Obama fights back in press conference

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 07: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the White House briefing room December 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama held a news conference after he had announced a deal with Republicans to temporarily extend Bush-era tax cuts to all tax levels. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Everyone seems to have an opinion about President Obama’s press conference yesterday. It depends of course, on how one views his tax cut deal. I think he made the best possible deal, and he left enough time for a real push for START and DADT.

Liberals are furious, and we’re getting the usual hysteria from many on the left. The usual suspects like Olbermann, Maddow and Schultz funneled the anger as usual, though others like Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell argued that the President struck a good deal.

I liked seeing Obama take on his critics, particularly those who consistently let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Here are some of the highlights:

So this notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again. So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for, for a hundred years – but because there was a provision in there that they didn’t get, that would have affected maybe a couple million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people, and the potential for lower premiums for a hundred million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise.

Now, if that’s the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let’s face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position, and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves, and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are. And in the meantime the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out. That can’t be the measure of how we think about our public service. That can’t be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat.

“This country was founded on compromise. I couldn’t go through the front door of this country’s founding,” he later added. “And you know, if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn’t have a Union.

Towards the end, he declared: “I don’t think there’s a single Democrat out there, who if they looked at where we started when I came into office and look at where we are now, would say that somehow we have not moved in the direction that I promised. Take a tally, look at what I promised during the campaign. There’s not a single thing that I said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I have not gotten it done yet, I’m still trying to do it.”

The left needs a wake-up call. Of course we can have heated debate, but name-calling and silly calls for a primary challenge are ridiculous.


Hysterical liberals

Theda Skocpol let’s them have it.

My most recent entry ended up with the extension cut off. Here is more of what I have to say, provoked by the senseless hysteria among liberal commentators, led by MSNBC and HuffPost.

Many liberal pundits are making absolute fools of themselves bashing Obama over the Gulf spill. They are just emoting and have no solutions anyone could try. There is no easy out on this, and the patience to build and support adequate government oversight of industries is the key here, as in many other areas.

It is not just right-wing government bashers and wealthy corrupters who have destroyed the nation’s capacity for governmental decision-making. It is also
short-sighted liberalism that tries to turn everything into a personal crisis, and assumes that presidents are omnipotent commanders. Since the 1970s, liberalism has emphasized rights, identity politics, and action through courts or presidential orders. It has neglected the patient business of building government and creating enduring majorities through Congress.

Well said.

Cable television has of course made this problem even worse. Everyone is in a rush to analyze everything, and if something doesn’t go the way the activists want, many of them need to find an instant villain. If Obama decides that he has to give on a point so that the larger legislation can pass, then he’s immediately dubbed a sell-out or a weak fool by people who are supposed to be his allies (or at least share the same goals).

There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing, and the left should make their voices heard. Primaries against Democrats who consistently oppose the left make sense as well.

But silly “kill the bill” calls during the health care debate showed just how hysterical many liberals can get when they don’t get their way.

We’re starting to see them same thing on energy. The notion that Obama can somehow bully Midwestern Senators from coal country to accept carbon caps is ridiculous. Of course liberals should press the case, but attacking Obama with emotional outbursts solves nothing.

Energy should be focused on those on the right who screamed “drill, baby, drill” and who did the bidding of big oil for years. For years we’ve had the opportunity to invest in a clean energy future that could help our economy and also slow down the billions we are sending overseas to people who want to destroy us. Politicians on the right did everything to stop it at every turn. Attack them.

Meanwhile, we won’t get a perfect energy bill, but if liberals can keep their head while arguing their case we can make a substantial down-payment on a clean energy economy.


Related Posts