James Fallows looks back at two statements from the Roberts confirmation- one from Obama on why he would not be supporting Roberts, and one from Roberts himself, and concludes:
I leave it to you to judge which of those statements from 2005 stands up better seven years later as a guide to John Roberts’s temperament and jurisprudence. I will tip my hand in saying: whether or not you admire his role on the court, it is impossible to see how anyone could describe it as umpire-like or “reflecting a certain humility.” In the Citizens United ruling, he and his allies set out to answer questions the case itself did not necessarily raise, so as to overturn precedents they considered incorrect. If you’re using the umpire analogy, it would be as if someone behind home plate suddenly yelled “Foot fault!” about a tennis match he saw out of the corner of his eye, with “Pass Interference!” and “Icing” calls thrown in to boot. The potential overturn of the Obama health care law may be desirable or not, according to your own views — but it is anything but “humble.”
I mention this mainly because of the apposite pairing. We have two men who now sit atop two of the three branches of the government. They both laid down markers seven years ago on how one of those men was likely to perform once in office. One of the predictions seems a lot more prescient than the other.
On top of all the other reasons the right hates Obama, there is also the fact that he is smarter than they are and he knows exactly what they are up to.
I totally agree. Which begs the question: Why does he kiss their asses and enable them so much of the time?
Could it be that he does this because he wants to?
Also, too, read his statements during the Alito confirmation fight and the speech he gave against going into Iraq war when a state senator. Both look prescient now.
First of all, please take a moment to read this.
Second of all, I think the best answer to your question is this: he is smarter than they are and he knows exactly what they are up to.
I remember Obama wrote a diary over at GOS about the Roberts thing as well.
Here is a link: Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party+
Roberts is a sucky man. You and I know he lied about his intentions as a Supreme Court Justice.
I tell you I don’t know a way out. If a Justice were to die tomorrow I would bet that Republicans would not allow a vote on a replacement, not before the election at least.
We’re faced with a Republic in which one of the political parties involved plays by the rules that have been laid down over time. The other party is playing Calvinball, and sadly their opposition (my team) is extremely bad at understanding the significance of this and acting upon that set of facts.
If I didn’t know that you were actually full of shit, then I would respond to this by asking you, do you need a civics lesson?
We live in a democracy. Specifically a constitutional republic. We elected President Obama. We did not coronate King Obama.
The sooner you realize that the President has to work with a great many assholes to get shit done, the sooner you will realize that you are attacking the wrong person, and actually work to get shit done.
This really terrifies me. Even after the election, assuming Obama wins, I don’t see how the GOP lets Obama replace even a liberal Supreme Court Justice (most likely Ginsburg). I assume they’ll block all appointments that are not to the right of Bork. And I expect the press to whine about how unfair the Democrats are that they aren’t putting up a candidate that the GOP approves. The next Supreme Court appointment is going to be a nightmare.
The people whose butts Obama needs to kiss to get things done are conservative Democrats. That has been the pattern time and again. When he has needed the votes of Republicans, I don’t remember any ass-kissing that wasn’t the kind of pro forma thing that leaders in both parties tend to do (“we look forward to working together to come up with a solution,” “we’re open to ideas from all sides,” etc.).
“The sooner you realize that the President has to work with a great many assholes to get shit done, the sooner you will realize that you are attacking the wrong person, and actually work to get shit done.”
You may have to wait a while on that.
Clime’s problems are endemic to many on the Left (and I admit I suffer from them too, at times): yelling constantly about the problem, and yet, having no workable solution to fix it (or having nothing at all); not knowing a thing about how government works; and more importantly, not realizing that progress takes time–and that many good things are not achieved in two seconds.
And lastly, suffering from the “not good enough!!” syndrome, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that this was the best the President could get.
I do not understand why there is a need for some on the Left to constantly gang up on the guy who’s actually trying to do something to fix the country while dealing with the harsh light of political reality. Obama is not the first to get this treatment; look back and you’ll see that FDR, Truman, Johnson, and Carter were subjected to this.
Word. Republicans see Democrats running the government as an anathema. They have been doing this since Jimmy Carter. This is why they have been going insane for the last 3.5 years.
That’s why there needs to be a concerted effort to take back the House and put more Democrats in the Senate.
