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Obama's Busy Week Ahead

[ Posted Monday, November 29th, 2010 – 17:52 PST ]

President Barack Obama has a busy week scheduled, as Congress begins the lame duck session. Everyone in Washington has a few busy weeks ahead, until the 111th Congress wraps up business and heads off into the sunset, but President Obama will be at the center of this whirlwind. So it's worth taking a look at how the week is going to play out. To put it in football-watching terms, we're just returning from the "two-minute warning" commercial break, in the fourth quarter. And anything could happen.

Tonight, Congress may pass a few things which in normal times would be fairly unremarkable and likely passed by voice vote only, but in these partisan times may be fought tooth and nail by Republicans eager to deny any legislative victory to the president. The Senate is taking up the radical issue of insuring the safety of America's food, for instance. Listen for news from the Right that this is some sort of Socialist plot, I guess.

Tomorrow, two political issues are going to dominate the news. The first is the Republicans finally getting over their fear of sitting down with President Obama (this meeting was proposed much earlier after the midterm election, but the Republicans chickened out). The Republican congressional leadership will meet with the president, in what could turn out to be nothing more than posturing by both sides (in the hopes of winning the photo op contest), but could also be where some major deals get largely hashed out. First on the agenda is going to be the Bush tax cuts, obviously. But the likelihood of a deal being struck on this has to be seen as fairly low, at this point. At least on something so major. Possibly other minor deals may be announced, but my money's on nothing more than duelling photo ops.

This meeting, however, may be overshadowed in the political world by an even bigger story -- because tomorrow the Pentagon is due to release its long-anticipated report on how to transition away from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy. The House has already passed a military appropriations bill (funding the Pentagon for the year, in other words) which contains repeal of DADT. The Senate is set to have two days of debates on the issue later in the week, and could even hold a vote before the weekend. The Pentagon's report has been widely leaked, and will be quite favorable to ending the policy, from all reports.

Republicans are going to do their best to throw up enough flak in an attempt to discredit the report, and the very notion of doing away with DADT. Democrats, loudly led by President Obama, could score a big political victory on this issue -- even if they lose the Senate vote. If Obama stands up and fights for every vote (and uses all the levers of influence with the Senate he possibly can), he's going to be fighting on the side of a large majority of Americans. His base will love it. Moderates will love it. And, in comparison, the Republicans will seem extreme in their viewpoint, and mean-spirited in their support of discrimination. Democrats, for the next two years, should push issues like this to the fore to entice Republicans into overreach, and this is the perfect time to begin.

The outcome in the Senate is uncertain. Joe Lieberman says he's got the 60 votes he needs to repeal DADT. Jon Kyl, on the other hand, swears that Republicans are going to stand firm against it and that they'll be able to filibuster it to death. All Democrats need is a few Republicans to cross the aisle, so this one may go down to the last vote on C-SPAN before anyone can call it.

Also facing a first-of-December deadline is the presidential debt commission's report. At this point, the prevailing inside-the-Beltway view is that nothing is going to be acceptable enough to both sides to garner the 14 (out of 18) votes necessary to issue the report. In other words, the entire exercise was either a gigantic waste of time, or (to be more charitable) a solid proof that American politicians are not going to solve our deficit and debt problem any time soon. See, the problem is that tough choices will have to be made. And our entire political system is now built to make such tough choices virtually impossible. Which means that, sooner or later, the International Monetary Fund may be the ones telling our Congress what austerity measures they have to pass in order to borrow any more money from the world -- but that's so far down the road that we, as Americans (and especially as American politicians) simply cannot focus on it.

In the meantime, more tax cuts for all! We're never going to raise any taxes ever again in this country! Woo hoo!

Sorry, but that's going to be about the upshot of the deficit commission announcing later this week that they could not come to any sort of agreement about what should be done to solve our fiscal problems. Call me a cynic on this one, but I don't see much of a result of the entire year the commission spent on the issue, unless you count the intangible "it raised the level of discussion about the issue in Washington" -- which, I have to say, I do not.

President Obama, in this instance, can't do much more than apologize for the lack of any bipartisanship at all in Washington, and hastily move on. These deficit battles (other than the Bush tax cuts) are going to be fought out in next year's Congress, not in the next few weeks. And even if the deficit commission does put forth some sort of vague document that can garner the necessary 14 votes, Congress is going to completely ignore it rather than waste time on tearing it to shreds (which, again, the next Congress can just as easily do).

