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September 02, 2011 1:15 PM A recipe for failure

By Steve Benen

Looking back over the last several months, after Americans rewarded Republicans in the 2010 midterms, we’ve seen quite a few policies intended to affect the economy. Extension of Bush-era tax breaks? Check. Wind down on stimulus spending? Check. Budget deal that cut spending? Check. Debt-ceiling deal that cut spending even more? Check. States and municipalities forced to cut back and fend for themselves? Check. Taking the nation’s full faith and credit hostage, inviting default, and causing a downgrade? Check.

This checklist, when considered against the deteriorating job market and anemic growth, leads me to ask three questions: (1) Who thinks the Republican economic agenda is making things better? (2) Why are Republicans complaining so much about their policies not working? And (3) Who in their right mind would blame President Obama for the performance of the Republican agenda?

On that last one, we know the answer. GOP leaders, some of whom thought Republicans deserved credit for the economy in April, are only too pleased to pretend Obama deserves the blame for conservative policies now.

But anyone who believes this garbage is fooling themselves. About a month ago, Kevin Drum had an item that still resonates.

2001-2008: Republicans run economy into ditch.

2008: Obama elected.

2009-2011: Republicans respond by doing everything possible to prevent him from fixing things.

2012: Republicans use lousy economy as campaign cudgel against Obama.

2012: Republican candidate wins presidency (maybe).

Arguably one of the most dramatic Democratic dilemmas of 2011 and 2012 is overcoming the realization that Republicans are getting their way on economic policy and then denying any responsibility for the results. Indeed, it’s a rather extraordinary con: GOP officials see much of their agenda implemented, then see it fail, and then blame Obama when their policies don’t work.

Under ideal circumstances, the president would come up with an economic plan and execute it. If the agenda succeeded, he’d get the credit. If it faltered, Republicans would call him on it. Voters could evaluate the results and decide whether to keep the president around or go back to GOP economic policies.

But those circumstances are nowhere to be found. Rather, we’re stuck looking in this funhouse-mirror in which Republicans block Democratic economic policies, and then condemn the policies for failing. Worse, as Adam Serwer recently noted, these same GOP officials are “actively pursuing policies that make the problem worse, and then attacking the president for the results.”

For most Americans, this level of substantive detail is invisible. They know Obama’s the president; they know the economy stinks; they know there’s a lot of arguing going on in Washington, but they have no idea who’s right and who’s wrong. They can’t count on major media outlets to help sort things out — reality has a well known liberal bias — and they’ll hear a lot of reporting about how “both sides” are always to blame for everything.

But for those who are sincere in wanting to know who’s responsible for the economic mess, the truth is painfully obvious.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • Burr Deming on September 02, 2011 1:21 PM:

    False equivalencies are a new journalistic standard, but they are also part of human nature. The differences in Republican and Democratic approaches, apart from that tendency, stem from the nature of the debate.

    When you combine both together, you are looking at a strange sort of chemical reaction that will cause the GOP to disappear as a national force, and quickly.

  • KC on September 02, 2011 1:21 PM:

    Well, it's good that the President has been working so hard to bland the differences between the Republican agenda and his. Great way to win an election, especially if your goal is to elect a Republican nominee.

  • sjw on September 02, 2011 1:26 PM:

    For me, yes, "the truth is painfully obvious": the Republicans, of course. But also Obama. His "leadership" on this issue is weak, embarrassing, pitifull. We wait and wait and wait for him to do something, and his defenders argue, "you'll see, he's a Zen politician, and he'll swoop in at the last moment when the timing is just right." Right. Meanwhile, months have gone by with the economy progressively souring and unemployment remaining high. So now it's next Wednesday, uh no, Thursday: what does a day or two matter? Anyway, that's when it will happen.

    I bet you it doesn't happen, and we just get more of the same calls for bipartisanship and consensus and waiting for Congress to do something. "No We Can't!" "The fierce urgency of later!"

  • c u n d gulag on September 02, 2011 1:28 PM:

    The main problem is with our Fourth Estate/MSM.

    They are too cowered, compliant, or complicit.

    They can't point out Conservative lies and obfuscations without being labelled "Liberal."

    And in today's high income media world, that's a death knell.

    You'd have a better chance if they painted you as a NAMBLA member, than as a Liberal - at least then, you'd have something in common to fall back on with the Conservatives.

    We have the worst media money can buy, reporting on the worst government money can but.

