Due for Rehabilitation

For many years Lyndon Johnson was “he who must not be named”. His name was, literally, not mentioned by Democrats. Before him Harry Truman had that status until his rehabilitation and after him Jimmy Carter has held something of that status, a treatment that is only slowly abating.

I think that LBJ is due for rehabilitation. I never liked him but I do feel he was the most masterful president of my lifetime. I suspect it will take another couple of decades and the passing from prominence of the Baby Boomers who demonstrated against Johnson in the streets before the corrective reassessment takes place.

You could do worse than reading Richard Cohen’s column today to understand why I think as I do. I don’t think that we need experts for presidents. I think we need people who want to do the dirty, nitty-gritty work of being president.

37 comments… add one

  • Icepick

    Jimmy Carter has held something of that status, a treatment that is only slowly abating.

    Only the part about mentioning his actual name. Listen to any liberal talk for more than a few minutes, and it becomes clear that the peak of American Civilization occurred in 1980, right before Reagan was elected. I was only 12 at the time, but I just don’t remember 1980 being all that great.

  • They don’t like the singer but they do like the song.

  • Icepick

    Okay, so LBJ was masterful at being President. What did he do with that?

    On the plus side is the hallmark Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s. On the minus side is his handling of the Vietnam War (both the war itself and the domestic politics of war in the USA) and Medicare, which is going to break our backs sooner or later. Being able to get things done is only worthwhile if you choose to do things worth doing.

  • Icepick

    They don’t like the singer but they do like the song.

    Yeah, 13.5% inflation, inpoverishing everyone, is a really nice song to sing.

  • Brett

    I could see LBJ being rehabilitated, too. Woodrow Wilson was rehabilitated after a fairly brief period, even though he pulled America in World War I after promising not to, and was so unpopular at the end of his second term that his successor was defeated by a guy who didn’t even campaign for himself.

    LBJ might have it even easier than that, since his domestic accomplishments aren’t tainted by the racism that characterized Wilson.

  • michael reynolds

    LBJ was a creature of his time. What subsequent Senate Majority Leader held equal power? If Mitch McConnell were suddenly elected president do you think he’d be another LBJ? He doesn’t have half the authority LBJ had. I’ve always had great respect for LBJ, but times and the system have changed.

    Richard Cohen on the other hand is an idiot. His column rests here on criticism of Obama’s choice in golf partners. Because if only Obama would golf more politically the clock would magically roll back to the days of LBJ when, incidentally, we were in Vietnam and our cities were occasionally burned down. A few rounds of golf is all it would take to turn utterly recalcitrant Republicans who can’t take a wee wee without permission from Rush Limbaugh, into partners in governance. It’s laughable.

  • Icepick

    That isn’t Cohen’s point, merely one example. The point is:

    Where Johnson was strong and unparalleled — personal relationships with much of Washington — Obama is frighteningly weak. Last week I asked a member of the Senate if he knows of anyone who really knows Obama. He said he does not.

    Cohen chose one example, using something that is already familiar to most likely to read his column, that something being that Obama plays a lot of golf. Obama is almost completely disengaged from the other players, and makes no effort to engage them, not even those on his own side of the aisle. Cohen has several other examples as well.

    Not that I would expect you to honestly engage Cohen’s point, as you would never stoop so low as to try honesty when shilling for your Beloved Leader.

  • PD Shaw

    The first part of Cohen’s point, Obama’s weak personal relationships would appear indisputable. This can be traced back to before Washington D.C. and is probably a theme in his book. The second part about whether anybody really knows him appears to be a bit of psycho-babble or simply irrelevant. I can pull similar quotes about Lincoln and Reagan, but I don’t think anybody ever described either of them as having weak personal relationships,; they combined extroversion with some reservation of unshared personal space.

  • I pretty much agree with PD. I have to wonder how much influence the President has with members of Congress. He’s punted to them on a lot of issues, but I don’t see that he spends a lot of time pressing the flesh with them trying to get support for his proposals. Of course, it may be happening, but below my radar.

  • Drew

    An assertion like this: “….Republicans who can’t take a wee wee without permission from Rush Limbaugh, into partners in governance.” and “idiocy” belong in the same comment.