Looming large this week is yet another unemployment benefits deadline, where millions of Americans will lose their only economic lifeline, which will be sacrificed on the altar of Republican intransigence. Democrats, it is rumored, are offering to trade Republican support for extending unemployment benefits for some sort of deal on massive tax breaks for millionaires. This could be a political advantage for Democrats, as it quite starkly points out the priorities of each party -- but that would require a concerted effort to get this message out. President Obama could lead on this issue, but likely won't until Congress has already worked out the details of the deal. Obama could generically lean on Republicans cutting off benefits right before Christmas in a big way, though; in order to sidestep the talk of such a deal and focus on the unemployment benefits extension itself -- but it remains to be seen whether Obama will take the opportunity to do so or not. This should be an easy issue for Obama (for any Democrat, really) to come out fighting for -- and Obama's going to need to hone such fighting skills to deal with the next Congress anyway.

The Obama administration may have some good news on unemployment to talk about at the end of the week. Because Friday is the day the unemployment numbers for the past month are going to be released. All throughout November, there have been good indications on this front, as new filings for unemployment have dropped to levels not seen in two years. But this doesn't always translate into a lower overall unemployment rate (which is the only number most Americans -- politicians included -- pay attention to), for various reasons. If the November unemployment rate stays the same (October's was 9.6 percent), or only moves a tenth of a point or so, then nobody's going to pay a whole lot of attention to it. But if the unemployment number goes sharply down (which I'd define as 9.3 percent or lower), this is going to be some long-anticipated good news for the economy as a whole -- and for Barack Obama in particular.

I picked that 9.3 percent figure somewhat arbitrarily, but also because once unemployment hits this level, it will be down a full percent from its high of 10.3 percent. Which is a pretty easy-to-understand political argument for Democrats to make -- things are improving, so let's not radically change things right now. This is the same argument Republicans have been making on the Bush tax cuts, essentially (an argument they're likely going to win, according to Washington conventional wisdom at this point) -- "don't rock the boat."

But it's going to be a very important message for Democrats in next year's Congress as well -- especially in the House. If the economy truly does pick up in a noticeable and sustained way over the next two months (before the new Congress really gets down to business), then it's going to be a lot easier for Democrats to defend what they managed to get passed in the 111th Congress, and to fight for their principles in the 112th.

At this point, we all could use some good news. And if it comes from an unexpected direction -- the economy brightening -- so much the better. No one could use this good news more than President Obama, either. He (and other Democrats) have had to be very careful in the past six months (for the entire election season, really) not to appear to be too rosy about the economy, in case voters decree that they're out of touch with reality. But if the numbers start getting better (and if the trend continues into the new year), it makes everything a lot easier politically for Obama and the Democrats. Because the next election is going to be fought over the economic progress in the next two years, and not the past two years.

President Obama has a lot on his plate right now (sorry for the gratuitous Thanksgiving metaphor, there), and a lot of it will have to be dealt with in the upcoming week. This week is going to set the tone for the entire lame duck session, really right up to the State Of The Union speech in late January. Obama's got some other issues to deal with as well, which are somewhat outside the world of day-to-day legislative politics -- such as responding to the Wikileaks document dump, and the upcoming yearly Afghanistan policy review. Congress also has some peripheral issues which are running up against deadlines -- such as passing the "doc fix" so Medicare providers don't get a large cut in payments, and a temporary spending bill so the government's checks don't start bouncing. The Medicare fix will likely be passed easily, but the temporary budget bill may shape up into a rousing fight.

President Obama will begin to deal with all of this pressing business tomorrow, when he meets with the congressional leadership. Before the election, Obama was showing some feistiness out on the campaign trail, in support of fellow Democrats. Was this all merely overheated campaign rhetoric? Or will Obama begin to show some of this feistiness when it comes to defending the issues, and standing up for what Democrats in Congress are fighting for? Will he, in other words, drive a hard bargain -- or give away the store? Personally, I'd love to hear the phrase: "I will veto any bill which..." be uttered by Obama in the next few weeks, pretty much no matter what the rest of the sentence contained.

