Election 2012

The Netroots Nation Crowd Is Not the Base

Revolution Messaging/Democracy Corps commissioned a straw poll for attendees at Netroots Nation. I hasten to underscore that I'm not criticizing Netroots Nation or the people who attended. I wish I could have been there myself. That said, Steve Singiser at Daily Kos wrote a piece about it yesterday and drew some odd conclusions. First the section of the poll Steve referenced:

Q.3 Please indicate if you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Strongly Approve: 27
Somewhat Approve: 53
Somewhat Disapprove: 13
Strongly Disapprove: 7

All things considered, 80 percent approval among hardcore progressive blog people is pretty damn good, considering the prevalence and influence of Glenn Greenwald and the firebaggers. However, Steve took a very different posture:

If that doesn't make the Obama re-elect team nervous, it probably should.

Look, the simple fact is that the NN11 attendees are going to vote for Obama. There is little doubt about that. A total of 96% of them identified themselves as "almost certain" to vote in November of 2012. And given some other stats in the poll dealing with the "cool/warm" spectrum, we can be reasonably certain that they aren't voting for the GOP (a stout 4.71 out of 100 on the temperature gauge).

But team Obama has to be concerned about more than just that. They have to be concerned about spit on envelopes, legs pounding pavement, fists knocking on doors, and dollars being stuffed in envelopes or exchanged online.

I seriously doubt the Obama campaign is nervous -- clearly because the Netroots Nation crowd is not the base. Progressive bloggers aren't the base. The people who knocked on doors and "spit on envelopes" were predominantly first-time volunteers. Ordinary Americans who don't know (or care) who Markos or Jane or Atrios or Greenwald are. They're people who will now qualify for Medicaid due to the president's healthcare reform bill. They're people who received the president's middle class tax cut in the stimulus.

They're people who will probably return to the campaign as volunteers in 2012.

Maybe not with the electricity of 2008 -- but only because incumbent campaigns are never as electric as a first-time campaign. The president doesn't have that underdog quality we find so attractive in an insurgent campaign. That's just the way incumbent campaigns work. It doesn't have anything to do with the enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm (80 percent is still quite strong) of progressive bloggers.

  • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

    I’m having a problem with the title. According to what I sense and what the Carville poll found, Jane and company ARE NOT “the netroots.” So instead of playing into Malkin’s rhetoric about “nutroots,” I invite everyone here to come to Providence next year so we can take the place by storm. We ARE the netroots.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      I fear I would resort to pulling Jane’s hair.

  • http://twitter.com/HongPong Dan Feidt~hongpong

    Hey I worked at netroots — tuning the livestreaming videos. I didn’t have much time to talk to people generally. However I noticed that there were 2 major groups kind of ignored on this: Labor representatives and tons of consultants. I think the consultants work for election shops mainly.

    It seemed like the bloggers were kind of in a ‘don’t fool me twice’ sort of mode, and the consultants were bewildered/assuming these people would want to push hard for Democratic electioneering.

    I think probably Rep Keith Ellison (my congressman) put it best that (roughly) politicians surf the waves of the popular arrangements at any given time, and politicians keep having to be pushed… there was a good metaphor about walking in there.

    I’ve seen a ton of bad stuff go down lately – Democratic politicians covering for illegal police state operations at 2008RNC, my faith in pretty much all babyboomers couldn’t be much lower right now.

    The only real move is to keep turning the screws on them all as hard as possible — and prepare outside the bloated election industry for more economic collapse because they’ve refused to wind down the fake debt monster or the war machine (which is being imported via homeland security/grants as I saw at G20Pittsburgh under Obama). Never been to this site before, try to stay loose people!!

    • ranger11


      • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

        Classy. And persuasive, too!

        Is Oliver Willis a Firebagger, now, too?

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          Really, Josh, I think you’ve won the class war here. You act like a jerk in general, and whenever we don’t agree with you, you cry (passive-aggressively)


          You are not going to change our minds, and if you had actual class, you would not be trolling, and yes, you are trolling, a Liberal site.

          As to Oliver, no, he is no firebagger. Criticism of the president or the administration occasionally when warranted, and when reasonable, is not what firebaggers are all about.

        • ranger11

          Are you trying to be a dickhead or does it just come natural. Why the hell should I care about Oliver fucking Willis? I give a one-word semi-not-so humorous comment and you come with this? Now who’s trying to be classy and persuasive you sarcastic asshole.

      • http://twitter.com/HongPong Dan Feidt~hongpong

        Sounds like a plan bro!

        • ranger11

          Thanks, I just love the circular go nowhere firing squad argument. Keep hope alive!

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Josh Dobbin:

    You guys are kids playing at “sides” and flame-wars.

    If you’re the grownup in the room, may the Sky Fairy help us all.

    Seriously, you are politically VERY naive. And unfortunately, it is to the detriment of the Democratic Party AND the country.

    Adding….seriously, Maureen Dowd? bwahahaha :-)

    FYI, responding to Dobbin’s comment here: http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2011/06/the-netroots-nation-crowd-is-not-the-base.html#comment-237011959

    • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

      I’m talking to a child who says things like “Seriously, you are politically VERY naive.”


      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        See, you did it again. :-)

  • ranger11

    I miss the days where I can agree with the netroots on anything. When things were going okay in my life I could say hurray for everything. Save the whales, put the banksters in jail, etc, etc. But being on social security disability has kind of focused my mind on what is important for me and maybe others in my position. I want rights for everybody and everybody to be free. But I believe the whole picture of this country’s situation needs to be taken into account. I think if certain persons do not get everything they want from this president and government that they really don’t care if the Republicans take over again. It’s like 2000 all over again. Being in the rather precarious position as I find myself in now all I can say is thanks a lot guys. Really, I mean it…

  • mrbrink

    And furthermore, let’s just take a look at the gripes from a couple other key policy shifts signed by the president.


    The gripe: “No public option!”

    That’s it. No more thought or inspection required. There’s no “public option” so that means no deal! Boo!

    When in fact, the AFA established the foundation for the inevitable Medicare-for-all with heavy investments directed toward an improved healthcare infrastructure. Record keeping, information sharing, new clinics, delivery, inclusiveness– framework for Medicare for all if you were to follow it through to its ideological conclusion. And not only that, the AFA phases out the Republican model for Medicare– Medicare Advantage– saving billions in automatic payments into a for-profit system and saving Medicare, a liberal staple– from a trajectory of complete for-profit absorption, but complete government subsidization. And not only that, it declared healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Ending sadistic practices of rescission and denial on the basis of pre-existing conditions. I’m under-selling this “Big F-ing deal.”


    Financial reform, AKA, “Dodd-Frank.”

    The Gripe: The banks are still too big to fail!” Boo!

    That’s true, but if progressives can’t keep the momentum going long enough to keep the Republican party out of power for more than an election cycle, how the hell are we going to break up the banks?

    That didn’t get done this time, but you know what did?

    Derivatives reform and regulation. The bill legislated derivatives– a Wallstreet degenerate gambling operation and a key factor in the collapse of the economy– to be traded openly, transparently, through a clearinghouse. That means, if companies like Goldman Sachs are selling mortgage backed securities to like, say, the California’s public employees’ retirement system “who bought $64.4 million in mortgage-backed securities in 2007″ and who are no doubt being punished by right wing state legislators for Wallstreet’s malfeasance(who were rewarded by the Bush administration and Hank Paulson with a one page application for bailout funds still wet with John Boehner’s tears), they would be able to see if the Derivatives were being manipulated to basically steal from the pension funds, or manipulated to “destroy the country of Greece,” for instance.

    Not only that, but derivatives reform essentially forces commercial banks to break themselves up a bit, while limiting the secrecy of derivative speculation, or naked credit default swaps.

    Leo Gerard points to NPR’s Planet Money for an explanation of naked credit default swaps:

    “it’s like buying insurance on your neighbor’s house. The buyer of that policy has a vested interest in your home burning down. And the more “derivative insurance” speculators buy, the greater the interest in your home’s demise.”

    This includes an 82% increase in funding and the hiring of additional employees at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who would be regulating market speculation in oil and other manipulated commodities that have led to food and gas prices soaring beyond the dictate of supply and demand.

    But not only that, Financial reform created the Consumer Protection Agency with President Obama nominating Elizabeth Warren as it’s top dog.

    These are all progressive policy advances, currently being undermined by right wing republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate, but these are progressive maneuvers nevertheless, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re either ignorant, or goddamn liars.

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Ashby, FORGET the 3-deep level comments! I’m sorry……please forgive me and fix it again?!!! We can’t easily or comprehensively answer comments that really need answers.

    Maybe you could make them level with each other after 3-4 comments? (still allowing for limitless comments)

    • JMAshby

      It’ll just have to be played by ear. Disqus doesn’t exactly have an endless font of options. I’ll do whatever I can.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        Looks like you already fixed it! TY, Ashby. :-)

        • JMAshby

          I changed it to 5 replies. Anything beyond 5 is probably a flame-war anyway. But we’ll see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Bockenthien/1476190129 Peter Bockenthien

    Candidate Obama lost me when he backed the bailout. That was a huge red flag, and it confirmed what I suspected for awhile: like any other pol, he’ll say what needs to be said to be elected; he did a masterful job.

    I know people are not happy with him – I’m not – for a variety of reasons discussed here ad nauseum. But the biggest reason that I won’t be voting for him is because he is the single person who can stop the wars. Is that correct? I know Congress can’t. I know the Pentagon can’t. I know I sure as hell can’t. He’s the only person who can, and he won’t. So in this respect he absolutely is worse than Bush.

    You know what is actually worse than these wars? Is that he’s personally has ordered the destruction of organic food by allowing his administration to disregard all the warnings one could possibly show him in order to rubberstamp the planting of GMO alfalfa. God bye organic industry. Thanks for the memories. Hello fake food. Hello soylent green (if we don’t already do it right now).

    Obama is destroying America’s #1 asset: the soil. The headlines will read, someday, “Oil Killed Our Soil”. I think most people have no idea just how bad this will be, and just how diabolically irreversible it is. Radioactivity might possibly not have a leg up on GMOs. Wish I were making it up…

    • NintendoWii10

      Obama worse than Bush? Did you not hear his speech where he discussed plans to withdraw from Afghanistan?

      Also, how is Obama worse than Bush when Obama got Osama bin laden, 911 mastermind, whereas Bush stated he didn’t care about bin Laden and wasn’t concerned about him?

      Go ahead, vote for Romney or Bachmann. Vote for a Republican who would not only get us involved in more wars, but would undo all of the positive changes passed by Obama: healthcare reform, DADT repeal, Wall Street reform, stimulus package, Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act, Matthew Shepard Hate crimes Act, the list goes on. You liberal losers stay losing because you focus more on personal gratification as opposed to getting anything of substance accomplished, not to mention your delusions of getting positive change under a President Romney or a President Bachmann. Good luck with getting troops out of Afghanistan with President Romney or President Bachmann.

