Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 28, 2009

THE ROOT-FOR-FAILURE CAUCUS.... Ever since Rush Limbaugh argued that he hopes President Obama fails in office, there's been some interesting back and forth on whether conservatives should actively and publicly hope for the nation's decline.

It seems to have divided even the most radical of far-right Republicans. On the one hand, we have very conservative leaders like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and TV preacher Pat Robertson who reject such talk outright.

On the other, we have a small handful of figures willing to endorse the sentiment. Yesterday, it was former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who, when asked if he agreed with Limbaugh's remarks hoping for presidential failure, said, "Well, exactly right."

Today, ThinkProgress chatted with former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and radio host Mark Levin, who joined the caucus.

TP: What do you think about what Rush said about, I mean, do you hope, should we hope that President Obama fails?

LEVIN: Yes.

TP: Yes?

SANTORUM: If ... absolutely we hope that his policies fail.... I believe his policies will fail, I don't know, but I hope they fail.

It's possible that my memory is off, but I can't recall ever hearing so many prominent political figures hoping for American leaders' failure like this, especially not in the midst of a crisis.

That it's coming from ideologues who believe they have the edge on "patriotism" -- and insist that Bush's liberal critics were guilty of "treason" -- just makes this all the more bizarre.

About a half-century ago, actor John Wayne, who was very conservative, was asked for his thoughts after JFK defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. "I didn't vote for him," Wayne said, "but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job."

It's the kind of sentiment that seemed obvious up until about, say, a month ago.

Steve Benen 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (117)

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Comments

Really, Steve? That sentiment went out under Clinton, if not under Carter for *&^% sake. Remember when Jesse Helms told Clinton not to come to his state when Clinton had proposed a visit to a military base there. Helms as much as straight out told Clinton he should be assasinated by the military on behalf of regular Americans. The "he's my president" thing didn't stop the Republican party from personally attacking Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt as "class traitors" in the most vicious language imaginable. There hasn't been any civility, or any recognition of "well played, chaps!" in a long, long, long time in American politics--certainly not from the right side of the aisle.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on February 28, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

There are two Americas, one the legitimate stronghold of the GOP loonies; the other a dirty, dishonest, dishevelled mish-mash of welfare moms, libruls, communists, jihadists and fifth columnists.

When the president does it, it is legal - if he's a Republican, of course.

Posted by: SteinL on February 28, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

"About a half-century ago, actor John Wayne, who was very conservative, was asked for his thoughts after JFK defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. "I didn't vote for him," Wayne said, "but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job.""

Common, that is sooo 20th century. This is the 21st century, where conservatives are never wrong and it is their patriotic duty to call out those that don't believe in their "holy grail", whic is tax cuts, tax cuts, and finally, some more tax cuts!

Posted by: barkleyg on February 28, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you can kind of see where they're coming from. If Obama succeeds, their entire pathetic little lives have been spent worshiping false idols. And they won't be able to deny it any more.

Posted by: Arachnae on February 28, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's critics=Traitors
Obama Admin=Bush's critics
therefore
Obama Admin=Traitiors

GOP just hoping the traitors fail.

Pinheads

Posted by: martin on February 28, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

The worst nightmare for Reps is that the stimulus bill works and people conclude that wind/solar, healthcare, food stamps, and refinancing mortgages are stimulative while tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation are bad economic policy. Republicans boxed themselves in by saying any spending won't work, while more tax cuts for the wealthy would. At the end some said spending on roads, bridges etc. would be good, but few will remember that.

I do think it's a bit simplistic, however, to conclude they want the economy or the country to fail. They just don't want these programs to be seen as part of the solution.

Posted by: Danp on February 28, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, danp, since they want Obama and his policies to fail, they do want the economy and country to fail. Catastrophe is the only way to prove that they were right. Being right is more important.

Posted by: jen f on February 28, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh --the Denihilist.

Posted by: alan on February 28, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

You're exactly right- - but fair's fair: who hasn't heard progressives say "he's not MY President" about W -- or even Reagan?

Posted by: anonymous on February 28, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

We now have our "line in the sand" to define, in starkly discriminatory lines, the meaning of "Patriotism:" One the one side, we have Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, and the FAIL brigades------------and on the other, we have John Wayne. If the Right wants to call John Wayne a Communist, or even suggest by their actions that John Wayne is a Communist, then America will rip the Right from their broadcast studios, their dinner tables, and their beds in the middle of the night---and devour them alive.

Pass the Grey Poupon....

Posted by: Steve W. on February 28, 2009 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

I can't say that I find their point of view unrealistic. If these programs succeed it will invalidate pretty much all of the Republican dogma since Reagan. That they are being so frankly vocal about their hopes in this matter says much about how they fear the Obama administrations success.

Posted by: Peter G on February 28, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ooooh. I LIKE that Alan.

Tom Delay is the most cynical, vicious, evil man to hold a position of authority in the House in my memory. The Bug Man. He and his lackey Man-on-Dog are hope our country goes into the toilet (even farther)? Quel suprise.

Time was, Rush Lamebaugh followed their lead. Looks to be the other way now.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 28, 2009 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I never heard progressives challenge Reagan's legitimacy--the whole "he's not my president" thing arose, to the extent it did, after Bush was selected into office. And although a lot of people bitched about it and the asterisk that was supposedly after his name in the record books the entire phrase "W--the President" was a reactionary reaction by Republicans against the perceived illegitimacy of Bush. I never saw any "he's not my president" bumper stickers and as we know the Democratic hierarchy, starting with Gore and with Clinton, never challenged Bush on his legitimacy or on anything else--with the exception of the black caucus which tried to get civil rights abuses in Florida investigated. That's partly why Michael Moore's movie was so shocking--because it queried Bush's legitimacy but only after 9/11.

I'd also like to point out that I've noticed a resurgence or a restatement of a bizarre right wing meme in the last few days. Bush, they acknowledge, was seen as illegitimate because of the closeness of the 2000 election but, they say, *so was Clinton* because it was a *three way race* so he somehow *didn't really win* or didn't win as convincingly as Democrats have to. I've seen that referenced several times, most recently in Peggy Noonan's most recent wet kiss to Obama as the new daddy figure in her life. Obama's win is contrasted to Clinton's because, apparently, it was big enough to turn even the Pegster's head.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on February 28, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't funny that the people hoping Obama fails are pretty much the same ones who would have screamed 24/7, in front of every camera they could find, about the traitors who merely thought Bush was wrong.

What surprises me about these two, is I figured they'd run for office again at some point. Going on camera and rooting for America's failure all but eliminates that.

Posted by: JoeW on February 28, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Obama needs the ill wishes (even misquoted) of LImbaugh to send the country down the toilet. He seems to be doing that quite well with no help. Every time he opens his mouth the stock market drops 150 to 200 points. I think the best analogy right now is MItterand, who really thought he could take France to full socialism after he was elected. Eventually, he backtracked but the country has never completely recovered. The housing crash then was reminiscent of this one.

Posted by: Mike K on February 28, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

mike k:He seems to be doing that quite well with no help. Every time he opens his mouth the stock market drops 150 to 200 points.

and saddam had nukes...

and obama is a muslim...

and the fundamentals are sound..

got it..

fyi..one day last week...the dow went up 250-points..

are you claiming..obama didn't speak?

gop: any suckers left?

Posted by: mr. irony on February 28, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"You're exactly right- - but fair's fair: who hasn't heard progressives say "he's not MY President" about W -- or even Reagan?"
Posted by: anonymous
--------------------------
Straw Man. I can't think of any prominent democrats who said anything even close. People were grumbling and saying it when the wheels started coming off, but no one with access to the media.

Bush had the country and the world in the palm of his hand after 9/11. I supported the war until it was obvious that they lied. Not because I support war, but because one assumes an elected leader has the best interests of the country in mind. Now I know that is/was a childish assumption.

Posted by: ScottW on February 28, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

mike k.....the stock market keeps dropping as a result of the failed policies of the republican party over the past eight years (and beyond), not because obama speaks. you give him far too much credit for being able to control the stock market.

Posted by: just bill on February 28, 2009 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

I saw a clip of the interview that TP had with Tom Delay and he actually used the term "enemy" when referring to the President and his plans for our country. I can't imagine ANYONE who calls him/herself a "patriot" saying such a thing; especially now! During a most critical time in our history, when we should all be working together to bring ourselves out of this mess.

The conservatives prefer to WAGE WAR, instead of HELP right our course?? I'm sure our Founding Fathers would be turning in their graves if they could see such a despicable, self-righteous party doing all it can to make our country fail. What's even sadder is that if our country DOES end up failing for some reason, they will be SO PROUD of themselves for having helped make it happen. Unbelievable!!

