The Third Year of the Obama Administration: Facts, Opinions and Discussions

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by kingthlayer, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I'm not saying they're going to actually achieve all that in the next two years, I don't think President Obama does either.

    But I do think he'll include all his remaining goals in his SOTU address, and then go from there on what's actually going to be passable.

    I don't think he's going to back down on any of his goals, he didn't do that when I expected him to do so after Scott Brown's election, and things actually look more hopeful for him now than they did last January.

    I agree that Deficit Reduction, Tax Reform, and Education Reform are probably the most likely to get done. (Speaker Boehner was one of the four major writers of No Child Left Behind, along with Ted Kennedy, after all.)

    As for the DISCLOSE Act, it probably won't come up, but the reason why so many Republicans voted against it is because Democrats exempted many liberal organizations from the bill. If it was truly neutral it would have a better chance of passing, I feel, but I agree it probably won't come up again for a while.

    As for the DREAM Act, many Republican Senators voted for it. It was a handful of Democratic Senators that killed it. It could definitely pass through the Senate. The trouble would be the House, but if tied to a larger Immigration overhaul (which Republicans campaigned for), then it would be possible. And President Obama said it was going to be one of his top priorities this spring in his press conference before leaving for Hawaii for Christmas.

    Energy was mishandled. They should never have included cap and trade or any climate change regulation in the Senate bill. The focus should have been on Energy Independence from the start. If they redo it to focus on Energy Indepdendence, then I think it has a chance.

    The best defense is a good offense. ;) See above. If Obama didn't back down from healthcare reform when things looked dismal last January,
  2. Darth_Tarkus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2011
    star 4
    I'd be psyched if he mentions the Disclose Act in the State of the Union! And I agree with you about that one amendment.
  3. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Ahh shoot, Tim Kaine to stay as DNC Chairman. I've never had a lot of confidence in this guy as DNC chairman. I wish Howard Dean would come back, he knew how to get things done.
  4. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    I liked Dean as DNC chair. He was bold and wanted to push Democrats beyond their typical blue-state comfort zone. But Kaine isn't doing a terrible job, he simply has the bad luck of serving in a period of Republican ascendancy. The Democrats were never realistically gong to build on their House majority. They did take a pretty bad beating in the House, but I don't really think it is fair to say it is Kaine's fault, or that Dean would have done better.

    Plus, Kaine could be a lot worse.. just look at Steele's tenure. As long as Kaine continues to raise a lot of money, stays on message and avoids hosting lesbian bondage parties, I'm okay with him.
  5. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I said earlier what I predicted the SOTU will be like if Obama keeps to his previous style.

    It seems like he's trying something new:


    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/01/pre-state-of-the-union-democratic-talking-heads-briefed-at-white-house.html

    A cavalcade of Democratic talking heads were beckoned to the White House to be briefed on the president?s State of the Union address by White House senior advisers David Axelrod and Stephanie Cutter and communications director Dan Pfeiffer.

    Democrats one often sees on television chatting about politics -- including ABC News' own Donna Brazile, as well as Margie Omero, Karen Finney, Kiki McLean, Peter Finn, Brendan Daly, Jamal Simmons, and former Democratic Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas -- were herded into the Roosevelt Room to have the speech and the president's hopes for it detailed.

    Attendees were told, as ABC News and others have reported, that the theme of the speech is "How We Win the Future," a subject for which the president will outline five pillars: innovation, education, infrastructure, tackling the national debt, and government reform.

    The speech, the Democrats were told, will not contain a laundry list of policies or specific proposals, but will rather be a discussion of goals where the president feels the US needs to head. It will be optimistic, and the president will touch on the mood post-Tucson tragedy but not dwell on it.

    The Democrats were encouraged to challenge Republicans to govern, to ask "Where?s their plan to govern? What specific spending cuts do they support?"


