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Seven Ways Obama Can Beat Washington


Obama at a campaign rally at the University of Denver in January 2008. (Reuters)

If nearly the entire Washington power establishment is complicit in the problems President Obama is trying to solve (see yesterday's post), then he's going to have to adopt an outside-in strategy -- an insurgency of sorts -- to persuade Congress to join him in going full speed in the opposite direction.

What would such a strategy entail? Here are some possible approaches.

1. Get out of town -- a lot.

That was the first idea raised by commenters in response to yesterday's post. "Constwkr" wrote: "He needs to keep taking the message to the folks who voted for this kind of change...Washington won't listen to him, but they sure will listen to the voters."

Jpk1 wrote: "His best strategy for winning the inside game is to not play it. Instead, appeal to the public."

As Eli Saslow pointed out in The Washington Post on Sunday, in a story about Obama's attempts not to get caught in the White House bubble, the new president is already hitting the road a lot.

"As a U.S. senator, he complained that Washington sometimes felt 'status-conscious' and 'artificial,' and he promised voters during the presidential campaign that he planned to travel outside the capital for a regular dose of perspective," Saslow wrote. "During the past three weeks, as Obama aggressively tried to sell his economic recovery package, he traveled to Indiana, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona and Canada as well as Camp David -- more trips outside Washington in his first month than any of the previous five presidents."

But I'm not just talking about town-hall meetings in high-school auditoriums -- although those are valuable. I'm also talking football stadiums, civic centers and waterfronts, major rallies that serve to invigorate citizens and encourage them to make their voices heard in Congress -- and that provide the media, the public and elected officials with inescapable reminders that Obama isn't just a popular president, he's leading a movement.

2. Go populist. Campaign against the insurance industry, the banks, the oil, gas and coal companies. Especially the banks.

As early as late January, as he took on the enormous challenge of righting the country's financial system, there were signs that Obama might be abandoning at least some of the populism he expressed in his campaign and inauguration in an attempt not to upset Republicans and Wall Street.

As Stephen Labaton and Edmund L. Andrews wrote in the New York Times in early February, there are evidently tensions within the White House over how tough to get on the banks. At the time, Labaton and Andrews wrote that "in the battle over how to approach banks, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner had aparently 'largely prevailed' over more populist presidential aides."

Since then, Obama has gradually gotten more vocal about supporting the interests of ordinary people over those of the privileged elites. "The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don't," he said in his radio and Internet address on Saturday. "I work for the American people." He predicted resistance from his budget plans from, in particular, the insurance industry, banks, and oil and gas companies.

In his Congressional address last week, Obama argued on behalf of bailing out essentially bankrupt banks, but vowed: "This time, CEOs won't be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks, or buy fancy drapes, or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over."

Frank Rich writes in his New York Times opinion column that Obama's wishy-washy approach to banks is neither appealing to the public's anger -- nor solving the problem.

"The genuine populist rage in the country — aimed at greedy C.E.O.'s, not at the busted homeowners mocked as 'losers' by [CNBC's Rick] Santelli — cannot be ignored or finessed...

"Americans still don't understand why many Wall Street malefactors remain in place or why the administration's dithering banking policy lacks the boldness and clarity of Obama's rhetoric....

"Handing more public money to the reckless banks that invented this culture and stuck us with the wreckage is the new third rail of American politics."

3. Nationalize the banks, already.

Obama certainly isn't lacking in audacity -- except maybe in one area. For one reason or another, Obama is resisting what an increasing number of economists say may be the only real solution to the banking crisis: nationalization.

As columnist Paul Krugman blogs for the New York Times, the Obama team "seems committed to the view that banks should stay private even if they're bankrupt, because — well, just because....

"The sickening feeling of drift — the sense that policymakers are refusing to face hard facts, and are dithering while the world economy burns — just keeps getting stronger."

If Obama is trying to avoid nationalizing to prevent a sell-off on Wall Street, well, that ain't exactly working.

What Wall Street really wants, Obama acknowledged in his congressional address, is "an approach that gives bank bailouts with no strings attached and that holds nobody accountable for their reckless decisions."

But if he won't give them what they want, why not do what needs to be done?

4. Don't listen to the usual suspects so much.

As the Nation's Ari Melber writes in a Politico opinion column: "Contrary to the conventional wisdom, it is 'experienced' Beltway insiders who have actually caused the largest problems for Obama.

