Economics

Should Liberals Be Disappointed in Obama?

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Ronald Brownstein at the Atlantic's blog has a nice little sit-down with leftists upset by what they perceive as pusillanimous temporizing from Obama and congressional Democrats to 'splain to them some facts of life:

….there's a structural reason why Obama and Congressional Democrats may not prove as responsive to their demands as they hope. Liberals aren't as big a component of the Democratic coalition as many of the Left's leaders believe. Moderate voters are much more important to Democratic success than liberal voters. And liberals are also less important to Democrats than conservatives are to Republicans…..

That contrast is apparent from two different angles: identification and behavior. In cumulative Pew data for 2008…only one-third of self-identified Democrats described themselves as liberals; the rest identified as moderates or conservatives. For Republicans the proportions were reversed: two-thirds of Republicans considered themselves conservatives, while only one-third identified as moderates or liberals….

Looking at Obama's actual vote in 2008 reinforces the story. According to the Edison/Mitofsky Election Day exit polls, liberals provided only 37% of Obama's total votes. Moderates (50%) and conservatives (13%) provided far more. By contrast, conservatives provided almost three-fifths of John McCain's votes, with moderates contributing only about one-third and liberals a negligible 5%.

The bottom line is that, compared to Republicans, Democrats are operating with a much more diverse electoral coalition-and one in which the party's ideological vanguard plays a smaller role.

And hey, liberals, the stimulus might not be as big as you wanted or as punitive to the fatcats, and health care has not yet been nationalized, but relax: your man Obama is spending and taking over the economy as fast as he can. Moderation gets more and more left in America every day, it seems.

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  1. There can be no disappointment in the black jesus!!

    HERESY!!!

    now I guess I should read the article.

  2. Moderation gets more and more left in America every day, it seems. Small typo.

    Of course they’re disappointed. They found out he was [gasp] human. The Clinton cronies and the tax problems of appointees should have tipped them off, but they were too invested in us being wrong than actually discovering they were right.

  3. I’ve spent many a cocktail party and BBQ listening to the 30 something crowd of the midwest extol the virtues of the Big O for all of 2008 and 2007, and part of 2006. (I live pretty close to Illinois, and Big O has been a star here for a long time)

    Oddly enough the only people extolling his virtues most recently are the die hard bunnyhuggers and occasional house wife that was not married for her ability to formulate cogent idea, but for her cup size. Anecdotally the moderates I know haven’t slathered on the war paint yet, but they are getting mighty restless. This weekends benefit should be interesting with the recent firing of Wagner and GM/Crysmore news.

  4. I have to admit, today I’ve seen more dissent and questioning of Dear Leader than I ever have before from the people I’m near. The thing that really is kind of making me…hopeful… is that they’re now seemingly looking back over the entire situation and coming to some very startling conclusions.

    Who am I kidding? These fucktards would beg to lick Obama’s skidmarks if they had the chance.

  5. There can be no disappointment in the black jesus!!

    HERESY!!!

    As first glance, I read HERSHEY, and now I have a great new idea for Easter:

    Chocolate Black Jesus Obamas!

    If anyone has some startup capital, please contact me at…

  6. Already done.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001PYTB28/reasonmagazinea-20/

    If anything Big O has been a boon in the useless shit and painted plate market.

    I apologize for the crappy grammar and missing words in the second post.

  7. I guess I’m not fluent in “leftist”, but seems like “running the entire fucking economy from Washington and spending a buttload of money on stuff we don’t need with cash we don’t have” has always been pretty high on the liberal wishlist. What are they bitter about, ‘zactly?

  8. The real reason that the liberal agenda won’t happen is that the Dems, like the GOP are bankrolled primarily business interests.

  9. Liberals (progressives, retards, whatever) should be overjoyed at the way Obama is governing. He is farther to the left tha I thought he would be.

  10. I miss the days of the Bush presidency. Bad as it was, at least I could cling to the hope that maybe the next guy would be better. Now even that’s gone.

  11. LOL Libtards. Black messiah is domed!!!

  12. I’d disagree that the Democrats are more ideologically diverse than the Republicans. A cursory glance at the presidential candidates should dissuade you of such a notion. Consider the homogeneity on the Democrats’ side (Biden, Dodd, Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Kucinich and Gravel). Any difference was primarily presentation.
    Republicans, however, fielded social conservative Huckabee, national greatness conservative McCain, law and order conservative Giuliani, managerial competence conservative Romney, constitutional literalist conservative Paul, and federalist conservative Thompson.
    The problem with the post is that the statements are based on polls of “self-identified” liberals and conservatives. “Liberal,” which used to mean libertairan, is a word loaded with negative connotations for most of the uneducated electorate. If you replaced that word with “progressive” (a term preferred by Hillary Clinton) you might get a very different story.

