« Your totally ethnocentric morning after open thread | Main | Focusing On The Wrong Thing »

December 26, 2011

Comments

My theory:

Just like a lot of liberals/progressives/whatever want Obama to stand up and be seen fighting for a progressive cause, conservatives want their candidates to be seen standing up and fighting for causes they care about. For a lot of them that means publicly hating on people - gays, blacks, latinos/immigrants, muslims, etc. Like the Redstate guy's confession that he likes Perry because they "hate the same people": http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/erick-ericksons-odd-and-telling-confession/

So basically my theory is that Huntsman is not hateful enough to get real passionate support. In my mind, the stereotypical Huntsman supporter is sitting in a stuffed chair with a monacle sipping tea, saying "Hmm yes, Huntsman is quite good" while the stereotypical Perry/Newt/Paul supporter has a bulging vein and spittle flying.

...and the Gary Johnson supprter is saying "c'mon man..."

Not the voters so much as the "media," which doesn't find sanity sexy enough.

I wouldn't vote for him either, but he does seem to be an adult.

Another possible concern, following on Adrian's comment, is that Huntsman doesn't want it enough to "say anything, do anything" to get it. Even though Romney has almost the same resume as Huntsman, he is fighting harder for it, even to the point of abandoning reality much faster than Huntsman has been to appeal to GOP "conservatives".

Come back OC.

While awaiting OC's return (it's Christmas, not Easter, but nevermind ;), two reasons for the failure of Huntsman to catch fire (he will be required to self-immolate, and will, to appeal to the "base", who are dangerous haters of the first water, as Adrian points out), are contained within Russell's post: "the guy has a gold-plated resume" and most of all, "he is also palpably sane".

Besides, before he can have his day in the sun, the genocidal clown base must first audition more qualified sociopaths, in their hooded eyes, among them Yosemite Sam, Jim Jones, the ghost of Torquemada, Iago, and the World's Foremost Authority, Professor Irwin Corey, among others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irwin_Corey

I include the last example, for those who don't remember, only because (from the article) "Corey would amble on stage in a preoccupied manner, then begin his monologue with 'however'"

That alone would instantly catapult Corey to a respectable 23% in Iowa and New Hampshire, a close second to whichever flavor of smirking sadist happens to be in the Republican lead today.

In response, Romney would show up in a ratty tux and tails, ready to pander.

Lest we laugh, I consider today's Republican Party to be on a radical murderous par with al Qaeda.

So does Huntsman.

But he wants his g8dam8ed taxes eliminated, so he hangs on.

Perhaps Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes just don't like Huntsman?

Huntsman has no backing, no support, not much charisma and is too closely associated with Obama.

The truth is, Huntsman is pretty much Romney light. Their credentials are similar. They're both Mormons. They've both been Governors. What does he bring to the table that Romney doesn't?

Huntsman is more willing to engage in pragmatic decision making and he's got some more foreign experience, but neither of these things get you a lot of support in the primaries.

What does he bring to the table that Romney doesn't?

Looking at it from the outside, I'd say (a) the foreign policy experience, and (b) he doesn't change his mind quite as often.

But, apparently, you are correct, those things don't draw flies in the primaries.

He'd get my vote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHlLmYVCzKY

Huntsman has a couple of handicaps . . . this time around.

First, the part of the GOP which is willing to consider voting for a Mormon is mostly already committed to Romney. For the rest, part of the anybody-but-Romneymotivation is his religion, which means Huntsman isn't a viable alternative for them.

Second, as noted above, he is unwilling to pander as totally as most of the rest of the candidates. He is actually much more of a real conservative than most of them, but he is declining to sink to the lowest level with them.

Finally, and probably worst given the level of emotion surrounding the issue, he was willing to serve as Ambassador (to China) in the Obama administration. That kind of "consorting with the Enemy" is currently anathema -- the good of the country be damned.

But that's for 2012. I suspect that Huntsman is playing a longer game. He will be much better positioned in 2016.

And, on current evidence, 2012 will see a Republican Party that has has gone so far right in the primaries that it gets trounced in the general election -- I won't be too surprised if comparisons to McGovern get hauled out in the aftermath. That would leave Huntsman in a position to be the one who brings it back from the wilderness.

Real men are not civil.

Real men are, you know, real.

The warm inner glow of self imposed civility does not radiate far in politics.

To paraphrase Corey, "Wherever you go, there you are."

In addition to the other points mentioned (NOT a frothing hater, served in Obama Admin, "Romney-lite", etc.), Huntsman has two other significant disadvantages this election cycle:

One: he has always been tagged by the media as a "late addition" to the GOP primary field: Mitt Romney has been seriously running for the nomination since before 2008: he's had years to build up his name, campaign organization, get publicity, etc.: Huntsman, OTOH, usually gets included in campaign news as "and, ex-Ambassador Jon Huntsman" at the tail-end of a list of other candidates. Barring an unexpected (and unlikely) big win in a primary, he will probably end up as the media's Designated Also-ran; hardly the way to get "traction" in a national race.