Posted by: mrspeel on February 28, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I do not imagine that bigots would call Obama "their president", and want him to succeed. They are all telling us about their bigotry, loud and clear, are they not?

Posted by: Meah Bottoms on February 28, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think the best analogy right now is MItterand, who really thought he could take France to full socialism after he was elected. Eventually, he backtracked but the country has never completely recovered. The housing crash then was reminiscent of this one. - Mike K

Which are you suggesting? That Obama is responsible for the housing crash, or that Bush was a socialist?

Posted by: Danp on February 28, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Evidence that Santelli's rant was a PR stunt:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/02/rick-santellis-faux-rant/

Posted by: inthewoods on February 28, 2009 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

"who hasn't heard progressives say "he's not MY President" about W -- or even Reagan?"

I haven't. And if I were to ask you for any examples, I'd bet you would have to dig through message boards looking for anonymous comments and the like. You certainly would **NEVER** find an example of a democrat or a liberal as prominent on their side as Rush "Oxycontin" Limbaugh is to his openly agitating for a GOP president to fail.

If I'm wrong, then show me an example.

Posted by: Shade Tail on February 28, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

I have an idea for a new political cartoon for the Post. Picture this: Omama reaching into the toilet to pull out the economy, while the elephant headed republicans are holding him back with their right hand and reaching for the flush lever with their right!!

Posted by: zcompguy on February 28, 2009 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

cnn just let Limbaugh blather on uninterrupted for about an hour.

Fair and Balanced!

Posted by: alan on February 28, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

I have an idea for a new political cartoon for the Post. Picture this: Obama reaching into the toilet to pull out the economy, while the elephant headed republicans are holding him back with their right hand and reaching for the flush lever with their right!!

Posted by: zcompguy on February 28, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh's true calling is to root-for-truffles.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on February 28, 2009 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I believe it was Krugman who (on Olbermann, earlier this week) indicated these clowns are sounding more and more like a bunch of Nihilists. And I agree wholeheartedly.
================================================
And more disturbing yet, Eugene Robinson noted (also on Olbermann) that next to no-one in the Republican party is repudiating this nonsense. That's the truly frightening part.

I've only heard/seen a few Republicans cringing--but none outright speaking to the wrongness and asking that it stop. None speaking to the voracity of just how wrong this sentiment is--how angry, how vengeful, how disrespectful, how unpatriotic (Anti-American, really) the conversation has now become.

Cringing is one thing, but protesting it is quite another.

Posted by: No Republicans are asking/demanding the hate Obama/Dem stuff stops on February 28, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK
Common, that is sooo 20th century.
"Common"? Did someone named Common post? Posted by: navamske on February 28, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

The gopdoesn't seem to realize that things *could* go from bad to worse for their party. If they are viewed as the cheerleaders for failure things will get worse.

Hell, you know you're in trouble when even Pat Robertson points out that wishing for Obama to fail means that America fails; it means pain for us all.

Wake up gop, follow rush's insane ugliness at your own peril.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 28, 2009 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Inthewoods: I'm speaking from personal experience, though I'm not gonna name the folks I have in mind out of respect for their privacy and in hopes they've grown more charitable.

But I doubt my experience is unique -- LOTS of fierce partisans thought it was okay to refer to "Bush's war", and so on. F'r instance, there is Paula Poundstone's bit about Bush I, which is on YouTube someplace.

In that sense, there was a slight difference in kind, I think, with the anti-Reagan sentiment that caused progressives to say "he's not MY President", at least when I heard it from political staff: it was a genuinely anti-democratic feeling, the idea that the country was indulging itself in hiring THAT guy as our leader, since they had obviously managed to resist our superior wisdom. (My favorite line at the time was a guy who said to me, 'so, d'ya think Reagan is going to change his tux from the Inaugural, or go into the Oval Office right away -- and dive for The Button?')

With W, because the way he got into office was to utterly bogus, there was an edge to it that wasn't really there with Reagan -- folks were venting when they said 'he's not MY President', in the sense that they didn't vote for him.

Some of us on the Left bitched about it then -- but I don't recall hearing you, which is my point: it's the great close from the Caine Mutiny, where the drunken lawyer tells off the smart guy that you don't serve the captain cuz you like him or cuz he's good at it, you serve him because he's got the job -- or YOU'RE no good.

John Wayne evidently understood that, but before progressives can exploit that fact, we'd do well to be a bit more honest with ourselves, ABOUT ourselves.

Folks always appear as simpler to themselves than we really are.

Posted by: anonymous on February 28, 2009 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

"who hasn't heard progressives say "he's not MY President" about W -- or even Reagan?"

I've never heard anyone say that either. About the strongest I've heard about Reagan or either of the Bushes was something along the lines of "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him."

Posted by: Michael W on February 28, 2009 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

See the few right wing trolls here are updating Archie Bunker's theme song. Just change La Salle to, perhaps, Pontiac, and Herbert Hoover to George Bush. Ah, yes, DocMikey, 2001-2008, "Those were the days".

Posted by: berttheclock on February 28, 2009 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

"I didn't vote for him" - Sorta like the bumper sticker, which read, "Jane Wyman was right".

Posted by: berttheclock on February 28, 2009 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this is grandstanding on the part of some Republicans and deeply held beliefs on the part of others...

Republicans love to talk about how Democrats are unpatriotic, Un-American, they don't love the country, they certainly don't love the troops, they only want a handout and they didn't want to "win" in Iraq, and so on and so on and so on. As a result, to a mindset such as this, to wish illwill or failure - hell, even imprisonment punishment torture or death - on a Democrat, that is acceptable, because it's happening to a traitor, not a bona fide NASCAR-lovin' patriot (you know, like Rush).

As I said, the high-ups muckety-mucks in the GOP might not truly believe that Dems are the enemy. They might, but they might not. But they say it because there are plenty of members in their base who steadfastly believe it, and those members believe it...because the power base keep telling them it's true.

And quite frankly, I'm sure many in the power base believe it as well. Anyone remember that anecdote about the confrontation Sheryl Crow & Laurie David had with Karl Rove, I think at a Correspondents' Dinner? When the women told Rove (still at the WH at the time) that he works for them, what did he say? "I don't work for you; I work for the American people!" Don't think his opinion on those of different mindsets is unique.

And to this mindset, wanting THIS President, or ANY Dem President, to fail is the most patriotic thing they can do. They will not be convinced otherwise easily. Some won't ever be convinced, at all. And the GOP power base love every minute of it, regardless of whether or not it's a philosophy they actually believe. A sad state of affairs, but it's what Obama, and all of us, are up against.

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 28, 2009 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Anonymous - I assume you intended your comment at 7:12 as a response to someone, but not "inthewoods", whose only comment was about Santelli. More to the point, Paula Poundstone is not a spokesperson for anyone. Nor are the other people you are talking about. Limbaugh is the defacto leader of the Republican party. That's the difference. And by the way, the only reason John Wayne is in the conversation is that his response was eloquent.

Posted by: Danp on February 28, 2009 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's not bizarre. Republicans don't care about anything except themselves. They are right, everyone else is wrong, that's the sum total of thier ideas and philosophy. The only reason they vote or run for office is to use the political system to serve them--either by delivering pork barrel goodies, by cutting their taxes, or by hating whoever they hate. Of course they want Obama to fail: that's their rounte back to power. Does this mean they don't give a shit about thier country or their fellow citizens? Well, duh!

Posted by: wonkie on February 28, 2009 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

fyi..one day last week...the dow went up 250-points..

Maybe you mean the day before Geithner announced his bank plan?

If I saw that on an EKG, I sure wouldn't sell you any life insurance. Look at February.

Look out below !

Posted by: Mike K on February 28, 2009 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, nearly every day there is a new revelation, prediction, or analysis published indicating that that the recession is going to get worse before it is better, will last longer than previously expected, etc. It is this news that drives the stock market lower. Nothing Obama or anyone else can do will turn things around in the near term, and as that news sinks in the market sinks lower. If you want to blame someone, blame the financial masterminds that set the whole train wreck in motion over the past few years...

Posted by: idlemind on February 28, 2009 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K-

Do you have anything to contribute other than snark? Are you really trying to blame Obama for the continued tanking and vulnerbility of the markets?

Right now if America were a person Bush is the guy who stuck the knife in and Obama is the guy who is trying to stop the bleeding. You and the gop are just standing there laughing and making snotty comments, saying "you're doing it wrong" and contributing absolutely nothing, pretending you had nothing to do with why he's bleeding in the first place.

You must be charming IRL.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 28, 2009 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

I actually agree with you but it has been known for 79 years that you don't raise taxes, raise tariffs and try to keep wages from dropping in a deep recession. The Fed is flooding the place with new money and that is appropriate, however unlikely it is that Reid and Pelosi will soak it up if things recover in a couple of years.