      • ranger11

        He didn’t give pony! Just like every other asshole politician! I’m going to slash my wrists now! Maybe we’ll get it right in twenty years! Woe is fucking me!

        • JMAshby

          “He didn’t give pony!”

          I laughed.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Peter, these issues matter to us too but its not practical to base your voting on one or two issues. After all we do only have a two party system, so you have to look at an entire platform.

    • Robert Scalzi

      thne you are no better than a rethug..did you vote in 2010 or sit on your ass and let the baggers take over ???

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Josh Dobbin:

    This is a dangerous way to think, I believe.

    Uh, no. What IS dangerous is the people such as yourself, and others on the left, with your constant complaints about your “disappointment” in Obama, who thereby give the right wing huge openings to drive their tanks.

    Did you people not understand that the country would react badly to the election of our first black president? I certainly expected it. So would you have if you didn’t live in lalaland.

    We live in a time when a good man, a good president, has been elected to govern a country on the edge of fascism.

    It is my belief that he is doing the absolute best he can to navigate his way through the damn minefield created by the treasonous, sociopathic Republicans running the show for the right wing.

    And people such as yourself are not helping. I hope you don’t live to regret it.

    • http://twitter.com/bphoon Brian C

      This President has been obstructed every inch of the way by an organized right that plays to win at all costs. They seek to (in this order) line their pockets with our money, gain power, line their pockets with our money, maintain power, line their pockets with our money, destroy anyone and everyone who disagrees with them and line their pockets with our money. They will use whatever means they think they need to to gain their end and if they have to permanently damage this country to do it, in the words of Speaker Boehner, so be it.

      That Obama has accomplished as much as he has is, I think considering the circumstances, only slightly short of a miracle. Yes, I was angry at the Administration’s lack of negotiating skill during the health care debate and yes, I’d like him to get off the dime on DADT, DOMA and gay marriage. But, we’re in a better place now than we were two and a half years ago. It’ll take Obama longer than one term to unfuck all the shit that the Bush/Cheney crowd took eight years to fuck up.

      Obama’s working with one hand tied behind his back, figuratively speaking, having to constantly fend off attacks from the right while he’s trying to get something done for America. To be so disillusioned that he’s not batted 1.000 is, I believe, more dangerous thinking.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        Couldn’t agree more. Well said.

    • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

      You guys don’t see how you’ve set up a tight echo chamber, People’s-Front-of-Judea-style, and are yelling “SPLITTERS!” at everyone. It is not so much sad as depressing.

      • ranger11

        Is this a two party or a three-four party system? I don’t have the advantage to keep my purity.

      • JMAshby

        If there is an echo chamber out there, it’s the one where people believe providing fuel for the Right Wing’s fires will somehow elect a more progressive government. Like magic.

        • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

          Shorter JMAshby: “Nunth-UH! *YOU’RE an echo chamber!”

          Mature. And classy.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Guess what? Ashby works for Bob. He can say whatever he wants so long as Bob allows it. And dream on if you think Bob doesn’t agree.

            Christ. You are a troll, and you might wish to reconsider your definition of “mature and classy”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

            You won’t get the reference, but this is like the kind of “don’t argue with the Reds” from the old VA board days.

            I’m not a “troll.” I’m an old (in internet terms, anyway) friend and well-wisher of Bob’s from the View Askew and animation days.

            I’m also somebody who has a slightly different perspective and opinion on a subject that I have tried to say without rancor or invective, but which has been met with instant rancor and invective.

            Hate to tell you this, but that was played out in the 90s on Usenet and wwwboard flame-wars.

            You’re young and enthusiastic, so there’s a lot to be forgiven there. But stripping out ideology, your attitude to a difference of opinion is functionally the same as any right-wing site, yelling out pre-made labels at anyone who offers a differing take “TROLL! FIREBAGGER! DELUDED!”.

            Which is sad.

            What’s that old definition of a zealot? Someone who redoubles their efforts while losing sight of their goals, right?

            There was a response to the post Bob referenced here, on KOS, which is pretty much where my head is at:

            That committed Democrats are going… (17+ / 0-)
            to vote for an incumbemt Democratic President is not news. That such a poll had to be taken at all is… Not since Jimmy Carter have I seen such disappointment in the performance of a President by the people in his own party and it is not confined to the “professional left,” which by the way is an unnecessarilly stupid and divisive characterization of Obama’s supporters.

            The President is going to get the votes of dyed in the wool Democrats, is he going to get shoe leather, phone banking, house meetings or local headquarters volunteers like 2008, no. He and his campaign staff already know this, why do you think Daley is now Chief of Staff and they’re planning to raise $1 billion for the campaign, hint, it ain’t to pay volunteers.

            The Democratic Party leadership is expecting to lose the Senate and narrow the Republican majority in the House while hoping to retain the Presidency, they are playing defense not creating a winning strategy, just hoping not to lose everything.

            Only the consistent drum beat of the Right wing lunatics is supporting the Democrats now. If it wasn’t for Paul Ryan, the lunatic Republican Governors of WI, IN, OH, NJ, ME, MI, FL and OH, their equally crazy legislatures and the balls out brinkmanship of the “Tea Party Caucus” in the Congress, this election would be impossible political calculus for Democrats.

            This may be the first “reverse coat-tails” election, with down ballot Democrats in the House, Senate and State races driving Democrats to the polls who will also vote for Obama, out of fear of Republican wing-nuttery and fascistic over-reach.

