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Deeds, Not Words

Jeff Harrell is an odd fellow. That's one of the reasons I once sponsored him for a guest-posting stint here at Wizbang. I read him not because I always agree with him, but because he almost always has something interesting to say. Even when I don't agree with his conclusions, I find myself nodding along with his arguments.

Well, Jeff has come out with his endorsement for president, and I find myself once again nodding along while I read his points. He's backing Barack Obama, and he presents a host of good arguments.

But I'm going to disagree with his conclusion.

I don't really have a single quibble with any of Jeff's statements about Senator Obama. Indeed, I think he's largely right on most points. Obama is one hell of a speaker, and he (or his staff, if you're of the cynical bent) has a knack for knowing just what to say, when to say it, and where to say it. He is one hell of a dynamic and inspirational speaker, with charisma and charm and grace -- in short, he comes across as the kind of person who most people would be proud to rally around.

But being president isn't all about good speaking. (The current president proves that pretty damned well -- he gives some good speeches, but his public speaking fiascoes are the stuff of legend.) We are not choosing a chief elucidator, but a chief executive.

Obama is a career legislator. The primary function of a legislator is to reach agreements, to make compromises, to form consensuses. There is almost a herd mentality among legislators, and in legislative bodies there are very few alphas, very few herd or pack leaders -- and Obama has not distinguished himself as a leader.

When it comes to the presidency, I find myself wanting someone who has a proven executive track record. Looking back, the only presidents in the last seventy years who did not have prior executive experience was John F. Kennedy. Roosevelt, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II were all governors; Eisenhower had been a five-star general; and Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Bush I had all been vice president. (Truman, Johnson and Ford, it must be noted, had relatively short tenures as veep after careers as legislators before unexpectedly ascending to the presidency, but did have some.)

Among the current candidates, only four of the candidates have some executive experience. Huckabee, Richardson, and Romney all served as governors, and Giuliani was mayor of a city that, were it a state, would be the 13th most populated, behind New Jersey and ahead of Virginia.

The cynic and the libertarian in me remembers the Thomas Paine quotation -- "the government is best which governs least" -- and wonders if an ineffective president is such a bad thing. But I am just old enough to remember the last ineffective president we had, and we're STILL dealing with the messes Jimmy Carter left us. Thanks, but no thanks.

Obama is a man of tremendous gifts and talents. But he's sorely lacking in executive experience. Fortunately for him (and, possibly, for us), he's still relatively young for the presidency; in 2017, he'd still be younger than many of the current crop of candidates are today.

On the other hand, Jeff makes me realize that we could do worse than Obama for president -- and occasionally have.


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Comments (35)

I'd disagree about letting ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I'd disagree about letting Bush off the hook for being a bad communicator. He's been so horrible at recognizing when to promptly respond, alone, has almost cost us the Iraq War. When he does respond, its often inadequate.

However, I don't think that means the Presidency is all about good communication. I think how horrible Bush has been has made it seem like an all important quality by contrast. Although, I think there needs to be some proficiency there.

Reagan had to excel at communication to pierce the MSM monopoly on reaching the public. However, today there is talk radio and the internet. Things Reagan never had. So I don't think you need to excel at it. You just have to have some competency with it.

PULLEEZE - Sen. Obama share... (Below threshold)
Bob:

PULLEEZE - Sen. Obama shares the same Democrat beliefs as the rest of the lefties running for the Donkey Party's nomination. Just because he's a different color, articulate and looks good doesn't change the message: Bigger government knows best. Is there any area - health care, education, etc., where he doesn't echo the same theme we're heard for the last 50 years: the solution to all our problems is more government programs from Washington. There is not one major difference between Barack and Hillary. He's had to create issues like the Iraq war vote and the vote on the terrorist status of certain Iranian terrorists. If anything, these differences show he's worse than the rest of the Demo-candidates on foreign policy. He may be able to suck in Oprah but anyone who's politically savvy should label his candidacy THE AUDACITY OF CLICHE.

He is running for vice pres... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

He is running for vice president. The Hillary war machine hasn't even cranked up yet. He is all hat and no cattle, as we in Texas say. He does not even have any legislative leadership under his belt. All symbolism.

I am watching both Huckabee and Richardson. So far, they are the only ones that have proven leadership. The kind demonstrated by times they went against their own party to get what is right done. ww

You're kidding, aren't you?... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

You're kidding, aren't you? I must have stumbled upon "Wuzzadem".

