Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 11/26/2010

Michael Gerson protests too much

By Greg Sargent

Former Bushie Michael Gerson has a column up today ridiculing the notion -- pushed by some liberal commentators -- that Republicans have prioritized the destruction of President Obama above all else. He claims the argument that Republicans are out to "sabotage" the economy in advance of 2012 is proof that liberals are paranoid and delusional.

Steve Benen, one of Gerson's targets, defends himself here. And I hope Gerson will answer the question I've laid out for him below.

First, let's stipulate that it's largely fruitless to charge that Republicans are planning to actively sabotage the economy. You can't prove such a thing, and I doubt that this argument would be politically effective. The public won't buy it, and in any case, people just want the economy to turn around and will tune this kind of thing out as Beltway white noise.

However, there is one aspect of Gerson's argument that can be directly challenged with an existing body of facts and empirical evidence. I'm talking about his mockery of the idea that some Republicans calculated early on that denying Obama successes was paramount in order for them to mount a political comeback:

It is difficult to overstate how offensive elected Republicans find the sabotage accusation, which Obama himself has come very close to making. During the run-up to the midterm election, the president said at a town hall meeting in Racine, Wis.: "Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win." Some Republican leaders naturally took this as an attack on their motives. Was the president really contending that Republican representatives want their constituents to be unemployed in order to gain a political benefit for themselves?

Note the clever sleight of hand here: In the quote provided by Gerson, Obama doesn't actually say that GOP representatives "want their constituents to be unemployed," as Gerson paraphrases. Rather, Obama simply says that GOP leaders calculated that they needed to deny Obama successes for their own political purposes.

And guess what: Some Republicans have actually admitted on the record that this was indeed the case. Here, for instance, is Mitch McConnell, in March of 2010, stating outright that Republicans calculated that they had to deny Obama bipartisan support on health reform at all costs -- the specifics of the legislation be damned -- specifically because the public would perceive it as a victory for Obama and Dems and would be more likely to support his initiative:

"It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out," Mr. McConnell said about the health legislation in an interview, suggesting that even minimal Republican support could sway the public. "It's either bipartisan or it isn't."

More famously, Jim DeMint said outright that defeating health reform was crucial if Republicans were to succeed in destroying Obama:

"If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him. And we will show that we can, along with the American people, begin to push those freedom solutions that work in every area of our society."

More recently, of course, McConnell flatly stated that his primary goal is to ensure Obama is a "one term president," and even subsequently doubled down on that assertion.

By the way: I don't particularly care if the paramount goal of some Republicans is the destruction of Obama's presidency. They are the opposition party. Taking them at their word that they view Obama's ideology and general governing agenda as overwhelmingly wrongheaded and potentially destructive to America, obviously they would try to weaken or politically destroy him.

But there's no denying that some Republicans did, in fact, make the clear calculation that denying Obama successes at all costs, regardless of the substance of specific initiatives or any willingness on his part to make concessions, was the best way to accomplish this overarching political goal. They said so themselves! It would be interesting to hear Gerson directly engage these McConnell and DeMint quotes and explain why they don't directly support this general interpretation of what happened in the last two years.

After the jump, a few more links.

* The Obama administration rallies Jewish groups to pressure Senate Republicans to support New START, arguing that GOP failure to do so could enable a nuclear Iran, something Senate Republicans are supposed to be strongly against.

* Senator Jon Kyl raises the bar yet again, insisting that he needs proof that the Obama administration is committed "in the heart" to nuclear modernization, even as he concedes the administration is intellectually committed to it:

"I've come to the conclusion that the administration is intellectually committed to modernization now. No sane person could not reach that conclusion," he said. "Whether they're committed in the heart is another matter."

* Get ready: John Judis says Obama's failure to exploit the Great Recession to produce an enduring Dem majority means a brutal partisan struggle for dominance in the years ahead, with no clear winner for some time to come.

* And Obama has no regrets whatsoever about passing health reform:

"I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented health care, and we started to see those costs go down and we have seen people who don't have health insurance get health insurance, and we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies, that that's gonna be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of."


UPDATE, 1:26 p.m.: First item edited slightly for precision.

By Greg Sargent  | November 26, 2010; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Political media, Senate Republicans, economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: Saturday Open Thread

Comments

It is only logical that the party out of power would want to pursue strategies which would get them back into power - which is a position in which they can start to enact their policies.


Is this a discussion about how a party is trying to get back into power?

The democrats blame the Republicans for the wars in the Middle East - however, the Republicans didn't really want those wars - we felt the nation was attacked and the proper response was to respond. Making that a partisan issue was and is wrong.


At some point, both parties are going to have to "come back" from the wartime issues - and present the nation with other issues. The issues of the 90s are different from today.


This whole thing is getting a bit ridiculous. The democrats are getting a little bit too defensive about Obama - and it is their own fault to nominate someone with so little experience and qualifications - they must have known that a competence issue was bound to emerge. The democrats are far too sensitive about criticism, and it has been way over the line of sillines..

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Josh Marshall wrote a remarkably prescient post on the day after, or a couple of days after, Bush's reelection in 2004. He said that the Dems' greatest point of leverage was to deny Bush the cover of bipartisanship for his initiatives, and that the Dems needed to understand this and use their leverage to their advantage.

The only time the Dems really did this was on Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, where they stood strong and reaped a great boost in the 2006 elections. But think about all the other times they caved--especially on the war, on FISA and surveillance, on torture, you name it, and all professedly for the good of the country.

Now the tables are turned, and the GOP has no compunctions about trying to kill the stimulus, GM bailout that saved 1.4 million jobs, health care, climate change, now START--something that not only would the Dems not dare to do, they wouldn't even consider doing (and rightly so).

Some of it is ideological, of course--most GOPers don't believe in government and evidently truly believe, against all evidence to the contrary, that tax cuts create jobs, that cutting spending to middle class and poor people and states won't cost jobs etc. Some may really believe that climate change isn't happening, although the leadership surely has been told in no uncertain terms that it is. But still, on things like START and energy policy and many other issues they really do play the game a different way, starting with the fact that they evidently believe it is a game.

Posted by: Mimikatz | November 26, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Gerson says: liberals are searching for "narratives that don't involve the admission of inadequacies in liberalism itself."


_____________________________

Well yea, this is an important point. However political viability is an important aspect of the failure. The country simply does not want it.

The treatment of the Blue Dogs in the democratic party just might signal that it is impossible for the liberals to gain enough votes to push their programs through - they need the Blue Dogs to get over the majority needed.

It is clear that the Blue Dogs have been rejected - but the democrats have also rejected the voters in those Blue Dog districts. Those districts are more than happy to send Republicans to Congress and have the Republicans represent their interests.

Without those districts, how will the democrats get enough votes for their liberal agenda? They really can't.

________________________

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Gerson: "admission of inadequacies in liberalism itself."


_______________________


Now, the liberals are pushing around the idea that Obama is not a liberal - or not liberal enough.

I remember in the spring of 2008, and when the democratic primaries became a two-person race - the Obama people stated clearly that their was "virtually no difference in the policies" between Hillary and Obama.


That may have been a complete lie - for all we know.


However, Obama is pretty far to the left - the czars, etc.


The democrats have to remember one IMPORTANT thing: you don't watch Glen Beck, do you?


If you did, you would know that the half the country who knows what Glen Beck is saying is convinced that Obama is leading a liberal conspiracy to up-end capitalism and democracy itself.

They have re-distribution notions and they want to transform how everything is done - and make it so we can not go back.


I don't know if I personally believe that - however democrats have to realize and understand those ideas are out there.


_____________________


Obama is a libera - he is carrying the agenda right now. If some are saying he is not liberal enough because their agenda items did not get priority, well then perhaps that is not stating that particular issue on that particular agenda item clearly.

