Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:13 PM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Obama didn't govern from the "left," part 973

By Greg Sargent

As I noted yesterday, one problem with the William Daley pick is that it risks reinforcing a totally false interpretation of Obama's first two years: That he governed from the "left." Predictably, the "centrist" group Third Way has jumped on the Daley choice to argue exactly that, citing Daley's previous criticism of Obama as too left-wing to make its point:

In a statement shortly after White House officials confirmed Mr. Daley's selection, Third Way issued a statement calling the choice "brilliant." They also released comments that Mr. Daley had made last year upon joining the board.

"We've really got to listen carefully to the public. Voters are not re-embracing conservative ideology. But we must acknowledge that the left's agenda has not won the support of a majority of Americans -- and, based on that recognition, we must steer a more moderate course."

This critique is being echoed by mainstream commentators, so it's worth challenging once again. Maybe it's true that "the left's agenda" has not won the support of a majority of Americans, but that claim has nothing to do with the agenda Obama actually pursued during his first two years.

This is a matter of simple factual reality. Obama and Dems passed a smaller stimulus than many on the left wanted. Obama and Dems jettisoned from health reform the core provision liberals sought, and embraced solutions once championed by Republicans. Wall Street reform was not as ambitious as the left had hoped. The Obama administration has escalated in Afghanistan and justified it with rhetoric that Republicans wholly approve of. Obama has embraced many Bush policies on civil liberties and terrorism that the left despises.

Obama, in other words, embraced a mix of liberal and Republican solutions to the crises he inherited. While his agenda was undeniably the most ambitious for a Dem in a generation, the general ideological complexion of his approach can at best be described as governing from the "center left" -- precisely what Daley chastised Obama for allegedly failing to do.

All that said, I wanted to revisit yesterday's post and make the case for why this misinterpretation of Obama's first two years matters.

Take the fight over repealing health reform. The planned GOP vote, while a non-starter, is only the beginning of a protracted argument with Republicans that will lead all the way up into the 2012 presidential race. It will extend to other elements of Obama's agenda, as Republicans move to roll back Wall Street reform and other achievements. In short, Dems will be under heavy pressure to repudiate the accomplishments of Obama's first two years.

If Dems internalize the idea that Obama's achievements represented politically-disastrous liberal overreach, it could weaken their resolve to aggressively defend them. It's no accident that Blue Dog Dem Dan Boren is simultaneously supporting the GOP repeal push and hailing the choice of Daley as a sign that Obama recognizes the ultraliberal error of his ways. These are two sides of the same coin. Thankfully, most Dems aren't doing this, and instead are rallying to defend the Affordable Care Act. But again, this is only the start of a much broader two-year argument.

What's more, the "disastrous liberal overreach" narrative also reinforces in the eyes of the public the notion that the GOP critique of Obama's accomplishments has something to it. That can only hurt Dems, because Obama is going to be campaigning on precisely those accomplishents, as well as (one hopes) an improved economy, when making his argument for reelection. Indeed, even if Obama does end up governing more from the "center," whatever that means, it's still bad for Dems if perceptions are reinforced of the past two years as somehow excessive or misguided.

To be clear, there's no arguing with the fact that Obama is going to need to win back independents in a big way in advance of 2012. But this is likely to turn heavily on the economy. To the extent that the Daley pick helps him reassure indys by showing he's trying to "recalibrate" relations with the business community and the nation's "job creators," or that he "gets it," that's fine. And if Daley does a good job doing what he was hired to do -- run the White House -- then great. But when the Daley choice is used to reinforce a narrative that undercuts Obama's chief accomplishments, it's worth taking the time to push back.

**************************************************************

UPDATE, 5:08 p.m.: Matt Bai, who's hardly a wild-eyed blogger, says the Daley pick does not represent any ideological shift.

By Greg Sargent  | January 7, 2011; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Health reform, White House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Why Dems are kicking into high gear against repeal
Next: The GOP's message discipline

Comments

"there's no arguing with the fact that Obama is going to need to win back independents in a big way in advance of 2012"

I'm an independent and I'm voting Green in 2012. Your post is largely spot on Greg but or this is an egregious error that forms the foundation for all the other errors the Democrats are making:

"Maybe it's true that "the left's agenda" has not won the support of a majority of Americans,"

In fact, the Left positions on major issues are overwhelmingly popular with the American people and have been since Obama's Inauguration Day. if Obama had just done what the polls said he'd be in great shape and so would the country. Why didn't he?

