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Chat > Nobel Peace Prize

One perhaps snarky comment first: It is not correct to complain that President Obama has broken his promises until he completes his time in office without fulfillment. Even if something concrete appears that confirms it, that could be reversed.

Also Willow's litany of complants can be found verbotent in any "progressive's:" writings inclined to discuss this (not all do). Just like the right-wingers do.

Why I am NOT disappointed in President Barack Obama

1. He is a very good politician. One of the main reasons why I voted for him. If he were not, we rightfully could call him naive. You can't get anything done in Washington if you don't understand how the game is played. He's not an arm-twister, but I suspect Rahm and Axelrod may be and they and others like de Parle and Sebelius have spent a lot of time up on the Hill. But this president exudes a quiet, effective power.

An example: the House climate bill. Narrow win. I can't come up with his name now, but one member in a district with a constituency opposing the bill was pressured into voting for it even after he had said he wouldn't. Obama spent some personal time on this.

Okay so he nebulously leaned a little left during the primary. McCain leaned a lot right. After clenching the nomination, you go towards the center so you can get enough votes to win. That's how the political game is played if you want to win. Now since he is the president of ALL the people, he has to govern from the center. Politics? Perhaps, but also reality. A purist progressive liberal candidate who campaigns strictly on a liberal agenda could never be elected president. Not in America. Reality, again. That's why the Republicans always try to paint any Democratic candidate as a flaming liberal to try to dislodge the support of independents and hold his own base. Nor would he ever be able to get his agenda passed in this present day Congress. Definitely reality.

2. I did not "fall in love" with him. I had no pet issues that I looked to him to enact. I was looking for someone who had a shot at changing things in Washington. No guarantees, just a chance. Over time as I carefully listened to him, read his books and watched his fascinating campaign events unfold "after" he nominally gained the nomination (before the convention) during which I clearly saw what he wanted to do and got a pretty good idea of how he would go about it, I came to love him very dearly, with a love that endures through setbacks and difficulties because I understand and can see the bigger picture.

Those complaining now are ones who projected their own ideas onto him and are now disappointed because he is not now, nor has he EVER been what they thought he was. They were blinded by themselves. He did not pull a bait and switch. And I like him better the way he really is because that person is more likely to enact the changes we really need, the things he is now struggling to put in place like health care reform, climate change accountability, finance regulation and so on. He could use some support.

3. I understand the processes involved to get a bill passed. Christina gives us some very valuable insights on this concerning the health care bill so I won't elaborate. It's a long and complicated process. Have you watched the committe mark-ups? During the Senate finance markup, I came to loathe Sen. Kyle and Sen. Ensign, both their attitudes and their jillions of amendments.

On regulation, President Obama has held numerous events on this, held numerous meetings with Congressional people and outside groups and individuals on this. I've seen a number of Congressional hearings. Do you know, Willow, that Barney Frank's House finance committee has held mark-up meetings on this all last week? It's more tedious because there are so many more people on the House committees.

4. I do not take his slowness as a detriment. If you followed his campaign, you would know this is how he works. A problem comes up and everyone has an idea as to what he should do. He would hold back and then later, when he was ready, he would come up with an outstanding solution. It's harder to come up with outstanding solutions now because the problems are so difficult and complicated. Because he follows steps that Sec. Gates laid out in an interview, I believe he will make the best possible decisions. Unfortunately, many of the problems he has to solve have no simple, easy and sometimes even good solutions like Afghanistan.

Sec. Gates when asked about President Obama on Sept. 27 on CNN

He's very analytical.
He's very deliberate about the way he goes through things.
He wants to understand everything.
He delves very deeply into these issues.

That's what's been happening during those 3-hour war pow wows (5 so far, at least one more to go). This is how President Obama approaches everything. That's why Michelle was so sure he would make a great president.
Sec. Gates also added when asked to compare presidents, declined but said, "I very much enjoy working for this one.":

Barb G--Your experience with your students on the NPP sound frustrating. Good luck.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 4:49 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson


I have a headache so my comment will be short and to the point on 'one issue' from your latest long post that you are wrong about.

You said: "The one who said that he actually preferred a single payer system? Why did he give up on the [b]single payer[/b] system even before negotiations began? He should have held on to it as a valuable bargaining chip. Instead, the very public option we desperately need became the bargaining chip, and we may loose it. How did this incredibly clear, smart guy, come to this?"

During the campaign the then 'Senator' Obama said on SEVERAL occasions at town hall meeting that 'he would prefer single payer IF we did not already have a system in place' and that 'single payer was NOT an option in hc reform now'.

So, your comment that Obama gave up on single payer before the negotiations is VERY misleading. There is only ONE time that Obama did say he was in favor of single payer and that was like OVER FOUR YEARS ago, but like I stated above Obama has repeatedly said MANY TIMES in the past 2-3 years that single-payer would NOT be an option in the HC reform debate/bill.

Please stick to the facts and not post misleading 'opinion' here that might confuse people that don't know any better :)

And President Obama is playing chess on the issue of HC reform, not checkers like the 'right' is doing.