  13. Should Liberals Be Disappointed in Obama?

    This one is. But I kind of think you are talking about the fiscal liberals and I was never really on board with that camp.

  14. Americans should be displeased with Obama. He’s clearly a bad president. With worse to come, I’m sure.

  15. That’s why the Republicans lost. The general public says they want a choice, but the choice needs to be door A or door B. You get a sort of collective 1/n heuristic among the whole party when you give them too many to choose from.

    Well that and GWB managed to create 8 years of the 7th and 8th circles of hell. Big O is pushing for the 9th.

  16. The fiscal liberals have to be delighted. The social liberals have plenty to be unhappy with: We’re still in Iraq, we’re expanding in Afghanistan, Obama is continuing the War on Terror (using different names), the War on Drugs continues unabated despite the example Mexico is giving us, we got out of Gitmo only to continue to house prisoners elsewhere without hope of speedy trial…

    Plenty of grist in yonder mill.

  17. Biden, Dodd, Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Kucinich and Gravel

    Oooh, ooh, I wanna try:

    Hawkish Liberal Biden
    Bailout-bonus Liberal Dodd
    Socialist-Squared Liberal Obama
    Pant-Suit Liberal Clinton
    Pretty Hair Liberal Edwards
    Once-the-Pinnacle-of-fucking-Crazy Liberal Kucinich
    Current-Pinnacle-of-Crazy Liberal Gravel

    That was fun, thanks, BFair!

  18. The liberal agenda is pretty much fucking over America.

    Obama is doing a damned good job of it. Him and his wife hate America as do most liberals.

    I don’t understand why they don’t move to Canada or France or somewhere else. I think they get off on self-hatred.

  19. To be fair (see what I did there) the Democratic party was far more homogeneous ideologically this last election. The Bush administration made it easy by providing a common enemy with obvious flaws and points by which to make talking points out of. The individual nuttyness of the Democratic party didn’t shine as bright as the overall idea that the last 8 years sucked ass.

  20. Americans should be displeased with Obama. He’s clearly a bad president. With worse to come, I’m sure.

    LOL the stock market hit the tank as soon as hhe was elected and lke you siad he is terrible!!

  21. The liberal agenda is pretty much fucking over America.

    Obama is doing a damned good job of it. Him and his wife hate America as do most liberals.

    I don’t understand why they don’t move to Canada or France or somewhere else. I think they get off on self-hatred.

    I don’t get why someone who hates America so much was made president. Wake up America!

  22. Liberals are always disappointed. It’s in our nature, especially as we live in a country that has been run by right-wing ideologues for 3 decades. To dispel a misconception, I don’t know anybody, least of all liberals, who are happy with the current economic situation.

    But insofar as he manages to get his major policy proposals accomplished (things not just wanted by liberals, but most Americans, by the way), we should be expected to be quite excited. Bush set the expectations bar way low. As in, if the government accomplishes something besides mass catastrophe, it’s better than what we had before.

  23. The liberal agenda is pretty much fucking over America.

    Obama is doing a damned good job of it. Him and his wife hate America as do most liberals.

    I don’t understand why they don’t move to Canada or France or somewhere else. I think they get off on self-hatred.

    To most posters here really not see how self-evidently stupid this post is?

    Just curious…Reason’s boards are really getting hysterical these days. You seem to be attracting the worst sort of nut jobs. I have to go read Tyler Cowen now to get a sensible libertarian perspective – Reason and its commentators seem to be degenerating into a mindless frenzy worthy of Bush-haters ca. 2003. Pretty pathetic. Look at the record, Obama still hasn’t proposed a single “socialist” policy that wasn’t already in place under Bush. Who really nationalized the banks after all? Who started the bailouts to the automakers? Bush, then Bush. So don’t come crying to me about what a socialist horror Obama is, nothing’s really changed. Under McCain we would have had the same. Yeah, Obama probably will try, horrors, to nationalize health care. That may not be a great idea, but neither is it much of a threat to anyone’s personal freedom, certainly on the threat level I’d put nationalizing health care well below creating a national security state, a la Bush. True, Obama doesn’t seem particularly anxious to dismantle the national security state – I wish the conservative hordes had thought about that before rolling over and licking Bush’s ass for 8 years.

  24. As in, if the government accomplishes something besides mass catastrophe, it’s better than what we had before.

    And when, exactly, does Government accomplish anything besides mass catastrophe?

  25. “It’s in our nature, especially as we live in a country that has been run by right-wing ideologues for 3 decades”

    But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have right-wing ideologies with that country…America. I never told anybody to idealize, not a single time – never. These allegations are false, and I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.

  26. Liberal agenda PING

  27. @Tony
    Go spoof troll somewhere else. Reason belongs to ME!

    That is all.

  28. “Moderation gets more and more left in America every day, it seems. Small typo.”

    What small typo?

