Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 28, 2009
POLITICS: Slash and Burn

Jay Cost on Obama's harshly partisan rhetoric:

One reason that I was so interested in candidate Obama in 2007 was that he seemed to have the same broad orientation to politics as I do. The world is a harsh, complicated place in which to live. Ultimately, we're going to have different views on what to do. But politics isn't like math, where there is some unequivocal answer waiting at the bottom of a proof. It's hazy and uncertain. Our policy proposals are more like stabs in the dark than geometric theorems. So ultimately, we should accept as fact that others will disagree - and we should respect those who disagree with us, above all assuming that they're acting in good faith.

In 2007, I thought this is how the President thought about things, too. It has become increasingly clear to me, however, that either he doesn't, or his inner circle doesn't.

(H/T) It's been grimly amusing watching people on the center-right who bought into this notion of Obama one by one waking up to the realization that he is, in fact, the most archly partisan president since LBJ, a man who is unceasing in his attacks on his predecessor (who remains, as always, too classy for his own good and accordingly unwilling to respond) and all too fond of personal attacks on his critics as well as the kind of rhetoric Cost addresses.

Obama still retains the personal popularity that comes with the political honeymoon - how much, depends on how you read the polls, which can vary - but at the end of the day, his policies are going to be less so. If you would be happy with Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank or Charlie Rangel as president, you will of course be happy with Obama, and if you wouldn't, sooner or later you won't be happy with him. Obama, of course, is gambling that he can restructure the American electorate and electoral system into one that is more supportive of that faction of his party before we get there, and a soon-to-be-60 vote Senate majority gets him closer to that goal. The only issues will be whether he can succeed in that race against time, and how long it takes for the rest of the electorate to start identifying Obama with his policies.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:13 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Do you post stuff like this tongue in cheek? Seriously, if this is a dark/ironic sort of post then the gag is funny and I appreciate the sly humor and give you kudos for it. If this is straight up then all I can say is, "Wow."

Posted by: jim at April 28, 2009 3:59 PM

Actually, IMHO, many of us conservativces see Obama this way. I see him as very partisan and very closed minded. It is his way or the highway.

If the Republicans get control of one (or both) houses of Congress back, I don't see how Obama will ever be able to get anything thru because he just can't seem to really see the other guys viewpoint and compromise. Unless of course it is with "our enemies", then he folds like a cheap suit.

IMHO, never has a president so quickly divided the country. His 1st 100 days should be a great awakening for those who thought he was a centrist and a uniter. He is neither.

Let us hope for change. Just 45 more months to go!

Posted by: Lee at April 28, 2009 4:09 PM

I fail to see what is dark about the post. Looks like a recitation of obvious facts to me. Frankly, you'd have to be downright disingenuous to not see Cost's point, and Crank's reaction to it.

There probably were many people who were hoping for the best with Obama, and they chose to overlook his past associations, his voting record etc. It will be interesting to see how much emotional investment has been made by some of these folks, and how quickly the obviousness of Obama's partisan nature becomes apparent to them. Saul Alinsky did not train his radicals to play nicely, and once in power, they are loathe to give up anything without a bitter fight. In any event, class warfare will be waged in earnest, and it won't be pretty.

Perhaps the attempt to criminalize policy disagreement on interrogations will be a tipping point for some, and maybe it will be the neo-fascist appropriation of banks and industry that will convince others. Maybe, the destruction of the CIA and our loss of intelligence gathering capability will be the last straw. I could go on for hours. I just hope enough of the convincing happens by October of 2010.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at April 28, 2009 7:42 PM

RE: "If you would be happy with Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank or Charlie Rangel"

read:

"If you would be happy with a woman, a gay man or a black man"...then blah blah blah.

Quote of the day:

"the GOP... is increasingly in danger of becoming a regionally based party whose core supporters are principally Southern whites and fundamentalist Christians" - Todays WaPo

That's right -- your party has been taken over by warmongers and kooks. Those remaining are either kooks themselves or suffering from a bad case of the Stockholm syndrome. We'll all pay higher taxes as a result of the GOP bus driving off a cliff. But they leave us no other choice.

Posted by: Patrick at April 28, 2009 8:19 PM

Oh, those poor conservative babies. Is the President being mean to you?

