Monday, January 18th, 2010
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Massachusetts Senate Race: The Fundraising Letter You Won't See

Martha, Martha, MarthaI'm starting to get both angry and dispirited by any number of groups who are opposed in varying degrees to Barack Obama's performance thus far as president. I'm not sure who's the worst: The ignorant idealists who thought that the sheer fact of his election would somehow undo the practical and political obstructions that are a product of both the Constitution and 200-plus years of legislative and institutional evolution; the impatient electorate who expected massive problems that were decades in the making to be fixed within the space of a year; the forgetful masses who now affix blame to this administration for the tough choices it was forced to make simply to prevent things from becoming far worse; the cynical forces who know quite well whose fault the crisis was in the first place but who aren't going to let any sense of shame or feeling of responsibility stop them from pretending that it was like this when they got there so it must be Obama's fault. That said, this, in regards to tomorrow's Senate election in Massachusetts, made me laugh, and I guess at this point laughter is going to have to do, since the alternative is so depressing.

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45 Comments / Post A Comment

Louis Fyne (#2,066)

Hear, Hear. I am sick and tired of all this thoughtful, competent leadership.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Be not downcast. This is exactly how we ought to have known it was going to be. The present mess is something to be grateful for, in view other and far worse ones we miraculously avoided.

Moff (#28)

All true. It is maddening, though, especially in light of how so many of the same people screaming that Americans need to make sacrifices are the ones furious that life is mildly less comfortable now than it was a couple years ago.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

The alternative is not so much as it is infuriating and enraging, because JESUS how the FUCK are the Democrats in danger of losing TEDDY FUCKING KENNEDY'S Senate seat right now?

petejayhawk (#1,249)

*not so much DEPRESSING, that is. Please make a note of it.

barnhouse (#1,326)

MA spent nearly fifty years giving the matter no thought at all. Kind of obvious they would be caught with trousers down.

citizen dave (#3,067)

Nothing to do with the fact that your great "messiah" is a PATHOLOGICAL, CUMPULSIVE, SERIAL LIAR, with an EGO unmatched in history. (although Liz [the Lizard] Pelosi, and Harry [I'm an honest guy, honest] reid slide in there too, but without the HALO). Or that the Democratic candidate could gain from eating a little brain food, and watching a bit of TV sometimes. Probably too busy out looking for all those missing Taliban from Afghanistan (somebody needs to rush over and tell those soldiers that those mortar attacks and road side bombs are just a bunch of individual unrelated criminal acts. Man they will be soo relieved.) Or the fact that that 'Pinochio" and his genius buddies (Democrates) believe like "Balk" that the CONSTITUTION is just a POLITICAL OBSTRUCTION, would certainly not explain it.

If I said that you the IQ of a turnip (something you share with your "anointed One" (self anointed), I'd have to apologize to root vegetables.

sargasm (#104)

Are you feeling much better now, darling? They'll be in first thing to adjust your meds and adjust the restraints. xoxo

numbersix (#85)

Democrates? Never heard of him.

lawyergay (#220)

I'm starting to get both angry and dispirited by any number of people who keep telling me to lay off Barack Obama.

There's a fourth category of people who have every reason to be disappointed and not a little bit astonished by Obama's wretched performance in office: clear-eyed progressives who understand politics but–gasp!–actually believed Obama would keep more than a couple of his lighter-weight campaign promises.

This is super-smart but subscription-only:

http://harpers.org/archive/2010/02/page/0009

There's also this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/drew-westen/leadership-obama-style-an_b_398813.html

riggssm (#760)

I'm editing my grievances about Deval Patrick/Barack Obama and campaigning -v- governing down to like 12,000 words, but YES. Agree. Like. Promote.

rootless_e (#3,059)

Only 12,000 words! You must be leaving out too much. I suggest that you decrease point-size.

rootless_e (#3,059)

I'd like to hear a cogent explanation of what positive effect is expected from vitriolic personal attacks on the honesty, courage, and intention of the President and cabinet. Really, I'd like to know how all this endless "critique" (to be kind) is going to defeat the right and bring a better world. To me, although I admit to being an ignorant Obamabot, the political effect of the "critique" is to reinforce Republican/MSM narratives about the weakness and so on of the Dems and to alienate people. But I'm sure I'm just too dim to see the point so a "clear-eyed progressive" is just the ticket to enlighten me.

lawyergay (#220)

I'm sorry. It can be difficult to hear criticism of the Dear Leader.

barnhouse (#1,326)

I notice you didn't answer the question.

lawyergay (#220)

Since I hate it when asshole conservatives weasel out of legitimate questions, I'm answering yours with something less glib. The positive effect that I expect from critiquing Obama is that he will do better while in office. I haven't launched "vitriolic pesonal attacks" on Obama; I've merely criticized his awful performance during his first year from my perspective as a progressive voter who cast his ballot for him.

