Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 5, 2010

THEY WON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'VE GOT 'TIL IT'S GONE.... Whether I can relate to it or not, I understand many of the frustrations the Democratic base is feeling. I can understand the disappointments about some of the successes not including provisions the base wanted to see, and I can understand the number of issues Dems wanted to see tackled in this Congress that weren't addressed.

What I can't understand is dismissing the significance of the milestone accomplishments of 2009 and 2010. Greg Sargent this afternoon flagged a poll that I just found painful.

What if the Dem base's lack of enthusiasm is rooted in the fact that Dems aren't even aware of how much Congress has accomplished in the last two years?

A new poll from Pew and National Journal contains a really striking finding: Only one third of Democrats think this Congress has achieved more than other recent Congresses. Meanwhile, 60 percent of Dems think it has accomplished the same or less.

All of the usual caveats apply -- I haven't yet taken a close look at the methodology; I haven't seen similar results elsewhere; it's just one poll; etc. But having said all of that, to deny the accomplishments of this Congress is a serious mistake.

Specifically, 20% of respondents in this poll said Congress had accomplished more this year than in recent Congresses, 36% said less had been done, while 37% saw it as about average. Among Democrats, the results were better, but not much -- 33% said this Congress scored well on accomplishments, 23% said less was done, and 37% said this Congress accomplished about the same amount.

Putting aside whether one approved of the policy breakthroughs, this poll result makes it seem as if much of the public simply doesn't realize that the policy breakthroughs were unusual.

I don't expect the public to have an extensive knowledge of federal policymaking history, but I at least hoped Americans would realize the scope of recent accomplishments. We are, after all, talking about a two-year span in which Congress passed and the president signed the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, etc. Policymakers might yet add to this list in the lame-duck session.

Some of these efforts have been years in the making. In the case of health care reform, politicians have been talking about a major overhaul for a full century, but it took this Congress and this president to get it done.

This Congress has been about as many accomplishments as recent Congresses? Seriously?

Again, maybe you agree with these accomplishments, or maybe you think they were mistakes. That's not the point here. What's worth acknowledging is that we haven't seen this many accomplishments, on this scale, in decades. Norm Ornstein has characterized this Congress as being the most productive in 45 years. Rachel Maddow recently went further, observing, "The last time any president did this much in office, booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, if you believe in government that addresses problems, cheers to that."

Whether rank-and-file Democrats realize it or not, this is why the Republicans' right-wing base is as animated this year as is it -- it's not because Dems are pushing a lot of key progressive priorities that have languished for years; it's because Dems are passing a lot of key progressive priorities that have languished for years.

Greg concluded, "Maybe this speaks to an enormous Dem failure to communicate their successes. Or maybe it's another sign of how bloated expectations were amid the euphoria of Obama's win. Or perhaps the sense of just how monumental our problems are -- and the fact that Dems secured such large Congressional majorities -- led rank and file Dems to expect truly historic, paradigm shifting levels of leadership. Either way, these numbers shed fascinating new light on the enthusiasm gap problem. Just wow."

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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Comments

I'd say it is lack of communication.

Another continuing theme of the Democrats - they just suck at messaging.

If you run away from progressive accomplishments, people - even Democrats - don't know what's been done; it also continues the established meme that progressive = bad for America.

Posted by: terraformer on October 5, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Greg concluded, "Maybe this speaks to an enormous Dem failure to communicate their successes.

Or it could be that people are comparing these accomplishments to things like starting 2 wars, a half trillion dollar medicare prescription law, a multi-trillion dollar series of tax cuts, gutting EPA and other regulatory agencies, or turning over the "governing" to lobbyists.

If only positive change were so easy.

Posted by: Danp on October 5, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I am sooooo f#%king tired of this 'failure to communicate' meme!

The only people who know about all of these accomplishement are political junkies like me who spend a lot time on blogs and news sites.

The vast majority of Americans (especially Dems) are not paying attention! They're watching Dancing with the Stars or Jersey Shore. They will on one hand tell a pollster they are engaged voters and then prove otherwise.

Information like the accomplishments listed are not getting thru to the electorate because they're not paying attention - period. It is not the fault of Obama or the WH Communication operations or Pelosi or Reid.