Two: Huntsman IS, as has been noted, a fairly sane-and-sober candidate with a respectable resume: unfortunately for him, the limelight for the 2012 primary race has been serially hogged by far more flamboyant or "interesting" personages: Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, etc.: hucksters and buffoons for the most part; but then, that's what boosts ratings...

He is too short. Seriously, Santorum loses too and Paul is craggy so people don't necessarily notice.

He is too short.

At about 6'-0" he's about 21 1/2" taller than the average adult American male.

oops...meant to say "2 1/2"......typo.

Conservatives' #1 Enemy For All Time is Obama, and Huntsman will never be forgiven for having associated with him. Huntsman could promise to end Medicare and Social Security, he could see to it that Wall Street ran unfettered, and he could guarantee that only White and Wealthy will have the vote, and he'd still be booed off the stage.

oops...meant to say "2 1/2"......typo.

bobbyp designs stage sets for Spinal Tap.

If you put a gun to my head and made me pick one of the GOP field to be President in 2013, I'd pick Huntsman (then I'd call the police, obviously).

But that's really his main claim to fame at this point, the GOP hopeful that Democrats like best. It's just not much to hang your hat on.

If you turned this around and there was a Dem hopeful that the GOP liked best, would that be a plus for you, assuming you are a Democrat or liberal? I didn't think so.

Another possible concern, following on Adrian's comment, is that Huntsman doesn't want it enough to "say anything, do anything" to get it

He rolled over instantly on climate change, so I wouldnt be so sure.

But that's really his main claim to fame at this point, the GOP hopeful that Democrats like best.

Well, he's also the GOP candidate that non-fanatic Republicans like best. Of course, there may not be enough of us to make a difference in the primaries....

bobbyp designs stage sets for Spinal Tap.

Put down that glass of wine, bobbyp. Move your hand away from that dial, and step back slowly.....

My own humble opinion is this. Yes,Huntsman has a good resume .So did George H W Bush[the Father.not the Son]. And McCain had a far better resume than Obama did in 2008.so i myself put only so much faith in resumes.

Other than his resume, what has he got. He seemed to be a fiarly popular Governor.But i havent heard him talk much baout how that relates to being President. Contrast that with Romney talking about how he dealt with an overwhelming State Congress when he was Governor of Massachusetts.And how he learned to negotiate and comprimise to get things done.

Im defintly one of the voters that Huntsman is targeting. But he really hasnt made clar what he stands for. He claims to be a "moderate". Thats fine.but what exactly does that mean?

Its one thing to run as a moderate.But Huntsman spent much of the early part of his campiagn trying to be the Democratic Party's favorite Republican. I dont like the Far Right.But Huntsman spending time acting superior to the rest of the Republican Parrty and his pandering to the predjudices that liberals have about conservatives, didnt go over well with me either.

If a Democrat ran for President in a Democratic Primary, and spent a lot of time pandering to Republicans by bragging about how he wasnt as dumb as the rest of his Party was, does anyone actually think that he would do well in the Primary?

Huntsman might be a good President. I dont think that we will ever know though.And the fault for that lies with Huntsman.He never really articulated why he was running. Or what he stood for. Romney may not have done a good job on that either.But Romney is also the frontrunner. And since Life isnt fair, the fact is that a long shot challenger like Huntsman has to make a better case for his candiancy then the front runner does. And sadly,Huntsman didnt. I myself, wish that he had

I would add that despite the hype about various "flavors of the Week", Romney pretty much has had the nomination in the bag.and i say this as someone who isnt much of a Romney suppoter. Themedia like to play up various candidates.But Cain and Bachmann never had a chance to defeat Romney. There are a lot of conservatives that want "Anyone but Romney". So they grasped at every right Wing nutcase that they could find. But as far as the more moderate Republicans are concerned, at the very least, they could live with a Romney Presidency.He might not excite them.But he was good enough for them.So any candidate that wasnt attacking Romney from "The Right", wasnt going to get far.

And as i said in my other comment,Huntsman really wasnt attacking Romney from "the Right " or "the Left". Huntsman did attack Romney for flip flopping.But so did everyone else. Bascily Huntsman hasnt made a case for himself becoming President

As many have noted, he won't play hard to the base. The current Republican pitch to the base is overt, not 'code'. Huntsman, from what I've seen (but, frankly, the whole thing is so bizarre, I don't follow much of it), does neither code nor an express pitch where it runs counter to his beliefs. For example, his stand on gay marriage/civil union is principled and not well received in the current climate.