    I’m sorry Obama is a pathetically weak executive. I’ve told you so, because I evaluate executive horse flesh for a living, repeatedly even before he was sworn in. But you need to make a better defense of the man than invoking Rush Limbaugh and obstructionism. That’s for losers. Your political views may align with Obama, and that’s fine, but at least pick a guy to back who is worthy of the views. “In over his head” doesn’t even begin to describe this cat.

  • Icepick

    Exactly. Plus, how does Republican obstructionism account for the fact that Obama’s last two budget proposals can’t even get any Democratic votes in Congress? I think his budget proposal last year got blanked 97-0 in the Senate. This year it was something like 417 votes against in the House. I think the Senate didn’t even bother voting it down.

    How pathetic is it that Obama can’t even get a few votes from people in completely safe seats for his budget proposals?

    Andy, what we have in the country now is complete drift. Neither party is exhibiting any leadership at all.

  • Plus, how does Republican obstructionism account for the fact that Obama’s last two budget proposals can’t even get any Democratic votes in Congress?

    That echoes the point I’ve been making about the responsibility of the Congressional Democrats for the IMO lousy healthcare reform bill. Republicans not breaking ranks is the explanation for Democrats breaking ranks?

    It all reminds me of Will Rogers’s wisecrack. When asked if he were a member of an organized political party he replied “Nossir. I’m a Democrat.”

    BTW, I disagree, sort of, with Drew’s comments about the president’s deficiencies as a manager. I don’t think the president views his job as a management position. I think he sees himself as a sort of “Consultant-in-Chief”.

    Mebbe I’m wrong about this but I don’t think that President Obama enjoys the nitty-gritty politicking details that are required to get good legislation passed. I also don’t think he has the policy wonk’s joy that Bill Clinton brought to the job.

  • Icepick

    I think he sees himself as a sort of “Consultant-in-Chief”.

    That’s a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM, if true, given that he’s the head of the Executive Branch.

    I don’t think that President Obama enjoys the nitty-gritty politicking details that are required to get good legislation passed. I also don’t think he has the policy wonk’s joy that Bill Clinton brought to the job.

    That’s been my impression since he turned over the healthcare legislation of Congress, where it eventually landed in Reid’s lap.

    And all of this has me thinking of Earl Warren, and the politicking he did on the Supreme Court. Much as we mock them, the job of politicians IS politics. They should probably actually enjoy doing it if we’re going to elect them.

  • Icepick

    This is weird. Back in the day the various members of the Cabinet (Secretary of Treasury, Attorney General, etc.) were more beholden to Congress than to the President. If Obama wanted to be Consultant-in-Chief in that kind of set-up, that wouldn’t be completely awful. However, that would me a very weak President with little executive authority. But Obama seems to envision himself as an FDR-like figure, which requires accruing a huge amount of power to the Executive. Obama HAS continued recent trends towards grabbing more and more power for the President. There’s an internal conflict between these positions that cannot be well resolved.

  • The other thing I’d meant to mention is that I don’t think that the president’s experiences in Illinois prepared him for a two party system. During the entirety of his elective career here the Republican Party was supine.

  • PD Shaw

    No, the Republicans were in control most of the time Obama was in the Illinois legislature:

    1/97 Joins Senate (Republican-controlled and Republican governors)
    1/03 Senate becomes Democratic; Blagojevich becomes first Democratic governor in 30 years
    1/03 Obama announces for U.S. Senate Seat
    11/04 Obama resigns from Illinois Senate to go to Washington

    The Democratic Party was supine for his first six years, and the Republicans for the last two, though he was running for the next office at the time. Both Illinois houses are dominated by the leadership, so that may explain the high degree of deference.

  • I keep going to the limits of the office. The Presidency isn’t like being a CEO. That’s why politicking is such an important part of the job. In domestic policy the Presidency’s greatest power is intangible – the ability to get Congress to go along with whatever it is the President wants to do. In this regard I would point to the President’s experience in Illinois, but his experience as an academic. He spent far more of his career as a lecturer or a student than anything else. I’m speculating, but I think he does what knows. He’s obviously a great orator, but I don’t see much evidence he spends time down in the trenches.

  • Icepick

    He’s obviously a great orator….

    Sure he is.

  • michael reynolds

    If he’s the Consultant-In-Chief, and essentially passive, and incapable of making executive decisions, and all the rest, how do we suppose we ended up essentially destroying Al Qaeda through direct military and intelligence action?

