05
Aug
11

‘staying power in the face of adversity’

Robert Shrum: … Obama’s staying power in the face of adversity, which sustained his candidacy and then his presidency ….. But over time, the sheen of hope has been worn away. And nowhere is this more obvious than with his own base. Aggrieved by the loss of a public option in the health care bill, and the lack of a second major stimulus bill, activists were vocally disappointed when Obama agreed to a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts — no matter what the president extracted from the GOP in return. The Left’s premise is that if he had stood his ground more resolutely, or stomped his foot harder, somehow events would have moved ’round to him.

…. The progressive choir does have a point that is substantive, persuasive, economically right – and beside the point … Paul Krugman argues that what’s needed in the near-term is more spending, not more cuts, with a long-term deficit reduction plan tied to the pace of recovery. Those that press this idea – or who believe the president could have achieved a public option, an extension of tax cuts for the middle class but not the wealthy, or a debt ceiling bargain that raised taxes – have yet to describe a practical path that could have gotten him there.

…. the notion of ignoring Congress on the debt ceiling and invoking the 14th Amendment could have served as a useful pressure point or as a last resort in extremis. Actually doing it would have set off a constitutional and probably a financial crisis. It might have offered psychic satisfaction, but exactly how would it have advanced progressive purposes?

…. It is fantasy politics to assume the president could have overcome generations of fantasy economics – and it’s all but certain that no matter what he said, there never would have been enough votes for a second stimulus package in a filibustering Senate where an all-powerful Republican minority was and is dead set against any Obama plan to revive growth and jobs…

…. Democrats in general, as distinct from disappointed activists, may not know all the details, but they seem to sense this. Obama’s approval among liberals is high – and among Democrats it stands at 77 percent – even at the most fraught passage of his presidency. So much for the chimera of a primary challenge. From whom? Dennis Kucinich – who no longer has a congressional district in Ohio?

Just because the Tea Party is crazy doesn’t mean progressives should let them make us crazy …. Time and again, most recently during the manufactured debt crisis, the president has already proved that he’s the reasonable person in the room. Now he has to prove that he’s the passionate person in the room … He has to put an edge on his message, as FDR and Harry Truman did…

… The criticism of Barack Obama in the last campaign was that he was all speech and no substance. As president, he’s been mostly substance, much of it historic, and rarely the speechmaker of 2008. But in the fierce urgency of this now, it is time for speech again, for a clarion call. Let’s hope we begin to hear it in the sounds of August.

Full article here


9 Responses to “‘staying power in the face of adversity’”


  1. 1 prettyfoot58
    August 5, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Goood Morningggggg Fam….

    Awesome threads posted here…much food for thought…

    My thoughts….

    It is time to go on the offensive….

    just like we called…tweeted….emailed….our reps when the Presidsent asked us..NOWWWWWWW is the time…to make a call for JOBSSSSSS JOBSSSSSSSS JOBSSSSSS…..

    It is time to go on the offensive….we need another stimilius package…..

    Let’s Get it Doneeeeeeeeeee……

    Fired Up Ready to go

  2. 2 hopefruit2
    August 5, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I usually respect Shrum’s writings, but I have to pass on this one. This article is laced with PL talking points, unfair comparisons to dead Presidents who served over completely different times and situations – and who had their own glaring shortcomings. Furthermore it contains some flat out untrue criticisms – resulting in contradictions that seriously weaken the premise of the article.

    1. Shrum says ” But over time, the sheen of hope has been worn away. And nowhere is this more obvious than with his own base.”

    This is an MSM & PL talking point, but it’s simply FALSE. Obama’s liberal Democratic base continues to support him through thick and thin. (I guess Shrum didn’t see the pumped out crowd two nights ago at that DNC fundraiser!)

    It’s the independent supporters and conservative Democrats who have been fickle. Not surprisingly, Shrum later contradicts his own words by stating “Obama’s approval among liberals is high – and among Democrats it stands at 77 percent – even at the most fraught passage of his presidency. So much for the chimera of a primary challenge.”
    .
    .

    .
    2. Shrum writes “Time and again, most recently during the manufactured debt crisis, the president has already proved that he’s the reasonable person in the room. Now he has to prove that he’s the passionate person in the room … He has to put an edge on his message, as FDR and Harry Truman did…”

    Excuse me? Again, this is simplistic rambling and smacks of Bill Maher’s “This president needs to go gangsta.” This President has given many, many passionate speeches in the last 3 years. Furthermore, unlike 2008 when he was simply campaigning, he has been doing the job of governing under some historically complex circumstances. And Unlike FDR and Truman who were allowed to speak freely, whenever this President speaks, his speech is immediately fact-checked, GRADED, overanalyzed by all kinds of pundits who don’t know the first thing about politics or policy. In fact even before he speaks there are numerous “panels” brought out to tell the public what he ought to say, what he ought not to say, what he will or won’t say, or why this particular speech will define his entire presidency. FDR & Truman had their critics, but the media onslought was nothing compared to what it is today with President Obama. No TV or Newspaper journalist would dare refer to FDR or Truman as “loser” or “dick” to the public.

    I think it’s high time Shrum and the other pundits start looking at the elephant in the room where this President is concerned. These articles are beginning to sound more and more ridiculous.

    • 3 nospin
      August 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

      you interpreted this piece the same way I did and even highlighted the same statements that stood out as red flags in my mind.

      Especially with the FDR and Truman references. . . that was very transparent.

    • August 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      thank you hopefruit! my problems exactly with this article. POTUS not passionate?? Give me a break.. I guess Shrum missed that most recent group of speeches/ press conferences regarding the debt ceiling- wherein POTUS was furious.. and called on WE the People to contact Congress- wherein WE were pretty freaking passionate also. These media folk just do not live in reality.

    • 5 Mae who love our CIC
      August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      My sentiments exactly, this article seems so tiresome; still rehashing the health care debate. No matter what President Obama has accomplished it is never quite good enough. Should have done this, should have done that. Thank God he is working, at least doing for the good of the American people.

    • 6 sjterrid
      August 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      After reading the article i was going to say the same thing. How could he say he needs to be more passionate? Maybe what bothers them is that the President’s main concern is about the people that don’t have their voices heard.

  3. 7 utaustinliberal
    August 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Great article. There were a lot of salient and interesting thoughts that leaves one to ruminate on throughout the day.

  4. 9 PoliticalJunkessa
    August 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Overall, I found a lot to like in this article — Shrum is talking about PBO’s practicality and long-term view. He raises a point that I use to argue on PL websites a lot: HOW are you going to get the votes for your liberal project (public option/more stimulus/tax increases, etc.)? — they could never answer that most basic of questions.

    They continuously ignored that simple fact and the conversation inevitably devolved into “he should use his bully pulpit!” — the same magical thinking of teabaggers, just from the left. They couldn’t even get recent history right (i.e., the fact that not even all Democratic congress members were willing to support PBO, much less the opposition from the GOP). And they definitely created myths out of more distant historical figures (e.g., LBJ and FDR) — doing the same legend-making that the right does of Reagan.

    The PL is wrong time and time again, but they never learn their lesson, and they rarely accomplish anything of note.


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