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Obama's Bipartisan Obsession (Finally) Ends

[ Posted Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 – 17:06 PDT ]

President Barack Obama gave a wowser of a speech today. In it, he signaled that he's completely over his obsession with chasing the non-existent pipe dream of bipartisanship from Republicans. Obama dove into the 2010 election season fray with this speech, and appeared much more like the "Candidate Obama" that so many of his supporters have been missing for so long. In a speech that was touted as an announcement of a legislative package to get the economy moving faster, Obama not only rolled out his economic ideas, but also did a better job of defining the Democratic narrative than he's done in quite a while.

This is exactly what Obama needed to do, and what Democratic political analysts have been calling on him to do. It really was a good speech all the way around, where Obama not only strongly stood up for his policy ideas, but also defined both his position and his opponents' position by including them in a larger narrative about what his party stands for and why their values are superior to the Republicans.

While the feistiness towards congressional Republicans in general (and House Minority Leader John Boehner in particular) will doubtlessly be what the inside-the-Beltway punditocracy focuses on, Obama's larger narrative is the more important aspect, I believe, that many may miss. While the media, if past performance is any indication, will zero in on one or two soundbites, Obama will likely be able to get the full spectrum of his narrative across to the public much more directly in the press conference he's scheduled for this Friday.

Obama's speech today not only signaled that he's moved beyond the lost cause (at least with the current Congress) of bipartisan cooperation, but also that he's realized that the only way Democrats are going to have a prayer of closing the "enthusiasm gap" this November is to get his own base a little enthused. Which can indeed happen, if other Democrats begin using the same basic narrative Obama outlined today.

Putting aside the political implications of his economic policy proposals (which will have to remain a subject for another day, worthy of a longer discussion than can be managed here), I'd just like to highlight a few passages from Obama's speech. Whittling his speech down was tough to do, because you could pretty much pick paragraphs out of the speech at random to make the same points -- a mark of how consistently good a speech it was. The speech was a long one, lasting over 45 minutes, but I strongly encourage everyone to read the entire transcript to get the full impact. Or find a video of it, and watch the whole thing (I apologize for not being able to easily find a video of the speech before posting it, perhaps a commenter can post a link for others to watch). It really is that good.

I haven't even excerpted the feistiest (or the most rousing) parts of Obama's speech. Instead, I selected the bits which show that the Obama White House is beginning to take a little more seriously the advice of Lefty speechifying experts such as Drew Westen and George Lakoff -- who have been saying for a long time now: You have to tell a story. You have to provide a narrative, and by doing so, give voice to a values system that voters can relate to. Then use this values system as a bedrock to build your policy proposals on, keeping them starkly different from your opponents' values.

President Obama, very early on in the speech, begins to draw the difference between himself and his opponents, and defines these differences in terms of such a values system.

I ran for president because for much of the last decade, a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how America should work: Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. Cut trade deals even if they didn't benefit our workers. Cut back on investments in our people and in our future -- in education and clean energy, in research and technology. The idea was that if we just had blind faith in the market, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everyone else to fend for themselves that America would grow and America would prosper.

Obama goes on to say that this gave a temporary boost, but in the long haul has served to decimate America's middle class. He then pivots to his own family's personal story, and how the G.I. Bill and the F.H.A. allowed his grandparents to prosper and succeed, and then describes the America that created such things:

It was an America where you didn't buy things you couldn't afford; where we didn't just think about today -- we thought about tomorrow. An America that took pride in the goods that we made, not just the things we consumed. An America where a rising tide really did lift all boats, from the company CEO to the guy on the assembly line.

That's the America I believe in.

Obama then turns his attention to the upcoming election, and frames the choice voters are going to be making, again pointing out the differences in his vision and the Republicans' agenda:

And so people are frustrated and they're angry and they're anxious about the future. I understand that. I also understand that in a political campaign, the easiest thing for the other side to do is to ride this fear and anger all the way to Election Day.

That's what's happening right now. A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party's answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he had admitted his party's mistakes during the eight years that they were in power, if they had gone off for a while and meditated, and come back and offered a credible new approach to solving our country's problems.

But that's not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power -- the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.

Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care for folks who are sick, or let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they're asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth and eroding competitiveness and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland, that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in.

A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasn't is the choice facing this country. It's still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It's still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward. That's what this election is about. That's the choice you will face in November.

Obama then begins to lay out the Democrats' vision for the future, in stark contrast:

That means making sure corporations live up to their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly and play by the same rules as everyone else. Their responsibility is to look out for their workers, as well as their shareholders, and create jobs here at home.

And that means providing a hand-up for middle-class families -- so that if they work hard and meet their responsibilities, they can afford to raise their children, and send them to college, see a doctor when they get sick, retire with dignity and respect.

That's what we Democrats believe in -- a vibrant free market, but one that works for everybody. That's our vision. That's our vision for a stronger economy and a growing middle class. And that's the difference between what we and Republicans in Congress are offering the American people right now.

