For all of his failings, there is one thing Obama does really, really well: he knows how to campaign aggressively. Here he is, campaigning for Mandela Barnes against Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.
Obama on Ron Johnson: "His adult children bought not one, not two, but three private planes. Because apparently carpooling wasn't an option. You need 3? Meanwhile, [he] voted to raise the retirement age to 70." pic.twitter.com/7wKuEkFLdE
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 29, 2022
Ron Johnson, as a senator, helped give millions of dollars in tax deductions to some of the biggest donors that funded his campaign. And after he voted for a tax plan that allows people to write off the costs of private planes– I’ve been trying to get this thing closed since I was president.
If you can afford a private plane, then you don’t need a tax break! But no, he fought for this. And then his adult children bought, not one, not two, but three private planes, because apparently carpooling was not an option.
That’s no holds barred ferocity. I wish more Democrats would ditch the reservations and politeness and go all King Kong on the Republicans’ greed and stupidity.
Meanwhile, Senator Johnson voted to raise the retirement age to 70, supported a plan that would put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every single year. Each year you’d have to vote to renew this thing. I mean, think about it, because Washington works so well that you want your Social Security and Medicare reliant on Congress every year. He’s called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, said that it’s candy that the left is giving it away.
The point is, some of you here are on Social Security. Some of your parents are on Social Security. Some of your grandparents are on Social Security. You know why they have Social Security? Because they worked for it. They worked hard jobs for it. They have chapped hands for it. They have long hours and sore backs and bad knees to get that Social Security!
And if Ron Johnson does not understand that, if he understands giving tax breaks for private planes more than he understands making sure that seniors who’ve worked all their lives are able to retire with dignity and respect, he’s not the person who is thinking about you, and knows you, and sees you, and he should not be your senator from Wisconsin!
That seals the deal. Obama is doing more than bashing Republicans, he’s pointing out that they don’t have your best interests in mind.
Pull no punches please Democratic party, campaigners and candidates.
Also Obama deserved another term – stupid USA political system & its unfair post FDR term limits.
Also the whole midterm elections thing that hamstrung Barack and now risks hamstringing Biden too – so very stupid a way to do things in my view.
THIS is bashing?
I’ve had more harshly critical oral sex. This is a love fest. Appropriately critical and illustrative of hypocrisy and double speak. Frankly, the word “bullshit” needs to be used more in political discourse. And that’s the lower end.
Term limits and midterms work both ways. Pelosi took the House gavel under Dubya. Dubya couldn’t seek reelection nor the Gipper before him. Imagine younger DeSantis with a prospective 2+ terms to launch us further into authoritarian personality politics.
FDR seeking all those terms inspired the two term limit. Was he wrong to buck informal precedent? I dunno. If he had lived longer I wonder if we would have stumbled our way into SE Asia later. Would we have respected Ho’s expectation of self-determination versus the French return to Indochina?
Could Obama wear a disguise and run again? Weird I see his as the best presidency in my lifetime despite the warts. Clinton’s didn’t age well in retrospect.
If only Gore had become POTUS!
@ ^ hemidactylus : Yes and if on;y HRC had become POTUS – as the American People actually chose in 2016.
Also, my nation (Oz) and most others – national elections are a lot more years apart and if I may say so, alot fairer and more democractic. (Cough, Electoral College, cough.) I think that works better and choosing a new Congress every two years, well, it beats me why ypou do it and seems to make it extremely hard for Presidents to do what they got elected to do and makes the USA’s system nigh on unworkable. Not that our system is perfect but .. (shakes head.)
Best POTUS in my lifetime – yeah, probly Obama, maybe Carter though I was really too young to properly recall him. Then Bill Clinton and then Astronomical Units behind that Bush Sr, Reagun a gap of many more Astronomical Units Bush the lesser then megaparsecs behind him – Trump.
NB. You = (United States of) Americans. Not sure if that applies to you or not hemidactylus.
Problem with American politics is what massive impact and influence it has on the rest of world especially – but certainly not only – here in Oz.
PS. Know that it almost certainly won’t happen but would sure love to see Michelle Obama run and win and become POTUS if only to see the reichwing heads explode.. Plus reckon she’d make a genuinely good POTUS too.
