Podcast 45 – The Power of the Individual


Birth Certificate, Death Certificate

Podcast 41 – Bachmann Overdrive

Podcast 36 – State of the Union

Obama the community organizer

If memory serves, in more than one podcast one or another of us have mentioned that Obama’s background as a community organizer influences the way he approaches legislative negotiations. A recent article in the New York Times discusses his approach.

Ever since his days as a young community organizer in Chicago, Mr. Obama has held fast to the belief that by listening carefully and appealing to reason he can bring people together to get results, an approach that in Washington has often come up short.

He is not showing any signs of changing his style. But he is facing perhaps the toughest test yet of his powers of persuasion: winning the votes he needs, in the face of unified Republican opposition and a deteriorating climate for Democrats, to push his health care measure through a skittish Congress.

Usually, he talks policy before politics, said Senator Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democrat who recently announced that he is retiring.“He always starts off with a policy argument, making the intellectual case for his point of view,” Mr. Bayh said. “Secondarily to that, there might be a discussion of some of the political ramifications, but he always starts off with, ‘Look, this is why I think this is right for the country, and I respect your point of view, I know where you are coming from, but here’s why I think we need to do it this way. Can you help me?’ ”


Don’t ask, don’t tell

Naturally, we all expected a certain amount of opposition to the president’s call to Congress to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell.

Even the fact that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has testified that repeal won’t harm the military won’t stave off criticism.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), an opponent of the repeal, explains that the issue is more complex than it appears. It’s not just gay soldiers that are a concern – it’s the hermaphrodites.

… the military is not civilian life. And I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.

HT: The Agitator


In which I outsource my critique to Bruce Bartlett

I pretty much agree with everything Bruce Bartlett says about the President’s first year:

Does this mean I am happy with everything Obama has done in office? Of course not. I am sympathetic to the idea that the stimulus plan was too small and insufficiently front-loaded to turn the economy around. But on the other hand, the Republican idea that we should have done nothing or just cut taxes is nonsense.

I think Obama erred in pushing forward with health care reform before the economy had recovered and before sufficient time had been spent developing a comprehensive plan. The whole health reform effort has looked to me as if it was jury-rigged from day one, based less on a serious analysis of what needed to be done than about getting something–anything–through Congress that could be called health reform.

I am disappointed that the idea of bending the cost curve has gotten short shrift, but I am even more disappointed that Republicans adopted the extraordinarily cynical strategy of defending Medicare from any cuts whatsoever, just to pander to seniors quick to panic over any threat to their generous, taxpayer-provided health benefits.