Nip and Tuck — No Biggie

If this is true it should be front page news. We have a right to know what is getting bargained away:

Ezra F*ckin Klein:

There will be a variety of nips and tucks to Medicare, including more cost-sharing and decreases in provider payments, and the headline Democratic concession is likely to be that the Medicare eligibility age rises from 65 to 67.

That’s not a policy I like much, but New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait accurately conveys the White House thinking here: They see it as having “weirdly disproportionate symbolic power,” as it’s not a huge (or smart) cut to Medicare benefits, and most of the pain will be blunted by the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans and self-styled deficit hawks see it as a big win. And Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who staunchlyopposes raising the retirement age, has stopped well short of ruling it out.

Question of the Day: What would Obama have to do to get your vote?

Busy day today.  I’ll be back in time for the debate tonight.  In the meantime, what would Obama have to do to get your vote?

I’m not sure he could actually pull this off for me but here are the things he would have to do immediately to get my vote:

1.) Fire Tim Geithner.  He has to do this before the election.  He has to appoint a Secretary of the Treasury who does not work for Wall Street.  This is my biggest demand.  Geithner and all of Obama’s Wall Street favorite advisors have got to go.  They have caused untold and unnecessary suffering for millions of struggling American workers and homeowners.

2.) Promise that he will under no circumstances sign any bill that reduces benefits or raises the retirement age for future Social Security beneficiaries.  He must promise not to negotiate on a Grand Bargain. (Please, Gawd, don’t let him anywhere near a negotiation table.) See the Campaign for America’s Future Website on the Lame Duck Whip Count on this issue.  Downticket Dems need to commit right this very second.  My two senators have but I have yet to hear from my Republican representative, Leonard Lance, one of the most committed hard ass Republican partisans. Obama must promise to explore cost controls for Medicare that do not fall on the recipients.  It’s time for providers to start making sacrifices since the inability to rein them in is what is going to drain us.

3.) He has to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan now.  We’ve given him plenty of time to pull out.  No more stalling, no more grandstanding.  Get out now.

4.) He has to rescind the Bush Conscience Rule immediately and without any further wordsmithing.

5.) He has to stop using the drones.  He has to empty Guantanemo expeditiously.  He has to stop siccing his DHS droogs on peaceful protestors.

6.) He has to promise to work for Rush Holt’s HR811 bill for voter verified paper ballots.  Casting votes on e-voting machines is “faith based voting” according to Holt because the machines are so easily hacked.  Obama has to get onboard right this very minute.

I’d like to remind the Democrats that all of the donors in the country can’t win this election for you.  You’ve got to get actual, genuine voter bodies to the polls and make them push buttons, punch chads and fill the circle completely within the lines to win.  There are some voters who will vote for you no matter what, some who are so gullible they’ll believe anything you tell them and US.  I suspect you’re going to need US this year.

What are your demands?  Take the poll below.  Choose up to 3 responses or add your own demand.

Chrystia Freeland and Matt Taibbi say that Obama is one of the 1%

We’ve been trying to tell the world that since 2008.  “He is one of them.” (about minute mark 40:50)

Check out this interview Freeland and Taibbi do with Bill Moyers.  It’s unsettling.  Freeland points out that progressives have to get the band back together and do something.  The problem is that Obama was the guy who broke us up in the first place and during the last year, progressives did NOTHING to scare him.

The NYTimes editorial fearmongering women for Obama

Maureen Dowd, one of only two females out of 12 op/ed columnists at the NYTimes

I guess the ladies will have to rescue Obama after all.  Today’s NYTimes editorial is all about those meanie Republicans who want to reinstate the Mexico City Rule and take away all our reproductive rights.

First, it should be noted that if you don’t want to lose your reproductive rights, don’t vote for downticket Republicans.  Oh, sure, there are pain in the ass anti-choice Democrats who should NEVER get another term but there are far, far more Republicans who are adamantly anti-choice.  And anti-labor.  And anti-consumer protections. And pro-neo-feudalism. And pro-war and authoritarianism.  And anti-Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  By the way, did you know that Medicare only got passed in the 60s when the number of Republicans in Congress was decreased to such an extent that they didn’t have the critical mass to obstruct it?  Yep, you can look it up.  Here’s a BBC-4 Witness segment on the birth of medicare and what it took to get it passed.