It isn't enough any more to stand for limited central gov't, a freer market, a strong national defense and fiscal responsibility.

ISTM that the Virginia primary ballot proves, objectively, that only Romney and Paul are actually running for President. I don't know *what* the others -- including Huntsman -- are doing, but it's not campaigning in the usual sense.

This Flavor-of-the-Month Club only really cares about emotional appeal. Huntsman could, theoretically, appeal to Republicans who want at least a veneer of calm rationality. The fact that he has no traction suggests to me that the group "Republicans who want at least a veneer of calm rationality, but who don't like Romney" is statistically insignificant.

The question may be, "could this person fit in as a Fox News commenter?" Are there people like Huntsman with regular gigs on Fox? If not, then there's your answer right there.

funny

Gingrich has taken the lead over Mitt Romney in some polls but this misstep is a real embarrassment for the former Speaker of the House: Virginia has been Gingrich’s home state since he left Congress in 1999.

The candidate claimed he had enough signatures but wanted to present them in person. Is that politician-speak for “The dog ate my homework?”

I prefer Huntsman to any of the other active candidates. I do not consider him to be a moderate but a principled conservative, but he is not extreme. As I have said before here, I am an independent, but I have never been able to vote for a Democrat (I did vote for Ross Perot).

Russell is correct that it is puzzling to figure what Huntsman is doing and why. I don't think he needs a Fox gig. Here is some of what I see and why I like him:

Russia and China, and China and Japan, have recently made moves toward bi-lateral trade and currency exchange. These are major moves in the US global petrodollar arena that will affect the US trade economy as well as its role as the world's policeman. Huntsman likely has a good insight to this and could see it coming. Of the active candidates,he and Ron Paul alone seem to understand the significance of this. Huntsman, IMO has knowledge and skill in the Far East-Asian political/economic arena and I believe what it takes to defend the US militarily without throwing us into major global conflict (nuclear?) as we deal with our diminished economic power.

Given the current state of views in our electorate, Romney is probably the best choice for the Republicans, much as I hate to see the establishment get their way.

'He hasn't made a dent. Not even the tiniest.

What the heck is up with that?'

Russell:

My answer to this specifically is that Huntsman would be the Republican establishment selection if Romney had not already sewed that up. So, he cannot get any traction due to his late entry (when compared to Romney who has campaigned since 2007).

Is he still following his "not criticizing Obama by name" strategy"? I've not been paying that much attention, but that was a non-starter.

Huntsman's not getting any traction because he's not running! Seriously. I live in Iowa and receive multiple phone calls a day from Mitt, Michele, Rick P, a few from Newt. My friend facebooks about Ron Paul daily. An out-of-state friend mentioned Huntsman so I looked him up (there's your answer right there--I live in IOWA and I had to LOOK HIM UP!), Huntsman is only running in 3 states. I couldn't vote for him even if I wanted to.

Thanks Russell – you are the man as always. So - primaries and Republicans and things that go bump in the night…

I’m appalled. Actually, I should find a stronger word. Disgusted? Even that lacks something…

Newt F’n Gingrich? Are you F’n kidding me? 1994 called – they don’t want you back… Then they laughed hysterically and hung up the phone…

The rest of them – holy crap this should have been a cake walk for R’s. They are just too stupid to regain control. As the rest of the country moves closer and closer to the center they move more to the right. Not even the right – it’s the damned fringe. You can’t even get listened to unless you are 100% certified whack job.

Independents are going to decide this next election. I’ll write in Huntsman. The poor bast*rd never has a chance though – he hasn’t had a lobotomy.

Now then – how’s the Obama love around here? You guys want to primary him yet? ;)

Adrian: So basically my theory is that Huntsman is not hateful enough to get real passionate support. In my mind, the stereotypical Huntsman supporter is sitting in a stuffed chair with a monacle sipping tea, saying "Hmm yes, Huntsman is quite good"…

Desk chair, regular glasses, sipping beer. Saying, “Hmm yes, this Huntsman character is rather the best of a very bad lot…” (Place Monty Python tags around that last…)

... holy crap this should have been a cake walk for R’s.

OCS, it's great to see you again. Not so great that I can't quibble with you, though:)

I know it's common sense, or conventional wisdom, or something, that 2012 "should have been a cakewalk for the R's." But was it ever actually true?

The proposition I've always heard is that the incumbent president loses any time the headline unemployment rate is over 7% or so. Never mind WHY the rate is whatever it is, the proposition goes; the electorate will always blame a high rate on the incumbent. Maybe that's true. But isn't a little bit condescending to think so? Doesn't the proposition pretty much rely on the electorate being both amnesiac and robotic?

