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Democrats to Obama: Stay Out of Town

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As the clock ticks down to zero hour for the Congressional Super Committee, President Obama is on a nine day relationship-building junket to Asia. Leaving town when Congress is struggling with issues crucial to the American economy has become Obama’s stock in trade. Prior to the Asia tour, he spent weeks on the campaign trail, ducking the difficult job of developing a meaningful resolution of the debt crisis. He did, however, use his electioneering to sharpen his divisive rhetoric, which accomplished nothing except to widen the partisan divide.

Oh, and one other thing. It clarified Obama’s re-election strategy. Like the sun rising in the east, he will, of course, continue to lob blame bombs in all directions. But, he’s also putting geographic distance between himself and Washington D.C.  He places a lot of faith in the out of sight, out of mind maxim, hoping physical separation will dissociate him from the mess he’s helped create.

Obama’s re-election game plan should not come as a huge surprise, since it has a lot in common with his governance style. For the latter, he offers meaningless straw man proposals for chronic problems that can neither work nor be accepted. And when they aren’t, he casts aspersions on whomever for rejecting them.

The latest two examples are his “millionaires and billionaires” debt solution and his jobs plan. Both are non-starters because there’s a lot more harm than the little good in them and so cannot responsibly be put in place. But, they’re great sound bites for those desperate for easy solutions to devastating dilemmas. Obama hopes enough of those folks are out there to keep him in the White House.

To be sure, Obama’s strategy, whether governance or re-election, is much easier than long hours at the negotiating table facing huge helpings of bitter choices. And at least part of that strategy is getting support from unexpected places. Democrat Congressman Heath Shuler, N.C., agrees that Obama should stay out of town.

Shuler is the co-leader of a bipartisan group of 100 representatives urging the Super Committee to cut the debt by $4 trillion. He doesn’t think a divisive president can help that effort. Obama has made himself such a lightning rod for political rancor that the resolution process stands a better chance of succeeding without him. That’s a pathetic commentary on the so-called leader of our country, especially from someone who sits on the same side of the political aisle.

Shuler’s bipartisan effort, co-led by Republican Rep. Mike Simpson (ID), is one ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak outlook. Unlike the rest of their colleagues, they and the other 98 representatives in their group, want all options on the debt reduction table. Without both revenue increases and spending cuts, there’s no chance for a sustainable debt reduction.

The question is whether anyone in D.C is listening to them. Some in Congress are already revving up the blame machine, as the Super Committee remains deadlocked. The prospect of failure looms so large that, today, the smart money in town is squarely on fiasco. Two years ago, Obama was labeled the “Great Mediator”. Where is that guy now? Oh, yeah, he’s out of town. When asked, given the perilous economic times at home, whether the president would cut short his Asian trip, White House officials said no. They fear that a foreshortened trip would be a slap in the face to Asian allies. But, it seems a small risk in order to prevent people from growing old on our unemployment line.

What this country needs, even more than debt reduction, is an actual leader. We just can’t seem to elect one.

See you on the left side.

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About Sidney and Riley

  • Cannonshop

    But getting back to your question, after a moment outdoors…

    why should the guy who makes your food happen have less of a voice, than the college-bound urbanite who thinks food comes off a truck?

  • Cannonshop

    #42 it’s worth what it’s worth-How much value is the vote of someone who only thinks about their government, or their country, once every four years, and only then in a context similar to that of a sports fan?

    “Our team-Their-Team”, Red State Blue State?

    fundamentally, I agree that the Electoral College system is failing-but for reasons WAAAY different than you do- I like what Maine did with theirs-instead of the whole state going to a candidate, it’s by district-so in theory, Maine could split FOUR ways, instead of going-all-to-the-winner. I think the other fifty states should follow suit, one EC vote per district. It’s a hell of a lot less traumatic to the system over-all to make THAT change, than to try and do it by direct election.

  • Zingzing

    You’re trying to explain living in a tourist/service economy to me? Maybe I’m misunderstanding you.

    I’m fine w your first paragraph. That may be true, but it doesn’t answer my question about what you think a person’s vote should be worth.

  • Cannonshop

    #38 just because the money is spent there, doesn’t mean it is to the benefit of the locals, Zing, nor does it mean the spending is beneficial to the local economy-it just means that the money was allocated…somewhere.
    A large number of BLM, DoD, BIA or other offices, for instance. NOT quite the same thing as lots of things that generate good paying jobs for people who live in the area. DoD ships in most of the food and other goods used at military bases from out of state (usually ‘big states’ like yours or Kalifornia), that reflects ‘spending’ but doesn’t contribute locally. get it? Spending=High, but unless you’re in a base or college town, you’re not seeing any benefit from it.