            This isn’t political chess anymore, it is no holds barred cage fighting and I don’t think the President is up to the task. I hope I’m wrong, but the penchant for excluding the public, back room deal making and compromise as a starting position, seems too deeply ingrained in this administration to change in time for the 2012 election.

            Obama may change and lead, he may start using his oratorical skills to advance the jobs agenda, he may stand up for Social Security and Medicare, he may stop playing and pillory the Republicans publicly about the debt ceiling… I wouldn’t hold my breath for such a reversal of style from seminar leader to counter puncher, but such a change is greatly to be desired.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        An echo chamber. Okay. I don’t really get what you find so depressing about that, but whatever.

        Yeah, I’ll grant you that most of us here agree that not supporting the president is an empirically stupid thing to do if you’re a Liberal, living through this particular period of our national history. This does not mean that we never criticize or that we don’t have personal views that we just don’t talk about.

        What you and the firebagger followers seemingly don’t understand is the choice that lies before you. As much as you blather about ” the president didn’t do this, the president has no freaking clue, etc. ad infinitum” you will find that you will be much less happy about the political situation when you are looking at President Fascist Republican.

        But hey, you’re a corporate kind of guy so maybe that’s exactly what you want.

        Adding…..I hope this made at least a little sense. I’m pretty tired today.

        Adding again……Disingenuous is not my style. I know perfectly well it made sense, even if a little addled.

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          Nicole, you and I almost always agree but just because this guy (Josh) runs a company doesn’t necessarily make his motives suspect.

          PS: You know I think you’re awesome and fierce. :) So don’t get pissed okay?

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            No worries, IG. :-)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663669914 Sean Richardson

            Here’s the thing — I know Josh. So when I see the assumptions you leap to about him — “a corporate kind of guy”? He runs a company?? — it not only makes me laugh, but it makes me wonder how many of your other points are completely imagined by you. It doesn’t really serve your arguments.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Here’s the thing. The only thing we had to go by is his very own link to his FB page, wherein he points out that he is employed by his family’s company.

          • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

            Sean, that was my point. You and I aren’t in disagreement.

          • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

            My non-existent employees at DOBBINCO INDUSTRIES will be dismayed to learn they don’t exist. I think maybe because the picture here is my current Facebook profile, which was taken at my cousin’s wedding, so I’m wearing a tie, she assumes I own a company?

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Had nothing to do with your picture, Dobbin.
            See the screenshot below.
            In any case, it was a throwaway comment, nothing insulting, so don’t act so insulted.

          • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

            Yes. I work at my mother’s small property management firm, with its 4 employees, where I take care of the website and tech issues and do the print and branding work. At about 1/3 of the salary I used to make before I did this.

            I do this, actually, instead of working elsewhere in my field, so I can care for my baby daughter who was diagnosed as low-functioning autistic at two, but now, thanks to her amazing strength, the early intervention of a team of great, federally mandated state-agency Birth-to-3 professionals, and my quitting my previous job to work as close to 24 hours a day with her as I can, at 3 and a half, she’s not flagged by the ADOS test and has learned, in her own way, how to learn. That’s her in the picture, there. She’s friggin’ amazing.

            You know that old thing about assuming, with the “ass” and “u” and “me?”

            Minus the “me” part, here.

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        Josh, I hear what you are saying but I respectfully disagree. Look at what Brian C is saying above. There are many issues that we are not happy about; however, we still support him. Furthermore, we think he’s done an excellent job considering the uniform opposition he has faced from the GOP and within his own party. Some are more vitriolic and less cogent on these points. No matter how we phrase it though, we all agree that those on the Left who do criticize Pres. O for not fighting harder either never understood who he really was or suspect they have some other motivation for their opposition. These are all reasonable positions and an analysis of the facts does appear to support this interpretation.

        And even if you totally disagree with everything I said above AND you consider yourself a Progressive, how can you justify continuing to criticize the President? Particularly when your criticism makes little or no difference EXCEPT to undermine what little political leverage he has left? That’s the crux of the argument….we understand and support your ideological positions on pretty much every issue….we don’t understand why many Progressives are advocating in a way that ultimately hurts the causes we all care about.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663669914 Sean Richardson

          “we don’t understand why many Progressives are advocating in a way that ultimately hurts the causes we all care about. ”

          Here’s the flipside — if nobody ever complains that the President isn’t being progressive enough, where is his motivation to be more progressive?

          There’s two things in politics that get paid attention to — money and squeaky wheels. The Right is BRILLIANT at using the squeaky wheel model, where first you have people complain, then you get the media talking about the complaint, then you frame the debate in terms of the complaint itself, and magically wash away all nuance and detail because it’s just about what’s making that damned wheel squeak. So, yes, it’s annoying when the wheels squeak — but it’s still important.

          And here’s the other thing… “shut up and support our leader”, that isn’t *really* a progressive value, is it? I mean, “hold your nose and just vote for him because he’s the option which is closest to good”, sure. But isn’t lockstep “stop criticizing the president” supposed to be what the other guys stand for? Isn’t a major component of being a liberal that you want the little people to have a voice that government listens to?

          (There are general criticisms in this post that I explicitly wanted to say are not directed at you, Irishgrrrl. This post I’m actually responding to is respectful and well thought out, which many others on here are not.)

          • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

            Sean you said:

            if nobody ever complains that the President isn’t being progressive enough, where is his motivation to be more progressive?

            Our point is that he can’t be more Progressive in this hostile environment and no matter how loud the squeeky wheels get is not going to change that.

            I agree, not holding his feet to the fire isn’t a Progressive value. Believe me I am chaffing at the bit to scold him on any number of issues. Ultimately I think it does more harm than good in THIS particular presidency.

