ALONE IN THE CURRENT

Observing Life Through Polarized Glasses
JULY 18, 2011 2:15PM

The Unwilling President: When Leadership Fails

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Obama His campaign rhetoric stirred the nation -  exhausted and broke from six years of war and in the throes of a financial collapse not seen in four generations - into electing, for the very first time, a non-white president of the republic. Young and old alike believed in him and his promise that a new day had arrived: a day in which the excesses of a financial community gone mad with greed would finally be reined in; a day where the role of government playing a positive role in the lives of the governed - rather than being a rubber stamp for the monied classes - would be restored; where new rules would be applied to bring jobs back home to a population starving for meaningful work.

And for the first several months of his term, the President had nearly a free rein as the opposition party lay in ruins, disorganized, unbalanced and trying to make sense out of one of those great swings in public opinion which invariably occur in uncertain, tumultuous times. The new president’s moment for strong, young leadership was there for the taking.

Warning Signs 

For Obama’s most fanatical followers, there were immediate signs of weakness and inexperience. As he formed his cabinet he hired not Young Turks, as John Kennedy had in 1960, but the very same people who were from among the classes who overlooked, if not perpetrated, the greatest  heist of wealth in American history: Benjamin Bernanke, former chairman of Goldman Sachs, restored to another term as chairman of the nation’s central bank; Timothy Geithner, who presided over the New York Federal Reserve Bank as Wall St. teetered and then collapsed, went to Treasury; Eric Holder, a cautious, risk averse prosecutor became the Attorney General; Hillary Clinton, a hard working, well intended junior senator from New York but who was from another time, became the nation’s chief diplomat.

Lost in the cabinet shuffle were the true prophets who in the beginning advised that strong, bold steps were not only necessary for an economic recovery but which steps, not taken, would lead to stagnation and prolonged agony for the nation. People like Paul Volcker, Robert Reich, and Paul Krugman admonished the new president that the time had come to do big things. And they were inevitably swept aside.   

The Unraveling of Ideals: Health Care Forestalled

The first great missed opportunity was about to descend on the White House as it dithered incessantly about how to construct a new way to get  health care to 45 million Americans without it. Over a period of nearly a year, Barack Obama conceded one important feature of the notion universal health care, adopted by every industrialized nation on the planet and a fair number of those in the under-developed world, until what emerged was a bill consisting of a web of sections, sub-sections, paragraphs and delay which, though a good start,  was effectively unintelligible to the general public, leaving it vulnerable to the propaganda of the monied interests with most to lose in any kind of health care reform: the health insurance companies, hospital conglomerates, and pharmaceutical corporations. And most of all,  it gave time for Obama’s political opposition to reorganize itself, with the aid of a generally conservative mass media, into an effective force to block change.

At precisely the time when Barack Obama should have been working the hustings, taking his case directly to the people, reassuring them that his ideas were solid and needed, using the enormous bully pulpit given the presidency itself, he sat quietly in the White House, pursuing a strategy of letting the Congress iron out policy; a strategy which was not only self-defeating but which allowed the opposition to define the issues in a way which frightened an already frightened public into believing that doing nothing was better than doing something.  Even an ally and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, the first woman ever elected to such a position, who proved to be one of the most effective leaders of the House since Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neil, begged the president to lead the charge. It was not to be.

Financial Reform: More of the Same 

In the midst of the financial free fall of 2007-2008, it was generally understood that Wall St. and the banks -  both retail and investment banks - had created strategies to take risks which paid off in ways not seen in a 125 years. The creation of  “products” like collateralized debt obligations, mortgage backed securities; the use of “stated income” loans, missleading corporate financial reports; the entrance of retail banks into the insurance and equities business; all led to the greatest expansion of home building in the nation’s history. As more and more marginally qualified or under-qualified borrowers had access to homes by the use of adjustable rate mortgages whose interest rate would adjust upward after an  affordable “introductory” rate, the conventional wisdom was that home values would rise continually to where such loans would convert to fixed rate, refinanced mortgages. All would be well. All was, in fact, lost.

Moreover, the nation’s guarantor of mortgages, Fanny May and Freddie Mac, long since reorganized into for-profit companies by Congress yet backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, routinely underwrote hundreds of thousands, millions, of bad loans, now bundled into investment instruments held by Wall St. investment banks and their clients. In one case, the largest investment bank in the nation, Goldman Sachs, not only sold sketchy securities to its customers, but actually bet on them to collapse, thereby collecting billions in insurance from Freddy and Fanny. Talk about win-win!

To date, little or nothing has been done to either prosecute those whose companies and their executives who moved their weaknesses and their money around in a expert game of financial Three-Card Monte, or to change the rules of the financial game. The investment banks continue unregulated, “Enron holes” continue unplugged, and the retail banks, sitting on thousands of abandoned and foreclosed houses, are sitting on their money, unable and unwilling to loan to small businesses and startups, other than those who least need their money. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department seems more interested in doing nothing than something, to at least to tell the nation that the great financial feeding frenzy was over.

Rather than taking his case for systemic financial reform to the people, at the advice of his old-school financial advisors this new president has acquiesced and done nothing of significance. It is, in fact, business as usual.

War as Business

For nearly a decade this nation has been at war in the Middle East and South Asia. It is a war not started by Obama but certainly continues unabated under his administration. It is a war perpetrated and sold to the people who fight it, soldiers and citizens alike, first by the need to take down those who plot against us, then by the need to bring the blessings of democracy to people who have a two thousand years of being ruled by tribal and religious law. To call them civilized societies is a misnomer of the highest order. They are not.

In his campaign, Obama told us that we were focused not on the real problem, which is in Afghanistan. To date he has moved most of the military out of the Middle East and (and in fairness to what he said) has continued to spend, indeed augmented, our treasure and blood investment in Afghanistan.

We have exacted our retribution on Osama bin Laden and most of his lieutenants and it is arguable as to whether they remain any kind of effective terrorist organization. In the face of a perfect opportunity to declare “Mission accomplished” there is no sign coming from Obama that we are on our way out of that eternal quagmire of competing tribal conflict. Now, we are told, the issue is Pakistan, with its nuclear capability.

This nation spends 50% of its collected federal taxes on its war making capability. Nearly three quarters of a  trillion dollars every year. It spends double what all other nations on earth collectively spend on their own defense. Still, there seems no intent on either the administration or the Congress to rein in defense spending. Indeed, Congress, in its new budget, added $17 billion to Obama’s upcoming defense budget; money that the Defense Department itself did not request, and even though Obama himself called for a record $708 billion in defense spending while sending the  mixed signal to cut waste within the defense effort of the nation.

