BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Obama rising above the sea?

Mark Mardell | 20:41 UK time, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

When I moved to Washington around four months ago, the front cover of a local magazine proclaimed 30 reasons to live in DC.

Number one was: our new neighbour is cool. It had a picture of Barack Obama in red shorts.

He and the first lady are still cool. The walls of the White House are adorned with some serious art, bubba rock isn't banned, but the White House now hosts poetry slams and R&B and Latin bands.

Michelle grows her own veg and persuades kids it's hip to go organic.

For millions of Americans, particularly black Americans, they are an inspiration.

But as far as the media and political classes are concerned, he's the man who fell to earth. And even to many supporters the answer to "can we do it?" is "well, we certainly hope so".

Barack Obama

He's a curious mixture. On the one hand, coolly, even coldly intellectual, trying not to show exasperation with the childish demand of voters for results now, this instant.

On the other, he loves the limelight of campaigning. You see a different, more relaxed Obama when he is in front of a crowd shouting "we love you" and he answers, "I love you, too" - doing his little shuffle and slipping into folksy idiom.

It's probably because it's easier than governing. And he has made mistakes. The biggest over health care.

Bill Clinton tried to write the bill while he was in the White House and it got shot to pieces.

He has let the politicians on Capitol Hill have their protracted say. The result is a confusion of competing plans with different price tags.

He will get a lot of advice following last night's elections, and some of it, like this article by Robert Creamer, pretty sound.

But if I was a presidential adviser, I would be more worried about reports that the health care bill may slip into next year.

I've talked to lots of voters who are anxious about what will happen to their health care.

They don't know. No one knows. No one can know.

Those who want to brand any outcome as costly big government interference easily fill the vacuum.

Pictures of Obama, hand on chin, in the White House situation room listening to four-star generals and CIA chiefs and ambassadors, show him looking thoughtful.

He's done 20 hours of thoughtful, and there still isn't an Afghan strategy.

Now we are being told not to expect a decision until the end of the month.

It's a rare example of government at the very highest level looking very seriously at a complex issue from all the angles.

It's also an example of why it doesn't happen very often. It looks like dithering in a world that values action over reflection.

His team talk constantly about the need to rise above the 24-hour media. Their frustration with voters who want a microwave government - it's not as good, but at least it's quick - and their anger at the media, who they say are stuck in a narrative arc of decline and fall is understandable.

But like any contact sport, politics is more about blocking the blows and making feints than practicing perfect punches.

To paraphrase Enoch Powell, it's a bit like a sailor wanting to rise above the sea. And the days when Obama could walk on water are over.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 10:17pm on 04 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    " ... And he has made mistakes. The biggest over health care."

    What, exactly, is the mistake? He has said he wants it; he has said what he wants in it; the Congress is working on it. He won't get exactly what he wants, and he won't get it as soon or as easily as he likes, but he may get something before the next election.

    We have an expression: The President proposes, the Congress disposes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 10:25pm on 04 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    "He has let the politicians on Capitol Hill have their protracted say."

    We have a concept in American government called the "separation of powers," which works a little differently than parliamentary systems. The President does not have any power to restrain the "politicians on Capitol Hill" from having "their protracted say."

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:31pm on 04 Nov 2009, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    Yeah, people obsess about the presidency, which nowadays is a ceremonial post with an army.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 10:50pm on 04 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    The link to the Politico item on the possibility of the health care bill not being passed by Christmas merely reports that it is Majority Leader Reid's objective to pass a bill by the Christmas break. There is nothing in there about possible consequences if Reid's goal is not met.

    If you were a presidential adviser, why would you be worried about a few month's delay? What consequences would you expect?

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 11:10pm on 04 Nov 2009, relieved wrote:

    As an American citizen, I appreciate the view expressed. Just wanted to write that I voted for and continue to support the President. He is a breath of fresh air - intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, and energetic. Just a few of the qualities that I admire. The problem with any progress does not lie with his administration - the PROBLEM is the Congress and political agendas. The GOP is driven by their negative, fear-driven, antagonistic and status quo agenda! If Obama failed (and I don't consider what he's accomplished failure) it's because he tried to listen to his opponent's ideas (although there were next to none that represented any much-needed change in Health Care) and explain the extremely complex issue reform entails. The Republican's loyalty to big business and "business as usual" has only become much more transparent as a result. In my lifetime, I have never seen an administration work so hard, with or without the black hole they faced coming into office. I support Obama and pray for his safety and success. Mr. President, take all the time you need to make the right decision. There are those of us who understand the gravity of this decision and who still support withdrawal or alternatives to increasing US troops.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 00:16am on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #5As an American citizen, I appreciate the view expressed. Just wanted to write that I voted for and continue to support the President. He is a breath of fresh air - intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, and energetic. Just a few of the qualities that I admire. The problem with any progress does not lie with his administration - the PROBLEM is the Congress and political agendas. The GOP is driven by their negative, fear-driven, antagonistic and status quo agenda!

    ______________________________

    As an American citizens, I prodly voted against an inexperienced, petty small minded indvidual who has conned alot of people. The problem lies with him and his supporter who use the race card and other dispicable tatics when there is any dissent.

    Untill this man is out of office, The U.S will continue to go downhall.

    Today Israel stopped a major weapons shipment from Iran to Hezbollah, another example of the world laughing a weak President.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 00:22am on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "It's probably because it's easier than governing. And he has made mistakes. The biggest over health care."

    You're certainly not alone in that opinion (I heard Stephanopoulos make the same point the other on "Meet the Press"), but I think the decision to let Congress take the lead on health care is more about resurrecting the idea of Congress than it is a strategy for getting a bill passed.

    Most Americans would agree with me that Congress is almost completely dysfunctional at this point because of the fierce partisanship that has dominated over the past two decades. Don't get me wrong, Congress has always had its fair share of rancor between the parties, but it typically hasn't precluded any communication whatsoever between them as it has over the past decade or two. Of course, there have been times where it has been worse (like before the Civil War), but most of the time the parties have worked together despite themselves.

    As the first former Senator president in my lifetime, I suspect the Mr. Obama feels an obligation to get the body working (i.e. legislating) again. Laying the health care issue at Congress' doorstep is politically risky, no doubt, but I support him in this. Congress is not supposed to be a rubber stamp for the executive, even though many American voters seem to prefer it that way. It is supposed to be where the laws come from, not the White House.

    Evidence that this is his plan? I don't have any. I'm just guessing. His refusal to allow the Democrats to even talk about using their close to super majority to ram their version through during reconciliation suggests to me that he wants Congress to pass a bill through compromise and not brute force. So far, it's looking like business as usual. He's got four years, though.

    If he succeeds in getting Congress functioning again, I believe the history books will remember it as one of his most important achievements. I wish him the best. I'm just not sure we've got the right people (in both parties) in there right now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 00:22am on 05 Nov 2009, mary gravitt wrote:

    Everyone is taking the fact that 2 governorships went to the Republicans. Even the Republicans see this as a step back into Neoconservatism. New Jersey and Virginia are two states that are always in flux. The politics in those states "is always local." New Jersey is Philadelphia in the South and Mofia in the North. It has high taxes and Carzone was not the best governor. Virginia has an inferior complex being so close to DC.

    The most important race was in Upstate New York. The Far Right tried to take over and regain territory. They were so extreme until the moderate Republican supported the Democrat. This should be of interest instead of the Elephant farts of the Republicans trupeting its hot air.

    America is becoming what it is meant to be. It is not socialist. It is a social compact which the original founders meant it to be. We strayed with Bush and the the American Zionist, i.e. Neocons, because both saw a vision of America that was too cruel for the rest of US.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 00:44am on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #8

    Everyone is taking the fact that 2 governorships went to the Republicans. Even the Republicans see this as a step back into Neoconservatism. New Jersey and Virginia are two states that are always in flux. The politics in those states "is always local." New Jersey is Philadelphia in the South and Mofia in the North. It has high taxes and Carzone was not the best governor. Virginia has an inferior complex being so close to DC.
    ___________________--

    Which Republicans? this was a vote against the status quo. Corzine was very unpopular, the VA winner ran as a moderate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 00:53am on 05 Nov 2009, Trace Nube wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 11. At 01:17am on 05 Nov 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Those are some pretty grandiose expectations that some would assign to the first of a generation, where it concerns Obama. He might even chuckle at such a claim. Walking on water is for J.C. and some salamanders. I am sure the novelty of a self made man whose arduous journey and sacrifice, coupled with extraordinary timing, has sent ripples through the Black and White continuum. The thing to do in the (U.K.) is to be very vigilant, lest someone there gets any ideas. Perhaps in a few years, and when the next president comes to office, someone will decide to begin reversing as many of His deeds as possible. In the interim, Obama does not feel too different and maybe some days, He may feel like calling in sick, except he lives in the cool neighborhood.(WH)
    Where things are different, (in my minds eye) is that the former president could call upon his daddy or family and friends for advice and bingo!, He got more advice than if he had a magic wand. Mr. Obama is the challenger, His staff is yet unproven, and His advisers may be His detractors. During the Bush administration, when everything appeared to be going the wrong way, George W. Bush would pose the Objective and ask, What is this going to cost me to get this done? Sure he paid a price for it, but that is politics. He did not have a qualm about directing Democrats to come to terms with his proposals. It is a give and take business. No one can win at everything. Now, it is not the Republicans Obama has to deal with, but the Democrats and a few Republicans. There are many issues going on right now, and Obama is going to to have to trade one thing for another. Mark is right about blocking blows, just that Obama has to take a dive on something, and live to get a rematch. Because the more you mow the lawn, the more the grass grows. My hope is that the issue he trades(if He does) won't be the health care bit. I know He is no Ali, although, He has 7 more rounds left. Number 1, The earth is not going to warm up to 115 degrees before the year 2012. Number 2, Israel is never going to back down.
    A quote from the UN speech(Obama)

    "All of this must support efforts to strengthen the N.P.T. Those nations that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences".

    Number 3, Afghanistan will never become Christian.
    Number 4, Countries are gearing up and not handing their weapons over.
    One never knows the extent to which covert ops will go to cause a full out war in Afghanistan. Then break your piggy banks and hand over the change to the US for more war. So if we get out now, no one else need get killed there by us. They do not want help! I think I see gray hairs on Obama's skull, Year 2010.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 01:29am on 05 Nov 2009, american grizzly wrote:

    Well the neolibs want Obama to show the guiding light of socialism, while trying to Nation build in Afghanistan. While they don't have a problem with wasting American lifes, as well as the other allies. Yeah it is a complex mess, and soldiers are dieing for these grand gestures. Did Obama meet with the families of the fallen soldiers, or was it just a photo op? Healthcare won't be back until the politicians want it before the next election (he who controls the mob, controls Rome). Then it can be the revived issue for the mid term elections! Meanwhile its the economy, not healthcare that is the problem. How can a nation broke and jobless afford this? Print more money? Meanwhile back at Havard a neolib climbs into his Mercedes, and praises the redistribution of wealth. Well start somewhere, any movement in 9 months in the microwave must have some effect? Microwave, fits like jobless recovery, are you a Michael Moore fan, try making a decision. To coin a phrase from Viginia "We have a choice to plow new ground or let the weeds grow." Viginia Dept of Agriculture
    Looks like the weeds are pretty tall by now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 05:53am on 05 Nov 2009, DigitalJanitor wrote:

    Mark: If/when you have an evening to burn, I highly recommend watching Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks". There's probably a lot of useful material in there for you, but in particular note the old lady's response to discovering that the Martians blew up congress. Delicious as ever!