Obama has overreached - that is clear. Obama should have compromised with the Republicans and started with a centrist health care program.


All this crap about "the Republicans didn't want to compromise" - that is more of an EXCUSE, the democrats didn't want to compromise and move toward the CENTER.


That has destroyed the votes that democrats HAD - clear and simple. Because the Glen Beck people were there, clearly saying that all that uncompromising meant the democrats wanted to go even further left.


By abandoning the 2008 commitments, the DISTRUST was created by Obama and the democrats - NO ONE ELSE.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented health care, and we started to see those costs go down..."

Wow. Mission Accomplished. He really believes that?

There is just no chance, no chance at all that America's health care costs as a fraction of GDP are going to go down as a result of that bill. The best he could hope for would be a stabilization in the rate of increase in health costs.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

White Noise

This article starts off by attempting to make the case that Republicans want more economic pain -

However then at the end, there is a link to John Judis : Obama's failure to exploit the Great Recession to produce an enduring Dem majority

____________________________

Can anyone else see the obviously hypocrisy - if that tact by the Republicans is out-of-bounds, then surely any attempts by the democrats to gain electorally from the Economic Crisis is worse

___________________


The truth is that the notion that Obama's health care plan will result in future election gains for the democrats - that is reason enough to reject it - using taxpayer money (Republican money) to try to "lock-in" a new dependent portion of the electorate into voting for the democrats

THAT idea is out-of-bounds. It is coersive and dangerously close to communist.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"I just love the smell of a circlejerk in the morning" ~ anyone realize there's TRAINS N PLANES to run, fires to be put out, people to be saved? You wouldn't know it from the French Court DC Media Bubble~sooo much 'grooming' to do... and sooo little time... #MSMFailure

Posted by: mommadona | November 26, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Was the president really contending that Republican representatives want their constituents to be unemployed in order to gain a political benefit for themselves?"

Yes, obviously. There is no other possibility. When Rush Limbaugh says he wants Obama to fail, he means he wants the country and of course its people to be worse off than before Obama was elected. How else could he fail? So what is the big deal?

After all, if Obama (that leftist unamerican etc.) helped the country to a better place, then conservatives, all that they are would be wrong; it would become clear that it is in fact the conservatives that are bad for the country.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg, if you think bipartisanship is a myth (check), that's nothing compared to the idea Gerson might engage you in the way you suggest! But this is a good and important post. Yes, the Republicans are about defeating Obama and Dem initiatives at any and all costs, a point Mimi makes even more elegantly in her comment when she points out that, for them, the most urgent matters are all about the game.

Posted by: AllButCertain | November 26, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Economic Sabotage

Isn't that what the Republicans believe the health care plan is - Create a massive fiscal hole in the budget, so that in a few years, the democrats can claim the "ONLY WAY" is to have a single-payer take-over of the entire health care industry ??


(then you hear silly stuff like the government can pave a road, so why can't it run the doctors' offices)


-----------------------------


The point is clear: the "taking advantage" of the economic crisis is the topic on the minds of LIBERALS - not really the Conservatives.


These are the calculations coming from the left.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mimi

Tax cuts do create jobs

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Gerson never met a crisis he created in his own mind that he didn't like to try and fit on a group of real humans to find out everything he made up is a crock.... Just like him...a crock..

There is a truly profound reason he is on the Top 30 HACKS in the media list and moving up rapidly.

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | November 26, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Taking advantage of a crisis in order to enact needed reform to alleviate and prevent future crises is a far cry from actively working to create or prolong a crisis in order to make political hay.

And no one has addressed the fact that Republican leaders have publicly admitted that their first priority is defeating Obama and not helping the American people.

Posted by: kmy042 | November 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Where is the line between socialism and communism ???

At one point, the totalitarian nature of communism was seen as the dividing line.


In the 19th century, they were seen as virtually identical.


The question is clear: if one reserves the term "socialism" for the welfare states of Europe -


Then the coercive nature of policies is what divides socialism from communism - the idea that one MUST buy health insurance. One MUST participate or the IRS will throw you in jail.


That is crossing the line into communism.


The idea that if you buy a plane ticket - you get searched in a sexual way - that is MORE COMMUNIST than anything else.

The idea - the scanner or the sexual assault - that is communist


This is the problem with Obama - we really don't see Obama backing off when he gets to these lines - instead for some odd reason Obama doesn't compromise, he doesn't back off.


Obama is NOT a compromising guy.

Everytime we have seen Obama have to retract a statement, we hear a month or two later that the retraction isn't really true, and the original statement is still Obama's policy.

We saw this on Gitmo time and time again - the prision in Illinois - Obama never really announced the plan to move the terrorists to Illinois, we just hear a prision is being purchased.


___________________________--


Is Obama crossing the line into Communism?

Is there a coercive, uncompromising nature of Obama's policies???


Glen Beck would certainly list 10-20 associates of Obama which all Americans would find extremely radical - and he would say, yes Obama is going in these directions.


.....>>>>>>>>>>>> Beck also has a counter- theory which states that Obama is failing his more extreme left, and they will at sometime abandon Obama in favor of another person or group who will bring the economy and the political system to the left.

Sort of the "Conspiracy within the Conspiracy Theory"

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

"Note the clever sleight of hand here: In the quote provided by Gerson, Obama doesn't actually say that GOP representatives "want their constituents to be unemployed," as Gerson paraphrases."

Actually it is you who is using slight of hand. True, the quote that Gerson refers to does not refer specifically to the employment of constituents. But the quote came in the context of decrying opposition to his policies which were ostensibly designed to put people back to work. Obama began his speech thus:

"I know that towns like Racine are still hurting from this recession. This city has the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, and I can only imagine how much pain that’s caused and how many lives have been upended. And you got, as I said, a dynamic young mayor who’s thinking day in, day out, about how to put people back to work, and the city has been cooperating with the state and federal programs to figure out how we can start incubating a bunch of growth here, but it’s still tough.

And some of you may be out of work, and you’re tired of sending out resumes and not getting a response. Maybe you’ve got a job, but the bills seem to be stacking up faster than your pay is. Maybe you’ve looked through the family budget and you’ve got no idea how you’re going to save for your retirement or send your kid to college. Or maybe you’re a young person who’s just about to get out of school and you’re wondering what your job prospects are going to be.

I hear worries like this all the time...everything from Afghanistan to Iran to the oil spill, all critical issues that go to our long-term prosperity and security — nothing is more important than reversing the damage of the great recession and getting folks back to work."

And this is what Obama said directly prior to the Gerson-used quotation:

"Now, you’d think this would be pretty straightforward stuff, but I’ve got to say that lately we’ve been having to wrangle around what used to be pretty noncontroversial things — providing loans for small businesses, extending unemployment insurance when 8 million people lost their jobs during the recession. But lately, there’s a minority of senators from the other party who’ve had a different idea. As we speak, they are using their power to stop this relief from going to the American people. And they won’t even let these measures come up for a vote. They block it through all kinds of procedural maneuvering in the Senate.

Now, some of this is just politics. That’s the nature of Washington. Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win."

Obviously Obama was implying precisely what Gerson's paraphrase suggests. Again, the sleight of hand is yours, not Gersons.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 26, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

News Flash

Republicans are attempting to convince people to vote for them in the next election

Call the people who write the headlines...

.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

In the real world, you can never prove anything absolutely. But you CAN prove things "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the criterion used in criminal courts to justify drastic punishments like the death penalty.

And it's the Republicans actions, not their statements, that prove the Republicans are willing to undermine the wellbeing of American citizens in order to defeat President Obama. Republicans have repeatedly opposed long-standing Republican proposals such as tax credits for small business and mandatory health insurance. In the last Congress, they even opposed measures they themselves had previously sponsored as soon as they found out that Obama would support them, like a commission on the budget deficit.

