’ve already seen that my memory is faulty and prone to respond to assault, so why don’t you fill us all in? We’re waiting with baited breath. But, you know, why don’t you just, well, be a little generous and let the country know Obama should be absolved for the bailout too. Like me, they really have forgotten who engineered it (see polls), so maybe you could straighten them out like you did me? Come on, champ. Give Obama a break and let the world know what you know. It wasn’t his fault.

              • oh and one other thing, champ. you’ve got the wrong person on that butt hurt thing. I’m not the one who feels Obama tricked me and double talked me into supported him. I’m not the one who regrets working for him and sending him the cash that I could.

                That’s you.

    • Candidate Obama seemed to think he could get it done a different way. Or at least that’s what he promised when campaigning. So, basically you are saying he’s either a liar who never planned on changing the faces and way politics are carried out in Washington – despite running a campaign heavy on promises to do so – or a political incompetent who got in over his head and then ran home to mamma. In either event, you fail to make a convincing case that an effective leader motivated to deliver on their actual promises could not have achieved far more substantial results under the exact same political circumstance.

      What democrats are doing is a bait and switch. Obama promised specifics. You guys want to replace those policy specifics with generic assertions of progressiveness and sweeping change and have everyone pretend as if he actually delivered on those specific promises. Generally the bulk of specific policy he promoted during the campaign has not come to pass at all – while the relevant legislation is now done, finito, in the can, no longer available to address, opportunity gone. Obama let it all go without even a whimper or expending a speck of political capital to advance them. That’s bullshit. He didn’t even try – for whatever reason (although in several cases he accepted serious financial compensation into the DNC and in the form of ad dollars in exchange for NOT expending political capital – so it’s kind of hard to remain entirely neutral in terms of motivation speculation here).

      And since you seem to be spiking me … I’ll just note that your sentence doing so falls under the weight of awkward grammar. You need an extra sentence or to add a negative qualifying phrase in the middle or something. Radical change would not be a logical expectation in the event of a politician being a sellout. Many think that Obama FAILED to produce the policy results he promised because he sold out. And there is a strong case that those holding this view are correct based on the way Washington REALLY works (as opposed your inaccurate assessment of Washington mechanics).

      I am consistently amazed, though, at your ability to see deep into the minds of others – progressives/liberals in particular – and know exactly what they are thinking and how they would react to various circumstances. That’s quite a gift.

      • Just out of curiosity, KGB, did you read my post and the two links contained therein in their entirety?

        • Post yes, including the parts of the links you highlight as germane to your point. But no, I didn’t commit the time to reading the entire source articles you excerpted. It should be noted, I’m responding to Amicus’ comment here, not your top-line post per.se.

          My observation about your top line post is that you are completely off base that voting Green is the same thing as not voting at all.

          Other than that, I think you make a fair case for the “generically marketable under brand progressive should be good enough for you guys” point of view. I disagree. And I also feel Benin’s characterization of the “green” energy investment component of stimulus to be misstated. I further feel that the value of the broadband part is going to hinge largely on how Obama handles net neutrality (which, to this point, has been the one area where I have been able to vocally support the administration’s actions … although that ground has gotten a bit squishy over the last few weeks). Additionally, an assertion that the GOP killed energy legislation is simply inaccurate – Obama pulled it off the table when offshore drilling became untenable as a result of the BP blowout. Obama is apparently STRONGLY committed to the expansion of offshore drilling … and nukes (them’s green now donchaknow).

          Generally, I find your case well argued and the quotes you highlight germane to advancing your premise. The only thing I’d note is that you rely on the analysis of a single source seemingly selected largely based on confirmation bias. The confirmation bias thing is totally fair – you are trying to convince folks of what you believe – but drawing from several sources who agree with you when going to multiple quotes always makes a stronger case.

          The thing that jumps out at me from these assertions of accomplishment is the conspicuous absence of the specific policy prescriptions Obama promoted during the campaign. Your argument here doesn’t address that aspect at all – which is the real heart of what people are criticizing. If you want to change minds, you need to demonstrate how Obama didn’t sell out on his specific promises.

