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Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 12/22/2010

President Obama (D-Persistent)

By Jonathan Capehart

"I am persistent," President Obama said in his "How ya like me now?!" press conference. "If I believe in something strongly, I stay with it." And he has enough legislative victories in this lame-duck session to prove it. The deal on tax cuts and the extension of unemployment benefits. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." A new START treaty with the Russians. The passage of the first changes in food safety laws in more than 70 years. And a law to provide for the health care of those who put duty first in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

One interesting comment came in response to a question from ABC's Jake Tapper, who wanted to know how the president squares his push for equality for gay men and lesbians in the military but not in the ability to wed. Obama reiterated his support for a strong civil unions protections. But he did acknowledge that his thoughts are "evolving" in this area. This was not entirely new. He made similar -- and stronger comments -- to a group of progressive bloggers in October. Still, that he admitted to being open to changing his stance a second, more public time is significant.

Obama also discussed his disappointments. Chief among them was the Senate's failure to pass the Dream Act. It was in relation to this that Obama talked about his penchant for persistence. And he wants a real budget that balances spending cuts with investments that propel the nation forward.

Over and over again, Obama made the point that his wins since the November elections were really wins for the American people and proof that compromise can happen between Democrats and Republicans in Washington. With Republicans taking over the House and narrowing the Democratic majority in the Senate next month, we'll see how long this spirit lasts.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 22, 2010; 5:47 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: Obama's lame-duck session lesson: leadership

Comments

Actually the accomplishments of the lame duck were meager, and every bill passed waas filled with compromises. The real meat - Sepnding and illegal aliens fell nto the GOP camp. Come January, Federal Spending will be slashed, ala Chis Cristey in New Jersey. Obama won some window dressing bills, but the real meat goes to the Republicans, as they have already pulled 2010 funds for Obamacare.

Posted by: Realist201 | December 22, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Actually the accomplishments of the lame duck were meager, and every bill passed waas filled with compromises. The real meat - Sepnding and illegal aliens fell nto the GOP camp. Come January, Federal Spending will be slashed, ala Chis Cristey in New Jersey. Obama won some window dressing bills, but the real meat goes to the Republicans, as they have already pulled 2010 funds for Obamacare.

Posted by: Realist201 | December 22, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

By the 2008 elections, the country was angry and finally becoming aware that they were getting screwed by the super rich. The things the super rich and their Republican minions feared the most was that this anger and enlightenment might translate into: real health reform, regulation of banks and Wall Street, and loss of their privileged tax status and easy access to middle class produced income and wealth. Republicans reconnoitered and decided that they had several main goals:
1) Preserve the health insurance system to allow insurance companies and drug companies to continue robbing the middle class and by any means stop any real health care reform , ie single payer.
2) Continue the massive shift of income from the middle class by continuing the destruction of unions and continuing the tax Bush tax cuts for the super rich
3) Continue the massive wealth transfer from the middle class by continuing and extending the extremely low estate tax.
4) Protect Wall Street and the Banks from any regulation by the angry middle class by pacifying them with some kind of phony Financial Reform law.
5) Support the super rich in the military-industrial complex by continuing and expanding the senseless overseas wars that produce huge profits.
6) Prevent any middle class relief through modification of mortgages in Bankruptcy Court.
7) Continue and increase the transfer of power to the executive and the expansion of government secrecy in all matters, especially embarrassing ones.
8) Continue the erosion of civil rights under the name of security.
They knew they were in luck on these issues. No Republican President could carry that agenda in these times and get away with it, but fortunately, in Barack Obama, they had a kindred spirit. Judging intentions by actions rather than words as Judges instruct judges to do, Obama has been the most successful Republican president since Ronald Reagan. He managed to put through the entire Republican agenda and even add a few goodies:
9) 30 million new customers to the insurance companies with very limited coverage at taxpayer expense.
10) The first successful attack on Social Security ever, by tying it for the first time to the general fund, in opposition to everything FDR and New Deal Democrats had preached for decades and thereby making it just another entitlement program easily subject to being slashed and/or killed.
In addition, Obama’s final gift was allowing himself to be cast as a “socialist” while carrying out the Republican agenda, and thereby setting up Republican victories in 2010 and 2012. Measured by the standards of the super rich and the hard core Republicans, Barack Obama is in contention for the most successful president in history.

Posted by: jklfairwin | December 22, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse


But for many hardworking families, affordable insurance can be hard to find. The new "Wise Health Insurance" is giving you more control over your family’s health care by expanding your options for health insurance and making them more affordable.

Posted by: daleleblanc | December 23, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

"Actually the accomplishments of the lame duck were meager, and every bill passed was filled with compromises." What an ignorant comment! And as if "compromises" are a bad thing. The real question is why are the Republicans so backward in their thinking and why do they have ANY supporters! Just think would could be accomplished if both parties where actually trying to solve problems rather than just playing political chess. President Obama has not done everything the way I would like but there is no denying he is one of the most legislatively accomplished presidents we have ever had.