            I would also advise against the tactic of being the squeeky wheel to an extreme degree as so many Hamershites, Firedoglakers, etc, call them what you will. In the short term the Tea Party is garnering quite a lot of attention for the GOP but in the long run their extremism will be the GOP’s downfall. That is not a model for anyone in a Democracy to emulate.

            I understand that you’re angry and you feel disappointed. I do too, quite frankly. But I am going to work my ass off in 2012 and I’m going to keep my criticism within the family in the meantime because 1) the other side will do so much worse if they gain control and 2) I can have a greater influence quietly and respectfully as a loyal oppositionist within the Dem party than I could in the public eye IN THIS CURRENT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT. And that is the key difference we’re are arguing over here.

            The crux is this: do you believe that the Pres. could do more by being louder and more strident (as you and Josh seem to be advocating) or that he has done as much as is possible given the situation and given his personal style as most of us at Bob’s site seem to be suggesting. Again in this environment at this crucial juncture in our nation’s history, undermining the sole voice of reason that the nation is even willing to listen to against the flood of bigotry, misogyny and theocracy coming out of the GOP isn’t the best course to take. We feel that we should close ranks and communicate dissent internally. You guys feel that we should follow the Tea Party model and leverage MSM. I guess history will be the judge of how that works out for us. If the 2010 midterm elections are any bellweather, then your course may very well bring about disaster.

            I hope that makes sense.

        • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

          Here’s kind of the problem, though. Nicole, Ashby, etc. have made it a false given that I “don’t support” the president.

          I voted for him, I sent money, I phone-banked, I registered voters… My Roomba is decorated with OBAMA/BIDEN stickers. I called it RoomBama. I took pains to explain I will of course vote for him because to do otherwise in the face of what is out there is nihilism. But that doesn’t mean that I have to call a C+ an A+, just because it is worlds of difference better than an F.

          Bush had ONLY a political wing with no policy wing. (remember “The Rise of the Mayberry Machiavellis?”) Obama seems to have the direct opposite, which is unfortunate.

          I want Obama to succeed. But I also want the ideas and ideals I believe in to succeed, or given a chance or at least a voice.

          I just wish he’d champion actual democratic ideas and ideals as the starting point in all these various policy matters and try to move the goalposts in our direction.

          This most recent matter with Kent Conrad and the question not IF Social Security cuts, but HOW MUCH MORE Social Security cuts to enact in the face of Mitch McConnell’s objective insanity is not a masterful bit of politics. Framing the debate influences the debate.

          Again, slowing a descent to madness is better than accelerating into it. Given the choice between slowing and accelerating, I’ll take slowing.

          I’d like to be given the choice to to actively be changing the direction, though.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            You picked the wrong time in American history to be loud about what you want as opposed to being supportive of this president in this time.

            Brink said it much better than I, but you really need to understand that you do not want anything more than we want. We just know/feel that this country is at a crossroads, and closing ranks is important right now.
            You saw what happened in 2010, but apparently did not take it to heart.

            Oh, and by the way, I dearly hope that we are all wrong and that you are right. But I very much doubt that will prove to be the case, unfortunately.

          • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

            Josh, we’re all agreed that he needs to hear that kind of criticism. It just appears to us that the criticism from the left is so squeeky that it is actually doing him more harm than good right now. That’s the key difference.

          • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

            I can totally agree with that.

            I think that it is unhelpful to characterize it in republican terms as “From the left,” further demonizing the idea of “left.”

            But the existence of unfair or hyperbolic criticism doesn’t mean that genuine criticism must be not allowed, for fear of conflation, you know?

            There’s a Venn Diagram where you can draw where people like me or others who are not knee-jerk bashers of the president can live such that we are not in total and complete overlap with the Nader-wing.

          • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

            Josh, to your final point re: the Venn Diagram….yes I see your point and I live there in the middle with you. However, its a fine line and its very easy to veer into the extreme and enable the GOP. I would rather play it safe right now because soooo much is at stake.

      • mrbrink

        I think the signing and slow implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a perfect allegory for the current state of government politics in America.

        Institutionalized bigotry and religious fanaticism are alive and well within the Federal War Departments: The Pentagon, State Department, Department of Defense, Army, Navy, Air force, Marines.

        But it doesn’t stop there.

        The Justice Department.

        Environmental agencies.

        Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Treasury, Labor…

        The great majority of the Judicial branch, especially the Supreme Court.


        Newspapers, think tanks, radio, television news.

        State and local governments and authoritative agencies.

        This is saying nothing of the free market zealots and cronies of concentrated wealth who obstruct and deny real progress at every turn.

        Some people forget what we’re up against.

        These agencies and branches of government have been stocked with Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation hacks for decades.

        The relentless right does not sleep and they feed on human suffering and division like beasts, but because they wear ties and simply show up(just showing up is 90% of the battle) with their partisan bumper-sticker slogans, dog whistles, and repetitive think-tank-focused-group talking-points delivered with twangy punctuated smiles like an obsessive image-conscious sociopath from the Junior High School of Fascism, they fool enough decent hardworking people who continue to allow them to make decisions for the majority of Americans based on sadistic impulses.

        I see Republican leadership and see a party whose only passion for the future of America is for the continued concentration of wealth, destruction of the environment, and infiltration of evangelical thought into matters best left to reason and science.

        That’s what “Hope and Change” represented to me. A shift, just a goddamn fucking shift– away from the reactionary servants of the wealthy minority, toward empathy and the little guy, or the vast majority who don’t want to live under the institutionalized tyranny of religious law and the guerrilla warfare of corporate monarchy.