We have reached the point, it appears, where we simply cannot pull back on defense spending since it has entwined itself  so thoroughly into the fabric of the economy itself. Too many jobs are at stake, too many people would be taken from the military rolls for the economy to accommodate with jobs. We have, in short, reached the point where an earlier president, Dwight Eisenhower, warned us about the military-industrial complex being the core of the American economy.

A nation which has eschewed standing peacetime armies for most of its 235 years of existence now stands astride the world as the most militarily powerful nation in human history, with a thousand bases and installations in 63 countries – while 10% of its workforce is idle; 45 million of its people are without a doctor; its infrastructure crumbles; its dependence on imported energy a focal point of its foreign policy; and while its system of education, once the envy of the world in it reach and quality, deteriorates, and all the while its people fighting skirmishes amongst themselves over dozens of lesser issues.

Perhaps worst of all, Obama’s opposition, the Republican Party, has formed an alliance with both its Big Business benefactors and a large segment of a frightened and ignorant public in its determination to unseat him in a second term. It has catered to the worst of our angels in demonizing this president to a degree unknown in modern American history.

Had Obama been more decisive in his first year, it is doubtful whether his opponants  would have been as effective as they have been in their opposition to him.  The current Republican Party is nearly devoid of rational thought. The party of Javits, Rockefeller, Taft, Lodge, Eisenhower, Ford, Dole and dozens of other moderates has devolved into a Roman mob calling for Obama’s head. To hell with the country!

The Decisive Moment Lost?

All this cries for leadership and a vision of who we are and where we are going and how we’re going to get there; and what are we leaving to our posterity. We are at a juncture which calls for decisive leadership - leadership which was promised but has yet to be delivered. It is one of those moments in our history which will determine whether the drift will continue and the Great Experiment prove a failure at worst and marginal at best, or whether we can muster the courage for a renaissance.

Barack Obama captured these sentiments, this desire for a rebirth of national purpose beautifully in his 2008 campaign for the presidency. Yet, as we approach the end of his first term, he has let the moment come and go and the nation wonders whether the rhetoric was empty.

There is no doubt the President has his heart in the right place but the times demand action and leadership. The spontaneous combustion of “The People” in Wisconsin, who will shortly  throw the rascals out who so blatantly stabbed them in the back was a perfect example of a group whose power Obama could have rallied to his own causes but on a far grander scale. These same people were there in 2008, and whose imaginations were there to be captured.

Unfortunately, the degradation of the political debate, largely of his own making by his inaction, leaves us unable to agree on anything meaningful for our future. He has allowed his opposition to define the issues to their liking and enabled it to stall, obfuscate and deride him and his campaign plans.

There may be something of a Greek tragedy at play in this President. This man, who rose to the most powerful office on earth from the humblest of beginnings; who achieved on a scale which would enthrall even the most jaded and dispossessed by pleasing people, is so averse to confrontation that he cannot move the political football one way or another. Over and over again, Obama has conceded,  rather than take a principled stand.  In the rough and tumble of Washington politics, this is a disaster. 

For those of us who boarded the Obama train in 2008, it is hardly a satisfying moment. It seems the train has yet to chuff away from the station. And we are still patiently waiting.

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Why, in the light of the current political and military disasters, do you cling to the rather absurd concept that "his heart is in the right place" ?
Since you have such a dismal appreciation for Obama, Fly, I guess what you ought to do is to vote for his opponent in November 2012. Maybe that person will better meet your expectations. Of course, that person will be vetted my the Tea Party, so I hardly think so.

Or…you might just take a look at your expectations…and the environment in which Obama has been working…and maybe make adjustments more in line with reality.

All of us who favor progressive initiatives are disappointed that we are still so far from the way we want our country to be. But you might consider for a moment that 50% of the electorate buys into the nonsense being peddled by the GOP…that the poor have too much and should be able to make do with less and that the wealthy do not have enough and should be able to get even more of the pie.

A country with 50% of its people buying into that kind of nonsense is not likely to support radical moves to the left. It simply is not going to happen. What we need is a leader who is able to acknowledge that…and do as much as he can under the circumstances…and obtain as much as he can under those circumstances.

I submit that we already have that leader. Obama!

Why not try supporting him rather than moaning and groaning that you are not getting what you want when you want it? If you do so, you might help create an environment where more can be done and obtained.

Or you can start to think as Jan does...that his heart is not in the right place...that he is someone to be loathed. And you can vote for his opponent.
@ frank apisa

You ought to read just a little slower.
While I agree with most of what you say, in three years, God did not the world make! Should he have done things different, of course, but no one in history had ever took office with two wars going on and in a depression for all intents and purposes. I for think he shouldn't have concentrated on HealthCare so much, but he is the only president in 50 years to get this much done. He has done this mind you with something that no other president in history has had to face.Rupert Murdock and Fox news. Say what you will, but Fox News, with their exaggerations and down-right lies have caused more damage to this country than Obama ever could. When you have a Congress who say's "NO" before he opens his mouth, what do you do? They refuse to negotiate, period. Before that, he had the Blue Dog Democrats that held up ever piece of legislation he put forward, as bad or worse than the republicans. He has done some things wrong. He will do some other things wrong. But turn around my man, look really good and tell me, who do you want to take his place?
If I have substantially misunderstood you, Fly, I respectfully suggest it has less to do with the speed with which I read, than with the confusion you apparently used to shroud your actual intentions.

I dare say many others will “misunderstand” what you were saying, if you were saying something other than I suggested. In fact, Scanner apparently got much the same impression of your purpose as I have.

If we are wrong…point out why we needed to read more slowly. I want to understand you correctly. I want to comment on what you actually meant to say...rather than what I seem to be hearing you say.
I am not evaluating the alternates, I am evaluating Obama. The argument seems to be that any alternate would be worse. That's probably true. But that does nothing for what Obama has accomplished. If you want a list of disappointments I could provide that. There are plenty of sources.
Excellent compendium, Flylooper, frank should try reading period, but even that wouldn't help. Continually misfiring neurons.

Jan, of course, his heart is in the right place -- he has sent more unmanned drones into nuclear armed, unstable Pakistan in two years, than bush the lesser did in eight.

When frank does learn to read, his next challenge would be to answer questions, devout of smarmy slogans.


-R-
mr apisa (sh*t), why is Flylooper obliged to answer you, when you NEVER answer any questions aimed at you, slimeball?
Jan wrote: I am not evaluating the alternates, I am evaluating Obama. The argument seems to be that any alternate would be worse. That's probably true.

