Pride

To paraphrase Michelle Obama, I have never been more proud of any President.

Hours after North Carolina embarrassed itself, the President of the United States took a surprising stand by declaring definitively that he supports marriage equality. Say what you will about the potential political calculation of the statement. EVERYTHING a President says on record is politically calculated. This doesn’t mean President Obama would not have said it if he didn’t mean it.

There are plenty of reasons to think this will hurt Obama politically. Then again, you will have a President who has made some gutsy decisions versus a candidate who is the antithesis of gutsy. Then again, there are supposedly a whole army of disillusioned young people who might have been staying home in 2012. I don’t think they will now. Who is against marriage equality and was planning to vote for Obama as of yesterday, anyway?

Even if Obama loses, for whatever reasons, he has just done something monumental in American history. 61% of North Carolinians and roughly half of all Americans will ultimately be on the wrong side of history. Obama just taken a stand for what is right and just.

I think I might finally click on one of those Barack and Michelle ads and tell them “I’m all in.”

I wish I could tune out politics

I haven’t watched any of the 17 or 18 GOP debates. I certainly follow what’s going on. I read news stories and commentaries and hear way too much on NPR, who, to my annoyance, give these guys a fair shake. Most of what they say is repulsive to me.

I turned on the CNN debate earlier (via the web).

Romney, defending his Bain record of creating jobs to wild applause, got even bigger applause when he spoke of shoving capitalism down Obama’s throat in the general election campaign.

Santorum then chimed in that Obama was responsible for the squalor that too many Americans were living in.

I turned it off. I didn’t even wait for Newt to make his pandering over-the-top racist comment-of-the-hour.

McCain was the Dalai Lama compared to these guys. At least he’d tell supporters to calm down and that they were wrong when they’d say Obama was a Muslim or a terrorist who’d destroy America.

I don’t even like Obama all that much, but the tone of the GOP is so nasty.

UPDATE I recommend Andrew Sullivan’s commentary. It informs me and validates my disgust at the same time.

Monday night political post

House Speaker John Boehner’s new budget proposal would require deep cuts in the years immediately ahead in Social Security and Medicare benefits for current retirees, the repeal of health reform’s coverage expansions, or wholesale evisceration of basic assistance programs for vulnerable Americans.

The plan is, thus, tantamount to a form of “class warfare.” If enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.

This may sound hyperbolic, but it is not. The mathematics are inexorable.
Robert Greenstein / the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / 2011.07.25

There’s just no arguing with the fact that what we all just witnessed outlined in no uncertain terms the dynamic that’s been going on in Washington for the past several months in regard to the debt ceiling fight. Obama was not only reasonable, measured and — I can’t believe I even have to say this — mature, but he made it clear that he was a man so willing to compromise for the good of the country that he’s consistently fending off fire from many in his own party who feel like he’s somehow selling them out. Boehner, meanwhile, was a petulant, haughty adolescent, someone not the least bit interested in genuine compromise and who’s more than willing to forgo honest dialog in the name of cheap theatrics, bad jokes and brutish partisan intransigence because he knows it’s what his party demands at this point.

I tweeted this a little earlier but it can pretty much be broken down like this: Obama: “We need to compromise and stop being petty children for the sake of everyone.” Boehner: “Fck you.”
Chez Pazienza / Deus Ex Malcontent / 2011.07.25


Teresa Tritch / How the Deficit Got This Big / New York Times / 2011.07.24

On the tax cuts deal

I’ve been complaining about those Bush tax cuts for a few months. Now the deal is (almost) done. I’ll just like to some more articulate people’s thoughts on why lots of Democrats will be looking around for a new leader over the next 20 months.

This “deal” Obama just made with Rep.s:$900 billion UNpaid for! Where r Teabaggers to protest? Ben Franklin costume in the wash?

..

Ok I’m starting to scream at Obama on tv the way I used to with Bush – not a good sign

@billmaher

My conversations with various progressives over the past 24 hours have convinced me that the problem is less the specifics of the deal — though liberals legitimately dislike the tax cuts for the rich, and rightly point out that Obama swore to let them expire — than the way in which it was reached. Put simply, Obama and the Democrats didn’t fight for them. There were no veto threats or serious effort to take the case to the public.

Instead, the White House disappeared into a closed room with the Republicans and cut a deal that they’d made no effort to sell to progressives. When the deal was cut, the president took an oblique shot at their preferences, saying “the American people didn’t send us here to wage symbolic battles or win symbolic victories.” And this came a mere week or two after the White House announced a federal pay freeze. The pattern, for progressives, seems clear: The White House uses them during elections, but doesn’t listen to, or consult them, while governing. In fact, it insults them, and then tells them to quiet down, they got the best bargain possible, even if it wasn’t the one they’d asked for, or been promised.

Ezra Klein

…if Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they’ll just face more demands in the future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?

Paul Krugman

Mr. President, for these meager crumbs, you have given up costly, insulting, divisive, destructive tax cuts for the rich and you have given in to Republican blackmail which will be followed by more Republican blackmail.