I think the Daley pick simply shows that Obama is a Republicrat and always has been. Obama is just a Republicrat who ran a remarkably deceptive campaign that convinced progressives that he was with them.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: Seems that by your logic if the GOP in the House passes HCR repeal but it is not enacted, they can argue that they governed from the center because their far right proposals were never enacted.

There's no doubt that the Dem congress - particularly the House - championed a far left agenda and for this they were punished at the polls. Obama himself has implied that he would push for a more progressive agenda if it were practical.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 7, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

From that known left-wing commie publication, Forbes:

The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.

The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.

Why?

Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.

http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/01/06/more-small-businesses-offering-health-care-to-employees-thanks-to-obamacare/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 7, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Time's Fareed Zakaria has the best response to this on Bill Maher's show from November 2010:

"BILL MAHER, HOST: I thought it was interesting the Blue Dog Democrats who, that’s a nice term, Blue Dog. What it really means is Democrats who act and vote more like Republicans. Very conservative Democrats. They lost on Tuesday. Those people who said, “You know what, I’m not with Obama. I disavow him even though he’s my president in my Party.” They lost. What does that tell you? You know, it tells me that this election was lost when Obama didn’t back the public option. To me, that was the one key thing that said to the people, “You know what? This is no different than Al Gore Democrats, the old Al Gore playbook. Let’s run from our achievements, and let’s not stand for what we believe in."

FAREED ZAKARIA, TIME AND CNN: I think it stretches imagination though Bill to think that fundamentally, if you look at this election and what happened, basically as you, as you mock them, Independents broke, broke for the Republicans. It’s difficult to imagine an Independent saying, “I’m going to vote for extremely right-wing Republicans because Obama wasn’t left-wing enough.” Right? You see what I’m saying? They’re saying, instead of saying, “I’m going to vote for Obama who was left of center, I’m going to go to the extreme right of the political spectrum.” I think it’s more plausible to say that they perceived rightly or wrongly that he had moved too far left. My view, the going doing healthcare itself gave people a signal he was concerned about the kind of things Bill O’Reilly was saying: social justice. Because look, fundamentally, 85 percent of the country has healthcare and worries about cost. Fifteen percent doesn’t and worries about access. What he did was he dealt with the issue of the fifteen percent before he dealt with the issue of the 85 percent.

MAHER: Among that 85 percent that has it, a lot worry that they will lose it.

ZAKARIA: They may.

MAHER: If you lose your job you lose it.

ZAKARIA: They may.

MAHER: Or if the insurance company chooses to screw you because of a spelling error, you lose it. In fact, the public option, the public option in January of ’09 polled at 73 percent approval, wanted the public option. A year later, 53 percent because the Republicans…

ZAKARIA: The healthcare plan was generally speaking not very popular from the get go.

MAHER: That’s not true. That’s still not true.

ZAKARIA: It had between 40, 48 percent support. It never really crossed 50.

MAHER: That’s not, I don’t believe that’s true. I think…

CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA, (R-CALIFORNIA): Those darned polls, they just lie.

ZAKARIA: You think if he had done a single payer system, all these guys who voted for right-wing Republicans would say, “Hallelujah! This is what we wanted. Now we don’t like Christine O’Donnell?” It just doesn’t make any sense!"

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/11/06/fareed-zakaria-exposes-bill-mahers-complete-ignorance-politics

Posted by: jnc4p | January 7, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts work!

Posted by: sbj3 | January 7, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"There's no doubt that the Dem congress - particularly the House - championed a far left agenda and for this they were punished at the polls."

That is false. Dems got clobbered -- beginning with Scott Brown in MA -- because they failed to govern effectively and let the GOP-Teabaggers take over. Dems got clobbered because they REFUSED to enact legislative measures that the country overwhelmingly wanted, from the public option to taxing the Rich. The Dems got clobbered b/c Obama insists on pursuing the disastrous debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq even though the majority of Americans want out. IOW: Yes. the Dems got punished for not obeying the will of the American people. But what the American people want is MORE progressive policies not less. Your incorrect interpretation, however, has been internalized by the White House which has led to further moves in the wrong direction. Obama better hope the GOP nominates Palin.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"There's no doubt that the Dem congress - particularly the House - championed a far left agenda and for this they were punished at the polls."