"When the new, young president stacked his administration with familiar Washington veterans, the predictable praise poured in. Washington Post columnist David Broder lauded Tom Daschle's appointment, hailing him as a 'shrewd choice' to head Obama's health care reform. 'The former South Dakota senator knows the politics of Capitol Hill intimately,' Broder wrote in December, apparently unaware that old school politics can hinder reform.

"We know how that turned out....

"[T]he point of hiring Washington insiders was the promise that pros would run Washington smoothly." But, Melber writes: "the non-Washington appointees seem to be Getting It Done without incident, from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to foreign policy adviser Samantha Power."

David Cho writes in The Washington Post that, on economic policy, Geithner and National Economic Council Chair Lawrence H. Summers are winning a lot of the economic arguments in the White House these days.

Maybe that's part of the problem.

5. Liken incrementalism to supporting the status quo.

As I noted in an item on Friday, the dominant media analyses of Obama's budget have cast it as a political gamble -- which it is, of course. But is that the biggest risk?

Inertia is a powerful force in Washington. Consider how, for so many years, establishment Washington called withdrawal from Iraq "risky" -- without acknowledging how risky it was to stay. The media reflects this inertia by tending to focus on the risk of doing something, not the risk of doing nothing.

The White House position, by contrast, is that doing too little is riskier than doing too much, considering the circumstances. But that view is getting lost in the chatter.

How to cut through the noise and make that point more effectively? I suggest publicly mocking those who want to respond to this crisis with baby steps. They can always be mollified later by having them over for cocktails. No one in the Washington establishment can resist the trappings of the presidency.

New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks this morning joins the chorus of incrementalists, writing ostensibly on behalf of his fellow "moderates" that Obama's budget proposal just goes way too far: "There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once."

Joe Klein responds appropriately in Time: "We are at the end of a 30-year period of radical conservatism, a period so right-wing that many of those now considered 'liberals'--like, say, Barack Obama--would be seen as moderate pantywaists in the great sweep of modern political history. The past 30 years have been such a violent departure from the norm, such a profound destruction of the basic functions of government, that a major rectification is called for now--in rebalancing the system of taxation toward progressivity, in rebuilding the infrastructure of the country, not just physically, but also socially and intellectually.

"So it's not surprising that the President would feel the need to move on all fronts, rather than prioritizing, as Brooks would want."

Eugene Robinson writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "There's a reason Obama's approval ratings remain so high. He senses that Americans yearn for greater fairness and accountability, especially after the excesses that threaten to wreck our economy and destroy so many dreams. He knows that American individualism is tempered by the need to feel community in the nation and the world.

"He also knows that windows of opportunity for fundamental change remain open just briefly before slamming shut. His declaration Saturday that 'I didn't come here to do the same thing we've been doing or to take small steps forward' may be the understatement of the year."

6. Run against the media. But also use it.

It's not just the political establishment Obama needs to worry about, it's also the media establishment. And it's not just that the media establishment aided and abetted the profound irresponsibility that Obama argues brought us to this "day of reckoning."

While individual members of the media might be quite taken with Obama, their smartest career move these days is to take a critical approach toward the White House to prove that they're not liberals. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, for instance, yesterday profiled Jake Tapper, the former Salon writer who is making a name for himself as ABC News White House correspondent.

How? By having "already clashed publicly with press secretary Robert Gibbs" and having "been outspoken in his view that many in the media have been too soft on Barack Obama." Kurtz writes: "'Certain networks, newspapers and magazines leaned on the scales a little bit,' [Tapper] says over a vanilla latte at Starbucks."

And the Washington press corps has an obsession with political minutiae -- who's up, who's down, who scored a point, who screwed up -- that inevitably distracts from the big issues that Obama is trying to focus on.

In a February 17 post, I wrote about Obama's interview with a group of opinion columnists, in which he said: "[W]hat I won't do is to engage in Washington tit-for-tat politics and spend a lot of time worrying about those games to the detriment of getting programs in place that are going to help people."

At the same time, if Obama makes himself much more accessible to the media, especially in long-form interviews, he can deliver his message and telegraph that he has nothing to hide.

And should the coverage turns out to be hostile or trivial, he can go directly to the people and use that coverage to help make his point that Washington and the media are out of touch with what's troubling the rest of the country.