This President negotiates down from a position of strength better than any politician in our recent history. It is too late now to go back and ask why the President, why the wobbly Democratic leadership, whiffed on its chance to force John Boehner to put his money where his mouth was. In September Boehner said if he had no other option, of course he would vote to extend tax breaks only for the middle class.

We have enabled this President, and his compromises-spinning-within-compromises. And now there are, finally, those within his own party who have said “enough.” In the Senate, the Independent, Mr. Sanders has threatened to filibuster this deal. He deserves the support of every American in doing so, as does Mr. Conyers and Mr. McDermott and the others in the house. It is not disloyalty to the Democratic party to tell a Democratic president he is wrong; it is not disloyalty to tell him he is goddamned wrong.

It is not disloyalty to remind him that we are not bound to an individual. We are bound to principles. If the individual changes, or fails often and needlessly, then we get a new man. Or woman. None of that is disloyalty. It is self-defense.

Keith Olbermann

Vote

Here’s MSNBC.com’s website from over the weekend. They want this year’s election to be Obama vs. Palin. This is pretty ridiculous, but…ok. Voters of America, make your choice: brilliant and level-headed but occasionally spineless vs. bat-shit crazy and completely ignorant.

I’m pissed at President Obama and the Democratic Party for a number of reasons. But they have gotten some things done over the past two years. I am certain the country is in much better than it would have been under McCain-Palin and a Republican Congress. And I do think it will be disastrous if the GOP regains control of either house of Congress.

So…

Richard Burr stands for nothing and proudly thinks of himself as a roadblock to Congress. Retire Burr and vote for Elaine Marshall.

David Price has been representing the Triangle for 22 years. He works hard, albeit uncharismatically, behind-the-scenes for health care reform and jobs for his region. A vote for Lawson is a vote for a GOP Congress which is going to spend the next two years trying to gut anything positive the law Congress did, as well as launch pointless investigations into the Obama administration. Think climate change is real, and we need to do something about it? A GOP Congress absolutely will do nothing. And they’ll probably try hard to strip existing powers away from the EPA.

The stakes are huge. Vote for Republicans, and you are voting for the party of:
Rand Paul, who’d have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, created his own ophthalmologic certification so he could be a legitimate eye doctor, and whose supports stomp on the heads of opponents.
Sharron Angle, who wants to abolish the federal income tax code, phase out Social Security for younger workers and eliminate the Education Department.
Ken Buck, who believes being gay is a choice and compared it to alcoholism.
Christine O’Donnell, who was unaware that the First Amendment calls for the separation of Church and State.
Mitch McConnell, who stated that the primary goal of the next Congress would be to make President Obama a one-term President. He did not speak to improving healthcare or even creating an improved tax code. The GOP’s primary goal is to stop Obama, at every step of the way.

And that’s all Burr and Lawson would do, content to keep this country in a ditch.

I’m glad I never got that Obama-Biden magnet

You see those round Obama-Biden magnets all over, especially in Durham. I donated some money after Joe Biden was picked as Obama’s running mate. The deal on the site I donated through was that I was supposed to get one of those magnets. It never came. Then again, the feeling that Obama can really turn this country around, not just economically, but philosophically, hasn’t really ever come either. You need patience if you’re going to be a fan of the President. You have to believe that he really knows what he’s doing. He sits out a national debate for months, let’s the right tear him and his party down, and then he makes a vigorous speech that seemingly reminds you that he is, possibly, fighting for the things you believe in, after all.

And then he says something like this, to an audience of supporters:

Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed – oh, well, the public option wasn’t there. If you get the financial reform bill passed — then, well, I don’t know about this particular derivatives rule, I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven’t yet brought about world peace and — (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.) We have had the most productive, progressive legislative session in at least a generation.

Really, Mr. President? His laugh and applause lines, for some time now, have been at the expense of his own party. Are there not people within his party who have legitimate reasons to be disappointed? Obama just want us to settle for not having a Republican administration? Things had gotten so bad in this country that we’re supposed to be content that a Democratic President with huge congressional majorities has passed legislation that has been, every time, watered down in order to appeal to the opposition party without actually garnering meaningful opposition votes? It’s not that he aspires to be more of a centrist leader; it’s that his arrogance seems to have made him tone-deaf to the reasons why Democrats supported him in the first place. Among those reasons was certainly not compromise followed by compromise and more compromise.

As the leader of the Democratic Party, he has challenged my longtime need to identify as a Democrat. I struggle to find Democrats in Washington who do represent the party I want to support. I really don’t think I’m that far to the left. But I’m disgusted by how dismissive Obama is of Democrats who are at where I’m at or a bit farther to the left. Dismissive and insulting.

I will be even more disgusted when Republicans control the House in four months. I’ll still come out to vote for Democrats in six weeks, but it will be obvious to me why many others will stay home. Pundits who have their heads up Obama’s ass will blame the energy of the Tea Party, the motivation of Republicans. However, there really aren’t enough Tea Partiers in the grand scheme of things to decide these elections without the apathy of Democrats.

The apathy of Democrats is ultimately President Obama’s responsibility. I’ve seen little evidence that he cares.