The president then frames the upcoming "tax the millionaires" debate, again in sharply contrasting terms:

With all the other budgetary pressures we have -- with all the Republicans' talk about wanting to shrink the deficit -- they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next 10 years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 each to folks who are already millionaires. And keep in mind wealthy Americans are just about the only folks who saw their incomes rise when Republicans were in charge. And these are the folks who are less likely to spend the money -- which is why economists don't think tax breaks for the wealthy would do much to boost the economy.

So let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everybody else: We should not hold middle-class tax cuts hostage any longer. We are ready, this week, if they want, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less. That's 98-97 percent of Americans. Now, for any income over this amount, the tax rates would just go back to what they were under President Clinton.

This isn't to punish folks who are better off -- God bless them. It's because we can't afford the $700 billion price tag. And for those who claim that our approach would somehow be bad for growth and bad for small businesses, let me remind you that with those tax rates in place, under President Clinton, this country created 22 million jobs and raised incomes and had the largest surplus in our history.

In fact, if the Republican leadership in Congress really wants to help small businesses, they'll stop using legislative maneuvers to block an up or down vote on a small business jobs bill that's before the Senate right now. Right now. This is a bill that would do two things. It would cut taxes for small businesses and make loans more available for small businesses. It is fully paid for, won't add to the deficit. And it was written by Democrats and Republicans. And yet, the other party continues to block this jobs bill -- a delay that small business owners have said is actually leading them to put off hiring.

Look, I recognize that most of the Republicans in Congress have said no to just about every policy I've proposed since taking office. I realize in some cases that there are genuine philosophical differences. But on issues like this one -- a tax cut for small businesses supported by the Chamber of Commerce -- the only reason they're holding this up is politics, pure and simple. They're making the same calculation they made just before my inauguration: If I fail, they win. Well, they might think that this will get them to where they want to go in November, but it won't get our country going where it needs to go in the long run. It won't get us there.

Obama then brings it all home in a rousing finish:

This country is emerging from an incredibly difficult period in its history -- an era of irresponsibility that stretched from Wall Street to Washington, and had a devastating effect on a lot of people. We have started turning the corner on that era. But part of moving forward is returning to the time-honored values that built this country: hard work and self-reliance; responsibility for ourselves, but also responsibility for one another. It's about moving from an attitude that said "What's in it for me?" to one that asks, "What's best for America? What's best for all our workers? What's best for all of our businesses? What's best for all of our children?"

These values are not Democratic or Republican. They are not conservative or liberal values. They are American values. As Democrats, we take pride in what our party has accomplished over the last century: Social Security and the minimum wage; the G.I. Bill and Medicare; civil rights and worker's rights and women's rights. But we also recognize that throughout our history, there has been a noble Republican vision as well, of what this country can be. It was the vision of Abraham Lincoln, who set up the first land grant colleges and launched the transcontinental railroad; the vision of Teddy Roosevelt, who used the power of government to break up monopolies; the vision of Dwight Eisenhower, who helped build the Interstate Highway System. And, yes, the vision of Ronald Reagan, who despite his aversion to government, was willing to help save Social Security for future generations -- working with Democrats.

These were serious leaders for serious times. They were great politicians, but they didn't spend all their time playing games or scoring points. They didn't always prey on people's fears and anxieties. They made mistakes, but they did what they thought was in the best interests of their country and its people.

And that's what the American people expect of us today -- Democrats, independents, and Republicans. That's the debate they deserve. That's the leadership we owe them.

I know that folks are worried about the future. I know there's still a lot of hurt out here. And when times are tough, I know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear and doubt and division -- and just settle our sights a little bit lower, settle for something a little bit less. But that's not who we are, Ohio. Those are not the values that built this country.

We are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us brought out the best in America. Because our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents were willing to work and sacrifice for us. They were willing to take great risks, and face great hardship, and reach for a future that would give us the chance at a better life. They knew that this country is greater than the sum of its parts -- that America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people, an entire nation.

That's who we are. That is our legacy. And I'm convinced that if we're willing to summon those values today, and if we're willing to choose hope over fear, and choose the future over the past, and come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation.

As I said, those are just a few excerpts. The rest of the speech is in a similar vein, which is why it is worth reading in full.

Now, cynical Democrats might at this point be excused for thinking along the lines of: "Too little, too late." President Obama has obviously decided that bipartisanship -- especially in an election season -- is just not going to happen. Which, again, some Democrats might respond to with some version of: "It's about time!"

It may be too late for Obama to do much good for Democrats out on the campaign trail. But then again, it may not be too late. Sure, the polls are looking pretty grim for Democrats right now, but there's a whole two months before the election, and Labor Day is the traditional kickoff to the campaign for a reason -- because there are a lot of Americans who simply don't pay much attention to the political scene during the summer. So the impact of finally seeing a glimmer of "Candidate Obama" speaking out again has yet to be determined.