7. Enlist the grassroots, especially on the Internet.

It looks like at some point Obama will have to call on the public to put pressure on Congress.

And, yes, as Jose Antonio Vargas writes in The Washington Post, Obama's much vaunted tech team "has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve." But those challenges can and must be overcome. And if Obama can interact with citizens directly online -- bypassing the media filter -- the results could be enormously effective.

Whether it's accepting comments on the White House Web site, answering online questions from voters, mobilizing his campaign e-mail list, or working with bloggers to launch pressure campaigns, Obama has opportunities to grow grass-roots movements like no president before him.

Got more ideas? Leave them in comments.

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  Obama v. D.C.  
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Comments

the mainstream media, froomkin excepted, largely sat on their hands during the bush years and they're doing no better now. their main focus is not so much to look for blood, as it is to be handed the blood. that's why the talking points never change from evening news show to evening news show or talking head news hour to talking head news hour.

there's essentially "one talking point" a day -- some from the repubs some from the demos -- and then whoosh! on to the next, no context, no big picture, no meaningful discussion. earmarks! sod the washington mall! contraceptives! nancy pelosi is a woman! just fill those 30-60 minutes of air time with enough blather to get from one pepcid a/c ad to the next.

and all this nonsense about "don't go too fast!" and "don't try to solve it all at once!" WHY NOT!? each day i have to tackle a lot and you know what, i tackle it. i don't say, well maybe i'll just drive part way to work or maybe i'll just dial part of that important phone call. i see what i need to do and then i do it. it really IS that simple misters broder and brooks (to cite just two of the so-called moderates whose balloon juice soured some time ago).

people are mad as hell -- and not faux santelli-i'm-a-rich-white-man-somebody-call-the-waaaaambulance mad-- and if obama harnesses that anger he (and we) will win the day. please, mr. president, just tell us what you want from us and we will do it.

Posted by: johndog | March 3, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Don't put political capital into projects that are not central to the economy, healthcare, energy and education. That is, leave the Defense Department alone and give them acceptable budget increases; preserve the legal policies of the Bush administration other than those pertaining to Gitmo and protect the Bush administration as much as possible from an onslaught of investigations and prosecutions; make no decisions about Iraq that don't need to be made.

Posted by: dickdata | March 3, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey this is good stuff. Keep pressin' on. I especially like the idea of "getting out of D.C. as a way to engage our citizens."
Citizens need to lobby Congress with reminders that WE THE PEOPLE have a stake in the outcome. A simple way to flood Congress is by registering to use National Write Your Congressman at http://www.nwyc.com/

Posted by: rmorris391 | March 3, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I wonder to what extent media figures are criticizing Obama to make names for themselves, as you argue, and to what extent they are simply representing their own (and their editors' and owners') economic interests. The media response to Obama's budget sounded much more like the latter. I am tired of hearing overpaid pundits whining about "class warfare" because they are being asked to help pay their fair share of the cost of the public business of the United States. These pundits need to be reminded that are not exempt from populist outrage. They and the folks they hang out with do not represent "ordinary Americans," their interests are not our interests, and we can find our news elsewhere if all they can produce is ideological rationalizations of privilege.

Posted by: bprittenhouse | March 3, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I honesly hope that people reading this article realize that it is an editorial expressing the opinion of the author and should not be confused with factual reporting.

I think that Obama is a smart politician and he thinks that playing the role of populist outsider is going to get him re-elected. Certainly he played that role in the campaign.

The problem is that Obama is not really a populist, he is a politician pretending to be a populist.

Here is my evidence:

What is the status of Obama's populist campaign promises after two months in office?

1, Campaign Statement: Will not employ any lobbyists.
Status: Now employs lobbyists, but only the good ones.

2, Promise: Will go through the budget line by line to end earmaks/special interest spending.
Status: Is getting ready to sign a bill full of earmarks.

3, Promise: Will pull out of Iraq in X number of days.
Status: Has the same plan to leave Iraq as Bush administration.

4, Promise: Will hire competent people who are not corrupt.
Status: Has had 4 nominee's forced to withdraw from potential cabinet posts, compared with 1 for Bush 43's first term and 1 for Clinton's first term.