    That’s the sort of environment I’m trying to explain to you-living in a Tourist/Service economy is a nightmare, and your costs are high, in spite of (or maybe BECAUSE OF) high Federal dollar expenditures in the geographic location.

    The system works like this: Uncle Sam actively prevents development, while paying out crap, if it stops paying out, it still pays to prevent local development, so it puts whoever lives there in a position of being dependent. Who benefits? it’s not the people who live in that environment, it’s the people who control the Fed, and that goes right back to the Coasts, the ‘big states’, who use the mountain states as vacation sites, and ignore them the rest of the year.

  • @37

    That’s something I didn’t know.

    But as I’ll be getting an SUV in a week, I’ll visit Nashville (a fifty mile drive) if only to see what had become of the local OWS, and check it out.

  • zingzing

    “so they get about twice as much money, which would make sense since they have twice as many votes per person.”

    well… gotta qualify that. electoral college votes aren’t a good representation of reality, so i’m guessing there’s something else going on. more of an interesting correlation rather than one thing depending upon the other.

    i suppose it may be that a lot of that money goes towards federal land within montana, but i dunno.

    new mexico is the highest on that list of “federal spending per tax dollar paid.” it averaged about $2 for the period. wonder what’s going on there. (nm gets 5 votes.) 2nd on the list is mississippi, which has 6 votes. i’m sure there’s some aberrations, but it’s a pattern.

    i saw a demonstration of how someone could win the presidency of the united states by only winning something like 22% of the popular vote. it’s a strange system we have, one way or another.

  • zingzing

    “still a sore point for a lot of people in those states that get flown over by you ‘important’ people from the Coasts and New England.”

    niiiiiice. (but don’t you live in a coastal state?) my vote is worth less than half of a vote from montana. is that okay? or do you believe that every vote should be equal?

    “It is a HUGE topic, esp. for the people from the states where the majority of the land is Federalized to the benefit of the Coasts.”

    does it solely benefit the coasts? i looked up the numbers for “federal spending received for dollar of tax paid” (although the doc only went up to 2005). montana averaged about $1.50 between 1990 and 2005, while new york averaged about $0.80 over the same period. so they get about twice as much money, which would make sense since they have twice as many votes per person.

    “#30 yup, Doc, it was a gag-line”

    fittingly, it’s also the last time the gop found themselves in this situation. (that of running a primary when the other side is not doing so.)

    “Dems are largely very similar in what they want, and agree easily with one another.”

    you do realize how different this is than 4 or 8 years ago, yeah? people get scrappy when they’re trying to win elections. also, there’s a consistent logic (although please don’t ask me what it is,) to the dems’ politics. i can’t see the same over on the other side.

  • Interestingly, though, a Brit like you would idolize a Yank (like Sgt York).

    He was the first war hero who came to mind.

    If you’re still in TN and have time on your hands, there’s a statue of him outside the State Capitol in Nashville.

  • Cannonshop

    #30 yup, Doc, it was a gag-line. (Glad somebody caught that…exaggeration for humour’s sake…)

    The mood behind it, though, was very, very, present. These were people who did NOT like each other-and some of them liked each other LESS than they liked Bill Clinton and HIS supporters (*recall: 1996).

    picking through the right-wing side of the Blogosphere, I’m sure damn glad some of these people aren’t likely to be in the same room unsupervised, not for what they’d do to others, but rather what they’re like to do to EACH Other.

    Krischun Konservatives don’t like Libertarians who don’t like Objectivist/Ayn Randians who don’t like NeoCons (Hey, who DOES like Neocons? Really…), who don’t like…and so on.

    Fact is, and has been since the nineties, that you get ten “Conservatives” in a room, you’ll get eleven definitions of Conservative, ranging from religious fascist to Libertarian Minarchist, and those definitions won’t match on more than two points anywhere between them.

    I would wager that this was even true during the GOP’s “Highlife” from 2000 to 2004. I KNOW it was true in 1994 just after the election, and there’s been damn little to demonstrate that it has changed in any substantial way since.

    Face it folks, Olympia Snowe IS a Republican-and so is Michelle Bachmann. Their philosophies are irreconcilably different, and they come from states less than a thousand miles apart, the voters that put them in office are largely Republican, at least in name, and these two MUST represent what their voters think…or they wouldn’t be in office, now would they?