There is almost no value to trying to reinflate the real estate bubble. The auto industry should be allowed to restructure but we will waste billions trying to keep union salaries far above market and union rules as unproductive as possible.

Obama keeps saying things that are laughable like speculators will not be bailed out. Then he says that he is ready to "do battle" with lobbyists when everyone knows lobbyists wrote the "stimulus bill."

I thought he was smarter than this. That he was lying is a given.

Posted by: Mike K on February 28, 2009 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

You must be charming IRL. - zoe kentucky

Judge for yourself.

Posted by: Danp on February 28, 2009 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

I don't agree with you, zoe, but with idlemind who wrote something sensible.

Actually, zoe, most Republicans, at least the conservative ones, have the most to lose if he screws it up. What you are seeing is mostly "gallows humor," as we are convinced he will damage the economy so badly we will be decades recovering once we pry his ignorant fingers from the controls.

After all, we are the ones who invested in the economy. You are the salary types whose investment is minimal. How many jobs do you create ?

Posted by: Mike K on February 28, 2009 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

I have no secrets from you, Danp. You can even read my book reviews or, for that matter, my book.

Most blogs include the links of those who include them with comments and this blog used to. I guess many of your commenters prefer anonymity but my blog accepts comments. Feel free to read, especially my section on health reform.

You might even be surprised.

Posted by: Mike K on February 28, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

WELL, i think that obombya should be lincolnesque.

and round them up, incarcerate them for sedition.

Posted by: albertchampion on February 28, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there is any real split in the opinions of most conservative political leaders. The only difference between those who will say they hope Obama will fail and those who won;t say it publicly is that those who won't say it still believe they still have a viable further career in running for elected office. They ALL want him to fail, preferably in Nixonian proportions.

Jesse Helms, at the time he said that about Clinton, was sure of his political future and was willing to say what all his supporters believed. That gaves him street-cred among the conservatives as a "straight-talker." Those who won't say it publicly are still looking to woo over some independent voters in the future.

What interests me is that the politicians who are now out of future running consider the Republican Party chances to actually turn their disaster around so bad at the national level that they no longer feel they have to shade their language in public for fear of damaging the Republican Party.

Posted by: Rick B on February 28, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K

The Dow was around 14,000 on Jan 1, 2008. It went to under 8,000 before Obama took office. You want to blame that on him too? You can probably blame 1929 - 1932 on Roosevelt winning in 1932 as well. Really forceful argument there.

Posted by: tomeck on February 28, 2009 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

In addition to 'Grandstanding'
and 'Deeply held beliefs',
I'd add the unstable economic and political picture into the mixture--
along with the fact that
Obama is perhaps the most emotionally and intellectually enlightened President we've ever had.

The Right sees this, and it scares the heck out of them. The greater the threat to their very fabric, the greater the backlash.

Not that these explanations of causation make the utterly debase onslaught of hate-mongering, fear inducing of the President and his policies O.K.

Nor do these factors excuse the horrific silence and absence of protest from those on the Right who know better, those Republican's whose voice would make a difference.

Posted by: Many reasons still don't add up to the gross silence from respected Republicans on February 28, 2009 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K - I've read several of your posts. I think you're a pompous disingenuous fool who doesn't care about the truth, so long as he can find a rationalization that feeds his narcissism. You don't care how many people are hurt by bad policy or what your contribution has been. I know as much about you as I care to.

Posted by: Danp on February 28, 2009 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Mike-

I'm a small business owner- I haven't had a salary job in years.

Thanks for showing your true colors though. You only care about yourself, your money- screw everyone else.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 28, 2009 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

I could point out that nobody ever elected Limbaugh to nothing, but that'd be sorta sophistical: still, he's not the "de factor leader of the Republican Party"; that's just marketing.

The real deal is this -- like it or not, there HAVE been progressives who were happy to disown folks who won elections (like Reagan) when we disagreed with 'em, and you know who understands why that dynamic is flawed?

Obama. The man understands judo.

The great opportunity we have now is to be HUMBLE -- don't blow it.


Posted by: anonymous on February 28, 2009 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

I am a life-long liberal Democrat (58 years!) who never hated Republicans until about 2003 or so. I even voted for Ford in 1976 because I thought he was doing a pretty good job and I felt the country needed some continuity after Watergate and Nixon's resignation. I also voted for Jim Thompson as Illinois governor in the 70's and 80's because I thought HE was doing a good job and the Democrats running against him tended to be boobs. (Shades of present-day Illinois pols!)

I didn't like Reagan or Poppy Bush, but I certainly didn't hate them. But then came the 1994 Congressional Republicans - each one more venal than the last - and I began to "dislike" them. BUT, even in 2001, I stood behind George W Bush as MY president after the 9/11 attacks. I don't know a single Democrat who didn't stand by him. He had the entire world at his feet on 9/12 and he and his merry band of bandits wasted it all on that fucking Iraqi war and other misdeeds of the last eight years.

I can forgive people who voted for Bush in 2000. Maybe they were sick of the Dems, maybe they believed Bush's saying he was a "compassionate conservative", maybe they just didn't figure things could go so bad so fast.

BUT, I cannot forgive anybody who voted for Bush in 2004. By then, everyone with half a brain knew what he and his administration had wrought. My own brother-in-law, a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer in Chicago, voted for Bush twice. "Why?", I asked him. "Taxes and Israel", he replied. Luckily, because he lives in Chicago, his vote didn't "count". He actually got a clue this year and voted for Obama, with "grave reservations", he said.

But, I began to hate Republicans with a deep and abiding passion after the 2004 elections. It's as venal as my dislike for fascists would have been in the 30's and 40's. I hate them,Republican voters and politicians all, with a ferocity that's almost scary. I particularly loathe and despise Jewish Republicans like Linda Lingle, Norm Coleman, and that whiny little shit, Eric Cantor.

So that's what 8 years of Republican misrule has done to one very ordinary American. And I don't think I'm alone.

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on February 28, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of when the Repos were accusing the left of wanting the US to lose in Iraq so that Bush would be discredited. Of course, no one on the left actually said that. Now they're doing what they accused the left of doing and being completely shameless about it. How come they get away with that?

Posted by: Bean on February 28, 2009 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

In Mike K's world, obstetricians are the leading cause of babies.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on February 28, 2009 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

"who hasn't heard progressives say "he's not MY President" about W -- or even Reagan?"

I was too young for Reagan, but I've heard it and even said it about W. Here's why:

Unlike Obama, who won a clear popular majority (or Clinton, who won a clear plurality), Bush lost the popular vote and, thanks to shenanigans in a state where his brother was governor and the secretary of state his campaign manager, he barely won the EC. Of course a lot of Democrats and people who voted for Gore were wary of him, especially when Bush started claiming right off that he had a mandate.

Then, unlike Obama, who tried to appeal to the other side and incorporate their ideas into the stimulus, Bush made it very clear very early that he didn't care what anyone except a narrow band of supporters wanted. Some point to the NCLB legislation as a sign of Bush's "bipartisanship," but if I recall, his first act was to ram through a massive tax cut for the wealthy at a time when they weren't particularly hurting, one without safeguards that many economists warned would -- shockingly -- create devastation late in the decade. Democrats who tried to put in safeguards, or questioned the need for a tax cut when the economy was already sound, were decried as "unpatriotic." That is how I knew that Bush was not and had no interest in being president of ALL of the United States.

Posted by: wilder on February 28, 2009 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: After all, we are the ones who invested in the economy. You are the salary types whose investment is minimal.

This from the idiot who thinks you pay capital gains when buying stock.

I have no secrets from you, Danp. You can even read my book reviews or, for that matter, my book.

According to the link at your blog, the book you wrote is a a cheesy historical romance novel.

Jesus Christ but you're hopeless.

Posted by: shortstop on February 28, 2009 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Lush Bimbo's comments at the CPAC conference have clearly defined him as the leader of the Republicans. He has declared war, again, on the 'liberals' and it doesn't matter if the country goes down the crapper. The more exposure this lunatic gets the better it is for the spineless Dems. Who among the Rethugs is going to stand up to ol' Lush? I can't wait to see. Newt? Mitt? Huck? Sarah?

Posted by: rich on February 28, 2009 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

The hypocrisy of the gop has come full circle.

Could you imagine the ranting on fox if a promomnent liberal commentator publicly wished that Bush's Iraq war policy would fail.

It will take a generation for the republican party to recover their credibilty after the nonsense of the last eight years,

Can you imagine how our graet grandchildren's history books will describe the politics of the early 21st century.