"Career legislator", and "...a man of tremendous gifts and talents" are not phrases that resonate with Obama's resume. His gifts and talents are not tremedous are better suited to a car lot or a franchise department store than as the Chief Executive of the United States of America. Men of his ilk are commonly found as mid-level yes-men in medium sized companies, and as spokesmen for television-based church ministries; the gift of gab and the telegenic smile all funnel one's attention away from logical argument and reason and toward their previously packaged solution.

As for the legislative experience, well, there is none. You've been duped again. But this time you've not been talked into buying a five year old car with "only 137,000 highway miles", and you've not parted with 500 bones for "blessed water" promising to aid the healing of your bruised spirit. No, this time you've allowed the salesman/con-man to "help you understand" that he is a fit and viable candidate for elected office. And even if you choose another candidate he has won--guys like this always win no matter what is said or what happens--because he has added another certification to his resume. Next time he will be seen as an "experienced campaigner" with a "grass-roots organization" that can mobilize his base and weld a coalition that will bring free health care to everyone, dialogue with tyrants and dictators, ban all guns from everywhere, raise all taxes on everyone but you, deliver clean and cheap energy to everyone everywhere, and continue the fight for the common man that Che Guevera and Ho-Chi Min began all those years ago.

The guy is an a**hole with a bright smile, and someone needs to say it. No different than the other a**hole running for the Democrat party nomination, except that he wears a tie with his pants and has a talk-show host holding the money bag.

No, I am not impressed with Obama's credentials and I will not give him the benefit of the doubt because of his big smile and winning charm. I have been down that damned road before and have the scars to prove it. So do you if you would look at them.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Sign me up for Senator Obam... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Sign me up for Senator Obama, too.

The winner this time around will be a Democrat. Period. The Republicans have made a bad name for themselves, and the country wants change. They didn't get it in 2006 because the Democrats in Congress don't have a clue. The country will figure out that a Democratic President will be in a position to lead, and they will give the Democrats another chance.

Senator Obama doesn't really have the experience to do the job, but he will have an easier time because he will have a solid majority in both houses of Congress. I don't think that he will be that ineffective because it will be very difficult for people to fight him and avoid the racism labels. If you want ineffective government vote for Senator Clinton. She'll get nothing done because she'll overreach and bungle handling Congressional Democrats (as she did will healthcare reform).

The other big reason to pick Obama over Clinton is simply that Clinton stands for moral and intellectual bankruptcy. Another Clinton Presidency tells the world that the United States has totally run out of leaders and run out of ideas: there is nothing left. And the Clintons belong in jail - not in the White House. They are a criminal enterprise.

The Republican counterarguments are non-starters.

Yes, Obama is a lefty. In fact, he will try to bring in European-style Democratic Socialism. That is what the country is thinking about now because the country is too uneducated and inexperienced. They don't know what Democratic Socialism means, but they feel pressed by current events, and many want the State to take care of them. 51% of Americans now get direct support from the State, and as the population ages, the number will increase. People who haven't saved and didn't plan ahead will want the State to take care of them, and they won't care about the consequences because they won't be around when the really bad things start happening.

The American way of life will change in many fundamental respects, but must people in the country either want that change or don't see it as a problem. Many of the core principles that made this country great are things that many Americans today don't understand, don't appreciate, and are willing to give up for a little security. After all, that's what the first Clinton era was all about. Everyone knew that President Clinton was violating the law. They didn't care because the economy was doing well.

Mrs. Clinton's presidential bid should be an impossibility. People know she's scum, but they are willing to support her because they hope to somehow bring back the past or just gain raw power. If the country had any kind of backbone, her support would be around 5%.

Reading the comments I see ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Reading the comments I see a couple of references to foreign policy and the dangerous times that we live in. My reading of public opinion polls is that even if the American people are happy with the way the surge is working and even if they want Iraq to be a success, the war on terror is not going well, they don't want us going to war in the Middle East again, and they will want the new isolationism.

In fact, a Democratic administration that starts chipping away again at the military budget to pay for domestic programs will be very popular.

The essential argument made by Democrats in 2008 is that we need to be more like Europe. That is easily accomplshed. European countries don't spend anything like what we spend on defense because they defend themselves (sort of) and are not the policeman for the world.

I think that the American people are making a terrible mistake, but that's where I think the country is going.