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 09:41am on 05 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 6 MagicKirin "wrote":

    "As an American citizens (sic), I prodly (sic) voted against an inexperienced, petty (sic - missing comma) small minded (sic - missing hyphen) indvidual (sic) who has conned alot(sic) of people. The problem lies with him and his supporter (sic) who use the race card and other dispicable (sic) tatics (sic) when there is any dissent.

    Untill (sic) this man is out of office, The (sic) U.S (sic - missing full stop) will continue to go downhall (sic).

    Today Israel stopped a major weapons shipment from Iran to Hezbollah, another example of the world laughing (sic) a weak President."
    ______________
    Predictable and tedious bile and prejudice. MK is as fair-minded and accurate as he is literate.

    [a] Obama was undoubtedly inexperienced when elected. Undoubtedly many voters looked at what the 'experienced' Cheney and Rumsfeld had achieved, and who the 'experienced' McCain picked as VP, and thought - 'experience isn't everything'.

    [b] People may draw their own conclusions as to who is small-minded and petty - MK or President Obama. As the black son of a not very well-off single mother, I have no doubt that Obama faced prejudice, and had reason to be bitter. But MK is the one consumed by hatred. And Obama wrote best-selling and critically acclaimed books - MK claims a 3rd-level education, and cannot manage a literate sentence.

    [c] The hypocrisy is staggering. On numerous occasions MK has hurled mendacious slurs of anti-Semitism at those he disagrees with, [including me] and those he doesn't have the grey matter or knowledge to argue with. Whatever some individuals among Obama's 'supporters' may or may not have done, there is no evidence [look the word up, Magic] that Obama plays the race card every time anyone disagrees with him - nor indeed that his supporters do. MK lies again. So who is the despicable one?

    [d] "Today Israel stopped a major weapons shipment from Iran to Hezbollah, another example of the world laughing (sic) a weak President."

    Because of course under 'strong' Presidents like Reagan and Bush 2, there were no terrorist attacks aimed at the US. No marines blown up in Lebanon? No 9/11? Just look at how respectful and terrified Iran and Al Qaeda were when GWB was in power.

    "Lie, lie, lie..."

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 09:46am on 05 Nov 2009, David Murrell wrote:

    I think Obama’s biggest problem is America, especially the American political system. Everyone outside America saw Obama as a fresh start a means to separate the US from a regime that to a rather confrontational path to almost the whole of the rest of the world. Bush and his political allies did more to tarnish America’s image abroad than anything its enemies could have done. Sure some politicians saw America as a way to promote their own careers and legend, especially here in Blighty, mostly to their own detriment.

    I understand that for some Americans, probably the majority (despite being the world super power Americans are still rather insular), this is not a concern, after all you are the most powerful nation in the world. You expect everyone else to follow your tune, which would be fine except for two things. Firstly, despite the concerns of many, the world is intimately connected, the recent financial collapse shows just how this connection can affected people in different countries. You cannot simply ignore the rest of the world, because their opinions affect you probably in ways most people don’t even notice. Secondly, the US is not going to be the sole super power for long, China is close, if not already there, and India and others are catching up. Soon the world will have other tunes to dance to and some will choose the nice new ones over the same old ditty the US has been giving out since the end of the Cold War.

    A prime example of what I am trying to get at is the health care bill, pretty much everyone (other than attention seeking MEPs) thinks it is a good idea, not because they want to bring down America but because they already have universal health care. It is not a socialist idea, I don’t believe for a second that conservative Japan is socialist, neither is Australia yet both of them have universal health care systems. People go on about the costs and I agree how can the US afford the human cost of not implementing a scheme? Most people in the developed world believe that they have the right to be healthy, to see a doctor when they think they need it, without worrying if they can afford it. No one should have to choose between being treated and having enough money to feed their family, especially not in the richest country on the planet.

    Yet large chunks of America see this as a bad thing, most confusingly those chunks that would actually benefit from a universal healthcare scheme. It has left everyone I know, from old lefties like me to my dyed in the wool Conservatives who dislike paying taxes and giving money to the poor scratching their heads in confusion. Most of us don’t care that Americans seem to be reluctant to change, it does not cause us to lose any sleep, but it does reinforce the image of Americans, an image that this board both reinforces and refutes.

    A final reminder: those things that do not change, evolve, are doomed to stagnate and die. What made the dinosaurs the most power creatures on the planet also helped doom them to extinction, it was the little fast moving mammals that adapted and eventually took their place as top dog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 09:58am on 05 Nov 2009, calmandhope wrote:

    Mars Attacks, is probably the most underrated of Burton's films.

    On a serious note, yes the honeymoon with Obama is over but I for one am still fairly impressed by him. Completely agree with Mark though about how he does seem to be alot more at home talking to people and making speeches than with instant decisions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 10:40am on 05 Nov 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, one of your best posts thus far. The policy conundrums in which the President finds himself- over Health Care, over Afghanistan- are a result of the result of the disconnect between campaigning and governing. While campaigning, it's easy to fire up voters' imaginations with promises of change; especially for as eloquent a speaker as Mr. Obama, he needs only speak to conjure grand visions.

    As a smart man he knows that governing is much different. Making reasoned decisions takes time, and the current situations, as much anticipated as they are, cannot be solved with quick, trite, Reaganesque shoot-from-the-hip solutions. There will be no harm done to health care by considering it for additional weeks and months, other than stoking supporters' dissatisfaction, and fueling doubters' "told-you-so" playground taunts.

    So in the end, it becomes a balancing act, between the need for deliberative governing, and the immediate need for results-now politicking.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 10:45am on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #14

    Johny boy twisting the fact and slandering people again

    [a] Obama was undoubtedly inexperienced when elected. Undoubtedly many voters looked at what the 'experienced' Cheney and Rumsfeld had achieved, and who the 'experienced' McCain picked as VP, and thought - 'experience isn't everything'.

    (Palin was not qualified but had a better resume than a 2 year U.S senator)

    [b] People may draw their own conclusions as to who is small-minded and petty - MK or President Obama. As the black son of a not very well-off single mother, I have no doubt that Obama faced prejudice, and had reason to be bitter. But MK is the one consumed by hatred. And Obama wrote best-selling and critically acclaimed books - MK claims a 3rd-level education, and cannot manage a literate sentence.

    (A multi racial son, Obama's mother is white, Obama wrote one good book and2 narcisitic books)

    [c] The hypocrisy is staggering. On numerous occasions MK has hurled mendacious slurs of anti-Semitism at those he disagrees with, [including me] and those he doesn't have the grey matter or knowledge to argue with. Whatever some individuals among Obama's 'supporters' may or may not have done, there is no evidence [look the word up, Magic] that Obama plays the race card every time anyone disagrees with him - nor indeed that his supporters do. MK lies again. So who is the despicable one?

    (There is plenty of evidence of demonizing by Obama's supporter and the enemies list includes chamber of commerce, Big business and Fox news, And yes you are one of those who I accuse)(( I am not putting the exact term of the moderators will remove the post))

    [d] "Today Israel stopped a major weapons shipment from Iran to Hezbollah, another example of the world laughing (sic) a weak President."

    (Why hasn't Obama come out or for that matter the U.N come out and said Israel has proven it's point about Iran supporting terrorism)

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 10:54am on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #15

    I think Obama’s biggest problem is America, especially the American political system. Everyone outside America saw Obama as a fresh start a means to separate the US from a regime that to a rather confrontational path to almost the whole of the rest of the world.
    ___________________-

    Daivd I don't know where in the world you are from, but I think your statement raises some interesting points.

    1. Obama was elected to be the U.S President that means his function is to look after our interests.

    2. the presumption that the world needs to approve of the way the U.S President conducts himself while there are human rights violators around the world is staggering. the Iranainan mullahs human rights violators like Mugabe, and Chavez get more leeway than a duly elected leader like Bush did.

    3. This insular argument holds no weight, recent European demonstrations on race and foriegn policy shows that Americans are far more sophisticated about the world

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 11:17am on 05 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 21. At 11:22am on 05 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 16 calmandhope wrote:

    "Mars Attacks, is probably the most underrated of Burton's films."

    Yes, it was very enjoyable.

    And prophetic too, of course. Remember when the President [Jack Nicholson] says to the Martians 'Why can't we all just get along?'. And then they shoot him with a ray gun.

    Which just shows - you can't negotiate with Martians. Clearly he should have ordered an invasion of Mars. No doubt he'd have had those old 'Mission Accomplished' banners up in 6 weeks or so... ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 11:26am on 05 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    6 magic
    "As an American citizens, I prodly voted against an inexperienced, petty small minded indvidual who has conned alot of people."


    But George Bush was running last year .... or are you referring to 2004

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 11:31am on 05 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    Mark - "He will get a lot of advice following last night's elections, and some of it, like this article by Robert Creamer, pretty sound."

    While Creamer's article is undoubtedly written from a Dem point of view, I thought it was interesting.

    One point I noted was that he argued that the main trend of the various elections was anti-incumbency.

    I remember reading an interesting article some time back. There is a general view that most electorates turned rightwards due to the economic shock of the Great Depression, with the Nazis being the most notorious example. The article argued that in fact the main trend internationally was - anti-incumbency. So, for example, in the US, where the Reps had held the presidency for 12 years, there was a strong swing to the Dems.

    As for the elections in 2010 and 2012 - who knows? If the recovery is kicking in, and unemployment is coming down, I suspect the Dems will be OK.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 11:34am on 05 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    It is often difficult for non-Americans to understand that the President has little direct power domestically, as laws have to come out of congress. We are used to seeing Presidents acting on the world stage where they speak fo the American nation.

    It seems also unfair to totally blame the republicans in congress for the slow progress. The problem is also certain democrats who for various reasons seek to slow down, amend or block any fundamental change.

    Europeans partcularly are used to having a leader who has control over his party - certainly not the case in the USA - and a manifesto issue (ie health reform for Obama) would require party members in parliament / congress to toe the line. This system (in the UK called the whip system - kinky I know) does not exist in the USA.

    It does seem to this outsider to have strong negatives, as well as the stated positive aim of seperating the executive from the legislative. Is the US president really more of a figurehead than we are lead to believe?