And now the Republicans have even shown their willingness to put national security at risk by blocking the START treaty, which clearly would have been passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote if a Republican were president.

There is simply no other logical explanation for this behavior, other than the Republicans' determination to make President Obama a "one term president," as Mitch McConnell admitted, by any means fair or foul that they think they can get away with (without, of course, ending up as convicted felons like their form House majority whip, Tom Delay).

In other words: there's proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the Republican leadership's bad intentions. Regardless of whether the public will "buy" that politically, it is true.

Posted by: Spacer | November 26, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama went to Indiana this week - for some reason Obama sees the economy through the eyes of Indiana.

Obama is not going to have a difficult time winning Indiana in the next election -with or without the Acorn situation

Anyway - the issue of whether Obama is a liberal or a centrist, or a far-left liberal is out there.


Obama is a far-left wing liberal - the coercive elements in his programs are close to the line between socialism and communism.


That much is clear.

___________________________-

The way Obama handled the health care bill was a massive mistake - not listening to the voters when Scott Brown won.

Obama would have been wise to get the Republican leadership to agree to a centrist bill.


I said that before, I will say it again now - much of the political damage to the democratic party is a result of the distance between that centrist compromise and what Obama got passed.

If you claim Obama is a centrist, then there would have been no difference between Obama bill and a centrist bill - however we all know that is not the case.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously Obama was implying precisely what Gerson's paraphrase suggests."

We agree! Bipartisan agreement, it barely hurts a bit. I can't figure out why this is an issue. Of course Republicans need Obama to fail, manifest misery. What, weren't Democrats running on all the hurt caused by Bush/Cheney?

It does not mean Republicans want people to be hurt nor that they enjoy the fact of that pain, but they do *need* people to be hurt. As 2012 approaches, they have to rub that pain in the face of the administration. Otherwise, if each day American life improves little by little in every way, who needs Republicans? Those "Miss me yet?" shrub face ball caps wouldn't sell. I just don't see an issue here.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

We are going over the same territory again - but the way in which Obama characterized compromise as a victory for himself sabotaged those potential compromises.

Compromise means both sides take something away - it can not be characterized as a defeat for one side.


And that is precisely what Obama did.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Plum,

Thank You for the article. Obama is best depicted by you. You have a beautiful caricature of him in your article.

Red Leaf Nation
Has a good comment on your subject-
There does appear to be a policy of non-reverse progressions-

Liberalism is agreeable but War "is too" not the best endorsement of American
Politics Today.

The unmentioned Power in some shadow somewhere

The best remedy is 'MONEY'. Politics is not a natural force or a 'free' anything. A good tip on 'MONEY & POlitics'
is 'Charity'. 'Charity during the holiday season sets precedents for yearly fondness'.
It is the best lesson for 'profiteers and young business entrepeuners'.

Those without a good grasp on 'money' Platonize too much and draw attention to their Platonic pursuits from everybody else free of charge.

Posted by: kadija1 | November 26, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

What have you got against Plato? I haven't Platonized lately, but when I did, was it a bad thing?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what Judis' point is. Dems had a huge majority. It's just that we live in a country where a huge majority can't pass laws. Unless Dems had something like 70 Senators, we were destined for everything to be a large partisan battle.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 26, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

John Judis/ Jay Cost

That really is not the point of those two articles - the question posed is Did the elctorate move toward the right this year???

---------------


This is worthy of debate - some people have stated that the electorate just went back to 2004 - to a point at which the Iraq War was not a decisive issue the way it was in 2006 and 2008.


So, one way to look at it: the Republicans have regained any losses they may have had due to the Iraq War.

And Bush is gone.

So, does that mean the electorate has moved to the right???


Yes and no - one clear point I would like to add - the Field has moved - what is left and what is right has moved - not so much the electorate.


Obama's far left wing health care plan is out there on the left - you either support it or you don't. Prior to 2008, support for a vague "health care reform" did not really indicate that one was that far to the left.

____________________


The Republicans have captured the center that much is clear. However how much of that is a reaction to Obama and his far-left agenda - and how much of that is the electorate moving toward the right???

The answer is some of both.

The idea that the Republicans have been able to make the issue that the democrats can not be trusted not to push through far-left programs - that is going to haunt the democrats for a very, very long time.


Clearly, there is a piece of the center which will never go back to the democrats - and that much of the electorate has shifted to the right, forever.

___________________


So, the question comes in, what part of the center does the democrats have a chance of winning back? And to listen to the liberals lately, the answer to that question is : not much, the liberals do not even want to move in that direction or do what is needed to get there.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts do create jobs

was Posted by: RedLeafNation

Right,we've seen that happen in the final year of the GW Bush Administration: Net job loss of .75 million per month.

RedLeafNation must be referring to jobs in India, or perhaps on Mars. Certainly not in USA.

Posted by: shermaro1 | November 26, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama says:

"we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies"

_____________________


The truth is ALL that could have been accomplished with tougher regulation of the health insurance companies -

A far less expensive health insurance bill was possible.


Obama is using these items to JUSTIFY a far-reaching subsidy-filed, EXPENSIVE health care program. That is simply the wrong approach - and one that threatens to open up a massive fiscal deficit.

So Obama is being at least deceptive, and probably lying.


The American People do not want a whole - "10 years of taxes against 7 years of benefits," and "add 500 Billion from Medicare" financial plan under health care.


The program is NOT paid for - this is NOT the last time you have heard about the finances of this program.


It is irresponsible beyond belief to attempt this during an Economic Crisis - and the only explanation can be that Obama felt that he had the votes now, the Economic crisis be damned.


Well - isn't that the charge we hear from the left now EXACTLY WHAT OBAMA IS GUILTY OF ???


______________________


This is the kind of stuff that makes everyone want to get rid of Obama and start over with someone else. I don't know if Obama can EVER recover from these valid criticisms which he has refused to address.


The way Obama refused to compromise, refused to retract statements and policies - that is his legacy - an unyielding horrible incompetent officeholder - one which the country will INSTANTLY be better off once a different manager is in place.


The deceptions, the lies - the hidden motives - the accusations - I HAVE NEVER seen an administration so fueled by these kinds of tactics - at times it seems like this is all we get from the Obama people.


And this is politics - however at this point, all these tactics are hurting Obama - and Obama's clock is running out. Obama has one year before the primaries come up - so if these kinds of tactics dominate from now until the summer, Obama is pretty much finished.


I have a nagging suspicion that the Obma people simply do not understand the calendar.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Spacer, did you read the full excerpt of what Obama actually said?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 26, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

WOW

We are beginning to hear from the Obama people that airport security procedures should be a non-partisan issue.


THE IRAQ WAR SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NON-PARTISAN ISSUE.


The entire terrorism effort should have been a non-partisan issue - but all we have heard from the left is a constant stream of whining about all the things Bush was supposedly doing wrong. But the truth is that now Obama is seeing the wisdom in many, many things Bush was doing.


Non-partisan??


The entire Iraq War should have never been a partisan football. The Afghan War is now becoming a partisan issue for the democrats - and clearly Obama has NOT be honest with the American People concerning his positions on the Afghan war.

.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The empirical evidence points to Mr. Gersen either being in denial of reality or acting as a surrogate GOP operative. This isn't even an honest debate.

Posted by: rbrent516 | November 26, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS


Obama got elbowed in the lips today - during a basketball game.

The damage: 12 stitches.


.

Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Has the country shifted to the right???


This election probably has not given us the answer to that question.

A partial answer is that the country has certainly rejected the liberal agenda - and the liberal agenda is dead for a generation or more.


The question still remains: does the nation want a centrist or a right-wing set of policies governing the nation?


I would say center-right. The country has not shifted significantly to the right - even though the country is now SURE it does not want a left agenda.