You guys can dish it out, but you sure can't take it. Given that Bush is a war criminal and a totally incompetent boob who damaged our country more than all of his predecessors combined, Obama is, if anything, going way too easy on him.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 28, 2009 8:32 PM

Patrick - So, what, the whole leadership of the left wing of the Democratic party is off-limits? I'll remember that you're anti-woman next time you criticize Gov. Palin.

Magrooder - Which part of "grimly amusing" did you fail to read, or comprehend? Obama sold himself as the polar opposite of what he is. I never bought it, and I've been watching people on the Right who did wake up and smell the coffee. So Obama has no mercy, sympathy or willingness to deal in good faith with Republicans, conservatives or anybody else who doesn't buy the left-wing line; that's his right, but it doesn't mean I have to pretend it's not so.

Just remember, if you want a president who talks like a left-wing blogger, you run the risk that maybe the rest of the country will grow weary of that over time.

Posted by: Crank at April 28, 2009 8:48 PM

We'll all pay higher taxes due to the GOP-oh my god-you can't make this stuff up. Where do you even begin with confronted with such an idiotic statement.

BTW Per Rasmussen and Gallup-Obumbler st 55-56% lower than anyone not named Bill Clinton at this point. Figure with the unemployment going up and staying there, gas prices headed north once demand goes up since we have allowed our energy policy to be controlled by extremists for over 30 years, inflation heading up to 1970s levels due to the ridiculous amount of money we have thrown into the economy, the trillion (actually almost 2 trillion) dollar annual deficts going as far as the eye can see and just a matter of time before his peace through weakness foreign policy starts being played like a fiddle by our enemies-Figure under 50% by Labor Day and the Congress trying to seperate themselves from him by this time next year.

Do any of you remember that 4 years ago people were taking about permanent Republican majorities? Those who forget history are doomed to.......what the rest.

Posted by: dch at April 28, 2009 10:44 PM

You know what's high comedy? A highly partisan site linking to another highly partisan site complaining about how someone else is highly partisan.

That is what is grimly amusing.

One of the quotes from your link, and matching your statement.
"So ultimately, we should accept as fact that others will disagree - and we should respect those who disagree with us, above all assuming that they're acting in good faith."
See, here's the thing - there is no reason to believe that the GOP is acting in good faith. Take the stimulus. No economist knows if it is going to work. Plenty of work was done reaching out. And a wall was built, in order to make sure that no member in the House would cross it for fear of retribution.
Has the GOP shown any willingness to deal in good faith? Have you?

Take your own article which was a debate as to how much you can bring the crazy in criticizing. See dch, below.

"We'll all pay higher taxes due to the GOP-oh my god-you can't make this stuff up. Where do you even begin with confronted with such an idiotic statement."
??? This is really kinda true. The spending that was done during war times to finance party-doctrine tax cuts, war, increase in social services (Medicare), and ignoring the deficit and more will have to be paid off by higher revenue.
That you are unaware of this is troubling.

"Do any of you remember that 4 years ago people were taking about permanent Republican majorities?"
That was because they were doing well. Here's the thing - people aren't talking about Democrats being dominant because they are doing so well. It's because the Republicans are being taken over by the crazy.

Posted by: Dave at April 28, 2009 11:02 PM

You know what's high comedy? A highly partisan site linking to another highly partisan site complaining about how someone else is highly partisan.

That is what is grimly amusing.

One of the quotes from your link, and matching your statement.
"So ultimately, we should accept as fact that others will disagree - and we should respect those who disagree with us, above all assuming that they're acting in good faith."
See, here's the thing - there is no reason to believe that the GOP is acting in good faith. Take the stimulus. No economist knows if it is going to work. Plenty of work was done reaching out. And a wall was built, in order to make sure that no member in the House would cross it for fear of retribution.
Has the GOP shown any willingness to deal in good faith? Have you?

Take your own article which was a debate as to how much you can bring the crazy in criticizing. See dch, below.

"We'll all pay higher taxes due to the GOP-oh my god-you can't make this stuff up. Where do you even begin with confronted with such an idiotic statement."
??? This is really kinda true. The spending that was done during war times to finance party-doctrine tax cuts, war, increase in social services (Medicare), and ignoring the deficit and more will have to be paid off by higher revenue.
That you are unaware of this is troubling.