    (Though I do wonder if he'll mention Immigration, Campaign Finance Disclosure, Gays, Taxes, Energy, Manufacturing, Exports at all underneath these other pillars... ex: immigration overhaul with better incentives will foster innovation, campaign finance disclosure is part of needed government reform, rebuilding our infrastructure includes our energy infrastructure and manufacturing base, tax reform as part of addressing our debt and our innovation, etc.)



    We will also have Democrats and Republicans sitting together, and TWO responses to President Obama... the official GOP response by Paul Ryan, and the unofficial Tea Party response by Michele Bachmann. It has also come out that Chris Christie was asked to do the official response, and turned it down.
  6. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I thought it was a good speech, and there was a lot less annoying standing ovations than usual (a good change). The only thing really partisan he said was that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would expire in 2 years.

    President Obama touched upon all the points I mentioed above, except: the DISCLOSE Act, ENDA/DOMA (though he did mentioned the repeal of DADT), and he didn't specify Manufacturing but it was implied.

    But he did mention a lot:

    Clean Energy (goal of 80% clean electricity in 25 years), No Child Left Behind Reform (a lot of applause for teachers), Immigration Reform, Corporate Tax Reform, Individual Tax Reform, Entitlement Reform (but no cutting of benefits), Regulatory Reform, Bureaucratic Reform, tinkering with Healthcare Reform (including medical malpractice), the Spending Freeze, Infrastructure, the trade deal with South Korea, competing with China and India, the situation with North Korea and Iran, the revolution in Tunisia, the treaty with Russia, the coming end of our military presence in Iraq, the beginning of military withdrawal in Afghanistan, an American innovator who helped rescue the Chilean miners, specifically included American Muslims in "the American Family," and many other things.

    He set the right tone and message, but I wonder how much of it will actually be taken up by the Congress, and the President was a bit vague on where the money for some of the new proposed investments will come from.
  7. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    Democratic National Convention 2012 in North Carolina

    Terrific choice! The Democratic Party finally gets it - they should always host their conventions in potential swing states. Yet for some reason for the majority of the 90s and 00s, they held these things in unquestionably blue states. Boston in 2004? Come on! Sure, its good for the base but it helps to reach out a bit.

    It appears the Republicans will have their convention in Florida.. another good place for one.
  8. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    I was just reading about how Obama is trying to emulate Reagan and position the Democrats as the party of sunshine and optimism.

    Also, similarly, Reagan had lost his first midterm elections, had higher unemployment than Obama, and a much lower approval rating, and yet won re-election in a landslide. I think Walter Mondale helped contribute to that, especially with his honesty about raising taxes, but I think Obama has a real chance at a second term if:

    1) The unemployment rate is dropping, period. The rate itself will be high, but if more Americans are back to work, it's a powerful boost for his chances.

    2) The GOP nomination process is a contest of who can "out-crazy" each other.

    Point #2 will be key. Independents change their minds faster than a lightning strike, and if the GOP primary fight becomes a glaring spectacle of who can be more hardcore conservative, they will flock right back to the democrats. There are already signs since the shootings and the SOTU that this is happening.

    Of course, 2012 is still several lifetimes away in politics (the Gulf Oil Spill, anyone?).

    Peace,

    V-03
  9. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Well, well, well.

    It looks like the democrats are poised to capitalize on one of the biggest effects that repeal would have: the reinstatement of annual and lifetime limits to coverage.

    Their ban is one provision that is VERY popular with the American public, and rightfully so.

    Obama has proven himself to be the master of grabbing individuals and using their stories to make larger policy points. Expect a lot of this in the coming months, and especially on the 2012 campaign trail.

    There are literally millions of Americans who have this story, and the focus on young patients could really get people's attention. The democrats could potentially portray the republicans as totally heartless, and these kind of stories give very credible weight to the charge that the GOP is far more interested in protecting corporations than individuals.

    It pulls the heartstrings, and of course that is far more important than fact when it comes to the mass psychology of winning elections. Just look at all the claims of the ACA's unpopularity, when a careful reading of polls shows many who disapprove of the law felt that it didn't go far enough.

    Peace,

    V-03
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Time for the budget debate!