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 11:37am on 05 Nov 2009, David Murrell wrote:

    MK – Of course the rest of the world has a right to hold an opinion on the US president, for the time being whoever holds the Oval Office is the most powerful man on the planet. Decisions made in Washington have ramifications on the rest of the world, or do you think if the British Prime Minister called for people to invade Iraq or Afghanistan the rest of the world would have been expected to follow? If so why didn’t any NATO troops support the UK when one of its territories was invaded in 1982?

    Ignoring that this is a European news agencies website, primarily designed for British viewers, sort shows that we have opinions on what happens in the rest of the world.

    I said Americans were insular, not America. Most Americans show little real interest in what is happening outside their borders, shown in part by the tiny minority that hold a passport. Prior to WWII America was rather isolationist, while America the superpower might seek to influence the rest of the world, I see little evidence that the majority of Americans have changed greatly. I understand that US media is not a good example of America as a whole, but the stereotypes of various foreigners are caricatures which bear little resemblance to reality. Europeans by the fact that have to deal with their neighbours, partly due to size, partly due to fact their lives are affected by what happens further a field, especially America.

    Interesting to see that you instantly related being insular to being racist (the race riot comment), a bit of a leap considering the context I was using.

    Also goodness you really do have a harsh time table over there MK, as I right this it is 06:35 in New York, meaning that you responded to me at 05:54. Personally I have better things to do at 6 o’clock in the morning than write on a blog! Not a criticism just an observation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 12:34pm on 05 Nov 2009, AndreaNY wrote:

    2.GH1618: We have a concept in American government called the "separation of powers," which works a little differently than parliamentary systems. The President does not have any power to restrain the "politicians on Capitol Hill" from having "their protracted say."

    ******************

    True, of course. Most Americans realize the separation of these powers.

    Certainly, when he made all those promises, he, too, understood the limits of his powers?

    If one were to have listened carefully to President Obama's words, one might have come away with the idea that he, personally, was going to deliver quite a bit. At one point, when talking about health care reform, he even referred to "my bill".

    The problem for President Obama, as I see it, is that he raised expectations, promising too much, and cannot now deliver. He is the spokesperson for a party that is not delivering on his promises, not too unlike the company sales rep who promises miracles and then has the technical team come in to try to make his magic work but cannot because it is not feasible. The disconnect is obvious to people who bought what he was selling.

    He simply oversold.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 12:39pm on 05 Nov 2009, AndreaNY wrote:

    25. David Murrell: "Most Americans show little real interest in what is happening outside their borders, shown in part by the tiny minority that hold a passport."

    ****************

    Get your point, of course, but you do realize that if we needed a passport to travel what is almost the equivalent of state-to-state here, we'd probably have many more passports.

    Remember the size of our country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 12:42pm on 05 Nov 2009, Richard_SM wrote:


    One year since Obama was elected on a promise of CHANGE.

    What has he achieved? Made some very 'odd' appointments. Excused torture. Opposed habeas corpus. Kept 17,000 prisoners without trial. Taken legal action to assert that Guantanamo inmates have no right not to be tortured. Asked Israel nicely not to evict Palestinians from their homes. Israel said no. Set the highest US military budget ever. Given the impression troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, whereas his army chiefs have planned to keep 60,000 troops there for 15 years, and they continue to build US bases in Iraq, including a new multi-million dollar radar and spying establishment. Has extended attacks in Pakistan, resulting in massive evacuations. Finalised a deal to arm the Colombian regime (which has the worst human rights record in S.America) and to build seven US military bases. Taken no action to condemn the coup in Honduras or recall the US ambassador. Lectured the world on climate change, while doing nothing himself. Asked the world to take Guantanamo inmates into their populations yet not taking one inmate into the US.

    "Change you can believe in."

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 12:47pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #25
    David Murrell wrote:
    MK – Of course the rest of the world has a right to hold an opinion on the US president, for the time being whoever holds the Oval Office is the most powerful man on the planet. Decisions made in Washington have ramifications on the rest of the world, or do you think if the British Prime Minister called for people to invade Iraq or Afghanistan the rest of the world would have been expected to follow? If so why didn’t any NATO troops support the UK when one of its territories was invaded in 1982?

    ____________________________________

    Well than why is there is so much criticsm when I call out Chavez and Morales and several posters say the majority of people in their countries chose them and I should respect that?

    I disagree with your comment on being insular I maintain at least the people I know even if I disagree are more knowledgible than Europeans I have met on world affairs.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 12:49pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 31. At 12:53pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    In regard to the anti incumbancy point as the reason for the Dems losing the governor's races. Many of us feel that is the reason for the major changes in 2008.

    If you read the exit polls the number one concern is the economy. Now Nancy Pelosi is safe for her seat. But right now Harry Reid could lose his.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 1:56pm on 05 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Number one was: our new neighbour is cool. It had a picture of Barack Obama in red shorts."

    The superficiality of your postings Mr. Mardell is profound. How Euoropean to be preoccupied with style over substance. The problem is that when you get past President Obama's style there is no substance.

    "...he loves the limelight of campaigning. ...
    It's probably because it's easier than governing. And he has made mistakes. The biggest over health care."

    A mistake? A catastrophe. A 2000 page manifesto that is so confused, so incomprehensible, so incoherent that enacting it will only lead to disaster. One experienced Congressman said it is the worst crafted peice of legislation he's ever seen in his life. This is not Europe where multi-hundred page documents that affect everyone's lives will be automatically taken on blind faith alone. We want to know exactly what is in that document, what it will mean, how it will affect us personally. That we don't and the Democrats are trying to railroad it through Congress is one reason why the voters threw the bums out on Tuesday. Recall that the bank bail out bill was railroaded the same way and it didn't fix the financial markets, banks aren't lending to legitimate borrowers the way it was promised. The vote is America's way of saying to their leaders they don't accept what is happening in Washinton DC or in their local districts. Obama and the Democrats are on a direct path to collide with the reality of voter power. His will be a one term presidency with loss of control over Congress in a year if things don't change for the better quickly.

    "Those who want to brand any outcome as costly big government interference easily fill the vacuum."

    You haven't been here very long Mr. Mardell, you only recently landed from Mars. Your observations have been made through a telescope, not a microscope. You don't know. The government has a long and infamous track record. There is is a very good reason why many Americans feel that way.

    "Pictures of Obama, hand on chin, in the White House situation room listening to four-star generals and CIA chiefs and ambassadors, show him looking thoughtful.

    He's done 20 hours of thoughtful, and there still isn't an Afghan strategy.

    Now we are being told not to expect a decision until the end of the month."

    While the President is pondering his options, options he finds distasteful, with each passing day, each passing hour, each passing second he ponders our troops are at unnecessarily greater risk and our chances of winning are diminishing if you believe his expert General McChrystal. We have no time for a community organizer to learn how to be a commander-in-chief. His tuition is being paid for with American blood.

    "Their frustration with voters who want a microwave government"

    If you haven't figured it out by now Mr. Mardell, American culture wants and expects quick results. That is why we invented the microwave oven. That is why we invented fast food and supermarkets. We don't accept flailing around, unproductive dithering by leaders or subordinates. But that is what you get and should expect when you hire people who are inexperienced beginners to a position of responsibility that needs every bit of skill and then some that a seasoned expert would bring to a job. What is happening is the inevitable result of hiring someone because you like him personally instead of someone who is qualified.

    "It's a rare example of government at the very highest level looking very seriously at a complex issue from all the angles."

    President Obama's indulgance in naval gazing had better come to an end soon. The populace is worried, angry, and impatient especially about the economy. The time for community organizing is over. It's time for the president to organize himself and get his act together. We won't wait forever. Unlike Britain, Ameicans will not allow their leaders to blame unsolved problems on their predecessors for very long and if President Obama thinks he will rise above the tide of the sea of misery he'd better guess again. He is not over us, he is one of us drowning in the same ocean. It's high time he learned how to swim.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 2:01pm on 05 Nov 2009, David Murrell wrote:

    MK – You hold an opinion on Chavez, who let’s be fair is far less important than any US president, which is really the point. If you hold an opinion you cannot really complain that others do. To be blunt this is a British website paid for mainly by British tax payers, if you don’t like the fact that Johnny Foreigner has an opinion on your country don’t go looking for it. I have the right to have an opinion on America because, unlike you and other American posters, I actually pay for this website’s existence, if the website provides a forum for discussion as a paying subscriber I hold the right to voice it.

    I think you would find it next to impossible to travel to Britain and not find someone aware of what is happening abroad and have an opinion. While the nation is filled with ‘Little Englanders’, all of them are aware of the greater world, they may not like it but they are aware. As for your experience of people who know more about the outside world than Europeans you have met, I could counter that British know more about the writings of HP Lovecraft than Americans. Why? Well over 80% of the Brits I know are quite knowledgeable on his writings, the claim would be false of course but based on the same logic as yours. You have an interest in foreign affairs, so you drift into company of people who have a similar interest. Also your rebuttal goes slightly further than mine, I mention tendency you speak in absolutes, absolutes I would be impressed if you could prove, after all I am European and I would be interested if you could prove that I know less about world affairs than every American you have spoken to.

    AndreaNY – Your point is valid, I think part of the reason your countrymen can be more insular is that your country is so vast.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 3:17pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    GH I'm with you on this rare occasion.
    Obama on health care.
    He has suggested. he has listened. he has allowed the democratically elected monkeys to do their bit.
    IF the house and senate bicker for too long they will hang themselves.
    Admittedly that is a risky strategy , much of america it seems are the spoilt impatient NOW NOW types.

    At some stage when people realise that he is being democratic and doing what the president is paid to do. and not doing what the last one did which was doing what would pay more in the long run(even that failed;))



    Relieved. Well said.
    What happens to me is I get sickened by the "blue dog dems" and the GOP resistance .

    Gherkin.
    This is america. some of us live in america.
    so we comment on america.


    More specifically I live in the USA. so I comment on the USA.
    I could go on every day about other countries but I would do that on another thread.

    Why ( Oh don't worry ) do you always ignore your own splinter when out looking for lumber.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 3:21pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Who says no change.
    Lol Just as predicted the americans are about to be driving little fiat 500's.


    LOL MArcus what do you say to that.
    " Americans will be like the soviets, driving old Italian cars as thei huge wasteful motor industry kicks it's legs in the air"

    What fondness I have in remembering the call from you that american motors were prominent , that they would not fail the americans.
    LOL just check the recent news from Chrysler.

    ;)
    suck it up MA.

    FIATS in America. your world is ending.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 3:23pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    PS mark the tech changes need someone with a brainn to make sure they work proporly.
    there is something iffy if I get a 404 error message but my posting went through.

    .Just a note to techies;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 3:38pm on 05 Nov 2009, Matt wrote:

    I'm not going to take the time to write out a big thing on this subject. Suffice it to say - would that it were always that we had such a thoughtful President! You want quick action? When you're dealing with such a massive nation, government, or military, quick action is rash action. What mistake on health care, anyway? That it's not done yet? Obama's closer than any other President who tried to pass health care reform (T. Roosevelt, F.D. Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Carter, Clinton). Let the guy do his job - which, by the way, entails deference to Congress, something that you all may have forgotten during the last administration. He's been in office less than a year, and despite what the media will tell you, he's done a lot. A real lot. Thinking about it before he sends another several thousand soldiers to get blown up in Afghanistan is accomplishment enough after sitting through eight years of George W. Bonehead!