I’m glad he’s vociferously arguing against Republicans now, but let’s not pretend that an extra term for Obama would have meant things would be fine. He was part of the status quo that gave us Trump. He put a kinder face on things, and it takes effort to hate him as a person, but he still ramped up drone strikes. He still increased deportations of undocumented immigrants. He still refused to support same-sex marriage until it was politically convenient to do so. And those are things he had total control over, not things the Republicans could even attempt to hold hostage. Also, lest you forget, he gave up on so much as a public option for his healthcare plan before even beginning negotiations. He didn’t really fight very hard for people either. He put up just enough resistance to be able to claim he was trying, while not putting up nearly enough to have a chance of success. He knows how to play the game, and that’s serving him well here, but that’s the extent of it. And playing the game is not a good thing. For all too many people, this is not a game; it’s life and death. I’m glad he’s skewering Johnson, but a bunch of the comments are bordering on hero-worship. Pull it back a little. We can be appreciative of his current action without making excuses for his past inaction or pretending he was a better leader than he actually was.
Well from outsider perspectives we come across weird. Electoral College is an archaic instrument. The House two year cycle may have been to accommodate the ever wavering fickle will of the “little people” (sarcasm). We get wild oscillations or polarization divergences like the Tea Party and Democratic Socialists. Radical GQP is coming hard. In reality the short cycle means they gotta prioritize fund raising from day one.
Originally the Senate were our aristocracy hand picked by state legislators (right???). Then they decided to let the people pick Senators. An improvement?
POTUS wasn’t quite what it became. Executive power has slowly been creeping upward over time. Whether that’s good or bad depends on perspective or whose ox gets gored. I’m for institutional memory of a robust administrative state which the paranoids spin into a swamp or cabal driven “deep state”. Food inspection and public health policies seem a good idea. NSA snooping and intelligence agency black arts not so much.
Michael Flynn was DIA and now seems to be one of many domestic-side players turning psyops upon our own population. Or maybe he started believing his own subterfuge. That’s an inherent weakness in consent of the governed, when enough of the governed wind up in a disorienting hall of mirrors. That and all the money involved in politics and campaigning. The Dems seem to have abandoned former swinging Florida as an abyss.
Akira MacKenzie says
”But her emails…”
“But inflation and drag queens…”
This why I love Katie Porter and her white board. She knows how to frame a debate, and always draws blood. Draft Katie Porter for president in 2024. If anybody here has missed this, google Youtube, Katie Porter. One thing about Katie Porter is she does litle nme ca)ing but hits hard on facts. Making it hard to dismiss her attacks.
Akira MacKenzie says
We look at Ron Johnson’s wealth and think: What an ostentatious waste of wealth and resources!
However, right wingers and a lot of ideologically uncommitted voters look look a Johnson and think Wow! He can afford THREE private planes?! They must be really good at the economics and other money stuff!
I thought Obama made good points, especially after what happened to Pelosi’s husband, about civility and squirrels here:
@4 If Gore had become POTUS, there is an outside chance that he would not have considered the “historical memo” about increased activity from Al Qaida as nothing to worry about, which certainly would have changed a few things.
That said, there was literally no difference in policy between Bore and Gush, particularly tax policy, economic policy and racial policy. Gore only grew a pair of balls AFTER he lost the election. He certainly wasn’t some kind of ecowarrior prior to losing the election. Check his political donors and economic legislation BEFORE he became Veep.
Here’s his Congressional record:
Notice how there’s nothing environmental until he decided to throw his hat in the ring for Veep? There is a hell of a lot of resume´ buffing & polishing in 1992 though.
Yes, a lot of necessary legislation is boring as hell but let’s not pretend he gave a damn about the little people or the environment until after he lost the election. Basically, the 2000 election was between two white guys who inherited their positions in the US government from their dads.
@5 Yes, if HRC had actually become POTUS 45, we wouldn’t have 6 religious nutjobs sitting on the Supreme Court right now, we’d still have Roe vs. Wade as law of the land and Obergefall would not be on the chopping block. But the Bernie Bros and the purists sat at home sulking in their parents’ basements instead of voting for the lesser evil. So instead we got the greater evil, Dolt 45, the shitbrindle orange turd, who is the likely candidate for the dipshit right in 2024.
