Thursday, September 06, 2012

Obama's speech

Well, it got better.

It's hard for me to be objective about Obama's oratory, since I don't like the guy. But I wasn't alone in my initial sense of dismay: Josh Marshall also thought that Obama -- who followed so many terrific speakers this night -- had a difficult time finding his footing.

The President began with a joke about Republican tax breaks. Mistake. Why remind the audience of the one thing they're sure to like about the GOP? Why didn't he slam home the message that the stimulus lowered taxes for the 95% who are not rich? Why didn't he emphasize that Romney's tax breaks would favor only millionaires like himself? Obama could -- should -- have mentioned the many times, during primary season, when the GOP candidates spoke about raising taxes on the poor.

Worse: Many who spoke during this convention derided the Republicans for refusing to offer specifics. But the Democrats can't fairly make that criticism when their own standard bearer also neglected to outline specific proposals. To cite but one example: Will there finally be help for underwater homeowners? To cite another: How about replacing Tim Geithner with someone not beholden to Wall Street?

In the end, the speech soared when it needed to soar. I would have preferred something more earthbound.

By the way: The Kos Krowd can still be pretty damned creepy.
9th Best President Ever
    F.D. Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, T. Roosevelt, LBJ, Kennedy, Truman, Eisenhower. He's a little better than Jackson.
This guy thinks LBJ, the flagrantly corrupt Texan clown who gave us Vietnam, was better than Bill Clinton? Madness. Fortunately, most other Kossacks seem to have freed themselves of their Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Prediction: The Democrats will get a bounce out of this convention, and I feel sure that it will be more impressive than the bounce-ette the Republicans received after the Tampa fiasco. But Romney's $100 million ad buy starts tomorrow, and that massive propaganda blitz will insure that Obama's advantage won't last. Since Team Romney has said that they are pulling out of Michigan, the new battleground will be, God help us, Ohio. Again.
I think you forget about LBJ's very real domestic achievements, things Kennedy NEVER could get through Congress. He was far better than you give him credit for.

He wasn't any more corrupt than any other president. And yes, I am old enough to remember the Vietnam debacle.

Clinton, however, has much to answer for. Remember his implementation of NAFTA, his destruction of AFDC, and, worst of all, his approval of the Glass-Steagall repeal, which directly led to the economic mess we are in now. He has to take full responsibility for this. His "triangulation" tactics, while good for him in the short-term, were absolutely devastating to the American economy long-term.
Today I read in the LA Times that Romney and SuperPACs pulled all their ads in Ohio, for now at least.

That's really odd at this point.
I saw the final two minutes of the Ryan speech, and the "we can do this" meme, and the we can get 4% GDP (as if that would solve all of the endemic problems), and frankly, he's not good enough to bring Bill Clinton a cup of coffee.
Clinton had no choice in the Glass Steagall repeal. He rejected it the first time, it came back veto proof, with 90% approval from congress, so he signed it.

So the Clinton administration can add 22 million jobs to the U.S. economy, (an all time record), but he should attempt to do nothing for Mexico or Canada?

AFDC probably helped as many as it hurt, probably helped more than it hurt.
Has anybody done a documentary on AFDC? I bet there were a lot of people who had become shut ins who got to reintegrate into society, and have a job to boot.

Why is it others want to lay ownership over AFDC? Lets hear from those who went through it, both good and bad.
Susan, must I say it AGAIN? Glass-Steagal was Phil Grahams baby, passed with a VETO PROOF MAJORITY.

I'm going to risk being rude here, because that seems to be the only way to get the message to stick.


Clinton could never have defeated it. His signature came at a price -- they struck down a provision that would have allowed redlining. You may sneer at that. If you were a black person trying to buy a house, you wouldn't sneer.

AFDC was not destroyed. That's nonsense.

Accusing Bill Clinton of devastating the economy (long or short term) is like accusing Joan of Arc of destroying France. It's absurd.

NAFTA was indeed a tremendous error.

You say that LBJ was no more crooked than any other president? Are you out of your mind? For starters: There is Bill Sol Estes' persuasive claim that LBJ arranged the murder of Henry Marshall...

