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Obama: 'We've got to go ahead and move forward on a vote'

obamafundraiser.jpg

A lot of folks are reading pretty deep into some comments Barack Obama made at a fundraiser suggesting a way forward for health-care reform. Here they are:

Now, those two bills weren't identical, so it was important for folks in both the House and the Senate to sit down and figure out what's the final bill that the Democrats believe in and want to move forward. The next step is what I announced at the State of the Union, which is to call on our Republican friends to present their ideas. What I'd like to do is have a meeting whereby I'm sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health-care experts, and let's just go through these bills -- their ideas, our ideas -- let's walk through them in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense.

And then I think that we've got to go ahead and move forward on a vote. We've got to move forward on a vote. (Applause.) But as I said at the State of the Union, I think we should be very deliberate, take our time. We're going to be moving a jobs package forward over the next several weeks; that's the thing that's most urgent right now in the minds of Americans all across the country. And that will allow everybody to get the real facts, both about the health-care crisis that we face, why it's so important for deficit reduction, why it's so important for families all across the country. It allows us to see are there, in fact, some better ideas out there?[...]

But here's the key, is to not let the moment slip away. ... That's why I think it's very important for us to have a methodical, open process over the next several weeks, and then let's go ahead and make a decision. And it may be that -- you know, if Congress decides -- if Congress decides we're not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the options are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not. And that's how democracy works. There will be elections coming up and they'll be able to make a determination and register their concerns one way or the other during election time.

Some freaked out over this, saying that Obama was admitting the possibility of failure. Others saw a brilliant strategy for moving forward. For now, count me in neither camp.

First, I think it's nuts to trip out over Obama admitting the possibility of failure. In case you haven't noticed, failure is a possibility. A real one.

More important was Obama's insistence on a vote. This is the first time I've heard the president demand an actual vote, and I take that as an enormously positive step. As I've said before, the likeliest death for health-care reform is that it slinks quietly off the front of the agenda. If Democrats have to take a vote, they have to find a way to pass this thing. If they don't have to take a vote, they can let it die without ever admitting they killed it. I'd call this the news in the president's remarks.

I'm predictably concerned by Obama's unhurried attitude, and slightly puzzled at the new process he's hinting at. The president doesn't tend to pop off, so presumably there's something here. The White House wants the public to feel that this finished with an open process, and after the Q&A, they're pretty confident that the president can sit in a room and run circles around the Republican opposition. But though I'm seeing a lot of speculation about what that will look like, I'll refrain from commenting until we hear something concrete.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

By Ezra Klein  |  February 5, 2010; 5:02 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

*****More important was Obama's insistence on a vote. This is the first time I've heard the president demand an actual vote, and I take that as an enormously positive step.*****

Agreed. I've been wondering about this process. What happens, if, say, Pelosi isn't sure she has the votes. Do they still hold a vote anyways? I think they've gotta do it. They need to force people in their own caucus (as well as Republicans) to at least pay SOME price for stiffing the party -- and millions of rank and file Democrats -- by voting to kill the most meaningful extension of social insurance since LBJ's time. And of course, not holding a vote ensures a bill will not make it to Obama's desk.

I just wish the House wouldn't insist on seeing Senate action before they'll vote; I have a queasy feeling in my stomach about pinning all our hopes on finding fifty votes in the upper chamber.

Posted by: Jasper999 | February 5, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to stick with a positive read of the process the president was alluding to yesterday. In light of his performance at the Republican retreat last week (and again in front of Senate Democrats this week), I think the methodology will involve letting the Republicans lay out their "buying insurance across state lines" canards, and then--"so the American can see and compare what makes the most sense" (wow, I hope he's saying they are going to televise this)--he will proceed to explain in no uncertain terms why these ideas are (a) not workable or (b) already in the bill. If my hopes are correct, he wants to get them to lay their cards out on the table so that we can dispense with them and move on to a vote.

I don't think a "few weeks" is a terrible delay at this point. I can see why they want to get the jobs bill off the table first, and then return with all vigor to a health care bill. The remark about the political consequences is a direct shot across the bow at members of his own party who might be hedging a bit at this point.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | February 5, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

When I first heard this, I thought the President was either brilliant or kinda crazy. But now I think it could be brilliant. It lays a trap for Republicans so that if they come to the table, they get creamed by the CBO (the health experts he wants at the table are not going to be only Democratic policy people I don't think) and the facts and the weakness of their positions. And if they don't come to the table they can be called obstructionists and hypocrites and the Dems can go ahead and vote and pass the bills and say they "tried" to be bipartisan. And of course it is all broadcast on C Span after all!

Posted by: LindaB1 | February 5, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act passed in 1988 and was repealed in 1989.

It's not enough to pass the bill. You've got to pass the bill and win the argument. You've got to make it stick. If Obama's game is to also win the argument then he's probably on the right track.

Posted by: chrismealy | February 5, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The president demanded a public option. Unfortunately, his demands carry little meaning.

The most important thing is that he still seems to think some Republicans are going to come around and help out and that's just f'ing stupid.

Posted by: pj_camp | February 5, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Letting the Republicans have input could be good or could be bad. There could be good constructive things to add to the bill, but to do that, you need to accept the premise of the bill and Republicans don't. It's easy to imagine lots of plausible changes that can easily be shot down, but also easy to imagine a flood of plausible changes that would take a long time to sort out. Then, there are lots more Democratic ideas that can be added to the bill. Maybe we should have Medicare buy in at 50. Maybe single payer. Maybe single payer trials.

The forward process needs to get pretty darn focused on a handful of changes that can get passed quickly. It would be very easy to go back to the drawing board.

Posted by: windshouter | February 5, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Your reading of this is exactly what mine was when I heard the webcast live yesterday. If Blanche Lincoln's and Evan Bayh's lily-livered performance at the Democratic Senators Q&A revealed anything, it was that the Democrats are afraid of their own shadows and carping about the dip in public approval for the bill.