Posted by: rick on February 28, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Steve: "About a half-century ago, actor John Wayne, who was very conservative, was asked for his thoughts after JFK defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. 'I didn't vote for him,' Wayne said, but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job.'"

Most people don't remember this (especially Republicans, for obvious reasons), but John Wayne also gave future GOP presidential nominee Ronald Reagan a piece of his mind in 1977, taking him to task when Reagan wrote a letter to Republicans that equated with treason President Carter's negotiations with Panama over the transfer of sovereignty of the Panama Canal.

Wayne had been friends with the Panamanian leader, Brig. Gen. Omar Torrijos, and strongly supported Carter's negotiations with him. He wrote Reagan a sternly worded rebuke -- on RNC stationary, no less -- that proceeded to meticulously rebutt the GOP leader's opposition to the Panama Canal treaty:

"Now I have taken your letter [to GOP supporters], and I'll show you point by goddamn point in the treaty where you are misinforming people," Wayne wrote Reagan on November 11, 1977. "If you continue these erroneous remarks, someone will publicize your letter to prove that you are either not as thorough in your reviewing of this treaty as you say, or you're damned obtuse when it comes to reading the English language."

When Reagan pointedly ignored him and continued in his opposition to the transfer of the Panama Canal, Wayne released his letter to the media, and also wrote a public letter to President Carter, praising him for trying to right a 75-year-old international travesty. Carter subsequently wrote back to Wayne, expressing his gratitude.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 28, 2009 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: After all, we are the ones who invested in the economy. You are the salary types whose investment is minimal.

This from the idiot who thinks you pay capital gains when buying stock.

I tried explaining this to you once without success. That's why I find it hard to believe that you folks are investors in anything.

For the sake of the guy who says he is a small business owner (I won't mention my guess as to what that small business might be).

If capital gains taxes are cut to zero for assets bought in the next year, for example, people with money might be incentivized to buy depreciated assets now, creating a market for assets that have no buyer at the moment. That might tend to arrest the free fall that is being accelerated by Obama's hostility to investors. I have no confidence that you can understand that example.

One last time: they might buy them now in the hope they will eventually appreciate and they cap gains tax will be zero. That's when they sell, you see. Can you understand that ?

Of course not.

That is why you vote for a socialist.

I have no secrets from you, Danp. You can even read my book reviews or, for that matter, my book.

According to the link at your blog, the book you wrote is a a cheesy historical romance novel.

Jesus Christ but you're hopeless.
Posted by: shortstop

Being able to read is a big help. You might want to try again.

You people can't be this stupid. You're kidding, right ?

Riiight ?

Posted by: Mike K on February 28, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: "You people can't be this stupid."

You're absolutely right, Mike, we can't be.

And upon reviewing your rectal-centric commentary on this thread, I have to admit, one certainly can't say the same about you.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 28, 2009 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

For the sake of the guy who says he is a small business owner...

zoe is a woman's name, Mike. Women? You know? The people you occasionally convince to marry you if they're the kind who can't take care of themselves and think they can put up with your bullshit in exchange for your not great but not terrible either bank account -- but then they all divorce you anyway? How's marriage #3 holding up now that you're about to lose your shirt in both California and Arizona?

I tried explaining this to you once without success. That's why I find it hard to believe that you folks are investors in anything.

You're simply digging yourself deeper. Anyone can read that thread and see you had no earthly idea what you were talking about. You actually thought that people currently pay capital gains on stock, and when you got schooled, you pulled your usual run-away-and-hide routine until your natural unearned arrogance and bellicosity got the better of the tiny bit of shame you can still feel through your epic self-delusions.

Being able to read is a big help. You might want to try again.

Check your blog links, Mike. And then I think it'll be time for your next three-day off-blog bender.

Posted by: shortstop on February 28, 2009 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have just one question:

WHY THE FUCK ISN'T DELAY IN JAIL YET?

And Christ, Santorum is so fucking stupid, I'm surprised he didn't compare Obama's economic policies to Sauron's ring.

Making that douche's name synonymous with frothy fecal matter is an insult to frothy fecal matter.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on February 28, 2009 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Mea culpa; of course that should have been: "You actually thought that people currently pay capital gains on purchases."

Posted by: shortstop on February 28, 2009 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

If capital gains taxes are cut to zero for assets bought in the next year, for example, people with money might be incentivized to buy depreciated assets now, creating a market for assets that have no buyer at the moment.

Mike K is of the opinion that the capital gains tax is what incentivizes a purchase. We can see why he is not in the numbers business.

The incentive to buy anything is that it promises to return more of your investment than other options. If there is a capital gains tax of 10 or 15% on all capital gains, the playing field where taxes are concerned is level for all prospective investments. The make-or-break decision to buy is not the tax rate, but whether or not its return is likely to be greater than its competition's return. What comes into play here is opportunity cost. It is a basic component of economics and investment.

There may well be some kind of tax credit written into the books for buying toxic assets in 2009 or 2010 for the giants who can afford the risk, but tax credits are not the same at capital gains taxes.

Besides, a depreciated asset -- like a boat, or captialized equipment is a far cry from the devalued assets on the balance sheets of the banks right now.

Mike K , don't you know the difference between depreciation and devaluation?

Posted by: jcricket on February 28, 2009 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Do these stupid motherfuckers think they're immune to the effects of a failing nation? Really?

Do they think their homes will keep their value, in spite of falling values? If they have a handgun under their pillow, what good is that if they end up with an upsidedown mortgage and no job? Are they going to huddle around the oil-drum campfires under the underpass congratulating themselves that they forced the US economy into the toilet, just so the Democratic president wouldn't get re-elected?

Swell.

Posted by: g on February 28, 2009 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Good, let the republicans be so nasty that the rest of the country doesn't even bother with them. They are nasty, and now everyone knows it.

Posted by: Stiffa on February 28, 2009 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

The make-or-break decision to buy is not the tax rate, but whether or not its return is likely to be greater than its competition's return.

Thank you jcricket for that excellent, concise explanation.

I'm curious as to what particular toxic assets Mike thinks investors might be induced to purchase that they are not purchasing now, since no one will touch them now with a ten foot pole. Why would they purchase the mortgage securities at this juncture, for instance, when it's impossible to fix a value to them?

Also: there is presently a zero capital gains rate in place for investors in the two lowest income brackets that can be stretched to apply to most middle income people using deductions. It has been there for the last year and will remain until 2010. Any investor including Mike is already able to take advantage of that rate by purchasing securities and then gifting them to their young children or grandparents, who may then sell them without paying a capital gains tax on the profits until 2010.

So no, lowering that rate to zero won't change anything, as it is already effectively zero for a a significant portion of investors. As jcricket points out, the problem is not the tax rate but the risk and the lack of available capital at the moment.

See Mike, I was able to come up with all that without cracking an econ textbook or even clicking on the link to the medical text on the bibliography on your blog that inexplicably leads to a romance novel on Amazon.com (hint: click on the words "my own book).

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you jcricket for that excellent, concise explanation

My pleasure. Thanks for the nod.

Looks like Mike K has run away again per shortstop's observaton at 11:10

Posted by: jcricket on March 1, 2009 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K., you've been flinging faeces here for at least four years and... and well, for the life of me I have no idea what you think you're accomplishing with all these coprotechnics.

Are you rattling the world views of other posters? Not even worth answering.
Are you trying to engage with other views and convince other people of the rightness of your own? With these methods? Ha! (For your own sake I hope you're not like this IRL.)

No, I'm left with this image of a man desperately trying to buff up his own self-image and importance through snorts of contempt and it's pathetic really.

Posted by: snicker-snack on March 1, 2009 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

phoebes in santa fe - you most certainly are not alone.

Posted by: razorboy on March 1, 2009 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

@ phoebes in santa fe
You kept your cool with Bush a couple of years longer than I did; when he equated shopping with patriotic sacrifice, I turned purple and still haven't quite calmed down.

Getting these clowns on record that yes, they really DO want Obama to fail - or want "his programs" to fail, that's OK, but I want follow-up questions. I want some pressure applied in pursuit of specifics, and more, I want some teasing out of what happens, what do they imagine happens after the failure.

Posted by: Jeany on March 1, 2009 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

There was an error in the bibliography page. I apologize for the error, which may have occurred when editing.

My opinion of your knowledge of economics is unchanged, of course.

Posted by: Mike K on March 1, 2009 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Tom Deley - the guy who made no apologies for bringing home the pork to his district because that's what his constituents elected him to do, now has a problem with pork?
Rick Santorum - found those WMDs in Syria yet Ricky?
Rush Limbaugh - Michael Steele has his job cut out teaching Rush them Dancehall moves.