The real question is whether there is any follow-through by other Democrats. President Obama will lead this effort by giving a press conference this Friday, where he is likely to repeat many of the points he made in this speech. But then it'll be up to Democratic Party leaders and candidates to hammer the points home in the coming weeks. This is accomplished by rejecting the framing of the media's questions, and reminding everyone of the Democratic narrative on the issues, every chance they get in front of the cameras.

If Democrats can capitalize on this message in a big way, it could begin a wave of support for them. If, however, they revert to their default position (see: herding cats) of not being able to explain their own positions very well, then the gloom-and-doom pundits may prove to be right and Democrats will be swept out of power in a few months.

President Obama, by throwing a final shovelful of dirt on the corpse of his bipartisan obsession, has created an opening for Democratic candidates. It remains to be seen whether they can successfully follow his lead out on the campaign trail, or not.

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

43 Comments on “Obama's Bipartisan Obsession (Finally) Ends”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ... and, it remains to be seen whether the fair-weather Democrats, to be as polite as I possibly can be - will give a damn or just stay home in November ... or worse.

    At this point, NOTHING would surprise me.

  2. [2] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I thought this was a great speech and I hope that the Democratic Candidates think the same. If we want to end the current stoppage of Congress by the GOP everyone needs to go out and vote. Staying home is not the answer. We need active and involved citizens who will not waste their vote by not using it.

    I am looking forward to the press conference on Friday and I hope that we continue to see this side of President Obama.

    ...Stan

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    I hate to break into this Dem LoveFest with a little harsh reality.......

    Awww, hell.. Who am I kidding.. No I don't... :D

    Let's face reality... Obama was never really serious about bi-partisanship... He gave a lot (a REAL lot) of lip-service to the idea, but when all was said and done, Obama's attitude was, "It's my way or the highway..."

    Or, to use a REAL quote from Obama...

    "We (Democrats) won the election!"

    Yea... REAL bi-partisanship there....

    Someone... ANYONE... tell me ANY GOP ideas that made it into final legislation...

    What?? CrapCare??? Tort reform???

    "Well, we'll look at those ideas and see if we can incorporate them.."

    And so on and so on and so on...

    Let's face facts....

    "They (GOP) talk about me like I am a dog."
    -President Obama

    Well, gee whiz, Mr President... How do you talk about THEM!!???

    I was taught at a very VERY young age... So young that it is instilled into my very being...

    If you want to have a friend, you need to BE a friend...

    Obama gave a LOT of lip service to wanting a friend in the GOP...

    However, he put very VERY little effort into being a friend...

    And NOW.... Now, he is all whiney that the GOP is not playing nice...

    Another very old saying comes to mind...

    "You reap what you sow..."

    After all...

    "Well, that's what elections are for..
    -President Obama

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    That's some serious historical revisionism you've got going on there. Here's one example -- in the stimulus, Obama gave Republicans 40% of the total value in tax cuts they'd been pushing for. Seems about right -- Dems won the election about 60/40, so he divvied up the stimulus 60/40. For this effort, he got one or two votes, and a lot of derision.

    Or how about, from his speech:

    "Just this year, these same Republicans voted against a bipartisan fiscal commission that they themselves had proposed. Once I decided I was for it, they were against it. (Laughter.) And when you ask them what programs they’d actually cut they don’t have an answer. That’s not fiscal responsibility. That’s not a serious plan to govern."

    Or how about the small business tax cuts that are currently before the Senate, which Republicans have been begging for for years... but which they are now obstructing on sheer political reasons? They're willing to sacrifice business tax cuts now so Obama doesn't get a "political victory" even though it's their idea. You cannot be "bipartisan" when one party refuses to play ball. And there is indeed one party which is refusing to play ball -- ON THEIR OWN PROPOSALS -- for pure partisan reasons.

    Even better, I'd like to see you name ONE example, other than perhaps No Child Left Behind, during the Bush years when the GOP controlled Congress that they did ANY thing with Democratic input. Just one. I'll save you some time -- there aren't any, don't bother looking for them.

    The problem is, Republicans DEFINE "bipartisanship" as "the Republican way or the highway" and then they get all whiny when the Democrats act the same way they did when they were in the majority. Sheesh.

    I mean, seriously, do they have history books on your planet, or what? The last Republican Speaker famously said he wouldn't even consider what a minority of his OWN PARTY thought about legislation, much less the Democrats -- if he had a House majority, he would ram things through as is. He couldn't even be "bi-"anything even WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY.

    Double-sheesh.

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Very excited to see this. His labor day speech was also quite good. When Obama isn't trying not to offend anyone, he's as good as anyone at articulating what progressives should stand for.

    I'm hoping this is a sign that the White House may have finally stopped triangulating. Especially since it's not done them any good.

    If you're going to go down, go down fighting.

