‘spouting policy vitriol from the comfy confines of an office at princeton’

Ben Heineman (The Atlantic): Many liberals are furious with President Obama over the policies in the debt ceiling deal. But, as usual, their critique – Paul Krugman’s is one example – ignores, or is naïve about, the hard realities of divided congressional politics.

When a “yes” vote was required to extend the ceiling, how should the president have negotiated with a Republican House which had been transformed by the 2010 election and which had a sizable number of ideologically driven republican members who wanted to say “no”? That is the key question.

… We are witnessing for the umpteenth time liberal criticism that ignores the diversity in our political system and the dispersion of power in our constitutional system. From time immemorial, Democratic presidents are harshly criticized by liberals for deviating from their “one true faith,” without much regard for politics. Invariably, they say, if the president had taken a principled public position, he would have mobilized the “base” and countered the forces of darkness (i.e.those with whom they don’t agree), but they don’t offer a cogent political analysis. As in this case. To repeat, how should Obama have negotiated with a transformed House of Representatives when he needed their assent?

…. many liberals don’t want to discuss the politics of this negotiation where one House of the Congress has a large majority and blocking power. Far easier, as always, to hurl ideological imprecations down upon the president (how about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid folks?)…

To be sure, those on the Democratic side can have a spirited debate about the policies and the politics of Obama presidency, which came into office facing terrible conditions caused by the worst decade of public and private leadership in years…

But, one thing is for sure. Spouting policy vitriol from the comfy confines of an office at Princeton is not going to solve problems in a deeply divided country with strongly held views across the political spectrum. In our system, policy only become important when joined with the power of politics. And that power, ultimately, is in elections.

Liberals should be working every congressional and senatorial race, starting yesterday. Grassroots politics against conservatives, not Olympian op-eds against President Obama, is the best answer for liberal critics of the debt-ceiling deal.

Full article here

45 Responses to “‘spouting policy vitriol from the comfy confines of an office at princeton’”

  1. 1 StR
    August 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    First and farmost – every Dem across the spectrum should be focused on Wisconsin and the recall elections next Tuesday. The results will go a long way in how the next 16 months will play out. If the Dems can take three or more seats, flipping the Senate and repudiating the Walker agenda, it will reverberate across the country and Dems will see how it’s done and how a populist message works in the face of crazy third party money, GOP dirty tricks and in red districts who elected the current Republican State Senator in the Obama wave.

    If Dems flip two or less seats, Walker will be emboldened and Wisconsin will be in real trouble. Also teabaggers, Koch-roaches and ALEC will be emboldened to run roughshod with their agenda and whatever moderates that supposedly remain in the GOP caucus will look at the Wisconsin results and figure that they better get with the teabagger program.

  2. 2 Anonymous
    August 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    This article is based on what I (gc, in case I’m in as Anonymous again) see as a misconception. “Liberals” aren’t liberals. They are a ragtag group of bigots, Libertarians, grifters, and DINO’s.

    • August 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      I want Africa! I also think a lot of them are anarchists. I see their comments about we have to get the repugs back in office so they will destroy the country and then we, in all of our brilliance, can create Utopia.

  3. 4 Me4obama
    August 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm


    Breaking News:

    Obama only had scary black people at his birthday party. FAUX NEWS.

    • August 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Nice! Of course I am sure that is the way many, shall we say uneducated, white zombies, raised from the dead, who roam the country with the goal of hurting the president one way or another.

    • 6 COS
      August 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      someone should pull out a video of the 2008 Republican Nat’l convention and show it to Faux, where there was a sea of white people in that stadium. I mean this as no offense to anyone.

    • 9 Brian
      August 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Oh my god, I thought you were making a joke, but then I saw the headline at Fox Nation about “Obama’s Hip Hop BBQ.” We can’t even satirize people who are already a sick joke. Maybe they’re having that ass clown Bolling moonlight as their headline writer.

    • August 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Tell Tom Hanks, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Bill Daily, and I’m sure there were others, FOX just told those people that I name that they were scary black people.

  4. 11 Me4obama
    August 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Home » Blogs » Tina Dupuy’s blog
    August 05, 2011 09:09 AM
    Stock Market Tanks? Fox Nation Goes Full ‘Southern Strategy’
    8 comments By Tina Dupuy

    Credit: Media Matters
    Don’t look now, but the stock portfolio you used to have before you sold it after you got laid off is now worth a lot less. As of this posting the Dow is down another 200 points from yesterday’s horrible plummet of over 500 points. It’s the market’s way of telling the GOP their idea of focusing only on their short-sighting petty game of Pin the Bad Economy on the Democrat is actually hurting the entire world’s economy.