Let's see: Rush; Old, bald, fat, pale and has a nasty habit of ridiculing children.
Obama; fit, nicely tan,(ha!), hopeful, and actually likes kids and vice versa.
Yeah, gonna be some rumble for the real America..

Posted by: maya on March 1, 2009 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K, I am not sure what point you were trying to make with your link to the article about Warren Buffet, but this quote doesn't seem to support your position:

'Whatever the downsides may be, strong and immediate action by government was essential last year if the financial system was to avoid a total breakdown. Had that occurred, the consequences for every area of our economy would have been cataclysmic. Like it or not, the inhabitants of Wall Street, Main Street and the various Side Streets of America were all in the same boat.'

— Warren Buffett

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 1, 2009 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

What's bizarre about the whole thing is how unnecessary it is.

In the first place, to get this out of the way - obviously leaders of the opposition party are aware that their own fortunes will be better if the party in power does a bad job/fails.

I assume everybody knows this, and that everyone is aware that in a certain sense opposition politicians get a degree of schadenfreude out of the failure of their opponents.

But this is different from actually publicly rooting for the president's failure.

And, as noted, totally unnecessary. Why not just say that obviously you would hope the president succeeds, but that his agenda is clearly terrible and won't succeed, and that you have better ideas for how to take things in the future?

What exactly is the gain out of moving from this to publicly rooting for failure? Why is this a smart political move?

Q: Rush Limbaugh said that he hopes the president will fail, do you think that's appropriate?

A: No, of course not. This is just the wrong question. Obviously none of us hope the president will fail. But we strongly believe that the policies the president is pursuing are bad ones, and that they will fail. The president's policy of having the government take over everything has been proven wrong in the past, and we're confident that it will prove wrong again in the future. What the country needs is a return to free market principles. So, now, we don't hope President Obama fails - but history has already proven his proposed policies to be failures, and we know we can provide something better.

How hard is that? I'm drunk and I came up with that in five minutes. It's not hard at all.

Posted by: John on March 1, 2009 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K

"I don't think Obama needs the ill wishes (even misquoted) of LImbaugh to send the country down the toilet. He seems to be doing that quite well with no help. Every time he opens his mouth the stock market drops 150 to 200 points."

A mere rounding error.

The stock market dropped by thousands and thousands of points, in inflation-adjusted dollars, over the eight years Chimpy was squatting in the White House. The DJIA was down every year of the previous eight years, is off by more than 50%, and would need to be over 16,000 just to get back to where it was in 2000 (currently 7,062).

A DISMAL MISERABLE DISASTER.

Posted by: Joe Friday on March 1, 2009 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

People should push the meme, "To put party before country is treason.", or "Only traitors put party before country."

Posted by: Mediocrates on March 1, 2009 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

Every time Republicans fail they use their rhetoric to move the goalposts. Their unpatriotic, all-out criticism of Obama is a pathetic attempt to try and make Obama responsible for every program failure that occurs from here on out. This despite the undeniable fact that the problems Bush caused won't be resolved for years.

If Republicans had a shred of integrity they would be saying, well we sure made a hash of things these last four years, let's do what we can to make this work until we hold the levers of power again. But they have no integrity. It's attack-attack-attack 24-7 led by their Drum Major for Failure, Rush.

If democrats behaved this badly during the Bush presidency the GOP would have been calling on them to move to Canada. Really, that was literally their response, love it or leave it. They still pine for the House Unamerican Activities Committee. What easier way is there to show your patriotism than to call someone else un-American?

The GOP's simultaneous penchant for secrecy and intrusiveness, jingoism and nativism, religiously inspired militarism and idolotry make them poster children for the fascism they decry. And yet they don't see themselves that way, which just makes their behavior look all the more bizarre.

"Michael Steele you be da man!" Please.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on March 1, 2009 at 5:15 AM | PERMALINK

mike k: Every time he opens his mouth the stock market drops 150 to 200 points.

my response: ..one day last week...the dow went up 250-points..

mike k's response: ..Maybe you mean the day before Geithner announced his bank plan?


you said "everytime"...

and i proved that was obviously false...

and when you are caught...red handed...

you try to change the subject..

mike k: shameless for freedom

Posted by: mr. irony on March 1, 2009 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny to see people whinning about this when for the last eight years they were hoping for Bush to fail at everything he ever did.

Posted by: berlins on March 1, 2009 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

12:59 is classic Mike K. He gets two alerts and an outright explanation from us as to the hilarious problem with his link, and still he's too dumb and arrogant to go check it out. So he finishes off with an extra-pompous denial in a comment that is the mother of all link errors.

Classic. A comment like that is a microcosm of our Mike.

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

berlins is a perfect example of republicans *never listening* to other people, or arguing honestly. As someone said upthread there's a huge difference between saying "I expect this is a losing strategy and I oppose it" and saying "I hope he fails" (whether at the Iraq war or anything else. I certainly expected Bush would lose the Iraq war, and that a lot of innocent people would be killed or maimed or displaced during it. And so I opposed it. I opposed it by writing letters, protesting, and discussing it with my elected officials. I did not however root for it to "fail" because, of course, its failure was going to make it even worse for both Iraqis and American soldiers and for our country as a whole. The health and wellbeing of the country, as well as its honor (in a non military sense) are the guiding objectives of American citizens. If the opposition party can bring the country to its full potential, safely, without compromising its integrity more power to them. I would certainly have been willing to switch parties if Bush, contra factually, had located and terminated Osama Bin Laden, righted our relationships with Saudi Arabia, solved the crisis in the middle east, and all without authorizing torture, secret wiretapping, or looting the treasury. But he didn't, and couldn't. And I never supported him. But I certainly never rooted for his failure and I didn't call for total obstruction of his plans from day one to "heighten the contradictions."

aimai

Posted by: aimai on March 1, 2009 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

And don't you all be ragging on The Kings Cavalier and Samuel Shellabarger! Mike K isn't fit to lick his boots. I particularly recommend "Captain From Castille" which expresses a notion of history and the Spanish conquest of the Americas not unlike Tzvetan Todorov's and also Prince of Foxes which was made into a movie with Tyrone Power. You can't beat that for cheesey or for historical. But they were damned good novels.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on March 1, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Everything you need to know about Mike K. is right here:

The cruise was about more than eating
Sunday, November 16th, 2008
My wife and I spent a week on the National Review post election cruise...

(An OC "Housewife" now, Mike Kennedy, who sadly finds himself useless and fading, strives to appear relevant at 71 by being a waterboy for OC Republicans and by antagonizing his neighbors at the local Mission Viejo city council meetings. His third wife, stitched and tucked and reconfigured, scurries about the house, doing busy work while in fact she is simply staying out of Grumpy Old Mike's way. He paid good money for her stretched skin, he will hear NO dissension. His grandchildren eagerly await his passing to snag what remains of their meager inheritance but will still offer a strained smile at dinner as if it were substantial, and as if Gramps were even somewhat interesting. Oblivious to his surroundings and absorbed in his fantastical world of youthful virility, Mike won't hear the giggles and guffaws coming from the kitchen, as Mrs. Kennedy 3 gulps another drink, and laughingly jokes with her family that "it is only a matter of time".

Mike's favorite saying: Get off my lawn!)

Posted by: NB Yacht Club on March 1, 2009 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Well, if you enjoyed them, aimai, they must have some redeeming value. But I doubt that you insisted that your spouse or partner call you by the protagonist's name for a week after you read the book.

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

And of course, what people like Mike K don't seem to understand is that we are in a recession (and maybe a depression) characterized by insufficient demand, not insufficient investment. It would have to be a hell of an incentive, to get people to invest when there is no one buying what businesses are making and selling. Get moeny in the hands of every day people, so that they can begin buying things again, and investment will happen.

You can see from his comments above that Mike K thinks the way out of this is for wages to drop--That worked real well 1929-1932, didn't it? Of course, it can't work, because falling wages mean falling demand.

Encouraging investment is what you do when you problem is inflation--rising prices, unsatisfied demand. But we're on the brink of deflation, now.

Posted by: rea on March 1, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

"People should push the meme, "To put party before country is treason.", or "Only traitors put party before country."

This is exactly wrong -- Shortstop's manner of argument demonstrates why: smaller and smaller loses leverage.

Get bigger than they are makes more sense.

I remember when there was a kind of vote of confidence in Reagan during his first term, at a time when the nuclear freeze was a big deal. There had been a lively argument between Carter's arms negotiators (notably Paul Warnke) and the freeze guys within the Democratic Party, in which Warnke pointed out that an actual arms agreement that reduced nukes was a better deal than a slogan -- but it didn't matter: Reagan had killed the Carter deal in order to launch his nuke buildup and the nuclear freeze movement was the reaction.