Thus, the open debate that Prez. Obama is suggesting is the cover that those Democratic congresscritters need if they seriously would like to vote for the bill but are scared, and/or it is also the President throwing down the gauntlet to both party lawmakers who have to face voters in November. He is betting that he can draw the skeptical and tuned-out public that once supported this bill at 65%, to come back and give this bill a fair hearing if everything is put out in the open. So now, everybody including the GOP have to subject their "ideas" and motives to disinfecting sunlight with cameras rolling, and healthcare experts giving us the facts.

Sure, it is a gamble but that is all we have left to break this impasse and stop the GOP from operating under the radar.

Posted by: zizi1 | February 5, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The only way health care costs can be contained is if the fee-for-service system for doctors and the irresponsible charges by hospitals are contained.
It seems that too many of the medical-hospital professionals feel that they should be able to retire as multi-millionaires at ago 55 or so.
Few sites have discussed that approach which was given a nice hearing on a Bill Moyers program some months ago. The Swiss model also requires that health insurance is not a for profit business.

Posted by: beagun27 | February 5, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, he could be in over his head and just blathering and you might just as well get yourself some tea leaves to help you figure out what's going on.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 5, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Guys, it is over. Who is responsible for breaking this to EK? I can picture someone, backed up by tranquilizer dart experts, coming into his office with a bar chart showing probability of health care passing: 0; probability of health care not passing: 100. The correct interpretation of Obama's remarks is that he thinks he might get a better Congress if it doesn't pass, or at least, that's what the person who wrote the remarks thinks, or wants us to think Obama thinks. In any of those cases: wow.

Posted by: cregan75 | February 5, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

My take is that he wants to:

1. give "the people" what they say they want ... an opportunity to watch this play out.

2. show people a comparison of both parties' plans (and hopefully correct some of the misinformation that's been rampant since August).

3. actually demonstrate (to all) how Congress "could" work effectively.

4. pressure his own party to pass.the.damn.bill. finally.

I think he's gotten the message, that Congress is seriously broken and the jigs up because everyone knows it's broken. I think he gets that it's the first problem that needs to be fixed, otherwise nothing else can be.

Hopefully, I'm not being naieve (again).

Posted by: onewing1 | February 6, 2010 3:21 AM | Report abuse

"if Congress decides we're not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the options are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not. And that's how democracy works. There will be elections coming up and they'll be able to make a determination and register their concerns one way or the other during election time."

I mean this sounds like a pretty hard edged threat to me. I would be interested to see if he's willing to go another step further behind closed doors and actually refuse institutional party aid to Dems who keep dragging their feet.

Posted by: NS12345 | February 6, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"What I'd like to do is have a meeting whereby I'm sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health-care experts, and let's just go through these bills -- their ideas, our ideas -- let's walk through them in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense. "

this looks like a plan out of the president's community organizing career -- bring competing groups around a table for a process of talking and bringing desires and fears to light and negotiating a common solution

he has had unprecendented meetings with house republicans, house and senate democrates and is seeking a meeting with repubiclan senators

he is calm and confident and continues to set high goals for the country, he continues to reach out to the opposing political party

the country is in an economic crisis, the senate is stuck, GOP tactics have frozen legislation and nominiations, legislation cannot move forward

going outside the system to promote dialog and discussion is something the public would probably approve of with great favor

the idea seems niaive and idealistic, impractical, who could or would go outside the political system to bring out change

it is like something out of a movie -- like mr smith goes to washington

"yes, we can", "change we can believe in"

maybe these ideas are more than slogans to the president

maybe they are the reason he holds himself above the battling congressional forces

Posted by: jamesoneill | February 6, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

When you elect a man who has had stuff like Nobel Prizes drop in his lap with no effort on his part his entire life, whose resume reveals a distinct distaste for getting into the trenches and fighting, what else can you expect?

This whole thing was foreshadowed during the campaign when John McCain suspended his campaign and went back to Washington in an admittedly quixotic effort to be a part of the solution. Obama wanted nothing to do with it, and inimated that Congress should just get on with it and do it's thing...even though he was a member of Congress.

It's the Obama style. He's an administrator not a fighter.

The irony that I see is that McCain probably would have delivered HCR by now.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 6, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hillary would have too.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 6, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"When you elect a man who has had stuff like Nobel Prizes drop in his lap with no effort on his part his entire life, whose resume reveals a distinct distaste for getting into the trenches and fighting, what else can you expect?"

Out of curiosity, please name some of the other "stuff like Nobel Prizes" that have dropped in Obama's lap "with no effort on his part his entire life."

"This whole thing was foreshadowed during the campaign when John McCain suspended his campaign and went back to Washington in an admittedly quixotic effort to be a part of the solution. Obama wanted nothing to do with it, and inimated that Congress should just get on with it and do it's thing...even though he was a member of Congress."

Out of curiosity, please specify exactly what John Quixote McCain actually did any differently than Obama while his campaign was "suspended," (other than assuring us that the fundamentals of the economy were strong). The "suspension" announcement (and the effort to wriggle out of the debate) was nothing more than a transparent campaign stunt, as the voters rightly perceived.


"It's the Obama style. He's an administrator not a fighter."

If there is a valid criticism to be made of Obama's role in HCR, it is that it he has been insufficiently connected to the nuts and bolts of guiding the bill through the Congress, and too content to play the role of "fighter" in public speeches and campaign-style forums rather than playing the executive role of "administrator" in working directly with Congressional leadership, personally brokering the process to final passage.

"The irony that I see is that McCain probably would have delivered HCR by now."

You have a truly maveric-y imagination.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 6, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Out of curiosity, please name some of the other "stuff like Nobel Prizes" that have dropped in Obama's lap "with no effort on his part his entire life."

In addition to the Nobel Prize, you mean?

Hmm. Let's see. Went from indifferent student at a very exclusive high school through Occidental College to Columbia where he graduated with no significant honors but still managed to gain admission to Harvard law. Whereupon he was elected President of Harvard Law review, but good luck finding his name on any published article.