In the short term, it is a frustrating reality that the Republicans are able to manipulate government and its agenda through obstruction and inflammatory tactics to distract us. There is no instantaneous fix to this… democracy should be driven by the will of the people and the people, rightly or wrongly, haven’t turned this ship. That is why grassroots organizing is so damned important, when you can get people to do it. Frankly, we are frequently both impatient to achieve the outcomes that we desire and often times actually don’t know how to start change that way. Mostly, we want to do what is easy. Bitch and moan and vote every couple of years or so. Americans don’t talk politics to each other like Europeans do… its considered “impolite”, so the opportunities to engage and learn from one another — even to argue meaningfully — it left to blogs where people seem to insult each other with ease but rarely is anyone converted to anyone else’s point of view.
Americans have been comfortable and smug that their system will just “work” without much effort on their part. Additionally, we disrespect governance and its importance. Anywhere you look, many private institutions as well are suffering from a dearth of good leadership. Our favorite model is command and control: “I am going to TELL you what to do, what to think, how to be”. Negotiation and learning are really not all that prized.
That said, we have been through numerous similar times in our history and somehow made it through to accomplihs some really good things for this country.
I try never to forget that
@batgirl: What do you mean by block? If the Democrats hold the Senate and the Republicans try to filibuster a SCOTUS nominee, the filibuster will go and the problem will be solved. OTOH, if the Republicans take the Senate, that would lead to a crisis if a Justice dies (because none of them will step down in that case, not even Ginsburg).
Davis X. Machina
Oh, he may have made such a statement, but you can tell Obama didn’t really mean it. Even then, he was a closet Republican, getting ready to sell us all out. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right bus to be built before you can throw all the real progressives under it.
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest internet, Adam Serwer complains about …’liberals’ uncritical embrace of the Obama administration’s widespread use of targeted killing.’
I wonder what sites he reads. It can’t be Digby, or Greenwald, or Avedon Carol, or John Aravosis, or most of Daily Kos, or Jack Balkin’s joint, or Lawyers Guns and Money…
Ya know, its sort of funny, as a kid, in the 1960s I saw who had the real power in Congress. It was Southern Dixiecrats. How they swung determined what happened. People who blamed bad things on the Dems missed the real truth. There was a very brief period right after the GOldwater debacle that made the Dixiecrate irrelevant. But that just made it even easier to show their true flag (the stars & bars – its a red white and blue flag but it aint ours) and join the GOP.
I was hoping that when the GOP took control of Congress that power would shift to those liberal New England members but their party discipline was so much better.
I knew Obama was not particularly liberal, his past is not one of an actual progressive but I know he is the best we can do right now & he has done as well as conditions will allow (although I do wish he was a better street fighter but even that is debatable – can it be done it todays climate?)
He is still the smartest guy in that place & our only hope currently for a better tomorrow.
Obama is a Reagan Republican. That is a huge part of the problem also too.
I want a progressive president who will play Calvin Ball for our side.
pseudonymous in nc
Roberts and Alito are, like John Bolton, kiss-up, kick-down kind of guys: they went into the nomination process with a judicial history of siding with institutional and corporate power, and they’ve delivered just that on the SCOTUS bench.
Senator Obama got it right.
The ones I know absolutely do not believe that. They really honest and truly believe he’s dumb. Affirmative Action, teleprompters, hid his school records — just a dumb nig-CLANG. They would never in a million years say that last thing, but it’s what they believe.
Please, explain how this will work. Just tell me how we can suddenly turn an entrenched media establishment around and erase decades of liberal demonization overnight.
I’m all ears.
@PeakVT: The filibuster won’t go. There might be 51 votes to abolish the filibuster, but there won’t be 51 votes for the proposition that the filibuster can be abolished with 51 votes.
Yes, it’s insane. That’s the Senate for you.
Coates’ post touches on this:
It’s from the perspective of someone tied to the civil rights movement who knows EXACTLY how far short the reality is from the promise of progressive efforts.
Wish more progressives would remember that.
@Davis X. Machina:
Then get up off your ass and elect a progressive Congress.
You stack the deck in your favor by controlling as many parts of the government as possible. A progressive president with a conservative Congress means conservative policies.
Are you sure you are talking about Democrats and not Republicans? I’d be floored if the Democrats found the cojones to end the filibuster.
They both laid down markers seven years ago on how one of those men was likely to perform once in office. One of the predictions seems a lot more prescient than the other.
And, sadly, one will still be doing gross damage to our tattered Democracy decades after the other is consigned to the lecture circuit and rolled out for national holidays and world disasters. Who has the last laugh? Roberts.
@Svensker: And then there are the extremely-low-info types who hate him because he did something Big Good that somehow creates a Tiny Bad for them. To wit: my students today are proposing research topics for a paper. One student wanted to write about how the government should do something about the high number of Americans without health insurance. I sent him to a HHS website with a timeline of PPACA implementation and asked him to make sure he understood what government has done / is doing before reinventing the wheel in his paper. His response after checking out the website? He’s pissed that Obama messed up his choice of research topic and now he has to find another one and it’s totally not fair. No, seriously.