Jay, seems to me your over ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, seems to me your over exaggerating the importance of the 'executive experience' of being a Southern Governor...Let's take Texas, for example, 'a weak governor state' where "The lieutenant governor of Texas (such as longtime Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, a Democrat and Bush's mentor in Texas) presides over the Texas Senate, and exercises more power over legislation than the governor does," or from the Enclycopedia Britannica:

Famous for delegating details and making connections adept at making compromises and taking credit. Bush's governing style in Texas depended on bi-partisanship, a political tradition in that state. Bush did not earn a reputation as a hard-driving executive, often taking time out in the middle of the day to go jogging or play video games.. He complained that he did not like to read long books and that he hated meetings and briefings.
So that was 'shrub' as governor of Texas, in what Molly Ivins called a 'part-time job'..Bush may have spend alot of his time as governor honing his skill at video games, but is this any better than Obama's legislative experience in Illinois and the the Senate..If we had looked at Bush' proven track record, as a governor more carefully, we might not have got the half hearted/lazy president that we ended up with. Even Thomas Paine's quotation has met its limit in Bush.

Using 'shrub' in a post nul... (Below threshold)

Using 'shrub' in a post nulls any and all credibility.

I'm always baffled how Reag... (Below threshold)

I'm always baffled how Reagan is known as the 'great communicator' and is even now recognized as such by many liberals. But during his presidency I heard all too often what a dullard he was, how he came across as "not too bright" and "bland". Mind you, I never thought of him as dull or not too bright, but many did at the time.

However, I agree with Jay that we could do worse than Obama as a Democrat in the White House. However, that he wrote a good book (I'll have to take Jeff's word for that as I haven't read it) only tells me he's a good author. And looking at who his biggest supporters are - vacuous and highly partisan celebrities - makes me uncomfortable.

Jeff's willingness to say A) he doesn't agree with Obama on two very important policies but B) is willing to trust him with, based on a book, is a bit much though.

Jeff is too concerned with mending the appearance of division in the country. Cripes. Political discussion around the dining room table is no more sharp or divisive than it was 40 years ago. We're having the same arguments about the same things as we did then. The cast of characters is the only thing that has changed. That and the fact that we can read more opinions on the internet now. It's ALWAYS been there. There have ALWAYS been negative ads and sniping. His implication that our divisiveness started with the Republican "witch-hunt" on Clinton shows he was probably too young to remember just how nasty people were long before.

Yes, Obama would raise taxes. Yes, Obama will put the government in charge of heath-care. But he'll be nice about it. There are a lot of good people out there - they're nice, and even inspiring, but are they fit or even suited to be President?

Carter was a nice guy too.

I take exception to one com... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

I take exception to one comment above.

If Democratic control of Congress and reducing the budget in Iraq to reduce the roops there was such a good idea that it was going to get a Democratic Presidential candidate elected, then why is the approval record for Congress at a historic low?

And the following is an observation only, please do NOT read any kind of intent into it: Hillary Clinton will never set foot in the White House as President. Whomever was elected VP at that point will become President.

Obama as President? What a joke. The guy has NOTHING as qualifications. The only reason Oprah supports him is if she doesn't SHE gets labeled as racist.

The only experience Obama DOES have is making bad choices by being a drug user in the past. (And to the lefties, no one has ever proven Bush used drugs, and I thought the same thing about Clinton's "didn't inhale" crap.)

Clancy, Molly Ivins was cre... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Clancy, Molly Ivins was credited with applying the nickname "shrub" to George W. Bush who said "I respected her convictions, her passionate beliefs and her ability to turn a phrase"...What do you think Rove's Texas nickname for Rove was?
Mycroft..Obama gave up making 'bad choices'...when he entered college...Bush, on the other hand was 'irresponsible' long after that.

Steve:Name-calling... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Steve:

Name-calling is useless. Governor Bush did a good job working with a divided Legislature to get new laws passed (i.e. "making connections adept at making compromises"). Texas passed education reform, tort reform, and tax cuts. If you're saying that he didn't work hard, that's OK. He got the job done (he was, after all, re-elected). That's better experience than Senator Obama or Clinton.

Oyster:

I agree with you on several points:
1. We can do worse than Obama: Clinton. At least Obama isn't hopelessly corrupt.
2. We have had sharp political divisions before. There are some new twists. In particular, the concept that "Politics stops at the water's edge" is gone - at least for one party.
3. Obama's rhetorical skills have helped him with Jeff and may help to bring people together.
4. Obama may be another President Carter. Sadly, that may be true.