          • And I shall reply with this: You have read only my post here at this site which contains over 40 posts, and you have commented only on two posts, to two commenters.

            • I’m not sure I get your point. Is this some kind of a pulling rank thing? I’ve read an awful lot of your work over the last couple of years.

              I just found this place Friday on a redirect from Dagblog – I don’t know where you are getting your information about what I’ve “read” here … but it is not accurate. I’ve been reading all the posts as they show up since I learned about this site. (BTW, Flowerchild’s post today is AWESOME – maybe you need to decompress a bit, great story for it).

              • My point was perhaps more directed to Dijamo, but then again, also to you. This is not TPM, I guess is what I’m trying to say. And yes, Flower’s post is beautiful and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Did you comment to her about it?

                My point is if you’re only going to comment to two people out of how many posters, it gives the rest of us the idea that you are simply looking to argue with two commenters. Whereas everyone else here is engaged in many conversations on many topics, on an ongoing basis. Do you see the difference there?

                • First off. I don’t give a damn what you think in regards to what my motivations are. I saw something to which I have a counterpoint and provided it.

                  Second. If this isn’t TPM and everyone isn’t welcome … to participate how THEY feel comfortable (vs. to please whatever artificial metrics you are using) then y’all need to stop advertising this site as a welcome home for TPM refugees.

                  Peace.Out. Enjoy your sterilized single-point-of-view refuge.

          • another trope said:

            Jeeeezus. So you are going to base your whole argument on what the candidate said during the campaign trail as opposed to what he or she accomplished while in office given the realities of that political and economic landscapes?

            Do you think Obama would act exactly the same if he had Clinton’s economic boom when he entered office?

            • I simply observed that as long as those trying to change people’s minds about dissatisfaction with Obama answer the criticism they WISH they were getting instead of what people are actually upset about, the objective will likely never be achieved. In this case, your projection serves you poorly. Peppering those arguments with backhanded insults certainly doesn’t help your side much at all.

              And for the record, Clinton’s economic “boom” was the initial inflation of the artificial bubble which just burst on our asses. It really was never the boom you guys always try to market it as. The .COM thing was every bit the scam as subprime real estate derivatives. But, I don’t see how an unprovable speculative imagining what may have happened if Obama had taken over in 2000 is relevant at all.

              And, again, what you present as the “realities of that political and economic landscape” is not an accurate characterization of what those realities are. But even if you were accurately portraying reality, both the political and economic situations were well known at the time Obama was campaigning. Are you really proposing that electors should immediately abandon everything they elected a person to accomplish if they are successful at placing them in office? They shouldn’t be judged based on how well they accomplish the things they said they’d do?

              • another trope said:

                First i never made the Clinton boom as some outcome of the brillance of a Dem president. So don’t put me in that crowd. As someone who is blasting me for reading minds you seem to pretty comfortable at doing yourself.

                My point is that for most Americans their satisfaction with government is based on their personal situation and not whether Gitmo is open or closed, and Obama would be able to do more radical measures than right now with the country up in arms on both the left and right.

              • another trope said:

                Second I had a lot expectations when I voted for Obama. Many have not been met. But I have looked at what the realities were and tempered my view based on those realities. So while I will continue to fight for those things not achieved I don’t have to make Obama out to be the enemy in order to do so.

                What so many on the left end up doing is being just like W when he said “either you’re with us or you’re against us” even as they were they loudest to shout him down for saying something like this.

                Yes Obama hasn’t been perfect. But he is not the enemy. He is in the big picture part of the coalition and on our side.

              • another trope said:

                And you blast me for what you perceive as being in kind terms naive. I simply responding that those who wanted perfection and a candidate to perfectly translate into the politician are the ones being naive. And stomping ones feet after the fact is basically being silly when you are asking someone to say just what 51% of the country wants to hear, esp when they really don’t want to hear the real truth and will punish you at the polls if do so.

      • another trope said:

        I can only speak for myself that what I saw Obama promising was the beginning of turning the ship around in how Washington worked. A project that would take decades if not generations. I sure as hell didn’t think he would somehow undo the military industrial complex in four years or undo the influence of lobbyists given our current campaign finance realities in four years.

