The Watering Hole: March 16 — The Road We’ve Traveled

Are you in?  I’m in!

This is our daily open thread — Happy Friday!


140 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: March 16 — The Road We’ve Traveled

  1. I remember when I shook his hand during the 2008 primary, all I could say was “Thank you, thank you.” Obama leaned towards me to make sure that he heard what I said. I interpreted that as a sign of respect. Just like so many times in the past, Bush and his Republican cabal of thieves and crooks walked away from the disaster that they created and handed the mess over to Democrats to fix. The lying propaganda producing media tried and still keeps trying to put an end to any progress.

    Count me in. We can’t go back to the Republic’s dream of a country ruled by lords and religion.

  2. I think everyone here knows my opinion of Mr O’s presidency. I posed a question to BnF the other day that I can answer myself: “What progressive achievement can you name of President Obama? – For by his record, he is otherwise the greatest Republican president since Eisenhower, maybe even Lincoln.”

    I’ve got one, but only *one* – well actually two: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Frankly that’s it. We can argue about whether or not his spineless congressional colleagues and the Christo-fascist coalition opposing him everywhere from the boardroom to the TV is unprecedented, I think Clinton faced it almost as bad – they impeached him for a BJ remember? But I think when facing a choice of standing up for what he said he was and staying electable for a second term, he has chosen to stay electable.

    We have let so many things slide on his watch because, hey, he’s a Democrat. Frankly, he’s been a great disappointment IMO and has simply shown in stark light the bankruptcy of the American political system.

    I will paraphrase Winston Churchill (not because I want to draw a parallel, but because his way of speaking converys great truths very well):

    “It has been said that Barack Obama is the worst choice for President in 2012 – except all the others that are running.”

    Am I in? Sometimes I think no, I’m not in anymore. But I don’t think there is any choice.

    • “Coolness and absence of heat and haste indicate fine qualities. ”

      — Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Obama avoided a plunge into the second Great Depression. He saved the auto industry. His bank bailout may make a profit. He has withdrawn most troops from Iraq. He has ended the ban on openly gay service members. He has appointed two women to the Supreme Court. He muscled universal healthcare through the Congress into law. He ended torture as the law of the land.

      Since his Cairo speech, democratic revolution after revolution has occurred. From Tehran to Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen. The birth of a democracy is almost always very messy.

      And he nailed bin Laden, all but forgotten by Bush.

      Oh, and this may alter opinion too…

      The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama

      “He’s gotten more done in three years than any president in decades. Too bad the American public still thinks he hasn’t accomplished anything.”

      • And he did it all while at the same time dealing with, first, a non-filibuster-proof Senate and later, a Republican-controlled House. His accomplishments in spite of the odds border on the miraculous.

        My opinion is that were it not for the treasonous GOP, Obama would easily rank as the greatest President in the history of the Republic. The fact that the disloyal opposition has never ceased engaging in virtually every effort short of assassination (far as I know, at least) to sabotage Obama’s grand intent makes him look, to my eyes at least, better than I dared imagine four years ago.

        He’s got my vote.

        • Frugal – the obstructionism is unprecedented that is true. but every time Obama was offered the chance to fight, he gave up the position first before even challenging… every single time.

          • I’m not so sure about that. He is a long term thinker and now when I look back at some of his decisions that I didn’t agree with, I can see that he has set a trap for Republicans. The expiration of the Bush tax cuts are a good example. I was so pissed at him when he extended them and now, there is no reason on earth for him to extend them at the end of 2012 and the Republics are helpless in fighting him on this issue because he got the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the unemployment extension AND the extension of the Stark Treaty. The Republics got an two year extension on their 1%er tax cuts with no promise to renew.