So there was a floor debate in the House about Reagan's efforts to negotiate with the Soviets, in which most Democrats supported the freeze and demanded to show that Reagan didn't speak for them -- much the way Republicans are doing now over the economy, Guantanamo and the like.

Tip O'Neill, as the Speaker, came down to give a floor speech -- a very rare thing in those days, since one thing a Speaker didn't often do, was actually speak on the floor. It was dramatic as hell.

He DIRECTLY addressed his Democratic colleagues who wanted to undercut Reagan's negotiating position, with a vote in the one part of the national government controlled by Democrats (since the GOP had the Senate and the White House) that progressives didn't like the MX missile, and intermediate range missiles in Europe, and SDI, etc.

O'Neill just ROARED to the House: "You want to know why I am voting against this measure? Because I am a PATRIOT! I want my President to succeeed."

With that, the Democratic-controlled House voted (with a large minority dissenting) their confidence in Reagan's nuke strategy with the Soviets.

So the most effective way to punish 'conservatives' for hoping that Obama fails isn't to try to tag 'em as traitors -- it's to demonstrate that we're patriots, that our love of country is NOT ideological, as if we only love America when its government is progressive, and can turn our patriotism off like a switch when a Reagan or Bush is in charge.

That conservatives are attempting to flip that switch because Obama is President proves more about their failures -- and how shallow their claims are -- than any charge we could make stick on 'em.

It's not complex, folks: the durable way to achieve political success is to BEAT the other guys -- and then give 'em something, but only on our terms. You leave 'em a way out -- if they come our way. And if they want to go the other way -- you let 'em go, cuz there's no exit in that direction.

But -- chasing 'em down, hollering "treason"? Leave that to the knuckleheads who figure an unreflecting self-righteousness is self evident don't see a difference between going after our opponents, and going the right way .

WE'RE going in the right direction.


Posted by: anonymous on March 1, 2009 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

To head off the usual stupidity: I quoted Mediocrates, but cited Shortstop because the latter demonstrates the most typical sort of foolishness.

Posted by: anonymous on March 1, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

I will now spend the entire morning talking to myself on this thread, oblivious to the reality that no one ever finishes reading my clumsy bombast or wants to engage with me. I can hear myself talk and that makes me happy.

Posted by: anonymous on March 1, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

"who hasn't heard progressives say "he's not MY President" about W -- or even Reagan?" -- anonymous

"I haven't. And if I were to ask you for any examples, I'd bet you would have to dig through message boards looking for anonymous comments and the like. You certainly would **NEVER** find an example of a democrat or a liberal..." -- Shade Tail

"I've never heard anyone say that either..." Michael W.

"I was too young for Reagan, but I've heard it and even said it about W. " -- Wilder

"oblivious to the reality that no one ever finishes reading my clumsy bombast or wants to engage with me..." -- a pseudonym


Posted by: 'nuff ced on March 1, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Oblivious to the reality that no one ever finishes reading my clumsy bombast

Sure. Your post at 5:06 yesterday was a mercifully short one. The others: typically meandering hobbles down Spank the Monkey Lane. Unread, unresponded to.

-- a pseudonym

The irony.

Posted by: 'nuff ced on March 1, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Pitiful -- my point is simply that progressives sometimes said "he's not MY President" about Reagan and both Bushes, exactly the way Limbaugh and CPAC does about Obama. Folks denied it -- but it turns out to be true, as the examples of Wilder and Paula Poundstone demonstrate. So why did folks deny it? Cuz maybe they've forgotten -- or have less experience than some of us.

I learned a long time ago that honest exoerience has advantages -- the mote in their eye, the beam in yours stuff.

So going after people like Limbaugh with "traitor!" talk is chasing 'em down a blind alley. Better to keep going in the right direction -- which ain't typical of some folks.

Cuz whoever is doing this aping shit responds with precisely the smaller and smaller shtick that I noted is typical foolishness.

The rest is just whack a mole -- and proves my point.

Posted by: anonymous on March 1, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Let's face it - not only do Republicans want Obama to fail, but they will never ever recognize it if he succeeds. (Remember how the Clinton boom was attributed to Ronald Reagan?) They will of course blame the results of the economic meltdown on Obama. And memories are short, so some will believe it.

Posted by: Chris S. on March 1, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Never waste time trying to convince somebody whose job depends on remaining unpersuaded.

The point isn't to convince Republicans that conservativism is treasonous. Nor is to persuade OURSELVES, as the aping poster evidently hopes, either. Remember who decides most elections in America -- it ain't "progressives' and it ain't "conservatives".

The point is that there are a lot of folks -- the balance of the electorate, in fact -- who voted for Obama, and hope he succeeds, because we face real problems that aren't solved by calling the other side "traitor!".

A substantial plurality of them, in fact, are probably willing to cut Obama a break (as they were with FDR, in 1936 and even more tellingly, in 1940) when what he tried at first didn't solve all problems completely and forever. (Although cutting unemployment from 25% in 1932 to 9% in 1936 is a much more real accomplishment than the likes of Shlaes is wiling to admit -- but then, her job depends on not recognizing reality.)

The way to lead those folks is NOT to chase after the likes of Limbaugh, hollering "traitor". It's ... to let them go down that blind alley by themselves, tut-tutting about how most of "us" have outgrown that.

Cuz -- despite the aping poster -- it is about "us" and our problems, as in "We, the People."

Posted by: anonymous on March 1, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Anonymous: You really are naive. Even if your point of hoping for GOP presidents to fail is true, which it isn't (sorry, but that's the fact, deal with it), you can't ignore the mouth-breathers when they start with their screaming, hysterical accusations. We tried that before. It has been the main failing of the democratic party for 30 years now that we have tried to take the high road. "The American people are smarter than that. They won't fall for it and will see us acting like better people."

It didn't work. It has never worked. If we stay quiet and don't push back against the GOP's lies and distortions, then people start to believe them and we lose elections. That's what happened in 2000 and 2004, just to name the two big ones. Gore and Kerry both actually allowed the GOP to change the subject and frame the debate their way. And whether you like it or not, **THAT IS IMPORTANT**. After all, that's how people came to think Gore actually claimed to have invented the internet, and that the Swiftboat Veterans group were peddling facts instead of lies, just to name two examples.

We must make the American people see what their choices really are. And if we are to do that, we can't just sit back and expect the economy to do all the talking for us. We **MUST** make the GOP own their lies, distortions, and America-hating. Otherwise, they will succeed yet again in changing the subject, and people will listen to them. That is why Obama's people are so eager to hang Rush Limbaugh around the GOP's neck like a millstone.

That is how it works. And if you don't understand that, then you haven't been paying attention.

Posted by: Shade Tail on March 1, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's this simple. Can the fat cat PACS distract Americans from the great promise of a government "of the people, by the people, and FOR the people"?

CPAC sounds desperate because it is. They and the $38 million/year crowd like Limbaugh are afraid that they might be asked to do something--anything at all--for their country. They were all right with hiding $2-3 trillion in deficit spending so long as it was going to no-bid contracts to President Bush's corporate cronies.

Now, with nearly 50 million Americans without any medical insurance at all, and thousands more joining their ranks every day, it's somehow traitorous for President Obama to demand quality health care affordable to all? Stick a cork in it! Change is coming. Whether CPAC wants it or not, the American people do. We're fed up with the lies, the sanctimonious hypocrisy, and the grand scale larceny perpetrated during the Bush administration.

If what's left of the Republican Party wants to run a self-obsessed, lunatic drug addict for office in 2004, I say let them draft Rush. I've no doubt who will slam dunk whom!

Posted by: Alberto Enriquez on March 1, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

What's funny is that we've never actually had to "root for" Republican failure. Hell, Bush started failing right out of the box!

Posted by: chrenson on March 1, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

phoebes,

You described pretty much my evolution, also. Except that I don't hate Republicans. Now I did have great disgust for Richard Nixon, but I respected his knowledge of Foreign Affairs. I simply view Republicans as the human equivalent of rattlesnakes.

I don't hate rattlesnakes, either, but by their nature they threaten me. I avoid them and take efforts to destroy them if they come close enough to me to threaten me. It's perhaps an extreme analogy, but I hope it makes a clear distinction between taking efforts to eliminate the threat and "hating" that which threatens you. Conservative Republicans (and they as a party have made sure there are no remaining significant non-Conservative Republicans) threaten me and most Americans more than any rattlesnake.

Posted by: Rick B on March 1, 2009 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

An OC "Housewife" now, Mike Kennedy, who sadly finds himself useless and fading, strives to appear relevant at 71 by being a waterboy for OC Republicans and by antagonizing his neighbors at the local Mission Viejo city council meetings.