        Change we can believe in is one rooted in reality. If your coalition includes Nelson, Lincoln, Mr. Droopy et al. then there is only so much one is going to be able to accomplish.

        Living in Indiana I know how the whole area of this country that relies on coal for electricity would revolt if they had to pay extra for a better climate in the future keeps me grounded on what is possible in this country of ours. You may believe some kind of FDR could have a fireside chat and convince these folks to pay higher electricity bills but I believe differently. That is where we come in. We need to work on changing the national consciousness and awareness on issues like climate change and the need to sacrifice (which is a little different than a pearl harbor and getting the people to sacrifice when there is a physical attack by an outside force).

        • But Lincoln did exactly what the White House asked her to do. That’s what blows your whole premise right out of the water.

        • Also, this is where Obama’s other little promise comes in. He promised to do what he promised even if it cost him a second term. That seems to undermine the equivocation you are now trying to insert into his rhetoric.

          In other words, he promised to make your fellow citizens pissed off if that’s what it takes to right the ship. And if it came down to righting the ship or political suicide – he promised hari kari.

          He didn’t say “Elect me and then, maybe, 30-40 years down the road stuff will change.” Maybe that’s what you heard, but that’s not what he said. Sorry. He’s laying in the bed he made. If he didn’t want to get called on it, he shouldn’t have said it.

          • I don’t know, KGB, it just seems like you’ve suddenly brought a whole lot of Deja Vu into this place today. Speaking for myself, I don’t miss that part of the Cafe. Perhaps you are better off at Dagblog? I’m not asking you to leave, btw, I’m just thinking that perhaps you’re better suited there than here.

            If you’d prefer to stay here that’s fine too. But it would be nice to see you make yourself a part of the overall community and comment at other posts now and then.

            Your choice.

            • I could understand your complaint if I was going off topic to criticize. But I didn’t. This is the subject you selected. Look at the topic of the thread: “lets all talk smack about those angry enough to consider voting Green”. You are the one who brought this aspect to the Cafe and you are the one who posted it here. I totally ignored the shitty premise and answered your question about having read your post quite respectfully. Check yourself. If you don’t want to discuss the issues of disaffected members (and former members) of Team Obama – maybe the first step in that would be to stop making posts premised on the idea that their dissatisfaction is due to irrational pipe dreams.

              I appreciate art, and discuss politics. Sorry. I’m not going to let you destroy the peaceful joy I get from reading something like Flowerchild’s piece, letting it fill me, and quietly moving on. There was nothing to add from my side but a happy sigh.

              Now a serious question. What is your relationship to running this site? Did you create it and are you it’s administrator? If not, you are way out of line. If so, than yeah, this probably isn’t the place for me even though many folks I love ended up here.

      • another trope said:

        Now i’ve corrected the implied intent of the sentence. The basic premise you are operating on is that a progressive agenda could have been implemented. Which is total hogwash.

        I want to hear you say one way or another. Would Senator Nelson ever allowed anything less than what was passed regarding health care get through or would this former insurance industry hack always joined the Repubs in filibustering? Did Nelson care how many in California or New Hampshire wanted single payer?

        I await your answer.

        • With only 50 votes needed for ANY provision they wanted to add, which is the political reality under which HCR passed, Nelson’s vote became irrelevant. The other political reality of the way HCR was ultimately passed is that they could have given the PO a vote and pass or fail it would not have impacted the ability to move the whole measure one iota. Even the BS “ooh we don’t want to send it back to the House” canard ended up getting blown up, because it ended up going back there anyhow.

          The GOP screwed Obama by taking away his “need 60 votes” illusion. Now you have to distort history to pretend they could never have passed it.

          • another trope said:

            There was always the political reality of passing HCR with an air of legitimacy. I said at the very beginning of the debate before the death panel, etc. that Obama goal was to achieve a national consensus. It wasn’t about my party beat your party, but this is what the nation wants. It to that he gave Reagan his props. He was able to make “no taxes” a national mantra. Obama was hoping that there would be “health care for all” mantra. Alas, there were too many Americans who only gave a shit about their own health care in the final analysis.