This week Obama will begin setting the political tone not just for the next few weeks, but really for the next two years. In political-insider terms, this week will be the beginning of his "pivot," following the midterm election. There are some good issues for Obama to strongly defend and show real leadership on -- ones which, serendipitously, the American public also overwhelmingly supports. Obama could come out and push hard for the DADT repeal to pass the Senate. Likewise, he could take the lead on passing an unemployment benefit extension, and paint Republicans as the party of Scrooge for holding it up (once again), and preferring to play politics. He already has been leading on extending Bush tax cuts for the middle class, which he could continue to do in a much more forceful way as we get down to the deadline for the Senate to act.

Obama's already stuck his neck out on one issue in preparation for the lame duck, and he should continue to push hard to get the Senate to ratify the "New START" nuclear arms reduction treaty. It sounds like, from the Washington scuttlebutt, this would be a lot easier if Obama enlisted George H.W. Bush's support, which would be seen as the crown jewel in Obama's already-impressive efforts to get heavyweight Republican foreign policy figures on board (all the way back to Henry Kissinger). But even without Bush's support, Obama is right to show leadership on the issue -- even if he doesn't get the treaty ratified before the new year. Once again, the treaty is overwhelmingly supported by the general public, and the Senate Republicans will look like they're playing politics with America's foreign policy -- which is a politically dangerous position to find yourself in.

So there are plenty of issues for Obama to get out in front of right now. Some of these issues can be of his choosing, and some have been thrust upon him by the calendar. What he decides to lead on (and how this leadership manifests itself) is going to be crucially important to set the tone for the next two years. Obama's political reality is that he's going to have to pick his fights wisely from now on, and he's going to have to risk losing on some of these fights. What he might find out, though, is that by doing so he can actually become politically stronger. Because fighting for what you believe in -- even if you lose a few along the way -- is always more respected by the public than caving in on everything before the fight has even begun. The next week is going to begin to show whether President Obama is going to take this to heart or not.

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

15 Comments on “Obama's Busy Week Ahead”

  1. [1] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Democrats, it is rumored, are offering to trade Republican support for extending unemployment benefits for some sort of deal on massive tax breaks for millionaires.

    I sincerely hope that no matter what their strategy on this that they play it out in public and fight against trickle down theory and high-end tax cuts.

    I read a recent article about the Obama tax cuts expiring. Why aren't we hearing any outrage about these tax cuts expiring? 2 reasons:

    1. It was a tax cut for 95% of Americans. It didn't include the millionaires. Therefore, it's not going to make the mainstream media. Don't believe me? Try a Google search on "Obama tax cuts" vs "Bush tax cuts"

    2. Most people don't even know that Obama cut people's taxes. The amount of disinformation out there is astounding.

    Unfortunately, the only way people are going to find out about these type of things is if the administration picks a fight.

    And it's a fight I think they could win. But you can't win if you don't fight.

    Unfortunately, the administration is not off to a good start. They started negotiations by conceding to Republicans a freeze on federal government pay. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but what are they getting from Republicans in return?

    Nada.

    Here's how negotiation should work. You ask for something. The other side asks for something. You both give a little and reach a compromise. Here's how it works under Obama. Republicans ask for something. Obama moves to the Republican position without asking for anything in return in the hopes that ... well, I have no idea what he's hoping.

    *sigh*

    Alas, it's good to be back to the fray!
    -David

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    And it's a fight I think they could win. But you can't win if you don't fight.

    Lemme ask ya something..

    Forget all partisanship BS and Left vs Right and all that garbage...

    I think we all can agree that Obama and the Democrats ain't stoopid. They know at LEAST as much about the current situation as you and I do... Hopefully, they know more, but we can agree that they at least know as much.

    Since we all agree that Obama and the Democrats ain't stoopid, doesn't this beg the question as to WHY the Democrats don't fight??

    I mean, that seems to be the common theme in these pages.. Democrats don't fight for what they allegedly believe in.

    Doesn't anyone care WHY???

    Michale.....

    78

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Why did Democrats oppose an Earmark ban???

    Michale.....

    79

  4. [4] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Doesn't anyone care WHY???

    I think that's a great question, Michale.

    Now I'm guessing you want to argue that Obama, being smart, has seen the wisdom of the Republican plan :)

    I'd agree that Obama isn't stupid. But I don't think he's doing what he believes in.

    I think he's doing what he thinks will politically help him. I think he's stalling and trying to look like he's gotten the message from the election.