LOL. What an amazing ability to read minds! Republicans won seats simply because they are astonishingly good at lying and propaganda paid for by the uberrich. People are worried about the economy, that is the long and short of it. Once they see the corrupt crackers they elected in action, I think they will change their minds. A great deal of buyer's remorse is coming.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 7, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts work very well at killing jobs, that's about it.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 7, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

What's So Hard to Understand About "We are not a nation of red states, we are not a nation of blue states, we are the United States of America", Part 974

Obama fought for and won the best policies and programs that could be passed through a obstuctionist Senate minority, that will benefit large majorities of the American population. That isn't left, center left, center right, etc; that's effective governance of a diverse country.

Posted by: converse | January 7, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@fiona/wbgonne: "A Gallup Poll finds a statistically significant increase since last year in the percentage of Americans who describe the Democratic Party's views as being "too liberal," from 39% to 46%. This is the largest percentage saying so since November 1994."

http://www.gallup.com/poll/121307/More-Americans-See-Democratic-Party-Too-Liberal.aspx

"Nearly half of Americans say the Democratic party is too liberal, according to a new poll."

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/14/poll-49-percent-say-democrats-too-liberal/

Posted by: sbj3 | January 7, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and for those who threaten to vote green in 2012, might I suggest that you hold a candlelight march on the way to the polls as a method of doubling your strategic ineffectiveness.

Posted by: converse | January 7, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Obama and Dems passed a smaller stimulus than many on the left wanted."

This is what killed Democrats in 2010. Obama passed a stimulus bill that was too large to be ignored but too small to be effective. It preserved many jobs for state & local governments, but that is running out and the states are laying off teachers and police officers as they scramble to fill the holes.

Because the stimulus bill was too small, Obama had to make awkward and unconvincing arguments about what didn't happen rather than campaigning on what did happen. Now we are stuck in a slow recovery that is cold comfort to most Americans. Obama lost his huge House majorities, so he has to hope Republicans don't sabotage the economy in an attempt to jar him from office.

Obama played small ball and lost. His pick of Daley shows that he wants to stick to that strategy and hopes that it pays. It looks like he made the Rahm choice again.

Posted by: AxelDC | January 7, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

When is the American public going to wake up and realize that it doesn't matter who we stick in there? Clinton, Bush, Obama, McCain, Palin it just doesn't matter, they all work against the will of the American people - THEY ALL WORK FOR WALL ST, and this appointment is further proof. Those little D's and R's behind their names mean NOTHING.

Thanks for bringing back the Wall St banker that brought us NAFTA and the outsourcing of America's jobs!!!

Posted by: owsmokey | January 7, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse


If tax cuts worked, then why did Bush trash the economy and decimate the stock market?

Posted by: sbj3 |
Tax cuts work!

Posted by: AxelDC | January 7, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

For starters:

Obama has already enacted about seventy percent of the agenda he campaigned on, and all that in just the first two years of his term.

What no pundit ever takes into consideration. The Global Financial Collapse, late in the campaign.

All the promises he campaigned on, had to be pushed back, in order to avoid slipping into a second Great Depression. All the revenues that had to be expended on just keeping the economy from completely collapsing, with 20 to 25% unemployment levels, could not have been foreseen by President Obama, when he was campaigning for the nomination, and for almost all of the general election campaign season.

The last minute Banking Collapse, forced Obama to rearrange all his priorities.

Now for the next huge thing that happened, which pundits appear to not take into account.

The loss of Ted Kennedy. He was going to be the one who was going to handle the negotiations with Senate Republicans on almost all of Obama's agenda, and he had a record of getting things done. When Obama lost Ted, no one else in the Senate was capable of getting the job done, like Ted would have.

The Max Baucus debacle would never have happened, were Ted still there to shepherd things through.

How about listing all the things that were accomplished by the Democrats, despite the massive Financial Meltdown that was dropped in their laps, at the last minute.

Imagine if that had not happened, how much more receptive the electorate would be to what has been accomplished, if the massive deficit spending did not have to have been expended to save the country from complete disaster.

The glass is seventy percent full, and he is only half way through his allotted pouring time.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@axel and fiona: I guess I should have referenced below regarding my sarcastic tax cuts work remark.

"The tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working."

http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/01/06/more-small-businesses-offering-health-care-to-employees-thanks-to-obamacare/

Posted by: sbj3 | January 7, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"But we must acknowledge that the left's agenda has not won the support of a majority of Americans."


I don't recall Obama or any other Democrat actually stating any kind of agenda or plan, which I think may have been one of the reasons behind Dem voter apathy.

