Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

All you need to know to understand President Obama

By Daniel Becker

I watched then read President Obama’s interview on 60 Minutes.  The following is the most telling quote:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: …And, you know, I can make some really good arguments defending the Democratic position, and there are gonna be some people who just don’t agree with me. And that’s okay. And then we’ve got to figure out a way to compromise.
Respectfully sir…Your job is not Debate Club.  I can make “good arguments” also.  But, I’m not the person with the pen.  You are.
This is the second most telling quote:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: …leadership isn’t just legislation.  That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone. And making an argument that people can understand.
Respectfully sir… You had 52.9% of the popular vote in 2008 along with 53.18% popular vote for the House and 51.3% for the Senate.   This latest election shows that people got the “tone”.
Frankly sir, you need to legislate like you actually mean the “really good arguments defending the Democratic position…”  Otherwise sir, it’s just rhetoric.  It’s just Debate Club.  
“You know…” you do actually hold as your convictions the “really good arguments defending the Democratic position…”?  

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Obama Administration Foolishness, Part 1

When the question is asked whether the Obama Administration are fools or liars—and a certain Chicago mayoral candidate is often nominated as both—you can be certain discussion of “the public option” will come up.

It doesn’t come up directly in today’s FT (page 4 of the print edition; no link; I get the paper edition, and there’s no relationship between the two*), but it certainly abides in the plan put forth by Paul Ryan (R-Innumeracy) to de-reform health care reform:

Congressman Paul Ryan…says he believes an arcane budgetary procedure known as reconciliation could be a vital tool for his party to scale back funding for some of the administration’s policies. Under congressional rules, bills passed under reconciliation—which must be related to budgetary issues—need only 51 votes to pass in the Senate.

It’s that self-same “arcane budgetary procedure ” that provided an opportunity to pass an initial health care reform bill with “the public option.” Strangely—feel free to Google for evidence—the Republican opposition to using reconciliation was varied and loud.  Now, it’s about to be their touchstone for dealing with health care budgeting.

Glenn Greenwald and D-Day have made the case that the Obama Administration were liars, not fools, when they declared they couldn’t pass the public option during the reconciliation process.  On the off chance we still believe they were only fools, it will be interesting—or, for some of us, horrifying—to see their reaction to an open declaration that the reconciliation process is fair game when used to reach Republican goals.

*If anyone in comments provides the link, I’ll add it.

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