"Do any of you remember that 4 years ago people were taking about permanent Republican majorities?"
That was because they were doing well. Here's the thing - people aren't talking about Democrats being dominant because they are doing so well. It's because the Republicans are being taken over by the crazy.

Posted by: Dave at April 28, 2009 11:03 PM

Brainiac, tax revenues went up, like they always do when tax rates go down. Is there any reason to read anything you have to say after that erroneous comment? Ignoring the deficit-the deficit was down to 1% of GDP when you last had a Republican Congress and Republican President, it then tripled in the 2 years of a Dem Congres and Republican President and tripled in the first month of a Dem president and Dem Congress. Oh wait, in loony lefty logic that somehow means the Republicans are responsible. As a country we are now looking at 52 trillion in future deficits from SS, Medicare and other entitlement programs-oh wait thats the fault of conservatives , it isn't that these programs are massive Ponzi schemes that people have known for decades are totally unsustainable, no, no-its conservatives fault. Oh and by the way despite every fact in history showing us that these enttitlement programs wind up growing at totally unsustainable rates we are now going to have the government creat even more entitlements. And if you are against those entitlements you are racist, heartless, neanderthal that hates the poor.

Posted by: dch at April 28, 2009 11:29 PM

Dave - I write things here in harder-edged terms than I would use if I were a candidate for office. I assume you do too. My point is, many of the people who voted for Obama did not think he was as archly partisan as your typical blog.

Current and future tax levels are driven by government spending; if you spend it, you need to pay now or pay later, and tax cuts only affect the "when," not the "how much." (I would argue they are a good investment, since they partly pay for themselves in the short run and pay off in the long run by promoting growth). I agree that Bush spent too much, but nothing in Bush's spending record even begins to approach the course Obama has placed us on and plans to accelerate. If you disagree with Bush on this issue you must, out of minimal honesty, disagree doubly with Obama.

Posted by: Crank at April 28, 2009 11:35 PM

"Brainiac, tax revenues went up, like they always do when tax rates go down. "
You have a lack of understanding of the relationship between revenues, inflation, and tax rates. You really need to read up. start with how Prof. Laffer has argued against people (like you) misinterpreting what he has said, and going with anecdotal arguments instead of ones rooted in even the basics of economics. Here's 2 links.
http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/have_tax_cuts_always_resulted_in_higher.html
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1692027,00.html

Prof Mankiw, tax cuts weren't meant to pay for themselves. Prof Laffer, at best, says "I don't know". None of this matters.

"government creat even more entitlements"
Part D. You can't walk away from that. The GOP had en enormous chance to rework Medicare/SS, and chose not to. I am in no way laying entire blame, but there's no logical way to escape it.

See, smart people believe both groups are responsible for things like government spending, entitlements, and the like. With extra responsibility if you own all three groups in charge. And especially, knowing (as you apparently are aware) that there were problems, all of these could have been sensibly addressed. They weren't.

"Ignoring the deficit-the deficit was down to 1% of GDP"
If you hit up Debt to the Penny, debt went up by about $1Trillion from Oct07-Oct08(nonadjusted). If you hit up BEA, GDP(adjusted) was about $14T. From Oct05-Oct06, it was about $800B/$13T.

This is much more than 1%. And that is without going into discussions of how much GDP from 06-08 was dramatically inflated by excess consumer spending/borrowing.

You are wrong. If willfully or by choice, I don't know. I think you're used to arguing with either people who are either in full agreement with you or are caricatures, and insist on forming strawmen to argue with.

Which is one of the reasons I don't use this blog for serious disagreements or discussions of policy.