Who said “overnight?” Sure wasn’t me. A Progressive president who played kickass Calvin Ball would have been four years into the process by now.
“Then get up off your ass and elect a progressive Congress.”
This, right here.
Forget occupying a park. Occupy a goddamned voting booth–you’ll get better results.
Keep moving those goalposts, buddy…
I would like to take this moment to personally thank you for writing things like this. It’s very helpful to those of us who have long maintained that you’re a worthless, mendacious, delusional troll to have concrete examples to point to that anyone with the slightest connection to reality can look at and wonder what planet you live on.
Oh you fucking idiot.
You know nothing about the political work I’ve done in the past on behalf of the Democratic party. All to watch Congressional Dems enable the retarded Bush Boy through two wars and endless fiscal and national security insanity for eight years thereafter.
Really, just fuck you.
ETA: I’ll work for them again when they get around to nominating an actual progressive democratic presidential candidate with massive testicles or ovaries to match those of the opposition Until then, just really, fuck you.
hahahaha…what have the elected Dems done since the election theft/debacles of 2000/2004 to ensure that our votes are actually counted, or to counter the efforts of the Republicans to disenfranchise millions of voters through various shady legislation at the state level?
I’m not talking about grass roots efforts such as Kay is involved in, I’m talking about aggressive legislation drafted and pushed by the white house and congress. What have elected dems done about it in the ensuing eight to twelve years?
That tells one a lot right there.
Fuck off, Catsy Patsy. You’re a Bot-brain with zero credibility regarding Obama’s negatives.
I think the Righties know quite well that President Obama is much smarter than they could ever be. That’s why they keep harping about seeing his grades and try to frame him as an affirmative action recipient. Somehow in their delusional world, Bush and Palin are on par with Obama.
@Marc McKenzie: because it feels so *good* to be holier than thou and to look down on anyone who would compromise to get things done? There’s a reason why baggers are baggers regardless of their purity test.
Same weak sauce, now four years old.
Would YOU, in your personal or business life, compromise with someone who refused to come even one inch in your direction during negotiations?
Would you announce your end goal before negotiations even begin?
Compromise by necessity requires give and take. Obmama’s mostly give, which makes me highly suspicious of any situation in which he actually seems to take something from the other side.
And thank you for the perfect characterization of Slime Hacks,
Seriously, Slime, I don’t care what planet you live on–I want to know what the laws of physics are in the sorta-parallel-but-definitely-skewed universe you crawled out of.
You do realise that you’ve just publically announced you have pretty much a textbook definition of a Closed Mind. For X the opposite of Y: I think Obama is X, therefore I distrust any evidence that he might be Y.
Wow. That pretty much boils it down to the essentials, doesn’t it? Even information which contradicts your chosen hypothesis is in a twisted way evidence of what you’ve suspected all along. Good luck with those moon rocks, dude.
You are incapable of understanding the actual universe where most humans live; yours is a twisted parallel nightmare where all the little Bot planets orbit the central Bot-Star; and the only purpose of all existence is to promote the political career of the Bot-God, Barack.
Come to the light, little Bot planet.
Tool. Work on reading comprehension.
Healthy distrust/suspicion, based on past performance, does not equal a closed mind. For example, I have conceded that BO was effective, though very late, on repealing DODT.
As Barack’s political idol Ronald Raygun said: “Trust but verify.”
OT, and I know that there is another post about this, but who the f— is Brett Kimberlin and why is 50% of memeorandum devoted to the butthurt wingnut blogistan output on that?
May I ask, does the Spock on your planet have a goatee?
Sadly, history is teeming with similar instances of failure to act upon facts. It’s human nature. Unless the country starts to roundly reject the Republican Party, w e are pretty much doomed to fighting a second civil war. Don’t know how long it’ll take to get there, but seems like we are well in our way, some days. Same as it ever was.
Goateed Spocks are the least problem. It appears that Gravity doesn’t work properly and has gone haywire on his planet, probably because of all the, ummm, dark matter.
@Donut: We never truly resolved the first civil war. The Reconstructionists focused mostly on economic and governmental issues rather than solve the underlying infestation of Southern cultural attitudes. The South only lost. They were not defeated and destroyed.
OT: George Tierny Jr of Greenville South Carolina apologized to tbogg, and i think Sandra Fluke as well.