I guess I'm curious about why you voted for Obama and why you think we need to "defeat the right." Has Obama met your expectations? Has he delivered change you can believe in?

Louis Fyne (#2,066)

Yes.

barnhouse (#1,326)

You're kidding, surely. Your answer is that you think remarks like those you made above will encourage Obama to do better while in office. Try rereading your note and imagine how anyone you've employed to do a job for you would respond to it. Would be justified in responding to it.

And then, you are "curious" about why we need to "defeat the right." I, well. Um. If you yourself cannot see the answer to this question after the last ten years, I don't know what anyone could tell you.

flossy (#1,402)

Shorter LawyerGay: "B-b-but… where's my PONY?"

Jim Demintia (#1,815)

It's my birthday, and all I got was some more neo-liberal bullshit and a hand in my pocket to bribe the rich into killing everyone else marginally more slowly.

rootless_e (#3,059)

Replying the lawyergay above since there is no reply button otherwise. How is it that you think that critiquing Obama will improve his performance in office? Is he supposed to go: Oh, yes, I really did want to institute socialism tomorrow, thanks for reminding me? What annoys me is all the "fire timmy", "Obama is a fool", "naive", "fuck Rahm" b.s. that normally passes for criticism. I don't see what that accomplishes – except validate the GOP. Barbara Lee, for example, has strongly criticized Obama on Afghanistan (I agree with her) without having had to use the type of critique one sees in "progressivestan".

As for me, I would have voted for any Democrat over the catastrophically immoral republicans. And Obama has vastly exceeded my expectations in many areas. I'm particularly happy with the DOJ which appears to be enforcing civil rights and environmental laws as well as consumer protection regulations. Obama's far to my right, but I knew that when he defeated Kucinich from the right.

kneetoe (#1,881)

I didn't read the entire HuffPo (kids are home, so I'll be reading Lightening Thief), but in general I don't think Obama's problem with the center has much to do with his so called weak leadership skills. I think fear of overspending/over-reach are much bigger issues. He has taken on major policy issues in the face of a horrible economy.

Now my kid says "READ."

Mar (#2,357)

Oh Lord. I suppose you're some sort of sincere early-thirties pot-smoking iconoclast with a bike? Who likes to tell people at parties who are actually politically active that it's a waste of their time? While you smugly and in a tres middle-class manner slurp a Negro Modelo?

Mar (#2,357)

The above was directed at lawyergay, of course.

Jim Demintia (#1,815)

If only they were this honest. Say what you will about institutional obstacles, the Obama administration could have pushed through a much better piece of legislation were they not so beholden to the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

The deeply, deeply compromised and imperfect health care bill also fits the larger pattern of his administration so far (e.g. financial regulation and his economic advisers–seriously, where is it institutionally mandated that Larry fucking Summers be your chief economic adviser?)

I really don't think acknowledging this is tantamount to ignorant idealism.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Well, if they get anything at all it will be by the barest number of Senate votes, and make a few changes and they'll lose the House. Yes, powerful interest groups are, um, powerful, and any viable political strategy requires dealing with/balancing them. But as everyone knows health care reform has failed for DECADES, and significantly expanding the number of people covered, if they get the bill through, will be an awesome accomplishment.

zidaane (#373)

No-one made him keep Geithner and the hiring of a former VP from Monsanto as FDA food-czar (arguably the most evil company on the planet) has me pretty bummed.

flossy (#1,402)

PREACH.

flossy (#1,402)

But yes, Martha Coakley–what the fuck? If you ask me it's all Obama's fault for not personally selecting a better candidate even though he actually had nothing to do with it, and will therefore refuse to vote/vote Republican because THAT'S GONNA HELP PASS SOME FUCKIN' BILLS, AMIRITE?

riggssm (#760)

Balk, I admit I'm downer on President Obama (perhaps not on this site so much, but in general, yup: a downer. I've lost the source, but the gist was, "Mr. Obama was with Ms. Coakley on Huntington Ave yesterday. Mrs. Clinton was with Rene Preval in Haiti Saturday. Who looked more presidential?")

