A Man for Our Times 34


It still amazes me how little the democratic party faithful understand the opportunity presented by President Obama’s election in 2008 with the first governing “majority” in a generation.

Democrats, republicans and independents lined up for hours to hear the man speak during the primaries, rewarding his common sense appraisal of our nation’s challenges and potential solutions to those problems with a chance to face John McCain in the fall.  That same multifaceted coalition elected Barack Obama with nearly 53% of the vote come November.

The president recently spoke to the Business Roundtable in Washington DC, a brilliant speech that was lost in the political circus at Blair House the following day.

If you took the time to check out the video, you will see why I am still convinced that President Barack Obama is the perfect leader for this turbulent time of transition and has found a way to position progress in a straightforward and common sense fashion that should still resonate with mainstream conservatives outside the beltway echo chamber.

He also offers a road-map for liberals when discussing politics with fellow citizens who need to become former enemies if we are all to have a chance at long-term success.

The man may not be the perfect ideological warrior that some on the left had hoped he would become in contrast to the campaign he waged and won, but I still believe he can inspire a nation to lay down their rhetorical weapons for the first time in decades should the democratic grassroots give him half a chance to implement his plans.

We already know that the capering fools in Congress won’t make any significant changes.  They will continue to play political theater as long as We The People let them get away with it.

We are the primogenitor in a representative republic and absent a massive renaissance at the grassroots spurred by political moderates of all stripes and enforced during the primary elections, I am convinced this opportunity will pass us by as if Barack Obama had never existed with our lizard brains still firmly in control of the ship of state.

It is an unfortunate fact that changing this nation has always rested solely in the hands of the American citizen, no matter how talented the leader we put at the top or how assiduously we avoid our responsibility at the bottom.

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34 thoughts on “A Man for Our Times

  • Hilarym99

    I have a couple questions for you before I address the post in general.

    absent a massive renaissance at the grassroots spurred by political moderates of all stripes and enforced during the primary elections

    What do you mean here when you say “political moderates”?

    The other part of this statement that interests me is the bit about the primaries. I’ve seen a lot of posts/discussions revolving around this idea of using the primaries as a vehicle for change. I guess my question is, if that is the vehicle, what is the destination? What is the goal of this “renaissance” you envision?

    • Jason Everett Miller

      That last is such a big question I wouldn’t know where to begin in answering it.

      Political moderates are open-minded Americans, left and right, with enough curiosity to analyze our current problems dispassionately and then force our representatives to develop solutions that make sense given that reality.

      I don’t pretend to have all the answers given the complexity of the issues involved. I try to approach each discussion without preconceived notions of the “best” path or a feeling that someone else must lose in order for me to win.

      The destination would be a place where we have already been. We have had government in the past that worked more effectively. Long before everyone could vote, Americans could be counted on to pay attention and raise a shout if needed.

      We have made many stride in the modern era that I would see reflected in how we practice the art of politics and the science of government.

      • Hilarym99

        Ok, so not moderates in the political sense. Gotcha.

        I’m afraid though I have to push this destination part more though, so even if you don’t know where to begin, please try. I say this out of an effort to understand, for what it’s worth.

        Is your vision of the grassroots movement more to push for changes on specific issues? More on the “game” of politics? The structure of government? The method of government? Specifically, what I’m curious is to why you (or anyone who has suggested this idea) think that seeking change through the primaries/voting/elections is the best route to whatever the intended goal is. Which is why I’m pushing to understand what the goal is. Only because I think there is a big difference between working for change within the existing framework and other methods.

        It’s also interesting to me that you’re harkening to some past day of government rather than imagining something completely different for the future. I’m not sure when this historical time when government was more effective was, or even if we agree on our definition of effective.