I suppose a different proposition -- one more flattering to the electorate -- would be this: Obama has done positive harm, and THAT's why the R's should have a cakewalk. Maybe that's the proposition the FOX News audience, not to mention Rush Limbaugh's, subscribes to. But it would be even worse condescension to assume that the electorate is mainly composed of those people.

So where DOES the holy-crap-it-shoulda-been-a-cakewalk idea actually come from?

--TP

Huntsman likely has a good insight to this and could see it coming.

Well, did he 'see it coming' or didn't he? Has he bothered to provide his 'good insight' on whatever it is that makes this strange "issue" so importannt?

You guys want to primary him yet? ;)

As the masthead states, they haven't yet seized the radio station. The Red Cross has been alerted to expect a lot of pinched noses on November 6, 2012.

Meanwhile, Rick Perry is asking for some Federal judicial activism in his favor because he didn't qualify for the ballot in Virginia. (Nor did Newt Gingrich. Who is from Virginia.)

It's amazing that "clown car" is TOO NICE to describe this bunch of idiots.

Romney:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/28/willard-romney-class-warrior/

A long, long time ago I was essentially a slightly left of center Republican. As in Merlin's case, my political biases have been lived backwards -- and moved as such from a beginning in the head with some semblance of superficial, heartless rationality and then toward the leavening agent of the heart as the conservative movement became a sick f*ck, and of course now taking up residence as a raging infection of the spleen's bile ducts.

Since President Obama is the only slightly left-of-center Republican in the race, my old self needn't hold its nose at all.

My new self wants the Gulag for about 20 million "Republicans", but luckily that's a superficial stance as well.

So far.

The journey isn't over yet.

Now then – how’s the Obama love around here? You guys want to primary him yet? ;)

Emotionally satisfying as it might be, no. Frustrated? Hell yeah. Outright angry at times? Yep. [note: also happy at times, resulting in an overall feeling that tends toward "meh" with intermittant "yay" and "boo"].

And if the other side could manage something better than a clowncar full of bile, perhaps I'd have an alternative.

The Red Cross has been alerted to expect a lot of pinched noses on November 6, 2012.

bobby, I don't think there are going to be all that many pinched noses. Yes, the left will not be filled with ecstasy at having a choice between a conservative and someone who is (or at least has spent the last year or two trying hard to sound like) a right-wing nut job. But it's still going to be a pretty easy decision for them -- unless you see some way a liberal third-party candidate gets on the ballot.

Similar to Countme-in, I started out as a slightly conservative Republican. Actually a Western Republican -- basically a fiscal conservative with libertarian social tendencies. Which, some 45 years later makes me a raging liberal in my own party on social issues, and totally homeless on fiscal ones. If an actual, real conservative party showed up, I'd just on it . . . but I just don't see that happening. So I'm stuck voting "least bad" in the primaries and hoping that, in some small way, it helps move my party back towards sanity.

Sigh. Well, I suppose I should be glad that at least there will be a conservative candidate available in the general election.

Tony: So where DOES the holy-crap-it-shoulda-been-a-cakewalk idea actually come from?

Polls have had Obama losing to some unnamed R for some time. Now, OK, polls this far out mean nothing.

Actually let’s lose all that: polls, Republicans, etc. – he has lost you guys. You folks here… He never met your expectations, didn’t even try as far as I could tell. He seemed to like running for the job much more than actually having it… Analyze his actions from your side of the fence – wow. I know you still have to say he’s better than the alternative – but are you happy with him? I don’t think so – you guys would tear him a new one if he did this exact same crap and had an R after his name…

Now don’t get me wrong – there is no way the R candidate is going to be better. If you put a big pot of crazy on the fire and boil it down what is left? I shudder to think…

I know you still have to say he’s better than the alternative – but are you happy with him?

Yes. An unqualified yes.

sapient: Yes. An unqualified yes.

Do tell. Any examples? One? Are you really better off now than 3 years ago? Spill… I promise to listen with an open mind.

OCSteve, you can start here: http://mediamatters.org/research/201001270003
Osama bin Laden is dead. We are out of Iraq, and figuring out how to leave Afghanistan. Libya is through with Qaddafi. Despite the obstructionism of Congress, we are slowly emerging from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. I'm sure there's more, but I'll mention that, yes, I am better off than I was three years ago.

Media Matters? Really dude?

Anyway I'm glad to hear you are doing OK. No snark there at all - I am genuinely happy to hear someone is doing OK.

Thanks, OCSteve. Health care reform has helped my situation a lot.

