Obama Rising?

Posted on December 28, 2010 by

Barack Obama’s end-of-the-year legislative rally may have rescued his presidency.

The tax deal with republicans was stirring talk of mutiny among his base.

But the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell triggered a restoration of confidence in our man and – at the very least – cooled us down for the holidays.

There’s plenty of talk about how difficult it’s going to be when republicans take the house; that they’ll push to cut spending, dismantle health reform and launch investigations to embarrass the administration.

We’ll see if the president can be bipartisan and – at the same time – satisfy his supporters.

His re-election campaign has already started (click here to see this masterfully-produced Christmas message featuring the “first couple” at their most charming).

But keep in mind that 2012 is not just about holding the white house.  Twenty-three of the 33 senate seats in the next election now belong to democrats.

Obama has to win the presidency and protect his party from surrendering congress altogether (does anyone seriously believe there’s a chance for the house to flip back to the democrats)?

Of course, this is exactly where we didn’t want to be two years in.  But the damage has been done and now it’s up to Obama – and his allies – to see what can be salvaged.

Comments (7)


  1. Martin Jay says:

    Once again Obama suprises us.

    When he first burst onto the scene – everyone said he was too inexperienced to even consider the White House.
    During the primaries – they said he was’t tough or forceful enough – to beet Hillary. He Did!!
    As president – they say he doesn’t negotiate well. He gives in too fast. He does!!!

    He put this economy back on track (albeit the train is moving too slowly) – got his Health Care initiative passed (it wasn’t pretty) – Got tax legislation through (giving a tax break for EVERYONE – including the very folks he said he would NOT do) – Got a real compromise on the stalled START talks (puffing out his chest a bit) – and finally repealed the innefective DADT laws.

    Then he goes off to Hawaii – to recharge!!

    How does he feel now?

    Don’t Ask – Don’t Ask!!

  2. John says:

    No, the democrats won’t get back the house. We have supreme court judges that were bought off, and we got to see our first taste of completely un-regulated funds dumped into Republican campaigns (not that they couldn’t find ways around this in the past, but it’s so easy now).

    So the pummeling last election wasn’t just about people being unsatisfied. It was an unprecedented amount of hate campaign money shipped in from international corporations. And it’s only going to continue to grow moving forward.

  3. John Connolly says:

    1) Obama and the Dems dealt themselves a lousy hand in 2009-10 … then they played it as well as they could in the Lame Duck.
    2) The fatal mistake was allowing the Health Care “debate” to go on for soooo long, and to end up with a complex bill that no one could explain or lay out in campaign fashion — and which was crippled by the lack of a Public Option.
    3) This allowed the Tea Party to burst onto the scene with its Ugga-Bugga Hysteria centered around “Socialist ObamaCare”. Since none of the Good Guys could explain Healthcare Reform in a positive campaigning way, AND were completely unprepared for the Tea Party’s sudden guerilla warfare … the Dems looked weak, scared, guilty and whiny/defensive IN FRONT OF THEIR OWN TOWN HALL MEETINGS just when they should have been playing hard offense armed with a winning issue.
    4) From August 2009 to December 2010, the Tea party/Republicans had the Dems on the run. The spectacle of the Dems with a huge House majority, a 60/59 vote Senate, AND the White House, in frequent defensive disarray, was totally demoralizing to rank & file partisans and progressives.
    Saving the economy was successfully portrayed as a failure of “Socialist Big Government”, severely undermining the possibility of a second stimulus, and Wall Street reform efforts; saving the Auto Industry was dismissed as a waste; no real efforts were made to punish the bankers and speculators who wrecked the economy; efforts to help home-owners remained lame and invisible vs Billions-for-Bankers perceptions; and the Dems and Prez squandered the opportunity to split and wreck the Republicans by an early, sustained campaign against tax cuts for the wealthy.
    And Obama got no credit for getting troops out of iraq, and refocusing on Afghanistan (although that in itself is a debate needing to happen).
    And it appears that President Obama never Brought The Hammer Down — as only the President can do in the American System — to break the log-jam of political semi-facist obfuscation and use some hard-nosed Presidential muscle to whack some Troll-ish recalcitrant Democratic — and the odd-Republican — Senator into line.
    A couple of Presidential thrashings at the right moments could have countered Tea Party mouth-frothing with popular policy, and delivered the death blow to the Republicans that they were fearfully waiting for after Obama’s election. Their own desperate situation presented them with the Radical Right Option, equally dangerous to them as to the Dems. The Republican run-right gamble and gut-check paid off when the Dems (including the Prez) lost their nerve … and killer instinct.
    Instead, the President wasted valuable time in a one-way, fruitless pursuit of Bi-Partisanship, that looked more and more like begging. Even in the Fall of 2009, you could practically see the sneers on the faces of the Republican Leadership, and the blood-lust in the eyes of Right-Wing Think-Tank militants who thought they held a winning hand.
    5) The right-wing surge emboldened conservative Dems to buck both the Prez and Congressional leaders on everything from Wall Street Reform to DADT to the lame debacle of the Employee free Choice Act. As the November 2010 election became more and more a Republican foregone conclusion, Dems started to toughen-up and fight back.
    Too Little. Too Late. 14,000,000 Obama voters from 2008 stayed home in 2010.
    6) Given the strategic blundering, and the miserable tactical state of affairs coming out of the November election, the Lame Duck counter-offensive by the President (and the evidently under-estimated Harry Reid) was amazing. I think that the Prez, Harry and the much-maligned Speaker Pelosi — seeing the sneering triumphalism of Boehner and McConnell begin to overplay its hand — got a little of their mojo and guts in order, and rope-a-doped the Sneer-ocracy ito a string of Lame Ducky victories. The President now is Lookin’ Good … comparatively.
    7) Over the next two years, I think the key issues will be how to wage counter-insurgency against the Tea-drunk Republicans (who really were down for the count after 2008).
    It is unlikely that the Dems can recapture the House … but not out of the question given the internal stresses from the Right that the Republicans will face. The Dems can protect their Senate majority, and the President can be re-elected. But all will depend on a combination of Republican mis-steps/over-reaches, and hard-nosed, disciplined skill for the Dems … and most of all:
    The President of the United States has GOT to bring the full majesty, power and prestige of the Presidency to bear.
    8) Labor has more stab wounds in the back (from Dems) and in the front (from Republicans) that we can count … and we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars, and untold thousands of member-hours for the privilege.
    There is nothing I’d rather do than do-without the Democratic Party. But the horror of what the Republicans have become is so great that I suspect we’ll have to choke it down and jump in to save the Dems yet again in 2012.
    A serious discussion of a true class-based alternative to the Dems is in order … soon, in any case, but at least while there is still an organized working class left in this country.
    The Republicans (and too many Dems — see Villaraigosa, Antonio) have a clear divide-and-conquer/destroy strategy toward organized labor — primarily a play-off splitting Public and Private Sector unions on issues of wages, job security and benefits.
    The next two years will be hellish. The next decade could well be hell itself.