A low level community organizer for a few years. A low level drone at Sidley Austin (making partner requires LOTS of effort). Lectured for bit, not tenure track, though. Wrote two books about himself. Researched and wrote for a civil rights law firm but had no first chair responsibility for any cases of note. Illinois state politician to Senate. (he IS very good at getting elected to stuff, I'll concede that) Made a good speech. Everybody swooned, Oprah included. Became President.


Posted by: bgmma50 | February 6, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"Out of curiosity, please specify exactly what John Quixote McCain actually did any differently than Obama while his campaign was "suspended,"

He fought for something.


"If there is a valid criticism to be made of Obama's role in HCR, it is that it he has been insufficiently connected to the nuts and bolts of guiding the bill through the Congress,"

That's what I'm trying to tell you. He's never going to be connected to the nuts and bolts. He's not made that way. He's going to let the institutions and the processes play out the way they're going to play out and he's not going to the mat to get what he wants or what you want.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 6, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"That's what I'm trying to tell you. He's never going to be connected to the nuts and bolts. He's not made that way."

Actually, he is "made that way." Take the comprehensive policy review that preceded his decision to escalate in Afghanistan, which your team derided as dithering. If you actually knew anything about the man, you'd know that he impresses everyone he enccounters with his constant engagement and his desire to be in command of the "nuts and bolts" of policy.

The difference with HCR is that Obama has a little too much respect for the separation of powers (might have something to do with the fact that he taught constitutional law), and too much desire for bi-partisanship. I will agree with you that he is reluctant to just "jam it through" using the same kind of White House muscle that Karl Rove used to get an unfunded Medicare Part D expansion. I personally wish he would "jam it through" but THAT is not how he is made, he presses forward trying to resuurect bipartisanship and civility in government, just as he promised he would.

"He fought for something."

Really? That's the best you can do for specifics? Fighter McCain did precisely nothing in particular when his campaign was "suspended," other than to vote exactly the same way that Obabma did on the Paulson bank bailout.

"Made a good speech. Everybody swooned, Oprah included. Became President."

Right, he was put in charge of the Harvard Law Review because of affirmative action. He clearly is not an intelligent high achiever. Those two books weren't very good. Clearly a guy like George W. Bush earned his Ivy League academic credentials every step of the way, and Bush owes his meteoric rise in politics to his superior intellect and hard work. Poor George had none of the social advantages of a young black man raised by a single working class parent like Obama. Thde Senate is just loaded with lazy black people.

When a white Republican rises swiftly up the ranks, it is a Horatio Alger story, American meritocracy at its very best (witness the speculation that the junior Senator from Massachusetts might be presidential material, not to mention the right wing "swoon" for Caribou Barbie from Wasilla, ya betcha). But if a black Democrat becomes President, the narrative is that it must have happened with "with no effort on his part his entire life."

I think there is an adjective for this sort of narrative...hmm..what is it again?

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 6, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"you'd know that he impresses everyone he enccounters with his constant engagement and his desire to be in command of the "nuts and bolts" of policy."

I'm not talking about nuts and bolts of policy. People who master that are known as wonks. I'm talking about getting in the trenches and fighting.

"Really? That's the best you can do for specifics?"

Considering the fact that my topic is why all of you Obama supporters are wringing your hands over why he's behaving the way he is, yes. You want to know what to expect from him? Look at what he's done in the past and how he's done it. That's the point.

"Right, he was put in charge of the Harvard Law Review because of affirmative action. He clearly is not an intelligent high achiever yada yada yada"

I figured you'd pull the race card on this one, and you didn't disappoint me! I think he's highly intelligent. He probably had very high test scores and mediocre grades. If you can't work out what that means, a few more years of observing his performance will probably clarify it for you.


"Bush yada yada yada'

I got past Bill Clinton ages ago. One of these days you and Obama will have to do the same about Bush.

"American meritocracy at its very best (witness the speculation that the junior Senator from Massachusetts might be presidential material"

If Scott Brown is considered Presidential material, those of you who supported Obama have only yourselves to blame.

"not to mention the right wing "swoon" for Caribou Barbie from Wasilla, ya betcha?

She was a Vice Presidential candidate. I have a short answer to you for that. John "Sex Tape" Edwards. LOOOOOOL.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 6, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

"He probably had very high test scores and mediocre grades."

Your use of the word "probably" is at least an honest admission that you don't bring any facts to support the contention that all of Obama's personal achievements happened "with no effort on his part his entire life." So thanks for clearing that up, even while you dodged every point that I had made.

If you think Harvard Law accepts and graduates any student with "mediocre" grades, let alone invites that student to edit the Harvard Law Review, you owe it to yourself to learn a little more about the Harvard Law School before you speak of things that you do not understand.

Yeah, the non-vetted and woefully unqualified Caribou Barbie was running for VP, and our Constitution places that position only a heartbeat away from the President, so the person who runs for VP needs to be qualified for the office of President, don't you think? You betcha!

These days, having quit her job as Governor of Alaska (to forever lock in her lack of governmental experience, expertise and accomplishments), tea baggy Republicans nationwide want her to become our next President, with no more qualifications that she had in '08. The fact that some Republicans also wanted Scott "The Centerfold with available daughters" Brown to run for President ~even before he took his oath as a Senator~ can only be blamed upon the Republicans who want that to happen, not upon Obama (nice try, though). The Republican Cult of Personality that surrounds these political nobodies is a mighty testament to the complete lack of credible leadership within the Republican Party in 2010.

I am glad you are over Clinton, 9 years after he left office with a fat budget surplus and a vibrant peacetime economy. If Bush had not left us with two wars and the biggest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, I'd be able to get over him a lot faster. Unfortunately whenever I look at the balance in my retirement accounts, I receive a gratuitous reminder of the Bush legacy.

But the reason I brought up W at all was simply to compare your impression of how Obama's personal success has somehow magically come to him "with no effort on his part his entire life," and to draw a comparison between Obama's life and the life story of his predecessor, about whom I doubt you have ever made a similar argument (and about whom that case would be far successfully presented). But I am sure there is nothing that is partisan (or racial) in your Obama narrative.

"I'm talking about getting in the trenches and fighting."

Yeah, still waiting to hear about the details of that inspirational "fighting" you say John Quixote McCain did in connection with the economic meltdown while he "suspended" his campaign.

And, as I said before, I do hope that Obama will in fact play more "hardball" getting his agenda through Congress in 2010. But I am sure that if and when he does, you'll criticize that too.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 6, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"Your use of the word "probably" is at least an honest admission that you don't bring any facts to support the contention that all of Obama's personal achievements happened "with no effort on his part his entire life." So thanks for clearing that up, even while you dodged every point that I had made."

Ummm. What part of he graduated with no honors from Columbia do you not understand? I dodged not a single one of your points.

"If you think Harvard Law accepts and graduates any student with "mediocre" grades,"

Sure they do. Especially if they have high test scores.


"Yeah, the non-vetted and woefully unqualified Caribou Barbie was running for VP, and our Constitution places that position only a heartbeat away from the President, so the person who runs for VP needs to be qualified for the office of President, don't you think? You betcha! "

John "Sex Tape" Edwards. :)

"and to draw a comparison between Obama's life and the life story of his predecessor, about whom I doubt you have ever made a similar argument (and about whom that case would be far successfully presented)."

I was a McCain supporter in 2000.

"Yeah, still waiting to hear about the details of that inspirational "fighting" you say John Quixote McCain did in connection with the economic meltdown while he "suspended" his campaign"

Did I say inspirational, or are you setting up a straw man there? But hey, if you want to continue hoping that Obama's going to fight for the House or Senate bill because, well, you just hope he does, be my guest.


Posted by: bgmma50 | February 7, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"But I am sure that if and when he does, you'll criticize that too."

If that happens, I'll critcize his agenda, but commend his fighting spirit.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 7, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

"Ummm. What part of he graduated with no honors from Columbia do you not understand?"

So no effort is required to graduate from Columbia, except if they also bestow honors with the degree? Most working class single parents would be justifiably proud of the effort required to complete the steps from Occidental to Columbia to Harvard Law.

"Sure they [the Harvard Law School] do [accept and graduate students with mediocre grades]. Especially if they have high test scores."

The Law School currently advises prospective applicants that the low end of GPA for students accepted in 2006 was 3.72. In that year 6,810 students competed for 558 positions. One does not gain admission to (or graduate from) the Harvard Law School with nothing more than a good LSAT score. It takes effort and talent to get in, and it takes effort and talent to successfully complete the courses.

"John "Sex Tape" Edwards. :)"

Yeah, Edwards displayed no character in 2008, and I am delighted that his political career is toast. But we are discussing qualifications, not character, and when Edwards was on the ticket in 2004 (long before the infidelity and deceit you are gloating about), he was far more qualified (and far more knowledgable) for the office of POTUS than the winking Wasilla hillbilly chosen by Mr. McCain to take the office in the event of his untimely demise.

"I was a McCain supporter in 2000."

Cool for you. But so what? Fighter John was not the Republican nominee in 2000, Rove crushed him under a mountain of slime early on, and I am willing to bet you voted for Bush in both 2000 and 2004.

"Did I say inspirational, or are you setting up a straw man there?"

You brought up McCain's "suspension" of his campaign and the supposed (but still unspecified) "fight" that exemplifies to you a concrete example of something you find lacking in Obama's leadership. If you found the campaign suspension to be NOT inspiring, I certainly agree. But I am still waiting to hear exactly what transpired during that Über-weird episode in McCain's constantly weird campaign that showed any discernible (albeit uninspirational) "fight" in connection with the Wall Street bailout for which he and Obama voted.

"If that happens, I'll critcize his agenda, but commend his fighting spirit."

That's mighty nice of you! And if the congressional Republicans ever stop voting as a mindless bloc against Obama's major legislation like a flock of sheep, I will likewise commend the return of some intellectual diversity and integrity within the Republican party (Country First!).

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 2:47 AM | Report abuse

"So no effort is required to graduate from Columbia, except if they also bestow honors with the degree?"

For an exceptionally intelligent person with a political science major, yes. Very little effort.

"The Law School currently advises prospective applicants that the low end of GPA for students accepted in 2006 was 3.72"

Are you suggesting that they never make exceptions? A 3.72 at Columbia would have earned the notation of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude on the graduation program.

"But we are discussing qualifications, not character, and when Edwards was on the ticket in 2004 (long before the infidelity and deceit you are gloating about), he was far more qualified (and far more knowledgable) for the office of POTUS than the winking Wasilla hillbilly chosen by Mr. McCain to take the office in the event of his untimely demise."

Really? I thought Edwards was pretty much of winking hillbilly back in 2004. And if you consider him to be qualified for the office of POTUS, then you might reconsider the position you have taken vis a vis Scott Brown's future candidacy.

"Fighter John was not the Republican nominee in 2000, Rove crushed him under a mountain of slime early on, and I am willing to bet you voted for Bush in both 2000 and 2004."

I voted for Bush in 2000 with serious reservations about his qualifications. By 2004, he had qualifications.

"But I am still waiting to hear exactly what transpired during that Über-weird episode in McCain's constantly weird campaign that showed any discernible (albeit uninspirational) "fight" in connection with the Wall Street bailout for which he and Obama voted."

For one thing, he maneuvered Obama out of his characteristic "not present" mode.
Ezra's post is all about hand wringing over what Obama is going to do about passing the Democrat's bills. I suggest that past is prologue, and if you want to know what to expect from Obama, look at what he's done in the past.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 7, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This post doesn't make sense.

Posted by: titetanm | February 7, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M, on Ozzie and Harriet
Well, you're being fast and loose with the liberal premises. I don't equate the *lifestyle* of Ozzie and Harriet with actual poverty. But the *living standard* of Ozzie an Harriet would fall below today's poverty line, in the sense that most Americans considered impoverished today are living better than Ozzie and Harriet did.