    I don't think he has.

    Dear President Obama, We would like someone who will lead. Sincerely, The Electorate.

    As you yourself have stated, you'd like a President who is going to lead, damn the torpedoes.

    What we're getting is a President who looks weak and afraid to put out his own strategy for fear it might be unpopular or he might not win.

    The LA Times has an article that argues Obama is trying to regain the initiative on the economy.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-freeze-20101130,0,150704.story

    My question is, do you regain the initiative by putting forth Republican proposals from 2 months ago?

    If he really wants to regain the initiative, I think people would like to see him come out with a plan. And the best way to do it is to propose an extremely liberal plan and then come back to the middle.

    That is, fight the fight.

    Republicans have done the better job of fighting this fight in the public eye.

    Best example: No one knows about the Obama tax cuts. Or talks about them.

    If he doesn't fight for what he believes in when it comes to taxes, the question people are going to be asking is, what will he fight for?

    I mean, that seems to be the common theme in these pages.. Democrats don't fight for what they allegedly believe in.

    This isn't true. There's lots of Democrats willing to fight. It just appears that the President is not willing to jump into the fray. Take Nancy Pelosi. The fact that she's willing to act on what she believes in despite the huge anti-Pelosi ad campaign against her makes me proud of her.

    Cheers
    -David

  5. [5] 
    Americulchie wrote:

    My personal take on the whole situation is that Obama is listening to bad political advice since he has taken office QED he looks weak;which I don't think is truly the case.He is way too smart but it appears he adopted poor tactics;which could only have come from his advisers. He needs a Louis Howe and has Alfred E.Newman instead.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think he's doing what he thinks will politically help him. I think he's stalling and trying to look like he's gotten the message from the election.

    Fair enough...

    If true, do we REALLY want a "leader" like that?? Someone who will do things contrary to the alleged "good of the country", SOLELY to get elected??

    Is THAT the kind of leader this country needs right now??

    Judging from your subsequent posting, it seems we are in agreement.

    Obama is NOT the kind of leader this country needs.

    If he really wants to regain the initiative, I think people would like to see him come out with a plan. And the best way to do it is to propose an extremely liberal plan and then come back to the middle.

    I completely agree...

    But, with CrapCare we have seen what a disaster THAT plan is.

    I honestly don't know exactly where Obama is on the political spectrum. Sometimes he is far Left, sometimes he is nearly center, sometimes he is Left off the map...

    My guess is it's because he is not a good leader. He follows the political winds and tries to please everyone, but ends up pleasing no one and pissing off everyone...

    This is not the leader I voted for. This is not the leader that this country needs.

    This is why we need a different leader in 2012..

    This isn't true. There's lots of Democrats willing to fight. It just appears that the President is not willing to jump into the fray. Take Nancy Pelosi.

    And how did the American people take Pelosi's fight??

    More accurately, did the American people as a whole appreciate Pelosi's fight??

    No. That's why the American people gave the Democratic Party a "shellacking"....

    The fact that she's willing to act on what she believes in despite the huge anti-Pelosi ad campaign against her makes me proud of her.

    You are proud of her because she fought for the Democratic Party agenda.

    Yet, the rest of the country has completely rejected that agenda as is evidenced by the Mid-Term elections..

    As I have said before. A bump for a GOP here or a bump for a GOP there, you could make the logical argument that, over all, the American People support the DP agenda.

    But the complete and utter shellacking that the DP received at the Federal AND the State level makes such an argument completely moot.

    The American people have rejected the Democratic Party's agenda. Period.

    No other explanation fits the facts..

    This being the case, the ONLY way for Obama and the Democrats to survive is to go Right... If they try to go Left, he and the Democratic Party will be crucified in 2012.

    Regardless, my original point regarding the Democratic Party's inability to fight as a whole, is this..

    "There are only two possibilities, Admiral. They are unwilling to respond; they are unable to respond."
    -Captain Spock, STAR TREK II, The Wrath Of Kahn

    In other words, the DP is either unable to fight for their agenda or they are unwilling to fight for their agenda...

    Either one doesn't bode well for the idea that the Democratic Party is fit to lead.

    Michale.....

    80

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    This being the case, the ONLY way for Obama and the Democrats to survive is to go Right... If they try to go Left, he and the Democratic Party will be crucified in 2012.