        And even beyond that, our country is not the same place as it was 50, 100 years ago. Population, demographics, education, voting and civil rights, suffrage, technology, science…and so on. The country, and the world are not what they used to be, for better or worse. So even if we find some historical point where government was “effective,” I’m not sure that could or should work for us today.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I speak of a time when government didn’t run chronically in the red, not necessarily some long-lost halcyon era when everyone got along without conflict and the hills sprouted flowers. We have obviously a long history of butting heads yet somehow always stumbled forward.

          As far as method of government goes, I don’t think we can keep growing the size of the federal government indefinitely without a commisserate rise in quality of services. I think the existing framework offers opportunities for improvement but neither party seems all that interested in changing the status quo.

          The answer isn’t small government or big government, as I mentioned, but rather government that doesn’t work efficiently or effectively and remains mostly unaccountable to We The People who pay the bills.

          For the last several decades America has seen a lack of forward progress on a number of fronts and a steadily crumbling infrastructure by way of neglect and compromised public officials.

      • OldenGoldenDecoy

        Let’s see here . . .

        We’re going somewhere but we don’t where we’re going because there’s no way to begin to answer such questions because they are too big…

        OK…

        So there is no way to pretend to have any answers because the issues are just so complex…

        Uh huh . . .

        So we’re off to see the wizard … the wonderful Wizard of Oz?

        And lefties get accused of being … “looking glass liberals?”

        Holy ground-fault interrupter … Batman!

        ~OGD~

          • OldenGoldenDecoy

            Let’s see here … Part Two . . .

            Mister Bluster Butt wrote:

            That last is such a big question I wouldn’t know where to begin in answering it.

            — and —

            I don’t pretend to have all the answers given the complexity of the issues involved.

            And I wrote:

            We’re going somewhere but we don’t where we’re going because there’s no way to begin to answer such questions because they are too big…

            OK…

            So there is no way to pretend to have any answers because the issues are just so complex…

            Uh huh . . .

            If there’s any “shite” in that, it stands upon Mr. BB’s own words.

            So it goes to reason why I’d ask, So we’re off to see the wizard … the wonderful Wizard of Oz?

            All we need now is for CT to drop in and straighten it all out . . .

            ~OGD~

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Yes, because reality is so very simple. More inane droppings from Howard.

  • SleepinJeezus

    A man for our (corrupt) times, indeed!

    All I ever asked of Barack Obama was that he step away from the oligarchs and the monied interests that own our political system and actually place the voter front and center in his crusade for change.

    When I saw him surrounding himself with Paulson, Geithner, et.al., as his financial team, I began having serious misgivings but still gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    Then, when I saw him calling upon the uber-lobbyist Tom Daschle to head up his effort at Health Care Reform, I began to worry that he was simply very naive and misdirected (hopefully) or he was otherwise as corrupt as the whole lot of pols in Washington.

    But I think it was about the time he appointed Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff that I became convinced that he had no real interest in taking advantage of the opportunity he had been given by the electorate to be an agent of change representing our interests at last while giving the monied interests the boot.

    Obama was given wide latitude to be a true reformer and to build a legacy as one who took the populist fight to the oligarchs. I really thought he would lead a revolution that would allow the little guys to win a few battles and regain some power and respect in Washington. The planets were seemingly in alignment for such a populist revolt, and his offer to bring about “Change You Can Believe In” was extremely plausible for the excitement he stirred in commoners looking for a fair shake from our political system. He didn’t need to sell out to the oligarchs. After all, he had the “Obama Nation” behind him to finally advance an agenda for the people – the voters – and to at last chase the money-changers from OUR temple, the halls of Congress.

    I was sadly mistaken.

    And so it is that your dopey eyed school-girl crush on Obama is really quite sickening. Meanwhile, it totally undermines all the other nonsense and bromides and platitudes you pass off as legitimate political analysis, for you can’t even see the numerous ways in which this asshat has shown himself to be nothing but another cog in the corporate machine that threatens to grind us all up and spit us out if we don’t gain effective leadership that will stand in its way.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Weepin Jeezus at again. Thinking the entire country frames reality with the same victim-based methodology he uses.