Posted by: RedLeafNation | November 26, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Someone has *got* t be paying RedLeaf/STRF/Bomber-

Why else would anyone spend so much time on a political blog during a holiday? Pathetic.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Scott C3, incredibly lame argument on your part.

Here's what Gerson asked:

"Was the president really contending that Republican representatives want their constituents to be unemployed in order to gain a political benefit for themselves?"

See, Gerson asked whether Obama CONTENDED this, not whether he IMPLIED it, as you say in your own exercise in sleight of hand above.

In the excerpt you provided -- which goes far beyond what Gerson himself provided -- Obama nowhere contended (or implied, if you insist) that Republicans want their constituents to be unemployed. Rather, he said they were blocking everything, including things that provide relief to the jobless, out of politics.

That is NOT what Gerson's paraphrase says. His paraphrase was deliberately skewed in order to bring Obama's statement in line with what Yglesias/Benen are arguing.

Weak, even for you.

Posted by: sargegreg | November 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If tax cuts create jobs, what happened during the Buish Admin when we cut taxes and lost millions of jobs? Why were millions of jobs created during the Clinton Admin after taxes were raised?

Tax cutsa have diominishing returns. When Kennedy cut taxes, the too rate was 90%. When Reagan initially cut it was 70%. Now it is 35%, and so we are running deficits because of unfended wars and the drug benefit courtesy of GW Bush.

They don't create jobs. Demand creates jobs, and IF tax cuts are targeted to people who spend everything, they can be stimulative, but tax cuts for the top 10% really aren't stimulative, not nearly as much aqs cuts at the bottom rungs.

Posted by: Mimikatz | November 26, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

ChuckinDenton, do you think that bernielatham is paid to post here too?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 26, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"Someone has *got* t be paying RedLeaf/STRF/Bomber-

Why else would anyone spend so much time on a political blog during a holiday? Pathetic.

November 26, 2010 3:27 PM "

Gotta hand it to him. The guy is persistent. Everyone has him blocked, but he keeps posting away.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 26, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Not everyone is blocking, but bernielatham posts here far more than, RedLeafNation.

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 26, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

ChuckinDenton

I am not paid for posting here - If you know of anyone who is willing to pay me, please send that information along.


Ethan comes close to posting a great deal - he is probably paid.

Bernie posts a good amount.


Overall, the liberals post far more than the Conservatives.


Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to be getting paid to be friendless in a dorm room.

Greg, Republicans may not want people to be unemployed, but that they do *need* people to be unemployed and that, from a partisan perspective, is ok. What are Republicans supposed to do, help the Democrats succeed?

This is what I find incredibly lame,

"It is difficult to overstate how offensive elected Republicans find the sabotage accusation, which Obama himself has come very close to making."

Republicans are now supposed to pretend they have hurt feelings, again? Hilarious. What happened to all the triumphalism?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Shrink

never really looked to be your friend - and judging by your comments over a good period of time, you aren't really looking for friend either.


Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Clawrence

Kevin is has already had some push-back from the democrats -

One of the liberals tried to tell him that if Kevin did not post according to his rules, he would block Kevin.

Sort of using Kevin's own thing against Kevin - and attempting to intimidate Kevin into limiting his Freedom of Speech


That's how the liberals are - they want all the Freedom in the world to push their own agenda - but as soon as they get in, they want to shut you down.

And many times, they don't even want to hold debate or even votes, on their agenda items - they just want to push it through and start implementing it if they think they have the majority on their side.


They don't even bother taking votes - because the more centrist on their side may hold back and decide not to vote for this or for that.


Unbelievable.

Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

ChuckinDenton, do you think that bernielatham is paid to post here too?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 26, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"If tax cuts create jobs, what happened during the Buish Admin when we cut taxes and lost millions of jobs? Why were millions of jobs created during the Clinton Admin after taxes were raised?"

Tax cuts, even upper class tax cuts, will likely have some stimulative effect, all other things remaining constant. It's just that the gain is very small. The Bush administration saw a decrease in jobs over its term, but there are plenty of things I'd blame before the tax cuts. The problem with the tax cuts is that they are a very inefficient way of job creation. With deficits being what they are, we would be better served to look to the more efficient methods.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 26, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

RedLeafNation wrote:
"The way Obama handled the health care bill was a massive mistake - not listening to the voters when Scott Brown won."

Like most far-right people, RedLeafNation is ignoring the fact that polls consistently show Americans narrowly divided between those who support and oppose the health care reform law. One of the latest poll shows that a majority (51%)supports it:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/11/22/104152/poll-majority-of-americans-want.html

Whatever the "message" was that the voters were sending with recent election results, it was NOT opposition to health care.

Posted by: Spacer | November 26, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@Spacer - Very much more prudent to ignore the fellow. And I'm hoping you will as I'm putting anyone who talks to him on ignore as well.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 26, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Apparently FOX's Napolitano is some species of 9/11 truther...

"Yesterday, Fox Business host and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano revealed himself as a believer in the conspiracy theory that the government is lying about the attacks on September 11. Speaking on a leading conspiracy show, Napolitano said that it's "hard for me to believe that" World Trade Center building 7 "came down by itself" -- a central tenet of 9-11 conspiracy theories -- and claimed that "twenty years from now, people will look at 9-11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us."

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201011240019

What the heck. We're all entitled to our opinions. Personally, I think the evidence is compelling that it was the spyder-creatures of Tau Ceti who have taken over Rupert Murdoch's neural circuits. They weren't interested in his penis though.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 26, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Spacer

Please feel free to ignore the loons like Bernie.

The other day he was trying to set the rules on what people should comment - and how they should comment.


So, just ignore him. He will go away.

------------------


As to your point,

the standard liberal line has been that individual parts of the health care bill are popular.

However, Obama and the democrats were never really honest with the American People about the actual costs of their version of health care.


The far less expensive versions would probably win every poll by a wide margin - if there was honesty about the costs.


Also, the "individual" parts argument - that individual parts of the health care bill are popular - if the actual cost of each of those items was given in the polls, the results of the polls might just be much different.

Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Spacer, did you read the full excerpt of what Obama actually said?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 26, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who talks to Bernie should immediately be put on ignore by everyone.

.

Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Meant to recommend this a while ago and promptly forgot. Garry Wills (my favorite Catholic) on Trudeau's Doonesbury retrospective. Outstripping the news, indeed.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/25/outstripping-news/?pagination=false&printpage=true

Posted by: bernielatham | November 26, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

The main issue with you Bernie is that you are attempting to intimidate people into not exercising their Freedom of Speech.


That is why I find you unAmerican.

If you don't want to read something, fine. However, to try to influence what other people write is completely out-of-bounds. And to intimidate people is also out-of-bounds.


Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Republicans and conservatives abandoned reality in 1980 for scripted narratives straight out of Hollywood. Obama is a leftist for enacting a bunch of policies thought up by Republicans? Mitt Romney/LInc Chaffee health care, Bush I foreign policy, Bush II economic team-seriously?
I was kind of hoping after all the foofooraw on the Australian Moron News Network (Fox) that my brigade would be marching the bourgeoisie to the reeducation camps along about now. We haven't even taken their guns, forced their women into abortions, and stolen their fatty, fattening and salty foods or cigarettes from them yet. Apparently Obama has failed socialism as well.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | November 26, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I would say the sleight of hand is all on your part here, but your argument is too clumsy to qualify. You say:

"Note the clever sleight of hand here: In the quote provided by Gerson, Obama doesn't actually say that GOP representatives "want their constituents to be unemployed," as Gerson paraphrases. Rather, Obama simply says that GOP leaders calculated that they needed to deny Obama successes for their own political purposes."

Gerson didn't paraphrase Obama. He asked a question about what he was implying. Nor did he say Obama made the sabotage charge but said it is a charge "which Obama himself has come very close to making."