In not articulating the Democratic vision, Obama and Dems in congress let conservatives articulate the vision for them, and indeed it opens the door for them say things like "we must acknowledge that the left's agenda has not won the support of a majority of Americans." For my view, I think Obama in particular simply doesn't agree with nor does he care to get skin in the game for liberal policy, for he is a right-leaning centrist (at least by today's definition).

Posted by: terraformer5 | January 7, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

End the two wars of Republican adventure and balance the budget.

Oh, and where are the 500,000 US jobs you owe us for November and the 500,000 US jobs you owe us for December, Republics?

GET TO WORK!

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 7, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

sbj:

Americans don't know a "liberal" policy position from a "conservative" position. All they know -- because they have been propagandized for 40 years by organized, paid professionals -- is that "liberal" is bad and "conservative" is good.

70% of Americans want a public health plan.
81% of Americans want to reduce the debt by raising taxes on the Rich and cutting defense spending.
61% want out of Afghanistan.

Those are issues. Not whether Liberals or Conservatives are more popular.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Targetsd tax cuts to small business is a different matter. But doesn't matter, Rs are hell-bent on pursuing their job-killing agenda, no matter what the cost:

"Just as House Republicans gear up to repeal the "job killing" Affordable Care Act, the Department of Labor is reporting that the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs last month, pushing the jobless rate down to a 19-month low of 9.4 percent.

In fact, since President Obama signed health reform into law on March 23, 2010, the economy has created approximately a total of 1.1 million new jobs in the private sector. One-fifth of the new jobs - over 200,000 - have been in the health care industry. Nevertheless, Republicans have spent the week decrying health reform as "job killing" legislation.

Aside from the fact that increasing access to health services will create thousands of jobs in the health care sector, Harvard economist David Cutler argues in new paper released this morning that repealing the health law would reverse these gains and could destroy 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually over the next decade. Eliminating the law would increase health care costs and cause employers to reduce wages and cut jobs for those employees who already receive minimum wage or are in fixed contracts. From the report:

Figure 3 shows the net impact of repealing health reform on total employment. The baseline estimates show that 250,000 jobs will be lost annually if health reform is repealed. Annual job losses would average 400,000 using the greater estimate of 1.5 percentage point cost increases annually resulting from repeal. "

http://thinkprogress.org/

Posted by: fiona5 | January 7, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

P.S., sbj:

And those issue poll numbers are precisely why the Green Party is set to emerge.

Greens in 2012!

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

i Tax cuts work!

Right. That's why we have the over-abundance of jobs right now thanks to the Bush tax cuts that are still in place.

Please... Let's deal with reality.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 7, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"@fiona/wbgonne: "A Gallup Poll finds a statistically significant increase since last year in the percentage of Americans who describe the Democratic Party's views as being "too liberal," from 39% to 46%. This is the largest percentage saying so since November 1994."


Wow, you have the entire mainstream media as well as millions of dollars in anonymous ad campaigns jamming this message down the country's throat and you STILL can't convince Americans that the Dems are too liberal?

Downright pathetic.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 7, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Greens in 2012!"

Good Luck. You gonna run Nader/LaDuke again? Or bump LaDuke up & find another 2nd banana nobody's heard of? Maybe try the celebrity angle; I hear Alec Baldwin wants to make a run at public office. If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly, as my buddy always says.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 7, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think tax cuts do work to accomplish what they are designed to do.

The ACA tax cuts for small businesses to encourage them to provide health insurance for their employees are working to accomplish that.

The Bush tax cuts designed to make rich people richer made rich people richer.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 7, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

" You gonna run Nader/LaDuke again?"

Beats me. It's my first day with the Greens. Nonetheless, NOT voting for Democrats will have salutary effects, I believe, especially when the number becomes significant. Someone the other day said that f-ing retard progressives who have been driven from the Dem Party should start a new one: the Left Out Party. Maybe that will happen but for now it's the Greens for me. With a decent push -- do they have any money at all? -- they could sign up millions of alienated progressive independents and disaffected liberal Dems. They are on every state ballot already.

Greens in 2012!

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Since the Gang Of Five Right Wing Supremes gave me the Green Light;

and they are now considered to be persons:

I am going to get behind a 2012 ticket of

Halliburton/Raytheon
Power to the newly emancipated American Persons, will be their campaign slogan.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"i Tax cuts work!

Right. That's why we have the over-abundance of jobs right now thanks to the Bush tax cuts that are still in place.

Please... Let's deal with reality.

