‘get over it: this is who obama is’

James Warren (The Atlantic): From his community organizing days to the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama has always put pragmatic deal-making above ideology, even when it angered allies

As President Obama is pilloried by the left, including by bloggers and editorial writers, for supposedly selling them out during debt ceiling negotiations, a reality check is desperately needed.

Get over it, guys and gals, and remember whom you’re fuming over: a deal-making community organizer.

Recognize this man? In a showdown with ideological enemies, he fashioned compromises which made some Democratic allies apoplectic. Republicans weren’t happy, either, with what he wrought but grudgingly realized there were few alternatives.

Throughout he exhibited a preternatural calm, always seeking some common ground among disparate interests as if compromise was a goal in and of itself, not any diminution of principle as some Democrats thought.

Yes, that’s our president, the man at the center of the improbable Debt Debate of 2011. But it was also State Senator Barack Obama a decade ago. The equally rancorous issue back then was the death penalty and the setting was the Illinois legislature. Not much about him has changed.

“His ideological inclinations are liberal but, as far as being a politician, he’s about getting things done. He was always pragmatic and about getting things done,” said Peter Baroni, a Republican attorney-law professor-lobbyist in Chicago who had a bird’s eye view of Obama while serving as legal counsel to Republicans in the Illinois Senate and to its Judiciary Committee.

Full article here

Thanks Loriah

35 Responses to “‘get over it: this is who obama is’”

  1. 1 Debz
    July 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for posting this. This is who PBO is. It may drive the PL crazy, but the fact is He gets things done.

  2. 2 joyce
    July 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I’m glad that he does his own thing. win or lose. at least he can live with himself. I have faith that the Lord is on his side and ours.

    • 3 Keith in C-bus, Ohio
      July 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Lose? Since I have been following PBO I have not KNOWN him to lose, but of course there is a first time for everything. Lest hope it doesn’t come in the next 5 years. 😉

  3. July 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    The man is the epitome of consistency. I don’t get all these people who want him to put a boot on someone’s neck just to prove a point. After the Bush Administration, so many people, lots of them on the left, have fallen for a simple display of esthetics, neverminding the results.

    The overwhelming need to simplify big problems and the preference for putting up a facade, rather than achieving concrete results has become so embedded in their consciousness. It’s like people who put these big signs on their cars that says “Support the Troops,” but won’t lift a finger to help them.

    It’s all about sloganeering.

    President Obama has never changed the way he conducted the people’s business, on the contrary, it is the people who wanted to believe or see what they wanted that are now blowing their gaskets.

    Go figure.

    • 6 Gc
      July 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      It’s one big pissing contest out there. I think the “Progs” finally thought they had the “biggest” during Clinton, who literally and figuratively thought so as well. But now the Progs got a leader at what they were always being relegated to themselves – “the smart one.” NOT what they wanted. My theory. And the Progs have morphed into the Teabaggers – in group/out group, sloganeering, and mine is the biggest.

      Grow the fuck up, America.

    • July 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Once again you’ve nailed it africa. I love him exactly how he is- how he has always been.

    • 8 nathkatun7
      July 28, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Extremely well said, Africa! “It’s all about sloganeering! And these people pretend to emulate both FDR and LBJ who were, like BHO, about getting things done, despite imperfections. Of course both FDR and LBJ enjoyed larger Democratic voters in Congress. But they still had to negotiate with the “Dixiecrats.” And, in the case of LBJ, he lost southern segregationist Democrats when it came to civil rights laws, but he enjoyed the support of sane Republicans who voted for Civil Rights Bills.

      One thing that really infuriates me about the “holier than thou progressives,” who are always demonizing PRESIDENT Obama, is their lack of historical knowledge. They’ve read from selective history books that promote the myths of Presidents like FDR and LBJ, but they’ve never bothered to read other accounts of what was exactly going in the country at the time. I bet you very few of the PL know exactly the role that A. Philip Randolph played in pressuring FDR to end discrimination in defense industries, not during FDR’s Ist term, but in FDR’s 3rd term. Exactly nine years in his presidency!. Few of them know that Social Security, as well as minimum wage, collective bargaining, excluded large segments of the working class. I admire both FDR and LBJ, but I am sick and tired of listening, and reading, PL demonization of President Obama, that always invoke FDR and LBJ, as examples of progressive Presidents, in order to bludgeon him.