      • Great Depression – his great stimulus package contained 40% tax cuts remember, which he gave away without a fight? Agreed though that President McCain would have let us all stew.
        Auto Bailiout – that’s a good one, I can’t argue against that one.
        Bank Bailout – disagree – it was a gift to the banking industry, one which keeps on giving (see AIG) – I’m not in it to make a profit, I’m in it to see a buttload of those bastards go to prison and the Glass-Steagal Act come back – Obama sold out and is still selling out – the bank bailout is all the politics of the corporatocracy. They have just signed off on the banks getting off for the mortgage/foreclosure fraud this very week!
        Health care – he ran away from his idea of health care, and when it came to a fight on what was left he caved and Nancy Pelosi stood up and was counted. I think Nancy Pelosi has carried Obama more than once. Obama gave it away to big insurance and big pharma.
        He ended torture as the law of the land – really? He has also presided over the assassination of American citizens and even now is blocking the release of his very own ‘Judicial Opinion Memo of Attainder’ where *his* legal counsel tells him that dropping drone missles on Americans is a-ok in the ‘War on Terra’. Bush only waterboarded people and stuck broomsticks up their arseholes or kept them without access to charges or trial. Obama signed the NDAA – end-of-argument.
        Cairo speech? Sorry, talk is cheap, I disagree. I think that one man in Tunisia who set fire to himself after he reached the end of the line with police brutality and corruption had more to do with it than Obama’s speech. And besides, the US is *still* supporting the Egyptian military as they continue to kill ordinary Egyptians. Mubarak has gone, but the US still wants the military in charge – meet the new boss….
        Bin Laden – sure he did what Bush did not, let’s face though, Bush set the bar pretty frigging low. I don’t think though that qualifies as a progressive achievment. The manner in which it was done was eminently Republican in approach – a military incursion into a sovereign nation, one at least nominally an ally. I’m not saying he should not have done it, but there is nothing ‘progressive’ about the way Obama has been waging his campaign against militants in Pakistan, Yemen and wherever else.

        That’s my opinion, now I’ll read the article.

        • The money quote:

          “Obama’s biggest accomplishments function, like FDR’s, with a built-in delay. Some are structured to have modest effects now but major ones later. Others emerged in a crimped and compromised form that, if history is a guide, may well be filled out and strengthened down the road. Still others are quite impressive now but create potential for even greater change in the future. At this point, it’s hard to get a sense of these possibilities without lifting the hood and looking deeply into the actual policies and programs. Hence, there’s no reason to think that today’s voters would be aware of them, but every reason to think historians will.”

      • “While conceding that Obama has put a lot of points on the board in terms of legislation, they felt that the highly compromised nature of that legislation, among other things, reflects qualities of leadership—a lack of experience, acumen, and forcefulness—that will keep him from ranking with the great presidents, and will more likely place him somewhere in the middle of the pack, presuming he even gets reelected”

        There were some good points about education in there that I’d missed. I think they gave a pass on TARP, the banks and Dodd-Frank which I think are chapters dominated by the banks and the people in Obama’s financial inner circle. The quote above is from three scholars ..

        “Obama may well make similar kinds of grave mistakes in the future, but so far, as best we can tell, he has not made any”

        NDAA and his so far secret “Memo of Attainder”.

      • Those that can’t see any of his accomplishments are stuck on his blackness.

        Obama never ran as a progressive. I think people created their own vision of him and may have thought he was a progressive. Kusinich and Richardson were the progressive candidates and as you can see, they didn’t make it through the primaries. The “Yes We Can” chant made people feel empowered and that was good thing. We need to feel empowered again.

        One more thing, I don’t agree with anyone 100% so I don’t expect to agree with any politician 100%. That doesn’t mean that I won’t vote the politician.

    • Repealed DADT.

      Killed Osama bin Laden.

      Saved the auto industry.

      Stimulated the economy as much as Congress would allow.

      • DADT – sustained

        OBL – disagree, see above

        Auto industry – see above and sustained

        Stimulus – ‘as much as Congress allowed’ – he had a Democratic majority in both houses….. yet he gave 40% or more away in useless tax cuts. Great if you’ve got a job, f***ing useless if you didn’t.

          • I’m ‘sustaining’ the point as – ‘yes, I’ll agree that’s a progressive Obama achievement’. I’ve been arguing his progressive credentials are weak and disappointing otherwise. My thesis that he’s the best Republican President since Lincoln still has a lot of legs, I think.