      He rails against a machine he has done precious little to change because everyone is the enemy and nothing is ever good enough for ideological warriors bent on destruction in the interest of some ill-defined and unrealistic revolution.

      How’s that vision quest going so far?

      There was no way that one man was going to change this country and your insistence that he can simply shows the level of your naiveté. This was always going to be the work of decades and you get all pissy that heave isn’t here after a year.

      I have no crush on Obama. I am simply more realistic in my expectations of what he can do and how quickly. He has to govern the country he inherited, all 320 million of us in all our insane variety, rather than the Utopian fantasy you describe.

      Reality is not as simplistic as you suggest and insisting that it is won’t make it so.

  • SleepinJeezus

    All I ever asked of Barack Obama was that he step away from the oligarchs and the monied interests that own our political system and actually place the voter front and center in his crusade for change.

    This is hardly too much to ask of our elected leadership. And it certainly doesn’t take “decades” for our elected leaders to learn how to perform their duties in an ethical fashion. A representative democracy embraces by definition an explicit conceit that the person who is elected will represent the constituency that voted them into office. Your willingness to overlook this fundamental rule of the game is really all one needs to know about your self-proclaimed “expertise” in this area.

    It is not Utopia I seek. It is democracy I demand.

    And it is you who looks ridiculously foolish in your continuing insistence that we should engage a long-term effort at political “home improvements” without first extinguishing the basement fire (the corruption of money in politics) which threatens to consume us all. It is you who displays all the silly objectivity of a love-sick teenager managing the Obama Fan Club for Teen Beat Magazine. “He beats his dog?” sayeth jem the Obama expert. “Well, don’t they ALL beat their dog? I think he’s simply scrumptious, anyway!”

    ObamaRahm is as corrupt and as beholden to his corporate owners as anyone who has held that office. Yet, he didn’t need to be. He inspired a whole vast constituency to vote for him and to support him who were ready to embrace change we could believe in; who felt at last that here was a leader who would stick it in the eye of the corporate owners and insist instead on doing the “people’s work.” He failed miserably. In fact, it’s difficult to see that he even really tried. That is disappointing. That is unforgivable. And, yes, reality is indeed that simple.

    • SleepinJeezus

      Interestingly, this was just posted that would seem to reinforce what I have been saying here:

      “Much of the reason for the Democrats’ astonishing reluctance to place blame where it belongs rests with big business’s and Wall Street’s generous flows of campaign donations to Dems, coupled with their implicit promise of high-paying jobs once Democratic officials retire from government. This is the rot at the center of the system. And unless or until it’s remedied, it will be difficult for the President to achieve any “change you can believe in.”

      Just another naive “ideological warrior” in search of Utopia who should take a lesson from jem the Wizard of Reality, I s’pose.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      As if democracy were possible in a nation where 70 to 80 percent refuse to vote in primary elections where all real change is created.

      You are a simple rube, that’s for sure, but unfortunately reality doesn’t follow your lead no matter how often you proclaim otherwise.

      It took your generation 40 years to mess things up this badly, so I suspect it will take mine at least half as long to set things right again.

      • SleepinJeezus

        Actually, you look kinda’ cute standing there with your chest all puffed out, wearing that superman cape and waving around that light saber your mother bought you at Wal-Mart.

        Have you ever worked as a committeman or a ward captain within either political party? Have you ever actively participated in getting others elected to the National Committee of either political party? Have you ever participated in drafting the Party Platform for either political party? Have you ever even worked a primary election, little boy? Have you ever run a campaign? Have you ever pursued and won election to any political office? Have you ever run and lost? Have you ever had to play the game by its rules as a lesson in just how corrupting money is to our democracy?

        I can answer yes to all the above. How about you, Mr. Blustering Generational Warrior Jedi Knight Teenage Mutant Ninja Myrtle? Before you even attempt lecturing others on how to tend a garden, I suggest you might wish to show up with a blister or two on your hands and dirt under your fingernails. You otherwise are shown to be the arrogant little poseur that you are, and you tend to expressly define terms like “rube” without earning any right to hang it as a descriptor upon anyone other than yourself.