        And just by using DADT as the example, if you can’t see the change or the “hope” in that, you’re not paying attention to the journey in the rear view mirror, and won’t see over the horizon because you’re either ignorant, or a goddamn liar.

        And Bob, I’d even take issue with some of the “Broken Promises” applied to the Politifact checkers.

        Like the critics in this thread, they’ve omitted the realities and acknowledgement of institutionalized right wing “conservatism.”

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          Bravo, mrbrink.

  • dildenusa

    If anything, the fact that early polls in Iowa put Romney and Bachmann in a dead heat should be energizing left leaning independents and the democratic base to get out and help out.

    If you think about it, who does it appear the republican/ice tea bagger party will put up against President Obama? A brain dead moronic Christian Bible thumper or a Mormon hedge fund manager. Quite a choice?

  • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

    I see a kind of small echo-chamber effect happening in the comments section here. Bob, you know me, so I think I have the kind of bona fides here to express an opinion without being a troll.

    But I think you can’t talk away the kind of genuine disappointment that so many people have in the president when they see how the person they imagined they voted for never materialized on the national front.

    This is not *just* about the flawed capitulation-at-the-outset as negotiating strategy, but that plays a part into it. It has more to do with how he has failed to call audibles based on the real situation “on the ground” with his enemies.

    And I use “enemies” advisedly. They are not people with spirited differences or vigorous debaters. The national dialogue against him and therefore against both small “d” and capital D democratic ideas and agenda items has been venomous and organized and, sadly, effective. In MMA terms, the republicans have beaten him with a ground-game at almost every juncture.

    Victories in individual “battles” are not enough. The one seeming lesson these creeps have learned from the actual Tea Party is that bleeding the enemy enough, even in “defeat” in individual battles is often enough for a larger victory. The other side is not thinking in terms of compromises and solutions that meet on a middle-ground; Obama’s biggest failing has been, from my perspective, in imagining that by acting as if it were the case for long and hard enough, he could instantiate it into being by force of personality. It has proven disheartening so far.

    I am going to vote for Obama, of course. The only other option is nihilism. But to think that the choices, stances, strategies, tactics and rhetoric he’s put out so far have not dampened enthusiasm in the base– which I consider myself a part of– is denying reality.

    Clinton once said, “”When people are insecure, they’d rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than someone who’s weak and right.”

    That’s a lesson I really wish the president would learn. People want him to pick a fight at ONE point. Not just the far-left part of the base, but the “mooshy middle,” too. They, more than anyone else: if you don’t quite have an opinion, you want some stark contrast and “fire in the belly,” as they say (too often) to follow.

    I know I feel pretty ambivalent when I see all my YES WE DID stuff and there’s a kind of sense of flagging disappointment when I look to my ‘fridge and see the OBAMA’S KITCHEN CABINET MEMBER magnet.

    You can’t do a C+ job of things and then yell at the people who thought you were going to graduate Cum Laude that they’re being babies for their disappointment because you are not failing.

    I think Bill Maher is (sadly) very much on point when he asks, “wouldn’t it be tragic if the Democrats were defeated without ever attempting actual Democratic ideas?”

    • JMAshby

      “how the person they imagined they voted for never materialized on the national front. ”

      How the person they imagined.



      The president ran as a centrist. He has governed as a centrist.

      Most of his campaign promises have either been full-filled or at the very least attempted, only to be struck down by obstructionists both on the right and in fact, on the left too.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YM23FX2FBZEC3UVDPZRGCUBIZ4 staci

        Thanks, Ashby. Let me also add, I’ll never knowingly choose the person who is wrong – no matter how loud they yell. Give me the person who is getting the job done regardless of fake rhetoric to appease the masses.

        • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

          And I’ll never buy products from infomercials or respond to male-enhancement email ads. But clearly ENOUGH people do that such that it is profitable to play to them.

          This is a dangerous way to think, I believe.

      • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

        Do you think you can hector a crowd of people into being enthusiastic?

        Again, there was a very cynical play and ploy in campaigning on vague terms like “HOPE” and “CHANGE” and using emotionally charged words like “audacity” and “fierce urgency of now.”

        Do you also defend the credit card companies for having all the hidden hikes spelled out in their fine print?

        To suggest that that “imagination” was not leveraged and provided a lot of energy in the 2008 campaign that will not be present in 2012 is denying a very objective reality.

        Also, there is no enemy here; you seem to be in bunker-mode against what you perceive to be an onslaught of “firebaggers” and “concern trolls,” or whatever, such that any different opinion is met with a kind of snide derision. Not the best Dale Carnegie strategy.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          LOL. Dale Carnegie. okay.

        • JMAshby

          I don’t care if you’re enthusiastic or not. You can fill yourself with pout-rage to your heart’s content.

          You’re not the majority.

          And hyperbole does not further your “argument” or whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.

          • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

            Wow. You’re kind of a dick, huh?

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            No, he’s kind of fed up. But here you are, you come on to a blog where you know most of the commenters are of like mind about something they consider important, and yet you think we should what…..just sit back, let you speak your piece with out pushback?

            Not gonna happen. We strongly believe that people like you are just wrong. Wrong on the facts, and wrong in your reasoning.

      • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

        Also, “centrist” is, by definition, a relative term.

        To continue to be a “centrist” when one side is moving rapidly and recklessly in one direction is to move in that direction.

        The problem with GWB wasn’t -just- that he vigorously championed his own side’s ideas and ideals to the sneering exclusion of others. That is, indeed, a problem. But more to the point, I think is that they were fundamentally *bad ideas.*

        At a certain point, “centrism” in the face of extremism is capitulation.