Imagine a modern-day family living in a sub-2000 square foot home without air conditioning. The home is built far below today's building code, including materials like asbestos shingles, flammable textiles and lead-based paints. The fusebox has real fuses in it, and the furnace would be considered dangerous today. There are perhaps two telephones in the entire house, connected by wires.

Instead of a dryer there is a clothesline in the back yard. There's a single black and white TV in the living room, which takes a minute to warm up when turned on. Watching TV is work itself -- there's no remote control, and every now and then Dad has to take the back off the set himself, and then he takes a handful of vacuum tubes down to a local store to see which one has failed.

There's no microwave in the kitchen, and the icebox uses environmentally-hazardous refrigerants. The dishwasher is the nearest kid over ten years old. The family eats a lot of canned food. The kids all have mercury-based fillings in their mouths, paid for in cash. Nobody has contact lenses, and a simple pair of eyeglasses for one child costs more than a day's wages. Their ADHD goes undiagnosed.

The family car is a smog-generating deathtrap that gets 11 miles per gallon. There are no seatbelts or airbags, no emissions computer or catalytic converter. The dashboard is made of steel. There's an AM radio, manual steering, brakes and windshield. Nobody in the family's ever been in a car with power windows. Twice a year the car either refuses to start, or perhaps it breaks down in traffic. But then, it only came from the factory with a 90-day warranty, so how reliable does it really have to be?

Posted by: titetanm | February 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

There's medical insurance, but it doesn't cover checkups or simple doctor visits -- it's for hospitalization and catastrophic illness. Despite this insurance, if someone in the family gets cancer or a serious disease they're still much more likely to die, since they have no access to any new procedures and knowledge developed in the last 40 years. The family's life expectancy is lower, and their infant mortality is higher.

The kids do not wear a helmet when they ride a 35-pound steel bicycle without reflectors or gearing. Instead of Nikes, they wear canvas tennis shoes that are not as good as the ones you can get today for $5 at WalMart. The family cannot always afford new shoes, and often has them re-soled. Younger kids wear their older siblings' hand-me-downs almost exclusively.

The kids do not have calculators, computers or internet access. The family borrow all their reading materials from libraries. Life itself takes longer because there's no faxing or overnight delivery. The family has traveled by train, but most of them have never been in an airplane. They have one camera. Shooting pictures is expensive, and it takes days for them to get film developed. But what's the rush? Nobody in this family has access to Facebook.

Now, I need to ask whether this family is living in poverty today, or if you think a single breadwinner couldn't provide that standard of living. Because that's how everyone lived when we were more "prosperous," back in Ozzie and Harriet's time.

And you think "a poor family today would (without the slightest hesitation) trade their standard of living" for that? How many "poor" American families do you know -- today -- that don't already live better than that?

You confuse equality with prosperity. You don't want people to be more prosperous -- you want them impoverished.

Like most liberals, you are completely incapable of recognizing real wealth. To you, poverty is not a material condition of unmet needs, but rather a political condition of simply not having as much as everyone else. Is it any surprise how you must appear to any rational, economically-aware person?

Posted by: titetanm | February 7, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Ezra:

Could you please find some fresh trolls that can figure out how to post in the correct thread?

You really need smarter trolls.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, Patrick, can't you just knock it out of the park without asking for help?

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | February 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

bgmma50,

"I voted for Bush in 2000 with serious reservations about his qualifications. By 2004, he had qualifications."

By 2004, Bush had proven beyond all doubt how correct your reservations had been in 2000.

"For one thing, he [McCain] maneuvered Obama out of his characteristic "not present" mode [by "suspending" his campaign]."

Really? For one thing, you might want to have a look at Paulson's Meet The Press appearance this morning, in which he talked about which Presidential candidate was the more engaged in the days after the bailout request. Obama was the grown-up and McCain was all over the map and became a source of deep concern.

"Are you suggesting that they never make exceptions? A 3.72 at Columbia would have earned the notation of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude on the graduation program."

I have no idea what the criteria might be at Columbia for honors, especially in the case of a transfer student like Obama. I don't think you know that information either.

I am suggesting that 3.72 is Harvard Law's published low end of what is possible with the very highest LSAT score. That is not my invention, it is the admissions criteria from the school itself.

You cling to the position (although you have already admitted that you do not know his undergraduate GPA) that the Harvard Law School waived its criteria and made an "exception" to admit a student who had demonstrated "very little effort" as an undergraduate (I see "no effort ... his entire life" has evolved to "very little effort"), and despite no (or very little) effort after his unworthy admission to the Harvard Law School, he was made editor of the Harvard Law Review and was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from the most prestigious law school in the world.

Why do you believe all of this happened to a man who made "no [or is it now very little?] effort on his part his entire life?" What accounts for this confounding unbroken string of unearned achievements?

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"By 2004, Bush had proven beyond all doubt how correct your reservations had been in 2000."

As compared to his opponent, John Kerry, who, by the way had a lower GPA at Yale than Bush did. Both of them having been willing to release that information.

"Really? For one thing, you might want to have a look at Paulson's Meet The Press appearance this morning, in which he talked about which Presidential candidate was the more engaged in the days after the bailout request. Obama was the grown-up and McCain was all over the map and became a source of deep concern."

And why should I take Paulson's opinion as fact?


"I have no idea what the criteria might be at Columbia for honors, especially in the case of a transfer student like Obama. I don't think you know that information either."

Google is your friend.

"What accounts for this confounding unbroken string of unearned achievements?"

I would suggest that you direct that question to the Nobel Committee.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 7, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Honestly, Patrick, can't you just knock it out of the park without asking for help?"

With ease.

titetanm (like you) believes that a family in poverty today is economically better off than a typical middle class family in the 1950's or 1960's (ozzie and Harriet). He bases this tin foil hat argument on technological progress such as the advent of the internet and solid state technology's replacement of vacuum tubes.