  29. Hysteria? Please. We’re enduring wave after wave of assaults on the free market and the principles of limited government, with little of the ills of the previous administration going away. You’d have to be willfully ignoring all this not to be upset.

  30. Most teleliberals would go on and on about the patriot act when bush was in charge. They seem to be quiet about it now. I guess as long as it’s a socialist taking away their privacy their cool with it.

  31. You’ve all noticed that Obama’s policies on Iraq and Afganistan are virtually indistinguishable from what you’d be getting under McCain, right?

  32. Hysteria? Please. We’re enduring wave after wave of assaults on the free market and the principles of limited government, with little of the ills of the previous administration going away. You’d have to be willfully ignoring all this not to be upset.

    Just look at how the stock market behaved when President 666 was inaugurated. Dumb Libtards. You don’t see a REAL president trying to bail out the banks and messing with markets.

  33. max hats,

    No offense, but it’s folly of the highest order to come into this forum and pretend that there’s some natural dichotomy–either Bush or Obama. Most of us here don’t really care who is effing stuff up. Besides, as much as Bush is to blame for his administration firing up the bailout machine, the Congress is the one common element between then and now.

    Bush with the assist, Obama scores! Gooooooooaaaalll!

  34. I screamed just as loud when bush was fucking up, although not here. Saying Bush did it first is a moot point. Obama is riding Bush’s turd like policies down the drain. The left bitched about giving Bush and Cheney too much power. Now Timmy wants the right to evaluate and close any company he so desires and that the president thinks that’s a great idea. Jesus christ talk about too much power, that concept alone is the poster child for government having, or wanting, too much power. Not to mention the president is now de facto firing CEOs.

    If Bush and Cheney were power hunger, Obama and his administration are god hungry.

  35. the only people extolling his virtues most recently are the die hard bunnyhuggers

    HrBunny is most certainly not extolling the virtues of Hope ‘n Change? thankyouverymuch.

  36. Not to mention the president is now de facto firing CEOs.

    Government telling people on welfare how to behave is old hat. All the same people up in arms about the fabled “welfare queens” ten years ago are now outraged that a company might have to do something in exchange for free money from the government.

  37. Liberals are always disappointed. It’s in our nature, especially as we live in a country that has been run by right-wing ideologues for 3 decades.
    Since 1979?
    Carter – nope
    Reagan – maybe
    GHWB – nope
    Clinton – nope
    GWB – probably

    Congess (remember them?) from the 96th through 110th inclusive (15 congresses) the house has been in the control of Dems for 7, the GOP 8.
    The senate has been controlled by the Dems for 9, the GOP 6.

    Your assertation that “right wing ideologues” have been running them country for 30 years is contradicted by the facts. You FAIL.

    But don’t let that get in the way of your righteous indignation or disturb your persection complex.

  38. Obama probably will try, horrors, to nationalize health care. That may not be a great idea, but neither is it much of a threat to anyone’s personal freedom

    Amrican-style nationalized health care WILL be a threat to personal freedom, because then every single imposition on people’s lifestyles will be justified on the grounds “YOU are not allowed to make unhealthy choices because MY taxes will go up to pay for your medical care.”

    You think the restrictions on smokers and transfat eaters and soda drinkers and blah blah are bad now? Just wait until the taxpayers foot the healthcare bills for such people.

  39. Bush set the expectations bar way low. As in, if the government accomplishes something besides mass catastrophe, it’s better than what we had before.

    BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

  40. max hats,

    Oh, sure, if the government stepped in after the fact and told union employees that they had to give back the money they’d been promised contractually after a year of work, I’m sure you’d think it was totally constitutional.

    My big beef with your viewpoint is that you like the result–some executives getting it in the chin–and don’t give a crap about the abuse of process. If you don’t care about limited government, then don’t bitch about violations of the Constitution, no matter who is doing it.

    I lost cold, hard cash thanks to the bad executives at Washington Mutual, and I’d feel the same way about them if they’d been bailed out, despite thinking that maybe they should be shipped to Guantanamo.

  41. Really – that has got to be the funniest post this month. Bravo, Tony, Bravo.

  42. To most posters here really not see how self-evidently stupid this post is?

    vanya, why don’t you move back to Russia? They need more of your stupidity there.

    I’m not nuts, I’m responding to the reality that your Dear Leader is creating. Look at his 2009 budget: $3.6 trillion.

    Obama takes Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility to new levels. He is already (in a few months!) so much worse than Bush.

    This is what I always feared would happen. When people started saying ‘Bush is the worst president ever and there can never be anything this bad’, then I knew that we were doomed because how would those same people actually be able to recognize something worse?

    They can’t and are blinded like you. Thankfully more and more people are coming around, but it might be too little too late.

    I encourage all liberals, socialists, communists to get out and go find a country more to their liking; there are plenty of them out there. Liberty-loving people have nowhere to go, we will make our stand here and fight.