I was a planning commission member and a member of a local reform group that defeated three former council members for spending the city into near-insolvency.

Your accomplishments are what ?

Actually, I have a consulting business that is doing quite well, thank you.

His third wife, stitched and tucked and reconfigured, scurries about the house, doing busy work while in fact she is simply staying out of Grumpy Old Mike's way. He paid good money for her stretched skin, he will hear NO dissension.

She would be amused to hear that. No plastic surgery and she works running an operating room. We spend alternate weekends at our Arizona home. Stop by some time.

His grandchildren eagerly await his passing to snag what remains of their meager inheritance but will still offer a strained smile at dinner as if it were substantial, and as if Gramps were even somewhat interesting.

Vivid imagination you have there. They are a bit young to think about inheritance yet.

Oblivious to his surroundings and absorbed in his fantastical world of youthful virility, Mike won't hear the giggles and guffaws coming from the kitchen, as Mrs. Kennedy 3 gulps another drink, and laughingly jokes with her family that "it is only a matter of time".

Mike's favorite saying: Get off my lawn!)

Cute but your imagination is running overtime. I do most of the cooking. Depending on your skills, she might be able to help you find a job, though.

What a devastating riposte to the economic arguments I pose! No doubt most of your time is taken with keeping your Facebook page updated. How long before you get your AA degree ?

Posted by: NB Yacht Club

Posted by: Mike K on March 1, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, there is no "NB Yacht Club." Unless you are referring to North Buffalo.

Kind of funny, though.

Posted by: Mike K on March 1, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, there is no "NB Yacht Club." Mike K

They were probably thinking about this one.

Posted by: just scrolling through on March 1, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

What a devastating riposte to the economic arguments I pose!

No, the devastating ripostes were the facts pointing out that no sane person is inclined to purchase many of the toxic assets right now because of the insane risk involved and the lack of available investment capital, not the piddly tax rate as you supposed.

The other stuff making fun of your self-unaware pomposity was just gravy.

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Mike didn't know about the Newport Beach Yacht Club?!?

Well Mike simply refuses to belong to any club won't have him as a member.

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Shade, you misunderstand me. I'm not saying don't answer 'em -- I'm saying, "you're a traitor!" is the WRONG answer. It lacks wit and humor, and mostly, a sense of self.

For one thing, folks on our side have also gone the "he's not MY President" route. So it's not the smartest move on our part to chase 'em down that blind alley.

For another, check out the way Rahm Emmanuel did it today: he didn't call him a traitor. He CONGRATULATED Limbaugh on his candor -- pointing out that 'the intellectual leader of the Republican Party openly admits they want Obama to fail' is solid politics.

That isn't a distinction without a difference. It's the difference between a lightning bug -- and lightning.

Congratulate Limbaugh on his political courage and candor, and you put Republicans in a position of DENYING Limbaugh, which means attacking their own base, or in weaseling around what is, after all, a kind of compliment ... since, after all, what political leader doesn't want to be seen as courageous and candid, the way Emmanuel characterized Limbaugh?

But accuse 'em of being traitors, and you're chasing 'em down a blind alley: you may catch 'em, but then -- where are you?

For those with experience and/or a long memory, there are lots of good examples: the late Jack Brooks of Texas, a protege of LBJ and Sam Rayburn, once responded to a question about how he'd react if John Birchers accused him of being a fellow traveller: "I learned how to fight in the US Army, and I fought the fascists for two years in Europe. I still have a shotgun at home, so I think I might shoot the first man who calls me a communist."

Texans used to admire talk like that -- and they re-elected Brooks until he retired.

Go back even further, to FDR, who pointedly ignored Republican attacks on Democratic spending during WW2 (even as he put Truman, who had investigated defense cost over-runs, on the ticket), until they accused him of sending a destroyer back to pick up his dog: "I don't mind when they attack me, I have a thick skin, but Fala minds. It grieves his Scotch soul to be accused of wasting a nickel...."

Hell, fighting back isn't good enough: I want THEM on the defensive. Haven't you noticed how Obama is keeping 'em there? It ain't cuz he's chasing 'em down blind alleys like this one.

Posted by: anonymous on March 1, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mike :D

Posted by: NB Yahtzee Club on March 1, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, on presumptuous behalf of nearly everyone here, please STFU already.

You clearly don't know what you're talking about, and you obviously can't be bothered with facts and reason.

Further, you aren't seeking to engage people as much as browbeat and insult them, and it's become rather tiresome and embarrassing to listen to you revel obnoxiously in your own self-righteous ignorance and overinflated ego.

If this was a party, you'd have been asked by the host to leave long ago -- after first calling a cab for you, of course, since you sound like you've had several too many.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 1, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Right now if America were a person Bush is the guy who stuck the knife in and Obama is the guy who is trying to stop the bleeding. You and the gop are just standing there laughing and making snotty comments, saying "you're doing it wrong" and contributing absolutely nothing, pretending you had nothing to do with why he's bleeding in the first place.

It's an apt image, but it doesn't go far enough.

With these "we hope he fails" sentiments, the GOP isn't just making rude comments and contributing nothing, they are openly wishing that the patient bleeds out and doing whatever they can to obstruct the efforts to stanch the bleeding.

If Obama's the doctor in this analogy, they are deliberately trying to kill the patient just so the doctor will look bad. And the patient is us.

That's monstrous.

Doing nothing is bad enough. Mocking while doing nothing is only worse because it's obnoxious. Active obstruction of a lifesaving effort because you're afraid the doctor will look better than you if he succeeds is beyond reprehensible. It's downright evil.

Mike K: After all, we are the ones who invested in the economy. You are the salary types whose investment is minimal.

I strongly encourage all Republicans to identify their party as the one that represents the business owners, and the Democratic party as the one that represents everyone else who draws a paycheck- that is, everyone else. Which group do you think has the most votes?

God, the sheer hubris in that statement is maddening. I got news for you, MikeK: everyone who earns a living IN ANY WAY has an "investment" in the economy. Anyone who has debts to pay. Anyone who has mouths to feed- including their own.

We've all got a stake in the economy's success or failure, whether you're a small business owner or a large corporation or an employee of either. We're all dependent on an economy that works.

If anything, the salaried employees or hourly wage earners have a greater stake since they've got the least control of their situations and the fewest options when times are bad.

When the economy turns sour, richer folks become not as rich folks- maybe they have to sell off assets at depressed prices. Maybe they have to close their businesses and seek (gasp) a salaried job.

On the other hand, folks already struggling with jobs become homeless folks without jobs. Homeless folks already without jobs become starving and dying folks.

But, hey, they didn't "invest" in the economy, so what have they got to lose, right? It's not like they count as people or citizens or anything like that, right?

Posted by: RobW on March 1, 2009 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's kind of funny in a sad way to see how the left resists any attempt to puncture the bubble they live in.

You might check out Christina Romer's study of tax increases she wrote in 2007. UC, Berkley has deleted it from the web site but the results, in brief, are that a 1% raise in taxes will result, after about 10 quarters to settle out for long term effects, in a 3% reduction in economic production. That is why Obama's program will result in a prolonged recession.

That may be the old Shark Island Yacht Club. I heard they changed their name.

There is a difference in people who invest in, or start, a business and those who never plan to be in business for themselves. There is a fundamental difference in attitude toward economics. Government employees, by definition, are all in that group of permanent salary people. The only problem is that somebody has to pay those salaries.

Posted by: Mike K on March 1, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

It's kind of funny in a sad way to see how the left resists any attempt to puncture the bubble they live in.

You know, you can't really talk down to people who've demonstrated time and again that they have a better grasp of the subject than you.

You might check out Christina Romer's study of tax increases she wrote in 2007.

Don't need to, everybody knows about the Romer study since, you know, OBAMA HIRED HER.

Perhaps you should check out the literally dozens of studies that come to the opposite conclusion of Romer's on the issue of the effectiveness of spending.

And rather than quoting a study you apparently don't understand, perhaps you should read a little more carefully to discover that Romer's study found that tax cuts intended to offset a recession are ineffective.

Next time quote a study that doesn't undercut your point.

That is why Obama's program will result in a prolonged recession.

No, we will be in a prolonged recession because of the Republican policies of the last eight years, including but not limited to the absolute refusal to regulate the dangerous business practices of investment banks and insurers, the refusal to prosecute fraudulent lenders, the CFMA that took down the protective firewall between investment banks and mortgage lenders and insurance, and inaction on a shrinking manufacturing base and crumbling infrastructure while spending trillions on unnecessary hegemonic projects.

Any by supporting all of that crap for base partisan purposes, you are essentially indirectly responsible for the mess we're in.