            So yes maybe Obama should have approached it as my party against your party.

            But guess what. If there was one thing he campaigned upon: BIPARTISANSHIP. And from day one the far left wanted him to come out and say, I lied to you during the campaign, and now that we won, screw you all that voted for McCain and the rest of the Republicans. This bipartisanship was the cornerstone of the change he talked about, the fundamental approach I expected him to uphold which he has. Much to the chagrin to many on the left. But he is president of the United States of America, not the head of the liberal party.

            • If I had to pick only one thing he campaigned upon, it would CERTAINLY be the promise of radical change we can believe in. That was his logo. His slogan. His identity.

              That aside, regardless how it was initially approached, by the time we hit reconciliation any dedication to bipartisanship was a joke. I guess it’s kind of ironic that while he wasn’t willing to break his (totally non-specific) bipartisanship pledge to the republicans, he sure was willing to abandon all sorts of pledges he made to his own team. I’m amazed you can’t see why some folks are bent out of shape – just on an emotional level. If you have to break your promise to SOMEONE, it sucks that it seems to always be progressive Democrats as the odd-man out in favor of the GOP.

              Although, thinking about it, they actually DID manage to ultimately get a consensus on HCR. Unfortunately for the Dems, the consensus is shaping up to be that what they passed totally sucks.

              • Radical change? I don’t remember the word “radical” being in his slogan.

              • another trope said:

                where did the word “radical” ever ever ever come into Obama’s discourse. I mean he went to extremes to show how middle of the road he was.

                And maybe if the progressive were actually a force to be reckon with we would have more of our people in Congress. But they ain’t there are they. Maybe because we really aren’t a force, but rather a ripple in the summer shower.

                So yeah, stay at home, and if that is true then the election shouldn’t be effected. But the reality is that the hardcore progressives are not the only ones who propelled Obama into the WH. It included, for example the youth vote which are not hardcore left. They don’t vote in general elections in the off cycle. There are a lot more examples. But the point is that if Repubs win it will just say to all politicans that if they want to win they need to go more conservative in the future because that is where the consistent votes are. One cannot build upon the fickle. The religious right kept voting for the Rs for years even though they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted.

      • another trope said:

        “He didn’t even try – for whatever reason”

        And here is the crux of the argument. You dismiss it with “for whatever reason” I take it as Obama understanding who in the Senate stood where, and knew where victory was possible, and where it was impossible.

        Again, you keep going on about the realities of how Washington works, but then you make assertions based on what you desire to see happen as opposed to what was possible given the makeup of the House and Senate.

        And I am glad that I amaze you since I desire nothing else but to amaze people. But snarkiness aside, I’m sorry if I am engaging in the now well-worn tradition of the blogosphere of analyzing the constituents of this country and the blogs and comments that they make regarding politics and whatnot. Maybe this is a case of a mirror being put up and you not liking what is reflected back.

  2. hey, lis. thank you for the post, and the link. i don’t understand the let’s let a greater evil triumph so that things get bad enough to finally look for the greater good. makes no sense to me.

    and for all the howling of the greater progressives, proclaiming how we must support only “true” progressives and throw the rest away like chaff, at least at my local level, i’d like to know just how many of them voted for tasini over clinton in 2006, or worked for him against gillibrand, or were up in the 15th district this summer working for him against rangel. i never saw tasini’s name once from any of the new yorkers at the cafe. did you?

    then look at the kind of howling we got after josh decided to close the cafe. it was because the cafe was too progessive in view and this embarassed him. it was because he felt threatened by the cafe’s progressives. it was because he’s a gutless star fucker who wants to get ahead and get more advertising.

    but of course none of these people can be accused of childishness, or failure to face facts. they’re the saviors of the democratice party (if it gets saved) and of the country to boot.

    meantime, the reaction to josh’s announcement really spoke volumes. at least to me. take things from their source, i say.

    and i may be sorry for saying this later, but i’m sick of this shit, especially with November looming.