I am not being nasty here, Jan…but I truly have to ask: Was that some kind of Freudian slip?

Are you actually saying that in your opinion, “any alternative” to Obama would be “worse?”

If you are, I have to ask you why you are taking the position you are. Why are you arguing the position you are?

Honestly, even though I have defended Obama, I have never asserted anything like encompassing. I certainly think Obama is infinitely preferable to anything that would pass muster with the Tea Party…and damn near anything that could get through the primary process of the Republican Party.

I also seriously doubt ANYBODY could have done much more in leading our country toward sanity…considering the incredible opposition to anything progressive by the obstructionist right.

But if you feel that way also…why in the name of Zeus would you possibly be arguing the position you have been arguing lately????
If you have read the OP all the information is there. I cannot understand why you are so happy with a president who permitted the economy to slide into such chaos, who does nothing to stop Wall Street from screwing the nation royally, who permitted the rich to escape taxes, who continues to carry out the meaningless military destruction in the Middle East, who persecutes whistle blowers who expose corruption and underhanded dealing, who continues the hiding information from the nation under the false premises of national security, who refuses to prosecute the the financial crooks who scammed people with crooked mortgages etc.,etc.
What can possibly be Freudian about all that? Are you sexually disoriented? I am not interested in name calling or getting personal but you have to be nuts to not smell something rotten about the current situation.
Jan...you were the person who said ANY alternative to him probably would be worse.

Deal with that!

Yes, he'd done lots of things that disappoint...but if you truly think anyone else would probably have done worse...live with it.

How can you condemn someone you acknowledge is probably doing a better job than anyone else could?
Because he is NOT doing better than anyone else in his position could. I did not say anyone else would be worse. I said the Republican alternatives are probably worse...but I would not bet on it. Perhaps the country needs a solid kick in the behind from the maniacs the Republicans are offering to wake them up to the totalitarian horror the present government is sliding towards. Obama is doing nothing to stop that.
Because he is NOT doing better than anyone else in his position could. I did not say anyone else would be worse. I said the Republican alternatives are probably worse...but I would not bet on it. Perhaps the country needs a solid kick in the behind from the maniacs the Republicans are offering to wake them up to the totalitarian horror the present government is sliding towards. Obama is doing nothing to stop that.

You did not say that at all.

Here, I quote: : I am not evaluating the alternates, I am evaluating Obama. The argument seems to be that any alternate would be worse. That's probably true.
If ANY ALTERNATIVE, in your opinion, would probably be worse…then you are saying he probably is doing better than anyone else.

I gave you an opportunity to correct what I considered an error. You said it was not an error. Now you are saying it is an error.

I am not trying to be argumentative…I am just trying to understand you…to understand the words you typed into this thread.

I'll just drop it, because you obviously are not willing to deal with it ethically.
OK Frank, stop the bullshit. You understand very well now what I intended to say and I am really not interested in arguing about language. If you're going stupid on me then argue with someone else.

If Obama is up for election and all the opposition has to offer is the current idiots its a choice between Obama, a Wall Street toady, and a maniac, that's no choice. Don't vote. Democracy is dead.
@Frank...

I cannot be argued that Obama has been more than flat as a leader in a time of turmoil. As I said, and which you seem to have missed, he had the chance in the first six months to year of his administration to consolidate his win and gather the troops for the assault. Remember, he won with 55% +/- of the vote and carried states which his party could only dream about winning.

Furthermore, my intention was to voice my disappointment, not my dislike, of Obama. When Jack Kennedy was elected in '60 (I was 18 when he was inaugurated) there was an atmosphere of *possibilities* to what it was we could accomplish in an era of stagnancy.

Obama engendered the exact same mindset in his campaign. but the early signs (Bernanke, Geithner, et al, from from old school) - iow, the old guys same as the news guys, was the first sign of his reluctance to lead. It's like, "Okay, I'm the prez. Now what?" He jettisoned the original thinkers in favor of Wall Streeters. Same with Health care, same with war.

Petraeus to Defense???? OMFG!
This is one of the most fabulous post mortems to the "hope and change" of the Obama administration.

A very wise political science professor by the name of Jim Klonoski taught a course on the American presidency that boiled down to two simple words: style and direction. Barack Obama's personal style and direction have proven to be maddening and crazy making for the country as a whole. When he was editor of the Harvard Law Review, it was a common complaint that he had everybody and their brother involved in a decision making process that extended on forever.

And here we are, having witnessed the last minute false drama and gnashing of teeth from the Congressional budget resolution (remember that?) and now we have the same damn thing with the debt limitation ceiling debate. We can ask ourselves how America has devolved into having such a dysfunctional form of government where none of our three branches of government appear to be working well.

You can blame the Supreme Court on somebody else, but with Obama, and his approach to his administration, you can go back to Harry Truman's sign that he had on his desk, "The buck stops here."

I'm frankly at odds in figuring out how I could possibly support this administration given its current state. Short of undergoing a serious personality transplant, Obama is going to have to figure out how he's going to grow that pair that every lefty progressive wants him to before November, 2012.

Otherwise, I'm afraid next year's campaign will be like the start of a bicycle race where the riders try to go slower than their opponents. Expect a campaign that's negative on both sides from the git go, with a massive low voter turnout and disenchanted voters on all sides. This is not a pretty picture to look forward to for the Great American Republic.
@ Jan Sand... You wrote:

Why, in the light of the current political and military disasters, do you cling to the rather absurd concept that "his heart is in the right place" ?"

Because I do. I read both his books.

What is it they say about the path to hell being paved with good intentions?
If I understand the dynamic correctly at the moment, Obama has a chance to grab hold of the brass ring he's seemed so reluctant to touch by taking the debt ceiling resolution compromise from McConnell and doing what has to be done to stave off a government shutdown. He and the Democrats could also play chicken with the Republican House, as Clinton did with Gingrich, but Clinton's Dems didn't have a Depression to worry about. This could be Obama's Roosevelt moment.
Fly…thanks for the response. Maybe I did miss the nuances you suggest, but the tone of your remarks sounded to me like one of dislike. I will acknowledge that there is a considerable difference between feeling disappointment in someone…and actually disliking him. I’ll take you at your word.

My point right along is that I saw obstructionism coming his way from his first hours in office. I expected it before he took office; I expected that the amount of impact he was going to have would be very, very limited; I expected that he would have to make concessions (in order to preserve the Republic) that would stick in the craw of everyone looking to make our country a more progressive and civilized one.

Unfortunately, I was not disappointed!