Posted by: Alex3"

To be fair, I don't think the tax cuts are to blame for the job situation. They certainly won't help the employment situation, and they are responsible for a large portion of our current deficit, but I don't think they have much to do with our current situation.

That's why I don't have a huge problem with the tax cut deal passed last year. Yeah, it sucks to be adding to the deficit with very little economic benefits, but I don't think they will make our immediate situation much worse and the deal does contain things like unemployment extensions and the payroll tax holiday, two provisions which have high stimulus effects. It's not perfect, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Either Republicans will actually make an effort to reduce deficits one day or we are screwed no matter what. But in any case, may as well get people working and eating.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 7, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The White House still seems to have missed the reason that they lost in November 2010: Democrats STAYED HOME. And they did so because the White House threw them and the liberal agenda under the bus. Moving more to the center at this point ensures a GOP majority in 2012 for the simple reason that Republicans will turn out in greater numbers (again) and vote for the actual Republicans instead of the Democrats acting like Republicans. Short a winning primary challenge by a real Democrat, the GOP is a shoe-in in 2012; ask the bookies.

Posted by: SageThrasher | January 7, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Another R pres candidate who is totally nuts, Mitch Daniels:

"What you’re saying to these younger people is – who, by the way, I think, barring disasters, are going to live to possibly old ages, as we have always thought of it…. They will live to be more than 100, because, again, barring accidents or something, or war, well over. They should. They’ll be replacing body parts like we do tires. If you ask a young person who’s paying any attention to this, “How old do you expect to be, and how long would you like to be a vital working person?” they’re not going to find this offensive."

heck yes, young people today are going to live to be 100, no question. wonder who mitch thinks will be paying for all this replacing body parts?

He must be on some kind of drugs.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 7, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Tax Cuts are a miracle cure.

If you enact them on December 21st, and wait a couple of weeks, the amount of daylight will start to grow longer and longer.

Tax Cuts; Is there nothing they can't fix!

The more you cut them, the more taxes get paid to the government. The Weeping Gavelier told me that, and I believe him. That is why I am urging all members of Congress to reduce taxes to just one percent across the board, and to start a jobs program by building giant warehouses across the entire country, to hold all the surplus revenues that will come pouring in.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Whenever someone mentions "Greens",....

......I think of vegetables.

Can't help it.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 7, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

heck yes, young people today are going to live to be 100, no question. wonder who mitch thinks will be paying for all this replacing body parts?

He must be on some kind of drugs.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 7, 2011 2:27 PM

............................

Mitch turns out to be just as wacky as Palin.

Consider this; under his scenario; the retirement age must be extended because almost all people will still be active until they are a hundred years old.

Why would young people think that is a great thing? After all; since we shipped so many jobs overseas, and can not give young people, coming out of college, jobs now, imagine how much harder it would be for them to find jobs, if people were no longer retiring in their sixties, but still filling jobs for another twenty years or more.

Mitch looks like he could do with a full Robocop makeover right now.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"Americans don't know a "liberal" policy position from a "conservative" position. All they know -- because they have been propagandized for 40 years by organized, paid professionals -- is that "liberal" is bad and "conservative" is good."

Thanks for pointing that out, wbgonne.

It's just like all the polling that took place before HCR: the numbers of those who opposed the bill as a whole were high, but when individuals were asked about specifics of the bill, the numbers told an entirely different story.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | January 7, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"He must be on some kind of drugs."

Health care, the modern version of the miracle! He's just jealous of all the new body parts his insurance won't cover. He has to settle for drugs.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 7, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on the GOP's astoundingly good message discipline:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/the_gops_message_discipline.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 7, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Nonetheless, NOT voting for Democrats will have salutary effects, I believe, especially when the number becomes significant"

Sure, for republicans. When Rs take over and finally achieve their goal of destroying the middle class, I am sure you will be thrilled at how much you helped.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 7, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Why would young people think that is a great thing? After all; since we shipped so many jobs overseas, and can not give young people, coming out of college, jobs now, imagine how much harder it would be for them to find jobs, if people were no longer retiring in their sixties, but still filling jobs for another twenty years or more.
--------------------------------------------------------------
The situation is far worse than having people work til they are 70 or 75 or 80. It will be like today. You won't have a job past 50 *and* you won't be able to get a job out of college because jobs have been outsourced to some other country.

It won't affect me, because I'm too old, but I feel sorry for my kids and their kids. Work til you're 70! Right, like you'll have that opportunity.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 7, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Of Tax Cuts, And Celtic Tigers

For several years, Republicans used Ireland as an example of an economy that was booming because of having such low tax rates.