    Welcome back, Mr. President!
    -David

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Update:

    Here's an inside-the-Beltway type (EJ Dionne, WashPost) largely agreeing with what I had to say here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/08/AR2010090805421.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    Just for everyone's edification...

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Personal note to Michale -

    I know you may be banned there, but check out the HuffPost comments to this article, as there is a developing discussion of the protocol of "Mr. President Spock" and my assertion that Tuvok is much more appropriate, that I just know you'll enjoy.

    You're welcome. Live long and prosper, and all of that.

    -CW

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    It IS an election season after all.. History shows that BOTH parties are guilty of playing politics instead of doing the job they were hired for.

    Once again I refer back to the CrapCare debate. The much-ballyhooed summit when Democrats and Republicans sat around a table and talked.. And talked and talked and talked..

    Every time a Republican brought up a reasonable and rational concern about CrapCare, Obama scoffed at it and made some snide remark about the GOP just playing to the cameras..

    Bi-partisanship is not something you can do one day and then point to it and say, "See!! I am all about bi-partisanship!!"

    You either are about bi-partisanship or you are not.

    Obama has never really been serious about bi-partisanship.

    It sounds good in an election. That's the extent of Obama's commitment to bi-partisanship.

    That's not to say that the GOP is all roses and perfection in this either. They are not..

    But, my only point in THIS issue is that you can't have the death of bi-partisanship when there really wasn't any to begin with..

    I know you may be banned there, but check out the HuffPost comments to this article, as there is a developing discussion of the protocol of "Mr. President Spock" and my assertion that Tuvok is much more appropriate, that I just know you'll enjoy.

    That was good! :D

    I think the Romulan comparison is a lot more accurate... Obama seems to have this Machiavellian streak about him that makes it impossible for me to trust him.

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sorry, I missed this last part..

    I mean, seriously, do they have history books on your planet, or what?

    Of course they do! But it's the history of MY planet, not yours!! :D

    The last Republican Speaker famously said he wouldn't even consider what a minority of his OWN PARTY thought about legislation, much less the Democrats -- if he had a House majority, he would ram things through as is. He couldn't even be "bi-"anything even WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY.

    Of course the GOP is not bi-partisan. No one is claiming otherwise...

    I simply point out that neither are the Democrats. Neither is Obama.

    Feigning bi-partisanship simply to show the American people that the GOP will say "NO" to everything is not bi-partisanship. It's simply serving one's own political agenda.

    "The key is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you got it made."
    -old saying

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hey Michale-

    We could go back and forth all day about who is most partisan and who started it and blah blah blah.

    But at the end of the day, Obama's attempts at bipartisanship have not helped him any.

    Getting rid of the public option to please Republicans like Scott Brown did not help anybody. Well, anyone except Republicans looking to take back Congress.

    Compromise has lead to worse legislation and decreased popularity.

    I have no beef with Republicans saying "no" to everything and campaigning on this.

    The problem I see is that for far too long, Democrats have kept trying to win them over when they very clearly stated: we are going to do everything in our power to block everything you are doing.

    It was a lose-lose for the Democrats. They never won much of anyone over. And they look like idiots for trying.

    So I'm hoping the Democrats will, instead of trying to please everyone, make a case for what they want to do and then act on it. And if they lose, they've at least tried to do the right thing.

    Cheers
    -David

    p.s. Nice quote. Sounds like Mel Brooks :)

  11. [11] 
    akadjian wrote:

    "Some mother*$#%ckers are always trying to ice skate uphill" - Wesley Snipes, Blade

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    We could go back and forth all day about who is most partisan and who started it and blah blah blah.

    True... But at least we agree that both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of faux bi-partisanship

    But at the end of the day, Obama's attempts at bipartisanship have not helped him any.

    That's because the attempts were half-assed and not sincere...

    To me, bi-partisanship is what we witnessed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11...

    Forsaking ALL political agendas and coming together for the good of the country..

    Obama hasn't tried anything in the same solar system as that kind of bi-partisanship..

    As for Democrats?? Feggediboutit....

    p.s. Nice quote. Sounds like Mel Brooks :)

    I have heard it so many times in so many different ways.. I don't know who the original author is..

    "Some mother*$#%ckers are always trying to ice skate uphill" - Wesley Snipes, Blade

    How true... :D

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    That's because the attempts were half-assed and not sincere...

    What attempts? There was one so-called attempt, which wasn't even half-assed but a full-blown dog-and-pony show going in. So I don't know where this notion of Obama's "attempts at bipartisanship" even come from. He's never once acted in a bipartisan manner and never had any intention of doing so, either, evidenced by his having loaded his White House up with Clinton people, in preparation for a wholly partisan enforcement of HCR, whether Republicans or the American people liked it or not. And that's precisely what America got: health care "reform" (try saying that with a straight face) that the public had said "no" to from the day Pelosi/Reid went to work on it, with the world's most transparent dog-and-pony show wedged into the middle of it when it they needed a way to jump-start legislation again, after Massachusetts had sent Brown in to stop it.