I’ll withhold any comment about how long it took and simply give him a thumbs up for showing some spine, even late in the game. Good on him. This is to be commended, I think. (I’ll forgive a whole lot in the face of a *real* apology – which is what this read as to me (not the I’m sorry you were offended BS).
TBogg has the skinny.
Barack Obama on his political hero Ronaldo Raygunius Maximus Dufus.:
“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing”
that was actually pretty good. :D
@Elie: Well we were doing some it for a while until someone decided that the “Fifty states policy” should be abandoned and attempts to work at controlling state and local government wasn’t worth the effort leading to the shit we see going on now in Wis,Ohio, Arizonia, and other states. the democratic leadership made a present to the GOP of all these states on a silver platter. And since the republicans did realize that control of the federal government started on the state and local level they grabbed the goodies and ran
If you find Kevin Phillips’ hypothesis compelling, the 1861-1865 conflict was the third Anglo-American civil war. The English Civil War of the 1640s was the 1st, and the American Revolution was the 2nd. His evidence is mostly demographic: if you look in detail at who fought against whom in terms of ethnicity, religious sectarian identity, and geography (which counties and townships were on one side or the other in the two American conflicts, and which part of Great Britain the American population had emigrated from in terms of the earlier conflict), then it was to a first approximation the same two sides going at each in all three conflicts.
Since the struggle over the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s looks a bit like a stillborn civil war fought informally and on a smaller, more local scale, it appears that civil wars are an endemic feature of our political system with a recurrence interval of roughly 80-120 years. If true, then in another 20-30 years we’ll be about due for another one. Given that the Boomers will be gone and we’ll have a younger population then, things could get exciting.
You were sayin what I was thinking.
@gaz: Fuck. Nevermind. That was a troll. A commenter pointed it out. The username is different.
That is also more of what I meant by saying “same as it ever was.”
We have some fundamental, deep, divisions that will probably never be resolved unless/until the union is dissolved somehow., IMHO.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ:”appears that Gravity doesn’t work properly and has gone haywire on his planet, probably because of all the, ummm, dark matter.”
Bullshit! I think you mean bullshit! Right?
@gaz: You fell for the hope of a better humanity. Oh well.
I’ll take that as confirmation that your Spock does indeed wear a goatee.
In that quoted passage re: Reagan it is clear, and this was clear at the time this interview was released, that Obama was praising Reagan’s political effectiveness at winning over the electorate not the objectives or results of his right wing policies.
Obama was clearly using an old trick of co-opting the positive qualities associated in the minds of the general public with a popular figure of the opposite party with himself and his current movement. The key words in that quote are: optimism, return, dynamism, entrepreneurship. All of these words are emotionally coded triggers designed to remind people that in the 2008 campaign Obama was the younger, fresher candidate, associated with change, and his message was one of American restoration to optimism and hope for the future.
This is how a real political pro works, by using words that bypass the voter’s cortex and burrow into their limbic system. This is an effective way of building an emotional bond with people who may not otherwise be inclinded to trust you yet, and thus getting low info swing voters on your side. Reagan himself used this trick masterfully, he frequently made positive references to FDR, mentioned that in his youth he had been a Democrat and FDR supporter, and declaimed regarding how far the Democrats had fallen since FDR’s time.
@Yutsano: biggest problem was that many of the reconstructionist, Those known as carpetbaggers , were more interested in filling those carpet bags with every thing they could steal. Since the arlmy was in charge of reconstruction the corruption was just as bad there so there was very little done in actual reconstruction
Very well said. Thanks for this.
I also don’t understand why the worst of these naysayers always ignore the obvious fact of relentless Republican opposition and obstructionism, and instead wallow in arcane fantasies of Obama either being controlled by or in league with shadowy corporate interests. This is as tiresome as the wingnut fantasy of Obama being controlled by an all star cabal led by the Queen of Englad, three Mooslims, Putin and the All Kenya Marching Band.
@gaz: Shame. Not ended, the Twitter wars have.
And with this, you seal the deal on your stupidity.
Millions of Americans voted for Reagan and respect and admire him. This is the hard reality. Obama could acknowledge this, or he could live your dream of only being the president of the progressives.
Your anger at Obama is totally unmoored from any sense of reality or common sense.
Another Halocene Human
@grandpa john: Black male suffrage became a reality and Blacks were elected to state and national office. Schools were opened for the first time for African-American children. The economic, social, and political impact of the occupation, whatever you want to call it, was enormous.
The backlash was horrific.