In short, just about everything Americans like had to be passed when Republicans were down for the count.  Otherwise, their method is obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.  It’s what they do.  So, if you vote for a downticket Republican or a Tea Party Republican, that’s what you’re going to get.  They’re into austerity and redistributing wealth -upwards.

Does that mean you should vote always for the Democrat?  Well, until there are more third party downticket candidates, yeah, probably.  I don’t like it either.  But for sure, voting for a downticket Republican is going to mean more austerity for YOU and not for their rich friends.  You can choose to ignore the evidence and history if you want but them’s the facts.

Second, who is in the White House makes absolutely no difference this year.  I know Democrats say that it does but there’s no evidence of that.  We’ve had 4 years of Obama and he unmasked himself during the first debate.  He doesn’t fight for Americans.  He capitulates to Republicans.  He doesn’t exercise his veto pen enough and he was quite happy to leave the Bush Conscience Rule on the books.  Oh, sure, he tweaked it but he didn’t remove it.  And in my opinion, removing it is significant.  As long as the Bush Conscience Rule is around, women will never be sure that their reproductive decisions can’t be overridden by someone else.

Now, I understand why the NYTimes would be carrying Obama’s water.  It’s not that the Times is particularly liberal.  But the paper of record does tend to put a socially forward face on it’s wealth protection policies.  It doesn’t like to think of itself as backwards like the Republican bible-thumpers and who could blame it?  It’s gauche and stupid and deliberately ignorant to be a Republican supporter these days.  Sorry, Republicans, but that’s the truth.  Of course, none of that matters if you win, right?  Then you can shove your ignorance on everyone else and make them eat it and that will make you feel better.  But it means that you WILL impose austerity on everyone, including yourselves, if you vote for downticket Republicans.

But at the top of the ticket?  Makes not a damn bit of difference.  And the reason it particularly makes no difference to women is because no one has to take women seriously.  They can scream about reproductive rights until their blue in the face.  Without someone taking you seriously, you get nowhere. And in the past four years, no one has been taking women seriously.  And a lot of the blame for that can be attributed to the Democratic leadership.  They allowed a pattern of sexism to develop since 2008 that has been unprecedented.

Let’s just put aside the 2008 primaries where Obama routinely attempted to diminish his opponent by saying things like,” periodically when she’s feeling blue“* Hillary goes negative, it was Obama’s intention when he took office to make sure the jobs programs were tailored for men because he was concerned that they would feel bad if they were encouraged to go into pink professions like nursing (It’s in Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men).  And he also made the White House a “hostile working environment for women” (Anita Dunn said this in Suskind’s book)  He also ignored the advice of Christine Romer, Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren, each one of whom had to go through Tim Geithner to get anything done.  Tim Geithner, if I recall correctly, was one of the guys who piled on Brooksley Born, the head of the CFTC back at the end of the Clinton years who wanted to regulate derivatives.

Obama was the guy who hired Larry Summers who once famously said that women didn’t have the same intellectual capacity in math and science as men. (guys, don’t try to sugar coat this.  I’ve read the transcript and he sure as hell said that and meant exactly what he said.)

The whole atmosphere in the past four years has changed towards women.  Tell me, ladies, am I just imagining that?  Are men more likely to act like you don’t have a brain, treat you dismissively and cut you off in conversations?  I’m talking about just conversations on the phone not in person where they can’t see whether you are too old to pay attention to.  It’s gotten to the point where I’m already prepared to battle when I place a phone call.  I’ve seen it happen to women at work and just casually.  We have lost whatever mojo we fought so hard to get over the past 50 years.  No wonder the Republicans think they can run over our reproductive rights.  We don’t count anymore and there are very few champions in the Democratic party who are powerful or interested enough to stick up for us.  It would be nice if we had more women running for Congress this year as Democrats but even that is hard to find.  The Democratic leadership in Maine decided it would put their money behind a guy who wasn’t even in their party rather than run a woman from their side for the Senate seat that Olympia Snowe is vacating.