Posted by: SHParkland | December 23, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

The capacity for denial by some is astounding. Yes, The is being compared to accomplishments by Roosevelt and Johnson. And those who dream that the new batch of Republicans can come in and undo; don't forget who holds the veto. It is done and it is good for America. But I grieve the Dream Act. That was an excellent peice of legislation. American's future depends on immigrants and some people need to get thier minds around that. We have an aging population and declining rate; it will destroy this country if we don't get productive immigrants.

Posted by: withersb | December 23, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Well my fellow Americans the unofficial official propaganda outlet for the Democrat Party for Washington DC, the Washington POST and their staff of left-wing Journolists have a blitzkrieg of Pro-Obama "stories" out here today to "move the masses" towards their hero again.

I guess this is the beginning of our dirty dishonest liberal/progressive MSM wolfpack presses attempt to Re-install our Great Divider-in-Chief in 2012.....

Yep the institution that helped install/elect Obama in November 2008 is in full "blitzkrieg" support of Obama today.

Sure hope Obama prays everyday to God for the great "Press".......lol

Is it 2012 yet?

Posted by: allenridge | December 23, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

ahhahaha the DREAM ACT ... Keep dreaming.


Unless you have backing of billionaires and multimillionaires your cause is not important in Obamaland. The Gays have lots of money ... they got theirs ... the rich have lots of money ... the got theirs.

You illegals need to start putting some serious money on the table!

Posted by: cautious | December 23, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Republicans looked pretty bad: They opposed the DREAM Act and the 9/11 first responders bill, but fought tough and nail for tax cuts for billionaires.

Posted by: gtoney55 | December 23, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

People talk of repeal of Obamacare as a victory for Americans, when in reality it will be a net reduction in coverage if it occurs. It will be a net loss for Americans. The problem is that fear mongering by politicians in the protection of special interests prevails over facts, especially by conservatives, such that real solutions are never reached. We are supposed to believe that giving the rich and corporations all they desire solves our problems? Let greed and free-enterprise run unobstructed? I don't buy that line and I grew up with a small business. I make sure I provide health care for my employees. It's my obligation.

I suspect the pendulum will swing back toward progressives when the country realizes that the Tea Party politicians they elect represent medieval and culture controlling government practices.

Posted by: gfoster56 | December 23, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised at how much Pres. Obama and Democrats along with some Republicans accomplished. I think moderate Republicans realize they had to do something or be stuck with nothing as the Tea Party candidates are seated.

Posted by: rlj1 | December 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

President Obama (D-Persistent)?

More like: President Obama (R-Sellout)

Posted by: question-guy | December 23, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

President Obama (D-Persistent)?

More like: President Obama (R-Sellout)

Where are the jobs?

Posted by: question-guy | December 23, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

President Obama (D-Persistent)?

More like: President Obama (R-Sellout)

Where are the jobs?

Posted by: question-guy | December 23, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

President Obama (D-Persistent)?

More like: President Obama (R-Sellout)

Where are the jobs?

Posted by: question-guy | December 23, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama will go down in history... as one of the most destructive and damaging presidents we have ever had... it you look internationally, you will see that the US had one of the best healthcare systems in the world, until we tried to emulate govt controlled systems that have not worked elsewhere. Additionally, it will result in higher taxes and higher healthcare costs, while the quality will go down. Everyone who currently has healthcare through their employer will tell you that their costs will increase in 2011 due to the new healthcare laws. Now the gays in the military... how do you destroy the best military in the world? You break down unit cohesiveness... how will they manage the integration of the openly gay? They separate men and women but how do you separate men from men and women from women? Or do you? If you think its about civil rights, you're thinking like a civilian and not a soldier.

Posted by: DrDave4 | December 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

these liberals are like a bunch of children who idolize their father. dont they realize DADT is the new Gitmo? this legislation never had to be passed. Clinton didnt need legislation when he instituted the policy and Obama does need legislation to change it. just another illusion of action from a president who will forever be remembered for fidling while Rome burned by taking 12 months to jam a unconstitutional, budget busting, and tone-deaf health care bill through a filibuster proof democrat congress.

But what else is Capehart supposed to do when silver linings are all he has left?

Posted by: dummypants | December 23, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

President Obama has been a successful President up to this point. His lack of ideological purity reflects both his commitment to uphold and enforce the laws of the U.S., and to outline his goals in a manner consistent with his campaign and with making progress where it is possible.

THe 24/7 Fox assault on this President, whether he is being "bipartisan" or traveling abroad in the name of our country's foreign policy, he has been attacked without regard for the country's best interests or even civil criticism.

He is a target for Roger Ailes and Murdoch's empire- distorting, misinforming and denigrating him and the institution without regard for the People or for U.S. law.

Millions of us support the President and do not automatically blame him for the backward reactionary industry that owns the GOP Senators and undercuts everything the Pres has tried to do for our country.

The GOP stamp is on every disappointment, every less-than-perfect effort this White House has put forward. In most modern democracies, the goal of "making him fail" would be considered UNpatriotic, if not treasonous.