I acknowledge I am acting from a position of low expectations. I prefer to think of that as pragmatism and realistic thinking, but I can understand others having high expectations and being bothered that those expectations are not close to being met. I guess our argument reduces to “whose expectations were more realistic.”

The alternative to Obama is simply to horrible to contemplate. I’m going to back him…and not do it begrudgingly. Others have gotta do what they gotta do.
The last person who should even use the word ethics is the idiot from PISScataway, and why should he drip the bullsh*, Jan. It's what he eats for breakfast and then spills all over everyone else's (and his) blog.

The bartender and ex-strip club manager is the most morally craven beast to ever disgrace these boards, bar none.
Markinjapan I would rather not get into attacking personalities. What distresses me about Frank is his bland assumption that Obama is doing the best he can in a very bad situation and the political excrement the Republicans offer thereby makes Obama a prized individual struggling against insurmountable odds. Every move Obama has made has been to continue the gross stupidities initiated by Bush junior and to reward the financial criminals running Wall Street. His latest dumping of Warren is only a continuation of the smooth surrender of the country to the powerful rich elite who are more and more destroying what was once a prosperous middle class. These wealthy monsters no doubt hold the financing of Obama's campaign for re-election and that is where his loyalties obviously lie. In all likelihood there is an underhanded bit of political theater in operation between the Republicans and Obama to make Obama look good compared to the total nincompoops that might run against him on the Republican side. And gullible people like Frank are scared the idiots will win and flock to Obama as the lesser of two evils. They are, unfortunately, the same evil. There really is no choice.
Jan, my friend, I appreciate Your comment, however, I, still, subscribe to the truism that if one isn't part of the solution, than they are part of the problem.

frank is THE problem, with his consistent mealy-mouthed slogans in support of the insupportable.

Whether, dumbocrat, repugnican,t left, right, moderate, tea-party or whatever, there is NO greater enabler of the problem than frank.

NO morals, NO standards, NO principles.
The people saying that Obama does not deserve the job...and is incompetent in it...should simply vote for his opponent.

If the tone of OS is any indication of the tone of the country at large, Obama should lose by a landslide...and the Republican candidate should become president.

Which is exactly what I think will happen.

We'll see if that result is an improvement or not!
This continual delight in Obama because he is not as abysmal as the pack of baboons running the Republican party must be recognized as totally loony. The current president has clearly indicated there must be someone somewhere available who can certainly do better at running the country. Serving garbage on a plate doesn't mean you have to eat it.
frank will gladly eat the garbage and with delight.
@ Jan Sand...

I don't believe Obama "dumped" Warren. I think a deal has been made. First, Warren's group, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is now a reality. they start work in two days. Second, her replacement, Richard Cordray, is just as much an advocate for consumers ass she is.

The deal is that she will be fully backed as the Democratic candidate for Scott Brown's senate seat in MA. She's a virtual shoe-in for that seat.

@Frank...
If you read Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope" the overarching theme of it is his trust in compromise - the ability to work with your political opponents to get something done. He listed several examples where he took on the Chicago establishment as a community organizer and struck deals with the machine there. All well and good.

However, his political opposition in DC is like nothing he could ever have imagined. They are relentless, racist, and determined to undermine his presidency even at the cost of running the country into the ground. Obama has continually given ground on important issues in order to get something done, but to me what emerged in law, if it emerged at all, looked like swiss cheese.

The implied question I ask in my OP is whether Obama can ever stop bringing knives to gunfights. Does he have the mettle? Is he willing to fight? At what point does he stand on principle and "just say 'No!'" The present crisis is going to be definitive, to my way of thinking.

In the end, those of us who worked so hard to get him elected (and believe me, I worked the phones and gave more cash to him than I've ever given to a political candidate) are far less enthusiastic than we were in 2008.

Nevertheless, I would never vote for a modern day Republican. They are off their trolleys. The GOP of my youth is no more. Something else has replaced them.
I can't be disappointed in Obama--i saw him as an empty suit back in '07 whose sole exceptional talent was delivering rousing, heavily rehearsed speeches. I can say I am surprised that he has proven to be as much of GWB clone as he has though, upon any of the issues of true import (civil rights, foreign policy, corporatism, etc). I never expected him to actually be what the people who supported him thought he was. That sort of person could *never* make it to the top of either major party's ballot. The people who own the public opinion formation apparatus would never allow such a thing to pass.

As for the repubs, their crazy wing may help elect a republican president but, just as with the libs and the dems, that wing of their party is basically (and safely) ignored once the election is history. What remains of a republican presidency is pretty much what remains of a democratic presidency- loyal service to the moneyed classes and their corporations. Other than election rhetoric (which seems without beginning or end these days), there really is very little substantive difference between the parties when in power.

This march towards the authoritarian model of capitalism (commonly called "fascism") will continue until this inherently unsustainable system, predicated upon the impossibility of infinite growth, inevitably collapses--a monopoly game which finally runs its inevitable course. What comes after will be anyone's guess, but if the emerging economic system is not sustainable, it won't last either.
Fly…thank you for your response. I probably come closer to agreeing with many of the points you made than you may realize, because I am focusing on trying not to focus on what Obama is doing (or not doing) that I see as negative. I want to focus on some of the positives…and on the notion that damaging him on principle, if it results in a GOP victory, will do immeasurable damage to our country. That is something I want to avoid at all costs.

Essentially, I am asking progressives and liberals who see Obama as a failure…to do exactly what Obama is doing…to try to get as much as possible out of a no-win situation. I am saying that even those who see Obama as a lousy choice, should be able to refrain from damaging him any more than necessary in order to prevent an even worse scenario from coming into play…a GOP victory. (And keep in mind that I am not a liberal…nor a Democrat. I simply see the GOP base, as something so potentially devastating for our country that allowing it to chose who leads us must be avoided at all costs.)

Obama could have said “We will have health-care covering EVERY individual in our country and we will use a single payer system…or we will have nothing.” Instead, he took what he could get. It is far from perfect, but it is a start in the correct direction. Obama could have said, “We will have extended unemployment benefits for the chronically unemployed AND we will allow the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy to expire…or we will have nothing.” Instead, he took what he could get. Far from perfect, but the compromise of giving up the tax cuts expirations for enough votes to pass extended unemployment was worth it.

For anyone who thinks Obama is a lousy alternative, but a better alternative than what the GOP will offer…vote for Obama. And stop damaging him unnecessarily. You will be doing what he has been doing that so upsets you, but it really is the best thing to do. It is an expedient…distasteful to those who see evil intentions in what Obama is doing…but still the right thing to do for the country.

Just my opinion, of course. But that is what we share here in OS.