    And how is it this weakling managed to accelerate Iraqi withdrawal and ramp up in Afghanistan against opposition inside his own party and the weariness of the country?

    Then there’s the fact that despite much Chicken Little hysteria the banks did not fail. The country did not go into a depression. We are, despite everything, better off than pretty much every other developed economy. For example we still have higher labor force participation rates than any European country, yes, including Germany. We’re still richer, still more powerful, still face not a single external threat of any significance.

    Despite all the panic over our credit rating we still seem to be able to borrow all the money we want for basically nothing. We are still the world’s reserve currency.

    How did we end up with ObamaCare following the utter defeat of HillaryCare? What with Clinton being such an exemplary policy wonk and brilliant schmoozer? I love Bill Clinton, but he played small ball. In eight years his superior skills yielded what, exactly, in terms of major, transformative action? School uniforms?

    And how did we end up saving the auto industry when there was all kinds of doom-mongering, much of it right here?

    Apropos of which:

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday gave himself kudos for the U.S. auto industry’s recovery because he had called to let car companies go bankrupt.

    “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy,” the candidate told Cleveland’s WEWS-TV. “And finally, when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet.”

    “So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back,” he added.

    Strange for this strong, macho and pleasantly pale Mighty Drewish Business Dude to take credit for something that according to Ice, Drew and Dave, was a terrible mistake. But moving on. . .

    Are we better off than we were 4 years ago? Hell yes. Some of you may prefer to rewrite history but I recall that four years ago Henry Paulsen claims he was on his knees begging and so scared he was wetting himself. Of course he was working for that other strong leader with great interpersonal skills, Mr. Bush.

    We now have one less looming depression, one less war, one less terrorist foe, one less Gaddafi, and one less Osama Bin Laden. Soooo. . . Yeah, I know, I know, he’s weak and so on, blah blah blah, and yet, despite all this, we’re better off than we were, we are better off than anyone else, and his opponent is now admitting that things are better and pathetically trying to claim credit for the very policy each of you predicted would end in disaster.

    Could things have been handled better? No doubt. And they could have been handled worse: as they indeed were under the Republicans.

  • sam

    President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Radio and Television Remarks Upon Signing the Civil Rights Bill July 2, 1964

    [ Broadcast from the East Room at the White House at 6:45 p.m. ]

    My fellow Americans:

    I am about to sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I want to take this occasion to talk to you about what that law means to every American.

    One hundred and eighty-eight years ago this week a small band of valiant men began a long struggle for freedom. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor not only to found a nation, but to forge an ideal of freedom–not only for political independence, but for personal liberty–not only to eliminate foreign rule, but to establish the rule of justice in the affairs of men.

    That struggle was a turning point in our history. Today in far corners of distant continents, the ideals of those American patriots still shape the struggles of men who hunger for freedom.

    This is a proud triumph. Yet those who founded our country knew that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought to renew and enlarge its meaning. From the minutemen at Concord to the soldiers in Viet-Nam, each generation has been equal to that trust.

    Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities. Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders.

    We believe that all men are created equal. Yet many are denied equal treatment.

    We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights. Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights.

    We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty. Yet millions are being deprived of those blessings–not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skin.

    The reasons are deeply imbedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand–without rancor or hatred–how this all happened.

    But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I will sign tonight forbids it.

    That law is the product of months of the most careful debate and discussion. It was proposed more than one year ago by our late and beloved President John F. Kennedy. It received the bipartisan support of more than two-thirds of the Members of both the House and the Senate. An overwhelming majority of Republicans as well as Democrats voted for it.

    It has received the thoughtful support of tens of thousands of civic and religious leaders in all parts of this Nation. And it is supported by the great majority of the American people.

    The purpose of the law is simple.

    It does not restrict the freedom of any American, so long as he respects the rights of others.

    It does not give special treatment to any citizen.

    It does say the only limit to a man’s hope for happiness, and for the future of his children, shall be his own ability.

    It does say that there are those who are equal before God shall now also be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories, and in hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that provide service to the public.

    I am taking steps to implement the law under my constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.”

    First, I will send to the Senate my nomination of LeRoy Collins to be Director of the Community Relations Service. Governor Collins will bring the experience of a long career of distinguished public service to the task of helping communities solve problems of human relations through reason and commonsense.