    • Gregg Potter says:

      Very succinct post. Absolutely on target and well done. My suggestion is to enact a penalty of $100,000 per worker on any company that has outsourced jobs in the last two years. One third of this fee goes to: college tuition; one third goes to: infrastructure repair and construction and the last thrid goes to; entrepreneurs who start up manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. This would be a GRANT and not a loan.
      If the companies who outsourced jobs would not comply, the CEO and board of directors should be tried for treason as their actions qualify as economic terrorism.
      In addition, any company that outsources work done via telephone should be assessed a $5.00 tarif for each and every phone call. The ONLY reason that calls are shipped out of country is due to cost. The hell with adequate customer care and service. It is all about savings and getting off the phone.

  4. Rudy Corral says:

    I’m sorry what where you all saying about Obama rising to do what? slam dunk it for whom….

    * over 10 million low-income
    families represented nearly a 4%
    increase over the previous year;
    * 45 million people, including 22
    million children, live in
    low-income families, up 1.7
    million from 2008;
    * 43% with at least one minority
    parent households were
    low-income, nearly double the
    percentage for white families at
    * income inequality kept growing
    with the richest 20% earning 47%
    of all income, 10 times that of
    lowest earners;
    * the number of children in
    low-income families rose by over
    700,000 from 2008, one third of
    all children in the country; and
    * according to recent Pew Research
    Center data, 55% of America’s
    labor force “suffered a spell of
    unemployment, a cut in pay, a
    reduction in hours or have
    become involuntary part-time
    workers” since December 2007.


    Yeah ok lets see where’s a good place to start that’s just a blimp to whats really going on. Labor is part of the contradictions as long as it keeps outsourcing its political might to the demorats and keeps playing in the shell game.

    Another what 700 trillion to capital for what, so it can divide it up among itself again didn’t we just go through that. By all means startanuke and don’t ask don’t tell means a lot to a whole lot of people but did they have to sell the farm for it and the working class along with it. Obama is a great person and certainly he will be remember for the historical significance of his election and the message of hope he inspired but the real change for the working class is what will come from within the working class itself.

    Organized labor can be the hub in the wheel of change but it is the spontaneous movement of the lower section of the working class who shall rise to smash capital and wrestle our tattered democracy away from their grips.

    So let it roll and let it roll good capital and its principles of maximized profits will lead to its own demise meanwhile the getting gets good wrap yourself up in the star and strips and don’t forget the ski mask and monkey wrenches we have a working class democracy to wrestle back.

  5. John Connolly says:

    Thank you to Brother Potter for his kind words. I WISH I were as succinct as he suggests.

    Both Gregg and Rudy present several solutions devoutly to be wished … how we get from here to there is the question.

    And a special Thank You to LaborLou for providing both his great questions and this terrific forum for us. His brevity and modesty are as inspiring as his ideas.

    Happy New Year, with Affection and Solidarity to All who read and post here … especially the Founder of Our Feast, Brother Lou.

  6. Goetz Wolff says:

    Lou – Your comment:

    “There’s plenty of talk about how difficult it’s going to be when republicans take the house; that they’ll push to cut spending, dismantle health reform and launch investigations to embarrass the administration.”

    Raises the issue of assymetry… why when there is a Dem president and the Republicans take the house you acknowledge the difficulty facing Obama?…

    However, I don’t recall a similar difficulty confronting Bush, when the Dems took the house in the 2006 elections…nor did it lead to an equivalent investigative3 attack by Dems on the Republican administration…

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