Back during the heated days of the presidential primary race, just after I moved to Barack Obama when my first choice Dennis Kucinich dropped out, the whole “Obamabot” thing was born through the steadfast insistence of Hillary’s more creative supporters. I tried to get “Obamaton” off the ground since I thought it rolled off the tongue a little smoother, but it never really took off. I guess it’s hard to get political “enemies” to call you by a preferred insult, even if it is easier to snap off.
No matter. I am not bitter. The primaries are over and my man won the prize. Obamabot it is.
So here we are on day one of the second year of his presidency, yet very little has actually changed despite the super snappy video so many of us watched in 2008. (That song still makes me smile with naive optimism, giddy as a school girl. Don’t judge me. I don’t know any of the Jonus Brothers first names!) I don’t really blame the president. He is a principled man with a enormous burden none of us could ever truly fathom. He took office with a recalcitrant Congress full of plutocratic mosquitoes fat on the blood of the Republic and a special interest swamp of epic proportions.
Hope must be tempered with patience and pragmatism if the end goal is sustainable progressive change.
The America President Obama inherited on January 20, 2008 had just pulled back from the brink of insanity and was still in need of serious, long-term therapy. The man was starting the work of multiple generations yet was met with the unrealistic expectations of a fast food nation raised on instant gratification and an Oedipus Complex that would make Freud reconsider his thesis as too provincial. Our new president made some mistakes to be sure as he staffed the cabinet and rolled out his priorities, but some inspired choices as well and was trying to set a new tone.
Barack’s learning curve was always going to be steep given his relative inexperience in national politics, yet his most reluctant supporters immediately joined his fiercest critics in yanking the ladder out as soon as he started climbing. The democratic caucus then stepped up to kick him in the teeth with a series of legislative fait accompli masquerading as bipartisanship because their naive new president thought governing for the whole country, right and left, was a good idea.
So here we are again. Bloodied noses. Split lips. Faces pulled back in a snarl, wondering why nothing has really changed. Why? Because WE haven’t changed. The second Barack pulled his hand from the Lincoln bible and stepped to the microphone, we began our perennial turning away. The sheep went back to sleep, right on cue. Ding. The dinner bell called us back to our over-sized value meals and 500 channels of television.
Where do we go from here? I’ll make a couple predictions for our president’s thirteenth month in office, but the aberrant data point of We The People Who Bleat makes it hard to get beyond that.
The House will pass the Senate bill intact and Obama will sign it before Senator Brown is seated. They don’t need a single republican vote to get that done. All it takes is Nancy to crack a couple liberal heads and Steny has her back. That will be a huge win for the democratic party and will put the Brown victory into perspective. Speaking of what Brown can do for you, I suspect he will govern much like Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe, which is a good thing for progressives.
Well, good for progressives who actually value progress which means bringing this country’s divergent halves back together in order to create a harmonious and sustainable whole.
“The House will pass the Senate bill intact and Obama will sign it before Senator Brown is seated.”
You believe that even though he said no health care vote until the new senator is seated? Or do you think he said that because the word from the House was that they wouldn’t vote for the Senate bill?
And I honestly don’t believe for a second that Senator Scott will be the least bit cooperative. He was supported by a lot of people whose intent is to put a full stop to Obama’s agenda. I see him crumbling to the leadership and voting no on anything and everything suggested by the president.
In any case I certainly hope you are right on both points.
Well to be fair ( and yes splitting hairs) he said no healthcare vote in the Senate. There doesn’t need to be another vote in the Senate. The House just needs to pass the Senate Bill as is. In fact it can even wait until Brown is seated.
As to who or what Scott Brown is when he gets to DC remains to be seen. As a State Rep he was very moderate by Republican national standards. He needs to stay that way if he has any hope of getting re-elected in ’12. Unless he already has other plans.
If the house passes the senate bill intact, it’s law. It really doesn’t matter if Brown is seated or not.
Aside from the fact that every Republican has opposed every major move by Obama, Brown must run again in 2 years when Ted Kennedy’s term runs out, in 2012, so Brown certainly wants Obama and the country to fail and fall deeper into the abyss the GOP put us into under Bush, and Brown will hope for a GOP sweep in 2012.
Noble -I’m just not so sure about Brown. He becomes an obstructionist Republican MA voters will turn on him very quickly. He won’t be able to hold the seat in ’12 unless he stays reasonably moderate.
I guess we will see who he is more afraid of. The GOP/Tea Party or the people of Mass.
Jeff answered the House versus Senate issues, to I will leave that one alone.
Now it looks like Pelosi is playing coy, but if she can’t get the senate bill passed, look for something even less “liberal” as the final piece of legislation that makes it to the president’s desk for a signature.
I don’t think Brown can be a radical right senator unless he wants to lose his job in two years. I am pretty sure that once someone makes it to the senate, they don’t want to lose their job, which tells me he will probably hew to the centerline as much as possible.
So, you think if progressives block the Senate bill for not being “liberal” enough somehow the house is magically going to make something “less liberal” and get it through? I’m intrigued at the logic here. How do you figure that?