    I don't buy this. The one big issue that hurt them in 2010 was healthcare. And I wouldn't say they moved left or right, but moved Washington and corporate. They gave in to what the insurance companies wanted - a mandate.

    Being Republican-lite doesn't work for Republicans. So I'm not sure why you think it would work for Dems.

    Honestly, wouldn't you respect them more if they stood by their principles? Not agree with them, but respect them.

    The American people have rejected the Democratic Party's agenda. No other explanation fits the facts.

    The scientific approach to answering this question is to ask the people who voted why they voted the way they did.

    Here's some of the results from Ohio.

    http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/political/elections_local/why-they-voted-the-way-they-did-in-ohio

    In Ohio, people voted the way they did because the economy hasn't improved enough or they don't believe it's improved.

    I don't see them hating a "Democratic agenda" the way you seem to.

    But blame for the economy was laid on the Democrats, the party in power. Rightly or unrightly so. That seems to be the biggest reason.

    It's a shame too because the economy seems like it's starting to come back.

    Cheers
    David

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    The LA Times has an article that argues Obama is trying to regain the initiative on the economy.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-freeze-20101130,0,150704.story

    If Obama really wants to impress me, he can forgo his yearly pay. He can tell the American People his wife and kids won't take any more trips. He can announce he will support a complete repeal of CrapCare and replace it with something that WILL actually save money and WILL actually reign in costs..

    But Obama can't do that because it will affect his chances of getting re-elected..

    It's so simple it's amazing..

    Obama can choose to help himself and Democrats.

    Or he can choose to help his country.

    Wanna lay any quatloos on which Obama will choose? :^/

    Michale.....

    82

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Being Republican-lite doesn't work for Republicans. So I'm not sure why you think it would work for Dems.

    Because they ARE Democrats...

    You are not the only one who is cornfused.. :D

    I don't understand how you can believe that pushing the Democratic Party agenda on the country will endear the Independents and the NPAs of this country to the Democratic Party..

    I guess the only thing that makes sense of this is if you believe that the mid-terms was NOT a rejection of the Democratic Party agenda.

    But, it clearly was.

    Nothing else explains why Democrats lost and lost big both in Federal AND in State elections..

    I don't see them hating a "Democratic agenda" the way you seem to.

    How else can you explain all the losses suffered by Democrats up and down the board??

    State Legislatures??

    State Governor??

    You don't lose THAT much support up and down the board unless there is something fundamentally wrong with your agenda... Your belief structure..

    It's not just a ONE issue loss.... That's the point I am trying to make..

    The Democratic Party has failed to lead..

    It's really that simple...

    Michale.....

    83

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I don't understand how you can believe that pushing the Democratic Party agenda on the country will endear the Independents and the NPAs of this country to the Democratic Party.

    How do you explain all the losses among the Blue Dogs then?

    Here's a group that kept trying to be Republican-lite, yet lost more than the progressives. Progressives actually looked good by comparison.

    Another riddle. The progressive agenda polls well among people when you just ask people about issues.

    If you focus on just issues, people tend to agree w/ much of the progressive agenda. Hmmm. Could this be the reason that so many conservative pundits/politicians spend so much time on everything but the issues?

    For example, why spend time and energy painting Obama as a Muslim unless you know that you're not going to win on issues? Why all the socialist mumbo jumbo? Why not just talk about issues and who wants to do what? Riddle me this.

    There are many questions grasshopper.

    You don't lose THAT much support up and down the board unless there is something fundamentally wrong with your agenda... Your belief structure.

    I suppose you can speculate about this all you want. But it's not what the exit polls indicate.

    Just look at the analysis. Exit polls indicate people don't have any great love for either party.

    What do you think is fundamentally wrong with the progressive "belief structure"?

    I'm not even sure I know what you mean by "belief structure". Do you mean we're communists? Or godless Satanists? Or Presbyterians?

    And why is it so important to you that everyone have the same "belief structure" as Republicans? I thought you said you weren't a religious man, my friend. All this talk sounds pretty religious.

    -David

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    How do you explain all the losses among the Blue Dogs then?

    That's easy. Because the Independents and NPAs of the country seem them as Democrats first and foremost.

    Another riddle. The progressive agenda polls well among people when you just ask people about issues.

    For example.....????

    What would that particular "progressive agenda" be??