    I like Obama. I'm extremely glad he's our President. I voted for him and I'll vote for him again. I don't think he's doing a bad job, and I think that people who say he is are selfish, radical, ignorant, or watch way too much 24-hour news.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 3:44pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref 333

    David it seemed you were speaking in absolutes. I have not been to your country for a while, primarily because it is very expensive to visit.

    But what I see on BBC America and other networks in Europe on many foriegn issues is very 1 dimensional in their outlook. Bush is bad, the Palestinians are victims, the U.S should acceed to Russia demands, Obama is the greatest President ever, etc

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 4:00pm on 05 Nov 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    I voted for President Obama a year ago, hoping that he would change the health care system in the USA for better. He told Americans during his campaign that he would never fine people for not having insurance.

    Fast forward to today and now Obama is going to fine people for not having insurance. Not only that, he is not doing universal health care, which is what voters like myself, my family, my friends, and my local community all wanted and voted for. So it is fair to see we are incredibly disappointed in what Obama has done with health care.

    I also hoped that Obama would help to bring American jobs back and that has not happened. Instead, our unemployment rates are raising higher and people are suffering as much as ever.

    If Obama wanted to bring American jobs back, (most of our umemployment is from manufacturing jobs that have went overseas), then he should create job incentives for American companies and tariffs for companies overseas. We still will buy products from overseas, but the majority of our products and food needs to start actually coming from the USA.
    Americans will not be able to recover from the recession, until we get our manufacturing jobs back. American Manufacturing= American Jobs! American Jobs= The End of the Recession!

    Add all of this to the fear of swine flu and the vaccinations our govt. promised us, which are not here, and you get an unhappy crowd. We want to see the best in Obama. That's why we voted for him. I believe he is a good person who is doing his best and there are so many issues Bush left us with that it is impossible to take care of them all right away. But I wish we had universal health care and I envy the countries that do have it. I also wish Obama would focus on bringing the manufacturing jobs back to America.

    There is still time for President Obama to do the right thing and truly help the people. I have great hope yet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 4:07pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#24) "This system (in the UK called the whip system - kinky I know) does not exist in the USA."

    There are also "whips" in both houses of Congress, but they probably have less power than those in the UK Parliament. Europeans have always been more advanced than Americans in the instruments of torture.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 4:15pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    David Murrell (#15) "You expect everyone else to follow your tune, ... "

    I don't think this is an accurate characterization. We don't care if non-Americans can whistle Yankee Doodle, we are merely accustomed to having the power to get what we want whether you follow our tune or not. It's not as easy as it once was.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 4:18pm on 05 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Meh.

    Sure, the popularity vote wanted instant gratification. So?
    The need for Instant Gratification is why Americans are fat. We want McD's three times a day and a Starbucks on North & Southbound sides of the same block 'cause we don't want to be bothered with cooking or with crossing the street in traffic. Me. Me. Me.

    But, I did not vote for Obama because of his cool red shorts. I voted for him because of his socio-political perspectives on urban/rural & domestic/international environments, his strong emphasis on economy, industry, education and the environment, and for his cooperative/collaborative leadership style.

    I have not been disappointed. He has done very well thus far. Significant changes in culture, industry, and public education take time in a free market economy. They are not effected by heavy handed policy, but by small policies and paradigm shifts. Frankly, I'm amazed that he's accomplished as much as he has.


    So, if the popularity polls want to b1tch, they can bite my Urban-30Something-Green-Rainbow-OverEducated-Underpaid-Working-Mom Rear End.
    -- They jus ain't got no culture.*


    Sorry to be terse. I'm still crying in my beer (metaphorically, of course) about the game.
    Sniff. Next Year, Phillies... next year...

    _________________
    * Obtuse reference to Simon and Garfunkel's lyrics for "A Simple Desultory Philippic" from the 'Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme' album (1965). Sometimes it's just better to cite your more arcane pop-cultural references. You're welcome.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 4:20pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #37

    I like Obama. I'm extremely glad he's our President. I voted for him and I'll vote for him again. I don't think he's doing a bad job, and I think that people who say he is are selfish, radical, ignorant, or watch way too much 24-hour news.
    _______________________--

    What happened to disent being the highest form of Patriotism? The fact that you buy the administration talking points shows your ignorance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 4:34pm on 05 Nov 2009, Dan wrote:

    The Democrats could have had a bi-partisan bill months ago if they had dropped the idea of a public option. A bill that prohibited insurance companies from capping coverage and turning people away with preconditions, further expanded S-Chip (state subsidized children's health care) and Medicaid would have passed relatively easily. But Democrats want the "Holy Grail" i.e., single-payer ie socialized health care. Republicans (and I am not one) rightly worry that the "public option" is only a means to universal government provided health care. This debate, on both sides, is less about providing meaningful health care and more about promoting an ideology

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 4:36pm on 05 Nov 2009, Richard Savary wrote:

    "It looks like dithering in a world that values action over reflection?" No, I do not value action over reflection, i.e. at least not until there has been a lot of refection. I do NOT prefer action without sufficient thought. I DO wish that Obama would present his positions, which he shares with most of us who voted for him, and fight for them. We didn't vote for him to build consensus - with our ideological opposition. I thought we gave him OUR consensus when we voted for his campaign platform. I think it's pretty clear what we want from him. We never chose for him to share our hard-won power with those we so strongly disagree with. In other words, I wish he would lead, rather than administer quite so much.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 4:42pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 24, Stu:

    "This system (in the UK called the whip system - kinky I know) does not exist in the USA."

    Actually we have the same system. If you're curious:

    Senate Majority Whip: Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.
    Senate Minority Whip: Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.
    House Majority Whip: James Clyburn of South Carolina.
    House Minority Whip: Eric Cantor of Virginia.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 4:43pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Illinoisan (#39), it is the Congress that is writing the health care bills, not the President. Obama has no power to dictate the details to Congress.

    If, as you say, you are in favor of universal health care, how can you not require everyone to pay into it? If they can afford to pay into it but fail to do so, what would be your remedy?

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 4:51pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to a summary comparison of the various health care plans under consideration, from the Associated Press: The New York Times

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 4:52pm on 05 Nov 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The President and his team were simply unprepared for the corruption in Congress. He felt they would rise above the Gucci gang and do what is best for the country. Also, walking into the Bush/Cheney facilitated greatest banking theft in history...bankers stealing from the public,and wars constructed on lies, he realized that maybe his hopes for the country were not held by the greedy and corrupt vested interest and their hold on what is euphemistically called a democratic process. The Republicans understand that their empty rethortic and distortions of the truth can forestall any real efforts to move the country forward. The Republicans represent abusive big business and banking interest and realize that if you tell a lie long enough people will believe it. It is very dishearting to watch as their cynical media agents convince people that they should support ideas that are clearly not in their own interest. As the US falls behind in almost every important area, education, healthcare, personal income, etc., the Republicans are against everything and offer no positive solutions. In recent campaigns the Republicans and their claims to higher moral ground are reflected in campaigns based on distrotions of the truth and lies. If the people do not stand up the country will fall down, it is that simple. The surfs guard the Republican castle without understanding that they will never own the land.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 4:58pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    " ... especially not in the richest country on the planet." (from David Murrell at #15)

    There's that canard again. The US is not the richest country on the planet. It's somewhere from fourth to sixth, depending on how you measure wealth. (Links to documentation in a previous thread.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 5:31pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #42
    Philly-Mom wrote:
    Meh.

    Sure, the popularity vote wanted instant gratification. So?
    The need for Instant Gratification is why Americans are fat. We want McD's three times a day and a Starbucks on North & Southbound sides of the same block 'cause we don't want to be bothered with cooking or with crossing the street in traffic. Me. Me. Me.

    But, I did not vote for Obama because of his cool red shorts. I voted for him because of his socio-political perspectives on urban/rural & domestic/international environments, his strong emphasis on economy, industry, education and the environment, and for his cooperative/collaborative leadership style.

    __________________________-

    If that is why you voted for Obama I can respectfuly disagree with you. Too many people though voted for the hope and change slogan. I remember when supporters were asked his accomplishments or positions; many said that was unimportant but who he was and that he was Obama was important.

    I suspect many in NJ voted for Christie because of opposition to Corzine rather than Christie's positions

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 5:48pm on 05 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 38 MagicKirin wrote:

    "But what I see on BBC America and other networks in Europe on many foriegn [sic] issues is very 1 dimensional in their outlook. Bush is bad, the Palestinians are victims, the U.S should acceed [sic] to Russia [sic] demands, Obama is the greatest President ever, etc"

    Please provide an instance of where the BBC has stated that Obama is "the greatest President ever". We won't hold our breath.

    One of the many things Obama has on MK - being a lawyer, he comprehends the concepts of 'evidence' and 'proof'.

    What MK wants of course is a station that is Fair and Balanced like him - eg that knows that "Bush is the greatest President ever, the Israelis are victims - of the the Palestinians, the U.S should never agree with any other country [it's a sign of weakness], Obama is a socialist/communist/Muslim, and the worst President ever, etc" ad nauseam...


    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 5:57pm on 05 Nov 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    GH, I do believe that we should all pay in for universal health care, with the same percentage point. The rich who don't pay the same taxes as we do now would help pay for the health insurance of the poor. There is no reason why the rich should pay less percentage of taxes than the poor. We should all pay the same percentage At least, then we would all be covered and considered equal. Universal health care works in other countries and the Canadians, British, ect. seem reasonably happy. At least they are not in fear of going bankrupt, if they get sick or injured. In USA, if you do not have insurance and get sick, you could be in debt for the rest of your life, making your life one of servitude.

    But the real reason why I do not like Obama's health care plan is this fine he and Congress are proposing. If it passes, Obama will be known as the "President that Fines."

    Originally, Obama told us that if we voted for him, he would not fine people for not having health care. This is one of the reasons I voted for him. But he "changed his mind" on health care.

    The idea of fines on people who don't have health care is exactly what is wrong with Obama's health care plan. It's just plain wrong. Not only that, even with Obama's health care plan spending millions, perhaps billions, many millions will still not have health care and will still go in debt, the majority of them being people who do not make enough money to pay for health care, even with the subsidy, yet they do not qualify for Medicare/caid. So how will Obama and Congress insure these people who make too much to be considered poor, yet too little to afford health care? These people will instead get fined and penalized for not belonging to either category. The subsidies the govt. claims will help people pay for health care are not a guarantee that people will be able to afford it. What if they still can't pay? They get fined and they still don't get health care.

    When Obama was running, he said he wanted to have health care for all. Now, he has changed his mind. Obama wants to begin fining American citizens for what he deems "criminal activity."