Don’t misunderstand–HRC was not my first or even third preference. But my options at the poll were “boring policy wonk/war hawk”, “what’s Aleppo? isolationist stoner” and “racist, misogynist ambulatory tire fire”. Being a realist, I pulled the lever for the least awful of the three, instead of gift-wrapping the entire country to the orange grifter turd and his repellant offspring. Because, unlike some, I understand the concept of “least harm done”.
PJ ORourke encapsulated the dilemma perfectly.
“Hillary is wrong about everything. She is to politics and statecraft what Pope Urban VIII and the Inquisition were to Galileo. She thinks the sun revolves around herself.
But Trump Earth™ is flat. We’ll sail over the edge. Here be monsters.”
To wit: “It’s the second-worst thing that can happen to this country, but she’s way behind in second place. She’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.”
The time to fight for the candidate you really want is in the primary, not the general election.
And for all the purists who refused to pull the lever for HRC out of some misguided purity principle? The current iteration of the Supreme Court is on YOU.
He made great points. Getting rid of Alternate Electors Johnson and his fellow gerrymandering GOP peers at the state level is a great first step for WI.
Comment 8 seems to be a confused troll who thinks Obama somehow got the orange Furor elected? They also claim that Sedition and literally being a Russian asset ( because Johnson is an extra special kind of entitled stupid man) is exactly the same as working with the duly elected opposition party to get any form of healthcare legislation passed.
Assholes are always popping up to offer their ahistorical renditions of both sides now.
Just check Elon Musks latest tweet for yet another troll offering up some ‘alternative facts’ about maga terrorists with hammers.
I don’t use it, but a mass boycott of Twitter is a great idea. Or maybe everyone can post nothing but hammer picks for a day?
What bunch? There are only seven comments, and I wouldn’t characterize any of them as idolizing Obama. Ironically enough, five of those seven comments aren’t even Americans.
As I am writing this, Lula de Silva is leading over Bolsonaro with the thinnest possible margin. Brazil will get a pro-democracy president because the activists called things by their right names.
They did not bother with being polite to brownshirts.
Ronald Couch says
The problem with this is that you really have to have something to sell, and what does Obama have to sell? Not much to be honest. He is a neoliberal right winger, but he isn’t a fascist. So there you are. So you get more crumbs from him and those he supports than you would from the Republicans.
Obama (again, for all his many faults) hits the nail right on the head here. There’s no point attacking the character of Republican candidates — their voters have demonstrated time and again that they will vote for anyone, no matter how monstrous, so long they’re running on an R ticket. Fraudsters? Open liars? Race war enthusiasts? Traitors? Vote riggers? Known paedophiles? Holocaust apologists? Anti-abortionists who paid for abortions when it suited them? Lunatic conspiracy theorists (wildfires were caused by Jewish space lasers!!!)? None of it matters to their base.
The more effective strategy is to hammer home the damage the Reps do to ordinary people. You won’t change the minds of the hardcore Republican voter, but you can reach out to waverers and those thinking of not voting by showing the damage these people inflict whenever they have power.
One example of the damage the MAGA crowd is doing: A recent survey showed red states have shorter life expectancy.
If the MAGA people want to move to bantustans where they can do all the snake-handling they want that is fine with me. Also, read the book “A libertarian walks into a bear ” about an attempt to set up a libertarian enclave.
Raging Bee says
So, Jemolk, who paid you to repeat that anti-voter-participation blither-point? Trump, Koch, DeSantis, Musk, or Putin?
And actually, yes, “an extra term for Obama” (whatever you might have meant by that) would indeed have meant “things would be fine:” it would have meant Trump would not have won in 2016, which would have been exponentially better than Trump winning. That wouldn’t be a perfect outcome, but it would definitely be “fine.”