Thanks again, Fly, for hearing me out. Glad you are among the ones who see the danger...and will vote for Obama despite your misgivings.
It's a good idea to make clear what Apisa is recommending. The OP rather nicely lays out what options Obama offered in order to get elected and what he has accomplished in backing away from all of them. All of his initial expectations have been pretty much frustrated and his energy in carrying forward the rewarding of the criminal behavior of the financial sector, the cave in to the insufficient health care insurance companies which have degraded US health care well below the better possibilities exhibited in more sensible countries, to support of the totally unsuccessful and immensely expensive wars in the Middle East, the consistent support of corporate power in opposition to the economic ad ecological welfare of the nation, the total retreat in a fair tax system to at least somewhat balance the huge and growing gap in wealth between the super rich and the rest of the nation, the concession to ravage basic Medicare and Social Security which has no effect on the debt problem, the agenda of increasing pressure to destroy basic civil liberties and the outrageous claim to demand the right of assassination of anyone he personally judges to be a security threat with no reference to basic legal protections and so forth and so on.

Apisa is claiming that swallowing these huge destructions only proves that Obama is a great president doing his best to hold off the totally disintegrative force of the barbarians in the Republican party who will smash everything to bits if they gain absolute power.

My point is what worse can the Republicans do? With Obama's agenda there is nothing left to smash. Apisa is saying he would rather let Obama do the smashing than let the raving maniacs in the opposition whack everything to bits. Frankly, I don't give a damn who does the smashing.

My point is that the smashing has to be stopped and somebody somehow somewhere has to stop it. It's obvious neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are capable of or are willing to do that.

If you don't look, you won't find. We should be looking. Very seriously looking. Apisa wants to smile and let it all happen.
frank WON't look. He only learned how to spell his savior's name a week ago.

After three years here, someone had to hand-hold him into understanding how to rate a blog post.

Until someone more suited comes along, apisa will, forever remain the dunce in the corner.
Jan wrote: Apisa is claiming that swallowing these huge destructions only proves that Obama is a great president doing his best to hold off the totally disintegrative force of the barbarians in the Republican party who will smash everything to bits if they gain absolute power.

I am not doing anything of the sort. This is a straw man.

I am saying it is my opinion that he is doing the best he can in the political climate in which he is working...and I honestly do not think any other Democrat would be doing much better if he/she had been elected instead of Obama.

Why the need for straw men, Jan?
Obama obviously wanted to be Clinton, the Sequel, and no amount of economic crash was going to cause him to change course. As an after-the-election self admitted New Democrat, Obama feels he has to avoid that tried and true and once essential element of Democratic politics -- economic populism.

The problem is that while Clinton got away with selling out the middle class, the reason he did was because his segment of the credit bubble made for an apparently healthy economy. Most didn't notice the foundation of a sustainable economy was being stripped, as easy credit masked the fact that middle class wealth was continuing (despite a brief pop upwards) shrinking, not growing.

Obama adds his game to the Clinton redux, which is, per his 2004 keynote speech: Mr Compromise. The problem is he capitulates before dealing, then tries to sell his Republican-rooted scheme as the product of compromise. He's not fooling anyone but the Franks of America and despite their delusions, Obama is singularly responsible for losing Congress and the majority's enthusiastic support.

Obama, wanting to have something he could call healthcare reform, but not wanting to alienate his Wall Street funding, allowed Congress to have industry lobbyists write a Screw You, America self-dealing law. He evidently saw his jobs as selling what the industry wanted to the American people, not selling what the people wanted to the industry.

So we're stuck with being bled by corporate interests with no American interest. So much for hope and change, and so much for a President, elected to represent the people, representing the people. The audacity of Nope.

The same New Democrat corporate servitude applies to his refusal to prosecute Wall Street's bad actors. If he did, he'd be pissing off his true constituency, and wouldn't get the funding needed to try to fool voters into thinking he's acting in their interest or that he's "doing the best he can."

I see Frank has decided to bore you with his vast ignorance of politics. Frank, you simply don't know what the hell you're talking about. I've detailed why before, so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just say your act needs something to make it relevant and interesting, so if you can juggle cats or bowling balls, I suggest you add that to your endlessly regurgitated shtick.

Even though the GOP doesn't yet have anyone capable of knocking Obama out, the right Right candidate only has to act like they're representing the people to get--ironically, considering the perception--to the left of Obama. To Obama's "left" lies the majority of Americans on the jobs/economy issue. The only thing preventing that is the GOP primaries and the radical base.

However, keep in mind Obama is doing his best to sell the GOP BS line about the debt, the confidence fairy and the "Job Creators" being those top .001%ers. The right GOP candidate can easily break that off in his ass. I see Gov Christie is going to visit Iowa soon.......

What needs to happen is a challenge from a Democrat--a real one--to return the Dem Party to its middle class roots. Mr Hope and Change is a plotz, so even if he does win, nobody else does. That won't happen, so all we're left with is hoping the guy who will sell us out for a slightly better price wins.
Well, Paul, you seem to keep telling everyone with whom you are in disagreement that they are fools, or ignorant, or don't know what they are talking about. You seem to disparage everyone with whom you disagree.

Why don't you work up the courage to take on some people who are as brilliant, informed, experienced, and insightful as you? Why keep mixing it up with those of us who are not your intellectual equals? Are you afraid to do the intellectual equivalence of “picking on someone your own size?”

You sound like a young kid…my guess is you haven’t experienced much of the world. Good for you if you are…and have decided to “get involved.” More young people ought do so. But most likely, you are getting what you consider knowledge out of books…and supposing that makes you authoritative.

It doesn’t, Paul…and cloaking yourself in the absurd clothing of Professor Irwin Corey in your posts doesn’t make you the arbiter of what is reasonable or intelligent in the political conversations of OS?

As respectfully as I can say this, all it does is to make you look the fool and ignoramus you suggest all your opponents are.

By the way, I notice you haven’t bothered to do a bio. You really should. Be nice to know if you are someone speaking about things you’ve actually experienced…or just the young kid I think you are pretending to be knowledgeable.
"Well, Paul, you seem to keep telling everyone with whom you are in disagreement that they are fools, or ignorant, or don't know what they are talking about. You seem to disparage everyone with whom you disagree."

You stupid fuc*ing constipated old goat. Paul is not telling "everyone with whom he (he) disagrees) that they "are tools or ignorant . . ."

Nor am I, Jan, Flylooper, and a whole host of people who have more brains in their tiny pinkies than you have ever had in your chronic malfunctioning brain.