        Slowing the descent to madness is different than turning the tide against it.

        • NintendoWii10

          Tell me Josh, how has President Obama “capitulated” when has gotten more progressive line items done than Clinton, Carter, LBJ, or FDR?

          What isn’t progressive about repealing DADT? Passing major healthcare reform legislation? Passing major Wall Street reform? Passing Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act? Passing the stimulus bill? Bailing out the auto industry? All those laws move the country towards the future, how can you argue that is not progressive and call it capitulating, just because the laws aren’t complete? Were you bitching when LBJ passed Civil Rights Act, which didn’t help every single African American? Or how about Social Security, which FDR passed that excluded African Americans and women?

          Sorry Josh, you and the rest of the loser left will always stay losing, because all you guys focus on is how such and such is not complete and end up doing more to help the Republicans undermine President Obama than Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the carnival barkers. There is no excuse for being this deluded and naive.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663669914 Sean Richardson

            “What isn’t progressive about repealing DADT?”

            The way that it’s actually not repealed and won’t be until post-2012.

            “Passing major Wall Street reform?”

            That would be a very progressive thing to do, certainly. Not sure what that has to do with what Obama has done.

            “Passing Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act?”

            Is that the one that has been passed and literally never used?

            “Passing the stimulus bill?”

            The amount of it that was devoted to tax cuts for the rich.

            “Bailing out the auto industry?”

            Giving money to a failed industry to delay the failing is the opposite of “progressive”, by definition. It’s good, it saved a lot of jobs, but it is not “progressive”.

          • NintendoWii10

            So explain how none of that is progressive. It makes more progress than under the Bush years, correct?

            So how is what Obama done not progressive?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663669914 Sean Richardson

            “So explain how none of that is progressive.”

            The explanations are the part of my posts that aren’t in quotes. (The quotes are yours.)

            For instance, not actually repealing DADT though he has officially been given authorization to legally do so is *not* progressive. Declaring it repealed because that authorization was given is more or less anti-progressive, since it’s actually making people think the problem is solved so they’ll back off without actually solving the problem itself.

            “It makes more progress than under the Bush years, correct?”

            I think the points you’ve chosen are a poor way to prove this, since three of them haven’t led to any actual progress, one of them was just doing what Bush did, and one of them didn’t happen.

          • NintendoWii10

            Sean, thanks for once again NOT answering my question and proving the point.

            How is repealing DADT NOT progressive?

            And please, explain what Obama has done that Bush has done. You sir make no sense and are point proof on why no one takes the left seriously.

      • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

        The president ran as a centrist. He has governed as a centrist.

        Oh, I respectfully disagree. He’s always been a pragmatic liberal. Not a centrist at all. There’s a difference between centrism and pragmatism – the former is political/ideological, the latter has to do with process and governing.

        • JMAshby

          No you’re right, I simply chose my words too quickly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Conner/100000495528525 John Conner

      I believe some on the left wanted this president to be our version of George W.Bush, never mind that George W.Bush didn’t do a damn thing for his blue collar supporters. Nothing on gay marriage, nothing on abortion issues matter of fact can any pro Bush person name me one thing Bush did to advance your social agenda? Obama never ran as some fire breathing lefty so I don’t know why people are tripping over what they got now. It’s like dating a crazy chick, you knew the girl was crazy when you talked to her and yet you freak out when she says something nutty.

      As for Obama critics on the left I have no doubt it’s mostly driven for clicks, ad revenue and views. I used to watch the Young Turks back in 2009 and early 2010 and I don’t remember Cenk being this critical of President Obama, but now Mr.former Conservative Republican is a authority on progressive politics and he deem Obama not progressive enough. Another school of thought is critics truly care for their issue (cough Rachel Maddow) and if their issue isn’t met the way they wanted they flip out. I don’t count Dan Choi in the issue based critics crowd due to the fact he’s moving the goal post.

      I said this back in November and I’m going to say this now. I don’t care how “disappointed” you are, we’re knew what would happen if the Republicans took control of either chamber but some chose to stay home anyway. Next year’s election is far more important because if they managed to get what they want we’re ALL are fucked.

      • NintendoWii10

        I’ve actually read comments from the left saying that a President Romney or a President Bachmann would be no different from President Obama, I’m like are you fucking kidding me?

        It’s crazy how the left lives in denial and how they spend more time defending a Congressman who sexted his penis, while doing more to undermine President Obama than Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the TeaNuts on the far right.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Conner/100000495528525 John Conner

          Anybody that runs around claiming there is no difference between a second term for President Obama and a presidency of Mitt Romney or that air headed lunatic Michele Bachmann has no creditably to speak about politics ever again in their natural life.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Bill Maher is rarely right anymore on anything. Referring to the president as “Sanford and Son” is pretty racist in my view, and I don’t think that Maher comes by his opinion of Obama with out a filter that keeps reminding him that Obama is a black guy.

      • NintendoWii10

        Not to mention that Bill Maher believes that President Obama needs to be a gangsta like Suge Knight… he actually said that.

        • The_Dork_Knight

          I know, right?!? Its almost as if he exagerates for comedic effect.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      I’m not sure I follow what your specific gripe is here — whether it has to do with accomplishments or governing style. His left of center accomplishments are quite significant. Yet he’s not a shouter. Nothing in his biography indicated that he’s someone who picks fights.

      Throughout his entire academic and professional career, President Obama has been a pragmatist: what can be practically achieved given the real world circumstances.