    So here’s the trick: when the markets freak out as a direct result of Republican policies they throw a tea party. There’s a pattern: bad economic forecasts – Republicans in tri-corner hats waving pocket-sized Constitutions. It’s the Republican costume indicating they just completely botched the economy again. Remember the economy in ’08? Remember all the Republicans with Medicare pacemakers dressing up like Thomas Jefferson and decrying socialism? Uh huh.

    The other sign? Scary black people! The new Black Panthers! Hip-Hop! Obama! Hussein Obama! Muslim Brotherhood!

    And nothing captures this more than the screen capture above. See the little breaking news bar? The economy added some jobs last month and the unemployment rate is down. But not the stock market. So therefore on Fox Nation – LOOK OVER HERE POTUS IS BLACK WITH BLACK FRIENDS!

    See: Southern strategy.

    • August 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      It’s the Boehner Double Dip – afterall he got 98% of what he wanted and the Dow is down 700 points since then.

      • 13 nintendowii10
        August 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

        As much as I don’t believe in political games, President Obama should play this game: point out the fact that Boehner is gleeful that he got 98% of what he wanted, but that the markets are tanking. Let Boehner reap and sow the consequences of continuing to play politics when the economy is still in recovery.

    • 15 TrumpDog
      August 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      I’m waiting for someone to tell me how this isn’t race-baiting and that they would have done this to a white as albino snow Democrat too.


  5. 16 Sheila R.
    August 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Great article. Krugman doesn’t have to work with the Tea Baggers in Congress to get legislation approved. President Obama is working with an extremely dysfunctional legislature.

  6. August 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve just looked through your excellent posts, Chipsticks. Thank you! The DCCC is on it!!

    Dems launch ‘Accountability August’


    Washington (CNN) – The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a new ad and fundraising campaign Thursday targeting 44 House Republicans over their party’s stance on Medicare and raising the debt ceiling.
    Radio ads will run in House districts during August that the DCCC deem vulnerable in the next election…..

    I heartily recommend signing up for the DCCC Rapid Response grassroots network. The Republicans hate it because it is so effective!!


    Bringing a Democratic majority in the House for 2012!!!

  7. 20 Anonymous
    August 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Chipsticks, there is a great article at the Hill written by Karen Finney on Grover Norquist. Chipsticks can you make this a feature. I didn’t want to link to The Hill.

    This is a clip and remember this is jane the hamster’s friend…..

history 101
    By Karen Finney – 07/25/11 06:59 PM ET

    Perhaps a case of selective amnesia explains the exalted platform given to Grover Norquist both in the media and among congressional Republicans. Just a few years ago, Norquist was a central figure in the GOP culture of corruption and cronyism that helped Democrats retake control of Congress in 2006.

    From his longtime friendship with Karl Rove to leadership of the K Street Project with convicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) to the money-laundering scandal involving convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Norquist has long wielded unchecked power in Washington. Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) are key players in an influential web of GOP donors, operatives and organizations working to implement a Republican agenda and consolidate power benefiting their special-interest friends. ATR funding reportedly comes from right-wing organizations like Olin and Scaife — conservative foundations set up by millionaires and billionaires like the Koch brothers — to support a set of policy goals favorable to their corporations. ATR has also received significant funding from the tobacco, gambling and alcohol industries.

    • 21 GGail
      August 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Following Norquist’s money and see where it comes from, see who he’s beholden to, is what Alan Simpson recommended on that LOD segment (see above post by Chipsticks). Now all we need to do is put these on BLAST by way of email, tweet, & FB or by whatever means possible.

      “ATR funding reportedly comes from right-wing organizations like Olin and Scaife — conservative foundations set up by millionaires and billionaires like the Koch brothers — to support a set of policy goals favorable to their corporations. ATR has also received significant funding from the tobacco, gambling and alcohol industries.”

  8. 22 nintendowii10
    August 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    “Grassroots politics against conservatives, not Olympian op-eds against President Obama, is the best answer for liberal critics of the debt-ceiling deal.”


    I never understood why these emo progs believe that weakening President Obama will yield them their progressive fantasies. Every single prog Dem that campaigned against President Obama ended up LOSING (Creigh Deeds in 2009, Feingold, Grayson, Lincoln in 2010).

