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Obama, the Democrats and the possible future (update)
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm not sure what to say to something like this. NY Congressman Jerry Nadler:
Nadler: We have not been willing to put our priorities properly. We have not been willing to say ... "Hey Russia, we won't expand NATO into the Ukraine and Georgia, right next to your borders, if you cooperate with us on Iran." ...I think Iran and Israel are a hell of a lot more important than expanding NATO to Russia's borders. Why should we? What do we need it for?

Audience member: Because they invaded Georgia.

Nadler: So let 'em invade Georgia. It's right next to them. Would we tolerate a foreign — a Russian army in Mexico? Which is more important to us Georgia or Israel, frankly?

Would we tolerate a Russian army in Mexico? Well, we certainly tolerated Russian troops in Cuba for decades.

But of course that's not the most important point here - there's a trade off between countries that are "next" to Russia and Israel? Can't have both - a safe Israel and a safe Georgia? One must be sacrificed in the name of saving the other? If the Russians decide that they want the Ukraine for help with Iran, does Nadler shrug it away with the same absurd rationalization that we can't have both? That's his idea of "foreign policy"?

I'm not prepared to say that Nadler's thinking is Obama's or that such thinking would be acceptable in an Obama administration. But it is an indicator of how froggy Dems are feeling these days [I have to wonder though, would it have surprised anyone if the person saying that had been Joe Biden?].

That brings me to an interesting article by Australian Piers Akerman (who has obviously not partaken of the Obama Kool-aid like much of the rest of the world) in which he says:
Some people who have had the opportunity to meet Obama during the campaign have told me they are concerned what a Democrat victory will mean for Australia.

They say in conversation he showed an extraordinary naivete about economics, one describing his views as Cuban circa 1960; his foreign policy outlook was very ‘70s Eurocentric; and it was also pointed out that in his foreign policy statement he made no reference to Australia’s role in future schemes.

Further, it was noted that the Democratic Party leans towards greater protectionism and is well behind the ALP in its thinking on globalisation and the trade implications of modern technology.
Economics circa Cuba 1960? After the "Joe the Plumber" incident and Obama's "spread the wealth" comment, James Pethokoukis recalled a conversation he'd had with a University of Chicago professor:
A while back I chatted with a University of Chicago professor who was a frequent lunch companion of Obama's. This professor said that Obama was as close to a full-out Marxist as anyone who has ever run for president of the United States. Now, I tend to quickly dismiss that kind of talk as way over the top. My working assumption is that Obama is firmly within the mainstream of Democratic politics. But if he is as free with that sort of redistributive philosophy in private as he was on the campaign trail this week, I have no doubt that U of C professor really does figure him as a radical. And after last night's debate, a few more Americans might think that way, too. McCain's best line: "Now, of all times in America, we need to cut people's taxes. We need to encourage business, create jobs, not spread the wealth around."
Given that bit of confirmation, it isn't too much of a stretch to believe his foreign policy is 1970s Eurocentric. His trip to Europe during the campaign would certainly argue that his foreign policy leans in that direction. Couple all of that with a Democratic legislative machine open at full throttle that tends, as Akerman observes, to be protectionist, and you don't even have to see the horizon to know economic storm clouds are brewing.

It appears Akerman, like many of us, is amazed that such an inexperienced candidate with his background and razor thin resume could be this close to winning the presidency:
Obama’s promised change is part of what pollsters are claiming as the mainstay of his attraction - vision.

Unfortunately, his vision is no more than the word. His vision is one-dimensional. It is in reality nothing less than a mirror in which supporters can see anything they hope to see. It is limitless, constrained only by the imagination of those who feel the need to embrace change and vision.

Empirically, however, all the evidence shows Obama is more limited than limitless. He is a creature of the historically corrupt Chicago political machine, an organisation that could teach WA Inc and the ALP’s notorious NSW Right about political larceny.

He is an enthusiast for the cause of victimhood and attended and wholeheartedly supported a racist church leader for the past two decades until the media reluctantly exposed the hate-spewing sermons of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor of choice until the middle of this year.
A pretty succinct summary of why I'm still shaking my head as well.

Given all of this hopeychangitude that Obama has worked so hard to sell with himself as the blank screen on which his supporters (or dupes if you prefer) can project their version, he's suddenly, it seems begun to think he might have oversold all of this:
In an interview with a Colorado radio station, Obama appeared to be engaged already in expectation lowering. Asked about his goals for the first hundred days, he said he would need more time to tackle such big and costly issues as health care reform, global warming and Iraq.

"The first hundred days is going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference," he said. He has also been reminding crowds in recent days how "hard" it will be to achieve his goals, and that it will take time.

"I won't stand here and pretend that any of this will be easy — especially now," Obama told a rally in Sarasota, Florida, yesterday, citing "the cost of this economic crisis, and the cost of the war in Iraq."
Of course this is a shark of his own making that he's jumped. In a nation that worships instant gratification and given the level of expectation he's built, I have to wonder, if he wins, how much of a honeymoon he'll actually enjoy.

UPDATE: Speaking of expectations, here's Kevin Drum's wish list:
So what would success look like? I've said this before, but I'd put my money on three things:

*Withdrawal from Iraq. Sure, sure, Obama will leave a few "residual troops" in place. I get it. But it's time to get out.

*Serious healthcare reform. Obviously I'd prefer reform even more serious that what Obama has proposed, but his plan is a good start if it doesn't get watered down too much.

*Carbon pricing. Obama needs to pass a real energy plan that includes a version of cap-and-trade with teeth. (A carbon tax would also be fine, but I don't think that's politically feasible.) Price signals work, and increasing the price of carbon has to be the backbone of any attempt to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. We're already too late on this, and getting the rest of the world on board may take decades, but we have to start. We're condemning hundreds of millions of people to death if we don't.

So those are my big three: Iraq, healthcare, and carbon. Get something serous done on those issues, and Obama's administration will be a big success. Fail on them, and it's not clear to me that any combination of other new programs will be enough to salvage it.
What? No world peace?

Actually, among liberals, this would be considered a very modest list.

He'll most likely see his first bullet accomplished, but perhaps not in the timeframe he prefers (ironically 16 months now looks like the natural and succesful end of our involvement there.

His second and third wishes are problematic though. Each, in its own way, could threaten economic stability. While Social Security is a mess, Medicare is a disaster. Adding the rest of the country to that disaster could be a bank buster. If he does it he threatens economic upheavel and massive deficits. If he doesn't he disappoints Kevin Drum and a whole flock of liberals.

Carbon pricing isn't going to come in the form of a carbon tax under an Obama administration. He's made it quite clear his preference is "cap and trade" and unlike McCain he will issue no exemptions. That's an economy killer as he's alread acknowledged in so many words (bankrupting coal and skyrocketing electricity prices).

If he implements it, we slide deeper into recession and the misery index reemerges. If he doesn't he disappoints Kevin Drum and most of the rest of the left.

Like I said - it's his shark he's jumped, let him figure out a way to get off.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Given Obama’s record (thin as it is) in previous situations, I do not see Obama exerting himself at all as President. He never has in the past. In past situations he has gone with the prevailing current, legislatively voting along party lines and adding virtually nothing to the overall debate. I do not see him exerting himself beyond this as President. And given the far left’s demand for a hard left legislative turn I do not see Obama as having to exert himself to push the radical circus. A more curious turn may occur when Obama and the rest of the Democratic Circus discovers there is no money in the till to pay for their agenda without an outrageous increase in either the national debt or taxes - they’ll print more money and blame Bush.

Promises have been made and it will not take long for the herren to start demanding their due. At that point I would be willing to bet the unraveling will begin. And that point will definitely be within the first year.

Any takers?
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
but it’s probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference
Considering a 4-year term only has 1461 days, I’m going to have to agree that the first 1000 days will be very important indeed.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Well, I see nothing at all wrong with the idea of making a deal with Russia in order to reign in Iran. If you believe that we can contain both Russia, and Iran, and every other power in the world then do you also believe that we have an omnipotent military, unlimited wealth, and a population with infinite patience and perseverance?

Guess what, we are broke. Really, we are. We are goddamn broke. Guess we might have to postpone that "bear every burden" thingie for a decade or two.