We can’t even get above 17% representation in Congress, which is one of the lowest female government representations in the developed world.  It shouldn’t be any wonder why nothing that is important to us gets passed.  We can’t get economic reforms we like, the jobs programs we like, the wars we hate to stop or protection of our social insurance programs.  No one takes anything we want seriously because we don’t have the critical mass in Congress to change anything.

We have fewer women in government than Pakistan

Voting for Obama isn’t going to change that.  In fact, the only thing that will change that is running more women for office and in order to do that, we need to get more authority. And in order to do that we need to have a greater voice in the opinion pages of the countries papers and online news sources.

And if that’s going to happen, maybe it should start with the New York Times, which has a male to female ratio of op/ed writers of 10:2.  That means that men are 5 times more likely to have their concerns represented on the New York Times editorial page every week than women.  And one of those women is Maureen Dowd whose schtick has been to pile on the women that the guys hate.  That seems to be a survival strategy. (And how did that work out, Maureen?)  I can’t think of one unambiguously feminist voice on the pages of the Washington Post or New York Times on a regular basis nor do I see any parity at all when it comes to representation.

So, if the New York Times feels so strongly about the fate of women’s reproductive rights, now would be a good time to add more women to its editorial lineup.  May I suggest dumping Douthat or Brooks?  Or both?  Then, hire someone like Digby. I’m a little tired of the Ezra Kleins, Kevin Drums and Matt Yglesias types getting all the peach positions.  It’s time for the New York Times to practice what it preaches and hire some women.

Otherwise, I can’t take it seriously.

*You know the level of sexism is bad when Andrea Mitchell notices.

Let’s examine Obama’s remarks on women’s issues on Tuesday, shall we?

Thanks for coming out tonight, ladies

I see that there are number of bloggers who are falling all over themselves trying to make it sound like Obama’s comments on women were somehow better than Romney’s “binders full of women” memorable moment.  Disclaimer: I don’t like Romney, not planning to vote for him, think Republicans in general are full of s^&* and think that if you vote for a Republican instead of a third party candidate because you are still pissed about 2008, you need to have your head examined.  If you’re still angry and disappointed with the Democrats for giving us a non-Democrat for president, vote third party. It’s the only way to get through to the assholes.  You’re doomed no matter whether you vote for Obama or Romney in 2012, let’s just be honest about that.  Ok, disclaimer out of the way…

I knew it was coming.  The minute the question came about how the candidates intended to rectify inequalities in the workplace for women, I could picture the robotic elf in Obama’s brain reaching for Lilly Ledbetter. That automaton was planted there by Plouffe or Axelrod as the thing that THEY think is the surefire solution to placating the ladies, like we can’t trust our lying eyes when we look at our (non-existent) paychecks. Yeah, mansplain Lilly Ledbetter to them again.  Once again, we heard about how it was the *first* thing he signed when he was in office.  He made it sound like he fought for it, gave passionate speeches in support of it, twisted Joe Lieberman’s arm, threatened, cajoled, pled, begged the recalcitrant House Democrats to vote for it for the sake of his old, uncomplaining granny.

But no, that is not what happened was it?  The truth is that Lilly Ledbetter fell into his lap.  It was the first thing he signed because it was almost the first thing on his desk after he took the oath of office.  And THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is where Obama stopped doing anything for women.  Signing Lilly Ledbetter, that law that allows women to pursue a claim of pay discrimination without time limits was the first and last thing he did to correct inequity in the workplace.