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    To me, bi-partisanship is what we witnessed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

    One party getting their way on everything because they declared a "war"?

    Well, at least you're honest, Michale.

    "You're either with us or against us in the war on terror." - George W. Bush

    Remember this approach to bi-partisanship? It still seems to be the Republican definition. Put our people in. Put our proposals in. Do what we want. Or you're against us.

    (Oh, and by the way, we're going to whine about it a lot through the media networks we own. Also, even if you do what we want, we're going to whine about it. A lot.)

    (Did I mention we're going to whine about it a lot?)

    Commence whining!!!
    -David

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    One party getting their way on everything because they declared a "war"?

    You simply prove my point for me...

    In the aftermath of 9/11, NO ONE was thinking about this Party or that Party at all..

    We were all ONE Party...

    Americans....

    THAT is bi-partisanship..

    The simple fact that Democrats can't see that now, simply proves that they know nothing about bi-partisanship...

    "You're either with us or against us in the war on terror." - George W. Bush

    Actually, Bush said, "You are either with us or you are with the terrorists."

    What's wrong with that???

    It's like Roosevelt saying, "You are either with us or you are with the Japanese."

    I honestly don't understand why ANYONE would have a problem with such a sentiment???

    (Did I mention we're going to whine about it a lot?)

    And this is different than the way Democrats are now, exactly how??? :D

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Actually, Bush said, "You are either with us or you are with the terrorists."

    What's wrong with that?

    Nothing's wrong with it. It's just exactly the opposite of bipartisanship. It says if you disagree with us, we are going to classify you as a terrorist.

    It's ridiculous.

    It's like if the Democrats said, You either agree with us on healthcare or you're for death panels.

    Oh wait ... that was someone else who said that :)

    Michale, it's ok to have different opinions about things. We can have different opinions and still all be Americans. That's the beauty of Democracy.

    -David

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Nothing's wrong with it. It's just exactly the opposite of bipartisanship. It says if you disagree with us, we are going to classify you as a terrorist.

    Actually, it's the very definition of bi-partisanship because, at the time, everyone was on board with it...

    It was only afterwards that Democrats got a skeered and said they didn't really mean it.. :D

    Michale, it's ok to have different opinions about things. We can have different opinions and still all be Americans. That's the beauty of Democracy.

    Of course it's OK to have different opinions about things..

    But ALL things??

    Sorry, David..

    Have to disagree with you.. Anyone who thinks that terrorists are OK and are justified is someone I simply do not think of as an American..

    Not saying that anyone here has that opinion. But I am sure there ARE some out there who DO have that opinion..

    Somethings ARE black and white, David...

    Some positions ARE inherently wrong and inherently evil.

    No moral ambiguity whatsoever...

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Bush was speaking to nations, not to the Democratic party:

    "Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    CB,

    Bush was speaking to nations, not to the Democratic party:

    Good point... VERY good point..

    I missed that...

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Anyone who thinks that terrorists are OK and are justified is someone I simply do not think of as an American.

    I'm not sure how you got back to this. I thought we were talking about bipartisanship.

    Bush was speaking to nations, not to the Democratic party

    Context. I am impressed, CB.

    Ok, 'ya got me. Republican treat nations the same way as Democrats. Bipartisanship = doing what we want. Multilateralism = doing what we want.

    But I'll bite for a second, CB. What do you think bipartisanship would look like? Let's pick an issue and see what it might look like.

    How about Afghanistan? A liberal position would be to get out of this unwinnable war. What do you think a compromise might look like?

    Cheers
    David

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I'm not sure how you got back to this. I thought we were talking about bipartisanship.

    that's the conservative formula for trying to win an argument. no matter what the topic might be, change the subject to god, gays, guns or terrorism. or in your own terms:

    arguing = arguing about what we want

    at this point, even i (self-proclaimed jewish zionist; and l'shana tova by the way) will refuse to call hamas terrorists; not because they aren't, but because that's the big-C Conservative way of distracting people from the real issues. book burning, anyone? each community needs to take care of its own extremists, not admonish others for failure to take care of theirs.

    what's bipartisanship? for that to exist, there have to be two distinct parties. the democrats are for rent, and the republicans are already owned, but it's the same folks footing the bill.

  22. [22] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Context. I am impressed, CB.

    Context is everything, my mortal marketing enemy. 'D

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm not sure how you got back to this. I thought we were talking about bipartisanship.

    Because you brought up Bush's statement about being with the US or being with the terrorists..

    You brought it up as an example of partisanship. I maintain it's an example of bi-partisanship.

    Turns out we were BOTH wrong :D since Bush was talking about other countries, not Americans or Democrats/Republicans.

    Bipartisanship = doing what we want.

    No. Bi-partisanship is everyone agreeing to do what needs to be done for the sake of the country, NOT the Party.