    OTOH, Patty Murray and Harry Reid come from vastly different backgrounds, and are in near-perfect lockstep in spite of hailing from states MUCH more separated not only in distance, but terrain, population base, etc.

    Dems are largely very similar in what they want, and agree easily with one another. Republicans are NOT that way, even when they’re ‘winning’.

  • Cannonshop

    #31 do we really need to go into land-use? It is a HUGE topic, esp. for the people from the states where the majority of the land is Federalized to the benefit of the Coasts. The misgovernment of the Dept. of the Interior (From BIA right on through to EPA) is still a sore point for a lot of people in those states that get flown over by you ‘important’ people from the Coasts and New England.

  • Give credit to GW, though. He didn’t do any cowboy holler unless it was at his Crawford ranch.

    Interestingly, though, a Brit like you would idolize a Yank (like Sgt York).

    Just kidding.

  • Zingzing

    Maybe I meant “zombie” in a more haitian way, doc.

  • and the dems nominated a zombie.

    Hindsight has a knack of rewriting history more deftly than a conservative Christian fundamentalist.

    You often hear Democrats and their sympathisers say that Kerry was a rubbish candidate, but they believed in him pretty damn strongly at the time. And he did take the presidential election all the way to the wire, in a year when the Dems in general did poorly at the ballot box.

    Kerry is and was a very able politician, but he let himself get sucked into the Democrats’ election strategy, which itself sucked. Trying to portray Kerry as Bush Nice.0 was embarrassing enough. But their biggest mistake was to play up the military angle, even though Reagan and Clinton had both demonstrated that you didn’t have to be Sergeant York in order to be an effective president.

    And let’s face it, a party that allows itself to be deprived of a star candidate like Dean because of one cowboy holler doesn’t, frankly, deserve to win.

  • Zingzing

    What restrictions are put on a guy in Montana to benefit new Yorkers, cannonshop?

    And if people in Montana have “virtually no voice,” maybe they should yell louder… Or get more people to yell with them.

  • The last time I went to a gathering of Republicans was in the 1996 election, the only reason they didn’t start physically fighting, was that everyone was armed.

    LOL @ Cannon!

  • Cannonshop

    #28 Only in some views of election, Zing. New York has considerably more Electoral votes than Montana. And the other bit about that, is that the guy in Montana,when he bothers to think about the other forty nine states, probably feels like a second-class citizen what with all the restrictions imposed on him to benefit New Yorkers and having virtually no voice in congress or on national issues the other three years in the cycle.

  • zingzing

    i agree, cannon, but in 2004, the dems looked like the disorganized, cannibalizing party you see in the gop today. and the dems nominated a zombie. i was genuinely shocked when they lost, given dubya as an opponent.

    i was at an election party in seattle at the time. a big old loft space with a projection screen and a pool table and an open bar. we were really ready for a celebration.

    and that was election day.

    there’s a year left before the election. things will change. right now, i think you’re right. there’s no reason to believe that the gop can pull this one off given their candidates and their propensity for gaffes and/or molestation. haha.

    but a year in politics is far too long. don’t make your bets now. as much as it pains me to say it, obama isn’t a lock. dems can be lazy if you give them the confidence to be so. that’s what happened in 2004. thought it was gold. wasn’t so.

    the electoral college! the vote of a guy in montana is worth so much more than mine in new york. people in urban states have to realize that we are discounted citizens.

  • “The choice to run Kerry at that time was a mistake”

    Yup. He came off like an early 20th century politician in the early 21st century, but party leaders were scared of Dean’s independence from them so they had to find someone the establishment could get behind (and control). If party leaders had gotten behind him, I think Dean would have beat Bush. His 50-state strategy worked well for Dems in 2006 and 2008.

  • Cannonshop

    #23 And Zing, doesn’t that reek of desperation to you? Desperation is NOT a symptom of a party that is unified. The last time I went to a gathering of Republicans was in the 1996 election, the only reason they didn’t start physically fighting, was that everyone was armed.

    The GOP is an alliance of factions out of necessity, that can’t stand one another, the necessary alliance (of sorts) comes from facing a Democratic Party that, even on its most divisive day, is more uniform and unified than your typical gathering of Conservatives (most of whom can’t even agree on WHAT defines the word “Conservative”.)
    Since the Clinton years, the times Dems have lost, were times that they very easily could have won-they LOST 2000 and 2004, the second being an election that should’ve been in the bag for them with an unpopular war, unpopular president, and relatively weak economic recovery.