[My previous reply seems to have been lost when my conenction went away.]

Mycroft:RE: "If De... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Mycroft:

RE: "If Democratic control of Congress and reducing the budget in Iraq to reduce the troops there was such a good idea that it was going to get a Democratic Presidential candidate elected, then why is the approval record for Congress at a historic low?"

Because the Democrats failed to deliver.

Americans voted for change in 2006, and the Democrats won on a platform that promised essentially nothing after the first 100 hours except get out of Iraq. They have failed to do much of anything. In particular, their policy in Iraq is essentially no different than President Bush's. They are a disaster, they don't appear to stand for anything, and they have power but cannot figure out what to do with it. They cannot even stand up to the lamest of lame-duck Presidents: he has basically beaten them at even turn. His poll numbers are low, but theirs are even lower.

If 2008 is a "Change Election", and I think that it is, the majority will be voting for change. They won't vote Republican. They will have to vote for a Democrat, and their basic hope will be:
1. With Bush gone, the Democrats will have to do something. They can't get past Bush or beat him, but they won't have to fight him any more.
2. A Democratic President will lead the party, replacing the intellectual vacuum in the Congress.
3. A one-party government is bound to get something done.

In the past, Americans have preferred divided government. In this election, the need for change will drive the idea of a united, one-party government. And even though Congress under the Democrats is a disaster, they will give the Democrats another chance.

kevino's post #6 provides a... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:

kevino's post #6 provides a template for many reasons why this nations electorate will not support a Democratic administration:

"My reading of public opinion polls is that even if the American people are happy with the way the surge is working and even if they want Iraq to be a success, the war on terror is not going well, they don't want us going to war in the Middle East again, and they will want the new isolationism."

Eight years of a Clinton administration that governed by "opinion polls" made Mr. Bill very popular. While Clinton spent his time speaking out of both sides of his mouth, the world around him grew very dangerous, and the weakness portrayed with his "criminal mentality" when dealing with terrorism resulted in the evental 9/11. Isolationism and appeasement policies was the net result of a nation that was not prepared to defend itself.

"The essential argument made by Democrats in 2008 is that we need to be more like Europe."

IS THIS MEANT TO BE A JOKE KEV?

Does this statement mean to include Spain that caved into terrorist ideology by allowing their citizens to be murdered?

Does this include France that still puts up with over a 100 cars burned every day across the outer regions of Paris?

"In fact, a Democratic administration that starts chipping away again at the military budget to pay for domestic programs will be very popular."

This was the very mentality that Carter embraced and Clinton endorsed that weakened our military strength to allow fanatical nations to fester and promote unchecked terrorism.

I don't think "opinion polls" suggest that this nation prefers to kneel on prayer rugs and face the east. But reality doesn't seem to sink in well with many on the left that think the war on terrorism will just go away with a democratic administration.

The dependence on the security of this nation can not rely on their policys.


Eh, Truman went along to ge... (Below threshold)
ravenshrike:

Eh, Truman went along to get along as well. See France and their bid to keep Vietnam after WWII. If, y'know, he had actually stood up for the values of this country he would have told them to fuck off. And then the whole 1960's/70's debacle never would have happened.

Ref #3. Wildwille, you are ... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Ref #3. Wildwille, you are correct. Huckabee and Richardson do have the most and best experience. At one time Richardson was also a ambassador, don't know if Huck was.

If MSM gave all the critters equal air and print time, Huck and Rich would be so far ahead of the pack, they wouldn't need a primary.

And heaven help us if Clinton wins the White House. It will be two crime family's in a row. I don't think our country can handle that.

Rovin:RE: "A Clint... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Rovin:

RE: "A Clinton administration that governed by 'opinion polls'"

You are correct. Governing by public opinion is stupid and dangerous:
1. You cannot wait to make some decisions based on opinion.
2. You cannot give the public or focus groups secret information.
3. You frequently already know the answer: the public wants lots of good stuff, they want it right now, and they want it free.

RE: Being more like Europe

That is essentially the argument that is being made. Does that mean that we will be more like Spain and France? Yes - and more. There are many Americans that think EXACTLY that way. I have on numerous occasions - in this forum and in others - argued that America must stand up to these thugs. And the consistent response by the Left is always isolationism. The Left will not present a plan to stand up to Islamic fundamentalism, and the American people will not demand that they do so or hold them accountable for this. The only logical conclusion is that Americans don't consider this a priority.