They aren’t going to pass the Senate bill out of the house any time soon, if at all. The leadership read those polls. I think they are stoked to let sleeping dogs lie and will let Obama change the conversation to banks. Deliver some heads. And then see which way the wind is blowing.
If the president wants to sign a health care bill this year, it is going to be more less exactly like what emerged from the senate, a combination of surface reforms of the medical system and health insurance regulation.
The simple fact of the matter is that “progressives” don’t have the votes for either single payer or their desired public option right now. In fact, they probably won’t have them for years, if ever.
And don’t link me to a single poll done at the behest of a partisan organization either. I give polls all the weight they have proved to deserve, which is nil.
But I thought he was a Socialist?
Oh, this politics stuff is just so confusing!
Congress writes the laws while president signs them. Any handouts to “pharma” came by way of their paid lackeys on Capital Hill.
Kali oversimplifies, perhaps, however the Pharma deal originated at the WH. The WH has been making deals with individual legislators since this began – and seemingly crammed the deal down leadership’s throats. In the case of Pharma, the bag man was Rham Emmanuel. Don’t get me wrong, the blue dogs (and others) visited the money tree plenty on their own. But let’s give the WH their due.
I think you over-estimate the power of the White House when it comes to crafting the final bills and tend to take isolated reports of fantastical conspiracies at face value.
For my part, I am bit more skeptical of single-source reporting that takes on the force of urban legend absent any real facts.
There is little coubt that the WH met with private concerns about this legislation, but the result of those talks are hardly a bill that is pharma friendly.
Usually but not in this case jason. The deal cut with Pharma was done by Obama and then imposed by him on the Congress. Just like proposed drug reimportation, which enjoyed both 70% support of the people and bi-partisan support in Congress, was killed by the Obama administration because of the Parma deal.
See the comment directly above this one. This bill is no more corporate friendly than any other piece of legislation that emerges from the hallowed halls of Congress.
Please contribute illustrative of actual mental activity.
Hi, JEM. I hear what you are saying here and there, but my main issue is Big Banking, Regulatory Reform, and economic justice, rather all of a piece.
I have been, and reamian, very critical of the choices the President has made for his Economic team. I have been so surprised that the main policy and bill of interest at the Cafe is health care. (not that it isn’t, in the end, a key component of economic justice, but I don’t think this bill gets us there myself.)
While the left blogosphere was tied up over HRC, the Looting of America (as Les Leopold calls it)has continued under this President. He has fought true regulation until today. He will announce a regulatory plan for Mega-banks; I just put up a blog about it (should show up in another hour or so); I will hope that the blogosphere will back this plan if it’s good, shout for more if it’s not adequate. The way O’s banking fees plans were embarrassingly weak.
The economic issues are so complex that readers won’t deal with them. What’s needed, in my opinion, is something east to understand, some image, anecdote to “sell it.” I know it’s crass, but that seems the tactic for me on most everything. I’m also thinking that it’s hard to align people along many issues. At least that’s what I’m thinking now. I could be wrong.
The news this morning had 2 minutes on the Supreme Court decision than almost 5 minutes on Tiger Woods. Now I’m hearing about Simon Cowell.
We are in a dark time with no path.
Well, honey; the Media just want educate ya on the Important Stuff.
Simple, yes. That’s why I thought: Bring Back Glass-Steagal! No More CFMA!
No argument for me. Too big to fail means too big to exist.
Powerful song. Powerful thought, and I think its pretty accurate. All year I’ve seen this President seek compromise and take responsibility, and all year I’ve watched him be rebuffed by the same old politics, a cynical media, and by a selfish culture that wants their “Change” delivered with a cherry on top. It’s difficult to watch him be swallowed up by events and continue to offer these feckless statments and conciliatory approaches. I hope to see a different guy this year. I’m worried though, that he may not have it in him.
I am worried that We The People may not have it in us to actually change, meaning the president lacks the popular support to be the man I still think he is but may never have a chance to be.
Kind of like Jimmy Carter.
JEM I agree with the tone of your post, but the House passing the Senate bill is not on the horizon.
I hope she is playing her cards close, but they may bite off their nose to spite their face. We are talking about House democrats, after all, not the most pragmatic of politicians.
Jason, thanks for your measured post. Mine today was a bit less so, but I went back and I actually thought about things a bit more. If things are to progress, you are right that it must be bottom up. That’s how Obama got into power. And that’s where he’s been left. I still wish he’d done things a bit differently, but it is what it is (to add a cliche to the post 😉 )
I do try to be measured when what I really want is ro rip the face off the left wing of the democratic party for being unrealistic in their expectations and tone deaf to boot as well as just about all the republicans who can’t seem to offer anything but objections to shit they barely understand.
Anyone who thought our “change” would happen all at once over the course of a single year is dangeroulsy niave and should be accorded the respect they deserve. But that route just leads to more acrimony, so I bite my tongue and try instead to get people to think for half a minute of the struggle we started a few short years ago.
Heh, that first paragraph ought to be a post, just all by itself. It’s a great frame.