    That is bi-partisanship. That is what we saw in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    Obama has so poisoned things that I doubt even another 9/11 would bring all Americans together..

    How about Afghanistan? A liberal position would be to get out of this unwinnable war. What do you think a compromise might look like?

    Iraq was an "unwinnable" war at one time. Then it wasn't...

    Imagine how much worse the region would be if the US had pulled out of Iraq prematurely.

    A compromise on Afghanistan?? Pretty much what Professor Obama has stated..

    But Afghanistan is a pretty bad example to try and impose bi-partisanship. When it comes to national security, the US needs to do what is right. Not what is popular. In issues of national security, bi-partisanship means everyone agrees on the proper course of action that's best for the country.

    There can be (nor SHOULD there be) any compromise on the security of this country. Wouldn't you agree??

    NYpoet,

    that's the conservative formula for trying to win an argument. no matter what the topic might be, change the subject to god, gays, guns or terrorism. or in your own terms:

    That's the liberal formula to try and win an argument.

    Bring up god, gays, guns or terrorism and then blame your opponent for bringing it up and accuse them of harping on conservative talking points. :D

    At least ya'all don't accuse me of racism.. That's the other standard liberal formula for trying to win an argument... :D

    at this point, even i (self-proclaimed jewish zionist; and l'shana tova by the way) will refuse to call hamas terrorists; not because they aren't, but because that's the big-C Conservative way of distracting people from the real issues.

    So, in other words, you would let a conservative dictate to you what your stated beliefs would be??

    Seriously??

    book burning, anyone?

    OOoooo don't get me started!! :D

    each community needs to take care of its own extremists, not admonish others for failure to take care of theirs.

    Now, THIS we agree on 10,000%...

    You think you can get the hysterical Left to abide by this?? :D

    what's bipartisanship? for that to exist, there have to be two distinct parties. the democrats are for rent, and the republicans are already owned, but it's the same folks footing the bil

    Essentially true, but history and the facts show that one Party is as owned and/or rented as the other...

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Bi-partisanship is everyone agreeing to do what needs to be done for the sake of the country, NOT the Party.

    So who defines this absolute good, Michale? How is what you think best for the country better than what I think?

    Context is everything, my mortal marketing enemy.

    It is definitely important, CB. Witness Shirley Sherrod.

    What do you think bipartisanship would look like in Afghanistan, CB?

    A compromise on Afghanistan?? Pretty much what Professor Obama has stated.

    I'd agree, Michale, that he has charted a pretty centrist path. I think he wants to get people out yet believes the country is not ready yet.

    I think he's charted a pretty centrist path on just about everything. In fact, he's compromised so much he constantly angers his base. If health care was what liberals wanted, it would be single payer.

    This is why the cries of bipartisanship seem to ring false to me. And why I believe triangulation has not worked.

    If you're going to get called "partisan," I figure you might as well be it.

    the democrats are for rent, and the republicans are already owned, but it's the same folks footing the bill

    The one thing we all pretty much agree on, nypoet.

    Cheers
    David

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    There can be (nor SHOULD there be) any compromise on the security of this country. Wouldn't you agree?

    Apologies, Michale. Missed this one. I'd say that security is definitely important, but I think there are different approaches to national security. And I think we have to balance this need with other needs - our economy, for example. We've hashed through a lot of this before though so need for me to ramble :).

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    So who defines this absolute good, Michale?

    Oh, that's easy..

    I do... :D

    How is what you think best for the country better than what I think?

    Tell ya what... You handle domestic issues and I'll cover national security and foreign policy...

    Whatta team!! :D

    This is why the cries of bipartisanship seem to ring false to me. And why I believe triangulation has not worked.

    Once again, we agree... For different reasons, to be sure, but agreement nonetheless...

    And I think we have to balance this need with other needs - our economy, for example.

    We do need to take into consideration other aspects of our needs, I agree..

    However, our security needs should remain paramount.. Because, without security, nothing else matters.

    "A civilization flourishes best when it can protect itself."
    -George Kirk, FINAL FRONTIER

    Michale.....

  27. [27] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Oh, that's easy. I do... :D

    LOL. Cheers, man. The countdown to beer thirty is at T minus 7 hours and counting.

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    LOL. Cheers, man. The countdown to beer thirty is at T minus 7 hours and counting.

    Hell with that!!

    It's 12 noon somewhere!!! :D

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    It is definitely important, CB. Witness Shirley Sherrod.

    What do you think bipartisanship would look like in Afghanistan, CB?

    I don't believe in bipartisanship when it comes to war, D. The framers gave the Commander in Chief gig to the president. It's up to him to make the decisions and lead the troops. Americans don't have to like his decisions, and they get to weigh in on election day. But there can only be one commander, and public opinion shouldn't sway his commitment to winning. That's something I've always liked and admired about Bush. He stuck to his guns, no matter what the polls said. And he took plenty of public-opinion hits, to be sure.

    But I'll take a commitment to winning over a poll-following Commander in Chief any day of the week.