From the above my conclusion is that Obama's political game plan is to run things as 'business as usual' but portray himself as a populist in order to be re-elected in 4 years.

I know that we Democrats are looking for a knight in shining honor so come in and fix eight years of failed Bush policies. I support that, but I don't think we need to be slavish and blind to the current Presidents motivations.

Posted by: DCDave11 | March 3, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I haven't really paid attention to the news since George W. Bush made his speech on March 16, 2003; "Weapons of Mass Destruction!!!!" stated repeatedly with no evidence or proof of his claims. When the main-stream media just rah rah him instead of questioning his claims; I was thoroughly disgusted with our "NEWS" sources and really don't bother to listen to what they say. It's all about mega companies who now own all of our television and the vast majority of radio channels. It's now called "infotainment".

Posted by: sailorflat | March 3, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

johndog | March 3, 2009 2:35 PM

No one could have said it BETTER! I agree with everything you said and you said it all so very well! We, the grassroots for Obama, helped get him elected and we are standing by to help him get everything passed through congress. All we need from him is to tell us what and how he wants us to do things and we will hop right on them. As you said, you don't decide to drive half way to work or talk half way to someone - you jump on the problems of the day and resolve them - period. We are standing by to do the very same for Obama!

Thanks for you terrific post!

Posted by: MadasHelinVA | March 3, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your suggestions. Regarding #1, I recall when Obama went on the road to push the Stimulus bill, there were a lot of comments on WaPo stories, complaining about the cost of jet fuel, etc.

I now realize that what those folks didn't like was Obama getting popular support and positive coverage. You can call it a political stunt, or just "getting in touch with the people." But if it forwards the agenda that the president feels is in the best interest of the country, then he is doing his job.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | March 3, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

8. Appoint Rush Limbaugh as head of the Republican Party.

That's

Grand
Old
Pity


I love getting up every morning and saying these three words to myself and my family:

"President"

"Barack"

"Obama"

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | March 3, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

To avoid being bubbled into Beltway thinking, Obama needs to include Froomkin in his coterie of correspondents invited to future White House tete-a-tetes.

While talking to the likes of George Will might temper the torrent of disparagement, it's ultimately hopeless. People like Will have their feet set in concrete and their heads full of the stuff.

Froomkin and bloggers like Kos actually read the comments posted in response to their blogs. They also scrupulously follow the polls to find out if their view of reality is shared by fellow Americans.

All the Bush nonsense about not reading polls, if true, is another example of unparalleled stupidity. Polls are as integral to politics as sales figures are to retailing.

The official Pundit Palace is full of egomaniacs who will insist they are right until the Earth ceases to spin on its axis of evil. As Stephen Colbert explained, "reality has a proven liberal bias."

Posted by: motorfriend | March 3, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Good, good, stuff here. I might add add Robert Kuttner to the economic council of advisers. The middle class and working poor cannot wait for universal health care we need it now. Restrain usury interest and fees on credit cards. Finally, most of America wants success, so engage us. We have your back sir.

Posted by: bwaatrnwg | March 3, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The entrenched two-party dynamic in Congress is the biggest obstacle to change, so go around it. Instead of meeting with the House and Senate party leadership, meet with entire state delegations. Include governors if possible. Congressmen and Senators are more likely to get down to the actual needs of their states -- and less likely to wage culture wars or otherwise pursue a useless national party agenda -- if they are in mixed company and must focus on practical considerations.

Follow-up on these meetings in DC with speeches at statehouses around the country. Tell state legislatures what the stimulus package and other new policies will mean for them. Show state residents that you have listened to and are working with their elected representatives. Demonstrate that you're on the job for their state whether it voted for you or not. Show the reddest states in America that you are not a bogeyman, and that your policies are rational and will help them.

Start using the language of states rather than parties. "The Oklahoma delegation had some good ideas about agriculture subsidies" ... "The California delegation has issues on environmental policy that we should consider" ... "The Utah delegation's suggestion may not work nationally, but could be great at the state level -- let's try it."

So yes, get out there and sell your policies. But by taking Congress out of its usual way of doing business, you can get these people actually doing their jobs -- representing their constituents -- rather than spending all of their time raising money and being party hacks. There are actually some very talented and experienced people in Congress; leveraging that talent to improve the country has rarely been as necessary as it is now.