    • Right on, Anna. Nothing wrong with getting angry. I think your anger stems from frustration, and it’s completely understandable. I feel it too. Like I’ve been saying for months, when the far left can come up with a viable plan, a viable candidate, I’ll be happy to listen to them. If instead they simply want to complain about ‘what is’, that’s their prerogative but it doesn’t mean I have to listen to their crap.

      I’d rather DO things to help our party. I’d rather SAY things that help our party. To me, it’s the more sensible approach, and the more meaningful one.

    • Oh, and I’d just like to add that “Political Animal” writer Steve Benen writes the way Josh should be writing. Yes no?

      • yes. and i think it’s more the way josh wrote at the beginning. political animal’s a good site. i have to remind myself to get there more often. and thank you for poking me on it, lis.

        • another trope said:

          and if one just wants the latest on political stuff – the daily beast is also another good site. It gives a wider breadth of opinion including those on the other side of the aisle (gasp).

          • *gasp* Yeah, I have started paying attention to the “My Yahoo” screen in my email, and discovered it selected a lot of political sites for me to follow. Some have turned out to be conservative sites, but I like to glance them over just to see what the other side is saying. Other sites it selected are more left leaning, hence my sudden liking of “Political Animal”. I’ve bookmarked Daily Beast and will start looking around in it now. Thanks for the suggestion.

          • thanks acamus. i go there somewhat regularly but their format/layout turns me off. suppose if i went enough to get used to it though…

            • another trope said:

              yeah their format is a bit over the top. but to just get the latest memes it is fine. the people commenting seem pretty lame, kind of TPMDC on a bad day.

      • I’ve been reading Steve for years and he is one of the best out there. His economy with words is to be admired. He makes his point without a lot of fuss so everyone can understand it.

    • Oh. I thought Josh killed the cafe because he’s not competent to manage the IT staff required to keep it going and is sticking with a kid as IT director who’s in over his head and can’t stop the SPAM attacks.

      If the choice was content-based, I’d argue Josh would have wanted to shut down the cafe because it had become a cesspool of meta-sniping. Not exactly the same thing as being “too progressive”. But then, I was busy during that whole deal and missed it (thankfully it seems). Although, I *did* go back and do some browsing to see what went down, and really didn’t encounter an awful lot of people asserting the Cafe was being shut down to silence progressives.

      Democrat loyalists are funny. The problem you have is that independents generally support the policies promoted by progressives and, like the progressives, are not impressed with the legislation your party has rammed through. The liberal wing of your party has been desperately trying to alert the rest of you to that fact – and getting beaten to shit for telling you a truth you don’t want to hear. And amazingly, after two years of being your party’s whipping child, some of them are fed up and ready to go Green … who could have ever seen THAT coming?

      Can Democrats win if independents vote for the other team? Nope. And Democrats have cratered in the demographic while you stroke yourself hating on liberals. “Booga-Booga REPUBLICANS!!!” is a strategy that ONLY works on Democrats, and your liberal wing is polling at 89%+ support for the party – talk about wasting your effort. Most Democrats are acting like morons and the GOP is eating your political lunch.

      Every time one of you tries to put my militia-supporting ass in the box of a far-left ideologue because I stand by my agreement to do whatever small thing I can to advance the policies Obama articulated during the campaign (which aren’t particularly radical nor liberal BTW) I just have to shake my head. Truth is that many of us hold the firm belief that one should stick by their word as articulated by conservatives yet hold the policy desires of the progressives. We aren’t going to sell out what we agreed to support in ’08 because your pretty little man tells us to. A compromise deal is a compromise deal, I’m clearly keeping up my end as an independent – you Democrats simply aren’t. If you wanted our continued support, you wouldn’t have fled the battlefield to defend the indefensible because OMGZ November!!! (News flash: there will ALWAYS be an upcoming election, if one accepts that as a reason to compromise their principles, they really don’t have any principles). At least the GOP stands should-to-shoulder and fights to the death with you when you support their team. Democrats leave you out in the wind with your dick in your hand.