    Joe Lieberman is at least smart enough not to run for re election, he knows he’d lose by a landslide to whomever the Democratic candidate is.

    And I’ve had it with the nonsense about President Obama caving, capitulating, bending over for Republicans, not using the bully pulpit, not emotional enough, too aloof, etc bitching and whining from the emo progs. This man puts COUNTRY FIRST before politics, ironically COUNTRY FIRST was McCain’s slogan from 2008. Unlike McCain, Obama walks the walk and puts country first.

    The thing I really admire about President Obama is that he never lets you see him sweat, he’s always calm and rational. That’s what frustrates these emo progs, they want to see more and more political theatrics than anything worthy of substance, just look at how they cheered on Howard Dean and Jane Hamsher in 2009 when they were shouting “KILL THE BILL!” during the ACA fight.

    Getting back to the topic of this thread, Krugman needs to get off his Edwards/Hillary high horse and accept the fact that Edwards is a piece of shit and that Hillary lost to Obama, and no amount of bitching and whining about Obama caving will change the results, only make him weaker and make it easier for a Republican to win. And the emo progs need to quit worshiping him and treating his every word as the Gospel, just because he has a Nobel. If Dick Cheney got a Nobel and started writing articles criticizing the President, would the emo progs start worshiping him because he’s criticizing President Obama?

    • August 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Nintendow, I stand with you. I am tired of their hate and nastiness towards our president. It is sickening. It is up to us to fight these “purists” who would rather have nothing if they cannot have it all.

      I agree about the calmness. Those ashats hate the fact that he is collected and does not personalize everything that happens to him. Since the dirty emoprogs have done this to every democratic president, I am hoping that he does not take it too seriously.

      Nin, do you think he brushes it off? It has been a hard few days. Looking forward to a new week.

  9. 24 kefauver
    August 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I saw commercials every day on CNN urging viewers to tell Congress “NO” on raising the debt ceiling. This is how crazy-serious Norquist and the Tea Baggers are about pushing their “bankrupt America” agenda, crazy enough to purchase air-time on CNN for their nutty policies. This is what Obama and Democrats have to battle day-in and day-out while Krugman and his ilk can sit back and hypothesize in their ivory towers about the “Woulda, Coulda, Shouldas” without having a clue how politics works.

    I really wish these self-proclaimed geniuses would run for office. They obviously have all of the answers, why rely on others to enact them? Run for Congress and pitch them to the people. How will they lose? They have the winning formula for America, right?

  10. 25 utaustinliberal
    August 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    The author of the article is absolutely right. This is what liberal and emoprogs alike never understand. President Obama’s policies are historic and if liberals would take of their short-sighted blinders they would understand that his legislative accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at. The one thing the GOP does is that though their message and policies are convoluted; they never ever take their eye of the ball. Even if they might not like their guy’s policies they will defend it to the death, they stay on message and they always rally together to get their guy relected. A lot of emoprogs just like to sit and whine. They are the leaders of the do nothing club. Instead of coming together, rallying the base, and touting our guy’s WONDERFUL policies they constantly bitch and moan in editorial piece after editorial piece. Instead of understanding how divided government works and how much intrasigence the teabaggers cause, they concentrate their dumb ire on the one person who is valiantly fighting for all Americans. Liberals would be wise to STFU in their inane rants and focus on how to re-elect PBO, because if they think things are tough now, just imagine God forbid if a republican got into the office; then they and us would be collectively shit outta luck.

    • 26 nintendowii10
      August 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      What I just realized is that these same emoprogs who were attacking Nancy Pelosi for those words “impeachment is off the table” regarding Bush impeachment, now want her back as Speaker now that we have “Speaker” Boehner, and I’m guessing they’d be saying the same thing about President Obama should a Republican win next year, they’d want President Obama back.

      But of course, a lot of these emoprogs are Edwards/Hillary supporters, many are Naderites, and many are 9/11 Alex Jones truthers who believe that 911 was an insider job and that big government is out to get us all and that we have to be afraid. The election of President Obama truly ripped off the masks of a lot of these folks mislabeling themselves as “progressives.”

  11. 27 PoliticalJunkessa
    August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    That article is spot on.

    I’ve often maintained that PL types are like this because they are just plain lazy. They think intellectual musings and writing = the hard work of organizing, identifying and running candidates, and negotiating. They live in their heads. They live on theories and in the abstract — all without getting their hands dirty.

    It’s laziness, plain and simple.

