A funny thing happened on the way to Mau-mauing Barack Obama

So, Senator Elizabeth Warren and presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders have been on the warpath over the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its attendant fast track trade authority. In doing so, they have engendered much support among the usual—and some not-so-usual—sectors. Namely, the people who always thought Barack Obama was a sell-out to corporate special interests, evidenced by him not frog-marching Jamie Dimon and other banksters to stand for federal indictments over the 2008 meltdown.

A funny thing happened, though, which should have been predictable to anyone who has seen Pres. Obama operate for the past 7 years: he fought back.

She’s absolutely wrong,” Barack Obama said, before I could even get the question out of my mouth.

Matt Bai of Yahoo has an illuminating interview with the President over TPP and the opposition to it from members of his own party, led by Sen. Warren.

As many of us on the “Obot” side have been saying:

“Think about the logic of that, right?” he went on. “The notion that I had this massive fight with Wall Street to make sure that we don’t repeat what happened in 2007, 2008. And then I sign a provision that would unravel it?

“I’d have to be pretty stupid,” Obama said, laughing. “This is pure speculation. She and I both taught law school, and you know, one of the things you do as a law professor is you spin out hypotheticals. And this is all hypothetical, speculative.”

It’s the idea that Pres. Obama would cavalierly undo one of his signature achievements—setting up rules so that 2008 didn’t happen again, rules which he plucked an obscure academic named Elizabeth Warren to help implement—to coddle the same Wall Street is ludicrous on its face.

Of course, it’s not ludicrous if one thinks that “Obama was always going to betray us.” The sense of perpetual disappointment—both on the Left and the Right—drives much of the country’s political culture. This is due, in large part, because of the apparent lack of legitimacy of many government institutions, stoked by a right-wing drive to paint all government as useless, and a concomitant view on the left that the government is a subsidiary of corporate America.

But people who should know better are now feeding the fires of disillusion.

Sen. Warren’s main gripe is that “the public isn’t seeing the bill”. Oddly, as this interview with Greg Sargent illustrates, she keeps moving the goal posts. She, of course, can see the negotiating text in full. It then becomes: “Fast track won’t allow Congress to make changes to the deal”. The problem is that fast track can be revoked if the deal doesn’t meet its stated aims in Congress’ opinion. Then she goes through some more of Pres. Obama’s “hypotheticals”—all hypotheticals that require GOP control of the White House and Congress after 2016. Which would be a good reason to focus energy on winning 2016, rather than shivving the party’s sitting President in the back.

Another quote from Matt Bai’s piece:

But like a marriage in which the spouses pretend to be happier than they really are, Obama’s polite alliance with the populist left appears to be suddenly crumbling under the weight of free trade. The more Warren and Senate colleagues like Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown attack the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, joined by big unions and environmental groups, the more liberated Obama seems to feel in portraying them as reckless and backward-looking, much as Clinton might have done. He evidences none of the self-doubt or conflicted loyalty that seemed plain when they criticized him for being too cautious on Wall Street reform or health care.

There comes a point, seemingly, in every Democratic president’s life when the alliance with the populist left crumbles, as the left fights old battles rather than focusing on the situation at hand. Remember, Pres. Roosevelt was excoriated by the left for not being liberal enough. There can be no doubt that Pres. Obama feels a great disillusion from allies who cavil but never bring numbers to the table. Every deal he’s had to make with Republicans have come about because of liberals’ consistent failure to vote in midterm elections, handing control of Congress to the GOP. Then these same liberals who stayed home complain when Pres. Obama isn’t “liberal enough”. (Tell me where there was a filibuster-proof vote for the public option, or raising taxes past the Bush tax-cut expiration. I’ll wait.)

As Pres. Obama hits the home stretch of his Administration, he’s using executive authority partly because of GOP control of the legislature, and partly because Democrats have been so woeful at winning off year elections. If the party could actually manage to win Congress and state houses and governorships, then Pres. Obama could govern in an even more liberal fashion than he has been. That GOP-controlled state houses are gerrymandering the House into a permanent GOP majority lies, in part, to the failure of local Democrats to run like Democrats, sniping at Pres. Obama’s heels to win votes. And, it seems, he’s done with it.

So Pres. Obama has no more reticence at calling out his detractors on both ends of the aisle. And that’s what’s called a healthy democracy. Senator Warren speaks for her constituency; Pres. Obama has to have a broader view. Don’t whine because mean Obama said mean things.