Shesh!

Posted by: bmcchgo on October 5, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

If unemployment had dropped below 7% by the time the poll was taken, the numbers saying this Congress had accomplished more would be higher. Ask people any question now and more of them are bound to respond less or the same rather than more.

Posted by: NealB on October 5, 2010 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, this Congress has done an impressive job of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 5, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with last poster. People voted for Obama to fix things. If they don't have a job, or they're poorer than they were in 2008, which most folks are, they're not going think things were fixed.

Posted by: JMG on October 5, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a failure to communicate, its actually a product of information overload. The Republicans are so good at screeching and ginning up fake controversies that the media chases like a dog running after a car, the takeaway at the end of the legislative process is the view that Congress is a mess, rather than what the legislation will accomplish. There is HCR burnout after following the histrionics that conservatives engaged in to fight HCR. So people don't want to hear about HCR anymore. Responsible media would have gone to the first Congressional townhall freakfest, reported that opponents of HCR were engaged in either lying about the legislation or were irresponsibly ignorant about it, and told their viewers and readers that until such time that such lying and ignorance stopped, they would no longer report on what opponents of HCR had to say.

Posted by: John Dillinger on October 5, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely -- the fact that so many Americans don't know of Democratic accomplishments is the fault not of Americans but of Democratic Party leadership, from the president on down.

And this is the kind of stupidity that you get when you have a Blue Dog as Majority Leader -- Harry Reid won't even defend, much less boast about, what Congressional Democrats have accomplished, because he runs from that record in order to get "conservative" votes in Nevada.

I point also to Tim Kaine as an enormous failure in his role as chair of the DNC. Everyone sure knew who Howard Dean was when he was DNC chair.

But yeah, it's easier to blame the base for not having enough appreciation.

Posted by: karen marie on October 5, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I would say lack of communication, but with a caveat. Had BHO and team bothered to not negotiate away progressive positions prior to any negotiations beginning, not adopt a bunch of other party proposals prior to the start of negotiations, and then actually negotiated issues (even if that resulted in exactly what has been passed) there would have been significantly more press/media coverage/debate on what was actually being accomplished (and what was being held back) and communication might not be a problem now.

Posted by: bubba on October 5, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

shorthand: "It's the economy stupid"

Posted by: golack on October 5, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

St. Gidget seduces LeftBlogistan

Maybe this speaks to an enormous Dem failure to communicate their successes...

No doubt. But the blame should get spread around too. For example: Josh Marshall and PuffMo headline teabaggers far more than democratic accomplishments.

Don't get me wrong: I understand that Josh is sore that he didn't get on Playgirl Brownie early and often, and so no way is he going to let St. Gidget win in Delaware, but still, consider:

Today Josh gave far more acreage to "puppy gate" than he did to last weekend's progressive march. Anybody know what that was about? Did you hear any interviews? See any video? Did they send any reporters like they do for a gathering of teabag scum?

If the left doesn't cover its own marches who will?
And if Democrat bloggers don't blog Democrat successes who will?

Posted by: koreyel on October 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

I know everything that Congress has done in the last few years, and I'm impressed. But I also know that we're blowing up civilians with flying robots and using the "state secrets" justification to cover up spying & assassination. Am I supposed to accept a secret war in Pakistan in exchange for expanded stem cell research (which I very strongly support)?

I'll vote, but I'm normally one of those knockin' on doors/ making calls Democrats. I can't see how I can reconcile supporting my party in light of the continuing wars and civil liberties abuses.

I guess maybe the Democrats can make a play for uninformed, unregistered voters. Perhaps they can hang on to our majority that way... but it seems like a gross miscalculation to me.

I bet Paul Hodes could use my help right now!

-J

Posted by: Jamobey on October 5, 2010 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

1. The economy is dragging down enthusiasm

2. A consistent message from all Democrats would help.

3. But, while we may not have a center-right electorate, we have a center-right media. CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS all get dragged to the right by Fox. We spend weeks on made-up issues like the Islamic Center in Manhattan, sucking up all the oxygen. Government news is quickly boiled down to horse-race analysis, does this help Obama or the GOP? I don't know if I'm watching news or Sports Center.