Lilly Ledbetter was a consequence free vote for legislators.  You may have the right to still file a lawsuit but to do it means you need to ask human resources for the salary information and what woman in her right mind is going to do that?  Did Lilly Ledbetter make it mandatory for companies to post that information for everyone to see without identifying themselevs by asking and risking retribution or poor performance evaluations?  So, Lilly Ledbetter does not put the law on womens’ side after all.  It’s very limited and you’d have to be nuts to risk your job to put it to use.  Employers have nothing to fear.  Just ask the thousands of Walmart female employees who have been protesting gender inequality for years and lost another case as recently as yesterday. There was another more important bill on paycheck fairness that never passed and as far as I know, Obama’s attitude was “meh”.  The bill failed to pass the Senate this past June.  Please note that the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate and even though they no longer have a filibuster proof majority like they did in 2009-2010 when passing the Paycheck Fairness act would have been easier, they still have enough votes to make obstructing it very painful for the Republicans.  The Democrats didn’t do it and I can’t remember Obama marching down to Capital Hill to make life difficult for anyone who didn’t get onboard.  Wake me when Obama puts as much energy into that as preserving a banker’s bonus.  By golly, if Congress threatened to take away a bonus, you can bet your ass Geithner and the bank lobby would snuff that initiative out toot sweet but fairness for more than half the country’s population?  Nope.  Not a problem.  If he isn’t screaming bloody murder about the Paycheck Fairness act before the election, then I think we can just forget about Obama having any intention of addressing gender inequalities.

Integrity means putting your actions at the service of your words.  Obama didn’t.

What Obama did say during Tuesday night’s debate was the same STUPID personal story about how his granny was stiffed by her own employer and didn’t complain.  This seems to be a bit of a pattern with the Obamas.  If you ask for justice and fairness, you’re a whiner.  Michelle told us about how teachers worked for free in bankrupt school districts.  They didn’t complain about not having the means to feed their own kids, they just did their patriotic duty.  Isn’t that special?  It reminded me of the patriotic sacrifice of thousands of banking vice presidents, analysts and associates who, at Obama’s request, gave up their bonuses to save the taxpayers money and as an apology for wrecking the economy.  Oh, wait, that didn’t happen. But women will be expected to sacrifice without complaint in the workplace because I didn’t hear Obama once say that he intended to do anything about the persistent problem of gender inequality.  He said nothing about the Paycheck Fairness bill, he didn’t say anything about the EEOC fanning out to workplaces where there have been complaints filed in order to conduct statistical studies and presenting the employers with a compliance order or a fine in order to get their asses straightened out.  He didn’t have a policy at all like the one we might have heard from a female candidate from his own party.

It was a pathetic answer.  It was a non-answer.  It. Did. Not. Work. For. Me.  And I doubt that many professional women were satisfied with it even if a lot of clueless male bloggers were.  Neither candidate intended to use the law to make sure that women were paid as well as men for the same job.  There was no suggestion that parental leave would be adjusted so that neither parent would be penalized for taking it.  There was no concern over how many fewer women have jobs during this little Depression compared to men.  It’s like they were completely unaware of these problems.

Then there is the accusation from many women in the Obama administration that the White House was a “hostile work environment” for women staffers and appointees.  The man is a hypocrite if ever there was one when it comes to women and the workplace and as far as I can tell, he has no intention of using his power to enforce existing laws or push for new ones.  Indeed, if he is elected, what incentive will there be for him to do anything for women at all?

This election is about giving voters a choice and choices have to do with deciding who is better.  There are many reasons why we should reject Romney, the most significant one being that he is a Republican and Republicans have a recent history of being reactionary assholes when it comes to women.  Ironically, Democrats *also* have a recent history of being reactionary assholes when it comes to women, Lilly Ledbetter notwithstanding.  And by the way, how long did it take for Obama to rescind the Bush Conscience Rule?  Trick question! As far as I know, it’s still on the books.  It has simply been amended. (I take that back.  He finally got around to rescinding it last year.  No, I was right the first time.  It was only “revised”, not rescinded.  Jeez, you would have thought that rescinding it would have been the first thing he did for women after taking office since it didn’t require a Congressional vote.  You would think it would be a no-brainer for him but you would be wrong.)

