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Geoff

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44
« on: November 10, 2008, 05:09:19 PM »

It's just a generic Obama administration thread, really.  :)



Bold Is Good
What Obama Could Learn From Reagan
     
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
The Washington Post / Monday, November 10, 2008; Page A17

Just about everyone is giving President-elect Barack Obama advice based on one interpretation or another of what his victory really means. Obama should be wary of any counsel that the advice-givers had in mind before a single vote was counted.

The worst advice will come from his conservative adversaries, the people who called him a socialist a few days before the election and insisted a few days later that he won because he was really a conservative. The older among them declared after the 1980 election that the 51 percent of the vote won by Ronald Reagan represented an ideological revolution, but argue now that Obama's somewhat larger majority has no philosophical implications.

These conservatives are trying to stop Obama from pursuing any of the ideas that he campaigned on -- universal access to health care, a government-led green revolution, redistributive tax policies, a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, more robust economic regulation.

Their gimmick is to insist that the United States is still a "center-right" country because more Americans call themselves conservative than liberal. What this analysis ignores is that Americans have clearly moved to the left of where they were four, eight or ten years ago.

The public's desire for more government action to heal the economy and guarantee health insurance coverage, along with its new skepticism about the deregulation of business, suggests that we are a moderate country that now leans slightly and warily left.

But that wariness means that progressives should avoid offering advice based on the assumption that an ideological revolution has already been consummated. They should not imitate the triumphalism of Karl Rove and his acolytes, who interpreted President Bush's 50.8 percent victory in 2004 as the prelude to an enduring Republican majority.

Fundamentally, ours is a non-ideological nation. Many who would like the government to act more boldly still need to be persuaded of government's capacity to succeed.

Here again, Obama's situation closely resembles Reagan's. Like our 40th president, Obama has been authorized to move in a new direction. If Reagan had the voters' permission to move away from strategies associated with liberalism, Obama has sanction to move away from conservative policies. Reagan was judged by the results of his choices, and Obama will be, too.

Yet Reagan offers another lesson: His first moves were bold, and Obama should not fear following his example. The president-elect is hearing that his greatest mistake would be something called "overreach." Democrats in Congress, it's implied, are hungry to impose wacky left-wing schemes that Obama must resist.

In fact, timidity is a far greater danger than overreaching, simply because it's quite easy to be cautious. And anyone who thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her followers are ultra-leftist ideologues has been asleep for the past two years. As Pelosi noted in an interview in her office this week, her moves have been shaped by a Democratic House caucus that includes both staunch liberals and resolute moderates. She knows where election victories come from.

"We have some fairly sophisticated people here who understand that you win seats in the middle," she said, noting that Democrats did not win their majority in 2006 and then expand it this year "by espousing far left views." The priorities of congressional Democrats, she added, are close to those of the new president.

That's true, and it underscores the fact that you don't have to be "far left" to be bold. This is something that Rahm Emanuel, the new White House chief of staff and no ideologue, understands. In interviews yesterday on both ABC and CBS, Emanuel made clear that Obama's overarching priority is to right the economy and that his other objectives fit snugly into that framework.

He sees Obama acting in four areas of concern to a middle class that "is working harder, earning less and paying more." The list: health care, energy, tax reform and education. All are issues on which Obama should not be afraid to be audacious.

The economic crisis, Emanuel said, provides "an opportunity to finally do what Washington has for years postponed." Here, the model is Franklin Roosevelt, who in the 1930s saw the objectives of economic recovery and greater social justice as closely linked.

President-elect Obama can spend most of his time fretting warily about the shortcomings of past presidents and how to avoid their errors. Or he can think hopefully about truly successful presidents and how their daring changed the country. Is there any doubt as to which of these would more usefully engage his imagination?



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harihead

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Re: 44
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2008, 06:54:58 PM »

I like the fact that Obama has already prepared a list of executive orders he intends to overturn the moment he takes office. I also think he handled that awkward letter from the president of Iran well. I think he's going to continue to act with thoughtfulness and decision, vs emotion and haste. He has an agenda, certainly, but I think it's more along the lines of, "How can I help fix these amazing problems?" rather than, "How can my cronies and I remain in power the longest possible time?"

Obama is a geek. He's an intellectual. He reads and makes jokes about dilithium crystals from Star Trek. Yes, he's well-versed in history, but he's used that as a basis for informing his ideas about how to make purposeful change right now, not so he can live in the past. He's practical. I've been reading a lot post-election, and I'm feeling even more reassured about the choice of this particular individual for president.

I've also been reading the Political Irony site here: http://politicalirony.com/

Here's one I particularly enjoyed from the Late Night roundup:
Quote
"Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is our new president. And I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early?" -David Letterman

Quote
"They say this was most expensive election in history, costing over $1 billion. Do you realize that is the equivalent of three Wall Street CEO bonuses?" -Jay Leno

Don't miss the ear and hair pictures, either. :)
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Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 05:15:28 AM »

Quote from: 551
Obama is a geek. He's an intellectual. He reads and makes jokes about dilithium crystals from Star Trek.


I noticed that bit in Newsweek a few days ago. He wins me over right there, actually.  :)

On May 20, the night of the primaries in Oregon (a satisfying win in a liberal state) and Kentucky (another discouraging blowout in Appalachia; he had lost West Virginia the week before by 41 points), he [Obama] stood off-stage at the Des Moines Historical Society Museum in Iowa. He had wanted to go back to the state of his first great triumph to give a speech unofficially kicking off the fall campaign, even though Clinton officially was still in the race. "That's an interesting belt buckle," he said to Michelle, mischievously. She feigned offense and said, "I am interesting, next to you. Surprise, surprise, a blue suit, a white shirt and a tie." Obama grinned and bent down until he was almost at eye level with her waist. He jabbed a playful finger toward her belt buckle, and let loose his inner nerd. "The lithium crystals! Beam me up, Scotty!" Obama squeaked, laughing at his own lame joke as Michelle rolled her eyes.
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harihead

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Re: 44
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 05:52:45 PM »

Yeah, that article really reassured me about his management style-- well a lot of things.

