Monday, September 05, 2011

The Democratic Dilemma

While the right used to be furious at Obama for being too liberal, a borderline socialist who was acting like an emperor and attempting to turn the country into a Muslim nation, they have now hit on another argument which seems to be resonating better with Independents. He's ineffective, helpless and hopeless, in over his head. Instant jump from too much to too little and since it worked with Carter and Gore, they figure it will again. They might be right on it working. Basically until recently, it looked like this race would be decided by the middle. Now I am not so sure.

Obama's bigger problem is he has pretty well lost his base in his attempt to stick to the middle and cater to business as much as he can. He did it through continuing the wars, through not ending rendition. He has worked to please the right, or so it seems when he talks about Social Security being up for weakening and his reluctance to do what he could to get single payer for health insurance. The right thought he was a socialist? The left thinks he didn't go far enough.

What he gained for this, I don't know, but he seems, for having everybody think he was a great communicator, to have lost the ability to communicate any reasons. Which has led to the left turning on him for being an extension of Bush. They are so unhappy that they are ready to consider sitting out 2012 or even vote for an alternative candidate thereby ceding the election to James Richard Perry. They'd rather have someone who wasn't a progressive than someone who claimed to be but worked against every cause in which they believe. It's not a totally illogical stance.

The latest heresy by Obama was stopping the EPA from enforcing stricter ozone rules for LA. This was basically the last straw for environmentalists who really have nowhere to go but feel it hasn't made much difference who gets the presidency if they all do the same thing to the environment.

The EPA decision wasn't as simple as it sounds on the surface. First of all it was going to be evaluated in 2013 regardless of what was done right now. Second if they did change the rules, it is claimed, because the rules were ahead of the technology and the financing, it would have led to rolling blackouts for the city.  You think he's unpopular now, imagine that happening in the heat of a summer or cold of a winter. Obama decided to put off the decision on changing the regulations until that 2013 evaluation. Definitely nuanced governing, which it turns out has been what he does a lot, but it pleases nobody.

Now there is no doubt what Perry would do about this decision. The problem for Obama is that doesn't make it okay with his base what he did. They feel betrayed and it wasn't just this but a whole string of things which are being talked about in every left wing political blog.

I don't know if he's weak or just thinks too much. He comes across looking like he's lost his moorings and is operating in a zone where he doesn't have a set of personal values that help him take a stand even when it's unpopular. It is early yet, but is it already too late for him to change the view Americans are coming to have of him.

The problem for Democrats is where does that leave them in 2012? I remember when some voted for Nader in 2000 because they were purists and the end result was Gore lost, and Bush showed us how bad a right wing president can be. We are still suffering for that and have zero reason to believe Perry won't be more of the same or worse. Yes, you can get worse and from everything I have read about Perry's record, about his character, he will be worse.

I don't even know what an alternative left wing candidate would be if the left truly wanted somebody to challenge Obama in the primaries. Certainly Bernie Sanders, likeable as he is, as an avowed socialist and without personal charisma, can't win a national election. Is there anybody else out there on the left who could? Does anybody really believe Hillary would have been farther left than Obama if she had been chosen to run against McCain? She has the Clinton record for us to look at the deals with China, the ruination of financial regulations, and the duplicity behind the scenes. That would be better? She's more hawkish than Obama. Practically speaking I don't think she'd choose to shut down electricity for a major city if it meant people living in it would suffer. Why wasn't the technology developed? Because of the cost of wars she has supported.

There is only a very slim possibility that the right will nominate Huntsman as a candidate for the left to get behind. The articles I have seen and polling seem to show Republicans wanting revenge for Obama and an extremist as their choice.  They are in no mood to compromise as is shown by how they are governing in the House and with the governorships they won in 2010. Huntsman is falling far behind. The argument also is he thinks too much and is too soft. Basically he'd be another Obama.

If Americans want bluster and it's all they really respect, if they don't actually like nuances despite saying they do, well it looks to me like it's going to be President Perry and another lesson in what that means to the country when you let a far right winger have that kind of power.

Interestingly they say Republicans aren't asking Perry social questions. There is a reason for that. They don't want him exposed for what he'll do on the social issues and if you look at his rhetoric, there is little doubt what he'll do.  Liberals who want to punish Obama for being a disappointment might find it backfires.

I don't hold Obama unaccountable for this mess. Maybe though he just wasn't up to the job. It might be not many people are unless they think black and white and take into account nothing but their partisan agenda. It might be what it takes to at least keep your base happy.

One final thought for Democrats who are discouraged-- Supreme Court.

Bush gave us Alito and Roberts.

Obama gave us Sotomayor and Kagan.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has announced her plans to retire during the next presidential term.

What do  you suppose a Rick Perry will give us?


Anonymous said...

Rick Perry and the others like him are very scary. I am praying the Obama can find his mojo, otherwise our country is in for a rough slog.

Parapluie said...

Ah ha,our fate as a country in the long term may not be in who we elect as a President but who the President selects for the Supreme Court. It will be up to the Judges to decide how we can fix our disfunction.
Or maybe it will be a future President who is so subtile in turning around the country that people have not noticed enough to put some populations in complete, all out rebellion. It doesn't look like at this time that Obama is acheiving the turn around.

Robert the Skeptic said...

In my opinion, there is too much emphasis on who will take the White House when there should be more on which party will prevail in Congress. As the conservatives have shown, Congress can hamstring the presidency.

As for Obama, I am sorry he didn't hold the Republican's feet to the fire: You want the budget deficit fixed, end the Bush tax cuts... otherwise he should have called the GOP out for their "lip service". But... he didn't. And I think he will pay for that in 2012.

Rain said...

