And this is the cause of my life — new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege. - Ted Kennedy, 2008 DNC Speech
Rachel Maddow on Obama’s Re-election (by Tumwatl)
“This election is a choice between two fundamentally different visions for America: President Obama is fighting to grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down. Mitt Romney wants to go back to the exact same policies that caused the recession and hurt the middle class.”
With the debt limit bill complete, Washington is now turning its focus to job creation. This issue is expected to heighten even further when a leading government agency that measures the nation’s employment statistics releases its monthly jobs report tomorrow.
Shortly after the Senate passed a bill on Tuesday, Pres. Obama along with top Democrat and GOP members spoke about shifting their political priority this fall to jobs.
During a briefing by Democratic Leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that “jobs won’t have to play second fiddle to the deficit anymore,” he added, “we welcome this chance to shift the playing field to jobs.” “Our caucus is very united, reducing our deficit with job creation being a part of it,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also said during a briefing that, “we are talking about jobs and small business creation.”
Also speaking to reporters, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said lawmakers must do more for American families.
President Obama insisted from the White House Rose Garden that “When Congress returns from its August recess, I will urge them to immediately take some steps, bipartisan, common sense steps that will make a difference.” The President also called on Congress to pass a number of initiatives including pending free trade deals, an infrastructure bank and extension of unemployment benefits.
Senate Republicans also said they welcomed the opportunity to discuss jobs because, as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) stated, “Republicans have never taken our eye off of job creation.”
“I’m often asked, ‘What would you do to get the economy going?’” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said. “My answer is always the same: We need to quite doing what we’ve been doing. Quit borrowing. Quit spending. Quit trying to raise taxes. Quit over-regulating and let the private sector flourish so we have a chance again to have a growing economy.”
On Friday, lawmakers will likely react when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a snapshot of the U.S. economy when it releases its Current Employment Statistics report. Last month, the BLS reported that the nation’s unemployment rate for June went up to 9.2% percent. Economic analysts expect tomorrow’s July report to show very little upward movement in those and other job sectors.
Updated: Wednesday at 4:37pm (ET)
It seems those who support using violent rhetoric are now preaching peace & justice, or at least some of those who have presidential ambitions, e.g. Sarah Palin are doing so, but a lot more preaching of peace & justice will have to go on to begin to make up for the violent rhetoric that has been used & is being used in American politics today, mostly on the right-wing of the conservative party, which in a probably related turn of events is now the dominant ideological force in the conservative party, much more so than the left-wing of the rather conservatively liberal party.
I suppose it’s possible that the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — who was out speaking with constituents, some of whom were harmed, in her Arizona district when a gunmen in his 20s reportedly walked up to her and began shooting — had nothing to do with this:
It’s possible. But whenever a politician is harmed in an act of violence we have to pause for a moment to think 1) this is comparatively rare in this country, for which we should be thankful, and 2) in light of it’s rarity, what could have caused it? Isolated individuals with distorted views of reality and a tendency towards violence are always to be found, but it’s hard to separate this shooting from the sometimes extreme rhetoric against Giffords, a Democrat, leading up to her November re-election, the high number of death threats against President Obama, and the increasing anger under which many operate politically these days.
The hate-mongers will try to back away from responsibility in this, as they always do, but violent rhetoric, unpinned from facts and reality, gives solace to those nursing extreme fears.
— Monica Potts
Posted by Monica Potts on January 8, 2011 3:35 PMRead more at www.prospect.org
Don’t ever let anybody tell you that your efforts don’t matter or that your voice doesn’t count. Don’t ever believe that you can’t make a difference. You have.
I am asking you once again what I’ve asked of you from the moment we began this journey. I am asking you to believe not just in my ability to bring about change—but in yours. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
The 244 ACCOMPLISHMENTS of PRESIDENT OBAMA
Mon Oct 11, 2010 at 05:51:27 PM PDT
It is not my list but the authors are encouraging others to spread it and some times good news is just worth spreading. It certainly beats the fear and hate messages that seem to clog up the spam boxes of so many email accounts.