    Nice system!
    If you want to be a 3rd World Banana Republic.
    And we're just about there - thanks to banana's Republicans.

    Yes, CAPTCHA, "system harmall" is right.

  • c u n d gulag on September 02, 2011 1:30 PM:

    That should read, "... worst government money can 'buy,'" not "...money can 'but.'"

    But, you can buy Republican 'butt's' with money.

  • FriscoSF on September 02, 2011 1:42 PM:

    ...The main problem is with our Fourth Estate/MSM.

    They are too cowered, compliant, or complicit.

    They can't point out Conservative lies and obfuscations without being labelled "Liberal."...

    I thought it was the President's job to point out 'Conservative lies'

    All we have to do is elect a Democratic President !!

    Oh, wait ....

    OBAMA SUCKS

  • Anonymous on September 02, 2011 1:43 PM:


    Coordinated responses (read policies) are difficult to achieve against formidable and coordinated resistance!

    The perception of weakness is just that, a perception! Too bad too many people go with their perceptions than with their abilities to discern a con job when one is being handed to them! -Kevo

  • Anonymous on September 02, 2011 1:49 PM:

    Steve, you left out a few things ( I will write the alternative of what should have happened):

    1)Obama creates a stimulus that economist say is too small consisting of 60% spending 40% tax cuts. Says conservatives wanted it to be smaller, liberals wanted it to be bigger, but is just right.
    1a)Should have pushed for 2T, and if he could nit gt it let Americans know that you dont agree with tax component and that you think it needed to be much larger.
    2)Waste 9 months trusting republicans to negotiate in good faith over the ACA.
    2a)Crack Democratic heads to pass the ACA the way they wanted it. Tell Holey Joe that in exchange for keeping his chairmanship, he has to vote for every dem ACA vote
    3)Extends GOP tax cuts
    3a) Let high end tax cuts expire. Or let the GOP shut down the government and let them take responsibility for the shitty economy.
    4)Waste a year trying to solve the nonexistent "debt crisis". Ends up taking more money out of the economy
    4a)Drop a jobs program a year ago and campaign around the country on it.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on September 02, 2011 1:51 PM:

    Mr. Gulag
    "The main problem is with our Fourth Estate/MSM."
    I think we all need to get over the quaint notion that the press and MSM is something that actually polices and keeps us informed . Maybe years ago in an old movie or like the exposure of Watergate (Oh the outrage!) That shit would be buried on page B-12 with yawns and ho hums.Faux Nooze would have said it was a liberal plot to discredit the Republicans and they would have had tape from James O'Keefe to prove it.
    The MSM is a corporate conglomerate and promotes what is good for the company not what is good for the people. Remember there are six mega corporations that own it all
    http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart/main

    News is business and entertainment - nothing more.

  • jjm on September 02, 2011 1:52 PM:

    I have to agree with cund gulag on this one. The media is a BIG, BIG part of Obama's problem.

    Since his election I've seen thousands of descriptions of his most ordinary, simple actions as 'struggling to' 'scrambling to' 'trying hard to' but never mentioning any area in which he actually succeeds. This happens ALL the time with the New York Times in particular, that always characterizes any democrat exercising power as trying to do so, while crediting the GOP bullies as winning every power struggle.

    They play us like the promoters of TV wrestlers. GOOD / BAD, BIG / LITTLE, WEAK / STRONG and in the media universe the small, good guy is never the winner, even when he is.

    And a slender, intellectual, thoughtful president who has gone about enormous tasks, like health care and financial reregulation is considered just a pushover because he never YELLS!

    I really want to see Thursday's speech.

  • square1 on September 02, 2011 1:56 PM:

    Benen's argument only appears to make sense when he talks in vague generalities. When you dig down to into the details it falls apart.

    For example, "2001-2008: Republicans run economy into ditch."

    While it is true that the economy ran into a ditch during this time, and it is true that the GOP was mostly (but not entirely) in control during this time, it isn't clear that President Obama and other Democrats have distanced themselves from the policies that caused the economic problems.

    If you ask most liberals WHY the economy collapsed, they would give you 3 main reasons: excessive Wall Street deregulation, excessive tax cuts, and excessive intelligence/defense spending in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and on the creation of a permanent surveillance state.

    Sorry, but Democrats are pretty damn culpable for those policies.

    2009-2011: Republicans respond by doing everything possible to prevent him from fixing things.