Posted by: KevinMc on October 5, 2010 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Steve -- You've made many posts about how Congress has failed to move nominations (judicial and otherwise) at a record pace. I would tend to think that should count among Congress' (lack of) accomplishments.

Posted by: argo0 on October 5, 2010 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

or maybe people are paying attention but don't consider what they've done to be major accomplishments...

Posted by: scott on October 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Not having a job tends to narrow one's perceptions of the world considerably.

It's the economy.

Posted by: dr. bloor on October 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Massive anti-progressive media. It's everywhere. Check the anti-FDR propaganda slipped into an innocuous little thing:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erik-sass/us-history-mythbusting_b_749834.html

Posted by: Bob M on October 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone sure knew who Howard Dean was when he was DNC chair.

What is name recognition in a DNC chair for, anyways?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 5, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Droning on about drones...

But I also know that we're blowing up civilians with flying robots...

By the way...
Good job on nailing those German "civilians" that were plotting attacks in Europe.

Posted by: koreyel on October 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

One of the big problems was the idea to phase in the affordable health care act over such a long period of time. Once people actually experience a change in their health care access, or at least in people 'like them', then they will think something was accomplished. Letting it hang only allows crazy (like a Fox) ideas to congeal in people's minds, and makes repeal a real threat. I hope a lesson has been learned for future big programs.

Posted by: Comstock Load on October 5, 2010 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I will go further than some of the other commenters: There were a lot of highly diminished accomplishments.

In terms of the accomplishments, they were watered down because they wanted to fill in a check box, as in, "Keep him away from toilet paper, because he will sign anything with healthcare reform/financial reform/etc., on it."

Basically, they took big ideas, put them on bills with big names, and then shrunk them down to pitiful proportions to check off a box.

The administration has been almost as bad as Bush on the Iraq withdrawal, with the fig leaf of the 50,000 non-combat forces.

On financial reform, they have been the chief impediment to meaningful change, with Geithner and Summers (who, as Delong notes, WORK FOR THE CZAR) driving a policy that favored Wall Street over main street.

On the foreclosure crisis, they structured HAMP as a fraud on the stressed homeowner, so as to extract a few mortgage payments to the banks.

On LGBT civil rights, they are actively hostile to expending political capital do do ANYTHING.

He's trying to gut Social Security with his cat food commission.

Not the slightest push on the Employee Free Choice Act.

On civil rights and surveillance, their policies are demonstrably more extreme and wrong than those of the Bush administration.

Posted by: Matthew G. Saroff on October 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Benen, go read Ezra Klein and Krugman if you want to know why the left hates obama and the dems (and rightly so) - they did worse than nothing: besides blowing a once in 3 generation opportunity to make real progressive change, they undermined and destroyed for another generation the opportunity to fix anything. With obama's goddamn, sniveling, middling, visionless bipartisan pretense of reform, he has destroyed any chance for actual reform for a very long time.

Posted by: zoot on October 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

We should all be seriously worried right now, I have been hearing a lot about foreign companies and governments bankrolling our election to get republicans elected. They want our jobs, and various other reasons. I just saw it again on Hardball. The dems want to bring jobs to America the repubs want to outsource. We are losing our right to vote for the government we chose as Americans, the Chamber of Commerce is funneling the money, this is serious. This should be a right that we never lose but it is being sold.

Posted by: js on October 5, 2010 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

At least part of the problem is the progressive media not doing its job.

I was thinking yesterday about when the health care bill passed, and I ran across people on left-wing wonk blogs saying things like "what the hell is an exchange?". The exchanges were the fundamental organizing principle of the HCR bill and they hadn't heard of them until the day the bill passed. But these same people could have written you an essay on the "reconciliation" procedure and why the Democrats needed to use it more, and needed to use it to pass the public option and so forth. They'd been following this stuff every day closely for months, but the netroots sources they were following it through were focused 100% on the small-scale procedural battles between Harry Reid and Olympia Snowe or whoever, and 0% on what the bill was or did. The blogs had succeeded at getting them engaged and whipped up on the issue, but had basically failed at making them informed.