      • I think that mostly he was just shocked that a TV journalist would actually challenge him. Plus, i don’t think he really even knows what spills out of his mouth and I’m dead certain that he hasn’t even read his damned book in its entirety. I’m willing to bet that he handed a list of quotes to his ghost writer and that was the limit of his involvement.

        • He went from “I know more about Africa, Uganda, Ghana etc etc – blow hard… than anyone in the Senate” to “I don’t know him, don’t know anything about that, nothing to do with me.” as fast as his lying, bigoted mouth could take him.

          • Indeed. In it’s own sick way it’s an amazing feet that might come in handy but I’m plagued by a conscience and a logical mind that thrives on cause and effect so I wouldn’t be able to pull it off.

            • Oops! Freudian slip? I meant to write “feat” but, since the subject is backpedaling, I guess that “feet” isn’t that far off. I bet ol’ Jimmy can dance like Marcus Bachmann.

  3. I was never out.

    As Outstanding mentioned above, the alternative is unthinkable. I never have unrealistically high expectations of a president as our system is intentionally designed to keep a president from being able to really do much on his/her own.

    As Bad mentioned, I think there are a lot of accomplishments that don’t get as much credit as they deserve. All the while the president has (frustratingly so at times) maintained his view that he is president of all the states, not just the blue ones. And while it may give the appearance of appeasing the righties, it’s done in the spirit of trying to heal the political divisiveness. I can admire that.

    • Even Captain Kirk got so pissed off at Christopher Lloyd that he gave up trying to pull him up and kicked him in the face until he dropped into the Genesis World as it blew up….eventually. Obama should have driven way beyond that point by now.

      • We actually don’t know if he has had those sorts of blow ups. At lot happens outside of view of the camera.

  4. I read something earlier today suggesting that a significant number of Rmoney voters would vote Democratic if the Repubs nominate Sanitorium. The Obama-haters would never do that, of course, but the so-called “independents” that vote Repub have already expressed opinions about Rick–the faint glimmer of sanity in the Repub Party.

    • When one looks at the demographics in the primaries there’s a pattern emerging. The GOoPers who are half-sane are voting for Mittens but only about 30% of GOP voters are half-sane. The real wild card will be in play if Mittens is the nominee. Will the crazy GOoPers allow their religious bigotry to trump their racism? Should Mittens be the one; I don’t think they would choose the black Christian over the white Mormon but they might just stay home.

  5. I would love to strap Santorum to a chair and do a “Clockwork Orange” on him.

  6. iPad mania. I have friends who were staying home today so they could sign for their iPads as they are delivered. The posts on Facebook have already begun. Mostly they’re posts like “it’s so awesome” etc. The real message of these posts is “I have one.”

    Any of you caught up in this?

    • She wouldn’t have had to resign in disgrace, if she hadn’t been involved in disgraceful activities. Good riddance.


    • gummitch did you notice that TPM is changing their commenting system?

      We’ll have to use facebook, twitter, google or yahoo. Shit.

      • I’ve been using Facebook at TPM for awhile now because I didn’t see any other option. I suppose I should go ahead and connect with the new system. I just hope it doesn’t suck completely like the current Livefyre p.o.s.

        I frequently see complaints at TPM about the huge troll problem they’ve got. WTF? I guess they missed the clown antics of Mr P and the sheer lunacy of Daryll, the Giant Brain and the Latin King.

        • Yeah, the TPM troll problem is minuscule IMHO. I enjoy reading over there, and some of their commenters are really sharp, but I don’t comment all that much. I guess it won’t be too much to give up.

          I don’t have any friggin’ time anyway! 🙂

    • This is an interesting development. It was probably a fluke she won her seat in the first place. Didn’t want to suffer the agony of defeat?