Is Obama better than the alterative? Hell yes!
I'm assuming that the alterative means McCain andthe current array of con artists, fanatics and fakes running for the R nomination.
No Republican would have attempted any kind of reform of health care that increased access to insurance or forced somemeasure of responsible behavior on insurers. All of them would have supported extremist efforts to turn Medicare into an underfunded voucher program ad to gut Medicaid and unemployment.

I do not think any of them would have gotten us ou or Iraq except Ron Paul.

All of them would have tried to make th edeficit bigger by pushiig for more tax cuts for those who don't need them. All of them would have then balamedd their defict on the Democrats.

All of them would have appointed rightwing extremist activist judges to the Supreme Court and those judges would have supported Republican voter suppression laws.

None of them would have done a damn thing about the recession except use it to give themselves and their friends in the one percent another tax break.
All of them would have opposed even the inadequate Wall Street reforms that got thorugh Congress.

In addition allof them would have actively promoted policies that reflect the exremism of the party they represent: anti-abortion legislation, saber rattling toward Iran privatization and underfunding of public institutions,attacts on unions and governemtn emplyees, the whole ALEC agenda.

Obama is better than the alternative simply for not being a Republican. He's a moderate when we probably needed a zealous refomer, but since the alternative is a politician who either really is an extermist ideologue who lacks basic knowledge about... well, nearly everything or a pol who pretends to be and acts like an extermist ideologue who lacks basic knowledge about nearly evrything...

OCSteve: Are you really better off now than 3 years ago? Spill… I promise to listen with an open mind.

To put it mildly, YES. 2008 was bad, early 2009 was terrible, and things have steadily improved since late 2009. This is my personal experience as a software consultant in the SF Bay area.

Good to see you again OC!

he has lost you guys. You folks here… He never met your expectations, didn’t even try as far as I could tell.

Meh. I had low expectations to begin with and he's met them. He's done some things better than I expected (health care reform) and some things (civil liberties) worse than I expected, but I didn't expect anything beyond being a smart centrist technocrat.

Unfortunately, we elect people to the office of Presidency rather than Dictator King of the Universe, which means that in most areas, the President is highly constrained by what he can negotiate with Congress. That means that in many areas, even the best President I can imagine could not necessarily have significantly improved on Obama's performance.

Health care reform is a big step in the right direction, we're out of Iraq, DADT is gone, the USA still has functioning companies that make cars, Osama bin Laden paid the appropriate price for 9/11. None of that happens under a John McCain presidency.

I'm not happy with the continuing questionable government policies on various aspects of civil liberties that have been part of the aftermath of 9/11 but that's a tricky businees and I'd have to be nuts to think it would be better under any Republican presidency. I'll wait to judge that one after 8 years rather than 3.

The economy remains in terrible shape but Obama is promoting the right kinds of solutions. I don't see any shining knight on the Democratic side who would be likely to do better under the circumstances. The Repbulican candidates, to a man, are promoting policies that would kill our chances for a better economy for the forseeable future. If we elect one of them we are left with only the hope that they are lying about what they would do on that front.

This is my first time i visit here. I found interesting things to many in your blog, mostly to the debate.

Let's not forget that Obama nominated Sotomayor and Kagan for the Supreme Court. I shudder to think who McCain might have picked.

The Angel Moroni alone knows who a President Romney might pick, but I would not put it past him to nominate Rick Santorum -- though I grant he might change his mind after lunch.

Willard M. Romney is only considered "reasonable" by people who think he doesn't mean a word he says. But I'm inclined to believe that "Corporations are people, my friend" is indeed his bedrock creed.

--TP

And Romney would probably be forced to put a certified nutjob in the VP spot in order to keep him under control. Definitely not Huntsman (even if he was not a Mormon too). Could be Bachmann but I doubt it given that parts of the religious base demand that she drop out of the race and support Santorum (cause he is male).
---
I would rank Huntsman's ambassadorship for Obama as the main obstacle from the RW base's POV and his mormonity as the second. Him being sane would only disqualify him for those that already cannot accept him for the first two reasons. But those dominate the primaries and caucuses.
Romney is unprincipled and thus can likely be made to act as wished, a principled not totally fringy conservative may not.

OCSteve: Are you really better off now than 3 years ago? Spill… I promise to listen with an open mind.

Add me to the chorus of people doing better. I'm working for a start-up which is growing. And adding staff. Not only have we experienced growth the past 3 years, but 2012 looks really take off: to be, in fact, the best year in our history.

P.S. Did I mention that our founder and CEO is active in the Democratic Party, and her first job out of college was with the Peace Corps? And her (realistic) goal is to sell the company in 3-4 years for several tens of millions -- after whch I suspect she will turn around and start yet another company. You just never know where job creation is going to come from....

he has lost you guys.

You could basically take Turb's 9:37 and sign my name to it.