October 21st the HOUSE will vote to Repeal the Insurers' Anti-Trust Exemption

On Thursday, Pelosi noted to reporters that the Judiciary Committee had held a hearing on repealing the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts the insurance industry from antitrust laws.

Conyers announced Friday he'd take it to the next level and hold a vote on October 21.


Also Willow, If you think that President Obama is doing such a bad job at everything, then perhaps YOU should run for president since you apparently think you know better than he does, otherwise why don't you just sit back and watch our president do his job with his own time-line strategy - he knows what he is doing and when the right time to strike is!

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 5:06 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

Thank you so much for the sweet welcome, BarbG!

Some of the handwringing that is coming disappointed progressives reminds me of some of the ups and downs of the presidential campaign. It wasn't that long ago. How many of us can remember some situation that seemed like it was going to be a knockout blow to Obama, and somehow he rose above it?

Some of that, unfortunately, seems to have made his progressive supporters think that he has some kind of mystical power to make other lawmakers bend to his will. To the contrary. I think that some of it was just luck. But "luck" often shows up for people who are smart and prepared. I thought that the whole Jeremiah Wright situation was going to be the end of Obama during the campaign season. Instead, he took that extremely difficult situation and gave a speech to the American people that was a show-stopper.

Health care reform looked like it was on the ropes over the summer. My Mom, a super-liberal, wanted Obama to start kicking ass and taking names. He didn't, which frustrated her. But his speech to Congress produced a measurable increase in the number of people who believe that health care reform is a worthy cause.

As heartbroken (??) as one might be over him getting a Nobel Peace Prize (and how strange it seems to even be upset about such a thing. Was it too early? Yes. Is it something to be *sad* about? That makes no sense to me.) it is quite possible that he may use the NPP "problem" to create a great positive. Just like with the race speech, just like with the speech to Congress.

It's not that I think that he is magic, but I do think he is damn smart and works hard. I absolutely wish he would work harder in some other things that I consider important, but I also have to keep in mind that there's no person who could be elected today by espousing all the priorities that I believe in. And as clearly imperfect as Obama is, McCain would be doing far less to address those priorities.

And, just to circle back to health care reform for a moment: everyone should listen to this week's and last week's radio programs of This American Life. You can get the podcasts online. TAL tackled this issue in a funny, chatty way that nevertheless was so informative and easy to understand. I really have a better idea now of just how completely screwed up everything is rght now, and why it needs fixing. Personally, I don't think this bill will include everything that should be in it. But I'm also okay with incrementalism with something this complicated and far-reaching. That's just me, though.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 5:20 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

Very good Leah D. Especially your last line that includes "he knows what he is doing" exactly how I have felt all along.

I didn't want to go into individual complaints--what a chore! But there are many outdated, inaccurate statements made by Willow. Glad to see others willing to take some on.

Right-wingers forget to update also. Saw one guy the other day complaining about the every weekend trips the president and his family are taking to Chicago. Willing to bet for that guy knowing what is really happening?

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

I concur with Barbg that it is good to see you on this board, Christina. When you posted on Runway I was glad to see that you hadn't gone away. And thanks for adding a an unfamiliar phrase to my lexicon - concern troll.

All the comments that you all made today are salient and also speak to the fact that we have had a new sitting President for a very short time, and in that time he has delivered. It's not enough that Pres. Obama has had to put forth his agenda; he also has to spend time UNDOING Bush and Cheney's agenda.

And Barb, any little bit of subversiveness you bring to that classroom is a good thing. If you pull a debate unit together like that, at least the OTHER side has to think about coming up with arguments that are supported by facts and specifics. At least you put the conversation out there.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

Politifact's OBAMETER that tracks Obama's campaign promises has been updated:

47 Promises Kept
12 Compromise
123 Promises In the Works

On the right side of the page: http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

The Promise Broken, Stalled, and No Action Taken categories change/update from time to time as Obama works on those issues - so you have to take those three categories with a grain of salt. Many of the Promise Broken ratings were given within the first couple of months after Obama took office and I think Politifact.com jumped the gun on those -- he's only been in office for 9 months, so there is still time for those promises to still be kept :)


It's always good to keep up with things that Obama HAS done that sometimes don't get much airtime on the news.

Oh, and here's link to a VERY LONG LIST of what President Obama has done in the first 8 months (much of the list includes things 'other' than campaign promises)


Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 6:12 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

Chicagoan - I don't think the juxtaposition of words like "idiot" and "Sarah Palin" needs any apologising for. It's quite a kind description - makes it seem like it possibly isn't her fault somehow.

Christina - concern trolling??!! That's brilliant. (Nice to see you, by golly.) I believe you're right about McCain. I think he'd have spent eight months working out which side of his "Presidential Frown of Concern" looked best on camera.