    Obama proposes deep domestic spending cuts, $1.1 trillion. That's $1.1 trillion in cuts over 10 years, which would add up to cutting $100 billion each year for a decade. While the House Republicans this year, despite campaigning to cut $100 billion in their first budget, have only agreed to cut around $60 billion so far. And that only for one year.




    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/us/politics/13budget.html?_r=1&hp


    President Obama, who is proposing his third annual budget on Monday, will say that it can reduce projected deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade, enough to stabilize the nation?s fiscal health and buy time to address its longer-term problems, according to a senior administration official.

    Two-thirds of the reductions that Mr. Obama will claim are from cuts in spending, including in many domestic programs that he supports. Among the reductions for just the next fiscal year, 2012, which starts Oct. 1, are more than $1 billion from airport grants and nearly $1 billion from grants to states for water treatment plants and similar projects. Public health and forestry programs would also be cut.

    Home energy assistance to low-income families and community service block grants would be cut in half, and an initiative to restore the Great Lakes? environmental health would be reduced by one-quarter.






    http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/13/news/economy/obama_budget_preview/index.htm?hpt=T2


    President Obama on Monday will propose a 2012 federal budget that the White House says will cut deficits by $1.1 trillion over 10 years.

    The president's request calls for a mix of strategic spending to boost U.S. competitiveness and selective belt-tightening intended as a "down payment" on serious deficit reduction, according to his budget director Jacob Lew, who spoke on CNN's "State of the Union."

    Full details on the budget will be released on Monday morning.

    So it's not clear yet where all of the estimated $1.1 trillion in deficit reduction will come from, or exactly how significant a swipe it makes at long-term deficit reduction.

    But one chunk -- $400 billion in savings -- would result from the president's call for a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending.

    Non-security domestic spending only makes up about 10% of all federal spending. Deficit hawks lament that both the White House and Republicans have focused all of their attention in this area rather than address the country's big debt drivers -- spending on the entitlement programs and defense.

    Nevertheless, this piece of the president's budget is certain to generate some of the biggest outcry since it includes cuts to programs that Democrats fiercely defend, such as heating assistance to low-income people.

    Lew said it was a "very difficult" budget. "We have to make tough trade-offs."




    I think it's a good first step.
  11. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/83442/why-obamas-budget-okay

    Funny, as I read this I realized that I was pretty much letting the author do my thinking for me. But then again, I wasn't entirely sure what to make of this in the first place.
  12. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Well, it looks like Obama has chosen Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to replace Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China. Locke is of course Chinese American and the former governor of Washington state. This means he'll need a new Commerce Secretary too. Right now, there isn't even a Deputy Secretary to step in if Lock leaves.
  13. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, but in more immediate and controversial news, Obama just announced that he was reversing his pledge to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and his administration will now resume military tribunal proceedings for enemy detainees. As for closing the facility itself, the administration will only say that the timeline has been "indefinitely pushed back to sometime in the future." It does seem to be a logical continuation of Obama's detainee policy, which was begun when he decided to keep foreign terrorism detention centers open back when he first assumed the Presidency. However, up until now, Obama always kept the illusion that Gitmo was going to be closed, as it was obviously the most visible example. Now that illusion is firmly shattered, but at least a decision has been made.

    I think the cynic in everyone can see how this is a political move designed to appeal to more mainstream members of the voting public. However, it does create some added political pressures, as already, the ACLU has flatly condemned the announcement, and it does go against one of Obama personal campaign promises that personally appealed to left-leaning supporters back during the campaign. Also, some politicians from the GOP have already pointed out that since the policy is basically "cut and pasted" from the Bush administration, it's now behind 2 years with little to show for it.

    The first detainee to be tried under the restarted system is slated to be Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is the architect of the USS Cole bombing, which happened in 2000. al-Nashiri was captured back in 2006, and has been at Gitmo ever since, including the 2 years that this was in limbo under the current administration.
  14. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    ....and with the economy and gas prices front and center, this announcement will fade into the woodwork, as it was meant to.