And there's no question to a reasonable person that Obama was implying precisely what Gerson suggests. Get serious if you want anyone to take you seriously, Greg.

Now let's take a look at how you "paraphrase" those you attack. You say:

"Here, for instance, is Mitch McConnell, in March of 2010, stating outright that Republicans calculated that they had to deny Obama bipartisan support on health reform at all costs -- the specifics of the legislation be damned -- specifically because the public would perceive it as a victory for Obama and Dems and would be more likely to support his initiative"

But the McConnell statement you quote say that at all. Where does it say "specifics of the legislation be damned"? Do you seriously suggest that Obamacare would have had bipartisan support but for pure partisanship? That Republicans actually supported it but nevertheless voted against it? That its "specifics" were conservative?

Again, get serious if you want to be taken seriously. Your argument here is deeply unserious.

This whole issue is nothing but cynical, manufactured outrage in the first place. You folks spent eight years destroying GWB for political gain, declaring the war lost, blocking reform, and on and on.

You bet we are doing everything possible to stop Obama cold, drive him from office in two years, and roll back his usurpations. His radical ideology is alien to and inimical to our political heritage of freedom and our constitutional system of government.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 26, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Gerson and Krauthammer are ridiculous hyper-partisans. If Obama cured cancer they would blast him for putting oncologists out of work.

They are pathetic, miserable humans and should be dumped into the Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh waste bin.

Posted by: voltz71 | November 26, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"You bet we are doing everything possible to stop Obama cold, drive him from office in two years, and roll back his usurpations. His radical ideology is alien to and inimical to our political heritage of freedom and our constitutional system of government. "

Now how can you possibly argue with that irrefutable logic, Greg?

Posted by: wbgonne | November 26, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

""If tax cuts create jobs, what happened during the Buish Admin when we cut taxes and lost millions of jobs? Why were millions of jobs created during the Clinton Admin after taxes were raised?" Tax cuts, even upper class tax cuts, will likely have some stimulative effect, all other things remaining constant. It's just that the gain is very small. The Bush administration saw a decrease in jobs over its term, but there are plenty of things I'd blame before the tax cuts. The problem with the tax cuts is that they are a very inefficient way of job creation. With deficits being what they are, we would be better served to look to the more efficient methods. Posted by: DDAWD |"

When you think it through, you might come to the conclusion that, if anything, tax cuts for the wealthy are much more likely to abolish jobs.

Given a large increase in income available, there are only a few things the very wealthy can do with those funds. They can hoard them, or use them to but things of high value. They can invest them, or reinvest them. They can give them away. That exhausts the list. The third possibility only happens when a Bill gates or an Andrew Carnegie discovers that hey have all this wealth and can't for the life of them find any more things to buy that are satisfying enough to buy them. The first adds little to the creation of jobs.

So we look at the reinvestment option. Given a chance to buy a sure thing and milk it for all it is worth, eventually putting it either out of business, or making it so debt loaded that it can do little but bleed to death, and therefor reducing expenses, by cutting its work force again and again, or picking some speculative industry that the investor knows nothing about and knows he knows nothing about, and therefor risking major losses and potentially gaining virtually nothing, the reinvester will usually choose the KKR route, put a little of his own money in, leverage his stake as much as possible, and, having gained voting control of the company, cut jobs and sell off assets as fast as possible to pay off his speculative debts.

Give a Robert Campeau the chance to nearly destroy Federated department Stores, and he will do it gladly because it might make HIM even richer. That kind of investor isn't likely to risk all his fortune on something that only his adviser claims to understand.

It is telling that the Millkens and Boeskys and KKR's began their globally rapacious destruction of publicly held companies only after top tax rates came down to below 50%. When tax rates on top incomes were above 70% the residual after taxes you could realize was just too small to be worth the possible jail time.

Run top tax rates back to 75% or so and companies will go back to making products, rather than trying to make profits on manipulating their own stocks.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 26, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Well wb, who is going to school this Greg guy, he is smart and his heart is in the right place, but he is a good example of what is wrong with Liberals. You worry about whether it is true Obama accused his enemies of keeping things bad for political purpose.

You try to argue Gerson off his point. You argue as if Gerson were correct (he is), then Obama would be bad and his Republican victims would have good cause to feel so upset. You do understand don't you Greg, that Republicans are not actually feeling hurt? Do you get it? Probably not.

Liberals are weaklings.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Taxes

Clinton had a Temporary Surcharge on the top rate of 10%

All Bush did was lower the rate to 35% from 36%


The Clinton Temporary Surcharge was just that temporary.


What Obama wants to do is make the Clinton Temporary Surcharge permanent

Then - if they can agree on that- The Republicans would probably agree to leave the top rate at 36% - so Obama can claim that Bush's tax cut really is taken away.

It is just the Clinton Temporary Surcharge with they are taking away

Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Let me be clear

the top rate has always been 36% or 35%


We are just talking about the Clinton Temporary Surcharge.


I think we can all agree on this

Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 26, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

hello everyone,im wholesale supplier online

Welcome to our website

===== http://www.1shopping.us/ =======

accept paypal and free shipping

We need your support and trust!!!

Dear friends, please temporarily stop your footsteps

To our website Walk around A look at

Maybe you'll find happiness in your sight shopping heaven and earth

You'll find our price is more suitable for you.

And we shall be offer you free gift about MP4 if you more order.

===== http://www.1shopping.us/ ========

Posted by: xixidada | November 26, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

The people cry out for real journalism and instead we get plum crazy hair-splitting from Greg and so many others who have lost their compass, keep whistlin' in the dark, and can not for the life of US, protest, not only too much, but at all...

Posted by: SpendNomore | November 26, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Gerson did a good job summarizing the evidence, but he sure didn't make his case any. It's no mystery that the GOP is playing a scorched earth game. If they can't have it then everyone loses. Gerson did a wonderful job articulating what the problem is, but a simply awful job arguing that the problem isn't a problem.

Posted by: Nymous | November 27, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is a paid Republican propagandist. He believes in the failed ideology Reagan embraced that destroyed California and is now destroying America. He wrote in goose-step for the Bush Crime Family as they methodically gave America away to Corporations, began a bogus war and tore up the constitution with respect to religion and civil rights. Of course he's going to insist that Republicans really, really really do love America when all evidence points to the contrary.

Posted by: thebobbob | November 27, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Ever wonder about all the free stuff you see on the web? It appears like everybody wants to give stuff away for nothing, nada, zilch. But are these items truly free of charge? If so, how can these companies afford to give away all of these coupons and samples? It’s truly all about you, the consumer. We live in a very competitive world marketplace place. The internet has upped the ante in terms of who could be seen and heard via all with the mass media. Now companies need to make lots of noise and this is one way that can do it. One of the best place on the web is called "123 Get Samples" and get your free stuffs

Posted by: kimbenet | November 27, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

The person who said that the Republicans are not going to hand it to Obama and the democrats had it correct.


Obama made a critical error - he tried to take ALL the credit for compromise that didn't happen yet.


Compromise requires everyone to take credit - and the fact that Obama didn't know that PROVES how inexperienced and unqualified he is.


The American People are sick of all of this.


The person above who stated that the liberals are blaming everything but their own agenda for their demise is correct. It is the agenda that is wrong - among other things. Of course the liberals can blame other things that they never considered - but the major problem is the liberal agenda. The American People are sick of listening to the liberals - if they don't get it by now, no one wants to hear it.

.

Posted by: SavelheRainForest | November 27, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I am sick of hearing that the "liberal agenda" is what people are against. If Obama had ACTUALLY GOVERNED AS A LIBERAL AND GOTTEN REGULATIONS THAT WORKED AND BENEFITS for people TODAY instead of 5 or 10 years from now, we wouldn't even be talking about why people are down on Obama.