The problem here is the Democrats don't have any advocates within the media. If you think about it the Republicans aren't, never have been, really themselves very good at messaging, they just have a 24 hour news network that does the messaging for them. There's no left-wing equivalent of Fox News. The left-leaning media that does exist is exclusively negative on the Democrats-- it views its mission as being to advocate issues and push the Democrats to the left, not to push the Democratic message. If the party Democrats wanted to convince people they were accomplishing things, the first thing they'd have to do is push back against DailyKos and the Daily Show and whatnot constantly talking about how the Democrats don't do anything.

Posted by: mcc on October 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think it also highlights just how good the rethugs are at bad talking the dems.

They have it down to a science. Oddly enough, Chris Matthews' "Let me finish" segment yesterday was pretty good about this. He talked about what's been accomplished, and added that the GOP wants to roll it all back, and that's what's at stake in this election.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on October 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Benen, go read Ezra Klein and Krugman if you want to know why the left hates obama and the dems (and rightly so)

sorry, but fuck you.

I am the left, and I don't hate either Obama or the dems. STOP TRYING TO SPEAK FOR ME.

god, I am so tired of this crap. kaithxbai.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on October 5, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

...and as if to illustrate my point, here's someone talking about how this mythical "catfood commission" is coming to eat your social security.

Go read Krugman and Ezra Klein indeed. Even the left-wing media spends all day pushing Republican talking points.

Posted by: mcc on October 5, 2010 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is poor messaging, but that includes a failure to explain why stimulus programs work and why TARP (which Obama ran although it was passed under Bush) was necessary and successful. And then you have to get that message to people who watch the news for about 10 minutes a day while they are fixing dinner and yelling at the kids. The rest of their time is spent working or watching a TV show the kids will tolerate. Unless we start teaching macroeconomics in kindergarten, the nation is doomed.

Posted by: Tim H on October 5, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Many of us stopped paying attention to what the Democrats were doing when it became clear that they would neither hold the Bush administration accountable for war crimes nor make a clean break with past on civil libertarian issues.

At this point, we just hear incoherent noises about other policy failures like health insurance, financial reform, economic stimulus, ending the wars, etc. and we just say to ourselves, "Okay, so it's a just a total disaster from top to bottom, isn't it?"

Posted by: s9 on October 5, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just lack of communication. After some big successes early in Obama's term, it's been stalemate, with hundreds of bills passed by the House stacked up, with hardly any nominees confirmed, and with basic appropriations bills not passed. Congress isn't even managing to do the basics: fill vacancies in the executive and judicial branches, and come to agreement on basic priorities. So it's government by continuing resolution.

Posted by: Joe Buck on October 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

How's the torture thing going Steve? Do you feel any "disappointment" over Obama's actions in cementing down, forever, the Bush/Cheney/Yoo view of disappearing, torture, assassination, unconstitutional domestic spying?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 5, 2010 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

@Koreyel

Sure. Our missiles always land on bad guys, every helicopter that goes down in Iraq & Afghanistan has a mechanical failure, and the Turks from the Gaza Flotilla opened fire first. You really keep up with the news!

Does Germany agree that their citizens who were killed were terrorists? Were they actually terrorists? Who knows? There's no trial, there is no public discussion of evidence, there is no accountability if you're wrong. America used to stand for justice, but drones aren't about justice. They're just about revenge.

-J

Posted by: Jamobey on October 5, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I'm worse off than I was two years ago, and so is pretty much everyone I know. I'm told that many wonderful things will happen in 2014. Great. The Dems can check back in with me then.

Posted by: somethingblue on October 5, 2010 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm told that many wonderful things will happen in 2014. Great. The Dems can check back in with me then.

Okay, so at least we'll get a four-year break from hearing you whine.

Oh, we won't? Shocker.

Posted by: smarter on October 5, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

No, the whining is free of charge. Enjoy!

Posted by: somethingblue on October 5, 2010 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's a failure of journalism. During the Regan administration media noticed when they were critical of The President advertising went down. When they were positive it went up. They've been terrified ever since. The best demotrats can be is only as good as the republicans. Obama, therefore, cannot have achieved anything out of the ordinary and when he does the media must have a conservative talking about it. The media would do anything to avoid appearing to have a liberal bias. Hence they have never explained what is in the Affordable Health Care Act. Isn't this their job?