In this election, I have no reason to vote for either candidate and Obama didn’t give me one on Tuesday night to vote for him.  Obama has not differentiated himself on women’s issues compared to Romney and it is too late to cram.  All nighters will not help him now, well, at least not with me or many other women who got the shaft since 2008.  So, don’t try so hard, left blogosphere.  What do women have to gain from you cheering for Obama? You and I know that Obama offers nothing to women in terms of advocacy or enforcement.  Why not just tell the truth?  Your guy is pathetic on just about everything that’s important to you but you’re scared shitless of what will happen if the Republicans eek out victories in Congress and the White House. But you have been unable or unwilling to make him do anything for you.  He and his backers think they have beaten you and you’re still carrying water for him.  Doesn’t that imply that you’re working for your enemies?

Oh, and one final thing.  Obama made a last desperate attempt to redeem himself with his constituency on the Libya disaster by taking responsibility, praising Hillary and then turning around in the next sentence and saying, “She works for me”.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  There was the old cock on the walk, stomping all over Hillary, making her look like a weak subordinate woman who not only didn’t have the right to claim responsibility but who he did a great favor by offering her the consolation prize of Secretary of State.  As far as womens’ issues are concerned, he is a dispassionate, unconcerned lightweight compared to her and it is painfully obvious to everyone by now, Naomi Wolf included, that he is not Christmas and New Years and Hannukah or a cape-crusading super feminist.  All that machismo posturing is not a winning formula to me.  But it’s still important to him make sure everyone knows that he beat that bitch. That move right there said all I needed to know about which gender he was reaching out, or reaching around, to keep at that moment and during this election season.

It wasn’t the ladies.

Charles Pierce’s instant emetic

Jaysus, I hope this shit is parody.  You just need to go read The Cynic and President Obama but get your barf bag.  Here’s an excerpt:

Now, four years on, the cynic wonders if the president yet has learned what he needed to learn. He has been subject to unprecedented political obstructionism and to a campaign of personal slander unseen in this country since the days when Thomas Jefferson was hiring James Callender to do his dirty work for him back in 1800. Some of the deepest muck from the river basin was churned up to the surface. And there was an audience for it. Rank insanity drove television ratings and made stars out of weeping hucksters. In 2010, the American people — whose essential unity and wisdom he so warmly praised in the speech that made him a star in 2004 — returned a singularly reactionary Congress full of utterly ridiculous men and women. They dedicated themselves to his political destruction, and they proved themselves willing to wreck the country and its economy, and to cause untold pain to millions of Americans into the bargain, in order to achieve it.

Oh, puleeeeze, cry me a fricking river!  Is this some kind of joke?  Obama has had it easy.  Has anyone called his wife a bloodthirsty lesbian who killed Vince Foster?  Has he been subpoenaed by Congress to present his birth certificate and explain his whereabouts on the day of his birth?  Has ANYONE pursued his connections with corrupt real estate slum lords in Chicago??  Has he had any special prosecutors dogging his steps day after day, calling up his staff, burdening his secretaries with monumental legal bills?  Has he had the Supreme Court tell him to suck it up? Well, has he??

No, all he had was an opportunity to turn around eight years of Republican solid waste and use the financial meltdown to institute major reforms using the filibuster proof Congressional majority that we gave him for two whole years.

Let’s be frank here: after the 2008 financial meltdown, most people would have voted for a mixed asian-african american, Muslim, lesbian hermaphrodite if he/she had a “D” after her/his name.  And that’s because the American people wanted that person to aggressively fight back against the forces that were destroying their lives.

And when he listened to his Wall Street advisors instead, resulting in more layoffs and more foreclosures, they panicked and swung back the other way.  What Obama failed to understand is the severity of the crisis on average Americans, a lot of them, some who had never been laid off before.  I’m surprised that the country has remained as calm as it has.  That calm may not last too much longer.

I think it’s time the Democratic apologists step away from the poppers and stop blaming the victims.  Obama wanted this job, he committed political homicide on his opposition to get it, he knew what was coming and he failed- miserably.  Not only did he fail to help, he even made it worse in some cases.  Charles Pierce needs to read Neil Barofsky’s book or Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men or Sheila Bair’s new Bull by the Horns.  The truth will curl your hair.