    Second, I shall appoint an advisory committee of distinguished Americans to assist Governor Collins in his assignment.

    Third, I am sending Congress a request for supplemental appropriations to pay for necessary costs of implementing the law, and asking for immediate action.

    Fourth, already today in a meeting of my Cabinet this afternoon I directed the agencies of this Government to fully discharge the new responsibilities imposed upon them by the law and to do it without delay, and to keep me personally informed of their progress.

    Fifth, I am asking appropriate officials to meet with representative groups to promote greater understanding of the law and to achieve a spirit of compliance.

    We must not approach the observance and enforcement of this law in a vengeful spirit. Its purpose is not to punish. Its purpose is not to divide, but to end divisions–divisions which have all lasted too long. Its purpose is national, not regional.

    Its purpose is to promote a more abiding commitment to freedom, a more constant pursuit of justice, and a deeper respect for human dignity.

    We will achieve these goals because most Americans are law-abiding citizens who want to do what is right.

    This is why the Civil Rights Act relies first on voluntary compliance, then on the efforts of local communities and States to secure the rights of citizens. It provides for the national authority to step in only when others cannot or will not do the job.

    This Civil Rights Act is a challenge to all of us to go to work in our communities and our States, in our homes and in our hearts, to eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in our beloved country.

    So tonight I urge every public official, every religious leader, every business and professional man, every workingman, every housewife–I urge every American–to join in this effort to bring justice and hope to all our people–and to bring peace to our land.

    My fellow citizens, we have come now to a time of testing. We must not fail.

    Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our Nation whole. Let us hasten that day when our unmeasured strength and our unbounded spirit will be free to do the great works ordained for this Nation by the just and wise God who is the Father of us all.

    Thank you and good night.
    ==============================

    That law is the product of months of the most careful debate and discussion. It was proposed more than one year ago by our late and beloved President John F. Kennedy. It received the bipartisan support of more than two-thirds of the Members of both the House and the Senate. An overwhelming majority of Republicans as well as Democrats voted for it.

    Sometimes you feel like weeping for your country.

  • PD Shaw

    The Civil Rights Act was passed because LBJ and Humprhey prioritized bi-partisanship. They didn’t just let Minority Leader Everett Dirksen write the thing, they spared no personal humility in bowing and scraping to him:

    After Democratic whip Hubert Humphrey, who was in charge of the bill on the floor, went on Meet the Press and praised Dirksen’s patriotism, Johnson called to congratulate him: “Boy, that was right. You’re doing just right now. You just keep at that. Don’t let those bomb throwers…talk you out of seeing Dirksen. You drink with Dirksen! You talk to Dirksen! You listen to Dirksen!” He advised Humphrey that “Ev is a proud man. So don’t pull any damned protocol. You go see him. And don’t forget that Dirksen loves to bend at the elbow. I want you to drink with him till he agrees to vote for cloture and deliver me two Republicans from the mountain states.” Though he drank himself “damned near blind,” Humphrey kept after him and later claimed, “I would have kissed Dirksen’s ass on the Capitol steps.”

    http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_emd_masterlegislator.htm

    Does anybody have that sort of attitude anymore? Either they are so convinced they are right or they simply don’t think passing anything is important enough to make such an outreach.

  • Icepick

    And how did we end up saving the auto industry when there was all kinds of doom-mongering, much of it right here?

    it’s easy to save an industry when you can pump endless amounts of money into it. How much did it take? Plus, there are indications that a good deal of the recent surge in buying has come because of “sub-prime” auto loans financed by Ally Bank. You know, the bank 85% owned by the government? If the loans are sub-prime, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

    More importantly, how do you know that bankruptcy wouldn’t have gotten to the same place, cheaper, and without destroying several centuries of contract law in the process? You don’t. You are just thrilled that financiers got fucked in the ass and your-buddies in the unions and government got rewarded for their sins. Anything to fuck the other guy and steal money for your peeps. If those assholes didn’t want to be screwed, they should have given more money to Barry. Hey, the guys at Solyndra gave money to Barry, and look how they’ve made out!