And while I don't consider LBJ the architect of the Kennedy assassination, there is ample evidence that he participated in the cover-up. He privately admitted that he never believed in the conclusions of the Warren Commission.

In 1948, Johnson won his Senate seat through election fraud, and he made deals with Hoover and other powerful men to make sure that Coke Stevenson's attempts to get a fair vote were invalidated.

Then there's the Bobby Baker scandal, which RFK was trying to use to get Johnson tossed off the '64 ticket.

Right there, I've mentioned four things which place LBJ in the pantheon of the most corrupt politicians ever. We're talking about the guy who said "You just get me elected and I'll get you your war."

That war was started on a lie -- the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Johnson knew full well that the Casus Belli was a monstrous fraud. Even Dubya never attempted to start a war on so bold a hoax.

And you better believe that JFK would have passed the Civil Rights Act. Incidentally, LBJ refused to fight for in Congress while Kennedy was alive, even though that was that was Johnson's assigned task. JFK was much further to the left than the propagandists have painted him.

Offhand, I can't think of a MORE corrupt president than LBJ, with the exception of Nixon. Johnson has Harding and Grant beat by some distance.
Actually, Joseph, that bit about Clinton does bear repeating, as frustrating as it must be for you. In fact, if you're repeating it here and have a previous, more in depth, post about it, I would appreciate a link. The problem is explaining it to other's not as easy for some of us to absorb and reframe it as it is for you.

Thanks. It's been frustrating to me not to be able to counter the meme.

Meanwhile, O! But Riverdaughter nailed it regarding Obama and his speechifying. "He's not a good lay." lololol

The O-bots criticism of Clinton rings hollow since Obama had what Bill didn't, a knee-pad media and majorities in congress.

They have to blame somebody for Barack's miserable performance so why not Bill?

AS long as these people infest the Democratic party there is no hope.
As long as we have low-info voters, those who vote via simplistic sound-bytes without context; eg, lazy motherfuckers in the electorate, we will have a POTUS and Congress who reflect that graven image.

You get the Republic you deserve.

Well I think everyone has said it all already so no point me joining in.

I still cant stand that Obama. But I can see why non-rich americans might be too afraid to vote for Bain scum for fear that they wont eat for 10 years.

NAFTA is somewhat of a bum rap against Clinton, too. Clinton's version of NAFTA had protections for the environment and workers. These were gutted by the Republicans.

To amplify Susan's point about LBJ's domestic legacy: neglecting Medicare, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, and the War on Poverty does him a great and unwarranted disservice. Had it not been for Vietnam, I think he'd be held in the same esteem as FDR.

As for Vietnam, please don't forget that a lot of JFK holdovers (Rusk, Bundy, Taylor, McNamara) were instrumental in dragging us deeper into the quagmire. Kennedy increased the US presence in Vietnam by 900% during his time in office. While it's true that he had planned to remove 1000 troops at the beginning of 1964, those plans were made at a time when Taylor and others were predicting that the Viet Cong and NVA would be completely defeated by Christmas of 1963. Whether JFK would have followed through with that withdrawal once it became apparent that the post-Diem ARVN wasn't any more capable of defeating the VC than it was prior to the coup is pure speculation.

You should repeat that as much as necessary, Joseph. It probably wouldn't hurt to point out that it was a bipartisan veto-proof majority, either (84% of Senate Democrats and 75% of House Democrats voted for it).
Propertius -- I think it's more than speculation. More like reasonable deduction. The people to whom JFK confided plans to pull out were all closer confidants; the people to whom he spoke of possible escalation were the ones most likely to blab. That's pretty much how I would have played it if I were seeking reelection in a Cold War environment.

The new material on JFK reveals that much of what we've been hearing for decades is a lie -- a lie promulgated by both the right and the left, for different reasons. He really did understand that third world liberation struggles were rooted in nationalism, not communist ideology. Hence, for example, his covert outreach to Castro.