    • 28 nintendowii10
      August 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      And to add to your point about “laziness,” these are the same folks who keep on carping about “term limits,” which would mean a constitutional amendment, which NO ONE in the House would even support… you’d probably get a small crowd of what maybe 10-20 reps from both sides, it’s a dead-ender.

      Also, the PL carping about always wanting fresh blood in Congress equates to me going into the doctors to get open heart surgery and me requesting that I don’t want the surgeon with 20+ years experience operating on me, I want the young surgeon who just graduated out of med school who is doing this for the first time. I mean if your reps are doing a stellar job, why get rid of them?

      • 29 PoliticalJunkessa
        August 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

        A lot of these idiots need to be out of Congress, but again, “term limits” is the lazy answer. Can you imagine term-limiting Ted Kennedy out?

  12. August 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I’ve signed up for the rapid response, although with Hatch and Mike Tea Party Lee, most of what comes out of their mouths is nonsense. I’ll be kept busy.

    Bishop, our rep in the House, is also right-wing-off-the-map. However, congressional delegations from other states generally ignore complaints from other states. But I’ve also contributed.

    I think it’s a great idea and I’ll do my part. I’ve been a regular critic of Hatch over the years. I think the whole crowd of them is an embarrassment to Utah and have told them so time and time again.

    • 31 nintendowii10
      August 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      Well my rep is Tar Baby Loose Cannon Lamborn, so I’m pretty much in your boat, but my Senators are both Dems (Bennett and Udall) and doing the right things.

    • August 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      You might actually have a tight race in 2012 if Rep. Matheson runs for the Senate. Especially if it’s against Rep. Chaffetz. If Romney is on top of the ticket it will be an exercise in futility, but if Perry beats Romney and it’s a hotly contested primary where Evangelicals attack his Mormonism, it could shake some votes to the Democratic candidate.

    • 33 Hachikō
      August 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Joan. So glad to see you here. Hope you’ve had a full recovery. 🙂

    • 34 PoliticalJunkessa
      August 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Can’t get worse than my rep — the odious, smarmy, petulant Eric “Cassius” Can’tor. 👿

  13. 35 Pam
    August 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    AH = #1 Bitch/Obama Hater/Republican/Close friend of AB.
    JS = Son of the #1 Bitch/Obama Hater.
    CM = Idiot/Clinton ass kisser/Close friend of Peggy Noonan.
    LO = Complete phony.

    Don’t be fooled by any of these thugs because they’ll say something you’ll agree with for a split second. It’s just a setup for the hateful attack that’s guaranteed to come towards President Obama because they are weak.

  14. 36 Me4obama
    August 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm


    FAUX NEWS VS POLITICO. Who is the best Racist, you decide.
    Good to see REV AL was at PBO’s Birthday Party.

  15. 37 desertflower
    August 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    From the fabulous Miranda over at WEESEEYOU…A MUST SEE!!!
    http://weeseeyou.com/2011/08/04/thursday-evening-thread-6/ It’s a laugh your ass off kind goodness from our President! Enjoy!

  16. 38 desertflower
    August 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Half hour until Randi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Noon pacific:)

    • 39 utaustinliberal
      August 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      I’m super stoked and excited. For three hours I get to listen to facts, truth, intelligence, sass, wit, and humor. Ahhhhhhhh……… political junkie heaven 😆

  17. 42 donna dem 4 obama
    August 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Barack Obama: The Public Access President


  18. 43 57andFemale
    August 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Don’t flame me and certainly don’t click if you don’t want to, but this is one of the best smackdowns of the PL and description of Obama’s horrible plight I’ve ever read:


    I don’t get mired in the comments — it’s too upsetting. It did make it to the wreck list, though. It’s really a good read and frankly I’m glad it’s being read at gos. Maybe we’ll make a little dent in the crazy.

    • 44 Lize in San Francisco
      August 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Clicked, read, enjoyed. Almost enough (almost! well, not really) to make me wish I still had recc’ing rights over there.Thanks for the link, 57andFemale.

  19. 45 N
    August 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Loved this article. I don’t have to agree with everything President Obama says or does.

    But his most constant, harshest critics on the left have no credible plan of their own for getting what they want done. They almost never do. They are almost all those who are largely on the sidelines (and I include some of the backbenchers in Congress like Alan Grayson who got to say whatever because he is a backbencher).

    So sue me if I stick with Pres Obama. He’s out there fighting and doing what he can for the people. A lot of the critics just sit in on the sidelines.

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