  43. It’s in our nature, especially as we live in a country that has been run by right-wing ideologues for 3 decades.

    Bill Clinton was a right-wing ideologue? For that matter, George H.W. Bush was a right-wing ideologue?

    But insofar as he manages to get his major policy proposals accomplished (things not just wanted by liberals, but most Americans, by the way), we should be expected to be quite excited.

    I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean, Tony.

  44. Brava, Tony, Brava.

  45. Your assertation that “right wing ideologues” have been running them country for 30 years is contradicted by the facts.

    Not from where I’m sitting. They’ve managed to poke their theocratic, plutocratic fingers in the eye of progress my entire life.

    It’s been with some glee that I’ve witnessed their quick descent into electoral irrelevance. You betcha.

  46. Liberty-loving people have nowhere to go, we will make our stand here and fight.

    What does this look like, in your (plural) opinions? Paine’s “trouble, let it be in my time” quote is aces with me, but I’m curious how you guys see it hypothetically unfolding.

    Consider it a minor threadjack.

  47. “Stop using scented laundry detergent, you anti-social irresponsible git! Scented detergent can cause eczema in people with sensitive skin, and MY tax dollars should not go to pay for YOUR skin conditions just because YOU want your clothes to have that spring-fresh scent in February. Selfish bastard.”

  48. “Government telling people on welfare how to behave is old hat. All the same people up in arms about the fabled “welfare queens” ten years ago are now outraged that a company might have to do something in exchange for free money from the government.”

    1) there is no such thing as free “money” (see fired CEO)
    2) The people up in arms 10 years ago are right in being up in arms today. (welfare is welfare is welfare)

    The president firing a CEO is not comparable to entitlement programs for individuals. (which are BS) The difference being individuals own themselves, corporations are owned by the public. Mr. Obama just told every share holder other than the government that they do not count.

    To dissuade you from the “we” own GM argument. “We” loaned money to GM, that does not constitute ownership.

  49. You think the restrictions on smokers and transfat eaters and soda drinkers and blah blah are bad now? Just wait until the taxpayers foot the healthcare bills for such people.

    Hopefully, I’ll be dead from Heart Disease and Lung Cancer by then, because honestly, I rather die fat, happy and free, than a “healthy” slave.

    (Scare quotes around healthy because I still don’t believe a overweight fellow is less healthy than a scrony, malnourished vegan)

  50. Oh, sure, if the government stepped in after the fact and told union employees that they had to give back the money they’d been promised contractually after a year of work, I’m sure you’d think it was totally constitutional.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gbs-St5Ytz9GKXA_omtgCUX8_i5A

  51. When liberals here and elsewhere put “You betcha” in a comment, is this supposed to be some kind of Palin dig? Because I usually try to read it mentally the way Bowie says it in “Queen Bitch” (with the riff in the background) but I think I might be doing their comments too great a favor.

  52. Russian’s love strong leaders. That might explain some attraction to Big O.

  53. The president firing a CEO is not comparable to entitlement programs for individuals. (which are BS) The difference being individuals own themselves, corporations are owned by the public. Mr. Obama just told every share holder other than the government that they do not count.

    The government said in exchange for money, we want certain things to happen. Outrage! Socialism!

  54. The president firing a CEO is not comparable to entitlement programs for individuals. (which are BS) The difference being individuals own themselves, corporations are owned by the public.

    Which is why there are no laws restricting which medications or intoxicants I put into my body: because I’m an individual who owns myself, right? And the government totally respects that.

  55. I’m waiting for the day for all these “fiscal conservatives” to realize the difference between government collusion with industry and socialism, realign their rhetoric, realize that horror of horrors they now sound like liberals, and finally moving to Russia to make good on their own promises. A man can dream.

  56. ‘The problem with the post is that the statements are based on polls of “self-identified” liberals and conservatives.’

    Yes, the follies of many liberals have caused the word liberal to be discredited. ‘Twas not always thus. Today, there are people who in the old days would score 1,000 out of 100 on a rating by Americans for Democratic Action, but who would not more call themselves “liberal” than they would call themselves “inbred goat-b_____ers.”

  57. To dissuade you from the “we” own GM argument. “We” loaned money to GM, that does not constitute ownership.

    It works that way in Sicily and some parts of Chicago…

  58. max hats,

    You’re being willfully obtuse on this point. The enacted bill said that such bonuses could be paid out. It’s like me signing a contract with you to mow my lawn, then I sue you for mowing my lawn.

  59. Pro Libertate,

    You were talking about getting a CEO from GM fired in exchange for government money, now you are talking about AIG bonuses and saying I am missing the point. Your point is pretty hard to follow, since you change it every post.