If he had brought transparency to government like he said, people would be in a better position to judge for themselves what's going on and who's to blame for no progress.

You think healthcare reform is a bad idea? Republicans didn't do a damn thing about it for 6 years of full power. People that actually voted for Obama - A MAJORITY - WANTED HCR. They WANTED a public option. They WANTED a lot of what was actually put into the bill. However, what they got was recycled Republican garbage with some liberal ideas in it. Hatch/Grassley's answer to Hillarycare from 1994. Yeah, that's extremely liberal - I'll bet, from those two flaming socialists.

How about Wall Street Reform, which Republicans were against before it came out of committee? How liberal to what to keep Wall Street from doing what they did to us 2 years ago again, right (that should've been one of the first bills passed, really). Disregard all the hate for Wall Street by common Americans, today. Disregard the hated bailouts (even if they were necessary, Americans haven't been rewarded for loaning banks their taxpayer dollars by being able to get loans and mortgage help - have they?) and how people were against those. Republicans watered down the legislation so that the bill doesn't even address the main issues of deregulation that caused the meltdown in 2008.

How about the stimulus that all economists say kept us from another Great Depression? 40% of it was tax cuts, and the other 2/3 were state aid for gov't workers and infrastructure repair funding. Such an awful liberal thing for the President to have done in the middle of a financial crisis, nevermind that the economy was hemorrhaging 700K+ jobs a month from the time he was elected until several months into his tenure.

Liberal agenda, my ass. How is the START treaty part of a liberal agenda?

Or continuing unemployment benefits (insurance, workers pay into this fund, it's not welfare) during this rough economic climate....

Or passing a small business tax cuts/credits bill...

Or R&D credits, or writing off all new equipment a company buys for the next year...

Or not privatizing Social Security...

Or having the nerve to promote deepwater drilling for oil to Get the Drill Baby Drill crowd to support an Energy Bill not yet crafted, throwing away any bargaining chips just weeks before an awful Oil DISASTER in the Gulf?

It's the liberal agenda that's pissing people off? NO, it's Obama wooing the GOP when they have no intention of working with him, & vote against their own proposals & ideas to spite him, while he ignores liberals for the majority of 2 years. Their disappointment showed at the polls as they didn't show mostly.

Posted by: fbutler1 | November 27, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

By the way, unemployment is still high, too, so that didn't help matters.

Regardless, this isn't a rejection of a liberal agenda. It certainly wasn't an affirmation that people want more tax cuts for everybody and deregulation which led to the 2008 financial meltdown - which the GOP wishes to revisit, shortly, as they have no new ideas... no good ones.

Posted by: fbutler1 | November 27, 2010 3:40 AM | Report abuse


I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: ryanparsone | November 27, 2010 4:36 AM | Report abuse

I caught the story yesterday of Obama catching an errant elbow and needing a dozen stitches to his lip and it struck me that the accident speaks to a difference between liberals and modern conservatives.

In yesterday's example, the liberal is in close quarters with his compatriots. The pace is fast and exciting. And noisy with the thumps of feet and the squealing of sneakers on the hardwood and voices calling out as teamwork or playful taunt. There's sweat dripping as the ball shifts from player to player and moves one way and then back in the other. A rapid spin or jump and the President catches an elbow to his lip.

In the earlier, modern conservative example, the few participants remain distant from each other. There're no voices. And in the cold air, the Vice President unloads his shotgun into someone's face.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 27, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"I caught the story yesterday of Obama catching an errant elbow and needing a dozen stitches to his lip and it struck me that the accident speaks to a difference between liberals and modern conservatives."

Apparently there really is no end to your political silliness.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 27, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

With the light and clarity of time, it will become clear that not only did the Republican philosophy ensure the destruction of the most efficient economic machine in history...America's manufacturers...by shipping our jobs abroad for cheaper labor, but that the moral- and ethics-deprived Republican philosophy denied American workers a strong post-Bush-Recession recovery in order to deprive a Black man of success. What else is new...???

Whether it's the desire to get cheaper labor from abroad or, earlier, no-cost labor at home via slavery, an anti worker philosophy is part and parcel of the depraved minset exemplified by Republicans.

Posted by: BelmontBayNeighbor | November 27, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

With the light and clarity of time, it will become clear that not only did the Republican philosophy ensure the destruction of the most efficient economic machine in history...America's manufacturers...by shipping our jobs abroad for cheaper labor, but that the moral- and ethics-deprived Republican philosophy denied American workers a strong post-Bush-Recession recovery in order to deprive a Black man of success. What else is new...???

Whether it's the desire to get cheaper labor from abroad or, earlier, no-cost labor at home via slavery, an anti worker philosophy is part and parcel of the depraved minset exemplified by Republicans.

Posted by: BelmontBayNeighbor | November 27, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

“Scott C3, incredibly lame argument on your part.”

How lame could it really have been if you felt compelled to stop ignoring me as you usually do and respond to it?

“See, Gerson asked whether Obama CONTENDED this, not whether he IMPLIED it, as you say in your own exercise in sleight of hand above.”

Yes, the relevant point being that Gerson posed it as a question. Why would he pose it as a question (“did Obama just say X?”) if Obama had actually said “X”? Obviously Gerson is implying, by posing it as a rhetorical question, that Obama had implied “X”.

“In the excerpt you provided -- which goes far beyond what Gerson himself provided…”

Obviously Gerson could not include Obama’s whole speech in a short column, so he used the punch line. But of course if one is going to challenge Gerson’s interpretation of the meaning of the punch line, one must look at the larger context in which the punch line was used. This is really elementary stuff, Greg.

“…Obama nowhere contended (or implied, if you insist) that Republicans want their constituents to be unemployed. “

Well that is the crux of the issue, isn’t it? It seems clear to me and Gerson and even our own shrink2 that he implied precisely that. But hey, you can remain in denial about the way Obama plays politics if you want.

“Weak, even for you.”

And yet you felt compelled to do something you almost never do…respond to me. Funny, that. I think perhaps a change in the name referenced in the title to your post would be appropriate.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 27, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

I read the Gerson tripe only to comment on it here. In my discussion with Bernie the other day I noted the simple syllogism that drives Conservatives' antipathy towards Obama.

Obama is a Liberal.
Obama is a failure.
Therefore, Liberalism is a failure.

I won't discuss the obvious objections to the Cons' syllogism. Suffice to say that reality and truth play little role. The key here is that Liberals are the real target of the Con's politics of political destruction against Obama. Obama is just the vehicle for delivering the payload that destroys Liberalism.

And, in a nutshell, the failure of Obama and the Dems to recognize and acknowledge the Cons' intent is why the Dems and Obama appear so clueless. But we already know all that. The real key is that, in order to combat and defend against the GOP assault, Obama and the Dems MUST defend Liberals and Liberalism, because that is the real target, not Obama. This explains Gerson's bizarre (even for him) column: for the Cons it won't do to destroy Obama's presidency; they won;t be satisfied unless Liberalism is discredited too.

And lest we forget: the Cons' ultimate goal is to undermine government (liberalism) by making the tax base paltry and remove regulations so that Big Money can once again run roughshod over the country and steal what remains in our economy. Bottom line: the real target is Liberalism. The Cons know it. The Dems don't.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 27, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Republicans probably don't WANT people to be unemployed, but do they CARE if they are? After all, high unemployment drives down wages and boosts profits and productivity, the GOP wet dream. Gerson is a master manipulator. Where are the jobs his boss's tax cuts created?
Everyone is getting a tax cut on the first $250,000 of income. But people above that level now seem to want an extra one.
As far as the commenter saying "the Republicans didn't really want those wars — we felt the nation was attacked and the proper response was to respond": Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and none from Iraq. Made perfect sense then to attack Iraq, right? Massive military invasion was the only response we could have made, right?