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    But I'll take a commitment to winning over a poll-following Commander in Chief any day of the week.

    Hooooaaaaaaaaaaa!! :D

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    akadjian wrote:

    To get back to the original subject of bipartisanship, Michale, I've been thinking about your comments about doing what's right for the country.

    After 9/11, Democrats came together with Republicans to present a united front. Many didn't like this or agree with it, but they bought into the idea of doing what's right for the country.

    Contrast this with after the financial crisis and Obama's election. We had another opportunity to pull together in crisis. Obama laid out a very centrist agenda and asked for support.

    What happened? Republicans decided to start campaigning by opposing Democrats on everything. They called Obama a socialist and screamed "You lie!" etc. Even though he included plenty of conservative ideas.

    At a time when if everyone worked together, we could lower the deficit and get the economy back on track, Republicans are still fighting for selfishness - the rich getting to keep the large share of the pie they took during the past 30 years.

    Seems to me like the Democrats have a stronger case when it comes to doing what's right for the country. Even if it involves some higher taxes for those of us who benefited the most when times were good.

    I think this is a key difference between the two parties that Democrats would do well to emphasize. Heck, I'd be willing to pitch in a little extra right now if it would help our country.

    Cheers
    -David

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    After 9/11, Democrats came together with Republicans to present a united front. Many didn't like this or agree with it, but they bought into the idea of doing what's right for the country.

    I disagree.. I think that Democrats AND Republicans came together to do what's right for the Country..

    It was only afterwards that Democrats tried to walk back their actions and claim, "Well I really didn't WANT to vote that way, but I feel intimidated to do so."

    In other words, "morning after" guilt.

    But make no mistake. The actions taken in the aftermath of 9/11 were the right things to do.

    Contrast this with after the financial crisis and Obama's election. We had another opportunity to pull together in crisis. Obama laid out a very centrist agenda and asked for support.

    I have to cry BS on this..

    Obama didn't "ask for their support".

    Obama laid out his agenda and expected everyone to see his "logic". When the GOP balked, Obama shrugged his shoulders, said "Well, I tried" and then just did what he wanted to do.

    That's Obama's idea of "bi-partisanship"...

    He gives the GOP every opportunity to get on board with HIS agenda. If they choose not to, then that's touch cookies and Obama does what he wants and blames the GOP for being the Party Of No..

    No better example of this is the CrapCare "summit"...

    What happened? Republicans decided to start campaigning by opposing Democrats on everything. They called Obama a socialist and screamed "You lie!" etc. Even though he included plenty of conservative ideas.

    And, apparently, Obama DID lie.... The CBO Actuary section just released a report stating that, BECAUSE of CrapCare, health care costs will RISE thru 2019 which is as long as they projected...

    I could go on and on about all the fallacies that Obama spewed about CrapCare that turned out to be dead wrong.

    WHY would the GOP support such an abomination?? Why would ANY sane American???

    At a time when if everyone worked together, we could lower the deficit and get the economy back on track, Republicans are still fighting for selfishness -

    Read up on the concept of The Prisoner's Dilemma. :D

    Regardless, let's be clear and honest here.

    Obama's policies DO NOT WORK...

    Democrat's policies DO NOT WORK...

    It's the GOP's duty to their constituents and to this country to fight these policies because they DO NOT WORK.. These policies make things WORSE...

    Seems to me like the Democrats have a stronger case when it comes to doing what's right for the country. Even if it involves some higher taxes for those of us who benefited the most when times were good.

    Really???

    On what do you base that on???

    The nearly 10% unemployment nationwide?? 12+% in some states???

    Can you honestly and truly say that things are better now then they were 4 years ago??

    And keep a straight face doing it?? :D

    I don't think you can...

    I think this is a key difference between the two parties that Democrats would do well to emphasize. Heck, I'd be willing to pitch in a little extra right now if it would help our country.

    The problem with the Democrats is they are simply promising more of the same... And, as the last 4 years CLEARLY show, the Democrats' ideas are BAD ideas.

    This is what the majority of Independent and NPA voters believe. And they will adjust their votes accordingly.

    And, oh yea... JAGS WON!!!! :D

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Can you honestly and truly say that things are better now then they were 4 years ago?

    I'd say we're in better shape than 2 years ago.

    To continue the football analogy, seems like we were about 2-14 in 2008. I'd say under Obama, we're more like 8-8 over the last year.

    Do we want to go back to the team that went 2-14? The team that by their own admission has no new ideas.

    Cheers
    -David

  34. [34] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Obama's policies DO NOT WORK. Democrat's policies DO NOT WORK.

    p.s. The Republicans had 8 years to dig the hole. I really think it's premature to make large blanket statements like this.

    It's gonna take some time. I believe we're seeing the start of things getting better though.

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'd say we're in better shape than 2 years ago.

    That's when Democrats were in charge of Congress..