I totally agree on Congress but without the presidency all you can do with Congress is block action, not create them. I think we need both. I believed in the importance of Congress before we decided we had to donate to the 2010 election. We can see the result of not holding onto enough seats to keep the House from doing what they are today. There is no reason we cannot have both IF we can convince the American people that a middle class policy that begins to take back the wealth the richest have made off the middle class is what we need. There is one reason why the middle class is vanishing-- it's going to the wealthiest. There'd be money for decent retirements and a lot of other things without those Bush tax cuts and two now unfounded wars.

Ingineer66 said...

Kind of funny that I have been saying all through Obama's first term that it was amateur hour at the White House. But I figured after a year or so they would figure it out. Instead it is getting worse not better.

And Obama did not hold Congresses feet to the fire to end the Bush tax cuts because even he did not want to preside over the largest tax increase in US history. And since the Democrats controlled Congress at the time, why did he have to hold their feet to the fire in the first place? Why didn't they just do it themselves? If a huge tax increase was such a great idea, Congress could have passed it.

Obama talks a big game. And then on many fronts, continues Bush's policies anyway. I guess he reads the polls that show that people in general do not like Obama's policies. Even back when he had rock star general approval ratings, people did not care for many of his specific policies.

Rain said...

So which Obama policies, specific ones, do Americans not like, ingineer?

Rain said...

A lot of times they seem to want contradictions-- like less government but government is supposed to fix the jobs problem and on it goes. They want lower taxes but two wars. They didn't like health care but want their own. Although in the case of health care, a lot wanted single payer and got lumped into the polls of not liking Obama care.

Ingineer66 said...

Many Americans do not like Obama's big government is the answer to all of your problems mentality. Most Americans would like less government intrusion into their lives.

Do you really feel that many people want Single Payer health care? I think that a lot of the labor union leaders and such say they want single payer, but I would bet once they get it, they would not be at all happy. Unless of course they somehow had a separate single payer plan than the masses. Then I am sure it would be ok. Since some animals are more equal than others.

To me it seems that the Democratic Party plan for America is to make a bunch of rules for "everyone" to have to follow and then garner political and financial support for granting waivers and exceptions to said rules.

Obamacare is a prime example. There have been something like 1500 exemptions granted. And the massive tax increases in Illinois are as well. They passed a huge corporate tax increase then granted waivers to a few big companies so they would not leave. And the small business owner gets screwed. We have many more examples here in California. Special interests get exempted from complicated and strict laws that the rest of us must live with. If the law is such a great idea then it should be for everyone. If it is so onerous that it cannot be followed then it should be modified or repealed.

ps I agree we want contradictions. That is just the way it is. 300 million people are not going to completely agree on anything.

Rain said...

So if you did not have government financed health care benefits, had to pay what say Robert does for insurance, how would you see this issue?

You do know that you got those benefits also thanks to unions which you also are against based maybe on dues? The thing is what does an individual have where it comes to power and it takes power to get any benefits whether through a corporation or a government.

My complaint about Republicans is they don't get how much money has been transferred from their programs, their benefits, their retirement, their wallets directly into wealthy people's pockets who don't give a damn about the individual.

I'd like to see single payer for everybody, but what my point was that when you look at a poll saying 60% of Americans didn't like health care legislation, it added in those who also wanted more not less.

Ingineer66 said...

I would still have health insurance if it was not a benifit of my employment. I have car insurance and home owners on my house and life insurance. I know a person that chooses not to have insurance and I think that is a mistake. But I also chose a job that does provide it.

I agree that people do not like the mess we got from the Health Care bill. There are only 2 people happy about that law and that is Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. It is a mess and should be repealed and a new law that is properly vetted voted on.

I have too many friends and family in the health care business to think that single payer is a good idea. It would be a train-wreck unlike anything ever seen in this country. I know the concept is a good idea, it just will not work the way you want it to. Just like socialism in general does not work.

Rain said...

So uh Medicare and the VA don't work?

Ingineer66 said...

The VA works some of the time. There are some very good VA hospitals and the system could be excellent. But like all government systems, there are some VA hospitals that I would not take my dying dog to and if a family member was headed there, I would get them to a different one.

Medicare is sort of working. The reimbursements are going to be lowered again in January. There are many doctors that have stopped taking new patients on Medicare and with the continuing cutbacks that are a result of Obamacare there will be fewer and fewer doctors. And now you want to add 250 million people to that system? Like I said, it will be a mess unlike anything else we have ever seen. Healthcare was not broke for 85% of the country, Obamacare tried to change that number to 95% but instead it is going to break the rest of the system. All to try to help 10% of the country.

Rain said...

Medicare has been a plan to get minimal insurance for a majority of old people. Those who can afford it, buy the supplemental policies available and it covers about what it does for an HMO. Where Congress and Bush screwed Medicare was adding a drug benefit without paying for it. They could have added it and allowed bargaining for lower prices as the VA does. They could have let beneficiaries buy their drugs from Canada (something that is illegal even though some do it anyway and take a chance on not getting caught). The result of adding it without that was to put the whole system at risk. It can still be fixed.

I think a lot more than 10% were suffering under the existing system. You were only speaking of those who cannot have insurance at all. It didn't take into account all of those who had it but it didn't cover what went wrong or they couldn't afford full coverage and a catastrophic illness blew up what they had instantly leaving them holding the bag. If you follow how health care is in many other countries, it provides their citizens with care and not fear. Something that only those with healthy insurance policies can claim today in the US. A lot of people who couldn't afford to get say bp meds, which can be very costly, just die if they aren't on Medicare. They then don't show up anymore in statistics.

I'd love to see all government benefits gone for say Congress or any of those so complacent about their current coverage. I bet it'd be fixed sooner than later for everybody if that happened.