Category Errors

It is a category error to consider Barack Obama a Democrat.

Elizabeth Drew Wants a Better President, Also a Pony

By: Scarecrow, Firedog Lake

Monday July 25, 2011 11:24 am

You can hardly blame the growing number of decent folks, long respected, admired writers like Elizabeth Drew, who are now, or still, calling on Barack Obama to stop being a wimp, a disappointment, a terrible negotiator, or a betrayer to his people, principles and Party and become a better President. But he won’t, people, so what’s plan B?

I’m a great fan of Ms. Drew; have been for, um, decades. In her now widely seen article, she joins many others urging Mr. Obama to just say no to the economic terrorists holding the government, its credit, its finances and its functions hostage. Just demand a clean, no strings bill to raise the debt limit and tell the nation, and the Tea-GOP, that he’s had enough. The nation would cheer.

The problem with all such urgings is they assume the President is being forced to accept terrible public policy, and that only a stiffer spine, backed by his supporters, or perhaps a more clever bargaining strategy, would release the inner President he keeps hidden.

There is ample evidence, delivered almost daily in his press conferences and statements by his closest advisers, that he deeply believes in the economic austerity, confidence fairy, and debt hysteria notions that fully account for this public positions. The President and his men simply support terrible policies.

If for no other reason than naked political self preservation, the nominal leaders of the Democratic Party should be disconnecting from the suicide pact Mr. Obama wants them to sign. But where is the evidence they understand this?

In the Senate, Harry Reid is fashioning an alternative plan for his Party to self destruct. It even includes another anti-democratic Cat Food Commission to finish the job. What political genius came up with the idea that an acceptable out would be to slash federal spending during a still possible depression by $2.6 trillion or so, with or without new taxes, and putting the family jewels at risk again, as the best way to appease the terrorists? What will the terrorists demand next as they dismantle government’s ability to function?

Obama takes political, policy gamble on ‘big deal’

By Zachary A. Goldfarb, The Washington Post

Published: July 24

Obama’s political advisers have long believed that securing such an agreement would provide an enormous boost to his 2012 campaign, according to people familiar with White House thinking. In particular, they want to preserve and improve the president’s standing among political independents, who abandoned Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections and who say reining in the nation’s debt is a high priority.

The risk for Obama now is that his pursuit of a far-reaching package could deeply disappoint his Democratic allies who believe he may be giving away too much. By calculating that an ambitious plan to reduce the nation’s debt by $4 trillion over 10 years is so important, he’s willing to endanger one of the best weapons in his party’s arsenal – the argument that Democrats will protect Medicare and Social Security at all costs.

Administration officials said the shift fits with Obama’s vision of what his presidency should look like.

Obama is focused on the views of independent voters in the general election. In polls, independents still show support for Obama, but his numbers have come down significantly since he took office.

“He sees the achievement of a big deal as a way to reach out effectively to the kinds of independent and moderate voters who supported him so strongly in 2008 and who have become somewhat disaffected in the interim,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

A deal would also help Obama inoculate himself against criticism from Republicans that he has failed to tame the debt.

“It benefits him politically a great deal if there’s a big deal,” said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy and a co-founder of Third Way, a left-leaning group that has been supporting an ambitious plan. “The deficit favors Republicans. But if it seems like it’s been solved, then you take away one of the biggest Republican issues and at worst you neutralize it and at best you win it.”

Left leaning?

And how is that working out for you?

Public Policy Polling as cited by John Aravosis and Taylor Marsh

For the first time since last July Barack Obama does not lead Mitt Romney in PPP’s monthly national poll on the 2012 Presidential race. Romney has now pulled into a tie with the President at 45%.

Obama’s approval rating this month is 46% with 48% of voters disapproving of him. There are 2 things particularly troubling in his numbers: independents split against him by a 44/49 margin, and 16% of Democrats are unhappy with the job he’s doing while only 10% of Republicans give him good marks. Republicans dislike him at this point to a greater extent than Democrats like him and that will be a problem for him moving forward if it persists.

Obama’s numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama’s doing but aren’t committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out.

How undecideds change the race if you allocate them based on their approval/disapproval of Obama-

Matchup Approve Disapprove Winner/Margin
Obama/Romney 21% 61% Romney 52-48
Obama/Pawlenty 9% 75% Tied 50-50
Obama/Bachmann 10% 67% Obama 51-49
Obama/Cain 8% 76% Obama 51-49
Obama/Palin 5% 84% Obama 54-46

CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down

By: CNN Political Unit

July 22nd, 2011, 01:01 PM ET

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama’s approval rating is down to 45 percent, driven in part by growing dissatisfaction on the left with the president’s track record in office, according to a new national survey.