Another Halocene Human
Also, too, despite all the Southron whining, the awful truth is that land speculation, grifting, conning, scamming, rustling, cheating, and lying, followed by a hasty flight to another state were practically the national pastime by the 1870’s.
How did you think the robber barons made their money, anyway?
Midwesterners have quite the tales they could tell.
Another Halocene Human
@Brachiator: He’s pissed that Obama isn’t the lefty Bush.
I’m just so disappointed that Obama’s cabinet isn’t dreaming up daily new ways to abuse the power of the executive branch or ginning up new hysteria on the weekend cable gabfests. “Terror threat level Fuschia with Orange dots! Next, why does John Boehner hate America?”
@Another Halocene Human: Nah, he is just a birther deather racist pig troll. Pity he hijacked the thread right from the beginning.
This is one of those Big Lies that has become conventional wisdom, dating back to the time when Southerners and sympathetic historians began pushing variations of noble Southerners and lost causes, etc. Reconstruction failed largely because the South fought back hard against efforts to rebuild this part of the country, socially and economically.
Ironically, the Southern elites had no problems keeping poor whites oppressed even as they sought to suppress black people. The clear strategy here was to prevent blacks and whites in th South from being willing to join in a common cause against entrenched oligarchic interests.
Of course, nothing like this could be happening today.
OK, you’ve diagnosed me. How about the anger of the millions and millions of OTHER disillusioned, disgusted Dem voters, whose ambivalence is keeping the 2012 election a toss up?
All unmoored, reality-challenged, and lacking in common sense?
Of course…because none of us is worthy of the awesomeness that is Barack Obama.
@Another Halocene Human:
Either you’re lying, or you’re naive to the point of idiocy.
Well, hello, you brainless, sycophant, tribalist, Obot, stool sample.
Yup, they’ve been doing this since Day One.
I’ve always said that the biggest thing holding our country back is poor whites, since there’s more of them than any other group, continually voting against their own best interests.
Of course, not all poor whites (and by poor, I mean they ain’t rich) vote this way, but enough of them do to fuck up everything for the rest of us.
No one argues this. No one.
But here is a fun fact: Obama is superior in every way to the heaping pile of mediocrity that is Mitt Romney. It is breathtakingly sad that millions of Republicans might vote for Mittens. The country barely survived Dubya. Romney can only drag it down further.
On the other hand, any supposedly disillusioned Democrats would consolidate a winning hand by fielding more progressives to back Obama up. A Dmocratic majority in both houses of Congress would be the best antidote to any doubt or weariness.
oh horse shit.
Many, many times on this blog over the last four years commenters have made statements, in all seriousness, to the general effect that President Obama is so great in so many ways, that the people of this country really don’t deserve him.
If you think about it, I’m sure you will remember this to be true.
That you invoke irrelevant fanboy shit is more confirmation of how lost you are.
Right now, today, Obama is the superior candidate for president, compared to the Infinite Emptiness which is Mitt Romney.
And returning to the point made in John Cole’s comments, Obama understands the Republicans and what they are about. By contrast, the Republicans and their wingnut loyalists mire themselves in fantasies about Obama. And now, they are desperately trying to push a magical reset button, pretending that time stands still, we have returned to 2008, and Obama needs to be “vetted” by An Almost Real White Almost Kinda Christian(tm) Romneybot 2000.
So who is Obama?
The smart, capable guy trying to save your ass.
The rest is mere commentary.
@Brachiator: I’ve always wondered why that statement was interpreted to mean Reagan is Obama’s hero. It’s a recognition of the effect and media skills of Reagan, plus the transformation it had on the American relationship to government. If Democrats want to win, they have to understand how language works, and co-opt the messaging of the GOP, while repackaging democratic party platform to low information, pretend centrists who vote Republican because the pablum being fed to them by the media sounds nice. Being angry because Reagan is not being described in terms normally used for scavengers, carrion eaters and scoundrels, it’s like thinking if you say Hitler understood how to motivate an audience, you’re pro-Nazi. Very strange, this tendency to be outraged for not hating things appropriately. A little too close to Mittens 2.0’s transformation to a severe conservative just to wrap up the Teapublican vote.
Obama was also smart enough to know the health insurance mandate was a bad idea. If the Democrats get back the House in November we should seriously consider impeachment of Roberts.
@Clime Acts: So you will be voting Republican in effect, then. Good to know.
I said I won’t “work for them,” I didn’t say I wouldn’t reluctantly cast my vote for one of them.
Also too, for the millionth time: The democratic party has no ownership or presumed right to my vote or that of anyone else. It is mine to cast FOR whom I choose.