The politician who cut his teeth on Chicago politics, who rose from the slums to be a wealthy man, who became a symbol for diversity in the new century, who was a young but powerful force in the Democratic party, who ran on a campaign of change, who was the epitome of the American Dream come true … who was elected? He never transitioned from campaigning to governing.

Of course, I'm referring to Deval Patrick. And so we now have a nearly-identical situation with the president. The piece lawyergay linked to above has some concrete examples.

I'm no ignorant idealist, but at some point, I expect the man (or woman) in the office to grow a pair and spend some political capital.

Stop worrying about the next election or refilling the financial war chests or the endless parade of human scum lobbying. Have a damn idea and fucking DO something on a grand scale.

Alas, those days are over. There will never be another FDR (or even a TR) to propose — much less implement — that bold program.

So now I write in Daffy Duck in most elections.

rootless_e (#3,059)

I see. Not enough chase scenes, big explosions and parades in the President Show to keep your attention. U want someone who "looks Presidential" not some black guy who has to get involved in grubby politics allatime.
No wonder Daffy Duck has your vote.

riggssm (#760)

Chase scenes? Big explosions? Parades? People who "look Presidential"? Gov. Patrick and Pres. Obama look about as presidential as they get.

I want someone who's not in show business.

And since you brought it up earlier, why is it okay for Democrats to critique a Republican president, but NOT okay for Independents to critique a Democratic president? Double-fucking-standard.

KarenUhOh (#19)

I guess my problem is that pragmatism is just really fucking depressing.

flossy (#1,402)

But everything else is unrealistic. Talk about depressing.

hazmathilda (#839)

Find me something that isn't depressing. (Good luck?)

Ron Obvious (#351)

You're absolutely right — pragmatism is depressing. It remains, however, the best method we have for making rational policy decisions. We spent the last eight years in particular being governed by feckless ideologues, the opposite of pragmatism, and I don't see a whole lot of folks demanding a return to the Bush Administration. Overall, the GOP and the far-right in general are diligently digging their historical grave. In Mass. we have a textbook example of a Democratic technocrat who may be adequate to the task of being a U.S. Senator, but has the personality of a stump. If the voters in Mass. prefer a complete idiot, on the other hand, they deserve to get him, good and hard. Obviously, I'm a bit more optimistic about this whole thing than many other progressive Democrats.

lawyergay (#220)

If Coakley loses tomorrow, it won't be because of Scott Brown's super awesome campaign, it will be because she wasn't–or at least didn't come across as–liberal enough for Massachusetts. Put that in your MSM meme machine!

I just talked to a smart and informed MA voter who is furious–as in "I'm furious!"–with Martha Coakley, her despicable behavior as AG in the Amirault case, and what appears to be her utter disdain for the voters of her state, which is also my state.

Liberals dislike Coakley because she gives every indication of being a DLC democrat who is more interested in currying favor and campaign donations from the big money boys than representing the polity of the Commonwealth. Liberals aren't wrong to mistrust her. But they'll vote for her, and she will win. But just by the skin of her mercenary, mean-spirited ass.

lawyergay (#220)

Forgot to mention: Coakley hasn't set foot west of the Connecticut River since she started her "campaign," even though she is from North Adams and went to Williams College. If she does end up losing and the margin is less than the number of registered Democrats in Berkshire County, then she's got no one to blame but herself.

Also, if she loses, she will draw a primary challenger if she runs for AG again.

lawyergay (#220)

Should replace "since she started her 'campaign'" with "since she won the special primary." In all fairness to Coakley, there's this:

http://www.thetranscript.com/realestate/ci_13854808

Natan (#1,967)

If there had been a second Great Depression

Natan (#1,967)

(rest of sentence), I could have battled bandits with just my dog and my truck.

spanish bombs (#562)

How about those of us who are annoyed by the non-closure of Guantanamo Bay? Even if you accept that this was politically non-tenable, I don't really think that forcing out the guy leading the charge (Attorney General?) was necessary.

This is of course to say nothing of starting a new, unwinnable war in Afghanistan while we still have one of those going on in Iraq.

Non-militarily, I don't really have any complaints relative to other Presidents.

krabapple (#3,075)

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

Tracking Obama's promises
Promise Kept 91
Compromise 33
Promise Broken 14
Stalled 87
In the Works 275

SmartMan (#3,083)

I'm very happy Scott Brown looks to be the winner. Now let's see what shenanigans the left is going to pull to try to negate the will of the Massachusetts voters. Don't look for the 'I told you so' from me when the liberals make a mockery of our government in order to forcefeed the people a ridiculous healthcare plan we don't want or need, and a plan which has nothing to do with healthcare.

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