(For all of you who are wondering, my previous comment was reacting to StevoR @1 & @5 & @7 and hemidactylus @4)
Raging Bee @22 — Um. No. It would not have been fine. The hell does “things would be fine” mean to you, that such inadequacy qualifies? Avoiding Trump is better than getting him, but it would not be remotely enough. Or is there no need to act when we have a slow death spiral, and only actually act when it’s a fast one?
silvrhalide @15 — It wasn’t “Bernie Bros” or purists that got Trump elected. It was Republicans, voter suppression, a few last-minute bits of nonsense, and a frankly overconfident and inadequate candidate on the Democratic side. A greater percentage of Bernie’s supporters in 2016 voted Clinton (I was one of these) than 2008 Clinton supporters voted for Obama. And Bernie got a decent chunk of crossover votes, so presuming that all Bernie-to-Trump or Bernie-to-no-vote people were pissy leftists who couldn’t lose gracefully is simply false.
Tethys @16 — I didn’t say Obama got Trump elected personally. I said the status quo that he was a part of led to Trump. If you don’t deal with the circumstances that cause ignorant people to be able to be seduced by fascists, some fascist is eventually going to seduce a bunch of them and ride their support to power. Obama didn’t take this country’s problems seriously enough, nor did previous Democratic or Republican leaders, and that led to a situation that enabled Trump to bullshit his way to office.
Seriously, there is no need to rally around elected Democratic officials. They’re useful for keeping fascists out, and frankly very little else for the vast majority of them. The few that would be good for more have very limited power, meanwhile. The point I’m trying to make is not “don’t vote.” It’s “don’t just vote.” Electoral politics isn’t getting us out of this mess on its own. Not even close.
Sometimes, we get two choices at the voting booth. A half a loaf of stale bread or a warm GOP cowflop. Never vote for cowflop.
cheerfulcharlie @24 — Oh, the Republicans are way worse than cowflop. They’re fascists. The one good reason to vote for a neoliberal is to deny power to a fascist. Doesn’t make the neoliberals good, though, and the frequency with which we are given that particular choice ought to make more people question whether we can rely on voting to change things.
You are free to get yourself personally involved in your local elections, set platforms, and push for change. It’s highly effective as demonstrated by all the progressive women the Dems have put in public office since orange turd managed to steal an election. Without a clear majority in the Senate, it’s guaranteed that the current GOP will get to continue gutting our democracy.
If everyone who wasted their vote on Bernie or Jill Green had voted for H Clinton (or hypothetical Obama x3) , cheetolini would never have infested the GOP, gotten near the Supreme Court, or Ukraine, or Covid, or attempted a coup.
Now is not the time to list purity failures of progressives, or adopt GOP strategy aka neoliberal stupidity of blaming progressives for somehow not preventing the actions of the fascists .
Vote Dem for Democracy, and the progressive legislation will get written into law. The SCOTUS is currently on fire, so yes, voting DEM en mass and being engaged with your elected representatives is still the best way to enact progressive democratic change.
@14. silvrhalide : “That said, there was literally no difference in policy between Bore and Gush.”
That’s simply false. See :
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=122748&page=1 for list of policy differences.
For isntance :
Among others. Yes, more difference would have been nice and Gore being more progressive would have been nice but say there weren’t differences in policies is simply factually inaccurate.
Note Gore had already written an environmentalist book before running for POTUS in 2000 see :
Media bias even then was strongly anti-Democratic party / Gore and pro-the Repugs see :
True but incomplete in that one of those men (Gore) was definitely a much better choice than the other and intellectually & ethically superior – and less religious. I don’t thinking pointing out that sort of assessment means “idolising” or ignoring the flaws in the likes of Gore or Obama either.
@8 Jemolk : Those are all fair points and agreed except one acronymn for you – SCOTUS. One word with a lot of implications for the future and also a reflection of another of the many flaws in the USA’s political system. Sure wish more Americans would seriously push for bolder reforms there.
Of course Obama wouldn’t have been – and wasn’t – perfect. Ditto Gore & HRC. I’m not claiming they’d have created some Utopia where progressives would get everything they wanted. But we’d be a lot closer to that than where we are now and on a different trend than we are faced with the Repugliklan alternatives and history where they won – usually despite the Will of the People..