    If you focus on just issues, people tend to agree w/ much of the progressive agenda. Hmmm. Could this be the reason that so many conservative pundits/politicians spend so much time on everything but the issues?

    So, what you are saying is that the American people just gave the Democratic Party a shellacking unheard of in the history of this country over just one single issue.

    In other words, by your theory, the American voter like everything about the Democratic Party and it's agenda except their handling of one single issue...

    And yet, the American voter STILL threw Democrats out of office practically everywhere they were in office on a scale unprecedented in history. Over one single issue...

    Is THAT your claim??

    I suppose you can speculate about this all you want. But it's not what the exit polls indicate.

    You have shown me one cherry picked exit poll from one election..

    Yes, maybe in Ohio in that ONE race, the economy was the deciding factor..

    But you simply cannot ascribe that one specific issue to the complete and utter shellacking Democrats got at the mid-term. A shellacking never before seen in the history of this country.

    It's funny.. :D When the GOP got their shellacking in 2006 and 2008, the Left was all a gaa-gaa about how this country was becoming a Center Left country and that they people had spoken all up and down the board and have condemned and rejected the GOP's agenda and beliefs.

    Now, flash forward to 2010 and the Democrats have received a much worse shellacking and now, all of the sudden, it's "Oh, the American haven't rejected the Democratic Party. They just didn't like how the Party handled one single issue.."

    Seriously?? :D

    It's time to face the reality.. The Democratic Party lost and lost big not over one single issue. They lost because they failed to lead.

    It's that simple. I know ya'all hate it when I use that phrase, but it's true.

    The Democratic Party failed to lead this country in the manner that this country wants to be lead. Now you can point to one single issue and say THAT'S why, but that's not the reality..

    And if the Democratic Party doesn't take away that message from the shellacking they received in the mid-terms, then 2012 will make 2010 look like a picnic by comparison.

    They ONLY way that Obama and the Democratic Party can survive in 2012 is by pleasing both the DP base and the Independents and NPAs..

    This is an undeniable fact that I am sure you will agree with.

    Now, can you explain to me how Obama and the DP can do that?? How can Obama and the Democratic Party please both their base and the Independents and NPAs?

    It's a sincere question because I really don't see how it's possible.

    What do you think is fundamentally wrong with the progressive "belief structure"?

    Because progressives see the world as they want it to be, not as it really is.

    Your belief about the mid-term elections is a perfect example. You don't want to see that the mid-terms was a referendum on the Democratic Party so it's not. You latch onto a poll here and a poll there to support your belief and you ignore any other evidence that would refute your world view.

    I know this comes out as insulting and I really tried to think of a better way to say it, but that's how I see it.

    Progressives are, by and large, not grounded in reality. Now, that worked out very well for progressives in 2008 because the rest of America, myself included, also was not grounded in reality. We dared to believe that a man who had absolutely ZERO leadership experience could actually lead this country.

    We Americans in 2008 thought we had a Jack Ryan. Turns out, we voted in a Richard Nixon..

    And why is it so important to you that everyone have the same "belief structure" as Republicans? I thought you said you weren't a religious man, my friend. All this talk sounds pretty religious.

    Call it a 'belief structure', call it a 'foundation', what ever...

    What it all boils down to is that the Independents and NPAs of this country dared to believe the Progressive's message. In 2008, Independents and NPAs said, "OK... You Progressives have convinced us. The GOP royally fracked things up and we're going to give ya'all a shot at it.."

    And we did...

    And we discovered the true definition of "royally fracked".....

    So, now the Independents and NPAs threw Democrats out and replaced them with Republicans...

    And Democrats have a large uphill battle ahead of them. Because us NPAs and Independents are not going to be fooled a second time by platitudes of HOPE and CHANGE.. We're not going to be lulled with pretty words and petty partisanship...

    "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
    -Lt Commander Montgomery Scott, STAR TREK, Friday's Child

    It's an old saying that was invented in Russia. :D

    The NPAs and Independents in this country are going to want to see some tangible results from the Democratic Party.

    And, if the DP cannot produce those tangible results, then we will simply vote more Dems out of office, up to and including the Presidency.

    This is the reality of the relationship between the American People and the Democratic Party in the next two years..

    If you can find any fault in my logic, I would love to see it. :D I mean that in all sincerity..

    Michale.....

    84

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Interesting exchange here...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJSnozJ4LVg

    This is exactly what I am talking about..