It’s not always about race and I’m sick of a certain stratum of progressives pulling that old sledge hammer out to whack us over the head.  It is and always will be about the economy, stupid.  That’s what Obama has failed to understand.  For such a supposedly intelligent guy, you’d think he would have gotten that by now.

HE needs to take responsibility, not the voters.

{{cringe}} Jon Stewart tells Obama to “Wake the F^&* Up”

First, Mitt kicks his ass.  And then last night, Jon Stewart kicked his ass.  Stewart was unsparing in his criticism. You need to go watch it.  Here’s the link.

Plus: Bill Clinton is officially backing Warren in Massachusetts.  Clinton’s probably got a lot on his plate this fall.  Busy, busy, busy.

Some possible explanations for Obama’s poor performance

While we’re waiting for the party apparatchik at Digby’s place to recover from his post debate depression, can we give a plausible explanation for what went wrong?

Paul Krugman’s take on it was that Barack Obama has reverted to The Capillary Man he was in the aftermath of the convention in 2008:

People tend to forget how close the 2008 presidential race looked as late as August, and the immense frustration many Democrats felt with Barack Obama at the time. He seemed weirdly unwilling to drive home his case against Bush/McCain economic policies; his instinct, as people said, was apparently to go for the capillaries.

At one point, Jeff Jarvis tweeted:

I dare anyone to parse Obama’s statement on preexisting conditions. Didn’t he used to be articuilate? #debate

Ah, yes, another urban legend, Obama’s famed rhetorical skills, dies an ignoble death.  I have always noticed that without a teleprompter, or over-rehearsal, that Obama’s speaking style consists of sentences with multiple, labyrinthine prepositional phrases that lead listeners down blind alleys until they are lost.  Whether he does this intentionally to baffle us with bullshit or whether it comes naturally is debatable.  You shouldn’t have to do this if you are familiar with and committed to the concepts you are talking about.

By the way, I’m surprised Jeff got away with that tweet.  In 2008, he would have been branded a racist and driven out of polite society.  He would have spent the rest of his career in a house in the country, holed up with a couple of servants and never called on by the local gentry.  This year, he might just have a point.

The Guardian’s review of Obama’s performance looks like it was written by Frank Rich when he was still considered the Butcher of Broadway:

Barack Obama on the other hand appeared nervous, distracted and unprepared. After four years in the Oval Office, he’d lost his voice. Gone was the charisma, the optimism and the eloquence. Defensive, halting and verbose – he looked tired and that made his presidency look tired. Both campaigns set low expectations, but only Obama met them. If you were watching without knowing who was the president, you wouldn’t have guessed it was him.

Did The Guardian see the transfer of remains ceremony after the Libya disaster where he fell back on his 2008 habit of repeating everything Hillary had already said and relying on his penis years to appear more presidential?  I think she out dignified him anyway but she also seems to have retained her passion for what she believes in.  See for yourself.  Here’s the video link.  Her speech starts at minute mark 7:14 and she looks pretty grave at first but has a very strong, uplifting ending.  Obama’s speech follows hers and it seems like he’s copying from her paper again but his remarks don’t come from the heart the way hers do.  Your mileage may vary, of course, but it took me right back to the 2008 debates where she kicked his ass and the moderators always let him have the last word.

So, why did he blow it last night?  Here are some possible explanations:

1.) The dog ate his homework.  He didn’t take debate prep seriously, went to the debate prep session but spent most of the half hour shooting the breeze with his coach, forgot to take his book home, blah, blah, blah…

2.) He was tired from being all presidential throughout the day.  This is possible.  But we’ve seen Obama fresh as a daisy during other presidential appearances after long days and he wasn’t just tired last night, he was off.  As I commented during the debate while watching his body language, he looked dweebish.  His facial expressions and the smallness of his gestures reminded me of Michael Dukakis.  Capillary Man indeed.

3.)  He’s playing 11 dimensional chess!  We should expect to hear a variation of this theme from thereisnospoon after he takes his medication.  It was all a setup so he could look like the underdog coming from behind in the last couple of weeks.  Rejoice, comrades, for the glorious triumph of our leader is near!  And Romney lied!  It’s all fact checked!  See?!?