    After President Obama and Congress's new plan, we will have a new offense, stating that "You are a criminal if you do not pay for health care. You will be fined and if you do not pay this fine, you will be sent to jail." This will be Obama's legacy to USA, is fines for not being insured.

    If Obama and Congress passes this unconstitutional fine, they are the criminals. Not us.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 6:02pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    45 yankee.


    "We didn't vote for him to build consensus - with our ideological opposition."

    I'm Kinda with you but WE did.
    I voted for Obama to say stuff the right. but I voted for him because he wasn't SOO left wing that he couldn't make it to president(wasted vote if that were the case).
    But Other people voted for other reasons.
    there is NO consensus , we did not fill out christmas lists like kids. we all had our own reasons.
    I wish all the Issues I wanted to be addressed to be addressed first but I am one of millions that voted.
    He promised to be from the middle and unfortunately that is exactly what he is doing.
    Then getting knocked for it.



    DAN44.
    so the default position is the republican position, and all else have to prove their point. but the gop doesn't.


    Why could the GOP not accept the single payer.
    because it is the democrats duty to to what the GOP want?


    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 6:04pm on 05 Nov 2009, aynwasright wrote:

    I'm counting the days until Nov 2010 when we go back to the polls, and I hope we throw every last greedy, scum sucking incumbent out of Congress, and replace them with true Americans who believe in serving the people instead of their own selfish interests and the covering of their own bee-hinds. I just hope this country survives 3 more years of "cool". *GAG*

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 6:15pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    48 gary there's a link. any comment or do you not have opinions?

    "42. At 4:18pm on 05 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:
    Meh.

    Sure, the popularity vote wanted instant gratification. So?
    The need for Instant Gratification is why Americans are fat. We want McD's three times a day and a Starbucks on North & Southbound sides of the same block 'cause we don't want to be bothered with cooking or with crossing the street in traffic. Me. Me. Me.

    But, I did not vote for Obama because of his cool red shorts. I voted for him because of his socio-political perspectives on urban/rural & domestic/international environments, his strong emphasis on economy, industry, education and the environment, and for his cooperative/collaborative leadership style.

    I have not been disappointed. He has done very well thus far. Significant changes in culture, industry, and public education take time in a free market economy. They are not effected by heavy handed policy, but by small policies and paradigm shifts. Frankly, I'm amazed that he's accomplished as much as he has.


    So, if the popularity polls want to b1tch, they can bite my Urban-30Something-Green-Rainbow-OverEducated-Underpaid-Working-Mom Rear End.
    -- They jus ain't got no culture.*"

    Philly mom. go for it.




    Gherky

    " the Palestinians are victims"
    yes they are. Are you saying they are not?

    Bush bad.
    yep destroyed America's perceived power.
    depleted the military, got NO gains. started two wars . Brought tax cuts that encouraged GM to build hummers not EV(electric vehicle) .


    Now GM failed as a result bad design and decisions on direction. encouraged by GW dumb down bush of the gas give aways in order to convince people to buy their rubbish milage cars.


    He also helped the banks and the financial industry with the bankruptcy protection gutting that caused the unpaid health bills to cause homes to be thrown on the market.
    So he gave some money to africa for aids. Anyone would have.
    Bill started it.


    Bush was an UTTER failure. so he could be considered "bad"

    Every Single problem that arose during his time was shoved of to one side to be dealt with later.
    he threw a tarp on the roof of america and said "let the next guy deal with it"

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 6:15pm on 05 Nov 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 24. RomeStu:

    I know that this is a very different philosophy of how to construct a government from what most European democracies operate under and that even most Americans don't get it, but if you read through any of the accounts of the writing of the US constitution you see that the goal was to prevent any one person or group or state or branch of government from running roughshod over the others. In spite of banding together during the revolution, most of the states didn't trust one another and didn't want to be dominated by the others. Getting things done in short order was not the goal. Keeping things from falling apart was.

    Remember that when the constitution was written the US was a fringe of small, slow-moving, largely agricultural, states strung out along the Atlantic coast. I seriously doubt that any of the framers thought that there would ever be a need to move quickly. The only exception in the constitution is in time of war, when the executive branch gets to take over. But according to the constitution only the Congress has the power to declare war, so even that prerogative of the president is hedged.

    So change happens very slowly in the US except under extraordinary circumstances like the Great Depression. It takes a long period of consensus-building before there is sufficient agreement among the various stakeholders to actually accomplish something important.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 6:17pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    37 Matt

    There I am in total agreement;)
    well said.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 6:24pm on 05 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    40. GH1618 wrote:
    "RomeStu (#24) "This system (in the UK called the whip system - kinky I know) does not exist in the USA."

    There are also "whips" in both houses of Congress, but they probably have less power than those in the UK Parliament."

    I didn't know that. In the UK system some bils or votes are open to the members personal views, whereas fundamental policy issues (ie manifesto pledges) can be subject to a 3-line whip. If a member of a certain party refuses to vote along party lines then they can be expelled from the party, leaving them as an independent, or else to join another party.

    It has tones of dictatorship, but on big issues does get things done. Problem is it's been abused over the years.

    -----------

    "Europeans have always been more advanced than Americans in the instruments of torture."

    Maybe in the middle ages ... but I think in the 21st century the USA has the crown .... and that is not a compliment.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 6:31pm on 05 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    44 dan
    "But Democrats want the "Holy Grail" i.e., single-payer ie socialized health care. Republicans (and I am not one) rightly worry that the "public option" is only a means to universal government provided health care. This debate, on both sides, is less about providing meaningful health care and more about promoting an ideology"

    The ideology is all on the republican side. They are radically opposed to introducing anything "public". The democrats are not ideologically pro public - just in this case it has been proven to be the most economically viable way of covering 100% of the population.

    The democrats have realised that single-payer universal healthcare works extremely well in many european countries .... and no one gets left out.

    We live longer, have lower infant mortality and cost less per capita in health spending.

    To set up a new system is a big step, but the USA has the advantage of cherry picking the best way to make it work by studying the various different european options

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 6:53pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    60 stu you should meet up with the guy that keeps insisting (from italy ) that the life expectancy and infant mortality are not related to the health system.


    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 6:53pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    only so you might be able to set him straight.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 7:08pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#60), there is not yet a consensus Democratic plan; there are separate House and Senate Democratic plans. (See linked document in post #48.)

    The first Senate plan (from Sen. Baucus) did not have a public option. The current Senate plan, reconciled from competing versions, may have some sort of public option, either with "opt-out" (Sen. Reid's idea) or as a contingency (Sen. Snowe's idea). The public option is the sticking point in the Senate, and I'm guessing that Sen. Snowe (a Republican) will get her way or the final bill will not pass the Senate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 7:10pm on 05 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    51. MagicKirin:
    You are not seeing the forest for the trees. You argue with what you think I said rather than what I said.

    I actually agree with your sentiment that many persons of the popular vote do not research candidates' education, experience, paradigm of governance, life history, financial backing, or even their full platform in detail.

    I am not one of those voters. I was aware of both candidates over a year before the RNC/DNC ever met and was already reading everything I could about them. Oddly enough, McCain would have been my man 2004 because of the war effort, but he wasn't in 2008. By then, the war(s) needed to end and Obama was a clear choice (IMHO) for many logical reasons.

    You know, my dear Mr.Magical, you frustrate me. You react before you read, you are terse, you resort to badly punctuated name-calling, and you are an embarrassment to my national pride. Chill. You. Must. Chill. Perhaps, instead of repeatedly harping on the same absurdities about Obama's qualifications, you could hire a nice therapist in order to work out your anger issues?
    ______________

    49. ghostofsichuan: Thank you for your poignant reflection. You restore my confidence in American Sanity. Please continue being sane. Please.
    ______________

    14. John_From_Dublin:

    "Today Israel stopped a major weapons shipment from Iran to Hezbollah, another example of the world laughing (sic) a weak President."

    Hmmm... well... I hear your concern. IMHO Israel's been acting inappropriately for decades and their trumped-up pseudo-theocracy frightens me.

    But, do you really think this reflects badly on Obama? How? Why?
    -- Obama was voted into office to represent his people, and we happen to have a lot of Zionist pro-Israel folks over here. I don't agree with their press hype, but a lot of people here seriously believe that GOD wants Israel to exist. Srsly.
    -- Hezbollah has been presented in popular press as a bunch of leftist Islamic Terrorists, and (In case you haven't noticed.) such folks are kind of our enemy right now. We hates them. You know, those extremest Towel-Heads? We hates them. Duuuuhhh... Give them guns? Ewwww...
    -- Obama can't really do bo-diddly-squat about this. His job is to serve, protect and represent the states and Hezbollah doesn't pose a threat to the states. He can declare war and call in the troops, but that would be silly AND it would require the approval of Congress... who would never buy it. Too many of our Congressional rep.s are voted in by the aforementioned Zionists and by folks who would consider it a 'fiscal waste' to deal with Israel. Congressmen would loose their jobs for taking that stand.

    Now, a buddy of my was on a "Christian Peacemaker Team" staging peaceful protests in Palestine and got shot at by Israeli troops, and I heard that a young American woman was buried alive by an Israeli bulldozer a few years back... but really. Those were just misunderstandings and accidents, I'm sure. (Hmmmm....)
    -- But other than sending in Hillary, what do you expect Obama to do?
    -- He's just our president, he ain't Gawd.

    (Neither is he 'The Patrician,' for that matter - Thank the Maker.)

    __________

    PS To All: Now that I've realized that my previous post was #42, my day is a bit brighter. I will now go hum a little tune to myself and have a cuppa joe. Peace.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 7:20pm on 05 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #55 You're nuts.

    Are talking about the Republicans? Sounds like it to me.

    Let's hope Congress goes all blue in 2010 and, using SW radio, sucks your healthcare from out of your eyes!

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 7:29pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 25, David:

    "If so why didn’t any NATO troops support the UK when one of its territories was invaded in 1982?"

    Because the no one in NATO thought that Argentina had a snow cone's chance in hell of defeating the British. If Argentina had posed a serious ongoing threat to the U.K.'s sovereignty, NATO would have pitched in. There simply was no need.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 7:38pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    66 Americans still allowed arms shipments through to Argentina.

    Thatcher had allowed the war to happen. by not making it clear that she meant business.
    she could have sent a few ships to the area and held some joint nato training exercise, but she didn't. despite being warned by the diplomatic staff in Argentina.



    65 Dceiler.
    lol
    Yes but wasn't it you that advised me to give up on that one;)

    Have fun.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 7:39pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    AndyPost (#66), here is the first paragraph of Article 5 of The North Atlantic Treaty:

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

    As the Falklands are not in Europe or North America, it seems to me that the NATO treaty would not apply.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 7:43pm on 05 Nov 2009, MattofNJ wrote:

    My advice to Obama: Lead, Follow, or get out of the way. That is why you were elected.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 7:44pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a supplement, Article 6 of The North Atlantic Treaty:

    For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

    on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
    on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 7:52pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    66 andypost. the Argentines were armed with exocet missiles, napalm (which they didn't use) and Big ships and loads of REAL fighter jets.
    But they were not to be considered a threat?


    They had a huge conscript army. but they were not a threat?
    but a group holed up in the mountains with no armour, no airforce, no regular army.
    they were to be considered more of a threat?


    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 7:55pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 68, GH:

    Ok, point taken.

    Allow me amend my comments to replace "NATO" with "the U.S." I read question incorrectly as asking not why Germany or Holland didn't assist the British, but why we didn't.

    I still don't know how Galtieri thought he was going to supply his forces. The British may not have been the preeminent naval power in the world, but it was (and still is) head and shoulders above all but the U.S.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 7:56pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #64

    Philly-Mom what is your problem? I said I could respectfully disagree with you because you have reasons for supporting Obama.

    Too many peple don't. It's like when people will always vote for a Kennedy, that is how Ted got elected in the first place. As someone who votes on the merits not the party I feel comfortable criticzing people who look at things blue or red.

    You Dominick and I don't.

    Dublin,Fluff and Simon do.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 8:05pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    AndyPost (#72), well the US did provide intelligence assistance to the UK. The US was in the difficult political position of having friendly relations with S. American countries which would have been jeopardized if we actually entered the conflict. Also, there was disagreement within the administration. You may remember that UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick was tilting toward Argentina, while Sec. of State Haig was tilting toward the UK.

    As for Galtieri, he was expecting that the UK would not go to such trouble and expense to reassert their claim on the Falklands.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 8:07pm on 05 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #67 Fluffy

    Yes you're right of course. I must resist.

    ------------------

    #68 and 70 GH1618

    It's not the details of the NA Treaty that's the issue, but it's legitimacy. No other treaty organisation, like in South America or in Africa, have a right to invade another sovereign nation on the other side of the world if a member is attacked. NATO is a mask for colonialism that serves the interests of an imperialist West.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 8:09pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 71, fluff:

    "But they were not to be considered a threat?"

    It depends what you mean by "threat." There's a misconception amongst the populations of the NATO countries that the Western powers are so dominant that we can expect to not only win every war, but every battle, and without taking casualties. That's simply not realistic.

    Argentina had no way of attacking the British Isles. Their air force could barely have reached north of the equator, and if they were to have sent a task force toward Europe, they would have ended up on the ocean floor.

    By the way, wasn't the Scheffield sunk by an Exocet?

    "...a group holed up in the mountains with no armour, no airforce, no regular army. They were to be considered more of a threat?""

    Argentina fought a conventional war against the the British. Asymmetrical warfare is a different animal entirely and presents different threats. Even if the Argentinians had had nuclear weapons, for instance, they wouldn't have used them. For that matter, the British never considered using theirs. But I don't trust that some of our current enemies would feel the same way.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 8:23pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 75, dceilar:

    "No other treaty organisation, like in South America or in Africa, have a right to invade another sovereign nation on the other side of the world if a member is attacked. NATO is a mask for colonialism that serves the interests of an imperialist West."

    Oh, please. Every country has the right to counter attack a country that attacked it. Treaties are typically all about that. It's not too much of a stretch to extend that to a right to attack non-national groups. Colonialism? Give me a break. What profit could we possibly think we're going to get out of Afghanistan? The Afghans are as poor as any people on Earth.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 8:32pm on 05 Nov 2009, AndreaNY wrote:

    44. Dan:

    "The Democrats could have had a bi-partisan bill months ago if they had dropped the idea of a public option."

    *****************

    The Dems are not interested in a bipartisan bill. They don't have to be, and they aren't.

    Tort reform could have been any easy bone to throw Republicans, but they couldn't even muster up that one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 8:33pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Getting back to the main topic, it seems that both the American Association of Retired People and the American Medical Association are supporting the House Democratic health care bill: CNN

    That the AARP would support it is not surprising, but that the AMA would is another matter.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 8:34pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 74, GH:

    "You may remember that UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick was tilting toward Argentina."

    Uh, no, she was appointed by Clinton not Reagan.

    In '97 she was opposed to a proposed agreement between the U.S. and Britain to limit U.S. arms sales to Argentina (or at least give Britain the right of approval). She lost.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 8:38pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Gherkin.
    John in Dublin has been polite to you.
    Simon called you a racist (but most would agree)

    yes I am not pleasant to you. but then I see no reason to be pleasant to people that advocate murder and genocide regularly.


    Andy The Sheffield Was sunk by an Exocet.
    Yes.
    Not the only ship either.

    I get what you are saying but really.
    asymmetric etc.
    It was a bunch of terrorists hiding in the hills with One of many taliban groups protecting them.
    THERE was NO ARMY.

    The threat was not to the UK but to the territory of the UK.
    are you going to pretend that america would have said . "who cares about the millions in fishing rights and mineral rights attached to that rock?"



    " What profit could we possibly think we're going to get out of Afghanistan? The Afghans are as poor as any people on Earth."

    PIPELINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You do know that there are issues over the route of that pipeline.


    American companies thought they would also be the only benefactors of getting rid of saddam. but they got that one wrong as well.


    It was formed to stop the commies.
    SIMPLE.
    Commies that wanted to share wealth out(even if they ended up concentrating it like all the"top " people do.

    "Argentina fought a conventional war against the the British. Asymmetrical warfare is a different animal entirely and presents different threats. Even if the Argentinians had had nuclear weapons, for instance, they wouldn't have used them. For that matter, the British never considered using theirs. But I don't trust that some of our current enemies would feel the same way."


    They had napalm in their stock piles when Port stanley was taken. That is not considered planning a "conventional" war.




    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 8:39pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline

    This pipeline

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 8:41pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Adrienny.
    So What exactly is it the republicans have compromised on.
    Or do they get to say
    " we lost the elections so do it our way or we will act like spoilt brats."

    That isn't comprimise

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 8:45pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    "The Dems are not interested in a bipartisan bill. They don't have to be, and they aren't." (from AndreaNY at #78)

    Sen. Baucus attempted to produce one: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/54047

    In the end, he got only Sen. Snowe's tentative support, and was thought by many to have gone too far in his attempt to satisfy Republicans. That was the last chance for the Republicans to show some interest in bipartisanship, I think. The problem now is only to get a final bill which can get past a Senate filibuster. Where will Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Snowe be?

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 8:52pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Sorry just waiting for Camberwell to show up and start debating.
    Must be waiting for me to attack the states again to jump to the defence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 8:56pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    84. At 8:45pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:
    "The Dems are not interested in a bipartisan bill. They don't have to be, and they aren't." (from AndreaNY at #78)

    Sen. Baucus attempted to produce one: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/54047

    In the end, he got only Sen. Snowe's tentative support, and was thought by many to have gone too far in his attempt to satisfy Republicans. That was the last chance for the Republicans to show some interest in bipartisanship, I think. The problem now is only to get a final bill which can get past a Senate filibuster. Where will Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Snowe be?"


    AGry I have to say this is pleasant to read from you. it seems you have become a bit more even. well done


    Now do remember it were I that picked olympia for the next viable republican cantidate;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 9:00pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to an obituary for Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick in the Washington Post. Ms. Kirkpatrick was the first female ambassador to the UN from the US, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

    It's so easy to look this stuff up, I don't understand why some people make erroneous assertions about elementary historical facts off the top of their heads.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 9:17pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's an informative article from Time on the differing points of view from Haig and Kirkpatrick during the Falklands War.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 9:23pm on 05 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #77 AndyPost

    Oh, please. Every country has the right to counter attack a country that attacked it. Treaties are typically all about that. It's not too much of a stretch to extend that to a right to attack non-national groups.

    The NATO treaty goes beyond that Andy, as I'm sure GH will post some Articles of that Treaty. All NATO members can invade, with small exceptions, if a member is attacked. And attack anywhere in the world. NATO reflects the military might of the West. It has aggressive military positions that in our lovely media translate into Orwellian doublespeak as 'defensive positions'!

    Colonialism? Give me a break. What profit could we possibly think we're going to get out of Afghanistan? The Afghans are as poor as any people on Earth.

    That never stopped the British or the Russians, and now NATO led by the US. I wonder if also has anything to do with a certain pipeline.

    All this follows the maxim of Thucydides: Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. This maxim rang true in ancient Greek times and continues to the present.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 9:32pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Thucydides made a good point, which is why the United States must remain strong.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 9:35pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's another thoughtful remark by Thucydides:

    Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 9:45pm on 05 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    73 Magic:
    Aha... oops. I misread your text and took you to mean something incorrect. I would like to officially apologize and to blame both a lack of sleep and of coffee for my errant reaction your post. I had read it as retaliatory rather than conciliatory. My bad.
    _____________

    45. yankeetwo
    "I do NOT prefer action without sufficient thought. I DO wish that Obama would present his positions, which he shares with most of us who voted for him, and fight for them. We didn't vote for him to build consensus - with our ideological opposition."

    Firstly, congratulations on the Yankees fourth and final victory over my poor, poor Phillies. Well played. *sigh*

    Secondly, his views are posted online for anyone who's interested to go and see. If his views don't get air-time, it's not his fault.

    Besides, Obama only won by a slight majority and there is a very strongly conservative 'vocal minority' right now. Small victories might not get air-time and big victories (like healthcare) REQUIRE collaboration with congress... which REQUIRES collaboration with persons of significantly differing views...

    Obama's collaborative decision making process is actually an asset for our grid-lock prone Capitol Hill. He will (gradually) accomplish much more than any Hot-Headed "Maverick".

    Of course, isn't it ironic that our slow-moving & cautious collaborator is being decried as a meddling heavy-handed power-wielding socialist fascist? Amusing.

    Oh well. I figure that if you're pissing of the far left and the far right than you're probably doing the right thing. I just wish the volume of the irate extremes weren't so loud.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 9:48pm on 05 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    90 Gary. How is strength defined?

    Military power?
    Financial, Diplomatic.
    the diplomatic power was lost but may have been found again.
    the military . Is powerful but scares no one anymore. they Know we cannot fight another war. and be effective.

    Financial.
    We owe china the whole country.


    Today President Obama meets with some of the real local americans.
    hey used to Give out excess wealth. If they didn't give they must be not doing well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potlatch

    A nice intent
    Shame it was banned. until 1951

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 10:20pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    "How is strength defined?"

    "Strength" is the power to achieve one's objectives.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 10:33pm on 05 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #90 GH

    Thucydides made a good point, which is why the United States must remain strong.

    Strong for what?

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 11:24pm on 05 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 97. At 11:27pm on 05 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 87, GH:

    "It's so easy to look this stuff up, I don't understand why some people make erroneous assertions about elementary historical facts off the top of their heads."

    I'm flattered that you think I remembered that there was a debate in Washington about the sale of F-16s to Argentina in 1997.

    I can't remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.

    I have a foggy memory of past events which I google to verify. Often times I find out that I'm dead wrong, but of course I don't let on to that. This technique makes me appear to know a heck of a lot more than I do, so basically I'm cheating. I've admitted to this before back when Justin ran this blog.

    In this case during my googling I got my wires crossed. Exactly how I managed to get confused between Albright and Kirkpatrick, I don't know, but I managed to do it. Moving a little too fast, I guess.

    Anyway, from Wikipedia:

    "She [Kirkpatrick] was one of the strongest supporters of Argentina's military dictatorship following the March 1982 Argentine invasion of the United Kingdom's Falkland Islands, which triggered the Falklands War."

    There you go.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 11:43pm on 05 Nov 2009, seanspa wrote:

    #96. Name one resolution for each of "Chamberlen,Bevin and Carter" where they were against a jew defending himself. Sorry, but war crimes don't count as defence. No? Ok, if it helps, forget that exclusion. Let's have some examples. I'm fascinated to know when Chamberlen, whoever he was, supported a resolution against the jews.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 11:51pm on 05 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 64 Philly-Mom wrote:

    "14. John_From_Dublin:

    "Today Israel stopped a major weapons shipment from Iran to Hezbollah, another example of the world laughing (sic) a weak President.""

    You appear to be confusing me with that noted defamer and rightwing extremist "MagicKirin". I was merely quoting his words to demonstrate how ludicrous they were.

    You will be hearing from my legal representatives, Messrs. Sue, Grabbitte & Runne, in the morning.

    ;-p

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 00:12am on 06 Nov 2009, McJakome wrote:

    24. At 11:34am on 05 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:
    It is often difficult for non-Americans to understand that the President has little direct power domestically, as laws have to come out of congress....
    "It does seem to this outsider to have strong negatives, as well as the stated positive aim of seperating the executive from the legislative. Is the US president really more of a figurehead than we are lead to believe?"
    The president is not a "figurehead." The office combines the functions of Chief of State [UK Monarch] and Chief of Government [UK PM], but the division of powers or "checks and balances" were designed to prevent either a rogue parliament or too powerful monarch [See George III]. This results in the curious situation that the POTUS has more power overseas than in the US. Imagine what George W. Bush might have been like had he had the unrestrained power of the UK's PM!

    I agree that this is inefficient and can cause problems. Had Roosevelt had the PM's powers, US entry into WWII might have been expedited. However this is a federal system in which the form of government is the same from bottom to top. It has served its purpose for well over 200 years. For the reasoning behind keeping the military power at bay, the founders undoubtedly were thinking about the Rubicon rule of Rome.

    The US was designed by very astute and well educated [in the classics] leaders who wanted to secure liberty by restraining government. Efficiency was not part of the plan. I recommend that you read the Federalist Papers for an inside view of what they had in mind. The 18th Century English can be difficult so readers whose native language is something else should look for a translation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 00:16am on 06 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 96 MagicKirin wrote:

    [Apparently addressed to 'fluffytale', 'Simon21', and myself.]

    "Actually you three share the same tolerance and respect for others that the represetatives [sic] of the U.N who voted for the bogus racist report condemening [sic] Israel for defending itself."

    1. MK lecturing others on tolerance and respect for others is akin to Hitler lecturing on 'how to be openminded and not lose your temper'. The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming. From Mandela to Tutu to Michelle Obama, his repetitive, intolerant, disrespectful and semi-literate slurs are endless.

    2. 'Israel defending itself' is an endless obsession of his. [By the way - he loves to blame others for dragging Israel into the discussion when it's not relevant. Pot, kettle.] It's important to be clear that in his sad, strange, unpleasant little world, Israel can never do anything wrong. Any act of violence or aggression by Israel is automatically self-defence. It may kill 100 times more of the other side, including civilians, women and children - self-defence. Anyone killed or injured by Israel, whether armed or unarmed - their own fault. Israel was only defending itself. It therefore follows that to MK anyone who dares to criticise ANY action of the State of Israel is opposed to Israel defending itself, and is therefore anti-Semitic. Including, apparently, the Jewish judge Goldstone.

    3. "And the fact that you three would consider me a racist is a badge of honor as you would have gladly supported Chamberlen [sic - this is approx the 97th time you have spelled his name wrong],Bevin and Carter three appeasers who would gladly support any resolution against a Jew defending himself."

    I have never called you a racist. Once again you lie - and lie - and lie. You are an arrogant, bigoted, petty, small-minded, smearing, defamatory liar certainly. You have repeatedly proved that. But you haven't yet proved that you are a racist.

    4. I don't speak for Simon or Fluffy - they can do that themselves. You have no proof that I would ever have supported appeasement or Chamberlain. I wouldn't. Bevin was a Minister in Churchill's wartime government - some 'appeaser'. From Wikipedia - "He was a firm opponent of fascism and of British appeasement of the fascist powers". More MK lies.

    5. To the tune of 'The Itchy And Scratchy Show' from 'The Simpsons'

    'He lies - and smears - and lies and lies and smears. Lies, lies, lies - smears, smears, smears - the Magic and Kirin Showwwww'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 00:20am on 06 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 98 seanspa [to MK]

    "Name one resolution for each of "Chamberlen,Bevin and Carter" where they were against a jew defending himself. Sorry, but war crimes don't count as defence. No? Ok, if it helps, forget that exclusion. Let's have some examples. I'm fascinated to know when Chamberlen, whoever he was, supported a resolution against the jews."

    ______________

    Seanspa, if you expect truth, evidence, facts, proof or honesty from MK, you are wasting your time, as he has repeatedly demonstrated here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 00:46am on 06 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #98

    I suggest you reread my statement

    Chamberlen appeased Hiltler would have sold out the Jewish people just like he did central europe.

    Bevin as foriegn minister broke agreements negotiated and heavily favored the Arab side. good that Truman put that union aparchik in his place.
    Carter has been supporting Palestinian terrorism and wrote a defamatory book about Israel, that resulted in mass resignations from the Carter center.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 02:17am on 06 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    AndyPost (#97), I did figure out that you must have been thinking about Albright. I am impressed that you remembered that bit about the arms sales. I remember all the Falklands War stuff, because I was reading the entire NYT coverage at the time.

    Oh, and I liked your response to dceilar in #77. I thought "I have nothing to add to that."

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 02:30am on 06 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    94. At 10:20pm on 05 Nov 2009, GH1618 wrote:
    "How is strength defined?"

    "Strength" is the power to achieve one's objectives.
    --------------------------------
    Good one.
    Question. By any means?

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 02:37am on 06 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    103 Gherkin

    "Chamberlen appeased Hiltler would have sold out the Jewish people just like he did central europe."

    America and it's people and leaders did seem to be doing a bit more "appeasing" as you would say.
    I think they went so far as to supply some equipment to the Nazis and they also managed to wait so bloody long to join in (with the exception of the truly heroic American volunteers that joined up for their future) that the gas chambers were already in full effect.


    That seems to be the ultimate appeasement. so that horse. it looks pretty tall. are you wearing helmet.
    (horse riding is more dangerous than....;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 02:44am on 06 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    104 Gary you like his question to dceiler but you ignore the answer to it.
    Yes there was an attack on american soil.
    but there was also a very big pipeline project.

    that project was probably not discounted by those making the decision.
    There was a highly volatile country in the midst of a civil war and we wanted to build the big pipe of all time right through it.

    do you not think that two people (OK more) that could be so miscalculating as to think "mission accomplished" could not also be so miscalculating that the Afghans would also unite behind them and make it easy to build that pipe line.
    I reckon they were better at judging the American mentality than the mentality of the people they were facing .
    there's the problem.


    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 02:47am on 06 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    gherkin don't feel singled out.
    ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 04:00am on 06 Nov 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    103. At 00:46am on 06 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    "Carter has been supporting Palestinian terrorism and wrote a defamatory book about Israel, ..."
    __________

    Dear Magic:

    Defamation is a tort, and is personal. It is about personal injury to reputation. It is a matter of definition that you cannot "defame" an entire country any more than you can defame a company.

    Yours,

    IF

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 09:41am on 06 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #109

    Note to IF you can write a defamatory book about a nation, said nation can't sue you for it.

    To the trio of hate, I brought up Israel on this occasion as an example of Obama lack of leadership. He could have embarassed the U.N HRC by supporting Israel's discovery of Hezbollah taking in arms which would made the U.N vote on the war crimes even less legitimate. A real leader would have seized that oppurtunity

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 11:14am on 06 Nov 2009, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 110MagicKirin wrote:

    "To the trio of hate, I brought up Israel on this occasion as an example of Obama (sic) lack of leadership. He could have embarassed the U.N HRC by supporting Israel's discovery of Hezbollah taking in arms which would made (sic) the U.N vote on the war crimes even less legitimate. A real leader would have seized that oppurtunity (sic)"

    The trio of hate? Well, there's Magic and Kirin, both consumed by hatred, bile and prejudice. That's only 2.

    Magic hates everyone who disputes his rabid right wing viewpoint.

    I hate liars, bigots, defamers and smearers.

    Perhaps the President thinks the billions of dollars he gives Israel is more than enough support...

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 12:03pm on 06 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Doubled over in Dublin;

    You don't have to remind Americans that Europeans have persecuted Jews for over a thousand years culminating in Hitler's attempt to kill every last Jew in Europe as all of Europe sat by indifferent to the buildup to it. It comes as no surprise to me that many Europeans are indifferent to the real threat to the existance of a Jewish state even though it is not in Europe, a threat that has tried perpetually to destroy it since its inception over 60 years ago. Nor that one reason many Europeans hate America is that it has largely been responsible for making the destruction of Israel impossible. I haven't heard anyone say they wanted to erase Europe from the map. If you think I feel that way, I leave you free to draw your own conclusions. But in all honesty, I wouldn't shed a tear if Europe went out of existance. I don't see it as being of any value to me whatsoever.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 12:04pm on 06 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #107 Fluffy

    I noticed that both of them ignored my answer. Some people don't like their dogmas challenged. Since the fall of the Soviet Union there is no need for the continued existence of NATO. They also just see Afghanistan as a poor country that is a burden - they ignore Afghanistan's great geo-strategic importance for energy supply. They choose to ignore NATO's bombing of Serbia as being illegal, citing at as 'humanitarian intervention' (the West's then new name for bombing civilians that would make Orwell blush). All the while NATO (with huge US aid) was supporting Turkey during its atrocities against the Kurds (which were far worse then anything that happened in Kosovo), and the US was supporting Indonesia in its mass murder of East Timorese

    When the Wall fell Gorby more or less allowed the unified Germany to join NATO, on the condition it would go no further east. Considering what damage Germany had done to Russia twice in the 20th century this was a big concession. Gorby also called for a nuclear free zone from the Arctic to the Med which was of course ignored.

    One of the first things Clinton did was to expand NATO eastwards - a threat to Russia. I read that James Reid, Obama's national security advisor, advocates NATO expansion further east and south to control energy producing countries. Hoop Scheffer, the current head of NATO, advocates NATO taking responsibility for protecting energy supplies to the west.