  60. Yes Sarah Palin is a symbol of all that is right with the Right these days. Embarrassing and irrelevant.

  61. inbred goat buttfuckers?

  62. You think the restrictions on smokers and transfat eaters and soda drinkers and blah blah are bad now? Just wait until the taxpayers foot the healthcare bills for such people.

    Really? Why is it then that France and the UK have fewer socially mandated restrictions on diet and behavior than the US? Right now we fund the healthcare bills for such people anyway by paying high insurance premiums. Part of the problem is that for all our talk about freedom, most Americans like having a nanny state and like getting in other peoples’ business. Libs want to change your spending habits, conservatives your sexual habits and libertarians want to change your thinking habits. Europeans actually have a pessimistic conservative tradition that believes you can’t improve people, so just minimize their ability to create harm. America is plagued with optimists on all sides of the political spectrum – everyone – leftards, conservadorks, libertarians – believes you can improve yourself and improve others.

    This is probably why there’s no substantive difference between Bush and Obama, and why there was very little between McCain and Obama. Most Americans support, or at least aren’t willing to oppose, the elite consensus. “Invade the world, invite the world” as Steve Sailer puts it. So cries of “socialism” and hysteria about Obama taking over the economy just seem foolish. Obama isn’t the problem, he’s just a symptom.

  63. “We” loaned money to GM, that does not constitute ownership.

    In this case it does because the company is insolvent and equity is worthless. The shareholders and bondholders are out of the money. If a private bank made that same loan on the condition that the CEO stepped down no one would bat an eye. It’s hard to get worked up about Obama telling GM what to do when GM has essentially been a ward of the state for years. Maybe the problem is GM getting bailed out in the first place, not Obama telling Wagoner to step down.

  64. max hats,

    Oh, right, the AIG bonuses were so last act of tyranny.

  65. Tyranny!

    This is just like the (all together now)

    Seriously, just because you are incapable of making a coherent argument doesn’t mean you are right. I shouldn’t have to explain that but I guess I do.

    Also: still waiting to hear a peep from you about the, uh, tyranny of forcing GM and the unions to re-evaluate the union contracts. Why, it’s almost as if you’re more concerned with class warfare than, uh, justice in the face of tyranny, or whatever.

  66. The government is not a private bank. A private bank would not have made the loan. And in today’s banking climate (or recent climate) that’s saying something.

    Maybe the problem lies in government loans even existing at all?

  67. Pro Libertate,

    Man, he totally showed you. Maybe you ought to stop posting for awhile to regain your bearings after such a through pwning. I’ll be here if you need a shoulder to cry on.

  68. “inbred goat buttfuckers?”

    I fully support anyone’s right to anally fornicate with a goat or relative as long as they are consenting adults.

  69. Obama’s only been in office for 2 months, you guys are going to burn yourselves out at this rate. Especially if he’s reelected, which seems likely if the economy turns around.

    Deregulation transformed the financial sector into a ginormous Ponzi scheme and it will take a while turn things around but it will happen.

    I just think it’s nice to have an articulate President who knows what he’s talking about.

    For me the GM news is Obama signaling to the big banks, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way, it’s your choice.” (Il Duce, I know!)

  70. You’re in max hats’ house now, son. Better step up your game.

  71. Government telling people on welfare how to behave is old hat. All the same people up in arms about the fabled “welfare queens” ten years ago are now outraged that a company might have to do something in exchange for free money from the government.

    you can’t possibly believe this or you are an idiot. the logical conundrums it causes you are many.

  72. Pedro has to be a troll with stealth capabilities. Or maybe my trolldar is down.

    2 months is not long enough to bash him, but it is long enough to call his reelection in 4 years? WOW.

    Deregulation argument is tired, worn out, and kind of odd considering Big O’s picks for positions. Lawrence Summers anyone? I wonder when Harvard will lynch him.

    I’ll take a blithering idiot at the podium if he can do the job well. Articulate is nice, but is far from the top slot in an ideal leader. He sure does know what he is talking about with his profit and earnings ratios. He clearly has a grasp on all things, like value investing.

    Great lets drive off the talent at AIG, the banks, the US, fuckit lets just guillotine them all.

  73. Why is it then that France and the UK have fewer socially mandated restrictions on diet and behavior than the US?

    They’re not from New England, California, or Chicago.

    Our assholes are.

  74. The government said in exchange for money forcibly extracted fron the citizens, we want certain things to happen. Outrage! Socialism!

    Error of omission – fixed.

  75. Deregulation transformed the financial sector into a ginormous Ponzi scheme and it will take a while turn things around but it will happen.

    [citation needed]

    Please define what specific “deregulation” caused problems please…

  76. What does this look like, in your (plural) opinions? Paine’s “trouble, let it be in my time” quote is aces with me, but I’m curious how you guys see it hypothetically unfolding.