Containing Communism was necessary. Containing Islamic extremism is necessary. Containing a second rate military power with a third rate economy is not that high on my priorities.
Written By: kyleN
He’s got a Dem congress that will go along with him and the majorities to steamroll.

But it’s going to be "hard"?

I guess it will be hard. All he’s ever done was vote present or use his job as a campaign platform for the next one

He’s going to have to run this thing now.

I guess that is "hard"

Written By: shark
URL: http://
He’s got a Dem congress that will go along with him and the majorities to steamroll.

But it’s going to be "hard"?
Absolutely not - what’s going to be hard is living with the results. I have a feeling the "law of unintended and bad consequences" is going to be a permanent guest of his administration.
Written By: McQ
Kevin Drum sounds like he is writing from a 2007 time warp. If Obama doesn’t do something effective about the economy, his presidency will be a failure...period.

Unless temperatures start zooming upward, few people even on the left are going to be beating their gums about greenhouse emissions.

And serious healthcare reform — good luck on that, as Mcq notes, with a weak economy.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Unless temperatures start zooming upward, few people even on the left are going to be beating their gums about greenhouse emissions.
Oh, this is too good a chance for control to pass up.
Look for the temperature decline to be viewed as a ’chance’ to address the problem NOW while things are going good climate wise.

The entire science of CO2 being the single magic gas to control ought to be sending serious scientists into orbit. The idea that there is one ’silver bullet’ gas that will make all the difference ought to be enough to make any sane person who views the world around them scratch their head and ask "how come"?
Is there ever any ONE thing in nature that controls the climate?

So don’t expect a little thing like temperature moderation or decline to stop this train. Too good to let it go. Too many believers.
Not so oddly the same people who believe Obama will be the silver bullet president to solve all our problems.

I’m coming the to the conclustion on average we’re high tech savages (much of the present company here excluded).
Written By: looker
URL: http://
don’t forget, Obama is also for giving some % GDP to the UN for the poor.

So, there’s more "spreading the wealth inc." for you.
Written By: Keith_Indy
If he implements it, we slide deeper into recession and the misery index reemerges. If he doesn’t he disappoints Kevin Drum and most of the rest of the left.
You seriously misstate the situation.

You actually believe that Drum, Oliver and the rest of the left will really be disappointed if he doesn’t deliver? Yeah, the way they were disappointed that the last Dem congress they elected - for the express purpose of stopping the war- did nothing and basically admitted they lied about their intentions.

Once Obama (as I scratch my face with my middle finger) is in, they’re in (the tank)

But the only upside to this is that in 2 or 4 years, I can’t wait to see who they blame for all the mess they’re gonna make of it.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Throwing people under the bus was second nature to Obama. Why wouldn’t he do it with allies.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"I do not see Obama exerting himself at all as President. He never has in the past"

Yeah, he does seem to be more of a talker than a doer. But they are such pretty words, and intentions are the important thing.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Frankly, the best reason to vote for McCain is he can get away more easily with the necessary choice of dealing with Russia and Iran realistically — recognizing we do not have the power to force them to do much of anything, especially not without a lot of support from allies. "Only McCain could go to Tehran" could easily replace "Only Nixon could go to China" as the new motto. While talking tough about Russia and Iran makes some feel good, what options are really feasible, and would not carry risks that outweigh their benefits. Iran is far more a threat to Israel than to the US, and I don’t think we should sacrifice American interests for that of another country.

On the other hand, it seems that Obama has been underestimated a lot, much like the last ’realignment’ President, the guy who won the last time the Phillies won the series back in 1980. He may surprise you, just like Reagan surprised a lot of people on the Left.
Written By: Scott Erb
No doubt Obama will surprise a lot of people. In a very ugly way.
Written By: Brie Tocs
URL: http://
If they’re surprised, they’ve got no good excuse.
Written By: Dale Franks
Iran is far more a threat to Israel than to the US, and I don’t think we should sacrifice American interests for that of another country.
You’re right. The survival of a strong, allied state in the Middle East is not in the interest of America. Is it 1938? A state announces intention to wipe Jews from the map and the response is "not in our interest to help".
Written By: Is
URL: http://
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Written By: nipulwrhv

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