- The BigotBasher’s diary :: ::
• Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents (2009)
• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)
• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)
• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)
• Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists (2009)
• Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels and boards (2009) * Note: After saying he would not hire lobbyists, a few have been hired in the Administration
• Companies and individuals who are delinquent on their taxes or owe back taxes are no longer allowed to bid for federal contracts (2009)
• Initiated the “e-Rulemaking Initiative” (in cooperation with Cornell University) to allow for online public “notice and comment” of federal laws and initiatives (2010)
• Issued the “Open Gov Directive” ordering all Cabinet departments to promote transparency and citizen participation in their policies (2010)
• Signed extensions on banning lobbyists from serving on agency boards (2010)
• Developed the “Don Not Pay List” with data on contractors and recipients of federal funds who are deemed to be ineligible because of fraud and abuse (2010)
• The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)
• Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000) (2009)
• Has urged Congress to adopt “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or revenues, which was used in the `90s but abandoned in the `00s) (2010)
• Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)
• Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) * Note: To curb wasteful spending
• Tasked federal agencies to develop plans for disposing of unneeded real estate and then to eliminate unnecessary or non-economical lands, properties, etc. (2010)
• Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems (2009)
• Announced his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (2009) * Note: The closure has been delayed due to massive opposition but it remains on the agenda.
• Stated his interest in housing terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US (2009) * Note: this has been delayed in the face of massive opposition but it remains on the agenda
• Cut the expensive Reagan era missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010 (2009)
• Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (2009)
• Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems (2009)
• Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating (2009)
• Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar (2009)
• Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment (2009)
• Instituted a new Nuclear Posture Review, revising US nuclear deterrence policy to encourage more nations to join the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2010) * Note: Components of the policy include: a pledge to stop nuclear testing; a pledge to not build a new generation of nucs; identifying nuclear terrorism, rather than a launch from another nuclear state, as the major threat; a pledge to not use nucs on a non-nuclear state in a conventional conflict; etc.
• Executive orders to block payment, transfers, exports, etc… of individuals and organizations support the regimes of North Korea, Iran, Somali pirates, and other foreign threats (2010)
• Presidential Memoranda to extend certain provisions of The Trading with Enemies Act which was to expire in September 2010 (2010) * Note: This includes freezing assets and banning trade that benefits the Cuban regime; however further efforts at normalizing travel to Cuba are supported
• Signed bill for southwest border security and increased funds and agents on the Mexican border (2010)
• Signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act to deal with foreign regimes like Iran and North Korea (2010)
IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN
• Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2010)
• Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict (2009)
• Tasked the Pentagon to reorganize US policy in Afghanistan; the new policy includes 30,000 additional troops deployed, priority training of Afghan forces, developing agriculture and infrastructure, limiting aerial bombing, etc. (2009)
• Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist US Marine units and Special Forces in Afghanistan (2009)
• Increased unmanned drone strikes on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)
MILITARY & VETERANS
• Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family
• Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror
• Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)
• Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (2009) * Note: The old Hummers were very vulnerable to roadside explosives and an alarming percentage of our soldiers lost in Iraq were on account of IEDs
• Working to increase pay and benefits for military personnel (2009)
• Improving housing for military personnel (2009)
• Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (2009)
• Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved (2009)
• Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military to a post-Cold War, modern fighting force (2009) * Note: Bush announced in 2001 his intention to do this but backed off the reforms after 9/11, which include: new procurement policies; increasing the size of Special Ops units; deploying new technologies; creating new cyber security units; etc.
• Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)
• Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)
• Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)
• Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase a fleet of Marine One helicopters from suppliers in favor of American made helicopters (2009)
• Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military (2010)
• New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (2009)
• Signed bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010) * Note: The omnibus bill does the following: Training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; independent oversight to prevent abuse; readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.
• Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)
• Fulfilled campaign promise to have combat troops (90,000) out of Iraq by August 31, 2010 (2010)
• Established a new interagency task force to assist veterans owning small businesses (2010) * Note: The efforts include promoting federal contract opportunities, improve access to loans and capital, mentor assistance programs, etc.
• Signed The Families of Fallen Heroes Act, which covers the moving costs of immediate family members of those lost in service (military, intelligence, and security personnel) (2010)
• Closed the Bush-era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture); the US is again in compliance with Geneva Convention standards (2009) * Note: Obama has permitted some controversial interrogation techniques to continue
• Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure
• Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush
• Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush
• Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office (2009)
• Banned the export of cluster bombs (2009)
• Overturned Bush-era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal (2009)
• Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates (2009)
• Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning; overturned the ban on providing funds internationally for family planning (2009) * Note: The family planning efforts were suspended under Bush
• Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit families (2009)
• Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer) (2009)
• Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy (2009)
• Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons (2009)
• Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive (2009)
• Renewed loan guarantees for Israel (2009)
• Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel (2009)
• Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs (2009)
• Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc. (2009)
• Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations (2009)
• Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations (2009)
• Attended the Summit of America’s meeting in Trinidad and Tobago (2010)
• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)
• Signed a nuclear limitation treaty with Russia (2010) * Note: The agreement calls for both countries to reduce their nucs by one-third (1,500) and launch systems by half (800)
• Hosted nuclear non-proliferation summit for several nations (2010)
• Executive Order to establish support offices in the State Department to assist the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2010)
• Presidential Memoranda to continue drug interdiction support with Columbia (2010)
• Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) (2009) * Note: Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority
• Authorized the US auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages (2009)
• Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees (2009)
• Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls
• Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying (2009)
• Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions (2009)
• Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)
• Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs (2009)
• Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned
• Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)
• Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009) * Note: Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all refused to “get tough” on China’s predatory trade practices; Bush II refused four times during his presidency
• In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers
and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)
• Called on Congress to deliver a “Jobs bill” (2010)
• Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)
• Signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits set to expire (2010)
• Signed historic Wall Street reform bill (2010) * Note: Designed to reregulate and end abusive practices and promote consumer protections
• Signed the HIRE Act to stimulate the economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.