Posted by: scottm2 | March 3, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The Obama Presidency is finished. Mr. Obama, in the most amazing stunt in political history, has blown himself and most of the Democratic party leadership to bits by proposing remedies that few people desire and almost everybody can see could never work. He does not seem to understand American history, values, the concept of property rights, international relations, national security or indeed anything at all that an American President is supposed to have mastered long before setting foot in the White House. Under his brief watch things have swiftly gone from bad to worse and will unquestionably deteriorate further at home and abroad. This, of course, will be blamed on GWB and anybody else who can be made to serve as a human shield. By his rashness, imprudence, partisanship and arrogance, Mr. Obama has destroyed any possibility he might have had to influence events. He has made himself a mere figurehead, an irrelevant decorative item that serious people can no longer afford to pay the slightest attention to. The honorable and patriotic thing for him to do would be to resign and leave office with his head still held high.

Posted by: Teleologicus | March 3, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Really people on the left need to quit being knee jerk for everything Bush was against. The point about looking at polls daily, is ridiculous. The point is that the leaders of the goverment are supposed to lead and have some principles and consistency, not just represent the latest polling data. If we want that we could scrap our representative form of government.

Polls and the opinions of the american public swing wildly and people often do not know what is in their best interest. Its the reason why we have a representative democracy.

The Iraq war is a case in point. It was wildly popular at the time. That doesn't mean it was a good idea.

also

If the 'grass roots' organizers of this country are just sitting around waiting with their empty little heads to be filled with whatever Obama tells them, then we are in an even bigger mess than I thought. I know being an Obama sycophant is popular right now, but really you must start thinking for yourselves for a change.

I still haven't seen any good reason from anyone to actually believe that Obama is a populist. But please do post more mindless emo drivel......

Posted by: DCDave11 | March 3, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Have a meeting regarding the banks and bailouts, and include the most respected economists in the discussion along with Geithner, et al. There seems to be too much circularity to the present discussion with the present players, and if some outside participants are pulled in, we might get more energy and creativity.

Posted by: mriles | March 3, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

He needs to lead. People are desperate and frightened and long for vision and inspiration. I don't think the details are important as long as the country sees that he's doing something about our national problems.

Posted by: Madame_DeFarge | March 3, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to address the bipartisanship quandary head-on. He tried, he compromised, but the GOP isn't interested. They have chosen a course of oppositional belligerence, all the way from the Senate minority leader down to the lowliest run-of-the-mill anti-everything nutbar. Obama needs to articulate this, that attempts at bipartisanship are costing precious time and to no good end. He needs to leave the door open to moderate Republicans, if there are any, but don't spend any more time compromising with people who only want him to fail

Posted by: chrisfox8 | March 3, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

scottm2, great idea! Don't only go to the grassroots, go to the local governing bodies of the States, i.e. the Governors and the mayors.
Make THEM the relevant speakers for their States, and really, why shouldn't they be, given that the States' Congressional delegations do not really represent the whole of any State, simply their own districts.
That, in combination with johndog's ideas, would mobilize the country around those who actually CARE for their own people in their own states and regions.
Individual Congressional representatives are making themselves obsolete because their ONLY focus is on their OWN re-election in their OWN districts. Therefore, they have become beholden to the big money players who buy their Congressional votes for their own special interests.

Posted by: cms1 | March 3, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I would add. Push hard for single payer, tax funded health care reform.

Case in point

The usual talking heads were pushing some kind of hybrid health care "reform" on the DR show today. Every caller from physicians to patients cried out for single payer tax funded system--only to be told by the correspondents and talking heads that it would never fly because the powers that be don't want to lose their place at the trough....

Posted by: protagoras | March 3, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

cms1- You do realize there is something called the US Senate, right.

Posted by: DCDave11 | March 3, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Dan: Much of the emphasis in your posting, and the accompanying comments, relates to the President using outside, local interactions to counteract the Beltway insider mentality.

In response, I would like to direct attention to the latest issue of Newsweek, specifically the article entitled "Obama's Pelosi Problem".

Ultimately, public pressure on Congress is limited by the response of Senators and congressmen to that pressure (i.e., they become immediately accountable when faced with re-election). The Newsweek article portrays a House Speaker with a "payback" attitude towards Republicans. If this is accurate, it may be useful or destructive; Pelosi may be a useful "bad cop" to Obama's "good cop" pronouncements, or it may prove to be a toxic association.