This time around with the 2022 midterms its Congress at stake – which also means SCOTUS again – among many other things including I fear Democracy itself. Can it survive the election of a whole bunch of election deniers and hate-inciting, reality-denying, willfully ignorant corrosively socially-economicallyand ethically destructive Trumpist klowns? I dunno. I hope we don’t find out. I do think its worth asking what we all can do to stop the USA’s slide into Trumpist fascism.
John Morales says
So, presumably you’ve asked yourself that very question.
What was your answer, in relation to yourself?
(Lemme guess… commenting on blogs?)
Tethys @26 — I’d modify that pretty heavily. Vote Dem to keep the fascists out, and then organize direct action campaigns — protests, unions, mutual aid organizations, whatever. Just don’t expect to change the system from the inside. Immobilizing its constant rightward push is good, but even the Dems can’t be expected to pass progressive legislation (just look at Pelosi stumping for Henry Cuellar in his primary against Cisneros), nor would it even be enough if they did. Let me be clear here — the things that the progressive wing of the Democratic party pushes for are good. AOC, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Katie Porter are all inspirations and sources of hope for me, because they indicate that people actually care. All that said, however, if the full package, 100%, of Bernie Sanders’ platform from 2016 or 2020 were enacted in full, without a single, solitary exception, you know what I’d call that? A good start. Social democracy is a good start. As an end goal, though, it’s not enough, and if we get there and cease pushing, future generations can expect to wind up right back here again, just as we did after the dismantling of the New Deal. When you talk about progressive legislation, or protecting the Supreme Court, etc., I’m not saying those are bad things. I’m saying you’re still thinking too small. We can, should, and even, I would contend, must reshape society as a whole.
StevoR @28 — Sure, but SCOTUS is yet another case where voting for the Dems to keep the fascists from gaining control is the rationale. My point isn’t that we can safely ignore any of the institutions that exist now. My point is that none of them will ever offer the change we need, and we have to look outside simple electoral politics for answers. Build up power within communities, organize on the ground, help one another directly, that sort of thing.
Ultimately, what I’m saying, to both of you and everyone else who’s been responding, is this: no set of elected officials that we have the ability to push into office is going to be able to dismantle capitalism itself, and that is what we require. No SCOTUS will do so either. The systems of oppression we have now will not dismantle themselves. As Audre Lorde put it, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
John Morales says
Jemolk, you recovered well, but…
That’s opinion, not fact. And it’s a defeatist one, at that.
Also, to what set of people do you refer as ‘we’?
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
If the Democrats want more people to turn out, maybe they could try, y’know, actually acting on their platform when they have a majority? There were, as I recall, at least 4 different credible ways Biden could have reined in Manchin (such as, for example, threatening to start federal investigations of his daughter’s price-gouging as a pharma CEO) and made him stop siding against the party, at least 2 of which would also have applied to Sinema as well, and Biden chose to do… none of them. It is not unreasonable in the circumstances, given the urgency the Democrats were claiming during the election, to conclude that Biden must either approve of Manchin and Sinema’s sabotage after all, or else that he is totally incompetent, and neither of those conclusions is good for turnout.
To be fair, Obama set the tone on that by wasting his first two years actively throwing away every advantage in the name of bipartisanship, thus showing that the party really didn’t think they were any better than the Republicans, or else they would have been overriding them instead of desperately slashing everything in an attempt to get them on board. Biden did the same thing with the multiple wasted months calling for “unity”. The public already knows what the Republicans stand for, and either supports them or wants them left out. Every Democrat who calls for bipartisanship or “unity” is a traitor, including Obama.
Of course, despite it all, the Democrats may pull out a win — stranger things have happened. But I’m not made more confident by — for example — unusually high turnout by women because of Roe v. Wade; the Republicans finally, after decades of “forgetting” the issue whenever they had enough control of the government to take action (similar to the way the Democrats “forget” to do anything about military spending every time they have control), have committed themselves — but a heck of a lot of Planned Parenthood protestors are women; are the extra votes from women who are angry because the Republicans finally took action, or from women who are finally willing to support the Republicans because they’ve stopped being poseurs? We won’t know until the votes are counted, and I don’t have a high opinion of the intelligence of the average American.
John Morales says
“That all democracies have, by their very nature, the potential to destroy themselves is a fact too rarely documented by the acolytes of democracy.”