Posted by: tplplay on October 5, 2010 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

You're missing the point.
OK, rationally, this Congress accomplished a lot. But after 8 years of policies that deferred problems at best and made things actively worse more often than not-- we needed more. Instead of getting the liberal agenda we wanted, the one we campaigned for, voted for, and were promised-- 3/4 of the term was spent trying to stop the nation hemorrhaging from the wounds the Republicans inflicted on their way out the door.

What we got was theoretically more than other recent Congresses, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Posted by: Anthony Damiani on October 5, 2010 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Not to point a finger at you Steve, but take a glance at the headlines on your own web page (or TPM or Crooks and Liars or AmericaBlog or Eschaton ...) and tell us which ones might inspire liberals to vote for Democrats this year, and not simply against Republicans.

I see plenty of articles about Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and a myriad of Tea Party candidates. I rarely even see the name of their Democratic opponents. I know every machination of Boehner, McConnell, and DeMint. Are there Democrats fighting against them? I learn about every tweet from Sarah Palin and every rant from Glenn Beck. I knew about Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally ,from liberal blogs, months in advance. I learned about the liberal counter rally the day after it happened. When Democrats are covered, it's usually Lieberman or Landrieu or Nelson threatening a filibuster or Gibbs trashing the base.

If It's Sunday, it's still conservative on network and cable news. But conservative voices dominate on liberal blogs every day of the week.

Posted by: Jinchi on October 5, 2010 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

The economy is the elephant in the room. Because it is not "fixed" people assume congress is not doing anything. Accomplishment = fixing the economy, at least in our psyches.

Posted by: luispinsf on October 5, 2010 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Information like the accomplishments listed are not getting thru to the electorate because they're not paying attention..." bmcchgo @ 4:45 PM.
Close, but still missing a vital point: WHAT aren't they listening to? Voters have been continuously bombarded with content-free "information" for the past decade or more. They undoubtedly have heard of "death panels", but most likely they HAVEN'T heard what that lie was in response to: end-of-life counseling if the person wished it. That's only the best known example, there are thousands of others and ALL can be laid at the feet of the MSM "journalists", aka "talking heads".
The Democratic Party HAS failed in getting its message out, but if the MSM isn't going to report facts how is it to be done? Who's going to be the Democrats' "Rupert Murdoch"?
A belief was built up over the decades, more-or-less correctly, that if you heard something on the "news program" on television or radio, it was true. With the death of the "Fairness Doctrine", that no longer applies, but noone bothered to tell viewers. They are still listening to "news" programs tha nowadays rank right up there with gossip columnists for the validity of their content.
And I may have just insulted gossip columnists...

Posted by: Doug on October 5, 2010 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

We realize they have accomplished alot. We also realize it all stinks!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: berlins on October 5, 2010 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

I am the left, and I don't hate either Obama or the dems.
fourlegsgood on October 5, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

there is a fool born every second.
.

Posted by: zoot on October 5, 2010 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Most of us think it is Congress' job to accomplish something EVERY session. So they did or they didn't. If they did, they did what they were expected to do and shouldn't expect any special congratulations. If they didn't, why do we pay for them? What's surprising about that?

Meanwhile, the economy isn't fixed, so they probably didn't do their jobs. It's simple really.

Posted by: janinsanfran on October 5, 2010 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if anybody has bothered to ask liberals specifically why they are unhappy with the Obama administration. For me it's several things (in no particular order):

- the fact that Obama has embraced the expansion of the Bush-era police state instead of repudiating it

- the fact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been ended (most liberals are smart enough to know that the 50,000 "non-combat" troops will certainly be used for combat if necessary), and in fact have shown no progress

- the fact that DADT has not been repealed

- the fact that Obama refused to even fight for single-payer before giving in to the GOP

Four major issues of importance to liberals, and no progress on ANY of them...that's why enthusiasm among the Democratic base is low!!

Posted by: mfw13 on October 5, 2010 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Then:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012802893.html

"... last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said.

"I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. ..."

The justices ... sat motionless and expressionless. Except for Alito.