    I’m hoping things don’t play out this way, but the realist in me says otherwise. Likely some sort of terrorist attack will be the trigger. Then there is the chance for all hell breaking loose. The worst thing that could happen is a decent-sized terrorist attack and what is perceived as a weak-kneed response from Obama.

    Then it’s Vroom Vroom Party Starter.

  77. max,

    No offense again, but I’ve read your posts. You’re results-oriented; I’m process-driven. Don’t talk logic when logic isn’t your goal or your weapon of choice.

    I’m perfectly offended by the government being involved in union-employer negotiations at all, and I’m horribly offended by just about every aspect of its interference in GM’s business. And of the union’s relationship with GM. We have a mechanism for companies that fail. It’s called bankruptcy.

    Our predecessors called abuses of power far less abusive than what occurs today (or under Bush, if it makes you happier) tyranny. And they were right. We either have a government with narrowly defined powers and of limited scope, or we don’t. You’re defending the latter, I the former.

  78. At least libs aren’t in lockstep with him like conservatives were with Bush. That fucking sucked.

  79. The government said in exchange for money borrowed from the Chinese and eventually paid back with lots of interest with money forcibly extracted fron the citizens, we want certain things to happen. Outrage! Socialism!

    More editing required there J sub…

  80. If tyranny is demanding a company do something in exchange for money, what do you call it when the government cancels elections and starts putting people in re-education camps. Ultra-tyranny? Mega tyranny?

    In regards to GM (both the union and the company), I cannot fathom what is unacceptable about asking for terms before giving someone or something money.

    In regards to AIG, contracts get broken all the time in the world of private industry. It’s in a different category than the GM bailout, and the threat of taxing the bonuses to oblivion left me queasy, but as far as simply breaking the contract, I don’t see what the big deal is. For all the defenses of the rights of big business here, few seem to know how big businesses actually operate. Contracts get broken all the time, and “sue us” is a perfectly acceptable response when pointing out a contract has been broken.

  81. “At least libs aren’t in lockstep with him like conservatives were with Bush. That fucking sucked.”
    If Bush faced the same situation in the economy he would face at least some dissent. People in America are generally fat and happy when they can fill their SUV, eat McDs, watch American Idol, and take weekends to the lake. A lot of those luxuries are disappearing and pissing people off. Something Bush didn’t have to face.

  82. Yes, well, what’s a little abuse of power if we’re happy with the result?

  83. Contracts are broken in private industry. And the breaching party can be hauled to court and have a remedy sought against them. I don’t see anyone hauling Congress to court anytime soon. Although I’d like to see the tax bullshit make it to the Supreme Court under the taking clause.

  84. I would like an explanation of how putting conditions on giving people money constitutes “abuse of power.”

    I would also like to know if there is a possible distinction between using power and abusing it. Using your leverage to break dumb contracts doesn’t strike me as abuse, but obviously this is subjective.

  85. Contracts are broken in private industry. And the breaching party can be hauled to court and have a remedy sought against them. I don’t see anyone hauling Congress to court anytime soon.

    The government gets sued, and sued successfully, all the time.

  86. I daresay that there is a world of difference between a company deciding to breach a contract and saying “damn the consequences” and the government interfering in contractual relations in direct opposition to its own recently enacted law, to say nothing of the constitutional infirmities associated with doing so. Do you really think lawsuits can address a government that doesn’t follow its basic charter? The government was not a party to the contracts and has no authority whatsoever to interfere in them ex post facto. It could’ve put conditions on the dollars in the first place, but didn’t.

    I think one of the big failings of the American left has been equating corporate power and government power. Even to the extent that we’re harmed by the former, how much of that is do to the increasingly symbiotic relationship between the two? Not seeing the order of magnitude greater threat of government will be your–and the rest of our–undoing. And the right screwed us, too. Thanks!

  87. “The government gets sued, and sued successfully, all the time.”

    True, but has anyone ever sued Congress? I don’t mean with regard to the Constitutionality of a bill, but for the actual damages caused by a bill they have passed.

  88. Really? Why is it then that France and the UK have fewer socially mandated restrictions on diet and behavior than the US?

    In part because they are not America. If you read my full comment which you selectively quoted, you’ll see that I specified that *American* nationalized healthcare will destroy our freedom. France and England aren’t the countries that break worldwide prisoner-population records with their bans on intoxicants — that’s us. France and Britain aren’t the countries that imprison teenagers for taking risque photos of themselves — that’s us. France and Britain aren’t the countries where anal rape is the de facto punishment for any offense mandating imprisonment — that’s us. France and Britain aren’t the countries where the DEA, rather than a medical doctor, has the authority to decide how much pain medication a dying patient is allowed to have — that’s us. But go on — explain how government-run healthcare will be totally different. Really, I’m dying to hear it.

    If you’re older than ten, there’s no excuse for you to take seriously that “sweet land of liberty/land of the free” crap anymore.