His focus ignores household buying power, relative ratios of median incomes to housing costs, transportation, utilities, education, as well as average savings, debt, prospects for income security and advancement, and other factors that determine a family's financial security, and which define the meaning of a middle class existence. He thereby avoids what every rational economist accepts (that the middle class has been shrinking in the past several decades). He (like you) does not address any of the relevant criteria because those are the relevant criteria and that is where the argument falls apart.

Instead we are told that poor of today are more affluent than the middle class of the past because kids wear bike helmets now (which I guess means he supports the nanny state).

He apparently believes that a family below the poverty line today typically owns their own 2000 square foot home with central air conditioning, and that they are accessing their Facebook accounts on a broadband connection, as their clothes tumble in their very own electric dryer, and they watch their big HD flat screen. Which only proves that he (like you) does not have the first clue about the circumstances of poverty.

Lastly, if we apply his standards of measure, not only is a modern impoverished family better off than a middle class family in the 1960's, but in fact the poor family is living better than EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING that ever lived in the past. Andrew Carnegie never had an mp3 player or a modern set of cheap tennis shoes (manufactured in an Asian sweat shop), so he was evidently not as well off as a teenager subsisting on food stamps who does have those things. It is absurd.

Again, this blog really needs some smarter trolls.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"And why should I take Paulson's opinion as fact?"

Uh, well, perhaps because he was the person who was at the very center of events at the time, and so he was in direct contact with both candidates about the crisis and the proposed solution. Evidently you know better what was said and done during those days, and you find McCain's behavior to have been the better model, although you still refuse to say what he actually did during that time that is so admirable.

"I would suggest that you direct that question to the Nobel Committee."

I really don't think that the Nobel Committee (or Google) can answer a question for me about you believe, so I don't know why you would make that suggestion.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

bgmma50,

Took your advice and consulted you pal Google. Found this on Columbia's website:

"As there are always more students eligible by GPA than there are allowable [Latin Honors for degrees]..."

This deflates what little air was contained in your argument that Obama's GPA at Columbia necessarily was "mediocre" because he did not graduate cum laude.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Did you also read the part where 35% of the students receive honors?

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 7, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Uh, well, perhaps because he was the person who was at the very center of events at the time, and so he was in direct contact with both candidates about the crisis and the proposed solution. Evidently you know better what was said and done during those days, and you find McCain's behavior to have been the better model, although you still refuse to say what he actually did during that time that is so admirable."

I actually didn't realize that you were referring to Hank Paulson. However, I would take two things here with a grain of salt. The first being your characterization of what he said, and the second being anything he said. He is coming under a considerable amount of fire for his questionable actions during that time, and I clearly remember that his original one page request for bailout funds included immunity. He was hand in glove during that time with Turbo Tax Timmy, whose actions as head of the New York Fed resulted in Paulson's former employer, Goldman Sachs, receiving an unconscionable sum of 100% of CDOs that weren't worth anywhere near that much. And GS has not paid any of that back.

As to whether or not McCain's behavior or Obama's was the better model, if you will carefully reread my remarks, I never made such a value judgement. I simply observed that if what you folks wanted was a fighter, you should have picked one. You didn't.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 7, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Did you also read the part where 35% of the students receive honors?"

No, but I did read that at Columbia:

"the number of people receiving honors varies each year. No more than 25 percent of CC students receive honors; this compares with higher cutoffs elsewhere in the Ivy League, e.g. Yale (30 percent) and Harvard (50 percent). Basically, Latin honors at Harvard are meaningless."

In any event, the percentage of students does not matter, because (as already established), the salient fact is that there are many more Columbia students with a qualifying GPA than will receive Latin Honors at graduation, so given that simple fact you are left with exactly nothing to support your original contention that Obama earned mediocre grades at Columbia.

"I actually didn't realize that you were referring to Hank Paulson. However, I would take two things here with a grain of salt. The first being your characterization of what he said, and the second being anything he said. He is coming under a considerable amount of fire for his questionable actions during that time, and I clearly remember that his original one page request for bailout funds included immunity. He was hand in glove during that time with Turbo Tax Timmy, whose actions as head of the New York Fed resulted in Paulson's former employer, Goldman Sachs, receiving an unconscionable sum of 100% of CDOs that weren't worth anywhere near that much. And GS has not paid any of that back."

You do love to steer away from the question. I am not a fan of Hank Paulson, Goldman Sachs, or "Turbo Tax Timmy." Take anything you want with a grain of salt, but Paulson's recollections of McCain's behavior (relative to Obama's) shed light on what Obama and McCain actually did during the "suspension" of the McCain campaign, and if that manic meaningless "mavericky" McCain political stunt somehow proves to you that McCain was the superior "fighter," the same episode makes me just as glad America picked the other guys over McCain and Caribou Barbie.

The central question that I posed to you remains unanswered. You say that all of Obama's success has come with "no effort on his part his entire life." I have asked you what you think can possibly account for this confounding unbroken string of unearned achievements by such a lazy fellow?

The Super Bowl will now be my exit from this tedious discussion. Enjoy the last word, it's all yours.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Patrick, the problem is that the absolute wealth of even poor people today is better than that of the middle class a few decades ago.

Remember, your original argument is that equality is somehow associated with prosperity, and yet nobody is materially worse off due to inequality. We are simply unequally richer.

The point is that you are not seeking policy that serves the welfare of the poor as much as it creates the perception that it serves their welfare. This is definitely Robert Frank territory, where we want to make people happy by keeping them unaware that they could be happier.

It's why liberals tell people the economy's worse under Republicans, even though I suspect George W. Bush's 6.5% unemployment would be much more popular today than it was a couple of years ago.

It's also why liberal rationing of healthcare relies on creating the illusion of treatment rather than actually providing it.