Every Republican woman I know is planning to vote Democrat in this election specifically because of Roe vs Wade.
Bernie is no champion of social justice, but maybe if we elect a few more AOC’s and Katie Porters to congress we could finally start dismantling all the white male supremacy bullshit that underlies all modern society.
The religious asshats who claim to be prolife are less than 18% of the US population. I would have no problem making it illegal for religious nutbags to harass people seeking medical care, period. Personal religious beliefs do not give anyone the right to pontificate those beliefs or force them on the 80% of Americans who want the prolifes to shut up and go extinct.
However, it would be even better if all OB-GYN doctors simply offered full service reproductive socialized health care based on best medical practices, and planned parenthood was rendered obsolete.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
Agreed — but only an idiot decides the election is won merely because the opposition is stupid and repellent. (Look, for example, at Hillary Clinton, idiot extraordinaire.) Youth turnout is supposedly up as well — which sounds good except that a lot of techbros and coal-rollers are young, too. There is no demographic in the US which doesn’t have a lot of right-wingers in it; there are plenty of conservative black people, conservative hispanics, you name it. The only way to know who wins an election is to hold the election.
(And even then, it’s only the first step — the Democrats have spent the last 30 years deliberately campaigning left and governing right, and they absolutely will grasp at any and every excuse to do nothing whatsoever. The fact that the right wing is now actively trying to assassinate them makes no difference — Pelosi has more in common with Mitch McConnell than with you or me, and they both know it.)
John Morales says
That for you, O Vicar-type, it’s always The Democrats that are at fault for absolutely anything and everything is an irrelevance. Predictable, but.
Also, I did not miss that you used that hoary politician’s trick of taking some claim and making an entirely orthogonal one supposedly based on it.
Nor am I likely the only one.
Biden has been a pleasant surprise in that he has implemented quite a few of the suggestions our tiny womens group gave him during his campaign. Beyond the environmental concerns, he has in fact implemented gender equity by focusing on appointing Women, and especially women of color to positions of authority. We have a Black, Female, Vice President despite all the racist right attempts to go back to 1950. That’s progress, despite the imperfections.
He has all the style of milk, but after four years of orange menace, I’m ok with a POTUS who is as plain and safe as milk.
Now just get some more progressives elected to office. MN is already Dem, so we’ve been targeting Johnson and Grassley. Our GOP rep Emmer helpfully shot himself in the foot last week by posting comments advocating violence toward Nancy Pelosi. That won’t go over well with his Lutheran white mom constituents, now that one of the magats put Paul Pelosi in the hospital.
John Morales —
@31 — It is only defeatist if you presume electoral politics is the limit of our influence. My whole point here is that we can and should look and act outside the system as it stands. We should build mutual aid organizations, consolidate power against the ruling class in the form of unions, and meet the right’s harmful policies with massive protests — including outside the houses of the governmental supporters of those policies — as a show of force.
@33 — The tools of the modern nation-state’s government involve direct coercive force. This has the power to destroy democracy, yes, but trying to use those same tools for liberation and increased small-d democratic control? No. Every major achievement of the lower classes up until this point has been fought for, with the bare minimum being overwhelming protests, and the more common case being that people have had to bleed for it. Power concedes nothing without a demand. Elections have never been enough to secure power for the powerless in the past, and the systems of the past have not notably changed, so I do not expect their results to have done so either.
Tethys @38 — Biden has definitely been significantly better than I expected. That, however, is a very low bar. I expected full steam ahead neoliberalism. What we got, instead, was small, incremental, and relatively ineffectual progressivism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for every bit of help we get, and every bit of harm we avoid, but I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of saying I’m okay with him. We have so much that needs to be done, and “eventually” is not an adequate answer for any of it. People are suffering; people are dying. So long as the status quo causes this needless pain, I cannot be content with it, and I balk at the suggestion that anyone should be content with the pace of change as it exists. I believe we can do better.
@29. John Morales
Part of it yes. I’m not in a position to do much financially and I can’t vote there given I’m an Aussie so, yes, raising awareness and arguing the case is at least doing something rather than nothing and I can only hope it helps and try to do my best.