  89. and the government interfering in contractual relations in direct opposition to its own recently enacted law, to say nothing of the constitutional infirmities associated with doing so.

    In exchange for the unions doing x and management doing y we will give you this money you really want. Unions and management were both free to say “fuck you, we don’t want your money.”

    And it’s unconstitutional for the government to give money to private industry? Or ask for terms in return? The entire history of the United States wants a word with you. Ever wonder how all those railways got there?

  90. “Ever wonder how all those railways got there?”

    I built my Great Northern Railway without a penny of taxpayer money.

    You can suck my dick now.

  91. You can make an argument for military and civil defense for the funding of railroads. What’s the rationale for building banks, insurance companies, and automakers. (don’t bother with the industrial complex for future wars argument, the US could seize every foreign plant in the country if it needed to in order to build tanks)

  92. at least I could cling to the hope that maybe the next guy would be better

    You really think Obama is worse than Bush, Jennifer? He seems utterly incapable of dealing with the mess that Bush and the Republicans wrought, but worse than Bush? Wow. He’ll need to get a few thousand more soldiers killed and up the national debt by at least $4 trillion more to get anywhere close to Bush’s legacy.

  93. You really think Obama is worse than Bush, Jennifer? He seems utterly incapable of dealing with the mess that Bush and the Republicans wrought, but worse than Bush?

    Not worse, but certainly no better. As a practical matter, I see no difference between “the president who foisted the notion of warrantless wiretaps on America” and “the president who won’t get rid of warrantless wiretaps when he has the power to do so.” And as I said before, at least with Bush I could hope it was just a fluke, and things would improve once The Next Guy took over. That hope is gone.

    He’ll need to get a few thousand more soldiers killed and up the national debt by at least $4 trillion more to get anywhere close to Bush’s legacy.

    Bush had eight years to fuck up. Obama’s only had two months. Give him time.

  94. You can make an argument for military and civil defense for the funding of railroads.

    Those were not the arguments made in favor of giving free land to railroad companies.

    They weren’t (entirely) the arguments for the Panama Canal.

    They weren’t the arguments in favor of the S & L bailouts either. None of this is new, or novel. Big government and big business go way back.

  95. Bush had eight years to fuck up. Obama’s only had two months. Give him time.

    Yet you’re not sparing a moment before equating the two.

  96. Yet you’re not sparing a moment before equating the two.

    It doesn’t take a psychic to look at a two-month-old baby and predict “Someday that kid will be a LOT bigger than he is now.”

    For the record: I voted for Obama, and when he won I made a non-ironic blog post expressing satisfaction with the result. I expected I’d be unhappy with him on some level — that’s to be expected, since he’s a Democrat and I’m a libertarian — but I seriously didn’t think he’d be THIS bad.

    But Obama fans are of course perfectly free to tell themselves that a huge national debt is only bad when Bush inflicts it, or warrantless wiretapping is only bad when Bush justifies it, or keeping soldiers in Iraq is only bad when Bush is commander-in-chief. It’s not about what government does; it’s about who’s in charge of the government. Blah blah blah.

  97. You keep saying none of this is new and novel like past actions justify current actions? The highways were built under nation defense as well. The argument laid out to justify the cost at the time is irrelevant. Today you can make the argument.

    The parroting of first year political science simplicities, like the classical conservative description used to describe conservatism and the continual justification of current actions based on past actions is a little odd. Maybe it’s just how you write.

  98. the president who foisted the notion of warrantless wiretaps on America

    No offense, but you might want to research this more. I would suggest starting with the NSA. They were doing all sorts of interesting things since Clinton and possibly before. You just don’t hear about them because 1) it’s not trendy, and 2) most people (and that includes Congress and the media) are ignorant and clueless.

  99. Look, it’s the system that’s broken. The fact that the occupant this time or last time wasn’t particularly competent (and Obama does have time to get better) or concerned about limiting his use of power is beside the point. It’s akin–and I use this only as an analogy, not as hyperbole–to the Roman emperors. People placed all their hope in the benevolence of an in-coming emperor saving them, rather than realizing that the imperial system itself was the problem.

  100. BTW a lot of the eminent domain used was through the states and charters. Not necessarily through the federal government.

  101. People placed all their hope in the benevolence of an in-coming emperor saving them, rather than realizing that the imperial system itself was the problem.

    True.

  102. Well, at least we’ll get to wear togas when one of these guys realizes what kind of power has been handed to him, right?

  103. Togas will be outlawed because exposing that much skin increases your risk of skin cancer, which will become a goverment matter, not a personal one, once we get nationalized health care. I can already hear the indignant shouts “*I* should not have to pay higher taxes because *YOU* can’t be bothered to keep your shoulders out of the sun!”