He's telling YOU that, and it is true, and the reason he's singling out you, is because like me, you haven't the spine nor the intellect to answer substantive comments with anything more intelligible than a four year old might.

It is YOU whois flitting from board to board disparaging anyone who dare disagree with your vapid vision. Transference is neat when one can play the poor injured victim, but your sick shtick is old and moldy and we've bee subjected to three plus years of the same sh*t.

Everyone is wrong - only frank knows what is right for the country.

apisa (sh*t)

You want Paul to write a bio?

Should he include stupid stuff like: "On a political continuum with Extreme Liberal at 1 and Extreme Conservative at 10, I can be found at position “P.”

and

"Goddam near everyone I work with or play golf with, almost all of whom are 70+ year old white, males, is a die-hard conservative. I love each and every one of ‘em—love every bone in their heads. Truly!"

Put your depends back on - your urine soaked crib awaits.
Frank,
I'm old enough to remember what real Democrats looked like, and smart enough to know when I see a pretender. When my family gathered, mostly at holidays, the political conversations were attended by a national security official from within Nixon's White House, one who registered voters in Philadelphia MS during Freedom Summer and met and marched with King, Selma to Montgomery, another who marched with Chavez. We had one of the prominent figures in the Pentagon Papers, Silkwood trial and Iran/Contra scandal as a house guest for a couple of months. I was watching Cronkite's lead story several times while sitting on the same couch as the men he was talking about. I was talking politics on a level you'll never reach when I was a 14 year old kid.
I knock-down your foolishness based on facts. I apply the ignorant label based on those facts. I append the horse's ass label because in spite of the fact you're politically ignorant, you can't stop yourself from lecturing others. Political idiots are one of my pet peeves. Ignorance is passive and is something we all have in some areas, but when aggressively expressed, it's pure stupidity.

If you care to challenge me, do it formally. I can break you down and wipe the deck with you, as you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I eat know-nothings as appetizers on the way to conversations that would leave you with no purpose other than serving drinks and busing our table.

How old am I? Over 50, and well old enough to know if age had a lot to do with knowledge, you'd be smart enough to do something besides bitch like a little wannabe punk.

As far as my posts go, whiny ass, tell me how many of yours have been linked in the Washington Post, or even read by more than a couple of hundred people. I'm the last guy you want to take on, so where I'm concerned you'd be wise to shut your piehole and let my factual deconstruction of your asinine theories wash over you sans rebuttal.
This single sentence describes apisa (sh*t) perfectly:

"I append the horse's ass label because in spite of the fact you're politically ignorant, you can't stop yourself from lecturing others. "
My Paul…over 50…and still not able to deal with anger any better than that???!!

And all the name calling…is that really necessary?

The question remains…since I have heard you call many people stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and all the other words you throw at people like a schoolyard bully…why don’t you “pick on someone your own size”, metaphorically speaking?

You are definitely not “the last guy” I’d want to take on…because blowhards like you are usually a snap to blow away.

As far as you “talking politics at 14 on a level” I’ ll never reach…well, you aren’t at that level now, so why should I accept you could do it then? You argue like a 14 year older at this time…and a not especially mature 14 year older at that.

Grow up a bit! Stop all the name calling and bravado…and maybe then you can tell people about your skills and not get laughed at.
as*hole apisa, the name calling will stop when you either STFU or respond substantively to any of the real issues that thinking people raise.

Fourteen year old??? Heck an eight year old has more political savvy and knowledge than you.

You offer nothing but slavering slogans lecture everybody and think you'll be treated with respect.

Impossible as it may seem, you're even more dense than I thought.
Frank,
That sure doesn't look like a formal challenge. At least we can say you're that smart. The only one around here eliciting unintended laughter is Frank Apisa, self-hypnotized political wannabe.

You're a one-note jackass with a child's grasp of politics and your own dumb ideas that you haven't spent 2 seconds researching. Anyone thinking Obama is stumbling because the "liberals" complain, or that America sees issues on a 50-50 split is just expressing plain--and in your case I'd say-- Garden State variety ignorance.
Add another pet peeve -- you don't know what the word "liberal" means.
Now go bray your one-note song on the unfortunate blog of your choice. I said what needed saying, and you're not worth anyone's wasted time. Go scribble yet another post the same as the one before, and the one before that. Maybe someday one of your "knowledgeable" posts will get linked in the Weekly Reader.

Your reply here didn't rise above crybaby, and no embellishment on your part can cover over that.

In the immortal words of Gordon Ramsay:
Piss off.
Transference and myopia are useful to frank, when he doesn't see that he is THE one flitting from blog to blog, confirming the near unanimous conclusion that a horses as* knows more than him.

They're laughing at you, BOZO - deal with THAT!
I'll make this easy for you, Frank.

Prove that complaining "liberals" (or whichever word you choose) cause a general discouragement among the voting population. You needn't offer proof beyond a preponderance of evidence. Explain how that happens, and by what method the general voting public hears those complaints.

Then prove that America is polarized along a 50-50 (or even near that) split on the various issues of importance. You say that is why Obama has to compromise, so show us the numbers. You may find there's no such polarized beast in how Americans think, so the reason some think America is polarized must have more to do with something else. That misconception is based on something as obvious as hell. Can you figure it out? Evidently not, so show me the numbers. Prove your case.

That aside, when you wail at others along the lines of the school kid cry of...:
"Yeah, but if he loses what then? Will you be happy if he loses? Boy, oh boy, you'll learn a lesson then! Just wait until you see what the Republicans do!"
...you're simply being a whiny bitch. While I can see you getting all emotional once in a while--a long while--such self-serving but otherwise pointless, adolescent kvetching serves no purpose, especially when it becomes your theme song.

So, whiny hormonal imbalance kvetching aside, show us you can be the rational mind you accuse others of not being and PROVE your ever-lovin', constantly stated, Apisa-defining POINT.
First of all, Paul, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that anger management might be something for you to think about.

If you did get all the advantages you suggested you got from your family…(and I think it wonderful that you did)…it is unfortunate they you are pissing it away with all the name-calling and demeaning you do so constantly in your posts. You seem to be stuck in that 14 year-old mode in that regard.

Anyway…to the matters at hand. You consider me a jackass, foolish, ignorant, unknowledgeable…and a host of other negatives…yet you, a person who claims to be extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, and a host of other positives…want to debate me! Wow! Sorta like Walidimir Klitchko challenging me to step into the ring with him, wouldn’t you say? And you show pride in having made such a brave move!

Thanks…nothing like a good belly-laugh to set the mood before heading out to the course for my round.