I'm disappointed with Obama in the areas of civil rights, and in his deference to the financial sector. I don't think anybody else who could ever have been elected President in this country would have made me any happier.

What I wish to add to the above is:

I'm disappointed in the entire freaking country as regards civil rights and our collective deference to the financial sector.

Obama's no worse than the population as a whole, and by my lights he's better than average.

It's just become a very weird country.

My youngest is no longer in diapers, so that's an improvement over the last 3 years. Way to go, Mr. President!

(You may infer that I don't find the question to be the most relevant.)

Hey, HSH, your answer is no more (or less) irrelevant than the practically universal practice of voters giving the President (any President) all the credit or blame for what the economy is doing.

I would write a somewhat more negative version of Turb's answer. I expected little from Obama on foreign policy and civil liberties and got what was expected. It's been the third term of Bush. We left Iraq because we were forced out. He probably got the biggest stimulus package he could, but then chose to pretend it was just right. Meanwhile the Republicans have gone completely nuts, though ironically one of the lunatics (Paul) is the only one in either party saying a few things on foreign policy I agree with, though he is insane and even repulsive on everything else. Still, since attacking Iran is also insane and he opposes that, he comes out with an insanity quotient more or less at the Republican norm.

link


The Democrats are merely appalling. Go team.

Obama can't be said to have "lost" Donald, since Donald was never a fan.

As to civil rights, thank you, Tony P: Let's not forget that Obama nominated Sotomayor and Kagan for the Supreme Court. I shudder to think who McCain might have picked. That's where the power to defend human rights truly lies.

I agree with hsh that the question is not the most relevant, although commonly used and previously made famous.

I am not an Obama fan, or a fan of any of the Republican candidates anymore.

Nothing good happens for four years, the two options are split government that does little, or Democratic government that destroys the countries economic system. I don't even think Obama wants number two.

I would suggest that if "you"* are better off now it is because the US economy, once the financial system was stabilized, is more resilient than percieved. And Bernanke devaalued the dollar enough, and fast enough, too ensure the financial system didn't collapse.

So, Obama kept Bernanke, one plus for him.

I am worse off personally, but it has nothing to do with anything Obama has done, maybe something to do with the pathetic recovery that Congress has ensured won't ramp up.

It also has nothing to do with what the previous administration did, still Congress.

And before we go down the Republican Congress road, over the 12 year time frame the parties pretty much shared time as being in "control". Although there was only that brief shining moment of Camelot where one (the Dems) actually controlled Congress, and they passed the most partisan bill since the Great Society.

I will be glad when we start hearingg about the House and Senate elections.

*Defined as some group of people that could have improved financial circumstances for any reasons beyond their hard work and good personal decisions.

I discount any social or generic(Iraq war ended) issues in evaluating the question because the vast majprity of people would answer the question based on their financial status.


'It's just become a very weird country.'

What Russell said.

Two of the most distressing developments for me during this term are the absolute failure to charge anyone from Wall Street, big banks, FNMA or FHLMC criminally and the continued extension of the Patriot Act to the point where individual civil rights is a sad joke.

Although there was only that brief shining moment of Camelot where one (the Dems) actually controlled Congress, and they passed the most partisan bill since the Great Society.

Do you mean the one with the Republican ideas from relatively few years ago? (One side can make anything partisan by refusing to participate in good faith.)

'Do you mean the one with the Republican ideas from relatively few years ago? (One side can make anything partisan by refusing to participate in good faith.)'

Are you considering how people across the country stood on this? I haven't seen or heard much in the last 2 years that would convince me there was a shred of bi-partisanship to be found.

"Obama can't be said to have "lost" Donald, since Donald was never a fan."

I think it's a bad idea to be a fan of a politician, not that I haven't fallen into that from time to time.

Are you considering how people across the country stood on this?

Whether I am or not has no bearing on the question of partisanship (or bi-partisanship). Either way, I can't speak to your lack of evidence of bi-partisanship across the country, whatever that means.

Was the bill the most partisan since whatever, despite attempts at compromise and the inclusion of (previously) Republican ideas? I guess that depends on how you like to define things.

Two of the most distressing developments for me during this term are the absolute failure to charge anyone from Wall Street, big banks, FNMA or FHLMC criminally and the continued extension of the Patriot Act to the point where individual civil rights is a sad joke.

At least we mostly agree on this.

I'm here to offer two cheers for partisanship.

I withhold a third cheer because one drawback of partisanship is that it can easily (and often, cynically) be mis-characterized by people who mis-understand (or distrust) democracy. In any case, I offer a lusty, un-apologetic raspberry to "bi-partisanship".