    Perhaps they prefer to ignore these facts because they don't like them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 12:31pm on 06 Nov 2009, seanspa wrote:

    MK, so is this 'chamberlen' the same guy that declared war on germany despite his own country not being attacked, in order to defend the rights of other countries in europe? Some treacherous bloke, clearly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 12:54pm on 06 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    John-from-Dublin


    Please kindly refrain from feeding the Trolls. It may cause them to multiply.

    Thank You

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 1:00pm on 06 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #114 Seanspa

    All the while America just watched Nazi Germany doing all sorts of hideous stuff to Jews, anti-Fascists, and invading countries willy-nilly. MK and others need to see the mass graves in northern France and Belgium of solders from countries all over the world so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

    Who is this 'chamberlen' guy anyway?

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 2:01pm on 06 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref 111 and 113

    To 2/3rds of the trio of hate.

    First I am not right wing or left wing, many of us go beyond the simplistic tags. Because I happen to disagree with Obama and recognize Islamic terrorism as the major global threat that make me right wing to you.

    If Nato is obsolte, how about the U.N; their track record in Africa, the Middle East leaves much to be desired.

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 2:33pm on 06 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #117 Majik

    If Nato is obsolte, how about the U.N; their track record in Africa, the Middle East leaves much to be desired.

    The Security Council is obsolete as well. The UN's track record would be far better without it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 3:02pm on 06 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    117 magic
    "To 2/3rds of the trio of hate.

    First I am not right wing or left wing, many of us go beyond the simplistic tags."


    So "Trio of Hate" is not a simplistic tag!

    Trio of Hate .... Axis of Evil .... are you sure you're not Karl Rove blogging from a padded cell somewhere.

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 3:03pm on 06 Nov 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    117 magic
    "Because I happen to disagree with Obama and recognize Islamic terrorism as the major global threat that make me right wing to you."


    No you can't be right wing - the right wing thinks the major threat is universal healthcare!!

    ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 6:10pm on 06 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    "He could have embarassed the U.N HRC by supporting Israel's discovery of Hezbollah taking in arms which would made the U.N vote on the war crimes even less legitimate. A real leader would have seized that oppurtunity"

    gherky logic at its best.

    we supply israel. surely the palestinians have a right to self defence ? right?


    MA the fool


    which company kept those death trains running on time?

    I can tell you they were an american company.

    as for all them other " help kill the jews " americans that sat back and said "not my war".
    what part of stopping the tyranny of Hitler did they play, before the victims were murdered. (PS not just jews you do know that right)

    Tell me how the Brits who fought were less helpful to the Jews than the Americans that sat back and watched.


    but enough/ time to laugh and Sromestu's 120 provides that

    cheers stu

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 6:16pm on 06 Nov 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    120.
    Yeah, two right wings.

    Leads to spiral flight. Downward.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 1:51pm on 07 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    fluffbrain, if you think most Americans will allow the left to drag America into the human sewer that is Europe, you are badly mistaken. It was not now and never will be America's job to keep Europeans from killing each other. That is what they do best when left to their own devices. I would like to see the US pull all its forces out of Europe to see what will happen. It would save American taxpayers a lot of money. I can hardly believe the US still pays money to keep a standing army in Europe. To defend it? From what, itself? It is you who are the fool. Your side is losing. If this last week didn't prove it, I don't know what will. Maybe the next election. Maybe if President Obama tries to sell out the US in Copenhagen. Maybe if there is another Islamic terrorist attack like the one this week at Fort Hood because we had to be politically correct and let our guard down ignoring the warnings. Maybe Obama won't last till 2012. Another 9-11 and there will be sure talk of impeachment at the very least. The war on terror is far from over even if the Democrats don't want to fight it. The other side has hardly given up, in fact when you take the world as a whole they are winning.

    As I've posted in predictions for the longest time it would, the roadmap the quartet devised is dead as a doornail, it lead to a dead end. Israel is on the front lines of the war on terror, always has been. If Obama does not give them 100% support as President Bush did, he will never see another swearing in except as a spectator to his successor.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 1:55pm on 07 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    morning marcus. how was the other end of the beach?
    did you manage to upset them as well?
    Did they call you a ikkle misogynist? ; (.

    poor boy
    "you must do better". Ii bet you got that a lot on your report cards.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 2:02pm on 07 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    last week you said your support was for america. seems that was just for the day.

    your predictions are about as worth while as me trying to divine some meaning from the splatter of my cats pee.


    isn't it a bit provocative to try saying europeans kill each other considering the american news at Ft hood and florida?
    .
    You have no taste do you.
    That might explain your wine tastes.
    (sam and others assured me as a non drinker that the wines you favoured were anti freeze filled plonk)


    Hide out here. you might get reamed again .
    I would note that once (recently) you said you were never bested by a woman.

    But I distinctly remember several taking you to the cleaners here.
    and we saw it again.

    cough cough

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 3:19pm on 07 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    gee fluffbrain, I mentioned once that I bought a lot of classified Bordeaux when it was cheap and I'm amazed at how jealous so many are. Funny, I hardly ever drink it or think about drinking it, there are so many other things to do in life. Once in awhile it is very pleasant so I probably have enough to last me most of my life. Good thing those wines age for so long without going bad.

    I don't ever recall me saying I was bested by a woman. That was your wishful thinking, maybe you imagined it in some dream.

    Most of the time Americans kill each other on a one by one scale. When a few people get killed, it's a mass murder or massacre by our standards. Like the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in the gangland era. When other people commit mass murder like in Europe or Africa, its by the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions. In the realm of mass murder, I'm afraid the US is way down on the list.

    "your predictions are about as worth while as me trying to divine some meaning from the splatter of my cats pee."

    As you know, the princess of pee doesn't post here anymore. Your friends who run Iran saw to that. Now whom do you suppose will see to them? If President Obama doesn't it will fall on Natanyahu's shoulders. How unfair to force Israel to clean up a mess the US and Europe has allowed to threaten the whole world including themselves. Well it's a rough job but someone will have to do it. Some Frenchman, maybe it was Sarkozy said again Iran would not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Now what do you suppose they intend to do to stop them, try to talk them to death for another two years?

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 3:41pm on 07 Nov 2009, Marica wrote:

    I have been living in South Carolina for the past year and a half. It is a very interesting state. I feel for Obama and what he is trying to achieve. If the health bill he proposes passes then America is on its way to civilisation. Unfortunately, I have found people to be not very open about suggestions and change is not something the public embraces very well. A perfect example is Charleston. Nothing changes and people are stuck in a past world, but hey they like it like that as this is the beyest! After having lived in Australia for 24 years, living here is like living on a Gone with the Wind set. The majority think the new healthcare bills are socialistic ideals. A lot of European countries have an excellent healthcare system as does Australia. The phobia is phenomenal, the ignorance rife. Religious and race tolerance is something that has not reached this area, superficially it might but realistically it does not. In the typical southern way of thinkin " We ain't gonna be like those darned European socialist people like". They are political and religious hotheads. Of course us Europeans have antennae coming out of our heads as well, by the way!!!!!!!!!!! Boy oh boy is this country in a mess! And of course most blame Obama for it, the poor guy has only inherited a system that was on the brink of collapse and is trying this best to rectify it. Time will tell and for the american public: Just learn to give people a fair go. Stop whining constantly and embrace change positively as only this will make you move forward, your country deserves this.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 4:17pm on 07 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marcus Are you seeing double or did you just drink one

    "I would note that once (recently) you said you were never bested by a woman."

    but to you
    "I don't ever recall me saying I was bested by a woman. That was your wishful thinking, "
    unless you are denying that TC made you look like a complete utter misogynistic fool.
    That you tried to make out you weren't was when you were bested.

    OH and then there were the numerous times Timeswait &Bere and the rest could be bothered to delve in and drop you a peg or two.

    Then there was Wandering Angus , 80%.
    You never got out from under her heels if she put her foot down.

    really your memory must be failing unlike mine.


    Then you go off in glee that the Princess in the pea is not posting , again as if you have a real issue with her.
    Maybe she bested you as well.
    Good just imagine if she were french.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 4:20pm on 07 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    127 Marcia bringing sense to the states.
    one 'Forner' at a time;)

    As a pomme I say
    "G'day have a stubby on me"

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 8:07pm on 07 Nov 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    The greater part of this blog now consists of ubermensch and staph. aureus, making comments and others replying to them. It has become troll heaven.

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 8:29pm on 07 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    lol marbles. Yep old days are here again;)

    good to see you

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 01:58am on 08 Nov 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark Mardell:

    Yes, Obama has risen above the sea many times (and) he, is also, going to
    rise above it again...

    =Dennis Junior=

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 04:46am on 09 Nov 2009, Peter Hale wrote:

    Mark - As a fellow Brit you know very well that the subject is not health care. The NHS was launched in the UK in the late 40's to provide very basic health care mainly to war widows and orphans. It developed with the introduction of wellness programs for pregnant women and for infants ( you must remember the concentrated orange juice when you were a kid)Since then it has been hijacked by interest groups and is now a political football. At every election cycle the parties vie to be the one to commit more tax payers money to the health service (not to health care by the way) If you can prove a psycological issue such things as breast enlargement/reduction or penile extensions or removals can be available to you at taxpayers expense. There has been many right wing distortions put out in the public domain of the US. The NHS has been labeled as inferior care to what is available in the US. Totally not true. What is wrong is the politics of the NHS and US health care. No Government should be involved with health care other than providing the money to provide for people who cannot. Obamacare will become a political football and a giant Government money raising scheme forever.
    To show my bonafides, I am recovering from a heart transplant carried out by the finest team in the world in Los Angeles and funded by my job provided healthcare with limited copays (less than $5k) My medications for life will be very expensive and will cost me $150.00 per month in copay. Leave healthcare to the professionals.

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 04:24am on 12 Nov 2009, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    President Obama is a cheap politician in a good suit. If it's taking him a long time to decide it's because he is weighing political gains and working out the "spin" to sell the inevitable troop increase to the American public. We are getting into this whole AFPAK thing deeper and we will "stay engaged" for years to come.

    If there is a bigger plan, it is like the whole smoke and mirrors game about green energy. The "new weapons" the drones that will rain death from above will not be ready for years...so it's a matter of feeding troops into this meat-grinder of an unwinable war...OK so long as the casualty rates don't get too high. A big executive decision? Sure...but he also has to think of how to keep it from landing on his doorstep if things go wrong! So part of what he is deliberating hand on chin is who to make the fall guy!

    McChrystal seems to be a guy who would take a bullet for his commander in chief! You REALLY didn't believe McCrhrystal leaked the troop increase unintentionally. You REALLY didn't believe that he went "outside the chain of command" and KEPT HIS JOB! You REALLY don't think Obama did more than pat him on the back in that 25 minute meeting in Copenhagen>

    Give me a break! This isn't a president, it's Chicago machine politics wrapped up with a public relations firm.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.