Odd thought: Had JFK lived, Barack Obama Sr. probably would have been allowed to set the economic course for Kenya, which in turn would have set an example for other emergent post-colonial African countries.
Had JFK lived, Barack Obama Sr. probably would have been allowed to set the economic course for Kenya,

I think that's a bit of a stretch.
I'm not aware that Obama, Sr.'s eventual rift with Kenyatta was in any way attributable to LBJ ;-). As I recall, his close ties Mboya had a lot more to do with it.

" Had JFK lived, Barack Obama Sr. probably would have been allowed to set the economic course for Kenya, which in turn would have set an example for other emergent post-colonial African countries."

Please explain that, Sitemaster.

Ben, Prop: Although it has been pretty firmly established that the CIA recruited Mboya in the 1950s, I also think that the Americans turned against him after the JFK assassination -- perhaps because Barack Obama Sr. seemed insufficiently controllable and a little too tolerant of the Soviets. JFK would not have been bothered by any of that, while his successors would have seen Obama's economic views as a kind of treason, as something that needed to be stopped.

Worth noting: It was not long after JFK was killed that the American government -- which had previously been grooming BO Sr -- turned against him and, on a trumped up pretext, tossed him out of the country and forbade him from getting his doctorate from Harvard. (He told folks in Africa that he had his PHD anyways.)
I can't believe how ignorant I am.


Could you please provide some links?

I would be most appreciative.


Ben, that was (to a large extent) my own somewhat paranoid reading of Sally Jacobs' bio of BO Sr. I can't link to it, or even quote it, since I got the book from the library.
"Accusing Bill Clinton of devastating the economy (long or short term) is like accusing Joan of Arc of destroying France. It's absurd."

No, it's not absurd at all, though not for the reasons Susan cited (those things just exacerbated the downturn). If one gives credit for the Clinton era budget surplus to Clinton and the Democrats, then a strong case can be made that they are largely responsible for the present economic morass. Government surpluses necessarily equate to private sector deficits. There's nothing partisan or ideological about the preceding statement. It's an accounting identity. It's how the math works. Households reacted to the surplus by not saving and acquiring debt. This is still dragging down demand for products and services over ten years later. Investors, unable to buy Treasury bonds (bonds are issued to fund government deficits) in the quantities demanded, bought instead the far more exotic offerings of Wall Street like mortgage-backed securities. The end result of this was a crashed economy. Read the links for the details and supporting evidence.

Of course, this argument in no way exonerates the Bush Administration and the Republicans. Their economic policies, for the most part, made the meltdown even worse than it would have been otherwise.
Regarding how the math works. People create physical wealth, this physical wealth can mean that everybody has assets.

Right now the federal deficit is growing and people are still losing overall equity.
Been reading 'Cronkite', Joseph, but I will follow up with the Bio. You talk about paranoia, like it's a bad thing.

1) Johnson completed Kennedy's program in civil rights, Medicare and education largely because of Kennedy's death, the massive Democratic majorities in both houses after '64 election and the political strength of MLK and a team of talented trade union lobbyists.

2) Bundy stated before he died that JFK was not heading into Nam. There is a fair amount of documentation that also suggests this, including a Presidential order 273 from 1963. Soreson in Counselor, makes the same claim.

3) JFK was always playing both ends against the middle when it came to Castro, but after the missile crisis, he cautiously reached out to Castro via his oft-used diplomatic surrogate, William Attwood. Clearly, K strenuously worked to achieve a moderate restraint on nuclear weapons with the Soviets also in 63.

4) in that year he gave historic speeches on civil rights and what later came to b called d├ętente.

5) by summer of 63, the US economy was cooking.

6) Johnson, who suspected that Oswald was an operative of the Cuban Secret Service, clearly did not want a real investigation of Kennedy's murder if it meant forcing him into a potentially disastrous confrontation over Cuba a year after the missile crisis.

7) Re Clinton --I buy your analysis of Glass-Steagall. Many Ds banged him as well, including Schumer, Dodd and Clinton's former Sec of Treasury, Rubin. Even counting NAFTA as a monstrous blunder (along with inaction in the Rwanda nightmare) Clinton is certainly in the top half-dozen Pre sidents, along with JFK.
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