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What will be Obama’s sales pitch for 2012?

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  • LessThanUseful
    January 18, 2012 10:02 AM

    No doubt he will tout his “record” as indicative of progress in areas where he has gotten anything past Congress…and after all he “ended the Iraq war.” He will blame those meanies in the other party for frustrating his efforts to single-handedly Turn This Thing Around. He will humbly admit there’s so much more to do and gaze meaningfully into the camera and repeat the promises which worked for him last time but instead of “I’m not Bush”, he’ll get to say “I’m not Romney.” And gullibles everywhere will say “He looks like a good, honest man…let’s vote for him.” This is the point at which tragedy and comedy collide.

  • alex_the_tired
    January 18, 2012 10:57 AM

    LessThan Useful hits it pretty much out of the park on this one. We will have the usual “lesser of two evils” malarkey.

    I’m gonna go with a two-line exchange from the Doctor Who episode “The Deadly Assassin”:

    Character 1: It is customary for an incoming president to pardon political prisoners. Is he to set free the murderer of his predecessor, or break with custom? Either course would be difficult.

    Character 2: All presidents are faced with difficult decisions. It is by their decisions that they are judged.

    That’s right, people. Judge Obama by his decisions. He has decided to keep Gitmo open. He decided to not accelerate the Flight from Iraq. He has decided to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He has decided to not bring investigations against the Wall Street bankers and assorted financiers who ruined the economy. He has decided to continue TSA violations of the Constitution. He has decided …

    I know, I know. “We didn’t elect a king!” That’s right. The President has never been a king. Dubya got away, literally, with murder, and he had hoards of loyal Americuhns shrieking their support the entire time. And he wasn’t a king. Reagan wasn’t a king and he wiped his feet on the Constitution. The opposition? We were too busy holding bake-a-thons and singing protest songs of love and peace.

    Take a good long look at Obama. He’s EXACTLY like the bankers. He has the best of everything. His precious darling children will never want for anything (oh, wait, I’m not allowed to mention that; it isn’t — stamp widdle footsie — fair). His corporate buddies are sitting pretty. A health care plan has been emplaced that now FORCES you to obtain medical insurance. Do you really think that’s going to work out? The insurance providers will simply keep the prices of premiums where they are. Most of us will have to pay. The few who qualify for “free” will be irrelevant. Why? Because whether the money comes out of your pocket or out of your pocket through the government’s tax coffers, it goes into the pockets of the insurance companies. Accountability? You mean like with the bank bailouts?

    That’s Obama, and I am not impressed. I realize it sounds naive and quaint, but I want a leader who does the moral thing, regardless of the cost. And what would be moral? Giving everyone at Gitmo a trial. Right now. That would be moral. If they’re guilty — and I mean real guilty not government-cover-up guilty — put ’em away. If they aren’t, then step forward and admit, out loud and without evasions, that the U.S. government was not just wrong, but horribly wrong. And then try to make amends.

  • alex_the_tired

    Yes, because signing an order to close Gitmo means he decided to keep it open. This is not 1984,and newspeak doesn’t work. Obama tried to close Gitmo, and was kept from doing so. Your anger is misplaced.

    As for what you want, I’m sorry to tell you it isn’t relevant. If those are your standards, you might as well drop out of the political process altogether, because you will NEVER have anyone relevant you can vote for.

    As for a slogan, I myself am fondest of Bernie Sanders choice: “We may not be perfect, but they’re nuts.”

  • alex_the_tired
    January 18, 2012 11:46 AM


    Let’s go a little further into the issues. Is Gitmo open right now? Yes or no, please. Some of the people being held at Gitmo have been there for years. They aren’t there because the U.S. can’t come up with the time or the money to hold a trial. Have they been given a fair trial? Yes or no, please. Is the right to a fair trial an absolute or does it only apply when, you know, it’s convenient?

    That Obama signed something that will close Gitmo eventually simply isn’t indicative (as stated in my first post) of a leader displaying leadership qualities.

    That Obama is woefully unimpressive, that all the Republican candidates scare the crap out of me because they’re all crazy as a soup sandwich, doesn’t mean I can’t find a candidate I support. It just means that when I have such an unimpressive batch as the current gang to choose from, who I vote for really won’t matter. Even the issue of the Supreme Court won’t matter. If Obama gets in for a second term, he’ll run a list past the Republicans first. “Um, is it okay if I nominate these people? Because, if it isn’t, I can pick some others. In fact, why don’t I just ask you to tell me who to select.”