Anyway, let’s see if you are up to the job. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to defend what I have actually said…rather than what you want to pretend I have said. We’ll see how you do with this softball and if you handle it adequately, we can move on to other items I have actually posted.

My main theme is: It is my opinion that Obama is doing his very best under the circumstances in which he is working…a toxic political climate; that he is getting as much as the obstructionists with their many procedural tactics will allow him to get; and that I doubt any other Democrat in the office would be getting appreciably more.

Now…I want to see all the evidence you can present that shows that is NOT my opinion.

You do realize, of course, I have even qualified that opinion several times with the words, “I may be wrong, but that is what I think.”

SO…let’s hear the evidence you have that I have misstated my opinion.

By the way, I have an affidavit on my desk from myself that clearly states that the statement up above in bold DEFINITELY IS MY OPINION! I cannot wait to see what you have.

You go!

Gotta tell you…this is fun, Paul. I truly appreciate you giving me the chance to hone my debating skills against someone as formidable as you.


(Fly, if you want us outta here, just say so. I'm sure Paul can start another thread devoted to this nonsense.)
And we're at the starting line, and once again, the "jackass, foolish, ignorant, unknowledgeable" bartender/strip club owner demands that the other person answer his contentions, yet refuses to respond to opposing points of view, himself.

Yes, apisa (sh*t) resumes in the same vacuous empty headed horses as* manner in which he concluded yesterday.

SSDD
Oh and BTW dickwad debate does not consist of repeating the same repetitious slogans until EVERYONE knows the inanity you're about to spew even before you open your flea-bitten mouth.
Holy cow! I had no idea I would start such a flame fest. I'm not going to interupt (that's for you guys to settle) but I can say that I think you all have something to say. I have long been a reader of Paul's, and Mark from time to time. Frank's new to me so, basically, I have, nor want, any skin in this little game.

Paul, you make a hugely important comment which bears noting:

"The problem is that while Clinton got away with selling out the middle class, the reason he did was because his segment of the credit bubble made for an apparently healthy economy. Most didn't notice the foundation of a sustainable economy was being stripped, as easy credit masked the fact that middle class wealth was continuing (despite a brief pop upwards) shrinking, not growing."

This is something that a lot of people just miss. We've been using our credit card for 30 years and the Clinton expansion (the dot.com gold rush) was almost singularly responsible for "the good years." Right on their heels was, of course, the housing bubble. Everyone had equity and borrowed like mad against it.

Ironically, the people who most garnered the debt for all the failure at the street level....banks (Retail and investment) don't want to pay the f'ing bill.

I think your assessment of Obama is a bit harsh. There are personal characteristics about him which make him unable to stiffen his back. He HATES confrontation. I'm convinced that there's something in his background which makes him want to please people.

What we need is an LBJ Democrat...someone who could grab a congressman by the nuts and talk sense into them.

As he is reputed to have said, "When you have 'em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."
Frank,
I said your opinion was ignorant. I said you're politically ignorant. I never said that ignorance extends into all areas. You probably have some opinions I'd find agreeable enough. You're the one who made it personal, so your post-incident wounded-wing act is as unimpressive as your argument. It's also reflective of your blindness, now extended to ignoring the obvious--in the same comment thread.

Now you ignore your oft-babbled accusations of the dissenters causing voter abandonment and being in league with the conservative devils. Now we have your "main theme," which is merely repeating the "he has no choice", 50-50 split theory.

Your defense of your unfounded, baseless opinion runs along the lines of affecting a rational posture. We should discuss it, just as we'd discuss all opinions. The problem with that is your opinion is baseless -- not grounded in fact. Pulled from the nether regions of your imagination. You're being reasonable, and will be glad to discuss it...with anyone willing to consider your thoughts as reflecting a great truth.
You cannot show a real connection, so why should anyone do anything but dismiss your theory? Why discuss something that isn't true? I never entertain wobbly arguments beyond chopping the legs out from under them. If I acted as if you had something relevant to say, it would mean I also can't tell fact from fiction.

I'll leave it here for now, with you standing near naked, holding the empty bag of your thinking. I have written, and more than once, showing why arguments like yours are pointless. I put some foundation under my analysis. I was raised to never offer thoughts when I don't have evidence to support. I'd suggest that for you, but I wouldn't want to strip you of all you have in this area.

Chalk this scolding up to penance for your sin of accusing me of being in league with Cheney, et.al. A few acts of contrition are still in order for your constant blasting of others along those lines. It's nothing more than self-anointing annoyance.

You might try proving your new "main theme." I see nothing there but regurgitation of an unfounded opinion. Perhaps you have confused the fact that it's valid to have an opinion with your opinion being valid. I see GI-GO. Prove it isn't.

If you can't, I suggest you play ball in your league. Tommy T and company, and enlightened belle. The former has your same grasp of reality, the latter...well...let's just say a marriage made in heaven.
Paul said it better than me. I point out concrete facts, and all I EVER get in return is the dumb as*ed slogan "doing he best he can with the cards he's been dealt," with NO supporting rationale.

And what's worse, he flits from board to board repeating his mantra at thinking fact-based people wherever he can find them.

The preacherman scolding university professors, historians, and thinkers of all manner.

The only point upon I diverge with Paul is that I hold apisa in greater disdain than tommy loony tunes, or for that matter any of the mental cretins who frequent these halls.

Quite frankly, for three years, now, as far as I can see frank IS the absolute lowest of the low (unless one wants to consider babbling "collectivist" gorgon, more than just a cartoon character).

Calling frank a buffoon is an insult to buffoons
Well, Paul, it sounds like you already are chickening out…and the debate hasn’t even started. I expected as much…people like you almost always declare victory immediately…and then hide from the line of fire.

Fact is, you are a guy who, if you are telling the truth, apparently was born on third base…and has spent most of your life supposing you got there by having hit a triple.

You didn’t…and from the looks of things, Paul, you’ve managed to waste the advantage your lucky birth situation dealt you. Stretching the metaphor, you have gotten picked off base. You show no class…and your need to demean is indicative to me of a rather troubled personality…of someone insecure.

But for laughs…and I am having plenty of them…let’s take a look at one of your comments (just for the humor it will bring into the life of anyone listening in):

I said your opinion was ignorant. I said you're politically ignorant. I never said that ignorance extends into all areas. You probably have some opinions I'd find agreeable enough. You're the one who made it personal…

Good grief, that one almost made me strain my belly muscles it was so funny. You did call me ignorant…and as for “making it personal, read this thread…try actually listening to what has been written. How anyone could possibly assert that I am the one who “made things personal” in this thread is beyond imagination.

