Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama the Point Maker

Obama recently was interviewed by Rolling Stone and he defends himself well against the teabaggers, Elefuggs, Blue Dogs, progressive outrage and firebaggers. He makes solid points throughout and doesn't come across condescending but confident. There seems to be a determined tone that his work is yet to be done. Now whether or not you agree with him is another thing (you can discuss in the comments of course), but this stood out to me:

What is true, and this is part of what can frustrate folks, is that over the past 20 months, we made a series of decisions that were focused on governance, and sometimes there was a conflict between governance and politics. So there were some areas where we could have picked a fight with Republicans that might have gotten our base feeling good, but would have resulted in us not getting legislation done.

I could have had a knock-down, drag-out fight on the public option that might have energized you and The Huffington Post, and we would not have health care legislation now. I could have taken certain positions on aspects of the financial regulatory bill, where we got 90 percent of what we set out to get, and I could have held out for that last 10 percent, and we wouldn't have a bill. You've got to make a set of decisions in terms of "What are we trying to do here? Are we trying to just keep everybody ginned up for the next election, or at some point do you try to win elections because you're actually trying to govern?" I made a decision early on in my presidency that if I had an opportunity to do things that would make a difference for years to come, I'm going to go ahead and take it.

I just made the announcement about Elizabeth Warren setting up our Consumer Finance Protection Bureau out in the Rose Garden, right before you came in. Here's an agency that has the potential to save consumers billions of dollars over the next 20 to 30 years — simple stuff like making sure that folks don't jack up your credit cards without you knowing about it, making sure that mortgage companies don't steer you to higher-rate mortgages because they're getting a kickback, making sure that payday loans aren't preying on poor people in ways that these folks don't understand. And you know what? That's what we say we stand for as progressives. If we can't take pleasure and satisfaction in concretely helping middle-class families and working-class families save money, get a college education, get health care — if that's not what we're about, then we shouldn't be in the business of politics. Then we're no better than the other side, because all we're thinking about is whether or not we're in power.

This is a man with a clear understanding of what legacy means. The choices he made throughout the processes of health care, financial reform and the stimulus were ones to effect not only the now, but future generations. He gets that. That is change, perhaps not the change some were sold, but it is certainly change I believe in.

With the upcoming election the importance of building on this legacy couldn't be more paramount. So, yeah perhaps Biden telling Democrats to stop whining isn't the spoon of sugar firebaggers want fed to them, but damnit get a grip. We have more to accomplish. Sitting on our laurels, letting Tea Party Candidates, WWE CEO's and Birthers wins seats across the nation can only set progress back.

We can settle the definition of "what is progressive" for a later date.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

Update: Steve Benen has more and man that rant by Obama is RAGETASTIC! (h/t Greenwalled)


Steve said...

Obama just doesn't get it...

I could have had a knock-down, drag-out fight on the public option that might have energized you and The Huffington Post, and we would not have health care legislation now.

Obama made a tactical mistake on this. He decided early on that he was going to lose on the public option. So rather than trying to fight for it he said it wasn't that critical. Then when the legislation passed he heralded it as this great reform. Of course in the mean time insurance rates have continued to climb and the number of uninsured has climbed with it.

What I think people want from Obama, and this isn't just the "firebaggers", is the sense that he's fighting for us. So going back to the health care example he should have come out forcefully and publicly in favor of the public option. He should have been saying how it was critical. He should have aggressively gone after Republicans for their intransigence. Then still being unable to get it passed he should have said that he tried, but there's still too much resistance in Washington to the real change we need.

In that case he is seen as losing, however, he's seen as being willing to fight. He can then sign the bill and say it was the best he could do and then immediately begin making the case to the public that we need more and that he needs more BETTER Democrats to make that happen. Instead the perception is that he got done what he intended to get done and that's the best we're going to get.

The results, legislatively, would not be different today, but what would be different is the american public would see Obama as a fighter. Somebody who wants that change to happen. Instead they see him as just another politician because he IS just another politician.

Asian-American Pundit said...


Did we go over this already when the health care bill passed? The Blue Dogs were opposed to the public option as well. Are you looking for a moral victory? Or an actual bill that can help for years to come? Why has this come about again for you?

And what gives you the impression he hasn't been fighting for us? He has been fighting since day one. Perhaps not on every single bit as he states, but he has found a way to accomplish that which no other president could. He might not have gotten the knockout in the second round, but he definitely had the close and decisive decision win.

I just cannot figure out where this is coming from, did you hang out with Hamsher this weekend? None of what you said is grounded in any sort of reality. Pining over a scenario that wouldn't have ever happened versus getting out and voting to prevent a Republican take over of Congress...which one means more to you? That's the question to ask yourself.

Yes, we didn't get everything we wanted, but damnit we won't have a thing if November is abysmal. And if that happens Obama will be the only man between progress and a complete decimation of democracy.