    Are we in better shape than we were 6 years ago??

    No, we are not...

    It's gonna take some time. I believe we're seeing the start of things getting better though.

    For example??

    Unemployment is rising. Our debt is soaring.. Economic apocalypse theories that were laughed at a year ago are being given serious consideration.

    Things ARE getting worse. This is the reality, but more important, this is the perception.

    And it is that perception that will kill the Democrats at the election booths.

    Like I said... The Democrat's only campaign strategy is, "Do you want to go back to the GOP style of governing??"

    Independents and NPAs are screaming, "HELL YEA!!!"

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    akadjian wrote:

    For example?

    Unemployment is stabilizing. The latest jobs report was better than expected.

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/03/news/economy/august_jobs_report/index.htm

    The stock market has stabilized and is up for the year.

    I guess if you read NewsMax you'd think the end of the world was coming. But that's every edition of NewsMax. The perception doesn't match the reality.

    But you are right about perception. Republicans and their media networks are doing a good job in shaping the perception you describe.

    Here's a hypothetical for you, Michale. If people are making decisions based on perception and anger rather than fact, is this a good thing for our country?

    I'd encourage people to look at the facts. It's not great yet, Michale. You're right. But there's a lot of encouraging signs and it is going to take time.

    Cheers
    David

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    If one cherry picks the good news and ignores the bad news, yes... One can make the assumption that things are getting better..

    But you know what they say about making assumptions. :D

    We can argue the state of mind of the Independents and the NPAs til the cows come home...

    The real proof will be come Nov 2...

    Wanna lay any bets?? :D

    Michale....

  38. [38] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If one cherry picks the good news and ignores the bad news.

    I'd go so far as to say if one listens to the news and ignores conservative news then things really don't look so bad.

    The real proof will be come Nov 2.

    You may very well be right. It's what many of the polls seem to think.

    But will it be a good thing for the country? Riddle me this, if conservative ideas are so good for our country, why won't conservatives talk about them?

    Why do they have to call Obama a Muslim, call Democrats socialists, talk about Sharia law, paint Obama as not being born in this country, blame Democrats for everything and talk about basically everything but what they would do?

    Cheers,
    David

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    I'd go so far as to say if one listens to the news and ignores conservative news then things really don't look so bad.

    Exactly. If one ignores the bad news, then things really don't look so bad..

    The problem is, the bad news is as factual as the good news. And there is a LOT more bad news for the Democratic Party..


    TIM KAINE, HEAD OF DNC: We're the underdog party. Even when we have a majority we're the underdog party.

    JON STEWART, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": You control the Senate, the House and the executive branch. You're the underdog in what universe? You're a party that has done all these historic things and you're battling for the underdog. What is it about that message that's not getting through to humans?

    KAINE: You've never had a bad day?

    STEWART: Not one like you're going to have in November. I'll tell you that much.

    :D

    But will it be a good thing for the country? Riddle me this, if conservative ideas are so good for our country, why won't conservatives talk about them?

    "We'll have to pass {CrapCare} to learn what's in it."
    -Nancy Pelosi

    It's the way of politics these days, apparently.

    Why do they have to call Obama a Muslim, call Democrats socialists, talk about Sharia law, paint Obama as not being born in this country, blame Democrats for everything and talk about basically everything but what they would do?

    The same reason that Democrats blame Bush for everything... At this point in time, all of them have nothing better..

    But the point is, ANYTHING is better than a future with Democrats at the helm...

    That's the reasoning of the Independents and the NPAs..

    Hay, don't kill the messenger, just because you don't like the message.. :D

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The problem is, the bad news is as factual as the good news.

    I guess if you consider birther stories factual.

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Birther stories aren't "bad news"...

    CrapCare stories that show that health care insurance is going to rise because of CrapCare is bad news. And it's factual.

    Stories of out of control spending by Democrats is bad news. And it's factual.

    Stories of poll after poll after poll that show an ever increasing margin of GOP wins over Democrats is bad news. And it's factual..

    I could go on and on... And often do! :D

    Like I said... If you cheery pick only the good news, of course it's easy to say, "It's not so bad for Democrats."

    Don't get me wrong. I too, am a Cup Is Half Full kinda guy myself..

    But I do try to ground myself in reality... :D

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Don't get me wrong, Michale. I do think Democrats are going to face a tough November.

    But I think this is more as you say, because of perception rather than reality.

    It's an interesting strategy because what Republicans want to do isn't so popular.

    http://congressionalconnection.nationaljournal.com/2010/09/despite-electoral-landscape-go.php

    But the party seems to be seeing a resurgence.

    So it's interesting to ask the question why?

    This is where I think CW is right when he talks about how Republicans have done a better job claiming the moral high ground.

    Cheers
    David

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can't really say it any better than this..

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42100.html

    The mid-terms will be about Obama and the crappy job he has done to date...

    This is the reality, no matter how unfair or inaccurate it may be...

    Michale.....

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