• National Export Initiative established to enhance federal support (technical assistance, training, trade missions, etc.) and coordination efforts to help US businesses export products and services (2010)
• Initiatives to promote a “Wireless Broadband Revolution” (2010) * Note: Among other things, broadband is finally being considered as necessary infrastructure, with efforts to expand use, access, and spectrum…
• Expanded agricultural credit to farmers during current economic crisis (2010)
• Signed bill - US Manufacturing Enhancement Act (2010)
• Signed bill - Single Family Housing Mortgage Insurance (2010)
• Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US
• Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families” (2009) * Note: The tax cuts were not as big as was suggested during the 2008 campaign
• Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code (2009)
• Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders) (2009)
• Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery (2009)
• Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)
• Proposed doubling the child tax credit (2010)
• Called for the repeal of the capital gains tax for small businesses (2010)
• Proposed rolling back the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (2010) * Note: This would be for families earning over $250,000/year and would return their tax rates to the 1990’s level
• Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending (2009)
• Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices (2009)
• Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (2009)
• Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did this (so did Reagan) in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller; such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget
• Full appropriations for war are now included in the budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did not list many of the appropriations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and War on Terror
• Funds for emergency appropriations are now included in the budget (2009) (2010)
• Proposed a three-year freeze on federal discretionary spending beginning in 2011 (2010)
• Is in the process of cutting 120 federal programs identified as either wasteful or unnecessary (2010)
• Established a bipartisan commission on fiscal responsibility, staffed by House and Senate members and private citizens, tasked with submitting proposals to balance the budget (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down
• Established a bipartisan commission on the future of Social Security, tasked with submitting proposals to preserve and strengthen Social Security (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down
• Cut $20 billion from federal budget and has pledged to cut at least this much every year (2010)
• Ultimately decided to cancel planned new presidential helicopter fleet and stick with marine One (2010)
• Freezing all discretionary spending for next three years, except on national security (2010)
• Presidential Memoranda to freeze discretionary awards, bonuses, etc. for federal political appointees (2010)
• Beginning to use “Pay-As-You-Go” (Pay-Go) to offset budget expenditures with budget cuts or revenue enhancements (2010)
• Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)
• Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)
• Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)
• Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare (2009)
• Reversed some of the Bush-era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical firms for cheaper drugs, allowing government to again competitively bid (2009) * Note: Obama had promised to lift all restrictions but, while he did negotiate with drug companies for them to lower their costs the deal only lifted some restrictions
• Expanding government vaccination programs (2009)
• Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC (2009)
• Authorized the FDA to finally begin regulating tobacco (2009)
• Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines (2009)
• Asked multiple congressional committees to bring forward a healthcare reform bill; held dozens of public hearings and town halls on the issue (2009) (2010)
• Established a new council on National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health to be chaired by Surgeon General and charged with promoting healthy lifestyles and integrative healthcare (2010)
• When accusations to the contrary arose, an Executive Order was signed to reaffirm that federal funds are not to be used for abortion services (2010)
• Historic healthcare reform bill signed - $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years
Components of the bill- Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014 - Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits - Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill - An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped - Closes the “donut hole” (Part D) for Medicare prescription drug coverage (under Bush, Medicare helped pay for drugs up to $2,600 and above $4,550, but individuals had to pay 100% of the costs in between these amounts); now Medicare helps cover costs irrespective of the amount – seniors will now pay only 25% of drug costs up to $4,550 and only 5% of drug costs above that amount - In 2010, an emergency provision will offer seniors a $250 rebate on the costs incurred within the “donut hole” - Individuals living at or below the poverty line were eligible for healthcare under Medicaid, but by 2014 individuals/families living slightly above (making up to $14,404/$29,327) the poverty line will also be eligible for benefits - Individuals/families making less than $43,320/$88,200 per year will qualify for government subsidies to help purchase health insurance - All individuals must have health insurance or face a government fine; all large (over 50 employees) employers must offer health insurance to employees or pay a fine - Small businesses can get a tax credit if they offer health care - There are hardship exemptions if individuals can’t afford health insurance - Families can keep their children in college on their plans through age 26 - Promotes health insurance “exchanges” so consumers can buy “wholesale” - Creates consumer assistance offices to help consumers file complaints or appeal decisions from insurance companies; beginning in 2011, insurance companies can no longer make excessive rate hikes without justification and approval, and those doing so may be barred from participating in new health insurance exchanges