    As for saving the banking industry – THAT plan was put into action by one George W. Bush. Nice way to steal credit. It’s bad enough that you’re a thief, but you’re also a bad one. TARP was enacted while Obama was still pretending that there was no crisis. Everything post-TARP has been just more TARP and more FED action – no Obama required.

    As for avoiding a Depression – the only reason the UE-3 rate is below 11% now is because Obama’s BLS is lying through its teeth about people dropping out of the workforce. If they weren’t lying then they would have to acknowledge that the UE-3 rate has been in double digits for almost the entirety of his Presidency. And the ONLY proposal the President has come up with to fix that situation is to propose a higher tax rate on guys like Warren Buffett, who already cheat on their taxes and will continue to cheat on their taxes. That is the ENTIRETY of Obama’s economic plan.

    Well, that and more food stamps. Food stamp usage KEEPS RISING, even though we’re almost three years into the “Obama Recovery”.

    And on healthcare, well, that’s nice. He signed an unconstitutional bill that doubles down on all the current problems, doesn’t address the cost issue, and is going to cost even MORE money. Oh, and did I mention how unpopular it is? Did I mention that Harry Reid actually put the damned thing together AND got it passed? I did? Then consider this a reminder.

    Now against all that, Obama DID get bin Laden. Of course, you guys can’t let it go at that. It has to be that Obama made the gutsiest decision EVAH, and that Obama is the gutsiest President EVAH. Yeah, ordering the death of the man responsible for killing thousands of Americans (amongst other things) puts him right up there with FDR giving the go-ahead for D-Day, Truman ordering the use of atomic weapons, Lincoln during the entirety of the Civil War, or Washington actually leading troops into battle to suppress a rebellion.

    But let’s look at some of the rest of it. Obama didn’t just have Qaddafi assassinated, he also helped tear Libya apart. The spillover from that has also torn Mali apart. And now the guys running the parts of Libya are even worse than Q was. Outstanding! Not to mention that Obama, in wrecking the government of a sovereign nation is supposed to be accountable for putting in a care-taker government. That’s buried somewhere in those Geneva Conventions. He hasn’t done so, and has no intention of doing so. You blamed Bush for the chaos in Iraq, but you laud Obama for unleashing Hell in several countries.

    Not only that, but Obama also got an ALLY deposed in Egypt, in order to get the Muslim Brotherhood put in charge. How is that a win?

    And let’s look at some spill-over from Obama’s actions. He now has the authority to have any American anywhere assassinated on nothing more than his authority as President. He’s promised not to use that power. However, the fact is he already has had American citizens assassinated, so his word isn’t worth much. You shit your pants six years ago, Reynolds, because W. had an (R) after his name, called him a Fascist who was going to destroy the country, but you laud Obama for getting the power to assassinate anyone anywhere without review. I guess as long as the President only uses his powers to kill non-Democrats you will be fine with it.

  • Thank you for giving us that, sam. I found it a real tonic.

  • Icepick

    Now, Sam, THAT was a great speech! The great weight of the subject matter lifted that one.

  • Icepick

    Oh, and Reynolds, al Qaeda hasn’t exactly disappeared. They’re still trying to blow up airplanes with underwear, for example.

  • Icepick

    Does anybody have that sort of attitude anymore? Either they are so convinced they are right or they simply don’t think passing anything is important enough to make such an outreach.

    “We won.”

  • Icepick

    Does anybody have that sort of attitude anymore? Either they are so convinced they are right or they simply don’t think passing anything is important enough to make such an outreach.

    Also, how to have that kind of attitude if no one can agree on what is correct? Obama believes in taxing the wealthy just simply for fairness, and it endless deficits. The Tea Partiers believe in almost no taxes on anyone, and balancing the budget through cutting things that don’t cost that much. Establishment Republicans believe in cutting taxes and creating plans to reform Medicare and Social Security that can’t work unless insane economic growth projections happen. Libertarians believe in the power of Ron Paul to magically turn American into — something else. Occupiers believe in blowing up bridges and raping women and that voting for Obama will fix everything.