Today: The Celtic Tiger has suffered a massive stroke, is on life support with an IMF feeding tube shoved down it's throat, and almost all of it's best and brightest forced to go abroad, in search of employment.

Some one ask some Republicans why they are not now warning America to not emulate Ireland, by cutting taxes too much, because it will lead to the country having to be bailed out, and run by the IMF.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

America must confront the fact that the greatest single impediment to our economic prosperity is the Marxist radical, Barack Obama, whom we unwittingly elevated to the presidency of the United States. Whenever you hear Obama speak, just remember that he was tutored/indoctrinated in Marxist dialectic/deceit by some of the most devoted leftist ideologues on the scene. Think about it every time you stop to fill-up your gasoline tank at a Service Station. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | January 7, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama didn't govern from the "left"

Determining the political right and left all depends on your starting point.

If you start from the point that Lenin's "New Economic Policy" was OK and that Stalin just perverted the system, then no, Obama didn't govern from the "left."

On the other hand if you start at almost any other point on a sliding political scale, yes, Obama did govern from the "left."

Interestingly, Lenin's "New Economic Policy" was promulgated by decree on 21 March 1921. Rule by decree, where have I heard that recently?????


Posted by: NormReisig | January 7, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"When Rs take over and finally achieve their goal of destroying the middle class"

Oh please. We see what Obama is and what the Democratic Party has become: handmaidens for Wall Street and Big Business. No different than the GOP on the issues vital to the Middle Class. Dems stand for nothing except not being as crazy as Republicans. Dems are milquetoast losers who despise anyone who doesn't take it and shut up. I'll take my chances elsewhere. I hope many other will too.

Greens in 2012! (They're good for you!)

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Whenever you hear Obama speak, just remember that he was tutored/indoctrinated in Marxist dialectic/deceit by some of the most devoted leftist ideologues on the scene.

Greg Neubeck
--------------------------------------------------
Great last name. Are you the new Beck?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 7, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow are the liberals here glum. How nice is that!!
12bar seems convinced that "is now and ever shall be" is the truth. We'll see about how the job market goes in the future. Almost anything can happen. I remember when the Germans and Japanese were going to own America. I remember when we were told by the liberal elites that we should come to some understanding with the soviets because they were here to stay. Certainly the prosperous people of Venice in its heyday couldn't imagine a time when they wouldn't be the top of the heap.

And so it goes.

wbgone is so beside himself (herself?) (itself?)that abandonning the Democrats for the Greens makes sense.

I propose that the Green party adopt the watermellon as its mascot. After all that amazing vegetable is green on the outside and red on the inside, just like wbgone.

AxelinDC is verfkempt because Obama didn't spend enough money on the stimulus. If one trillion borrowed dollars didn't do what Obama said it would it can only mean that he should have asked for two trillion borrowed dollars instead. I guess if Obama has pee'd away that much the liberals would at least be twice as happy, even if the expenditure did nothing for the economy, just like that 1 tril did nothing.

Oh, one more thing. I would like to propose Dave Barry's suggestion for the next number needed to describe Federal spending. We've done Millions, then Billions, now Trillions. Dave Barry suggests that the next word we should us is "Godzillian". Given that government spending at this level is likely to harm us greatly I think the "Godzillion" makes complete sense.

Hope all the lefties here cheer up. There's always another day to confiscate money from people you don't like and regulate out existence businesses you don't like and censor the speech of people you don't like and sneer at just about everybody else!!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 7, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Rule by decree, where have I heard that recently?????"

Bush v. Gore, 2000.


Posted by: schrodingerscat | January 7, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"wbgone is so beside himself (herself?) (itself?)"

Itself. I am a corporate person. And I know my rights.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem here is Third Way's deeply flawed premise. To hear them tell it, Dems should chart their agenda based on what polls well in Third Way focus groups rather basing it on, say, good policy. That's the opposite of leadership, and terrible advice.

Posted by: FPLDan | January 7, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"The biggest problem here is Third Way's deeply flawed premise. To hear them tell it, Dems should chart their agenda based on what polls well in Third Way focus groups rather basing it on, say, good policy. That's the opposite of leadership, and terrible advice."