      Lastly, let me say this, the way “holier than thou progressive Democrats” abandoned President Obama, in less that one year in his presidency, reminds of the way the so called New Republicans quickly abandoned Reconstruction and support for Black political rights. But it especially reminds the betrayal of white populists who had courted black support but somehow found a way of making alliances with Southern segregationists to enact the JIM CROW LAWS. It seems to me that people like Jane Hamsher, Don Choi, Adam Greene, Glenn Greenwald, have absolutely no qualms joining with right wingers/libertarians in destroying the presidency of the first African American President.

  4. 9 carolyn
    July 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Sanity, and notice it’s not from “The Beltway” or New York media…it’s from the so despised by them heartland, the flyover country. From people who KNOW him, have worked with him, watched him. Makes sense to me and explains his total consistency and method of operation. Who looks silly and giggle inducing now….the Community Organizer or Sarah and Rudy!!!!! He keeps his counsel as we know well from FLOTUS’ interview that even she didn’t know about the Bin Laden raid. This, I think, also drives people nuts. The PL always think they know his mind….NO, they haven’t a clue.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm


    • 11 Doris
      July 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Hopefully, they are learning their lesson. This drama is unprecedented.

      • 12 Sue in Minnesota
        July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        Gosh I know, I keep repeating it, but my grey hair is coming in as we speak. I’ve been writing, calling and meditating in attempts to be both purposeful and calm.

    • 13 COS
      July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      I agree with you Sue. I am sure you all read “the people’s view” schooling Dennis Kucinich yesterday. This is a prime example. Dems do not stick together like they should. There are to man DINOs in the party, like Joe Manchin.


      • 14 MoObama
        July 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm

        I really don’t like Kucinich. He tore it for me after he filed a law suit against Obama.
        He’s such a little prick, but so beloved by the PL.

    • July 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      So. True. I called both of DWS’s offices in Florida and her office in DC and told her what an awesome job she’s doing as representative of Florida and as head of DNC. Then I specifically waxed poetic about her continued defense of PBO. I said: “Please, please, let Congress woman DWS know how very much I appreciate her continued and strong support and defense of PBO. It’s not very often that I see that and I just want to let her know how much I respect and appreciate that she does so.” —Every time I said that last part, it was like a lightbulb 💡 went off on the other side of the phone bc then they’d ask me for more info about myself and instead of just listening as I said my piece, they became warmer and more conversational. I’m telling you guys, the lesson we have to teach the Dems about group work and loyalty is NOT AT THE POLLS, it’s by calling and writing to them and letting them know that we want unity. It’s okay to disagree in private, but NO public tantrums like that asshat Sanders(Indie). Anytime we see such behaviors out of the Dems, we should call them up and say: “I’m a concerned citizen/constituent and I did NOT appreciate you’re public ranting against PBO today.” or ” I’m a concerned citizen/constituent and I appreciated your efforts today in getting the truth out about this president, his goals and his plans.” —We gotta train them guys. This is a cross country marathon and the finish line is Nov. 2012. Let’s get our runners in shape.

      • July 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

        Well done Lisa… I received a questionaire from the DNC in the mail yesterday- lots of questions about POTUS.. and what I thought the DNC ought to put first etc. I made it very clear that reelecting him is my priority and that I believe he’s done an amazing job- even if he hadn’t been stymied by a silly republican congress and too many dems who often act like they’re republican. Anyway- will be sending in my questionaire tomorrow with a donation- but I save my regular donations for OFA.

      • 17 HZ
        July 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm

        Right on point, Lisalovesobama. I experience the same thing when I call the Dems. Thank you so much for all that you do, Lisa. You are a real fighter in our family and I appreciate your commitment to help all of us to re-elect President Obama in 2012. Love you back also.HZ

      • 18 Audrey
        July 28, 2011 at 12:00 am

        Lisa, you are amazing and totally spot on! Thank you and I will now do exactly what you prescribe. You make a lot of sense!