        Kinda’ cute, indeed. But no less a blithering idiot than ever.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Have you done any of those things in this decade, old fool? Thought not.

          Still pinning for those days of yore when all the Liberal Warriors changed the country for good. Wait, it didn’t quite take now did it? Wonder who is to blame for that?

          Must be the Gen Xers, huh?

          • SleepinJeezus

            Careful with that light saber,boy! You’re apt to put somebody’s eye out!

            There’s a reason you avoid a direct answer, eh Myrtle?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I give plenty of direct answers. Your old eyes are incapable of reading them, your old brain incapable of understanding them.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            PS: You again describe your preferred method for making change happen and arrogantly assume that is the only method available.

            I have supported my share of candidates at the local, state and federal levels, but believe the government should be the last place someone looks for innovation and grassroots movement.

            I am working a different plan than the one you sketch out, little man. Being the person you are, you never bothered to ask any real questions that might lead to an actual discussion.

          • SleepinJeezus

            Ah, more bluster! I coulda’ guessed it.

            Never bothered to ask any real questions? Well, let’s see now…

            “…primary elections where all real change is created.”

            The numerous questions asked earlier were directly relevant to this statement and others you have frequently made that seek to establish yourself as some kind of expert on electoral politics. And contrary to your assertion here that you are “working a different plan,” your numerous statements about partisan politics and primaries and such would seem to indicate otherwise.

            Given my experience in the political arena I know that you are simply pulling this stuff out of your ass because it defies reality. I nevertheless offered you opportunity to establish your credentials that would support your insistence on defending such cockamamie nonsense. Even now, you still refuse to answer the challenge directly. That certainly doesn’t surprise me for what are obvious reasons. But please understand that ignorance matched with unapologetic arrogance is worthy of contempt and little else.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            All asked with snide asides and a condecending tone that should have you expecting a punch in the face rather than a civil conversation. Isn’t that right blustery ignorant little boy?

            Give your words and methods, I suspect you have zero relavent “experience” in the political arena beyond shouting down Congress and the president from the cheap seats.

            Partisan politics and a lack of primary participation are symptoms of the larger disease in this country that must be addressed through alternative means not currently in play.

            I don’t expect you to understand the finer points of any discussion given your continued displays of ignorance at TPM, so I won’t bother wasting any time explaining them to you.

          • SleepinJeezus

            (Miguelito: I hope you get to see this on this “expired” blog)

            Thanks, miguelito. Your comment caused me to review the thread to make certain I wasn’t just being gratuitously snarky here.

            As in nearly every exchange I have had with jem, I began by making a substantial challenge to the specific comments he made. In this case, for example, it was a request for him to respond to my perspective that the scandal of campaign financing bears a fundamentally negative impact on virtually everything jem proposes as the “fix” to today’s politics.

            Yet, as usual, there is no effort by him to ever defend the indefensible nonsense he sells as legitimate thought. Instead, we get more whack-a-mole wherein he whines that I respond only to what he has written, not what he has meant. He then throws in irrelevant generational warrior nonsense and other diversions in an attempt to avoid owning what he has written.

            This time, I extended my playing with him to allow him to pursue this in a way in which he offers numerous contradictions within even the same thread. First, for example, the answer is political, as in getting everyone to the polls for primary elections. When challenged on this, he insists that he meant to say that he is “working on a different plan…” and that he “believes the government should be the last place someone looks for innovation and grassroots movement.” (Nice dodge when politics, and not “government,” was the context of the discussion.) And then when challenged on this, he reverts back to “Partisan politics and a lack of primary participation are symptoms of the larger disease in this country that must be addressed through alternative means not currently in play.”

            It really is quite comical, and when you get to the end of it there is really no way to get any idea just what the hell “jasonWorld” really looks like. Indeed, he seems to have great difficulty keeping track of it himself.