    With the civil rights issues, it was hard for people of good conscience to admit, when faced with the problem head-on, that denying rights to some based on their tannin levels was just or fair. There isn’t ANYTHING that clear cut today. Hell, Republican and Democrats each agree that Americans should have no civil rights at all, at least when their guy holds the Presidency. Club Gitmo is BAD BAD BAD according to guys like Reynolds – until and unless their guy is in office, and then it is fine because shut up racist. Both sides voted in a provision giving the President power to assasinate Americans. How long before one of them uses that power on American soil to fuck over an enemy? (I’m sure Reynolds will jump for joy if Romney gets taken out by a drone attack tonight.)

    So that parties don’t believe in anything but themselves, and on eveerything we have an almost complete lack of agreement on both the problems and the solutions. Looking for common ground makes no sense under such circumstances.

  • michael reynolds

    Ice:

    Perfect demonstration of why no one with any sense believes your bullshit misquote of me years ago. You can’t get through this riposte without making things up:

    You are just thrilled that financiers got fucked in the ass and your-buddies in the unions and government got rewarded for their sins.

    Untrue for two excellent reasons: don’t give a damn about unions and I am admittedly unfamiliar with the details, which would make it hard for me to give a damn about that, either. I have literally no idea whether anyone was fucked in the ass or whether they deserved it. So, my emotions on that score could best be described as, “Huh?”

    Of course, you guys can’t let it go at that. It has to be that Obama made the gutsiest decision EVAH

    Really? When did I say that? Hello? I could pretty easily come up with a list of 10 presidential actions just off the top of my head that were gutsier. 20 if I spent a few minutes on it.

    I guess as long as the President only uses his powers to kill non-Democrats you will be fine with it.

    And again, where did I say that? For a guy who claims perfect recall of something you think I wrote years ago, you do a piss-poor job of tracking what I actually write right here and now not six inches up the page. See? Look right up there.

    The rest of it of course is you throwing dust in the air like a pissed off gorilla. TARP was Bush except when it was Obama and sometimes it was the Fed so Obama gets no credit and yet you hate him for it. Got it.

    And it’s not ObamaCare, it’s HarryCare, and you blame Obama because . . . Oh, who knows. Bottom line, screw facts, screw the niceties of actually making sense, make stuff up, throw dirt in the air, distract, avoid, hate, hate, rage, rage, Obama, everyone is out to get you, blah blah blah.

    Oh, and the auto bailout coulda woulda shoulda, who knows how it might have been in an alternate universe, of course it’s working because you said it wouldn’t but you knew it all along and cheap sub-prime loans, so . . . So that’s why Romney is now claiming credit. Yes. Thanks for clearing that all up.

  • Icepick

    Perfect demonstration of why no one with any sense believes your bullshit misquote of me years ago.

    It ain’t no misquote. You know you wrote it and I know you wrote it. I don’t much care whether others believe it or not. I just don’t want YOU to forget that someone knows what you think of Republicans. Namely that this should happen to them.

  • Icepick

    TARP was Bush except when it was Obama and sometimes it was the Fed so Obama gets no credit and yet you hate him for it. Got it.

    Wrong, numb nuts. I don’t hate Obama for TARP, or even Bush. Unlike many, and some here, I think the financial system needed a back stop in 2008. I didn’t like the implementation, and I especially dislike the fact that none of the people in charge of the banks (with the exception of the guy at the very top of Lehman and Mozilla at Countrywide, and a few at AIG) even lost their jobs over their collosal fuck-ups. Why does Vikram Pandit still have a job? Nor has their been any pursuit of them in the legal arena. (Obama’s Justice Department has been too busy smuggling weapons to Mexican drug cartels for that kind of work.)

    I also am dismayed that instead of breaking up TBTF financial institutions, they have been allowed (even encouraged) to get bigger. THAT is something Obama should get blame for, as he hasn’t done a damned thing about it. True, he’s only following Bush policy, but he has had almost 3.5 years to come up with something else. He’s got nothing except to let Turbo Timmah and The Bernanke continue on doing the same-old same-old. Drift and same-old same-old don’t exactly constitute keen executive leadership.

    Can you handle that position, shit-for-brains?

  • Icepick

    everyone is out to get you

    And that I haven’t written! What difference does it make, though, as you either can’t read what I have written or won’t engage it. How about the BS BLS numbers, and the wonderful magical disappearing workforce? Got nothing? Of course you don’t. So just start making stuff up again – I understand it’s all you got.