Posted by: bdunn1 | November 27, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

"and it struck me that the accident speaks to a difference between liberals and modern conservatives."

It will be hard for anyone to top that for inanity any time soon. But it does bring to mind so many amusing images of the past couple of decades -- Bush throwing the first pitch versus Obama "throwing" in his girl jeans (lol), Bush tossing football versus Kerry cringing, Kerry windsurfing (there's a democratic sporting activity), Clinton's notorious cheating at golf, Kerry "duck hunting" for the cameras, Ann Richards posing as a great hunter . . . . Too, too funny. I guess Repubs who hunt = antisocial, cruel elitists. Dems who "hunt" = salt of the earth, real people. Got it.

http://www.tonyrogers.com/humor/images/bush_vs_kerry_football.jpg

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 27, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I forgot, Obama has also golfed more than any other President. Not bad given that he claims to have been busy dealing with the worst domestic and international situation of any President, ever, saving the world from multiple crises of historical proportions.

http://cdn.buzznet.com/media-cdn/jj1/headlines/2008/12/obama-golf.jpg

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 27, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"...in order to combat and defend..."

Cool! That is how it ought to be in a two-party republic.

Defend, say, for example, the unionization of the TSA.

thnx!

Posted by: tao9 | November 27, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

P.S..:

Two other point should be made explicit. The preceding syllogism explains the Cons' insistence against all evidence that Obama is a Liberal. It also explains the Cons' zeal to destroy Obama: Obama is the Cons' designated symbol of Liberalism.

We will know that Obama has awakened when he begins defending Liberalism. All together now: Government is how civilized people come together to solve their common problems.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 27, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Seems like quarterback1 has taken one too many concussive blows to the head. Time to head for the sidelines for your own good, sport, and for the good of the nation.
I always liked how your macho Decider's favorite sport was riding a bicycle while wearing a girly-man helmet. You want stereotypes, there's one for you.

Posted by: bdunn1 | November 27, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"Obama is a Liberal.
Obama is a failure.
Therefore, Liberalism is a failure."


No,

Liberalism is harmful and wrong.
Obama is a liberal.
Therefore, . . .

Is that really so hard to figure out?

You should be more careful, though. Your claim that opposition to Obama is ideological is contrary to the official dogma. Such deviation from approved ideology is not acceptable.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 27, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are "party uber alles" pond scum and the Post is their house organ. What do you expect?

Posted by: kstack | November 27, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

"All together now: Government is how civilized people come together to solve their common problems."

No, that's a viewpoint of collectivists about government. Or an excuse for tyranny. You need an education about ideas different from your own.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 27, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

All, a fresh Open Thread for you:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/saturday_open_thread.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 27, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

What a pointless, ridiculous column--nearly half the copy is quotes from someone else, interspersed with valueless "observations" by Sargent. It's no secret that the Washington Post gets second-string writers; this piece submitted as evidence...

Posted by: DaveinVA | November 27, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

qb:

"No, that's a viewpoint of collectivists about government. Or an excuse for tyranny. You need an education about ideas different from your own."

I have had this discussion with wbgonne in the past. He is the perfect demonstration of both the liberal tendency to authoritarianism and its tendency to ignore the meanings of words.

He claims that using the coercive powers of government to force a person to do something they don't want to do is an example of "cooperation" and "coming together". He seems both oblivious to reality and content to remain so. He continues to repeat the above mindless slogan over and over, kind of like Orwell's sheep..."Four legs good, two legs bad. Bahhhhhhh!"

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 27, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Scott,

I noticed wb's seemingly going around the bend a while back. There was a time when he seemed to be a rational human being or would at least try to appear to be one. Then he just went off the deep end.

What he says above is another example of why I contend that liberals are woefully uneducated and unaware of -- let alone able to understand -- ideas other than their own. He's completely unaware that he is stating a highly contested and peculiar theory of "government." I happen to believe that he is a perfect example of liberalism in that his ideas are completely driven by resentment, envy, and other negative emotions. His posts drip with rage and hatred and entitlement thinking.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 27, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Look. The republicans need to understand that once they go down this road, they are inviting the other party to use precisely the same tactics against them. When that does happen--and it will--it would be interesting to see what Gerson's argument will be. Keep your archives up to date folks because I guarantee you when it is the democrats using such obstructionist tactics against the republicans, Gerson will be piously defaming them with the hypocritical rant that this sort of tactic has never been used before!

Posted by: jaxas70 | November 27, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

We already had a test of the hypothesis. In January 2010 the US Senate took a vote to extend the debt ceiling to 14T. This was a party line vote, with the Republicans attempting to filibuster the measure in order to force the country into default and financial chaos. The filibuster failed. It is not clear whether they deliberately allowed the measure to pass (the 40th filibustering vote somehow went unrecorded). But what is the difference.

How does Gerson explain votes like this?

Posted by: chase-truth | November 27, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Two parter, I guess...

@wb - not to put too fine a point on it, I think your syllogism might be better constructed as:

Liberalism can only fail
Obama is a liberal
Therefore Obama must fail

This gets the sequence more correctly as the propaganda project to deny liberalism the status of a valid or workable or American political philosophy long predates Obama's arrival. But your notion that "liberalism" - defined in this narrative as unnecessary and counter-productive legislation and institutions which place constraints on business vigor or "natural" domination heiracrchies - is the real target is exactly right.

It seems to me there's a very mechanistic metaphor sitting at the bottom of this notion which presumes that human affairs are like, and should be considered as, a sort of engineering problem. Eg, if you wish to pump maximal amounts of fluid through a pipeline or transfer electrons most efficiently through a conductor, you ought to remove as much resistance as possible. If we think of it this way, the behavior and beliefs of authoritarian (or ridgidly heirarchical) types makes a sort of sense ("it would be easier" Bush once said, "to be a dictator"). When totalitarian or fascist regimes take over in a culture, they predictably act quickly to remove (murder, jail, forced deportation) potential opposition sources - political foes, intellectuals and universities, labor groups, and independent media (and religous or ethnic communities in some cases as well). They are perceived, correctly, as sources of potential or certain 'resistance'. Obviously, anyone pushing for "one party rule" is advocating an instance of this totalitarian scheme.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 27, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It's revealing to think of "redistribution of wealth" arguments in the context of the above. The phrase itself, it seems to me, misses rather than gets at what is important. We really ought to use the phrase "redistribution of power" instead. You'll note that folks on the right commonly say that the wealthy can simply donate portions of their wealth if they wish to. So they don't mind, really, if wealth gets redistributed. They would accept, as would I, one of those million dollar checks from John Beresford Tipton, Jr and not feel themselves in conflict with "natural" laws.

The objection is to redistribution or diffusion of power by "government". But, of course, "government" has had the prime and celebrated function within human groups in the West since at least classical Athens of diffusing power. No tyrant at the top but instead, policy/law established by consensus of a majority of citizens. Social contracts, informal or formal, are what we are speaking of.

The Economist piece I linked the other day discussing research showing that psycopaths are disconnected from perception of or engagement with social contracts seems rather relevant. There's a basic idea underpinning modern conservative economic/social philosophy, conscious or not, that as a community we will achieve our closest proximity to a Utopian arrangement if we simply allow unrestrained tyrants to battle against other unrestrained tyrants. That doesn't seem to be working out very well.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 27, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"You should be more careful, though. Your claim that opposition to Obama is ideological is contrary to the official dogma."

As usual, you missed the point.You Cons accuse Obama of being Liberal only to set him up as the Liberal pinata. Obama most certainly is NOT ideological and thoughtful Conservatives (where are they?) recognize it. It is painfully obvious that it is Obama's purported destroyers who are the ideologues, whose mission is the destroy Liberalism by destroying Obama, its pretended symbol.