      It will be the independents who take control from Democrats and give it to the GOP if that occurs. Not the liberal Democrats. They can’t save you from us – no matter how much you yell at them. It’s not their fault you ignored them when they TOLD you the party was driving us away.

  3. Oy. Maybe the problem is that what you are calling “far left progressives” are what use to be called moderate Democrats. Obama’s “accomplishments” are ripped straight from Mitt Romney’s platform.

    We don’t have a democratic party anymore, just Moderate Republicans and nutjobs. And it’s perfectly okay if you like Moderate Republicans. I don’t. Screaming/sneering/lecturing at progressives to appreciate their Moderate Republican masters is not going to improve the enthusiasm gap.

    • Screaming/sneering/lecturing other Dems because you don’t appreciate our current President are not going to help either, yes no? Please give us some suggestions, Dija, as to how the far left progressives and the central ones can work together. I’d like to hear them.

    • just tell me, did you support tasini in 2006?

    • another trope said:

      So the moderate republicans would have created the consumer protection agency then put Elizabeth Warren in charge of setting up in preparation of appointing her to head it. That is what you seriously believe a moderate republican would have done? Seriously?

    • another trope said:

      And I think the issue is whether as a progressives we accept that Obama is a moderate/centrist and is our best hope in the here and now to move the country forward or we rant and gnash our teeth because he not implemented the exact agenda we have dreamed about in those moments while waiting for the bus.

    • another trope said:

      And then there is the issue of treating all Dems the same. Now if you live in Nebraska you might be in a position to do something about getting a Democrat like Nelson who is more conservative overall than some Republicans, but to talk in a way that Senator Nelson is equated with Representative Weiner is ludicrous.

      I don’t live in Nebraska, but I donated to the Senator Klebb campaign, an actual moderate/liberal Democrat back in 2008. Nebraska said they preferred the Republican. So it goes.

  4. To KGB999 and Dijamo: Thanks for stopping by and reading the two posts you have commented on. I am curious to know if you have taken the time to read every post here at the site? Have you read the About page? It just seems to me that you have no interest in deep, thoughtful discussions when you offer your input. There is no “constructive” in your criticism.

    Neither of you have replied to the replies that you’ve gotten here, which gives the impression that you are just hitting and then leaving.

    If/when you ever want to get into a real deep discussion, that’s great, I look forward to it. So far, I haven’t seen that.

    But thanks for stopping by.

    • and we tremble in their mighty wake.

    • Thanks for the lovely welcome. Happy to never return so you can continue your deep thought discussions about unnamed pipe-dreaming “far left progressives.” I’m not one for passive-aggressive BS. Ta.

      • another trope said:

        i guess then it is who is right about who is putting out the passive-aggressive bs based on some pipe-dream. We all want to get to the same place, the issue at hand is how best to get there.

      • thank you for the insightful, nuanced and terribly, well, just nice and cozy way you had of coming in and saying howdy.

        and now i’m not engaging. i’m just saying a hi howdy back at ya’ girl, and saying you just rawk.

      • For the record, I was not discussing unnamed pipe-dreamers so much as discussing the overall far left. I happened to take the title of my post from a sentence in the article I was linking, wherein it was Obama who was called the pipe dreamer.

        Alas, it seems you didn’t want to really read what we have to share here, you just wanted to make your point, and then move on.

  5. We’ve already covered this ground and so have many others.

    I don’t believe this’ll get fixed until Washington fesses up to stacking the deck just as it was prior to the 30’s depression and corrects it in the way it was corrected back then.

    Specifically we had back then a situation exactly the same as today where almost exactly 25% of the nations wealth is held by 2% of the population. This country has historically beeen it’s most productive and innovative when that number was in the 12% – 15% range. The regulatory scheme we have today is fundamentally the same one which brought on the 30’s depression and our current one. We all know all too well this was changed at the tail end of the Clinton presidency at the behest of Wall Street insiders in the Clinton administration.