When you soak the rich to improve "equality," everyone ends up being poorer, even if equally so. So even though the *dollars* come from rich people, the cost of equality is borne by everyone who lives poorer as a result. Indeed, liberalism *relies* on people not understanding this.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | February 7, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"the absolute wealth of even poor people today is better than that of the middle class a few decades ago...nobody is materially worse off due to inequality. We are simply unequally richer."

Yes, now I understand.

Nobody is cold. We are simply unequally warm.

Nobody is hungry. We are simply unequally full.

Nobody is dead. We are simply unequally alive.

Thanks for the education.

And now (Back on Planet Earth):

Congratulations New Orleans!!!

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Planet Earth to Patrick:
Everyone *is* warmer and better fed than in Ozzie and Harriet's time, and everyone lives longer too.

Current recession aside, your vision of a soup-line America is simply incorrect.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | February 8, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and another thing -- the point of the health insurance "mandate" is recognize that many people who do lack insurance do so as a matter of *choice*. Their choice, not yours.

Prosperity -- not equality -- has afforded them with other options to spend their money on instead of health insurance.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | February 8, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"Take anything you want with a grain of salt, but Paulson's recollections of McCain's behavior (relative to Obama's)"

Hee hee. If my guy had been instrumental in helping Hank Paulson get TARP passed, I would not be crowing about it.

If you would like to confirm that Harvard admits students with less than stellar GPAs, you can go to lawschoolnumbers.com. Click on "schools" and select Harvard. Sort by GPA. Browse through past years admitted students.


"The central question that I posed to you remains unanswered. You say that all of Obama's success has come with "no effort on his part his entire life." I have asked you what you think can possibly account for this confounding unbroken string of unearned achievements by such a lazy fellow?"

This is why I would take your characterization of Paulson's discussion with a big grain of salt. I never said Obama was lazy, that is your mischaracterization of what I said, which was "When you elect a man who has had stuff like Nobel Prizes drop in his lap with no effort on his part his entire life, whose resume reveals a distinct distaste for getting into the trenches and fighting, what else can you expect?"

As to why Nobel Prizes and stuff drop in his lap, as I said, you'd have to ask the Nobel Committee because it's a puzzlement to me.


Posted by: bgmma50 | February 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

John Galt (the sadly redundant pre-programmed Ayn Rand-roid) spoke -- Patrick_M Shrugged.

"If my guy had been instrumental in helping Hank Paulson get TARP passed, I would not be crowing about it."

Your "guy" (Johnny "Walnuts" McCain) voted exactly the same way on TARP that my guy voted. They were equally "instrumental" in the approval of the TARP. McCain just behaved more hysterically at the time. Stay proud.

"I never said Obama was lazy"

OK...a person who you believe makes "no effort on his part his entire life" is not a lazy person. Got it.

"...because it's a puzzlement to me. "

Yes. That puzzlement you have about your theory might suggest a serious flaw in your premise...just a thought.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 8, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"I never said Obama was lazy"

OK...a person who you believe makes "no effort on his part his entire life" is not a lazy person. Got it.

Saying that someone has received unearned honors like the Nobel Prize is not saying that the person is lazy. Just that the efforts, or lack thereof, put forth by the person are not commensurate with what has been showered on them. If that is an indictment of anybody, it's an indictment of the Nobel Committee and voters like you who perceive something magical about Obama while hooting at the future candidacy of Scott Brown who will have at least as weighty a resume at the time he runs as Obama did when he was handed the Presidency on a silver platter.

"...because it's a puzzlement to me. "

Yes. That puzzlement you have about your theory might suggest a serious flaw in your premise...just a thought."

Oh really? Then perhaps you can explain it to me. What did Obama do to earn the Nobel Peace Prize?

"Your "guy" (Johnny "Walnuts" McCain) voted exactly the same way on TARP that my guy voted. They were equally "instrumental" in the approval of the TARP. McCain just behaved more hysterically at the time. Stay proud."

Did you not say that Paulson said that Obama was more engaged in the process? McCain shouldn't have voted for that bill, but if he was not engaged in the process, I'm very glad to hear it.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 8, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's my last waltz with this dead horse argument...


"...voters like you who perceive something magical about Obama..."

Ah yes...the Republican's favorite song: "Barack the Magic Negro." Sorry, but I didn't vote for him because I thought there was anything magical about him.

"...while hooting at the future candidacy of Scott Brown who will have at least as weighty a resume at the time he runs as Obama did when he was handed the Presidency on a silver platter."

Scott Brown (who only one month ago was a trivia question) WILL run for President? This you know? And before then he will have become editor of the Havard Law Review, written a best-selling autobiography and a best-selling public policy book, etc.? Ok then, Nostradamus.

And the silver platter? That was an election by the American people following a very long and grueling campaign in which Obama (who you say is not a fighter) overcame the "inevitable" nominee Democratic Hillary Clinton in one of the most closely fought nomination contests in years, and the went to run a far more effective general election campaign than your nominee. The constantly erratic McCain's selection of Palin was by itself reason enough to vote against him.

Evidently to you, when the voters elect a Republican with the intellect and accomplishments of George W. Bush, it is an "earned" election victory, but when the voters elect Barack Obama, it is only explainable by magic.

If you want to see "silver platter," read the SCOTUS decision in Bush v. Gore.

(to be continued)

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 8, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Oh really? Then perhaps you can explain it to me. What did Obama do to earn the Nobel Peace Prize?"

The return of the straw man. Obama himself conceded that he had not "earned" the prize.

What we have been debating since my first response to you is your stated contention that there is any additional "STUFF LIKE" the Nobel Prize that Obama did not earn, which in your mind apparently includes his Harvard law degree and the Presidency of the United States. All of which you say is a puzzlement that must be explained by magical powers.

"Did you not say that Paulson said that Obama was more engaged in the process? McCain shouldn't have voted for that bill, but if he was not engaged in the process, I'm very glad to hear it."