Look at the cartoon wars and other struggles with Islamic fundamentalism. You would think that the American Left would be first in line to defend Free Speech. They aren't. They are frequently the first to advocate self-censorship and hate-crime laws to promote tolerance.

RE: "The dependence on the security of this nation can not rely on their policies."

For the most part I agree, but we're about to get out-voted.

Of course they are going to cut the military budget. They aren't going to say it very loudly, but that's certainly the plan. And the American people should be smart enough to see through it, but they won't. All they see is lots of free stuff and the State taking care of them, and they won't ask the tough questions. And the Democrats won't tell them the consequences - until after the election.

Don't believe me? Well, the front-runner for the Dhimmicrats is Senator Clinton. Does anyone believe that we know what she intends to do? Her whole plan up to this point is to say nothing until after the election. Her records are sealed until after the election. Nothing of any substance will be discussed until after the election. The American people should be asking tougher questions. They didn't in 2006, and they don't appear to be willing to do it in 2008, either.

Ultimately, we will get the government that we deserve. And, yes, they will also get an education. That's the problem with learning by trial and error: first comes the test, then comes the lesson.

What gifts does Obama posse... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

What gifts does Obama possess besides good looks ? Yes, he is a talented speaker even when he is lying through his teeth (I was concieved because of Selma) but his "gifts" are no more special that the contestants on Who Wants to be the Next Supermodel.
I don't want a gifted leader, nor do I care if he/she has clearly articulated talents.

I do want a leader who:

1) Sends our troops to kill terrorists
2) Doesn't attempt to take more of my paycheck that is absolutely needed for the Government
3) Secures the Borders
4) Defends the Constitution against enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC
5) Doesn't bash business and supports free trade
6) Pisses liberals off

#6 is optional but I figure anyone that does 1-5 would pretty much cover #6

Obama is simply a liberal con man ... he tries to sound moderate but in the end would simply be another race baiting black liberal ... At least Al Sharpton is above board about his agenda and I think has just as many talents as Obama without the natural good looks.

"Ultimately, we will ge... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:

"Ultimately, we will get the government that we deserve. And, yes, they will also get an education. That's the problem with learning by trial and error: first comes the test, then comes the lesson."

Well said Kev (including most of your post #11)

The one problem I have is this nation can ill afford another "education" such as 9/11. And I will not vote for any candidate that does not put the security of the nation ahead of all other priorities.

If you cannot address Obama... (Below threshold)

If you cannot address Obama's posturing in his book Dreams of My Father, you are blowing your comments out your asp.

Go to that book and read as much of it as you can stand. Then you will know the man behind the facade. If you like that man, then by all means vote for him.

Europe does not defend itself. The sucker US taxpayer foots that bill.

As for the USA becoming like Europe, I doubt there is time for that to happen. As an atheist who believes in the reality of religious apocalyptics, it is clear that should the US go the route of Europe, Europe's subsequent decline would quickly sweep across North America as well.

Mycroft..Obama gave up maki... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

Mycroft..Obama gave up making 'bad choices'...when he entered college...Bush, on the other hand was 'irresponsible' long after that.


11. Posted by Steve Crickmore | December 11, 2007 10:06 AM | Score: -1 (1 votes cast)

More liberal BS. Your source is Wikipedia. I already know that Wikipedia has been taken over by the left. That's why I said we had no proof. Nothing has been proven about Bush and substances.

Now Obama, on the other hand, has come out and admitted to Felonies! This I consider PROOF enough.

And back to one other point I have made for years. George Bush is not the best choice we could have had for President. He was the best of the available choices - by a wide margin.

Obama doesn't even rise to that best of the Dem choices.

Mycroft:RE: "If De... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

Mycroft:

RE: "If Democratic control of Congress and reducing the budget in Iraq to reduce the troops there was such a good idea that it was going to get a Democratic Presidential candidate elected, then why is the approval record for Congress at a historic low?"

Because the Democrats failed to deliver.

Americans voted for change in 2006, and the Democrats won on a platform that promised essentially nothing after the first 100 hours except get out of Iraq.

If 2008 is a "Change Election", and I think that it is, the majority will be voting for change. They won't vote Republican. They will have to vote for a Democrat, and their basic hope will be:

In the past, Americans have preferred divided government. In this election, the need for change will drive the idea of a united, one-party government. And even though Congress under the Democrats is a disaster, they will give the Democrats another chance.