Funding sources:- Large employers (over 50 workers) that don’t offer health benefits will be charged a $2,000/worker fee; if the employer offers coverage but employees instead purchase federally subsidized insurance the fee is $3,000/worker receiving federal subsidies or $750/worker (whichever is lower) - Annual fees on pharmaceutical companies ($27 billion), health insurance companies ($60 billion), and medical device-makers ($20 billion) - Annual penalties on individuals who do not have health insurance (up to a maximum of $695/person) - Increase in the Medicare payroll tax from 1.45% to 2.35% for individuals making $200,000+ and families making $250,000+ - 3.8% tax on unearned income for millionaires - Insurance companies will be subject to a tax on each high-end insurance plan (so-called “Cadillac” plans) they offer
Miscellaneous:- Illegal immigrants are not eligible for insurance or subsidies - By Executive Order, such federal funding can’t be used for abortion - The federal government will assist states by covering all of the increased expenses of expanding Medicaid coverage (90% of costs after 2020)
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
• Removed a ruling that now allows individual states to enact automotive fuel efficiency standards above federal standards (2009)
• Offered attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles (2009)
• Overturned Bush-era rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act (2009)
• Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions (2009)
• Signed a measure requiring energy producing plants to begin producing 15% of their energy from renewable sources (2009)
• Announced that the federal government would reengage in the long-delayed effort to clean up “Superfund” toxic waste sites (2009)
• Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s energy reform was killed by Senate Republicans
• Proposed a new refuge for wild mustangs (2009)
• Cancelled several Bush-era mountain-top removal and mining permits (2009)
• Reengaged in international treaties and agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009)* Note: Bush had withdrawn from such efforts
• Asked Congress for an energy reform and “cap and trade” bill (2009) * Note: The Congress failed to pass such a bill
• Developing plan to lease US coastal waters for wind and water-current energy production (2009)
• Overturned Bush-era policies that allowed uranium mining near national parks such as the Grand Canyon (2009)
• Expanded the Petrified Forest National Park (2009)
• Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects millions of acres of scenic, historic, and recreational lands and trails (2009)
• Requiring that government buildings and facilities be retrofitted to save energy costs (2009) * Note: These green retrofits are moving very slowly
• Authorized studies in several western states to determine how to support large-scale solar installations (2009)
• Attended the Copenhagen talks and, after the talks were stalled, negotiated an international (voluntary) agreement on reducing carbon emissions and raising funds to assist developing nations in offsetting carbon emissions (2009)
• Banned importation of pythons in response to a growing population of pythons damaging the Florida Everglades (2009)
• Committing the federal government to increasing research and use of renewable, clean energy sources such as wind, biomass, etc. (2009)
• Executive orders establishing a federal initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all federal operations (2009) (2010)
• Called for exploring the possibility of additional off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf, Atlantic, and off Alaska (but not in ANWR) (2010)
• Agreed to consider increases in nuclear energy production and requested a study on the feasibility of nuclear power plant construction (2010) * Note: Nearly all energy initiatives were defeated by Republican opposition in Congress
• Increased investment in clean energy projects (2010)
• Executive Order to develop a new strategy for and commitment to ocean and lake resources, and for scientific research on water quality (2010)
• Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)
• Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)
• Held the first Seder in White House (2009)
• Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)
• Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)
• Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)
• Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)
• Pushing for some of the 9/11 perpetrators to be tried in federal court (2009) * Note: The process has moved at a snail’s pace and, in the face of opposition, Obama has remained quiet
• Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)
• Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)
• Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)
• After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)
• Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)
• Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)
• Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)
• Commissioned a study to develop alternatives to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)
• Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)
• Signed an Executive Order for the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)
• Increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)
• Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled
• Programs to assist Spanish speakers with the US Census (2010)
• Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010)
• Tasked all federal agencies to develop new strategies to address HIV/AIDS (2010)
• After organizing studies on the topic in 2009, tasked the Pentagon to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)
• Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession
• Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools (2009)
• Increased funding for school construction (2009)
• Increased funding available for student loans (2009)
• Expanded the national youth service program (2009)
• Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)
• Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)
• Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s education reform has been sidelined by opposition in Congress
• Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies (2009)
• Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances (2009)
• Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs (2009)
• Proposed capping the maximum amount students must pay on student loans (as percentage of their income) (2010)