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

trex, you are misstating the point. Nobody is proposing tax cuts to "offset a recession," whatever that means. The point was to get money into the hands of the people quickly for a Keynesian stimulus. Raising taxes, however, is a good way to make a depression out of a recession. What were you going to prosecute lenders for ? Being dumb enough to accept fraudulent loan apps ?

Anyway, you folks respond to any disagreement with vicious ad hominem attacks and non sequitur comments on whether my wife has had plastic surgery (she hasn't). Don't complain when I "talk down" to people who respond in such ignorant and juvenile fashion.

If you act like children, expect to be treated as such.

Posted by: Mike K on March 1, 2009 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

trex, you are misstating the point. Nobody is proposing tax cuts to "offset a recession," whatever that means.

In fact, tax cuts to offset the recession is the position of the Republican caucus, the position of Newt Gringrich, the position of Red State Mike, and every other Republican debating the stimulus package on TV every day.

There's a reason half of the stimulus package is tax cuts -- because Republicans wanted it, believed tax cuts are the magical solution, and Obama and the Democrats compromised.

EVERY damned Republican is proposing just that. What fucking planet do you live on?!?

Anyway, you folks respond to any disagreement with vicious ad hominem attacks

You've been guilty of levying condescending remarks and outright insults here for years now. Don't cry when people respond in kind.

What were you going to prosecute lenders for ? Being dumb enough to accept fraudulent loan apps ?

Apparently this is another area in which you have no fucking clue what your talking about. Mortgage fraud and predatory lending have been epidemic over the past six years or so, and both brokers and lenders were involved.

Are you not aware that the problem was so widespread that the attorneys general for all fifty states tried to take action on this issue but were stopped cold by the Bush administration?

Your bloated ego prevents you from understanding that not only do you see everything through partisan blinders, but that the world is moving on and those blinders are turning you into an anachronism.

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

@MikeK
Government employees, by definition, are all in that group of permanent salary people. The only problem is that somebody has to pay those salaries.

And as a business owner, you are dependent on having customers who can afford your service in order to pay your own salary. That money has to come from somewhere too. That's the problem with your argument right there: where does any money "come from?"

And your characterization of "permanent salary people" is wrong. There are plenty of people who have gone back and forth from being employers or employees. I'm one.

This is particularly true in the public sector. You've not heard of the "revolving door" between gov't service, gov't contractors, think tanks, consultancies, lobbying firms, law firms, etc? Every time a new administration comes in, most of the new people they bring come from the private sector, often as independent business operators. When the old one goes, its people return to the private sector. Even among so-called "career track" gov't jobs, you see people coming and going from the private sector.

There is a difference in people who invest in, or start, a business and those who never plan to be in business for themselves.

Often that difference is simply capital or access to capital. If you have money, you can invest it. If you have savings sufficient to risk paying your living expenses out of it until you're sure your business will be profitable, you can take that risk. That includes, for one thing, health insurance. Universal health care would encourage entrepreneurs who are otherwise married to their jobs.

There is a fundamental difference in attitude toward economics.

This is just wrong. You can't make a generalization like that unless you ignore the many people who shift from entrepreneurs to employees and back again over their lives, sometimes several times. Or who do both: working a day job while doing their own thing on the side.

Have you never worked for someone else?

Can you specify what this "fundamental difference in attitude towards economics" is? Because I've worked for others and for myself, and I don't recall any difference in my attitude- each time, I expected to make a living and do something I enjoy and do it well.

My attitude towards economics has always been: I think the market will provide me with enough work. That's the same whether my paychecks came from an employer or directly from clients and customers. And I've always been a liberal Democrat with a firm belief in the necessity of government regulation of business- in part to protect me, as an employee, from unscrupulous bosses and in part to protect me, as a small business owner, from corporations that would drive me out of business.

And in either case, as a citizen, to protect my rights and as a human being, to protect my air and water and health. Mainly from businesses who would pollute to save a buck.

Is ambition to be wealthy that fundamental difference? I've never been particularly motivated by the idea of becoming immensely wealthy and I know plenty of small business owners who are basically the same way.

Do you think everybody who, say, operates a pizzeria thinks they have a realistic shot at being the next Tom Monaghan?

Ambition, as a character aspect, is not limited to business owners. There are all kinds of ways to achieve wealth and power without ever running your own business- corporate execs and attorneys, just to name one example.

So it's not ambition that's the difference.

Is it the power of being the boss? I'll grant this: managing a small business requires a particular skill set, those necessary for management. Butlt that's all it is- a particular skill set and a personal inclination to enjoy, or at least tolerate, the extra hassles of management.

And as with ambition for wealth, one can achieve that status in the corporate world. Or in government, for that matter.

That's still not a fundamental difference in one's economic view, though.

Is it "the enterpreneurial spirit?" That is, simply the desire to be your own boss?

Think all the job types that basically can't be done by private entrepreneurs. I want to be a teacher: I don't want to run a private school. I want to be an engineer: I don't want to manage a firm. I want to be a trauma surgeon: I don't want to administer a hospital. I want to direct films: I don't want to be a producer.

So, depending on what you want to do, actually being your own boss may not be a possibility. Plenty of industries and professions are managed by, well, those inclined towards management as opposed to those inclined towards performing in the profession itself.

I still don't see how that's going to cause a "fundamental difference" in how one views economic issues.

If I'm reading your comments here right, you seem to think that only the management/ownership people have an investment in the economy. And that this investment ought to afford them some privelege or special consideration of some kind.

If not, then why do you bring up "investment" at all?

Or maybe you're saying that their investment, perhaps because it's clearly spelled out in a given amount of money, is fundamentally different from anyone else's investment.

It's not. Or do you think it's free to become a doctor or an engineer or a teacher or a mechanic? You're familiar with the term, "opportunity cost?" Money isn't the only means of investment- time and education count too.

Maybe you think your entrepreneurialism gives you insight into economic matters that your employees don't share?

Do you think the employees of any given business are not acutely aware of the potential success or failure of the business they work for? Or aware of their industry's relative success or failure in the overall economy? I guarantee you that they are. They've staked their futures on the same judgement calls you made when you staked your money.

If you've ever had employees leave your business because they've seen greener pastures elsewhere, or got someone to ditch a competitor to come work for you, then you know this.

It isn't that they have no investment in the economy- they just don't necessarily have any investment in your particular business. They could though, if you offered it- plenty of successful businesses are partially owned by their employees. And isn't that, ostensibly anyway, why execs are often compensated in company stock options?

Anyway, whether you want to believe it or not, people who have less to begin with don't have less to lose when the economy tumbles. They are more likely to have everything to lose.

Posted by: RobW on March 1, 2009 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody is proposing tax cuts to "offset a recession," whatever that means.

By the way, the phrase "offset a recession" comes straight from the Christina Romer study you pretended to be familiar with but weren't.

Thank god I didn't use the even more pointed term "exogenous." Sweet Christ you're a piece of work.

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Mortgage fraud and predatory lending have been epidemic over the past six years or so, and both brokers and lenders were involved.

Hell yes.

FBI had been trying to get the Bush DOJ to prosecute the cases they'd investigated for years. You better believe there's a bunch of nervous lenders out there now.

About five years ago, just as I was starting back to college, I had some unpaid medical bills that basically wiped out my credit rating for a while. Suddenly I start getting hard sells from lenders. A new offer or three in the mail every day. I was "pre-approved" for everything: credit cards, mortgages, new car loans, cash loans, supplemental student loans, you name it. Had I been just a little less wary, or a little more desperate, I'd have taken one.

Yep, my record indicated recent defaults and therefore a higher-than-average likelihood of future default. The lenders' response was to offer me as much as I could have asked for. I'm not talking about some "Joe's Payday Loans" either- I'm talking about Capitol One, WaMu, Citi, BoA, all the biggies who are in trouble now.

Not so much lately, though. Funny thing, that.

Posted by: RobW on March 1, 2009 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, my record indicated recent defaults and therefore a higher-than-average likelihood of future default. The lenders' response was to offer me as much as I could have asked for. I'm not talking about some "Joe's Payday Loans" either- I'm talking about Capitol One, WaMu, Citi, BoA, all the biggies who are in trouble now.

And you would probably have had no problem getting a stated income/no doc loan, and although you wouldn't have really known what that was or what the risks were to your future credit some nice loan officer would have steered you that way.

I'm personally familiar with a number of cases where unqualified and naive home buyers ended up getting approved for loans by seedy brokers, only to end up in foreclosure inside of a few years.

I'm also familiar with "reputable" lenders ripping off easy marks with enormous fees and surprise interest rates at the closing table. No one was policing any of this and times were good so why not, right?

Posted by: trex on March 1, 2009 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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