    • 19 57andFemale
      July 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      I think it’s been much better on this issue. I see substantive changes in messaging with DWS and David Plouffe back at work. Even the alleged ‘criticisms’ are not using damaging rhetoric about the President, but a re-focus on Democratic values. I’m certainly not talking about every pundit but I’m seeing a message discipline and effectiveness from the party that is exactly what we need.

      It’s not perfect but it’s greatly improved. DWS is my hero.

  6. 20 Sue in Minnesota
    July 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    He is the best man for the job. And when America wakes up and refuses to ingest the propoganda and the attacks from those whose formidable power he most challenges, the scales too, will fall from their eyes. We absolutely have to insure that he is reelected. At times I feel I’ld rather he walk away from this undeserved shit storm-but who could replace him, and what suffering would that wrought. He loves us and will fight for us through to the end. He is a most remarkable human being. May God always be his strength and his shield.

    • 21 Keith in C-bus, Ohio
      July 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Sue in Minny. Graciously stated.

      • 22 HZ
        July 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

        Yes, I concur Keith. Sue, I said no tears this morning, but your comments ring with nothing but truth and beauty. I will join you in these thoughts of wisdom and ask God to continue to provide him with wisdom, strength, and grace daily. Thanks our precious Sue in Minnesota.

    • 23 majii
      July 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      I’ve been using my FB page to hit some of my “friends” HARD. I live in GA, and most of them are former students and colleagues who believe everything they hear on Fox News and rw radio. I am making an attempt to wake them up with FACTS. The kind of FACTS they never get from Fox or rw radio entertainers. I link every post to its source. The majority of these “friends” voted for the teapublicans from GA that are in Congress, and they need to see the effects their votes are having on the country. When some republican does something good, I praise him/her. When a dem is wrong, I criticize him/her, and I always emphasize that an issue is neither a democratic or republican issue, it is an American issue that impacts all of us. I also place a strong emphasis on the importance of a politician being truthful. I posted the CoC article on my FB page and added a comment about the role the CoC played in the November 2010 elections, pointing out that the Chamber had spent millions to elect republicans to Congress by lying to the American people in an attempt to buy the votes of congress members, votes that favor the interests of Big Business and Big Oil and not the interests of the nation and its citizens.

      • 24 Sue in Minnesota
        July 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm

        This is exactly what was suggested by the author of a very good read at PoliticusUSA today. Those of us who vote Democratic ticket, whether progressive, liberal, leftist or whatever (I honestly don’t know what defines or differentiates those affiliations – I just know I vote with those who balance social imperatives and issues, respecting them as both worthy and of equal importance to issues of ecomics, finance and military. Never will a dollar bill hold more value to me than the lives and well being of people.

        Anyway, sorry to go off track, she suggests we begin to hold Republican voters responsible for the officials they have elected and their extremism. Those by whose votes are endangering some of the very things they value and rely on, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
        She writes a very helpful and informative article. Majii, I applaud you for your willingness to engage, and to do so in a constructive and informative manner. I have been trying a different tactic mostly on the defensive, it may be a better approach to go on the offensive.

  7. 25 hgerhard
    July 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Sadly, as far as politics go, this President is so far ahead of his contemporaries that dialogue becomes difficult. Where they are loudly claiming to be patriots, he is the true patriot who puts the welfare of the country ahead of his own ambitions. Where they are demanding instant solutions to longstanding problems, he patiently and consistently seeks to build consensus and work towards lasting progress. Where they are focusing only on immediate results, he is taking the long view, always taking into account how decisions affect not only this generation but the next as well. Where they are seeking only to guarantee the privileges of the few, he sees the struggle of the large majority of Americans and those striving to build a better future for themselves and their children. Where their views are narrowly focused on profits, he understands the repercussions of destroying our environment and the threat to our planet. Where they revel in their assumed exceptionalism, he gently reminds us that we are a part of the human family where everyone has a stake in the wellbeing of everyone else. Reason, kindness and humility are joined to intelligence, hard work and vision. This is our President. We are so fortunate to have him. The question is, can everyone grow up enough to join him in his efforts to save our American Dream?