  7. Coulter smacks Palin… cat fight!

    “One of the ones promoting that [a brokered convention] is Sarah Palin, who has suggested herself as the choice. I think as long as it’s between us girls — I’ve been observing something about her. I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I don’t know what these people are cheering for. As I wrote in a column a few weeks back, who is this dream candidate we’re hoping to get from the convention, because Rick Perry used to be the dream candidate. Can we see them in a debate first? … our party and particularly our movement, the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party,” she said. “I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people — as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money. The Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that… The one pledge I support and I think I’m going to draft it up is for all Republican nominees for president — I want them to sign a pledge saying, ‘If I lose the nomination I pledge I will not take a gig with Fox News or write a book,’” – Ann Coulter.

  8. President Barack Obama is a statesman, in this country and the larger world outside.
    He has dignity and integrity.
    That’s why I like him.

  9. Iran pivots. Is a deal possible? Where is the rest of the MSM on this? This is certainly promising:

    “A high-level advisor to Iran’s supreme leader said his country is ready to allow “permanent human monitoring” of its nuclear program in exchange for Western cooperation but also warned Iran is prepared to defend itself against military strikes.”

  10. QOTD:

    “Pay close attention: Palin’s rhetoric between now and Tampa will continue to be critical of both Romney and Obama; it will continue to push for a contested primary; and it will continue to signal Palin’s willingness to accept the nomination of a brokered convention. Palin knows that Romney will never pack her star power with the base — and that neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich will either.

    In the aftermath of Santorum’s sweep of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, a brokered GOP convention is a very real possibility.

    The Republican Party has become a fractured mosaic of fringe constituencies — from Tea Partiers to evangelical anti-abortion activists, from libertarians who support Ron Paul to white supremacists who despise the fact that there is a black man in the White House. It is an unruly lot. The days of a GOP elite framing the presidential selection process are over. Charisma trumps experience; celebrity trumps substance; and, perhaps most disturbingly, anger trumps reason. Mama grizzlies, especially those who have been wounded, don’t go down easy,” – Geoffrey Dunn, author of, ‘The Lies of Sarah Palin’

    Uh oh.

      • My opinion:
        I think in the long term, the Republican party will become extinct or endangered due to the world advancing and leaving them behind.
        That’s why the noise is so bad from their side.
        This is what another train wreck sounds like (McCain/Palin).
        Mitt Romney as President of the United States with Chris Christie as Vice President?
        The sky is still blue in my world so, I’m thinking no.

        • The white men Republics know that they are heading to become the minority and so they are beginning to feel desperate. This may be their last big chance as the old white men are slowly passing away.

    • “As democracy is perfected, the office of the presidency represents more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts’ desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by an outright moron”

      HL Mencken.

      Please, not again in my lifetime, please.

    • Hate to say I told you so, but I know she’s been sitting up there with her ass froze to the potty, just waiting…

    • I can’t help it, I like Meghan and I think she’s hot. There. I’ve said it.

      And HuffPo has devolved into just about the sleaziest tabloid on the Internet.

      • Oh man that’s three of us now….. Meghan, call me, I’m so raving pinko, I’m the boy-from-across-the-tracks you can *never* take home to daddy….. you know that attracts you…. call me let’s discuss over a pillow

  11. Obama fires up campaign against ‘flat earth’ GOP

    “If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail,” he said, “they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society — they would not have believed that the world was round.”He said, “They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said, “Television won’t last! It’s a flash in the pan!'”

    Stephanie Miller and crew talked about this on the program today… and had some funny one-liners. The Round World “hoax.” The Earth being round is only a theory. The Earth goes through cycles where it appears to be round sometimes.

  12. Natural Born Drillers – – Krugman

    Meanwhile, what about jobs? I have to admit that I started laughing when I saw The Wall Street Journal offering North Dakota as a role model. Yes, the oil boom there has pushed unemployment down to 3.2 percent, but that’s only possible because the whole state has fewer residents than metropolitan Albany — so few residents that adding a few thousand jobs in the state’s extractive sector is a really big deal. The comparable-sized fracking boom in Pennsylvania has had hardly any effect on the state’s overall employment picture, because, in the end, not that many jobs are involved

    • Its been a while since I’ve seen something in the NYT that lucidly and clearly harpoons the Chris Christie of shibboleths about oil prices and jobs. If I would quibble with anything Krugman says it is the amount of oil that is available to fracking – he doesn’t tackle the Gingrich Fairy Tale that the US will ever be energy independent again (at least in a hydrocarbon-based economy). But then that’s not his point of his forte.