Yes, "engaged" means that Obama requested briefings, absorbed complex information, asked thoughtful, intelligent and challenging questions before forming conclusions, and did not try to politicize a national crisis. I am sorry if that's not your idea of the right way to operate when our economy is on the brink of collapse. As repugnant as the necessity of the TARP was, both of our candidates voted the same way and the right way in the end for the good of the broader economy. Obama displayed the greater dignity and leadership leading up to the vote.

Lastly, I suspect that you and I may revisit the question of Obama's "fighting" abilities, after the health care legislative summit announced yesterday. Especially in comparison to Fighter McCain's shrug of the shoulders when the Supreme Court gutted his signature campaign finace reform issue, and all he could say about unlimited corporate spending in future elections was that the decision was "disappointing."

However, there is absolutely no question in my mind that if HCR passes in 2010, to you any landmark legislative achievement is bound to also be a "puzzlement" explainable only by "magic" rather than Presidential efforts.

Bye for now.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Ah yes...the Republican's favorite song: "Barack the Magic Negro."

I have no idea what you're blathering about.

"Scott Brown (who only one month ago was a trivia question) WILL run for President? This you know?"

Um, just working with example you provided "(witness the speculation that the junior Senator from Massachusetts might be presidential material,"

"Yes, "engaged" means that Obama requested briefings, absorbed complex information, asked thoughtful, intelligent and challenging questions before forming conclusions, and did not try to politicize a national crisis"

Is that what Paulson said, or is that your characterization of what Paulson said?


What we have been debating since my first response to you is your stated contention that there is any additional "STUFF LIKE" the Nobel Prize that Obama did not earn, which in your mind apparently includes his Harvard law degree and the Presidency of the United States. All of which you say is a puzzlement that must be explained by magical powers.

And I answered you the first time you asked the question as follows:

In addition to the Nobel Prize, you mean?

Hmm. Let's see. Went from indifferent student at a very exclusive high school through Occidental College to Columbia where he graduated with no significant honors but still managed to gain admission to Harvard law. Whereupon he was elected President of Harvard Law review, but good luck finding his name on any published article.

A low level community organizer for a few years. A low level drone at Sidley Austin (making partner requires LOTS of effort). Lectured for bit, not tenure track, though. Wrote two books about himself. Researched and wrote for a civil rights law firm but had no first chair responsibility for any cases of note. Illinois state politician to Senate. (he IS very good at getting elected to stuff, I'll concede that) Made a good speech. Everybody swooned, Oprah included. Became President.

Just remember, if Scott Brown or Sarah Palin become President, that a successful campaign for President qualifies one to be President. For that matter, it should have qualified Bush as well.

"Lastly, I suspect that you and I may revisit the question of Obama's "fighting" abilities, after the health care legislative summit announced yesterday."

If you define "fighting abilities" as requesting briefings, absorbing complex information, asking thoughtful, intelligent and challenging questions before forming conclusions, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. If you defing "fighting abilities" as delivering the House or Senate bill, don't hold your breath.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 9, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

You are running in wild circles about the qualifications thing. Obama made no effort for the things that have befallen him, but all of your examples (Palin, Bush, Scott Brown) somehow got to the top with more effort in their lives, or the same non-effort as Obama ... what is that are you arguing now?

"I have no idea what you're blathering about."

Of course not. In the unlikely event you have no idea what I am "blathering" about, then please look up the reference ("Google is your friend") and (if "no idea") ~what a coincidence!~ ... I too will then believe in magic!

"If you define "fighting abilities" as requesting briefings, absorbing complex information, asking thoughtful, intelligent and challenging questions before forming conclusions, I'm sure you won't be disappointed."

No, I define all of that as quality (executive-style) decision making.

Both candidates were US Senators who simply had to ~make a decision~ about supporting the TARP bill, or not supporting it. You have yet to tell me what the "fighting" was that you say that McCain did during the purported "suspension" of his campaign, prior to casting his vote in exactly the same way as Obama.

"If you defing (sic) "fighting abilities" as delivering the House or Senate bill, don't hold your breath."

I would not suggest that anyone hold their breath for the next two weeks (especially since doing that would lead to the provision of medical care for something eentirely preventable). However, since you think Obama has magical powers, if I were you I would definitely not bet too heavily on the premature demise of HCR just yet.

Here's a clue to the "magic." Obama is a highly intelligent politician who understands the value of patience and who posesses a keen ability to recognize the moment of highest opportunity.

Sometimes in politics (and in life) the "fight" is won by the more intelligent and patient chess players, and not the punch drunk hyperbolic propagandists.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 9, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Really? No idea at all? Never heard a thing about this controversy?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_the_Magic_Negro

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 9, 2010 2:17 AM | Report abuse

"You are running in wild circles about the qualifications thing. Obama made no effort for the things that have befallen him, but all of your examples (Palin, Bush, Scott Brown) somehow got to the top with more effort in their lives, or the same non-effort as Obama ... what is that are you arguing now?"

I'm not running in circles. You are. You brought up Obama's campaign as proof of Obama's qualifications. That is a perfect example of circular reasoning, which I demonstrated to you pointing out that by that standard, a victory by any of them would be proof of their qualifications. A proposition with hich I had no doubt you would disagree.

Ok, I googled the lyrics to Barack the Magic Negro. It's funny.

"However, since you think Obama has magical powers, if I were you I would definitely not bet too heavily on the premature demise of HCR just yet. "

And here you accuse me of making stuff up.

"Sometimes in politics (and in life) the "fight" is won by the more intelligent and patient chess players, and not the punch drunk hyperbolic propagandists."

Anybody ever tell you that you have a real gift for platitudes? Perhaps you should email your sentiments to Ezra, whose remark "I'm predictably concerned by Obama's unhurried attitude, and slightly puzzled at the new process he's hinting at"
prompted me to suggest that Obama is not a fighter. And while Obama may be the "ighly intelligent politician who understands the value of patience and who posesses a keen ability to recognize the moment of highest opportunity" that you hope, it does not make him the guy who will go to the mat to fight for the current legislation.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 9, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, I feel no need whatsoever to defend John McCain's record as a fighter to you. It speaks for itself.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 9, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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