  104. True. However, Imperial America’s arrival should include a class-based system. So, if you’re in the aristocracy, then you can have a guy walking around with you, carrying an umbrella to protect you from the sun. I guess the aristocrats will wear togas, while the peasants and slaves will wear something more sun-blocking.

  105. We. Are. So. Fucked.

  106. Yes, we are. And we can’t even make ourselves feel better with platitudes like “Once this jackass leaves office, things’ll get better.”

  107. I guess the aristocrats will wear togas, while the peasants and slaves will wear something more sun-blocking.

    Well-rationed sunblock, so that you still die of cancer, but it’s at an age where the sunblock-to-cancer treatment cost ratio is optimal…

  108. And we can’t even make ourselves feel better with platitudes like “Once this jackass leaves office, things’ll get better.”

    Sure you can, only it’s become “once we overthrow the government via armed revolution, the new co-presidents will be better.”

  109. Taktix?,

    Well, of course. We must keep our hoi polloi happy with free healthcare, bread, and entertainment. For the duration of their short, miserable existences, anyway.

    Co-presidents? Consuls, dude. With, of course, The Censor!

  110. Your assertation that “right wing ideologues” have been running them country for 30 years is contradicted by the facts.

    Not from where I’m sitting. They’ve managed to poke their theocratic, plutocratic fingers in the eye of progress my entire life.

    It’s been with some glee that I’ve witnessed their quick descent into electoral irrelevance. You betcha.

    It feels like 500 million, right?

  111. Jennifer, about nationalized health care coverage leading to more nanny state restrictions. Medicaid and food stamp recipients aren’t exactly the citixens of best health by government control. Their diet could be micro managed with restrictions to healthy foods only on the food stamps and lifestyle choices could be forced through medicaid. It ain’t happening. yet.

  112. If libertarians are sounding a bit hysterical, it’s because we cna’t believe the crazy shit that is happening.

    Firing the CEO of GM is a move worthy of Hugo Chavez. I.e. He replaced the board of the state oil company with his personal cronies in order to bring it under the direct control of the state.

    That’s exactly the same thing that’s been happening with the banking and auto industries under Obama.
    Bush started it, but it’s accelerated on Obama’s watch.

    Seriously, we’ve got government run auto industry and banking sector right now in everything but the semantics. Do you actually believe that anyone in Detroit or Wall Street could do something the adminsitration disapproved of and get away with it?

  113. All the same people up in arms about the fabled “welfare queens” ten years ago are now outraged that a company might have to do something in exchange for free money from the government.

    The welfare should have never been offered in the first place.

  114. He’ll need to get a few thousand more soldiers killed and up the national debt by at least $4 trillion more to get anywhere close to Bush’s legacy.

    Obama had the opprtunity to reduce the national debt.

    Instead, he proposed a budget with a deficit of over a trillion dollars. Not even Bush’s deficits were that high.

  115. Michael Ejercito,
    If you can’t reverse the deficit, why not go for the gusto and be an even bigger spender than your predecessor?

  116. “We.Are.So.Fucked.”

    So I went to the doctor complaining of rectal pain and bleeding…

  117. Should liberals be disappointed in Obama? Let’s see:

    Troops still in Iraq? Yes, and 50,000 of them will stay there for at least the rest of his one term.

    Marijuana legalization, or at least an end to federal raids on legal dispensaries in California? Don’t make him laugh.

    Gay marriage? Ain’t gonna happen.

    Bailouts for the wealthy banksters, and nothing for Detroit’s unions? He may as well be a Republican.

    An end to signing statements? Sorry, fooled you.

    Clinton-style fiscal conservatism? You’ve got to be kidding.

    All Obama has done for liberals is propose the kind of gargantuan budget that will get conservatives riled up enough to cost Dems their Congressional majority in 2010, and the White House in 2012.

    If I were a liberal, I would be a lot more than disappointed with Obama. Since I’m a libertarian, I’m not surprised.

  118. Gay marriage? Ain’t gonna happen.

    What is stopping homosexuals from forming little LLCs and wearing wedding rings? NOTHING!

    What is stopping them from making wills? NOTHING!

    What is stopping them from being on each other’s emergency card?
    NOTHING!

    Oh, you are talking about getting on the government gravy train? If you advocate that sort of thing there could be a problem.

  119. Should liberals be disappointed in Obama? Let’s see:

    Craig,

    After all the bullshit posted above, you are the first one to actually address the point of the article. Congrats!

  120. NolongerTofuSushi,

    Craig didn’t advocate anything – he merely listed the liberal’s wishlist that Obama ain’t going to deliver on.

  121. How would libs react if a Republican president were bailing out banks and auto companies and proposing trillion dollar deficits?

  122. How would libs react if a Republican president were bailing out banks and auto companies and proposing trillion dollar deficits?

    Set your Wayback Machine to September, 2008.

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