    I just think that if everyone’s doing something stupid, it’s still stupid, even if I’m doing it too. And voting for Obama and thinking it will be “better” than voting for one of the Republicans doesn’t seem to be borne out by the evidence of what Obama actually DOES. Ooh, he signed something that will take effect eventually. Pretend you were sitting a cell at Gitmo. Would you be impressed?

  • alex_the_tired

    Did Obama sign an order to close Gitmo? Yes or no will do. You cannot claim that he decided to keep Gitmo open when he tried to close it and was blocked. It just doesn’t wash. Worse than that, it’s where I stop reading your post, because you’re so obviously wrong as to render the rest of what you have to say worthless.

    It’s an interesting argument whether the rights given to US citizens in the constitution apply to non citizens, but not one I have time for right now. Of course the right to a fair trial is absolute for U.S. citizens. For others? Morally, absolutely. On legal grounds, I’m not so sure. And we live in a world where legality rules, not morality.

    I wholeheartedly disagree that the evidence does not bear out that an Obama second term would not be “better” than the Republicans. You’re holding the man to an impossible to achieve standard, because there isn’t a person on the planet that could get you the “better” that you’re looking for. By any objective standard, Obama will be better than any of the crop of clowns on the GOP side.

    I also disagree with your claim that Obama will run his nominees by Republicans(he didn’t do that with his past nominations, and there’s no evidence to suggest he’ll do it in the future. Indeed his appointment of Cordray suggests quite the opposite) , but even if he did, the answer is to make the Republicans an irrelevant minority, not to throw away your vote.

    You think you’re not going to matter, but you are: “One less vote for the Democratic is one more vote for the Republican. Arithmetic doesn’t give a damn about your feelings.” to quote my current favorite signature on Daily Kos.

    If telling yourself you don’t matter helps you sleep at night, more power to you, I suppose. But I know, and you know it isn’t true.

    Me, the only way I can sleep is if I know I’ve done everything I legally can to keep the crazy Republicans from finishing out their plan to transform us into a fascist theocracy. And that means working my ass off to get Democrats elected, if for no other reason than to block Republican advancement.

  • Couldn’t they just recycle the last campaign, and go with “Hope I’ll Change”? It makes for stirring speeches to disaffected democrats, and it’s not like he’s losing the lesser-of-two-evils voters.

  • Given how most remaining Obama-bots try to convince others to vote for him it sounds like the sales pitch is probably going to be: “Obama: yes I suck, but just look at my competition.”

    A little along the lines of this:

  • Very funny, Ted. Also very accurate. I’m still going to vote for him, and I still think he’s going to win. Only 4 incumbants have lost in the past 100 years, and the GOP isn’t fired up for a variety of reasons, undeniable hypocricy being one of them.

    Although I am in the minority viewpoint here, I think Obama has done reasonably well. He’s dull, boring, and not much is happening. Pat Buchanan wrote a week or so ago that “…Americans are bored with Obama…” . . .what, like this is WWE?? We need to be entertained by our leaders?

    I take a different approach…I like government I can ignore, and I like political leaders that are boring and dull. GW Bush and Dick Cheney were exciting…things happened…..they were also extremely destructive. We’re not getting anyone better. The cavalry is not coming. The thing is, he’s no better than Romney actually. Romney won’t get anything done either.

    My advice remains….move to the country, buy a goat.

    • @Aggie: I don’t care that Obama is boring.

      He simply doesn’t deserve to be reelected. (Not that Romney deserves to be elected.)

      Romney isn’t a shoo-in, but he still stands a better-than-even chance. The economy sucks, and when the economy sucks Americans cast spite votes against whomever is in office at the time. More to the point, Obama hasn’t acted on the major issues–jobs, unemployment, foreclosures–that Americans care most about. He spends more time golfing than attempting to govern. The man is lazy; his major goal was accomplished when he was sworn in.

      Make no mistake, as Bush-Obama would say: Obama’s inaction on the economy (and personal freedoms, and militarism) are at least as damaging as Bush’s action on Iraq and everything else.

      You can’t ignore this government. You have to get rid of it.

  • Right after his election, President Obama ordered all overseas US detention facilities closed ‘within one year.’ He said the only way to close the facilities would be to bring all the inmates to New York City for trial in the New York Federal Courts, and Congress voted that he could not do that. So a year has come and gone.

