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June 24, 2010

Should Liberals Be Angry with President Obama? (If So, How Much?)
Posted by Shadi Hamid

So something's been bothering me for a while, but especially lately. You might call it, in one great philosopher's words, "the soft bigotry of low expectations." It goes something like this: Politics is difficult and messy and Obama is doing the best he can under the circumstances, not to mention an unwieldy congress. Even if this was an accurate description of reality, as Jon Chait, Matt Yglesias, and Ezra Klein have argued, that doesn't mean we should defer to that reality. Maybe I'm odd, but I don't think that actions should always be judged by their results. In other words, if you fight for something, and it doesn't happen (and couldn't have happened), that, by itself, is not an argument for not fighting for it. So, in my perturbed state, I wrote a short piece in the Huffington Post on why liberals are angry with Obama - and why they probably should be. You can give it a read here. And here's a teaser: 

First of all, the reason many liberals supported Obama was because he didn't seem afraid to be liberal. He had the courage of his convictions and was willing to speak to the American people honestly and directly about the country's challenges. His charisma would allow him to articulate liberal policies and principles in clear terms. In doing so, he would build popular support for progressive policies and move the American electorate to the left. He wouldn't accept Republican framing as a given and insist on presenting liberal policies in those terms. For once, we'd have Democrats who were proud of being liberals and didn't feel compelled to apologize for what they actually thought.

Speaking for myself, I am aware we have a legislative branch and that the President can't bend it to his will and that's a good thing in a democracy. But that assumes that liberals (or, really, anyone else) judge success by legislation passed. Well, I personally don't really care about the specifics of climate legislation. Like most Americans, I don't know anything about climate change. Sorry, but I don't lose sleep at night about it (although I'm willing to be convinced that I should). To the extent that the Left is, or was, anything, it probably has to do more with a clear demarcation of principle (alternatively known as "idealism" or perhaps "romanticism") than actual policies that can be objectively described as "liberal" or "leftist." I think this is what mainstream bloggers who write a lot about policy get wrong. While most Americans may in some abstract sense care about policy, they don't care - or know about - policy specifics or specific policies. Which goes a long toward answering why, despite the fact that all our preferred policies poll extremely well (and Republican policies poll pretty badly), people have an odd preference for voting Republican more than we might otherwise expect.

Put differently, I don't feel very strongly about the particular details of the healthcare bill. What bothered me wasn't the actual legislation, but the sense that Obama and his team weren't interested in fighting for what liberals wanted (i.e. the public option). It might not have worked, but it would have been nice to see arm-twisting of conservative democrats to consider the public option rather than of liberal democrats to give it up. Again, the tangible outcome of such arm-twisting is beside the point. The point is the actual arm-twisting - and that it be visible.

As they say, read the whole thing.

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"It might not have worked, but it would have been nice to see arm-twisting of conservative democrats to consider the public option rather than of liberal democrats to give it up. Again, the tangible outcome of such arm-twisting is beside the point."

This is without a doubt one of the dumbest statements I have ever read.

What you're saying is that you don't care whether anything gets done, just so long as you can get your jollies seeing people you don't like being smacked around.

What President Obama is doing is called governing, which in a democracy requires skill, finesse, and a willingness to compromise. This is precisely why the Bush administration failed so miserably.

I'm going to assume that you haven't noticed, given that your own admission you aren't interested in results, but the President is building a solid record of achievement which I am convinced he will be able to point to with pride when he comes up for re-election.

If you had your way, all he would have to show for four years in office would be a few scalps.

Liberals are demoralized.I gotta laugh at the liberals not getting everything they want.I think Liberals would be happier with no bill as it is making the liberals ill.

I personally don't really care about the specifics of climate legislation.

I don't feel very strongly about the particular details of the healthcare bill.

Exactly what do you care about Shadi? Egypt?

I'M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy.

Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

It's over. Tell congress to get the healthcare Merchants of death and injury out of the American peoples lives for good. 2010 is about THE PUBLIC OPTION!

And that CORRUPT! UNDEMOCRATIC! filibuster must GO! NOW!

Alan Grayson Honors The Dead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV9TRoYMtjs&feature=player_embedded

Alan Grayson on Healthcare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPpQ2MNaSDo&feature=player_embedded

Ron Sparks HealthCareReform http://youtu.be/kqlBFRJh4Cw

John Garamendi - The Public Option http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyBTEke68aQ&feature=player_embedded

I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES :-)

It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!

YOU MUST NOT ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of you are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans – CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!... Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. You MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

See you on the battle field.

Sincerely

jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

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What you're saying is that you don't care whether anything gets done, just so long as you can get your jollies seeing people you don't like being smacked around.

What President Obama is doing is called governing, which in a democracy requires skill, finesse, and a willingness to compromise. This is precisely why the Bush administration failed so miserably.
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