"Not true, not true," he appeared to say (other lip readers think he said, "That's not true")... he started shaking his head after the president said "special interests."

Now:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/opinion/06wed1.html?hp

"October 5, 2010
"For at least 44 years, it has been illegal for foreign corporations, countries and individuals to make political contributions in the United States for any election, either directly or indirectly. It is even against the law to solicit such contributions. ... The United States Chamber of Commerce — one of the biggest advertisers in midterm races around the country — is actively soliciting foreign money, and government enforcers seem to be doing nothing to stop it....
...
... Because of a series of court decisions that culminated in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling earlier this year, these and similar 501(c) nonprofits have become huge players in the year’s election, using unlimited money from donors who have no fear of disclosure. (Not surprisingly, the chamber has been a leading opponent of legislation to require disclosure.)"

and this

Sep 13, 2010 ... In brief but emotional remarks, Cuccinelli said King George III and the British respected the liberties of colonists more than Democrats now ...
voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/09/k.html

Posted by: hank on October 6, 2010 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Putting aside whether one approved of the policy breakthroughs, this poll result makes it seem as if much of the public simply doesn't realize that the policy breakthroughs were unusual.

I don't see how you can get that from these results. A lot of assumptions there. Saying "they didn't accomplish much more" doesn't just speak to the number of bills passed or how unusual that is, or isn't, it also speaks to what was accomplished by passing those bills.

There was a lot of pent-up energy and expectation after watching the country be gutted, exploited, and deformed, in the view of many Democrats, by eight years of Bush and company. Watching Bush and the right seemingly do whatever the hell they felt like (I know it's not that simple but it did appear that way often, and certainly was that way in terms of Iraq) and then having to hear nothing from this crew but "We don't have the votes" and constant surrender to Republicans and Blue Dogs, was all dispiriting and disappointing.

Arguments like "Oh we didn't ever have 60 votes for a public option!" are still common among Obama defender die-hards, whereas in reality, health care passed in reconciliation, needing only 50. Of course, the public option had long since been bargained away, as Greenwald details in an excellent post right now on his site.

After watching the Republicans swagger and strut, bragging how they could do whatever they wanted, the contrast has been striking.

Posted by: UncertaintyVicePrincipal on October 6, 2010 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

What 2/3 - 3/4 of the above posts said, yes.

Or to boil it down as far as possible:

Mr Benen: "They've accomplished so much!"

Many of us: "quantity" ≠ "quality"

Posted by: smartalek on October 6, 2010 at 4:09 AM | PERMALINK

People want JOBS. Concern #1. Everything else pales in comparison. How hard is that for our elite politicians to understand?

Obama waltzed to election because the economy tanked just before the election and people were losing their jobs. They voted Obama to stop the job loss and get the economy back on the right track.

Obama has stabilized finance. Obama and the Dems have not lowered unemployment and have delivered too little stimulus and job creation programs. The Republicans who created the mess will be worse, for sure. But the Dems with their majorities failed to deliver JOBS. For that, they will be punished.

Posted by: bakho on October 6, 2010 at 6:52 AM | PERMALINK

Mr Benen, will you, please, stop the canard of touting the credit care legislation as a "Victory"? It did nothing except to tell Banks they needed more time to tell the public how they were going to be fleeced. The great capping amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders was rejected by the White House and Democratic leaders, thus, turning the credit card bill into another watered down piece of mush. It is no Victory!

Posted by: berttheclock on October 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Are we talking just numbers of bills passed here? I'm fully aware that a lot of legislation has been signed into law, but a lot of that was watered down considerably from good initial bills. So good marks on quantity but C+ at best on quality.

Posted by: digitusmedius on October 6, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

There's still a pointless war, a lack of due processs, Guantanamo and the whole surveillance state... Yeah, what ingrates the supposed left are when they won't be bought off with a sub-par increase in healthcare, to look away when their government strips them of all privacy and maintains the right to kill you as it sees fit, based on vague suspicions it doesn't have to reveal.

Posted by: HMDK on October 6, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

So obvious that "disaffected, depressed Dems" have gone psychotic!

Posted by: cat48 on October 6, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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