• Proposed reducing student loan obligations for individuals going to work in community and public service jobs (2010)
• The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)
• Increased investment in technologies for schools/education (2010)
• Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness (2009)
• FEMA once again reports directly to the president (2009) * Note: Bush removed FEMA (prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster) from this status
• Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (2009)
• Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast (2009)
• Timely and massive relief effort in response to the January 2010 earthquake and ensuing humanitarian crisis (2010)
Components of the response:- The FBI’s National Center for Disaster Fraud was tasked to look into possible fraud with organizations soliciting funds for relief - Announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund - Established an emergency Haiti Task Force in the State Department - Established a website with information, resources, and a posting of a “person finder” online to help families and friends to locate loved ones - Joint aid and relief planning with the U.K. - Sponsored a resolution in the UN Security Council for additional security and police forces in Haiti - Dispatched the US Navy floating hospital (USNS Comfort) and, within 5 days, 9 naval and relief ships, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 8 Coast Guard aircraft, and 12,000 US military personnel - Initial dispatch of several ships and cargo planes full of humanitarian aid and supplies, 6 search/rescue teams (500 personnel), and 265 Department of Health & Human Services personnel for emergency medical and aid support - Established a mobile US air traffic control center at the destroyed airport in Port-au-Prince
• After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a freeze was placed on new deep water projects (2010)
• Executive Order to establish new security measures to minimize accidental release of bio and chemical agents; new strategies for public health and bioterrorism response (2010)
• Established a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon spill to examine facts and report a plan of action; new efforts to prevent offshore spills (2010)
• After a slow start in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the White House is promoting a long-term plan to reconstruct the damaged Gulf and negotiated with BP the establishment of a multi-billion dollar trust fund for victims of the spill (2010)
• Extended national flood insurance program for those in need during current economic crisis (2010)
• New federal funding for science and research labs (2009)
• Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program (2009)
• Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program (2009)
• Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud (2009)
• Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage (2009)
• Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing (2009)
• Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays (2009)
• Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (2009) * Note: Bush removed the EPA from this status
• Beginning discussions with Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (2010)* Note: Much of Obama’s immigration reform had been stalled by opposition in Congress
• Commissioned expert panels and reports from NASA; announced a new direction for human space flight that involves funding a new heavy lift-launcher and jettisoning the Ares 1 program; boosting NASA’s budget by $1 billion in 2011 (2010)
• Ordered a ban on text-messaging for all commercial truck and bus drivers (2010)
• Signed bill – FAA Air Transportaiton Modernizatin and Safety Improvement Act (2010)
P.S. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…
• The Obamas paid for the renovations of the private living quarters in the White House with their own money rather than using the funds provided to all new first families (2009)
• The Obamas reused many Christmas ornaments from previous White House trees rather than buy new ones (2009)
• The Obamas used LED energy-saving lights on White House Christmas tree (2009)
• Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; donated the award money for the prize to several charities (2009)
• Planted a garden for the White House’s vegetables and flowers (2009)
• Installed a swing set/playground for the Obama daughters and children of White House employees (2009)
• Held over 150 public town halls, press conferences, interviews, etc. in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not available on such things, but this seems to be a new record high
• Less than 30 days of vacation in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not readily available on such things, but this seems to be a new record low
…And A FAMILY MAN !
B4B NOTE: Special Thanks to Robert P. Watson, Ph. D., Professor of American Studies, Lynn University who compiled this list and writes ” Like all presidents, Barack Obama has made mistakes. But, as a presidential historian, I have been struck by claims being put forward by Obama’s many critics and the news media that he has accomplished little when, in fact, his presidency is easily one of the most active in history.” And Thanks to our friend Sherry Lou Meeks.
Thank You Mr. President !
Print It…Pass It On…
SHARE THE FACTS !
When it comes to corporate donors, Democrats and Republicans may be closer than you think.
The Senate: Lawyers, Drugs, and Money
SECTOR | # OF MEMBERS
Finance, insurance, and real estate 57
Lawyers and lobbyists 25
Energy and natural resources 2
Miscellaneous business 2
Communications and electronics 1
No money raised 3
Total seats | 100
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Terms: 2 (9 in House)
Total raised: $62.2 million, 27% from finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE)
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)
Total raised: $17 million, 7% from FIRE
Top donors: In the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat, Brown’s biggest donors were Fidelity Investments, Bain Capital (Mitt Romney’s old firm), and Credit Suisse. But—whoops!—he voted for the financial regulation bill.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Total raised: $37.2 million, 14% from FIRE
Top donors: The top Senate Republican’s most generous contributors have been US Smokeless Tobacco—now part of Altria, née Philip Morris—and Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel’s. Cheers!
