Good legislation makes everyone happy

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29 Responses

  1. I read an article by a liberal writer 9can’t remember which one) shortly before President Obama was inaugurated. The article stated that the President needed to accomplish three things to be considered a success in the eyes of liberals.

    1) End the war in Iraq and bring the troops home.

    2) Pass serious legislation aimed at controlling global warming.

    3) Healthcare reform.

    Of those 3 he’s only made progress on #1 and that is slow at best. Of course i also think there are a lot of other pet liberal issues like the EFCA, an assault weapons ban and federal recognition of gay marriage, but those are also either non-starters or being left to the states. So I have to ask the libs around here: What’s your current satisfaction level with the President?Report

    • Really, really frustrated, to tell you the truth. On Iraq, honestly, I think Obama came into office much too late to make much of a difference. I’ve been really disheartened by the degree to which his Afganistan policy seems to be echoing Bush’s sencond-term approach to Iraq, as well. On the healthcare thing, though, I lean sort of absolutist – either single-payer or something closer to Wyden-Bennett I can support, but the bills coming out now make me very worried – especially since I can only afford more-than-catastrophic health coverage myself thanks to a university group policy that will end when I get my degree (and then just barely).

      As for global warming, I think anything we do now will basically be too little too late, and aimed only at not making things much worse than they already have to be.
      But I am, as always, very very pessimistic. I liked that Obama wasn’t. Now I wonder in it wasn’t just more American hubris. *sigh*Report

    • Avatar Bob in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      I had serious doubts about Obama’s “progressive” credentials during the long run-up to securing the nomination and his election. I was bitching about him weeks after he became president. He continues to disappoint, and health care is the least of it in my book. To use a very broad brush, and keep it short, I’ll just say foreign policy, and investigating Bush era abuses. But there are other items I could list.Report

    • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Low.

      1) was a major priority for me – and, even more importantly, restoring some kind of sanity to the Gitmo/torture/etc. aspect of the Bush presidency – and we have gotten very little of that. Holder’s recent actions have been somewhat encouraging, but we’ll see.

      I am mostly indifferent to 2). Americans simply don’t care that they’re destroying the planet, and it’s vanishingly unlikely that we’ll ever see meaningful action on climate change. If I get worked up about that, I’ll never sleep again. So I just ignore it.

      And we’ll get 3). It may be less than ideal, but there’s no real turning back now. The entire Democratic caucus needs this, so they’ll see it done. However imperfect it is, I will take a bunt single at this point and hope someone else can drive the runner home.

      But the places where Obama has real control over policy (rather than the made-up idea that he can just legislate from the Oval Office) are things like war, torture, DADT, transparency, and the Supreme Court. And so far I am largely unimpressed.Report

  2. What could happen instead of a happy ending to the healthcare story — where those who know better force it through, then all the people without vision realize it’s what they needed all along, the Bill Maher Theory — is that it’s passed and as baby boomers start retiring at 8000 a day, healthcare collapses under the weight of the financial burden, and government has to severely cut-back Medicare beneifts, which will enrage the largest voting block in the nation, and the Democrats will be blamed. I’m just saying…it could happen. “Hard cases make bad legislation” as they say.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Of course, the dream scenario for some around here is the Dems do enact nightmare legislation (or obviously, better for everyone, enact nothing), and Republicans then sweep into office, find their libertarian sensibilities, pass Bennett-Wyden, and become the party of health care. Of course, they’ll wait to do that until after 2012 (when they’ve taken back the White House) so that Obama doesn’t claim a legacy-cementing bipartisan victory. thereby possibly stealing their (Republicans’) rightful credit for successful historic health-care legislation. Is any of that going to happen? Meh…

    More likely, a somewhat cheap mandate-subsidize bill gets passed, nothing really changes, and a few people are inconvenienced into buying more-or-less status quo health insurance — probably very few because I suspect any enforcement mechanisms on the mandates will be scaled back along with the subsidies. I don’t see a landslide backlash in the making there (could be wrong), but obviously nor is there the makings of an epochal realignment-producing success. None of which is much of a surprise.Report