  8. 28 MTmarilyn
    July 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    This is who I voted for. Someone who sees the whole pictures and gets the best he can. I have full confidence in him!

  9. July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Obama will be fully appreciated once this country elects an ideologue (left or right) and sees how nothing gets done. The wings of both parties think that if they get their preferred candidate in office then they could accomplish everything on their wish list. What will happen however is that you have a leader who is unwilling to compromise and nothing gets done because the other party is also not interested. This country is not interested in being the collateral damage in some ideological war and will eventually call for the days when Obama was in office.

    P.S. I know people don’t like “both sides” babble but there are a handful of similarities between both wings.

  10. July 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    This article is spot on though. Incredibly consistent. Also, how can you call someone who is willing to take the heat from both sides a coward?

  11. 31 utaustinliberal
    July 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Everyone knows his ideological leanings and inclinations are liberal, but at the core he is a pragmatist. It’s wonderful to be an idealist and want so many grand things to happen. But in the world that we live in, one must marry idealism + pragmatism in order to achieve ANYTHING. The left should calm down and stop freaking out over everything President Obama does or who he works with to get stuff accomplished. He’s a democrat now and forever so his policies will never be some flaming rightwing propaganda driven machine. In the world we live in, I prefer having a pragmatist at the helm, because at the end of the day, we all want the work to get done and President Obama delivers time after time.

  12. 32 Left-Indie
    July 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I think he is man who seeks a win/win situation, even when he can take the whole pie. He doesn’t seem to really devastate his oponents, but leaves them with some wins, and face. However, today he is dealing with crazed meniacs (some racists, too) who want to distroy his presidency. I wish he would make some adjustments for that reason. I like his practicality. At the end of the day, it’s not what you hollered about, but what you’ve got done. Do we have healthcare reform or not, is DADT repealed or not, is Lilly Ledbetter law or not, and so on. But I do wish he would make a rhetorical case for democratic values vs the rethugs, at every turn. The kind of florish that gives rhetorical ammunition to young college democrats everywhere. The type of rhetoric that firmly aligns democratic values with American values, and paints the rethugs values as, well, frankly unamerican.

    • 33 Anonymous
      July 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      I think he is biding his time for a second term, then he can let them have heck. He right now has to get things done the way he feels is fit.


  13. 34 cathy2va
    July 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Agreed! Glad to have a progressive pragmatist in the White House. Getting things done is very important in keeping Government moving along.

  14. 35 57andFemale
    July 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    This is the James Warren who used to write for the Chicago Trib? He knows from which he speaks. He’s had his criticisms but he is a thoughtful political writer.

    This kind of punditry is what we need — to remind people who we voted for. And why.

    As an Illinoisan, this was one of the issues that put Obama on my radar. He had some sane Republicans to work with, and that unfortunately is missing from today’s Congress. But he not only convinced the law and order types to side with his vision of things, but got them to understand why it was in their best interests to support cameras during confessions. They not only backed him, they believed it was the right thing to do.

    How can we blame Obama for not being able to project how batshit crazy the Right would be? He had every reason to believe that he would find enough sane Republicans to negotiate with. He never anticipated how implacable the conservadems would be. I’m still waiting for some poutrager to explain to me what, exactly, he was supposed to do to them to get them to support a Democratic agenda upon which they ran. I wish he would have been faster out of the gate at refuting the ACA lies and Obama himself admits this. But who in their right mind would assume that Democrats would turn on him for being precisely what he said he would be on the campaign trail? Who could assume that Republicans would be willing to see the world economy blow up in order to defeat him in 2012? Anyone who says they knew that is lying.

    I’ve always maintained that if he had taken these alleged principled stands and gotten nothing we would have had a whole different kind of cherrypicking: “He said he was a compromiser! I didn’t vote for an ideologue who can’t get anything done!”

    Shameless. All of them.

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