Posted by: rowens1 | December 23, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The legislative successes of the "lame duck" session can be attributed to many factors. I have not heard or read one which changed the tone of the proceedings: the absence of the slogan/half truth filled election season ads, phone calls, blogs, etc. These efforts to gain public attention...quite successfully for the most part...ceased once the November elections had come and gone. Not hearing such slogans as "government takeover of health care" or "death tax" allowed an atmosphere to reign in which actual civil discourse, for the most part, could occur. If doubt ever existed that such tactics poison our public life, the legislative session following the elections should put that doubt to rest. When a Democrat or a Republican attempted to keep pre-election passions churning in the last six or so weeks, the attempt failed for the most part. One instance comes to mind: the Republican leadership claim that the START treaty ratification was "rushed through" simply did not sway many Republican senators who had fallen in line previously. Nor did it become viral as many such claims had done, fact having no relevance. There are other explanations of course but the absence of pre-election vindictiveness played a necessary role.

Posted by: Cleo6 | December 23, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The legislative successes of the "lame duck" session can be attributed to many factors. I have not heard or read one which changed the tone of the proceedings: the absence of the slogan/half truth filled election season ads, phone calls, blogs, etc. These efforts to gain public attention...quite successfully for the most part...ceased once the November elections had come and gone. Not hearing such slogans as "government takeover of health care" or "death tax" allowed an atmosphere to reign in which actual civil discourse, for the most part, could occur. If doubt ever existed that such tactics poison our public life, the legislative session following the elections should put that doubt to rest. When a Democrat or a Republican attempted to keep pre-election passions churning in the last six or so weeks, the attempt failed for the most part. One instance comes to mind: the Republican leadership claim that the START treaty ratification was "rushed through" simply did not sway many Republican senators who had fallen in line previously. Nor did it become viral as many such claims had done, fact having no relevance. There are other explanations of course but the absence of pre-election vindictiveness played a necessary role.

Posted by: Cleo6 | December 23, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Capehart: Obama's lame-duck session lesson: leadership
Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 12/22/2010
President Obama (D-Persistent)
By Jonathan Capehart

Last time we checked the alphabet, Jon Boyee', "D" stood for *amned, *umb, *emocrat. We fail, as the Negotiator-in-Chief does in nearly all categories of Leadership, to see how a "P" reminds you of anything remotely admirable coming from this Tent City @ 1600 Pirates of *iss on 'em when they're up, *iss on 'em when they're down Ave. In fact December 15th, 2010, was a day that will live in infamy.

Never have so few, sworn to defend and protect those with so much to lose, spoken so loudly, written so many pages, with the wave of the hand, a slip of the tongue, sold away the peace of mind of so many people in the world. Never have so many with the charge of looking out for those who have less voice, less stature, less power to persuade, been so negligent in their responsibility to keep a constant vigil required to maintain and secure the future of the Republic, passed down to US all by a few (BOTH the TOO WEALTHY and the not nearly WEALTHY ENOUGH) with so much given of their own Lives, Fortunes, Sacred Honor. Thursday, December 16, 2010 was the sad day after, when WE reluctanly shared oxygen with the 111th, the Lamest Congress of the (by their hand) Un-United States of America, and the (once proud, precise, prescient) 4th\5th Estate. May the **mighty **erlasting forgive those who are yet ignorant of what they are doing.

Now instead of being thankful that any of these Lame Quacks are returning, these turkeys in tuxedos, and unfortunately, transparent speedos, who just punched another hole in our tin cup, and dropped a 2% lump of coal in OUR Chris'mas stocking, seem determined to leave their scent on the next two years, no matter what America wants, needs, or cries out for.

When we need a glass at least half full, these turkeys in tuxedos, and unfortunately, transparent speedos, bring out a paper cup with another hole in it. If not then, why now? If 2% is good, and will improve the Job situation, why didn't he do that on day one? If 2% is good now, why not 100%? If not now, when? If the top 1%-2% of the earners in this country spend 30% of the money, how does he (The President) still succeed with painting the Republicans as holding the Un-Employed hostage, thus preventing him from taking at least half of that 30% away?

This nation needs TAX AMNESTY, not compromise, not trade-offs, not tax cuts extended, not tax credits, NOT HOLDING UN-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS HOSTAGE TO POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY, and NOT NONAME GUTLESS WONDERS THINKING AND TALKING FOR THE 65% OF THE COUNTRY WHO ARE ...tired, oh so tired, of being told BY OUR OWN LEADERS, among others, to tolerate the intolerable, to understand the inscrutable, defend the indefensible, to suck it up and ask for more of it, IN OUR OWN Nation. Now that is FREE SPEECH, and it isn't for sale, compromise, or negotiation.

Posted by: RichNomore | December 24, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Another voice learns the Washington Post mantra of "Yes, you think you are winning - but we know all is without hope."

I call it the "Yes, but.." report.

Oh ye of little faith.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | December 25, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

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