Well, you are correct but it's already done. Obama has come out of the closet as the Republicrat he is. Now what?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

This isn't very complicated. The right wing drool machine would have said Obama or any democrat who had wonn the WH was implementing a radical socialist agenda regardless of what actually was said or done. The peddlers of this drool are economically married to creating more and more incendiary rhetoric to feed the drool comsumers. Since no one can hear an argument that effects their income it's pointless even talking to the droolers and seriously pointless talking to anyone who would consume their drool. At least the peddlers have a rational reason for peddling their drool in the first place, money. What the people who lick this up get out of it is a mystery to me.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 7, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Before you now joined The Greens, did you at least show some consideration, and notify the Judean People's Front, that you were leaving them?

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I belive this to be true:
==============
We see what Obama is and what the Democratic Party has become: handmaidens for Wall Street and Big Business.
=====================

Looking at corporate contributions and revolving door between Wall Street and the Democrats in DC this is absolutely the state of play.

We must also include the labor unions in the list of folks who pull the strings for the Democrat marionettes. Especially Public Service unions. They paid heavily for Democrats in DC and expect a very good return on their investment.

I have been saying for years that the Democrats are far better at raising funds on Wall Street than the Republicans were. Looking at some of the major contributors both to Obama and to the various Democrat campaigns it is easy to see that the myth about Republicans is false on its face.

In addition if we look at the election results in some of the most affluent areas of America we see that the trend is very much toward Democrats at the voting booth.

I remember when my daughter and I visited New York a few years ago. My brother drove us to a train stop in Greenwich, CT. All the vehicles in the parking lot were huge, expensive, imported SUV's. All the bumper stickers were for Kerry. We laughed. What else can you do in the face of such rank hypocrasy?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 7, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Poor Skippy,

It broke his heart to notice that not all Democrats were impoverished.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr Sargent, for stating what hasnt been said enough. Obama has actually run on a Republican "Light" platform. He has taken his base for granted and capitulated or compromised with those that oppose the progressives.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | January 7, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

obama has been from the far left since day 1.

sargent offers no contradictory evidence at all.... despite his many wasted words.

this column is so much better when the other guy writes it.

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 7, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The "Obama governed from the left" beltway conventional wisdom is well entrenched and 100% wrong! At besed, Obama governed from barely left of center, but on many issues was close to his predecessor, who was certainly no leftist.

In fact, had he governed from the left, in line with the popular positions of MOST of the american people on issues from the wars, to war crimes, to the public option, to indictments for Wall Street thieves, he would have won in the midterms and would have finished off the republican party once and for all.

But he didn't, and as such, he alienated his base, drove off independents who have a nasty habit of expecting officials to deliver on their campaign promises, and now faces a newly empowered and hostile Teapublican Congress.

This liberal is done with him, and will be voting Green or the like in 2012. I'd rather have a real Teapublican in office than a latter day Chamberlain.

Posted by: pblotto | January 7, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a leftist. However, he and his handlers soon realized that if he went too far left in his first term, he wouldn't stand a chance of getting re-elected.

Obama's goal is getting to that second term.

His handlers saw the writing on the wall with the Tea Party Movement, the downturn in the economy not helped by his failed Stimulus, Porkulus, Cash for Clunkers, First-time Buyers Credit, Obamacare, Financial Reform, etc., which further fueled opposition to his policies. Add to that Scott Brown's win, last winter and Obama saw the writing on the wall.

Obama hedged his bets. Move towards the center, sucker in the Independents and get re-elected.

As far as Iraq and Afghanistan, it's one thing to rail against Bush and the Wars when you're a Senator and another thing when you're now sitting in the Oval Office.

Posted by: janet8 | January 7, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Janet,

Don't let the facts interfere with your little rants.

With regards to both Iraq, and Afghanistan, Obama is doing what he said he would do, during his campaign.

He said that he would withdraw from Iraq, and he is doing so. He said that Afghanistan was a necessary war, and he would prosecute it.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

A perfect example of an Obamaite in denial. Denies the shellacking in November. Denies the rejection of Obamacare by the majority of Americans. Denies Daley's wall-street ties. Denies the rejection by the American people of the wall-street bailout. I could go on but what is the use to someone in denial.

Posted by: delusional1 | January 7, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

George Bush somehow managed to embody the worst of the left -- big spending/big government profligacy -- with the worst of the right -- flirtations with neo-fascism -- and Obama has merely soldiered on with that sordid legacy. Presumably that's because he fatally surrounded himself with establishment flunkies from the get go of his presidency for some reason.

The only difference between Obama and Bush is emphasis. Obama emphasized the big government/big government profligacy side while merely going through the motions on the other side.