    The choice to run Kerry at that time was a mistake-they found the one guy that could unify their foes against them.

    Obama doesn’t have that flaw, in spite of the rhetoric-because he’s a generally likeable dude, and he’s up against a roster of born losers.

    The best chance the GOP had, would’ve been to get Gov. Christie of New Jersey-who turned the Party down FLAT, and flatly refused to subject himself to the goofy and destructive ‘nomination process’.

    Honestly, the GOP is bereft of credible leadership, riven with factions that really do not get along, and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future.

    It’s NOT 1980, Obama is not Carter, and there IS NO “Reagan” to challenge him.

    Ron Reagan was called “The Great Communicator” not only for his ability to speak on stage, but for his ability to make the various factions speak to each other in civil terms and work toward those ends they (barely) held in common.

    Ain’t got nobody can do that now.

    There’s nobody who can make the Hamptons/Wallstreet crowd listen to the one-horse corner grocer from flyoverland, nobody who can make it clear what the penthouse dweller has in common with the guy in the Trailer Park who works under the table, and get both of THOSE to realize what goals/dreams/ideals they share with the mid-level worker with a mortgage and 2.5 kids who went to a Tea Party rally because they think the government is bailing out cronies at the expense of taxpayers.

    And, ah, Zing? the GOP tried to destroy the “tea party” before they embraced them-as you pointed out, they can barely stand them, but after the 2010 elections, you’ll note how many radical fringes have tried to legitimize themselves through that Movement. Kind of like your own Dem version, the “Occupy” movement has drawn in the radical fringe of the Democratic Party…

    Difference being, Radical Democrats will still vote Democrat in the General Election, Radicals in the GOP might stay home, or vote third party, and are likely to do one or the other instead of accepting a compromise.

    Which is why Barack Obama will be the President in 2016, when both parties run a primary.

    That is, of course, assuming the Republican Party is even a viable shell by then-which is in doubt.

  • Zingzing

    You really can’t think of one good thing he’s done? That’s just laziness, clavos. I’d bet there are a good dozen bits of legislation he’s signed into law you’d agree with for every divisive bit of legislation you’re bound to disagree with. You’re on the other side of the divide, clavos, in a very divided political landscape. Simply saying meaningless, exaggerated bits like “he’s done nothing good” reveal little about Obama or any intelligent opinion of him you’d like to share. It’s just bitter, see-through hyperbole.

  • Clavos

    And you still can’t say he’s done nothing.

    You’re right. I’ll qualify it to he’s done nothing GOOD.

    Better he should have done nothing.

    What a fuckup he is.

  • Zingzing

    Cannonshop: “My expectation is that Obama will get his second term, whether he has earned it or not. The reason is simply organization-the Democratic Party is far more organized, more thoroughly in lock-step, and less subject to internal bickering, mutual sabotage, and the kind of almost cannibalistic attitudes that infect the GOP.”

    When did that happen? Used to be the other way around. I suspect that one party is running a primary where the other is not, and that’s what you’re seeing. Also, the GOP desperately aligns itself with the tea party, a faction they can hardly live with, and certainly cannot live without at this point.

  • Zingzing

    Says you, clavos. But you’re partisan. And you still can’t say he’s done nothing. If you did, that would just be ignorance.

  • Clavos

    I am well and truly a partisan, Igor. Always have been — just like everyone else on these threads.

    @18: When you’re president, doing nothing is as destructive as doing the wrong thing or doing things badly. Obie is three for three.

  • Cannonshop

    #15, Glenn, I’m not real impressed with ANYONE running this time around-though I admit to being less impressed by some, than by others.

    But it’s still early.

    My expectation is that Obama will get his second term, whether he has earned it or not. The reason is simply organization-the Democratic Party is far more organized, more thoroughly in lock-step, and less subject to internal bickering, mutual sabotage, and the kind of almost cannibalistic attitudes that infect the GOP. Even disappointed Dems will vote for Obama in 2012, but it’s rather more likely that some Republicans will go third party-maybe Ron Paul or some as-yet-undiscovered fringe in the style of Ross Perot.

    That’s my gut on the election.

    As for me, I’ll focus my time and energy on local stuff-where, y’know, my vote actually MIGHT make a difference in my own life, and I’ll watch to see if any of the fifteen or so dwarfs running for the GOP nomination is someone I can stand.