13. Posted by kevino | December 11, 2007 10:29 AM | Score: 0 (0 votes cast)

And your one party government may have been part of what many were fighting in 2006. And htey got what they wanted.

But the bottom line is that I think that the 2008 election will not be one where the Dems will gain again, the people are starting to wise up some.

At least one can hope.

Mycroft:RE: "And y... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Mycroft:

RE: "And your one party government may have been part of what many were fighting in 2006. And they got what they wanted."

To a certain extent, you are correct. 2006 for President Bush was somewhat like 1994 for President Clinton. The public pulled the President's teeth and put the other party in Congress. The difference is that some of the 1994 vote was a rejection of Clinton, but a lot of it was a change to GOP policies. Many, in particular, voted for change in Congress simply to change congressional leadership and to support the Contract with America. In 2006 the GOP ran on a platform of "Stay the course in Iraq", while the Democrats went with little more than "Out of Iraq".

RE: "But the bottom line is that I think that the 2008 election will not be one where the Dems will gain again, the people are starting to wise up some."

I don't see any evidence of that. If you look at the polls that cover issues, the mood of the public is very much on the side of the issues that are good for Democrats. Republicans in some polls still win on national security and terrorism (barely), but those issues are very low in priority with the public.

And while it is true that the Democratic Congress as a whole is polling very badly, the polls for individual races clearly favor the Democrats. In fact, given the number of GOP seats at risk in the Senate, there is a real possibility that Democrats will pick up seats in the Senate to get a super-majority. If that happens, the GOP may not be able to filibuster.

I just don't see any polls that indicate the US public is changing back to the GOP. This is the Democrats election to lose.

And by the way, there is an... (Below threshold)
kevino:

And by the way, there is another dynamic at work in this election that I have written about before. If either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton is the Democratic nominee, there are large numbers of people who will go to the polls for the first time to vote for the first woman or minority President. These voters are overwhelmingly Democrats, and they will probably vote for Democrats straight down the line.

And by the way, there is an... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

And by the way, there is another dynamic at work in this election that I have written about before. If either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton is the Democratic nominee, there are large numbers of people who will go to the polls for the first time to vote for the first woman or minority President. These voters are overwhelmingly Democrats, and they will probably vote for Democrats straight down the line.

24. Posted by kevino | December 11, 2007 1:38 PM | Score: 0 (0 votes cast)

And a large number who don't want either one of them.

But the other statement I made above is that there are some out there that will not let Hillary intot he White House, even by extreme methods.

The number of new voters wi... (Below threshold)
kevino:

The number of new voters will be huge.

Traditionally, the Democrats always try to increase voter turn-out, particularly for are disenfranchised. Such voters are solidly with the Democrats on domestic issues. The problem for Democrats is that they can't get these voters to the polls. If you pay attention to polls, then you know that there is a huge difference between polls of Americans versus polls of adults versus polls of "likely voters". Democrats in most years do well with the public but fail to win for likely voters, and that's why they frequently lose national elections. For them, it's a simple matter of getting voter turn-out.

But even without the impact of women and minorities this time around, the GOP has clearly lost ground. More people identify with the Democrats. Domestic policy is more important than foreign policy.

A quick google search shows multiple polls:

Democratic ideas for fixing the healthcare system to cover the uninsured enjoy more support among Americans than proposals coming from Republicans, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows.

[And healthcare is becoming a top priority.]
Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or are they seriously off on the wrong track? 69% say: wrong track

Republican leaders share blame for Congress's lack of productivity; Democrats holds 12-point advantage over GOP as better able to manage the federal government.

I see a lot of dissatisfaction. The country is already in a housing slump and sees a falling dollar as a bad thing. Consumer confidence is down, and many see a recession coming.

This is not an electorate that is going to vote for more of the same.

Nothing has been proven ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Nothing has been proven about Bush and substances.

You're kidding, right?

"Have you used drugs in the last 7 years?" Bush: "No." "Have you used drugs in the last 15 years?" Bush: "No." "Have you used drugs in the last 25 years?" Bush: "No comment."

Replace "years" with "days" above, and then imagine yourself having this conversation with your child. And tell us that you would walk away thinking, "well, nothing has been proven!"

If Democratic control of... (Below threshold)
Brian:

If Democratic control of Congress and reducing the budget in Iraq to reduce the roops there was such a good idea that it was going to get a Democratic Presidential candidate elected, then why is the approval record for Congress at a historic low?