In your very first post in this thread, you wrote:

He's not fooling anyone but the Franks of America and despite their delusions, Obama is singularly responsible for losing Congress and the majority's enthusiastic support.

I see Frank has decided to bore you with his vast ignorance of politics. Frank, you simply don't know what the hell you're talking about.I've detailed why before, so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just say your act needs something to make it relevant and interesting, so if you can juggle cats or bowling balls, I suggest you add that to your endlessly regurgitated shtick.


C’mon, Paul. Get real!


As for my “main theme”…well, I have mentioned the quote I gave earlier in almost all of my other posts…and you apparently want to deflect from that being the case. I can understand why. You are unable to acknowledge that my opinion is just that…my opinion…just as your opinion that my opinion is uninformed or vacuous is just your opinion. There are lots of elements to any opinion, Paul, many of them hidden from conscious view. Some people may have skin color as one element…and never even realize it. Perhaps the fact that Obama is slim impacts on some…or because he has short hair. I have my opinions because I have my opinions…and your opinion that my opinions are not as informed as yours is intellectual mastrubation on your part.

In any case, I think your family should have spent less time putting you in contact with national security advisors and freedom marchers…and spent more time on teaching you how to deal with anger…and with being reasonable and courteous to those not fortunate enough to have been born as lucky as you.

Chances are you are not really going to debate me on the merits of what I have said in OS…you are going to continue to do name calling and playing these “I am a superior being” cards that anyone truly listening to will laugh off. And of course, you will try to deflect from dealing with the essentials of what I have said.

In the event you do decide to man up, however…I will post my earlier comments a second time:

My main theme is: It is my opinion that Obama is doing his very best under the circumstances in which he is working…a toxic political climate; that he is getting as much as the obstructionists with their many procedural tactics will allow him to get; and that I doubt any other Democrat in the office would be getting appreciably more.

Now…I want to see all the evidence you can present that shows that is NOT my opinion.

You do realize, of course, I have even qualified that opinion several times with the words, “I may be wrong, but that is what I think.”

SO…let’s hear the evidence you have that I have misstated my opinion.

By the way, I have an affidavit on my desk from myself that clearly states that the statement up above in bold DEFINITELY IS MY OPINION! I cannot wait to see what you have.

You go!

Gotta tell you…this is fun, Paul. I truly appreciate you giving me the chance to hone my debating skills against someone as formidable as you.
More of the same sh*t from the guy who deals in sh*t only.

Once again, he DEMANDS P.J. do it his way, on opinions.

P.J., by contrast offers up FACTS, and that is the way the bartender/strip club manager refuses to play.

FACTS are apisa's enemy. He never offers up his own facts, feeling his stupid as* opinions trump anyones FACTS.

you are not debating, frank. Stop fooling yourself. you are, merely, talking to yourself and scolding those who DO deal with facts.

Seeking therapy won't help, because you hear only yourself.

When you look in the mirror, there is nothing there.
Frank,
You act as if stating your "opinion" immunizes you from quibbling details such as having a factual basis and a logical chain of inferences and implications. Opinions are based on some factual or perceived as factual information. Good information leads to sound opinions. Bad information leads to poor opinions. Reason--and all the word implies-leads to useful or insightful, relevant opinions.

You ask me to prove your attempt at avoidance statement isn't your OPINION.

You're confusing feeling and opinion. While how you feel is important to you, it only finds use in self reflection or others maternal instincts or psychoanalysis.
There, there, Clarice. Things will get better. The voices...the destructive devils of liberal intolerance...will someday be silenced....you will let me know when the liberals are silent, won't you, Clarice?

I asked you to offer proof of two of your oft-expressed ideas. Instead of responding to the query you previously claimed to invite, you attempt to make them disappear by stating your "theme" and "opinion." The last time I saw a magic act like that was when my son was a toddler and thought, as all do, that by putting his hands over his eyes others couldn't see him.

We are not debating, Frank. I am asking for information on statements you made, and made aggressively and serially. Suddenly the accusations and analysis you felt were strong and true---so much so you used them as the basis for hurling accusations and scolding--are what you call "opinions," somehow validly detached from definitional fealty to truth or perceptions of truth based on some form of evidence.

I have proven your opinion is actually feelings...nothing more than feeeel-ings. You, by omission, have validated my opinion of your shtick. The flopping and attempts at wit and artful insult are inept and, to anyone with the mental skills of argumentation, are obvious distractions. If you actually had those skills, you wouldn't expose yourself that way.

Frankly, Frank, and ironically, considering, you argue like a Right-Winger. Unsubstantiated affirmative statement followed by feigned shock, lame attempts at insult and claims of victim hood. Requests for qualification answered by more of the same. The stereotypical path leading to that last gasp defense and claim of victory -- saying things so damn dumb your adversary's only valid conclusion is you're an idiot. Then you can claim ad hominem -- knowing only the term without realizing it's really all you've offered -- declare "victory" and depart the field.

But in your case you keep coming back. Your ego --the same one that made you into a keen political analyst and public scold -- won't allow you do simply and silently fold your tent. It's as if you think you can lose 20% on every transaction and make up for it with volume.

You have no debate skills to hone, Frank.
Paul, you wrote:

You have no debate skills to hone, Frank.

Well you certainly do, Paul…and they need LOTS of honing.
You also wrote:

But in your case you keep coming back. Your ego --the same one that made you into a keen political analyst and public scold -- won't allow you do simply and silently fold your tent.

Yes, I notice you “keep coming back” also. Neither of us seems willing to “silently fold the tent.”

So I guess I have to ask: Are you conceding that my opinion is my opinion…and that you have no evidence or facts to show that I have misstated my opinion?

When we get that out of the way, perhaps we can move on to discuss the quality of the opinions...yours and mine.
My Lord, frank, You stupidity IS boundless.

Debate is what You think You sell at apisa's live bait and shot bar.
Evidence? Facts?

Facts are totally ignored by you.

I knew you were a horse's as*, but never realized the depths of your misfiring neurons.

Facts are your enemy, as*wipe.
I am sorry to just now be reading this! Why are we patiently waiting? I have yet to understand his strategies, but I do agree with you that he missed many an opportunity. He is not confrontational and he does not seem to have a lot of fight in him, but I wonder if he is in a position that he cannot do anything effectual because of the system and those who control it, being that they are the system itself. However, this is a poor excuse. I do agree with you that he leaves too much up to Congress without clear direction, and that he made significant errors in not employing talents of the likes of Paul Krugman. The sad thing is, our only hope is that he is re-elected, but this time, with a much more progressive Congress in the majority.