BarbG - I laughed in that kind of fear/horror that falls out of grief stricken people at funerals. I can't believe your class came up with that topic, it's too funny. You'll be able to dine out on it in years to come, even if you don't want to think about it at the moment. Funnily enough I hear some of the "you're not going to talk about HIM" comments too. It's interesting, it's like people buy the cheapest paper in the shop, come home, read an article that is four seconds long and think they know who the President is and what he's doing.

Leah D - "he knows what he is doing" YES! I do wonder, when I'm reading the handwringing and whining, whether people actually take into account that President Obama didn't leave his job at a downtown bakery at 6pm one day in January and was catapulted into the corridors of government the next morning, without a jot of experience. He has, I believe, more legislative experience than Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

I LOVE the list of things that Obama has done in eight months. It makes my heart SING.

Sharon Nelsons sentences number 4 and 5 in her post of 5.26 are also spot on. As per usual.

Monday, October 19, 2009 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

Sharon wrote:

"Though the left and right extremes have different objectives, they are equally vicious in attacking our president. The right want to bring him down. The left want to prove their ideas are superior to his. The bright side is that with the liberals so upset with President Obama, it helps to dampen the right's attempt to label him as a flaming liberal like they usually do with most Democrats."

I disagree with your statement, Sharon. Liberals want to hold President Obama to what he promised he would do during the campaign. There is nothing, -- nothing -- that we are pressing him for which he did not support unequivocally during the campaign.

Please don't assume I'm like all the progressive people you read on the blogs. Although I describe myself as a progressive, I'm not the type who criticizes the President to bring him down, or says I will not vote for him again. I'm doing what every citizen should be doing -- letting the president and every elected representative know what we want for the people of this country. It is common knowledge that a President has great power to get what he wants from congress and the senate. All he needs to do is speak out forcefully and do some arm twisting. Johnson got civil rights and the great society because he knew how to use the power of his office. Hell, George Bush got what he wanted because he knew how to use the power of his office. Obama came into office with incredible popularity and political capitol, and majorities in both houses. Many of us see him as failing to use what is at his disposal to get everything he can for the American people.


Bless your heart for understanding where I'm coming from. You calm reason is always a breath of fresh air.

I'm so happy to hear that you, too, are disappointed in Obama. Many of us are. That doesn't mean we're trying to undermine him, or that we won't vote for him again.

I must say, that if a robust public option is finally granted to the millions of people dying because they don't have health insurance, the credit will go to Nancy Pelosi and others.

Christina, excuse my exuberance, but I want to kiss you for this: Regarding the NPP: "Was it too early? Yes." Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That's my only point. By the way, on that issue, I felt validated by this poll

I don't mean to slobber all over you, Christina, but I also want to kiss you for this: "I absolutely wish he would work harder in some other things that I consider important, but I also have to keep in mind that there's no person who could be elected today by espousing all the priorities that I believe in. And as clearly imperfect as Obama is, McCain would be doing far less to address those priorities." My sentiments exactly. However, he did get elected having made promises that seem within his grasp to keep.

Again, Christina, I agree with you here -- mostly: "Personally, I don't think this bill will include everything that should be in it. But I'm also okay with incrementalism with something this complicated and far-reaching." I understand incrementalism, but I think that on an issue like health care, where our current criminal system is killing over 40 thousand people per year, the President should be using the tools at his disposal to get as big a first step as possible, because this opportunity -- with the presidency and both houses in the Democrats column -- may not occur again for a long, long, time. My point is that we need to get as much as we can now.

Leah D, I appreciated your pointing me to the list of things Obama has done. I'll make that a stop on my daily rounds.

I'm sorry if some of the things I've written here have not been factual. It is not my intention to be dishonest. It merely reflects that my information is less complete than some of yours. As you all know, my energy is far more limited than that of people who enjoy good health. I don't seem to be lacking in passion, though.

I think it would be helpful to keep in mind that the liberal and progressive blogs that I read do not tear down the president. They try to apply the pressure and backing needed to give him the cover to move more toward the liberal end of helping people. Jane Hampshire at Firedoglake has done an incredible job of getting pledges from representatives to vote for the public option. DailyKos posts polls constantly to show senators and congressmen that there is majority support for the public option.

I think that Michael Moore has a pretty good list of "15 things every American can do Right now" to push the agenda forward

Anyway, I'm so glad to find more reason here now than there was with the foolish declaration that Willow is a Republican! Stunned silence can be the only response to such uninformed nonsense.

Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 5:08 PM | Registered CommenterWillow


Here is a link to results found within a reputable pollster's latest poll. They found that 14% of the people who did not vote for Barack Obama now approve of what he is doing. However, only 6% of those who voted for him now disapprove. Odd how the media is trying to make out that he is losing support when he has actually gained.

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire picked up this story. In the comments I read: "You need to tell that to the people at DailyKos and Firedoglake. They've convinced themselves that the whole progressive liberal community has deserted him in mass." Apparently it sounds louder and like there are more when in an echo chamber.


It is quite telling when only one person mistook you for a right-winger and that person is one out of the country who undoubtedly is better able to see the whole forest and not just the trees.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 9:53 AM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson