Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Monday, August 1, 2011


David Atkins over at Digby explores this in an analysis of the deal extorted by the extremist Tea Party thugs.

I've never been in the camp of progressives who believe Mr. Obama should act like a bully and double down on threats and intransigence.  Atkins explains that we liberals/progressives never supported that style of governing.

"It is not our instinct to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It is not our instinct to play by the rules of "The Chicago Way", where an act of aggression by an opponent is responded to with an act of equal or greater retaliation by your own side.


When faced with an opposition willing to use lies, extortion and terrorism to achieve its goals, there are two possible responses. The first is equal and opposite aggression: to give as good as you get. But the second is to remain open-handed and and assume that by being the adult, turning the other cheek and giving way to your opponent even if only temporarily, you will seize the moral high ground and let the opponent's own momentum carry him over to his own destruction.

That is the essence of what can be loosely characterized as "Eastern" wisdom, a very Taoist or Buddhist approach. In the Christian tradition, this sort of counsel can be found throughout the Book of Matthew. In a more secular vein, it could be called the Atticus Finch approach. Insofar as one gives Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt, he almost surely sees himself as Atticus Finch refusing to punch back even as the villain spits in his face."

I don't like the deal that the extortionist Tea Party Republicans extracted from the adults in our government.  I'm angry with how they took us to the brink of disaster and at their incompetence in and ignorance about governing.  What this capitulation to their threats and demands means will play out over the next year and a half.

Meanwhile, I tend to agree with the assessment written by "Smartypants:"

MICHELE OBAMA in 2008:  "Here's the thing about my husband: even in the toughest moments, when it seems like all is lost, Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. He never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise, even if it comes from some of his best supporters. He just keeps moving forward.

And in those moments when we're all sweating it, when we're worried that the bill won't pass or the negotiation will fall through, Barack always reminds me that we're playing a long game here. He reminds me that change is slow — it doesn't happen overnight.

If we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight and doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there.

We always have."

SMARTYPANTS:  "As we hear rumors about what might be in the debt ceiling bill, I begin to wonder about that long game.

I've had one guess in the back of my mind for a couple of days. Its not like I have the greatest track record in these predictions. But its still interesting to throw this kind of thing out there. And then this morning I saw something that made it seem even more likely.

What I saw was an short note in Politico titled
WH fine with no new revenue until 2013. It refers to something Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, said."


The Daily Kos stands with President Obama.  Link here. 


Dave Miller said...

I am not feeling this one Shaw.

President Obama got not one revenue increase in this deal.

Is there one thing he campaigned on that he has stood up for?

I know there is the spending cut of which 50% will come out of defense, supposedly, but what's to stop the GOP from holding that hostage too and forcing all the cuts to come from the other side?

I can hear the derision now... President Obama would have us take money from soldiers pocketbooks, while trying to spend your money on unnecessary, wasteful government spending.

Krugman is right, the president surrendered, just like he has at every other big moment.

Whatever our personal thoughts and feelings are towards him as a man and a person, the facts seem to say that politically, he is too green and not up to the job.

I wish it were not true.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, I'm not comfortable with this either. But what were his choices once the extremists started acting like extortionists?

He is a long-term strategist, and even though we don't like the short-term deal, he will get his Bush tax cuts expirations.

I'm not convinced he's as green as some people see him.

Remember, this country votes centrist, and the moderates and independents wanted a deal, they wanted Congress to stop fighting and do a deal.

Let's see if it holds together.

Obama bet his presidency on health care, and from what I've been reading, he did the right thing at the right moment because after 2010, it would not have got passed the TPs.

He was also gutsy on going after bin Laden.

Long range, he was right to do all of that.

We don't know yet what the long-range consequences of this deal will be.

I would caution people to not rush to judgment on this.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, have you read this?

TOM said...

"he almost surely sees himself as Atticus Finch refusing to punch back even as the villain spits in his face."

Dealing with these dirt bags, one has to take a punch. I don't believe in turn the other cheek in some things, and politics is one.

He's worried about reelection, what else is new, for a politician.

Anonymous said...

you and you tax increases. Don't you Progressives know that
we will have higher taxes when the Bush/Obama tax cuts kick in and when when the AMT and New Healthcare bill taxes kick in.


Utopia ain't all that!