    If the American people can't figure out what Obama would have done differently, he has nobody to blame but himself. He never proposed a significantly larger stimulus. He never went back for a bigger stimulus. Instead, he "pivoted" to cutting the debt, mostly through spending freezes or cuts.

    President Obama is a walking fountain of GOP talking points: That Social Security needs to be reformed ( i.e. cut). That the business community needs more certainty before the optimism fairy can work its economic magic. That government needs to stop over-regulating (e.g. the fucking Salmon story). That "tort reform" will reduce health care costs. That the economy cannot grow without deficit-reduction.

    Oddly enough, after President Obama has spent the better part of his Presidency giving "death hugs" to Republicans and their ideas, the public has no clue what he actually believes. Weird.

  • SecularAnimist on September 02, 2011 1:57 PM:

    You left out a key ingredient of the "recipe for failure":

    A president who WILL NOT fight for anything, who routinely vilifies the "professional left" who got him elected, and who begins every "bipartisan" negotiation by agreeing to everything that traditional big business Republicans have always wanted, as a starting position for further compromise with the ruthless, rapacious, reactionary "Tea Party" minions of the Koch Brothers.

  • CDW on September 02, 2011 2:05 PM:

    What he can try is 1)not surrendering to his avowed enemies (and that's exactly what they are) and 2)taking his case directly to the people, whom he has mostly ignored since his inauguration. It may be too late and maybe nothing would help.

    Oh, yeah. One other thing. Fire his lame advisers - the ones who don't have to be confirmed by the senate at any rate.

  • Anonymous on September 02, 2011 2:07 PM:

    (1) Who thinks the Republican economic agenda is making things better?

    When in the last 40 years has it made things better.

    (2) Why are Republicans complaining so much about their policies not working?

    Why are we even entertaining Republican fiscal policies.

    And (3) Who in their right mind would blame President Obama for the performance of the Republican agenda?

    I blame Obama for seeking bipartisanship with the Republican party and even entertaining their ideas when their #1 job was to make him a one term president.

  • Meek on September 02, 2011 2:07 PM:

    funny how ppl blame the president if he compromises, blame him if he doesn't try to compromise.The poor man can't win. If he doesn't compromise to work things out then ppl say he is being arrogant "all or nothing standards" if he does compromise so the country can still run b/c the republicans refuse to stop throwing tantrums, then he's weak. make up your mind. Look who in their right mind, i don't care if you don't like Pres Obama, has the audacity to think that protecting big oil companies, and the rich from any tax increases or penalties for over charging is the right way to go? who is that dumb even now? I don't care who I like, if they are protecting those who don't need it, I will not vote for them because you will be the ones suffering all because you just had to stick with your political party. Well guess what, Your political party is rich. So when their policies are putting you in the poor house, try and get one of them on the phone. Let me know how that works out for ya. Quit blaming the president and calling him week because he is trying to compromise and keep the country running. All he is trying to do is show you that even though he is a Democrat he is not so hardcore for his party that he can't reach across party lines and compromise. If ppl would get that redneck Boehner out of the way since he can't seem to keep his word everytime him and the prez come to an agreement. maybe, just maybe things could get done.

  • Josef K on September 02, 2011 2:12 PM:

    I hate to say it, but both sides have a degree of complicity in this. The Republicans and their monied patrons certainly have the greatest share of responsibility for everything from the deficit to the Great Recession to the meltdown on Wall Street in '07/'08 to our civil liberties and national security being such a mess.

    But the Democrats share some of the responsibility for it as well. They took President Obama's lead and didn't push to clean up either Wall Street or their own ranks, allowed the Republicans to exploit every procedural roadblock without sanction to stall and derail any meaningful legislation, and even abetted them by not seeking to amend Senate procedures when they had apportunity earlier this year.

    The Republicans have unquestionably sought to make things worse in pursuit of immediate electoral goals, but the Democrats have made little visible effort to either stop or even hinder them.

    As I said earlier, voters next year may end up asking themselves "who's really worse: the ones who want to destroy my livelihood, or the ones who won't fight for me and let my livelihood get destroyed anyway?"

  • Live Free or Die on September 02, 2011 2:13 PM:

    @CDW:

    I are 100%. Whoever (geitner) gave him the advice of focusing on the debt ceiling for the past year in order to "take it off the table" and consolidate the independent vote,should immediately be fired. Then he needs to go big next week. Hell go for 4T over the next 10 years. The Republicans will not even vote for 100B. Then he needs to hit the road for the next 3 months. He needs to learn how to use the word "Republican" when talking about his enemies. He should never use "Bipartisan" word again.