  • Alby

    go to the site whattheheckhasObamadone to easily disprove hacks who can’t differentiate Obama doing anything from Obama doing anything they like

  • zingzing

    clavos: “his president has had nothing to do with anything constructive or substantive since he took office.”

    funny how a man can simultaneously destroy america and do nothing substantive. an amazing trick. or maybe you’re just talking out of your ass one way or another.

  • Igor

    11-Maurice: Carter? Carter mediated the only lasting peace pact in the ME between Israel and Egypt.

  • Igor

    9-Clavos: this astonishing statement just diminishes you to a simple partisan.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Gee, Cannonshop, I just wonder who you’d like to replace him with? Care to name which of the current crop of GOP candidates you think are suitable for the Oval Office?

    Other than John Huntsman, that is – as I’ve stated before, he’s the only one who was a real threat to Obama, since he was the only Republican candidate with guts enough to state the obvious even when it runs counter to Republican dogma.

  • Cannonshop

    7,8: Come on guys, I think it’s a really good strategy-instead of trying to ‘guide’ a discussion that will inflame partisan bickering, Obama’s doing ‘is damn job: Staying out of the way until the legislation is either completed,or the committee demonstrates once-and-for-all that they don’t have the stones to do THEIR job.

    I take it as a positive sign that he’s figured out that he not only doesn’t NEED to be the guy in the spotlight micromanaging everything, but that he doesn’t WANT to do that, that maybe he can get more by interfering LESS.

    *sniff* he’s actually acting like an executive… I’d be proud, except that he’s not exactly lacking the education necessary, nor the book-smarts, and he should’ve already understood this by the time he ran for the Presidency in 2008.

    Now, he just needs to master the two word sentence that cleans up more messes in the office than any others:

    “You’re Fired.”

    ONce he figures out how to fire people who overreach their authority, or mishandle their responsibilities (Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Turbotax Tim…) he’ll maybe be FIT to seek a second term.

    I’m not holding my breath on that, mind you…

  • jamminsue

    I’m confused. Obama a divisive person? What about O’Connell and his stated objective of making Obama a one-time prez and vetoing everything that is sent, no matter what, if it’s from Obama.
    Who’s divisive? Oh, pardon me, of course, that’s not divisive, that’s consistency. And, it shows just how much O’Connell and his pals really care about this country. Not one bit, only about their or their paymaster’s personal power and tax breaks.

  • you’ve the dizzy part down, Maurice

  • Maurice


    (repeat until you get dizzy and fall down)

  • Oh, tut tut.


  • Clavos

    The President has nothing to do with the Super Committee negotiations.

    True, Tommy. In fact, this president has had nothing to do with anything constructive or substantive since he took office.

  • The President has nothing to do with the Super Committee negotiations. His job is to sign or to veto the legislation accomplished. Evidently, you missed that part of civics and you still get your news from Fox.


  • Zingzing

    Great, cannonshop…

  • Cannonshop

    Actually, Zing, it’s a GOOD strategy the President is using, if he is, in fact using it-activism like the repetition of Bush’s Bailouts increased the debt, failed to recover the economy, and tarred Obama’s ‘brand’ pretty badly. OTOH, standing back from everything and letting the Congresscritters bury themselves might be JUST what the Obama Administration needs if he seeks a second term of office.

    If it works, he can take the credit (as all Presidential Administrations do), and if it fails, he can pass the blame-which all presidents have done in the past.

    it’s win-win, as long as his cabinet doesn’t screw it up in such a way that the echo-chamber media can’t ignore it (even then, all he has to do, is fire somebody.)

    Given how easy it’s been for the media to ignore Att’y General Holder arming mexican drug gangs to kill americans and mexicans, that shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Igor

    Lousy article.

  • Get away with what? It’s yet more poor analysis from a mediocre cartoonist.

  • zingzing

    well, you could say the same thing, and get more mileage out of it, by directing that towards the republican members of congress.

    is it unworkable or unacceptable to raise taxes in order to help balance the budget? only these days.

    if baronius says it, or quotes some other conservative saying it, it pretty much comes off a business as usual. just another conservative making a meaningless blanket statement.

    the parties, and the political philosophies in power today, are so far apart that something that seems simple and reasonable becomes stupidity to the other side. and guess what? nothing gets done. fantastic.

    i hope baronius stands tall and proud as he says nothing.

  • Now, if I were to say something like that, I’d be crucified, but a true-blue conservative can get away with it.

  • Baronius

    “he offers meaningless straw man proposals for chronic problems that can neither work nor be accepted. And when they aren’t, he casts aspersions on whomever for rejecting them.”

    That’s as good a summary of this administration as I’ve ever read.