  4. Even if nothing much changes, you still have the unfunded Medicare problem.Report

  5. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    I still can’t quite believe it. What is the matter with Democrats? Where is the bold move? Where is the real reform? Why is Max Baucus at the center of this? Do the Dems have any direction at all? Where has Obama been? Why didn’t the administration come up with a plan? The only thing more hapless than the plans now under consideration has been the process itself.Report

    • From the vetting process for officials, to the healthcare rollout and debate, etc the story of the administration so far seems to be one that is a bit unorganized and amateurish.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        One thing that my friends to the right explained to me was that Obama had never, ever seen a real fight until he faced Hillary… and Hillary held back (I don’t know that Hillary held back… but she did seem somewhat more restrained after Bill made that statement about North Carolina, I think it was).

        This has resulted in Obama’s fight against the Republicans being the first gloves-off fight that Obama has ever had… and the flailing and confusion we see is the result of Obama reacting to actually, really, being hit back for the first time in his political career.Report

        • Avatar Joseph FM in reply to Jaybird says:

          What about Bobby Rush? Obama lost. Granted I’m neither a Chicagoan nor a particularly close follower of black politics outside of Florida, but was that not a “real fight”?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Joseph FM says:

            Hey, it ain’t my argument. Bobby Rush does well to dismantle it, though. I imagine that those guys would point out that Obama has never seen a serious opponent to his Right… excepting Hillary (and even she isn’t that much Righter than he is).Report

            • Avatar Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

              Well (tongue in cheek, mostly), Obama still doesn’t have any serious opponents to his right.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

                Maybe it’s another thing like the election. People were talking about how he was foundering after (only barely!) beating Hillary and we can’t count out the PUMA vote and “silent majority” and all that while Obama was 27 steps ahead of McCain/Palin… which was demonstrated on election day.

                Maybe he’s 27 steps ahead of everybody again and will demonstrate that with his health care reform.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      As Ezra Klein says today because Obama’s MO is to let the whole thing play out in front of him, then come in and use his influence at the end (if he can) to seal the deal, thereby making him look like the master weaver/player.

      Whether it will work in this case I don’t know. I’ve never thought the Dems have the votes for public option but we’ll see. The problem is as always Dems don’t know how to frame (here Obama has been weak) and whatever happens going forward they’ll likely be saddled with the idea of a failed bill. (Here Dems are hurting themselves–also fairly common imo). Even if actually the bill isn’t as bad as they are already saying it will be.Report

    • Avatar Ryan in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      The administration has been trying to use the lessons learned during the Clinton years. A White House-driven reform effort will fail because Congressmen are vain, self-important hacks. The problem with letting Congress drive, however, is that Congressmen are vain, self-important hacks. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats don’t have any ability to use committee chairmanships as leverage (because seniority means that, unless Harry Reid can de-age Max Baucus, Baucus will be the boss), so there’s no way to enforce conformity in the caucus. Add on the filibuster and general Senate lunacy, and you have a situation that is about as non-ideal for this as possible. But blaming the White House strikes me as somewhat crazy. If Obama (and Pelosi!) was the only person who mattered, we’d already be done.Report

      • Avatar Ryan in reply to Ryan says:

        Also, the Democrats? Really? There are 60 (59) of them, sure, and about 5 of them (maybe) are really problematic. But there are 40 Republicans, and basically 39 of them will vote no on literally any bill that comes up. And they’ll filibuster it! How is this the Democrats’ fault? It takes 41 to create a disaster here. And the majority of that 41 are not Democrats.Report

      • Avatar Joseph FM in reply to Ryan says:

        I would like to second this comment.

        I feel like, coming from the Senate and perhaps overcompensating for the Bush-Cheney-DeLay era, Obama has been a little too deferential to Congress.Report

  6. Avatar Scott says:

    If guess it depends on what Jamelle’s definition of “good” legislation is. I don’t think think either of his examples of “good” legislation, Social Security and Medicare, are really good, as it is not the gov’t job to do either. I might also cynically add that of course such good legislation created more Dems, many people are happy to vote for a party that gives them money or services which are paid for by someone else.Report

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