  • steve

    LBJ may get rehabilitated on the domestic front. His conduct of the Vietnam War was abysmal. As to the larger topic, I dont think it would take much effort to find pundits decrying politicians making back room, quid pro quo deals, which is largely what you are talking about here. I also dont think you can compare someone like LBJ who had lived in Congress for many years to someone who has been there two years.

    Steve

  • Drew

    “The other thing I’d meant to mention is that I don’t think that the president’s experiences in Illinois prepared him for a two party system. During the entirety of his elective career here the Republican Party was supine.”

    I think this is the essential point. I would embellish and note that he has no real executive experience, he was simply Emil Jones’ bagman in the IL senate, and then was catapulted to the national stage based on a tawdry divorce claim in his US Senate run………and viola! A smooth talkin’ SOB with slavish media support and there you go. Remember Robert Redford’s line in the movie? “Now what?”

    The Leader of the Free World. As my daughter might text: OMG.

  • Michael,

    Most of the stuff you listed is foreign policy where the President has pretty much unilateral authority. You mention Libya and that was specifically a case where he claimed it wasn’t a war and therefore Congressional authorization was completely unnecessary. When it comes to those kinds of decisions, President Obama seems able to make them.

    However, domestically, the office doesn’t have a lot of authority. The PPACA got passed but that was mostly due to the Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid. The President passed it off to them largely because of the Clinton experience. Now, one could argue that shows wisdom and the bill did pass, but I don’t remember the President getting too deep in the trenches on that one. Success with the PPACA doesn’t meant that Obama is better at dealing with Congress than Clinton was.

    And really, this goes back to a long-standing issue with me. I think most of our problems are because of the dysfunctional Congress and not the President. He’s limited in what he can do without enabling legislation. By Contrast, the two AUMF’s with regard to Iraq and the GWOT are still in effect and give the President a lot of power. The Congress hasn’t seen fit to try to take any of that back with a few exceptions. Just to give one example, President Obama campaigned on closing GITMO. Well, the Senate voted 90-6 to defund any effort to do so and in the house the vote was 282-131. This was a promise he couldn’t keep because Congress wouldn’t let him.

    I think the thrust of the article is basically correct and I would summarize it by suggesting that the President doesn’t deal very well with Congress. I haven’t done the research, so I’m speculating some here, but my sense is the President doesn’t spent a lot of time lobbying members of Congress to vote for his proposals. He seems to prefer speaking to the public. In a way that is admirable but I don’t think it’s very effective.

    Dave mentioned his experience in Illinois politics. I think his academic experience may be more relevant. He was, after all, either in school or lecturing for much longer than any other work he’s done. Maybe he’s used to that style, but it doesn’t seem like it’s been very effective with members of his own party, much less anyone from the GoP.

  • sam

    @Drew

    “The other thing I’d meant to mention is that I don’t think that the president’s experiences in Illinois prepared him for a two party system. During the entirety of his elective career here the Republican Party was supine.”

    I think this is the essential point.

    And that particular point distinguishes him from you man Mittens how? I mean if the Republican party in Illinois was supine, what was that party in Massachusetts during Romney’s tenure as governor? The GOP in Massachusetts was supine–and buried.

  • sam

    Here’s a rundown of Romney’s gubinatorial accomplishments in Massachusetts. See especially the Fiscal Policy section. He governed as a moderate Democrat, if you ask me.

  • Drew

    Sam

    I dont know what you do, or what you did, for a living. But I own, finance and manage at the board level multiple companies. As I’ve noted before, much to the consternation of some commenters, if Mr Obamas resume hit my desk I’d throw it in the trash can. What a waste of a credible degree. I have no doubt he’s a fine fellow, great to share a beer and guffaws with. As a politician, he’s masterful. Unfortunately, as an executive he’s a buffoon.

    And of course, the problem is, he’s the CEO of the country. Reynolds consistently denies the notion that the Presidency requires an executive, a manager. Well, we’ve seen all too well what we get when we hire politicians – incapable of anything but promising candy for votes – and not steely eyed managers and policy makers. Financial ruin. Europe is in the throws. We are not far behind. The Temptations had a brilliant line in a 60s era song “vote for me and I’ll set you free.”.

    Look at today’s cynical Obama twirl. I’m for gay marriage. Just politics. I wish he’d just go play golf, vote present, and let Chris Mathews let us in on his latest sexual fantasy……

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