Partly because the Republicans keep blocking the Democrats from doing what they were elected to do. As evidenced by the fact that Congressional Democrats still poll higher than Congressional Republicans.

Interesting and well writte... (Below threshold)
langtry:

Interesting and well written points. However: I could never, ever vote for someone who looks to Dick Durbin for how to vote on any given issue. Obama can't 'suss out stupid', and that scares me.

Brian,Since a simple... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Brian,
Since a simple majority is all that is needed to win a vote (excepting things like breaking a fillibuster), it can't just be those nasty wasty wepubwicans getting in Reid and Pelosi's way.

Since a simple majority ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Since a simple majority is all that is needed to win a vote (excepting things like breaking a fillibuster)

Umm, yeah, and also Bush's veto. Since you demonstrated that you seem to have read the article I linked to, perhaps this might help you understand it.

RE: "Umm, yeah, and also Bu... (Below threshold)
kevino:

RE: "Umm, yeah, and also Bush's veto."

During the entire year President Bush has vetoed, what, five or six pieces of legislation? Bush is such a forceful, dynamic leader the Democrats can't figure out how to get a compromise on any of their agenda - even when they have to approve by simple majority all of the money that Bush needs to fund the projects he wants? Is the leadership of the Democratic party that incompetent?

On the critical issues such as the Iraq war funding and FISA, Bush is leading the Democratic Congress around by the nose. Poor, poor Democrats. Against the powerful, clever Bush, they can't win.

What a mess. The Democrats don't seem to have an agenda. The Democrats have the power, but don't know how to use it. And none of their leadership is intelligent enough to figure out how to use their newly-acquired power to make a few deals.

Here's a clue for the clueless: look in this comment thread about Bush's experience as governor of Texas. If you don't know, do a little research about what he accomplished. When intelligent people talk about experience, this is what we're talking about.

During the entire year P... (Below threshold)
Brian:

During the entire year President Bush has vetoed, what, five or six pieces of legislation?

Yeah, which is, what, five or six more than he vetoed during the six years of Republican control?

You can fantasize about a "dynamic, powerful, and clever Bush" all you want. But the fact is that even if Bush went into a coma and Harry Reid took top honors at an assertiveness training class, the Republican filibuster all-time obstruction record and Bush's personal best veto record prevent anything from becoming law in this country.

But fortunately, the American people have figured that out, and while Congress as a whole sucks, at least the Democrats poll higher than Republicans.

> Looking back, the onl... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> Looking back, the only presidents in the last seventy years who did not have prior executive experience was John F. Kennedy.

Commanded a warship (PT 109). That should count.

Brian:RE: Five or ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Brian:

RE: Five or six vetoes

One of your excuses was that President Bush's vetoes prevented the Democratic Congress from getting things done. I simply pointed out that five or six vetoes should not significantly decrease their output.

RE: Bush's superiority

And nothing will obscure the simple fact that as I said in this forum and others, the Democrats wasted huge amounts of time on worthless Iraq votes only to cave. By yielding the initiative and not putting forward their idea correctly, they ended up letting the GOP run over them.

If they had offered to trade three months of Iraq funding for help with legislation X, or if they had offered appropriations for something the President wanted in exchange for help with Y, or if they had offered FISA cave-in for Z, then they could have gotten something done. But no, they've got to be stupid about it, give him what he wants at no-cost. That's how the games played. If they cut a deal with the White House, Bush can help them get enough GOP votes to even get around the mavericks in the Democratic party. They need to grow up enough to deal openly, honestly, and effectively with the GOP. Instead, they just act like clowns, and blame the GOP for their ineptitude.

(And by the way, I don't have a very high regard for Bush's abilities. You need to get your sarcasm meter fixed. But compared to the clowns that are currently running Congress, he's a genius. But that's not saying much.)

Want a couple of more examples of their ineptitude? The Federal government's fiscal year ended in September. When do we get a budget (all of the appropriations bills)? When does this Congress actually fulfill it's promise and do something serious about earmarks? When will Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid put forward a real legislative agenda?

RE: Democrats poll better than Republicans

That's what I've been saying. The sad part is that Democrats will be rewarded in 2008. Having proven that they cannot do anything with most power, an electorate that wants change will give them total power. When that happens, all of the stupid Democratic in-fighting that has been on display is going to have to give way and something will have to be done.




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