Either way both presidencies have been disasters, combining the worst of liberal policies with the worst of conservative policies. The only possible explanation for that sorry state of affairs is that the American system of government is paralyzed by a stranglehold of special interests who benefit from those extreme policies and they're not going to let go until the last breath of life has been squeezed out of the common good.

Posted by: politbureau | January 7, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"Obama didn't govern from the left"

Really?? Thats a truly stupid statement.

Where the hell did he govern from then? Damn sure wasn't from the right. The moon maybe??

Posted by: Straightline | January 7, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I see President Obama as a moderate. He stepped on toes among progressives just as he did with conservatives. He is exactly the kind of president I admire and would vote to re-elect.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | January 7, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

In the spirit of better and tighter editing, this headline can be shortened to: "Obama didn't govern."

Posted by: wantingbalance | January 7, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The whole premise that he was governing from the left or even the "center-left" is proposterous. The ambitious left policies were not even discussed or attempted. The negotiations involved giving up almost everything before starting. The bully pulpit was not used until the last moments of the main bills, only to save them from extinction. This administration has governed slightly to the right of Nixon.

Posted by: NYClefty | January 7, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama's presidency was doomed from the moment he tried to make a deal with the devil by surrounding himself with a phalanx of minders from Washington's two dominant power factions: neoconservatives and sociocrats.

Any careful observer has watched him being beaten back step by step, policy by policy, as the devil has demanded his due.

By now Obama has all but closed the deal for his soul and the rest of us are left wondering what's left for us and where to go from here.

Posted by: politbureau | January 7, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Love this article, and these comments. It's apparent the left doesn't even really understand why they were clobbered in November. They actually seem to think Obama hasn't pursued a left agenda. This lack of understanding what the rest of the country sees bodes well for the Republicans in two years.

Posted by: termiteavenger | January 7, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

BHO governs from the golf course. He peeks into the oval office between golf, basketball games and smoking to see if anyone called. What a waste of time.

Posted by: BadNews | January 7, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

You can sell this snake oil to the useful yes we can crowd and the left, but the rest of the American people who fired the Democrats aren't buying it. Obama overreached in believing this country was ready to go socialist, ready to spread the wealth around, ready to have health care forced down our throats, ready to force us to buy something we don't want, ready to abandon our values and principles for socialist values and principles, ready to adopt leftist ideology, ready to embrace class warfare and racial politics, ready to ignore the Constitution, ready to ignore jobs and the economy until Obama's green jobs were forced on businesses, ready to criminalize the private sector, ready to change our fundamentals, ready to embrace his social justice and abandon the America we all grew up in. Have you forgotten who Obama invited the minute he was sworn in. Everyone who was invited was from the left. Everyone who abandoned Obama's sinking ship to find jobs elsewhere before this last election were from the left. As for Daley. He's a leftist and there isn't a thing you can do to change that.

Posted by: houstonian | January 8, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

our site was: ( www )( madeshopping )( com )
BEST QUALITY GUARANTEE!!
SAFTY & HONESTY GUARANTEE!!
FAST & PROMPT DELIVERY GUARANTEE!!

Packing: All the products are packed with original boxes and tags also retro cards/ code
numder
A ir jo rdan (1-24) sh oes ($33)
Ha ndba gs(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) ($35)
Bik ini (Ed har dy,polo)
our site ( www )( madeshopping )( com )

kllkklkl

Posted by: linxiaoben520 | January 8, 2011 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Democrats provided the first free market healthcare system in U.S. history that Republicans had supported for decades!
MANDATED INSURANCE is a Republican proposal and has been for decades - UNTIL healthcare reform became a real possibility and Republicans needed an issue to distract from Bush's Great Recession and Bush's collapse of the economy.

iow - Republicans call their own plan "socialism."
Republicans also called Medicare and Social Security "socialism" during those debates decades ago.

Posted by: angie12106 | January 8, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Just amazing that the Washington Post is more interested in "pinning down his beliefs" than they are in journalism.

Maybe "his beliefs" are that he is mentally deranged.

But, we all know the purpose for the need to "pin down his beliefs." That need is to blame "the right."

Why worry about facts? Just do what most leftist whackos are doing - blame Palin, Limbaugh, the TEA Party, the right, and anybody who holds a different political view.

Which goes to show, the WP is fixated on politics above all else.

Believe it or not, the politics of "left" and "right" don't necessarily drive everybody's actions. Only for the overly politicised whackos.

Posted by: Cdgaman | January 10, 2011 11:51 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

© 2011 The Washington Post Company