Partisanship is an important form of CONSENSUS, when you think about it. It's a consensus among those who would cohere as a party. Democrat or Republican, each of us has his own individual preferences on specific policy questions. But I dare say none of us has exactly the same set of preferences as anybody else. None of us can get his own way on everything. And practically none of us can get himself elected to office. But many of us start to notice, in our old age, that our preferences largely overlap with those of certain other people. And we start to notice that in a representative democracy, our best shot at getting our preferences enacted -- or at least, championed -- is to find a consensus with those "certain other people" that allows us to all vote for the same candidate(s). That consensus makes us a "party".

Historically, we have tended to cohere into two large parties here in the US. Maybe 3 or 4 large parties would have been better. But one thing we can say for sure is that ONE party would be worse. A one-party political system would be either oppressive or pointless. And a longing for "bi-partisanship" is more or less a longing for one-party governance.

I recognize that we may not have consensus on that last sentence. The Broder-Brooks-Bloomberg notion of "bi-partisanship" seems to be that Democratic and Republican office-holders ought to be able to "work together" to "get things done" without ceasing to be Democrats and Republicans. But the whole damn point is that Democrats and Republicans often want to get different things done. And that's because they were not elected by consensus among us voters. They were elected by some of us voters outnumbering others of us voters.

We hold elections because we disagree about important things. We do NOT have consensus amongst ourselves. After everything has been said and everybody has had a chance to say it, we settle our disputes by voting. We count how many of us want this candidate, how many want that candidate, and go with the majority's preference. If you and I vote for opposite candidates, are we demonstrating a lamentable "partisanship"? Or are we in fact "working together" to make a decision in spite of our differences without resorting to pitchforks and torches?

When the representatives "we" elect refuse to all vote the same way in the House or the Senate, is that any more lamentable than the fact that we -- the voters -- refuse to reach consensus on who our representatives should be? To sensible people, that will seem like a rhetorical question. To sincere believers in "bi-partisanship" it may seem incomprehensible.

But that's why I could never be a member of the "bi-partisanship" party. I just can't see eye-to-eye with people who think democracy is about consensus.

--TP

I've been away from OW for a while, getting disenchanted with the Democrats but unable to take the Republicans seriously.

I assumed that the 2009 stimulus would solve the recession, but it has not. The 2008 financial collapse hit harder than we realized at the time. The time window for deficit-driven stimulus is closing, as more and more baby boomers like me retire. Both parties are turning out their bases with dangerous principles: Democrats against ANY benefit cuts and Republicans against ANY tax increases. I agree with Bruce Bartlett and Joe Klein that Obama is the closest choice we have to a moderate Republican (as defined back when Republicans didn't govern as deadbeats). Federal health insurance is going to explode in cost. Reducing the cost per person would help, but those profiting from the high costs of health care in America will resist any change that squeezes them. The health care bill is better than nothing, but very weak. I am hoping that Obama will squeak by against a divisive opponent. Fortunately all the GOP candidates who play to primary voters are very divisive, even Romney.

The candidate who has the right enemy, in my opinion is Buddy Roemer, and he is even weaker than Huntsman. Our representatives are efficiently compromised by any group that can hire a lobbyist. Health care reform and preventing repeats of financial fraud/collapse/bailout have been hollowed out.

Huntsman seems wrong to me, in that he is very hard against federal regulation. I have not given up on federal regulation as an answer to structural problems like America's uniquely high health care costs and a financial system that is out of control and rewarding speculation and fraud. Lobbying Congress and the executive is twisting regulation into a source of competitive advantage. (Actually Ayn Rand called this out in Atlas Shrugged. Her irony challenged admirers today ignore that she did not admire all businessmen.) Jack Abramoff's recent talk at Harvard that was shown on CSPAN surprised me by being a credible explanation of this problem. Something is wrong with how the federal government regulates, but I haven't yet been convinced that effective regulation is impossible by Huntsman and the GOP conventional wisdom. I believe that somehow we need to move the law in the opposite direction as Citizens United, perhaps deeming corporations non-persons. Currently all elected politicians, including Obama, are largely compromised by their campaign contributions.

BTW, I don't see Huntsman as close to Romney. Huntsman is the only one who regularly calls out Romney's promises to slap China around on trade as unfeasible in the practical world, where China can retaliate. In other ways, there seems to be a particular contempt between them.

The most hopeful scenario I can see is that after Obama is re-elected deadlock continues with a rigid Congress, probably both chambers led by Republicans. Unable to agree on anything, all the tax cuts expire, even the Social Security tax. We get the austerity that the Republicans pay lip service to but really don't want. (Except Huntsman.) Austerity will be really hurt employment, but probably less in the long run than a continued explosion of federal debt would.

If Obama is re-elected, the health care bill will actually be implemented. Republicans might send Obama bills to constructively correct the worst unintended effects. (Yes, in a deadlock scenario this is very wishful.) Between federal austerity, including the removal of harmful tax cuts, and slight health care economizing, America makes the relatively small changes needed to again become solvent.