Senators Warren and Sanders should have learned from watching Pres. Obama rhetorically slice away at the GOP: If you’re going to come with foolishness, expect to be treated as such.

132 Responses to “A funny thing happened on the way to Mau-mauing Barack Obama”

      • May 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

        Another excellent piece LL – I had just read her W Post interview when I read you: “Sen. Warren’s main gripe is that “the public isn’t seeing the bill”. Oddly, as this interview with Greg Sargent illustrates, she keeps moving the goal posts. She, of course, can see the negotiating text in full. It then becomes: “Fast track won’t allow Congress to make changes to the deal”.”

        Exactly what I picked up from the interview.

        PLUM LINE: But don’t you get 60 days to review it after the deal is finalized, with the authority to revoke fast track?

        WARREN: The president has committed only to letting the public see this deal after Congress votes to authorize fast track.

        She completely ignores Sargent’s point, that she can see the complete text. She has been abysmal on this.

      • 5 jacquelineoboomer
        May 11, 2015 at 7:57 pm

        My public stance: Well done, LL. Well done. (My private stance: Take ’em down! How dare they!)

      • May 12, 2015 at 1:45 am

        Wow! Thanks LL for another of your excellent Essays. Your essay, and EricFive’s commentary, should be shared widely. I am altering friends and relatives, including some who are in Elizabeth Warren’s cult, to read it.

    • May 11, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Congrats Don!

      Great article LL! One for the books.

  1. 8 Nena20409
    May 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Don gets the Golden ⭐
    The piece is in_deed, Brilliant LL.
    The more this “Fight” goes on…..the Likely that TTP gets a Fast Track approval as POTUS wants.

    • 9 Vicki
      May 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Thank you, LL for this thoughtful piece. You’ve got the perspective correct in my opinion.
      When will these suddenly loud emo warriors ever learn? Never, apparently.
      There are will be some vote on it tomorrow, right?

      Then on to the next manufatured poutrage.
      At least we haven’t heard about Keystone for a few weeks.

  2. 10 Betsy
    May 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Excellent post LL!

    • 11 COS
      May 11, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Yes I agree. I love Angela’s tenacity on Rev. Al’s show in her argument for the TPP against this Jason guy. You can tell Angela has done more research than Jason. She backs her argument up with facts, while Jason is just pulling stuff out of his a$$.

  3. 12 Judith Fardig
    May 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Congratulations, Don! Excellent piece, LL. President Obama laid out a compelling arguments for his trade negotiations at Nike in which he gave a shout-out to all the Congressional Democrats from Oregon who are standing with him. Senator Jeff Merkley whom I really respect on 99% of issues was conspicuously not named. Today I contacted his office here to ask for a meeting on this issue and a small group of my OFA team to see if we could have a positive and productive discussion on TPA/TPP. Stay tuned …

  4. 16 idon
    May 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Elizabeth Warren is DEAD to me.

  5. 21 Don
    May 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    LL, you and Eric both have laid bare the fact that Senator Warren has no clothes on. I think that someone would do well to tell Senator Warren that in the end this will not end well for her.

  6. May 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm

  7. 28 Vicki
    May 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Laura Rozens twitter @lrozen has a good series from the King of Saudi Arabia (his twitter team) regarding PBO’s trusworthiness.

  8. 30 Don
    May 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Being an emoprogg means never having to say you’re sorry, it means never having to do the dirty work, it also means never having to accept half a loaf.

  9. May 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm


    • May 11, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      “Declassify” what, exactly? Honestly, the stupidity of people like this. I’m just blocking people who show up in my TL saying super stupid things like this.

      • May 11, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        Apart from the stupidity, Meta, it was the “Barry” that had me clicking the block button. It’s so revealing that the Warren Groupies address the President in the same disrespectful, sneering way as the Teabaggers.

        • May 11, 2015 at 7:38 pm

          Absolutely. It’s very, very offensive.

        • 35 Cha
          May 12, 2015 at 4:33 am

          Yeah, they’re disingenuous bullies.. who have nothing but vapid insults. There’s an avalanche of that going on at DU. lol 😛 There’s a few who trust the President over Ms Goalpost Mover, though.

    • 36 COS
      May 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      This tweet proves that the emos are making stuff up. They are all on the same band wagon.

    • 38 EricFive
      May 11, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      A tweet that stupid doesn’t deserve a response. So now transparency is allowing the public to view trade negotiation docs, suddenly it is not sufficient that Congress can view the docs. The idiot’s use of “Barry” was a nice touch in that it shows how close the left and right extremes are when it comes to PBO. The Warrenites are not taking the dismantling of their latest idol very well.