    But there were always other options.

    There is no valid evidence against any of the prisoners, but the majority of American voters agree that every single prisoner must be guilty of many heinous crimes, and would continue to kill Americans if released, otherwise, they wouldn’t be prisoners, since the US government is run by the people those voters elected, and so they must be doing what is right.

    So the option favoured by most American voters is to accept that anyone declared guilty by the US government must be guilty, and so can and should be executed, with or without a summary military trial, but Obama hasn’t shown the stomach for that, so far.

    The least favourite plan among American voters would be to release the prisoners, though that is the ONLY action that would be Constitutional under the Bill of Rights.

    Another option would be a swift transfer of all prisoners to a US Federal prison without broadcasting the fact to Congress, which Obama could do at any time as CinC, so they wouldn’t have time to pass a law against it.

    The compromise accepted by most voters and by Obama is just to stick with the status quo. Obamabots can blame Congress, if they like, or just accept that this is the politically safest course, unfair and unConstitutional though it may be.

    Of course, the majority of the voters agree that the Constitution MUST be suspended during wartime, and the War on Terror is forever, so the Constitution joins the Articles of Confederacy and Ptolemaic astronomy. (Sorry, the people who accept the War on Terror and suspension of the Constitution probably think Ptolemaic astronomy should still be the one taught in schools.)

    So the prisoners will remain in Guantánamo and other overseas detention centres, no matter who gets elected.

    But I can at least hope that Herman Cain gets lots of votes in the South Carolina primary.

    As the ad says, South Carolina will let Democrats and Independents raise Cain if they believe that he is the best candidate. And, given the alternatives, Cain is the only one I could support if I were a South Carolina voter.

  • At least Ptolemaic astronomy was a functioning predictive model in spite of being totally physically inaccurate in its rationalization (fixed spheres) and geocetricity. That is more then I can say for the War on Terror.

  • Whimsical: ““One less vote for the Democratic is one more vote for the Republican. Arithmetic doesn’t give a damn about your feelings.” to quote my current favorite signature on Daily Kos.”

    Why are you quoting this? A person entering the voting booth enters in a vote for one candidate and against all other candidates. In a multi-party election, that means that voting neither Democrat nor Republican is a vote against both of those candidates, not “for” either of them.

    Establishing a false dichotomy does not make truthiness make, and not everyone who refuses to vote for Obama is voting for (what will most probably be) Romney.

  • innocent victim
    January 18, 2012 11:25 PM

    Few observers, bloggers, commentators, deal with the moral imperative of not re-electing a president who has continued and expanded wars of aggression. Re-electing President Obama would make those who vote for him accomplices after the fact to war crimes. All other reasons for not voting for Obama pale in comparison to this one.

  • innocent victim
    January 18, 2012 11:46 PM

    Many Americans continue to view the Constitution as if it were still our basic law and as if we were still living in a constitutional republic. Wake up, former citizens! You are now subjects of an executive who has the same absolute power as did Kings George III, against whom Americans rebelled, and Louis XVI. The French were smart enough to see that Louis XVI could not be entrusted with the role of a constitutional monarch, and they cut his head off. Do we have something to learn from that?

  • alex_the_tired
    January 19, 2012 8:12 AM

    “Worse than that, it’s where I stop reading your post, because you’re so obviously wrong as to render the rest of what you have to say worthless.”

    Setting aside the strawman of the above statement of yours, Whimsical, I’d like to point out the very next thing you wrote indicates you didn’t stop reading my post at that point.

    But let’s stick to Gitmo for just a second. That Obama “tried” and was “blocked” simply doesn’t wash. As has been pointed out, as CinC, he could have ordered the transfer of the prisoners before Congress could have reacted. Part of the purpose of a president is to NOT JUST CONSTANTLY be in agreement with Congress.

    I am always worried about the people who tell me we must do what’s legal, not what’s moral, or how morality must come second to legality. A line from Martin Luther King, Jr.: Everything Hitler did was legal. And depending on how far you go, lots of things were legal: not letting women vote, dragging blacks out of Woolworth’s for wanting to eat lunch, grazing your sheep in the public commons on the Sabbath, etc.