    The political calculus here is impressive, if nothing else. This will generate less than one cycle's worth of debate, and then fade away until we're back under $3 a gallon.

    Gotta love psychology....

    Peace,

    V-03
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Well it's not like it was for a lack of trying. We were going to bring the detainees here to the United States only to be met with "not in my backyard!". I'm a little fuzzy on the military tribunal thing, but maybe it's better than no trial at all?
  16. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Which is another interesting example which fits under V's above psychological profile.

    Well, "it's not for trying" is kind of the point, especially for the captain of the ship. Again, I think the cynical point could be made that there really wasn't any trying at all, otherwise it would have been done. The even more double-secret cynical point would be that Obama never had any intention to actually close Gitmo, he just needed to play lip-service to the idea until the right time came along to completely bury the issue.

    But more importantly, it's interesting to see how far former counter-points have now been backed off of. For a while, the immediate response for things like this was "it's all bad!!"- an opinion which was often formed even though people might not have been aware of the specifics. But now, it's at least refreshing to see an opinion expressed that says "I'm not all too familiar with the idea in question, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt."

    Going back to what V mentioned, this topic-that's to say Gitmo and the tribunals specifically- was one of the signature dividing lines along the political spectrum. But despite the fact that the issue has now been carried over unchanged, the public doesn't really care anymore. The number of detainees at Gitmo actually slightly increased from 2009. I wonder how many sensationalized rendition type of movies will be released again, if any, or if the issue will just be allowed to fade away?
  17. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    Well now that Democrats have lost all credibility on this issue, they will be unable to use it again against the Republicans the way they did during the Bush years.

    How many Americans actually want Guantanomo closed? I did, but my center-right parents could care less about the prisoners there. So is it just the liberal base? If Obama believed that this announcement would be lost in a bunch of noise over gas prices and Libya, he must have figured that most Americans weren't going to care. Is this true?
  18. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    If Obama never intended to close Guantanamo, the lip service would have stopped once he was inaugurated. Rather he made a big point about closing it and staked some credibility on it. I think if you're going to be that cynical about this, then every president going back to George Washington counts as a deceitful lying bastard.

    Well on the flip side, if he did the reverse and didn't try to slip this under the radar you could argue that he was being politically stupid.

    Personally I would rather see Guantanamo closed if there really isn't any use for it. The precedent for trying terrorists is in civilian courts isn't it? And terrorism by definition is a violent act carried out by an individual who is not a member of a country's armed forces, aka a civilian.
  19. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Disappointed in Obama on this matter, he said in 2009 he would close the place and yet it is still open and now may resume taking in new prisoners. It will be hard for him to use closure as a re-election pledge if he said it the first time around and didn't do it.
  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    If Obama never intended to close Guantanamo, the lip service would have stopped once he was inaugurated. Rather he made a big point about closing it and staked some credibility on it. I think if you're going to be that cynical about this, then every president going back to George Washington counts as a deceitful lying bastard.

    Perhaps. But there's a difference in the degree of being deceitful lying bastards, as that's the definition of political accountability. For example, HW Bush made a clear distinct pledge not to raise taxes. He didn't have to offer a concrete statement at all. It was gutsy of him to do so, but then, if that's the case, then the last thing you want to do after saying in no uncertain terms that you won't do this, is then to turn around and raise taxes. And since you're politically savvy, I know you realize that no President would backtrack so quickly, especially one who wanted to garner support for something like the health care reform at the time.(or pick any other give-take example)

    Gitmo was an issue that was fiercely personal to you, for example. If it was closed yesterday, that wouldn't have been fast enough for you. The international members here pointed out how it was a huge perception boondoogle, as the US is "suppose to be Superman instead of Batman." But now, the entire issue is simply "meh, who cares," despite the fact that there are actually slightly more detainees in Gitmo now than when Bush left office.