    • May 11, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      he deleted the tweet

    • May 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Maybe some republican operatives are at work, exacerbating the dissension within the democratic party. I have difficulty to believe that an “emoprog” would use “Barry” to refer to the president. This is tea party language.

  10. May 11, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Love this commentary!

  11. May 11, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    • 54 EricFive
      May 11, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      So yet another fake scandal/imagined slight bites the dust. I wish more folks would ask themselves why the U.S. media is so determined to make the sitting U.S. President look bad by creating these wholly imagined rifts between PBO and other world leaders. To make matters worst they always side with the foreign leader against the President. This should raise some serious red flags for folks who still get their news from these disloyal assholes.

      • 55 Vicki
        May 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        Yes, Eric. I wrote about this is some detail this morning. Fact-free and poisonous crap front-paged on the New York Times.

  12. 56 Judith Fardig
    May 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    So this just happened: Governor Kate Brown signed the universal background check bill into law in Oregon:

  13. 66 GGail
    May 11, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I love that picture of Putin and German Chancellor Merkel 😀
    Thanks Bob!

  14. May 11, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Excellent commentary LL and on point!

  15. May 11, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Good evening Chips & TOD! Thanks again LL for another excellent piece! Warren’s house of cards crumbling right before our eyes…

  16. May 11, 2015 at 7:52 pm

  17. 78 Don
    May 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    At this point in time Senator Warren is like a basketball player whose time is down my twenty points and there’s a minute left in the game, she’s throwing up three pointers every time she touches the ball.

    • 79 forus50
      May 11, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      And not even hitting the backboard.

    • 80 Sandy1110
      May 11, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      It’s kind of strange to see how some of PBO’s opponents self-destruct so abruptly.

      I didn’t see the TPP blowout being a thing until it happened, and like everyone else who’s cast their lot against POTUS, Warren’s committed to her course of action against logic or reason.

  18. 81 Nena20409
    May 11, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    NBC, Chris Hayes and Seymour H……have forgotten than in either 2009 or in 2010, then SoS HRC went to Pakistan and in one of her Q&A, she bluntly stated, accusing Pakistan of know and hiding Al Qaeda Leaders in their nation…….These people like to re-litigate Facts, KNOWN Facts to drive distorted narrative.

    This is the closest Video that I could find.

    • 82 Nena20409
      May 11, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      The tape I am looking for is a grainier version before college students answering questions.
      Then in 2011, after OBL was permanently removed from the living, Pakistan denied knowing that OBL was in Abbottabad.

  19. May 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm

  20. 87 Don
    May 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I love the Obama Foundation website.

  21. May 11, 2015 at 8:22 pm

  22. 90 Nena20409
    May 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Here J.E.B. goes again…….Flip Flopping……..on Pres Obama’s Immigration Executive Action.
    Not Ready for Prime Time….JEB 😉

  23. 113 vcprezofan2
    May 11, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Way to go, Lib_L! Just came back and read this and fully appreciate the points you made. Have to say I was particularly tickled by this line:-

    ‘rules which he plucked an obscure academic named Elizabeth Warren to help implement’

    I would like to think If Warren doesn’t get her head or act together soon, she’s headed back to obscurity when voters who had such plans for her accept she’s a one-trick pony.

  24. 114 desertflower
    May 11, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    So brilliant:) Thank you for this, LL. Between your post and the one earlier from EricFive…you both have made truth step to the plate! Smart, direct and factual…something that is sorely lacking in the delusional and dare I say, whoreish MSM….they are not beholden to the people, but to their billionaire owners and backers. So sad. This is why we come here…to read serious truths like this. Many thanks, to both of you, for your insight today. Bravo.

    • 115 GGail
      May 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Well said DF.
      And to vc – sadly, Elizabeth has already labeled herself as a “one hit wonder”. She’s become irrelevant.

  25. 119 Judith Fardig
    May 11, 2015 at 9:19 pm

  26. 120 amk for obama
    May 11, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    warren, hersh, pox news ….

    Any fresh kenyan CT’s since I went to bed last night?

  27. 123 jacquelineoboomer
    May 11, 2015 at 9:26 pm

  28. May 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm

  29. 129 amk for obama
    May 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Obama won by 4% in 2012.

    Can sanders/warren win even 4%?

    The end.

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