            I gotta’ admit, as well, that I extended this because there is some enjoyment to be found in playing like a cat with a mouse. Sarcasm and derision can be an enjoyable art form to engage, but it requires finding a target deserving of such attention or it is otherwise indefensibly cruel. jem offers little around here in terms of intellectual discussion, but the arrogant jackass certainly does present a pretty large magnet for contempt, and it is kinda’ fun (in moderation) to vent at his expense.

            Cue the “looking glass left, liberal old fart, blah, blah, blah” nonsense in three, two, one…

          • miguelitoh2o

            You’re a better man than I, SJ, but seriously, thanks again for a very, I’m not quite sure “hilarious” quite sums it up, exchange. 😉

          • SleepinJeezus

            jem whines:

            “All asked with snide asides and a condecending tone that should have you expecting a punch in the face rather than a civil conversation. Isn’t that right blustery ignorant little boy?”

            The response has already been given:

            “…ignorance matched with unapologetic arrogance is worthy of contempt and little else.”

            You will notice, oh Myrtle the Mutant, that you are treated with a contempt that is shown to few others on these pages. You’ve earned every bit of it for being the arrogant little poseur that you are who hijacks many good discussions with an insistence that your blather and bromides and platitudes are actually relevant, well-considered contributions rather than the indefensible bluster of a fraud and a charlatan.

            My only regret is that – try as you might – you are so incredibly inept at the art of the insult, for this might otherwise be an entertaining exercise. As it is, I simply grow tired of your nasty little whines and your disingenuous diversions and your failure to respond directly to any challenge on substance (See OG’s comments below,)

            And so, in the words of an admirable curmudgeon, I’m left to say “Go away, kid. You bother me!”

          • SleepinJeezus

            Self awareness? Funny choice of term from someone who has his head shoved squarely up his ass while claiming to be the Conquistador in search of the route to India. You look pretty silly. And your breath stinks, too. But you do attract attention, and I’m guessing that’s what it’s all about for you eh, Myrtle?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            More of that “I know you are but what I am I?” defense, eh? This from someone who claims to be so much more mature and in the know than everyone else at TPM. Irony continues to be lost on the armchair revolutionaries around here.

  • OldenGoldenDecoy

    Sack-less Mister Bluster … never answered these . . .

    From SleepinJeezus:

    Have you ever worked as a committeman or a ward captain within either political party?

    Have you ever actively participated in getting others elected to the National Committee of either political party?

    Have you ever participated in drafting the Party Platform for either political party?

    Have you ever even worked a primary election, little boy?

    Have you ever run a campaign?

    Have you ever pursued and won election to any political office?

    Have you ever run and lost?

    Have you ever had to play the game by its rules as a lesson in just how corrupting money is to our democracy?

    Crickets … From Mister Bluster …

    All smoke and a 10 room house of mirrors.

    ~OGD~

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Answered above:

      I have supported my share of candidates at the local, state and federal levels, but believe the government should be the last place someone looks for innovation and grassroots movement.

      I don’t feel the need to go into more detail with a foul-mouthed cretin who calls me an ignorant little boy when he asks a rhetorical question. You and your alter-ego should get a room, Howard. Or should I call you Jeff?

      Either way, you “both” are little more than trolls on every one of my blogs.

      • SleepinJeezus

        Ya see, OGD, he “has supported (his) share of candidates.”

        Yeah, like I’ve supported my share of balls in a jock strap, but that doesn’t make me a Urologist now, does it?

        Glad to see you get the point. Later!

      • OldenGoldenDecoy

        Wow . . .

        Mister Bluster allows his authoritarian right-wing jackass self to seep through the false facade of professing to be a “progressive conservative” . . .

        ~OGD~

        • Jason Everett Miller

          More insensible squawking from the cheap seats. This is meant to mean what, exactly? The only authoritarian types around TPM are you and WJ.