      To beat the drum again – why is Larry Summers bending Barack Obama’s ear and not Paul Krugman?

    • It’s proof of evolution, they’ll deny it while the bugs eat their faces away.

      Gaia is coming for us.

      • Shooting off on a tangent: I’m an unabashed fan of Rick Riordan’s juveniles featuring Percy Jackson. In the most recent, Son of Neptune, Gaia is an evil malicious goddess–and he makes a convincing argument. And in the story, Gaia really is coming for us (and we won’t like it).

      • Nah. They just say it’s “adaptation” because the bacteria aren’t turning into mammals. Of course, even if a bacterium turned into a mammal they would just say “God did it”. Their delusions will persist either way.

    • Keep good quality aromatherapy oils in your medicine cabinet. They really do work. Don’t buy cheap junk oils. Invest in high quality products. You won’t be disappointed.

  13. Obamacare at Supreme Court: No TV, but same-day audio

    The Supreme Court won’t televise three days of oral arguments on President Obama’s health care law this month, but it will release audiotapes on the same day.The compromise, announced Friday afternoon, will enable Americans to hear the justices debating the law a couple of hours after each session concludes March 26-28. The audiotapes are sure to be widely available on the Internet, as well as C-SPAN and National Public Radio.

    I’m sure Fox has their war room already set up to spin the coverage of this.

    • The SCOTUS didn’t want live pictures of Clarence Thomas snoring up a storm going around the country, nor Chief Justice Roberts shilling for the corporations… if it’s sound only, they can blame it on Kagan or something like that.

    • Not to mention the thousands of male master baiters who are, at this time, surrendering to law enforcement….

        • In other news, Kansas chicken farmers were told to find a new way to euthanize their chickens, other than asphyxiation that is.

        • And in Alabama and Texas, janitors responsible for keeping the Space Museums’ rocket exhibits clean were advised to find a new line of work.

        • OK one more….

          And in zoos across the country, zookeepers are facing up to having to maintain discipline in the primate section without the option of corporal punishment.

  14. News item: Bin Laden ordered Obama killed because Biden is “totally unprepared” for presidency.

    So, bin Laden supported Sarah Palin.

  15. A true conservative’s take on Obama:

    “There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: strength, moral authority, and wisdom.

    Strength, because Barack has been strong when required to defend his national interests. Under President Obama’s leadership, America got bin Laden. And together with British and coalition forces, America has fundamentally weakened al Qaeda. The President says what he will do and he sticks to it … And let us all agree that the world is better off without bin Laden, but the world is better off without Qaddafi, too.

    Moral authority, because Barack understands that the means matter every bit as much as the ends. Yes, America must do the right thing, but to provide moral leadership, America must do it in the right way, too. The first President I studied at school was Theodore Roosevelt. He talked of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. That is Barack’s approach. And in following it, he has pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world.

    Wisdom, because Barack has not rushed into picking fights, but is a steward of America’s resources of hard and soft power. He’s taken time to make considered decisions, drawing down troops from Iraq and surging in Afghanistan.” — British Prime Minister David Cameron.

    • Though a true Conservative (in UK the party name is Conservative) and a Public schoolboy of Eton, Cameron is under fire in his own party for not being conservative enough.

      In the politics of the United States, Cameron’s political centre-of-gravity is actually to the *left* of Obama – your politics are so right-wing biased here.

      Still I think what Cameron said is fair and a sound endorsement of that area of Obama’s policies.

  16. Just listened to Thom Hartmann’s “the good, the bad, and the ugly”. Jimmy Inhofe got the title of “ugly” for his shameful performance on Rachel Maddow’s show.

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