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Terms: 4 (2 in House)Total raised: $35.4 million, 17% from lawyers and lobbyists
Top donors: 5 out of the majority leader’s top 10 lifetime donors are casinos or gambling interests. The industry has bet more than $1.7 million on him, plus $1.3 mil on fellow Nevada Sen. John Ensign.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Terms: 3 (5 in House)
Total raised: $75.3 million, 7% from lawyers and lobbyists
Top donors: Boxer is Hollywood’s favorite member of Congress (aside from Sen. John Kerry). Her second-biggest donor is Time Warner; Disney is sixth.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Terms: 2 (4 in House)
Total raised: $31.8 million, 12% from agribusiness
Top donors: The ranking member of the ag committee has never met a federal farm subsidy he didn’t like. He just happens to be Congress’ second-most bountiful recipient of agribusiness cash.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Terms: 4 (4 in House)
Total raised: $16.2 million, 13% from energy and natural resources
Top donors: Inhofe, who’s declared that “man-induced global warming is an article of religious faith,” has received more money from Koch Industries than any other company. The oil firm has given nearly $25 million to climate-change denial groups.
The House: Big Labor vs. Big Money
SECTOR | # OF MEMBERS
Finance, insurance, and real estate 159
Lawyers and lobbyists 20
Miscellaneous business 18
Energy and natural resources 10
Communications and electronics 4
Unfilled seats 2
Total seats | 435
Total raised: $10.8 million, 21% from labor
Top donors: The chair of the appropriations committee and a subcommittee with oversight of labor matters, is the House’s second-biggest recipient of union cash. Obey’s retiring in the face of a challenge from Real World star Sean Duffy.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Total raised: $11.9 million, 19% from FIRE
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
Total raised: $17.3 million, 24% from FIRE
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.)
Total raised: $6.4 million, 25% from FIRE
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)
Total raised: $50.5 million, 3% from FIRE
Top donors: GIs, meet geeks. The small-government libertarian’s biggest givers are members of the military, followed by Google and Microsoft employees.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)
Total raised: $17.2 million, 19% from energy and natural resources
Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)
Total raised: $8.3 million, 17% from defense
Top donors: The Armed Services Committee chair is—surprise!— Congress’ top recipient of defense-industry cash.
Are Democrats Really Doing Better?
Oct 4 2010, 5:18 PM ETAre Democrats doing better? Are they closing the enthusiasm gap? Why are Republicans exuding less confidence about the Democratic Party’s scheduled root canal on November 2?After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.
There is some obvious perception-framing here. Republicans want to make sure that a 45-seat pick-up is seen as a “win” for the party, particularly when pundits like Charlie Cook talk about a landscape with more than 70 seats in play. (Of course, Cook knows that Democrats will win many of the seats, but when people hear 70, they expect 70). Precisely because the 2010 election is not a vote of confidence for Republican leaders in Congress — it has become in so many races the opposite — if Republicans win, they will need to claim a mandate. It won t appear. Expectations must be managed.
By the same token, nothing will hurt Democratic turnout more than a Democratic Party that telegraphs losses. If the election seems more competitive than it is, more Democrats will vote. If it seems as if their votes will be wasted, if Republicans are simply going to win regardless, then they won’t. This is basic political psychology, but it always seem to kick in in early October.
Secondly, the Republicans have succeeded in defining their party in a way that is helping Democrats get clarity about the stakes of the election. This is to be expected in an era of intense polarization. It is why the national Democratic Party is not running for something; it is why they are running against the Palin-O’Donnell-Beck-Paul Ryan-Austerity party.
Thirdly, news coverage of the midterms has increased. People are paying more attention. Republicans have been paying more attention for a while, and now everyone else is. That, in and of itself, will bleed into the likely voter screens. Races that are naturally tight but don’t appear that way because of the attention gap will suddenly seem tight. This is an artificial (but welcome) momentum booster for Democrats.
All of the above is mechanical.
Most of the major prognosticators are forecasting a two-to-one Republican sweep of the marginal districts, which is about right for a wave election. But importantly, Democrats are keeping these races, many of them they are certain to lose, competitive. The party has enough money to keep these races in play. It does not have to publicly abandon House races because, with about a dozen examples, their candidates are either within a few points of the Republican candidate, are tied, or are leading.