Posted by: Dave at April 29, 2009 1:13 AM

"My point is, many of the people who voted for Obama did not think he was as archly partisan as your typical blog."
Partisan is a wide range, from beliefs to ramming down only your views as action. Most people were aware of his beliefs. Believing he would ram things through the Right? Most people didn't believe he would do this, and there's still a chance given good faith efforts. If you note, there was a report on how in the latest healthcare meeting, there were salvos on using reconciliation if needed. But not wanted.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/28/AR2009042803338_2.html?sid=ST2009042804331
"Castle is not a cynic about bipartisanship, saying that he thinks the White House is sincere about bipartisanship"
When people far more connected than us believe this, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

"If you disagree with Bush on this issue you must, out of minimal honesty, disagree doubly with Obama."
I do - but not this year. Cutting spending in the middle of a recession is a death blow, especially if you look at how it would have to be done. Now, I would love to see much better quality spending, but this would generally be laden with a combination of sweeteners(pork) and lunacy, much like Republicans frantically trying to get every pork project they could in the last bill, but steadily talking against it.
I don't see the Republicans doing anything more than stomping their feet. I would love to be wrong, but I doubt it. Again, there have not really been good faith efforts despite Obama making several passes. At some point, he's going to stop, or limit it.

Ask any sane economist - would you cut total government spending (federal, state, local) in the middle of a recession? What if you knew you had to cut state and local, what would you do with federal? Find me one who says cutting it is the best thing to do. And given that (again) I don't see Republicans helping to promote quality and sanity, we're left with the Democrats doing what they can. Which isn't good.

Which moves Republicans to back to the party of no, and not one of logic. I would vote for a party backed by logic. I don't rule out voting Republican in the future(if you haven't guessed, fiscal concerns, as always). Being the party of no, and turning the crazy dial to 11 isn't a sensible path. Bachmann's wonderful, BTW.

Now we end up next year - when we need to find out exactly where our economy is going to level out. No one believe it will be V shaped, and it is starting to look even less U shaped than a half U and trailing off with a small uptick at the back half of it.

Since I don't know where we will end up but believe in the half-U/half-L, I think we're likely going to be in trouble. One of the reasons I don't care about anything more than 1 year in the future, budget wise, today.
Substantial changes and tax reform is coming once we know where things are and how we recover.

If things don't start to get fixed for the 2011/2012(more likely) budget, I'll say the same things about Obama.

Acceptable?

Posted by: Dave at April 29, 2009 2:09 AM

Here's another quote from that same compilation in the Washington Post:

"To end this cycle Republicans must ....focus on the broad principles that made our party strong: limited government, free trade, free markets and a strong defense. That's it. Believe anything else you want."

No more race baiting, anti-immigration policies; no more empire building; no more religious stuff.

For the sake of a two party system, I hope you give it a shot.

Posted by: Patrick at April 29, 2009 6:09 AM

Here's what I don't get: Obama is clearly not the President he pledged to be. He ran on a promise of post-partisanship yet he is the most hyper-partisan President in the history of the country. Some people clearly get it and are outraged. But the polling just as clearly shows that in recent weeks, his popularity has actually increased as his approval ratings have gone up. How can we convince people of the truth?

Posted by: Johnny B. at April 29, 2009 7:37 AM

Here's some things I don't get:

Who here believes that the candidate will represent the president he becomes? Hasn't happened in the modern era; who's fooling themselves?

While we progressives enjoy the Crank's baseball and pop culture observations, why get upset with his comical, lockstep Beck/Rush rants? He's guzzling the KoolAid and that's OK. Like the previously mentioned gasbags, Crank is entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.


Posted by: splinter at April 29, 2009 8:39 PM

"Who here believes that the candidate will represent the president he becomes? Hasn't happened in the modern era; who's fooling themselves?"

Maybe none of us do. But here's the thing: Obama was elected because huge numbers of Americans bought his post-partisan shtick. I know very well about 15 people who voted Obama even though they really don't agree with his ideology. They voted for him because they were so impressed and encouraged by his promise to be "different" and bring "change". All candidates talk about forging consensus, but none make it THE central plank of their candidacy like Obama did. You cannot deny that millions of Americans were duped.

Posted by: per14 at April 30, 2009 10:12 AM

"You cannot deny that millions of Americans were duped."
Daily.
Replace "In God we Trust" with "Slow on the Uptake".

Posted by: Berto at April 30, 2009 10:22 AM

Poseur candidate versus reality president began with the Trickster's secret plan to end Vietnam in 1968. I posit that "slow on the uptake" voter has decided every election since. Except the 2000 election that was decided by Sandy O'Connor.

Posted by: splinter at May 1, 2009 10:20 AM
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