Give it up, guys, debates are visual experiences, Blink! moments.  You can follow them up with facts but it’s too late to stop the first impression from forming.  Hey! Why don’t you get on the White House’s case and tell Obama to actually start talking like a true Democrat or you were going to desert him, like you should have been doing for the past couple of years??  No?  Ok, well don’t waste your time trying to convince US to accept subpar performance.  We’ve got standards.

Ahhh, I see that Mr. Atkins has already posted an excuse.  It seems that everyone who thought Obama tanked last night was a white southerner over 50.  It’s not Obama’s fault at all.  It’s the voters’ fault for being rural, ignorant bigots!  Sooooo, that would make Jeff Jarvis, Paul Krugman and the Guardian redneck racists. It’s reassuring to know that the campaign *is* going to fall back on accusations of racism after all. The Obama campaign pulls out that sledge hammer when all else fails, just like in 2008.  Well, my equilibrium is restored.

4.) He’s worried.  He’s looking at the poll numbers and they seem to be obstinately sticky.  He can’t seem to take a commanding lead over Mitt despite Romney’s own fuckups and a steady stream of negative characterizations from the Obama campaign.  He’s even unmasked himself as a true moderate Republican to reach out to the independent swing voters and blue collar women the advisors are always telling him to target and it’s not getting him the space he needs between Mitt and himself.  God, what do they want from him??  And where is the disaster that would make him look good?

5.) He needed to be primaried for his own sake.  He’s been living in an insulated and isolated bubble, surrounded by the 1%’s henchman who keep telling him that the banks need to be saved above all else and that austerity must be imposed.  In the process, he lost touch with his base and has forgotten that it’s also necessary to fight.  The debates are the whole campaign thing again and he’s not in shape and doesn’t seem to remember that he has to differentiate himself from Mitt, not agree with him.  If he had been primaried, he’d have more of an idea of what the base thinks is important instead of constantly discrediting it, and he might be more energetic.

Or, it’s a combination of some or all of the above.  Any other theories?  Put them in the comments.

In any case, he’ll look better next time, because it’s hard to imagine him doing worse.  There’s a lot of money riding on this race and the Democrats put all their eggs in this basket for the whole duration.  Stupid, in retrospect, but even though many, many people are kicking themselves for gleefully murdering Hillary’s career (I’m talking to you, Chris Matthews), they’re stuck with Obama now.

The honeymoon is over

Post debate thread: “The Horror, The Horror”

Um, I don’t know what to say. I feel for you loyalists.

I guess you could comfort yourself with the idea that this is part of his 11 dimensional chess strategy.

That was cruel. I’m sorry.

If it’s any consolation, I’m not happy either. I keep hoping but it’s not looking good.

The Affordable Care Act is not much of an “accomplishment”

The NYTimes says that Michelle Obama is going to give the first significant (I won’t call it major) speech of the convention tonight. In it, she will be giving her husband’s version of his performance evaluation.  I guess David Axelrod thinks this is smart because any attack on Obama’s record will look like an attack on Michelle.

Let’s just get that out of the way.  I don’t give a rat’s ass what Michelle is wearing.  I can’t stand her accent where it sounds like she has a thick glob of postnasal ooze in the back of her nasal cavity that she has to stopper off with a kegelesque constriction of her uvula.  Michelle Obama chose to give working women the finger when she voluntarily assumed the mantle of stay at home mommy and wife who doesn’t really have an opinion about anything because someone *might* accuse her of being angry, thereby reinforcing the negative cultural stereotypes that keep women from succeeding in the workplace.  No, I judge her by the standards of my local upper middle class suburban environment.  Personally, I find women like her booooooooring as all get out.  That’s as far as my personal feelings for Michelle go.  She has mass and she takes up space and that’s about it.

Now, let’s get on to her husband’s “accomplishments”.