Of course, true nerds realize the author got it wrong. Barack did not say, "The lithium crystals!" because, of course, they are dilithium crystals. Anyone who asks Scotty to beam them up would know that. But it is fun to recognize a fellow fan.

Barack's a great fan, by the way. Music, sports, Star Trek-- wow, someone who can relate to his current culture. It's... weird! But I like it.  ;D
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008, 07:38:37 PM »

Quote from: 551
Of course, true nerds realize the author got it wrong. Barack did not say, "The lithium crystals!" because, of course, they are dilithium crystals. Anyone who asks Scotty to beam them up would know that. But it is fun to recognize a fellow fan.

Yeah, you can always count on reporters to get a bunch of little things wrong along with a usually even larger bunch of big things.  ;D

But... there was an early Star Trek episode in which they were still talking about lithium crystals: Mudd's Women. It was the fourth or fifth episode shot; the "dilithium" idea must have come a bit later.

I'll pick up my Gigantic Nerd Prize on the way out the door.  (dance)
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Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2008, 05:05:57 AM »

A Republican congressman thinks aloud. It may take one or two more election beatings to get them to think harder.


Georgia congressman warns of Obama dictatorship
By BEN EVANS
AP / November 10

WASHINGTON (AP)
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harihead

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Re: 44
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2008, 07:39:05 AM »

Quote from: 1161
I'll pick up my Gigantic Nerd Prize on the way out the door.  (dance)
It's yours, buddy! You earned it! *reverently hands you a pair of pointed ears*

Quote from: 1161
Obama's transition office did not respond immediately to Broun's remarks.
I really don't know what they could say. This guy is out by friggin' Pluto. I have a neighbor who was convinced that if Obama were nominated, we'd have increased "murders, rioting, and prostitution" in Denver during the convention. Of course it didn't happen. Denver was a dream of happy efficiency; all the violence took place in St. Paul at the Republican convention. But when people surrender their intelligence to fear, things like this come out of their mouths. The only thing we can do is, with patience, show them that it isn't true and hope that they, like skittish abused puppies, eventually come to trust again.
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2008, 03:10:53 PM »

Quote from: 551
This guy is out by friggin' Pluto. I have a neighbor who was convinced that if Obama were nominated, we'd have increased "murders, rioting, and prostitution" in Denver during the convention.

We may hear more of this sort of rubbish. Last Tuesday guys like Chris Shays and John Sununu lost while Gong Show leftovers like Paul Broun got re-elected. The Republican Party's base is likely to conclude that the real problem this year was that they nominated a candidate who wasn't conservative enough, and the battle over that is likely to drive moderates to the sidelines until the conservatives have been beaten a few more times. Sarah Palin isn't entirely wrong (though it's unlikely) to think she's got a shot at the nomination in 2012. Well, keep thinking that way, I say.  :)

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Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2008, 03:36:35 PM »

So we're waiting on God, I guess. But how do you "prematurely plow through" a door?


Boxers, Briefs or Silks?
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: November 11, 2008 / New York Times

Sarah Palin represents a huge historic leap forward for women.

When Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton ran, their fates were inextricably linked with their gender. If they failed, many women felt, there was an X through the whole X chromosome. A blot on the female copybook.

If not this woman now, Hillary
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harihead

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Re: 44
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2008, 06:36:44 PM »

Quote from: 1161
It only means that she doesn
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2008, 03:54:26 AM »

Quote from: 551
Most businesspeople (remember, Republican = party of business?) are not morons and don't want morons representing them. They want small, non-intrusive government-- exactly the kind of government the Bush administration failed to provide.

The way ahead may lie in marrying small government / low tax economic policies to a non-religious notion of traditional values. I think one thing that's killing the Republicans is that they present conservative traditionalism in the form of Christian fundamentalism, which is really only one subset of the former and by no means the most politically potent one at that (it puts off as many or more people than it attracts). If they want to win again, the Republicans need to be a broad-based conservative party, not one limited to religious cranks and a few anti-intellectual half wits like Paul Broun (and Sarah Palin, for that matter).  :)
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Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2008, 04:58:39 AM »

Come to think of it, Ron Paul must be around somewhere, too.  ;D



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harihead

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Re: 44
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2008, 07:15:39 AM »

Quote from: 1161
Come to think of it, Ron Paul must be around somewhere, too.  ;D
He's been giving endless talks on what's wrong with the Republican party. You can find plenty on YouTube. I'd have more patience with him if he wasn't advocating America withdrawing from the rest of the world and pulling the covers over its head. That ship has sailed.
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All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

Geoff

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Re: 44
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2008, 10:41:52 AM »

Quote from: 551
He's been giving endless talks on what's wrong with the Republican party. You can find plenty on YouTube.

Newt Gingrich, too. We might hear more about Paul or anyone else if the media weren't obsessing about Sarah Palin. Note to journos: Governor Palin is still good for a few head shaking laughs, but it's over- the Republicans aren't going to nominate her in 2012 any more than they were going to nominate Dan Quayle in 1996. The party may be down right now, but it hasn't gone mad (or not all of it, anyway). Move on.

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