  • sensistar on September 02, 2011 2:14 PM:

    Meek: Mou are Meek. We are dealing with people who lied us into war. Their followers bring guns to political events.

    They call you lair. They call you a socialist.

    This is not the talking heads. These are members of Congress.

    Do you not see the hate. Did you not see the damage they did to this country.

    I guess your in the look forward crowd.

  • square1 on September 02, 2011 2:14 PM:

    I'm genuinely curious. To those who blame the media, I'd like to know what message, exactly, the administration has tried to get out but the media has failed to deliver.

    Because, as much as I hate the state of journalism in the U.S., I don't see how the White House can blame the media.

    For example, one of the worst political lies in recent memory was Sarah Palin's nonsense about "death panels".

    The truth is that MANY news outlets debunked this claim. Many journalists reported that, in truth, there were no death panels.

    The problem? The White House panicked and cut end-of-life funding. This not only made Palin appear sane, but correct.

    The same can be true about virtually any dumb-ass claim that Republicans have made. No matter how stupid the claim may be, at some point The White House will appear and, at the very least, legitimize the GOP talking point in some way. They may not agree with it, but they will treat it as being within the bounds of acceptable discussion.

  • Not Anonymous on September 02, 2011 2:17 PM:

    I think I'll stick with the truth: Republicans have shamelessly wasted everyone's time with their blatant and obvious attempts to obstruct and vilify our President. Besides being seditious and treasonous, their behavior ventures into the realm of psychotic and deranged. Oddly, the MSM seems to be cashing in on the drama while the corporations scurry about like cockroaches hoping that the light doesn't come on anytime soon.

    Hasn't anyone else picked up on the ridiculous double standard the right is pushing down everyone's throat? Seriously, the vile and putrid lies and rubbish being spewed by Bachmann, Palin and Perry is astounding. Moreover this is what we're expected to buy into? Are you fucking kidding me?

    This was unbelievable a long time ago and it still is - even worse duh!

    Fuck it folks, if one of these fucking tea bagging traitors gets elected I will not pity this pathetic excuse for a nation. We will have arrived at the God Damn end of the line.

  • Ronald on September 02, 2011 2:26 PM:

    You can all blame the media, blame President Obama and "wait, wait and wait" for "Him" to do something. Stop whining and get into action. EVERYONE HERE IS COMPLICIT IN THIS COUNTRY GETTING WORSE BY WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO FIX IT! Stop the whining blame game and GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND TAKE BACK YOUR COUNTRY!

    Pathetic! Just Like Captcha!

  • sherifffruitfly on September 02, 2011 2:27 PM:

    The grease that allows this all to happen is "progressives" joining with republicans and blaming Obama.

  • T2 on September 02, 2011 2:28 PM:

    my take on this whole issue is pretty simple. Up until the point where president Obama makes a full-throated, straight-talking challenge to the GOP/TP and its leadership regarding all the problems facing this country, we'll be stuck in this muddle.

    Remember the time at the end of the Debt Ceiling mess when he went on TV visibly upset after the Boner pull-out. The result of that performance was Obama being roundly panned as an "angry black guy". He needs to quit worrying about how he "sounds" and start acting like he actually cares about fixing the mess the GOP has created and start calling it like it is. And he'll need to do it weekly.
    Bets, anyone?

  • Mark on September 02, 2011 2:35 PM:

    Well, when the Republicans feel safe to advertise a get-out-the-vote effort - in Gabrielle Giffords' county - which features a raffle in which the prize is a handgun of the same make and model Jared Loughner used to shoot her in the head...

    http://passthedoucheys.com/2011/09/02/you-cant-fix-stupid/

    I'd say the American public has shot right through the floor of acceptability in public discourse, and the Republicans might as well start promising a Republican president will take everyone to NeverLand, because it's apparent anything goes. You can't argue rationally against someone who can do and say anything they want and never get called on it - they're holding five aces.

  • Live Free or Die on September 02, 2011 2:36 PM:

    @Ronald:

    "You can all blame the media, blame President Obama and "wait, wait and wait" for "Him" to do something. Stop whining and get into action"

    What do you propose we do? Go to the House of Reps with a pitchfork? I am going to vote for Obama. I just wish he would not undercut every argument that we make. I was just telling someone the other day about how we need to regulate the carbon emissions. Today this same guy just sarcastically told me that your president does not even believe that. What am I supposed to say to him?