If I were Obama and were to put together a set of SMART goals for my performance evaluation and rate them, it would go something like this (with most important goals at the top):

In the next four years I will:

Goal                                                                          Timeframe                            Accomplished

1.) Improve the economy

- Tighten regulations on the finance industry      2010                                           Partial

- Account for TARP funds                                           2009-2012                               No

- Let Bush Tax Cuts expire                                          2010                                          No

- Prosecute bankers who threaten economy          2010                                           No

- Implement fiscal stimulus plan                              2009                                           Partial (Inadequate)

- Implement jobs program                                          2009                                            No

- Break up dangerously underfunded banks          2010                                             No

- Implement HOLC for Homeowners                     2009                                            No

(Comments: all of the above would have helped to jumpstart the economy and keep funding to social security at a manageable level, while replenishing treasury through tax revenue.)

2.) Health Care Reform

- Launch study of best practices                                2009                                             No

- Propose model based on study                                2009                                              No

- Work with providers to reduce costs                     2009                                             No

- Propose public option for ins co cooperation      2009                                           No

- Prohibit rescission for pre-existing conditions   2009                                            Yes

- Implement individual mandate                               2014                                      Pending

- Subsidize unemployed health care                  2009-2011                                  Finished

- Assure abortion and contraceptive coverage       2009                                      No, partial

3.) End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by 2012

- Begin drawdown of troops in Iraq                       2009                                           Unclear

- Begin drawdown of troops in Afghanistan       2009                                           Unclear

(Comments: Like I said, my brother is serving in Afghanistan and he’s been there a year *starting* in 2011, sooooo, I’d really have to say no to the second item.)

4.) Protect Civil Liberties

- Reinstitute Habeas Corpus                                   2009                                              No

- Close Gitmo                                                               2010                                              No

- Bring enemy combatants to trial                         2010                                             No

- Dismantle DHS                                                       2009                                              No

- Remove DADT                                                         2009                                              2010, 2011

5.) Promote equality and non-discrimination

- Protect gay families from financial hardship  2012                                              No

- Protect LGBT individuals from discrimination 2009-2012                               Mixed

- Lift non-discrimination clause in gov contracts 2012                                         No

- Eliminate the Bush Conscience Rule                 2009                                            Partially

- Protect children of illegal immigrants              2009                                             Unclear

- Defend abortion rights                                          2009-2012                                  No

- Defend Reproductive rights                                 2009-2012                                   Partially

- Ensure non hostile work env for women         2009-2012                                   No

- Promote the Equal Rights Amendment            2009-2012                                   No

(Comments: most of these items were not on his list anyway and female staffers report that the Obama White House should be considered a hostile work environment for women.)

6.) Move towards energy independence

No real plans here

7.) Improve public infrastructure (no real plans)

- Propose public transportation systems         2009-2012

- Encourage use of bicycling where possible      ???

- Invest in scientific research and public access 2009-2012                                Unclear

As Lambert says, “You can’t buff a turd”.  The people scoring this evaluation are not going to listen to excuses.  You wanna know why??  It’s because they’ve been subjected to this procedure at their own workplaces and they know that if you did a crappy job, it will be hard to hide it.  And if management wants to get rid of you, you could do everything right and still not escape the ax.  Of course, if you are a schmoozer who has been knifing your more productive colleagues and kissing the ass of the bonus class, you get a promotion.

That’s just the way it is.  Michelle could be tending her garden tonight for all of the difference her speech will make.

And Krugman’s argument that it could have been worse ignores the fact that half of the party was dragged, kicking and screaming to vote for a guy we didn’t think had the experience to handle the tidal wave of really bad mojo that was heading our way. We turned out to be right. We wanted the OTHER candidate.  You know, the one who did her homework and had all kinds of practical experience and a built in presidential mentor?

But instead of apologizing for screwing up and promising to address our problems, the  Democrats are saying, “Quitcherbitchin’, it could have been worse”. That is not a winning message to the 18000000 of us who are convinced that it could have been a lot better and that Barack Obama is not the best candidate the Democrats could be fielding right now.

The correct metaphor is the one that Katiebird came up with this morning.  The arsonists paid off the fire department to let the building burn to the ground.  They’re going to build something completely different in its place.

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