    Michale

    86

  13. [13] 
    akadjian wrote:

    You have shown me one cherry picked exit poll from one election.

    You're funny, Michale. I like how recently any evidence which contradicts your foregone conclusion is "cherry picked".

    Look at any of the exit polls. As I've mentioned before, the scientific way to find out why people voted the way they did is to ask them

    Here's another one ...
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/02/exit-polls-independent-voters-gop/

    Fox puts a bit of a tilt on it as they are wont to do, but it's still relatively consistent with the other exit polls. But look at any of them.

    You latch onto a poll here and a poll there to support your belief and you ignore any other evidence that would refute your world view.

    Ignoring evidence? What is your method for finding out why people voted the way they do? How are exit polls not evidence?

    I know this comes out as insulting and I really tried to think of a better way to say it, but that's how I see it.

    Yes, it is insulting. Please, I thought we were beyond the name calling.

    Now, flash forward to 2010 and the Democrats have received a much worse shellacking and now, all of the sudden, it's "Oh, the American haven't rejected the Democratic Party. They just didn't like how the Party handled one single issue.."

    Huh? I have no idea where you're getting this from unless that issue is the economy.

    I think they lost because voters are angry about the economy and they took it out on the party in power. Basically, the same thing that happened in 2008, but in reverse.

    This is what the exit polls indicate. Take the headline: "The economy overshadows everything." There's other reasons as well, but this seems to be the main one.

    And here's a great quote:
    "But underscoring a broad dissatisfaction with politicians, just over half voiced negative views of both the Democratic and Republican parties."

    Because us NPAs and Independents are not going to be fooled a second time by platitudes of HOPE and CHANGE.. We're not going to be lulled with pretty words and petty partisanship.

    Nope. This time it was "freedom" and tricorn hats and Tea.

    This is my complaint about marketing. Both sides do it until they get into office. Tell the people one thing during the election, then its business as usual in office.

    It happened to the religious right all through the 90s and 00s. Now it will happen with the Tea Party. Observe people like John Boehner who are already ignoring the Tea Party.

    Yes, the Democrats have to win over Independents and NPAs in order to win. Here, I agree with you. Both sides do.

    I just believe the way to do this is to stand up for your principles. If Obama had done this rather than compromise, compromise, compromise, the elections may have been different. I still think Republicans would have made gains, but I don't think they would have won by as much.

    Being a Blue Dog did not help Obama or any of the other Blue Dogs.

    Cheers
    David

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I just believe the way to do this is to stand up for your principles. If Obama had done this rather than compromise, compromise, compromise, the elections may have been different.

    Actually, let me rephrase this slightly.

    Here's Obama's MO. Take healthcare.
    - Starts w/ position around single payer. Realizes that there will probably have to be compromise.
    - Proposes public option as a compromise to counter opposition w/o taking a stand on single payer.
    - Proposes current mandated version as a further compromise w/o taking a stand on public option.

    He wins the fight on legislation. But what has happened is that it doesn't appear as if he's compromised with Republicans. For the most part, they still never supported his plan.

    What I'm suggesting is how negotiation should work. Take the stand on single payer.

    If Republicans are willing to compromise, then work towards a compromise. But they have to commit and agree to support the bill. Otherwise, call them out for what they're doing.

    All of the backroom legislative wrangling has occurred w/o Republicans ever having to appear to have compromised. So they appear as standing for what they believe in. They also get the compromise they want. And, they've forced the Democrats to own it entirely so they can beat them up in the next election. A pretty good deal for Republicans.

    I want to see both parties work together w/o calling each other names. But the way to do this is to stand on your principle, and then compromise. Not compromise w/o any public negotiation.

    The Obama administration is going to have a chance pretty soon to see if they've learned this lesson.

    http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/post_leadership/2010/12/gop-lame-duck-blockade-taxes.html?hpid=topnews

    Haven't fully digested yet, but it seems similar to the government shutdown attempted by the GOP in 1994.

    Know your BATNA, Obama! :)
    -David

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK...

    I see that I have misunderstood your position.

    You are NOT claiming that the majority of Americans voted against the Democrats JUST because of the economy.

    You are, in fact, saying that of all the reasons that the majority of Americans voted against Democrats, the top reason was the economy.

    I can agree with that. :D

    Michale.....

    88

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