Obama is a Centrist so he compromises by definition; but even Liberals today are more than willing to compromise. The signature battle of Obama's first years -- health care reform -- illustrates this perfectly. Liberals were content to compromise deeply from a single-payer system. But the Right Wing ideologues refused to budge and insisted that every hint of Liberalism (i.e., the public option) be struck.

When Obama sees what the Cons' true target is, then he can respond appropriately to the GOP attacks.

And, as always, follow the money: the Cons are just carrying Big Business' water. Undermining government and Liberalism is simply a means to re-install the unchecked crony capitalism that just wrecked our economy. The GOP wants political power to protect Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Agribusiness and the other oligopolists who have a stranglehold on our economy and the American people.

When one votes for a Republican today one is voting for plutocracy.

Today's GOP: Putting the Con in Conservatism!

Posted by: wbgonne | November 27, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

face it folks, republicans care about only a few things:

their jobs
their health care
their egos

if you think that any rebpulican (ok, there are a few) cares that we are employed or have our health care then you are delusional

just look at what they do and how they operate

they are committed to denying Obama so they can win - sugar coat it, deny it - but that folks is the way it is

Posted by: lndlouis | November 27, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Bernie: I think our small point of disagreement may be that I think honest Conservatives know that Obama isn't an ideologue or a Liberal. You appear to believe that the Conservative actually believe Obama is a Liberal ideologue. But, as you say, it amounts to the same thing because, either way, the real target is Liberalism.

I'm sorry I missed you citation to the Economist but I think I see your point. I recently finished an eye-opening book that is very relevant to the idea that psychopathic thinking is becoming common in American culture. The book is The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan. Bakan's book is a revelation concerning the corporate nature. The link you have identified, I think, is that Modern Conservatism has adopted corporate thinking as a political philosophy.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 27, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"If we're able to stop Obama on this [health care] it will be his Waterloo. It will break him. And we will show that we can, along with the American people, begin to push those freedom solutions that work in every area of our society."

That's what Jim Demint SAYS. Of course when it comes to the area of drug policy his idea of freedom is that everyone has the freedom to use killer alcohol and no one, not even medicine marijuana patients, has the right to use cannabis. Oh, and if non-psychoactive hemp is the only crop that would be profitable to grow on your dirt farm land, then dirt bag flaming hypocrite Jim DeMint ain't talking about your freedom either. Just another stonewalling alcohol supremacist bigot. Keep your dirty hands off peaceful cannabis users, you damn thugs!

Posted by: newageblues | November 27, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"He claims the argument that Republicans are out to "sabotage" the economy in advance of 2012 is proof that liberals are paranoid and delusional."
----------------------------------------
Actually it shows that libs, who believe this, in the main belong in straight jackets.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 27, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is just a hypocrite, like everyone else in politics.

Posted by: ozpunk | November 27, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is just a hypocrite, like everyone else in politics.

Posted by: ozpunk | November 27, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"The phrase itself, it seems to me, misses rather than gets at what is important. We really ought to use the phrase "redistribution of power" instead."

The fallacy here is that you are not describing "redistribution" of something called "power" but are granting a new power -- that of "legal" expropriation -- to your favored actors. You are engaged in propaganda.

"No tyrant at the top but instead, policy/law established by consensus of a majority of citizens. Social contracts, informal or formal, are what we are speaking of."

It's a characteristic fallacy of the left to dichotomize tyrany and democracy. That dichotomy is rejected in mainstream, post-monarchical western thinking, and in American constitutional history. You pretty much missed the whole point of the U.S. Constitution.

"There's a basic idea underpinning modern conservative economic/social philosophy, conscious or not, that as a community we will achieve our closest proximity to a Utopian arrangement if we simply allow unrestrained tyrants to battle against other unrestrained tyrants. That doesn't seem to be working out very well."

You could hardly be more ignorant about conservative thought.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 27, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Mimi

Tax cuts do create jobs

Posted by: RedLeafNation
---

Really? On what alternate reality?

During the clinton administration, 8 times as many jobs were created as were during the bush tax cut years.

During the bush tax cut years, only 3 million jobs were created, the lowest since WWII.

Today, why are we seeing a dearth of unemployment, the bush tax cuts are still in effect, but yet no jobs, only statispheric profits by the corporations.

History has proven that tax cuts do no create jobs, and nothing trickles down but the burden of the debt and the result of the impending cuts to social safety nets and essentials.

Sorry skippy, history and facts just aren't on your side.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | November 27, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

What's up with the Washington Post's staff permitting "RedLeafNation" some 14 long-winded viewer comments to monopolize this article by running off at the mouth ad nauseam?

Posted by: vicsoir1 | November 27, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Republicans: you have done more damage to this nation than all the terrorists put together.

for the benefit of 2 million.

Posted by: vigor | November 27, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

GOP agenda = Limbaugh's "Bring down Obama!"

GOP will NEVER criticize or INVESTIGATE Bush and Cheney's War Criminality that actually threw away more than 4,500 of our troops's lives, horribly mangled tens of thousands of our troops, and killed and maimed HUNDREDS of thousands of Iraqi men women and children WHOM BUSH AND CHENEY KNEW had nothing to do with 9/11.

Naturally, the Corporate owned GOP (with it's military/industrial rip offs) will do ANYTHING to block Obama, Dems, and keep their Corporate control of the USA.

Perfect case of amorality ... GOP = Amoral!

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 27, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I think everything being said about the Repubs in Congress is true. Just look at their voting record the past 2 years and try to tell me they are putting America first. They are the party that put us in this mess and have no idea whatsoever on how to get us out of it.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | November 27, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"'Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win'.... Was the president really contending that Republican representatives want their constituents to be unemployed in order to gain a political benefit for themselves?"

This method of quote reformulation is a common tactic practiced by opinion writers of all persuasions. It's a dirty trick meant to persuade where honest arguments fail. It is dishonest and the people who resort to it are corrupt. It should not be tolerated. It most especially not be tolerated by the people that honestly support the cause whose name it is being done in, because it ultimately undermines that cause.

Posted by: mmyotis | November 27, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts do create jobs

Posted by: RedLeafNation

keep saying it to yourself and maybe you will believe it. They don't--we don't have jobs now after ten years of tax cuts and Bush has the worst record ever of creating jobs. Even Carter did better. How do you explain that? All the current ones have done is bulldoze money toward the top and exacerbate inequality.

Posted by: wd1214 | November 28, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Sabotage is the only thing the Republicans have got going for them. They know that otherwise 140 million plus will be voting in 2012, many of them an inconvenient age or color.

Posted by: rhallnj | November 28, 2010 5:41 AM | Report abuse

"Give a Robert Campeau the chance to nearly destroy Federated department Stores, and he will do it gladly because it might make HIM even richer."

So? Macy's was caught up in a battle against the Humane Society to not sell fake fur made from dogs in China who were skinned alive, in 2010!

Target's banned the Salvation Army from the Christmas Drive when the chariety for the eldery and poor make most of their money from contributions. Because Target's could not take a cut from it for their own charity?

Who cares about Federated Stores, there are other department stores that sell the same items but are kinder for the sake of being kinder.

Posted by: korsholm | December 2, 2010 2:59 AM | Report abuse

"Give a Robert Campeau the chance to nearly destroy Federated department Stores, and he will do it gladly because it might make HIM even richer."

So? Macy's was caught up in a battle against the Humane Society to not sell fake fur made from dogs in China who were skinned alive, in 2010!

Target's banned the Salvation Army from the Christmas Drive when the charity for the eldery and poor make most of their money from contributions. Because Target's could not take a cut from it for their own charity?

Who cares about Federated Stores, there are other department stores that sell the same items but are kinder for the sake of being kinder.

Posted by: korsholm | December 2, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company