“But drill down into that number and you’ll see signs of a stirring discontent on the left,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Thirty-eight percent say they disapprove because President Obama has been too liberal, but 13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough – nearly double what it was in May, when the question was last asked, and the first time that number has hit double digits in Obama’s presidency.”

Looking at that figure another way, roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he’s not been liberal enough.

Obama’s approval rating among liberals has dropped to 71 percent, the lowest point in his presidency. And the number of Democrats who want the party to renominate Obama next year, now at 77 percent, is relatively robust by historical standards but is also down a bit since June.

“It’s likely that this is a reaction to some of Obama’s recent actions, including his willingness to discuss major changes in Social Security and Medicare as part of the debt ceiling negotiations,” adds Holland.

Vicious Cycles: Why Washington is About to Make the Jobs Crisis Worse

Robert Reich

Monday, July 25, 2011

We now live in parallel universes.

One universe is the one in which most Americans live. In it, almost 15 million people are unemployed, wages are declining (adjusted for inflation), and home values are still falling. The unsurprising result is consumers aren’t buying – which is causing employers to slow down their hiring and in many cases lay off more of their workers. In this universe, we’re locked in a vicious economic cycle that’s getting worse.

The other universe is the one in which Washington politicians live. They are now engaged in a bitter partisan battle over how, and by how much, to reduce the federal budget deficit in order to buy enough votes to lift the debt ceiling.

The two universes have nothing whatever to do with one another – except for one thing. If consumers can’t and won’t buy, and employers won’t hire without customers, the spender of last resort must be government. We’ve understood this since government spending on World War II catapulted America out of the Great Depression – reversing the most vicious of vicious cycles. We’ve understood it in every economic downturn since then.

Until now.

When you’ve lost Jeralyn

Dear President Obama,

We know you don’t like baby boomers.  But you wouldn’t have been elected without us.

If reports are true that you are willing to endorse a raise in the eligibility age for Medicare, please consider this your pink slip.

We are the largest generation in history and we vote.  Please think long and hard before throwing us under the bus.  We will surely take you with us.


Talk Left


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    • TMC on 07/26/2011 at 04:15

    we are screwed

  1. Our only hope is no compromise, and Obama being forced to go with the 14th Amendment solution.

  2. that the House wasn’t all that important in the overall scheme of governing, that a Senate controlled by Democrats and a Executive branch run by a Democrat would be sufficient in seeing “progressive” policies defended and even implemented.

    I was wrong.

    Not that the previous Congress with a Democratic majority in the House was particularly effective, but it is the president that is the problem. The House that Nancy Pelosi led was hamstrung by a reluctant leader. When did anyone ever hear Obama enthusiastically endorse a bill that emanated from the House?

    So understanding that, why would I want to reelect the weak link in a progressive agenda? This isn’t to suggest that a conservative president would make the fight for progressive policy, but neither will the assumed 2012  Democratic standard bearer, Barack Obama. And there are a finite number of resources to bear.

    It seems to me that re-taking the House majority with more progressive Democrats than were in the last congress and at minimum maintaining a slim majority of Democrats in the Senate would suit the progressive cause much better. Working to reelect a weak president at the expense of a Democratic majority in either branch of Congress is a fools errand.

    Obama has made his deal with the devil: let his precious centrists do the heavy lifting.

  3. The category mistake is to treat a coalition of the rump of the New Deal coalition and the 1970’s environmental and new equality movements as the whole of the category “Democrat”.

    A political party is an institution, and in the US case a federation of state parties. Just as the radical wing of the Corporate party took over the national Republican party state by state, the moderate wing of the Corporate party took over the national Democratic party state by state.

    And so we have two wings in the Democratic party: the wing based on Democratic voters, also known as the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, and the wing based on its big ticket contributors, the Hedge Fund Democrats, reforged by Clinton and the DLC from the shambles of industrial corporate support left by the departure of the oil industry after the US hit peak oil, the collapse of US price control through production quotas, and the end of the need of the oil industry for as close to full employment as possible.

    President Obama has always been a member of the Hedge Fund wing, as seen by a Senate voting record that could not be distinguished from Senator Clinton’s, and as President leads the Hedge Fund wing.

    And the Hedge Fund wing is founded on moderately liberal social policy and neoliberal economics, with a paternalistic “Whig” belief in the duty of society’s elites to help cushion the blows that neoliberal policies deals out to their inferiors.

    As a Hedge Fund Democrat, Obama’s promises of what he would do have always been founded on a lie about how the economy actually works. And so it is no surprise that he pushes for a Big Deal that is Hoover Pro-Depression economics on steroids.

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