    We have to change this back so that the differential in the percentage of national wealth that has been shifted up the economic ladder is placed back in the hands of the middle class where it was for decades so we have enough people with expendable income dollars pouring money into the economy. This is not theory. We have two distinct periods where we allowed the numeric relationship of who are the wealth holders change in the same way with same undesirable result. This is fundamentally very simple. We don’t have enough people with enough money to drive the economy in a way that sustains all the things it customarily provided and which we have grown to expect.

    We either bring things back in line with the numbers we know work which can sustain the economy or we resign ourselves to the shift of wealth up the economic ladder and lower our sights for all of the population not in that top 2%. And remember that right now we are still in the same place we’ve been for over a decade. The only income growth at present is in that top 2%. Not one thing has yet been discussed or proposed or done to change this.

    My assessment of this is it won’t change like it did in the 30’s. Today the corruption in congress runs too deep to think this will ever happen. The middle class is looking at a very harsh reality in this regard. The numbers have been skewed this second time and the beneficiaries of that skewing aren’t going to let it slip away this time.

  6. your conclusion is terrifying, and i fear it may be too true.

    also, the zeitgeist is way different than it was in the 30’s. now hucksterism is what a smart guy’s supposed to do.

    how do we fix that? the right certainly hasn’t gotten very far with their “values.” that seems the biggest snake oil sales deal of all.

    • Unfortunately Anna unless congress and this or some future president deals with what I said above and, as was required and done once already in our history, we have a bleak future. I’ve no doubt there are a whole lot of people who understand this very well and know also, that just like in the 30’s it is very painful to put back in order. We had the bailout for this very reason. There are those times that to fix something you’ve broken is very very hard. This is one of those.

  7. i wish washington could learn more lessons from the 30s. but i don’t think they will, not unless things get that bad again, and that’s a pathetic reality.

  8. Lis, I hope you are right, I too am concerned that Dems will throw the baby out with the bathwater by staying home in protest or voting Green. If there was a time that they were needed most, even more so than the 2008 election, imo, it would be now. If the five extreme far-right Senate candidates get in, those five who believe there is NO reason to EVER have an abortion, think of the damage they could potentially wrought. Especially if there is a majority of Republicans in the Senate. Goodness, there is so much progress that can happen if we just go to the polls, support the Dem candidate (who is most likely much better than the Republican), and then if in a couple of years they still haven’t done what is necessary to turn things around do what you have to do. You cannot expect miracles in two years, it isn’t possible. Mr. Obama cannot just write laws so we need good lawmakers in office to give him good laws to sign. We also need to give the Dems a backbone and we can give it to them if we show them we are not right of center as a nation. We’ve allowed those right of center and far-right to write the laws, take over the political narrative, and drive our country into deep economic and social troubles. Staying home or wasting a vote is highly irresponsible.

    • Well said. And as we have tried to point out so many times before, even if Obama and some of the Senators and even Reps are not as far-left as people want them to be, we are still moving further left than we would be under Republican leadership. Keeping the House and Senate as Dem as possible even when we don’t like the Dems we have to vote for is imperative. Staying home or voting Green is not going to get this country any further left now, nor anytime in the future.

      Even if they want to give a message to Washington, there are other ways to do it besides simply not voting. Thanks for weighing in, PFC. And for all you do.

      • This made me think. I’m sure the far right at one point in their minds had this same dilemma. They were able to pull their party over to that side completely and what happened? The answer has yet to be seen. However, no one can deny the incremental change that has existed socially that will continue to expand. Americans are not ready for far left agendas yet. They’ve been spoon fed lies about liberals for almost 30 years now, they are just starting to wake up. Forcing it on them would be just as disastrous as allowing the righties free reign on our political process.

  9. The only way to fight the moneyed interests is with action. By going out on strike and picketing. The pharmaceutical industries. The health centers. The hospitals. The drug stores. And you march and picket for as long as it takes.

    Oh i am sure there will be those who will come up with all kinds of good excuses. Family, job, responsibilities etc. But remember that the miners and the steel workers and the garment workers all had these same things. But that did not stop them

    Did you know that at the beginning of WWII that the coal miners went out on strike for higher wages ?? Everyone was pissed at them for this. They were call unpatriotic, treasonous and more than a few four letter words. Even FDR was pissed. But you know what ? The got what they wanted.