In 1994, Democrats did not see the wave until it was right under their noses. In 2010, Democrats saw the eddies being generated before the wave was, and fortified their candidates with as much nutrition as possible. A lot of Democrats were able to escape bad votes — with the permission of the Speaker — because they’d face tough races. The Rahm Emanuel-recruited frosh class of Democrats is benefiting from the “sophomore surge” phenomenon.
It’s time for a concluding anthropomorphic synecdoche. Democrats are hanging in there. By this point in 1994, they’d already fallen off the cliff.
Democrats will hold the House and Senate
For Democrats, it’s Rove time: Rally the base and save Congressposted on September 30, 2010, at 5:55 PM
Maybe I’m wrong.
In fact, maybe I’m really, really wrong, which is the reaction I hear when I dare even to broach this notion to commentators and political strategists in both parties. So let me state it plainly: I now think the Democrats will hold the Congress—yes, the House as well as the Senate—and turn back high-profile Republican challengers in California and elsewhere.
The GOP strategy of “no” worked to slow the recovery, stoke fears about fictions like death panels in the health-reform bill, and persuade voters to strike out in frustration against Democrats. The trend peaked in August, a month Democrats probably wish they could abolish given the dog days they suffered then, in 2009 as well as 2010.
But with the onset of autumn, there are signs that the Republican tide is receding. Karl Rove would understand—the same dynamic was the key to George W. Bush’s narrow re-election in 2004, when the GOP base showed up to vote in numbers that defied the polling models. This time, it’s the Democratic base that’s stirring—and finally engaging—and the survey research is registering the shift. In the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the Republican advantage in the ballot for Congress has declined from nine points to three. The explanation: African-Americans and Hispanics are re-entering the likely electorate.Obama can change the political weather by a few degrees. That might be enough.
California is a prime example. The GOP covets a comeback in the state that produced Nixon and Reagan before turning a deep navy blue after the party scapegoated immigrants and scorned Hispanics. But Democrat Jerry Brown has pulled ahead of eBay mogul Meg Whitman, who’s bid $119 million and counting for the governorship (and yes, her paid consultants are counting fast and furious). Whitman never managed to open up a real lead even when she had California’s expensive airwaves to herself; now, after immigrant-baiting during the primary, she can’t afford for the electorate to expand.
Similarly, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is pulling away from Republican Carly Fiorina, an ex-CEO renowned more for corporate failures than successes. Whitman comes across as stilted; Fiorina is the job-exporting equivalent of Cruella De Vil. As unappealing as her profile is even in a low-turnout election, it looks even worse as the likely voter pool grows.
Elsewhere, incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray has strengthened her position in Washington state. And across the country, the Tea Party is the gift that keeps on giving—from Nevada to Delaware, where the unelectable Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell has become a national punch line. The tea-imbibing Republicans are a twofer for Democrats: They scare mainstream voters and motivate the Democratic base, too. Thus in Pennsylvania, the ultra-conservative Pat Toomey, riding the currents of economic discontent, has suddenly hit troubled waters as people learn that his idea of reform is to privatize Social Security and “abolish corporate taxes altogether.” Discouraged blue-collar Democrats now have something to vote against other than the president’s failure to turn things around fast enough. Toomey’s margin over his Democratic opponent Joe Sestak is shrinking—first down to five points in a late September Suffolk University poll, and subsequently to three points in the latest Susquehanna numbers. A race that was written off is winnable.
Then there’s the Senate contest in incarnadined Kentucky, where from the start Democrats have defected in big numbers during the age of Obama. He lost the state decisively in 2008. This fall, Democrat Jack Conway’s making his case for them to come home. Or perhaps Rand Paul is making it for him. The fringe GOP nominee from the tea-precincts has seen his 13-point margin in the Survey USA poll cut to two points as Democrats recoil at notions like Paul’s proposed $2,000 deductible for Medicare. “That’s crazy,” a Kentucky senior says in Conway’s latest ad.
(Note: I’m dispensing in every race with the riotously Republican Rasmussen surveys, which are the psephological counterpart to the Laffer Curve on a cocktail napkin.)
So I believe the Senate’s safe. But what about the House? There is, of course, a spillover effect from statewide races and the nationwide distaste for extremist tea. The change in the makeup of the electorate can close the gap in the generic vote and let the Democrats inch ahead—but the base has to continue tuning in and then it has to turn out. That depends on President Obama—and on progressive Democrats deciding that right now the stakes in this campaign are more important than the reflex instinct to complain.