  • CK MacLeod on September 02, 2011 2:43 PM:

    Y'all are caught in an anti-democratic conundrum. The assumption of economic determinism already concedes the game: By this theory, all that the anti-democrat needs to do when out of power is undermine economic conditions, trusting that the democratic system will reward him. If true, then it would indeed be the end in principle of social democracy, and only a matter of time before one or another fascism, following its own logic to the end, completely replaces the remnants of democratic republican government. The American public having proven itself incapable of self-governance during this epoch of terminal political decay, it would be up to others to advance, or advance beyond, the American idea as we though we knew it.

    It wouldn't, however, require a great demonstration of profound collective intelligence, just anything that qualifies as intelligence at all, at least to forestall this turn of events.

  • Vince on September 02, 2011 2:46 PM:

    Meek,

    Your comment so perfectly sums up the Democratic party today, led by Obama, particularly this quote: "All he is trying to do is show you that even though he is a Democrat he is not so hardcore for his party that he can't reach across party lines and compromise."

    Yep, God forbid Democrats be too hardcore. It's not like the other party hasn't been and continues to be. So, while Democrats don't get too hardcore and continue to compromise with the sociopaths that are Republicans' the country continues to circle the drain by adopting their failed policies.

    So, by all means I sure hope you are right and the Democrats continue to play nice with the other party that wants to literally destroy liberalism. That's been working great for the last 30 years.

  • stevio on September 02, 2011 2:59 PM:

    "But for those who are sincere in wanting to know who�s responsible for the economic mess, the truth is painfully obvious."

    You have that right, Steve. I follow this stuff pretty closely and a majority of what is wrong is Obama's fault. Not policy wise but a complete failure of him and his administration to point the finger where it needs to be pointed at. I'd give $5 per accusation if Obama used verbiage laying the problem at the feet of the GOP. He ALWAYS says things like "Congress" can't get their act together, etc. It's nauseating. How about a number of statements like:

    "The Republicans are placing politics ahead of the recovery and that my fellow americans is as close to Treason as it gets!"

    What's he afraid of? The Press not helping him out? Murdoch owns that. The Supreme Court not giving citizenship to Corporations? Bushit court picks and Justice Kennedy took care of that.

    Why does he persist in wanting to compromise with a bunch of nihilists who publicly state they are trying to ruin him? Is he afraid of public backlash? Remind me what his polling numbers are? In the tank that's where, and heading south.

    He always shoots low, never for the long ball and even when he does and the GOP screams bloody murder he backs off like the wimp at the playground. A while ago I decided to back off and give him a little space but he's one of the weakest Dems to hold that office since Carter.

    One has to wonder, "What would Hillary have done?", more now than in the beginning. Obama's team is destined for the dust bowl of history as the President who gave the best speeches resulting in the worst outcomes and then never a peep as to why his way would have been a better way to go.

    He's turned-out to be a lousy politician. One of the worst.

    His stance, racing towards the center, never caught on and his bargaining ability, once stymied by the GOP never had a plan B. Who doesn't have a plan "B" ?

    Very sad. Such potential with such miserable results. From a Health care plan that never included a way to manage costs, to letting Tele-Coms off for spying, to turning a blind-eye to torturers flaunting their deeds on TV and through book deals. he's getting exactly what he deserves. His only real success was saving auto companies that the GOP are taking credit for (with their rabid constituents). Today he backed-off on clean air standards that Bushit erased resulting in letting us all continue to breath polluted air.

    What a great President. Frankly, either Perry who would kill us off quickly, or Bachmann who would do it with a smile but just as quickly, is a better choice than a guy who has resorted to repeatedly kicking the dead horse which had elected him.

    Nauseating n many, many levels.

  • Vince on September 02, 2011 3:31 PM:

    Meek and Steve,

    More good compromise on the part of Obama: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/09/obama-breathers-sorry-wait-until-2013

    I still don't get what Steve doesn't get about why people don't get how great Obama is. I mean when he continues to say the same things Republicans say and implement Republican policies it's very difficult for him to distance himself from their failed policies. Because, um, they are also his policies.