    Sometimes, morality is, in fact, declared illegal. That’s what makes it morality. It transcends legality. Miep Gies helping to hide the Franks and the Van Pels in Amsterdam during the War was illegal. But we all know she did the correct thing, the moral thing. She didn’t sit there and lawyerball it “Well, substatute 12 clearly indicates…” She didn’t make apologies or explanations for her actions because her actions didn’t need justification. But every single thing about Obama fits this: “Obama’s doing or not doing of X is because there are really complicated issues involved.”

    Bullshit. Pure, unadulterated, 100% virgin bullshit. Whether someone is “legally” entitled to a trial? Holy Crow, that is a hell of a gimmick to try. Here’s the answer for you: EVERYONE is entitled to a trial. Why? For the same reason every Jew in the world is entitled to not have to hide in an attic. For the same reason every woman ought to be able to not be stoned to death because she got “caught” driving a car without a man in the vehicle. For the same reason that it’s wrong (morally, but not legally) that there are millions and millions of starving children in the same world in which there are $500 telephones that people line up days in advance to purchase.

    I’m not sitting here trying to make some airy-fairy, artsy-fartsy philosophical point. That a bunch of war-mongering chickenhawks threw people who (judging by how no one can examine the evidence) are probably innocent into cells for possibly the rest of their lives isn’t surprising. The surprising part is that so many people who should understand the danger of such a precedent have acceded to it AND made apologies and defended those who have the power to stop it and have not.

    Seriously, talk to a lawyer. We all make jokes about lawyers, I know. But talk to a lawyer about whether he or she is concerned about how non-citizens can be placed into indefinite detention without access to a list of charges or the right to confront witnesses or have a non-show trial. Any lawyer who actually has trial experience will tell you this (I bet): “Absolutely I’m terrified. Why? Because I’ve studied history. ‘First they came for the non-citizens…’ A society that does this to one group will eventually be conditioned to be able to do it to other groups (American Muslims, Uppity Women, Negroes Who Don’t Know Their Place, The Gays, Atheists, The Gay Atheists).”

    Vote for Obama if you want. But don’t try to convince me he’s still the best choice out there. That’s like saying there a best way to be executed.

  • @aggie_dude

    Take heart. We’re in the minority viewpoint here, but here is a super-tiny slice of the big, wide, world. Among people with reasonable expectations, Obama has done very well. Sadly, “reasonable” and the left parted ways some time ago, and indeed “reasonable” and the far left are no longer on speaking terms.

    I’m quoting it because its true. The net effect of not voting for the Democrat is aiding the Republican. You can dress it up all you like, but that remains what is happening. I don’t care about your intentions, or your feelings, and neither does the math- not voting for the Democrat has the net effect of aiding the Republican, whether you meant it to or not.

    Its like my wife and I are walking down your street, and she gets killed by a bullet from your gun. You can try to make yourself feel better by claiming how you were just cleaning your gun and didn’t mean it, but none of that is going to matter to me, cause the net effect of your action means my wife is still dead, and its at least in part your fault.

    Given that Obama and Romney are pretty much your only choices (and that not voting for Obama is aiding Romney, regardless of intent); one of them clearly deserves to be elected more than other. Make a case.

    As for the government, you can’t get rid of it, at least not without virtually guaranteeing something far worse will be put in its place. Most folks get it, which is why unless occupy gets a clue and starts interacting with the system, its going to fizzle out without accomplishing anythign other than good PR.

    • @Whimsical:

      In the short run, voting Democratic is the logical decision. Over the long run, voting Democratic (as opposed to protesting in the streets and breaking a few things) moves the nation to the right. Nixon would be a far-left Democrat today.

      At some point you have to say: the short and long runs are the same.

  • >>>Whimsical said>>>
    Obama and Romney are pretty much your only choices

    Here’s how I see that one. It’s like good-cop, bad-cop. The Republicans are the bad cop. The Democrats are the good cop. You’re supposed to run away from the bad cop to the good cop. But they’re both cops. Both working together as a team.

    Obama and Bush are on the same team. Chances are you didn’t make the team, I don’t think I did.

    The game is rigged. If you play that game you’ll lose almost every time, unless you can get in on the action. They’re smart though, they know to give the marks just a little bit of hope, so they keep coming back for more.

    >>> Whimsical also said >>>
    As for the government, you can’t get rid of it, at least not without virtually guaranteeing something far worse will be put in its place.