      Beyond the president’s means of attaining his roster of accomplishments, I have yet to hear a whip count or path to achieving a public option or a second stimulus, etc, etc, etc, from anyone who’s “disappointed” in the president. How does he pass a public option, considering the votes of Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman? How does he pass a second stimulus, considering the House majority party? (By the way, I’m vocally in favor of a public option, single payer, a second stimulus, and so forth. I simply don’t see the votes.)

      The political climate is insufferable right now. Despite the climate, take another look at the president’s accomplishments. http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/ These achievements are remarkable. And if you line them up with what he promised during the campaign, his record is very strong, compared with other modern presidents. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/

      • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

        There’s a misuse, or maybe a non-use, of the “bully pulpit.” Public sentiment is a variable and the president– any president– has the means to influence it and therefore the direction of what’s possible.

        His strategy on so many issues has been to go directly to concessions on his end, which get further watered down and demonized as “far, radical left” when they began at a painful, right-leaning center position to begin with.

        Maddow just did a piece about how all of the various “progressive” stances were at one point GOP ideas, but the goalposts keep moving. Cap and Trade, Individual Mandate, etc. When you begin a negotiation with a compromised position and then get bartered down from there, that doesn’t make you a pragmatist.

        It makes you a poor negotiator.

        I’m also personally disappointed in the fact that capital H History is calling about an important civil rights issue, and the president is playing the absolute wrong card. The recent passage of gay marriage in NY and his unadmirable waffling in the middle of it has made me do something terrible that I swore I’d never do: Agree with Maureen Dowd.

        • The_Dork_Knight

          All fair points.

          • NintendoWii10

            Nope, not at all.

        • NintendoWii10

          LOL, you agree with that airhead Dowd, who is as much of a flip flopping tool as Romney?

          As for Maddow, she can’t get over Anthony Wiener, which is why she continues to demonize President Obama, and why she felt that Obama should have endorsed the legislation NY passed.

          You obviously don’t understand that politics is local, how would Obama endorsing the legislation helped? From what I read, it would have weakened the chances of the legislation passing because NYers don’t want Obama nosing around in local affairs.

          As for your bitching about watered down legislation, did you bitch when LBJ passed watered down Civil Rights Act, or FDR passed watered down Social Security? ALL major pieces of legislation are watered down to get much needed votes to pass, it’s been the way of business since Congress was established. But no, you and the rest of the loser left would rather have symbolic legislation that gets no where and dies in committee as opposed to getting watered down legislation that can be improved later on.

          Bully pulpit? How come the Democrats haven’t been using the bully pulpit themselves, why the fuck do they want President Obama to do it for them? Are they that fucking afraid of the Republicans that they need to hide behind Obama for everything?

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Josh is clueless. Dowd. Funny.

          • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

            I’m referring to her recent “Obama is Bi” article. You’ll note the caveat ” made me do something terrible that I swore I’d never do.”

            Or, you know, humorlessly ignore it. You guys are kids playing at “sides” and flame-wars.

          • The_Dork_Knight

            Its interesting. Over at the hated and loathed Firedog Lake you have a bunch of “firebaggers” screaming about Maddow being a sellout Obot. For as much as you look down on them, you are prone to the exact same irrationality that they are. Your attack on Maddow proves that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Conner/100000495528525 John Conner

    While Jane”rat fucker”Hamsher and Co. make up a small percentage of the Democratic base the real problem lies in the fact cable news tout these people out as if they speak for the entire Democratic base. And if someone who don’t follow politics watches that mess that could turn them off from voting for Obama and the Democrats.

  • trgahan

    There are days I feel that President Obama’s greatest sin is seeing himself as filling the role of a democratically elected head of the executive branch of a constitutional government. Far too many of us (both on the right and left) really just want nothing more than a king who is on our side.

    • MrDHalen

      Very impressive statement.

  • NintendoWii10

    The Nutrooots nation is just a bunch of disgruntled Kucinich and Nader trolls who are upset because President Obama isn’t a magician. They keep saying that he is the same/worse than Bush, yet they want Obama to act exactly like Bush.

    The only idea these group of clowns have is to demonize, demonize, demonize, even if it ends up helping Republicans. Heck, some of them have decided that putting a President Romney or a President Bachmann into office next year won’t be that bad, that it won’t be any different than having President Obama in office right now.

    I have to ask, what kind of drugs these clowns are on if they believe that President Romney and President Bachmann would be the same as President Obama. Romney and Bachmann have both pledged to reinstate DADT, give more and more tax breaks to the rich while raising taxes on the middle class, probably bomb some random country because they feel like it, the list goes on and on. Obama on the other hand, has done his best to turn the country around after eight long years of Bush/Cheney fuckups, and he’s done a stellar job.

    These liberal losers on the UNprofessional left are a sad and pathetic bunch, to waste their time attacking the President as opposed to taking on Boner and Cantor, especially Cantor. Cantor is more an enemy to progressive causes than Obama is, seeing as Cantor invested in funds that bet against US Treasury Bonds, but not one peep out of these liberal clowns against Cantor.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      My feelings as well. There are exceptions, such as Matt Osborne. But not enough exceptions (sane, rational, not anti-Obama) for me to want to be a part of that particular confab.

    • TalkieToaster2

      “The Nutrooots nation is just a bunch of disgruntled Kucinich and Nader trolls who are upset because President Obama isn’t a magician. ”

      Did you actually look at the poll numbers, from Netroots Nation, that Bob posted? The attendees were mostly the exact opposite of that, the idiot DKos poster’s BS notwithstanding.