  • mk3872 on September 02, 2011 3:32 PM:

    So then why is it that when we were adding 200k+ jobs per month did the GOP get away with saying "where are the jobs?" and libs said Obama wasn't doing enough? No one in todays politics is ever satisfied .

  • doubtful on September 02, 2011 3:55 PM:

    Let's talk recipes.

    A dozen or so great speeches
    1 cadre of enthusiastic supporters
    3/4 cup of historic significance
    1 deer-in-headlights about the economy opponent (mixed with one box-of-rocks running mate)
    1 collapsing economy
    2 unpopular major wars championed by his predecessor
    1 hope
    1 change

    That's the recipe for Obama's 2008 election success. Today, the ingredients look more like

    A dozen or so great speeches
    1/4 tsp of saccharine zealot supporters
    6 cups of disaffected new voters
    2 or more unpopular major wars championed by him
    1 collapsing economy
    1 charismatic good ol' boy opponent
    a sprinkling of republican cabinet members, including the new Secretary of War
    1 hopeless
    1 changeless

    Those cookies won't taste as good.

    In January 2013, President Perry will take office. We need to forget about Captain Capitulate and focus on holding the line in the Senate and House to mitigate the damage The Executioner can do.

    What a waste of political capital, treasure and enthusiasm Obama has been. He could suck the air out of a vacuum.

  • dannyshenanigan on September 02, 2011 10:16 PM:

    I don't read enough of the comments on this site, but it seems to me that the quality of poseurs / trolls is really improving. President Perry? Focus on the Senate and House? Capitulate? If you're not trolls, you've fooled me. Not that hard to do, but congrats anyway.

    Did you just want a George Bush imitator with democratic ideals? You just expected him to do everything progressives dream about and have Joe Biden tell republicans to go fuck themselves?

    Good luck with that.

  • Doug on September 02, 2011 10:18 PM:

    Uh, guys? The stimulus WAS big enough - for the figures the Obama team/administration had. I though WE were the reality-based group and left living in fantasy land to the Republican/Teabaggers?
    Nor can President Obama start blasting the Republican/Teabaggers - yet. He's President first, head of the Democratic Party second and that first description takes priority; unless, of course, you're a Republican/Teabagger. Or maybe that's what you want? A left-wing version of Perry or Bachmann? One has to wonder, because too many apparently can't recognize the value of their current President and head of the Democratic party.
    You people have to get it through your thick heads the we Democrat/progressive/liberal-types CAN'T elect a President - there's just not enough of us. Any Democrat running for President HAS to gain the support of a large proportion of the so-called "independent" voters; a task NOT made easier by the increasing number of shame-faced former Republicans who now call themselves "independent". Nor is that task made easier by "Democrats/progressives/liberals" who NEVER face reality, otherwise known as "who's got the votes on Capitol Hill?" If ANY of you thought that getting legislation through Congress was a simple matter for a President, ask yourself this: If passing legislation is so easy, why were rules continually being abused or ignored and "lobbying", otherwise known as bribery and threats, so intense in the House - during GWB's first six years?
    If, even after ALL the accomplishments of President Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate during the past two years, you can't walk into a voting booth in November 2012 and willingly vote for Mr. Obama and as many other Democrats as possible, then you're NOT the "progressives" you call yourselves, you're just poseurs.
    Whining poseurs, at that...

  • yellowdog on September 02, 2011 11:43 PM:

    You have to go to a Faulkner novel to find a family as messed up as the House GOP. The public has weighed in on Congressional performance - a good 12% of Americans believe it is performing well. 12%. The numbers have never been that low. This is a seriously dysfunctional place, with some seriously dysfunctional people in charge. Their idea for improving the economy - not paying our bills. They have become the great millstone on the economy - refusing to do things that we know will help, doing things we know will hurt. The radicalization of the right continues.

    Maybe we should think about campaign finance reform, overturning Citizens United, putting some new teeth in the Voting Rights Act and Motor Voter - you know, to help real people make their voices heard. Maybe we could do something to make "Congressional ethics" no longer an oxymoron?

  • pluege on September 03, 2011 7:09 AM:

    Who in their right mind would blame President Obama for the performance of the Republican agenda?

    a person understanding that the republican agenda and the obama agenda are one in the same and that without obama's support the republican agenda could never have been enacted.

    Who in their right mind would be/could be so enraptured of obama to think he was an innocent by-stander of the success of the republican agenda or worse, think that obama did anything to fight it.

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