    Disagree. The beauty of the USA’s system of government is that we have the constitutional machinery to reform. Our history is full of correcting heinous mistakes made by our predecessors. It’s just that we as a nation are too chicken to use this machinery for change / reform. Seems like we are also in denial about the mountain of payback coming at us for the damage done by the
    * war-mongers
    * looters

  • @Petey

    You must be new here. Ted isn’t arguing for reforming the government, I am. Ted’s in favor of scrapping the current government altogether, and I stand by my statement. There’s no way to do that without virtually guaranteeing something much worse will take its place.

    As for the rest of your piece, your choices are the good cop, or the bad cop (and anything other than voting for the good cop helps the bad cop). You certainly don’t have to like it, but reality is those are your choices, and given that I’m always gonna go with the good cop.

    Last, “looters” is almost always code for “I’m an Ayn Rand worshipper”. I really hope that’s not true in your case.


    I worry that if I vote for Vermin Supreme in the Democratic Primaries, the person counting my vote may think I meant Obama. It could be an honest and understandable mistake.

  • Obama sucks. Hard.

    About the only difference between him and a President Romney would be that Romney wouldn’t add a weaselly signing statement to a bill negating our most fundamental right. He’d play to straight to the fascists and do it proudly.

  • As one who was around at the time, you’re (almost) right, Ted – the *policies* espoused by Richard Milhouse Nixon would, indeed, be those of an (unelectably) left-wing Democrat today. But Nixon himself ? You’ve got him : his name is Newton Leroy Gingrich….


  • @Ted

    Have you SEEN what we’re up against? Until the Republican party regains some semblance of sanity, long term thinking is a luxury we simply cannot afford. Not if we want to survive as a nation. Oh wait, I keep forgetting- you don’t care if we survive as a nation.

    And, for the record, it was people foolishly abandoning the Democratic party because they couldn’t get everything they want that caused Democratic losses, which sent the message that liberal and progressive solutions were NOT what the public wanted, which caused the party to move so far right.

    It’s a fully, and easily reversible trend, though it will take time. You got this much right though- it started with Nixon- and Ted Kennedy’s rejection of the health care deal Nixon offered him.

    “I’m not sitting here trying to make some airy-fairy, artsy-fartsy philosophical point.”

    Sure you are. You’re talking about taking actions that will make the world worse, in order to make yourself feel better. I can’t think of a MORE apt description for that that “airy-fairy, artsy-fartsy philosophy.”

    “But let’s stick to Gitmo for just a second. That Obama “tried” and was “blocked” simply doesn’t wash”

    Sorry, those are the facts. And there’s a name for people who deny the facts because they don’t like them- it’s Republican.

    “As has been pointed out, as CinC, he could have ordered the transfer of the prisoners before Congress could have reacted.”

    You, and, Ted, and michael have all said this without an iota of proof to back it up. It seems trite to say I don’t believe you, but, well, I don’t believe you. Or to misquote my favorite movie of all time: “Why you keep talkiing about the CiC? I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    I’ve seen no evidence that Obama could do anything other than what he did. Sign an order, which was then blocked.

    But even if you are right, and not fundamentally misunderstanding the limits of being the CiC (which I think you are) the money for such an operation would still have to be approved by Congress. And did you really think they’d approve it?

    I know they won’t, and Obama knows they won’t. And that’s a good. I don’t want a President that wastes his, my, and the nation’s time on arty-farty, airy-fairy philosophical fights, especially ones that they will lose. There’s too much work to be done for that.

    “I am always worried about the people who tell me we must do what’s legal, not what’s moral, or how morality must come second to legality. ”

    Not what I said. Yes, in this world, legality trumps morality. That I understand this and know how to use it doesn’t mean I have to like it. But it certainly doesn’t mean im prepared to empower the massively immoral because I can’t cope with the emotional fallout from the minorly.

    “The surprising part is that so many people who should understand the danger of such a precedent have acceded to it AND made apologies and defended those who have the power to stop it and have not.”

    I don’t believe it is a precedent, your slippery slope argument notwithstanding. And its not a precedent precisely because non-citizens don’t have the same legal protections as citizens. Morally, of course they should. But legally they dont. And precedent requires legality.

    Look, don’t vote for Obama if you want. But don’t try to tell me it does anything other than empower the greater evil. And certainly don’t try to tell me that salving your feelings is more important than preventing the devastation the Republicans will wreak upon the country.

    And for the record, some forms of execution are better choices than others.

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