    But my point doesn't have anything to do with the merits of the center at Gitmo itself, or the implimentation of specific military tribunals, or anything of the sort. My point is that Gitmo was never as bad as the perception was... Military tribunals were never as bad as the perception was...and so on... Military tribunals are the most appropriate method around to handle the types of subjects who are being held, and they actually aren't a type of shortcut. The difference is that people now accept that fact.

    If people back then had the attitude of "I'm not sure of the specifics, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt," then all of us wouldn't have had to wade through all the knee-high excrement slung around.
  21. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Rank and file Democrats probably won't care too much. But far-left people will use this as a bludgeon against Obama in 2012, and agitate for the Green Party candidate. They might do better than in the past two cycles, for whatever that's worth.
  22. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    I wonder how many sensationalized rendition type of movies will be released again, if any, or if the issue will just be allowed to fade away?

    Depends on what else is going on to distract the American public. $4/gallon and higher gas, and it's effect on the economy, will likely dominate the headlines until the oil speculation bubble bursts and prices come down again. Obama may have buried Gitmo under this particular story, but eventually, he will be looking for a distraction from the cost of energy, and may try to resurrect it (or another issue from his campaign) in a way that paints him in a good light.

    He has shown a penchant for this in the past; whether or not the magic is still there remains to be seen.

    Peace,

    V-03
  23. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Actually, no it wasn't. I was pretty suspicious of the Bush Administration's idea to keep detainees imprisoned indefinitely at first, but my view on the issue became more ambivalent over time. By the time Obama came into office, I think I could have gone either way.
  24. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Just found a campaign message for Obama that I emailed to a friend back in 2008:


    Only Obama/Biden can revive the American Dream!

    Only they will be able to create Energy Independence, rebuild our Infrastructure, create new Green Jobs, fix our Economy, restore our moral standing in the world, responsibly fight terrorism and secure the nation and end the war in Iraq, finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice, improve our Education system and make college affordable, fix the outrageous Debt and budget deficit problems, begin to heal our Environment, destroy the permanent war economy, create a reasonable plan for universal Health insurance coverage, stand up to the Special Interests, break through the Bureaucracy, restore justice and liberty and rights to the Legal system, bring about positive Change, be thoughtful and considerate of all sides before jumping into to make decisions and judgments, and make us feel that there is still Hope for our future and the next generations!

    We need real LEADERSHIP again!

    We need Obama/Biden for 2008!

    We can NOT afford 4 more years of Bush-McCain!



    Well, we got Healthcare reform.
    Our economy isn't in meltdown mode anymore.
    I think I can say we're responsibly fighting terrorism, securing the nation, and ending the war in Iraq.
    I think we can say that our moral standing in the world has improved a lot since the Bush years.
    He's definitely been thoughtful and considerate of all sides before jumping into to make decisions and judgments.

    The rest remains an Incomplete, but he's still trying for: Energy Independence, Infrastructure, creating Green Jobs, finishing fixing our economy (jobs & housing reform), bringing Osama bin Laden and the other top Al Qaeda to justice, improve Education & make college more affordable, fixing the debt and deficit, and reforming government bureaucracy.

    Except that he seems to have given up on "restore justice and liberty and rights to the Legal system," because by that I think I meant the whole civil liberties debate, on surveillance, rendition, indefinite detention (Guantanamo & the other CIA prisons), etc. Hopefully the post-Obama Democrats bring this back. Though at least we don't torture anymore.
  25. padawan3 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 1999
    star 4
    Obama's decision to maintain Gitmo is unsurprising. In fact, it had been predicted by numerous national security scholars. Candidates often find themselves constrained by the bounds of their office once elected. I do not doubt that Obama had every intention of closing or at least modifying the detention system of suspected terrorist subjects. However, he realized that while Guantanamo has its faults, it represented the most practical option available.

    There are no easy alternatives. Criminal prosecution becomes problematic because of evidentiary rules. Rendition offers its own complications in that you can never guarantee the conditions and treatment of prisoners once control is relinquished. Plus you need the consent of the other country. Release is dangerous because if a suspect continues his terrorist activities, Obama faces a political backlash. The only course of action was to continue the status quo.