Bringing in lobbyists to the BHO administration may be an attempt to "keep your enemies closer". It may work as long as BHO proves to be a quick learner, and is able to move beyond his current novice position as a leader, and refuses to be awed by their egotism and insider experience.

As far as use of the media (or manipulation, depending upon semantics) is concerned, it may or may not be to Obama's advantage, given the hubris-of-the-moment attitude and the ADHD mentality of cable TV journalism, political bloggers and other "modern" journalists (Dan, you are excused from this assessment, given the consistent refrain you developed during the Bush administration years).

Posted by: MillPond2 | March 3, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

DCDave11, yes, I do realize there is a United States Senate. I also realize that 41 Republican Senators came out today with an announcement that they are not going to support any judicial nominee by Obama unless they get to approve of the nomination in advance.
Their political decision has been made. They are going to insist on minority approval of majority decisions. No co-operation unless they get to determine the outcome.
This is why the President should go to the people and to the Governors and the Mayors for support. The Republican Senate has determined they are going to obstruct this President on every single thing he proposes. It is Republican policy now.

Posted by: cms1 | March 3, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

All seven ideas posted by Dan are very good.

But he forgot #8 - jail all CEOs/CFOs/execs who misstated earnings so they could get larger salaries, bonus, and options - and clawback all their ill-gotten gains at TRIPLE the amount.

A few years in jail will do wonders.

And if they resist arrest, shoot to kill.

Posted by: WillSeattle | March 3, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Remember when Froomkin tried to claim that he was going to treat Obama the same as Bush? I don't remember Froomkin giving Bush tips on how to push his agenda.

So much for "speaking truth to power", eh Dan? LOL

Posted by: bobmoses | March 3, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Taking a somewhat longer view (and loving Froomkin's increasingly radical stance, with which I am in full agreement), I see two areas for reform.

1) Abandon the ideology of self-esteem which holds that a sense of self-worth is the psychological basis from which achievement proceeds. From the earliest levels in child-rearing and public education, inculcate an ideology that a sense of self-worth is not an entitlement but proceeds from having behaved worthily.

2) Reclaim the notion that all people considered eligible for positions of high responsibility in politics or business ought to be broadly educated in history, philosophy, and literature - and I don't mean just modern literature. Abandon the notion that a math major computer whiz with a minor in business is going to be the next savior of investment banking, or brokerage houses, or the insurance industry.

This comment may seem, on first reading, utterly irrelevant to Froomkin's topic. Give it a second look.

Posted by: officermancuso | March 3, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin is an assclown and I hope he gets raped by a 12-pack of broken longnecks

Posted by: ImpeachObama | March 3, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

First, fire the CEO of AIG. Prove to the taxpayers that their dollars used to keep this loser company alive will no longer be in the hands of the crooks that got them where they are. Then, put all the other king pins of all the other loser companies on notice that they will be next.

Posted by: jillgoodsell | March 3, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

8. Threaten to Primary the Blue Dogs.
Obama will only get as far as the Democrats let him. The Repbulicans are in not in a position to stop his programs - unless the Blue Dogs and Ben Nelson - DiFi Senate join them. At some point he is going to have to go after them, and with a campaign fund that can contribute to electing better Democrats - it could work. All it takes is one successful "take out" and they all become more tractable.

Posted by: ktktk | March 3, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

At this point, "firing" the head of AIG seems generous.

Posted by: officermancuso | March 3, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I concur with Froomkin and pretty much everyone posting here. This is no time for half-measures or hesitation. Appeal directly to the people and use their power. Not only will you advance your agenda, you'll reinvigorate our democracy.

Both Washington and the American people need to be reminded that the People are the boss in our system. 70% support Pres Obama and want change and action.

Don't underestimate the depth of anger at the fatcats and bonus-embezzlers on Wall St and elsewhere. Respond to it and ride on it!

Posted by: tomscanlon1 | March 3, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

While I dont have alot to offer the seven, one adder is to ensure the kind of lock step discipline in the D ranks that the Rs have shown. It was the tremendous adherence to the party line that won W so much leeway from the beltwayers.

This may require some Chicago style politics...twisting some arms and playing some plays.

I dont know if this works given what low regard we Americans have for the rest of the world, but how bout using that great reserve of goodwill O has internationally to generate momentum.