    It’s that kind of determination that is necessary if you are really serious about what you want. Nothing less.

  10. My response to KGB’s last comment: No, I am not holding anyone here to any imaginary restrictions or metrics. I was simply stating how I personally feel about this site and its community.

    I’m sure others here feel differently, which is fine by me. I just was no longer able to see you making a specific point to the post at hand and so I personally got fed up.

    My apologies to you and to the rest of the community here for driving you off.

  11. ~flowerchild~ said:

    If you can find a clip of CBS’s Face The Nation, today’s edition, the first part with Bill Clinton might provide another viewpoint to this thread discussion.

    Okay. Now that I’m dabbled my toe in the water, I shall go read the links in the piece.

  12. OK, KGB, please feel free to start your new points here, down here. Thanks.

  13. Or not. But let me say this. A community was started here based on an old community that Josh let go. Friendships and like-minded discussions were started there and carried over to here. For over a week it’s been quiet and pleasant while we all figure out where we’re going and what we’re doing.

    And then tonight you pop in and in just one night you liken our new administration to a case of rape (and believe me, I’d love to delete that portion of your comment at Cmaukonen’s post because it was just so graphic and unnecessary), and then you begin arguments with three commenters here that you never deign to finish.

    Do I have a metric? Yes. It’s called politeness. It’s called respect for the community you are commenting to. You have shown neither. Are you banned for that? No. Have any portions of your comments been deleted for that? No.

    But if this continues, we may have to consider a policy.

    Do us all a favor and keep your arguments limited to the point at hand. If you don’t like what I’m asking of you, then feel free to leave and never come back. It’s really that simple.

  14. KGB, in answer to your last question, as I said above, no, I am not the admin of this site. But I am one of it’s co-creators. And as such I am very protective of it. There is one thing to be said for putting one’s point of view out there in the spirit of debate, but being provocative for the sake of being provocative is something I had hoped we could all leave behind at TPM. I hope you do understand.

  15. Good Lordie.

    What have we learned:

    Lis B’s rules of commmenting (with apologies to Craig Crawford and Dick Day). Perhaps you should append this to the about page so people know what they are in for should they reply uninvited:

    1. You are not welcome to comment on a blog unless you e-mail/chat/read every post and comment written by anyone on this blog.

    2. If you disagree with a blog and say so, you are being provocative for the sake of being provocative. The point of posting is not discussion, it is right ons! Kudos! +1! And, of course, passively aggressvely sniping at unnamed “far left commenters.”

    3. It’s impolite to disagree with a blog and say so with very specific challenges, but calling people cunts and challenging them to meet up in person is all good if you heart Obama. Awesome!

    Helpful suggestion: Just change the name of this blog to is LisB’s cool kids table. Make it password protected to protect your little insular closed community from being affronted by other opinions.

    And yes, it’s much more welcoming and respectful to all points of view at dag. Far more echo-y here which is cool I guess if you’re into that. Enjoy!

  16. I voted for black in the last election. I did so with great relish. I was thrilled to vote for the first African American president. I have enjoyed every minute of sticking my finger in the eye of southern politics that have dominated DC for the last 30+ years in hopes of exposing it’s pack with republican money aristocracy of this country.

    It didn’t just expose it, it has torn it apart. What a circus. The wealthy have lost control of the racist who are wrapped up in flags with bibles in their hands speaking in code words instead of “N” words to each other. They are running candidates that the party bosses don’t want and neither do the general public. The younger generations have come to realize that their grandparents and parents hate people that are not white more then they love their families. In the long term for the republicans it is a lose, lose situation.

    Our president has done well considering the environment he walked into and the republicans out to distroy him.

    The raving lunatics on the right are far more intertaining then the firebagger rants.

    PS O’Donnall’s handlers have cancelled all her national media events and are only letting her talk to DE voters. They must of put up a finger in the wind and discovered that she was scaring the hell out of moderate republicans nationally.

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