The Obama of 2008 has returned with a message and a mission. Although the Blue Dogs are slinking away—in some cases toward their own defeat—he’s carried the cause of tax fairness straight into the district of Republican House Whip Eric Cantor. While the NBC/Wall Street Journal findings show a close to even split on extending the lower rates for the highest income, a presidential push can change that by posing a stark choice—tax cuts for the middle class versus the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And this can animate a larger theme that will mobilize the party’s natural base: that Democrats fight for you, while Republicans are for the few, the comfortable, and the privileged.
The president’s also back on campus again—this week at the University of Wisconsin, where 26,000 came out to cheer him as he told them in no uncertain terms that they needed to show up in November. He’ll have to sound that appeal again and again. In the NBC/Wall Street Journal data, only 35 percent of young voters express high interest in the midterm election; they haven’t yet followed Hispanics and African-Americans into the likely voter column.
Obama can change the political weather by a few degrees—and that might be just enough. In the process, he has to inspire and not just scold disappointed progressives. But he has a point when he says that it’s “inexcusable” for Democrats to skip the midterms: “People need to buck up.”
They do, for the hopes they rallied to in 2008 are now in their hands as much as his.
Those who think the stimulus was too small—that Paul Krugman was right—need to remember that according to the Economic Policy Institute, the recent GOP “Pledge” would destroy 1 million jobs. They need to realize that the Republican plan is to drag out or destroy the recovery—and then they need to vote.
Those disappointed by the failure to enact a public option should think about the Republican commitment to “repeal and replace” health reform—and the reality that “replace” means placing the health insurance industry back in charge.
Those who are dissatisfied with the slow pace of progress on gay rights, global warming, or Guantánamo should ask themselves whether they are prepared to allow the enemies of equality, the environment, and civil liberties to take control.
Those angered by the Obama decision to persist in Afghanistan—while setting a deadline—surely do not prefer the advocates of endless war. How could they permit them to capture the Congress?
The president’s out there—finally. The Congress will soon be out of Washington—thankfully. The polls are moving—gradually—as the likely voter sample shifts. By defining the stakes, Barack Obama can accelerate that movement. There’s just enough time, assuming Democrats, especially the young, are sensible enough to understand that we are past the excitement of 2008. There is more to achieving change than standing, cheering, and voting for it once, and then standing aside.
It’s Rove time for Democrats. Rally the base—and save the Congress.
I hope he is right, but I am not sure about his past history of being right … .
Jann Wenner reports in Rolling Stone today that after his recent interview with President Obama was over, Obama returned briefly to the Oval Office and tacked on a coda, speaking “with intensity and passion, repeatedly stabbing the air with his finger”:
It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.
….If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money’s coming from. In every single one of these congressional districts, you are seeing these independent organizations outspend political parties and the candidates by, as I said, factors of four to one, five to one, eight to one, 10 to one.
We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.
If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.
Well, that’s not going to be popular with Obama’s lefty critics, though obviously you’d expect a mushy sellout like me to agree with him. And I do! But I’d also make a distinction. If you’re, say, Glenn Greenwald, I wouldn’t expect you to buy Obama’s defense at all. All of us have multiple interests, but if your primary concern is with civil liberties and the national security state, then the problem isn’t that Obama hasn’t done enough, it’s that his policies have been actively damaging. There’s just no reason why you should be especially excited about either his administration or the continuation of the Democratic Party in power.
On the other hand, if your critique is the broader and more common one — that Obama has moved in the right direction but has been too quick to compromise and hasn’t accomplished enough — then I think you should take his defense of his record way, way more seriously. It’s all too easy, like Velma Hart, to convince yourself that he could have waved a magic wand and gotten a bigger stimulus and a better healthcare bill and stronger financial regulation and a historic climate bill. But honestly, you have to buy into some pretty implausible political realities to believe that (Olympia Snowe would have voted for a trillion-dollar stimulus, there were Republican votes for a climate bill if only it had been a bigger priority, healthcare reform could have been passed via reconciliation, Harry Reid could have unilaterally ended the filibuster, etc.). The votes just weren’t there and the president’s leverage over centrist Dems and recalcitrant Republicans just wasn’t very strong. Maybe he could have done better, but the evidence says that, at best, he could have done only a smidge better.
And the alternative? Well, if the prospect of ripping apart healthcare reform, shutting down the government, deep sixing START, slashing social spending, and reliving the glory days of investigations over Christmas card lists isn’t enough to get you motivated, I guess I’m not sure what is. I wish I got more warm and fuzzies from Obama too, and I wish, like Mike Tomasky, that his ”fetish of not kowtowing to public opinion” were a little less ostentatious. But letting Darrell Issa take over the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform doesn’t seem like a very good way of getting that message across.
OK then. I think I’ll go donate a hundred bucks to someone. Who do you think it should be?