Posted by: WOW9 | March 4, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Bobmoses:

Time for a refreshing change from the same tired old and plain wornout LOL you've been using.

How about these for a refreshing change:

ROTFL
BWL
LMAO
LOLZ
LOLWUT
ROFL
ROFLMAO
ROFLLMAO

or you could make up your own which I would enjoy very much.

But I'll give you for free:

You could say:

"Froomkin your are such a commie liberal. ROTYAP"

ROTYAP = Rush Obviously Thinks You're A Putz

Cool. Making up our very own internet slang. I can't wait until it catches on. Might make some cool bumper stickers for next year's CPAC.

So let your imagination go wild!!!

Regards,

Posted by: mickster1 | March 4, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

ImbeachObama.

You're obviously maybe what? 9 years old tops. I can only hope that as you grow-up you learn to express yourself with little more maturity with out the childish violent imagery. Few readers will take you seriously. In fact they will probably think you're a right wing retard given your comments complete lack of any mature adult qualities. In fact, I would not surprised (please I'd be) if your post is removed from the page because it was obviously by a not too bright person. Which is ok if your still only 9. But if you are in fact an adult, your have some serious problems in how you express you disagreement with others And lets be adults about it and face facts, you are just a world class dumb ass.

Posted by: mickster1 | March 4, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

The best idea isn't even an idea: let reality take its toll. Let failed banks fail. Let automakers who make crummy cars fail. We constantly hear all this crap about free markets from the GOP, so let's see how well they work. No more money for bankers and corporate officers! It may not be fair, but we need to find out once and for all if this thing called capitalism is anything more than a big lie.

Posted by: SanDiegoBS | March 4, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Another idea would be to use his massive email database to send questions to users to post either their approval or disapproval of certain legislation, and publishing it.

Posted by: Deano6 | March 4, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

The people elected President Obama overwhelmingly and he is taking his case for change to those very people. That is exactly what he should do. Since the president was elected by the people, I believe they will watch closely how their elected representatives and senators support him. There are several republicans who are not running for re-election. This will be a chance for the people to back up their support for the change that President Obama proposes. The people's representatives can either do the will of the people or prepare to find another job. They can either support President Obama or make way for someone who will support him.

Posted by: ellej28 | March 4, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

How's that working out for all you 70 percenters? He is our President, God only knows how this kid ever got to the top (it's hard to consider him a genuine citizen) I'm sorry, born on a tropical island, went to a couple of private schools, had great education at lib colleges, etc. He never had a real job, a community organizer (whatever that means) learned politics from Alinsky, land deals from Rezko and religion from Rev. Jeremiah the America-hater. Four years ago he probably was still doing crack cocaine.

Here we are depending upon him to save this nation and he has no idea what he's doing. It's a nightmare.

Posted by: gwalter1 | March 4, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Why has the media dropped the ball and let this man, who was born in Kenya according to his own grandmother, assume the highest office in the land without even a protest..we have suffered a coop and no body is willing to call him on it. Mcain is the rightfull president. What f=does Obama have on us? Sleeper cells of nuclear suitcase bomb muslims waiting to destroy our nation if his mission is interrupted. God save us@!@@

Posted by: SavedGirl | March 4, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

President Obama has brought in a new era of American presidency - the People's President. Unless he feels the pulse of the American people from all walks of life, he'd not be a good and revoluntionary president. Rub shoulders with the ordinary man or woman, boy or girl on Main Street and be as close to them to feel their heartbeats and hear their heart-throbs of hopes and aspirations for a better tomorrow. I'm glad Obama has the charisma to touch people's lives and make a real difference. Never in the history of American presidency have I seen such a president who moves so freely among the people and comes out of the White House to meet them. Another opportunity is for the President to open White House on Independence Day to meet as many ordinary folks as possible. The White House should not be a monument and inaccessible to the commoners as Buckingham Palace is. I wish both Senate and Congress and the people's representatives do the same rather than sit in their air-conditioned and heated armchairs all the year round. Mix around as much as possible with your electorates and get to known as many as possible by name. This is a very tall order and not to do so is not an option and worth your salt. We, the people have elected you not only as our representatives but to be like one of us who understand our dreams and hopes and needs.

Posted by: ronlim1 | March 28, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

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