This scenario assumes that it will be simple deadlock. Given the state of the GOP that seems highly unlikely to me. Even if Obama would hold firm (wishful thinking, if you ask me), the current GOP is ruthless enough to go for the jugular, i.e. government shutdown and blocking of any budget for anything essential (maybe even the military). We already see parts of that with the 'if we can't kill it, we will not provide any money or allow a vote on a nomination for the department head'. As I see it, the drivers in the GOP believe that their proclaimed lack of success* comes from not being radical enough (and see Gingrich's loss to Bill Clinton as caused by the same lack of stamina). It may cost them the next midterms but 2 years are enough time to - this time - make the damage irreparable. And the Dem base will be ignored as usual once the elections are over.

*a 110% success in 'negotiations' now counts as dismal failure

how’s the Obama love around here?
i like Obama better than i've liked any other president in my lifetime (which started with Nixon).

You guys want to primary him yet?
not a chance.

He never met your expectations
i didn't have many. he met most. i've also become more cognizant of what a President can and can't do, especially considering the drooling idiocy of the rules governing and the people manning our Congress.

I know you still have to say he’s better than the alternative – but are you happy with him?
yes.

Are you really better off now than 3 years ago?
yes.

"If Obama is re-elected, the health care bill will actually be implemented. Republicans might send Obama bills to constructively correct the worst unintended effects."

I don't believe the Republicans have either the ability to identify unintended effects or the desire to address them (or any other issue) constructively.

I don't believe the Republicans have either the ability to identify unintended effect

That's a good point, but it's also one that finds a home in the D party, and also in pretty much the rest of humanity.

Hey, let's build a dike around this lake so as to keep it from slopping over during hurricanes, and also let's straighten this river! There can't possibly be any adverse impact to the environment as a result!

Unintended consequences scale at least linearly with the scope of the endeavor, I say.

"Unintended consequences scale at least linearly with the scope of the endeavor, I say."

I certainly wouldn't disagree.

In fact, I used to tell my mother roughly the same thing when she would try to roust the wise-before-his-time, teenaged Count out of bed for some get-out-there-and-you-can-do-it-attitude endeavoring.

My advice to America for 2012 is to stay in bed for the entire year and indeed forever, because this can-do spirit certainly has f8cked-up all things intended and unintended for everyone.

When Benjamin Franklin answered the question of what had he and the Founders had wrought, he said "unintended consequences, if you handle them."

I hate people who rub their hands together and make all of us embark on the next big idea.

The mark of a true conservative is to lie down on history, yawn, and go back to sleep.

Just in case Republican caucuses ruin it for all Iowans (watch at home, volume low):

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/a-message-from-iowa.html

When Benjamin Franklin answered the question of what had he and the Founders had wrought, he said "unintended consequences, if you handle them."

I hate people who rub their hands together and make all of us embark on the next big idea.

The mark of a true conservative is to lie down on history, yawn, and go back to sleep.

I didn't say "don't do anything" anywhere at all.

I'm sure Ben Franklin would have been all agog over the beautiful things the Army Corps of Engineers has wrought, and would even cheerfully volunteer to help clean up after them.

There can't possibly be any adverse impact to the environment as a result!

As promised by...?

Don't those projects both pre-date the modern environmental movement?

Could be they were more concerned about this:

In 1926 the Great Miami Hurricane hit the Lake Okeechobee area, killing approximately 300 people. Two years later in 1928, the Okeechobee Hurricane crossed over the lake, killing thousands. The Red Cross reported a figure of 1,836 deaths which the National Weather Service initially accepted, but in 2003, the number was revised to "at least 2,500".[19] In both cases the catastrophe was caused by flooding from a storm surge when strong winds drove water over the 6-foot (2 m) mud dike that circled the lake at the time.

I also think Laura was talking about identifying unintended consequences after something has been implemented, rather than before. Different kettle of fish, that.

Shouldn't the business of redirecting, holding back, and confining water be given over to the Navy Corps of Engineers, since floating seems to the only human activity that works with water?

And why are the Dutch so good at it and Americans so crappy at it, among other things that have to do with the general welfare?

Maybe, as I wrote here years ago, we could learn from the Dutch about dikes if we weren't so afraid of learning from then about dykes.

As promised by...?

Don't those projects both pre-date the modern environmental movement?

Exactly.

I also think Laura was talking about identifying unintended consequences after something has been implemented, rather than before. Different kettle of fish, that.

Excellent point.

Apparently my Slarti-fu has failed me this year. I blame the Mayans. :-)

I blame the urines.

I must now be innate.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad